Monthly Archives: February 2012

Thinking about saddles

During part of my show prep this week I cleaned up my Western saddle.  Looking at it afterward, I realized that a good chunk of my riding life has been spent in not just a Western saddle but a specific type of Western saddle–a reining saddle.

Why a reining saddle?  Well, my first reining saddle, a Saddle King of Texas, came into my life because my parents found it used for a deal.  Granted, $150 for a saddle in 1970 wasn’t cheap.  But Saddle King was a known brand and the saddle was in good shape.  Albeit heavy.  I think the dang thing weighed around 50 lbs, and heaving it on top of 15.2 hands Sparkle was a challenge for a young teen.  Nonetheless, I did it.

That Saddle King actually ended up being a good riding saddle for the kind of horse I was riding.  Sparkle was a sturdy Quarter Horse with a tendency to take off bucking when she got pissed, and she was a damned good bucker capable of sunfishing and other tricks.  I don’t think I’ve ridden a horse as good at bucking as she was since then (but only because G doesn’t put students up on hard buckers and because I avoid that type of horse if I can now).  A heavy saddle that sat securely on a horse’s back with a low reining horn was a good thing. Even though it was rigged for a double cinch, the cinch placement for riding with the front cinch alone was good so that the back of the saddle didn’t pop up off of the horse’s back.  That thing sat hard and secure, unlike the double-cinched pony saddle I also had, with rounded skirts and a tendency to pop up off of my athletic pony’s back.  The cinch placement was also good in that I didn’t have the latigos under my leg–a big thing in a Western saddle.  Hugely uncomfortable, and a frequent compromise when considering a single cinched rigging.

That saddle is still being used by the person I sold it to, a former neighbor.  I’d say it’s probably close to 70 years old and still doing well.

Later, when I started riding at G’s, I quickly developed a preference for a Billy Cook reining saddle he had in his tack selection.  Like the Saddle King, the Billy Cook put me in the right spot.  The stirrups in a reining saddle hang in a pretty good position for all around Western riding, with a bit of leeway in the seat to adjust my position as needed for what I’m doing.  The Billy Cook also had metal oxbow stirrups, closest thing you’ll get to an English stirrup in Western tack.  Like any good reining saddle, it’s set up to give the correctly positioned rider a dang good approximation of a dressage seat, with a very deep heel.  And it, too, didn’t pop up.

Mocha’s first saddle was a used Colorado Saddlery reiner.  It didn’t quite fit her but it was cheap and I figured she’d outgrow it as she muscled up.  When she was clearly done with it, I replaced it with the saddle pictured above.  It’s one of only two brand new saddles I’ve owned (the other was a generic kid’s pony saddle for my first pony) and it’s my absolute favorite of any saddle I’ve ridden.  There’s a subtle-not-quite-a-block setup in the design of the skirts which helps with thigh placement in the saddle, and it helps promote the correct seat pretty easily:

My shoulders are a little off in this shot, but nonetheless it’s easy to see that I can relax back into the deepest part of the saddle with a reasonably straight shoulder/hip/heel line.  The stirrups also move freely enough that I can slide my legs forward a little bit to sit a hard sliding stop, or move them back a little to support two-point, and lean forward easily to encourage speed.  That dip in the thigh section allows me to cue with the thighs easily (not always easy in some Western saddles) and maintain pressure throughout the entire leg.  It’s also a secure deep seat without being confining.

Plus the dang thing is just plain comfortable.  There’s a small amount of padding but not much in that seat.  Nonetheless, it’s possible to put in three hours even with an aching back without getting too crippled up for either horse or rider.  I know I can’t do that with my Collegiate Senior Eventer, much as I like that saddle as well.

Mocha seems to like it and do well in it.  I’m comfortable.  It’s a nice saddle and I’m not embarrassed to ride it in a show, and I can feel her working well in it.

What else could you want in a saddle?

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Horse Show, 2/25/2012

Let’s just start with a cute Mocha picture because, after all, she was the star of the whole shindig and I swear she made this face for DH on purpose!  After some other things she did at the show, yeah, she’s that smart a horse.  She also was very focused, serious and intent about doing her show work job.

Right off–no, we didn’t win any ribbons.  Yes, it was a schooling show but it was a big, slow schooling show.  Twenty to thirty horses in some classes, and we went in four walk-jog classes and then bugged out because it was getting late.  Walk-jog or any big rail class of that ilk is not something Mocha will necessarily stand out in.  It’s not what she’s bred to do, so this was basically a show to put miles on her.  And that we did.

She didn’t scream at this show.  Rather, she was alert, curious and aware.  Despite the funny photo above, the below pic was a more accurate reflection of her attitude:

She knew at some point she’d be coming out of her stall and so she was eager to go.  Interestingly, when I first braided her forelock at the barn, she wouldn’t stand still.  In the show stall?  She stood like a rock, intently focused on me.  Note to self: probably best to plan on braiding at the show, if possible.  Seems to fit her mood best.

Mocha got a bit pissy about the crowds, especially with some aggressive pros cutting it close to her.  But once we got out into the big arena, she relaxed.

Funny thing was, she remembered from her first show that there was a spot in the warmup arena where she could look in the big arena that was now blocked up.  She spent a lot of time in the warmup arena trying to figure that out, and getting anxious because she couldn’t see it.  Nonetheless, a note for the future is that I need to find a quieter spot to let her stretch out and gallop, because she got tense with the crowds and tight confines of the warmup arena.  As a result, it took her a while to relax and soften in the rail classes.

A good moment.

Tense and Having Discussions.

Getting coaching from trainer G.

Finally softening and relaxing.  It didn’t help that I kept bracing my back, either.  Still sore in the back and three hours in the saddle didn’t help.

What nailed us was consistency, especially at the jog.  She’d get pissy about being asked to bend and soften and would drop into a walk for just one stride, and that’s something we need to work on.  Also, she’s still a bit of a looky-loo girl, and while her focus was better, it was still an issue of Big! Show! Excitement! and that was enough to rattle her a little bit.

But there were all sorts of good moments, and in the next-to-the-last class, I got about ten strides of a nice, soft, elevated jog with impulsion that reminded me of riding the Western Pleasure two-time world champion in lessons, where G said I was getting his championship jog.  She’s got it in her, it’s just getting it consistently.  And, notice she ain’t dragging her nose.  When she does drag her nose, she ain’t going slow.

I just love it when she gets all round and soft, though.  It’s very reminiscent of the videos I see of her sire, Chocolate Chic Olena (whose roundness shows up even racing around at liberty).  It’s hard for me to determine just who she takes after most, sire or dam, most of the time, but when she softens and goes round, she’s definitely daddy’s daughter.

G.’s wife told me I looked like an equitation rider out there, which was good.  One trick I hadn’t realized was helpful was the use of my Justin work boots as my everyday riding boot, and my Lucchese’s as my show boots.  There’s about a 3/4 inch difference in sole thickness, which means it’s easier to extend my leg and drop my heel at the show…but I think that as much as fatigue led to me stiffening my back.

So.  Things to work on–softening and consistency of the jog.  She’s good at walk and canter.  Softening my back.  Otherwise, just getting her out and getting her past some of the attitude stuff, exposure is good.  I feel pretty good about this show because there were a number of pros riding in the same classes, as well as high school equestrian team types.  Pretty competitive, overall.  Wish we could have gone in a pattern class, but better not to go into those with an aching back and after a long day already spent (slow-moving classes).

At the end of it all, we took the horses out on the other side of the barn from where we came in.  The minute we went outside, Mocha raised her head, located where the horse trailer was, locked on, and briskly picked up a bold walk toward the trailer.   This was even though we’d come in the arena from a different side, in daylight, and it was dark and a different side.  She knew that was her trailer, and she started nickering at it as soon as we got close.  Then she started nickering–a soft little talky nicker–at G to hurry up.  G’s wife, with the other horse, started laughing and told him Mocha was telling him to hurry up.  She’s not a talker, so it was a big, big thing.  DH also told me this morning that their horse got fussy while Mocha was in the arena and they had to bring him down to settle.  Once he saw Mocha, he was happy (even though there were twenty other horses).

Got back to the barn and turned both horses out to run and roll.   Mocha marched right to her home arena and did her thing, then was ready to go back to her own stall and relax.

Funny little mare.  And, obviously, smart little mare.  I need to think about the implications this has for her visual/spatial processing, because she’s obviously wired that way.

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Um well, oops. Busy week.

It’s been one of those weeks where I’m running around frantically and it’s not going to get better over the weekend.  All good stuff, mind you, but it’s still…crazy times, my friends, crazy times.

Barring nasty hard rain tomorrow (Saturday), Mocha and I will be off to a small horse show at Mt. Hood Equestrian Center.  Now this is the venue of her first show, and I’m hoping that she doesn’t turn into the same screaming maniac she was then.  I don’t think she will, but she definitely knows something’s up.  Of course, my spending about an hour carefully trimming up her fuzzy legs and spending extra time on grooming probably is a dead giveaway to a smart and sensitive horse.  All I know is that she gave me all the cues of “somewhat on the muscle, ready to work hard” yesterday while tacking up…quiet, coiled, arching her neck thoughtfully while I got her ready.  The work was very much the same, with a lot of eager anticipating of cues, good rollbacks, lots of energy.  My back is now up to tolerating a good solid fifty minute ride, and she was still full of pep at the end of a rather aggressive schooling session, including some very nice two-tracking at the jog.

But.  On the muscle, for sure.  I ever compete that horse for more than one or two shows a year, and the sting that’s always lurking slightly below the surface is gonna come out.  No doubt about it.  She likes the challenge of schooling and hard working, and I just wish I was a better rider so as to push her a little bit more.  Work though I can, I’m not always at my best with the timing and that’s what we need.

School stuff has been full of the intensive small group and one-on-one work I tend to do well.  I’m hopeful that I’m seeing some progress with some of my tougher kids…maybe a breakthrough has been made.  I sure hope so.

Sped law conference today.  First special ed-oriented workshop I’ve been able to go to for several years, and I’m quietly excited about that.

It’s also been the case that I need to choose between blogging and eking out a few moments for Netwalker Uprising rewrites.  Editor handed me a big rewrite assignment, with the plea “please do rewrite this, it deserves it and you can so do it.”  So I am.  And what’s coming out of it is also clarifying some things for Netwalk’s Children.  Right now, looks like that will be taking longer to come out, and The Netwalk Sequence publication timeline needs to be pushed out a bit.  Oh well, it’s what’s needed.

So conference today, horse show tomorrow (weather depending), ballet and possibly skiing on Sunday.  Then back to the regular spin of work.

Not exactly quiet times here.  Onward!

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A little bit of political action

Yesterday, on President’s Day, I engaged in a little political action down at the State Legislature.  The Oregon Education Association had the mike for the big labor rally and, as vice president of my local, I had a part to play in the whole shindig…namely, show up.

So show up I did:

It was a wet and cool day, but as we said to each other on the bus down, “Hey, we’re Oregonians and we’re from the Mountain.  It’s wet but it’s just a mist, not a downpour.”

The steady rain didn’t set in until later in the rally.  And oh yeah, we chartered a bus and rode down together–at least twenty-four of us did, complete with kiddos for some parents.

As far as rallies go, it was a relatively mellow one.  About 1500 or so folks showed up, not all OEA but some SEIU, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Letter Carriers, and IBEW as well.  After listening to some school bands perform, a collection of speeches, and the presentation of legislators–interesting, that was, more on that later–we paraded around the Capitol, then processed into the Rotunda inside for more speeches and a couple of chants.  I was pleased to see that the Rotunda filled up–doesn’t happen that often but as I remember from my interning and citizen lobbying days, boy do the observers ever note the size of turnout.

Here’s a couple of pix:

Now.  About that turnout.

I commented that the Lege is well aware of turnout at events like this.  Generally, lobbyists and staffers alike cluster inside the Rotunda, watching out the windows to see if this sort of rally turns out to be significant.  If it’s big enough, then staffers start telling their bosses to hustle their buns out there and make an appearance.  It’s part of the script.  Of course, various Democratic party hopefuls for higher office appeared.  But then more of the House and Senate started showing up (everyone’s in Salem for the short session).  And it wasn’t just Democrats and friends of education who showed up to get introduced to the crowd “to be there.”  A few Republicans stuck their heads out as well as yellow-dog Dems who don’t necessarily side with education.  Significant?  Oh hell yes.  I talked with folks who’d gone to last year’s rally when the Lege is in regular session and there were many fewer legislators appearing.

Of course, this is an election year.  I expect to see some of these folks popping up at the OEA-PIE convention in a few weeks to ask for money.  But still….maybe there’s a tide turning.

Or maybe they’re just taking notes on who to purge.  Hard to say.

But it was a good group, and, despite the rain, a good rally.  We had parents and kids present, no major incidents happened, and it was awfully dang nice to not have to drive I-5 on a major holiday weekend to be there.  Whether this ends up counting for something or not…well, we’ll see.

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Ski day #12….skiing after the storm, with pix

It was one of those OMG ski days.  Big storm yesterday and last night, with around 6-8 inches of snow.  Temps were cold up on Hood so not only was it a dump, it was a powder dump, of the sort we don’t get much of in this part of the Cascades.  And, being that it was President’s Day weekend, plus Meadows was promising a bluebird day….well, let’s just say that a good chunk of Portland, Vancouver, and who knows from where-all-else were up on the Mountain.  Timberline filled up slowly, and it was gratifying to see that most of the traffic didn’t turn off on Timberline Road….nonetheless, Timberline got full.

And why were so many people into playing into the snow today?

Because of snow like this:

Squeaky, creamy, fine-grained dry snow.  Snow that flowed and spilled rather than lumped, clumped and grabbed.  Still heavy, and after a lot of people skied it, chundered up and demanding on legs and hips.

DH and I lost track of the number of runs while we were skiing, though I’m pretty sure we got at least nine runs in.  All four major runs on Jeff Flood, with an encore on long Kruser by going to the top of Norman and skiing down (which is pretty dang close to two miles, if not two miles already, counts as two).  Then three more runs on Norman, all of them fast.

The Mile wasn’t open, so lift lines were busy.  It wasn’t a matter of visibility as much as it was storm recovery.  The chairlift tower wheels got coated with rime ice, which required this:

And this:

We saw at least four guys working on lift towers; there may have been more.  On one ride up Norman we rode with a Ski Patroller and he said conditions had been horrible yesterday.  Lovely snow, but storming, cold, and strong wind, with wind chills below zero F.  At one point a call came across his radio asking for six more Patrollers to ride up to the top on the snow cat to work on the Mile.  There’s some epic tales about managing conditions on Hood; I’ve only heard a few but from what I’ve heard…

In any case, we had a lovely if crowded ski day.  Toward the end we actually got to see this, but not for long.  Ah.  Yes.  Bliss.

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It’s lookin’ like a horse show, maybe

The plan is, at the moment, to go to a horse show next week.  Just a little schooling show at the Mt. Hood Equestrian Center and only do Western (I don’t think my back will hold up to English right now).  A couple of walk-trot classes, a couple of Horsemanship (pattern) classes, maybe some pleasure classes.  The show is a fund-raiser for a local horsewoman who needs hip surgery.  Nothing big.

Miss Mocha is getting back into shape and a bit on the muscle.  My back held up well today for some lead change hijinks.  But she was ready to go, especially after I booted her up front and back.  Putting the boots on gets more intense work out of her, especially anything involving stops.  I think they’re more comfortable for her to go fast and then stop in.  She also two-tracks better in them.

We did the gate from the left side, opening and closing.  Not a foot wrong, calm and quiet.  We’ll continue practicing just to make sure….

Whatever it was, we finished up with a loop around the round pen and a hard run down to the wall for a fenced stop. Twice.   She turned the afterburners on higher both times, faster than I’ve ever gone on a horse that wasn’t running away with me.

By then the rain showers had faded so I took her outside.  The guy who hauls off the manure had left his flatbed trailer that he hauled the tractor to load his truck on out in the parking lot, and she got all excited about that, both coming and going.  It’s interesting when she gets in the investigatory mode.  Head high, has to move sideways instead of forward at first, but once she gets up close to it she has to snoop all around it.

On the return trip she saw it and wanted to trot toward it.   And she Most Definitely wanted to sniff it all over.  Interesting, again.

Full of go today.  Lots of energy.  Could be interesting next weekend.

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On weight loss

Losing and working on maintaining a significant weight loss remains an interesting work in progress.  One reason I keep thinking about it and returning back to thinking about weight loss in the past three years is that over the past 30-some years, I’ve had a significant history of 30-60 pound weight swings.  Not a healthy thing to do to one’s body, not to speak of what it does to the clothing budget!

Generally, the cycle is as follows–reach the OhMyGodI’mTooFreakingFat moment and start working on diet and exercise.  Lose weight over the course of a year.  Spend about six months at a plateau weight, then work my way back up to the OMGITFF moment over the course of several more years.  Repeat process.

The whole process is usually good for about a seven-to-ten year cycle.

This last time I swore I would lose the damn weight and keep it off–for good.  Several factors came into play.

1.) Menopause and aging.  I’m in my fifties.  Guess what, this is that drop-dead moment.  It gets harder to lose weight and sustain the wild weight swings in a healthy manner from here on out.

2.) More aging stuff.  Less weight means more flexibility and less strain on my joints.  I already have arthritic moments.  More weight doesn’t help.

3.) A desire to remain more active even in the face of pain.  See menopause, see aging, see arthritis.  What’s happened in the past is that I’ve let fatigue–mental and physical–draw me down into lassitude, and as I get less active, I start hurting more.  Which then leads to more eating.  Which then leads to a greater cycle.

I have to move to stay relatively pain-free.  Sometimes that means I’m going to hurt myself, so I have to be smarter about managing my pain so as to stay active.  It’s a delicate dance.

4.) I finally like the habits it takes to stay skinny.  It’s not just about the exercise, it’s watching my food.  Every time I started gaining weight it was about splurging and eating too many good things.  One habit I’ve started up (with support from DH) is that of taking my own containers to restaurants and planning to make one or two more meals out of the restaurant portions.

5.) I’m not necessarily practicing diet restriction, I’m practicing portion control.  A lot of my colleagues are loving Weight Watchers and its point system.  That might have worked for me…but what is working better for me these days is the portion size awareness I developed after six months of aggressively using my iTouch’s LoseIt! app.  I don’t know why I couldn’t develop the awareness before the iTouch, but there it is.  Maybe it was the simplicity of recording everything I ate.  I was able to internalize portion sizes more easily.

And now?  Well, I’ve managed to pretty much stay at this same weight for about a year.  Maybe longer, I’m not entirely certain.

What is interesting, however, is the degree to which I get negative feedback about my weight.  Really.  I never really had anyone except fellow folks I was working with on weight loss tell me I was fat.

I have, however, had numerous critiques about being too skinny.  Or cautionary comments about “don’t lose any more weight.”

I find that to be a very interesting comment, not just about me, but about our society.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to extrapolate from there.

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Redneck dressage moves and gate training

I’ve been cautiously watching the development of the Western Dressage association here in the US (unfortunately, I was sick the day that my state association had its official introductory meeting, so I’m out of the loop there).  I can tell it’s having some impact because I’ve already encountered one dressagista online sneering about “Wessage” and how one Just. Can’t. Do. It. in Western tack and call it “dressage” (with the predictable caveat that yes, of course, dressage=training but trying to do dressage tests in Western tack?  Horrors!  Abomination!  Obviously she’d never done a clinic with Jean-Claude Racinet.  I had the privilege of auditing a Racinet clinic and hearing him say he’d like to see someone do just that with a reiner.  My biggest regret is that I never was able to get Mocha to a Racinet clinic.  I think he would have liked The Girl).

And while that particular blogger came highly recommended, that put me right off of her.  See, it’s been my experience that anyone marching around sneering at Other People’s Tack not only has a monster ego, but can’t ride worth a shit.  Sorry.  But I’ve had lessons from some BHS-certified folks on the humble side of things whose flat basics didn’t differ significantly from the basics my AQHA high-level trainer/clinician/judge teaches.  And when I mentioned his name, they nodded knowingly.

Conversely, I’ve had some hair-raising, godawful, yank-and-kick lessons from folks like the aforementioned dressagista.  Without exception that ilk sneers at the mere hint of Western tack and Western riding.  So when someone gets tack snooty around me, I basically write them off.  But that’s the way I am.  Different tack has different uses, and I like being able to do both English and Western on the same horse.  And that means if I want to school movements in Western tack, then by golly, I’m gonna do it.  There’s nothing magical about a dressage saddle, and, quite frankly, I find the Western saddle easier to fit to a horse and more comfortable to my butt.  Period.

Anyway, so much for that rant.  What brought this one on was a bit of schooling Mocha and I have been doing.  Riding session before last night, on Saturday, I started mixing some things up to engage The Girl’s brain.  She was being a bit pissy so I started asking for small tight canter circles with lead changes in unexpected places.  At first she thought I was full of it.  We Had Discussions.  Then the light came on, and she started doing it.  Once she got the rhythm, we stopped schooling and went for a long cool-down ride.

Well, same thing happened last night, except that the tight small circles with changes in different sites became a necessity.  G was schooling a new horse who was green, opinionated, and a bit sparky.  His wife was schooling their show gelding, and a couple of advanced beginners were also schooling in the ring.  Mocha was full of herself, so she needed something other than rail work.  That meant small tight canter circles, with changes.

OMG.  She picked up on that work.  Lovely withers elevation.  Working back on her haunches.  And after a few sequences of quick changes in small circles, she started offering up changes with the slightest shift of weight and rein.  I’m pretty sure we had a few three-tempi changes and at least one two-tempi change.  I could feel the light starting to come on–“hey, this feels like a pretty fun thing to do!  YEEHAW!”

Which, with Mocha, is a key step toward getting her to buy into doing something.  See, I could school her from now until forever in the Approved Straight Line and she’d be grouchy about it.  But doing tight circles and changing leads in unexpected places, or swapping leads while dodging other horses?  Makes sense to The Girl.  And once she gets the feel for something like that, she likes to do it.

So yeah, redneck dressage moves.  Lots of fun.  She enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and we’re progressing toward a goal I wanted, which is to be able to do tempi changes.  Won’t take much to straighten out those circles into a line.  Probably not the Approved Training Method, but hey, we’re doing this for fun.

And with a horse like Mocha, fun is key.

The other thing we schooled was gate work.  Mocha has no problems with opening and closing gates from her right side.  But ask her to do it from her left…sigh, temper tantrums galore, and she tries to switch around to do it from the right hand side.  I put my foot down last night and we schooled the gate.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it.  Away from the gate, she’d move away readily to the left from my right leg.  The cues didn’t change because of the gate.  She’d just chose to move into pressure to try and turn around to close the gate the other direction.

What finally broke the pattern was when I pinned her by pulling the gate with us so she couldn’t turn.  That got us locked against the wall in a tiny chute.  I could see the wheels spinning in her brain at that point–not a place she wanted to be.  She sighed, yielded, and I got her to sidepass off of my right leg while I pushed the gate with my left.  Step, release pressure and stand for a moment.  Step, release pressure and stand for a moment.  Lather, rinse, repeat, until the gate was closed and she stood by it.  I got someone else to latch it and we went on.  Later, we came back.  I unlatched the gate, had her step sideways two steps to open slightly.  Pause.  Step back to close.  Pause.  Repeat.

We never went over three steps on that one, but we took it slow and easy, and by the end she’d done it a couple of times with no resistance.  At that point I left it off and we cooled out.

Horses.  Gotta love ’em sometimes, especially these smart ones.

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The best-laid plans….

I started feeling blah yesterday.  It wasn’t for any obvious reason other than the typical February doldrums.  No reason to feel down about Valentine’s Day, no reason to feel down about work stuff because I was in the same place I’ve always been every mid-February–piled on higher and deeper with work.  And of course I had too much to do outside of the day jobbe, but again, that’s February for you.  What else is new?

Well, I got a call from DS that there were some house issues going on.  Deep sigh.  Got home, figured out the gutters needed to be cleaned, and DH might very well be late getting home.  So I took a deep breath, pulled out the extending ladder, and started working on gutters.

Our house is a one-story, thankfully.  BUT.  It’s a long one-story house, shaped somewhat like a L.  Gutter cleaning in the best of situations takes a good forty-five minutes, and this was a winter evening.  Post-sleet.  Post-several days of hard winds.  We don’t get leaves here as much as we do needles from the various Doug firs near the house…and boy, were those gutters full.

The good news was that I got the gutters clean.  And I realized that I had a nasty cold sore brewing which had contributed to the overall feeling of malaise I was experiencing.  So I had reasons.  But still….bleh.

I will be so glad when February’s gone.

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A day of romance

Despite all appearances, I’m more than a bit of a closet romantic.  You couldn’t necessarily tell it from appearances in my thirty-year marriage, nonetheless, we’re both a bit on the romantic side.  Our forms of romance tend to take the shape of the small pieces of everyday life rather than the big, showy stuff.

Case in point, last night.  DH and I started talking about Valentine’s Day.  He asked what I wanted.  My response was “wasn’t that why you gave me that coupon to pick out the chocolate on Saturday?”  He thought a moment, considered some other treats he’d picked up over the weekend, then grinned.

“I’m more on top of it subconsciously than I thought!”

Well, yeah.  That’s what both of us tend to do.  To me, romance is as much about the daily interactions as it is about the Big Showy Stuff.  The Big Showy Stuff is good for movies and books, but in real life?  What counts is the daily stuff, the daily small kindnesses and attentions.  Those moments when we anticipate each other’s thoughts in order to get things done.  That, to me, is as much romance as the Big Gesture.  “Happily ever after” isn’t the big stuff, it’s what you make of the small, everyday stuff.

No, I probably won’t get flowers today.  NBD.

I might, however, buy flowers myself.  Because that’s what we do.  And he likes them as much as I do.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


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