Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know wut yer gonna get

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Of Dorks and Ponies

Yesterday I did something I have tried not to do for the past two years.  And I did it on purpose.  I spooked horses.

A group of riders here in North County will be in a parade this summer and they are going through a series of classes in order to be confidant with their equine partners on the asphalt in front of hundreds of noisy unpredictable Parade Watchers.  There were about twenty riders participating.  They marched in 5 rows of 4 riders across, down an imaginary parade route that we adorned with balloons, baby strollers, bicycles, loud radios, umbrellas...along with a half dozen or so people doing various over-exaggerated movements and noises.  There was even a braying donkey on the route.  Most of the horses were solid and kept under control.  There were three that I could see, who were having problems.  Most riders were able to stay focused and calm, being the confidant leader their horses needed.

I surprised myself and my friends with the loud annoying "act" I put on.  I am a basically quiet person most of the time.  But, those of you who know me, know that I can have a very loud voice, and I am basically a dork.  I wore my big white hat, that I pulled off and waved at the horses, I opened and closed umbrellas, swung a pool noodle around, shook out my blanket, swung a lead rope (that one got nixed), played Johnny Cash way too loud.  We all clapped and whistled and yelled and screeched as the parade passed us by.

"Woo.....Hoooo!   Lookit all the purdy horses!  Wowee Zowee.  I wanna purdy horsie...please mom!?!  Yay!!!  Yeeeeeee... ...Haawwww!" 

It felt so good to be silly and loud like that.  I think I may have embarrassed my more outgoing friends.   (Insert pat on back here)   I know that one of the riders was a bit angry with me because I was so annoying.  She was the one rider who had trouble with every pass.  I was just trying to do my "job" and help desensitize the horses to the unexpected.  And, I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed being a loud dork.

Last week  the Fire Department worked with the riders.  All the bells, alarms, loud engine sounds, sirens and people in bright yellow gear with funny hats running around.  They tell me it was a pretty freaky time for the horses and their riders.

Next week, if they invite me back, I plan to bring dogs and kids.  And maybe my llama.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lola and Tom the Turk

Lola is the newest member here on the "farm".  She is a black turkey who was meant to satisfy Tommy's sexual appetite.  She does.  Sort of.  Tom the Turk is a swinger really.  He will go after anything that is approximately shaped like a football on the ground that doesn't move.  But he especially likes the chickens.

Lola is a young hen.  I think she is beautiful.

Some people think turkeys have ugly heads, but I think they are attractive and interesting.  They change color depending upon their mood.  I like the medium pink best.  I have seen the range beige to red on Lola.  Tom's range is beige to pink to red to periwinkle blue, almost purple.  The periwinkle is a beautiful color.  I've only seen beige when Tom was under extreme stress.  A gate fell on him once and a dog attacked him once.  He was beige most of those days.  Poor Tommy was stressed...but physically okay.

Lola hangs out with the chicken hens.  They cruise the yard looking for grubs, earwigs, worms - but mostly finding and eating grass and dirt and whatever bugs live in horse and llama poop.  Lola makes the sweetest sounds.  She has a very feminine and comforting sound when she is foraging.  It is delicate and usually followed by trilly sounds.  It reminds me of the sounds the dinosaur in Jurassic Park made before he ate the fat man in his Jeep.  I'll admit when I first made the connection it kinda creeped me out.  But, well...evolution and all...I think Lola is an okay gal.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just Your Average Jenny: Mind Discoveries

Just Your Average Jenny: Mind Discoveries

Mind Discoveries

I locked myself in an air-tight mental Tupperware container for forty three years.  Emotional trauma is a bitch.

I can't remember if I discussed the sources of that trauma, and they don't actually matter.  People experience pain and hurt and become damaged.  We cannot change these things.  They are in the past, they are what they are.  But we don't have to live in the aftermath forever.  God gave me a life and he says I deserve to live it.

I've always known that there is someone watching out for me;  Someone who is smarter and wiser and loves me. The Holy Spirit does these things, but, what I am talking about now is not spiritual.  It is my mind.   I enslaved part of myself  when I was twelve, because I truly believed that I could not exist with a portion of my personality left out to live in this world.  Problem is - we need all of ourselves in order to operate optimally.  Perhaps much of my lifetime of confusion and fear was because pre-adolescent me was trying to protect herself.

So many parts - and they are all important to the whole.

An amazing side effect of this uncovering - is that I don't feel like the pathways are clogged up with obstacles anymore.  I feel like a new part of me has been released and is happily carrying on.  In fact, she is dancing!  Stretching her legs and making plans for the future.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Horses That Live Here

We have some horses on the property.  Four horses; none owned by Boyd or me.  Chappo is a quarter horse stallion.  Paloma is an Appendix mare.  And Rhisper and Muni are Icelandic geldings.   They are all so unique.  Looks, attitudes, training and abilities, along with age and personalities; all as different as their owners are different from each other. 

I’ve learned a lot from having these prey animals on the property.  For one thing, I’ve become more social.  I actually say “Hello, how are ya” to these folks.   And I enjoy the horsey banter.  It is very informational and I feel like I am doing something that is helpful and important to these folks.   I feel a bond with them; a little different with each owner, each horse.

Chappo was the first to come and live with us.  A magnificent quarter horse stallion owned by a family that lives about a mile from here.  Willie and Maria inherited Chappo from Maria’s brother; a rancher in Mexico.  Chappo was a cow horse and he did tricks at family parties for entertainment.  Maria said Chappo loves music and giving rides to children.  He was taught to bow, count, answer the question “Where are you going to put me when I die?”  Chappo would paw the ground as an answer.  He would also sit and lie down with people on board him.  And he dances.

Life is very different for him now.  He lives in a 32 x 24 foot pen most of the time.  He gets turned out to a small pasture once a week and sometimes gets worked out in a round pen.  Willie and Maria do not have enough time for him.  They do not want to geld him and they do not want to sell him.  He is a memento of Maria’s dear brother.  Chappo is 10 years old and overweight.  He is frustrated and often angry.  And he bites.

This is very difficult for me to watch.  I have tried to help Chappo by turning him out, but I am still a beginner and I have some fears – which he does not respect at all.  I’ve been bitten three times; more if you count the ones that did not draw blood or leave bruises.  I know it is my fault that I get hurt.  I have not truly understood horse mentality.  Also, I am a very sensitive person and I have noisy reactions, such as screaming.  Not good in the horse world. 

I think I act more like a prey animal than a predator. 

I want to establish Lead Mare status.  Then the horses will know I am in charge and they will act up less and be more pliable with me I think.   I think I need to learn more about herd mentality and see how physical the horses get with each other when establishing rules within the herd.  Then I won’t feel like a mean person when I reprimand or discipline them.

Paloma was the second horse to arrive.  She is a 5 year old palomino appendix (quarter and thoroughbred cross).  She is taller than Chappo and her legs are thinner.  She is less coordinated.  She is aggressive regarding her food.  She likes to get her way and she paws the ground to get your attention.  Sometimes she shakes her head around and sometimes she pins her ears back.  But most of the time she just stands there, unless her owner, Raul, comes to work her, go for a ride or feed her and clean her stall.  She is a pretty girl.  She was attacked by pit bulls when she was younger and they left scars all over her body.  It is amazing that she does not hate dogs now.  She does, however, not let them get too close to her – she will chase them away.  The chickens like to take dust baths in her pen.  I think she likes that.

Raul and Willie were both horsemen in their younger days.  They are in their 40’s now and have to work regular jobs, so they cannot spend as much time as they would like with their horses.  They are both nice men.

The third pen is occupied by Rhisper and Muni, two Icelandic geldings.  They are short – pony sized, but they are stout.  Icelandics have very thick bone structures and are quite strong.  They are gaited horses and do something called the Tolt.  I rode Rhisper and experienced the tolt – it is grand!  So smooth.  We used English and Australian saddles.  There was much more human participation in the ride because more balance is involved.  I enjoyed it very much.

Cindy and Paul own these two boys.  Cindy and Paul are from Idaho and moved here in the last year.  They are our age with grown children and some grandchildren.  Cindy and her best friend Cheri work the boys about 3-4 times per week.  Either in the round pen or on a trail ride.  Cheri is a trainer who is trying to get the boys to respond in more conventionally acceptable ways, so that Cindy’s grandkids will be able to ride them safely and perhaps show them if they desire.

These ladies are fun to be around. I learn a lot from them and they are very kind to me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Life and Death and War and Cards

Last night I went with my husband to play cards with an elderly neighbor.  He fell and broke his leg a little over a month ago and loves the card game Biribba.  It is a Greek game (or Italian - depending on who you ask), much like rummy on steroids.  He has been playing the game since his childhood.  It was a way to pass the time when the Germans would not allow Greek children on the streets during WWII.  George considers it a war game and he plays very well.  My husband and George were at the top of their games - amassing many many points, while I trailed behind, enjoying the experience.

Towards the end of the night - I did not know what exactly I was beginning to feel, but I was in awe of George.  Not that he played so well, but about his history - so many stories about Greece and war and family and survival in wartime - and the fact that a broken leg from a fall in the garden might now be the end of his life.  He is in his mid-80's and the leg is infected and antibiotics are not working.  His coloring is yellow and jaundiced.  He was in a good mood during play, but I think he became tired towards the end of the game.  It can take several hours to finish a game.

I'm nervous around people who are near death.  When I visited my grandparents and my mother as they were just days from their ends, it is an overwhelming sense of helplessness I feel.  I guess I always feel I want to help somehow.  And when I can't - I get a manic desire to jump on the table and do a happy entertain and make people laugh.

I know two people who have had the opportunity to be present at a person's moment of death; felt their last heartbeat, smelled their last breath.  My step mom said she felt it was a very special time - precious.  My husband felt the same when his mom passed.  Is there an energy transference?  Is it felt?  What happens?  What is it like to die?  Maryann said she held her dear ones in her arms and loved them as they faded away.  Boyd's mom was in a coma, but he felt her pulse as he held her hand.

Not a very cheery post I suppose.  But, I want to be able to give positive energy to people, and I don't in these situations.  Instead I feel overwhelmed - and so I avoid the situations altogether.  And that is just not nice.

Suggestions welcomed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How funny.

I just finished writing a long piece on spirituality - pointed at a person I thought needed to hear it...and somehow I deleted it.  Wow!!  I think I was not supposed to write it.

That is pretty cool.

Remember to always come from a place of Love.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Old Drafts of Old Memories

Since it has been awhile since I posted here (except for the last post) I looked through past posts and found many drafts.  Thoughts I had and deemed unworthy of posting.  But I like this one.  So, here you are...

Monday morning Cindy and I had our weekly riding lesson.  We ride horses.  Cindy rides English style and I ride Western.  She says the English style makes her feel closer to the horse,(the saddle is smaller),  and I like Western because of Roy Rogers and John Wayne.  When I get the nuances of Western down, I'll give English a try...but that will be awhile.

It has taken me many months of riding to develop any type of mastery feelings in this venture.  In fact, I don't truly feel mastery yet - but I'm closer.  Much closer.  I can tack up and groom with confidance now.  I used to be so afraid I'd get it all wrong and hurt the horse.  Sometimes I still get the bridle twisted out of its proper shape.  Both the horse and I stand there wondering what the hell I was doing to her face. 

I have been working with a licensed trainer and lessons are an hour long.  I'm glad I did it this way because Sara has had me build skill and talent through a patient plan.  She majored in Behavioral Science and is quite adept at helping people (and animals) monitor and change their behavior.  I have never felt judged badly by anyone at the stable, except by myself.  Always uplifting, patient and kind.  I've had a glimpse of other people's dramas from time to time, but - such is life. 

I began riding because it is something I have always wanted to do.  When I was 4 years old we had neighbors who had horses.  They would go for rides fairly often and ride by our house.  We lived in Sacramento at the time.  (or was it Fair Oaks?)  Anyway - I remember standing on the corner where they would pass by on their way home from their rides.  I was too shy to speak, but I figured if I looked cute enough - they would see me and know that I wanted to ride. 

"Oh look, what a doll!  I'll bet she'd love to ride the horse.  Here, sweetie - you're so cute, I can tell you want to ride my horse.  Let me help you up into the saddle." 

In my mind I had a great time.  In my wishful young mind. 

Isn't it funny how clearly we can remember some things and not others?  That was 51 years ago!  And I can still feel the sunny, breezy day and I can smell the horses and the warm grassy mounds in the empty lot; sage I think.

Friday, January 27, 2012

There is Life in the Quiet

I read an article today that inspired me to be more accepting of myself.  I am an introvert.  I am a quiet person who lives in her head much of the time.  I will take talking 'streaks', when you cannot squeeze in a word - but, for the most part, I am quiet and reserved.  I like natural sounds (birds, running water, horse's nickering) rather than those of our technology (cars, trains, planes.)  The sounds of the earth and its creatures are comforting and help me to feel centered - both emotionally and physically.  And that reminds me of my core self...authentic Jenny... with all her strengths and weaknesses.  And it reminds me of my place in this universe.
It has taken some time to come to this calm contentedness.  And it seems to be a constant growth process.  Except, usually we think of growth as getting bigger, better; but my growth has been to strip away layers of scar tissue, scabs and stories created by my ego for its own preservation. 
 I've tried lots of things in the past to heal my wounds.  Some things work for awhile and then grow back.  This latest healer seems to be more effective because it is actually making the cause of the wounds unimportant.  The real cause of my wounds is myself and how I react to things.  When I take the importance out of those things (the stories), the reactions are much calmer and no wound is inflicted, and past wounds can heal when they are not constantly reinforced.
I've always liked the quiet.  Society told us that the best kind of person was outgoing;  Yet another way that other people cause us to doubt ourselves because they want to make money off of our fears.
This might make sense to some.  I hope it does.  It really is so much simpler than I thought.