Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Happened Tonight...

This was going to be a comment, as I am WAY too tired to be posting anything new, but it got far too long, and I thought what the heck. Just write the story.

I met a really cool women in Zumba School tonight. Saw her and her husband BIKING to the gym (heh. yeah.) and she was there for the Zumba School. (yes, after biking to the gym from where ever she lived.)

It's hard to watch the teacher in ZUMBA as she faces you, and uses no words, everything is backwards. I like to be in the front, as I think the closer I am to the expert the better this is going to go and it is where the people who know what they are doing are, generally.

My as yet unknown biking friend was in the class, up front, and darned if she wasn't the best one IN the class. Monday's class had a lot of people who were good at this, and I watched my friend, but this one had a whole lot more people more my level of fitness and Zumba talent. (which is to say slight on both counts) I took to watching her to try and keep up and get the steps.

After the class, I talked to this Amazing Women of FIT, and asked how long she had been coming, complimented her on her FIT, mentioned I was just starting out and admitted to taking my cues from her for the last hour.

Must have been wine to her soul, because she told me, over the last year, she had lost 110 pounds.


She showed me a BEFORE picture.


How? Apparently, she eats right and exercises.

Apparently, that works.

Many of the other learners came around, and we had a fine old talk about FIT and they all had advice and made me welcome in the World of Getting Back Your FIT. It's like I got an entire new group of really cool friends who all want the same thing I do.

Can't start sooner than now.

And I'm going to stay in the front of that class.

Since we have, as yet, no pictures of this FIT, here's one of poor puppy Lola, taken by Boss, after her Bee Stings today. As of now, she is much better, and no longer suffering.

Love and FIT,

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Day I Started Some ZUMBA...

Got myself into a new game tonight. It's called ZUMBA. I didn't exactly know what it was, just that I'd heard of it, and it sounded like a whole lot of fun and when I met a new Friend thru some old Friends at the Farmers Market and she mentioned she went, I thought, well, here's my chance. (Heck, she reads Wodehouse and loves the Jeeves and Woosters Vids. Clearly a women of intelligence who knows what she is doing. She's FIT too.)

Here's a few facts, for anyone considering playing along: (while I still have energy to type)

1. ZUMBA is an hour long dance workout that is done to Latin-ish dance music. My studio is sort of dark, and had great disco lights going on. It's fast, intense, and gets your heart rate UP. In the world of FIT, this is called Cardio. I think you burn about 4,000 calories an hour. At least.

2. No. There will be no pictures for quite some time.

3. The teacher does not talk. She just dances. You follow along. Or try to. I watched my friend, as the teacher faced us. This makes everything backwards. They tell me tho, it's the same each class, so one sort of LEARNS.

4. Unless you are a) a backup dancer currently on the Lady Gaga tour or b) the Instructor or c) Currently a member of the Naptown Roller Girls Team going to regional's ; you are NOT going to be picking this up in one easy hour. It's hard. It's intense. Extreme. You might not want to look in the mirror, and if you are the kind of person who worries about what you look like, get over it. Now.

5. I am not FIT. I am out of shape and overweight. The Gods know how it happened, just looked down one day and there it was. OOPS! I worked my BUTT off tonight and couldn't do half the things.

6. It's the gym. You are in a class with a lot of other people. They are not watching you. Trust me. They are working their own BUTTS off. And if they were, what do you think they are saying? "OOoooo! Look at HER, she's out of shape and overweight, what is SHE doing in a GYM??"

I don't think so. There will be people who are younger than you, fitter than you. There are people who are older than you. Maybe less FIT than you. There will be people who look like they have been working at this for months (they have) Everyone will be sweating. They don't CARE what you look like. You don't start off FIT, perfect and able to dance. You GET there.

7. The gym costs about $30 a month or so. A dollar a day. There are 5 or 6 classes a day in different things. Do the math.

8. I am not good at working myself out. I need a BUTT kicker. Group classes are great. All you have to do is show up and follow along. Simple. A class where all you have to do is learn and practice dance moves for an hour? To cool music? Hello? Sign me UP!

9. I did sign up.

10. And I loved it. All of it. I liked the people, I liked spending an hour at the end of the day dancing, and making new friends, who are also about getting, or being FIT. I like coming home with MUSH legs, and knowing I am just a bit more FIT than I was this morning.

And I am really, really going to like the way I will be looking, and feeling a few months from now.

Might well end up a dancer on Gaga's tour. Might well do ANYTHING.

That's the feeling. And that's why you do it.

Love and Zumba,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mostly My Horse, With A Recipe....

I haven't done pictures of Dimiyl, or Dim as I call him, in a while, or a Blog Post devoted to Horses, Dim in particular, so that's the Plan for tonight. But first....

I was making some Fried Green Tomatoes this afternoon for the Boss and me, and on a whim decided to take a pic and direct message it off to the Birdchick, Fried Green Tomatoes being up there with Bacon in her book, that is to say: she loves the things, along with a message about her coming out on Tuesday, but managed to post this picture of the frying lovelies publicly (and the come out here Tuesday bit) and now I am no end besieged with requests for the Recipe. And people wanting to come for lunch on Tuesday.

I don't post Recipes. I just cook. But, this time, I'll have a go.

Fried Green Tomatoes and How You Could Make Them

Well, first off, this may seem obvious, but if I am going to do this, I might as well be thorough, you need some Green Tomatoes. Hopefully, you are growing them in your garden, and can simply nip out back and grab a couple, as they are not much sold in stores. Alternatively, you might make friends with someone selling Veggies at a Farmers Market and ask THEM to nip out and get you some from their gardens.

If you have managed to acquire the Green Tomatoes, the rest is relatively easy.

Slice them up. As thin or thick as you like them. If they are too thin, they will fall apart tho, and if they are too thick you will have Green Tomato Provencale, and no one wants THAT.

Oddly enough, while I googled for a friendly image of Tomatoes Provencale to help illustrate my point, this also came up. They call it "a tian of roasted tomato, avocado, fingerling potato, hearts of palm, tomato coulis and Sardines" If this were Top Chef, they would SO be going home for this one.

(Also candidate for a Weight Watcher Recipe Cards circa 1974 if I ever there was. If you haven't seen them, GO, you will laugh. A lot.)

Anyway, back to the Fried Green Tomatoes. Slice 'em. Carefully. With a Sharp Knife. Ideally, losing no fingers in the process. Rinse them, this is important, they need to be WET.

In a small bowl. Or a large bowl, really, your call. You have to mix up some COATING. You have some options here, and a lot of wiggle room. You might go with flour, any kind. Today I used Corn Flour and Corn Meal, as they were handy. Toss in some Seasonings. Salt and pepper. Or paprika. Or Spike Seasoning. Tony Chechere's. Whatever is in the cupboard.

But wait, you ask!! How much of each do we USE?????

No clue. Get creative. Obviously, some things are in the "Use Less" category, like the seasonings. Don't get too extreme. Or too worried. It's coating.

Now you will need a FRYING PAN. A non-stick pan works nicely for this. Spray it with Olive Oil Cooking Spray. Add a LITTLE bit of Olive Oil. Not a LOT, this isn't DEEP frying, just a wee little bit, it will sort of travel around the pan, but at no point does it completely COVER the Frying Pan. The main purpose of it is to make that nice sizzling sound when you toss in the tomatoes. We are trying to be healthy here.

Turn on your burner. Not too low, you want the sizzling sound, but again, not too high or you will have smoke, always a bad sign when cooking. Kind of medium.

When you deem your pan ready, take a Wet Tomato and Coat it in your coating. The easiest way to do this is to drop it on in your bowl and flip it around a few times.

Toss it in your Heated Frying Pan.

Now cook it until it is done. NOTE: You will need to flip them over halfway thru the cooking process. As to how to tell when you are halfway, or when they are done, well, it's kind of Zen. They are done when they are done. Or when they look like something you would want to eat. Black is a Bad Sign, as is, again, Smoke. They should look, well, cooked tho.

There you have it

Now back to Dim, this IS a Horse Blog after all...

But first, sending thanks to my Boss, who spent rather a great deal of time talking to my Phone and My Computer, getting THEM to talk, so these pictures could go from one to another, and ultimately, end up here.

Love and Dim, with some Fried Green Tomatoes,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keep Your Heros....

THAT, my dears, is Nancy Wilson from Heart, still rocking. Still my hero. After all these years. My second guitar, when I was 13, was the Exact Same Very Guitar that Nancy played. (An Ovation) Of course. And one of my first solos I learned was the intro to Crazy On You.

I never got to see Heart as a teenager, or after. Saw them on Sunday. I'm still happy about that.

I had a lot of thoughts on the importance of Heros this week. They seem to have fled me, the thoughts, not the Heros. They've turned into something like: "Heros. Good." Nancy was one of the first woman musicians I loved, admired and wanted to be, along with Mary Travers, at nine, and Frida Lyngstad from Abba, at 11. They were my Heros. And Dorothy Hamil, and Chris Evert, For skating and Tennis. Strong women all.

I still have Heros. Keep your Heros. Find new ones. Follow them. And get inspired. Again. And again. Take from that and let it come out in everything you do, every moment. And you may find out you are someone's Hero too. Or just make them happier. For that moment.

There. That's my Deep Thought for tonight.

I am home now, Woodsman Hans having agreed to sleep with the Dogs tonight, while the Boss is gone. (OK, so that came out really wrong, you know what I mean.) Cabal is a lot better, so much that it is hard to keep him quiet, and not playing. The operation was a complete success, and he will have his TPLO surgery on August 10th. And another 6 weeks of recovery. But then, Dog Party!

Dim pulled himself up lame on Monday. No idea why, but it doesn't seem serious, say Those That Know These Things. He's not limping now, tho very scary at the time it was. Very scary. He lurched. He must have strained something, running about. We walk tho now, and it seems to be healing well.

No riding him of course, so I rode two other horses this week. Which was great, to put it mildly. Learned a LOT in my lessons on them. I've learned that your leg needs to be completely relaxed as it has four parts (so far that I know of) to it, each of which one uses independently at any moment. Your hands have fingers, which work two reins, each of which do different things. At any moment. And your elbows of all things play a huge part. Your seat sits Back, and your upper body turns. And your Core can stop a horse in its tracks. You use all of these, all the time and all at once.

Pretty cool, eh?

All the Bengals are lovely. Well, not really. They are grumpy. They are not liking this Not At Home Much, but they forgive.

Remember Zoraline? The Bengal in San Fransisco we saved, with her kitten? She needs a home. Her Foster home is only taking kittens now and is full up, and this beautiful girl needs her Forever Home. If you are out there, think about it. No problems, except her fused leg, which doesn't slow her up much. Sweet, and loving she is. Think about it.

And Beez has a new Friend she saved from the street. We need to find some low cost vet care for the Baby, or start sending Beez some Fivers to help out. Poor thing was very close to being dead, and then Someone, in this case Beez, cared. If they cross our paths, we save them.

And that makes a difference.

You are my Heros.

Love and Admiration,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rode My Horse Today....

I had a riding lesson this morning, for the second day in a row, oddly enough, but that was how things worked out. On the way home, thinking about it, about the things I'd learned, I thought of an entire Blog's worth of things I wanted to tell you about. Profound. Inspiring. Dare I say it, Meaningful?

Can't remember a word of it. Too darned tired at this end of the day.


And no Horse Pictures either. But you can amuse yourselves looking at the Bengals, taken tonight, while I try and recall all of this mornings inspiration.

Riding is work. And the kind of riding I am doing on Dim now, with She Who Owns It All is a LOT of work. But it's work on many different levels which is trickling down into the rest of my life. And the other way around.

When I got to the stable today I had already worked (At Assistanting work) a couple hours, woke at work in fact where I was staying with Cabal, the Frankendog (who is doing GREAT by the way) I was stressy, in the way you get when you have a lot of work going on, and not much time.

Took about ten minutes to forget about it.

It's like what I imagine doing Yoga correctly is like. And here's a sentence I never thought I would write, in fact, I may have scoffed at such things: It's being really present in the moment.

There's nothing else.

It's the kind of work that's really hard for me, and would be frustrating if I didn't talk to myself sternly. You see, I kid you not, I AM NOT MAGICALLY NATURALLY GOOD AT THIS. There's a true statement. It's having to work for every small little bit of progress. It's looking at yourself straight, knowing nothing and learning everything. It's working my ass off, and saying, yeah, things been kind of easy lately, maybe you need some BUTT KICKING.

I love it.

It's starting at the beginning, mastering one small thing that feels HUGE, and then learning another. And another. Like yoga, music, writing, work, FIT all of it. I could spend forever learning. It's being so tired at the end of the day that sleep comes not in minutes, but instantly. It's winning, succeeding, learning and doing way more than I thought I could.

And that's what's cool about learning to ride.

There you have it. No doubt much more inspiring when I thought it all out this morning, but I spent the rest of the day in kind of a "Bring it on I am so ready for whatever" frenzy, and it may have lost something in the interim.

Rode my Horse today.

It rocked.

Love and Horses,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There Are Bengals That Need You NOW...

Bengal time again. Great Lakes Bengal Rescue needs your help. We've had a few cats with medical problems in the last month or two and the vet bills are huge. We need every little bit. I am not too proud to Beg for Bengals. Hell, I will scream it to the world.

If they cross my path. I will save them.

The bottom line is: They will be cared for and they will find homes.

But we need help.

GLBR has a CAUSE up on Facebook, which you can read about HERE, and send onto your Friends.

You can also take advantage of my "Any Amount Any CD's" offer. Paypal some $$ to: and then email me your address at . I will pop a cd or two in the mail to you.

You can also simply donate. You don't need to be rich. I know how very not much extra money we all have right now. A fiver. These fivers add up. Every little bit helps these Bengals get the medical care that they need.

I live with five Bengals. Three of these were taken in by us at GLBR and now have a home with me. The Bengals in these pictures are currently in foster care, healthy and looking for good homes. Here's a full list....

We save them. Mostly now I help save Bengals I haven't even met, nor will I ever meet them. But I will do whatever it takes. They are going to find homes, and they are going to get the care they need. And when they are well, and when they find their forever homes....

It will be worth it.

Simply that. Because YOU cared enough to help.

And that made a difference.

Love and Bengals,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Bit of Happy....

This was, I must say, a mighty fine day. Didn't start OUT mighty fine, Dim was nothing but trouble. He's going to learn a few things during my lesson tomorrow, I will tell you that for certain. Stupid Rat Creature, he was.

But after that was a mighty fine day. My Gardens have been making me sad, largely because it looked like I was growing a Bed Of Weeds Of Doom, and I have been needing HELP. Which presented itself in the form of three lovely Gothy Girls who came over to visit.

Not sure that was their PLAN exactly, but I think we all had fun.

That's Finn (From Ireland and OctoCon where I am going this fall, Gabriel, and Alice)

My block is made up of some sort of Super Power Garden Masters. Every house on it has more garden than many, well, GARDENS. I've been feeling lately like the house where no one cares, and indeed, when we got all the weeds out of this bed, THERE WAS NOTHING IN IT. (Except strawberries.)

It's been one of the things that has been a little bit of sad every time I come home, like when you leave your house in a mess, and think you really should clean it up. And instead of that peace and contented feeling, it's a little more stress and Not Right. Same thing. I don't have that Garden Gene tho that might get me out to DO something about it, or the time, really.

These are the new Copper Top Post things I got some weeks ago. They made me a little bit happy, walking in. As did the purple petunia things in the hanging baskets. (If you water them, they will not die horrible deaths, I am learning these things)

But not the gardeny bits. Just sort of sad.

Now I am feeling little bits of happy. I wish I had taken BEFORE shots. It's hard to tell in these pics just how much work got done. (Even with Lola over for a visit) Or to see how very sweet they are now. Finn spoke about Foxgloves, which I love and haven't seen for years, and darned if there weren't a bunch on sale for half price where we went to get more Cedar Bits. Magic of Ireland, I say.

I wish I could tell them how much them coming and helping me meant. Or how happy I am, that they were here today. And how this little bit of happy is going to follow me when I leave, and be there every time I come home now. How now I feel like doing MORE and believe it is possible, and not a huge daunting task that I will never be able to accomplish.

Pretty darn cool to have made three new friends. The best gifts sometimes come out of no where, and come from time and sweat, just, well, because I asked them if they would help me.

(Thank you! Not something I will forget.)

The Gardens still need more, and they will get it. But now I have a bit of happy, and it is no longer the Garden Where No One Cares.

I couldn't find a pen to sign cd's for them, but I did find Bee Sealing Wax. Where the heck did I get Bee Sealing Wax from? Seriously! I had no idea, but there it was in my cupboard. Like some sort of "well, you have no pens here, but hey, have some Bee Sealing Wax" moment.

If this is the sort of Magic that follows one around Ireland, and Irish people, I am SO going to love this fall. I am beginning to understand all the Irish songs I have been playing for years, where they start out "As I walked out on a summer morning, in the morning early..." and go on to describe the most incredible adventures.

I used to think they made them up.

Not anymore.

It is well to remember that anything can happen. At any moment.

Love and Gardens,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Magic PURRED Tonight....

Tonight, no dogs. (Tho Cabal is doing as well as can be expected, healing, still slow and hurting, but progress is good. We walk him outside to do what he needs to, and he seems happiest just being with Boss. And Lola had a really good night in Dog School, she is paying more attention to us, and learning the things she needs to, to be a good, well behaved dog.)

Tonight, no horses. (Tho I worked Dim this afternoon, it was nearly 90, and we both suffered for it. Didn't end up riding, worked on the lunge line, and with the side reins. He acted up a bit, and by the time things were going well, I called it, rather than do more. I have a lesson in the morning)

Tonight, just this:

Magic PURRED when I came home.

He's been getting closer to me, and has started doing the "You are Home You are Home" dance with Venus and Mim, circling closer, coming nearer, letting me pet him as he slid by, but tonight, he joined in full well, asking, and getting his share of the pets, circling, mewing, and PURRING. Very Loudly.

I had people over this afternoon, and he came out, even playing piano for them. (Which he does quite well, thank you) He ate steak, followed us to the porch, where Mim ran on her wheel. He wants to be with me. With us. He wants to be a CAT.

He wants all the love that has been here for him.

For nearly two years now.

The F1, half Leopard Bengal, that no one wanted.

It took almost two years.

But Magic PURRED tonight.

And that's so much more than everything.

Love and True Magic,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

More Adventures in Camping...

Camping, Round Two had some great moments. Lola was one of those, she was a fine addition to the party. And she loved it. What's not to love? Woods, lakes, another dog, her people....I am so glad I brought her, we'd thought to try it to give Cabal a bit of a break, but having her along was no bother, and made for a delightful time.

We have a lovely place to camp. I could never "camp" in one of those places where tents and campers are all over each other, like little cities, only one is sleeping in a tent or camper. What's the POINT? Camping should be out in the wilderness, and should not involve a host of other people, in my humble opinion.

Our site is little more than a clearing. No showers. No water. There is a sort of toilet. A real hole in the ground affair. But that's it.

The clearing is off a dirt road, and does have three areas where one can tie horses, tho we put up our own lines, and we bring everything we need. There is also an information board. One side has a half eaten map of the trails, and the other more BEAR info that is strictly needed for confidence, if you ask me.

I think this would do:

In regards to BEARS, if you see one go the other way for Gods sake. Don't run, hope the BEAR is in a good mood. Don't leave your food out because there is no way you have brought enough anyway and you will need it all for yourselves, let alone feeding any random wildlife. If your dog barks like a crazy thing you might want to consider the safety of your car.

I've been riding a horse named Chanel, who belongs to our friend the Awesome One (as we fondly call him, and he is) She is a big bay, might be part Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse. BIG. And she knows that she can intimidate me, as we recall from last time. If she can get me to quit, she will. And it's scary. Mel says it isn't "Bucking" she is just "Throwing her Ass in the air"

Ok. Fine. Whatever. It's scary, especially going downhill in the woods on a narrow trail.

I'm not going for it anymore. Decided before we even left for camping that wasn't going to happen. Well, I knew it WAS going to happen, the ass in the air bit, but it was NOT going to work this time.

I am happy to say it didn't. The secret is, much like being on stage, to act like you know what you are doing. No fear. You can't let it in. You cannot believe, or even think, that you might fail. Or you will.

When that ass goes in the air, you whip the reins around and smack it, and let that horse know EXACTLY what you think, in language more suited to a waterfront bar than a gentlewomen. And she will try again. In fact, on a three hour trail ride, you might spend just over half with your horse trying every way she can to intimidate you into giving up.

It's wearying. Fear wasn't an option this time, but I was pretty close to worn out by the time she grudgingly gave up and went nicely. It being over 90 may have helped this.

I need to ride her more, a few times a week, out where she lives, and let her know she is GOING to behave herself.

Or I will smack that ass.

You see, these rides have been sort of warm ups, my horse friends tell me, for the rides we are going on later this summer. And I need to be ready.

What else did I learn? There is no joy that can compare to an icy cold beer in the middle of a ride, taken from your saddle pack, drank down in one or two drinks (all the while alert for Ass in Air)

Drinking NA Beer is really handy for this moment, as you CAN drink it down in one or two drinks, and still remain upright in the saddle. Perfect.

I also learned that when you bring only a finite amount of food and then need to cook it on the campfire at the end of a long hard day of riding, WHATEVER you have to eat will be the BEST thing you have ever had. Burghers, potatoes, carrots onion and cream of mushroom soup in a foil packet cooked on the fire?

Best meal ever. Hands down.

You and your little dog may also be in your tent and asleep by 10 too. Despite the fact that even tho you remembered pillows this time, you have realized a few pillows do not a bed maketh. Got to work on this Bed Thing. Chased my sleeping pad and sleeping bag around the tent half the night. No idea what their aversion to me IS.

However we camp next time, I do know a few things. My friends will be there. I will play violin while dinner is cooking. Chanel will know who is the Boss.

And we will bring Lola.
Love and Camping Lessons,

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cabal Is Home and Lola Is Going Camping...

Morning! Bet you weren't expecting me quite this early, but here we are. Nothing like falling asleep by 10:30 to get a girl up early.

The big news of course, is that Cabal came home yesterday. Poor little Frankendog! And the good news of the big news is that the operation seems to have been very successful, at least from the view that they knew what they wanted to do, and were able to do it.

The Doctors were able to remove a mass from his neck, which was pressing down on his spine. It was an odd mass, and we won't have the test results back for a few days yet. It was not a MASS OF DEADLY CANCER TUMOR. I asked. Right away. Those are apparently much easier to identify. If you are a Doctor, they tell me you see it and think "Wow, there's a mass of deadly cancer tumor." They didn't.

It's more likely something that grew after the poor guy spent three years on a choke chain, chained to a barn. I know how nuts he goes when Fed Ex drives up (Or anyone other than us) and can imagine the same thing happened at his old home. The location is right.

He does need to be kept quiet for the next 6-8 weeks. No playing, no running, no outside off leash, no walks, no jarring his neck in any way. At which point he will need a second operation for a torn tendon in his back leg, the same as he had a couple years ago on his other leg. And he will then need to be kept quiet for another 6 weeks.

(We don't know how the torn tendon happened, these things do, and they can do it easily, and with no symptoms for a long period of time, only gradually being noticeable.)

The next two weeks are the crucial ones, while his spine heals.

I'm not sure if this was the worst possible time to have acquired Lola, or the best.

We can't sit her down and explain why she can't play with her friend. All we can do is give her a lot of attention and love, without him. Boss has moved down onto the first floor. We've set up an office, and bedroom, added latches to doors. (Him being home this summer one of those things you are just grateful for) We need to see how things go. Cabal may come to my house at some point.

(Which will work better than you think it might, an added door or two and it can work.)

We'll have to see.

Meanwhile, Miss Lola met Horses last night. Not my horse, but the herd at Horsetrainer Mels, where Lola also got reacquainted with her friend Pearl. It went pretty well, which I am glad about, because Miss Lola is coming Horse Camping with me this weekend.

Now that I am an experienced Camper (remember, I went camping overnight a few weeks ago? Nothing to it.) I feel confident that it will go well. I have a new tent. I will remember to bring pillows. I am a better rider.

Me, three horse Friends, two small children, six horses, Pearl and a half trained puppy.

What could go wrong?

I actually feel better about having her along.

In a word: BEARS. (remember the BEARS? Not that we saw any, but the info board at the campground seemed very BEAR oriented and concerned that campers knew what to do if they encountered a BEAR. Mostly, it seemed, one ought to hope the BEAR was in a good mood.)

Like they are going to mess with Lola?

I think not.

Love and Dogs,