Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend ~ Thanks Giving

I just had five days off. Tuesday night was the dinner party, Wednesday was the zoo. Thursday was Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's house.

"Mom, what's up for Thanksgiving?" Same question, every year.
"I'll be here. You can come." Same answer, every year. That woman loves Thanksgiving, and there is never, no never, any discussion about rotating houses, potlucking, or any other change in venue. Do you want to go to a cabin? Head out on a cruise? Host your own dinner? Go for it! My mom will be home, cooking her turkey. Period.

The kids' table at my mom's house was absolutely the place to be! It was a party in the kitchen.

I love this man, so much. Those laugh lines, around his eyes, slay me. Always laughing...I get that from him! We both love to laugh, and the art of a good story will never go unappreciated while we are around.

Early this week, making the blanket consumed all my time, but by Friday I had sent it on its way, the holiday was over, and I got to catch my breath. I cleaned the house, cooked a turkey and some mashed potatoes (what?! I wanted leftovers!), worked in the yards for a bit, and generally spent the day nesting and enjoying a thunder and lightning storm from the comfort of our front window.

By Saturday, I was feeling like my gosh, I can't believe I still have two whole more days! Two days! Still! I'm so relaxed, so caught up, so content! Saturday night we had dinner at the home of Tommy's very best friend. Then we split up, Erik taking Tommy to the space and science center for a planetarium show and telescope visit.

I took Scotty over to Dana and Shawn's house for the yearly tamale-making party. So fun! The tamales are cooked then frozen (except for what we eat for dinner that night!) and then they get eaten at the big Christmas Eve celebration.

On Sunday, Tommy and I got up early and went with my parents to visit Gram.

Such a happy ending to such a wonderful looooonnnnnnggggg weekend!

Somehow, by Sunday night, I couldn't believe I had to go back to work on Monday. No! Don't let it end! What had felt so ample and decadent on Friday, suddenly, two days later, felt truncated and rushed. Five days of friends, family, good food, good times...I wouldn't change a minute. I just need some more minutes just like that.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Time Tunnel

I met Kate in 6th grade. Instant and complete devotion, as I recall. This picture (taken by, I think, Scotty!) pretty much sums it up. Laughing, always laughing.

Her family (including three of the cutest kids you'll ever want to meet!) lives 5 hours away. I don't see them nearly enough for my tastes. But. When I do see them? It's just like I saw them yesterday. You know what I mean?

It doesn't matter if we talked last week, last year, or last who-can-remember-when. Seeing her is like stepping into a time tunnel, where years become instants.

Our kids (each as dorky as their mothers!) immediately teamed up with each other, against us. That's alright. We can handle that.

We got to spend the day at the zoo, on the day before Thanksgiving. We haven't spoken in two years (what?!? I can't believe it! I mean, even for us!). In typical fashion, I received a text message on Monday night..."Kate and the G___ kids will be at the zoo Wednesday. Want to hang out?"

I typed "Hells yeah!" back and there really wasn't much more to say. Love her. Love them.

More pictures, should you be interested, can be found here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hateful. Grateful. Full of Love.

Last Sunday, my mom and I went up to Healdsburg to visit her best friend (my godmother), Marie (Mimi, to friends and fam). I wasn't sure what to expect. A phone call from Mimi's granddaughter to my mom just a few days before that let us know that she has "4th stage lung cancer".

I hate cancer. Cancer took my Grandma Dot and my Aunt Patty. It took my Grandpa George before I even got to meet him. Cancer took my Grandma Mary's mom, when Gram was just 11 years old. Cancer took my childhood friend, Anthony. Cancer takes siblings and husbands and wives and sisters. Cancer takes what cancer wants, and I hate cancer.

On Sunday, I took 200 pictures and an hour of video, tucked in the corner while Mimi and my mom laughed, hugged, teared, and shared. She's still Mimi. Cancer can't take love, or hope, or memories, or the touch of a hand.

When we left last weekend, Mimi sent me home with a suitcase full of her own memories, in the form of clothing...worn by her husband (my godfather) who past last November from diabetic complications. (I hate diabetes, too. I am hateful.) She and Glenn had been living in Hawaii for many years, and these were, I dare say, the happiest of her life. As she pulled out the typical Hawaiian shirts (think Magnum, PI!), she had a story for each one. I couldn't quite watch, as my mental images were all around my mom having to leave the room just days after Glenn's funeral (of course she got on a plane and flew to Mimi's side) because she couldn't bear to watch Mimi packing these shirts, pausing on each one, and here we were, a year later, his smell and her tears forever part of that fabric, and I pasted a small smile on my face and nodded and hmmed over each story, because who would it serve for me to break and down and cry (the way I really wanted to) to leave the room (the way I really wanted to) and so instead, I started mentally cataloguing the stories....sorting them into piles as she passed them over to me...the creative process taking over and soothing my heart, because what she wanted was a blanket, made from these clothes, and this I can do.

(ps...I'm sorry, you'll just have to to deal with the above paragraph! I cannot bear to re-read it for editing, so if it's raw and rambling and it must be because that's what I am right now, too.)

On Monday night, I lugged in that suitcase from my Mommy-Van and I spent several late hours (after putting my kids to bed) cutting and ripping seams and arranging and re-arranging and cutting some more and ironing. I dragged the sewing machine, a folding table, and the iron out into the living room and set up a make-shift sweat shop for one. By Tuesday night, my living room looked like this.

And I had a crying hangover and my nerves were jagged and I called my mom and told her I didn't think I had the emotional strength to do this.

My original plan was to spend all my non-working, non-kid-caretaking hours on this project, so my mom could take it back to Mimi when she went up to visit today. But then there was the birthday party Tuesday night and a last minute Zoo Date with my own childhood friend and her three kids (and they live 5 hours away, and I NEVER get to see them, and hello, perspective, I'll not be missing that) on Wednesday...

And by Wednesday morning, I'd 'only' gotten this far. And I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. I'm a total novice sewer in the first place, and I have absolutely NO design background at all. I'm using cotton jerseys and linens and rayons with total abandon and no regard for my sewing machine or my sanity.

Emotionally and physically spent, I forged on.

Mimi's daughter Jenny emailed me a couple of photos, including this one. Could you just swoon?! Mimi and Glenn, I'm guessing they are about 20 years old in this photo. I printed this picture (and another, taken just a few years ago) onto photo fabric, and then used them both as blocks in the quilt.

This center block section (all outlined with the black fabric from one tank top and parts of two Hawaiian shirts ~ plus subsidized by a pair of black pants that no longer fit Tommy) includes t-shirts from their daughter and their son, plus a t-shirt from Jenny's first husband (and, therefore, with the same name as their two grandchildren) an "everyone loves an Italian girl" t-shirt my mom sent Marie some years ago, and a pair of shorts that Glenn LIVED in.

The shorts are these crazy tropical fish, and I was able to use the pocket of the shorts (which sit in the very center of the quilt top) to tuck in a tiny picture of them.

The picture is printed on fabric paper and then attached with a ribbon. I made it interchangeable, as I was hoping to get a third picture from Jenny, but in the end had to use one of the two that are also their own blocks. Someday, I may get a proper third photo, and this can be changed out when I do.

At some point, and I can't remember exactly when this happen, the entire project went from "my worst emotional nightmare" to "pleasant preoccupation". Something about putting it all back together, about using the cult of get it done, released me and I really began to enjoy this. I was thinking a lot about my cousin Kelly's Thanksgiving idea during the making of this quilt, and though I couldn't bring myself to say that she'll be thankful for me doing this (I'm just too humble for that!), I was able to think of it as a service project, something that I would turn over to it's rightful owner in due time, and that must go with a spirit of love and giving, not burden and angst. I wanted to embue this cloth with the proper energy, and soon I was really enjoying the project. (I am grateful.)

On Thanksgiving, after supper, I made the backing on my mom's sewing machine. I used green flannel (her favorite color) and some fabric she sent with me that she had brought with her from the island. I zig-zagged (the logo portion of) three t-shirts that Glenn loved to wear down the strip of tropical fabric.

Then I printed (also onto fabric) "Glenn and Marie A Love Story" and sewed that onto the backing as well. And it is! Married young, they had two children. They divorced, and Glenn had another child and Marie also had two more. Other marriages and relationships took place, but they were always (despite the divorce) the best of friends and totally devoted to their children. When Mimi and my mom turned 50, they visited Glenn in Kauai. And, with new eyes, it may well have been the start of the new beginning that became their RE-marriage several years later. True love, always.

I kept the 'theme' on the back by using a particular three t-shirts. These shirts, to me, represent the TRUE LOVE of a real that travels across time and space and endures... one that doesn't judge...that revels in the differences between a man and a woman, and doesn't care what anybody on the outside, looking in, might have to say about what goes on between any two people who have made a commitment... these are what Mimi called "Glenn's booby shirts" and one is a wife-beater style tank from a local bar/crab shack, and the other two are from a surfboard company, featuring buxom island babes, with such catchy phrases as "nice papayas" and "ride a woody" (board brand) and I'm sorry, but only true love makes you save those in a box for 12 months and 3000 miles.

After coming home from Thanksgiving dinner, I basted the three layers of the quilt, and bound the edges in basic black. I just machine sewed the binding. (I was so happy with the outcome! The blanket isn't too thick, with Warm and Natural batting on the inside, so it didn't pucker or purse at all (which totally happened when I tried to machine stitch both sides of a binding on a crocheted blanket I did before, because it was just too thick). I've machine stitched the underside, then hand stitched the blind hem to finish off projects before, which I like, so I wasn't sure about machine stitching BOTH sides of the binding. I only did it for time (I finished this thing at two thirty this morning!) and I was very very pleased with the finished look. Yay!

Here we go. There's the center block, and the photo blocks, and all the other blocks are made up from Hawaiian race running t-shirts and Hawaiian opera t-shirts, and Hawaiian sports bars, and honu-Hawaiian shirts, all of which represented ~ to Mimi ~ their wonderful life in paradise, and I used the cut-up Magnum PI shirts (plus one dressier outfit Marie loved that Glenn bought her while they lived there) to make all sashings and borders.

I carefully folded the blanket (secretly, how shocked was I when all the edges matched and the corners squared up, even during folding?) and strapped it back into the suitcase that she had used to pack up all the clothing. My mom picked it up on her way to Mimi's house just a few hours ago. (I am full of love.)

I hope she likes it, as much as I liked making it for her.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Oh, my wonderful, beautiful, special (not so little any more!) girl... sigh! I love her so. Miss Maddie came into our lives twelve years ago. Twelve! She is the daughter of my dear friend Mari. This week, I'm understanding more than ever what it means to be able to look across the table at a family-friendly pub, and talk and laugh with my two friends that I've loved since middle school ~ and their families! ~ and My Maddie completes that circle of love.

She is the oldest of all our children, and she is such a good sport! All four of the youngers insist on mauling her, at all times. She patiently waits to have chocolate smeared fingers removed from her clothes and hair, and never-ever-ever complains.

I love when we're on holiday together, and Maddie gets to come over for a play date...not for the kids, but for me! Maddie and I both love horses and making things, and she's the best co-pilot for running errands.

So, Mari and Dana and I, with our five kids, and only two of our husbands (we missed Shawn!) spent most of last night laughing and catching up (in between corralling the kids, mopping up spills, referee-ing squabbles, and defending Maddie from the onslaught of love) and there's no place I'd rather have been.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Killing Me Softly

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Best Friends

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cuddle Up

It's a cozy kind of afternoon! The rain and wind that was promised came through all day, and by the time we got home we were ready for pjs, hot cocoa, and of course, marshmallow chasers!

hmmmm.....I still love tea (in my Scott cup!), but I do so wish there was a way I could justify topping it off with marshmallows!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

For Mimi

Today, I went looking for this story in my old blog because my godmother is on my mind, for all the wrong reasons, and I'm worried about her...and I'm worried about my mom, who is worried about her.

When I wrote this back in October of 2005, I was struggling to get back into running after Scotty was born (O.M.G...he's two months old and I'm still doing 11 minute miles! The sky is falling! Goodness, the drama!) and I had decided to do a little 5k that was scheduled for when he was around 10 weeks old.

Because I wrote about running in this blog, it would be considered totally normal to write up a 'race report' after any event. This particular report was pretty abstract, but it gets there, eventually.

I love Mimi, and I think she would like this story. Here it is, minus 5 words and one sentence. (Because I've had to learn how to edit my inside thoughts! :)


I've mentioned here before, in passing, about how I'm a heathen. It's not entirely accurate. It's true that I don't believe in any specific "god" or doctrine. But I have faith that a [non-specified] something is much larger than me. I can look at a rock, or a tree, and I know I didn't make it. And so I embrace all the possibilities of the universe. Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus; they are as likely ~ and unlikely ~ as any other deities. And, to my way of thinking, as likely ~ and unlikely ~ as werewolves, aliens, and voodoo. I don't personally believe in aliens, or God either, for that matter. But I accept the possiblity that as long as somebody does, it's part of the human experience. At my core, I'm a humanist, and I believe in the human experience. For me, I don't feel the need to "pick something". And deep down, in the secret recesses of my heart, I don't believe one thing any more ~ or less ~ than another.

There are two people in my life who do have such faith. Both of my grandmothers. Grandma Dot, a Dutch-French Presbyterian; Grandma Mary, a pure Irish Catholic. My maternal grandfather was Roman Catholic, and so it was up to my parents to officially leave The Church. Before they did so, at the age of 23, they ensured my brother's and mine places in heaven by having us baptized. My younger brother, by five years, is on his own. Though my godmother assures me that if my parents had held the faith, she would be his godmother too.

My godmother is my mom's best friend. They've been best friends since they were 12. Marie (or Mimi, as her family and friends called her) was, is, and always will be, completely crazy. Really. She is whacked. But we all love her. The night the police called and told us my brother, my mother's first born, had been found dead in a hotel room in San Francisco (just another overdose) my mother crawled into bed and didn't come out for four days. The morning after the phone call, it was I who called Mimi and told her my mom needed her. She hung up the phone, got in her car, and started driving. She forgot to pack, and stayed two weeks, but when you've got those kinds of friends in your life it's good to overlook their quirks.

And she came by it honestly. This is actually a story about Mimi's mom, or Mama (pronounced ma-MAW) as her family and friends called her. Mama was married to a Portuguese immigrant and they had five children that they were raising in the big cities of the Bay Area, first Oakland (where they grew up with my mom) and then later in San Francisco. I don't know what happened to her first husband. But I know that her second husband came equipped with six children from his own first marriage, and they took all eleven of their children to the farmlands of Northern California, just north of Sonoma County in a tiny town called Healdsburg. Healdsburg, before it became a suburb for the lawyers and doctors who commute to Santa Rosa, was teeming with hippies and communes. But Mama was pretty strict with her kids, and so they lived in their big, dilapidated farmhouse and they all had farm-y chores that had to get done.

One day, Mama's second husband up and left. Leaving his 6 children behind. And so Mama raised all 11 as her own. A single mom, running a farm, with 11 kids. Noble, yes, but by all accounts she was cracking from the stress and slightly (or overtly, depending on who you talk to and how much wine they've had) abusive.

When I was a child, Mama's farmhouse burned to the ground. I don't know the circumstances, but we drove up there and when we pulled into the property, where there was once a two story farmhouse, there now were charred beams and rafters and little else. The chimney was in rubble, and for some reason (perhaps it was our sole purpose in going) we began to load the bricks into my dad's van. We brought that chimney, in pieces, home with us.

My dad was in the process of building my mom her own farmhouse, and he planned to use those bricks in the two enormous corner hearths he had planned; one off the kitchen and one in their bedroom. This is the same man who took 16 months to [not quite] finish my kitchen remodel, and it took about 6 years to build the new house. Around the old house. While we all lived in it. It was fun, an adventure, but having lived without a kitchen for a while, I'm much more sympathetic to what my mom must have been going through.

During the course of those six years that huge pile of bricks often became an issue. When we went to stack the wood for winter, the bricks were in the way. When we went to build a chicken coop, the bricks were in the only logical spot. When my dad went to expand the foundation on the east side of the house, the bricks were in the way. Every time the bricks were in the way, my brother and I had to move them. We would stack them, one by one, into a wheelbarrow, wheel them over to the new spot, unload and stack them, and repeat this for hours. Until the new location proved inconvenient for whatever reason, and then we would stack them, one by one, into a wheelbarrow, wheel them over to the new spot, unload and stack them, and repeat this for hours. Those bricks sucked.

Then, one day, my dad built the fireplaces. They are...stunning. The aged bricks and the worn wood mantels and sheer magnitude of the fireplaces, everything came together to make an amazing work of art. And it wouldn't have been the same without the history, tone, and timber of Mama's bricks.


This morning, I got up when Scotty was falling back asleep after his 5:30 am feeding. I got ready to go and I snuck out of the house when it was still dark. I drove for 25 minutes and registered for the 5k. The same event where I did the 10k, last year.

All this, that got me to here ~ the treadmill runs at 9:30 at night, the walking, the working myself up, from 5.0 mph to 5.1 to 5.2 and now to 5.3; the blisters on my boobs, the pains in the bottoms of my feet; the fact that I've awoken every morning for the past three days with a raging sore throat ~ (hello aspirin, my old friend); all of it. It's like moving bricks around. It sucks when I'm doing it, and I often feel like it's a lot of work for just about no progress at all.

But then, today, standing at the start line with 200 of my closest strangers, standing in the fog and watching the sun start to peek through the mists; looking for ~ and finding ~ my mom's cousin and getting ~ and giving ~ big hugs before moving to our respective starts; talking to runners, about running, while running; deciding at 2.5 miles (in honor of Jon who would be just starting his marathon and whose advice, no doubt, would be to "leave it all out there") that I would speed up instead of slow down, as my legs were wanting to do; carrying the secret that under my normal-looking running shirt, I was sporting 2 different bras and three Fantastic Four bandaids...; all of it.

Today, I built a fireplace, and suddenly, moving all those bricks? It didn't seem so bad afterall.

5k, 34 minutes. Exactly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Makings of Busy**

** When I first typed this title, I accidentally put "The Makings of Busty" and I'm sorry, but that's so much better!

I'm racing home every day to try and get some time in the backyard before the sun disappears. I guess tonight I finally finished everything that was on the list, trying to get the yard put to bed for winter.

I harvested what was left of the veggies, including the green tomatoes, and we'll just see how that goes! I ended up with a ton of tomatoes, even if I don't count the green ones (until they hatch haha) so I just composted everything after I pulled all the veggies and covered the beds I used this year with some mulch. After winter, I'll work the mulch back into the soil with some of the composted materials.

I've moved in new beds, and spread mulch (where the pool used to be) and moved the hammock over to the corner of the yard. I had a pile of dirt and another pile of mulch that needed to be moved, and a 50-gallon garbage can full of soil that had to be added to the new beds.

I clipped bushes and weeded the play area in the back corner of the yard. And I put away all the tools into the shed (not a moment too soon!), stored the bikes for the winter, and made sure the woodpile won't get wet in the rain.

After several days of this, I told Erik to take a look out back and see 'what's different!'. He was all, hey great, and gosh, that's awesome....and then he said, "You took the patio umbrella down!" *sigh*. That's true. I did. Two months ago.

Also keeping me busy:

All this cuteness.

I wish you could hear the laugh that goes with these pictures!

And learning how to use my new camera...forgive me indulging my new hobby?

When the sun goes down, and the boys are in bed, I've been working on the latest installment of the botanical applique. I truly do love these the best! (But I know I say that every time.)

There's never a shortage of busy-making activity at this time of the year, but I've been enjoying this particular mix so very much...just enough handwork (love!) and hard work (strangely...also love!) and hardy laughs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We had our own visitors last week, and it was with great sadness that we saw them off after only a few precious hours. I "met" JD on message boards in 1998 or so. I was smitten from the start, and I confess that she has always remind me of a girl Erik!

They proved that, once again, I was completely right, when at dinner they sat across from each other, speaking what appeared to be a completely different (and completely incomprehensible) language, while her husband and I frowned at our pasta and tried to ask questions.... Intelligent questions, like "Wait...what?" and "Huh?"

I, of course, got JD in a bear hug in the driveway, before she could even get out of her car. Having spent some time together, in the online sense, she was not surprised and had braced herself for the inevitable. I completely, and inappropriately, tackled her husband next and, I hesitate to share, I may even have patted his back before letting him go. Oh dear.

Fortunately, they recovered! They were burning up vacation time so they left DC and spent the week here in San Francisco, and the surrounding areas. We only got them for the one night, so I did what I always do...cooked way too much food, made them take a bag of homemade snacks back to their hotel with them, plied them with wine, and generally talked them blind before begging them to spend the night.

Either my kids or my cooking sent them on their way, may we never know which one it was! :) And if you're reading this, JD (or Bill!) we adore you both and we thank you SO MUCH for sharing your vacation with us!

Our dinner involved tomatoes from the garden and pesto from the garden that I had made and froze, and apple pie using the filling I had preserved from our apple-picking adventures. Is it wrong that I'm so happy that none of it made us sick? Success! haha Not even kidding.

In order to use the apple pie filling I had to make a crust, which reminded me of three great tips.

The first, which I learned in college but did not use last week, is that if you don't have a rolling pin you can use a wine bottle. I didn't own a rolling pin until 2002, but, somehow, I've always managed to have a bottle ~ or two! ~ for just such an emergency. *cough*

The second tip is in the picture. A pie crust is just about the simplest thing in the world to make. A cup of flour, 1/3 cup shortening, a pinch of salt, and a few tablespoons of water. Mix it all together, and though it will be a crumbling mess, you should just ignore that, turn it onto a smooth surface, and roll away! I use a silicon mat (tupperware brand! because, apparently, it's 1973 in my kitchen!) and then I put a piece of wax paper over the top, between the pin and the dough, before I start rolling. That piece of wax paper is a miracle. You just totally pretend like the crust is not breaking apart, sticking to the pin, or tearing through the center. And, soon enough, it's not doing any of those things anymore!

The third tip, I used for the first time that night, was to cover the edges of the crust (around the entire circumference of the pie) with strips of aluminum foil. If the edges of your crusts ever cook too much, getting dried out and darkened while the rest of the pie crust remains light and flakey, this foil tip will change your life.

So, in summary, when you come to my house, you will get a homemade meal (that may or may not make you ill) and my kids will force you to play Yugi-Oh cards before making you want to put a pencil through you're own ear (to stop the noise! please! anything to stop the noise!) and then I will squeeze you ~ hard ~ and hold onto your leg to keep you from leaving. The porch light is on. What are you waiting for?

Monday, November 16, 2009

These Boys Are My Joys

Pup in a blanket.

Future math nerd.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

At Mom's

Today Erik needed some "me time" so I took the boys over to my mom's house. She was sore and hurt from stacking firewood, so I cleaned her bathroom and the boys played. I love my mom's farm-y house!

Then we went out and gave the horses some loving. This is the skittish donkey she's had for a long while now. He's no less crazy than the day she brought him home! Well, not true. Like all my mom's animals, he will now approach the fence as soon as he sees you; he's looking for food. But make a move that you'd like to rub his head or pull a burr from his mane and he'll shoot away from you like a pinball.

These two horses were 'gifted' to my mom, many years ago. Both came from friends who could no longer keep them. Bree (on the left) is a typical mare...sweet natured with us, a total biznatch with other mares! Grace (on the right) is a crazy cart pony that I used to beat off with a stick (I can't stand upredictable animals near children!!) but who has since become a (nearly) tolerable creature. At least, I no longer think she's going to bite me in the back when I turn to shut the gate. That's progress!

My mom got Cactus and Jackson the same way; a pony and a horse that were neglected and homeless. Both of them had to be (finally, mercifully) put to sleep last month. At nearly 35 years old each, they were miracles of science. My mom was spoon feeding them a special gruel for the last few months of their lives, and it broke her heart to say goodbye. Especially Cactus. Roughly the size of a moose, with the temperament of a particularly relaxed basset hound, he had the biggest heart that I'd ever met in a horse. I miss him terribly, as he was "my" horse, the one I drew to every time we visited. But, like all my mom's animals, he had eyes only for her! (I know he loved me in his own way. :)

The week after a tearful goodbye at the farm, my mom's friend hitched up the trailer and took her to their friend's ranch, where she runs a horse rescue operation. The friend is particularly found of Paints, but there is never a shortage of abused and neglected animals. A horse is such a magical creature, in my eyes, and it's particularly galling to see one that has been starved or beaten. I'm really not sure what's wrong with people.

And so this is how we end up on this particularly sunny and gorgeous fall day, playing with our two new friends! Meet Bella. She is a quarter horse who stands exactly my mom's beloved Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse mix from our childhood, sweet Gypsy. From the back porch, looking into the corral, you could almost mistake her! But up close she's brown (not black) and much taller (and slimmer ahem) than Gypsy.

She was rescued from a ranch in Montana (her brand is so curious to me! you don't see a lot of that as a 'gentleman farmer'!) and "Montana" was the name that she came with ... right up until my mom saddled her and took her for a spin. Now she's Bella. I think she would approve.

While she was there, picking up Bella, there was another horse, a large gelding, who kept following her around. He pushed on her, and breathed on her, and my mom (who is, I swear, a horse whisperer) told him to get lost. At which point, he nickered into her ear. She turned around slowly, really looking at him for the first time, and immediately said, "This one too. Put him in the trailer."
And so we have Jack. He is the one who comes to the fence, not for food, but for love. He will follow you, step for step, up the sidelines, with his sad eyes and his soft nose.

Oh my gosh. Have you ever petted a horse's nose? Like velvet.

Okay. So that's two mares, a gelding, a cart pony, a donkey, and, let's not forget, the miniature pony and the two goats. If I didn't love those animals so much, I would really be making fun of her right now! But honestly? I kind of get it.