Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Aliens have Left the Building

I woke up early this morning.  Early!  There's something to be said for this "getting enough sleep" thing.  Though don't mention it to JD, because he is sleep deprived and grumpy.

I had time to drive out and check on Pluto before work. He had, naturally, removed his fly mask.  And acquired two new bloody spots - one at the point of his cheekbone, one just under the forelock.  I found and replaced his flymask.  He didn't object at all.  I think he likes it.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't take it off on purpose.  These things just happen.

I have ordered two new flymasks of different brands in an attempt to find one that will stay on him (and also not rub his sensitive nosie area.)

I was relieved that he seems back to normal, psychosis-wise.  When I drove up he looked out and then returned to his round bale, and I thought I might be dealing with Angry Teenage Horse again.  But after I got out of the car he came thundering up to the gate with Mystery, and was his own lovely self.  Lovely being a euphemism for affectionate, pushy, too smart, playful, etc.  You know, Pluto.  He's special, he really needs his own adjective.

He followed me around the field, half an inch away, while I looked for that dang fly mask.  They should really sell them in brilliant orange so they're easier to find.  Black blends too much.

He's probably out there cursing right now, as it is hot as balls.  If I were a better person I would go out and hose him off daily, but I am not.  And I had already spent an hour on the driving out to see Pluto thing today.  So, he gets to be a sweaty horse.

I'm not sure when I'll be healed up enough to ride again, so our foreseeable future involves a LOT of walking on the lead.  Fun times.  One way or another I will wrestle him into submission.

I couldn't blog yesterday, I was flooping

I woke up floopy yesterday.  Which, given that it was 6:40 on a day off, was understandable.  I fed the dog and then went back to bed.

I woke up again at 10:40.  What's with the 40?  I don't know.  I struggled up out of bed and went downstairs, where I realized that I was still both sleepy and tired.  The day before had started at 5:40 and ended at 11:30.  So maybe I had just had a long day?

I felt just like this.

It never went away, though.  I didn't exactly mope around the house, but I was not spritely either.  I flolloped.  I lay about.  I started watching tv (a DVD of the Castle cast at Paleyfest) but that didn't hold my attention.  I just sat around.

Really I should have gone back to bed and napped all afternoon, but that would have required the gumption to go back upstairs.

I didn't even have the interest required to make or purchase a real lunch.  I ended up with our remaining raspberries and a few water crackers with cheese spread on them.  I wonder what happened to my post-hike appetite.  Normally I want fries or some other high calorie item.  This time I stopped at a gas station on the way out and got a huge Slurpee (it was hot out), a small bag of potato chips, and grapes.

A)  They had fresh grapes at a gas station.  When did that start?
B)  I liked the grapes better than the chips.  When did that start?

Anyway, flooping all day yesterday seems to have set me straight.  I'm going to go out to the farm before work to see my horse, and then I'm bopping on in to work.  And I might even go to the gym after work, because despite all the backpacking that has happened recently, I'm feeling kind of out of shape.  Gotta pump some iron.  Gotta crunch some crunches.  Gotta remember not to do any of the exercises that involve my sacroiliac.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Honey, I'm Home!

I'm home! Didja miss me?  Didja?  Huh? Didja?

I'm in a great mood.  :)

I must have missed fresh food because all I wanted for dinner was hummus on tortilla chips, and raspberries with whipped cream.  Well, fake whipped cream.  Either way, not the filling dinner one might crave after a brisk morning's hike.  Hope I'm not getting sick or something.

Anyway.  My hike was committed in a state of mild euphoria.  I was just really happy to be there.  Also, I was hiking at a fairly steady 2 mph which is unusual for me.  Not pushing, just enjoying.  The hike pace made me quite happy, as it means that I can pretty definitely get through the hundred mile wilderness in under ten days, so I can carry a little less food.  I did ten miles each day Saturday and today, and had plenty of leg left.  Given that the hundred mile wilderness starts out fairly flat, I can probably do 13-15 mile days at least at the start.  I will have to slow down when I hit actual mountains.  :)

I've been pondering ways to save weight in my pack but without being cold and uncomfortable at night, or going hungry, or not treating sunburn / rashes / blisters, I'm not sure that I can.  I will think more.  How can I get my base weight under eighteen pounds while still living in total luxury?  Hmmm.

I took some pictures this weekend (surprise!) and now I will inflict them on you:

There was some kind of re-enactment going on at Caledonia State Park.  I don't know how the PT Cruiser works into the re-enactment.

Pink polka dotted fireplace!  Again.. I really don't know what's going on here.

Pink!  It's like a theme.  The rhododendron, sadly, were not yet in full bloom.  Probably will be by Tuesday or Wednesday.  Still, they were pinkishly pretty.

My sexy, sexy Dirty Girl gaiters.  Color chosen with ticks in mind.

I started my hike with a Nutty Buddy from the store at Pine Grove Furnace.  It lasted a couple of hundred yards.  Excellent way to start a hike.  I recommend it.


Friday, May 27, 2011

PS - Mom?

I'm going hiking.  Don't expect a post for a day or two.

Aliens have invaded the pasture

Pluto and Mystery are still on high alert.  I wasn't really expecting it two days in a row.

I buzzed by the farm this evening to put the last dose of antibiotic cream on Pluto's owies (now pretty much healed) and to see if he were in a conciliatory mood.  I think he may be headed that direction, but he is Way Too Busy to bother with me right now.  He didn't argue with me walking up to him and fooling with his various parts, but he was not about to play pasture games tonight.  He had to keep an eye out for Stuff.

It's one of those situations in which it would be REALLY NICE if the horses could speak English.  I am not the only one wondering what is going on.  Bonnie wrote me email today about her experience out there.  Both horses were standing by the same spot on the fenceline, staring down the farm road.  I'm not sure if they are watching for something in that direction or wishing they could get away from whatever is in the woods by the railroad.  Either way, they are totally focused on something that the humans do not perceive.

Probably aliens.  Pluto and Mystery are the only two creatures in the world aware of the danger.  (None of the other horses seem to be joining in, btw.  Including those standing twenty feet away.)

Bonnie said when she came out to the farm, Pluto literally nudged Mystery to get him to move toward her.  Normally Pluto would be way out in front, begging for the treats and the attention.  Not today.  He's on alien watch.

As horse behavior situations go, this is not one I am equipped to deal with.  If it were just Pluto, I would write it off under the "He's weird, deal with it" column.  But when sane, normal Mystery starts buying into his psychosis, something strange is going on.

Three hypotheses exist so far.  1) Fallen tree limb is scratching the runin roof and making weird noises.  2) Some kind of small animal is living in the strip of trees between the field and the railroad, and making weird noises.  3) The horses were reacting to a broken chunk of electric fence, which was making popping sounds as it ground out.

The problem with all of these hypotheses is that the horses aren't staring that way.  They're staring down at the other end of the farm, 180 degrees away.  I guess investigating the other end of the farm is the next step.  But not with Pluto in tow, because that way lies broken reins.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pondering going out to check again. Just in case.

I really shouldn't complain in my blog.  Nobody likes to hear complaining.  But you guys pretty much get a dump of what is going on going on inside my head on any given day, so I guess that's your lot.

Today was one of those days where I was just very frustrated.  With my unhealed injury, with my horse, with my job.  Not for any good reason, either.  It's not like any of those (except maybe the injury) has really changed.  I was just less able to deal with it today.

I stopped at the farmer's market (BTW, JD, we have 3 fujis and 4 pink ladys) and got a tiny little apple pie.  I got it because Jack got one last week and it looked good, and also recently the Thursday donuts are all gone by the time I get there.  The apple pie was disappointing, as it was mostly dough and very little apple.  Inevitable when it's about 2" across, I guess.  Otherwise what would hold the apples in?  After my unsatisfying pie, I decided to make a hot beverage despite the steamy temperatures.  As I walked down to the hot pot, I found that the Thursday donuts were not, actually, all gone.  So I also had half a fritter.  Diet?  What diet?

As the day went on I got more and more frustrated with myself.  Things that should have been easy (such as configuring an ancient redhat box to lock logins after a number of failures using pam) just weren't.  Eventually I decided that work wasn't happening.  I opened up my timesheet app and found that so far this year, I've used 3.5 hours of leave for illness, and 40 for hiking.  Counting Christmas vacation and my trip to Maine, I will still have many hours left over.  Somewhere I made a math error (not today, I hope.)  I decided I could spare four hours, and I got the hell out of there.

A nap might have suited but I had needs.  So I stopped by My Organic Market (locally known as MOM's) for Traumheel, because the tube I ordered a week ago from Amazon still isn't here and my butt also has needs.  Poor injured butt.  Also I got some snacks because have you noticed there is an eating theme today?

Then I trekked down to Upper Marlboro and visited the Southern States for all my horsecrap (TM).  Fly spray, a new short lead rope, a small towel for wiping fly spray onto ornery horse's head, a new fly mask, yadda yadda.

Southern states.  Fly spray, tomatoes, and round bale feeders.  Just the essentials for our modern needs.

Then I drove the short distance to the farm to check on Pluto after last night's badness extravaganza.  I did this from a distance:

Talk to the butt, woman. 
Pluto evidently has a strong memory of the evening.

I called him to me for a while.  He did, eventually, approach.  Then a freaking ground hog or something rattled the bushes behind me and Pluto was gone.  Yay.

I gave up on getting him out of the field.  And he was obviously moving fine.  And extremely alert.  It was windy, which might have been an excuse, but I noticed that Mystery (in the field with him) was unconcerned.  I went back, gathered up everything I needed, and walked back out to him in the field.  He didn't help out, but he let me halter him.  And he stood there like a statue while I put on his antibiotic cream and fly sprayed him, and took off his halter and put on his new fly mask - which, btw, is too small in the ears.  Again.  Note to self:  do not be suckered in by the normal sized products in the store.  Nose too big, ears too big.

He politely took a couple of treats from me, but he didn't ask for any more.  Unheard of.  And I did not have an escort to the car.

So, you could say we're working on our relationship.

At home, I found out that the happy hour we were going to had kind of disintegrated.  Which was partly our fault for not positively rsvping.  Sigh.  But we went anyway, and we found that we in fact have a neighborhood bar.  I've lived here 12 years and I did not know this.  I have often wished we had a neighborhood bar.  How on earth did I miss it?  Well, now we have a bar.  And it has fairly cheap beer and food.  No decor to speak of, but I am not a complicated woman.  A couple of beers, some hot shrimp, and some hush puppies, and I am perfectly happy.  Except for the grumpiness factor, which I don't have most nights.

As we were finishing, Sergio called.  Pluto declined to eat his antibiotics with dinner tonight.  This was dose 19 out of 20.  I called the vet.  She said that seeing as how he is healing up, it's okay.  He doesn't have to have it, or dose 20 either.  I just hope it's Pluto being Pluto, and not Pluto having colic.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bad Horse (not the Joss Whedon one)

I went out and rode Pluto today.  I'll just get straight to the point and tell you the bad parts.  He yanked the reins out of my hands while I was leading him and took off.  Repeatedly.  The first several times the reins survived being stepped on.  Finally they broke, and when he took off again they wrapped around his legs.  I hoped nothing bad would happen but that is exactly the kind of accident that can lead to broken legs, or legs so badly injured that you have to put the horse down.

As far as I can tell, he didn't hurt himself.  Which is nice because I don't need more vet bills.  A 3' chunk of rein is missing entirely.  But I can't find a mark on him, or any swelling.

Just at the point where he was really putting it into high gear, I think he surprised a deer.  He made a really sharp turn (I went back later and found hoof marks dug several inches down into the dirt) and came right back to me.  And that was it for the night.  He spent the rest of the one-rein walk back to his barn nuzzling me.  Sure, pal.  You were just a giant ass, broke your reins, and very nearly killed yourself.  I'm totally going to forgive you right away.

I gave him a long, angry talking to.  Back at the barn he stood quietly, untied, while I stripped his gear off of him and felt his legs very carefully.  And then he walked like a perfect gentleman to the field, where he did NOT get a cookie, for maybe the first time ever.  He was in shock.  And then he galloped down the field and went into his shed to sulk.

I guess we're not on very good terms at the moment.

Prior to the running away thing, he had actually been pretty good.  Sergio had some little kids with him, and he was very good about not spooking at their yelling and jumping though he clearly wanted to.  The walk over to the arena was nice.  He was actually quite good while I was riding.  Here's him, having just been good:

She has no idea I'm a time bomb about to explode.

It didn't occur to me to take a picture with broken reins, because I was fuming. Also it was dark.

I'll go back tomorrow and check his legs to be sure he really didn't take any damage.  And to see if he's ready to suck up to me.  That boy has some apologizing to do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My daily walk: a pictorial essay

Honeysuckle.  Smells divine.  Also tasty
To get at the honey, gentle break off the end, leaving the string inside intact.  Slowly pull out the string until a drop of honey glistens.  Consume with glee.

Baby pines and Mountain Laurel

A tiny swamp of cattails

It was sunny out.  I burn easily.  Hat explained.

Random Roses!

I love watching the progress of the veggies in the garden club plots all summer.

Honeysuckle on the left:  unknown on the right.

Undoubtedly a gruesome death, but at least there were flowers.

Ah, mountain laurel.  We'll barely know ye.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I am so dumb I can't even describe it

Oh lordy I'm dumb today.  I woke up that way and it hasn't really improved.  I guess I'm thankful that I didn't cause any car accidents.  Or divorces.  Those things happen so much more easily when you're dumb as a stump.

I guess I should have expected it.  I had a migraine last night, and I took medicine for it which did zilch.  So I was lying there wide awake and head thumpy, and I got up and took some benadryl.  So at least I slept.  Probably that wasn't very smart.  Which implies that my dumbness started at least yesterday evening.

This morning I hit the snooze for half an hour and finally dragged myself out of bed.  The dog was giving me that look.  The look that says "Really?  You're going to hit the snooze again?  You have a job, you know."  So I got up, because nobody should have to take that from a dog.

I made it through breakfast okay, but somehow lost about an hour of time.  I may have been surfing the web.  I may have been picking my nose, for all I know.  I looked up and I was late for work.  So I made lunch (successfully, actually) and drove my happy ass to work.

Unfortunately, at work I was having one of those mornings where I'd say "Right.  Here is a thing I need to do."  And then I would go about doing it, but immediately forget what it was I was about to do.  So I'm sorting through papers on my desk and I have no idea why.  I print something out and then forget to pick it up off a printer.  I talk to coworkers, tell them I'll check into something, and then immediately space whatever it is.

At some point in the morning I remembered that the night before I had made a mental note about something I wanted JD to pick up when he went to the grocery today.  Unfortunately, all I remembered was that it was a liquid.  What a useful detail.  I had a vague mental image of a single bottle, so it probably wasn't a six pack of anything.  I tried to think of things that came in bottles that we needed.  We already had vinegar, laundry soap, and ketchup.  Argh!  What could it be?  Can you imagine my feeling of triumph when I finally figured out it was Gatorade?  I didn't remember it, actually. I independently worked out that I needed a Gatorade bottle, and THEN remembered my mental note.  Sharp as a tack, me.   This time I texted JD.  Then I made a mental note to put a notepad by the bed.  A mental note that immediately got shelved with all my other useful mental notes.  That shelf has some seriously dim lighting, apparently.

At work I finally I broke down and bought a coke from the machine.  A coke with both caffeine and sugar.  This is highly unusual for me.  I normally avoid both.  But they seemed called for, today.  Unfortunately, the soda didn't have any obvious effect on my fog.

I went for a walk to try to stir up some kind of circulation, or thought, or good fairies who might be inclined to make me smart again.  No luck on the fairies but I did feel slightly more capable after walking around.  Oh, also?  I have pink shoes now:

Hello.  You can see us from orbit.

I am not really a pink sort of person, especially not a hot pink sort of person.  So I purchased them with some trepidation.  But they were just so dang comfortable.  So, now I am wearing hot pink (and reflective) shoes and trying to carry off a cool, casual "I always wear eyecatching girly athletic footwear" attitude.  I'm pretty sure it's working.

Anyway.. did I have a point?  I think my point was that the walking helped, and then I accomplished several actual tasks, although I didn't work on my security plan which is something I *really* need to do and which I have been avoiding like my security plan has bubonic herpes, because the security plan system makes me cry.  But that is a topic for another day.  Possibly several other days.

Tonight I have successfully rewashed the dishes (because I forgot to put detergent in the frigging machine when I ran it this morning), cleaned the kitty litter, and stapled my photograph to my passport application.  I neglected to staple my photograph the first time, and the state department promptly lost the picture and mailed my application back to me unchanged.  At least they didn't lose the check, passport, or marriage certificate.  That time.

I think I have called all the animals by the wrong name this evening.  JD I *think* I got right, but he isn't paying a lot of attention so I doubt it matters.  I keep calling the state department the IRS but the state department is usually quite courteous, if scatterbrained, so I'm sure I'll squeak by on that.

I have some other things I could do, like renew the dog's license or get my backpack ready for my next trip (in four days), but I think I'll do something less hazardous.  Maybe watch tv.  Maybe sleep.  Maybe just sit for a while.  That sounds relaxing and unlikely to lead to car crashes or bankruptcy if I do it wrong.  You would think.

PS I wrote this a while ago.  You probably won't be surprised to hear that I got distracted before hitting the "publish post" button.  Sigh.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Attack of the Ticks

I am having a full on paranoid freakout.  JD and I went hiking at Greenbelt Park and (so far) we have pulled twenty four ticks off of him!!!! And most of them were nymphs.  He didn't even recognize them as being ticks, that small.  Luckily he was with me, and I have lots of tick experience.  On the other hand if I hadn't gone he wouldn't have been exposed.  Maybe.  Or maybe he picked up some of them at home, mowing the lawn.

I had sprayed myself with bug juice before leaving, and I didn't find a single one on myself.  Which shows that that stuff REALLY works.  I only sprayed myself to avoid mosquitoes and biting flies, but I was so so glad I had done it when the tick count started to ratchet up.

I itch all over now.  Ick!

JD stripped down to his boxers out on the porch, and I checked most of him (again) out there.  Inside he took off the boxers and I checked the rest of him, and found ANOTHER tick pretending to be a tiny mole way up the back of his thigh.  Worst case of ticks I've ever seen!  And it was only for about two hours of walking on a trail!

Other than Attack of the Ticks, it was a pretty nice walk.  The weather was delightful, and the park was showing off its mountain laurel.  I think this is the most mountain laurel I've seen blooming there.  It was gorgeous.  And the park was nearly deserted, so we had the trail to ourselves.  If it hadn't been for the constant tick removal it would have been unbearably nice.  Good thing about those ticks, eh?

JD before I started compulsively searching him for dark spots.  Doesn't he look nice?

The only picture I took of the gorgeous laurels, before I got distracted by ticks.
His clothing is all hanging on the porch now, having been sprayed with permethrin.  That was the only way I could think of to make sure ticks wouldn't come into the house with them.  After they've dried I'll wash them.  And next time, I bet he sprays himself with Off first.  I may spray myself with Off just generally, before I pursue such dangerous activities as watching tv and reading a book.  Indoors.

Brief pause for compulsive scratching and tick checking...

In less scary and disgusting news, Olli found out today how nice laundry is:

Furry black tubeworm in laundry
Andy already knew.

Emo cat wonders why he has been disturbed

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Try the raspberries, they're excellent

I slept in until nearly 8:30 this morning.  It was AWESOME.  And then I got up and ate sticks and twigs, because I'm responsible that way.

Also I ate a second breakfast.  Hobbitses!  We like the second breakfast.

Water crackers and natural peanut butter and the best raspberries I have ever had in my life, I swear to dog.

JD offered to go out to the farm with me, so I transferred the minimum amount of necessary doctoring stuff (gloves, paper towel, ointment, halter, lead rope, muck boots, and cookies) to his car and we set off.

Mystery was already out getting his pedicure, so Pluto was right there at the gate wanting to come out too.  I brought him out and made him all shiny, and gooped up his head, and fed him cookies.  You know.  The usual.  (His head is looking somewhat less bloody, fyi.)  After Mystery was done, Pluto got his feetsies done too.  Sam the Rottweiler came over to say hi and eat hoof shavings, and I made much of him, as I always do.  He's such a big sweetie.  He was mildly concerned that we might want his hoof shavings, but A) gross, and B) I am not about to try to take food away from a full grown Rottweiler, sweet or not.

We went home the short way so I could get lunch before meeting DeLee.  And I have to tell you about it because it was so very good.  We had no bread, so I made a burrito.  And in the burrito I put leftover Peachy Chicken, some pepperoni, and some ricotta, which I had heated up in the microwave.  Then I added cold pickle slices and a pile of alfalfa sprouts.

You cannot buy sandwiches like that.  You have to make them yourself.  Oh my goodness.

Also, I had a handfull of fresh blueberries.  I *love* the abundance of fresh fruit in the summer.  Were it possible, I would be a fruitatarian.

I sped off to see DeLee.  Or at least I intended to speed off.  The traffic was abysmal.  I tried getting back off at the first exit and taking back roads, but realized that I had spent so much time traversing them that I might as well have stayed in the backup, so I got back into the parking lot / highway.  And crept up to DeLee's.

Anyway I finally got there, and then we went to look at shoes.  Shoes!  All pink and shiny!  As it happens.  Apparently women's trail shoes are pink.

Our salesman was excellent.  He right away understood our issues with feet swelling after many miles, and needed enough support, and not wanting toes to touch the end.  For me brought out shoes in two adjacent sizes in every style of trail runner they had.  For DeLee he brought out a similar selection of walkers, as she wants something in which to train for one of those three day walks for charity.

We both found good options, then checked out the rest of the massive store (much bigger on the inside than it looks - RoadRunner in Columbia).  And then Delee asked if I wanted to see the Perfect Pour.

I may, technically, have been in heaven.
We walked around for an absurdly long time in that store.  I didn't even check out the wine or hard liquor, just the beer.  And I limited myself to buying a very few single bottles.  One dares not lose one's head, you know.  We wouldn't have room in the fridge for anything else if I tried everything I wanted.

I didn't forget my tea-totalling husband.  I got him some diet ginger beer and also some diet boutique root beer.

I arrived home hungry (again) and suggested we call Shirley to see if she wanted to get pizza.  As it happened she was on the porch, about to order pizza, so we went over and it was a huge pizza fest.

And, finally, I put all my entries into trailjournals for the week I was hiking with DeLee.  Whew!  Long day.  I shall have to retire to my fainting couch for a rest.

PS Apparently I didn't get raptured.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Debbie Harry sang a song about it once

Aw, crap.  I got to watching tv (well, downloaded episodes of tv, seeing as we have neither cable nor reception) and forgot I had a blog.  I almost went to bed.  But then I would have woken up in a cold sweat.  And I intend to take a shower before bed, so the sweat would have been annoying.

So, let's see.  Y'all ready for some Rapture?  Rapturing?  Rapturousness?  Raptors?  I'm thinking about having a party.  Some people say there will be folks floating up in the sky.  Somebody else told me it will happen like a flash of lightning.  You'll be walking along and you'll look over and Bob will be gone.  I didn't manage to get the details on whether or not Bob will take his cellphone and chinos to heaven, but if he doesn't I'm sure he wouldn't mind you taking them after he's gone.  None of the descriptions of heaven I've read have involved cellphones, and I think they wear robes there.  I suppose there could be pants under the robes.  At any rate the electronics are a safe bet.

So I was thinking I might sit out on the porch and drink a Double Bag and wait for floaters and/or looters.  At the office I put up a sign that said "No looting please.  We're sinners.  We'll still need all our stuff."  I'm just making an assumption on the part of my office mates, but I'm pretty sure if you dug deep enough you'd find some sin.  Maybe just one of those small sins, like envy.  Technically as an atheist I'm not a sinner because I don't have anyone to sin against (feel free not to correct me if I'm wrong) but that didn't stop the Inquisition and it probably wouldn't stop looters.

Rapture aside, I have some pretty exciting plans for tomorrow.  Rubbing goop onto Pluto's chin, hanging out while he gets his pedicure, maybe fly spraying a little.  Then shoe shopping.  I realize that everybody who has ever met me wonders why I need to shop for shoes when I wear the same pair of hiking boots every day, but I have this crazy idea that I might find some trail runners that fit well enough that my feet don't slide down to the toe when I'm standing on a steep slope.  If I found those, I could wear them every day instead.  Though I really need to get a formal pair, because regular trail shoes don't go with quite everything.  I didn't wear a skirt today because it wouldn't go with my hiking boots, for instance.

Aaaand it's a blog.  Time to hit the showers.  Night all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Male model seeks adoring audience

The Stinker was reasonably accommodating about his ointment, today.  Unfortunately he had several new bloody spots around his eyes.  On the theory that something is biting him, I went and got his new fly mask out.  I asked him to model it for you:

Well, hello there

I'm working the Modern Horse look

But perhaps you prefer the ears rakishly tilted, darling?
I have fond hopes that he will still have it on tomorrow morning when I go to check on him.  I'm glad I'm checking on him twice a day, as I wouldn't have wanted to let any of the new spots go a whole 24 hours.  I emailed the vet to see what she thinks about my mystery bite theory.  Not Mystery the horse.  Mysterious insects.  Or other nasty bitey crawling/flying things.

In related news, my butt still hurts.  Pluto contributed to me injuring it a few years ago by leaving me hanging in the air, Coyote-style, before I fell several feet and crunched my sacro-iliac region.  And then he helped AGAIN a few weeks ago by rediscovering OMG CANTERING and also bucking.  I didn't help my case by working on sitting trot with him.  Thanks to my apparently weak spot, post-injury, I'm not sure if it will ever be reasonable for me to attempt sitting trot on a Lipizzan.  Or Lipizzan cross, as may be.

For you non-horsey folks, the difference between a Lipizzan trot and a non-Lipizzan trot is something like the difference between a home jogging trampoline, and a regulation gymnasium trampoline. They are both bouncy, but the home trampoline only gets you up a foot or two.  The gymnasium trampoline can boost you ten or more feet in the air and requires spotters.  (Note that I have ridden Pluto with spotters.)

I pondered today what it might mean to not be able to do sitting trot with my horse, and I decided I don't really care.  I do care if I can't canter him, but mostly I care because it isn't always an option to not canter.  Riders like to think they are in charge but it is a joint operation, folks.  If your horse really wants to canter, you are going to canter.  At least for a little while, until you negotiate something else.

So I'm okay with limiting my riding based on my frailties.  It's better than the other options, which are not riding, or not riding this particular horse.  And I want to ride this horse, because.. well, he's family.  He's my pal.  I want to keep him for the rest of his life.  Once he goes (around 2031, I speculate) I don't really intend to keep riding.  If he lives out his full span, I'll be about sixty and definitely ready to stick closer to the ground.

Possibly I'll be ready before then if he keeps it up with the bucking at the canter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Too tired to think of title. But not too tired for alliteration.

Long day.  Long, long day.  Hungry day, too.  And it wasn't just me.  JD was hungry also.  We are both drinking hot drinks after dinner in the hopes of convincing our tummies that we are full.

I went to bed early last night in preparation for today, and I think I'll go to bed early tonight too.  An extra two hours of driving and 30-40 minutes of horse care make my day feel much, much busier.  I hope that by the end of the week Pluto will start cooperating so that I can dash in, rub his ointment on him, and dash out.  At the moment he is drawing it out.  He steps toward me, he steps away.  He wants his cookie but he doesn't want to cooperate.  I hope he figures out quickly that the goop makes him feel good and that I'm not going to do something horrible to his owie.

So, here is a summary of my day:

Get up 45 minutes early.  Race through breakfast.  Forget to take vitamins.
Drive to farm.  Try to convince horse to let me put goop on him.  Halter would have been helpful.
Drive to chiropractor, where she tells me that my pelvis is all tilted.  Again.
Drive to work.  Frantically try to get things done before..
Driving over to pick up DeLee to go to the Asian Pacific American something or other luncheon.  Try to restrain myself in the face of yummy food.  Sadly succeed and remain hungry after inhaling a small plate of deliciousness.
Drop DeLee off, get several minutes of work done.
Walk to other building to sit through incredibly boring two hour presentation.
Take the long way back.  Realize am tired.  And kind of sore.
Work frantically.  Find mistakes I made last month.  Fix them.  Eat emergency popcorn.
Drive to farm.  Repeat dance with horse, this time with halter.
Drive home.  No husband, no dog.  Frantic dog manages to wake husband from pre-dinner coma so she can run downstairs to yarp at me.
Too hungry to wait for dinner.  Start noshing on anything I can find.  Mmm, raspberries.
Eat dinner.  Get the sriracha sweats.

Still to come:  cleaning litter boxes, falling into bed.

I got very little actual exercise today but I'm exhausted.  Various parts keep hurting.  Then they stop hurting.  I feel like I'm a puppet and somebody is yanking my strings.

The last time I had to go out twice a day to take care of Pluto, it was a very, very long week.  Kind of wishing the horse lived closer.  Glad he doesn't require five times a day care like that one time when Playboy hurt his eye.

PS I just heard rustling, clanking, and crashing.  One or more of the cats somehow managed to remove the end knob from a wooden curtain rod about eight feet up over the door, and pulled the curtain off the end of the rod.  A) How the hell did he do that?  B)  Which cat was it, or was it a collaboration?  Andy looked indignant when I accused him.  C) What are the chances they'll leave it alone if I put the curtain back up?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Blood and gore update, plus kitty butts and a tattoo

I met the vet out at the farm amidst sprinkling rain and vigorous winds.  Pluto was airing out his Arab side.  In between Pluto's wild eyed lunges and uncooperative posturing, the vet got a look at his chinny chin chin.  Her comment:  "Huh!"  It doesn't really look like an abscess, for all that it's bleeding and icky.  It looks maybe fungal.  Or something.  Since we never have gotten anything definitive to grow on a culture, we are relying on guesswork and her years of experience here.  Treatment is more straightforward.  He is getting enough doxycycline to kill a goat (but not a horse, luckily).  It's doxycycline mostly because it's a different antibiotic from what we've already tried, but she said it also has anti-inflammatory properties.  Though I might have been mistaken on which thing was anti-inflammatory, because he is ALSO getting the Ointment of Doom.  It's an antibiotic.  It's an anti-fungal.  It has steroids in it.  And it's anti-itchy.  You better believe I will be wearing gloves while applying it.

I am going to post pictures of his owie, but I will put them at the bottom for the faint of heart.  Do not scroll down below my awesome tattoo if you don't want to see.

Today was my day to be snubbed.  Here is Dori snubbing me.

Here is Andy snubbing me and knocking everything off my desk.

My awesome AT tattoo, since washed off.
Okay, ready?  Gore ensues.  I warned you.

The dark area next to his halter (continuing beneath it) is his owie.  He has blood smeared on the right side of his jaw.

Oh gross.  I can't decide if this is better or worse than last night, when there was pus and goo all in there.

It's itchy, so in addition to a bloody head he has a bloody knee.  I guess he couldn't get anything else up in there to scratch it.
Horses.  Never a dull moment.

Oh, and the doxycycline?  Fifty pills, morning and evening.  That's five zero.  I tried two in a handful of grain before I left and he hoovered them up, so possibly it won't be too difficult to get them into him.  I hope not, because my other option is daily shots and doesn't Pluto sound like he would be an exemplary patient for that?

Lunchtime update and the Apocalypse

I have been having apocalyptic dreams for the last week or two.  Dreams in which I am fending off intruders, or searching for food, or retreating from rising flood waters.  I don't know what this portends but it can't be good.  Maybe you should stock up on essentials.  You know, like beef jerky and batteries.

I hopped on the scale this morning and it sneered at me.  Apparently I've gained six pounds in the last week and a half.  Kind of shocking when you consider that I spent six of those days dragging a backpack up and down mountains.  Less shocking when I ponder the overeating I did afterward.  Hiker hunger is bad enough without the opportunities provided by faire food.  Soft ice cream, a deep fried oreo, sodas, fries to die for (those I don't regret, and I will be experimenting with dill seasoning in the future), second breakfast, really big first breakfasts..  yeah.  I was hungry.  And I didn't hold back.  But still.. six pounds?

Ah well.  Back to the straight and narrow for me.  JD bought me some celery.  Unfortunately, when I was rooting around in the cabinet for some lunch to put in my lunchbox, I came across the astronaut ice cream.  I had intended to take it backpacking but didn't because I was running low on space and high on weight.  I immediately forgot about everything else and ate freeze dried ice cream.  Then I logged it in Sparkpeople.  Sigh.  And I still had to go back and figure out lunch.  Fortunately I only had the one package of ice cream in there so I didn't run into any GroundHog Day ice cream scenarios.

Hiker hunger is abating but hasn't left entirely.  I suppose it will take another day or two.  The hunger hit a lot harder and faster this time than last, probably because I was already dieting before I left for the trail.  Weather isn't cooperating with me getting back into my regular exercise routine, which isn't helping.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why can't horses just go ahead and be invulnerable as well as strong?

Oh for pete's sake.  I couldn't wallow in the joy of my vacation for ONE FULL DAY?  No.  No, disaster had to strike right away.

At first I didn't think it was my disaster, and I was totally sympathetic.  I heard through the grapevine that a friend's horse colicked.  I tried to get in touch with her but couldn't, so I grabbed a sleeping bag, a pad,  some snacks, and some water, and I drove out to the farm to trade off turns walking the horse around.  Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the horse was dead.

Yeah, that was a cheerful reunion.

I expressed my sympathies, gave hugs, and decided to go check on my own pony while I was there.  I got out a soft brush and started grooming him.  In the fading evening light, I admired his sleek new summer coat and thought how good and healthy he looked.  And then because it was that time, I got the worming tube out and started to give him his dose.  He, of course, resisted a little bit.  He threw his head up in that defiant "NO!" horsey posture.  As one does.  And then I saw it.. a dark area under his jaw.

"Are you fucking kidding me?" is what I thought.  But no, no.  No kidding.  Explodey horse head, round three.  Blood, pus, and other yucky things which it was rapidly becoming too dark to see were hanging out in the vicinity of his formerly, if briefly, intact lymph node.

I called the vet.  Then I called the vet's cell phone.  Then I texted the vet's cell phone.  You should be proud of me, I didn't use profanity in any of those attempts.

Best case scenario at the moment is that she'll prescribe a round of a different kind of antibiotics, and they'll work.  And no more pointless cultures, because we've tried that multiple times and learned zilch.  Though she is of course the expert, not me, so if she really wants to try another culture I'll pay for it.  But I'm expecting a big fat zero in the "things we learned from this test" results.

Anyway I was sad, then I was miffed, then I was worried, and now I am waiting to hear back from the vet.

So how was your day?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No more bachelor life for JD

I'm home!  I'm sure you're thrilled.  At least the dog was thrilled.  She grabbed me with her little prehensile doggy-claws and didn't want to let go.  However she has now settled down and things feel pretty much back to normal, including the fact that I am now procrastinating doing the laundry and cleaning the litterboxes.

We had a really excellent hiking trip.  I really shouldn't play favorites with my hiking trips but this one was really, really good.  For one thing the weather was forecast to be ridiculously bad, and in fact it was pretty good.  For another, we pretty much rocked the hiking part.  I think Dee did her longest day ever, and she was still in decent shape afterward, barring her standard under-toenail blisters.  (We have *got* to find shoes which will fit her after her feet swell.  Seriously.  It's an issue.)  We met some really fun and nice people named (as a group) the Happy Hikers, and we saw them several times.  And we ran into a whole bunch of old friends on the trail!  Plus, Trail Days happened.

The Happy Hikers decided to do a massage line after they saw me and Dee trading off shoulder massages.
So aside from Toe Blisters, we were relatively injury free, which is nice.  Oh, actually on the last day Dee tripped and scraped up a knee.  And ripped out the knee of her hiking pants.  But it didn't progress to anything worse than a scrape, so some gauze and a little advil took care of it.

I chose this section for the scenery.  I love me some Grayson Highlands.

It was crazy crowded however.  I have seldom if ever seen this many people camped at shelters.  We only managed to get into a shelter one night.  The others we camped out.  The new tents performed quite well.  Mine admitted a quarter sized puddle of water during a thirteen hour stretch of (occasionally torrential) rain overnight.  I think that's pretty good, but the tentmaker was unhappy with it when I told her.  I may go back and seamseal a little more, or I may not.  Not sure it's worth the hassle.

Our last day we decided to leave the AT and hike down the Creeper Trail into town, as did many other hikers.  We got into town one day early, AND we got to stop at a trailside cafe.  Double win.  Pulled pork, french fries, and a cold coke on a hiking day do not suck.  And since we were in town, that night, we got to have pizza.  Neither of us really wanted to set up in tent city, so we extended our motel reservation by a day and found a ride to Abingdon.  Our ride was in the back of a pickup truck, which given our six days without a shower was best for all concerned.  The gentlemen gave us a lift back to Damascus in the morning, AND some helpful hints on hiking southbound from Katahdin.

I managed not to spend ALL of my money at Trail Days, though I may have eaten all of the food.  In which case I'm sorry about everybody else going hungry.  But I had a serious case of Hiker Hunger going on and there was nothing I could do about it.  Friday we had breakfast at the motel, then second breakfast, then ice cream, then lunch, then beer, then dinner.  Then cupcakes.  I'm not sure we reined it in on Saturday, either.  Sunday I tried to cut back.

It was really grand to see so many hiker friends, but I became sad when it was time to say goodbye.  One or two days of hugs and quick conversations is not at all the same as getting to hike together for days.  I miss spending hours and days with these folks. Seeing as how most of them don't appear to be giving up hiking, maybe I will get to spend lots of time with them again.

I did get one incredible unexpected bonus:  Little Aspen and Toothpick said they'll summit Katahdin with me!  They live in Maine so I figured I'd ask if they wanted to meet me on the trail for a bit, which is kind of like saying somebody lives in California so it's no problem to meet them in LA right?  Maine is huge.  But they liked the idea, and I'm summiting on a Sunday so they'll both have the day off anyway.  I'm excited!  I thought it would be me climbing alone, taking my arms-length iphone picture of myself.  Having two wonderful people up there with me to celebrate the day would be a huge gift.  I just hope it works out - it's still a couple of months away and plans can change.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I am outta here like Vladmir

Dear Mom,

I will not be blogging, probably, for the next week or so.  Please don't fret.  I may put up entries at Trailjournals.com, if I have signal.  In any event, Happy Mothers Day!  Probably I will be in a no cell zone that day so have some virtual hugs now.

Dear everybody else,

Piss off.

Okay, I didn't really mean that.  But if the world would go away, or even just back off for a while, that would be nice.  It has been really freaking busy out and I need to go somewhere quiet and lonesome with a good friend and just chill the hell out. 

Unfortunately, I think the trail will probably be pretty crowded.  Trail Days time around Damascus is prime time for current thruhikers actually hiking through, and also old thruhikers reliving their glory days.  As I will be doing.  Although I don't know about the glory, seeing as my hike turned into a very extended section hike as opposed to a thruhike.  But I plan to enjoy it anyway.

My POINT is that I am going hiking and will not be partaking, so much, of the wonders of civilization for a few days.  First I have to get through tomorrow at the office, which promises to be super busy.  But then.. Mwahaha!  It is just me and the wilds and DeLee and some Kahlua and approximately seven thousand other hikers!

Honestly at the moment I'm only hoping for two things.  1) My spine doesn't fall out.  2) I can find a flat place to put my tent at night, probably wedged up next to a man nicknamed Chainsaw.  (All hikers nicknamed Chainsaw are very loud snorers, FYI.)

Then, once we are thoroughly exercised and sunburnt and covered in poison ivy, and possibly triumphant, DeLee and I will merge with the stinky masses of hikers in Damascus and we will be with My People.  People with names like Little Aspen and Leapfrog and Slowride, and Toothpick and G Hippie and Cody.  And many, many others I hope.  If I can remember I will take many pictures. 

PS It was really nice here today.

I love it when that big tree behind the house leafs out

If this picture had smell-o-vision, you would be sighing in happiness right now, like I was.

Blue sky.  Not grey.  Blue.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My day in pictures except for the heinie part

JD and I went out for lunch today.  The lunch was pretty darn good.  We went to Siri's Chef's Secret in Greenbelt and had yummy Thai food.  But it was the outside of the restaurant that kind of made my morning.


Look at you, you sexy thing.


Even the sky was busy being dramatic.  You would not believe how cool this looked with polarized sunglasses on.
The cats left me a message in the kitchen this morning.  I'm still trying to decipher the meaning.

I am creeped out by this wall of plastic sheeting at work.  It reminds me of a horror movie.  You can hear voices and see shadows through it.

The axe murderer is just on the other side of this.. whatever it is.

Hello!  I have new glasses!
Non-pictorially, I'm packing things up, trying to make my belongings fit into my backpack.  A week's worth of stuff is a lot of stuff.  Especially when the weather is uncertain.  I am watching the weather for Marion, VA (the closest town, and at a reasonable elevation for comparison) trying to decide if I can use my 30 degree bag that is really a 45 degree bag, or if I must take the 15 degree bag that is probably a 30 degree bag.  Everything would fit much better with the smaller bag.

Also I am icing my heinie.  OF COURSE my back would pick right before a trip to get hinky.  I don't care, I'm going.  I will take the world's largest supply of ibuprofen with me.