Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Technological Conundrums

Another Christmas has come and gone (is this not the most hollow phrase ever?). It was a quiet Christmas day here at Chez Edel north, and Jonathan and I enjoyed every minute of it. We spent the day with our pets, opening presents, making delicious food and taking care of our stable of horses. Serene Christmas bliss, with the exception of a couple of new gifts that provided endless amounts of frustration and causing us to use words that no one should use on such a hallowed holiday. Item #1 was the Flip video. I was ECSTATIC to receive this gift from Jonathan. It's so cool. I made a quick "Hi and Merry Christmas" video for my parents and anxiously sent it off to my Mom's email address, wringing my hands and hoping that it worked. When I called her she ran to her computer and I could hear my voice and her giggling as she watched it. Yes, success! The next video that I sent could not be viewed for some reason. What was the reason? I don't know. Still don't know. The flipping Flip is flipping me the bird for some reason. It tells my Mom she needs to download Adobe Flash. Why? Dunno. Why was the first video a screaming success and the second proved to only induce screams of annoyance at it's reluctance to be shared? I made some adjustments, tried again, then tried again and tried again. No dice. Anyone have any ideas? I'm afraid that my technological dingbatness has ruined the fancy new toy.
The second amazing gift was a ipod touch from one of our beloved customers. It's so awesome! Our music is all in it, and we have apps! But we can't use the apps, because it won't connect to the internet. Again, sigh. What's the point of having all of this amazing technology tantalizingly close to our fingertips, yet we can't access it? It's the fate of 40 year olds who just aren't up to dealing with these new fangled instruments. Our brains are addled, we get confused and frustrated. We swear, shed tears and pace at our ineptness.
I give up. I'm going to read a book, which thankfully I still remember how to do. That is the one thing that helps me feel less stupid while facing these technological adversities. Words, I get them. Instructions on the computer are written in what "appears" to be straightforward English, but somewhere between my comphrension and application I am still failing to provide satisfactory results. Am I cursed? Have I ruined my two amazing perfect gifts in three days? It's all too much. See Dick. See Jane. See Spot Run. That is apparently my speed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chilly, chilly weather

This week it's gotten really, really, seriously cold in my neck of the woods. The wind at my little farm is breathtaking, and I don't mean that in a good way. It takes your breath, hides it and gives it back to you in thin, icy blasts that burn your lungs and give your throat frostbite. We had our first snowfall yesterday. It was quite lovely to view...from inside the house. When I had to go outside and turn out horses, it was another matter entirely. The horses were alot more frisky due to the fluffy white ground cover and the brisk wind that blew up the backsides of their blankets. Getting them to their respective paddocks proved to be a daunting task. "Behave yourself", was a phrase that I ended up repeating over and over again. They did. They tried. No was injured during the turnout phase at JEM Stables. Phew.
All of this cold weather has conjured up a memory from my childhood that now makes me laugh, but at the time it was serious business. In early grade school, I had a best friend named Sarah. She was a lovely friend, besides the fact that she made me walk across a slippery, moss covered top of a brisk waterfall one day, but that's another story. Sarah was (and probably still is) smart and funny. I so enjoyed going to her house after school. Except in the winter. Her Mom was an experienced, 70's sort of mom. She'd had twins early on in life, in fact the twins were the same age as my oldest sister, so nine years older than Sarah and myself. Fresh air was stressed at that time of child rearing as being VERY good for kids. This meant that when I went to Sarah's house after school in the wintertime (this is NH, mind you), we would have a brief respite in their warm, cozy house and then no matter what the temperature, or wind chill, we were expected to bundle up and go outside to PLAY. Who plays in minus degree temperatures? I hated it. Sarah's mom would lock the door, with a big cheery smile and say "Have fun, girls!". I wanted to find the biggest icicle possible and stab her through the heart when she said that phrase. Sarah would shrug her shoulders, obviously conditioned to this type of misplaced mothering and totter off down the hill to gaze at the frozen pond that bordered their property. I vainly attempted to enjoy those after school moments, but really I just wanted to sit in front of the TV and watch The Mike Douglas Show. It was inhumane, child abuse, yet I went back again and again, because Sarah was such a good friend and after all I couldn't let her freeze to death by herself. Well, the good news is that we never died. Carol, the "Mom" still lives in the same house I visited as a child and Sarah lives, guess where? HAWAII! Hmm, bet those frosty afternoons have something to do with her chosen destination of where to raise HER kids.
Now I live in Millbrook, NY, where it's brutally cold in the winter. Very windy, unforgiving and frigid. Maybe those frosty afternoons with Sarah helped to prepare me for a lifetime of enduring winter weather at it's extreme. God help me. I'm off to apply another layer of face cream. Thanks, Carol. You witch. And I mean that in the fondest of ways.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Candle up for Adoption

"Seeking new home for one Frosted Pumpkin, very fragrant Yankee Candle. Barely been lit, sugary, almost maple syrup-esque smell when burning. Husband cannot abide it's burning sweetness."

I bought this candle a few weeks ago, thinking that Frosted Pumpkin sounded like a great harvest-y smell for this time of year. The first night that it was burning Jonathan and I were making dinner. After about 20 minutes he looked at me and said, "What in God's name is that horrible odor?" I told him it was my new candle. "Please," he said. "No more. That is a wretched smell. It's like someone took a match to a bottle of Log Cabin. I can't handle it!" I agreed it was a bit of a strong scent and snuffed it out. But I really wanted to use it. It seemed a waste to just have it sitting on the counter unburned, proudly displaying its glossy, frosting bathed photo. I've been using it surreptitiously in my office during the evenings, but as of last night that jig is up. Jonathan finally begged me not to burn it anymore. Really begged. It's only fair that I accommodate his wishes. So with a heavy heart I'm offering it out there to anyone with an affinity for creme brulee and all things painfully sweet. I'll pay postage and provide a book of matches to whomever would like it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fall Gifts

Today I was riding a beautiful grey mare out through the fields that surround the seriously gorgeous property that we rent in Millbrook. What makes that special (besides the obvious)? The colors of the fields, sky, treeline, etc. were unbelievable! I wish I was more proficient with a camera, even of the cell phone variety, but alas, I'm not. These colors were of a palate that cannot be re-created by man, but I shall do my best to describe them. The meadow was a subdued golden hue of fading summer grasses, bittersweet vines had crimson berries on their wispy stalks, pale autumn leaves paved our path, blue jays and bright red cardinals darted thru the trees, causing the mare to snort and prance. The cobalt blue sky was the best sight of all, THE BEST. Only in autumn do we see a sky of this deep, unworldly color. We've all seen the bright blue skies of summer, but in autumn the sky of the late afternoon can turn a blue that makes a man/woman weep. I didn't weep, but instead I chose to take it in with as much appreciation and wonder that I could muster in my 41 yr. old somewhat compromised eyes. I even asked the mare to stop, pause, smell, ponder and after a few moments she pulled on the reins and we headed home. The moment was brief, but still palpable. Even on the eve of winter's grip, it's amazing to hack out through fields of gold and relish the magic of nature in the country. All my years of living in country surroundings could not prepare me to appreciate them at the level which I do now. Maybe it's the oncoming threat of winter that caused me to be so moved, but regardless, it was gift. And I'll cherish it, asking it to hold me over through the snow storms and icicles which will hold me hostage to the indoor ring. Until spring.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dental Drama Part Deux

I went to bed on Wed. night fully expecting to wake up in the morning with my face looking like, well, my face, not a warped Cabbage Patch Kid. Much to my disappointment, these sorts of dastardly infections don't respond immediately to antibiotics. The pain had grudgingly diminished by the time I awoke Thurs. morning, but the face was still ballooned out as if a cheek implant had been inserted, but in the wrong cheek if you get my drift. I felt so much better that I almost didn't care about my bizarre countenance, except we'd been invited to attend a private viewing of Jonathan's Uncle Joe's newest art collection at the Dickinson gallery in Manhattan that evening. This was something I'd been looking forward to attending for weeks, but I really couldn't fathom going looking the Elephant Woman. I hate to think of myself as vain, but I guess on some level I am, because I told Jonathan I would not go, no way, no how. Period. I even tried to cry, but I think all the excess moisture in my system had gone into my face so all I did was sputter and whine. Jonathan got the hint and dropped the subject.
Around 10 a.m. on Thurs. I felt something "popping" out of my gum. Curiousity made me get a flashlight so I could check it out. Gingerly pulling my lip upwards I aimed the beam of light at the gum and lo and behold, there was the opening for the abscess. EEEEEWWWWWW. Horrified I ran into the living room to show Jonathan. "Yep" he said barely taking his eyes from the TV. "That's an abscess". Thank heavens for the internet, because I immediately googled "gum abscess" and got all kinds of valuable information, along with disgusting images that resembled what I had just seen in my own mouth. The info stated that I could pierce the abscess with a straight pin that had been held under a flame for 20 seconds and that would totally relieve the pressure. Well, I could do one better than that. I had sterile 1 cc syringes leftover from Miss Girl's bout with diabetes last year. I decided to give piercing a try. Willing myself to stay calm, I pulled up my lip, aimed the flashlight and with my right hand and went in with the needle. Ever so carefully I "pierced" the nasty spot until I felt a little pain. I did it one more time just to make sure that I'd accomplished what I'd set out to do because I didn't think I had it in me to steel my nerves to perform this act a second time. I can't say there was immediate relief, but it was draining. The bad news is that it was draining...in my mouth. Lots of rinsing with Listerine, salt water and hydrogen peroxide made me feel slightly less disgusting, but it was still pretty gross. However, hour by hour my face began to reduce in size. Finally by 1 o'clock I deemed it small enough to be seen in public and Jonathan and I sprang into action so we could dress and make it to NYC on time for the show. I still had a large pocket of swelling on my lower jawline, but fortunately I have long hair and I could strategically position it to hide the offensive remaining puffiness. I nearly clicked my high heels together as we raced out the door to the car, all perfumed and coiffed for a night out in the big city.

We made it to NYC in the nick of time and we enjoyed the private viewing immensely. Joe's work is amazing, you can check it out at www.joecoleman.com. The show was absolutely a success for Joe, as the place was packed with people. Later at the very, very late after party, as we were saying our goodbyes in the wee hours, Joe thanked us profusely for coming to support him. He made it clear that having part of his family there meant a lot to him. I have to say that comment alone made poking the needle in my gum all the more worth the effort.

p.s. the saga of this tooth isn't over. Next week after the infection is cleared up, I get to have the bloody thing yanked out. Two crowns, a bridge and thousands of dollars later my mouth will be servicably sound again. No wonder why Dr. Chaeng drives a purty white BMW. He might be in a Lamborghini by the time my teeth are under control.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dental Drama

Ever have one of those moments where you feel like you really have a handle on things in your life? And then out of the blue Fate slaps you across the face and says, "ha ha" in a tone like Bart's jack ass friend on the Simpsons. Fate came to my house on Tues. morning and I tried to slap her back (I say her because sometimes Fate can be a real bitch), but I missed. And thus commenced the throbbing pain in my mouth, more commonly known as "toothache". Except this was no ordinary toothache. As a victim of generally awful teeth I've got experience with all kinds of tooth issues. I could tell from the deep, dull throbbing that this was going to be a bumpy ride and I'd better get myself to the dentist right quick.

Thank goodness the dentist was available for me (of course he was, he sees dollar signs when I walk thru the door) and he gave me the news that I already knew. Big abcess brewing in your upper molar's root. He deduced that it was the molar by tapping each tooth on the left side of my mouth with the handle of his picker. When he tapped the bad molar it was like a sledge hammer across my cheek. "Do you think that is the tooth?" he asked me gently. "Yes," I said weakly as I pryed myself off the ceiling. We made a tentative plan of action for when the infection got under control and he set me up with a prescription for antibiotics and vicodan. Now I'm no junkie, but I couldn't wait to get my hands on that vicodan and get the pain under control. On top of being in pain my face was starting to swell across my cheek. Time was of the essence here. I've had vicodan before for tooth pain and it is a sweet little blessing, erasing pain and making one feel mellow and lovely, to boot. I took my pills and felt a bit smug about the situation, like I'd nipped the whole thing in the bud. However, this pain would not be thwarted. In fact, it intensified and I felt completely miserable by the time I went to bed. "Just give the antibiotics time to kick in," my sensible husband said to me, barely taking his eyes off the football game as I slumped off to bed. That sounded reasonable to me and I drifted off to sleep, holding my sore cheek in my palm.
When I awoke at 4 a.m. I knew something was drastically wrong. I could FEEL my cheekbone pulsing. Putting my hand to my face made me jump up with alarm. The entire side of my face was hugely swollen and the throbbing made it feel like my heart had relocated to my cheekbone. I decided that I'd better check it out in the mirror, because maybe it felt worse than it looked. Flicking on the bathroom light, I winced and made my way toward the mirror. Holy Hell. I stared blankly at the mishapen face before me in the mirror. Wow, that face looks so sad and bloated, I thought. I felt oddly detached from it, like it couldn't be me in that bloated image. (Iguess the vicodan was having some effect on me aside from failing to kill the pain.) Having no choice but to go back to bed, I nestled back into position between Miss Girl and Jonathan, whimpering softly and drooling ever so slightly.
When we got up that morning Jonathan tried to play it cool, but I could see in his eyes that my additional freakish swelling was more than a little disturbing. He kept assuring me that I'd be fine, the swelling would go away, the antibiotics would kick in, blah, blah, blah. The pain was really getting to me by this point and I was losing patience with his glib reassurances. As is common with married couples, I shifted some of my angry, violent thoughts to him. It's not fair, of course, but it's understood that this is how marriage works at times. Remember the in good times and bad part of the wedding vows? Here goes some bad; "Do you see how fucking huge my face is?", I screamed at him. "It's killing me and I can't take much more!" "When will the fucking antibiotics kick in? WHEN!" The yelling caused my face to pulse with more intensity and I had to sit down and rock back and forth to get it to relax. Now Jonathan knows me well, because we've been together for a long time. He knew it was the pain talking, so he narrowed his eyes, muttered that I should ice my cheek and ducked outside choosing to do barn chores over listening to any more tirades.
The day crept by at a snail's pace. I read, sipped tea, dozed and ate yogurt. By five o'clock there was no relief from this pressure in my face. I was ready to lance my gumline and just get it over with, but instead a miracle happened. Like a switch, the pain went from super intense, to just intense. I was almost drunk with relief (again, probably the vicodan), because I knew I was on the downhill run of this roller coaster climb to pus bursting hell. To be continued...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Day Off

It's Monday. For most folks that means the start of their work week, but not for me and Jonathan. It's our one blissful day of rest when we're not expected to be in the stable, do stalls, make phone calls, etc. I consider Monday a magical window of hours available to me for pursuing other hobbies, or ideas that I've had during the week, but haven't been able to fit into the busy work days. It's a free pass to do whatever the hell it is that I want to do. I usually have some sort of unrealistic amount of things planned that I'd like to do on my day off. For instance, today's list includes bake an apple cake, make cookies, buy and plant spring bulbs, go shopping for something cool to wear to art opening in NYC on Thurs. night, mail belated b-day gift to my Dad, grocery shop, etc., etc. My favorite part of my day off is the morning when I get all jazzed up on caffeine and the list of things to do is swirling around in my brain in a tantalizing cyclonic fashion. "All of these "things" for me to do and I could do them ALL", I'll say to myself, smugly giddy with a pre-sense of accomplishment about getting all my "things" done. Unfortunately, sometimes the amount of coffee I allow myself to drink can sabotage getting anything on my list checked off. I get so deliriously jacked up that I end up spinning in senseless circles and then suddenly it's four o'clock and I've blown it. I'll come down off that caffeine jag and hit the wall of resignation that I've gotten nothing on my "to do" list done on my one day of freedom. THAT sucks. Whenever that happens, I will lamely try to get one item checked off, or throw myself into a project like re organizing my closet, or cleaning the fridge. Some kind of household purging activity will sometimes offset my disappointment at letting the day slip through my fingers. It doesn't always work, but by that time it's almost cocktail hour and a martini does wonders for rearranging priorities.
Jonathan's idea of his day off is the complete polar opposite of mine. Instead of having a list of things to do, he goal for the day is to be horizontal for as many hours in a row as he can. He'll get out of bed, take a shower, then retire to the sofa for the remainder of the day, totally content with his aimless lack of responsibility to do a damned thing. The most exercise he gets on Monday is changing the channel on the TV with the remote. It kind of freaks me out that he can be inert for so many hours in a row. I think he could hibernate like a bear if he really tried. I should set up a Jonathan-cam for his day off. I could set up a website that people could check periodically throughout the day and make comments like, "oh, I think he moved his arm since I checked in two hours ago!" or "going on his sixth nap of the day, guys!". I find his ability to relax almost Guinness book worthy. It's a skill I don't possess and sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out. It seems that I'm just not happy unless I'm stacking up an impossible list of things to do and then spending the day fretting about getting it all done. Shit, it's 10:30 and I'm still in my pajamas. Time to get cracking, because I have THINGS to do!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Invisble Fence "Training"

Our Invisble Fence was installed today! Joy! The white flags are placed all around the perimeter of our property and they will "teach" the dogs to stay in the yard. Of course, there is work to be done to get the point of the flags across to the dogs before we set them loose. The work involves walking the dogs, individually, around the yard on a leash, heading to the flags and when we hear the beeping of the collar we pull them back and gasp. The beeping preempts the shock, which is actually neutralized during the training phase by a piece of rubber fitted over the prongs on the collar. This must be done three times in a row at each point we choose. Walk toward the flag, beep beep, then GASP and pull them back. Three times in a row, at each point. Guess who is doing the training? Jonathan? Nope. It's me. I'm about gasped out after one day of training. I feel like a bad method actor who is practicing seeing a ghost, or a predator, or a monster. I'm using all the visuals I can to keep it real. The dogs think it's fun. I'm not so amused. Apparently, the fence company recommends two more days of this training before removing the safety device on the collars and allowing the electricity to shock the dogs. I'm going to give it the ole college try and do my best to follow the rules. Aussies are smart dogs. I believe that they'll get the idea quickly, but after investing a fair amount of money in this fancy fence I want to do it right, follow the rules and leave nothing to chance. Two more days of walk to the flag, beep beep, GASP and RETREAT! Stay tuned and I'll let y'all know if it works. My best guess is that walk toward the flag, beep beep, ZAP is going to be the best training tool. But what do I know? I'm a slightly simple horse trainer. Stay tuned for the next step of Doggie Invisible Fence training 101.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stay home BOYZ!!!

Oh Hello Blog! It's been a while (again). Life continues to get in the way of my blogging. It's the way of the working gal. Though, I'm not really a gal these days, more like a forty something hag. A working hag. Actually, it's not that bad. Really. Truly. I'm a pretty happy, lucky hag. Honest.

A few new developments in my life. My wayward dogs have forced us to invest a large chunk of change into buying Invisible Fence for our yard. Invisible Fence is a nice of saying, "Stay in the F'ing yard, or you'll be zapped back on your ass if you try to leave again!". Our two dogs are lovely, and gorgeous, but they escape into the wilderness the minute our backs are turned and show up an hour, or so later panting incessantly and reeking of wildlife, dead and otherwise. Last month, they brought us mange. We've got a lot of fox on this property and fox carry mange. Therefore, our dogs got mange. Remy became an itchy, smelly mess. Plus, he got Lyme again. An itchy, smelly, achy dog, who could barely move, except to itch...incessantly. Becks was less itchy, but still managed to itch in his sleep, while on our bed causing it bounce in an irritating manner and wake both of us up and yell, "Becks! Knock it off!" He would groan, rather dramatically and then settle in for a few minutes before resuming his itching. It was maddening for all of us. Some expensive shampoo and topical treatments resolved the mange, but then there was still the wandering to deal with and this shit was serious. The last straw happened on Monday of this week. The dogs went on a walkabout and finally returned about an hour later, panting and repentant. Our neighbor suddenly appeared and informed us that our beloved dogs had killed all of his chickens. I repeat, all of his chickens. Well, that was just the last straw. I rang the Invisible Fence folks that night and the rest is history. It's being installed next Wed. Frankly, I can't wait. Until then, the dogs are on total lockdown. Harsh, you say? Yes, but it's the only option. The next step is the neighbor popping a cap in their proverbial fluffy asses. Oh, Invisble Fence, you and I are going to be such friends! I can't wait. Becks and Remy, you brought this electrocution upon yourselves. And you deserve it!! Our perimeter will be vast, they'll have a couple of acres to roam, complete with house, barn and indoor ring. It's enough for any dogs, even our wanderlusting Aussies. The training will be harsh, but these dogs are super smart and I'm sure they'll get it quick. One zap and that will tell the story. Stay home, or face the powers of electrocution. No brainer. Ready, set, ZAP!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hurrah for Summer!

The season of fall is upon us officially as of tomorrow. Over the last few weeks we've had some chilly nights here in Millbrook. Our barn has had to be closed up tightly a few times and the horses have started growing slightly thicker coats. I've been wearing jeans and layers of polar fleece. The good news is that summer returned today, like an old friend who went away for a couple of weeks, but returned with a broad, beaming smile and I welcomed it back with open (and bare) arms. Our vistas are peppered with vibrant autumnal colors and we certainly need some rain, but the lawns are still green, as are our paddocks. I wasn't ready to surrender to the chilly temps and wind. It's been a wonderful summer season, replete with day upon day of warm temperatures and bright sunshine. I know it sounds greedy of me to want this warm bliss to continue, but I do, really. So, I'm thankful that we've got a few days ahead of us to sweat profusely and wear shorts again. Maybe this is the swan song for summer, but at any rate, I'll take it. I wish I could bottle it for the horrible days of January and February, when I'll be clad in wool, shivery and craving cup after cup of strong tea. But we northeners know that we can handle the cold, rain, snow, sleet, etc. that winter brings us. We seem to thrive on enduring the super cold days. Folks in the grocery store will turn to one another and say, " Can you believe that it's going to be single digits tonight?" And we'll smile and laugh, our carts full of roasts, stew meat and potatoes. Comfort food to keep us going when the going is...freezing. For now, I'm happy to smell the charcoal smoke brimming off the grill, fresh veggies chopped and prepped for steaming and warm, delicious breezes blowing in all the open windows in my house. Stay as long as you want SUMMER! For when you decide to retreat and relinquish your glorious days, I will mourn you. Because before we know it, it will be Christmas! Yikes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lots of action...

There has been a lapse in my blogging due to:

1. Jonathan skipped town to visit his parents.
2. My Mom came into town to help me with the barn, etc. while Jonathan was gone (p.s. invaluable help. She did stalls, water buckets, vacuumed my house, fed me delicious dinners)In short, she's amazing and we had a fabulous visit!!!
3. I had my left big toe mashed by my horse one night in a true lapse of judgement. I had flip flops on for night check, got a little too comfy snuggling, horse took a step, big toe was-mashed. Bled a ridiculous amount. Hurt. Alot. Now looks tye dyed and I've painted the other toes black, because they're in mourning for the lost Big Toe. It's all good. Live and learn people. Live and learn.
4. Selling horses. Two down and in the bank. This is what we do.
5. Horse shows. They take a lot of energy. Riding, coaching, etc. it all depletes the energy pool. Good news is that it's all gone well!!
6. I hurt my back. And recovered.
7. Jonathan hurt his back. And is recovering.

And so for today, I have this to report: Marbles brought me a very teensy, tiny baby field mouse and left him in my bathroom. He was small. His head was large. Who knew that fbaby field mice have silly large heads? Point being is that he was still alive. I scooped him up in a dust pan and brought him down to the barn to show our clients and hopefully pawn him off on them. No dice, but they gave me advice on how to keep him alive. What was I to do? I had to try to save his ass. I put him in the warmest room in the barn in a box with a towel. Then I warmed some Silk in the microwave(I'm a soy milk convert for my cereal) and got a 3 cc syringe. He was groggy. I was nervous. But the syringe of Silk made him open his eyes up and he went for it! WOW! I was feeding a baby mouse! Before I knew it, he was taking the syringe head in his feet (paws?) and going to town. 4 cc's later, he was satiated and taking a baby mouse nap. I had horses to ride, so off I went to do my "real" work. I checked on him twice in between rides and he was napping comfortably. By the time Jonathan made it to the barn (much later), I decided to show him my little mouse prodigy. The baby mouse was no longer mellow. He got frantic when I moved the towel. In fact, he got super spooked and started to look for a way to escape. EEEKKS. I let him escape, which means he jumped off the washing machine in our super warm room and hid behind a warm pipe on the floor. I took this as a hallelujah moment, because I was off the hook. Mr. Mousie was on his own. I poured some Silk into a water bottle cap and left it behind the washer machine. I truly hope he makes it. Really. But I did the best I could do. Thank you Marbles for giving me this opportunity to rehabilatate a teesny, tiney baby mouse. You are such a gem.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Sense of Accomplishment (Finally!!)

Today was a lesson in perseverance at the local yokel DMV, but we emerged victorious! Jonathan has an official NY license and the Audi is sporting super cool orange/blue NY plates. I won't say that it was easy, nor was it a pleasant experience. The license went smoothly, but when we attempted to register the car we realized that both of our names are on the title and it appeared that my wallet had been left behind at the farm so I didn't have any ID on me. Good news is that the farm is five minutes from the DMV and the nice lady at the DMV said, "No problem, just get your 6 points of ID Michele and come on back." Easy peasy. We blazed back to the DMV, stood in line (again) and proceeded to get angry, shrew lady at the DMV. She went over my documents like I was some kind of convict. Then she looked me in the eye and said, "Your insurance card doesn't have either of your middle initials on it. You need to change this before you can get the car registered." I wanted to slap her. I got huffy, haughty and hot under the collar. Jonathan grabbed my arm nervously, then steered me out of the DMV very carefully. Yosemite Sam was here again. After some deep breaths, I called the insurance company, went through a series of prompts and left a voice mail for my insurance lady to please fax another card with the two freaking middle initials next to our names. We decided to have iced coffees at the local cafe while we waited and I splurged on a giant chocolate brownie, too. Chocolate has a way of lowering my blood pressure (at least that's what I tell myself) and it was so good. One more call to my insurance lady, between bites of chocolate lusciousness and she magically picked up and assured me that she'd faxed the document to the DMV. Back we went for attempt number three of the day. This time we got another DMV lady, aka the Dimwit. She had to go over my ID's again, point by point, look at Jonathan's ID's, etc. While this was going on, Jonathan started giggling uncontrollably at the absurdity of our situation, which made me giggle, too. Not to mention that the radio in the DMV was playing Mr. Roboto. WTF? We were like two giddy idiots lost in fits of laughter at the very serious DMV of Millbrook. No one else in the lobby was amused and Dimwit looked at us curiously, but bless her empty head, she continued on with her job. She then handed us the beautiful orange and blue plates and we were free! Goodbye Whitey! Hello Black Audi, how I missed your smooth transmission and exceptional power, not to mention a/c, leather seats, lack of gross odor, power windows and locks!! Ahh, it was a blessed moment for the Edel couple. Free at last, free at last, thank you so much Whitey, but you suck ass!! I still need to transfer my license from CT to NY, but I think I'm going to take a few days off from the DMV. A little distance from that place will be a good thing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One down, two to go

Wednesday of last week was our first opportunity to address the "issues" that were preventing us from becoming legal drivers in NY state. I started off by getting our car insurance company to email me a new insurance card. That was easy. Then I called Audi Financial Services and asked them to send me the documents DMV required for registering the car. Also, easy though I haven't received them yet (which means we're still stuck driving Whitey).
My next step was to call the Copake Town Offices and make sure that we weren't going to drive all the way there for no reason. I got a nice woman on the phone and I explained a bit of the situation. "Last name is Edel" I said to her. "Oh yes, Jonathan" she replied. When I asked her what the suspension was actually for she paused. "It appears that it's for a seat belt violation from 1991" she said in a serious tone. 1991!!! I assured her that we'd be down later to clear up Jonathan's criminal driving record post haste.
Off we went, blazing down the road on a steamy hot summer day, in Whitey. Me behind the wheel, of course and Jonathan chatting happily as he changed radio stations every mile, or so. This time we took the back roads to Copake which made the drive far more pleasant. Once there it was an easy $50 fine and voila, Jonathan was granted legal driving privileges in NY again. After 19 years of being a wanted man I asked him if he felt exonerated from his criminal past. He thought it was funny till I dangled the lone silver key for Whitey in front of his nose. "Looks like your driving home, Babe" I said with a smile.
To be continued...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Love NY?

Since Jonathan and I moved to NY state back in May, we've been talking about switching our drivers licenses and registering our car in NY. Lots and lots of talking about it, but very little actual movement toward getting it done. Last week while driving to a very large horse show in Saugerties, NY I was pulled over by a cop, because I was talking on the cell. I'd been talking on the cell the entire way to the horse show, but of course I got pinched just as I pulled into the parking lot of the horse show. I was mortified. Jonathan was pissed. Then came the bad news. Not only was I getting a ticket for talking on the phone while driving, but our CT registration had expired. The cop informed us that he wouldn't impound our car (gee, thanks), but we needed to drive the Audi straight home and get it registered with NY tags a.s.a.p. Once we were released from the cop's stern gaze, I endured several minutes of "I told you not to talk on the phone" speeches from Jonathan. Then I expertly tried to switch the blame to him for the registration being partially his responsibility (we all know I was reaching here. He's incapable of doing such a task). We ended the conversation with an impasse of "Whatever" to each other and moved on. The good news is that we have a second car to drive thanks to my brother-in-law, Geordie, who didn't want to keep his car in NYC so it lives with us. The bad news is that the car is a white, beat up Chevy Malibu that has a curious odor and by curious I mean unpleasant. It also has no air conditioner and it tends to overheat so sometimes you must drive it with the heat on low (a real treat when its 90 degrees outside). We call the car Whitey and though we're grateful to have it, we both hate it. Besides being hot and smelly, it's just plain uncool.
I picked Monday as the day the we'd go to the DMV and get our driving selves legal in NY. We assembled as many documents as we could think of to prove we were who we said, fired up Whitey and we were off to be responsible adults, doing a responsible errand, albeit a few weeks late to be truly deemed responsible.
Nothing went according to plan at the DMV. Not one thing. Jonathan's name came up as suspended in NY state for a year and half old, unpaid speeding ticket that we'd sent in, but never got an amount to pay. I'll get back to that in a minute. I didn't have a social security card so I was turned down for a NY license. I've made it 41 years without a s.s. card, but now I have to drive to Poughkeepsie and get one. Strike two. When we showed the DMV lady our documents to register the Audi, she informed us that we had to have a letter from the lien holder which okayed our choice to register the car in NY, oh and an insurance card that was less than 45 days old. Strike three. I now had more phone calls to make and I had to drive to Poo-town in all of my free time to get a s.s. card. Remember Yosemite Sam? The angry mustachioed little gunslinger from Looney Tunes who spewed expletives in a non sensical stream of gibberish? I turned into him for a minute while we were leaving the DMV and walking across the 100 degree parking lot toward Whitey.
"I can't f'ing believe this!!" I finally shouted, nearly vibrating with frustration.
"Guess what?" Jonathan said to me with a grin. "Legally I can't drive in NY, so you are now my official driver!"
I sank into the stained driver's seat of Whitey and rested my head on the steering wheel. A trickle of sweat weaved its way down my back, I took a deep breath and resigned myself to just focus on one thing at a time. We decided our first mission would be to head to the courthouse in Copake which wasn't where Jonathan got his ticket, but that was where the DMV said we had to go to pay it. To get to Copake it was about a 45 minute drive past dilapidated dairy farms, crumbling silos and muddy pens of depressed black and white cows. Whitey blended in quite nicely in this atmosphere and Jonathan amused himself by playing sports radio channels the entire drive. I ground my teeth, sweated and concentrated on the road. After a stressful, brief moment of getting lost finally we found the Copake town offices. I slid Whitey into a parking slot, we gathered up the necessary paperwork and walked our bedraggled, wilting bodies up to the front door. Jonathan gave the door a yank, only to discover that it was locked. My eyes immediately flickered to the hours posted on the door. Closed at 3 p.m. It was 3:10. We'd driven 45 minutes one way, in Whitey, on a 100 degree day, past farm after farm that reeked of rotting sileage and cow shit to miss the damn closing time by ten minutes. At this point, I couldn't even speak. Jonathan kept giggling, but he knew to avoid solid eye contact with me. In silent fury, I crawled back into the sweat soaked driver's seat and revved the engine. This whole day had been spent spinning in circles. The absurdity of it all began to take effect on me and instead of turning back into Yosemite Sam, I began to laugh. Jonathan soon joined me and we laughed like hysterical maniacs on our way back home to Millbrook. It was a situation that only the two of us could conjure up. We seem to be specialists at turning simple errands into complex, Rubik's cube-esque feats.

Today is a new day. I have a list of chores and errands to accomplish and with any luck by the end of the day, we'll be one step closer to being legal residents of the state of New York.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dental work is no laughing matter

Last week I made the decision that my ever crumbling teeth needed some professional attention. I've had loads of dental work in my lifetime. Way more than any mortal should be subjected to and now some of the older fillings are beginning to break down leaving me with no choice but to head back to the dentist and sign my bank account over to him.

I decided to try a new dentist for this round of drilling, filling, crowning and canaling. His first name is Zhi, which I have no idea how to pronounce, but of course I call him Dr. Chaeng. He is very clean, very professional and I have a feeling he's the best dentist I've ever gone to, yet. I had that epiphany while he was bent over my face on Thurs., patiently excavating a giant amount of decay in my lower back molar. Nothing hurt, not even the double round of novacaine shots that he administered. I was braced for pain, even holding my breath, but it never came. I mean, it wasn't pleasant, but when is cracking your mouth open as wide as possible and having a stranger lean about 6 inches from your face as he grinds down your teeth with teensy power tool, continually repeating, "Just raise your hand if anything hurts" ever a pleasant experience? I had told him I would probably scream in lieu of raising my hand. My joke cracking nature didn't really go over well in this dentist's presence. Apparently,Dr. Chaeng doesn't appreciate humor. He didn't smile when I said that, instead he impassively replied, "No screaming". Like I would really scream?? Okay, check the sarcasm at the door next time, I told myself. And there will be a next time. Big root canal date with Chaengie on Thurs. I will do my best to be a model patient from now on, no quips, no flippant comments. I will just lay there, supine, dutifully staring at the white ceiling while Dr. No-Jokie reconstructs my chewing apparatus and takes all of my savings in the process. I guess if writing the check and not cracking jokes is the most painful part of my dental experience I shouldn't really complain. But I probably will.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More problem solving...wildlife style, this is becoming a theme

I found myself awakening from a deep, coma-esque sleep this morning. As I lay in bed, feebly attempting to gather my thoughts, I wondered what was the time? Must see the clock. With much effort, I hauled myself out my comfy horizontal position, squinted valiantly over the prone puppy at the end of the bed and thru one eye, I saw the clock said 6:30. Could it really be 6:30? Had I slept all the way thru the night without one wake up? Not one pit stop to the loo? My bladder said, Yes, yes you did, but please get up right now! I forced myself into an upright position and fought my way to the bathroom . I say fought because every day the minute I get up there are two dogs and two, or three cats weaving between my footsteps, exhilarated with the prospect of breakfast being served. Fortunately for them, I'm usually too sleepy to be annoyed with the furry game of Twister that they challenge me with each day. This morning I was exceptionally out of it. Maybe it was the heat, the humidity, or the very busy work week we just endured. Whatever the cause, I was seriously having trouble waking up. I obviously had no idea of the challenge that awaited me in the barn.
My morning chores are typically mundane. First I make my coffee. Then I feed cats. And I feed dogs. Then I drink a cup of sweet coffee nectar and the cobwebs slowly clear from my head. Once the caffeine has channeled its way to my brainstem, I stagger out to the barn, listening to the chorus of whinnies from the horses that we are responsible for feeding each and every day. Horses so enjoy a schedule. They want to be fed at the same time every day. They are demanding creatures, but I love them so I'm a slave to their needs. Besides if I don't feed them on time, they bang on their stalls with their powerful hooves, whinny insistently and it makes sleep impossible, unless you are Jonathan (that's a whole different story).

I entered the barn this a.m. and went directly to the feed room, anxious to get the horses grain doled out as fast as possible. Fed the main aisle. Check. Fed the three horses in the small aisle. Check. Heard random fluttering. What the hell? I looked up at the three windows in the small aisle and through the achingly, bright sunlight I made out the figure of what appeared to be a small black bird, mindlessly trying to escape through the windowpanes of the far right window. My fragile retinas recoiled at the direct intake of sunlight and I paused for a moment. Sighing and squinting, I looked up again. Yep, it was bird, a really dumb bird who didn't realize that he was about three feet from the barn door a.k.a. freedom. "I don't need this this morning!", was the thought that kept running through my head on a loop. "I'm tired!!" I decided to give the nine horses their hay and then I would regroup and check on bird-brain. Once the hay was delivered to each equine, I grabbed a broom and tried to gently nudge the bird, hoping to disturb him just enough so he would take flight and realize that the barn doors were OPEN and he could leave if he just ducked down a few feet from the window. The bird chose to fight back at the broom, squawking frantically and stubbornly trying to escape via the windowpanes. I quickly stopped, not wanting to cause this dingbat bird more duress. He/she perched on the sill and I noticed that it was panting with his exertion. Now I felt badly. But I was determined to get him to recognize his/her stupidity and free it from the windowpanes of Hell. But first, the horses needed their water buckets emptied and filled with fresh water(read:my least favorite chore of all time). I trudged through the dreaded chore of emptying the water buckets, trying not to curse at the stupid bird every time I went through the doorway to dump the leftover water. As I uncoiled the hosepipe and headed toward the small aisle I had an epiphany and this doesn't happen too often. With purpose, I strode outside the barn doors, hosepipe in hand. I took a deep breath, looked up at the windows and said, "Sorry dear birdie, but this was my only choice!". I released the valve and let the water fly full stream against the outside of the windowpane where the tiny, black captive sat. He fluttered, stuttered and generally freaked out. Then he moved to the window adjacent to where he was originally struggling. I moved the stream of water with him. Now mind you, the water was on the outside of the windows. This bird was NOT being sprayed directly, but he/she freaked out again and flew to the third and final window. I followed his movement diligently. "Be free, you idiot!!", I yelled. In a magical, blissful moment, the bird ducked down and flew out of the barn doors. "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, you're free at last!!", I said looking around quickly to make sure no one heard me and I robotically resumed my task of watering the horses. I'm sure MLK had no intention of having his world reknown speech used to congratulate dipshit birds from exiting their supposed "cages", but at JEM Stables it seems that you just never know what's going to happen. I finished watering, coiled my hosepipe and headed back to the house for more much needed coffee. Just another day in the life of a simple woman, who looks after horses, cats, dogs and an occasional retarded bird.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Behold the awesome power of Mother Nature. She was in a nasty mood last Fri. night and she wreaked her wrath on our tiny, dirt road in Millbrook, NY. It all began while Jonathan and I were contemplating what we should do for dinner. Before we could say pork chops, the winds began swirling and the sky turned jet black. I did what I do best. Get on the phone. My friend Jen and I were in mid convo when the wind took a turn for the worst. Just as I was saying, "Holy Shit!", the phone cut out. The trees outside my office window went sideways (read:not a good sign). Next thing I knew, the rain began pouring into my house. Yikes!!! I ran around closing windows and did a quick kitty head count. I found three of them right away and the fourth was under our bed (smart kitty). Just as quickly as the storm began, it was over. It didn't feel that serious, until we went outside and looked across the street. The photos bear witness to what we saw at that moment. Utter devastation. So,I tried to make my pics more artistic than actual representatives to what actually happened. But it was wild! Broken trunks, strewn limbs, no power. Mother Nature had said very clearly, "Screw you guys, it's hot and I'm mad!" There was no cute Heat Miser to dance about and sing songs, it was more or less a brutal display of what a 30 second mini twister can do to some old, pretty trees. Bing, bang, BOOM. Done. Thank goodness our property was left unscathed. Very soon after the storm we heard the high whine of chain saws. Being curious people, we poured ourselves another cocktail and headed down the road, highballs in hand. Lo and behold, the men who live on our quaint dirt road had loaded their powerful chain saws into their pick ups and come to the aid of their fellow residents. With saws blazing, the two giant trees that had fallen across the road and cut off our power were quickly reduced to kindling. I was smiling with the realization that this is what it's like to live in the country. This was how I grew up and I was familar with how the menfolk take charge of a catastrophic situation. However, before they could finish, the town crew showed up and put the kibosh to their cutting. The country folk were chagrined, but that's the way it goes out here. No fisticuffs were seen, it was all quiet, a brief conversation and the country men dispersed, their chainsaws still warm and itching to finish the job. The town crew took over and that was that. Jonathan and I returned to our house, still quiet and dark. I lit many candles. We read by candlelight until we could read no more and we went to bed listening to the quiet sounds of a summer night. By the next day, most of the fallen trees next door were gone. The trees on the lower part of the street were picked up today by the town workers. And that is how we deal with Mother Nature's wrath out here. Meanwhile, another storm is now brewing. The sky is getting black, the wind has turned colder and I sense trouble. Better get off the computer before it gets worse. I'm taking advantage of the eerie calm and shuttin 'er down. Until later, my friends...

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Yesterday morning at 8 a.m. I was pleasantly surprised to see my Mom's number pop up on my caller ID. I cheerfully picked up and headed out to the front porch with my coffee cup in hand. Mom and I can talk for a long time, so I settled in to the comfy wicker couch and put my feet up on the table. The birds were chirping, the temperature was pleasant and my coffee was sublime. We chatted amiably for about 20 minutes, then the dogs showed up and they were panting, heavily. Not a good sign. "Hold on, Mom," I said. "The dogs just came back from a jaunt and I want to see what's up". I called Remy over and lo and behold he had fresh blood on his white ruff. My heart sank. Upon closer inspection there was a patch of blood on the under side of his jaw, too. "Uh Mom, I think I have to go. It appears that there has been fresh blood shed in my midst and I need to investigate," I said with a sigh. She chuckled and replied, "Probably another woodchuck! Talk to you soon, dear".

I hung up, abandoning the idea of a quiet morning and chastised the dogs. They both looked repentant, but offered no signals as to where the freshly dead beast was hidden. It has been a few weeks since Remy's newly found passion for woodchuck annihalation has reared it's macabre head. I'd hoped he was through with his new game, but the blood didn't lie. There was a body out there and I needed to find it. Like a member of NCIS, I went out on my mission. Traipsing through the various fields and underbrush and looking for clues, turned up nothing. No body was to be seen. The dogs stayed at the house watching me cautiously from the porch. Australian Shepherds are not dumb. They knew that their mother was p.o.'d. I returned to the house after about 45 minutes and growled, "Bad Dogs!" in their direction. Remy gave me a baleful look and Becks bounded in beside me, seemingly oblivious to my dark mood. He's still an idiot puppy after all. The day turned hot and steamy and between rides and turnouts, I kept thinking about the woodchuck body and where it had been stashed. I vowed that I would find it. Somehow, somewhere it was out there. And I would find it.

Today dawned dark and ominous. Rain was on the horizon and though we were heading to a horse show I couldn't deny the fact that we really needed it. True to Murphy's Law, the rain began as we embarked to the show venue, but the show was held in an indoor ring so we did our classes, successfully I might add, and headed back to the farm by 10 a.m. By that hour the rain had been reduced to a mist and glory be, the dust was gone and the fields looked refreshed. Jonathan and I busied ourselves in the stable and got our work done in a flash. As I was cleaning the last stall, I saw Becks emerging from the hedgerow behind our house. There is a field across the road, easily accessed from our backyard hedgerow and I know the dogs go out there frequently. I'll bet the dead woodchuck is in the field across the street, I surmised. Grabbing an empty grain bag and a pitchfork, I leapt into the Audi and took a quick trip to the field to investigate. My search proved fruitless. All I managed to do was get my sneakers sopping wet and look like a psycho, toting an empty grain bag and pitchfork. When I returned to the barn, Jonathan called out, "Didja find it?" "NO!" I growled. But I vowed this search was not over.
Several hours later, Jonathan asked me if I'd looked for the body in the dense underbrush of the hedgerow behind our house. There's a reason I married this man. He's crafty like that. I walked up to the hedgerow and began to carefully pick through the underbrush. I felt like Rambo. Or maybe more like Bill Murray's character from Caddyshack, because I was muttering swears like a sailor. I would pause and sniff. Pause and sniff. Brush back more trees and sniff. The dead body was close. I could feel it, and smell it. The tropical temperatures didn't hide the fact that a rotting body was near. AHA! Finally, I spotted the dead woodchuck. It was HUGE! The granddad of woodchucks lay in the dense underbrush, with flies swirling around it. VICTORY is mine! I trotted back to the barn and whispered to Jonathan, "I found it!". But we had to do evening barn chores so the pick up was to be delayed. Still, I felt confidant that I could pick up the carcass, dispose and be done with the whole stinking deal. I so love it when a good plan comes together. I was congratulating my super sleuth skills, thanking all of those NCIS shows that we've watched over the years. The last horse was fed and I grabbed my fork and grain bag, hell bent on taking that dead woodchuck to another locale before the dogs could dismember it, or worse roll in it's fetid stench.
Alas, I was about ten minutes too late. When I headed into the jungle of vines and trees I sensed movement. Squinting my eyes, through the vines I saw Becks head back to the lawn in a panicky run. The smell of dead animal was suddenly overwhelming. I resisted the urge to gag and channeling Rambo, I pressed on. Then I saw the body. It had been turned around, guts were streaming out and the smell was positively putrid. With a firm resolve, I picked up the dead animal and heaved it into the feed bag. A random gray tubular organ lay on the ground, so I swiftly skipped it onto the fork and gingerly put it in the bag, too. I grabbed my shirt and took in a deep whiff of my waning perfume to keep my wits about me. Stifling a war whoop, I darted out to the lawn and called for Jonathan. No reply. I called again. Nothing. Following my now sharp warrior instincts, I went to the stable and there was Jonathan in the wash stall with Becks. "Guess who rolled in the dead animal?" he said with a laugh. That was it. I lost it entirely. I gagged, dry heaved and bent over my knees. No woman should be forced to deal with this situation. It's competely disgusting, barbaric and totally unfeminine. Yet, here I was with a dismembered woodchuck in a grain bag. Since Jonathan was washing the foul scent off our the puppy, I decided that I would have to do the relocation portion of the dead pest. It wasn't easy, but I followed through and heaved that dead giant into a dense, remote section of our rustic dirt road. Followed by it's weird gray, tubular organ. UGGHH. With the windows down, I returned to the house, gulping in great mouthfuls of fresh air. The martini's are now helping me erase the horrid memory that was the rotting woodchuck. I'm proud that I didn't pale in the face of rotting flesh, innards and flies, but really, how much more can I be expected to take? I ask you? Thank goodness for vodka is my only reply. Svedka, you are my only friend in the war against dead woodchuck removal. Everyone needs an ally in war.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Office Skillz

I'm one of those people who keeps many pads of paper handy on my desk so I can jot down things I need to do, people I should call, pertinent information that I need to remember-especially if I'm on the phone. I'm not sure why I don't limit myself to one pad, because sometimes I know I have the answer to a certain question written down, but I'll have to go through five pads and multiple swearing sessions before I can find it. Jonathan loves to give me his two cents on my organizational (or lack of) skills. He's constantly telling me my system makes no sense, clutter, crazy, etc., etc. My standard response is to say, "Well then you do it if you're so perfect!" We both know that is never, ever happening. Ever. But I still like to say it. It relieves some of my martyr inspired tension. He loves to give out his uninhibited advice, but the truth is that Jonathan has a forever free pass from all bookkeeping, bill paying, business, or household related phonecalls. It's a fact that he hit the secretary jackpot when he married me. He's been known to critique his two brothers for their slovenly bill paying habits. Granted, they are a mess when it comes to organizing that part of their household responsibilities, but frankly Jonathan would be guilty of the same neglect, but for one reason...he married me. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that I'm perfect at this job, but I take responsibility seriously, and who wants debt collectors calling? They are so pushy, constantly calling, we want our money, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I feel bitter that all of these horribly boring chores fall into my lap. It's usually when I'm on hold, listening to some god awful muzak for five minutes at a time, or repeating certain information through tightly clenched teeth, like account numbers, address, phone numbers over and over again to some jackass who says his name is Bill, but you know he's deep in Mumbai and there is no way his parents named him Bill. I do have a few techniques that I use to keep myself calm while handling these unpleasant situations. I like to surf random blogs while I'm dealing with these mind numbing phone calls. I found a few that are quite good. HolyJuan.com being one of them. He writes some funny stuff, very off beat, pithy and quirky. Just the ticket to keep me from getting my blood pressure to a dangerous level. I particularly enjoy it when I'm on my landline dealing with business nonsense and my friends are texting me on my cell. I've learned that I can type, talk and text, sometimes I'll get all crazy and IM, too. Basically, I thrive on distraction. I can get a lot done, while doing four other things, sort of half ass on the side. Does that make me ADD? Wait a minute, I just stopped writing for five minutes to watch a bird catching bugs on the lawn. Question answered. Time to pay some bills now, while eating a bowl of cereal, talking to Jonathan and emailing clients. I'm like the Larry the Cable Guy of running our house and business. I like to get 'er done, just all at once. And then I spin around in circles and double check that I've actually done what I set out to do. Hang on, I've got to go make a phone call...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Post Midnight snacks

We just had a wonderful five day visit with my in-laws from S.C. and our adorable 4 yr. old niece, Sadie, who hails from L.A. Great time, busy house, non-stop action! I love my in-laws. They are always a good time and I so enjoy spending time with them. My poor mother-in-law, Jackie is currently laid up with a separated shoulder (horse riding injury) and she managed to get a very debilitating 24 hr. respiratory ick while she was here. Not fun to see her miserably coughing, hacking and sneezing, but she rallied, trooper that she is and managed to host a fabulous dinner party for 15 people last night. It was an enjoyable summer evening, with good food, great friends and lots of laughs. I retired to my boudoir at about 10:30 last night and drifted off into a dreamless sleep...until 4:00 a.m.

My eyes popped open as if I had just heard cannon fire, except there wasn't any noise at all. I checked the clock and my heart sank. NOT 4 a.m. again!!! This hour has been my nemesis for the last few nights. Ever have one of those sleep cycles that awaken you at an ungodly hour and torture you for two, or three hours with relentless, restless thoughts and multiple songs, running on a loop through your sleep deprived brain stem? Anyone who hasn't experienced this particular Hell is damn lucky. I feel as though I brought this random insomnia upon myself, because last week I found myself bragging (yes, bragging) to a friend about how I can control my thoughts when these unwelcome awakenings disturb our precious sleep patterns. I'm clearly a total ass. I said this to myself several times in the wee hours of what turned out to be a gorgeous, sultry day. After several minutes, I decided to get up and see if Big Zekie had decided to come home and was waiting for me on the front porch. Wrapped in a silk robe, I tiptoed by my slumbering, sweet niece, who lay prone in a cherubic pose on the living room sofa. I went onto the porch and hissed, "Zekie? Zekie, are you there?" Within seconds he appeared in the driveway and made his way up to the house. He had left before the guests had arrived last night and missed his dinner, so I made him a small meal and then went into the bathroom for a quick pit stop. I'm not sure of how long I was out of bed, but my best guess is no more than 20 minutes. As I slid back into bed I thought I might have detected a feeling of moisture on my upper leg. Must be my imagination, I said to myself. Jonathan was sleeping soundly and I nestled back into the bed, anxious to return to sleep for a couple more hours. A few minutes later Miss Girl came into the bedroom and shockingly joined me on the bed. I say shockingly because she used to always sleep with me, but for the last two years she has abstained from our bed for no apparent reason. It pained me at first, but I got used to it. She's an old lady, after all and has a right to change her sleeping spots at her discretion. Feeling like I should give her a warm welcome, I forgot about my iminent plans for slumber and patted her head and cheeks. She settled into a good position and once again I began to concentrate on going to sleep. I was so comfortable, the house was quiet, Jonathan wasn't snoring, so why couldn't I go back to sleep? I decided to do a brief rearrangement of position and that's when I felt the moisture again. WHAT THE HELL!! My body twitched and spasmed in place, Miss Girl headed for the hills (which briefly made me sad and guilty) and I screamed, "What the F#@k!!!! Panting slightly, I turned on the light and saw a small "thingie" in the bed. Was it a snail? The cats sometimes get them stuck to their fur and bring the poor hapless snails into the house. Good explanation, but it wasn't the culprit Ewwww. I rolled the small, fleshy piece of whatever across the sheet and then I realized what it was. It was the leftover guts from a very recent rodent feast. Ohh, last straw. Damn cats. I shuddered and put the nasty bit into my bedside ashtray (I know, this is just as gross as mouse guts, but I do smoke in bed sometimes). Unbelievable. A cat, either Marbles (most likely), or Mia had brought a "snack" to bed, eaten the majority during my brief foray into the living room/bathroom and left me a small tidbit in case I was jonesing for mouse offal... in my freakin' bed. Some people might never fall asleep in their beds again after finding mouse guts under their sheets. Fortunately, I've been broken down by the repeated appearance of dead carcasses in my home. Am I becoming immune to their disgusting habits? Apparently so, because I drifted back to sleep around 5:30 a.m.ish and when I awoke at 6:30 I had to check my ashtray to see if the mouse gut incident was a dream. Nope. 'Twas reality. I left Jonathan sleeping soundly as I got up to make coffee and feed the cats, dogs and horses. Once Jonathan awoke and I shared the details of early a.m. gut findings he asked me to never tell him such a story again. Ever. I admit, it's truly disgusting. The fresh sheets are warm in the dryer as I type and I'm about to make the bed. My only hope for this evening is that I can sleep seamlessly until at least six a.m. this next morning. And, please God, no more unpleasant surprises in my bed! Please. And maybe Miss Girl will give sleeping next to me another chance, but I can't be greedy at this point. I'll take a solid eight hours of sleep and worry about coaxing Miss Girl back another time. Have I mentioned that I really love my life? Really.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

LeMans track, or Dirt Road?

I was kind of excited about moving to a place that was on a dirt road. An actual dirt road...still in existence in the year 2010 (said like twenty-ten for more futuristic impact). It seems like the present time just skipped by this particular road and left it rutted with wagon wheel imprints. Okay, so the last statement is an exaggeration, but it strikes me as the epitome of rural living to be livin' on a dirt road. I could picture John Denver strolling along it on a sunny summer day, strumming his guitar, humming "Country Boy". I thought of a dirt road as a piece of history that stood for a slower time, when folks weren't in a rush. I was dead wrong.

Now that I've lived here for a month the dirt road has lost a lot of its rustic charm. Part of the problem is the local traffic. There aren't a lot of houses on this road, but enough so there's plenty of folks driving by. The road has a slight uphill as it passes our house, then there is a dramatic nearly 90 degree turn that wraps it right around the back of the property. I felt pretty secure that our pets would be safe living here even if they did cross the street, because to me the turn looks fatal if you were to drive faster than 20 mph through it. Apparently, all the residents on this street took a course with the Skip Barber race car driving school, because most of the traffic goes by on two wheels, churning gravel and sending great billows of dust cascading into the atmosphere. It's crazy. The first couple of weeks that we lived here I was livid with the speeders. I wanted to go out in the night and dig great big pot holes, shield them with a piece of brown cloth and then watch the axles break one by one. I threatened to call the police, until I saw a police car drive by the farm at mach one, taking the corner in his cruiser like he was chasing a kingpin of a drug mob on a video game. The other day I was at my mailbox by the edge of the road when I heard a car coming. As it approached, I expected to hear it slow a bit for the corner. As it came around the bend, I saw that it was one of those ridiculous Porsche SUV's and it was going at least 40 mph (read:way too freakin' fast). I stared at the driver with my best look of resentment and bitterness and he never once even glanced towards me. Instead, he accelerated as he went by me and I was left sputtering and coughing in a maelstrom of dust particles. "Cidiots!", I cried shaking my fist at the rear end of the car. Cidiot is a word that us country folk use to call the New Yorker's who come up on weekends to enjoy the pastoral amenities that country life has to offer. What a lot of them fail to recognize is that by driving their jackass sports car version of a pick up truck at reckless speeds on our quiet country road tends to ruin the the peaceful surroundings for everyone else.

I've been thinking of posting signs on the roadside to capture the attention of the drivers. Like, "Slow Down for Free Porn". That might work for a little while, right? Especially for the male drivers. They'll be locking up their brakes. I've got to come up with something. These maniac drivers must be stopped! Besides the dust that is swirled up from their blazing tires finds its way into my windows and settles over everything in my house. If it doesn't rain for a few days my furniture begins to resemble items one would see in a haunted house. I've gone through an entire can of Pledge since we moved here. And I hate dusting the furniture!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This past weekend uncovered a very unsavory side to Remy-doggie. He has become a serial woodchuck hunter. I found the first dead woodchuck on Sat. behind a large segment of decorative grass in our flower bed in front of the barn. I had no firsthand knowledge that Remy was the actual killer, so I was hoping that another animal had brought it there. On Sunday morning, I witnessed Remy emerging from the hedgerow in our small paddock with a large brown animal in his jaws. I yelled, "Drop it!!" And he did. I trudged out to the paddock with trepidation and lo and behold, there was a large, freshly dead woodchuck. OMG, my dog is a murderer! It was a sad revelation. My gentle, sensitive, Southern voiced Remy had turned into a cold blooded killer. I'm used to this role with the cats. They have savaged birds, chipmunks, mice, bunnies and a myriad of other small woodland creatures. For some reason, it seems okay that cats kill furry/feathered animals. But Remy? It just wasn't cool. I was not happy. Anyone I told about Remy's sudden penchant for woodchuck killing said, "Great!" Woodchucks are not welcome animals on a horse farm. They dig holes that can potentially break the leg of a galloping horse. "Good for Remy!", they said. "I guess so", I replied weakly. It just didn't seem right. I don't want a dog that relishes killing other animals. After all, Big Zekie sort of resembles a woodchuck and he hisses at Remy on a regular basis. Would Remy give Big Z the fatal death shake? I shudder at the thought.

Later in the day on Sunday, I heard a fracas of barking from Remy, Becks and Ducque (the dingbat black Lab 9 month old pup that lives on the same property). I hollered for them to knock it off and then all was quiet. Within 20 minutes, Ducques owners' came to the barn with Ducque on a leash. "Excuse me", they inquired meekly. I walked up to them with a smile and as Ducque turned his hulking body my smile turned to a frown. There a piece of blood red ripped flesh on Ducque's black flank. "Remy did this", the youngest boy proudly told me. Good Lord, the dog had turned bloodthirsty in a matter of 48 hours! I surmised that Remy was protecting his little brother, Becks when Ducque sat on him and prompted him to squeal in terror, begging to be released. It was a simple case of stronger pup sits on smaller pup and then the big brother intervenes and blood is shed. Great. Ducque is the quintessential dumbass black lab. He's also a well muscled brute. He and Becks are BFF's, but occasionally Ducque uses his bulk to render Becks helpless. Now Becks is not a strong dog, he screams for mercy, but usually Remy is not involved in their young dog games. This time was different. Twelve stitches in Ducques flank different. Oh jeez, I thought to myself. Is Remy going to have to wear a muzzle to quell his taste for blood? Has he become a vampiric Aussie? My mind was swirling. Ducque's owners were very cool about the whole matter. We told them to take him to the vet and we would pay the bill. They generously declined any remuneration, but we offered them Remy's cone head if Ducque were to need it after his stitch job. This would save them a paltry $25 but we wanted to offer any assistance since our dog had taken a chunk out of their precious (if not, idiotic) pet.

So, Ducque is now a cone head. Remy is on parole. I've threatened his life if he kills again and he seems to have taken it seriously. No carnage today and he's been on his best behavior. Meanwhile, the cats caught a mouse last night (while I was on the phone with my Mom, prompting me to screech, "Goddammit" into the phone, which my Mom chose not to hear, but I still felt guilty. She very religious, you know). The mouse was attempting to flee the two idiot cats and once Remy emerged from the bathroom the poor mouse had mysteriously passed into the afterlife. It was late, I couldn't take any more death. Maybe the mouse fainted and had a heart attack, I told myself as I hucked the carcass into the bushes.
Does owning pets really need to entail this kind of stress? I've decided to just take a deep breath and hope it was just a random weekend killing spree. Seriously, I can't take anymore death, blood, etc. Eat your Iams, eat your Fancy Feast and sleep on the various soft beds we have to offer. This is not survival of the fittest here. Obviously, I wouldn't have done well as a cave woman. Cats, Dogs, behave yourselves! Jonathan and I will grocery shop and get you all the goodies you need! Lie around, act lazy and no more blood. Please?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Providers

Last week was insanely busy for Jonathan and I. So busy, in fact, that we never seemed to have time to go to the grocery store. There was just a lot going on and the end of each day we found ourselves looking at each other saying, "what do you want to do about dinner?" After a mutual agreement of "I don't know", I would mentally resign myself to the fact that dinner might entail a scavenger hunt of whatever was in our pantry. Toast, tuna fish, cheese and crackers, beans, whatever. I was too tired to be picky. At 5:30, or 6:00 most days all I want to do is sit down, sip a martini, light up a smoke and zone out my brain. The whole dinner conundrum was just too much. Meanwhile, Jonathan's energy works in the exact opposite way that mine does. He's pretty mellow all day and as night falls, he begins to ramp up. Thus, he would begin his barrage of questions.
"What do you want for dinner?"
"Seriously Michele, we don't have any food. What should we do about it?"
"Do you want to go to the store?"
"Pizza, Chinese, bbq?"
"Michele, Michele? Stop ignoring me! What do you want to do about food??!!"

We went through the same routine four nights in a row. Each of these nights at around 8:30 Jonathan would be able to take it no longer. Cupboards were flung open, ingredients recited, jars were opened, the frying pan sizzled. And, voila! A healthy, delicious dinner was created through the ingenuity of master chef, Jonathan. My Ghandi-esque resistance to making a decision about what to eat served me well. We both went to bed sated and promising to go to the grocery store the next day.

During this whole grocery store boycott, Marbles decided that we apparently needed help with garnering our meals. One morning she brought me a buck toothed field mouse and left him by my bed. Sighing, I got a paper towel and hucked the small carcass into the bushes along the edge of the road. Damn cats, I muttered. The next morning I cautiously peered at the area beside my bed before getting up. No carcass. Phew. I was making coffee when Jonathan called to me. "Michele, you need to come here and bring some paper towels!" I crept into the bedroom to see Jonathan pointing at the floor beside his bedside. There was Marbles looking intensely smug, sitting next to a rather large dead rabbit. "How come she brings you a big bunny and I get a paltry fieldmouse with a bad overbite?" I asked Jonathan.
"You know she likes me best," he replied. "Now get this thing out of here. I actually stepped on it when I got up!"
I felt badly as I got rid of the bunny carcass. It was all too much, this carnage. I love Marbles, but she's a blood thirsty serial killer. There is a reason that she has a black heart clearly displayed in her calico hairdo.
This morning there was no dead animal in our bedroom. Thank God. However, while I was doing the barn chores, there was a great ruckus outside the front of the barn. Both dogs were peering into the enormous tuft of decorative grass in the small garden there. "What the hell!" I barked at them. They looked sheepish as I poked around in the grass, but I didn't see anything so I went back to work. About a half hour later I heard Remy growling, very loudly. I marched out front and there was Becks behind the huge tuft of grass with Remy standing in front of him. I screamed at both of them to move and got my pitchfork. Gingerly, I moved the sides of the grass to and fro with the tines of my fork. Mustering my courage I shifted the back part of the tuft and there on the ground was a gigantic dead woodchuck. I won't write down what I then said to my dogs and I only hope the family that lives in the house next to us was still asleep and didn't get to hear my curse filled tirade (on a Sunday morning, no less-they can pray for me in church at least if they did). I've never known Remy to kill anything. He's always been such a gentle soul. Was he sick of listening to Jonathan and I argue about dinner? Had he taken matters into his own paws? Well, even if he had being dogs, both he and Becks lost control and had begun eating the damned thing themselves. DISGUSTING. Sputtering and spitting out expletives, I picked the dead wood chuck up with my fork and deposited him/her into the manure dumpster.

That's it. I can't take it anymore. I've been having visions of Remy coming home with a six point buck. I'm going to the freaking grocery store. Now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Musical Musings

Since we've moved to the new farm I have been a busy bee. A happy, busy bee. I've got lots of time to myself to ponder, gaze at the beautiful vistas, ride, clean the barn and sing. Lots of singing. Singing makes me happy. It doesn't really matter what I'm singing, The Beatles, show tunes, Dylan, Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, they all work. I recently watched a youtube video of Will Ferrell and Dave Grohl singing a spoofy Don Henley/Stevie Nicks collaboration of "Leather and Lace". It was by chance that I found this short clip, but it has made me laugh over and over again. I've made Jonathan and various guests to our home watch it (sorry fellow visitors!). Each time, I laugh and sing along. Ridiculous, I know, but I make no bones about the fact that I'm simple. Easy to amuse, as it were. So for days I've been singing these lyrics and cracking myself up. In the meantime, I've become a big fan of Dave Grohl. He was the drummer for Nirvana and once that band broke up when Kurt Cobain passed away he started the Foo Fighters, a band where he sings and plays guitar. This guy is awesome and talented. And he knows how to laugh at himself. He's a hero in my book.

Another bonus to our new house is the shower. It's a stand up deal, tiled, and quite spacious. The acoustics in this shower are amazing! My voice sounds astounding in this white tiled space. At least to my ears and also, to my calico cat, Marbles. Yes, I have a groupie. She sits on the bath mat outside the shower while I'm singing and she meows, trills and writhes about on the mat. Sometimes she even stands up on the door and begs for more. I'm a freakin' rock star to this cat's ears. It's fabulous. Jonathan has told me that my voice doesn't sound nearly as amazing to his ears in the "shower dome" as it does to mine, or Marbles, but that is irrelevant in my book. I'm a shower singing Goddess on 4 Shinto Farm Lane. Let's all sing for the joy of singing. Let it out, bad voices, flat tones, it doesn't matter. If it makes you happy, sing it out! And sorry for all that hear it and flinch. Get in touch with your inner opera, rock, show tunes, ect. Be bold, be brave and most of all, enjoy!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Burglars Beware!!

This morning Jonathan and I had to get our chores done early so we could drive to Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY to coach our junior rider on two of her horses at the big "A" rated horse show. We debated about bringing our dogs, but in the end we decided that we should leave them home, because it was going to quite hot, so into a spare stall they went with a pail of water and promises of a swift return.
The classes ran smoothly and Sarah rode really well. We all celebrated by taking an extra hour to sit in the shade and watch some of the Friday Grand Prix before we headed back to Millbrook. When we got home I let out our two pooches, who were THRILLED to see us! It's true that dogs don't hold grudges. I decided to get right to work and began turning a few horses out. As I released Cleo into a paddock, I saw the wife of the barn manager, who lives on the same property. She was walking up from the back field and she asked me if I'd seen the family's young black Lab, Ducque. Apparently, he'd been missing for some time and he never doesn't come when he's called. I assured her that I hadn't seen him, but I'd help look and I told her that our dogs had been locked in the barn so he hadn't been off on a walkabout with them. In between doing the turn outs, I saw she and her husband, Jorge driving around in the farm golf cart, calling the missing dog. How strange, I thought to myself. Where could that dog have gone to?

After getting the horses situated, I walked to the house to grab a bite to eat and change into riding clothes. Heading to the fridge to grab a bite of potato salad, I saw Big Zekie, our large male tiger cat emerge from the bedroom. He wandered over to me and meowed a hello, to which I responded by giving him some pats. He seemed a little more animated than usual, but I didn't give it much thought. Mia was on her pillow on my desk, Miss Girl was on the sofa and I put away the potato salad and went to see if Marbles was on our bed. There she was, curled up in a ridiculously comfortable position on Jonathan's pillows. All was well, kitties were safe. As I stood up from patting Marble, I saw a tail wagging from the corner of our bedroom. Our dogs are Aussies. They don't have tails. It was Ducque!! I leave the front door propped open so the cats/dogs can come and go as they please. My guess was that he'd come inside to see if his friends were in the house and wanted to come out to play. Ducque is a VERY shy dog. Sometimes, he won't come to me, very much a tail between the legs, submissive kind of guy. I escorted him outside and took him over to his parents house to explain where he'd been hiding out. As I walked across the lawn, I heard loud meowing behind me. It was Zeke following me. Now this was strange, I thought. Zeke is never this demonstrative with his affection. He trotted right to me and rubbed on my legs. Then it dawned on me. Zeke had probably been holding Ducque hostage in our bedroom. He's been known to be a bit of a brute and he'd obviously taken advantage of Ducque's shy spirit and kept him at bay in our bedroom...for hours. He saw an intruder and took it into his own paws to keep him here until we got home. We've all heard of cat burglars, and this was a dog burglar! Zeke was on duty and Ducque was not going to get away with this illegal intrusion if he had anything to do with the situation. I literally had to pick up Zeke to prevent him from barging into our neighbors house to enforce his police skills.
We all had a big laugh over the situation and Zeke came down to the barn after the dog was safely delivered home to rub, preen and receive congratulations for his exemplary skills at "protecting" our home. Who needs a Pit Bull? We have Big Zekie, an overweight, teenage grey tiger cat with a set of mad skillz. I'll be giggling over this one for some time. And Zeke got an extra teaspooon of Fancy Feast tonight for his efforts. Ahh, animals, gotta love them. They do make us laugh. And I don't think Ducque will ever darken our doorway again!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's be frank, Horsemanship

Over the years, there have been many trends in the horse world. Too many to list, if the truth is to be told. One topic really gets my blood boiling and it's...natural horsemanship. I don't wish to offend followers of Buck Branaman (sp?), or Monty Roberts. I know these dudes have some special wisdom to impart to us bozo "equestrians", but the bottom line is that this stuff is elemental, people! Anyone who deals with horses on a daily basis knows that horses are animals. Some horses are smarter than others, but the training of horses, no matter the discipline, is not rocket science. We're not splitting atoms while turning them out, or teaching them to bend, or go forward, or jump, or do lead changes. C'mon! Another "guru" was recently brought to my attention and he shall go unnamed. This guy is an Australian fellow and he has called his training techniques the "Downunder Difference". My Lord. We would all be better horseman if we had an Australian accent! How simple! Why didn't all of us dumbass US horse trainers see this? Well, no matter. This fellow has spelled it all out, with a g'day thrown in for good measure. Really?
Once I read about this guy ( and I do think he's a good horseman, who teaches practical horsemanship), I had to draw the line. It comes down to basics. Horses learn from repetition. Emotions should be thrown out the window while riding. Don't get mad, don't be too passive, just be CONSISTENT. Teach them to stop on a straight line. Bend in corners, listen to leg aids and go forward and come back when asked. It's that easy! A long time ago, we had John Lyons clinic held at a farm that we had newly leased. John was a great guy on the surface. He had a giant following in the early nineties and we were prepared to watch and learn what this guy had to show us. I wish I could say he was a genius, but in my opinion he was rough and borderline abusive to the stock he used as examples in his show. In the off time of the clinic, he used his round pen to exhaust his horses. They were so tired by the time he stopped that they would have gladly layed down for him, or me, or you. These horses were beaten down. Not trained. It was horrible to watch. When the crowds gathered for his "clinic", he preached a different theory. The prep was something that only we had the privilege to witness. During the "clinic", he had the riders bend the horses at a STANDSTILL. That was it. End of the clinic. This information cost the participants hundreds of dollars. If you can't get a horse to yield to one rein, for a small period of time while standing still then get down. Stop riding. I hope this isn't sounding too harsh, but it became all about the gimmick. Of course, there are difficult horses that we've all encountered. Runaways, buckers, rearers, spooks, etc. Certain members of the "natural horsemanship" groups may be better at dealing with these issues than others. But it all comes down to breaking down the problems and dealing with them systematically. Good trainers are not plentiful, but the natural horsemanship sect has obnoxiously aspired to corner the market. Bad horses are created. Bad training, or inconsistent training creates "bad horses". Start them in a smart, practical manner. Establish the rules. There is a reason why Ceasar Milan has such a following in the dog world. It's the same thing and it irks me just as much! Animals are not people. Treat them well, but treat them accordingly to their species. You'll be shocked at the results. I swear! I'm a secret horse whisperer. Shhhh...don't tell anyone. I don't have an accent, or a gimmick. My husband is even better than I am. Just listen...quiet!!! Be smart, sympathetic and read the reactions. You'll be shocked by the results. Good training is no accident, it's just practical, consistent reactions. Amazing, I know, but give it a try. It works!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Musical Mucking

As of May 1st, on top of being full time trainers and riders, Jonathan and I have become caretakers to eight horses. I had been looking forward to every aspect of running a barn, except for having to muck the stalls. That job has always been hard on our backs, time consuming and just a drag in general. I'm happy to report that the stalls have been fairly easy to keep up, but it's a direct result of the music choices in my Ipod.
We don't have a music system in the barn, yet. So the only choice for tunes have been individual, via the Ipod. Jonathan likes his own tune choices, ie. The Who, Dylan, etc. Old time rock. I've been reaching out to find what makes me muck the fastest and happiest. After several days of experiments, I have a few thoughts on this matter.

I tried using hard rock at first thinking this would make me muck fast and furious. Serious shit pitching and hard tunes would go hand in hand. Nirvana was my first choice. I love Kurt Cobain. He was amazing. On day three, I had the ear buds firmly planted and I was jamming away, clad in my p.j.'s and pink striped rubber boots, flinging shit with the best of them. As I sang the angry lyrics, I was one with the grunge movement, until I looked up and saw that I had visitors...in my barn. Oops. "Hi Guys!", I said sheepishly, yanking the ear buds from my ears. Wow, was my first thought, I look and sound like a complete ass. The visitors turned out to be two guys who work for our landlord and they were here to see if we needed any repairs done. "I think we're good, guys!" I replied with a giggle. They gave me a curious look and headed back to their truck. Good one, I thought to myself and I continued mucking in silence for the rest of the morning.
The next day, I chose to listen to rap, Ice Cube, Bootlegs and Besides to be specific. Old school rap. I know all the lyrics! Fun! I was flinging shit like a bitch that day. When a horse moved toward the doorway, I was all up in their grill like, "Step off bitch! Who you think you are? Fuck that shit!" The horses were edgy, I was feeling a little too, umm, well, hostile. Rap was not a good mucking choice. I'm glad I recognized this before I popped a cap in their asses.
Next day, I opted for my old standby...musicals. As I plugged into "Anything Goes", I had a good feeling. Clutching my pitchfork, I began to sift through the shavings and the intro grabbed my ear. Before I knew it, I was on my second stall! Cole Porter, you are a miracle worker! Two stalls, three stalls and onto the fourth. Wow, it was bliss. I was singing, flinging and twirling my pitchfork. The horses were munching happily on their morning hay, I was performing little skits and getting the stalls cleaned efficiently. Happy, happy stall mucking! Whoo hoo! This was the way to get the barn cleaned!
Today, Gypsy and I did the barn up right. I've been to see Gypsy on Broadway in NYC. So amazing. I sang out loud while throwing the poop. One of our clients appeared unexpectedly, busting me doing an enthusiastic Little June impression in my Long Island housewife black velour leisure pants and pink striped boots. Who cares, I thought, as I plucked out my ear buds and chatted with her. This is good music! She left rather quickly, maybe it was my outfit, or my off key voice? I don't know, but I put Gypsy right back on when she left and before I knew it, Ethel Merman and I were done with the stalls. Show tunes seem to be a splendid way to get through stall mucking, without a tremendous amount of concentration, or effort. Who knew these scores were so mesmerizing?

Tomorrow, it's all about Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping down the plains...and the corn is as high as an elephant's eye. Oh boy, I can't wait!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Uncle Blue Jean

This is a painting which has been in our possession for a few years now. It was painted by Jonathan's great uncle, Eugene Hall, or Blue Jean as his relatives called him. No one quite knew what to say while looking at Eugene's artwork while in his presence. It's quite linear, simplistic and cleanly drawn to the point of appearing cartoonish. In fact, one wine filled evening a very good friend of mine and I decided that Eugene was some kind of early visionary for the Farmville phenomenon of FaceBook fame. I don't think that concept would amuse him, but we laughed ourselves blue that night.

Anyway, Eugene passed away in 2006 and Jonathan's parents gave us four of his paintings to remember him by. We had run out of wall space in our current home at the time, so they were propped up against the wall in my office for a couple of years. During that time, my dreadful cat LB (I say this fondly) decided to add his own special medium to them, a little spritz of urine. Bad kitty. So these paintings have been betwixt and between for some time now. Upon moving to our new stable last week, I decided that Blue Jean's painting of the "farm" had a place in the stable loo. It looks PERFECT there! I love it, the customer's love it, and I hope Blue Jean would love the fact that it's being appreciated. Well, maybe he wouldn't be thrilled that his artwork was being hung in the bathroom of a stable, but at least it's being looked at and admired, right? LB's special trademark is clearly visible on the lower right corner. He was tenacious cat with his marking skills. He's no longer of this earth and I only hope that he's met up with Uncle Eugene and made some peace with him for adding his unique urine flair to this work of art. Regardless, we thank you Blue Jean. I'm sorry that it took a few years to find the correct spot for your painting, but it is, indeed, now home.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Beginnings

What a long strange trip it has been over this last week. Last month, Jonathan and I decided that we needed to lease a farm and get our freelancing horse business a home base. First step was to find a suitable spot. We did it. Second step was to ask our customers if it was an acceptable environment for them. They accepted. Third step, and this was a big one...was to move our entire household and set up a stable on the farm property. Last week, we did it. At least, I think we did, or else I'm living in bizarro world and it's all a crazy dream. Just kidding, though I was numb through much of the last week I do remember moving every single piece of furniture from our old house, arranging it in the new house, moving our precious pets to an adorable two bedroom cottage on the farm property and setting up an entire stable. The kitty picture is of my most adorable Miss Girl, who settled into her new casa with the aplomb of a mature lady. Miss Girl is not only gorgeous, but she is delightfully adaptable, especially for a cat. As long as there is food and a comfy spot to rest, she is at home. She was photographed waiting for the main course on the dining room table. Some people might find this disgusting, I, on the other hand, run to grab my camera and capture this most endearing moment. Don't worry future dinner guests, I always change the tablecloth before serving you a meal (or at least that is my story and I'm sticking to it). The third picture is of a little bunny friend that Mia, my teensy black and white kitty invited over to "play" on her first morning out in her new yard. I was in my office signing our lives away on an insurance policy to protect our business, when Jonathan called to me, "Michele, Mia brought you a housewarming present and I trapped it in the shower. I'm going back outside now. Have fun!" My shoulders slumped. I walked to the bathroom with a feeling of dread. Was it another mouse? A snake? Yikes. No, it was super cute little tiny bunny rabbit! "Oh Mr. Bunny," I said in a gentle voice. "Don't worry special friend. I will snare you painlessly and release you back into the wild." Poor Mr. Bunny was very nervous, but I gently encouraged him to hop his unmaimed cotton-tailed self into a large wicker basket. He accomodated my request and was rewarded with a short trip out to the backyard where I gave him a chance to hop away and hopefully, find a safe haven from Mia's bloodthirsty fangs. I breathed a sigh of relief and prayed that Mia wasn't spying on us from a nearby window. One more animal placed into my special version of the "Edel Wildlife Relocation Protection Program". Hop, bunny, hop!
The first picture is of the first horse to arrive at our new farm on Saturday morning. The lovely Lalique, a gentile chestnut Oldenburg mare owned by one of our wonderful clients. Ahh, finally the stable was taking shape and just seeing her happy expression made the entire week of lifting, groaning, worrying, rabbit relocation and random cursing seem totally worth the effort. Here's to JEM Stables, LLC and it's new home base folks. Who knew I'd ever volunteer to get back on the business end of a wheelbarrow and even more impressive, like it! Off to take more Advil now and then do barn check. Whoo hoo!