June 25, 2009

why we're best friends

Katie: So. When you're in Hawaii, I would like to ask you to please go to Da Kine Bail Bonds and say hello to Dog and family for me
Katie: and a few tips from my Dog watching experience: Call people "bra" and "sista"
Katie: they like it
Katie: and when you greet someone, say "how's it?"
Katie: for example: "Hey, bra, how's it?"
Katie: You'll fit right in
Katie: (with the criminals)
me: OK, I will do those things.
Katie: You are living my dream.

June 24, 2009

hawaii 5-0

I remember once throwing my car into park in the middle of a suburban street in early summer; I didn't even let it come to a complete stop before wrenching the gearshift, and there was a momentary grinding noise as the transmission lurched between gears. I barely noticed; I was too busy being lifted off my feet in a bear hug, in the road, by a friend. it was the summer after our first year at college and we were happy to be home.

Nub sets the mood

Nub and I are flying to Hawaii tomorrow to visit that friend, and to meet his beautiful wife. Nub's ready to go; he's been wearing that lei for days. Lately, we're professional jet-setters. The plans on Oahu include going for a run, going hiking, drinking mai tais, and learning to surf. "I'm going to take you surfing," Chris says, "and then I'm going to laugh at you." I'm sure sunburn will also be involved. Aloha, dudes. See you in four days.

June 22, 2009

dynamite with a laser beam

it's a green light kind of day. do you know what I mean? it's the kind of day when every traffic light you encounter turns green before you get there, so you just breeze through. the guy who runs the hot dog/bento food cart outside the opera's front doors told me I have "some legs." a coworker likened me to a 'sexy jamie lee curtis.' (not sure how I feel about that one). I took my car to jiffy lube to see if they'd replace my dead turn signal, but told them I wanted them to show me how to pop off the light casing so I could do it myself in the future. I had already purchased the bulbs and tried to do it myself with no luck. they struggled for a few minutes -- it made me feel better for struggling -- and then fixed it. 'we won't charge you,' the guy said. 'I'm happy to show you how.' earlier he'd asked me what kind of horse I ride, since I showed up post-barn still dressed in breeches and tall boots.

that horse has been like a different creature these past two days, so much so that I'm nervous we will not have an issue to work on when I get to the julie goodnight shoot next wednesday. yesterday we were alone at the barn, and despite initial high spirits she settled very nicely to work, and steered like a dream. today lynne had set up a trail course in half of the arena, leaving only half of it for flatwork, which turned out to be perfect, because it left us in the far end of the arena, away from the tricky places my mare so loves to slow down/act up in (the gate, the viewing room, anywhere there are people). when we first started in our lesson I said to lynne, 'she was so good yesterday, I'm sure today will be a disaster,' but in fact it was even better. she didn't have any frustrating steering issues; she was willing and compliant; she even completed most of the trail course cleanly, despite never having done any of it with me before.
'she looks amazing today! look at her move off your leg!' lynne said, mid-lesson.
'who replaced my horse with this well-trained replica??' I joked.

after all of this I got home to a note on my apartment door from today's "preventative maintenance" inspection. only one line written on the door tag. "very nice apartment!!" inside, the entire place smelled like strawberries, from yesterday's foray to sauvie island for an hour of picking. I ended up with twelve pints and a backache. I came home and made five jars of freezer jam. I might or might not have eaten jam straight from the jar tonight.

strawberry picking

in three nights, I'll be in hawaii. life is good.

June 17, 2009

mia familia

1. a text from my sister: we're pulling into disneyland and gavin says 'I want my lei, mommy! I no go to meemow's house, I want my lei!' I'm feeling a little FML right now as a result, especially bc I have a lei but it's not HIS lei. HIS lei is the one I gave him (and everybody else who accompanied me to disneyland) as a party favor a few weeks ago. he was reluctant to put it on at first, so I wore it instead, but when he saw everybody else was wearing theirs, he decided to wear one too. he called it his 'party.' dayna texted me about a week ago to tell me she had taken him to a birthday party and he didn't want to go without his 'party.' I told her I couldn't decide if I felt very sorry to have accidentally put her in that position, or secretly flattered. (it's both).

Gavin on the rocketship swing

2. my other sister sent me this hilarious camera phone photo the other day. "mom and chippy rocken out" was the caption. (she's 11).

mom and chippy rocken out

3. I unearthed this hilarious birthday e-card from old files on my work computer a couple of weeks ago.

balloon card

4. I finally managed to find an apartment for Cristina & I. we'll be moving in a couple of weeks. she's bringing home one of the kittens from her brother's cat's recent litter to be part of our little surrogate family:

c & b

5. the photographer from the horse show finished uploading all of his photos and finally made them available for sale. there are a bunch of good ones of the two of us in halter class, including two priceless ones of the class we gave up on, when Cookie wouldn't stand still. but this one is my favorite.

halter class 1

June 16, 2009

summer, eternal

the kids are out of school now. I am envious of them; not necessarily for their long, expansive summers full of sunshine and boredom, books to read, pools to swim in -- although of course I envy that too -- but rather for those few days of delicious anticipation just before school lets out, and that wonderful afternoon when you step off the bus and realize this is it, you're free, you're in the next grade, and there is so much time between then and now it might as well be eternity. don't you remember those days? it's warm out, you're wearing shorts, you've been waiting to wear shorts for all those long cold months. in class the teachers have mostly given up; you're watching Disney movies and having cupcake parties and getting your friends to sign memory books, planning sleepovers and feeling a sharp pang of regret that you won't see the boy you have a crush on until NEXT YEAR and that's forever. but maybe you'll go to that friend's house who lives in his neighborhood and maybe he'll be walking down the street and you can sneak a peek.

I think there's nothing in adult life to rival that moment.

June 14, 2009

rain.

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgivable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

-- Rain, Raymond Carver

June 12, 2009

quiet

things seen recently:

a man riding a unicycle down the Springwater Corridor trail
a man waiting for his coffee at Starbucks, barefoot (and nobody else seemed to notice/care)
a woman carrying a dachshund in a purse
a girl at the barn wearing an ICE ICE BABY shirt

not much to say lately, can you tell? I spend most nights at the barn. cookie & I have received, as of wednesday, our official acceptance into the on-air clinic Julie Goodnight is filming at the end of this month, which is excellent because the bad riding days we're having are increasing in frequency; last night was particularly frustrating for both horse and rider.

I'm boring, guys. have a donut.

June 7, 2009

in the ribbons

mosaic 2

yesterday was the horse show our 4-H club has been organizing for months. Cookie & I were not quite prepared for everything I had wanted to do (including riding in all the Western classes), but that's OK. We competed in all the halter classes we were eligible for, and all the English riding ones. The halter class is equivalent to dog shows you see on TV, with the rider handling the horse from the ground, showing the horse at a walk, at a trot (in hand), and then set with feet square. I got a crash course in how to do this the night before the show, but we managed to bring home ribbons (2nd, 4th, and 5th place) in 3 of my 5 classes (one of which was a championship class; we didn't place in that one). I had thought going into it that we had a great chance of doing well, given that I am constantly complimented on how beautiful my horse is, so it's good to know she lives up to my opinion of her! We probably could have done better, in fact, if I had known what I was doing and if we'd practiced at all. (The class in which we placed fourth was, hilariously, the class in which I could not get her to stand still at all; we circled the whole time. Lord knows how we would have done if she'd stood correctly).

In my English classes I did not do as well as I had hoped, primarily because Cookie was so high-strung and full of nervous energy that she wanted nothing more than to run and run. Despite running her before the show, and then again before the riding class -- and then despite riding in TEN English classes, many of them at the canter -- I was forced to pull on her face so hard in every class that my fingers were raw and red by the end of the first half. We placed in only one class -- a fifth place in my age division in English Pleasure (which judges the horse, rather than Equitation, which judges the rider). Our barn owner was on the ground with the judge, and told me that he would have placed me every time if only I could get Cookie to slow down. I showed her my hands. "I can't hold her back any harder," I said. It's something I have not really encountered in regular riding, and so had no way of knowing I should expect it. But that's what schooling shows are for.

For this reason I decided to pull us out of the Western classes, which I was pretty unqualified to ride and which require your horse to be even slower and more collected than English riding does. Instead I hung out and helped anybody in the show office or in the show ring who needed a runner; I drank hot chocolate and threw a sweatshirt over my show shirt; I flirted momentarily with the judge (a trainer at our barn who, incidentally, gave me his phone number Wednesday night, after an impromptu mini-lesson which he refused to call a lesson. I was relieved to see it didn't sway his judging). It was fun to hang around and feel like part of a team again: I know all the kids in our 4-H club, and all their horses, and it was so satisfying to watch them and cheer for them and joke around with them. Afterwards we all helped clean the tack rooms and trailer the horses, and then in a long stream of cars we returned to the barn, where we each led our own horse back to his/her stall. Rather than having one person toss hay, everybody pitched in and fed her own horse, and then communally fed the others who hadn't come to the show.

When I got home I ate a bagel and was asleep on the couch before 10 PM. When I got up this morning at 8:30 I trudged out into the kitchen, ate a bowl of cereal, and then flopped back on the couch for a 2-hour nap. I got to the barn yesterday at 6 AM to start prepping for the show; I showed in halter class for the first hour or so of the morning and then rode for four hours after that. We didn't get back home to the barn until 8:30 or so. I can't even imagine how much more exhausted (and sore) I would have been if I'd ridden in the second half of the show as well. Those folks are superstars.

Four ribbons is definitely better than none. It's easy, once you're at the show, to forget what your real goals are and to feel very competitive, and ultimately disappointed, when in class after class you're not placed. But my real goal for the show was simply to see how Cookie would do in the environment, and to learn what we needed to work on. I also hoped not to get bucked off, and to avoid having her bolt in the ring. So we were pretty successful. Although it's understandably a little frustrating that I managed to come home with three ribbons in the event I learned overnight, and only one in the thing I've been doing for fourteen years! :-D

Cookie in the ribbons

June 2, 2009

28 things to do before I turn 29

1. Eat a doner at Doner Kebab
2. Go kayaking around Ross Island
3. Brave the long route in Ape Cave
4. Swim across the Columbia River
5. Eat beef head tacos at the Rose Festival
6. Hike Beacon Rock
7. Go to Paris with a girlfriend
8. Get a motorcycle license
9. Read the Bible
10. Go to the nude beach (nude)
11. Compete in the Mississippi Pizza Adult Spelling Bee
12. Watch the Vaux's Swifts
13. Finish reading all the Pulitzer winning novels
14. Get a Garmin Forerunner
15. Play Brahms clarinet sonatas with Rob
16. Compete in a triathlon
17. Visit Mill Ends Park (the world's smallest park)
18. Eat an insect
19. Fall in love with someone or something that matters
20. Pay off one of my credit cards. For good. Seriously.
21. Go skiing
22. Climb a volcano
23. Finish War & Peace
24. Shave my head
25. Run in a scramble
26. Eat boiled peanuts at the beach in North Carolina
27. Catch fireflies in a jar
28. Read 100 books

as always, inspired by the beautiful andrea at hula seventy

June 1, 2009

28, happy

birthday brigade

these past four days have been full of joy. I got to see my sister and brother-in-law and nephew (none of whom I'd seen in two years -- long story); I got to hang out with cristina in santa barbara, mostly eating too much food and driving around. I spent yesterday in hollywood with my friend josh, whom I've known for 17 years. the whole weekend was packed with visits and celebrations, with blowing out candles and eating delicious food, driving past the beach, being happy just to exist. and also DISNEYLAND.

I hardly need to tell you anything about disneyland except that it was as joyful as I anticipated. every birthday celebrant gets an "it's my birthday!" button, which meant that every 7 minutes or so a disney staff member was wishing me a happy day. I can't recommend it enough. and mr. toad's wild ride was exactly as fun as I remembered. space mountain was even MORE fun than I remembered, and that's saying something. cristina brought her mom, and dayna (my sister) and my nephew gavin came too. I might have gotten a kiss from minnie mouse. just saying.

I did not complete even half of the things on the list, but you know? it's OK. I wrote the list in january, so I haven't even had half a year to complete them. and besides, shouldn't we always be crafting new dreams for ourselves?

matterhorn sisters

so now I'm 28. I am recklessly full of joy. the last few days, despite over-eating and fatigue and probably spending too much money, were wholly satisfying and wonderful. it was good just to go shopping with cristina, and to sit drinking milkshakes with dayna, and to pick up my nephew and carry him around 'mickey mouse's house,' as he calls it. it was undoubtedly the best birthday I've had in ages -- maybe ever.

a new friar in town

also: there was kissing. it was unexpected; it was very late in the trip. it was like buttercream icing on top of the world's most perfect cake.