Jul. 5th, 2011 07:33 pm
elegant_bonfire: (fox hunt)
CocoaLatte, taken by Ben Phillips

cocoa latte by ben phillips

This photo was taken by one of our jumper riders, who is also an excellent photographer, at last year's Horse Shows By The Bay up in Traverse City.
elegant_bonfire: (Default)
Well, I've decided not to go to the con after all. I did get Friday off from work, but my car is showing a disturbing tendency to overheat when I'm idling waiting at a traffic light or such. I could take the bus, but that takes about 2+ hrs as opposed to driving so I wouldn't have all that much time over 1 day anyway.

The icing on the cake is that two of my riding students have asked me if I would be available over the holiday weekend to pick up extra lessons. So it comes down to taking the more responsible path of staying home to make money, instead of leaving and spending it. ;)

I'll miss seeing all my fannish friends, of course, but I've had to miss MWC before, and I can sign up for next year.

crap, my LJ paid account expired, and I don't have any money on my VISA until payday. (cash all over the place, but that doesn't help). That's what I get for not checking my e-mail more often.
elegant_bonfire: (bonfire)
Two of my lessons cancelled yesterday and it wasn't too cold so I saddled up River, my favorite school horse, and had a little ride....I actually managed about 1/2 hour before my hip locked up and the pain got excruciating. I was riding around with my feet out of the stirrups just to stretch my legs out, and my hips aren't even vaguely symmetrical any more. Back in the 90's I had huge crash off Bailey, she stepped on my back and kicked me in the SI joint. It didn't seem that bad at the time and I got right back on, but I think my back took chong from the tong more than I realized.

I'm gonna ride good old River a few times a week now that the weather's nice and see if I can get loosened back up--when I do get on my hands and my seat are right there, I don't even have to think about it, so if I can get my legs working again I might have a shot at really riding again.
elegant_bonfire: (Default)
What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Northern. Whether you have the world famous Inland North accent of the Great Lakes area, or the radio-friendly sound of upstate NY and western New England, your accent is what used to set the standard for American English pronunciation (not much anymore now that the Inland North sounds like it does).

If you are not from the North, you are probably one of the following:
(a) A Southerner who hates Southern accents and tries really hard to "talk right"; or
(b) A New Yorker or New Jerseyan who doesn't have the full accent

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

I got Inland North, which is to be expected since I'm from Michigan. I've had some people at cons ask me if I'm from Canada, so I must have some cross-border creep in there too.
elegant_bonfire: (Default)
Have been very busy here, but just wanted to add a quick post--

First, for all my animal-loving LJ friends-please send some prayers/karma/good wishes for my kitty Monk---(also in icon)


He is going to the vet's tomorrow to have all his teeth pulled out, as he has a disease called feline stomatitis. My vet is an awesome surgeon-she's performed some minor miracles on my rats-but I always get worried when one of my critters has to be anesthetized, and Monk has a minor heart murmur, just to make things more challenging. He'll either be home Friday night, or will stay the weekend if Dr. Leis wants to keep an eye on him.

Other than that, all is well--am very busy w/my jobs, although the riding lessons have slowed down a bit around the holidays, which is typical. I only have three lessons scheduled this afternoon, don't really mind that today as I had some respiratory munge over the weekend and lost my voice completely for a couple of days. I can talk now but I'm still croaky.

Really like working at Home Depot--the people there are fun and there's so much still to learn about the place I don't see myself getting bored with it anytime soon.

Well, off to get ready for lessons (extra clothes and a down coat-our indoor arena is not heated!)
elegant_bonfire: (fox hunt)
Back in the 80's, when MTV actually played music videos, there was a John Mellencamp video that I had a vague memory of--it was about farmers, at the time when a lot of small family farms were going under and being lost.
On Christmas day, on the way to dinner with my family in Frankenmuth, the local classic rock station played the song, which was as good as I remember, so I looked on YouTube to see if the video was there, which it was.

It's just as powerful and haunting now as it was back then.

elegant_bonfire: (appropriate fandom icon)
I'm not a fan of Eminem, but his song "Love The Way You Lie" has been stuck in my head since I heard it, so I looked up the video on YouTube--lo and behold, look who's playing the violent, tattooed main character in it. LOL.

elegant_bonfire: (bonfire)
Those of you who know me well will know that I'm not a fan of breed-show/Quarter Horse type stuff--too many sour horses and riders who sit like lumps in the saddle or are afraid of their own horses. This, however, is absolutely incredible! I sat and watched it about 5 times in a row.
The mare looks happy with her work, her ears are up, and this rider has a seriously good leg position and balance. It's also the first time I've ever seen a reining rider in an English saddle, too. I'd bet she's ridden some sporthorses along the way. Really qualifies as a "goosebump ride".

elegant_bonfire: (Default)
We only allow you to sleep in this bed, puny human.


Teeters is ready for chilly weather!

Perched on their kitty condo/scratching post. (Also a good rat-watching spot)
elegant_bonfire: (Default)
But the cats in this video look like they're part squirrel/rat!

elegant_bonfire: (Default)
This commercial was only broadcast one time- I never saw it until my friend Nan linked it. I got to see some of the Budweiser horses this spring, and they are every bit as magnificent in real life as they are on TV.

elegant_bonfire: (ohmy from HVRR)
This cracks me up. ;) (and yes it has subtitles)

The little guy is called a "Southern White-Faced Owl".

Okay then.

Jun. 21st, 2010 12:04 pm
elegant_bonfire: (the fuck?)
Week before last I fell off a horse. Last week I tripped working in my garden and faceplanted in the backyard. (Which hurt more than coming off the horse, btw, since I twisted my back on the way down.) Maybe this week I should just make an appointment to fall down the stairs or some shit.


Jun. 7th, 2010 12:20 pm
elegant_bonfire: (bonfire)
So, I went to MediaWest, saw my fannish friends, had a great time. A lot of the folks I only see once a year at the con, so I always try to get there for a day or two at least. (Luckily I live pretty close--it's 104 miles from my house to the con hotel.)

After the holiday weekend, I went out to the stables last Friday to take my second lesson. It was awesome, Nan helped me work on my position in the saddle and getting my feel back. I have a tendency to lean to the right, so about 3/4 of the way through the lesson, Mocha and I were just walking along and I felt like I was really right-leaning. I looked down and the saddle itself was sliding off to the right. I tried to stand in the left stirrup to get the saddle back over to the center of the horse's back, but it was too late, the saddle slid sideways off Mocha, and we parted company. The worst part was it had rained for a few days prior, and when I got up my back was all muddy LOL. Mocha, God bless her, stood stock still as soon as she realized she was losing her rider and waited for Nan to come over and get her. Another reason she's an awesome horse. (Some horses would have freaked out and taken off bucking and kicking.) After I dusted myself off, I got back on and finished my lesson--I had a sore muscle in my back the next day but by Sunday I was fine. Shit happens.

While I was at the barn, Nan was getting ready to leave for a horse-buying trip down to Kentucky for one of her clients, and she was worried about her kittens in the tack room. Someone had dumped a pregnant cat at the farm >:( and Nan figured she'd have the mom spayed after the kittens were weaned, and several of the barn regulars have already said they want a kitten. Well, on Wed. or Thurs., mom cat disappeared, and the kitties are only about 3/4 weeks old, so they were having to be bottle fed. And Nan didn't have anyone lined up to take care of them while she went to Kentucky. So I said I would take them home and foster them--they are currently in the bottom 'apartment' of my giant rat cage, I only have 2 rats right now and they're in the upstairs unit. The little kitties are starting to eat, so I can leave a dish of soft food mixed with kitten formula in the cage between bottle feedings, and they're fine overnight that way. They're starting to get the hang of using the litter box, too, so they're doing pretty good. (And they're not pee-soaked so I don't have to wash them all the time.) I can foster them until the end of this month, but I'm getting my Cornish Rexes sometime in July, so I have to help rehome them before then. Nan says some barn clients are interested, but I'm going to try to talk her in to letting me take the ones who aren't spoken for to the local cat rescue, as I can't see them being able to survive in the barn until they're much older. They'd be easy pickings for a raccoon or coyote, or the barn dogs would play too rough with them, they'd get under the horse's feet, etc. They should be really adoptable, as they're beautiful for barn kittens--a blue-cream tortie and white, a blue tabby, a cream, and two light red and whites. They are a lot of work though, and have confirmed my desire to adopt mature cats, for sure!
elegant_bonfire: (bonfire)
At the end of April, I helped out at my friend Nan's schooling show (she's a riding instructor and runs a sport horse farm). In exchange she said she'd give me 2 half-hour lessons, as I really want to ride again but I need someone coaching my position etc. as it's been about 6 years since I've been on a horse.

Yesterday I took my first lesson--I'm glad it was only a half-hour, because that's about all my legs could take! (Doesn't matter how much one works out at the gym, only riding horses uses all the relevant muscles at once.) Last night I was sore from the point of my hips all the way down to my knees, but I was quite pleased that I am hardly stiff at all today, which bodes well for getting back into riding shape pretty quickly.

The horse I rode is really neat, her name is Moccachino, she's a 4-year-old Percheron x TB (though Nan thinks she might actually be Percheron x Standardbred, as if she gets too unbalanced at the walk she starts pacing a bit). She's 17 h, and based on her breeding may actually grow another inch or so. The cool thing about her is that even though she's young, she's very steady and calm--at one point some horses in the field next to the big jumping ring started tearing around playing, and I reflexively tensed up, anticipating a big spook (old habits die hard LOL), but Mocha just looked at the horses for second, like "Oh well, silly things", and kept going. The tough part of the ride is that being only 4 and somewhat green, she's still unbalanced, and keeping a 17hand, 1600 pound young horse straight and forward can be kind of like riding a freight train.

The coolest part of it all, though, is that Mocha's owner doesn't ride her very much, maybe once a week, and the mare, being young, needs a lot more flat work than that. So Nan told me I can come ride her any time I want! Yay, I have a horse to ride again!! I'll need to stock up on the glucosamine and MSM though, cause holy crap was my bad hip locked up when I got off yesterday. :( But I have a horse to ride again, and a really impressive one at that!!
elegant_bonfire: (short bus)
The Cost of Driving a Car
[Source: Auto Insurance for]
elegant_bonfire: (banjos)
Well. I started out in Census training as an enumerator, one of those people who go house to house to contact everyone who didn't mail in their forms. During the training I got picked to be a Crew Leader Assistant, which entailed going to all the nightly enumerator meetings to help our section's Crew Leader check paperwork and time sheets and make sure everything was correct, and also go out in the field and do enumerator evaluations if the CL asked me to. Then our Crew Leader got offered a permanent job the first week we went out in the field, so he recommended me to our Field Operations Supervisor as his replacement, which FOS guy approved.

To make a long story less long, I am now a Crew Leader, which is a 7-day a week full time position. I have a meeting at noon everyday with the FOS and other Crew Leaders to hand in paperwork and discuss problems, etc., then I have to meet with my enumerators and CLs every night at 8 to get their time sheets, field paperwork, etc. I don't know when the whole operation will be done, but if it runs through Memorial Day I most likely won't be able to take the whole weekend off. (I didn't ask yet, as one of my philosophies is that time off is not the first thing you ask about when you take a new job!) If I have to work that weekend, I'll at least try and go down for a day, as I really want to see everyone! But I'm making some sizable bucks at this job, even thought it's temporary, so I certainly don't want to blow it off.
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