Monday, June 24, 2013

Liebster Award

So, Hannah over at The Longest Format nominated me for a Liebster Award - which was awfully sweet, given the fact I've only started blogging recently and still don't quite know how to navigate around here. Thank you, Hannah!

Here are the rules:

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:

    Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
    List 11 random facts about yourself.
    Answer the 11 questions given to you.
    Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
    Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
    Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.

Eleven random facts about myself:

1. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider last year. It was a horrible, horrible, horrible experience and now a general dislike of spiders has become a full-blown phobia. Just the sight of a spider sends me into a shuddering, helpless, sweaty panic attack. It is inconvenient and embarrassing and, so far, totally out of my control. My kids find it hilarious.

2. For a long time I thought I would be a ballerina when I grew up. My parents indulged my obsession with ballet - assuming, I think, that it was just a phase and one of those clichés you expect from a girl-child - until I started getting invitations to audition for very prestigious ballet schools, summer intensives, and competitions. Suddenly ballet became more than just the typical childhood activity, and they decided they didn't want me to pursue something with such high risk and low chance of success. (Yes, their vote of confidence did not go unnoticed, she says with only a trace of bitterness. :P) They pulled me out of the ballet school I was currently attending and bribed me with horseback riding lessons (horses were my other great passion). I also discovered the joy of running, but my love of ballet never faded. I continued taking lessons through college. I quit when I got married, but managed to make it back en pointe as a middle-aged woman. Now I occasionally teach lessons as a substitute at the local dance studio and I'm writing a novel about a ballerina - and, y'know, for the first time in my life I am content with my level of ballet engagement. I've decided that running and riding horses more than make up for a lack of dancing. :)

3. I got my first mustang on accident - I was actually shopping for an Arabian, but she caught my eye and I couldn't stop thinking about her. Gypsy had been traumatized by her original adopters and our journey was more difficult than I'd expected, but when we finally bonded it was the most incredible experience of my life. I ended up adopting two more mustangs (Brisa and Ranger) myself. I love my wild, scruffy outlaws fiercely. :) (But I'd still like to have an Arabian someday.)

4. My favorite snack is a square of dark chocolate (okay, maybe more than one) with a slice of avocado on top. SO YUMMY.

5. I've been to 38 states so far, with plans to visit #39 (Wyoming) this summer. I'd like to reach all 50 before I die. 

6. I've been stopped by border guards, and it was a terrifying experience! My husband and I had gone to Canada to pick up a platform head for the combine. The Canadian border guards were WONDERFUL. On our way back home, though, (in a truck that says PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN FARMER) we were pulled in for questioning by the American guards. They put us in separate rooms, and then a man in a dark suit and SUNGLASSES (inside! I kid you not) started grilling me about where my kids were and who was watching them and did I feel guilty for leaving them and how long had I been married and did I trust my husband and had I ever had an affair and WHY THE F*CK WERE ANY OF THESE QUESTIONS ANY OF HIS BUSINESS??? Seriously, I was in tears by the time it was over. So, even though I have a passport, I am freaked out by the thought of going through customs or leaving the country ever again. Canada, I am sorry because I love you. But I can't take the stress of getting back into my own country!

7. I am a compulsive book hoarder.

8. I am weird about colors. A plate of food that is all one color, or nearly one color, will make me sick to my stomach. (My kids love a bowl of macaroni and cheese. And nothing else. BLUGH.) And I CANNOT wash different colored clothes together. I do not have "darks", "whites," and "delicates." I have red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, black, white, brown, gray. Striped or plaid clothes get washed separately, because TOO MANY COLORS TO MATCH. My daughter gave me some of those color-catch sheets, and they do work! but I still can't wash different colors together. It gives me a headache.

9. I love fossils. I love the idea of long-dead creatures leaving traces for us to find, and I love thinking about how our planet has changed over eons. I read paleobiology textbooks for fun. I cherish this dream of discovering a dinosaur skeleton on our farm someday. :) Also, Jurassic Park is one of my favorite books AND movies. (How often does a movie do fair justice to a book? Answer: not often at all. But this one I adore.)

10. I love to rollerskate almost as much as I love to ride horses and run half-marathons. There is an old-fashioned rink about an hour away and it is one of my favorite places. :) I would love to participate in roller derby. (I'm not that big, but I do have pointy elbows and quick feet! :D)

11. I ran my first half marathon this April and ended up wrecking my ankle. But once my ankle heals, I can't wait to get back to running. I would love to do a full marathon one of these days, and I will admit that ultra-marathoning fascinates me...

Okay! Now questions from Hannah:

1) Why did you choose your current horse sport or discipline?
I chose endurance because I've always been fascinated by the idea of testing the limits of what I can accomplish both as an individual and as a horsewoman. I love the thought of bringing myself and my horse to a level of athletic achievement that most people don't get to experience. Also, I love exploring trails on horseback, and I love spending time with horses, and I love being outside.

2) What is your horse-related Big Goal, if any?
My biggest goal - or dream - is to complete Tevis someday. Though I would be happy just to complete any 100 mile ride, at this point.

3) Pick a horse-related thing about which you have changed your mind.  Why?

Treeless saddles! I learned to ride by spending a lot of time without stirrups or bareback, so close contact feels natural to me. Also, I am more comfortable using leg contact than a lot of bit contact. I knew there were disadvantages to treeless saddles, but I'm a lightweight rider and figured it would be okay with a really good saddle pad. I've used my treeless for years and I do still love it for what it can do - it's great for backing horses, I think, and teaching kids to develop a decent seat. But it isn't as secure as it could be, and now that I'm in my mid-30s I kind of crave something with a little more substance. Also, when I get tired I curl my right side and put a lot of pressure on my right hipbone. There is no excuse for this and I'm working on it, but it seems to me that a traditional saddle might be more supportive (and more protective of the horse's back.) I would love a proper endurance saddle. (I do love my western saddle, but dang, that thing is HEAVY.)

4) Favorite apocalypse?

Snow! I hate cold weather, so if it has to be winter it might as well snow and snow and snow so I have an excuse to hide under the blankets with books and tea and chocolate. Also, I love the quiet hush of a deep snowfall.

5) Horses and riding as social outlet: pro, con, or it's complicated?

Oh, it's complicated! I do most (nearly all) my riding alone, and as much as I love the peace and solitude of time with my horses, sometimes I miss the camaraderie and support of a barn. I wish I had more friends to trail ride with, and sometimes having someone there would make new things less scary. And yet - some horsepeople are... well, you know... there's a special brand of crazy that hangs around horses sometimes, right? And I have no desire to get sucked into that sort of drama.

6) What's the oldest piece of tack you own?

A gorgeous trail saddle made by H. R. Miller Saddlery from Kansas City sometime in the 1930s. It was given to my uncle in the late 70s/early 80s as payment for a favor and he kept it as decoration until a few years ago. He gave it to me, and I took it to Dave Golian - a local saddlemaker. Golian repaired some loose stitching and reconditioned all the leather so the saddle is safe to ride in, but I keep it in my dining room on a gorgeous solid walnut stand and just admire it. The saddle is super comfortable for me - has a narrower twist than most saddles do, now - and because the leather is single-ply on the skirts and fenders it's actually quite light. But I'm afraid it wouldn't fit any of my horses and I didn't feel like spending the additional money to get it reflocked, so it's just for looks. :)

7) Is the glass half-empty or half-full, with what?

Half-full, but don't tip it or it will all spill. Um, how about raspberry Italian cream soda?

8) Time to colonize some other planet!  It's a one-way trip.  Do you go?

No. I am all about exploring and vacationing, but I have deep, deep roots and don't like change. I would love to visit! But only after the colony is established, and only if I can get back home again.

9) What's the best horse-related time- and/or labor-saving trick you know?

Ooof. I feel like I do everything the hard, slow way because I have to trudge out to the pasture with all my tack and gear every time I want to ride. A barn would make things so much easier! But, um, I have gotten pretty good at attaching things to my saddle with a variety of clips, pet collars, and bungee cords. That way I only have to drag one armful out.

10) Recommend me a poem.

My favorite poet is Denise Levertov, and right now my favorite poem is A Tree Telling of Orpheus.

11) What's on your keychain?

A paracord fob, just in case I come across a loose horse or dog that needs catching. A key to the box in the back of my truck, and my regular keys. Nothing special, because we leave the keys in the truck all the time and my husband doesn't want a bunch of "dangly junk" getting in the way. :P

I do not know enough bloggers to nominate anyone, sadly, but I'll post 11 questions in case anyone wants to answer. 
1. Sea or swimming pool?
2. Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey? (Or both? Or other?)
3. Shakespeare or Marlowe?
4. After a bad day, how do you most like to reward yourself?
5. What is the most significant influence that has shaped the horseperson you are today?
6. What are you most proud of?
7. What is one thing you've never done but always wanted to try? What holds you back?
8. Have you watched a moon rise and set?
9. Have you watched a horse being born? Have you watched one die?
10. What do you still want to learn?
11. How do you pick your friends?


  1. I've never thought of putting chocolate and avocado together!

  2. I wonder how many of us got our mustangs by accident? Heh.

    Also! Come to Vermont!