Thursday, March 31, 2011

Medical Guinea Pig Part II

Tomorrow is the big day, my first big test.  The question: does Kerri have a brain?  The test: videonystagmography. Geez.  No thanks, I just had one. Video - I get that, it involves a camera.  Audio, hearing.  And graph means writing. The rest I don't know and I think that might be for the best. 

So, no meds for 48 hours, check.  My head has swollen to 3 times its recommended size and is lolling about on my shoulders as the room spins in circles and the voices in my head cry out in cacaphony.  I have halos around lights and vertigo and a monstrous living and breathing migraine. This test better yield some good stinking results. 

So I was rereading my instructions for the tests to make sure I didn't forget anything and have to reschedule the stupid thing.  No way am I going through this again. Step number one, and this must be important because it's the only real step and takes up the whole page.  I'll bullet it for you:

Discontinue all meds, including:
  • sleeping pills
  • tranquilizers
  • antidepressants
  • sedatives
  • narcotics/pains meds
  • antihistamines
  • vertigo meds/anti nausea meds
  • alcohol/caffeine
  • smoking
Have someone drive you to/from appt. You may not be able to drive.

Sleep a full night before the test.  I like this one.  You've taken away my sleeping pills, tranqs, antidepressants, sedatives, narcotics, nicotine, and alcohol, and you think I'm going to be able to sleep?  Disclaimer: I am not admitting to using the aformentioned substances. *hic*

And another favorite. DO NOT WEAR EYE MAKEUP. THIS INCLUDES MASCARA, EYELINER, AND EYE SHADOW.  Well, thank you for clarifying.  I didn't know what eye makeup was.  Do some people really need to be told this?

Nocturnal Musings

You know what stinks? Being a nocturnal writer. I wake up at the oddest hours with the craziest ideas to write about, and I can't go back to sleep until I write about them.  It's not enough to just write about them like a normal person.  No no  no no, that would make me, well, normal.  No, my subconscious demands I also publish the stupid stuff as well. This can be bad in the morning when I realize that sometimes I don't remember a darn thing I wrote, my ideas are off the wall, and my spelling and grammar are viciously bad. And this from the grammar Nazi, as my children call me - with the exception of my Southernisms.  I keep those with pride.  They are intentional, and they are a part of American culture. I don't care WHAT that Julie Townsend says.

So, what was I saying? I should go back to bed before I'm committed?  Sounds boring.

Medical Guinea Pig

It's 3:18am and I'm awake and a tad jittery.  Why? Because I have met the doctor that has decided to find out what is wrong with me.  I know what you're thinking -- "Good luck with that".  I thought the same thing when he started mentally stroking his chin and scratching his head while mumbling about ct scans, mris, genetic testing, and things-I-can't-pronounce testing.  Starting tomorrow is the thing I can't pronounce, and it sounds like it will be the most unpleasant.  Wanna  know why?  Because even though it's been less than two months since the neurologist found the meds to "fix" me for lack of a better word (hush, I can hear you guffawing), I now have to cease all meds. 

Meds that I have grown to love.  I NEED them.  Give 'em baaaacccckkk to meeeee..... But I guess the whole point of the test, to see the stupid stinking symptoms (namely vertigo), will become irrelevant - notice the big word! - if I don't allow the symptoms to show up. But but but - and I'm whining now - I don't like the symptoms.  It's why I went to the doctor in the first place. And okay, maybe one of the meds isn't so new.  Maybe it's a med for anxiety because maybe I have a little problem with anxiety slash depression and need a little help.  Does anyone here have a problem with that? HUH? Anyone

Oh, what's the use.  Nothing's going  to help.  I'm going to die all sad and alone.  Even my dog will abandon me. No wait, I don't have a dog.  He's supposed to be mine but he likes my daughter better. My life sucks.  probably have a brain tumor and I only have three weeks to live.

And you wanna know what else the stupid medical people want me to do? They want me to give up caffeine for 48 hours! I. Don't. Think. So. Who are they kidding?  Are they giving up caffeine for 48 hours?  I seriously doubt it. And they want me to pay them?  Should be the other way around, to my way of thinking.  There's something so hinky about this whole plan.  I think maybe it's a conspiracy by the government.

I've often wondered if there's some paranoid scizophrenia in my family, but I haven't noticed any signs in me. Anyway, as I was saying...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you know what you are?

We all have old wounds. I recently had a memory that was very vivid of an old wound.  I'm not sure why it came to mind when it did, but I haven't been able to shake it, and I keep thinking I'm supposed to write it.  It's pretty personal, and some noses might get out of joint, but I did decide when I made the decision to blog again that I wouldn't censor what I wrote.  I will never deliberately hurt anyone, but I won't not say something that needs to be said just to keep them from getting their feelings hurt. 

I lived with my dad and stepmother for a year and a half when I was 13 and 14.  It wasn't overly pleasant. That's the background, where the original wound occurred. 

Several years ago, and it had to be over 5, since we still lived in Massachusetts, my sweet friend Linda Townsend got right in front of me in typical Linda fashion and said, "Do you know what you are?"

I felt the knife thrust, my heart stopped beating, and the room started spinning. I couldn't breathe. She wasn't Linda Townsend anymore. She was Linda Everett, and her claw-like finger was in front of my nose, and she was hissing through clenched teeth, "Do you know what you are?  You are stupid! You are worthless! You are just like your mother.  You'll never amount to anything! The only reason you get good grades is because the teachers know me.  They don't want to embarrass your dad and me by telling us how stupid you are."  There were many other times she said the same things, always...always preceded with "Do you know what you are?" I was a slut, I was fat, ugly, good for nothing but walking the streets. No man would want me. No one could ever love me.

Most of me knew she was wrong.  Most of me sneered in her face.  Most of me gave her a cold, emotionless stare that I knew drove her crazy.  Everyone thought I was so hard that nothing got to me.  And part of me was. Good grief, I had to be. But there was a part of me that did believe that I was stupid, fat, ugly, worthless...When I was pregnant with my first child, I was so scared that he wouldn't love me.  Then she would be proven right for sure. If my own child couldn't love me...  I still struggle with it sometimes.  I still don't believe my husband can love me. Let me tell you, I spent many years looking for love everywhere but where I should have looked.  My brother summed it up once, just before his death.  He said, "Mama, if my own dad couldn't love me, how could God?"

Let me defend my dad just a bit.  He is not the one that called  Shawn and me these horrible names.  But he sat there and listened and never said one word in our defense while she verbally destroyed his children, his own flesh and blood.  I survived. My brother didn't.  And Shawn died believing that God didn't love him.

Let me get back to the day that Linda Townsend got in my face and said, "Do you know what you are?" We had been laughing and cutting up, and now I was, well, I was nothing.  I was stupid, fat, ugly, and worthless again.  Linda didn't know what she had triggered, but she took my face in her hands and said, "You are a wonderful, beautiful woman."  I was crying anyway, but it was okay, because she got those kinds of things. She's the good Linda. 

To the Linda Everetts of the world, go ahead and ask me, do I know who I am? 

Yes, I do.  I'm a child of God. I'm his daughter.  He loves me.  He cherishes me.  I don't believe I'm stupid, fat, and ugly, but even if I was, God sees way deeper than that. Worthless?  I don't think so.  He made me; He doesn't do worthless.  Slut?  He forgave that.  It's called Grace.  I have that too.

Linda Townsend, do you know what you are?  Because I think you're pretty special.

It took me the better part of forty years, but I know what I am. Do you?

Trail Tales: Poppa Lee's Ride

People keep bugging me (Beth, I'm talking to you) to tell what really happened last weekend. I think I've forgotten most of it. I know I've tried.  For the first hour I was calm. For hours two through four, I was laughing hysterically.  By hour five, I was contemplating stopping by the dog food factory in town on my way home and dropping off the horses.  By hour six, I was too tired to care anymore.  I've had three days to recuperate and gain focus and I'm willing to try to tell the story. Strap on your seat belts, cuz whoa Nellie we're going on a ride.

The ride started at 9am in Picayune Mississippi.  I usually rush around in the mornings and bust my tail trying to get everything together, only to sit on the horse for at least an hour before we actually ride out.  So I wised up this time, and had absolutely no intention of getting there "early" to get ready.  We would pull in at 9am on the dot and start to saddle up.  I forgot to allow for my morning Facebook time (a must have), stopping at Mickey D for sausage biscuits, and driving slower than Evil Kneevil with the horse trailer.  I pulled in at 9:15 and darned if everyone was already riding out. Hunh. That's never happened before.

We found a spot to park, unloaded, saddled, etc etc yada yada yada.  We headed out fairly close behind the last riders, and if we'd been able to canter we would have caught up lickety split.  But nope, not us.  We brought Pierson with us, who hasn't been on a horse in a year.  We had compromised that he would come if we didn't make him go any faster than he felt comfortable going.  We crossed our hearts and pinky swore.  It was the dumbest thing I ever did.  So, here we are, moseying along, being passed by a passel of snails, on a gorgeous spring day.  The girls are chomping at the bits (humans and horses) to go faster, but Pierson was happy poking.

It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  Follow the trail until we catch up?  Not quite so.  The trail branches off in places.  So follow the road apples, you say?  Yeah, okay.  But horses, even a hundred of them, don't necessarily leave them every few feet. As for tracks, well.  When there a hundred horses and they come to a fork in the trail and the wagon master says "let's go this way" at least ten horses say "nah, I don't think so" and gallivant down the other way.  So there are little horsey paws all over the stinking place.

After about forever...okay, 45 minutes, we caught up with them.  It was a good thing too, because we were tired and hot and wanted a break and some ice cold water...but break was over and they were moving on. Rude. But at least we're caught up. This was when I noticed that we didn't have our gps.  Not that big a deal, but it would be nice to play with.  I have a new toy, and it's always nice to know how far I am from the trailer.  A few hours later I'll really wish I had it!

The next thing you know, before we even died of heat stroke even, we were on the banks of the prettiest sand creek you could ever find.  That's the thing about Mississippi.  You have to get into the deep back woods, but it is BEAUTIFUL.  Going down the interstate isn't going to get it.  You have to get into the country.  We mingled on the banks of the creek for a bit, burning all the skin off our noses.  As for my kids and me, we didn't know if we were crossing, stopping for lunch, or turning around.

On the ride we had, oh, I don't know, six or seven wagons pulled by mule teams.  So they got a running head start and yelled at everyone to clear the way around the bend, so they could cross the creek without getting bogged down.  Me and Ainie were standing round the bend. We're deaf. We didn't hear no yelling; we jest felt the ground shaking 'neath our feet and looked around in time to see the donkeys from hell descending on us.  We scattered, let me tell you.  Ainie to the river, me up the bluff. And people giving me dirty looks for not moving ahead of time. Hello?  Do you see the bright orange ear molds in these here ears?  They're called hearing aids.  Maybe you should get your face out of your kegs long enough to pay attention to that before you try to run me down. For crying out loud.

Well, anyway, after our brush with death, all the wagons passed and it was our turn to cross the creek.  I love crossing water.  It's so much fun.  It feels like adventure, but what's really great is that the horse does all the work and I stay dry. Theoretically. And on a normal horse.  In case you haven't noticed, I collect abnormal horses. I guess I should explain.

Blitz has picked up a habit lately.  He's started getting stubborn.  I think he got it from that neanderthal Quarter horse next door.  You give a horse some papers and they think they're all that. I'm telling you. Anyway, sometimes, when I tell him to go he doesn't.  Can you imagine. It's very frustrating for someone like me, so used to perfection. This time, it wound up being a good thing, since Jane, who was ridden by Ainsley, decided now was a good time to go for a swim. She flopped sideways into the creek, saddle, Ainie, and all.  Poor Ainie was catapulted into the current and was terrified, not realizing that it was only a couple feet deep.  It still flows quite swiftly.  And I'm such a loving mother that I didn't realize her terror at first and called out, "Did you get your hearing aids wet?!"  (She didn't.)

She came out of the water, Jane came out of the water, but there was the matter of the horn bag (saddle bag that hangs on the saddle horn) floating down the creek.  I just bought that thing, and it was twelve bucks!  But more importantly, it held four of our water bottles. Cuh-RAP.  I wanted to take my boots off first, but it was floating away too quickly so I waded in to get the blankety blank thing.  And realized that all the water had fallen out and was no where to be seen. All we had left were the other few bottles in the big saddle bags.  I got my boots wet for this?

Since she was already wet, Ainie opted to walk across the creek, and I rode Blitz and led Jane.  Guess what?  Everyone else was already gone.  Guess what else?  Blitz doesn't like crossing water by himself. He says it's lonely.  And Jane doesn't like being led by other horses. In a tantrum, she threw herself to the ground, ripping my arm from my body, and tried to roll in the sand.  The saddle prevented her from going over so she got back up.  I'm laughing hysterically because I'm convinced that I am the only person in the universe that can have this many truly psychotic horses, and all at the same time.  I didn't know it was just going to get worse as the day went on.  Less than a minute later, after I reattached my arm and got Jane's reins back, she laid down on the other side! What in the....!

Finally, Blitz got lonely on his side of the creek and jumped into the water and ran, leaping and splashing, all the way to the other side, like he was some kind of little kid or something. Idiot. Ainsley got back on Jane, but she was still sniffling just a bit.  By now, we are so far behind everyone again we should have just turned around and back tracked. Oh, if only.... But no, that would have taken common sense.

We now realize that Jane's hackamore is broken, thanks to her little adventure, rendering it useless.  Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal since she can be ridden with a halter and lead rope.  But today, when she's making Diva look like an angel? We're in for it.

Scotlyn just has to catch up with the group.  Can she please run ahead.  Oh please please please can she? Finally, yes, anything to get you to hush. But if you die, don't come whining back to me. She runs ahead while I hold Blitz in and make sure Diva stays behind.  Jane couldn't care less. She hates to run. When Scot is out of sight, I let Diva go. Big mistake. Big. Huge. I never knew Diva could run like that. So here I have a dilemma. I'm one person. I can leave 8yo child that just got thrown into river behind and race ahead to catch up to 10yo child on horse that I know will stop as soon as he catches up to 13 yo child... And I decide there and then that I will never ever take all three children on a trail ride without my husband again. I chose to stay with Ainsley, because I really did think Pierson would be fine.

I was wrong.  Around a curve in the trail, he comes limping toward me, lip stuck out a mile, mutinous look on his face.  It never bodes well for the peace in our immediate future when he has The Look.  "You said we wouldn't run." Tis true, but someone forgot to tell Diva, evidently.

He appeared to be physically okay, so I ventured a cautious, "You okay?"

"NO, I'm not okay!  Why did you make me ride that horse? I hate horses!  Why couldn't I have gone to Luke's house like I wanted?  Why do you hate me?  Why do I always have to do what YOU want to do? Why can't we ever do what I want to do?" Mmmmkay, that answers that question.

"So, um, you hurt?"

"Yes, I'm hurt! That stupid horse bucked me off!"

"Diva doesn't buck!"

"Does too!"

"Does NOT!"  I'm an adult, I swear it, but he was dissing my horse! By this time, we got to Scotlyn, who had hold of Diva.  She told me what happened.

"Diva bucked Pierson off."

"You lie! Diva doesn't buck!"

"Oh yeah? Well, then, why don't you ride her, huh?"

Pierson used just a little too much attitude and disrespect in this comment, bruised rear end or not, so he got the stinky eye.  He backed off a bit when I did my Clint Eastwood quiet voice, "Excuse me? Would you like to repeat that?"

"No, ma'am."  That's better.

Alrighty then.  "Pierson, do you want to ride Diva again, or do you want to double up with one of us?" He wanted to walk.  It was way too far and too fast paced to walk, so it was out of the question. We argued.  It escalated until finally someone came out of the woods and found us to see if there was an emergency because he heard screaming. No, I wasn't embarrassed.  I did, however, wonder why none of my kids seem to have gotten my sense of adventure.  You know, the "yes, I just fell and broke my leg into three pieces but I can still finish the race.  Please take lots of pictures and make sure you brag about it to you all your quilting club friends." kind of adventure.

After Pierson falsely and viciously accused Diva of bucking, it all went downhill.  Things began to get a little blurry.  I know we had a short stop to turn around, and I found a wagon that had a spare seat for Pierson, so he didn't have to ride anymore.  Lucky him and lucky me. I didn't have to listen to him bemoan the fates that made me his mother.  Stop for lunch.  Ate a completely squished pb&j. Portioned out a few sips of water.  Oh, and we were back across the creek, so we played on the sand a bit.

This is an important note, so pay attention. This entire time I've been riding Blitz.  He has been a gem, my sweet boy has.  But when Diva was tossed over for a mule, I saw my chance to ride the "good" horse.  See, Diva is what's called a National Show Horse.  She is a half Arabian/half Saddlebred.  It's a pretty amazing breed.  Arabians are great for endurance and many other things, and the Saddlebred gives you a smooth ride.  Riding her is like sitting in a rocking chair.  She's a dream to ride. Blitz is my special boy that I love for always and forever.  Just to look at him makes me so happy.  But riding him is like riding a cheese grater.  So at lunch I switched saddles and decided to ride Diva and tether Blitz. Mistake number 1,368,000 for the day! For three main reasons:  1)Diva really does buck 2) Blitz doesn't "do" tethering and 3) Diva ain't crazy about it either.

For the love of all that is holy! If I had any gray matter at all, the second I took two steps, I'd have gotten off, switched saddles back, and ridden Blitz again.  It was working!  Why oh why did I feel the need to fix the only thing that was working in this horrible day?Why, I ask you, why? I got on Diva, Scotti handed  me Blitz's reins. Diva took one step and Blitz took 20.  He pulled me forward, yanking my arm out of my socket (same arm, different horse) spun around Diva in a circle, ran over an old man and a small child, knocked over some drunk's beer (who cussed and farted), Diva kicked at him, then spun to bite.  I have been reduced to playing Twister on horseback, and we haven't even left the lunch spot yet.

You know what?  If you're still reading this, I applaud you, but I can't go on. I'm emotionally drained. Let's sum it up with some highlights:
  • Jane laid down with Ainsley again in the middle of the trail, and we realized something was very wrong, as this is far outside her normal docile behavior. She was so upset by all the commotion that we deduced that she had caused herself to colic and was trying to roll as a way to relieve her stomach upset.
  • Ainsley wound up riding in a wagon and made a new bestest best friend.  But she didn't get her name.
  • Scotlyn also really hit it off with a girl and they rode together and laughed and talked the last half of the ride.
  • Jane's bridle finally snapped completely off her head while she was being tethered, and that's when she calmed down.  She followed us the last few miles home with no problem at all. Her colic eased itself out with no meds needed.
  • Blitz was ridden by someone in one of the wagons that didn't have a horse.  I loved watching him under saddle and was so proud of how well he did. Everyone always says he's the scary horse because he likes to run, but he was perfectly behaved that day.
  • I had to take a nap in the truck before I could drive home.  The kids were glad because they got to play with their new friends and go swimming in the lake. 
I think I hit the highlights. And now you know why I call this blog my misadventures. 

Worming time

When I was about twelve, my mama got irritated at me one day and said, "You like animals better than people!"  Yeah, and your point is?  Some people think animals can't talk.  They haven't met mine. 

Last week, it was worming time for my little loveys. I don't guess I've introduced them properly here yet.  I'll just stick with horses today.  I have my special boy, Blitz.  I've had him 5 years, since we moved here, and he's 12.  Then there is Moonshine, who came one month later (named because as a paint, she glows in the moonlight).  She's 9 this year.  Diva, aka Cruella De Ville, has been here 4 years.  She's 12 this year.  And Sweet Baby Jane, already mentioned, had been hear a year and a half.  She's only 6.  We have new guy, only here 4 days as of today.  He's seven months, and today his name is Bo Duke.  Subject to change at any moment.  This story I'm about to tell you precedes Bo's arrival.

While saddling Jane for Ainsley to ride last week, I realized it was time to worm my preciousnesses.  I had wormers in the barn, so I grabbed one and shoved it in the corner of Janie's unsuspecting mouth.  Before she knew it, she was worm-free for two more months.  She rolled her only eye at me in disgust while hanging her tongue out gagging, but didn't have a whole lot to say since Ainsley led her off about then.  I'm sure she had a lot to think about though.  Just for the record, she is ridden with a hackamore, so at least the poor beleagured animal didn't have a bit in her mouth to deal with.

Just before Ainie took off, I had her put a rope on Diva over the fence, since Diva is wise to my ways and won't let me catch her if she knows I want her.  She's evil.  I also wormed her over the fence because those hooves are vicious things that leave marks.  She said only one thing.  "You *BLEEP*!"  She's recently been converted to Christianity and is working on her language.  Isn't that sweet?

I braved going into the pasture for the last two.  I figured I'd have a time of it with catching my sweet boy, but he surprised me.  I had wormers hidden in my pocket, and sometimes he can be a bit simple.  Wait, did I say that?  He's not simple; he's quite intelligent really!  Anyhoo, I catch Moon, who I must say is the easiest horse in the world to catch (she really is simple) and very easily give her the wormer. 

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!  What is that stuff!  It's icky icky icky!  Take it out! Icky!  Rub my tongue!" She has her tongue hanging out and is wagging it at me, begging me to wipe it off.  Diva is behind her going, "You idiot, she's been doing this every two months for five years and you haven't figured it out yet? Are you a special kind of stupid or something?"

"I'm special!"  Moonshine answers indignately.  I scratch Moonshine, croon in her ear a bit about how special she is and what a good girl she is until she calms down and the wormer is swallowed and all is well in MoonWorld, then I turn to my Blitzaroni, who I was already smart enough to have caught.

I pull the wormer out of  my pocket and take the cap off.  His head goes straight into the air, nose to heaven, "No you're not, not, not. No you're not, not, not."  I tell you what, that nose was ten feet high, and it wasn't budging.  Moonshine was fully recovered by now, and standing with her nose on my shoulder, cheering him on.  "Come on Blitz!  You're my man! You can do it!" 

"I won't do it. I won't won't won't."

Diva chimes in, "All men are sissies.  That's why I kick the fire out of any that try to come near me during my monthlies."

"Come on, Blitzy-Boy, you're Mama's big guy.  I know you can do it.  Remember last time you didn't worm, and the vet had to take that big tube and stick it in your tummy through your nose?  Huh? Wasn't that icky?  Be a big boy for mommy, kay?"


"Come on Blitz!  You're my hero!  You're my knight with a white stocking!  I'll share my hay pile with you!"  This from Moonshine again.

Finally, after a few minutes of rah rah-ing from me and the Mooner and insults from Diva, he let me worm him and was rewarded by a good scratch with the curry comb and some serious accolades about his manhood (even though he lost that man moons ago). 

So all my babies are worm free until the end of May, when they will not only be wormed again, but will get their spring shots as well.  Yippee!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I don't have it in me to post about all of today's ride, so I'll leave you with a teaser before I cram for tomorrow's Bible study. :)

I got enough writing ideas to write a BOOK today!  You wouldn't believe some of the characters out there. I had to walk through the woods a ways for some private time and on my way back came across two ladies.  I pointed back and told them there was some good spots that a way.  Something about "who needs privacy" and "if a man can do it anywhere they want..." and they dropped their drawers RIGHT THERE in the middle of the trail and treated me to quite the sight.  Their butts were whiter than mine!  What's the proper etiquette in such a situation?  Does one turn around and give them a moment?  Give them a wide berth and hope to not get splashed?  Carry on a conversation?  I say, I was flabbergasted.  And I thought I was a redneck! Holy conniption.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pre Trail Ride Post

We're going on a trail ride!  Just my girls and me.  Stink (Pierson, remember?) said he'd rather stay home and do homework than go on a trail ride with me. I just don't get it.  Anyway, this is a post that could theoretically be my last, seeings how last time we went the horse fell and I went with her, and now it's gator season and I could get eaten.  If I get eaten, I'll miss you all.  Or maybe, it'll just be a little gator, and I'll bring it home and eat it.  So, anyhoo, we're going to the new state park to ride for a bit.  We would love to head to the forest, but it takes 2 hours and over a tank of gas to get there, so we'll hold off on that. Mebbe next week or thereabouts for that.

For those of you that have snow today (yes, I'm talking to my former neighbors in Mass), I just thought I would let you know we thought of holding off on this ride because it's pushing 90 degrees and we were worried about heatstroke.  But since we'll be in the woods, it shouldn't be too bad.  We'll try to be strong and courageous and muddle our way through, and we'll think of you as you shovel your driveways for the gajillionth time this winter. Oh, I'm sorry, was that mean? My bad.

So then, after the ride, assuming I'm not dead, we're going to line our saddles up on the front porch railing and soap them half to death, then pour leather oil over them.  We aren't talking stingy oil, now, but gallons of it, maybe barrels.  We'll have such slick saddles we'll slide right off the next time our horses even move.  So they may not serve their purpose of keeping us on the horse, but they'll be supple and shiny.

More later, if we live.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Where Do Cows Come From

I'm a homeschooling mom, which is a nice way of saying I know everything (or, I know how to Google really well).  The other day, my newly turned 13yo daughter, Scotti Jo, asked me, "So.  Where do cows live, like in the wild?"

Well, duh.  Cows don't live in the wild.  They live on Uncle Versy's farm in Brookhaven until he runs 'em to slaughter, then they live in our freezer in nice little packages of ground beef.  Everyone knows that. The girl knows nothing.  I told her this.

"No, seriously,"  she insists.  "Where did cows live before they were domesticated."

I hate big words, like "domesticated."  There's just no reason to muddy the waters with them fancy learning words, in my opinion.  But I gave it a thought or two.  Since we were in the car, I couldn't Google it, darn it all.  After a moment or ten, I had a moment of sheer brilliance.  I knew the answer!  AND I could turn the tables on her after all the years of her insisting she had the correct answer to my questions. 

So I answered her with all the snobby superiority I could muster.  "They came from the Garden of Eden, where God made them."

She rolled her eyes around in her head for a few minutes, probably trying to see her thoughts, sighed, and said, "Mama, I'm being serious.  Where are they from?"

"I am serious.  They're from Eden.  God created them on the sixth day.   And then Noah took them on the ark before the flood.  After that, it's anyone's guess.  I think Hindus worship them though."  She still doesn't believe me, but you know I'm right.  And this is just revenge for all the times I asked questions like "Why does the metal attract the magnet?" and the kids answer "'Cuz God made it that way."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New York City!

When Scotlyn turned seven years old, she was an American Girl fanatic.  I decided a trip to NYC was just the ticket.  I had already taken Chad once when he was studying the Brooklyn bridge and how it was built, so now it was her turn to indulge her passion.  I was forever indebted to AG too, as it finally gave her a passion to read after I had tried, unsuccessfully, to drag her kicking and screaming into a love of fiction wonderland since she was a young tot.  She thought Felicity was the most heroic of all heroes ever in the world.  She was way cooler than my childhood hero, that stupid Superman.  All he could do was leap buildings in a single bound and defeat the evil Lex Luther.  Felicity could single-handedly change the course of the American Revolution! 

So, for her birthday, she wanted to have an old fashioned high tea with her very own Felicity doll.  Her grandmothers sent me money ahead of time, and I pooled it with ours, and we set out at the butt-crack of dawn to make the 220 mile drive to The City.  (We were living in Massachuetts at the time.  We live a wee bit further from NYC than 220 miles now, thank the good Lord above.)  Anyway, in my advanced wisdom, I decided it would be a better use of my time to drive into the city and park than to use the metro.  After all, no one in New York drives, so we'll just swing right in, park in front of American Girl, have our tea time, hit Tiffany's and drive home lickety-split.  No problemo.

Yeah.  So.  We got there after a five hour wait in a parking lot some genius named The Expressway.  We paid $35 for parking in a garage that slid our car in an elevator and lifted into a slot while Scotlyn cried that we would never see it again.   And this was after we were rear ended once and flipped off no less than five times for stopping in crosswalks.  Well, I didn't KNOW! 

We got to AG in time to stand in line twenty deep to buy an $80 Felicity doll as her gift with only minutes left until our tea time guaranteed to relax even the most stressed executive.  I tell you what, no executive had anything on me about then.  When we got to the front lines, I mean the front of the line, we ordered our doll, and the salesperson from you know where did her pitch about how we really needed the accessories of additional outfits and of course, Penny the horse. 

Scotlyn being the horse crazy little girl that was, and still is, looked at me with beseeching eyes and I knew it was no use.  I broke out the credit card that was for extreme emergency use only, like life and death, car broken down 1000 miles from home kind of emergency.  I was strong and resisted the outfits, but she did walk away with the shiny red horse. 

We got to the cafe and Felicity was given a seat of honor in her very own specially sized chair and her own cup and saucer.  We were fed a delicious meal of filling cucumber sandwiches and tiny cups of tea, for the bargain price of $35....per person.  They didn't charge for Felicity, which was quite big of them, wasn't it? 

After our tea, we walked along Fifth Avenue and took in the sights while carrying Felicity, the boxed Penny, and our other myriad souveniers.  We saw a lovely cathedral with intricate frescoes, but Scotlyn wasn't overly impressed.  Both of us were most impressed when we happened upon a McDonalds, where we were able to eat actual food, and for less than $35. 

We found our car, it only took us 6 hours to get through The Expressway, and the memories will carry us a lifetime.  Scotlyn still talks about her special trip, and Peter and I are still paying for it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A little introduction is in order, methinks.

I have the greatest husband in the world. If you thought you did, I'm sorry, you were mistaken. You can have the number two slot. Live with it.  My guy's name is Peter. I don't know what his mama was thinking when she named him that, thus the reason we don't have a Peter Junior.  We do have a Pierson, which means "son of Peter", and that was as close to a namesake as we were getting.  By the way, Peter Senior was in full agreement with me on that. He was, shall we say, teased a good bit about his name growing up.  Anyhoo, he's older than dirt now, mostly gray headed, (for which I claim!), and works as a computer guru in the middle of the ocean.  The fish just love him. One time he caught a blue fin something-or-other, but as he was pulling it out the barracudas got ahold of it and by the time he pulled it up it was nothing buy a skeleton.  It was the reverse of the classical fisherman's story of "it was this big. No, it was THIS big!"  He provides for me and the younguns best he can, and he puts up with us too, with is an added bonus. No wonder the poor guy is gray.  As I write this, he down in the bottom pasture splashing in the rain water before it drains away.  I sure ain't going down there.  It's wicked cold!

We've got us a whole passel of younguns.  First off, there's Chad.  We used to call him Goober, but at 17 he seems to take offense to that.  Something about being awesomely cool?  Not sure about that.  I still remember him posing for every picture with his hand cocked in the classic gun position while he click-clicked his tongue and said, "oh yeah, baby!" in his "coolest" voice.  I have pictures if you want to see them.  Speaking of pictures, he also loved to play dress up.  I have Batman pictures, cut up and colored papered bags, card board boxes, Egyptian robes, Indian, and pirate costumes pictures, just off the top of my head.  But I shouldn't mention any of that, now that Goober is cool and all.  He's graduating this year, valedictorian of his homeschool class.  We're so proud.  He went to college a year early, under the scholar's program, and he works at a gourmet popcorn place.  (psst, they have Butterfinger popcorn!  Just a note.) 

Our next kid just turned 13 last week.  God help us all.  Her name is Scotlyn, but for the first 4 years of her life she only answered to Stinky Moose.  Feel free to revert to that name anytime you want to see blue flames shoot from her eyes.  It's entertaining.  Scot is my "sensitive" child.  That's the only thing I could tell myself that could keep me from strangling her during the four year long temper tantrum that was the beginning of her life.  Then they tapered off  and she became an absolute doll until....the hormones hit. Something tells me that the teen years are going to be a repeat of the preschool years.  Any recommendations on boarding schools?  For her or me, doesn't matter.

After that one came along, we decided to make it an even three.  Along came Pierson.  He was the purtiest baby you ever laid your eyes on.  He had reddish hair that grew toward the middle from both sides and formed a mohawk on top.  It flopped from side to side in a big curl.  Add big eyes and big ears, and you've got one funny looking, lovable kid.  He was always laughing and happy.  Boy, did that change. Yeesh.  He was a tank!  Ate and ate and ate.  Seventeen monster pounds at 4 months.  He was also gassy, so we called him Stinky Butt.  Not wanting to scream Butt out in church, we changed it to Stinky Stinkerson or Stinky Pete.  He doesn't like being called that, and now that he's a blue belt in karate, I'm considering not calling him that anymore.

Our last brat child is Ainsley.  You'll hear a LOT about her.  She was - to quote a friend - born knowing she was the baby.  And she has demanded her rights daily as the baby.  She is to be spoiled and always get her way.  She is to rule this roost, and with an iron fist.  She is not to be disciplined or we will face her wrath.  And even after 8 years of us constantly telling her that this is not the way it is, she still insists that it IS the way it is. I think she may be winning.

So there you have it.  My very own nuclear family.  I'll save the horses and dogs for another day.

Typical Conversation

Ainsley proudly announces to Daddy that she made seven basket in a row!

Daddy:  I use to could do that too!

Ainsley:  Really, when?  (Lots of doubt evident in tone.)

Daddy:  When I was about Chad's age. (17)

Ainsley:  Oh!  (light bulb moment)  That was a L.O.N.G. time ago!  That's why you can't do it anymore!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rain, rain, go away,

My Aunt Cleo taught me that rhyme for whenever it would rain.  I always wanted to play outside. Probably because I didn't have an Xbox, but whatever.  Today was definitely a "Rain, rain, go away" day. 

Peter leaves tomorrow night to go back offshore, so today, being Mardi Gras and everything in our neck of the woods being closed, we were going to go on a family trail ride.  We were even going to make Pierson go, horror of all horrors. And guess where we were going?  Yes, you guessed it, to the Homochitto.  I don't learn from my mistakes. I like to keep repeating them and insisting on a different outcome.  And I haven't even bought a GPS yet.  But I do have the deputy's card with his cell phone number that rescued us from certain death last time. Besides, I'm sure I would have found my way back. Eventually.

Anyway, I woke up and it was dark as pitch in my room.  I looked out and the sky looked pretty ominous.  Checked called for up to two inches of rain an HOUR for most of the afternoon and probably tornadoes too.  Well, pfffttt.  I pouted, watched some "Say Yes to the Dress, Big Bride Edition" and went back to bed for a few hours.

It rained. It blew. It thundered enough to shake the house.  It lightninged (lightned?).  The electricity went out for a bit, and just when I wanted to play my game on the computer.  That just added insult to injury.  We played cards, told ghost stories, did some Mad Libs, died of boredom, and ate dinner.

I wanted to go on a trail ride!  Now it'll be to muddy to go for at least a week!  It's. Not. Fair.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The One Eyed Pony

Words can not express how much I love and adore my little one eyed Janie.  I think I love her even more because she is missing an eye than if she were perfect.  Of course, I think she's perfect anyway. She gorgeously adorable, a dark bay, short but with a stocky build like a quarter horse, and that big white blaze that goes around one eye.  That big white blaze is most like the reason she only has one eye, since she had a sarcoma in her eye that is usually found in cases where there is no pigment to protect from the sun's rays. 

Her eye was just removed the first week of January. We were hoping it was just an infection and tried creams and shots and other less invasive treatments, but it just kept getting worse.  Finally, I talked the vet into removing the entire eye.  The other choices were to do nothing and she would live in pain and eventually die or to try to remove the sarcoma and save the eye.  That option was simply cost prohibitive, and the chances of success were slim.  Call me hard hearted, but saving a horse's vision is not as important as feeding my children. 

The day after Jane's surgery, she was up and running in the pasture with more spirit than we had ever seen from her.  She must have been in so much pain before.  She began to show gumption that we didn't know she possessed.  Now when we tighten her saddle, she snaps at us at every move.  It's become almost a joke just to watch her.  She only flaps her lips, really.  One time I let her "bite" me, and she was really confused a little disappointed that I called her bluff, I think. 

My youngest daughter rides Jane.  And I guess I need to back up a bit and explain why Jane and her one-eyedness is so special to me.  Just last summer, Ainsley had a hearing evaluation and failed with flying colors.  We were told there was no way around it; she must have hearing aids.  I sobbed my way through the next week or so before I adjusted to what life had thrown at her.  My husband, Peter, wasn't the least upset and tried to comfort me.  Finally, I threw it in his face that he had no clue what it's like to go through life not knowing what others are saying, and smiling and nodding, hoping you didn't just agree to single handedly host the visiting youth group at your home next weekend.  Now my daughter was going to live this life. It's not a bad life, but it's not one I would wish on someone either.

That was before I realized two things:  My daughter is made of tougher stuff than me.  And kids' hearing aids are way cuter than when I had to wear them!  Her's are pink and green.  Mine were brown. Hideous ugly brown.  Not fair.

Ainsley wears her hearing aids like a badge.  She tells people, "I look just like my mama, and I wear hearing aids like her too!"  And she's proud of that.  I hope she keeps that outlook on life.

Nevertheless, she is "different" now.  And look, so is Jane!  What a pair those two make.  My little hard of hearing, cute as a button Ainsley riding her one eyed, preciously sweet Jane.  Jane pretends to be disgruntled while she's being saddled, but as soon as Ainsley climbs up, they are off!  They ride over the hill and every once in a while a catch a flash of color or hear laughter floating on the wind.

Ainie and Janie.