Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's here!

I like This Time of Year. I don't like the cold or the snow. I don't like the fact that it is dark when I wake up, dim when I drive to work, and pitch-black when I drive home.

I don't like the 10 pounds of potatoes and pie that seem to have made their way onto my rear end.

But I do like that there is something waiting for me on the stoop almost every day.

Ooooh, what's this ginormous box?

It makes the other boxes look tiny.

Even the tree is intimidated.

This box is addressed to me, and in the interest of Really Wanting to Open It,  I have decided that it is a late birthday present and not an early Christmas present. Late presents must be opened immediately, even before the work shoes come off.  I mean, it might be perishable. There's not a moment to lose. This is a SAFETY issue.

Not impressed?

VoilĂ —it's out of the box! Still not impressed?

Oooh, ahhhh... The Kuda in all its glory.

Blue has a date with dressage tomorrow. In the meantime, many thanks are due to my parents for the wiggle room in my budget and to my long-suffering husband for being such a good sport. Without his tacit agreement (an eye roll is as good as a nod, right?), I never would have bought this saddle.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Excuses, excuses

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. The last time I set eyes on my horse was Sunday, Dec. 11—you know, back when I was in my 20's.

I did not ride Dec. 12 because I had to work late. Actually, I should clarify: I've been working late every working day since the week before Thanksgiving. I've also had to come in on Sunday. In December, this is pretty normal operating procedure; I anticipated the holiday rush. But just because you see the oncoming train doesn't mean you have the wherewithal to get out of the way.

I did not ride Dec. 13 because Heather was using the arena, and it was cold, and I'm lazy. Heather has been very diligent about using the arena at night ever since Gary put up the lights. She and I have talked about this. Basically, it is easy for her to get up the gumption to ride at night in winter because the arena is literally in her front yard. It is a 20-minute drive for me. And I'm a wimp in the cold darkness.

I did not ride Dec. 14 because of my company's Christmas party. 'Nuff said.

I did not ride Dec. 15 because of pub trivia. Our team won for the third consecutive week, probably because of the lack of sports questions.

I did not ride Dec. 16 because I was getting my hair colored. "Red, the color of 30th birthday denial."

I did not ride Dec. 17 because of my birthday party (phase 1). I suppose I could have pulled myself together and ridden in the morning before the festivities started. (But I didn't.)

I did not ride Dec. 18 because I was recovering from my birthday party. A certain local Mexican restaurant has a specialty called a cazuela, which translates roughly into "soup bowl full of rum and triple-sec." My birthday dinner was at that restaurant. Mistakes were made.

I did not ride Dec. 19 because of my birthday party (phase 2). Friends who did not make it to the Saturday birthday party invited Brian and me out for dinner and drinks. And it was my birthday, after all.

Today is Dec. 20, and I don't anticipate seeing Blue until the 23rd. I have made peace with that. One byproduct of age is accepting that you can't be everything to everyone. Right now, I can't be a gung-ho conditioning buddy. The past two weeks have been swallowed up in overtime, holiday parties, birthday festivities, nasty weather, and all the other effluvia of wintertime. So Blue got a little break, and I got a little older, and we're both OK. 

Also, I'll be making up for it. My office is closed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 2, and I plan to spend as many of those days riding as the weather will allow. I got an absolute STEAL on a Kuda MasterFlex on eBay over the weekend, and it should be here in time for my vacation.

All in all, things are shaping up nicely.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dickensian Weather

...External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge...

...No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him...

...No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty...

   Foul weather didn't know where to have him. 

The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.  They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house.  It was cold, bleak, biting weather...

...foggy withal...

...and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them...

...The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already—it had not been light all day...

...and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air...

...The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms...

...To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.