Monday, July 30, 2012

Cowboy Up!

Playing a bit of catch up here folks, but last weekend saw me at the Orangeville RAM Rodeo, part of the RAM rodeo tour that sweeps its way across most of eastern North America each year. What a show!!
Friday (the 20th) was my Birthday, and with a lil birthday money in a card I treated myself to the rodeo. Both Saturday and Sunday. It was awesome. I'm not sure I have a favourite event, they were all pretty impressive to watch. Certainly there were events such as barrel racing, pole bending, and even some of the roping events that I watched thinking, yeah, I could do that one day if I want. Other events... bronc riding, steer wrestling, bull riding, trick riding... well, hell no. It's good to know where one's limits are.
It was hot as sin that weekend, and the bleachers were in full sun. I didn't mind. Got a bit of a burn on the second day that's still itchy now, but at the time it was the furthest thing from my mind. I had Garth Brooks song Rodeo playing in my head all day both days.
It's the broncs and the blood, it's the steers and the mud and they call the thing a rodeo.
I have to say, it was the youth competitors that impressed me the most. One girl, a barrel racer, had her horse go lame on her the day before the rodeo. So she borrowed a friend's horse for the event. This horse is a cowy horse. Used for all kinds of roping classes, but never barrel racing. Has never barrel raced in it's life. The girl comes barreling out the gate, and the horse pulls up short. One of the reins has snapped, she's only got a nearside rein left, on this strange horse who doesn't barrel race. So doesn't this plucky 15 year old plaster a grand stand smile on her face, and with a little patience, a lot of leg and voice commands and one rein, gets the darn horse around each and every barrel and back out waving. I admire her courage. It may not have been the fastest time of the day, but I think that girl's a champ.
In the steer riding class, one young cowboy got bucked right off the horns of his steer, then stepped on by every foot as the beast ran over him. The announcer gave him the mic as he picked himself up. He groaned, then shook himself like a dog and said whew! that was a bit of a rough one! with a huge grin and a tip of his hat. Well... Helmet.
On the second day, in the adult, full size bull riding class, not one of the adults managed to stay on long enough to get a score. The very last competitor was a 15 year old kid, and didn't he stay on the full 8 seconds and get a score of 73. He's gonna have to do some growing to fit into that buckle he won I think.
All in all, I love the rodeo. I can't wait until October. The end of season championships are happening in Newmarket, and I'm gonna drag Andrew to watch it with me. He wont mind... I think.

Bad Habits

I have a bad habit. I only want to post when things are all rainbows and sunshine in my life, and then when things get a little rough I disappear for a bit. Sorry.

Money's been tight, business has been slow practically all summer. I'm barely (if even) making enough to pay all my bills each month, which sucks, but it is a hazard of the field I'm in.

Speaking of fields I'm in, the field I wanna be in has grass up to my knees, and a trio of horses grazing nearby. I've been itching to ride again, but due to artistic differences or some other such nonsense, my riding instructor Katie is no longer working at Hummingbird Hill. Until they find a new trainer, I'm kinda in a lurch. And even once they do, what are the chances that this new person will be happy with the same deal of massage treatments in exchange for lessons? With the way things have been going, I certainly can't afford to pay for them right now. And outside of Hummingbird Hill the only other school that teaches western riding in the area is for sale. Must be a tough crowd.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

First Lesson

Today was my first lesson over at Hummingbird Hill Farm. I was so excited all day long. And what a long long day it felt like! I wasn't very busy, so I was just watching the clock tick by until finally it was 6:00, I grabbed my helmet, boots and car keys and off I went to be at the barn for 6:30. Did I mention how very slowly that clock ticked by?
Today Katie put me on her own personal horse, also named Katie. Confusing huh? Trainer Katie says that Katie the horse came with her name and she didn't bother to re-train her to a new name. She's a pretty girl, the colour of a new copper penny with white roan markings on her belly and legs, and white socks. I learned how to groom her, and how to tack her up, and then we led her across to the arena. We started the lesson on the lunge line at a walk, then after I was feeling pretty comfortable Katie wanted to give me a bit of a challenge so we worked at a jog for about 15 minutes. For those of you non-western folks a jog is the same gait as a trot, they just name it differently. Then we took it back down to a walk and she unclipped the lead. Now we were walking free on our own. We kept it to a walk off the lunge line for today, which is just as well. It was a fairly short jog but made me aware of parts of my legs I didn't know I had before. I really have some inner thigh strengthening to do. Katie the horse is trained to "go" with heel bumps, and to stop with a squeeze. By the end of the lesson it was a pretty feeble squeeze and I was thankful that she also responds pretty well to the voice. Then we walked her back to the barn, stripped her down and groomed her again. I spent a solid hour in the saddle and loved every second of it. I can't wait for my next lesson!!
Next time we'll be joined by another woman who's skills are about my speed as well, which will be fun because I get to see visually what she's doing wrong and have a better sense of how to correct my own body. I'm kind of a visual learner.
10 sleeps until I'm in the saddle again!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hospitals aren't my favourite

But I've spent more time in one this week than I have in the rest of my teenage or adult life. My Nana was admitted to the hospital on Thursday with a feeling like "an elephant was sitting on her chest" which is the text book definition of cardiac chest pain, line for line without prompting. We also knew that her pain meds have not been cutting it lately, and her severe arthritis was getting more and more painful.
And that's still about all we know. Her vitals are all good, Andrew says her numbers are all better than his for heaven sake, so she's not in immediate danger of a heart attack. She's had an x-ray, and she says the doctor says they'd like to do surgery, but none of us have heard that from the doc. She had an ultrasound, we never heard the results, she had a CT scan, again, never heard results. The lack of information is frustrating. She was moved yesterday, when we asked why they said it's easier for physio to work with people in this ward. We saw the physio people once on friday, and not again since.  We were apparently waiting on a surgical consult yesterday, but I don't think it ever happened. We're feeling a bit like mushrooms, being kept in the dark and fed shit!
Nana is scared of hospitals, so ever since she was admitted she has not been alone during visiting hours, from 9-9. My mom, dad, Popa, uncle and I have all been taking "shifts" with her. Dad's gonna catch the lion's share this week, since he took the week off. One thing I love about this hospital is that they not only allow doggie visitors, but encourage them! Taffy has really been helping to lift Nana's spirits. And the gardens are just magnificent, Nana has a bird feeder just outside her window like she does here, it gives her something to look at. The nurses have been kind and lovely, and overall it hasn't been a bad experience, we're just wishing for some answers. Maybe there are none to be had?

Gotta go, time for my shift.

Monday, July 9, 2012


While I was in my final semester at Sutherland Chan we had a hoop dancer in our midst. With an adult size, professional hula hoop she puts on shows down at the beach. On sunny days, she used to bring all her practice hoops in to school, and a bunch of ladies would all gather in the parking lot and take turns showing off... or in some of our cases, just trying to keep the darn thing up!
It was a really good work out, and it was a heck of a lot of fun! At the time I had looked into getting one, but the shops in toronto that sell them, sell them for an awful lot of money and I was afterall a broke student. I'm still not really rolling in it, but my health and fitness is becoming a bit more of a priority for me. And, through kijiji (I love that site!!) I found a lady in brampton who makes them for only 25$. So tonight after work I've got a date with this lovely lady. She'll come away with 25$ and I'm coming home with my hoop. I told her I don't have the patience to pick out colours and wait around for her to make it up. She said she has a bunch premade already so I'm just gonna show up and pick one out and be on my way.
So, that's what all the hoopla's about!

Have helmet, will ride

Getting super excited for Wednesday. I can't wait. Counting how many sleeps left.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Barn Tour

I have always wanted to ride. Since I was a little girl mounted on mom's canister vaccuum. But I was also allergic to horses, and my parents wouldn't put me into a hobby that would only make me sick. Now that I'm grown up, I can see where they were coming from. Besides, riding is only for rich girls, or so I'd always been told. Well, now I'm a big girl with my own darn money, and I choose to spend some of it on lessons.
So, I told myself that this summer would be the one when I start riding. Today I took the first step. I went to Hummingbird Hill Farm for a barn tour and to meet their trainer and coach Katie Thompson. This is a new location and a new venture for her, and I'm thrilled to be one of the first riders at this facility, which just opened this month. Katie is sort of in the same boat as me when it comes to having more time available than money to pay for things, and since both she and her horse need massage... I'm thinking we will have a wonderful bartering relationship. Katie and I stood in the parking lot after the tour chatting for over an hour, and might still be standing there if I didn't have a function to get to tonight with girl guides. She was super easy to talk to, friendly, enthusiastic about what she does, and trying not to sell out by expanding too fast when she knows that western pleasure riding and general horsemanship is what she loves. I admire that about her.
Next Wednesday I go back to try a complementary lesson and get a feel for her teaching style and the horses, and if all goes well (as I'm sure it will), I'll set up some future lessons, and hopefully massage appointments.
I'm so excited! I came home and polished up my boots. I'll call my cousin tomorrow and see if I can borrow her helmet until I can afford one of my own. I can practically taste the dust in the arena and feel the leather reins in my hands, hear the creak of the saddle under me and hear the horse blowing already. I have craved this with every fiber of my being for so long, I can't believe it's actually happening. I'm finally taking riding lessons!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The same friend who lets me pick her red currants and tap her maple trees also has gooseberries growing in her yard, and like the currants, still has a freezer full from last year. Would I like them? I've never tasted a gooseberry before and I'm not quite sure what to do with them, but I thought I'd bring some home and play around and decide if I like them or not. Have you guys got any experience with these things? I'm not even sure if they're ripe... should they be soft like a grape? these are still quite hard.

Days like these

... are for going slow. I think I ate some bad chicken and today I'm paying for it, but that's ok. I'm snuggling with my puppy and reading a good book and listening to good tunes. I'll mend up just fine. Besides, everyone should make more time to snuggle their dog. Very cathartic, that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

That time again

 The red currants are ripe at Dar's house. I started picking at around 5:30 tonight, once again with great big sea and tanglefoot playing in my ears (gotta stick to the tradition!) and left around 8 when it started getting buggy out. I've got over 6 cups of berries, and I'll go back tomorrow and pick some more. She's not interested in keeping any berries for herself this year, she's still got lots frozen from last year. A good day for sunshine and music and good friends.