Part-time

Because I have all kinds of events I have to schedule for work and I have to do this months out for our newsletter, I end up scheduling things like vacation days at the same time because I want to be sure that I get/take some in the midst of all the craziness that can be going on.  When things are planned, then, I have a tendency to forget about them until they are upon me.  Oh, do I have three days off this week?  Yes, yes I do.  I am never without Things to do, though, so it’s not like they will be squandered.

Last week was kind of a mess (a beautiful mess) because I had extra time to take off for Easter and for the conference I went to this past weekend.  Tuesday was particularly lovely.  I had time for a bike ride, a nap, and then at work my first commitment of the day (at 2:30 pm, when I went in) was a meditation class (which I’d forgotten about).  So, yeah, go to work, meditate, order some books, oh, it’s 5 already?, go to water aerobics, home.  That was super.  I expect these sorts of days happen ALL THE TIME for people who regularly work part-time.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay the bills.

Wednesday was good, too.  Riding lesson.  We put me in a western saddle because the shape of the saddle encourages you to hold your legs in a certain way (turn your thighs out) and we are trying to break me of of my hunter-jumper habits.  Western saddles are bigger and heavier and the stirrups make your toes stick out (if you want to keep your feet in them), and there’s the big horn on the saddle (for roping cattle), and the back of the saddle is higher.  Still, sitting on it, I didn’t really *feel* a big difference.  “This is a thing I am sitting on.”  But, as we trotted around the arena it was easier to find my center and sit the trot without bouncing all over Copenhagen’s back.  Shockingly comfortable, even.  My instructor was going to give me a break, “You must be tired,” but I said no – I wanted to keep on going because my body was finally GETTING IT, and I wasn’t tired at all.  We tried this with and without stirrups.  Because I’m so accustomed to turning my toes IN (this is an English riding style thing – heels down, toes in – that pretty much gets drilled into you), I couldn’t keep my feet in the stirrups anyway, so dropping them was no problem.  And I didn’t feel like I was going to slide or fall off, either.

I’ve been doing a lot of bouncing on my exercise ball while I’m at home to figure out where my center is and remind myself not to tense up (isn’t it funny that when you focus on some part of your body to tell it to do something, you automatically tense up/stop breathing/etc. so that you can pay better attention to it?  All of this before you’re able to say RELAX, body part!), and to move my hips and knees and keep my ankles loose and flexible, and my lower back ready to absorb some of the impact of the bouncing…  There’s a lot to remember.  And some day my body will remember it and I won’t have to think about it so consciously.  It used to know.  I wish (over and over again), that I had more horse time so that I could figure it out faster.  This is just something that takes practice.

I’m remembering, too, how much I love riding and being around horses and other horse-loving people.  Why haven’t I done more of this?  It’s not an inexpensive hobby.  And, if you want more horse time, eventually you get your own horse to work with/on, or you pay to lease time on someone else’s horse (plus there’s the cost of lessons on top of that, and boarding if you own your own horse).  When I was a kid, we were able to afford riding lessons at summer camp, but I was either told (or assumed) that we couldn’t swing the cost financially on a regular basis.  When I rode in college, we had a student-run barn, and I could pay for lessons/horse time by working at the barn (mucking stalls, feeding, etc.).  This is something I would do now, and may look into when I’m back from my Adventures abroad.  Because I think I’m still going to want to ride.  And for more than just half an hour every other week.

I could feel whenever I got my seat right – I stopped bouncing, felt relaxed.  And it involved sitting back into my butt more, which Copenhagen interpreted as a signal to walk.  Argh.  Sorry, horse.  I don’t mean to send you mixed messages.  I will try to get my body under control.  He was in nap mode anyway, and after asking him to trot with little response from him, we had to get out some carrot stick (lunge whip) encouragement.  A little snapping of that got his attention and we soon had a very smart, energetic trot to play with.  Good lesson.  Jackie was happy with the way the saddle helped me assume the proper position, so I expect I’ll see more of it in the future.  We also talked about riding with the bareback pad, which helps you feel how the horse moves.  I’m open to all of it.

+ + +

The conference was good – informative sessions that have seeded a lot of ideas (I don’t think any of the ones I attended were duds).  Too much sitting for sure – there was a clogging convention at the same venue, and I was tempted to sneak into some of their classes to change things up.  My coworker ended up attending, too, at the last minute, and offered to do the driving.  While there are many Good things about traveling with someone, I’d already gotten into the flying-solo mindset…so, my initial internal response was more of a lukewarm “yay?”  And, instead of catching up on my audiobook queue, we ended up talking most of the time (which, admittedly, WAS really interesting, because I got to know my traveling companion better, but at the same time, when I was super tired, I still didn’t feel comfortable enough to say, “I just don’t have any more energy,” or as my brother would have stated, “I have nothing more to say to you” – even though I DID tell that story on our trip).  I did not fall asleep like my brother would have done, either.

I brought 2 books with me, and only cracked one of them.  I mentioned a love of HGTV, which my coworker shares, so when we got back from a very nice dinner at Medici (we split the spinach lasagna AND some fish tacos because we wanted to try all the things and not just one each), we had about 2-3 hours of home improvement and phone time interspersed with our own running commentary.

I met another beekeeping librarian while I was there.  I forgot to bring my notepad from work, so I grabbed one from home that happened to have bees all over it and when I sat down next to her, she squeeed and told me she was a beekeeper, and then it was bees, bees, bees (and more bees) until we got started for real.  [Aside: I haven’t been to any of my bee clubs meetings yet so far this year, but our group seems to be a lot of older, crustier guys who have Definite Ideas (ok, every single individual beekeeper has definite ideas about how to keep their bees) about how you’re supposed to keep bees, and they don’t always mesh up well with how I’m managing my own hives.  But it’s super cool to meet another female beekeeper of roughly the same age who keeps roughly the same amount of bees and has similar principles.]

Did not sleep well.  Did not get a proper breakfast.  Put me in a bit of a mood for the second day.  RARGH.  <– This is how I was out of patience and energy by 3pm.  Fortunately, we were both ready to wrap things up and get home a little earlier.  (We missed the author panel.)  The northern climes welcomed us back with gusty winds and freak snow storms.  Thanks?  Took a wrong turn off the highway when we were nearly home.  I wasn’t even paying attention at that point because we were ALMOST THERE!  And M. turned to me and said, “Did I just go the wrong way?”  I looked around and answered, “Yes, yes you did.”  And then her phone rang and her husband also pointed out that we were traveling in the wrong direction.  Because he was spying on us.  Being “CREEPY,” as she and her daughters put it.  Still, that enabled us to stop, grab the snack bag (which was full of chocolate chip cookies and Doritos), and reorient.  And about 20 minutes later I did finally make it home to all of my loving (and demanding) lagomorphs.  Hello, Bunnies!

+ + +

I may or may not get around to constructing all of those raised beds I want to make.  It’s cold again today, and I frittered all of yesterday on Being Outside on my bike and on foot in the wilds.  Oh my sweet corn the WIND.  As usual I didn’t notice just how strong it was until I turned around at my halfway point, and then much of the way back was directly into the wind, so while I’d been achieving 20mph speeds on the way out (freakin’ fantastic!), my averages on the way back were much slower (and that much harder) with the wind.  Plus, no one could hear me yelling that I was coming up on their left, so that made for a few scary moments where people were leaping out of my way.  Excitement!  Still, my overall average was ~13mph, which is decent.  Everyone was out with me yesterday afternoon.  I think we must all be ready for spring to really feel like spring.  30 degrees again today and I’m contemplating a hike somewhere.  I bet I get whatever place I choose to myself, since it’s all gloom and doom out there.  Maybe I will pick up some nails/screws for my woodworking project while I am out!  (That’ll help me feel accomplished.)

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My day

I overdid things yesterday – long bike ride before work, school visit, info desk at night.  Felt like I’d been run over by the time I got home.  Woke up and couldn’t face doing it again.  My health feels fragile (especially with half our staff coming down with the plague).  So I’ve been home knitting scales and watching every flavor of Alice in Wonderland that I’ve been able to borrow through the library.  I’m about to start #4.

The first one was a play production with a very young Meryl Streep (she wears pink overalls and has frizzy hair and sings and dances).  The man who plays the Cheshire Cat is also fantastic.  And the Queen of Hearts has a blood red swishy dress that’s just divine.  It’s kind of gloomy and weird (the music isn’t anywhere near as catchy as the Disney version), but I enjoyed seeing something new.

I also watched theTV version with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat.  This was one I thought was a favorite, but it seems that’s no longer the case.  The Alice in this version is so anxious about performing a piece at her parents’ afternoon tea that she runs away to Wonderland where the denizens help her out with her self confidence.  I did like that the Wonderland people and creatures were all guests from the tea party back in the real world.

#3 was the Disney one, and so far I like it the best.  The music is good, and their Alice is confident and comfortable being  dreamy and with nonsense.  There’s still that tension between her growing up and staying a child, but she’s less hesitant than some of the other Alices.  Plus she talks to Dinah and expects a response.

I’m about to start “Jan Svankmajer’s Alice & Darkness Light Darkness,” which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

I was going to go out and get some things at the store, but it’s started to snow.  So…I have put some ingredients in the bread machine and the oven and I’m letting these appliances do their magic.

Totally unrelated to anything: I downloaded a new browser for my phone – UC browser.  It has a little squirrel icon with mysterious tattoos.  So far I like it.

Evidence

of my diminishing attention span:

This morning I got dressed and put on a bra, then started to put on another one on top of the first.  I guess you can never have too much support.  Halfway through this I stopped and looked at the mess o’ bras and thought, “Hey, now.  That’s a lot of bras.”  Everything is fine here now.

Doctor Glas

“We want to be loved.  Failing that, admired; failing that, feared; failing that, hated and despised.  At all costs we want to stir up some sort of feeling in others.  The soul abhors a vacuum.  At all costs it longs for contact.” (as quoted in “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” by Fredrik Backman; from “Doctor Glas,” by Hjalmar Söderberg)

Deleted

my OKC profile today.  Completely.  It was as satisfying as creating it.  I got a message from OKC saying they’d removed a photo that some schumck deemed inappropriate.  I can’t even remember what I had up there that didn’t fit their guidelines…maybe the picture of my toolbelt?  (It’s waist down.)  I do find it irritating that someone felt the need to be an asshole about it, though.  Why would anyone care?  People with too much time on their hands.  Anyway, that won’t be a problem anymore!  I have fixed it permanently.  And some day there will be some new thing and new way to connect with people.  Maybe one that’s more satisfying (OKC hasn’t been that now for a long time).  Later, gators.

Your designer is a rabbit

I ordered some samples from FLOR the other day (the carpet tile people) to see them in person and decide what kind of colors/patterns I want to put down in the kitchen for Hickory.  There are a bunch of different styles I’m considering.

I gota message today from one of their designers, offering to help me design something special.  I wrote back explaining how my rabbit would be making the final call…  I thought it was sort of funny, but she probably thinks I’m either crazy or an asshole.  Also possible, I guess.

Still.  Looking forward to seeing my samples!  Hickory will be excited, too.  He just doesn’t know it yet.

No flying

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Copenhagen and I got back together for my lesson today (Hawk is on vacation).  He was a bit of a jerk – paying more attention to other stuff than to me – but we accomplished a sitting trot (finally) that didn’t feel like I was bouncing like a ball on his back.  Got to use the big arena, too!   This is us at the end of the lesson.  He’s ready for a nap, I’m…ecstatic about something.