Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy my living room

I've been watching the comings and goings of the various Occupy-my-city groups.   I keep trying to have an open mind but so far I still have not seen anything that convinces me that they are anything other than bozos who like to complain really loudly but don't want to actually DO anything to create change.  I still fail to see how any of this protesting, marching, yelling, camping out on public property is going to change anything in our society?  Other than make some people feel like they are part of something "really important" and glorify in the excitement of a large group of people getting together and feeling passionate about something.  But seriously, how is it going to have any impact on corruption in our government? How are all these people chanting about what they don't like going to actually achieve health care for everyone, eradication of corruption in government and more jobs back in our country instead of being outsourced?  I keep hearing the same old same old "If we demand it loud enough, then the high-ups with make change!" No they won't.  That is the logic of 3-year olds.  "If I scream louder this time during my tantrum, Mama will let me have that cookie before dinner like I want!"  It doesn't work like that.   If the higher-ups are corrupt and making millions off of it, they really don't care what protesters think.  If politicians are ignoring what is good for the people in this country because they want to get more votes, they really don't care what protesters think.

Seriously, mama is not going to give you that cookie.  And if you REALLY want that cookie, you need to stop screaming, smile nicely, wait until mama leaves the kitchen and go get the cookie yourself.  Ok, that's a bad analogy because cookies before dinner aren't good for you.  But you get my point.  If you want the government to stop being corrupt, expose the corruption, vote out the ones who are corrupt.  If you want health care for everyone, get educated and start trying to come up with a solution.  If you want companies to stop outsourcing jobs, get into politics and learn about economics and figure out a way to reasonably convince companies they need to stop outsourcing (without driving all large corporations out of our country altogether).  These are intensely complicated issues and will never be solved by wasting one's time carrying signs, chanting, marching and sleeping outside.  It's a distraction from the real work of finding a solution.  It is the lazy man's way of pretending to care and pretending to want to make a difference - when the real difference, the one that comes of hard work and finding solutions, is just so hard compared to sitting on one's butt and screaming at mama to just get them the damn cookie already.

I think about these three issues a lot.  Especially when I'm having trouble sleeping.  I don't have any solutions yet (wouldn't that be cool if I did!) but I have some ideas.

1.  Affordable and good health care accessible to everyone.  How to do it?  Right now my thought is that the best way to get there is to create huge non-profit health care services (real non-profits - not like Kaiser and Regence that still are all about the financial bottom line).  We'd need some billionaire like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to get something like that going.  But when everyone flocked to the giant non-profits with great health care for everyone it would create an enormous strain on the current health care system, which is all about making money.  They'd either have to go under or find a new mission that had more to do with accessible good health care than profits.

2.  Corruption in government.  No clue how to get that eradicated.  If it was taken away the whole government might collapse it is so intrinsic to the entire system.  But definitely exposure helps and educating people on just how much corruption there really is.  It's a tough one.

3.  Outsourcing.  I am convinced that a huge part of our failing economy is due to so many of our jobs are now in third world countries.   I've thought about how there should be an extra tax - especially a huge hike in paying unemployment - that all companies who outsource to other countries should have to pay.  Also, making it illegal to pay Indian (for example) workers less *in our money* than an employee in our country would be paid.  Then there would be no point to send jobs across the globe just to hike up profits.   Why pay factory workers in India $10 an hour in our money when that is what you'd pay a factory worker in Ohio?

Anyway, I think a lot about this stuff and those three issues are high on my priority list when I vote for politicians.  Unfortunately,  I have yet to see a politician who will actually address those issues head-on because they're all about getting their job in Congress or whatever because the unbelievable benefits politicians get make them royalty to the rest of us serfs.  So, of course they will lie, cheat and not address the real issues in order to get elected to be part of royalty.  And no, they are NOT listening to the protesters (unless it might gain some votes for them).

So, despite it is unpopular among many of my friends, I continue to think the Occupy-wherever protesters are bozos.  And the attorneys for whistleblowers,  the civil rights speakers/educators,  the people who work for the Innocence Project,  the union representatives who try really hard and want to stop corruption in the unions and in the large corporations,  the local politicians who dream of making a difference more than getting fancy politician benefits, the people like Bill & Melinda Gates who create foundations to better the world, and people like William Gates Sr. who write books to educate people on why taxing the rich is a good thing, and managers at places like F5 Networks that strive to have a competitive work environment where parents can work a normal work week and still get to go home to see their families (they've been written up a lot in the local paper - they are the anti-Microsoft as far as treating their workers like humans and that puts pressure on the Amazons and Microsofts to not treat their employees like slaves) - those are the real heroes who are out there actually making change.  And those are the people I will continue to give my support to.  Those are the people who are doing something, who are living the solution, and are making a difference.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Too busy for my own good

For years now I have said "I'm really busy right now but it will calm down in a couple weeks" and it never seems to.  I used to thrive on being busy before I became a mom.  Then when I had my daughter and got to stay home with her for three years I had to learn how to calm down and "just be".  I am still not that good at it, although I have never gotten back to that state of mind where I "thrive" on being busy.  But I have also not yet achieved how to keep myself from being busy.

What am I so busy with? Oh good lord ... I ask myself that question frequently.  Well, I have a job I work at one full day a week (which ends up taking up literally that whole day from when I get up until bed time because of adding in the commute to downtown Seattle which is a huge time-suck).  I have two horses and one is in training, I also have three cats (one is elderly and needs lots of vet care). And a dog that needs walks and to be dragged around with me when I'm gone all day. I just took on a second part-time job I can work from home but only in the mornings because it involves lots of calls to the East Coast.  I take care of everything re: the house (ie: cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, coordinating repairs, paying bills, managing finances, etc) and I want it that way because my husband earns 95% of the money and I want to pull my own weight, and I take care of our 7 year old daughter (except in the evenings on the weekdays when my husband is home so he can hang out with her and here and there when I go out to do stuff on the weekend).  Add to that a friend who is in an abusive relationship right now so I've been trying to be there for her and supporting our mutual friends who are stressed out as I am about it.  And coordinating a neighborhood book group and volunteering in my daughter's class.  I think that's about it. 

Anyway, I don't really have anything I want to drop, but I do feel overwhelmed sometimes.

There are plenty of little things that make it totally worth it though and are so cool.  Like volunteering in school yesterday during art class.  The kids were supposed to draw and paint a castle and it was very fun watching all the 2nd grader's ideas of castles.  Also, working with Toad and watching Girlfriend and her Little Mama together.  Girlfriend is so hot and was so hard to ride for all the dressage riders at my old barn, it's so neat to see this skinny little 13-year old do so well with her.  And it's so neat to see how sweet Girlfriend is with her - just like she is with me and my daughter (although my daughter is too little and not a good enough rider to ride Girlfriend by herself).

I usually think of my daughter as having no real riding skills just because she's so young and little (she just barely weighs 50 pounds so she is tiny)  but yesterday a girl came to look at Toad to lease her and while she was riding Trainer K. and I were talking about Toad because she (Trainer K.) had just told the potential lesseee that Toad is a lot different than when we started with her a few months ago.  I told Trainer K. how Toad's last owner had said the only time she'd been thrown off Toad was getting on her in and English saddle and wiggling around to get comfortable.  But some days when I ride Toad I have to wiggle around a little myself to get comfortable - especially if we're using a different saddle for some reason or I'm wearing my mom's breeches she loaned me while she's in AZ but that don't fit quite right.  I said that Toad must've calmed down a lot because it didn't seem to bother her at all.  Trainer K. asked if I'd seen her previous owner ride her and I said no, and she said, "Well, she has less knowledge of riding than your daughter."   That was an eye opener that my tiny little daughter does know how to ride somewhat.  I think of her as so tiny (which she is) and so fragile (which she isn't) but she does have great posture and a great seat (ie: balance on a horse) and she knows how to walk, trot and has (accidentally) cantered before.  I guess I need to give her some credit that even though she is my baby and only 7 years old, she IS starting to actually know how to ride like a beginner rider - she's no longer a completely helpless kid around horses.

Speaking of my tiny daughter, she is under the impression that Toadie is going to be her horse when she's 10 years old.  It would certainly be feasible because Toad should be really well trained in three years.  I just need to find a new place for my daughter to take lessons right now.  Since Trainer V.  has melted down so badly and Trainer K. doesn't have any ponies, our barn is not really the place for her to learn.  Trainer J. is there but she doesn't train dressage and despite all the cool bling in Western riding, my daughter has decided she is all about dressage.  Plus, I love Toad so much I really want her to be *my* horse and if we can afford it when my daughter is ten we can talk about getting her her own horse.  But Toadie and I have such great chemistry together and really understand each other and communicate so well together.  It is a rare horse that I feel like we can just get into each other's head and Girlfriend and Toad are both those horses.  So, my daughter is just going to have to find her own horse when she is old enough.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toadie is a goofball ... a nice goofball, but a goofball nonetheless.

Toad had two days off the end of the week so I thought I'd better lunge her both days this weekend.  It was really just theoretical that I thought I should lunge her, I didn't *really* think it was that big of a deal.  Apparently, I was wrong. 

Yesterday I took her in the arena and Trainer J.  was sweeping the bleachers.  She called over and asked if it would upset Toad and I said it would be good for her to be exposed to it.  Right after I said that Trainer J. knocked the big broom on the beam at the edge of the arena to knock the dirt off and Toadie jumped straight up in the air, all four feet coming off the ground at the same time! Quite a show of athleticism there!

I told her she was fine and we went to the other side of the arena to work and kept telling her it was just fine and everything was ok.  Nevertheless, when Trainer J. knocked the broom against the beam again Toad reared up in the air, did a Lipazan style jump and started tearing around the circle kicking her legs back up behind her as high as she could.  I know I'm supposed to stay quiet with her but I yelled, "No!" and gave a huge yank on the lead rope.  She didn't listen so I relaxed my whole body and said, "Eeeeeasy ... trooooot ... just trooooot ..." and gave a hard yank on the lead rope once to get her attention.  She did slow down pretty quickly but I don't know if I got the point across that that had been unacceptable behavior.  I guess more than punishment, it's good that she calms her body down quickly like that.  Maybe that's more important, getting her in the habit of quickly calming her body down when she flips out like that?

Then I took her over to Trainer J. and let her sniff at her and sniff at the broom and even watch the broom being banged on the wall to knock off the dirt.  Trainer J. commented, "You just ruined her excuse to go off like that."  Yes. Yes, I did.

Trainer J. finished up and left and we did some more lunging and this time during a trot, Toadie all the sudden bolted forward and started bucking - like a giant monster had come down and landed on her butt!  Only I never heard or saw anything so I think she just needed to get her ya-ya's out.  Once again before I could stop myself I snapped loudly, "Uh-uh! No!" then remembered and relaxed my body and said, "Eeaaaaasy ... trooooot .... just trooooot .." and she slowed down even more quickly that time.  Today was much better.  In fact, the one time I asked her to canter and she started to flip out, she got two bucks in, bolted for maybe six steps while I was saying, "Easy ... quiet down ... easy ..." and she immediately caught herself and went into a nice, steady canter.  I was very proud of her!

After her work, when I was brushing her and getting ready to put her back in her stall to have her lunch, I had that feeling I used to get when I was a kid - that warm, magical feeling of being completely enamored with horses - how they were these giant, mythical creatures that transport you to a completely different dimension when you're with them and nothing bad in life can affect you for the time you're with them.  It was pretty cool.  I just can't believe she's my horse!  I never really thought I would actually have such a beautiful, sweet horse of my own like her!  I remember feeling the same feelings when I first got Girlfriend too.  I guess that's what people mean when they have a lot of kids, that you love all of them just as much.  I find that hard to believe because I love my daughter so much, but if my horses are an example then I guess I understand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My own petty annoyances aside ...

I've noticed that when I'm perpetually worried (and thus not sleeping well) that I get annoyed more easily with people in general.  Not my friends but with "humankind".  Or the occasional neighbor who is just plain irritating or the dumbass on the road who passes me on the shoulder in his little turbo-compact-black-out-windows-toy because he's racing his fellow dumbass friend (yes, that actually happened on one of the back roads out here the other day).

Things are quiet again in regards to my horses and where I keep them. Trainer V. is no longer harrassing me (still talking behind my back apparently but that doesn't have much effect on me).  It bugs me when I'm at the stable at the same time as her overhearing her doing her usual boasting and bragging but that it bugs me is my problem.  So now without that drama, I am free to go back to my regularly scheduled worrying.   Which is about money and how expensive it is to have two horses on my own (when I bought Toad I'd planned to share her and Girlfriend with T.)  I'm feeling really guilty because such a huge part of our household money goes to *my* horses.  Not the family's and not even me and my daughter's, but my horses.  And I'm having a heck of a time finding another part-time job to bring in more money.  I have my new little commission based job I'm doing for a friend but since it's commission only I am not confident I'll make any money.  And I haven't had any time to work on it this week anyway.  So, I'm feeling lots of guilt.  If only I were Catholic I could go to confession and say some Rosaries and call it good.  I'm not sure what us repressed, white Protestants are supposed to do to alleviate guilt.  I think our culture dictates we wallow in it.

Speaking of my repressed, white culture, I took my daughter to a school dance last night because her friend, Diego wanted her to go.  Well, and more Diego's mom asked me if we'd come and I haven't gotten to hang out with her for awhile.  I tried to imagine a school dance at my daughter's school in the city and it would probably be with one of those local famous "kid bands" because some of the parents in the band have kids that go to that school.  Which would be fine.  And better than the alternative which would be ... I'm not sure.  I'm trying to imagine the PTA Board in their matching little capris and similar haircuts dancing to *anything*.  Anyway,  since so no rock star parents who do kid band side projects have kids at our current school I was curious what it would be like.

It turned out to be really fun.  They played the obligatory kid music a little bit: Katie Perry and Justin Beiber.  But what they mostly played was Latino dance music.  One of the PTA Board moms recently moved here from Mexico and is a Zumba instructor so she got out there and was leading the kids in all sorts of funky dance moves.  Then some of the other PTA moms who take her class got up in front with her.  So, instead of wearing the same clothes, the PTA moms take Zumba.  I think I can assimilate better into that than going to the same salon and wearing the same clothes.   I was looking at the little group of PTA moms up there dancing and realizing, they all are kind of short, look very strong and have that "don't mess with me" swagger (although they're way friendlier and open than at my daughter's old school) and I had this thought that just cracked me up for a moment, "My new PTA could totally kick my old PTA's ass." Literally.

Diego's mom and aunts and grandma were all out dancing so after an hour I finally got up the nerve to go out on the floor and dance too.  They tried to teach me the shuffle but my feet just wouldn't do what their feet do.  Diego's grandma put me to shame.  My god.  She has a figure like J-Lo when J-Lo's looking her best, was wearing a little short skirt and high heels and dancing way better than I ever could.  Diego's other grandmother was there and she was much more refined and I'm wondering if that is a cultural difference between grandma's from Mexico and grandma's from Puerto Rico (since the few grandparents I've met from Mexico are all way better dancers than me).

It was also enormously cute to see all the grades school kids out there dancing.  Diego is all about doing the worm and spinning around the floor - which was making his mom nervous.  My daughter is all about trying to do that wave thing that break dancers do where they make their bodies all fluid.  It was really cute because the kids had no inhibition and were just having lots of fun.  I hope that sense of joy and inhibition can carry over into high school so they can continue to have fun like that.  I remember a select few at my old suburban high school (the private city school didn't have dances).  But that select few had fun at dances like that all the way through high school and weren't worried what people thought, they were just there to have fun.  I'm really hoping my daughter and her friends can capture that spirit and hold onto it through their teens and not worry about "being cool" and holding themselves back worrying what others think.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Problems we all wish we had.

I am struggling with a problem that probably doesn't sound like a problem but it weighs on my mind as a parent because I am so incredibly worried about being a crappy parent.  I'm not worried about the typical stuff that happens - there are plenty of "Why don't I get to watch as much t.v. as my other friends!" or "So-and-So has way more Wii games than me and you never let me play video games!" (which isn't true - we just have a strict screen time limit).  I'm sure that by the teenage years I will be like any other parent is to a teen - Draconian and stupid.  But I worry about screwing up in a BIG way. In a my kid ends up in years-of-therapy, always in abusive relationships or horribly addicted to drugs or has a character disorder and loses custody of her own kids way.

On the outside I am apparently an old-fashioned parent:  I expect children to be polite and respectful toward me and one another and that is non-negotiable.  I expect homework to be a priority and learning to be a priority and at this age that's easy because all you have to do is make it fun.  That's pretty much the sugar coating in my parenting is making what must be done fun.  There is a big limit on what gets watched on t.v. - no Cartoon Network, I censor what Disney shows can be watched, no shows where it's supposed to be funny that they are putting each other down in a mean way or making fun of people (not till the teen years at least).  No video games unless they are educational (there are some pretty fun Barbie/fairy/princess video games that are educational, btw).  No first person shooter video games until the child can write the code themself - then they can make whatever kind of video game they want (seriously - that is my rule). And respect, respect, respect.  Respect yourself, respect others, respect your stuff, respect other people's stuff.  And take responsibility for your actions - which at this age I believe means that there are consistent and firm consequences to misbehavior that I lay down.  None of this wait until the dog starves to death and the child learns that not feeding the dog is bad.  Don't feed the dog like you're supposed to on the first night? Then you'll get an explanation why that is bad, how you wouldn't want me to not feed *you*, then take away some privileges (first to go - that tiny bit of t.v. I let you watch).   And at 7 years old, it's ok to have simple choices but right now I know what's best for you and that's what goes. Yes, I am a Love & Logic parent's worst nightmare.  But at the same time would I want to follow the advice in a book written by a man who's first attempt at pop therapy (holding therapy) ended up killing some children and traumatizing others? 

Anyway, I've totally segued. 

Despite my old-fashioned parenting philosophy (which I've started to glean is very un-P.C.) I'm still a helicopter parent in my head.  I question everything I do and wonder constantly if I'm screwing up my kid.  I may let her ride horses, but when she gets bucked off I lose about five years off my life and curse myself for letting her do that.  Granted she gets to rock climb, but once she's about fifteen feet up I stop breathing and start shaking.   But despite what goes on in my head, so far so good - she's only in second grade but she seems very happy and confident and independent and friendly and she behaves well at school and saves the screaming fits for me.  But we seem to get along together more than the tantrums.  But I'm constantly worried about the tween and teen years and I'm constantly worried she's going to end up like me as a teenager which was ... just tragic ... extremely depressed, anorexic, drug problems ... the list goes on. 

 My latest concern is that she is bored at school. In our old neighborhood she was in the gifted program for students and started doing multiplication in first grade and coming home saying things like "We learned about double helixes today."  But they don't have a gifted program at her new neighborhood school and I didn't want to test her to see if she could start the school for gifted kids this year because then she's have to change schools *again* and I'd have to drive her cross town to school every day and kids in her class wouldn't be in her neighborhood.  Plus, my neighbor's kids go to the gifted school and they often say they wished they still went to our neighborhood school because the gifted school is all about academics and doesn't do hardly any of that fun stuff you're supposed to do in grade school.  It's like junior high - serious, academic, focused on high achievement.  I don't need my kid doing that when she's only 7 years old.

But the second grade curriculum is all stuff she already knows.  In fact it looks like the third grade curriculum is too.  For math she is doing multiplication, division and fractions and in school they're still learning to add, subtract and tell time.  Science is interesting to her because they do hands-on stuff, but she could also explain to you what a Black Hole is from watching science shows with me and her dad.  So, I don't know what to do. I emailed with her teacher about it and she assured me that after she assesses where everyone is she will have some more challenging work for the kids who are more advanced.  I know that one of my daughter's best friends is more advanced too so I may talk to her mom about it and see what her thoughts are. 

I really want her to stay at this school.  I didn't like the "too much focus on academics" attitude of the gifted program at her old school and wouldn't like it at the A.P. school here.  And I don't like the attitude that the gifted students are "better" and you go to a "special program for special kids".   It is important to me that my daughter understand that being smart is a gift you're born with like talent for music or sports and it doesn't make her a better person.  So, while she's really good at math, Diego is really good at soccer.  So, there isn't this "better than" crap going on.  If she wants to be proud of something it can be something she's worked for and achieved herself, not something she was born with and was just handed to her by genetics.

But at the same time it makes me anxious that she comes home from school a few times a week complaining that everything is too easy and she's bored.  The social aspect of her current school is great - it's an international school with kids who are from families from all over the world and a wide range of kids from serious rural poverty, to middle-class like us, to wealthy.   They have a really strong anti-bullying program and a great PTA with a bunch of really fun activities.  They are even allowed to use words like "Christmas" and "Halloween" (that is amazing these days!).  But am I doing her a disservice by not having her in a gifted program academically? Would it be worth what we'd lose to go to that kind of program?  I think it would not be worth it but I question myself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

R.I.P. Jordy

My parents had to put their dog, Jordy down yesterday.  We all knew it was coming but it is still very sad.  He was quite old and we all thought he would go sooner but after some serious set-backs and a few canceled appointments to have him put to sleep because he bounced back a little, it was finally time for him to go.  That natural instinct is to let them live their lives out to the very end and die naturally, but that's what we ended up doing with our old dog, Boone and in retrospect we realize the kinder thing would've been to put him down a couple weeks earlier than when he actually died.  He died in my husband's and my lap at home an hour before his appointment to be put to sleep, and I think it ended up being the right thing for him because we knew he wanted to die at home - he was a rescue dog and terrified of the vet.  But he suffered so much those last couple weeks but we kept up false hope he would turn a corner and get well.  I've since heard there are vets who will make house calls to put your dog to sleep in your own home and that would've been the best thing to do for Boone.

So, Jordy wasn't suffering yesterday, but his health was so bad that my parents and his vet were afraid he would not live through the drive to Arizona that they start today and didn't want him to die somewhere unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  I can't imagine my parents without a dog.  I was brought home from the hospital after I was born into a house with dogs and I don't remember our family ever not having dogs or cats.  I'm always amazed by people who grew up with no pets.  I understand the people who are too allergic to have them, but I am baffled by people who just have no interest in having pets.  I know there are benefits (no puking on the carpet and then trying to eat it - kittens!!! Grumble ...), not having to clean up all that fur, the furniture not getting ruined, no pricey vet bills.  But having grown up surrounded by animals I can't imagine it any other way.

Meanwhile, back in my world I have another arthritis flare-up going on.  It came on yesterday because I over did it planting new plants in the strip up on the street behind our cul-de-sac.  Between that and that I haven't been able to take Enbrel for two months now it smacked me down last night.  The thyroiditis is finally gone and I think the cold I've been fighting off is finally going away so I think I can take the Enbrel this weekend but I'm also being pro-active with the other stuff that helps like going out for a mile long walk this morning and taking a hot bath.  I wanted to go jogging because the boot camp sergeant in my head says I need to "get out and get moving" but the sane part of me (when did that part show up???) reminded me that over-exertion brings on and makes flare-ups worse (like yesterday's shoveling in clay/gravel crappy dirt experience) so I just walked.  It was still nice walking in the rain in the woods.  Until the pitbull tried to attack some guy's little drop-kickable dog.  That was embarrassing.

This is the first day in what seems like a long time where I can actually be home and catch up on stuff I need to do here without having to run off to work, or training for my horse, or some sort of long, extended errand, or off to look at a new stable.  It would be nice if things stay calm and I can just keep my horses where they are because looking for a new stable is about as stressful as looking for a new house for us.  Ok ... it is more so because there is less of a selection.

It is going to be hard to keep myself from getting my parents a new dog, especially when we go down to Arizona to visit them at Spring Break.  My cousin has a new litter of Australian Shepherds who are "pet quality" (not fit to sell as an expensive show dog) and one is apparently a Red Merrel but that's not my decision to make and they might decide they don't want a dog for awhile.  Even though I can't imagine it doesn't mean it's not the right decision for them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One step closer to the edge

I've had this song stuck in my head for about a week now.  IH, my adopted teenager calls that band my "teenage music" band.  I think we all need a little teenage music once in awhile.

Life has been very stressful for the last week or so and I really haven't been sleeping much.  Trainer V. went off the deep end of high school behavior after I fired her so I'm looking at moving my horses somewhere else.  It is a very expensive endeavor and I'm not ready to stop using Trainer K. as a trainer because I'm very wary right now of anyone new because I don't want to have to repeat ending up with someone like Trainer V. who is actually a very good trainer and instructor, but will put a lot of energy into making one's life Hell if she doesn't get what she wants.  And I think I finally understand why she's so angry (besides a bruised ego) is that she had really wanted to buy Tuff Toad herself and I think what happened is that she had assumed she would be part owner in a way.  She referred to Tuff Toad as her horse and I think she viewed it more of a me sponsoring her by buying this horse than her training the horse for me to be my horse.  It's good I got out now.  But I can see why if she thought that how disappointing it would and how it probably felt like I was taking her horse away.  It doesn't make the fact that she refused to finish working this month and won't refund my money ok, or that she is engaged in a backstabbing campaign, but it does help me see where the passionate anger is coming from.  Still ... must find a place without that kind of high school dynamic.  Still, I hate to have to move my horses and it is stressful trying to find the right place I can afford and very, very scary for me to think of maybe having to use a new trainer. 

 My mantra is "It will work out the way it's supposed to - just keep breathing and keep an open mind to opportunities".  My prayer is "God, give me the strength to be the person you want me to be."  As opposed to the person I find myself wanting to be.  My friend wrote this article in Geekwire and it reminds me why I want to be the person God wants me to be instead of the person I feel like being - because it turns around and bites you in the ass!  Oh ... and it's not a nice way to be.  That too.  Sigh.

Thank goodness for my friends and family.  This weekend was by far the most stressful I've had in a long time (probably the most stressful since last January when we all came down with the stomach flu two days before we were supposed to move) but both Saturday and Sunday our family was out with friends and I made a point to not mention my horse drama at all and just enjoy myself and I did.  I love having friends and family who can take my mind off stuff like that and give me that well needed break to just have fun and enjoy the moment.  I also like that I have cats to sit on me and purr and help me relax.

Edit: Just got back from my lesson with Toadie. I really love working with Trainer K. and I left today's training/lesson session feeling like I had so much more information that my head was too tired to think anymore. I think I may have a little Thoroughbred in me myself because I hit a point during intensive learning where I feel like I've reached my capacity and everything is just going to shut off now. But it is good to have so much information and I had a point where I was practicing some of it while riding Toad where I suddenly remembered some stuff from back when I was a kid riding dressage at Evergreen Equestrian Stables and it's like that click where everything falls into place and I felt like "Oh yeah, this is how it feels to do it correctly - I remember this feeling!"

Today we were working on using the reins and fine tuning me so that I am using them absolutely correctly and helping fine tune Toad so she learns to listen to them correctly. For one thing, my hands are too close together. And in fact if I stopped looking at them (which you're not supposed to do) and thinking about it, they would drift back together. All my riding today was at a walk and I wasn't allowed to use my legs at all. Toad listens to me more with my leg since she's still not understanding the reins well yet so it took concetration not to use my leg at all. But once I got in the groove with things I felt like I was riding one of those super-mellow, dead-broke beginner horses. Toad was listening really well and walking very calmly and nicely and it was just super comfortable and relaxed. I couldn't believe that only two years ago she was a race horse at Emerald Downs. Now she is turning out to be such a good girl under saddle!

I had such a great training session/lesson that it is hard for me to imagine leaving that barn. One thing I AM in control of in big drama is how I react to it, not only externally but also internally. Now that the drunken text messages and the external stuff has stopped (hopefully for good), all that is left is hearing about stuff that is said behind my back and I'm wondering if I could just ignore that and not let it get to me and be ok? I off-handedly said today that maybe what would be more financially feasible and better for me as far as being at a place my horses are well cared for and I have a great trainer - is if I just went to therapy to learn how to be more detached from stuff like this and just stayed where I am.   Because really, who cares what is said behind my back? My friends won't listen to it and I don't really care what strangers think.  I may mull this for awhile.  The whole concept of not running away and just being strong and doing my thing and not worrying what others are doing.  Hmmm ... lofty goals there but still quite possible.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Toadie's foot 2, my foot 0

Toadie was having a little 'tude today.  I was originally not going to go to her training because there was no school, but my daughter went over to a friend's house so I went out to watch some of it.  Trainer K. started early because she had to leave early so I didn't see a lot of the training, but it was nice to see that Trainer K. is comfortable riding her.  I recently had to fire Trainer V. who was the one doing the riding part of the training so I am happy Trainer K. is fine taking that part over.  It was kind of cool that whenever I got up to say shut the gate behind Trainer J. when she left the arena, Toadie would watch me with concern like "Mom, don't leave."  Even Trainer K. commented that she definitely knows I'm her mom.  I'm glad we're bonding.  I was kind of concerned because Girlfriend bonded super fast to me - within a couple days and although Toadie quickly learned where my boundaries were and what she could get away with where I'm concerned, it felt longer for her to really bond and get attached to me.

But she was being very impatient and annoying in the cross ties, shaking her head and pawing.  For the first time when I was cleaning her back hoof, she tried to pull it away from me and eventually succeeded, slamming the front part of her toe down on my toe.  Trainer K. was standing right outside of the grooming room and when Toadie's hoof stomped my foot I yelped "Get off!" and in instinctively slapped her as hard as I could on the rump.  Luckily that made her pick up foot back up really quickly and Trainer K. said, "Good job."  It didn't hurt as badly as the time Sinatra stomped on my toe and the toe itself turned black.  But it stung enough that I hopped out and followed Trainer K. outside so she could smoke.  I told her that I normally don't like to hit animals but that when a horse succeeds in stomping my foot or biting me - as opposed to just trying and missing which is what thankfully usually happens, I can't help myself.  Trainer K. said she doesn't like to bully animals but if they do something dangerous like that it's ok.  She used the example that if her son came up and hit her with a baseball bat she would have no trouble hitting him back and making sure he knew that was not acceptable behavior.  Sadly, I know parents that would not even use physical force on a child who hit them with a baseball bat.  I think I could help myself to hit back, and I would definitely physically retrain them if they were that violent.  Anyway, back to horses, I'm glad that Trainer K. did not get angry at me for hitting Toad.   The most I usually do is push back or swat gently and try to use voice and body language to convey my dominance, but damn that hurt.  Trainer K. said she saw it and she was the one who told me it wasn't the bottom of my foot, it was the front edge of her hoof that slammed down on my toe.  There is a dent in my paddock boots now and it was a cringy pain like "just a little harder and my toes would've been sliced off".  Ok, probably not, but that's how it felt.

After I went back into the grooming room Toad tried to challenge me by crowding me with her butt and I poked her and said, "No, move over," and she immediately relaxed her ears, chewed a little and quickly moved over.  Trainer K. said, "Good - she's listening to you now.  She doesn't want you to hit her again!"  Well, it takes what it takes I guess.  Hopefully now we can go back to our gentle firmness and snuggles and hugs.

There is a tiny girl who is working for Trainer J. cleaning her stalls and turning her horses out.  Tiny Girl can't be even 100 pounds and she's still a teenager and just barely an adult.  Ok, legally she's an adult but she's still a kid in my eyes.  Anyway, Trainer J. has all this huge paints who are quite lovely but they're big and wide (they're about the same height as Toad - 16.1 hh's but Toad is so slim and small boned she doesn't seem as intimidating).  They are also young and can be a handful.  Tiny Girl went out to the far pasture to bring them in and I guess there are two gates that aren't well latched or something and one blew open and two of the horses pushed her over and ran off.   I was in the grooming room with Girlfriend on our side of the barn and I heard a loud truck, people yelling and a strange sound of rumbling that I couldn't identify.  All the horses in our side of the barn were screaming back and forth.  Girl was visibly concerned but I kept telling her it was OK while I was finishing putting her blanket on, even though I knew something was terribly wrong or the horses wouldn't be screaming their heads off.

I took Girlfriend over to her stall and she started trying to rear so I managed to yank her down before she could, put her in her stall and she was on high alert and trying to run past me at the door.  I calmed her down, got her halter off, got her stall door shut, just in time to see two of the giant paints gallop right past the doorway of our side of the barn at full speed.  I went outside to see what was going on and Tiny Girl and her girlfriend were running past and yelled, "Trainer J.'s horse got out!" I said I would help and grabbed one of the halter's and lead rope.  The horses ran into a dead end and turned to run back past us and I started saying loudly but in a soothing way "Whoooooa ... Calm ... Calm down ... Whoa ..." and Tiny Girl raised her arms up above her head in front of them and followed suit saying, "Whooooa ... stop ..." in the same tone.  They actually slowed down and did a couple circles in front of her, then lowered their heads and walked right up to her.  I was impressed.  They totally ignored me, but once they realized they were supposed to calm down they went straight up to Tiny Girl.  I helped her take them back to their stalls and as soon as they were in their stalls with the doors shut they started rearing and circling and calling to each other.  I guess they were having trouble coming down off of being so wound up.  Tiny Girl was visibly physically shaking all over she was so shaken up by what had happened. I was glad her girlfriend was there to be supportive.  But I was having a huge mom moment feeling like I should be wrapping her in quilts and feeding her cookies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When enough is enough.

I'm having one of those difficult-mom moments with my kittens.  They are five months old and that means that in a couple months I will need to get them spayed but every time I look at them and think that I get an empathy pain in my lower regions.  I had the same viceral reaction when Willow-the-pitbull got spayed when she was five months old.  I adopted her from the Seattle Animal Shelter though so they wouldn't let me adopt her until they had her spayed.   I know I will take them in to do it but it will be uncomfortable for me I'm sure.   I don't know how my friends who have children who've had surgery can handle it.  I will get them spayed though because we have quite enough cats and if they have kittens I fear it would be hard to find homes for them.

I went to Toad's training today and was planning on riding her, but she was sore from her work yesterday.  Yesterday Trainer K. did some stretching with her and Trainer V. did some riding exercises with her to help supple her neck so she got a work out on muscles she's not used to using.  Because of the way race horses are trained and raced her muscles in the top of her neck are not as strong as the muscles in the lower neck and that is the opposite of the way it should be for good horsey posture - especially for dressage which I'm learning is a lot about their back raising and strength coming from their core in the same way it should with humans when we're active.  I tried to give Toadie a massage around the areas where she is sore, but having never learned anything about equine massage I was surprised to find out that she didn't like me doing any semi-deep work, which goes against my first instinct after only doing human massage.  My first instinct is "Wow! Such huge muscles! I can lean right in!"  But not on my super sensitive girl.

How we figured out she was sore is that Trainer K. was putting on the saddle and I was putting on her bell boots.  I walked in front of her and raised my hand to pet her on the nose and steady her from throwing her head when I'm in front of her like I always do when I pass in front of her in a tight space.  Only this time she pinned her ears back and lunged to bite me!  It was totally unlike her and my first instinct was to smack her hard in the nose.  She started to lean forward to bite at me again and I pinched her skin by her mouth and smacked her.  Then she lowered her head a little and did her little submissive chewing but it was really surprising and totally unlike her to do something like that.  So a little investigating showed that she was really sore on her right side and needed to rest her muscles for today.  Still, I wish she'd learn to tell me in a way that didn't involve trying to bite me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

And So It Ends ...

Apparently, the long-running virus Subacute Thyroiditis has finally passed.  I no longer look like I have ping pong balls in my throat and the horrible pain is gone and some of the weirder of the hyperthyroid symptoms are gone - in fact my last blood test showed that my thyroid levels had gone down to normal.  Although unfortunately they're going to go down even more for awhile to below normal now.  I am relieved but I am also feeling really cranky.  Part of it appears to be because I was starting to get used to eating constantly and still losing weight.  Carbs and breadish stuff is very comforting to me and since I have very few vices (I'd say coffee and gossip are about my only ones these days) I fall into the comfort-food trap sometimes.  I admit I don't miss the constant on-edge feeling like my adrenals were always in high gear and that weird feeling that my heart was going to beat right of my chest.  And the insomnia.

Speaking of vices, I will never give up coffee but I suppose I should give up gossip.  Yesterday I was extremely stressed out about some stuff going on in my life and I was at the stable sitting and talking to Trainer K. who was smoking a cigarette and for the first time in many, many years it actually smelled good.  I mentioned that and she said, "Oh my god! Go home now and do yoga or something!" and moved the cigarette further away from me.  I'm not going to take up smoking again because it does nothing for you, it horrible for you and I'm politically opposed to the evils that are the tobacco industry.  And for years after being pregnant the smell of cigarette smoke made me feel sick.  So, it was very bizarre that I felt like smoking yesterday except that one really can't discount what a lot of stress will make one want to do.

Everything I'm stressed about will work out as long as I keep taking the high road and doing my best but old patterns still crop up where I want to control all outcomes.  For one thing I'm stressing about the expense of owning two horses.  I'm pretty sure Girlfriend's Little Mama doesn't read this journal so I can write about this.  I emailed her mom about how I'm considering offering them a full-care lease with Girl to take some of the financial stress off me, especially because now that I'm riding Toadie I don't want poor Girl to not get the riding and attention she needs.  The stipulation of course is she *has* to stay at my barn.  I couldn't bear to not actually have her anymore.  I'm not sure though because I'm not sure I want to give up *that* much of my ownership with her.  In a full lease I would not ever get to have a day that is *my* day with her without asking her Little Mama. 

I actually did start a new part-time job but I am dubious if I will make any money at it.  My good friend is an agent in the entertainment industry and I'm attempting to be a "sales associate" for her, as in getting bookings for her clients.  It is so wildly outside of my area of expertise it is weird. I'm used to going into work and being the expert in what I'm doing and doing my work all by myself until my boss comes and asks my advice on something or asks me to explain what's going on with the finances.  With this whole sales associate thing I have no idea what I'm doing.  Today I did practice phone calls with my friend to call places and pitch her clients.  I did better than I thought but it was disorienting being so new at something and I had to admit that it's not comfortable for me to be the new girl who's making all sorts of mistakes and asking if I'm doing ok - as opposed to the business owner or expert who nobody at the office understands what I'm doing.  The highlight of the day though was when the practice phone calls started to devolve into things like my friend play-acting the potential gig: "Do you have anyone who's been on Mtv?" and me saying "What the fuck?" and my friend saying, "No really, I've been asked that before.  And "what the fuck" is not a professional response."  It is interesting though.  The only reason I am dubious is that the pay will be completely commission based and it may not end up making me a cent of money depending how awful I am at it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beware the evil dyphrahydramine

I was feeling fine until I took a Benadryl for my allergies last night and for some reason it upset my stomach and I'm still feeling kind of queasy/heartburnish this morning.  Might just be a coincidence and have nothing to do with taking the antihistamine, especially since I've taken that for years for allergies and not had that problem.  Despite that I'm laying low this morning because I feel so distracted by how bad I feel.

I just realized this morning the kittens are starting to no longer look like kittens.  They are five months old now and starting to get some cat features.  They still look like kittens sometimes, but like just now Snow was just sitting on the arm of the couch and I could definitely see some "cat" characteristics.

I see the same thing sometimes in my seven year old daughter.  Sometimes I look at her and I can see what she's going to look like as a teenager and it's really weird.  So far it looks like she's going to be a very beautiful teenager and I wonder if that's going to be a problem.  One of my friends once said she hoped her daughters wouldn't be beautiful because it's hard to be beautiful.  I actually thought it made things a lot easier - although it was hard to keep my feet on the ground and not go totally shallow, which I did for awhile.  Just like I think having natural talent and a naturally high IQ are gifts that make it easier to get through life in our society.  Of course, having things easier might be a bad thing. Oh yeah, there's that. Hmmm ...  Well, my daughter will be who she will be, I just hope she makes better decisions than I did was a teen and young adult.  I'm amazed I managed to get my life together and I don't want my daughter to walk that tenuous line like I did, I'd like her to just start off making at least semi-better decisions than I did.

Yesterday when I road Toad after training a very cool and strange thing happened.  I climbed up on her back, started to walk off with her and realized that I wasn't feeling scared at all.  I was feeling just like I did when I got up on Girlfriend or one of the horses I know pretty well from my old stable.  I wasn't holding my breath or worrying about what "this crazy horse was going to do".  Yay!  I'm finally getting over all the stuff I heard about her before I got her that made me scared to ride her.  I knew that I would start getting over that eventually because of how she acts with me and Trainer V. and Trainer K. is totally different than the stories I heard about her.  She acts like a very sweet, attentive, snuggly horse with us and although she gets a little crazy on the lunge line, she just wants to please and wants to get it right.  We didn't do very well in our ride, she still has trouble balancing at a trot to the right and without a very experienced rider like Trainer V. it's hard for her - well when I'm riding her.  So, I will need a lot of lessons and practice before we're totally working together well as a team.  Maybe by next summer she'll be ready for some Intro tests at schooling shows but we'll have to work together a lot before then.  She'd be ready for sure with Trainer V. and Trainer K. but we'll have to see with me since she's so green she really needs the support of a really accomplished rider.

I made a decision recently and let the trainers know that I wanted Trainer K. to be the lead trainer and there was some unhappy feelings about that.  Hopefully, that will blow over soon.  But since Trainer V. has been the trainer doing all the riding I have a feeling that I will have to be riding a lot more next month.  I know that will be good for me, and I'm hoping it will be good for Toad although I'm not completely sure.  I'm still looking for someone to do a partial lease with her.  It was easy to find someone for Girlfriend but not so easy for Toad.  Maybe as spring gets closer maybe a rider who doesn't have her own horse but wants to show in dressage will come around.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The World I Live In

"Sometimes I think I live [ ] in a parallel universe. That is, I know that I live in a crass and boorish culture, a culture of shock jocks and road rage, "reality" television and thong underwear, corruption and consumerism, mean porn and meaner theology.  I know all this. And still the world I move through is rich and beautiful ..."  - Kate Braestrup from Here If You Need Me

That pretty much sums up my life right now.  I am surrounded by huge trees older than my grandparents, wild animals, domestic animals (especially the four living in my house with me).  I spend my days with my friends and my neighbors and horses.  I feel like I'm surrounded by a cocoon of all my nice neighbors who come from all over the world and have all different religious and political beliefs but are still kind, wonderful friends.  I wish everyone could be as lucky as me - I seriously do.

It's good to finally live somewhere I can relax and feel at home and like I belong here.  I didn't realize until I was out of it that I never really belonged in the city and now for the life of me I can't figure out why people enjoy living in the city so much.  But I leave it as that is what they like and my not understanding is exactly like why they are baffled why I'm so happy out here.  What I'm even more baffled by is why I wanted to live in the city so much when I was a teenager and rejected everything that makes me happy - like nature and animals.  I think it is because I wanted to run away from who I was and immerse myself in a different life where I could forget about myself. 

Yesterday we had some banking business we needed to take care of at BECU, the closest one being on 2nd Ave and Pike Street - which is infamous since I was a little girl for being crack-central.  Well, I'm not sure crack was around when I was a little girl so back then I guess it was coke/heroin central? Anyway, our office is in Pioneer Square and parking is heinous downtown so I walked up there with my boss ... who is way taller than me and walks really fast.  I finally complained at one point that he needed to slow down and he grabbed my arm and said, "Come on, I'll drag you!" and started jogging for a second.  Sigh.  It was really good for me though after being sick for so long,  I need to get back in shape.

Anyway, we got to the bank and I was so thirsty I could barely think of anything else.  I asked if they had a water fountain and the banker said they had water but no cups and he sent a message to one of his co-workers asking if they had cups hidden somewhere.  After about five minutes I asked, "Have you heard anything back about the cups?" and my boss said to just go buy a bottle of water, he could handle it while I was gone.  So, I went across the street to the convenience store and bought a bottle of water.  While I was at the check-out stand I was thinking the girl behind the counter was tiny and the boy behind the counter looked very innocent and white (although huge) and I thought they looked very vulnerable for a well known corner of drug dealing and prostitutes.  I don't know - maybe it's cleaned up down there since I was there.  Just as I was thinking maybe it had cleaned up some, two gangstas came strutting in being their loud selves and making all sorts of hooting, hollering sexual comments about hot mamas and hot white chicks.  I realized after a moment they were talking about me and for a second got super embarrassed and then just shrugged it off and the big guy looked a little horrified and I said, "I haven't heard that since I was young," then added, "It's fine. They're just having fun," and left feeling like I'd just walked out of a scene from Law & Order.

It was weird though how outside of that I was.  I don't doubt that those guys are probably capable of a lot of violence and some really bad shit.  But at the same time, it wasn't affecting me - they were like caritures and I was looking at them wondering if this was a phase in their life and if they'd always be like this and what would it be like to be them?  It never felt like it had anything to do with me.  If they had meant to make me feel like I'm just piece of white meat or somehow bad, like all I'm good for is sex -  they didn't succeed because other than that moment of embarrassment when I realized I was the target of their comments, I just went back to feeling like me.  Which is a nice thing to happen after a lifetime of internalizing everything that was said to me - especially when I was a little kid and used to get bullied a lot.  I also don't think they had much intention other than thinking they were being cool and they could care less what I thought- whether my feeling were hurt or not.

I think having a place I really like living with a community I feel really secure in is the ticket to that stuff not upsetting me.  And that it's a surprise when it happens instead of a normal occurrence I have to constantly emotionally deflect.  I posted about it on Facebook and one of my friends who lives in the city just went off on how much she hates those guys and I realized I enjoy not really giving them any energy - angry or not.  It just exhausts me to be so angry which then leads me to feel helpless because I can't think of anything to do to actively get rid of obnoxious people.  I'm trying to take that stance with politics and our culture as best I can - do what I can to make things better but not let the anger at the fucked-up stuff eat me up inside when there's nothing (at the moment) I can do about it.  I imagine that makes me appear apathetic or uncaring but it actually helps me function better so when there are things I can do to make positive change I have the energy instead of feelings so burnt out from frustration and rage and feeling like I'm a victim to assholes that I don't have the energy to move.  It's part of my attempt to not *feel* like a victim even if someone wants me to be.  I'm actually learning this from my boss who has a career going up against some real powerful assholes, yet he continues to function and not get bogged down in a sense of helplessness at the sight of how big the corruption is.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Junk food

There's yet another article out about how Americans prefer to buy junk food at restaurants as opposed to healthy food.  They go on to talk about how restaurants need to have healthier options and some have - but that doesn't mean people are buying them.  That right there to me is all the evidence there needs to be to show that coming down on McDonalds or blaming them for people's health and weight problems is ridiculous.  If there were no market for junk food, junk food would not be so prevalent.  People in our country want their pop tarts, doritos, lunchables, and super-processed meat with no bones or blood showing and safely wrapped in shrink wrap so that people don't have to acknowledge it was ever a living animal.  So, when I hear about how San Francisco thinks banning toys from Happy Meals will help with the obesity problem, it just makes me want to scream.

This is my problem with my people - the bleeding heart liberals.  In a perfect world, we would care about people enough to help them in a way that actually helps them.  We wouldn't ban anything we think might be bad to protect people from themselves.  To me, that's like training a horse by making the horse subservient to you because of fear or at least having no other option.  You're not going to get a smart, educated partner who wants to please you, you're going to get a cowering wreck who eventually is going to either get so scared he rebels and hurts you, or gets an ounce of confidence somehow and rebels and hurts you just to get away from your Draconian ways.  That's where I see liberal politicians heading these days - if they make enough laws and rules then people will eventually be forced to do healthy things.  But of course, they won't make rational laws like "Everyone needs to take a thorough gun safety course to get a license to own a gun."  Nope - can't have a rational law like that because it would really piss off the conservative constituent and you might not get re-elected.  Instead make stupid laws like "No more toys in Happy Meals".

But what about families like ours?  Our daughter gets to go to McDonalds once every two weeks after her riding lesson.  It is our tradition.  And a huge part of the draw is the Happy Meal toys.  And our daughter is skinny as a rail with extremely strong little muscles.  I would be pissed if they banned Happy Meal toys because it's part of our tradition.  And when we go there she has a choice of what she wants and half the time she chooses the apples because they come with caramel sauce and she'd rather have that than fries.  I'm pretty sure she is skinny and healthy because she is only allowed sweets at dessert and then only if she eats a healthy dinner.  She's picky as all hell about what she eats but she's only presented with healthy food - fresh produce and lean meats and real cheese (not processed cheese strips) and healthy breads without a lot of preservatives.  For snacks she gets higher fiber crackers and real fruit leather (ingredients: dried fruit - nothing else).  And if she won't eat the healthy food then she just won't eat.  It's not hard.  You can get all that stuff at the grocery store and I also make stuff.  And it's not like Doritos are so inexpensive compared to multi-grain Ritz crackers.

So, I don't have any sympathy for people who claim to not have access to healthy food.  Ok, except for people on WIC and food stamps because their choices are much more limited and I've been brainstorming some way I could start a program to help change that.  But this banning Happy Meal toys shit is just that - bullshit.  Education campaigns like the one Michelle Obama is on, are all well and good, but people are just so into their crappy food they can't get out of it.  And then they pass that on to their children and set their children up for hard lives ahead in obese bodies that are no fun to live in.  I think part of the problem is the politically correct need to act like being obese is a disability and people needs special treatment for it and should get the same accamodations for it as someone with a disease they were born with.  Obesity is (most times) something that people have done to themselves the same way alcohol related illnesses are something an alcoholic does to themselves.  It does no one any good to be politically correct and say "Being obese is just fine - carry on and we'll make changes to make it easier for you to kill yourself."

I would love to see the day where companies that make crap food like Poptarts and Fritos and Pepsi started going out of business because no one wanted to consume that crap anymore.  It's not even food.  Soda is literally just carbonated chemicals - why would you put that in your body? Might as well just go smoke pack of cigarettes because it's got about as much nutritional value and does about as much good for your body.  There are foods out there that are basically the same thing - maybe a bit of ground of corn or super refined bleached out white flour, then the rest is chemicals to preserve it and high fructose corn syrup to give it sweetness without the manufacturer's expense of using real sugar.  What amazes me is that so many people have no idea that all they are eating is chemicals and it isn't giving them any nutrients.  It's filling up their stomach but not giving them any of the energy that food is supposed to give them, so they just eat more and more and never actually get that energy that actual food has - all they do is make themselves really fat and unhealthy.  If people would just realize this, it wouldn't matter what the food manufacturer's did or what restaurants sold because soon enough the ones who sell non-food to eat would go out of business.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My poor little pitbull and Girlfriend's new Little Mama

The kittens have completely overtaken poor Willow-the-pitbull's world.  I have to feed the kittens first r they will dive into Willow's food and hiss at her if she tries to eat and she is so sweet she will walk away and look sad before she'll try to push her way in to eat.  Keep in mind that Willow is almost 70 lbs and last time the kittens were weighed they each weighed less than 3 lbs.  I imagine they're about 4 lbs each by now they're growing so fast.  Snow has also taken over Willow's three favorite toys - a big pink, plush bone, a pink plush stuff dog and a little furry green frog.  Even if Snow is not playing with them Willow is afraid to pick them up because he thinks they aren't hers anymore.

In the horse world I hear that called "making yourself big".  The kittens make themselves big around Willow so that she doesn't realize the weighs about twenty times what they weigh.  It's the same with horses, they don't realize that I weigh almost ten times less than them.  I'm often amazed how much Toad listens to me even though she's so much bigger than me.  And how little the kittens listen to me.   But Toad likes for me to tell her what to do and then even more she likes it when I hug her and kiss her nose and tell her how wonderful she is.

Girlfriend has a new little mama as of today.  The girl who wanted to lease her started today and she'll be riding her three times a week.  They got along really well today although Girlfriend kept pulling her back feet away from her Little Mama because she (Little Mama) is very gentle and quiet and not aggressive at all.  I need her how to make herself a little bigger - at least so she's bigger than Girl, which is not very hard.  Girlfriend is the most gentle horse I know on the ground so she is a wonderful "first horse" for Little Mama - especially because she is only her horse for three days a week.   I had been all worried the week before because Girlfriend was so energetic but today she and Little Mama did just fine.  In fact, her mom said it looked like she was in heaven riding her. 

Initially I had suggested she could take lessons with the dressage trainers at the barn,  but now there is another trainer, Trainer J. who does Western Pleasure and whatever the heck else there is in Western riding.  Little Mama could take Western lessons too since that's what she's used to apparently and closer to what Girlfriend used to do.  Although Trainer J. says Girlfriend isn't a Western horse she's a "cow horse" which is different.  There is a whole different world of horses that I know nothing about.  Even watching her students ride I have no idea what they're doing and it looks hard to ride like that.  How can they tell the horse what to do when their reins are so long and the saddle is so thick they can't feel what the horse is doing underneath them and they can't easily put their leg on them?