Thursday, December 27, 2007

The World is a little darker place today.....

I wasn't online yesterday because we were visiting my brother.... I returned to the cyberworld to find sad news awaiting me. Kim of I shaved my Legs for This? went to take her place among the stars yesterday. How like Kim to somehow manage to wait till the day after Christmas to leave her family. It is so like her! She would not have wanted Christmas to be remembered by them as the day she left them...

Kim fought her long battle with cancer with bravery and courage. I was often in awe of her strength and of the way she never lost her sense of humor even when faced with news that would have devastated anyone. This isn't to say she didn't have days that she railed against the disease! But always, through it all, she kept reminding us that every day spent with our loved ones is a good day.

I 'knew' Kim through her journal before the dreaded 'C' word reared it's ugly head. She would often tell us stories of her immediate family, her history, and of her extended family. Always with a dash of humor thrown in.

When she was diagnosed she ranted a little, cried a little, and then became the warrior against the disease that we all followed in her journal. Being Kim, she felt that if the tale of her battle helped even one other person to have a little hope, gave them a little more strength to fight, then she had accomplished her goal.

Kim held nothing back. We heard of the dark days when she contemplated her mortality. We were with her when she received good news from tests AND bad news. She constantly reminded us that she was fighting to spend as many precious moments with her family as she could manage.

Today there is one more bright star in the heaven's. Kim hasn't left us. I know that she will continue to watch over her children and her husband from wherever she has gone. She loved all four of those children with a fierceness that we would often see when she would go into 'mama bear' mode.... and she loved her husband. Jim was the other half of her... her sole mate.

Goodbye Dear Friend....... I will miss your humor, your strength, your poetry, and the beautiful way you could see the world thru the lens of your camera. I will miss you......

Edited to add later:
I just found out thru another journal that J-land lost another person this week. Lahoma of Lahoma's Laments also lost her battle with cancer. She passed on Christmas Day. It is truly a sad week in cyberland....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

Since I sort of missed (i.e. never got around to) doing a caroling around J-land entry, I'm doing it now... today... on Christmas Eve! LOL!

The idea was that each person would tell their favorite Christmas song and make an entry. Then everyone could go from journal to journal leaving links back to their own Caroling around J-land entry.... Yeah, I hopped right on that, didn't I?!?

I present for your viewing/listening pleasure my very favorite Christmas song. I adore the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and I especially love Christmas Eve in Sarejevo. So, for your enjoyment I present.....


Hope everyone had a Happy Winter Holiday of their Choice!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Celebrations of Light & Hope

It has become tradition that on Dec 21 I repost this entry from my first year of blogging. It originally appeared on my AOL Journal in 2004. This is the fourth year that I have 'reprinted' it. It still says what I want to remember about this time of year, so I am repeating it again this year. Some of the circumstances have changed... We won't be seeing my brother and his family until New Year's this year because G is again working for someone so that they may be home for the Santa Ritual with their small children. Our little family is one smaller with the passing of D.K. Things change and yet some things remain the same. I hope you enjoy my annual Celebration of Light and Hope.

PreviewToday is the shortest day of the year... and the longest night. It is the first day of Winter. It is the celebration of Yule. It is an acknowledgement of Hope. That Light and Warmth and other good things will always return after the darkness. It is the day that G. and I celebrate as our personal Winter Holiday. In ancient times, this was the festival of the rebirth of the new god and a promise that after today the days would get longer, the nights would get shorter, and warmth and Spring WOULD come.

Yes, secularly we, like so many others, celebrate Christmas. In the United States, Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. With the gift giving, and Santa, and the decorations... Christmas has become more, and less, than what was originally intended. Everyone takes the pieces and parts of the holiday that works for them. Some embrace the religious parts, and try to ignore how secular it has become... others embrace the secular with it's parties, lights, Santa, and presents and ignore any religious beginnings of the holiday. But, at it's heart, it is still a Winter Holiday.. A celebration of Hope. And every religion/belief system seems to have a celebration of some type that embraces this.

I grew up in the States, and therefore my memories of a Winter Holiday include all of the above. And Christmas itself is as much a melting pot as the United States itself. The Christmas tree is German, and Santa is the culmination of a blend of traditions from many countries. Mistletoe? Druid. Christmas Cards? England. You see what I mean. G. and I will be celebrating with my brother and his family on Christmas Eve at his house. That's the day we all have off together. Christmas Day G. is working so a co-worker can be home with his small children for the Santa Claus ritual <g>.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't Previewmatter who you are, or what your core beliefs are... There is a place in the Winter Holidays for all. But, please, take a moment this season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, or Christmas, to remember that the REAL reason for all of these celebrations is to celebrate HOPE in all of its forms

graphics by useless graphics

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Introducing Ricco!



This is Ricco. He is an andalusian stallion and just about the sweetest stallion you could ever hope to meet. In fact, unless you looked, you would probably assume when meeting him that he was a gelding. He is that docile and gentle. But don't let that sweet attitude fool you, he can be quite the handful if he wants to be!

Isn't he beautiful? His Poppa is an award winning stud, and Ricco doesn't want you to forget it! While he is very sweet and gentle, he just radiates attitude. "Look at ME!" would be his favorite phrase if he could talk. Probably followed very closely by, "Got any Food?" He is a real Mooch.

The little scamp slipped out of his fenced off area the other day. It is just an area fenced off by hot wire so he can spend his days outside since he has to be turned out alone... (the whole stallion thing!) He slipped under one of the strands of hot wire  and went out into the yard to look around and visit with the other horses in the regular pastures... and probably look for food LOL!. I looked up and saw him loose, and quickly walked outside to make sure he wasn't getting into any trouble. A "Hey You!" and a "Come Here, Ricco" was all it took to have him come trotting over to me. I looped my finger in his forelock and led him back to his area and put him back in, tightening up the piece of fence that had stretched out and allowed him to slip out. I swear he looked at me with a "Who Me?" look on his face when I was telling him what a little rascal he was. This is why he gets put back in his stall at night! The picture above was taken under the tree that he likes to hang out under in the afternoon.

Andalusians are usually born dark and then gray out (i.e. turn white) as they age. Occasionally you will also see other colors, but gray is the dominant color. Ricco will slowly lose his dapples as he ages, but will probably maintain the black on his legs for many years. The full body shot of him at the bottom of the entry shows what I mean about his legs being darker. That shot was taken in one of the big pastures this last summer.

Here are a couple of links if you are interested in learning more about these beautiful horses. There is one from Wikipedia, another from The International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Assoc, one from (the Andalusian was a major influence in the beginnings of the Lippizzaner breed), and finally one from the Dept of Animal Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Ricco as much as I enjoy having him around!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Wonderful Gift



Yesterday I opened up the mailbox and found a package inside. I had been expecting the package, but was a little upset because the package, while relatively flat, had been forced into our mailbox. Luckily we have a large mailbox and it had been put in at as much of an angle as the mailman could manage. The edges were a little bent, but the main package was fine.

I hurried to the house to open the package and assure myself that what was inside wasn't harmed. I was very happy to see that it wasn't. Inside was a wonderful gift from a very talented  artist friend. Her name is Maryanne and she paints beautiful pictures that she shares with us in her blog called Paint Dance. I just love everything she does, but I especially enjoy her bright, colorful, amazing landscapes. She sees everything in her minds eye in wonderful, vivid colors and puts it down on a canvas in a way that makes you want to just walk into the paintings and stay for a while. I have commented a few times on how much I enjoy her work and was ecstatic when she made a very generous offer to send me one of her beautiful canvases. I, of course, immediately said "YES, please!"

I wanted to immediately show off the not one but TWO beautiful paintings she sent me. I wanted to post a picture of them the very moment I got them, but I needed light to get a good photo. Taking a picture indoors was not going to do it. First thing this morning I grabbed the paintings and my camera and went outside.  The photos don't do justice to the paintings. They don't even begin to capture the texture and color of these beautiful pieces of art.

The picture above is of the smaller piece. Maryanne calls it Dappled Light and Shadow. The piece at the bottom of the entry, which is a little larger, is called Banyans on the Bay. Both are sooo gorgeous in person.

Some of my other favorite paintings of hers are: Yellow Springs-the west meadow view, Beach Bums, Tahitian Moon and Halloween at The General Warren Inn. There are many, many more. Go and look in her archives, you won't be sorry!

I wish I had the ability to create such beautiful things, but since I don't I'm glad that I can at least enjoy them!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Thoughts

Tonight is another night of just random thoughts and links. I have a really cool surprise for tomorrows entry, but I need to take a picture. A picture requires light. While I could take the picture indoors, I think the subject will look nicer under natural light. Intrigued? Let's just say that surprising gifts from really nice people are the best.

Now for the random thoughts:

#1 Wow! Surprisingly there are some people who find my life interesting. Compared to the life I was living, I find my current life to be, not boring exactly, but not as fast paced as I was used to. This is not a bad thing by any means, just different. I'm just surprised that people find my day to day interesting ;p  Still, since people seem interested, I will try to post a little more often about my daily life and the critters who inhabit it.

#2 I'm currently reading (and enjoying) John Scalzi's book The Android's Dream. This book is very different from the other two books of his I have read. I enjoyed Old Man's War and it's sequel The Ghost Brigades, but this current book really gives you a look at the undeniably warped sense of humor that John has. The book starts out with a diplomat killing his extraterrestrial opposite by... wait for it.... farting at him till he has a stroke! Oh, and then dying himself from a heart attack from laughing too hard. From there the story gets weird. I'm about 1/2 way thru and it is great. It helps that I have an odd sense of humor and enjoy the absurd. Still, even with all of the 'funny' stuff going on, John manages to craft a really good Sci-fi story... albeit with a wink and a nod.

#3 I found this link today, and when I clicked through I was amazed. I'm assuming he blows the eggs out first and then uses the dremel on them. How delicate and intricate these are. The patience he must have..... Enjoy!

#4 It's December and Santa is on our minds. Here are a few unusual ones for you to take a look at. I particularly like Scuba Santa LOL!

#5 and finally, because I know that this season, while full of joy and fun, can be a little nerve wracking, I offer up something to help you relax. Click here and pop your way to calmness!

Oops almost forgot #6.... The picture below is one I took when we went to the local  botanical garden. Enjoy!



Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Horsy Post




It has come to my attention (both thru e-mail and comments on my Blogger and AOL Journals) that some of you may be interested in hearing about the horses that I take care of. Before you hear stories about them, first you need to know the cast of characters. Today you get a glimps of all my 'babies' and a little about each. Then, if people seem interested I might do some individual entries.

Only one of these horses belongs to me personally. He is an arabian and his name is Boo. You've seen a few pictures of him over the years. The picture at the top of this post is of my handsome boy. I've owned Boo since he was a baby and he is going to be 18 next year. He is what we call a black bay, but, since he lives in Florida, he is usually sunburned to a lighter brown ;p

The rest of the horses are owned by a very dear friend of mine who I knew before we moved here. Her farm turned out to be right across the road from where I live now, which makes it very convenient for me! She own performing horses, and is often away performing with them. My normal compliment of horses are the ones who stay home when she is away. All of her horses are gray and either Arabians, Andalusians, or an Andalusian crosses. Yep, they are all supposed to look similar.

The cast of Characters that stay here all the time, in addition to my guy,  are:The Five who are retired from the ring for one reason or another (mostly because of age--two are over 30 years old!). They are Ten, Omar, Orin, Mahome, and Abduhl. All five of them are Arabians. The next two are also Arabians, but they are Yearlings (soon to be 2). One is a smokey color, and the other has a pink cast, but both will eventually be gray. They are known as Bebe and Bizou. You probably guessed that Bebe is French for Baby, but Bizou's name means Kiss. Why French names? Because my friend speaks French to her horses as that is her 'first' language. The last two are my andalusian crosses. They are both 2 years old (soon to be 3) and they will start their training this year to join the act. One is an andalusian/percheron cross and the other is an andalusian/quarter horse cross. Their names are French for thunder and lightning: Eclair and Tonnerre. All of these guys are geldings.

Currently my friend is on vacation for 19 days, and in addition to the normal cast of characters I also have 7 extras! The 'young guys' are four geldings known as: Gomlet, Sahab, Bajo, and Gazie. I'm not sure I got the spellings right, but that's how I pronounce them! We also have Alidar who is a little bit older. He is snow white and gorgeous. They are all arabians. The last two are the stallions, Rico and Shagal. Shagal is a smokey gray arabian  and the apple of his mama's eye. My friend has had him since the day he was born and you can tell. He just worships her. Rico is a beautiful andalusian stallion.

So, there you have it. My friend was worried that adding in the extra 7 would be a problem, but really it doesn't take that much extra time to take care of the extras. Everyone is outside in pastures enjoying the Florida winter weather most of the day. The stallions come in at night so I don't have to worry about them getting into trouble, but unless we get a cold snap everyone else is happy in their pastures. We are a little cramped with double the numbers, but with a little shuffling of pastures everyone has a place.

Have I bored you all to death yet? LOL!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Random Thoughts

Tonight you get an issue of Random Thoughts.......

#1. Someone in e-mail mentioned that I don't post often lately, and it's mostly a Wordless Wednesday picture, or some such thing. I don't seem to ever talk about my life anymore.

Whew! I guess that has been true, especially this last year. I've not been very good about posting on a regular basis. Why? My 'real' life just isn't very exciting since I moved out into the country. That is unless you are interested in hay, poop, and assorted boring animal stuff. Mostly I've been taking care of the horses and since that is seven days a week.. well, I don't get to do much else. This person seems to think that would make interesting blog fodder so I guess I could do some of that. If I bore you the little red x is always there!

However, I think that things are going to possibly get a little more blog worthy around here. There is the possibility of a little adventure in the near future. We will see. In the meantime, I am going to start trying to post something --even if it is just random thoughts on life in general-- at least a couple of time a week. Maybe I will find my 'blog bliss' again...

#2 Another person asked in comments about one of my favorite (albeit boring to many people) things. Donna asked about my horses. Everyone is doing great, I'm up to 17 horses right now. I've got a long 'horsy' post that I've been meaning to do for the last week, so stay tuned for that.

#3 I've been decorating for Christmas! On my AOL Journal that is simply a change of colors and the addition of a picture in my All About Me section. I have a couple more things I plan to add to that. My Blogger Blog, on the other hand, got a new heading, new background and pretty green and red fonts. I'll have a few more things to add during the month to both places.

#4 I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but our Blog Father is leaving us. I know many of you, like me, will miss your daily dose of Scalzi. Lucky for us John has a blog out in the 'wilds' of the Blogosphere called The Whatever. I started reading the Whatever soon after I found By The Way. It's a little edgier than BTW, but if you are missing Mr. Scalzi, it's a place to see what he is up to. You won't get Monday Photo shoots, or Weekend Assignments, but you WILL get Athena pictures, pics of the Cats and Dog, the occasional sunset/sunrise picture, and John's take on the world around him. Quick... go... Check it Out... I'll wait.

Lalalalalala.... Oh, your back! Onward to:

#5 Need something to do that will cause you to lose long blocks of time that you will never find again? Do you like Spirograph and kaleidoscope type things? Do you ooh and aah at fireworks? Go here and check this out. Once it loads move your mouse across the open space. Cool, huh? Now, see those circles at the bottom right and left corners? Click them and move your mouse again. Yeah... you can lose some time playing here ;p I don't know if I've ever posted that link before, but I was playing with it earlier today, soooooo.....

#6 Now that I've given you #5, I can safely leave you to play by yourself. Bwahahahahahaha!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wordless Wednesday