Monday, September 27, 2010

Amanda's Relationship Status Has Been Changed to "Single"

I've never wanted to date a sports person and, in fact, I never have. I could never, before now, stand those people who have to run from playing to whatever sport to watching whatever sport and who eat, breathe, and live that sport.

Over the summer, I have become that person. I am now officially willing to put every other task in my life on hold so that I can go to the barn. Everyone in my life is put on hold for the horse I am riding, the people I ride with, and the rides that I have.

I now understand sports people.

In July, I wrote this post. I was officially dating someone for the first time in years.

Did you know that when someone adds you as their girlfriend/boyfriend on Facebook, you get a relationship request the same way you get a Farmville request?

Well, I didn't know that either because for as long as I had facebook, I haven't had a relationship. Sure, I've dated every single male within a hundred mile radius over the past several years, but a relationship?

No way.

So this summer, I made a valiant effort.

And I was officially "In a Relationship With" for several months.

I started riding Sargeant and at that time, big things started appearing in my mind. Riding competitively is something I have wanted since I was a little girl. When my Golden Opportunity arrived early in September, I nearly fell off my feet because this is what I've been looking for my whole life.

And this wonderful soul I was dating all summer started to feel the effects of my passion.

It was never my intention to make him play second fiddle to my desire to compete but in the end, that is how things happened. I truly thought I could combine riding for real, having two full time jobs, and being "In a Relationship With".

When I met this person who I was "In a Relationship With", I really thought this was it. I didn't meet him online, he has a long-standing (if not distant) connection to my family, he came with excellent references and everything seemed to be perfectly fine. I honestly thought this was going to go places.

The fact of the matter is that there is no way I could continue on with him being hurt every weekend when I was late because I'd been at the barn, when I stood him up to stay at the barn. He asked me to go away for a weekend in October and my first response was that we could leave late Friday night: Right after I ride.

When I wrote my long, sad, pathetic, self-indulgent post on being alone I had no idea my life would turn out the way it has. I had found out a few days before that post was written that my horse would not live through the fall. I thought when I lost Zydo I would be losing riding and so I embarked on this relationship thinking that it was to become what my life should be about.

Everything changed later in the year and I suppose that is all I can say about this situation: Life throws you curveballs that make you think you're supposed to live a certain way, and then a couple months later it throws you another curveball and you have to decide to swing or strike out.

I suppose, in this case, I have both given my best swing and a sad, nearly heartbreaking strikeout.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Golden Opportunity...

I went to a party the other night with all the other riders at my barn. (Well, my mother and I are both riding at the same barn, so I suppose it is 'our' barn). At this party was my present coach, and I happened to mention something about showing horses to her. The mention of riding competitively was done in an offhand manner and between shots of tequila so I certainly never thought that too much would come of it.

Two days later I was at the barn for my usual Monday night ride on Sargeant and his owner came to me while I was having my pre-ride smoke. She just walked in and said "Are you going to show Sargeant for me next year?"

Am I going to? The first thought in my mind was, Am I allowed to show Sargeant? Obviously her question answered my question in the affirmative.

Of course the only thing I could say was yes: Yes! I want to ride, I want to be on a horse in public, I want to try my hand and mastering some real skill.

Before Zydeco died, I always thought it was a slap in the face to him for me to be riding another horse. I will never love another horse the way I loved him. I will always cherish everything about that horse. I miss his face every single day.

But here I have an opportunity that I never had with Zydo: He couldn't show at recognized shows because of his arthritis.

Sargeant can. The conversation went on about whether we would do silver level or not, and there was some debate over whether I need the experience of a couple low-level shows before I move on to the big times.

I then tacked up Sargeant and rode him for all he was worth. And this part sounds stupid but this is what I was doing: I was listening to a caller in my head, calling out the moves as I rode them, practicing perfect form and wondering what it would be like to do so in white breeches for a crowd.

I'm soon to be out of work which has really, really gotten me down. But while that opportunity has shut its doors, this opportunity has come knocking and I feel like, in equestrian respects at least, I've landed on the moon.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Clifford Cave...

I refer often to The Clifford Cave in real life, although when I searched it on my blog, I didn't find any posts that describe it. Sure, the Clifford Cave is mentioned in passing, but nothing substantial to note.

The Clifford Cave is my bedroom here at The Ranch. It hasn't always been Clifford, but it has always had a bit of a cave-like feel to it.

Originally, the Clifford Cave was just the boys room. It was smelly, laundry was strewn about, beds were everywhere, and my mother avoided it like the plague. It remained in this unruly state until I was sixteen.

At this point, all the smelly boys moved out and we found out, much to our joy, that the Precious Boy was on his way.

My mother hired a dumpster and we emptied out the contents of this bedroom.(I discovered today that we really only emptied some of the contents at that time, but anyhow). Twenty years' worth of clothing and school books and the odds and ends that children collect through their lives was tossed into a dumpster and taken away.

We did our best to hide the rest of the contents under beds and in boxes around the perimeter of the room. A crib was brought in, a changing table made out of one of the dressers, and a beautiful child spent his first week of life in this strangely laid out room.

When the Precious Boy and his father, Big Brother the First, decided to move in for good, a wall was put in the centre of the room to make it into two rooms. As a child, I always longed for a beautiful bedroom. The interior decorator in me came out and we painted the room two shades of blue and put up a Clifford border along with Clifford accents in the far room. It has matching blackout shades for naptime and I thought it was a masterpiece.

Six years later, I moved home from university. Everyone was exhausted (Was it the cancer? That Big Brother the Second was serving his third tour in Afghanistan? The million other things going on in our lives?) and no one did anything with the Clifford end of the room or the regular end. My stuff piled up on top of years' worth of other stuff, and in this clutter I have now lived for three years. A wooden high chair, baskets of books, cases of CDs, and hunting supplies to no end lined the walls of my room.

Eventually Mal and I named it the Clifford Cave. Allow me to describe the room: The door is about four feet high. This means that unless you are under ten years of age or really, really short, you risk taking your head off every time you go in. The walls are only about three feet high before they slope to a cieling that is about a foot in width before it meets the other sloped cieling. In length, the entirety of the space is about twenty feet. In width, perhaps twelve. The main light, only in the first half of the room, works sporadically at best and there is minimal heat.

I've always dreamed of a space to call my own. I love living here at The Ranch. I love my loud, unruly family and their bounding dogs and the children and the blaring television set. I never feel alone here. But sometimes, after those crazy shifts with the loud children and all the insanity, I need a minute to sit alone. Since I've moved home, I've wanted to turn the regular end of the room into a living room, and the Clifford end of the room into my bedroom.

This week, it happened. We emptied drawers, dressers, and book shelves. We vacuumed places that haven't seen the light of day in a decade. We found dust bunnies we didn't know could exist. And at the end of the day, a dear friend came over and we transformed the regular end of the room into a living room.

I have washed, vacuumed, dusted, washed more and vacuumed more. I have heaved furniture hither and yon, scrubbed things I never thought I would scrub (Baseboards? What's a baseboard?) and the room smells delightful.

Hopefully I get my lazy butt up in the morning and finish washing so that this weekend we can paint. I've no idea what color I want my living room to be, but tonight I sat with a dear friend and my mother, chatting about nothing, and I thought that really? It is quite nice to have a space of one's own.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

And Then They Grow Up...

Berry Baby the First has left the nest. She has gone to a city far, far away, much further than the city I went to so that she can attain a higher education.

What happened? Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that she was the silly little girl with the ponytail and the giggles? I thought she was just a little girl who needed help doing up her zipper and who wanted to watch Disney movies all day long.

Where did she go?

I spent some time Facebook chatting with this delightful young woman. I have always said this of the Berry Babies: They are magnificent children. They are well mannered, well spoken, talented in many areas, and generally a delight to be around. (And let me tell you that I work with teenagers. There are not too many teenagers I actually want to be around in my off time. These Berry Babies? I could hang out with them till the cows come home).

I'm a little bit jealous, I won't lie. She is off living the life that I once lived, where people are coming and going and things are happening all the time. She is getting together her textbooks and figuring out how to work her laptop and finding her way around campus. I just said to her tonight, I wish I could go back to university at the age of 26. I would so rock that place.

If there is any human being that I have faith in, it is in this girl. Her intelligence and maturity continue to astound me, as she has always astounded me. Her sense of humor, her ability to adjust to any situation, her desire to do well... I'm astounded.

I was worried at first the weekend she went away. What if she ended up like me, living in Hell with a howly cat and no friends? What if she was sad and lonely and felt like she had nowhere to go? How would this wonderful, sweet, angelic girl cope?

But she is not friendless or sad or alone.

Because she is wonderful.

I look forward to each and every step along her journey. I look forward to hearing about it and to remembering those steps that I took along my journey.