these leaves

they just keep falling. and i cant quite catch them, there they lay on the ground. just there. i mean, is it worth it to try and tack them back on their branches? is it just fall or is the tree dying? why does it all have to be so hard watching them flutter down. so beautiful and amazing, part of this magnificent entity.

 just a direction. a number. a glimpse of the future.... because i dont like where all this is headed.
"i got skin like birch bark. you can peel me off and loose me to the wind"

ive reached a point. a new existence. the feeling of what danuwa said, was, is .... it is becoming true, if in no other way but in the changing chemistry of the body. i used to think i was heart because of all there was to get angry about. all the people held dear. that was the first step. and here we are.... and there are fewer people, fewer problems and they all take up more space. more heart. and it pours and the pillow wont make them stop.

i dont feel sorry for myself. i dont cry for what is slipping and sliding (well, maybe a little)  

it just feels more. it quickens the beats the breaths the shudders the rains.

i just, it just,  want it all. just so badly. the desire to grow wiser living on a farm with parents and loves. chickens and a garden for my mom and a shooting gallery for my dad (groundhogs will do i suppose)

the desire to make it. to surround oneself with love and hope ideas questions answers.... and it knows no keeper. where we all end up my be just there, as it plays out in dreams or maybe, shes got it all worked out, just a little twisted. a little warped. she does have a gallows sense of humor doesnt she.

but we all must have faith that there is a reason, a path, a future that she planed and wants for us. we juts have to get there. pulled by the bootstraps.

a deep breath
a deeeeep breath.
sighhh deeeply.
a deep breath
deep breaths.


fall breezes.

i love the fall. I'm not sure that i don't miss the summer a little too much, and I only really enjoy a tiny fraction of the winter. it's mostly the idea of winter that i love.... you know, hot chocolate drinking while bundled up under covers watching shows and chatting with friends, lots of snuggling, the solstice, the christmas etc lights lining all the streets, snow ball fights, ponies puffing out out huge plumes of hot steamy breath in the early morning (who am i kidding, all day everyday through the winter).

Anyway, I mostly love the fall. brisk mornings. clear air. frisky horses, lots of layers, but only the fashionable sort, not the necessities sort.

pumpkin pie.
and of course

halloween. my favorite favorite holiday.
i love halloween parties and costumes and mulled cider and spiced cookies.
bring. it. on.

ps. this is hubert. he decided he needed a snack in the midst of his afternoon roll.


its been a while...

....sometimes. sometimes things just feel too big. emotions mostly. sometimes it's a gut feeling. sometimes its nothing at all, and it swells and there is no name, and your body mind heart just can not contain it.... a scream and tears and laughter and howls. how do you express that which is just too damn big ?

I have been feeling a lot of that lately. i wonder how much of it one can take. i think it builds and builds and builds.

i wonder how one would go about releasing some of the the bigness. some of the intensity. some of the.... whatever it is.

my mom was diagnosed with cancer. they hook up these drips. these drips that are supposed to shrink the expanding out of control parts of her body that just couldn't handle it anymore. they are supposed to put her in control again, take away the biggness. the intensity. make her able to continue living. and yet in the meantime...... she is spiraling. we are all spiraling, i hope with her.

she is the strongest person i have ever met. i think i knew it before i met her, and that is why she is mine, why i chose her. why she chose me.

i just don't know how she does it. these huge boulders fall on her, and she just keeps throwing them like pebbles out of the way. she has a wall of pebbles she stands over. pretty soon they will be so numerous she will just climb on top, and the light will just shine.

it does already. she is radiant

how does one let go. we need to let go of the vastness. of do we embrace it, take it in, and let it propel us to our futures? how. how are we supposed to
i don't think we are supposed to do much, except believe in her and grab what feels right, and let go what does not. we are supposed to understand that she works in mysterious ways and has a plan.
her plan, which i saw, was for my mom, my mom is to have encounters, to be a channel, to see. she is supposed to SEE.

i wonder, i dream, i hope, i pray, she has a plan for me too. not to be selfish of course, but simply because i trust that she does.

she must.

she must



things just change so quickly.
so quickly.



oi vey.
things have changed. i got a dream job. with horses. my horse has been having issues with his stifle, which i thought were a thing of the past (two weeks ago) just to reemerge today. our kitchen is almost done, just missing a floor and baksplash, but now fully functional…. yeah! and now, using the kitchen, i have dropped a knife on my foot, and, well. we will see how this all plays out. now t is bandaged and elevated, only throbbing slightly. and work…. at my new dream job come quickly and a little too early tomorrow.




I started making art again. In a different way than i ever have before. I've been making shirts....

Hand painted with left over paint from my screen printing class, and i'm selling them. Ok ok. everyone makes shirts and sells them. first of all, i'm excited cause they look awesome! and secondly and thirdly, they are on thrift store shirts from a store that supports the less advantaged in the community, my community, and the money i make is going to go directly to Courtesy Stables. Which is where I keep my horse. Wait, speaking of horses, check out this one....

I'm a little bit proud of them. And each one gets better and better. Anyway, I'm asking $20 for each, with uber-super-customizable options.... I can get any size shirts, basically any color or style, or fun dress or anything, really. (would make great presents for, well, just about anyone.) I could also make a tote bag, or a wallet, or a head scarf or bandana.... think about it!

and check back for more photos and a real website for them.

If you are interested, let me know... I'm having a blast painting them, and Courtesy could really use some new stall walls, new footing for the turnouts, and most of all a roof for the arena.



bird flu

found this on my computer..... c. david graham.
hope you get a chuckle too.


thunder and lightning.

i am feeling particularly lucky. i have a lovey horse, an extraordinary partner, a homey house (getting better every day), six snuggle bunny kittens (one's a rental) a steady job, and my family is healing...

we are embracing this new way we are put together, this new freedom for my mom, a letting go.... moving to the next stage in our lives. my grandparents will be sweetly missed, but they are surrounding us everyday and helping us all in this next stage of our lives.

mom- i expect you to lead many herb walks and embrace your incredible ability to impart wisom on the most stubborn of folks.

i think it is time to move towards the old wisdoms again..... we all need a bit of healing.



things are in motion. people, places, directions are in a state of turbulence and upheaval..... but in a way that is ultimately going to bring about peace and comfort.

my gang gang, my grandmother, the last of that generation, is laying not a foot to my right, listening to the waves on a beach, emanating from a clock that also projects the time onto the ceiling of this very clean, very somber room. made more beautiful only by the three generations within and the flowering hydrangeas and lilys in purple and yellow amongst the tan and hospital blues and white.

she is waiting, or trying, or hoping, or dreaming of floating off with the noise from this little box, off to join her late husband.... her love, the one she has been with since he passed away, leaving her on the earth, her heart broken, her mind vacating her body with the man she ran away with.

i can only hope her heart is put back
together soon, soon enough.

this weekend has, as i mentioned, been full of upheaval. we began the process of revamping the kitchen in our wonderful home.... and here it is in photos....

the kitchen has been the same color, the same layout, the same everything for decades. the stains from years of smoking, the paper put up around the appliances. it was a little crazy seeing the progressively uglier/disgusting reality that has been our kitchen for the last seven months.

in the first two you can see what we always knew was there. staining, gross paint choices, and ok, but tiny tiny tiny cabinets.

and it only got better the more we took apart....



moments in time when the need to eat is greatest  and one desires no food. the worst of moments



well. it's true. we are all inspire by things we take in the just the blink of an eye. whether they be things we would never want, want to do, or find totally fulfilling in that split second we behold.

today, for me, the moments are swirling. i am dog sitting, and today we went on a beautiful walk. actually, it was a hike. the thing about taking an animal out for a walk by yourself is so different than being in the company of other people, there is no talking, just silent communication. you have committed to walking. to going slow, seeing the surroundings, hearing, smelling, tasting.... being present. we were out for over an hour, up and down and sideways, on the trail, on forbidden drive, where bikers and runners and power walkers are in such a hurry to get their exercise in, forgetting it is one of the most beautiful paths, no cars, no motorized vehicles. and then back by ourselves, up through the woods and into expansive meadows.

the smells are different, the sun feels different, the humidity is different. you can breathe easier. i always forget why i love being outdoors so much more than indoors.... and in the middle of the woods or a natural expanse... there is more oxygen, you litterally can breathe better, freer, and it feels so good coursing through your body.

this weekend was wonderful as well, sunday h and i went to adamstown, the self proclaimed antique capitol of the world. and, well, i would have to agree that percapita they definitely win.
there were so many beautiful old hand crafted pieces, worn, loved, well cared for and probably out living their original owners.

the old beauty, the landscape of hilly middle pennsylvania.

the taste of yummy food,

mmm. a generally yummy beginning to my week.
(of which i wish i had more pictures, but sometimes i get causght up in the moment, and live it a little and forget to take photos. whoops)


week of doom

so as of five minutes from now i will have a crazy week beginning. no 1: dog sitting a pit bull cutie pie for my friend. no 2: agreed to ride a crazy Arabian gelding three times before friday. no 3: my new horse has a swollen hind leg after getting kicked or something in his hock, needs daily cleaning and walking to get the sweeling down in addition to twice daily meds. no 4: i have no voice. and hopefully that will be the extent of the sickness caught from my roomate. not to mention i do stalls wed thurs friday and work nights all this week. so starting saturday, i may be dead. i hope not, but i may be.

oi vey. everything happens at once. always!



i got one. he's big. red and named rooney. i'm going to go visit him now.


early summer...

... means yummy juicy strawberries and the intense desire for peaces and strawberry rhubarb pie.

I'm despritely hoping my sister can come with me and we can pick strawberries and make something yummy, and then eat it all together this afternoon, taking pictures so everyone will know by our faces how yummy it was, but..... wait. that might be mean.

hmm. this weekend h. and i went to a wedding with her whole family.

also, i should point out that we are watching the flyers in the stanley cup right now.... well, she is watching and i am listening to her commentary. we are down, and h gasps, "oh, and with precious moments....."

oh she's so lovely.

Anyway. the weeding was lovely, we looked a smashing family extension. but what was on my mind foremost (much to my and h's chagrin) was the new addition to our house!

basicly he is so sane for being a rescued thoroughbred, and he is irrodescent when the sun hits him. though he's already lost a shoe and so the vetting has had to be pushed back. he's a looker, for sure, and totally sweet and sane. i hope solid and sound as an investment too. we will see i suppose.
rooney. a star?


dream house.

earthy delight basically says it all

country girl

sunday was my birthday. this makes me a gemini. and i try and embrace it with all my halves and wholes.

It started yesterday, well, it's been building for a while... listening to gillian welch and chris pureka non-stop (take a listen).

Yesterday on my way to work, i listening to the only cd in my car.... rising appalchia, two sisters who i've mentioned before. always decorated from head to toe, the embodiment of the addornment i wished i could muster as a teenager, abandoned due to the elaborate process it took to shed all the layers, bracelets, earings, necklaces, belts etc everyday before i got on a horse.

and here i am, sitting in my car, listening to them crooning in beautiful harmonies, memories of herbal conferences, west philly life, and images of what my life will be when i live in the country.

this is my parents house.... but you get the idea.

it's so hard to know so badly what will be.... it's been written in my notebooks. outlined in sketches and descriptors. how it's going to look, how it's going to be run, how many horses, how many chickens, where the garden will be in relation to the house, the barn, the gate, the bramble around the outside of the property, the trees shading the porch and around the perimeter  of the pastures...

i've filled books and cataloged it all in my brain.
i want to wear flannel every day, i want to beable to show my arms in the summer, and where my ripped shirts with nice britches. having my horse shining from miles away, and the dirt on my hands permanent. hair always twisted up and pinned haphazardly, weather worn skin, and a hat to match. outside all day every day, time in the garden and on the back of a horse, circling the property. fixing fences, collecting eggs and home grown veggies for dinner. making my way my own way. 

i think i am a country girl.
I think i look like a city slicker, kindda. not totally polished. a little wary, a little too unfazed by fireworks/gun shots.
sneakers instead of boots.
laundry dried in a dryer or in the basement instead of a line out the back door.
a 14x14 foot plot consideered a nice sized back yard instead of a nice-sized box stall for my horses.

oh, i can't wait. biding my time, trying to figure out the best way to do it. taking bits and pieces from everywhere and every one.

shape-shifting daily. beer bar waitress, scuzzi barn hand, yogi, put-together young 'trainer'. it will be a miraculous day when all the roles can meld into one. me.
my fragmented gemini-ness can be one holding it all together, living the life we've all dreamed up together while paying our respective dues.

i can't wait for it to be ok for me to be dirty at work again. and do it my way.



why is i that when the next day is full to the brim and required restedness and readiness, sleep is fleeting and restless. I woke at 5 after a fitfull night of sleep. today... (ug) looking at horses, barn work, then, I close the restaurant. (smiling happy people until 2am.) perhaps i can fit in a nap inbetween all this running around.

the good news... this weekend is my birthday weekend. and i have off. and i get to spend it with my favorite.


Today is hot, sunny, and i am finding it hard to motivate myself out of the house. and step at a time. i slept through two alarms, and the hussle and bustle of h getting ready for work. and here i am, procrastinating, even though i know that it is only getting hotter out and i really would like to /  should ride today. Old man eli needs his legs stretched. maybe i'll go on a trail ride.... if only i knew the trails in the park. (luckily i know that no matter where we end up, eli would beable to take us straight home, with no issue.)

he is quite charming in a disgruntled kind of a way. listening? scheming? grumpy? who knows.... my best bet is usualy a combination of all three.
which is why i ike him so much.

and here..... off i go to give him my apple core.



today... is warm, but not hot, a little damp in the air. rain falling ever so softly on the tree outside my bedroom window.
I slowly woke up this morning, snuggled on all sides by cute kitten, all shade of browns and blacks, mirroring the outdoors.

my plans for today: drink coffee, clean the bathroom, and sew all my clothes that have been piling up. I feel the need for a newly improved wardrobe since it is spring. Yesterday was filled with going to the market to fill the pantry, replacing the ever vanishing-act playing water glasses (from the thrift store) and a few guilty pleasure purchases for myself from the thrift as well.

the house is coming along, we have pictures on the walls, paint on some of them... and the powder room is evolving like a snail trying to cross the atlantic. oi.

after a busy busy last three weeks, I am super excited for the rain... it canceled all of my plans to drive four plus hours looking at horses. At first it was frustrating, and then, a gift. she sure does work in mysterious ways.

maybe this weekend I will tear the town down with a good friend from work....



i want a horse. i'm looking to buy a horse. it is such a time consuming thing.... i don't remember the last time had a few minutes of this.... down time. oh wait, i need to leave for work two minutes ago.



With the spring, I have actually been doing pretty well with my array of activities and pursuits, it seems i will actually get a horse about when i want one, and i have been riding like crazy, and i have a horse show in two weeks. (it's little but it will be super fun.) I am entering in the highest jumping class they have, with my fingers crossed that eli doesn't decide to be a jerk in the ring. (i think we will be fine)

I am going to take a lesson with a new person on tuesday, who seems to deal in higher end horses and clients, i guess we will see where that goes.

but basicicy i have been burning the candle at both ends, riding one or two horses a day, doing a barn's worth of stalls and coming home only to go to the restaurant for my night shifts. not to mention i've been trying to keep up with yoga and friends. so thing have been chaotic to say the least.

the spring is keeping me on the move, that and breakfast made for me every morning... starting my day right and early (7:00)

I only hope that I can keep this up for a while, because it is quite fufilling although perhaps a little taxing. if it were not for my tuesdays completely off, and an easy saturday.....

well. here i go to yoga.


the spring equinox's terrible twins

sometime last week, after the equinox and before today, twins emerged from the bowls of this house... a force to be reckoned with, no doubt. the sun brought them out of the hole and now we can not get enough of this vitamin D mixed with various drinks, windows open, music drifting on the spring breeze... out of tune voices singing along to the melody, lyrics proclaimed, not particularly known.

this summer is going to be a great one, perhaps the best of all time.
the greatest mash-up of yoga, horses, sunny beach time, unbearably delicious friend times and the occasional work shift.

we shall see. we shall see.


kitten toys

....are one of the greatest inventions. my kittens popped out of a momma named dumpster and have inherited her love to playing with trash. thr noiser the better (read wrappers of all sorts) they partiularly like to carry them up the stairs and then bat them down the stairs, step by step.

today they got presents... and have been taking turns throwing them in the air and chasing them, playing fetch, and generally living up to the nick name "cat TV"

today was fabulous. begun at the barn, accompanied by h's sister. she expedited the whole process, and finishing early i rode eli, a very dashing warmblood thoroughbred cross who often feel mischievous while cantering around corners.

this was followed by a little decompression while grabbing a quick ice cream sandwich and watching top chef.

G. and i then went down town to grab a drink and soak up some vitamin d. which we did, champane and pomegranate margaritas, edemame and curry chicken skewers.

after finishing up, and not quite ready to go home, we wandered around rittenhouse which was swarming with parents chasing screaming kids, bikes and so many cute puppies.

Basicly, the day was amazing, finished off with snuggles on the couch watching silly tv about huge fish, and eating TV dinners of heaping piles of couscous feta and fresh sauteed spinach.

the windows still open.

and here is a peek back into the flower show, some if which we are dreaming up in our back yard:
this was in an old boxcar. you had to look up to see it, it was sitting on top of another boxcar.
this is pretty much how our backyard will look when we are done (if a jungle grows in the 9 1/2 foot long raised bed we built)

this is our much missed ex-house mate becka looking at the most amazing miniature design.
and lastly, making baby plants grow. green thumbs R us



coughing is definitely not glamorous nor appropriate for a meditative yoga studio, and therefore i shall stay in the warmth of my house until it is time to go to job number one of the day, cleaning and singing, waking my asleep (or vacant) housemate and playing with kittens. sounds like a good alternative. and perhaps a little more restful and healing than a strenuous yoga class (i am going tomorrow morning anyway)

speaking of yoga, last night as i was awaiting the arrival of my adored companion, i was doing some yoga in my room, and was accompanied by my kitten, zilla. he did a few of his own lounging poses, and then when i was doing cobra, he climbed onto my back, laying there while i did a few flows of table pose back through cobra. (i left out down dog as to not have claws in my back) but he purred so hard.... it was hard not to laugh and call up a witness, but we just did yoga together, and when he jumped down... i curled up next to him.... sometimes enough is enough. no matter who is leading you.

spring equinox

how silly. don't we all commit to making serious changes about four times a year... at the solstices? we ask ourselves what really is important and what we should change, what we should purge from our lives etc.

this morning i woke up, feeling the spring unlike any other morning until now. i made a mean strong cup of coffee, and decidedly am waking before i should. i have things to do. i turned on the heat (the forecast calls for snow and rain today.) and now... i think i should go to yoga. i was not going to..... i was going to skip my favorite class for the second week in a row, but perhaps the cleansing is good. both in and out of home. the focus on myself and now what is and isn't, what needs and what has been done around me.

too much time i focus on what has been done... or not finished, and do not see the smaller changes i can make... the little things that create space and comfort.

so today i will first make space in myself for this upheaval. then i will make space in this house we call home and is very slowly starting to feel like one.

i will water my plant babies.... arugula, summer squash, lettuce mix and who ever else has been brave enough to push through the soil into a snowy march day. (myself included)


kitteh naps

here is how my computer-life has been going....

"hey! i should update my blog! i've so many amazing and wonderful things. planted, went to the flower show, organized my moniez, played grownup, gone on adventures (not so grownup) etc etc. and I have all these amaaazing photos... (thanks new camera)"

and so i retire to my room with my computer, find my bed covered in kittehs (aka kittens) and bathed in warm sun, and i lie down for a minute, say to myself "well, i really have done a lit today, and am a little sleepy" and promptly take a nap.

EVERY time.

and let me tell you how hard it is to wake up from a pile of kittens and sunlight. Oi veh.

so, in other words.... i'm sorry if you are my mom and trying to keep up with my ultra high paced, super exciting, glamorous life.... cause i've been napping instead.



the sun is out. fingers crossed it stays with us. I am enjoying my days in the sun, at the barn. working nights barely infringes upon my long sunny days. it's a trying week though and i'm hoping that all things work them selves out shortly; i'm not sure how much more one can sustain.


spring is here

it has been raining since thursday. i think. it's hard to remember when the grey rolled in. But it means flowers and sunny days ahead.

as a self indulgence, i have started going to yoga a couple of times a week. an unnecessary expense, but a much healthier one than the alternatives. Especially this week... eleven work days in a row, six featuring two jobs, and the need for calm and relaxation and a healthy outlet is great.

i went to the flower show with my parents, helen, and ex-house mate becka... wandering around as the crowds thinned on the last day. it's amazing what people make these plants do. there are fall blooming, spring blooming, and summer blooming plants and trees all next to one another, timed so they are all flowering not only at once, but during a time of the year where, in Philadelphia, only the hardiest of snow bells are coming up, and none have bloomed yet. quite miraculous.

i have photos. they will arrive later.


in like a lion,

out like a lamb. the old saying for march has so far been false.... and i'm hoping it stays like this. the weather has finally broken and the streets are crawling with boisterous people falling out of the woodwork. it's a wonderful thing. the sun has come out, and stayed out. which is perfect as i was starting to get a little grey-weary.

today i get to ride my bike out to west philly for work. some 7 and half miles. which for someone who hasn't been biking all winter., is alot. i'm hoping to be able to work it up so i can bike most days to work in the spring through fall.... it'll be good for me.

and i started yoga. for real. and i'm really excited about it. i'm going to try and go one with helen on the weekend, and once during the week by myself or another yoga-ite. i've been feeling like there is something missing in my workout/strength training routines... and then i went to a yoga class where we incorporated breathing and om's and alll my normal excersizes! it was brilliant! and i felt so much stronger using the breath to help the movements, and the flow, and. well. i won't bore you, but i need to do this for my riding and my body and soul and making sure i am strengthening one AND the other in harmony.

and on that note, I bid you adieu.
off to do my flowing exercises.


snow again.

snow. again. horizontal and big flakes.
this morning was spent at the barn, much longer than i needed to be there, but since when do you need to explain lingering in a place that is simply beautiful. the snow sticking wetly to each branch and on the horses' manes and tails while they snort the snow out of the way in the water trough.

work this evening. it's the kind of night when all you want to do is stay home, burrowing in to snugly tucked blankets and kittens. hot cocoa with schnapps or perhaps a hot toddy in hand. and yet it will be hoppin at work, everyone not wanting to venture far too far from home and yet the call of a glass of good beer and food you don't have to cook for yourself is inviting, especially when you can walk there through the snow.



is the only thing i can see myself doing for the rest of my life, and being totally happy every day. And today I had a depressing lesson. I mean, we all have off days, but really, do i have to grab mane over a two foot jump? every time? and do i really make the horse invert over every single jump when i've ridden him every week for months before i left to go south? it was degrading a little. the flat was perfect, perhaps the best ever on that horse... he's a little A.D.D. and little nuts and likes to leap sideways unexpectedly, and loves to jump. and yet he stopped at a jump with me, note that the jump was maybe 2'3" aka so little. he's never ever even thought about stopping before. did i really get that awful while i was gone? oi.


back home

... listening to the mix i've been listening to since i finished creating it, wrapped in a sweatshirt, two shirts, heavy wool socks, under the blankets in my room. The cars driving on the street outside pass with the sounds of rain under a grey sky. Here it is monochromatic. the houses have taken on the colors of the street, the dirty snow, the darkened tree branches. What a stark difference between the vibrancy and lushness of central america. Here it seems everyone is waiting with baited breath for the warmth, for the first signs of spring. everyone's a little cranky, a little pessimistic, a little like their surroundings. stark black and white and wearing no color, wrapped up in clothes from head to toe. I am missing the colors of everyone, the bright shirts, the flowers, the sun making everything sparkle even when it was covered in dirt. The various shades of people skin, the COLORS. it's a shock. not so much culture shock, but color shock. I don't think it was as apparent last year, and here, we become accustomed to it, everything in shades of grey.

yesterday when i walked in the door, i was greeted by a stampede. a stampede of one cat, with a plastic bag wrapped around his middle, flapping around behind him, making such a racket. the other fluff balls peering after him, their tails the size of a baseball bat, mohawks raised on all their backs. Welcome home to the land of crazy.

They are the life of the house. making the cold outside a little more bearable. (and it's even warm, a whopping 40 degrees)

this morning i awoke covered in kittens and feeling like all i wanted was to be back in the land of horses, where that's all i have to talk about and all anyone wants to hear about... where its warm and you can ride everyday. No waiting on rude drunken people, no jacket, scarf and sweatshirt required. wishing my new acquaintances weren't hundreds of miles away. But i suppose thus begins the hard work... working to make it. whatever that may mean. Picking up as many shifts as possible so i can buy a horse in a few months, then comes showing and showing and riding everyday.

tomorrow, a lesson, all day at the barn. catching up with the horse people i know and love here. the horses will bring the color back into my routine.


Guatemala catch up

Wow. So this is the first time i've really had time... and i'm now in Houston Texas, spending the night in the airport with plenty of time to write loads about the rest of the trip.

What an adventure. It definitely had it's ups and downs and tumultuous moments, but ultimately, it was a success. Even though I am still having moments of longing, strange urges to figure out how to live in the warmer weather, where riding is cheap.

It's always interesting spending time masquerading as something that feels like a costume. almost. except it also feels so right, makes me so happy, and i can't imaging spending my days any other way. It is obvious that the majority of the folks at the horse show have access to nearly infinite funds.... or at least enough to not worry. That simple thing, is something I just don't know. That has yet to be a part of my life. I mean, family has my back, I know they wouldn't ever let me fall into the pit of poverty, and yet we come from living off of the love of the job instead of being motivated by the cash produced from the work. And this is a wonderful quality that I am proud to say I will live by.... I can not imagine doping anything besides spending my days with horses and the people that love them just as much as I do.

Sometimes it's hard to watch a twelve or thirteen year old ride three horses a day in a horse show, one better than the last, and adorned in a show jacket that cost more than my whole show outfit combined by about three hundred dollars. And then they win.

But ultimately I know that I will have earned every ride I've ever gotten, that I've worked hard for and completely deserve everything I (will) accomplish.
(Though it would be nice to get a break.)

Karma. It'll come around, i'm sure.

Anyway. The show. The first day we went to try out all the horses, Costa Rican, Brazilian, Dominican, Panamanian and U.S(ian) madness. I tried my horse out first with a few other folks, and the horse was dreamy. didn't like to turn, but liked to jump (or so it felt to me). Honest, big stride. Totally fine by me.

At this first barn I met Pitta, a rider from Brazil, working from Panama who had brought a couple of students, and was riding two horses in the meter 20 class. A nice guy and a pretty beautiful rider.

So we continued on, tried a bunch of horses for the kids, they all seemed fine. Then Joanne and I got whisked away by a wealthy horsey French woman fluent in at least four languages to the hotel, from where we grabbed a shuttle to the airport to meet Helen. The timing was pretty ok, and we then went across the highway to the jockey club where we met up with the group again to try out the rest of the horses.

(the picture is a monochromatic one of the jockey club... with the volcano in the background)

We went to Antigua after we got the horses all figured out (give or take).
here is our super huge group...

this is the beginning of one of those beautiful tapestries the women spend all day every day weaving.

We were taken on a tour by this guy who was really emphatic. He knew all the dates, all the numbers, and spoke the whole tour first in spanish, and then english. pretty repetitive, but nice. Did i mention he was emphatic?

this was on the back of a scooter. i took it for becca. <3

and here.... is my favorite picture from the trip. We went to dinner at this four star hotel with a famous kitchen. It was at one time a nunnery... why i can't remember the proper name is beyond me...  but while we waited for the other folks to catch up with us, everyone sat in front of the last dinner atop a carpeted tile floor. that was open to the elements on the near side. teeheehee.


Day two in Guatemala, the first day of the horse show was nice, a beautiful day, sun breaking through the clouds mid morning. I was the first of the Costa Rica / U.S. riders, and went to watch my horse go before i was to retrieve him. The layout of the show is designed so that each horse in the competition gets the same wear and tear that every other horse goes. So if you are going to ride your horse in any class through the meter 20, your horse gets entered into a raffle for an international rider. The monday before the show, you get your horse through the raffle, with one back up horse, juts incase you and the first don't mix weell, or something happens to them. 

The first day of the show, the owners of the horses ride first, followed by the international riders. So by the time you ride, as an international competitor, you have gotten to watch the horse do the course once, and you have a better idea of how it likes to go and be ridden.

So, I watched my horse, standing next to the trainer from Panama, Pitta, and we watch, captivated, as the first four or five jumps go just fine and then at the five stride line the horse throws on the breaks, slamming his rider's face into the top rail, bringing the whole jump down and bringing the paramedics running. they took him out on a stretcher. And here we are watching this all unfold, my knees start to shake.... all i wanted was for this show to better than last year's which wasn't supposed to difficult because my horse last year just bucked me around the course, fitting two strides in every one stride between the fences followed by buck after buck after buck after buck after buck..... you get the idea.

Pitta was great. We rushed over to grab the horse as he came out of the ring. The best way to fix that sort of issue is to immediately get on and have the horse start jumping again, forgetting that he doesn't want to, but he has to, and then wants to. So I hop on, gallop around the warm up area, and head towards a tiny little jump, horse slams on the breaks. my spurs go in his side. buck buck buck buck, back to an even littler jump, and again, slams on the breaks at the last second.

The steward and Pitta talk it over in rapid spanish, then Pitta is next to me, explaining that it'll be totally fine, they are getting me a new horse; Ali S. We watch the new one jump the course, me shaking and nervous sweating, holding my breath through the whole course.... the horse goes great, loves jumping, only takes one rail. ride caught it in the mouth and didn't care.

Then it's my turn. I have maybe five minutes to figure out the horse, over four jumps under the watchful eye of Pitta, and then galloping into the ring for my "pista". The first jump fine, the second, we drop a rail... it's a purple and brown jump, a single vertical after a tight turn from the first oxer, towards home, meant to make the horse take it flat, and do what i did.... take the rail down. The next three jumps I don't remember, I lost my stirrup, forgetting how to ride. Coming into the line that marked the fifth obstacle, I just remember thinking, ok idiot, you either crash into the jump and fall off, or fucking RIDE! Caught my stirrup, took that line almost sideways, and rode like hell, making a good time, and finishing with a bang. No one knew i lost my stirrup, and all the crazyiness happened on the other side the ring, so no one could see the trainwreck that was the first part of my course. Which was a good thing.

I must say, although it was hard for helen to stand by and not be able to help trough the whole ordeal and have this strange rider / trainer take me under his wing and be the support that she was supposed to be for me, I really don't think i would have been able to ride that first day without both of them being there. My body just shut down. My brain couldn't think of anything besides disaster. it almost was disaster.

Helen as horse show entertainment provider. the kids were really good at crosswords. (better than yours truely) and far more excited about them then watching fifty million horses jump the same course over and over.



it's been intense here, in Guatemala. the girls have all won trophies and ribbons and well, i've been running around with my head cut off after them, making sure they did the best possible, and my concentration on the course has suffered. i've nothing to bring home but some videos and anecdotes.

the first day of competition, the horse i drew from the raffle that had seemed totally amazing and invincible, threw his owner face first into a jump, sending him off in a stretcher with blood pooring down his show jacket.

So with maybe 15 or 20 rides in between me and my encounter with said horse, i was given another. (thanks to a Brazilian who works in Panama and was watching my first mount destroy the course and any hope of making it though intact) But not until after we rushed over, grabbed the bad horse, i jumped on, and tried to make him forget about how he hadn't wanted to jump. no such luck, the horse threw on the brakes, not once, but twice, and then Pitta (the brazilian panamanian) got me new horse, then jumped on the old one and made him go over the jump. Anyway, I hopped on the new one, shaken to the core and literally shaking, and tried to figure this new mount out in approximately 10 minutes. we took down one rail. same the next day, though i remembered to ride the whole course this time, and then today, I rode pretty well, except for one line... we took the first vertical, and the one after that i was not ready for a super duper long spot... but the rest was fast and in style, thhough not good enough to get a ribbon, let alone a trophy.



white water rafting etc

So yesterday I went white water rafting with an acquaintance of joanne, amanda, who is studying for her masters at University of the Peace. She is a spirited, forthright, tall, blonde Canadian. Needless to sya, we had loads of fun. We were picked up first at 5:45 at a hotel down the way, from which we went and picked up a few more passengers, and then onto the river. We stopped and got breakfast of pintas, which is arroz y frijoles mixed, aka beans and rice. But clearly not enough, because we were all ravenous not 20 minutes into the rafting. But back to the bus... the whole way we were entertained by one of the guides Pito, a stocky man of unidentifiable age who has been working the rivers for 16 years. He ended up being our Guide. In our raft with us were three girls from new york who were quite lovely, and fun, but very into singing disney songs, (read seven dwarves work song, pocohonas river song, etc etc). They had left their boyfriends in the city, and were not calling them. They had everything planned.... down to the minute, riding in Monte verde, white water rafting from san jose... the way they organized their trip is, i'm sure, the way their lives run, except way more exciting of course.

There were "paparzi" that followed the rafts down the river and took photos of all the rapids and some key land scape shots. but about 80 or so shots for our boat alone, so we all split one of the cd's so it was only 5 bucks a piece, and that's why i don't have pictures of it yet! but i will... don't worry, and more than you would ever care to see)

Our guide for our boat ended up being Pito, who was great. I'm glad we got him, 16 years on the rivers, and boy did he know the ins and outs, the facts, and we were all a good team, good listeners, and ready to have fun. Pito stuck a tree branch in his helmet, why, i'm not sure, I think it might be because he's been on the river so long, he was the lead or something??? who knows, anyway, half way through we had to wait for one of the eight raftes were going with, and so he climbed out, and got us all branches. We looked like bloated laughing rainforest nymphs. It was incredible.

The river we went down was in one of the most amazingly beautiful places i've ever been. It was on the Caribbean side of the country. It was through straight up rain forest, and boy did it rain. All day mist and clouds but it was beautiful with the mist hovering above the trees, trees of which I have never seen the like. If I had to choose two words for the rain forest they would be: verticalization and vivid-green (i'm taking liberties and making it one word). The trees were so tall, and then, in the desnse green that was the side of the river, there would be these white trunks of trees, like highlights in the landscape. All the trees were trunk till the top, with amazing leaves spewing out, like they couldn't be contained any more. Incredible. We saw an iguana, many tiny little red frogs that made a noise to fill the forest.

We flew past a reservation and lodges and ropes strung across the river with gondolas strung up in between them, the way of crossing the river.
We got to jump out and float through the most beautiful canyon, with waterfalls pouring warm water on our heads, a moss covered bridge spanning the width to watch birds from. it was breath taking, we all just kept gasping and pointing.... it was an amazing adventure.

By the time lunch came, we were all so ravenous, we ate three plates each filled with pastas and tortillas, corn and hot peppers, salad, and coconut sugar bars that were delightful and bright red.

it was cold when we weren't moving, which was the only down fall of the trip. like, so cold. rain falling all day, wet clothes from head to toe, and the food was cool as well. but after lunch, back in the raft, we quickly warmed up, refueled and happy.

today the market, packing, and going to Guatemala! (and nursing sore muscles and bruises from yesterday)
the girls and beth at the Equus.

sydney maria
 hiding from the sun. isn't she amazing?

a few things

first off, this is my mom. she's amazing, and, well, amazing. my dad took the photo. you can probably tell he's really good at this job, casue he take photos to support his spoiled kids, like me! (and xina)
and in honor of how tired/late/crazy this day was.... here is how i feel about valentines day through the comics of an amazing lady. these are from fart party (please don't get mad i used them.... i bought your book!)

(awww) till tomorrow.



So. we went to the Equus, and as i wait for joanne to come back so we can go get coffee and presents to bring home from the market, i thought i would sit back down and write a bit.

I've been keeping another journal, more private thoughts, the questions and answers, writing down the things i've learned.... it's keeping me sane. Though let me tell you, the girls have reached an insane level of excitement, I mean I am excited, but they get to miss school! And play with ponies and other kids for a week. On the way to and from the Equus, the girls were singing, or screaming rather, songs in spanish and just generally being excited and only a little obnoxious. All seven of them, six girls and the little boy who is in their riding class on saturdays, smooshed into the back seat of Beth's truck, and then three of us longer legged folks up front.

I'm glad there will be more of them this year and some parents so I only have to do the horsey part of it. Love them, but not all the time... it's why i don't have kids! (everyone else in the neighborhood our age does ya know)

Tangent done.
I can feel the heat still on my face and arms, a little sun today. my skin is happier breathing. though i think it's time again for serious sun screen. no more even tiny burns. though the sun has retreated behind darkening clouds, and the wind is bringing them closer. I assume it will rain again. Here it rains like it's been holding it back, and just can't any longer. short and furious.

coconuts of some kind in the pool after the last impish rain.

and Odalys (who is going to guatemala) and the son of one of the men who works at the barn. I think his name is mario something-or-other. oh how bad i am at names.  and of course, the pony's name is tick tac.

misc. photos

this morning the sun has come out again, though with big lazy, hazy clouds threatening to shield the sun. today is saturday. the talk of sydney's puppies and who they will go to (me?) has gotten more important as her belly has grown. it's now looking like it will burst with puppies, though probably not until we are in guatemala.
she lays at your feet, so excited when you will scratch the spots she can't reach.

today we go back to the Equus....

you can see the views, which are everywhere. they sky expansive. it's beautiful. Also note the jumps, big, exciting looking, but wait, no walls, no rolltops, no coups, no planks.... kindda boring. and this was supposed to be set for the meter ten class, and most of the jumps look about a meter (the class I'll be doing in Guatemala), with maybe one or two exceptions. 

Anyway, it will be nice to go with the kids and watch the courses.