Read it and EEEP!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Have you let yourself have a good fright this month?  The internets are a-crawling with all types of spooky, creepy, eeriness and as we're right on top of Halloween, throw off the security blankets for a few moments and immerse yourself in these terrifying tidbits.  Happy Halloween and happy haunting my friends.

Atlas Obscura - Where you can find the spookiest places close to where you are right now.  Looking for a creepy destination within walking or driving distance?  This'll get you right where you want / don't want to be.

I bet you never thought of Toast as scary.  Except for that link at The Toast that takes you to all kinds of free and freaky online stories, in order of scariness.  Scroll to the last one and read it if you dare.

Heard of the Slender Man?  What about creepypasta?  If you have no idea what I'm talking about and want to sleep with all the lights on tonight, go here.  This gave me goosebumps the first time I read it.  And it's only the explanation of what creepypasta is.  If you want to journey further down the rabbit hole, make sure to leave a trail of crumbs.  Because we all know how well that worked out.

If you love both horror movies and reading (this is everybody, I hope), then you'll love this list of graphic novels for horror movie lovers from Panels.  I am almost done with the Locke and Key series (excellent, highly recommend it) and have two of these other books on order.  Want some more comic books for Halloween?  NPR recommends four books here, including Neil Gaiman (how can you not include him?).

Reading in transit

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On the flight back from London, knowing that I had over nine hours ahead of me with nothing except for a slew of 20-something Jump Street movies and some bad Johnny Depp flicks, I picked up two novels from the W.H. Smith bookstore in the airport.  For me, choosing a book to read in flight is more of a laborious process than choosing a travel companion.

Books have an uncanny knack of transporting you to places.  However, unlike with airplanes, when you close the book, you are back where you physically started.  You just need to wait for your mind to catch up to your body.  Unless, of course, you are reading whilst in transit.  In this scenario, when you close a book you are whisked back to where you last left your body, which is not really where you left it at all.  And all of this brings me to the following conclusion: reading while flying may be one of the trippiest experiences that an over-imaginative person goes through.

Now before you start accusing me of over-exaggerating and being too dramatic, I'd like to call to the witness stand the novel Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis.

If you've ever heard of Bret Easton Ellis, you'll recall that he is also the author of American Psycho.  And if you've ever heard of Lunar Park, then you'll realize that reading it on a nighttime flight in a sleep-deprived state can shake the foundation of your reality.

Lunar Park is written as a memoir of Ellis's life, describing the fame achieved through one of his novels as well as his recreational drug use.  However, at some vague point, the book swerves dramatically from reality, when Ellis's fictional daughter's Furby doll comes to life and chases the family around their home.  The introduction of the fantastic and horrific in the novel is not so gradual as to have the reader slowly buy into it but presents it as factually true, as with the author's memoirific (is that even a word?  it is now) details.  Killer attack dolls in a story that may/not be true, sleep deprivation, and a shiny holographic cover resulted in a very confused landing and arrival.  I'm still not certain I didn't leave part of my sanity on that United flight.

Alas, my book-choosing abilities have not improved; if anything, they've gotten worse.  I picked up The Martian and I Am Pilgrim.  Both wonderful books in their own right (you should read both of them).  One is about a man accidentally left behind on Mars and the other is a spy novel about the weaponization of a virus by terrorists.  I'm still waiting for American Airlines to call and let me know that the remainder of my sanity is on a baggage carousel in Guatemala.

Spinning like a top

Monday, October 27, 2014

With the abrupt change in weather and the back and forth to-ing and fro-ing of time zones, at the end of last week, my head felt quite like a spinning top, whirling round and round until it basically came clean off at the start of the weekend.  Jet lag and lack of sleep do not pair well with hot tempers and impatience and as a result, things came to a head very quickly.  I needn't go through the details, remembering them in my mind is painful enough of an experience.  Of course there are lessons learned and things taken away from it all but I'm still reeling from the impact of what happened and wondering at the necessity of the sequence of events.  So tonight I sit on my couch, licking my wounds with goldfish and Haribo and all of the ABC Family Halloween movies my television can throw at me and I'm certain that with another few nights of solid sleep, I'll be able to bounce back.  I'm also slowly crawling through my unread blog post list and I promise that I'll get to yours soon enough.  I've missed you all, even though it's really only been a week.

I'm convinced that the next time I'm in London, it would be more efficient to stay in a house like this one - The Old Clock House - instead of in a hotel with its unfamiliar traffic noises, stiff sheets, and peculiar smells.  Converted from an old 19th century brewery, there would be plenty of room for guests to stay as well, with four bedrooms and three reception rooms.  What do y'all think?  Maybe my company would give me a (substantial) advance on my salary?

London falling

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The leaves here have really started to change and fall is much more of a legitimate season here.  Apparently the city is on the receiving end of a hurricane today but to me, it looks like normal drizzly and cold London weather.  Just the quick usual, jet-lagged pop-in and pop-out and as ill prepared as last time, without proper clothing or rain gear.  I swear, I won't forget my wellies next time.

Wishing you dry and toasty toes this week!

Jesse's Girl

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ryon & Jesse

You can tell how serious Jesse is about horses by the shoes that he wears.  For his tenth birthday earlier this year, he asked for a pair of cowboy boots.  Don't tell him I said this but they are the cutest things I've seen, a mature burgundy pair but teeny tiny on his still child-sized feet.  For the rainy fall weather, Jesse's been rocking some duck shoes, waterproof to the ankle and ultra practical.  When all the cool kids at school are wearing the newest flashy Nikes or tweed Toms, Jesse has on his mud and muck covered-sh*tkickers.  During the summer, when school wasn't in session and when he wasn't at his mom's house, Jesse was at the barn almost every day, helping out his dad.  You see, Jesse's dad is a stable-hand and he is his dad's shadow.  We'd chat in the evenings after I would show up to ride Ryon.  He would always ask me in his own serious way, "So how was your day?  How is your family doing?"  Which would always make me giggle because 10-year olds aren't supposed to know how to make small talk.  Jesse would fill me in on the shenanigans that Ryon had pulled during the day, all the while patting his nose and feeding him hay.  "He was fighting with Bo today.  And he moves around a lot but not outside," he would explain gravely and I would nod and chastise Ryon quietly.  Jesse would then pop off after a 15 minute chat and show up later a little later in the middle of my ride, watching still and silent from the side, judging Ryon and my performance with his eyes.  And when I would leave at night, and at this time we would be in the thick of night and past the point of dusk or evening, Jesse would ask how my ride was and how Ryon behaved, while walking me to my car.

I asked him just once if he liked being at the barn, and he responded, "I like helping my dad.  But I really just love horses."

Jesse's been one of the only ones there with me when it was snowing and blowing outside and also when I would sneak in on Saturday nights to check in on the boys.  This fall, because of soccer practice and school, I've seen him less and typically only on the weekends.  However, his cheery attitude and gentle, yet firm, treatment of these massively majestic animals still inspires me on a daily basis and I would have no problem being known as Jesse's girl.

Happy 9th birthday

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Last week, we celebrated Ryon’s 9th birthday, which is around 32 years old in human years.  I baked a carrot cake with cream cheese icing, he blew out the candles, and then we jumped straight into a rousing game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Which didn’t really happen.  In reality, we took a birthday trail ride and had a heated argument on the trail about a manhole cover, which I ended up winning because… well, I’m the boss and also the one wearing a pair of spurs.  Later, I poured a birthday beer into his dinner (if you’re on IG, you saw this happen) and we called it an early night.  Even though he loves people, Ryon’s a bit of a wallflower in a crowd and not really a fan of getting up in the club or turning down for what, etc etc.  Maybe next year he’ll feel a little braver and we’ll go to a country western bar and do some line dancing.

As the weather turns chilly, Ryon’s on the cusp of getting his fuzzy winter coat back; several of the horses already have theirs and look like woolen teddy bears.  Soon enough I’ll have to break out his big green blanket and his spandex tank top that he wears underneath (he hates that spandex thing).  I also ordered a lovely exercise rug for us to huddle under in the arena on those particularly cold days.  I’m sure he’ll love it flapping on his backside in the wind but better than a brisk breeze up the shorts.  I can’t believe he’s been with me for nine months already and that we’re about to come full circle with this boy.  The progress he’s made is pretty darn amazing, even though at times it seems like two steps forward one step back, and the number of compliments lavished upon him are neverending.  The most oft repeated phrase I hear coming out of my mouth is “Good boy Ryon, good boy.”

Yea or Nahh? October 2014 Edition

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bikinis in fall: Last week, on a particularly bright and hot afternoon, there was a bikini photo shoot outside my office window.  Not to confuse anyone, my office overlooks the high-rise apartment complex next door and is eye level with its two infinity pools.  The model, well, she might as well not have been wearing anything, such was the coverage of her swimsuits.  If we were to plot visitors to my office on a line chart, we would have most definitely seen a spike that day (and the following one, wishful thinking by some young men).

Changing of the seasons: Over the weekend, we had some blustery, cooler weather blow in, along with some rain showers that merited breakout out the over-the-knee knit socks and Hunter rain boots.  Although I don’t much look forward to fall, at least it introduces some variety to the days.  “No news is good news” is how the saying goes but also makes for a very dull, unexciting and vanilla fall.  At least we can look forward to…

Boots!: I have a disease; my boot collection is more expansive than a Southern girl’s has any right to be.  Riding boots (real riding boots), combat boots, cowboy boots, rain boots, snow boots, seriously what gives?  Maybe it’s some defense mechanism about my feet.  Or the hardiness of that particular type of footwear.  Or I just don’t like cold toes.  I’ve got another pair arriving in the post today.  After this, I’m cut off, right?

Pumpkin everything: I might have made up for all of the cooking that I’ve neglected for the past few weekends and pumpkined everything on Saturday.  Pumpkin and kale lasagna and pumpkin coffee crumb cake (recipe to come later).  Oh and maybe a few pumpkin spice lattes in between.  You know what the overwhelming response to that was?  MOAR!

My new thing called Pinterest: So I’m about 5,000 years late to the party that is Pinterest.  It’s like showing up after the party is in full swing and discovering that everyone’s dance card is full (Clearly this isn’t really still a thing, is it?  Dance cards?).  I’ve consciously cut myself off from burning more than a few hours on this thing; I need a new internet addiction like I need a new pair of boots.  Okay, maybe not the best simile to use.

Manners are underrated: Mini rant - What flipping gives, guys?  What happened to good, old-fashioned manners?  Please and thank you.  Walking a girl to her car.  Or calling or texting someone back when you’ve made plans to do something together on a certain day / time on the weekend and letting them know that you’ve changed your mind / canceled / come down with the flu / moved away to Antigua.  Grow a fudging pair and if rejection is on the menu, don’t be afraid to serve it up.  You all know I hate waiting but you know what I hate more?  Waiting for other people to “man up.”

So what are you Yea or Nahh about this fall?

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