Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's a brand new day.

Ah well, the best laid plans do go awry.  So the empress calls up like two days before she and the consort are to leave for Montana to let me know that her horses are lame and they're not going to Montana afterall.  Well shucky darn.  I had plans for that money, but happily, and unusually, I'd not pre-spent it this time.  So I was able to be cheery with Shirley and agree that horses are nothing but a head ache and they'll always break your heart.  In my next life I will be a country song writer and I will use all the material from this life.  Something to look forward to.

So the spouse at least was happy about this turn of events as it now meant someone would cook and clean for him. And Lindsey was happy because now someone would run errands for her. And Megan and Alison were both pleased because now I could get Grumpy to pull his various strings and get us us free passes to the CA State Fair and I would be pleased because the grand-urchins would be going too.  (?)  Just a regular little happy fest.

Naturally the fair is the only part of that happiness which bears a recounting of.  Let me start off by saying the love of my life did work his magic and not only did we get tickets for the six of us, ride tickets for four of us (babies and pregnant/intoxicated folks do not get to ride) but we also got free parking.  If you have ever been to Cal Expo you will recognize that the free parking is probably the best of the best of all the freebies we got.  Which is not to say that we did not spend valuable money once there.   Lunch for six you say?  Corn dogs?  How much could that be?  A little over $20?  Yes, but several "I'm thirsty and I want cotton candy, I want Kettle Korn and I will not leave here without a fried Snickers." later I was down $60 bucks and I hadn't been the only one to open my wallet to the greedy fair vendors.  Nevertheless we had a grand old time and two of the children are finally of an age to really want to ride the rides so we spent an unholy amount of time in little tyke world with the scary old men and like that.  Those little angels got every dimes worth of the ride passes. Megan, Silas and I got to join Jack and Mila on the kiddie Tilt-A-Whirl which spun and twirled just a shade too long for yours truly.  I spent the last hour and a half of the ride staring at a fixed spot on the wall so as not to share my corn dog with the world.  Well it seemed like an hour and a half anyway.  What happened to the days when I relished the most violent of turny, spinnie, stomach dropping rides with nary a twinge?  Gone, gone away.

Since the empress was denied her trip to Montana this year and by extension denied me the opportunity to blog about house sitting for her and the critters, she threw me a bone the other day and announced that she and her consort were taking themselves off to the north coast for some R&R (wink wink).  And she asked me to come house sit.  And I said, "Yes, of course excellency."  So here I am.  I have something to say about all the critters here.  But let's start with Killer.  If you will recall the last time I was here, we were somewhat nervous of each other, he, because I caused the helicopter to land in his yard and me because he caused me to need the helicopter.  But by the end of the stay we had come to terms and he agreed that perhaps I was the most pleasant creature ever to step foot on the place and he loved me.  This was proven to be true when this afternoon I arrived and religiously went about checking the well being of my charges and Killer came tearing up to the fence nickering and oh so happy to see me.  At least I think that's what he was doing, he could have mistaken me for someone who was going to feed him, but that came later.  He has taken to following me as I go about my duties and comes up to me for treats and scratches of which he gets both.  Such a little darling.  I shall change his "Squidgy" nickname to Doogie.  He reminds me now of a chocolate lab albeit one with iron shoes.  My other favorite is Colin and I have no idea why.  But he too nickered in hopes of a feeding when I appeared and was crestfallen when the best he got was a thorough scratching and lots of pats.  There are four more horses here, but none seemed that overjoyed to see me so, in the immortal words of Cee Lo Green...Forget you.

I have the dogs of the realm here as well.  They are somewhat less than thrilled that their people have gone off without them, and have treated me rather shabbily.  I have decided they will come around and to that note I whistled for Trevor to come when I went down to the barn to feed tonight so he could have a romp with the ball which I threw for him with the ball tossy thing I was ordered to use for him.  Evidently I am a poor ball thrower AND I don't really know where to throw the ball.  Now Trevor does know where the ball is supposed to be thrown and as I mentioned, I didn't  throw it "there" he became confused and felt sorry for me for being such an idiot.  I did not bother to remind him that I was not chasing a nasty ass ball that had landed in horse poop nor did I carry it around in my mouth when I did catch it. hmmph  At any rate we managed to lose two out of two balls and gave that up as a bad job  after some um "searching".  The other dog is Maxine.  She is the queen of everything and doesn't mind letting you know about that.  I have had a long and lovely relationship with Maxine since she was a wee pup and my own darling dog babies love their Auntie Maxine to bits, though I can't say the affection is returned.  But she is stone cold weird.  Always has been.  Always will be.  To be honest, I don't know a dog who isn't weird in some way, I mean really some of the things they do...and eat.  What ever.

So this isn't as bad as I'd thought it was.  I'm home from the vigil in Petaluma.  Injury free to boot.  The spouse has been a busy little bee.  He works for a County Fair Organization and as such is concerned with carnies and rides and music acts and the like.  At any rate since they stopped horse racing two years ago I have little interest in venturing to Vallejo to hang with the crim-pop.  Alas darling one will be ensconsed in some seedy motel across from 6-Flags for a week while the county fair grinds on, and on, and on.  What will I do?  First of all I will not cook.  Then I shall badger the children to entertain me as they are currently enjoying their summer holiday at Lake Tahoe...on the water...with a dock...without their mother unit.  They will pay for that I assure you.  Not that I'm not happy for them, but as I've always said..."No one will ever love you like your birth mother..."  Guilt free living?  Not a chance.  :-)

I had the opportunity to visit with the horse show mom at her whine country estate a week ago.  She's getting a roommate so I had to share the big bed with her.  Evidently I snore.  A lot.  So she got up in the middle of the night to go push her boy child out of his bed so as to get some peace and quiet.  I assure you I was not very aware of this move, but I was pleased to have the whole bed to my noisy self and did not concern myself with her annoyance at all.  And annoyed she was.  My my.  Anyway like I said I was not all that concerned because I was taking a valuable day out of my valuable life to travel down to watch her school the magnificant horse..Kilo around the cross country course in Woodside.  Day trips such as these are highlights in my life.  And she let me tack up, untack, hose down, wrap legs, clean tack and muck out the trailer.  What more could you ask for?  Wait...

I have allowed myself to be the co-host of a bridal shower in September.  What is wrong with me?  Anyway the bride to be is lovely.  If you'd like I'll provide you with a picture of her from her Young Riders experience in 2005.  She on the other hand will probably not be as enchanted with that posting.  At any rate we are having this shindig at a friends palatial estate on the ocean at the edge of the world in Carmel.  Worth the price of admission I do say.  My co-hostess has assured me the weather that time of year is spectacular on the ocean at the end of the world.  How nice.  I hope we can play games and eat cake.  The down side being that as a hostess I probably don't get to play the games and win the valuable prizes which seems a little unfair.  What ever. 

What we're watching.  As a new service I shall counsel you on the proper television viewing opportunities you should not be missing.  Project Runway begins tonight.  Tape it, then each week we'll discuss the pathetic, or truly awful, or inspiring designs put forth.  As an added bonus then we shall judge the judges which is the best part really.  I know you can't wait.  I have recently discovered Flipping Out.  If you like bitchy gay designer queens, and who doesn't, this is the show for you  full stop.  And on the topic of bitchy gay queens you should not be missing the A List.  You go girl.  I tried to like Dance Moms, but just couldn't do it.  The same with Little Miss Perfect and Bridezillas,  you know one viewing is pretty much all you need to ever watch, then you become annoyed.  There is nothing more pathetic than catching yourself screaming at the television.   Cooking shows you say?  Hell's Kitchen just for the astounding stupidity of cigarette and who knows what else, smoking wanna be chefs cowering under the tutelage of a half mad English git with a foul mouth.  Mondays - Fox.  NCIS is our favorite and has a special and  lofty non-critical status in our esteem.  New season begins, and I do know this, on September 20.  We also watch So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, but never live, gotta be able to fast forward from earnest, boring, self involved, grandiloquence from the judges.  A minute of fame is way too long.

Gotta run chickens.   Peace Out.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What? Already?

Before I forget all the gory details, I must regale all ya'll with the events that took place at the Woodland vs Vacaville Little League All Stars game last night.  We were for Woodland.  And the grandson, Garrett, he of the 6th grade matriculation, was on the team.  Since I'd missed earlier all star games I was unprepared for the hostilities the "visitors" (Woodland) had for the "home" teams.  It seems there had been some incidents involving bad sportsmanship from the "home" team involving striking opponents with balls, heckling and all the other stuff that is considered non grata.  Plus it seemed the umpires, who were "for" Vacavile were a teensy bit pro home team, to the extent that district poohbahs were constantly being called in to arbitrate. 

At any rate there we were wrapped to the eyeballs in lots of warm stuff cause the wind was blowing and it was freezing, by Vacavile standards, and minding our own business when a kid from the "home" team slid in to home and in the process took out our catcher.  Literally bowled in to him, sent him flying in the air and ultimately to the dirt where he stayed all huddled up for a really long time.  Naturally this was followed by tons of boos and throw the bum out and lots of catcalls from the "visitor" side.  And the announcer was all ladies and gentlemen please behave and throwing vague threats of clearing the stands if we didn't behave and all that kind of drivel.  So then the very next instant, the mother of the sliding criminal came running over to "our" side screaming to everyone that the kid hadn't meant to do it and telling everyone to shut up and was just intensely annoying.  Of course then the hot heads from our side got in to it and the next thing you knew there was a full scale screaming riot going on complete with folks holding possible um probable batterers back and the whole thing culminated with a back parking lot brawl.  wow.  I couldn't believe it and Steve was asking if there was another game tomorrow night and this was worth missing "Dual Survival" for.  I was just stunned. 

So finally everything settled down and "we" were all disgruntled and what not and the next thing that happened was one of "ours" got a base hit and may have dropped his bat a little too enthusiastically before scuttling off to first base and the kid who was on second ran to third and the umpire screeched "No Way!"  and tried to throw the play out because of the tossed bat.  Naturally this caused yet another riot from the "visitors", and the district poobah then had to call Alaska or something to get a ruling from someone really important and that took f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and everyone was freezing and in a really bad mood.  So finally the ruling came back that the ump was out to lunch and biased so the kid got to get to first, but the guy on 2nd didn't get to get to third and the game went on.  And on.  And on.  Did I mention that the "visitors" lost  13-1?  Pretty much a slaughter, and sad and entertaining all at once.  I have to pick Garrett up to go to summer school in a little while and I expect the drive will be pretty quiet.

As promised I went to Carmel Valley for a little R&R.  And it was everything I could have hoped for.  Met up with good friends, drank some good whine, went in to Carmel and the very posh Pebble Beach, rode horses and went to a lot of parties.  This is what I was born to do in case anyone wanted to know.  

I'm now at home once again, and am preparing to make an appearance of some magnitude at a baby shower on Sunday for the pregnant daughter.  I also get to go be a scribe for a friend at a dressage show (read snooze fest) on Saturday, but she'll feed me and she put me up at her estate in Carmel Valley last week so it's the least I can do.  I then  leave for another foray to the land of Emperors and Empresses who will venture to Montana for the destination event of the horsie world.  I'll be there for 10 days so I'll be changing my zip code and rearranging the furniture and all that.    Quite a busy not so little bee aren't I.  The spouse is somewhat torn by all these goings on since on the one hand it means he'll be eating Teriyaki Rice Bowls for the next two weeks, but one the other I'll be bringing in the payola.  One must make sacrifices mustn't one? 

And, dear reader, so ends another chapter in the life, and while you are all grateful it isn't a treatise of huge magnitude, you are also grateful that I've reach the end of my creative whatever.  Besides I can't be late picking up our little All Star so I bid you a fond farewell, with the vague threat of future um offerings.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I was sitting around minding my own beeswax and out of no where I was accosted by several words which blithered around in my head.  They were harbinger, arbiter and musings.  As you can see I've already used one and it describes my state of (out) of mind.  Too the spouse has been yammering on about writing the blog.  Evidently it strikes a chord somewhere in his depths, which is something polite people would never probe too deeply.  Yes Malcolm, I'm talking to you.

I  returned to house sitting a couple weeks ago, and rather than go day by day on the adventure I will just cut to the chase and announce I escaped unscathed.  If there is any justice in the world, and sometimes there is, the  horse that kicked me remembered me and we were very cautious of one another for some time.  To say that I steered clear of his hind end is an understatement of epic proportions.  And for his part, he kept a beady eye on me at all times.  Then he came up lame.  Dead lame.  Crippled and hobbling.  So I called Shirley and said,  "Killer is lame."  she said,  "dammit".  I said ,"whatcha want me to do about it?"  she said,  "I'll call Dave the shoer."  I said, "ok." and waited around for a while and since I was getting paid good American fiduciary currency, I decided to earn my keep by doing as the Shirley (hereto for known as the Empress) bade me do.  Well if that didn't sound awkward nothing does.

Anyway, as I was saying the Empress had bade me lunge the horses at the rancho.  So there were three horses and as you know one was lame, lame, lame so doing some high falutin math, that left two to rig up in their respective devices of straps and bits and pads and boots and the myriad of other equipment one must strap, buckle and velcro to the horse and other parts thereof.  First was Bugatti, now known as Bugger Gotti.  Everything in the world scares this one. Flies, blue sky, wind, me, brushes, hair, get the idea.  Sadly in concert with his anxieties came the unfortunate episodic poopings.  Like every five seconds, and don't bother trying to keep the clean up up.  So anyway I eventually got him out to the ring and chased him around two minutes at the trot and eight minutes at the canter...each direction.  You talk about paint drying.  And of course I stared at the watch like every 15 seconds not believing at any point that that little time had passed.  God I hate to lunge.  And Bugger Gotti would take advantage of every lapse of attention to stop and stare at me so I would then have to expend precious energy to "git him up agin" and continue the exercise.  Heavy sigh.  So anyway the allotment of time finally ended and I led Bugger back and hosed him down and threw a fly/kkk sheet on him (really Empress? white hooded cloak...on a horse?  What's a gal from the deep and dirty south supposed to think?) and put him away.  Checked my messages from Shirley and found this, "Called Dave, left a message for him to call you, gave him your phone number, here's his phone number, what the horse doing now?"  I returned the call and said, "nothing" and went out to capture victim #2 who just so happens to be the Empresses "special" horse.  His name is Monte.  Say no more.  And so I open the lair door to Monte's realm and immediately spied his shoe, on the floor and therefore, not, on his foot.  So two emotions here, one, I didn't have to lunge him and two, the empress was going to be annoyed.  To put it mildly.  What follows is a verbatim transcript of the conversation.

Me:  Your highness, the  great and wonderful Monte has ripped off his shoe and part of his foot.

Empress:   @#$%^&*

Me:  I haven't heard from Dave yet.

Empress:   #$%^&*   @#$%   @#$%    $%^ #$% #$%

Me:  Impressive

Empress:  I'll call Dave again $%$%$%^, would you go find the easy boot in the pasture, put it on and duct tape that sucka down tight?

Me:  You have five acres of pasture.

Empress @#%&*()_)!(*&^%$#$%&*()!_)(*&^#$%^!&*())(*&^%$#$%!!

Me:  Right then, I'll just go out and find that EZ boot, shall I?

So I did and I taped that sucker down tight, on the wrong foot.  My turn !@#$%^&*()__!!!!!  I tore all the !@#%^&*(tape off and took the boot off, studied both front feet, located the naked one and started all over again.  I blame a long and steady diet of codeine for my uh lapses.

Anyway, over the course the day and long in to the evening I conversed, texted and messaged the Empress on all things with the lame horse, Empress: "what's he doing?"  Me: "um, not eating,  pawing, being weird.  Looks like colic only he's not grabbing his sides and he has gut sounds." Empress: "He never eats, he's just like that I'll bet he has an abscess brewing in a foot, you have Dave take that shoe off and so on ."  Me, "M'kay, heard from him then?"  Empress:   "@#%^&"  Me:   "aha".  Empress:  "If you really think he's colicking then give him some Banamine (horse medicine)"  Me:  I don't think he's colicking he's just doing some of the things horses do when they colic.   I've checked him out, he's just being troublesome.  Empress:  "#$%^"  Me:  "You got that sistah."   Then some discussion about Monte.  Empress:  "go ahead and lunge him in the EZ boot, you know he's a smart one, he knows exactly how long the lunge whip is and won't go anywhere if he's out of range.  You have to throw stuff at him, it's best if you hit him with it."  Me:  "My but that sounds like a good time."  Empress:  "Tie a plastic bag to the end of the lunge whip and shake it, that ought to get him moving!"  Me:  "Awesome."  And finally late that evening we had the word that Dave the shoer would be out the next morning about 8:30.

A note about shoers.  They live in their own world and it is not in this or any close by galaxy.  Ere go the next morning about 7 as I was stumbling about still in the house and in my jammies and struggling to get some coffee and get myself in some semblance of order, whom should I see rolling down the driveway?  Yes the errant shoe man.  So I uttered a few oaths, not mentionable, and found my way out of the house, without coffee mind you, and met Dave at the barn.   I inquired as to which time zone he'd come from,  grabbed Monte and motioned to the foot that now had the boot on it and muttered something about shoes, duct tape, Empress, coffee and went in search of Killer so he too could be assessed by the shoer and me without coffee at 7 in the bloody morning.  I managed to collect the horse and present him and we looked at him and he stared at me, and then we moved him around on the lead line and I'll be struck dumb, but he looked about 90% sound.  Which is to say he weren't hardly limping at all.  So Dave scratched his head and  gave me the hairy eyeball and I called the Emperor and told him the good news and he said, "I'll be go to hell"  and I said,  "OK, but what shall we tell Shirley?"  and he said,  "well let's just find out, she's right here."  and I said, "OK, I'll put Dave on."  and I did.  So then we talked in circles for a long time and came up with nothing and Killer had a good laugh and I squinted at him and finally we decided to do nothing, but Empress was still on about abscesses and remove the shoe and the shoer was like yeah but he has not much foot to begin with and he has nothing to nail to.   Let's leave it for now, and I'm thinking well that's just fine and dandy you're on your way out of town for the next six days, the empress is 600 miles away and it is Killer afterall and shouldn't we do something even if it's wrong?  Well that was shot down so Killer went back to his pasture.  Dave put the shoe (on the right foot, go figure) back on Monte, explained his real estate scheme to me in lengthy detail and took himself off to go fly fishing in some remote area far, far away from any annoying clients and cell reception.  I gave it all up as a bad job and went back to the house for some coffee.  Damn horses.

So later I lunged everyone and that took like forever - really, then to reward myself for being such a good little employee I went shopping.  I got a super cute skirt and some adorable shoes.  Feeling a lot more centered after that, I returned to the rancho did all the chores and then collapsed in lounger and scoured the tee vee for worthy viewing options.  The royals had taped "The Game of Thrones."  I immediately decided that that was going to be no good.  I mean medieval fantasy?  Really?  Thanks guys, I was hooked from the start and thank God you had all ten episodes recorded.  It was something of a real challenge to work all my other obligations around that I gotta be honest.  Well anyway you will be relieved to know that I cleaned, fed, washed, wrapped, lunged, cleaned, fed, washed, lunged and carried on through out my stay and when the spouse called Monday morning and wondered if I'd be able to come by and have lunch on my way home I snapped that if I ever got through the show I'd be there.  Priorities you know.

In addition to being the help in Petaluma, I also got to be the help Sunday night for Muffie, the horse show mom.  Remember her?  Anyway she'd found someone else to take care of the whine country estate while she too went with the royals to the bucolic countryside of Oregon to a show.  Sadly, the substitute help couldn't do the horses and ponies who were left on Sunday night, enter yours truly.  So I drove the 30 minutes over to whine country and in spite of never actually getting a real answer to my question of what exactly do you need me to do I arrived in all my sweaty glory.  So I called Muffie on the phone and said,  "I'm here what do I need to do?"  and Muffie started to tell me for the umpteenth time what needed to be done, got all of like three words out before her channel changed and she said, "I gotta go, I'll call you right back."  Well I badgered her for quite awhile and finally ascertained that two of the three ponies who were out needed to come in to the barn for the night.  OK.  Then one of the five horses who were out needed to come in too.  OK. And the four pasture horses get this and the pony who was left out got that and the ponies who were in got something else and the horse who was in got something other than all of that.  No problem.  Except, and there always is one, there were only four horses out.  There was a pasture horse in the barn and he was not supposed to be there he was supposed to be out.  Not good, not good at all.  Further the horse was locked in a stall with no access to the run paddock attached to the stall and this could only mean there was something wrong with it, but there was no note no nothing about why the horse was in and I decided I didn't know what to do about that and I called Muffie. 

Back story.  Earlier in the day I called Muffie to find out what I was supposed to do, you've heard this?  Ok, well anyway while she wasn't telling me what to do she was telling me that her son, had gone missing on his bike and she needed to go find him.  And I'm all yeah, good idea, hey Muffie?  you will call and tell me when you find him?  yes?  please? ok.

She didn't call, so I had no problem interrupting her fashionable dinner out with fashionable friends while I was at her place sweating and finding  strange horses where they shouldn't be with no messages left as to why trespassing horse was where he was and why.  And further the other horse who was in, immediately remodeled his stall by removing a top board from his manger and tossed the offending board face up in his stall with all the lethal rusty nails laying face up for all to step on and what not.   So no, I was not in the mood to be all sweet and this  and that.  So Muffie got all huffy about the horse being in the stall, because you know he's supposed to be out (really?) and he needs to go out right now and then you have to move the other horse in to the stall that the trespasser was in and bed it and move all the hay and feed and what not and blah blah blah.  And I got all Meat Loaf on her and said, "Stop right there!  Before you go any further do you love me?"  No not really, but I did say, "um the horse is probably in for a reason, before we chuck it out shouldn't you call the owner and find out the details?"  and she said, "ok fine, I'll call you right back"  like I'd never heard that before.  But she did call back and said she couldn't get hold of the owner and to do all the stuff we talked about, then she found a text from the owner that said the horse was hurt and needed to stay in and Muffie got huffy again, and I talked her in to just leaving things alone and all would be ok in the morning and besides I was tired verging on grand mal cranky.  Frightened, she agreed, and I left her a tasteful bill and went on my merry way.

Finding that I am in serious need of some quality time by the sea, I shall soon take my leave of the 100+ temperatures of the valley and venture to a more genteel spot down Carmel and Carmel Valley way.  I shall endear myself to one and all and wear a jacket and long trousers and comport myself in the quality country life for a spell.    But first I gotta get there.  So adieu dear reader,