Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Hot Cup of Coffee

Today I had a *moment*.  And what I mean by this, is that events unfolded this morning that turned out so perfectly I couldn't help by step out of my life for a second to stare around and give a happy sigh of contentment.

I have to write it down, lest it get forgotten in some dusty cupboard of my brain, that will never be opened again.

It's raining today, in fits and spurts, and every once in awhile the sky clears its throat with a low rumble, just to let us know who's in charge.  As I stood over the kitchen sink this morning, and stared out the window and listened to the thunder, I sighed at the realization I was going to have to go out in the rain and go to the store to get some food.  My stomach backed up my brain on this one, by letting out an urgent growl. 

So I put on my rain jacket, shoes, and grabbed a rainbow coloured umbrella to reluctantly make my way to the village's teeny tiny general store, or Dorflade.


The store was bustling this morning, and by that I mean there were at least four people in there, and all of them weathered farmers who were enjoying some good natured banter as they bought their goods.

After I had paid for my bread, hot croissants, yoghurt, and milk, I turned to leave the store.  Well, the rain that had previously been a drizzle was now an open faucet that was causing gutters to overflow.  I stood on the porch of the store, sheltered from the rain, and turned my flimsy umbrella over and over in my hands.  I was going to get soaked!

As I stood there, the door tinkled open, and a sprightly elderly lady came out and started laughing about the rain.  We stood there together for a few minutes in silence, in awe of the rain, and then her husband drove up.  He hopped out of his white station wagon and joined us under the porch.  The rest of the patrons of the store filed out, along with the shopkeeper, and we all listened to how loud raindrops can be.

It didn't take long before these good natured farmers tried to engage me in conversation.  I smiled and stumbled over my limited Swiss-German vocabulary, as I introduced myself. 

The lady who runs the shop lived for one year in England, and was delighted to speak English with me.  The farmers asked her questions of me, and she in turn translated, then I did my best to answer in Swiss-German and English.

As this conversation continued, a particularly chilly gust blew through the porch, and the shopkeeper shivered in the cold and told us all to quickly get inside.

In a corner of the store next to a window, she set up seven chairs and took coffee orders.  The farmer who had hopped out of his car earlier, pulled a chair beside him and patted it, and boomed to me, "You will sit here! You will sit here!" His wife's eyes twinkled, as she said to me in quick English, "He practice his English with you.  This we love!"

This farmer looked at me, his left eye clouded blue with a cataract, and started asking me questions on Canada and my family, and how I liked his village.

As we chatted, the shopkeeper placed my coffee before me.  As I grabbed my money from my wallet, the farmer quickly told me, "nay, nay," as he closed my wallet and handed the shopkeeper a bill to pay for he and his wife's coffee, and mine.  Then he also pushed a little square of chocolate towards me, and motioned that I was to put it in my coffee and let it melt.

It was the nicest drink anyone's ever bought me.

The lady who runs the Dorflade asked me about Dan, and when she found out who he is and where his family is from (not ten minutes from this village) she excitedly translated to the group. There was the general commotion of acknowledgment, as their voices climbed over each other to tell me they knew Dan's paternal family and especially his grandmother.

The shopkeeper told me that Dan's grandmother was her midwife when she had her children, and some of those in the circle shook their heads as they remembered the passing of Dan's father, many many years ago.

They asked how Dan was, as though the passing was just yesterday.  I assured them all he was fine, and there were genuine smiles of relief to know he was doing so well in spite of such a loss.

I sat in this circle of friends, sipping my hot coffee that had just a hint of chocolate swirled through, and listened to their fast paced conversation as they laughed and gestured towards the heavy rain that beat down on the windows. I had this utter feeling of peace come over me when I considered how snug I felt, and so...included. Initially they didn't know I was married to Dan--I was a stranger who turned up in their store, and didn't speak their language--but there was no hesitation to invite me to sit with them. 

Our morning coffee lasted not more than twenty minutes, and then the rain slackened and they all briskly rose from their chairs to return to their homes and daily chores.

We bid farewell, and I grabbed my shopping basket and flimsy umbrella and walked home in the cold drizzle, warmed through with hot coffee and the irony of the fact a trip I had dreaded turned out to be the nicest morning I've had in awhile.

I will miss this village.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Should I Drop My Resume Off?

So as you may have deduced, I am currently unemployed.

Who blogs nearly everyday?  Everyone knows you have to play it cool and post maybe three times a week, in order to keep people interested and clicking back for more.

I don't really know what my professional niche will be in Switzerland. If I lived in Zurich, where most international firms are based, I think I would have a better chance of working in my field of experience.  But alas, my Internet research has led me to conclude that in order to be employed in my field of experience around Bern, I probably need to be fluent in German.

In case you've forgotten, my current knowledge of German is so bad it scares small children. 

So I think it's going to take awhile before I can fluently tell the Church of Scientology fanatic to piss off and keep his crazy to himself, when he tries to corner me at the Saturday morning plaza.

So what do I do with myself?  How do I become a productive member of society again?  Who wants to hire little ol' me, when so far my best tools of communication have been large smiles, flailing arm gestures, and at one point miming.

Well, I think I've found just the employer! I happen to have fallen in love with the village that Dan's aunt and uncle live in, and I've been scheming different plots that would allow us to move here.

This potential employer I've found is located in the neighbouring village.  And if they hired me, Dan would probably would want to minimize my commute (in order to avoid people staring at me on the bus) and likely we'd relocate to this pastoral paradise I've fallen for.  And it would be perfect, because I could WALK to work under the cover of the forest, so no one would stare.

Why do you assume people will stare at you?

Well, if these guys hire me, I can only imagine the uniform I will be forced to wear.  I think it will definitely be stare-inducing.

Freak Labor, thata way.

Where do I apply? 

What sort of freak labor do they handle?  I think it's like a temp agency, where they send their freakiest laborers out for the jobs.  

Need me to be a carnie with a personal hygiene problem and a foul personality?  No problem, just give me a couple of weeks notice so I can really perfect my look.  And don't worry, I don't need to know how to operate the rides, that's all part of the job description. Hahaha, safety is for losers anyhow!

Need me to dress-up like an underground goth, and pick garbage from the side of the road?  I can do that!

Need me to wait tables at your restaurant, while walking around and lovingly plucking a hair from my head and tenderly placing it across your guest's prime rib as they're poised to take a bite? That's not a problem! I've got loads of hair, one or two missing follicles won't matter.  In fact...if I pluck out one hair, two will probably grow back in it's place, so I will have even more hair to litter in your patron's soups and salads.  You should totally hire me.

Do you need me to be totally callous and go to the elementary schools and tell children that the big SC is a myth, the TF doesn't want their molars, and the EB was shot ages ago by a hunter?  Hey, not a problem!  Everyone knows children shouldn't believe in those lies anyhow, because they will traumatized for life by having believed in a bit of fun and magic.  I will squash their childhood imaginations like a spider!  Just say the word! We need more mini-adults in this world.

Want me to dress like a cat, and randomly prowl up to strangers in plazas and MEOW in their face?  Well, it would take me awhile to find a believable costume, but I'm up for the task.

So Internet, what do you think?  Should I drop my resume off at Freak Labor?

And if you think I should, what do you think my first freak labor assignment will be, assuming they hire me? And to ensure they hire me, I need to make a great first impression so how should I dress for the job interview?

These are very important questions.  After all, I would hate to look like a fool.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Ghiara

This is it folks!  The last post devoted to the animals we've been caring for.  And to thank you for your patience in reading about these lovely dogs and horses, I will be here tomorrow with a little riddle for you.  Well, it's not so much a riddle so much as a "what does it MEAN?" sort of question. 

Do I miss English television?  Sometimes.  On nights where the Internet has left me with nothing to read (my Canada shipment STILL isn't here, and so neither are my books), I really miss it.  But one channel I don't miss so much is TLC.

What is it with that channel and their strange fascination with devoting programs to little people, families with enough kids to populate their own village, and women who had no clue they were pregnant?

Of course there was the classic Jon and Kate Plus 8, but who didn't see that atomic bomb waiting to go off? Eight annoying brats, a wife who was a raging bitch, and a husband who couldn't seem to grasp the fact he had eight children.  That family functioned like a kid kicking over an ant hill: all chaos all the time, with a dash of mean thrown in.

And of course the largest super-sized family of them all is the Duggars. Nineteen children! What the what! Things I took issue with in that show:  (1) all the kids looked the same; (2) Jim Bob is creepy; (3) the daughters saying they permed their hair 'because their dad liked it'; (4) they wear long sleeved shirts under t-shirts because it's 'more modest'; (5) the fact that it looks like the girls are just sitting around waiting to get married; (6) not even being allowed to kiss your fiance!; (7) the oldest son and his new bride driving to the hotel on their wedding night, listening to an unemotional voice over their car speakers discuss wedding night sex, and all the special feelings they would have; (8) allowing this footage, of these newlyweds mentally psyching themselves up for the ensuing fornication, to be broadcast. 

Seriously, I could go on and on.

But I won't.  Instead, I will say that Michelle Duggar must really, really, believe in her path to have as many children as possible, in order to have been pregnant nineteen times. I'm living with a girl right now who's had nine children AND SHE'S DONE!

Ghiara

(pronounced GE-are-A)

Ghiara is not at all pleased with the way her stomach hasn't bounced back after two litters of pups, and has retained Maxi has her trainer, to teach her the ways of the Kong.

Maxi!  You're supposed to be helping me get in shape, give me the Kong!

I don't share, remember.  Get a new personal trainer!

And so that ends that day's attempt for Ghiara to get in shape, but Maxi just taking over. 

Dan's aunt has said that two litters of pups out of beautiful Ghiara, are enough for this raven-haired beauty.  And with her litters grown and gone, she finally has time to smell the grass...every. single. blade. of. grass. on. every. single. walk.

Smells good.

Smells really good, in fact.

Just delightful.

Ghiara is always so busy smelling the grass, that she ends up being just a small black dot on the horizon behind us as we walk away. I'd like to think this is where I come in, and help her get her pre-baby shape back, by giving a shrill whistle that sends her running towards me.

Nope.  There's no fast paced running in Ghiara's life.  She will trot until she's eventually caught up with us, and then she immediately falls behind again.

Not a care in the world.

When we got here, Ghiara's son Ophie was also in our care.  He was a handful.

Uh no, I totally wasn't in the fountain.

Family portrait.  Ghiara in yellow, and Ophie in blue.

And while Ophie was here, I'll be darned if Ghiara didn't totally ignore him. I think she was having flashbacks to his sharp little baby teeth, and how he used to stay out too late at night.  Also, it was very apparent she didn't want her adult son moving back home; she was anxious for him to leave.

And Ophie did go home, leaving Ghiara and her two best pals to wander the country lanes in peace, free to enjoy a little girl talk.

Can you believe how tacky that Gosselin woman is?

Before I go, Ghiara just gave me a pleading stare and asked that I deliver the following to you because she doesn't want Jim Bob, Michelle Duggar, or any of their modest brood to judge her.  Ghiara doesn't really know the father of her pups, they never listened to any tapes on fornicating or feelings, and truthfully they barely even dated.  So don't judge her, okay.

Don't judge me.

She was a caring mother, and says if you're feeling particularly judgy today, how about turning your attention to TLC who's earning big bucks off of childhoods being filmed for strangers to gawk at. Word. I mean, Woof. 

Monday, 26 July 2010

Orania Z

I don't know if you've realized this, but I have been devoting the last few blog posts to only discussing the animals we are caring for at the moment.  In case you missed the thrilling saga, you can read all about The Teenager, and Jony the little pony, and Maxi aka Sporty Spice, and Flore the French lady.

If you don't really care for animals, well maybe come back later.  Like, on Wednesday.

"He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger.... he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts." ~William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is to literature what Katy Perry will never be to music: ageless and relevant.

Bop along to "California Girls" all you want this summer (it's a catchy beat), but I'm going to place a Vegas bet that song finds its way off your iPod within the year, never to return. 

The reason old Will is still pertinent is because his words on human nature still ring as straight and true as a hammer striking a nail, and for the love of the mighty equine, his poetry is especially crisp.

Though I think after these past four days of animal blogging, this little quote is what you are all probably sighing at your computer screen:

"He doth nothing but talk of his horse."
- William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice

Well Portia!  Perhaps the Neopolitan prince really likes his horse, and if he cares for you in the same manner as his horse you'd be one well looked after lady, ever think of that?

And what if the prince's horse looked like this?

Orania Z

Could you really blame him for talking about her all the time?

I thought not!

As the above picture implies, Orania Z is a curious and photogenic lady. 

I'm ready for my close-up
 
Just like her little buddy Jony, Orania Z is always happiest to see me first thing in the morning.  In fact, she kicks her food bucket, so overjoyed is she with my presence.  And that's why you've really got to love animals, because I don't know of another creature on earth who would be happy to see some bleary eyed monster lurching towards them at 7 a.m. with a raging case of bed-head. 
 
My defenses are always a little down in the morning, and I suspect Orania Z has caught on to this.  All it takes is one little warm whoof of her muzzle in my ear, and I give her just a touch more oats than I'm supposed to.  Nothing major, just a few extra for love.
 
Feed us.  Feed us.  Feed us.  Feed us.  Feed us.
 
In fact, looking after these animals these two weeks has taught me something about myself: I have a desperate need to be liked by animals!
 
People who don't like me *shrug* I could care less.  You don't like me, well there's probably something I don't like about you too.  C'est la vie and all that jazz.
 
(Flore, the natural blonde lab who speaks French, taught me to say c'est la vie)

But animals, nope I must be liked by animals.  Why is this?  Any Freudians out there who care to weigh in on this aspect of my psyche.

Anyhow, I am feeling incredibly gratified to know that Orania Z and Jony LIKE me.  I think it has something to do with my pockets always being stuffed with treats, but WHO CARES!  They knicker like crazy when they see me coming, and when they're out in the field and I'm out for a walk, they trot the fence line beside me until I pass them by.  When I look back, usually they're still staring after me.

I'M LIKED!  BY HORSES WHO WERE TOTAL STRANGERS TEN DAYS AGO! MY LIFE IS COMPLETE!

But you know what also completes my life, seeing Orania Z in action.

She is fiesty, especially when she's just released into the field.

Freedom!  Sweet freedom!

Tail in the wind, and hooves beat the ground.  Horse.

Nope, don't want to go this way.

This way instead.





Just like Jony, when Orania Z has kicked up the dust and danced until she can dance no more, she settles down to enjoy the tender spears of green grass.



Apart from the arch of their neck, their high trot, unruly manes, and the masterful royal toss of shapely heads, what I love most about the horse is that deep down, no matter who claims to have 'broke' them, in their heart of the hearts the horse will forever hold onto a wildness that can't be tamed.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Flore

Friday was a rain fest; it absolutely poured the whole day long.

I am one of those people who will RACE to get out of the rain, as though I am related to the Wicked Witch of the West and am in danger of exploding like some grade ten chemistry experiment if I get too wet.  As a result, I try not to even step a toenail outside on days like that if I don't have to.  So apart from my regular morning/afternoon/dinner chores with the horses, I didn't go outside and nor did the dogs.

Instead, I spent one the most productive days I've had in years: I watched movies.  Lots of movies.  The Teenagers in the house are crazy about their movies, and all Hollywood DVDs here have the English language selection, so I was loving it.  I didn't even try to pretend it was a learning day, and have the German subtitles playing.  Nope, I was just a slothful lazy bugger who let the t.v. do the thinking for her that day.

Now, when an entire Blockbuster seems to be at your disposal, what do you choose to watch?

Well me, I chose to watch Bend it like Beckham, The Ugly Truth, and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. 

What does this say about my taste in movies?  I think it says I don't really have any.  But apart from that, anyone else out there enjoy a good (pre-crazy) Lindsay Lohan flick from time to time?  Anyone?

Tap tap tap....this thing on?

In Confessions, it was very poignant when Lindsay sat on a pile of garbage in a dirty and dark New York alley, and told the lead singer of her favourite band, Sid Arthur, that she was upset she couldn't discuss the poetry of his songs with him, "because [he's] nothing but a drunk."

So earnest!  Such passion!  Such drama!  Such foreshadowing to her own life!

I wonder if she's sitting in the slammer right now, thinking about her scripted words to Sid Arthur?  I wonder if any of you actually care about my pondering the ill-fate of Lindsay Lohan?

I suspect not.

But I shall continue.

I think that this movie gives us a glimpse of the fact she was starting to become unruly, as it is apparent this was filmed during the period in her life when people stopped giving her boundaries; specifically, they stopped reminding her that she needed to wear sunscreen when under the hot rays of the sun.

Poor Lindsay is alarmingly freckled in this movie; in fact, she's a giant freckle.  And the close-up they did of her upper torso, when she sits at the dinner table dramatically pleading to be allowed to go to Sid Arthur's final concert, is shocking. 

Her skin looks as damaged as one of those fake Real Housewives of Orange County, before their laser treatments.

Lindsay you're fair skinned, PUT ON THE SPF 8000 IF YOU WANT TO GO OUTSIDE. Tanning is not in your genetic code!

I too freckle in the sun, and it really makes me mad.  I come in three shades:  winter white, raspberry red, and absurdly freckled.  That's it.  I don't tan.  If I'm not careful I burn atrociously and then I become a giant freckle.

It is the curse of all those who are fair skinned, and in Confessions it is obvious that Lindsay was abusing the sun.

Now, here's the other shallow and superficial thing that bothered me about this movie: her hair colour.  It was this hideous hybrid of red and blonde.  Who did her hair? What new graduate of the Hair Academy For Idiots got their hands on a bottle of peroxide and partly went to town?

I have this same issue with Katherine Heigl's hair in The Ugly Truth.  Well the ugly truth of that movie is two fold: (a) THE PLOT SUCKS; and (b) her hair is the most unflattering shade of 'blonde' I have ever seen. It is this flat shade of hospital yellow.  HOSPITAL YELLOW! 

How do I know it is hospital yellow?  Well, you've all been in hospitals before and you know how dingy and low-budget everything looks, especially the bedding and the walls. Well, that's what her hair colour reminds me of: a low-budget hospital.

People of the hair dressing world, 'hospital yellow' isn't 'blonde'!

(Actually THE WORST part of The Ugly Truth is Gerard Butler.  I can't stand that guy when he talks!  He talks out of the side of his mouth!  It drives me nuts!)

You may be wondering how come I've taken such a pathetic interest in Hollywood hair colour.  Well, it's because I'm living with a true blonde at the moment and she takes offense to cheap imitations, but she has paws and can't type about her irritation so I must be her voice. 

Je m'appelle Flore

(pronounced FLOOR-a)

And Flore wants you all to know she also doesn't appreciate the blonde jokes that get recycled from year to year.

Blondes have more fun, and they're smarter!  For example, Flore only speaks French.

I don't speak French.

But how do you know she took offense to Katherine Heigl's hospital yellow hair, if you don't speak French?

I just know.  It's part of my job.  So just go with it, okay? Stop asking questions.  It's so inconvenient.

I am ready for you to take zee dictation now, lady who always smells of jambon.

It is lucky for me that Flore speaks the language of 'bacon treats', so we rarely have any misunderstandings. I asked one of The Teenagers if Flore's owner is French.  The Teenager just rolled her eyes, shook her head no, and put a finger to her nose turning it up a bit.

I knew someone else who did this to their dog too.  Wasn't anyone I knew well, and I think it was a university professor, or a student?  I can't remember, but it happened in university. Anyhow, this dude was exceptionally proud of the fact that he was living smack dab in the middle of British Columbia, and his dog only answered to Italian.  And no, the guy wasn't from Italy, nor was his dog.  Though as everyone around me swooned at how worldly it was to have your dog speak a foreign language, I was dwelling on this question: Would sir fancy some garlic bread to go with his massive ego?

French, German, English.  AH!  It's all so confusing, sometimes you just need a drink!

Of our three labbie ladies, Flore is definitely the most laid back. She plods along beside us on our walks, and takes a mild interest in all the comings and goings. The only time her heart seems to pitter-patter is when she spots a field of corn.  

She disappears into that corn, leaving Dan and I to stare at each sceptically as we recall all the bad horror movies that started with some poor idiot chasing their dog into a field of corn.

La grrr. 
I veel chase zee bad guys away.

Actually, Flore would not chase the bad guys away.  She refuses to even exert an ounce of energy to put on a half-hearted show to chase the Kong; as a result, we leave her in the corn.

She always comes out.  Eventually.

La ha ha. 
Zee silly humans, afraid of zee corn field.

As you will notice from the above picture, Flore always carefully monitors her sun exposure, being sure to spend time in the shade. After all, all true fair-skinned blondes know that if you spend too much time in the sun, your skin will crinkle like tissue paper and you will freckle like a cheetah's coat, possibly requiring a stay in the hospital for investigation of a suspicious mole, where you will be forced to stare at depressing shades of hospital yellow.

And if you're truly unlucky, also having to watch a movie starring Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl where they dump a bottle of peroxide all over the genre of Romantic Comedy, and pray that no one will notice how bad it looks.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Maxi

When Dan was growing up, they never had dogs. None.  Not even one. They were strictly a cat family.

He was deprived.

As a result, Dan can't actually be described as a dog person.  He likes them well enough, is a 100% fine with the knowledge we will have a dog one day, but he doesn't go out of his way to pet a strange dog, throw its ball, and all that jazz.

I am the exact opposite.  I would cross a five lane highway if I saw a Bernese Mountain Dog walking on the other side. I will always pet dogs that are looking for a little love, and the best way to spend a cold winter day is lying in front of the fire, watching a movie, with a dog snoozing comfortably beside you.

So I was very curious to see how he would be around three dogs, that require a lot of attention.

And now for the very anti-climatic announcement:  he's great around them.  Obviously.

And just like little Jony has stolen my heart, there's one little lab that has stolen Dan's.

Maxi

This is Maxi, or as Dan calls her The Sporty One.

When we go for our evening walks, he only wants to walk Maxi.  And when she's let off her lead to run, she sticks close to his side or trails behind him. 

Waiting...waiting....for the Kong to be thrown.

Everybody ready

Set

GO! Well, Maxi will go anyways.  The other two aren't that sporty.

Queen of the Kong.

Maxi is very protective of the Kong, and doesn't really like to share.

Get lost!  This disgusting rubber toy is MINE!

I said...disappear!

(She's playing tug-o-war with a fourth lab we looked after for two days.  His name was Ophie.)

Yes, I would definitely say that when she was a pup she didn't learn to share. It's impossible to be mad at her though, especially when she looks like this:

But I only want the Kong for myself.

Don't make me share, I'll cry.

And guess who doesn't make her share?

That's right.  The 6 foot something Swiss who is putty in her paws.

Friendships, big and small.

"Dan, we have to let the other dogs have the Kong for awhile."

"But why?  They don't like it as much as Maxi.  She loves it so much, let's let her carry it."

So he gives it to her. 

And she's happy.

She trails behind him in his long shadow and he keeps both eyes out for her, ready to drop everything when Maxi announces that she's ready for the Kong to be thrown.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Jony

My pockets are dirtied with the crumbs of dog treats that smell like bacon, there's a couple of carrots in my back pocket, there's hay in my hair, dirt on my clothes, and slobber all over my legs.

This all means one thing: I'm in heaven.

Apart from The Teenager who really only requires minimal care (There's food in the fridge, and don't worry we won't go into the basement) my favourite part of this experience has been donning my Dr. Doolittle cap and looking after the animals.

When I was about seven years old, I sat in my Bup and Nan's living room and told my Bup, "When I grow up I'm going to be a veterinarian's assistant."

"Well Cait," my Bup answered, "why don't you be a vet instead?"

Light bulb.

Yes, why don't I be a vet instead!  I became an encyclopedia of animal knowledge, and even had a little vet office in my room, where I had files on all my sisters' stuffed animals. 

I was on my way.

I carried the veterinarian dream around like the Olympic torch, until I actually started working in a vet's office. Then the depressing reality struck that yes, vet's do care about the well-being of animals, but also they are running a business.  Sometimes the well-being of the animal can't take precedence when the animal's owners won't pay the bills, or they won't entertain the idea of treating the animal if the bill will be over 'x' dollars.

Ah, it's just a dog.  I'm not spending that kind of money on it.

But the day the dream died is when a lady came into the office and wanted to put her two ten year-old shelties down. 

She didn't want them anymore.  She also didn't want anyone else to have them.

The vet's conversations about re-homing to loving people fell on deaf ears, and her wishes had to be met.  I was in tears that day, and had to leave early.  That night I wrote in my journal for probably two hours, trying to make sense of it all.

But I couldn't make sense of it.  Because being a vet is hard, it's realistic, and it's not all puppy dogs and kittens. 

When reality checks, it hits hard.  Realizing I wasn't emotionally strong enough, nor did I want to be, to deal with those realities of the practice, I let that childhood balloon go.  But obviously my adoration of animals is still going strong.

Of course like most little girls, horses were my first love.  I had horse calendars, horse books, and horse toys.  I had horses on the brain.

I was lucky that I had family who had horses, so whenever we went to Bup and Nan's you could always find me at the stables.

For two summers I worked for my aunt, caring for her horses and also the rodeo livestock.  When they went to rodeos on the weekends, I stayed behind and looked after the horses that remained and whatever stock didn't make that trip.

Those were the two best summers of my adolescence.  I relished all the time I spent on the back of my horse, trotting in the hills through sagebrush and tumbleweed, chasing coyotes (yes, I was mean).

There's nothing nicer than stroking the soft muzzle of a horse, feeling their warm breath on your hand, while their long ears twitch at every sound.  Also, I really love the smell of horses. 

So when Dan's aunt and uncle asked us to care for their pets, it was a no brainer for me. 

I have been spending chunks of my days hanging over the stable fence, with dogs at my feet, feeding the horses treats and catching whiffs of their warm earthy smell that's a mixture of dust and freshly cut hay.

And I have to admit, it's the littlest horse who has stolen the biggest piece of my heart.

Jony: pronounced YAWN-ee

Jony is a co-dependant miniature pony, who paws the ground every morning when he sees me coming. He has associated my presence with food, and is especially happy to see me in the morning.

I suspect that perhaps his affection isn't genuine, but I'm only here for two weeks so I'll take what I can get.

Wild Wild West

Dan's aunt told me she got Jony eighteen years ago when she was looking to buy a new saddle for her mare.  The seller told her, "Buy this saddle and I'll toss this pony in for free."

Of course we all know there's no such thing as a free animal, and where horses are concerned 'free' is very expensive.  But as Dan's aunt said, "It was the best deal on a saddle I ever got."

Pals

Jony is co-dependant, and always needs to be with his large female buddy Orania Z.  If they are separated, he throws a FIT. But Jony is also 32 years old, so can you blame him for needing constant companionship?

I don't like to be alone.

Jony also has really great hair, that is easily tousled in the wind.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, and have such amazing tresses.

Actually, hate me if you want; I'm beautiful and have amazing tresses, so I don't care about you or your opinion.

The highlight of Jony's day (and Orania Z's as well) is when we take him out to evening pasture, so he can graze on the fresh green spears of grass.

Ready to go, sporting his very edgy black leather fly mask.

I killed myself laughing the first time I saw these two walking together.
This is honestly one of the sweetest things I've witnessed, to date.

Once in the field, it's time to kick up those little hooves and have a wee bit of a trot.

I'm so fit and sporty.

But when I say 'wee bit of a trot' I do mean wee.  Jony is old everybody, one loop around the field is good enough for him. 

Then it's time to get down to the business of eatin'.

Where the green...er, sepia...grass grows.

And eatin' some more.

Come back in three hours.

Yes, Jony is a sweet pony.  He has a bit of a Napoleon complex, is quite bossy in the morning, but has such fabulous hair you totally forget these minor character flaws.

And I think he's small enough to fit in my suitcase when we leave.  Our second bedroom is definitely big enough for him.

It's love.

P.S. Reading this post I bet you'd never guess I figured out I can change my pictures to be SEPIA coloured.  Woo!  I also figured out black and white too!  Watch out, I might go crazy with this power over the next few days.