Thursday, August 27, 2009

One week down...

Well, I have survived one week of school and one week of John being out of town. Not sure which was harder at this point! Actually, I have been reading before classes and working the example problems and the lectures are a review of my previous nights work. That is an awesome feeling to understand your physics or chem professor. I felt like a star today in chem, I knew all of the lecture material and I helped all of my neighbors on the 5 question quiz. One of the people near me asked me if I could help them study. I laughed on the inside a little because it was one of those dudes who is practically drooling during the lecture, peeking over my shoulders for answers, etc. Those types annoy me, but as John noted they always get theirs when it comes test time. As of this evening, I read about Vectors for physics and understood the examples, but the theory was a little off. They kept saying to use the sum of the vectors, but they were doing something more like (sqrt of a^2+b^2), which is not finding the sum... however, you can also use the Pythagorean theorem using sin,cos,tan to find the length of the side of a triangle if the two vectors are perpendicular. Downside to that method is that I don't know how to use my calculator. sin=o/h, cos= a/h, tan= o/a, I think. So hopefully I will figure out my calculator before this weekend so I can spend some time working practice problems and finishing my homework, which is due online on monday night. I haven't heard from my chem tutor yet, so I am just going to try working through some chem problems on my own.
John comes back a week from Sunday and it isn't soon enough! I have resorted to letting Charley sleep in the bed! It is really rough not having your best friend around in a stressful time like this! It will also be nice to have him back to show me how to use the calculator and do physics! Though, to be honest, he is a freaking genius. I called him the other night all upset over gravity and acceleration and he could explain stuff over the phone without seeing the book or problems! I just gave him the formulas and read the problem and he could walk me right through it! I have a tendency to cry when I'm doing algebra, so I was especially proud of him for not getting frustrated with me! It really is cool though, I feel like I am experiencing something holy. Science teaches me something new EVERY SINGLE DAY. I feel smarter every day. I have never felt that before. This isn't memorization or synthesis of material. It is actual real learning how the world works, mathematically and scientifically. So even though it makes me cry and takes up all of my free time, I am loving every second of it!

I went to see Boomer today and he was looking so good. When I haven't seen him in a while I am always struck by how good looking he is. I took him to the barn and groomed him and he is already starting to shed out his summer coat. It has been getting down to the 50's at night so I think he is about to start morphing into a yak. I am resisting the urge to body clip him. There is no reason to except that I hate the spring shed. He loved the full grooming session. He loves to be curried and today his favorite spot was the right side of his neck. He kept taking little baby steps forward into the scratching. It was very cute. His cracked heel is the same. It has been raining here for almost a week and he just cant seen to get over the scratches or thrush. He is sensitive to both when it rains a lot. My old arab, Fire, was also. I spent a little over an hour grooming him and mucking his paddock and it was almost enough time to relax me. I want to go out to ride him tomorrow. It is easy to overlook going out there when I am so busy and he is being well cared for, however I really do need the therapy of smelling horse.

I will leave you with some pictures from our friend's wedding last weekend:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just one reason...

Here is just one of the many reason John and I are glad we no longer live in Bartlesville, OK. If you are ever offered the opportunity to live or visit this gem of a town, I highly recommend declining!

Bartlesville Man Jailed After Assaulting Wife with Truck and Gun

Bartlesville used to have a ton of oil money (read: a ton of money held by very few people) because of Conoco Phillips. However, within the last 10 years, Conoco moved their headquarters to Houston and the money left with it. What is left is a run down town with nothing to do and the majority of storefront boarded up in the downtown area. It really is a shame, as Conoco renovated much of the downtown area. Yet, it sits empty. Culture just isn't something small town mid-america is interested in.

The 14 months we lived there are kind of a blur now. I can't believe we held out that long. It is strange, neither of us made any friends or really did anything the whole time we were there. The only time we went out to dinner was if we were visiting Tulsa. It is such a contrast to life in Lawrence. I actually have motivation and school, we have both made friends and we go out on a regular basis! We are so much happier here, it is such an awesome deal that John got transferred so much sooner than we had anticipated!

There isn't really any point to this post except to share the scary article John emailed me this morning and to rejoice in how happy we are to be away from Oklahoma and in glorious Lawrence.

As my dad suggests, ask me again in a few months how much I love Lawrence. The dead of winter may frost my rose colored glasses!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where was I...

Life has been indescribably busy lately. M-F I have classes from about 1-2:30, Monday mornings I shadow at the vet clinic from 7:30-12 and Monday evenings are my scheduled 'test time' for Chem, Tuesday afternoons I have Chemistry tutoring, Wednesday is my scheduled afternoon to ride the horse, Thursday is Chem lab, Friday is Phsx lab followed by Chem tutoring, and the weekends are free for horsing and studying.

Not to mention all of the paperwork involved in getting resident tuition, getting a marriage certificate, and getting my name changed, etc.

Add to the mix that John is out of town for 2 weeks for work, and I am one bummed chick!

Physics is going well so far. I am grasping all of the text and most of the lecture material. Today at the end of class things got rushed and the last example didn't make sense to me, I worked it much faster and in fewer steps than the prof was describing and I got the right answer. I really wish John was here to tutor me! I am going to try working a few practice problems this evening and tomorrow. We have an online homework that is self paced and due next monday and I am doing well, though the unit conversions are much more complicated than I have ever done before for Chemistry.

On to the more interesting stuff, and probably the reason you are here: Horse Updates!!!

Boomer is doing surprisingly well for how little I have been seeing and riding him. I have been feeling guilty for not seeing him much, so my dad suggested I set three 'dates' per week with him, so Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday are our new 'no matter what' dates. I need that time outside with him, even if it is just to give him a carrot.

I got him a new halter this weekend. It is just a dark green nylon halter. His leather one was getting a little moldy from being out in the rain, and I don't really tie him up that often, so he doesn't really need the safety features anymore. I think the dark green looks great on him.

I went out this afternoon after not riding him for about 5 days and he had a ton of energy! I just let him loose in the round pen and he cantered around, occasionally bucking and galloping until he was sweaty between the legs. I then got him tacked up and ready to ride. The last few rides since we got back from CA were in the indoor arena due to rain and we mostly worked on basics, plus introducing the 'over' cue. Today I took him outside and we worked on something new and interesting.
Whenever I ride him outside, I always lead him away from the barn, towards the outdoor arena/ big hill. Generally he stops to pee, then I get on and head straight up the hill, invariably he fights about going up the hill and towards the trail. I never really feel like I have full control of him between the time I get on him until we are fully on the trail. Today we just worked in that area (approx. 1 acre) doing circles and walking. We only walked and I would take him in circles until he softened and was focused only on me, then we would either change direction or make the circle bigger, depending on the scenery/scary things nearby. Rather than let him freeze with his head up and stare at something, I made him keep walking in circles, to and from the object. It was surprisingly fast and easy to get him near the 'scary' things/areas. The only thing that really got him was a new cow in the north pasture. We just kept walking but he was totally focused on the cow until it left. We circled close to the barn, towards the gelding pasture, past the barrels in the outdoor, under the trees, by the fire pit, and lastly- up the hill. If he hesitated at the hill, I would move the circle back down until he was OK again. This was an interesting activity because I could really feel where his tension was: right at the top of the hill before the trail starts. He didn't balk because I never pointed him at something and said 'go'. I was just asking for circles. I did notice though, from a horses perspective, the hill could be scary. You are exposed on all sides and the wind is especially strong. He spooked twice in a row pretty hard, but held things together very well(ie. no bolting). Once he figured out that the scary pile of hay was actually edible (not that he got any) he sighed and went right on with our circles. I do feel that this lesson was important. I have never actually ridden him in that area, just through it, straight for the part (top of the hill) that makes him most anxious. Perhaps our next ride will be the same lesson but at a trot. Hopefully if we can figure out that I retain control in that area, it will help with his balking.

Something else I started working on was praising Boomer more. I come from a background where you punish the wrong, the right is expected and the reward is getting the girth loosened when I dismount. I am starting to rethink this whole theory. With Boomer, I think that 'the wrong' must be re-categorized as the 'mistake' and the 'misbehavior'. Misbehavior must be punished/corrected. Mistakes should be ignored and the movement/goal should be reattempted. The right should be praised. The reward stays the same, maybe plus a carrot :) . The mistake/misbehavior idea has been floating around in my head for a while. Boomer just isn't the kind of horse who takes punishment well. Especially if he is trying to learn something. Correction for a 'wrong try' makes him shut down. I actually started thinking about praise after reading this post by Many Misadventures. I worked on that today and I praised Boomer every time he gave me a nice soft bend around my circle with his head low and neck soft. I was looking for him to balance and turn around the circle without looking off into the distance and at scary things. I did notice that he would flick and ear and soften when I scratched his neck and said 'good boy'. I really didn't know he would understand the praise. I'm not sure if it made a difference or not in his performance and I am not sure that he is or will become a 'praise motivated' horse but I felt good about appreciating him.

One other thing worth mentioning is that Boomer has a case of cracked heel on his hind left leg (white sock). Greasy heel, dew poisoning, rain rot, scratches, whatever you call it is fine by me! Boomer is prone to scratches and it is usually very treatable. I just pick off the scabs, wash with Hibiclense anti-microbial soap, and apply iodine. Sometimes it works without the iodine. Before we left for CA I had been treating all four of his legs with success except for his back left. I think that is got worse while we were gone and it was untreated. I had been trying Desitin on it before we left. Anyhow, it seems better today, but is still a huge pain (for both of us). He has a pretty good horizontal scratch/crack on his pastern. It was very crusty and red, now it is pink and mainly clean. I have been washing it every time I ride, letting it dry and adding the Desitin. I think it is helping. It is just frustrating being out of town so much right now because he isn't getting the attention I know he needs. Today it was still sore to the touch, had very little scabbing and was light pink. I am hoping it will heal this week, though there is so much dew every morning I'm not sure there is anything I can do for him.

Enough for now, I'm off to bed. I need to rest up before starting my journey to Manhattan tomorrow! I need to pick up my parking permit and books before heading to class.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


John and I were married on August 6th, 2009 at the Lawrence Courthouse. On the 7th we drove up to see his sister's new baby, Xander. He was born a week earlier and John's sister and her husband were both on 'maternity' leave for the week while we were gone, so they were going to watch Charley! Luckily, Charley loves babies!

We flew in to San Diego and had dinner with my brother and his girlfriend.
They have lived in San Diego for about a year and were in the process of packing and moving to Dallas when we were there.

We visited the beach and Balboa Park. We only saw a few seals, I was hoping to pet one. Balboa Park was awesome. We visited the rose garden and another 'natural landscape' garden. The trees were so crazy!

This tree was hollow. I could fit inside of it!

This rose was the best smelling rose I had ever smelled!

HWY 1 had some great views!!!

We then drove up to Ventura to visit my dad. We didn't get any pictures there. It was really good to get to see my dad, even if only for a few hours! On the way we drove through LA so we did get a picture of Mulholland Drive (even though they spell it wrong)!!!

We then drove up HWY 1 to Monterey Bay, which is near Pacific Grove, Carmel by the Sea, and Pebble Beach. That was by far the most beautiful and quaint area we visited! It was so foggy every night that there was moss hanging off of all of the trees!

The drive up HWY 1 was really very pretty. John probably didn't enjoy my backseat driving, but those cliffs were pretty steep and the mountains were really close to the other edge of the road!!
We stayed at a cool resort called Asilomar in Pacific Grove and it was actually a state nature preserve. John saw 5 deer, but I didn't see anything! There were some great restaurants around and we even drove down Cannery row!

The beach was amazing in Monterey Bay. The sand was so smooth! I hopped a small fence and skipped on some golf grass. It was the best barefoot grass ever! I later learned that greens fees in that area can range from $180- $450!!!

The water was icy though, and I highly recommend enlarging the picture of John to see the look on his face!

Isn't he cute?

Our next drive was up to San Fran and on to Guernville which is in the heart of the Russian River Valley.

Once we got settled in to the B&B, we kind of stopped taking pictures, except of this great statue.

On the way up we stopped at a beach with a really nice view. We ate a picnic lunch and had a bottle of wine and some goat cheese. This beach was really nice and we got a bunch of fun pictures!

This was probably the best view up the old HWY 1. The fog finally burned off and we got some great light! I love these pictures!

We did a ton of wine tastings and brought home a ton of wine. Two and a half cases, in fact. In our defense, one case was a total bargain. Martin Ray Winery also distributes another label, Angeline, which is a wine John and I first had together when we had just started dating. It is one of our favorite labels. I personally love a dry riesling, but didn't know Angeline made one. Well, it turns out that their riesling is 'too dry' for most people and they are discontinuing it. I thought it was amazing, so we bought a case at $5/bottle! We also bought a few bottles of their Gewurztraminer for my 'sweeter' days.
I don't remember the exact order of places we visited, but I think we went to Harvest Moon next. Harvest Moon was really cool because we got to meet the owner/grower/bottler- Randy. He was so involved in the process! We got two bottles of their Zinfandel and a bottle of their Winter Harvest mission style olive oil. Yum!
The next day we went to Foppiano which is like a 4th generation family owned operation. We bought a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon. We then went to Camellia, which I was less impressed with than the others. Many places we visited had almost all good wines, Camellia had mostly bad with only very few good ones. We liked their 02 Cab Sav much more than the 05, so got a bottle of 02 and we also got a bottle of Dolcetto which is a french table wine that they had imported.
The best place we went to, hands down, was owned by the same family that owns the company John works for! It was a smaller operation, but the sommeliers knew so much about the dirt, the weather, the temperature, the grapes... it was incredible. This was Michel-Schlumberger and their wines were incredible. The pours were generous and I felt like we really got to enjoy each wine. We were left for about 5-10 minutes between each pour and could really take our time to enjoy each variety. We bought a Chardonnay, a Pino Noir (John's fav), and a Cabernet Franc. The Cab Franc was by far the best wine I have ever tasted, ever.
After that we went to Amista. Amista means friend and their policy is to only sell to people who come to their vineyards. They do not distribute or ship out. Their wines were very good. We got a Syrah and a Rose of Syrah.
After that we went into town (Healdsburg) for lunch and then visited La Crema. I wasn't as impressed by these wines at all and was kind of disappointed by stand alone tasting rooms in general. I really like to see the vines. We bought a bottle of Syrah from them and then moved on to Simi. Simi was really good and we enjoyed the tasting there. We ended up with a Petite Syrah, which is from a totally different grape than Syrah and a late harvest Riesling (dessert wine).
The last place we visited was Dry Creek and their wines were really good, but somehow too heavy for me. However, their Cab Sav was amazing and it ended up being the most expensive bottle we bought. It is our bottle 'to age'.

The wine tasting was really pretty fun and I enjoyed being outside so much and drinking great wines! I also discovered that wine can have a similar effect as coffee at 11am. :)

The B&B we stayed at was called Sonoma Orchid Inn and was wonderful. Their breakfast was served family style and was to die for. They has a "feather egg" casserole one morning with fruit salad and home made sausage. Another morning they served french toast souffle! One of the best restaurants we are at was in Occidental and was called Negri's. It was totally cheesy, with red and white checked table cloths, but the ravioli was hand made and the best I had ever had and the meat sauce was also to die for. Overall, best and cheapest meal we had!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I am officially enrolled at both KU and KSTATE and will be starting classes on Friday. You have no idea what a headache it is to be a 'non-traditional student' trying to get into closed classes.

John and I are back from our Honeymoon, which is why I haven't posted in a while. I'll post a real one as soon as we get internet at the house this evening.

The horse is good, the dog is good, the fish LIVED for 8 days without food.

And I'm a married woman now :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The day doesn't always go as planned

Thursday was one of those days. We had wanted to do a long run together, me riding and John running. We had a goal of 16 miles but were going to stay close to home and do loops in case Boomer's hooves started to get sore on the hard roads. Well, we started off and Boomer got to his barn sour antics. He was spinning and being belligerent. It was actually worse than it has been. I got off him a number of times and he just flew around me at the end of the rein I was worried he was going to bolt home. At one point he tried to rear with me on him and I just lost it. So, I got off and walked him home, tied his reins to the girth, and cantered him around the round pen for about 15 minutes. When I was sufficiently calmed down and he was sufficiently sweaty, I got back on and started riding him back out. He balked a little, but did eventually leave the barn. I rode him up the road to the north for a little over a mile, then back down to the south towards the highway. He was reluctant, but stayed going forward. Then I headed south of the highway, hoping to meet up with John who was still out running. We did eventually see him coming towards us and we did the rest of the run together. Boomer did balk pretty good once when we were going towards John. We were probably a half mile away from each other and Boomer started his shit again, but I didn't have to get off to get him moving forward, so that was good. Once we met back up, we went past the barn road and went up the north road again. That was good for Boomer to pass the way home a number of times. When we did head home, I made him do a ton of fake out circles away from home. At first he was resistant, but he calmed down after he figured out that A) I was in charge and B) we always headed home eventually.
Over all, I was a little disappointed. He hadn't acted like that in a few weeks. But, in his perspective, he knew what was coming and while the last run didn't make him visibly lame, he was probably sore from the workout on such concussive ground. He is used to trotting for extended periods on grass, not hard packed gravel. I did order him some Renegade Hoof Boots for his front feet, we will see if that helps him. He wasn't ouchy on the hard gravel, but he did have a slower pace than on the grassy shoulder of the road.
I was happy that after reminding him who was in charge, he was more manageable. I wish he would just get over it and I also wish that I could work him out on the trail/road as well as I can in the round pen. Maybe I should lunge him before I plan on going out of a ride. I did lunge him when we got back as well. It was a little Boot Camp refresher course. Perhaps I was a little lax on that once he started being good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New house!!!

I have been so busy for the last week that I haven't gotten around to posting on our new house! We moved in on Monday the 27th and the movers came the 28th. We have gotten most things unpacked, but we still have a ton of stuff just stacked in corners waiting to be put away. The downstairs has the Kitchen, living room, dining area, and half bath. The upstairs has a master bed, bath, and closet, a guest room, guest bath, laundry, and study.

Here is the front entryway:

Charley loves running up and down the stairs:

The living room has a gas fireplace and lots of windows:

The dining area is small and cozy (and very cluttered):

The kitchen is very open and has more cabinet space than I expected:

The guest bedroom is all put together and we are also keeping pictures in there until we figure out where to hang everything:

Guest bath:

My office is a good example of what still needs to be done:

Laundry room is upstairs, which is awesome:

Master bedroom:

Master Bath:

Master closet:

Charley doing what Charley does in his new back yard: