Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fracture Fable, continued

My wrist continues to mend. I'm doing more with my left hand with less pain. The cast itself limits some activities. I've started doing some driving, so my mother and I share trips.

Still giving Phantom zoom grooms. His mane and tail need major work, but the messy braids are holding. He doesn't have dreadlocks yet. Yesterday I cleaned his hooves! Credit goes to the CEC crew who have been cleaning Phantom's feet every so often, which made it possible. I applied some much-needed conditioner and let Phantom free graze for a bit. My Goober Boy nickers when I come get him and even meets me at the gate! He enjoys his grooming, and was good about picking up his feet for me. Whatta guy!

The geldings have been shuffled around again in their turnouts. Pugsley and Bay had to be separated, since they managed to wound each other their first week at CEC! Phantom is now turned out with Pugsley and Dansuan. Dan is another Arabian and a real sweetie!


Mom and I visited Dr. Cheryl, our chiropractor, on Monday. Both of us were waaaay past due for adjustments, and my accident aggravated the hitch in my gitalong. Dr. Cheryl used her amazing laser gadget on me and manipulated a couple of good "releases."

Now if I could only work a a twofer deal with Dr. Cheryl and Miriah for Phantom and me....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote by Mail

I completed my ballot on Sunday, my mother did hers last night. We're dropping them off at the library today.

There was a lot of controversy when vote by mail was first proposed. There was a fear of increased cheating and coercion of voters (abusive folks forcing family members to vote as instructed). But there was a chance of increasing participation. Oregon eased into the process, beginning with "off" elections first, but now we're using it for all elections.

With the number of states conducting "early" voting, it seems we won't be alone for long.

So...I sort of miss the tradition of going to the precinct, signing in, and marking my choices in the booth.

On the other hand, I recall the after-work rush to get to the polls before closing (usually in the dark and rain), and standing in line with the rest of the after-work crowd smelling of wet wool. And there was always at least one surprise measure or race encountered on the ballot.

I like the opportunity to peruse the voter's pamphlet, collect the political mailings, and spread everything out as I work through the ballot. When I encounter something on the ballot that's a surprise, I have research materials in front of me so I can educate myself and make an informed selection instead of a wild--- guess in the booth.

I don't think the incidents of cheating have increased. Processing the ballots is pretty much the same. The ballot goes into a security envelope that is placed inside the mailing envelope that must be signed by the voter. The whole package goes to the county elections board where signatures are checked. Questionable ones are set aside for validation or rejection. The ballots themselves are locked up until election day when they go through the optical scanner. Any problems at the scanner stage are set aside and a determination made or returned to the voter for clarification. As far as coercion...I don't know. But people in abusive relationships (spousal, elder, etc.) are probably so intimidated that they would vote as instructed in the polling booth anyway. Hard one to prove or disprove.

Anyway...we're done. We can only hope the phone calls stop once our ballots are received at the elections office.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Catching Up


We had our last class this past week (minus Spuds :-( whose person was out of town). The dogs were just like children on the last day of school...all over the place. We did some combination elements and worked the dogs off leash. Pretty funny. Rain was actually much improved and paying attention. But Breeze had to expresss her "greyhoundness" and took every opportunity to run around the barn. All of them were direction challenged. Indy managed to pull off a prize-winning "sit stay." Despite the day's issues, a good time was had by all and at the end of class we let the smaller dogs loose to play. Indy took off in sheep roundup mode, much to Rain's enjoyment. Trainer Jessica is the best and we all hope to work with her again for the next phase of training.


Indy reached the Big Two at the end of September. Mom celebrated her 86th this month. Her sis and brother-in-law (my aunt and uncle) came up to take us to lunch and we had a good visit. As Dr. Cindy says, Mom is doing remarkably well. Her grandmother lived to 100 and she says she intends to do the same. I'm betting she'll make it.


Healing. I can do more with my hand with less pain. Even drove to the barn on Friday. But my hand was a little sore by the time we arrived at the barn and, after I groomed Phantom, Mom drove home.

Rumor has it that Phantom is getting a lot of "sympathy" treats because my time with him is limited. He says he's fluffing up for winter...I say it's pudge.


Two steps forward and one back.

I went back to clean up some areas that needed some help. Now I'm pretty much caught up with where I left off. The words are still flowing, so I'll continue with the project.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Legacy: A Tale of Pennleah

No appointments, no barn visit, no errands. A day of writing!

Interesting how you sit down with a scene in mind. The is cast selected, setting established, goal planned...and you still end up with unintended stuff. My "big reveal" scene turned out to be a set up for the reveal. Upping the tension and preparing for future events.

Now I'm thinking I need to add at least one scene illustrating how isolated Aisley feels. She's not like other young people her age. No one else in Feldan (the town where she lives) can cast glamours.

I also need to do a better job of setting up the magic. After the Blue Death that struck the magical races, most of them fled the Continent, ending the Era of Magic. Only isolated pockets of a few magical races survived -- like those in the far north of the Isle of Pennleah.

And I need to make Vardienian rule more menacing. Think Robin Hood and his fellow Saxons under Norman rule.

I thought when I retired I'd be spending days writing. Ha! My YA novels are still shoved to the end of the day...not my high energy/creative period.


Our newest boarder arrived last Wednesday -- Nacho the paint. Looks like he's settled right in. I believe this fills the barn for the winter, unless one or more sale horses find new homes.

The winter turnouts have been seeded and fertilized. We've had some rain to start the seeds growing. The winter turnouts are closer to the barns so we don't have to go as far to collect our horses. Most appreciated during our horizontal rains.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fracture Fable, continued

Paid a visit to Dr. S yesterday. The most recent x-ray (not this original) indicates all is mending well. The radius will heal a smidge shorter than it started, ending up the same length as the ulna. But at this stage the bones rarely shift, so I don't need to return for three weeks. At that time, Dr. S said "We can cut it off." I did verify that he didn't mean the arm. Whew!


Today was mammogram day. My mother and I scheduled our annuals for the same day and time to carpool. The techs were very considerate throughout the ordeal, however.... Jeez! They wonder why women keep putting off their mammograms! Not a pleasant experience. Then there's the lovely wait for results.


Still plugging along. Came to a pivotal scene, so I backed off to consider my approach. This scene sets up the whole story, so I don't want to just blather.


Indy is loving his classes. Not doing too badly. A little more focused on the treat than the equipment at times. During our last lesson we worked on the table, which was very low for our beginners. Indy jumped onto the table readily -- the trick was to get him to "drop" as soon as he was atop the table, He sort of got it. Later in the lesson we were waiting our turn for the grid jumps when Indy leapt onto the table on his own. Afterall, he got treats when he jumped up before! What a nut.

Those of us who've done hunter/jumpers with our horses were amused by the three "bounce" gymnastic (or grid) jumps for the dogs. Exactly what we've done from the saddle. Little easier to guide the horse from atop than direct our dogs who are smart enough to go around the jumps on a beeline for the treat.

Star for the last lesson was Abby, challenged by Spuds for the cute factor. Breeze by far has the best victory run. Rain has the most potential for breaking the land speed record. Indy has the fluff factor advantage, I think.

Monday, October 13, 2008



Making progress on my new project. Yesterday was a stay-at-home day so I managed to get a lot done. Even though I'm writing longhand, the cast is awkward. Better than the ginormous splint, but doesn't quite rest comfortably at my writing desk.


The report is that Romeo the barn kitty returned yesterday. Yay!!


It's on the mend and I seem to be able to use my hand more; however, I still get zingers when I move my arm the wrong way. Frustrating to struggle one-handed. At least my challenge is only temporary.


Returning to my barn schedule with Mom as driver. Many thanks to Boarder Genevieve for picking out Phantom's feet last week, and much appreciation to the CEC barn crew for continuing to clean out his feet while I'm mending. Also thanks to our "Barn Brat" Tamra for offering to longe or ride Phantom. I'll let the Goober Boy enjoy his vacation for a bit longer.

I've been bringing in Phantom for zoom grooms plus treats and hugs. He hears us drive in and watches from his pasture as I putz around with preparations. He'll even stroll toward the gate when I come get him and give me a nicker.


"Cut" hair again?! Last spring when I was keeping Phantom braided all around against rain and mud, I arrived one Monday to find his forelock undone. I thought the rubber band had come out, but closer examination looked like his forelock had been cut just above the band. A little too straight for another horse to have gnawed off...besides, I couldn't imagine him allowing another horse to chew on him.

My mother and I team-braided Phantom last week. Today it looked like someone had been sawing on the longest braid in two places. There are short hairs sticking out of the braid, not just a few loose hairs, but as if partially cut with scissors or knife. Now Phantom is in a different turnout than he was last spring with our newest horses that he won't even let get near him. So if it's horse caused, it's two different horses. And if it's a sharp spot in the fence or stall, one would think the cut hairs would appear more often and in a similar location.

It is interesting that both instances occurred on weekends. Hmmm.

"Is a puzzlement." ("The King and I")

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fracture Fable, continued

Yea!!! I've got a cast. No more clunky splint.

The Good News: I got my elbow back.
The Bad News: I can rotate my arm. YOUCH!!

Dr. S says all remains in alignment. I go back in one week for x-rays and brief exam. Then wait three weeks for my next visit. That will make it a six week repair job.


Phantom seems a bit confused about my sudden abandonment of him.

With my mother's help I brushed out his rat's nest of a mane yesterday. We were quite the pair. Me with one working hand, and my mother with arthritic fingers. Phantom seemed to enjoy the attention and was very good. I gave him a zoom groom. Can't manage his feet yet.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Change of Project

Since I fractured my wrist (with an assist by Phantom) I'm limited to one-handed, hunt-and-peck typing. Not only am I an experienced typist (anyone else learn on a manual?) but I actually use the formatting capabilities of Word. So temporarily losing a hand really affects my work. No way can I do all the selecting, cutting, pasting and formatting required to edit "Quest Schmest."

So I moved to another project.

"Legacy" is a YA fantasy set in the same world as "Quest" but in a different location. I've already done extensive research and plotting for the story that is currently planned as a trilogy. Took a bit to change gears, but I've handwritten a couple of scenes that I will type up later.

"Legacy" is about 16-year-old Aisley who lives on the isle of Pennleah that was conquered by the the Vardienians who now occupy and rule the island. She lives with her father who is a master saddler and her mother, a skilled weaver. Aisley can cast glamours, an Ability that she tries to keep secret because it sets her apart from others. One day, two traveling mountain clansmen from the north stop at the saddlery shop and Aisley learns that she isn't at all who she thought she was. With her life disrupted, Aisley sets out on a journey to discover who she really is and figure out her place in the world.

At least I'm still writing. And there's something about applying pen to paper as part of the creative process that's lost with a computer keyboard.

Monday, October 6, 2008

60th Anniversary

Attended my aunt and uncle's 60th wedding anniversary yesterday. Their children got the ball rolling for a celebration, while nieces and nephews in the area did the footwork. Their eldest son came up from California and eldest daughter from Idaho, and all we cousins (plus family) in Oregon participated. There must have been around 100 people in attendance at the church reception room after services.

My uncle was 20 when they got married and at that time he had to have a parent sign the wedding certificate because he was "under age" -- as did my aunt at 18.

Decorations for the party included fun facts from 1948, such as average wage, house price, cost of milk and gas, and headline events. A collectible page provided information about the wedding. My mother made the wedding gown and "stood" as maid of honor.

My favorite part of the day was the video tape made from old 8mm family films. To see my grandparents alive again -- both were killed by a drunk driver when I was in high school. And my parents in their late 30s. And me with my cousins when we were 9-10 years old. Our family never owned a movie camera, or video it was a treat for me. Remember when children were dressed up for Easter? Dresses with crinoline slips, hats, gloves, purses, etc. The boys in suits and ties. Anyone remember Ramblers? Station wagons? Flat-top crewcuts?

With the divorce rates we have today...will there even be 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries in the future?

Anyway...good to spend time with extended family -- to see how the little ones have grown and ponder how my cousins have aged but I haven't (?!!).

Oh, and when my couin Fred tells you that I broke my wrist in a brawl at a biker bar -- don't believe him. Although there were saddles and leather chaps....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Photo Shoot

So Emily and I had scheduled a photo shoot for last Saturday prior to my encounter with the longe line. I was going to give Phantom a bath and get pictures of me riding him in addition to having portraits taken.

Blew that, didn't I?

But Emily and Michelle were taking photos for class assignments and I didn't want to disappoint them. Michelle was taking B&W film shots and explored the barn on her own. We have to wait for her to develop her film and upload her photos to see how the day went. Emily took about 200 digital photos during our grand tour. She will edit them as she has time for later uploading. However, she did post a few on her blog with a link to Facebook (see link to her blog below).

My favorite is above. Can't see my mug at all, and Phantom's head looks real typy.

I also love the following:

This is Imprint's tail. Emily was going for the Oldenburg brand but got "whoosh" instead.

Indy is expressing my sentiments since I broke my wrist:


Saw Dr. S today and x-rays indicate the bones are still in alignment. The radius broke just below the head and the ulna is chipped. He didn't want to mess with success, so I'm stuck with the clunky splint for another week. Pretty bad when one is hoping for a cast.

Seems Dr. S was riding his bike last Friday and the front wheel went off the edge of a narrow wooden bridge and he slammed face first into the bridge. Yikes! So he was doing the ER waiting bit also.

At least my injury involved an animate object!

Horse-savvy nurses kept checking with me at the trauma center and ER to find out what had happened. Too funny. All horse folks have "war wounds" to chat about, and we've all had close calls doing dumb things.