Caturday: Happy Birthday Egypt!

Today, our beloved Miss Egypt would have been 12 years old. She has been greatly missed since her passing nearly seven months ago.

Always sociable. Always friendly. Always good. She was singularly and fiercely devoted to her one. Sweet as she was, Egypt had the heart of a mighty lioness or tigress. She ran the house her way.

We were glad to have been her forever home.

Happy Birthday Egypt!

A Night of Candles

“I left Florida to avoid tropical hurricanes. I didn’t know Colorado had ground hurricanes.”

A friend of my sister, Ginny, told her that during Monday’s brutal windstorm. The winds were not the 15-25-35 mph variety, but more of a Category One hurricane kind with gusts into the 85-95-105 mph range. The usual effects of the wind storm could be found everywhere: downed trees and fences, downed power lines, damaged cars and closed highways.

Undoubtedly, most schedules also fell victim to the wind. Our schedule was caught by the wind. The plan was to complete the veterinary certification for Lilith, Captain Andrew, SAM and Happy Girl so they may compete at the National Western over this coming weekend. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it because of a closed highway. Dr. Burrell, our horse veterinarian, couldn’t make it either – a fallen tree in her driveway.

A power failure all across the region, it simply complicated matters. We lost power shortly after 7:30 am. While we had plenty to do, the lack of power dampened much of the day. By evening, the fierce winds were more than a nuisance. The utilities department could not estimate when the power would be restored after saying mid-afternoon for most of the morning.

With it becoming dark in the late afternoon, a little light was needed. It is good the daughters have a strong sense of romance. They brought out their stash of candles they use while soaking in the tub or the Jacuzzi in the master bath.

candles: from romance to basic light

A pizza and soda dinner by candlelight. It works.

Our power was restored at midnight. The veterinary certification was completed this morning. Today’s afternoon practice session, compressed but intense.

Hail & Farewell

Alas, the holiday season is drawing to a close.

wrapped in light: Deborah with a string of Christmas lights

Soon, the colored lights and glitter will be taken and stored away. Thoughts become wistful as the last few hours of a year slips away. At the same time, an excitement begins to build. A new year will soon begin. New adventures, new hopes, new discoveries, new memories lay ahead.

One longstanding military tradition is to bid “hail and farewell” whenever someone leaves for another assignment, or leaves service. Friends gather to offer cheers, often at a favorite restaurant. The gathering is often a gregarious one, filled with smiles and much laughter. Celebrating the arrival of a new year is not much different.

Traditionally, we welcome the new year between 9-10 pm with a champagne toast and something chocolate. When the girls were younger, it was sparkling grape juice instead. After waving sparklers in the backyard and sharing a few kisses, the house begins to quiet.

In the quiet of the moment, we note the year that is drawing to a close was a good year. Whatever the heartache or testing challenge may have been, it made us stronger and better for having experienced it. The coming year, it will be a better one.

May the new year be a good one, and the one for good memories.

Off Season: At Mid-Winter

And, it is back on the saddle.

the daily wardrobe: Deborah zipping up her tall boots over her breeches

While their 2016 season ended a few weeks ago, the girls have turned their attention to preparing for the 2017 season. The priority is sharpening their skills in advance of the two events they’ll be riding at the National Western Stock Show in two weeks. Much of their practices will be done at the RRC indoor arena. While a few sessions will be supervised by Trish, the girls will be left to practice by themselves. The complexity, thoroughness, and crispness of those practices can become quite intense. Not only does it raise their level of competitiveness, it also raises their level of riding.

advanced booking: the RRC indoor arena ready for a 7:00 am practice session (Dec 26 2016)

To prepare, they have studied several hours of video and over 2,000 photos. Their note-taking is extensive. No observation is insignificant. The aim is to improve their skill set and technique, and build on the successes of last season achieved in practice and in competition. Similarly, it is equally important to learn from the not-so-good moments and make the proper adjustments to minimize the bad habits and mistakes. Also, they rely on each other by sharing their observations of a ride during practice and competition.

The attention to detail and the level of preparation are the two qualities that Mark and Trish have appreciated in the girls. They simply go out and ride with their best effort. Moreover, they are not caught up in the statistical mish-mash (rankings, points, etc.) of the sport. Nor are they concerned about which show or which event is more prestigious. The important factor, though, is having fun.

In the coming season, the three agree the greater challenge will be putting together another season like the last. They rode very well, always in contention for the top ribbons. The expectations for the coming season are very likely higher.

fence rails: waiting to be used (RRC, Dec 28 2016)

If their practice sessions are any indicator, they may be riding better. A better indicator, shaving .20 seconds off the winning time for the FEI World Cup Grand Prix in Las Vegas.


A Bit of Chocolate

The Christmas weekend of treats and dessert have quickly disappeared, especially the decadent Christmas dessert.

walnut chocolate chip cookies

chocolate tort with cream cheese frosting and a light sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar

It may be a while before they reappear as a treat and dessert selection.

On Christmas Night

Looking in your eyes
Seeing all I need
Everything you are is everything in me
These are the moments
I know heaven must exist
And these are the moments
I know all I need is this
I’ve found all I’ve waited for
And I could not ask for more

The songs have been sung, the presents opened, and a festive dinner shared. A most decadent dessert awaits to cap a weekend of celebrating.

In the quiet of Christmas night, it is the gift of those who you hold close that matters the most. To care, to support, to love.

Hope your Christmas was joyful and blest.

I Could Not Ask For More

From the song of the same name, written by Diane Warren.

About the photo

My daughter, Elizabeth, with her new pashmina.