Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who are you, and what did you do with Monkey?

After much deliberation, and evening-time self massage of sore muscles, I decided to try a martingale on Monkey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against martingales, I've just never used one before now, and I was hesitant to drop my learning the proper application of a new piece of tack on top of everything else I was asking of Monkey.

I should have done this months ago. No, really.

I never realized that the martingale provides leverage such that he can't pull my arms as hard as he has been. I never realized that it would apply pressure in such a way that he didn't want to pull as hard.

The martingale is my new friend.

Now, Monkey has been doing really well, most of the time, but his temper tantrums have become more insistent. They're shorter, and fewer between, but when he gets it in his head to fit, they're more intense. Fortunately my old proficiency, earned on the back of a cutting horse that liked to surprise me, is coming back, and he hasn't managed to unseat me again.

So, the martingale made me happy, because when I put it on him, it was like I was riding an entirely different horse.

It has moved to the top of my Christmas list.

Meanwhile, I've started taking my feet out of the stirrups to... ahem... encourage... Monkey to move, since he's begun to ignore my leg cues when I'm trying to get him to sidepass, or pivot, or such. The stirrups restrict my movement, so he's getting dead in the areas I can reach in them. Plus, when he's being really lazy, I just can't haul off and poke him a good one with my foot in the stirrup, my legs don't bend that way anymore. I'm not sure they ever did.

Even more progress is being made, and the teachers assistant told me flat out that he's made at least a hundred percent improvement since the first week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blood and Gore

So, continuing the story of the cattle drive... well, actually after the cattle drive, we got them all sorted (and kudos to Sparky's girlfriend, she got right in there and helped sort, and worked her butt off) and went to trim horns on one heifer, but we forgot one very important aspect of the timing of this.

It was the full moon.

You see, during a full moon, animals, and people, will bleed heavier. Something to do with the tides, or some such. I've never looked into the reasoning behind it, but I've witnessed the fact personally several times.

Of course, with all of the hullabaloo, all of us experienced knowledgeable types forgot this simple staple of animal husbandry, so we whacked away at that heifer's horns, and it was a bloody mess.

See, inside a bovine's horn is actually a blood vessel. It doesn't go all the way to the tip of the horn, but in young cattle, it comes pretty close. If you time it right, it won't bleed heavily when you trim, and you'll be able to stop it with some handy dandy blood-stop powder.

If you time it wrong, you'll wind up with a cow in the chute with blood squirting out of her horns.

So, I ran for the blood stop powder (it was a long day, ok?) while Farmdad held his thumbs over the ends of the horns, and proceeded to get my hands bloody as I poured powder on then packed it in with my thumb.

When that didn't work, we brought over the branding irons and cauterized the vessels as well as we could, followed by more blood stop powder.

You know its a bad bleeder when you can't manage to cauterize it with something hot enough to leave a permanent, clear burn in a distinguishable pattern on something as tough as cow hide.

Shortly thereafter, E and T had to go, but not before E took a picture of himself with the bloody saw, like some kind of serial killer, and I snuck up behind him with my bloody hands.

Of course, we left little miss bloody cow in the chute for a while to make sure we had the bleeding stopped. The setup we have there, the calf cradle is at an angle to the cow chute. Since we needed more head control (and because this heifer was a wee bit big for the calf cradle,) we had the heifer in the cow chute. We also had a few calves we needed to brand, the ones that got away from us, or that the brand healed too much on last time. So, I was running the tail gate on the calf cradle, running a calf through, crouched down because that gate is heavy and I'm not, when I feel a light, warm spray on the side of my face.

Look over, and little miss heifer is squirting again. Let me tell you when you expect to look over and see a heifer snorting because she wants loose, and get a glimpse of a thin red stream headed your way, its enough to ruin a day. Especially when you can't do anything about it until you get the calf run in the cradle and the tail gate down.

So, E missed out on an excellent photo op, I had blood all over me (that hoodie will never be the same) and S, the vegetarian girl, looked slightly green. Meanwhile, Sparky and his girlfriend were having the time of their lives, jumping right in and helping out.

On a brighter note, S mentioned to me on the way home that she has decided, as a vegetarian, that all cows should die. She doesn't want to eat them, but she's in favor of everyone else doing it, and says she could possibly be paid enough money to eat beef now.

Of course, I could have done without the face full of cow blood. I looked at S afterwards and said "at least now you have an idea of why I am the way I am." Her reply?

"Nope. You're still just weird. All I know now is that you're even weirder than I thought."

What the fu...

Ok was watching the news after I posted that last one and I gotta say, folks are just getting entirely too sensitive about the dumbest crap.

The Golden Compass is a movie based on a book, and the Catholic church is upset about the movie because it is... get this... a blatant advertisement for the book, which contains atheist themes.

Well no shit sherlock, the movie is based on the book, of course it's an advertisement for the book!

Oh, and get over it, if people want to be atheist they're going to be atheist.

I also have issues with the spokesman for the Catholic church referring to Catholicism as "The Cadillac of religions."

Wth, is it a belief system or a car? Cause I gotta tell you, my belief system is a lot different from my car.....


I've been slacking lately, I know it. I haven't been putting up the quality posts that I started this blog with, but I'm going to attempt to remedy that.

There's a big long list of things that I've meant to blog about, but I lost it.

Soon as I find it I'll find the time to sit down and write a good post, that hearkens back to the likes of the Sidesaddle Rodeo.

Honest, I have stories that are funny, I can just never think of them when I'm in front of the computer. Or, I get so caught up reading the likes of those on my links list (whoops, need to update that, too) that I forget to write anything myself. Bad blogger! Bad Blogger! No Linky Love!

I'll try to think of something appropriate today, or tomorrow, and take the time to make it good rather than banging it out and leaving it lay. I'm also still working on the re-write of the accident story... I just lost the muse for it. I'll get back to it someday, but every time I look at it lately my mind just wanders. Things like "oh! cookies!" and "did I leave my tiedown on the hitch rail?"

Which makes no sense at all because I always hang my tiedown on the saddle horn when I take it off.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Big Cattle Drive

We had a lot of fun this weekend, and the horses all did very well... most especially E's horse Rebel, and T's horse Tori. Those two ponies worked their butts off, they were the most experienced out of all of the ones we had helping, so they did most of the chasing of the strays.

Of course, Rebel gets a gold star, because right off the bat, the cows were nuts. Once we got them across the highway, it was all good, and everything went smoothly, but to start with, they didn't want to do anything that even resembled cooperating.

One of mom's precious Hereford crosses decided to go all evil and start ramming the horses... Rebel got hit a couple of times, and she crawled right up Monkey's butt, lifted him off his hind feet.

I gotta tell ya, I thought I was a goner. I looked back just in time to see her dropping her head to hit him, and I figured either he was gonna leave me there and head for the hills or we were going for an e-ticket ride together. I had time to think "oh, shit" and then she hit us.

I am so proud of Monkey, though. His only reaction was to kick her in the face and run forward a few steps, then go looking for more work. Spooky horse my ass!

Of course, another of the cows was being the shits and not staying with the herd, and E had to rope her and drag her back... Rebel worked his butt off hauling that cow around, until we gave up on teaching her to lead with the horse, and tied her to the pickup and let dad drag her around... but E and Rebel got her a long way... even if E did have to adjust his dally a few times....
I just love that picture.

S came with us too, brought her horse Diablo, and he and she did really well for never having seen a cow before. Farmmom got to ride Diablo for a bit, while the cows were being stupid and we needed another person that knew what they were doing, and it just made her day.

Once we got them across the highway things went better, they moved a lot easier and we got to where we were going... Long after I had figured, but we got them there.

E's camera was there too, and there's a bunch of pictures on it, I'm waiting for him to email them to me, and then I'll share some more. I don't know what all they got with his, but he said they got some good ones, so we'll see when he gets them to me.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm too old for this sh.....

Really, really too old.

We quit drinking at four thirty this morning. Since then I've gotten four hours of sleep, been to class, grocery shopped with Farmmom, had lunch with T, herded cats... er... gotten everyone together to come to the Homestead... loaded a reluctant horse and an easy loader, hauled them down here, had a near flat (the treads were peeling off the tire... YIKES!) gotten the tire fixed, unloaded horses, got water for horses, fed horses, came back to Mamaw's house, peeled and chopped potatoes, and dug out cactus jelly for breakfast tomorrow.

I'm so tired, I'm not sure I'll be able to chew.

Remind me not to do this again, guys. I forgot just how exhausting it is to be young.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Young and Stupid, and A Bad Influence

That's what I am.

In my defense, one of the girls made a conscious decision to get trashed last night, and I was under the impression that Sparky had drank more than he actually had before last night.

Yeah, first time drinker girl, and second time drinker guy. The girl, we plied with tequila and dr pepper, then screwdrivers.

Sparky expressed a wish to catch up, when he arrived a few hours after we'd all already gotten good and going, so we fed him shots. Of tequila, rum, and vodka, alternating.

He made it all the way back to his dorm before he started calling dinosaurs.

It was fun, though.

Tonight, T's birthday party at Opals. I gotta get a shower and get cleaned up, he'll be here around seven. I'm gonna be soo dead tired tomorrow....

But it's totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two Things....

First, a correction on the situation with the horse yesterday. I was misinformed. The vet that the girl took the horse to said it was bad off, and she should leave the horse at the vet's office, and if she insisted on taking him somewhere, to take him to Fort Collins. She ignored that advice and brought him back to the barns, to put him in a stall that was being rained into through the barn door, and leave him alone all night.

The next day, after he left the barn, she took him back to the vet's, where the vet recommended euthanasia. So, she hauled him back to the barn, and shot him. Which would be fine, except for the fact that she didn't manage the job on the first shot, and let the poor horse bleed and suffer for thirty minutes before she tried again.

And, this part is hearsay, but I understand that the colic was caused by riding the horse until he was extremely hot, in the cold weather, and putting him away wet. A definite recommendation for cooling your horse out before putting them away.

The other thing is a lot happier. I got my last Lit paper back today, the one that I really wasn't happy with because I made the mistake of putting it off until the last minute.

On the last page is a note of "Wow! Excellent!"

I got a hundred on it.

It would be really easy now for me to get cocky about things!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Little Fuzzballs, Livin Large

As we all know, young of any species tend to grow. Since I'm honorary grandmother to three kittens, it's my responsibility to make sure that they have room to grow. As you probably recall, I had arrangements made to keep the furry ones out of trouble:

But, since they're getting bigger:

They needed different arrangements:

No, really. They're getting big. Like, Pixel Mamma has to hold on to them to give them a bath:

And of course, after a few moments of panic at their being out of the box, once I'd re-arranged things so that she could put them back in the box and still have room, she promptly stretched out on the sheet and made herself comfortable as far from the box as she could get. Now, if she follows the pattern she had the last time, she'll make sure they're "in" the box whenever she's not in the room, until they're big enough to run around on their own anyway, and make sure they stay on the sheet the rest of the time. She's very good about the whole "den" thing, until they start getting really mobile, and then she starts demanding babysitting.

I didn't *do* it! I just told them how....

Every one of the girls on my feed crew were dosed with estrogen-laced crack, tonight, I swear. They were all hyper and laughing and being very "girl."

Of course, when I heard of their plan for the evening, going to Wally World, filling a cart with random items, and dropping them into other people's carts, I had to speak up, in the name of maturity, to stop this juvenile delinquency. I was, after all, the responsible adult there.

Yeah, right. If you believe that one, I've got some excellent ocean front property I want to discuss with you.

My contribution was minimal, actually, I merely told them that for maximum amusement value the items should be entirely off the wall. Pregnancy test for an eighty year old woman. Douche for the nice clean cut young man buying all of the salad components. A box of condoms and the largest tub of vaseline available there for the mother with three kids in tow, preferably with one of them being fourteen or older, to open up the debate on whom, exactly, put the items into the cart.

Of course, for real entertainment on those sorts of missions, you have to scratch the bar code on the box or the sticker, so that it won't read properly. Otherwise, the people might get all the way home and wonder why they bought a tub of whipped cream, a jar of pickled okra, and six bottles of Astro Glide, which thought is amusing but deprives you of your god-given right to witness said confusion.

Up Since Five

Legs ache... Knee's tweaked.... Ears are frozen...

But, the horse that coliced yesterday, that the vet sent back with only instructions not to feed or water him today, that we found down in a stall and not breathing at feed crew this morning, is up and on his way to the vet's again.

Even a weak horse is stronger than a person, especially when the person is trying to rock them up when they've gone down while walking, and the horse is flinging himself back down. And it kind of hurts when they knock you down where you're bracing against their shoulder to keep them from flopping sideways, and land on your leg. Thank goodness for my work boots, or my foot would probably hurt more than it does.

But, he's in the trailer, and on his way. Hopefully the vet will be able to fix him up.

Meanwhile, I'm not in good graces on the second floor of the boy's dorms. They kind of frown on it when you spend five minutes solid banging on a door without getting an answer.

Thankfully, some people answer their phones, and another truck and trailer was found.

I don't think I'll ever make nice with the dude down the hall from the room I was banging on, though, he cussed at me and I flipped him the bird.

Sunday, October 21, 2007



I stretched and rolled out of bed, stumbling to the kitchen and my coffee pot.

Ahh, caffeinated goodness.

I groggily sat at my laptop and called up email, my blogger dashboard, and the first of my daily blog checks while I sipped my coffee.

At the end of the long list of things that I check every morning is the weather. That way, I'm coherent enough to decide what the appropriate amount of clothes is for the day. This time of year that can vary greatly from day to day, since the weather will swing from seventy degrees one day, to freaking cold in the afternoon the next.

Well, doesn't that just take the cake.

You see, when I checked the weather this morning, it told me that it would be wet this afternoon. And that it would be cold. And that it would turn to snow this afternoon.

And today, I had two stalls to clean, one to level out and re-bed, and Monkey's things to move back into his old stall, which we had pulled the mats back on to let the swamp underneath dry out.

I had all of that done by nine this morning, and I was the last one at the barn. I also alternately froze my cookies off and dripped with sweat.

Have I mentioned that I hate winter? And the cold?

Three pairs of socks and my toes were still frozen.

Now, to laundry. Whites are in, colors are next. Soon as one load of whites are out of the dryer I'll change into some warm pj's so that I can wash what I'm wearing now, these jeans have seen three days at the barn and they're getting a little icky.

After I finish my clothes here, it's off to the laundromat to wash my comforter. The dryers here are in no way big enough for my nice fluffy comforter, it wouldn't even all fit in there. That's why I love it so much!


The pictures of the buried tractor have arrived! There are better pictures of E digging it out, but lacking his permission to post his face on this blog, I've used only those that don't show it, which is really a shame, my favorite pic out of all of them shows his face, and his expression is what makes it so fantastic. Anyway, here are the pics ya'll have been waiting for!

This baby is stuck!

"Start digging, and keep digging."

"Get in there and dig out the frame, or it's gonna stay right where it is...."

They did manage to get that puppy popped out yesterday morning, and there's a big 'ol hole where it was.

Edit: Upon consulting with E, he gave me permission to post his picture, so here's my favorite one!

Friday, October 19, 2007

E, AKA Digger.

Today I was mixing up the grain for the other horse that I'm taking care of this weekend before feed crew, so it would be ready and I could just put it in the stall after he'd gotten his hay and eaten some of it, and E came by. Showed me his new camera, which is pretty spiffy, and had me take a picture of him on the tractor, since everyone "back home" wonders just what he does all day.

Then, he went on about his business, and so did I. That is, until he came back to the barn.

"Farmgirl, what do you know about heavy equipment?"

"Er... that depends, what's the problem?"

"Well.... I got the tractor stuck in the sand."


"I was moving some sand to pile by the rodeo stalls, but someone plowed over by where I get the sand, and the tractor is stuck."

I shook my head and told him after I finished with my feed crew duties I'd come take a look.

"You do realize that I have to get pictures of this, right?"

"Yes, I do realize that, thank you very much."

So I traipsed out after feed crew, and man was he right when he said it was stuck.

The tractor at the barn is just a little one, with a bucket on the front, for all around work. E managed to bury it to the frame.

"I don't think it's coming out, it's stuck."

"Oh, I think you could get it out, but you're gonna have to dig."

So, he dug. Then I dug. Then he dug. I took pictures while he was digging... I'm going to snag them off his myspace as soon as they're up and share them... I laughed my butt off the whole time.

"No, dig more over there. Deeper, and slope it more."

"I'm glad someone is thinking here, I'm just frustrated."

We never did get the tractor out, he's gonna try again tomorrow. With everyone there for class. We discussed it and his new nickname is probably going to be either Sandy or Digger. We also discussed the possible implications of his being the only black guy in the program and someone mis-hearing "Digger" from fifty feet away, which we both found amusing.

I'll update with photos as soon as I can kype them.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Had the test today. I have to point something out here... a pattern designed for a large outdoor arena is a bitch to accomplish in a small indoor arena. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing pretty hard today and we performed our test in the indoor, rather than the outdoor.

We also didn't get our scores because there were three people grading us. Sparky got to judge because he has a pinched nerve in his arm, and isn't supposed to do anything with that arm or hand for the rest of the semester (yeah, that's gonna work out real well) plus JJ's wife was judging, as well as Marilyn.

I'm nervous, because no matter what they say about "it's on the rider, not the horse" the horse's performance has an impact. Here's what I did wrong:

1. My first stop wasn't as pretty as I might have liked. Monkey still hasn't mastered the sudden stop from a lope, unless I'm not set properly for it, and he can throw me forward with it, which he thinks is just hilarious. Fortunately he doesn't pull that one often.

2. My circles. We circled to the left, and were supposed to do one big circle, and one little circle. I had one big circle, and one slightly smaller circle.... but they were vaguely circular in shape, which wouldn't have happened even a week ago, so go Monkey!

3. The rollbacks. They sucked. I've been ignoring roll backs in favor of other things that we've been doing, and it showed. Plus, we were supposed to lope out of them, and I haven't gotten Monkey to the lope from a stop point yet, so there was some trotting where there should have been loping.

On the bright side, my 180's were beautimous, Monkey is doing really well with planting that hip and pivoting around it. The lope was nice and steady and relaxed, which makes me happy because I put a lot of hard work into convincing him that he didn't have to go fast all the damn time. The circles were at least as circular as the worst in the rest of the class, which is a major improvement, and I did get a few steps out of him two-tracking. I think I may have gotten counted off for not asking for more, but he's not very good at it yet, and if I keep asking, he gets frustrated because he thinks I'm asking for something else instead, and doesn't know what it is. His stop at the gate was gorgeous, and he backed up nice and soft for me there.

All in all I'm happy with the performance but I'm nervous to see what the scores are.

Monkey's been working pretty hard lately, so I think I'm going to give him a day or two off, let him out in a round pen or the indoor arena if it's clear. Marilyn gave instructions not to train this weekend, which is good because I was going to let Monkey relax anyway.

Oh, and Farmmom? I was wrong, we do get a show. Same time as the colts. So you get to come watch your horse perform after all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Things are, once again, hectic.

Not so much that I have a lot of stuff due, I don't. I just have a lot to do each day. Plus, I'm on feed crew again... but this week is the last of it, I'm done for the semester after next Wednesday morning.

Next Wednesday night, T is coming through on his way home for his 21st birthday... Thursday night we're going out. Saturday afternoon we're headed to Denver, to go to the Coyote Ugly bar.

Also, next Wednesday night, some of the kids from the program are coming over to have a "blow off steam" night. Next week is pretty much full for me, especially considering Saturday morning I have to load up a bunch of people and three horses to go move cows, get them down to where the cows are, get the cows moved from point a to point b, sorted, worked, loaded, from point b to points c and d.

Anyway, next Saturday is a busy day, followed by a long drive and a night on the town, crashing in a hotel room, and driving home on Sunday. Gotta find someone to take care of Monkey for me Sunday. Gotta get Ed to get a key from the rodeo coach so we can leave early Saturday morning. Gotta get my house cleaned up (again... I'm such a pig) before next Wednesday.

On the class work front.. gotta work on my character analysis paper, gotta get started on my final paper for Lit, gotta get started on my business plan, and get my career plan done for business class. Gotta get Monkey to stop being such a brat about things he knows (got a test at the barn tomorrow,) got two horses to take care of and ride this weekend......

Posts may be sparse, for a while...... my apologies.

(P.S. It's cold and windy and rainy outside. It's forecast to be forty degrees tomorrow morning at six, when I have to be at the barn...... I hate winter.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's Not Fair

Today, Monkey managed to frustrate me to no end. First, he turned his stall into a swamp, to such an extent that he is now temporarily dwelling in another stall, because his has the mats pulled back, so that the realistic impressions of three great lakes underneath the rubber mats can dry out.

Then, he was a complete jerkoff in class, but that was partly my fault. I didn't put in the extra thirty minutes minimum riding today, because I was waiting for UPS to deliver the books that I had ordered. Still, it was frustrating. He was screwing up things that he knows, which drives me insane when I'm doing everything I can to reward good behavior and correct the bad that he keeps coming up with.

But the worst part of all of it? After being a total butt in class, fighting and behaving badly enough that I had to get harsh with him with the end of the reins, just to keep him from causing someone else an injury, when I finally got enough of a good point out of him to stop, when I got off of him at the barn, he immediately turned his head to me and gave me that big brown eye, with that loving look in it. You horse folks know the one, it's not the one you get when you're holding grain, its the one you get when your buddy comes up to you in the pasture so you can scratch the itchy spots. And he cuddled his head into my chest and relaxed all over.

It's just not fair that he can do that. It's an unfair advantage, in the worst way.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Clearance Sales, How I love Thee (And How I Hate The Cold.)

Tights on clearance at Wally World.

Most of you are now going "Tights? Huh? She's not girly enough to wear tights!"

Allow me to educate you, my friends, and you Manly Men, yes, you, over there shivering like a chihuahua in a room full of Chinese fry cooks, you might want to pay attention to this as well.

Women's pantyhose and tights are not for fashion. Unless you're dumb enough to wear a skirt and nothing else over them, pantyhose and tights are some of the warmest things on earth.

No, really. Worn under jeans, pantyhose will keep you nearly as warm as long johns. Tights will keep you slightly warmer than pantyhose, due to the difference in the fabrics.

Now, if you layer pantyhose, then socks, then long johns, then jeans, well, your legs and feet will be toasty warm when it's chilly out, and your movement won't be restricted any more than it is by just long johns. Double your warmth, same great flexibility.

Tights, again, are even a smidge warmer.

I'm a wimp about the cold. When it hits the fifties, I start layering. I do not like the cold, at all. Ever. Unfortunately I have had some time to learn the methods of keeping one's cookies from freezing off.

And, in the absence of my beloved Carhart coveralls, which just wouldn't work trying to ride, at least not while trying to teach Monkey things, I will use many methods of keeping warm.

Pantyhose/tights (sometimes more than one pair) under long johns, under jeans. A-shirt under thermal shirt, under sweater, under jacket. Layered socks (up to two pairs of anklet socks under thick work socks, inside my insulated boots. Thank you Rockies, for making insulated slip-on cowboy boots.) Now I just have to remember to get my Carhart stocking cap the next time I'm home, and pick up a new pair of insulated work gloves, and I'll be good to go for the really cold times to come.

Don't look at me that way people, nature didn't give me much insulation, so I have to provide it on the outside!

Besides, I can still kick someone's butt in all my layers, if I have to.

Edit: Another thing I've come to love about my synthetic saddle is that it allows the heat from my horse to travel up through the saddle pad and the saddle, so my butt and the insides of my legs are nice and warm. Everyone else is sitting on stiff, cold leather, while my saddle is still flexible, cushioned, and toasty warm.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Re-Write Part 2

“Boss Lady!”

Boss Lady sat back in her seat, banged her head on the back window, sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.

The Whiner. Why do I always get stuck with The Whiner?

She made a face and reached for the mic while she made a face and mentally answered her own question.

Because I’m the weekend fill-in. Because Dingbat does the scheduling, and he doesn’t want to deal with Whiner. Because everything happens to me.


“Boss Lady, I need a break.”

“Whiner, Dawn is making her rounds, there’s fifteen minutes left of the north end flagger’s break and then she’ll be there to give you a break. Hang in there.”

“Ten-four Boss Lady.”

Of course, he knew that. He just wanted to whine about it.

“He knew that. He just wanted to whine about it. But you bought me fifteen minutes, anyway.”

“Ack! Dawn, one of these days you’re going to get yourself shot.”

“But today is not that day, Owner Lady banned you from carrying on site after you waved your gun in the face of that trucker that called you a miniature Napoleon.”

“He also threatened to punch you if I recall correctly.”

“Yeah, but I had a mental target painted on his beady little nads. You completely stole my fun that day, you know. You broke my streak!”

“What streak?”

“I had made a grown man cry every week for a month and a half!”

“You, dear girl, are evil.”

“Yeah, yeah. I learned from a master.” Dawn made a bow.

“Get back to work before I fire you.” Boss Lady chuckled.

“Yes, Mem’sab. Whatever you say, oh Raja. Yessa Massa.” Dawn walked back to her car, bowing.

“You’re white! Live with it!” Boss Lady laughed.

She shook off her annoyance with Whiner and put her truck into gear, listening to the clank of the transmission.

Poor Bertha. You were great when it was just me driving you, weren’t you girl? But now the men have gone and tore you up.

Boss Lady snorted, and drove off to check on things. She waved as she passed the guys she knew, and listened to the chatter on the radio.

Ah, for the days when they didn’t pave on the weekends. But they’re behind schedule. Of course they’re behind schedule, they elected to start the job in January. There was three feet of snow on the ground until March.

“Well I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad,”

I love that ring tone, Boss Lady thought as she stopped the truck, checking the amount of service on the phone before she answered it.

“Hello, this is Boss Lady,”

“Is this the supervisor at the road construction site?”

“Yes it is.”

“Ma’am this is Dispatch, we’ve got a highway patrolman coming through there, we need to get him through as fast as possible. As. Fast. As. Possible.” The dispatcher spoke the last sentence slowly, as if Boss Lady were a slow second grader.

“Yeah, I got that part. It would help me if I knew what direction he was coming from.”

“The south. And he needs to get through-“

“As fast as possible, yes. I’m on it. Anything else?”

“Keep an eye out for a dark green pickup.”


“It doesn’t matter why!”

“Yes, yes it does matter. See, if he ran without paying for his gas, well, yes, we want him caught, and we’ll watch for him, and hold him until the authorities get here if we can. But, if he’s a mass murderer on the run from Johnny Law, I’m not going to endanger my crew or the other crews on this site by antagonizing him any more than we absolutely have to.”

The dispatcher sighed into the phone, and Boss Lady could actually hear her rolling her eyes as she said, “It was a hit and run in Lamar.”

“See how easy that was?”

“That officer better not be delayed or-“

“Or what? You’ll take away my playground priveledges? We’ll get him through as quickly as possible, and safely. Goodbye.”

Boss lady flipped the cell phone closed on her thigh and grabbed the radio mic. Everyone was chattering back and forth and she couldn’t find any empty airspace, so she finally just stepped on them.

“Everybody shut up!!!

Boss Lady’s adrenaline was pumping. She loved pulling cops through, it was a huge rush. She also felt a little guilty for feeling excited about things that usually meant something was going very wrong somewhere else, but shut the guilt up with the knowledge that by having her fun and leading the emergency vehicles through, the people who needed help, or needed to be caught, would get it that much sooner.

“I just got a call, we’ve got a State Patrol coming hot, hit and run up north, vehicle description: Dark green pickup, unknown plate. Probably a largish dent near the front. Keep an eye out, hold all traffic North End till I get the Hi-Po led through. Pilot car, what’s your 20?”

Damnit, I’m talking like a cop again. I thought I broke myself of that habit.

“Traffic is south bound, just passing the plant now.”

Shit, I’ll be leading him straight into it.

The whole time she was talking, Boss Lady was driving to the south end to meet the officer.

“Shit. Dawn, you got a copy?”


“You anywhere near the paver recently?”

“Yep, and I know what you’re thinking. I think there’s enough room to squeak ‘em by if I move a couple of drums, I’ll get on that now.” Dawn always knew what to do before she had to be told. Or at least, most of the time, and when she didn’t, she listened to the instructions she was given, which was a major bonus in a flagger.

“If we’ve got a wide load in line that bridge will be a problem.” Boss Lady ran through a mental list of horrible scenarios, trying to plan for all of them at once, so that she wouldn’t have to think later, when something did go wrong.

“If we’ve got a load that wide, we’ve got bigger problems than the bridge. And, if it looks too tight, you can always pull the Hi-Po over into Bantry’s driveway.” Dawn’s voice was calm, if you didn’t know her better. Boss Lady could hear the tension in her tone, and knew that Dawn was on at least as much of an adrenaline rush as she was.

“You’re right. All right, you move those drums, and then snag an air horn and start warning workers. You won’t get to all of them, but some is better than none.”

“Ten-Four Boss Lady, I’m on it.”

Boss Lady was at the south end, and she could see the flashing lights coming.

This is gonna be a wild ride

WTF Over?

Mamaw came up this morning, brought me food and got me some stuff at Wal Mart (Thanks, Mamaw!)

As we were leaving to go to Wally-world, I noticed that the little old lady that lives across the street from my apartment complex was outside. It's pretty rare to see her outside, she's pretty arthritic and doesn't move well at all, pretty much bent double all the time, but I didn't think much of it, she was going back inside, it looked like. I saw her tug on the door a couple of times, but I figured it was just sticky.

That is, until we got back from Wally World (and I admit, I didn't look for her on the way in,) I dropped my stuff in the apartment, and we went to go get lunch. She was still outside. Still tugging on that door.

The latch on her screen door had fallen, locking her out of her home.

So, I went over and offered assistance, tried the time-tested method of jiggling it *really* fast, but that didn't work. I finally had to pry it open with a butter knife that she'd had laying on her porch for gardening stuff, but we got her inside, and did a temporary fix with some masking tape that Mamaw had in the car. Got lunch, hit Wal Mart again, and went back with a slightly better fix of duct tape.

The WTF portion of this is that that poor lady was locked out of her house for at least forty five minutes. There's fairly constant traffic on my street. How many people drove by and saw her tugging at the door?

She was getting pretty close to hysterical when I walked up. How many people drove past a scared old lady, and just kept on driving? Mamaw thinks she might have seen her outside when she arrived, which was twenty minutes before we left the apartment.

How long would she have had to stand out on her porch? Because no one wanted to take five minutes to help out a sweet old lady?

What the hell is happening to this area?!? It used to be that you could break down, and the first person by would stop and offer help. Now, fifteen or twenty cars might drive right by before anyone stops to even see if everyone is all right.

It disgusts me.

On a better note, the nice lady's dog acts like a freaking psycho whenever someone comes to the door. I had my knee in the door taping the latch, to keep the dog from getting out, and the dog got slobber on my jeans... but never bit me. It also never stopped growling and barking it's head off acting like I was killing something very dear to it.

I told the pup it was a good dog, before I left. I'm glad she's got a deterrent against some of the slimier elements of society. If I hadn't only noticed the slobber on my jeans after I finished with the masking tape, I'd have figured that the dog would bite anyone who was dumb enough to put a finger in the door.

I also didn't make any moves to actually come into the house, which might be an entirely different situation. But I think it's a good thing she's got her protector.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Holy Crap!

Just checked my sitemeter and I broke 10,000 visits today!!!

Oakland, California, congratulations! I don't have a book to give away, but if you want to, email me at the address on my profile, and I'll write an entry on the subject of your choice.

A big thank you to everyone who reads, I'm just overwhelmed with the response I've gotten with this thing, and I really do appreciate each and every one of you. Not to mention the ego boost I get when I break a hundred visits a day!

More Kitten Pictures

I got better pictures of the fuzzballs, so I thought I'd share the cuteness. They're already climbing all over their momma!

And in spite of the evil look she's giving above, she was really purring while I was taking the photos.... the evil glare is for the flash.

She loves being petted while she's nursing, and goes into full bliss limp-kitty mode when you scratch her chin or rub her belly.

Aren't the fuzzballs just adorable though??

Oh, and clicking on the pictures will take you to the ginormous versions, which shows the cuteness even better!

Oh, yeah, I'm anorexic...

I heard this one again today. People seem convinced that I have some kind of eating disorder, and depending on the personality of the person involved, offer helpful advice, accusations, or in one case, a nice ham sandwitch.

Those people have never seen me eat. Ask the Farmparents, if you like.

Tonight, for dinner, I just finished a ten-ounce steak, a can of green beans, and half of a package of Lipton Noodle Sides. Not half a serving, half of the total amount produced. I'll finish off the rest of it in a few hours for a before-bed snack.

Yes, my metabolism is that high. Now imagine how I feel when I eat like that and step on the scales to find out that I've actually lost a pound.

Frustrating. There are times that I'm just not hungry, and I have to force myself to eat, lest I fall off my horse from fainting.

And then there are times that I eat like a pig, as evidenced tonight. And even during those times (sometimes especially) it seems like it's a constant battle to maintain my weight, which is low enough anyway that every time I go in for an annual check up, they test me for anemia.

I guess some people just have to find something wrong with everyone else, right off the bat. They don't give the person a chance to display their own faults, which people almost invariably do, they just pick something, and harp on it.

Fine, I'm skinny, and you feel that you're over weight. Tell you what, why don't you get off your butt and exercise, and I'll go over here and eat snack cakes and sit on my ass for a while. Eventually, one of our weight situations is bound to reverse itself, but I'll bet yours does before mine.

Aggravating, and funny, at the same time.

But Damn, that dinner was goooood.... I feel like a little piggy.

Shoot Him First. No really....

In my lit class, in the back corner of the room, there sits a guy that is the poster child for the "I want to be a lone wolf, and so do my friends" movement.

He's also the type to think he knows everything because he spends all of his free time in his parents' basement studying and eating ho-ho's.

Usually I can blow off his attitude that he's always right, because he doesn't point it at me often. He's tried it a few times, and hasn't been able to support his theory as well as I could, which of course made him feel insecure and doubt himself, which made him run home and eat more ho-ho's.

I really don't like this twerp, in case you hadn't noticed.

Meanwhile, yesterday we were discussing our next paper, (character analysis) and the one after that, which is supposed to be a literary argument, but which has been changed, thanks to the instructor, to a paper about a banned book, play, or poem.

I'm all for this, I despise the practice of banning something. If an elementary or high school feels something isn't appropriate, yes, they have the right to not have it on their library shelves or in their classrooms. But don't tell students that they can't read it. I see a difference between a school choosing not to have something in the library, and a school "banning" something. Mostly it's a difference in attitude. If a school chooses not to teach a book in a classroom, or put it in the library, that's an educational decision that the people who run the school have the right to make. "Banning" something, however, is an attempt to intimidate students into ignoring the work. If I carry a "Banned" book onto a campus, elementary, high school, or college, will they kick me out? If I give my nephew a banned book to read when he's in high school, and he reads it at school, will he receive disciplinary action? It's possible. Some people are so touchy about the smallest crap that they don't even want their children seeing the covers of these "inappropriate" books.

And colleges banning things is just stupid, we're all legally adults, even if some of the students don't act like it. Allow us to make our own decisions. And if someone gets offended by a book? Well, here's a hint... don't read that book again! If you really feel strongly about it, don't read that author anymore! Then you won't be offended!

But I digress, we were discussing this, and by extension the movie ratings system, which led to a discussion of violence and video games, which led, inevitably, school shootings and Virginia Tech.

This conversation followed the subject of VT being raised. The other participant is the chunky young man with the smarter-than-you attitude I mentioned at the beginning of the post (see, there WAS a point to that!)

I'm Smarter Than You Are: "Virginia Tech is just another example of how video games de-sensitize people to violence. Without the video games, he wouldn't have known how to do it, and he wouldn't have had the guts to do it."

Farmgirl: "Are you shitting me? This dude was bug fuckin nuts long before he ever started playing Counterstrike. Did you even know what game he played? Dude had a god complex, and a persecution complex. The game gave him a framework, but if he hadn't played that game he would have based his little fantasy world around a movie, or a book. The real problem with Virginia Tech was the victim mentality. One person fought back, and barred the door. It was an old man, a holocaust survivor. Everyone else just laid down to die, instead of fighting back"

ISTYA: "It wouldn't have changed anything if they had fought back, he had a gun. He wasn't going to stop shooting people because someone hit him."

FG: "Oh, give me a break. The guy had this mental defect that he was unstoppable, untouchable, if someone would have jumped his ass in the hallway while he was reloading, it would have shattered his little fantasy. Not to mention they could have taken the guns away from him, and it would have been stopped, right there."

ISTYA: "The police were on the way. They did what they were supposed to do."

FG: "So they were supposed to allow themselves to be killed?? Instead of taking a stand for their own personal safety, wait for help to arrive who knows when? You're all about taking a stand for intellectual freedom, and you're throwing around buzzwords like thoughtcrime, and censorship. How's this for a thought crime: Our country, and our youth, has been conditioned not to defend themselves. People die every day because they're so brainwashed with "don't hit, Timmy, it's not nice, even when they hit you first" that they can't even conceive of the fact that they have a right, and a responsibility to do everything they can to defend their own life and well being. Women are raped because it's not lady like to hit, or scratch. You want to stand up for your rights? Don't pick the ones that are convenient for you, it's all or nothing."

ISTYA: "So you're saying we should charge an armed man, if he walks through that door right now."

FG: "I'm saying that everyone should defend themselves to the best of their ability, as much as the circumstances allow. I'm saying that no one should just lay down and die because some nutjob decided they should."

ISTYA: "Well, I'm not going to charge an armed man. I would try to talk to him."

FG: "Tell me something, were you born without balls, or were they removed surgically?"

The instructor changed the subject, after that.....

When we were walking out of class, he started muttering under his breath as he was walking behind me. I caught the words "gun nut" and simply turned around, looked him in the eye, and called him a pansy.

I don't think he likes me much.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Move the box? No big deal....

Or not. Went to move Pixel cat and the kittens to the bathroom to shampoo under the head of the bed... got the box set down in the bathroom, and before I could even stand back up, she had one of the kittens and was out of the box and under the bed. Once I took the box back into the bedroom, she was fine with me putting the kitten back in the box, and hopped right back in herself.

Spaz cat. So, I wiggled stuff around until I could get the shampooer in, with the bed right against the box and other stuff in the room, and Pixel glaring at me and half way panicky with the shampooer running near her babies... but she stayed in the box, so I guess it was a win win situation.

I've never seen a cat growl while it was carrying it's own kitten, but she gave me the clearest "go to hell" look ever as she stalked away with the kitten in her mouth, grumbling at me with every step.


Looks like we're maxed out at four kittens, technically three. The one was still born, but the other three are going like gangbusters.

Pixel-mommy accepted food and water, when I took it into the bedroom for her, so I think she's done. Of course, she's a cat, so I could be entirely wrong. I'm going to leave her in there during my Lit class, and if she hasn't had another kitten by the time I get home, I'll move the bed and start shampooing the carpets, after I move her and the fuzzballs into the bathroom. She hates the shampooer.

Meanwhile, one of the little furballs is already purring. I can't tell which one it is, but it sounds like someone is winding up one of those little toy cars really fast, it's adorable.

So, we're still at one light reddish gray with either stripes or spots, that one is going to be long haired so it's already kind of fluffy and hard to tell if it's going to resolve into spots or stripes... one dark gray with black stripes, and a white streak down it's nose.... and one solid gray that looks like it's going to be a miniature panther.

Pixel-mommy is happily nursing her children, purring her head off. Things are good.


We have kittens! And they're now in the box, in spite of Pixel's best efforts (and four time successful efforts) to have them under my bed. That's right, she had four of them under my bed. Damn cat. I think she's still in the process, she's still pretty chunky, so I'll bet she's got another one or two in there. So far we've got one fluffy reddish-gray kitten, and two that are dark dark gray with their momma's stripes, and one that's either black or another dark gray. I think that last one may be stillborn, it wasn't mewing when she was cleaning it up.

Moving the kittens from under the bed to the box was... interesting. I was walking to the bathroom and heard a tiny little mew, and looked under the bed, and there she was. Luckily, she was at the foot of the bed (she moved them, there are blood spots at the head of the bed.. Thank you Farmmom, for the shampooer....) When I flipped up the blanket that hangs over the foot of the bed, she growled at me, until I petted her. I'm not allowed to pay attention to the kittens until I tell her what a good momma she is. We've been through this before. Once I give her the proper praise and adoration, I can do anything I want to with the kittens, so I moved them to the box, and she followed.

Here's the current attractions, and their mom, who isn't entirely happy with the whole flash thing....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Part One of the Re-Write

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Dawn rolled over and slapped blindly at her alarm clock, groaning. It seemed like she’d just gotten to sleep, and now the lying damn clock said it was time to go back to work.

There is entirely too much morning in the day, thought Dawn, as she swung herself up into a sitting position. She didn’t want to move even that much but she knew if she laid there and thought about how much mornings sucked she’d just fall back asleep and then be late for work.

“Ugh.” Dawn scrubbed at her face with her hands, trying to rub enough feeling into it so that her eyelids would work properly when she told them to open. Finally she pried her eyes open and glanced at the window.

Still dark. There ought to be a law against this kind of cruel and unusual work practice.

Levering herself up from her bed Dawn groped for yesterday’s jeans. Once she slid them on her brain started catching up with the fact that she was, in fact, awake, and planning to stay that way, and it functioned well enough for her to find the rest of her clothes.

These jeans will work for one more day, it’s not like I’m going to a beauty pageant or anything.

Stumbling out of her bedroom Dawn made a bee-line for the coffee pot, and breathed a sigh of thanks for the technology that let her set everything up the night before and have fresh, hot coffee waiting when she woke up.

Slowly, while sipping her coffee, Dawn gathered the things she’d need for work today. A sweater to put on before she left the house, her hat, a bandanna….

Crap, I forgot to bring the new bandannas in. This one is disgusting, I have to do laundry tonight. Oh well they’re in the car, I can grab one when I need it.

In the bathroom she avoided looking in the mirror while she was pulling her short blondish-brown hair into a pony tail. She knew from experience that nothing good came from looking at herself at this time of the morning, and preferred not to spend the rest of the day thinking about the bags under her eyes.

Third day straight was always the hardest, with her body and her mind worn down.

Draining the last of her coffee, she snagged the cooler she’d packed the night before and headed out the door.

Ice. Mt Dew. More water.

Driving to the convenience store- just barely open for the day- Dawn ran through the list of things she needed to get, and added an energy drink to get herself woken up some more before she hit the site.

I’m too young to feel this old, she thought, as she paid for her purchases and arranged the ice, water, and Dew in the cooler around her lunch and the drinks that already inhabited it.

Closing the trunk she pulled open the back door of her car and snagged the cord of the amber strobe light, drawing the light itself to her and attaching it to the roof of her car by the magnet, before she climbed back into the driver’s seat and headed for the jobsite.

Once she spotted the first of the bright orange signs on the outskirts of the site, the rest of her brain switched on.

Weird. That color seems to put everyone else to sleep, either sitting in line or coming up on it. It always wakes me up. Maybe it’s because I know that it’s more than just my ass on the line out there.

Dawn shied away from the morbid thoughts that followed that one, memories of accidents and near misses, horror stories and the looks on people’s faces when they talked about picking up pieces of people they knew.

Bad way to start the day, Dawn. Don’t think about that crap or you’ll be jumpy all day, and make mistakes.

“Hey, Twiggy!” As Dawn rolled up on the south end flagger, she saw that relief had been made here already.

“Sup. Boss Lady on site already?”

“Yeah, she’s around somewhere.”

“Where are we on relief?” One of Dawn’s responsibilities was making sure all of the night flaggers got to go home before they collapsed from exhaustion. If someone from the day crew didn’t show, she’d relieve the person left behind until someone could be called in.

“Everyone but 116, but it’s not quite six yet, and I think I see that one coming right there.”

Dawn glanced in her rear view mirror, and saw a car pulling up with its hazards on.

“Yeah, that’s her. Cool, I get some more time to wake up. I’ll go find Boss Lady and climb in with her so I can take a nap.” Dawn smiled beatifically at the flagger, who gave her a mock glare and a one-finger salute before she drove off.

Dawn glanced at the sunrise as she motored off, seeing how it silhouetted the equipment on the east side of the road and painted the stuff on the west side in reds and golds. These were her favorite moments of the work day. Before the noise and the diesel smoke, before crises and politics. The site almost looked pretty at sunrise, like it didn’t any other time.

Somehow today it just wasn’t as peaceful, though. Dawn looked back at the road and saw the turkey vultures circling, and repressed a shudder.

Stop it. There’s road kill all over the place. They’re just coming in for their morning snack of whatever got killed overnight. It is not an omen, a sign, or any other superstitious nonsense.

Dawn glanced again at the circling scavengers, and the thought she’d been trying to avoid snuck in.

The last time I had this feeling, I broke a radio from ditch diving and landing on it, because some idiot in a pickup “didn’t see me” and danged near hit me.

She shook off the bad feeling as she saw the bright orange truck, and pulled in beside Boss Lady.

Deal with it when… if… It comes.


Ok, I was wrong. Tomorrow is going to suck.

But I have one question for my neighbors in the building.....

Why in the hell are your children running up and down the stairs at one o'clock in the freaking morning?!?!?

No, really. Children. Up and down the stairs. Shrieking. One in the morning. I thought there was a fire.

Put a leash on them or something, people. The adrenaline rush from hearing an about eight year old girl shriek and thunder down the stairs will have me up for another hour, which I really appreciate since I have an eight o'clock class anyway. And as for her brother, or cousin, or whoever the hell he was... all I can say is: beat him until he shuts up.

Yelling in the hallways of a badly soundproofed apartment building at this gawdawful hour should be a capital offense.

Edit: Those kids were running around again at two, and three thirty. I'm a zombie, I'd just be dozing off and hear the Screeching Elephant Twins coming, and bam! Wide awake. If they pull that crap tonight I'm catching them in the hall and beating their butts myself.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Getting Tough

Today a few classmates cornered Marilyn, and had a talk with her about how a lot of them didn't feel challenged. Of course, some of our class still don't know their leads, which she brought up. So, she's going to start being tougher on all of us, and maybe coming up with new things for us to do.

I've been pretty ok with what we do in class, because I've had a lot of battles with Monkey to fight, but he's improving, so new challenges would be nice. We'll see what she comes up with tomorrow for us.

Some of the students could use the toughness, though. As well as some personal attention, which I don't think Marilyn has felt right giving them at the expense of the rest of the class. We'll see how it goes.

In other news, I flaked out on the couch to watch tv while I was waiting for my laundry to dry, and fell asleep for an hour and a half. Now I'm awake. No rest for the wicked, I suppose.

Although a mixed drink will probably fix that....


The bug guy has been here and gone and there was no kitty discovery, yay!

I'm going to leave Pixel cat in the bedroom for the rest of the day, because I don't want her getting into the bug stuff. Meanwhile, that was the most cursory exterminator visit I've ever seen. Considering that he's spraying the entire building, I can't really blame him, though. Besides, with as much bug spray as is floating around this place the little suckers are bound to get got somewhere.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Good Workout, and Crossed Fingers

Monkey and I had a good workout today, we practiced loping things in class, a quick start to a lope, and then a circle, and then a quick stop from a lope, and then I took him out on the trail and we loped three circuits on the back loop of the trails. Which means absolutely nothing to anyone who hasn't been on the trails. Suffice to say it's about a quarter of a mile around, and we loped three of them straight. He was actually blowing some when we stopped.

Tomorrow the exterminator is coming at ten. I'll stash all of Pixel's stuff and Pixel in the bedroom and cross my fingers that she doesn't make too much noise while they're here. And also that I'm home when they come. I don't need the manager finding my cat, really I don't.


Still working on the adaptation of the accident story, but it's being postponed until I can finish my Lit paper.

Plus, it's proving more difficult to re-write than I had expected. Third person omnipotent is kicking my skinny white butt. I keep lapsing into first person.

And yet, I can't stop beating my head against it. Just goes to show that I may be too stubborn for my own good.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

I knew it!

I just knew that something was going to happen to prevent Farmmom from getting to ride Monkey, and I was right.

At some point yesterday afternoon or last night, Monkey managed to slip in his stall, and strain a muscle in his hip. He's a little swollen, and sore, so he didn't get ridden today. Farmmom did get to walk him to loosen it up while I cleaned his stall and Sparky's horse's stall. Sparky missed class today, so JJ asked me to clean his stall and feed his horse this morning, no big deal.

JJ was worried that Farmmom would be upset about Monkey getting hurt, since owners tend to be touchy about those things, but she understood that it happens.

He asked me why I wasn't riding, when he saw me cleaning the stall, and I told him that Monkey had managed to fall in his stall and bruise himself or strain a muscle or something.

"What? How can you see a bruise?"

"Um... he's swollen, and he's sore. It's either a bruise or he pulled the muscle, either way he's stiff and sore enough that I'm not going to ride him today."

"You've been paying attention in Horse Production, good job!"

"I thought I was supposed to pay attention? You mean I could have been slacking off all this time? Well geez!"

JJ got a good chuckle out of that one. He's upset today because some people didn't fulfill their responsibilities yesterday, and gave him excuses today for it. I can't really blame him, either.

Also, last night was the second night of the college rodeo here, today at noon is the short rounds for all of the events. Last night was pretty eventful, one of the bareback horses managed to kill itself, it ran into the fence after the ride and I think it broke its neck. One of the saddle bronc riders got taken to the hospital, as well, he came off his horse and had what looked to me like some kind of seizure, his head and legs were twitching, one arm was up by his collar bone twitching, and when he stopped moving, he didn't move for a while. He walked out of the arena, but I heard today he got taken to the hospital afterwards.

Another of the saddle bronc riders just had a bad night all around. His first horse fell over on him, which got him a re-ride, his re-ride horse refused to come out of the chute, which got him another re-ride, and this third horse dumped him right out of the chute. I felt bad for him.

One of the bull riders got a re-ride too, cause his bull fell over.

Today, they'll have the really rough stock out. One of the bulls is the number one ranked bucking bull in the country right now, and the horses last night were just freakin nuts, which tells me that today's rides are going to be hellacious.

I'm going to make myself some lunch and go out to the fairgrounds and get myself a good seat. It's just too bad Farmmom couldn't stick around for the finals.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

AD, Eat Your Heart Out...

No medical training whatsoever, and I got the same score he did.... - Test your disease knowledge

I feel smart!

Of course...

Since I bragged on how well Monkey did a few days ago, he's now being a shit. Still rideable, nothing major, but he's not performing like he should. Just a couple of those days, I guess.

Tonight Farmmom is coming up to watch the college rodeo with me, and either staying over or coming back in the morning, so that she can ride Monkey.

That's about it, really. I gotta clean up the apartment some before Farmmom gets here so she doesn't see what a sty I've made of it this week, so I'm gonna get on that.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Because I'm a Sitemeter Addict...

I check my sitemeter every day, and I usually check the referrals, now that I get them.

Item of note #1: AD accounts for a huge chunk of my referred visits. No, really, its a big chunk. Thanks AD!

Item of note #2: Technorati is way behind, because there are people that have linked to me that I'm getting referrals from, and they haven't shown up on Technorati. Hi new linkers! We appreciate your business, please come again, please talk me up so that my ego can be fed....

Item of note #3: I've been linked as a source for information on women's concealed carry on GlockTalk.... Thanks, Herr Glock! I hope that the piece I wrote is helpful!

A Note to the Inexperienced....

When you're going out dancing, it's usually not a good idea to wear something that constricts your breathing.

Corsets, no matter how cute they look, should be laced so that you can breathe. Otherwise, it'll mean an early night.

Oh, and Sparky? (Like he'll ever stumble across this but still...) You and your girlfriend can dance! I don't care how easy you say it is, I still can't dance like that.

But ya'll still suck for leaving early.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Social life? Holy Crap!

Today at the barn some of the girls were talking about going to the local bar tonight, and one of them was getting all mock offended that no one asked her.

"Don't worry T, they haven't asked me either."

"I know, they're so rude!"

"Hows this, you and I will go and we'll ignore them and be rude right back."

"Sounds good, it's a date!"

So, I have a date with T, and she told me to wear something slutty. I asked her if I would be getting lucky, and this girl had the gall to tell me not on the first date while wearing a t-shirt that reads: Aspen High Altitude Sex Instructor. First Lesson Free.

This ought to be fun, a bunch of the girls from the Ag program are going, and some of the cosmetology girls. At the very least T and I will be able to give everyone shit... she's a smartass too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I can't be doing that bad...

Today we were in the indoor arena, after the HTM kids finished their quiz, and we did a bunch of different races. One of the races was to go to the end of the arena, get off, walk around your horse, get back on, trot a small circle, and lope back.

Now, Monkey is considered one of the "spooky" horses out of all of the horses in the class. And, at times, he is spooky. But, I got off my horse (flying dismount, which he's getting used to) told him stand, walked all the way around him, and got back on, and he never moved a foot. Meanwhile my counterpart on the other team is busy chasing their horse down the arena because the horse spooked. And that horse is considered one of the calm ones.

Also, after class, when there was only three of us in the arena, I decided to do a little experimenting, because I was bored. So, I tied my reins in a knot, dropped them over the saddle horn, and rode solely on leg signals for a few minutes. He did pretty good, nothing like a bitless reining pattern or anything, but other than some issues with stopping without the reins, and not wanting to turn into the fence a couple of times to do a roll back, he listened to my leg signals and my seat really well. We even loped circles on leg pressure alone. To the right, which is his good direction, but he did lope past the gate after a left turn, which is one of the things we've been having issues with.

I'm pretty danged proud of him, and myself, tonight.


I gotta work on getting some more raunchy humor up here. I just re checked the blog rating thing and I'm at a G rating.

There's something seriously wrong with that.....

Update on the Kitten Situation

I've been watching for signs of the impending arrival of the fuzzy little ones, because there is no way I'm letting Pixel give birth under my bed, which is where she's been hanging out.

The first major sign came today. See, Pixel cat hates having her belly rubbed. Unless she's within a week or two of having kittens. Then she'll roll onto her back and purr her head off when you rub her belly.

She's doing that now. So, starting today, she'll be shut in the bathroom with her kitten box whenever I'm out of the house.

I don't think she's going to go into kitty labor in the next few hours or anything, but this way she'll be used to only having the box with it's nice soft towel to hang out in. Plus, she is a cat, and cats are notorious for surprising you with these things.

When the little fuzzballs come into the world I'll be sure to post pictures for everyone.

I got nothing

Nothing interesting is happening, so ya'll will just have to be patient. I'm still working on the re-write, it's just not ready for public consumption yet.

The only interesting thing going on is that my favorite internet radio station ever has decided since my interview on Blog Talk that I have to do a show there.

Now the big cheese over there just has to find someone to co-host with me, and teach me everything about the programming. I figure that buys me six months or so, since I've seen that program at work, and frankly it's kind of intimidating.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome

Today in business class we did an exercise called "Lost At Sea" which was basically a hypothetical situation. Your yacht (holy crap I have a yacht?) is going down due to a fire. Your best bet is you're a thousand miles out in the Pacific, you have five crew members, their pocket plunder, and these fifteen items. Rank them in importance.

Then get in the assigned groups and rank them as a group. No voting, or averaging allowed, you must persuade your group members.

Now here's what the Merchant Marines say the ranking should be.

Figure the difference between the Merchant Marines' ranking, your individual ranking, and your group ranking. Total the differences in each column.

The closer the numbers are for your individual ranking and the group ranking, the more influence you had, and the more managerial skills you have.

My numbers were identical.

And I still maintain that fifteen feet of rope is of higher importance to survival than a transistor radio! Or a quart of rum.

It's Good To Be Me

Well E forgot a previous engagement for yesterday, and I let him off the hook to tend to it, so I went home alone, stopped at the construction site where Farmmom had been wrangled into working the last day of 24 hour work, and hung out for a while. I helped pull some of the light plants off, and then the pilot car driver needed a break.

Farmmom looked at me and said "You want the last round?"

I looked back at her and said "Yer damn skippy I do!"

So I wound up driving the pilot car for a couple of hours while they finished up the pick up on the site, the last hour and a half of it being with the other pilot car driver, who told me "No way are you driving the last round without me" as she climbed in the passenger seat.

I was just doing it for the satisfaction, but apparently at the end of the day, the company owner, who was on site to help, and who I mentioned in the previous post, told Farmmom to put me down for the time I was on site, since I was helping.

Works for me, man!

I rolled on site about nine thirty, left about four, and I got paid from ten to four.

Why? Because I'm me, that's why. Owner Lady is one of my favorite people, and she seems to like me too, which works out well for me since not only will she give me work when I need it but she also wants to help me with the horse end of my ambitions.

I just love it when I go hang out and screw around and wind up getting paid for it.

Bits and Things

On my last post about BubbahMonkey (hey, it made Farmmom laugh, I have to use it) a nice discussion about different bits vs. bosals and hackamores was sparked.

Mustanger is worried that the wrong size bit will be detrimental to the horse, and wonders about bosals and hackamores.

Horse Prof likes the snaffle for training, but once the horse is well broke to the snaffle, wants to go to a spade bit.

Me, I like curb bits for the well broke horse. I've had some that needed a roller to entertain themselves with (I think Monkey is going to be one of those, he likes to chew on his bit when he's bored and a curb just doesn't have the flex to allow that) but the curb is what I grew up using, it gives you a certain level of sensitivity, and minimizes the chance of really hurting the horse if something goes wrong (the horse spooks, etc) and you go off, but keep the reins (always keep the reins if you can. Why chase a horse if you don't have to?)

As far as hacks and bosals.. I prefer having a snaffle on a green horse, now that I've had some experience with them. For me, hacks and bosals are for the well broke horse that already neck reins. Horse Prof brought up futurities and high-end competitions where two handed reining is required in a hack, and I understand that. Those horses have been trained in the hack since they were started, though, and they're being ridden by fantastic horsemen. I am not on that level, by any means.

I'm also looking at it less from a competition angle, and more from a working cow horse angle. Not a competitive athlete, but a working ranch horse that's required to do a little bit of everything, consistently, when it's called for. I think it's probably more difficult to train one of those than to train a competition horse, because you can't afford to focus on one thing at the expense of others.

That's what I'm trying to do with Monkey. Right now we're focusing on just riding well and behaving. Once he's doing really well on that, which actually shouldn't be long now, we'll start volunteering to help with the rodeo practices and actually working with the steers and calves. This summer, we'll get more cow work in because I've already warned Farmmom that her cows are going to have to be pushed around to train the horses to do what we want them to.

But for me, a willing horse can be put in nearly any bit that you like, as long as you have the ability to communicate clearly what you want.

In other news, it looks like I may have a full summer ahead of me, my former boss (from road work... more on than in another post) has some three year olds that she needs ridden out. Just miles on the saddle kind of thing, but she's hinting that she might have me ride them out, and she's offered me a two year old for when I do the starting colts program. So the three year olds, along with the turn arounds from the auction, ought to keep me entertained well enough this summer.