Thursday, May 29, 2008


Damn I'm good.

My main reason to start this blog was just to have a place online (in case my laptop melts down) where I have a record of animal stuff - deworming, pictures, hoof trimming, etc. I am convinced that I can't be trusted to keep track of shit like that (mainly because I can't actually remember what happened last week.) But I've started noticing that I'm better than I thought.

Yesterday I started worrying in the back of my mind about whether it's time to deworm the house pets. Then I forgot. Today I remembered again, and I checked here, and whaddya know - it's been exactly a month. So today Cersei got her Iverhart and Promeris and the cats got their Advantage.

Also, cats are pretty amusing. While I was out this morning they knocked their scratching post off the desk. When I came home I picked it up and set it in the chair. They've been exploring it ever since. Familiar chair + familiar scratching post = Entirely New Structure!

Curtis has been eating some strange food lately. He's such a wicked little beggar that I'll usually give him a bite of my food when I'm done. In the last week, he's had oatmeal, raw cabbage, and whey protein powder drink. Pro tip: When The Internet says "cats are usually lactose intolerant," that really means "if you feed your cat some whey protein drink, he will hork it up in three different spots on your carpet within 5 minutes of consumption."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FHOTD nailed it

Ok, this is what I was trying to talk about the other day. Halfpassgal is an amazing rider. I think it's because she concentrates on riding instead of worrying about how she's about to die. I still don't quite have the words to explain my "shut up and ride" idea. Hmph. :-/

Also, I've ridden little Lily twice now! Jen let this yahoo ride her over the weekend, and I was like "wtf I can do better than him and I weigh less too" so I asked if I could ride her. Jen said yes, so... I sucked up and quit thinking about dying and rode yesterday and today.

Lily is a really well-gaited little horse. She's 2 1/2, which is younger than I like but not so young that I have to refuse as a matter of principle. She's a very quiet little mare. Very sweet, pretty smart, and just a bit spoiled. Yesterday was "you gotta go forward when I want you to" and today was "oh and you have to let me steer too." She is not real thrilled with being a grownup horse that gets ridden, but she doesn't hate it either.

In other news, studying for the bar is boring but I'm learning a lot.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Internet vs. Reality redux

I'm still thinking about yesterday's wild crazy ride.

Everything I know about horses I learned, basically, from two places: The Internet and my redneck friends. These two sources are pretty much diametrically opposed. I, personally, hang out somewhere in the middle.

Vet Checks
The Internet says you MUST ALWAYS get a vet check or you will end up with a foundered pregnant yearling with a torn suspensory. Rednecks look at a horse, determine if it's limping, check to see if it looks stoned, and buy it if they like it. Obviously, the truth is in the middle. Not all horses that aren't vet checked are going to be foundered or injured. And honestly, we don't all need Grand Prix level horses. Healed injuries, or unsoundnesses that only come out under extreme pressure, aren't dealbreakers for most of us.

The Internet is like a giant lawyer disclaimer, without the disclaimer language. Nobody wants to put up that one website where you say "Go ahead and buy a horse without a vet check if the price is right" because some idiot will read that statement, get hurt because of it, and sue / internet stalk you. But really, there's some ratio involved. What rational horse person who wants a light use trail horse would pay $200 for a vet check on top of a $400 horse? What if it's a $1000 barrel horse? Maybe. What's the magic number for the rational horse buyer? I don't know.

Barbed wire
Rednecks think barbed wire is cheap and effective. The Internet tells me that barbed wire and uncapped T-posts kill more horses than every slaughterhouse in Mexico. And rationally, I know that barbed wire is horrible stuff. Two of my own horses have gotten nasty cuts on their fetlocks from it, a horse at the barn is blind in one eye from a barbed wire encounter as a foal, and probably 80% of the horses I've met in my redneck horse owning career have some scars from the stuff. But it doesn't leap out and kill every horse that encounters it. My horses are eating grass right now behind a barbed wire fence, and I don't lose sleep over it. When I move them up from Como, I'd very much like to find a place with board or hot wire fencing... but if it's otherwise perfect, I wouldn't turn down a barbed wire pasture.

More (inhumane and controversial) thoughts later.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On fear

I think the secret to getting over one's fear of horses is to just do it. I mean, seriously, it just boils down to doing it, whatever the super-scary "it" is, and not overthinking it and getting paralyzed by it.

I'm not paralyzed by fear, like so many of my friends are, but fuck yeah I think some aspects of riding are terrifying. And I did so many of my own personal scary things yesterday. I just refused to think of the consequences and tried to enjoy the ride, and yknow what - I actually did enjoy the ride.

A group of yahoos headed out on their own trail ride a few minutes before we did. I really didn't want to ride with them, but James said it was fine. If we met up with them, we'd just pass them and go our own way. So I set the tone for the day by just trusting him. Turned out they'd left the property by the time we did, so we just went our own way from the beginning.

1) Foolish behavior in the road: James took Surprise and I took a very grumpy Rascal on a long ride today. We started off on a bad note - Rascal started hunching up and crow-hopping in the median of the highway. We got off the road and he kept doing it, so we both got off and James adjusted his bridle up a notch. It was definitely weird; we hadn't changed anything about his tack. The bridle fix seemed to do the trick so we headed off.

2) Road riding, esp. with shoes: We gaited on across the field and across the other highway and went up old Millington to get to the trails the long way. I posted about this route before - here's the google map of where Old Millington takes a bend but if you go straight you end up on the trails. I just sat balanced and refused to think about how much I hate riding on asphalt, with stupid metal shoes, with cars, past Horse-Eating Monsters. Monsters? Yeah, there's a couple of deadly mailboxes, then a lumberyard you have to pass, then a bridge, then a railroad crossing. It's lovely.

3) Muddy rutted trails at top speed: But we finally made the trails! Yay! Except that we'd had a thunderstorm about an hour before we saddled up, so there was standing water in all the ruts. And dear god the ruts, you've never seen such ruts. James is completely insane and he lead the way at a full on running walk through this maze of kneedeep water-filled ruts in the forest. I briefly thought about all those fragile ligaments in a horse's leg and then I just sat back and concentrated on not getting whiplashed by branches.

It was awesome.

Ten minutes in, I realized that neither horse was slipping like I thought. Two minutes later, I noticed just how much poison ivy was all around me. Oh well, that's what Zanfel is for. (Yes, it really does work and it's really worth the money.)

We rode upriver and I caught a lil box turtle for Stephen (but he didn't text or call me back so I let it go at the barn.) Then we went downriver and we tried to go out under Hwy 51, our normal way back to the barn. But the entire area under the bridge is still flooded, and it's snake mating time. We sat on the horses on a little bluff and watched the water for a couple of minutes before we saw a cottonmouth quietly swimming. So we turned around and went back the way we'd come in - back past the Monsters, across the highway, back to the barn.

When we got back in the field, we saw the yahoos headed back in. We all converged for the last bit of roadwork to get back to the barn. The horses were tired, but Rascal was still being a total choad. He wanted to GO and pass the other horses, so I let him - but then he broke gait and started cantering, so I pulled him back to a walk, so he got mad and started doing his baby bucks again. Oddly, it didn't scare me. It made me mad, but not scared. We got back on the property safely and I took Rascal in the arena to have it out with him.

He'd been a pretty good natured fellow for the week I'd been riding him, but it was clearly because he was letting me be a passenger. When James went fast, we'd go fast; when James slowed down, we'd slow down. Rascal's behavior had very little to do with what I cued him to do - he was doing what he wanted, which was to stay near "his human." And that was (and still is) fine with me. I know I'm not his human! But damn, the horse must respond to my cues. I'm the brains of the trail-riding team and we're going to die if he won't listen.

So we went in the arena. And Rascal was tired, but damn him, we gaited. Then we went out of the arena and past a Monster, where he spooked sideways. So we gaited, circled around the trees, and kept going past the Monster (some contraption of nailed-together pallets that sits near the arena) until finally Rascal would gait calmly past it. Then we gaited past his barn (dammithorsedon'tslowdown) over to my truck (gooooood boy), stopped, and I had him stretch out. Then I got off, told him how wonderful he was, untacked him, fed him cookies, and washed him off.

The whole ride should've been a lot scarier than it actually was, if you know what I mean. I just sat my ass down in the saddle, as correctly as I know how, and rode the horse. I didn't think about how we were both going to die, how I was going to die, how the horse was going to get horribly injured, or how I was going to look like an ass. I just rode. It was wonderful. I'm trying to hang on to that "shut up and ride" attitude.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More ridin!

Today I rode Tammy's $250 walking horse stud. He's black, 3, and has no papers, but he's a pretty good little guy. He really wanted to drop and holler at mares, but I informed him that if he tried it I'd kill him, so he behaved himself. He gaits, quite naturally! Not pacey at all, and he was only wearing keg shoes in the front. He tripped a lot, but he's a young TWH with shoes on; that's what they do. Doesn't steer worth a shit and doesn't rate his speed very well, but he doesn't buck or bite and he only cost $250. They got a steal. I hope they geld him, but I'm pretty sure they won't.

Then James came out so we went trail riding. I got to ride Rascal again and he rode SSB. SSB (Spotted Saddle Bitch) is Lily's half-sister, a black and white tobiano sabino (is there a stupid made-up word for that?). She is, as her name implies, a raging bitch. Jody owns her but doesn't really trust her, so James is riding her out for Jody. She's kinda halfass green broke and very pacey, but if anybody can fix her, James can.

Rascal was apparently just feeling lazy or indulgent Sunday. Today he actually tested me, the whole ride. It was fun. He pulled like a pack of huskies, he thought about cantering, about rearing, about bucking, about spooking at logs. When he wasn't being wicked, he was absolutely blazing along, perfectly square, stepping as high as anybody could want.

Rascal is FAST. I knew that before - Rascal can rack as fast as Champ canters. I finally got to ride that hella-fast rack. We fought the whole time on the trail about how fast he'd get to go - I didn't want to run off and leave James behind on the slow baby horse. And we had a major disagreement when we turned in the driveway to the barn. He wanted to completely ignore me and rack his happy ass straight to his stall, but I made him go in the arena. Then I made him follow James and SSB around for about five laps. James took SSB back outside the arena and I decided to see how fast Rascal would go without breaking his gait so we just zoomed around about three more laps til all of a sudden he asked to slow down. So we did!

It was really cool.

I rode in yet another horrible saddle. Better than the other two, but still not as good as my own wonderful saddle. I need to go get my saddle from my dad's barn and let it live in my truck, I suppose. What I really need is a saddle rack in my truck... hmmm....

Another nic patch dream

Jen knows lots of horsey people, and she hooked me up with a place closer to home to board Poppy. Free board, in a lady's backyard, in the beautiful snowy mountains* of West Tennessee, just 20 mins outside of Memphis. I also boarded the cats there, in a water garden. They're water cats. They acted exactly like that damn Russian Fishing Cat. But enough about the cats, this was a Poppy dream.

I rode him all over the mountains, with a bunch of teenagers cowboyin around at top speed on little QHs. He was Poppy, all laid back. Unsurprisingly, he rode like a dream - his trot was as smooth as Champ's, and his canter was like riding a cloud. And he listened.

I woke up reluctantly, desperately wanting to ride my dream-Poppy. I hope he's like that IRL one day soon.

*There is no such thing as snowy mountains in May for hundreds of miles around. Wish there was!

Monday, May 19, 2008

No pain no gain, right?

I hurt SO BAD today. My poor quads are really not happy with me. All that riding Saturday, plus a little riding yesterday, and I feel like tenderized meat.

Oh yeah, I went to the barn yesterday after I visited my horses. Hung out with my friends and got roped into riding Candy for a few minutes. Candy is like a nicer QH version of Champ. She's dead broke, kinda. She will do what you say, but only if you mean it - bad or uncertain riders can't get her to lope, and only a really good rider can get her to open up and run like she means business. Anyway, she knew I was sore, but she cantered a bit for me.

I now remember why I like walking horses. Man, she's got a rough trot. She'll teach you to post, that's for sure!

But anyway, I feel like I got hit by a truck. I think that means I'm just seriously out of shape. I think when I start studying for the bar I'll try to go ride somebody's horse every evening. There are plenty of people at the barn with mostly-broke horses that need riding, and I'd rather ride than work out, and it's good to decompress from a lot of mental work with some physical work.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oh god, they look great and they actually like me.

Go look at my horses! I don't want to try to link each picture. :effort:

I was going to bring them an apple, but I forgot. So I showed up totally empty handed. I honked when I drove up, and when I got through the gate I whistled and hollered for them to come on up. They stopped eating and started staring when I drove up, and when I hollered for them, they galloped up to see me! It was SO COOL.

I always kind of thought my horses liked me. But I was never positive, you know, if they actually liked me or if they liked the food I so often carried. I didn't think they'd run away when I came to visit, but I wasn't sure if they'd actually come to meet me. I hoped, like a huge dork, that they'd come running to see me, but I never thought they actually would.

Well, they did. They came thundering up, slowed down a respectful distance away, and then the boys walked right on in to sniff me and get the scratchin' started. I took Cersei over to jump in the cow pond, and the entire herd followed me. Then we all walked back over to the fenceline and stood in the shade and I spent two hours laying hands on my boys.

Yep, just the boys. I managed to pet Quinn three times, and each time Poppy came charging out of nowhere to run her off. The mares stayed pretty close the whole time, but they're just not as needy and not as domineering. The geldings took turns getting petted and rubbed on and scratched and talked to. I'd be scratching Champ's mane, and I'd feel a tug on the camera case strap. I'd turn around and Poppy would be looming behind me. "Hey." So I'd rub his big white star for a while, getting some of the itchy old hair off of his face, when a very grumpy bay horse would politely put his head between us, shove Poppy away from me, then open his jaws with a huge wet smacking noise and bite Pops. Poppy would run off to harass Quinn or Cersei and I'd love on Champ some more. Then we'd repeat.

They look amazing. Quinn looked pretty good before, and she just looks a bit better now. Poppy is filling out again. (I hope this is the year he starts to really get stocky. I'm really ready for him to stop growing up and start filling out.) And the bays look like new horses. They've gone from skinny scruffy older horses to sleek shiny healthy weight horses. Neither of them looks old any more.


Quinn is SO SUNBURNED. I'd heard that paints burn in the sun, but I thought she'd acclimate to it. Are all those feral paint mustangs running around with pink noses? Poor guys. Is she going to get skin cancer? If I caught her, tied her up, and put zinc oxide on her nose once a week would it help or just make her even more wary of humans with halters? I need to research sunburn and paints. Stupid spotted horses, grumble grumble.

Everybody is covered in ticks. I'd been scritching the boys for about 30 minutes before I remembered that Poppy is a tick magnet, so I started actually checking his mane. Yep, pulled off three of those horrid swoll up nasty fat ticks and smushed them with a stick. Then I started feeling his chest and between his front legs and I started finding more, this time the horrid tiny little deer ticks. You know the ones that are about the size of a freckle? Yep, tons of them. Then for some reason I wondered if Champ was getting ticks too, even though Poppy is usually the only horse who gets ticks - yep, Champ had tons of horrid little icky deer ticks too. I pulled them off of the boys' chests, and manes, and in between their back legs. I got one fat one off of Quinn, too, before Poppy ran up and bit her.
So what am I going to do about the ticks? I guess I need to do some internet research about those spot-on tick control chemicals. I hate dousing my animals in weird chemicals, but there are a lot of ticks this year and ticks carry horrible diseases.

Also, they've got a ton of bot eggs on their legs. No hope of manually controlling the eggs; I'll just have to deworm for bots when I move them.

My god, those are some rude horses.
Let me clarify that. I've always tried to be a benevolent dictator. I do not allow my horses to invade my personal space, unless I invite them in. I feel quite safe out with my horses because they always show me respect. Nobody tries to shove me around, bite me, or run over me to get away from another horse. But I've never tried to make them not fight when they're turned out together. Horses fight. It's like eating - they love to eat and they love to pin their ears and bite other horses.
If I put a halter and lead rope on one horse, I expect the other horses to get out of our way and not bite or kick at the haltered horse. I think that's what I'm going to have to do when I go back - one at a time, halter and tie and groom them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Today I rode a horse.

It was incredibly exciting. I have poison ivy spreading over one arm and a weird sunburn on my forehead, and it was worth every second. I'm riding some horse some where tomorrow, too.

I woke up this morning with every intention of wheedling some barn friend into letting me ride his or her horse. (I'd called my uncle Friday and made plans to go see my very own horses Sunday, because he wasn't going to be home today.) I gathered up my trusty dog and drove out to my old barn. James was there! Yahoo! I said hi to Jen and some other people, then gave James a big hug and we talked for a minute. Then he asked if maybe I wanted to ride today? I said "Find me a horse and let's go!"

I got to ride Rascal. I actually feel really special. Rascal is hands-down the best gaited trail horse at the barn. (Aside from Champ, of course, who doesn't always count as gaited cause he likes to trot and canter too much.) Anyway, James rode Girlie (Surprise's dam) and we took off.

Rascal did pretty well. He tested me twice, trying to break gait and canter, but they were both really predictable and I just checked him back a bit and told him "nuh-uh" and he quit. I had good brakes and steering, but very little gas pedal. For one thing, I'm not his person and we both know it. And for another, I wasn't wearing spurs, and for better or worse he's trained to gait to spur taps. But he listened to me, and he behaved really well on a loose rein and watched where he was going and didn't act spooky, so I was really happy. We just followed along beside or behind James and Girlie, going as fast as they were going.

We talked and talked. And we saw a bit of wildlife - two snakes, a huge frog, and a bunch of turtles. The weather was glorious. Maybe 80, bright sunshine and big puffy clouds and just enough breeze to make it not too hot. The trails were terrible, but at least they were actual trails and not underwater paths!

I learned a few things. The most important thing I learned was that my saddle is vastly superior to all other saddles. James rides in an old roping saddle which is constructed out of bricks and wood, cunningly decorated to look like a saddle. It's got a godawful wide twist. The stirrups were a notch too long and I foolishly didn't shorten them before we headed off, so I couldn't get much relief from them.

But I also learned that I still do have a decent seat. In fact, I can still ride. I haven't forgotten how! Wooo!

And I learned, like I do every year, that the sun is bright and hot and makes me burn a couple times before I tan. No, I don't wear sunscreen. I hate it. I hate it as much as I hate Off. The feeling of goop on my skin is horrible and gives me the heebiejeebies, and yall can all laugh and say you told me so when I get skin cancer (or West Nile, or Lyme disease) in 5 or 10 years. All I can say is that I don't try to protect myself from the sun, but I don't try to tan either. My shoulders and arms and face burn, then tan. Everything else stays luminescently white.

Tomorrow if I wake up in time I'm going by my parents to get my saddle and bridle, then down to Como to visit my lazy mules. If I don't get up in time then I'll just tie a rope on Champ's bridle and ride him around the pasture bareback. Life is so much more wonderful when I've had my "horse fix."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

wrist, phase three, installment one

For those keeping score at home, phase one was me bitching about my wrist. Phase two was the cortisone shot (OW) and brace. Then it started hurting again a couple weeks ago, so I went for phase three, surgery.

It didn't hurt as bad as before. Back in late winter, it would wake me up at night. And it hurt really bad on a large range of motions. After the cortisone, it just hurt really bad on a fairly small range of motions. But I clearly remember how bad it hurt in February and I didnt want the damn thing to get that bad again, plus my Dr promised that the surgery is a low risk low pain permanent fix. I pinned him down on "low pain" and he admitted that yes, the surgery would hurt less than the cortisone shot did - so I went ahead with it.

Of course I couldn't eat or drink after midnight the night before. And I quit smoking (nicotine patches) on Saturday, so I was fairly irritable when I got to the outpatient surgery place.

They didn't know who I was. Yep, I wasn't scheduled for surgery. I pitched a very polite and patient fit and showed them my appointment receipt, and they decided I was right and fit me in at the right time. Apparently the fax machine ate some important communication. But they made it right, so I'm not mad (anymore).

Anyway, they gave me Versed which was fun and then I fell asleep and they chopped on my wrist. I woke up, they gave me a lot of Lorcet, and they kicked me out of there. I felt pretty slow all day. That's the best I can describe it - slow. Once the initial drugs wore off, I filled my rx for a huge honkin bottle of Lorcet and went and bought some stupid groceries* and went home. I have a very professional ace bandage on my wrist, which I can't remove til Saturday.

*cheese, crackers, and smoked wild Alaskan salmon. Tasty, but not much food for the money. Seemed like a good idea at the time :)

My wrist finally started aching some at like 7 last night, so I took two lorcet and fell asleep. Kinda. Hydrocodone and nic patches DO NOT MIX, kids. Nic patches give you incredibly vivid weird dreams - it's a known side effect, and it's usually kind of fun if you're expecting it. But last night - I had apocalyptic hallucinations, which turned out to be dreams, all night. I kept thinking that I was just thinking these bizarre thoughts, then a cat would bounce off of me or the dog would start squeaking a toy and I'd wake up and realize that I'd been asleep so that must've been a dream?

There was a whole series of very scary Dr. Who dreams about the universe falling apart. There was a short and terrifying dream about a woman serial killer who wanted to slice me up, but I forced myself to wake up from that one. And then there was the breakfast-on-the-balcony dream, which was quite pleasant in comparison. I went out on my little balcony and there was a tiny table, with tablecloth, place setting, and chair. I looked around and all the other balconies had tables too! I dream-realized that it was for the room service, so I went and got the menu. You could order weekend brunch (waffles, eggs benedict, OJ, etc) and magical gnomes would sneak it through your apartment and set it up on the table. Of course like all brunches it was expensive, but they just added the bill to your next month's rent.

It was a seriously weird night. I've never been so glad to hear the alarm go off. Anyway, my wrist feels ok but my head is still pretty fuzzy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Blast from the past

Today Graham left and I sat around for hours doing nothing but clicking around aimlessly on the internet. Then I got off my ass and took Cersei to the dog park.

The Internet has told me that other cities have official "dog parks." Apparently it's like a park with a fence, where you're allowed to bring your dog* and let it play with other dogs? We don't have those. We have Overton Park, which has an unofficial dog park area. You walk past the playground, out to the large grassy area, past the sign sternly warning you that all dogs must be on leashes. Then you look around to see if any blatantly unsocialized or scary dogs are mauling small dogs or children, and you unclip your dog and let her go run around loose. Cersei met a Bouvier, a lab/pit, a boxer, a long-haired Chihuahua, two dachshunds, a Great Dane, two goldens, two chows, a couple of mutts, and another Lab.

*as long as it's not a man-eating pit bull.**
** I love pit bulls; "man-eating" is sarcasm.

I let Cersei go explore and hung out near some nice drunken Midtown barbequers. (This weekend is setup weekend, next weekend is the official Memphis in May Barbecue Contest. The guy I was talking to had been drinking beer and setting up his team's cooker since 8am.) They had a 9 month old Bouvier des Flanders, which was already the size of a mini horse.

It's official, Cersei is 100% Lab, English type. There was an unmistakable half-Lab half-pit bull there (wandering around being perfectly normal), and Cersei doesn't look a damn thing like he did. He had (proportionally) small eyes, small ears, huge alligator jaws, a huge chest, and small legs. She's got small-ish ears and a slightly large chest, but she's perfectly lab-colored, lab-coated, and lab-built. She's also a perfectly normal dog.

I've gotten pretty used to her. She's a retriever-oriented dog, but not at all obsessive-compulsive about fetching things. I brought the ball chucker and two tennis balls, in case she wanted to fetch for me, but she didn't actually bring me anything. She wandered around, acting normal and getting to know the other dogs. I stayed busy making a TRUE LAB very very happy for an hour.

See, I think "true" labs are obsessive-compulsive about retrieving. Just like a true sheepdog is obsessive-compulsive about herding, or a true terrier is OC about going down holes, a true lab is kinda psychotic about GETTING THE BALL and BRINGING THE BALL and GETTING THE HUMAN TO THROW THE BALL over and over again. Linux was absolutely insane about retrieving. This other Lab I met today, Cain, was the same way. It was really nice and really melancholy at the same time.

Cain is an intact chocolate American-type* Lab. His poor owner only wanted to go play frisbee with his human buddies, and he was kind of sheepish about his OC dog and kind of grateful that somebody wanted to throw the ball for him. I'll say this for his owner - the guy's been training his dog. I unfortunately know very little about real retriever training, but this dog knew the basics and his owner knew what he was teaching him. Arm signals to tell the dog to go over yonder, voice commands for "get back over here" and "go look for the object," very serious stuff. I just made Cain sit before I'd throw the ball, cause I'm easy like that.

*American Labs, IMO, are the ugly cousins of English type Labs. English Labs are short stout little bulldozer dogs, with a lovely block head with a well-defined stop, an otter (wide base) tail, and a true hard double coat. American labs are kinda houndy looking - taller legs, skinnier torso, feathery coat (!), more streamlined head. I might be completely wrong about this, but that's what I've picked up in ten years in Memphis.

Anyway... Cain reminded me so much of Linux. I miss Linux. He was seriously flawed, and I'm still not sure that it's not my fault, but he was a fun dog. I loved him so much. I just adore Cersei, and there's no way those two could coexist... but damn, I miss Linux sometimes. I still can't really think about him without crying.

Cersei's more sane, more "normal", and I learned a lot from raising Linux. I'm probably making mistakes with her, but they're not the same mistakes, and she's not the same dog. I love Cersei, as much as I love Champ or Graham.

God, I hope Graham never finds this blog. He'd be so offended that he's equal to Cersei... but it's true. Glad he liked her when he met her :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Insanely cute update

Cersei is snoozing on the bed while we waste away the afternoon on the internet. She was just dreaming about nursing. She'd stuck her tongue out of her mouth and was sucking on it. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a month.

Moving around on the bed to try to find a camera woke her up just enough that she quit dreaming. :(

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Big update!

Wow, I know it's been a while.

I had no internet for a week or so. I never bothered to get my own internet at my apartment, because Comcast wanted a lot of paperwork and there were a couple of open wireless AP's nearby. But good old default went down for a week! Oh no! It was terrible, truly terrible. But probably for the best.

I got all my exams taken (and presumably passed) and got my paper turned in. The last exam, Family Law (aka "How to get divorced and fight over the kids"), was truly terrible. It was the hardest test I've ever taken. Closed book, 62 multiple choice, each one exploring the outer boundaries of several different statutes. But we all felt like we bombed it, and we think she curves to a C, so presumably we all squeaked by.

Friday I moved the horses to Como. They are truly in heaven. They didn't even look up when I left. I'm so happy for them, but not taking care of them is starting to drive me slightly batty. I have gone to that barn every day and fed my horses for TWO YEARS. I'd miss a day a month - call a friend and ask her to feed - but I bet I drove out and fed 590 days out of 600. Every day the little nagging reminder in the back of my head goes off about 5 - "go feed the horses" - and I have to consciously think "nope, they're feeding themselves."

Graduation was Sunday. My entire rapt audience consisted of my husband and my mother in law. Yep, neither of my parents showed up. My dad had already paid the entrance fee to sell his birdhouses at some festival in Collierville - he signed up for it and paid the fee without realizing that it was my graduation weekend. I'm a little sad about that. But my MOTHER didn't show up either, because she can't find anything in Memphis. She had a panic attack and didn't even try to come. My feelings were pretty deeply hurt, honestly. But whatever, holding a grudge won't do me any good.

Graham gave me a big WOOO when I walked, yay! Ok, down here at official things like graduation, we have this really clear racial distinction between graduates. A white graduate's family all does the "golf clap" - the very polite little clapclapclap. A black graduate's family all makes as much noise as possible. They scream out the graduate's name, whistle, clap as loud as possible, and yell WOOHOO. It's a pretty awesome tradition, IMO. You can really tell that their families are really proud of them. Graham knows I think it's cool that black people yell, so he yelled for me. XD

Default's network is back up for the moment. We're working on a longer-term solution - I made a warranty claim on my old smartphone that won't charge anymore, and reactivated the unlimited data plan with tethering. Once the replacement phone arrives, I should be able to "tether" it to my Mac and have internet wherever I have a phone signal. It's not quite that easy - I have to convince the Mac that the phone it sees over Bluetooth is a modem, and convince the phone to act as a personal area network - but it's doable. Says Graham. If it all works, it'll be fairly fast broadband for an extra $40 or $60 a month.

Other than that - I've got a lead on a job that I need to follow up on. Graham bought a laser pointer and is running the cats (and the dog!) ragged. We also got the cats some catnip, so they're getting baked before they try to kill the red dot. And Graham brought me all the Battlestar Galacticas, so I'll have something to amuse me after he leaves!