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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Early March Rides

Kevin and I have been getting across the river and having some decent trail rides after a fairly long hiatus.  That means, starting all over.  I could see why Ellen only wants to do this once each spring.

The first ride was the toughest.  I went by myself, and Cole was so excited!  Early in the ride, I tried some short stretches of trotting to see if he would settle down--plus, it would keep me warm.  It didn't work.  Each time, he got more excited.  I decided we would just walk.  I had one Cole burst near the beginning of the ride and 2 more towards the end of the ride.  All of them were near the fence that parallels the street.  we often trot there, so I think he was just showing his enthusiasm.

It wasn't bad for our first solo ride in who knows when.

Since then, I have had Kevin and Starry join us.  Our first ride together felt like we were both riding sticks of TNT--with the fuses lit!  We both agree that it would be best just to walk.  Cole walks so much faster than Starry when he is hyper.  I kept having to stop and let Starry catch up.  Then, Starry would want to pass up Cole.  I would let him, but that would last for about 20 seconds and then Cole would pass up Starry and walk quickly ahead.  We just kept repeating it over and over.  I did have one Cole burst.

The next chance we got to cross the river went a little better.  We were able to tort the sections of the trail where I don't typically canter.  Once we got to those places, Cole really wanted to fly, so we kept it at a walk.  Surprisingly, we were able to trot a little bit on the way home.  I think it is because I don't canter Cole on the way home, so he was content to trot.  We only did short stretches.

At one point, we were walking and Starry was in the lead.  Suddenly, he leaped up into the air and tried to charge forward.  Cole decided it was a great idea and immediately joined him.  We stopped them both with ease.  Starry was probably spooked, but we don't know what from.

The rest of the ride went smoothly, but it sure was chilly.

Our following ride was a big improvement.  We were able to trot in most places that we usually trot on the way out.  Starry was quite calm.  Cole would get fractious, and we would stop.  Kevin and I have a system.  When Cole is good, I praise him profusely--and loud enough for Kevin to hear.  Kevin just listens to my dialog with Cole and knows when to stop.  When there was a loud airplane overhead, he purposely held off trotting because he wanted to hear us.

We were able to trot a little more on the way home--but we definitely walked at the fence.  Kevin didn't even trust Starry there.  Since we did more trotting and there was a little sunshine, were didn't get as cold.  That has been a problem.  The temps just can't seem to get out of the mid thirties.  Colder weather means silly horses.  Silly horse means more walking--and then we freeze because it is so cold.

Maybe Ellen has the right idea?

Sigh...when will spring arrive?

Book Review: "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce

I have heard here and there, over the years, about the greatness of James Joyce, so I thought I would give him a try.  Mistake.

Much of it was stream of conscience--my least favorite form of writing.  Still, it wasn't indeciperable as some.  He did manage to bog things down in multiple places.  Why would you put pages of a sermon that he hears in church in the book?  I know he had questions about his faith, but that was ridiculous.  I skipped over it.  I bet most people would.  There were a number of places that I skipped. 

Some parts I liked, and since this was his first novel, I could see bits of brilliance--but come on--does a person's stream of conscience come out as poetic?  No, humans are more simple than that.  When I walk the dog, I think, "Look, there are some ducks.  It is too cold for Maggie to swim after them.  I wish spring would arrive."  Does that seem poetic? 

I read that his later books are more so, so I don't think they are for me. 

Book Review: "The Innocence of Father Brown" by G. K. Chesterton

Kevin and I love the PBS series, "Father Brown" so I thought I would see what the books were like.  This book is composed of a bunch of short stories--much like Sherlock Holmes--bu so much better.  Sherlock was a little cleverer, but these are better written and much more charming stories.  Each one would take about half of a dog walk to read--and it made my dreary winter dog walks much brighter.

The TV series has the same tone, but there isn't much else in common with the stories.

Thunder Waking Up

Doesn't he still look sleepy?  When I worked, apparently, Thunder scheduled his naps around my job.  Now that I am retired, I schedule my day around Thunder's naps.

He likes to nap after breakfast.  I can get the most things done in the morning.  This is my best time to work in the yard.  He doesn't even care.

Around lunch, he wakes up. He wants something to eat--and then he hangs out with me.  Poor Maggie, she doesn't get her walk until he settles down for his afternoon catnap.

We walk; he naps.  When I get back, he is ready to hang out with me.  He probably won't nap until late afternoon or evening--and that is for only about an hour--then he demands my attention, again.  He is a very demanding cat.T

Fall and Arbez

Here is Fall and Arbez.  They are Kevin's precious ones.  Sorry about the quality of the photo--it is from my cheap phone and there wasn't enough light.  They were just so cute, there, I couldn't resist.

Arbez is a very sensitive cat, and we have to be very careful with her.  If you pet too far down her back, you may need stitches.  She loves being pet around her head, though.

Fall is the exact opposite.  You can do anything to her, and she will just keep purring.  Kevin suspects that I only go over his house to spend time with his lovely cats.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

I have heard that the reason we have pets is for their "unconditional love."  That must have come from dog lovers.  Dogs can act like they love us unconditionally, but I think it is more that they are pre-programmed to act that way.  Over the eons, they have evolved to act like they love us, so that they can get what they want.

They couldn't have been talking about cats!  With most cats, we have to earn their love.  That is well demonstrated by our barn cats.  They will act loving when it is time for food, but once their bellies are full, they pretty much ignore us.  (Except for Princess--she has decided I am the greatest person in the world.)  With cats, we have to build relationships and then love comes to us.  I wouldn't say it was unconditional.  Our Siamese, Indi, loved Ellen and tolerated me.  Ellen started to stay out past Indi's bedtime, and Indi got mad at her.  All of her affection transferred to me.  She didn't love unconditionally.  We had to follow her rules.  (Cats can be such tyrants.)

I think we love our animals, because we can love them unconditionally.  Love between people can often become complicated.  Loving our animals is simple.  We just love them for who they are--all their good and bad parts.  They don't have to be perfect to have our love.  They don't even have to love us back--and we will still love them.  We can spoil them, we can dote on them--we can love them with all our hearts.  It feels good to love our animal friends.  The unconditional love comes from us.

Solar Charging

I'm starting to think that Thunder has solar cells under his fur.  Once he charges up in the morning sun, he gets so playful, even wild.  On the cloudy days, he is more concerned with cuddling than playing.

In the morning, the sun is in the dining room.  It is particularly good this time of year because there are no leaves on the trees to block any of it.

  On a sunny morning, he is seldom alone...