September 11, 2009


1. Driving home down Powell, I pass a man on the street somewhere around 65th who is strolling along in an enormous top hat. Just a few weeks ago, in almost the same spot, a boy of 11 or 12 was walking away from a group of his comrades wearing a Blazers jersey and a very high quality werewolf head. And werewolf gloves. He listed with a young boy swagger, which was completely deserved.

Today in the local coffee shop we spotted a guy very seriously wearing a peter pan cap, complete with feather.

2. At the barn we are working on the transition from halt to trot and halt to canter, and then back to the halt. No upward transition through the gaits, but directly from stop to go. Cookie takes almost no time to understand what I want from her; I give her an intermediate verbal cue before I ask for the halt, and she strains for the moment she is meant to brake. When I kiss and nudge her back into the canter she leaps into it so enthusiastically she nearly rides out from underneath me, and I am laughing, holding my reins loosely up her neck to let her have her head.

One morning we go on a trail ride through the back edge of the property, and when I let her run up the hill, as I know she's dying to do, she turns naughty and bucks all the way up. And yet I trust her enough afterward to ride her bareback in just her halter, and her every step is measured. I am wearing shorts, a tank top, flip flops. Without breeches I stick to her back like glue.

3. In the mornings in the kitchen I pour myself a bowl of cereal and when I turn around one of the cats is climbing the forbidden plant, a big tall palm they are quickly killing with all their forbidden climbing. I brandish the squirt bottle, return to my cereal, and when I turn around ten seconds later one of them is sitting on the kitchen table, nonchalantly, either brazen enough or dumb enough to forget that it's yet another illegal activity. By the end of most mornings I am threatening caticide, and both of the cats are soaked. Most days the note I leave Cristina on the fridge references hanging them by their tails.

In the evenings they are happy to see me, winding themselves sinuously around my legs. Tonight I lay on the rug with them and they came and snuggled; one of them happily rolled upside down and regarded me in that fashion for some time. I remind them to be grateful that their cuteness saves them on a daily basis.

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