Sunday, February 27, 2011


When we last met I was about to begin my sojurn in to the world of fitness.  I've been pretty good.  That is to say one day I walked to the gym and rode the bike for five minutes more than before, walked home, remembered I'd left my house keys at the gym, walked back, picked up the keys walked home, then walked to the mailbox thingy down the street, walked back and then pushed the ghetto manuel lawn mower, that Steve thought would be perfect for our purposes, around for awhile then collapsed on the couch virtually unconscious for several hours, coming to for pathetic nibbles of chocolate only to collapse again...And again...And again.  If you will review your notes, you'll find that the ultimate expectation of the exercise regime was to be able to eat as much chocolate as I wanted.  I don't believe the offset balances are tipping towards the losing side yet.  Seeing how the next day it was raining I drove to the gym and rode the bike again for another five minutes longer than before and drove home and pushed the vacuum around for a very long time.  A very long time because of the horrid dogs who with all their myriad of other sins also shed...copiously.  Not as bad as my friend Chris's dogs who in one swipe turned my chic black jeans to a costume worthy of Chewbaca, but pretty bad nonetheless.    So here we were on to Wednesday and now the dreaded second of my two free assessments of body awareness.  The same bionic academy grad. took me through my paces.  First a light warm up session on the bike, not.  Then a wonderland worthy trip through the weight room and all the various instruments of torture that lurked there.  To make a long story short(er), bionic woman (loosely interpreted) had designed a routine for me that variously and completely wore out every muscle group in this hereto for placid body.  I have to do leg presses, chest presses, leg extensions (single leg & both) the row machine, straight leg (appropriately named) dead lifts with  dumb bells, also appropriately named, abdominal crunches, hip adductions and abductions and the tricep extension machine thing.  All in all from one point to another I will lift or push or pull over 800 pounds per session.  If I count correctly.  Sometimes that is hard if blood is coming out your eyes.  Or if you are pathetic.  Or if there is a gross, ugly, fat guy with way to much crackage and body hair following you around your routine.  But that would never happen...would it?

I'm trying to sell my cross country saddle.  I love the saddle, but I'm not sure I need it and I love my regular jump saddle.  Now those of you who don't ride, and even some of you who do are wondering WTF do you need two saddles for jumping?  Well I thought I did, and I did use the cross country saddle when I competed or schooled cross country and now since I don't have a horse to put it on, it sits atop the sewing machine cover and I think perhaps I will sell it.  And get my hair cut with the proceeds.  Anyway, the saddle is for sale and I had the opportunity to take it to Berekely last week to loan it out for trial.  Now I'm asking a pretty fair price for the saddle but in 1974, we bought a car for what I want for it and took three years to pay it off.  So it was a bit of a sticky wicket as to how to loan the saddle to someone I didn't know.  I thought it would be a good idea to get a cashiers check, but the lady reminded me that that would be just like having cash.  ?? No problem from my side, but since on the other hand she didn't know me either, she thought perhaps a little security for her was in order.  Even though she had the saddle. Whatev.  So I ended up calling a friend of her trainer and getting a personal endorsement, took a personal check from her and then took myself off to lunch with the daughter of Steve.  To celebrate my big sale and business acumen we doodled around and shopped a bit and got our brows done and looking much fresher and younger we went our separate ways she to the land of booklearning and me to my new routine at the g.y.m..

As fate would have it the saddle did not fit the girl so I had another opportunity to drive to Berekely on Friday to pick it up.  Had no lunch and zoomed back home after a brief respite at R.E.I. to salivate over an ArcTeryx jacket that I now could not afford since I had to give the check back.  Manned up and left to go home and mope and then drive to the gym, (I was short on time) work out on the treadmill (a new aspect to fitness) AND the bike then shakily drive home only to leave again to go pick up grandson and carpool at snooty academy in Sacramento and ferry them back to Woodland where they were deposited at their various places of drop off and then waited patiently at my daughters house for her to come home and feed me wine.  She was late. 

Now I store a ton of horse and stable stuff at the daughter and son-in-laws place in one of (many) barns they have around.  So I took the opportunity to go down and look through it all.  There's a lot of stuff down there.  Buckets, blankets, dressage earrings, whips, trunks, ribbons, 4270 hair nets, hoses, folding chairs, mats, boots, bits and helmets.  I think I need to get more stuff to put the stuff in.  I think thats how I ended up in this mess to begin with.  I've given (forced) a lot of stuff to other people, well to one person, but she really needs to get over here and pick through the stuff to get more.  Steve is no help at.all.  He has a coat that hasn't been on his back since the 90's and a tuba that we have to haul around every few years and a trailer, yes a trailer full of c.r.a.p. that he hasn't looked at since 2003, but still thinks he has the right to tell me to get rid of my stuff.  I say heal thyself.    Not sure where this was going, but there you have it.  If you need stuff you might want to call.  I probably have it.  Except I don't have the velcro EZBoot, but that is easily remedied.  But please call too, if you want, and have to have a cross country saddle.  Mint condition.

In a few short minutes from now I will have to get all gussied up to appear at Macys for three and a half hours shift of selling jewelry.  It will take me easily an hour plus to get ready, for obvious reasons, not the least of which means slathering on cosmetics to try to make myself look kind of alive.  And since tonight are the academy awards and everyone in Fairfield will have already bought their gems for the event, I will probably be alone in the jewelry tombs for the evening.  I get to go back tomorrow as well.  What's up with this?  Since the first of the year I have worked one shift and that was a couple weeks ago and now I have to work two days in a row?  What will this do my tax bracket?  Some people are just not very understanding are they?  Those of you who actually work all the time will not understand at all.  You see I have a pretty nice life.  I work sometimes, as you know, and I write this drivel, and I boss my husband around, to no avail, I torture my children and their spouses and have a healthy scrabble tournament going on on FaceBook, at which it enrages me to lose so I try not to, and every now and then we go to fabulous places like Fresno.  So I really shouldn't whine about getting all pouffed and powdered to go work for three and a half hours, except there is no break.  Break?  Really?  But there you have it.  I'm spoiled.  And life is better for it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Uxorious is my new favorite word.  It's just lovely.  Lookit up, you'll be glad you did.

First off the $%^&*cat did not come home.  We fear it has met an untimely end.  This is bad.  And not good for my reputation.  For the record I have had three cats of my own.  Two met a tragic death, one by raccoon or something and one by my dog. The third, seeing how things were going, bolted.  We had a fourth, but since Steve brought that home without consulting me I don't count it, but it too is d.e.a.d..  You may have heard the story about that, but it sounds a lot funnier (if you will) with a lot of cocktails under yours and my belts.  Without cocktails it's just disgusting and this is a family show.  I am also responsible for the scarpering of a fifth cat, but since it had just scratched me and I had thrown it and it ran away and it wasn't even remotely mine I don't count it either.  I do, however, have the scar to this day.  It looks like this  _________.

So I guess where I was going with this ramble is the stunning fact that my ski bound friend has decided she must take herself off to a horse show and has asked me to house sit again.  Some people just don't learn, but who am I to argue?  In any case, she is down to three dogs and three horses and three ponies.  I can manage this quite happily.  And God willing, none will meet a tragic end.  I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime I have engaged in a war with the property management company who wrote the lease on our house.  So last month they set up a new and improved method of rent collection...on-line payments from their website.  I don't even have to get dressed to pay the rent.  I eagerly signed up, received confirmation that I managed not to screw it up and  waited patiently for the opportunity to pay my tithe.  It so happened that the time to pay occurred while I was in wine country losing the cat.  So I quite cheerily sat down at the computer, accessed the property management website and looked for the "online rent payment" tab.  It was not there.  Nor could I discover any way at all to pay the rent.  I called the office and left a message, because God forbid anyone should be there on a weekend, and said I was trying to pay the rent, what should I do and all that sort of groveling.  In the end I sent a bill payment check to them from my checking account.  What follows next can be succinctly summed up with the simple term...bollocks.  The property manager evidently can't be bothered with the little things like listening to her voice mails from me (5) the messages I left with her assistant (3) or having a conversation with me on the phone that does not include vague threats of late fees unpaid will incur late rent payment status each month till paid.  Now right now Steve is having a cow.  Chill baby, I have not lost my cool with any of this.  I sent a very nice email to the president of the company explaining the situation, the number of times I called them, the trial and error of their online payment system and the "in good faith" efforts I took to fulfill my monetary duty.  I also left a very nice voice message to the el presidente.  And I did this on Monday when I should have been enjoying the flowers and candy...ahem.  It is Wednesday now and I have sent a follow up email to the head honcho and I have yet to hear back from him.  I think this shows an egregious lack of breeding and good manners.  I should know.  I am considering a tasteful written missive to the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.  In the end I will end up paying the late fee, but be assured I will do it grudgingly and in ill humor.  And it will be accompanied by a nasty letter that I will insist be made a permanent record in my file.  So there.  That'll show you.

Tomorrow the spouse, the dogs and I will pile, once again, in the cab of the little pickup and take ourselves off to Fresno for the the first Ram Tap horse trials of 2011.  Now going to a horse show without a horse is not my favorite thing to do.  And I may have mentioned in a previous post how things usually go down with Steve, the "guys" and the poles and standards and what not.  But this weekends weather forecast is promising to add the pleasure of winds and rain, especially on Friday when we will be slogging through the mud and what not trying to get a course of show jumps  set up.  I can lift a regular standard, but I have to hoist it on my back and shuffle with it.  I don't know exactly how much they weigh, but I do know they are heavier wet.  Steve, on the other hand, can carry them in one hand.  Now would you like to es-plain to me why then Steve tosses the poles around willy nilly and I have to be the muscle with the standards?  I could quite easily pick up poles and toss them around hither and thither, but instead I have to grunt and grumble with at least 60 pounds of wood and water on my back.  Oh right, and the sand and mud is sticky so sometimes just getting them off the ground is a full cardio workout.  I suppose I am just getting warmed up for a grand mal meltdown.  Stay tuned.

Speaking of cardio workout.  I  joined a gym this week.  TaDa.!  I see myself in a very short time svelte and fit and toned and half my age.  It happens.  Next week, I think, I should be at my target.  Realistic?  sure.  Because only fitness freaks work at gyms and because I am so out of shape etc. etc. etc., my personal assessment coach is about 20 something, about six feet tall and has 0%  body fat.  To make me feel even more inadequate she also is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy.  They don't let wimps graduate from the academy.  And she is also the head honcho of all things fitness in the club.  She was not impressed, I think, to hear that my goal was to be able to eat as much chocolate as I wanted and not have the "weighty" ill effects.  But I believe in truth in advertising.  So anyway she asked me about a million questions and I stared out in to space and made an effort to answer somewhat truthfully and then, because I hadn't been through enough humiliation yet, she put me on the scale, was struck dumb and asked if that was about the right weight.  I was pretty cranky by then and said I didn't know...I couldn't see the weight because I didn't have my glasses on because I didn't want any extra weight on the weigh machine.  Then she did the body fat assessment.  I gotta stop right here and tell you that having a human bionic woman tsk tsk you about your fat to something or other ratio is not a great way to start the day.  But I bravely manned up and took it and even sat on the recumbent bike for 20 minutes and burned about 5 million calories, well relatively anyway afterwards.  I am a stud.  Be very afraid.   Oh Oh Oh, the best part was she told me that to maintain my weight, and it is grand, I would only have to exercise for about 30 minutes a day four or five times a week.  If, however, I wished to lose weight and become the goddess I know I am, that will require a 60 minute commitment four or five times a week.  I imagine the two or three days a week "off" are for major rehabilitation at the massage table.

Suffice it to say I have used up all my creativeness for the day.  I leave you now breathless waiting to hear how every thing turns out for me.  Rest assured I have no pride and will regale you with my further adventures as they happen.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Squidgy gets a job

Last weekend I opted to earn my keep by house sitting for a friend in the bucolic countryside of wine country, CA.  Under my care, custody and control were the following; two Jack Russell Terriers in various stages of hysteria, one Great Dane who was a beautiful mover, but not trustworthy, four ponies in different colors...white, brown, white and brown and brown and white and three horses, two TBs and one French Anglo-Arab.  I felt centered and replete in a country roads take me home kind of thingy.  Oopsie, forgot the cat.  More on that later.

So I checked in to chez miscellany of animal and after a couple cocktails, saw my "owner/friend/ski bound mom" off for her weekend and I got to work.  First up, bring the TB and his pasture companion the brown and white pony in from the pasture.  I made it back to the barn in good shape and proceeded to wait for the farrier to come and put a shoe on the TB.  The TB had had the bad manners to toss the right front shoe off  and had hidden it in the secret pasture place.  A little known fact about horse shoes, they are nailed on with real nails and then they come off.  They almost always come off when the farrier cannot get to the horse for several days.  This will always happen when you are trying to get ready for something where shoes are probably necessary, but now the horse won't get/have to work because the horse is a freaking weenie without shoes although it can and would tear madly about if given the opportunity with nary a lame step, but couldn't possibly be expected to walk from its stall to the cross ties bearing weight on the naked foot.  At this point remember...1000lbs, brain the size of a walnut.  I don't think so.  I think the real brain in a horse is stashed somewhere besides the head where the "decoy" brain is housed.  The real brain is probably in the tail.  And has supernatural powers.  Ask anyone who has tried to outwit a horse, or been smacked in the face with a tail.  You know I'm right.

So anyway the farrier arrived, and I could tell it was the farrier because he was bent in the shape of an "S".  This is because farriers spend all their lives bent over holding horses feet.  And when they aren't bent over holding feet, they are bent over banging iron on iron with iron, or lifting a 5000# anvil up and down from a truck bed.  What the hell kind of job is that anyway?  So anyway "Mike the Farrier"  announced he was the farrier and I said I could tell and he got to work.  So because "Mike the Farrier" had just been there the day before to deal with the nailing hind shoes to hind feet and theTB  was a perfect angel and stood quietly through the ordeal of having new shoes he knew he had to present his alter ego the snorting, stomping, kicking, untrustworthy side.  Awesome.  It was near six, starting to get cold, past dinner time and we were all tired.  What a combination.  Well suffice it to say that two changes of cross ties, two shoes and a lot of b.s. later the horse was re-shod and pouting in his stall, the shoer (you can also call them shoers) had loaded his stuff back into his truck and had trundled off and I proceeded to the big house to collapse. 

Not so quick here cutie, the canines also needed to be fed.  So the Great Dane got two big scoops of her special diet in the big bowl which was placed on the upturned galvanized tank outside so there would be no squabbling with the hysterical JRT's.  The hysterical JRT's each received a scant half cup of their special diet which had the gag inducing stench of long dead fish, in the house.  Nasty.  So then I went in search of the cat...Earlier in the day I'd seen the cat doing what cats do best, sleeping on a human bed, occasionally coming to long enough to display talons from his feet and stretching and exhausted from that effort resuming the nap.  So I knew he was there.  But I couldn't find him...then.

I took myself off to the Nepalese restaurant for some mouthwatering nosh takeout, came back and cribbed up on the couch and proceeded to vege out in front of the tee vee with the JRT's.  Now when you vege out on the couch with JRT's it is critical not to move.  JRT's are very serious about cribbing up and don't like it when you all.  So there we were and I heard this godawful noise like a wounded pterodactyl which sounded like it was coming from outside.  I quickly texted Steve (remember Steve?  the felon?) that there was a wounded pterodactyl outside and what should I do.  He recommended hiding.  And since I was already on the couch with the dogs perhaps I should just stay there.  So I did. 

But, as it turned out, it wasn't a pterodactyl at all, nor was it wounded.  It was in fact the cat.  The cat who hated the Great Dane because the Great Dane liked to chase the cat.  So I picked the cat up, after enraging the JRT's on the couch by moving and inciting a mini bout of snarling, growling and snapping, and brought him on to the couch fully believing that the cat, who didn't know me from Adam, would be content on the couch with two hysterical JRT's and a lurking cat chashing Great Dane in near proximity.  Some times I amaze even myself.  Suffice it to say the Great Dane took it upon herself to insinuate her head in the grill of the cat.  The cat got pissed.  The JRT's sensing altercation rose to the challenge and the cat made its hair stand up and the rest of it too and hissed.   Anticipating grievous bodily harm to come, I made the executive decision to put the cat out.  The skiing bound mother had said the cat could go out, so out it went.  The ski bound mother also told me the cat would raise a considerable racket in the morning to be let back in and would wake me early.  I thought if I could sleep through Aunt Betty chasing the Hoover under my bed, I could sleep through anything and I wasn't particularly worried about losing some Zzz's.   And the JRT's and I cribbed up once again till we felt the time had come to go to bed.  And we did, all three of us under the covers, and nested till morning.

In the morning I looked outside for the stall cleaner.  No esta aqui. Grumble grumble.  Now I don't mind cleaning stalls, nor do I mind getting up to feed, but I do like to know that that is expected of me.  So I rushed down to the barn, did the feeding thing, rushed  back to the house and drank coffee for about an hour or so.  About mid-morning I decided the stall cleaner was not going to make an appearance so I took myself off to the barn once again to do some cleaning.  I am the slowest stall cleaner in the world.  I don't know why, but I can barely finish one stall in the time it takes a normal person to clean like five stalls.  So it was way in to the day by time I finished.  But I'd had a fine time for myself turning ponies and horses out, lunging and cleaning tack. 

One of the boarders showed up in the afternoon with her vet so he could look at her horse, the French Anglo-Arab and we had a really exciting time with that.  The French Anglo-Arab horse recieved acupunture and chiropractic treatments and then was scanned with the magic ultrasound wand and was determined to have strained a ligament in it's leg and so there was much to do about that as well and various treatments were discussed and lotions and potions were applied and we all had a very good time discussing past injuries to other horses and success stories and the like.  Then it was time to bring the horses and ponies in again, feed them, put their bankies on and trek back to the house for left over Nepalese nosh and feed the dogs and crib up again.  And the cat was not in evidence, but as I was about crippled from unaccustomed excercise and pooped to boot I didn't really even pay attention to that mysterious fact.  But I did watch taped episodes of the "The Defenders" and "Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares" with the dogs and so we were  quite busy with that.  Then we had to go to bed.

The next morning, after ascertaining the stall cleaner was there and that he had fed the horses and ponies I slunk back to the house to get my coffee infusions.  I thought perhaps the cat was lurking in the field next to the house, and having had that sighting, went in and forgot all about it.

Well the rest of the weekend went on and the spouse came over for the day on Saturday and we played lord and lady of the manor and drove the drag around the arena and made dust and went out to eat and I pulled some pony manes and turned the equines out in their fields and generally did those farming chores that never really feel like chores because you aren't vacuuming or dusting.  And so the next two days passed agreeably and and the dogs and I watched some more tee vee and went to bed. 

It wasn't until I was safely back in my own home, not in the bucolic countryside, that the ski mom called and asked where the cat was.  Damn it all to hell.  I forgot about the cat.  And I hadn't seen it except for briefly and ski mom told me how sad the children were and blah blah blah.  So naturally I felt terrible and I had no good answers for her and I texted her every day or so for the next few days, but to date the cat hasn't come home.  I blame the Great Dane, whom I decided was the Anti-Christ and not to be trusted.  But I suspect we'll never really know...or the cat will nonchalantly stroll back in a few more days and wonder what the fuss is all about and go back to sleep on the human bed waking only for the personal ablutions and nail extension excercises.

Squidgy is available to house sit for you too!  No cats.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I went to the acupuncturist as promised. The treatment was remarkably good.  I'd go so far as to say one of the best results ever.  I did miss the woo woo music.  This being Kaiser there was no room in the budget for woo woo, but I did enjoy a nice nap whilst punctured with about 6000 needles and basted by the heat lamp.  I was  also treated with a residual therapy and I'm currently sporting two needle like apparatus in my right ear that I am meant to squeeze in order to jump start some sort of mystical mumbo jumbo that will redirect something or other and keep me pain free.  Awesome.  I go back in a month and am truly looking forward to it.  So there you go.

So a couple summers ago the spouse and I journeyed to the great northwest to visit an event in Onalaska, WA.  We flew in to Portland and rented a fine little car from our buddies at Hertz and began our trek north.  Scarcely had we crossed in to WA when the red flashing lights of a happy little highway cop indicated we should pull over and have a little chit chat with law enforcement.  I was not driving.  Happy Dance.  Steve took it like a man and handed me the ticket and suggested I "handle" it.  Fine.  At least it wasn't me,  hehehehe.  Ok, so about a year later we, no I,  paid the fine and the incident was dismissed from mind and memory. 

Fast forward to last week.  In a missive from the DMV came the notice that Steve, now a felon, was not to  drive as his drivers license had been suspended due to failure to appear and non payment of fines and any other number of sins.  If you know Steve imagine how he took that.  If you don't, well even the dogs scuttled off.  Anyway I tried in vain to find all the paperwork for the "incident" and having no luck in that venture proceeded to try to contact the WA state courts to get the problem sorted out.  For forty-five minutes I redialed the phone number I found online and in the process ate up valuable minutes on my mobile and got the same busy signal.  Eventually I gave up on Washington and turned to the CA DMV system and again with the redial and busy signals for another twenty wasted minutes till I did persevere and actually reach the single live person employed by the department of motor vehicles who is immune to customer outrage and has to speak to the great unwashed who have the fortitude to wade through the morass of phone options which lead you in a circuitous route to  live body person.  This person rarely receives any awards for outstanding customer service.

In the meantime, since I am woman and am capable of the phenomenon of multi tasking, I researched and located the the receipt online from the Clark County municipal and district (WA state) courts indicating the fine had indeed been paid and the case was in fact...closed.  Which is a conundrum since Steve was now on the lam and wanted in two states.  Thank God I wasn't driving.  So I talked to the live body at DMV, she agreed Steve was a wanted man and suggested I fax all the stuff regarding the crime including the print out that stated the fine had been paid, the case #, Docket #, Drivers License #, Violation date, and send same to "CA DMV - pay violations"  and  indicate the fax should go to the attention to "Out Of State Team".  I did that and feeling rather disgruntled dismissed it as a job well done.

Not so quick my pretty.  Yesterday because he works for the county and has nothing better to do, Steve had his friend the cop run his DMV record   So anyway this is the email I received from the wanted man.

Hello my sweet...I had Mark the Cop run my driver's license today and it's still *expletive deleted* up...apparently the dipships in Washington managed to enter the same citation several times, so even though it shows that one citation is paid, it's the other false ones that are holding things up...Mark's going to bring me a copy of what he found on the secret cop database thingy, but the key issue, apparently, is that all the citations are entered under the same docket #...that apparently isn't correct.  I'll scan and email you what he brings me so you have it...meanwhile, would you please be so kind as to see if you can try to reach somebody at the world famous Washington State DMV to try to un *expletive deleted* this?  If we're still members of AAA, they might be able to help...thank you baby, xxxoooxoxoxoxxo

So back to the phones.  I did finally, after a lifetime of wasted minutes and many games of solitaire, get through to the one person in Washington State who is being punished for something by having to talk to real, irate citizens and began to plead my case, which isn't my case at all, but let's not nit pick shall we?   Well to make a really long, boring story blessedly shorter, Washington State DMV wench refused to talk to me.  Full stop.  Evidently she thought it would be a MUCH better idea to talk to the wanted personally.  And so with some trepidation I bravely left a voice mail message for Steve to take care of it himself, and took myself off to a darkened room with a GIANT bar of chocolate and sucked my thumb for awhile.  Why, I ask, is nothing ever easy?

I'm house sitting for a friend this weekend.  She's taking her offspring up to Tahoe for a ski weekend.  I will be blissfully setting up house in wine country tending to three dogs and like five? horses/ponies.  Nirvana.  Additionally I should be having an outing with a good friend on Saturday with whom I should enjoy a girls night out and celebrate her birthday.  Common sense and decency requires I not blab her age, but as I am older it would scarcely be any fun anyway.  I am looking on this as an opportunity not to dwell on the impending fate of my spouse.  Good luck with that Steve.  God Speed.