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).

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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

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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.

WHAT??

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.

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Texas Thanksgiving in the pool.

                          Lexi and Kendyll 

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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!

Return in time

This weekend I returned to Breckenridge where I had not been in 19 years.  Back then, my mother was marrying Jim and we augmented the trip to Denver with a family ski trip. While the pictures are not reproducing very clearly, Amber has a collage of the photos from that trip hanging in the guest room where I stayed.  It was one of our last family trips before we were a family no longer.


First picture is of Amber and I skiing exactly where the Spartan Race was. The second is young Amber and the last is Amber, Ally and very young Lauren. (apologize for the low quality)

Then, I was married with children. At the risk of spinning off song lyrics, I got a divorce and chestnut horse.  Ally, Lauren and I started life over in Texas.  Years, miles, family lost, family gained have rolled on by re-setting my life.  It was quite interesting to find myself back on the Breckenridge slopes.

There I was, standing once again, on the same slopes of Breckenridge that we had skied all those years ago, now as a mother-in-law and a grandmother, watching Ryan, Riley and Lexi compete in Spartan Races was quite a trip for me to take, literally and mentally.


It was weird in many ways to me.  First, I was standing on the lush summer green grass where before in the same spot I had stood on 30 or more inches of snow. The lifts standing still in the soft summer breeze.  I looked up and down the mountain, taking in the view, remembering the many ski trips here. Now, I was here to watch and support a crazy new kind of race.

The Spartan Race is a leader in the sport of obstacle racing, offering open heats for all fitness levels, as well as competitive and elite heats for those with something more to prove. The first of its kind to feature timing and global rankings, Spartan Race provides a proving ground for beginner and professional obstacle racers looking to test themselves in new ways across the world.

In Ryan’s race Saturday, he ran over 14 miles but faced daunting obstacles the whole way.  It was super compelling to me as we watched the runners approach the finish line.  I am almost lost my voice cheering them on.  Anyone that has heard me at a horse show is no stranger to my yells and cat calls.  This group was made up of serious athletes and I wanted them to hang on and finish their race.

Prior to rolling downhill under barb wire, the contestants are dumped in a tank of icy water.  Ryan is in front.  Good times!

Ryan jumping the fire pit (seriously!)

Ryan after he crossed the finish line with Amber, Riley and Lexi.

Riley headed off in his own Spartan obstacle race!

Lexi conquering the web.  She told me it was easy for her because she is a gymnast!

 Riley and Lexi will their medals post finish!

I spend a lot of time with Ally and Lauren.  I cheer on Jordyn’s riding pursuits.  I acknowledge four year-old Kendyll’s reported wins in the Grand Prix ring (that’s what she tells me anyway).

I was so happy to be back in Colorado with this set of my family cheering them on.  Especially for something so difficult.  Riley had no problem with his race at all.  He paced along, conquered the obstacles and headed to the finish line.  Lexi was one of the smallest competitors.  She mastered the balance beam, hauled herself over any solid walls that came her way, but drew the line at the mud hazard.  Although she lost points, she told me clearly, “Granny, I am not going in the mud!  I don’t like to get dirty!”  We will need to work on that!

I enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my Denver family.  It was nice to feel the cool air and mountain breeze.  Wearing jeans for the first time in over six months was kind of nice, too.  The mountains will always be first love and my home.


Amber and I made a trip to the cemetery as well.  I had not seen my mother’s head stone before.  It was sad and a little overwhelming to see the headstones of my entire immediate family laid out before me.  I saw my final resting spot.  I don’t know when I will join them but plan to live my life to fullest in the meantime.

As always, thanks for riding along.

Here’s a link to my chestnut horse.

 

https://exechorseluver.com/2012/04/23/meet-the-horses-mr-kid/

Exceeding Your Reach


A photo from Lauren’s recent trip to tropical Malaysia

I certainly have felt this before with Amber and Ally as they have made their way through life.  I am proud of them, their families and their accomplishments. It is that moment as a parent or a grandparent that you see your family member meet or exceed what your accomplishments have been.  It is certainly a moment for introspection.

These are little examples in my life not like the proud families watching their child’s head to Olympics or achieve medals but moments indeed.

I grew up as the daughter of a United Airlines executive.  We traveled frequently and to many places.  I have enjoyed traveling to many countries.  But never have I boarded a plane for many hours to head to Asia.  The fact that my “rather stay home” daughter did so was remarkable to me.  Her album on Facebook of her trip shows modern cities and high rises juxtapositioned amongst jungles, monkeys and secluded beaches.

 

Lauren and Mia barefoot on the wobbling sky bridge looming high over the jungle floor. 

While Lauren is still recovering from her 20 hour return flight I can tell by her comments to others how the wonder, strangeness and exotic power of travel has changed her.  She will be richer all her life for this opportunity to see how others live and what her country  offers her in every day life.

  Many stairs head to the beautiful waterfalls


Super exotic and ultra-modern

My child has now ventured almost around the world. Certainly exceeding what I thought was well-traveled for me and mine.  And that she flew home alone, negotiating a plane change in Taipei makes it even more wild.  I will never think of Lauren the same again.  Many, many thanks to the wonderful Kuchner  family for making this opportunity a reality! We are forever indebted.

 

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Jordyn on Mickey and I am on Feather with Nancy guiding us along

 

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Taking a dressage lesson with my granddaughter-what a thrill!
Again, in the category of exceeding my reach is my eight year-old granddaughter Jordyn saddling up with me to take dressage lessons together.  Jordyn has been pining away with desire to join the grown up dressage lessons that take place a couple of times a week at my barn with dressage master, Nancy Lindsey.

Jordyn, through her summer with working student camp, days and days spent at the farm and on horseback was ready for a few new steps to her riding repertoire.  Also, with our usual dressage rider Jo Ann out-of-town, Nancy could focus on Jordyn and not  slow the group down.

I was interestingly effected by the addition of my granddaughter to my lesson.  I have ridden all my life but just recently started learning the nuances of dressage.  I am a beginner in many ways just like Jordyn

As we made our twenty meter circle and worked on leg yielding in and out, there was something special and captivating about having my granddaughter there to share it with me.  I really don’t remember ever taking lessons with my kids.  I was either way better than them or they were way better than I.  But we were never at the same place at the same time.  While I can out ride Jordyn for sure, in these new tasks we were equals and she was even better than I.

The best part?  Jordyn was overcome with JOY to be part of this lesson.  Her smile never wavered and her enthusiam never stopped. An hour later,  I was out of breath in the corner as Nancy took Jordyn and Mick through one more serpentine.  With the 117 degree heat index, it was all quite remarkable. Jordyn told me, “She works you hard, huh, Granny?” She does indeed!

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Nancy giving Jordyn some words of wisdom

It was a new step for both of us and one that I think both of us equally treasured.  Hurrah, for the little blessings of life.

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Thanks for riding along!

Sounds like Life

CaptureSounds like life to me it ain’t no fantasy
It’s just a common case of everyday reality
Man I know it’s tough but you gotta suck it up
To hear you talk you’re caught up in some tragedy
It sounds like life to me

Sounds like life to me plain old destiny
Yeah the only thing for certain is uncertainty
You gotta hold on tight just enjoy the ride


Get used to all this unpredictability
Sounds like life

Darryl Worley

Wise woods for me as I get banged around the pin ball crazily careening through the machine bouncing off the flippers,  a marble gone crazy.  

My beautiful new from Kentucky, Foxhound suffered an accident Monday leaving her paralyzed. By Friday with none of drugs giving her relief, Lauren and I stood by her as we put her to sleep. So, what was the point of bringing that beautiful dog with such a dear soul to me for a month to tear our hearts out as she passed?  I don’t get it. 

In the meantime pregnant and due to deliver Fargo just keeps holding on to the baby one more day. I have chosen to sleep out on the concrete by her stall. This is bucket list stuff and I dearly want to be there when the baby comes.  So far just rain and back aches have come from my all night camping trips at the barn.   

 

Fargo is 331 days pregnant. Full time is approximately 340 +/-  

  Last night as the storms moved on and the moon showed up in the sky I took about 200 pictures. Not sleeping. Pretty bored. No baby. All the other horses laid down at least for a while but Fargo just kept munching hay. Good times. 

  To make the week more chaotic my horse Nova colicked badly with a serious impaction in her gut. We were lucky after a rough 36 hours or so to see Nova was going to make it.     Feather super “drunk” so could get some good x-rays. 

Then Feather went to the top of the prayer list as X-ray showed a serious mass in her facial bones. Some top Texas surgeons were betting on a real bad end to Feather’s life but continued diagnostics have us thinking we might be looking at a completely different, and treatable problem. Fingers crossed. 

 

Finally our boarder Kendrick caught this great shot of Feather, Nova and Betty Sue on the beach in my back pasture catching some rays. I love it!  
I will keep sleeping again with my mare on the off chance I catch her giving birth. I am off to Oklahoma Monday for a few days so no doubt that is when the baby will come. I guess that’s life.  

Sounds like life to me plain old destiny

Yeah the only thing for certain is uncertainty

You gotta hold on tight just enjoy the ride

Get used to all this unpredictability

Sounds like life

Feeling Better-Catching Up

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Kendyll is all smiles as she goes on the scary up and down, thrust you out of your seat ride at the Aquarium.

Finally, I am breathing more easily and with a sigh of relief.  It has been a long two months since breaking my ribs and all the complications that have gone along with it.  I am SO looking forward to this weekend where I can finally catch up on my yard, the gardening, the spring chores, mowing and de-cluttering all the winter stuff.  Who looks forward to that kind of weekend?  I DO!!

I also want to take this post and talk about all the great stuff that happened in the two months that I was pretty much Missing In Action.  First, Amber, Riley and Lexi came for a visit over the Valentine weekend.  I was lucky to see them so often when my momma was alive but since her death, our visits have gotten further apart.  They had not been to the farm since spring of last year.

Six year-old Riley was telling four year-old Lexi about the animals at Granny’s farm prior to the trip.  He looked up at his mom with great interest and asked “whose died since we were there last?”  I am meeting my goal to have my grandchildren understand that the promise of life is the promise of death but perhaps it has become a tad too routine.  And the answer for those that are wondering are just our two dogs killed by our neighbor’s dog.  Bad enough.

Of course, everyone got out to ride.  My big mare Nova proved once again what a great girl she is by giving Jordyn a fun ride and then letting Lexi and Riley pilot her around double.

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Pretty laid back, I would say.  The kids got to ride a lot and all had fun. 

We headed out to the Houston Aquarium which was another fun event.  Kendyll proved to be the daredevil as always, riding the scary ride more times than anyone except Amber who only went begrudging along since Kendyll had to do it “again!!!”.  Everyone else wanted to throw up.

On the way home we stopped at an area park.  The weather was beautiful especially for my Colorado kin.  We all enjoyed acting like kids along with the kids.

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Amber, Jordyn and Lauren playing at the park.

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I decided we were all going to climb into the kid tunnel.  Family bonding time-YAY!

Friends from Chicago decided I needed shirts for my girls and I from our 40th High School reunion.  I attended a school called “Fremd” , ya, I don’t know who that was. Anyway, in trying to get a shot of my daughters and I, Maui Jim and Kona jumped in.  I love Maui’s face!

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Me, Amber, Ally and Lauren with white poodle Maui and black poodle Kona

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Pretty intense!!

In other news, Lauren’s show horse Feather had a minor setback when she pulled the skin off the back of her hoof.  She will be out for awhile as that area is notoriously difficult to bandage and heal.  We thought this would be the season Lauren could finally get back on track with her riding and are disappointed to have Feather out.  Lauren lost so much time with her broken arm and now I guess it is Feather’s turn to rest. You know my favorite saying:  “Man plans, God laughs”.  So true.

Lauren has been lucky enough to ride a variety of horses (which will ultimately make her a better rider) at her trainer’s during this time.  She got to ride a beautiful thoroughbred/Oldenburg cross mare in the show last weekend. It was a great experience and one which will broaden her abilities as a rider.

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A beautiful mare- Lauren enjoyed the opportunity to ride her.

I am also including this updated picture of my mare who is due in June.  She has quite the baby belly already.  She will be as big as a house by June.  We are so excited about this upcoming Flagmount colt!

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I had my last birthday before I turn 60.  I am really getting old but feeling so much better, I feel young again. It is time to get my spring flowers in, start riding my mare again and spend quality time with my pups.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and thanks for always riding along.

 

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Pretty good life, eh?

Life on Steriods

  It has been almost two months since I fell and broke my ribs. Then I got pneumonia from not breathing deeply enough (you get reluctant to do that with broken ribs).  I was recovering when Amber and the kids came to town. 

Then I was down with a whole new bug and the pneumonia was back, now in both lungs. Since Christmas my chest has been like a beacon of pain radiating in my rib cage.  

The doc broke out the big guns this time putting me on breathing treatments, steriods and miscellaneous other drugs. The steriods scared me. 

Prior to moving south, first to Florida and then to Texas, I had pneumonia for the first time and aquired adult onset asthma. I had bad lung problems, in fact, it was at the doctor’s recommendation that we first moved southbound. 

I was treated with a lot of steroids. They made my family fearful as I always got wild eyed and more than a little bit agitated. They were NOT a good drug for me to be on and I have successfully avoided them for many, many years. 

I will never forget taking seven year-old Ally to a new hunter/jumper barn in Florida to ride. It was a pretty swank barn and I was impressed with the horses and trainer. As he walked us down the aisle way pointing out the different horses we were startled by a horse suddenly charging to the stall front with his teeth barred. He spun and kicked out at the stall door. 

The trainer apologized for the horse and told us he was on this medication called steriods and it made him act crazy. Calm as could be, little Ally replied, “oh, I know how that is. My mom does the same thing!” 

From the mouths of babes. Anyway, fortunately while I have had some minor side effects mostly life on steriods this time is just helping me get better. 

While I have been out of town for five days now,  the steroid girl is back in town. Watch out everyone! I may charge at any time.  Mostly I just want to get better. 

As always, Thanks for riding along!

Little triumphs

 Busy, busy times for me and the family right now. I am on several big projects at my real job and traveling a lot. I landed to a windy 18 degrees on Monday which is about 60 degrees colder than I like.

But I am ever so grateful at this stage of my career to be doing something I love. It is a little triumph to go forth each day excited about the projects I am doing and   people with whom I work.
Lauren is headed off to Wellington, Florida this week to spend some time with friend Catie at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). WEF is a 12 week international competition where your favorite Olympic hero might be shopping in the grocery store with you (Hello Ian Miller!) or show up at the local restaurant (McClain Ward,  table for two?).

What an amazing opportunity!  Another triumph for the kid from Wharton who just wants to ride.

And speaking of horse triumphs, my mare Nova should be back to sound after some vet magic from Dr. Criner.

Actually this will be more than a little triumph. I had continued to work my girl and things just weren’t right. A few X-rays told us she had been hurting and now she can be pain free. I am so excited to have this special girl back working just when I should be getting cleared to ride.

Additionally in little triumph category it has been several weeks since poodle  Maui Jim has eaten or destroyed anything important. Last night Lauren and I were on the phone (I was still out of town) when I heard a horrible crash and the sound of broken glass.

We have a free-standing staircase in our living room. For months now we have talked about getting my old headboard out to the garage but it hasn’t moved from its position on the wall opposite the stairs.

Last night as we visited on the phone, Maui came racing through the living room making a galloping turn around the stairs and catching the head board with his foot on the way by. What I heard was the sound of the queen sized headboard smashing into the back of the stairs with enough force to knock the shelf displaying all Lauren’s Zone Final pictures cascading to the ground.

I guess the triumph here is at least he didn’t eat another FitBit or my glasses. Lauren hauled him off to his kennel to think about what he had done.

Rising two year-old Betty Sue has hit 1000 pounds and grown out of her second halter. She got a brand new halter with her name on it!  Little triumphs!

Finally, as a rider in any discipline as you get better and more educated about your equestrian sport you tend to trade in equipment for more technical, better made models.  Lauren has definitely gone down this path starting with a synthetic Wintec saddle, moving to some low cost but name brand models on to higher priced models. Yesterday after selling her saddle of three years she received her dream saddle.


We tested it out tonight to see if it would allow Feather’s wide shoulders enough freedom when they jump. And it did-well, that’s actually in the category of a big triumph!

Thanks for riding along my friends. Stay safe and warm!