Sunday morning

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dallas Sunday morning sunrise

I’m ignoring all the things this morning.

I’m ignoring the impending fall work / travel schedule, as well as the PR segment that I’m filming for the local paper later this week.  I’m paying no attention to the farrier bill for Ryon resting underneath my elbow and the gigantic one from the vet that’s on its way toward me via post.  I’m not even going to give another ounce of worry to the white hair that I found in my hairbrush.

Instead I’m focusing on this pale Sunday morning.  I’m curled up on the living room floor with ice coffee and soaking in the early morning light streaming in the wall of windows.  There’s a miscellaneous acoustic jam playing softly in the background, too indistinctly for me to make out any words.  I wiped down the furniture with almond wood polish the previous evening and a hint of the almond scent still lingers in the air.  I suppose this is what they mean when they say to relax and enjoy the moment.  The moment is soft, quiet, and calm.  I could be the only person awake in the world.  If this morning was a colour, it’d be a light peach with glowing gold tinges at the edges.

In another moment, the planes overhead will roar and the rest of the city sounds will break the silence.  The A/C will stutter to life, and a dog across the hall will start screaming bloody murder.  Text messages and emails will ping across, and the Twitterverse will be awash with the current events of the world, both good and bad.

I’ll be capturing this moment in a glass cloche and placing it on a shelf in my mind.  And then in the midst of everyday cacophony, filled with trivial frenzy and madness, I’ll pull it down and take a deep, deep breath of this Sunday morning.


An update on my poor boy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I had planned on including a completely different blog post piece this week, but this is the one that happened to come up the past few days.  Bear with me while I get things in order.

Despite the brief respite we had with a burst of thunderstorms, appearing and disappearing in a fast fury, the summer has turned unfathomably hotter.  The days drag out into decades, particularly in the afternoons when even a lick of shade is difficult to find and the air is still and stifling.  Each hoof step sends up a puff of dust as the horses stomp their feet to drive away pesky flies in the blazing summer afternoons.  Chubby Willow and her inability to properly sweat and some of the more sensitive horses don’t bear up well under the heat.

It’s been four months since Ryon’s diagnosis with ringbone in April, and every hitchy twitchy step since has sent my nerves tingling.  Last week, Ryon had been off balance and shifting weight off of his right hand side.  Dr. Anderson, our vet, paid the barn a monthly visit on Friday and after petting on his velvet nose and paying him All the Compliments, he did a bit of diagnostic work on him.  After a full examination and countless x-rays, it has turned out to be (surprise, surprise) the same issue from before.  Our friend Ryon is put together the way a child would draw a horse: big head, short neck, big body, and teeny tiny feet.  Unfortunately, those teeny tiny feet take all the weight of his massive body.  The official term for his condition is fetlock osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease.  This is an incurable condition, although one that can be managed.  There are a few options that we have available to lessen the progression of deterioration and his general discomfort.


So, exactly around the time when he was expecting dinner on Friday evening, Ryon received the ugly surprise of hyaluronic acid injections in his front and back right and was wrapped up with more of those despised neon green vet bandages.  Don’t worry ladies and gents, he’s currently doing really well and not in any pain.  The vet has cleared him for regular activity, but my trainer and I are taking it a bit easy on him for now.  All of us are continuing to assess his daily progress and what it means for his long-term health.  This comes as a blow to us because we’ve all seen how he’s come to truly enjoy jumping, the higher the jumps the better.  Ryon gets impatient waiting for his “turn” to go over the jump course, and it’s depressing to think his most favourite activity may not be in his best interests.

For the time being, I’m working on minimizing any of his discomfort and exploring viable options for treating what he has.  My vet and trainer have both recommended a beta test technology out of Europe that’s proven quite effective there.  Whatever the path is for him, it will be in his best interests and I’ll keep you all posted, as always.


The End of Summer by Rachel Hadas

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Society6
Because this speaks perfectly to me lately - enjoy.

The End of Summer
By Rachel Hadas

Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn—
an early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.

Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.

Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,

we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,

redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).

In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.

Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.


Westward Ho - The Remix

Thursday, August 13, 2015

We’ve been oppressed here in Texas, I tell you, suffocating under the sun’s harsh, neverending rule.  Remember that time earlier this spring when it rained all the time and wouldn’t ever stop?  Like your grandpa always says, those were the good old days.  I don’t think we saw a drop of rain during all of July.  So when offered an opportunity to run away to the Pacific Northwest, we snatched it up and never looked back.  We might have run to the airport if it wasn’t so hot and death-like in Dallas.  Stepping off the plane in Portland, the feeling of being outside and not instantly sweating in the middle of August - beyond magical.

Siri and Misha
My sister, as she did last year, played gracious hostess to myself and JR, and she surely outdid herself this time.  A welcome note, fresh linens, fresh flowers, stocked bar cart and refrigerator - is this the little sister I knew that couldn’t be bothered to clean her own bedroom three years ago?  Siri and her boyfriend took a few days off of work to act as tour guides around Portland and the surrounding areas, and as a result, we went on a beautiful hike to a waterfall and sampled one too many beer and wine flights at a multitude of breweries and wineries.  Both Siri and her boyfriend work in digital marketing (for the same company), so we got the chance to watch them work their social media magic live.  I swear, even their outfits were coordinating every damn day.


Siri lives in a very walkable part of the city and a stone’s throw from several eateries that I wouldn’t mind frequenting forever.  Almost every morning, we would go grab a cup of very respectable coffee and wander around - picking up breakfast buns one morning and doughnuts another.  One morning, it was balmy enough that we decided on a lark to trek up to the rose garden and around Washington Park in sandals.  I may have led us astray, accidentally, and gotten tangled up in a blackberry bush for my troubles.  In Texas, you’d have to drag along a liter of water just so you don’t dehydrate taking your garbage out.  However, the best part of the entire trip was watching my favourite people together talking, laughing, napping, and falling into water (sometimes separately, sometimes at the same time).


I do miss my sister, and at the same time, I’m so very proud of the grown up that she’s turning out to be.  Thank you for the teaching me to exploregon.


Congee and the dinner party

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Doctor (and Neo) joined us for dinner

As a conclusion to the dinner party cliffhanger that I left you all dangling from last weekend,  I ended up scurrying over to Target and buying an overpriced wooden stool that is currently pulling double duty as an accent table in my bedroom.  Yay for grown up-ish furniture!  Because of my stomach bug and JR’s night shift, we ended up ordering in all of dinner and buying an oversized strawberry shortcake instead of having the banana pudding I had planned on making.  For this particular occasion, I’m so glad we decided to do that rather than eating out at a restaurant.  We weren’t rushed through our meal and were able to relax and talk for much longer than we would have if we had gone out to eat.  Another added bonus from ordering in: the loads of leftovers that fed us through the week.

However...

The day after the dinner party was when JR started showing symptoms of the same stomach bug I had during the week (I’ll spare you the gory details).  Poor guy was working at the hospital that night so, using the leftover rice from the night before, I stirred together a pot of homemade congee aka rice porridge.  There are different variations of congee throughout the world; I like to think of it as the Chinese version of chicken noodle soup.  It’s easy on the stomach, warm, and comforting, whilst still filling your body with all the nutrients it packs.

So I’m sharing with you my unplanned version of congee below.  Let’s be honest, I didn’t measure anything and tasted throughout the cooking process to make sure that it was turning out the way I liked.  There is no perfection with congee, but I’ll include real recipes later so you can be as precise as you’d like.

Ingredients:
Pre-cooked white rice (five cups)
3-4 cups of water
Chopped scallions (one stalk)
Sesame oil (one tablespoon)
Soy sauce (two tablespoons)
Minced garlic (three cloves)
Salt

Stir together on the stove and bring to a boil.  Keep at a simmer until porridge thickens to your personal preference.

There are multiple variations on this theme and included among the additional ingredients you can throw in are fried eggs, minced ginger, and/or any other cooked protein of your choice.  My mom’s favourite version has cooked sweet potato cubes mixed in with the rice.  I’ve linked some recipes below that will give you much more precise instruction than my slapdash summary above.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook
Serious Eats

Luckily, JR’s constitution is the stuff that steel is made of so it barely had him feeling bad for 24 hours.  If only we could all be so lucky.  But if you’re not, I’ll make some congee for you as well.


Rising from the (almost) dead

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Society6

I feel like a new woman and probably because for the majority of this week, I felt like a dead woman.  I was knocked down on Wednesday by a mysterious stomach bug (mysterious because I don't know how I caught it and no one else around me has had it) and that bug laid the righteous smack down on me.  I slept for an estimated 48 hours in a three day time span and managed to ignore basically every other part of my life, including eating.  Luckily, after hitting a high point with the fever yesterday evening, I woke up feeling well enough today to hit a full agenda of activities, what with people visiting from out of town and a graduation this morning.

And tonight, I'm hosting a dinner party at my apartment, the first one I've held since I moved to Dallas (yes, I've been here for over two years, shhh!).  We're catering the food in, thank goodness because there would have been no way I would have been in any state to cook.  I'm all prepped with beverages and desserts... except I just realized that for a party of six, I only have seating for five.  Worst case scenario, I can take all of my hardbacks, pile them up, and teeter precariously from atop.  Or steal one from the apartment clubhouse.  Or sit on my saddle rack.

Or maybe just go to Target and buy an extra chair.

I'll let you sit on pins and needles to find out the conclusion to this one...


Total facial, LaFleur

Monday, July 20, 2015

Society6

In the morning, I wash with Biologique Recherch√© Lait U, followed by Tracie Martyn Firming Serum, Biologique Recherch√© MSR-H Cream, and Suntegrity 5 in 1 (my new favorite organic tinted sunscreen). Then I slather myself with Burt’s Bees Nourishing Body Lotion, which is actually for babies.”

Carla Gugino’s skincare routine, a la TheNewPotato


I’ll admit, during the summer afternoon lull, I’ve been perusing more than my fair share of girlie web sites that discuss health, beauty, fashion, relationships, quite unlike my usual web browsing.  And wowza, the things you’ll learn (how to spiralize every veg ever, drink green things in a smoothie, exfoliate all the time always).  

One of the omnipresent themes of these websites is a featured column that delves into the morning and evening skincare routines of rosy, baby-faced angelwomencreatures.  These ladies, who most likely spend at least an hour upon waking and prior to sleeping, slather on a litany of products (serums/creams/toners/tonics/oils) to their faces in alphabetical order.  All of this careful facial care led me to an examination of my own skincare routine, which I’ll now share with you below...

AM: Bleary-eyed, I swipe at my face a few times with a cleansing facial wipe (thank the heavens for whomever came up with these things).  I’m dead to the world in the mornings and can’t imagine attempting a real face scrubbing with water.  Instead, I’m satisfied with my two morning accomplishments: bed making and teeth brushing.  My tube of Japanese facial sunscreen glares at me, judgingly.  I’m indoors during most daylight hours, I reason, so why waste it even if I am in my 30s and applying sunscreen is a Must Do instead of a Should Do.  At the office by 6:30 in the morning (killmenow), I then perform a second face check (did I wipe away all the sleep from my eyes?  likely not) by fluorescent light, which always makes me want to scrape my face off and start over.  The rest of the day is spent avoiding my reflection in all shiny surfaces.

PM: I wash my face with some random face wash whilst in the shower, wondering once again where those latest bruises came from and if I’m seriously just allergic to everything.  For someone who owns a horse, a hay allergy seems like one of the most nonsensical things to have.  Anyway, back to the face.  Does drying your face with a scratchy towel count as exfoliating?  Sometimes I’ll use an Alpha Beta peel wipe, if I remember, and oftentimes I don’t.  No night cream or face mask and instead I fall asleep with a comic book cracked open on my pillow and all the lights still on.

Clearly, no one will be photographing or filming me any time ever.  My focus at home is centered around making sure that the house is hygienic and let’s face (sorry) it, I’m lazy.  I’ll settle for my face showing its age, all of its laugh lines, and shadows from staying up reading too late once again.


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