Happy Birthday Musketeers!

The Musketeers – Maxie, Midnight and Tuxie – are turning 12 today. Time has flown by so quickly. They have grown into fine, loving kitties. Closely bonded, they have kept an eye on each other.



Tuxie, forever remembered and forever loved

Losing Tuxie, last August, most fortunately Maxie and Midnight handled it well. Whether they had sensed Tuxie’s short time, that can only be surmised. Maxie and Midnight have carried on in true Musketeer tradition.

the rare three-shot (September 2006)

Happy Birthday Musketeers!

mom and dad

Grand Prix Saturday: Semi-Live

Note: An experiment of sorts with a semi-live blog. Comments will be off until later tonight.

Updates are at the bottom of the post.

A warm week of riding, this morning begins on the cooler side. While the cooler conditions are much welcomed, thoughts turn on whether afternoon storms will be easy or severe. Last Saturday, thunderstorms sort of wrecked havoc with the schedule with many delays for strong rains and lightning, pushing the start of the GP into the evening hours. Hopefully, it won’t become a long day for everyone.

6:30 am

Arriving at the horse barn an hour earlier, time for a light workout. SAM and Captain Andrew have been having an outstanding two weeks. Candace (Happy Girl), still in recovery for lameness, has been doing well also. Tara wasn’t too sure in bringing Happy Girl but is glad she did. Happy Girl has shown no shyness with the taller fences (1.40 and 1.45 m) and jumps with the spring one expects. Also, she has shown no tenderness.

The easy workout ends. After a cool down, a supervised relax period in the paddock.

8:45 am

Walking the horses back to their stalls ahead of the 9:00 am GP riders meeting. Through last night, only 7 riders were listed for tonight’s GP. This morning, the list expanded to 32. Not uncommon for the list to expand. The meeting will be a breakdown of the day’s schedule – final vet check, handout of the course layout, ring walk-through, course walk-through – and the all-important blind draw on starting position.

9:30 am

Tara has drawn the best starting position, #32. She will have the opportunity to watch the entire field and know what she needs to do to get herself and Happy Girl into the jump-off. Deborah has drawn #18, Elizabeth #25. They’re not bad starting positions, though Deborah hoped for something in the 20’s also.

Update, 2:40 pm

If you’ve ever been to a horse show, as a competitor or attendee, the schedule ends up running late. Most times, it is a class that has become too large, or there is a technical issue. Though clouds are in the distance, you can’t call this one on the weather. The WiFi has been up-and-down since late this morning, which in turn delays so many other things, like scheduling, that has become part of the wired world. To be only 45 minutes behind schedule isn’t too bad.

Around 11:30, it was the ring walk-through. This is the chance for the riders to have a sense of the footing. With a GGT surface, the footing is very good. Rarely, rarely does one experience any soft or hard spots. It is also surface that doesn’t grab onto a hoof. Also, the amount of rain we’ve had this week hasn’t changed the footing dynamic. The horse park has one of the best drainage system.

In about 30 min, the vet checks will begin. It’s mostly a pro forma process with a focus on the legs, the hooves, and veterinary paperwork. For a horse, like Happy Girl, the vet will pay extra time checking her over.

Update, 4:56 pm

The gates to the Grand Prix ring opened at 4:00 pm. Unlike most other horse parks, the grandstand has limited seating. The remaining seating area is contoured like a gentle hill in a grassed park for the attendees to spread out their blanket or set-up their own lawn chairs. If they wish, they can picnic their dinner. It is also one of the few venues in which the GP is not a ticketed event. Though more relaxed, the electricity of a GP event can be felt.

Remarkably, the weather has stayed fairly nice. Though the afternoon clouds have built, they seem not to be the stormy kind – at least not yet. Temperature-wise, it is in the mid 80’s. Warm, but not the blast furnace kind of heat from Thursday and Friday. Eyes, though, remain focused on the sky as the cloud cover has come closer.

Around 5:40 pm, it is the course walk-through. The GP riders will get to walk the course, to gauge their sight lines, riding lines and footing. Most likely, the stadium lights will be on to minimize shadows. While it seems the GP may begin near its scheduled time of 6:30 pm, more likely it will begin between 7:45-8:00 pm.

Update, 11:39 pm

The horses are safely bedded down for the night in their stalls. Back at Bella’s home, my daughters continue to unwind. Each have a tiny sip of champagne, setting it aside for  tall sodas. Their minds and attention turn to Iowa, planning out a short week of practice.

The parents, and Bella, proud of our girls.

Comments are on.

Dino: Rainbow Bridge Day

It is the ninth anniversary of his Rainbow Bridge Day. We remember Dino with great fondness and love. He was the best of cats – friendly, happy, close confidante, and loyal littermate. Dino loved all things fresh, from cut-flowers to laundered clothes to Kona coffee to babies.

Dino: on kitten watch in early spring  (March 1990)

the fan: favorite objet d’arte

napping with his objet d’arte

catnip scratcher box: “all mine”

Pebbles and Dino: waiting on dinner

Dino at one (Sep 1990)

We were most privileged to have our Siamese boy for nearly 19 years. Every day was a good one with him. We miss you much.

Love you always,

mom and dad

Photos are from the Two Cats Two archives. They were taken using a Canon FTb 35 mm SLR using Kodak Gold (ASA 200) film.

Independence Day

The moment was sobering for the 56 delegates gathered together. By ratifying, then signing, the document before them, each one knew they were risking all. Life, liberty, family and fortune. They were ordinary men called to a greatness larger than themselves, and with extraordinarily high stakes. Yet, John Adams said this was a day that should be celebrated with parades, bonfires, fireworks and general merriment. Nowhere else could it be found where a people have asserted their freedom, working and self-governing for the common good.

fireworks display: a sparkler fountain (Utah – July 04 2016)

Taking Adams’ advice, celebrate well – whether in your own backyard, at a parade, watching a fireworks display, or firing your own fireworks (where allowed). The politics of the moment can be set aside for a day.

a golden sunrise: this is America (Texas, May 2017)

To all our friends across America, and those defending her in far off lands, may you have a Happy Fourth!

Miss Egypt: Yesterday & Today

Though it has been one year, it seems like yesterday. The loss of our tabby girl has been an enormous one. Her missing presence is most noticeable, from watching her world at a window to her power nap to her taking over a chair. Noticeably missed the most is her sassy personality.

Miss Pinky probably misses Miss Egypt the most. They would start most days with a wrestling match, one Egypt would always dominate and win. It would culminate with a short chase. In other feline matters, one look from her was enough to settle it.

executive laundry assistant: making sure the towels will make it into the wash

the power nap

a perfect shady spot

Always happy, friendly, active, fun – that was her personality. Miss Egypt always wore her tabby smile. If she saw a ruler or the yardstick out, it was time to play (loved anything wood). The girls found out Egypt also developed a love for leather tack gear (pricier the better). Using a throw pillow to save a chair or your spot on the couch, Egypt would love you later for your kind thoughtfulness for the cushy napping spot. Any cubby-hole on the desk was also right for a nap. Her purr machine – easy to start, hard to turn off.

Miss Egypt has left a mighty void. The role of top cat remains unfilled, a title and position Egypt made her own.

We love and miss you very much.


Setting The Course

It is graduation day.

University of Colorado – Colorado Springs: Graduation Day, Class of 2002

Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara will be receiving their Bachelor of Science degrees, Deborah and Tara in Biology and Elizabeth in Chemistry. Instead of participating in the ceremony, it is a day of final preparations for the start of their riding season in a few days. It consists of the necessary certifications of health and vaccination by Dr. Burrell, our horse veterinarian.

Dr. Burrell conducting an oral exam while Dr. Diehl holds Brie’s tongue

It is a day of mixed emotions. There is a greater sense of excitement. It is also a recognition our daughters have taken another step forward in their personal journeys.

It is their day to be recognized and celebrated. While they have achieved much, so much lays ahead.

Counting Days

Their excitement is palpable. It flashes in their eyes. It is heard in their voices. It is in their smiles.

prepping for finals: Deborah studying to the end

With graduation days away, my daughters have been asked what they plan to do next. More school? More riding? We, the parents, have been asked too about their future plans. Our response has been whatever the girls want to do, we’ll be comfortable with their choice. The girls, too, have replied with little specificity.

They do have career ideas away from the show ring. One of the side lessons from Trish and Mark is to have those plans ready, have the education to support those plans, and have the determination to carry them through. “If there is a career-ending, riding injury to either you or your horse, you need that plan. If your talent has plateaued, you need that plan. Most of all, do what you love.” It is not much different from riding.

the meditative Elizabeth: unwinding after a Grand Prix win in SoCal (Jun 2016)

They do have plans in which they will continue with their horses. They have made the forever commitment, and will honor their word to the fullest. They are horsewomen in every sense.

The degrees they have earned – Deborah and Tara in Biology, Elizabeth in Chemistry – will take them far, whether into their chosen fields or into allied disciplines. Or, maybe something completely different.

in the laboratory: Tara, performing an enzyme experiment, for her biochem lab course (Feb 2017)

Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara, they will be whatever they want to be in every sense too.