Here there be dragons...

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

No Vacancy in Paradise

Apparently there's no vacancy in paradise. I was very sad to discover this, but such is life. Booo. hahaha ah well - we're pretty close here anyways. Had breakfast at the same yummy breakfast place and then headed out towards Lake Louise. Took the scenic route - route 1A. Seriously. Route 1 is the Trans-Canada highway. Couldn't they have come up with a *slightly* more creative name *g* Anyways -- our friendly ParksCanada friends have created E areas -- I was guessing E meant Educational, but turns out it actually stands for Exhibit. hahaha
Getting that perfect photo :)
Regardless - areas (many of them scenic) with signs with information tidbits. Some about the immediate area, some about the history, some about the animals. Credit to Parks Canada for these - felt like having a tour guide along and we now know all sorts of arguably useless but moderately interesting info that could someday win us $ on Jeopardy *g* From the use of fire as a regenerant to Canadian internment camps during the first world war and the 1913 depression (1913 depression? The only one I'd ever heard of was 1929? So much for my knowledge of Can history *sigh*) to migratory and feeding habits of animals. Made the drive fairly entertaining (as much from watching for and locating the signs as what the signs actually said!)
@ Castle Mountain E
So then we got to Lake Louise and snagged a parking spot. The lake was, obviously, stunning. The colour of the water almost surreal - even after seeing rivers like that all week. N the glacier at the top center finalizes the picture. There were a fair number of tourists here so we left them and headed up the trail to the Lake Angus Tea House. "Up" in that sentence is very literal. 367 m (1,204 ft) in 3.4km. Some amazing views. I think Mum was finding the hike a little intense, but she made it :) About 3/4 of the way up was Mirror Lake. The same turquoise colour but still enough to reflect the surrounding mountains. From there there were two ways to get to the Tea House. We (accidentally!) picked the steepest one. Classic eh? Quite challenging but made for some interesting photos :) We finally made it to Lake Angus and the Tea House. Have to wonder at the business plan that puts a restaurant in a location completely inaccessible by vehicle with no running water and no power. hahaah but they were doing good (cash only! Would be good to know *before* hiking up the mountain!) business. Crazy expensive -- although no real sense to their pricing (ie PB&J sandwich: $8.75. HUGE slice of Apple Crisp: $6.) but what we had was good. The staff live up there (I was wondering about the commute and that was the answer :) in tiny cabins with no modern conveniences. And not a whole lot to do other than work. The lake is a few deg above 0 (apparently never passes 10) so swimming is out. But to each their own :) We hiked down the easy trail -- much faster than the way up, but we were ready to finish by the time we got back to the car (I say we w/ reasonable confidence, but Mum's welcome to post her own blog story if she wants :) A quick detour for ice cream. Mmmmmm ice cream... and then we were off back to Banff. Stopped at a couple of the Es we'd missed on the way in and otherwise just enjoyed the incredible scenery on the way back. They take "Scenic Route" to a whole new level here. And when we hit an "animal jam" -- that'd be where people stop on the side of the road to look at wildlife -- I have to admit we did exactly what we shouldn't and pulled over in front of the other cars. Getting out, I asked the guy in the car behind me what it was. "A baby bear" he told me. Hmmmmm where there's a baby, there's a mother. But I really wanted to see... So staying on the appropriate side of the road from where he appeared to be, I scanned where the others seemed to be pointing cameras and eventually saw him! Sooooo cute! But when he moved... Fast! I don't know if it actually was a baby or not. I only snapped one shot -- too busy actually watching. hahaha Was pretty awesome to see. I'm still grinning. I think I should buy a plush bear to commemorate *g*
There really is a bear here!
Anyways the rest of the drive was gorgeous of course (how much fun would commuting be if the 401 looked like this?) but nothing to top the bear. Anyways - time for dinner! Later.

There just *might've* been skating in hell today...

What an amazing day! Started with a very tasty breakfast next door. mmmmmmm raspberry pancakes! Then we took a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. We were really early so no lines and no crowds. Amazing views. Which we followed with a hike to the old weather station and even MORE spectacular views. I love the shadows of the fluffy clouds on the mountains. Very kewl. N you could see the highway we were on yesterday far below.
Some parts of the trail were rather steep!
So after our gondola and our hike we chilled for a bit and then went for another hike *g* We followed a path that was fairly entertaining, if a little precarious in places, only to get 3/4 of the way along and find a "danger" sign for people coming the other direction. hahaha which of course we promptly ignored and continued following our interesting trail. I'm not sure whether I'm corrupting my mother r I've inherited that tendency from her! hahaha I'm highly entertained by the various signs around the area. Far more entertaining than the ones @ home. N some fo the graffiti on them makes me laugh.
The graffiti here reads: "Head First Dives Only!" and "No walking with sticks!"
So this evening we went for a trail ride and cowboy dinner. Note I said "we". Yes that's right. My mother who the first horse I've ever seen her willingly go near is Sienna, actually agreed to go trail riding. It was a HUGE group. A bus-load of Aussi's and a few miscellaneous tourists. The horses were, of course, of the "may as well be a stuffed toy" variety. Incredibly quiet. I was on Diablo -- a 15.2ish square tank. hahahha HUGE bone -- could probably easily have carried 3 of me. Both a breastplate and a crupper gives you an idea as to his shape. Mum rode Pablo, who was a little slimmer and quickly proved himself to be a saint. Just about right :) We had perfect weather and of course stunning scenery. M & R you would've loved this hack -- Rocky Mountains certainly put any hills in our area to shame! hahaha And the cowboy dinner? Very yummy. Steak, baked potatoes, beans, ceaser salad, and a variety of deserts (I had a raspberry crumble creation).
Camera Wars!
And then on the way back, we wandered past four elk hangin out in a football field. Two were tagged, two were not. Apparently the wolves won't come near people if they can avoid it, so the elk come hang out to avoid being prey. hahaha reasonable of them *g* Since this was right at the end of the trail, after I dropped the horse off I came back to see and take pics. Was amazing how close I could get. N very kewl to watch the herd dynamic as one stood guard, one paid attention, and the other two chilled. Anyways -- took just a *few* pics today. Later!

White Water Rafting Adventures

We went for dinner last night and they had a special wine, which Mum ordered. Well the waitress (who had a great NZ accent) came back and rather sheepishly said they were out. Mum naturally questioned this, how can you be out of the special? Esp as it was reasonably early in the eve. She thinks about it for half a second and then says "This is me being honest with you. They're not really out, what actually happened is they lost the key to the fridge where the special wine is." hahaha which I thought was just too funny -- but way better than simply being out. Apparently not all the wine is kept in the same fridge though as Mum was able to have a glass of something less-special. But the story amused me regardless :) Today we drove to BC to go white water rafting on the Kicking Horse River. On the way we stopped at a couple lookouts - one of which was the Spiral Tunnels. Here trains can actually loop back over themselves. And when we got there, there was a train! hahaha and the longest train I've ever seen. Even for somebody who generally couldn't care less about such things, it was very kewl. With the way it moves the track seems to be going in two directions at the same time. One place I stood I could see it seemingly on three tracks at once. The illusion is completed because you can't (or at least I couldn't from where I was standing) see where it loops back so it seems to be separate trains on separate tracks. I videoed a bit, but I'm not sure it'll come through. We'll see... So then we continued to the white water place. Was quite small. A group of guys were playing volleyball; behind their court was a storage area and change rooms. Beside them was the registration hut (with a BBQ being prepared behind it) and off to the side a shed with rafting equipment. And that's about it. We made our way the registration area and signed our lives away (I'm amazed at how often I do that :). They fed us lunch -- buffalo cheese burgers, macaroni salad, potato salad, chocolate brownies, and nanimo bars. Yummy. Enough food to sink a boat. Hmmmmm. Perhaps not the *best* plan. Lunch was followed by the somewhat entertaining safety briefing and paddling instructions before we were all outfitted in the oh-so-attractive wetsuits, booties, life jackets and helmets. Why the suits and booties? Well despite the perfect sunny 30deg weather (ummm that'd be 86 for those of you in Ferenheit land), the glacial water was all of 3-5 deg (approx 40F). Cold. N the booties made a HUGE difference (says she who had taken off her sandles and walked in earlier. Brrrr). So they had us divide into groups. The largest had 8 people in it -- our group had 4. I was expecting them to redivide us, but the big group all wanted to be together so they left it alone. We were with Mark and Natalie -- a couple on vacation from Edmonton. They were kewl which made the trip even better (nothing worse than being stuck in a raft with somebody truly obnoxious -- I experienced that on one of my Ottawa trips. Boooo). Our guide came and introduced herself - Laralyn. She was super friendly and overly competent *g* We posed for a couple photos and headed for the boats. Once there there was another quick safety and instruction review and we were off!!! There were category 1 rapids the whole way which roughly translated means just enough movement to keep the boat coasting so next to no paddling required. Sweet. A huge plus compared to my previous white water experiences. hahaha So we start with a couple cat 2 rapids so we can get used to the concept and how to sit, paddle etc. To put this in perspective, these are not likely to get anybody wet. It might *just* splash over the edge of the boat but that's about it. We practiced a few strokes and chatted for a bit and then time for the first 3. There was another quick safety review and off we go! So much fun!!! A whole series of 3s and 4s. Seriously sooooooo much fun (so much so that my usually reasonable vocabulary is unequal to the task. Extra ooooos will have to make the point for me :) For some of them our guide had all four of us sit in the very front section. Awesome. hahaha And of course the most phenominal scenery anywhere. At one point my contacts got washed back after I got a face full of river wave, and so the world was very blurry for a few bumps -- but then when they slid back into place, they'd been cleaned and moisturized and the world was instantly much clearer. A little disconcerting admittedly, but very kewl.
Note - I'm the one under water!
Lots of rapids. Lots of up and down and splashing. Tons o fun! At the end we could hop in a float along. Which was fun except... Remember the 4 deg water? hahaha yeah. It was a short swim *g*. Get back, change, purchase some photos, and head home. Rafting has kind the same psyc effect as riding. Just when every instinct says STOP is when you have to go forward. Horse is bucking, instinct is to stop -- and then the horse bucks higher and stronger. If instead you ride forward, the bucking goes away. Likewise, plummeting down a wall of water, instinct is to stop and hold on to something -- but then you won't get up the other side! Instead you have to paddle for all you're worth! And like with XC, you finish the run with the biggest grin on your face. hahaha Driving through the pass was pretty impressive. I can't get my head around how the first person did it. A - found it, and B - remembered/recorded it well enough to be replicated! (think pre-gps people :) The highway is gorgeous - a great drive - but I'm picturing that fully treed with no trail. Mostly (I assume) trying to follow the river. Couldn't've been an easy trip. Anyways - I sort of expected my shoulders to be sore from that, but it's my legs that are feeling it. The position way up in the front took far more strength than when you're in the normal spot in the boat, and I'm feeling it now. Night!

First Impressions

There's a song which says "I hope you feel small when you stand beside the ocean" -- well I've seen the Ocean, and I'm far more impressed by the Rockies *g* We flew in to Calgary. First stop -- Spruce Meadows! hahaha very kewl. It was stunningly gorgeous and tons of $ evident -- but essentially deserted. The only thing I did find disappointing is that there seemed to be very little turnout space. The rings though were pretty amazing -- even the schooling ones. The international ring I found the hill to be significantly steeper than TV makes it appear -- and the bank much smaller. Strange. Anyways, it was a really great detour and I'm super-appreciative of it given that my mum has essentially less than no interest in the whole horse thing. hahaha After Spruce Meadows we asked Lee for directions to Banff. Lee? Lee is our andsom and incredibly patient Australian guide. Ok so it's possible I have no concrete evidence as to his looks -- that's solely extrapolated based on the incredibly sexy accent and my vivid imagination. Yes you see Lee is our GPS and has proven to know his way around the province quite well. No, I didn't pick the name -- when I was trying to change the settings from German (a fun game, since it meant all the instructions were *also* in German) the list of languages also had the speaker's name attached. So driving to Banff today was pretty impressive. I've seen mountains before. Been skiing in NZ, hiking in Australia and the Scottish Highlands (where the guide informed me that they didn't need to have a WHOLE mountain -- just the top part :) and lived in Vermont for a bit. But none of those experiences were like this. All of a sudden there's a GIANT stone slab, perfectly vertical, in front of you. "Thou shall not pass!" indeed. Mother Nature (or was it Gandolf? :) has spoken. How to feel completely insignificant. You can't help but think of the reactions of the first explores to approach searching for a way to the sea. No roads; no paths; only incredible wilderness and a hope and fading belief that there must be a way through. In an area where you don't go hiking with less than six people due to the bears, you can't help but appreciate the power of it. Reminds me of when I was in Australia, chatting with my Aussi friend Kath who was warning me about the spiders and explaining what to do if I got bit -- so of course I made some comment about that (after all, growing p here I never learned to fear - or even respect - spiders. There that could get you killed!) and her response was "I don't understand how Canadians can come her and be worried about snakes and spiders -- you have animals that EAT people!" hahaha never forgotten that one. A quick glimpse at the world from another viewpoint. That being said, I've never had a grizzly sneak into my running shoe before either :) So we're here. The hotel is just a hotel. Not great, not bad. Just a place to sleep. The town is entirely filled with tourists. Even the staff at the various shops all seem to be imports of the "I came for a visit and I stayed" variety. And it's easy to see how. I was definitely tempted by the ad looking for a horseback trail guide! hahaha wouldn't be the first time I've randomly switched up my life on a spur-of-the-moment decision *g* The only thing that stopped me is that at the moment GRS is more important to me -- and that won't happen if I'm guiding in the Rockies! The town is very sports-based, which I love. And when you're in the middle of it, you could be in any small touristy town. But then you look up. And in every direction are surrounded by postcards. It's almost surreal. The glacial blue of the river is the kind of turquoise you'd put down to an artist's wishful thinking. You look down any sidestreet and it redefines the concept of "dead-end". When Mother Nature says you can't go that way, she means it. So it's a good 10 deg cooler here than at home. Good for hiking and adventuring. Less good in that hte mosquitoes are out, huge, and hungry! The altitude was another minor thing that would never have occurred to me. I was getting tired faster than I should've and head-achy. N Mum kept feeling dizzy. We both seem to have adjusted now though. N I have to admit tired and headachy could well have been cause I haven't slept all week! You think? >;-P There's also these little mini-showers that sort of amuse me. It's raining across the street right now, and not here because a tiny little cloud is floating by. Be prepared for anything I guess! Anyways, I'm being eaten alive so I'm going in. White water rafting tomorrow! Woohoo!

I'm off to see the wizard . . .

What a crazy few days. Of course today when I had a ton of work to do before I could go away AND scheduled some m/u lessons for people who I had to cancel for my vacation, I end up in meetings all day and well past what should've been the end of my office day. Which sticks me on the wrong side of TO in rush-hour. Not so fun. Which then bumps my teaching. Which then bumped my riding. Which means in the entire month of July I can count the number of times I rode my horse on one hand. Booo on that *sigh*. So now the countdown is @ ummmm 6h, 13 minutes, and 25 seconds and I have yet to pack or sleep. hahaha I can sleep on the plane :) That's right, the plane :) The plane to where? hmmmm good question. I'm guessing Banff (going with my original "Rockies" idea paired with the new info of "it's a tourist area") -- but I could very well find myself in Nfndlnd tomorrow *g* hahaha Although I think that's going the wrong way time-zone wise, but still. It'll be fun either way though. So do you ever consider how much of your life is altered by complete strangers? hahaha so I was on the subway the other day, and always being curious (*cough* nosey *cough*) I tend to look around and see what people are reading. One book a complete stranger was part way through caught my attention, so I swung by a Chapters and picked it up :) It's a little thing; a nothing thing; but something I never would have done if not for a complete stranger. All sorts of somebody's made money off the fact that I sat across from that particular stranger on the train. Nobody got killed so I realize it lacks in some drama *g* but it leads me to wonder about how many things in life are unknowingly influenced by unknown people. Just random sleep-deprived babbling :) I'll stop now.

#fridayflash 44: The Kitmvat Ritual

As we floated idly down the river, our guide pointed out the large tree-branch overhanging the river forty feet up. "That," she told us, "is the tree that was used in the Kitmvat ritual of the original inhabitants of this space." We all obligingly looked up, none of us having the remotest idea what a Kitmvat ritual might be. "The Kitmvat ritual," our stalwart guide illuminated us, "is a manhood ritual. Boys would climb the tree at sunset on the eve of their fifteenth year, spend the night balanced on the branch, and just as the sun crossed the horizon, would dive into the river." We all nodded and looked suitably awed, although to be honest, it didn't seem like all that big a deal to me. Until our guide continued, "look at the water here -- it's barely deep enough for our boat. Most of you could stand in it." Suddenly the test seemed far more of a challenge. One I certainly wouldn't want to undertake. "The night spent balanced in the tree was a test of balance, patience, alertness, and strength. The dive in the morning to courage, swiftness, and coordination. Men would be expected to hunt and fight for the tribe. These skills were mandatory and without them a man would be considered a liability -- little better than a child, with no possibility of outgrowing it. For that reason, they deemed the loss of any boy to the manhood ritual to be a blessing to the tribe. Better to lose the child, then risk the man failing at a critical moment and lose the tribe. A harsh reality, perhaps, but one they lived by." As she wound up her story and moved on to something else, I turned to look at the branch now behind us, and could see the ghosts of children past staring at me. Two boys, twins. One hard and fit, already a man in all but ritual, excited to no longer be a child. And his brother, softer, quieter. A thinker rather than a athlete. Happy for his brother, but quite certain it would be his last night. It was midnight, but not quite dark. There was a bright moon reflecting off the river far below. The boys did not speak; it was forbidden. They listened to the night sounds and thought their own thoughts. Their mother, home at camp, also lay awake knowing she would never see her second son again. She would be shunned too, for producing a failure, but not badly for it was already evident that one day her other son would lead as chief. She would be oblivious; no punishment induced by the tribe would be worse than the death of her son. Her boy, who saw things nobody else did. Her boy, who found the fire stones; stones that just by striking them together, could start a fire. Her boy, who changed the angle of the posts holding the tents, and stopped the tents from flooding. Her boy, who would never be a man. In the dark before dawn, the camp awoke. Men left to observe the ritual. Women and children were not welcome. On the tree limb, the one boy was calm. He had always known the moment his life would end, and he had accepted it. The other boy though, had been wrestling his thoughts all night. All their lives he had scorned his brother. His brother could never keep up with the boys, was next to useless with a bow or a spear, and he bitterly resented all the times he'd had to work twice as hard to protect him while still earning his own place at the top of the pack. It was time to be free of him. He held them all back. But, a tiny part of his brain twigged, he had skills. He had skills that could be of use to a hunter. He could call the animals. Hunting with him, they always found the animals faster than anybody. All assumed it was his tracking skills, and he encouraged that belief. But he knew, deep inside, that without his brother he'd be a far less successful tracker. And not only could he call them, but it was more than that. None of the others knew, but there was that day the boys had been out alone. The wild boar had charged. They should both have been dead. But his brother stepped in front of him and simply stared at the monster. Astonishingly the boar stopped mid-charge, tilted his snout slightly sideways, as though considering, and then had turned and meandered away. How mad he had been when his brother had shoved him, throwing off his aim. Bringing home a boar alone would've been an unequaled feat. His brother stared at him, and his anger cooled. The boar was meant to live, and so were they. It was the only time his brother had ever argued with him -- and he did it without a word or a weapon. His brother was weak; he would never be a man. But he could still be useful to the tribe. If only they knew. In the last second the boys looked at each other. Both thought they knew what the other was thinking. Neither did. The light broke the horizon and they dove. Their mother, home at camp, heard the men shouting in the distance. The anger in their voices broke through the haze of her grief. They should've been celebrating the manhood of her son. Or if the worst had happened, come back feigning gratefulness for the sake of the tribe. But anger had no part in the day's ceremony. One of the little boys who'd been spying on the ritual, another tribe tradition, raced back to the camp with the news. The stronger one dove a second before his brother, stood, and caught the other one. Both went into the water a second time, but it was enough to slow the plummet of his brother and both were alive. The men were divided -- some wanted to kill him as nature intended, others argued that if it were intended no man would've been able to interfere. Then the shouting abruptly stopped. At the river the stronger boy faced the men he respected and feared, for the first time as one of them, and raised a hand for silence. His brother stood beside him, surprised but calm, and looked across at the men. Under his cooling gaze the men turned. Their anger still radiated, but silence reigned. Locking his gaze with the chief, his father, the new man spoke. He spoke of his brother's hidden skills; he reminded them of all his strange ways of thinking had brought; and using a logic he knew was not his own, he argued for the life of his brother. He recommended he be accepted into the tribe not as a man, a hunter, a fighter. But as an advisor, one who could see and think of things the rest of them could not, for the betterment of the tribe. He would bridge the gap between the women and the men and between the people and the animals. He could hunt, if necessary, but far more importantly he could tell them where to hunt. He could find food in bad times. He could save the tribe. The woman at the camp plied the boys with treats to keep bringing the information back. They dared not go to the river; it was taboo. But their sources were good so by the time the men returned, they knew what had been decided. They knew without asking what had occurred when the new man walked powerfully into camp, having proved definitively that he possessed the strength, bravery, and wisdom required to one day be chief. And they also understood the role of his brother who followed him. The first shaman.

Fun with Language

I came across this the other day and found it really interesting. It's all about how the language you speak can effect your perception of the world. I was particularly fascinated by the concept of how language relates to spatial positioning. Ordering time from East-West (rather than left-right as we do) or putting the future behind the past. Anyways - enjoy :) Lost in Translation: does language influence culture? And because it amused me and seems to go along with that link: So I saw the movie Inception the other day. What I wouldn't give to be able to write like that! One of those stories that makes you wonder about the mind that came up with it *g*. Gotta say though, without giving anything away, I had the ending completely nailed pretty well as soon as the idea was introduced. Everything leading up to the ending though -- that I was nowhere near :) Woke up @ 3:30 this am. Wide awake. Went and got a drink and the cats didn't even bother begging for breakfast -- that's a sign it's definitely too early t be up. Went back to bed. Couldn't sleep, so about 4 gave up and got ready for work (at which point the cats got very excited for a night snack :). It's a *really* easy drive in @ 4:30 in the am. hahaha N I was half done my day when the others were just getting in. Excellent. Less than 2 days on the countdown!

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Sienna seemed sound today! Woohoo! But w/ 40+deg humidex was too hot to ask her to work. Classic eh? Hopefully tomorrow. So I went back to the blood lab again -- got there at the same time as yesterday so I was a bit concerned, but this time we were good to go. Same woman as yesterday, very apologetic about leaving early yesterday. Alright no worries then :) So all good now. Spent the evening running errands -- and basically had amazing customer service all around. @ Staples the kid went out of his way to help us get what we needed and avoid spending more money than necessary. Then lady in Marks tried very hard to find something for us at any store in driving range. And when I tried to purchase one item, she realized it wasn't working right and gave me the heads up so I could get a new one. So then off to the next store on the list. No sales person necessary there but they *did* have what I was looking for, so that was exciting. Store after that a (conveniently tall) sales guy appeared just as we needed somebody to reach something high. AND the *last* one on the rack was one that fit. So having run all the errands we go for dinner. Crowd of people outside. But I wanted to go in anyways "just in case" -- sure enough 15 min wait for inside or right away on patio. Patio it is. And perfect night for it. And now as both the TV and the computer are functioning again, I'm going to enjoy wasting the evening :)

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station..

So my doctor sent me to go get bloodwork the other day (nothing tragic don't get excited :) and so I dutifully went where I was told. Got there 20 mins before they're supposed to close. And the nurse told me she wouldn't do it cause she was leaving. Ummmm 20 minutes?!?!? But what am I supposed to do, argue with the person whose job it is to stick a needle in me? yeah seemed like less of a good idea >;-P So now I have to go back another day and see if she'll deign to do her job. *sigh* The issue is, I can't get there any earlier than that so it'll always be 20 mins or so before closing. Booo. Ah well, we shall see. Got on my horse yesterday... She looked good on the ground; didn't feel right though so after a few w/t mins, that was the end of that *sigh* We'll see whether better or worse tonight. Cross your fingers for me :) I figure she'll come sound just in time for me to go away! Managed to write three flash this week (amazing how much time I have when I'm not riding *sigh*). I've never had a backup supply before :) hahaha kinda fun. Esp as next wk I'll be on vacation. Leaving in 4 days 15 hours 43 minutes and 54 53 52 51 .... well you get the point. Not that I'm counting or anything *g* Got a pic of Zel from her latest adventures :) She's standing in the middle of a river, decked out in Western gear. hahaha too cute. I miss the Princess Pony. She has a crazy long mane now -- the kind I always wanted to let her have but the need to braid negated. hahaha damn professionalism! Ok I have to say I was very disappointed with Adobe's website. Given their product line, I expected good and useful. Yeah notsomuch. I tried their search for a suite, where you can pick which products you want and it'll tell you which package has it. Horrible fail. All I really wanted was Acrobat pro, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. While InDesign is rapidly growing on me, it's not enough for me to justify buying it. And I figure flash is on the way out, so I'm not going to put any effort into that. So just those three -- it told me no package. Ummmm both the design premium and web premium have all three? So yeah, epic fail there. Then I wanted to see the difference between the "premium" suites and the regular ones. Yeah right. Never did find out. I decided the package best suited to me (Design Premium) was too expensive, so I'd find out what the individual products cost. Dreamweaver's page was ok and answered my question. The Photoshop page did not. Took clicking buy now to get the price. And even then it was more focused on trying to sell me the extended package (which I don't really need) then telling me about that one. And throughout this all there's stuff moving around the screen and videos poping up -- all of which served to slow my computer to a crawl. It's like we're back in the early 90s with "look what I can do!!!" rather than actually providing useful accessible information. Ugh. So I went back to see if the above rant was accurate or if I was just having a bad morning. It's accurate. On second try I *did* in fact find the nice factual comparison chart I was looking for, thoroughly buried under a flying butterfly or something dumb like that in the bottom of a hidden FAQ section. Really guys? Smarten up. hahaha only thing is, I *really* like both products and use them pretty much daily so not much option but to deal with them there. Ok end of rant now. Lunch is over, back to work with me. On a very kewl project at the moment that I'm quite enjoying so that always makes life more interesting :) Cheers.

Theory Thursday Update

Because somebody asked me last week -- TheoryThursday is on hold until after show season, due to my other commitments. It'll reappear in the fall, probably mid-Octoberish. Thanks for reading!

Nothing very very good and nothing very very bad ever lasts for very very long

Had an awesome weekend at the cottage last weekend. Amazing weather. Spent most of my time out on the boats :) Fun fun fun. Was super nice to get away, esp with Sienna being off (nothing serious, just a bruise, but very frustrating). Then get home and the vaca countdown is in single digits! Woohoo. By this time next week I'll be sitting at the airport on my way to . . . Somewhere :) Actually managed to get two flashes written too. Not *quite* sure how that happened but I'll take it :) Going to use yesterday's for Friday though -- the other one can post while I'm away :) Lessons are going well this week, so that always puts me in a good mood. Horses behaving themselves, riders generally accomplishing what they set out to do, and a couple new students which is always exciting :) Bilbo (rabbit) is enjoying his new home (I've got a great pic that I'll post later). It's a "Living World" construction and for the most part it's great. It has two pretty serious flaws though -- worth noting if you're considering a new rabbit habitat :) The first, and most critical, is that it seems to be incredibly slippery. Bilbo was having a really hard time moving around his cage cause his feet kept slipping out from under him. I taped some corrugated cardboard down (under the shavings) and that seems to have solved the problem, but really - if you're making a cage for a rabbit, don't you think you'd make one a rabbit could comfortably navigate? The other issue is more of an annoyance than anything. The plastic snaps that hold the access doors shut are of exceptionally poor quality. Of the four, one was broken when we opened the box. Two more broke the first time we used them (before Bilbo even saw his new home). The fourth is still there and holding - for the moment. The others have all been replaced with velcro. hahaha On the plus side, the second floor is a big seller -- Bilbo's almost always up there now. And for your completely random moment of the day: Both amusing and scary -- how often do you suppose people really check your credit card signature? Even if you sign it "I stole this card"? Credit Card Sigs Investigated

#friday flash 44 and WAG: Broken

Double posting this week for WAG and fridayflash. The prompt was: "This week write about something broken: toys, bones, hearts: it can be anything that just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to any more." ---------- Breena's Wand The fairy's eyes widened in dismay as she looked at her wand. Broken. That was it. She was sure to be expelled. This time. How does one even break a wand? Aren't they supposed to be indestructible? Two of the other fairies glided past. Gracefully, the way fairies are supposed to be. But the comments they made were hurtful. "Oh dear, what have you done now?" Breena turned, knowing the voice behind her all too well. Her sister Celie. Gorgeous, graceful, magical. All the things fairies should be. She even already had glitter on her wings! Breena feared she would never earn her glitter, and Celie took every opportunity to reinforce that fear. "Have you broken your wand? I didn't even know that was possible!" Celie's voice rang loudly with false surprise. "Well just look at us girls breaking all kinds of records -- I get my glitter younger than any fairy in history, and you become the first fairy ever to break a wand." Having drawn the attention of all the fairies in hearing distance to her sister's failure, Celie turned with a musical laugh and floated away, followed as always by her flock. Breena looked down, avoiding the eyes of those who watched with pity or superiority, and wished fervently that she could disappear into the ground. Of course if she hadn't broken her wand, she might've had a chance at making it happen. But no, if she was honest with herself, she'd never even really mastered the most basic skill of invisibility. Breena, come see me. The voice she heard in her head was that of her queen. It was not one to be ignored. She walked to the palace, too upset to put the effort into floating. It took her longer, but she figured that since it might be her last time it was ok to stretch it a little. The gates opened as she approached. She thanked them automatically and continued through to the crystal palace, stopping briefly to right a little plant that had fallen. The throne room was crowded but it fell silent as she entered. Word had spread, the way it will, and everybody wanted to see what would happen. "Bree," the gentle whisper had her raising her eyes briefly, "it'll be ok," Elvina told her. Elvina was the only friend Breena had. She had spent hours trying to help her learn the most basic magic, and when she was around the other fairies were less cruel; Elvina was powerful enough that she could befriend whom she wished. But even her presence wasn't enough to lift the weight from Breena's heart. She forced herself to float, it would've been rude to walk in the presence of the queen, and made her way up the aisle. At the queen's throne she bowed her head and waited to be addressed as she'd been taught. The silence stretched on. Breena was tempted to risk a glance just to check that she was really there, but before she could do it and get in even more trouble, the queen spoke. "What is it you want to do most?" the queen asked. Breena looked up at her puzzled, her fears temporarily allayed by the unexpected question. The queen did not elaborate and Breena took her time considering the answer. Her immediate response was that she wanted to be allowed to stay. But she knew the queen already knew that, and it was never a good idea to insult the queen's intelligence or waste her time. So she thought before speaking. "I want to be a good fairy. I want to help people," she stated. And quickly dropped her eyes again as the crowd started tittering. Helping people was not something fairies were supposed to aspire to. Silence fell, and when Breena risked a sideways glance, all the fairies were gone. Only she and Elvina remained in the presence of the queen. Breena, look at me. The voice was in her head again. When she looked up, the queen smiled -- a powerful sight, and one rarely seen. "You're not going to be expelled," she told the fairy out loud, "but we do have to do something about this. Give me your wand." Even from the queen, and even with a broken wand, this was an exceptional order. To possess a fairy's wand was to control them; giving it up was almost unheard of and asking for it a line never crossed. Breena felt Elvina's presence behind her, silently supporting and encouraging. And she gave her wand to her queen. Thank you little one. That shows a great deal of trust. Breena's eyes remained fixed on her wand. It was though somebody had borrowed an arm or a leg; it was physically painful to be so far from it, and very scary. "Now let's just see if I can mend this," and the queen did something Breena had never seen before. She very carefully removed a strand of glitter-covered gold from her wing. Only the fairy queen had gold in her wings; that was how one became queen. A fairy queen earned her gold after earning her glitter, but how was a closely guarded secret evidently known only by those who had done it. The queen held the two pieces of the broken wand together and wrapped the golden strand around it multiple times. In the end it looked like a wand wearing a really thick belt in the middle. Then, with a tap of the queen's wand, the belt disappeared and Breena's wand appeared healed. It floated back into Breena's waiting hand, and her eyes widened as she held it and felt the power flow through. She looked at the queen, amazed. "It's stronger." "Often things that have been broken and survived are. Use it well," the queen told her. And with a nod, Breena was dismissed. -----------

It's the most wonderful time of the year . . .

Happy birthday to Me. Happy birthday to Me. Happy birthday to Me-E. Happy birthday to Me. hahaha ok so that might be a *little* narcissistic, but hey that's what birthday's are for right? And mine falling right in the middle of summer is about as perfect as it gets. I'm 100% certain that today's not going to come anywhere *near* last year's absolutely amazing 12th birthday! (ummmm check out the blog this time last year if you missed that story :) but I *do* have high hopes of the ultimate bday present -- actually getting to RIDE my horse tonight. hahaha fingers crossed! Ok off to work.

Quick update

Today's post on Here there be dragons covers some of yesterday's teaching adventures if you're interested. I have the best students :) They totally turned a brutal day that I had no interest in to a really great one. And that's the way it *should* work!

14 Days....

The countdown says 14 days and 7 hours and some minutes till vacation. hahahaha to me it's "the end of the month" but I keep forgetting that the end of the month is soon! Just had to share :) So Bilbo (my Lion-mane bunny) got a new home today. Still with me, but a serious upgrade to his old cage. This one is bigger, higher (so he can see out the windows), and has a second floor :) Very very cute to watch him exploring his new home and moving the furniture around where he wants it :)
Ok I have to admit to a guilty pleasure now -- I am rapidly becoming hooked on America's Got Talent. I've never watched it before (of course I've seen the odd YouTube of somebody on both that one and the British version, but never actually seen the show) but I find myself walking by, seeing it on, and being entirely drawn in. hahaha Not quite at the place yet where I turn it on or search it out, but definitely finding myself sitting down to watch when it is on.

How hot is it?

hahaha omg I laughed and laughed so I have to share. PG13 :)

A better day :)

So yesterday I was not the happiest of people. Weekend had been less than fun and I woke up after limited and restless sleep tired and grumpy. Work was made up of other tired and grumpy people (amazing how that happens eh? Or maybe it's just that I tolerate it less when I'm tired and grumpy :) and even my machine went on strike. No memory. Sheesh. All sorts of similar little things that in the grand scheme of things really don't matter but appear mountainous when I'm in a grumpy mood. And a mountain I had absolutely no interest in climbing at that. So I headed off to the barn to teach. Got stuck in some random weird traffic (it's summer, there shouldn't be any traffic! And no apparent reason for it). So got there 15 min late. Any of you who actually know me will realize that's pretty much unheard of, and I get very stressed when I'm late for something. Park the car as fast as possible and run to the ring to realize I only had one student. Deep breath. One student is good. One student means the lesson should only be half an hour. One student means I'm actually 15 min early. And one student who's very kewl and not particularly concerned with the fact that I was late. Alright no problem. Deep breath, shrug the day off, and start over. Teach my one student (the remaining 45 mins :) and she was riding really well (private lessons'll do that to you >;-P) So I was pretty happy about that. Ok the day was starting to look better. Next group had a few "new to me" students -- which is always entertaining. This particular farm sends students to me when they've learned the basics and are ready to go a little farther -- but the "basics" are taught in a variety of ways. So some students I end up reworking the entire way they ride -- and almost always get a great reaction from them when they get it "my" way because of how much better their horses go. hahaha yeah classical riding. So first lessons are almost always fun for me. And, one of my regulars in that class discovered my birthday's later this week. *I* hadn't even realized my birthday was later this week! hahaha and she brought me a "coach of the year" ribbon :) You know, it's such a little thing, but it entirely made my day. Possibly my week :) The first one of those I ever got nearly made me cry -- I still have it too *g* Maybe I should see if I can start a collection of them :) I would be thrilled if I managed to earn a collection of those :) Everybody in the next few lessons conspired to continue the trend of my day getting much better. The horse that always quits, jumped everything in front of her. Pony riders stayed *on* their ponies. Everybody was riding appropriate horses and those horses were sound and relatively sane. Generally makes my job much easier :) Then there was one student, who has been working hard for a very long time now, who earned a super-bright lightbulb a couple weeks ago. Well she has since, pretty consistently proven that that light's staying on. So at the end of the night I let her learn just what she could do with her new-found skills. I wish I had a video of the look on her face through that one. hahaha The difference between her coming into the exercise and afterwards is the kind of thing that makes me love teaching. Roughly translated to starting at: "this is a bad idea, we're going to die, but Lauren said we should do it..." and ending with: "OMG I did it! And I did it WELL! And it was fun!" Absolutely amazing to watch. I love it when my students accomplish the impossible :) Alright so I go home with my day ending w/ me in a much happier place then it started. But now I'm super-high from teaching (a fairly standard occurrence :) so instead of falling into shower and bed, which'd be the logical thing to do given when I have to get up for work, I go on the computer. And the first thing I see is the countdown to vacation. wooohoo. hahaha always makes me smile. Then once I get into my email there were a few comments on my last Flash, which was really nice to see. Then I saw a message from Zelli's new owner (new? hahaha he's had her for a year and a half. But she was my baby. That horse meant the world to me in a way no other ever has -- don't get me wrong, I adore Si. And have many others in the past. But Zel was special. In all sorts of ways >;-P) So anyways, Zelli's new owner, who is a lovely older man who bought her to do entry level eventing and so his granddaughters could ride, let me know that they've had a change of plans and she's spending the summer trail riding. hahaha and - other than the western saddle! (I asked for pics :) - I can so envision her absolutely loving it. He's taken her all over Ontario and through part of the States, doing 25-35k hacks. Apparently they've even been swimming. :) And are "fun jumping all the logs they can find" (best I can tell "fun jumping" is jumping that's not in lessons or competition). And she is, of course, an absolute pro at it. Apparently can lead, follow, or go anywhere in the pack safely. I'm not the least bit surprised at that of course, but it made me sooooo happy to hear the turn her new life has taken. Happy and sad, I will admit. I really miss that horse. But she's leading just about the perfect life for her now, and spoiled beyond belief. The princess being treated the way she always knew she should :) Then today when I got to the barn the superpony was *almost* sound. Woohoo. If all is well she should be good tomorrow and I can ride on Thurs. Fingers crossed!

The value of hard work...

Got in my inbox and it amused me enough I thought I'd share:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%.
How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:


Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that while Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top.

Feel better now?

Don't try this at home...

It was a weekend that seemed very long and not in a good way... Did you even know that could happen? Poor horse is still not sound so no riding. Everybody else seems to be having the same problem, so no teaching. Most of my friends vanished for the weekend (between kids, husbands, their own horses, cottages, etc) so no social life. Really what's left? My car got cleaned (albeit mostly cause my mum deemed it unfit to be a passenger in hahaha -- and given that she's a non-horse-woman, she's probably right :). I read a book or two. Dug some more of Sienna's ditch. Painted some fences. Did absolutely no actual work. Sounds great eh? Except that I got comparitively so little exercise that I didn't sleep. So then I was both tired AND bored. Ugh. Thinking of the $ I was not making since I wasn't teaching, thereby making it that much harder to save for my school. And when I finally decided to use the time for good and gave in and decided to do some paper work, it got late very fast and suddenly it was time to go back to bed. Where I lay listening to the clock chime till it was time to get up again. Sheesh. Plus side -- it was absolutely unbelievable weather :) And for me that makes a ton of difference. hahaha Sitting outside on Fri night writing my flash (alright I'm a geek, we know that, let it go :) was super nice as it was so warm and the sun set around me -- like being back in Cuba writing on the beach :) Well maybe not *quite* like that, but close! This vid is making the email rounds -- I've seen it a couple times now, and it always makes me smile so I thought I'd post it. This would be yet another example of why "you tube videos should not be tried at home" is one of The Rules >;-P Enjoy!

#FridayFlash 43: Would you have popped the bubble?

As the first of the large drops hit her she rolled her eyes. She'd been completely oblivious, walking along in her own little world; she hadn't even noticed the ominous black clouds taking over the sky. She should've checked before she left home. Or at very least, paid attention while she was walking. But she hadn't, and so she'd be soaked in seconds, and it was her own fault. And because she knew better, she figured she had no right to whine -- even to herself. Besides, the weather suited her mood. So she returned to her daydream in which she'd been able to say everything she wanted to her obnoxious coworker, fire the useless employee, and generally run things the way she wanted to. The way she knew she could. If only. The rain stopped as abruptly as it began, and Amy couldn't help but be awed at the sight of the rainbow left behind. Did wishes made on rainbows come true? No, that was shooting stars. Rainbows had gold at the end. Although in this case, that'd probably have the same effect, Amy mused. Unfortunately the end of the rainbow was well out of reach. That pot of gold was safe from all but the birds -- or perhaps a strategically flown plane. Amy walked a little faster towards home, shivering slightly at the damp despite the warmth outside. She found herself paying far more attention as she walked, now that she'd burned off her original anger. After the storm, the world had taken on an eerie orange glow -- very much like you might see at sunset on the ocean, but it was hours from sunset and farther still to the nearest ocean. The world seemed very still. She could hear the buzz of running air conditioners, and the odd bird that ventured to break the post-storm silence, but there was a lack of people or movement. Even the leaves hung still, as though exhausted from the storm. No cars drove by. No kids played in the yards. Basketball nets hung empty and bikes lay forgotten on their sides. Feeling suddenly anxious, for no reason she could describe, Amy broke into a jog chiding herself all the way for her inexplicable behaviour, but unwilling to let rationality override her instincts. Seeing her home she added extra speed, a true run now, and nearly tripped over the box by the front door. But the feeling of being watched, of being followed, was too intense; her curiosity couldn't overcome it, so Amy darted in and locked the door behind her. Her heart thudding she stood quietly and listened to her house. Her cat greeted her with a purr and a meow -- it was time for his dinner. Everything was as it should be; she sensed nothing amiss. Even still, while mocking herself every step of the way for her childish fear, she went around turning on every light and checking every closet. She fed the cat, poured a glass of wine, and settled down in front of the tv. Gradually she relaxed; slowly her senses returned to normal. And eventually she remembered the box on the porch. Funny, she hadn't ordered anything. Retrieving the standard cardboard package she was puzzled to note that it had no mailing address. It was light, felt as though it could be empty, and written on top in childish scrawl was one word: Surprise! Amy's vivid imagination immediately flipped through the range of possibilities: from flowers from an unknown admirer to a terrorist attack she thought of and rejected dozens of ideas in the second she stood there. The rational side of her brain took over control and it told her to bring the box inside and open it. Inside was a lone square of bubble wrap - a perfect grid of nine unpopped bubbles. Bemused by the strange package, she followed the childish urge and popped two. Then she noticed the note lining the bottom of the now empty box: The storm holds power, and the rainbow more. We watched, and we heard. All that you dream can be yours. If only you have the courage to pop all the bubbles. She peered at the bubble wrap, half relieved and half disappointed she hadn't popped them all before seeing the note. While the imaginative side of her mind hummed in the background, insisting on reminding her of the eerie light, the run home and the reason for it, the rational side of her mind quickly realized it had to be a psyc project of Pete’s. How often had he lectured her that "most people are by nature cautious; they fear change and won't risk the unknown" implying that she too belonged in that group, while she prided herself on her adventurous nature. Hadn't she left school in third year to travel Africa, alone? Who does that? And left her cushy office job with benefits to work with kids in dangerous neighbourhoods? She was all about change and the unknown. And yet she hesitated. Over something that couldn't possibly be real. He would never let her forget it. And she would resent him for proving something about herself she didn't care to know. And it would destroy the friendship of a lifetime. So clearly, she had to pop the remaining bubbles. Yet she hesitated. Finally, annoyed with herself for the amount of courage it actually took, she rolled the bubble wrap into a column, took a deep breath, and with a quick twist popped all the bubbles together. And absolutely nothing happened. A quick laugh escaped her, born of relief more than humour; she booted up the computer to send a brief note to Pete telling him his little experiment had failed and headed to sleep. It was early still, but she'd had enough of that day. The next morning, Amy smiled to herself as she drove to work, amused in the light of a new day at all that had transpired. Too little sleep, too much caffeine, and serious frustration led to all sorts of weird and unusual things. "Amy, I need to talk to you about the basketball project," her boss said as soon as she walked in the door. The basketball project? But that had been shot down by the Obnoxious One. She wasn't about to turn down the opportunity though. Her day continued without a break -- everybody seemed to want her opinion on something, and both the Obnoxious One and the Useless One were conspicuously absent -- making her life significantly easier. Exhausted at the end of the day, before leaving she signed in to her personal email to see a succinct response from Pete: "I have no idea what you're talking about." As Amy considered the significance of that in light of the day's activities, a small part of her, the rational part, couldn't help but wish she'd been daydreaming of winning the lottery when the storm had hit.

I'm building castles out of the sands of time

Every time I buy a lottery ticket, for a brief while I genuinely believe I'm going to win :) This is why I buy lottery tickets, not because in reality it's ever going to do anything but waste my money, but because for a brief moment it buys me a really amazing dream. And to me, once in a while, $5 is not too much to pay for a dream. So since I'm going to be $43million richer tomorrow, in the last few hours I've found a potential farm, or alternately a potential property -- and for that property I have a pretty good idea what I'll be having built on it. It's gonna be one amazing barn let me tell you. Laid out so as to be workable, but with every feature out there :) Of course I also found my new show horse that I can play at the higher levels with while Si grows up, and several potentials that I'll be showing till I have a few more students ready to compete and then they'll become really amazing schoolies *g* Of course it all ends tomorrow when I wake up and realize my ticket won't even win me back what I paid for it. But in the interim, so much fun has been had :) N for much cheaper than going out for the evening *g*

Summer Games

Ok so I introduced a group of students to Buzkashi the other day -- the toned down pony-club version *g* I contemplated posting a vid of the real thing here, but quite honestly, found it pretty horrendous so opted out. And besides which, women aren't allowed to watch. hahaha Google/YouTube "Buzkashi" if you're interested. The "real" version is the national sport of Afghanistan which involves chasing a goat carcas; deemed to be "the most dangerous game in the world" as well as one of the oldest, like so many equestrian events it has its roots in military history.

Anyways - in MY version of the game we play in teams of three. There are goals (usually made of jump standards) at each end of the ring, and one post right at X. On the post is a crop. The teams gallop to the post to grab the crop, which must the be passed twice within the team and then galloped through the opposing goal. To get the crop from the other team either the defender OR their horse much touch the rider carrying the crop OR their horse. If the crop gets dropped whoever gets off and gets it first is in control. If a rider falls, the other team gets a point -- depending on the level of competition and the level of riders we may or may not allow pushing other riders off their horses. hahaha that sounds very impressive and intimidating, but for that rule to be in play we're ALSO playing bareback. Which means no stirrups to brace against. Which means it takes real talent to shove somebody off their horse w/o falling off yourself. Usually though we try to keep it a little friendlier than that :) Due to the extreme heat and the fact that the game was introduced to AVOID having the horses work too hard, for this group there was a strict "walk/trot" only rule. For novice riders this is also highly recommended! hahaha

Anyways -- it was fairly entertaining and reminded me of all the silly things we used to do goofing around on horseback, so I thought I'd share :)

Enjoying summer :)

Ok so I gotta tell ya, I'm LOVING the whole global warming thing. Every time I step outside I feel like I'm on vacation somewhere exotic. Horses aren't loving it nearly so much unfortunately, but personally I'm soaking up every minute of it. My car told me it was 39deg on the way home yesterday! I was really hoping it'd break 40 just so I could say it had, but alas didn't happen. Still: is pretty impressive. (for those still on F system 39C = 102.2F) In Feb I'm going to look at this pic and dream. And for the safety Nazis out there, note that I waited till I was stopped to take the pic >;-P Ok so I introduced a group of students to Buzkashi the other day -- the toned down pony-club version *g* I contemplated posting a vid of the real thing here, but quite honestly, found it pretty horrendous so opted out. And besides which, women aren't allowed to watch. hahaha Google/YouTube "Buzkashi" if you're interested. The "real" version is the national sport of Afghanistan which involves chasing a goat carcas; deemed to be "the most dangerous game in the world" as well as one of the oldest, like so many equestrian events it has its roots in military history. Anyways - in MY version of the game we play in teams of three. There are goals (usually made of jump standards) at each end of the ring, and one post right at X. On the post is a crop. The teams gallop to the post to grab the crop, which must the be passed twice within the team and then galloped through the opposing goal. To get the crop from the other team either the defender OR their horse much touch the rider carrying the crop OR their horse. If the crop gets dropped whoever gets off and gets it first is in control. If a rider falls, the other team gets a point -- depending on the level of competition and the level of riders we may or may not allow pushing other riders off their horses. hahaha that sounds very impressive and intimidating, but for that rule to be in play we're ALSO playing bareback. Which means no stirrups to brace against. Which means it takes real talent to shove somebody off their horse w/o falling off yourself. Usually though we try to keep it a little friendlier than that :) Due to the extreme heat and the fact that the game was introduced to AVOID having the horses work too hard, for this group there was a strict "walk/trot" only rule. For novice riders this is also highly recommended! hahaha Anyways -- it was fairly entertaining and reminded me of all the silly things we used to do goofing around on horseback, so I thought I'd share :) And to finish -- your smile for the day. Why one should always do a quick spin in the mirror before stepping outside:

#FridayFlash 42: Truth or Fiction?

Do you create your stories or do they come to you? Let me know what you think :) --------- I stared at the blank page having absolutely no idea what my character would do next. I was enjoying the story, as it came to me, and like my readers I looked forward to reading the next chapter. The problem was, whatever part of my brain it was where the stories lived, was silent. I had not the slightest idea how the psychological thriller would end and I knew from bitter experience that if I tried to make it up, to "just write something" as my oh-so-helpful spouse suggested, it would be garbage. Completely unworth reading and therefore completely unworth writing. I was contemplating the silence in my mind when it was shattered by the scream of a passing police car. Only the car didn't pass -- it stopped, right outside my house. Followed in quick succession by several others. Interested now, I left my rather hopeless task to stare unabashedly out the front window at the scene unfolding. There was no stealth or subtlety to the affront, but somehow there was finesse, as a significant number of cops -- my mind saw dozens, but in reality it was probably less than ten, stormed the house. I continued to stare out the window, knowing it was none of my business and that I should look away and discretely pretend nothing interesting was going on, but deciding I didn't particularly care about that page of the etiquette book. Quickly it was over. Or seemed to be anyways. And when two officers crossed the street and approached my house, I met them at the door. No point in making them wait when I knew they knew I'd been watching. They quickly ascertained that I knew nothing of use -- I almost wished I did, just so I could be important -- if only for a moment. Although the rational side of me realized that wasn't the kind of importance I really wanted. I continued to watch the scene through my window as nothing much happened -- but really, what else did I have to do? It was when I saw them bring the body bag out that I knew. I knew exactly what my character had been up to and how the next chapter would go. It would be brilliant. My editor would be thrilled. And I would be forever grateful that the cops has already decided that I knew nothing of interest.

Happy Canada Day!!!

Ok so yeah, holding my ribs up is a bit of a challenge today. hahaha circus school was fun, but as always too much :) Worth it though *g* So original plan was the traditional Wits End CT, but then R & M suggested a long hack, and really that just seemed way more fun. hahaha so we loaded up the horses and headed out to Hilton Falls. Such an awesome hack with absolutely perfect weather. Doing the long-slow-miles thing today. No better way to spend a mid-week morning :) Absolutely perfect. N Si was a star! Wooden bridges, scary rocks, lots of cyclists, and PR moments -- all no problem. Woohoo. AND we even got in a serious power-walk for a while. Now to replicate in dressage :) And then did a whole lot of absolutely nothing for all the rest of the day. Perfect!