Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Where have I disappeared to?
 Sorry guys, I got sucked into the black hole that is a family Christmas.

But it's a wonderful, wonderful black hole. I swear....

First things first, "how was Christmas?" you ask...
Epic. As only a holiday centered around greed (and self-congratulation - I mean, giving) can be.

I got a hat from one of my students. And it's fantastic. I've worn it every day since Christmas eve (what? we have no self control as a family).

Lookin' seasonal in our hats

I also received some wonderful tea, and a tea cup (to replace one of the ones I smashed in the sink). The tea is now gone, but the cup survives.
And from the always fantastic COTH secret santa, I made a haul... She sent me five of the Melanie Travis mysteries (who doesn't love a poodle themed mystery?), a gift pack of Ben'smoms saddle soaps, a Christmas ornament and a wonderfully unique necklace featuring steampunk, poodles and dressage. Could it have been any better?

My sister gave me four sets of white pony wraps (for the next championships, obviously), my mom gave me some Doublin boots (which are fantastic).

Now, of course the Christmas tree must come down. The lights are turned off. And the New Year is right around the corner.

Oh, and I'm preparing to take three half-feral dressage ponies on a 2500 mile road trip as I relocate (temporarily!) to the Houston area. With three poodles in tow. In the dead of winter.
It's gonna be awesome. Stay tuned for that adventure....
Blanket liner? Check
Heavy weight blanket? Check
Embarrassing hood? Check
SubZero temps? Check Check Check

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

I'm going to assume that as soon at the Family shows up, posting will fall to nil... So here's my best Christmas Wishes to everyone!

 The presents are stacked under the tree with care....
"Guys, this poodles hat is choking me!"
 Waiting on Santa (or in this case, an Elf) and one important reindeer!
"Mush, Bacon! Mush!"

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 16, 2013

You Know What Else I Love About Winter?

(Could alternatively have been titled "What else I love about traveling")
Look at all that snow... already! It's only December
The flu.

I have been sicker than sick for the past four days. The achey joints, exhausted, sore throat, and fever sort of flu... Only up side: I lost 5 pounds doing absolutely nothing.  As in those rapidly-becoming-feral ponies had to deal with minimal attention: No stall cleaning, no blanket changing, no grooming. Just dump feed and turn out. The bare minimum... and those darling little hot house flowers could not believe it.

Fortunatly today I feel so much better!
I woke up with a less hacking cough and some energy!
Gorgeous 9am sunrise
It was gonna be a beautiful day! The sun was shining, the dogs were ecstatic that I was once again on two feet and moving (or at least Scott and Bacon were ecstatic; Tempi slept in).

After throwing breakfast hay and giving the ponitas their handful of grain, I came back in for my morning tea (because I have an addiction... And it makes my throught feel better. So what? Don't judge)... The thermometer outside my kitchen window ruined my cheery optimistic mood. I guess even thinking about going for a ride- even a bareback trailride- was pushing my luck.
Yes, that says -10F

So I cleaned stalls, rebedded with the expensive prepackaged sawdust because my loose pile is frozen solid, groomed, upped the blanket power then turned the ponies out. I watched the mares leap and buck, but of course by the time i took off a glove and got my phone out for pictures, they were acting like nothing ever happened....
The snow doesn't look deep here, but in places it's at least 3'

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

And wintering at WEF!

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she? While I'm at it, let's imagine that I won the lottery and never ever had to work for a living ever again....


Where exactly have I been? I know, I've been a bad, bad blogger and haven't been keeping up the postings exactly. I swear I'll try harder. Maybe. But I've been so busy....
Enough with the excuses and write something entertaining and witty already. Sheesh....

Ahm. Well, after thanksgiving, I planned on taking a five day trip to Texas to see the 'rents. Of course, two of those days were supposedly spent traveling, so three days basking in the mid-forty degree weather and giving lessons.
Of course, I thought that I had everything under control. The horses were taken care of, the pooches were watches... But of course Mother Nature decided that I didn't really need to see my family. In the two days leading up to my estimated departure, it snowed nearly two feet.

Flight Canceled.

Then it was zero visibility as the cold front moved in.

Flight canceled.
Go! Before that cloud catches us!

Third try: we just barely made it out before the weather took a windy blowy turn.
I do have to interject that the United customer service was fantastic when I tried rebooking. They didn't sound harried or pissed off that I needed to leave asap. They even upgraded me to a direct flight. Two thumbs way up for them.

During my now two and a half days in Texas, I gave eight lessons, took two jump lessons and tried out a prospect for my mother. Oh, and over indulged in all of the confectionery goodness that I cannot get up in the Yoop.
La Madelines, China Inn, Midway Barbeque, Chick-Fil-A.
Delicious. All of them.
You could make a lot of fajitas out of that bull...
I rode more in the two days that I was in Texas than I have in WEEKS. It was glorious! I was so sore after two days of jumping the trainer's personal horse (because, it turns out that she loves my basics) that I could hardly move on day three to give a lesson and wait in an airport (we're getting to that part).
The trainer was so impressed that she asked when I would be back. And if I would teach her show students to help their flat work before the season starts up again.

On a more personal note: I was absolutely amazed with all the improvements to the Ranch since I've been gone!
The arena has sand and a FENCE!!!!
There is pipe fencing around the Barndominium!
The stalls all have mats!
AT owns the place. Not bad for 26, huh?
Oh, and there wasn't any snow on the ground!

Sigh. It was wonderful, even at 40 degrees and rainy. Just wonderful.

And then I had to leave. So I gave my mom one last lesson at the crack of dawn, petted a very happy RC and off to the airport I went (with my mom, since obviously I didn't rent a car). By the time that I got to the check in, my first flight (Houston to Philadelphia) had been canceled. Off to the service desk I rushed... In Terminal C, across the airport. Again, yay United reps... I got upgraded to a direct flight, Houston to Chicago... but it was set to depart four hours after my origional flight.

Now the Houston airport isnt really set near anything, and I didnt know how bad the security line would be, so My mom and I sipped coffee for an hour and a half before I trundled off to make my way through security.
Breezed through it like nothing... even though I got some raised eyebrows for having riding boots and a helmet and possibly the most offensive smelling gloves that TSA has ever encountered in my carry on. And then I waited. For three hours.
And made it to Chicago where, miracle for all miracles, my flight to Hancock was still on time! No weather delays!
I did a small celebration, and settled in for the three hour wait - with more Chinese food. I do love Chinese food.
As I strolled over to the appropriate terminal, I noticed that there was a 40 minute delay. "Awaiting aircraft", it said. As it would turn out, the plane that was supposed to carry my happy self back to the frozen tundra was stuck in Pittsburgh.
Three hours later, it took off from Pittsburgh, to the quiet celebration for a handful of Yoopers trying to get home.
Four hours later it landed.
Five hours later, the flight canceled. At 2:30 in the morning.
Now, I have family in CHicago. I could have found a couch if they had cancelled it at 9. Or 10. Or possibly even midnight. But at 3am? Even I am not that rude.
Evidently, some of my fellow passengers were just as unhappy. One gentleman made a fuss, and the United rep comped us all a nights stay in the Holiday in, free cab fare to and from the airport and a day's worth of meal vouchers. I've had worse customer service.
Oh, and rebooked us all on a 10a flight home.

Five hours later, I was back in the Chicago airport, praying for good weather.
Two hour delay later, we were on the plane, and getting ready for wheels up when the captain informed us that visibility was shit, and even though he packed extra fuel, there was a chance that we were not, in fact going to land in Hancock. But, my luck had turned evidently and we landed after circling the Hancock airport for an hour.
Home Sweet Home
Now, I have a decision to make. I can either stay here, as my income dwindles due to poor weather and my riding time falls to nil in this weather, or I can winter in Texas, returning when my engineering contract is renewed. 
"Who puts a pony out in the snow!"
The positives: I would have at least one barnful of potential clients. My mom has offered my three mares a spot in her barn. I could take lessons, give lessons and continue to train my horses. 
Delight is debating if the hay is worth the walk...
The negatives: I love my little farm up here, and it feels kind of like wimping out to leave when the going is getting tough. The biggest drawback is that I feel really guilty for abandoning my current crop of students.
"I vote Texas"

Decisions, decisions. I told everyone that I would let them know by Christmas....
tick, tock, tick, tock...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maybe A Little Cheese....

... To go with my whine.
Really, I do try to stick to wine rather than whine.
Sometimes both are needed.
It's been cold and snowy. I can handle cold, but the blowing snow that we've had for the past few days is just not cool. Not cool at all. I haven't been able to ride more than once or twice a week, and I'm really not ok with it.
The wood floors make rough housing difficult
It would seem that I get a little testy about things when I don't get my saddle time. Sure, I clean stalls, brush horse and dump manure... but it's just not the same.
At least someone is willing to help a girl out
So, what's a girl to do when she can't spend hours and hours riding/playing with horses (because, honestly, how much can I clean the barn!)?
How about pretend to be a normal homeowning(ish) adult? A little non-equine themed decorating, maybe?
The extra room, before
Now, I will be the first to say that my house is freaking adorable... until you come inside. Then it's hospital beige with horse pictures all over the place and pretty much always looks like I come inside and just explode. 
What? I'm not exactly Suzie Homemaker. So sue me...
But I did make an effort. My goal is to go through room by room and turn it into "my" house, not just "the family" house
>>Quick side note for my readers who didn't know: My humble little farm house was built by my great grandparents, and has been inhabited by a few of every generation ever since. There's a history.
So what's more me than bright colors?I mean, this place has six months of grey, who would want a boring dull colors?
Too bright?
Now for something that most of you wouldn't know about me: I love love love the steampunk look. Top hats, gears, metal and gem tones... How cool, right?

In an effort to look less like a Just Out Of College girl, I even painted my various colored Ikia shelves so they all match (ok, not all of them match. Let's call it a work in progress). So far only one shelf is completely done. I spray painted it hammered brass (so much fun!), and ordered a little bag of old watch parts and affixed little gears and watch hands to the boarder. I think it looks pretty cool at least, even though it doesn't really show it off in the pictures.
Look at all of the gears!