Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oh my, how things change...

So I called my benefits administrator at the City to discuss my coming separation.  After talking about some options, we got off the phone.  She immediately called me back.  Since I'm 57, I'm eligible to retire!! I can still work for a non-PERS employer without interuption of my retirement payment...

SO I'M RETIRING!! Wow. Interesting.  It takes some getting used to...

Monday, July 18, 2011

A welcome interlude

On June 20th, I took Sweet Annie to a trainer, Jordan Stevens, in nearby Creswell.  I had met with him, and really got a very good feeling for his calm, quiet manner with his horses.  As he also said that when they deserved discipline, they got it, I knew he wasn’t a complete softy!

I’d been back to see her twice – once the next day, when she was so pissed off (and in flaming season) that she wouldn’t let me touch her, and then again last week, when, with the bribe of cookies, she was happy to bless me with her company so long as the cookies lasted.  I have not been avoiding her because of any instruction from Jordan; rather I felt it would be less confusing for her not to wonder where her loyalties should lie. It seems that I was right.

On a whim Friday, I went down to see her. Jordan was helping his whole family get the hay in before the next rain (that night…). He was grateful for the break, and walked right up to Annie (I couldn’t ever do that), and brought her out to show me what progress she’s made.  And what progress it is!  The skittish mare that I left is no longer in evidence. He expressed the opinion that since she’s the omega horse, she just needed someone to tell her what to do.  She takes instruction very well!  Even though she had been worked with earlier in the day, she graciously demonstrated all she’s learned:

Having a rope flipped up around her head, and all over her body

Standing untied to be saddled and bridled

Ground driving at the walk and trot

Stopping quietly with her nose down!

Standing quietly while Jordan mounted and sat on her

He’ll start having her carry him around with a friend leading her this next week.  He’s thrilled with her progress (as am I).  She’s not stupid, and catches on quickly and quietly to his instructions. One really great thing she does that was unexpected is that when he crosses behind her when ground driving, she doesn’t care. Many young horses are very unnerved by the “disappearance” of their human behind them, out of sight. Not Ann.  This bodes really, really well for continuing her training to pulling a cart. I’ll continue that part of her further education, since I have a little (very little!!) experience with that.  My arab was pulling shafts of pvc while I ground drove him around the fire roads near where we lived, but I never added weight.  If Ann is this placid about new things (Jordan says she’s actually a little lazy…), putting her to cart won’t be a huge deal, if taken slowly.

It was a really very calming interlude in my otherwise crazy life to spend time with my pony – after she was finished with show and tell, I led her around for about 45 minutes, letting her eat grass, which she thought was a great reward! Now that she a Jordan are working together well, I’ll check in more often (like once a week).  He’s sure that by the end of her 90 days, I’ll be riding her instead of him – I can’t wait!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sometimes the change comes faster than you're ready for...

Lots has happened since the last post. 

First, I have sold my house. Close of escrow is on or before August 19, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. The good news is that the buyers have agreed to clean up the property - I just have to get the house cleaned out. The bad news is that I have to get the house cleaned out.

How can one person accumulate so much crap? Ok, I know that when I moved in here 4.5 years ago, I went from a 1436 sq. ft. house into an 840 sq. ft. house, and didn't have enough room for everything, so I purged big time, I thought. Since then, I've managed to accumulate more stuff, acquired some of Mom's stuff after her passing (I needed a dumpster even before that!!), and now find myself doing the 2nd run through the clothing (how many t-shirts does one need??). I have already taken 4 bags of clothes to Goodwill, and one bag of shoes - my ex used to call me Imelda...

Needless to say, I've been procrastinating. I need to find a flatbed trailer to haul the panel gates and hog and cattle panels over to Correy's, since I don't want to sell them (I might need them someday...). Also, fencing, t-posts and 4 x 4's that can be used for animal stuff. I haven't found a borrow-able trailer yet, and don't want to spend the $$ to rent one.  Correy has generously offered to babysit my loom, and a couple of vintage oak dressers (one is Mission), and all the fiber... I'm not sure she knows how much that is... ;-)

But along with the full-blown panic of moving, there have been some really fun times in the last few weeks. Two weeks ago, I headed over to Correy's to help skirt fleeces (maybe she does understand how much fiber I have after all...), and got to see Who's Your Daddy in person.  Man, is she a pistol! We haltered both foals, and Correy did the initial leading training.

Her colt is relatively mild mannered, and really cute. He's out of her Arab/Appy/Paint mare, Jazz, and her Foundation Quarter Horse Stallion, Duster. The colt's name is Duster's Sunday Surprise, as he was born early on a Sunday morning, when everyone had decided that Jazz was just going to be permanently pregnant (she was about 3 weeks overdue).  He has the greatest markings, and the promise to be a very nice-looking horse (he will be gelded). A couple of pictures:

Whosie (tater is not appropriate), on the other hand, is a total control freak like her mother (and me...). She does NOT want that thing on her head, and she does NOT want to walk with you and she does NOT really care if you touch her or not, even when it feels good.  She threw herself on the ground several times that first time after getting the halter on.  We took advantage of that and scratched her all over, moved her legs around, played with her tail - all the while she was rigid with indignation.  Make no mistake, this filly was NOT afraid. Combined with the fact that this girl is going to be around 15 hands (her knees are already at the same height as Kiri's), it's going to be imperative that I figure out what makes her tick and get her to acquiesce to a human being alpha.  Should be interesting. First picture is before we "tormented" her:

Note how tall she is in this picture - she's one month old - Kiri is about 13.2 (54" at the withers):

After her exhausting afternoon (aren't baby teeth cute?):

Also, here are a couple of pictures that I forgot I had from the Reno trip. These were taken at the marsh about 1/4 mile from my old house.  I swear this Yellowheaded Black Bird was posing:

Not a great picture, but a Great Egret is always fun to see:

And last but not least, this last Sunday, Correy's daughter, Brin , and I went to what turned out to be the finale concert of the Oregon Bach Festival. Brin had gotten a voucher for 2 tickets, and let me choose the concert.  Since the one with Yo Yo Ma was exempted from the voucher (dang...), we went to see Beethoven's 9th Symphony (Ode to Joy).  I've never seen it live, though I have a really nice recording of it. I almost got to sing in it, but had to drop out last fall when I strained my voice trying to sing it.  I'm a first soprano, but there are more high A's in that one piece than I've sung in my whole life up to that point, and it was too much.  Anyway, the music was really good, the soli were adequate, but the chorus rocked! They were so tight, entrances and cut off's were perfect and the sound carried out over the orchestra like ocean waves - there all the time.  I had goosebumps the entire concert.  I'm sure my seatmate (not Brin) was wondering about this loony sitting next to her bouncing her feet and swaying to the music - I just can't help it!!

So, onward. Tonight I'll sort the clothes again... Honest...