For Future Reference

Like many American women, I’ve spent a lot of my life nodding politely as other people tell me How I’m Doing It Wrong. (This might be endemic to women worldwide, or even to people worldwide, so don’t feel excluded if you’re not an American woman, ok? But I’ve only lived in America, and I’ve noticed that men are far more likely to argue back against HYDIW syndrome.)

I’ve put up with it for several reasons.

  • You can’t win an argument with a crazy person. If someone unbalanced is telling you HYDIW, it’s really in your best interest to nod a lot, promise to take it under consideration, and then go do as you see best.
  • In general, you can’t win arguments. People aren’t telling you things as a prelude to a rational discussion; they’re just telling you stuff to tell you stuff and there’s not much point in arguing, unless you enjoy arguing. (I don’t.)
  • It’s surprisingly fun to not argue or disagree; you get to hear some amazing stuff if you let people keep talking. For more on this point of view, go read How to Be Polite.

But I’m thirty-six years old and I’m really tired of putting on the poker face, nodding, and walking away. I’m consciously trying to change. I want to be able to say “hey, that’s inappropriate” when someone says something inappropriate or tells me HIDIW — but it’s unrealistic to expect myself to react in real-time when I have all this conditioning in place, so I’m working on reacting appropriately at a delay.

I do want to point out that one of the reasons I didn’t name either of the people who made me cry over the weekend was because I don’t think they deserve that. Neither of them intended to make me upset, or at least not that upset, and it’s unfair for me to call them out when they can’t respond in kind. I don’t want them publicly shamed, as it were. But I also don’t really want to interact with them right now, either. I try to be a kind person and a forgiving person, but that doesn’t mean I have any obligation to let myself be hurt repeatedly.

So instead of getting in a defensive fight with someone privately, I’m just going to write up a manifesto about my kid and my parenting goals and all kinds of stuff. And the next time someone feels compelled to tell me HIDIW, I can just point them here.

Wait, don’t leave yet! This is primarily a horse blog, so of course I’m going to frame it all in a horse analogy. I’ve just got a little more rambling to do before I get to the horse stuff.

So what you’re here is seeing a sliver of my life and my interests. I don’t talk politics here and I don’t even do media analysis here — I have other sites for that kind of writing. You’re here for crazy Funder stories, and in general, that’s what I offer.

Everything I write is true, but not complete. I freely leave stuff out — a lot of stuff. The boring bits that drag down the narrative, details of other people’s lives that they might not want posted online, and at this point, a lot of the daily background stuff. So what you’re reading here is an accurate but partial picture of my life.

I think my posts have gone from clever but basic narrations to pretty good stories over the last couple of years. There are a lot of elements that go into a good story. It’s not that hard to recognize a narrative arc, or see repetition and foreshadowing. It’s quite a bit harder, I’ve found, to write those things with any kind of subtlety. And the same goes for my choice of words. I passionately love language, and I try really hard to strike a balance between using the most precise high-dollar words and actually writing like real people talk, which includes the Seven Dirty Words. A couple of commenters on my last post mentioned that they hadn’t really noticed the cursing, which means I’m doing it right — for better or for worse, this is how people talk. (At least it’s how they talk when they think it’s fun to spend twelve hours riding half-ton herbivores that stomp your feet and drool poison oak slobber down your neck.)

So. When I was 28, I was in law school, so I required a lot of caffeine, and I spent a lot of time in a coffeeshop by our apartment. A couple of women who worked there had horses, and I hadn’t really realized you could afford a horse on a barista’s pay, but it turns out you can (if your standards aren’t too high). I’d always wanted a horse, and my husband wanted me to have a hobby, so he foolishly bought me a horse.

I had no idea what I doing. I hadn’t ridden in twenty years, then I rode my friend’s horses exactly twice (once at a walk/jog in the arena, and once on the trail, where I got off for some reason, let go of the reins, and watched my noble steed gallop away through the forest), and then I got a horse of my own. His name was Champ, and he was a saint.

Champ, a basically kind soul, didn’t kill me as I fumbled through those first couple of months. In return for his kindness, I started a really concerted effort to become a better horse owner.

Go take a look at this Science of Running post real quick. I think Mel already posted it, but she was using it to talk about running or something, and I’m using it to talk about how we learn. This is the most important bit:

When I first got interested in learning more about coaching and the science behind it, one of my mentors, Tom Tellez, told me about the process of learning. When you are new to a particular topic, everything seems intriguing and complex. You don’t have a built in filter, as you don’t know what is right, wrong, or controversial. It’s a very intimidating time in the learning curve.

In essence, you haven’t built the model in your head of how a particular aspect works. So there’s no model to compare the information your reading to. The goal therefore is to build that model. Coach Tellez explained it, in his own usually precise way “that you need to just keep reading. It won’t make much sense at first. But as you read more, eventually it will clear up and all of the sudden you can tell within the first paragraph whether you should read the article or throw it away.”

His point was that you have to have a foundation upon which to decide whether something is worthwhile or not. Once you have that foundation, it’s all about filtering the information.

I managed to instinctively do that right. I built my foundation by reading everything I could get my hands on about every aspect of horse-care I could think of. Once I knew the basic concepts, I started talking to people. I had a huge base of horse people that I was on friendly terms with, and I asked them about all kinds of stuff. I asked them what they did and took note of it, but more importantly, I asked them why they did it.

(As a side note, one of the reasons I’m always willing to talk about horse/endurance stuff with people is to pay it forward — there’s no One Best Way to do any of this, and I’m happy to tell you why I’m doing whatever I’m doing, because so many people have helped me to where I am today.)

How often do you deworm? Why did you get that kind of shoe put on? What hay do you feed and why? Why do you use that saddle? I asked a ton of questions. I got a huge variety of answers, because I’d deliberately cast my net really wide. Sometimes I hoped I’d one day be as good as the person I was questioning, but sometimes I thought he or she was wrong and I wanted to understand why they were Doing It Wrong.

As I felt like I’d gotten a handle on each little aspect of horsekeeping, I’d start to veer away from the default and make my own decisions. I got Champ re-shod in keg shoes, but he didn’t gait very well in them, so I tried plantations (heavy shoes) for six weeks, and he didn’t gait any better at all, so I pulled his shoes entirely and went barefoot. (He still didn’t gait well. I never got him doing anything but trotting, but at least I was no longer at the mercy of incompetent farriers.) I did the same kind of gradual experimentation with all the little nuances.

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the years is that sometimes the people who I’d thought were Doing It Wrong were actually doing a pretty good job, and I was glad I’d asked their opinions.

When I got Dixie a year later, I was marginally better prepared to handle a psycho mare, but she was definitely an order of magnitude harder. I just kept at it, learning more about tack and more about how to train mammals and horse psychology and rider equitation and on and on and on and on and now, almost seven years later, I have a truly amazing partnership with a truly special world-class horse.

We always wanted a kid or two (some day, when we had more money and we were actual grownups and all the usual excuses). I haven’t touched an infant in twenty years, but I’m about to have one of my own to take care of full time. I am handling this in the exact same way that I handled sudden horse ownership.

I have a huge base of friends who are parents, ranging from infants up to teenagers. Not everybody is making the same choices I think I’m going to make, but you never know, so I’m asking everybody a ton of “what are you doing and why” questions.

(Well, I’m planning on asking everybody anyway. Right now I’m hyper-focused on infant care, and I’m still in the process of building a model in my head, so there’s more information gathering than advice-seeking. If you’ve got a kid and I haven’t grilled you on what/why, don’t feel left out; it’s coming!)

I’m gonna fuck up. Everybody does. But something else I learned with horses is to keep trying different things, and to periodically go back and try old things again. Whips used to make Dixie completely lose her mind; now she doesn’t even react when I accidentally smash her in the head with a crop while I’m riding — and using a lunge whip to get her to load doesn’t work anymore. I’ve gone from a curb to bitless to a snaffle to a curb again, and now I don’t even really need a bit and I can ride in a halter if I want. I’m sure parenting has the same kind of reversals of fortune waiting for me, especially when he’s in the irrational tyrannical toddler stage.

I’m going to cry. I’m going to laugh. Some days, I’m going to count down the hours til my husband comes home so I can have a large drink and a bubble bath. I can’t wait to see the firsts, and I can’t wait for my kid to be old enough to ask me interesting questions. I really want to meet my kid and find out what his personality is like. I may, possibly, lament that it goes so fast (but I kinda doubt it.) But I can promise you that I will never stop being a snarky bitch. I’m not going to unironically refer to my kid as a sweet angel. It’s just not going to happen.

Talk is cheap. He’ll know we love him. It’ll be ok.

(And I really don’t think he’ll be interested in reading my blog before he’s learned how to cuss from the internet and TV. Just don’t call your teacher a bitch, kid, you’ll really regret that even if you’re right.)

Elevation Change

I crewed at Virginia City this weekend for Lucy and Roo on their quest for the people’s ovation and fame forever (or at least a coveted Triple Crown jacket.) The horse part of things was awesome; the other part not so much.

The Internet tells me that the baby has ear-bones now, so I sang along with the music on the drive over. He likes road trips, so he wiggled and kicked the whole time. Kicking is the best, even when he’s kicking me in the bladder and I have to stop every 40 miles to pee. The drive over was a little sad — the trees looked like Christmas trees in January, and the air was hazy with smoke from the King Fire.

But soon I made it to Reno, then down to Virginia City. Lucy had scored an excellent spot right at the end of the vet lanes, and I wedged my truck in right beside hers. We went over the basic crew stuff: where the food is, what the schedule’s projected to be, what kind of tack and clothes might be needed. We set up a second breastcollar with glowbars pre-taped to it, and we were futzing around trying to get an unsuitably-shaped piece of fleece attached to the Y-ring when we realized: a) it had gotten dark and b) the ride meeting had started.

So we abandoned the craft project and wandered over to the Ice House. IIRC, there were 44 entries — a pretty good turnout. The trail had a few minor changes, and the weather was going to be warmer, but not too hot. Head vet Jaime Kerr uses his “vet criteria” part of the meeting to do a a little continuing ed, and this year he reminded us to keep an eye on hydration. 30 swallows equals a gallon, and horses lose something like 2 1/2 gallons per hour (I think). All horses get dehydrated over the first 25 miles of a ride, and the ones who’ll do well spend the rest of their miles getting re-hydrated. And almost all metabolic problems have their roots in dehydration, so encourage them to drink!

(Notably, he did not focus on the real question: how to convince a horse to drink. But there’s a reason it’s an aphorism. Getting the horse to drink is left as an exercise for the rider.)

After Jaime’s talk, there was a short break, then a smaller crowd reassembled for the calcutta. Almost everybody was drinking (open bar, courtesy of NASTR!) and it was lots of fun. A few serious buyers fought over the top-ranked teams, but everybody got at least a couple of bids.

I was hanging out near the back of the room when someone wandered up to say hi. They’d been drinking and thought it was a good or funny idea to open the conversation with “so I don’t read your blog because you cuss too much! Hahah!” I stammered out a laugh, but it felt like I’d been slapped and I didn’t really know what to do. I got out of the conversation as fast as I could and went outside to try to clear my head, but I’d lost my taste for socializing. I went to bed, put my coat over my head, tried to sleep, cried, tried to sleep, etc. The thing that I hate the most about being pregnant is how sensitive I am.

I couldn’t sleep all night, period. I managed to not post any whiny passive-aggressive shit on Facebook, but I did unfriend a bunch of innocents and I deleted most of 2014 off of my wall. I might’ve deleted further back, but I didn’t have very good reception and my phone wouldn’t cooperate.

Eventually, at 3, I dozed off. At 3:30, the rest of camp woke up and started getting the horses ready. I’d meant to get up and help Lucy, but when push came to shove, I decided that she’s been riding endurance long enough to tack up her horse by herself. Walking half a mile to the start line was completely out of the question. Once everybody else had gone away at 4:30, I sank deeply into merciful blackness.

Until some shitheel banged on my truck at six am. I ignored them and went back to sleep. It happened again, so I sat up and screamed “WHAT” at the top of my lungs. It was two of my friends who just wanted to make sure I was awake, and to give me the keys to Lucy’s trailer. I was a total asshole as I took the keys and whined. Lucy was going to cross the highway at 19 miles around 7:50, and I had hoped to sleep til the sun came up.

But by that point I was awake, for better or worse. People left camp. I sat in my truck, glaring at my phone and wondering if I should go delete more shit off of Facebook, and someone wandered by. She was supposed to be taking numbers at the highway crossing, but her ride had left (after I’d been so snarly to him, he’d driven off without her — sorry Bob.) I was awake anyway and really wanted some coffee, so I drove her to the highway crossing, went down the hill to the 7-11, got some coffee, and came back up to the crossing. By that point I felt enough like a human being to apologize to everybody I’d snapped at, but not really enough like a human to socialize.

Lucy and Roo came through at 7:54, just behind their projected time. They both looked good, although (of course!) Lucy was worried that Roo wasn’t drinking enough. I took Lucy’s fleece and waved goodbye as they headed down Geiger Grade toward the first vet check at 24 miles.

I finished my coffee, got back in the truck, and drove down to Starbucks, a couple miles past the vet check. I got drinks for both of us and a hot sandwich for Lucy, then went back to the vet check and got set up with about 20 minutes to spare. Lucy came in about ten minutes off her projected time — she’d lost another 5 minutes coming down the mountain. (She wasn’t trying to win or place, so the scheduled time stuff only mattered for my logistics and our guesses about her eventual finish time.)

I had four friends keeping me company and waiting to see Lucy, so the time went fast. When they showed up, we got Roo pulsed and vetted and fed, then made sure Lucy sat and ate. Her 45 minute hold went fast, and we got her up on the horse and out the gate on time.

I said bye to my friends and went to get breakfast, then drove over to Washoe Lake. It’s at 39 miles, with a trot-by with no hold time, but most people stay for 10-30 minutes. The horses have just come through Bailey Canyon, which is three miles of fist-sized rocks, and they’re about to climb the SOBs, and the day is getting hotter. Washoe has a hose and hay and crews with food and mash, and it’s a good spot to take a break if you’re not racing.

Last year, I stayed maybe ten minutes — it was in the 50s, the wind was blowing about 20 mph, and a line of sleet/snow was marching across the valley toward us. It was a better idea to keep moving than to stop. But this year it was in the mid-80s and the horses were happy to take a break. Lucy showed up at 12:30, right in the middle of the pack. We got Roo cooled off and parked in front of the hay, mash, and garden-fresh carrots I’d provided, but he insisted that he couldn’t eat that nasty shit and he had to eat his neighbor’s hay, slightly different mash, and garden-fresh carrots. And of course the neighbor horses only wanted Roo’s food, so we just combined forces and let them eat what they wanted.

(Those carrots — my friend had gone home and pulled a five-gallon bucket full of carrots out of her garden on her way to Washoe. They were fresh. I ate half a dozen of them while I waited for Lucy and Roo. So good!)

The little group of horses that Lucy had been riding with stayed for about 30 minutes, then everybody reluctantly tightened girths, clambered back on, and headed off to do battle with the SOBs. I had entirely quit wishing I was riding, and I waved goodbye quite cheerfully. They’d spend over an hour climbing five miles from Washoe to the crossroads water trough at Jumbo Grade. I got in my truck and zoomed five miles to Carson City in about five minutes. I debated getting ice cream, decided not to, and headed back up to Virginia City.

I got camp pre-set-up for Lucy’s hour hold. I knew it would be 3:45 at the very soonest before she came in, and it was just after one, so I had time, finally, for a blessed nap. I set an alarm for 3:30, kicked off my shoes, and flopped down on my sleeping bag.

My phone dinged with new email. This was far more exciting than usual, because reception up at the Ice House was so spotty — sometimes I could check (or delete) Facebook, but sometimes I could barely send a text message. I opened my email.

Somebody else (who I didn’t even know read this thing) had, out of the blue, felt compelled to send me an email warning me that because I cuss too much on my blog I’m going to ruin my son. I read it once, felt that shock settling over me again, then read it again as I tried to hold it together. But why bother? I had time. No one was nearby. I thought “fuck it,” (oh, the irony) and gave in to tears again. I laid down, pulled my trusty coat over my head for a little privacy, and sobbed.

The poor baby gets upset when I’m upset, and he kicked steadily while I cried. It was oddly reassuring. Sorry, kid. Sorry about everything.

Finally I ran out of tears. I scrubbed the dirt and salt off of my face and set about deleting my blog. I actually had enough bars, and I got logged in to my hosting, and then into WordPress. I got all the way to selecting every post and staring at the “move to trash” button, and there I stopped. I just stared at my phone for a good ten minutes before I decided not to.

This is my blog. I don’t write it for anybody but me. I don’t promote it. I’m honored by the people who choose to read and comment and enjoy what I have to say, but it’s mine. When I started, I had a contingency plan: if the trolls found me, I’d just go nuclear and delete the whole thing and walk away… but it turns out I don’t want to.

If you don’t like what I write about or how I choose to write it, go away. Or stay, I don’t really care, but don’t tell me what you think I’m doing wrong unless I ask. I have a little more to say re: my filthy mouth and future unfit parenting, but this is supposed to be my Virginia City story, so it’ll have to wait.

Eventually, I noticed that it was 3:15 and nap time was almost over anyway, so I turned off my phone, put on my game face, and got ready to crew again.

Lucy and Roo came in at 4 pm looking good. They’d done 51 miles. Roo wanted to eat, and he didn’t want to play the stupid human games, and he stomped the pulse-taker trying to get to the food. A bad result for her toes, but a good sign for the horse’s spirits! After he was down, we let him eat while we stripped tack, then got him vetted and settled back with the food. Lucy’s gone to Mel’s bento box system, so I spread out a huge assortment of tiny tupperware containers of food and started tempting her to eat while she told me how her ride was going so far.

This is a hard hold. You’re tired, your horse is tired and/or starving, and you feel like you’ve done quite a lot already. But the next loop is some of the hardest trail you’ll ever ask your horse to do, so you can’t let yourself get out of sorts. It’s time to fuel up and stay focused, right when you’d really like to whine and go floppy.

We got Roo tacked up and Lucy back on board and I waved them out onto the trail. We decided that if she got separated from her group, I’d meet her at the highway crossing (where I’d given up and pulled last year) with hot chocolate and fresh mash, but if her group was roaring steadily along I’d just wait for them in camp. Lucy would try to text me, and I’d hope I received it, if she wanted a highway pit stop.

I tidied camp, locked up, and drove down to Reno. There was hot food in camp, but it didn’t look super appetizing, and I wanted some bars anyway. So down I went til I found a Quiznos in south Reno, where I sobbed/ranted to my husband and ravenously shoved food in my face-hole. Then I hit Starbucks again and drove back up to VC. Lucy texted that all was well and she didn’t need a highway stop, so I decided to try, yet again, to take a nap.

I checked the chart with the various checkpoints, mileages, and updated arrival times and decided she was due back at 9:10 pm. I pre-set-up camp, set an alarm for 8:45, levered my body down onto my sleeping bag, and let sweet, sweet darkness envelop me.

At 8:45, the alarm jarred me awake. I bounced up, set out the bento boxes, checked that the lights were working, and headed over to watch the vetting.

But the people who were headed out of camp were frontrunners, and the people who were coming in and vetting were the mid-pack. They should’ve been an hour or more ahead of Lucy. Hmm.

Back to the truck, where my iced coffee had melted but was still perfectly good. I drank coffee and stood around til it worked its magic, then I applied my brain. Eventually I worked out a couple of theories. Either the trail conditions were awful and all the riders had slowed way down, or I’d woken up too early. I dug the chart back out, used my finger to make sure I was on the right line, and confirmed it: Lucy was due to cross the highway at 9:10 and be back in camp at 10:30. Well, shit.

I put the food back on ice, then sat and talked to a friend for a while. The mid-pack headed back out and everybody in camp got bored, so one of the vets put some music on and organized a dance party. Somebody else had some electronic glowbars on strings and a lighted hula hoop and turned it into Burning Man Part 2. It was pretty much the best thing ever, because Virginia City is the best hundred ever.

Eventually the back third started trickling in and the party broke up faster than if the cops had showed up. It seems so rude to be having that much fun in front of people who’ve been riding for seventeen hours, you know? We’re all very serious crew, volunteers, and vets. Very serious.

Lucy turned up right on (revised, double-checked) schedule. Roo was very fucking hungry indeed, and I held hay for him as he waited in line for the vet. But they really can’t eat while the vets are inspecting them, it just doesn’t work, so I had to back off and hide my hay behind my back while the vet checked him. Roo Did Not Approve and he tried to run over Lucy to get to me. Lucy, in turn, Did Not Approve and had to get very big and yell and back him up. Eventually he was proclaimed Fit to Continue, but maybe a little wonky on the trot-out so keep an eye on him?

I lured the savage beast to the trailer with the handful of hay and we stood looking at him as he dove into his mash. Another friend had wandered by, and she must’ve had more sleep than either me or Lucy, because she’s the one who pointed out that Roo was only wearing three glue-ons. Perhaps the mystery of his not quite perfect trot-out had been solved.

So we broke out the trimming tools and Lucy rasped the glue off his hoof, then taped it, then booted it. We replaced one of the battery-powered glowsticks that had given up the ghost, and I finally got Lucy to sit and eat a little more. We got a rump rug and a windbreaker tied down to the cantle, I electrolyted Roo again, and her time was up. Lucy clambered on quite gracefully (for 76 miles) and headed out into the dark with a friend.

I hunted down my friend Jaya — I’d been keeping an eye on her all day, but I hadn’t seen her at that check, and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t a) lost in the dark or b) needing help in camp. She and Asali were fine and had a buddy and were about to head out, so I decided I could sleep again.

I was expecting Lucy to finish about 4. She was going to text at Cottonwoods at 92 miles, and again at the finish a mile from camp, so I left my phone on. I knew that it was spending most of its energy searching for bars, but if I turned it on airplane mode, I wouldn’t get any updates from Lucy, so I left it on. I stowed things away, got other things ready for their finish, and headed to bed with a fully-charged phone around midnight. I woke up at 2 to pee, then woke up in a panic at 4:18 with a completely dead phone.

Once I got it charged enough to turn on, and I held it aloft in the correct orientation to get some reception, I got a text from an unknown number: Lucy’d been pulled at Cottonwoods with a lame horse and a dead phone. Sad face. I thanked the borrowed phone-owner and went over to the vet area.

Some riders came in and one of the vets called for a scribe, so I grabbed a clipboard and a pen and got to work. I ended up scribing til the very end, which meant I got to hug Jaya as she finished – she’s three for three on hundreds this year, and I’m three for three on hugging her at the end of hundreds!

The Cottonwoods trailer had to leave and go find some lost riders who wanted a pull, then bring them to camp, then go back to Cottonwoods for Roo and another horse. They’d gotten pulled at 3 and they didn’t get back to camp til almost 6:30. Should one need to pull, it’s definitely advisable to get pulled in camp. You just never know how long you’re going to be waiting on a ride.

We got Roo settled in with mash, untacked, and be-socked with his leg socks, then I shoved Lucy toward her bed. I was fairly wide awake and incredibly hungry, and I just didn’t want to wait a couple hours for the steak breakfast, so I headed back down to Carson to find a McDonalds. After two hash browns, the insides of two egg McMuffins, and a cup of coffee, I felt quite alert. I went back up to camp and checked on Roo.

He’d eaten all his mash and was resting peacefully. I don’t have an update on why he was lame (other than maybe sore from losing that boot, or maybe sore from falling down on his way down the hill at 78 miles or so), but hopefully he’ll bounce back perfectly.

We’d given him a fleece and a waterproof blanket, but he had warmed up nicely (even if the day hadn’t warmed up at all) and was sweaty. I pulled the fleece and fixed him more mash and more clean water. Then I gathered up the last bits of my stuff, changed clothes at the truck, and headed home. Back in Reno, I messaged Lucy and let her know I was going for it — I wanted to try to beat the central valley traffic and get home before I got too tired.

And honestly, I didn’t want any more face time with acquaintances or friends. I didn’t cry where anybody could see me, and I didn’t whine too much, but I was sad and emotionally sore and I just wanted to go home and pull my coat over my head and cry again. I’ll feel better in a few days, but for now I don’t want to go to a ride for the rest of the year, and enduring a baby shower sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.

So there you go. The whiniest crew story is now concluded. Sad trombones for all the protagonists (but VC100 is always and forever the best hundred!)

Low-content update

Let’s start with a picture of my gorgeous mare. She’s fresh out of a rinse. Isn’t she pretty?IMG_2836

She mad. The bath delayed dinner, then the picture-taking delayed it even more.IMG_2838

This is also your chance to close this tab in your browser and run away if you get the body-horror heebie-jeebies about pregnancy. Quick! Run!

Personally, I’ve always thought the weekly baby-bump pictures were equal parts cool and creepy, but at the same time I’m not vain enough or pregnancy-focused enough to post one every single week. Maybe I’ll put up a whole album at the end? But about 21 weeks I started to explode and clearly went from “kinda fat lol” to “oh and definitely pregnant.” This is 13 weeks on the left and 24 weeks on the right.13to24

I feel like I’m the size of a house. Wipe your tears of laughter, moms – I know I’m going to get like twice this big, for real, but it’s only in the last week or so that I’ve really felt big. This kid is In The Way of normal movement. All of a sudden I can see how preggos get stuck on the couch, or can’t put on their shoes. Oh god.

Also, the crying. I bawled for five minutes yesterday when my husband asked what I’d like him to bring home for dinner. It was just too overwhelming. Fuckin’ hormones, dude.

But obviously I’m still riding (there’s no way I’d ever bother to wash the horse unless I got her sweaty and she needed it). I feel fine. I feel like a weeble-wobble, actually – the weight is all low enough that I feel nicely balanced in the saddle, even when I haul myself up in two-point to help Dixie climb hills.

And Dixie’s being quite good about the whole thing. Instead of stopping at the top of every hill and sighing, like, “god, get off and run already, human,” she just charges happily along, staying balanced and sensible and taking good care of me.

(She’s still a bitch. The other day I was untacking, but doing it too slowly or something, so she stepped on my toe and refused to move til I punched her in the neck. Apparently there’s a difference between taking care of your pregnant human and being a worthless Vichy collaborator with one’s captors.)

Gelding Diary vs. Mare Diary

It’s still really hard to get out there and ride or hike without any goals on the calendar. Lots of ennui. Lots of “well, Dixie definitely deserves a layoff anyway.” (Today Keith Kibler told me that he’s been doing some research and only 41 gaited horses have completed AERC 100 mile rides. Ever. You go, girl.) So we go and dink around for an hour on the trail, but it very much feels like we’re just marking time.

This weekend I am crewing for Lucy and Roo at Virginia City. Not gonna lie, I wish I were riding with them instead of crewing for them, but just being there is about 75% as good. Next month I’ll haul Figure and Fetti (and hopefully her newbie friend!) to Quicksilver. I don’t know if I’ll stay and crew for them; it depends on if we’ve got a D&D game that weekend or not. And I’m serious: my baby shower, such as it is, will be at Gold Rush Shuffle over Thanksgiving weekend.

It’s a terrible time of the year to have a baby shower, especially when most of your friends are scattered over 200+ square miles and would rather be riding anyway. This way people can get their last rides of 2014, and/or their first ride of 2015, plus watch me waddle around. I don’t know what you’re supposed to do at these things (a party where the GOH can’t drink? What kind of party is that?) but I’m sure whatever it is will be better with horses.