BY kathe

01/01 Direct Link
It was a foggy day. Literally. The light never brightened past bright dawn, the view was never clear through the trees. So, after going to the barn and being unable to open the stupid electric cord to Oliver's paddock, I came home and went out in the woods to take pictures. The air was almost spring-like and the trail was bordering on slush. Everything was soft and velvety, brown and grey and dirty white, with the occasional orange ash leaves, a few little pines looking like Charlie Brown christmas trees. I was using a different part of my brain.
01/02 Direct Link
Today, the chilly wind began to blow in. Although I had a decent walk with Lacey in the morning, I went out walking on the trails at Ariane's with Ariane and Bruno and their dogs. It was pretty lovely out there behind the barn, and it was nice to see how attached Ariane and Bruno are to their land. Other than that, the usual quiet day, theusual four walls around my brain. Tomorrow it's back to "regular work." I don't know where I'll find the concentration, but I guess it will come from somewhere. Maybe I'll feel less adrift. Maybe.
01/03 Direct Link
Today the weather turned colder again. It was Monday, and so time to return to the "normal schedule" of work and riding. At four I was off to the barn, to return to that part of my life. Oliver was waiting to explode, and as soon as I asked him to trot on the longe away he went, bucking, bolting, crowhopping, squealing, cowkicking, rearing ... It was scary and I didn't handle it as assertively as Ariane would like, but at least I didn't give up. After he, um, expressed himself, he finally settled enough for me to have a ride.
01/04 Direct Link
(Jan 11) The latest spurt of communications from J today. Yet another barn has been found wanting and she has given her notice and is looking around. This is, um, three barns in six months, I believe, and certainly four in the last year (Lotb, Ranch M, St-G, and the latest one). She made noises about coming to Ariane's and for a second I thought Why not, and then I realized that's absolutely crazy, she'll make trouble for everyone, including me. There's a reason she floats from barn to barn, and to call herself Lotta 2 isn't far off.
01/05 Direct Link
Oh, dear, another day lost. I guess that's cuz they're pretty much all the same. It's been pretty quiet work-wise, so I've been trying to stay motivated with the book work. Today, a few things in over the transom and, as usual, having a little trouble getting going with that, too. But tomorrow morning I'll hit the keyboard running. Riding Oliver this evening was not particularly pleasant, but it got done. He was shying, or trying to, about half the time, and I was probably too demanding, I think. I want to move forward with him at some point.
01/06 Direct Link
Well, things went better with O. I took a couple of Motrin to dull the pain in my hip, and it made me realize how much that pain is depressing me. I'm going to have to do something about it one of these days. Anyway, booked a lesson with Ariane, and it was pretty good. She took us back to basics--just getting O relaxed and moving forward and supple. It was a fact that when O was having to concentrate on moving his body he had a little less attention to pay to the surroundings and he worked well.
01/07 Direct Link
I really dragged my ass this morning, didn't take the walk, made myself do some sit-ups and the minimum of work, and then went out to lunch with Andrea. The plan was to go to the barn, and we did. The plan was to ride, and we did. And O went really well, following on yesterday's lesson. It was another Oliver is possible day. I came home and took Lacey for a walk in the woods in the dark, and we bushwhacked a little and got lost and circled around but got home in one piece in the end.
01/08 Direct Link
well, something happened today, and thank goodness it happened far away. Of all the things that were said, the words that rang the truest to me were said by the Pima County sheriff: When the rhetoric gets so inflammatory, it pushes people teetering on the brink over the edge. He felt compelled to repeat his point four times. I thought it was immensely brave of him, in these ridiculous times, to say that on this occasion, and not to let it slide by. What will all of this change? A lot for about a week, and after that, not much.
01/09 Direct Link
Today, managed a good walk with Lacey in the early morning. Then work, and the TV on in the aftermath of yesterday's shooting. Not quite sure why I get so fascinated with these events, but I almost didn't make it to the barn. Oliver got short shrift today as there was no one at all at the barn and I am scared to ride when there is no one around. But that's OK; he got attention, and that's what he really wants. The rest of the day quiet and uneventful. Now, late night editing and patting the animals. Tomorrow, onward.
01/10 Direct Link
cherie asked me if I am excited that Binx is coming. I don't know why that annoyed me. Prying? Overly solicitous? I am feeling at loose ends, though a little work did come in today, allaying my nerves somewhat. And I had an almost-productive ride on O this afternoon, feeling the relaxation finally at the end of the ride, when I managed to relax, too. But though he was difficult he didn't do any shying and playing, so we got to concentrate a little, which was good. I didn't challenge him with the spooky things; that will come later.
01/11 Direct Link
Why is this always the last thing I do at night? I am about to roll over and pull the pile of revisions on to the bed to lull myself to almost-sleep with, and then I remember, shit, the 100 words, and I pull the laptop up off the floor and here I am. It's a bit like an afterthought, isn't it? And so I kind of wonder why it has become a habit again. A tiny diary of unspectacular days. On this one I had a good lesson with Ariane and got O near to relaxed. 100 words.
01/12 Direct Link
[written 18-1) I picked binx up from the airport. Of course, I arrived early and so I had a good wait. I am in such a backwater now that it was refreshing and strange to be among so many people, so many different kinds of people, going somewhere, greeting each other or marching off alone or dragging children; lugging mounds of luggage or little rolling suitcases; a gang of college kids back from some island all dressed as if they were still there rather than for the winter they had come back to, but their parents waiting with coats.
01/13 Direct Link
[written 18-1] so then it was time for binx's plane to have landed and it was recorded landed on the little TV set schedule and so I went to the rope line in front of the passenger exit to wait for her. I am so bad with faces that I worried I wouldn't recognize her and I knew she would recognize me. So I stood as close to the front as I could get, behind the parents waiting for their kids coming back from vacation, looking at the flight crews and trying to figure out which were British Airways.
01/14 Direct Link
[written 18-1] So I stood waiting for binx by the passenger exit and waves of people kept coming. First were the obvious vacationers back to dreary Montreal, and then some people I couldn't figure out. Someone near me mentioned KLM, and I wondered if their flight had landed after mine. Time went by: fifteen minutes, half an hour ... I began to wonder if I was there on the wrong day. I wondered if at the last minute binx had decided not to come. I wondered how long I would wait. And finally, there she was, I recognized her immediately.
01/15 Direct Link
[written 18-1] binx came because she is having domestic troubles. She is living in a house that she bought with her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend, and it is not what she wants it to be. She wants it to be family, and the kids are not really into it. A couple of years ago, when she told me she was entering this arrangement, I wondered how it would work out. We have talked about her options off and on, and although we may not have settled anything, I think she has has been happy to have a break.
01/16 Direct Link
[written 18-1] It has been nice having binx here. We have gotten along better than ever in the past. I have been free to do my work and she curls up with a book. We have been to see the horse every day, and she still has an eye for it even though she no longer has anything to do with horses, and it has been really nice to have eyes on the ground. Oliver was a pain the first day and has improved steadily through the week, so she has seen him at near worst and near best.
01/17 Direct Link
[written 18-1] Binx and I have had quiet evenings. With a bottle of wine or a nip of scotch, we sit and talk about all sorts of things, or we look at photographs, or we watch dressage performances. She has entered my boring life and not been overtly bored, which is great, because my entertaining skills have waned greatly over the years. Mom the cat has adopted her and they cuddle together in the guest room at night. To my surprise, I have done much of the cooking, but tonight, the last night, she is making risotto. Can't wait!
01/18 Direct Link
So it has happened again, I have lost a week of 100 words. But at least this time I have a good excuse: binx arrived last Wednesday and instead of writing alone, I have been talking to her every evening over wine or scotch. It has actually been very pleasant, and if I had had the presence of mind I would have recorded each evening what we talked about. Tomorrow she goes back to England and I will be happy to have my house to myself, but I will also miss her. We have managed to have a good time!
01/19 Direct Link
And so, now my house is back to being just me and the cat and the dog. I drove binx to the airport this afternoon. It was a surprisingly pleasant week--I was scared that I would get impatient and grumpy but I think I did pretty well and I really enjoyed Binx's company. I hope that she went home more calm and smooth than she came, because that is what I would like my space to do. Even if I am not calm and smooth myself, at least my house can perform its own healing when people need it.
01/20 Direct Link
It has been good to return to reality, as ambivalent as I am about that reality. It is my reality.

I received a plaintive little note from M, an old friend who I had sought out on Facebook and friended. I had a fond memory of part of our friendship, oh, 35 years ago, although it didn't end well and I hadn't seen her in probably 25 years. I should have left it alone. I would like to unfriend her, but I can't bring myself to. I'm not sure why, since I try not to be a hypocrite.
01/21 Direct Link
Tonight the moon is one night past full, and the temperature is dropping. It is time for the January freeze to move in for a few days.

The nature of Facebook friends has been intriguing me for a while. I have unfriended people in a pique of annoyance and afterwards felt a twinge of regret for ... what? I unfriended them because I really don't feel like they are my friends. So really, I guess, it's about gossip, about knowing what's going on. I wonder why that's so important to me. Spite, perhaps? These are strange relationships, for sure.
01/22 Direct Link
The day went by in a blur today. Aside from a trip into town to see Leonard this morning, I holed up in the house doing basically nothing--a little work, a little nap, a little work, a little TV ... and tomorrow, even colder, promises to be the same. I could be doing all sorts of things, and some of them I will do tomorrow--laundry, billing, putting up the chicken stock, maybe even a little cooking. It's hard to imagine exactly what to do when it's really impossible to spend any time outside. Strange kind of day, for sure.
01/23 Direct Link
another day indoors, no desire to be out in the minus 20 weather, content to watch it through the window except for minor forays for short walks for Lacey.

Today, apparently, was a big news day; Al Jazeera was trumpeting its release of the "Palestine Papers"--Wikileaks-like documents on the negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Normally I would have been glued to that story, but instead I have been watching wall-to-wall tennis, and I suddenly realized that one reason I like watching tenis so much is that it's apolitical. Nothing to get my blood boiling.
01/24 Direct Link
Another day indoors; temp was -22 for most of the day. On the one hand, it assuages my utter laziness. On the other hand, I do begin to have just a slight touch of cabin fever, and I miss my horse. Work is going to be intense starting soon. In addition to Tunisia, there is Denis's book, a book to edit for UBC in feb, and stuff for the Gallery. I feel good about this, and yet, I feel the same slight sense of panic as when I don't have enough work. But too much is better than too little.
01/25 Direct Link
Slowly emerging from the lethargy of watching the cold snap go by. It is quite amazing when -14 feels relatively mild! Lacey and I ventured out for a little walk, I gathered provisions, and then I went to the barn and let O loose in the arena to work off his cabin fever. I asked Ariane if she wanted to help, but she wisely stayed away and let us figure it out on our own. O went off like a bomb, of course, but later on he actually engaged with me and we did some free-longeing. We had fun!
01/26 Direct Link
The cold snap is over for now. It is a relief to be back outside, even if it's just to go to the store and go for a little walk in the morning. This afternoon I longed O before I rode him and he was pretty polite. But he felt stiff after yesterday's hijinks, so we didn't do too much--mainly, once he got going, some forward and back in the trot until he was nice and sharp. I was all by myself and felt nice with O--it was a sane and thoughtful ride and he was with me.
01/27 Direct Link
A good walk this morning beating my little path through the woods, but it seemed to really tire out Lacey. I hate the idea that we are both getting old.

The work keeps pouring in. My little subcontract to P worked well, and another thing came in this evening that I may pass on to her because my plate is just too full. I wonder if I can possibly feel secure enough to do that, or if I will be greedy as I have been in the past and just work at my usual infernal pace. I'm pondering.
01/28 Direct Link
Today was wrapped up in what I used to call a CNN moment, but this was an Al Jazeera moment: Egypt. My day came and went--mix-ups with Canada Post, a run to the bank to pay taxes, a riding lesson--and woven through it was Cairo in flames, the sound of gunfire, flames rising from government buildings, on-site reports by A-J reporters. Who knows what will happen. Is this the beginning of some tidal wave through the Middle East? Or will it all be papered over by the American need for a "partner" at any cost?
01/29 Direct Link
Today was a blank day, a journée blanche, and I am disappointed in myself. My walk was short because Lacey does not seem to have energy and I couldn't drag her down my bushwhack path again. I went to the barn, but it was empty and closed and Oliver seemed fine munching on his hay and I turned around and came home. And so I managed to get a short translation done and watch the continuing story of Egypt and watch some really funny TV. On top of that I ate too much. I could call it a holiday.
01/30 Direct Link
Well, I can't put it any other way: I had a great ride on O today. To my own surprise, of course. He was Light and Responsive. I went in with the program that I have lately devised: lots of transitions within the trot and canter. And by gosh, today we executed that program successfully. It was one of those teamwork days.

Balanced against that is the fact that I will have to face the fact that Lacey is no longer comfortable walking through the snow in the woods. I am finding this hard to accept. Very hard.
01/31 Direct Link
Well, hm, January has ended on a cold note. Not much to do outdoors today, just working. On days like this I sometimes go into a trance and not much gets done. Just the essentials--the over-the-transom work (not including the ridiculous contract offer that I turned down even though the subject was temptingly interesting--burlesque!). I think about Oliver living his life at the barn on this frigid day, I walk Lacey gently and briefly, and I don't think about much at all. Can't barely find a hundred words to describe it. Snowstorm on Wednesday, I hope!