Friday, January 30, 2009

in memorium: Scott

This is in memory of my beloved husband, Scott, who died on this day, two years ago, of pancreatic cancer. I was driving home from work as fast as I could because I had a bad feeling that the end was coming, but I didn't make it in time to be with him. His last words were to his oldest son, Ross, and the hospice nurse. He was talking to them when he suddenly stopped conversing with them and looked to the front, beyond them. He reached out with his arm and said "Everything is turning all white." Then, he was called Home.

The last concert we went to together, was the New Cars, in 2006. This was one of his favorite songs, Let the Good Times Roll. I still use it for my cell phone ringer. Matter of fact, I still use his cell phone.







Dear Scott,

I remember meeting you on a blind date through our mutual friend, Vicky. We met on Thanksgiving night at the Shalako Inn Bar in 1980. My best friend, Sharyn, and your roommate, Dale, were there, along with your other "darts" buddies. I remember telling you I was only there because of Vicky, and I wasn't interested in anything long term. HAH!~

I remember when we went boating on New Year's Day at Cochiti Lake. I was so impressed with your little boat. I brought along a loaf of Italian bread, salami, cheese, and frozen grapes, and we had a picnic in the cave. You proposed to me, a mere 6 weeks from the day we met. I said "Yes".

We had a nice little wedding in the first Unitarian Church, on April 25, 1981, after "shopping for churches" and, after our reception, we flew to San Francisco for our honeymoon. We talked about a double wedding with Sharyn and her boyfriend on Valentine's Day but I'm glad we didn't.

Everyone told me that you'd never take off your hat, but you did, for me.

You certainly loved your Coors Light. We even toured the brewery in Golden, Colorado.

I watched you win (and lose) your darts tournaments. But the best part for me was going dancing afterwards. Wow, we sure had some great dancing times!

I remember the time you danced so hard you sprained your ankle at the Adam and the Ants concert. Also, thank you for indulging my Bowie mania and going with me to see him 3 times in 2004!

I loved how strong you were and how safe you always made me feel in your arms.

When our first son was born, you declared "It's a Ross!"

I loved your moustache and your dimples. When you smiled, your eyes would light up.

I remember all the times we had traveling around in your little, red Dodge Van. Wow, the rainy night we drove up the mountain in Ouray to Camp Bird Mine for some camping, only to find out it was a real gold mine. We had to turn around and stay in an old dumpy motel that night.

You were so thrilled when we bought our first Arabian Horse, Barry, that you took up wearing the "I own an Arabian Horse" baseball hat.

I know you were new to horses when I met you but you really became quite the horseman. You liked finding and buying horses- Molly, Lady, Nadia, Riddler, Neena, etc. You developed quite an eye for horses. You managed to pick some pretty good ones! I always wished that we could have gotten a nice, big, old horse for you to ride so that you could ride with me more.

I thank you for buying me Annie on our Anniversary. You had just been laid off and we went to the Livestock Auction for some cheap entertainment after a dinner out. I still don't know why you decided to bid when you did. What a shock it was when we found out that you actually bought a horse!!

You built me the most magnificent barn, almost single handedly. Tony always called it my "Taj MaBarn", a true labor of love.

It always amazed me how well you could build things, everything, especially with wood. I am now sitting at the computer desk with the inlaid top that you built.

I loved watching you playing with the kids. You were always so kind and loving.

My friends used to laugh at us when we said we were practicing for kids with our Doberman-cross, Buck. I remember the day you brought him home from the pound, with a cat collar and a cut off piece of rope still around his neck. You trained him to be such a good dog!

I know how much you loved to go fishing and backpacking. I will always remember that last hike up Wheeler Peak on Labor Day before you got really sick, when you and Sheila practically raced to the top, always waiting for me and Trevor to catch up. The kids and I are still planning on hiking in the Pecos, to visit your favorite backpacking and fishing spot at Johnson Lake. I always picture you hiking, even now.

I really should have gone with you and the kids on those Green River Canoe trips. Somehow, I thought work was more important and that it would be good for you to bond with the kids. I went with Trevor and Ross last spring and I now know why you loved it so much, enough to go three times.

I remember how much you "hated" having your birthdays. You never wanted to get older, I guess. Remember how we went to Yellowstone National Park and you thought you'd escape your 40th birthday? Ha, ha, the kids and I made a cake out of marshmallows and nutter butter cookies. You were so surprised, and thrilled, I might add. ;)

I wish you could see the kids growing up. Ross is becoming quite the man. He has your knack for fixing things. Sheila is becoming more and more beautiful!!! Trevor is very kind and considerate, although he still lacks initiative.

I wish you could be here for Annie's foal this summer.

How I wish you were here. I feel cheated that I only got 25 years with you. You were my soulmate- sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night and realize that we were breathing the same.

I think about you daily and I don't know if the pain of your leaving will ever go away. I miss you so much. If people loved each other half as much as we loved each other, there would be no divorce. I await the day I see you again, my love!


Loving you, always and forever,

Your wife, V


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life on Mars (tv)

I really enjoyed the ABC tv series Life on Mars. I was in high school in the seventies so i remember all of this stuff. ;) There were seven episodes and then a break. Now, it has resumed again with episode 8, so I'm back to watching it. Here is a starter kit for anyone who may want to find out what it is all about. You can watch the full episodes on ABC.com (minus the commercials!).



Life on Mars - song: Life on Mars, artist: David Bowie, album: Hunky Dory

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I smell the sickness

This is a very troubling time for me. Just 2 years ago, my darling husband of 25 years, Scott, was dying of pancreatic cancer. He developed jaundice in September, just a week after we climbed Wheeler Peak. The doctor originally thought he had a Hepatitis B infection. However, when he showed no signs of improvement, she ordered an ultrasound and a MRI. Tumors were found in his pancreas and also his liver. They were inoperable but he still had surgery. This was to place a stent to relieve the bilirubin build up so that his jaundice would clear up. This was in October. The jaundice did not go away, however, and by mid November, he was admitted to the hospital with a severe infection from the stent. They performed a second surgery to replace the stent and he began chemotherapy during the week he was hospitalized. He was released the day before Thanksgiving. He continued chemo treatments weekly with no major ill effects, probably because he felt so poorly anyway. His legs swelled gargantuan with edema. Also, he could not eat. He was offered a miracle drug, Tarceva, that could possibly prolong his life. He agreed to take it. Because he chose treatment, he could not get hospice care.

We did have a medical insurance plan but it was major medical with a high deductible. The tests were not covered because they were considered out of network. The doctor we used was out of network. The Tarceva drug would be covered fully once the prescriptions deductible was met but we had to pay the first month. This drug cost $3,000 a month!! He gave up his job in November and continued the chemo treatments, his condition steadily worsening. I didn't think he would last to Christmas, but he did.

Friends and coworkers would come and visit with him and were shocked to see the change in him. He looked like a Prisoner of War because his face was so skeletal. He looked so old too, much older than the fifty years he was! He got to where he could barely walk and when I'd take him to the clinic for chemo I'd have to get him a wheelchair. They had to continuously poke at his arms to find a vein to use for the IV. Most times it took 2 - 3 nurses and 5 or 6 sticks with the needle to get the IV working.

Once, at home, I helped him to the bathroom and he was sitting on the vanity to catch his breath and he passed out, backwards, hitting his head on the mirror and sliding to the floor in my arms. I was terrified. He recovered unharmed, and my son helped me get him back to his chair. From then on, it took two of us to walk him to the bathroom. My husband was 6'1" and 180 pounds.

One of the hardest things for me was that I was unable to get close to him. He sat in his recliner and I felt so isolated from him. I prayed for him to get better. I prayed for his relief from pain. At first, he was angry and in denial, but eventually he accepted his fate and made his peace with the Lord. He always went to church with me previously, but I think it was more to humor me than for his own soul. Now, he was truly converted.

The third time he saw the Oncologist in the office was to decide whether to continue the chemo and Tarceva. After two series of treatments, the doctor decided there was no worthy improvement, so Scott was sent home with no idea of how long he had left to live. This was early January. Hospice was called and, for two weeks, it felt like Christmas. Every day we got deliveries, a hospital bed, wheelchair, oxygen, special toilet...Finally he was getting some relief. He even got a sponge bath!

All this time, he took minimal painkillers because, although he had morphine available, he didn't like feeling out of control.

In 2006, My Chemical Romance came out with their new album, Welcome to the Black Parade. It is about a cancer patient. I didn't listen to it for a long time, but when I did, this song, Famous Last Words, meant a lot to me.
Many times I would find Scott sleeping, with his mouth slightly open, and worry if he was okay.

Here's the lyrics to the song:
Now I know, That I can't make you stay.
But where's your heart? But where's your heart? But where's your,
And I know. There's nothing I can say.
To change that part.To change that part.To change.
So many, bright lights to cast a shadow, But can I speak?
Well is it hard understanding, I'm incomplete?
A life that's so demanding, I get so weak.
A love that's so demanding, I cannot speak.
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home.
Can you see my eyes are shining bright?
'Cause I'm out here, on the other side,
Of a jet black hotel mirror,
And love so weak.
Is it hard understanding I'm incomplete?
A love that's so demanding, I get so weak.
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home.
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home.
These bright lights have always blinded me.
These bright lights have always blinded me.
I say, I see you lying next to me,
With words I thought I'd never speak,
Awake and unafraid, Asleep or dead?
'Cause I see you lying next to me, (How can I see, I see you lyin')
With words I thought I'd never speak(How can I see, I see you lyin')
Awake and unafraid, (How can I see, I see you lyin')
Asleep or dead?
'Cause I see you lying next to me,
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid,
Asleep or dead?
'Cause I see you lying next to me,
With words I thought I'd never speak
Awake and unafraid, Asleep, or dead?
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone(Or dead)
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone(Or dead)
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home.(Or dead)
I am not afraid to keep on living,
I am not afraid to walk this world alone(Or dead)
Honey, if you stay you'll be forgiven;
Nothing you can say can stop me going home


I smell the sickness - lyrics: Prisoner of Love, artist: Tin Machine, album Tin Machine

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fashion

Twice, my mom and I have attempted to go to the Museum of Art in Santa Fe, to see a special exhibit called "Fashion in Film". The second time, we finally made it. YAY!! This is a traveling exhibit being shown for a limited time. There are 25 period costumes from various films including Pride and Prejudice, Evita, Elizabeth, Titanic, The Golden Bowl, The Shooting Party, Emma, Ever After, Scarlett, Hamlet, Far and Away, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and many more. My mother is a film and costume design fanatic so it was a real treat for her. I included this link for more info and pictures. They did not allow cameras into the exhibit, unfortunately.

We wanted to go on a Sunday because the museum is free to New Mexico residents on Sundays. So, the weekend before Christmas, we headed north after church services, dropping my son off at the house first because he didn't want to do "girlie" stuff. We got to Santa Fe and drove around looking for a particular restaurant called Tecolote for a late lunch. We finally found it and went in only to find out that they close at 2:00 and it was currently 2:06! Drats! So, we went to the quick alternative, Taco Bell, and dined on fast food, rather than the delicious chile we were planning on. The second time we went to Santa Fe, we DID get to eat at Tecolote Cafe. It was great!

Although Santa Fe is the capital city of New Mexico, it is called the "City Different" for very good reason. ALL the buildings are required to have a southwestern or territorial look with adobe or stucco and are various shades of brown, often accented with brightly colored trim. All the buildings are low profile, no skyscrapers, and this traditional architecture makes one feel as if visiting a foreign country. Santa Fe is a mecca for artisans and galleries and large outdoor art is everywhere. It's a fun town to walk or drive around in and just view the art.
I find it amazing that there are even dirt roads not far from the Plaza for residents; these are twisty and narrow with the little houses close together, divided only by walls made from stone, stucco or twig. Most of the houses are very private with walled courtyards. Many of the driveways have mirrors set up for viewing oncoming traffic because the roadways are so tight.
The Plaza is the oldest section of town and a hub of activity. Streets around the Plaza are very narrow and mostly one way. Parking is very difficult. There are public parking lots and metered street parking but on the weekend before Christmas, empty spaces are almost nonexistant. We located the museum which is just off the Palace of the Governors. This area is closed to traffic so that the Native American Indians can gather to display and sell their wares, mostly jewelry. They sit on blankets and chairs and spread the jewelry in front of them on blankets for people walking by, to view. The Palace of the Governors was originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain's seat of government for what is today the American Southwest. It is now a museum and gift shop.

My mom is 81 and has trouble walking, so, because it was very crowded, we decided to just drive around town and look at the art instead of trying to park and walk.

This is the Loretto Chapel. The Loretto Chapel is a Gothic Church constructed in 1873-1878 for the Sisters of Loretto at the end of the Santa Fe Trail. Build by a French architect commission by the Archebishop of Lamy, the design is patterned after King Louis IX's Sainte-Chapelle in Paris; a striking contrast to the adobe churches already in the area at the time it was built. In it exists the world famous miraculous staircase. The Miraculous Staircase, which legend says was constructed or inspired by St. Joseph the Carpenter, was built sometime between 1877 and 1881. It took at least six months to build, and has two 360 degree turns with no visible means of support. No one has ever been able to identify the builder who mysteriously showed up and then disappeared when the project was completed without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself. Loretto Chapel is now a private museum operated and maintained, in part, for the preservation of the Miraculous Staircase and the Chapel itself.

I thought this was a gorgeous tree. Look at the size of it!
Here are some of the outdoor art sculptures.

Isn't this pretty? It's so nice and Christmassy.

We visited the Ghost Ranch Training Center that has the large sculptures outside by Peter Woytuk. Here's my Mom with the elephant.

And yours truly...

Here's an elephant of another sort. Cute, huh?




Fashion - song: Fashion, artist: David Bowie, album: Lodger

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tumble and Twirl

This afternoon was gorgeous- 56 degrees, so I decided to go for a ride. Woohoo, This is the second time I rode this week!

Yesterday morning, I rode Annie. I decided to ride English for a change. Because I haven't ridden her for a while, I stayed in the arena. She was a complete fireball! She spooked at the barrels laying down at the end of the arena. She shied at birds flying past. She wheeled and danced. I warmed her up by walking (or trying to walk) for about 10 minutes and then I trotted and cantered her, reminding myself to keep my center of gravity, so she wouldn't unseat me with her wild outbursts. I tried to slow her down with half halts and circles, but she was so volatile. She was wound tighter than a pig's tail. I had to keep loosening my legs, because every time she'd act up, I'd grip to stay on. I trotted over poles and was pleased when she carefully lifted her legs over them. Slowly, she seemed to wind down and start to behave.

Lately, she doesn't seem to want to run around when I turn her loose so now I'm paying for it. I haven't ridden her for several weeks. Anyway, we rode for 40 minutes or so and then I slowed her to a walk to cool her down. I was very surprised when I suddenly realized that she had finally completely relaxed. Her head was low and her neck was stretched and she calmly walked without my constant reminders to walk and slow down. It was so nice! I decided to jog a bit more and she stayed calm! Hooray! I felt that ride ended much better than it started.

This afternoon, I took out Nadia. I saddled her up western, and we headed out. We rode along the highway, cars passing, and Nadia walked along, unfazed, until we could cross over to the big empty field for some trail riding. Right away, I got two different calls on my cell phone. Nadia just listened politely and walked on. I was thankful that she was so well behaved. I always enjoy her calm, but brisk, animated walk when we go out for rides.

At the far end of the field, we saw a mule and a horse, and she came to attention, prancing, with her head up. It occurred to me that if for any reason I fell off, back in this field, no one would know where I was. That is why I carry my phone with me. Nadia wanted to keep on prancing so I took her into a canter for about a half mile. Then, I slowed her down and circled back, trotting. The ground was soft but not muddy. After a long trot, she happily slowed to a walk and we headed back home. We crossed the highway and rode along the side for a while because of the barbed wire fencing. There is an easement of about 20 feet between the highway and the barbed wire fence where we could walk. We only needed to walk along the highway a couple hundred yards or so until we came to the side lane where we could turn off from the highway.

There were several cars coming so I wanted to turn off into the lane as quickly as possible. There was a small culvert by the road and to walk between the culvert and the barb wire, away from the cars, we had to go down the embankment. Just as we'd cleared the culvert and the barbed wire fence, Nadia suddenly slipped on the brushy slope. Her back leg went out from under her and she lay down. Somehow, I came off of her, up the hill, above her. I quickly stood up. She got up and her side was all black with mud. She seemed somewhat shaken, and I debated whether to walk her home or get back on. She seemed okay, although she stood with her back leg cocked. She didn't appear to be lame though, so I decided to mount up and we walked on home.

I have just finished feeding everyone and Nadia appears to be fine although she has mud patches on her hip, belly, and shoulder. I worry about her though; she is almost 26 years old.

This makes the third time I've fallen WITH a horse. This is the first time I wasn't hurt. I used to own a horse called The Riddler. He had a question mark blaze on his forehead. The first time I EVER rode him was in a halter with my husband holding the lead rope. He was unbroke, so we thought we could lead him around with me on his back. Well, I got a leg up, and he bolted, pulling the lead out of Scott's hand. He ran down the arena and we crashed into the fence. He landed on my leg. Have you ever seen a Nerf Football? If you cut it in half lengthwise and set it on the inside of your leg at your knee, that is what happened to my leg. Nothing was broken but I had a huge hematoma. My whole leg swelled and turned black. I couldn't bend my knee at all for 3 months. I recovered and realized that I had to train this horse to be ridden. That was one of the hardest "horse" things I ever had to do. I won't go into the training program right now, but he did get trained to saddle and my daughter and I both rode him.

A year later, I was riding Riddler, with a girlfriend on another of my horses, when Riddler tried to bolt. I pulled him up, on uneven ground, and he fell, on my other leg. Again, I was in agony. Again, nothing was broken but my leg turned black and blue. Again, it took 3 months to bend my knee. I could not blame Riddler because I tripped him up. But, I never felt safe on him again!

You just never know with horses! Nadia was a saint and Annie was a monster. Between them, I got my tumble and twirl!

Tumble and Twirl - song: Tumble and Twirl, artist: David Bowie, album: Tonight

It Couldn't be Done Without Dogs

As promised, here are some more photos from my Santa Fe car trips. My photography went to the dogs in this post. ;)

Enjoy!


I think this little dog was a framework for a chia plant or something.







Lots of people go out walking their dogs in Santa Fe. I couldn't get over the color markings on this Poodle so I had to meet him. His name was Jester.


Here is my favorite. Don't you just want to take him home?



It Couldn't be Done Without Dogs - song: '87 and Cry, artist: David Bowie, album: Never Let Me Down





Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Never Let Me Down


Marathon Dancing was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Many unemployed people competed in the contests in order to achieve fame or win money. The couples had to continuously move for 45 minutes every hour for hundreds of hours up to 2 months. The contestants were fed 12 meals a day, which during the Great Depression, was a huge incentive. The dancing was considered immoral and lewd by some and, because of attempted suicides from non-winners, was banned in several cities. Here is more information about this fascinating competition.


It's interesting to note that most of today's charities, such as the Walk-a-thon and others, can be attributed to marathon dancing. There is also an annual Dance Marathon held as a fundraiser by Penn State University for various charities.


One notable account of marathon dancing comes from the early chapters of Anita O'Day's memoir, High Times Hard Times: "It seems unbelievable now but there were once fifteen thousand people-- promoters, emcees, floor judges, trainers, nurses, cooks, janitors, cashiers, ticket-takers, publicity agents, promotion men, musicians, contestants and even a lawyer-- whose main source of income over a number of years came from endurance shows."


A memorable movie about this event is They Shoot Horses, Don't They? starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin in 1969. It is based on the novel by Horace McCoy.


This is a video by David Bowie about Marathon Dancing. the song is called Never Let Me Down.





Never Let Me Down - song: Never Let Me Down, artist: David Bowie, album: Never Let Me Down

Monday, January 19, 2009

Should have took a picture

I have been to Santa Fe, the city different, four times in as many months. I went once with my letterboxing, horsebackriding, neighbor, and best friend, Lisa, of LaughingOrcaRanch; twice with my mom; and once, with my sister in law.
Each time, we drove around to see all the outdoor art (there's a lot!) and I have gotten to know more and more of the uniqueness of the city. I've also gotten better with my photographs. ;) I want to share some of my photos today. Since I've taken so many, I will run this in several posts. Some, you may have already seen; sorry for the doubles.
Enjoy!

In the middle of nowhere, which way should you go?

This is part of the Plaza, in downtown Santa Fe, decorated for Christmas with luminarias on the roof.This is an adobe roof. See the large support beams? Did you notice the decorative inset tiles by the niche.
Anyone up for a game of Rock, Paper, or Scissors?
This lovely maiden was lifesize and completely made of bronze. Some people passing by told me to look at the back of her or I might not have noticed the stunning blanket. Incredible, isn't it? Look at all the details! How do they make the wrinkles, feathers, and fur in metal?? Unfortunately, I didn't think to look at the price.
This is the public library in downtown Santa Fe.
This statue was inside the public library. There are many other beautiful pieces on display too!
Here are woven rugs hanging on a stone wall. Often, gates, doorways, and windows are trimmed in bright colors. This was a "drive-by" photo.
I love the detail on this carved wooden gate, don't you? Another "drive-by" snapshot.
There are lots of beautiful gates and doors in Santa Fe. I like the tile insets on the columns and the colorful trim at this house as well as the gate.
Look at how this fence is made. Interesting, isn't it? It's a typical, traditional fence in this part of the country. Sometimes, they trim the twigs off evenly. The wrought iron gate is beautiful, isn't it.
There are Ristras hanging everywhere. This one looks a little old.

Should have took a picture - song: Everyone says Hi, artist: David Bowie, album: Heathen

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lemon in a Bag

Andrea at Swamp Suburbia awarded me this Lemonade Stand for always presenting a positive outlook. Thanks!

Do I? I sure hope so. I always try to see the best of everything, because it's too easy to get depressed and discouraged. Thank you very much for the award and I will try to live up to it as much as humanly possible.
Randomly, I did a google search on making lemonade and I found a job site recommending starting your own business at 50. What do you do when your money tree gives you lemons? Lol.
However, what do you do when your money tree won't even give you lemons?? I'm still trying to figure that out. Any ideas?
My economics teacher says that there are 3 assumptions to economics:
  1. People are rational. Even the drug addict is rational when he steals to buy drugs. He knows he wants and needs the drugs and if he steals he can get money to buy drugs.
  2. People respond to economic incentives. If I tell you to move or I'll punch you in the stomach, you'll move. Right?
  3. Optimal decisions are made at the margin. When you go to McDonalds to buy a cheeseburger you decide to buy one. But you're still hungry, so you buy another one. The next time you go to McDonalds, you'll buy two because you know you can eat two. In other words, these are "spur of the moment" decisions.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I thought it was kind of interesting to know that economics isn't just about business. It's about everyday life too. The only constant in life is change. Change can be uncomfortable. That's where I'm at. I am going through changes. I face difficult decisions on a daily basis and I need to be strong and have faith in the Lord that everything is going to work out for the best one day, even though I can't see it that way right now. They say that God closes a door and opens a window. I believe that. However, my fear is that the window isn't big enough to get through. Help!

When I lost my job, I immediately signed up for classes. I've been taking college classes for many years now, only one to three a semester, while working full time. I still need eight classes to get my Associate's Degree in Pre Management. However, I am only allowed to take six classes this semester and the work load is overwhelming! I am a procrastinator by nature and my self esteem is at an all time low. I don't know if I can do this. If I drop a class that just means my degree is further away. However, I cannot graduate this semester anyway, so what does it matter if I add a class to my summer schedule?

I am enrolled in a tax class so that I can volunteer to prepare taxes this season. I took my first test in the class and didn't do so well. Jeez, that's a blow, since I thought I had an affinity for it. I want to give to the community, if I can, and I thought it would look good on my resume. I could drop this class- should I? I'm halfway through the class already and then I only need to volunteer 15 - 30 hours.

I need to know that soon I will succeed in getting a job that will pay enough to cover my living expenses. I am living on my savings and credit right now. I collect unemployment, but I will have to pay taxes on that money! How much will I owe and how will I pay it? Arrgh! I wish I were stronger in body, mind, and spirit. Lord help me...

Sometimes the hardest part in life is going through it alone. I have my kids, my mom, my friends, my animals...but no one to really confide in and help me. I miss my husband so much at times like this. No one can gave me support like he could. Anyone who is married, give your spouse a special hug today, and tell them, "thank you for being there".

Every day, I read from the book, A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World's Sacred Texts by Leo Tolstoy. Didn't you always want to read a book from Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest authors in history, but thought War and Peace was just too long and wordy? Now you can. Tolstoy considered this book to be his greatest work. He spent almost fifteen years compiling and writing it in his last years. Censored for nearly a century, it is a day-by-day spiritual guide.

One of today's lessons are:

"A scholar knows many books; a well educated person has knowledge and skills; an enlightened person understands the meaning and purpose of his life."

I like the text from January 3:

"When I am in difficult circumstances, I ask God to help me. But it is my duty to serve the Lord, and not His to serve me. As soon as I remember this, my burden becomes lighter."

Of particular meaning to me right now is a verse from November 23,

"The question of life's meaning is a difficult problem which cannot be solved. So, too, is the question, "Why did God send us into this world?" But the meaning of life becomes very simple when a person asks himself, "What should I do?" '


Lemon in a Bag - song: Watch that Man, artist: David Bowie, album: Aladdin Sane

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Conversation Piece

Opportunityisnowhere!

How should this read? I immediately read:
"Opportunity is now here!"

Or is it actually:
"Opportunity is nowhere!"


How about this one?

Woman without her man is nothing.

How should it read?

"Woman: without her, man is nothing."

or

"Woman, without her man, is nothing."


Conversation Piece - song: Conversation Piece, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity, extra songs

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And if the homework brings you down,

we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown.

School has started. Oh MY!! I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and it's only the first week!

I have tax class all day on Saturdays during the month of January. Then, I am supposed to volunteer at least 15-30 hours at a tax help center. I would get credit for this time except that I have 18 credit hours this semester already. I will need to talk to someone about this!

On Monday and Wednesday I have 4 classes from 9:00 AM to 3:45 PM with 15 minutes between each class, IF the instructor lets us out on time. I have to park miles away and tote 4 textbooks and notebooks, so my options are to run back to the car in between classes or get a locker. I'm going to pick up a combination lock tomorrow morning!

Here's my stack of school books!! This photo doesn't do it justice. The Algebra book is huge!

Tuesday and Thursday are Biology days. I have class in the morning and lab in the afternoon. And, I am required to volunteer at least 30 hours this semester at a "science related" place OR do a 30 hour group research paper. Jeez! Can I draw and type blood at the tax center??

Plus, my Early Music Appreciation instructor suggests that we consider doing service projects related to music, like ushering at the New Mexico Symphony or something. HELLOOOO!!!!
What is this? Everyone wants Service Projects this semester. Anyway, she will be requiring us to attend at least two concerts.

I only have so much time in a day! I am already considering dropping my Statistics class. Then I would only have 3 classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Plus, I could get credit for my volunteering at the tax center. The drawback is that this summer I would have to take Statistics, Calculus, and Business Law, and I had hoped to be working by then.

Hmmm, if I do all this volunteering, 30 + 30, I only need 40 more hours this year to get the Presidential letter. That will be easy because I also help out at my church as Treasurer.

And worst of all, Buddha misses me during the day. This pose cracks me up. He's on the arm of the sofa. I don't know how the pillow got there, but you'd think it was specially placed for him!

I forgot to mention that I rode this morning! I only rode Nadia bareback for about 30 minutes, but I did it! Riding before breakfast is going to work for me, I think. She was kind of balky but it's been a while since I've ridden her. She prefers "stop and stand" to any other gait anyway. Did I tell you that I think she has the cutest little ears? She is kinda comfy too. It's like riding a furry barrel with an indention for your butt. Lol, I guess, swayback has it's advantages! It's been a while since I've ridden bareback. I wonder if I'll be sore with all the trotting and some cantering that I did. So far, I'm not feeling anything. I guess tomorrow will tell...

And if the homework brings you down, we'll throw it on the fire and take the car downtown - song: Kooks, artist: David Bowie, album: Hunky Dory

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Far above the Moon

The moon has been full the last few nights. Very cool.
At last, I got to see the movie, Appaloosa! It was filmed in New Mexico! However, I was rather disappointed. There are no Appaloosa horses in the movie! It's the name of the town- who would of thought?

The filming was great but the story was ho hum. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen were very good as hired marshalls, as was Jeremy Irons, the bad rancher, however I did not like Renee Zellweger, the widow woman, at all. There was some nice riding by Viggo and Ed and all the rest. I found it interesting that they added a pack horse in many of the scenes. I especially liked seeing the 6 horse hitch- very unusual! The scenery was awesome, although I may be a tad bit biased. I wish I had known when they were filming here, because I would have loved being an extra. ;)


Far above the Moon - song: Space Oddity, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity

Show us How to Break the Rules

Routines. Sometimes it's good to have a routine. You know what to expect when you follow a routine. But sometimes this limits your choices. I have gotten into a routine of feeding my horses in the morning. That's a good thing. However, by the time they are done eating and digesting a few hours later, I have things to do or the ground gets too muddy to ride, so I have not been able to ride since Christmas. It's gotten to the point that I decided something needed to be done.

I am spontaneous by nature so I decided I needed to change things around a bit. So, today, I decided to ride before feeding them. Racehorses do this, so there most be some good reason.

It was a beautiful morning. NO WIND!! Although it was cold, 24 degrees. I bundled up and went out.

I took Scout out of his stall and tied him up. At first, he was a little grumpy while I groomed him but I let him grab a few bites of hay. Then I cleaned out his feet and saddled him up. We went into the snow patched arena. The ground was a bit hard and uneven with some icy spots but I stayed in the dirt areas and only walked and jogged. I worked him on bending, stopping, circling, backing, and traveling straight. I was surprised at how relaxed he was and how well he neck reined. He even turned on the forequarters really well to the left, but not so well to the right. His backing needs work! He bent his neck and turned his head and veered off to the left. So I would only back him two steps before he got crooked and ask him to move forward. Eventually I got him to backing four straight steps backwards. Then I took him out and we walked out to the road and got the paper. I love to do that! We walked back to the barn and after I dropped the paper off we went back out behind the barn and loped across the field. I decided to circle around and we walked back to the barn where I unsaddled and groomed him. What a good boy, Scout was!

Then I threw a bunch of piles of hay out in the arena and turned everybody loose after treats of peppermints for the girls and carrots for Scout. I like unwrapping the peppermints and crinkling the paper. I figure the horses are getting despooked that way because they like the treats that come out.

Show us How to Break the Rules - song: Black Tie White Noise, artist: David Bowie, album: Black Tie White Noise

Friday, January 9, 2009

Morning Star You're Beautiful

I'm getting ready for school today and thought I'd post a photo I took a few evenings ago. Don't you just love the sky trails that planes leave? What IS that round black spot? I cleaned the lens and it's still there!
Here's a star trail picture that I adore. No, I did not take the photo but isn't it cool? It's an 11 hour camera showing the movements of the stars. Here is a website that tells how to take these photos along with showing some more great photos. Check out the Kilimanjaro photo. Gosh, it sure makes my little photo look sad!


Morning Star you're Beautiful - song Miracle Goodnight, artist: David Bowie, album: Black Tie White Noise

The Sun Machine is Coming Down

I went to the doctor and found out in a recent blood test that I am Vitamin D deficient. Crazy! I am outside a lot but the doctor explained that often times people are using so much sunscreen that they don't get the sun's rays. And, sun's rays can cause skin cancer. I do drink milk, however, I guess I don't drink enough. So now I will be taking a high level supplement.

This is the newest trend for doctors. Vitamin D deficiency can cause Osteoporosis. I know my mother and sister have that, so I am a likely candidate. Vitamin D malnutrition may also be linked to an increased susceptibility to several chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, tuberculosis, cancer, periodontal disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, peripheral artery disease and several autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes. There is an association between low vitamin D levels and Parkinson's disease, but whether Parkinson's causes low vitamin D levels, or whether low vitamin D levels play a role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease has not been established.


I also gave my mare her Rhinopneumonitis vaccine yesterday, all by myself!!! That was incredibly hard for me but Annie was so sweet. I just kind of leaned the needle into her neck until it poked through the skin and then I squeezed the plunger. She seems to be a little sore today but I guess that's normal. She is supposed to get this vaccine at 5 - 7 - 9 months gestation but I am running behind. The holidays really threw me for a loop, timewise and financially. Is it better to give the next 2 booster shots closer together or just go with a total of 2 boosters rather than 3?

I wormed my three horses but I am afraid that Annie spit hers out. I didn't want to redose her so I hope she got some of the medicine, at least. I have never noticed any wormy manure and they don't go anywhere, so I don't think they have too much infestation anyway. Nadia turned away when she saw what I had but was easy to catch. Scout was a pain, as usual. He threw his head and tried to back away from me but eventually, he just gave in. Of all my horses, he is the most troublesome. Nadia is a sweety and Annie is always in panic mode but Scout is just stubborn and bullish. Whereas the girls are light on the lead for opposite reasons, he tends to want to walk on me. I must teach him to respect me more. I wonder sometimes if this is because he was born here and was spoiled as a colt or if it's their Arabian breeding versus his Appy side. (All the Arabian mares I've owned have been super easy on the lead rope.) Or is it a mare versus gelding thing?

Isn't it incredible that I had to apply for jobs these last few weeks knowing that I will be in school full time starting Monday? This is a requirement for unemployment. As of Monday, I will be fully qualified again until the uneployment benefits run out sometime in April. My first class starts this Saturday- 8:00AM until 3:30PM and then I have 6 classes during the week. (Hmmm, 11 classes actually!) I will be very busy! I'm taking a Tax class, so beginning in February, I can prepare anyone's personal income taxes. I'm also taking Statistics, MicroEconomics, College Algebra, Biology, Biology Lab, and Early Music Appreciation.

I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing since I am the slowest writer in the world. I usually think too much about what I write. However, I am an avid reader and spend a lot of time just reading everyone else's posts.


The Sun Machine is Coming Down - song: Memory of a Free Festival, artist: David Bowie, album: Space Oddity

Thursday, January 8, 2009

He's Chameleon, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature

Today is David Robert Jones's Birthday, Aka BOWIE!

He has also been called Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Man Who Sold the World, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Thin White Duke, The Space Oddity, and so many more titles. He has been called chameleon but they change color to blend in with their surroundings. Bowie has always chosen to stand out.

I meant to post this earlier but it's too depressing to think that he may have retired from the public. After all, his 26th studio album, Reality, was released in 2003 and Heathen was released just the year before. He promised us an album a year in spite of the recording industry's methods of one every 2-3 years. But then, he has NEVER lived up to his promises to his fans.

He toured extensively in 2003 and 2004, (I saw him 3 times on his Reality tour!) however it was dramatically cut short when he had heart surgery. Not altogether surprising, considering this man smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, drank alcohol and, for a few years in the seventies, lived solely on cocaine, milk, and green peppers. His weight dropped to 98 pounds and he was a walking skeleton in the seventies, although some say he was at his most genius. Wikipedia has a thorough biography. It didn't help that he had a lollipop thrown at him from an adoring fan during a concert a week or two before his heart problems began. It hit in his eye, quite ironic, considering the Norwegian word for lollipops is "love on a stick". I believe this triggered his heart problems.

Here is a video on youtube about the lollipop.

Since his angioplasty, he has sung on stage with The Arcade Fire, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Alicia Keys for a token song or three, but I think he is afraid to take on anything that may jeopardize his health. He has chosen small projects in recent years, such as portraying Nicola Tesla in the Prestige, voicing the evil Malthazard in Arthur and the Minimoys, guesting on Ricky Gervais's Extras, voicing His Royal Highness in SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis, appearing in XM Satellite Radio commercial, and as Olgivie in the movie, August. He guest sang on Kashmir's, TV on the Radio's, and Scarlett Johansson's albums and recorded songs for the Shrek 2 and Stealth soundtracks. This is quite a list for someone who has "retired" but I am ever hopeful that he will give us one more music album. For the next month, I will be playing an album a day in tribute to one of the greatest artists who ever lived. Today I start with David Bowie: Early On.

These Birthday posts are worth reading.

http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2009/01/happy-birthday.html

http://www.thefrisky.com/post/246-get-your-rocks-off-happy-birthday-bowie

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/features/profiles/b/david-bowie.html

Happy Birthday Mr. Jones!!! Oh yeah, and a big happy birthday to the King, Elvis Presley, too.


He's Chameleon, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature - song: The Bewlay Brothers, artist: David Bowie, album: Hunky Dory

Monday, January 5, 2009

Outside the Pale

Yesterday was snowy and cold so I decided to do some picture taking from inside my house. This is looking out to my barn. The horses are all in their stalls eating their breakfast.


I decided to let the dogs go for a run. Being German Shorthair Pointers, they love to run and hunt, and they needed to get some exercise. I haven't let them outside for the past week because of all the mud except for walks to go to the bathroom. Daisy came back after about 20 minutes but Gunnar took quite a bit longer because it was so cold. I hoped all the neighbors would be inside and not complain about my loose dogs. Finally, Gunnar came running back.

He's almost 11 years old now, so there's nothing better than crashing out after a good hard run.

I love how all my dogs cozy up in front of the fire.

Here's some more horsey photos. Scout and Annie are munching on the old log.

Here's Annie standing at attention. I wonder what she sees?



Here's Nadia, looking at something. Everyone likes to hang out in the den where it's warm. Here's Simba.


Outside the pale - song: Goodbye Mr. Ed, artist: Tin Machine, album: Tin Machine