Positano & a BIG Surprise


back-handIn 1953, John Steinbeck wrote, “Positano is dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”  Positano is my word for having my family home for the holiday.    It was amazing after so long (maybe two years) to have everyone from the grandkids to son-in-laws all together at once.

This is what Amber wrote as they headed south for their visit (this is not about me helping them to get home but about how badly we all needed the love of our family so much).


Feeling blessed and excited! My momma is flying us ‘Newski’s down to Texas for Thanksgiving. It’s been a really tough year with broken bones, pain, loss of my beloved 13 year old dog, loss of income, and near loss of loved ones. I can’t wait to be with family and enjoy their spirit. My mom is always trying to bring me joy and I’m lucky to have her. She brought us our new Lola puppy girl full of love and joy and now she is bringing my Colorado family to Texas. I love you mom. Can’t wait to see you Cindy


We were blessed with a Thanksgiving visit that started on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  We had a lively schedule and yet plenty of time to visit, play games and re-connect. Ryan and Amber also got a chance to get to the Equestrian Center and watch Lauren compete.  Lauren has had several good months as she has learned the ins-and-outs of new mount KY but it was at this show where things really started to come together.

As the Denver family was only getting home one time, we had to combine Christmas and Thanksgiving (in that order) to spend it in person.  Our schedule included Christmas on Monday and Thanksgiving on Tuesday.  A little odd but no one seemed to mind (especially the kids).

I also was determined to re-enact the Holiday photo from two years ago (our last time all together) into a new photo for this year.  Previously, I had my steadfast mare Kalani who was great at standing still but this year the photo was going to be on my mare Nova while quiet-standing still is not her best thing.

Although you could not tell by this picture Nova is a bigger mare.  I was just glad no one fell off.  Nova started to move around.  Jordyn and Kendyll wanted off now!!  They have gotten pretty wise.  Lexi and Riley were like, no problem Granny, take some more pictures!

Moving on to Christmas Monday (Nov.21st), I felt the usual excitement around the kids and presents but there seemed to be more.  As everyone rushed to open presents (I felt like no one was giving fair attention to what was being opened) a huge box suddenly appeared in front of me. Clearly, this was about me and everyone was carefully watching my reaction.  I hate surprises.  At least most surprises.  I was scared opening this box.  I am not often caught off-guard but I had NO idea what was going on.  I thought something was going to jump out at me-like a llama.  But as I tentatively opened the box I saw a huge suitcase not an animal.  That surprised me even more.  I did not need a big suitcase.  I had not left the farm except for small suitcase adventures in years.

Then I had to open the suitcase.  That was scary too!  I saw this cleverly crafted sign inside.


Yes, the girls had been planning for some time (and I had no hint) to take me on a Mother-Daughters’ Cruise for my 60th birthday in February.  Oh my goodness.  I was shocked and SO pleased.  I know all three girls have struggled with finances these last years and to see they had done this for me was amazing.

They had even cleared it with my boss and set up coverage for the animals.  I am going on a CRUISE with my daughters!!  WOW!!

What a birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving surprise.  What wonderful girls!

It was a wonderful time and here are some of the best pictures.  Enjoy.


Texas Thanksgiving in the pool.

                          Lexi and Kendyll 


Maui Jim and Kona sharing a stick

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday whatever one you were celebrating.  Mine was totally unreal!


Oh, and I might have adopted two cats.  I know, I know.  But I am running out of time.  If I am going to be 60 and these are teenagers, then they might well out live me.  I had to help them when I saw their faces.  I intended to get the girl but the boy was wearing a bowtie so what was I to do?

They are settling in well and are totally beautiful.

Thanks for riding along!

First Times

Lauren receiving her second place ribbon before taking her first victory gallop.

There’s a first time for everything or so they say, and Lauren and I had counted up four-first time experiences over the last couple of weeks.  It is kind of a tie for which of the top two were more traumatic, but I will lead-off with one of Lauren’s first time experiences in sequential order.

Lauren and two of our boarders, Lisa and Libby, headed down to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago for a horse show.  Nothing unusual about this, but all three headed to the show without a trainer along for guidance.  Riders, like most athletes, do better with a trainer along.  It is hard see beyond your own biases and shortcomings to perform at a high level without professional guidance.  Some might even call it a waste of time and money.

But these ladies have been in the saddle awhile and thought a little weekend show away would be a fun activity.  Feather, due to a series of events beyond our control, has not been in the show ring this year.  It was a chance to get her back in the ring and see how she was faring.  I bid them good bye and good luck as they left on Friday morning.

Feather took the trip totally in stride.  In fact, she was so quiet and fluid, the hunter ring would have welcomed her.  I was proud of Lauren making her own decisions on what classes to enter, figuring out her own path through the posted course and coming out of her first class with a second place ribbon.

 Later, instead of wasting Feather’s energy in regular classes, Lauren waited for the higher fences in the Jumper Classic. There was more money on the line in this class as well. Remember fastest horse through the course with the fewest faults wins. Lauren, as her own trainer, thought she and Feather should make a quick, inside turn that would have cut seconds off her time. Lauren, the rider, got a little freaked out by the speed she was going when she should have made the inside turn. They went the long route and lost by two seconds. 

Still, a good first outing and good return to the ring for Feather. 

Lauren with beautiful Feather

Before the girls got loaded to leave Sam Antonio, they managed to break the latch of the slant (divider) of my almost new trailer. 

This sets up first time number two. Once back from San Antonio, Lauren took the trailer to our local trailer repair shop.  They took one look and said the amount of damage to trailer was more than they handled and advised we head back to the dealer. 

One a side note, I was thinking this little party to SA to show – despite Lauren’s winnings, was starting to have cost me a lot!!

Anyway, we called the dealer who was 100+ miles away in Seguin, Texas, verified they had the parts and headed off to spend more money. Of course, then we blew a tire on the trailer and ended up on the side of highway with no one to help us for 50 miles in any direction. Lauren got Blake on the phone and he walked her through the change the tire process. 

So, for the first time ever, Lauren changed a tire. It was terrifying!  We were sitting on the side of the road on I-10, one of the busiest interstates in the US, changing our first tire.  The big semis would roll by and the whole trailer would shake. 

Years ago our friend Gaylyn gave us the yellow tire holder upper thing. Never used it before. But we were very glad we had it now. And fortunately we had a good spare. Lauren got the old tire off, the new tire on and off we went.  I was super glad no horses were in the trailer!  And super glad my daughter had just successfully changed her first tire. 

When we got to the dealership we dropped off the trailer and headed to the little local tire store to buy a new spare. The one new spare cost me what two similar tires would have cost in Houston. I was really starting to wish the trailer had never gone to SA in the first place. 

Anyway, my first takes place next! Sunday we were doing chores around the barn and Lauren started screaming. Only one thing gets her going like that-SNAKES!!  

It was a fairly good sized water moccasin that apparently had been living under the horse’s water trough. Not good. We were lucky they, the dogs and all of us were safe. 

My vet Lynn was there working on a horse and her husband, Klaus, assisted me in the snake kill. I had maybe killed smaller snakes before but this was my first time to kill a venomous one. I already had my tall riding boots on- I was ready!

The snake tried to slither away. I slammed the shovel down to kill him. But caught him too far back in his body. I had to wait for Klaus to get another shovel and successfully cut off his head before the killing was over.  I was glad the Klaus was there as Lauren certainly wouldn’t have helped me.

The last “first” of this update was Lauren voted in her very first election. Regardless of how awful our choices are, get out and vote!


I heard news on several friends this week who are battling very severe illnesses and injuries. I am praying for them and praying for all of you that need help, love or just a little strength. 

As always thanks for riding along!