C. S. Lewis



"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

-C.S.Lewis

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

In the mean time

Donald has been putting some rides on Midas while I'm indisposed:


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I'm very grateful.

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The Ham has also been getting regular riding in. We've become a bit more nitty gritty and serious about it--perhaps because I'm riding vicariously through him. Also because I've learned so much in the past year and I'm trying to teach him.

We've been working on developing a classical seat--the kind that keeps you on the horse no matter what discipline you pursue. Tuck your seat, sit tall, bent and flexible elbows, using your whole body for half halts, not breaking your wrist to steer or half halt.

Midas also seems to have decided that it's time to learn about the outside rein. Last year we nearly eradicated his bad behavior of throwing out his shoulder and going for the gate. In the past 6 weeks, though, it's been a central feature of his rides.

It could be boredom, lack of work in general, lack of me saying "salute!" or all of the above.

It's still better than the early days, though. There is success to be had, for example. And in this picture they are both looking fairly good--Midas is reaching under himself well, the Ham is almost tucked and secure...progress!

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I think what I'll focus on next time they ride will be variety. Lots of transitions and direction changes and moving forward to keep the horse from getting creative. It'll be hard work for the Ham to try to maintain all the position things while constantly giving new orders to the horse--but hey, it'll be good for him!

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Meanwhile, I have nothing better to do but take horse selfies while the Ham loosens the girth after their ride. I was busy holding down the mounting block.

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Every time we go to the wash stall Midas looks for a bucket to grab to ask for water. If he can't find a bucket he will reach for the hose. (Once he discovered I'd put water in a bucket for him he pretty much stopped drinking from the hose--he'll just stick his nose in it and try to flick water on you.)

It tickles me that he 1) is smart enough to ask for water in a bucket, 2) I know what he's doing.

I should add that if you don't have a bucket for water he gives up and waits--he doesn't fuss or paw or get demanding. He's very polite. I love it.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cups

I love peanut butter cups--that is, I love my peanut butter cups. So does Zorro. I always get out the recipe and then realize in surprise that I don't follow it.

It's not that there is anything wrong with the recipe, it's just that I have a near-celiac friend and started converting things to gluten free. This is one of the rare things which is actually better that way--plus it's much better for you. What with raw honey instead of sugar, no wheat, and just a bit of chocolate and butter fat. It's like melted trail mix now.

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I forgot I usually use honey and used powdered sugar this time...whoops. It's what I get for cooking and watching Agents of Shield at the same time.

Tasted good.

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I've finally gotten better at the art of pouring peanut butter--most of the peanut butter is in the cups this time around! Woot!

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So here you go, I've now written down what I actually do when I make peanut butter cups. When I'm not distracted by a tv show and trying to remember what I do instead of following the recipe.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Paper

I have this love affair with paper. Particularly blank paper. It's just so beautiful--bursting with potential and happiness.

I used to have these mental rules for each of my notebooks--some were for writing and some were for drawing and never the twain shall meet. Someone drew in one of my writing books in Jr high and it was like the desecration of the temple--then nothing mattered anymore.

I did get over that.

And then I went to college and filled pages and pages of note paper with doodles (and notes) and then I got a job and doodling basically stopped. My drawing ability went into hibernation and decline.

Until I started going to meetings. Then doodling started again. I also figured out I could doodle while on the phone with clients--it helped me focus.

Of course, later on I set a goal to improve my drawing. I've not looked back, and it's been such a delight.

I've got a tablet--a huge part of why I bought it was the drawing program. It took me a little while to learn how to draw on the screen, but it's been fun getting to know the tools. I'm getting better at it, and really love having high res files at my beck and call.

But I will never give up the love affair with paper.


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

black and red painted table

I painted a table for the hunt club--this is actually the second time I've  done this but this year I took pictures. Refinishing is relatively easy work, as far as physical strain goes, so it was nice to still be able to do it even with the broken foot.

It's a bit trickier--but happily much can be accomplished scooting around on your rear end.

1. Sand it. 
The first step to refinishing furniture is always sanding. It's a royal pain, but it's important. Donald did the sanding for me. I like Donald.

2. Clean it. 
Now that you've sanded, you have to take a soft, damp cloth and wipe all that dust off.

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3. Admire.

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Also, you need to choose your paint. Probably this comes first, but as long as you do that before priming you should be fine. We use Benjamin Moore paints, and we're pretty over the moon about the quality. They have an oil based paint which is water soluble now--best stuff ever. It's also low VOC, so no headache when you paint. The primer is not water soluble, sadly, and has a bit more of a scent, but still no headache for me (and, good ventilation helps).

This is the brand we used on our cabinets two years ago, and it's holding up pretty well to the abuse.



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4. Prime. 
It's worth having a brush and a roller, even for small projects like this. The coverage is much better and smoother over the flat areas. Due to the intensity of the colors, we got a gray primer as recommended by the paint store.

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5. Red.
The paint needs to set a day or two between coats in order to cure. I think my coats got more like 4 days each, just due to life. But the table sure wasn't complaining! I chose a deep and true red
(called Heritage Red) for the bottom coat. It goes on with the hot pink vibe to it which I found concerning at first--but it dries into this velvety and gorgeous red.

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Look at it, almost a pity to put the black on over that gorgeous color.

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6. Black.
This is where things get tricky. I mostly rely on the brush, and a roll of paper towel. I used plastic gloves this time, too, to keep my hands from turning black.

Basically, you apply paint to a moderately sized area, and then you go back immediately and wipe the paint off with a paper towel where you want the red to show through.

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You have a little leeway to redo it, but not a lot. It helps to have a little bit of a plan. You want to make sure you get black into the crevasses because you're going to be wiping it off the high places.


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For the large flat spaces like the top I used the roller to apply the black, and then carefully applied brush strokes for effect, and then carefully streaked it with paper towel.

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I'm kind of delighted with how it came out.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

and there was cuteness

Watching horses react to visitors is always fun--especially when the visitor is teeny and has never been close to a horse before.

Midas was actually much more interested than I expected. He frequently looks like he's tolerating visitors. He seemed to grasp, however, that this visitor was family.

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He was quite social before reaching his introverted limit and retreating to his hay net.

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Nephew was not sure about these giant creatures.

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Maverick loves everyone.

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And Wellie loves babies. I am fairly certain that one of the reasons he thinks I'm and OK person is that I occasionally bring him babies to sniff. He can be moody and anti social--especially when he's ill (which he is) but bring out a baby or a small animal and he forgets everything and comes to see. He's so incredibly gentle with them.

I think he was the only one the Nephew had the courage to touch.

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Nephew wasn't sure about when Wellie wanted to touch him, though.

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Wellie didn't take it personally. You have to be gentle with babies, after all.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Strawberry Lemonade

June is strawberry season. Some dear friends of ours were going strawberry picking and offered to pick some for us, too.

They brought us a huuuge box of strawberries, and such a delight its been!

Also, I have a new favorite drink:

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strawberry lemonade
The catch barely fit in the salad spinner to be cleaned:

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Then I sorted them. All the rain made them VERY RIPE so I sorted them into "Sauce now" "Sauce later" and "these will keep to just eat."

The "Sauce now" crowd was immediately diced--some put in the freezer--and sugared and added to lemonade.


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Zorro says pink lemonade is best for this because it is extra tangy--so we had pink lemonade from concentrate with freshly picked strawberries.

It's ridiculously tasty just like that, but for an after dinner taste you can add a touch of vodka.

The refreshment is strong in this one.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

catch your breath

I've been feeling a bit doom and gloom lately. It's hard to catch your breath when things keep punching you in the gut.

C'est la vie. 

So here is a picture of a flower on a a sunny day:


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This is Rembrandt

It's a clematis from my mother's garden. We spent some quality time together last week. I was home sick--laid low again--and sleeping on the deck until the sun covered it and it was too hot. This week all those buds are open into giant purple flowers.

Rembrandt is very happy on the deck and blooming his little heart out in the face of summer heat.

Plucky little thing. Bloomed his heart out in the dead of winter in the entryway, too.

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