The Original Journey

I'd like to focus my blog on my dancing journey now, but if you are interested in some of the other activities I tried (mostly horseback riding) here they are for your reading pleasure.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Resolution of Sorts

I always try to start a blog and get too busy or lose steam. But I'm making an attempt. Here we go again!

I've been pretty busy lately. I've finally finished college for good, student teaching included and I survived the last almost two years working around ten hours a week at a grocery store. I also have a really understanding husband to be. I'd be a hobo without him. Or at least very, very stressed.

I'd always had an extra-curricular growing up. My parents were great and let me try different things over the years. I dabbled in tee-ball and gymnastics without much luck. I did find my niche in dance for almost 10 years. A few years later I picked up the viola and for the greater part of my life, music was what was on the front burner. Concerts, Private lessons, music camps, theater productions, marching band and chamber choir. I even did an Acapella group at CCSU. I wanted nothing more than to be a music teacher. A lot of other things got pushed to the back ground while I tried to fulfill that goal. I won't say that I regret being a music major. There were things about it that I loved, music history for example was something I enjoyed and found very fulfilling. But there were things about being a music major that really sucked. Sight singing was at the top of this list. Changing my major saved me from being miserable and hating life. I wouldn't be where I am today if wasn't for what I learned and what I failed to understand. I met some great people and some horrible ones. I think that sucking at being a music major made me appreciate Elementary Education so much more, how one size doesn't fit all. I will be a better educator for it.

Sorry for sort of going off on a tangent. Where I'm going with this is that by being so focused on regional music festivals, getting into college and juries, I didn't do things other kids did. I tell my fiance often that I regret never doing a sport in high school, partially due to time constraints, another part fear of rejection and shitty peers. The 23 year old me probably could handle what the 16 year old me couldn't.

There were also some things I wanted to do, but my parents couldn't afford it. As stated earlier. They were wonderful and they exposed me to everything they could within their budget. Somewhere, something had to give.

Pretty much, I miss being active. A part of something. I HATE working out. It bores me, I'd rather eat 10 pounds of fruit and walk around the block than do a P90x tape.



So finally...here we are. 23 years old. Masters Degree. Full time job with other tiny incomes coming in. I'm finally able to breathe and help my man with bills. I have a lot of free time now. I feel like I don't do anything. It's New Years. Resolution Time...

I want to have a hobby again. And not knitting, or reading or even writing, because to do those you can be alone, in your house on your ass. I want more than that.

So I thought about dance, it's active and I did it for along time. I could call or inbox my former dance teacher tomorrow and she'd welcome me back open arms. But then I got to thinking. If I'm starting something new, why not start from scratch, or basically from scratch? What is something that I've never really, really done before?

It came to me when I was driving to the interview for my new job. I was in the backwoods of Harwinton and I drove by, I kid you not, three horse back riding stables.

Horseback Riding....

I LOVED horses growing up. I was that kid who had all the Breyer horse figurines and had pony posters on my wall. I even had a magazine subscription to Horse Illustrated. My cousin and I used to pretend we were horses and gallop around our yards and the playground. She got to take horseback riding lessons. Her horse was called Cupcake and she used to take her to shows and win ribbons. I was SO jealous of her. My parents couldn't afford it. We used to go on trail rides for my birthday, I went to a Dude Ranch with Girl Scouts and one magical summer before 7th grade I got to go to horse camp for a week at Lee's Riding Stables. It was awesome! But afterwards I didn't continue. I don't know if was because I wasn't willing to give up dance, or if it would have been too expensive either way, but that was it.

Sure it's not cheap. Yes, I have bills. But I want to do something completely new. Something that is going to require me to challenge myself and step out of comfort zone. Meeting new people is something that is torture to me at first, this will be a place where I will be forced to do that. I've been looking for an affordable place and I think I've finally found one. If this becomes a new thing, I'm buying bottom of the line and second hand gear. Every week I'm putting 10 dollars away and saving change. So far I have enough for 2 lessons. As the job starts and the money comes in, I may be able to save even more. I know it's not as active as say Zumba or swimming like my boy does. But English style riding (the kind I plan on doing) engages your muscles, it will be good. Physically challenging, mentally challenging and horses are just friggin cool!

To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I think JB is a little scared of me. But this is unleashing the little girl in me. As well as showing me the value of a dollar, how much I'm looking forward to starting something new, etc. In someways, I've wanted to do this my whole life...

...and now I'm finally going to get to do it. :)

Kay



Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Horseback Riding Wishlist

Most people think that horseback riding in jeans and sneakers is totally acceptable. Unfortunately it's not. Saddle sores, the possibility of slipping your foot through the stirrup, not good. However, what if I take two lessons and find that I hate it? While I highly doubt this, I don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment that I might not use. When I call, I'll find out for sure what I absolutely need, but until then...here's what I'm thinking.

1. Troxel Sport Schooling Helmet

 

This is going to be the purchase I do no matter what because I have NO desire to wear a helmet that someone else had their head in. It's affordable and if I get good enough to show, I can put a velvet helmet cover on it for like 8 bucks.
2. TuffRider Ladies Starter Zip Paddock Boots
 
These may end up being something I have to buy from the get go as well because while I have several pairs of boots that would qualify as "hard toe", I love them and wear them way too often to have them wrecked by mud and horse poop. They are cheap and perfect for starting out, though I don't know what color I would get at this point.
3. TuffRider Ladies Starter Pull On Breeches
 
These are not quite as necessary yet. I'm waiting until after I contact the stable to find out what I have to start in. I read online that yoga pants can be okay for the first couple of lessons and I ordered some with a gift card. I don't want saddle sores. I want to be comfortable and safe. These breeches are only 25 dollars and they come in black too.
4. Dublin Easy Care Half Chaps
Another thing that i don't need right now, but probably will if I get breeches and paddock boots. It's not just for fashion sense either. It will help with how I stay on the horse and I won't chaff. These are also affordable.
Here's to a large tax return!
Kay

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dollars and Horse Cents

My goal for my horseback riding quarter-life crisis is to have two months worth of lessons (8 weeks) saved up before I contact anyone about starting up. That is $280 dollars not counting helmet, boots, breeches etc. I currently have $115.11 saved in a little less than a month. That's about 3ish lessons. I should be at the half way point shortly. You may be thinking: "She's earned a lot of money in a short amount of time. What gives?" My fiance and I have had this conversation several times now because he is under the impression that this quarter-life crisis/hobby I'm choosing is not the cheapest one. I must agree to a point, but it's less of my paycheck than you might think. Today's blog entry is to share some of my methods of saving thus far. Some of them are not my proudest moments, but when I start lessons, it will be worth it.

My Horseback Riding Fund is possible due to the following types of fundraising/donations:

-$30 Dollars from my grandmother in law to be at Christmas. Her initial contribution set this movement into action!
-Saving all my change. Difficult because I rarely carry cash!
-Bottle Returns (I actually contemplated taking bottles home that we bring to peoples houses. I stopped myself. I told you. I WANT THIS.)
-My parents' bottle returns (Thank you Mom and Dad!)
-I charged my brother 2 dollars for blank DVDs. I felt a little bad about that one.
-Cleaning out the "Take a Penny, Leave a Penny" tin at work. Not proud about this one either.
-Using my debit card to pay for something for someone else. The cash they give back to me goes in the jar. (If my fiance is reading this he's probably shaking his head.)
-$9 dollars worth of State Quarters. I probably feel the worst about this. My mother bought these maps for my brother and I when the state quarters first came out. It's been sitting in my closet collecting dust. My freaking brother didn't spend his either! Of all people, I thought I would have held out longer. I try to justify my actions by saying when I'm old, I will be richer by the experience I used the money on, than if I saved them and it turned to eighteen dollars instead of 9. Famous last words right?
-I returned a pair of yoga pants and got cash back! I'm the most excited about this one! I bought the pants to ride in until I can buy breeches. (I read that they can work for the first few lessons) I bought one pair and they fit alright, the other pair I could not get over my knees. Long story short I returned them and got 15 dollars back! I bought them with a gift card!!!!
-Okay, so for the last few weeks, I was taking out 10 dollars of my paycheck and putting it in (this past week 20.) Really not too much if you think about the rest of this list. Plus my new job started.

So this list makes me sound enthusiastic and a little desperate. But I'm telling you, this build up and work is going to make it mean SO much more.

Cheers,

Kay


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Girl Who Cried Horse

So here's the scoop on why I want to start taking taking horseback riding lessons at a new barn. It's not just the money or love for all things Harwinton (That's where my fiance is from). I may or may not have pulled one of those tween sitcom moments where I lied about being better at riding then I actually was. (iCarly anyone?)

The summer after horse camp, there was this girl at school. She was also my next door neighbor at my old house. Before the seventh grade I hadn't seen her since we were in preschool. She wanted to be friends but was that intimidating person who wanted to hang out and you didn't understand why. Gorgeous, tall and stick thin, much more wild than me, wore make up. The kicker was that she rode horses at the same place I had gone to camp. She might have also liked the boy who was my "boyfriend" at the time (Because in 7th grade I thought it totally mattered). For whatever reason, I felt that I had to prove to her I was her equal, a contender.

So I told her I jumped fences with Luke. "Small" ones.

Truth: I'd trotted over Cavaletti poles. On the ground. No jumping at all. Oops?

I can only assume I stretched the truth even more and I also assume that she figured out my fib pretty quickly. I'm mortified of my desperation all these years later. There was even another girl who rode in our grade who was asking me about horses and stuff I did until the end of eighth grade. UGH.

I promise I'm getting to the point here. I could have gone back to my old place. It's only a few dollars more per lesson and equally as far as where I'm planning on going. In fact, until I got my Title One Job in Plymouth, my old barn was the only barn I knew about in my area. This girl has since grown up. A nurse, engaged with a baby. But I saw her picture on a certain social media site had her jumping fences just a few months ago. I'm assuming it was there.

I really just don't want to deal with it.

While I'm hoping for the best with these lessons, I'm expecting the first couple to be rough and most likely on the lunge line. I don't need her or any other person I know (I know a few others who ride there too) to witness. Note why I want to take private lessons! It's also an excuse to meet new people try to better myself even more.

BRING IT!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1st Paycheck!

Do you know how great it is to get paid for something that you ACTUALLY went to school for?! I got my first paycheck for tutoring today and I literally danced. You don't understand. I have been driving to this district for almost two years now. Until now, it was for nothing. (If you want to hair split, it was technically for my Masters, but still I saw no money from that). It was freaking sweet! I only worked 3 days of that pay period t0o. Next pay check will be 8 days (snow day + MLK Jr day) can we say huge? Still have a little grocery store money coming in now and then. I'm a happy girl. The bills are paid and I've got some left over. :)

Speaking of money, added another 20 bucks to the pot for my Horseback Riding fund. $135.40!!!! Just about half way there! :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oh We're Half Way There...

$142.90! One month of lessons paid for and $137.10 to go! pretty proud of myself for working on it less than a month. Can't do anything but bottle slips until the last week of January because of bills and what not, but since I'm not planning on making the call to set up lessons until March, I'd say I have plenty of time.

Not much else to report. I will leave you with this. This is what I think will be ultimate goal might be.


Happy Weekend,

Kay


Monday, January 21, 2013

Living On a Prayer (no not the song)

This quarter life crisis has brought me lots of excitement and enthusiasm, not to mention hours and hours of searching the Internet for the answers to all my questions. However, there are other people in my life who are not as positive about my new hobby choice. So far I've heard the following:

-"I'm helping you pay to break your back." (Father in regards to giving me bottles for bottle return money)
-"Couldn't you spend your money on something like Zumba? Or a dance class?" (Mother on hobby choice)
-"Isn't there a more active choice you could pick?" (Mother)
-"What is the ultimate goal of it? To own a horse?" (Mother)
-"I paid 250 dollars for her to go to camp and you know what they made her do? Muck stalls." (Mother to my fiance about my week of horse camp in 2001.)
-"It's too expensive, I don't think you should be spending money on that right now!" (Fiance)
-"I don't like horses!" (Mother)

Woah now, folks. I see your concern and will answer in good time. But I think you are forgetting that I'm 23 and I can make my own decisions. So just like when I was 20 and dating a 25 year old guy and it was a hot button issue, I'm taking horseback riding lessons. They love my husband to be now. Eventually they might love my horsey hobby too. Eventually being key.

I know horseback riding is dangerous. But so are most hobbies. For example, my father has a motorcycle and often talks about how he despises traffic and sand on the roads, etc. While his motor cycle might not be breathing or having a mind of it own, it equally as big and dangerous. We both have to wear helmets and the proper gear. We gain confidence with experience. The big difference in my opinion is there are a lot less stupid people on horses than in cars on motorcycles. I know people fall off horses, I know people get kicked. Just like anything with risk involved, you have to be alert and have common sense. I'm not going to be cocky and say I won't get hurt. I'm just going to do whatever I can to prevent it from happening.

Sure, I could do something like Zumba or dance, but as I said in a previous entry, I've already done that. As for cheaper, maybe. To be a dancer like I used to be meant leotards, tights, shoes, costumes and monthly dues. Zumba you pay by the class. Maybe I wouldn't need special clothes, but I also picture myself being awkward as hell in a zumba class. Waste of time and money.

As for horseback riding not being "very active", debunked. You have to use your core and calves and inner thighs. When you trot and canter you have to move you hips. I plan on being sore.

Do I want a horse? Absolutely. Can I afford it right now? Hell no. That's all I will say about that one.

I think people who don't know much about horses think that mucking stalls in beneath a person. That it's a menial task. but it's all part of taking care of a horse. Sure it smells. But it's worth it to be near a horse, in my opinion anyway.

I also know horseback riding is expensive. Thank you for reminding me. As I stated in several posts now, I'm being as smart as I can about this. Bill are coming first and really, what do I spend money on these days? clearly it's possibly to do it in a non expensive way. (4 lessons saved in less than a month cough) Do not hold me back. :)

As for not liking horses? She doesn't like poodles, frogs, monkeys or any sort of rodent.

Enough of my soapbox tirade....

Kay

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Because I Can't be Happy all the Time

I'm normally a pretty happy and upbeat person, and lately I have so much to be happy about. My job is great, it seems like my students like me, and wedding planning is jumping into full swing. However, sometimes I get annoyed with myself and certain things in my life.

1. I'm the most squeamish person you will probably ever meet. I've been passing out over pain and certain subject matter for as long as I can remember. My mother said even when I was like two and fell off my trike I keeled over. But now at 23, you'd think I'd be getting better at it. Nope. I used to think that it was because I would work myself up waiting for it to happen, but now I don't even think its that. Needles, Novocaine, eyes drops that dilate my pupils; if it makes my body feel weird, I'm on the floor. I'm getting sick of it. Sometimes even just thinking about things makes me feel weak and lightheaded. I HATE IT. How am I going to give birth if I can't handle someone touching my swollen glands or giving me an allergy test? HOW?

2. I don't know how my fiance financially supported us the three months that I was student teaching. I swear to god, all I do is give him money or owe him money. Don't get the wrong idea, it's not like he's hounding me and demanding I pay him. He is being patient. It just seems like I can't save anything because it's always gone. I could give him more each time, but it's like robbing Peter to pay Paul. He'll just have to help me with something else because I'm broke after giving him bill money. I'm hoping this will get better once I get a real paycheck instead of 3 days. And no, I will not use my 140 dollars towards bills. It's MINE.

Okay, just needed a human moment, because one can only act so chipper and happy during the day.

Kay

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I am the Bargain Huntress

I'm proud to say that I've been doing a good job "shopping around" in several aspects of my life. Obviously, the top runner is that I'm getting married in 301 days. When boy and I first got engaged, my father made a very big deal about having the wedding not costing an astronomical amount of money. While I think we may have initially scared him with our venue choice (It has the word Castle in it after all) but I'm pretty proud of us. We picked at date during the off season, to have it be cheaper. We've used groupons, friends and family to cut expenses (DJ and cake for a humongous discount) We're going to have silk flowers (except for me) and do our own favors. Hell Yah.

As you also know, I've been searching for about a month now for the best place to take my horseback riding lessons. While I've found two options for 30 dollars a lesson, there are some draw backs. One being distance. It might save me 20 bucks a month, but with the distance (Colebrook and Terryville) it would make it equal, or even more expensive. The second con being I have students that go to one of the cheaper places. It's not like I want to avoid my kids when I'm off the clock, but just like I'm not going to my old barn for people reasons, it's kind of the same. I want to focus on the task at hand, and not worry about looking like an idiot or cursing in front of a student. When I get comfortable around people...sometimes it slips. The cheaper places aren't all year round because there is no indoor ring. Finally, one of the cheaper places doesn't show because it's through the YMCA. While I know this is quite a ways down the road, I would like to have the opportunity to show and lease. I keep on going back to my 35 dollar place I drive by on my way to work. Name will be disclosed once I set up lessons. :)

Finally, I'm the most excited about this. I've been looking at helmets, boots, half chaps and breeches everywhere to see what's the best for the least amount of money. I was against shopping for it online for size purposes and returns etc. I was planning on going to a local tack shop because they had things second hand. Then I started to worry about them not carrying the cheap brands and not having second hand in my size and mark up. I mean come on, these places have to make profit. Long story shot. I found a website today that has what I'm looking for brand new and cheap. With shipping I'd only be paying around 80 bucks. That's 30 dollars less than the original website I was looking at and who knows how much more cheaper than the tack shop with mark up and gas. SWEET!

Productive Day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Champagne Taste with Beer Money


TO say I'm frustrated would be an understatement. Maybe it's because I've been living off of 20 bucks for the last week and change. Or perhaps it's because "the bargain huntress" has been at work without much luck. Remember the excellent website I found? Well because I have no money...it's not cheap anymore.

So I was all excited before this happened, I told my fiance all about it, thinking he would be proud of me. Lets face it, his mind set is pretty much like the top right picture. This quarter life crisis is happening, but I'd like to prove to him that it can be done in an affordable way...

...or a least that was the plan.

ANYWAY I told him about my deal and not having to go to the tack shop and he goes "Well you could still go there and try everything on and then order it online."

...um, no. If I'm going to drive all the way there and burn the gas, I'm going to make it worth my while. Part of me feels like while I'm a cheap girl, but isn't it better to support the local guy?

So then I go to the tack shop's website. Looking at pictures it seems like they don't have cheap options. They have moderate at best and every where you look it's ARIAT, ARIAT freaking expensive ARIAT.

 
True that Boromir, True that...:(
While I don't mind spending 50 dollars on a helmet for lessons (I've decided that I will not be cutting corners on my safety) I can't do that for every purchase, boots, breeches, half chaps, a show jacket if the time comes etc. That is burning money when I have a wedding dress and honey moon to pay for as well as a down payment on a house. I know it's not like the lessons where it's going to be money constantly coming out...but  30 dollars for most breeches? I don't pay that much for jeans!

So here I am at a stalemate. Do I go to the tack shop and buy a helmet I don't like because it's in my price range because it's there and makes me feel slightly better about the Charles Owen Helmets (which I love the look of, of course) next to it that are hundreds of dollars? Do I attempt to find things at the consignment section that fit but are marked up to what I would have paid online because they are bleeping ARIAT'S? Or do I run the risk of buying things online and not having them fit properly? The pain of return it if things don't fit? Is it smart to buy a helmet online?

ARGH.
 
While the experience of a tack shop will be awesome, I'm probably going to go with online...

To hobbies never being "truly" cheap,

Kay


Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday February First Fun

Happy February!

We're a month closer to spring and one month closer to riding lessons!!!

Speaking of riding lessons, I went to the tack shop today. I also spent more money than I was planning on but shhhh! JB doesn't need to know and I cannot recall the last time I bought something for myself that wasn't a bag of candy or a book. Honestly for what I got, it could have been worse.

The shop is called Arbitrage Tack and it's in Oakville Connecticut. So it's about 25 minutes from our place. Watertown and Oakville are a lot like where I live because there was a time where industry and factories were what made the town thrive. In present times most of the factories are closed down, but people have bought up the space and made it into businesses. This was the case of were Arbitrage was. Back in day the building was a pin factory. So when I initially got there I was a little nervous, because there was no one. I went up staircases and down hallways without seeing a soul. Finally I opened a random door and there it was, just like the pictures.

The woman who owns the shop was awesome! Helped me try on helmets and took me to their consignment room. She even made me a cup of hot cocoa! I think that alone made it worth the trip. I will admit that things were more expensive than I was planning and while I may have lost weight, I'm ordering my breeches bigger than my jeans. Yuck.

So lets talk about my purchases...


So it's probably impossible to tell from my phone's camera but you are looking at used Ariat Ladies Heritage III Lace Paddock boots. They are on statelinetack's website for 109.99. I got them for 25 dollars! They are really worn in and a little big. But um...remember how I had my Ariat meltdown last entry? Top end, Leather and they cost me less than the Tuffrider synthetics I was going to get online.  I take an 8.5 and these are nines. A thick sock should be just fine. Bargain Huntress strikes again!!!

When she said they were 25 dollars, how could I not get them?



They just need some black half chaps now!

 This next purchase was a little over the budget I had planned but I got an Ovation Deluxe Schooler Helmet for 54.99. This was actually what they are charging on statelinetack.com so I really can't complain and it looks really sleek. I'm glad I bought it in the store too because I actually am a medium, not a large... 






I really liked the rubbery, flat black look of it (Not really sure how to describe it any better. I don't like the shiny finish) It's sleek too. She tried to show me a Charles Owen. The cheapest model was 140 dollars and seeing how I only brought 100 dollars....

So that's two items off the wish list. All that is left is a pair of breeches and a pair of half chaps. Both I found online for half the price of what I saw in the shop. It was a really great experience though and I would definitely go back again! Just not for a few pay checks. Phew!


To almost being ready and almost looking the part,

Kay 


Monday, February 4, 2013

I didn't like the title for this entry, so...

I feel like I haven't given my wedding enough attention on this blog. I'm getting married in 292 days. When I only had a boyfriend (ha that sounds really bad. I have a fiance now) I felt like I had a good idea of what I wanted for my future wedding. Well now that it's actually approaching...and things cost a butt load...I'm overwhelmed. I've been to two bridal expos now, and I've got a bag full of books and paper and a fried brain. Luckily we've got around nine months to fine tune everything.

Now for a mushy moment. Each day that goes by, I get more excited. Even though we live together it's going to be so amazing to be his wife and have his last name. I don't know if he's excited as I am, but I've been looking forward to our wedding for a long time. Probably way too early on, but as cliche as it sounds...I just knew.

ANYWAY, I went to the casino Saturday night for my cousin's birthday. I was really hoping to win money for my horseback riding fund, even if it was 10 dollars. However, we didn't have much time and I didn't want to go off on my own. (I have specific machines I use. Slot machines are bleeping rigged! ) I really didn't want to lose my people that I was riding home with, so I stupidly lost 5 dollars on penny slots (Happens every time...) Add to that 21.99 plus tax and tip for the buffet. (JB and I usually get Subway) and that was 30 bucks I could have used. Almost a whole lesson! Whatever, I try to justify that my cousin had a great time, I haven't seen her since Christmas and I only lost 5 dollars instead of 500. Just really missed my video black jack and roulette. Still put in the 20 dollars I didn't use. :)

Speaking of lessons, I've got 5 lessons saved now! 187.78 and 92.22 to go. I've got almost three bags of returns so that might take it down to 90. I get paid next week again so after bills, I will be at 6 lessons! But after that is 70 dollars that I feel like are going to take the longest. Hopefully they it will be the most rewarding 70 dollars I have ever saved. I'm getting ridiculously excited. Honestly after my trip to the tack shop, I was seriously considering just calling the woman at the barn and being like "I'd like to start taking lessons this week." I was reasoning with myself: "I mean I have a helmet and boots. I could wear my yoga pants until I can order breeches and half chaps. I have 5 lessons, there's time to earn more."

Then I was like "Shut up it's the first weekend of February." I know that I've been at this with a vengeance, I know that I'm excited to be something I always wanted to do. But holy crap, it's cold. Layers or not, indoor ring or not, I'm thinking I want to wait a bit longer before I try to do stuff that I only did a handful of times 11 years ago. Also, by sticking to my plan, I have 2 months to enjoy myself and save up for the next several months. I have more paychecks coming as well as a Tax return that I am hoping will be a couple hundred dollars at least. There will be a chance of having breeches and half chaps by then too. but mostly, I hate being cold. March will be just fine.

Also, E bay is useless.

I will be happier next entry,

Kay

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A SURPRISING TURN OF EVENTS!!!!

I've been working at saving up my money for horseback riding since just after Christmas. If you read the blog or if you are just joining me...I have 88.52 to go. I have 5 and a bit of a sixth lesson saved up. I had about three weeks until I was going to make the call to get started. I was hoping to have my eight lessons saved by then, but was willing to work something out. Put extra money in, wait an extra week, etc.

Blah, blah, blah...

So I went to my parents' house for dinner tonight. The previous night I went out to do my bottle returns and I was telling my father about how I got money for his beer bottles he got for Christmas from an out of town relative. Here's what happened next:

Dad: "You're doing all this nickle and dime-ing, we could get you some lessons for your birthday."
Me: "That would be great idea! Believe it or not, I've already got enough money for 5 lessons."
Dad: "Really?"
Me: "Yeah, the goal was to have eight before I set up lessons. So I'm getting there..."
Dad: "How much to do you need?"
Me (wondering where this is going): "88.52..."
Dad: "I'll give you the money."

WHAT?!

 I don't know if he's impressed by all the saving I've been doing, or if he's sick of saving his bottles for me or what. He said he had "slush" money...whatever the reason...FRIGGIN SWEEEET!

I'm still proud of myself. I was able to save 191.48 on my own. 68.39%. I would have been able to the rest too. But this helps so much, I'm so thankful and grateful. I feel like a little kid on Christmas and must have thanked him a dozen times. Now I can use what I would have put in my jar on breeches and half chaps, maybe even start saving for month three of lessons. :) You know, there's wedding stuff too. Though I want to make it clear that I have money in my savings account, it's not all going to this quarter life crisis.

So here's to you Dad, for making my night, week, month and year. To contributing more than anyone else. To giving me a chance to try something I've always dreamed of, even if it involves risk. For being cool at exactly the right moment. To all the things I could write here, but can't find the words.

Thank you. :)

Kay

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Blizzard And A Bad Cold

So I went from 60 to 80 page views? How does that even happen when I don't tell anyone about this blog? Cool I guess?

 If you've been watching the news, or you live anywhere in New England you know that Connecticut was pummeled by a blizzard named after a Disney Character. Our apartment is extremely drafty and the people who clean up after the storms don't come until it's well over. JB and I decided to seek refuge in Harwinton at his parents house. They have a lot more yard and driveway than my parents do and my man would be able to help them while we stayed. He called me while he was at work yesterday, telling me to go before things got bad. Honestly, it felt like I was packing for the apocalypse, like I couldn't grab things fast enough. But made it before the roads got bad. JB came shortly after. It took them ALL day to clear the driveway. I'm pretty sure we're just going to stay again tonight. Better safe than sorry.

I had 8 kids out this week at my job. One boy was out all week. So on Thursday afternoon when I started coughing, I was like "Uh Oh..." It was like a tickle that makes you cough so I thought it was allergies or something. But I woke up yesterday with full fledged congestion/runny nose/aches and chills and a hacking cough. It's a good thing I had no plans and there was bad weather because I think I've slept more than I've been awake. I feel slightly better today and I'm hoping I'm a lot better by Monday because honestly, it's a two day work week (February break already) and I don't want to call out.

On a more exciting and positive note, Arbitrage Tack is having a sale! 20% off of everything (not consignment)! I did the math and it would be almost the same buy the 40 dollar breeches I passed up last time on sale than buying cheep ones online with shipping and handling. Though I am thinking of size 34's and black if they have them. (Won't be showing for a while, if at all) Anything to look less like a sausage in a casing. Also, maybe consignment half chaps? I didn't look very hard last time and I really shouldn't buy more than just the breeches this week. seeing as my next paycheck is only a 5 day paycheck vs. 8 day.


To being healthy...

...AND SPRING!

Kay

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Two in the Bed

So I don't know if things could be anymore ridiculous. This is day 5 of feeling sick for me, and I'm finally starting to feel a bit better though I'm still living on medicine like it's my job. Well, last night Jb came to bed and he's sick. We've pretty much been in bed all day. ugh.

Because of the Blizzard, There is no school and tomorrow starts February vacation. Yay early vacation, yay being able to rest and not calling out of work at all but...BOO my paycheck is in Plymouth! Argh...

This is going to be interesting... 
 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tack Shop Part II




They look so tiny...


...but as you can see they make my hips look lovely.


LOVE THEM!
So as you can see, I went back to the tack shop again! There was a 20% off sale because they were switching over from their winter stuff to spring stuff. Last time I went I got my helmet and ridiculously cheap boots. I tried on four or five pairs of riding pants, but seeing as how I had spend 80ish dollars on the helmet and boots, I didn't get them. That was only two weeks ago.

So I don't know if it was because of the sale, or if the woman I worked with last time knew where everything was. I had not much luck this time! The poor girl eventually had to come and help me because it was just not working. I think I tried on three pairs of breeches in the hour that I was there. I mean I could have tried different brands and seen if European sizes worked out better. But whatever riding pants are made of...they love to hug curves... So I ended up with two pairs. one for 30ish that was thicker and made my hips look large. Or ones that would have been in the mid 60ish that that were a different material, but still made my hips look unattractive. Can we say treadmill? Also LONG SHIRTS.

The half chaps was also an interesting and nerve wracking journey, but I'm much more satisfied with the results. Again, I am so happy that I didn't order online like I originally planned because I ended up getting an extra large instead of the medium I was originally looking to buy. But they are Saxon's equileather (I think that means they are synthetic but who knows) and they look SO GOOD. Like I could have walked around in them all day! (I'll probably need to to break them in)

So I have everything I need now! It's pretty exciting. I am actually a little afraid that people are going to think I know what I'm doing because I going to show up to my first lesson properly dressed. Oh well. I also did the math...13 Days until March 1st!!! So I think I may call late next week to set something up. IT'S BECOMING A REALITY!!!!! WOOOO!

To life,

Kay 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2 Days...

You ever prepare for something? Whether it be a test or vacation or whatever? You save your money for it, you shop to prepare for it, you even read information about it. But then it finally comes and you get nervous and kind of flaky...

...I've reached that point.

I came to the conclusion that March is in 9 days. If I want to start my riding lessons in March, I need to call and set things up.
-I've got enough money for lessons (My Dad's money is coming on Thursday)
-I've completed my horseback riding wish list. I may have to buy gloves. We'll see how the first few lessons go. Like I said, I look like I know what I'm doing. I'm intimidating myself.

However I will remind the world that new and awkward social situations are absolutely torturous for me. I wish I could email the person in charge of lessons because I could explain everything in the best way I can . Introducing myself and explaining my situation over the phone is nerve wracking. I have a way of making things complicated because I can't think of what I want to say. UGH.

Well, it's got to happen so I need to just plan what I'm going say and ask. Because after this phone call I get to start my lessons!

-We're pretty much starting from scratch. It's been about 11 or 12 years since I've been on a horse. The experience I had was pretty basic.I went on a lot of trail rides and. I went to to horseback riding camp one summer in middle school. I was able to do a posting trot off the lunge line. That was the extent of my lessons.
-I have always loved horses but never had the time or money to take lessons until now. I'm so excited to start.
-I have a helmet, boots, riding pants and half chaps. Can you think of anything else I would need?
-Can I pay you monthly or would you prefer that I do 35 dollars each time?
-Is there a specific time you would want my lesson? I can do M-Th after 1:30 Friday after 3:30 and anytime Saturday. Is there a best time for beginners?
-Is there someone of similar age and ability? If not, I will stick to private lessons.
-Does my lesson start in the arena? Or is that half an hour include tacking up too?
-When do you recommend that I arrive at the barn?

I think that covers all the bases, but if I think of more...I'll add them.

Kay

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'll Be There With Bells On!

So, the whole two day thing...I caved and called yesterday. I was lucky enough to get a few extra hours at work yesterday and my prep period was extra long. JB has been asking me all about horseback riding and when I would be starting...so what the hell, I called and left a message.

I got a call back today, and it's official: I take my first lesson Wednesday February 27! It's not March, but it's pretty close. :)

Now I can announce where I will be taking lessons! It's Breezy Pines Farm in Harwinton, CT. It is literally four minutes away from Plymouth Center so I figured it would make more sense to have my lesson after work. So Wednesday afternoons between 1:45 and 2:00 (Closer to 2 o'clock because I'm most likely going to change into my things at work) I will have my lessons! And seeing how high school doesn't even get out until after two o'clock...it sounds like I'm going to have the place to myself!

The woman who owns/lives on the property/is charge of lessons at Breezy Pines seems great! I told her about my minimal experience and she didn't seem be judgmental, though she didn't ask my age. (She will find that out next week. LOL 23 is the new 7 right?)  Two exciting things of note are that 1) if I pay monthly it's less money than paying a lesson at time. WOO! 130 a month instead of 140. 2) The lesson is really like an hour and fifteen minutes because, 30 minutes of it is grooming and tacking up, 30 minutes of it is in the saddle and 15 minutes after is cleaning up. So, SO happy! I definitely feel like I'm getting my money's worth now.

Don't know about the horse I will ride yet. I feel like that will be determined when I get there. Seeing as how I'm 5'7 with shoes on, I doubt it will be a pony. :) Just hoping it's the same horse every week. I plan on getting attached. <3

Finally, people read this blog!! I got my first comment! It's cool/weird to know that I'm not just writing to myself.

To these entries actually being about horseback riding instead of wishes and dreams,

Kay 
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ready!

Just call me ever ready! I like to be prepared for most situations well in advance. So I decided I would figure out what I'm going to wear to my first lesson. My riding instructor said "wear layers" because even though there is an indoor ring, it's still February. I'm figuring it's going to be like standing in my garage for 30 min. So...

Layer One: Long underwear pants and top and sneaker socks
Layer Two: Long sleeve shirt, cotton breeches, wool socks
Layer Three: Flannel shirt, boots and half chaps
Layer Four: Puffy Vest, Wool gloves, ear muffs and my helmet!

I felt like a Geisha.

Maybe I shouldn't get dressed at school...lol Might get a lot of strange looks. :)  
 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Future and Past

This blog is incredibly horse heavy but there are some things that are important enough to make it on here. Today is one of those days.

I work in the same district that I did my graduate internship and student teaching in, just at the other elementary school across town. It was a long term substitute position but no one was sure when the girl would be back. I found out today that she will be back at the end of march. So initially, I was kinda sad. I like what I'm doing...and well, the money is nice too.

But then my boss told me a tutor resigned at my old school! They need me to start immediately after the person I'm covering for gets back. Best of all: It sounds permanent! It's not my own classroom, but it's still my district and my school. I'm thrilled!!!! But at the same time I don't want to get let down...

So now for what this entry was actually supposed to be about...

I've been thinking about my experience a lot lately. I wanted to share another horseback riding memory. In the 6th grade my girl scout troop went to a dude ranch in Poughkeepsie New York. It was a weekend overnight and while I was excited for horseback riding, snow tubing, ice skating and not so excited about skiing (It was a disaster, haven't tried since), I was not looking forward to spend a weekend with some of the girls in my troop. One was a complete bitch (still is), two others had their moments and two more still tagged along with the "mean girls" so to speak even though they were nice. That left me and one other awkward girl shoved in a room together with our mothers. This girl was nice, but she wasn't my best friend. I didn't look forward to girl scouts to hang out with her. But she was good company compared to the rest or being alone.

So...anyway, we got to go horseback riding in the snow. It was a trail ride, Western Style (Hence Dude Ranch). I don't know why, but I was never really interested in Western back then either. I'm not into country (Not that it has anything to do with riding) and lets add my awkwardness/rigidness (Ballerina for 10 years for obvious reasons). Me in a cow boy hat, screaming YEEHAW? I don't think so. But a gigantic group got saddled up, my troop included and plodded in a giant caravan. I don't remember much about the horse. What it's name was or whether it was gelding or a mare; I only remember that it was a chestnut beauty. My mom was with me too. They took your picture before you left and I think I still have it at my parents' house somewhere.

Then the coolest thing happened! We were on the trail and I'm pretending in my head that I'm on the horse I've owned my whole life when this guy rides up next to me. He was dressed like a cowboy, but he worked there. He tells me that I ride great and invites me on an intermediate trail ride. He uses the word trot in his sentences! At this point, I'd only been on nose to tail trail rides. He gave me a ticket to hand in the next day. I felt awesome! I actually felt better and more special than all the biotches and their followers who merely participated.

Then it snowed that night. It was a dusting or a few inches at best, and I wasn't going to let it bother me. But both my mother and troop leader told me I couldn't go on my intermediate trail ride.

Liabilities, liabilities, lia-friggin-bilities.

I'm sure I cried. Wouldn't you? I remember begging and pleading and while I think my mother might have taken me back to the basic one because she felt bad for me...what an opportunity missed. Silly weather with a mind of it's own.

It's just another reason why Wednesday and the lessons after that will mean so much to me.

Kay 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Riding Lesson On Diego!

I had my first horseback riding lesson today! It was the rainiest, muddiest and yuckiest day, but luckily the barn has an indoor so it was all good. My coach is awesome, and the best part about today, was that she gave me freedom and didn't hover over everything I did while we were on the ground. At some points, (Like picking his hooves and putting his bridle on) I was not exactly confident and asked for her to remind me and she happily obliged. I did put the girth on the wrong way and I've watched so many how to videos about that! Oh well, lesson learned.

I rode a horse named Diego. He was a palomino (a darker one at least) and he was smaller than I was expecting, but he ended up being PERFECT! He is your typical push button schooling horse and was very mellow. He also eats candy canes which I thought was pretty funny. After I tacked him up we walked into the indoor and the outside door was blowing with the wind. While my coach went to fix it, I walked Diego around on foot to warm him up. I was talking to him and I told him that I liked that he was small (Luke was huge remember?) and I swear to god he snorted as if to say "I'm not SMALL!" It was funny.

Then I got to get on him and that was like the one minute that I was like..."shit, I'm really high off the ground. One the highest step of the mounting block I was looking over him , it was weird. But I just sucked it up and hopped on. She let me walk around a bit on my own. I had some hand issues, seemed like whenever I would try to get him to turn, I'd pull back too much and he'd stop. Diego was very, very patient. Then I got to trot on the lunge lone! I initially freaked out because she told me that I going to practice sitting trot today. I never did it before and I heard that it's hard and bouncy. The surprise was that it wasn't that bad and by the end of the lesson, I was doing it for probably a few minutes at a time. I caught my reflection a few times and I wasn't bouncy at all, In fact, I looked like I almost knew what I was doing! My coach seemed really happy too. Diego needed to be reminded that we were trotting more than once but I'm very pleased. Then I got to walk around on my own some more and then we dismounted and brought him back to stalls to be groomed quickly and put away. My one complaint (Not that it's any ones fault) was that she had to go pick up her son at the bus stop and it was like "Same time next week? K Bye." But I understand and it wasn't like my lessons was cut short or anything and I'm sure that as it gets warmer it won't take me as long to change. Also depending on my new job across town, this time may not work anymore. Though I liked it, I was the only one there! All in all it was great lesson, it went by super fast and I can't wait for next week.

Things to Remember:
Elastic side of the girth goes on the LEFT side!
Lean back, it feels really extreme but it's really normal.
Look with your body, not just your head or eyes, that will help him turn.
I cannot take credit for the photo, it's from the BPF facebook! But here's Diego!

To a satisfactory sitting trot,

Kay

For Those Who Think Horseback Riding Isn't Active...

...I'm a tad sore today. But it's that good kind of sore that makes you feel accomplished. I think a lot of it is from sitting the trot. :)

Unfortunately, with horseback riding, you can't practice what you learned at home. I don't have my own horse and I'm thinking a lease or extra ride wouldn't do because I'm not exactly comfortable with out my coach yet. But I want to be prepared as possible for next week. So I'm going to read up and watch videos on my problem spots. Not that it's as good as another ride, but it will do and we'll be able to make even more progress.

My next post will be my 25th! I'm planning on making some goals for myself.

Ow!

Kay 
 

Friday, March 1, 2013

25th post! Making Some Horse-Themed Goals

It's my 25th post! Not overly impressive, but I did start blogging mid January. In other news, I thought it would be a cool idea to make some goals. I found the list on another awesome beginner horse blog. :) I'm thinking this would be goals for at least the next six months. But who knows what will happen.
 Beginner (riders will)
  • Learn general safety rules for being around horses. (I feel like I have a basic understanding of this, maybe just be better about when the reigns go over the horses head or what I should do while I'm running my stirrups up at the end of the lesson, etc)
  • Learn riding/general vocabulary (Again, I've been reading up and know the basics, but flexing and serpentines...um ?
  • Learn how to groom, saddle, and bridle horse. (I need to build confidence to do it all on my own. PICKING HOOVES ESPECIALLY. )
  • Learn how to halter and lead a horse and lead horse with bridle. (Can do this with a bridle, not as confident with halter...yet)
  • Learn how to mount and dismount safely. (CONFIDENCE, and with Diego not being super tall, this should come quickly)
  • Learn how to make horse walk, stop, turn (left turn, right turn, circle, (Stopping and walking...but turning or moving in any direction needs work.)                     
  • weaving through cones, tight turns /wide turns, walk over trot poles.)
  • Begin trotting on lounge line or around the arena sitting and posting. (Just sitting trot, but I'm pleased.)
Beginner II (riders will)
  • Continue to learn posting and sitting trot.
  • Increases horse/riding vocabulary.
  • Begin steering/trotting over trot poles at posting trot.
  • Begin circling at trot.
  • Learn serpentines, diagonals and figure 8s at walk.
  • Increase speed of serpentines, diagonals and figure 8s to trot.

I think I'd like to make some long term goals too. These probably won't be done in six months or even a year...but someday I'd like to:

-Canter! (If my sitting trot continues to go well, this may actually happen!)
-Jump 
-Lease a Horse (That may not happen for a while due to financial reasons :( )
-Compete in a schooling horse show or the Harwinton Fair Horse Show in flat work classes.   (I'd like to compete with jumping someday too, but lets not get SUPER ahead of myself.)

Haha, big dreams...

Kay  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Smorgasbord of Things

Things have been rather busy the last several days in my non equestrian world. Sometimes I feel like every now and again I need to talk about those things. :)

-I've been administering the Connecticut Mastery Test the last two days. I'm qualified to do this. I'm in the real world now.

-Waiting on my tax return. It's a good one this year!

-I've lost about 15 pounds! While I feel like I've been at this for what feels like forever, it's a great feeling. I've got to keep it up though, I'm one size away from my high school size of a 7/8!

-Between watching you tube videos and reading a book about horseback riding, I'd say I've been doing my home work. Tomorrow's lesson WILL have progress.

-I've stockpiled enough unused and unwanted candy canes to give Diego treats for months. Hopefully he's going to be my school horse and I'm not going to be switching all the time. :)

Well I will be posting (HAHA funny, blog and horseback riding!) about my lesson tomorrow!

Until then,

Kay 
 
 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Second Riding Lesson on Diego

Happy to say that lots of progress was made this week! Also happy to say that I got to ride Diego again. He is a funny boy. All I had to do was crinkle the candy cane wrapper and he wanted to be my best friend.

I'm really proud of my work in the saddle. We started the lesson on the lunge line again and worked more on the sitting trot. I can honestly say that I can feel when I'm "on" so to speak and when I've lost my balance or my shoulders are getting tense. This week I didn't even have to hold onto the saddle, my hands stayed right where they were supposed to.

Then we worked on transitions from walk to trot and back the other direction. I'm learning very quickly that Diego is pokey and my legs are like mush. I have to squeeze two or even three times to get him to trot. He also likes to trot for the shortest amount of time possible. Eventually he will lower his head so he can feel the bit...naughty! But it was very cool that I could make him slow down just using my seat. I've been reading about it for a while now, so it was cool to put it into practice.

Then we did several circles on the lunge in two-point! I know that your are probably like...just wait until she makes you do lap after lap and your body burns. I know that is going to come eventually, but come on! This is practice for jumping! Which to my parents dismay is something I would like to do! It was a lot more comfortable than I was expecting. More with the legs than the knees (My knees suck...I dismount and I have to walk and stretch it out a bit). I'm looking forward to doing it more and building up those muscles!

Then we did the trot and POSTED! I know I did this back at horse camp but it took me a bit to get back into the swing of it but by the end of our lunge line session I had the rhythm. Through out the lunge line and trotting work my coach kept on saying "Excellent!" and "Beautiful!" while I was riding and it felt awesome!

We ended the lesson with me walking around on my own. This was much better than last week too. I was able to keep Diego on the rail (mostly) and walk around the arena a few times. However I feel like all my good posture and position on the lunge line go out the window because I'm worried about getting him to move. But still...for my second lesson, I'm so very very happy.

My work on the ground also improved but still needs the most work in my opinion. I know that it takes confidence and practice, but some of the mistakes I make or things I forget are really STUPID. This week I put the girth on the right side but some how I managed to put the bridle on and the bit was behind his chin. How the hell did I manage that?  Then I put the chin strap over the bit when it was supposed to be under...but seeing how I didn't even put the bridle on last week...progress? Also I successfully picked Diego's hooves!!!!

Things to Consider for Next Week:
-Review putting on a bridle. Right hand over head, left hand feeds bit.
-Just because I'm off the lunge line doesn't mean I can lose my hand position.
-Post like I'm sitting in a chair!

Feeling accomplished and fulfilled,

Kay 
 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Report

Not as sore as last week. Well my left side isn't as much. My right side is pretty tender. I can only imagine that is because I had to keep Diego on the rail and not wherever he wanted to go. My bum (right) knee is bothering me today too (Dance stuff and I had a desk rammed into it last year during my internship) but that may be because ANOTHER snow storm is coming.

I'm going to look up hamstrings and calf exercises. Gotta beef up my mush legs so Diego will listen to me!

One thing I'm noticing is that because of when my lesson is and that they are private is that no one really knows me. Well...not yet. Lets face it, I'm nervous around new people (some people I've known for a while too. Like one of the special education teachers at my job. He's...kinda a silver fox. HAHA) Anyway...I've said hello to a few of the people that come in as I'm untacking Diego, grooming and putting him away. They say hi back, but then I get paranoid that they are thinking about how I'm weird and new and that they can wipe the floor with me...I'm sure it's all in my head, but I hope someday that I can get to know some of the people who ride at the barn. Though I really really don't want to be in group lessons with little kids. If I wanted to do that, I'd ride in Terryville with my students.

Any who, it's only been two lessons. It will come like everything else.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bit by the Bug Already

I'm a tad surprised. Well not really, I was always the horse loving kid (or at least tied with my cousin) in my family. Even at the height of my musical training I'd see horses and get excited, crane my neck at the Harwinton Fair for the horse show (My cousin and I even worked it for years. Ring Masters!!!), and hopelessly look for any equestrian clubs where I got my undergrad (Never could find much about it, plus I would be a beginner when they all had their own horses...) I guess I never thought it would happen this early.

What do you ask?

The horseback riding bug.

I know tomorrow is only lesson three. I know I've got a long way to go. But this weekend, I was having serious cabin fever. I'd cleaned every surface, watched Netflix. I even finished reading a book about horseback riding. I kept on thinking about how even though I was sore (I did a leg work out and clearly over did it) I would probably be happier at the barn. Even if I was just walking around or working or even just grooming Diego or one of the other cuties.

I already want more.

My bank account is screaming. So is my brain. And probably JBs "Kay's thinking something big a different" sense.

Now I know you thinking... "you need to ride for at least year before you lease a horse" and "God, she's not even off the lunge line!"

I know, I know and right now I can't afford it. But if by some miracle something changes...I will have more horsey time.

Until then...LESSON TOMORROW! 
 
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3rd Riding Lesson on Bob?

First and foremost, DIEGO IS LAME!

My coach was saying that something happened out in the pasture. I don't know how severe, I mean he was standing in the paddock when I got there, but poor boy!

So I had to ride a different horse. His name was Bob and he was around the same size as Diego. He is a red roan and has a blaze. Cute as anything, but very VERY sneaky and naughty! Remember how I was like "Diego is a push button pony! He's a pokey boy!" Well, Bob is different. He's a cribbing, head throwing, rein pulling, constantly hungry experience. On my way out of the arena he saw a hay bale and practically dragged me over to it. But in a lot of ways I like that he's a bit more headstrong. It's going to cause me to have to gain my confidence fast and my coach said it best; Bob's not as forgiving as Diego and this is going to help me fix my mistakes quicker. So I say, bring it on. :)

My work in the saddle was pretty good and virtually the same stuff we covered last week, just in different order. We started with the posting trot this time and if I hold onto the saddle it's pretty solid. So I tired to do it with the correct hand position and while I could do it on the correct diagonal...my butt kept slamming down on the saddle. So there's something to think about for next week.

Then we did some two point again at the walk. A short term goal would be to do it for longer, but I'm sure we will work up to that.

Then my favorite...the sitting trot! Bob's trot is a lot more bouncy than Diego's so that took some adjusting not to mention I didn't pack my sports bra....OW. But anyway, we worked on that the longest, practicing walking, trotting and stopping over and over and I'm proud to say my leg cues are getting much better! Also, I'm able to correct my position if I get a little off balance and we worked on keeping my legs heavy and relaxed. My coach gave me lots of complements. :)

We ended the lesson with me walking around on my own and it was a lot better than the previous two weeks. I think this is partly because Bob is more responsive/my leg cues have improved. I was also able to ride close to the rail and my coach had me work on corners and turning around. I would really like to do more work at the walk because someday I'd like to get off the lunge line. :)

Today I don't feel like discussing my ground progress...every week it seems that I mess up something different and more stupid.  My coach said it will come in time. But the perfectionist in me wants to be pristine. At least I have the majority of these faux pas when no one but my coach is around.

Things for Next Week:
-Figure out this tacking up thing
-Be able to stay in two point for longer
-Watch videos on walking and trotting

Word,

Kay 
 
 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

That dry spell between lessons

The weekend rolls around, and especially on my days off, I feel like my time could be utilized in better ways besides watching Netflix and reading. I have no complaints about only having one lesson (honestly I think at this point I would be in traction if I attempted more than one lesson per week). But there are so many things I'd like to practice and try (especially in regards to handling a horse on the ground).

 I guess I should have mention back when I started this blog that I am a bleeping perfectionist. Which is probably why I didn't make it as a music major. I burned myself out. I am a closet lover of gymnastics and I like to compare myself to Russia's Viktoria Kamova. If she messed up or wasn't her best she cried and was impossible to console. I was like that in the world of music. In high school regional auditions/competitions, I would leave the audition in tears. every. year. I'd panic when my teacher would make me perform in front of the whole orchestra and I try to block out my UCONN college audition. I have vivid memories of pounding furiously on piano keys and kicking over music stands in practice rooms. Even as far back as middle school I remember crying if I got anything below an 80 in school on ANYTHING! It's not an attractive habit, I know that...though I supposed there could be worst habits to have...

...ANYWAY horseback riding isn't my career or my major so I do feel like I'm a little more relaxed and forgiving of myself. My biggest thing is feeling and/or looking foolish. So I need to practice tacking a horse up over and over until it's muscle memory. I want to prove to my coach, the 16-17 year olds who come in as I'm finishing up who own two horses, and mostly myself that even though I'm almost 24 and I'm pretty much starting over, that I can do this.

Here's hoping my financial situation changes somewhat soon. I'd love to eventually have a half lease or something. I think my weekends would be much more fun and meaningful. I know this week will only be a month, but I'm so eager to improve and learn and spend time with these beautiful creatures and hopefully other people who feel similar. (I could whine and complain more about that...but I don't want to completely disgust you)

So let's talk about other, slightly more upbeat stuff. Well I've got enough money saved up for lessons to last me through the end of May. My birthday is May 20 so I'm most likely guessing that June will be taken care of too. :) Crazy to think that this week will already be week 4! I also think I've made some head way with my rising trot balance/slamming back into the saddle issue. Stay tuned for lesson 4 and I'll discuss how it went. :)

In the non horsey world, The CMTs are over and while it gave me a great paycheck, I'm glad to get back into a regular schedule. I had to sub for teachers that had meetings and well...subbing sucks. I did it for a year when I interned too but I don't know...it never gets easier. One class I felt like all I did was yell and have issues with one student (who I have for reading groups ironically). I had to threaten to call the principal and I'm almost attributing that to not having a stellar start to my lesson on Wednesday, that and I had recess duty right before I left for the barn. Let's just say I was little frazzled when I got there. I can't wait until I have my own class room (like an actually grade level, technically I have a classroom now)

Word on the street is that I'm still switching back to the school I used to be at, but no official date or anything. I'd like to let my coach know if I have to change lesson times...

Finally, I'm extremely happy for my mom! Big things are happening for her and she really deserves it! Yay

Okay, I'm starting to not be able to see straight....good night.

Kay 
 
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Riding Lesson #4 on DIEGO!

He's better! It was a pleasant surprise. :)

This week has been an interesting one at work. I live in lovely New England so when I heard people saying that it was supposed to snow, I really shouldn't have been surprised. So I worked Monday and had a snow day yesterday. Then today, Thursday and Friday are half days for parent teacher conferences and reading staff doesn't have to come in. So I will have a much smaller check, but I was able to get to the barn earlier than I normally due and it was wonderful. I had the whole place and my coach to myself. Even when the lesson was over, it was just me. :)

Speaking of living in New England, this was the coldest lesson by far, and we're in the indoor. Even tacked up, we had a blanket over Diego's rump while we warmed up. I can only hope that now that it's actually spring...IT WILL GET WARMER!

So, onto my lesson. I groomed and tacked up Diego. I'm proud to say this went better in some ways and in others it was the same. It was good because I was able to (well more so remembered) to adjust my stirrups before I got into the saddle. I also would say that I'm getting pretty good at picking out hooves. I did eff up the saddle again (saddle pad the wrong way, girth too tight to start on the non elastic side) Hopefully that will be the last week I do that. Then by asking her to help with the saddle she put the bridle on him (I adjusted the nose band and throat latch) so my on the ground goals for next week are:
  • Put bridle on myself
  • Saddle pad the correct direction, no girth issues.
The half an hour in the saddle went by so FAST! She told me to dismount and I wanted to be like but..but.. Anyway, It went really well. We started out with the sitting trot, and as much as I love Diego I missed Bob's responsiveness. It takes him a few squeezes and even a foot tap to get him to move. But when he did we did several circles of it on the lunge line.

The majority of the lesson was working on the rising/posting trot :). I read several articles and watched a plethora of youtube videos on how to do it properly. So I tried to sit more centered in the saddle, but more weight in my feet and was even going to grab some mane to help me. BUT I ended up not needing to grab on because it worked! It got to the point that he would speed up and I would speed my posting and vice versa! My coach was very happy! Hard to believe it's only been four lessons!

Remember how I said I was hoping to do some more work at the walk? I got my wish. Instead of just walking around (or plodding in Diego's case) the ring, my coach set up some Cavaletti poles and we walked over them in two point! I'd still like to improve on controlling him at the walk. So goals for that:
  • Learn more about "steering"
  • Continue trot work!
Woo!

Kay 
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Quick Not Really Horse Related Post

Hello!

I've had an interesting couple days. I was told yesterday that I was switching schools as of April 1st and working an hour longer each day. In someways I was happy, I like extra money. But then I started to get sad. I was going to have to say good bye to classroom teachers, my awesome fellow tutors whom I love immensely and lets not even get started on the 30ish kiddos I have that make my life. Then I realized I would have to change my riding lesson time and I didn't know when it work out for my coach, not having a bunch of people in the ring, if I moved to Friday I might have to change it when I sub. ETC.

TODAY my boss comes into my room and tells me they've contacted the girl who I've been covering for while she does her student teaching and surprise! She's not going to be done until the end of April! (I already knew that and I'm pretty sure she's not coming back at all, but I didn't say anything) So long story short, they thought it would be better to keep me where I am until the end of the year to not disrupt the groups and progress of two schools reading groups. If she does come back, she will go to the other school. So at PCS I remain! So alas, I will not have four extra hours, but I'll make it up somewhere else. AND I CAN STILL HAVE MY SPECIAL DIEGO TIME!

Also started writing again. A new story. Honestly, sometimes it's just easier that way. This one doesn't have anyone I know as character influences so hopefully it won't get awkward. The last one I really really worked my ass off on got all the way to the second draft. Then I got engaged to JB and didn't want him to know it was based on an old flame. It's just...complicated. Haha. But anyway. It's an interesting mix of Russian Gymnasts, Super heroes, falling in love with someone considered "too old" for you, saving the world, getting a solid eight hours of sleep at night, friends oh and the Olympics? I've only written two chapters so far...but I like it. Gonna just keep on trucking.

Okay, back to my horsey world tomorrow. Looking forward to what I'm going to learn next!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5th lesson on Diego

I can announce proudly that I successfully tacked up Diego on my own today! Saddle pad facing the right direction, a different girth that had elastic on both sides and I EVEN PUT HIS BRIDLE ON! My coach tightened the girth even more once when we got into the arena and my stirrups were a bit short, but I think after today I won't have that problem anymore. :)

We worked on both types of trotting for the majority of the lesson today. Sitting and posting in both directions. Though each method took me a few minutes to get "into the groove" I feel really happy with my progress. Diego seems to respond better to my legs too, well when I'm on the lunge line anyway.

That leads me to what wasn't so good and what I need to think about for next week. I think my biggest issue now is when I'm off the lunge line and trying to walk around the arena. Diego either walks painfully slow and eventually stops or he goes wherever the heck he wants, cuts corners and goes to my coach because he knows she has horse treats in her pocket. My coach yells OUTSIDE REIN! INSIDE LEG! and I feel like he moves maybe two inches in the correct direction and I literally look like I'm letting one rip. So yeah going to read up and watch videos on that.

Thing I'm proudest about though: I put Diego back in his stall all on my own! :)

Yay progress. 
 
 

Monday, April 1, 2013

6 chapters, 12,000 words. We're off to a good start?

Had an excellent Easter. Found out I'm going to be an Auntie (well technically once JB and I are married, but I don't care.) again in August! 3 Nephews and 1 Niece currently, though it would be nice if there was another girl to even things out a little. :)
 
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

6th Riding Lesson on Diego

I didn't write much about last weeks lesson because while it wasn't awful, I didn't exactly leave feeling super fulfilled. I think I was feeling downtrodden because I felt like I had no control over Diego, and I felt like I was hitting a wall and there was no way that I could ever progress if he ignored my leg (well really all of them) aids. I was a little surprised at myself last night when I was feeling like "Oh, tomorrow is Wednesday. That's right I have my ridding lesson again." I was not excited, and I always am.

Well today was exactly what I needed.

After a pretty good groom (Diego was caked with mud, my coach kept on finding spots that I'd missed. Like on his face, and places that should not have mud), I tacked Diego up and lead him into the arena. Tacking up went well; just need to remember to put the saddle pad up higher than I think is normal, it will help with all my girth issues. I'm still having problems adjusting my stirrups. No matter what I do, they are still too short. But seeing as how two lessons ago I was putting the saddle pad on the wrong way, there could be worse things.

The lesson started off the usual way, with the sitting trot on the lunge line. We worked on keeping Diego moving constantly, the minute I felt him slow down, I was supposed to squeeze my legs around him. I think I finally had a breakthrough! I was squeezing up way too high, like with my knee instead of calves and heels. Once we figured that out I was able to keep him going for much longer than in the past.

Then we did the posting trot and it was like day one again, I was on the wrong diagonal, sitting down too hard, not able to get into the rhythm, etc. My coach had me take a break and do some two point for a few circles. Then we went back to the posting trot and it was so much better!!! I honestly think my legs get tired because last week we actually took my feet out of the stirrups and I just moved with Diego as he walked.

Then she goes, "alright make him stop." I was thinking "oh my god, it cannot be over already." So she unclips the lunge line and I'm expecting her to tell me do my couple laps at the walk (that were disastrous last week) and it'll be time to go home. But then she says "Alright, we're going to do some sitting trot off the lunge line."

WE'RE OFF THE LUNGE LINE BABY!

Steering Diego in general was better now that I am using the correct part of my leg to tell him what I want to do, though I still feel like my outside rein is so exaggerated and hopefully not hurting his mouth. :( But we stayed much closer to the rail and only cut half a dozen corners instead of all of them.

I will say that when I went to horse camp, I don't remember having all these issues with steering. I'm thinking this might have been because there was like nine school horses and plenty of adults to help us. Because honestly, steering and walking made me perplexed. Steering and trotting was like that thing where you have to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. I was trying to make sure Diego was against the rail, while trying to stay relaxed and on my seat bones, looking where I want to go, keeping my legs heavy and not clamping onto him. Some times it almost felt the same as when I was on the lunge. Other times I almost bounced out of the saddle. But I did not eat dirt!

So I take back feeling like I was hitting a "riding" wall. I'm so proud of myself for being able to get him to trot, stay trotting and pretty much where he was supposed to be on my own. And now I have so many things to focus on for next week. Will I ride off the lunge line all the time now? Will I do better with the posting trot on my own? (ehhh...) I've spent the last six weeks (can you believe it? Holy crap) establishing a seat, balance and confidence, now I get to fine tune the other things. I'm a step closer to a perfect trot, my first canter, jump and who knows what else.

And that pokey little Palomino and I moved like I never thought we would. :)

Kay 
 
 

unday, April 7, 2013

Like Death Warmed Over

Yup, that's me. I don't know if it's the stomach bug or food poisoning...but this has been a wasted, annoying, feeling awful weekend. At times I start to feel better...and then I would like to be made unconscious until the whole thing subsides. Had to call out of my "extra money" grocery job today. I really, REALLY don't want to have to call out for my other job tomorrow. But if I can't keep food down...I'm thinking I may have to admit defeat.

In other news. 8 chapters, 15,000 words. last week I did 5 or 6 chapters in six days. This week I only did 2 or 3 partly because I subbed two days this week instead of just my usual shift, and now this mystery sickness. Currently my brain doesn't really want to think of anything but not being sick.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I'm back to my normal self for Wednesday. Definitely don't want to miss my lesson.

Okay, more rest and relaxation I suppose...blah 
 
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

7th Riding Lesson

I think from this point on we will just assume that unless I specify otherwise, I'm riding Diego. :)

Can I start this entry off by saying how wonderful it was to ride in a tee shirt today? It's April and it's finally starting to feel like spring. I'm notorious for when it gets cold wearing pants and thick sweaters, so the fact that I wore short sleeves yesterday and a dress today should tell you that it's FINALLY getting warmer.

So any who, drove to the barn with the windows down without layers and layers of clothing and my coach speeds down the driveway in her golf cart and stops to tell me she has to stop at her house, which I pass on the way to the barn and to get started without her. So I gave Diego the groom of his life. Usually, I do the curry and a medium brush and pick his hooves before I have to tack him up and get into the arena. So I did curry, hard, medium and soft brushes, plus the hooves. By the time I was finished, he was sparkling haha. Which was good because he was dusty and shedding like a you know what.

By the time my coach got back I had the saddle on, had to get a bigger girth even though I took the one the person before me had left over the saddle in the tack room. Long story short, the bigger girth was so much easier to put on and I even remember to check again in the arena too. PROGRESS! I adjusted my left stirrup perfectly, but this week my right stirrup was too long. Haha, I can't win with that right stirrup. So maybe happy medium next week?

No lunge line at all this lesson! I think I've graduated until it's time to canter. Steering is getting better too. Honestly, I think that going around and around is helping my confidence and is giving me plenty of practice with getting the whole opposite leg and arm thing down. I didn't have my crazy right rein thing going on much either. By the time we were cooling down at the walk Diego and I were on the rail and staying well into the corners. Very very pleased.

Trotting...it's getting better though I would say that is when the steering goes out the window. Maybe it's because I start with the sitting trot at the beginning of the lesson, but I feel really unstable at first. I'm like "Shit he's fast, I feel like I'm bouncing too much, I'm going to fall, oh my god he's going to run me into the rail. GET AWAY FROM THAT JUMP!" Needless to say, it takes a lap or two and some reminders from my coach to get me to get warmed up.

Then we tried the posting/rising trot on my own. Maybe it's completely mental but I swear Diego stays on the rail better when I'm posting. I barely have to use any leg. I also feel much more confident, but that could be because we're deep into the lesson at that point. Still, compared to last week, leaps and bounds of progress.

I got to ride over some cavaletti at the walk in two point too. She had a little cross rail set up too, and I am curious and will have to look up if you learn to trot jumps before you canter them. I'm assuming it was just set up for people later in the day, but it was tiny, the poles were touching the ground. I don't know...I am just starting to be able to steer confidently at the walk. A baby jump...that's just ridiculousness.

I love that I'm seeing progress! I left my lesson today sweaty and smelling like horse but I'm telling you the whole way home, I was thinking about how if I could ride a horse or be near one everyday...I'd probably be an even happier person than I am now.

Then I also started thinking about my long term goals. The Harwinton Fair horse show is six months from now...While it's possible that I'll be cantering in six months, if I'm still just trotting by October the fair has a division that is walk-trot for adults and it's got a champion and everything. I would be happy if I ribbon at all so...as it gets closer and hopefully I improve even more...I shall ask my coach about it.

Okay that's enough over enthusiasm and pipe dreams for one entry!

Kay 
 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Doubt

*Disclaimer* This is a non horseback riding post. *Disclaimer*

There's been a lot of changes going on in the district that I work in and did all my graduate school requirements. There was supposed to be an opening in fourth grade at my intern/student teaching school and they decided they don't need to fill it due to budget reasons. They were actually talking about letting someone go at the school I currently work in to eliminate a position too. Well yesterday I found out that a third person is retiring. In 5th grade of all places. I did my student teaching in 5th grade I practically spent every free day I had as an intern in 5th grade. THIS WOULD BE MY DREAM JOB.

Maybe it's because I'm writing a story sort of about gymnastics and I've been watching youtube video after youtube video of competitions and the Olympics, but I'm comparing gymnastics to this job prospect. I don't know if you followed it at all but in the USA here's what happened:

Jordyn Weiber was not only the national champion, she was the world champion. Everyone had her pegged as the future All Around Gold Medalist. She had won every title a gymnast could, she was on fire. But then she got to the Olympics, other people had great nights and she didn't even qualify for that All Around Final. I think the picture does more than enough justice.

In my lack of self confidence, over compensating, spaz brain, this is my biggest fear. I have been in my district for two years now. I'm a veteran. I interned, student taught, and now I'm working as a reading tutor. I've got experience in both schools. I did my student teaching in the grade the opening is for. I work with the older kids now as a tutor. I don't want to seem full of myself, but doesn't it seem like I would remotely have a shot? But then I worry about if someone makes a better impression, "has a better night" so to speak, and it was all for nothing. I would probably be just as devastated as Weiber. While I can't do a 2.5 twisting Yurchenko, I've been working at being a teacher for a long time. The big difference: This isn't a one time shot and it's over...There are other jobs in other towns...but not my town.

Then I try to think about a different girl. A girl that was good, but no body really had their eye on. She blew them all away when given the opportunity.
The principal at my old school tells me all the time that I improved more than any intern she ever had. She always tells me to try my hardest and go for things. She recommended me for the tutoring job I currently have and she told me today to go for it. The principal at my current school is awesome too. I just don't want to come off like I think I expect or deserve this job. TRUST ME I know of at least two others that are going to be going for it too...probably more. This entry is supposed to make me feel better not worse...

So to sum things up, I feel like the months leading up the decision are going to be like my own Olympic Trials. It's going to be a competition where friends and strangers are going to be pit against each other. It's going to be like a balance beam routine. I have to remain focused, be able to do all my skills and tricks and remain confident in front of the judges. I have to have a mental toughness so that I don't let my head get the best of me. Because if I fall off that beam, my chances of going to the Olympics are probably over. But if I can deliver...there will be a classroom with my name on it. :)

This girl nick named justifiably "The Queen" (Most decorated Gymnast at London, world champ, the list goes on) Will be my inspiration...(Also she's Russian..Cough cough)

Okay, I think I will work on some fiction now that I've purged myself.

Kay 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

8th Riding Lesson

Ahh, April vacation. Though it's more of a stay-cation but so far it's been very, very nice. Saturday JB took me to see MUSE at Mohegan Sun. And while I've only been to a handful of concerts in comparison to him (He saw Blink 182, Foo Fighters, AFI, and several other bands that I really really like) it was FREAKING AMAZING (Though I am biased.) The rest of my vacation so far has been sleeping in, cooking foods I usually don't have time and energy for, video games and writing (21,000 words!)

But Today was nice because I had my riding lesson. I ended up going bright and early for nine o'clock because my Riding instructor's son had vacation too and they had plans later in the day.

Today was not my best lesson. It wasn't god awful, but I ended the lesson with a newbie moment so I think that is all I can think about.

When I got there my coach was still at her house and Diego was in his stall. The stable hand was like "just go get him" but I was afraid that my coach would get mad at me. I went into his stall and she pulled up just in time. I got to give him a great groom and tacked him up with no problems. It was nice to be there in the morning because she didn't have to rush so she could get her son off the bus.

Anyway, we got straight to work on doing the sitting trot around the ring. I'm still finding this the easier of the two because I can squeeze him and keep him going for longer than when I am posting. Occasionally my shoulders will tense up and make my hands come up with it, but overall I'm getting better at steering and my form is getting there.

We spent the majority of the lesson working on the posting trot. The basics are there. She had me working on correcting myself if I end up on the wrong diagonal and staying tall in the corners. I think the hardest and most frustrating thing was that Diego was more difficult and pokey than usual. I don't know if it was because it was early, or if my legs were getting tired towards the end, but he'd trot maybe ten feet and then stop. It was getting to the point that my coach was screaming at him and chasing after us with one of those crops you hit on the ground and he was still stopping. So I'm going to work on some leg exercises to see if that helps at all. I'm hoping it was just a fluke.

She let me cool down on my own which was interesting. I ended up stopping and getting off myself because I think I could have walked around with him all day if she didn't notice. Steering is getting really good.

Here's my newbie moment of awkwardness. I take Diego back into the barn. Two girls came in during my lesson and were getting their horses ready. One had her horse on the cross ties I usually use and Diego's Halter was all the way down there. One girl was mucking a stall, another was behind me, and I don't like to be a bother or look foolish...so I started walking towards the halter with Diego. I was going to get as close as could without the horses getting too close but then my coach comes out of no where and goes "DON'T GET CLOSE TO THAT HORSE!" She wasn't mad at me, I know it was a safety thing, but the girl in the aisle was staring. UGH. My coach got the halter and it ended up fine. It even ended up that I talked to both girls but ugh...never ever fending for myself again.

Here's hoping Diego and I have a better week next week.

Kay 
 
 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

An Amazing Week

Boy oh boy do I have the Sunday blues. I had a spectacular spring break. Although it dawned on me today that this is the first spring break since I was probably a senior in high school that I didn't work at my grocery job all week (I did today...it wasn't bad) or have college classes. This was my first spring break as "a teacher" and it was so nice. I honestly don't think I would have had anymore fun going away. Well maybe, but I would have spent a lot more money and ate really bad. I did enough of both on my "stay"cation anyway...

So here's a summary (mostly for my sake) to remember my excellent week:

4/13/13: Saw these guys at Mohegan Sun. I am still ecstatic, and listening to them with a vengeance. Also went to the florist for wedding stuff and went to a family party on JB's side of the family. It was a jam packed day.
All my favorite musicians are British...strange
4/14/13: Went to Lebanon (CT not the country) to visit JB's Aunt and Uncle. The boy had to work so I went with his brother, sister in-law and kiddos. That was probably my healthiest food day sadly. JB's aunt can't eat gluten, so it was fun and different food. JB would have not liked it. He's picky like a toddler... :(

4/15/13: Slept in! Watched Naked Gun with JB (Kinda funny?) Went to the Chinese Buffet! Stayed up the latest I've stayed in a while. It's nice to lose track of time and not have to worry about it.

4/16/13: No alarm clock day  #2. Make this cheesy chicken tater tot casserole in the crock pot. Finished the chapter from hell in my story.

4/17/13: Had my riding lesson early and it was extra long. Tried my hand a making some Lithuanian cuisine. I made Kepta Duona! It's fried rye bread with garlic and salt. I made it with cheese sauce at my parents the next day and I think we all decided we liked it better plain.

4/18/13: Another sleepy day, made Lithuanian cookies. The recipe was kind of vague and my hand mixer was such a piece I actually contemplated throwing it out the window. I have a brand new stand mixer in the box at JB's parents house...Apparently we have "no room" at our place. boo. Anyway, it was a good first attempt but when I make them in the future (not very soon, 8 EGGS) I will tweak it slightly. I also had dinner at my parents house but I do that every week so...yeah. :)

4/19/13: Went back to Mohegan Sun with JB's mom because she wanted to gamble. JB's sister was supposed to come too and didn't :( I lost ten bucks and she lost forty. But we had banging clam pizza at Pepe's. Seriously, if your not from Connecticut you need to make the trip. there are three in the state. Thin crispy and AMAZING! Also I feel very lucky that I can hang out and talk to my mother in law to be on my own and it's a fun and nice experience. I'm a very lucky girl. I'm going to have two kick ass moms now.

4/20/13: I think the Saturdays of my vacation were the highlights of my week. I bought a groupon to go to a paint your own pottery place in Plainville. I thought it would be fun to take my mom. So we got there and it was more relaxing/fun/overall awesome than I could have imagine. Like, I'm going back next week with friends because I had such a good time. My mom is a big coffee drinker so she picked a mug that she painted bluish-purple and then sponged different shades of light pink over. I chose a teapot. My maid of honor is my best friend and she loves tea and collects tea and teapots. So I painted it a nice light green, sponged a blush color over it and did some blue paint splashes, it is really springy. I also wrote my wedding date and me and JB's name on the bottom. I think it grew on me as time went on, initially I was like...oh man she may hide this instead of displaying it. But I think it ended up looking really neat. Plus it's the thought that counts right? I may end up doing all my bridesmaid gifts there, but maybe get everybody else the same thing just painted differently, like a picture frame or box..we shall see. I went out for all three meals yesterday. I AM NOT PROUD. I had breakfast (french toast) and lunch (burger king) with my mom.

My Mom's mug looked like this pre-paint

Carolyn's teapot was like this pre- paint


Part 2! JB and I went out to dinner with our friends. I guess you could say it was a double date. JB is in a band and is really close to the drummer. He and his girl friend are really fun and have similar interests. So we met at Red Robbin (I had a salad if that makes it any better) and split a bunch of appetizers. Then we went duck pin bowling! I'm pretty crappy at regular bowling but I was slightly better at duck pin. I came in second and first. Maybe it's the smaller ball and that you don't need as much force to knock them down. I also drank much more than I usually do, but that's a different story!

4/21/13: Worked in the morning at the grocery store. (BAD PLANNING when we stayed out until after one) Got out and today has just been a bumming around day. Making dinner and laying low until bed.

Back to the kiddos tomorrow. 4 weeks left of Title One. Craziness.

So I had a great week. I feel really fortunate and lucky to have wonderful people in my life, not to mention that I live in a small state where it is feasible to do all the things I did and not have to drive for a very long time or spend too much money.

Kay
 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

9th Riding Lesson

I have a quick side story to share before I get into the usual business. I tried to tweet it and it mysteriously vanished...so I will try on here instead. I thought it was funny, probably no one else will, but oh well, my blog my decisions.

So third mention of MUSE yay! I know my love for them is getting excessive when the following happens:

*Sitting at table with several students before reading group starts*
Student: Hey Miss R, do you know my cousin?
Me: What is their name?
Student: Matt Bellamy
Me: *Obvious shock, jumping to lead singer of MUSE being this girls cousin* How old is he?
Student: I think he's in the sixth or seventh grade...
Me: Oh........ *Legitimately disappointed*

I am a giant NERD. Any way on with my riding lesson recap!
************************************************************************************

First off, I've been at this for over two months now. Remember when I was day dreaming about doing it at all? I can't get over the progress that I've made in that amount of time, it blows me away and I look forward to where I will be after four months of lessons, six and so forth.

So it was another beautiful day and when I pulled up, my coach had Diego outside on a lead rope. I was hoping that I was going get to have my lesson in the outdoor, but alas, I guess my coach had some down time and groomed him outside. Made my life easier, all I had to do what tack up and we took him into the indoor ring. Stirrups were still too short, but probably the closest I have been yet.

Started the lesson with the sitting trot and keeping the pokey pony going. It's so much easier when I'm not posting. Got to the point that I was trotting around four or five times around the ring before we'd take a break. I may have said this in a previous entry but whoever thinks riding a horse isn't exercise...screw you. I still need perfect my body position (Tense shoulders, sometimes clamping with my knees)

We took a break and I got to walk over several cavaletti in two point. We perfected my back position. As the lessons progress I think we will be doing more of this, honestly I can't wait. Though I may lie to my parents because whenever I talk about jumping they freak out.

After that we worked on the posting trot and there was much more improvement than last week. My coach told me to squeeze Diego while I'm sitting in the saddle. Sometimes it worked and sometimes he would still stop by his favorite spot in the arena. The last go around I gave him a bit of a boot as he started to slow down and he kept with a very lively trot. Progress!!! My coach and I talked about getting me a crop in the future. Not saying that will make things with Diego any better, but just an extra reminder for him to listen to my legs. Which by the way, my coach said they are getting stronger!

Once I cooled Diego down, I picked his hooves and then got to give him a sponge bath because we worked so hard. Because the weather was nice the barn was hopping when I finished. Luckily there were no awkward moments this week. :)

Overall a much better lesson than last week.

To two more excellent months and then some.

Kay  

hursday, May 2, 2013

10th lesson and a few other things

Sorry for not posting immediately after my lesson like I usually do. There's only five instructional days left of title one. The other four are subbing for DRA testing so I've been a little busy. Not to mention that I've had wedding planning and falling asleep for much longer than anticipated during the day (you'd think I was turning 94 instead of 24.) Any who, here it is.

I will start with my lesson so that people who don't want to hear about my whining, non equestrian news can just skip the rest.

Another beautiful day. When I got to the barn, it was just the stable hand and my coach was still at her house. So instead of being a baby, I got the lead rope and halter and got Diego myself. It was pretty uneventful, just had trouble getting the halter to clip securely, but I eventually figured it out.

By the time I was halfway through grooming my coach arrived, super impressed that I had gotten the pony boy all by myself. She picked his hooves while I finished brushing him. I tacked him up and we headed into the indoor. On beautiful days like the last few lessons I think it would excellent to do my lesson in the outdoor, but I'm sure my coach has her reasons.

We didn't have to waste any time adjusting my stirrups this week, hopefully figured that out once and for all! :) Started the lesson warming him up at the walk. My coach went back into the barn for a minute and all secretive like (she had it in her back pocket so Diego couldn't see) she hands me a crop. It was an exciting feeling. My previous experience was minimal, so this was first taste of what more experienced riders do. I still can't believe the progress that I've made in 10 weeks. However, getting used to holding and using the crop was a bit of a process. My coach had me keep it in front of my body this lesson, though she explained that normally it goes behind you, to keep the horses back legs attentive to my leg aids. She said we would get to that eventually. Then the first two times I needed to use it, I used the crop instead of my legs first. (Sorry 'Go!) Which obviously is a big no no because it will make the horse skittish and it's mean. It's a reinforcer, not a punishment! Then when I was using it the correct way, I was barely touching him. So after I got used to holding it and calmed down a bit, I was able to use it the proper way and I saw improvement. There were sometimes I would use my legs and he would actually trot!! No crop needed. By the end of the lesson he was back to his old ways. But yay! I can trot around the ring for longer periods of time than last week in both directions!

Another girl needed Diego right after my lesson so I didn't have to groom him or put him away. Best part of all of this: People talk and wave to me now! Hooray! I also thought it was pretty cool as I left the barn and was walking to my car all the horses in their paddocks ran over to me as I passed. Haha. Maybe I'm finally starting to find a niche for myself at BPF!

Okay now for my negative whiny news...That job that I wrote the whole entry about...not even a option. Some dually certified person from the middle school is moving down. There isn't even an interview. I am extremely disapointed. In Gymnastic terms...it's like thinking your a sure thing for the national team and some Rhythmic Gymnast who did Artistic Gymnastics when she was five got on the team instead. BULL CRAP! But whatever, that is how the system works. Back to applying to places where no one knows me. At least I have the tutoring job for next year. Still, I'd rather be getting a salary than 22 hours a week at 14 an hour. JB and I seriously want to start looking at houses, not to mention I would like to lease a horse in the future. But a job is a job and experience is experience...for now I must go back to the drawing board.

My dad's birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

11th Lesson

I promise this one will be a horse themed post only :)

It was a strange day...a bit overcast, the sun would break through every now and again and it was muggy. Got to the barn a little earlier than usual, you know it only takes me five minutes to change now instead of fifteen when it was 30 degrees out. The barn was deserted and all the poor ponies were in their stalls because it was supposed to rain all day but hadn't.

Last week getting Diego had been easy to catch on my own because he had been in his stall. He has the type where he can run right out into his paddock if he wants. Last week, the door to the paddock was shut, my coach was "punishing" him for running away from her when she was trying to catch him I guess...Anyway, this week he was out in his paddock. I figured I would go for it.

I always bring a peppermint to give the pony boy at the end of the lesson. My coach also explained that Diego is a sucker and a mooch for cookies, carrots, mints, pretty much anything. So I crinkled the wrapper and called his name and he came over to me, even put his head down so I could put the halter on! Totally sweet! Then he tried to nip at me until we got inside but he got his mint early than usual this week. My coach was like "bribery always works!"

So fast forward through grooming and tacking up which felt like it took forever today...and I grab a crop and head into the indoor. Not even a minute later it doesn't just start raining, but it's like a monsoon pounding on the roof. Diego drops his head and acts like a little kid hiding behind me. It was really funny.

So the begining of my lesson was interesting. Usually he plods along and to get him to go faster is a battle. But we warmed up at a quick walk and the first few times I asked for the trot I didn't have to use the crop. I was like "wow, he's so responsive today!" My coach seemed to think that it was a combination of having a few days off/the rain/my legs getting stronger. He must have gotten used to the rain by the end of the lesson though because he broke a few times. But the good news is that it is so much better than a few lessons ago and it was in a different spot than usual.

Basically did sitting and posting trot in both directions, working on not cutting corners, riding against the rail and my equitation. Honestly if I was in a horse show for equitation right now I'd tank. Yes, I'm aware that I have only been at this for about three months, but it's still something I like to think about. It's not like everything is going wrong and I look awkward, but I know I need to work on my hands and shoulders at times. lets not even get started on posting in the correct part of the saddle. Luckily I can feel the difference between the correct position and the craziness that ensues. It will come. I think of how I felt when I couldn't control Diego on my own at the walk. Now we are doing pretty well at the trot minus the corners. It will come.

In a previous entry I talked about a horse show that is happening the day before my birthday. While I'm not ready for it yet, I was thinking about going as a spectator at least. While I worked at one for a few years in middle school, I was no longer riding so it was more of a longing as I watched than figuring out what I should be looking at. I went online to see where it was and looked into the various classes...part of me wishes that I was ready to compete! There's a beginer class open to everyone, as well as an adult class. However what I thought was the coolest is that they have a "maiden" class. If you are 13-25 and you are in your first three years of competition you qualify. I do think you have to be able to canter, but maybe next year? We'll see about anything else this summer...still looking towards October 5th.

That's all for now,

Kay 
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

To the Young, to the Old and to the Addicted

I found out a third grader at the school I work at (but not one that I have for resource) rides at BPF. I subbed in her class yesterday while her teacher did DRA testing.

Me: Do you ride at Breezy Pines?
Student: Yes?
Me: I do too!
Student: Cool! Who do you ride?
Me: Diego
Student: *Face Lights Up* I love him, but he's kinda poopy isn't he?

Haha...well yeah... he can be. Leave it to an eight year old to use that analogy. Then she described how he never does what she wants him to do. I'm glad it's not just me!

In other news, renewed my drives license today. Damn, I feel old. I was seventeen when I got mine and it was vertical so people could tell that I was underage. I now have a horizontal one! I don't have to renew it until just before my 30TH BIRTHDAY! Oh my god. I don't like my picture as much as the previous one...but that was also when I was dancing 5 days a week and weighed 110 pounds. *sigh* At least JB said he liked it better. Good answer right? :)

I actually went to AAA instead of the DMV for my renewal. My friend made it sound like it took five minutes as opposed to hours at the DMV. While it only took 45 minutes, it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. At least we got to sit in chairs while we waited and the people were pleasant. Added bonus: the pottery painting place was in the same plaza. I mean, I was already there...so I painted a piece of pottery when I was done. Three out of seven bridesmaid gifts complete!

But in all seriousness...it's probably a good thing that place isn't very close to my home. It's way too relaxing and fun. It also adds up expense wise...but eh, I guess I could have worse addictions than painting pottery or riding horses.

Spending the night at my parents because JB has an out of state gig. Maybe I can get some story work done!?

Kay

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

12th lesson...3 months riding...1/2 LEASE?

Today was my 12th riding lesson and it's been three months since Diego and I have started working together. I know I say this after every lesson but I can't believe how far I've come. I'm so happy I made myself step out of my comfort zone and start taking lessons. My life is truly more positive.

...And now I might have to step out of that comfort zone again...but that's for the end of the entry :)

Diego was disgusting when I got him out of the stall. I know it was raining and it would explain why he was damp but he literally looked like was laying on his back in the mud for most of the day. His hooves were packed with mud and crap. So Grooming him took a long time and I didn't even use all three brushes. I also spent time searching for a specific size girth for the pony. So once that crisis was averted, we tacked up and headed into the ring.

Today we worked so much on the trot that my legs were all but giving out by the end of the lesson. We did a quick bit of the sitting trot, but the majority was of the lesson was spent on posting. I also spent most of that time on the side that we don't normally travel. Diego didn't stop as much as before and just like last week was responsive to my leg at first and got more and more lazy as time went on. Although I'm starting to wonder if it's not laziness on his part but fatigue on mine.

The highlight of the lesson: We did several laps of two point at the trot! This is exciting! Seems like little by little we're getting closer to cantering and jumping! I would say that the hardest thing is steering when you are like that. I definitely need to shorten my reins as well as just get used to moving that fast in that position. But Woot!

Another great thing about today was that my coach and I really talked about where I want to go with my lessons. Obviously I am taking lessons for fun as well as a way to keep active. But we talked about how I'd like to show one day (I was asking her about the one that I'm going to watch on Sunday) as well leasing. (All started because we were discussing the expenses of showing and owning a horse) My coach started by telling me that she has a boarder who is looking to half lease her horse. His name is Paw-Paw and he lives way down on the property where I've never been before. The owner is a college student and really busy and posted a sign on the bulletin board. My coach explained that Paw-Paw is even lazier than Diego is and that I would get legs of steel riding him. I took the number but I explained to my coach that I probably couldn't afford to lease him and take lessons on top of it. JB would probably also get pretty mad.

Then my coach asked me if I was good with a hammer. I said I probably could figure it out. Then she tells me that if I was willing to do some work for her, she would do it in exchange for a half lease or extra lessons! I told her I was extremely interested!

So I've been thinking and opinions are welcome here; Should I call Paw Paw's owner? I guess I would just feel bad to make contact and then be like "Oh, 350 a month? Never mind!" I know that would make me disappointed if the shoe was the other foot (or hoof in this case) However, I could call and explain and she could tell me that anything would be helpful as long as her horse got exercise.

Honestly, it seems like working for my coach makes the most sense. I mean I would get to work around these beautiful animals and get to know the people that come to the barn even better. I could get even more experience than I'm getting now and I would be paying just 130 dollars a month as opposed to lessons and whatever a half lease would cost if I went through a different owner. Sure I'll be working at my grocery store this summer, but I'm imagining myself getting between 20-25 hours a week. The rest of that time would be spent sleeping in, eating junk and watching netflix while JB was working or at band stuff. I know for sure that JB would happier if I was only spending what I was spending now as opposed to more. (Honestly I could probably only stretch myself another 100 dollars a month max if I didn't do anything else like eating out, pottery painting, clothes etc) So...I plan on talking to her more about that next week. :) Now that I'm done with school my lesson starts (as in I have to be on Diego's back) at 8:00 AM WOOOOOO! (Sarcasm)

Okay, that's enough. Very happy. Thanks for listening. :)

Kay

Friday, May 17, 2013

I want one of these...

Sure it would get dirty and filled with horsehair in about thirty seconds, but the colors are so cute! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Showman-Color-Choice-Grooming-Brush-Horse-Tack-Equine-/300893107273?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item460ea07449 

People, my birthday is in three days. Haha. Just kidding. Money for lessons is what I really want.

Have a great weekend! I'm planning on cleaning. Technically, I start summer vacation tomorrow. If only I didn't have to work in retail.

Kay

 
 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Spectator Sport

I haven't been to a horse show as spectator in probably ten years. I worked the Harwinton Fair horse show for several years in middle school and went to several of my cousin's before that. I was in a show at horse camp...though I don't really count it because everyone got a blue ribbon. However it was a really great experience and I earned that "most improved" title.

Anyway, a few weeks ago my coach had a sign up sheet for the Granby Pony Club show. I wasn't ready to compete in it, but I figured it would be a nice way to spend the day before my birthday, fun to support the girls at the barn and to see what showing is like. You know, for when the time comes.


The show started at 8:30, but I figured there was no rush to get there. I picked up my cousin at 9 and we made the what was supposed to be the 40 minute trek to West Suffield. (I went the wrong direction at one point, then tried to turn around and got a little confused.) Needless to say, it took us closer to an hour.

We got there and only missed one division. Unfortunately it was the one that I really would have liked to see because it was the Beginner Division. However, we did watch almost all the flat classes before it started to pour and we made the choice to go home. Advanced Beginner, Short Stirrup (I didn't really understand the difference besides that they wore Jodhpurs and were 12 or younger.) Juniors, Seniors, Adults, and Maiden. I'm super proud of the girls that competed. In advanced beginner the Champion and Reserve Champion were both BPF riders. The girl that I talked about on my awful newbie moment day won first and third on the two flat classes in her division and the short stirrup girls also did well. I was disappointed that it rained because I wanted to stay for jumping. Oh well.

What did I take away from today? I figured it was going to be a huge show, but the biggest class had eight people in it. Those who were in 7th and 8th place tied for 7th which was kind of nice and everyone got a ribbon. It was very low key (minus a horse getting scared of a tarp and throwing a little girl in the lead line class. It was so scary/sad! But she got back on!) It definitely would have been a great show to start the season with. Then there is the beginner/advanced beginner thing. I didn't see the first one, but the second one had late elementary school/ early middle school kids in it. I feel like I would look like a joke with all those kids but hey maybe not. So on that point...I need to learn how to Canter to get into that Maiden or Adult Division. While the Maiden class was huge, the Adult class only had four people. Obviously at this point I can't jump, so that would scratch champion or whatever but...seriously? A ribbon would be exciting. As would experience. Although there was a girl in the senior division that couldn't canter and just got last each time...but I would at least want to stand a chance. Listen to me and my big dreams. LOL.

I'm so glad I took the trip out to the show, I feel like being a spectator gave me an idea of what I could be, and it gives my goals some fuel. That and I learned about synthetic saddles! It looked beautiful and surprising was only hundreds of dollars instead of thousands!

Kay
  

uesday, May 21, 2013

Birthday Shenanigans

I'm 24! I feel sort of old.

It was a pretty low key day. I slept in, made myself lunch, painted my nails and watched some paranormal ghost shows. I also applied to have my college loan payment lowered because until I have a full time job...that would suck me dry.

JB came home from work and we went to my parents house. They were extremely generous and gave me 50 bucks towards lessons as well as beautiful leather journal. Then we went for pizza and ice cream in the next town over. After we left my parents Jon took me to Walmart and told me that he wanted to buy me a plant. Well 45 minutes and a lot of consideration later, we left with seeds, pots, a trowel and potting soil. I'm going to do a container garden on our balcony. I chose hot peppers, lettuce, green beans, snap dragons, and alyssum. I'm going to set it up later. The veggies should be ready for harvesting at the end of the summer. You know your getting old when you are excited about gardening. :)

Today I made a trip to the good old tack shop. After going to the show on Sunday I decided I needed a pair of gloves. I ended up getting a pair of Heritage Show gloves, though I plan on wearing them tomorrow in my lesson and seeing how it goes. I also bought myself a dark green crop. All the ones my coach have are broken so I figured why not. I also tore the consignment room apart. I had great luck with my paddock boots the first time I went. Nothing really fit; I tried on tall boots, show shirts and show jackets and everything was too small. There was one gorgeous show jacket that fit but it was 100 dollars. Uh...I could buy a brand new one for around the same price...so I just bought the crop and gloves. It's such a nice place. I wish I had more excuses to go in.

Well I will talk about my lesson at the crack of dawn tomorrow. :)

Kay
 
 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

13th Lesson

Today was such a tumultuous day in so many other aspects of my life, that I haven't had time to sit down and type this entry until now. Not only that, but it almost seems insignificant. I'm not going to plug up my blog. I think it needs to remain a somewhat happy place. I just have to remind myself that it all gets better from here.

Okay, so my riding lesson...

Now that I've had some time to sit back and digest how it went, it actually went fairly well this week. I had a slightly scary close call at the end, but I'm not surprised. It was bound to happen eventually.

I woke up at 6:30, dressed, ate breakfast and was out the dour at around 7:10. I was supposed to be in the saddle at 8 and I wanted to have plenty of time to groom and tack up. I caught Diego and put him on the cross ties and gave him a good groom. He wasn't that dirty so it was really just an excuse to spoil and take pictures of him. I was just finished with that when my coach came down. She then preceded to do a screaming version of "Happy Birthday" to me. She told me to go into the ring when I was ready because she had to quickly take care of something.

I mounted by myself, was able to fix my stirrups all by myself (in the saddle yes!) and even warmed up by myself while she checked on me every now and again. I also trotted in the ring by myself for awhile. It felt great! Diego never stopped, kept a steady pace and I was the correct diagonal. Once my coach was back I changed directions and trotted that way.

She explained that I'm making so much progress that she thinks I'm ready to do more exercises at the trot. So instead of walking over cavaletti and doing two point at the walk we tried it at the trot today. The first several go arounds were pretty good. Maybe I'd sit down too soon; when he'd still be going over the "jump" so to speak or he'd slow to a walk just before he walked over it. But I was pleased.

Then she has me go around again and tells me if he stops to use my crop the right way; to tap him on the side of his bottom. I don't know if I hit him harder than I needed to, or if he wasn't expecting it because I'd been doing it up by his neck the past few lessons or even if my crop is super powerful because it's new but Diego took off like A BAT OUT OF HELL! Luckily he didn't buck or anything, but I honestly have no idea how I managed to not fly off. I grabbed onto the saddle like he was a friggin bronco and willed myself not to fall. All the while my coach is somewhat calmly instructing me to slow him down and post. Okay well that shouldn't be so hard right? NO. I tried to bring him back against the rail and he must have saw the crop out of the corner of his eye because HE DOES IT AGAIN! Finally my coach is like "DROP THE STICK! THROW IT ON THE GROUND!" and I struggle to do so because it had a loop and it was secured around my wrist. Eventually we got him to slow down. My coach immediately made me trot again. This was probably a good thing because I think if we had flat out stopped I probably would have cried. She didn't give me time to think about it. It was pretty much awful after that. Diego was just done. He'd go a quarter around the ring and stop. I cooled down and we called it a day.

Here's what I was thinking about during that cool down:

1.Diego hates me
2.I've destroyed him! He is scared of crops now!
3.I hope I didn't hurt him.
4.Did I canter?

 My coach was awesome though. At the end after I put him away, she was like "How are you feeling about
what happened in there?" I told her that I was afraid that I hurt him or ruined him. She laughed. She explained that when wild horses live in herds the alpha stallion will kick the beta stallion if he's doing something the leader doesn't like. I didn't hurt him, I just showed my dominance and that startled him. She seemed to think that he'll be a little more respectful of me next time. (He can't take advantage of me!) Then she tells me that She's proud of me! She felt that I handled the situation well. I could have screamed or bailed or cried (I thought I was going to to though) and I kept my composure the whole time. Haha I personally think it was speechless adrenaline filled terror but whatever. :) Then she goes "You cantered!" Not exactly how I pictured it going, but kind of cool now that I'm looking back at it. Maybe since I handled it in a high stress situation, the lunge line will be easy.

So to sum up my thoughts, I'm fine and I will be getting back on him next week and trying again. Though I think I will be barely taping his backside next week. I'm glad that I can have mental focus in something in my life because I cry and get upset about so many other things. I'm kind of a weenie so I'm surprised that I handled the situation without having one of my famous spaz attacks. Hopefully that mental toughness will help me be the best rider I can be. The theme of this entry before this day from hell happened was going to be about how that strength and determination will drive me to achieve my goals and even help me be a winner someday. Hard work = results. Am I right? I'm already seeing some.

Going to start working at the barn for my extra lessons/lease/whatever you want to call it. She wanted me to come on Saturday but I will be in Platsburg NY and maybe Canada this weekend! So probably next week then. :)

Writing this actually improved my mood.

Kay 
 
 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Bargain Huntress on Vacation

I really should change the name of my blog to something like "Chronicles of a Hunstseat Bargain Huntress". I feel like I talk about how I try to ride on a budget, my lessons and several other things. Wide Awake was all about starting fresh...but I feel like it doesn't quite fit what I'm trying to do here. Hmm...just thinking out loud...like I normally do before I get to business.

Went away for the weekend. JB is in two bands and one of them went to a two day gig in Plattsburgh New York. It is over four hours away from where we live. Montreal was only an hour away from our hotel. We really wanted to go, but we carpooled with another band member and his girl (they are also really good friends) and they didn't bring their passports. JB and I were really disappointed because we love hockey, I have french Canadian lineage and when else would we get to Montreal?

It was also not the best weekend weather wise. It poured from the minute we left CT Friday afternoon until we got home today. It was also in the low to mid forties...which seem wrong on Memorial Day weekend. But it was a small comfort to know that it was that cold down at home too. Despite that, it was still a great trip. The people at the bar were very nice and welcoming. We had some great food (TEXAS ROADHOUSE OH MY GOD!)  had a relaxing day at the hotel watching movies and sleeping in and I won a stuffed turtle playing a claw machine game! Maybe not the most thrilling vacation but if you read regularly you will know that the week leading up to this trip had been INTENSE. I almost didn't go. But I'm very glad I did. It was honestly just what I needed.

So here's the equestrian piece of my entry. While in the hotel I was on my phone. I often look at various tack shop sites to compare prices and see if I can find any good deals. Somehow I got on Ebay. I usually have no faith in Ebay. People sell their used crap for way much more money than they need to. They don't have my size etc. But every now and again I just look around. While I'm not planning on competing at rated shows anytime soon, if ever, I am planning on doing at least one local show this season. So I typed in "English Show Jacket" and looked at what was available. There was one in my size, slightly used and the best part: it was $8.99! So I bought it! 17.49 after shipping costs and it was originally sixty dollars! Hopefully its in good enough shape to work for schooling and fair shows.

I still need a show shirt (but those are relatively inexpensive) and tall boots. I'm hoping that can be a consignment or ebay purchase because those are not cheap. Bottom of the line ones start at around 80 bucks and I don't pay that much for real shoes. The shoes for my wedding probably won't cost that much. I'm also wondering if I should buy another pair of breeches if I'm going to be riding multiple times a week now. We'll see.

Kay
 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

14th Lesson

Best riding lesson of my life. Well I suppose I should say best riding lesson of my life so far. There were no catastrophes, mishaps or even any awkward moments. I'm starting to wonder if riding Diego early in the morning causes him to act crazy because today my lesson was at 5 (couldn't do it yesterday; got scheduled to work even though I am not available and my coach had to substitute teach too.) It was at least 90 degrees and someone had just ridden him before. I don't know what caused this lesson to be so awesome...but it just was.

I didn't have to groom or tack up because a little girl had just ridden him. Just had to check the girth and adjust my stirrups and we were on our way. We started the lesson posting along the rail, really working on making sure I don't cut the corners (or let Diego get away with it more so) After that seemed to get better she had me trot over a cavaletti pole. This week it was cool because the jump standards were set up but the pole was still on the ground. So I still had to steer and make sure I was in the center of the standards. It was getting to the point that we would round the turn and approach the jump and Diego would actually speed up a bit and instead of shuffling over the cavaletti, he actually made an attempt to step (I wouldn't actually say "jump" yet) over it. Then we switched directions and did the same (I guess it I would call it pre-jumping) exercise the other way.

I think I found something new to think about improving during my lessons. My coach has said on many occasions to quiet my hands or put them lower than I have them. I think now that I have a crop in my hand it's even more obvious. Diego didn't have a canter fright attack this week, but there were a couple times that my hands were a bit disorganized and he definitely picked up his pace when I wasn't asking him. I'm assuming he can see the crop out of the corner of his eye. My coach even warned me to be careful. So...now that I think I'm finally starting to get somewhere with my legs, I need to focus on keeping quiet, steady hands.

I was also super excited because I actually talked to someone today for longer than like "Hey." or "Can I borrow that?" She was totally awesome and I wonder if I will see her more once I start working at the barn on SATURDAY! wooo! She brought up Paw Paw and the half lease. She seemed to think the girl wanted 200 a month. (NOPE!) and gave me her name. I wish I could see this girl in person because unless it's like free..it isn't happening.

Working at the barn on Saturday and a lesson for sure on Wednesday morning. I have Monday and Thursday open too, so I may try to go there an additional day to ride (gotta figure out how that's going to work) if I can. I feel like I've come so far in 14 weeks with only one lesson that I can't wait to see what riding twice a week will do for me. (I'm probably going to be really really sore.)

Night,

Kay  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Work and First Solo Ride

So I worked at the barn yesterday. It was extremely hot but enjoyable. However, I learned several things right away.

1. Do not work at the barn on the same day you work at the grocery store.
My coach wanted me to come in on a Saturday so that she could walk me through my jobs and show me where everything was. I figured I didn't have to work until 5 in the pizza shop and that it would be no big deal. Firstly, I was filthy. Second, I was exhausted. Third, I ran out of time much sooner than I was expecting. The barn is 15ish minutes from my apartment, I showered and managed to stop at my parents house to see company for a few minutes before having to leave again. I got to my other job and was completely out of sorts. I felt annoying and useless. So Needless to say, I will be working at the barn on my days off from now on.

2. Do not ride a horse alone for the first time or ever when you have a time limit.
I didn't fall and it wasn't a horrible ride, but I was not happy with how it went. Especially when I know what Diego and I are capable of. I got two laps around the ring before my coach came in and told me I had to move my car because someone was stuck on the hill and their car could slide into it. CONCENTRATION BROKEN. Not to mention I left my crop in the tack room. I told myself that I got him to trot without it when I realized I had left it. But it was a struggle. I think we had maybe a lap and a half of good posting trot before he started stopping randomly every third of the ring or so. I decided to give him a break and I walked over some poles. When I tried to trot over them he stopped every single time before the turn. It finally got to the point that he wasn't even walking for me. He was standing still as I said "Walk on" and "Diego GO!" I clucked at him, I squeezed and even booted him. He was done. I was getting more and more frustrated and upset and I knew it was only making matters worse so I just called it a day at that point. I get so amazed by horses and their personalities. People think that animals are just dumb, but they have moods just like we do. It was in the mid 90s, he had just been ridden in a lesson, I was a little sore from Thursday's lesson and honestly, he could probably sense that I was nervous about not being late for work. If my head wasn't completely in it, why should he? So I honestly, I blame myself for it not being a spectacular ride. In the future I need to give myself plenty of time so that I can be calm and confident about what I'm doing.

3. Diego must get a lot of attention...
...because he isn't like how Luke was, where he'd rush over to see you or nuzzle you. Unless you have food, Diego's pretty independent. Some of the horses that I went to their paddocks to fill their water buckets were the most loving and affectionate animals I have ever met. For herd animals! They'd run over, they'd nuzzle you with their noses. One horse was getting jealous of another horse that I was grooming. I thought I was going to get knocked over! It was cute, but at the same time I wondered if those horses don't see people very often...I think at least two of them were boarded. :( One was the infamous PAW PAW.

4. Horses are Heavy
Diego put his hoof on my foot after I picked it. Need I say more?

So the plan is to go back tomorrow at some point. I have a paddock to finish mucking and one to start, plus water buckets to do. I want to ride Diego again too, so I'm resting my legs. I'm hoping in time that I will strengthen up and it won't hurt anymore. I'm also hoping the ride will go better.

Kay 
 
 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

UGH! (15th lesson, 2nd solo ride and other stuff)

Not a stellar week in the horseback riding books THAT'S FOR SURE.

Honestly it's probably a good thing that I had to work in between my riding lesson and now because I think I've actually calmed down a bit.

I'm frustrated, over thinking, an honestly...confused. I know that a lot of these feelings are due to the fact that I am a perfectionist, the ugly habit that DEMANDS I do my best all the time. I also know that it's really only been about four months and that the only way you get better is to learn from your mistakes. I get that, really I do. But like I said last entry, I KNOW that I am better than what I've been capable of these last three rides.

I do think part of it is physical...I think my body has really just recovered from that first day of working at both the barn and pizza shop. The wheelbarrows full of poo as well as working with sore muscles. I don't think I'm assertive as I can be because my muscles just aren't that strong yet.

However...I am scared that some of this is mental. The biggest issue: The goddamn crop. I know I have sloppy hands that need to be worked on, but it seems like the last few times I rode Diego he hasn't had a full fledged meltdown, but he's gotten faster or moved erratically. I've thrown the crop down every single time since. I told myself that I wasn't scared...but I'm afraid of losing control. Not even for the falling aspect of things...I honestly feel that Diego doesn't listen to me with our without it. Maybe it wasn't so bad back when I was on the lunge or just walking around the ring. But if I want to canter or jump...I have to be the one in charge.

I feel awful for being frustrated with him. He's a beautiful animal. I've learned so much riding him. But honestly after Saturday, Monday and today, I'm kind of glad that I'm not riding him for a while. The first part of the solo ride/ lesson always goes great. He's responsive, he'll trot without the crop or much leg. But then he gets lazy or my muscles give out. He tosses his head and walks a bit faster. Today he was actually turning his face and body into the rail so there would be no where for him to trot. I squeeze my legs, I kick my legs. We go around the ring almost twice before he responds. I wanted to cry.

I know that my feelings go onto him. I know that my nerves or lack of confidence go on to him. But how am I supposed to feel when I am kicking him and kicking him and nothing happens? It got to the point that my coach actually got on him and was working him so hard that when I got back on he was trotting so fast, that I was terrified that I was one leg aid away from another canter disaster. I'M SO ANGRY AT MYSELF FOR BEING AFRAID! When it happened I handled it fine. GRRR.

The worst part about all of this: My coach had little jumps set up. I don't know if we would have gotten to them or if they were even meant for me...but we spent the whole lesson getting Diego to go in circles that we didn't even trot over poles because he was stopping and being a jerk.

I feel like I'm hitting a wall. The crop freaks me out but Diego won't listen without it.

Was I too ambitious trying to ride more when my legs aren't ready for it? I know it will come in time and someday I will have legs that any horse will listen to, but I feel the soreness from solo rides is effecting my lesson where it counts. I also wonder if I should try to do two actual lessons a week instead of solo rides. I think I need structure; my coach sees what I'm doing wrong, she can give suggestions. Honestly, I don't think I could do another solo ride where he's not moving at all. I'd rather hack at a walk and have both parties be happy than cry and get angry because I can't trot over a friggin pole on the ground.

I honestly don't know what else to to say without sounding brattier, whinier or something else negative. I'm not giving up...no chance in hell. But I don't think I'm bringing the crop next lesson. I also think I'm done having morning lessons. They're horrible; I think Diego and I are still half asleep during them.

Just got to remind myself that I had a great lesson last week. That was in 90 degree weather after I had worked all day! I will canter and I will jump! Diego is a great horse. But like my fiance he's a butt sometimes...

Okay enough of that,

Kay 
 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A not really wanted hiatus...

June is a crazy month. Not exactly sure why everything seems to falling during this month, but I was not able to schedule a lesson or work at the barn this week. I am a little miffed though. I called my instructor on Tuesday about finding a time....and have not heard back. I know her mother had surgery and I wasn't around today, but I originally wanted to try to squeeze something in tomorrow. Now I have a broken molar getting fixed (Don't ask) and I have a job interview for the tutoring job that I figured was a given for next year (Policy Changes apparently....again, DON'T ASK).

On a very positive note, I got a call today that made this craziness worth it. A few months ago I applied to teach summer school in my district. I would be the teacher, not an aid or tutor. I got a "Thanks but no thanks" letter and figured that would the end of it. Well long story short, one of the original teachers who was going to do it can't so they asked me if I would take her place. YES! So from July 8th- August 8th I'm teaching the second grade. I don't know all the particulars yet, but it sounds like I'm going to have anywhere from 6-12 kids. So yay experience! Hopefully another step towards my own classroom and no longer panicking about paying bills and riding! Seriously, I'm not a overly religious person but it was like the big guy was listening to JB telling me that I might have to give up horseback riding if I didn't get more hours at the grocery store from hell. Not a happy time. Whatever the karma or case, I'm grateful!

Kay
 

Monday, June 24, 2013

16th lesson, Cape Cod weekend, and other things...

I told you that June was an out of control month!

I finally had a lesson on Friday but haven't had a chance to write about it until now. Unfortunately it isn't super fresh like it would have been if I wrote it Friday afternoon but I literally left my lesson, took a shower and left for my long weekend away.

It was so much better! Like leaps and bounds. I think for now I'm just going to stick to one lesson a week. It's not that I didn't enjoy the extra stuff I just think that my body would be so exhausted and sore from working that I would really get anything accomplished during the ride. Someday (Hopefully when I have a full time teaching gig) I will lease a horse and it will be okay because I won't be constantly sore from moving wheelbarrows full of manure multiple days a week. Also, I will hopefully be stronger.

Anyway, we talked about my hand position and how if it's not correct the crop flops out and scares Diego. So I made a conscious effort to keep my hands the right way and keep the crop glued to my side. Unfortunately, I still had to drop it because he spooked about a noise he heard outside the ring. (A pony's pen that was attached to the arena was kicking the side of the arena wall.) But my coach assured me it was nothing I did so I don't feel so bad. He was pretty responsive without it (No turning his body into the wall) and we had a lot of good trot work. We also went around the arena in two point and we trotted over poles again. Diego went over them all without protest. My coach gave me complements on my two point and my posting. I have to believe that we will be moving on to something more complicated soon. Although, last time I felt that way I had those horrible solo rides and lessons. We'll have to see.

Spent my weekend with my mom, aunt and cousin in Cape Cod. I haven't been since I was seven. We must have stayed somewhere different when I was little because I remember it being much more touristy. This place had a bustling main street but the beach we went to was small and everything was locally owned. It was a really nice and relaxing time. I was a little disappointed that it went by to fast. Bought my first Alex and Ani bracelet! It's the star of Venus...I really wanted a "B" for my new last name (well in 5 months now AHHH) but my mom thought that might be bad luck...so I got the star of Venus instead.

The honeymoon is booked, the flowers are paid for, only the true up is left on the venue, we are getting things done!

Kay  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

17th Lesson and what not

Once again, way too busy to post right after my lesson. I'm not going to lie, with summer school approaching in just over a week. I've been pretty busy doing everything I possibly can to get ready. I've had to make a math test, a job chart and figure out what my goals are for each week of summer school. (At this point I think I've got an idea of what I'm doing for at least the first week.) I found out a have one child reading at a third grade, mid year level and another that is reading around the same level as some of my Kindergartners at the end of this tutoring year. I feel like all I do lately is search pinterest and Google for worksheets and ideas. I'm going to put it out there right now. I have a feeling that once summer school starts this blog might become even more sleepy than when I started. Which makes me sad...but at the same time a girls got to do what a girls got to do. So if you don't hear from me for a while...that's why.

I had another pretty good lesson despite having a terrible nights sleep. We worked on preventing Diego from cutting the corners as well as keeping his speed through them. Then I did my good old favorite which I haven't done in a really long time. THE SITTING TROT! After doing so much posting trot it felt so much more bouncier and faster. We trotted over more poles and I feel like each week we do it gets a bit more easier. I'm so glad that things seem to be going better for the time being. I'm also really sad that this is my lesson summary this week. Maybe it's because I've been working on the same stuff for awhile. I don't know.

I am excited to say that I didn't bring my crop to this last lesson and there were no issues and Diego pretty much listened to my aids. I'm getting stronger and hopefully he's listening more!

 I guess that's all, I'm tired.

Kay 
 
 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An update

Sorry for not writing. As I said an entry or two before. I've got summer school Monday through Friday and I'm working 20ish hours at my other job too. Needless to say, I'm insanely busy and exhausted.

Summer school is wonderful. I honestly feel like I'm making a difference and I'm seeing my kids understanding and making progress. There's been so much to plan and get ready for each day. I so wish that this was longer than 5 weeks!

Speaking of that, things might be looking up on the job search front. I don't know if I mentioned this, but not only have I been applying for jobs in 18 or so school districts, I also signed up with a teachers agency. It's a head hunter for teachers. You give them your stuff, they make it pretty. Schools approach them and they try to match a position with a perfect candidate. I talked to them on the phone for a while on Wednesday and I pretty much told them that I am open to everything (except high school) public or private. She had one lead too. 6th grade in a Catholic school. That is no big deal. I did my student teaching in 5th grade and I have my undergraduate in English. So I could teach language arts all the way to 8th grade if I had to (In a private school anyway) The thing that kind of makes it not so exciting is the location. The school is in Hartford, the capitol. Now things might be different in a Catholic school, because you have to pay to go and what not. But Hartford can be a scary place...so we'll have to see. It's the first real bite that I've gotten. So if I get the interview and end up hating it, at least it was good experience. Fingers crossed on that.

So, I had a riding lesson last week and I will have one later today. Honestly I'm kind of unhappy. Remember how excited I was when I started? Don't get me wrong, I know that I'm not going to become an amazing rider over night. But I feel like I would be doing better if I was a top priority. My coach is nice, but she is so scattered and disorganized. At least six times now I've had a lesson cancelled or rescheduled at the last minute. There was actually one time that I was dressed and on my way out the door when she called me and had to change the time. One time, we had a lesson and she called it early because she had to leave to go somewhere. She leaves the ring to use the bathroom or get coffee while I'm riding, among other things. I think the thing that really set me over the edge was I was supposed to have a lesson this past Thursday. I asked her when a time worked for her and we agreed on 6:30. She called me on Thursday to tell me that her son had a doctors appointment at 5 in a town half an hour away and that she'd have to push the lesson back because she didn't know how long it was going to take. I had plans so ultimately it go rescheduled to today. I know that her mom isn't doing well, I know she is a mom. But her son is 13, not 3. Remember when she would have to race after my lesson to get him off the bus? He's going into the 8th grade for crying out loud. I walked home from my bus stop when I was 13. Then lets talk about poor Diego. There are like 6 lesson horses at the barn, But all the beginners ride Diego. He doesn't seem happy, he never wants to do anything you ask without some struggle and he tries to get away with whatever he can. I don't blame him. I feel like I tried to look for the place that was most affordable and its a "you get what you pay for situation" She has 15 or 20 boarders, she has young girls feeding and cleaning stalls because she has no hired help. The place is dirty and disorganized. I'm really frustrated because I know I'm not the next Reed Kessler, but I think if I had a horse that wasn't tired and was able to ride consistently (like I was when I first started) I would be much more positive and upbeat. I feel like I could find a place that has things more together. Again, my coach is sweet and I know my life is crazy but somethings got to change. Maybe if I boarded my own horse there it would be fine, but I feel life I'm spending 35 dollars every week to be doing the same thing that I've been doing for months now. It sounds like JB and I probably going to move anyway. It's a good excuse to possibly take a break and find a new barn. Thoughts?

Okay now that all that is off my chest. I have to go ride in a half hour. Maybe I'll have a magical lesson and I will feel completely different.

Kay 
 
 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

19th Lesson

Well isn't it just like fate, that I wrote an unhappy entry about horseback riding and my barn and I have an excellent lesson? I don't try to get super spiritual on here, but I swear I say something and the Big Guy answers me.

I jumped yesterday!

Well, technically it was a baby cross rail maybe 6inches or so off the ground, and we trotted over it. BUT IT WAS A JUMP.

I should start by saying that when I got to the barn yesterday I almost turned right around and walked out. Diego was being used in a group lesson by another instructor. My coach was an hour behind schedule. I had forgotten my check. I was convinced I had driven up there for no reason and I had to work at 4 so I was irritated. But like I said it was like a voice was telling me to hold on because my coach told me not to worry about paying her. I ended up having a semi private lesson so I rode 45 minutes instead of half an hour and I got to jump. How can I be angry at my coach when she is flexible and understanding? Bottom line, I can't. I have to roll with it. She's made me so much better. I have to remember that even when she has to pee in the middle of my lesson. lol.

I was a little intimidated when I first got into the ring though. I'm very used to having the whole ring to myself. There was a little girl having a lead line lesson, then there was a girl doing canter circles at one end. Another girl flying around and jumping over at least two foot oxers and then the girl I had my lesson with (who was like 11 by the way) and myself. Did I mention parents watching? Once I was calmer I was glad though because prior to this I had NO experience with other riders and if I ever show I will need it.

Eventually the cantering girls left and it was just the pony lesson and me and the other girl. We did the usual trotting around. Then we did some two point, sitting trot, and work over a pole. She had us walk for a bit and I thought the lesson was over. I was noticing her bringing over another pole and jump standards. The girl I shared my lesson with did some cantering on the lunge line so I figured I'd keep trotting and she'd get to do jumps. Surprisingly I got to do it too! I was so excited!

Diego was okay. Totally fine while we trotted and did stuff with just the pole on the ground. However, I'm noticing that when he gets a break he does not like to start trotting again. I think as much as I don't like my crop I should give it a shot. It took a long time to get back in the groove and several times he stopped and walked over the cross rail. The other horse is named Energizer Bunny so naturally she was passing me A LOT. But still. Very happy with how it all came out.

Kay 
 

Friday, July 26, 2013

One journeys temporary end, new journeys on the horizon?

I've been MIA. Summer school is part of it. I also haven't had a lesson in almost two weeks. I've ultimately decided to take a break from riding at Breezy Pines. I feel like a quitter and I don't like it. It takes a lot to make me give up, so I guess that should show you how I was feeling.

I know that I pretty much vented a few entries ago. I also know that I had that fantastic entry where I got to jump. Despite having that progress, I didn't schedule a lesson. I was sick of not having a consistent weekly lesson. I was sick of the last minute changes and cancellations. I wasn't looking forward to going to the barn. As cute as Diego was, I didn't have that connection I had with Luke, and I only rode him for a week. I was spending a lot of money and not feeling satisfied.

I don't think it's an end of horseback riding all together. Before all this cancelling/ scheduling issues and whatnot began I really enjoyed it. I was actually thinking of leasing and spending extra time at the barn when I could. I'm sad because I was so excited to start. But like I said earlier, there is a very good chance that Jon and I will be moving and with a better job I might be able to afford to go to a place like I went to camp that was a bit more organized and maybe has more than a handful of tired lesson horses.

This whole experience definitely made me realize that it's never to late to try something new. I went from a week of actual riding experience to starting to jump in 5 months. I wish that I had the confidence to try new hobbies and meet new people when I was a teenager. There were so many opportunities that I passed up because I didn't like someone who participated, I didn't think I was good enough or none of my friends did it. Honestly, I don't think I would taken dance if my mother hadn't pushed me in that direction. Playing a musical instrument was something I initially did because everyone was starting up. I was a shy, meek kid growing up.

So anyway, maybe the horseback riding journey is temporarily on hold but the trying things I always wanted to do as a child isn't. One of my initial things for this hobby thing was something that kept me active and healthy. Horseback riding did do a number on my legs but I feel like the rest of me was getting kind of...doughy. So with a wedding in less than 4 months, and hopefully a long life after that I think it might a good idea to find something that works my whole body.

What else do I love besides Horses and my future husband? um...that would be Gymnastics. I did acrobatics for a few years of my dance career and while I wasn't crazy good, I did progress. I miss the way my body looked and felt. I want that flexibility back. I'd also like to learn more if possible. It will be fun to learn the activities that I constantly watch and read about. Again I'm not expecting to become the next Gabby Douglas or Aliya Mustafina (I'm 24, that ship has definitely sailed.) but what a fun and exciting way to work out? It's a lot cheaper per month too. Plus if I could something cool like a giant circle on uneven bars or a back layout or something...I'd explode with happiness. Nothing set in stone with that yet...

...because as I have said like 40 times now, JB and I might be moving! I had a job interview on Thursday. It's a 6-8th grade English position at a Catholic school in Shelton. If it all ends up working out I'd have a 45-50 minute commute from where we currently live. While I love being close to my parents, that ride to and from work would be intense. Probably wouldn't be bad to have a place or town of our own either. Again...nothing set in stone yet. keeping my fingers crossed and praying everyday. I thought the interview went well. The only thing that might be an issue is my lack of experience...but got to start somewhere right?

Okay, good night.  

Where I've Been Part One: The Job

Holy molly it's been a crazy couple months! I've thought about writing on here a lot, even if it was just a line to let everyone know that I'm okay. Let's just say that things have been busy, different and took precedence over a blog that I do in my spare time. (I'm currently typing on lap top in one of my school's libraries) Still I apologize, I was pretty religious about posting.

So summer school ended and that job in Shelton told me thanks but no thanks. I was just about ready to accept my fate and go back to tutoring at the school I'd been at for two years. So a day or two later I got a phone call. It was from another school that said they got my information from the teacher's agency and wanted me to come in for an interview. The catch was, it was for a music position.

I can't remember if I shared my past on here, but I started my undergraduate as a music education major but ended up switching to English because I couldn't pass one class and it was preventing me from graduating on time. Having to abandon that passion, that part of me that had been there longer than anything else was really difficult and I never thought I would have the chance to do much with music ever again. Especially teach it. I mean, I got my masters and certification in Elementary Ed! When I signed with the teachers agency, they asked if I would teach music if I was offered a position in a private school. I said yes, but I figured with out a degree, no one would even give me a second look. Apparently not.

I went in for the interview and the principal talked to me like I already had the position. I had to talk to a few other people just to make it official, but he told me that he was impressed with my resume (I apparently have more music credits than English and Elementary combined). I was offered the job and I took it. I almost feel like it was divine intervention. I made the best of my situation so that I could still be a teacher. Who would have thought that I would not only land a teaching job, but a music one at that?

It's a little daunting, though most teacher's I've talked to say that your first year is mostly just surviving. I teach at two different schools. They are both catholic and a town apart. One is significantly smaller than the other but newer. One has better behaved students (In my opinion) One is a better ride to work in the morning. That's probably the biggest thing is that JB and I live 45-55 minutes away from these schools depending on what day I have to go where. We're looking for a house closer, but that's for another entry. I hate driving! I may actually pick the train half way down tomorrow. However, I also hate getting up early, so we'll see.

I feel lucky. I mean, I went from going from working two part time jobs where things were pretty easy to one crazy one, but I can't complain. It's such good experience. I mean I graded papers and plugged them into a grade book. I've made permission slips, and lesson plans. I have to learn over 400 kids names! I've already confused at least two! This feels like a dream! I'm actually a teacher people! Not an intern, student teacher, substitute teacher, reading tutor, summer school teacher or pizza maker. I AM A TEACHER!!!!!!

And tonight is meet the teachers night! AHHH!

Stay tuned for Part 2: It's about all the other stuff I've been up to. :)

Kay 
 
 

Where I've Been Part Two: House Hunting Horrors and Pre-Marital Mayhem

So I figured it would be easier to read this in parts instead of one long, never ending continuous entry.

So in other news, JB and I have been looking for a house. We originally decided to look at rentals when I got my new job, but some places were charging more than my parents pay for a mortgage so we decided to go back to the mortgage broker and see if our prognosis had improved now that I had a full time position. While we qualified for a small first time buyer loan, we were assured we could find something if we looked hard enough. So I searched the Internet for a Realtor in the area, thinking it would be better than using someone I knew in our neck of the woods...moral of the story, stick with who you know because:

A) People on the Internet lie
B) It's less stressful
C) Finding your home should be a happy(ish) time in your life

This woman I found had scores of good reviews and had a "pro" rating but she sucks, sucks SUCKS! It's honestly like she wants us to only buy what she sells and isn't really trying to go above and beyond the call of duty because our price range is small. Like I've said before, I'm a pretty nice and easy going person, so if I'm washing my hands of you...you've driven me to that point.

We looked at two houses that didn't work out (one had a HUGE crack in the foundation, the other we liked but weren't in love with it)

Me: So you'll keep looking for more properties?
Realtor: Well...there isn't really anything else out there in your price range...

Seriously? There isn't another house in the entire western half of Connecticut in our price range? She is literally obsessed with two things. 1) A cheap condo that is completely pink (walls, tile floor, rug I kid you not are pepto pink) and Waterbury. For all you non CT peeps. Waterbury is yucky. Their schools are horrible. It scares me to think like that but kids are not that far down the horizon, maybe in the next five years. No, no NO! So JB and I are looking for a new Realtor.

Venting about that actually felt very good.

Onto a more positive note, we've been working on wedding planning. Invitations and pre marriage classes. My mom and dad finally went over Jon's parents house and got to meet some of his siblings and my nieces and nephews. Oh there's news! I'm an Aunt! Again! I now have 5 little kiddos! (Well technically JB does, but I love them more probably.) Tyler, Fintan, Lily, Graham and now ELLA! Only the older three will be in the wedding. :) I can't wait. They are going to be so very cute.

It's all finally starting to come together, but honestly I wish it could all be done for me so I could focus on my job and just have my day be the best it can. I know if will all work out, but I'm a spaz so  I have to remind myself this daily.

Okay...Part three is the last part. I'm sure your wanting to know about Gymnastics...

Kay 
 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where I've Been Part Three: Daring Gymnast?

Hello for the third time. I go from not writing for a month and half to purging it all out of me in a few hour period. Oh well. I missed it. :)

So I'm sure you are wondering if I've been riding since I dropped off the face of the earth and the answer to that question is no. In fact my former coach hasn't even made an attempt to contact me which I find crazy. I went from riding weekly to even helping out a few times a week to nothing. Not even a phone call to see if I was okay. I originally thought about sending her a card (I actually owe her for a lesson) explaining how I got a new job. But you know what, so be it. If I really mattered she would have called me.

So I signed up for "young adult" gymnastics. By young adult they mean, I'm one of the oldest. There is one other girl who might be the same age as me and two men who are older. There rest are 12-15 years old. However, I'm not the worst! So that's kind of exciting. I've been three times now. I'm am completely sore a day or two afterwards (Abs are currently yelling at me) but it is the most amazing worth it pain. Like I hadn't done a lick of serious tumbling in about 8 years(?) and I would say I'm almost back to where I was before I stopped. Almost. So of my extension and flexibility has been set back. But it's September and I think if I keep working I should get a lot of that back.

One of the coaches that comes and works with us actually called me daring. At first I didn't believe him. I totally felt like a chicken at first. A lot of things I used to be able to do I've been asking him to spot me on. It's a mental thing. I don't think I can do them because it's been so long. But I'm proud to say that I've also tried some things that I never even got the chance to do in the past because it was dance and not gymnastics or because the class was huge and there wasn't time for me to try many times and be fair to everyone else. For example, I've been practicing front hip circles on the uneven bars. Pretty much you pull yourself up on the low bar and flip yourself over. The first week, I was too scared to try it on my own. Now, I can flip myself over but flop on the mat, I'm not going quick enough to get myself back up there again. But hey, progress. I also have been practicing front hand springs and tucks. Both of these were skills that I never got to do because the class I was in wasn't advanced enough. I've been doing handstand after handstand over this drum shaped mat and landing with two feet. I've gotten to the point where I can do the whole thing and stand up afterwards. Pretty soon I'm going to take the mat away and start having a coach spot me! Finally I've been practicing front tucks into foam pits! If only there were more foam pits in life, people would be fearless. It's pretty darn sloppy, but I've only done them on trampolines before. The next step I think is to run and run and tuck into the pit and then jump on a trampoline, and tuck into the pit. Either way, I never thought I could do these things, much less at the ripe old age of 24!

Now if I could just get basic skills like my cartwheel and round off perfect (I'm pretty sure I was taught incorrectly) or was doing them incorrectly but there were so many kids that I was looked over. Oh well.

This is the end, I promise :) 
 
 
























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