Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple
Originally uploaded by WalkTrotCanter.

We had a lovely day for the pet Halloween party. AND, we remain the champs! YEA...Mommy really IS Martha Stewart! Mr. P and Missy won the "Cutest Small Dog" category. We came home with a basket of dog toys and treats for our prize. I think that calls for celebration...what's a wedding without a drunken member of the wedding party...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Nothing But Net

I don’t know about people sometimes. They really amaze me as to how narrow-minded they can be. I hate to sound like an old fogie but it has scared me on more than one occasion what little attention some folks pay to things outside their little bubble of a world. I am hardly one who travels the globe but I do make an attempt to learn about what is happening in the world. Heck, if you just turn on public radio for a week you can get caught up on what’s going on as far as all things political…and it is explained in neat, understandable little packages. The world is wacky enough so it scares me when, for example, a couple of weeks ago, a person well into voting age (who by the way expressed his unwavering support of a certain Republican President last November) asked me who Condoleezza Rice was. I guess maybe is just isn’t that important to know the key players who represent the United States to the rest of the world. It is, in this guy’s case, much more interesting and important to know every detail about his Sony Hi-Definition Plasma TV with Surround Sound he purchased at Best Buy. Anyway, I digress…what I am getting at in my many words is that I often wonder where people are and what the hell they are thinking that makes them do the things they do. Here is an example that came up last night. It is kind of a funny visual but a bit disturbing at the same time:

H, in the little time he takes to tear himself away from all things work related, volunteers at a local shelter for abused women. Many of the women who end up there have kids and H helps the kids with homework, plays games, reads, etc. while their mothers are busy getting counseling and trying to make their lives better. He loves kids so this is the perfect way for him to help out while doing something he really enjoys. It is also good for the kids because they are getting a positive male role model in their sometimes very messed-up lives.

Last night, upon his return from the shelter, H told me about a new guy at the shelter who is supposed to be a Child Advocate. This means he is there to make sure the children, who have often been abused themselves, are put on some path of recovery depending on what has gone in their lives. H’s description of the new guy was, “just out of college, thinks he knows everything, and wears those baggy pants that show his butt crack”. (H spares no words.) H said that last night, he and the kids were playing basketball when *new guy* said he would play too. The kids were all under 10 years old and H had been playing so that each one got to have the ball and take a shot. H was acting like he was working really hard and the kids were enjoying the fact that they were winning…everyone was all smiles. Apparently, *New guy* joined in and started playing like it was the NBA. He was taking jump shots and running over kids to “get to the net”. Instead of giving the kids a playful confidence builder, this *Child Advocate* was becoming the star player. It was all about HIM! H said he even made the last shot, a slam-dunk into the child-sized net. Fun times, I am sure, for these kids who have, in the past few days, seen their father beat the crap out of their mom, had to leave their home with the clothes on their backs, and had to live in a shelter so their mom can figure out what to do so they will be safe. It sounded a little like a skit on Saturday Night Live…which I’ll bet this *Child Advocate”* watches. On a High Definition Sony with Surround Sound.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here are 2 examples...last year's Halloween costumes and, of course, the Santa visit. They are way too patient with me. Wait til you see the Bride and Groom...I'll post pictures on the big day!


Originally uploaded by WalkTrotCanter.


Originally uploaded by WalkTrotCanter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I am sick of the sick

You won't get the title if you are not a follower of the walktrotcanter saga circa 2005...anyway, I stayed home from work today. A *sick day* if you will. I am actually fighting a touch of flu...sore throat, slight fever, earache...all things that point to "You had better stay home and better yet, DRINK, WOMAN". So I stayed home, lounged on the sofa, and ever the radical, had beer with lunch. I think they call this a Mental Health Day.

My staying home threw the poodles completely out of whack. Their usual "Mom's home for lunch pee" ended up as several lame whines at the door but when the door was opened they didn't know if they should go out to pee because it wasn't time. My poor dogs...they are such creatures of habit. They don't have a clue what they should be doing when I am home during the day. They are wonderful, tho. Anyway, the most important thing I did today was to make Halloween costumes for the *Big Party* which will take place on Saturday.

Last year at this time, while I was lounging around the Motel 6 trying to get a life, I read about this store here in town that was having a Halloween party. Prizes would be given to the best costume, there were refreshments to be served, the whole shebang. "Ah HA!" I thought..."I may be living in this complete shithole but I am clever with Superglue and felt, dammit!" ...and I was off to the craft store for supplies. Supplies, that is, to make costumes for my poodles. Oh yes, the pet store downtown was having a Halloween party for dogs...and may the best pooch win! Hey,when you live for a year in the Motel 6 and at the same time you own poodles (2 of them at that!), you have got to be completely out of your mind. Indeed, I was. And still am.

Last year, I ended up making a very clever *tandem* costume for Missy and Mr. P. Since Mr. P is kind of big and roly poly for his poodle body and is also black, I rigged up exhaust pipes (foil covered toilet paper rolls), handlebars (foil covered paper towel roll), a felt seat with hot red rivets (felt and rivits) and made him a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Missy, the dainty white poodle, was outfitted in a Harley denim vest, goggles, and she was the motorcycle chick. They were the very vision of Easy Rider. It was a complete success...not only did we get the free refreshments, we won the GRAND PRIZE (!!!!!!) which was a gift certificate to the pet shop. (This is a pet shop on-par with where Paris Hilton would shop for her dog only on a small-town scale. Nonetheless, an expensive place.) YEA!

Now, as the returning champions, Mr. P and Missy will arrive at the party as a bride and a groom...ok, I know it seems a bit incestuous but they are not related. Mr. P. has a tux with tails (black felt) and a white collar (white statin ribbon sewn to the felt). His bowtie is black and pink with sparkles. He has a dapper pink flower pinned to his coat and I am going to grease his hair down so he has a part in it like a guy all dressed to the nines. It is fabulous! Missy, also known as Bridezilla because of her reluctance to stand still to be fitted, will don a silk dress with pink and white toule that trails behind her (lots of zig-zag on the sewing maching!). Her veil is a crown (pipe cleaner) of fake flowers (wired to the pipe cleaner) with a matching pink ribbon. I even stitched up a little garter that will fit on her front is the paw she raises when she shakes hands so she can really show it off. The happy couple looks fantastic when they sit and stay. I say, break a leg, guys...we must repeat our win of the GRAND PRIZE!!!!

I guess Friday night will be Mr. P's bachelor party at the strip club and Missy's *personal* shower...

I really scare myself sometimes...LOL

Monday, October 24, 2005

I think the Journey scares me

Remember being a kid? Of course you remember being a kid…but I mean do you remember being so caught up in fun and play that you rarely hesitated in doing something just because you were scared? If you were anything like me you sailed along doing all things precarious just to push the limits-only to be kind of surprised when someone of authority stopped you and pointed out the extreme danger in what you were doing. It was like constant Fear Factor beginning at about age 3. I remember leaping over fences, leaping off of swings, leaping off jumps on my skateboard, and leaping off my bike in the contest of who was the best stuntkid in the neighborhood. Really daring...or really stupid, I guess that was me.

Anyway, I guess I am wondering where the hell that went? When did the sense of fear begin to weasel its way into my head?

On Saturday, I went to visit Journey again. Journey is the horse I am considering as a major first-horse-ever purchase. I am so excited this is actually a consideration!!! I arrived at the *weekend home* of the sellers early enough so I had time to go out to the pasture to get the horse. It was very enjoyable and my Journey was a complete peach as I groomed him and talked with him and saddled him up with my very own see if it fit. It did. I guess I mean It will...when he loses about 100 lbs. (He is a bit out of shape.) So, there was Journey all saddled up and ready for action. That was when I got scared. Like, really scared and chicken and full of fear. I looked all around to find that 6-year old daredevil for some encouragement and she was no where to be found. THAT BITCH!

The Instructor arrived as I was lunging Journey in a circle...just trying to look cool while me and myself argued about how to get on to ride. Instructor got on and rode a rather rusty Journey...he (the horse) has not been ridden for over a year (hence how fat he is!) and also has a really bad habit of tossing his head. It is a bad habit because someone like me thinks the head toss will graduate to a full bucking rearing dance that will toss me the length of the arena. It makes me scared. The head tossing, from all expert accounts, is just a bad habit that doesn't go any further than tossing the head. This in mind, I mounted the horse and walked and trotted around just fine. As we trotted, I began to feel *the scare*. The scare that makes me want to hop off that beautiful horse and walk away and curl up and cry; thus, giving up my olympic riding career...and that has made me nutsy. How will I ever be able to try out a new horse if I get *the scare*? I am truely in a quandry as to what to do. The Instructor and I have discussed how, with a bit of work, Journey will cease to toss the head...this is a correctable thing! I am just not sure if I want to do the work? Argh. How long have I wanted a horse?

I think I will write a little note to that 6 year old girl and tell her to put down her flying skateboard and get her young and fearless little ass over here to give me a pep talk.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Journey has begun

A few weeks ago, my riding instructor told me about a horse that is for sale that would be, in his words, THE PERFECT HORSE FOR YOU. I hate when he says that because of, well, the whole timing issue. H & I had talked about the GettingAHorseProject…but since we only moved into the house a month or so ago I was trying not to leap into it too soon. (What’s the rush? I am only 40 and have been wanting a horse for, oh, about 39 ½ years or so.) It is one thing to move into the house and another to have things like bathroom mirrors (which we still don’t have and you don’t even want to picture me having to put on makeup at the full length mirror located in H’s closet. – long story) or towel bars (which we also don’t have yet so we hang our bath towels on the crank thingies on the windows). Seriously, I was trying not to rush the whole horse thing which is a stretch for the likes of me and my mindset the past year. A+ for attitude.

Anyway, The Instructor starts telling me about this horse a few weeks ago. He is a Quarter Horse gelding named, appropriately, Journey. I told H about him and to my shock and amazement he agreed we should look at him. On Saturday, we went with The Instructor to the *weekend home* of a rather prominent Chicago family. The *weekend home* happens to have a stable with an indoor riding arena. The three daughters of the rather prominent Chicago family like to ride on the weekends. I hate them. It seems that the three daughters have one too many horses and so they are selling Journey. I so hate them. As my luck has it, he does seem to be THE PERFECT HORSE FOR ME…he is not too huge, is very sweet and affectionate, and with some work could be a super nice ride. He has not been ridden much at all in the past year so when I got on him, The Instructor walked beside me – Just in case the poor horse forgot anything he knew and decided to take me on a rodeo ride. He was super-comfy…even at the slow trot. The problem, aside from the minor hurdle of finances at the moment, is that he needs to be worked so that he remembers all of his walking/trotting/cantering/behaving stuff. When a horse is not worked on a regular basis he gets lazy and out of shape…much like humans only at 1500 lbs. He would be a bit of a project; however, The Instructor is quite sure it would be the best thing for me as far as learning and bonding… and I would end up with a gem of a horse. What’s a girl to do?

To add to the decision making pot, the prominent Chicago father of the three daughters has agreed, if I buy Journey, to pay for 5 mos. board at a barn with an indoor arena so I will be able to work him. Why? Because they want him to go to a good home and they don’t just want to sell him and not know he will be happy. Geez, I really hate them. They must know I am a sucker for happy healthy animals. What to do???

H & I agreed I will ride Journey again on Saturday, in my own saddle to see how he is a second time. This is driving me nuts with anticipation, excitement, and a little bit of fear…you know how you should be careful what you wish for? I think I am doing just that. Stay tuned :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

For Martha it would be Real Simple

Since I am now residing the sparkly new house in the sparkly new kitchen with all sparkly new appliances, I am suddenly feeling pressure to cook nice meals. I have always been a decent cook; however, I am thinking I’ll have to be a bit more creative now that I seem to have every new and innovative device available to today’s modern wife. Don’t get me wrong, it is my own doing…H really is not a picky guy as far as food. It is just that when we were residing at the Motel 6 and I saw a recipe that looked good but was a bit involved as far as preparation, I could say to myself, “no way would I be able to make that Fassone Beef Tartar with Artichokes and Wood Perfumes in this dinky excuse for a kitchen…Impossible!” Now, if I see a recipe that makes me drool, I have nothing to say. Making the Fassone Beef Tartar with Artichokes and Wood Perfumes could be a process that takes an entire day and I have absolutely no reason not to rip that recipe out of Food and Wine and whip it up MarthaStyle with this new kitchen and all. It is real pressure I tell you!

The other day, I was reading a magazine called Real Simple. A free issue I received had some delicious-looking recipes that were *supposed* to be easy/after work-type meals. I most often like to cook from scratch as the sodium content in prepared/frozen foods is enough to make me bloat so bad my pants don’t fit for weeks. Serious sodium bloatation. Like many working stiffs, however, I do not usually have the time or the energy to dive into something such as Fassone Beef Tartar with Artichokes and Wood Perfumes after a grueling 8+ hour day at the office. The Real Simple recipes were just that. Real Simple while being Real Healthy as well! YEA! I trooped off to the grocery store last week to stock up on all of the recipe essentials. Unfortunately, it was one of those days at the store where, at 5 pm on a Friday evening, every parent in Northwest Indiana decided to pack up all of the kids, take them to the grocery store, and proceed to let them scream at the tops of their lungs. Oh ya, and they also took the older kids off their leashes so they were running thru the aisles in a manner that had me bobbing and weaving for my various food items. Do they just KNOW I am going to be there or something? Am I some sort of attraction device for hyperactive, unsupervised toddlers?? Damn shoppers with kids…maybe the recipes were supposed to be Real Simple but the shopping was Real Crazy.

After making a delicious Salmon With Roasted Onion and Fennel on Tuesday, last evening was the big night to prepare Chicken Souvlaki. I rushed home from work, chopped, diced, marinated, sautéed, and mixed. The lovely aromas of herbed chicken and fresh vegetables wafted about the kitchen. I hummed happily, the very picture of Martha herself. H arrived home and I gushed about the lavish temptations that awaited his palate. I reached into the fridge for the fresh yogurt dill sauce (the crown jewel of the entire dish made with fresh PLAIN yogurt). For some reason, my eye caught the words on the yogurt container from which had come the yogurt for the yogurt dill sauce. “Low Fat VANILLA Yogurt”. Yuck. Chicken Souvlaki with VANILLA yogurt? That would absolutely be grounds for me getting fired on The Apprentice.

H: “Why are you standing in the fridge"
WTC: “No reason, just getting things ready for this sweet meal ahead!”

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Today it's MY Birthday! blog's, that is! A few things about my blogging:

It’s an addiction.

It got me laughing during my darkest moments at the Motel 6.

I have met some truly interesting and fun people. I feel like I know children, husbands, friends, and boyfriends (real and imaginary). It is way better than watching TV!

It has helped curb my ebay buying because I spend more time reading than I do shopping.

Like a few others, I see the crummier moments in life in a new light. H cringes when I say, “Oh, you are so getting blogged!”

I have a whole new attitude towards soy.

I was so scared to “come out” from semi-lurker to blogger!

I only did it because Stacy asked where I was in one of her posts.

I began the whole thing by reading PlanetDan’s post about senior pictures. (It was forwarded to me by a friend who said I could probably relate)

Thanks, Dan!

It has been a whole year and the Motel 6 posts are over! YEA!

It doesn’t mean the house is completely finished so don’t think the sarcasm will end.

I am still a lurker on certain blogs.

But I read my favorites every day!

I think it would be fun to meet some of the people in person.

But they don’t even know my real name.

Happy Birthday's to another year!


Monday, October 10, 2005

I believe I may have arrived.

Be warned that there exists, as you grow older, a point in time when a certain role-reversal takes place. It doesn’t always have a defining moment; in fact, from what I can tell it kind of creeps up on you and suddenly you realize it’s there. Not only is it there, it often requires immediate attention and/or action. It is, of course, the moment you realize you are starting to parent your parent. As in, “Mom, stop crying. I’ll thread the needle for you…No,no, you are not going blind…the thing is really small. Look, even I can’t see it!” Those small moments, where, in the matter of minutes, you begin to do the comforting, problem solving and emotional supporting of the person or people in your life who you thought were absolutely perfect. I mean, they taught you not to swear or pass gas in public, laugh and make fun of others (ok, some of us are still working on that one), cook and do laundry and bathe on a regular basis…they pretty much, except for the odd genetic flaw, made you YOU. All of the sudden, you notice your dad burps at odd times and your mother calls to ask you what she should do because the pharmacy messed up again and she’s so mad but didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to make a scene and you suddenly find yourself telling your dad to stop it, that’s gross and telling your mom you will phone the pharmacy and give them hell. I think I have definately arrived. In ParentTheParentVille.

It has been a few months since my mother had her heart attack. Since then, she has graduated from cardiac rehab, maintained a daily exercise program, revamped the food supply to all things heart-healthy, and has generally done everything she is supposed to do on the path to good health. Despite her good intentions and the support of her family, she is extremely fearful of something going wrong again. I have noticed it in phone calls and conversations…she got dealt a nasty blow and, in many ways, is still on the mend. I was, in fact, getting to the point where I was trying to figure out how to suggest maybe she see a counselor; however, my parents are extremely private people. You don't discuss finances or personal difficulties...they will just work out in time, dammit. (If only they knew about the place called BlogLand where one can rant like a raving lunatic to everyone in the entire world who has an internet connection and everyone can not only read life’s juicy details, they can even make comments if they wish.) Even suggesting my mother “talk to someone” is about as likely as me giving up my evening cocktail. Not gonna happen. Last week, I got a phone call that went something like this:

Mom: As part of my volunteer group, I am taking a training class to assist people who have lost a loved one. I am supposed to help put them in the right direction in case they need help.
WTC: Good! You will be really good at that.
Mom: Wellllll, not really.
WTC: How come? You are good with people and you know practically everyone in town.
Mom: Well, (here came the tears) we were doing a role-playing exercise and I was playing the part of the bereaved person.
WTC: Yeah?
Mom: (sniff) I was doing my thing and all of the sudden I started just sobbing. WTC, I was SOBBING! (Is actually sobbing by this point in the conversation)
WTC: Hmmmmmm…what did the other people do?
Mom: The woman in charge took me aside and said she didn’t think it was really time for me to be doing this…that maybe I am just not ready to be counseling sad people.

It turns out this lady happens to be (as luck would have it) a professional counselor who has now offered to “meet” with Mom. My mom explained to me how wonderfully nice this woman is and how it will probably be so good to talk with a professional who will understand what she is feeling and help her get past whatever is going-on. She was practically gushing with relief.

WTC: That sounds great, Mom…It’ll probably do wonders for you.
Mom: Well, you know, it isn't like there's anything WRONG. And of course I am not going to say anything PERSONAL to her.

WTC: Right. Just give her the cliffs notes and you’ll be cured.

Be warned...just think, one day you may be here, too. I'll be sure the bar is stocked when you arrive.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

WELL? What are we going to do?

Now that we are moved, we are going thru the "making the place ours" thing. It is kind of difficult to know where to begin when it's a new house since the place has no real personality yet. There isn't much to work from as in an older place. In a house that has been lived-in, you can say, "I think I'll trim those bushes back so we can see the basement window", or "These Brady Bunch curtains must go." In a new house, you say, "MY GOD, WE ARE COMPLETELY EXPOSED...WE NEED BUSHES!" ...and if you are me, you cover the windows with sheets, open a beer, and admire your work. I have, with the fine example of Mandy, switched into MarthaMode. What with her bathroom remodel AND scrapbooking I was feeling somewhat lamoid in my skills. In retaliation, this past weekend I bought fabric and stiched up some lovely silk curtains for a few of the key viewing areas. You know, the windows that you have to duck to walk by in case the 16-yr old neighbor boy happens to be out in his yard looking in. ahem.

The biggest dilemma I have found in making this place a true homestead, however, is the proper decoration for the well head that is sticking out of the ground in the middle of the yard. Ours looks like a white pvc pipe with lots of weeds around it right now. At one point in the construction phase, H put some orange flag material on a pole next to the well head so it wouldn't get hit with any construction machinery. The little flag looks as if it has seen some heavy artillary at this point. Our little battlefield theme was just fine with me until I took a tour of the neighborhood. My findings were not good. No one in this land of PerfectLawndom has anything remotely similar. Apparently, I was wrong to think this might be perfectly acceptable. How trailer trash of me. Instead, I discovered, we are supposed-to have a thought-out theme happening with the well head and its immediate surroundings. I so fit in here!

Take for instance, Neighbor #1: This is the couple at the end of the road with a really pretty little girl, the wife that H lusts after, and the husband who looks like he has not quite evolved completely from his caveman ancestors. They have a lovely garden theme happening in their yard. The well head is, I discovered on my tour de neighborhood, cleverly hidden under one of those big fake rocks you can get at Menards. Ah ha! Very creative! Neighbor #2 went for more of the Billy Goat's Gruff theme. A perky little footbridge arches over the unsightly well head. A wooden cutout of a little girl is set up to stand on the bridge as if she is gazing over the lush yard. I also noted a scary wooden black cat that was recently added to the bridge as a Halloween decoration. ("H, get your ass's time to put the Halloween decorations on the well head!") Neighbor #3 is probably my favorite in that he is working more along my lines as far as creativity. He topped his well head with a whimsical wishing well. This little whimsical wishing well is the only landscaping for this entire location. ("Hey look, I can save wads of cash on plants if I just put this wishing well here. It covers the unsightly well head AND works as enchanting decor! It pretty much takes care of the whole yard!") Brilliant.

Unfortunately for H, I began coming up with ideas for our yard post-PerfectLawndom tour. Battlefield was just not going to cut it, however he didn't exactly go nuts over my
Jimmy Buffet theme. Or the one with water-action. If this keeps up, I may just throw a sheet over the thing and call it good. Did I happen to mention how much I have enjoyed this moving business?