29 06 2010

So I have a horse:

Missie says, "Wake me up and I'll bite you!"

 Yes, she’s beautiful, believe me she knows it…. anyway, to get training for her (which I need since she’s much smarter than I alone) I clean stalls at a local ranch every Monday in trade.

There’s a fine art to cleaning manure. Horses walk, all the time, constantly; they even sleep on their feet. So the poo doesn’t stay in nice easily-scooped little piles (well, not little, exactly); it gets trampled all over heck, and you have to use a rake to get all the pieces, or else spend hours more than necessary.
It was Monday. I raked… I scooped… I defended my wheelbarrow against horses who like to scratch themselves on it and inadvertently tip it over, I dodged bites, I sweated, I raked again. Then (in the middle of a particularly juicy curse aimed at a diabolical pony named, deceptively, Sugar) I looked back and saw the rake’s marks in the dust. They were beautiful. Heatstroke may have had a hand in this, but I swear, the whole ground was just these lovely soft curving lines, like the tracks of a hundred mysterious snakes.
Before Sugar ran off with my shovel, it reminded me of one of those Zen gardens, where monks comb lines into the sand around big boulders.
It was an unexpectedly tranquil moment and I am really glad I didn’t miss it. There were even a few butterflies in my ‘zen’ garden (they are attracted to the salt in the horsie pee). It was the perfect touch. So, lesson: look for the beauty that is left after poo is removed!

Things to Do… On Halloween!

16 10 2009

Right now, I’m anxiously awaiting the 31st of October. My costume is sitting neatly folded in my closet and I’m ticking down the days with bated breath. Think about it; what other day of the year has an atmosphere so delightfully eerie and dark, when freaks are celebrated and an extra appendage or two is a good thing?

  • Catch a pet spider, the bigger and hairier, the better. (Let him go after a day or two, though!)
  • Go to a really old graveyard. Pay attention to unusual names, take rubbings of the headstones, or take a total ’90’s goth-weeping-on-a-tombstone picture for your Myspace.
  • Be the cool house that hands out full candy bars.
  • Conquer a fear. Scared of snakes? Go visit an exotic reptile house. Terrified of heights? Rent a luxurious hotel room on an upper level.
  • Create your own drinking game to play while walking around. For example, everytime you see an eleven year old girl showing more skin than Pamela Anderson, take a shot!
  • Turn all the lights off and watch the scariest movies you can find alone. Sleep with one eye open, if you can at all.
  • If your hair is usually curly, straighten it, and vice versa. Always blonde? Try some temporary brown dye. You’ll feel like a stranger is in your mirror.
  • If your pet is good-natured, let them join in on the fun.

  • Make pumpkins work for you.
  • Carve something to sit on your porch that’s unusual. Watermelons in particular look stunning.
  • Do something kind for a younger one. Take your annoying little cousin to her school’s carnival, give your candy to the neighbor kids, whatever. The holiday has extra magic for them.
  • Embrace an alter ego. Don’t just dress up, become your character; use your imagination, devise an interesting backstory, hell, hand out brochures detailing your adventures.
  • Write everything with a quill pen and deep red ink.


21 06 2009

I love reading the news. It’s an educating and often fun experience, and I have about four good sites bookmarked that I click through every day. However, all too often I run across headlines like this: “Woman Pleads Guily to Dragging Dog With Car”. I didn’t link to the story because in all honesty, I couldn’t read it, it made me heartsick.

I’ve been raised with animals of all types, and I like more of the new animals that I meet than the new people. Even for people who’ve never had any time around a family dog or seen a horse, how can they possibly do the cruel and horrible things that they do? One time in art class, the upperclassman boy I had a raging crush on laughingly related a story about injecting a kitten with gasoline and then lighting it on fire. It was told calmly, as if he were talking about a party the night before or a funny movie he’d seen. Other people, sometimes friends I’ve known for a long time and who have always seemed to be very good people, think nothing of brutally kicking their dog out of the way, teasing and terrifying their cockatiel, small side actions done with no thought.

I have a very hard time understanding this, and frankly, I believe that parents need to take more responsibility in helping children understand that animals feel pain and emotion. When I was about five, I got bored and pulled on our cat’s tail, and believe me, my mom put an end to that pretty quick, and she also explained to me that I was hurting Petunia. It sickens me and worries me that casual cruelty to animals is so rampant, and these actions are fairly minor in the broad scope of things humans do  to our fellow animals.

Yes, I realize that many, many human beings go through unbelievable tribulations every day. This also saddens me deeply. Of course, some cruelties will always be practicd on both animals and people, no matter what we do. But maybe teaching sympathy for the so-called ‘lesser life forms’ would engender sympathy for the so-called ‘higher beings’? I believe that more stringent action is needed. Say something when your friend kicks their dog! Report the person next door who is starving their horses! Please, please do something to stop this disgusting cycle, and teach everyone you can!

Puppy Love

13 07 2008

So my dog Happy is really just ridiculous- she must weight 90 lbs., and yet she insists on curling up in my lap, hanging by her fangs off my arm, tackling me like a black belt, and generally behaving like a puppy. (She’s 2- young, but sometimes it gets to be a bit much!) But by god, when she really was still a puppy, she was adorable. Then again, have you ever seen a puppy that wasn’t?

The point is, she’s much too big now to dress up, but when she was still itty-bitty I had about 5 or 6 sweaters for her, and we both loved them. I bought cheap PetSmart clothes, but if you’ve got your own small dog, Pampered Puppy is the place to go! Billing itself as ‘luxury lifestyles for dogs,’ it’s full of informative, useful articles, and reviews of products from doggie bowls and organic shampoos, to formal dresses and handsewn leather collars. All the products are reviewed by the adorable pug Merry, modeling above, and her mom.

Cute, no? Even if you don’t have a dog or aren’t interested in dressing it up, this site is still lots of fun to go browse.