Monday, January 11, 2016

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the goblin city to take back the child which you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great. You have no power over me!

Oh but you do! I admit it. I bawled this morning when I discovered you died. I bawled reciting Sarah's soliloquy into voice-to-text. What a human response! It's not like I had plans to hang out with you in 2016.(That does beg the question though – why didnt I? And who DO I want to hang out with in 2016?) You leave a greiving family and a world of heartbroken fans. But you yourself have escaped the agony of whatever cancer you've been privately fighting. (Note to self – get those genetic tests sooner rather than later!) You tilled fresh creative ground throughout your life up 'til your passing.  If I believe what I say I believe, then you are in heaven, with limitations blasted off of your already astonishing abilities.

I cried because my subconscious thinks that those things you contributed to my life are gone forever. And that's not so. Of all your faces, there are those i most know you best by, love you most by, define my own life by. Jareth the goblin King is the Alpha and the Omega. The vocal tracks for Under Pressure with Freddy Mercury and the deliberately unwitting Christmas duet with Bing Crosby cradle the dizzying, dazzling span of your range between their bookends. A generation of Shirley's alumni will recognize Spider from Mars, my imaginary tricolor pinto horse with one blue eye and one brown eye.

I'm glad I didnt get tickets to the Labyrinth Ball this month in Massachusetts.  I think, maybe the Alamo Drafthouse will show Labyrinth now but instead of being excited to dress up, tears well up afresh even as I google possible showtimes (too soon for that, apparently.) Is it human nature or something else that makes us fixate on loss at the expense of joy?  

There is nothing like death to make us appreciate life. And, if we dance with it just so, to help us amplify life 

God bless and receive you, David Bowie. May He Heal any wounds you had left behind and let our spirits soar with your gifts!

... And should we need you...yes whould we need you for any reason at all....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jumping in!

Arighty jumping right in! I'm already bored with counting exercise calories. Its been just over a week, in which I logged maybe half my activity and threw up my hands in frustration at even trying to guess riding calories burned without a heart rate monitor. I have a good sense now that calories in are fewer than calories out, I'm almost at my target weight way ahead of schedule, and I know Mark'll keep me straight if I stray. So just for fun I'm going to bow out of tracking activities and simply combine them all to walk/ride/swim/dance/mudstep to Mordor. Who's with me?

Here's our map...

And a fun description of the journey with some traveling tips...

And a fun tune to send us off!

 Already on my way!

There you are!

Dust dust.... Blow off cobwebs... There! Much better. Hi old friend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Current Gypsy Vardo Project

Ok, not a vardo but vardo inspired! Last night I looked at the two outlandishly heavy gig carts that I've been trying to sell (albeit with as little effort as success) and suddenly proclaimed out loud to Mark, "I'm gonna paint them up like vardos and keep one as a planter!"

In the quest for historically inspired decoration I came across these videos.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The time, the way

I'm fighting fear. The timing of this new season could not be worse in my mind. Riding students, winter soft, are back in the saddle, excited to launch forward to the next level. Horses in training are fit and happy and ready to show. Mark and my young horses are ready to start under saddle and the older ones ready to show and promote.

My goal was to have 5 of our horses ready and sold into great new homes in the next 6 weeks, bringing relief to both fields and finances. This had been the plan throughout the long winter. This is the plan officially launched last week on dentistry day, when the equine tooth fairy pulls wolf teeth and prepares young mouths to receive the intrusion and instruction of a bit.

There is a path, I know it. But to see 6 weeks with no clear educational (equine) or financial progress with the farm terrifies me. Look harder, look deeper. I'm already pursuing obvious paths: pictures of saddles no longer needed poised and ready to load online. Openness to make some concessions and compromises from my initial vision. Flowing with every eddy and cross-current to see what may be revealed.

Solomon exhorts us: "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

Okeedoke, God. My feet are willing, albeit wobbly. Just please, show me which way to go.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The first steps

Last night we went to our first Tai Chi class together. My heart soared even as my body loosened pain's grip. Breathe. Flow. Yes, the perfect prescription for the season. Mark and I are currently the only students in the class, so there is time and space for him to ask about possible parallels in his horsemanship--yes--and for Barbara and I to compare notes in teaching different disciplines that are so similar.

I've Tai'ed my Chi formally through several stages of life, but the order of the movements seldom sticks beyond a few weeks. We go through standing, walking, and then the first steps.

I think about several of my students who I'd like to invite to join our class, students who enjoy a Centered Riding approach to their lessons. Looking forward to fresh fodder to liven their lessons.

Today was a rough day. Frustrating and by far the most painful yet. By evening I felt like a total abject failure- I let my people down, I let my horses down, I let my loved ones down, I let myself down.

Tonight, safely and gratefully in bed, I pull out "The Songs of Horses" for a long overdue re-read and anticipated escape. Instead of granting me flight, Belasik turns the mirror on me with Joseph Campbell's words:"The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstacy for oneself but the wisdom and power to serve others."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Sacred Season

"To everything turn, turn turn/ There is a season..." croon The Byrds, covering the Pete Seeger tune which he, in turn, lifted straight out of Ecclesiastes. We just stepped out of a beautifully, brutishly burly winter and into...

...Spring. A season embracing the promise and chaos of birth, rebirth and growth. A season demanding disposal of the ubiquitous accompanying afterbirths, and the detritus of all that is old, unfruitful or outgrown.

My spring launched with its annual rebirths of life's routine- renewals of insurances and certifications, horse vaccines and dentistry, tack repair and taxes. Snowmelt left safe footing and a full roster of awesome riding students, each bringing their own challenges to stretch me into being just who they need me to be to help them become who they dream of being. A full roster too of wonderful horses, belonging to clients or to Mark and I, and all the fun, challenge and possibility that comes with developing each individual's full potential and finding their perfect new owner. And of course a full farm roster of maintenance, desired improvements, and dream-birthed foundations for longer term visions.

In the beat of a heart that season morphed. I was tuning up a horse for an upcoming show when the world turned upside down. I found myself screaming in pain on the concrete earth while puffy clouds raced and tumbled wholly unconcerned overhead. Coltie and his geldings gathered at the fence a few feet away and watched over me until Mark saw me, and the ambulance came to collect me. Lying there waiting, I committed to this unexpected season and swore that when I looked back on it, I would say sincerely: "this was one of the best things that ever happened to me!"

I'm so grateful for the outcome. A few fractured vertebrae- no big breaks or internal damage. 4-6 weeks of healing should see me back in the saddle. A visit with the NueroDude this afternoon should confirm it. And so this season, planned for productivity, process and profit, takes the reins and guides me far afield.

I'm in a new place in my body. I'm used to constant pain, but not at this level. The meds that promise some degree of relief further mutate and alienate my body. A balloon poodle where my tongue once was. Cotton candy for a brain. A three-ring circus swathed in skin, lacking only the dancing pink elephants. I'm frustrated when when my body limits me so. I'm really embarrassed when it suddenly and violently turns against me, leaving me unable to do anything but scream "help me! help me!" when I don't even know what would help except to get me down safely and just get through this episode. The frustration, fear and embarrassment must help propel the journey.

Plenty of projects simmer on the backburner, once destined for time brought by rainy day cancellations. A half finished book delights in the prospect of completion. I've already signed us up for the Tai Chi class that Mark has been wanting to take, but I previously refused commit time to. I'm looking forward to spending unexpected spring time with good friends near and far. Meanwhile daily life itself is a new adventure-putting a sock on by myself has become an exercise in ingenuity, if at times impossibility.

As I drift inevitably between furious, philosophical, frustrated and fascinated, my heart is open and actively seeking the surprises, delights and insights I know this serendipitous season hides. Join me and Maurice Sendak as we shout out, "let the wild rumpus start!"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Love Wind

To the tune of "I love Trash" by Oscar the Grouch

Oh I love wind!
Anything gentle or galey or gusty
Anything breezy or blowy or blustery
Yes I love wind!

I have here a saddlepad once clean and new
It hung in the aisle then to pasture it blew
It was stomped in the mud by a horse, maybe two
and all cuz of lovely wind.


I climbed on a filly for her first trail ride
A cannibalistic leaf then did fly by
zero to 60 before I realized she'd shied
And all cuz of lovely wind.


And Oscar himself to remind us the tune:

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Often I feel like our blind, diabetic dog: stepping forward in faith, trusting that the next stair will be under foot. And if I miss, that the fall is short enough to shake off and start again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Siege Of Glengary Equestrian

September is galloping along. Mark's Birthday just passed, and mine dances closer, hand in hand with the Siege of Glengary. I always joke that Siege is really my Birthday event! This year marks a milestone: the return of equestrian to Siege of Glengary.

When Siege was still held at the Lazy A campground, I taught some riders the games and ran equestrian events, breaking ground for our shire. Siege then moved to a postage-stamp site. Horses were out of the question.

I had a dream of Siege moving to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, of bringing back equestrian events with all their flash and thunder. This year, that dream becomes reality.

We welcome you to join us! There are many ways to be involved with equestrian at Siege of Glengary.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy April Foals Day!

Luna the Shire/ spotted draft mare delivered a spirited, strapping colt in the wee hours of the morning. Baby and mama are both doing great!

The colt is a chestnut Tobiano with a chanfron shaped blaze-perfect for a future war horse! His sire is Jack Flash, a Gypsy cob stallion imported from the UK. The foal will be registered as a Gypsy Sport Horse.

We are tossing around name ideas, doting on mama and playing with the colt. We look forward to a future full of adventures in trail riding, medieval reenacting, dressage, eventing, and just horsing around.

Since he's a Gypsy born on April Fools, he must be a Laughing Gypsy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Extreme Sheep Art

When Welsh Shepherds have too much time on their hands...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obsidian and Gold

This song is Mark's Valentine's present. It took root the night of our engagement, when we exchanged our gold and black feathered horses. I was going to write it for the wedding, but surprise surprise was a tad busy with other things. Then for his birthday, then Christmas, then our first/winter anniversary, but the timing still wasn't right.

After the anniversary the final pieces fell into place. The feathered horses, the places, the swords, the helm and the banner are all real. And so are we. And hopeful romantics at that!

I'm waiting now for the music, for what's a song without a tune? If it shows up in your head, please sing it to me!
Obsidian and Gold

Back when the hearts of men were green and the world glimpsed its first light of morn
And mysteries and histories and victories were born
A tale took root, gained force and flew of Love so fierce and bold
A love that soared on wings of obsidian and gold

A boy was born became a man beneath the western sun
His mind was quick his heart was true yet longed to find his One
A girl ran wild, down years she smiled on the other side of the world
She never thought such love she sought could ever be unfurled
Their spirits, forged in the fires of life and the raging storms they’d weather
Their paths aligned became entwined, at last they ran together

Chorus: So ride together towards forever, hearts joined into one
On one mare black as dreamfilled night, The other fiery sun
These wing’d steeds of timeless breeds, their bearing bright and bold
Will carry you on feather of obsidian and gold

“I pledge my troth to thee,” they vowed, their voices joined as one
“Our endless love and loyalty will ever burn so bright”
And standing there he gave a mare black as the dreamfilled night
And she to him a golden steed afire like the sun

Foul forces rose against them, as hatred craves Love’s death
He gave to her a glittering helm, his kiss life-giving breath
And she to him a banner bright emblazoned with the power
Of two as one together come to face their darkest hour


Voice joined in battlecry, As one their swords they drew
Her blade curved like a lyric, his tempered straight and true
A lightening flash, a ringing clash! Their foe before them flew
United heads and hands and hearts, as one now stand the two

Though evil screams against all dreams egomaniacally
And heaven’s gifts come under fire diabolically
Bonds born defeating darkness are the strongest ever known
The heavens sing such victories as of their very own

Final chorus:
We ride together towards forever, hearts joined into one
My mare black as dreamfilled night, Yours the fiery sun
Our sterling steeds of timeless breeds, their bearing bright and bold
Now bear our dreams, our love on wings, obsidian and gold

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Banner Anniversary

The ice storm provided the perfect opportunity to finish the anniversary banner.

We'd come up with the, probably over a year ago. Mark saw a design with the wolves from the Book of Kells racing around an interior design, now I don't even remember what it was. I thought the wolves would look great around a horsey knotwork triskelion, and remembered a particular iteration that would work well. Mark worked some photoshop magic and *poof* we had our pictogram.
(I just made up the stuff down in the tip of the banner on the fly, to anchor that sea of negative space. )

I'd wanted to make the banner as a surprise for Mark to decorate our wedding tent. Seems appropriate that it mark our anniversary! I still need to cut down the ends of the cross piece and make a flagpole, but the main body is DONE! Mark brought it up to the roundpen while I was playing with Grace--even more appropriate as she is the engagement ring :-)

The banner, dancing by the round pen

Detail of the main design

Detail of the tip design

Just now I look up what the traditional first anniversary gift is: paper. Neither the banner nor the Cafe Press stein with the same graphic (part 1 of the gift) qualify. Ah well. Valentine's Day is just around the corner!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coffee with Madeleine

Madeleine L'Engle was one of my favorite authors growing up. As I devoured her stories, I would insert my own character into them and make up new adventures with Meg and Charles Wallace, with Vicki and Zachary. Her skeleton of quantum physics gave my world a structure and power that finally made sense, and explained my impossible reality.

Then I heard her "adult" books were "Christian". I still rigidly tied Christ together with the Church, and wanted both of them as far away from me as possible. Rather than taste for myself, I trusted my intellect (bad move!) and moved on to other authors.

Perhaps, had I trusted her enough to follow through uncomfortable places, I could have short-cut my own journey by 17 years.

Mama D. gave me 3 of Madeleine's books for Christmas. She is my brother's mother in law. Does that make her my mother in law in law? Any rate, January's stolen moments with Madeleine are bringing delight, recognition-- and challenge.

She reminds me so of my Grandmother. Granny was still of the "children should be seen and not heard" camp when I was growing up, and my ubersensitive personality inflated that and carried into young adulthoood before she died. Yet after death, she affects me daily more powerfully than ever in life. I wish I'd been smart-loving-brave-presumptuous-WHATEVER enough to chase that down while still she lived. A powerful woman, a powerful Christian-- but that which I now see as worth pursuing chased me off as a child.

So too it is with Madeleine. I mourned her death but now she's with me as I ponder, or recognize myself in her words, or snarf coffee out my nose in hilarity.

I wish I hadn't wasted so much time. I wish I knew enough then to grab hold of what I know is important now. Bu I am sooo grateful that long after their deaths, these two extraordinary women are still dancing in my life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saying Good Night

If the only reason the truck fried and we needed the flatbed was so the stranger staggering down the side of the road didn't freeze to death, it was a night well spent.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shield sheltered, foe facing
Astride alone, aloft in a saddle
Strongly stitched, skins stretched
On wood felled and fashioned
To tame a tireless tide
Buoyed by winter’s wool
Warmly woven, colors clashing
Cinched snugly, buckles bright
By singing smith-strong strokes
Leg leathers, lightly laced
Wrap the war steed’s snorting surge
Rebellion reined to reason
With the horseman’s weird whisper
Weapons waiting, formed to feed
Arrows quiver, fletched to fly
Sword’s sharpened shine unsheathed
Seeks to silence, lethal loyalty!
Banner breaks on skysurf
Snapping sea of stitches
Singly sewn, my clan's commanding
proclaims my presence
Lone in a lake of rivals rage
Shield sheltered, foe facing
One warrior battlebound
The vast village, ahorse in its arts
Rides unseen alongstride

Burst the Bounds

I start Madeleine L'Engle's "the Irrational Season" this morning, book 2 of Mamma D's Christmas gifting. As the sun groggily staggers above the horizon, I once again whirl and revel, agree and question L'Engle's luscious prose.

This sentence sparks a pyrotechnic WAHOOO! that blows me off the sofa!

I saw creation bursting the bounds of daily restriction, and stretching out from dimension to dimension, beyond any human comprehension.

Bursting the bounds of daily restriction... I recognize in that my Wild Joy. THAT is the way I want to live!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Morning Mare Check

Between the bitter wind and the burning cold, I expect to find a newborn foal, just out of principle. But the pasture status is still quoing. Luna's still standing in the hay, happily getting larger as the round bale disappears down her gullet.

The young-uns are keeping her company. Grace marches right over for attention. SkySong was sleeping sunbathed in the hay--she takes a little longer to wake up.

I find myself singing "In Your Eyes" as the horses' glossy orbs reflect our world-- and me--into the iPhone camera...

"...In your eyes, I am complete...."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Bend

I hate that corner.

Its a 90 degree bend in a country road, close enough to town for convenience, far enough out to keep dirty secrets. The parking area is littered with rotting garbage, tattered sofas and silenced torments.

Jeannie's son was driving home late one night. As he rounded the bend a car screamed out of the darkened pull off behind him. The driver seemed crazed, honking and trying to run the young man off the road.

I don't remember the details of the rest of the story. It ended up with Jeannie calling the cops and her husband grabbing a gun and joining in the car chase. The cops cornered the psycho in the parking lot of a local hotel. As they were cuffing him they discovered a small boy-- his stepson-- frozen, silent, and bloodstained in the backseat of the car.

I hate that bend.

I use that shortcut this afternoon, racing home from town on the misty fringes of the icestorm. Something catches my eye about an old barn, makes me want to pull over and play with photos. I remember with delight I'd thrown my camera in my bag that morning. I look for a pulloff. My heart sinks and my hackles rise as I realize where I am.

I maneuver my Subaru through cast-off Christmas trees and decaying deer carcasses. I can see the barn through the mist. It reminds me off the cover of the book, "The Shack." I shudder and start praying over the area.

As I walk along the road away from that dreadful parking area, I slip into that amazing place-beyond-words between the camera and the world around me. At some point a man comes out to check his mailbox. "Looks like that barn could use a fixer-up," I laugh.

"Or a strong wind," he replies ruefully, "we hear it creaking and groaning at night...."

The low battery warning leads me back to the car, back to the Bend. Praises and prayers again flow freely. A powerful Peace washes over.... I climb into the car.

view complete gallery...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year 2009

The New Year. Perhaps it's just placebo, this annual rebirth we step into each January. We turn a calendar page which marks a made-up measurement of imaginary time and call it a milestone.

Placebos may be counterfeits, but their results are really real. I say, bring it on!

I've been chewing on this year's resolution for a few days now. I wished everyone a New Year of wild joy, and realized this was my resolution. To live every moment with Wild Joy.

I smile, remembering that long ago realization and accompanying commitment that who I am is Bold and Sparkly. Why is it, I ask again, that we need to constantly remind ourselves what we already know?

Wild Joy is my birthright as a son and heir of the Creator and Lover of EVERYTHING. It's the food that charges my body, jazzes my spirit, and ignites that Love that glues me to everyone in my world.

And it's also a choice.

It's not conditional joy: my circumstances are perfect and the stars harmoniously converge and so I'm joyful. It's not a rebellious joy: I'm joyful to spite my circumstances. That would still define and limit Joy by the parameters of circumstance. It's a Wild Joy, outside of circumstance, generated moment-to-moment by choice rather than cause-and-effect.

A commitment anew rather than a new commitment.

I haven't yet put 2009 planner pages in my Ta-Da Book. The year stretches untouched in front of me, the open space welcoming Wild Joy with an wide embrace.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gypsy Horse Link Library

Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association
Gypsy Sport Horse Registry
Gypsy Horse Links

Gypsy Horse Journey

It's another rollicking race down a rabbit-trail at once familiar and new. Ever in love with Gypsy Cobs and Drum Horses, we are facing a serious possibility of welcoming one into the family. I'm in the throes of research: the decision hinges on outside factors, other folks and an open future.

When the detective work winds down and we have solid conclusions, I'll spin the whole story.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whirling Towards Winter

... and clinging tight to this wild ride. "Widen your tent pegs" we're told, and I'm trusting for the resources to steward that growth.

Expression is now flung to far-reaches of the web. SCA and medieval reenacting stuff goes to Horse musings go to Photos saunter over to Smugmug and farm stuff finds its way to

Dissecting myself is an interesting discipline born from a business model. I look forward to reaping that harvest.

But I've really missed it here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not only am I remembering how to form a phrase, I'm dusting off my trigger finger. Took a bunch of pix at my brother's wedding last weekend. The lighting was difficult, the joy was infectious, and my heart sang to see the world through a viewfinder again. Bit by bit I'm getting them up on my jumbled SmugMug site....

Blink. STRRREEEEEETCH!!!!!!!!!!

One thing weddings are good for is getting back in touch. I haven't talked to Matthew in way too long, yet he cuts right to the root of restlessness: "been writing much?"

Um. Hum. Uhhhhh...

And I know that's the keystone that I've cast aside. Or at least the slightly rancid frosting on the current tasteless cake.

"Life to you is a dashing and bold adventure" reads my fortune cookie after way too much Jumbo Buffet. Living to tell the tale adds both anchors and wings. (Not to imply I'd exaggerate....) Life encourages expression, expression generates life.

Looking forward to this particular dashing chapter to wind to a close. Not the wedding stuff, though Wolf and I are sore tempted to elope again (guess that would kinda defeat the purpose of a public wedding.) Just the everything else which stifles the very expression that would breathe bright life into stale and desperate spaces.

A few weeks ago Paul talked about climbing on his tractor as the storm clouds threatened. "Please, God, hold off 'til I finish mowing!" Wolf and Ginny and I laughed and laughed, having lived out the story verbatim in the very same storm. Paul's message was on the mowing. Getting things right and ready for the life-giving rains. Right now I am mowing... and being mown.

Just hang on tight and dance into the deluge, whooping defiant delight. If we can survive the mowing, the rain will bring lush harvest indeed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Backhoe Ballet

OK, I've got a redneck streak, but at least I've got CULTURE :-P!

Enjoy the dance!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's!

eternally joined truelove and i tumble through mountain's valentine

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Between the foggy, icemelt splattered lens and the yoga asanas I was going through to try and frame a clear shot in the underbrush, the picture itself is a mess. But imagine the leaves as we saw them: perfect replicas in ice, slid off of their parent leaves, clinging just a little longer before sliding away....