Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ace

Today is my Arabian Prince's 13th birthday. It is the 11th birthday of his baby sister, Phaedra, who still lives in New Mexico and is (as far as I know) a brood mare. I'd buy her if I could.

Ace was born on a night with a visible comet. Combined with the shape of his star, his registration name was chosen: Auspicious Comet. My son once asked me if anyone uses the word "auspicious" and now makes a note of it every time he hears it on the radio or television (the answer is, obviously, yes.)

I got a phone call from Melinda soon after he was born, and she often updated me about his antics after that. I met him in the flesh when he was a good-sized yearling and he attempted to take a piece out of my shoulder when Melinda and I stood nearby ignoring him. That was the last time he tried doing something like that. Melinda slugged him so fast, he looked like he saw stars. We made fast friends after that.

I hadn't started taking riding lessons in 1997, but by the time I saw Ace in 2001, Melinda and I had been joking that I would eventually own the Prince. Especially after Melinda got the bay filly she'd been trying to breed for 20 years--Ace's full sister--it was an on-going discussion. Even though he was young, and Arabs are advanced horses, not beginner horses, I had fallen in love and he became my 50th birthday present to myself. I do not regret this.

I haven't been able to spend much time with him for the past three months, but that will soon change. He's been doing amazingly well under Ashley's riding and I hope we'll be showing him again really soon. Now that his Schleese has been properly fitted, he's floating across the arena. And he's still having a lot of fun jumping.

His new digs agree with him: he sticks his nose out of the feed window and watches everyone go by. I hear him call when I drive into the ranch. He's got lots of turnout buddies and he loves trimming the pepper trees near the arena. There's even a bit of grass to be trimmed and he's happy to oblige. He's returned to his fastidious house keeping: urine goes outside, poop along only one wall inside so he can curl up in a clean corner.

I'll take apples, carrots and his favorite cookies with peppermint candies on top when I see him tomorrow. Eventually, there will be a new western saddle in his life. Arabs are so damned hard to fit and his once-perfect 7-D is no longer a fit in the shoulders. Anyone seen a used Vincent saddle made for an Arab anywhere?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oscar Fail

I finished watching the Oscar (TM) ceremony last night, probably because I've got a streak of masochism but mostly because I could finish unpacking the kitchen and use it as background noise.

Normally, I think the writers of the Oscars are pretty sharp people, and I've even met a few of the listed writers about whose intelligence I have no doubt. So I've got to ask, what was it with the dumb statements about how horror is the most popular film genre (I doubt that's true in terms of box office where science fiction and fantasy dominate the top ten list) and how it gets no respect because it's been more than 30 years since (I think they cited) The Exorcist got two nominations or won two Oscars.

Excuse me. Anyone ever hear of The Silence of the Lambs? It's one of those rare films that took the big five awards at the Oscars: best film, screenplay, director, actor and actress. That's plenty of respect, guys. And don't try to argue that it is a crime film because there were several clips used in the horror montage.

Did those children from the Twilight films (with its fans who think that The Wolfman rips off their highly derivative source material) ad lib?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Improvements in Small Steps

I am back to 10-fingered typing. The arm still feels like lead, but at least I'm able to keep up with my thoughts and not look at my fingers. I feel like I'm pounding on an old manual typewriter, though, in terms of the finger strength I don't have.

Since I last posted, I've been out of the cast and into a brace. Surgery was avoided. I figure I'm probably another month from getting back on Ace--getting on isn't the problem, but I do need the left arm to get off and I haven't started physical therapy yet. I'm allowed to start weaning myself from the brace by taking it off to sleep, which I've now done for two nights. It makes it easier to jump in the shower in the morning, which does make me happy.

During the day, I'm not willing to give it up because I'm emptying boxes. We finished moving out of the rental house on Sunday night. Instead of going to our traditional Oscar-watching party, I stayed at the house and packed up Len's office. His mistake. I was able to throw away a lot of his junk and junk food (not the marzipan, dear, it's in that rolling bag in your office) while he was at our house with friends. When the Oscars were over, everyone showed up with cars and carted the rest of the boxes back to our house. I did a final cleaning, and I think we left the house in really good shape. Me, not so much.

Our house looks quite nice inside, but it is no larger than before. What's particularly nice is that the front third of the house is open. The kitchen finally has a logical lay-out and a pantry. The cabinets look very nice. I got it cleared up enough to make dinner last night. Pictures will be forthcoming. Biggest complaints: there's never enough counter space and the contractor didn't listen when I said the sink was to be a single tub large sink. He put in a double sink where one side is larger and deeper than the other, but not large enough for a turkey roaster to be put for soaking. I waited 15 years to get that sink in our renovated kitchen and I had the use of it for less than two years. Someday when I get to build my real dream kitchen, I'll have one.

There is now a breakfast counter. It is not exactly what I had in mind and it also means there's no place to put my round table when it comes back from storage. I knew there would not be room for my great-grandmother's Hoosier kitchen base, and that's a shame because every built-in counter in the house is too high for me. I guess the new normal height for a woman is 5'8". My friend Gillian, who is around 6' tall, would be very happy in it. My Hoosier kitchen has a work space that is probably 7-9" lower than my new counters--much easier for chopping & rolling out pie dough.

Photos will be forthcoming. Maybe even of the mallard couple who decided that our pool was their private playground after the fire. When Dexter saw them through the bedroom window on Saturday morning, he was very clear that he knew exactly what his purpose in life was. It was hysterical.