Friday, November 28, 2014

"The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament…"

…or something like that?

So it's been more than a month since I showed up here.  I am sitting here right now, propped up on pillows with my Pug snoring on the bed beside me (and farting too, I feel I need to add) and I'm having a hard time decided how to say this.  Therefore I'm just going to say it: at the end of October I was hospitalized for depression.  I was in the mental health unit for 2 weeks.  Now I've been home for 2 1/2 weeks and for that whole time I've been dealing with the side effects of this new medication, namely, nausea and fatigue.  I'd like to think it's starting to get better but only time will tell.  Needless to say, I can't tell if the drugs are working to fix the depression when I feel like I might barf.

I'm really not ready to get into it very deeply here.  I'll just say that I put off getting help way too long, and that I'm officially in recovery mode.  I spend a lot of time cuddled up with Dobby in my bed. I'm reading a lot of books. I make it out to the barn every morning for chores and horse pats before the day's drugs kick in.  The pressure is off in the barn; no lessons, no demands, just have some hay and be a horse.  I know it's good for me, because I am not a person who can stay sedentary for long; I need to move and I need to get outside.  I'm worn out by the time the horses and cats are fed and the barn cleaned up, but I know I have to do it, not just for their sake but for mine.  And besides, I love them.  I need them.

This whole year has had some very difficult times.  Too much harsh weather, and a career that is impacted directly by the weather, and that alone will wear a person down.  Above all, too many people have left us.  Too many funerals. Too much heartbreak.  Put it all together with a long history of depression and it damn near broke me.  It took ten months, but I couldn't go on.

BUT.  I have help again.  The sun comes up every day, even if it's too cloudy and snowy to shine.  I have the best family in the world.  I have a condition that needs to be managed.  I have a complicated brain.

I'm alive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oh, thank you Johnny. And it's NOT EVEN FRIDAY!

I can count on Johnny Depp to amuse and delight me.  These days, I really need some amusement and delight.

It's kind of ridiculous, right?  I'm pretty sure he had a little meeting with the costume department and it was like, "Listen, I can save us all a pile of money and hassle.  I'll just bring in a couple of things I had to get for awards shows…"  

I think this is pretty much his formal look, with extra hair.  And ears.  And a tail.  MAN I WISH I HAD A TAIL.

This whole Big Bad Wolf could possibly be a hassle for me.  I had the Captain Jack Sparrow thing down about as well as a short chick with no facial hair could get it (the mole whiskers don't count, shhhhhh.)  Then it was looking like I was going to have to go find a stuffed crow to park on my head for Halloween, and now I have to find a Brat Pack suit and glue fake wolf fur to it?  

Aw heck.  We never get any trick or treaters out here on the Ol Homestead.  

I often feel like Johnny just kind of digs in and finds whatever part of his many personalities he needs for work and sets it loose.  

That sounds like fun.  I'd try it but it would probably lead to my incarceration in a nice place run by people with soothing voices.  


Well, this seems like as good a time as any to throw myself a little cheering-up-party!

C'mooooon smile.  

He's looking for Booty Landlubber.  Hellooooo!

Oh Johnny.  You don't need to smoke.  You're hot enough already.  

Happy Wednesday I guess?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

And then my husband said, "You are getting a pony."

You know how sometimes despite all the best logical reasons to NOT do something, it feels completely right?

You know how you've got over a hundred bucks outstanding on that vet bill, about 200 hay bales that aren't paid for, and a credit card debt for a new saddle, and you've decided to be a responsible adult and not spend any more money, but then you do anyways… because it was what you had to do?

Well I just did that.  

And I'm not even calling him my Bad Idea Pony because… he's not a bad idea.  He's good.  He's just a good little guy.  And also because of this face!!!!

I will admit that for purely logical purposes, he may not have been a bad idea but probably a kind of dumb idea.  I was looking for a pony between 12hh and 13 hh, so something small but big enough for me to ride.  I need to keep these guys tuned up and keep an eye on potential bad habits developing.  (Y'know, because I'm all perfeshnul and I'm such a great rider, I never accidentally train bad habits into a horse.  That was sarcasm.)  This pony is all of 11hh.  His back is at waist level to me.  And I'm not quite 5'1".  He is a very small pony.  I fired off the email a couple weeks ago and then wondered what the heck I was thinking.  I looked at the ad five times a day and saw clearly what I was thinking: a happy looking pony with a little girl on his back in an arena.  One child on the pony's back with another child leading him.  Child leading pony while kid in the saddle throws her arms in the air in pure exuberance.  Pony in little english saddle with ribbons on his reins.  Cute pony in field.  Child riding pony in field.  

When I talked to the owners, I felt like I was auditioning for the position of pony's new owner.  I'm totally on board with that.  They wanted a good home for him with other horse friends, kids to play with him, a field to run in.  I wanted them to feel like this would be a worthy home for him.  

We went to see him on a Saturday evening.  He trotted up to the fence.  Stood like a little gentleman when she slipped the halter onto his head.  Walked into the barn nicely.  Stuck out his muzzle for me to pat him.  Did I need anything else?  Nope.  I was pretty much sold. 

He is not perfect.  His top line is not good, mostly because he has a broken crest.  The top edge of his neck flops over to one side.  It still wasn't enough to turn me off.  The family had gotten him like that three years ago and it doesn't cause him pain and sure doesn't slow him down any.  The danger is that this condition often goes along with an old case of founder.  He was likely obese at one point in his life, and the crest drooped after the weight loss, and if you've got an obese pony, you've probably got founder.  He'd been perfectly healthy under their ownership and he is currently a perfect fit weight.  He wouldn't be the first foundered pony I've had in my life.  

The rest of him is so darn pretty.  And I figure if he was physically perfect, he'd have been way out of my price range.  I can overlook flaws.  I myself am deeply flawed in many ways.  

It's been a week and a half, and Parker is very much a part of my little herd.  Phoenix is cool with his new little buddy and Copper looooooves him.  

I love him too.  

I haven't put him in lessons yet, mostly because I'm still working on rigging up a saddle for him.  Those latigo straps need to be shortened. I kept most of the stuff I had for my small ponies waaaay back in my childhood, but some of it disappeared over the years.  We tried the harness on him.  It fits, but needs major repairs.  (Well it's probably 100 years old; it was my dad's harness when he was a kid!!!) Today I put one of my smaller saddles on him, which is juuuust a little too big, and sat on my pony.  Just sat there.  It's been about 25 years since I sat on a pony this small.  Parker pulled a small amount of ponytude on me, which I fully expected, since he's been here long enough to know it was the time of day when they go out to pasture.  He stood there and flipped his cute little head around a few times, but I straightened him out, patted his neck, and stepped down.  Like literally just stepped down.  I won't be riding him much.  I'm about 10 lbs heavier than what he can safely carry.  He later walked beside me out to the field like a well behaved adult and held still for me to take off his halter.  

He's adorable.

I haven't been in great shape this year.  Total honesty… the devil of depression has been stalking me, and outrunning it is very tiring. Did I need another critter here?  Another horse to take care of?  Worry about?  No.  My two Appaloosas fulfill me and give me so much joy.  I can't totally explain why this teensy equine means so much to me.  He's just a good soul.  Business wise, yes, he's excellent for small kids.  Phoenix is too.  I put my smallest kids on my biggest horse.  Well, now I've got two good lead line horses.  This pony will work for a living and from what I can see so far, he will enjoy it too.  

The evening I first met Parker, I fretted all the way home in the car.  So many reasons to not get this pony.  They had offered to bring him to me, no charge, the next Monday.  We don't have a trailer, and besides, the Honeybadger is parked on the barn bank waiting for a brake job.  Isn't that crazy - $500 for a pony instead of brakes.  Stupid.  But they offered to bring him to us.  John reached for my hand as we drove home and said, "I'm going to the bank. You are getting a pony."

(Are you kind of misty eyed right now?  It's okay, I am too.)

Welcome to the Old Homestead, Parker!

Wait… OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS I HAVE A PONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

DANGIT AVRIL! Break up edition

Partly because I seem to have developed a weird obsession with Avril Lavigne (well why not? We're both Canadian, short, and have dyed our hair pink, I mean, we're much the same only slightly different degrees of annoying) and partly because I have a love/hate for Nickelback (well why not? You know you have rocked out in the car to a Nickelback song and hatefully loved about 2 minutes of it) and mostly because I haven't done a celebrity post in a looooong time… WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT CHAVRIL.

Oh my gosh, our very own evil-songwriting-genius Canadian version of Wills and Kate are breaking up.  I am not sure why this pains me so.  I don't know either of them personally.  I'm sure if I were ever to meet them it would be a perfectly pleasant exchange and at least two of the three of us would end up throwing the horns and possibly sticking out a tongue.  I would probably admit that I have never spent a penny on any of their recorded music. I am stupidly painfully honest and the mental filter doesn't always kick in on time to stop the words here. I really can't describe why as a couple they delighted me so much.

Could it be because they're so Canadian they got married on July 1st?  

I don't know why I care.  It just made sense, I suppose.  They're two people who can relate to each other's lives, if nothing else.  I'm convinced he has a patented HIT MACHINE in his basement, probably got the idea after a drunken evening holed up in Mutt Lange's secluded mansion discussing how to rule the world by creating music that will hypnotize the global masses - I may have a wild imagination but how else do you explain some things? - and I figured once Avril parked her own HIT MACHINE beside his, or if they used all the parts to build a new, bigger HIT MACHINE, they would be an unstoppable force of hoser culture.  We'd be having a mass stage tribute at the Juno awards every year.  This is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you are.  

He writes ear worm music; she writes ear worm music.  He writes for middle-aged dudes and rebellious housewives; she writes for middle-aged teenagers.  She plays guitar; he plays a giant honking sparkling guitar shaped belt buckle.  I like to joke about his spangly guitars and giant belt buckles.  She has been known to do crazy things to her hair…. he, thankfully, cut his off when they got together. Avril banished the Nickelbob and for that I will always be grateful. He's better looking with short hair. Maybe I liked them as a couple because he started to look a little bit like Nic Cage and I hoped that when "National Treasure 3" finally gets made, Chad could be the long lost little brother and they would have to set part of the movie in like, Canmore Alberta, and it would be magical.  I can dream, right?

But NOT ANYMORE because Chavril is done for.  

Let's look back on happier times, mostly for me to take the opportunity to do some of that Fun Imaginary Captioning I like to do sometimes!

AVRIL: Wow, I'm like, totally, like, dude this rock weighs like, as much as I do, dude!
CHAD: Awww she's so little and cute and pretty and ten years younger than me.  
AVRIL: We're totally getting married and s@$#!!!
CHAD: Yes I am going to marry the sk8trgrl.  We're going to have a house full of guitar strings and pages of carefully crafted cliches and incredibly loud children.  We'll have a studio in our barn and make all the hicks in the music industry jealous.  I'll be numb with happiness eh?  But badass rocking happiness! 

CHAD: I know, it's hilarious eh? She's so cute and yet so badass, eh?

AVRIL: NEWLYWED! And classy. I'm like, actually waving instead of throwing the horns, man. BLACK AND WHITE CLASSY NEWLYWED ROCK ON!
CHAD: Suit and tie badass, eh? Look at my classy punk badass WIFE eh?  Dude, I'm a badass rocking newlywed man husband!

HEIDI: Remember that time in 2013 when the Juno commercials were hitting TV and there was this one with Chad and Avril at home watching TV in bed, and then Michael Buble showed up?  Oh my gosh.  Bubles.  You are so charming and cute!!! Okay I haven't spent a dime on any of his recorded music either, I just think he should host everything ever aired on TV.  Good times.  Apparently Avril wears black eyeliner to bed.  Nice jammies, Avril.  Please stop stealing my clothes.  

AVRIL: Dude, you walk like, so slow, like.
CHAD: Um, okay, I'm just still confused, eh?  What do you call that?
AVRIL: It's like, cornrows, and s#@$.  
AVRIL: Oh my gawd, like, you're being such a dad about it.
CHAD: numb with happiness, eh? 

AVRIL: Chad Chad Chad.  Come on.  Let's go.  Chad.  
CHAD: …a shave… under? Is that what that is?  
AVRIL: Come on, let's go do some shopping and s%$#.
CHAD: Being married is great, eh?

AVRIL: Chad Chad Chad.  
CHAD: Wait, don't we have enough black spiked napkin rings already?

AVRIL: After this like, sexy photo shoot, we're totally gonna like, go down to the basement, like to that special room, and we're gonna turn on the HIT MACHINE and invent some like, totally new ear worm music!  We like, OWN the charts, mwahahahalikehahaha!
CHAD: The Chavril will rule the world.  The Chavril will globally dominate.  Being married is great eh? 

AVRIL: I am like, totally a grown up now.  I have a grown up man husband.  I have grown up hair and now I wear, like, grown up black stuff.  I write grown up songs about never growing up. I put on my eyeliner like a grown up now.  Like it goes up at the corners instead of like all the way around.  GROWN UP ROCK ON PIANO SUIT AND TIE AND S$%# YEAH HELL YEAH!
CHAD: … So I'll just go turn on the Hit Machine, eh?

Awwww.  Somewhere between the wedding pictures and the carefully planned snapshots of Chad carrying Avril's shopping (seriously, who looks that photo-ready to go shopping?  But he's a nice guy - those bags have to be heavy, maybe you're a gentleman after all) and despite the beautifully lit publicity portraits, things went kinda sad.  The grin faded.  Maybe she didn't like his belt buckles and made him stop wearing them and that zapped his powers.  Maybe they're like the Samson and Delilah of belt buckles.  

Maybe we can't tell a darn thing from photos.  He just looks kinda sad.  Chad may be a lot of things but sad should never be one of them.  

Listen folks. I'm going to tell you a secret about being married.  It's a business.  You go to bed together and accidentally say something like, "Crap we have to pay the phone bill tomorrow" or if you're Jethro and Heidi, "Did that session get invoiced? I have to go to the feed mill tomorrow and I'll take it out of my bank account but can you pay for the oil change on your car out of the business account" or if you're Chad and Avril maybe it's "Which one of us is getting up tomorrow morning to open the door for the Hit Machine Lubricant Delivery guy and is that going on your credit card or mine?"

These two have been responsible for a huge amount of CanCon music over the last 15 years.  No pressure.  They are both songwriters and musicians and I respect that even if I'm not a big fan of their music. I wonder if Global Domination isn't good for a marriage.  

Not that it really matters to my life in any way, but I'm kind of sentimental, and I have a hope that when he goes over to return her best formal skeleton hoodie, she happens to have a roll of Hit Machine paper, and they blink at each other and realize that they are meant to be together and the result is a song called, "My Horns Won't Throw Without You."  And he can start smiling with his teeth showing again.  At the very least, it will keep the Nickelbob away.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

DESERVING part 2: learning to just enjoy and appreciate this.

My last post was basically a big old philosophical gut-spilling, and now that I've got that out, I can get on with the next topic:

My new saddle.

This is the first time I've ever had a NEW saddle.  I bought one a few years ago that was like-new and that was a thrill, but it had been somebody else's saddle first. This sucker is NEW.

When I brought saddles home this summer for trial that had never been sat in, I wrapped the stirrups with vet rap to keep them from getting scuffed and put my own straps on them so they wouldn't get marked, and barely breathed on the thing so it wouldn't be damaged.  I always keep my saddles covered but I was afraid my cats would jump on them and scratch them so I double covered them… basically having a couple thousand dollars worth of new saddles in my barn was nerve wracking.

Most of the stuff in my life is second hand, or just plain ancient, and for the most part, I'm okay with that.  I've owned four vehicles in my life and none of them came to me less than ten years old.  I don't care.  I've never had a car loan in my name.  My saddles have been of mysterious background and well worn in, and that's good too.  My clothes?  Well, we have a joke in our family that our clothes come from three sources: the thrift store, the feed mill, and the merch table at rock concerts.  In my case, there's another, which is hand-me-downs from my friend's teenagers.  My iGadget was new.  That was a big deal.  For once, I got something that wasn't damaged or full of the quirks of wear and tear.  I only got the new one because the one I had, which used to be Jethro's, just Up And Died one day.  Luckily there was some kind of warranty or something or I'd have been Gadgetless.  The young fella in the Apple store blue shirt grinned and said, "Guess what?  Mom's getting a new phone," and I was thrilled.  It was MINE and everything worked!!!

I like old stuff.  I like old furniture.  I love old tack.

I can honestly say that I never thought much about owning a NEW saddle.  It wouldn't have been necessary.  Well, this summer, it became desperately necessary.

With Copper recovering from an injured leg, Phoenix was doing all the lessons -- and he was doing it with a saddle that I suspected didn't fit quite right. He got more and more miserable and reluctant and stiff and sore and sad.  Long story short, after a couple saddle fittings and a heck of an education for me, none of my saddles fit his unique (and incredibly handsome) shape.

Alright, I figured.  Okay.  So my income is way down, both horses off, plus a vet bill, and a load of hay coming, and I have to buy another saddle.  Alright.  I'll sell the two that don't fit either horse.  Hopefully I can get enough to buy another one.  Geez, I might have to spend… gasp… $500 on this.  Maybe even $600.

Well, the prices just kept going up.  $750.  $695.  $900.  Panic sets in.  None of them are right.  One feels pretty okay to sit in, but Phoenix pins his ears and stumbles along like he wants to get this over with.  And they all slide back, which is a problem I've always had with this horse.


I like it, it's pretty, maybe prettier than I'd have chosen (because apparently I don't think I deserve anything that new and pretty and fancy, ahem, deserve!!!)  but there's no denying that after 20 minutes of riding, this saddle looks like I strapped it onto his rump. This isn't the right saddle.

I tell the nice man at the tack shop down the road that I'm accepting the fact that I will have to go into debt for this.  He's got one more in the shop that he didn't send home with me to try, because he knew it was out of my price range.

But what's another few hundred bucks after that?  I stood there looking at this gorgeous Circle Y barrel saddle, feeling like I got kicked in the gut and the butt at the same time.  I also kind of felt like I was about to jump off a cliff.

It is the eighth saddle I've taken home from the tack shop.  I still don't think it's perfect, but if it slides back, it's only a finger width.  My horse will move.  He's not recovered yet either, but I think now I'm working on his soured mind.  That could take longer than healing his sore back.  And it's silly that this horse, this solid, thick necked, mellow, laid back gentleman of a horse, is wearing a barrel saddle.  He's no speed demon.  But the thing is, he's got a very short back, and this was the shortest skirt I could find, where any other saddle wide enough for his shoulders was also long enough for a normal wide horse with a proportionately long back to match.  This one sits there politely and doesn't dig into him anywhere.  At first I didn't really like sitting in it, until I realized that NEW saddles are kind of a pain, literally.  The leather is really stiff and the fenders aren't shaped yet.  The fenders hang straight down and the stirrups are totally in the wrong position for your feet.  So my knees and ankles were aching after 15 minutes of riding. I'd heard of this but never experienced it.  The shop let me try it out for a couple weeks (because they're very kind, and also because I've been buying stuff there for 25 years.  Also, they know where I live!!)

And it took me that long to decide.  Yes, despite the budget problems, and my deeply bred Mennonite tendency to deny myself of anything too flashy, (not to mention be extremely tight with my money!) this is the best one I found.  

Seriously, the Mennonite jokes.  One day at the tack shop, a student of mine showed up while I was talking to the owner.  All of us happen to have Mennonite surnames.  I told my student I was gonna stop being so Mennonite about it and buy that fancy saddle.  I promised I wasn't gonna paint all the chrome flat black.  Snort haha!

So I put down my deposit last week.  

Now I've been setting it on the saddle rack with the fenders twisted around and a broomstick through the stirrups to get the fenders to stay turned the right way.  I've been using the latigo keeper and the cinch keeper, which I wasn't before it was mine.  Whoa.  It's mine.

I go out to the barn and pull the cover off this saddle and just stare at the thing.

I never.  I just never.

It's carved everywhere except for the rough out seat and fenders, and the rawhide covered stirrups.  Everything is carved and tooled and fancied.  It's carved behind the cantle, even.  It's got silver on it.  I've never, in three decades, had a saddle with silver on it.  I don't NEED silver or tooling.  It doesn't make the saddle fit better.

But it's pretty.

And I'm a girl and I like pretty things.

Is that enough to justify going into debt for it?

Well the truth is, if this thing was plain dark brown with nothing pretty on it but it fit my precious prince of a horse, I'd buy it.  Even at this price.  He needs to be comfortable and happy.  That is the bottom line.  I'm doing this for him.

And if I need further justification to make myself feel better, there are much more expensive saddles out there.  And fancier.

But this is the one available to me.  This is the one.

Twenty-one year old me would have kicked a puppy and stolen a Bible to get my hands on a saddle like this.  Back then, I had visions of some serious barrel racing with my hot little red horse.  Of course, I was impoverished back then (hmm, nothing's changed except we're all older…)  Then I had some babies and just kept on barrel racing in the same saddle I did my western pleasure classes in.  (And we weren't awesome at any of it, but we did okay and had a good time.) Then I quit showing.

Well folks, I got my barrel saddle.

I have wished this happened under happier circumstances rather than feeling like I didn't really have much of a choice in the matter and had to do it NOW.  (I felt like this two years ago when Jethro bought his gorgeous new VW.)

But whatever.  This is the way it is.  I'm allowed to saddle up my horse and take a second to look him over, get used to how he looks with it on him, and yes, notice the way the floodlights on the barn wall make the silver sparkle.  Do I deserve this?  Does Phoenix?  Does it matter?

A special thank you to Sprucewood Tack Shop for all their hours of help with this.  If you're in Southwestern Ontario, go take a drive and do some shopping!

And also if you end up at the New Hamburg Fall Fair this Saturday afternoon, go watch the western horse show.  Just do it.  I'll be there with a clipboard.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The concept of DESERVING is one I struggle with.

What do we deserve?  How do we measure that???

Do I deserve to be married to a man I love and who loves me right back?  I'd like to think I do.  But then does a woman who chose a crappy husband deserve what she got?  What if she's a good decent person who made a bad choice.  Did she get what she deserves?  Now how about people who marry for love, and it works, and it's good… but by some cruel twist of fate they can't be together anymore?  What if one of them is the victim of a horrible disease that robs the body and the mind, leaving him unable to communicate?  Who deserves that?  NOBODY.  I wouldn't wish that on a worst enemy let alone a loved one.  What if, god forbid, a spouse dies too soon?  Nobody deserves that.

Do I deserve to live on a beautiful property in the country?  Do I get to be there just because I want to be there?  Because I dreamed of it and wished for it?  Did I work hard enough to end up there?

What if it's not mine?  What if I'm there on borrowed time and have overstayed?  Is that the result of mistakes I made in my adult life, and therefore I don't deserve a permanent home?

How about my children?  What good could I have done, in this life or any other, to deserve two young people that amazing and awesome and wonderful?  And how, when other people have suffered because their children are in jail, or in full time institutionalized care, or missing or gone forever?  My god, I am so lucky, so appreciative and I don't care if I've done anything to deserve them.  I'm just thankful.

It's the same with the family I was born into.  Maybe I didn't deserve them, but I got them, and it's shaped me into who I am.  Blessed again.  All I had to do was enter the world.

Do I deserve the privilege of being Canadian, with good health care and public education, and democracy, and no tanks rolling down my road shooting everything in the way, no bombs going off overhead?

But then, do I deserve a crooked spine and a scattered mind and a fragile constitution?

Do I deserve to be chased for most of my life by a sneaky lurking depression?

Do I deserve horses?  It's not actually a god-given right.

Do I deserve a truck with squishy brakes, a car with rust spots and a broken ventilation fan?

Do I deserve that flashy fancy saddle in the barn, the one that 21 year old me would have gladly gone into debt for?  The one I'll be going into debt for because I ran out of choices and had to make a decision?

(That'll be part 2.)

Maybe we don't deserve anything.  Maybe we can try to work hard and make good choices, but ultimately, we get what we get, and we have to put all our effort into being thankful for whatever we can.  And then deal with it.

I just have to figure out how to deal with it...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Let's be honest: this has been a kind of crappy summer.

Any of you reading this from my general stomping grounds, southwestern Ontario, Canada (on the map it would be the big fish's tail) might assume that I'm about to talk about the weather.  Despite the fact that we Canadians loooove complaining about the weather, I'm not going to.  I know, it's shocking.  I have actually appreciated the abnormal cool this year.  It's been a nice break.  I'm not going through three complete changes of clothes in a day because I sweat so much.  (How do ya like me now, eh?)  We haven't gone through as much electricity for fans and that window A/C unit.  I can sleep at night without having heat induced nightmares.  The Pug can breathe.  And besides, the stupid inflatable pool ended up at the dump last summer and we couldn't afford to replace it, so I'm relieved to not be hanging around moping about not being able to immerse myself in cold water on a hot day.

So it's not the weather.

It's everything else.

I keep typing stuff and deleting it.

I don't know what I want to say here.

Deep breath.  Copper did her first lesson since June and her leg didn't swell up.  So that's good.  Phoenix looks a lot more comfortable in that $1400 dollar Circle Y saddle than he did in the other seven saddles I dragged home on trial from the tack shop.  Or really, anything I've strapped onto his back since he got here seven years ago, although it's hard to tell because he's developed such a crappy attitude after being uncomfortable for all this time.  And I now have a real education in saddle fit after this crappy summer.  So that's… good?

More deleted stuff.

It's just been a drag.

I can pep talk myself until my eyeballs rattle but it doesn't change the facts.

There's more but I can't even write it because blecchhhhh it just sucks.