Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

If you find me on the ground, drag me across the finish line!

So this link was sooo relevant to the usual state of my vehicles AND very impressive so I had to share: Dirty Car Art Enjoy!

And now to our regularly scheduled program...

Some of you are aware that earlier this year I set a rather stupid random "run 5K" goal. What *was* I thinking?!?! Sheesh. Anyways -- wanting to follow through on this goal I decided this was the ideal time to do so -- show season's winding down, not yet cold and miserable, and I don't have my own barn yet so not insanely busy. All good. And me being me decided just being able to run 5K around Glen Abbey wasn't going to be good enough, so I signed up for a race. A small one right?

Yeah, you're not new here, you know I of course picked the biggest race I could find. hahaha totally unintentionally of course. Only 20,000+ people involved. Sheesh.

My dad, upon hearing of my foolish goal, offered up "if you actually do it, I'll go with you" (he who has been running for about three years now and actually *knows* he can do 5k). hahaha I don't think he expected I'd actually go through w/ it, but when I sent him the E saying "I signed up for this if you want to come . . . " he did. Which was good cause way better to have company in all the waiting around before :)

So Friday night after work I go to pick up my race package @ the Direct Energy Centre. Of course there's a runner's show on at the same time so after I get my package and my tshirt and my waterbottle (not sure *why* that was 3 separate lineups, but as there weren't a ton of people there it was all good :) I wander around the booths. Not planning to continue running most of it was just interesting to look at -- BUT I did find a perfect cell-phone-sized carrier for going XC. hahaha been looking for one for ages, never occurred to me the runners would have the same issues. So was pretty happy about that.

Sunday rolls around and leave stupidly early (7:30 :) to head downtown. Park at the end of the race and catch a bus to the start (how sad is that? There just seems something wrong about a shuttle bus at a race!) End up at the start fairly early so head down to Lakeshore to watch the half-marathoners who were running through right about then. hahaha and the first groups were STILL going faster than I was planning too. Ah well.

Go to the corral -- waaayyy at the back of the pack and wait our turn. 4 mins after the "official" start of the race, I crossed the start line (yeah little computer chip on the running shoes that gives exact times :)

Here's where we went:



hahaha yeah us! Was kinda kewl though to go slowly through places where I'm usually stressed cause I'm sitting in traffic or flying cause there's no traffic :)

So it turns out I do *much* better with a big race. hahaha I had no inclination to race, per say, but I'm just competitive enough that I don't like being passed :) So finished the first km w/o any effort at all -- I was still trying to get up to a group going the pace I wanted to go at that point (apparently I started in a slower corral than necessary). At two km was feeling like I usually do at one so was reasonably happy w/ that. Took a walk break at the drink section, and by far found kms 3-4 the hardest. It was brutal. It also included the only uphill though so that may be directly related *g* hahaha. Starting at 500m from the finish there were flags every 100m which made the "just keep running" thing soooo much easier.

Anyways -- yes I survived. Total time was 30mins and 55seconds. N I was pretty happy w/ that, I gotta admit :) Even more impressive is that I wasn't sore the next day! Woohoo!

And now I can move on to way more fun things in life :)

Flash Fiction #6 - Business 101

Stuck to reality this time. Can't imagine why? hahaha I think maybe a trip back to Jezina’s world is called for sometime soon :) In the meantime . . .

---
Business 101

Her eyes wandered, oh so discretely checking the clock on the far wall. Jacob caught her eye and smirked, knowing exactly what she’d been doing and wishing he’d chosen a seat on an angle that would let him do the same. She smiled slightly in acknowledgment and forced herself to focus on the team meeting.

This lasted just long enough to realize they were still arguing – sorry debating – over the stupidest little details. She really just couldn’t bring herself to care whether it was a semi-colon or a period between those two phrases.

She wondered idly if these people sitting around the table really cared or if it was just something to do to kill time and feel important. Cathy was arguing vehemently for the elegance of the semi-colon, while Peter felt the period made for a much stronger statement; Alison left them to their discussion and retreated to her own world.

She forced a tiny portion of her mind to stay at the meeting which enabled her to nod at appropriate times while she enjoyed a detailed and thoroughly appealing daydream involving a tropical island beach and a scantily clad cabana boy. Just as it was getting good and she was working to keep from smiling and giving herself away, her reality was rudely interrupted by the sound of her own name.

“Alison, what do you think?”

“I try really hard not to.” was the immediate response from the daydreaming side of her brain; fortunately for her, the small piece that had been left to supervise the meeting kicked in and substituted “I firmly believe it’s critical we resolve this issue in a way that is most consistent with our global marketing strategy.” She held her breath for that moment of anxiety while she waited to see if her complete non-answer made any sense in the context of whatever they’d been discussing.

“Alison’s absolutely correct!” her boss stated emphatically much to her relief and Jacob’s disgust. Jacob was Alison’s peer and the only person in the room who both got how ridiculous the whole corporate culture was and yet still made a genuine effort. And because of this he bitterly resented her natural rhetorical abilities that enabled her to daydream the meeting away and provide respected answers while he had to stay fully engaged and would still never be asked his opinion.

Two painful hours later the meeting wrapped up with all parties convinced important decisions had been made. Jacob had pages of notes; Alison had a scribbled drawing of a beach umbrella. He caught up with her as she was clearing her desk to go home.

“So just out of curiosity, do you have even the slightest idea what went on in that meeting?” he asked, more resigned than bitter by this point. Someday, Alison acknowledged, he’d probably go far – but she was going to enjoy the trip a whole lot more.

“Of course,” Alison stated positively. And then summed up three hours they’d never get back in three words: “the period won.”

Ever heard a dog meow?

It's all about the links today...

Interesting article about a seriously effective money-making Tweet. Impressive both in what spurred it AND in that the author was quick enough to take advantage of it.

A Britan's Got Talent entry of the "don't judge a book by its cover" variety that Simon describes as "It's like a dog meowing -- it just shouldn't happen". hahaha worth a watch -- make sure your sound is on.

Sienna did XC yesterday -- woohoo!!!! hahaha she was soooo good :)

Spent part of the morning dealing w/ a drama queen. Funny how the four-legged version makes me laugh but the two-legged absolutely drive me insane. Blah.

Perfect teaching weather tonight :) Yeah!

Such a fun ride today :)

OMG had soooo much fun riding today. hahaha short version -- woohoo :) Long version -- on the GRS blog :)

Heard this line on tv and amused me enough to share:
"Can you walk while you talk?"
"You know I've never actually attempted something so complex before, but I'm a quick learner."

hahaha ok so maybe not that funny but it was well delivered :)

Very tired. Have not been sleeping well; sleeping a lot (comparatively) but in like 2h increments. Would rather sleep less and straight through *sigh*

So my FB hasn't been working right since last week... Anybody else?

Typing this on a tiny little computer that I just realized has no spell check. hahaha scary how reliant we become on that! But given the whole tired thing I'm not about to type anything worth checking. Afraid brilliance is beyond me tonight. Or possibly every night :)

Alright I'm off to try and sleep... Really was an amazing ride :)

GRS goes . . . Western???

So I did my first "official" 5K run on Sat -- it was a casual one in preparation for the "real" one next weekend. And then I'm done :)

Anyways this was fairly entertaining -- was put on by a group of highschool students raising money for World Vision (which I've been donating to over the last few years) so that was a convenient plus. They had mini cheering squads parked at strategic locations around the course -- and I have to admit it made a difference :) It'd be really hard to give in and take a walk break while somebody's cheering at you to keep going *g* And of course there *had* to be a comment about crossing the finish line smiling. Sheesh. I would be that person. Did have to laugh though -- as I crossed the finish line the song on the loud speaker was chanting "that which don't kill me will make me stronger/ Gotta hurry up now..." hahaha omg could the lyrics been any more apt? But even better was the guy w/ the mic singing Dory-style "just keep run-ning, just keep run-ning". Ok so I'm easily amused. What can I say? Was impressed by the number of parents there w/ fairly little kids. Most were doing the 1k version but there was a 7yo doing the 5k. Thought that was pretty impressive :)

So after that went and rode two horses and taught a bunch of lessons. Yeah little sore now *g*

Sunday was Kerri's first show this decade -- what a riot :) hahaha and superstar horsewoman that she is took Champion!!! Wooohoo!!! (great pic of her and Iroc on the GRS blog :) And has me thinking I need to switch to Western >;-P Can win lots of money and the people are more entertaining to watch at the same time :) No XC though -- that's a bit of a huge issue!

Finally updated some pics on the GRS website. Starting to set up the "student favourites" and "hall of fame" sections -- if you are or have been a student of mine and have anything for those pls pls pls send em over!!! hahaha

Bunch of other random stuff to write but gotta run now. L8r :)

Flash Fiction #5 - Reduced Price

hahaha I had fun with this one but I can hear my OAC Writer's Craft teacher banging his head against the wall as I broke rule after rule after rule. "You have to maintain tense, tone, voice throughout..." Well the original broke all three, but I edited enough to follow two of the three and as to the other one, well clearly that was intentional to make a point rather than lack of editing time :) Sorry Mr. S. >;-P

Enjoy!

-----

Reduced Price:

"Ohhh look at the dragon -- he's half price!"

"We don't need another dragon," Steve told his wife, exasperated. This was a conversation they'd had many times.

"But he'd go so well in the yard next to the bird bath!" The bird bath had been 30% off. Claire had a need to rehome the dusty, the antique, and the hideously ugly artifacts of the world, and a shopper's eye for a deal.

The storekeep seemed to realize this and stepped in to close the deal at just the right moment. Claire was excited about this find, the attention to detail in the carving was incredible, and the deep green eyes reflected light in a way that made them seem eerily alive

Within moments of arriving home, the neighbourhood children had crowded around to see the new addition. It was town legend that their garden came alive at night and many of the children would spend hours playing there talking to their "friends", afraid of the witch who haunted the back corner, and swearing that if they snuck out after bedtime everybody came to life! Steve and Claire had spent the odd night in their yard, but their adult eyes saw no signs of life beyond the one curious little rabbit who hopped through in search of dinner.

Late that night Claire heard a noise in the garden. Knowing it was nearly impossible to wake Steve, she headed down alone expecting to find the local teenagers being teenagers. She turned on the floodlights, but nobody was there. The dragon had been turned so he was facing the opposite direction -- pointing almost directly towards the wizard but everything else seemed to be in order so she turned the lights back off and went back upstairs to sleep.

To sleep and to dream.

"Do you believe in magic?" the wizard asked her.

"Of course." Claire gave the only possible answer.

"And what of good and evil?"

"ummm sure" Claire said hesitantly.

"I assure you they exist, right here in your yard. The corner witch believes people are pests to be eradicated. Only the young ones are aware of us; she feels once they loose their sight, they're useless. So she and her minions spend the depth of the nights doing what they can to disrupt your civilization. Mostly they can only cause mischief, but with the power of the moon, any she encounters can be turned to stone. Those who "vanish" are often victims of her quest, and may be found frozen as a statue for sale at any garden centre. She particularly hates and envies the young and beautiful.

The witch's power is limited by her book. If she could not read the spells housed inside it, your people would be safe. And so we spend our nights trying to destroy it."

Claire looked around her garden. Sure enough, some of her favourites -- the little cat and the giant frog for instance, were missing. The dragon was watching her intently. He seemed to be trying to communicate something to her, but it was beyond her abilities to understand. The witch was glaring at the wizard, but seemed to be paying no attention to Claire whatsoever.

"You could help us," he told her, "all you'd have to do is remove the book by daylight while she sleeps."

Claire woke with that suggestion in her mind. She told Steve about her dream, fully expected to be mocked, and was surprised when instead he took her hand and led her downstairs to his workshop where he grabbed his toolbelt before heading out to the garden. She watched as he walked directly up to the witch, raised his hammer and swung.

"NO!" Claire yelled. He stopped mid-swing, proving he'd never actually intended to follow through. "What, you mean you don't want me to destroy your statue because of a dream?" he asked her, grinning to take the sting out of his words. She glared at him and approached the statue, twisting her head so she could see the book.

"It's actually got writing in it." she announced surprised.

"It's just scratches." he said peering over her shoulder, "not actual letters."

"Still, it's more detail than I'd ever noticed before." Looking at the statue she knew what to do. Feeling rather idiotic, but knowing she'd sleep better the next night, she took a chisel from Steve and gingerly chipped away at the unknown script on the book. The statue would still look the same, but Claire's superstitious side would be appeased, and her adult side could pretend she hadn't given in to childish fears.

Late that night, long after the moon had risen, she crept back to the garden half expecting it to be alive and busy. As soon as she stepped out the door there was a flash of light that momentarily blinded her. When she could see again it was to discover she couldn't move and the wizard was walking towards her. She tried to yell, but it was as though she were in a soundproof container. She could move, speak and breathe inside the container, but nothing moved her cage.

"Oh my dear, I must thank you for your assistance in the matter with the witch. Now that you've successfully incapacitated her, I'm free to do as I wish with any of your type who venture out after dark. She was such a thorn in my side always wanting to respect the people, but thanks to you I've proven to her just how stupid they are and eliminated of any influence she ever had."

With that he tipped her over and carried her around the block to the nearest garden shop -- the one where she'd gotten him for a great price over a year ago. "This will help you find a new home soon", he said with a smirk as he hung a sign around her neck.

It read: "Reduced Price”.

A horsey post . . .

A random post for the horsey crowd that's still sticking by this blog even as it's drifted from it's purpose (thanks guys!)...

So I've been thinking recently about the benefits of XC. Over the last month I've taken three riders from H/J world out on their first ever XC run, and every single one of them came back with a stronger position and significantly more confidence. The change I've seen in them has, across the board, been amazing. And while I'd love to take credit for that (yeah a 2h private lesson can work wonders but still :) some of it has to be the activity itself. Position gets stronger because I won't let them go out w/o a solid base so some effort gets applied in the warmup *g* And then once that's done they tend to keep it. But *also* because your position has to be strong to ride up and down hills and over changing terrain. And self preservation kicks in. You ride downhill in a reasonably controlled manner and find you're losing your balance, you're going to sit up. Etc etc. Do this often enough and you'll find both your balance and your timing improving. And then of course, the confidence improves because "oh my god I jumped *that*!!!!" and suddenly you trust your horse more because well, if they jumped scary fence X, this little hunter fence is suddenly not nearly so intimidating. hahaha I'll prob write that up in a better form later -- in the interim - any other XC benefits?

Had to laugh the other day. Was chatting w/ an epitomic AA (that'd be adult amateur :) rider the other day about her show season. She's doing schooling level H/J and forever happy there. Just wants a nice safe horse that she can go out and have some fun on and the shows she attends are far more about the social environment than the actual competition. But I thought it was so perfectly summed up by this: "Why am I here? Well I put these braids in his mane. And I did a really good job. And he looks beautiful. So I wanted other people to see him." hahaha end of story. But I just thought it was sooooo perfect and so far from my own mindset that I could really appreciate it. It reminded me of N and I watching some kid riding across the finish line on XC @ Checkmate cheering and her telling me "now you should be doing that when you cross the finish line" -- n it was a great reminder of hey, this is a baby level not the Olympics and by the way, it's supposed to be FUN! Every once in a while I think we do have to step back from the competition side of things and remember why we started... And for the record -- I was grinning ear to ear by the end of the run :) Also have to say I will never again consider "nice braids" from a dr judge the kiss of death -- it will forever more translate to "have fun jumping!" hahaha

Manage to draw more strange "crazy eventer" looks from hunter land again tonight. With the sun setting so much earlier, I've moved all my lessons earlier so they can keep going -- this means I now ride my horse after dark instead of mid afternoon. Said horse has been off for the last two wks or so so it's been a non-issue, but today was to be the first real ride. I get there shortly after 8 and it's almost dark. So I tack up my pony and head outside to ride - to the serious consternation of the 6 or so hunter people all crammed into the indoor. So I go outside and proceed to have an amazing ride. And yes of course I did a safety check before I got on -- no jump cups, pylons, random poles etc scattered anywhere that we could run into/over in the dark so it was all good. The ring is flat - can't get easier terrain. AND there was even light spilling out of the indoor, so it wasn't really all that dark. Used to ride under the stars at the last barn -- that was always beyond amazing. I mean seriously -- horses have decent night vision and once they get over their natural "monsters come out at night" spookiness, they're usually just fine. And I tell ya, it takes all the distractions away. Can focus entirely on what you're feeling and what your horse is doing. And it's quiet (albeit less so where I am now, but still). And you should've seen the dressage we had happening -- I didn't realize Miss Sienna could move like that! The combo of rider entirely focused and horse entirely high made for some ummmmm interesting maneuvers Gotta admit though, this is not something I'm going to try and convince HPs to try -- not because there's anything bad or scary about it, but because I'm going to be selfish and enjoy having a nighttime ride to myself :) hahaha is that bad of me? ah well -- the secret's out -- I'm human. Mostly.

Night!

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. ~Woody Allen

"Could you draw me a picture?" -- how many of you have project meetings with this as a standard request? hahaha had one yesterday (brutal but got through it) where I swear the guys went through half a sketch pad trying to explain to each other what they were talking about. Eventually got it sorted out, but I was seriously starting to feel like I was in a warped version of pictionary for a while there. Was fairly entertaining though -- it is definitely a fun place to work.

Perfectly gorgeous weather out. And I'm inside. And my horse isn't sound. I have to admit I'm less than thrilled about this whole scenario. *sigh* But such is life -- at the moment :) I *did* find a barn. Excellent location, everything I need... Now just need to find the finances to make said farm my own *g* Minor technical detail. But tis fun to dream and to plan...

So I have homework again. hahaha classic eh? Ah well -- at least it's all directly related to GraduateRidingSchool - might be the first course I've ever taken that has actual, immediate, practical applications! I feel old though -- I'm like 10 yrs older than anybody else in my class. Sheesh. And in direct contrast to that -- Latin starts back up again in about 2 wks. Not the group I actually wanted, but it might get me going again until the group I want starts up. And I'm def not the oldest one in that class >;-P The trick will be to do those *and* Friday Flash Fiction. Methinks I'm rapidly running out of time again.

Back to School :)

Ugh tired today. Very very tired.

Found this website somewhat entertaining: Wilderness Survival -- too many ads but interesting concept. I aced the quiz, but honestly it wasn't rocket science. Between girl guides a lifetime ago and common sense it was passable. hahaha

So school begins this week :) hahaha unfortunately school for me is online this time around so I don't actually get to go anywhere or talk to anybody, but still the general concept is good *g*

This blog appeared on somebody else's blog the other day - complete w/ picture. hahaha I was pretty amused at that. From the person who organizes the Friday Flash Fiction (ugh I'm still not happy w/ my last one -- some days Friday comes way too fast), talking about the iTouch and iPhone and it just happened that this was the site he was looking at when he took the picture *g* Anyways, it's here if you're interested.

Pony's *almost* sound. Sigh. Hopefully soon. It's been a looonnnngggg two weeks :(

Off for now.

Flash Fiction #4 - Garden of Eden

Actually stuck to the rules this week :) And then promptly forgot to post! hahaha ah well, it's still Friday. Enjoy!

-----
Garden of Eden:

"Hello . . . “ she called loudly; the second time today she had done so. The only voice to answer was her own, reverberating off the canyon walls. She hadn’t expected any differently. She acknowledged her disappointment as a sign she still maintained hope – no matter how slight.

Even the predatory animals considered the sweltering afternoon heat too oppressive, so with that in mind she returned to the cave that had become home. As she lay down for her afternoon siesta she allowed her mind to wander to what used to be. She was strict with herself – such thoughts were only allowed for a few minutes each day and always at midday when she could at least console herself with “if I were home I’d be at work now, and really, I’d much rather take a nap.”

It was small consolation, but one of the little things that helped her survive. “I hope you made it back,” she said quietly to the memory of the last person she ever spoke to.

She and Chris had gone up together that day – as they so often did. Both were competitive skydivers and Chris also a pilot. A normal day like so many others they’d spent together, they decided to fly over the Garden of Eden – one of Liz’s favourite locations. In the arid desert, the lush green of the canyon always struck her as mythical.

The canyon had never been fully explored – aerial views only showed a thick canopy where logically no trees should be growing. Ground expeditions were always turned back – although the reasons changed each time. But mostly, it hadn’t been explored because there seemed to be no practical, that is to say moneymaking, reason to do so. But Liz liked it better that way; she really didn’t want to know. Its inaccessibility was part of its allure; the mystery of the unknown allowed her romantic side to daydream.

That Sunday the sky was clear when they took off in Chris’ old Cessna 172P. Both had their rigs – they would land at the base for practice after their flight. They had not been speaking while coasting over the valley – both lost in their own thoughts. The plane shook violently for no apparent reason and the look on Chris’ face went from relaxed to intensely focused in an instant. When he looked at her, Liz felt fear that the jolt had only barely kindled. He summed it up succinctly. He had no control; the plane was gong to crash. They would ride it out as far towards the edge of the valley as they could, and then jump. Liz quickly strapped into her rig, before taking the controls to allow him to do the same. Despite several requests, he’d never let her fly before – the thought that he would never let her live down the fact that her first flight crashed wafted through her brain as her somewhat morbid sense of humour warred with her sense of panic.

Chris would hold the plane and Liz would jump first; they were nowhere near the edge of the valley, but there was no time. He would exit as soon as she was clear. With a quick “fingers crossed” Liz leapt out of the too-quickly moving plane over the thick canopy of trees, trying to figure where it’d hurt least to land. A few moments, it seemed like a lifetime, later she saw Chris exit just after the plane started an abrupt nosedive.

Breaking through the canopy left Liz with scrapes and bruises but amazingly nothing seriously broken. For the first few days she fought her way through the valley she no longer thought of as Eden with a single-minded purpose of getting out. Getting home. Calling constantly to Chris, she never got a response. She climbed up as high as she could in the trees, but her cell phone never got a single bar of service. Even so she continually dialed 911 in the hopes that just maybe it’d work. “Everywhere coverage” she muttered the slogan to herself. "Yeah, everywhere but where you need it." The nearest multi-coloured bird chirped its agreement.

After a couple of days of endless work hacking through the bushes with her bare hands for little distance gained she was exhausted. So when she discovered the cave, she opted to stay there – at least for a while.

Nothing in her life had prepared her for this. Certainly not her expensive education – although, as her mother had so often asked, what *did* a phD in philosophy really prepare her for? So far all it had provided was brief entertainment as she remembered first year’s discussion of the Allegory of the Cave while watching the shadows stroll across her cave walls. She was fit and strong but had next to no useful survival skills. She knew very few plants and little idea what to eat. She thought she was being so careful, but one very bad experience with red peas left her fever ridden, violently ill and unable to eat anything for days. She dragged herself to the creek she had found and stayed there, immobile, drinking whenever she woke, till it passed. After that experience she stuck to the foods she knew. A limited diet, but one that kept her alive.

Over time her days became divided between survival necessities, and continuing to expand her trail. One day she’d think she was getting somewhere and the next she’d feel it was a complete waste of time. After her first meltdown when she did nothing but cry for days and her thoughts started to scare her, she began to force herself to continue regardless of her mood. And so her days settled into a routine, where her three daily calls for help took on an almost ceremonial roll rather than a practical one.

Therefore she was entirely stunned when, just as she was drifting off into her siesta, she was certain she heard an answering call on the wind.

“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.” - Oscar Wilde

So remember how I said I know when I've pushed it too far? Yeah I got there yesterday *g* hahaha Not actually as far as I'd thought as I was fine today, but walking home after my run... Well you know when you've been trying to load a horse who's not afraid but doesn't want to get on the trailer -- eventually you pick the first foot up and put it down on the ramp, move over and pick up the next foot etc etc... That's pretty well how I felt - lift leg up, swing leg forward, put leg down. Rinse and repeat. Can we say excessive amount of lactic acid? *sigh* Ah well. On the plus side -- I did 4 of the 5km running. Half k walk break after the first and third km. No nausea this time so I was pretty thrilled about that. 4 more running days till I decide whether I can do the earlier of the two possible runs. I'm thinking it should be ok... But we shall see. Have to get rid of those walk breaks in there but should be ok. hahaha oh comeon we know realism isn't my thing :)

Miss Sienna's been off for a wk now :( Abscess. Not tragic, just enough to kill the last of the nice riding weather. Boooo.

The guys at work have been playing w/ the "I Am T-Pain" ap on the iPhone. Sort of entertaining to listen to :) This one is used to make people "good" singers -- in that it takes whatever sound it's given and either raises or lowers it to the closest true pitch. A variation of that used for actual singers for years to perfect their albums but taken to a whole new level w/ people who really can't sing at all. Think karaoke perfected *g* Except that if you're bad enough it doesn't know exactly what tone to match and you end up w/ a funky robotic voice... hahaha I guess the point is to sing along to select songs, but here they were just making stuff up as they went along.

So I've been reading a book that I'm currently drawn in with the same horrendous fascination that causes people to watch train wrecks. Just had to share this sample of the best of the worst. Premise, guy's leaving on an adventure, girl is bored and wants to join:
"'Probably the kind of adventure that ends in a mass burial.'
That quieted her down a little bit. But after a while, she said: 'Do you need transportation? Tools? Stuff?'
'Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs,' I said. 'We have a protractor.'
'Okay, I'll go home and see if I can scrounge up a ruler and a piece of string.'"

hahahaha ok so the alien starship was bad enough (I mean really??? Hasn't that been done?) but fighting them off w/ a protractor... hahaha love it. And her response is just about perfect :) Just amused me enough to share. Don't know if I'll make it through said book or not, but I'm almost determined to try now...

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise. ~P.Z. Pearce

So this wknd was OHTA champs, and for the first time in recent memory, I didn't go. Sienna had qualified (of course :) but I decided she wasn't ready -- and just as well since she ended up w/ a stone bruise on Fri and was off all wknd booooo... And all my competitive students moved back to uni this wknd (the nerve :). So yeah, seemed very strange to not be involved, but such is life. Next year :)

Back to school time -- it's been a while but still seems so wrong not to be going back. I so miss it. hahaha ah well -- I'm a geek what can I say :) My mum found some of my grandmother's old uni English textbooks from the 40s, which of course have all the same works I studied but w/ her notes scribbled in the margins. Was very kewl to look through. She didn't write nearly as many notes as I did though *g* Her textbooks don't have cheater footnotes :)

I *am* going to take one course. Online though so not nearly as much fun, but sobeit. A business course -- I figure given my current plans I should probably have at least the basics... It doesn't start till next week though. Would love to be taking a med lit course. hahaha or even social history. Ah well - maybe next year. hahaha maybe I'll start latin again. I liked the course I was trying last time that I dropped to go to Denny's (priorities people :)

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember the 30 things in 30 years -- and the post that started it all. Well one of those things was "run 5k". Fred only knows what I was thinking, but sobeit. Anyways, I've had it in the back of my mind that this month is probably the ideal time to do that. Once I get my farm, time will be a non-existent luxury, the weather's not too bad (cause let's face it, I'm not going to be dedicated enough to deal w/ bad weather), and I'm reasonably fit going in. So on Sat I did a 1k run (and by run I mean jog :) in w/ all my various hiking about, just to see... No problem. Was easy enough to do, no shortness of breath, all good. Ok that's a good start. hahaha till I woke up on Sunday! Quads were screaming. Which could be an issue as my riding coach already complains I use my quads too much -- making them stronger prob isn't the best idea! hahaha yet another reason *not* to run.

So anyways -- normal life and the fact that I don't like to do the same exercise two days in a row left Sunday off and Monday I tried again, thinking this time I'd push it a bit and see. Plan was to walk to my measured area (about 3k) run 2k, walk 1, run 1, walk home. Reasonable right? Intervals and all that. hahaha yeah evidently not so much. Ran the first 2 no problem, except that while I did the friendly jog for the first k, I actually put some effort into it on the 2nd. Quads stopped hurting almost right away so that was a serious plus. And really the 2k (now I know some of you are not even getting started at that point! But for me, who never runs more than a XC course, this was a reasonable distance) didn't seem too bad. A little short of breath but not really puffing - certainly not as bad as a serious step class! No the tricky part was about 2 blocks into my walk km when I got hit by an overwhelming bout of nausea. Now *that* was not fun. Google later informed me that I was probably dehydrated and/or "pushed too hard" hahaha however, having actually been guilty of the later a *few* times, I know this wasn't the case. So I ended up walking 1.5km cause it took that long to feel human again and then just jogging the last .5. There's a 5k run on the 19th (ummm less than 2 wks... All the training programs seem to take 10... No problem :) or another one the first wknd in Oct. Targeting the first, willing to do the 2nd if necessary. And run may be redefined to accept "jog" hahaha but then I can cross it off the list and be done w/ it! On the plus side, not the least bit sore today so evidently the quads have adapted. Try yesterday's plan again tomorrow w/ a bottle of water included!

We shall see. Two weeks and it'll be done. And I'll be into class :) And a month after that nano starts. hahaha so much for an easy season. I AM already leaving in the morn before the sun rises and coming home in the aft after it sets. It seems way too early in the year for that. I'm still waiting for summer :(

Alright off to work w/ me. In the dark. Sheesh.

Flash Fiction #3 - What if?

Hahaha ok so I promised this one would be shorter and it is. Still not quite to 1000, but closer. Since the first draft was close to 5000, I’m pretty impressed by the brutal editing employed. Very different tone from the last one. Enjoy :) N thanks for reading!

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What if?

You ever have one of those days where you really should've stayed in bed? Well my day definitely started out that way -- but if it hadn't, my life would never have taken the fantastic turn it did.

So it started as all my weekdays do, with the rather annoying Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. of my alarm clock. The covers felt so heavy I couldn't possibly lift them.

The next time I woke it was nearly an hour later and I was late for my job as an unappreciated secretary. I dashed out the door into the rain praying traffic was over and I could get there quickly.

That is, until I turned the key in the ignition. Click. Try it again, holding firm to the fool's hope that the same stimulus will create a different response. And once again I was rewarded with a resolute "click".

At the mechanic’s I settled into wait. I offered a brief smile to the elderly lady in the other available chair to which she nodded in response. There was an ancient TV playing in the corner of the room, but no sound and the people all had a sort of green tinge to them.

Moments later my internal muttering was interrupted by the elderly lady handing me something before going to claim her vehicle. I had a moment's thought of my long-past grandmother before I took a closer look at what I'd been given. A piece of paper and a box of crayons? Bemused I opened the box -- sure enough a Crayola 8-pack, just like in kindergarten.

It was just odd enough that it lightened my mood despite my grumpy intentions. And like most adults, there's still a child in me and that child wanted to draw with crayons.

So I took out the green crayon and started to draw a tree. Everybody can draw a tree. And next a black cat, sitting under the tree. And with the yellow I made a big smiley sun. All the pretty colours drew a rainbow, under which I drew the requisite pot of gold, with a single flower growing out of it. Starting to feel rather proud of my artwork (which looked like something the average five-year-old might present proudly to his mother), I got braver in my drawing. Off to one side of the page, far away from my smiling sun, I drew a gravestone, and buried under the grave was my poor dead car. Particularly artistic I thought.

When the mechanic returned, I rapidly stuffed my art in my bag, suddenly embarrassed by my childish entertainment. As I had dreaded, the prognoses was not good. I left, on foot, trying to figure out where I was going to get the money for a new car. The old one was evidently not going to drive me anywhere again. The only good thing was that the sun had come out so at least I wasn't hiking in the rain.

I walked the few blocks to the local used car lot, absently stopping to right a flowerpot that had been blown over near the entrance. Stuck under it was an already scratched and discarded lottery ticket; looking at it, I was surprised to see one box still unscratched. I dug out a penny and scratched that last box, figuring it was a waste of time, but hey somebody always wins -- why not me? The remaining square revealed a treasure box. Flipped the card over to read the rules - a diamond was $5, a tree was $50, a rainbow was $500, a flower was $5000, and a treasure chest was $50,000. In stunned disbelief I flipped the card back, sure enough the treasure chest was still staring at me. Turned it over again and read through all the fine print nobody ever reads. Skill testing question, 1 in 10,000 odds of winning, not legal in Quebec, blahblahblah.

My mind rushed over the options faster than you can imagine, while at the same time cautioning myself not to get too excited about the impossible. Five k would go towards buying another vehicle, and trust me a 5k vehicle is a significant step up than anything I've ever driven! The rest, however, would be startup funds so I could open a flower shop and get out of that horrendous office.

I turned away from the used car lot and walked to the convenience store. Trying for nonchalance, I held it under the self-check lottery scanner. Winner!

As crazy as this day was becoming, I still had to go to work. It took everything I had not to tell everybody there. Instead I stole a few moments to google prize claim instructions, and otherwise moaned appropriately about the death of my car, arranged a ride home from a co-worker, and generally did everything my mindless job required throughout the rest of the day.

At lunch time I adopted a kitten. I know, random eh? But the SPCA was doing an adoptathon in the yard, and this one had personality. It wouldn't have anything to do with anybody else but when I walked by it mewed w/ a slightly demanding tone, and, well, how can you ignore a cat that seems to have an almost human expression?

By the time I got home he'd been named BK for, you got it, Black Kat. He and I both knew that using a C was just entirely too mundane for such a distinguished being. I took BK in, let him out of his cardboard box and watched him explore his new home before emptying my purse of the crayons and image from the morning. It was then that I realized I had drawn my day entirely. From the death of my car, to finding the pot of gold under a flower -- even BK had a place in the drawing.

I looked at the crayons rather suspiciously. Surely it was just a fluke that everything I had drawn had come true, but the little "what if" trigger was going in my brain. What if I COULD draw a future? I could draw my garden shop. I could draw my friends their dreams. I could draw peace... hmmm well actually I can't draw at all so probably best to stay away from abstract concepts, but I'm sure I could draw food for starving countries... I picked up the crayon -- no harm in trying right? Just as I was putting crayon to paper, BK hopped up on the table and started knocking them off one at a time. Smiling at the kitten's antics I reached down to retrieve them, but I must've held one wrong because it snapped, and the sound of it startled me because it sounded wrong. Then it was there again. Beep. Ugh, alarm clock. Beep. Beep. Enough already. I rolled over and hit snooze, disappointed that it had all been a dream.

But then I felt the bed move... What??? I sat up, instantly awake, only to see BK stop kneading the blankets and look up at me curiously.

The tragic death of the beast...

So yesterday was just a comedy of errors... I should really have stayed in bed.

First I ran out of OJ. Certainly not a tragedy on any scale, but really it set the tone for the day. The top I wanted to wear was in the laundry. Stupid stuff like that. Get to work to find somebody having a meltdown about something dumb. etc etc. Work day got better as it went along except that I didn't have time to eat my lunch, but such is life. Try to get changed to go to the barn and realize I forgot a t-shirt. Great, get to ride in work clothes. Ugh. Go to the barn to get Sienna for dressage lesson and for once she's *not* coated head to tail in mud. Woohoo. Beast is cooking so I roll down all the windows. Well all except one -- evidently it doesn't feel like opening today. Sheesh. That was the first sign. Get horse loaded and off we go and window randomly decides to open again so all is well. I did give brief thought to the fact that if it didn't close I'd be a little toasted, but fortunately it seemed willing to cooperate.

Forgot my whip and lost one of my spurs. How do you lose ONE spur??? Is it with the single shoe on the highway? Seriously. N of course my extra set are too serious to wear on Sienna (baby spurs people -- as in ankle jewelry -- but it does make a difference). So M to the rescue, leant me both (although I was entirely willing to suck it up and go w/o). And those of you who know me at all will know that being unprepared for a lesson drive me insane (on either end!). I'm always compulsively early and have everything you could ever need or want w/ me. So again, not such a great start. Lesson went well -- M got decent results from what she was given to work w/. Miss Sienna was definitely not interested in participating in the day's activities. Sux too since we've actually been doing reasonably good dressage lately, but such is life eh? Despite all my smart-ass anti-dr comments I do actually enjoy the sport and so would rather not waste my coach's time *g* But evidently some days it's unavoidable.

Cool out and untack horse, put her back on the trailer. Sienna has been out so much in the last few weeks that loading and unloading is essentially a non-issue now. I'd really like it to stay that way. Put all my stuff back in the truck and close the doors and BANG. What? Yeah -- one window wouldn't open, well now another door wouldn't close. Just a solid crash and back open it comes. Argh. I couldn't make this up! Poked around at the latch a bit (as if I have any idea what I'm doing) and open the other one to compare... W/ the aid of a screwdriver and some funky timing (had to lift handle and apply screwdriver at the same time -- don't ask where we came up w/ that, but it worked) we managed to get the door close. I didn't bother to open that door again. Which will rapidly be a pita as that's the "people side" as in the back seat that's actually a seat as opposed to a traveling tack box. But that's their problem >;-P

So finally ready to go, start truck and . . . nothing. Dead. Smell of gas. Start truck again. Still nothing, but this time could literally hear the gas pouring onto the driveway (M's nice new paved driveway -- so very sorry about that!). You have *got* to be kidding me. So call CAA to come get the beast and tow it somewhere. Unload horse, unhook truck from trailer. Brief discussion over whether tis easier to leave horse there and come get her later or for my super-amazing coach to drive her all the way home. Which she decided to do so load pony into her trailer (which is significantly larger than mine. hahaha Sienna felt she could turn around when it was time to unload -- had to suggest that perhaps wasn't the *best* solution.). By this point it's dark and late. Blah. Take Si home and meet up w/ puzzled barn owner who was beginning to wonder where we'd ended up "longest dressage lesson ever!". Did think enough to grab my bridle and my brushes out of the truck so still good to go for today. Albeit I definitely considered just not getting out of bed this morning. Sheesh.

Everyday strangers and other oddities

So was a XC weekend this weekend :) And what a blast. Those stories are on the GRS blog for those looking for horse stories :) I'm *still* grinning from that ride. Prob just as well that Sienna'll have today off and dressage tomorrow :)

I've been pretty excited about the response to my latest attempt at FFF. I'm loving the debate going on in the comments section about whether or not she survived and whether or not the story should be continued. Amazing to me that people are that interested in a world that exists only in my mind *g* Of course I have absolutely *no* idea what I'm supposed to write for this Friday, but I guess time will tell :) hahaha It's a reasonably safe bet though that it won't involve Jezina or the world on either side of the boundary. Sorry guys :) Maybe someday, but not this week! She seems to want her story told though so I don't know... Maybe nano? We shall see...

Our phone @ work today was picking up random phone conversations. We decided we've been downgraded to the partyline. And disturbing too -- quite eerie to pick up the phone and randomly hear somebody else's conversation.

hahaha got sent this blog that might appeal to some readers -- esp those of my father's generation *g* http://crabbyoldfart.wordpress.com/ Enjoy!

*impressive rant deleted* -- you should've seen it, eloquent, well written... Sheer brilliance really :) Deleted to protect the guilty. Was fun to write though even if I really shouldn't publish it :)

So I was thinking the other day about everyday strangers. That'd be all the people we pass in our lives but never really connect with. There's a guy who drives a jeep that has several bumper stickers on it. Said stickers caught my attention one day so I noticed the jeep. Then a couple days later I noticed it again "hey, there's that jeep again" says my really intelligent inner self (yeah I'm usually a little slow at that time of day). Over the following weeks I discovered that about three days a week I was on the highway w/in 2 cars of this jeep and that we both get off at the same exit. Clearly on close to the same schedule at least for that part of the day! This is not somebody I know. Not somebody I'm ever likely to know, but for a few hours a week, every week, our lives are related. And how many other less distinctive vehicles are the same day in and day out? Or the guy who sits on the porch across the street from my office. Almost all day, every day. Our very own neighbourhood watch. Him I wave to as I go in and out of the building *g* but really, what's the story? I would love to have sufficient time to sit around all day every day, but you can bet it wouldn't be spent sitting around! hahaha

There's a saying that the only truly qualified riding instructor is a horse. Well fortunately for me most students don't understand their language so hence I have a job as interpreter *g*. That being said, sometimes they make their point far far better than I ever could. The other day I had a student who did something ridiculously dumb. This is not a novice rider who didn't know better, she knew what she was doing and just wasn't thinking. And as I saw her going to do it I was saying "that's a *really* bad idea" and by the time I had "idea" out rider was sitting on the ground and horse was calmly trotting away laughing. And those who think horses don't laugh haven't met any real schoolies. Since the rider was perfectly fine I couldn't help but be amused -- it was so well timed. "You did kinda deserve that you know." (to which I'm sure those watching were utterly appalled at my lack of sympathy) "Yeah I know" she says as she brushes the dirt off and heads across the ring to go reclaim her horse. Was such a classic "stupid *should* hurt" moment -- and fortunately only hurt her pride. Was enough that she didn't make that mistake again though. Horses are definitely the best teachers, but they're also the hardest!