Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Judge's Card: The Original Emojis | The Chronicle of the Horse

Yes, folks, believe it or not, I am still here.  There just hasn't been a whole lot to blog about lately.  Thanksgiving came and went and now we're about three weeks out from Christmas.  I've been keeping busy with work, some days more than others but I've been consistently busy every day regardless.  Job security, I guess you can call it.  We recently switched from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Outlook, but until yesterday we had to use both Outlook and Lotus Notes because not everything had migrated over.  We each have a personal email and then there's group email and that inbox is where we'd still have to use Lotus Notes.  But now that's made the conversion so it's just Outlook now.  It's taking some used to especially since we lost some of our convenient features.  Oh well.

There's been a presidential election.  Yay.  We will soon have a new sheriff.  I'm bummed.  I'm going to miss Sheriff Joe.  I wish he was leaving office because he thinks it's time rather than because he wasn't re-elected.  The new guy, Paul Penzone, is going to examine all of Sheriff Joe's programs and see what to keep and what to get rid of.  I don't care if he gets rid of tent city or the striped uniforms, I just hope he doesn't get rid of the Animal Cruelty Unit or the MASH Unit.  And he'll never be 'Sheriff Paul'.  He'd have to earn that endearment, but I still won't call him that.  Either way, I'm glad we live where it's the city police who patrol and not the county.  He won't do the immigration sweeps Sheriff Joe did, which is a mistake.  If there are no sweeps, what's to keep even more people from stealing IDs so they can stay and work illegally?  I won't say who I voted for to be president.  I may have lost a longtime friend over it, though.  Oh well.  If that's how she's going to be then that's how she's going to be.

So, I was looking around Facebook and came across this hysterically funny cartoo/comic thing.  I'm not real sure what it is, other than super funny.  I wonder how accurate it is?  Probably not very because I can't imagine too many judges taking the time to draw pictures/symbols rather than writing something down.  Hopefully you will find it as funny as I did.
The weather has gotten nicer.  Cooler.  That makes me quite happy.  We haven't turned the heater on yet, though, so it's been fairly cold in the house.  I was going to go out this morning, but instead crawled back under the covers and slept another couple of hours.  Hahahaha.  I don't often get that luxury.

Took a couple of days off from work.  One was planned and one was a Mental Health Day.  I was supposed to participate in our annual holiday craft fair, but realized I'd end up losing money.  Don't worry.  I told them ahead of time I wasn't going to do it.  I did what I often do when I have a day off: went looking for wild horses.  Unfortunately I didn't find any.  They don't come down to the river as much as they do during the summer.  It's odd, though.  When I first started following them I always saw them during the colder months.  But when I started seeing them more and more during the warmer weather, I stopped seeing them in the winter.  I also drove around looking for horse neighborhoods in hopes of being able to shoot domestic horses.  I found some nice houses and glimpses of horses, but most of them were in back of the houses.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Breyer Collecting on the West Coast...

** note ** Let me apologize in advance for any typos.  I tried to go back and fix them, but it only resulted in this  being posted four times.  I typed this on my iPad mini, which is a bit touchy when it comes to editing.  I promise, my spelling and grammar are not as bad as my blog posts might sometimes portray.  :)

It can really suck sometimes.  It seems like Breyer doesn't care as much about the collectors in the western half of the country as it does the eastern half.  Why do I say that?   Here's a hint...
Right now, as we speak, a Collector Event is going on in Maryland.  An event full of daily activities and giveaways and special run models
photo by Kristina on Blab

Photo from Breyer
Photo by Kristina on Blab
The first photo shows the models that will be available for purchase.  The 2nd and 3rd are of the free models attendees will get just for showing up.  So, some of you may be wondering, what's the big deal?  It's just one event, right?  Wrong.  Now, let me paint you a mini picture...due to lack of room and not having a reliable job or car, I took a hiatus from collecting.  During this time, there were a couple of events in Texas and Florida.  But those were before I began collecting again.  The first event I became aware of was in 2012, about 6 months after I began collecting again.  It was called Passage to the Pacific and was held in San Diego, CA.  Unfortunately, I didn't find out about it soon enough to be able to attend.  Bummer.  I can't remember if an event was held in 2013, but I want to say there wasn't.  In 2014, however, Breyer held Big Easy New Jersey.  I believe that was done on a lottery system so you couldn't actually plan for it until you knew you were selected.  Like the events prior to BEB, there were Special Run models for purchase, a traditional and a Stablemate for gifts to all who attended.  In 2015 there was Sweet Home Chicago.  I don't need to tell you where that was held because it should seem self-explanatory.  Tickets for this event were sold first come, first served and each attendee received a traditional model and a Stablemate, although I don't think there was special runs for purchase.  In 2016, the event is Chasing the Chesapeake in Maryland.  Free traditional and Stablemate models for attendees and special runs for purchase.  So, have you noticed a pattern here?  2014, 2015, 2016...all of them are on the East Coast.  Well, Chicago technically isn't, but it's still in that half of the country and would cost a lot of money to reach.  Plus, the east coast collectors get Breyerfest every July.

When CTC was first announced and its location revealed, obviously there was some grumbling by people in the western half of the US.  Someone pointed out that we were 'getting BreyerWest back'.  True.  March 2016 saw the return of this event and it will be held again in 2017, but it's hardly comparable to the other events mentioned above.  Why?  It's held in conjunction with a real horse show and is basically live model shows and customizing workshops.  I don't do either.  Plus, there is no special models to buy and there's none that are given just for attending.  Even the prize models for the live shows are recycled from other events.  Nothing is new or unique.  I pointed this out on the message board and someone said that we could choose to support the event and 'maybe' (her word, not mine) it will eventually become like the others.  Huh?  BEB, SHC and CTC didn't need to be supported for several years in order to be like they are...thats how they were planned.  What surprised me about her statement, though, is that she is a 'West Coast Collector' so she should understand why it's such a frustration for those of us on this side of the country to watch event after event planned for the eastern half.  There aren't even special days at a breeding farm or race track or cross country field.  Just the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo and the live model show.  How am I supposed to support that? Come on, Breyer, throw us a bone!  Please!  Of course, there's nothing to prevent me from attending any of these events...well, nothing much.  I do have rent to pay, bills to pay and a car payment so it's not like I have a bunch of the green stuff.  That's not my only issue, though.  I don't like to fly and I really don't want to fly somewhere that would require three plane transfers because the host location is a small state up in the northeast part of the country.  Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit.  I can fly non-stop on Southwest and the flight would be cheaper than a round trip to Louisville, but that's besides the point.  Hahaha.  But the point is, people in the western half shouldn't have to keep flying to the eastern half if they want to attend an event.   I don't know what Seattle has in terms of horse events, but there's Northern California, Nevada, Arizona...we even have a Paso Fino breeding farm here...I bet people would love to visit that.  Turf Paradise started live racing today...another great option.  There's also Texas and Colorado, Wyoming.  You get the idea.  Have another event over on this side.  You've had 3 in a row on that side.  Make us feel like we matter.

On second thought, maybe Seattle wouldn't be a very good option.  There is a cat rescue there that seems to corner the market on kitties with unusual markings...

I don't remember how I stumbled upon this particular rescue...well, actually, I do. I was on Petfinder and decided to look up Seattle and that's where I found Lacey, the tortie point Siamese with the gorgeous blue eyes. From there, I just kept looking. This place is amazing. They hold adoption events at their facility on weekends and average about 30 adoptions at each event. Now, they mostly adopt in pairs, but that's still a lot of cats and they have people climbing over each other to get them. They must be doing something right. But if Breyer were to host an event in Seattle I'd like want to visit the rescue and come home with two kittens.

I've been wanting to post this for awhile now...I'm a BBC...A Bad Breyer Collector...awhile ago I accidentally knocked into some of my shelves and most of my Stablemates fell over...I have yet to set them back up...

And then I have ones I've bought recently AND not so recently that are still in their boxes...including my Cortes C I waited several months to get...

My last of 2016 Vintage Club model also remains boxed plus the foal has been promised to a friend in Tennessee, but I haven't shipped him yet...

Last but not least...this mess here? There's at least two horses in there, maybe more...

Actually, that isn't last, but it is the last photo...I had someone pick me up a couple of Stablemates from Breyerfest back in July...the ones you get with a single day ticket? Currently...I have no idea where the box is that they were shipped in. Hahahahaha. Oh boy. I need to do something soon.

This morning when I went out to buy lotto tickets for tonight's drawing, I saw lots of 'yard sale' signs. The weather is improving. People have sales year round here, but you always know when the weather is starting to improve because the number of yard sales increases. It's still supposed to be 95 today, but that's an improvement over 115. We got our power bill yesterday for the month of September and it was low. Like, November low. It's never been this low for a September before. That makes me very happy!

Why do I always close with the weather? Gee, Mr Spiccoli, I don't know... (fast times at ridgemont high reference in case you didn't catch it haha).

Have a great one.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Convenience vs Efficience... and other stuff...

When my parents still lived up north, before my dad died, my mom would go grocery shopping mostly at Super Walmart.  Partly because they were more convenient since they had more than just groceries, but also because their town only had Safeway and Bashas' as alternatives for grocery shopping.  At one time they had an IGA, but that closed not long after Walmart became Super Walmart.  Anyway, when my mom moved in with us, it was her intention to continue shopping at Walmart.  It's what she was used to and I didn't really care one way or another so I went along with it.  Unfortunately, that often meant going to TWO grocery stores every week.  My brother is very Anti-Walmart so certain things we would have to buy at the grocery store such as steaks and roasts.  Walmart doesn't have very good choices for those anyway, but any other meat was fine and since they now carry bone in chicken breasts, we no longer had to make a trip to the grocery store if that was all we needed from the shopping list.  Before she moved in, we just ate whatever, whenever.  A couple of roommates had tried to get the house on a menu thing with a "pot" for grocery money, but it never happened.  I wouldn't have minded so much when John lived with us because he was a good cook, but eventually he get a girlfriend and moved in with her and eventually they got married.  Scott didn't eat much dinner at home and Doug...well, Doug was just gross and I didn't want to eat anything he cooked because ne never washed his hands after using the bathroom.  My mom was used to cooking dinner every night for her and my dad and we wanted the transition to go as smoothly as possible so we started planning out a menu on Saturday and go shopping on Sunday.  We did that for nearly 5 years.  Walmart first and then either Frys or Albertsons.  We used to sometimes go to Bashas because my mom liked them in Payson, but our closest store is 3 or 4 miles away and they stopped putting sales circulars into newspapers that delivered to our neighborhood and she got tired of looking at the sales on my tablet so we just stopped going.

On occasion, we wouldn't need to go to either Walmart or a regular store, just one or the other and gradually, that became more and more frequent.  In fact, I think it's been almost a month since we've been to Walmart.  Each week we decide if we need to go to Walmart and if we do, then we determine if we can get away with going JUST to Walmart.  If we don't need to go, I push for going to just one regular grocery store.  So far it's worked, but if it happens that both stores have super awesome sales, we can go to both.  Fortunately, though, one store will have better sales over another or their sales will be for more "useable" items.  In other words, stuff we actually need rather than just because it's a good sale.  A drawback to not going to Walmart as often, though, is not having access to a better selection of lesser-expensive dog treats.  Our dogs get a variety of treats and the grocery stores don't really have much of a selection and what they do have is on the more expensive side.  But my mom doesn't want to go to Walmart just to get dog treats.  Well, enter the new grocery pick-up service and the purpose of this blog post.  All you need to do is go on and basically shop the virtual aisles for what you want.  You can also put an item name in the search box and it'll come up with the exact item or what it considers to be close enough.  Once you have everything selected that you want, you choose a pick-up time.  They call you 15 minutes before your hour-long window to let you know your order is ready and you go to the designated area at the store, call the number to let them know you're there, then they bring the stuff out to you and load it into your car.  How great can that be?  I despise going to a grocery store in the middle of the week, but if I don't have to actually go IN the store, I could handle that.  So, there we have the 'convenience' part.  So, on Tuesday I did my shopping and selected my time frame for pick-up.  They called me at 2.45pm to let me know it was ready and I said I'd be there about 3.15pm to pick it up.  Great.  I get to the store at just about exactly 3.15pm and park in the designated spot.  There's a sign on the poles with the phone number telling you to call to let them know you've arrived so I called the number.  And got an answering machine telling me what the pick-up hours are.  Huh?  I'm supposed to be here now.  Why aren't they answering the phones?  I left a message letting them know I was there for my grocery order then sat there for about 10 minutes before anyone came out and asked me if I needed anything.  Hmmm.  I'm sitting in the grocery pick-up parking spot...maybe I have an order to pick up?  I told her I was there for my order and she said she'd be back in a few minutes.  I then waited almost another 10 minutes before a different gal came out with my stuff.  She explained to me how the program worked then opened my hatchback to load the groceries. 
She actually asked if she should leave everything in their bags.  That question was a bit odd.  Would she actually just put them in there loose?  Maybe she thought I had my own bags to use, I don't know.  But I said yes, please.  I also got a goody bag for my first order
and she said I would receive a bottle of water with each pick-up.  So, would I consider this whole experience to be convenient?  I suppose.  I didn't have to go into the store, which I liked.  I'm all for convenience, as is many people in America.  Why go to a grocery store for a jug of milk when you can stop at a Circle K?  Or eggs.  Or laundry detergent.  Nowadays so many things are available at convenience stores and drug stores like Walgreens and CVS.  Is the grocery pick-up at Walmart efficient?  I'm still on the fence about that.  They didn't seem to know what was going on and I had to wait longer than what I probably should have needed to because they didn't answer the phone when I called.  I'm all for convenience, as I stated above and will usually pick that over something else, but sometimes the convenient way isn't necessarily the best way.  Sometimes you need to go with the more efficient option and maybe spend a little more money or step outside your comfort zone just a bit.  I think I need to use this service another time or two to decide if it's worth using on a regular basis for the dog treats or for things I can't get at a regular grocery store such as pre-cooked sausage patties and scrambled egg patties to make my own breakfast sandwiches.

Well, last week I had a couple of days off so I went in search of wild horses, which I often do when I'm off from work.  I saw two singletons in different areas, but none of the larger bands I'm used to.  The weather is getting nicer and the horses aren't needing to come to the watering holes as much as they need in the summer, which is a bummer, but I know they're safer when they're deeper in the desert, as evidenced by the loss of a young colt last week to a car.  The SRWHMG tried to save him, but were unable to.  Initially they held back and monitored him for signs of serious injury and they said he seemed to be improving, but then he took a turn and, well, he died.  I'm always worried when I'm out there that I'm going to witness something like that and I'll not want to ever go back.  I witnessed an incident at Sea World one time involving the Budwieser wagon and team that had me almost running to the exit and those horses survived with no serious injuries, but I almost left.  When I reached the exit plaza I decided to get a snack and settle down and decide what to do.  I had a feeling that if I left, I'd never come back so I stayed for about an hour then went back to the Hospitality Center and discovered the team had been successfully untangled and put back in the barn.  Anyway, after not having any success with the Wild Ones, I decided to just drive around and before long, I found myself behind a horse trailer so what did I do?  I followed the trailer.  Horse trailers usually lead you to horses.  Unfortunately, I lost the trailer because he turned down a side road and I didn't want him to think I was following him so I was going to try to go around the block, but I never did find him.  Oh well.  What I did find, though, was a little equestrian community I never knew existed so I just drove around the neighborhood looking for horses and taking pictures.

I also saw a cow or two and a couple of goats.  One dead-end led to a rather...dilapidated looking property, but they had horses...
You can't really see them in the picture, but they're there.  They also had a series of riding trails, but they were kind of mish-mash and didn't really seem to lead anywhere.
I saw some neat houses.  I like houses.  Not so much the architecture as just...I don't know how to explain it.  I like large houses.  I've always lived in "average-sized" houses that were nothing special so maybe that's why I'm drawn to the big, fancy ones

They're not even the biggest or fanciest I've seen around here, but I still liked them.  This one had a neat foot bridge leading to the front door that I really liked
This last one made me scratch my head just a bit.  The neighborhood I was in was located in Maricopa County, but this police cruiser was from Pinal County, which is a good 45 minutes away.  I don't know if maybe the deputy lives there or what, but it certainly confused me
Sometimes it can be difficult taking pictures of houses without the residents freaking out, but so far nobody has asked what I'm doing there or chased me off and so far nobody has called the police to report me for suspicious activity.  hahaha.

Okay, that's it for now.  I was going to write more, but I will stop for now.  hahaha.  Have a great one!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Longines Master of Los Angeles

Well, last month I said I was going to attend the Longines Masters of Los Angeles...and I had every intention of doing that.  Even bought my ticket and splurged on "VIP" Seating (the cheap VIP seats lol).  Had my plane ticket, too.  And a car rented for a couple of days.  The only thing I didn't have was a hotel reserved.  But then I got to thinking.  My car's registration is due in October and while I could still afford to go after paying that, I decided it wasn't in my bank account's best interests to go.  Oh well.  Since I fly Southwest, I was able to cancel my flight and can use the ticket another time.  Getting a refund for the show was a bit more difficult.  It said to contact the show host for a refund and when I did that, I received an email back stating the tickets were non-refundable.  Okay.  But then why is there an option to request a refund on the website?  Their response was to give me a refund.  I guess I had them with that.  hahaha.  When I bought the ticket early last month, I was certain that by doing that I would be less likely to cancel the trip because I didn't want to "eat" the cost of the ticket.  Fortunately I didn't have to.  I am a bit bummed about not being able to go and I kind of wish I had decided to just go and deal with the consequences (low bank balance) later, but when you're trying to rebuild your credit, that's not always the smartest attitude to have.  Maybe I'll go next year.  Another reason I didn't really want to go anymore is because my favorite rider Beezie Madden wasn't going to be participating.  And while there's plenty of other world-class riders who are, she's the one I want to see in person the most.  I don't know why she isn't, I just know she isn't.  Maybe she's taking some time off post-Olympics.  As far as I know, Cortes C is still out of action, but she has other horses who could compete.  Oh well.

Anyway, last week Longines had a live feed of the arrival of the international horses at LAX, I believe it was.  It started at 5am and I had every intention of being up to watch it, but I just couldn't get motivated in time and I missed it.  Thank goodness for the Chronicle of the Horse and Facebook.  FB posted the video of the event and COTH posted pictures and that's where we are now.  Pictures of the horses arriving.  I tried watching the video, but I got bored.  hahaha.   Especially since the videographer started out filming between the shipping container and the closest trailer.  At 5am, all you can do is hear their hooves as they unload from the container and walk onto the trailer.  He eventually moved, though, and things got a bit more interesting.  They had several trailers lined up, side-by-side and they would unload a horse and walk him down the line, using boards between the trailers, until they got to the one on the end.  Pretty cool, I think.  And efficient.  That way they didn't have to walk down off the shipping container then back up a ramp onto the trailer and with them being mostly inside like that, they were less likely to get freaked out over the sights and sounds of a major international airport. 

So, without further ado, here's some pictures of the arrival of the international horses.  All photos by Bernstein Associates for EEM

I imagine this plane is bigger than it actually looks

Walking from one trailer to another

That's a LOT of carrots.  I wonder how many deep those bags go...

 Well, I guess that's about it for now.  This morning they posted a video on Facebook of Lucy Davis and Scott Brash going out for a ride on the beach, but the horses had other ideas.  They didn't seem to like the waves that kept coming on the beach and kept spooking.  You can watch the video here  I don't know how to link it better or include it in my blog post, but it's about 5 minutes long so I won't force it upon you.  hahaha.  I think it was some kind of publicity thing because there were a lot of photographers there.  I don't kow.

Our weather is starting to "cool down".  I think we're done with triple degree temperatures for the season.  Thank goodness.  We've had some minor storms the past couple of nights.  Nothing major and it's drying up by morning.

I hope you all have a good weekend.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hugs and hugging...

Yes, I know that's an unusual title and this is going to be an unusual post about hugging.  Specifically, hugging among friends.  I'm going to start at the end to explain why I'm writing about this and then go back to the beginning.  There's a girl I know at work.  She's in a different unit than me and currently works in a different location because our parent company has been unable to get everyone back to the same location.  I've known her for probably 7 or 8 years, but we aren't what you'd really call good friends.  We don't associate outside of work and we rarely communicate by email.  When we worked in the same location we were always seeing each other in the hallway so we chatted often.    I can remember two times when she has hugged me...when I went to say goodbye on my unit's last day in that building...and Friday.  I was on my way home from work and stopped to get gas.  There was a car at the pump in front of mine that looked very familiar, including the 'H' on the license plate to signify the driver is either deaf or hard-of-heari.  Leslie is deaf and I knew she had a plate like that.  The girl pumping gas looked like it 'might' be her, but her hair was so much longer than I'd ever seen it plus it was pulled back in a ponytail.  Eventually she came over and I realized that it was her and she immediately engulfed me in a hug.  A rather long one, too.  The length surprised me, but I went along with it.

So, why do some people hug and others don't?

While in grade school, friends didn't hug hello or goodbye.  It wasn't uncommon to see little girls holding hands or hugging 'just because', but that's about it.  Hugging was usually reserved for family members.  It's possibly because that's when you learn about bad people and the Boogeyman.

In junior high, my group of friends increased, but there still wasn't hugging.  A friend I'd had since I was 8, we started to hug goodbye when I'd go with her family to drop her off at the bus station to go back home to Flagstaff.

So, why do some friends hug and others don't?

I don't think familiarity or closeness have anything to do with it.  In high school I gained even more friends than ever before (thank you, Duran Duran!) and while we were all very close, even calling some of the other parents 'mom' and 'dad' (not all of them), we didn't hug unless someone was really down.  We were always at each other's houses and spending the night, but we didn't all hug each other.  The first time my friend Sherry's mom hugged me she said 'Boy, she's a hugger!' Because it was a firm one.  The only kind I knew how to give since in my family we didn't do those fake, air hugs.  When you hugged someone, there was a reason.

At my 10 year high school reunion, I reconnected with a couple of close friends and we started hanging out.  One of them, we didn't hug at all.  The other, she and both her parents hugged hello and goodbye.  It was nice because my family had 'split up' by brother living on his own, me with my own place and my parents having moved 90 miles away.  They became a second family to me and I looked forward to the hugs.  When I started getting into hockey and going to player appearances and practic, a married couple I hung out with were hungers, but another group I hung out with, did not.  In fact, we were at a player appearance and I was playing street hockey with one friend and the other two were doing something else.  The girl I was with, Amber, noticed the other two hug each other or hug someone else and Amber said 'I guess we're huggers now' so we started making a joke out of it.  It was fine.  It was the kind of relationship we had.

So, why do some friends hug and others don't?

As a general rule, I don't tend to hug people I don't know very well, so I was a bit surprised when one of the Shamu trainers at Sea World California hugged me for the first time.  It was my birthday and I was doing a program called Dine With Shamu.  She knew it was my birthday and had come over to say hi and wish me a Happy Birthday.  When she hugged me, it took me by surprise, but I just went along with it.  But then she started to hug me every time she saw me, when she was close enough to do so.  One time, she even climbed up the stadium stairs to come see me and give me a hug.  I liked it because I didn't have hugging friends anymore.  A friend I ended up making because of Sea World turned out to be a hugger and a couple of others weren't.

Would you believe the last time I hugged my mom was when I took her to have one of her dogs put down...three years ago?    We just don't.  It's not a decision that was made, but we see each other daily so I imagine that has something to do with it.

But family aside...why do some friends hug and others don't?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I'm gonna do it...I'm going to Longines Grand Slam of Show Jumping...

First off, I've got to say how much I love and appreciate Southwest Airlines.  Without their policy of not charging re-booking fees, I would still be going to Dallas in October.  hahaha.  I think this trip has changed 6 times now, including the most current.  Originally, the trip was for San Diego.  I had the plane ticket and the car reserved, but then I decided to change it to Dallas.   I've never been there before and I was going to see some of the zoos they have there.  I had managed to get in on that super awesome airfare sale last month and a round-trip ticket from Phoenix to Dallas-Love Field only cost me about $150.  Then, I decided I wanted to see zoos AND lighthouses because I haven't visited a lighthouse in quite a few years now, which is horrible for a lighthouse nut like me.  So I changed the trip to San Francisco.  I already had the days off from work so changing the destination was the easy part.  hahahaha.  Somewhere along the lines, though, I decided not to go to San Francisco and started considering Los Angeles for the big show jumping competition the last week of September.  So I changed my flight and car reservations again.  But then I got to thinking of San Diego and how it's been about 4 years, I think, maybe only 3, since I've been there and I really wanted to see the new Tiger exhibit and Lemur exhibit.  So I changed it again and had to pay the difference of $57 because San Diego is super expensive right now.  Oh, and the new trip was shortened to overnight so I could afford to stay in my favorite bay-front hotel.  Now, don't ask me what got me changing my mind again, but I did.  Back to Los Angeles.  I can visit 2 zoos I've never been to before plus return to LA Zoo, maybe.  I may just make that day a goof-off day where I go visit the old Griffith Park Zoo ruins and some of the filming spots of the show Emergency!  I'll have to decide that later.  Sunday, however, Sunday will be spent in Long Beach...

I've already changed my plane ticket and car rental and then I did something daring.  Something that will lessen the likelihood of me changing my mind again...I bought a ticket to the show.  The Grand Prix is Sunday afternoon and if my favorite competitors attend, that will be the day I get to see them.  Since it's on the heels of the Olympics in Rio, my favorite riders...okay, just one: Beezie Madden...may choose not to compete.  That would suck, for sure, but come on.  If you had the opportunity to see your favorite rider compete in person, wouldn't you?  I missed getting to see them in Las Vegas last year so this is my 2nd chance, although it's only show jumping so no dressage riders.  I've posted on the official Facebook page asking if there'll be a list of riders intending to compete and I've also asked on the official John Madden Sales page if they knew if she would be going.  Now I just need to wait for one of them to answer.  JMS is pretty good at answering questions so I imagine I'll hear from them before the Longines people.  I could've bought a less expensive ticket and wouldn't have minded quite as much if I decided not to go because then I could just "eat" the cost, but I decided to go for the *slightly* (by $80) more expensive one because it comes with a free parking pass, a program, a small gift and the seats are right by the jumping ring (it's indoors so no specific arena like an outdoor competition).  Plus, I'll have access to the Prestige Village where the riders will warm up before their classes and "hang out" so there might be a teeny, tiny chance of actually getting to meet Beezie.  That would be so cool.  But I'm not hanging my hat on that happening so I won't be disappointed if it doesn't.  I think it's just going to be a fun experience overall, though.  I haven't booked my hotel yet, that's next and takes a little more research than car or plane tickets.
photo from JMS Facebook
Well, darn.  I went out to Jack In the Box at lunchtime and just took everything out and they got it wrong.  I ordered French Fries and I got some kind of sandwich instead.   I'm not sure what's on it.  I'm scared.  hahaha.

Last night we had a pretty good storm.  My neighborhood got mostly thunder and lightning, but other areas got tons of flooding because it rained solidly for a good hour or so.  I think they said there was 3 inches in some spots.  But they had to close a major interstate due to flooding when 3 cars got stuck under the over-pass.  Yikes!  Usually when there's a big storm, the Scottsdale Greenbelt gets most of the press time because of flooding, but I-17 flooding like that had all the reporters out there.

Well, I'd better get back to work.  Have a good one!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Breyerfest has officially started... also known as...

The Friday In July Where Brenda Gets Very Little Work Done.

Breyerfest started a bit early this year since it's a NAN year in Kentucky (even numbered years) so a lot of people arrived on Monday in preparation, either because they're showing or to take advantage of the extra people for room sales, I don't know. Most people show up on Wednesday or Thursday because Friday is the day the 3 Day Weekend starts and nobody wants to miss any of the fun. Except me. Well, it's not that I *want* to miss it, I just have a problem with the 4 hour flights and the social anxiety that goes along with traveling from Arizona to Kentucky and then be squished with 7,000 of my closest new best friends. hahahaha. Anyway, so every year Breyerfest has a surprise horse. A mold nobody knows what is until the very first Special Run line goes through at 10am and someone buys it and reveals what it is. Then, there's the additional wait to see what colors it comes in and if it's only available in matte or glossy or both. The past couple of years they've done both and have switched it up which is more hard to come by. Three years ago, the glossy was the hardest to get, then it was the matte and then it was glossy again. Well, it looks like they've done it a little different this year in that only one of the 4 colors is difficult to come by and it's in matte, which is fine because I want to glossy version anyway. I'm not a huge fan of glossy horses, but this one looks much better as a glossy.

Every year there's always speculation as to what mold will be used. They try to figure out the odds based on what has been used before, what hasn't been used before and how it could possibly tie in to the theme of the current year...Carnival/Rio is the 2016 theme. Well, a few people guessed the Esprit mold and that's what it ended up being. One in a funky, clear-ish decorator color and the other 3 in more realistic ones.
The one I want is the Tobiano that is 2nd from the right.  The photo shows him in Glossy and that's what I want.  The palomino on the left has dapples and the black Overo is very flashy-looking, but I want to Tobiano.  I prefer minimal white on my paints.  I have a pick-up person who will be hopefully obtain me that model and another one I have asked for.  Hopefully she'll be able to get it for me.  I don't know how many customers she has this year, but she has 2 people helping her so hopefully between the 3 of them I'll get the Tobiano.  If I'd bought 2 of the 3 Day tickets, I could've gotten the Overo as well, but I had forgotten you could only get one Surprise model per ticket and I wasn't depending on the Surprise being something I collected.  And I don't collect the Esprit model, but the color is something I can't pass up.
I wish model in the photo was horizontal rather than vertical, but oh well.  And then the deco is funky but I don't like decos unless it's a realistic pattern but in a fun color, like a silver dapple they did a couple of years ago
But the reason why I don't get much work done on opening day of Breyerfest is because I'm too excited to see what the surprise model is and then I get caught up in all the hub-bub on Blab and I don't get my work done.  Well, not much of it anyway.  Right now I'm on lunch break so I'm safe for another 40 minutes.  Hurray for getting an hour on payday!  I wasn't going to take lunch until 11.30am, but decided I couldn't wait the extra 30 minutes.  hahaha. 

Tune back in on Monday and I'll share some neat photos of NAN that an attendee gave me permission to use.  I'd like to do it today, but I do need to actually work and blogging with a bunch of pictures from my iPad is no fun so I'll do it on Monday when I can use my work computer again.

We may already know the theme for 2017.  Someone apparently took a picture of a digital sign outside the Kentucky Horse Park that shows the theme and dates, but the picture I saw was of the display on the back of the camera and was posted to Instagram so I'm not entirely 100% sure it's correct, but apparently it's going to be Gateway to India and the dates are July 14-16.  If it IS Gateway to India, and I should know for sure come Sunday when it's usually made public by Breyer, then I'm going to try very hard to go since there's a very good chance there'll be at least one Marwari, which would be ironic since I posted on a Facebook group yesterday that I'd love the opportunity to be "turned loose" with a Marwari and my camera and now I may actually get a chance.  I guess it depends on how easily Breyer or KHP will be able to get one to have on-site for a few days

Look at those ears!  Don't ask me when or how I became enamored of this breed, but I can't resist those ears.  hahaha.  I'm torn, though.  I know quite a few people on Blab that would like to meet me in person finally and Breyerfest would be the best place to do it.  Every year they keep hoping I'll make the trek out and every year I have to disappoint us because of the flight.  So what do I do...?  Do I let them know that I'll be doing my best to make it next year or do I not say anything and then surprise them?  If I don't say anything, then they won't know if I chicken out again, but if I don't tell them, I'd hate to lose out on an opportunity to meet them because they didn't have "time for me"... this will take some thought.

An update on my awesome water bottle.  In my last post I "complained" about the plastic ring that keeps the lid on the bottle because it doesn't lay flat when you take the lid off, but rather sticks out straight.  So, I cut the connecting piece off.  But then I didn't have any convenient way of carrying it.  Oh wait!  I know!  Maybe the lid on the Hydro Flask is the same as the lid on the Klear Bottle and it'll fit.  So I brought it in to work and...hurray!  It fits!
Now I just need to figure out a way to get the plastic ring off the neck of the bottle because it bugs me being there.  hahaha.

Okay, I guess that's it for now.  I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Just some randomness and a small vent

Let me get the vent out of the way first. On Sunday, July 17th, I reached my 15th anniversary with the company I work for. To me, it was a big deal, but apparently I'm the only one who cares. My supervisor came by my desk on Wednesday to give me my certificate, but he thought my anniversary was Wednesday so I guess it should come as no surprise that my anniversary came and went with no acknowledgement other than the certificate. None of my co-workers knew. Nobody knew. In the past, our supervisor would bake a cake and have a special unit meeting so the person could be properly acknowledged for their milestone. I believe Wilma got a cake and special meeting for her 15th back in May. Our supervisor's 15th was in June, but he doesn't go for the attention. Normally I don't, either, but this time I wouldn't have minded. I was going to casually bring it up in a meeting with our lead today, but she is out of the office and postponed it until next week and by then it would be silly to bring it up. I don't really care about the meeting or the cake, I just want my milestone to be recognized, you know? Twice I have written an email to my supervisor asking about it, but twice I deleted it and never sent it. I'm torn between bringing it up and just letting it go, but I can't figure out a way to word an email where it won't sound whiney and greedy or whatever. I don't know.

Breyerfest is this week. Friday is when it starts. I wish I was there, but I chose not to go. I can't really afford it anyway since I'm still paying the hospital for my 8 hour stay. I've got a long way to go because I can only afford so much per month and still be able to get my other bills paid. I have too many credit cards. hahaha. I did pay one off the other day, though, and will pay another next month. That will help. A little. The fact of the matter is, even though I have a good paying job on paper, once Uncle Sam and the state are done with it, my take home pay is disgusting. Plus, I have rent and car payments. blah blah blah. Maybe next year I can go to Breyerfest. I had a trip planned for the fall to San Francisco, but I'm probably going to have to cancel it because I remembered my car registration is due the same month. Ouch. I haven't gone anywhere since Las Vegas in 2014. I used to travel quite a bit and now I don't at all. No, there's nothing stopping me from driving somewhere. That would sure cut down on costs, but I'd be limited in where I could drive to by myself so I don't bother. Oh well. Anyway, Breyer's Special Run models aren't very exciting this year. I have a pick-up person who's going to get me a couple of models, including the Surprise horse, which we won't know what it is until Friday morning. Hopefully it's a mold I like. Anyway, because it's also a NAN year for Kentucky, there's people at Breyerfest already. People write mini blogs about the trip so it's almost like being there and I watch the "Breyerfest Adventure" videos on YouTube and then there's the Haul videos. Those can be fun.

Now, I want to talk about this awesome water bottle I got off of Amazon last week. Recently I had gone to Whole Foods and ended up buying a Hydro Flask. It's made of 18/8 stainless steel and is vacuum insulated. The first time I used it at work, it wasn't a pretty sight. I had chosen to get the 40oz over the 32oz because, well, it holds more water. But it was too tall to fit under the ice dispenser at work, so I went to Amazon to find a 32oz one since Whole Foods isn't convenient enough to go back and get another. But anyway, I hadn't finished my water so I took it home and ended up leaving it in my room. When I went back a few hours later, it was still half full of ice!!! So, like I said I went to get another one on Amazon and this time I got a Klear Bottle brand because it was a little less expensive, but it had the same features as the Hydro Flask. Yesterday I tested it out, filling it with ice about 7am.

Approximately 6 hours later, it still had plenty of ice...

I then forgot about it and accidentally left it on my desk overnight. As of 7am this morning, it still had some ice and was still very cold

The only thing I really don't like about it is the doo-hickey that keeps the cap attached to the bottle. I doesn't bend back very far so it kind of gets in the way, but I guess I can live with that.

Our monsoon season has finally decided to show up. It used to be, the season started when the dew point hit a certain point, but now they decided on a specific date in June. As per usual during the summer, you get a build up of clouds nearly every evening, but usually it doesn't produce any storms, but last night, boy did it. While watching the news, a wall of dust came creeping in and the news even had live video of a microburst. Not up close, of course, but from a distance, which was pretty cool. For awhile we weren't sure we were going to get anything, but then about 6:30pm or so, the winds really picked up and there was thunder and finally some rain. It only lasted 10 minutes, but it's better than nothing, right? I think so.

Well, I'd better get back to work. I hope everyone is doing well and if you're going to Breyerfest, have fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boy, am I in trouble! (not really, but sort of)

I don't know how it started, but once it did it has all kind of snowballed and it's still going.

I like cats.  Period.  I like them a lot. 

I like domestic cats

I love wild cats, both big...

And small...

I like Siamese cats...


And cats with Tortoiseshell markings...although this one may be considered a calico...without seeing more of her body, it's difficult to tell with utmost certainty...

And cats with unusual markings are just awesome!

I care very much about cats and their welfare.  I'm sure some of you will remember a few weeks back when I blogged about a lady who had two cats she was sure were purebred Siamese and she allowed them to breed.  Well, it's happened again.  On purpose, again.  This time they had 5 kittens and things quickly fell apart after that on the message board.

But that's not what THIS post is about.  THIS post is about me and my problem.  I have a co-worker that I'm friends with.  She is in another department and they're still at the other building so we communicate at work through emails and after work through Facebook and emails.  She has cats.  I have cats, but she HAS CATS.  Like, 9, I think?  She lives in a house and they're well-cared for and she's not a hoarder or anything.  She just really likes cats.  Anyway, in the past few months, she has lost two of her cats very unexpectedly and in recent weeks she has started looking at shelters online for potential new cats to add to her existing Glaring (a group of cats is a Glaring or a Clowder) and she started sending me names to look on the websites of ones she's interested in.  Part of the problem, though, is the distance with which she's willing to travel to get them.  She doesn't like to drive so she's missed out on ones that are further away than she wants to drive.  So I told her I would drive her to whatever shelter the cat is at.  I don't think she took me seriously at first.  After all, why would I do something like that?  Well, that's just the type of person I am.  I think she's finally realizing I'm serious, though, but that's not the point here.  The point is, when she gives me a name to check out, I have to look at the other cats.  You know, to see what is available.  I have 2 cats of my own, as stated earlier.  I am very happy with my two cats.  But...I still look.  And look.  And look.  Whenever my co-worker gives me a name, I look at what shelter location it's at then look to see if one of the ones I'm interested at is at the same one or I will look for one at the same location.  I can't help myself.  Even when I'm petting Temecula, I tell myself I don't need another cat and that I should focus on making the lives of my 2 existing ones the best that I can.  But then I look at the picture of Del Torro.   He's the Bengal shown above.  I've never seen a Bengal at a shelter and his adoption fee is low.  A couple of shelters have Siamese cats, which are my "heart cat breed".  That's kind of like a Heart Horse, but with a breed rather than a specific animal.  And they all have tortoiseshells.  When I lose a kitty, I don't tend to replicate the color with my next one.  I've had 3 Domestic Shorthair cats with grey tabby markings, but none of them have been the same.  CC had more of a brown tint.  Chevy was grey and black.  Abbie is grey and black, but has a lot of white, too.  TW was all white and Temecula is white with black splotches.  Royal was a ginger tabby so unless I find one someday that is orange and white or "red" and white, it's unlikely I would get another one like that.  The only exception to my rule is tortoiseshell cats.  I could have a whole clowder of them and they'd all look different.  I had a tortie when I was younger.  She was with us for close to 21 years.  There's one shelter that has one and her name is the same as mine!  She's named Brenda, too.  And my work friend likes a couple of cats at that shelter.  My brother has fond memories of our tortoiseshell so I doubt I'd have a hard time bringing her home and springing her on him.  Besides, he's usually in his room and it'd likely be awhile before he even noticed her.   My mom likes Siamese, too, and would "understand" when if I brought one home.

I guess if I took my work friend to a shelter, I could stay out in the waiting area so I wouldn't be tempted to adopt anything, but I think that would be difficult to do so I'm not sure what I'll do.  I just wanted "voice" my situation.  It helps getting it out there.  Just like it helped to gripe to my work friend about the lady who has let her cats breed again.  <sigh> 

I think it's the heat.  Yeah.  It must be the heat.