Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ridin' Dirty

I know a while back I posted about my lack of New Year's resolutions for 2007. Not exactly, 100% true. In fact, I did kind of have one, but like I said in my recent post, I prefer not to set my self up for failure by admitting to it. To tell people about it and then never do it is just embarrassing. Much safer to keep it in my head, that way, if I fail, at least I'm the only one who knows what a lazy ass I've been.

My point?

I did have a little resolution stored in the depths of my brain this year. It was to resurrect an old hobby, to get back in the saddle, quite literally, and pursue a lifelong dream. Yep, I wanted to take horseback riding lessons.

I rode English style for a while as a kid and developed a life-long addiction to all things horse. I love their smell, the feel of their velvety lips as they rub against the palm of your hand, searching for a carrot or a bunch of hay. I love the sound they make when they try to blow flies away from their glorious eyes. The clop, clop, clop of a giant police horse when it rides past my street on it's way back to the stables at the CNE is enough to make my heart well-up with urge to run over and touch it, smell it, but most of all, ride it.

Year after year I drag Crown with me to the Royal Winter Fair, just so I can spend some time wandering the stables, smelling the horses and watching the show riders trot around the ring. I could sit there for hours, but with Crown in tow a few minutes is more common.

Don't even get me started on the number of times I've begged Crown to go riding with me when we go down south. Ever the good sport, he's climbed up on more than his fair share of flea-bitten, sway-backed animals and suffered through a hot mountain ride just to make me happy. Will have to try to scan a picture soon so you can all see what he looks like, feet barely off the ground, pained look on his face as he bounces in the no-so-ergonomically correct saddles of the south.

Is the love of horses really a girl thing? There is the obvious sexual innuendos involved, but that doesn't really explain little girls and their desire to get a pony for Christmas. Or does it? What would Freud say?

There's the cowboy thing, and yes, I love them, too. I'll dream up a good ol' fashioned cowboy fantasy over the more trendy movie-star or rags-to-riches-big-city-business-man thing any day. Something about a darkly tanned man with a few strands of sun bleached hair peeking out of his Stetson, brushing off a dusty pair of jeans well-worked-in jeans, as he dismounts from a big sweaty horse. Mmmm....

But I digress. Not too many cowboys when you ride English-style. Think Prince Charles. Essentially the opposite of hot cowboy, right? This is definitely NOT what's drawing me back into the saddle.

Maybe I come by it naturally. Moms is also an avid horse lover, and rode for years in her teens/early 20s. Sadly, she was thrown while jumping and destroyed her leg so badly that she never went back to her lessons. It's been her dream (and secretly mine as well) to own a little hobby farm one day with a few horses, spending time each day training, grooming and riding. Heaven.

How ever it is that I came by my passion, the point is, it is a passion. And it is time to stop sitting around with a tiny dream in the back of my head and to do something about it. Until now it's not been an easy dream to pursue. Most riding stables are located a considerable distance outside of the city. To get there every week would be a major challenge. Plus, it is not the cheapest hobby in the world.

Luckily, a few years ago, a riding school opened mere minutes away from me, The Riding Academy at the Horse Palace. It's still a pretty-penny, but I'm justifying the extravagance by telling myself that you really should not put a price on your dreams. I'm in a pretty good place financially and I figure, if I can afford to pay for gym memberships, yoga classes, random shopping sprees, movies, nights out at the bar, well, then I can afford to pursue this dream.

Other justifications include the superb work-out riding provides. You should be able to bounce a quarter off my ass in no time, and we all know how I love a big strong ass. Heh. Also, while the men may not be much to write home about, the women in full formal dress, with the jodhpurs and the tall leather boots? Hot. And who doesn't love a hobby that comes paired with a great outfit?

So I'm doing it. I have registered for the 8-week Adult Introductory course, it's a prerequisite to the regular group classes because in order to take those you have to pass a riding exam and be able to tack and groom the horse yourself. Considering I have not ridden English or tacked a horse since I was about 12, I'm pretty sure I'm going to require the refresher.

My first lesson was supposed to be happening right now; unfortunately, due to a last minute cancellation there were not enough students to keep the Sunday course on the schedule. Instead I've transferred to Thursday evenings and my first class will be February 8th. I'm hoping that there will be enough riders interested to keep that class on the board. If you are out there and share my dream? Call today and sign up! There is no time like the present.

I'll keep you posted on my lessons and the condition of my ass (which I'm sure will be so sore for the first while that I'll be spending a lot of time standing up).

Giddy up!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

That's What Friends Are For

I know that Dings is a soul-sister because there really aren't many other people on earth that get this face (see photo) when surrounded by drinking, gambling and sin. I promise that if someone would have caught a picture of moi at the exact same moment, I would have had the exact same look on my face. This is one of my very favourite images from my wedding. And this is one of my very favourite people on the planet.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl. I love you.

Next year... Vegas?

Friday, January 12, 2007

All Is Quiet on New Year's Day

Let me tell you something. It was quiet on New Year's Day this year... and for about three days after that. Mostly because I was so hung over that noise of any kind was considerably painful to bear. That might be an exaggeration, but not much of one. So, I'm sorry for being such a shitty blogger, but here's the thing, my 2007 has definitely not started out the way most of us resolve to kick off a fresh New Year.

For starters, this year, I didn't make any resolutions.

Well, okay, that's not exactly true, I did make one. It goes like this:

"This year I resolve not make any resolutions because I am tired of setting myself up for the bitter disappointment that comes with the inevitable failure of not sticking to the bloody things."

And it's a good thing too! I've already failed at all the "usual" resolutions anyway. Smoking, drinking, illicit substances, fast-food, swearing, gossiping, slothenliness... 12 days in and I've done'em all. Some of them I failed mere hours into our brand-new year. 2007 definitely will not be the year that I take the moral high-ground and/or clean living road into personal improvementville.

Of course there's always the classic, "lose 10 lbs" resolution. Nah, fuck it. While I am smack in the middle of my New Year's starvation cleanse (no sugar, no fruit, no carbs, no booze, no fun), I didn't actually start it until last weekend and I'm already doing a half-assed job, having indulged in an illegal bagel and two stiff vodka sodas. I also don't have a weight goal and haven't been on the scale in months, so while I'm pretty sure I've drained at least a few litres of bloat out of the ol' system already, I don't have any great expectations on the weight control front.

I think last year I promised to "make more of an effort to spend quality time with close friends." Bah. Failure. Too subjective anyway. I mean what exactly does "more quality time" mean? Busy lives, full time jobs, kids, husbands, really good TV shows, all of it gets in the bloody way.

OH on that note! I do have incredibly exciting news to help kick off the year! Dings! Is! Moving! Home! Home, as in packing up and jetting the fickity fack out of Vancouver and planting her ass and her family firmly back in the TDot's Wessssside. Hallelujah and Praise the Lord.

Ooooo... speaking of the Lord... I saw the scariest movie EVER this week. Have any of you heard of the documentary, Jesus Camp? Don't think it's available on DVD yet but Dudes? That shit is next-level freaky. I'm almost scared to say too much about it in this public forum because I am so terrified of the Evengelical Christian's featured in the film, and let's keep in mind that most of them are only like eight-years old. There are something like 80 MILLION of them in the US alone so it's not that far fetched to think that just one might read this and find me and brainwash me and before you know it I'll be taping plastic fetuses to my hands, rocking back and forth with tears streaming down my face and screaming at the devil in tongues. That being said, Jesus Camp? Looks like a pretty rad way to spend a summer. Check. It. Out.

Yeah, pretty safe to say I will not be "born again" this year. While the Evangelical's are rocking out to fun family hiphop tunes like, "J.C. Is In Da House," I'm going to stick to my own sinful music preferences and continue dancing not just for Jesus but purely for the pleasures of the flesh.

OH, and I won't be turning to prayer to help me through my latest work crisis either.

I know, I know, I shouldn't break my own steadfast rule and talk about my job on the Internet, but I will say that just when I had finally made peace with my job and started to really, really enjoy it again. Just as I was able to wake up in the morning and not feel like I was heading out into the depths of the bleakest coal mine to shovel rocks and develop the black lung, just as everything was feeling right, and dare I say fun, again... The Company for Which I Work went and fucked it all up. You know what they say about things that seem too good to be true...

If you keep up with Canadian business news (and really, why would you?) you will have heard about a major shake up that happened this week in the Canadian media landscape. Well, let's suffice it to say that my job is affected by that shake up. I don't know exactly how yet, and it will take considerable time before I find out for sure, but I think it's a fairly safe assumption that I could be in line for some extended vacation time in 2007.

I'm not even worried about getting canned, that would almost be the easy part, what I am worried about is watching my work environment disintegrate yet again into a big mess of embittered, neurotic employees and fascist, desperate management. Been there, done that, didn't kill me, made me stronger. CAN NOT go through it again.

Anyway, there you have it. Brand-new year, same old crusty Beaches. There is something to be said for consistency, no?