Sunday, September 17, 2023

On Target

      Yesterday, I went riding. Other than a few minutes on a pony once or twice, I have not actually ridden in about 14 years. When I was younger, and riding often, I always thought it was weird that my mom, who loves horses and riding, hadn't been riding in such a long time, every time we did get out together. Now I understand. Adulting is stupid. Adulting gets in the way of a lot of things we may want to do. Whether it is lack of time, lack of money, or both, a lot of times things get away from us. So I have not been riding much. Some of that is Travis is usually with me. Travis loves riding, and is a pretty good rider, but he has always had a leader, or been in an arena with at least a side-walker. I don't know that he is able to follow the instructions on a trail. Even though it's basic pull this rein to go left, that rein to go right, pull back to stop, kick to go, I don't know that he would do what is needed when it is needed. Actually, I am pretty sure he would not. And I don't know that I can get any trails to do lead-line with an adult. But yesterday, Travis and Ethan hung out and I went out with my friend Brandi and her daughter Tierney.  Tierney has wanted to ride a horse for a long time. Her birthday was last week so Brandi brought her riding for a gift. And they invited me to come along. 
     We went out to Princeton, MA to a place called Cornerstone Ranch. There is at least one place closer to us, where I used to lead trails when I was a teenager, but Brandi didn't know about that one and I like trying new things. Or old things in new places. Cornerstone Ranch is a really nice place. A bit of a drive to get out there, but that just means more time to chat. The staff at the ranch was very professional, but also friendly and fun. From start to finish it was a really good experience. They don't allow cell phones on the rides, so there are no photos before, after, or during the ride. Though at the end they do take some pictures of your group, and some individual shots as well. 

     Which is how I ended up with these not so flattering photos of me and my horse, Target. There are a lot of things they do at Cornerstone that they never did at the place I used to ride. They start by asking if anyone has ridden before. They match up horses with the riders, then everyone gets on and we do some stretches (a bit of horseback yoga), they go over the basics of steering and stopping, the importance of spacing, etc. We had a bunch of first time riders in our group, and 3 of the 7 people were kids. There was a ton of mud on the trail (I have mentioned, I think, that it rains ALL THE TIME in Massachusetts these days, haven't I?) So between first time riders, deep mud, and a lot of puddles, we just did a walking trail. But it was still fun. And I still got to use riding skills. Target was described to me as the kid with ADHD and anxiety, who's a little bit derpy. Well, that's fine with me. I was warned he is a head tosser, which doesn't phase me. I told our guide that I once had a horse take off on me when I had one foot in the stirrup, head tossing is nothing. The description of Target was spot on (or right on Target...). He was distracted by itches, by flies, by the wind, by the horse in front of him, by the guide who was sometimes walking beside us. That was a very interesting thing they did. One of the wranglers walked with us on the trail, up and down the line, helping people as needed, and chatting with Brandi and I about teaching. She is a teacher too. So we swapped teacher stories and covid/hybrid/remote learning horror stories. 
     You may have noticed Target's really cool hairstyle. Well, he is even annoyed and distracted by his own forelock. Poor guy. At one point he had an itch on his shoulder, so he scratched it and tripped a bit. What a goof. He's a rescue and apparently when he first came to the ranch he was so full of anxiety about being left behind he could not be at the end of the line of horses. We were at the end and I reassured him every time I stopped him (because he would have been happy right up Lenny's butt) that we were not going to get lost, we were still with the group. I promised him he'd be OK. He seemed to believe me. 
       I had a good time riding Target, meeting and chatting with our guide Olivia, getting to ride with Brandi and Tierney. This morning I feel basically like I always do, with only some minor aches. I am surprised. Maybe all the on-the-floor yoga I have been doing has been helping me more than I knew. We have a little bit over a month of public stables riding weather left. Maybe we can go out again. I definitely need to work on spending more time with horses. It's good for my soul. 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Perspective, Proportions, and Scale.

     Last weekend I sold a variety of tack, dolls, and other hobby items. Some of that was because I have not shown in years and I don't necessarily need a whole lot of stuff hanging around I am not using. Some of my sale was because I need a new oil tank, or perhaps a furnace conversion (so potentially new furnace), I am waiting on some quotes to see which is the better option. Either of them is going to be expensive. So I sold several things to help pay for whatever my new or repaired heating source is going to be. Some of the things I sold were this English tack set, which was made to fit Newsworthy, and this 6" Yvonne type doll that fits really nicely in this saddle. I made the doll to be an adult and on my customized Stone pony she pretty much looks like an adult on a pony. 
     For reference, this is me on "my" (my friend Marisa's) pony, Bronte. I feel like this looks like an average height woman (I am 5'6") on a pony. Because it is. Whereas I feel the 6" Yvonne on the custom Stone pony makes the pony look too big to be a pony. Or maybe she is perfect and I am overthinking it. 
     Sara Bowman took these photos of the same tack set and doll on her unpainted Pocket Change resin. Pocket Change is a small traditional scale horse and the set fits just as nicely on him as on a Newsworthy, or a Stone pony. I also feel that because of the proportions of this model are horse proportions, and not pony proportions, you could mistake this for an average traditional scale model and a regular 8" Yvonne type doll. I do also understand that there are some ponies that have horse proportions so please don't come at me to educate me. 
     Now for some reason from this side I feel like this looks more like an adult woman on a pony. A big pony, to be sure, not a children's pony, but a pony. That brings us back to perspective. Something about this angle makes me see this as a pony again. If I saw documentation that said it was a pony, I would believe it. Though if there was documentation that fit and told me this was a horse I would believe that too. 
     Here we are again with Pocket Change. Even from this side this looks to me like a regular 8" Yvonne doll on an average sized resin horse. They look really great together. I can't wait to see how this all looks when Sara gets this horse painted!
     One of the hardest things performance showers face is finding things that are properly in scale. There is no exact standard for traditional scale, or any other scale. It's true that not all live horses and ponies are the same size, but the wide variety of sizes, all in the same scale, definitely make tack fitting, and getting riders of the correct size, a bit more challenging. I love how well this worked out for Sara. Some traditional pony tack fit on her small traditional resin, and the 6" Yvonne dolls work perfectly with the tack and the size of the horse. I love when things work out this way. And I really love when everything in a setup is in scale. 

Monday, September 4, 2023

The Apprentice

     Elecktra and I had plans to hang out today and I asked if she wanted to have a studio day. I do like working on things and chatting after all. She does too, so she brought over some jewelry making stuff, I grabbed my second desk chair, and we squeezed into the studio to do some work. We fit easily, but not easily at the desk. We made it work. Elecktra strung up a new necklace she has been thinking of making and I worked on a piece with a stamped leather piece Ethan gave me a while ago. While we were working I found out that Elecktra had never bent a loop into a pin. 
     So I told her to go through all my beads and choose one, go through all the charms and choose one, and I would show her how to make a pendant. Basically I was teaching her to make the more basic pieces of the jewelry I make. The stuff I started with, and the stuff that is in multiple shops. She started in, following the instructions and listening when I told her how to fix the small mistakes. Those small mistakes that happen even if you have been making jewelry for a long time. 
     In the end she had a cute little dragon pendant with rhodonite. It was also a piece that had her grinning and saying, in awe, that she made it. 
     I have said since I started making jewelry that anyone can do what I do pretty much if they know how to bend a loop in a pin. Sure, most people don't make jewelry the way I do, and I have moved on to many more elaborate styles, but I come back to the basic charms with a gemstone bead. They are fun to make, quick and easy, and people really like them. 
      One of the friends that has my jewelry in her shop said she wants me to be part of the pop-up event she is having in October. In preparation for that I ordered a new Square reader, so now I have the dip/tap option that I didn't have before, and I ordered a variety of jewelry displays to make displaying, and therefor selling, much easier. I especially like this folding metal earring display. I need to get more earrings put on them, probably get some more made, but I really like how this worked out. I may want to get a second one as well. 
    These other displays might be hard to see on the messy desk, but I also have a display that is a deer with very large antlers that then sort of look like tree branches. I thought that was a perfect way to display pendants. But it turns out I also only have 4 pendants left! I wish the necklace displays were a bit larger, it takes a bit of finessing to get things to look nice on them, but they will work, and I have 5 of them, which is good. I have more than 5 fancy necklaces but I can decide whether or not to get any more display stands. I have time before October. I may need to see if they also come in white. I have several all black necklaces that don't show up well on the black stands.
      I had a really good time having a studio day with Elecktra and teaching her some jewelry making tricks she didn't know. Hopefully she takes what she learned and expands on what she makes. It's a lot of fun trying new things. And she was excited to learn and I was excited she finally let me teach her something!

Sunday, September 3, 2023

It’s Finally Summer

      This past week we started back to school and now it's finally going to be summer. We had a bit of summer weather in June, and maybe a bit in July, but for the most part it has been a pretty mild summer. In my world that means it wasn't too hot (high 80's or over 90) or we had really low (for us) humidity. Or both. I have had my air conditioners on very little this summer. It has been glorious window weather. But that is all about to change. This week it is supposed to be all high 80s but mostly in the 90s. I am currently unclear on the expected level of humidity. This reminds me of last winter but in reverse. Last winter it was fairly mild for most of the winter, not too many days that weren't above freezing, or even well above freezing, but then right at the end we had a week or so of really frigid temperatures. I have never had seasonal depression as badly as I did this winter. I am thinking it was because it was so mild it always felt like the winter was almost over. And then, after months of that it became winter for real. And it was awful.   
     The good news is I would much rather be hot than cold. Not that I enjoy sweating for no reason, but with low(ish) humidity I can be comfortable in temperatures that a lot of people consider hot. So the fact that it is now summer, now that it's almost Fall, doesn't really bother me. Other than the fact that we do have 2 class periods outside of our air conditioned classroom and the hallways get soupy. I don't like soupy air. It is super hard for me to breathe. Today was not too bad, though there were some really humid feeling parts of the trail. But it was such a beautiful day. 
     As usual, I spent a lot of time looking at Travis's back because he prefers to walk way up ahead. So usually I am hiking kind of alone. But today, we were with my friend Jaime. Jaime likes to stop and look at cool stuff, like this really cool caterpillar. And not only that but Jaime is a photographer. The photo she got of this little guy was amazing!
    And look at the dedication to her art! She said normally she would have laid down flat on the ground but it seemed odd because we were there too. I told her about model horse photographers and what they do for their art. Then I told her the story of Little Elecktra's travels and some of the really cool photos people got of her. I love when people are into their art!
    Here's another great shot of Travis walking way ahead of us. We were hiking at one of the more remote gates to Quabbin reservoir. Which means sooner or later we were going to get an excellent view of the water. Travis got there first. 
    He is so tall that it is hard to get him in a selfie with me without him having to squint. That and the fact that he doesn't seem to like sunglasses (except the rollup ones from the eye doctor) means we get a lot of selfies like this on nice days. 
     Jaime and I are of a much similar height so this one was a lot easier to get. 
     There was someone else's art next to the water. I know that rock stacking is controversial, but I wonder if it is only frowned upon when it is in streams. Next to the water it doesn't seem that it will disrupt anything. But I could be wrong I guess. I do know that someone took the time, and patience, to stack these rocks. 
       I managed to get Travis to turn around so I could get a proper picture. I don't blame him for wanting to check out this amazing view! Quabbin is a really gorgeous place to hike, and this is a great spot to stop and enjoy the view. 
     I forgot to turn on Strava, and I wasn't wearing my Fitbit, so I am not entirely sure how far we hiked today. Jaime isn't positive either, but thinks it's about 6 miles the way we went. I know that I was fine, my ankle was fine, and then when we got back to Jaime's house my body had all stiffened up and getting out of the car was a challenge. But when I got home I decided since I was already sweaty and gross I would mow the lawn. It took me 12 minutes, lol! I guess that happens when you have a small lawn and don't let it go until it's too long. I might just be able to talk myself into mowing it more often with that information. And it's not like I will need to do it many more times before I won't need to do it again for the year. That's something. 

     So today was a really excellent day. I had a really great hike, in a really beautiful place, with a good friend. We talked about school (I know her from school, but she is at LHS now and I am still at Baird) and the kids we worked with together. I told her some stories from my first week and she told me some of her first week stories. Travis had a great time and even remembered Jaime's name without me having to tell him several times. He must really like her. Which makes sense, Jaime is a very likeable person. I'm glad to know we will stay friends even though we no longer work together. 

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Saturday Sale

     This week was the first week of school and it was great, but I am tired. We are getting to know the kids, and that will take some time. There will be some struggles while everyone adjusts. 4 of our students are new to middle school and they have to adjust to the fact that they are no longer in elementary school. The things that are expected of them will be more. But so far we are doing well. 
     Yesterday Travis got sent home from Sunshine Village. They said he was coughing (I heard one cough in 4 hours yesterday afternoon) and that he was extremely tired and needed to go for a covid test. So Ethan picked him up and they hung out until I got out of work. Then Travis and I went to urgent care. He does not have covid, he has an old fashioned upper respiratory infection. Today he already sounds about 50% better (I could hear congestion in his voice when he said anything to me yesterday afternoon). So we have a nice long weekend, and an extra day off Tuesday since Sunshine Village jumped the gun and cancelled Travis's transportation for Tuesday. 
     I have the problem of Travis being scared of the pulse oximeter. A nurse traumatized him years ago. She went to do a finger poke, he resisted, then she said she could get the info she needed with the pulse oximeter... but then Travis decided it would also hurt, and now he is afraid of them. I tried really hard to talk him into it yesterday, showed him again that it doesn't hurt, showed him how to use it, had him poke the end of it, but that was as far as we got. He won't put his finger in it. I am thinking of buying one. Maybe if he plays with it all the time he will decide to try it, see it doesn't hurt, and be OK with it. I am also open to any ideas from people on how to get him to try it. I will not force him, it needs to be his idea to put his finger in there. 
     So it's Saturday, and the last decent weather day for a week (gonna be HOT for the next 7 days), so of course I decided that means it was time to take sales photos and list things for sale. I need to buy a new oil tank and I would be more comfortable doing that if I had some more money coming in. And since I have not shown since 2019 I decided I could let some more tack go. And then I found a bunch of other things as well. Everything is listed on MH$P here, with lots of photos. Please send inquiries to Happy Saturday!