Thursday, June 28, 2007

What I Like About Fruit...

Yesterday was nothing more than a management disaster. I may be a virtual WonderWoman, and after all, I can manage an entire field with a five year old at my feet and a baby on my hip, but I simply can not instruct twenty five staff on appropriate picking technique AND direct the public as to where they may go on the farm. And driving through the electric fence into the horse pasture IS NOT ONE OF THOSE PLACES.

Instructing on proper picking technique sounds like a pretty ridiculous part of my job. I know it does. The first few years I worked here, my instructions consisted of muttering "The fruit is in the field. Go put it in your basket."

I've learned over the years, though, that picking fruit is not an easy job, and I suppose that's why people aren't lining up to become professional fruit pickers. Our staff consists mostly of unemployed people looking for pocket cash while they wait for a new job, or small children who can't find another source for their cigarette money.

Yesterday I instructed a child on how to pick, how to pick fruit that wasn't already mush on the vine. I want pieces of fruit that are attractive, that are generally red in color, and that aren't coated with a thick mass of mold. Green, mishapen fruit is not acceptable. I can't convince some of these kids that green berries are not yummy berries, that if you don't want to mow down on it yourself, then neither does the rest of the world. After going through three of his baskets and tossing out most of the fruit in it, I figured he would have understood.

And hour later I approached him, and beaming from ear to ear he presented me with six basets of fruit that, combined, created a whole of two and a half baskets. The rest of the fruit, if you could call it that, was no more something you would want in your mouth than you would want it shoved up your left nostril.

I suppose that this is where the difficulty in managing a fruit farm comes in. I could have wrung this teeny, tiny little child's neck. I could have squeezed his itty-bitty little head until his eyeballs popped out of their sockets because HOW HARD IS IT to discern between something edible and something not edible? Don't you do that every day? Don'e you come across the trash can and automatically KNOW, without a doubt, that YOU DO NOT WANT TO CONSUME ITS CONTENTS?

And then, when I heave a sigh and leave he field, the ripe fruit that normal people would want to eat is left sitting on the vine. And sometimes I may shed a little tear and sometimes not, and the happy little pieces of produce have escaped unscathed.

I'm sure they're singing something annoying and demeaning as I leave the field. Fruit is vindictive like that.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

And then there was rage...

I'm enraged right now, for reasons that I'm not sure my mother would be happy about me posting on the internet.

My mother has cancer, and this is no secret from anyone. I've been very open and honest with everyone I know regarding her condition: It sucks. She has cancer. But we found it early and we are currently undergoing radiation in hopes of deterring a recurrence.

My rage is not directed at cancer, exactly. Of course, if this had never happened, I'd never have to deal with this type of rage to begin with. But she does and life is the way it is. I learned young that you can't change circumstance, although you can say no to that last shot of tequila which can change curcumstance altogether.

My mother's doctors have been a bunch of assholes. I'm tyically very patient with people who are providing life-saving therapies for the people I love the most, but in this case, I just need to vent.

The surgeon was a complete and total fuckwit. If I knew what kind of car he drove and what a distributor cap looked like, his would be completely fucked up right now. We are done with him, thankfully, and once we were done with him I was glad to move on to the next set.

The oncologist, however, has not been any better. I have not met the woman in person, and from the stories I hear about her I am fairly glad. I'm pretty sure that if I did meet her, I would turn into a shrieking mass of hysteria, hair and run-on sentences abound in her office. I'd also surely mess up my 'breathe' and 'breath' while screaming to her about how I'm running out of breath. Or breathe. Whichever.

The problem is that I have all this rage in regards to the treatment these people have given my mother, and no one to direct it to. I don't know who to call and yell into the phone at, until I'm out of breath (breathe?) and my face turns blue; until my chest infection turns me into a dry heaving mass of confusion who no one can understand.

I only wish I were the type of person to write letters and make phone calls and yell into phones in my spare time. The problem is that my years in customer service have made me terrified to direct my rage at the innocent person behind the counter.

And so, instead of doing anything productive with the anger that lies inside me, I sit and I smoke and I drink beer and I wait for this period in my life to be over.

And my inability to provide comfort and stand up for the person I love the most only enrages me more.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Berry Birthday Blog....

It is my birthday today, and for once in my life I do not long for anything. There is not a thing that I can think if that I want, not even a ridiculous thing like, say, a pony, because I ALREADY GOT ONE OF THOSE.

I did get a present though, a wonderful present that I will be forever grateful for. A lovely American showed up from Oklahoma yesterday, and before I tell you what he brought me for my birthday, I need to bash Canada for a little minute here.

Although we are a first world country here in the North, although we are considered developed, I've noticed a trend occurring that is starting to really make me wonder. Several people I know, myself included, are fairly sick and it seems that doctors don't want to go about making them better, for whatever reason. It is odd to me because when you are sick and you live in Canada, you can get to a doctor for free, and they are readily available. They have signatures and prescription pads, and the pharmacy is chalk full of yummy, drug-a-licious goodness, but they just don't seem to let the sick people have the drugs.

Now, I'm not a doctor and I never claimed to be one but it seems to me that if you are sick to the point that your lips are turning blue and you do nothing but cough a nasty, putrid cough all day, perhaps something isn't quite right. Call me crazy, but that's just the way I feel.

And so, over the phone after having seen two Canadian doctors with this ongoing issue I have, I was diagnosed with an actual illness and a lovely American Doctor wrote me a prescription, and this lovely American Gentleman brought me the medicine.

And so, my birthday present this year was the gift of good health, which is what all of us really want for ourselves anyways. What present could possibly be better than that? Asides from the beer that the Berry Queen is picking up for me AS I TYPE, what more in this world could I really ever want?

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sleepy McSleeperson....

After spending a day yesterday with a lack of oxygen flowing to my brain, I felt a little bit sleepy and headed off to bed at five to nine. This has never before happened in my life as I am usually physically incapable of thinking about bedtime before two a.m. Being a crazy person has its perks, because this way I always know the newest and coolest gadgets for sale on late night infomercials.

Obtaining oxygen still feels like a bit of a struggle, but fortunately tonight I am seeing another doctor who has already promised that he will make me be able to breathe again. I'm not sure what he's going to treat me with, like a magic wand or a potion made of frog's eyes and the toes of small children, but whatever it will be, I'm looking forward to it with glee.

I had a nightmare last night, one in which I was drowning in water that I was trying desperately to cough up. But then I realized that I wasn't in an ocean or a pool or with my head in a bucket at all; I was laying in bed. And then I realized that I wasn't dreaming at all, either, and that this was real life. I was laying in bed FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE against this thing that has caused me to cough consistently for the last ten days.

I blame the Berry Queen. If she had just sprayed more harmful chemicals on the fruit, this big would have been killed by now. And here I am, forced to resort to ALCOHOL.

We all know how much I hate it when that happens.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Season of Sickness...

SuperNan: Cancer

Berry Queen: Multiple Sclerosis.

Berry Princess: Inability to breath or stop coughing or move in any way without inducing a coughing fit that would kill weaker souls.

It's gonna be a good one....

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Monday, June 18, 2007

A Very Berry Way to Be...

I have left home temporarily to move to a place that I call BerryLand. It is here that I practice my skills as a fruit farm field manager, telling people where to pick and occasionally being swarmed by hoardes of large insects. Fortunately, I bought (Or rather, made my mother buy) TWO containers of insect repellent. Its the fancy kind with all kinds of harmful chemicals in it that are sure to guarantee that I won't be able to bear children in the future.

Before I left home I thought I would go out and say good-bye to my horse, my lovely Zydo who I have to leave behind for the next three weeks. I thought that I could shed a tear, and that he would nuzzle up to me and lean his face on my shoulder, and in his Horse-y way, he would say "I don't know how we will live apart!" and then forlornly look with disinterest at the pasture around him.

But when I went to the pasture, he just sort of looked over at me without really lifting his head, and when I motioned that he should come near me, he snorted into the grass and presented me with his but. I chirped at him once or twice and even my Dad's horse, Tia, looked away. Instead of wimpering about his undying love in my ear, he instead presented me with his ass and called over his shoulder "I'd love to say Good-Bye, Hun, but I've got some grass to attend to. Now go away from the fence, you're embarrassing me in front of this cute Arabian Saddlebred Cross I'm trying to impress!"

You know, they made a movie about that horse whisperer guy, but here I am getting horses to yell things disdainfully over their shoulders. I really think I should get a book deal, at the very least.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

A good day to ride...

A crowd showed up at The Ranch tonight, a crowd of people looking to see some hot stuff horseback riding action.

I was apprehensive about getting on this time, and so I had my father stand in front of him while I mounted. If you're scared of your fifteen hundred pound pet, the best solution is to stick your father directly in his path. But Zydo did nothing, he stood at the block looking bored and wondering why my dad was standing where he was supposed to walk.

My cousin was out tonight with two City Boy friends and I wondered if perhaps his friends were impressed by seeing me ride. Really, though, I suppose that it was kind of boring to them. I suppose if he had been a bronc, or if I had been leaping fences or if he had been snorting and charging about the yard, they might have been more impressed.

To the untrained eye, riding on the flat is very boring. I do love riding on the flat, for a variety of reasons. To someone un-knowing, it looks like I am just trundling around the ring on a horse without much purpose or direction.

In reality, I am actually controlling fifteen hundred pounds of pure muscle using prompts delivered through my eyes, legs, and hands. My legs and hands direct each turn, each tip of the head. The horse actually turns in the direction that the rider looks in. Is my hand gentle on the reins that attach it to the piece of steel going through his mouth? Do I gently guide him through corners, turns, bends, serpentines, figures of eight? Or do I yank him, aggravate him, make him toss his head and dip his shoulders?

I suppose that the very thought that little old me can eventually have the skill to half-halt, passage, piaffe, and leg-yield my way around the ring, and that this can all be communicated to my best boy with the gentle motions of my hand and leg is what really amazes me. That through feeling my legs on his barrel, my bottom on his back, my hands at his mouth, he can develp a trust in me that I will never hurt him, that I will give him the supports he needs to go forward, and that together, we can ride through anything that comes up in our path...

I live to feel that day. I live to feel his power beneath me, to feel that I have the power to direct him in that way. I live for him to have complete and unbending trust in my directions.

That I may one day convince something that is fifteen times my size that I know what I'm doing and that together, we can do beautiful things ... This is what I love about riding on the flat.

[Equestrian, Dressage, Horseback Riding, Beginner, Trust, Horse Communication]

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The sickness....

This sickness had me in its grips yesterday, had me lying on the couch in agony thinking that this is it. My number is up, and the angels are going to start singing me home before I get to find out what happens on this year's Canadian Idol.

I woke up yesterday morning, after having gone to the hospital Wednesday night in search of health, hacking up a large quantity of nastiness that for sure was going to be the death of me. I can't stand grossness in any of its forms, and when other people do gross things like cough or hack or breathe near me, I sometimes have to leave the room and cry. When my body turns against me and begins to perform such disgusting functions as coughing, I feel the need to apologize to all those around me, including Copernicus and Dixie, because no one should ever be subjected to someone else's nast.

By midnight last night I was feverish again, hot and sweaty and strewn across the couch like a disgarded dust rag, one that the dogs had played tug-of-war with and the cat had thrown up on. My hair was a mass of long, brown, sweaty mat spread out like a halo around my head. The thing is, it was not like a halo at all, more like a billboard begging somebody, ANYBODY, to please contain it because the coughing and the writhing in pain had shaken it into a great number of knots and tangles.

I thought of going back to see the doctor at the hospital again, because surely those inhalers he prescribed to me the previous night should have alleviated SOME, at least, say, s FRACTION of my symptoms and they had not. But I thought to myself, no. I am TOUGH. I am COUNTRY. I am SICK, but I will recover, because that is what TOUGH, SICK, COUNTRY people do. We move on.

And then I went to bed and while I was lying in agony, coccooned into my duvet and considering an overdose on sedatives, I thought to myself: Why is being tough so heavily weighed in this society? WOULD IT BE SO WRONG FOR ME TO CRY AND BEG JESUS, MARY AND THE SAINTS TO MAKE ME BETTER?

[Common Cold, Sick, Agony, Pain, Cough]


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Struck Down....

Something has hit me, something very, very upsetting that has left me feeling tired and cranky and not at all like my chipper old self. I have some sort of cold.

I'm thoroughly pissed off right now not only because I am sick and haven't slept, but because the Air Conditioning has been turned on in most places. I've spent the last ten months freezing my ass off in this country, and now it has finally become tank-top weather, and everyone is pumping up the A/C.

So far today I've been frozen out of my best friend's car, a government building, two McDonalds', a hospital, a tack shop, and another restaurant. It is mid-June and I'm sitting here in a tank top. I should be comfy, because mid-June is finally tank-top weather in Canada! Wheeeee!!!

But, OH NO. There is actually a twelfth commandment here in Canada, one that states THOU SHALT BE COLD DURING ALL MONTHS OF THE YEAR WHETHER THROUGH NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL MEANS, BITCH. That commandment comes right after the one about not pounding on the bathroom door while someone else is in there, and right before the one about not breathing on people while you're reading over their soulders. Because God really does feel that if you're going to go reading over someone's shoulder, the least you could do is not breath on them in the process.

And Jooms, Dearest, I know that I've messed up the whole breathe/breath thing in this post. The thing is, I REALLY DON'T CARE because I've spent the day being cold and sick and when I'm cold and sick I tend to get cranky and lax with my grammar.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Look at this horse....

Look at him. Do you see him? Standing innocently in his pasture? Thinking that perhaps he has landed in heaven because, really, who knew that this much grass even existed on Earth?
Does he look like the type of horse who, upon your mounting would fly in a tizzy and charge across the yard? Does he look like the type who might stampede his way to the chicken coop and make you think, "Wow, I might just die today after all!'? Does he look like someone who would run on the spot, toss his head from side to side, run backwards, and then finish in a grand finale beside the pidgeon loft?
Zydo was frightened today, by what I'm not sure. My dad and I had decided to go on a hack since he has settled in so well, and SuperNan brought out the mounting block and I proceeded to hop on. He did do a little bit of dancing beside the block but I didn't think much of it because some horses just... dance. They're like young girls in night clubs after one too many shots of tequila. This horse, in particular, is named after a South American dance called Zydeco, and perhaps he was just trying to express some interest in his cultural background. Who knows?
I'm not really that upset by his shenanigans today. Zydeco has had a long week: He has probably done a bit more work than he's used to, he got stuck beside a cranky and possibly PMSing roommate. He got a new owner who does things like spend thirteen dollars (Yes, THIRTEEN DOLLARS) on a bucket brush for him at Apple Saddlery. Sure, I could have gone to the dollar store and bought a ninety nine cent nail brush for cleaning his water bucket. But that would not match the new grooming kit, brush set, saddle pad and stall gate I bought him, now would it?
SuperNan said it was a fine performance on both parts. Zydeco performed what she said was by far the best elevated, collected canter she's ever seen. I managed to not fly head first through the window of the chicken coop. (The very same window that my dad stores his chain saw in front of. If I had flown through the window? I'd know what it's like to be impaled on a John Deere chainsaw. I've no idea if that would hurt more or less than a Husquvarna Chain saw....)
I was a little shaken up, but after I got off, checked his saddle, equpiment, bridle, and so forth, I took him to the ring where I mounted Sunday and had no trouble. We had an hour of perfect riding after that, so I'm not sure what upset him. He was calm and collected until I hopped off and loosened all his buckles. Then he nuzzled up to me, snorted into my chest, and smeared me from shoulder to hip in green slime.
I'm pretty sure that's horse for "I love you."

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Monday, June 11, 2007

And how does YOUR garden grow?

I haven't put up much information about the garden lately. I'm sorry for the neglect of such an important topic, but I might have mentioned once or a million times that I GOT A HORSE THIS WEEKEND. 'Nuff said.

My bean weevil, or whatever it is, seems to have run its course. There are a few plants that are nothing but little stalks, mere shadows of what they once were, reminders of what they will never be. I have mourned them I have moved on. But I have not yet given up on them, and have not yet uprooted them. Some may say that I am living in the past. Some may say that I'm an optimist. I just call me too damn lazy to pull out something that doesn't need to be pulled out.

The corn is coming up nicely, the groundhog or wildcat or water buffalo that dug holes beside it has also decided to turn to greener pastures. I'm not sure if this means that the corn I grow is just that bad or if he's had his fill, but either way, there is a fair number of corn plants remaining.

This week I have a lot of jobs to attend to here on the Ranch. I need to finish up some things on the barn: Those major tasks that can't be started until the debris from the last four years is out of the way. I've got to put down some hay and straw for the horses to assuage the guilt in my heart over my father tending to my horse. I've got to mulch the garden in hopes of deterring the growth of weeds (Some people might even call this ORGANIC gardening and if anyone calls my garden ORGANIC I might just squeeze their neck until their eyes pop out. No lies. I am THAT strong).

The last thing to do?

I have to prepare for BERRY SEASON. SuperNan and I leave the Ranch on Sunday the seventeenth. That is in a VERY FEW DAYS.

So, we must stock up. We need sunscreen. Bugspray. Itch cream. Those little coils that kill mosquitoes mid-flight.

And lots and lots of tequila.

[Bean Weevils, Water Buffalo, Organic Vegetable Gardening, Strawberries, Pick Your Own Strawberries]

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The first ride...

Zydo arrived here at The Ranch, after a busy morning of finishing up last minute preparations for him. I hear that women who are about to have babies go through a period of nesting, bringing little outfits and incomprehensible numbers of baby wipes into the house. I suppose that this is how I spent my morning, only instead of working with things that are cute and nice-smelling, I spent my morning encased in spider webs and filling feedbags full of the debris that has collected in the alley way in the barn over the last four years. The horse arrived and trotted off his trailer and into the barn to meet his roommate. I have to apologize to Zydo now because it seems he got the short end of the stick in the roommate department. When he stuck his head out to say hello, she nipped him on the end of the nose and turned away. If my new roommate had greeted me like this, I would have turned quietly into the corner of my stall and wept until dawn. Zydo is much unlike me in this way, because he simply rolled his eyes at her and turned to his hay. Apparently food is enough to mend a broken heart belonging to a male even in the equine world.
Tia is my Dad's horse, and an interesting character she is. She is what you would call "Spirited" or "Energetic" or "Dancy" or "Pumped up on Speed" or something of the like. She came from a herd of over twenty horses to our farm, where she has been a singleton since January. We thought that Zydo would do wonders for her, in making her a little less flighty and more calm. We're not sure if we were planning on him slipping her some sedatives when we weren't looking, or if he was to woo her with gifts of fine clover or what, but she would have none of his wooing. And so, like a typical male, he said "Hey, LOOK! Grass! FOr me to EAT! OVER THERE!" and he trotted away and commenced munching.
My father was in the pasture at this point, just talking between the two of them and trying to get Tia to follow him over to say hello to Zydo. She may be flighty, or energetic, or any number of things, but she is certainly not stupid. She knew exactly what he was doing and insisted that he is HER person, and HER person must not have any contact with THAT BOY HORSE who moved in next door to her. Every time my dad got within proximity to Zydo, Tia charged over and stood between them so that he could advance no further.

We rode today as well, after six o'clock when they both had time to be out in the pasture and meet each other. I must say that my heart is entirely made up of sunshine, beaming out with rays of golden glory that only the sun could create. I rode walk-trot on the flat, and will stay there for several weeks until I have my skills re-honed and some muscle tone built up.

He did everything I asked him to do; he kept his head down and was looking for me to guide him in certain areas so that he could get some support from the bit. He performed changes of rein, did his ten metre circles, serpentined, walked down centre line on command. I had no struggles in any way with him today, except he does have a desire to trot. He wants more speed, more action, something less boring than waiting for me to get my shit together at the walk. But he was patient with me, stood while I mounted and stood again while I dismounted.

I just went down and gave him hay and water and his grain for the night. While I filled the water bucket he stood beside me, drinking lazily and munching on some hay. I rubbed his neck, scratched his ears, talked quietly to him, and kissed his nose before I left the stall for the last time for the day, and I thought ... this is it. This is how my horse is supposed to be.

[Equestrian, Perfect Horse, Walk Trot, Turn-out for Multiple Horses, Moving a Horse, Riding]

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Oh, the pain...

I have been stumbling about the house all day today, much like a person who has performed no less than three consecutive keg stands. My mother doesn't know what that means, so for those of you in her situation, we'll just say that's a lot of frickin' beer.

But no, I've consumed nary a drop.

I'm doing the cowboy walk, with a touch of Oh-My-God-I-Haven't-Ridden-A-Horse-in-five-years thrown in there.

When I complain about my horse-related muscle pain to those of you in the non-horsing world, I often hear things like "Yeah, when I started working out in the gym I was stiff for days!"

To you who say such naive, ridiculous things I say: Shut the Hell up.

There is no workout like riding a horse, no workout in the world that works your core muscles in places you didn't know you had. Right now the insides of my thighs feel as though they've been run over by a tractor, a John Deere tractor for sure, and I don't know if anyone here has ever been run over by a John Deere tractor, but it hurts. I actually dated someone who once was run over by a Massey Ferguson tractor, and he said it hurts a whole bunch. I scoffed, of course, and told him that it must not hurt nearly as much as being run over by a Deere, but I've yet to meet someone who's been run over by one of those.

I haven't ridden in four years now, and there has never been a time in my life that has been four years horse free. Not even the first four years, because I flew off the top of a half standardbred half paint draft horse before I was two years old. I'm not sure if most people will be impressed that I survived, or horrified that I have the type of parents who put the under-two crowd on horseback. Either way, I spent the next seventeen years there so it can't have turned out that badly.

I'll be riding him again tomorrow afternoon when he gets here, and before they do that I'm going to have to consume mass quantities of pain killers. I'm thinking two advil every two hours ... and a few sedatives thrown in surely can't hurt in the area of muscle relaxing. Although I must say that riding while conscious is really much more fun that riding while UNconscious, so I suppose I might just take some no-name Ibuprofen and go from there.

Pray for me. Pray hard.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

The one who stole my heart...

I would like to introduce you, Dear Readers, to Zydeco. He is tall, handsome and rugged with flowing locks of rust-colored hair. It has been a whirlwind romance, seeing as how we met on Wednesday, but already I have decided to take him into my home and share all the love in my heart with him.

I rode him for the first time today and I have to say he is everything I've ever wanted in a horse. He is calm, cool, collected and he doesn't stand up on his tip-toes and dance when he sees his shadow.

He leads well and has no problem with being tacked up. He isn't ticklish on his belly, and he doesn't mind if his hair gets pulled while I brush it. He understands voice commands and generally does whatever I tell him to; he is very anxious to please.
I have to say that I have absolutely no muscle tone left anywhere in my body from my riding days. When I was mounted on his back, I felt immediately as though I wasn't a person any more and was instead a huge Amanda-shaped slab of jell-o on horseback. Every muscle in my body is currently throbbing, begging to understand why I would strain them so.

The woman who sold him to us is most lovely, she was incredibly hospitable; She allowed me to ride him free in the outdoor ring, and then tacked up her own horse and took me on a hack through the trails she has on her property. He had a minor heart attack over a duck who decided to take to his wings when we walked by; I knew horse and rider were a pair cut from the same cloth when he dove behind the seller and her horse. Because, really, loyalty means nothing when you're scared and I'm the type who throws her own mother into the path of charging sheep should my safety be compromised.
He is very sucky in his stall, wanting cuddles and treats and kisses on his velvet-y soft nose. I wasn't entirely prepared for him and didn't come bearing treats in my pockets. I could tell he was disappointed, but he didn't hoof me in the teeth in retaliation and so I figure he must be a good enough guy.

My heart is walking in the clouds right now, at this moment. I'm ever so happy! He arrives Sunday afternoon, which gives us just enough time to finish preparing the stall for him, and just enough time for me to flutter about the horse, dancing and screaming that I HAVE A HORSE. It is a short enough period that hopefully, my parents, bless them, won't tire of my screeching and toss me out on the street.

Welcome Zydeco!

[Buying a horse, Thoroughbred, Equestrian, Riding]

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

I have been reading CRAP of late...

When we first started this radiation business, I went to my favorite section in Chapters and picked out about ten books. Typically, if I'm buying a novel for entertainment purposes only, I don't want to spend thirty bucks on it: What if its so awful I can't get through it? DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH BEER THIRTY DOLLARS CAN BUY? If I spent thirty bucks on an awful novel, I wouldn't have any good reading material OR any beer, and that would just be a travesty.

I happened upon a particular Chapters store one day, and there were a whole host of books for sale for two bucks. I don't know why they were doing such a thing, selling these hard-cover novels for such a low price, or why the Gods of Reading Crap were smiling down on me that day, but I ended up in the store with the two dollar books in it and I think it may well have been one of the best days of my life (Barring the day I had that hideous eighth grade perm straightened out, of course.)

For the last three years, I've had very little time to sit about reading something that my heart has yearned to read. Normally I'm burried three feet deep in textbooks that, while interesting, wouldn't be my first choice of literature. Normally I'm stressed out by the prospect of term papers looming ahead of me, and even if I do pick up a book to pass the time, I am plagued by guilt because SHOULDN'T I BE DOING SOMETHING WORTHWHILE WITH MY TIME?

But now I sit, surrounded by mindless tripe, novels that have made best seller's lists but haven't been recommended by accredited post-secondary institutions and I have to say that I LOVE IT.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Long, Long Days...

The last several days have been multiple hour days that leave little time for napping. I am the queen of napping, you might know this, and I rarely make it through a day without a nap. Sometimes I try, but then forty minutes before dinner I collapse into inconsciousness on the couch.

Yesterday involved being up at six a.m. for radiation at eight, and then we had to come home from the City to get ready for grad. Then we drove back to the city, had graduation, dinner, and drove back to the country. We didn't really sit down until nine at night and the only napping time I could come up with was thirty minutes on the way to graduation. The girl with the sleep in her eyes and the seatbelt mark across her forehead?

Yeah, that's me.

Today was another very exhausting day which involved getting up early to go and look at a horse (Which I refuse to write about until I'm sure one way or another if he will be joining the members of the Ranch family), then we had to do radiation. After that, I helped my cousin with some exam preparation, and then I tucked the Precious Boy into bed.

I've just had a number of busy days in succession now, and it is starting to sink in that they are not getting any less busy: Berry Season looms ahead of us. I saw the fields the other day and tehy are laden with happy, jolly-looking little blooms just waiting to burst forward into springs of fruity goodness.

I'm thinking cases and cases of Red Bull are in order.

And some tequila.

[Busy Lifestyle, Napping, Sleeping, Tired, Exhaustion]


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Graduate....

I graduated today. I officially have alphabet soup behind my name. I've been awarded a Baccalaureate Degree in Social Sciences, Concentration Sociology. I think that makes my alphabet soup read Bsc. SOC, and as soon as I can rustle up a few bucks, I'm going to have a business card made up that reads my full name, followed by my alphabet soup. Beneath that, its going to read FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE HIRE ME, I'LL DO ANYTHING FOR MONEY. Then I'll write my phone number, and I'm sure that is guaranteed to land me the job of my dreams.

The ceremony was interesting. I think that the speeches from the Chancellor and the honorary doctorate spoke the loudest to me. The Chancellor spoke of university life and how it helps build who we are for the rest of our lives. He spoke of friends made, lessons learned and mentioned that some of us, even, faced hardships in acquiring our education. I guess this just pointed out to me how middle and upper class a higher education is. I figured that everyone there would be like me, and I was really stunned at the number of people I met whose parents paid the full shot, who never really had to wonder if three extra shifts could pay the rent in time. I'm not sure if I believe that everyone should go out and get an education: I do know that it is not possible for everyone to get one, and as such, should those of us who are priveledged enough to have done so really spend this much time patting ourselves on the back over it?

At the same time, I am proud of me: The shit that I went through during school tested every ouce of will in my being. I don't think there was a single semester that didn't start with me thinking "Will I make it through this one?"

My university experience can be summed up fairly briefly: Living in Hell, Insanity at two in the morning over schizophrenic neighbors, singing on stage, Mal's couch, copious amounts of beer, wandering aimlessly about while intoxicated at all hours, studying my ass off at the last minute, Red Bull from four in the morning until my paper was due at six. Then there was the tequila, the Southern Comfort, the glorious combination of vodka, Triple Sec, and Cranberry juice; the doctor who tried to kill me, and the thirty six prescription pill bottles lining the bathroom cabinet. There was screaming out in laughter over Borat after a few bottles of wine, there was the infestation of ants, there was the decomposing food particles left behind by NOT ME, Coperni-Kitty and her howling, and the full cart of empties that I had to drive through the downtown core of my city the weekend before I moved.

I'm done. Really, truly, forever, done. The ceremony was nice, my parents and grandmothers were there to see me cross the stage, and I didn't trip over my heels and land on my face in front of that cute boy who sat beside me during the whole ordeal. I'm much poorer now than I was when I started, but I'm glad I started and even gladder (is that even a word? You'd think someone with a university degree would know such a thing) that I finished.

Toonses, Bsc. Soc

[Convocation, Sociology, Bachelor's Degree, Graduation Ceremony, Cosmopolitans, Too Much Beer, Achievements, The Graduate]

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Monday, June 04, 2007

The things that exist in my garden...

1) A number of corn plants nowhere near the number of seeds that I planted.

2) Fenceposts as markers for the rows, tipped over because of:

3) Two giant holes dug by raccoons or large wildcats, I can't tell which.

4) Some kind of weevil that is eating away all the leaves on my newly sprung-up bean plants

5) Two additional holes dug by the fire shooting out of my eyes and the bolts of lighting shot out of my nostrils upon my having made today's garden discoveries.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Officially a Farm Girl...

I became a woman of the Country today, learning how to drive my first ever tractor. I did so in the presence of two incredibly yummy-looking pool boys (Francois and Xavier, I've named them) who were a little stunned to see a girl decked out in cut-offs, well-worn Docs, and a ball cap needing instruction from three different people on how to start the tractor. (My parents were the first two, and the six-year-old Precious Boy was hollering "Drive the tractor, Auntie! Drive!" Helpful, Lovey. Thank you.)

The real reason I never learned to drive before was due to the fact that tractor work is the honorable work. It's the prima-donna position in farming, and as such, the youngest is often stuck performing the tasks that I did. You know, the shoveling of the shit, the feeding of the calves, and that one time I was awarded the prestigious position of having a cow vomit in my mouth. Yes. Good times.

Fortunately, I am no longer the youngest who resides on or near The Ranch. Oh yes. The very Precious Boy pictured here in the John Deere (And I must ask, why is HE in the good tractor?) will now be my rival for tractor duties.

Fortunately, at this point, he can't yet reach the pedals.

Considering his father was around six feet at twelve, I figure I have a good six years left of tractor driving.

And a grand six years they shall be.

[Ford Tractors, John Deere Tractors, Farm Work, Farm Girls, Hot chicks on tractors]

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