Monday, August 30, 2010

in which i win my first buckle

When I was in High School, I was so envious of the kids who got the opportunity to compete for prizes.  I coveted their shiny silver buckles and I wanted one too.  I rode a neighbor's horse for fun after school and I dreamed of real competition.  I never knew it would take so long.

Over the weekend, King and I rode in the District 9 Silver Award gymkhana.  All the riders in District 9 (and indeed, the ones from other CGA districts that also attended) were so, so nice.  Friendly and encouraging and helpful.  I talked to all kinds of people and learned a lot about horses, gymkhanas, and life.

We rode every event, and on our second day, we won second place in all the events but one.  This put us in the high point placement for the "slowest" category.

King and I became a team this weekend.  There were good times (wonderful contact, awesome moves) and there were scary times (a long trailer on a narrow bridge, loose horse).  But I feel he is getting to know me, and I am falling more and more in love with him.  And coming to his first show, putting his heart out there on the line for me, was more than I could have ever asked.  Winning the buckle was just the icing on the horse cookie.

I rode him FC because I did not know what to expect from him; I knew he had potential (speed) but wanted to show well (control).  I wanted him to listen to me, pick up the patterns, and finish clean.  He outdid himself, and I was so proud!

Believe me when I say I wish I had more (better) pictures of our performance.  Note to self:  do not ask the spectator holding the beer can to take pictures for you.  You will undoubtably end up with pictures of his friends, his sandwich, and a few of you with either your or your horse's head cut off.

This is actually my favorite shot of the weekend, and it pretty much sums up how I felt at the end:  dog tired.  

But so happy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

lady gaga

Yesterday I turned 46.  Now of course I was a big fan of Madonna.  I tried all her looks, sang the songs, danced my heart out.  I miss those days.  So naturally I was up for falling in love again... with this generation's Madonna.

There are quite a few differences between Madame M. and Lady G. however.  One is, Gaga can SING.  I mean really sing.  She also plays an amazing keyboard.  And unlike Madonna, she writes all her own songs.

I dragged my teenagers along for the fun.  I didn't have to pull that hard!

We joined 10,000 fans at the HP Pavillion to catch a glimpse of this cutting edge phenom.  The freaks were out in force.  Many many people (men and women) dressed the part and it made for a very colorful show.  The energy was totally positive, everyone was smiling and laughing and getting ready for an incredible performance.

There really are no words to describe Lady Gaga.  In her article in Vanity Fair this month, she states that as a teenager she prayed to God to "make her crazy," to instill something within her that would stand out and be heard as the most creative, innovative energy that could perhaps change the way people feel about themselves.  At the concert last night she said she wanted us to leave not loving her more, but loving ourselves more.  She said we were the superstars.

The costumes, the dancing, the incredible props (better than Disneyland), and of course the pulsing beat of the music was completely transformational.  It was an incredible show that I will never forget.  Waking up this morning I kept reliving parts of it... especially when she sang "So Happy I Could Die" wearing this amazing costume, spiraling up from the floor on a plexiglass platform and looking like a futuristic angel.

I took many more pictures than this but I've been trying to download them all day so I'll take what I can get and try again tomorrow.  Hopefully the video I took will work too!  So beautiful.

lady gaga

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

staycation IV

Downtown Santa Cruz, also known as the Pacific Garden Mall. Here are some tips for navigating the strip.

* DON'T put your quarters into the meters on the street.
* DO take advantage of the free parking lots on Center Street, and put your quarters into the street musician's violin case.

These guys were playing some rollicking pirate music.

*DON'T shop at Borders for your magazines.
*DO go to Bookshop Santa Cruz instead. They have a better selection, as well as hilarious cards and a highlighted local authors section.

*DON'T worry about spending money at a fancy restaurant (though there are many excellent ones).
*DO grab a delicious slice at Pizza My Heart, and enjoy the vintage surf memorabilia while you munch.

*DON'T you dare go to Starbuck's later when you get the coffee jones.
*DO score a soy latte at Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company instead. Dude, you will be so glad you did.

Then back out on the street to see the freaks, the tourists, and the hot surfer guys. Have fun.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

the wittens

We brought these kitties home at the beginning of the summer.  It has been a lot of fun watching them grow, become more and more social, and generally tear up the house.

Yes I know they look innocent.  Do not be fooled.

Of course they get lots of TLC here at the ranch.  They really love getting dressed up.  Here we are celebrating their two month birthday.

The darker one is Fred, named after a kitty Nice Dad had when he was a boy.  The lighter one is Frank, because it goes with Fred.  In our usual style these names keep evolving.  The current favorites are Trouble and Double.

Looking at this picture now I see how much they have grown since June!

So. Much. Fun.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

staycation III

Down in the valley, down in downtown San Jose (my favorite 'hood!) is the Children's Discovery Museum.  It's a huge purple building, pretty hard to miss.  Inside is a huge variety of fun stuff for kids, all hands - on and educational.  Little P. was in her element, but we only had a handful of quarters so we did as much as parking meter would allow.

Highlighting our favorite spots:  the water station (above) has tributaries that you can follow with plastic balls; there are tanks and waterfalls and currents and funnels; pressure - run stuff that is really fun to watch and yes you do get pretty wet (all part of the experience, right?)

The bubble center was also great, too bad all the pictures turned out blurry (hard to stand still around the bubbles ya know)

You can simulate surfing on a board in front of this huge screen.  It's like really being there!  There's a snowboard part too.  Really cool, especially the wipe - outs!

Next to the surfing there's a climbing wall, again impossible to photograph due to constant movement (let's just say - she's good!)

The textured imprint wall is extremely popular.  Kids love to push from both sides, and you can use anything but your face to create a design.  Feels really cool too.

Of course anything crafty is right up our alley.  One room had build - your - own gnome homes with slices of logs, driftwood, silk leaves and plastic frogs and turtles.  We had a great time building a gnome condo with several stories and trap doors too.

Then it was on to the corn husk doll center to make a keepsake of our day.  She sat for some time concentrating on this activity and I am proud to say I did not help her at all.  Here we are making the hair into braids.  So cute.

Wow, craft content peeps!!!  Just like olden times.

A very cool day.  Especially since there was air conditioning.

After this we hit the Asian Market in Japantown for salmon and tuna onigiris, cold milk tea, yan yan cookie dip, four kinds of Pocky, cheap nori and buckwheat noodles, a bag of pea shoots and oh yeah I scored a couple of new bento boxes for good measure!

They will come in handy when school starts.  But let's not talk about that yet shall we.  Thank you.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


On Sunday, we brought home a new friend to the ranch.  My very own horse!!!  

Oh of course I don't mind riding the other two... Sparky is nothing if not reliable, and Nelly is a thrilling ride.  But my heart was not committed.  I needed my own.  And I found him... on Dream Horse, no less.

King is a registered American Quarter Horse.  He was born on a ranch in Idaho and grew up in Montana, rounding up cows and carrying REAL cowboys.  He is responsive and well - mannered.  His recent owner trained him in Western Pleasure and barrel racing.  He's everything I've been looking for... and more.  

More, because I think he's so handsome.  Did I mention he was BIG?  Sixteen point one hands!  And speedy too (though I have yet to test this last redeeming quality)

We got him for a great deal because he is sooo out of shape.  A few weeks in our hilly pasture and some mountain trail rides will muscle him up in no time.  However we did learn something as somewhat novice horse owners:  big horses eat more.  *duh*

I feel like a teenager again, all lovey - dovey and mooning at him over the fence all the time.  I even doodle our names together, with a heart.... *sigh*  

Kat + King = True Love.... 

PS  See him move here!
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