Thursday, November 29, 2007

Still no keys

I have been looking for my keys for almost 3 hours now and they are still missing...I can't figure out where they would have gone. Cat even came and helped me look. I'm totally stranded here for the day. It's not too bad though since my house will be really clean by the time I'm done searching.

Feeling really stupid

I was headed out the door just over an hour ago to do my music therapy rounds when I realized my keys weren't in my purse. I figured they were in one of the few places I set my keys (I tend to be methodical about the keys b/c I really don't want to lose them! I have searched for over an hour and I finally had to cancel my rounds today in Springtown. Do you know how stupid I felt calling up the school and telling them I couldn't get there b/c my keys were missing? OK, well, I didn't quite say that. I said I couldn't get my car to start, which is actually, the truth, sort of. Cat is coming over in a few minutes to help me look for them some more, but I'm going to take the point of view peter often does in these situations: what a wonderful opportunity this will be for me to clean house while looking for my darn keys. I'm pretty discouraged that they are missing. This is very unusual for me. I "always" put them on the table, or in my purse, so the fact that they aren't either of those places is distressing. I have even looked in my garage, my bathroom and my kitchen, as well as the back of my truck.

Speaking of the truck: I have 2 other vehicles here that I could drive with the spare keys. I found the spare keys where I keep them, but I didn't realize the escort didn't have a spare. I unlocked Peter's car to see if they had fallen out of my purse after supper, and I called Cracker Barrel to see if they fell out during supper, but no such luck.

I'm in the process of accepting that I am just supposed to be home today. I'm just really, really frustrated that I'm not home by my own free will.

My dad came to town last night on his way to a football game in San Antonio. WE had a nice visit and ate supper together. THere was a lot of sodium in my meal though b/c my weight was way, way up today. Yuck...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I have a headache

My head is killing me. I have taken Aleve, I have eaten, drunk coffee and taken sudafed even though I hate the buzz, but my head is killing me. Tomorrow I will go to the chiro and get a 30 minute massage (not long enough, but since it's covered by my copay, it will have to do)

I'm including pictures that Maggie drew. One of them is an invention she created which would be really cool if it could happen...She's invented a new way to hold on Easy boots.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Head is Killing Me

My head just is killing me today. I'm sitting here watching TV with maggie and then I plan to run to the barn. Maggie is still crouping, so she can't go today. I'm going to take the opportunity to get organized for the ride next week, ride Liberty, ground work with Freeley to see if he's going to be sound for me. Maggie has to stay home and heal before Sunday b/c she is doing the barn with Jena. She is actually looking forward to working b/c she wants the money. I'm happy to hear this since she is learning a good work ethic for how hard it is to work with horses.

Today I would love just to stay home all day, but since it's going to rain tomorrow I figure I'd better be responsible and go put a blanket on my horses so they won't be cold. I just wish my head would quit hurting. I'll stay home and watch TV and play games tomorrow.

I'm considering getting Lasik done on my eyes. One of my friends did it this week and woke up the next morning being able to see beautifully. She told me how much it was, and it was "only" $3000 for both eyes. I didn't think that was all that expensive. Of course, I can't do it now, I have to save up to be able to do it. I told someone yesterday about it and they made a big deal about how much it cost. I can't do it till I save up for it anyway, so it's not like I can do it tomorrow, but I've been so blind for so long, I'm dying to get it done. I can't hardly wear contacts anymore. I always said that if I couldn't wear contacts then I would get my eyes done. Since I have been wearing my glasses so much, my friend says that I could probably get the initial appointment and the surgery done the same week, when usually you have to wait for awhile to get it done. My girlfriend says her surgery took 10 minutes and she woke up able to see the next day. I think I have a new thing to save my pennies for...they have financing, but I can't very well finance my eye surgery if I'm not willing to let Peter finance a new(er) I wait.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving day and weight loss

I weighed this am before going to my Thanksgiving dinner and I have hit a new low since just post pregnancy...I'm now 198.8. The lightest I was after childbirth was 6 weeks after Maggie was born and I weighed in at 194. I was 186 or so before I got pregnant, so felt pretty good about that. Then, just a few weeks later, I broke my shoulder when I got bucked off a horse and sat around in a chair for three months, not exercising and being fed by Shawn, my large ex-husband who is also a really good cook. When the dust settled I was around 208 and it just went up from there. IN 2003 I topped out at around 224 before I found distance riding and starting working more. I have bounced between 202 and 218 for several years until my body seemed to finally get the hang of this weight loss thing this fall. I contribute it to working and being too busy to eat, moving move and giving up diet sodas. Now, we'll just have to see what I weigh after Thanksgiving...there's the goal, to drop a bit more weight after this week.

Maggie is sick with a bad cold and cough, but we are heading to Thanksgiving at Nick and Stacy's house. She will have to stay away from the baby, but she will be OK. I have inhalers and we'll take the nebulizer if we need to. Poor thing has been sick so much this fall. Sometimes I think it's in direct relationship to my need to work. When I was home it seems like she was never sick and now that I need to work, she is always home. IT's probably not any different. I probably am just reacting to the small amount of time I get to be home these days.

ON a positive note about work though: I found out that I can become certified as a Therapeutic riding instructor and teach lessons through my agency. I'm so excited. I can make $60/hour as a TR instructor through the agency that already employees me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A quiet evening in my chair

I'm sitting in my chair. I love this chair. It's a big, striped double chair with an ottoman and it came from the salvation army a couple years ago. It's in bad shape, and some of the fabric is rotten. Plus, when I sit in my chair, I'm an island so we don't all sit together. Peter would like for us to sit together. Tonight is the last night I will really spend in my chair since on Saturday our new sectional sofa will be delivered. It's got a chaise lounger at one end and 2 ottomans so we will have lots of room to stretch out together on the sofa as a family. I'm really looking forward to it, but I am going to miss my cozy chair. I don't think there is room for it and the new sofa both in the living room.

I'm going camping with my girlfriends over the weekend. Originally a bunch of us were going to take our kids and slowing the kids dropped off till it was just Jena and Maggie left Cat and I decided that we would ditch the kids on Peter (actually, he volunteered happily) and we could just have an adult weekend. We don't get those often so it will be a blast. We are going tomorrow afternoon and will be back on Sunday. It's all been made possible by my friend Alexa, who is going to let Maggie hang out with her on Friday. I'm very grateful and will have to do something nice for her...we're going to breakfast first thing. maybe I'll buy her breakfast?

I'm very tired tonight. It's been a long week. I will get up in the morning and pack up the truck and hit the road early so we can get on the road and get set up and get busy with the process of hanging out.

I lost .2 pounds this week. I forgot to report last week. I was up .4 pounds last week and I lost .2 this week, so I have hovered between 199, my lowest and 200.4 the last couple weeks. I have stepped up exercise and I'm eating better. I can really tell now when I've had too much sodium b/c I feel bloated. On the flip side I'm wearing clothes I have owned and not ever been able to wear and I had to return a pair of pants I ordered that would have been the right size not too long ago. That's a good thing.

Maggie has taken up running with alexa...I'm going to have to start running to keep up with her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

on getting bucked off

It hurts more to get bucked off a big horse than it does a small horse. I had gone 3.5 years without being bucked off and it was lovely. Yesterday, that all changed when I over cued a green horse and fell off after 2 bucks. It was not pretty. The people watching said that besides the one expletive I uttered that I said "I'm going down" and then I hit the dirt. I was fine and I got back up and rode Merlin some more...but I didn't ask him to canter again. The worst part was that it happened while I was teaching and everyone at the barn was watching the lesson or just sort of hanging out. It was really embarrassing.

Maggie has been sick with the stomach bug, and I'm thinking it's happening to me now. I have a slight fever and my tummy is growling, but so far so good. I almost never throw up and hope to keep it that way.

The weather here is been amazing! Next weekend a bunch of us from my barn are going camping. I'm still trying to work out the details. Originally it started out being adults and kids b/c some of the folks had to take the kids or not go. Now some of it has changed and I find myself wishing that I could go without maggie and have an adult weekend. But, it will be fun.

I'm starting to plan next summer out already. Maggie is going to camp in Bar 50 ranch to camp in mid-july. I did that math and figured out that it was cheaper to stay the week there than it was to drive there and back on either end of the week. Plus, Maggie will be more likely to have fun knowing I'm close by. I know it's too early for most people, but I'm hoping that I can get friends to come spend the week with me. I can camp and ride and relax and swim and be there so Maggie isn't worried or alone since she's never done overnight camp before.

I'm afraid I'm getting her bug...Signing off now b/c I'm not feeling so hot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A beautiful day, the holidays and blog settings

I'm sitting here at home, after a busy day of music therapy and a little bit of trail riding. Peter won't be home for another 20 minutes or so, and I hate to lay down and try to go to bed before he comes home from orchestra b/c I get woken up, so I'm trying to entertain myself while waiting for him.

Here are some pictures Maggie drew and I scanned.

I love that people read my blog. It is cool to think that other people out there think like me or enjoy reading what we're doing here. I find it so much easier to journal in the blog than just for myself. Sure, it's for myself, but since I have friends who I know read it to keep up it's nice to have this venue. I later take my blog posts and mail them as letters to friends who don't have computers...saves me writing more than one letter.

I love reading other blogs and I will occasionally comment, but not often. I know that there are people who read, but don't write in and that's fine. I don't care one way or the other. However, I really hate it when people write in the comments, but won't/don't leave their name. Sometimes I know who they are b/c they tell me. Sometimes I just can kind of figure it out. But, when someone doesn't leave a name and they make comments that are kind of mean or off color, then I think that feels creepy. To keep this from happening anymore, I have set it up that people have to be registered users of blogger to leave a comment. This means that they just have to set up an account. It doesn't mean that they have to have a blog, but then they can't leave anymore anonymous least I think that's what it means. That's what it's supposed to mean. Don't let it scare you off; sign up for a blogger account and we'll have no trouble at all. Or if I'm one of your facebook friends, the notes are imported there and you can comment there.

Today was a bit windy and just a tad cold, but I managed to squeeze in a trail ride on our new trails. They officially open on Saturday, but since they aren't really well beaten down yet, the Corp is letting us ride this this week to get them a little more tread in before the general public shows up on Saturday to start riding. I took Liberty out on his second trail ride and he's just doing great. He was wary of wildlife in the beginning but he settled right down for me. He is climbing hills and crossing water much better, but we're still having issues walking down hills. Every time we start to go down a hill and I ask him to walk, he snatches the reins from me and shakes his head and trots down the hill. As soon as I realized this was an every hill occurrence I tried to put him back on my page, but we didn't have much luck. He got better after I relaxed and didn't ask him to really walk slow down the hills, so I think that part of it is that he doesn't have the balance to really go down the hill properly. However, the head shaking is just plain naughty. On the flat I created a few opportunities for him to be naughty so I could circle him and make him give to me, but that's hard to do on a trail, downhill between two trees. Our worst and best moment today on the trail was when he totally took my reins and ran into the water. He loved it. I thought he was going to lay down in the cold lake, but I got him back out in time. Nice that the water isn't a problem for him.

I've been collecting advice on how to work on this problem and so far I have 2 pieces. One piece from my friend Susan Bodenmiller, is to work on backing on the flat and then to work him in small circles when he misbehaves. Backing will work on strengthening the muscles for the hill work and then I can correct him when he's naughty. Amy Martin also told me to change my reins back to my eventing reins with stoppers so that when/if he yanks on me I can stop him from getting away from me. It was scary when he had the reins around his ears heading straight for the water.

I can't complain about him at all though. He stops, he goes, he turns. He is such a good boy. Unfortunately, the saddle I've been using is about to become too narrow for him...sigh.

I had good news from Nicole today. She used Deli for her lessons tonight and she was sounder than she's looked in a long time. I guess getting those shoes off really was better for her. I'm glad that Liberty has never had shoes! It will be something if they are all sound and ready to ride this time next year. Yikes!

After riding I had massages to give and music therapy also. I missed one appointment b/c I got away from the barn late and then got stuck in traffic and my day just snowballed. I got held up at the office and found myself having to call my parent and apologize for my absence, but we did find a day to make it up. I learning that with all the running around, seeing everyone every week is next to impossible.

I guess that's all for now. Heading to bed.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Surrounded by Babies

Peter's brother recently had a baby and now he likes the idea of one too. He has not asked me to do this, he just gets a little nostaligic and thinks he would have enjoyed having a baby of his own. Of course, I think on it a little and it would be OK...but I can't get past the graduating the kid from college in my 60's when I'd like to be out having fun! Lots of people do it at our age, either by accident or on purpose, but I just don't think it's for me.

I do think that having a baby with Peter would be nice. I just can't imagine starting over now. I work with so many kids who have problems and Down's Syndrome especially, that it's hard to really consider it. I hate that I feel this way b/c I know he'd really like to have a baby to be a dad to. At the same time, I'm not sure that he would really enjoy the whole baby thing as much as he thinks he would. And, I'm working and liking working.

I have several friends who really want to have more kids and I think it would be great. Then I can play with their babies and then give them back!

Anyway, that's my random thought for the day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life Lessons of a Ranch Horse by Mark Rashid

First I have to start with a brag. I weighed this evening when I got home and I was 199, so I am now under the 200 pound mark. Only 7 pounds to go to be where I was when I had my 6 week check up after giving birth to Maggie. Of course, this isn't my official weighing day...that's on Wednesday, but it was still good to see. I find that I am puzzled, yet thankful, for my continued weight loss. I never felt like I did anything abnormal that made me fat, and I don't' feel like I am doing anything extraordinary to get thin either. I'm just praising God that the weight is coming off!

I got to ride Liberty again today and he was just a bit of a turkey. Nothing major, but he was ornery not wanting me to pick up his head from the grass. I swear that little horse lives to eat! I taught a lesson while I was on him and made him do a couple of leg yields. It was really, really exciting to have him move sideways off my leg that way. It's so cool to work with a horse who is a blank slate. He tries so hard and he's such a dear. I know he's eventually going to be Maggie's, but in the mean time I"m having her ride Freeley. She needs to learn from him, and I want to ride this sweet little horse before I have to give him up.

What I wasn't happy about today was the way I taught part of my lesson. I wasn't very successful at explaining the leg yield to my adult student or the daughter. The daughter did it better mainly b/c she is looser, but I feel like I failed the dad. He is very concrete and is looking for black and white answers. Riding isn't black and white. IN the beginning you pull a rein and use a leg and it's sloppy, but the horse goes. As you go along things are more complex. The leg and the hands are static, they are on a continuum. They are elastic. After having given one instruction in the beginning to ride a certain way, I'm trying to get him out of that mold to move a different way. I'm going to consult a couple books and some other instructors to help me find the words to teach this maneuver better. They did walk/trot/canter and they looked good. They are in more control and they are handling whatever horse I put them on so much better, but to me it's superficial. I want to teach them more than the basics. I want to teach them about circling and reversing. I want to teach dressage even though they have western saddles on the horses. I know they are probably just coming to ride, but I have hit a wall and I want to go beyond the wall.

Enough rambling for the night. Mark Rashid's book Life Lessons of a Ranch horse is calling. The title has a link to his web page.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Forgot to add...

Several times during our ride I thought I would have a heart attack when Liberty did some baby, green thing and my heart caught in our throat. At one point there was a horse eating log on the side of the trail and it was a spot where the trees were tight and the trail had a little bit of a trench. He spun around a few times and I almost baled out I was so nervous. Joe Bear walked by the log, but Liberty was still scared of it. I retreated, telling Maggie I was done and I thought he was tired and we should just quit. Then I remembered some of the big hills we'd just climbed and remembered we'd have to go down them. So, we stood there for a minute and regrouped and then Liberty went calmly down the trail as though it was nothing. I told Maggie that I thought he'd had enough for the day and that he was wigging out. She kind of sniggered at me that he wasn't the one freaking out. I thought, thanks kid...if she only knew what I was going through for her.

I also realized that the best thing about the whole blowing up episode was that he was tired and he did want to quit, but we had to keep going and he worked through it and was calm at the end.

What a Week!!

This has been such a busy week. It was less busy than the previous couple of weeks. It culminated in a day off on Friday, but I'll have to pay the piper and work extra next week...the curse of taking days off. I have a couple of new clients to start seeing next week, which means it will be busier than this week, and I won't have the luxury of Fridays completely off anymore. I will do the Fridays for awhile, but I honestly don't want to work on Fridays. I scheduled the appointments at the end of the day and it's just a couple of hours, so not the end of the world. And I pointed out to Maggie that those 3 appointments will pay board for the horses with only one week of work. I've let the parents know that I am only good for 3 out of 4 Fridays per month due to Maggie's and my riding schedule. Of course, with the holidays I will have some time off.

I have an interview at another school district on Monday. It's a short day and I can fit it with my other work. if I get it, I will be working on Wednesdays but it will be similar to my day in Springtown. I will be going between schools, and then I will have to go back to Flint and see a client there plus do my massages there. God is giving me the energy to keep up with the work.

I am starting to get too busy, but I find that the more money I earn the more I want to earn b/c I'm seeing real progress on the money/bills. We are wanting some things we couldn't afford before. We are able to have a little spending money here and there. We can finally get a new sofa. I'm trying so hard to send the money to the steps in the debt snowball that Dave Ramsey outlines, but other people in my family often want other things than just to be out of debt. No matter how hard we try, our life style does expand a little. I honestly could be happy without a new sofa or a new car, but then I find myself thinking that it's not fair to put my lifestyle choices on everyone else. I did get a new horse, so I guess that getting a new sofa for the house isn't too much to ask. OTOH, I can actually pay for everything. That is really nice to be able to pay for everything because I get paid from someone every week. I haven't had to charge anything and then pay it back...well, I did this last week b/c a check that was supposed to get here 2 weeks ago wasn't written till last Friday and I don't have it yet. But the upside is that when I have a flat tire or the dogs need shots, it's not the end of the world. I can pay my regular payments to the credit cards and pay extra to savings, and set money aside for Peter's next car or other large household expenses. I figure if we don't end up spending it, then we'll put it on a bill, but I know Peter, or me, or both will need new vehicles. Peter really needs a "new" car but I don't want payments for it, so I figure if we save up and get him a better car and if we can keep putting that money in the bank every month, it will be good.

Of course, in all my get out of debting...I bought new clothes at Kohl's today. I needed some clothes though. I honestly needed them. I'm an even 200 pounds as of last week. I only got one shirt and a pair of pants for myself, but I bought Maggie some new jeans (hope they fit) and a new shirt. I bought Jena a new shirt too (she was here when I was shopping) I bought Peter a pair of jeans and a pair of khakis. So we will have a few new clothes. Soon I won't be a plus size anymore. That's a good thought!

Yesterday we took Liberty on his first trail ride. I took him to Six O with Joe Bear. He loaded up so easily. He's not completely self loading for me yet, but he is getting 1/2 way in all on his own. I think that the next time I hitch up, I can work him on loading without me leading him in. He leads so well and that's going to be a huge asset as we train.

He was really, really good. He was not as boring as I'd hoped for. I had hoped for a lovely, quiet stroll, but I think from a Paso Fino/Arab cross that might have been too much to ask on his first outing. Maggie was on Joe Bear and was really bummed that I wasn't ready to just fly. Darn good thing I didn't either as he was pretty looky at stuff. One time he spun all the way around and almost dumped me and got Maggie dumped off Joe when he spooked. He looked at everything. Funny thing was that he was more secure in front than he was following whenever the going got rough. But, he was equally as unconcerned with his spacing when he was behind.

He had never walked through water before, so I found myself mounting and dismounting alot...thank goodness he's little and I could get on and off very easily. He was so good whenever I led him through stuff though. So many horses will jump on top of you if you lead through a tricky spot, but he was so careful with his feet. He watched everything I did and followed me down and up hills, through water, etc. I was so proud of him. He sometimes got in a hurry, and the next time I take him out, with an another adult, or alone, I need to actually school some of these things, but I was happy just to go over and through new terrain. This poor little guy was so stressed from being in a new place, but I tended to ignore his inappropriate behavior and praise him when he relaxed. He is ready to eat in any location, which to me means he's not TOO stressed out. We took a P&R after doing some hills and climbing and he had a 14 heart and 10 respiration when I first got off, which I thought was pretty great for him to have no conditioning base on him.

Maggie is also preparing Joe Bear to take him to what will probably be his only CTR. He breathes too fast when it's warm to met criteria to compete. But she wants to finish one ride on him and he's in great shape so this is the best time. She has to keep him in his fast walk to manage him properly. She may have to trot into a few P&R's and she may lose some points, but she just wants this one ride. Hopefully it will be cold enough that he'll be ok. We took his P&R after 5-6 miles of quick walking and it was only 9 and 4. I was impressed. She may have a prayer!

I have toyed with the idea of taking Liberty to do his first CTR there, but I don't want to over stimulate him, so I may just stick with my original plan and take Freeley. It will honestly depend on our next hill work and if Freeley ends up sound before the next ride. After his recent shoeing experience he's been a little sore somewhere and I'm hoping he'll work out of it before the ride. The shoes are pulled and I'll boot him before six O, either foamed or not, but he keeps interfering which doesn't help him stay sound. It's subtle, so I don't worry anything about him being injured, but I don't want to get pulled for unsoundness or unable to start or whatever....

I don't anticipate competing much this next year, but we want to do this ride and maybe one other in the spring. I figure I have a month to decide who I'm going to take and a lot can happen in a month.

Anyway, it's taken me most of the day to put this together, so I'll go now. Maggie wants to play a game on my computer and we're watching Dirty Jobs.

Search for the next Equestrian Star

We've been watching the Search for the Next Equestrian Star at our house. I am watching the third episode and we've been enjoying it a lot at our house. It really makes me long for my dressage days when I was riding dressage. I was so sensitive at that point of my riding "career" that I couldn't hack the toughness of dressage instruction. I'm thinking that I would really like to have some real dressage lessons now. I know that I don't have the right horse, I weigh too much and that I don't have the right experience, but I watch those riders ride those horses and I think how much I would love to be that good and teach that well.