Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Joe the Lion

There is a video at youtube of a full grown wild lion meeting and greeting his former owners over a year after their separation that is so very touching and heartwarming. Originally, the two young men purchased the lion at Harrod's of London in 1969 in the exotic pets department. Their friend told the store clerk she wanted a camel. Without batting an eye, the clerk asked, "One hump or two?" The friends went to see the exotic animals and saw the tiny cub. They bought him and named him Christian. They lived in a flat on King's Road and owned the Sophisticat furniture store. The lion would often wander freely around the store and played in the churchyard nearby. He even rode in a Bentley and once swam in the English Channel during a seaside picnic outing. He grew too big though so they decided to turn him loose in the wilds with the help of George Adamson of Born Free fame. A year later they wanted to see him and were told he wouldn't remember them. But he did and he even introduced his wild mate to them. Here is a Daily Mail story from last year with some more information and pictures. If you have yet to see this amazing video, here it is, the original, entitled "Christian the Lion, at World's End". Enjoy.

here's another video with more detail, part 1

and part 2

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've been tagged by Twinville @ LaughingOrcaRanch to tell 6 things no one knows about me.
  1. I hate to conform, so I'm going to name seven.
  2. I was born in Japan. My father was in the Air Force.
  3. When I was small, I used to swim around underwater in my own 30 ft pool and pretend I was a mermaid. I wanted to grow up and be a Weeki Watchee mermaid.
  4. Once, I dressed up for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was Magenta. I've seen that movie at least 13 times in theaters. Once, I took my sister to a punk showing of it in Georgetown, Washington D.C. What a blast!
  5. I was happily married to my husband for 25 years until he died last year of pancreatic cancer.
  6. I have always wanted to ride cutting, reining, and high level dressage. I want to feel what it's like to experience cutting a cow, multiple rollbacks, a good slidestop, passage and piaffe, and I don't mean the little jiggy trot my horse does when he's excited. I've also always wanted to jump 4' or more on a trained jumper.
  7. I always wanted to write and publish a book. I have, sort of. I made a 50+ page manual about the 50 mile canoe trip I took this last spring down the Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River in southern Utah. (See photo at the very bottom of my home page.) I had the booklet printed and bound at Kinko's. But I need to make corrections and reprint it.

Anyway, that's it for now.

The Secret Life of Arabia (part 1- Arabian Youth Nationals)

Every July the Arabian Youth Nationals come to town for a week of wonderful events. Yesterday morning were the trail classes. I convinced my neighbor Lisa to go with me. I remembered how challenging the classes used to be. Monster eating obstacles that only the best trained horses would endure. For example, they used to ride thru wedding arbors, water obstacles, or move aside shower curtains. Not anymore. Due to time constraints, or lack of skilled horses, the trail class was pretty ho hum. There were lots of rail obstacles to walk, trot, canter, or back thru along with the bridge and gate. We watched for a while and I got some ideas for training at home but then we began watching the warm up in the area behind us more than the class.

So we decided to wander. Next door they were starting a western pleasure clinic with Elizabeth Bentley, so we sat down for that. She only had four horses in the clinic but she gave a pretty good lecture. She explained how some show clothing can detract from the horse, which you never want to do in a pleasure class which is judged on the horse. She said that western pleasure is very difficult for most Arabian horses to perform well for a long time because they are so alert and spirited that it's hard for them to basically shut down and play dumb. (my words) She suggested training the horse in a variety of activities to keep them interested. She said teaching lateral movement (sidepass) and turns on the forehand and hindquarters are important for improved performance. She explained how the rider should push the horse forward with their legs without increasing the speed of the gait so there would be more action in the hindquarters.

She explained a little about the weighted reins that Arabians use in western classes and how there is a deceptively loose rein because one actually still maintains contact with the horses mouth. (If you ever get the chance, check out the bits and reins they use- they're incredibly heavy! and expensive. The reins I liked were $695.00, the bridle $295.00, the breastplate $395.00, and the saddle $2895.00. And that saddle is cheaper than others I've seen.) She also said to work your Arabian in various patterns and keep him busy rather than always riding the rail. That way, when they enter the class it is a relief to just move along the rail and they behave better. I agree. (I'm always saying that, do serpentines, figure eights, ride point A to B, etc; exercise them in such a way that they are so busy listening to you, the horse doesn't have time to think about acting up.) One other point she made was to train the horse in a light snaffle until they are very soft in the mouth before fully bitting them up. Too often the horse is not ready for the curb and weighted reins.

One thing Lisa and I noticed was that the pretty pinto being ridden seemed very stiff in the front legs. The legs were tightly bound with bandages and I wondered if they were too high up and maybe constricting movement. The clinician worked them quite a bit on getting a balanced lope. At the end of the clinic she commented to the rider about the stiffness and uneven gait. The girl responded that the horse had strained tendons. Strained tendons! Riding?? Is that stupid or what? What a shame!!!

After the western pleasure clinic, a hunter pleasure clinic started up with another woman, Virginia Godwin. There were 10 horses in this one. She discussed traffic and how at National level the classes can have 25 - 40 horses in them. It was interesting, especially when she had the kids team up and ride in pairs and then fives. They had to turn together. It was a good lesson because many of these kids had not ever had to do this sort of thing. Then she brought out volunteers and a couple dozen kids ran out and demonstrated working like horses along the rail and passing. This was funny and chaotic. It proved that horses can naturally find their herd place but need to be directed when ridden and humans do not follow directions well at all.

Because of the monsoon season or maybe Hurricane Dolly, it rained a lot! We wandered through the vendor hall and coveted a few things for sale. I even got to sit on a side saddle! Then around 5:30, four and a half hours after we'd got there, we decided to leave. I took Lisa to my favorite Mexican fast food place, Acapulco Tacos and Burritos and we fed our chili fix. She had carne adovada (pork) with red chili (of course) and I got a beef machacha(shredded) with green chili and beans. Then we went home to our water saturated mountains.

All in all, after the morning news of Annie's pregnancy, it was a wonderful horsey day! Later in the week expect more from the show. We are going back on Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening for working cow horse classes and finals in Native Costume, Freestyle Reining, Park, Sidesaddle, etc. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Will you stay in a Lover's Story?

I'm very happy to announce my 15 year old Polish Arabian mare, Fantastyk Gal is officially in foal to Kakhem Sahib. Yay!!!

It has been a very long and rocky road since the Arabian Nationals last October, when I found the flyer advertising Kakhem Sahib, Reserve Champion working cow horse and son of Khemosabi. I met the stallion's owner, saw the stallion, and signed the breeding contract. Annie has never been bred before, so I had originally planned on taking her to their breeding farm in Colorado and letting her be bred there.

Except that I wasn't able to get her trailer trained over the winter and this spring, when she needed to go, she still wasn't loading. I tried patience (hours of sitting with her at the trailer, pulling, pushing, ground driving, backing up, and even using night time- I'd heard horses feel safer trying new things in the dark. I left the truck and trailer in the arena for three days with the doors open and food inside. I did not feed Annie at all, but it didn't make any difference. She'd rather starve. Then I put my other horses out with her and she watched them climb in and out of the trailer. Frustrated, I was ready to call it all off. I talked to the breeder and my local vet and we all agreed artficial insemination was the best alternative to live cover. However, I still couldn't take her to the Vet's office just 10 minutes away. So, the Doctor gave me the name of a horse trainer, Mark. He came out and after two hours, got her loaded! He used panels and a whip and pretty much forced her in. He was patient and kind to her but showed her that it wasn't so bad in the trailer by making it uncomfortable outside of the trailer. He tapped her rump with the whip until she went forward. After scrunching all her feet into the space of a "dime" for a while, she leaped inside. He came back for two more lessons until she was loading better. Basically, all she really needed was forward motion and a direct route in.

Annie had a terrible experience 10 years ago and has never left the ranch since. The day we bought her she refused to load. She kept rearing at the entrance of the trailer. Once she reared up and hit her head hard in the doorway. Another few rears and she fell over backwards when the lead snapped. With help we eventually pushed her in, but I seriously thought we'd killed her. She bled from her nose for two days. She also had a concussion. She healed though, and except for a slight lump on her forehead, appeared fine, but the scars ran deep. This was one of the reasons she has never been bred. She has always been my horse of unfulfilled dreams.

After Mark's lessons, I was ready to take her to the Veterinarian for an examination. I brought along Nadia for companionship. She's an easy loader and very calm. I used the panel and the long line threaded through the metal ring at the inside front of the trailer like Mark had shown me and after a few rears and hesitations, Annie loaded! My knees shook and I cried from relief. I quickly loaded Nadia and off we went. Then, for the first time in my life I drove a loaded horse trailer. My husband always drove it in the past. At the veterinarian's office Annie was surprisingly calm with her new surroundings but she refused to go into the clinic because of the low doorway. She received a sedative and with the help of the two assistants who pushed her in with a butt rope, we got her in the stocks. She was good for the exam but she was not near ready to breed.

I had to bring her back the next weekend. Again I had no one to help me load her and even though I used the panel, she completely refused. She was rearing a lot and I was ready to quit and then my cell phone rang. It was Mark asking me how things were going with loading her. I asked if he could come right over because I was going to miss my appointment. He said he could and did, so I called the clinic and told them I'd be late and they said that was okay. So like a godsend, he loaded her, I got Nadia in, and off I went. At the vet's she was given a sedative again so after the check up I immediately loaded her, with help from the girls there. Still no activity in her cycle.

A few days later, I thought she might be showing signs of heat so I took her in, but nope, nothing.

I took her the next week and the Doctor said she had a persistant CL or false pregnancy. So I had to give her a shot and come back a week later. I've never given shots to anyone before even though I've seen them given to horses lots of times. I even made my non-horse husband give shots to a horse we had that developed bronchitis and required daily shots of penicillin. He also gave our horses their annual booster shots. But I don't have him around anymore so with my daughter in attendance for moral support, I did it!

Six days later, things were looking good. I called the breeder and told them we were ready for the shipped semen. Julie was ready for my call and collected some right away from Khemo and Fed Exed it to the vet's office for next day delivery. The vet said Annie needed another shot that evening. I couldn't be home- school and work, so my daughter, Sheila and neighbor, Lisa did the deed. Sheila actually, with Lisa there for moral support. That second person is so important to help calm horse and person! They gave her the shot and then the next day Lisa, Sheila, and I took her in for breeding.

Lisa and I took her again the following day for another breeding. This time, Annie actually neighed to Nadia who was already loaded, (Nadia always comes along for the ride) put her head down and climbed into the trailer like an old pro. Success!!

After waiting 2 weeks, Lisa and I took her in this morning and there is an embryo growing!!

It's the small dot in the big black spot (uterus).

The doctor's finger is pointing to the embryo.

Thanks, Lisa, for all the moral support and wonderful photos!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Did you ever have a dream?

Randy Pausch did. This video is wonderful, all about fulfilling your dreams, not sad.

From MSN news- PITTSBURGH - Randy Pausch, a computer science professor whose "last lecture" about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, has died. He was 47.
Pausch died early Friday at his home in Virginia, said Anne Watzman, a spokeswoman for Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he worked. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife's relatives.
Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.
Here's his lecture "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," on YouTube (I love YouTube!!)

RIP Randy. You'll be missed.

edit- Scott, my beloved husband of 25 years died last January of pancreatic cancer after 4 months post diagnosis. It's a horrible, horrible way to go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She'll Drive the Big Car

Today was a landmark event for my car and I. We reached 100,000 miles!

I bought her in March 2007 with 63,000 miles already on her. She is a 2003 Infiniti FX45. I call her Lola because she is a pretty, muscle car. ;) She is my BIG sports car CUV with ALL the bells and whistles including V8 engine, 20" tires, All Wheel Drive, smart cruise and navigation system complete with back up camera.

I love driving her and listening to XM radio which she came with. Here is the navigation screen showing all the miles and time I've been driving since I bought her. Stupid me, I cleared it today. I should have kept it going, huh? Can you guess the band playing on the radio??

This is a horsehair fob that hangs from my rearview mirror. I bought at an Arabian horse show last year. It's a celtic love knot.

Truth (West Memphis Three)

Free The West Memphis Three!!!

Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin

The history - from the WM3.org website:

Shortly after three eight year old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?

The same police officers coerced an error-filled "confession" from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to 12 hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.

Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.

For over 14 years, The West Memphis Three have been imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. Echols waits in solitary confinement for the lethal injection our tax dollars will pay for. They were all condemned by their poverty, incompetent defense, satanic panic and a rush to judgment.

But there’s still hope for them, and you can help.

West Memphis Three: Time for Truth from Brian Quist on Vimeo.

For more information, watch the HBO documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills which covers the court trials and includes interviews of key people and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations which digs deeper into the innocence of the accused.

Book- The Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


This is an amazing story of a Katrina survivor, now an amputee. What's truly amazing is that it is a pony! Molly was abandoned after Katrina and then was attacked by a dog. Her front leg was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. She was fitted with a prosthetic leg and has learned to walk again. Now she visits hospitals and makes friends with people in need. What a sweet pony!

more info, videos, and book here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dancing with the Big Boys

Theodore O'Connor was a little horse with a big heart, certainly bound for the Olympics in Beijing next month. At only 14.1 hands high, he was one of the smallest world class event horses ever. He was actually a pony. Taller horses are understandably preferred for jumping events. Even so, he excelled at dressage, stadium jumping and cross country eventing, often beating the big boys (and girls). Since my horses are all around 14.2 - 14.3 hands, I have a special fondness for small horses.

Tragically, Teddy died on May 28th, 2008. He spooked while being walked to the arena for a training session and ran off back to the barn. Somehow, he severely cut his hind leg. It was so bad that he had to be euthanized. Now that he's gone, Karen O'Connor didn't even make the Olympic riding team. There is an article in Time magazine about them. See here. I've also included a video of them riding together.

RIP Teddy. You'll be missed.

I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies

I went shopping today at Hastings music store. I finally found Sunset Rubdown! I have been looking for it since it came out last year. The album is called Random Spirit Lover. It's really great, even better than I'd expected it to be.

And, Hastings was having a buy 2 used cds and get one free sale, so I did. I bought Wilco, Being There; The Who, Endless Wire (I was really hoping to get Tommy); and Paul Potts, One Chance.

Here's what Amazon has to say about him: "Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts has spent most of his life feeling 'insignificant'. Bullied at school for being 'different', he realized growing up that he had one true friend and that was his voice. Singing was his escape. He was able to lose himself in his own little world - the vicious words of his tormentors replaced by hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melodies that lifted his heart and spirit. It was a love, a passion, a lifeline that would follow Paul into adulthood and help him through many more periods of adversity.

Though it's fair to say that when Paul strolled awkwardly - almost apologetically - onto the Cardiff stage for his first Britain’s Got Talent audition a week before that final, in his now infamous £35 Tesco suit, and announced to Simon and fellow judges Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan that he was going to sing opera, they never thought for one minute they were looking at their winner. Until he opened his mouth and started to sing."

I have enclosed a video from his first audition. Amazing!!! And I don't even like opera!

Ziggy Stardust

Blogging is hard. During the week, I don't seem to have a lot of personal time so it looks like my posting is going to be heavier on the weekends. Do check back to previous posts because I have a terrible habit of editing and updating older posts. Sometimes, I start a post and then go off in some other direction. I am trying not to, but I am still a newbie at this blogging and make frequent mistakes. Bear with me, I promise I'll get better.

As I said at the start of my blog, all my post titles will be Bowie song titles or lyrics, except for the occasional obvious Bowie link. ;) See if you can recognize them. Bowie has over 450 songs to choose from so I think I can do it. We'll see...

I supppose this is as good a time as any to tell about my Bowie obsession. LOL. It all started in the seventies. I remember hearing Changes on the radio. But the song that really grabbed me was Mott the Hoople's cover of All the Young Dudes. David Bowie sings back up vocals sublimely!! (Did you know this was written by Bowie and given to MTH because they needed a hit? And Bowie hadn't even had a hit yet!)

I was never anywhere near where he was touring, so it was a long time before I saw him in concert. I moved to New Mexico in 1976 and he'd already filmed the movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1975. I had a friend nicknamed Bo (go figure) who was very into Bowie. He loaned me all his LPs to copy to cassette (yep, even in those days we copied music.) I was fascinated by his ever changing genius. On every album Bowie looked and sounded so different! Bo also introduced me to Patty Smith, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and many other musicians. I bought myself a full audio system: turntable, speakers, cassette recorder/player, and radio. I was taping album sides off the radio as well as recording my friend's lps. In those days, the radio station would play complete albums late at night. Anyway, Bo and I grew apart but my love for Bowie just grew.
Thanks Bo!

I remember being fascinated with my older sister's Transformer album by Lou Reed. Of course, Bowie (and Mick Ronson, Bowie's guitarist) had a huge part in that, producing and co writing many of the songs. I still enjoy listening to Transformer. If you listen closely, you can pick out Bowie's backing vocals, especially on Satellite of Love.

(I was also very deeply into Cat Stevens at this time. I have a complete collection of Cat Stevens cassettes and cds along with my huge Bowie collection.)

It was hard to get information about musicians in those days. I read Rolling Stone magazine regularly but they didn't often include him. I spent a lot of time defending Bowie when my friends claimed he was gay. Bowie has never appealed to mainstream America.

Then, I met my husband, Scott. We danced every weekend at the local clubs. He enjoyed music as much as I did. In 1983, Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour began. Because he was now a radio star, the local radio station organized a "Bowie Bus" to travel to his concert in Phoenix. My husband allowed me to go, but couldn't go himself, or wouldn't?, so he made me bring my older sister. What a trip we had! The chartered bus kept breaking down and we all wondered if we would ever get there. We did, just in time, but we missed the opening act. WHEW! It was that close!

During that concert, I got "the look". Bowie watches his audience, he consumes them, he'll even steal your soul if you let him. It was mezmerizing and magnetic, like a jolt from an electric shock. (I know you think I'm crazy but my husband mentioned it at a later concert we both attended. He got "the look" that time!) The Serious Moonlight concert was awesome! Many people ridicule Bowie's 80's era but Lets Dance is such a great song! And he played sorrow, Cat People, Young Americans, Station to Station, What in the World, Space Oddity, and so many other fantastic songs! It was magic! It could only have been better if my husband had been there with me.

Then we decided to raise a family and I packed away all my music. I just didn't think it proper exposing them to some of the explicit lyrics on albums. Radio songs were 'safe' in those days.

The last Bowie album I bought was Tonight. It wasn't so good. Somehow, the movie, Labyrinth, released in 1986, totally escaped me. Then, over the next few years I randomly picked up on Bowie news but didn't really think much about it. I read about his Tin Machine project. I knew that he got married to Iman. I knew he released an album, Black Tie, White Noise...
Only, I had gotten comfortably numb just listening to the grunge bands on the radio.

Jump forward to 2002. I got the internet and discovered Napster. I was able to download music that I hadn't heard in such a long time! It was heaven on Earth! I proceeded to rediscover my passion for music, especially Cat Stevens and David Bowie. I D/L'd almost all of Bowie's 26 studio albums. I then proceeded to buy them all. Around this time, I read about the release of Bowie's new album Heathen. I bought it and the Best of Bowie 2 dvd set of all his music videos. Overnight, I became a Bowie acolyte. I joined BowieWonderworld. And I confess, I'm obsessed.

When Bowie toured in 2003-2004, Scott and I saw him three times on his Reality tour. We had to travel to Las Vegas one weekend and then Phoenix - Las Vegas the next weekend. I felt like a groupie following his tour like we did. Scott enjoyed the concerts too, although not as much as I did. As I mentioned earlier, he told me he got "the look" from Bowie himself. The best seats I could get were 29th row, so I sold them since we had the three concerts planned. Then I found 10th row, so we were back to 3 dates. I spent so much time on the internet following his concerts city to city that my husband was getting jealous, I'm sure. One bit of irony is that I have bootleg cds from almost everywhere except the shows I saw. No one taped them. Another interesting fact is that I saw guitarist Earl Slick perform every time I saw David Bowie, in 1983 and 2004.

Anyway, I hope to see him in concert again but it's doubtful. He hasn't performed more than a couple of songs at special events since he had his heart problems. At one concert in Norway a fan threw a lollipop on stage and it hit him in his bad eye. Very soon after that he began to have shoulder pain. After one concert, he was admitted into a German hospital for a emergency surgery. It seems he had extremely clogged veins and had a stent placed. That's what smoking 3 packs a day for 40 years will do to ya. And although Ziggy Stardust retired on July 3, 1973, Bowie will probably never officially retire. He'll just quit performing.

China Girl from the Serious Moonlight tour in 1983

Opening night of the Reality Tour in 2003

Hallo Spaceboy during Reality tour. This song ROCKED the Joint!!!Possibly my favorite song performed live. You'll need to crank up the volume for this one.

And finally, Ziggy Stardust, Live by Request 2002

Friday, July 18, 2008


Reading a post by Twinville about an old parked bus got me to thinking about the movie, INTO The Wild and the book of the same name by Jon Krakauer. It is the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who went to live in the Alaskan wilderness and died there a few months later. Why did he get rid of everything he owned (22,000 dollars!!) before he set off into the wilderness? Was he comitting suicide? Was he looking for one more adventure even though he was so ill prepared? Did he really think he was invincible? Was he just ignorant? I have thought about it a lot since reading the book a few years back and I have come to the conclusion that it was purely an accident. He was fortunate enough all his life to weather all kinds of adventures and he just didn't realize the magnitude of risk involved at this particular time and place. Chris had a huge desire to be a free spirit. Many young twenty-something men are like this; anti-establishment and seeking adventures at the risk of their own death. Chris's mistakes were
  1. going alone and not telling anyone
  2. not prepared/lack of knowledge (equipment, clothes, training, maps, food, first aid)

Either of these reasons could be enough to get anyone killed.

The book is definitely worth reading, as are all Krakauer's books. Into Thin Air, for example, is about the Mount Everest climbing fiasco a few years ago.

One of my very favorite bands, The Arcade Fire sings a song about Chris McCandless AKA Alexander Supertramp called Neigborhood #2 (Laika). This video was created using scenes from last year's movie. Enjoy! Lyrics follow video.

Alexander, our older brother,
set out for a great adventure.
He tore our images out of his pictures,'
he scratched our names out of all his letters.
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
Come on Alex, you can do it.
Come on Alex, there's nothin' to it.
If you want somethin' don't ask for nothin,
if you want nothin' don't ask for somethin'!
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
It's for your own good,
it's for the neighborhood!
For the neighborhood
Our older brother bit by a Vampire!
For a year we caught his tears in a cup.
And now we're gonna make him drink it.
Come on Alex don't die or dry up!
Our mother shoulda just named you Laika!
It's for your own good,
it's for the neighborhood!
When daddy comes home you always start a fight,
so the neighbors can dance in the police disco lights.
The police disco lights.
Now the neighbors can dance! (x4)

Squawking like a pink monkey bird

As I sit at my computer, I am watching the hummingbirds outside my kitchen window. I have three feeders out and I fill them every other day. I have seen a dozen or more hummers at a time. They buzz and hover at the feeders making their funny squawking/clicking sounds all the while. They seem to crave companionship; but they fight constantly with each other. Just like humans, huh?

Out in the barn, I have 5 or 6 active nests of barn swallows. (This spring I counted 30 birds looking for places to nest.) All day long they blitz and swoop in and out of the barn looking for insects. They are very loud, always chattering amongst themselves, perched high up on the metal pipe supports of the barn.

I wish I could identify bird songs better. There are so many different kinds of them all the time. It's Nature's most wonderful symphony, the birds of summer.

Update: I filled all the feeders this morning and then I had to fill them again this evening. My, those hummers are thirsty! Then I noticed the sky tonight. Okay, so we can't get the northern lights, but I sure do appreciate our sunrises and sunsets!

And then I got to thinking about the Northern Lights, which brings me to this video. Watch!
Northern Lights by one of my favorite prog rock bands, Renaissance.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Man Who Fell to Earth (river)

I was out with my camera today and snapped a few pictures of the river Bowie sits by and drinks from in the movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth. This is in the town of Bernalillo (Burn-a-LEE-yo) and the river is the mighty Rio Grande.

This is approximately where he steps out into the traffic, looking towards the town.

This is the town. Of course it's all grown up now and no old pawn shop although there was a new trading post that I wondered if it was the old shop in a new building. It's the brown building that is just out of the picture on the far left.

movie trailer

The river scenes are around 1:06

Holy, Holy

New Mexico is well known for it's religious people and churches. One of the most famous churches is the Sanctuario de Chimayo. Here is an excerpt from Chimayo.org;
Somewhere around 1810, a Chimayó friar was performing penances when he saw a light bursting from a hillside. Digging, he found a crucifix, quickly dubbed the miraculous crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas. A local priest brought the crucifix to Santa Cruz, but three times it disappeared and was later found back in its hole. By the third time, everyone understood that El Senor de Esquipulas wanted to remain in Chimayó, and so a small chapel was built on the site. Then the miraculous healings began. These grew so numerous that the chapel had to be replaced by the larger, current Chimayó Shrine -- an adobe mission -- in 1816. Believed to be built on sacred earth with miraculous healing powers, the legendary shrine El Santuario de Chimayó, is probably the most visited church in New Mexico. The crucifix which began the original shrine still resides on the chapel alter, but for some reason its curative powers have been overshadowed by El Posito, the "sacred sand pit" from which it sprang. Each year during Holy Week thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Chimayó to visit the Santuario and take away a bit of the sacred dirt. Pilgrims walk a few yards or a hundred miles. Many claim to have been cured there of diseases, infirmities and unhappiness. The walls of the sacristy are hung with discarded crutches and before-and-after photographs as evidence of the healing.

I had to take my two sons to camp this morning up near Chimayo so on my return trip I decided to stop by the Sanctuary. There was an outdoor mass in progress so I joined in. Afterwards, I proceeded into the Sanctuary and after a few prayers, I went to the holy sand pit and retrieved a handful of the blessed sand. I wrapped it up in my handkerchief. I am going to sprinkle some in each of the horses stalls, especially Annie's, so the Lord can watch over them. The rest I put in a tin with my Lady of Fatima rosary beads. It certainly can't hurt, right?

Here are some pictures I took today. If you click on them you can see them larger.

The entrance to the Sanctuario de Chimayo

A close up of one of the arch-crosses. I think they're beautiful.

The Sanctuary

An outdoor shrine with lots and lots of rosaries and other things

Another outdoor shrine. I like this one because of the horse. ;)

notice all the crosses in the fence

Some neat rock formations

more pretty rock formations

My son's camp entrance

Tents at my sons camp

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Let's Dance (with Matt)

I love these youtube videos of Matt Harding.

Where in the hell is Matt?

Where in the hell was Matt?

Where in Google Earth is Matt?

Where in the hell is Matt 2008?
And there's many more.

Never Get Old

All of my horses are "over the hill". My youngest is Scout, who is thirteen. Annie is fifteen and Nadia is a whopping twenty five! Nadia is showing a little stiffness, but otherwise she's fine. She really perks up under saddle. She loves trail riding and is very willing to gallup and even prance. I don't ride them all as often as I'd like, mainly because of my work and school schedules, but they are all in good health and have always been sound. They live in covered stalls with large runs and I turn them out for exercise almost daily. They are fed a diet consisting mainly of hay, horse cookies and various treats, a little grain, free choice mineral block and fresh grass whenever possible. They also get wormed, shots, hoof care, fresh water, exercise and lots of love.

I think Arabians finally settle down in their early teens. Before that, they're goofy, at least Annie was. And I've had others. Barry was a five year old gelding that everyone thought was a stud colt. Shahreen was seventeen when I sold her and Leigh took her competive trail riding well into her twenties (the horse, I mean).

Consider Elmer Bandit. He's a 37-year-old Half-Arabian gelding that completed the Indian Territory North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) ride over Memorial Day weekend, finishing in sixth place and bringing his lifetime mileage total to 20,360. Kudus to him and his rider. And he doesn't even hold the record for mileage. An American Saddlebred, Wing Tempo, has that honor.

Then there is the story of an old throw away Arabian that was recovered and used by a queen, rodeo queen that is. See here: http://winfieldcourier.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=24923&TM=16736.66

People ask me how long do horses live? I tell them the average life span is twenty-five. This is because many horses die sudden and unexpected deaths early in life (I lost a seven year old, tragically). But they can easily live well into their thirties. At least, I'm hoping so.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Merry Christmas! (in July)

to Me!@!!
This morning, I received a package from a wonderful BWW'er from across the pond. Inside the the plain brown package were two fantastic presents. The iSelect CD from Bowie and the special Unseen Bowie Live magazine! These were only available in the UK in their Sunday newspapers.

This cd is an exclusive selection of songs because they are chosen by Mr. Jones himself! Included are
  1. Life on Mars?
  2. Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing
  3. The Bewlay Brothers
  4. Lady Grinning Soul
  5. Win
  6. Some Are
  7. Teenage Wildlife
  8. Repetition
  9. Fantastic Voyage
  10. Loving the Alien
  11. Time Will Crawl
  12. Hang on to Yourself (Live from Santa Monica)

He has included many of his fan's favorites for a change, rather than the hits. I love this CD! It's got all my faves!

A great big thanks to all my friends at BowieWonderWorld. The good folks over there have shared some nice rarities this month such as Tin Machine outtakes and new and complete tracks from the unreleased album, Toy. Thanks so much for your generosity!

Update- I heard that the iSelect cd is going to be officially released later this year! Yippee!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Wedding (warning- graphic pictures)

Equine style.
Yesterday and today, my daughter, my neighbor, and I witnessed the union of Fantastyk Gal (Annie) and Kakhem Sahib (Khemo), sort of. After months of challenges, Annie was finally bred, artificially, at the vet's office. I can only hope and pray that a baby is in the making as I type this.

Annie, "What's up?"

Annie in her protective head gear at the vet's office. She wears this when trailering so she won't hurt her head. She had tremendous problems loading, and would rear and throw her head up until she finally learned that trailering really isn't so bad. Today was her eighth trip to the vet's office in the last couple of months. She even neighed as she walked up to the trailer, with Nadia already loaded, and, with head low, just stepped right in. Hooray!

We finally discovered that backing her in to the clinic is much easier than trying to go forward. She is terrified of hitting her head; she will balk and rear. She had a very bad time years ago while we were trying to load her up after purchasing her. She ended up with a concussion from hitting her head on the trailer and rearing over backwards when the lead rope snap broke. Now I only use "bull" snaps on my lead ropes. I thought we had bought a "dead" horse. She did recover but she never got over that fear of trailers until very recently. I am elated that now I can take her places! Now I can go trail riding with her! Before, I'd always take my other two horses and leave her home.

Disinfecting the area is VERY important for preventing infections.
Six weeks ago I couldn't imagine Annie allowing her tail to be wrapped in a plastic bag. Of course, the drugs help. She has become quite the junkie, enjoying her dose of mild sedative. A good mixed drink has been known to calm many a bride on her wedding night. ;)

The "Union"

Wheee! That felt different!

The deed is done. Ready to go home.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Drowned Girl

No, it didn't happen, thankfully, but it could have...

My 17 year old son, Trevor, just got back from the "hike from Hell". His Boy Scout Troop goes on a 50 mile backpack every summer and last week they visited the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico. I really wanted to go with them. (I've been on one already, but this time I had to take Annie to the vet.) I told Trevor that because I wasn't going he could really have fun; he wouldn't have to take care of me. ;)

Anyway, they left last Sunday, drove down there and started hiking in. There were 5 adults and 8 boys ranging in age from 12 to 17. On the second day, one of the adults tripped and fell on one of the many river crossings. She fell face first into the stream and hit her head on the rocks. The buddy system is followed in scout hikes so someone was there to immediately pull her up and out of the water. She was very bruised up but she seemed okay otherwise, no blood, until she blew her nose. Then the area around her eye just blew up. Because she had so much pain they decided she should go back to civilization. The adults and boys rallied in support. Some carried her pack, others hiked back to Mogollon, the nearest place with phone service to call for her ride from Albuquerque, and some remained at base camp. The boys guided her, eye swollen nearly shut, back down the 10 miles to the beginning of the trail. She and her son were then picked up by her husband, who had not gone on the hike, and they went to the hospital in Silver City. Diagnosis- she had a broken eye socket and needed to see the doctor in Albuquerque for more treatment.

Everyone gathered again on the third day at base camp, the same place as the accident, and one of the adults came down sick. He decided not to continue, so he and another adult and son hiked back to Mogollon to call for a pickup back to Edgewood.

The 2 men and 6 boys continued on into the Gila. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful after all the excitement of the rescue: crossing streams, trudging up mountains, looking at stunning vistas, seeing lots of elk, and fishing for trout. They went swimming in a beautiful, secluded water hole that was so cold the longest anyone stayed in was 2 minutes. They explored a hole and walked through stinging nettles and poison ivy. They set up camps and cooked meals and talked, as boys do, and had a thoroughly satisfyingly good time. And the 8 Scouts that came out at the other end earned bragging rights for completing over 50 miles in the Gila Wilderness!

What an accomplishment. I am proud of them all. Even the ones who did not finish the hike earn my admiration for their courageous attempt.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Putting out the fires

There are over 330 wildfires burning out of control in the state of California! And there are 1400 contained fires, which means they are still burning. Over 800 square miles and 69 homes have burned so far.

Just a few months ago, there was a wildfire burning in the mountains near my house. They got it 95% contained; and then the winds picked up and a spark landed outside the boundary. The fire raged out of control destroying 59 homes and 13,000 acres. Then recently, a lightning caused fire started in the same area, destroying another 6 homes and 5500 acres. Nature started this one and eventually nature put it out. The rains were a huge help in dousing the flames. Luckily, the two small towns nearby have been passed over. Now, however, the area is suffering from excessive runoff down the burned out area and flooding is a possiblity.

On a lighter note but with the same theme, I had the pleasure of seeing this song performed live on David Bowie's Serious Moonlight tour in '83. Enjoy!

Bowie- Cat People (Putting out the Fire) '83 Serious Moonlight tour

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The land of Wild Hogs and The Man Who Fell to Earth

Today, I decided to go for a hike in the Sandia National Forest. I wanted to take the Faulty Loop trail which is about 8 miles up and around the mountain. The last time I went up this trail, I went the opposite way and ended up getting lost because the trail is not well marked in this direction. I bushwacked and backtracked and cut across the mountainside until I ended up several miles beyond my destination. I had to hitch a ride back to my parked car because it was so far to walk back. So, this time, I packed a map of the Sandia Mountains, water (very important), snacks, camera, phone, rain gear, and cd player. When I pulled into the parking lot, two couples came over and told me the trail was roped off. I guess the forest was closed off because of fire danger. They were asking about places to see in the area. I knew they were from out of state, so I advised them to go to the town of Madrid for the day. This is the town where Wild Hogs (starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, William H. Macy, and Martin Lawrence.) was filmed. Also, back in the seventies, they filmed The Man Who Fell to Earth (starring David Bowie, Candy Clark, and Rip Torn) in Madrid and other places in New Mexico, such as Fenton Lake, First Plaza Galleria Mall, and the town of Artesia.

Some time ago I did a picture tour of Madrid, so I will now enclose them for your viewing pleasure.

On the way, near the town of Golden, there is a pretty fence made of antique colored glass bottles.

Madrid was once a coal mining company town. Then the mine closed and the town died. In the seventies, hippies started homesteading the area, at first, occupying the old company town shanties, and then, building new structures. Madrid has continued to grow until now it is a thriving art colony. There is a mining museum and a tavern/restaurant. At Christmas, they put up so many lights, Madrid can be seen from outer space.

This is Madrid in the late seventies. People were actually living in these old shacks. The old coal mine is completely gone now. It burned several times before it was finally torn down.

When first entering Madrid, you come across this impressive stone archway leading into a courtyard.

Notice the art on the outside wall.

One of the locals. ;)

There are some very interesting shops

Another local
View of the town from the mine hill

The mine hill nowadays

Another view of the mine hill

Looking down on the whole town

There are lots of artsy things around town

Bikers hang out at the Mineshaft Tavern.

Some more of the local art- a totem pole.

Maggie's Diner set from the movie, Wild Hogs.
I hope you enjoyed the photos. I always enjoy visiting Madrid. I bought some local turquoise earrings there last year, very pretty flat green stones.

Anyway, back to my day. Since I couldn't go hiking, I went shopping. I bought cds of Cat Stevens and Lou Reed. Did I tell you, Cat Stevens was my first musical hero, even before Bowie? I have all his albums except Matthew and Son. Today, I bought Tea for the Tillerman since I had misplaced the old one. I even have the Teaser and the Firecat first edition storybook illustrated by Cat Stevens and written in three languages.
T4tT is basically the soundtrack for Harold and Maude. I love that movie. Only, the last time I watched it, I cried and cried. My mom turned eighty years old last year and at the end of H & M, it's Maude's 80th birthday. I will not spoil the movie but it's a classic. Cult, that is. Harold is a young man who is terribly unhappy. He is always trying to kill himself, until he meets Maude and falls in love with her.
Trailer for Harold and Maude