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Used to run a stable and live on a farm, now I am back into banking for awhile. Still have horses and love animals.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A successful party

I haven't had a birthday party for Kylie since she was four years old, just to busy trying to survive and time passes so quickly. Yesterday I had a sweet sixteen birthday party for her. I worked every night till 1 a.m. and was up Friday night until 5 a.m. getting the house clean and unpacking and hanging pictures. The backyard didn't get done because I knocked the belt off the mower but it rained and so the party stayed in the kitchen, dining room and sunroom.

I made macaroni and cheese from scratch and baked it in the oven, I added crumbled bacon, a little bacon grease and some smoked Gouda cheese and some garlic powder to give it a little zing. I made salad, bought pizza and had a butter cream icing cake from Giant Eagle. I haven't entertained a group of people in a long time so I was nervous but the house looked great, the food all turned out good and everyone had a good time.

Kylie's and her friends played games and laughed and screamed, the adults all sat around and talked and visited. The neighbor Tammy came over before the party started and helped me with some finishing touches.

Since it rained we didn't use the fire pit but it didn't seem to matter. The only sad thing was all the dogs were in a room downstairs with a baby gate because it would have been too much with all the people and food. Dusti, senior dog was the only one who I let stay upstairs, he was delighted to get all the attention and some tastes of food without the other dogs.

The highlight for everyone was the spotlight thief Nana, everyone spent time talking to her and she ate with everyone and behaved really well. My neighbor brought her little grand daughter over and Nana really liked her a lot, she took sugar snap peas from the little girl and Nana won't take food from people unless she likes them. Nana talked and danced and ate lots of food and people where fascinated by her.

Everyone stayed till after dark and when Nana got sleepy she made it known, I pulled her blanket over her cage and she didn't make another sound even though everyone was in the room talking. We had enough places for people to sit and be comfortable.

This house is nice for company. Kylie had such a wonderful time and her best friends parents and grandparents care for her like she is theirs too. They have adopted her and do so many nice things for her. It helps because we really don't have any family around and Kylie needs more than me. Uncle Greg came out and he wasn't feeling well but he has always been there for Kylie and it means a lot to me.

This week I need to finish the backyard, the garage and the basement so that the following week I am off I can just enjoy the house and have some down time. I haven't just had time off and really relaxed in this new home since we moved. I am looking forward to it.

I thank the Lord for blessing us with good people, a safe home, and my darling daughter.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wishing for a day or two off

I am working during the day and then working hard at night cleaning, arranging and taking old odds and ends trying to make things look good for Saturday. I haven't even done anything outside yet. I am tired, I guess that's the way it is.

Kylie has been doing some of the craftier things to help out. I will be glad to have a little time off in August after a year of working so hard and so many changes. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Those people, that person

The Zimmerman case has disturbed me, moved me enough to write about race. Where I grew up there very few if any African Americans, I believed what I had heard and one day repeated it at school, I was chastised and for that I am most grateful.

When I was a teenager I ended up spending a year in England which is a great melting pot of race and culture, everyone is much more comfortable in countries so close to a large continent that yields so many different origins, everyone is accepted and much more comfortable in their own skins. I learned to love the variety of races and cultures available to learn about while I was there, I had friends their that saved my life and took care of me and made sure I made it back to the states safely.

When I got back to the states I ended up in a career that again put me in a place of exposure to many people of all races and backgrounds. I was eventually put in charge of helping low income, inner city families realize their dream of not only owning a house but in a safe neighborhood where their children would be safe and have a chance in life. Many times the mother's would call me after they moved into their new home and thank me and bless me because they knew their children would grow up with a chance of having a better life.

It is interesting that some of my employees where also African American and Hispanic, the Hispanic's had an easier time but the African Americans where treated differently by management. They knew I was different, they told me how things would happen and they were right, managers who were blatant about their feelings towards them made decisions based on those feelings even though they had gone above and beyond their job descriptions and were excellent employees. I didn't allow it and saw to it that upper management was involved and they felt there was no tolerance for that kind of attitude, some managers where called on the carpet, nevertheless, my employees were then treated better and received the same compensation and recognition as their white counterparts.

Much later I worked in a branch in a very white community, by that time I had adopted an African American teen who needed to live with a family till she could finish high school. Customers would come in and for one reason or another allude to African Americans in some derogatory manner with a sneer thinking because I was white it would be a wink and a nod. I disappointed them I have to say.

I will never forget being carded at a Wendy's, it just so happened that my African American daughter was with me, and another time at Buehler's grocery store, the employees wanted someone to escort us to get empty boxes and to walk us out of the store to make sure we didn't take anything, of course I had gotten boxes before without my daughter and there had not been any issues about getting them and walking out of the store.

I guess what I am getting at is whites don't really believe that blacks or people of other races are treated differently or looked at with prejudice before they are even given a chance. I didn't believe it either but it is true all of it and it is quiet a wake up call if you are a fair person.

One of my best friends who happened to be white and Jewish referred to someone who was my brother's best friend as that person, other people with their sneers say those people. The individuals they were referring to have names, families, beliefs and were better examples of Christ's love than the majority of people I have met over the years.

That brings me to hoodie's, no one loves wearing a hoodie more than I do, it offers security and hides how I look. I don't like the way I look and I don't like myself most of the time so I wear a hoodie to hide in and feel secure. I am not looked at suspiciously when I wear a hoodie with my white skin and blonde hair. I wonder if the popularity of the hoodie has something to do with the same reasons I wear one. For African Americans though it seems to symbolize something else to the outside world, people, especially whites seem to equate it with criminal activity.

Now then, the young man who wore a hoodie and had the nerve to walk through a neighborhood at night, he even had the nerve to loose his temper when somebody was stalking him. They say he had some issues in the past with different things that portrayed him as a not so nice character which I believe most teenagers in American black or white if investigated would yield some of the same things, even adults for that matter. I should mention that Zimmerman's past wasn't spotless.

I wished the young man would have just went home and I wish he was alive today. People are angry because the race card has come up in this, they want to blame the kid as an individual that somehow deserved what he got. Race did have something to do with it and there is no sugar coating it.

People are tired of hearing about it, white people and even some African Americans. My words of wisdom for the issues personally is like Bill Cosby said about African Americans taking responsibility for themselves but it is the whites that need to take responsibility, for their thoughts and actions.

We as whites would do well to remember that we have a loving God who created us all in His image, that we are responsible for how we treat other's and He searches our hearts and knows the truth. God will not look at us and say you are white so you are okay with me, you must be better than others that I created. How arrogant to think that because we are white that we are somehow better, that we deserved more and that it's okay to enjoy another's suffering or to judge a person without knowing them because they are different.

I know that as a white person the dialogue that takes place in our homes, from our parents, and generations of influences that say to us without us even knowing it sometimes that you think of a person, their race, religion, sexual orientation etc. in a certain way. It's a record that has played in our heads over and over again for many generations but that is not an excuse any longer.

We need to take responsibility for the world we have created, a world where people are treated differently, for the poverty and family structures we have forced on others. There are no opportunities in the inner city for jobs, no corporations that build businesses there where young people can earn a decent living, there is no hope just street corners. Has it ever occurred to whites that selling African American's mother's, fathers, children separately as slaves might have robbed them of a family structure. It is easy to take for granted what most American families have passed down for generations, the family unit, the importance of everyone in that unit.

So we blame the poor for being poor and we say why don't they do something about it, the only problem is our society has set them up to fail. Sure, people can rise above circumstances, I did but I had a slight advantage, I am white. After getting away from a living situation where I was treated as an outcast I could walk into the world and present myself and be accepted. You can't hide skin color no matter how you have improved your circumstances, if you have a college degree, are successful in life, and have family just like others that are white, it isn't quiet the same, you never make it completely because you still have a skin color issue. Of course, the only issue with skin color lives and dwells in others minds and hearts and naturally it affects you regardless of your accomplishments it exists.

Whites need to take responsibility for the issue of race, we created the problem by thinking it was a problem in the first place, we have placed the issue in our children's minds and built the issue into our society. It's time we suck it up and deal with it and teach our minds and our hearts the truth, it is time we let go of the thoughts and old teachings.

We must fight the battle of race in our own hearts and minds. If what I have said does not speak to you then picture this: Standing before a loving and just God who created us all and sharing your reasons for treating some he created differently with a sneer and try picturing how He might respond. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Something to write about

This weekend we built an inexpensive fire pit off the patio to enjoy in the evenings and for Kylie's birthday party, we also went grocery shopping and did some small things around the house. The lawn in front is still a little soft so I won't mow it till later this week.

We went to the barn yesterday and groomed and brushed the horses and today we went again in the evening because of the heat. We put a bit in Aubrey's mouth which we had not done since last year and he seemed to be more comfortable with it, Kylie usually rides him in the arena with just a halter and rains. The reason for the bit is because I decided we needed to ride both horses outside around the barn and driveway to take the first step towards trail riding.

Next time we will ride on the boarder of the big pasture and into some of the surrounding farmland. Years ago Cody and I did trails and he was a great trail horse, Aubrey is still young and Kylie has not trail ridden him. So, today was an experiment to see how it would go and end on a good note.

Cody was happy to go and seemed confident just like the old days and Aubrey just trailed along a good distance a long with his head down. Truly it was only for a few minutes but it felt so freeing, it reminded me of a different time in my life years ago.

I look forward to evening rides with Kylie, it will be nice to enjoy the horses and nature without drama or pressure to do more with Aubrey. Maybe it's a new beginning for Cody and I.

This week we have a list of things around here to get done and I'm afraid it's going to be hot again. Thank goodness for the cool of the evening, I do my outside work as the sun goes down. We will try riding again another evening outside and go a little further out each time. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

July 10th a different day on all counts

Today started with an early morning appointment with the black smith for trims. It was a hot sticky day and humid from all of the rain. My system was down for work and got back home and it came up so all was well.

There were clouds and threats of storms all day. This was no ordinary day though, today marks the 16th birthday of my little girl. We didn't do much to celebrate because we are having a party in a couple of weeks for the occasion. Still, it is a milestone for her and for me.

Later in the day the tornado siren blew and it looked pretty rough out for awhile but the storm passed without major damage, it did however cool things down. The weather and a really bad bump on my head have made me feel pretty crappy this week. I hit my head on a corner of a metal table and I hit it hard enough to suffer for a few days with ice packs and all.

I knew the storm was unusually bad because Dusti my senior dog who doesn't like storms and generally just stays near me when a storm comes insisted on getting in bed while I had laid down for a few minutes with my head and buried his head under my arm and under the covers. Dusti pressed into me and was very disturbed, the siren went off so Kylie grabbed Nana and took the dogs to the basement just in case. I stayed up to keep an eye on things and Cooper escaped from the basement to herd me from the upstairs down there, he wouldn't take no for an answer.

This evening I bought Kylie ice cream, tomorrow hopefully will be a better day if it is cooler and her and I will try and get things done to get ready for her party. I am behind on all the work outside with so much rain and because of my head I just haven't done all of things I wanted to this week.

Thank goodness we didn't have a flood here as many in the area have, no trees blown down and nothing really but a lot of overgrown grass.

My little baby 16, time does fly by even more so now. When I think of myself when I was 16 and the battle I had to survive, I thank God that although not everything has been perfect that Kylie is safe and has had a chance to grow up being loved and provided for in a pretty peaceful environment. Of course, Nana shakes up that peace and quiet as much as she can.

I almost forgot, Kylie wrapped Nana in a towel and took her to the basement and you would have thought Nana was being kidnapped the way she was carrying on, she did not want to be manhandled and stuffed in a towel and held in it tornado or no. She put up a little fight and was cranky in her cage, suddenly loved me and ignored Kylie. If Nana only knew how important she was that we wouldn't leave her behind, on the other hand the washer and dryer are in the basement it was tempting to give her a little spin when she was being so bad, LOL

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Weekend in a few words

Saturday was hot and rainy but I did manage to clean my room and go to the store for beat pulp for the horses. We dropped off the stuff to the horses in the middle of a storm. I watched some TV and then went to bed.

Today started out slow for me, the weather was much nicer but I didn't feel like doing much, I did a little cleaning and Kylie washed Dusti and Cooper and I blew their coats out with a high power dryer. Lots of dog fur came off which is good, we will completely clean the house once all the dogs are done and the shedding stops.

I shaved Dusti, Daniel and Cooper partially so the final step is getting their coats washed and dried with high velocity dryers and that will clean their coats out completely.

The dogs hate the baths and tolerate the drying but when they are done they do their victory laps and feel much better. It's hard to do Dusti because he is getting old and fragile, so his trim is not perfect and his fur looks better but I could only work on him for so long before letting him rest.

I didn't do all the things I needed to get done this weekend but at least I got a couple of big projects done. I got some sleep too and through the week I will continue to get thing done that are on my list. This week it's the ponies stall, Daniel and Micah's bathes, vacuum the rest of the house and hang up pictures that are still not up.

Mowing the grass, finishing the trimming and weeding the garden, spraying round up on the driveway and getting the laundry caught up. I need to take the car in for an e-check and Kylie has a couple of appointments to see the dentist.

I guess there's more to do than I can write down here but I am hoping to knock off something everyday on my lunch break or in the evenings.

The summer is wet and is going fast, I called the sheep farmer we always bought hay off of and he is making me ten round bales of hay for the winter for the ponies. His is the best and it will be nice to visit him again like old times. I don't want to buy hay around here I guess because you build a relationship with your hay supplier and we are still close enough distance wise for it to be practical.

The price for hay is still high and so it pays to plan ahead and stick with a reliable source for the winter. If it keeps raining who knows what the prices will rise to again if they can't get the hay cut on time.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013


We didn't have many out here, the dogs barked some, Dusti who hates thunder and gunshots and fireworks got a little concerned but not much. This holiday is not the greatest for our pets, it's not that dogs are particularly scared just because they hear an unusual noise, their hearing is just so much more sensitive than ours.

Dogs hear and smell many times greater than we do, what sounds loud to us can be excruciating to them. Since it can be painful they will try to flee the area. Thunder is a little different because it is usually loud but distant compared to fireworks.

Dogs can overcome their thunder phobia's, the first thing is to always be calm yourself and don't reassure your dog.  You are teaching your dog that there is a reason to fear and you are rewarding the behavior of "fear". Instead just act matter of fact, try and focus your dogs attention on something positive when they react to thunder. Redirect their attention to food and play and they will learn to re associate their fear of thunder with something they like. It does take time to  teach a dog that thunder is something they don't have to fear. Time and patience is what is needed in any endeavor teaching whether animal or human.

Fireworks are not something you should attempt to desensitize a dog to, they should be removed from the area far enough that they will not be frightened or suffer a hearing injury. It does hurt them because their hearing is magnetized to a much greater degree compared to ours.

Fireworks are fun but your pets are with you everyday and provide more pleasure and entertainment in the long run. Be responsible, you wouldn't expose a child to a situation that can cause severe pain and discomfort, at least I hope not.   

Dusti my senior dog

Senior dogs are wonderful but require extra care and consideration. Dusti is having a harder time with stairs, his hips are bad but that doesn't seem to be the hold up, he sees fine but I think his depth perception seems to be deteriorating. Dusti will stand and bark at the bottom of steps till I come and he can see me and sometimes I have to walk down the steps and show him the first step so he can negotiate the rest.

Dusti can no longer tolerate the grooming table, he has trouble standing on it for a long period and balancing. In order to accommodate Dusti's limitations I groomed him on the floor in the living room today. He needed his coat clipped again and I let him lay on the floor and I slid him around our helped him flip over till I could get all the angles. His skin is thin and his muscle definition is gone so getting a smooth clip can be challenging.

I take his coat off in the summer because of the heat, it also allows me to judge his weight and the conditions of his hips. We make sure that Dusti does not gain too much weight so that his hips are as unstressed as possible.

Dusti still plays with the other dogs, he'll run around the yard sometimes and he has a great appetite and is able to go potty when he needs to. He still likes a good snuggle and pizza and does his best to get up and down the stairs. I remember bringing him home as a puppy, he turned out to be the best most well behaved dog and really smart but he was a naughty puppy!

It's tough to see your fur friend get old but there are good days still ahead and I will enjoy every moment of them.

Like living in a greenhouse

Lately, it has been feeling like I live in a greenhouse except it's not the inside of my house that is the problem, it's the outside. Rain and humidity with short periods of sun is what the weather is all about these days.

It's green out and everything is growing very fast, lots of birds and from the window it looks grand but the humidity and the power of the sun is not so grand.

I don't tolerate humidity like I used to and it gets me down, I know the rain is another thing that is starting to get me down because we are getting so much of it. I did manage to cut most of the grass in spite of the rain, the weeds are a whole separate issue.

I am looking forward to being off tomorrow, I haven't had any vacation days yet so it is always nice to have an extra day off. I have plenty to around here though.