Saturday, September 20, 2008

There Is Goodness

In The World

The bookbag that was stolen from my car was host to a collection of pins and little things, just personal touches that I liked. Three of the pins were from the comic A Girl And Her Fed, which I simply adore. It starts out as seriously political in the beginning, and morphs into something a bit more whimsical as it goes along.

Who doesn't love a talking, code cracking koala named Speedy? Who wouldn't want a pin of a Koala with a gun? No one, that's who.

Brooke Spangler, aka Otter, the artist and author of the comic, is very in touch with her fans, and, since I was feeling depressed over the loss of the AGAHF pins, I figured that someone ought to feel good about it, and wrote her an email, about how much I missed the pins, and how I planned to replace them as soon as finances would allow.

She thanked me, and said that she would like to replace the pins that I had lost. After wrestling with my concience for a while (the sales of the pins and other AGAHF paraphernalia are what funds the webcomic's operations) greed won out and I agreed to give her my new address. Three pins, fifteen bucks. Not a huge amount, but not money that I had to spend, either.

Yesterday, I received a package in the mail. I recognized the return address, having ordered swag from her before, not to mention one of the comic's characters displayed prominently on her return address labels.

Except... the package was... poofy. And soft. And way too large to contain three pins.

Inside was a medium sized bag, covered in pins and buttons.

The four pins below the zipper are the cloissone pins that Brooke sells. The first three, left to right, I had. The fourth, I didn't. I also didn't have any of the buttons that are arrayed over the rest of the bag. In case you can't see, the very top pin is of a tanker in the background, spilling oil, and in the foreground is a robot, kneeling on a beach, picking up a dead bird, and flipping off the tanker. I love that one!

The note she included said "Hope this gets the collection back on track."

Oh, it did, Brooke, it did, and so much more. I was utterly speechless when I opened it, too. The roommate thought I was having a heart attack.

Now, I just have to get back to trying to figure out how to turn a cloisonne pin into a hat pin, so that I can have a koala with a gun on my Stetson....

Oh, and I'll be pulling Etta's tail to thin it out soon, and I'll be collecting the hairs that I pull to braid into a bracelet, to include with the pictures I'll be sending to Brooke with a thank you note. I may be broke, but I can still say thank you with a little class!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wild, Crazy Horse

She's wild, she's nuts... she's... not quite dead.

Etta is a doll. I've been trying everything I can to get her to spook, or even show serious displeasure, and aside from a few "mare days" where she hasn't wanted to do anything, she's been an absolute dream.

The only thing I've found that makes her really unhappy (other than a stiff poke with the spurs, which is a no brainer, and only makes her hop) is water from the hose. She doesn't like the fly spray, but it doesn't totally freak her out. The water thing is easy enough to fix, there's a round pen with a hydrant next to it, and enough pressure on it to reach the far side. I'll just let her out in the round pen and spray her until she quits spazzing one of these weekends.

I can hang off the side of the saddle while she's walking... nada. I can whoop and holler, rattle the gates on the bucking chutes in the rodeo arena, swing a rein, slip behind the saddle and sit on her butt, lean forward over her neck, lean back on her butt (Mamaw has some pictures of me standing around in class, feet out of the stirrups and hands on her butt, if I get them, I'll share)... anything. As long as she's not having a colt/mare day (they're pretty much the same thing, one is from being young and the other is from being female, some of ya'll know what I mean) she doesn't care.

You can even ride double on her. This afternoon I was playing around and had one of the girls get on behind me. After I smarted off with "she doesn't buck hard, when she bucks" the girl decided we were closer friends than she thought, and wrapped both arms around me to hang on to the saddle horn, but other than keeping an eye on the proceedings (she climbed the fence to get on, rather than using the stirrup, since it's easier to go slow that way) Etta was pretty ok with it. She wasn't positive she was supposed to move, but with a little encouragement she stepped out and walked quite nicely.

I don't see us going doubles very often, she's just not big enough to do it very much, or for very long, but it can be quite useful if another horse goes lame to have one that will carry two, when you're out in the middle of nowhere.

Tomorrow or Saturday I'm gonna take her in the round pen and see if I can't get on her bareback. She's doing quite well with neck reining, as long as I'm paying attention and don't try to rein on top of the martingale.

She's also far more compact and nimble than I'm used to. Marilyn has been having us move our horses over by doing large circles, coming in to small circles, and then floating back out to the large circle again.

Lemme tell ya, Etta can do a small ass circle. Sometimes it feels like we did more of a roll back than a circle, and when you ask her for it, she really digs in and pushes with her hindquarters. It's another of those things that I'm not used to after riding Monkey, with his long strides and much less drive from the hind, and I never could get the Old Man to work quite that well... he didn't think I was ready for it, and he was probably right.

All in all, she's working really well for me, and Mamaw should be proud.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Well, classes are well and truly underway, and I've just about settled into the routine. I don't have to check my schedule anymore to make sure of what class I'm supposed to be going to, at least.

The barn is as much fun as it always has been, with the interesting change of a new horse. Huge kudos to E for his fantastic job with Etta, she's still green but she's doing great, with a few small caveats. She doesn't like her left lead, for some reason. But only when we're asked for it in class. And, since I got used to Monkey, the horse who's leads you could feel in your sleep, I don't always catch that Etta, miss compact, is off lead. Grr. It is a great thing, though, to be able to control speed without having to hold her in like a race horse. I sit down, and she slows down. It helps, too, that the advanced training students are using the top arena for their reining, and they've been working it pretty much every day. Stays nice and deep. I think the instructors are trying to get the arena in shape to do sliding stops... they've got a ways to go yet.

Management... well it's basically doing a big project all semester. Designing, building, and "running" (on paper) a set of stables.

Computerized Farm Records... bird class. I am learning some new things about Excel, and maybe about Quick Books once we get into it, but it's all concepts that I've grasped for a while.

Math, is math. I don't like it, but I still have to do it. Coming up on the Chapter One (if John has one hundred and twenty cows, and wants to buy a bull for every thirty five cows, how many bulls must John buy?) test Thursday. Obviously, I'm not that worried about it.

Intro to PC Applications. Snore. Seriously, if I had Office 2007, I could go through the book at home and get all of the projects done in a couple of weeks, and then show up in class, turn them in, and go home. As it is, I have to go to class to do them, because I don't have Office 2007. It still doesn't take me nearly the whole class, unless the book is being psychotic (which it sometimes is,) and leaving essential instructions as to formatting in tiny little side notes, instead of with the rest of the instructions on the projects. Occasionally frustrating, but mainly it's the most basic of PC usage.

Things are going well, I think. None of my classes are stressing me out yet, although the project for Management will get that one done eventually I'm sure. And, I have excellent entertainment at the barn in the form of a kid from the next town over from the Old Homestead, who knows he knows me, but can't figure out where from, or who exactly I am.

He's going slightly nuts trying to figure it out, while also doing his best to be charming and flirt, on the off chance that I leave CM to fall swooning into his waiting arms. Not gonna happen, but he's leaving it at the goof around and have fun stage, so I haven't had to offer to break his fingers for him yet.

Other than that, it's just a case of life as usual. I did replace my wallet and book bag, finally. I think a part of me was hoping that they would resurface (hey, I'm a creature of habit, I find something I like, and I stick with it) but I finally gave in when I'd gotten the replacements for the debit cards, and my drivers license, and had too much stuff to carry in my pocket again.

I also bought a purse, which I fully expect to lose, but CM smarted off the other day about how I need to carry a purse like a normal woman, and it was one of those comments that hunker down in the back of your brain and pick at you. Apparently, I can't be a tomboy forever. I don't really see why not, but CM says so and apparently my subconscious agrees with him, because when I was done picking out a new wallet (they all sucked, because none of them were my wallet) my brain was going "purse. Purse. Ah hem. PURSE!!!"

We'll see how long it takes me to lose this one and remind my subconscious of just why I don't carry a purse.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Misery Loves Company

And if you don't believe me just ask my bowels and my stomach.

I've never been one of those people who pukes and pukes and pukes. Never. Excepting when I was in third grade and had a broken arm rubbing on a nerve that wouldn't allow anything on my stomach for more than two minutes, ("Mommy? Which bowl do I eat out of again?") it's always been puke once or twice, and it's all over.

Often, it's been puke once, and miraculously feel better.

Not last night. Stomach cramps, puking, diarrhea, absolute misery. Every twenty minutes I was in the bathroom, dealing with one end, and then the other. Never just one end per trip, noooo that would be too simple. I had to bend over the toilet to puke and aim carefully so that if my ass decided to go all splody it would fly across the bathroom and hit the easy to clean areas of the tub instead of my roommate's shower supplies.

I found myself contemplating whether or not it really was possible for an anal prolapse to occur in the human body, or if I might really be able to get up close and personal with my upper digestive tract. And, if my stomach did decide to crawl out and escape, whether it would exit through my mouth or my nose.

I never realized how many muscles are involved in the process of vomiting until they all got sore today. I feel like someone hit me with a freight train.

But, things are improving. Liquids and a little bit of food has stayed down, so maybe the worst is over.

Oh, and by the way, Thanks AD, for the story about the ex-lax in the food. You know, the one where you told us all about crapping clear water? If not for that I might have thought I was hallucinating around five this morning, when I was spending twenty minutes with my ass running like a faucet, with no evidence.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good Dog

This might shock the Farm Family, knowing as they do the Pup's love of going off exploring whenever she gets half a chance, and her addiction to "catch me catch me" when she does get away on her own, but Noel is learning to heel off leash.

It's never been an issue before, we had a big yard, which both doors opened onto, and she could go out whenever she felt like it. She would occasionally get out of the yard, and when she did, it took twenty minutes to catch her, even for me. Longer, for anyone else, on a typical day.

The new place doesn't have a big yard though. The sliding glass door opens on the yard but the front (back? we face on the alley, but its the only outside access to our part of the duplex without going over the fence...) door just goes straight out to the alley.

So, we've been working on "Stay in the house." As opposed to "stay" which is plant your puppy butt until I tell you otherwise, "stay in the house" means just that. I don't care where she goes as long as its not out the door.

We've also been working on "stay close." Roommate has a twenty foot rope lead that Noel can drag around and I can step on if need be, but I haven't had to. We've graduated to going out the door off the leash entirely already, although I ask her to stay closer when I don't have a leash to step on.

The reason I titled this post the way I did, is because a few minutes ago, we were outside (I was smoking, the dogs were sniffing and eating grass) and the German Shepherds across the alley started barking. Roommate's dog Happy, who has been trained off leash since he was a pup, hopped up and started running, and I had to holler. Noel, who started off leash training two weeks ago, perked her ears and then looked at me. I told her to stay, and she sat down and waited for Happy to come back.

When I told her good girl, she stood up and went to Happy, grabbed his collar, and drug him over to me, then sat again.

I about wet myself laughing. Good dog.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Pup

So. The Farmdog, aka Noel, aka Fat Dog, aka "who'smylittlepudgypuppy??" has had, pretty much since her adoption into the Farm Family, a small multicolored crab that has the unique ability to squeak.

This crab, known as "Squeaky", was the second noise toy miss Noel had. The first was a fake lambskin covered stuffed toy with a small squeaker in it, which she promptly shredded.

She didn't get Squeaky for a few months after that, and then with the admonition that if she tore him up, she wouldn't get another one.

That is the best taken care of dog toy in the history of dogdom. Unfortunately, the rubber has a finite shelf life, and we're reaching the end of that. And so, today Mamaw bought her granddog two brand new toys... one rope with a squeaker on it (the ultimate toy for Noel, who loves tug, and loves her noisy toys) and, after I saw it on the shelf and just had to see what it did, a stuffed duck, with an honest to goodness duck call inside it.

She was hesitant about Ducky for a while, but now has fully claimed it as hers, chasing the roommate's dog Happy away from it.

She looks absolutely adorable fetching Ducky like a real retriever. And when it quacks at her when she's not expecting it, she drops it and gives it this quizzical look, as if to say "Did you say something Ducky?"

Yeah, I'm a little odd about my dog, but Pup has been a good pal to me over the years. If all it takes to make her happy is a little fetch, a little tug, and something that squeaks at her when she bites it, it's the least I can do.

Well Hell

I have got to get in to the eye doctor.

My prescription has changed enough that I'm getting headaches. I was hoping to put this off for a while yet, but it looks like I'm not gonna have a choice.

It's time to go answer that age old question, over and over again.

"Better, or worse?"