NaNoWriMo Part 2

Monday, November 29, 2010

I did it!  Woot!  I completed my novel for NaNoWriMo 2010.  I'm so excited that I finished it, because let me tell you it's huge.  96,239 words, lots of sleepless nights writing that.  But I really liked my characters, I loved my plot lines.  And I had such a great time doing this.  Really a sense of accomplishment to know I finished it.  Of course when I started out I had no idea it was going to turn out so long.  My characters just sort of had a mind of their own and I just had to follow them.

So now it's time to look forward to December and my next project.  Erin at Now THAT'S A Trot! has been doing NaBloPoMo during November, the goal being to post every day for a month.  Now I loved the idea of the challenge but no way would I have been able to do both that and NaNoWriMo in the same month.  So I'm going to take up the blog challenge for December.  One post (at least) everyday of the month.  Since I sort of stole the idea from Erin, I'm going to use her prompts (with some minor modifications)

  1. Intro, recent pic, 15 facts
  2. Meaning behind your blog name
  3. Your first love
  4. Your parents
  5. Your siblings
  6. Picture of something that makes you happy
  7. Favorite movies
  8. Favorite books
  9. Favorite TV shows
  10. A place you've traveled to
  11. A picture of your friends
  12. Something your afraid of
  13. What you believe
  14. Your goals
  15. A picture you love
  16. Favorite quotes
  17. Your dream house
  18. Something you're looking forward to
  19. Something you regret
  20. Something you miss
  21. Nicknames
  22. Something you are grateful for
  23. Favorite city
  24. Favorite vacation
  25. Something you've learned
  26. Put your iPod on shuffle, first 15 songs
  27. Last 5 books you've read
  28. Pets
  29. Something that stress you out
  30. 3 wishes
  31. A picture
Now you'll still be getting regular updates about X, Kaye and all the other ponies, not to mention anything else that might be on my mind.  These posts will just be in addition to that.  I think this will be a good exercise for me.  Especially because I know I'm bad sometimes about updating regularly.  I know I will sometimes skip weeks at a time, and I'd like to update more often than that.  Maybe doing this challenge will get me to keep up with the more frequent posting even after the month is up.  

So keep an eye out for the first post on Wednesday.  In the meantime, I will hopefully have a weekend riding update for you.


Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 25, 2010

As Thanksgiving day winds to a close, I can't help but be remind that 2010 will soon be coming to an end as well.  Although there have been lots of highs and lows over the past year, I do realize how truly blessed I am.  I know that I spend too much time complaining about what I don't have, or wishing that I had someone else's life.  Thinking that everyone else has it better than I do.  But because today is a day for giving thanks for the things we have, I have thought about things a little differently.  There are so many people out there who have things worse than I do.  The people who, because of circumstances beyond their control, cannot support themselves or their families, the people serving this country so selflessly and their families, sitting home this Thanksgiving, praying their loved one comes home safe, or the people who have to make the hardest decision and say good-bye to a dear friend.  All in all I'm pretty lucky, and it shouldn't take all year for me to realize that. 

I have an amazingly supportive family.  They stand by me and my choices, no matter what their personal feelings on them might be.  They put up with my horsey obsession, something I know drives my mother bonkers.  And they have always been there for me no matter what.  Mom, Dad, Aunt Sandy and Uncle Ralph, thank you for always supporting me.  I love you guys more than you can know.

I have a best friend who knows me better than I know myself.  And even though she lives 750 miles away right now, she is till the person I call when I need someone to talk to, need to vent or just need to know someone is there.  Someday I know that we will get to reside in the same area (or at least the same state again) but until then, I am still so grateful that I get to see her the couple times a year that she is home.

I have a BO/trainer who takes the best care of my pony, I know that there are no better hands for him to be in when I can't be there to take care of him myself.  She has taught me so much about horses, riding and general life lessons.  She also let me ride her horses, giving up the rides herself so that I can have the opportunity to learn. 

I have the best ponies that I could ever hope to ride.  X-Tra loves me unconditionally (as long as I keep the food coming!)  He is always there to soak up my tears, and listen to all my ups and downs.  And although he challenges me under saddle more often than not, he also knows when I just need to sit on the back of my pony, and he gives me that quite ride.  Kaye is my other half, my partner, my baby girl and one of my best friends.  She challenges me when she knows I can handle it and she takes care of me when I need it.  She has taught me how to ride, and she has taught me how to get over my fears and build up my confidence.  I am so thankful that I have had one more year with Miss.  We almost lost her last year and I know that at 22 she doesn't have a lot of years ahead of her.  And because of that I cherish everyday I have with her. 

I have friends who are kind enough to share their horses with me.  I have so much fun in the summers playing around with the little western pony.  It's a relaxing change for me, the shows are so much more laid back and I have met some really great people through them.

I have met wonderful people through the blogging community.  Although I have never met any other people, or their horses, I feel as though I have known them for years.  I have lived through their ups and downs, celebrated the wins, and cried over the heartaches. 

I have a roof over my head.  I have food in my belly.  And I have a job that (mostly) pays the bills.  Although it is not a place I am happy at right now, I am grateful that I have a job.  In this economy not everyone can say that. 

Although I still don't have an answer to my stomach problems, for the most part I have my health. 

For these reasons and so many others I am forgetting today, I feel truly blessed.  I am so thankful for everyone and everything that I have in my life. 

While most of you will be out finding that great deal on Black Friday, one of those blog friends will be going through one of the worst days of her life.  A couple of days ago I posted about Denali's Mom, and her mare, Denali.  Tomorrow is the day she will be saying good-bye to that very special horse.  I know this is a decision that she has agonized over, and shed many, many tears.  But it is the right one for Denali and her Mom is giving her the ultimate gift, freedom from the pain and her failing hind legs.  While in her head, Denali's Mom knows it's the right thing to do, her heart just can't come to terms.  I can't even imagine what she must be going through.  Take a moment before you head out shopping and visit her blog, let her know that you are thinking of her and Denali, and keep them both in your prayers.  While nothing will make this better or keep Denali here with her, I know that she will find comfort in the support and kind words everyone has shared with her.  It is amazing how the blogging community has brought so many people together through the love of those amazing horses.


This and That...

Monday, November 22, 2010

I know, I know.  I've been terribly lax about updating.  What can I say, I've been busy.  Between working both jobs, NaNoWriMo writing and trying to squeeze in time with the ponies, well there's just not enough hours in the day.

Anyway, I had a good jumping lesson on Kaye a couple weeks ago.  Bonnie had these triples set up across the diagonals, kind of like an x in the middle of the arena.  That was pretty cool, Kaye and I actually didn't have any bad fences to start out with.  Unfortunately we were riding with Katie and Mystic, and since Mystic is still pretty green, we were only jumping baby cross bars.  That sucked, would have been a lot more fun to jump slightly bigger fences.

Then last week I didn't get to ride Kaye since all the kids ride her.  But I did tack up Miss in the dressage saddle and took her out for some walking work.  Miss has been chowing down on her grain the last few weeks, so unusual for her.  So now that she putting some weight on, we need to get her to build up her muscles as well.  I tried something a little different with her before our ride.  I gave her a squirt of Albuteral before we headed out to the arena.  And man did that make a difference.  Her breathing was a little bit rumbly but she never coughed and she didn't start wheezing.  And Miss loved it.  We did a lot of walking on a loose rein, bending circles and all that.  Then I would pick up the reins and collect her into a dressage frame for some leg yields and half passes and such.  Then back to a loose rein for a bit and then some more collected work.  All in all I rode her for about 45 minutes, and she was doing great.  Ari and Sara both took lunge lessons on my pony.  Ari has decided that she loves lunging on my horse.  So she rode him a bit and then Sara took a turn.  She wasn't sure about him at first, she hasn't been on anyone but Fanny since coming to Bonnie's, and he is a bit bigger.  But after she took a couple of laps on him, she started to relax and then enjoy it a little more.  After Sara finished I had Victoria lunge me a couple of times so Sara could see what she should be doing on the lunge, how to relax and sit the trot without a death grip on the saddle.

This past Saturday, I got to take a dressage lesson on Kaye.  Which is fine with me, I really want to focus on dressage this winter.  We got some good canter moments, plus some really good leg yields.  So I was really pleased with that.  After I rode Kaye, I tacked up Miss again and took her out for some more walking work. Once again I gave her some Albuteral before we rode, and she was great.   She's really enjoying getting back into some work.  I don't know if we'll ever be able to do anything more with her than just walking.  But even if that's all she can do, I'm fine with that.  At least she's still here with us.  And still happy.  And happy ponies make me happy.  So I'll take it!

Good news is this is a short work week.  At least at Pitt.  Of course I'll still be working at Wal-Mart all weekend.  But I'm off on Thanksgiving so I can head out to the barn in the morning.  And I don't work till 6:00 PM on black friday, so unless Mom drags me out shopping, I'll be at the barn then too.

Miss, still bright eyed and ready to go after our ride.



I really hate not having regular access to the internet on the weekends.  Because of this, it wasn't until just today that I learned the news about Denali.  It really is heartbreaking that a final decision has been reached.  But as hard as this is for her mom, it's the right decision for Denali.  I've been following their blog for a while now, and you can really feel the love she has for Denali through her writing.  If you haven't already, stop by her blog and express your condolences.  Andrea over at Eventing-A-Gogo had a great idea.  She is collecting money to have a custom horsehair necklace made.  I can't really afford much, but I'm sending a couple of bucks to her.  Even if you can't spare much, send whatever you can.  I know we've never met each other, but after reading these blogs for so long you really do feel as though you know one another.

Go hug your horses.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.


Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Just a quick update on things.  Saturday I was out to the barn in the morning.  It was our barn Halloween Party, which all the kids were excited about.  Got there early and started feeding the horses before Bonnie was down.  Bonnie came down soon after that, and it wasn't too much longer before Tiffany arrive as well.  Once the horses had enough time to digest breakfast, Tiffany and I tacked up Bugs and Kaye for a lesson.  Started out warming up on the flat, where Kaye proceeded to spook at the scary arena door.  Every single time we rode past it.  Yet another thing I don't like about winter, the return of spooky mare. Never mind the fact that she has been in that arena a million times.  And she's 20 years old!  There's no excuse for the spooking anymore!  At least once we started working the spooking pretty much stopped.  For the most part.  After we warmed up Bonnie had us pop over the in and out.  It was set up just as low cross bars, four strides apart.  After we jumped through that a few times she took a page from Boyd Martin's book and had up shorten up to get five strides.  Tried that a few times, rather unsuccessfully on my part, Kaye doesn't really do that whole shortening thing.  Then Bonnie turned the cross bars into a couple of verticals and we jumped through again, this time asking for the longer stride and getting three strides between the fences.  Much easier for Kaye to lengthen her stride!  Then we practiced doing short jumper course turns.  So we rode through the combination and then staying in the canter had to make as tight of a turn as we could and go back over the combination in the other direction.  Yeah Tiff and I pretty much both failed at this, mainly because neither of us could land on the correct lead and so then we would have to stop and switch to make the turn.  Finally I started just looking for the lead Kaye was landing on and then turning in that direction, rather than trying to ask for the lead on landing.  Much easier that way.

In other news, I've gone in for yet more testing in the quest for a diagnosis for my stomach problems.  I've now had another colonoscopy, and now a Hida Scan, in which they test my gallbladder function.  And still no answers.  Of course!  Seriously I'm just so fed up with this.  Just give me a freakin' diagnosis already!  That's all I want!  Tell me what's wrong and then give me something to treat it.  So now the next step is a capsule endoscopy.  I go in for that on December 3rd.  Hopefully that will tell them something!

Other than that, work has been the usual.  I feel so overwhelmed with things there.  I don't feel as though I'm getting any help with the enrollments.  And it's just so frustrating.  On the other hand I'm actually really enjoying my job at Wal-Mart.  I mean it's easy work, and I get to talk to lots of people.  So that's pretty cool.  Most everyone I work with is really nice and I really do enjoy the job.



Monday, November 1, 2010

No that's not some foreign language, it stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge:  write 50,000 words in the month of November.  30 days in which to just write, no editing, no second guessing yourself, just writing.  This will be my second year participating in NaNoWriMo.  Yes, last year I did finish my novel, but it's not really anything I'm all that proud of.  Nor am I willing to let it see the light of day (or cyberspace)  I'll be honest it was right up there with really cheesy fanfic.

However this year I am better prepared!  I've been planning this for quite some time now.  I've got a great story idea.  And I've been planning.  I've worked up my characters, I've outlined the story.  I'm ready to go.  Still not sure that I'll be willing to post it all here for the world to see.  But I will be sharing with my writing buddy, Matt Merendo.  We've already made plans to support each other through what could be a very difficult month.  We'll be taking out laptops (or netbooks) to Panera's or some such place and have writing sessions.  Mainly we are just there to encourage each other and keep the other writing. 

I'm really exciting about NaNoWriMo this year.  I love my characters, I love my story idea and I can't wait to start writing.