On Saturday my daughter wanted to got a craft store to buy some supplies to set up a party for her American Girl Doll who turned two yesterday. I mentioned to a neighbor we were going to Michael's and she said "Oh no, go to Hobby Lobby - it's insane!" So, after looking it up online we went there instead. And yes, it is insane in more ways than one. In a good way because it's huge and not very expensive and has just about everything and the staff were really helpful and friendly and nice (which lately at least here in the "Greater Seattle Area" is rare in customer service). The other way was just surreal because on their website they are waaaaaaaay fundie Christian. Like white skinned/blue-eyed Texas Jesus fundie. Before I gave them my business though I did peruse their website for anything offensive like homophobia or racism but didn't find anything. Mostly it was the nice stuff from Christianity - you know, the stuff Jesus *actually* said, not the hate that some angry, messed up humans later added in and tried to push in Jesus's name (see - this is where the "don't take the Lord's name in vain" comes into play - so many nasty, mean people who preach hate hide behind the label of Christianity by saying "God said it" and that is what I think that commandment means - not the whole "don't say "Oh God!" when you're surprised crap). Anyhoo ...
My daughter found all the supplies she needed and we added the bonus of little bottles and colored sand to make sand bottles (which she came home and spent the all afternoon doing). And I found wax and candle molds for making candles which I've decided after the first batch actually turned out, is my new hobby. Only I'm going to make aromatherapy candles instead of just plain candles. Which is going to be interesting because the only "scents" you can find at the cheap easily accessible places seem to be food scents for candles. Hmmm ... if I wanted food scents I'd bake my own cinnamon rolls and apple pie, thanks. Anyway, that's my newest thing I'm adding to my massage practice is selling aromatherapy candles on the side. Yep. I'm this side of woo-woo, it's true.
Speaking of massage therapy I finally finished my continuing education (no thanks to Brian Utting's class - it was a fabulous class but when I emailed asking if I would get credit for the hours I was there before I got food poisoning and had to leave early neither he nor his assistant ever emailed me back even to say no ... lovely ...) Anyway, so I went ahead and took a different class in aromatherapy and got my hours but it was not the class I'd hoped it would be. It was all woo-woo stuff about easing the soul and clearing the aura. All well and good but it's not what I'm into. I was hoping for something that talked about neurological reactions from olfactory experiences. Regardless, I slogged through the class and now know way more about how to ease a troubled soul with Bergomot and Ylang Ylang than I ever wanted to. And the biggest part is my application for reinstating my license got dropped into the mailbox yesterday all completed and signed and ready to go! Squeee! Now I just have to re-take the licensing exam. Yikes.
Yesterday I volunteered to scribe at a dressage show which is always fun. Apparently, the Humira is working better than I realized because my hand was doing really well after my four hour shift. In fact I was having so much fun that I would've happily done a couple more hours before my hand gave out. Maybe I was abbreviating more but I don't think that was so much that it made a difference. Last year around 3.5 hours my hand would be really achy but this year it felt ok which was really nice! I was having so much fun hanging out with the judge and watching the kid riders. I wanted to stay and watch the adult riders but I'd been there all morning and figured I should get stuff done at home.
There were two riders who were doing Western Dressage. I'd like to keep an open mind but honestly, why? I told the judge it reminded me of this religion that always baffled me called Jews for Jesus which seemed based completely on an oxymoron (afterall if you actually learn about religion you'll see that Christians are Jews who believe Jesus was the messiah and Jews just don't believe Jesus was the messiah - well and Jews know the Old Testament is the Torah and study it intensely whereas many Christians don't know that and take it literally and claim Jews are a heretic religion ... sigh). Anyway ... once again, when I made that comment and immediately thought "ooops - too loaded for the judge's box!) thankfully the judge chuckled. Schooling shows are not as hardcore about etiquette as the high level shows which makes them even more fun. Anyway, we had two Western Dressage riders in the morning and I couldn't really figure out how it had anything to do with Dressage except it was Western riding accepted by the USDF. The first rider was either a very old teen or a young adult and riding a beautiful Mustang who he claimed was super green and spooky, but the one who was super green and spooky appeared to be the rider because he was freaking out about everything and leaning way forward and scared to take up the reins and refused to do anything but walk the whole test (except when he stopped on the rail to chat with his multitude of friends who were lining the rail). So that set us back time wise quite a bit. But then a little girl (I asked someone how old she as and she's 11) came out on her beautiful little pony with her perfect posture and a beautiful Western shirt and shining silver buckle and rode a very good test (supposedly since I had no idea what I was looking at and the judges are all doing their best with a brand new discipline). Her horse had nice form and was happy and relaxed and in all she was a very good spokeskid for the new discipline.
The judge explained a little what she understood Western Dressage to be and what we came to was that it's hopefully a positive thing because it will bring more of the classical ideas of "training for the good of the horse" and use of proper impulsion and training the horse to build up proper strength instead of just forcing them into position with mechanical tools - hopefully it will bring that more into the Western disciplines. Of course, it would be nice if some dumbass *Dressage* trainers would actually train like that. Grumble.
Speaking of dumbass Dressage trainers, when I was having lunch with the other volunteers (my shift was over but hey! free food and I was having fun hanging out with them) I was telling one woman about Maiden and the trainer that screwed her up by forcing into doing piaffe and passage when she didn't even have the core or back strength the trot or canter properly. Sure enough, the other volunteer burst out with "Was his name -----" and I said "Yes! How did you know?" and she said, "He is infamous for ruining horses. I can't believe he's still in business!" Then it turned out she had a restraining order against him on top of things. Wow. It makes me sad that I know of two really horrible Dressage trainers just in this area alone who mess horses up yet have these huge egos and bring in people who don't know any better. One is that guy who messed up Maiden and the other is the crazy-ass-bitch (or whatever my nickname was for her) that I worked for for one unfortunate day. Well, then there's the one at the barn I interviewed at but decided against working at because the trainer was such an enormous train wreck and everyone worshiped her because she'd studied with a trainer for the Olympic Team. Duh, people! That just means her parents have money - it doesn't mean she's a good rider. If you watch her ride she is not a good rider. Aaaaaaagh!
There was one rider in the show that was being very cruel to her horse during the test and she got many comments from the judge to that effect on her score sheet. We were apparently this close to the judge ringing the bell and disqualifying her. The judge showed enormous restraint and when the runner came to pick up the score sheets that were done I told her the judge was being very professional and I had to keep my mouth shut because my comments all included far too much profanity. That would be the hardest part about being a judge. It's fun to listen to her comments on the good riders or the riders who are trying hard but at these open, public schooling shows you get anyone who wants entering and inevitably every time there will be some dingbat out there whipping their horse, or using crazy, nasty bits and such that are borderline abusive. The same horse had a kimberwick bit (I have to look up what that is) which is considered abusive by the USDF but they don't have rules about them for schooling shows. But the first girl that rode with the bit had really quiet hands so it wasn't a problem for the horse. Later in the show the trainer of the girls rode and had two whips (which I'd never seen before and is also not allowed in higher level shows apparently) and was such a trainwreck that at one point we were sure she was going to fall off at a walk. Urgh. So, seeing that stuff is frustrating because there's nothing you can do about it. You can't go tell the kids, "Your trainer is horrible - go somewhere else!" and you can't just take the horses away from them. It's much like volunteering at my daughter's school and running across those kids whose parents are so heinously messed up but aren't doing anything illegal - just really heavily messing up their kids. This is why I'm not aspiring to be a school teacher or a Dressage judge. Well, the latter takes so long to learn I'm not sure I have enough time left in my life to learn it!