Monday, June 30, 2008

It's the rain before the storm

They say the monsoon rains have begun. Since it's the middle of the desert, we don't have monsoons like India and places, but we do have predictable "fast and furious" downpours, almost daily for several weeks every summer.

A few days ago I was driving around town running errands and nature just let loose. It was one of those "10 inch rains". Ten inches between drops, but if one hits you, you're soaked! These were huge drops of water that came down hard. (The strange thing about rainstorms in the southwestern United States is that it can be pouring in one area and completely dry across the street.) As I drove around, I could see the streets flooding from curbside to curbside. I began to wonder about the wisdom of driving through low areas where there are signs posted, "Do not enter when water is present." Flash floods are a reality here. Rushing water has been known to wash away cars in arroyo intersections after particularly heavy rainfalls. Chasms can develop and topsoil washes away, wrecking havoc on new neighborhoods, especially.

Living in the country is great, but you have to plan your trips to town and get everything done while there. I debated on waiting the storm out and then decided to make a run for it. I took off my suede shoes and ran through the puddled parking lot. Inside the store, I could hear the rains beating down on the roof and the thunder booming all around. I power shopped, grabbing only the things I really needed and checked out. In the short time I was in the store, the rains had subsided considerably, so I left my shoes on, carefully stepping around the shrinking puddles.

Looking at the stormy sky, I wondered how my poor animals were faring. I worried about them. I expected to see muddy, bedraggled, anxious equines when I got home. I had turned them out for the day in the arena because, earlier in the day, it was beautiful. The sky was slightly overcast, but not really threatening. During the summer, I usually put them in the barn to protect them from getting sunburned. They have runs to walk out in, so they can still go outside, if they choose. Luckily, I realized the storm hadn't come this way yet. Awesome! They were running and bucking, and calling to me, but they were dry! I got them in the barn and fed for the evening, just as the first drops came down.

I am always amazed when the rains come. A low area in my arena fills with water, forming a small pond, and the bullfrogs emerge to sing their chorus. Once I even had a salamander on my porch. Where do they come from??

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beat of your Drum

I recommend Vampire Weekend for your aural pleasure! I read about them and bought their cd a few months ago. I love it! It's an adventure into African/New England/Yacht/Collegiate Indie rock. They just released their self titled album in January and are already playing Glastonbury Festival this weekend. I can't say enough about them. Check them out at


Oxford Comma

Magic Dance

I used to own a 1/2 Arabian mare, Shahreen, that could do shoulder-in traversals (zig zags), pirouettes (canter in a small circle, hind end in), and flying changes of lead every other or third stride. It was like dancing, riding her. She was trained third level dressage. And she could bow on one leg at the end of the ride. It was so much fun riding her; I loved to show her off. And she loved it too.

One of my dreams/goals is to ride a passage (animated, halting trot) and a piaffe (trot in place). I've entertained thoughts of going to Portugal specifically to ride a Lusitano or Andalusian in a dressage lesson. (Crazy, huh?) I also want to ride a cutting horse and a reining horse someday!

Here is a video of Andreas Helgstrand riding in the WEG2006 Freestyle Dressage Finals on Blue Hors Matine. They came in second only because they had a small mistake during the ride. Beautiful, isn't it. People always talk about being moved to tears. I really was!

Last year at the Las Vegas World Cup, Matine fell off a trailer ramp and injured her leg. Her tendon still has not fully healed, so she will not be competing in the 2008 Olympics. What a shame! However, Andreas will ride Gredstedgaards Casmir instead. Watch for them.

The winner of the WEG2006 Freestyle was Anky Van Grunsven on Keltec Salinero.

Isn't this fantastic?

PS- I would welcome some comments on how to embed YouTube videos.

Edit- Thank you very much Rural Writer!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Day In, Day Out

Since I decided to make my blog relevant to Bowie, I will try to head my posts with a Bowie song title or lyric. They always say there are six degrees to Kevin Bacon. I say everything can link back to Bowie. Try me. ;P

A typical morning’s chore list
Wake up/bathroom
Walk the dogs
Make coffee/get a cup
Feed and water the dogs
Feed and water the cats
Clean catboxes - there are 2 in the garage and 1 in the house, so I only have to do it 2x weekly.
Get ready for work (clothes, make up & hair)
Eat breakfast
Pack a lunch & snacks (I love to munch all the time)
Put Gunnar and Daisy in dog run
Fill outside dog water and check their food
Feed and water the horses (turn them out in winter; bring them into the barn during summer)
Fill hummingbird feeders during the summer - at peak times, I have to fill 3 feeders every other day!
Water the flower gardens, or what's left of them. I have a brown thumb, but I love flowers.
Feed fish
Walk Buddha
Go to work (30 miles, I can listen to a full cd on my 35-45 minute commute!)
School, sometimes
Go home

Whew! I don’t always have to do everything, everyday, but I do have to check, such as water for the animals. And then, what didn’t get finished in the morning gets done in the evening.

Walk Buddha
Feed the horses (turn them out in the summer, bring them in during winter or bad weather)
Bring in big dogs
Make dinner & eat (or rather, scrounge for scraps!)
Choose: ride, watch TV, surf internet, do homework, read, or sudoku
Walk dogs
Wash up/brush teeth
Go to bed

Boring life, huh? What's your day like?

The Menagerie

The Horses- Nadia, Annie and Scout
Nadia- Nari Asbah, 25 years old, Egyptian Arabian mare, sweet as pie and worth her weight in gold. I've had her 11 years now. I love to go night riding on her.

Annie- Fantastyk Gal, 15 years old, Polish Arabian mare. I've been working on getting her bred since October 2007, when I saw Kakhem Sahib at the National Arabian Horse Show. He took Reserve Champion working cow horse for the third time. Annie has tremendous issues with trailer loading and tying- traumatic events haunt her past. Recently, however, I did get her loaded, with the help of a horse trainer, and now I am trying to beat the clock and get her bred artificially. Unfortunately, she is a maiden mare and I am facing hurdle after hurdle. I've had her 11 years.

Scout- 12 year old gelding born at the ranch. He was an "extra" when I bought his mother. She was a 1/2 Arabian, 1/2 Appaloosa that was bred to a red and white Paint named Sparkler (he was born on the 4th of July). Scout came out very colorful- red roan with a beautiful Appaloosa blanket, pinto spots, blaze face, blue eye, three white stockings and a sock. His coat lightens to a strawberry roan in the summer. He is quite a character, reminds me of Hidalgo.

The Dogs- Gunnar, Daisy and Buddha
Gunnar- German Shorthair Pointer neutered male, 9 years old, liver and white, ticked and patched, indoors at night, outside by day.

Daisy- German Shorthair Pointer spayed female, 9 years old, white and liver, patched, indoors by night and outside by day.

Buddha- Little Buddha of Suburbia, Japanese Chin, 4 years old, long haired black and white, 4-1/2 lbs, ball of loving mischief, lives indoors but loves to run around outside; he likes to sneak to the neighbors house through the fields out back.

The Cats- Simba and Terra (brother and sister, about 13 years old.
Terra- gray shorthaired spayed female inside cat. She loves to sit with me.

Simba- looked like the Lion King when he was a kitten, part siamese, shorthaired, likes to yowl.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Beginning my voyage into CyberSpace

I have been thinking about joining the blog world for quite some time now. I don't know if I'm yet ready to begin, but here goes...

About myself; I work full time, go to school part time, have 3 children: boy, 22; girl, 19; and boy 17; 3 horses: Nadia, Annie, and Scout, 3 dogs: Gunnar, Daisy, and Buddha, 2 cats: Simba and Terra, and fish.

I thought I would start with some general questions to myself:
1. Favorite actors/actresses? Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeifer
2. Favorite Authors? Robert Jordan, Laura Crum, Iris Johanson
3. What’s your favorite pasttime? jigsaw puzzles and sudoku
4. Favorite musician? BOWIE! Vampire Weekend, Muse, Secret Machines, Lou Reed, Dylan, lots, lots more. I love music, rock, classical, indie, ambient...
5. Sports? HORSES, hiking, backpacking, canoeing.
6. Favorite sounds? music, birds, running water, wind in the trees, crickets, silence
7. Worst feeling in the world? Loss of loved one
8. First thing you think of in the morning? "Buddha, let me sleep a little longer."
9. How many rings before you answer the phone? I usually answer right away.
10. Words to live by? "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
11. Chocolate or vanilla? Always has to be chocolate, especially dark.
12. Do you like to drive fast? I generally set my cruise control 3-4 miles over the speed limit and turn the music up; didn't get a ticket until last year -didn't use cruise. ;(
13. Lark or Owl? Both, I always get up early and often stay up late.
14. Storms, cool or scary? Both, I like to drive in the rain, but in severe storms, I prefer to just go to sleep under the covers.
15. What type was your first car? A 1974 Vega hatchback, white with wide orange stripe.
16. Favorite foods? Ice cream, pizza, salad, cherries, chocolate, mexican with green chili.
17. Favorite color? Yellow.
18. If you could choose health, wealth or happiness, which would you choose? Definitely, happiness!
19. Is the glass half empty or half full? I try to think it's half full, but people accuse me of being a pessimist.
20. Favorite movies? Ladyhawke, The Great Race, August Rush, Benny and Joon, Lord of the Rings, Zoolander, Willow, The Rose, and many, many more.

Why did I pick Fantastyk Voyage as my blog name? One of my favorite songs from David Bowie is Fantastic Voyage. And, for my horse, Annie; her real name is Fantastyk Gal. We have been together for over ten years now, so I thought it fitting to use her name. I intend to post a lot about her in the future.

Fantastic Voyage - Bowie (2003 Reality in Dublin)