Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

"It's mine! It's ALL mine!!"

Here's to hoping you get everything you could ever want in the new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

According to the Stars

No! Not those stars!!

While I think it's fun to look at one's horoscope, I'm a realist and don't believe that someone sitting in an office somewhere, studying star charts and making vague predictions could possible be able to tell me with any kind of accuracy what's in store for me on any given day.

That's just not how I roll.

But it's still fun. Call it a guilty pleasure. A secret guilty pleasure (that's not so secret anymore). I do look at them. I do read them. I do go back a day and see if yesterday's was the least bit correct at all.

So this evening I see on Yahoo that they've released 2010's Horoscopes. I'm a Virgo, thank you very much:

Year 2010 Overview

Whew! Feel that enormous burden sliding off of your shoulders, like you've been carrying around an overstuffed backpack for the last couple of years? That would be Saturn, planet of structures and limitation, moving out of your sign. Congratulations, first of all, on having simply made it through more or less in one piece. You passed through the fire and made it out the other side.

Now, what to do with that spiritual Medal of Honor you've earned? Well, for one thing, establish who it is you really are with both yourself and those around you. Your ability to quietly endure both the big and little outrages of life have served you well in the last couple of years, and many of those around you may have come to assume that either it wasn't as rough on you as it was, or that you are somehow made of steel. In fact, you may have come to the same conclusion yourself. Virgo has a reputation for being able to take care of others with the best of them -- but can you turn that same care and attention on yourself? That's the big question you'll be facing in 2010.

The good news (beyond simply less bad news) is that there will be all kinds of opportunities opening up for you in new directions as far as fun, recreation and romance. So take advantage of those whenever you can. You've earned it!

Wouldn't that be great if that were true? Hot dog! I could use less bad news!! The past two years have certainly been a trial, between losing two dogs and seven horses, my marriage falling apart, becoming unemployed and homeless (and trying to work my way back up to having a stable life again), and having serious back issues, it's been a little bit of a bumpy ride.

And this whole time Saturn was to blame. That crafty Saturn. Well, I'm glad they went out of business!

Then while looking for a Virgo-appropriate picture, I find this funny little graphic:

In corresponding order, my response to each of these 10 reasons:

10. I'm not as critical as you might think, although the title to the left should really read "Top 10 Reasons You're A Virgo" to be grammatically correct.

9. I always thought my motto was "Whatever hits the fan will not be distributed evenly."

8. Obviously vehicles are exempt from the Virgo "neat and clean" requirement.

7. I'm so worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.

6. What a lovely way to say that. Usually I'm just a nit-picky B~!

5. Thanks, Folks. I'll be here all week. Try the Veal.

4. Huh? What does astrology have to do with the bowels? It's not asstrology!

3. Not applicable. *snifle*

2. I don't know how many times I have to say this, but just because I have to turn the lights on 14 times when I enter a room or the oceans will dry up does not mean I have OCD (and it's OBSESSIVE-compulsive, not excessive--I should know).

1. Well, yeah!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've got a definite plan for the new year. Of course, we all know how plans go...what's that saying again? You can plan in one hand and something in the other???

Oh, oops! Nevermind!

Anywho....while things seem to change from day to day, it's always good to have a basic plan, and here's my plan (aka resolutions) for the new year.

1. Get Eddie home (already in process...damn, I'm good)

Actually, everyone else is good. I'm lucky!! My friends and family basically carried me for the past month so I could save every penny to bring him home before doing anything else. They know how important Eddie is to me and I appreciate it so very much. I also very much appreciate Kelly and Megan's help in getting Eddie ready for his journey!

2. Scrub credit reports and pay down debt.
As you may know, you are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus. While many commercials are out there for free credit reports, be careful because they require you sign up for a service you have to pay for. For the REAL website for free credit reports go to

3. I plan on eventually building my dream house/barn

on the property near St John but it's going to take me a couple of years to build up a down payment and ready the site (aka have a great big bonfire with the existing, crumbling barn), so I hope to move in a temporary abode (aka mobile home) onto the property this summer. It will also serve as a second space for my dad while he finishes his remodel--a second place to go to for running water and electricity is always handy when you've got to shut everything off for a day or two for a project!

4. Along with getting a small place set up for me, I hope to get a pole barn set up on the north side of that same property for hay storage and a paddock run-in. I also hope to set a lean-to in for Eddie
and change the layout of the pens, rebuild fencing, etc. Like always it will be a work in progress over the summer.

5. Late summer or fall I hope to finally get a nice little trailer that will last me a few years.

I've been drooling over this one, although it's a bit out of my pricerange. I can drool, though--my keyboard is well protected.

6. I hope by winter time I can afford to get a low-level show saddle, show chaps and basically get Paula and I outfitted to make our show debut in 2011.

It will be sad that she'll miss her junior years entirely, but my goals are set so we will be ok long-term rather than just trying to get through the short-term like I have been doing (and obviously that has not been working well). I DO remember the saying (and firmly believe in this) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so this year I'm doing something different!

7. Speaking of Paula, she'll continue her training under saddle and JJ will be started as well. I DO plan on trail-riding both this year (JJ late in the year of course)!

If things don't go completely down the toilet, I'd love to try the Ride America program with JJ. I think he'd enjoy it!

8. Every year I want to lose more weight, of course, and while each year I'm about 10 pounds lighter than the previous, I have a long way to go before looking svelt in the saddle. However, rather than starting out the year depriving and starving myself, I'm going to instead resolve to fit more exercise into my life. I love veggies, salads, and do pretty well in that respect, so if I exercise and drink more water I hope that I can shed a few more pounds (and Paula will be so ever thankful as well).

9. I'd like to begin updating the White Horse Resource and get it rolling officially. If anyone is interested in being a contributor to the site, please give me a hollar!!

I'll leave number 10 open for the future. There always has to be room for possibilities :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Take'n Care of Business

Next week I'll be in KC for a business meeting, so I've got a long to-do list for this week.

I'm not complaining, though. We'll be at the Crowne Plaza--a place I otherwise would never get to stay at, so it should be a fun little break from the everyday.

Before I go, I've got to take care of a few items, though.

First of all, Sophie needs her shots all brought up-to-date.

Check--got her done this afternoon. Sophie will be boarded since she's such a handful. I'm going to really miss her, but she'll have fun in doggie daycare :)

I'll also really miss Paula and the other kids, but they're in great hands at Painted Prairie.

She's getting spoiled, I think, with her own feeder and her nice warm blanket!

JJ also really gets into his feed.

I did get JJ's registration papers sent out. I am so ashamed--this is the longest it has ever taken me to get one of my babies registered. He's the last one for me to do, but I feel very depressed that my lack of funds has caused his paperwork to be so delayed. At least I'll be starting the new year off on the right foot! JJ will be registered as "BoysCanBeFabulousToo" in both APHA and AQHA. He has enough white to be regular registry in APHA as well, so he'll be all set!

Speaking of all set, Eddie will be home soon after I'm home from my business trip!!!

It's hard to believe it's been two years since I saw my special guy. I miss him so much and am really looking forward to him being home. I can't thank Vicki and Kelly enough for seeing that he not only was well cared for but also whole-heartedly loved and adored during his time away from me. He could not have been in better hands!!

Eddie already has a few 2010 bookings and depending on Kelly's plans she might be breeding a mare as well, so I will go ahead and stand Eddie on a limited basis next year. I will post details once he gets home and I can get some things in order--I don't want to put the, or shipping container, before the horse! :)

Also a special thanks to Double Bar T Transport for fitting Eddie in on their next haul. They hauled Eddie up to Oregon and adore him, so I'm thrilled they are able to bring him back home as well! Please see their link to the left for all your shipping needs!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Going Back to Pratt

Christmas for many of us means going back to the place where we planted our roots and grew up before heading out in the world. Our family and friends can be found there, along with some great memories.

The day after Christmas my friend Jennifer wanted to meet up for dinner. Earlier we had recalled fondly the days of playing pool at Charlie's Pizza Taco and writing on the graffiti wall.

OK, before going on, I probably need to explain exactly what a "pizza taco" is. First, it's not a taco pizza. It's a pizza taco.

It's sausage, hot sauce, mozzarella cheese and lettuce wrapped up like a giant taco. It's a Pratt original and

Unfortunately Charlie had tons of orders backed up, so we didn't end up eating there, but before we left we did have to find our names on the wall.

There's Jennifer's! No one dared write over the "Krusemark." Her family is like the mafia in Pratt. Her dad is the Don.

Or not.... But her dad is named Don. Hmm....maybe there really is a connection there? I might have to discuss this with Jennifer a little more in depth!

In the meantime, there's my scrawling signature in red!

Jessie McCandless '94

Apparently being the friend of the local mafia family doesn't afford me as much protection as I'd like. My name has been written over quite a bit over the years....

But my protection is on the way! In her scooter-cart thingy!

Stay off the sidewalks!! Jennifer finally got her license!

There was a sobering moment, though, when we saw Jason Befort's signature up on the wall.

Jason graduated in the class before Jennifer and I. He was brutally murdered in Wichita a few years ago. It was so sad. To read about the terrible story, click here.

Jennifer and I wondered aloud for a moment how many names on the wall would never see their owners again. We stood in silence a while, contemplating the passage of time....

Since Charlie had an extremely (and atypical) long wait, we made our way down to Woody's.

Woody's has been a Pratt favorite ever since I can remember. My earliest recollections of Woody's was waiting out in the car for Dad to go in and get cheeseburgers for the whole family. Since that time, they've turned the once shady bar into more of a family-friendly place.

But they still have ice cold beer (and margaritas, which Jennifer and I enjoyed) and some wickedly-good food! We had a great time talking about the past, present, and future and enjoying some tasty beverages and our great meal.

It's hard to believe that Jennifer and I have been friends for 28 years now. It almost seems silly to call her a friend--she's really more like a sister. We have the best time catching up in our old hometown and despite her world travels, extremely busy work schedule and her dedication to her family, she always goes out of her way to stay in touch and make time for her old high school buddy :) Thanks, Jennifer! Love ya, you crazy gal!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Since I'll be baking and traveling tomorrow and won't be spending Christmas on my computer, I thought I'd wish everyone a very Merry Christmas by posting a picture of Sophie in her Christmas sweater.

I thought it would be an adorable way to send our holiday wishes.

Sophie didn't quite agree.

What did I DO to deserve this humiliation?!

Oh, alright. How's this?

You're awfully demanding. How about a profile shot?

This is boring me.

Just take the picture already.

Seriously, just take the derned thing...


Thank you, Miss Sophie.

Happy Holidays to all!!!

My New Friend

I'm afraid I can't help myself.

Oh Milo....

Sweet Milo.

How can I resist thee?

He should really be ashamed, to abuse his powers over me like this.

Look at those big, brown eyes. I'm helpless....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is it Monday again already?!

Actually it's not. It's Tuesday. I've lost an entire week of my life. Where did it go? Hmmm...let me see.... Recap!

I'm afraid this is going to be one of those really boring posts that just lists what went on, without any pictures or anything.

Oh please.....

I guess I needed to have at least one photo. That's your gratuitous Sophie picture for the week. You can thank me later.

I tell you what, though, you never know that anyone misses ya until your gone! I was happy to hear that these random musings were actually read once in a while. I guess I'd better straighten my britches up and get on it. Problem is I need to install my personal computer so I can actually download my pictures.

And boy, do I have some pictures. I'll see what I can do for tomorrow!

In the meantime, the top ten things that happened over the course of this last week:

10. My truck gauges mysteriously started working again. I guess it needed three weeks of rest. Do trucks need to rest? Apparently mine does.

9. There's a slight chance I might be related to Christopher McCandless, the guy who went off into the Alaskan wilderness and died of starvation. Somehow I don't think you're too surprised--you know us crazy McCandlesses.

8. I drove 10 hours for a 2 hour meeting yesterday, but it was actually sort of fun. Somehow driving 10 hours once in a while isn't so bad when I'm not driving 100 miles a day anymore!

7. Paula has two things in common with an elephant. (1) She's gray and (2) she never forgets. I rode her on Sunday and it had been at least a month since our last ride and we just pick up after our last lesson--never have to review a thing. I adore her.

6. JJ got cast in his pen. Luckily I was outside and saw him so I calmly rushed over to help free him. The silly rabbit nickered at me when I came into his pen like "Excuse me--a little help here!" He calmly waited while Darlene's husband put a rope around his back feet and we flipped him over. He could have really messed himself up in the fence had he panicked. He's such a good goober.

5. Charlie still feels like a pup thanks to his meds. Metacam rocks!

4. I learned that while I have many talents, installing a door isn't one of them.

3. I became hooked on the 1970's series Soap. Its dorkiness parellels my life all too well.

2. My friends and I are starting to become telepathic. I'll think about calling Jennifer and she texts me. I send an email off to Darlene and there's one waiting in my inbox from her. It's too bad we can't use these powers for good instead of evil.

1. When I was born, my mom shared a room with a lady who had a son on the same day. That lady contacted me this week and she's Eddie's sire's last owner's (Kristi's) stepmom (got that?). Sadly her son died when he was only 3 days old. If he had been a girl, his name would have been Jessie, too. I can't even begin to explain the kind of emotions that surface when I really think about all of this, but I do want to say thank you to Jean for your incredibly kind words and for getting in touch with me. If anyone doubts this isn't a small world then your kidding yourself....

Which leads me to a point. This is such a very small world--you never know who you're going to run into or what might come full circle one day, so this Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Winter Solstice) do something nice for someone you don't know. Hold a door open, let someone in in traffic in front of you, or speak friendly to a busy cashier. Just try to do one extra little act of kindness and you never know when it might come full circle.

Monday, December 14, 2009


You'd think by the title of this post that I have some rant or complaint coming, but this is actually a post about a dear member of our family.

Her name is Stupid.

She's my dad's farm dog--a medium-sized lab-like mut, about 11 or 12 years old, and has lived her whole life with him there on the farm.

I couldn't get a very good picture of Stupid. She was very busy this day.

Lots of moles to find and squirrels to chase.

Stupid has been my Dad's dog for the past decade (and maybe a little more). The very sad fact is that she's the only dog that has ever been dropped off at Dad's house that hasn't been hit on the highway.

Being out in the country, Dad has gotten a lot of dogs wandering up to his house over the years, but Stupid was the only one who has stayed and survived.

My dad warms up her canned food in the winter, makes sure she's flea and tick free all summer, always makes sure she has fresh water and a warm place to sleep, and she has all the room in the world to roam and chase birds and squirrels to her heart's content.

Apparently, she's a lot smarter than her name implies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Little Surprise

When I was at Dad's place, destroying (with permission) the awful paneling in what used to be my brother's room, I discovered something covered-up long ago.

I had hoped once I tore the rest of the paneling off, that there would be more surprises, but these three, small, items were my only retro finds.

Apparently this had been a kid's room for quite some time, and I'm guessing one of the Benintendi kids probably stuck these to the wall sometime in the late 50's while dreaming of faraway, tropical lands.

This one shows some of the native boats on Lake Titicaca.

Another view of Lake Titicaca on the other side, and in the middle, a sticker of a shark.

There's something special about seeing a child's dreams from several decades ago. It gives the house substance--an air of generations past and solidifies the lives that have come and gone within its walls.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Years Torn Away

As promised, here are pictures of my dad's house renovation.

Actually it's a picture of Sophie snoozing on my jacket in the corner while I'm tearing away the paneling and closet, but you can see some of the work done behind her.

Here's a closer look.

This was all in one room. There are 3 or 4 layers of wallpaper behind the paneling, which was put up in the late 60's, we believe. The wallpaper above is one of the very oldest layers.

This was the second layer, underneath the newest layer.
The wallpaper below is from the hallway. I'm fascinated by the vibrant floral pattern. They certainly weren't afraid of color!

This wallpaper (below) is the newest layer. I think this is from the 50's. Tomorrow I'll write more about this particular pattern and a very interesting find!

Here is the top border for what I think is the oldest layer. It's very artistic: the scrolling, pastel colors (or is this the faded remnants of an even brighter color?), and the almost modern look to the flowers.
The house has a lot of work still left to do, but seeing these layers being torn through gives us a unique glimpse into this house's past. I really think that this renovation is going to restore this old house to its formal glory!