Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shopping for Girls

Yesterday was very chilly in the morning so I wore a big heavy sweater to work. My coworker saw me and said, "Do you know it't going to be 80 degrees today?" I said "no" and thought, uh oh, I need to go shopping! I like to make a game of shopping for cheap outfits so I was totally up for the challenge. So, on my way to class, I swung by Big K for a quick shopping trip. I wandered through the clothes racks and then headed over to the sales rack wondering if I'd get lucky. I glanced through the clothes and grabbed this blouse. It's business-like and although it has long sleeves, I knew it would be cooler than my sweater. Do you like it? It's got a herringbone design to it and it's made of stretchy material. Actually, it's kind of wrinkled in the photo because I wore it all day long. Oh, and there are three buttons on the cuffs. I just rolled the sleeves up and only buttoned one back down. Guess how much it cost me?This shirt was cheaper than I usually pay for my lunch and I'm really cheap! It only cost $2.99!! What a bargain, marked down from 19.99. I love a good buy, don't you? AND, the whole shopping trip took less than 10 minutes. I wasn't even late for my class even though I ran to the bathroom and changed first!

Shopping for Girls - song: Shopping for Girls, artist: Tin Machine featuring David Bowie, album: Tin Machine

crowning his tangled hair

Sunday was such a nice day that I didn't want to waste it.

I spent at least an hour grooming the horses, knocking dirt clods off and pulling out loose hair. I can't say the horses loved it the whole time because I used the shedding blade and I'm sure it hurt them some, especially with the solid mud packed on, but I think the hair was pulling out pretty easily and they appreciated the "scratch". Only Scout is still mud caked now because he didn't want to stand still for the grooming session and I didn't feel like haltering him up. I didn't get to Annie's dreadlocks either. I think I'm going to need to wash her mane to loosen those knots up.

I groomed Yalla! throughly and noticed that she is finally starting to shed her baby hair. She is just like her mother because she loves grooming and all kinds of attention. She stood as close to me as possible while I groomed Annie. She kept blowing in my ear and nuzzling my hair. She loves to get full head hugs. She is such a lovey little horse. As I was grooming the horses, the area turned white.
And guess what? I saw white hairs on Yalla!

Well, they're actually Nadia and Annie hairs. She's still brown all over. She was standing so close to me that she got covered in hair. I kept having to pick loose hairs out of her eyes as well as mine. Notice her thick mat of baby hair. I can't wait to get rid of all that and see what she looks like underneath.

Then I decided to try riding. My knee has greatly improved from last weekend. There is still some swelling and sometimes I get a dull ache but overall, I'd say it was on the mend. I thought about riding bareback but I figured that riding with a saddle would be easier. Once I got up there, I figured, I'd just stick my leg in the stirrup and everything would be fine. My knee doesn't hurt at all, if I don't move it around.

But getting up there was tough! I had to stand on my bad leg and then somehow my knee twisted a little and boy, did that hurt! And then, once I was up there, I didn't know what to do with my leg! I couldn't bend it to get to the stirrup so I just let both legs dangle in front of the stirrups. And it hurt! But I thought, "I'm up here, I might as well ride," so I did. We rode around the 'back forty' of the neighborhood. I only walked but Nadia pricked up her ears and strutted along. I just love her perky little walk. Meanwhile, back at the barn, the three horses were neighing and running around. Hah, I got all the horses exercised at one time! It was getting colder and my leg was kind of numb so I didn't notice the pain so much after that. I only rode a about a half an hour or so, but hey, I did it!

Can you see the loooong hairs hanging down on Nadia's chest and between her front legs. I pulled out so much hair that I thought she might look bald but I guess not, huh?

Crowning his tangled hair - song: Ballad of the Adventurers, artist: David Bowie

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Hey dirty," part III

I couldn't skip Scout now, could I? Here he is at what may be his dirtiest. Look at those legs. He has black socks!

But hey! The farrier came today so his hooves got cleaned and trimmed. ;)

All the horses were well behaved for him, including Yalla!, and he said that in spite of the many cases of thrush he's seen this winter, my horses were all healthy with no signs of it. I do believe Arabians have exceptionally great feet and strong legs. Even Scout is 1/4 Arabian.

"Hey dirty" - song: Candidate, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs extra

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Hey dirty," part II

Doesn't Nadia look cute in spite of her brown mane and long shaggy fur?

She is very filthy and shedding like crazy. Pictures just don't do it justice.

"Hey dirty," - song: Candidate, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs extras

Going, Gone

Laura Crum's latest equine mystery book entitled Going, Gone, is an excellent read. Going, Gone is a book that you won't want to put down until you finish reading the very last sentence of the last page. Still, you'll want to slowly savor every single word of her picturesque descriptions and poignant anecdotes. Laura's love for her literary family and knowledge of horses shine through in this book.

This book, eleventh of a series, continues in the life of her main character, Gail McCarthy, a retired veterinarian, wife to Blue and mother to six year old Mac, as she plays amateur detective and solves murders and other crimes in a horse related world. Going, Gone places Gail and her family on a horseback riding, camping vacation that quickly turns sour when Lonny, her old friend and past beau is arrested for the double murder of his girlfriend and a livestock auctioneer. Gail cannot believe he is guilty and sets out to find the truth with the help of another old friend, Bret, who is now a local sheriff. There are many sentimental moments as she reminisces about the past and lots of nail biting suspense as she races for her life.

Here is a photo of the author, Laura Crum, on one of her horses.

Sunday Stills (a Day in my Life (3/28/10)

Ed, at Sunday Stills, gave us the task of describing our typical day in only four photos. Here are my selections:

Every morning I feed my horses. I have four of them. Scout is out of view along with the rest of the piles of hay. I always spread the hay out in 5 or 6 piles so that if a horse gets chased away from one pile and he/she can go on to another, kind of like musical meals.
Five days a week, I go to work here in my little office. I think working people spend more time at their workplace than they do anywhere else in their life, even sleeping. But I love my huge computer screen. It's big enough to view several full pages at a time. I usually keep the blinds open so that I can see outside although I never open the door itself.
I am always, always, always driving. I typically drive 60-80 miles or more every day. I like to drive my little Hyundai Accent, Sally, so that I can get better gas mileage, about 36-38 mpg. I go to work, school, the grocery store, movies, etc...through a long, beautiful, winding canyon down the hills to the city and up the hills home again.
My dog, Buddha, and my cat, Terra, can't wait to climb into my lap each evening as I lounge in my recliner and do homework, or watch TV. My laptop is currently out of action but here is where I like to surf the net too.
It's hard to really go into what I do in a day with only four photos but you get the idea...

Check here for more Sunday Stills.

Sunday - song: Sunday, artist: David Bowie, album: Heathen

Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Hey dirty,"

Today is "dirty" Annie day. Oh my! Just look at the clay beads in her mane.

I'll be posting more "dirty" photos soon, so stay tuned...

"Hey dirty," - song: Candidate, artist: David Bowie, album: Diamond Dogs extras

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Foto

Friday - song: Friday on my Mind, artist: David Bowie covering the EasyBeats, album: Pinups

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Double up in pain- I'm on my knees

Here are some pictures of my knee today, four days after I injured it. I know, knees are ugly anyway, and I certainly don't have good looking ones under normal circumstances. The interesting thing is that on Saturday, the swelling was on the bottom inside of my right knee (left in photo) but now the swelling is all around, and especially, above the knee.I have been doing some research on my knee and I think it is sprained-well, I hope it is sprained, rather than ligament damage. I use a wrap and can walk on it, sort of, and it doesn't hurt much overall, which surprises me because most of the time my injuries throb day and night. I find it hard to start walking, even my calf muscle hurts, but I can get into a sort of rhythm after a few steps. I do have a strange "tight" sensation around my entire leg, like someone left a blood pressure cuff on my leg, even without the wrap. Anyway, I am trying to be careful not to make it any worse than it is but it is so hard to go feed the horses with the uneven (muddy, icy) ground out by the barn. I can't wait for my leg to get better. A friend was talking about going hiking and I pipped up, "I'll go with you", and then I just groaned and said, "well, maybe, someday..."

Double up in pain- I'm on my knees - song: Run, artist: Tin Machine, album: Tin Machine

Monday, March 22, 2010

Road trip - skiing, part 2 or Up the Hill Backwards

We arrived at Angelfire ski area around 10:30AM after driving several hours through some very nasty road conditions. It has always been said that the worst winter weather driving leads to the best skiing conditions.

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of batteries so there will be no photos for the rest of my story. We did take a couple of pictures with my son's old digital but when I went to load them on the computer, the XD came up with an error and needs to be formatted so I think the photos are gone forever.

My son is an avid snow boarder and has all of his own equipment, including a limited edition snowboard signed by The Offspring, a rock band, that my daughter won for him a few years ago. I, on the other hand, needed to rent my gear. I went over to the ski shop and rented a package of skis, boots, and poles for $25. For another $10 I could get the cutting edge demo package but since I haven't been skiing in nine or ten years, I didn't think it was worthwhile. As it turned out, I rented "hourglass" skis, which I'd never used before anyway.
Dynastar Exclusive Active Skis / Nova Exclusive Bindings - Women's - '09/'10
They weren't these beauties but you can get the idea of the shape. My old skis were the same width all the way up and down with pointier tips. I still had them but I needed boots so I just figured that it was easier to rent the whole package. On my last ski outing, my one boot just completely exploded and broke apart when I was walking back to the car after a long day of skiing. I was sure glad it didn't happen while I was on the mountain! I guess the plastic had been weakened through the years. That is what can happen to riding helmets too so it's always a good idea to just replace them every few years.

I told the guy I was an intermediate skier and he gave me some really short skis, 140cm. I asked about it and he brought me some longer ones, 150cm. When I was skiing frequently, the rule of thumb was to have skis that go to your nose and mine were 160cm in length. Some people even go as long as head tall. Nowadays, I guess they fit them to your chin. Hmmmm, interesting.

By now, the sun was shining and it was warming up, so we grabbed our hats, gloves, and coats and ambled over to the chair lifts. If you've never walked in ski boots, it is quite an experience. You feel somewhat robot-like with the big, hard plastic and metal fastened contraptions strapped on your feet restricting all ankle flexion. My son had a much easier time with his snow board 'soft' boots.

I 'jumped' into my skis, one foot at a time and my son fastened his board onto one of his boots. Then we snow plowed and shuffled over to the line of people waiting for the chair lift.

I felt pretty good even though it has been such a long time since I'd been skiing. We scooted along and lined up with two other people, a boarder and a skier, waiting for the quad chair to come along and scoop us up. It's amazing how slowly and gently it picks you up and then whooshes off into mid air at a rapid clip. How well I remember all the trouble I used to have in my early learning-to-ski days when the chairs would come so quickly and I'd have to sit down just right or come unbalanced on those crazy slippery woods strapped to my feet, falling and making the operator stop the chair and help me out. The chair lifts have definitely improved in recent years.

I was glad to remember that I am not particularly afraid of heights as we cruised 15-40 feet in the air above the snowy terrain. We all talked and watched the skiers and boarders below us as they traveled down the hillsides. The better skiers cut expert turns around mogul mounds or raced the wind making perfect parallel lines behind them, while still others took falls. The boarders, mostly of a younger generation like my son, were often sitting back with their feet up in front of them either relaxing or recovering from a spill, or 'surfing' the snow with graceful poise. I enjoyed watching them freeriding down the mountain, performing their frontwards/backwards antics and little jumps.

As we neared the top of the mountain, I felt apprehensive. This was it; I'm going skiing! Amazingly, the chair lift slowed to a crawl and gently pushed us off. I grabbed up my poles and pointed my skis. I'm skiing!, I thought to myself. My son had to sit and strap on his board and then we were off. I kept telling myself that it would be just like riding a bicycle, you never forget how. And it is so true!

I breathed in the cold air and headed out with my son next to me, working on keeping my tips from crossing, and digging in to a 'pie wedge' snow plow form whenever I'd get going too fast. I had chosen to ski with goggles and no glasses because I couldn't wear both so I told my son to lead on. I couldn't really read the trail signs until I was right up to them but I wanted to keep on the "blue" runs. Each ski trail is marked with a road sign indicating the name of the trail and a symbol: green circle for beginners, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for expert skiers. We skied down the mountain, savoring the deep powder, cutting and carving our way through, as a spray of snow blew off in a white, misty wave behind us. I kept asking my son what to do and how I looked but I soon realized that as a snowboarder, he didn't have a clue about skiing techniques.

By the time we made it to the mid chairlift, I was breathless from the workout, but happy to have made the run without any falls. I knew that I had a tendency to lean back too far with my legs and had often caught myself from falling by correcting my position just in time. I enjoyed the rush of air as we sped down the straightaways and I worked on making graceful, cutting edged turns to slow my speed and manipulate the lay of the mountain terrain.

We rode the lift up to the top of the back side and again chose a blue trail. Both my son and I were pretty well matched although I know he could go much faster if he wanted to. He said he enjoyed being with me and not having to stop every 200 yards like he did when he went with his beginner friends.

We again rode to the top of the mountain and this time, I told him, I wanted to try an easy black run. We started down it and too late I realized that I was in over my head. I made a few turns, easing down the steep, bumpy slope, but the deep powder and bumpy terrain was besting me. My son was about 20 yards down below me at an intersection of the trails and I had about 15 feet of "hard stuff" left when my skis squeezed together between two of the mounds and I went down, practically from a standstill. I knew it was because I had been leaning back in my boots incorrectly and let the skis get ahead of me.

I heard a "pop" in my right knee. I lay there wondering what to do. I had instantaneous pain but the hurt subsided if I didn't move. I knew I couldn't stay there so after a few minutes I struggled to my feet. It was easier than it could have been because of the steep, bumpy terrain. I was able to push up with my uphill left pole and, voila, I was standing horizontal on the mountainside. Now what, I thought. I had sharp, breath-catching, pains whenever I moved my knee. Okay, you can do this, I told myself. Somehow, I had to get down the mountain. I thought, heck, third run, and I'm out. What a bummer!

I tried to ski towards my son. Every bump and movement to my knee sent shocks of pain through me. But, if my knee was still, it didn't hurt at all. I picked my way down to him, where it was fairly level, and told him what had happened. I pulled up the leg of my ski pants and took a look. There was some swelling on the side and front of my knee. I wrapped his bandana around my knee for compression and told him I was willing to work my way down to the bottom. I told him to go on and take one of the other runs while I went down and then we could meet up and decide what to do. I didn't want to ruin his day, after all.

I managed to ski down to the mid chairlift, yelling OW! every other turn or so, as my knee was bumped or shifted and an excruciating pain shot through me. I felt like I was hooked up to a shock treatment device that was sending random shocks through me sporadically. My knee wanted to buckle out from under me but I'd switch to my other leg and the pain would subside. I did find that if I skied carefully, using my left leg as much as possible and staying in correct form, it didn't hurt!

I waited and waited for my son to show up. I didn't carry my phone along because we had previously agreed that I wouldn't need it. We would be skiing together all day and my son told me that he was "pretty good at finding other people" on the vast mountain. I worried where he was. Did he go to the very bottom expecting me to show up down there? I had told him that I would attempt to keep skiing but maybe he thought that I meant until I got there.

Hooray, I saw him! I don't know how I got there before him but I did. He must have taken some of the further trails and then wound back over.

I was in a quandary. Do I give up my day of skiing and sit in the truck all day while he snowboarded alone, or do I buck up and keep at it, gingerly picking my way down the easier trails and working on my form, knowing that it didn't hurt if I skied correctly but also knowing that it wasn't possible 100% of the time to be pain free?

Today was the final day of the season to snowboard for him. I didn't want to ruin his day.

He had last gone snowboarding with his girlfriend a few weeks ago. A beginner, she gave up after a couple of runs and I know he was disappointed that he didn't get to board any longer on that day but he had gallantly made the best of it for her sake. I knew he could go it alone if I didn't continue.

I knew what I wanted. I just hoped it could happen without further mishap. I told him that I wanted to go up again. So we did.

We managed to ski another run after that and then we decided to have a lunch break. We went to the bottom of the mountain and I parked myself at the outside tables while Ross went to our truck and brought our lunch up. We ate our lunch as it snowed lightly down upon us. Because the clouds had moved in and it was colder now, we added another layer to our clothes: a sweater for me and a fleece for Ross. I went to the ladies room and wrapped my long flannel scarf around my knee twice, binding it tightly. I almost passed out in the stall when I had to twist my body around to shut the door. The swelling on my knee seemed to have subsided from the bandana wrap and I was hoping that more wrapping would be even better.

We continued to ski throughout the afternoon all the way to the last mid chair lift ride at 3:30. Then we skied all the way down the mountain and, seeing that the big chair was getting ready to close because it was 4:00, we went ahead and rode up one final time. I was having less and less pain jolts and actually enjoying myself again. Those two ibuprofen at lunch must have kicked in too. I continued to carefully pick my way but I believe my form was improving. It certainly helped that we stuck to the easier trails. I managed to keep up with Ross and even had to wait on him as he had fun goofing around and taking little jumps along the way.

I did fall a few more times, once from a standstill, and the other times, just because?? My knee popped two more times but the pain didn't increase, thankfully. Actually, the last time I fell I could not get up. It was level ground and without the use of both legs I just didn't have the leverage to right myself. A passing skier gave me an arm to pull myself up with, thankfully, as my son was again down the hill from me. It is very difficult to go up hill. Usually, boarders have to take off their boards and walk and skiers herringbone up the hill sideways.

After we got to the bottom of the hill again, we took off our skis and snowboard and walked to the truck. Ross carried my skis along with his board so that I could pick my way carefully along the snowy, muddy trail through the parking lot and Ross, thankfully, carried my ski equipment back to the shop.

We drove over to my Mom's house, a short 14 miles away through a beautiful canyon, seeing a half dozen wild turkeys along the way. I took a hot shower and inspected my knee. The swelling on the inside and bottom seemed manageable and I smiled, satisfied that my prolonged day of skiing didn't seem to cause any added ill effects. Now to take it easy and get well. We had an enjoyable visit and dinner with my mom and then we decided to head on home.

After sitting for several hours in the truck, I found it hard to walk into the house without limping.

It was very difficult climbing into my tall bed last night and this morning was sheer agony! When I try to use my leg as usual, I almost fall over. I feel out of balance too, like my equilibrium is off. The swelling is minimal but the pain is extreme whenever I try to use it. Yet, it's nonexistent when I don't. I did some research on the internet and I think I must have sprained my knee or slightly torn some ligaments, because of the popping sounds. I think of my neighbor Lisa and her ACL surgery and worry that I might have to go through that. But she seemed to be in pain continuously so I don't think it's the same. Hopefully, my knee will heal quickly and completely, however, I believe that once an injury like this occurs, the joint is forever weakened with a high possibility of re-occurrence.

My son went out and bought a knee brace for me today and that helps, but I am still limping. My upper legs are also somewhat sore just from the day of skiing. Was it worth it? Hell, yeah! I'm just worried now about being able to do physical things in the future without re-hurting it...

Up the Hill Backwards - song: Up the Hill Backwards, artist: David Bowie, album: Scary Monsters

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Road trip- skiing

Friday night dumped even more snow on us!
So what's a body to do?

Go skiing!!

My son Ross, and I got up early Saturday morning and headed out, gleeful with the weather reports of 11-13 inches of new snow at the ski areas, but cautious of the horrible road conditions. We were thankful that the snow plow had gone by just before we pulled out onto the highway from our little side road. Driving along, we noticed several cars "ditched" along the roadway. There were others that I didn't take pictures of and this was on the highway going past our house!
At the gas station, my son decided it was warm enough to take off his coat so I snapped a quick one. He always takes good photos.Sunrise, sort of.The snow made the landscape look so different that I couldn't resist taking photos as we drove along. After all, we had a three hour drive ahead of us to get to the ski area in normal road conditions and we knew it was going to take us longer than that with the bad weather and road conditions.
Sometimes, it was so foggy and snowy that we could hardly see the road.
Even fencing and old adobe houses look picturesque in this weather.Aren't those some cool shades?This was outside of Santa Fe. Notice the lone brown house in the middle?I thought this tree came out rather interesting.
The landscape was so pristine.
We drove past camel rock and I almost forgot to get a photo! Look at the snowy mountains in the background.
I thought this church built of stone was rather unusual for the area. The sky was clearing. It was going to be a beautiful, sunny day.
I like their taste in horses. Arent' they pretty?
We drove past the Rio Grande Gorge. See it in the distance?
This is what a telephoto lens can do.
Soon we were entering the mountains.

We even drove past a covered wagon
but I don't think it was going anywhere.

This is a very interesting house because it looks like it has been added on to several times. Notice the changes in the wall color. to be continued...