Monday, December 13, 2010

Four Reindeer at Roaring Camp

 This last Sunday I found myself with nothing to do on a beautiful day.  Of course there were a lot of things I could have been doing like laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen or even the bathroom but I vowed to myself that Sunday is a day of rest.  The Bible taught me that.

I looked at Sage and she looked at me.  "Do you want to go somewhere?"  That's all I had to say to make her literally loose her mind.  Somewhere else is always more exciting than where she is.  My dog always lives for something better .  Slow down Sage, life's too short, start living in the moment.    

I remembered that the SPCA was doing a special holiday event called Santa Paws over at Roaring Camp so I decided to bring Sage to visit my work buddies and volunteers.  

Roaring Camp is a beautiful spot nestled in the redwoods of Felton where one of the original train stations still chugs tourists around.  It's a very unique place with LOADS of history.  Some people get a little carried away with the historical significance, decking themselves out in civil wore garb and bringing their guns.  Actually, they get serious and do full-on civil war reenactments that are a site to see.  

Have I mentioned that B and I got married here?  These guys did a 12 gun salute when they announced us man and wife.  They accidentally shot some of the doves that were released during the ceremony.  Just kidding.  I'm not kidding that we got married here though.... just about the guns and killing of doves. 

But a train did come through at some point during the ceremony and I vaguely remember lifting my arm up and down while we were saying the vows, you know like when you try to get a semi to honk at you?  That wasn't the proudest moment of my life.

Choooo Choooo!

There is a sweet little covered bridge that leads you onto the property and I absolutely love it.  Looking at it brings me peace and serenity and reminds me of all thats good and right in the world.  

The Santa Paws event was a small fundraiser allowing people to get all festive with their pets and get their pictures taken in a holiday setting for Christmas cards and such.  I wasn't really planning on having Sage get her picture taken but she jumped in the sleigh surrounded by reindeer in a winter wonderland so I gave the photographer the thumbs up to start shooting.

I don't know about you but all I see are four reindeer...  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Report: Jewel

I just finished this book this morning and was left...vowing to never grow old.  Jewel by Bret Lott is in no way a thrilling read that keeps you on your toes or page turning like a maniac.  It's not action packed or loaded with gruesome scenes.  It's more like molasses, sweet, slow and steady.  I enjoy thrillers just as much as the rest of them but I did enjoy this book because of the reality and genuineness of it.  It was relate able all the while being so totally different from my life.

I like hearing about other people lives and how they live them.  This book takes you from 1904 to 1984 all from the eyes of a woman name Jewel.  It shoots you back and forth from the present and past to tell her childhood as well as her current life with the family she is raising.  She lives most of her life in the backwoods of Mississippi until her sixth child is born with Down's Syndrome. Back in the 40's, the scientific name for a child born with this was "Mongolian Idiot."  No joke, that is what doctors called your child back then with no shame.  Jewel is suddenly thrown into this whole new world where this child's needs take everything she's got.  Her desire to have the best for her youngest daughter causes her to move the family all the way to Los Angeles, California to seek help from a special school.  Along the way her other children are growing up and starting their own families while her husband stays by her side.  A rift forms between them but occasionally they share incredibly soft and tender moments, acting as the glue that keeps them together through the ups and the deep deep downs.  

This book really shows the tests of marriage and the strength needed to overcome...and stay married.  It also touches on race relations and uses the N word quite a bit.  The word isn't used in a derogatory manner but instead depicts the times when it was just a word used to described something and carried no negative connotation...until she moves to California.

Overall I enjoyed the book.  Her life so starkly different than mine...different time...different place but still felt strangely relate-able. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Wish List

I got an email from my mom the other day begging me to send a Christmas List and soon.  I tend to procrastinate on this task, giving my poor mom little to no time to shop.  I don't know why I do this.  I'm only really hurting myself.

So this year I started thinking about what I need... or I guess I should say what I want.  I really don't need anything, other than a life but I'm not sure my mom can help me with that.

I came up with a few things I wouldn't mind having in my life.

These UGGS for example.  I love them and want them in my life as soon as possible.  I like all the colors shown but I asked for them in Black because the cream color would be close to black within 24 hours and the gray just doesn't go with as much as black does.  I love this style.  They are easily worn under jeans or over leggings and the crochet style is so cute.  I like the way they hug your legs.  I like things that hug my legs.  Except when dogs do it. Then it's gross.

I'm asking my husband for a Kindle.  I'm finally breaking down and actually liking the idea of it.  I resisted it for a while because I love reading actual books.  I like to hold them in my hands, admire the cover art, and turn the pages.  I like trading with others so I never have to buy them.  I like stacking them under my bed in order of what to read.  I'm not sure why I like all of this but I do.  Maybe I'm just holding on to the book because I know that pretty soon they will be non-existent.  Well I have to get over that because I'm not going to Hawaii in February with a bag full of books.

This Carhart jacket is not a fashion statement but I still want the heck out of it.  I need a good, sturdy and warm jacket for the barn and winter riding.  You can't get better than this baby.  It's made for mud, poo and everything else I'm going to get on it.  It's not going to flatter my figure or turn any heads but if I open a box and it stares back up at me I'm going to be one happy girl.

I realize this item is on the "long-shot" list but it doesn't mean I don't feel entitled to have it.  Someday.  Before I'm old and gray hopefully.  I'd really like to delve a little bit more in photography and there is only so much you can do with a $100 point and shoot.  I'm a little worried though because I still haven't been able to figure out all the functions to the camera mentioned in the last sentence.  I can only imagine the camera below will be a bit more complex and I'm not sure if I'm evolved enough to handle it.  I'm not really evolved enough to handle my husband either but here he is right next to me.  So I think that makes me fit to own this camera.  Please mom?

While we are talking about "long-shot" gifts...I'll go ahead and throw this baby in there


Friday, December 10, 2010

My Muddy Horse Gives Back

Rain really is a wonderful thing.  It brings life to our vegetation, it fills our creeks and reservoirs, it sounds wonderful on rooftops and it makes my 30 minute showers possible.  Those showers used to be longer so to you water conservationists, I'm working on it. 

Another thing rain brings is Mud.  When you own a horse the M in mud is suddenly capitalized.  When you own my particular horse the whole word should be capitalized.

I used to blame the muddy situation on his stall.  "The ground is too low so the water collects and causes all this mud," or "the water from the other stalls is draining into mine!"  But after switching stalls twice I really have to turn the blame over to Biggs himself.  I have seen the stall he's in now be occupied by another horse and during winters it has always stayed nice and hard with very little mud factor.  This is why I requested to move to this mud-less location.

It's become very apparent that my horse is a giant spoon and the stall is his mixing bowl.  God only knows what he does in there while I'm gone to make such a grotesque situation.  I would feel bad for him but he LOVES his mud creation and coats every inch of himself in it any chance he gets.  I walk around to look at different stalls in an attempt to find one muddier than mine and I come across these horses all huddled up in their indoor area, afraid to step out into the wet.  I return to mine and Biggs is out splashing in a puddle or mud wrestling with himself.  For some reason he has restricted his indoor area for eating only.

Every morning I come to the barn to feed, clean and exercise this beast of mine and each time I'm faced with cleaning poo out of this magnitude of mud I want to suddenly go missing and never be found.  I want to pretend I don't see it, get back in my car and go home to take a 30 minute shower.  But instead I pull my rubber boots on and start scoopin'.  When I'm done, I've got a load that looks more or less like this...

Can you tell what's poo and what's mud?  It's very closely related at this point.  It's also HEAVY. I'm lucky if I make it to the poo pile without crashing and tipping poo-mud all over myself and the ground.  I normally make it, sweating, huffing and puffing.  Or I crash right at the point of the poo-pile.  This is the poo pile.

I realize this post has been all about mud and poo and I apologize.  It's something I deal with on a regular basis and I don't want to be alone. 

So this is where the poo of all the horses at my barn is deposited.  In it's glory this pile is triple this size but it's been recently cleared out.  It's actually put to very good use as compost/fertilizer for local farmers. Every two weeks, the barn owner revs up his big tractor and mixes it all up and turns it all around.  It's real steamy.  Then, suddenly, every couple months the whole massive pile will just disappear and I can sleep at night knowing the farmers can feed their crops with my horses' poo.  He gives back to society and the earth...maybe that's why he feels such a close relationship with Mud. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Have A Voice Crush...

You ever hear a song come on the radio and the singers voice gives you goose bumps?  Is that voice ever of the opposite sex?  Do you automatically want to marry that voice and have 1,000 of it's babies?  No?  Ok now I may feel weird if I don't have any back-up on this, should I feel guilty?  I call this a VOICE crush, not to be confused with a real crush... on a real person for their real physical and emotional qualities.  This kind of crush is harmless to a married woman.  I think.

Well I have this voice crush on two country singers.  I might have heard some of you just become physically ill and I'm sorry about that.  People tend to LOVE country or HATE it with an unhealthy vigor.  Like when I say I love country music they get this crazed look in their eyes that makes me want to leave the room.  But by all that's good and holy these men bring me to my KNEES every time I hear them sing.  The men themselves don't do much for me but their voices... like butta'.

When Billy Currington sings this song in particular I want to ask his voice to marry me.  He sings kinda like he's just talking to you, it's effortless and masculine and the tone has just enough rasp to induce tingles.

Josh. Turner.  Enough said if you know this ridiculously sexy voice.  Lusciously DEEP and full.  Deep enough to move and rumble your soul.  Close your eyes and you picture this big mountain man who may or not be your fathers age.  Then you open them and you see this short young guy who you'd think would sound like a pip-squeak.  It's one of the things that adds to the hotness of his voice.  

Enough of my semi-inappropriateness.  Who's your voice crush?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I have a teenage boy.  A big, red, hairy teenage boy.  He's moody when he's hungry. Doesn't mind being filthy. Has to be told everything twice. Cops an attitude on a regular basis. Is insecure around females and poops about 18 times a day.  I love him despite it all.  He's my horse and his name is Biggs. 

 When I bought him his name was Biggy Smalls, you know, after that obese dead rapper?  I shortened it to Biggs and never looked back.  It fits him, as he's an above average sized horse.  For anybody who knows horse-talk, he's 16.1hh.  For those of you who don't know, hh means Hands High.  Each hand equals four inches.  You do the math because it was never my strong subject.

Biggs turned 10 this year, that's kind of like the big 4-0 so I spent the day reassuring him that he didn't look a day over 6 and that he was still a red fox.  Because he is isn't he? 

Look at that strong and chiseled jaw...those pouty lips...that thick head of red hair.  He even has a scar on the side of his nose. I think it was proven somewhere that woman find that appealing.  Man, he's got alot going for him.

Good lord horse...take off the elephant mask.  I guess everyone has that not-so-good side.  His just so happens to be the front profile.  Mine is my right side.  I feel for you Biggs, I understand the issue clear as day.  

I have had my boy for four years now and we sure have had a lot of fun together.  After years of competitive riding and constant training I decided I just wanted to play and I couldn't have picked a better horse to play with.  He doesn't always play nice but his shenanigans have taught me quite a bit.  Like don't assume he won't step on your foot when you stop to talk to a friend while you're leading him back to his stall for dinner.  Also don't assume that plastic bag on the ground isn't going to make him jump four feet in the air and scream like a girl. Definitely don't assume he won't need enough tranquilizer to take down an elephant when he's due for his yearly vaccinations. Just don't assume anything because you know what that means...insert my mothers advice on something to do with an ass.  

Oh yeah and don't assume you can wear sandals to the barn and make it back home with all of your toes. 

He's great to ride and is gentle enough to allow friends and B to get on him as long as there are no plastic bags in the immediate vicinity.   We go western mostly but we dabble in English as well.

Doesn't he look cute all gussied up?  It's that front profile thing again.  At least I try to shy away from cameras with my bad side.  This guy's got no shame. 

Biggs is a half Thoroughbred and half Paint.  Paint horses are usually brightly colored and fun to look horse is not.  He's shiny and red...sometimes abnormally neon but he has zero color on him (i.e. White) except for that little star smack dab on his forehead.  He did however end up with many Thoroughbred attributes.  One of which is his desire to RUN.  As shown below...

I won't mention his other Thoroughbred attributes because they aren't as pretty and fun to talk about.  

This picture shows another one of Bigg's favorite things to do.  It has more to do with being a horse than being a certain breed.  This horse LOVES to roll!  Usually his most favorite time and place to exhibit this behavior is immediately following a bath, in 6 inches of mud, or in the shavings I put down that he has just peed on.  It's that teenage boy stuff again.

 I board my horse at a barn that backs up to the ocean and is surrounded by farmland.  The barn itself is a bit rough around the edges but it has wonderful facilities, multiple arenas and amazing trails.  This is the view from one of our rings.  The sunsets here are phenomenal and when you're on horseback taking in a sunset, things just don't get better than that.  The views from some of the trails are ridiculous.  I wish Biggs would stop being so paranoid of mountain lions and enjoy a few with me.   

I love this horse.  He makes me laugh ALL the time whether he's being stupid or adorable. When life is not cooperating and I'm in a horrible mood I can just think of him and smile.  My teenage boy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

'Tis The Season!

Our house is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  It's filled with the smells of noble pine, cinnamon, and laundry.  I've got a big load going right now.  This is officially my second Christmas being married and in this house and it's going a bit better than last year.  First, we have our Christmas stuff up earlier than 3 days before the holiday and second, because B gave me the sleigh reins and sat back with no complaints.  I love when he sits back with no complaints.

Of course he helped by buying the tree, lugging it home, setting it up and putting the lights on. He really is the helping type.  I would have helped but I'm not really the helping type. During this time I sat back eating Reece's, watching my handsome husband look like the Brawny Man all covered in Christmas tree. You gotta just sit back and scope out your husband sometimes, it will help you remember why you married him.

I did make this that morning.


It was ridiculously I felt like crying as I tore off the first few butter soaked pieces.  If you don't recognize this masterpiece it's called Monkey Bread.  I have not yet figured out where the name comes from, if anyone knows feel free to speak up.  Anyway, it's super easy to make and it will change your world and those you make it for.

Every time I passed Monkey Bread vacinity I could not resist grabbing a hold of one of these little bits of heaven.  Look at how they glisten.  Needless to say it made up for my lack of help around the whole Christmas tree lugging thing... and if you want the recipe, here's where I got it.  

Our tree started out naked as a jay bird.  B man-handled it quite a bit to get it standing straight, the tree was acting like a drunken sailor for a while but shaped up and flew right.  He struggled, I documented.

and with the help of Sage...

I got it all dressed and purty while Pandora played me some sweet Christmas tunes.  Of course I chose the twangy country ones and sang along with Brad Paisley to Jingle Bells.  Here she is, isn't she a beaut?

My favorite part of the tree would be it's little topper that I sought out after the nightmares I had of our corn husk angel last year.  She would come alive at night and I would find her all over the house.  I've since burned her.  I don't mess around with freaky corn husk dolls.  This new one I got is a metal star with holes in which the lights all jammed up inside of it shine through.  It's rad.  Goes along with my other little stars on the mantle and is just SO my style.  I don't even really know what my style is but if I had one this star would go along with it. 

I'm off to enjoy my tree and watch the country music awards and not share the rest of the Monkey Bread.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

Christmas time is by far my favorite season of the year.  I say season because to me there exists Summer, Spring, Fall and Christmas.  I don't recognize the months of January and February...It's cold, rainy and there is no christmas tree in my living room to make the crappy weather worth having.

There are a few things that come out of hiding during the holiday season. These things I covet.  I yearn to possess. I wait all year for these seasonal goodies and when their sweet little faces start appearing I begin to consume them. EVERY. DAY.  They comfort me.  They tell me everything is going to be alright.  They swaddle me in their sweet and creamy-ness and when I'm with them the world is a better place.

Then, when Christmas is over, they leave me naked and alone....with love-handles.

These are the culprits ...

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Peppermint Ice Cream.  Amen.

Although my pumpkin lattes rarely resemble the picture above and when I say rarely I mean never.  I think I prefer a 7-11 cup over the tree branch but that's just me.  Yes I said 7-11 and not Starbucks or Peet's or some other more "hip" coffee establishment.  I mean I would NEVER turn down a Pumpkin Spice Latte if I happen to be in one of these more "hip" coffee establishments but my tastes are rather rudimentary and 7-11 just happens to be right across the street from work.  Also, I'm not "hip."  It's just something I've come to accept. 

So each morning starts with a Pumpkin Spice Latte and ends with a nice bowl of Peppermint Ice Cream.  It's so creamy with a touch of mint and a small crunch of candy cane.  My toes curl at the thought. What perplexes me is that I don't even like peppermint very much.  Sure, I'll lick a candy cane until the sweetness gives way to hard-core mint and then I've had enough.  Hard-core mint just isn't my thing.   The beauty of this ice cream is that it's just like that first 3 sweet minutes of a candy cane or the first chew of peppermint gum.  It goes no further.  There is no hard-core but instead, a sweet creamy mix of mint and...well...cream.  Hence the love handles.  

I will continue to enjoy these tasty seasonal treats until they leave me about the time my christmas tree does.  As the christmas tree will leave a big gaping hole in my living room, they will leave this same hole in my heart/stomache and then I will have to go back to the gym until we meet again next year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where did I go? Where am I now?

I'm going to try not to read the date in which my last post was published...I'm pretty sure it was like 18 years ago.  Sometimes I do things like that.  Get excited to start something, start it, gung-ho it for 2.5 seconds and then hide.  Sorry.  I really wasn't hiding.  I was trying to get a job and guess what?  I got one!

I'm now the development coordinator for the Santa Cruz SPCA.  Dream come true right there.  It's the best job I have ever had and ever will have and as I was pulling out of the shelter last night I told myself "I want to work here forever and ever."  How many people finally find the job they were made for?  To say I feel lucky is an understatement and I just pray to God that he'll let me keep it.  God, can I please keep it?

Life gets really stressful when you have to deal with this kind of hogwash all day...

I mean seriously...what's this all about?  I didn't sign up for this.  Puppy breath and lot's of it.  Stick a fork in me 'cuz I'm done.

Now this little girl is ridiculous.

I don't know how I sleep at night.  Her name is Jaws and her ears are constantly in my dreams, I wake up sweating and screaming regularly.  My donald duck quack got that little head cock... it was a proud moment.

Talk about screaming... this guy takes the cake.  He chases me all over the office with half a mouth of teeth and a HUGE attitude.  When he's not trying to guard that darn bed he's a real love.  But that's only about 7 minutes of the day.


How do I go on living when this set of eyes follows me wherever I go?  It can get downright painful.  Until I scoop her up on my lap and ask her to revise my emails.  She's really good at it.

Now you see the kinds of things I deal with on a daily basis and let me know if the cuteness scares you the way it does me.  You can rest assured that this shelter is no-kill, which means these little buggers are with us until someone comes along and takes them home.  It means I don't have to break in at night and set them all free.  It also means I don't have to become an animal hoarder and take them all home to live with me.  I'm pretty sure my husband would divorce me so I'm glad it won't come down to that.  Moving on...

These are REAL pictures of REAL dogs at my place of work, the Santa Cruz SPCA.  The pictures were taken by the one and only Portia Shao ( and you can see our whole collection of wonder-pups and super-kitties at the shelter website (  Just keep yourself together. Suck it up.  Oh and donate if you want...that's the only way we can keep doing what we are doing!