Friday, January 21, 2011

"...the end of a decade, but the start of an age."

Well here it is. My last day of work at my first 'real' job. I've been so fortunate to have been in a supportive and forgiving environment while I embarked on my journey into a career in local government. Today is really bittersweet for me. There are so many things that I loved about my job. I often get to be a one woman show. I can dress up and pretend to be important or come to work with my hair a mess (scrunchy and not blow dried). I wear jeans on Friday, but really could do so any day because we don't have a dress code. I can take lunch whenever I want or go run errands. I can have visitors to my office or run and meet the farrier in the middle of the day. Calling in sick or taking time off is never an issue. I encounter many citizens and volunteers who are truly passionate about their town and they inspire me. Cleaning out my office brought a tear to my eye last night but then the nearly 3 hour night meeting dried it right up (thank god Grey's was a repeat bc I don't have DVR and I wouldn't have wanted to wait and watch it online).

But now I'm preparing myself for a new mountain to climb. One year out of school and I will already be serving in the position which I had been coveting. I will be the Public Information Officer for a city of nearly 52,000 (coming from working for a town of 5,000). I get to be the face of the municipality and will be set with the task of convincing people that their tax dollars actually do good things for them. I will try to show folks that we bureaucrats are actually well meaning public servants who want to make their community a better place. Thats a lofty mission, I know, but its certainly the broadest intent of what I do! I think I also have big shoes to fill when I arrive on Monday morning. I am scared to death but excited to (hopefully and ideally) be "important" and needed and challenged and useful. I hope this is a place where I can grow and learn and develop my skills to be a better public administrator.

I'm really not sure what the next step is. I don't think this will be the pinnacle of my career (at least not salary wise) but this IS what I want to be doing. So I hope that I can (afford to) stay put for a while. I haven't had consistency in my life in a really long time (try... high school). I'm always working toward the next step. But right now, I'm entering a new "age" in my career, I have my equine partner who I think can allow me to reach the height of my equestrian abilities (I will never be a high-level competitor, but I think Granite will allow me to compete and reach my own goals and the goals I have set for him), I have the love of my life by my side and I have family back home who are huge cheerleaders (and the the fact that they are so far away is literally the biggest regret I have right now). I also have a small handful of devoted friends who are around to support me, provide me with comic relief and to remind me not to be too hard on myself (talking to Jordy and D specifically on that last portion).

I hope that I can wrap my competitive and forward thinking brain around this new found stability. I hope that I can live in the now and make the NOW better instead of always worrying about what is next. I haven't really allowed myself "resolutions" this new year because of all of these transitions and uncertainties (new job, new schedule, new barn....) but I have some goals for this new "age".

(Professional)- I want to come in to this new job with an open mind. I want to embody the role of "PIO" and make the position the best it can be. I want to be devoted to my position, the municipality, and my career as a public servant.

(Equestrian)-  I want to give Granite every opportunity that I can to be the best equine partner he can be. I don't want to rush him. I don't want to allow him to stagnate and not grow. I want to challenge his mind and his body with everything from trail riding to schooling shows to lessons and clinics. I want him to be a jack of all trades even if he ends up being a master of none. Hes my lifetime horse and I don't want to give him any limits.
- I want to be a better rider. I want to explore new disciplines (someone let me HUNT for god sake). I want to be open minded. I want to learn more technical knowledge and become a horse woman and not just a rider.

(Personal)- If I can provide even 1/2 of the enrichment to TK's life that he provides mine, I will have succeeded. I want to understand that I DO deserve everything that he gives me but I also want to constantly remind myself that he deserves just as much. I need to allow myself to be spoiled, but I want to pay every bit of it back to him. My wish for our relationship is that each of us is always thinking that we are the one with the better end of the deal.
- I want to be a better daughter. I am blessed with two of the best human beings on the planet as parents. Seriously. Not only are they amazing humans, but they are amazing parents. They are there for me and they lift me up but they force me to be independent and to take responsibility for my actions. I just hope that I can find a way to actively participate in our family dynamic despite the 5 hour physical distance. I hope that I can support them in a way that they have supported me. My family is nearing some hard times and while I may not be able to help bear the burden because of my proximity, I hope that I can be the emotional support they deserve.
-I love my friends. I am so lucky to have a best friend who I actually put in the "family" category. I also have some long distance friends who don't get the interaction that they deserve. I hope to foster growth in those relationships in the future. My 'invisible' friends with whom I interact through the web-- you don't realize how much you of an impact you have on my 'real' life! I also hope to devote more time to the ladies who live right around the corner. They are a golden resource that shouldn't be taken for granted. I also hope to reach out to new friends who share my interests and values and be a more inclusive person to those I meet.
-I want to pay so many things forward. I NEED to volunteer. To have fellowship with my community. To serve on a board and become active in a community group. Although I may not love the geographic location that my life has brought me to, it seems that its quickly becoming home and now I need to embrace the community. Not only should my profession be about making places better, but my life should be as well.

So there you have it (for those who made it to the end of this emotional roller coaster).... To quote the all knowing Taylor Swift (good thing TK doesn't keep up with my blog-- bc he may dislocate an eye from rolling it so hard) "its the end of a decade, but the start of an age." My life is NOW and I don't want to regret it. Heres to living and loving and seeing life from between two oversized grey ears!!!


<3 Rach

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dream Barn Please

Asking for some collective finger crossing today. I checked out barn #2 this weekend. The woman had just moved in. It was icy and cold. I wans't particularly UNIMPRESSED... I just wasn't impressed either. There are only 2 pastures and both are 5 strings of hotwire. They are also 15 acres. I'm just so worried that Granite will get hurt and no one will notice. It is also a pretty good hike from home. The "indoor" is one of those psudeo indoors that is actually the aisle of the barn. The stalls are on one side and the rest is just empty. It is about the size of 2 round pens. She also has a round pen, but no outdoor arena or jumps (although she claims to have a full course).  There is a wash stall and lounge but everything was pretty old. The price is incredible and her horses looked well kept. I won't discount it completely, but I am not excited about the prospect of going there.... thus, my search continues.

And I found THIS little ditty through D. She and Jen are really good friends with the Barn Manager. I have also met the Barn Manager's daughter through my 4-H group. The farm is 15min from home and 30 from work. There is an indoor as well (a real one), so I could ride at night. I emailed about availability and rates but I bet you any amount of money that it is way outside of my price range (ideally, I don't want to pay more for board than I do rent, but I'm willing to go $20 over). I'm hoping that my connections may allow the Barn Manager to CONSIDER offering pasture board (if they don't typically do so) or cutting me some type of deal. Please cross your fingers... and toes. That place would be my answer!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Barn Search (#2)

I called the owner/manager/proprietor (not sure which) of a barn for which I saw an ad on CraigsList. This wasn't my first choice because I think its a bit far away (I don't yet have the physical address, so I really have no clue as to exact time of travel). But, barn #1 didn't really pan out, so I assume I should expand the search a bit. It can't hurt to look and since I'm not in a huge rush to move Granite, its worth a shot.
I actually called the woman (which is shocking because I HATE to use the phone). I was pleasantly surprised that she knew my name (I guess she saved my number after our initial email correspondence). She had also mapquested the mileage from my place of employment to her barn (11 miles she says). She asked me some questions about what I was looking for and told me some info about what she had (15 acre pasture board pasture with a sturdy run-in and round bale 24/7. 3 acres of the pasture is pine trees, the rest is grassy. she also mentioned the fencing is 6 strands of hot wire....). She sounded articulate, knowledgeable and kind. So, perhaps my hopes are up a little too high.

Check it out and give me your opinions. These barns are often severely misrepresented so its almost fun to guess what I will ACTUALLY find :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I. Miss. My. Horse.

SOOOO FRIGGEN MUCH. I haven't seen him since Sunday and won't until tomorrow. It sucks. Snow sucks, meetings suck. I want spring time. I want longer days.  I want to RIIIIIDE (and bathe, and clip).

The good news is the Granite's  nose didn't continue to bleed and when I saw him Sunday he was doing rather well. He did have a goofy spot on his hoof (heel bulb) that looked like an abscess had popped, but we never had lameness issues. So, I think it may just be from the cold/damn soil and him being barefoot.

I checked out that barn on Saturday. It wasn't really a barn. More like the skeleton of where a barn once stood. She showed me where the stalls would be. Where the ring was going. How she was going to convert the dairy barn to a washdown....etc. She was really nice and the property was amazing and super convenient-- but she had only been there a month and she appeared to be a bit transient (mentioning 2 moves to me in our conversation). I think if I find nothing else acceptable in the next month or two, I would check back to see her progress and them mark her off the list for good OR give it a try (the location is PERFECT). I do plan to call this afternoon to set up an appointment (hopefully for saturday) to look at another place. Pasture board is cheap and they claim to have an indoor arena and a lesson program. I like a laid back barn, so I immediately think this place may have too many children/hands on instructors BUT its worth giving it a shot since I think its in a good location and the price is right. Low expectations, but I will give it a shot.

This week should be BUCKETS of fun. I'm off to my pre-employment physical today then back to work for a night meeting. Friday, I have to go to the DMV to renew my license and then to the girlie doctor. Two things worse than most any fate! At least I get to look forward to a dinner with Jen, D and the three significant others of Friday night!

Ya'll stay warm out there!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who is ready for a stream of consciousness post??

oh you are??
awesome, bc I've been too lazy to blog for fear of being required to write in complete sentences (or organized thoughts).

So. Its 2011. It came in uneventfully. TK and I were too damned tired to go anywhere (a few days of moving and unpacking and trying to invent storage spaces in a 1 bedroom apt will do that to you). We watched a movie and set an alarm so we wouldn't forget to toast at midnight (at least we bought some cheap champaign and didn't completely ignore the holiday). Then we got to spend the whole rainy, cold weekend doing family things. With his family. And, in case I forgot to mention, we are not technically family (yet!). This makes LARGE family social engagements feel a touch awkward for me. But, I soldiered through and earned good girlfriend points (to make up for the often thoughtless girlfriend times).

Now, I'm struggling to get through the 1st week of the new year. Its been a rough winter in NC and poor Granite, on 24/7 turnout, was struggling with snowballs in his shoes. Our superiorly intelligent farrier determined that his upright hoof's angles were doing well enough to ride him w/o shoes in favor of him being able to handle the snowy winter in stride (haha...stride, get it?). So now the pony is barefoot.

I've ridden twice since and he doesn't seem tender footed at all (because my farrier is amazing and I think if you have a good farrier and healthy horse, you should be able to ride right after a trimming!). What he does seem is figgen bonkers! Granite stopped getting grain awhile back bc, well, he takes after his momma and is an easy keeper (plus hes on hay or grass 24/7-- I heart having a horse that lives outside). But now, its really cold winter time and our BO decided that Granite is now a candidate for a once a day 1/2 scoop of pellets. He gets this 1/2 scoop around 5pm. I get off at 4:30, change clothes, drive 15 minutes and arrive at about 5 min til 5 on weekdays. And my horse is bonkers. He has a one track mind.... FOOOOD! And his nighttime pasture mate, Splash-- the innocuous arab (OMG, did I tell you that the Devil Horses have a different farm! Oh glory to all things good! I'm soooo happy!), criiies for him. So hes got the crying and galloping mare and all the horse's in the pasture beside the arena getting grained and I'm asking the bozo to concentrate. Ha Ha Ha... not happening. Plus the ring has been slushy, so I didn't want to go faster than a trot. So Granite hollows, bites his bit, head in the air, ignoring most aids, and racing around the sloppy arena. Makes for a productive, relaxing ride. Sheeesh! I haven't gotten a good ride out of 2011 yet!

I did try a new bit on Tuesday, it didn't go well. Lots of chewing and head in the air. But I am also attributing that to the feeding issues and general ass-hole-ness the gelding has been portraying this week. So, I think I will try it a few more times. Its a french link, Dee Ring snaffle (JP Korsteel with the curved mouth pieces). I have had so much success with this bit in other horses and I want Granite to like it (I hate his eggbut, but he goes well in it). I'm buying the bit from D, so I think its worth having regardless.

So because my horse has taken up being a jackass (is this like his pre/early teen years-- I vaguely remember telling my mom I hated her and stomping off into my room and slamming the door around 13) and its been barely out of the 30s this week, yesterday I was thinking "man, I would love to skip the freezing cold barn thing and go eat tacos!". But then the BO called. At 3:30pm. At work. Because the grey man had a nose bleed! She was scrubbing water buckets and he wanted to help (typical) and she noticed dried blood in his right nostril. She wanted to call me to tell me to check on it when I went to the barn that evening. Obviously, I quickly changed my mind regarding the tacos. I brought him in and cleaned out his nose. It was just dried and not a lot. I groomed him and chatted with the BO. Then I look back and a fresh stream of red blood is dripping out of my boy's nose! We immediately decided to call the vet (yes, it was 5:06... hello on-call vet). Fortunately, the on-call vet was a really relaxed fellow with whom we often work. He asked us to describe it (intermittent bleed. We would get a trickle ever 5-10 minutes. He also had a fresh surface wound on his right cheek bone). Then he said that he was certain that Granite just whacked himself in the head (I can just envision this happening!) and there was a pool of blood in his sinus cavity that was mixing with his normal mucus and slowly draining. He told us to expect it for the next 2-3 day and to not exercise him or feed him on the ground (although he lives on pasture--thus always has his head on the ground). He said he would come out to look at it if I wanted him to, but he thought that was the deal. I said, "no thank you emergency vet call", and he told me to call if the blood was coming out faster than 1 drip per second or was enough volume to fill a 16oz cup. I felt like the WORST horse parent EVER putting my bloody nose boy back out in the pasture (there are no free stalls or I would have paid for him to be in last night). I went today and there was no sign of blood, so I plan to stay off of him until at least Saturday, but hopefully the vet was right.

So, I got the new job as I mentioned in my last post. I've told my current job and for the most part everyone says they will miss me but are happy for my me (best possible reaction). I start the new gig on Jan 24th. And the only draw back is that my current barn will be about 50minutes from my job and then another 20 from the barn to my new apartment (70 minutes in driving alone to see granite after work). And my barn doesn't have a lighted arena. So I would never get to ride during the week (with the exception of daylight savings time). And I would get home, at the earliest, at 7:30 every night when I could ride. So, I think I'm going to have to move the pony to somewhere in between the new job and the new apt. That breaks my heart! I love my current barn and the uber observant and wonderful BO. I've found a couple places and one that seems really promising. Eva is going to check it out with me on Saturday. Its about the same price and 20min from my house and 30 from the job. Cross your fingers for me.

In more exciting news. I have this friend. She is a member of the local hunt club and a good friend of D's. She rides an awesome QH named Pickle (um, what a cute name!). I knew she was one hell of a horse woman, but today when she mentioned her extensive competition history and her equine education (and degree!) a lightbulb went off in my brain. Um.... she would be a GREAT trainer for Granite and I. I've taken him pretty far in that we have a consistent W-T-C. Now I think I need eyes on the ground to help me progress and get him show-ring ready! This idea is in it's infancy, but I really think Jen is our answer! I'll keep you posted.

I guess thats all of my updates for the time being. I'm LOVING my new apartment and my new roommate. TK sent me the sweetest text this evening "I just thought you should know...  I absolutely love living with you. I'm ready to do it forever." I feel the same way. Its relaxing and simply amazing! Eva is spending tomorrow night with us and I can't wait to have our first house guest! Wahoooo!