Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nello Hits the Ground Walking

Nello, our new horse, is settling in to his new home, a stable near halfway between my work and my house.  This is his fan club - my son James and two of his best buddies.

We are doing what you call "ground work"; Nello and I are getting to know each other before I even climb aboard.  For instance, he is getting to know that I spend much of every hour looking for my keys/cell phone/ATM card in my coat pockets, and I am learning that he loves banana treats.  I am getting to know that he is not thrilled with walking through water puddles, and he is getting to know that I can re-cap reality show results to other humans in a manner that is very succinct and yet keeps the dramatic elements intact.  We both are hypnotized by rain.

I spend a fair amount of time standing in his stall pinching myself and thinking, "Do I really have a horse?"  If there were a thought-bubble over Nello's head, it would read, "...does this gal do anything else besides stand in my stall and text people pictures of my head?"

This ground work is important; it eases us into each other, and sets our pecking order, me being the boss(hopefully). We walk around the farm side by side, both of us looking around; we're both new.  It is a quiet, steady time that I am really enjoying.  It's hard to leave him behind when I go home.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There's Always Room for Nello!

Well, my last post was all about slippers, so maybe I scared myself, because I went out and bought myself a horse!  Meet Nello!

Okay, so it went like this: I love horses, and I always have.  I rode as a kid; my parents lovingly leased me an Arabian mare named Joy; a journey in mis-matched horse/human love between a 12 year old girl and an unbroken (un-trained) Arabian that mainly consisted of me staring longingly over the fence at her as she galloped appealingly in the pasture.

My next effort was riding in exchange for stable chores when my first two boys were young; I rode a Thoroughbred named Fergie and was trained by the Iraqi Equestrian Olympian coach (her owner) as my two little boys stared at us from the fence. I came home smelly, exhausted, and happy. That ended when we moved out of state.  Good-bye, Fergie.

Next on the Deirdre-longs-for-horse-time tour: Last year,I leased a huge draft horse from a young Russian woman (the horse understood Russian perfectly, I kept saying "Da, Da" to him when he did something good) and was terrified the whole time I was aboard.  This horse was simply too big, (the tips of his ears hit the stable ceiling) and I spent all my time mentally composing my will and imagining my funeral as we "enjoyed" our rides in the woods.  I decided my life should not end in the woods of Western MA. Goodbye, comrade.

Now...to Nello.  I have been tired - mentally and physically.  I have been working hard at my job, running our house, and doing all that is involved in modern parenting - field trips, baseball/hockey games, making sure homework is done, providing good meals (ok, that last one is a stretch.)  One day I said to myself, I am going to go on the internet and look at horses for sale.  This is kind of like looking at bathing suits on line; are you really going to get that perfect fit?  Well, I ended up driving up to New Hampshire to look at a horse named Shadow - who once we met, was clearly not for me.  Shadow's owner scratched his head.  "I do have another horse maybe you'd like to take a look at - he's older, and hasn't been used for much worth a darn since I've had him, but he's a nice enough fellow - loves kids."  Well, that sounded like me!  (He even has a little arthritis; we have even more in common than I thought!)

So, I rode him for half an hour, and heaven opened up, and angels wept, and before I knew it I had my checkbook out and just bought this guy.  (He was at a bargain-basement price, mind you.) The whole way home I practiced explaining my new purchase to my husband in my rearview mirror.

I changed his name on the way back from picking him up; as he stood patiently in his trailer on the way to Massachusetts I decided to change his name from Kato (wasn't that the name of the guy who rented a room from OJ Simpson?) to Nello - a family name.  Nello was my grandfather Waldo's twin brother, who died in the early 1920's in his early twenties from an appendicitis attack, and left behind for generations to come a sketch of a horse he once did; family members say he loved to draw. Much else about him has remained unknown through the passage of time and his early passing.

So, it has happened; a childhood wish has come true.  In the right way, and at the right time, with (finally) the right horse.  Hallelujah, and God bless the man who sold him to me.

It's time to ride off into the sunset now...I'll be back to blog some more soon!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Am I Slipping???

I was just finishing packing up to leave my folks' Maryland home and head for the airport, and I was chatting with my sister, who was standing watching me struggle with the zipper on my bag.  I was absolutely extolling the virtues of a pair of slippers I purchased back home in Boston (and was now cramming into the outside pocket of my bag.)  I was saying "...you wouldn't believe how comfy these are, Carole; I have been looking and looking for a pair with this type of arch support, but yet still had some flair..."

Suddenly, it was like I was outside of my body, floating around, looking and listening in both disbelief, and total clarity.  I have reached the age where I am enthusiastic - nay - excited - about slippers.  "Looking and looking?"  "Arch support, but still has flair?"  Were these words spoken by me? 

What is next, pray tell - sweatshirts with fuzzy cats on them, or coupons for the Early-Bird at Appleby's?

And yet, this is life.  We do change, and grow (which way, up or down, is a matter of opinion) and get a little older and well...into our slippers. Footwear is important, and I'm not going to apologize for that.  :-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fly Away Flyers...

Okay, I was not going to post anything today - celebrating having the MOST AWESOME fighting force in the world ( I will note that some are making a big deal of the manner of Bin Laden's sea burial; that it is not within Muslim "custom" to have a sea burial unless the person dies at sea.  I would like to note that it is not a Christian/American "custom" to be blown up at your desk while working; no one seemed to mind that breach of protocol. Please - give us a big fat break.)

Anyhoo, I just logged in to note down, for my own sanity, one thing.  I cannot stand the Flyers.  I cannot wait for the Bruins to mop them up so we can move on.  The Kenny-G-like dude drives me crazy, and they have more than their share of dirty players.  GO BRUINS!!!  My player is Ryder; I love to watch him play!  And Bergeron too. :-)  Power line for Bruins is Campbell, Paille, and Thornton.