Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Men and the Internet, a Guilty Obsession

Alternate title:  The Creepers

No, this is not a post about internet dating. . .or explicit photos of the male of the species.  Sorry to disappoint.

This is a post in honor of my father and my cowboy cousin, both of whom LOVE to creep about on internet social networks, namely Facebook, but will only do so incognito.  To admit that they find the random postings of various friends and family entertaining would be less than manly.  So, they hide behind the skirts (or screen names) of their wives to do their snooping.

This interesting little habit has earned them the joint nickname of The Creepers.  Endearing, no?!?  We, the womenfolk in their lives, think so.

Case in point: 

"Did you see this?  Who cares if she's standing in line at Wal-Mart??  Not me.  These people need to get a life!  Sheesh."

"Yeah, get a load of this one. . . .I wouldn't be caught dead with my gut hanging out like that.  Much less posting a picture of it for all the world to see."

PS.  I have a feeling there will be some backblow from this post. . .eh, well, life was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Celebration

I have briefly mentioned that my good friend Waltraut, who also happens to be the breeder of my dogs, has been battling bladder cancer these last few months.  She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy before finally having her bladder surgically removed.  It is a gross understatement to say that it has been a trying time for her, her family, her friends, and for her dogs. 

To lessen the strain on her family Wal made the difficult decision to place two of her dogs with friends during her treatment.  One of those dogs, Tango, has been with me since early February.  After the initial strain of acclimating to a new environment with new dogs, new people, and new routines Tango has become part of my little family and has reached a level of contentedness.  I had even started to wonder if she might want to stay with me forever.  She followed me everywhere, loved Journer and seemed especially happy on our horse rides but it only took a visit from Waltraut to show me where her heart lies, and rightly so. 

The picture above was taken yesterday and, for me, it speaks volumes to the love and loyalty shared between Waltraut and her dogs. 

The day was a celebration of life.  Those of us in this area that have blessed by one of Wal's dogs, and therefore her friendship, gathered to revel in the return of health to someone whom we hold dear.  And, of course, we brought our dogs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Miserably Fun Adventure

This last week has flown by in a hurry and was filled to capacity with a motley assortment of mini-adventures.  It all started last Tuesday with three straight days of track meets in the howling winds of West Texas, followed by an Adventure Race in Georgetown over the weekend, and ending with a trip to SCR to help process bulls.  Thank goodness tomorrow is Good Friday and this homebody can catch a break cause I'm flat tuckered.

The Adventure Race was my first and I can only describe it as "miserable fun".  Ten of us from this area went together and seven of the ten work at the middle school with me.  Let's just say we took bonding with one's co-workers to a whole 'nother level. 

The Mighty San Gabriel Sprint Race:  All the fun of our longer race except designed for the beginner, teams of 2 will run, bike, paddle, facing team challenges and obstacles along the way.  Be prepared for approximately 1-3 miles of paddling, 8-10 miles of biking, and 3-5 miles of trekking plus some surprises.  Estimated winning time is 2 hours. 

Two hours??  Ha!  We finished in six.  The trekking (aka running) was not too bad, and although it took Amber and I a while to get our canoe traveling in a straight line, that wasn't too horrible either but the biking. . .well, the biking was pure misery. 

I grew up riding bikes just like the next kid but the gears on my ten speed were superfluous. In Flatland, TX you're changing them for giggles, not cause you have to in order to climb a stinkin MOUNTAIN!!  Okay, maybe it was a hill but still, you get my point.  I'm pretty sure my calfs caught on fire a few times and I had to use my asthma inhaler twice.  Not to mention the fact that most of the trail was a foot wide with a death drop to the left, flesh eating bushes on the right, and gigantor boulders straight ahead.  To top it all off, I made the genius decision to not wear padded biking shorts because I didn't think they would be comfortable.  ARGH!!  My ignorance knows no bounds.  My butt bones were cussing me six ways to Sunday by mile four.

It really was fun though.  Look at how much fun I'm having. . . .

My teammates plot, I contemplate bicycular homicide.
Miserable fun.  This must've been snapped when, after the initial relief of completing the dreadful bike ride, I found out I was going to have to ride the dang thing again to get to the canoes.  I was not happy, not happy at all.  And neither were my butt bones.

I've been asked if I'd do another and I really can't say for sure, but I probably would.  I'd do a few things differently, of that I am sure.  Like wear the stupid padded shorts for starters and maybe train a smidge beforehand. 

Anyway, I left the Adventure Race in Georgetown and made the six hour trip home to shower and re-pack before climbing in the truck with my dad for five more hours so that we could help process bulls at SCR.  A loooong trip but so worth it when this is what was waiting for me. . .


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

End of Day

Tension was a tightness that moaned and snapped deep in my muscles.  I flexed and rolled my shoulders, laid my head to the side and let it glide back and then around.  The tension didn't have a name, wasn't specific, rather it was simply a by-blow of a busy day filled with the ever-present drama that surrounds adolescents. 

Closing my eyes I took a deep breath and made a conscious effort to let it go.  I relaxed and slid deeper into the welcoming leather of my saddle.  My legs hung long and loose, my calves and inner thighs draped around the gentle slope of Ruby's barrel. 

Releasing my grip on the reins I allowed them to rest on the neck of my mare as I extended my arms out from my sides.  I unfolded my fingers from my palm and opened my hands to the sky. 

The breeze was cool, but gently so, and smelled teasingly of rain.  It caressed my arms and traveled up the sleeves of my t-shirt to wrap itself briskly around my torso. 

My body swayed with the reach and fall of Ruby's hooves.  Left hind, left fore, right hind, right fore. . . .
Tension was now a liquid that flowed out from my fingertips, escaping my body to be carried away on the wind.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bouncing Back

It was a great weekend and there were many things to be thankful for, such as:

**Friday evening I was able to ride with a gentleman that is a successful competitor in ranch horse competitions.  He was kind, patient, helpful AND complimentary of my horses.  Kinda makes me puff my chest out a little just thinking about it.

I rode Snakebite most of the time and she was very handy.  We worked on rollbacks, turnarounds (spins), and boxed a few calves.  The only drawback was that she is, ahem, overweight and out of shape and was huffing and puffing pretty quick into the ordeal.  Sounds familiar. . . Pot, meet Kettle.

Next, I rode Ruby  and she seemed to go a lot better on the soft dirt of the arena than she has been on the hard ground at home.  She was feeling so good that we worked one slow calf, our first since August of last year.  We were both pretty pumped!

I took Socks but left him standing tied to the trailer.  Dad took him to the vet last week and had his right front ankle xrayed.  The xray showed shadowing around the navicular bone that the vet associated with arthritis from an old injury.  He recommended we try injections to alleviate pain.  Hopefully he'll get his ankle injected this week and I can work him a little next time.

**Saturday, my Dad and I worked at my house trimming trees and building fence for a little side yard.  We didn't quite get done but I think the finished product is going to look really nice.

**Sunday, I went to church with my family and like most kids my age I doodled on the church bulletin. 

One of the scribbles was this picture of my sister, Danielle, chucking her crutches.  She has a stress fracture and has been wearing a boot and using crutches for far too long.  She's just a little tired of it and has taken to throwing them javelin-style when she becomes frustrated.  Did I mention she's a red head??  Well, she is and you know what they say about them redheads. . . .they're awful sweet :).

**Sunday afternoon I took Journey and Tango over to a fellow Leo owner's house for a playdate.  Tango is Waltraut's dog that I'm puppysitting until she is recovered from her surgery.  Tango stayed with me some last year too and is the young female in the pictures on this post.  Liz and I talked dogs and the Bergers got to sniff each others derrieres and play a bit so a good time was had by all!

Liz and Leos Nockerl, Journey, Tango & Tyr

Nockerl & Tango, mother & daughter

Tango giving Liz a little Leo-love

Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Stories from SCR: Curse of the Black Sludge

Grant and I bopped along the little two track road in the pasture.  The windows of the ranch truck were rolled down and whisps of hair had escaped from my pony tail and were whipping my cheeks and forehead.  The sky was cloudless and the unfiltered sun poured down onto my face and arm and glinted off my sunglasses.

We stopped at a small stock tank and got out.  Grant tossed me a rubber doo-ma-flatchie that closely resembled a heavy duty whoopie cushion, 'cept it was long and slender instead of round with a small hole in one end and a female water hose connection on the other.  I looked down at the contraption in my hand and then watched as Grant made his way back to the trailer and began unwinding a water hose from the biggest pressure washer I'd ever seen.  He brought the end of the hose over to me and I handed him the skinny whoopie, he screwed it onto the hose and handed it back.

"Stick this into the pipe there.  I'm going to go start the generator."

Still uncertain as to what it was that we were doing, I dumbly stuck the whoopie into the pipe and awaited further instruction.  The generator sputtered, then caught and filled the air with its loud rumblings.

Grant yelled over the noise,"I'm gonna start the water.  Hold that in the pipe as long as you can."

Huh?  I wrapped both hands around the hose with my thumbs on the pipe, anchoring the two together.  Grant flipped the switch and continued to stand behind the generator.

I could feel the pressure in the hose increase as the water made its way down to me.  I widened my stance and tightened my grip when the whoopie began filling with water.  It filled until the pipe was sealed with the bulk of the rubber whoopie. I could barely hold it in, so great was the force. 

Grant remained behind the generator.

When I could hold it in no longer, the whoopie and hose popped out of the pipe and flailed about like an errant fire hose.  We repeated the process a few more times then we loaded up and headed to another tank, just down the hill.

"What was all that about?", I asked.

Grant looked over at me from beneath his cowboy hat.  His expression was unreadable, his face hidden under brim, sunglasses, and facial hair.

"That tank up there feeds the tank we're driving to.  There's a pipe underground connecting the two.  It's stopped up."

Ah ha, I thought, we were trying to push out the blockage with high pressure water. 

The truck bounced down the rough road to the second tank.  We hopped out, Grant went to the generator and I went to the tank.

"Don't you worry, I'll be right over here," Grant said.

If I thought the comment an odd one, I didn't say and we hit replay:  me at tank, Grant at generator, whoopie in pipe, good grip, wide stance, flip switch, water flow, and so on.

Except this time the pressure didn't push the inflated whoopie out.

I stood there holding the hose anchored to the pipe for all that I was worth when I heard a loud POP!  Water shot straight up over my head and into the sky until it lost its battle with gravity and was pulled back down.

Onto my head. 

Water and sludge the color of midnight rained down on me; my shoulders, my face, and down the front of my white t-shirt.  My glasses were black with it and I could feel its cool wetness on my scalp. I was still holding the hose tightly with both hands.  I dropped it and raised my sunglasses up onto my head.  And that's when I heard it.  Laughter.

Full-bodied masculine laughter.  I looked over at Grant through lashes dripping with foul smelling mud.  There was no doubting the expression on his face now as his mustache and goatee were separated by an inch of shiny white teeth.  I'm not sure the cowboy didn't do a little jig of glee so great was his mirth.

"You knew this was going to happen, didn't you!?!", I said.  It was more an accusation than a question.

"No. . .  I mean. . . I knew it could happen but I didn't know it would,"  was his reply.

Cackle, cackle, cackle.  Ho, ho, ho. He, he, he.  He was beside himself.

"Are you kidding me??" 

Stupid question.  Of course it was a joke and it wasn't the first time I had played the part of patsy for Grant.  It took a second but I did eventually join in the laughter.  It was funny. . .kinda.  It would've been a heck of a lot funnier to me had our positions had been reversed.

It wasn't until we finally climbed back in the truck and started heading home that I realized just how badly I smelled.  The sludge was putrid.

Grant looked at me and said,"Ack, you stink."

No crap Sherlock, I thought to myself.  I cut my eyes at him and he started laughing.  Again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's About That Time!

Summertime, that is!
Okay, so maybe it's still early Spring but a girl can dream and I've got spring fever in the worst way.  My wisteria is blooming, the grass is greening up, and the days are getting longer.  It won't be too long until it's warm enough to take a day trip to Buffalo Lake with a couple of friends and a pack of dogs. 

It might look a little something like this. . .

When a kiddie pool just won't cut it. . .

Load up a few of your best friends. . .

Make the most of your time together with a little close bonding on the drive over. . .

That kiddie pool's got nothin on this!

Take time for a little sunbathin'. . .

And a romp on the beach. . .

Then commemorate the day with a family portrait.