Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fox Hunt! (Like, Who DOES That?!)

Ok. I have to let you all in on the frickin' coolest thing I've ever done on a horse!! (I mean it!) Robbie, my dear neighbor with some serious cajones invited me to go on a local Fox Hunt sponsored by a real, live hunt club out of the Fraser Valley in Canada. They host a couple of hunts in our area a year and so I thought to myself: "Self: Doesn't running full throttle across hundreds of acres of fields, through creeks and woods all the while dodging obstacles, scaling jumps and trying to keep up with the hounds while perched precariously on horseback sound like the time of your life?!" To which my self answered, "Hell yeah!"

So, I had NO IDEA what to expect. Well, I had an idea. I looked at the hunt website and I knew it involved professionals (like full-on red hunt coat professionals caring fox hunting horns which they blew every time we took off after the hounds), hounds, no fox (it's a drag hunt, or "scent" hunt), a bit of courage (on  my part) and hopefully, a whole lot of fun. Then, of course, I had my dreams about the hunt - you know, like someone yelling "Release the hounds" or "Cheerio" or something in a wicked English accent. And, for the most part, it was what I had expected. Except, add a huge rush of adrenaline as we prepared for the first leg of the hunt. Luckily, as we were milling around waiting to start, there was this lovely man who delivered the much needed shots of brandy on a little platter he was carrying. Let's say a toast for a little liquid courage!!

There he is now: my new best friend!

Ok, here's us before the first run. Picking up on the "What the hell have I gotten myself in to?" look I'm sporting? If I'd only known....

And then, just like that, they "release the hounds", without as much hoopla as I had hoped, and certainly no one yelling "Release the hounds!!" like I'd hoped. The horses that knew what was going on got all excited. And still, we sit there...

Then, all of a sudden, I hear this trumpet bugle and the hounds yelping and I see flashes of horses take off through the field. GAME ON!!! Our group (the second group) takes off like lightening. What an amazing rush of adrenaline! I haven't been that terrified/excited/out of my mind in a long time.

Here we are topping the first hill at a dead gallop:

...and this is us after we hold up after the first big run. Notice the expression? Nice.

Even after a few good runs, through the woods, over a creek, over a bridge and about 5 miles in to it, Jazzy was still, well, jazzed!

..another shot of us hacking down the road to prepare for another mind-blowing run.

Looks awesome, doesn't it?
The lady in the front it carrying the hunt horn wrapped around her if you can see it. And even though they didn't say, "Release the hounds", there were a significant amount of "Tally-hos" and the token man with an English accent.

So frickin' awesome! I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, Now THAT Makes a lot of Sense....

So, we're watching the football game last night. (And by we me, I mean Todd was watching it and I was doing my best to control my adult-onset-ADD by picking up what tidbits I could in between the laundry, sweeping, dishes, etc.) I'm not a huge football fan. Well, let's say if we "graded" my football know-how I certainly wouldn't be graduating with honors. Or even sometime this year. Alas, I humor Todd with my constant questioning due to complete lack of understanding. "What's that guy doing?" "Why are they stopping?" "It's not against the rules to pull hair?" "Why didn't he catch that?" "What to they talk about when they huddle?" .....ad nauseum.

Yesterday, however, I was so on my game. After a touchdown play the replay showed the ref running in from off screen and calling the touchdown. The receiver who caught the touchdown was number 81, so I say to Todd:
"Did you know that TO (Terrell Owens) is also number 81 and he's a receiver for the Cowboys?" to which he replies:

"Yes. That's true. And do you know who wears number 85?" and I say:

"Duh. Chad Ochocinco." (For those of you who don't know, Ochocinco is not his real last name. Well, it is now since he changed it from whatever his name was to Ochocinco - which literally means Eightfive.)

Anyway, about to thrill him with my VAST knowledge of the game I continue:

"And that referee, LJ (the one who came in to the screen during the play who's name I was sure was, in fact, LJ, since it was written on the back of his jersey) he's been in every game I've seen this season. He's hard core!"

And, after a brief silence in which I'm sure he became very disappointed in my football knowledge, he says:

"LJ is the Line Judge. They have one at every game."

Wow. Now that makes sense! I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Self Cleaning Cycle on an Oven. Does Anyone Even Use That?!

I never had - until the other day. It's such a fancy feature on those new-fangled appliances and those who know me, know that I'm pretty adamantly opposed to high-tech features. But, our oven has suffered it's fair share of cooking accidents, run overs and, yes, even explosions.

Last week I threw some red potatoes in to bake while I was out working in the barn. They were smaller than typical baker potatoes, but I still guessed they'd need a good hour or so in the cooker. About 30 minutes later Todd hollered out the back door, "How long have those potatoes been in there?", to which I replied, "Oh, only about half an hour. Why?" "Well, one of them just exploded, so I shut the oven off." Exploded? Hmm. Even at 30 I'm still learning" a) 350 degrees is too hot to bake potatoes. b) 1 hour is too long to bake potatoes at 350 degrees and, most importantly, c) the tin foil you wrap potatoes in (which I didn't use..) helps hold the potato shrapnel in so your oven won't look like mine did.

Following the Great Potato Incident of 2010, Todd prepared a lovely dinner of grilled shrimp and quinoa. He tossed the shrimp in olive oil and spices and broiled them on a cookie sheet. Half way through the operation the olive oil started dripping off the flat cookie sheet, producing enough smoke to fill the house, setting off all three smoke alarms! (Incidentally, Colt obviously inherited my fear of fire and launched in to a full on body shaking, paranoid melt down!)

Something drastic had to be done post-potato explosion and olive oil disaster. So, the other night (after another smoke-out, 3-detector alarm) I pushed the "self clean" button wondering what it might do. The oven took charge, locked itself, set the timer for three hours and began heating to a temperature I'm not entirely sure was safe. I could see little embers glowing in the bottom of the oven! And the door was locked - I couldn't even shut it off! (Then I began thinking I should have read the manual first..) Smoke started rolling out the top of the oven filling the house and setting the detectors off again and the heat coming off the oven drove the inside temperature up to almost 80 degrees! We removed all the batteries from the detectors and opened all the door and windows in the house for the three hour cleaning cycle.

I'm happy to report that after a few olive oil induced smoke-outs, the potato explosion and the possessed self cleaning episode, all the crap in the bottom of the oven was reduced to ash that I wiped out the next morning. The oven sparkles now! I can't believe what a good job it did! I'm so sold on the self-cleaning cycle. And I'm even considering easing up on my technology ban.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And The Fun Continues!

From Crater Lake we headed south in to California. The Lava Beds in N. California were awesome and we were able hit a lot of the caves formed thousands of years ago by lava flowing underground. Colt seemed to enjoy all the spelunking we were doing!

We could definitely tell all that stimulus money California received didn't go towards road repairs! Take a look at the 14 mile road we took out of the Lava Beds Monument:


We hit up Lassen National Park which turned out to be exactly what the guy at the dump station had described: a little Yellowstone Nat'l Park. It was so beautiful and reminded me a ton of Yellowstone (where we were scheduled to visit a few days later.)

I had to put this picture in because on our way out of Lassen Park we stopped for what looked like a "medium difficulty" hike. We ended up completing a hike I think was more like summitting K2. I guess a hike titled "Summit Lakes" really means summitting something. Crazy how descriptive that was. Anyway, we get to the top and there is this pristine lake that the baby wants a piece of. So, I strip him down and wade in. We were having a lot of fun...right up until I dunked his junk in the glacier fed waters! I didn't realize at the time how painful that must have been and was quickly reminded of it when he started screaming and scrambled for shore. We headed down the mountain after that!

Of all of the cool things in an RV, Colt definitely fixated on the driving area. His main focus was pulling on the steering wheel, rattling the keys and adjusting the stereo volume.

...more fun to come!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ok..FINALLY! Vacation Stuff!

Just a little late with the vacation updates. Most people have heard the stories, but here are some of the highlights:

First stop (after Todd's maniacal 8 hour driving binge) was a nice, homey rest area with signs everywhere stating "Keep Your Animals In The Vehicle!! MANY DOGS HAVE DIED HERE." followed by a sign depicting (which I wish I would have taken a picture of) a dog jumping over a small wall to it's death. That was awesome. The views were nice, but kinda made me nautious.

Day #2: Crater Lake. That's a look of joy, isn't it? "Take one more picture. I dare you." doesn't it? I'm actually thinking, "One more mile in that hell wagon and I'm going to kill something." Incidentally, it was my birthday that day and Todd surprised me with a bottle of Crater Lake wine and some earrings I love!

...ahh...that's better! One big happy family at Crater Lake.

Day one of actually camping at a campsite. Those are newly purchased camping chairs because me, being ever-so prepared, forgot to pack the ones we already owned. I also forgot extra diapers and salt and pepper, but that's another story!

OK. This is our (and by that I mean Todd's) first attempt at emptying the poo holding tank. Went pretty well by all accounts. I say that because I was inside with the baby and dog avoiding the pouring rain that had started and lasted two more days of our trip.

...and I did manage to get a great picture of the Poo Monster from inside the RV. Man, whatever you do, don't go out there!

This is where the other fellow dumping his poo tank convinced Todd he'd just come from the best National Park ever!! and we deviated from our plans and headed south in to California. Next stop: Lassen National Park!

Granny Panties! Where Function Meets Ugly.

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I bought granny panties last weekend. I bought granny panties in a multi pack at Costco. At this stage in my life I've over the cute little Victoria Secret undies for a few reasons.
  1. Although cute, they creep. Seriously. It's like my butt has developed some voracious appetite for underwear. Next thing you know you're wearing a thong that didn't start out as one.
  2. What's the point? Underwear should serve merely to protect me from the bladder infections I develop if I either don't wear them or wear poorly fitting (see #1) underwear. Plus, cute underwear have "that effect" and with a toddler, quite frankly, I'm just too tired.
So, even though Todd commented, "Granny Panties!" when I opened the box, I'm sticking with my choice. In fact, I like them so much I might get another pack tomorrow!