Sunday, November 30, 2008

If you say run

It was far too cold and windy for me to ride today, so I turned the equines out for a run. As you can see, they are caked with mud from the recent snow. The footing in the arena is still not great either. As he was running, Scout slipped and fell. He got up and then stood completely still for a minute. I was really worried that he was hurt but he must have just been dazed because he took off running again, although much slower this time.

Scout looks like Nadia's baby here, doesn't he?

It looks like Annie is winking at me. Baby Doll is so interested and happy just watching those crazy Arabs running around.

If you say run - song: Let's Dance, artist: David Bowie, album: Let's Dance

You're Sleepy Now

and your silhouette is so stationary!

Lazy day, I plan on spending today relaxing just like the rest of the family.
Here's Gunnar and Daisy playing 'Siamese Twins', and Buddha wondering where to go.
Gunnar left and Buddha snuggled in

Daisy and Buddha snoozing

Terra lazing about in a 'catnap'.

You're Sleepy Now - song: Hallo Spaceboy, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside

Friday, November 28, 2008

As the merchandise exchanged and money roared

Anyone go shopping today?

I was walking through the counters of a national concern
And a cash machine was spitting by my shoulder
And I saw the multitude of faces, honest, rich and clean

As the merchandise exchanged and money roared

Every year my husband and I would go at the crack of dawn, sometimes before light, and wait for the stores to open, just to save a few bucks. (There must be something wrong with me because I actually like to hang out in crowds, although I detest lines. Does that make sense)

This year, with no job, and no husband, I decided to pass on the early morning Black Friday Sales. I don't know what I'm going to do about Christmas. I will probably buy some gifts for my family, but I am definitely going to keep the spending down from other years.

What about you?

As the merchandise exchanged and money roared - song: God Knows I'm Good, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Like that snow that fell

The nice thing about living in the mountains is the snow in winter. I always enjoy seeing snow on Thanksgiving and Christmas, even if it's only a little bit. This year was no exception. But, soon afterwards, the sky grew foggy.

Like that snow that fell - song: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans


Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!

Thanksgiving Day is a traditional North American holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members. The earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida, but the traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.

I will be cooking a 22 pound turkey with all the fixings: mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, cornbread herb stuffing, sweet potatoes with apples and rum, corn, deviled eggs, homemade wheat bread, cranberry jello, and for dessert, pumpkin pie.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

I give thanks for everything in my life, and may God bless us, everyone!!

Thanks - song: Joe the Lion, artist: David Bowie, album: "heroes"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More than just a sad song

it's my theme song!
Your Theme Song:

"When Doves Cry" - Prince

'What is your theme song?' at

More than just a sad song - song: Reality, artist: David Bowie, album: Reality

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Must have been you

Thanks to my good buddy, Lisa, for this wonderful bouquet! Don't they smell great??


Must have been you - song: Everything's Allright, artist: David Bowie, album: Pinups

Monday, November 24, 2008

These are floating clouds

Here are some photos of yesterday's sunset.

These are floating clouds - song: The Wedding Song, artist: David Bowie, album: Black Tie White Noise

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Follow the lines

I've been asked about Annie's breeding so I decided to do a post on Annie's family. Here is her pedigree. Her name is Fantastyk Gal. Since my husband bought her on our Anniversary, she became Anni, and then Annie.

Annie is by AH Gallant.

AH Gallant is a winner on the track with a Top Ten Racing Association of California award for Outstanding Racing Ability, as well as a US National Champion Top 10 Halter Stallion and winner at Scottsdale at age 16. "He is a substantial horse and sire, being of the golden cross of Czort and Bandos lines. Beauty, strength and agility prevails in this cross and shows in AH Gallant and his offspring." (Amberlea Equestrian Services website)

He is by *El Paso, Scottsdale Champion Stallion and U.S. National Champion Stallion, siring U.S. National Champion Mare, *Wizja.

Annie is out of Fantastka. Fantastka was the Polish National Champion mare in 1985, at age 10. Fantastka holds the record for the highest amount ever paid for a mare from Poland. She was purchased from Poland, pregnant with FORDON, for $240,000 in 1985. Two years later she was bred to BANDOS and produced Cable Cowboy in 1988. She's had at least 10 foals:
  1. 1981- Fant (x Wist)

  2. 1983- Fazenda (x Bandos)

  3. 1984- Falsifikat (x Argo)

  4. 1985- Farmal (x Eternit)

  5. 1986- Fordon (x Eternit)

  6. 1987- Fantos (x Bandos)

  7. 1988- Cable Cowboy (*Bandos x *Fantastka by Palas) was a Champion Halter stallion and a Liberty winner. He was broke to ride and would have made a beautiful western pleasure horse, but Magness decided to keep him home and use him strictly as a breeding stallion. They felt he was much too valuable to be hauling around to shows and would leave that up to his offspring.
    Quoted from Magness website: "Cable Cowboy is the epitome of the Saklawi stallion -- a very successful representative of the Diamond cross of Bandos/ Palas. Cable Cowboy is one of the last sons of the immortal Bandos. Cable Cowboy's dam, Fantastka, was the 1985 Polish National Champion Mare. Cable Cowboy has proven himself as a valuable progenitor of the Ibrahim sire line for Magness Arabian Farms through a number of his outstanding get. The best of Cable Cowboys's offspring to date is DAPPAR COWBOY -- a winner in Scottsdale and at the National level as Amateur Owner Western Pleasure Horse."

  8. 1992- Francheskaa (x Europejczyk)

  9. 1993- Fantastyk Gal (x AH Gallant)

  10. 1997- Monogramm Fantasy (x Monogramm)
Many of them are still breeding stallions, five are mares; all are gray. Fantastka was also a sweepstakes race winner in Poland.


Cable Cowboy

Fantastka's sire was Palas. "Palas (Aswan x Panel) The truly great influence of the Saklawi I line came when Palas was imported from Russia in 1972. He was by Aswan, the gift horse from Egypt, and out of the Nil daughter Panel which made him three quarter egyptian. Aswan was a gift from the egyptian government to Russia as a "thank you" for the help building the Aswan dam (hence the name change from Raafat to Aswan). The russians were first reluctant to use him as he was incorrect and didn't have any race record to talk about. As he was a gift between states and so that no offence would be given he was bred to a few mares. The foals were outstanding and far more correct than their sire and he was permanently installed as chief sire at Tersk.
Palas was a tremendous success as a sire and a perfect outcross as he was hardly related to any of the polish mares. His dam line Selma is represented in Poland but it is very scarce and present mainly through the descendants of *Pietuszok who was a full brother to Panel's dam Platina. The other mares of this dam line who were imported are Sardhana 1924 (Nureddin II x Selima, imp 1928 from Crabbet, Zlota Iwa and Rokiczana traces to her), Potencja imp from Russia in 1956 (full sister to *Pietuszok and Platina) and Tiwiriada imp from Russia in 1968 (her dam was maternal sister to *Pietuszok and Platina). Neither one of these branches are large but have left some quality individuals.
Palas himself was described by Andrzej Krzysztalowicz: " He had a hollow back, rounded croup, short neck and decent yet not impressive movement. His refined, lean head boasted a very good eye. Generally speaking, he was a very dry horse whose weak hocks were his only deficiency". He sired many sons as well as daughters who has been used all over the world. He combined very well with the Negatiw daughters and this created the polish "golden cross"." (Amberlea Equetrian Services website)

Fantastka's dam was Fanza. She had nine foals, two of them were mares.

One of Annie's granddams was Forta. She delivered an impressive 22 foals!!

Annie definitely comes from good breeding females which is why at 15 and still maiden, I believed she could carry a healthy foal.

She also has Aladdinn, Czort, Bandos, Negativ and Ofir breeding.

About the Polish Arabian:
The Poles loved these characteristics for their cavalry force. King Sigmund Augustus (1548-1572) had a Royal Stud farm, called Knyszn, that bred pure Arabians.
In the 17th century, Polish noblemen sent emissaries out to search for the noblest desert horses from the Middle East. Prince Sanguszko at Slawuta, Count Branicki at Bialocerkiew, Count Dzieduszycki at Jarczowce, and Count Potocki at Antoniny were some of the best known breeders. The studs at Gumniska and Antoniny were founded with mares from Slawuta .
In the 19th century, Polish Arabs contributed to breeding pure-breds and half-breeds. The Polish silver-grey Obejan Srebrny was born in 1851. He had a line that descended through his foals to the Russian stud farm Strelet that was later known as the Tersky. Tersky is a breed similar to the Russian Strelet, which was in danger of extinction. They were taken to the Tersk stud farm at Stravopol in the northern Caucasus Mountains in the former U.S.S.R. They were mated with purebred Arabs, Kabardins, and Dons. In 1948, the Tersky had emerged as an official breed. The Tersky was a tough athletic horse. Today they race against Arabs in endurance competitions, and are used in harness by the army. Terskys are good-natured in temperment.
The Polish stallion Bagdady became a Hungarian stud at Babolna stud farm, and another called Ban Azel was sold to Emperor Franz Josef for the stud at Lipizza. A grey named Skowronek came from the Antoniny stud. While the stallions Urcus and Van Dyck were studded to Spain.
During World War I and the Russian Revolution, Slawuta, Bialocerkiew, and Antoniny studs were destroyed. Count Josef Potocki owned the Antoniny stud. He inherited some Slawuta horses through his mother, Maria, daughter of Prince Roman Sanguszko. Count Potocki died (in 1918) defending his stud from the Bolsheviks. His mares were burned alive and his stallions hanged or beheaded. This whole scene gives another yet reason why the Poles hated the Russians.
The desert stallion, Pharaoh, was purchased from Crabber stud (founded by Wilfred and Anne Scawen Blunt), in 1882, and other stallions came from Egypt, Turkey, India, and Arabia. The Blunts purchased what was left of the Arabians of Abbas Pasha I. These horses were the basis of U.K., U.S., Austrailian, and South African Arabians.
The Dzieduszycki family had studs at Jarczowce that were lost, stolen or killed off during World War I. Count Juliusz brought the desert stallion, Bagdad for an enormous price. In 1845, he returned with seven (7) stallions; including Abu Hejl, and three mares (Sahara, Mlecha, and Gazella).
Of the five hundred (500) broodmares from Polish stud farms, only forty-six (46) were still alive in 1926.
However, the state stud at Janow Podlaski (founded in 1817), in 1918, had four mares from the Jarczowce's blood (the three mares mentioned above). In 1926, a Polish Arab horse breeding society was established.
In 1803, Prince Sanguszko was the first to import horses from the east. The studs were Slawuta (b. 1877), Chrestowska, Antoniny, and Gumniska. Prince Roman Sanguszko was killed during the Russian Revolution in 1917. At Gumniska, Prince Roman III gathered the rest of the remaining Polish studs and breed mares. In 1919, the breeding program was re-established at Janow Podlaski. Witraz, Otir, Makuta, Dziwa, and Fetysz were bred there.
In 1930, Prince Roman sent his stud manager, Boghan von Zietarski and German Carl Schmidt (later known as Raswan) to buy new Arabs. They acquired Bedouin (a mare) and a stallion of the kehilan haifi strain. Then, in 1931, von Zietarski returned to Gumniska with five stallions and four mares (including Bedouin, the pearl of Arabia).
Kuhailan Zaid (a stallion) was purchsed for Babolna, the Hungarian state stud ranch. The other stallions were Kuhailan Haifi and Kuhailan Afas (ancestors of Comet) Among the foals born to Kuhailan Haifi was Ofir, a great Polish sire. Ofir was at Janow Podlaski from 1937 until 1939, when he was taken by the Russians.
The four males and four females that were saved were Witraz, Weiki Szlem, and Witwz II. Witraz's son, Bask, became the leading sire of the U.S.A. champions. Witraz's mare heirs were Bandola (the "Legend of Janow") who produced Bandos and Banat (stud stallions).
Kukailan Haifi sired Czort who sired the race horses: Sambor and El Paso.
In September 1939, the Soviets took the Janow Podlaski studs including Ofir. Ofir was then the stud at Tersk and made a contribution to the Russian Arabians. The Tersk stud was founded on French, Crabbat, and Polish bloodlines.
In 1944, Janow Podlaski was evacuated to Germany. These studs were returned to Poland in 1946. The sons of Ofir were Witraz, Wielki Szilem, and Amuruth Sahib. In 1946, fifty-two (52) mares were registered in the Polish Arab horse stud book.
By 1961, Janow Podlaski was completed. In 1973, three more stud farms were established: Michalow (the largest state stud farm after World War II), Kurozweki (with champions Euforia and Eukaliptus), and Bialka. Polish Arab horses were sought by breeders all over the world. Banat, Bandos, Struria, Penitent, Pilarska, Dornaba, Aramus, Wizja, Gwalior, Elkana, and Erros were some of the best. Dr Skorkowski and Dr. Ignacy Jaworowsky were responsible for their breeding success.
Poland and Hungary often exchanged breeding stock. For 173 years Hungary was ruled by the Turks until they became a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1699. (this history is from here)

Follow the lines - song: Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, artist: David Bowie covering Pete townsend, album: Pinups

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I wonder sometimes

Here are some photos I just received of the stallion I bred Annie with. This is Khemo (Kakhem Sahib) He's seventeen and often ridden around the ranch. And what a ranch it is, huh? This is three days after the Arabian Nationals show.

And here's some random shots of Annie.

I wonder what color the foal will be, most likely flea bitten gray, although I'd love a dark brown or bay.

I wonder sometimes - song: Black Tie, White Noise, artist: David Bowie, album: Black Tie White Noise

Friday, November 21, 2008

The World is full of folk who don't know me

And the world is full of life
Full of folk who don't know me
And they walk in twos or threes or more
While the light that shines above the grocer's store
investigates my face so rudely
And my essays lying scattered on the floor
Fulfill their needs just by being there
And my hands shake, my head hurts,
my voice sticks inside my throat
I'm invisible and dumb,
no-one will recall me

But since I've been tagged, here goes:

  1. I was born in Japan. I lived there about two years, and no, I cannot speak Japanese nor do I look asian.
  2. I grew a half inch taller in my forties. I've always been 5' 4-1/2" and now I'm exactly 5'5".
  3. I'm allergic to horses and dogs, but not cats.
  4. I LOVE chocolate, and ice cream, and chocolate ice cream especially.
  5. I want to write a fictional book about my horse someday.
  6. I love going to movies and smelling the movie theater popcorn.


Rules:~Link to the person who tagged you.~Post the rules on your blog.~Write six random things about yourself.~Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.~Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.~Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I'm only going to tag three bloggers. Here they are:

  1. A Horse Crazy American in Germany
  2. Nuzzling Muzzles
  3. Pony Girl Rides Again

The World is full of folk who don't know me - song: Conversation Piece, artist: David Bowie

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something in our Blood

For a long time now, I have been considering selling plasma. You could say it's on my "bucket list". There are at least three good reasons to donate plasma.
  1. It's worthy; they use the plasma for research and medical needs.
  2. You get a free mini physical. You have to be healthy or they don't accept you.
  3. They pay you for your time. $$ is always good!

Since I lost my job last month, I've really been thinking about it. I finally decided to just do it! So, I stopped by on Tuesday. There wasn't any free parking anywhere nearby. I parked a few blocks down the street and walked to the office. There were bars on the doors and windows. At first, I wondered why, but then I remembered that they pay out in cash, so they must keep a hefty amout of money on hand.

There were lots of loiterers hanging around outside. I found it really hard to go in but I took a deep breath and pulled the heavy door open.

The waiting room was so crowded!! I felt strange and out of place. When I asked about being a new donor, they told me I had to come back because I needed to have my social security card with me. They also told me it would take about 5 or 6 hours because they were so busy. I decided to come back another time.

Today, I ventured out again. The Donor Center opened around 7:30, so I got up early, showered, dressed, walked the dogs, fed the horses, ate a bagel and cream cheese, drank some coffee and left. The traffic wasn't bad and I arrived around 7:40. I parked next door in the "pay" parking lot, stuck in $2.00 for 2 hours, and prayed it wouldn't take much longer than that.

The office was already crowded. I found out they opened just after 7:00 this morning. So, I signed in and waited.

They called me and checked my IDs. Then they gave me papers to read and sign about my medical history. They asked me about AIDS, pregnancy, medications, etc.

I sat back in the waiting room and waited.

They called me again to check my weight, blood pressure, and temperature. They checked for needle tracks and asked about tattoos. I noticed that this is one place where it pays to weigh more. They actually pay according to your weight when you donate.

I sat back down in the lobby and waited.

One man was turned away because of his tatoo(s). You cannot have had any within 12 months and no more than three total.

Someone else was turned away for some reason? Not eating?? He was to come back tomorrow.

They called me again and took a blood sample.

I sat back down and waited.

Another person is turned away- not hydrated enough. They would come back next day.

They called me again to ask if I'd eaten recently (they want you to eat and drink beforehand) and then I had to give a urine sample. This was good because after a couple of cups of coffee (decaf!) I really did have to go anyway. On the way to the bathroom, I went through the room where they draw the plasma. There are about 20 recliners with people laying down on them, hooked up to tubes and machines. You are not supposed to eat or drink, chew gum, sleep, or even wear sunglasses while laying there. This way they can catch any potentially bad side effects, whatever they might be.

And then, you guessed it! I had to go sit down and wait to be called.

I waited.

And waited.

There were at least four other new donors this morning.

And then they called me. I took a deep breath and went into the back room. I was led into an office where they do a mini physical.

The technician asked about my prescription, Levothyroxine. I told him I had Graves Disease 20 years ago and now I take synthetic thyroid hormone daily. He told me that unfortunately, because of this, I was not allowed to be a donor. Graves Disease is an "autoimmune" illness and there is a slight possibility that it can be passed on in the plasma.

After all I had been through, working up the proper mindset and all the time spent, I was rather disappointed. Besides, I really could have used the money.

Also, does this count as being accomplished on my "bucket list"?

I do recommend anyone to consider this. It's not really too bad and there are great benefits.

Something in our blood - song: The Hearts Filthy Lesson, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Didn't mean to hurt you

This past weekend I washed tails on my gray mares. I decided it's just too cold for a full body wash, unfortunately. On recommendation from A horse crazy American in Germany I bought the purple stuff- Quic Silver. It does work! I took "before" photos but I want to get them a little cleaner for the "after" shots. So I will post them eventually.

I had a very bad time with Annie however. I wrapped her lead over the cross tie post rather than tying it because she has a terrible habit of sitting back and getting hurt. True to form, she did not disappoint. She pulled back and the rope snugged up rather than falling free. It was terrifying! I was so afraid the post would snap in half. It happened once before when she was cross tied and she got all cut up with the post dangling between her legs.

I tried to calm her and release the rope. I don't know whether she or I was more terrified at this point. Then she settled down and I loosened the rope and rubbed her neck and face, calming her. I then reset the rope against the tie ring, not even wrapped and she pulled back again! Again, the rope somehow got "fixed" and she panicked. Pulling back and plunging forward and sitting back again. I again calmed her down and loosened the rope. I don't even know how it got tight this time. I couldn't find any damage although I was sure she hit the post at least once.

I gave up and took her in the barn to finish the job. In the barn I just lay the rope over the stall door and she stood really well. I brushed her down, put hoof conditioner on her feet, fed her cookies and put her away.

I get so tired of her manic panic attacks. She has been hurt so many times because of them. Last year, my horseshoer came early one day and decided to start on the horses before I arrived. I have always held them in hand when he trims. They are very good for him but I enjoy spending a little one on one with them and seeing how their feet are. Anyway, he tied Annie to pipe rails in the corner of her stall paddock. She panicked and pulled back.

My neighbor saw all the commotion from her upstairs window and called me. She couldn't tell what was happening exactly. I felt so helpless as I was driving home from work. It sounded like the horseshoer was killing my horse! She said he was beating her and she was rearing. When I did get there everything was already settled down. The horseshoer met me and said everything was okay and that all three horses had been trimmed. I paid him and went to see the horses and assess the damages.

Annie had battle scars! Her face was scraped in several places from the halter.

Doesn't she look defeated in those photos? Poor baby!

She even had a cut at her throatlatch.

Her knee had a nasty laceration on the side.

The fence had even lost it's weld and the rail fell shortly after! Although I don't know how this rail fell because she was tied in the corner according to the farrier.

I was stunned!! He was wrong to be there without me. However, I never told him about Annie's tying issues. She was always very good for him in the past because I held her. I think he was still in shock when I talked to him afterwards. He could have killed my horse or been killed himself!

I debated whether to cancel his services and even sue him. But Annie did heal and although she has a scar on her leg, she is completely sound. It's so hard to find, and keep, good farriers. He is fast and the horses seem to like him. He is always on time too. Was it my fault too, for not telling him she wouldn't tie? In the end, I decided it was a horrific accident and not really his fault. Now he waits for me to be there.

What would you have done?
And, how can I train her to tie??

Didn't mean to hurt you - song: Sorry, artist: Tin Machine, album: Tin Machine II

Saturday, November 15, 2008

All you have to do is win

My favorite blogger, and number one reader of my blog, graciously awarded me this award.
Thank you!@!
All you have to do is win - song: Win, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans

Friday, November 14, 2008

And pumped us full of strange drugs

Overcoming disabilities-

I recently listened to Sabine Becker speak about her life.
She is amazing!
Her mother took the drug thalidomide when she was pregnant to alleviate her morning sickness and Sabine was born with tiny arms.
She was never treated as disabled and learned to do EVERYTHING that others can do.
She writes with her left foot.
She can drive a regular car using her feet.
She had a child and was able to change his diapers and feed him.
She lives in Albuquerque and sells real estate.
Here is her website if you want to find out more about her.

Wikipedia has more information about thalidomide.

It's unfortunate that there wasn't sufficient testing before the approximately 10,000 children in Africa and Europe were born with severe malformities from 1956 to 1962, including phocomelia, because their mothers had taken thalidomide during pregnancy.

However, it has been used to help people with leprosy to sleep.

And now there is renewed interest in the drug for treatment of lesions associated with erythema nodosum leprosum.
And pumped us full of strange drugs - song: Scream like a Baby, artist: David Bowie, album: Scary Monsters

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And if you ever have to go to school

Yesterday was a school day. I'm taking two classes, one from 9am to 11:45am and then one from 1:30pm to 4:15pm. Frazzled from doing morning chores, I left a little late and had to park FAR AWAY in the back parking lot. Oh well, that's part of my exercise program, right?

Class was uneventful, Sociology 101, but he did let us go early, so I left to go to my next class at another campus.

Along the way, I stopped at the oil change place I'd visited over the weekend. You see, my little Hyundai was leaking oil all over my driveway! My oldest son, Ross, checked it for me and said they hadn't tightened the bolt underneath when I got the oil changed. Ooops! Anyway, they checked it out and said they would give me a free oil change. I said "why? I just had one!" The guy told me that they had placed the wrong gasket and to replace it they had to empty out the oil. Gasket? I didn't even know there was one involved in oil changes?? So, I got my 3 1/2 quarts of oil changed. That's not much, is it? My other car uses 5 or 6 quarts. It's a good thing I went back and got it checked out.

Then I drove over to school. Along the way, I stopped at a Circle K convenience store and got a free fountain Coke with my filled punch card. :) It tasted really good with my homemade PB & J sandwich.

Parking is precious at this campus just like the other campus, but sometimes you just get lucky! I got a space right by my class! So I studied some more for my History test. The test was hard, 2 long essay questions and 3 short essay questions along with a matching section and a multiple choice section. He allowed us 1 hour and 15 minutes for the test and then we could go home. I finished in about 45 minutes even though I am not a fast test taker. I like to take my time, check my answers. So, I know I passed because I felt pretty good about most of my answers.

After class, I stopped at the library and found a book for my book report that is due in a few weeks. The list of books he gave us to choose from are the most depressing, longwinded books you'll ever read. I originally chose Since Yesterday; The 1930's in America by Frederick Lewis Allen. It's interesting, but it is very fine print and slow reading. I spent one night reading and only got through 16 pages. Sooo, I decided to look for something a bit faster since I have other, better things to do (ride! blog!). I had to read The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, for this class. I also read Southern Horrors by Ida B. Wells, all about the lynching of southern blacks, and A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, all about Viet Nam. Fun stuff, right? Anyway, I found Far From Home by Lillian Schlissel, Byrd Gibbens, and Elizabeth Hampsten. I started reading it and got 50 pages down already (1/5th). It's about 3 different families and their moves to the west. One family moved to Oregon territory, another moved to mining towns of Colorado and New Mexico (yes!!) and the third went to farm the "coyote land" in North Dakota. Although it is depressing, it reads fast and I am finding it interesting. I also checked out the book The Spell of New Mexico edited by Tony Hillerman, which is a collection of essays by famous authors including Conrad Richter, Mary Austin, D H Lawrence, C G Jung, and many others. It's fun to read what others say about places you've been. Now why couldn't that be on my reading list??

While I was at the library, I picked up some music cds: Pink Floyd, Relics; Rush, Grace Under Pressure; Santogold, Santogold; and A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step.

Then I stopped to pay my propane bill. I'd had my 500 gallon tank filled last month and owed almost $900. If I had paid it on October 31st, I would have gotten a 10% discount (about 40 dollars). However, I was out having fun letterboxing (!!) and didn't get there. Such is life. So, I went to pay it yesterday. I had the check already written for the discounted amount and I told the lady I needed to pay the difference. She said never mind, that I could still have the discount! YAY!!! That so made my day!

Then, when I got home, my daughter was there. I got to visit with her a while before she went out again. I don't get to see her very much these days. She spends most of her time in town with friends. She's twenty and doesn't want to be "home" if she can help it. I can't wait for the day when she grows up a bit and becomes 'friends' with me.

My youngest son, Trevor, was also home. He showed me a progress report from yesterday. Term grades had come out a few weeks ago and he had D's in almost EVERYTHING! But on this progress report he had 4 A's, a C, a D, and an unknown grade. SO MUCH BETTER!! He has such a hard time at school. He is the underachiever of the year. I really hate getting the teacher's reports that say "a pleasure to have in class" when he is scoring 20's and 30's for grades. I know he's not stupid; I just don't understand how he can fail everything! I blame the counselors for letting him just slide along. He has never had a behavor problem (sometimes I wished he would have- then he'd get help) so he just gets ignored. I also blame myself. But, I don't know what to do to motivate him. I believe that only he can truly achieve for himself. He has already been reclassified as a Junior this year and I pray and hope that he will realize that to graduate he must play by their rules. Just "do as the teacher asks, turn in homework, study for tests, and you will pass." I keep thinking that my children would learn by my example, I've been going to classes for years and studying at night. But it just doesn't seem to make a difference. I have often wished that my life had been different. If I could have been a stay-at-home mother and taught my children myself, would they have become better students? Would they have learned more? A big part of school is socialization, but I wonder what happened to the learning part?

And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool...
And if the homework brings you down
Then we'll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown

And if you ever have to go to school - song: Kooks, artist: David Bowie, album: Hunky Dory

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With a bag clutched in her hand,

she gathered the pinon nuts.

My good friend Lisa, her son Jem, and I took a little hike down Gutierrez Canyon today and picked pine nuts along the way.

We picked about a pound each.

Now if someone has an easy way to break open the shells and get to the nuts without using one's teeth, please let me know!

I saw this tree along the high canyon wall and wondered how it could still be alive at all.

With a bag clutched in her hand - song: It's Gonna be Me, artist: David Bowie, album: Young Americans Collector's Edition

In the '14-'18 war

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of thosewho died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
Today, and every day, let us remember our Veterans!

In the '14-'18 war - song: Rubber Band, artist: David Bowie, album: David Bowie: The Deram Anthology

He took a top-gun pilot

Earlier this year, my son and I went flying!

Every year the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) hosts free flights for youth ages 8-17 through their Young Eagles program. It's a great program and I highly recommend it. I didn't expect to get a ride because it's for the youth, but the pilot had extra time and offered. It was so fantastyk! I really loved it. This was my son's second flight; he had also gone the year before.

Check out my son's spikes! Yikes!

Do I look nervous??

He took a top-gun pilot - song: Time Will Crawl, artist: David Bowie, album: Never Let Me Down

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ape men with metal parts

Last week, Lisa and I went letterboxing again. Only this time, we placed a box at the Monkey Cave . Ever since I first went letterboxing, I have been telling her that it would be great to place a box here, or there, or...

So, she carved a lovely stamp for the Monkey Cave. I had the pleasure of accompanying her family to the designated spot. Here are some photos of the area.

This is looking outside from inside of the cave.

Jax and I had fun climbing the rocky cliffs although I worried about getting down again without killing or maiming her son.

Looking down from above Monkey Cave.

I've circled the monkey cave and marked the climbing route Jax and I climbed. It was scary because the shale was loose and slippy. In the crevice, the rocks tumbled down. I've also circled the small square cave that we decided not to go to. (right, center)

Here's a close up of the small square cave.

Ape men with metal parts - song: I am with Name, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside