Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day of family, football, and food comas, I thought I would procrastinate housework by posting about totally irrelevant things. 

I think it's bullshit that stores are open today.  I remember being a kid and not even being able to stop at Dunkin on the way to my grandparents' house because holidays were actually honored.  Now, you can go get a coffee on the way to shop until you drop, followed by a meal in a restaurant where people have been pulled away from their families for less than $3 an hour.  Granted, some employees heading in today would rather be there than at home, but please, if you go out, be super extra nice to people, maybe overtip a little, and be thankful for your day off. 

Our Thanksgiving festivities will be at Josh's aunt's house, where there are three dogs that rival the cuteness of our own; one who gives (almost) too many licks, one who is equally graceful and adorable as he jumps from lap to lap for affection, and one who is a little bastard that will lay across the room from you, growling and crying until you come rub his belly.  It's like home away from home, and I can't wait to go.

Josh just made the biggest sacrifice of his week and changed the channel from ESPN to NBC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  That's how you know a man loves you; he will endure lip syncers "butchering a perfectly good song" because he knows it makes you happy.  I have been watching this parade most of my life and even though it's super cheesy, it's tradition.

I had a great time at the barn last night, Lucy definitely keeps me on my toes but I am getting a pretty good feel of her and both times she acted up I knew it was coming.  That's the beauty of Thoroughbreds, they can be a handful but more often than not their back gives them away.  Maddy and I had a successful tack cleaning party in the pub, I think we are as ready as we will be for the show Sunday.  Horse friends for the win, by the way.  They are the best.

Okay, I am falling victim to the death glares coming from the can of Pledge and the vacuum.  I must go make my inhabitance inhabitable.  I hope everyone enjoys their turkey, tofurkey, turducken, steak, or whatever the hell you eat today.  I will be eating my weight in stuffing.  And cranberry sauce, cornbread, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes.  And stuffing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hot Mess in a Sundress

Today's blog is brought to you by the Maltipoo on my shoulder and the Puggle snoring contentedly next to me on the couch.  We have not quite achieved puppy palooza, as the Maltese is enjoying his nap downstairs, but I'll take what I can get. 
Furthermore, I am feeling a bit better today and am savoring my first coffee in almost a week.  What a bad time to have a cold.  There is too much going on right now for my days to be a blur of Zicam, Dayquil, tea with honey, and tissues.  Boxes and boxes of tissues.

As I mentioned in my last post, I now have two jobs.  Monday was orientation for the café, which went pretty well.  I won't lie, I was a bit frightened by some of the other people there, but I am trying so hard not to judge books by their covers.  I just kept my mouth shut and reminded myself that it takes all kinds of kinds.  Thanks, Miranda Lambert.  The training runs Monday through Saturday, then we open the following Monday (Dec 9th).  Since attendance is mandatory, I requested mornings off at the restaurant for next week, which wouldn't be a big deal except...

Yesterday during lunch our GM flipped out because the day bartender was causing a lot of people to leave unhappy.  He came flying into the kitchen, where I was rolling silverware, and points to me. 
"You've been a bartender, right?"
"Good.  Start learning the drink recipes, your bar training starts next week."
"Sweet!"  (Fist pump, look of disbelief, shit-eating grin.)
Needless to say, I am pumped.  Being a bartender at this restaurant is a coveted position, and I'm absolutely positive I will piss people off by becoming one so suddenly in my tenure there.  Fortunately, I am there to make money, not friends, and I don't care.

Did anyone else notice that now next week has two major training schedules?  I did.  I am having a sit-down with the restaurant GM today about my bar training, and I will let him know of my café training so hopefully I can work the two around each other.  What a conundrum to have, and how fortunate I am to call it mine.

In other news, I AM RIDING IN A HORSE SHOW THIS WEEKEND.  It has been probably five years since I have done so, and I can't even get over how excited I am.  I will be riding this afternoon and then having a tack cleaning party tonight with some barn friends.  I feel like a little kid again, except I do not have to use an entire bottle of Quik Silver on a schoolie's legs only to find them yellow again the next morning.  (Instead now I ride a horse who likes to get manure stuck behind her ears and then laugh at you as you try to reach them).

My house is an absolute disaster at the moment, though I did manage to do two loads of laundry yesterday.  I desperately need to dust and vacuum, but I keep finding other little projects to do.  I can't wait until I can fall back into a routine; change is great, but I feel like I am so all over the place right now.  That said, I am going to gather myself together and get ready for work.  I will leave you with items 24 through 28 (may as well get a day ahead) on my November list:

24. Patience (both the GnR song and the virtue)
25. Coffee
26. "You can't remove fear, it's what you do with it." - Leroy Jethro Gibbs
27. Time management skills
28.  Perspective

Sometimes we get to meet our heroes

Sometimes we even dress a bit like them

Never turn down a dance with a bear

Even if he looks like Poo(h)

Piglet is such a ham

Friday, November 22, 2013

Back to making cents, but still not making sense.

In comparison with my rather laid back three weeks off, the past ten days have been crazy.  Hence the dearth of blog posts.  I started my new job on 11/12/13, which is fun in and of itself.  I really like it there and I think it's going to be a lucrative endeavor.  That said, I do not necessarily want to wait tables or tend bar my whole life, so when the opportunity arose to interview with a café that is opening nearby, I jumped on it.  I got the job, and will be starting in a entry-level position, but the GM thinks I will be able to advance to a supervisor rather quickly.  I am excited about the operating hours, the working conditions, the lack of alcohol (and therefore the lack of drunken assholes), and the predetermined pay rate.  I really hope it works out, but for now I am going to work part time at both places to be sure I am making the correct decision for myself.  I could totally use two incomes, anyway; I have some catching up to do in the cash flow department.

I missed a whole week of barn time due to an aggressive training schedule at the restaurant.  They wanted to cram my orientation plus eight training shifts into one week so that I could be on the floor as soon as possible.  I'm glad they did it that way, but I missed my barn friends and the ponies!  I did get to ride two days this week, one of which was a much needed trail ride.  I am SO fortunate to first of all have such a great horse to ride, and secondly have such an expansive network of trails literally in the backyard of her barn.  This situation could not have come at a better time (I swear, all things happen for a reason), and has been responsible for maintaining my sanity and happiness throughout an otherwise tumultuous couple of months.  To Kate and Maddy, since I know you read this, thank you so much for being your awesome selves.

As for that 30 Days of Thanks undertaking, at which I have been succeeding in failure (now there's optimism for ya!), I am resorting to a simple list.  I have fallen so far behind and I think it's partially because I feel compelled to elaborate on every item.  Since I am on a double tomorrow and don't forsee a post, here is the 15th through the 23rd by numbers (but in no particular order):

15. Brainstorming
16. A tidy house
17. Inspiration
18. Change (not the monetary kind, although that works, too)
19. A good plan, and the ability to throw it out the window
20. Comfortable shoes
21. Hot showers
22. Amazon (best holiday shopping site, ever)
23. eBay (because I am cheap and refuse to pay full price for anything)

Lastly, because I enjoy being random, here are some pictures that have nothing to do with this post.

Me and Sarah eating brain pizza at Panic in the Dark

This is why you should always pick your horse's feet.

Amazing picture Josh took of the stunt show at Disney 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This is Odie's World, I Just Live in It

Today has already been hectic.  I was up at 7, as per usual to feed my fuzzy alarm clock, but we also had a guy coming to look at the upstairs bathroom, where we are replacing the tub.  He gave me instructions on what to demolish, how, and in what order.  I took notes (actually, I drew a picture) for Josh, who was already at work.  So happy to be getting on with that project, as it's been stagnant for a while and we are anxious to finally finish our bathroom.

I had to bring Odysseus to the vet at 8:20 because he had a rash that he licked and chewed into a hotspot.  Poor thing, he's been obsessed with it.  He spent most of Thursday in a polo wrap so that he couldn't get to the area, then yesterday I found an old ace bandage, which he quickly learned how to unravel.  So, $93 later, he has two medications for which I had to make a handy dosing chart to hang on the fridge; it will be a family effort depending on who is home at the time.  I also talked to the vet about switching him to a grain-free food because he's so itchy all the time.  He has all pink skin and it's SO damn sensitive!  The vet tech recommended Rachel Ray Nutrish Zero Grain, so we will try that.  It's one of the more reasonably priced brands, and she does a lot for the welfare of animals, so I am happy to support it.

Thinking I had to work at 10:45, I got ready and for some reason decided to check my schedule to see if next week's had been posted yet.  It hasn't, but I realized I am not in until 11:30.  Thank God I didn't go in extra early, I have a long enough day as it is.  Today is my third training shift, they keep putting me on doubles that only count as one shift.  Yesterday 10:45 - 9, today 11:30 - 9.  But, I will not argue because the more I know, the better I will be once I am on my own.

Off I go to kiss my little puppalup goodbye for the day and ask him kindly not to eat things that don't belong to him (shoes, Kleenex, electrical cords).  Hopefully I will do my 30 days post later; if not, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Make Like a Tomato and Ketchup!

Welcome to rapid-fire Thursday, where I get tired of playing catch up and tell you six things that I am thankful for.  I am starting to want to write about real things, but I feel tied to this November commitment, so I today I will make gratitude my bitch.

I am thankful for manual labor.  Horses require copious amounts of it, obviously, but I've also always had jobs that allow me to stay active.  I would go absolutely stir crazy working at a desk, and as I discovered by tons of computer training at my new job, my back hurts after a long day in a chair.  Manual labor is a great way to stay in shape, and can be greatly rewarding when you see what you've accomplished.

I am thankful for sports.  For years I have loved to watch New England's teams and cheer them on, but I was an adult before I really understood how any of them worked.  My boyfriend is a sports fanatic, and he has very patiently answered my questions over the years so that I may better understand what's going on.  He even gave me an appreciation for golf, which I had previously equated to watching paint dry.  It is especially convenient in the restaurant industry to have a good knowledge of sports, because it's a great conversation piece.

I am thankful for my cell phone.  I am old enough to remember the days of land lines and pay phones, and not having the world at your fingertips.  For every time I curse technology, I also thank God for it.  I can think of so many instances where I would have been lost (literally, figuratively, and sometimes both) without my smartphone.

I am thankful for my friends.  I am not one who has a large group of them, and it's on purpose.  I am rather picky about who I hang out with, because I do not want to waste my time on someone who would not do the same for me.  I pride myself in being a good friend, and in my opinion it is next to impossible to be a good, true friend to more than a handful of people at any given time.
Years ago, a friend of mine called me late at night because his truck had broken down on the southern end of the NJ turnpike.  He was hoping I was in the area; no one else was available to help him out.  I drove down from Taunton, MA, to pick him up and then brought him to Springfield, MA so he could spend the weekend with his girlfriend.  Crazy?  Yup.  Did I think twice?  No.

That story reminds me, I am thankful for my desire to travel.  I have seen so many amazing places in North America, and I have met so many great people; I don't regret a moment of time that I have spent on the road.  One of these days I will get to Europe and Australia, too, but I am going to have to save my pennies.

Which brings me to my, um, we'll call it thriftiness.  Honestly I don't know quite how I developed my budgeting skills, but I am so proud to have built myself up from being totally flat broke to having a respectable savings account, zero debt, and enough left over to take a couple of vacations each year.  I quit my job on the spot in October, because I was miserable there and I knew I would not aggressively seek a new, better job unless I HAD to.  I am newly employed at a much (much much much) better place, I am happier, and I did not need to dip into my savings account to survive almost four weeks out of work.

I apologize for a photo-less entry, but I am all done sitting at this computer.  My mosquito-sized attention span expired long ago.  It's time for family dinner and homemade pizza!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sounds and sights.

Another day, another day behind.  So today I will be thankful for three things.  It's just as well; when I was younger I used to keep a diary and every day I wrote down five things I was grateful for.  Sometimes I'd get super trivial, like "I am grateful for mustard."  But think about it, a giant soft pretzel without mustard?  Boring.  It makes you think about how much we take for granted on a daily basis and much there really is to appreciate.

Music has always been a part of my life.  When I was a child I was, of course, subjected to whatever music my mom and older sisters listened to.  There are videos somewhere of me singing "Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen and "Sign Your Name" by Terence Trent D'arby.  Then there was Warrant.  At 5 years old, I had a crush on Jani Lane and would almost constantly be listening to my "Heaven" single.  I went through a country phase, then as I got older I fell victim to the radio, which I mildly regret.  At 18, I discovered emo, alternative, and indie rock.  My Chemical Romance got me through one of the toughest times of my life, and what's incredible is the amount of people who feel the same way.  This was my first interaction with "the scene," and I began meeting some great people at the shows I was going to.  From here I could get way off track, tell stories about Monty and Something to Fight For, but suffice it to say I had some pretty amazing times that never would have been possible if I had not immersed myself in music.

Strangely, I did not start playing an instrument until a couple years later, when I taught myself guitar, piano, and enough bass to struggle through a few songs.  Nothing I ever played was terribly good, but I enjoyed it and I don't think I have ever felt more creative than when I was sitting at a piano.  I miss that.


I have always had an appreciation for photography.  I used to tear through rolls of film and those disposable cameras that kids nowadays wouldn't even know existed.  I would take pictures of anything and everything, without thinking about the lighting, background, or really much at all for that matter.  When I was a teenager I got my first digital camera (a Sony FD Mavica) that I would bring everywhere with me.  I took a LOT of pictures of horses, and eventually became the horse show photographer at the barn where I rode.  Aside from the fact that I've never owned a very nice camera (some of those DSLRs frighten me), I would like to think that I've gotten pretty good at freezing tiny little moments in time.  Or at least I love it enough to keep trying. 

Another one of my loves is the written word.  As one who is not always well-spoken, it's comforting to know I can put words on paper and make them make sense.  I lean towards poetry and memoirs, but I keep saying one of these days I might venture into fiction.  Seeing as how I don't have a picture to represent my love of writing, perhaps you would like a giraffe.

Not good enough?  Here's a picture of me violating Walt Disney.  Enjoy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


It may have been a little ambitious of me to jump right back into writing.  I'm hoping that by making this a public attempt, it will be a successful one.  That said, here are two more things that I'm thankful for, which will leave me a measley five days behind.  Pshh.  I've got this.
I am beyond thankful for horses; I would not be where I am or who I am without them.  They have taught me so much about patience, determination, and work ethic.  I could go on and on about how these animals have been responsible for some of the best times of my life, but for the sake of brevity, I will simply say this: if you are a horse person, you get it, and if you are not, you never will.
A once in a lifetime pony.

Let's just pretend that rail is still in the cup.
Coming in at number 5 on my list of thanks is my car.  Really, all of my cars except that awful Plymouth Neon (totally NOT the same as a Dodge), but even he was good for some ridiculous stories.  Currently I drive a 2006 Kia Spectra, my first car not to be covered in stickers or retain a name.  I had Nellie (Dodge Neon), Helena (Saturn SL2), Dallas (Plymouth Neon), and Webster (Ford Taurus wagon), but I could never find the perfect moniker for this little girl.  My car has driven me through snow that some trucks would balk at; she has toted grain bags, shavings bags, hay bales, and tack trunks; and most importantly, she has taken me and my mom cross country twice.  I guess you could say that we rode through the desert in a car with no name.

Me and my little beast in Yellowstone National Park

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is it really November already?

It's been a while since I've written anything.  I've always had road journals, blogs, diaries, poems...hell, I could tell a story through my photo collection alone.  Somehow I've gotten away from it, which is too bad.  I figured jumping on the 30 Days of Thanks bandwagon for November was as good a reason as any to organize my thoughts and start documenting my life again.  Obviously I'm a few days behind the ball, which should surprise no one, so I'll play catch up in the first couple of posts.

It is rather convenient that I have to cover a few days at once here, because I could not live without the first three things on my list: my mom, my dog, and my boyfriend. 

My mom is absolutely my best friend, and my favorite travel companion.  She has always supported me in whatever I do, and she sacrificed so much when I was growing up to make sure that I never went without.  She taught me how to work hard and earn the things I wanted, so that I would appreciate them infinitely more.  I am happy to say that as an adult I am finally able to give back to her in some way, whether it be planning a major cross country road trip, a surprise birthday celebration, or just a girls' day out.  I know we have a million more memories in store for us, but hopefully no more close calls with the boys in blue.  Did you know it's a federal offense to write your initals on the St. Louis Arch?  We do now.  And she'll NEVER let me live that down.

Me & Mom at Theodore Roosevelt Park in North Dakota

My dog.  My fuzzy little Odysseus. 
Two years ago when I had to give up my Thoroughbred, my heart was shattered.  I felt like I had just given a family member away, and it was devastating to fall short on the promise of a forever home.  I know I did the right thing, he needed to be retired and I could not afford to keep him, but that didn't make it any easier.  I quit riding and stayed away from horses for quite some time; I kept myself busy and tried not to think about it.  I could have never guessed my saving grace would be a little cottonball with a penchant for shitting under tables.
Josh and I had been looking to adopt a puppy, and we found ours in June 2012.  He is the best thing that has happened to us, and the worst thing to happen to our shoes.  He is such a mama's boy, which is fine by me.  I once again feel the unconditional love and loyalty that only an animal can give, and I take every opportunity to bond with and spoil him so that he knows the feeling is mutual.  He may even edge out horses in that he fits in my sedan, and he sleeps in bed with us.  Tucked in and on his own pillow, I may add.  :)

Odie at "his" beach last fall

Last for today, but certainly not least, is Josh.  He has made the last four years of my life unforgettable, and I love him with all of my heart.  I think the most prominent effect he has had on my life is helping me realize not everything is a big deal all the time.  For someone who can make an entire mountain range out of an ant hill, that is priceless.  He is silly and childish, yet wise beyond his years.  There's no one quite like him, and I'm so lucky to call him mine.  You know you've found a keeper when the first thing he says to you is, "What do you mean you're a vegetarian?  What the hell is wrong with you?"  Guys, try that as a pick up line sometime.  See what happens.

Me & Josh at my first Sox/Yankees game