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Equine Wishlist

21 January 2012

I miss having a horse....showing a horse...grooming a horse....

You name it.  If it's horse related, I miss it!

Rationally, I understand that now's not the time.  Ever since I stopped working at the horse ranch in 2007, my focus has been on my career, and gaining a solid financial footing so that eventually, we'd be in a place where I could start riding and showing again {thanks SoCal for being so darn expensive!}  Jeff and I have made huge strides in terms of eliminating debt, accruing savings, and increasing our earning potential.

I know we'll get there.  But on evenings when I'm bored, I like to do a little equine window shopping, if you will.  I browse through DreamHorse and check to see if my perfect horse is out there waiting for me.  

Sometimes people suggest I should take riding lessons...just do something to get on a horse.  And I appreciate the well-intended suggestions.  However, the fact remains that I use to get paid to ride other people's horses.  In fact, they paid $600/month/horse to be in training with me.  So, in some ways, it just seems wrong to pay to ride a horse.  Not only that, but it wouldn't be any fun.  I know how lesson horses are...they are dead broke, oftentimes lazy, with rock hard mouthes.  When I ride, I want to be working toward something.  The thrill is in taking a beautiful, athletic horse...and training it to perform to it's full potential.  If I don't have an end game in mind, it's hard to just plod along.  

I suppose it's the equivalent of trying to get a professional photographer to purchase a disposable camera and take pictures with it for fun.  I suspect that nothing about the scenario would be fun for a photog.

Anyhow, now that you understand my predicament, why don't you enjoy the finds from my equine window shopping?

Mag Neato, 3 year old, Half Arabian gelding

Cuervo Sunrise CCR, 6 year old, Half Arabian gelding

Magnetic Pashan, 10 year old, Arabian mare

Ola La DDA, 2 year old, Arabian filly

Friday's Letters

20 January 2012

I'm linking up with Ashley for Friday's Letters {which is a bit tricky, given the time difference. It's actually Saturday here, but still Friday in the US, so what the heck...}

Dear Ocean, can you please cool it with the massive waves?  I'm trying to learn to surf here.  Maybe you didn't get the memo.  Just so we're clear, the 3-4 foot stuff that comes like rapid fire is not desirable.  In fact, I feel like a battered spouse.  Thanks to you I had to ice my elbow last night.  Honestly, when you're like this, it makes me scared, angry, and discouraged.  I feel like I'll never learn.

Dear Husband, when I'm upset about said surfing, it's not the greatest time to say that you're managing the ocean because of all the working out you've been doing {just pretend it sucked for you too, mmmkay.}  Regardless, I could never stay mad at you.  You're too darn sweet, {and you made a delicious dinner!}  You inspire me each and every day with your work ethic, self discipline, creativity, and ingenuity.  I love being your wife!

Dear Suzanne Collins, do you think you could stretch out The Hunger Games beyond three books?  At the rate I'm going, I'll be done with the trilogy tomorrow...and then what?!?!!?  Am I just supposed to go back to life without Katniss Everdeen?  

Dear Claire, thanks for getting everything booked for our Phuket trip.  If I'm being completely honest, I'm glad you booked everything because I was worried you wouldn't like what I booked.  Basically, I have the feeling you might be the pickier of the two of us.  I actually looked a these neat beach huts that only get electricity for 3 hours a day.  Something tells me that wouldn't fly with you.  Our four days of relaxing on the private beach of a Thai island cannot come soon enough!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Showering with a Spider

19 January 2012

So, I hop in the shower this morning, pull the curtain closed, and start enjoying the hot water.  That's when I see it.  The spider conveniently chillin' on the inside of the shower curtain.  Now let me take a moment to describe the size of our shower.  It's not one of those big, shower+bath deals {in fact, I don't even know if those exist within the confines of Sydney sized apartments.}  It's not even a standard stall shower.  It's smaller.  So small that if the water gets too hot, there's no place to hide.  With that being said, there I am with a spider blocking my only exit.  It wasn't a huge spider, but certainly not tiny either.  Including the legs, it was probably quarter sized.  I start mentally examining my options....I need to take a shower, I'm already wet, but I can't relax with that spider, and I cannot create any safe distance.  I would have to move the shower curtain in order to exit, which is sure to make the spider move too.  

I decide to share my predicament with Jeff.  Hooooooney, there's a spider in the shower, and it's creeping me out!  Just as the words leave my mouth, the spider moves to the top of the curtain rod {which is oddly rectangular.}  J immediately comes in to examine.  "Should I blow it?" he asks, as he feigns a fake blow that would surely send the spider straight at me.  NO, you a**hole.  Take this seriously!  "Hmm...let me see....." and he begins banging the bathroom door against the shower frame.  Gee, thanks honey.  {Of course I know if the roles were reversed, he would be in no mood to play games.}  "I should have married Erich," I say, which is a low blow.  He's my sister's husband, and well renowned amongst our family for his fearlessness when it comes to spiders.  I witnessed this first hand in Costa Rica, when he picked up a spider the size of a tennis ball and gently released it outside their bungalow.  My low blow worked, and Jeff springs to action.  The next thing I know, he's got the vacuum setup in the bathroom, with the nozzle ready to suck up the spider.  In one fell swoop, he's gone.  "You're my hero, sweetie.  Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The end.

But not really, because while we're on the topic, I saw a massive spider on New Years Eve.  We were walking in North Sydney and this thing was just chilling on the sidewalk.  As soon as I spotted it, I was very thankful to be wearing close toed shoes.  It's weird because you always hear about Australia having the deadliest, well, everything and yet...we've been pretty darn lucky in that category.  This was the first creepy looking creature we'd seen.  He was easily tarantula sized.  {Quick google image search....}

I'm pretty sure it was this guy.

Creeped out yet?  Me too!

Let's end this on a good note, shall we?

There we go.  Now we can all sleep at night :)  You're welcome.

Kangaroos, err, Wallabies

18 January 2012

Today I visited one of my favorite hospitals.  It might also be Jeff's least favorite hospital for me to visit.  Why?  Well, it's a forensic hospital that houses some of the most dangerous 'not guilty by reason of insanity' patients in Australia.  Yippee!  Seriously though, it can be a bit sketchy at times.  Despite many safety precautions, my favorite nurse got two cracked ribs, courtesy of a patient's knee.

So why do I love this place?  The kangaroos, of course!  Okay, they're actually wallabies if you want to get specific.  Apparently, you can tell the difference by looking at their teeth and jawbones.  {Isn't that handy.}  The hospital grounds are full of them, and they are so darn cute.  

I parked by these two today.
The first time I went, there were bajillions
Sadly, they look pathetic and miserable in the rain
One time, I brought Jeff with me so he could meet them.  I mean, it really doesn't get more Australian than this.  Kangaroos at the freakin' hospital, people.  On our drive in, we noticed a few cars parked and parents with children feeding the wallabies.  Um, yes please, says the Animal Science major & animal lover in me!  We didn't have much in the way of food on us, but I rustled up a few crackers.  As soon as we parked the car, they knew the drill.  The humans are here to feed us.  Well, things turned sour in a hurry.  Thankfully, my hubby caught the whole thing on video.
My shining moment: "Look, he's got a baby in his pouch."  

Blog Design

17 January 2012

What's going on with all the random horizontal lines in my posts?  Annoying!  Fortunately, I'm getting a custom blog design in mid-February.  The designer I'm using is busy so I must be patient.  I really like this template as far as colors and style go...but the functionality leaves something to be desired.

So let's all suffer through the 'horizontal line' craze until then, shall we?

A Trip to Newcastle

Newcastle is like my home away from home here in Oz.  I travel up here on a monthly basis for work {partially because I have a lot of business here, partially just because I love my Newcastle customers and the city itself.}

I always stay at the Sebel, Newcastle Beach.  I'm in love with their decor and hope to steal some of their ideas for my own home {not to mention, Jeff loves the blue chair.}

Of course, I never eat out when I'm travelling alone.  Even though the food at the Sebel is terrible.  I'm not one to complain about food, but it's getting a bit ridic.  As of tonight, I've officially gone through every vegetarian item on their menu.  Each one is worse than the last.  Now, I know what you're thinking--she's vegetarian...they are notoriously picky's probably just her.  Well, dear readers, it's not just me.  Jeff, my meat loving hubby {well, that sounds wrong}, agrees with me.  I tried the salad {meh}, I tried the steamed veggies {undercooked and over salted}, I tried the pumpkin ravioli {really awful...and I usually love that dish}, I tried the bruschetta {not sure how you screw up bruschetta, but they did.}

So tonight I went for pizza.  Surely pizza is a safe bet.  Wrong.  I ordered this pizza, minus the anchovies.  I had the plate all ready to go, sitting on my lap, and said my prayer.  I opened my eyes and noticed a glint of silver.  What could that be?  Oh, hello little dead fish on my pizza.  So I call room service, and they deliver a new one.  Even without the anchovies, the pizza still wasn't any good.  There was too much sauce, and it had a funny taste to it.  At least they didn't screw up the fruit!  It was delicious.

I like room service when I'm traveling because I pretty much spend every minute outside of working hours in my PJ's.  I certainly would not like to get dressed and go have dinner by myself at a proper restaurant.  Not when I have this sweet setup going on:

Haha!  The ipad is missing because I'm taking a picture with it.  But good grief, as if I really need to travel with my work laptop, personal laptop, and ipad {for one night away.}  However, I rationalize because I get lots of work done without the distractions of home & hubby.  

Anyhow, it's not very exciting, but it's all I've got.  I keep dreaming up a blog post {well, a vlog, to be specific} where I talk about some funny Aussie sayings and pronunciation.  I'm not sure if I actually have the balls to do it on video though.  I've literally never taken a video of myself, ever.  Not to mention, I grew up in a camcorder-free household.  There is not a single shred of home video footage, hell, there's barely a photo album worth of pictures.  At any rate, I might need a little encouragement in that department.  I could take the safe route and just blog about it, but I'm not sure it would really come across properly.  Any thoughts?

The Hunger Games {Book Review}

16 January 2012

So, last Thursday night, the thought came into my head that I should read The Hunger Games before the movie is released.  I cannot say exactly why the thought only occurred to me just then, but it did.  Trent, from Pink is the New Blog,  has blogged multiple times about the movie casting and how great the books were.  Anyhow, five days ago, I decided to buy the book.

Let me just warn you right now, this book is a page turner.  You will not be able to put it down.  The story grabs you from the first page and never lets you go.  The chapters are fairly short {which I gives me the false sense that I'm making fast progress} and the entire book is only 267 pages.  Without giving anything away, the premise is based on a futuristic time in the {former} United States that is somewhat reminiscent of 1984's 'Big Brother' style government.  However, the heroine is this story is what will capture your attention, as you journey with her through a Survivor-esque competition.

The book ends with reasonable finality.  Nonetheless, I knew going into it that the story was part of a trilogy.  So naturally, I had to buy the second book today at the airport.  I'm already 67 pages in, and loving it.

I definitely recommend this book.  Happy Reading :)

Big Ol' Jet Airliner...

15 January 2012

My boarding passes are printed and I'm ready for a quick flight up to Tamworth tomorrow to conduct a nurse training.  Do I need any form of ID? Nope.  Should I double check my liquids? Nope.  Do I even need to take off my shoes? No ma'am.  Welcome to the wonderful world of domestic flights in Australia {otherwise known as traveling in the US circa 1990.}  It's easy, it's painless, it feels slightly wrong.  Funny how we get used to some things.  I remember traveling to Germany in December 2001.  There was a lot of hubbub in the news about heightened airport security post-Sept 11.  I definitely had a bit of anxiety about it, because I was traveling to Europe alone at the age of seventeen.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that TSA profiling was in full effect.  Young, white, female..."sweetheart, you don't have any bombs or weapons on you do you?", {big, sweet smile} "nope", "have a wonderful day and safe travels."  That treatment, at one point in time, was considered 'heightened' security.

Now that we live in the days of equal {crappy} treatment for all....we are welcomed into a looooong security line with grumpy TSA workers reminding us that all belts, shoes, coins, watches, metal, liquids, laptops, must be removed and placed in the trays.  And we comply.  We don't like it, but we've come to accept it.  Not to mention the full body scans and 'enhanced' pat-downs.

It feels nice living in a country that still has its innocence.  I walk into the airport, boarding pass in hand, and walk straight to the security line.  In under five minutes, I'm through security, without so much as removing a shoe.  No need to show a boarding pass until you're actually boarding the plane.  Identification?  Safely resting in my purse.  Not only that, they feed you on the plane.  For free.  Even if it's only a 35 minute flight.  It kind of makes me wonder--is America that jaded, or is Australia that innocent?  And who will change first?  Despite my optimism, it's hard for me to imagine the U.S. deciding to loosen the reins.  But I still hope that doesn't mean Australia will follow suit.

Happy flying :)
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