Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking back

Last weekend I just didn't have it in me to blog. Everything felt crappy. Blogging didn't feel worthwhile because I felt pressure to produce. Normally I regard my blog as a little record of whatever I fancy, for my family mainly. Suddenly it felt like a burden. But then today I had a look back at September last year and the year before. Just like this year, I was sick both years around now. And spring led to more and more colourful blog posts throughout the month. There is so much to look forward to right now, so it is time to record and celebrate the beauty of spring, just like I have in previous years. 

I'm pretty pleased with the Corner of Doom, which has been hideous for years, and is now neatly under control. I took this photo on a frosty morning recently. Look at that glorious sun!
 Mr Mouse likes to keep an eye out for his little brother. Fergus was naughty this morning and managed to get over into our neighbour's place, but couldn't get back over the tall fence. There was nothing to climb on over the other side, so I had to go on a retrieval mission.
 How could something so sweet be so naughty. Right now he's still enjoying tearing rolls of toilet paper into a million pieces, and he loves the "Little Shop" items from our supermarket. They are wee versions of supermarket items that you get when you spend a certain amount. Fergus has no intention of setting up his own little shop. He loves patting and chasing them around the house. He wasn't so pleased when we returned home with a tiny replica cheese and a wee bag of flour. They don't roll very well.
 The boys love prowling around in the garden.

 After all of that hard work playing Mr Mouse enjoys time relaxing.
 So does Miss Dog, on her bed.
 Fergus knows how to flatter his colouring when he is resting.
 Last weekend we had John's mum to stay. She had a busy time while she was here, and we went out for tea to The Flying Burrito Brothers - so good! On Sunday we went to the big market, and Johnny's mum bought us this beautiful chintz plate for our anniversary. We have been married for 20 years! Incredible! (Yes, I must have been a child bride).
 Look what else I got from Johnny's mum - this perfect wee birdie!
 I've popped it up on one of my special shelves and am hoping Mr Fergus never finds his way up to capture it. I can imagine he would be ruthless with his teeth and claws. On the bird theme, we did bird screen prints with my students at school this week. We have developed a simple technique which allows all of my students to screen print successfully. Every print is different and they look really effective.
 Miss Dog hasn't been feeling great recently. She has gone off her biscuits, and isn't even stealing the cat biscuits. We will have to get her mouth looked at. She was very pleased that I bought her some dog sausage. Fergus was also pleased, and mauled the packaging thoroughly before it had made its way to the fridge.

Miss Dog hasn't been getting out much lately, so I took her out for a quiet walk yesterday. She is really stiff in the hind quarters, but we managed a slow meander to the Nature Park where she made the most of the opportunity to sniff every bush and grassy clump.
 The pond is full and Miss Dog was quite keen on the idea of a swim. I was less keen on smelly, wet dog for the rest of the day, so we had to give that experience a miss.
She was exhausted when we got home, but I know she had a lovely time checking out interesting smells. It certainly isn't the same experience walking her as it was when she was younger. It is now quite a pleasure just wandering along slowly. She has never been a joy to walk because she was so strong and couldn't be trusted off the lead. She was prone to getting very excited at the sight or smell of anything interesting and suddenly dragging me in her wake, which did not help my poor decrepit back. Now my back is much better (riding regularly, without falling off, has been great therapy), Miss Dog is not a challenge to walk any more. 

It makes me so sad to think of her as being an old lady, and even worse to wonder how much pain she is in, but she is still a waggy, smiling doggy. 

Well, tomorrow is the first official day of spring. Zanny and I had a wonderful ride together today, and her dark brown coat was warm from the sun. There is a one day event in a couple of weeks that I'll be grooming at. Emily is building her team again following the birth of her dear little girl, so there are some exciting developments there. I'm working on the front garden as it has been bothering me for ages. It felt good to move some things around and make plans. There is a lot to look forward to and it is pretty good right now too.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me!

Lucky me, I got to spend my birthday at home. Well, actually not so lucky, as I caught  horrible cold off Johnny and spent three days moping around at home miserably. This morning I still felt pretty rough, but things brightened up as I tidied up my craft room this afternoon. Painting my toenails a lovely bright red also helped. I feel bad that I didn't see Zanny today, but hopefully tomorrow we'll be reunited for a nice relaxing ride.

As usual, I flit and flutter between crafty pursuits. I'm working on papercrafts at the moment, which are easier to potter with when I'm busy. I've had a (hopefully) brief pause in sewing activities. I really want to find the perfect 50's style dress pattern that fits me beautifully, so that I can make heaps for summer. Mmm- tea length. No knicker flashing when I bend over. Meanwhile, I'm making up a little scrapbook of some photos from the past year, and today I made the first scrapbook page in my new birthday scrapbook (thanks Johnny), which features Henry and the birthday cake he made so that he could send me a piece. My printer is getting a workout, and is doing a good job.

So that's a wee update. Johnny and I have matching snuffly noses and coughs. I hope we both wake up in jollier moods tomorrow and have a productive day. Johnny said "You're a bit prickly today!" to me. Who me? I'm always a delightful angel! I've been possessed by some unpleasant viral evil that makes me short tempered and inclined to accidentally trip up on the dog, causing her to look at me reproachfully. Sigh.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Feeling Springy

I'm annoyed. My anxiety disorder has relapsed after a long peaceful time of ticking along merrily with it tucked away. My doctor is amazing. She says "Be kind to yourself" and just having warmer, sunnier days makes me feel brighter. The damn anxiety disorder has cost me a lot but I just have to look at what I have achieved in spite of it, and I'm proud of myself.

I think my dear blogs help me to celebrate the lovely things in life, so I will continue recording special things in photos and words, regardless of whether anyone actually visits.

Over the last week there have been lots of lovely and interesting things going on. My darling Johnny, who is the centre of my Universe decided to make yo yo biscuits. Yummo!!! A husband who occasionally gets the urge to made delicious biscuits is well worth holding onto.

We shared these with our very special friends The Crafty Neighbours. We love our weekend get togethers for coffee o'clock. Well, tea in my case. I have some lovely, lovely friends. My dear friend Donna gave me these Tete-a-Tete daffodils in a wee bucket yesterday. What a treat! 

 She gave me this delicious pansy trio another time. I adore it.
 Today Johnny arrived home today with a treat for me. Macarons. The pretty pale pink on is rosewater flavoured - my favourite - and the glorious plum coloured one is blackcurrant. So delicious with a cup of tea.
 Oooh, why not? Another view of the sweet wee daffs.
Of course you know what else makes me happy. Yes, Zanny. Here she is after our ride today. That is the rubbish pile waiting to be a bonfire in the background. She loves the grass by the fire pile. 
 She is wearing her lovely warm winter cover. We went up the road and around the triangle block today. We even negotiated a flock of sheep coming towards us. Zanny was all wide-eyed, but I'm sure she remembered her days as a stock horse when she was young and was very good. The sheep wheeled around and started following us, so I stopped so that the shepherds could push them on where they were supposed to be going.
 I'd like you to meet my newest horse friend. He suddenly appeared and is now Zanny's paddock mate. Tara has been moved to a big, grassy 10 acre block with the yearlings to fatten up the foal in her tummy. This is Hubee (Hughby???). Well, however you spell it, he is a sweetie. Zanny seems to like him.
 And here is his mummy. Yes, my friend Dolly!
 Hubee has had a very successful career as a trotter. He is a Standardbred. With his lovely nature and amazing career, his owners decided he deserves a chance of a post-racing life. I don't even want to think about what happens to so many race horses who have been unsuccessful or injured. It is horrible that they are not regarded as potentially fantastic pleasure or competition horses. Pacers have an especially unpromising future, because they have difficulty trotting and cantering smoothly, which makes them an uncomfortable ride unless successfully (and I'd imagine intensively) retrained.

Lucky Hubee is hopefully going to have a fun future, although he did unexpectedly pace on his first practise with Emily on his back. What was that all about??
Hubee and Dolly have lots to discuss. Maybe she is telling him that if he paces he will end up in a cat food tin. As she is well into her 20's and hates most people, she must have the secret to Standardbred longevity.

Yes, this little darling probably eats washed up race horses:
 Who me?
 Well, maybe. They are delicious.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Birthday Girl

It has been a week for birthdays in our family this week. Happy birthday to my darling sister Meg, and my dear, sweet niece, Lucy, who is very excited about starting school next week. Wow five years old! I remember the excitement of waiting to be an auntie for the first time. I'm not a mother (well, not a person mother), which does have advantages. But I have also missed out on so much not having my own wee people to nurture. I've got plenty of children in my life with work, and I do have my furry children to love. I do find the three children of my siblings fascinating, and I love to hear what they are up to. 

This was an especially big week for my biggest furry friend. Zanny turned the grand old age of 20! She is looking a bit like it in these photos, as she was rather lethargic standing in the yard before our ride. She's got her full winter woollies on, but has started shedding already. It was quite warm, so I was hoping she was just sleepy standing in the sun. Thoroughbred horses in New Zealand have their official birthday on the 1st of August, so I celebrated today. I did ask Zanny if she had a hangover after a fantastic birthday party last night, but she wasn't telling! 
 Our lovely friend Heather made Zanny a birthday cake, which she was extremely excited about. If you want to make your big best equine friend a present, molasses, rolled oats, carrots and apples make a very delicious cake for a horse. Heather had arranged carrot sticks on the top like candles, and it looked amazing, but Mrs Zanny wasn't holding back and I didn't get a photo of the masterpiece. Here it goes after she had a good go at it. She also gave some to her friends Tee and George, who thought it was a great treat.
 Obviously it is hard work being 20. Once we got going she perked up a lot as the wind was blowing and she had to keep an eye out for spooky things. My balance is getting much better and I feel so much more confident than a few months ago. I think I'll ask Emily for another lesson because I have questions.
 I decided that I wanted to get Zanny a leather halter for her birthday, so went to The Saddlery Warehouse. Sale time! Wooo hooo. I found a well priced halter (see top photo - I haven't oiled it yet, so it looks a bit stiff), and also got a black saddle blanket and a "monkey" strap, which is a leather strap that you buckle onto the front of your saddle for extra security should you need it. Handy in a spook, but I like using one to hold onto when I am hacking with long reins. Another bargain find was a pair of lovely black leather boots in my perfect size. My old boots are really shabby now, but I'll still wear them on wet days because they are waterproof.

Mouse approved of the boot box.
 Here are my boots, with black half chaps. They are really smart and I am convinced I rode better with them on! Yes, they have laces like paddock boots, but a zip up the back for access.
 It was lovely and warm today. We have had a good week with the weather. I enjoyed feeling like spring is on the way. Look- snowdrops in the school garden.
I am back to more regular 'cello lessons this term. I missed my 'cello playing so much and I have reached an interesting level of ability, so it is a waste not to keep working at it. I'm currently playing Bloch's A Jewish Life which you can see being performed here. I can now say I specialize in playing pieces composed from the late Romantic and early Modern music periods - the moodier the better! My little finger is giving me a bit of trouble, and curses to that. Left little fingers are essential for 'cello playing, and lots of other things, I've discovered. 

I hope the weather is good again tomorrow because Zanny has leftover birthday cake to finish off, and it would be fun to go for a road ride as we worked in the arena today. Now the evenings are getting lighter I am determined to have a ride during the week. It would be good for both of us.