Sunday, March 30, 2008

(more) close encounters of the bird kind

ADDENDUM: I completely forgot that there was a very interesting bird encounter earlier on Saturday, when my husband and I went to the grocery store. We stopped by a pet store that happened to be right by the grocery, and were both dismayed to find that it is one of the older style pet stores, with puppies, kittens, and many birds in tiny plexiglass cages.

I hadn't seen a store like that in a long time, and I was walking around getting more and more agitated, looking for the brand of cat food we use and thinking that even if I found it I wouldn't likely buy it. I no longer support that kind of pet store. Near the back of the store I stopped at the end of an aisle and saw a huge parrot on a perch. Immediately I thought "oh, you poor thing, if I could buy you and get you out of here I would."

The moment I thought that the parrot said "hello???" - just as if it were answering me. I had to get out of there fast. My heart was breaking.

Hopefully M. will post a link to some of Rupert Sheldrake's work on telepathy with animals in a comment.


Yesterday on the way to buy cat food, my husband and I had a bird encounter together. We had been talking about wild turkeys - he'd seen a gorgeous male on his way home from work last week - and had been trying to nail down between us where exactly he'd seen it. Yesterday, just as we came to the place I'd described to him earlier (but not where he'd seen the turkey last week) we rounded a curve and there he was!

We pulled off the road and managed to get a photo, since my photographer husband always travels with a well-charged camera.

Shared blessings and harvest, spirituality and the honoring of the Earth.

Further along on our little journey we saw a flock of black vultures on the side of the highway and noted them. We talked about black vultures versus turkey vultures and how we both think they're quite regal. We got off the highway and decided to follow a side road to check out a 693-acre parcel of land for sale, calculating how much it might cost and what we'd do with it if we could buy it. At the end of the side road we came full face with the same black vultures, who flew up and into a tree when we stopped.

The vulture was viewed by the Greeks as a descendant of the griffin, a symbol of heaven and earth. The vulture is seen as a guardian of the mysteries of life and death. In alchemy, the vulture was a symbol of sublimation.

It was quite fun to see more birds after this week's bounty.

On the way home we stopped by the local indie bookstore and I noticed a sign for an upcoming author appearance. Joe Camp will be coming in May to read from and sign his new book out April 29th called The Soul of a Horse.

When we got home I checked out his website, Naked Horsemanship, and was excited to find that his journey learning about living with horses in many ways parallels my own. I'm eager to read his book and I highly recommend his website as a wealth of information and resources for living "naked" with horses.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

wind and rain

The wind is blowing in cooler temps and what looks like a couple days of rain. The rain hasn't arrived yet, but we've got total cloud cover and temps 30 degrees cooler than yesterday.

We went out this morning geared up to get all the barn chores done early, right after breakfast. I had to call them in, which is rare, but everyone ate and then went back out while we cleaned water troughs, mucked, scrubbed feed and water buckets/tubs, and got things set up for them in case they need to be brought in early today.

Rafer Johnson got a sudden and very wild hair. He was running circles in the back field at top speed, getting the geldings riled up and Salina brought herself to the safety of the paddock. He ran and bucked and leaped and jumped and doubled back. It was hilarious. Once he'd gotten that wild hair out he helped himself to a nice long drink and then went to the salt lick.

The fun was NOT over however.

Once Rafer settled down the geldings started up. Running, bucking, rearing, striking. They tried to run their usual races in the paddock but one look from Salina sent them back out to the field. We watched until they settled down. As usual, Keil Bay stopped first, then Apache. Cody kept going, trying to get any one of them to rev back up with him, but he was out of luck.

I'm glad they all got some exercise before it gets wet and muddy and slippery. There will be no riding today!

We got the shavings pile covered, checked the hinges on all the stall doors to make sure they're secure, and came in to enjoy some more Saturday morning.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

partying down on November Hill

I so wish my camera battery wasn't dead and that I could find the power cord, which has been found (for me) and misplaced (by me) twice this week already.

Horses were in the back field with fresh hay around 4:15. Around 5 I happened to walk by the bedroom window and noticed Salina was in the FRONT field. The front field is off limits until the end of April so it can rest and so the grass can mature. It looks quite lovely with the spring grass coming in.

I couldn't imagine why she was out there, but I ran out to check. They had busted right through the gate and were having a big old party. Keil Bay had redbud blossoms all over his back. Rafer Johnson was running and bucking with pure mischief in his eye.

They were not happy about being marched out one by one. Rafer was simply herded out as he was too excited to be caught.

I suppose I started this whole thing this morning when I sang Happy Birthday to Salina and told the geldings to make sure she had a good day.

Happy 25th, Miss Salina Girl - your herd gave you a nice happy hour!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

on another note entirely - bird totems

I'm keenly aware of the close encounters I have with birds, and often consult Ted Andrews' wonderful book Animal Speak to read up on what these encounters might have to say to me.

Today I had three separate sightings. This morning two ravens were right by the barn when I went out, and they flew up into a nearby tree where they stayed while I fed breakfast. Ravens have to do with omens and magic, shapeshifting and creation.

A little later I walked outside and a red-tailed hawk flew out of the butterfly bush right by the door. It circled the house and barn 7 times before flying away. These are messenger birds, catalysts, with ties to the kundalini, primal life force. It portends extending the vision of one's life.

This evening a heron flew overhead. Herons symbolize balance and the ability to progress and evolve. It speaks to following one's own path.

Keil Bay was surrounded by blackbirds today, right up by the barn while I groomed him. Blackbirds are symbols of omens and mysticism. They flew away when I approached and returned each time I left to get another brush.

Lots to simmer as the week unfolds.

trim notes

I'm using this space as a sort of hoof diary - it helps me to write up the trims each time so I can track progress and organize my thoughts about feet.

Keil Bay - I am so excited about the progress we're seeing. His front hooves are beginning to get nice and round instead of oblong and narrow, as the heels continue to spread out. As this happens, he's landing solidly on the heels more and the tiny centerline cracks are growing out. The frog tissue is getting healthier. Really good to see.

Salina - She is no longer stumbling in front - something we had attributed to the arthritic knees, but as it turns out the hoof wall was too thick.

Rafer Johnson - His first trim with us - went very well. A little testing of the boundaries but with our trimmer's patient, loving demeanor and daughter's praise and reward with carrot pieces, he is now trimmed and balanced.

Cody - Wonderful progress. Soles are thickening and there is NO more soreness after trimming. He is learning to relax and enjoy the trim.

Apache Moon - His feet continue to be great. A little bit cheeky today but lots of praise and pats when he relaxed got him through. I noted that his feet sound different when the rasp touches them - it's a more solid, musical sound. Good feet - good tone?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

PTSD in Horses

After living and working through a traumatic trailer-loading incident that happened last spring with our pony, I've been interested in PTSD and horses.

We had taken the little man to a cross-country clinic, and when it came time to load for the trip home, he didn't want to get on the trailer. No crazy behavior, no drama, he simply stood at the door and refused to step up.

Our method was to take a breath, remain calm, and continue asking. I knew he'd get on at some point. Before this could happen, though, we were suddenly surrounded by a group of well-intentioned helpers who proceeded to put a rope behind him, surrounded him on both sides, and when he reared, got out a longe whip. This all happened so quickly I didn't have time to intervene. In a moment's time, he had leaped into the trailer. My only response was to express relief that my daughter had seen him coming and gotten out of the way.

He was traumatized by the incident and I knew I didn't know enough to help him through it. We called Marlis Amato and she came out to our farm within the week to help. My daughter now loads him one hoof at a time, with no force and no drama.

We're still working with Marlis. A few weeks ago in a lesson, I asked her to watch my daughter ride the pony using a dressage whip. If even tapped (and I do mean tap, no hitting involved) with the whip, he would sometimes buck. Marlis wondered out loud if he might be having flashbacks to some traumatic experience with a whip.

I instantly teared up and went to hug the pony. In all my work with trauma and humans, it hadn't really occurred to me that this pony, who was bred and trained by a loving family, could be experiencing flashbacks. I know he hasn't been abused, but it's possible some early experience frightened him. He doesn't like whips, particular the sound of a longe whip being "cracked."

I've been reading about PTSD in horses and came across an amazing website that chronicles two horses that paint, but even more remarkable, the story of the first year of work with a young abused horse named Da Vinci. In written diary entries and video, the couple who train him reveal their work with this amazing horse.

I highly recommend reading from beginning to end.

Friday, March 21, 2008

beautiful busy day

The wind has died down to almost nothing today, the sun is warm, and as usual, life out at the barn is full. Each moment brings something new to notice.

First off, Salina and Keil Bay got a bit agitated while waiting for breakfast. Salina broke the invisible line Keil Bay puts up around the barn shelter, Keil pinned his ears, Salina kicked the wall, and Keil Bay bumped his head. It took me a minute to figure out if the sound I'd heard was Salina's hoof hitting the wall or Keil's head hitting the beam. Unfortunately, it was both. Keil Bay got a Traumeel tablet and I went on with making breakfast.

While they ate, I worked on water troughs. There was pollen in the big trough in the main paddock, and when I looked up, I realized the tulip poplar is leafing out!

The carpenter bees came out 2 days ago and any day now I expect the Toad Prince will burrow his way out from behind the pump in the barn. He is a very welcome guest and when he comes out it's a sure sign that spring is here to stay.

I proceeded to turn horses back out and decided to get a few chores done for tomorrow's Writing With Horses workshop. The horse blankets were in the way and I needed a place to put them until I can get them washed and stored until next winter. I decided to stick them in the back of the horse trailer, something I've never done, and when I opened up the trailer and started putting blankets inside, Keil Bay and Salina began trumpeting from the back field.

They were watching intently, and I realized they thought someone was going somewhere. Salina was concerned and trotted around to the paddock (with her sidekick) to see what was up.

She stayed until she felt reassured that no, we weren't going on any trips.

Meanwhile, the crows were behind the back field having one of their very loud congresses, and Dickens E. Wickens gave up cowboy duty to Be A Cat. Last I saw, he was slinking the shadows stalking birds!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

bringers of light

It's the first day of spring, and it's also the fifth birthday of our wonderful Quarter Horse gelding, Cody. He joined our family when he was only 2 years old, and since he's been with us, has taught so many wonderful lessons about love, patience, and willingness to please.

His grandsire, Zippo Pine Bar, has a Breyer horse modeled after him. If he was anything like Cody, I can see why.

In one week, we will celebrate the 25th birthday of our lovely German Hannoverian mare, Salina. She is a beloved member of our herd and adoptive mama to little Rafer Johnson, who does pretty much everything she does, even walk up to the paddock to get a drink.

Happy birthday to Cody and Salina, and happy springtime to everyone. The lengthening days and the love and lessons of our horses bring so much light into our lives. I hope it's true for all of you as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

formicaries and other things

I'm completely intrigued with today's word of the day. A formicary is apparently an ant hill! What an elegant term.

Interesting too because I was thinking this morning about all the insects we deal with here on the farm and starting to sort out my plan for the big insect season approaching.

Fire ants outside and regular old ants that come in through the kitchen window - we use DE, aka diatomaceous earth, which we order from Dirtworks. It is nontoxic and incredibly effective. The fire ant hills usually need 3 applications of DE to get the entire mound. The website has very specific instructions and recommendations for dealing with fire ants, but I developed my own method which works well.

We also used it for fleas until we discovered last summer that our female Corgi has a flea allergy. The DE can't kill the fleas fast enough to relieve her, so I pulled out the big gun: Advantage, which works best for fleas. We tend to use less than recommended on the package - usually half the dose and every 6 weeks instead of 4.

Ticks. Frontline does a decent job. DE dusted onto the animals is also good but does require daily dusting, religiously. Horses too! I've heard good things about Advantix, but it is incredibly toxic to cats, so we won't be using that here.

Stable and biting flies. Fly predators from Spalding Labs are incredible. I'm increasing our shipment this year to 10k predators every 3 weeks, from early April through October.

Horse flies. Those big ones that look like they flew right out of a horror movie. Apparently dragon flies are their natural predators. My plan this year is to get a special trap called a Horse Pal that comes highly recommended by two horse owners and our donkey breeder. It lures the horse flies and traps them, and they die naturally. No poisons involved.

Mosquitoes. We mostly use a natural fly spray to deal with those. I haven't decided on my plan yet for this season. I have a recipe for making my own, and I've heard great things about Flicks. Both use essential oils and smell wonderful.

Other ideas? Products you've used with great success? Share the wealth in the comment section!

Monday, March 17, 2008

back to the escritoire

Okay, it's one of those times when I'm letting the word of the day guide my intentions. Back to the writing today, and my plan is to dig back into the second novel after a week focusing on nonfiction.

I've discovered that if I get my writing/riding routine flowing well on Monday, it carries through the week.

So second novel. And it's a Cody ride day. The local tack shop didn't have the loose ring French link snaffle in Keil Bay's size, but they did in Cody's, so I'm going to try him in the milder bit and pick one up for Keil tomorrow when I'm at the office and in the vicinity of the other tack shop.

Looks like a great day - the sky is pale blue, the sun is illuminating the tops of the pine trees outside the garret window, and a crow sits atop the tallest of them, cawing at me, which is one more indication that it's time to get back to the book.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

the dream team

Yesterday my daughter and I went to the barn at noon to get ready for lessons, and we didn't make it back inside the house until 8 p.m.

She and the pony are making such good progress. He's relaxing more and more into each ride, and getting very comfortable again. It's good seeing him move so well, and it's good watching my daughter ride. She has such a quiet, balanced seat, and she is totally focused and pretty much unflappable.

When I took Keil Bay into the arena, he was distracted by the other horses getting hay in the back field, and I was frustrated that we had to start with that. We power-struggled a little bit and I expressed my frustration to our trainer, Marlis Amato, who talked me through the power and wisdom of taking small steps and watching for the small improvements. Which of course I know, but it's good to be reminded while actually sitting in the saddle, and held to the course I've chosen.

Keil Bay responded immediately to my quieting everything - seat, legs, hands. His walk became rhythmic and relaxed, and he began to lick and chew. We worked our way up to sitting and rising trot, with the focus being the same quietness. Doing less of everything so that he could really hear/feel the lightest requests. As promised, by the end of the ride, we had made tremendous progress, and I was reminded again why I am so happy with Marlis' work. By taking each step slowly and with care, we end up so much further along, and with a happy, engaged horse.

What I especially admire about Marlis is that she is always looking for a way to get lighter. We discussed getting an even milder bit for Keil Bay, and I'm eager to head to the tack shop later and make that purchase.

A like-minded friend came by to lesson on Cody, and I sat at the picnic table by the arena and talked with another horsewoman, Kate, while my daughter sketched. The afternoon sun was golden and perfect, and the occasional snort of the horses in the back field was the soundtrack to this very lovely afternoon.

At the end of the day, standing in a circle by the barn doors, talking horses and behaviors and communication, I realized again how very fortunate I am to have found this group of horsefolk, which extends to include our chiropractor, massage therapist, veterinarian, and hoof trimmer. It felt yesterday like a sacred circle, and it made me happy that my daughter was part of it, absorbing the wisdom and energy of strong women with passion for horses and for their work.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

more of what I'm reading

I finished Leif Enger's wonderful novel, Peace Like A River, and passed it on to my daughter, who is always looking for something else to read. The first sentence:

FROM MY FIRST BREATH IN THIS WORLD, ALL I WANTED WAS A GOOD SET OF lungs and the air to fill them with - given circumstances, you might presume, for an American baby of the twentieth century.

Enger has a new novel coming out in April, So Brave, Young and Handsome. The blurb:

In 1915 Minnesota, novelist Monte Becket has lost his sense of purpose. His only success long behind him, Monte lives simply with his wife and son. But when he befriends outlaw Glendon Hale, a new world of opportunity and experience presents itself. Glendon has spent years in obscurity, but the guilt he harbors for abandoning his wife, Blue, over two decades ago, has lured him from hiding. As the modern age marches swiftly forward, Glendon aims to travel back to his past--heading to California to seek Blue’s forgiveness. Beguiled and inspired, Monte soon finds himself leaving behind his own family to embark for the unruly West with his fugitive guide. As they desperately flee from the relentless Charles Siringo, an ex-Pinkerton who’s been hunting Glendon for years, Monte falls ever further from his family and the law, to be tempered by a fiery adventure from which he may never get home.

A new Leif Enger in April, a new Ellen Gilchrist in May! Life is good.

Right now I'm reading Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals. Very nice so far. The blurb:

Aryn Kyle's haunting coming-of-age novel is the kind of book that you want to share with everyone you know. Twelve-year-old Alice Winston is growing up fast on her father's run-down horse ranch--coping with the death of a classmate and the absence of her older sister (who ran off with a rodeo cowboy), trying to understand her depressed and bedridden mother, and attempting to earn the love and admiration of her reticent, weary father. Lyrical, powerful, and unforgettable.

Sitting on top of my reading pile is Angela Davis-Gardner's Forms of Shelter. Angela is another North Carolina writer and I've had the pleasure of being on a writing retreat with her. Her novel-in-progress has to do with a horse, so I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's published. The blurb for Forms of Shelter:

In this moving, often heartbreaking story, Beryl Fonteyn chronicles her years growing up in Virginia and North Carolina. She is five years old when her adored saxophone-playing father leaves the family in Virginia for a jazz career in Chicago. A few years later, her mother marries Dr. Jack Fonteyn, who introduces his wife, stepdaughter and Beryl's younger brother Stevie to tennis, Greek classics and his passion: beekeeping. On the surface the new arrangement is idyllic, yet the hoped-for love and warmth of family life never materialize as Davis-Gardener's ( Felice ) carefully drawn characters instead connect in a painful, psychologically damaging dynamic spun of loyalty and desperation. Beryl's convincing voice, particularly as a child, lends authenticity to her honest and hard-hitting tale. Readers will identify with her loss and alienation and cheer her eventual courage as she confronts the harsh facts of her childhood.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

a comforting sight

This was waiting for me when I went out to the barn this morning, and I want to say thank you to everyone who sent good energy our way.

Since the drought hit and folks started talking about hay shortages, it is even more comforting to get in a nice load of hay and see it stacked there, ready to feed to the horses.

When the local hay talk neared panic proportions last fall, I dreamed one night that there was no hay to be found. The entirety of the dream was me leading our horses miles and miles down power cuts, allowing them to graze and forage what they could each day.

Each time we replenished our hay supply this season I have given thanks. And each time it rains, I do the same thing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

seeking crossed fingers

May I ask for your crossed fingers in the procuring of a load of hay this evening?

On Saturday morning my husband was scheduled to go pick up a load of hay. It was raining, so he rescheduled for Saturday evening. As he was hooking up the trailer to go, the Jimmy got stuck and wouldn't budge, so he rescheduled for Monday afternoon.

He got the Jimmy unstuck, went to work yesterday, and came home to go get that hay. The wheelbarrow tire was flat, so he stopped long enough to inflate it for me and somehow in the process of doing that he backed the Jimmy into the well head and water geysered into the air. This was at 5 pm. so he postponed the hay pick-up and spent the next 6 hours getting the well repaired so we could have water again.

He is set to go get hay YET AGAIN this evening. Needless to say, I am a bit nervous.

Crossed fingers, white light, good energy, prayers... we really need to get this hay!

Once the hay is in the barn, I'll address the metaphorical content of this scenario. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

writing toward the light

This week I suddenly realized I hadn't checked lately to see if one of my favorite novelists has a new book coming out this year. I discovered Ellen Gilchrist when I was in my early twenties and a writing teacher told me that yes, one could write books about the same characters, and yes, they could all link together in some way. That Ellen Gilchrist had done it and done it very well.

I still remember lying on the floor of what I called the "aquarium apartment" reading her novel The Annunciation. I remember stopping after each chapter and closing my eyes and thinking I might never read another book. I loved that one so very much.

Well, of course I DID read other books. I caught myself up to what she had written thus far and then I waited patiently and sometimes not so patiently, for her next one. I have lived through dating, graduate school, marriage, and having children waiting for Ellen's next books. She has never let me down. They keep coming, and I still love them.

The first year I went to a writing conference, once I had actually completed a novel, Ellen was the keynote speaker. I had corresponded with her in earlier years and she had always written me back with encouragement. At the conference, I got to hear her read from one of my favorite short stories. I had to go to the ladies' room immediately after, because I was so teared up. And then I got to meet her and her grandson, and I felt like I had completed a circle.

These days I am hesitant to check for her new books. I'm afraid there won't be one. One year the book that came out was a huge volume of her collected short stories and that scared me. But this week, with spring coming, I realized she might have a new book coming out too, and I checked.

A Dangerous Age comes out May 13th. And her memoir, The Writing Life, came out a few years back but I have not bought it yet. I have to keep something in reserve, you see.

After discovering that I have a new novel to look forward to, I pulled her journals off the shelf, Falling Through Space, and opened it up.

This is what I read:

All these characters, all this research, all these pages and pages and pages. Perhaps it will be the best thing I have ever written. Perhaps the worst. Still, I have to finish it. A poet once told me that the worst thing a writer can do is fail to finish the things he starts. It was a long time before I knew what that meant or why it was true. The mind is trying very hard to tell us things when we write books. The first impulse is as good as the second or the third -- any thread if followed long enough will lead out of the labyrinth and into the light. So I believe or choose to believe.

The work of a writer is to create order out of chaos. Always, the chaos keeps slipping back in. Underneath the created order the fantastic diversity and madness of life goes on, expanding and changing and insisting upon itself. Still, each piece contains the whole. Tell one story truly and with claruty and you have done all anyone is required to do.

Friday, March 07, 2008

"You can't let them win these little battles."

I was in a situation this week where I was asked to help out with a horse that wasn't doing what it was being asked to do. The request was reasonable and being made in a calm way. The interesting thing to me was that the instant the horse didn't comply, the time factor kicked in, and the stakes were raised. The situation escalated. My only contribution to the situation was to suggest that the request be made in a different way. One the horse might accept more easily.

It worked. I felt good seeing what I considered a success. The horseowner's response was this:

"You can't let them win these little battles."

This jolted when I heard it, even though I suspect I've said the same thing myself in the past. But hearing it this week I realized I no longer see my encounters with my horses as a series of battles I must make sure to win. Rather, I see my encounters with my horses as opportunities to have a conversation, to make a connection, and to find places where both I and the horse can be calm and happy.

It's interesting to encounter other people and their horses. It teaches us a lot about ourselves.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

busy day ahead

Last night we had a band of storms roll through, along with some high winds and a tornado watch, so I asked my husband to close the barn up when he went out at nine. It wasn't so bad when he went out, but an hour later, and on past midnight, the wind was roaring and we lost power.

The kids and I stayed up until it came back on. I called it in a bit after midnight, and within a very short time, the power truck was making its way down our lane, checking every power line with big powerful flashlights. Then they drove back up the road and in 15 minutes or so, the lights came back on.

I'm impressed - we belong to a fairly small electrical co-op, and they are incredibly responsive to calls and repairs. We've had the same experience with our high speed internet, ingeniously relayed house to house by antenna via a small local software company. Calling either of these companies when something goes wrong is so much better than getting stuck in Progress Energy or Time Warner's nightmarish labyrinthine computerized telephone systems.

Today we have sunshine and no trees down. I'm sure the stalls are a mess since the horses did not have their usual freedom to go in and out.

It happens to be chiropractor day, and although we usually get two horses done each month, today it's three because Keil Bay was such a mess last time he needs rechecking sooner than 8 weeks. So that's three horses who I am quite positive have gone out this morning and rolled in the mud who will have to be cleaned up before 9:45. I'm determined to finish my latte before heading out.

Later, my daughter has her lesson on the older, BTDT Arab-Welsh pony she's using for Pony Club clinics while she retrains her own little man. (whose response to her riding/jumping another pony was to persistently try to jump the one vertical we had set up in the arena during her lesson on him last Friday - at the end of the lesson they finally let him and he was HAPPY as he jumped it, which is a victory)

I've got to get rolling here!

Monday, March 03, 2008

playing with toys

I've been under the weather for the past few days, and am still not feeling all that well. I'm weary of lying in bed or on the sofa, tired of movies, and even reading is becoming an effort. But I can't get outside to do the things I want to be doing, so I'm sitting here in the garret feeling a bit like a sick child who is bored and getting grumpier by the moment.

When my children were sick, it was time for a new toy.

We adults often forget about toys. I'm not really talking about toys like Iphones or expensive gadgets. I mean real toys: modeling clay and Tinker toys, a dollhouse, an Etch-A-Sketch.

A few of my toys I can see from right here in my chair: a little horse ready to mine for gold, a light-up tiara, two magic wands made for me by my son, a Corgi miniature made by my daughter, a whimsical Dachshund business card holder, a tiny red wagon carrying a couple of paper stars. I tried to take photos but they came out as out of focus as I feel, so I'm sparing you the blurry edges of this flu.

I think I'm declaring tomorrow official new toy day. I'm going to stop by the toy store on my way home from the office and pick out something new to play with.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

reading pile

I've been saying I was going to list the books in my reading pile, and since I came up to the garret to get another book to read (I just finished Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love), it's a good time to do so.

Right now I'm looking at:

Wayne Caldwell's Cataloochee

Leif Enger's Peace Like A River

Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow

Sandra Kring's The Book of Bright Ideas

Sara Gran's Come Closer

Chris Bohjalian's The Double Bind

Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Angela Davis-Gardner's Forms of Shelter

That's just one of the piles, and some of the titles are angled so I can't see them, so that's not quite all of the ones in this particular batch.

I'm picking Smilla's Sense of Snow for the next read. It's what called to me as I scanned the stack.

In spite of all these books waiting, I'm interested in recommendations - so be sure to tell me what needs to come live in my pile!