Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Gertrude was talking to Hamlet about a woman.

A facebook friend posted the following:

There comes a point in life when fun no longer means clubbing, drinking or being out till 4am, or thinking about yourself! Fun means Disney movies, family dinners, bedtime stories, long cuddles, a messy house, sleeping by 10pm and hearing little voices say “I love you.” Becoming a parent doesn’t change you, it makes you realize that the little people that YOU created deserve the very best of your time. Repost if you get it. I hope I see this on the wall of every Mother and Father I know. 

I find this sort of thing really unhelpful: it enforces some kind of crazy ideal (that seems rather un-ideal to me) that we are all supposed to sacrifice our whole selves and further more enjoy the sacrifice, when we have kids. Additionally, this kind of "in-crowd" statement is unhelpful and only serves to further alienate people (seemingly on purpose) and create this false dichotomy of the "parents" (responsible, sacrificing, wholesome) and the "non-parents" (irresponsible, selfish, immature).

That's not to say I don't see equally irritating posts from the non-parent faction. Both have their "ladies* who doth protest too much**"

*Not that it's all ladies, in fact the idiot who posted the above is actually male. It's just that Gertrude was talking to Hamlet about a woman.
**Who are you really trying to convince about your life choices? Because facebook doesn't care and we all, on some level, know that. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

That gum you like...

Twin Peaks is coming back!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Black lentils. Polenta. Woody Allen.

I made this black lentil dish last night. I used Trader Joe's European Style Yoghurt instead of greek because Trader Joe's European Style Yoghurt is delicious.

Also: I have been watching the Frugal Gourmet on YouTube and Hulu. Please don't read the Wikipedia article about Jeff Smith: it is giving the same complex that Woody Allen films do, except I'm not really that interested in watching Woody Allen films in the first place* and I do enjoy the Frugal Gourmet. I console myself with thinking he's probably not making any money off of me watching and he's dead.

Anyway. I saw him make lasagne with polenta and now I want to try it. BUT. I have never successfully made polenta that held its shape. This idea has convinced me that it may be worth trying again. I mean, the worst that can happen is I end up with cornmeal mush, and I like that.

*"What makes Annie Hall a great movie is that after watching it for an hour and a half, you check the time and realize it's only actually been playing for thirty minutes. "That's enough for me," you say, and then you've got another hour to your day that you thought you had wasted watching Woody Allen! Mazel tov!" - My friend Michael.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Whole Foods Underwear.

I mentioned to Ryan that I nearly bought some underwear at Whole Foods. He said good job I didn't.
"Oh no! This underwear is a melon."

The reason I was shopping for underwear* at Whole Foods is because my underwear is in a terrible state. But I've made a commitment recently cut down as much as possibly on cheap sweatshop clothes, so my underwear expenses are rather high - I mostly buy underwear from Etsy. The expense means that I can't just replace all my gross old underwear at once. 

*I wasn't shopping for underwear at Whole Foods, I was trying to find black lentils. They just happened to have underwear for sale there. 

Today my attention was brought to the artwork of Jennifer Trask. There is something I really like about the aesthetic. Something almost Victorian but executed in a modern way. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feeling Lousy After a Nice Weekend

1) Stayed at my in-laws house last weekend, they were out of town, we were in town. I was looking at a calendar that Ryan and I gave his mother for Christmas - lots of pretty pictures of moons. I realised that Petra had visited the weekend that I visited the last time . At the time, his mother had seemed somewhat cagey on the phone and I had felt from the beginning that she was sort of trying to dissuade me from visiting. Now I realise that it was because Petra was coming. So I feel rotten because she didn't tell me and give me the option of deciding on my own whether or not things would be awkward. And if the decision wasn't up to me - if it was Petra she was worried about upsetting, then I'm even more upset. Because Petra shouldn't get to decide whether or not I see my in-laws let alone whether Elinor gets to see her grandparents.

I had thought that my relationship with my mother-in-law was such that she could discuss these things with me. I found out that Ryan told his parents "not to mention Petra" which is a little infuriating. I still need to figure that one out. It seems like he did that for his sake more than mine - maybe he is just tired of me being upset by the whole thing and figured that if I never heard about her, I'd forget about it.

Another reason I feel rotten: it seems that no matter how crazy Petra is and insanelyand awful, Cat has chosen to maintain a relationship with her. Ryan thinks that the relationship is one-sided, but Cat would never have chosen Petra over me (and her grand-daughter) if it were. I would like to say, let's say bygones are bygones, but I can't because obviously there is still a need to keep Petra and me and Petra and Ryan apart. Why they accommodate her when she isn't actually family (and we are!) is beyond me and very hurtful.

My therapist says I have two options, neither of which are appealing. Withdraw emotionally or try to talk to Cat directly. I find the former sad and the latter embarrassing because I am embarrassed that I can't seem to stop feeling hurt about a thing that happened 6 years ago. She also says that it is weird that Cat scheduled a vacation when we were going to be in town. I am inclined to think it was an oversight, but who the hell knows.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kidney Stones Are Not Amazing.

One of my facebook friends posts stuff about her various cleanses* and things she finds inspirational. Today she posted the following: "Start looking forward to the times you feel uncomfortable. Because on the other side of that is something amazing."

I was sorely tempted to post, "Unless it's a kidney stone." In the interest of being nice, though and also taking into account that people who use the word cleanse generally don't have a very good sense of humor, I did not.

*I do a cleanse several times a day, as a matter of fact. Basically, I go into the bathroom and void my bladder of urine. I feel so refreshed afterwards.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good Bread, Bad Clients

2 Things:

1. I made a really excellent sweet egg bread on Thursday and then, this morning, I made the last of it into french toast. Elinor's first taste of french toast and my first time making it. The egg bread was cut into before I could take a picture of it, but it was pretty gorgeous. I did an 8-strand braid. 

2. Last night I received an actual complaint about the lesson I taught. Things I felt upon receiving the email (indirectly, submitted to the website and thus my boss, rather than to my email, which seemed rude and cowardly): sucker punched. annoyed. horrible. sick. 
The complaint was: "Unfortunately -- way too much time was spent on "work" he needs to take this off, unbuckle this, clean this, put this back, hang this here, do this that way -- that he lost interest. He is 7 years old (!) and was looking forward to enjoying himself. I feel badly because its an opportunity lost for my son." 

Here's the thing. No exaggeration, I had him WATCH me untack and put things away and then brush the pony. The exclamation point after the "7 years old" is especially infuriating because when I was 7, getting to brush a pony would have been the highlight of my week. It still kind of is. Then we put the pony away and I told him to tell her "thank you" (I always instruct my students to say thank you to the pony when they put them away). 

 Fortunately my boss tried to explain that our philosophy is that part of the whole experience is learning the "work" as well and that, although it is actually much easier to just get the pony ready and throw the kid on, then send them home and do the untacking ourselves, we choose to do it this way because we feel it is important. 

 So, while I do not feel that I did anything wrong, nor do I feel that I would do things differently, nor should I and I also know that if she took her son anywhere else, he would have the same experience, I can't help feeling truly gutted and am full of self-loathing. I actually went to bed early last night because of it and had to have a good cry about it again today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Horse Sales Videos with Music

I'm thinking about sending a query to Practical Horsemen. I've been stumped as to what it might be, but today I actually thought of something. A plea for horse sellers to stop using music in their sales videos.

Georgi emailed asking about sales horses and I promptly fired off a descriptive email regarding the particular sales horses that I thought would be suitable for the particular buyer in question. Then, because were I work is fairly organised and they are really great about keeping their website up to date, I was able to forward 3 videos of sales horses.

Then I watched one of them and...put it on mute immediately.

Why? Because it had music. A lot of horse sales videos have music. A LOT. And it is always, always, always the worst. Think "Bittersweet Symphony" or anything by Coldplay. And for those who are aware of copyright law, it's always some awful synthesized easy listenin' track with pan pipes bought cheaply from the video production company who informed the seller about copyright law.

Pretty much the only excuse as to why. "But I/someone was yelling/talking/singing while the video was being made."

I think that we can all put our heads together and come up with a solution for that problem.

The other place I think it comes from was horse show videos from the 90s. Some horse shows had videographers, so you could get a "professionally made" video of your rounds. And to (I think) justify the cost, they put cheesy graphics and added music. This was very impressive in the 90s. It looked as good as local news show b-roll! (we couldn't make things ourselves that looked that good back then). I believe that horse people are stuck in a bit of a time warp sometimes and because this was done in the 90s when, perhaps, they started their business, they think that all sales videos should have music over them. And the tradition continues.

The thing is though, unlike websites that play music upon loading, it doesn't make me close the window immediately and look back, and as far as I know, it doesn't affect to do that either. And I think I know why.

Horse people are woefully, strangely and sadly behind the times. Only recently, within the last 5 years or so, have any significant portion of them figured out what a powerful marketing tool the internet can be. And they still don't understand how websites work or why it's important that they are updated and no, your friend can't just do it because it takes time, effort and expertise which is why you should pay someone (a competent someone) to RUN the website after it has been built.

I do know, however, how hard these people work doing something that they love. And they are making an effort dammit. The video is out there. Much in the same way that I find paintings for sale in thrift stores heartbreakingly sweet, despite how truly awful they are, I try to feel that way about music on horse sales videos.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not crazy!

I turned 32 a week ago yesterday and for my birthday, I received clear evidence that I am not a crazy person.

This, in turn, led to my being more confident in dealing with other people! 

For example:

I lost my temper with Ryan. But not unwarrantedly so. And then, I stuck to my guns and told him to figure out a way to make it right, instead of my usual tactic of trying to make the bad feelings go away as quickly as possibly by fuming for awhile, then apologising for losing my temper and for everything else, really. 

Our infrequent arguments usually go something like this: Ryan infuriates me, I become cross, he decides that I am being irrational, I become even more cross because I am feeling marginalised, ignored and occasionally gaslighted - which is a horrible feeling. 

Then Ryan moves on and tries to forget the argument, which is horribly uncomfortable for me because I spent an entire childhood and young adulthood watching my parents fight horribly and my mother doing everything in her power to make the shouting stop, which mostly meant agreeing with whatever my father said and then ignoring that it ever happened as soon as it was over. 

In an effort to avoid this state of affairs, I try and talk about it, but because I am terrified of him or anyone being cross with me, I apologise for my behaviour. Ryan never does. But I hate fighting so, so much that I just am willing to move on (it makes me so ill!). Which is not exactly much different from my mother's tactic except that we do, actually, usually, talk about what the problem is. 

Since Ryan and I rarely ever fight, this is not such a frequent thing. But it does happen and I end up feeling rotten either way. 


Another example! 

I received a text from Casey asking me if I wanted to ride in the Tony clinic she had coming up. Instead of my ingratiating: "Yes! I'll ride whomever you want!" I wrote back, "I would like to. Can I ride a horse as opposed to a pony?" 

I received no answer, but am confident that I did the right thing, even if I do not get to participate, because I'll be damned if I'm paying another ring fee to school her medium ponies in a lesson that I am also paying for. She didn't get back to me for days and then it was some garbled message about trying but things are super busy! and blacksmith bills (which I'm not sure have anything to do with anything although I bet there is some tangent that connects them that she neglected to tell me about because that happens a lot)! and keeping the horses fit!

Here's the thing: other people are allowed to just show up and borrow her horses for lessons without getting passive-aggressive shit for not helping keep them fit or helping with blacksmith bills.

So it may mean that I don't get a Tony lesson, but I'm also glad I stuck to my guns. And that gave me the bravery to request the nice sales horse (as opposed to saying "I'll take whomever you want me to! I'm just happy to get to go!") for the hunter pace on Saturday.

So here's to self-improvement and realising that I'm not necessarily as crazy as I thought. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Countdown and my feet are itchy.

August 31 is my birthday and also means we have been in Ithaca for 5 years and a week or so. Ryan is going to be done in the spring (assuming his prediction is accurate) and it's left me with a feeling of anxious unrootedness.

Sometimes I wake up and think: Barnaby, Elinor and I should just move to the Bay Area (where Ryan is most likely going to get a job). I could get a part-time job*, my parents could watch Elinor or we could send her to daycare and Ryan could finish faster because he wouldn't have us as distractions. Most importantly, I can get started on the next phase of my life. Right now and for the last little while, I have felt like I am in limbo. Waiting, waiting, waiting. My feet are itchy metaphorically speaking. 

But, I don't even know what the next phase should be. I think I'm anxious to start it so that I'll know what it is. I want to turn to the last page to make sure that the main character (me) makes it through all right (ends up happy). 

Other days, I wake up and think: How tremendously sad. We are finishing our last summer in Ithaca and we didn't take advantage of everything it had to offer. We're a part of the community, we have a nice comfortable place, lots of friends, lots to do and most of the things we like are available to us. Would it be so bad if Ryan didn't finish in the spring? My feet are itchy, literally speaking, from the mosquito bites I got sharing beers with my new friend Genevieve, in her back yard, sitting on her picnic table nest to a patch of rainbow chard, summer squash and tomatoes, and watching her sheep and chickens romp around and discussing canning peaches and horses. 

Sometimes I think about the huge going-away party we'll throw when we leave and sometimes I think about the huge we're back party we'll throw when we arrive in California. 

*A part-time job doing what, I do not know. My friend Nik told me that her boss would probably hire me, but do I want to go and work for a trainer? Part of me says Yes! horses all the time! and part of me says, No! Working for yourself horse-wise and working for a trainer sucks. Get a non-horse job to pay for the horses. Any advice in either direction would be welcome.