Archive for November, 2010

i suck at riding

I had a second disastrous lesson on Omni, so I am now officially In A Slump, which is great because it takes the pressure off for next time. I don’t like riding in the indoor arena and I keep nearly crashing into the other riders. That makes me tense up, and then Omni tenses up, and then we go backwards or up, or sometimes backwards AND up, which is Not Recommended.

Still, there was funny stuff. Colin had noticed me putting Omni’s polo wraps on before the ride. Afterwards, he was walking through the barn and said to a kid: “You looked good out there!” He saw me and said something like: “Bit rough today, eh?” I said: “At least the polo wraps stayed on.” Colin said: “Oh yeah. THEY looked good.”

Of course it makes me question what the hell I am doing. I will never be a professional. I may never be any good. I don’t ride often enough to improve rapidly. I tried riding more often, and it played hell with work and family time and then I got sick. What I am mostly doing is arresting the decline in my riding that took place in the years and years I didn’t ride: with the goal, I suppose, of one day being able to ride every day, at which point I might not suck.

It’s my retirement savings!

so much to be grateful for


Originally uploaded by Goop on the lens

jeremy’s women


Originally uploaded by Goop on the lens

consuming fire

I skived a little this morning and took the Mister to the peerless Sandbox Bakery before work. That end of Cortland Street is a reliable source of street crazy.

Very Well Dressed Woman: Is that your boyfriend?

Me: This? Um.

VWDW: Is he your boyfriend?

Me: We’ve been married for eleven years.

VWDW: Do you have a family? Do you have children?

Jeremy: Yes.

Me: Two girls.

VWDW: Having any more?

Me and Jeremy, in unison: No.

VWDW: God came into this world as a child. God came into this world as a consuming fire.

Me: …there is that.

VWDW: I don’t know about families.

And then she walked away.

Me: You know, technically I think she’s right.

Jeremy: Yes, you do.

julia is FIVE

Last night before we went to sleep we piled all her presents on the end of her bed.

I am not a fan of mornings. But if you have to wake up, it might as well be to the sound of your big daughter saying, “Wow! Cool!” and your little daughter squealing: “This is the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.”

Later there was dim sum, and later still cupcakes; but me, I am still grinning like fule over that squeal.

fancy thoroughbreds and trying to deserve them

And then the riding. As you may have surmised, it has somewhat sucked of late because of the Virus That Will Not Go Away. This was extra frustrating on all levels: I had booked extra lessons through October. There’s a new horse in the barn, Manny, an ultra dark bay with a golden muzzle like a giant Dartmoor pony. Riding him was like being given the keys to a Ferrari. “HOLY SHI…!”

I asked Erin: “Is this what all fancy horses are like?” She said “Are you kidding me? This is where they START.”

Then the virus turned me into a crone and I kept having to drop out of lessons half way through because: exhausted. And then the rains came and lessons moved indoors and both Manny and Omni find the indoor arena VERY VERY EXCITING, and I kept nearly falling off. And my confidence took a massive hit, and I didn’t feel like jumping.

Until yesterday! When I got on Omni and Dez was teaching and made me trot, trot, circle, hold the outside rein, vibrate the inside rein, bend him around my leg. And he softened and his back got swingy and he started to come through. I used to think of Omni as The Professor, because if I touched him with my heel he would stop and put his head down and pigroot, sometimes with a little girly squeal. Basically exactly what Jean-Paul Descoeudres used to do to a first-year archaeology student who used Encyclopaedia Britannica as a source. (Not me, but I watched and had the fear of God put in me.)

Like all the horses that come into the McIntosh program, Omni has blossomed. It’s remarkable what top-quality hay and regular exercise will do to a horse. Bella has turned out nice; Omni is turning out super-fancy, and hot! He needs the strong warmup to get him forward and listening and using all his energy for good; otherwise, if you try to bottle him up, he will fizz and pop. (Remind you of anyone OH HELLO MISTER NOAH?) He’d been doing a lot of up and backwards lately. He’s not mean at all, just full of bean. The challenge is to channel it forwards.

But I did it! I got some very nice round softness out of him, and I started to fix my tension over fences, and best of all I kept up the good riding for a whole hour. I remembered that I am not just a passenger, that I am not (yet) an old lady, that I can ride. Massive relief.

I didn’t come anywhere close to achieving my riding goals for the year (Anne Kursinski clinic, comfortable at 2’9″.) But I did fix some other things: my lower leg isn’t swinging so much. Um. That’s it, really, and a big part of that was raising my stirrups a hole. I get discouraged if I let myself think about it too much; except that, though I am not progressing very fast (at all?), I am not actually regressing, which I did every year that I wasn’t riding. Still sucking at harder things, on better horses.

er, and so, yes

September was so overscheduled I kept singing Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (although technically, it was Dean Gray’s mashup, since I’ve never heard the original.) That left me complacent and unprepared for the rigours of October, which turned out to be a Terrible Mistake. We all returned from Oz slightly under the weather, and four weeks later, I’m still not better: very sore throat, sinus headache, aptitude to fall asleep in the afternoon even more pronounced than usual. It was in this sleepwalky phase that I came home from a Seattle trip at, like, midnight. I paid for the airport parking, put my wallet on top of my briefcase and thought, “If I don’t tuck that into a pocket, I will drop it in the street.”

And sure enough. It’s the second time this year I’ve lost my wallet, so I had the routine down, and nearly everything cancelled and reordered in 48 hours. Someone mailed the notes from the kids through the mailslot, which was …weird. They were the only really irreplaceable things, though, declarations of love in toddler handwriting on post-it-notes. I made a police report at the Ingleside station – a very odd place, in Balboa Park under the freeway, with bulletproof windows; I kept thinking about the Frenchs Forest police station so clean and open, with tropical fish in an aquarium. The officer made a funny joke about me ending up in Guantanamo, which earned him my best Look Of Death. He was extremely nice, though.

I spent a horrible few days thinking I wouldn’t be able to travel, but my fantastic attorney Minette Saved Christmas. I have an existential horror of being undocumented. I couldn’t sleep and I kept having panic attacks. I fetishize the documents themselves, as if they are my identity, as if my green card were issued through a clerical error that will be corrected as soon as someone realizes (doesn’t help that it’s dated April 1st.) Having noticed that, I overcame it a bit; as the Mister keeps pointing out, my permanent resident status exists separately from the green card, and the green card is in the process of being replaced.

Of course the very night I’d come to terms with all this, the homeless man who had found my wallet, and who had mailed the kids’ notes back, brought the rest back as well. So that’s nice. He would have brought the rest back earlier but he was picked up by the police and placed on 72-hour psychiatric hold. “I live a troubled life,” he said. Another lesson in how lucky I am, and how much I owe to other people, who aren’t so lucky.