Aug 26, 2011

Just What I Needed

Someone mentioned on their blog that sometimes the hardest part is finding a title for your post.  And today, I can’t for the life of me come up with one.  Perhaps by the end of this post.

Thank you for your comments about my last post.  A theme related blog is hard to keep fresh when I am not doing anything new.  But there is always plenty to write about that isn’t related to the theme.  Life keeps dibbying out tidbits along the way.  (Spell check doesn’t like “dibbying” but doesn’t offer me any suggestions to correct it, so I trust I am right.) 

I do want to say that I am lost without your blog, Mikey.  You are the Seinfeld of blogging and I mean that in a good way.  You have a great way of communicating your day to day that hooks the reader.  And I miss your blog already. 

Mindee of Our Front Door writes about her day to day and she keeps it fresh and funny and it never sounds like a Christmas letter.  I work in the city where Mindee lives and we have never met.  Its kind of fun to think we might pass each other in the store or be sitting next to each other at a stoplight and not know it.   (Wasn’t there some tv show like that?)

I really think the key to blogging is not the content but just plain good writing.  That is my goal.  Sometimes I hit a home run; other times when going back and reading an old post I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I hit the “publish” key.  I can’t tell you how long I have spent on just these few paragraphs; playing with words and reconstructing sentences.  I visit your blogs for the same reason.  Its been fun getting to know each of you through your writing and glad that you share that piece of your life with the world. 

Now, if the weekend goes as planned, nestled between high school football games on Friday (yes, plural) and the Meatloaf concert on Sunday night, I may get some ride time in at a new location.  Horse talk, pictures…the whole works are coming soon!

So thanks for the boost of confidence.  It was just what I needed.  (And I got the title to the post.)

Aug 24, 2011

Bursting the Bubble

With work travel and the back to school hustle and bustle, I have had little time to sit down and blog.  But then with work travel and the back to school hustle and bustle, I have had hardly any horse time.  Since this blog is mostly a chronicle of my horse life, there hasn’t been much to share. 

On our local chat group, Horsetales, we were discussing the change of authors on a popular blog; good, bad, or no opinion.  Then the following was posted:

“I stopped reading most Blogs because I found that most eventually turn into an outlet for self promotion and congratulation for the writer, if not just boring blather - its a fine line you have to walk to keep them interesting and informative without running on like the dreaded once a year " Christmas Letter " that some people send out. Kind of like the bragging and rambling on that they would do if they had friends that they could tell that stuff to in person. But on a positive note. at least with a blog you can leave the page without offending the writer or having to make up an excuse..”

Knowing that I keep a website and have blogged before blogging had a name, this was close to hitting me with his best shot.  Ouch.

Although I am thrilled that people do visit this page, I do blog for me.  I enjoy writing about my horses and photoshopping pictures and telling stories.  If I made my blog private and didn’t share it with anyone, I would still write. It’s an outlet for me like reading is for others.  But for those who do tune in, I guess I am guilty of posting dribble when I have nothing horse related to share.  It is like talking when there is an awkward silence.  I am the person who can’t let that go on for too long.  And sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t make that dribble horse related. 

It’s fun, too, to hear from readers.   And for those of you who have your own blog, I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through your own pages.

In the end, I guess I don’t like to see a stagnant or static page when I go visiting someone else’s blog, so I try to keep mine current; albeit it is sometimes reaching to find something equine to write about.  But with my favorite riding season about here,  it should get better.  I hope you continue to hang with me.  And if you don't, I'll still be here.... writing Christmas letters.

Aug 17, 2011

The Windy City

The women of my generation seemed to have been on the cusp of when it was still acceptable not to go to college and instead look for a decent job. Having just been an average student, I did not see academia in my future. My dad was a cop and my mom worked in the local nursing home and I learned from them the importance of having a good and steady job and if it provided health insurance, that was a bonus. I moved to “the city” the week after I graduated from high school. “Don’t sign a lease until you have a job,” my parents warned. Well, how was I to get a job if I didn’t live in the city that was one hundred miles from home? I signed the lease the second day. And fortunately, found a job within the week.

The first few jobs I had weren’t necessarily “good jobs” and I soon found myself waiting tables or working in retail part-time to pay the rent. Sometimes I got behind and Mom and Dad helped when they could, but going home was not an option. Twenty-five years ago, I landed a “good job” and was able to quit all those part-time jobs. The company I work for also offers educational opportunities which I had hoped to take advantage of. But marriage and children were next, so I settled for industry related classes. Those classes and my high school education managed to help me advance to a middle management position that afforded me the opportunity to travel. Last count, I think I have been in forty-some states and seen a lot of places I wouldn’t have seen had it not been for this job. No one says “I want to work for an insurance company when I grow up” but this is where I landed and it’s been good to me.

911, the fall of the economy and the increase in available technology have all contributed to less travel over the years. I lost my status on the airlines and in major hotels. But you know what? I didn’t miss it at all. My boys were growing up and had a lot more activities and I was grateful to be home. And I finally had time to really concentrate on my horses. I was plenty busy.

As with life, things change. Once again, there seems to be more opportunity for work related travel. I have to admit it has been hard to get in the swing of it. And it may just be the season and not the status quo. Last week I was in Denver and this week I’ve been in Chicago. Whenever I get to the BIG city (or cities), I feel a little like Mary Richards. (“Who can turn the world on with her smile.” Some of you get the reference.) I love the food, the fancy cars, and to gaze up at the sky scrapers and feel the hustle and bustle. But unlike our Mary, I have no desire to stay here. I miss the country and the sound of locusts singing in the evening. (You may call them cicadas, but where I grew up, we called them locusts). It doesn’t take me long to miss my horses and my dogs and the sunrise and sunsets.

If I would have taken the college route all those years ago, I am not sure I would be where I am today.  I hope I would have been successful down whatever path it would have taken me.  I know today that I am very lucky to have a job that can and does show me the world. And that it affords me the simple and quiet lifestyle that I love. 

Aug 13, 2011

Here and There


Two-a-days foot ball practice at two different schools.

School starting for the boys on two different days

I missed the first day of my son’s Senior year

And I’ll miss the first day of the other’s Freshman year

Why does work travel pick up about the same time

As life starts to accelerate?


prr moon enhan


I did get out to ride with the Platte River Riders

on Wednesday

And this time made it to the trail

But two miles from home

The unreliable truck started to sputter.

I gave ‘er hell and got about a half mile from home

Before having to pull over.

Once again had to unload Windy

And ride her home.

She is calling foul!

I had a refrigerator put in my gooseneck trailer

It was done today and no way to go get it.

Good friends to the rescue.

Someday I’ll devote a post to everything I have been through

With that stupid truck.

But I just need it fixed. 


Spent a couple days outside Denver a couple days ago.

Next week Chicago.

It’s been awhile since I did much travel for work.

I’m out of practice.

Home feels good.

Aug 9, 2011

Photo Class Coming to Wahoo!


I am excited to have Alan Mais from the Camera Doctor come to Wahoo November 19 to host a beginner's digital camera class for me and others who are interested in basic photography.  Alan is the husband of fellow Cowgirl Weekender, Gail Mais, who is an accomplished photographer in her own right. 

I have been using digital photography for years and manage to capture some lucky shots every now and then but I really know very little about all the dials on my Canon point and shoot camera.  I am looking to move up in my choice of cameras in the next few years but I truly need to understand the basics before I get to that next level.

Alan will offer a basic digital photography class to help us get the most use out of our point and shoot.  Hopefully by the end of the six-hour class, I will no longer have to just use the “auto” dial and will have a better idea of what my camera has “under the hood”.  Maybe I will even figure out how to get those cool lightning shots!

I am hoping this class, limited to 15-20 participants (and I am about half full right now) will be filled with other horse women or men interested in taking better pictures.  But it is not limited to horse people; anyone is welcome to enroll.  For fee and classroom information/registration, visit Camera Class. 

Aug 5, 2011

On the Road (Sans Trailer)

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With the trailer project done and a slight break in the heat, I planned to join the Platte River Riders Central group for a ride near Calamus Lake.  Took the time off work and everything! 

The day came and the weather was decent.  Loaded up Windy and hit the road.  As I was coasting down the hill from our house, I was logging in the destination on the GPS.  When I got to the corner by the highway, I went to accelerate and found my truck had died.  Hmmm.  It never dies.  It has had a lot of days when it wouldn’t start in the past few years, but to just die?

I tried to start it.  It just grinded.  Crap.  (The R-rated version in real life).  I popped the hood to see if there was anything obvious; like I would know the obvious if I saw it!  The neighbor pulled up next to me and looked, too.  We found nothing obvious.  He went to get his tractor to pull me off the road and I called my friend, Robyn – who was also going on this ride – and asked if she could swing by and get me.  And, could I sleep with her, too? 

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We got to Burwell about a 1/2 hour later than planned, our central friends were already there.  We set up camp at the Burwell Rodeo grounds.  After a late lunch, we headed out to the home of one of our Cowgirl Weekend friends to join the Platte River Riders.

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There were eleven riders that evening for a humidity free, bug free, stress free ride.  We rode on private property back behind the lake.  Where our land on the eastern side of the state consists of more cropland, the central folks have much more pasture land and riding opportunities on their own properties. 

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The next day, we trailered over to the wildlife area of Calamus Lake.  According to Nebraska Game and Parks, horses are allowed in wildlife areas, unless posted otherwise.  We entered the area just below the dam.  I realized after we unloaded that I had forgotten my camera back at camp and just had my Blackberry with me.  Joni had her camera so most of these photos are hers.

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As we worked our way over to the beach area, I glanced down to what I thought was a downed electric fence.  On closer look, it was a string.  Knowing my horse couldn’t tell the difference, I dismounted to roll it up.  Come to find out, it was attached to a kite!

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I am not sure a kite has ever been an obstacle at a competitive trail ride, but try pulling in a kite with one hand and keeping your horse still with your other hand.  All the horse sees is something big and blue with wings bouncing in and out of the weeds!  Eventually, as it got closer, Windy started to relax and eventually touched it with her nose.  I wouldn’t go as far as putting it behind me on the saddle.

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We made our way over to the beautiful beach, much different than the lakes in our area.  The sand hills in this part of the state really do make for white beaches; the water almost blue green against the sky.  I had forgotten my camera back at the camp so only had my Blackberry for pictures.  Luckily, my friend, Joni, had her camera with her and caught some great shots. 

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By noon, it was getting pretty hot, so we finished up our ride and headed back to the rodeo grounds.  We put the horses out while we went to lunch (seems to be a food theme going here) and then came back and broke camp. 

It was a short trip, but much needed.  Not only for my mental health but to ensure Windy’s soundness.  You may recall she had some swelling after a ride in July and I was pleased to find there was no recurrence.

Trailer Project

While the heat kept me pretty much trapped inside the last couple of weeks, I finally figured out something horse related I could do until the weather broke.  I had a little trailer project in mind.


You may recall it was almost a year ago when I sold my big 4-horse Titan trailer and downsized to a 2-horse Sundowner.  Has it worked out okay?  Yes, most definitely.  Being that it is a straight load trailer, I really feel like I have more room in the living quarters than in my old trailer.  And on only a couple of occasions have I needed more than 2 stalls and the destinations were close enough that we just loaded the 3rd horse in our bumper pull trailer and took two rigs. 

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My bumper pull trailer, which was most used for day rides in the past, now sits with weeds growing around it.  I think it’s new purpose is that of a winter trailer; my smaller gooseneck is just so handy.

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Other than move in, I hadn’t really changed anything in the living quarters, but did find that I most definitely missed having a 3-way refrigerator.  We go through way too much ice on long weekends.  I’ve made an appointment with an RV carpenter to install a refrigerator next week.  He will also do some other minor repairs which I have not been able to do myself or convince John that it is really important. 

I know its only a horse trailer, but it really bothered me that the windows only had mini-blinds but weren’t really finished.  After touring my friend’s new 4-Star trailer (OMG – such luxury!), I got an idea of how to finish my windows.  Thus the shopping trip last weekend with my horse friend.

We bought finished oak boards and upholstery tacks at Menards and then ventured over to Hobby Lobby for some leather type material.  But everything we found brought a more masculine look to the trailer.  Finally, we settled on something lighter; more conducive to the colors already in the trailer.

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Now my good friends know that I am not a crafty person.  But if I put my mind to something, I can usually get it done.  This one ended up being really simple.  With a little foam board, duct tape (is that legal in a craft project?), and a hammer, it went together pretty fast.  I talked John into making the corners for me and installing it.  And ta-da – finished window treatments. 

The Before & Afters

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Most of the time, I am camping with other women.  We have had a fun time fixing up our trailers and it is pretty incredible to see some of the great ideas everyone has had with personalizing their own space. 

Aug 2, 2011

Go West!


The weather is suppose to break tomorrow.  I could already feel the change tonight, even though it was still pretty hot.  Got the trailer cleaned out and reloaded.  Tomorrow I head west!  I am planning to join the Platte River Riders Central group out near Calamus Lake.  A mini-vacation of sorts.  Windy and I are both getting fat just hanging out and doing nothing.  


I took some pictures of Case the other day, I have so few of him without his ‘dress code” school hair cut which will happen this week.  He had fun posing for pictures on Baby.  She is as big as a couch and didn’t miss a bite of grass during the entire photo shoot. 

This past weekend, I worked on a trailer project.  And when I get back, I am taking it in to a real RV guy to do some more improvements.  Can’t wait to tell you all about it!