Friday, January 28, 2011

My Little Pony

As promised, My Little Pony!

Well, to be frank, and one must, he's not MINE, he belongs to my trainer, Poetry (So called because that's what she looks like when riding) and he's not LITTLE, nor is he a Pony. He's a Dutch Warmblood to be exact, a little over 17 hands.

(I have no clue what "hands" means as a measurement, not MY hands certainly, just think: BIG! His back is taller than my head)

He's also a Super Hero, when outside anyway. It is COLD here in the North, but horses like to get out and romp a bit anyway. So we dress them.

I ride indoors. Of course. And I am learning, studying would also be a good word, Dressage. I started training with Poetry in July last year, and in fact, it was that which led to me realizing exactly how out of shape and very NOT FIT I was. Asking her to teach me was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I couldn't ride, was so out of shape, and nowhere near the level of student I figured she would be willing to take on.

But I've known since I was five I could do this, wanted to do this, needed to do this. And I wasn't going to let this chance go by. When you look at something and know it may well be the last chance you ever have to achieve something you've wanted your entire life, it's very powerful.

She said yes, and told me she didn't mess around. I wasn't going to either. She's not teaching upper level Dressage to put food on the table and I sure wasn't going to waste her time.

I joined a gym August 1st. (It will be six months next Tuesday and we'll have a little report on that next week)

If you had told that scared way out of shape girl six months ago within half a year she would be nipping into the stable, taking her trainers own horse out of the stall, tacking him up and riding Dressage moves confidently, she would not have believed you.

Well, she might have. When you know something inside, if you have the will and determination, you can do it. She knew this, even then, or she wouldn't have done it.

I've got years of work before I'll be able to ride. And a long way to go before I am FIT, like I know I can be. But I'm loving the journey. Riding is work, hard work. Make no mistake there, it's sweat, and brains and pain, and Poetry is, like all great coaches, not afraid to turn into Madame M and yell at me, and tell me off right properly.

But I am miles ahead of where I was.

We did a couple short vid's yesterday, at the end of the lesson, I was pretty tired, (Ok, REALLY tired) and watching them, which I've done over and over, I can see where I'm going wrong, and know that I can do better. Which is a good reason for doing them.

Here's a bit of cantering. A couple weeks ago, Poetry, tired I suspect of telling me over and over not to put my weigh in the stirrups, took them away. My inside head sort of exploded into a chorus of "I am so going to die" but trust is a huge part of working with a great trainer, and I did it. Once again. This wasn't the first time the "I'm so going to die" song played, started with the first time I got on this horse, hauling myself up like a sack of potatoes.

I don't now. I get on confidently, and with grace.

There's grace and beauty in everything.

If you're willing to sweat and scream to get it.

It's so worth it.

Love and Ponies,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Way Too Many Bengal Pics!

Time for another episode of Way Too Many Bengal Pictures! This was going to be a My Little Pony Post, but My Little Camera gave up the Ghost today and I had to nip off and buy a new one. So you get Bengals, and lots of them! Look for My Little Pony on Thursday, fingers crossed.

That's F1 Magic on the Piano.

Venus, or Freaky Venus as she is called, for good reason, got way to interested in the camera strap, which gave me a GREAT idea. Not sure how well it worked out, but I thought learning how to make little movies was a fine plan. Yes, that is the dance mix of the Safety Dance playing away. I didn't know this things had SOUND, and now, my secret is out. Yup, I listen to things like that. Often.

I should explain some Bengal things, in case anyone is here for the first, or second, time. Bengals are a hybrid cross between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard Cat (ALC) The F refers to the word filial "of or relating to a generation or the sequence of generations following the parental generation" The first three generations resulting from the ALC x Bengal are considered "Foundation Bengals"

Make sense? Not much. You can read more HERE.

IE F1 has an ALC Parent X Domestic Bengal. An F2 would have ALC Grandparents.

The early generations (Foundation Bengals) , F 1, 2 and 3 are not for people who have had no Bengal experience. I have two because of this. F4 and up are considered domestic, and are a whole lot of fun.

If you understand what you're getting into.

Enough with the science, let's get back to Bengal pics and my new camera.

Madame, another F4 Bengal is NOT amused. Mim's a bit of a Diva, and thought vid of her running on her Cat Wheel would have been much more the thing. Next time. Well worth a look, this Cat Wheel.

Here's F2 King Lear the Huge. His head anyway. In an arty little shot.

And for the full view, here's you have Lear on the couch. Yes, that would be stuffing on the couch. He once went into the back and pulled half of it out and found an old key. Very old. Like late 1800's. I wear it sometimes, thinking at SOME point I am going to need to unlock something, and having read all the old fairy tales, know it would be bad to be without this key.

Here's Lear's friend, Little Queen Mab (F4) They were both rescue's who were meant to be foster kitties, but it became clear after about six months I wasn't going to be able to re-home Lear. He's a lot to handle, and when the Foundations bond, they BOND. He also hates men. He and Mab live upstairs in my Spooky House and are quite happy with the arrangement.

Bonding with a foundation Bengal IS Magic, which is why I named my F1 Magic. It takes a lot of time, and a LOT of patience. It was a year before I could let Magic out with Venus and Mim, and it often never works, to mix them. They live on their terms. I can't stress this enough. You change for them, not the other way around.

Here he is in his water dish, preparing to go for a splash. Bengals love water. If I don't get up quickly enough in the morning and head butting doesn't work, he goes splashing and repeats the process. Works.

Here's Mim in the dining room, which I just re-did to make a dance/workout space. Moved everything out, except the Bathtub. Of course. Where the heck ELSE am I going to put the thing???

There you have it! Way too many Bengal pics. And a few fun facts you may not have known about the breed. I love them. A lot. (tho I do maintain five is too many, and would not have taken on that many had there been other options. Wouldn't trade them for gold now.)

If the idea of living with Leopards intrigues you, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Know what you are getting into. If you read everything you can find on them, and still are thinking "Sign Me UP!" consider taking one from rescue. We have many in need of homes.

And if you're lucky enough to have one come live with you, well..

All I can do is smile. You're going to love this.

Love and Bengals,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bengals Need Help. I Need You Now.

For those of you new to this blog, I work saving Bengal Cats with Great Lakes Bengal Rescue. If they cross my path, I will save them. And we need help.


It was a breeder in Indiana, whose home was foreclosed on. We took all 12 cats out of the place, and all are sick. We have found foster homes for all 12, and all are social, and will find homes. But unfortunately, before they do they need medical care, and spay/neutering, and shots.

That won't just stretch us, it will break us.

Please read the letter from Janet Saltzman, director of Great Lakes Bengal Rescue:

Just found out yesterday that a breeder in IN was having her house foreclosedand had to be out by Thursday and had 12 cats needing rescue. One of ourfosters was able to pick them all up today and we found foster homes for all ofthem. They are all sick with upper respiratory infections, underweight, and all12 will need spayed/neutered and there are more girls (more expensive) thanboys. They will all need tested for FELV/FIV, rabies shots, wormed, ear mitetreated, and then when healthy spayed/neutered. Then they will go up foradoption. They are being fostered in IL, near Rockford and Chicago burbs.

Also, took in a sick one from a WI shelter that would not have adopted her outas she has a polyp in her ear that needs treated. Surgery might be $1200 butwithout it she will continue to have sinus and respiratory infections.

So if anyone wants to donate, we would be very willing to accept. Paypal is

I don't have pictures of the new Bengals, as of yet, the ones here today are ones currently available for adoption. I'm not sure I could see pictures of the new Bengals without crying. Janet told me this morning that one is only 3.5 pounds, and all are underweight. All are very young. One has a permanent head tilt from an ear infection that was never treated as a kitten, and will always be a special needs kitty.

I am not too proud to beg for them.This is going to run into thousands of dollars, already has. I won't deny that I spent a few minutes this morning with tears, and if I could ever get my hands on the people who take in and breed these cats without the slightest understanding of what they need, (or in this case, apparently, the slightest understanding of basic cat care), I would indeed smite them.

But that won't help the Bengals now.

Now it's my problem.

And I need you.

As always, I am still offering "Any Amount, Any cd's" if you would like something in return, send ANY amount, let me know and I will gladly send you a cd or two of mine. I have both Folk UnderGround and Lorraine a Malena. I have a few Flash Girls yet, but those would be very expensive.

Recently, I found three copies, cassette, of the FIRST, very out of print, Flash Girls album, The Return of Pansy Smith and Violet Jones. They are the unopened, and the last available. Anywhere. (Last time a copy of this went up on ebay, it went for just over $400)

Impress me. A lot. And I will send you one.


I really need help with this one.

But I will save them.

Love and Bengals,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

The Girl in the Tree

I saw you once, in the tree.
The trunk had opened enough, for you.
It was summer, and the forest was growing, and it was green.
The green at the end of summer, where
All the leaves are just starting to suspect that
Things might not stay the same forever, I saw you.
For the moment, there and alive.
Or Magic.

I knew who you were, always have, there's no mistaking those eyes,
No uncertainty, no guessing
And never, ever, any doubt.
I would not be here to tell this tale had there ever been any doubt.
For doubt, you know, is fatal.
And there are things you see in the world
You don't wonder about, they are real,
Whatever appearance they wear,
Or Magic.

I knew you long before the tree, this I can remember,
And I've known you long after, for too many years, as men
Reckon time in this world and I know this:
I am the one who caused you to be there, and I am
The only one who still believes in you, there,
But what I don't know, what I do not remember, is if I am a Hero,
Or a Monster, was it love, or betrayal?
Or both?
Or Magic?

I went out today, to the tree, in the snow,
Just when the sun was falling from the sky,
And the moon struggling to rise,
The leaves, the green, were gone, dead, still, and nothing,
No sound, no sign
Anywhere that anything has ever been,
Or will be, again.
I saw the tree, dark, closed and silent.
I touched it, but felt nothing, saw nothing,
Nothing of you,
Or Magic.

I went away then, but I remember this:
I saw you once, in the tree, alive again, or still,
For a moment, there, and known, then gone.
I promised myself I would never cry, again,
So those cannot have been tears, of relief or sorrow or joy or triumph?
And even so,
I have always known the tree will never give up its secrets,
Even if there is much else I have forgotten,
About you.
Or Magic.

Love and Poetry,

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Essay With Tom Klubans Photos: What Derby Means...

As promised, more Tom Klubens photos from the Naptown Bout in Indianapolis on Saturday. The first thing to say about it is, there are a LOT of pics by Tom, and if you would like to see them ALL you can find them HERE. I can't post them all, but I picked some of my favorites, because I wanted you to see them, and well, I want to try and show you, tell you, how cool this sport is.

And how much it means to me.

Skating Derby means, for one thing, you are very FIT. Beyond FIT. I think "FIT Insane" might cover it. But there's a lot more to it. I only know the skaters on the Naptown team, and I sure don't know all of them well. Yet. But from what I have seen, it's they themselves that make it special.

They are about love, and teamwork, and I've never seen a group of women who have each others backs like they do. They are a force, they are strong, they are dedicated in the extreme, and they have a whole lot of fun doing what they do, very, very well.

They won the Bout, which wasn't easy, but even if they hadn't, they would have played, and loved the sport just same, I think. The sportsmanship is as important as winning. It's how they do it, with grace. And style. They know they're cool, but not arrogant.

Like the best acts in music, they go on stage knowing they're good, knowing you will love what they do, but knowing that everyone there, in the audience, is as much an important part of what they do, as they are. And treating the other team as as much a part of the art they are creating as they are.

That comes thru.

And I admire that.

It is also a sport tho, and a brutal one, make no mistakes there. They hit and get hit REALLY BLOODY HARD. They want to win, and they give everything they have to that, and they fall, they get hurt, they get up, and they do it again. They wake up after a Bout, or practice in pain. They scream, they yell, they curse, they fight. Every time they skate, they set the bar, high, and they skate better.

Seeing them skate, I don't know that I can do that. I don't know if I can be that FIT, could ever skate like they do.

I mentioned this to my friends on the Naptown team. They didn't laugh, they didn't much give me any pep talks. In fact, as a group, they told me three words:

Yes. You can.

They make me want to.

I wrote the team back here, where I live, a while back asking about skating, and up until yesterday, hadn't heard back. I woke up to an email, in my inbox, the day after this Bout, telling me the next new skater meeting was coming up.

On my Birthday, February 15th.

I think the Universe is trying to tell me something.

I think I must listen.

Love and Derby,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some my by Tom Klubens....

First up today, all of these photos are by my friend Tom Klubens. (I know we are Friends because Facebook told us so today) He's like Kyle Cassidy, or Kitty, part of a very small group of people who can actually take good pictures of me, so here you go.

We'll get to his REAL photos tomorrow, the ones of the skaters from the Bout last night, but I am working on my little windows laptop and getting THESE four downloaded and trying to blog, has been quite enough for one morning.

WHAT are we looking at here exactly? Well, the new Naptown Roller Girls Calender is out and Tom has photos in it. Part of the deal was I didn't get to see them until he was there to both see and shoot. I was for this, and so here we have them!

I think they thought there might be one month I was going to particularly enjoy.

They were right.

Actually there are quite a lot of months I love, all of them really. It's going to be a great year in my office. Some months may last more than 30 or so days.

Nope. Get your own, the link is back a few pictures. YOUR year could rock as well. Trust me, I've been thru it.

Up Tomorrow: More Derby! Pictures of real, proper, actual skaters. I want to tell you everything I learned, how exciting it was, and show you just exactly how cool this sport can be..

But that's tomorrow. For today:

Just me!

Love and Surprises,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Beating the Dark...

It's Winter here. Many of you may know that. It's cold. Very Cold. And Dark, most of the time. I get up in the Dark, come home in the Dark. Dark everywhere. Even the Friend I talk to most (mostly whining) is Dark, as in Joan of Dark.

(oh, I could be VERY funny today)

(Note to self: Insert random Bengal pics in the post for the people who don't either find you funny or want to hear about your random FIT Plan)

I've been on the FIT Plan for 5 months now, I do believe I've mentioned this. And am STUCK on the Plateau. People who have done this FIT thing have told me this would happen. You lose 10% of your body weight and stay there for a while. But it is very time to move on, so, I've stepped up the game.

I hurt (in a good way) I can hardly move post workouts, I'm so tired when I get home, I've been seriously considering Twittering for someone to come over and help me do things like, oh, un-dress and bathe me. It's so hard to drag myself to the gym sometimes, I want to scream. I don't EVER want to get up in the cold and Dark and generally spend the first half hour in my Cave of Covers emailing the (Joan of) Dark with interesting things like "COLD DARK HURT SUCKS DON'T WANT TO"

And I love it.

Two weeks into this new Stepped up Plan and it's working. Sometime this week, the Switch in my Brain will flip on, and I will start loving this. It may have been yesterday, actually. Had an amazing ride, then, tho I had to drag myself there kicking and screaming, kind of loved the horrible step class/core workout.

Felt the Power.

The week looks like this:

Monday: AM Step/Zumba with Little Evil, PM TURBO
Tuesday: AM Ride, PM Zumba/ Personal Trainning w/ Little Evil
Wednesday: AM Zumba w/ Little Evil, PM Zumba-lite
Thursday: AM Ride PM Horrid Step/Core workout
Friday: PM Zumba/Weights with Little Evil
Saturday: Zumba w/ Little Evil
Sunday: Skating

LOTS of Little Evil, my trainer. I'll take any class she teaches, because I know there's no holding back and she will get more out of me than I know for certain that I can do.

It's a good Plan, every day is something different, all of it (mostly) is fun, which is important. If your Plan isn't fun, it's not going to work. Food is important too in any Plan, but trust me, if you are working out like this, the last thing you worry about is eating badly.

First of all, you have no energy by the night to make much, and secondly, working that hard, you don't want to eat ANYTHING that is going to negate it. Fruit, veg, whole grains, fake meat. (Yes, went Veggie a while back, met this chicken who became my friend, long story and saw blood sausage in Ireland. Can't eat meat anymore) Lots of little meals. And lots of water.

My riding is getting better. I want to show this summer and not like last summers Trial By Fire, terrified and not knowing what I was doing (tho to give Poetry credit, she knew what she was about, get that one out of the way, step it UP, which led to NOW. Oh, it worked all right)

I want to pursue Derby, so much joy these last few months has been getting to know so many Derby Girls, and their inspiration, watching their Bouts, and the encouragement I've gotten from them has tipped the scales. (So to speak, that scale is going DOWN)

Thanks for listening while I got this all straight in my head. It's hard. And anyone who wants to pursue this FIT needs to know that. There IS no Magic about it. It's sweat and bone and muscle and a will that grows stronger and determination like iron. It's falling, failing and getting back up, stronger. It's beating the Dark. (The real Dark, not beating the Joan of...)

You also need to know this:

It's worth it.

Very, very worth it.

Love and Strength,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year!!!

It's the time of year when everyone does the Here's My Resolutions or What I Want For The Year blogs, so.....

I know what I want, so let's just talk about it for a bit. I've been watching a lot of tv the last couple of days huddling with cramps on the couch (why am I telling you this????) and I've been seeing a lot of handy commercials. A lot of un-handy ones too, I'm very tempted to order a few of the Well Being Energy Bracelets, if only because I want to see these things and ponder exactly what sort of person buys into this.

They "Align to your bodies biofield technology" That's an actual quote. Giving one endless vitality and energy.

There's also a new pill out there that will REMOVE BODY FAT. Body Fat you see, is the problem, and if you simply eat right and workout, you WILL NOT LOSE BODY FAT! This pill however, dissolves it. How handy. Clearly, I've been going about this wrong.

Enough with the Un-handy ones tho, I saw something I know is going to change my life.

It's a well, a mop. And a Broom. I know, we've talked about this and how I have a total of SIX mops hanging lonely in my mop area, but this one sweeps and mops by ITSELF!

Kid you not. Turn the thing on when you leave, so goes the commercial, and come home to nice clean floors. The heck with that, I am buying one and running it each morning and watching it go to it whilst drinking my coffee. Don't want to miss a second of it.

It will probably do a far better job that I do too, at it. (Not hard, I am the worst housekeeper on the planet. Neat, but hopeless at cleaning)

AND I am thinking when I do leave, I can tie Mousies to it and it can drag about and entertain the Bengals while I am gone. It's perfect on so many levals. There is also a Remote Control Vacuum, Google tells me. My Spooky House is going to get seriously fun.

As for the rest of it, you know what I want, we've talked about it. I want to be FIT, in another month, it will be six months on my Plan. I'm happy about some things, and not so happy about others. It really does take a long time. It's slow going. I'm miles ahead of where I was. I ride better, I skate now, I go to the gym every day, I eat a lot better.

Mostly. I can do 20 crunches with no one holding my feet now. I can pissage during warmups riding. (If you don't know what Pissage is, no worries, it's a Dressage Thing, but if you're having trouble with Crunches you might want to re-think your own FIT)

I'm FITT-ER. But not yet FIT.

I want to do my Job, and love my Friends. Write more. Save more Bengals.

My Remote Control Mop/Sweeper/Vacuum Device will help all this.

It said so in the commercials.

Love and Happy New Years,