Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

It's the time of the year I almost dread, the holiday season.

Most activities stop because everyone is soooo busy. I'm really not sure what they are busy doing because this is one of the slowest times of the year for our family. Very little happens :(

With that said I'm seeing all kinds of posts on other blogs about turkeys, casseroles, and pies. Hmmm. No turkey here. No pies, no ham, no casseroles, no big dinners. That's right, we have ruined our children's hopes of ever being normal by not cooking them a big Thanksgiving dinner. I think we went to a big family dinner once when Lorna was a baby but maybe not.

We will spend the day munching on various appetizer type things and just relax. Maybe I'll even be able to convince the rest of the family to help me clean the house since I've been ignoring it while I work on a huge sewing project for our chorus. Exciting day we have planned right? I think the best thing about the day is that we get to sleep in and there is no pressure to do anything out since everything is closed :)

Friday, November 20, 2009


Lorna is going through some major disappointment right now.

Due to a misunderstanding between Paul's boss and corporate we won't have the money to pick up her new horse this weekend. His pay plan is a very complicated melding of commission, travel allowance, additional assistance, and bonuses. That means that until he gets off of the additional assistance he cannot earn more than a specific amount even though he is technically a straight commission rep. All of this means that she's going to have to wait until some time in January until she can pick up the new horse.

It doesn't sound like that big of a deal but because of the way the gymkhana season is scheduled this means that this season will be a complete wash. She won't have enough shows left to earn anything on the new horse and the horse she's currently ridding isn't capable of much yet. This will make 2 seasons with virtually no awards or progress. When you're 14 and driven that seems like forever.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It's hard to believe but Lorna is turning 14 today!

It seems like just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital. This past year has seen a lot of challenges for her and I'm proud of how she has handled everything. She's seen a number of disappointments and she has made a number of decisions that have made me proud. I can honestly say that she is a joy to be around! I know it's not normal for a teenager's parents to say such a thing but it's true.

Once again she has decided to skip dinner out in favor of tickets to a horse expo at the beginning of next year. She has chosen one of her favorite dinners for tonight, shrimp pasta. Of course being the weird person that she is there will be no cake because she hates it. The major excitement for her will come this weekend when she picks up her new horse!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Novemebr Gymkhana

This past Saturday we had yet another gymkhana show.

Lorna has decided to pull Sierra from gymkhana for the foreseeable future because neither one was enjoying it. Lorna is going to give her some time off with the hope that Sierra will mature and end up making her a good endurance prospect.

Lorna rode Studmuffin and he did really well, he continues to progress with each show. Lorna originally planned to finish out the season on him but she's getting a new horse this weekend. This one is a patterned gymkhana horse that has lots of potential. We may end up pulling Studmuffin from the season as well so she can concentrate on the new horse. I've actually been riding Studmuffin the past few days. He seems content to just walk slowly around the neighborhood so he may just end up being my mount until I progress enough to ride the other mustang we have.

Malachi and Amigo blew me away this past weekend. It amazes me that they have only been doing this for a year. Malachi started the season as a solid "A" rider but he has started bumping up into "AA" times. They did amazingly this past show. At first Malachi wasn't too happy about bumping up but he's starting to become a bit competitive and has decided he wants to finish the season as a solid "AA" rider. Amigo still has lots more to give him so we shall see where they end up topping out.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Good Life

Years ago when we had cable we used to watch this show called "The Good Life". It was about people who had made some radical change in their life and found what they considered the "good life." Each episode was very different and we found it inspiring.

Last week I finished a book called No Impact Man. If you aren't familiar with it, it's about a man and his family who try to live a no impact lifestyle for one year in New York City. There are many things I don't agree with in the book like global warming being man-made and such but the book was enjoyable because it wasn't preachy. It was more about the journey the author and his family took. It really made me think.

On one of the last pages he wrote, "Who determines what the good life is?"

I've spent a lot of time working on conserving energy just because I think it's important and I like saving money :) We support local businesses whenever it's possible and it makes financial sense. We eat better than ever because I care about what we put in our bodies. The biggest obstacle I've come up against is how to cut back on our car usage. I think I've been going about this all wrong though. I don't want to do this because it makes sense in our lives but because I felt like it was the next logical step in conserving resources. It doesn't make sense for us, Paul makes his living by driving so I can't really do anything about the 5000 miles a month he drives. We can't walk, bike, or even ride the horses anywhere because of where we live. Driving is the only way to get around. Maybe I'm just rationalizing because I no longer want to feel guilty for how much fuel we consume, but our life is going to involve driving a lot and I'm not going to feel guilty anymore.

We haven't figured out what our "good life" is yet but I do know it's going to include a lot of driving!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Car Woes

About a month ago Paul's little commuter car started giving us problems. It lost all power when going uphill. Our mechanic told us the engine needed to be rebuilt. We didn't have the $2000 to have a rebuilt engine put in so we decided to try it ourselves. After a month of frustration we got it running only to have a few other things go wrong. $500 later we still didn't have a running car and it was going to take more money to fix.

After much discussion and $1000 in gas spent while he was driving my truck to work, we decided to buy another car. Used cars are expensive! We found that newer used cars were only a little bit less than new cars. Not only that but it is really difficult to find vehicles that don't have lots of options which add to the overall price. We contemplated purchasing a new car but, just like with the used ones, it was impossible to find a stripped model and none of the others were within our price range. We have 2 small used car dealers here in our valley. After searching the lots in the big city and checking out the lots here in town we decided to buy something locally.

We financed the vehicle through our credit union and did all the paperwork in about 1 hour, most of that time was spent at the bank waiting for the paperwork to print. The transaction was the easiest and most pleasant car buying experience we've ever had. The car was priced about $1000 below what the dealers in the city were asking for a comparable vehicle, there was no haggling, and the money stayed in our valley. Paul got a 2008 Chevy Cobalt and I got a hug from the car dealer owner who sold us the car :) I can't say I'm thrilled with having a car payment again but the amount of money we will save in gas will more than pay for that payment and the extra insurance!