Here there be dragons...

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

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 :)