Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My new toy!

I decided that I needed a new camera. Sort of like I needed those Steve Madden platform, peep toe, white patent leather 4" heels. Though I did get them on a clearance rack.

Ok, ok...maybe it was more want then need. But I wanted a new camera in a bad, bad way. I wasn't lucky enough to find the camera on a clearance rack, but I don't regret a penny that I spent on it. I've already gotten hours of entertainment out of it, which is more then I can say for the heels.

This is my new camera... I think it's kind of hot. For a camera. It's the Nikon Coolpix P80. It's got 18x optical zoom. That's going to be fun! It's got lots more dials and buttons and settings to screw with then my last camera. Don't get me wrong, I still love my old camera and it'll probably still get carted every where with me just because it's small and fits conveniently in my purse, but this new camera makes me drool.

There were quite a few reasons that I chose this particular camera. One, after my other camera, I love Nikon's. They are great and this one still felt very familiar to me even with all the cool new options. Two, PW, or rather one of PW's contributors Ivoryhut, inspired me with what can be done with an advanced point and shoot. Hers is a Canon, but this Nikon is basically the equivalent and I'm biased. I also think it's a great way to dip my toes into the great sea of photography without spending too much money or being overwhelmed. I really think playing with this camera will help me learn all about aperture, shutter speeds, exposure and all that other crap and then I can see if I want to spend the dough to step up into an SLR. I think this one should keep me busy for a little while atleast.

I've already taken almost 300 pictures just screwing around. Since the Christmas tree is the most interesting thing in my house at the moment (and I'm still having fun with macro) that is what you get.

And just in case you're curious (and because I need something other then the Christmas tree to take pics of)(and because they are very cute and fun but hell to wear, so I need to show them off some how) here is a pic of the heels...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

Far, far away!


I don't know which is worse, rain or snow. Snow is atleast pretty and mostly dry while it's freezing a$$ cold out. Though it does totally suck to drive in and being house bound for any length of time is not so much fun. But rain this time of year is just miserable. Especially rain and wind! It's cold and wet and wet and cold. And ugly and gray. And wet. Oh, and it's cold too. It makes driving oh so fun in it's own way, but atleast it's not completely debilitating to my commute like snow can be. I am very glad that it's alteast a few degrees above freezing and I was thrilled when I woke up to most of the snow melted a couple days ago! It's pretty and fun to look at for a couple days, but I was really over it. I was also very happy to be able to go out and feed the horses without having to take 10 minutes just to get bundled up enough that I'd be able to feel most of my extremeties when I got back in. Cutting out a good 20 minutes of busting up ice in water troughs was nice too. Not that I did much of that. I did stand there and hold the flashlight for the boyfriend while he did it though.

Now that all the snow has melted and it's supposed to pretty much pour for as many days as the weather forecast shows, I'm not looking forward to the state of my ponies' paddocks. Or my mental health. Does anyone else have just a touch of cabin fever? Wow. I had 5 days off in a row because of Christmas and even with all of the hustle and bustle of celebrating I still got some major cabin fever. I was pretty well fried by the fifth morning. I do enjoy relaxing and being a lazy bum for a little bit, don't get me wrong. But I think it's part of that whole "you always want what you can't have" thing. The weather was keeping me inside, since I'm a total weenie, and I wanted more then anything to be able to be outside and get some sun. Thankfully, the weather changed a bit yesterday so I was able to get a little fresh air. It was only for a few minutes, but it made a huge difference. The sun even peeked out for a bit! Back to gray and rainy today though. I have caught a couple glimpses of blue sky, but it never lasts very long. It should be an interesting couple of weeks.

Our poor horses are already looking like drowned rats. Makes me feel really bad for not getting them some sort of shelter other then big blankets and trees to hide under. Hopefully they forgive us. Summer goal this year: finish the barn!!!

Which brings me to a bright spot in all of this...we are past the shortest day of the year! It's only going to get better from here on out! Atleast for about 6 months. That is such a huge relief! We're on the down hill slide into summer! Wohoo!!! I'm ready! I can't wait for summer to get here!

ps - I got a super snazzy new camera over the weekend. I'm sure pictures galore will be here shortly! Well, maybe once the weather clears up...there aren't so many interesting things to take pictures of in the house. And while it does have a lot of zoom, I'm still on my macro kick and taking pictures of things outside from inside just isn't all that much fun.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I can't decide if I like the snow or not. Generally I'm a big fan of it. It's very pretty and, if I decide to not be a complete weenie, it can be really fun to go out and play in. I do love a good snow ball fight or sledding adventure every once in a while.

The last couple years though, I've been perfectly content to sit inside and more or less ignore it while I hibernate. Now that I am older, snow can be very annoying. At our old house, traffic was hell if it snowed. I was expecting more of the same, or maybe worse since my commute is twice as long now, but was pleasantly surprised by how light traffic was on Wednesday, the first morning waking up to snow. I made it in to work in almost record time. It's times like these that I'm very thankful for my truck and definately not willing to part with it, even though it's hardly practical to drive a 3/4 ton lifted truck for my 60 mile round trip commute. My truck is heavy with good tires and four wheel drive. Even when I try to "test the roads" to see just how bad they really are, my truck hardly goes any where. I've never had a single problem with it in the snow (finding wood to knock on now).

Last year, when the highway that used to get me to and from work was a big sheet of ice and there were cars slipping and sliding all over the place, hitting curbs, going in ditches, stopping at lights and not able to get going again, I just put 'er in four wheel drive and wound my way thru the carnage so I could get back home. I did feel a little guilty for just going around the little old people in their Cadillac trying to make a turn on a slight incline with tires spinning, but what was I going to do?

Anyways, traffic and trying to get to work just plain sucks when it's snowing. Surprisingly, my new commute isn't as crazy bad as my old commute and I've managed to make it in in one piece, in decent time with only minor irritations both mornings that I've tried, but it still puts a damper on my enjoyment of the fluffy white stuff. I want to like it, I really do. I try to be happy when it's in the forecast and enjoy it while I can, but it's hard when I'm anticipating the hell on earth that is commuting in the snow.

I decided to call yesterday a snow day, mostly because I really was a little sick, so I did get a chance to enjoy it some. I ran outside to take some pictures during a break in the snow where the sun actually peaked out a bit. The ponies aren't so happy about the snow and were happy to come say hi to me for a minute. Cheyanne got to go out and play in the snow for a bit and I think she had fun, though she did seem a little hesitant to really get out in it much. I think she was perfectly content in the house for most of the day. She followed me around while I was out there, but most of the rest of the time she was out there I think she just hung around on the porch under cover.

Later in the afternoon the boyfriend got a little stir crazy and decided we needed to go for a drive. We had planned to get a little Christmas shopping done, but once we headed out it started snowing like crazy and it looked like everyone was trying to beat it home because there was traffic every where. We gave up on the Christmas shopping idea pretty quickly and decided to just make a little loop that would normally have taken us maybe 45 minutes. It ended up taking us 3 1/2 hours. Roads were being closed, cars were going in ditches and sliding back down hills or pulling off to chain up before going up hills. It was bad. Finally, after a tour of almost every single back road in existence between home and "town" we made it back home where 2-3 inches of new snow greeted us. Sheesh! Talk about bad timing.

I'm planning to enjoy the snow this weekend. I really want to. We still have a little bit of Christmas shopping to do, but it should be fairly easy. Hopefully I can have a little fun with the snow while it's here!

Monday, December 15, 2008

O' Christmas tree

We got our Christmas tree this weekend! Yay! I love Christmas trees! I love real Christmas trees! It's just not Christmas for me if there isn't the smell of a fir tree filling the house.

Could someone please explain to me why it is that they always seem to grow 3 feet on the ride home? It's the most peculiar phenomenon. We had planned to go with a nice, conservative 5'-6' noble, but came home with this 7'+ monster instead. I swear it didn't look that big on the lot! We couldn't even put it in front of our bay window, like we had planned. It hit the ceiling. So we had to move it over to Plan B, in the corner under the peak of the roof.

I decided to try something a little different this year with the tree. For some reason I've been feeling really country lately. I don't know if it's this house or living in the boonies or how involved I've been with horses lately or what, but my house, atleast the main living area, is going to be country. I've got all these big, very country plans for the living room, including a cow hide rug and pillows. And a horse shoe mural/collage on the wall. Not sure when all of that will happen, but I've got the mental pictures ready whenever it does!

Anyways, back to the tree... This year I wanted to do something a bit more country with earthy colors, rusty stars, horses and cowboy boots. I was really, really excited to find these stars at the craft store. They were exactly what I had been looking for. Then I went to Fred Meyers and got a $1.99 roll of twine and used that for garland and I think the tree turned out pretty darn cute!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

She's lucky she's cute!

My dog is nuts. My dog drives me nuts sometimes. But, she's cute enough to get away with just about anything. The brat.

We finally broke down and decided to give her an actual dog bed in her pen during the day, not just the old saddle blankets that she had been sleeping on. She was good for a couple days. Then she slaughtered the thing. I got it all stuffed back in the case, figuring it shouldn't be too hard to sew up since it was just the zipper she killed to get into it. I set it aside in our sunroom to deal with later.

The "sunroom" is a nice little room with tile floors and lots of windows that we have made Cheyanne's room. It's definately come in handy since the weather has turned. It's a nice place to put her while she dries off from being outside, usually playing in the mud, before she comes in to the carpeted part of the house.
I was gone for the evening and the boyfriend forgot about the ripped open bed sitting in the corner and put her in the sunroom. This is the mess I came home to. She had completely gutted the thing and spread it every where! Man, she must have been having a blast!

I had to laugh at it. Really, what else can you do?!? And then I had to take pictures of it. It was just too funny! I was amazed at the piles and piles of stuffing and shavings that came out of that bed!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The kitchen...again

I found a theme for my kitchen! It doesn't quite incorporate everything that I wanted it to, but a towel and potholder that I've had for 5 years or so is a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. Plus there isn't any rule that says I can't use the towel and pot holder, I'm just a bit particular about details like that.

The new theme is coc...I mean...Roosters! I found this great pattern at Macy's and got a STEAL of a deal on them to boot! (I have mentioned that I like bargains, right?)

I was on a mission to get a new platter and serving bowl(s) before Thanksgiving since the ones that I got last year were cheap pieces of poop. The platter shattered while being hand washed after dinner and the bowl cracked in the dishwasher (yes, it was marked as dishwasher safe!) I wasn't too upset since I didn't like them all that much to begin with, but it was still irritating.

I also wanted something to hang on my walls, so that maybe I could feel like my kitchen was really finished. I was thinking of decorative plates, but hadn't found any that I really liked.

So after much hunting and fretting, I came across this set, "Ricamo" by Fitz and Floyd. It had the same yellow as my mixer. It isn't the main yellow, but there is enough of it to tie in nicely. It also ties in all of the blue that I have in my kitchen, as well as the wire rooster that I already had. It's modern, but a bit country.

The best part...it totally POPS on my wall and makes the white-ish walls not so blah! I am still considering painting the wall with the door yellow though. I just think it would be fun. To have it yellow that is, not the painting part so much.

So I'm getting closer to being completely sassified with my kitchen. Still not 100% there, but 99.7% ain't bad! :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A funny!

”Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.
So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.”

Author unknown

I just had to share. My boss sent this to me. I received it as I was on the phone with a customer waiting for him to shuffle thru some papers so I skimmed over it. I had to put the phone down for a little bit while I composed myself.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I did it!

I just have to take a moment to pat myself on the back. Drum roll please....I loped Mister last night! Wohoo!

I know. It's a small feat. One that I accomplish regulary on a number of other horses. But Mister is special. You see, he's been known to buck. The first time he bucked the boyfriend off, was the first time he asked him to lope. He bucked regularly on the trainer at the lope. He's tried bucking once with me a year and a half ago, also at the lope. He's had 9 months off and this was really only my second ride on him. And when I say buck, I don't mean the little crow hops or a nice little buck. I mean, bit in teeth, head between his legs, full on bronc bucking. This guy is an athletic SOB and he can buck. Luckily the one time he tried with me, I felt it coming and was able to get him pulled around before he could get more then half a jump into it. Last night, he was an angel. Other then trying to spiral in to visit his buddies standing in the center and he did swish his tail once or twice while I was asking for the lope, but that was it. He was great! It was a huge deal for me. Way bigger then it should have been. I was ecstatic! And shaking like a leaf when I was finished. Not from excitement.

Now I'm just hoping he keeps doing as well as he did last night! Fingers crossed. And toes. And anything else I can cross!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sneaky little bugger!

Every single year, as much as I try and plan to not be caught off guard, Christmas and the holiday season seems to sneak up on me. I'm not sure how they always manage to do that. It's not like I don't see them coming. You'd think that stores getting their Christmas decorations up in August and September might get the pressure started. Or maybe Black Friday. But no. Here I am, two weeks away from Christmas, no cards sent and still the bulk of my shopping to go.

This year especially, I had the best of intentions. I actually bought my first Christmas present in August. I had atleast a little something for everyone on my list by October. I had planned to pay cash for everything and spread the shopping out over a few months so that I could do that. I hate credit cards. Ok, so maybe hate is too strong of a word, I do like the instant gratification of just charging it instead of waiting to have cash, but making those payments every month is very annoying. That money could be going in savings for our fence or barn or arena or tack room. Instead of paying on credit cards that I hardly remember what the charges were for. But here we are, December 9th already (holy crap!) and I've only got one person on my list done. That was the gift I bought in August and the other part is a requested re-gift, so I'm not sure it even counts.

I don't even have my Christmas decorations up yet. I'm such a slacker! I did manage to get them down from storage last week, but they've been parked in the dungeon (our extra bedroom that we never use and has turned into the "catch all" room for all the crap I don't want to deal with) since then. I suppose I do have excuses. Plenty of excuses. Though none of them are great and they don't help the fact that Christmas is getting close and I still have a ton to do. I have had some big projects that were actually productive that cut into my Chritmas prep time: I painted my kitchen, I hosted Thanksgiving, I've been riding my horse and had a couple shows. I know the main thing that has disctracted me from absolutely everything has been Twilight, but I love it too much to use that as an excuse. Plus, it's not a great excuse. It just shows that I have no self control and really screwed up priorities. And I'm ok with that.

I need to find my Christmas cd's (packed away in some random box when we moved that I figured I'd for sure have unpacked by the time Christmas rolled around, hahaha) and really get going on the Christmas spirit! I did get everything that I need to make fudge and my favorite Christmas cookies last weekend, but I ended up spending most of the weekend reading instead. D'oh!

I'm hoping to get in the Christmas spirit at some point this week. I'm looking forward to a really great date night with some friends tomorrow night that includes a Christmas craft project so I'm hoping that'll get it started! Then I can sail into the weekend humming Christmas tunes and get my decorating, shopping, cards and tree all done and some baking started! A girl can dream, right?

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Do you ever just feel like you've got to have an attention deficit disorder? I've felt that way lately for a few different reasons. The first being Twilight. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, I cannot keep focused for too long before something Twilight pops into my head. It got a little better for a while after I'd finished reading the series and taken a week or so "off" from them. But then I started re-reading them and I'm almost right back where I started.

The other main thing that I cannot seem to focus on is my horse. This one is really bothering me. I guess it's not so much my horse, but my discipline with my horse. When I first started riding I mostly just rode around the pasture, set up jumps or obstacle courses, rode "around the block" with friends, etc. Just pleasure riding, some trails, even swimming a couple times, just time on my horse. During the summer it was all day every day on my horse, running around with my best friend and her horse, being crazy kids and somehow surviving. Then I showed 4-H for 5 years. I only showed performance, but rode every seat at some point: stockseat, huntseat, bareback, even saddleseat at one show. We did both pleasure and equitation classes, though we always did better in equitation since I didn't know how to train my own horse and couldn't bring myself to ride in an arena with any sort of regularity. Racing down gravel roads and across fields with friends just didn't get you in the ribbons in a pleasure class.

After I was done with 4-H and had sold my "show horse" (hahahaha) I took some time off. My mom still had her old mare that I rode occasionally, but nothing more then a lap around the block. Eventually, we had to put her down and I went a whole 2-3 years without any horses at all. Then somehow I ended up buying a 3 year old pinto Arab. She was halter broke, that was about it. Now, looking back, I wonder what the hell I was thinking, though I don't regret it one bit. I had planned to show performance again, Arab and Pinto shows. I had never started a horse before though. I had no idea what I was doing, but knew where I wanted to get her. I did what I could with her until she bucked me off and put me flat on my back for 3 days thinking I had broken my hip. After that I wanted to work with someone, a trainer. I found one that I liked at a barn that wasn't too far away and off we went. We learned a lot there. The trainer had fun working with Fancy, my Arab, and I had fun playing musical horses and learning how to ride all of them. When I felt comfortable with her again, I brought her back home and went to work.

Some time around there I made friends with another really horsey person. She had a truck and trailer and was willing to haul my sorry butt all over the place. We trail rode a lot. My little arena princess green Arab got lots of trail miles. We went to the ocean, we went camping in the woods, we did prize rides. I swung a rope a little bit and I got to go penning a few times, which was a blast. Slowly but surely, the thought of showing in pleasure classes lost it's appeal. Why in the world would I want to do that? Spend all that money, deal with all the politics, etc. etc. just to lose and feel inferior because I couldn't afford the lessons, the big name trainer, the saddles with all the silver, the chaps that were perfectly matched to my stylish new shirt or the $400 romel reins.

Along the way I managed to get a good job and my own truck and trailer. Then my very horsey friend sold a horse to a local lady who rode on a drill team that was just starting up and she convinced us to come give it a try. She is also now my future mother-in-law, but that's a story for another time. We tried out the drill team and we were hooked. This will be my 5th year drilling. In the past few years, drill has been my main discipline with the horses. It's also gotten me my competitive fix.

During all of this I ended up meeting my boyfriend, finding Midori and selling Fancy. The boyfriend also rides, but until the last year or so, we really only did trail riding and some time in the arena together.

So, back to my A.D.D. I feel like I'm at a pivotal moment with my riding and I'm not really sure which direction I want to go. Part of me really likes that my horse is fairly well broke so I can do just about anything on her. I like that we're versatile. I like that we can go from a reining pattern to cutting a cow to the drill team to a trail ride and not embarrass ourselves. Too much anyways. I like that I can trust her to listen to me and, as long as I understand what is needed, we'll do alright. The other part of me would like to pick something to be really competitive in. As much as I try to be humble, I like winning. Seriously, who doesn't?! I would love to "specialize" in something, really focus and get good and go some where with it. I would love to actually make money with my horse! I kick myself when I think back to my 4-H days and think about how good I could have been if I'd just been able to focus and do a little arena work. I placed pretty darn good considering the time I put into my horse. I could have kicked some major booty if I'd actually been a little dedicated. I feel like I want to make up for that now and pick something that I can go far in, get into the big competitions and do well.

Part of my issue with "specializing" is that I don't know what I want to do. I love drill and it has treated me well the last few years, but there are so many variables that I have no control over it's hard for me to feel like I'm really getting my competitive fix out of it. I know I'm putting my time and energy into it, I'm riding my horse and making sure we are ready, but it is frustrating when other people don't. And there is always someone who doesn't. I'm just not really sure that drill is my calling right now, but I love it and don't really want to give it up yet either. The main problem is, it's time consuming and not something I can do half-assed since there are other people counting on me. While that can be good, it is also hard when I want to do something else "on the side". It's a lot to work around.

I have been doing a small reining series as a beginner and I would love to go further with reining. It is an amazing sport. I literally drool over the "real" reining horses. They are the most amazing athletes. The sliding stops, the spins, the loose rein and perfect collection, the fluid almost invisible lead changes. Wow. Just wow. So I've been asking around about trainers. There is apparently no one in this area. Well, that's not true. There is one person that is very close, but too busy for someone like me. And another guy a little further away who, after watching for a while, I would not let touch my horse or tell me what to do for a second. While I am almost desperate, I do still have some standards. The complete lack of trainers in the area is very discouraging. I need help if I'm going to do reining. I have some major holes that I need to go back and correct and I cannot do it on my own.

Over the summer I started on cutting. I had the oppurtunity to practice on buffalo once a week also. This was fun! I had a blast at the shows and have every intention of doing the whole series in '09. It is thrilling. Again, I literally drool over the pro horses. I think riding one of those horses might be better then sex. I feel like I have a few more oppurtunites in this area. I know of a couple decent trainers that aren't very far away and it's the kind of thing I feel like I could get something accomplished practicing on my own.

Then the boyfriend went to a sorting clinic and I went to watch for a few hours at the last sorting competition. That looks like tons o' fun too. I think we could do well at sorting as we are right now, I just need to understand it better. Atleast it would be fun to do, even if we're screwing up.

I also have an english saddle that calls my name every once in a while. I would love to learn to jump and do dressage also. I wouldn't mind throwing a rope a few more times. Or penning again. There is just so much that I want to do! I would love to just go do everything. But is it fair to my horse? Is variety the spice of life for horses to? Or would they prefer to have one discipline to learn and perform? Is it confusing for them (which, in turn, would be frustrating to me) to go from one thing to another? Or do they get bored as easily as I do? The other part of that is drill. Am I willing to quit drill to persue other events? Or if I don't quit, am I willing to sacrifice those other events because of my commitment to drill?

That is why I feel like I'm A.D.D. sometimes. I can't decide on what I want to stick with or if I want to do it all. Not that I'm complaining at all because I always feel very blessed just to have a horse and be able to do anything with her, let alone have the "problem" of trying to decide what to do.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Who is this person?!?

I'm really beginning to wonder who this strange person is who has taken over my body in regards to the Twilight Saga. This person seems to have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. She likes to completely ignore all responsibilities, house cleaning, hungry animals and boyfriends and bodily functions in favor of reading.

The fact that we ever got sucked into this series to begin with still mystifies me. It's a teenage vampire love story for crying out loud! But I believe they are some of the best books I've ever read.

Luckily we finished the series so we atleast know the whole story and can relax a little bit, but this strange person still has not vacated the premises. We decided to go see the movie. Yes, that's right...I saw a movie based on a book that I read. The weird part: I LOVED it! I do think it helped that I went into it with probably the lowest expectations you could possibly have for a movie and I knew it wouldn't live up to the book, because you just can't in 2 hours. I think they did an amazing job of condensing the book into a movie though. There are things in the book that you just can't put into a movie, no matter how big the budget or how cool the special effects are: there was too much emotion and being inside Bella's head in the book and you still have to cast human actors for the vampires. But I surprised myself by being ok with that. They did what they could and it was great having read the book so I knew the rest of the story. It was amazing seeing it come to life.

Then, on top of not only going to see the movie, but absolutely loving it, I've started reading the series again. This is the first time I've ever chosen to re-read a book. I think I'm loving the books more the second time around too! I'm not as anxious about the basics of the story line this time around so I can really soak in all the details that I skimmed over before. I thought knowing the end might ruin it, but it still gets intense and hard to put down. It's fabulous! I love it.

So maybe some day I'll be able to feel like myself and put the Twilight Saga on the shelf so it can look pretty sitting there collecting dust with the other books I've already read, but sadly, I don't think that day is going to come any time soon. At this point, I think I could re-read these books for atleast the next 3-5 years and not get bored of them. Maybe. I'm definately willing to test this hypothesis.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I survived!

Well, I survived Thanksgiving at my house. Wohoo! I officially have two turkey dinners under my belt now. And I have to say, I think I'm getting better. This year's turkey ROCKED! I got a 20 pounder, figuring we wanted lots of leftovers and boy do we have leftovers! It pretty much fed us the whole weekend and there is still plenty left. After dinner was over we still had half the bird that hadn't even been touched (see picture above). I love leftover turkey dinner!

It was a great day! The turkey was moist and delicious. I put my mom, grandma and sister to work on the potatoes, squash, pearl onions and gravy while I kicked back and watched. :-) We were sitting down to dinner at exactly 3:30, which is the time I was shooting for, but figuring it would be closer to 4 since I'm always late. Things couldn't have gone better! Well, except that I stuffed myself on appetizers so much that I couldn't even finish my first helping of dinner. And pie was out of the question. Other than that, everything was great!

Good grub, good company and good times! Can't ask for more than that!