Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reality Bites...

I woke up this morning and my first conscious thought was, "Oh crap, it's only Tuesday."

Score one for the Power of Positive Thinking.


My next thought was, "How long until I can leave for the barn?"

OK, moving towards the positive spectrum, in the sense that I am working towards achieving a positive goal.  Makes sense, yes?

New idea for a t-shirt: "Work, the speed bump between waking and getting to the barn."

Must get working on that.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Best Damn Show Shirt Ever!

Cute, right?
The other night after riding I was turning the horses out and realized I'd run out of fly spray. I'd thought I had more, but as per Murphy's Law, I didn't. Cue last minute dash to try and make it to the tack store before they close.  My local Dover Saddlery is often open until 8pm, so that's where I headed.  Even gave them a call to let them know I was coming and what I needed so it could be waiting and I could get out of their way by closing. (I've worked retail and know what it's like when you want to go home and someone comes in at 7:59 and you close at 8:00).

I had literally just walked in the door when Sarah Jane, one of my Dover BFFs, yelled to one of the other associates to "Get Amy that shirt!"  (Is it just me, or does everyone get attached to the folks that work at the tack shops they go to?  I swear I love and rely on mine like I did my Labor & Delivery nurses.

The girl brought over what looked like a very nice wrap collar show shirt with contrasting fabric inside the collar and cuffs.  I couldn't tell what the pattern was - it looked vaguely Vineyard Vines-y,  until Sarah held it up.  That's when I went nuts.  Wine bottles and glasses!! Red and white!!!  On navy or purple backgrounds, with matching contrast stitching.  AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  What a perfect blend of  two of my favorite things, horses and wine!!!  Honestly, I think I may have been jumping up and down with excitement.  Or doing the pee pee dance. At my age it's a toss-up.

Seriously, how perfect are these shirts???


They are part of the Essex Classics Talent Yarn collection, and are made of high-tech fabric with mesh panels for ventilation and contrasting stitching for a subtle pop of color. They have anti-bacterial and deodorant magic to help you avoid show-stink, and UV sun protection.  Even better, they come with Scotchgard stain resistance - less slobber stains, yay! They also have collar snap repositioning. I have no idea what that even is.  Kinda like when you're buying a car and you don't know half the stuff the salesperson is telling you it has, let alone if you'd ever have a need for any of it.

The shirts are fitted, so keep that in mind if you choose to order.  If you like a looser fit, you'll probably want to order up a size.  At $129 they're a bit of an investment, but if you're addicted to horses and wine, there really couldn't be a more perfect show shirt. 

I'm not showing at the moment, so I don't really need one.  Other than the fact that I neeeeed one because, really, they're perfect. 

Conundrum.  Maybe I can wear it to work...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shades of Dances with Wolves...

Kissy-face with Cantissimo
OK, I couldn't think of a better headline than that.  I suck at stuff like that.  I may be in Publishing, but I'm lucky to have editors that come up with the catchy phrases.

Moving on....If you're older than 30 you may remember a Kevin Costner movie called Dances With Wolves.  Costner plays a Civil War hero that is sent to a remote Western outpost with nothing more than his horse for company.  (After seeing the movie, 90% of the female population would have given their right ovary for the privilege of accompanying him, civilization and creature comforts be damned). While he's working to rebuild the abandoned fort he becomes somewhat of a curiosity to a local wolf, and Costner, devoid of companionship, begins to develop a relationship with the animal.

A local tribe of Lakota Sioux on a buffalo hunt spot Costner interacting with the wolf and are intrigued by the lone soldier.  Knowing that one soldier inevitably means more, they try to befriend Costner to find out what the US Army plans, and by the way, had he seen any buffalo recently? Costner becomes a friend to the tribe and they give him a Lakota name, "Dances With Wolves." Much to the chagrin of the female movie watching public, Costner's character then falls in love with a white woman taken by the Lakota as a child, called Stands With a Fist.

Sorry for the lengthy babble, you know how I tend to blather on. Anyway, one of the things that become popular at that time was trying to come up with a Native American for yourself.  You know, 'cause what the hell, right?  We take Buzzfeed quizzes to find out what Disney character we would be, why not try to figure out what our Native American name would be?

What made me think of this was the other night when I was at the barn with friends I was loving on a new horse who had just arrived. He kept putting his nose up to mine and I would kiss it every time he did.  My friend laughed and told me to stop making out with the horse. That reminded me that several other folks have made comments like that over the years,  that made me flash back to the whole Native American name thing.

Mine would be "Makes Out With Horses."

Bumping muzzles with Junior

Smoochies with Moochie

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jesus Take The Wheel: Adventures In Learning to Trailer (Part Two)

Practice makes perfect.
In a previous post I shared that I'd bought a trailer and was learning to drive it, and was relying on the help of friends to help get me road-ready.  The second time I took the trailer out I asked Dad to help, as he had lots of experience trailering boats and motorcycles and other stuff.  Plus the man had once taught me how to drive a car, so this seemed like a logical idea. We'd already been there, done that, so to speak. Clearly I'd forgotten how some of those early driving lessons had played out. More on that later...

My parents live across from a church. So I figured I'd drive out there on a Saturday afternoon, get some more highway experience on the way over, and then Dad and I could practice backing up and three-point turns in the empty church parking lot.  You know, since there was a lot of room to maneuver and all that.  I don't mind sharing that I was hoping for a little heavenly guidance as well. Jesus take the wheel in the literal sense and all that.

Saturday morning Dad called and told me he was worried about me negotiating the turn at the bottom of the highway's off ramp.  "Ummm, okaaaaaaayyy," I said, thinking I'd practiced a few the week before and it was a simple stop at the light at the bottom of the ramp and go left after you get three-quarters of the way through the intersection kind of thing.  "I think I should come to the barn and drive back with you," Dad told me.   Here's the thing: My Dad is the wonderful kind of person who lives to help people.  He loves to feel like he's been instrumental in making someone's day better. What am I going to do, say no to making my Dad happy?  Nuh-uh.  "Sure Dad, Noah and I will get the trailer hooked up and be ready to leave when you get here."

He called me from the road 15 minutes later. "I spoke with Father Chester," he told me. "He says it's fine that we use the church parking lot and he wishes you good luck and God bless."  Well, alrighty then. Not only did we have a special dispensation and a blessing from a priest,  we were going to be in God's parking lot.  I'm thinking that in terms of good mojo it doesn't get much better than that.  Confidence was high.

Trailering over from the barn went well.  Dad was a font of helpful advice and info such as what to watch out for when stuck next to a tractor trailer, what trailer behaviors/sounds were normal, and how certain things would feel once the trailer was loaded.  That all changed when we got to the church and started working on backing up.  It was then that I remembered something about learning to drive with Dad. He tells you what to do, and if you don't/can't do it he loses patience quickly. (I started flashing back to the catastrophe that was him teaching me to do hill starts in my Mom's manual Jetta.  It took years of therapy to get over that.)

It was 85 degrees and even hotter on the blacktop.  Noah, Dad, and I were all sweating like hookers in church. I had to pee, and Dad was yelling at me, "You gotta get the feel! You gotta feel the wheel!" In all honesty, I couldn't get mad at him.  It was hot as hell and he'd had open heart surgery 4 months prior. But I can't concentrate for shit when I have to pee, nevermind when I have to pee and someone is yelling at me.  I made an executive decision to take a brief break. I jumped out of the truck, told Dad to sit in it with the AC on while I ran across to their house to go to the bathroom. When I was done using the facilities I grabbed one of my parent's jumbo travel mugs and filled it with his favorite summertime adult beverage, apple cider and vodka, and brought it back to him. 

Confused Labrador face
While Dad happily worked on hydration, I asked him to take on a supervisory role while Noah gave me instructions.  The Boy actually understands the whole backing up thing and can explain it pretty well, so I figured we had nothing to lose.   I was ready to start again when Noah came up to me and said, "You understand how this process works, right?  It's basically a pivot.  The hitch ball is the fulcrum, or central point in the rotational system."  Bless his heart, he actually pulled out a piece of paper from the glove box and began drawing a truck and trailer on it. I took this all in with a blank look on my face.  You know the one, looks kinda like a confused Labrador? That was what I looked like. "Sweetie, that's great," I said,  "Here's the thing, though. Right now Mom doesn't need a physics lesson, Mom needs to know which way to turn the damn wheel."

So we persisted. Dad was initially a bit put out about being replaced as Advisor in Chief but Noah buttered him up by very strategically  "consulting" Dad before giving me advice.  Plus Dad had his libation, which certainly helped make taking a managerial role more palatable.  I'm not going to lie and say I did well. There were a lot of failed attempts, a lot of backing and straightening and backing and straightening some more. There was a lot of cussing and several appeals to my Higher Power for assistance. (None was forthcoming).  Several times I got so creative with my language I half expected to be struck by lightning, especially given the fact that this was God's parking lot.  (That may have been why the aforementioned assistance was not forthcoming).

I was finally able to manage a smooth 3-point turn and we decided to quit on that high note. Noah and I took the trailer back to the barn and then headed home, where we met my parents and I made a nice dinner to thank Dad for his assistance.

I've since practiced trailering several more times, taking longer and longer trips on back roads, state routes and interstates.  I've driven over to the local horse park,  practicing backing and three-point turns between the large farm equipment parked there. (That might be worthy of a post. I haven't decided yet).  The kids keep me company, and we're having fun with the whole experience.  Pretty soon I think I'll be ready to actually haul a live animal. I'm thinking maybe a guinea pig or something small.  You know, baby steps and all that.