Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

New Template

Ok so I like this one much better! May sub in one of my own castle pics (once I play with it a bit :) but in general I'm much happier with this than the tree :) All I need is a dragon in the top left corner and I'm set! Anybody have a dragon they want to share? :)

Lost in an enchanted forest

A video worth watching. It's a Ukraine artist - Kseniya Simonova, 24 - who tells the story of WW2 as seen through the eyes of an average person through sand drawings on an illuminated table.

An unusual talent, but very impressive.

So this time last year I was in NC -- and the weather was suitable for XC. Quite the difference a year has made. Well in some ways :) Still seem to be no closer to having my own stable *blah* but otherwise life is good. Superpony is ridable now (most days -- had a ride n a half today!) so that's a plus :)

Doing the New Year's Eve Movie Marathon thing. This year tis all Bond :) Next year maybe I'll throw a party -- that could be an interesting deviation from my usual "ignore the night" strategy. Although most of my friends seem to disappear to places unknown for New Years so might be less of a good idea. hahaha but we shall see :)

A short vid any who love fiction, or fantasy, or dreams. My fav of the lines: "When was the last time you got lost in an enchanted forest? or were kissed by a prince . . . who turned into a frog?" (the vide is only about half the length indicated by the scroll bar, the rest is credits :)

So of three things I intended to do today, I accomplished exactly one of them; and that only because I needed help with it and the person able to help me was available today. Sheesh.

I'm so not ready for my week off to be over.

The Joys of House Sitting

So I'm house sitting this week (I know, kinda defeats the purpose of vacation eh?) and I went out this aft knowing it'd be reasonably late when I got back, so purposely left some lights on. Makes house seem lived in and makes me more comfortable coming in. All round good solution right? Except that when I got back tonight, the lights were all out. Definitely had me sitting in my car in the driveway questioning whether or not I should actually go in. Double checked the address, but really, I knew it was right. Rang the doorbell a couple times and waited a few mins. But other than the lights being out, the house seemed as it should. Thinking maybe they're on some sort of auto-shut-off or something? (ok dumb I know, but no stranger than lights randomly turning themselves off!) Come in the house, look around. Everything seems ok. But something that was on the floor when I left was sitting on the couch. Very creepy. Until I remembered noticing a cheque for the cleaning crew. And sure enough, it was gone. I'm not convinced the house is actually any cleaner, but it does explain the lights off and the moved item. Mental note though -- if you leave somebody looking after your house, tell them if who else is likely to be there! Sheesh >;-P

Off to sleep with me. Maybe.

Temporary New Template

So since my sunset has vanished (lesson learned -- all images to be stored locally!) tis time to find a new template. Really not fond of this particular one, but figured it'd do till I found a new one to love. This is where I wish I had artistic ability! Ah well.

So I'm sick and I'm tired and generally not impressed with the world. Blah. Signed on to do some writing but spent the time fidling w/ blog templates instead. Sheesh.

Ah well -- just makes tomorrow's "to-do" list all the more impessive eh?

Hope it's amazing :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Happy Hanukkah!!!

Super Kwanzaa!!!

Fabulous Festivus!!!

Wonderful Winter Solstice!!!

Merry Three Kings Day!!!

Happy Eid'ul-Adha!!!

Super St. Lucia Day!!!

Awesome Omisoka!!!

Merry Boxing Day!!!

And if all else fails:

Have a Nice Day!

Flash Fiction 18: The Christmas Gift

For those of you interested in the horse side of things, a good Christmas story (not mine :) on the GRS Blog.

Merry Christmas all - and an amazing new year!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Laur
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The Christmas Gift:

I watched as my brother, this year's Santa, handed her the gift I had chosen; I'd been looking forward to this moment since I'd found it in June. She was my best friend, and keeping it a secret so long had been incredibly difficult -- I'd had to force myself to forget all about it so that I wouldn't slip up. Fortunately I'd remembered in time to wrap it; if only I could apply that skill to exams!

But I’d have to be patient a while longer yet. My mother put the gift aside. She had a small pile growing, since she preferred to watch us unwrap our gifts to opening her own. And she had no idea that that box contained something special. I waited, feigning excitement over my own gifts while watching her open the others. A scarf, some books, jewelry. Nothing like what I'd found.

Finally she had my gift in hand. She unwrapped it mindlessly, far more interested in my brother's reaction to his new skis. He'd been so disappointed when they hadn't appeared under the tree, but accepted that they just couldn't afford them; it made it all the more wonderful when he opened the little box that told him where he could find his real gift in the basement. I could understand why she wanted to see that; I wanted to see it too.

But now he had his skis and Dad was bouncing for the opportunity to play with his new gadget. And finally she opened the box in front of her. The last gift of the day. She pulled it out and there was a moment's hesitation before she realized what it was.

She looked at me. The room was chaos, but between us there was silence. She had tears in her eyes, which was not the reaction I'd anticipated. I'd thought I'd found the perfect music box; just the style she'd seemed to prefer. Her collection was extensive, but they were similar -- this one combined the best traits of all of them. Or so I'd thought.

"Where did you find this?" she asked. Her whispered voice inaudible in the noisy room, but her eyes making the question clear. I went and sat next to her on the couch rapidly explaining about the little flee market I'd found in Port Elgin and how it was buried at the bottom of a box in a random corner of an antiques booth. And I knew it wasn't really antique but I thought it would go so well with her collection. And I really thought she'd like it. And did she notice the detail in the silver? and what did she think of... Well I was speaking way too fast and in circles, but I was confused and worried that my perfect gift that I'd kept secret for so long had somehow upset her.

"Come with me,” she said, rising. I followed, curious. "Girl moment," she told my dad with a smile when he questioned our departure.

She led me up to the master bathroom and opened the jewelry box I'd seen a million times growing up. From it she retrieved a tiny key; the type you'd see on a young girl's diary. She sat down on the edge of the tub and I went beside her, a million questions on the tip of my tongue and somehow enough strength not to ask them. She opened the lid of the music box and winding the knob on the base caused the dancers to swirl around to the sound of Haydn’s Cello Concerto. She watched it, mesmerized. And somehow I refrained from interrupting.

She held the box up, with two fingers of each hand supporting the base and her middle fingers running along the detailing on the side, as though she were feeling for something. Suddenly the music stopped and the dancers froze. Her right hand had moved but the left had not. She fiddled for a moment and with a click the left side gave. She smiled and gave me a look that reminded me of an excited young girl about to share a secret. Nothing appeared to have changed on the box, but clearly a latch had been released as she was able to slide the front face off. Behind that was a keyhole. To which my mother held the key.

I looked to her for an explanation, but none was to be had. I had the feeling my presence had been forgotten. I peered over her shoulder excitedly as she opened the little drawer. There was a penny, what looked like a felt four-leaf clover, a pair of children's earrings, some beads, and a little card. She picked up the card gingerly and held it to her heart with her eyes closed and memories written on her face.

Returning to the moment she gave me a smile and a one-armed hug and then showed me the card that meant so much to her. Written in a distinctive scrawl I recognized as having belonged to my grandmother who had passed so many years ago, I read:

A penny for wealth,
A clover for luck,
And all my love for always.
-- Mum

Booooo :(

My blog appears to be disintegrating. Boo on that. Guess that's one more thing to add to the "week off". Sheesh.

hmmmmm do you suppose Santa might bring a new blog template? He's pretty high tech these days right?

Night!

I'm sure there's a great subject line for this post... I just don't know what it is!

So my friend Lissa has a theory that you can't have a bad day when wearing pig-tails. I'm *almost* convinced to test this theory :) hahaha Maybe in the new year.

Chimping at work today (for the uninitiated chimping = work so mindless a chimp could do it). I can actually feel myself getting dumber by the second. Ugh.

Had an awesome ride yesterday. Steph was home from uni and kindly stuck around to set fences. Turns out my horse can trot 3'3 w/ absolutely no effort whatsoever. (n let me tell you, that seems much bigger at a trot than it does in a canter! :) Gives me hope for future levels *g* She was still a little spinny down the line we had issues with in our lesson the other day (that was a gymnastic and a half let me tell you. Might be the first time I've ever been grateful for running out of poles!) but on the other side of the ring she was pro-star jumper mare. hahaha kinda fun.

Would just like to announce that I am done my xmas shopping BEFORE xmas eve! For the first time since, oh, high-school >;-P Of course will prob still go buy something that day just for the adventure of it, but it's nice not to have to :) And I found some really great stuff :) Looking forward to seeing people's reactions this year.

Alright back to work. Blah.

Flash Fiction 17: A Christmas Tradition

Cutting it close on timing tonight! Hope you enjoy this one. Let me know your thoughts!

Cheers,

Laur

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A Christmas Tradition

Resigned, she looked at the big white flakes obscuring the view out the airport window. It was Christmas-eve and the blizzard had delayed all flights. Indefinitely. It was starting to sound as though Santa might be the only one flying that night. Amanda half listened to the conversations around her. All people excited about reaching their destinations.

Amanda, conversely, couldn't care less where she ended up, she just wanted to get away. It was hard, too hard, to be home at Christmas.

Her parents and siblings tried their best, but their eyes conveyed the worry their forced smiles couldn't hide. And her nieces and nephews picked up on the tension, despite the best efforts of the adults. The eldest child had been only three when Alicia and Jeremy died; none of them remembered their bubbly older cousin or the uncle who always told the best jokes. And Amanda remembered them all too well.

She shook her head, physically drawing herself from the memories of her daughter and husband that even five years later had the power to devastate her. Palm trees and pina coladas. That's where her thoughts should be focused. She envisioned herself lying on the beach, soaking up the sun, and having lascivious thoughts about the cabana boy. It didn't even make her feel guilty, since she would've done the same even were Jeremy with her.

"Hi, I'm Jake," the little boy introduced himself, interrupting her wandering thoughts, "and this is my iPet, Monster," he announced quickly flashing his handheld video game towards Amanda.

"Really?" she asked, "What kind of pet is Monster?"

Jake rolled his eyes dramatically, "he's a t-rex," he informed her with the tone of an exasperated teacher. "He's only the most ferocious dinosaur ever!"

"Ferocious?" Amanda asked, "How old are you?" she questioned the precocious child, no longer having to feign interest.

"I'm five and a half," he announced importantly, "but Grandma says I'm really an adult in a little body. She won't let me go to the store by myself though. If I were really an adult I could." He gave her a look clearly requesting a reasonable explanation to that.

"Yes you're right, but I don't think you get to do adult things until you're an adult in an adult body," she tried to appeal to his logic and was rewarded with a brilliant smile. "So Mr. Adult Jake, why do you have a ferocious pet? Wouldn't you rather have one you can play with? This one could eat you!"

"No he can't, he's just a game." Jake told her, the child's literalness making her smile, "and besides, he has to help me take over the world -- you just can't do that with a chihuahua."

Laughing, Amanda questioned him: "Have you ever met a chihuahua? Little but nasty creatures. Could absolutely take on the world and win," she attempted to defend the breed she felt Darwin should take care of.

"Yes, but Monster can just step on one, and that's it. Not even hard to beat."

"Jake!" An adult voice with mixed tones of anger and fear interrupted, "You were supposed to stay put, what are you doing?" and directed at Amanda, "I'm so sorry, I had to take his sister in the washroom and he ran out while I was with her," he explained with a look at the boy that was supposed to be a glare but had too much love in it to be intimidating. A young girl stood slightly behind him, one hand in his, the other thumb in her mouth.

"It's no problem," Amanda assured him, a little surprised to realize she meant it. "He was just explaining the relative merits of a pet t-rex over a chihuahua."

"Yeah Uncle Matt, she needed to meet Monster. And I didn't go far - I could still see the washroom -- that's close enough. Besides there was nobody for me to talk to in there and girls always take so long," he said making both adults laugh as he stuck out his tongue at his little sister.

"Jake," the boy's uncle started seriously, kneeling down in front of him, "it's very important that you stay with me, even when it's boring. Ok?" Jake nodded. "Promise me?" the little boy rolled his eyes for Amanda's sake, but agreed.

"Now to settle this other issue," he started and Jake looked at him expectantly, "everybody knows a chihuahua will win out over a t-rex any day." This was greeted with instant groans and protestations, while he introduced himself in an aside to Amanda. "Jake you've met, and this is my niece Alexa. Lexi." Lexi took her thumb out of her mouth and shyly offered her hand to Amanda, never letting go of her uncle. Amanda shook it solemnly, introducing herself at the same time. "My sister's kids; I'm taking them to their grandparents for the holiday. She has to work and didn't want them to miss out."

"So where are you off to?" Matt asked conversationally.

"Warmth and pina coladas." Amanda answered with a look that suggested that topic be dropped. He seemed willing to let it go, and she was grateful for it.

Somehow Christmas-eve in the airport was not so hard when spent with the captivating family. The storm became impressive rather than a frustration as Matt kept them entertained with somewhat exaggerated, she hoped!, stories of storms past. As evening rolled into night and the airport patrons resigned themselves to the fact that they'd be spending Christmas Eve in the airport, even the most excited children fell asleep.

They spent the night quietly chatting while the children slept. Somehow Matt got her to speak of Alicia and Jeremy, even though she never told anybody about them. And somehow he directed her to the positive; she found herself telling him stories that made her laugh, and reliving memories that left her feeling truly happy for the first time since the accident.

Christmas day dawned white but clear, and sure enough flights were rescheduled and passengers ushered on as quickly as the airlines could manage. Matt and kids entreated Amanda to join them for Christmas, but still overwhelmed by the night before, Amanda retreated rapidly, claiming a tradition of beach Christmases that could not be broken.

Several hours later, Amanda was lying on the beach, listening to the waves roll up towards her feet, sipping occasionally on her pina colada, and amusing herself with the fanciful idea that Matt was her Santa Clause, giving her the ability to live again. She was even considering that just possibly next year, she'd spend the holiday with her family when she heard the voice.

"I'd really rather not have Christmas dinner alone tonight; would you be willing to join me?" And as Matt settled into the beach chair next to hers, a new Christmas tradition was born.

Flash Fiction 16: An Exhausting Night

hahaha so a bit of a deviation from my usual style. I'd be curious to know what you think!

As always - thanks for reading :) Enjoy!

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An Exhausting Night:

Dinner was late. Again. And the stupid pet kept trying to steal my food, one paw swoop @ a time. Really. Civilized creatures shouldn't have to put up with such behavior.

The door to the outside was shut again -- a suggestion that I should stay in for the night. But that's something pets do, and I am not a pet. So I jumped up and hung off the door handle and it opened easily. I left it open behind me so I'd be able to get back in later.

I darted out into the shadows between the house and the bushes and paused there, deciding what to do next. First drink, then food. There's a mini-human in the house next door who left perfectly good milk out on the porch. I got up and helped myself to a drink, but had to leave quickly when the mini-human opened her door. The first time I was so absorbed in the sweet milk I let her come outside. That was a mistake I'll never make again. Spent the night trapped in that prison of a house being chased by not only her but three other mini-humans who if they caught me would squash me, or pull on my tail, or carry me around -- sometimes even upside-down! How undignified. And their door had one of those round handles not meant for paws. I couldn't get out. Had to hide until morning and dart out with the big human. Never again. So now I drink what milk I can and leave.

After my thirst was satisfied I warmed up with a quick dart up the tree. I wasn’t really trying to catch those birds of course – if I wanted to, obviously I would’ve. I just wanted to make sure they didn’t get too comfortable in my tree.

I hopped out of the tree, landing lightly and stalked across my yard. A simple leap landed me on top of the fence, which I paraded along to the complete frustration of the pathetic dog that lived in the other yard. Outside all the time and could never figure out how to open the gate. I vanished into the next yard just as I heard his owner open the door to yell at him and force him back inside. Mission accomplished. You’d think one of these days he’d be smart enough to keep his mouth closed. But then, we’ve already established he’s not the smartest critter on four legs. With him gone I was free to enter the yard and eat the remains of his dinner. Way better than mine. And I wasn’t forced to share.

I left his yard and began the long hike across town. Had to stop to avoid the obnoxious drivers who clearly didn’t understand that I had right-of-way. Was not amused at that. Chased a mouse, but it let it go when it turned off my route – after all, I had more important things to do.

And then, I was finally there. But the door was closed – no way in. I prowled around. A leaf blew in front of me so I pounced on it in frustration. And then I backed off and crouched down waiting for it to move again. When it did, I was ready. Caught it mid-air and batted it all around. The wind caught it and carried it up, but I was ready for that escape attempt and quickly climbed up the tree to catch it on the top branch. But as I did that, I saw it. The open window, not even five feet away. There wasn’t even a screen to claw through. An easy leap. I crouched down and wiggled my hind muscles in preparation for the jump, but then I paused. Was the window really open enough for me to fit through? It would be really undignified to hit the window and fall. That would be stupid pet behavior. And I am not a pet. But I wanted to be inside. I lowered myself, prepared, and leapt!

And of course I made it in no problem. An easy jump for an expert such as myself. I casually licked the sap off my front paws and made my face presentable before heading into the depths of the house. I listened carefully; if the people heard me, they’d throw me out. But they had long since gone to bed, so I was free to explore.

I was silent as I searched the house, and finally I found her. All curled up, asleep, on the softest of furs. I huddled down and pounced. A rude awakening perhaps, but she rebounded quickly. The two of us chased each other around the house with no thought of the noise we were making till one of the people yelled. Quickly we crouched backwards in separate directions. She paraded out where she could be seen, tail high and fluffed, and the human realized his mistake. Who was he to yell at one as brilliant as she? The human slunk back into his room, clearly ashamed at his behavior. She came back and rubbed her scent against mine. And really, the rest is absolutely none of your business.

Far too soon it was time for me to leave. Going out the window was far easier than coming in had been. I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I hiked home. And was glad that this time the car understood that it had to get out of my way, although I was rather puzzled that it chose to go up the curb to do so. Such a loud and unnecessary noise. Foolish driver. I avoided the dog’s home; the food was gone and he’s no challenge to my intellect, so why bother? Besides, it’d been a long night and I was tired.

Finally get home to see they’d closed the door. The door that I’d purposely left open. I was not amused. I howled my frustration but they failed to respond in a timely manner. Stupid humans. I was forced to lurk around my own home until one of them left in the morning. I stalked by, refusing to acknowledge them, making my annoyance known. They sometimes have to be reminded to show me the proper respect. At least she remembered to give me my gourmet snacks. I have her well trained to feed me every time I deign to return.

I climbed up to my room and was pleased to discover they had done a decent job of preparing my bed for me. The blanket was nice and flat, all stretched out and ready to be kneaded into the perfect position. It took me a moment or two to get it exactly perfect, and I was finally able to relax. Leave me alone now; it was an exhausting night.

Sherlock, after an exhausting night.
The photo that inspired the story.

Life is too short for traffic.

Could somebody please explain to me what was going on with traffic this morning? I understand it being a nightmare yesterday -- I didn't even try. But this morning it was clear out, the roads were clear, and it should've been a normal drive in. But no, stop and go the whole way. And in a standard car, this is not fun :(

There was exactly one place in my trip where it would've been possible to drive faster space-wise and that was the only place on the drive where the road was ice rather than water. And it was scary ice, so I was all for the 10km/h there -- as was almost everybody around me. No snow tires on yet and my car was sliding all over the place -- but only on that one section. Which goes to show the rest of the road was just fine. So why wasn't it going anywhere?

Ugh. Took me 2h to get in. Literally. Was not amused.

So yesterday was interesting. Got to the barn, got all tacked up and ready to go. Si was high and bouncy -- she'd been in all day, it's cold out, and I haven't done anything more than exercise her all week, so yeah a bit of bottled up energy there. So she's bouncing but I just wasn't in the mood to deal w/ a bouncing TB. You know, some days you just don't want to deal with it. So let's identify options. Put horse away before anything negative happens. She figures it's the shortest workout ever and I make sure the ride is over before the battle begins. Ok, except that it doesn't help said horse burn off steam or further training in any way shape or form. Option 2, get off and lunge. Work her properly, but (since she lunges really well) in such a way that I don't have to work nearly so hard to deal with it. However I was just frustrated enough that I realized this wouldn't likely work either (for me, not her). Go for a hack. Usually my favourite option. But oh yeah, nowhere to hack, it's dark, and there's a blizzard out. Blah.

So I look around the ring hoping for inspiration. Finally decide if Si wants to run and play, why not let her? Bring her in, take her saddle off, detach the reins, and let her go. Oh wait, I've trained her to stay with me when we walk around the ring. hahaha and she's very good at that. So she waits patiently beside me while I tie the door shut, then I back up and tell her with my body language that she should go. So she canters a perfect 20m circle around and around and around. Well, I told you she lunges well. hahaha was very impressed that w/ a very slight movement I could get her to change direction and she cantered said circle the other way. But this was not the point of the exercise so I stepped off the circle line and directed her down the long side, where she went, looking over her shoulder the whole way, clearly puzzled about this change of plan.

Change the game a little, went beside her and started to jog, so she came with me, so started to run, and she got the hang of it. Afraid I lost that race miserably. *g* So we played the race game a few times and even over some fences (well pony went over, I went under or around :)

hahaha was highly entertaining and several benefits. The first (unexpected) is that running around the ring for half an hour trying to keep up with a thoroughbred is a reasonable cardio workout, so I was feeling *much* better by the end of this. The second is that I haven't seen her really move freely since the day I very first saw her, starving and unfit, in the field I got her from. I'll tell ya, she looks like a very different horse now. And I discovered my horse can TROT. Like really trot. Like float around the ring trot. I have yet to experience this under saddle of course, but now I know she can do it. I was thrilled. And the power. Gallop, halt, spin. No problem.

So somebody else wanted in the ring, and I was very impressed that when I told Si the game was over and she should come to me instead of run away the way we'd been doing, she listened. And stood perfectly while I put her tack back on. And after that warmup was super nice and supple when I rode her :) Led to an amazing, if rather short, ride :) And so once again "it's supposed to be fun" wins out.

Might be interesting to see how today goes :)

If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused.

So had to laugh at myself this morning (it’s so easy to do!) Was up late last night and as I was drifting off thinking “wow, only 4h till I have to get up again,” I realized there were two things I HAD to do before I left for work that I would never remember in the morning (mornings are not, shall we say, my best time of day. Unless they’re spent curled up in bed!) and one that had to be done at work the next day that I was afraid of forgetting. So like any reasonably intelligent rational adult I got up and made myself write a list. And because I’m still really a child, I wrote the list on my hand.

Fast forward 5h (you do recall the alarm was going off in 4 right?). So I finally clue in to the fact that the “once” I hit snooze was really 5 times and I was nearly an hour late so fly out of bed, see the things on my hand and the first two are easy. Get them done no problem. The last? All it said was “plug”. Wtf? What does that mean??? But I did remember that whatever that third thing was, and it made sense to me in the middle of the night, had to do with work. And therefore it was *not* important that I remember it in my flight out of the house.

Now fortunately for me, since I know that getting up and leaving the house is never an easy task, I tend to leave extra time for these items. Like an hour to drive 40 minutes, or half an hour to groom and tack up my horse – which I can easily do in under 2 if I have to :) So I was able to make up the “hour late” reasonably easily with only a minor degree of the frazzles and a few minor items (shower anybody?) getting lost in the shuffle. Personal hygiene is highly overrated anyways. Especially when one’s first stop is the barn. And there's no need to make a lunch when there's junk-food to be bought!

So I go ride my horse (more on that at Graduate Riding School) and still no idea what “plug” might refer to (adding a link to my business blog? Oh wait, not *that* type of plug. I don’t think!). And on the drive to the office, I’m staring at it thinking “what was I thinking???” I don’t confound myself often – it was not an experience I’d really care to repeat! And I’m evaluating it thinking “well it could be ‘play’. It looks like plug, but given my handwriting and the fact that it was dark AND my canvas of choice, it could be play. And play makes so much more sense! But wait. Why does play make more sense? Play doesn’t make any sense at all really. I know it had to do with work. I have a meeting this morning, was it something for that. Oh, I have to call in and get the guys to do something before I get there…” You ever heard of train-of-thought writing? Well that last paragraph is why it’s generally a waste of time *g* That and that most people I know (or @ least most people I *like*) think significantly faster than they can write. Hahaha

Anyways – I was amused by this. It reminded me about something completely unrelated that I was able to call into the office about, and I *did* eventually decode the mystery message, and even did so before I got to the office where the answer would’ve been obvious. Hahaha plug was indeed the word of the day, and the reminder was simply to bring said plug home so my notebook would have a chance of functioning this weekend. I know, rather anticlimactic eh? What can I say? MLIA.

Flash Fiction 15: Please Don't Tell

So the challenge this week was to take somebody else’s first line and write a story off of it. This was by ReyOLight on the Editor’s Unleashed forum. Rey’s Blog here if anybody’s interested :)

My fairy godmother was neither a fairy nor a god. In fact, she was a rather cranky old hag. Just don't tell her I said so.

You'd think helping people out would be part of her job description -- or so I always did anyways! But every time I'd call her, all I'd get is a lecture. "Do you think wands grow on trees?!?! I'm a busy woman, what makes you think I have time for this? There are starving children in Africa!" I never understood what starving children would've had to do with my dream date for the prom, but even as a teen I knew better than to question. Wouldn't want to be turned into a pumpkin!

My fairy godmother (or FG as I secretly referred to her) appeared at the strangest times in my life, always when I felt no need for her and never when I wanted her. That dream date? Never happened. My wedding? I begged for her assistance, but she was far too busy. She had time to show up for the open-bar though! And let me tell you, a drunk FG is a scary FG. But don't tell her I said so.

But on the birth of my first child when I was exhausted and completely astonished and happier than I could imagine, she was there. And truth be told, not entirely welcome. But don't tell her I said so.

One day after hitting rock bottom in the business world and being told, yet again, that she wouldn't help me, I lost it as I never had when I was a teen. FG seemed just as ready to explode. "You think this is an easy job???" she demanded.

"Well yeah,” I rolled my eyes, behaving as childishly as I sounded, “You get to travel the world making people's dreams come true. How is that bad?"

"And how about when to make people truly happy, you have to leave their wish unfulfilled. The ONE thing they want, that you know they are better off without. What do you do then? How do you do your job without being a cranky old hag?" I blushed. I couldn't help it. Instantly utterly appalled at all the horrid things I'd ever thought of her. And I thought back over my unrealized dreams. The date I never had with the guy who ended up cheating on his wife; the wedding that brought me back together with my mother when I had nobody else to turn to; the company I started when I couldn't find anybody to hire me... None of which would've happened if FG had granted what I'd begged.

I’d like to say that I smartened up and began to behave like the adult I was, but really, I’m human. I still asked for things and got huffy when FG couldn’t bother to help me, or was snarky in her response. But as time went on, she annoyed me less and less, until one day FG didn't seemed either old or so cranky. But please don't tell her I said so.

MLIA

So Anonymous comments have been turned off (sorry Jen) due to increasing amounts of spam *sigh* Anon comments can always be emailed though to lauren*cude.net (replace * w/ @)-- if you want me to post them for you as such, I will :) Cause mostly, I love to read them!

Saw 2012 the other night and have to admit was fairly disappointed. I didn't think a disaster movie could be boring, but that's what it came down to. Poor form.

I found this site http://mylifeisaverage.com worth a minute or two's amusement. Random little amusing snippits of anybody's everyday-average life. ie) Today, I pressed the Diet Coke button on the soda machine and out came Skittles. I'm confused but not complaining. MLIA

Today, I came down stairs to find my new step son (who is 23) having an epic lightsaber battle with my six year old daughter. I wish I was his biological mother. MLIA

Today I took a mock German exam. On the front it had written, "When the question is finished, you will hear a beep like this (*)" I'm still wondering what an asterik sounds like. MLIA

Today, I asked my dad to sign a permission form for a field trip. He signed it Donald Duck. Apparently he's been signing my permission forms for years using the names of fictional characters. Neither me nor any of my teachers have noticed. My dad just got a whole lot cooler. MLIA.

Ok that's enough of that :) hahaha but it's a good timewaster. Some are fun some are stupid and all too many I can identify with. Time to go write some flash :)

The Bouncing Wheel of Death

Had a good laugh at work today. One of the guys did something that should've been unremarkable but was in-fact remarked on (I think it was that his shoelaces matched his shirt or something entirely random like that). So the comment was made about "oh yeah, he's just showing us all up" to which the immediate response in just the right tone was "it's what I do." hahaha well made me laugh anyways :)

Still have not even started Friday flash. Looking like it may be another midnight delivery. Ah well :)

Ok so on to the real reason for the blog. Awesome lesson today. Sienna continued her superstardom (yeah us!)

First question of the day "so what did you take away from last wknd?" -- ummmm how long've you got??? hahaha But I picked the most immediately relevant items (including "smarten up" hahaha which basically to me translates as pay attention and actually *ride* the horse, esp on the flat).

Flat work was good. Some work on me, some work on pony, end result was pretty solid. Some conversation on the concept of you do it, you do it right, or you do it again. Which is one all my students will be familiar with, but I admit I'm sometimes lazy about when goofing around on my own. Actually that's not even true, I always insist she do it right, but when I'm on my own what becomes acceptable as "right" might not technically be as good as it should *g* Basically it came down to "no goofing around". *sigh* So much for "have fun" eh?

Anyways then we moved on to (and here's a surprise) cavaletti. hahaha Which Si was a super-pro through (yeah practicing for 5 days straight!) hahaha our audience got a good laugh out of her attempts the first night. But now she's pretty well got the hang of it, so all went well there.

I had a pretty little course set up so I hoped around that a bit to warmup and again she was quiet and civilized about the whole process. So then ready to start working.

Well now some of you may have read my notes about Day 1 @ the symposium. Some of you may have read about the "advanced" exercise of a bounce on a circle the prelim/int guys were doing (for the non-eventers out there, think these horses are trained to the 3'6"-4' competition level). The exercise I did *not* teach my horse this week as I deemed it entirely too advanced for the superpony give that I can count on one hand the number of bounces we've done (although she *is* pretty good @ the wheel of death I will admit).

Yes so of course that's the exercise of the day. *sigh* And my coach makes some comment about his using somebody else's exercise as if this was poor form and I'm thinking yeah -- that's kinda the point of going to these things is it not? hahaha

So anyways - he sets up the bounce on the circle. And we're going away from home, on the difficult lead, on a 15m circle, at the canter, slightly reved because we'd just been chased by a tree.

hahaha ok minor insert here because I understand that last line might need some explanation *g* There's a fake tree in the middle of the ring that one of the other girls dragged in the other day to make her course more "scary". That day I had her put it on the ground so Sienna and I could jump it (somehow nobody else was willing to try that :). Anyways, needless to say it didn't last lying down very long after we left, so today it was decorating a jump. Well the jump it was decorating was being turned into a bounce and my coach accidently knocked the tree over as we were heading to a jump beside it (still warming up at that point). And that itself would've been ok except that then he felt the need to drag it somewhere, pick it up and shake it. hahaha and by now it's directly behind us -- this scary tree dancing around making noises. Needless to say Miss Si accelerated just a little. hahaha I am really looking forward to the days we can depart the XC start box @ speed! But for now, that's not really a skill we needed to master. And *that* was our last fence before starting this exercise. Sheesh.

Ok interlude over. Given the setting of: almost no bounce experience, difficult lead, away from home, 15m circle, at canter, and a *little* frazzled after the tree issue, was not perhaps the *best* approach ever for a green horse. N yeah, the first time she stopped. And you could just feel her total and complete confusion. Wasn't bad or malicious, just "I don't know what to do!" So we waited there while my coach dropped one side of the first vert and we could kinda climb over it and hop the 2nd one out. Ok, try again, this time in trot so she has more time to think about it, with that one side still down. Not pretty, but she did it :) Continue in canter, no problem. Not exactly bending hahahah (and by not exactly I mean not at all >;-P) but had the general bounce concept down. So it went back up to being a vertical and around and around and around the wheel we went. Eventually we got so that we were jumping it calmly, bending (and you thought keeping your bend over ONE fence was hard >;-P) and in stride. Woohoo! And I've never done that exercise before so was entertaining for me too. Not too often I get to try something I've never done before - glad I at least *saw* it done this wknd so I knew it was possible *g*

So then we change direction. And as most everybody who's ridden a horse more than oh once knows, this means you're starting over. But this time -- we're warmed up, going towards home, on the easy lead, and long since over the tree incident (first TB I've ever had w/ a good recovery time for emotional issues :). We had some steering issues this way and far more difficulty holding the bend. A couple times ended up jumping in and out of a 4' space (yikes!) and often straightened on the last 1/2 stride. But in the end we got it. And we got it perfectly. Like I'm talking textbook. Knees up around ears, beautiful bascule, dead centre, held the circle line all the way around, right bend, etc etc etc. I was pretty thrilled.

Discussed afterwards with my coach about the fact that she's only done bounces once or twice before in the summer, and basically (as I suspected) he thought she'd done a lot more of it. The response "oh, well she's pretty smart then". Classic. Reminds me of the first clinic I ever took Zel to where the day before we went we did our fist ever bounce and the 2nd exercise of the day was two bounces in a row *g* And then jumping fences on angles which she had never done. hahaha Si @ least has *that* skill down! But sometimes you just have to do it and see what happens. So far I've always gotten amazing results from that.

She was so good though. And I loved that she didn't get frazzled by it. Like w/ learning shoulder-in the other day -- a little confused, but willing to try and figure it out w/o any form of meltdown. I've started *many* greenbeans (let's be honest, it's pretty much all I do), and I've ridden my share of the super-spinny, the willing but over-enthusiastic, the drama queens, the a-little-slow-but-tries-hard, the entirely-too-smart (these are usually my favs for entertainment value, but they're also at times the most challenging), and everything else you can imagine. But I've never had one like this who just stops and thinks about it, and then goes about it like there's nothing to it. And part of me is wondering how much of it is her age (she's 5 n half, almost out of her teen years, whereas I usually back them @ 2 and start them at 3) and how much is her personality. Cause if it's age, I'm thinking nobody gets broke before the age of 5 *g* (yeah not really, cause most 5 yo's are too strong for me to want to be just starting! but good in theory). And if it's just personality I got super-lucky :) She's certainly not the smartest horse I've ridden (those who knew Zel and Sugar -- esp those who knew them when I was starting them! -- will understand that). She does have to stop and think about things. But once she gets it, she's about as honest and willing as they come. And I'm starting to think that's worth an awful lot. I'm willing to give her time to think if in the end I'm left with a horse who can and will jump anything in front of her confidently. Methinks that's worth the time in the beginning. I'm a little concerned I'm getting spoiled though! I won't know what to do with the next normal greenbean! hahaha

A Life Well Written

So the challenge was to answer "Why I Write" in 750 words or less. This is where I'm going with that. Any suggestions?

------

A Life Well Written

A child scribbles "I love you Mom" on paper - his first written sentence - bringing her to tears. And so he learns the power of writing.

A teen texts "I h8 u!!!!" to her boyfriend, effectively ending her first relationship. And so she learns the power of writing.

A homesick, first-year university student emails home to Mom, ostensibly asking for money (the only valid reason to write home of course!), while really asking for a connection with the familiar. He is already vaguely aware of the power of writing.

A soldier, fighting injustice in a far away country, writes poignantly of his experiences so those at home can understand what he hopes they'll never experience.

A young woman agonizes over her scholarship application letter for graduate school. She knows her future depends on her writing.

With love, a young couple writes their wedding vows -- words they'll forever honour.

With pride, a man writes his newborn son's name on the birth certificate.

With courage, a woman writes her resignation letter so she can follow her dream.

In tears, a man writes the eulogy he'll speak at his mother's funeral before the hundreds who loved her.

With hope, a woman writes her granddaughter's first birthday card.

With happiness, a man writes his goodbye speech for his retirement party.

With youthful excitement, a woman writes invitations to her 75th birthday party -- which she intends to enjoy as much as her 21st.

But in the end, all that remain are words written in stone.

And I? I write because I live.

The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time. - Shaw

So it occurs to me this blog has been going for over a year. Who'd'a thunk it? By this time last year I was in NC. mmmmm warmth. hahaha it's deviated somewhat from its original purpose but what can I say? Is this way more interesting or less? Was thinking about that the other day -- when the blog started it was all about life @ Denny's - aka training and riding horses. Now fair enough there's still a *reasonable* amount of that, but the longer articles get bounced over to the GRS site. This makes room for things like Flash, and completely inane babbling. But I know most of the people who participate in Flash have blogs entirely for fiction. And there are blogs for riding (although not as many as you'd think!), and writing, and cars, and computers, and everything else you can imagine -- but all the ones with regular readers and writers worth reading seem to have a focus. And sometimes I think I should refocus this one -- but then I figure the eclecticness of it is kinda the point :) And it's definitely more fun. And if it's not fun, why do it? hahaha not a bad life philosophy eh? Not sure it's really working out for me, but I'm certainly enjoying my disaster! There's also a challenge in making the every-day readable. To me, it's just life. Why would anybody want to read it? So I figure the challenge is to write well enough not to have to say "you had to be there". Unless of course it involves Nicole and a horse show. For those moments well, you really had to be there *g* The only down side to this system is it's only one way -- my friends know what I'm up to, but they don't always seem to realize I don't have the same option to know about their lives! *hint hint*

Speaking of the randomness of this blog - I have no idea what to do for Flash this week. The next logical "chapter" isn't much fun as a story in its own right... So may just skip a few chapters and write something later in the story. hahaha we shall see... One week left of Jezi and friends and then... who knows? Certainly not me!

Have had absolutely amazing rides the last few days. My horse has been a total pro. Even in dressage >;-P hahaha somehow I suspect our superstardom will come to an end approximately 10 minutes before my coach walks into the ring on Fri. But we shall see. Started introducing shoulder-in today. It was really hard for her, but by the end I was getting a couple true steps and when I brought her out of it was SO connected. Wow. Only in the walk of course but what I really liked is she stayed focused and chilled. No meltdown or hissy-fit in sight!

So Kerri's promised me an adventure on Sunday if the weather is civilized. So let's hope for sunshine people :) I want to go play! And of course have something to write about :) Laur's life philosophy 2 -- live a life worth writing! "worth" is entirely up to one's own definition of course. hahaha

One of these days I'll write my notes up from Day 3 of the clinic. Might not be till the wknd, but it will happen eventually :) Day 3 wasn't nearly as interesting (for me anyways) as the first two, so you're not missing much. hahaha

My blog got spammed today but it was a post I wrote months ago that got hit. Just seemed really rather random. Have to admit I'm glad that's all it was though!

Ok I think that's quite enough babbling for now!

I hung up my bridle today

Have to post this here too. Didn't write it. Wish I had. Get out the klenex.

---

I hung up my bridle today
Kris Garrett

Yesterday, for the first time, I was too tired to ride
Yesterday, for the first time, I was afraid I would be hurt if I was thrown
Yesterday, for the first time, I heard someone say my barn was too shabby
Yesterday, for the first time, I let someone tell me I was too pudgy to ride
Yesterday, for the first time, I realized I was old
Yesterday, for the first time, I had to face that I could no longer keep up
Yesterday, for the first time, I had to let go of my dreams
Yesterday, for the first time, I felt my heart break
Yesterday, for the first time, I turned my back on my friend
Yesterday, for the first time, I knew I was done

Today, for the last time, I felt warm, braided leather in my hands.
Today, for the last time, I ran my stirrups up so they wouldn't bang my mare's sides
Today, for the last time, I released the buckles on the girth and watched my girl sigh
Today, for the last time, I slowly dropped the bit so it wouldn't hit her teeth
Today, for the last time, I gave my mare a cookie to thank her for the ride
Today, for the last time, I buried my head in her soft, warm neck
Today, for the last time, I inhaled the sun and the dust in her long winter coat
Today, for the last time, I closed the gate and trudged to the muddy porch
Today, for the last time, I tracked hay and horse hair into my house
Today, for the last time, I pulled off my boots and felt the sting of warm blood returning to my cold toes

Today, for the first time, I cried after my ride
Today, for the first time, I felt my hands shake as I set the saddle on its rack
Today, for the first time, I hugged my young trainer a final goodbye
Today, for the first time, I waited for the new owner's trailer to arrive
Today, for the first time, I set my boots in a box to go to the Goodwill
Today, for the first time, I sighed at the wear on my riding gloves
Today, for the first time, I had no hay in my hair
Today, for the first time, I did not hear nickering when I opened my back door
Today, for the first time, I felt worse leaving the barn that I did when I entered
Today, for the first time, I had no one to check on before going to bed

Tomorrow, for the first time, I won't have to buy hay
Tomorrow, for the first time, I can stay in bed longer
Tomorrow, for the first time, I won't see the poop pile grow
Tomorrow, for the first time, I won't be able to fly on four legs
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will be sorry I listened
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will regret letting her go
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will be angry at God
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will be angry at myself
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will cry the day away
Tomorrow, for the first time, I will be glad to die

Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will awaken in tears
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will know I was wrong
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will defy all the judgement
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will ignore my old bones
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will return the buyer's check
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will bring my friend home
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will take my boots out of the box
Day after tomorrow, for the first time, I will be reborn

For the rest of my life, I will have a horse in my yard
For the rest of my life, I will ignore the cruel judging
For the rest of my life, I will watch the poop pile grow
For the rest of my life, I will have hay in my hair
For the rest of my life, I will track mud in my house
For the rest of my life, I will bury my face in her soft neck
For the rest of my life, I will let my soul fly
For the rest of my life, I will never be alone

Day 2 of the National Coaching Symposium

Day 2 of the National Coaching Symposium today :) XC and gymnastics.

So I find it interesting how my three “rider responsibilities” (that’d be Pace, Path, Position) and Denny’s (Speed, Balance, Impulsion) are combined almost all accounted for in David’s list of five (to review: direction (path), speed (pace/speed), rhythm, balance (balance), timing). Position by the upper levels is assumed so I can forgive it being cut out :)

Was highly amused this morning, I got there immediately behind David and George who were walking in together. And being gentleman, David held one door for me and George the next. Yes that’s right – the best in the world held the doors for me *g* hahaha ok so I’m easily amused what can I say.

I soooo wish I could’ve had little Si in the first couple groups this am :) And maybe other groups in 3 or 4 years *g* hahaha Was really interesting overall though, and as with yesterday all the details are on the GRS Blog

Cheers!

Fun and games with the best in the world

George Morris, Ingrid Klimke, and David O' Connor. There aren’t too many bigger names than that. Putting all three together for a three day clinic? Not to be missed. For those foolish people who *did* miss it – my notes from the day are on the GRS blog. Not nearly as exciting of course, but maybe worth reading :)

For the fun after effects, read on :)

Alright so you spend all day watching Ingrid Klimke, and David O' Connor make amazing changes in horses and riders through seemingly simple exercieses and really, can’t help but be inspired.

Anyways – after the clinic was over I of course headed out to see Sienna :) Can we say cavalletti? Hahaha and what did I learn? I learned my incredibly athletic horse can canter on a 4.5’ stride. >;-P Yeah that wasn’t exactly the intent, but it was seriously impressive. One of these “I almost wish I didn’t have to correct this” moments because it was calm, incredibly collected and more balanced than I’ve ever felt.

The cavalletti were set w/ alternating sides on the ground (4 of them). Walking through them was no problem, trotting lead to several times through in canter, but changing direction got her to trot through. Once she had that I could trot through it either way, although getting even, rhythmic strides took several tries.

Then I took it down to three and made one of them straight across. This took a couple tries but eventually she pulled it off. And I was so impressed. She was quiet, relaxed, thinking about the puzzle :) She never got frazzled when it didn’t work, just made it better the next time until she had it perfect.

And as one can imagine – her dressage after that was just about the best we’ve ever done. Hahaha I’ve had other coaches advocate jumping before dressage to, but that’s the first time I’ve seen a dressage clinic start out that way and it worked unbelievably well for Miss Si (not a surprise since she’s *always* better after jumping, what was a surprise was how calm she was about the whole thing).

Anyways – I was pretty thrilled.

As a random note, I was somewhat amused to discover that a lot of the phrases that I attribute to my coach specifically are apparently a more wide-spread German thing than just him :) I discovered this because Ingrid uses the exact same phrases. Totally disconcerting to hear from her voice :)

Oh and my group lessons next week – you’re definitely trying the drill ride idea :) hahaha should prove entertaining!

How can you be so short sighted as to have no impossible dream?

"Here's the box," Jen says drawing a box in on the paper menu in front of her, "and here's Laur," she adds a stick person way off as far away from the box as possible. One of my favourite lines ever -- actually occured at dinner one night, although for the life of me I can't remember what spurred it. And I was thinking about it the other day after writing my deleted post. Am I really that far out of the box, or do I just want to be?

I have so many seemingly impossible dreams, and I go about doing everything I can to achieve them (you can't imagine how frustrating that is some days. Unless, of course, you're doing the same thing! Anybody???). Is this a case of I never grew up and really should accept reality as it exists? Or is this a case of if you have to have a dream to achieve it? My reality isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it's also nowhere near satisfying. Is this the entitlement generation talking? Or is there something to be said for wanting more?

My friends all seem to have managed to grow up. They're mostly in reasonably secure relationships. Some have children, others have pets (some would say they're one and the same!). They have normal adult jobs where they go to work and then come home to spend time with said relationships, children, and pets -- not to mention any hundred other hobbies (cause let's be honest, any of my good friends are insanely busy -- probably too much so to read this!)

And me? Well that just doesn't seem to happen... We won't go the relationship details. All I can say is "how to lose a guy in 10 days" isn't even remotely a challenge. >;-P I definitely have my fair selection of pets -- and they're all incredibly independent since I'm never home. I have a job that I generally enjoy (if not for the fact that it eats so much of my time!) but it's not one that's ever going to go anywhere or that I even *want* to go anywhere. It's just a way to pay the bills in an environment that's fairly entertaining (I really don't think you could have a better office job). I have another job that I LOVE that does not pay the bills yet I insist on doing it anyways. A horse who I'm enjoying but is probably never going to the top. Basically thoroughly completely horrifically average. And if this is totally normal, why am I not happy with it? This is what I don't understand.

Some of you may have read my "30 things" list -- and I actually intend to do them. But you can see from that some of the less-than-realistic aspects of my thinking. But I *did* @ least pull off the 5k goal! Yeah me :) Is it sad that that was easier accomplished than a shopping expedition? (Stephy -- you have to come home and help!) And there goes that box again...

Anyways -- that's enough of that.

In totally unrelated news - stumbled upon this in a blog I read occasionally and *really* liked it, so figured I'd repost. By Michael Solender on his "not from here, are you?" blog:
---
Numerology
I dropped the tablet containing Ten Commandments.
It shattered into nine tiny pieces.
Eight people came to my assistance.
It was the seventh day of the month.
I had a sixth sense about the moment.
In five minutes we had reassembled the dictum.
Four millennium of beliefs fragmented.
Three tribes of Moses documented the word of God.
The words, they seemed, directed at only two.
One day - maybe, I'll understand.
---
So that was included for no reason other than I thought it was brilliant and wanted to share.

Ok well I have to be up stupidly early tomorrow to go to the coaching symposium so I must go pretend to sleep... Have a good one!

My PC has swine flu :(

So my machine got toasted with a nasty virus last night. But smart -- very smart. N much as I was thoroughly not thrilled about it (and eternally grateful to Bev for spending her day at home repairing it for me!) I have to admit a twisted amusement at what it did.

So first off, it opened a million windows very quickly -- each one evidently downloading its own evil worms and by the time I got it crtl-alt-dl'd the damage was done. Next time I use machine it is running very slowly and making strange unhappy noises. And you thought machines didn't have feelings!

A few minutes in a very official looking window pops up with "viruses detected" showing corrupted files etc and "download virus protection here". Now knowing fully well that this is *not* my virus checker saying this I ignored that and attempted to close it. Nope, wouldn't close. Good ol ctrl alt del again and it went away. Only to pop up again 15mins or so later. *sigh* But yeah -- points for creativity. And on top of that, it blocked access to all the standard virus checker websites AND caused my virus checker to crash every time it got to 99%.

Ugh. And how did it sucker me in the first place? A link, from a younger facebook user whose spelling and grammar is just as bad as our evil hacker link, with a title of stuff she would send on any given day, that I really didn't think twice about clicking on *sigh*. Fortunately when evil virus replicated itself A) almost everybody on my friends list who received it realized quickly that I would never post something written quite *that* poorly and ignored it as spam and B) Facebook itself froze my account. THAT I was impressed by. I got an email from Facebook (which of course I ignored figuring it was spam) but when I tried to sign in it told me my account was frozen because it seemed to be attacked and how to reactivate it. Which I was thoroughly impressed by because it was a non-onerous process and meant all my friends didn't have to pay for my stupidity.

Lesson today was one of my all-time fav exercises. 5 fences. One at X (jumping from A - C or vise-versa). 2 outside lines with fences just shy of the corner letters. So you end up w/ an X of jumps with one at each point and one in the middle. Course rides outside line, diagonal, diagonal, outside line. A hunter course really >;-P Well if not for the fact that every one of your diagonal lines are jumped on angles. All about holding your line etc. Always been one I've found entertaining. Today there were good moments and not so good moments, but generally was ok. Si's done it before but never inside (where the turns are a whole lot tighter) so it wasn't entirely new to her. Flat work was a bit of a write-off though. Boo. Have to get back to DQ land! At least to visit :)

Followers topped 30 people today!!! Woohoo :) Yes it's the little things in life :) But I was excited :)

Flash Fiction 14: The Survivor

And so continues the month of one story... To any new to this, it really will make far more sense if you read the previous editions :)

For those new or interested the story begins here: Knowing
Part two is available here: The Next Step
and part three: The Watcher

Thanks for reading!

---
The Survivor

Jezina followed in silence throughout the morning. She was tempted to question Kale, but knew he'd never deign to answer. Jezi decided she'd go with him to the village and then venture out on her own; surely that was all he intended anyways. It was a four day hike to the village, and as much as Jezina had been apprehensive about traveling alone, she wasn't at all sure Kale's presence was an improvement.

She was glad when they finally stopped for the day. He'd set a pace she'd found exhausting, and since she didn't have to be anywhere for a specific time, she couldn't see any reason to push herself to keep up with him. Perhaps that was the easiest thing to do -- tomorrow she'd simply walk slower and enjoy her travels and Kale could go wherever he was going without her. Problem solved.

As disturbed as she was by him, Jezina was surprised to discover they worked reasonably well together. With no obvious communication it was decided that Jezi would set up camp while Kale scavenged for food. When he returned the fire was going and her bedroll unpacked -- she wasn't brave enough to touch his, even to help. They ate in silence. Jezina shivered, the warmth of the fire not nearly sufficient to overcome the chill of the watcher's gaze.

Several times she started to make conversation but his countenance was such that she froze before the first word was uttered. Defeated, she silently cleaned up the remains of their meal, rinsed briefly in the nearby stream, and curled into bed for her first night on the road.

Hearing Kale shifting restlessly in his sleeping roll, Jezina's less charitable side smiled a secret smile. Beds in the village where Jezi had grown up were nothing more than wood slabs raised off the ground -- often with hard knots in them. To her, the soft moss on which she now lay was luxurious. But to one accustomed to the feathers and foam Jezina had experienced over the last few months, the ground would be uncomfortable at best.

The next morning Jezina awoke in a great mood. Refusing to be cowed by the watcher's intimidating gaze, she took her time gathering berries for breakfast and leaves for tea. She could tell Kale was impatient to be off, and half of her hoped he'd be impatient enough to leave without her. She didn't want a fight, just an enjoyable journey, and that was unlikely to happen with him continually glaring at her. Her manners were ingrained enough that she made enough breakfast for two, and the devil on her shoulder was active enough that she asked "sleep well?" all too innocently as she handed it to him. The temperature only dropped a fraction of a degree at his silent reply and Jezina tried to convince herself that meant she was getting used to him.

Kale finished breakfast rapidly and was up, clearly ready to be off, while Jezina dithered about randomly taking her time, while trying to appear constructively busy. Finally Kale sat down with a sigh -- the first sound he'd purposefully made since they'd left. "I'm not leaving without you," he stated. For the first time since she'd met him, Kale addressed Jezina directly. She looked up at him, her initial surprise that he was speaking to her overwhelmed by his eyes. They were no longer the deadly cold gray she'd come to expect from him, but rather the palest of blues. Convincing herself it was merely a trick of the light, Jezina jumped on the opportunity to ask what she'd been trying to since they'd left.

"Why not?"

"I have no choice," he said bitterly. "You're the survivor," he all but spat the word out as his eyes chilled once more. A trick of the light.

Jezina looked at him uncomprehendingly, torn between telling him to just leave her alone and wanting to know what he was talking about. "I'm what?" she asked, thoroughly lost.

"From the woods, none shall return.
When the white-haired survivor approaches, the watcher must serve her.
She is the only hope."

Kale recited the memorized prophecy in a monotone while Jezina listened incredulously. A hand unconsciously drifted to her snow-white hair. She found it hard to believe that nobody outside her village had pure-white hair – it was the most prevalent colour in her village.

Her mind quickly flipped through the rest of the prophecy. The watcher. Ok so that was a little too eerie and she couldn’t argue with it since she'd been mentally calling Kale that since the day she'd first seen him; a name she'd never said aloud. She had a moment's fear that he could read her mind, but with a quick glance at him, shrugged that off as highly unlikely. But the survivor? She had survived the woods sure, but only because Elder Kesa had helped her. She shuddered at the memory of that horrific night. She hadn't done anything particularly brave or interesting, she'd just run away. Hardly something that would qualify her to be the only hope. And the only hope for what? She was having enough trouble getting herself to the village!

"You're insane." She stated emphatically, almost believing it. "Who are you to assume the prophecy refers to us? Rather full of yourself aren’t you?” she said with a nastiness born of fear. “And if you're really convinced you're this watcher, then perhaps you'd better get back home and watch for whomever else comes out of the woods! You could be missing her right now." Jezina rolled her eyes at him and stalked off in an attempt at a dramatic exit, determined to dismiss his tale. Yet deep inside, knowing what she knew of her village's history if nothing else, she feared there might be a ring of truth to the words. She could feel his icy eyes on her back as she marched away. If she hadn't been so aware of him she would've missed his barely whispered comment as he followed her:

"The prophecy is nearly five thousand years old, and all that time we have watched; over the years, it faded to the realm of family myth. But how do you dismiss a myth, when she walks up to your door?"

The post that is so not worth reading

*edited cause it didn't pass the 24h rule* :) You're welcome!

Awesome since the beginning

So that came up in conversation @ work today about something completely unrelated but it occurred to us that'd make an awfully good tombstone. hahaha I mean really, what better could be said about you than that you were awesome since the beginning :)

Ok so I'm easily amused, what can I say. I am also exhausted. Man this is sad -- a couple late nights and I'm completely toasted. Where did the days of 4h sleep, go all day, rinse and repeat for months on end go? I NEED those extra awake hours. Life's just not long enough to spend so much of it asleep. sheesh. Ok end of rant.

And last night I had the entire next chapter of Jezina's adventures written in my mind, but didn't get up to write it down because I was convinced I needed more than said 4h sleep. And now it's lost. Tried to rewrite it this am and it was complete garbage. Am not amused. hmmm guess it wasn't the end of rant after all eh? >;-P

hahaha alright well off w/ me. Later!

Royal Adventures

Had a TWO-lightbulb lesson this am. Was absolutely amazing. One on the flat and one over fences. Oh and I discovered my pony just might be able to jump the moon *g* Anyways that story was getting very long, so it got its own post on the GRS blog. Enjoy :)

Made it to the Royal twice this year. Tons of fun as always. The official GRS field trip was on Sunday to the Rodeo of all places! hahaha mostly cause that was the day that worked best for people. Tons of fun :) Kinda had a train-wreck appeal to it. haaha That and childhood memories watching the pole-bending. I used to love that one. And the pickup races which I was never very good at but always entertained by *g*.

Wednesday was more about the social aspect than the show. Watched some jumping and some dressage but generally wandered around and visited w/ everybody I randomly ran into. Jess who I seem to see about once a decade, who groomed for me once-upon-a-time when I was in highschool -- that was pretty kewl. Lots of people I rode with in era x, y, or z that I only see a whole lot less than once-in-a-blue-moon now. Some who are still wherever I left them and others who've moved on to new and exciting things.

Having a lot of fun w/ flash this series. New for me to publish a "chapter" (for lack of a better word) at a time -- without having even the slightest idea where the story is actually going! hahaha the story as I knew it, ended at chapter one. But the character didn't want to be written out so another one sacrificed herself and here we are. Gotta luv it eh?

Work is insanely busy. I'm basically living @ the office now *sigh*. And with that note. Back to work with me!

Flash Fiction 13: The Watcher

Since last week it was almost midnight before I posted, this time I thought I’d try and get my story out on the early end of things :)

Continuing Jezina’s story again (the goal is all of November). Tricky cause of course what do you do after hanging on the cliff? It’s not a question I usually have to answer in 1000 words, but I do if the story is to continue. Whose foolish idea was this November project anyway? *g* hahaha ok enough silliness. I hope you’re enjoying my story – all suggestions and comments welcome.

For those new or interested the story begins here: Knowing
And part two is available here: The Next Step

Cheers!

-------------------------------------------------------
The Watcher

Jezina cautiously followed the young girl into the house, with a shy glance at the kind looking woman and the intense man beside her. The young girl signed rapidly, clearly excited although Jezina didn't know if it was because of her, or if she was always exuberant. The older couples' gaze was cautious but welcoming.

Following the girl deeper inside, Jezina found herself in what was clearly the heart of the house. The huge open space had wooden floors covered with knit rugs in multicoloured designs -- far more colours than the dyers in her village had ever produced. The stone fireplace housed a low fire, with a cooking oven next to it whose scents indicated it was in use. Jezi's stomach growled the instant she noticed, much to her mortification. Fortunately nobody seemed to notice.

But then the warmth faded from the room and suddenly it seemed large and intimidating. She surreptitiously looked around, trying to identify the change, and when she looked up to the loft above, the one she had seen earlier was watching. The look in his grey eyes was one of pure hatred and froze her in place.

The young girl effortlessly broke the tension, speaking to him. His response to her was terse, but at least he looked away from Jezina who quickly moved out of his line of sight. The woman appeared in the doorway and led them all to a fairly small kitchen which was not huge, but had shelves entirely lined with food. So much food for only one family. Almost as much as they'd have in winter stores for her whole village! Jezina was astounded and tightened her stomach muscles to stop her stomach from reminding her again that it had been a long night and was well past breakfast.

The woman handed her a plate and gestured to the food, but Jezina hung back, unsure of what was appropriate to take or expected of her. The young girl again solved her dilemma by bouncing in front, randomly tossing a variety of items on a plate and gesturing one-handed motions that Jezi didn't entirely understand but interpreted to mean she should follow. As she did, she felt the watcher’s cold gaze on her once more, but refused to acknowledge it.

Jezina spent the day with the woman Dalone and her daughter Riley. She helped with their chores and Riley quickly appointed herself language coach and patiently spent endless hours working with Jezina. The man disappeared for the day, and while occasionally Jezina felt the cold eyes of the watcher, mostly he stayed away and she started to relax.

Invited to stay, the days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and Jezina found herself adopted into the family. One quiet night Jezina confided in Dalone about what had happened the night before she showed up in their yard; the night her life changed forever. And Dalone held her while she cried. After that, she was simply family. To all but one. Nobody could or would tell her why Kale despised her, but it was clear he did. Never would he speak with her, and always he watched.

Eventually the day arrived when Jezina knew the time had come to move on.

"I still don't like the idea of you going off alone." Dalone told her, worrying. Jezina laughed "I'm only going over the hill," she reminded her.

"Yes, well you came from over the hill too," Dalone stated with a glance in the other direction, justifiably concerned. Jezina paled briefly at the reminder.

"Yes but this time we know what's on the other side." she stated with a confidence she didn't feel.

"Jezi will be fine." Riley reassured her mother. "After all, she knows how to sign now."

"Learned from the best!" Jezina said with a grin at Riley.

"Besides, she has to go so she can bring me back a new hat!"

"The whole reason for going really," Jezi joked.

"Maybe if we knew why you were really going?" Krage asked seriously. But Jezina couldn't explain it to them, just as she'd never been able to explain her need to cross the wall. She had come to love these people as family and she hated that she was hurting them by leaving. She'd never felt so welcomed, and yet she knew she couldn't stay. Dalone worried it was because of her son's behaviour, but Jezina realized that even without him, she would still eventually have felt the need to move on – even as part of her longed to stay.

"Karge I'm sorry. It's just something I have to do." Jezina said, tears sparkling her eyes as she met his glance. "Besides," she said trying to force the laughter back into her voice, "Riley really does need a new hat!"

She looked toward Riley to share the long running joke, but Riley had turned unusually serious. Standing where her mother couldn’t see her, she signed furtively, “Remember, he doesn’t hate you.” Before Jezina could question the unusual message, Kale’s abrupt arrival behind her put an end to the emotional goodbyes. There was no way she’d risk tears in front of him.

“Don’t worry Mother,” he said, his tone as cold as ice. “She’s not going alone. I’m going with her.” And with barely a passing glare at Jezina he picked up his bag and hers and headed off up the hill. Jezi shot a panicked glance at her new family. Dalone was clearly surprised but not entirely unhappy. Krage looked resigned, and Riley looked absolutely thrilled. Jezi shot a questioning look at her, but before she could say anything Krage spoke,

“You don’t want to let him get too far ahead,” he said in warning. Sure enough Kale was setting a pace she’d have trouble keeping up with. And so, questioning her sanity, Jezina left the family she had grown to love, to follow the man she was slightly terrified of.

Happy Birthday Paula!!!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear Paul-la,
Happy birthday to you!

Hope it's amazing!!!!

In celebration of your birthday (since you're too busy at school to celebrate >;-) I went and had the most amazing ride! hahaha I know you appreciate it *g* You would've enjoyed that one :) (that story's on the GRS Blog.)

And now I'm off to fun and games at the Royal :)

Cheers!

Flash Fiction 12: The Next Step

Ok so since I really don’t have time for Nano this year, but I’m very disappointed about that, I’ve decided that during the month of Nov, I’m going to do mini-chapters for Flash instead that are pieces of the story I had hoped to write for Nano.

This one follows immediately on Knowing -- my second flash fiction attempt.

Enjoy! And as always, comments very welcome!

. . .
The Next Step

Jezina lay where she had fallen. Frozen. Afraid even to breath. She had no idea if she'd been seen or heard, and she promised herself that if she was discovered she would not scream. She would not have that be the last thing Denaf and her friends in the village ever heard from her.

A hand clamped tightly over her mouth causing an instinctive primal fight reaction, but the one holding her was stronger. "Jezi, quit it!" the voice hissed. The combination of her nickname and the fact that her attacker apparently didn't want to be heard either was sufficient to break through Jezina's blind panic. The hand over her face softened when she stopped struggling. "When I let you go, slide backwards twenty feet silently. There's a log there you should be able to fit in. Once there, stay completely still until the forest comes to life again, then count to two thousand. If all sounds as it should crawl towards the moon until you reach the edge of the trees, then run until daylight."

Jezina turned to look at the woman she'd always considered a mentor. Her eyes conveyed both her panic and her gratitude. "Go," Elder Kesa whispered. "Live well." the standard parting took on new meaning this night as Kesa turned her back on Jezina, calling to the others as she approached them, "I don't know what you heard. Whatever it was is long gone now." Jezina used the sound of her voice as cover to slide to the recommended hiding spot.

She focused on her breathing. In and out as quietly as possible, but the pounding of her heart sounded like an off-beat drummer. Entirely too loud and too fast; she was sure they'd be able to hear it. And so she let her mind drift. Trying to think of happy and relaxing times -- playing with Denaf as a child, or learning to pick herbs with Elder Kesa. And yet each memory brought her right back to the present as her entire history was wrapped up in the people who would, given the chance, ensure she had no future.

A foot stepped right in front of her log. She held her breath and closed her eyes. If I can't see you, you can't see me -- a child's way of viewing the universe, but in Jezina's terror she wouldn’t risk that whoever it was would sense they were being watched. She waited until the foot moved away, only seconds but time felt interminable. She exhaled slowly, as quietly as possible. She could hear voices -- it would seem they were dividing up the body of the kelah. With a sickening heart, Jezina realized what the "sacred meat" was at the Kreis festivals. A celebration of life, giving thanks to Aliah any time a kelah visited. Jezina's body wanted to wretch violently, but survival instinct kept her still and silent.

The elders left with the body of the traveler whose only crime had been to cross the wall. None of their conversation had lead Jezina to think they suspected there was another in the woods that night. That one of their own had crossed the wall. But the forest remained eerily silent and remembering Kesa's instructions, Jezina remained hidden. Sure enough, several minutes later Jezina heard a leaf crunch on the nearby trail. Somebody following behind, she knew not why. She did not even want to know why.

Before too long, night sounds returned to the forest. A hoot of an owl in the distance, the scurry of tiny feet through the underbrush, the occasional bird sound telling Jezi that normality had returned to the night. After counting very slowly to two thousand, using the internal chant as a way to focus and stay calm, Jezina hesitantly crawled out of her log. Feeling very exposed, she froze, understanding for the first time what it meant to be a prey animal. But knowing she couldn't stay there, and recalling the explicit instruction to crawl rather than walk, Jezi slowly and painfully made her way through the night towards the moon.

It was a long crawl. The forest seemed endless and the trail non-existent. The moon had all but set when Jezina reached the edge of the forest. Her hands and arms were all cut up. Her wrists and back screaming from the unusual effort. But Jezina ignored all that and got up and ran. She knew it was only a short time before her absence would be noted and knew also that she needed to be as far away as possible when that happened.

She found herself going up a series of rolling meadows. Tricky to run in as the grass was long and tangled her already exhausted legs. Each time she crested a hill it was to reveal another one. Just one more, she told herself, forcing her legs to keep going. She only knew that she had to keep going. Where was irrelevant. The sun was rising behind her. It would be warm soon.

As she crested yet another hill she was greeted by the strangest sight. She figured quickly that it was a dwelling. But rather than being made of clay and thatch like those in her village, the material used was transparent and seemed to soak up the rising sunlight. It was strangely welcoming, but Jezina was hesitant, unsure as to whether she should approach.

The decision was made for her when the young boy ran out to the yard. He saw her and before she could react, he had alerted the others in the home. Within moments there was a woman in the yard with the boy. She was followed shortly by a man who rested his hand on her shoulder and a girl, apparently a few years older than the first child. Jezina could also see another young man, nearer her own age, behind the clear wall but though his eyes met hers, he did not deign to acknowledge her, choosing instead to turn and disappear deeper into the dwelling.

The woman called to Jezina, her words in a language Jezina had never heard, and while her tone was welcoming, Jezi was very hesitant about approaching. The woman spoke again; the words had a different sound to them but still she could not understand. Jezina held her hands out in front of her, palms forward, fingers down, in the formal greeting of a traveler. It was a sign she had never thought she'd have reason to use, and wasn't entirely convinced she'd done it right. But the girl started signing rapidly in response. Too rapidly, Jezina's basic grasp couldn't follow what she'd said. The woman seemed to realize this and spoke to the girl who then signed two simple messages slowly. Welcome. Enter.

And so with equal measure of fear and hope, Jezina crossed the transparent wall.

I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well.

So we're moving offices at work -- all the way down the hall. hahaha and yet somehow it's just as chaotic as if we were moving to a new town. Will be appling my completely non-artistic painting skills to the walls after work tomorrow. hahaha

I've failed miserably at Nano. I was sooo excited about it this year but absolutely no time. Could somebody please remind me next September when I start randomly deciding to sign up for a wide variety of courses that Nano is in Nov and I need to leave *some* time free for that!!!! Please! This is the THIRD year I've missed it :( Booooo. Even worse that I actually had a plan for this year (far more than I usually do!) and the sticky notes were stocked. *sigh* But I can count on one hand the number of evenings I have available to write this month and methinks 50K is just not going to happen in that amount of time...

Went to pilates class the other day. Now to put this in perspective, I haven't done *any* exercise outside the barn since spring, and haven't done pilates since I lived in Brampton. I survived though -- better than I'd expected. What I was amused by is that the instructions I got from that coach were almost identical to my riding coaches in the whole "relax your arms and shoulders". hahaha one of these days I'll get the hang of that.

As far as riding goes -- Si was awesome @ the dressage show. Super calm and brought home 3rd and 4th. Woohoo :) I've also come to realize recently that she seems to completely reflect my moods. I've never had a horse do that so intesely before. I mean obviously if I'm tense or frustrated they're going to pick up on that (Zel's reaction was usually to buck me off :) but this one... If I'm tired, she doesn't want to go faster than a walk. If I'm spinny, she's bouncing. If I'm tense... Well I just don't get on her. The last couple days I was grumpy and she met me with pinned ears. Thinking back since I got her I can think of so many times she's reflected my emotions -- or who knows, maybe I'm reflecting hers :) I've never entirely believed in any of that, but Sienna seems to be very patiently proving herself. hahaha and on that note -- she's going to have the weekend off because I decided she needs a break since she seems kinda lethargic lately -- but now I'm wondering if she's not the only one *g*

Anyways -- have some random time-killing silliness to share... Enjoy :)

So I just had to share this as it's way too close to how I feel most days:

(hmmm so the css is going to kill that -- but it'll be legible once I write another post :) The strip itself can be found here http://www.xkcd.com if you're interested. Geeky humour mostly but what can I say? If you go, make sure to sit your pointer over the comic to read the alt tags :) And while we're on the geeky humour trend -- for any who've spent time in grad school (or are planning on heading there): phdcomics.com You're welcome!
My mum sent me this link and of the strange and unusual positions vehicles can find themselves. Gotta admit in many cases the caption makes the photo! Enjoy :)

Stupid *should* hurt.

So it was one of those days where self-doubt kicks in in a big way and I wonder what the frig I'm doing teaching people to ride when clearly I can't do so myself *sigh*. Now I realize that's just the devil on my shoulder and when Si does super-well @ the dressage show this wknd I'll be all happy again, but still -- for today, that was there.

Warmed up beautifully, but almost as soon as we started to actually work, things fell apart *sigh* There was really no connection on the flat. She was high and stiff and sticky and coming through just was not going to happen. Would've been a good day for a hack.

So we start to jump. Wheel of death w/ the jump at X (approach from E or B) and as I'm warming up over this, another fence is put just after H and just after F - both on angles. So the wheel has spokes -- several strides between going one way, 3 or 4 going the other way. And the center jump became an oxer (not huge by any stretch of the imagination).

Sienna was still high. Bad memories of our usual jumping methodology from several months ago. As I type this I realize that this shows how far she's come, but at the time it was just "how did we regress so far so fast?" and I know logically it's cause she hasn't jumped in a week and is feeling pretty full of herself, but after crappy w/u and knowing I wasn't riding particularly well, logic doesn't jump to the front of the thoughts.

So we're jumping around and I'll tell ya, 3 of the 4 ways of approaching that center one were no problem. But the 4th??? I couldn't see a spot if it were barking and sitting on a fire truck. And one time was particularly horrendous and led to us entirely demolishing the fence (a first for Sienna) and me sitting on the ground next to the wall (not a first for me!). hahaha Is it sad that that's the *second* time this week a coach has suggested to me that if I'm going to fall it'd be better not to do so next to a wall?!?!?! (to be fair, I didn't actually come off the first time!) Anyways wrenched my shoulder and banged my ribs up a little but not seriously hurt anywhere but my pride *g* Was a definite example of stupid should hurt though. I rode like an idiot, and I paid for it. Fortunately my pony, while a little disturbed by the whole thing, was uninjured. So we jumped around some of the easy stuff an tried it again. And again. And again. And eventually got the whole figure 8 working. Got to the point that Si was jumping really well and I, well I wasn't causing any harm. So we stopped there. But really, I never got my act together. Blah.

Did have to laugh though as in the SAME lesson I got told "to jump this horse, your position has to be perfect." And "you can't be perfect, and trying to be is detrimental to your riding." hmmmm tricky! The reason for the first is that she's tiny and incredibly responsive, so every slight movement makes a huge difference to her. The reason for the second is by aiming for the impossible, you continually set yourself up to fail, and then stress because you're failing, and so things get worse. Both make sense. Hard to apply both at the same time though! Aim for perfection; tolerate excellence. That's my compromise :) Unfortunately didn't even come close to either today but now that I'm done typing this, today will cease to exist and the world can go back to functioning the way it should!

Hunting Recap - Christopher Kerr

As I've mentioned before, I'm always interested to see how other people view the same events I do... At the same place, at the same time, but somehow the stories are never exactly the same... So today we have a guest blogger! This blog follows the Of Foxes and Facebook post and is written by Chris Kerr -- the highschool friend of mine who invited me (and a friend) to go hunting last weekend. We had an amazing time and he was amused enough by my post to write a response... So here it is! Enjoy!

----

It was soooo much fun having you guys out last week. Having read your take on the day on your blog, I thought I should respond in kind :)

As you said, I had my reservations about the day myself. The weather was not looking good all week and I thought I was sticking my neck out a bit by inviting someone that I hadn't seen in years and whose riding I could only vouch for by reputation. That, compounded by the fact that you were bringing someone who I didn't know at all and would be riding borrowed horses for whom I would feel responsible made me wonder what on earth I had been thinking when I extended the invite. To make matters worse, we weren't meeting at the same place. I know Tracy would look after you fine, but it removed the option of me changing my mind if it turned out that I was out of my mind by inviting you.

Kris picked me up early on Sunday and we made our way to the meet thinking we were running late. It turned out that we were right on time and drove by Dave's farm just as you were arriving so at least I knew you had made it out ok. We got to Cornerstone farm in plenty of time and were among the first to arrive. I tacked up, got dressed and generally fussed about for a bit saying my "Good Mornings" to the Masters and assembled riders/car followers. Once people had started to mount up and make their way over for the stirrup cup, I began to get worried as you guys hadn't shown up and the field would move off sharply at 11. I decided I would hack down the road and meet you guys en-route. It turned out that you were just about there by this point and I felt much better finding you both happily mounted and well turned out (as pompous as it sounds, that was a HUGE relief for me. I brought a guest once before who didn't have proper riding habit and "tried their best" to look the part. Ughhhh)

After a brief welcome from the masters and the hosts, the first flight took off across the XC course while the hounds drew the woods in behind. I was happy that you both agreed that, at this early stage at least, discretion was the better part of valour and we followed the first flight down the road. As you mentioned, Paynter was a "bit" high and dancing around pretty good, but clearly no more than you could handle. Charlie was, of course, perfectly well behaved and clearly not going to be an issue. I had my doubts about Paynter however. Once horses and riders were settled, I think we made the right decision to move up to the first field. After the first run, I could tell by the ear-to-ear grin on your face that you were going to have a good day and since by this point we had left Jenn/Charlie well behind, I did a quick circle back to check on them. Jenn seemed to be doing fine and was happy riding towards the back of the field and in good company so I left her to enjoy her ride, though I did check back on her from time to time throughout the day.

I don't need to re-iterate the details of the days riding as you were there and I couldn't recount it any better than you, however you missed a good run at one point. After the coyote was viewed across the field with the hounds in full cry, there were the moments of confusion as the field were at a loss as to which way to go to get in on the run. You chose the high road and followed the field over the stiffer fence into covert, where I ran back down the length of the field to the smaller coop where we had been checked moments before. I had some idea where the hounds would come out and opted to take the faster run through open country intending to get to the other side of the covert first to see the hounds come out. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a bottleneck at the fence when I got there as it had been knocked down a bit and had a large hole in the near face that was causing a number of horses to refuse it. Once everyone got out of the way, I put Fergus over and took off around the fields. The footing was as good as any that day and the 5 or 6 who followed me had a fantastic run of a mile or so to the check by the cornfield where I met back up with you. By the time we got there, the hounds were head up (lost the scent) and after the remainder of the field caught up we headed off.

At this late point in the day, there were not many of the field left (I still don't know where/when we lost them) and while I will never vote in favour of calling the day, I will admit that I had had enough and was not at all disappointed when the huntsman blew for home. The mile or so of serious power-trot that we had on the road heading back to the trailers was a bit much on the legs at that late point in the day, especially since we chose to take in the XC course that we skipped on the way out, so when we got in I was very happy to dismount and stretch a bit. It was over 3 1/2 hours start to finish which is a long day, even for those of us who hunt twice a week. A friend often carries a GPS to track the total distance covered but he was not out that day so I couldn't even guess at just how much ground we covered, but it was a lot.

It was a shame that you guys couldn't make it back up to the house for the breakfast. Hunting is as much a social activity as it is an equestrian sport and the food is always fantastic, not to mention how much I enjoy my post-hunt gin and tonic.

In closing, you guys were fantastic guests and I hope you had as much fun as I think you did. You were lucky to have picked that day to come out. It was far and away the best day of the season (So far, at least. The season isn't over). The weather was great, the field was large and the sport was good. Not much more you can ask for in a hunt. You are both more than welcome to come out again (and invite friends).