Pretty Gray Things with Horsepower

Admittedly, the gray things with horsepower are quite different. But they’re both pretty.

One Horse with Power

Today was Drew’s turn to shine. He was scheduled to get filmed doing the dressage part of this quarter’s Working Horse Central virtual show. We walked over to Sara’s lovely arena that she made all by herself. I had to bring a bag with my show boots, show shirt, number and a drink, along with Drew’s show lead and little crop. The only problem was the heat. i was already dripping from grooming Drew and cleaning the former concrete out of his feet. Thankfully, it was dewy this morning, so each foot was packed with mud, not concrete!

He came out quite pretty, but was sweaty as heck by the time we arrived. So was Aragorn.

I wrote up every detail of our dressage pattern in my horse journal, so I’ll just summarize here. He did a GREAT job this time, not perfect, but with much improvement. I also did better with my posture and not going so fast.

I didn’t go too fast trotting, and Drew even got through the right circle at a reasonable pace and only one attempt to bite my hat. No doubt my circles weren’t even, but we did better! Yay us!

After our two minutes of glory, it was time for Sara’s horses. It’s been a lot of fun watching Sully get better and better. I’m so proud of how hard Sara has worked with her.

Of course, Aragorn did great. Well, it wasn’t like it was a walk in the park getting ready for it! His feet are doing so much better, and he didn’t cough once during the pattern. It is so fun to watch the two of them (Saragorn) work together. They have also come a long way in their partnership.

Sara has also come a long way in her show outfits. These guys are so coordinated now, with navy and tan, along with her Wild Type Ranch logo. They’re sharp! I, on the other hand, could not find my belt anywhere. So, I am wearing a yellow bungee cord that accentuates my “full figure” oh so well. Where was my belt? Right next to the boots I DID find.

I enjoyed watching the horses interact with each other when it wasn’t their turn, or when we were getting ready. There’s a lot of gray horsepower among these three! Horse heaven!

Before you get the idea that all this horse stuff is positive progress and great behavior, I must share that when we set out to leave, Drew was having nothing of walking quietly beside me. He was, I guess, jumpy, or jittery. So, I had to stop and get him to trot in circles for a while, to try to focus him. He was having none of THAT, either, and began trotting weirdly, coming in way too close to me, and not going the direction he was asked to go in. I channeled my inner #TarrinMadeMeDoIt and kept stopping and starting him over and over. There were kicks and bucks followed by severe words coming from me. I did great, never lost my temper, and got him a little calmer.

Still, walking down the narrow alley of trees didn’t go great. He was rushing and crowding me. So. Much. Discipline. My arm was killing me by the time we got to the barn. He was not feeling inner peace. BUT. After a bit of a rest in the shade, we headed home. Who was this horse? We had a perfectly pleasant calm, slow, walk where I barely had to hold on to the lead rope. I do wonder what was going on in that boy’s head!

355 Horsepower Grayness

So, Lee’s Tahoe has been giving him some trouble. It is now living at the dealership getting its troubles dealt with. He decided to replace it and get a mobile office. That’s more easily said than done, but I will summarize by saying that something of a reasonable size and the power to tow the horse trainer will be ordered as soon as the dealer gets an “allotment” and customized in some number of months. That way he can drive me to horse lessons and then stay and work. This is all great, but doesn’t replace the Tahoe right now. Lee didn’t have to ask twice when he wanted me to go look at cars. I love car shopping.

What not to get. Fifteen passenger van. Overkill.

So, he looked for a comfortable vehicle that would tow the trailer if needed and be nice for our travels. That was getting frustrating until someone returned a rental vehicle to the dealership that was not too big, not too small…just right.

It’s a vehicle!

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever sat in such a comfortable seat in a car, and the back seat has enough leg room for very large people. And there’s a huge trunk for carrying bags of horse feed. Oh wait, it’s for Lee. It doesn’t have adaptive cruise control, but otherwise is crammed with safety features. I hope it works out. I, of course, like the ambient lighting that changes colors and the pretty covers on the speakers.

I am glad I don’t have to drive back and forth to College Station every day now that the Lee’s Gleemobile is here (it’s a GLE 350). I’ll also feel a lot safer in a vehicle that doesn’t randomly die as you’re driving along. And, I got to enjoy lots of time in my car, which I am not giving up yet, plus got crocheting done.

That’s my story. Fancy used car deal complete. And before you think I’m being snooty by getting a Mercedes, it was less than the Tahoe or other American cars that fit our needs.

And hey, I didn’t get this one, though I tried to convince Anita that’s what Lee picked. Red seats. Convertible. Giant engine. MMM. Do well on ranch roads? Nope.

There and Back Again

Well, dang it, I was not elsewhere for very long! Like the Hobbit, I was there and back again. As anyone who’s my Facebook friend already knows, I discovered that the conference I went to Kerrville to attend was not happening. There were two others there wondering what the heck was going on, too. We couldn’t even get ahold of anyone listed as being in charge of the conference for a long time. So, we spent some time looking at the endless supply of taxidermized animals in the hotel lobby. I love the fact that the mother and baby giraffe had a sign that said they died of natural causes. You know, it’s an art and everything, but taxidermy isn’t one of my favorites.

Finally, Tiffany, the mom in the other group, got in touch with the AgriLife folks in Kerr County, who informed us the conference had been canceled. I called and gave them my name and number, and they promised we’d get contacted by someone who knew something. The Smith family, who had driven five hours, went to visit some relatives. I decided to have a “me” day, and sought out a coffee shop to ponder my plans.

Someone can’t read

I really liked the Pax coffee shop I found. The coffee was Cuvee Coffee from Austin, which I like a lot, and the honey-infused latte was quite yummy and the avocado toast was seasoned well. I know a person who goes by “Pax” from my old church, so I got them one of the t-shirts from the shop. They are pretty, too.

After a little walk around downtown Kerrville, I went off to Fredericksburg, my favorite place to go off to, to be honest. I had a lot of fun visiting all the shops I miss so much, like the fantastic Native American jewelry store I like so much (I got a ring with snakes on it by Effie Calavaza, who was Zuni), where I got to listen to a phone call in Navajo. That doesn’t happen often.

Snake on the other side had red eyes

After enjoying the hat place, the boot place, the fancy clothing place, and a candle place, I headed over to the wine place. That’s the Becker winery shop. I’ve been a member of their wine club for three years and this was the first time I even got to take advantage of my free glass of wine per visit perk. I just sat there in a big ole leather chair, knitted on my next blanket, and felt all fancy. Since I took the contractor gig I hadn’t taken any time off. It felt good to have no agenda.

Next, I wandered down the road a bit to have lunch. It was in an old warehouse building. My goodness, it was PRETTY. I just sat there and looked at all the rustic things around me and enjoyed a “hippie panini” (all veggies) and some delicious fruit. I’m glad I am comfortable dining solo.

The building next to the one with the restaurant in it must be owned by the same folks. This was an “antique store” but not one of the dusty fusty ones. No, it is a trendy spendy antique store. I was impressed with the interesting finds in that place, such as a lot of grates and urns from France, industrial pieces that could make cool lamps, an antique weaving machine, and a somewhat creepy amount of things sourced from old Catholic churches or something. There were many things I thought we could duplicate here, so I took a lot of pictures.

Of course, because it’s trendy, most things in the store were white, cream, or wood colored. I’m not sure why colors are so scary, but they are. All the linens were extra natural, too, and pre-wrinkled. Whatever.

After all this fun, I drove home quite pleased with my day. Then I started getting calls from various AgriLife people apologizing and such. They are refunding my registration and even paying back my hotel room! I did not expect that. Later, they offered me a big discount on the next conference in October. I guess they expect that one to actually happen. HA HA.

Bonus. Store dog.

I appreciate the caring and concern, though. Since I spend a LOT of time volunteering for them, I’m pleased at how they are willing to make amends and are so nice about it. Heck, we all make mistakes, right? And I ended up having a nice day and got home in time to feed horses, so Lee only had to feed once.

Mansion I should have taken the tour of in Kerrville.

Bonus: I was going to have to miss a Master Naturalist Board meeting tomorrow, so now I get to go to it after all. It’s always good to have the secretary in attendance. And I will get to see friends. Score!

Chilly Day Opportunity

The weather turned very cold and windy. Sara and I canceled horse fun, so I told my son we could go get some stuff in Temple. First, I took the chance to play with the new phone camera and take artsy dog photos.

Diva Goldie

After that, we went off to the Western-wear store and I got belts to wear for horse shows. I think I’m supposed to wear a belt. It was hard to find ones that weren’t all sparkly. I found a nice brown one with tooled flowers and a black one with a sort of snakeskin background. It will go great with my snakeskin boots and Drew’s coloring.

I got the kids some ranch-appropriate shoes, too, and ones that will be good for my son to wear working on renovation projects (yes, we still do that, I just don’t write too much about it).

Current project: Anita’s new floors and old cabinets that will be recycled.

The weather improved, and we had lots of fun trying to buy groceries on one of the worst days of the year. The day before the Super Bowl is not a good one, crowd wise. There are no Fritos to be had. This is a tragedy for the menfolk at the ranch, who worship the Texas classic, Frito Pie. I’m a Dorito fan myself. Those were all gone, too. Oh well.

I’ll just watch the Olympics

Well, with a couple of household items obtained and a space heater borrowed, I think the cabin residents are in good shape. Yep. There are also no space heaters to be had anymore, thanks to the last cold snap. This was not a good week for their heater to die!

Snow Carlton

Tomorrow should be more interesting. But I’ve enjoyed my restful day and a chance to spend quality time alone with my kid. I remember how much I loved to be alone with my dad and talk freely. I hope my son enjoys our times together, as much as we do like the rest of the family. It was a nice opportunity opened up by some cruddy weather.

Hug your loved ones.

Positive Phone Store Experience

My kid’s phone no longer held a charge, so I decided to give him my current iPhone X, which isn’t very old because I replaced it recently. I always dread going to the phone store, but to be honest, we have had good experiences at the AT&T store in Temple.

Obviously I have a new phone, because I took this weird picture.

We went in, I told the guy what I wanted, he tried to sell me one thing, then he got to work doing what we asked. He was pleasant and efficient. He fixed all glitches. The cloud sent all my info over, and BOOM, new iPhone 13 Pro. It’s a weird shade of blue.

First new phone photo was also blue. Mr. Robotto.

Then, we quickly switched out my old phone for my son’s dead one. He doesn’t do the Cloud, but that’s fine, it still went fast. Besides, the main issue was that my watch took forever to pair and set up. WHO’s have guessed that?

Extreme watch closeup.

As we were about to leave, I asked what to do with the old phone. Of course the young folks wanted to recycle it. The guy at the store said to wait, he was checking something. In a few minutes he announced we got a $300 or so credit for returning the phone in good condition. Who knew? I thought that was what new phones cost. Lee says they want to get the batteries back. Cool.

New camera does well in closeups!

When we were done, after two long hours, we all agreed that it had been the easiest and least stressful phone buying experience we ever had.

I took a brutal selfie.

Also, we had so much fun laughing and sharing stories on the way there and back, too. It’s so good to have a day when things work out, and the kids have sure needed one, too.

I’m looking forward to better nature photos soon. But look, flowers were blooming at Anita’s today!

Winter honeysuckle or sweet breath of spring. What a beautiful and appropriate name!

Missing the Ranch and Keeping My Spirits Up

It’s really weird to have not been at the ranch the entire month of November, especially since that’s usually a great month to be there (good weather, frisky pets, lots of time for walking). It didn’t help at all that I spent a good bit of time wandering around the area on Google Maps trying to figure out where those two people drowned. I think I got it located a bit further away from our property than I’d feared, but still adjacent. It makes me so sad.

In happier news, my one orchid that didn’t succumb to some evil scale has rewarded us with many blossoms.

I listened to a news report that said the victims had fallen out of their boat and got caught up in pond weeds. That’s exactly what I had feared. Even if you can swim, that stuff can get you. One guy had a young family and one was just 22, so young. They’re having a football game to raise money for their families. Traion Smith was just an amazing athlete in high school, and a nice young man. The news report showed the former Cameron coach breaking into tears at the thought of losing him. Life sure has its twists and turns.

Anyway, I ended up looking at what great quality the Google Maps images of our property are. I really liked how you could see each cow and all the cattle paths in the bottom pasture next to our house.

All the cows are at upper right, and you can see where they walk. The image can even get closer in! That’s Walker’s Creek and one of the streams that meets up with it.

I was disappointed that I could not see Apache or Fiona, nor the chickens. I guess the photo was taken just before we got the chicken house. So, you’re spared those images.

Sunset looking out by neighbor Ruth’s house. I love how the oak leaves are shining.

While I do miss the ranch (and its occupants, including my poor lonely quarantined husband!), I’m enjoying some time in Austin. We got to take a walk with our neighbor, Ruth, who regaled us with tales of trying to buy groceries at the H-E-B (we went a bit later ’cause I had to fill my prescription, and it wasn’t so bad). She went to the Randall’s store full of “old people” and it wasn’t crowded. That store is always full of old people! And, if you don’t live in Texas, we realize H-E-B is a weird name, but since it’s named after Mr. Butts, you can understand the choice.

Roses in my flower arrangement. They help me feel better.

And since I’m in Austin, we can have my son’s little family unit to eat out on the deck, to minimize germs and all, like we keep being told to do. It will be very small, but good.

Giant mum about to explode. This arrangement had such great autumn colors.

We will get through these challenging times. Sometimes it’s easier than other times, but I feel like all this practice of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness that’s come out of the pandemic, the election, and the personal issues of those around me will benefit me the rest of my life.

I don’t know what this flower is, but I love the way only part of it is in focus.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the flowers I got at the store and our sunset. I saw no sunsets in Utah, because the mountains were to the west. That’s okay, mountains are pretty, too. Share what’s keeping you happy and in the moment, if you want to!

A Close Call after a Close Call

This morning, they announced the winner if the US Presidential election. You probably heard that. It was a close call, for sure.

Anita and I had already planned to go shopping before it snowed. We made a pact to keep our mouths shut and not act all jovial. Half the people are sad and half are happy, after all.

But the second we got into our Uber car the guy started talking about feeling hopeful, so we had to tell him. Then his friends called him. Everyone was so happy. I honestly haven’t seen groups of happy people in so long…

A little rain didn’t dampen our spirits, just our jackets.

So, we went to have lunch at a nice brew pub. I went to scan the online menu, and uh oh. My phone was not there. Shoot. It’s my lifeline.

The server came up to take our order, and we asked for some time so I could look for my phone. It wasn’t in the store we went to before. The only other possibility was the Uber car. I got all worried, as one would.

Nuria! Also the shirt refers to a beer.

Rather than go fetch water, Nuria stayed and helped me try to find my phone using my watch and Anita’s phone. It was so frustrating to try to log onto Uber using another phone. I kept getting things sent to my phone, which didn’t help.

I’m sure Nuria spent 20 minutes to a half hour helping me. And she was so patient, kind, and funny. Eventually we called my phone from Anita’s and the Uber driver picked it up. Hooray for Adam the Uber guy! He quickly brought my phone back and we all elbow bumped. That was another close call, for sure! Whew.

Statue near the public restrooms.

The rest of the day was so much fun. We visited fun stores, got a couple of Christmas gifts, and interacted with some wonderful store clerks. In one place, we had a great discussion, followed by some subdued jumping up and down. The women were so happy to share their relief.

Happy scenery.

The same happened at a couple other places. And we found a new hemp store full of such cute women it almost seemed impossible. More crying and laughing happened there, and we had a good talk about hemp. We all shared how much less pain and anxiety we have (it’s true). I ended up with sore cheeks from smiling.

Anita is exhausted from fun.

That’s rare. Smiling and less stress. Now, we all know the same problems we had before are still here. But maybe people will be kind, civil, and caring with each other. I hope all of our interests will be heard and count. Everyone.

Venturing into Town

If you’re reading this, it means we’re both still alive and kicking! Woo hoo! After a night of little sleep, I woke up feeling pretty good. And I worked really hard, other than a half-hour walk in which I found the liquor store.

You will be relieved to know I have not gone through the wine and Gentleman Jack I bought for the condo. I’m quite proud of my moderation, though I have been drinking alone, all by myself.

After work I took the hotel shuttle into the actual town of Park City (I am in Canyon Village or something like that). I visited the quaint and pricey Main Street district, thanks to the resort shuttle. I was relieved to see very few shoppers, but enough to keep the stores open.

Quaint.

I found more fur coats, dreamy sheepskin coats, and down coats over two thousand dollars. While I need a coat, I don’t need those. In fact, one store was so fancy I felt like a fraud looking there. There were some incredibly well made clothes and dishes and such there. But not for me.

Really cool bar.

I liked all the art galleries, but there was one with amazing horse paintings and prints. I’ll have to share some. The same artist also had luminous depictions of trees in snow. No way I could get a print, but they do have postcards! I can’t wait to show Anita.

New stuff trying to look quaint.

I did get a new coat at Athleta, on sale. It has a rose print. It was less than $200 and uses recycled material. It will keep me as warm as one of the amazing fancy coats.

The jacket matches my rose-theme clothes. Hopefully this will last years!

I wandered more and more, and found a small candle, which was my goal other than a coat. I do like candles. But then, I wandered into one of the actually old shops, one with nice clothes but not stiff for the mega-rich Park City folks. I tried to just look, but love at first sight occurred.

My beloved cardigan.

I initially was drawn to the pattern. Then I saw the trim on the zipper. Next I found out it’s cotton, so it won’t be too hot for Texas like many jacquard knits in wool are. Then, the sales person told me it’s from a company in Serbia. Sure enough, even made there!

Not made in a sweatshop!

So I tried it on and boom, I realized the inside is as pretty as the outside. That means if I hang it on my chair, the inside that shows will look good. Sold.

Pretty inside!

My little shopping trip was fun and cheered me up. But, I better stick to hiking from now on, or at least until I have a shopping companion. Nature is FREE!

Mr. Moose says have a peaceful evening.

Shopping Spree

One of the reasons I had so much fun yesterday is that I got to order a lot of the things for my new office. I also got a lot of news about the renovation, so that made my day fun to get through.

I believe we are getting the one at top center. Kathleen wanted it to be very rustic. This is easy to install and waterproof, too.

The renovation team has decided that the floors in my future office are not salvageable. I am not surprised. This room seems to have gotten the most abuse during the years, and the floors looked practically worn through in some areas. Others had been badly repaired. So, I reluctantly agreed to have the same vinyl planks put in there that Kathleen will have in her office. I’ll cover it up with the giant and inexpensive rug I bought (that I can’t find a picture of, so it will be a surprise).

But, that’s okay, because when I look up I will see this symphony of rustic beauty! It is nice and big, which I need for the size of the room and its ceiling height, and it was not too costly (but not “cheap” – just right). You may have noticed it does not have one bit of bling on it.

A most beautiful, yet rustic, light fixture. With many bulbs.
Bling.

Don’t worry! I found a place to buy chandelier crystals online, and they weren’t too expensive. Eighteen of those will be coming in the mail very soon, and I’ll just add them to the lamp. I’m creative. I will also order some replacements for ones that got knocked off my very similar chandelier at the ranch. I must know what I like.

It just screams “Suna,” doesn’t it!

Now, we certainly don’t want my office to be boring, with all that brick and wood, right? Of course not! So, I have selected extra shiny tile to go under my fake woodstove and on the floor in the tiny bathroom. I will smile at it every single day, and it fits my office decor colors of red, orange, and pink. You know, because those are my favorite hair colors…

Shiny!

AND we were told that we could not repair the ceiling in the entry hallway of the Pope Residence, because it would look too patchy (thanks, dumb stairway). So, we’re going to put up a lovely copper-colored metal ceiling in there. We will put it in the bathrooms, too, since they don’t have the cool wood ceilings that are in the rest of the house.

I have to admit, making these selections is why I loved my real estate redevelopment work so much. I’m glad to have another opportunity to select quality materials that will enhance a beautiful building.

Mother Nature Had the Sniffles

Yesterday’s big plans got thwarted, because it kept threatening to rain all day. Mostly it just drizzled, which made me think Nature has the same thing so many of my friends have that makes them all sniffly. It never rained hard until the evening, when we were sitting in the hot tub talking to random fellow guests.

What this meant is that we had to cancel our boat outing around the Pinkney Island preserve. But, we talked to Scott the Boat Guy, and are going to try to do it later this morning. It appears dry outside.

All the moisture makes decay happen quickly and beautifully.

We did manage a quick outing to the Audubon Preserve, where last year I saw a zillion birds, but had no binoculars. This year, yes to binoculars, but no to birds.

The pond was beautiful, even in the drizzle.

I really do appreciate the efforts the group has made to label so many of the plants. They have a very nice brochure that talks about all the different mini-ecosystems in the park and what grows there. It’s also where I learned about the original topography of the area, with high ups and downs of boggy spaces and higher land with trees. It’s not like that where all the houses are now.

This pitcher plant was hiding behind its label.
Continue reading “Mother Nature Had the Sniffles”
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