Wednesday, August 19, 2009
One of the fun things I was able to fit in on this trip was arranging to have breakfast with Victoria Cummings of Teachings of the Horse. I've been following her blog ever since it showed up in the list of notable & recommended blogs soon after I started writing mine. I find it insightful and I enjoy her pictures of her two mares and her farm. When she heard I was coming East, Victoria contacted me about getting together and I was really pleased to oblige.
Victoria is as delightful in person as she is on the screen. It turns out we have people in common outside the parameters of the blogosphere because she's worked in Hollywood and lived in California. The world is a very small place.
There wasn't time for more than breakfast. It was Victoria's mother's 95th birthday, and I had to get my car back to the rental office and get into New York. I appreciate the time that Victoria carved out from her busy day to enjoy some poached eggs at the dairy coffee shop and I managed to get back to Enterprise without incurring any charges for overtime.
I'm sorry that Arlene of Grey Horse Matters was out of town during my brief window of opportunity in the North East. She too had extended an invitation to get together, but she had to be out of town. I was hoping to meet Sami, her Arabian rescue, and Sami's mama as well. Perhaps next time.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My friend Gloria (on the right, above), with whom I reconnected because of this blog, managed to get here. She flew directly from
She looks just great, and we’ve had a fine time catching up. She left mid-way through 8th grade and moved to a small town about 60-90 minutes away. When you don’t drive, that’s just as bad as going to the far side of the moon. I saw her only once after that. I invited her to a party the summer after we both graduated and she came. I am so glad we have reconnected. Her granddaughter is into manga and anime, and is planning to be at the convention where Len’s a guest next month. Gloria is going to instruct her to be sure and go up to Len and introduce herself.
My other best friend, Valerie (center, above), from those days was here with her (relatively) new husband. He’s a little on the quiet side, but that may just be because plus-ones are at a disadvantage at a reunion, unless they went to the same school.
Even with nametags and pictures, it is a little hard to recognize people or remember exactly who they were. Sometimes, there’s the moment when you see a 17 year old face peeking out of middle age and sometimes (like people say about me) it’s because you see their parent’s face.
It’s been fun, but frustrating to be unable to check e-mail or post. When I get back to my world, these posts will be going up one after the other, and now I’ve actually got pictures to go with them. Folks suggested I drive around looking for unsecured wi-fi, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Things can wait until I get to
There’s one more gathering to attend: breakfast tomorrow. I’ll leave after that. It’s about a 3 hour drive to
Friday, August 14, 2009
I passed a field with those signs on my way back from a pilgrimage to Equissentials in Oneonta. There I dropped off a pair of riding britches for “recycling” (they put the deerskin seat on new britches), another pair for exchange (they were much smaller than the other pair I bought at the same time), and gave into my desire for a pair of the full-seat western jodhpurs. Those I bought off the rack. The others will be custom made.
The day is Kodachrome perfect and it makes me wish I actually had some. But then, where would I get it processed? It’s almost time for me to pull out my camera and use it. The afternoon light will soon pick up the warmth I prefer. I think I’m going to drop my car off at my mother’s house and walk for a while. It’s nice to see side walks and there are so many antique shops around. Unlike
I find myself wondering how many of the people I’m walking past might be among those who show up at tonight’s first event of the reunion. It is scary, not knowing what people will look like. A little more frightening to realize I don’t remember their voices either. My father’s voice is vivid in my memory, and he’s been gone 31 years. I’ve seen some of these classmates more recently than that. The only one I can pull up from the data base belongs to Rodney Welch, who teaches and does research at the
Yesterday, my friend Gloria called just as my nice and I were seated in a very noisy restaurant in
Thursday, August 13, 2009
As I drove up Route 17 to attend my high school reunion, I found myself drawn to things I hadn’t thought about in ages:
There was the house that Gary Catella, another friend of his, and I went to, looking for help after Gary’s car broke down on the way home for Christmas vacation in, I think, 1969. Driving to get us meant my parents were late for Dad’s office Christmas party. Boy was he pissed. Turned out, someone had put sugar in the gas tank of
There was the exit to
There was the Roscoe Diner, a land mark for anyone who ever had a friend going to college in Upstate New York. It was THE watering hole, an hour from the nearest college city of any size and the last stop before getting on the highway to head back to
I drove past one of
I pulled off the overview on the mountain going into town, expecting to take a picture of the valley below. The trees are all grown so tall that there is no longer a view. I noticed that the other view hill seems to have the same problem, and that road is a lot more treacherous. So much for a picture of the town, I guess..
When I got to town, I did a drive around before heading to my mother’s house. The first home my parents owned looked quite nice (above). It’s been repainted and it is nicely maintained. There’s now a terraced retaining wall in front where I just remember a grass hill we would roll down—and the day my 2 year old brother stripped off all of his clothes so he could get sprayed by the hose Daddy was using to clean the car. I remember Dad chasing my brother who immediately realized that standing naked was probably not a good idea.
Tomorrow, I will take the time to walk down town and visit some of the many antique/junk shops that have taken over what used to be a Newberry’s, Five and Dime, a jewelery store, and the Western Auto. What was my grandfather’s jewelry and barber shop (and was later his liquor shop) is empty, with a for-lease sign on it. For many years it was an extension of the clothing store on the corner. That too is empty.
The National Bank is still there, but I didn’t notice the full name. No doubt it is owned by some bigger banking corporation. The big surprise was the McDonalds. Mom said it’s been there a while. And I saw an ad for a Subway. I never thought that fast food franchises would ever find the town.
The town library is as beautiful as ever. Rumor has it I can get on the Internet there, which I will check out in the morning. I’ve had no luck posting anything from anywhere today. I’d feel like I’ve gone off the edge of the universe except I know I can get in my car and leave and Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow were on TV tonight. Unfortunately, I discovered my mother’s choice of “news” is the Fox channel, because when I turned on the TV, the odious Bill O’Reilly’s face and voice came on. I couldn’t wait too change the channel.
The young woman I noticed at
The bus is now making the rounds of the airport stops. There was a police vehicle blocking traffic as we started out of the Jet Blue area. We couldn’t see what the problem was.
I realized that I forgot my point and shoot digital camera. It’s got to be sitting on my desk. Annoying, but not a total loss. I’ve got the Nikon D70 with me. It’s a little bulky for taking to dinner, but it’s faster and better for just about everything.
The flight was o.k. Some minor bumps at the beginning and bigger ones at the end. The couple sitting next to me in the middle and window seat were annoying and loud. I had to get up several times during the night to let them out. I did no more than doze occasionally. I think I might have gone out during Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. Nice touch, being able to watch MSNBC in the air. I spent the rest of the night listening to the iPod. I just discovered that I can adjust the balance to the kind of music I like. I’m listening to Tom Paxton singing “The Bravest” and trying not to cry. In a few minutes I’ll have my first view of the
It did. It’s much shorter in the south end of
Stephanie met me at the bus stop and we went into a busy restaurant across from Grand Central on
Today is my son's birthday and I think it may be the first one I've missed since the days when he spent summers with his father. I miss him and wish that I had been able to plan ahead so he could come along on this trip.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
When he's standing around on his best behavior (like in this picture), you'd never know what an opinionated horse Ace can be. He's very good at letting us know something is wrong, but not necessarily exactly what isn't right.
Ace has been acting strangely ever since I went to Comic Con. While a visit from the vet/chiropractor last Sunday took care of the physical offness, our lessons this week were hampered by a mental "just not here" thing.
Ashley had a great ride with him on Tuesday or Thursday, after her own huge young horse, Waldo, almost dumped her after a big spook, a huge rear, and a turn. Ace was her comfort horse and then he took care of her when she rode him in a training lesson. Me, not so much this week.
He spooked and nailed my left foot on Wednesday while I was picking his feet on Wednesday. That did no damage because it was a quick on and off. Lucky. On Friday, while I was putting his halter on, he spooked and came down on my right foot full weight. I screamed bloody murder for him to get it off. He did the "oh, I'm sorry mom what was your foot doing there" thing, but he wasn't calming down.
Gayle was going to give him a chance to move before I got on his back, but it turned into a full-fledged join-up session. He simply refused to honestly submit. We actually had to untack him because Gayle was afraid he was so worked up, he'd stumble and go down on his saddle. (I've never, ever had to worry about Ace decided to roll when he's tacked up. He just doesn't do it.) After a long workout, we got him dressed again and I did a little work on him. We aren't use to him exhibiting this much attitude.
It may be that his little buddy the new mini got a new corral which is not as close as the old one. Or maybe there was one too many nail guns or motor cycles going off on the other side of the boundry wall. Or maybe he was unhappy that the little girl who's been fussing over him all week in camp this summer didn't come this week. She's had him all cleaned for me every day when I get there and has turned the front part of his stall into a Japanese rock garden without the rocks. She draws lines in the dirt with the manure rake, I hear. Since he doesn't speak English, although he appears to understand it quite well, we're having a hard time figuring out the problem.
He was a tired horse when he went back into his stall on Friday night, but Saturday was a new day and he was in a much better mood when I got there to tack for an 8:30 ride.
It was the best ride I've had on him in weeks. I was able to trot him long and hard for most of the half hour. At first, it was unusually choppy--his warmed-up trot is the easies thing in the world to sit--but then he got going when he realized I wasn't fooling around and he needed to get his rear legs underneath himself. I was really pleased with him and myself when I was done.
Then it was off to the hairdresser in preparation for the upcoming trip home. I even decided to try a manicure and pedicure (I earned it after Friday night) for the first time. Very indulgent. A little weird, but I'd do it again. All of my nails were about the same length and for a change that didn't mean broken below the quick. I discovered when I painted my nails for New Years that I felt like I wanted to rip my nails off. The polish made them feel funny, like they were suffocating. I don't know how else to describe it. Someone else said they think polish makes their nails feel heavy. I'm glad it is not just me. I decided I'd risk a clear coat, but nothing more. So far, so good.
So my hands looked great for about two hours, until I chipped one of the nails at the bowling alley fundraiser for Horse and Pony Rescue Ranch, Inc. , the non-profit that Gayle and some of her students set up years ago to help place unwanted horses. I had a good time anyway, and was glad to get my husband and son to come out and socialize at a horse-related event. A couple of our friends joined us and we managed to bowl two games in the two hours.
I'm a lousy bowler, but even I managed two strikes and a couple of spares, along with a large number of gutter balls. This morning my right hand, arm and neck hurt from using muscles I don't normally encounter. I'm really pleased that between the folks bowling, pledges made to sponsor the bowlers, and raffle tickets, HAPRRI got about $350 towards horsekeeping expenses. If anyone is interested and has the spare cash to make a donation (and I know what that's like these days), here's a link to HAPRRI's website.
Today, I'm doing laundry and packing for my trip, because later we are off to see Julie & Julia, tomorrow night I've got team trivia, Tuesday night we're attending the taping of the first episode of the season of The Big Bang Theory, and Wednesday, I've got to see my chiropractor and Ace right after work before I go to the airport for the red-eye flight to New York. Busy, busy, busy. But so much fun.