Here there be dragons...

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

You have no idea how long I've wanted to post this!

Yeah so it's been an interesting couple weeks... Sorry for the lack of writing but the thing is what was occuping 98.7% of my little brain, I couldn't publish! And after that, there's not much left to write about! So we'll start with the very exciting to me but less important in the grand scheme of things news -- I passed 50000 words! Woohoo! Today admittedly. Close, but not quite, the last minute. But I made it :) Haven't put anything up on smashwords in... well a while. Will get the rest up there - probably on the weekend. Till then, craziness ensues. Then the far more important news! Sorry Stephy, I'm not getting married. And Lynn I'm definitely *not* pregnant >;-P hahaha But I AM starting my farm. Finally :) As of Jan 1 Graduate Riding School will be operating out of Gorstella Farm (that'd be the old Myrddin and/or King Oak for those of you who've been around a while :) 2 arenas, 2 sandrings, great hacking and xc course. I am quite thoroughly thrilled!!!! hahaha and a HUGE THANKS to everybody who's helped make this possible!!! Really appreciate all your support :)

GRS gets a new home!!!

It's official - Graduate Riding School will have a new home, Jan 1!!!!

I'm thrilled to announce we'll be operating out of Gorstella Farm in Halton Hills - roughly 17th Sideroad and Trafalgar. The facility offers 2 arenas, 2 sandrings, 75 acres for hacking (complete with a river!), xc course, and a heated viewing lounge!

If you'd like a tour, give me a shout :)

You and I wake up in jail...

47,295 words and I am going to bed. Will pass 50K tomorrow :) Or today, technically. hahaha Oh and I would just like to say, most fun fb status message ever! (names removed to protect the guilty - but thanks all for answers, made my night. I'm still smiling :) You and I wake up in jail together. Using only 4 words what would you say to me. - we are awesome people! :) - ‎"Me? Ok. But YOU?!?!?!?!? - well that was fun - do you have water? - Same time next week? - ‎"LAUREN, I'VE MISSED YOU! :)" - I need a coffee! - well! we're in VEGAS - Don't tell my husband!! hahaha I have awesome friends :)


If you have a cat that's even slightly inquisitive you'll like this one:

Have to admit I laughed at the bunny box :) N I love the constantly hissy tail. "I'm not happy about this, but I'm going to pretend it's what I meant to do!"

Finally updating a new draft :)

New smashwords nano-novel is 20 in queue so should be up in a couple hours :) There are a few gaps in it that will definitely break up the flow somewhat *g* Sorry about that -- tis what you get for reading a work in progress! And thank you for tolerating it :) 1 more day of insanity and then I can get caught up.

An untitled post

So I swear I haven't jumped off the face of the planet. Yet. Just been extraordinarily busy! Nano is still on track, albeit slowing down. Going to make a big push for the last 10K this weekend. Will put up a new Smashwords tomorrow eve :) Little Lissy's proving herself to be a superstar. I just adore her. She picked up the whole on-the-bit thing super-fast (ok so a LONG way from confirmed, we're up/down and all over the place stage. But she got the concept and can keep it longer and longer each ride). She's up to about 1/2h rides of mostly walk/trot with a short canter each way and as of today, little jumps. She has also mastered the art of standing still for grooming, mounting, adjusting tack, dismounting, etc. Something I insist on from my schoolies. Esp beginner level schoolies!

Thanks Alyssia!

Just wanted to send a huge thanks to Alyssia for donating a large box of horse supplies to GRS when I purchased some used tack from her. It is greatly appreciated! So thanks :)

Woohoo! 40,000!!!!

So several years ago I did a nano (that was a particularly horrible piece of writing might I add) in which strictly for word-count purposes, every time my mc met a new person (which happened fairly regularly), she felt the need to tell them everything that had already happened. This made for the most boring novel ever, but it did get me to 50K. This nano, I just had a scene where my character legitimately should've retold the entire story and then some and I summed it up with something like "she told the story" and seriously considered adding "see the last 30000 words". hahaha the comparison just struck home how much more fun it is when you're actually enjoying the story you're writing :) Tonight I passed 40K. And that's not counting the part of the story I wrote (like think pen and paper wrote) on the subway the other day *g* Sweet! Latest smashwords version is #431 in queue. 

Shetland Pony Grand National

Too cute not to share. As Jael mentioned, it's like racing teddy bears :)

I want the one who dropped his rider and kept jumping *g*

Random babbling

So when you start your day getting killed by a ghost, the rest pretty much has to get better right? Sheesh. Yes that is the type of week it's been. Highly entertaining but yikes! That particular dream that woke me up this morning would've actually made an excellent flash if I'd written down the script right away. Now it's too far gone from my memory and way out of my realm of stories I usually write so I suspect if I tried to force it it wouldn't work at all. A bit of a shame cause other than the fact that it was *me* in it, it was quite a good hallowe'en type story *g* Lissy is settling in nicely. She is super-cute and seems to be loved by everybody except Sienna *g* Classic eh? Very underweight and under muscle, but she's quiet and tries hard. We're just doing short rides and building up fitness. Si's almost there. Bruise is slowly going away. One of those things that's a relief because you know it's nothing serious and frustrating to be out for so long because of nothing serious! She trots out sound on her own now, but is still short w/ a rider. So no riding yet :( Booo. Hopefully next week sometime.
Lissy :) -- photo cred to Rebecca
hahaha have a project that I'm quite enjoying at work but that had one piece that was frustrating me to no end that I finally resolved today -- hahaha feeling pretty proud of that at the moment. Things have been totally crazy at work, riding, and coaching. And of course nano. Need time to just take a breath. I think I can schedule that on Sunday :) And speaking of fun projects, spent all day Tuesday touring Hamilton museums. Some days I love my job :)
Waiting for other people to arrive at a meeting at Dundurn Castle
Nano is coming along. Not quite as quickly as I'd like, due strictly to lack of time, but it is coming. New smashwords is uploading as I type... Number 1140 in queue *sigh* so it'll probably be ready mid-afternoon tomorrow... Considering going to the all-night writing session this weekend. hahaha haven't been to any of the social events this year at all, but I figure if you're only doing one, that's the one to do :) Will likely depend how much I have to do on Sunday though! This week's is a show checklist. Not so much theory as useful reference material. Feel free to comment anything you feel should be added!

A great eventing personality crosses the Rainbow Bridge

On a sadly serious note, Russell Smith passed away last Friday of cancer. Russell owned Checkmate and was a huge supporter of Canadian eventing from the grass-routes level all the way to the top. Even in the midsts of chaos he'd always have time for a smile and a story or to encourage a young rider heading out on XC... He will be missed. For any who are interested, the funeral will be at Trinity College Chapel at 2:00 pm 4:00pm on Friday the 19th of November. Trinity College Chapel is located at 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto.

Nano Procrastination

Sooooo.... So far this afternoon I rode one pony and lunged a second. I wrote a couple blog posts. I updated part of the GRS site. I emailed a friend about Lissy (who I'm still pretty happy about it :) Set the latest smashwords uploading (only #24! So should be fast tonight :) Let's see, what else. Oh yes, I hit "refresh" on my fb page a couple hundred times; mustn't forget that! You'll note that nowhere in there does it say I wrote a whole lot of my nanonovel *sigh* Stalled. It will start up again. I have faith *g* But rather rapidly the published version is catching up to the written version! Yikes. And of course Monday's are no-write days. So hopefully come Tues eve I'll be feeling all re-inspired! hahaha we shall see. Words *are* getting written, just not any great volume of them... *edited a few hours later to add* -- YEAH reached 35K! Going to sleep now :)

Pony fun :)

So Superstar Sienna was a babysitter today. I was so proud of her! Lissy was just a little intimidated by being in the very noisy arena by herself so Sienna came in to keep her company. And then both were great :) Lissy's very unfit so not doing much more than walking around with the occasional short trot. But she was quiet and relaxed. Shows some nappy tendencies, but they're not out of control so should be manageable. And then we went outside (where there were other horse friends for her) and she was great out there too. Superstar pony! Only down side is her ground-manners are somewhat lacking. Made me appreciate how far Sienna has come. But that's ok, I can fix that :) Have to admit being pretty happy w/ Little Lissy :) Ok now to go write like 4000 words since I haven't written much in the last two days! Yikes :)

Fun stuff :)

Best status message I've seen in ages (and it wasn't even one of my friends so I can't give proper credit but...) "S has a perfect home, on a perfect street and everyone is Christmas shopping.... unfortunately it sits on a hall table and is only 8" high. I love my new Christmas village" Loved it! Oh and in other news -- I just bought my first school pony!!! Woohoo! Lissy :) A very unfit qh who seems to love to jump but knows nothing of flat (who's surprised by this). So she has a fair amount of long/slow work to do, but then I think she'll be good to go :)

An exciting day! Welcome Lissy :)

So the Graduate Riding School has its first school pony! Woohoo! Lissy :) A 15hh, 7yo, bay qh. Super cute, super friendly. Thanks tons to Olivia and Rachel for spending the day looking at ponies with me and being willing test-riders! Really appreciate it :)

While Lissy seems to really like jumping, she doesn't know what to do with herself in the dressage ring and is *very* unfit. So her first few weeks will be spent slowly getting her fit and teaching her some more in-depth flat work. But after that, she should be good to go :)

Nano Update

Only 509th in line tonight. Should be up by morning :) Takes the story to about half way through today's Flash. For an example of extreme editing compare the two :) Nano version of the same scenes (of which only part is in this update) has 2840 words. Flash has 1189. Brutal. Enjoy!

#FridayFlash: Nano Excerpt - The Fair Ones

Nanowrimo continues, and as such for flash this week I offer another snipit of my nano-novel. Spoiler alert – if you’ve been reading my Smashwords novel ( this section has not yet been posted! The full version is more developed, but we haven’t gotten to that point yet :) I borrowed characters I first created in my story The Magic of Spring... I couldn’t let go of them and felt they might work out here. Let me know what you think! ------- Jezina awoke to see Kale heating water over the fire while a man and a woman watched on from the sidelines. They were almost eerily gorgeous. Tall and thin, both had the perfectly symmetrical features rarely seen in reality. Their skin was pale, but seemed to glow. Both had dark hair with a stunning gold stripe through the centre; the woman’s was quite long and flowed freely over her shoulders. The man had the dark portion shaved while the golden portion was formed into spikes, somehow giving the impression of power and confidence rather than ridiculousness. The man smiled at her blatant inspection and Jezina felt herself blushing, ashamed of her behaviour. “See,” he said to the woman next to him, “I told you she was the one.” “We don’t know that yet,” she warned, although seemed to disbelieve the words she was speaking. “Hello,” the man spoke to her in her own language, “do you yet miss the woods?” “How can I miss what I never knew?” she asked in response to the strange question. “Jezina?” Kale interrupted, sounding puzzled. “Sorry, should I have waited for an introduction?” she asked, sure she had yet again broken some rule of social etiquette. Kale looked worried, “introduction to whom?” he asked. The woman giggled – a surprising sound from one as elegant as she. “He can’t see us,” she told Jezina. “Unless we let him,” the man finished. “Jezina?” Kale queried. Jezina looked at the pair and back at Kale, who was watching her worriedly. She was coming to believe all the myths were true. “Kale, do you know any stories about a race of fair people with a golden stripe in their hair?” Seemingly concerned about the non-sequitor and puzzled as to why she had her mental shields up, Kale nonetheless could see no reason not to tell her. “Sure, although I don’t remember much about them; they’re supposed to be so gorgeous that to see them would be death to any human – although since they’re also invisible, how we could possibly know that, I never understood. Some cultures pay homage to them; they leave offerings in return for being treated kindly. Seems a bit of a waste to me.” At which both the visitors smiled. “Why?” Sensing this was going to be an interesting morning, Jezina couldn’t see any way to break the news easily, “because we have company for breakfast,” she told him and watched the disbelief steal over his face for a split second before he managed to hide it behind his mask. “So clearly seeing you is not death, how much of the rest of the story is true?” Jezina asked the fair ones with a smile. “I’m Az,” the woman avoided the question by introducing herself still smiling, “and this is my twin Goht.” “Jezina,” she introduced herself, “and my… friend, Kale.” She said, stumbling only slightly over how to introduce him. “Would you like some tea?” she asked, certain that was what Kale had been making. The stunning pair declined gracefully and looked at each other, the silent communication of those who’ve known each other forever flashing in their eyes. A decision was reached. “What do you want from her?” Kale asked them cautiously, suddenly able to see the stunning people. “Come with us and meet with our queen,” Goht requested instantly, “she is knowledgeable in the ways of prophecy and will be able to tell if you are the one it speaks of. She also may be able to give you information that could be useful.” Kale looked at Jezina and shrugged. The prophecy was hers and so was the choice. “Why not?” Jezina stated, “it’s not every day I’m invited to meet invisible royalty.” They walked for a while, making the kind of small talk strangers do; an activity Jezina had little experience with that fascinated her to no end. While she got to know the life story of her new friends, Kale kept his thoughts to himself, watching quietly. They stopped beside a tree – the biggest by far that Jezina had ever seen. The beautiful people gave them masks, warning them they were needed to pass the spirts. The tree came to life. It reached down with its upper branches to the base of the trunk, making a giant bow. The massive tree then rocked backwards onto the bow with an ominous creak, revealing a cavernous opening with steps leading underground where one would expect to see roots. With a wide-eyed look at Kale, Jezina took Goht’s hand and descended, Kale and Az following immediately behind. There was a loud groan as the tree righted itself and the group was plunged into darkness. And dark it was. In all her life, Jezina had never seen such dark. She touched her hand to her face and at no point could she see even a hint of a shadow of it. Without her sight, Jezina’s other senses increased exponentially. She could hear every footstep – the confident ones of her hosts and the hesitant shuffle of Kale, as blind as her, behind her. In the distance she heard other sounds. The flutter of wings. A scrambling of clawed feet. And other sounds she couldn’t identify. Sounds she didn’t want to identify. She could smell nothing. It was as though her nose were as blind as her eyes. She had never considered how much she used scent until it was gone. Her sense of taste, however, was still strong. Even though she hadn’t eaten a thing she felt as though she’d eaten something incredibly bitter. She felt her cheeks pursing in reaction. “Tighten your mask,” Goht told her as soon as he noticed her expression. Evidently the darkness really didn’t affect them. Goht let go of her hand to tighten the mask for her. She could feel her heartbeat accelerate in panic instantly when he let go of her hand, but Az, clearly understanding, reached out from behind and held her other hand for both security and stability until he was done. The path twisted and wound endlessly. They walked for minutes. Hours. Days. Jezina lost all concept of time and space, until all of a sudden, in the distance there was a glimmer. “We’ll take the masks back now,” Az told them. “We’re through the spirit’s realm. Your vision will also return shortly.” As Az collected the masks, Jezina realized the depth of her mistake. Without a mask and a light source, there was no way to return the way they’d come. She and Kale would be trapped here. She wondered that he who had concerns about her wandering the village with Malla, would let her come down here. And then she realized, he had never tried to stop her from exploring the village, just from doing so alone. Here he was with her. The choice of where to go was hers and hers alone; his only concern was to watch over her while she went. And if the choice was hers, so was the responsibility. She felt an uncomfortable pit in her stomach, and had the horrible feeling that she had chosen wrong.

There will be more nano... Someday!

awwww my smashwords uploaded all night and still doesn't seem to be there. Boooo :( Will try again when I get home tonight! *edited later* - ok it's up now. hahaha wow took ridiculously long time. The spacing on this one is closer to legible. Still nqr, but a huge step up on the last versions.

First AND last day on the job >;-P

This was on the news this morning. Since nobody was hurt, the rest of us can laugh :) As per one of my favourite cowboy coach lines, "if it ain't fatal, it's funny." Enjoy!

Nano Update

Nanonovel is 143 in line and has been uploading for 248 minutes. But I'm going to bed. Should be up sometime while I'm asleep :) Haven't written anything in THREE days!!! Very bad. Have to remedy that tomorrow :) Would like to remedy that now, but I think I'm finally getting over the sugar high and really must sleep now. Night :)

Whatever you do, do it with passion.

Alright so I'm going to preface this with saying a copious amount of sugar was consumed on very little sleep yesterday. And for those who know me, will realize that has essentially the same effect as excessive amounts of alcohol on other people So while I found the whole day incredibly entertaining, it's very likely this entire post will be a "you had to be there" moment. Consider yourself forewarned. So I had a ridiculous amount of fun @ the Royal this year. Rachel and I went together, and passed paths with various other people once there. Never did make it beyond the shopping area. I heard a rumour of farm critters and butter sculptures and antiques and all sorts of things that really I usually just walk through cause I feel obligated but I definitely never saw them. Worse I also didn't wander the stalls or the exercise ring or the job boards. hmmmm So where did we go? Well we came in and went right to the main ring to watch the medal class (where we met up w/ M who was also watching :). Most were quite good; the girl who won definitely deserved it (always good to see). But I have to admit there were a few that I kinda wondered what they were doing there. But at least they pretty well all got knocked out in the first round. hahaha so then off on an important mission -- food! We managed to get to lunch at a gap so we actually got a table (how civilized :) Had a definite example of unfortunate translation. The food booth that served fruit drinks in bags was named... Well: Can't imagine why there was nobody there? So lunch was followed with a quest for the Apple Blossoms! Albeit not all that challenging of a quest given that they were exactly where they are every year. hahaha but hey, at least we were successful! mmmmmm sugar. And cinnamon. Cinnamon's good for you right? And Apple! Apple a day and all that. Ice cream - well that's a milk product. Equally healthy. So really, when you consider it, this was a reasonably healthy snack. Really. hahaha so while eating, we wandered over to chat with a friend who was manning a booth but sadly she was, well, working. Imagine that. So we gave up on that idea and returned to the main ring to watch the power and speed class. Only switched seats to find a better view once hahaha Fairly entertaining show though and got a couple fairly impressive turns happening :) Spent much of that class deciding which ones we'll be buying as soon as that lottery ticket pays off! After the jumpers it was SHOPPING! hahaha so excitedly exclaims she who hates shopping. But Royal shopping is different -- more of a social event really :) M unfortunately had to leave us and go be a responsible adult (and/or just needed to escape by that point :) but R and I headed back to the booth area. Managed to visit with our employed friend who had a few seconds of breathing time before starting our trek up and down the rows. Now really, this shouldn't be so challenging. Yet somehow we managed to do some rows several times and other rows not at all! (I *think* we got them all in the end, but it took a few tries :) Was good to see way more booths back compared to last year, but numbers I'm pretty sure are still down from a few years ago. I usually do about 1/2 my xmas shopping there and I didn't do any. Ran into a bunch of people, which is always fun. One pair seemed to be trolling the booths in the same order we were since once we bumped into them we saw them every few minutes All good. Although I never *did* get to see L, who I was intending to hook up with in the first place :( Booooo. Now I was very good. The only horse thing I was supposed to buy was a blanket for the invisible pony. And the only horse thing I bought was a blanket for the invisible pony. Now that statement might raise some questions for some of you. Others know me so well they'll just smile and nod :) But for those who need the elaboration - yes the only *horse* thing I bought was a blanket. But that doesn't mean I didn't also buy something for me. (I was trying soooo hard to be good to, but every once in a while . . . ) And the invisible pony? Well didn't you by YOUR invisible pony a blanket? Wouldn't want him to get cold. And while one would think that an invisible blanket would suit an invisible pony, it makes him *really* hard to find out in the field >;-P Please note, I did warn you it was a silly kind of day :) But my invisible pony should become visible sometime Saturday afternoon. That would be the pony I'm planning to buy on the weekend whom I don't technically own yet *g* But since I do know general size and shape I bought one from a store that I can easily exchange if need be... So all this shopping made us thirsty. How do you cure this? More sugar. Clearly. This time the frozen form. Mmmmm slushy.... R skipped that one and went for the hot caffeinated grown-up version >;-P But much to the same effect. Part of the fun of going to the Royal is seeing all the people you haven't seen for a year. The other part is making new friends. R and I made lots of new friends *g* hahaha easy enough to do when they're captive in their little booth. The first was the book guy. He had a great booth that had an assortment of knick-knacks, but what drew me in were the books. Journal type books - cover with white pages. But the covers were all leather (either cow or camel?!?!) and the paper was all made from recycled shirts and it was all stitched together and just very very kewl. So I was looking through these and found a design I liked but it was nqr... And Rachel was looking through the scrapbook size version at the same time (those were stunning! But I'm not doing any more scrapbooks :) and we're asking questions (ie, where do you go to source camel leather???) and chatting with the guy (he goes all over the world finding obscure local crafts and arranging to have them bought and shipped to him), but while doing this I moved every single book to find just the right one. And was very sad that I seemed to be failing. So he starts digging through his under-the-table (literally :) boxes to find the "right" one pulling out book after book after book, explaining what some of the symbols meant and trying to figure out what combination would work for me (they're all hand made, so sometimes even if it was the pattern that I wanted it'd be on the wrong colour leather, or with discolouration in a place that detracted rather than added, or the right cover but not a back I liked etc etc etc). I genuinely think he was as excited to have somebody interested in his stuff as we were looking through it. And in the end, he did find just the right one for me. So I had to buy it. I mean seriously, after he went to *that* much effort and kept us entertained for like half an hour, how could I not? So our next new friend was the sham-wow guy who was amused that R was as into his product as he was. A short-lived friendship admittedly, but somewhat amusing. Then there was the saddle guy. He was technically last, but we're inserting him here for narrative purposes :) He was selling super-fancy super-high-tech saddles and seemed pretty convinced Rachel was going to buy one (it's the scarf I tell you! :) He freely admitted to being bored out of his mind (at that price range and with exactly one product to sell there aren't too many people browsing) so we chatted with him for a while and got the whole spiel and tried out both the jump saddle (which I liked) and the dressage version (which I did not). I think Rachel has both on her lottery list though. He mostly amused me to no end because he had clearly decided who the likely purchaser was and I was mostly there as an afterthought; yet R and I both knew the winning lottery numbers hadn't yet been drawn. We had a similar conversation with the bitless bridle guy (he was quite the entertaining cowboy. If he's there when you are, definitely strike up a conversation about his riding adventures :) whose products were more affordable but we restrained ourselves. Honestly mostly because I didn't see any that I liked that would fit my horse, but we can claim it was my great self-restraint instead :) But our new best friend by far was Jeff. Poor Jeff. I think he wished he wasn't wearing a name tag that day. Now you have to understand, it was about 7/7:30ish by this point (the show we wanted to see started at 8:30 and this was our last real conversation before that :) and all we (or at least I anyways) had had to eat or drink had been essentially sugar, sugar and... oh yeah - sugar :) In various forms. And I'd been having a lot of fun being silly all afternoon. Jeff is alone in his booth. Nobody even *pretending* to look at his product. Again a booth whose sole purpose is to sell one product and one product only. And that product? A board game. Or I guess technically a card game since there was no actual board. hahaha yes a horse card game. Which had the whole thing neatly laid out on a table, and R and I couldn't help but take a look at one of the cards on the way by. So Jeff senses our fleeting interest -- the first he's probably seen in hours and starts into his spiel right away. And you know what, he's good enough at it and it's somewhat interesting, that we listened. Well that and when you're that sugar-high anything can be amusing. So we listened for about 10 seconds. If that. Jeff is explaining about the pace cards (ie how fast your horse is going) which of course led Rachel and I to defending our preferred speeds -- apparently in this game going slow is an advantage! Sheesh. If you walk you get 3 skill cards and if you gallop you get 0?!?! Totally not cool. Unless you're Moe >;-P Skill cards? Sweet! So while Jeff's trying very hard to explain how the game is set up and should work, R and I have moved onto skill cards and applying them to our own abilities or lack-thereof. Here -- you can have this one, I can do that. But I need this one. So Jeff explains how skill cards are used to get you over a jump. And somehow actually got us to play a whole hand correctly. And then there are events -- we never did find out exactly how or when the events come into play; possibly because we interrupted Jeff so many times he lost track of what he was supposed to tell us. But events were fun things like eating a bug or tripping before a fence. Theoretically there are good events too, but we didn't see any signs of them. Art imitating life perhaps? So we played another round and found some more obscure rules (there are a lot of rules in this game!) But then had a good laugh as my event was something like "got to a bad distance" and my skill was "perfect jump take-off point" so I argued those two automatically cancel each other out. Apparently Jeff's rule book didn't agree but by this point he was laughing almost as much as we were so it was all good. At some point Jeff's boss (or partner? I'm going with boss, it's a better story) wanders out -- apparently disturbed by the laughter. But even she could see Jeff was really trying to teach us how the game was played, we were just having way more fun with our own rules. She didn't like our version of the game so much and was very unhappy when I found a typo on one of her cards. Oops. hahaha I suggested we should get one half price for that, but somehow that didn't go over so well and she wandered away. But Jeff kept trying. And then realized, we'd forgotten a key step! To do all this you need a horse! Poor Jeff was a little flustered -- apparently due to all our creative-rule-interpretation he missed a step in the spiel. So we investigated the horses and picked very much how we would pick in real life. Mine was short cute bouncy and blond. R's was grey and big :) Priorities people! But in a complete reversal of real-life scenarios, mine had special skills that were going to help me out over like half the fences on course. Rachel's yeah not so much. So sad... We never did figure out exactly how to finish the game, and I swear even Jeff was making stuff up as he went along (what do you *mean* I have to take her pace cards??? All she wants to do is walk! -- regardless of the fact that she was *technically* cantering at the time, but this reality is somewhat interpretive -- That's not kewl at all!) Or it could be that we just shuffled his explanation so many times he was only randomly remembering rules that would otherwise have been delivered in a calm organized fashion. How boring. >;-P Was it ever funny though. I actually, genuinely wish I'd bought the game -- just so we could play it our way. It could live in the Beast for those long rainy shows... But alas, I'd already bought my book. So we tried to put the game back the way it belonged and went to get... that's right, more sugar! Armed with cokes, cinnamon bun and mini-donuts we headed back to the show ring. Got there in time to see the end of one of the driving classes. So the announcer made some comment about, "Cheer for the one you like!" R's immediate answer: "Go BAY!!!" I'll give you one guess as to what colour every single horse in the ring was >;-P hahaha ok given enough sugar, it was incredibly funny at the time. Then was time for dressage. But before you start yawning -- it was fun dressage. As in the first rider in the ring was wearing a Zorro outfit, followed by two girls in Spanish dress and one other zorro-esque look. Yup that's right, quadrille night. Teams of four. Fun music. We had Zorro and friends, followed by the Cowboys, followed by Elvis (that's right - four of them. Complete with horrific Elvis-hair hat covers! I hope there are no more of those in existence. hahaha). The last team took a very serious approach and did a Remembrance Day ride, but even theirs had some fun at the end. The Remembrance Day ride was by far the best from an audience standpoint. They really had their act together. Riders were in sync, ride was well choreographed, clearly had practiced at least a *few* times. But alas, the teams were judged more for dressage than performance, and the ones that did not put on nearly as coordinated a show scored much higher -- presumably due to the technicality of what they tried to do. All in all though was highly entertaining. To all except the unfortunately grouchy lady sitting near us who asked us to refrain from speaking during the performance "as a favour to her" (all I could think is "what possible reason would I want to do you a favour?") and positively steamed when the group down in the corner dared to *gasp* applaud! Really, they're wearing Elvis hair -- how serious do you intend to take this? hahaha ah well, at least the rest of us had fun :) She left after dressage. I'm not sure anybody missed her. Then onto the jumper class and more of the earlier "which one would you want?" game :) Really, I haven't laughed so much over absolutely nothing in a very long time. Was quite a fun evening. Although I admit, going over budgets at 8:00 this am on very little sleep and recovering from a sugar hangover was less fun. But such is reality eh? Off to teach!

Who has time to write?

Soooo despite how much fun I'm having with my story these days I had zero time to write today (short of the occasional blog entry -- check out the GRS Blog to see why I'm so spoiled :). But I do have a few unpublished scenes written -- good thing too since I'm at the Royal tomorrow (yeah!) and won't likely be writing anything then either. I can get through today and tomorrow with posts already written and possibly one more day, but then I have to fill in a bunch of pieces for the rest of the sections to make sense. *I* know what happened on those blank pages, but I'm not sure that's really sufficient *g* Ok I meant to be in bed like 2h ago. Who am I kidding? I wasn't even HOME 2h ago. Sheesh. Hey I'm only 5th in queue today! Wow, superfast.

I'm so spoiled :)

So I had an interesting occurrence the other night that sort of set me thinking... I had a couple students (not mine) crash a lesson. And they were great -- they tried SO hard. And the more I threw at them, the harder they worked to apply it. And when you throw in some natural talent (some people are lucky) they both got some really amazing results. So when the lesson was over, I told them that they had done a great job and were a real pleasure to teach.

All good right? Except one of my other students immediately raised the "well what about us?" flag. And I really didn't know how to respond, because my thought was, but we *know* you're fun to teach, you're why I'm here. So therefore it's so obvious it's not even worth commenting on.

But then I think back over all the lessons I've taught and all the students I've had and all the students my friends have and I realized, that's so not true. I'm just incredibly lucky *g* Right now I have only students I truly enjoy teaching. All my life there's always been a large number of the "we teach them to pay the bills" variety of lessons that keep you going so that you can teach those few that are fun. But right now it's the absolute opposite. In that all week I have totally kewl students. It doesn't necessarily mean students for whom it comes really easily or students who have the most expensive most highly trained horses, but students who genuinely try. Who actually *do* their homework between lessons. Students who think about what they're doing and ask intelligent questions. Who are open to new ideas and willing to give most things a try (even if it *might* sound a little weird :). Those are the students that I most enjoy teaching. But because right now *all* of my students fall into that category, I forget that many of my peers aren't so lucky.

hahaha was covering for a friend a while back (I won't say who or where :) and all I could think was "how does she put up with this?" She had one group of students who were whiny beyond belief, followed by a group who spent the whole time making excuses (those who've ridden with me longer than about 30 seconds will know I have precisely zero tolerance for that :), followed by a group that is perfect -- or so they'd have you believe anyways. It's really hard to teach perfection. Even harder when they're an awfully long way from where they *think* they are. And I freely admit it was more of a babysitting gig (make sure nobody does anything that'll get them hurt) than a teaching one, and I'm not likely to cover that crew for her again (sorry!) And all I could think was, she does this *every* week. O.M.G. Essentially the "smile and nod" style of teaching where every other phrase is "that's good" and the bar for what's considered "good" is so low an ant would trip over it. But she's a really good coach when she wants to be, and I guess these ones are of the 'pays the bills' variety but yikes. Maybe it was just cause they were all on one day -- I think personally I'd spread them out and surround them with good lessons to make it a little more palatable. But to each their own *g*

Now in some ways, you shape your classes by the types of behavior you'll accept. And where you draw the line, defines who you'll be teaching. For instance, I will not let students do anything I feel they are not ready for. I have lost an unfortunate number of students because of this (ie - they want to jump higher). But *because* I have and strongly enforce that rule, the students I DO have know when I tell them to do something, I have complete faith that they are ready and able to do it. Likewise, I don't tolerate excuses or whining. That's what your mother's for. As far as I know, I've only lost three because of this (and two of them adults?!?!?!) but to be quite honest, I don't miss them .

But because now I have all students I really like, it really makes me hesitate some days to cover for my friends because... well... I'm getting spoiled hahaha that and sometimes what they enjoy teaching just isn't the same as me :) I have one friend who hates teaching teens and barely tolerates adults but LOVES little kids. And is amazing with them. Preferring exactly the opposite myself, this works out as anybody young who comes to me I send to her and when she's done with them she sends them to me. But neither one of us ever wants to cover for the other. Despite the fact that we teach the same basic skills. But the ones whose barns are full of drama I have to question. Do they really enjoy it? I know there are a bunch who question my sanity with teaching said evil teenagers so maybe I can't comment, but sometimes I have to wonder :)

So what do you think? Does like attract like? Or is it just luck of the draw and some barns attract whiny students while others attract awesome students? :) Is it a money thing? I have definitely noticed a trend that the whininess goes up in direct proportion to the income. Or, more specifically to the husband's income! Funny the women who earn it themselves, very rarely whiny But that doesn't account for the other variety of traits.

I don't know, there's no real point to this post. Was just sort of bemused by it and so it set me babbling :)

Please stay tuned through this commercial break...

So I started to upload my book this am. Realized right away I'd picked the wrong file, stopped it, started to upload a new one. EIGHT hours later it finished. And it was still the wrong file *sigh* Ah well, this one's ok it just has some errors (like the updates page!) in it. Had a blast teaching today. Lightbulbs going off all over the place. Has been a good week for that actually. Yeah superstar students :) So the other day at work we were discussing the new macbook pro -- loved this description from a co-worker: "it's so thin it almost doesn't exist in reality" And more on the advertising snipits -- saw this commercial the other day and it actually made me want this camera. Last line before the vo, brilliant. Whoever wrote it deserves a raise :) And of course the video about the making of the commercial (well kinda):

Past 30K on week one?!?!?! Unheard of! At least in my world :)

Ugh - it's 1am, I just hit upload, and I'm number 687 in queue. I actually suspect it'll still be uploading when I wake up. Oh and if you count all the bits and pieces that aren't actually threaded together yet, I just passed 30,000 words!!!!!!!!!! You know what -- that deserves a few extra !!!!!! I'm like 2 weeks ahead of time. Unheard of. But entirely due to a flash of brilliance along the lines of 5K on Thurs night and 10K today *g* I'm going to sleep now. But I have more to write tomorrow. Yeah for weekends :) And then during the week maybe I can actually weave some of said snippits into a coherent fashion so I can actually put them UP! Note though that that by no means ensures I'll actually make it to 50K. I fully expect to still hit that week 2-3 block right where it belongs. It just means I'm more excited than usual now. And on that note, off to sleep. Yeah, like that'll happen >;-P

Does your wife know?

So after Zenyatta's amazing race today (if only the track had been two strides longer!) I couldn't help but remember this gem that was floating around the internet a while back. Enjoy:


The light just went on and now I know where my story's going to go! And I'm really excited about it :) Now to write it, before I forget!


So I'm starting to think I should've signed up for nanoblomo too *g* As in the blogger version of nanowrimo. hahaha Did that the year I was at Denny's. But really, it's looking like I just might make that one work too. And as w/ nanowrimo, nobody said the posts had to be particularly interesting!

Random fantasy thoughts

So I sometimes wonder when I'm describing a scene in a fantasy environment, how others picture what I discribe. I see it all so clearly in my head, but I have no idea if how I write it presents the same image to another person. Kinda like when you write instructions for something you know well, you have to get somebody whose never seen it before to try and follow them. But I have no way of quality-testing my prose. But then, otoh, does it matter? Part of the joy of fantasy is the world can be whatever you want. So as long as the critical pieces are in place, if a reader envisions it differently from how I do, that's no problem -- it makes it theirs in a way. Ok end of blurb and back to describing my fantasy world that you may or may not see the same way I do :)

Getting my priorities straight

So I have a cover now (admittedly my story did not exactly ummm progress since I've done nothing but photoshop for the last *cough*three*cough* hours. But it's important to have a cover :) Right? Ugh, have to admit I'm still not a big fan of it though; not the least because I'm pretty sure nobody in Jezina's world wears jeans! hahaha Better than nothing but not by much. I think I should limit my creative output to words! And even that's not quite working, since I realized I still don't have a good title. Sheesh. Suggestions??? Oh and it's almost 1:00 and I'm still number 222 in the queue. Maybe by breakfast :)

The first few days are always fun...

hmmmm "Your book has been received and is #332 in the queue." -- so approximately sometime about oh 1 or 2 am tonight's nano will be up. hahaha ah well -- they're letting us use their great service for free, I guess a little bit of a lineup is fair enough :) I'm amazed people actually seem to be reading it! (or, well, at least downloading it :) That's almost as exciting to me as writing it. Makes it way more motivating than the last time I did this. hahaha So for the moment I'm still a few days ahead in writing than publishing (yeah starting with a running start). Very handy since I don't always write in order, so for the moment I still have enough time to go back and fill in the pieces before publishing. But the publishing is catching up! hahaha well we'll see :) I've got the start, and pieces of the end... Now I just need the in-between! hahaha On the horse side of things, Si's mystery lameness was conclusively diagnosed earlier this week as a rather excessive bruise on the toe (farrier took pads and shoes off so we could see what was going on :) So while that sux, it's not tragic. She's still hovering in the 95% range, so hopefully good to go soon. Ok, off to write something for tonight... Wish me luck! oh and hey -- I'm now only 315 in queue >;-P Enough procrastinating.

Friday Nano Update :)

Alright so due to the adventure that is Nanowrimo, it is looking highly unlikely that I'll be writing any #fridayflash this month! For those who might be interested I'll share snipits of my Nano -- please do be kind, remember there's little to no editing involved and excessive wordiness, the antithesis of Flash, is ENcouraged :) The story has already moved well past my assisted beginning - it can be downloaded at Smashwords: for any who may be interested :) I'd be honoured if you'd consider reading it! Otherwise, there's a snippit from yesterday's writing that can stand on its own (almost :) on I'm telling you stories. It's even under 1000 words :) Let me know what you think!

Once upon a time it was the only way TO get to school!

So a highschool kid in Massachusetts (yeah I def had to spellcheck that!) decided that for school-spirit day he would ride his family horse from the nearby hunt club to his high-school dressed as a knight. He even had a squire with the horse on a lead as an extra safety measure (presumably instituted by parents who agreed to the borrowing of the horse). They toured the property at a walk, before being asked to leave by the principal. Leave and not return. The knight was suspended for two days and the squire for one day and 2h of community service. Because the horse was "the equivalent of bringing in a loaded firearm". Hmmmm let me see -- would I rather face a quiet horse walking on a lead with a bunch of laughing people around or a mad kid with a loaded firearm? Let me think long and hard about that. Sheesh. Source: And of course, the video:

Theory Thursday - Soundness

Ok so TheoryThursday is going to be seriously reduced during the month of November due to Nanowrimo ( - for the uninitiated) and the fact that there’s only so many hours in a week! I suspect at absolute most only one level is going to get a post each week. Enjoy!

This week – evaluating soundness

Anybody have any artistic talent???

Smashwords evidently will let you post a cover for your book... Anybody inclined to make one for me? Here's the link to my nano in progress: -- please keep in mind that it *is* a nano in progress. Which somewhat means quantity over quality so won't always be up to even the level of flash (which I usually at least spell check! And given the 1000 word limit apply reasonable editing skills rather than leaving in as many words as possible :)


My book is #287 in the queue??? OMG. Methinks updating this on a regular basis isn't such a good idea. Maybe once a week rather than once a day. But by the time I go to bed tonight it should be done :) Off to teach now!

Hockey violence has to STOP!

Fran sent me this current case and I felt it was important enough to pass on:

Nano day 2 -- and already babbling.

So in Nanowrimo procrastination I'm uploading the first 1000 words to Smashwords (which doesn't really count, since they're also on here as one of my earlier Flash - just as well since its been more than an hour. I suspect their servers weren't *quite* ready for the number of nano-users they got!), had a ton of fun shopping (thanks a lot J. Really.) and ordered a new-to-me dressage saddle to try (for the record I *have* been looking for a new dressage saddle since summer... But to be the quality I want will have to be used, since new isn't ever going to be in the budget, and there aren't toooo many of those that appear in the stores I frequent. And really, I'm just too lazy to do the BB thing for something that's not tragically necessary yet). Of course as soon as I did that my horse felt the need to destroy her rain sheet (well beyond repair). *sigh* classic. Hopefully there'll be something to be had for cheap at the Royal (yeah for taking Tuesday off work to go play -- if you're going to be there, let me know :) Spent several hours browsing horse ads on the quest for school horses. Which I did NOT buy, not having anywhere to put them yet! Hahaha so yes I know that's an entirely pointless endeavor at this point, but it did succeed in keeping me busy when I should be writing. And now I'm writing a post about not writing my nano. It's gonna be a fun month :) And how's that for about the most incoherent run-on paragraph yet? On the plus side, I did actually meet today's word-count, so that's a good start. It's not particularly *good* writing, but the volume is there :) I also wrote some last night -- as in literally wrote. As in pen and paper. As in now I have to type what I wrote for it to count *sigh*. The first year I did it half the story was on sticky notes. It eventually got ceremoniously burned *g* I'm not convinced my story has any point whatsoever. My character has no idea what she's doing and I'm very much afraid that's not going to change. hmmmmm well I guess time will tell eh? About a month from now :) Spent all day today convinced it was Wed. It's proving to be another of *those* weeks. Ah well. Back to back meetings all day tomorrow; therefore will have no time for actual work; which makes me wonder why exactly I'm going to work. hahaha I shouldn't say that -- all of them should actually be useful, and if they weren't all on the same day when I had something else I wanted to be doing, I wouldn't think anything of it; it just strikes me some days that I seem to spend more of my time in meetings about projects than actually getting them done! So I have one character who has the disconcerting ability to be able to read another character's thoughts -- this is going to come in useful at some point, I'm sure. I just don't know why yet. But I realized that did brutal things to my wordcount #s when in any conversation only one of them has to speak. Poor nano strategy there! hahaha ah well -- it'll make up for the 5K head start :) Ok back to the writing now. Really. Here I go...

Nanowrimo - Day One

So we had the coolest display going for Hallowe'en -- people were stopping on the sidewalk to watch. hahaha very impressive. And of course I got video and of course I can't upload it *sigh* At least I've discovered it's a known Blogger error that apparently lots of people have run into and nobody's been able to resolve. Boooo. If or when I find a workable solution, I'll share. In the interim -- Nanowrimo starts today ( for the uninitiated) which somehow I've decided to attempt again after a several-year hiatus. And I think a couple of my friends are trying for the first time ever as well :) Woohoo! Which means, see you in Dec!!! hahaha that or blogging will become the ultimate writer's procrastination and you'll have more messages than ever before. But realistically I think both #FridayFlash and TheoryThursday are on hold for the month. In fact, the only reason I'm posting this is because I cheated and used a story that's already got about 5000 words to it, so I'm a couple days ahead of the game. Since I have no time to write on Monday's, we know this won't last long, but I figure I'll take advantage of it for today *g*