Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seen Today in the Ladies Room at Work

Woman snorting/snuffling water up into and through her nose and blowing it back out into the sink. Over & over again. In a public, shared bathroom. Into a public sink that everyone uses! Gah! I mean, seriously. Am I the only one who is revolted by this??? What is wrong with people?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hunter Pace 10.26.2008

A picture of Panzer, with Shauna (who was kind enough to hold him for me so that I could take the picture).

Yesterday I rode in the Hunter Pace event that I had mentioned earlier in the week. I knew that it was going to be fun, but I don't think that I truly appreciated what a total blast it was really going to be. I can't imagine having more fun. I arrived at the barn early, early, early to help with all the barn chores before we could leave. I worked putting out horses, hauling water, picking stalls, throwing hay, etc. for three and a half hours! I was exhausted before the day even began. Finally we were loading the horses around 10:30 AM -- it was funny, Panzer had been loaded, but Ro's husband apparently hadn't been quick enough to secure him from the front, because the next thing I knew, he had run out the other part of the trailer and was running down the road! So, I got a little extra exercise running down the street chasing a loose horse. Sheesh!

I had the pleasure of riding to the event with two other adult riders, Sandie and Shauna. It was wonderful to have this opportunity to get to know some other adults who ride. Both women are extremely nice and I was so happy to be with other horsey, like-minded people. We arrived at around noon or so and got ourselves registered, tacked up, mounted (can I say that I am proud to have been able to mount from the ground? Usually I use a mounting block), got sorted out and started off. Shauna and I and a friend of Ro's who is a seasoned eventer, Amelia, decided to all ride together since we were riding in the same division. Shauna has been riding at the barn for about a year and Amelia used to ride there, before she bought her own horse property. I was the unseasoned member of the group, but was in pretty good company. Anyway, they let us out of the starting "gate" and we just started trotting easily down the road. We hadn't gone even ten feet before we got to a big puddle, I just directed Panzer to it, figuring he would just trot simply through. Well. Instead he took this huge, unexpected leap over it. I almost fell off! Managed not to, but lost both stirrups and murmured to myself, "well, this doesn't bode well."

When we got to our first jump (a stone wall with a tree trunk topping it) at the edge of a field, I realized that I was in for trouble. The fence was pretty freaking big! I skipped that one, but started jumping some subsequent "HUGE" fences that we came across not too far beyond it. I didn't want to get to the end realizing that I hadn't given jumping a try. I didn't want to be a wuss and I knew that I used to jump stuff like this, so I figured, what the hell. Added to my unease was the fact that I had only ridden Panzer once before and had only hopped him over a little cavelletti or something a couple of times. Anyway, so I took him over a series of two or three fences strung together and realized that he jumps really, really big! It feels like he gives himself a good foot of extra space over obstacles. And he jumps really round too. "Round" meaning that he really rounds his back and moves athletically through the jumping motion. It's beautiful to watch a horse who jumps this way, but it sure is harder to ride through. You have to be right there with the horse and when the horse is on the back side of the jump (coming back down from the jump) it almost feels like he disappears out from under you. Anyway, over every fence that we took, I could feel the expression on my face, eyes wide open, big and round, mouth wide open in a big, round "O" -- kind of like a silent "OMG!!!" (As in, "OMG, I can't believe I'm doing THIS!!!"). After the first series of fences, Panzer just kind of took off -- galloping after Amelia's horse (who, by the way, is an off-the-track thoroughbred -- former racehorse. Uh, Hello!) And so I expended a lot of energy getting him back under control. WHOA! It was wild. Anyway, after that series, we all decided to take it easy and pick and choose what we wanted to jump and to ride easily on the parts between all the obstacles. Amelia jumped everything we came across and Shauna & I picked and chose what we felt comfortable with. I jumped so much more than I thought in the beginning that I was going to. Amelia's encouragement helped, I really appreciated her input and I guess I just got a little brave. Jumped lots of BIG, solid fences (each complete with the "OMG" expression on my face). It was so exhilarating! Now, looking back on the day I am both proud of myself and wishing that I had tried a few of the fences that I had bypassed (out of about 29 jumps, I jumped about 8 or 10 of them). Still, I wanted to end the day in once piece, so it seemed smart to be a little conservative. In between the jumps, we all did a lot of chatting. Amelia shared a lot of her eventing experiences and advice and we all bonded over similar interests and appreciation for each others' input, experience and abilities. I was proud that I could keep up and participate with these two.

We finally finished the course about three hours or so after we started. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (almost 70 degrees and brilliant sunshine on October 26th, that doesn't happen too often) and the perfect thing to be doing on such a lovely Sunday. When we made it back to the trailers, we hooked up with our other group who had been entered in the easier division and had finished a few minutes before us.

Ro told me later that she had heard that I did very well and that she knew that they had kind of thrown me into this. So I'm very glad that I ended up being up for the challenge. The size and the difficulty of the obstacles I jumped give me the hope that I'm actually capable of more than perhaps I've been thinking I am. Amelia and a couple of other people that I talked to actually assessed the difficulty of the course as eventing trial level of "Novice" (which is harder than it sounds, the levels for a recognized eventing start at Beginning Novice, it takes some serious work to get to "N" status). Anyway, the height for most was around 3 feet, much bigger than I had been doing these past two months, that's for sure.

All-in-all it was a fantastically fun, exhilarating day. Exhausting, but so. much. fun. Panzer was a trooper too, a big enthusiastic lug-love of a horse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Updates and Stuff

Work has been really crazy for the past couple of weeks. I went from a very steady, reasonably calm pace to insanity practically overnight. I can't say that I haven't in general been enjoying the work, actually I feel purposeful and engaged and even somewhat effective, so that part is great. But I end the weeks completely wiped out (this week having worked 10-11 hours most days) and with this vague feeling that I haven't gotten enough work done. Also, the crazy work schedule hasn't left much time at all for working out and that leaves a very unsatisfying feeling to the week as well. Still, this week I did manage two personal training sessions, one very good and hard (for me) interval running session and three rides with Lulu, including one jumping training session. So at least I've managed something. But spinning completely fell to the wayside as each evening had me on conference calls with one of my customers, and I didn't run nearly as much as I wanted to. All-in-all, I feel like I can do better with my week, I just have to sort it out and be more organized and motivated. And get more sleep. Maybe I can manage some early morning stuff. It probably wouldn't have worked this week as I had 8 AM meetings all week, but next week it might be more of a possibility. If I can get my butt to bed early enough anyway (sheesh).

Tomorrow I am riding in the Hunter Pace event that I wrote about last week. I'm going with Barn #1 and am going to ride "Panzer", the horse that I rode last Saturday. I was surprised to learn this week that apparently Barn #2 also may be going to this thing -- ack! My two riding worlds are about to collide! Well, in the interest of avoiding at least some awkwardness, I told Alison about my plans to go to this thing with the other barn and, as expected, she doesn't care. It's Ro that I'm really concerned about, she doesn't know that I'm also riding at the other barn and I don't want to hurt her feelings. Anyway, tomorrow should be interesting. If anything, it should be a lot of fun, it sounds like a blast to me. I mean, galloping over fields and trails, jumping various obstacles, etc. Uh, hello??? Who wouldn't want to do that? FUN! I hope that I remember to bring my camera.

Barn #2 is planning this Ladies Outing for this Wednesday that I had hoped to take a vacation day and participate in. They are trailering out to the Groton Pony Club and are going to do a cross-country training session on their outdoor jumping course. Then they're taking a trail ride which will be followed by a picnic lunch. Besides the fun of jumping cross-country and the trail riding, it would have been a nice opportunity to get to know some of the adult women at the barn. However, work is too crazy right now and I have time commitments for a bunch of the stuff I'm working on, so I don't think I can really in good conscious take the time off right now. I AM hoping to take Thanksgiving Week off however, but maybe things will be a little quieter then and I won't have to feel stressed or guilty about it. So anyway, I'm very disappointed about having to miss the Ladies Outing, but I don't think I would have enjoyed myself as much anyway, thinking of all the stuff that I had to drop in order to go.

So my days have been pretty busy lately. I feel like I am constantly in a rush, flying from one thing to the next, but I generally feel pretty satisfied too. I am working on the riding, I am frustrated sometimes with how much I feel like I suck. But I have to keep reminding myself that I've really only been back riding for about two months (even a little less) after a 22 year hiatus, so I just have to be more patient with myself. I'm doing everything that I can, taking good solid training, doing the half-lease, riding as much as I can. I'll get better, it just takes some time. Work is great, but with the economy going the way it is, I have this constant "heart-in-my-throat" feeling lately. Almost a panic really. It's an especially panicky feeling as there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I want to know that my job is safe and will continue to be safe, but in these unstable times, no one can really promise something like that and I find it extremely unsettling. Still, most people are probably in this same boat, so if nothing else, I guess I have good company. All-in-all though, I have to say that life is good. Very good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Grown Adults Who Act Like Babies

Sometimes people piss me off. So, I'm working on this project with an internal customer. My job is to talk to the various business units and extract the relevant reporting requirements for their new reporting application as well as identify any new data feed issues and table requirement dependencies, etc. Yeah, whatever, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, so these are all very reasonable, but also very busy professional people and the application deadlines are all extremely tight. Just getting the requirements alone is a huge chore. Okay fine. So I met their developer last week and when I was introduced I said, "Oh so I hear you used to work at Old Company!" (Old Company being my previous company). He gave me a look like I was completely crazy and said, "I never worked at Old Company", with a sort of inflection and expression that almost said, 'I would never deign to work there'. Okay then. So I've been working very closely with my business contact at this group who is extremely busy, but very helpful to me and is the bottom line in certain decisions. So a requirement came out of a meeting last week to possibly add some enhanced functionality to a parameter input for a report (as in, "wow, it would be great if it could do THIS"). I added a note into the document that I'm writing that said we would have to explore how easy it would be to do and then wrote a subsequent email that said that if it requires extensive engineering (and I believe that it does) then that it should perhaps be an out-of-scope item. Weird Developer Guy (WDG) had sent an email looking for help from other technicians in that group to help with this item. I had mentioned that I had written a program for a prototype a couple of years ago, so that I knew this functionality can work with this tool, but I only knew the report scripting part of it and not the front-end piece as that had been done by someone else. WDG wrote back to say that he would like more detailed info from me about how I did what I did two years ago, with code examples and detail and whatever. In the meantime, my business contact who is managing the project wrote back (to everyone) confirming and backing up my statement that this functionality should be an out-of-scope item. In my opinion, we don't even have the basic report yet -- stuff like this should be looked into as an enhancement patch or second release.

Anyway, so I ended up at 6 PM tonight on an impromptu conference call with the business contact and a D/B guy. And while we're in the call, they threw a couple of questions over the wall to WDG and each time I could hear him whining and bleating about how I don't answer his emails. What?! So, I'm asking, "What emails? The only email I have from him that I haven't answered was the one about the code examples and detail for that enhanced functionality that we're not even going to do. Frankly, I didn't think it was very important" (and I still don't). Business Contact had to interrupt our meeting to find out exactly what WDG was talking about and confirmed that, yep, that was it. He was all pissy and petulant that I hadn't returned his stoopid email about this thing that we've decided isn't even in the scope of the project. Not to mention that it would take me a while to dig up the information he's looking for as it is on a server and environment with a customer that I'm not even working with anymore. I'm not even sure if I have still have access to it and if I do, it's still going to take some searching. Sheesh! This is a grown adult working as a contractor for a very corporate business group, at a very corporate company in the middle of Boston. Are you kidding me? Business Contact told me not to pay any attention to him. I just don't have time for this crap! GAH.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Picture of Lulu

I took this after our ride today. Isn't she cute?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Horses & Riding

Yesterday was my lesson on Lulu. Alison is away for the weekend to a horse trial (3-Day Event) and so we had Danielle as our sub. This is a "flat" week, which means we work on our dressage, no jumping. I prefer the jumping lessons (as most people probably do), but I feel like I get a lot done in the flat lessons, I feel like I work a lot harder, so I do appreciate their value. Yesterday I really made a point of working hard the entire time, even when just walking. It's so easy to be lazy, but I was very conscious about using my seat and my legs strongly with every single stride. And it sure is hard work! But after the lesson I felt deeply satisfied that I actually accomplished something. I also felt like I did SO much better than the last time I had a purely flat lesson like this. Oh and Lulu was great. She actually collected nicely for me, much better than she had the week before and better than I thought she would for me, so I was very pleased. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better through my lease. Tomorrow is my my day to ride her (on my own) so I'm looking forward to spending some nice time with her.

Today I went to the other barn. But when I got there, it turns out that I had signed my name on the calendar for Friday, instead of Saturday (I have no idea how I managed that one, sheesh). Anyway, Ro was nice enough to let me ride anyway, she figured it had been a mistake and she had a horse she wanted me to ride. "Panzer" is a very nice Morgan cross gelding who I thought was a real sweetheart. Ro says that he needs some more experienced riders to ride him as he tends to drift a bit (doesn't like to keep a straight line), likes to suddenly stop, needs help bending and has issues with the canter -- picking it up, going too fast, etc. I actually had no trouble with him drifting, stopping or bending and the canter wasn't perfect, but Ro was impressed with how well we worked together. She then brought me outside and had me pop over a few jumps with him, which was fun. We ended on a high note after a very nice jump over a fence she had raised a little higher.

Ro had wanted me to try Panzer out today because next Sunday she wants me to ride him in a Hunter Pace -- which is a low-key sort of horse show, basically you gallop through a cross-country field, or series of fields and take a few jumps here or there, it sounds like a total blast! She also someday wants me to come with her to a fox hunt (maybe on Panzer) -- something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. By the way, for those who are worried that they would actually be hunting foxes, please know that this does not involve the killing or even chasing of a fox. They basically drag a scent for the hounds to follow, which actually makes it easier to plot a great course for the field to enjoy. Anyway, so I said yes to the Hunter Pace for next week as it sounds like a pretty relaxed event and like a lot of fun. Since it's on Sunday, it means that I will miss one of my days with Lulu, but this sounds like such a great time, so I'm willing to make the sacrifice. I hope I can handle it! It's been a long time since I've galloped cross-country and over obstacles and I have only ridden Panzer the one time. Well, the idea is just to have fun, no pressure to perform or anything, so I think it will be okay.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Horse Obsessed

God help me but I spent a bunch of time last night looking at saddles online.

I'm thinking of this one.

They also make a dressage version.

I can see how I am quickly becoming deeply immersed into a horsey life, I'm becoming obsessed! I'm sitting here thinking, 'hmmmm I wish I had time at lunch today to run up to the barn and see Lulu'. Not to ride mind you, just to SEE her and maybe give her an apple or something. I seem to be becoming yet again that horse-crazed girl I was from early childhood through my early 20s. I wonder how long I'll hold myself off before buying a horse -- or worse, a horse property (certainly I can't afford that. Can I?)

But I think about horses constantly. I dream about them, I read about them, I peruse "horse-for-sale" ads online. I look at pictures of horses (particularly pictures of people jumping their horses) and videos of people riding. Soon I'll probably take to plastering my bedroom walls with horsey pictures and drawing horses in the margins of my notebooks during meetings or something. Sheesh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things I Hate

Carrots in soup. Yuck.

Horse Update

So, I've decided to move forward and take the lease on Lulu. I am both a little nervous and very excited. The lease starts this Sunday! (I hope it's a nice day.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More on Riding

I am having the most awesome time horseback riding lately, it just seems to be getting better & better, the more I ride. On Friday I went to Barn #2 for my lesson -- there was jumping and it was lots fun (as it always is). Right now she has me jumping pretty small fences, but that's okay, I'm probably not ready for anything much bigger at the moment, although I do feel my confidence coming back now. At least nerve-wise I think I could handle some bigger jumps, but there is no reason to be in a big rush for it, I'm having a total blast either way, regardless of the fence size. Anyway, so on Friday she had me riding one of the horses that are currently available for half-lease. LuLu is a pinto horse who has a few minor rough edges, collects herself on the flat but needs a little work to get that from her, is a little difficult picking up the left lead canter, but she loves to jump! When we got to the jumping part of the hour, she was in her glory (as was I) and a total blast to ride. She gets excited and likes to rush her fences a bit, but I don't mind that at all, it doesn't freak me out, but brings me back to a place & time when I could ride hell for leather around a jump course on an enthusiastic horse. The trick is to form a partnership and learn how your horse ticks, learn how to control that fire and organize her around a jump course. But it sure is a lot more fun than trying to kick a pokey horse around a course. Anyway, so LuLu is a sweetheart, has great ground manners and is plenty of fun. She's not perfect, but there is nothing about her that is a show-stopper. If anything, having some stuff to work on and work-through will help bring back my skills and help to make me an over-all better rider. Certainly in all of my riding history, it was a very rare occasion where I was able to even ride a "made" horse. Most of the horses I was brought up on had their issues and I believe (have always believed) that this made me a better rider and definitely a better horsewoman. It's too easy to just end up being a passenger otherwise. You might learn to look pretty on a horse, but actual horse handling, learning how to get the best out of the horse you're on, to be able to get on the back of most any horse and feel confident that you can handle what is thrown at you, well, you only get that by riding the gamut, not just the perfectly made or trained, bombproof horses.

So, I'm thinking of taking the half-lease on LuLu. Alison explained to me that she would be a good horse to start me on. She said how she usually does it is that when it is time to re-up the lease, we would then re-evaluate where I am and see if I need to move up in horse, based upon how far I've come and what my goals are (do I want to compete, if so what level would I be starting at, etc.) She said that she has a horse that might be good for me in the Spring. He's recovering from an injury now, but he's apparently a great eventing horse, took her through Prelim, so would be a great horse for me to learn the lower levels on. Anyway, that's possibly the future, right now I have to decide whether I want to make this commitment and do the half-lease with LuLu. I'm leaning strongly towards it. It's a wonderful way to have the feel of owning a horse, without all the expense and commitment. With the lease, I can ride 4x a week -- one for my lesson and three other times, on Sunday and during the week. I feel like if I can ride that many times a week, I really will be able to improve at a decent rate, not to mention the "fun" factor. Anyway, I'll probably have to make a decision soon, so I have to give this some serious thought. Ultimately I would probably like to own a horse, but the half-lease option would be great for now and would mean that I don't have to rush into owning.

Yesterday I went to Barn #1 for a trail ride and it was a total blast too. It was just absolutely the most perfect day. Peak New England Fall foliage. Warm day, in the low-70s/high-60s, but with that crisp edge you get in Fall. Brilliant sunshine. Just a perfect day to be outside on the back of a horse. Ro had pushed back the start time of the trail ride, so I was able to get on early and hack around in the dressage ring for about half an hour. And then we were on our way. It was Ro and her husband, two other of her more advanced adult students and me. It was a much more wild ride than last week (since last week we had some more beginner and timid types on the ride). Cantering, galloping, through mud, water, through rugged wooded trails, etc. It was the best time ever. So. Much. Fun. I felt so happy and content just to be on the back of a horse and able to ride confidently and competently. I ended up riding for over two and a half hours and loved every minute of it.

This is really hard for me now because I'm enjoying my experiences at both barns. I like both places so much that I really don't want to quit one of them now, I get so much out of both. Also, since riding on a Saturday isn't really that possible at Barn #2 (they're pretty booked up with lessons there already), I feel inclined to continue to ride at Barn #1 for Saturdays anyway. And if I can continue to do fun stuff like trail riding on those Saturdays, I feel like my overall riding experience is pretty well-rounded then. The biggest issues are, well, the money, but I also feel a little weird. Kind of like I'm cheating on one barn with the other, or something. I feel like I'm being a little dishonest with both, isn't that strange? I suppose if I plan to continue this way, I should probably mention to both barn owners that I'm also riding at the other barn, but I am actually a little bit scared to bring the subject up. Oh well, I'll continue this way and see if I change my mind about anything. Certainly if I do the half-lease, that might change things a bit.

Edited to add: I suspect that Barn #2 wouldn't really care all that much that I'm still doing some riding at the other barn. But I do feel like Ro would be somewhat hurt or upset that I'm also riding with Apple Tree. She has been so great to me and she and her husband are such nice people, I really don't want to hurt her. I also really DO enjoy riding at her barn, so I am feeling pretty conflicted about it all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hello, my name is "Snarky"

Working out with "Nice Mike" one day, I finally had to make a comment about some of the muscle heads I'm forever seeing in the gym. Some of whom are shaped like a barrel or a huge bullet or something. You know, tiny head and then it balloons out to one huge size?

Me: "So, do you ever take a look at some of these guys and want to say, 'Hey, you know, a little cardio might not be a bad idea?'"
NM: "HAHAHAHA! Yes, actually"

Another workout (last week) with "Nice Mike" and he has me doing the dreaded wall sit exercise. Chick who looks like her favorite form of exercise is Pilates is on a weight machine beside us (let's call her, "Pilates Queen").

PQ: (while I am in the middle of my wall sit and grimacing in intense pain with Mike standing over me with a stop watch) "Is that exercise actually effective without The Ball" (what ball you ask? Who the Hell knows?)
Me: "Actually, no, it's not. The trainer just decided to have me do it anyway". Seriously, WTF???

During the same workout and the same exercise, Loquacious Workout Guy who always likes to talk to us had to chime in.

LWG: "You think that's bad? You should try a plank."
LWG: (Then as he's doing a plank) "See? this is a plank."
Me: "Show off."
NiceMike: SNORT! "Show off! HAHAHAHA!"

On Sunday after my trail ride, I stopped at a convenience store to buy a ginger ale because I was parched. I decided to buy the "2 for" special. The total came to $2.22.

Me: "Actually, I think I have 22 cents."
Check-Out Boy: "Oh I don't doubt that you do, most females are toting around a ton of change."
Me: "I always love to be reduced to a sexual stereotype, so thanks for that."

Hello, my name is Snarky, have you met me?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Weekends Fly By Too Fast

It was a busy weekend for me and one that flew by far too fast. Yesterday was Applefest, a local half-marathon held near me that runs through the local roads and apple orchards of a neighboring town. It's a lovely race, at a lovely time of year in a lovely town and I hosted a post-race party for the second year in the afternoon. Again we lucked out with the weather -- although last year the weather was summer-like and thus not very good for running, it was very nice for cooking out and sitting outside. This year the temps were much more seasonable, probably in the 50s for the morning, reaching the low-60s by afternoon, but sunny and just a brilliant Autumn day. I didn't participate in the actual race itself, so I can't speak to that, but the party turned out to be a great time. A smaller group than last year, it was a nice crowd of people and I think we all enjoyed each other. The food turned out well and I had a great time overall. I always get nervous and even a little overwhelmed about entertaining, probably mostly because I don't do it very often. But I think I pretty much remembered everything and it turned out well. Of course I now have a plethora of beer and pie and apple crisp and other tempting stuff left in my house, even after giving tons of stuff away to exiting party goers. So, I'll have to walk a careful line through it all, and will probably just throw at least the pastry away. The beer though, the beer. Not sure what to do about all that. I guess I can try to ration one or two of those a week to myself. If I'm strong.

Today I went up to barn #1 for a trail ride that ended up being about two hours long. It was another completely gorgeous Fall day in New England. Crisp and cool (but still warm enough), the foliage not quite at peak (but getting there) a perfect day to be out on a horse winding through the woods. It was just one of those wonderful times where there was nowhere else on Earth I would rather have been. It was very nice and relaxing and a fun thing to do on a Sunday. But now, of course, I find myself suddenly at the end of a weekend and wondering where the time has gone. Maybe I should have taken an extra vacation day or two (and especially as I have taken very few vacation days this year so far), but the work is already stacking up and I don't think I really can right now. So, at least I can enjoy the bit of weekend that I get and that I did, I have to say.

Friday, October 03, 2008

I LOVE to Jump!

So I had my second ever lesson at Barn #2 today and it was just AWESOME! She (Alison) decided that this would be a jumping day since we missed jumping last week (lessons were canceled because of the hurricane that blew through last weekend). We started out with some warm ups at the walk, trot and canter and then we got right into jumping. First we trotted over a little cross-rail and then she put together a little course for us. It was so much fun to go from fence to fence, jump and then look for my next fence. I know that I had been missing this, but I had forgotten how truly fun & thrilling it is! After we did our "inside" course, she brought us out to the cross-country course and put together a little course out there, including a small bank jump and a ditch. So, of course, my rhythm is still completely off (it always did take me a little while to get that back) and apparently my jumping style is somewhat outdated, so I'm going to have to work on it all, but I never once felt even the least bit nervous and I generally had good instincts, I think. I just had fun, fun, fun. Oh, and I just LOVED the horse I was riding. Very sensitive and responsive and moved forward very easily. She was delightful. I wouldn't mind owning a horse like her, fun and sweet and trustworthy, yet responsive. Anyway, it was a great lesson and a good time. I felt so exhilarated afterwards that as soon as I got into my car after the lesson, I let out this big, loud WOO-HOO!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

ARGH! I’ve been so freaking busy! No time to write lately. Work is insane (but that’s generally a good thing). I am also generally very busy with working out these days, trying to fit it all in around my work schedule and there has even been a few social things here and there too.

Work is good. I have to say that I’m really happy with the way work seems to be going for me these days. I sometimes feel a little clueless or stupid about stuff, but I feel like everything I’m touching right now is a learning opportunity. So, I’m expanding my horizons, taking on more & varied responsibilities and getting more exposure to different groups and to different stuff. It’s all good. Very good, in fact. I think this is especially important during these crazy scary economic times. Certainly I feel very paranoid about remaining employed (and employed well), so if I feel like I’m continually growing in my role and becoming more indispensible, then I’m going to feel increasingly secure in my job. So, besides actually enjoying my job, I’ll hopefully more & more find myself in a secure and firm position. This is what I’m working towards anyway. But the meetings – GAH! Meeting, after meeting, after meeting, I’m ready to hang myself over all of these meetings during the week, but I guess you have to take the bad with the good.

Working out is GOOD. I feel so strong and fit and healthy these days. And happy. Really happy. I can’t remember when I last was this happy. Probably the summer about 9 or 10 years ago when I was living in Manhattan and training for the NYC Marathon. And even then, I don’t think my life was quite as balanced as it is now. “Nice Mike” has now decided that he is going to switch up my workouts every five weeks. Well. I am so, so sore from the new workout we did yesterday. I think I’ve been more sore today than I was even the day after running the marathon! He had me doing these wall sit things (as an aside, he thought that I would only be able to do 20-30 seconds of this, but I managed over a minute for each set) and these lateral squats using a medicine ball and this shoulder molder exercise with free weights that made it feel like my arms were going to fall off. And then of course I had Core / Spin class that same night where we did yet MORE crazy squats and leg lift stuff and ab work and whatever. I am in serious pain (mostly hamstrings, quads & BUTT)! I wince and actually whine out loud every time I go to sit down, and walking up stairs? Horrible. Good thing I didn’t have plans to sit on a horse today, I don’t think that I would have been able to do it. I need a really long, good, deep tissue massage. And now I have ANOTHER session scheduled with (not-so) “Nice Mike” tomorrow! Usually I like to spread them out in the week more (Mondays & Fridays), but my schedule did not allow that this week. I’m continuing to Spin too, averaging three times a week. This has been an off week however, so I only did the one spin, but next week I should be back on schedule. I’m running as well and I think that’s been the hardest thing to fit in with the increased workload. It’s really a shame too as this is my absolute favorite time of year to run and now that it’s cooler and I’ve been putting in all the running work for months, I’m actually running better. But I will continue to try and squeeze it in. Maybe I should be targeting 3x a week instead of 4-5x, since that seems to have become a little unrealistic with everything else I’m trying to do these days. At least I won’t have to feel like such a failure when my running plans for the week don’t work out.

Horses are GREAT. Of course, my lesson at Barn #2 got canceled last Friday due to severe weather and I had a kind of sucky lesson at Barn #1 on Saturday (sucky because I suck, not because the place or instructor sucks). But every riding experience isn’t going to be fabulous and is all part of the process of improving and in reaching the place where I want to be someday. I just need so much work! I have to skip this week for lessons at Barn #1 since I’m having a party on Saturday, so Ro offered to have me come out for a trail ride with her instead on Sunday, which I thought was really nice of her. Of course, I’ll probably be hungover for it, but it should be a nice ride and free of pressure. I can just ride and not worry about all the subtle nuances I currently seem to be incapable of. It will be interesting to see how things go at Barn #2 on Friday too. I’ve only had one lesson there so far, so I am really looking forward to exploring my experience there. I’m also thinking more & more about possibly leasing, and someday maybe buying, a horse. I keep looking at horse ads online and can’t stop thinking and fantasizing about it. But I’m still just in the thinking phase of this and have to rein myself in and try to be realistic about it, it’s such a big step and a huge responsibility. Still, I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s really a life-long dream of mine.

What’s not so great in my life right now is my current lack of weight-loss progress. I seem to be constantly gaining and losing the same two or three pounds and I’m finding it really frustrating. Of course, my clothes continue to get looser, I even tried on (and bought) a couple of pairs of riding breeches recently and was pleasantly surprised to find that I took a size smaller than I expected to (and there is no forgiveness in riding breeches, believe me) But the damn scale is really pissing me off. Still, I have to just keep continue plugging away and keep my eyes on my goal, and remember how far I’ve come in the past six months or so.

So, life is good these days. And busy. I’m pretty happy and fulfilled in general and enthusiastically moving forward. What more could I ask for?