Friday, June 29, 2007

Sleep and fish

But not at the same time. :)

For the fish? Well, I really need to get rid of Squiggy, the Biggest Plecostomus Ever. He's the reason I can't get the ammonia levels in the tank under control. Which is why one of the platies is, right now, hanging out down by the gravel, gasping a bit. Which is also why I spent half an hour this afternoon draining about 5 gallons of water from the tank and replacing it with fresh. Which would be when I discovered that there's a new fishlet in the tank. The fishlet right now is smaller than a watermelon seed, and hard to photograph.

Anyway. The brother-in-law with a 55-gallon aquarium called this afternoon (to get me to look up a phone number), and I tried again to persuade him that he needs another pleco. No go. So I need to call Petco and the other pet store in town and see if anyone will take Squiggy. Otherwise, it's Freecycle or maybe smuggling him into the goldfish pond at the garden.

Sleepwise, today has been better as far as the Crib War is going. I think. El Burrito refused to nap in the crib yesterday, and instead took two naps in the playpen in the living room. Last night, we wedged the playpen into a corner of the bedroom (the only place it would fit) and he slept there. I let him sleep as long as he wanted, which turned out to be 9:15. He was still sleepy after breakfast, which he confirmed by scratching me a few times and breaking the skin at least once. At this rate, I'll be trimming his nails twice a day in self-defense. Anyway, after the scratching, I plopped Senor Burrito in his crib (shock!) and got about 30 seconds of quiet fussing (shock!!!). After which, he zonked out for a solid 2.5 hours. And woke up in a much better humor, in spite of the noxious diaper. Maybe we're on the recovery end of this thing. Not that I'm wanting to jinx it or anything.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Neat stuff

While El Burrito fights the idea of napping (going on half an hour now), we bring you:

Neat things that have happened lately
  • Principal filming started (finally) on the 4th Indiana Jones movie. And about time! As much as I like watching Harrison Ford, and in spite of the fact that he's aging amazingly well, he's not getting any younger, you know. I read somewhere (online?) that he's older now than Sean Connery was in Last Crusade. Which is more than a bit mind-boggling.
  • El Burrito won a $50 gift card in some sort of drawing at the credit union where he has a savings account. The boy's got luck. He got $10 as a door prize at the CU annual meeting this spring, and we found a quarter for his piggy bank at Target this weekend.
  • The Pirates of the Mississippi are back with a new album (after a ten-year hiatus). The first single is called "Fish Bait" which I thought was a bit in tune with our Deadliest Catch obsession. :)
  • I finally won something from the giveaways that I've been entering for months. I got a copy of a graphic novel (aka comic book) that looks pretty interesting.
  • On Monday, we put out 41 pounds of paper recycling. That's not counting the bag of glass/aluminum/plastic, or the bag of actual trash.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Crib Wars, part 2

AKA more of the same last night. Sigh.

Jan's idea that he's over-tired could be right. DH & I were talking about this at lunch, and we're going to try putting the PJs on earlier and going to the crib earlier, but not doing PJs and crib at the same time, in case the PJs trigger things. But, have I mentioned our lack of routine? As in, non-existent, really. That makes things harder, because I'm typically heading for bed at 1 am, wishing I'd headed that way an hour earlier. But the next night I do the same thing. Gah.

I made sure to time things for the lunchtime nap today, as an experiment. So:
  • 12:40 - El Burrito in his crib, dry diaper, and his little See N Say to play with
  • 12:47 - the "I'm tired" fussing was tapering off
  • 1:00 - total quiet on the baby monitor
  • 1:02 - I peeked through the door to check on him and screwed up - the floor creaked and he wasn't quite asleep. Crap crap crap crap. Sobbing.
  • 1:28 - he's laying in his playpen next to me right now, looking sleepy, and I'm kicking myself for checking on him so soon.
  • 1:35 - conked out in the playpen
  • 1:42 - tried to move him to the crib. Nothing doing. Crap crap crap crap.
I also tried, today, staying in his room with him. It was a small improvement. No crying, he was perfectly happy to cruise laps around the crib and toss his few crib toys out at me. Luckily his aim was off with the See N Say. But, no sleeping, either. So he had lunch around 2:30 and now he's back in his crib. The fussing lasted two minutes, it's been dead quiet for 3 minutes on the monitor, and he's probably asleep, but no way am I checking on him for at least another five.

The nighttime crying is full-on sobbing with a little anger or frustration or something in it, to the point where he's almost gagging on the drool (he usually chews on the crib rails while he cries). Makes me a little sick to my stomach, in addition to the "horrible mommy" vibe. At least his bedroom is on the outer wall, so the neighbors don't get a full dose. But, even with the monitors off, we can't escape the sound unless we go outside. The curse of a small condo.

Other theories: something environmental in the room (although he sleeps there fine during the day), fear of missing out on the "excitement" (non-existent, we're boring!), seeking attention, who knows. The fact that he's fine napping during the day is what throws me. Plus the fact that while I was in there today, there was no fussing.

I wish I could remember when this started, but all my days (and weeks, and months) run together lately. DH thinks it started about the time of our last trip to see my folks, which would also be about the time I started the riding program and our schedule changed up a bit. So, the getting-up-earlier could be throwing things off - DH noticed that he's skipping his late-afternoon nap lately. Or it could be a holdover from Grandma's house, where he absolutely refuses, no way no how, to sleep in the half-size crib that she bought (from a relative who grossly overcharged her, but that's another story).

Our other idea is to shoehorn (literally) the playpen into our room and see if he'll sleep there. Not ideal, but it gets around the rolling off the bed problem. He's done that twice, and I don't think this is a situation where the 3rd time's the charm. Or I can sit in his room with him and see if that works. Which I doubt, but I can try. Cripes.

Boy, that got rambly. And at 3:10, he's down for the count. Face down, knees tucked under, and rump in the air.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crib wars and stuff

What's up here?

I found out that the 30,000 mile service on my car will run about $350, and they don't really do anything other than changing the oil and filters, and inspecting bits and pieces. Oy.

I've got a lot of stories from the family reunion last weekend (DH's father's family). More on that tomorrow, maybe.

El Burrito is having sleep problems. As in, he absolutely refuses to sleep in his crib at night about 75% of the time lately. Napping in it during the day? Noooo problem. Pop a tired Burrito in the crib, he plays a bit with Eeyore and Jingle Pony, and ten minutes later he's out like a light.

But at night? At night, we get unending sobbing, to the point that he's making himself sick. It doesn't matter if the lights are on or off, whether the TV in the next room is on or off, if every light in the place is on or off. It's full-on sobbing, not angry screams, not "bumped my head" crying, and not the "I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open, but all the gold in Fort Knox can't make me admit it" fussing (which usually stops mid-fuss when he conks out). We can't think of anything that's changed recently that could have started this mess. And I can only handle the sobbing for 15 minutes before I'm ready to give in, because even after that long he shows no signs of giving in. Unlike the sleep-fighter fussing, which tapers off after a few minutes.

Overall, it's not a big problem - he slept with us for a while, because he outgrew the bassinett before the crib mattress arrived (thanks to a back-order that wasn't mentioned on the website). But he's mobile now, and if I wake up early, I'm reluctant to leave him unsupervised on the bed. He's already crawled off the bed once while I was changing his diaper, and I'd rather not do that again, thanksverymuch. And waking him up early just throws our schedule (meager as it is) off that much more. Sigh.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Riding Lesson #6

AKA the last one, at least for now.

I thought this weekend about signing up for another round - the "day camp" is this week, then there's another two-week session and another camp. However, it's freaking hot here now, and going to get hotter, which is why I wanted the first session. Also, DH took pics at Friday's lesson, in between wrangling the Burrito, and, well, I need to lose weight. That's not news, but looking at the pictures makes it look worse. Oy. I've gained 40 or 50 pounds in the past 15 years. And I can only blame about 15 of that on El Burrito.

Those pics are of me on a little QH mare named Katie, who I rode Friday. They prove that I slouch too much, I need to lose weight, and I get very red-faced when it's hot out. All things to work on.

And I do mean little when I talk about Katie - she's maybe 14 hands, at a guess. Her withers were about level with my shoulder. We did really really well together. I shortened my stirrups a couple of holes, and my posting was greatly improved. Katie and I got lots of compliments on how we looked. We did a lot of trotting Friday, enough that my foot cramped up for a minute. The end of the lesson was a course over some poles - two separate poles, a pole on the curve, then a straight line back to a pair of poles, then halt. Sarah and Tiffany both said we did great, so my confidence and ego got a good boost. :) I wish I'd gotten to ride her more. She had a nice trot - not as fast as Libby's power trot (a strange thing for a WP horse to have) but not the pokey kick-every-stride trot of Bergen or Sonny. The only real problem we had was that when I'd remember to take a better grip on the reins (instead of holding them too loosely), I usually forgot to also lengthen the rein and Katie would think I meant "slow down" when I was just trying not to drop the rein. We got that taken care of and were good to go. She didn't need a lot of leg or rein cues, which was great also.

DH and Burrito came to watch, since I didn't get to go to our demonstration that was scheduled for Saturday. DH took pics while wrangling El Burrito, and someone else brought a friend along who took pictures. El Burrito got to pet his first horse, and I took more pictures of some of the other horses after we were done.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Stargate Finale

Well, that's that, at least until the movies come out.

It was an interesting finale episode. It ranks fairly high on my list, which is good. We watched it with El Burrito crying in the background - he was very tired, but absolutely refused to go to sleep.

So. Spending most of the episode in a time dilation bubble was an interesting way to go. However, the suspense of "will they get out of the predicament" was spoiled by SciFi's promo for the next season of Atlantis, which told us that Major Carter was moving over to Atlantis. Which means, therefore, that she can't be stuck in a time dilation bubble while decades pass in "real" time. So, the only real suspense left was how they got out of the bubble.

I am very sad that the Asgard are gone, and that we weren't allowed to witness their ending. (It reeks of the Enterprise finale, where too much time was spent yammering about a speech that we only got to hear the first sentence of.) I loved the Asgard, and the Stargate universe without Thor is just a sad thought. Another sad thing is the complete lack of Jack O'Neill in the finale.

The Daniel/Vala relationship was not a surprise, after their past interactions. Daniel's remarks to Vala, though, were a bit harsh. Mitchell's double-take was priceless. I missed the reason for the extra-small crew on the ship; it would have been nice to have more people, but then the focus wouldn't have been on the main cast. Sam playing the cello, Landry having a green thumb. I must have missed what Teal'c did in his spare time.

Makes sense that Teal'c would be the one to stay outside the time-reversal bubble. His longer life span makes it more logical; we knew it couldn't be Carter (the Atlantis move) or Landry (already dead). That just left Mitchell, Vala, Teal'c, and Daniel. The other logical part is that, given the movies, Teal'c was the only one that could age without dooming an actor to extensive time in the makeup chair.

Nothing on the Atlantis finale; we missed parts of it and haven't rewatched the tape yet. Only thought so far: it's nice to see Jewel Staite working again.

"The End of an Era"

So say the Sci Fi promos for the Stargate: SG-1 series finale tonight.

After ten years, I'll no longer have a new adventure to look forward to. Okay, technically for me it hasn't been ten years straight, since I didn't have Showtime for the first couple of years. And I've still got Stargate: Atlantis, but it's not the same. And the show changed when Richard Dean Anderson left, but it's still good. One of the few shows that I thought didn't go totally blah when there was a major cast change (unlike, say, Northern Exposure).

I started watching SG-1 because of Richard Dean Anderson - I grew up watching MacGyver (from age 13-21 or thereabouts), and loved him in Legend - the series, not the movie - and having Legend on DVD would make me deliriously happy. I had to wait until the syndicated re-runs started showing, a year behind the Showtime episodes, but I think I liked the show from the beginning. Loved may be a better word. Some of the first DVDs I bought, I think, were the SG-1 box sets. There was a confusing year when I was watching the Jonas Quinn season in syndication and finally started watching the first-run episodes on SciFi, where Daniel Jackson was back. Trying to figure out what went on was interesting.

But, I've watched every episode. I watched through the Jonas Quinn debacle, Teal'c's bizarre chin-worm experiment, Michael Shanks leaving and returning, Richard Dean Anderson taking more of a background role, RDA retiring, Cameron Mitchell taking over, the introduction of Vala (who I like more and more), Teal'c with hair, and the not-so-interesting Ori, among other things. (You know it's bad when the main villain of a series is nicknamed "B'Ori" and "Sn'Ori" in some online forums.)

Tonight is the Last New Episode Ever (except for 2 movies, which I assume are TV-movies or direct-to-DVD). I hope they got Richard Dean Anderson and Don Davis back for a scene or two. I've been gorging on SciFi's all-day marathons all week, even though I have all the DVDs. I'm going to miss this show.

But we still haven't met the Furlings, darn it! And I swear, if the nitwits in charge kill off any major or minor characters, I'll be severely cranked at them.

I was hoping to get to sit down with some ice cream to drown my sorrows while I watch, but it ain't happening. My last riding lesson is tonight, so I'll be home around 8:00 and can catch the second showing, but we'll be juggling dinner, showers, El Burrito's bath, and preparations for the family reunion tomorrow. Gah.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Riding Lesson #5

Last night was lesson #5 of the 6. I got to ride my buddy Bergen again. Tiffany said "You'll hate me for this" when she told me who I was riding. :) It went better than last time, but still not great.

He's 17.1 hands, for the record, which makes him at least 2 hands taller than my other horses. I'm 5'4", so my chin was about level with the cinch ring on the saddle. And we won't talk about the fun of getting a stock saddle up on this guy. Heck, I can walk under his neck without ducking too much.

Anyhoo. He was acting up a bit in the stall, probably trying to intimidate me (Sarah says he likes to use his size to bully people). Pretended to spook at a van that drove by, etc. Nothing horrid, just little tests.

I managed to climb up on him, and we did better than last week. He was still a bit of a pill, for the first trot Tiffany had to grab the bridle and jog along for a few yards with him, and again got the pinned ears and snarky face. It was about as frustrating as riding my last horse, and that's saying a lot. After that, I did get some trot out of him on my own, and we did a little bit of forehand turn, again with the pinned ears and grinding teeth and nasty face. He doesn't like to work, this horse. Then Tiffany took Sue and I outside (Sue was on my gal Libby), since the indoor was getting warm, and we rode with Mary (on Bunny, a younger horse) and the two little girls. Bergen was still being a twit, so Sarah got on him and gave him an attitude adjustment. She worked on him for about 5 minutes, and carried a whip but didn't use it. Worked his butt off for those five minutes, and he was much nicer. She says he's great to jump on, and she likes riding him. But she also said he was making me work a lot, and while we're there to work, working that hard is not the goal. Apparently growling at him when you need to, and not being afraid to "kick his guts out" as Tiffany put it, makes him pay attention. Would probably also help if my legs were stronger.

He turned out to have a girth rub when we hosed him down, in spite of the fleece girth, so he'll probably get a few days off. He acted a bit nitwitty when Tiffany was gooping up the rub, and Sarah growled at him and told him to behave or lightning would strike him down. It's an interesting threat. :)

So, Friday's the last ride, since I won't get to go to the demonstration on Saturday (thanks to Father-in-law's family reunion, a butt-numbing 4-hour-drive away). Don't know who I'll be riding Friday, but DH and El Burrito are going to come and spectate. I asked about the possibility of cantering a little on Friday, and Tiffany said they may bring one horse and let us all canter that one a bit on the lunge, just for the experience. I hope we get to; I'd like to canter a decent horse in a better situation.

I didn't canter DJ (Horse #2) at all in the two years I rode him. I honestly didn't trust him that much, especially at anything faster than a walk. He was the type to bolt if he got a notion. He was also good at the "180-degree spin and 6-foot lateral teleport" type of spook, and anything faster than a walk put too much energy into the spook. I did canter my first horse a few times intentionally, but always bareback and I usually leaned too far forward. It wasn't a pretty sight, I'm sure, and it was never more than a few dozen yards before we ran out of ooomph.

El Burrito will get to pet his first horse Friday, which makes me think I'm slacking off. Poor kid's a year old, and has only played with puppies once. I'll never turn him into a horse-crazy kid at this rate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Riding Lesson #4

Lesson #4 last night.

My last ride on Libby, who Sue gets to ride Wednesday (after graduating from Katie). We rode indoor again, since it was raining. We did walking, some trotting, half-halts, and forehand turns. Libby was being a bit of a pill, wanting to move out too fast, so I had to work on slowing her down a bit. We were also having problems with left turns, but Tiffany said it wasn't something I was doing, so it was probably Libby being achy from the weather changes.

Also had some problems with Libby not stopping when I asked. I'm not used to riding on the bit with a snaffle; I'm more used to staying out of the horse's face, so I may not have been asking for a stop in the way that she's used to. But, I spent two years with a gelding who got seriously snarky and cranky if I was in his face too much, so it's habit, especially since he and Libby are both bay.

Overall, it was a good ride. I don't know who I'll be riding on Wednesday, but I'm hoping for a not-tall, not-bay gelding, maybe with a nice canter so I can give that a shot.

And, since I won't get to go to the demonstration on Saturday, I may see if DH and El Burrito want to come watch one night this week. El Burrito has never met a horse up close, and I feel like I'm slacking off in his animal-familiarity stuff.


AKA What I did over the weekend.

We drove down to see my folks for the weekend ("weekend" meaning we left here at 1:00 Saturday afternoon, and got home 11:30 Sunday night - nasty scheduling). Took my dad out for Father's Day. Also returned some sleepers to the Carter's & Children's Place outlet - they're size 12 months, but El Burrito, at 12.5 months, is too long in the leg for them (and this is a boy who's only about 60th percentile on height). The zip-front sleepers are also a pain for diaper changing, so we're going with the 2-piece jammies, which were 70% off at Carter's. Score!! We traded 2 sleepers and $13 for 5 pajama sets; 2 are shirt/pants sets, the other 3 are shirt/pants/shorts and we'll probably not use the shorts, but oh well.

And El Burrito got to play with puppies! My brother's dog had 6 puppies just after our last visit, and we got to meet them. (And if we had a house already, we would have had another passenger in the car on the way home.) Cute little things, 3/4 beagle, 1/4 basset courtesy of Mom, who doesn't lookBasset-y at all.

El Burrito with a lap full of puppies. They slept a lot, and would wake up at random times to play-fight with each other. I've got video of it, and they were trying so hard to sound ferocious. It was hilarious.

El Burrito hugging a puppy. He was ticklish about standing on grass at first, but then he got down and rambled around. I'm glad he's not scared of dogs (at least for now).

Tired puppies. Color-wise, they take after their Daddy, who was mostly black and white, and didn't have as much tan/brown as most beagles do.

I think El Burrito has added "puppy" to his repertoire now. Grandma swears he said it, but I've missed it every time so far. He also tries to say "Cookie Monster" since he got a Sesame Street balloon for his birthday. It sounds more like "CCkkkkhh" right now, but that's okay.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Riding - Lesson #3

Another nice lesson. It's a shame that they're half over, too.

I got to ride Libby again, and we did well until the end of the lesson, when she got a little cranky. Possibly tired & hot (it was 92 today), possibly she didn't care for the gelding we were next to - she kept pinning her ears back at him. She also kept swatting me with her tail (a lot of the horses are kept in tail bags most of the time, and it's a pretty heavy swat). Different saddle, though, and while the stirrups may have been right, the seat was hard and did wonky things to whatever tendon that is on the inside of the thigh.

There were only four of us today, so we all rode in the indoor arena. We did some trotting, which I ended up doing with both hands on the reins, since I can't steer, post (in a stock saddle), and breathe at the same time. Yet. Got compliments on my posting, amazingly enough, and the other instructor asked if I'd thought about cantering her. Anyway, I ride with what feels like a weird Western/English hodgepodge, and I'm wondering if I wasn't in Libby's face too much, which made her cranky. Couldn't get the half-halt idea down, so our brakes weren't too good. When I started using both hands to rein is about the time she got a little ratty. But she has a nice trot, and was motivated today. I wonder how they slow her down for the western pleasure classes? :)

It's going to be hotter Monday, so we'll see how it goes. I need to ask about other places to take lessons, although fitting it into the schedule would be nasty. Just rearranging things these two weeks is wearing DH and I out.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Riding Lessons - Day 2

Last night was the second of my six riding lessons, and it went much much better. I rode a different horse (I didn't have to ask for a change), a bay Quarter Horse mare named Libby (aka Miss Tootsie Skip), who was more my size. She's maybe 14 hands or so - I could see over her back, and her withers were about level with the top of my shoulder. Nice little mare. I just Googled her, and it looks like she's mostly a western pleasure horse for the college.

I could get her to trot without a lot of work, which was great, because I could work on other things. Like posting in a stock saddle, which is a whole other thing. The beginning classes all use stock saddles, but most of the horses so far go in snaffle bits, which I'm not really used to. So we did some trotting, and posting, and a bit of two-point, which is totally new for me. I was told that I have weak legs, which wasn't a shock - I haven't been on a horse in 12 years, and I'm waaaaay out of shape, so no surprise there. We did a sort of obstacle course, over some poles and weaving through cones, at a walk and trot. I did good at a walk, not so much at the trot because of some over-steering issues, but we got it on the second pass. Steering and trotting at the same time requires a bit more coordination and concentration. :) I also need to stop looking at the ground, and apparently keep my legs back and under me.

Libby has a nice trot, fast at times, but pretty smooth. I'll probably be riding her the next two classes, and then Sue will probably be ready for her. We also might get to canter next Wednesday or Friday, if things go well. Mary, the one who's ridden the most, got to try to canter last night, but her horse, as Tiffany put it, is a bit of a s#@^ at times about cantering. He did canter a bit, but it was a rough canter and Mary had to really work to get it.

The college has a pretty dapple grey mare that one of the little girls is riding - a granddaughter of Seattle Slew. Beautiful horse, but not fast enough for the track, so she's a college horse.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I did it again


I just cost myself some money again. (Sort of) I bought a memory card for the camera this spring, and Amazon was giving a code for a free poster from Shutterfly with the purchase. Well, the card didn't ship for six weeks, and I didn't get the code, so I emailed them. Customer Service said "oops" and gave me a code for a free poster. Cool, I say, I'll decide which picture to get printed, because I've been needing a backdrop for some hobby stuff and this would be the perfect size, plus I could see how the new camera does at large sizes. And left the email in my inbox so I'd remember it.


I just remembered it - partly because my inbox has about 500 messages in it (down from 1300 earlier this spring). So I find the email again and read it.

The code expired on Monday.

Crap crap crap crap crap. I feel like such an I-don't-know-what right now. I can't seem to keep track of things unless they're sticking to the wall in front of me. And it makes me unbelievably frustrated and angry at myself.

Riding lessons - Day 1

So, last night was my first (of 6) riding lesson. To sum it up, it went sort of okay. I didn't make a total fool of myself, but I wasn't far from it.

I was assigned to ride Bergen, an oh-my-gawd-he's-tall bay gelding. He's mostly a hunter horse, but he also goes Western. But seriously, I can't even see over his withers. He's got to be at least 16 hands, and possibly taller. Both my previous horses were 15 hands at the most. Needless to say, I had to use a mounting block to get on, and probably should have used one to get off.

For the good news - I'm not the oldest person in the class, or the only adult. Yay. There are 6 total in my class, three adults and three munchkins. So, since there are two instructors, we split up. Adults in the outdoor ring, kiddies in the indoor. I'm riding with two women in their 50s. One has a mare at home, but I think the mare is green and a bit intimidating. (Been there, done that - three years of hell with a bay gelding, thanks.) The other doesn't have a horse, but takes lessons and rides a lot with friends. Then there's me - haven't been on a horse in 12 years, never had a lesson, only intentionally went faster than a trot maybe six times, none with great results.

Yeah. Which of these three is not like the others? That would be me.

We basically spent the hour walking and trotting (most of us, anyway), getting used to the horses, practicing the steering and brakes and such. I bombed at this part. I could not, no matter what, get this horse to trot. I think I got half a dozen strides of a trot, total, and that involved the instructor (Tiffany) grabbing his bridle and encouraging him, which had him pinning his ears in an ugly way. The woman who rides a lot had no problem, and the other woman, Sue, even got her sluggish mare to trot a bit. Me? No luck. Squeezing, nudging, kicking, clucking - nothing worked. Toward the end of the hour, I was even having problems getting a walk out of him.

And then, when it came time to dismount, I forgot how tall this horse is, and didn't kick my foot out of the stirrup. Almost did the vertical splits, because I am not a tall person. I swear, if I ever have a horse again, it'll be a pony.

It was a little humiliating overall, and I'm thinking the whole thing was a big expensive mistake. I basically spent $30 ($50 if you include the boots) and an hour trying to get a trot out of a horse. I came home with a splitting headache and crashed on the bedroom floor, put my head by the AC vent, and cried for half an hour.

I don't think it would bother me quite so much if there were more time, but with only six lessons total, spending a whole lesson not being able to trot is a big chunk of time. Things may be better tomorrow, but if not, I'll have to ask for a different horse. I hate to give up that fast, and let this one win, but I also hate to waste time on a horse that I can't get to do anything. Especially if I'm not sure why we're not communicating. Maybe I'm reining him wrong - he's in a snaffle, so I think I'm doing some weird hodgepodge of neck reining and direct reining. If all I can get him to do is walk, then I won't get much out of these lessons. Or maybe I'm expecting too much, I don't know. I realize it's just six hours of riding, and I won't be ready for the Olympics afterwards (HA!), but if all I wanted to do was plod around in circles, I can go down to the state park and ride their nose-to-tail-plodder trail horses.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Other riding-related tidbits

Forgot to mention, but I took Jan's suggestion and checked the selection of jeans at Goodwill over the weekend. We were on that side of town, having lunch at the re-opened Peking Restaurant, which sadly isn't as good as it used to be, in spite of having the same cook and owners. The lemon chicken isn't on the menu anymore, either. Much sadness.

If I were a size 4 or 6 - Stop laughing! - I could have come home with a dozen pairs of jeans from Goodwill, some still with the tags on. Unfortunately, I'm not a size 4 or 6, or even 14 or 16 these days. I found exactly one pair of jeans in a size larger than 16, and even they weren't my size. I guess the larger sizes go fast. But, any pipe-cleaner-thin girls in town? They could score big on jeans there.

I've gotta say, though, it would be soooo much easier if the jeans were sorted by size. I know, volunteer labor, but even putting single-digit sizes on one rack and double-digits on another would help tremendously. Also, putting a decodor for the pricing system somewhere would be nice. They do something with colored plastic taggy bits, the plastic string that lots of price tags are attached with. The kind that look like l--------l, if that makes any sense.

Riding Camp - Orientation

So, the big thing for the weekend (yes, I have a boring life) was the orientation for the riding program.

It hadn't occurred to me until DH mentioned it as I walked out the door, but the program is mostly kids. Like, single-digit age kids. DH's last advice was "don't let it bother you if you're the oldest one there." Which I'm not, thank Gawd. In my class, if I got things right, there's me, a woman who's in her 50s maybe (I stink at estimating ages), and half a dozen kids between the ages of 8 and 11 or so. Heee. My hope of finding a few horsey friends is hereby shot down.

But, I found the stables, discovered that my boots are good for riding but not-so-good for driving the car, and got to meet a bunch of horses. The horses at the college are all donated, mostly by alumni. Quite a few Quarter Horses and Saddlebreds, a few TBs, on Miniature owned by a faculty member, a few warmbloods, one solid-colored Paint, and a Canadian Sport Horse (or Canadian Warmblood, I forget which).

Turns out we only ride for about an hour a day. So the routine will be: get to the stables by 5:30, groom and tack up, ride from 6 to 7, then untack and groom again. Should be fun. I hope.

The worst part, I think, will be getting the schedule rearranged so that DH will get to work 2 hours early on class days, so he can come home 2 hours early. The theory last night was that we'd be in bed by 11:00 (aka 2 or 3 hours earlier than our recent norm). Didn't happen. We went to his parents' last night for a birthday dinner - there's about one of those a month - and didn't leave there until almost 11:00. So we ended up in bed by 1:00 am again, partly because El Burrito is having issues with his crib. Doesn't like to sleep in it for some reason lately.

And, for family drama, one sister-in-law is having a rummage sale sometime soon. Mother-in-law has been invited to bring stuff, as has DH's sister. They were all talking about it yesterday, but no one asked me if we had stuff to bring, although the SIL in question was asking MIL and other SIL if they had things, while I was sitting there. Oh well. This would be the SIL that I don't really like that much anyway.

Friday, June 8, 2007

TV Tidbits

Tidbit 1: After tonight, there are only two new episodes of Stargate: SG-1 left. Much sadness.

Tidbit 2: Two more seasons of Babylon 5 arrived today from Best Buy. They're sending them in reverse order to torment me, I swear. Season 5 arrived first, and today's package was 3 and 4. And I really wish they'd use an actual box - shipping DVD sets in oversized bubble mailers is just begging for trouble.

Finished. Well, mostly.

The Project is 90% finished. I've got 8 books listed at that didn't make it to the Pile, but they're here somewhere. Now I just need to take care of the "Get rid of" pile. And I'm sure there are other books here that need to be listed. They'll just have to be a separate pile.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Project that Ate my Week

I honestly didn't think this little project would take this long, but it's Thursday and I'm still plugging away. Sheesh.

I've been listing books on and Amazon's Marketplace for a couple of years now (3 or more). The books have outgrown the shelf dedicated to them, so I've been meaning to weed them out for a while. I got started on Monday, when I rounded up every "for sale" book I could find and piled them all next to the desk. Sorry, no pictures. There were more than I thought - there are 100 or so listed on Half, and some aren't listed there at all.

So now I'm going through a book at a time, checking the last-sold price on Half and the number of copies listed. Some books aren't going to sell, at least at a price that won't lose me money. Those are the ones with hundreds of copies listed at Half and Amazon, often with a few dozen listed for less than 10 cents. One book, no kidding, had over 1,000 copies listed at Amazon. With Amazon's commission and fees, I can't list any book there for less than $3.75 unless I want to lose money on it. Unfortunately, that's where most of my sales come from these days. The stack of books to donate, trade, or otherwise dispose of is growing. It's about equal to the stack of books that may sell at a decent price.

After this, all the sale books should fit back on that shelf. The others? Well, there's a used bookstore in town that takes trade-ins. For the ones they don't want, there's BookCrossing, PaperbackSwap, and the Friends of the Library. Or the recycling bin, because the odds of anyone wanting a copy of the Sybex Windows 98 Quick Reference Guide are probably pretty darn astronomical.

And of course, while I have books piled everywhere, my mother and aunt dropped in yesterday. They were in town for Aunt's chemo treatment (breast cancer - this would be the second of Mom's sisters to have it, which doesn't bode well), and Mom can't be in town without seeing El Burrito. At least they didn't seem visibly shocked by the mess. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


I need to get back to working on lunch ideas. Right now, I'm in this rut of soup (high carb) or peanut butter & jelly. Or smoked turkey & Swiss. Easy, cheap, but not so filling, and boring.

I've tried some frozen meals, and there's one thawing in the microwave right now. This time, it's a "Smart Ones" Weight Watchers meal, the sweet & sour chicken. Last week, it was their chicken mirabella. So far, they taste okay, although I'll skip the chicken mirabella again - the pasta was mushy. The big problem, though, is that these things may as well be a snack. The one today - only 140 calories. Even if I was on some 1,400 calorie/day diet, that's still a drop in the bucket. I've been putting the meal on a flour tortilla just to make it more filling, because otherwise I'm hungry an hour or so later. Even the turkey sandwich will hold for about 3 hours.

Which reminds me, I need to hard-boil some eggs today. We've got at least two dozen in the fridge, and if I boil them, they'll last longer and be more likely to get eaten. Plus, protein, you know.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I sent the form

My application for the summer riding program went in the mail today, along with a check. The classes start next week, so I guess I'll hear this week about which class I'm in. The Western riding classes may not be offered, since they hadn't met the 3-person minimum, so I may be in the "Beginning Riding" class instead.

And now, it's back to the Project for me - I hauled out all the books I've got listed at and's Marketplace, and I'm checking prices. Some of them aren't going to sell online - one I've got listed has over 1,000 other copies listed at Half, so that's going into the "trade or donate" pile. Some of them may end up going back to the library sale, or to BookCrossing or PaperbackSwap.

Fun fun fun.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Riding Lessons and Crazy Fish

An update on the riding lessons plan:

Part 1 - DH took Friday afternoon off and we road tripped to a Western-wear store 80 miles away for a pair of boots. Justin lace-up boots, to be precise, size 9 1/2, and hopefully with a sole that will pass inspection. Because in a town of 80,000 or so, cowboy boots are practically impossible to find, although we have a few dozen shoe stores.

Then we drove another 15 miles to one of the best Farm & Home stores I know of, and one I miss shopping at now that my sister doesn't live there. Got there half an hour before closing, and managed to find a Troxel riding helmet that fits, plus two Breyers I've been looking for.

Part 2 - I called this morning to make sure the classes haven't filled up. Not-so-good news - the Western Riding class I want to take isn't full. No one's signed up for it yet, and there's a 3-person minimum. Crap. The other evening class is "Beginning Riding" - I'm not sure the timing would work out, and I wonder if it might be too basic for me. I've never had riding lessons, but I did have a horse for a long time, so I'm not totally clueless.

** ** ** ** **

On to the "Crazy Fish" portion of the show. I have this plecostomus, named Squiggy (long story, his cohort was named Lenny). Squiggy is pushing a full 12 inches long, and is at least 9 years old. He's living in a 20-gallon tank with 6 danios and 7 platies, and I'm pretty sure that he's the reason I can't get the ammonia and nitrate/nitrite levels down to something more reasonable. The tank is well-stocked with just the 13 small fish, but adding a pan-sized fish to the mix makes the tank pretty over-populated.

Squiggo's also a bit nuts. I was siphoning water out of the tank last night and he took offense at something. He tried to jump out of the tank, which startled me. I jumped, the bucket-end of the siphon jumped with me, and I splashed fish-water on the carpet. It matched the big splash that Squiggy's jump left on the wall, even with a lid on the tank.

So, it looks like it's time to find a new home for Squiggy. I keep thinking he's going to croak of old age soon, based on Petco's "2-3 year lifespan" on the info sheet, but he thinks he's the Energizer bunny I guess. Petco won't do trade-ins, I couldn't sucker Bro-in-Law into putting him in their 55-gallon tank, and Sis, who stuck me with him in the first place, lives too far away.

Ideas so far:
  • Freecycle him
  • fry him
  • have him stuffed and mounted (and mailed to Sis)
  • smuggle him into the koi pond at the public garden
  • bait?

Friday, June 1, 2007


Moon-gazing, actually, with a few planets tossed in.

Last night's "blue moon" photo. The blue arrow is pointing to Jupiter. The next blue moon is December 31, 2009, according to NASA's website.

Apparently the definition of "blue moon" has changed over the years. Since the 1940s, a blue moon has been the second full moon in a calendar month, thanks to a misprint in a magazine article. Before that, a blue moon was the third blue moon in a season with four moons instead of the usual three (based on a tropical year, not a calendar year). Yeah, complicated - page 2 of the Sky & Telescope article at that link explains it better. No wonder someone came up with the new definition.

These next three are of the new moon and Venus, taken about two weeks ago. They were taken at my parents' place, out in the country, where I get better sky photos. Here in town, there are always lights of some sort to deal with, and buildings that block part of the sky (usually the part I want to see, like Venus & Gemini last night).

This one had a longer exposure. I'm not sure where the moon-flare at the left came from, but I kind of like it.