My Equestrian Bucket List

Got this meme from a fellow equestrian a while back. Given how much I love memes (not), I put it aside, and finally dug it out tonight to fill it out. Here goes:

Which of the following have you already checked off of your equestrian bucket list?

  1. Gallop along the beach.
    *snort*
    Gallop on a beach? In Wisconsin? Have you seen our beaches? Like you think you even could gallop around all the trailers unloading ice fishing shanties from the shore?
  2. Win a blue ribbon, even if it’s for the egg and spoon race!
    Does it count if you’ve glued the egg to the spoon?
  3. Enjoy an evening of equestrian theater, from major touring productions such as Cavalia to local performance troupes.
    See #1. Like we’d ever have the chance here in Wisconsin?
  4. Try your hand at cattle work. Find out what it means when they say a horse is “cowy.”
    Oh, Lordy, I can just see what the local dairies would do if I had ever gone out herding their prize Holsteins… yeah, that would have gotten me shot right quick, I’m here to tell ya.
  5. Jump! From crossrails to cross-country obstacles, experience the thrill of soaring over fences.
    I’m assuming you mean jump various obstacles whilst mounted on a four-footed beast, not by, say hurtling oneself at them in futile hopes of getting over? If so, then yes–already done that. Lots. Even did a tad of jumping while riding sidesaddle with my late beloved Beth, the World’s Best Horse. Ever. So we can check this one off.
  6. Fall off and get right back on again. Conquering fear is empowering.
    Yeah, right. Let me slap whoever wrote that up the side of the head to see if I can shake a few of their brain cells into functioning. It’s SO noble. Uh huh. Especially when your horse stumbles while he’s cruising at a nice bold canter and you do a triple cartwheel through the air while your horse equally spectacularly crashes, leaving you both with injuries that are damned nasty and only by a miracle not deadly. Empowering, my a–.
  7. See the majestic white Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School.
    (Shhhh – don’t tell anyone…. I’d actually love to do this–it really is a bucket list item for me!)
  8. Come to a sliding stop on a well-trained reining horse.
    Done a few of these on a badly-trained brainless Appaloosa named (fittingly) “Bobo” who could jump the moon but loved to pitch riders into the standards just for giggles, but never did one of these on a reining horse, well-trained or otherwise.
  9. Take a lesson with your equestrian idol, _________ (you fill in the blank.)
    Sadly, The Lone Ranger never answered my letters asking for his schedule of clinic dates, before retiring his mask.
  10. Nurse a horse through a crisis and back to full health.
    Yes, and discovered to my chagrin that they’re much better patients than I am, although I’ve drawn the line at providing bedpan service, ungrateful owner than I was.
  11. Watch the horses come through the Head of the Lake on cross-country day at the Rolex Three-Day Event.
    No, but I’ve seen a Belgian draft horse charge through a five-foot tall manure heap and jump a four-foot fence to escape a particularly nasty stinging horsefly. Does that count?
  12. Have the courage to do the right thing for your horse, even when it’s not easy.
    Like what, deny her carrots when she’s had more than The Official Carrot Guru says she should? Puh-leeze–that’s not courage. It’s being “daring.” (waddya mean, I’m sarcastic? NOT! I’m ironic. So there. Nyaaah.)
  13. Attend the Kentucky Derby dressed to the nines-including hat!
    Strike that one. I don’t like mint juleps. Too sweet.
  14. Tackle a trail accessible only by horseback and enjoy the view.
    What view? The view of my riding partner’s horse’s butt scampering off down the trail after dumping her when a vicious fanged maple leaf blew past on the ground and touched his hoof? That view?
  15. Take your dream vacation on horseback.
    aHAHAHAHAHHA! My dream vacation involves lots of down time with fluffy pillows, no alarm clocks, sacks of candy and a case of Frey port wine. The horse is more than welcome to come along if it brings its own corkscrew and snacks.
  16. Master the sitting trot.
    Duh. This one just cracks me up. Sets of cavaletti’s followed by three-foot in-and-outs… (as in a series of three jumps in a row, each three feet tall, with the horse taking one stride in between, for those of you who haven’t ridden hunters or jumpers) without stirrups AND without reins was part of the regular practice routine back when I was riding hunters. Not just for me – for everyone. Master the sitting trot. Hee hee hee. Um, that would be a “yes, already done that. (who wrote these?)
  17. Ride a fine-tuned horse in your discipline of choice, be it dressage schoolmaster or barrel champ.
    You mean like the time I was talked into taking out a highly trained eventer through an Olympic training level cross-country course, because I was naive enough to believe his owner when she said “if you think any of the fences are too hard for you, you can just go around them.” Little problem: my friend neglected to tell the horse that, and being a very talented and competitive eventer, Horsie thought jumping was more FUN than carrots and apples, and the bigger the fence the BETTER and ALL fences were made to be jumped. I’m guessing it must have looked like the equine equivalent of putting a Piper Cub pilot behind the controls of an F-18 fighter and slinging him off a carrier via the steam cat. Screams optional. I’m here to tell you it was six miles of sheer unadulterated terror… but, damn, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
  18. Watch polo. Even better, try your hand at it!
    Actually, I’ve played a bit of polo, and am totally lousy at it. But, boy, could the Morgans I rode kick butt in a good game of broom polo.
  19. Feed, muck, groom, ride. Repeat daily.
    If this is on anyone’s bucket list, they need their head examined. My bucket list? Owning the horses and having somebody else always do this for me. Daily. For free.
  20. Wake up to a whinny every morning.
    If I was waking up to whinny, it would mean yet another Morgan spent its night scheming out a way to go over, under, around or through a “horse-proof” fence and was demanding breakfast at 4 a.m. by shoving its nose into the house. Does this sound like a life ambition to you? No? Me neither.
  21. Fly down the track on a Thoroughbred.
    You haven’t experienced a gallop until you’ve galloped a just-off-the-track-Thoroughbred who has learned to do one thing in its life (run like hell, with no on-board brakes as standard equipment and about as much steering mobility built in as an oil tanker) and the pig truck arrives unannounced to drop off a load of angry full-grown porkers in an open pen right next to the arena. Yeah, that’s a bucket list item everyone should aspire to have. Special note: be sure to have clean undies waiting at the point you figure your crazed mount will finally stumble to a stop in exhaustion. That will ensure that you can obtain a “newly freshened” feeling after you drop to the ground and kiss it fervently in sheer and abject thanks for your survival.
  22. Meet one of your favorite famous horses in person.
    See “Lone Ranger” above. I always did want to meet Silver.
  23. Ride bareback, bridleless … or both!
    Well, duh, I’m guessing whoever wrote this one was born into money, because the rest of us rode that way because it was cheaper than putting lots of wear and tear on that expensive tack. What, that’s not why you’re supposed to ride bareback and bridleless? It’s supposed to be a mystical experience?
    *eye roll*
    (Remind me again, did I already ask who wrote these stupid questions?)
  24. Share a bond with your horse that’s deeper than words.
    I leased a Thoroughbred for a while who would fight with me over who got the last spoonful of our shared hot-fudge-coffee-flavored-ice-cream sundaes. Does that count?

Whew – that it! That’s the end of the meme. Aren’t you glad we had this moment of sharing?

*snort redux*

Five Questions

My buddy Kris tagged me this morning with a meme. So, since I’m SUCH a team player, here goes:

The rules:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.

Check.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

Um, with questions that all ask “what are your…” or “what are you…,” just who else precisely would the questions be for? Perhaps there might be some confusion if I owned a pair of goldfish I’ve named “You” and “Your,” but otherwise, isn’t this rule covering something a trifle… well… obvious?

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.

I can see a slight process problem, as Kris (who tagged me) has already tagged everyone I would tag. We’ll just skip this rule.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Check. I’ll go do that in just a moment.

On to the questions!

What were you doing five years ago?

You have GOT to be kidding – five years ago? Like I keep track of what I ate for breakfast today, much less what I was doing 1825 days ago? I think not. Humph. Next question.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

Hm. Another tricky question. Maybe create a “to-do” list? Nah. Why do that, when I can use my trusty ‘projects and tasks’ spreadsheet? It even lets me enter weighted priorities to figure out what needs getting done first and tells me if it’s even possible to finish something in the available time. Note: having a spouse who is a spreadsheet programming wizard can have unexpected benefits, including nifty spreadsheets that explode when you say you have one minute available but need 10,000 hours for your backlog of household- related critical priority tasks. Undermining software can be so entertaining!

What are five snacks you enjoy?

Shortbread cookies – my own recipe. Cheesecake – my own recipe. Parfaits – my own recipe. (Are we seeing a pattern here?) Fresh sliced strawberries and bananas smothered in Sibbey’s vanilla ice cream. Anything made with tart cherries and lots of sugar. I do not enjoy celery, skimmed milk, raw broccoli or any other tasteless substitute for real food. So there.

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

Probably what I’m dong right now, except with money.

What are five of your bad habits?

Bad hobbits? Are there bad hobbits? I thought they were all nice, like Frodo and Sam and besides, I don’t own any hobbits – wouldn’t that be slavery? What? Oh. Bad habits. Now I’m even more confused. I don’t wear a habit! Only nuns and sisters wear habits! I wear ordinary street clothing… Have the rules changed? Am I supposed to be wearing a habit? And why would I want a “bad” habit? What’s that? Oh. Can you repeat the question?

What are five places where you have lived?

In my imagination. Nice place, most of the time. Oops. Sorry. You meant physical locations. Lemme see… suburb of Detroit… Big 10 University city. Big 10 University suburb. Different Big 10 University city. Yet another Big 10 University suburb. Small village in Wisconsin.

What are five jobs you’ve had?

Paying or unpaid? Volunteer? Mandatory? First job I had was dusting and mopping my room. The pay was lousy (not suprising, as it was unpaid forced labor – parents can be so darn mean). Hated it. Still do. That’s why if you come into my house and complain about dust bunnies you’ll be given a choice between dusting and mopping yourself, or taking the top sheet from a pad of post-it notes, writing an appropriate dust-bunny-type name on the top sheet (e.g. “Fang”), and tagging the nearest critter. After all, if it’s a pet, then it belongs, right? Of course right. Perfectly logical.

Then there was my second job, which entailed ironing my Dad’s handkerchiefs so they were precisely square and perfect and fit all military specs. Then there was –

Oh, quit grimacing! I’ll stop now!

Memes. Humph.

Life 101

Last week, on Sarah’s blog, I found an interesting list – a meme, really – of ‘life experiences’.

According to this list, I must be a stick-in-the-mud homebody, as I haven’t been inside the Great Pyramid, visited Paris, backpacked in Europe, visited more foreign countries than U.S. states, gone on an African photo safari, taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country, gone to Thailand, ridden a gondola in Venice, visited the Great Wall of China, visited Japan, walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa, visited Ireland, danced with a stranger in a foreign country, or visited all 7 continents.

So much for foreign travel.

How about swimming with wild dolphins, whale watching, cuddling a tarantula, visiting all 50 states, rafting the Snake River, taking a trip in a hot air balloon or going rock climbing? Have I climbed a mountain, taken a Ferrari for a test drive, taken a candlelit bath with someone, bungee jumped, touched an iceberg, bet on a winning horse, asked out a stranger, or held a lamb?

Huh. I haven’t done any of those, either. The closest I’ve come to any of them is rounding up an escaped ewe that was well past her lamb days.

*Sigh*

Well, have I danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking? Adopted an accent for an entire day? Stolen a sign, gone sky diving, pretended to be a superhero, sung karaoke, gone scuba diving, started a business, taken a martial arts class, been in a movie, crashed a party, gotten divorced, won first prize in a costume contest, gotten a tattoo, been on a television news program as an ‘expert,’ been to Las Vegas, or eaten shark?

Nope. Haven’t done any of these either.

So, what else have I missed? Well, I haven’t performed in Rocky Horror, followed my favorite band/singer on tour, written articles for a large publication, lost over 100 pounds, held someone while they were having a flashback, piloted an airplane, touched a stingray, won money on a T.V. game show, had a facial part pierced other than my ears, had a snake as a pet, hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days, eaten kangaroo meat, gone back to school, parasailed, selected one “important” author who I missed in school, and read their works, been elected to public office, written my own computer language, thought to yourself that I’m living my dream, had to put someone I love into hospice care, sold my own artwork to someone who didn’t know me, had a booth at a street fair, dyed my hair, been a DJ, shaved my head or caused a car accident.

While I’m at it, I haven’t been heartbroken longer than I was actually in love, had two hard drives for my computer, gone without food for 5 days, been on a cruise ship, survived an accident that I shouldn’t have survived, had plastic surgery, picked up and moved to another city to just start over, walked the Golden Gate Bridge, killed and prepared an animal for eating or skipped all my school reunions and I’ve never hit a home run. Oh, and I’ve never bought everyone in a bar a round of drinks, which isn’t surprising as I haven’t been in a bar in decades, and frequented them rarely even in my university days.

Okaaaaaaay.. so just what have I done, given that my life’s experiences to date include none of the aforementioned (I’ve always wanted to find a use for that word!) items from that dratted list?

I’ve had a food fight. Hasn’t everyone who has tried to convince a toddler to try new vegetables?

I’ve said, “I love you,” and meant it (well, duh!).

Have I hugged a tree? Indeed I have, back in my college years, after imbibing more Yukon Jack than was wise and following that indiscretion with an unfortunate chaser of greasy fries. Since those days, I’ve discovered that grease and alcohol are not part of any recommended food group. Who would have thought?

I’ve watched many a glorious lighting storm, stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise, and have seen the magnificent display of the Northern Lights several times.

Have I gone to a huge sports game? Absolutely! Can we say ‘Lambeau Field’ and ‘Green Bay Packers?’ Go Pack! I’ve also been to Milwaukee Brewers’ games and Detroit Tigers’ games. I’ve gone to many a college sports event, too, including football games at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin. I’ve even screeched like a bloodthirsty idiot at Badger hockey games, once I figured out what was going on.

Is there anything else on this list I can claim as part of my history?

*Deep breath*

Ready?

I’ve grown and eaten my own vegetables (yum), slept under the stars (isn’t that called camping?), changed a baby’s diaper (more times than I care to count), watched a meteor shower (love doing that!), looked up at the night sky through a telescope (not surprising, as I worked during my undergraduate years for the department of astronomy and astrophysics at a Big Ten university), had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (oh my, yes, and been glared at by the astounded Bishop for said event), had a snowball fight (Whap! Gottcha!), seen a total eclipse (sun and moon both), ridden a roller coaster (Wahooo!), actually felt happy about myself, taken care of someone who was drunk, had (and have) amazing friends, taken a road-trip, gone on a midnight walk on the beach, sat at a stranger’s table in a restaurant and had a meal with them, milked a cow, alphabetized my CDs (only briefly), lounged around in bed all day (you’ve got to be kidding – there is someone who hasn’t?), played touch football, kissed in the rain, played in the mud and in the rain, gone to a drive-in theater, toured ancient sites (including the archeological dig more commonly known as ‘my desk’), played D&D for more than 6 hours straight, gotten married, made cookies from scratch (yummmmm!), gotten flowers for no reason, performed on stage, recorded music, bought a house, buried one of my parents, passed out cold (no, it wasn’t from drinking – it was from a whack on the head), sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop even when I knew someone was looking, and helped an animal give birth.

Need a breather? Me too!

OK. Now, what else have I managed to experience over the years?

Well, I’ve broken a bone (several, actually), fired a rifle, shotgun, and a pistol, eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild, ridden a horse (many, actually, and owned a lovely Morgan mare who was a member of our family until her death at age 29), had major surgery, slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours, eaten sushi, had my picture in the newspaper, touched a cockroach (now that takes me back to our second apartment at the University’s married housing, which was absolutely infested with the little critters), read The Iliad and the Odyssey, communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (doesn’t everyone who drives a car in a big city discover that they have this skill, regardless of their native language or ethnicity?), and I’ve built my own PC from parts.

Whew.

So… how about you, Oh Best Beloved? What have — or haven’t — you done?

2007 Christmas Meme

Since Kris tagged me for a Christmas meme that is identical to one I posted last year, I thought I’d entertain myself and write a new meme.

Here ’tis.

Q: How come no one calls Mrs. Claus fat? Or says that about The Man himself?

A: I’m guessing the answer is coal – lots o’ coal – for insulting the Jolly One’s wife.

Q: Do you decorate the outside of your home for Christmas?

A: A tad – just a wreath this year, so far. It’s probably good that I can’t get out there and do any decorating, or I’d be hiring a cherry picker to help me string a few thousands watts around the property. I love seeing outdoor Christmas decorations, and the more lights, the better. Dolly Parton, the queen of tasteful excess, is my hero in this philosophy; remember – more is better!

Q: Have you ever gone Christmas caroling?

A: Oh, definitely! Started the habit in high school, when my German teacher, Frau Tangert, organized a caroling eve every year, complete with caroling through some neighborhoods and a party at her home afterwards, with all the home-baked cookies and German pastries you could eat. Yum!

Q: What do you think about the impropriety of the city of Green Bay allowing a nativity scene at a government office?

A: And what impropriety would that be? They’re encouraging residents to provide representations of all holidays celebrated this time of year. When did it become essential to exclude in order to be inclusive? Sheesh. The US Postal Service has a Kwanzaa stamp, and one with a menorah, as well as a Madonna and Child stamp. I haven’t heard that the stamp drawers in local post offices are spontaneously combusting because of some sort of violent energy generated by the three stamps co-existing in the same physical space within a U.S. government office. Works for me.

Q: What do you think of reindeer?

A: I think they’re delicious (just kidding… )

Q: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

A: Aha! A trick question! I was waiting for one of these… of course it’s a Christmas movie! Who could watch that movie, and not think Christmas?

Q: What’s your favorite Christmas song?

A. Hard to say, as I love most of ‘em, from Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer to the Christmas-y parts of Handel’s Messiah. The old Harry Simone Choir versions of The Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I Hear are my sentimental favorites, as they come from the first record album I ever owned.

Q: What do you think of Christmas memes?

A: Why, I love ‘em! Really. I do… wait, what’s that? Santa? Oh NO! What are you doing? … You’re stuffing my stocking full of coal??? STOP! Noooooooooooo!!!

*sigh*

Oh, well. I have to look at the bright side. At least we’ll be warm this Christmas!

Eight Facts About Me

Thanks to Michelle, who also blogs over at The Flight Deck, I’ve been tagged with the following meme:

List eight habits or facts about yourself, then tag eight more people

Eight facts about me… huh. And they have to be facts?

Hmmm. Here goes:

1. I love fresh coconut, but can’t choke it down in any other form. Yuck!

2. I play two different instruments, and have been a member of various symphonies and wind ensembles over the years.

3. I have owned or ridden four generations of Morgan horses related to my late Morgan mare, Beth. I leased her granddam, trained with her sire, owned her, rode two of her siblings for various events, and helped train one of her daughters. Beth’s youngest foal, now aged seventeen, is owned by the National Park Service and was specially trained for and is used in search and rescue operations.

4. As an undergraduate, I memorized the entire Linnaean taxonomy (for all kingdoms, phylums, classes, orders, families, and genuses) for an exam, and could reel off any portion of the tables. Now I can’t remember any of it!

5. I’ve visited or lived in 28 of the 50 States in the USA, but have never been outside the USA except for visits to Canada.

6. While I was working for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I supervised twenty-five undergraduate employees that worked for me on a multi-year project for the Institute for Research on Poverty. One evening, while on their way home from classes, one of my employees and her roommate were accosted by an ax-wielding maniac. My employee survived with minor physical injuries, thanks to another brave student who helped stave off their attacker, but her roommate was brutally murdered in spite of their best efforts to bare-handedly fight off the ax-swinging assailant with all they had at hand – their backpacks. To this day, the murderer has never been found or even identified, and no one has ever discovered a motive for the crime.

7. I haven’t eaten chocolate or anything containing chocolate in seventeen years.

8. Although I have sailed in sailboats of various classes since I was six years old, I have never been in a motor boat or on any motorized ship except for a car ferry.

Hmmm, now who to tag… any volunteers? ;-)