Relationship Menu

Okay, I am about to venture into territory I know I should clearly not breach, but just like the train wreck we all know that is going to happen, yet we can’t avert our eyes either. A few thoughts occur there, first – I am sure the full bottle of wine that is now empty is slightly impairing my judgement. Second, why is that we think we all would turn away from the train wreck anyway? After, a lot of us pay to go see demolition derbies – and how many of us really want to watch a car race that doesn’t have a wreck in it to make things interesting. Anyway, back to the subject that I should stay clear – relationships.

Why I am sure I stay clear? Well, in 38 years of living I must have a fully successful one. Of course that all depends on just what one counts as successful in such endeavors I suppose, but my general measure is a lifetime kind of thing. Perhaps my thoughts on such matters are too lofty, perhaps I am too old fashion in some ways and too modern in others to make the meshing of two personalities work for the long-term.

Anyway, I think I have figured out how to make the perfect relationship. I need to get a menu to order the exact thing I want in a woman to have this relationship from. Think about it, just like ordering a burger and side items. First, I am going to start with the beer, proceed to the burger, cooked medium – very thick, with cheddar cheese and bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo – no ketchup or mustard. Let me have that with fries, the curly fries, with the spicy stuff.

If you could go through a checklist and totally completely get what you wanted from the beginning you would be set. I’ll have the woman, with blue eyes. Not particular about the color of hair, but it must be long. Oh, she must enjoy history, be witty and intelligent and able to carry on conversation regarding just about anything under the sun. She must be willing to troop around the region with horses in tow on at least 1/2 the occasions, enjoy old fashion values of farming and family, but yet enjoy modern life and occasionally like to entertain as well as go out to the pub and have a drink. No children, but maybe, probably, want children in the very near future. And since we are ordering precisely, ready to commit and settle down almost immediately.

Oh, and just like the burger order, if I get anything I don’t want, I can send it back to get it fixed. Like, oh man, you put ketchup on this when I said I didn’t want any. To much witness in the intelligence here, take this woman back and tone that part down a little bit and bring it back out and let me try it again.

The trains are just coming through the corn field now and about to met head to head – I can’t look, but yet I can’t stop looking… publish button pushed.

Right to Bear Arms

Brown Bess The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution has been up held today in a narrow decision by the Supreme Court. At issue in the particular case was the right of residents of the city of Washington, D.C. to own handguns or not. The case was brought forward by a number of the defendants, but the named defendant was Dick Heller. His action was motivated by being a security guard (apparently armed) and not being allowed to bring said arm home with him when not at work. The case was brought forward by Robert Levy, a libertarian lawyer, who obviously felt that the laws in D.C. were a restriction of individual freedom explicitly granted by the amendment.

There were a number of other defendants in the case, one a woman who had her life threatened by drug dealers when she lead a neighborhood watch program targeting drug dealers. This particular aspect largely shows how gun ownership restrictions only leaves such weapons in the hands of criminals. Sure, the laws in D.C. allowed this woman to have a rifle or shotgun for her defense, but only with trigger locks, unloaded or disassembled. Think about the drug dealer that breaks in seeking revenge and how long it was taken to unlock the trigger, load, and protect oneself.

At the core of the issue, was the interpretation of the amendment and whether it applied to the right of a state militia to bear arms or the individual people to bear arms. I think it is clear as day that it applies to both groups and that the federal government can not (nor can local governments) take those rights away in a reasonable sense. This is the first ruling in over 70 years on such an issue and it is a clear victory for the individual. It will have an impact on several other local gun bans, such as the those found in Chicago. It is worth noting that this will likely not affect things like the restrictions on machine guns, felons ownership rights, and such as that – as just like the 1st Amendment rights to free speech, there are limits (yelling fire in a crowded theatre for instance).

(Yes – for those wondering, I went from an average of 1 to 2 posts a week for the month of June, to now 4 in less than a 24 hour period!)

Farrier Freedom

An aside to begin with – the spell checker actually has the word farrier in it and rasping the hoofaccepts it as a spelled correctly word. You realize I have been using that word in various documents since at least around 2000, maybe slightly longer and none, not even the Microsoft Word dictionary, has contained that word. So my hats off to the folks doing this open source dictionary that I am using.

What I really wanted to touch base on was my weekend this past. It was hot. Saying that is such an understatement, using only three words and eight characters. It should have something like thirty characters to really emphasis just how hot it was. Anyway, I digress. I spent Saturday morning early AM doing a bit of tidying around the house, before heading over to mow my Grandmothers yard. It is a small yard and that was a nice thing done. I then headed over to my Mom’s, where I have the horses.

It was too hot to do much that afternoon, especially with the lack of shade short of the shed, where there is little breeze. So I lounged a bit in a the pool. Yes, I was lazy bum. The important thing to note during all of the day on Saturday is I spent maybe 15 minutes late in the day checking my personal email and nothing more.

Sunday I awoke fairly early (though not as early as I usually do) after spending the night there. I immediately got my tools and went to field and started with feet trimming – or farrier work.

For those not aware, horses hooves grow and are very similar to humans finger nails, except of course they are much thicker. Horses in the wild tend to keep the hoof wore down, but they move a lot more than a domestic horse, so we have to help them out and give them a trim on occasion. The basic process is nip off with a tool that is about eighteen long and looks a little like pliers with a cutting edge, file smooth on the flat and shape the outside of the hoof. Oh and I left out dig out dirt, manure, and muck from the rest of sole and take down the flat with a hoof knife.

It is probably the hardest job on the farm, and especially as jobs relating to horses go. I would ten times over rather put up hay all day then trim two or three horses feet. During the process a well-trained perfect horse will stand there, lifting each foot almost before you ask (and some actually do), holding it until you are done. Even with a well-trained horse though it is time spent bent over, knees bent against themselves, and in motion the entire time on your part.

Now the reality is younger, less trained horses tend to want to dance around a bit and see just what they can get away with. Older horses get lazy and instead of holding up the foot for you, lean 1/4 or more of their weight over on your already bent over form. And one horse I have likes to nibble at your back, hair, or shoulders whenever she can – and if she is luck she will grab something like a tool or apron strap and pull it out or loose.

It gets worse though. If you recall I have 7 miniature horses that needed to be trimmed. Good news – They have much smaller feet so much less trimming to be done. Bad news – They only stand on average 29 inches tall hence their feet can’t come up nearly as much off the ground, so you have to bend down even more to work with them. Even worse – three of these little guys are young or just have not been handled that much and they throw a fit when you getting a trim done.

So, if I am making it sound bad – well it was hard sweating honest work, that was very tiring. It left my shoulders, neck, knees, thighs, back, and arms tired and sore through even today (Tuesday). In just over four hours I trimmed eight horses feet, some of which were just rank.

So the rambling here leads to this thought. It was so incredibly nice to be out in the hot sun doing such work. Living and breathing horses for the time. No cell phone and no computer email and nothing that was otherwise interfering with the task at hand. My pure enjoyment of working with my hands, and while utilizing my brain, it was on a subject that was much lower caliber and enjoyable. It was just a breath of freedom that was much enjoyed and much-needed.

I am looking forward to the next bit of time I will get to spend time out like that with the horses with no computers around for a short time.

Hero: American Dreamer

An inspiring story if there ever was one is the story of Adam Shepard, $25 dollars and pursuit of the American Dream. So Adam, a young college educated gentlemen did an experiment. He left home with $25, a duffel bag of clothing, and basically set out to prove that one can still achieve the American Dream. He completely left his support structure, including family and friends and had nothing. He ended up living in a homeless shelter, finding a job with a moving company, and inside of 10 months – without using his networking or college education skills (after all, how much of a college education do you need to balance a small pay check and move furniture) he had bought himself a truck and saved $5000. You can read more details in this article.

I find such a deal of inspiration in this story that is hard to fathom it. Especially when I consider the job skill set that I have, the great job (and even 2nd job that I have had up until recently) and that I still on occasion find myself short heading into the stretch before pay-day. Now granted, I do have some expenses that are hard to get away from given that I own horses. However, I have a lot of expenses beyond those that I still spend that are small in their own right, but add them up over time and they start to be a big one. It is the little things though that one would have to be a lot more diligent about if one were forced (or chose to) live on a much more strict budget.

For instance, I think back to this past weekend and little expenses incurred:

  • $16.00 bad Indian Jones movie for 2
  • $8.00 coffee and snacks while driving here and there throughout the weekend
  • $7.00 fast food dinner Friday evening
  • $4.00 a guess here for gas, but 3 separate trips to grocery that was within an easy walking distance
  • $20.00 lunch at a diner (I didn’t spend it, but would have if they hadn’t pick up the tab)
  • $5.00 breakfast on Tuesday morning as I headed back

Ad all that up and it is $60.00 – which would go a long way toward any number of things for me as a single person. That is nearly what I spend on groceries for lunches for an entire month (granted I eat out 1 to 2 times a week – but that again would just add to the point I am making).

So, feeling inspired I am thinking of somethings I can do to check a bit of this and noting some things I am already doing. Maybe a few of these are helpful for you and maybe some are not. There are some added bonuses too to the green side of thinking as well, which I will try to note also.

  1. Already keeping my movie viewing down to once a month or less of late. As it is now summer, maybe see some double features at the drive-in, where you get two movies for $5.00 instead of the $8-10.00 at theaters. Also, if I do see at the theater, it must be a matinée. Additionally, note the drive-in allows you to bring in your own food and such instead of buying $8.00 popcorn and $5.00 sodas. Good news here is that I have seen very little that I am interesting in seeing coming out soon, and Indiana Jones was, in my opinion, so bad as to turn me against movies for a while.
  2. Well, I have never been a fan of Starbuck’s as a general rule, though I did have a phase for a short while. I have liked other coffee shops and I am guilty of enjoying a $5-$6.00 super espresso latte full of extra unjustifiable calories and fat. Worse usually to go, which is a paper or styrofoam cup. No more of that though, not in a while of late. Instead, go to the coffee-house and drink in the setting from a mug, regular or flavored coffee (which I personally enjoy just as much) which is usually all you can drink – even better) for a $1 or $2. Beyond that, when traveling – most of the time I try to make a pot of coffee before hand fill my thermos and use my own travel mug. No additional paper and no paying $1.29 – $2.00 for a large cup of Joe that maybe cost $.25 to make and is often time burnt or at least been around awhile.
  3. As much as Bitzer is going to be dismayed about no longer getting double cheeseburgers, I have to cut out the fast food as much as possible. There really is no justification for it other than just quick and convenient and that is not much. After all, $1.50 for a single flow on a the soda is just too much to bear for me the more I think about it. And I certainly do not need the extra fat and calories to be found in such things. I enjoy some healthy snack foods that I can for a much more reasonable price and have them around for a longer time most of the time – just requires a bit of thought and planning.
  4. The grocery store trips were just a bit of poor planning about things and not really knowing for sure what was going to be happening over the weekend. However, all the things purchased on the various trips could have been done in one trip. Short of one trip that included purchase of a wheel barrow all the trips could have been walking trips too – especially given the laid back nature of the weekend. I certainly could have used the exercise too. I did make one walking trip to the farmers market, Bitzer enjoyed that and got petted by a few 100 people along the way to boot. Also, gas is going to go higher I am sure. I am looking for a bike for around home on the weekends. One last thought though – nearly $4.00 a gallon for gas (that is a bit over 30 miles for me in the car), $1.50 for 64 ounces of coke (syrup, water, carbonization, lots of calories if not diet and if diet well questionable chemicals), $1.29 for a 20 ounce cup of coffee, and $5.00 for a mocha latte grande (full of extra undesirable things) – which one are we paying too much for?

Thanks for the inspiration Adam Shepard!

Heroines: The Ditty Bops

A new group on me as of today, actually within the last couple of hours – they are pretty unique – called the Ditty Bops. They are a musical group, consisting of two ladies named Abby DeWald and Amanda Barrett. Their music is to be treasured, but probably only the odd few here and there will appreciate it, as the sound is about as unique as it gets. Imagine if you will a good bit of rag time, a healthy dose of swing, all rolled in with some good old fashion blue grass/traditional folk music, and blend with some lovely vocal harmonies. Add to that a quick witty set of vocals that are sometimes nonsensical and others just so right on (and maybe those that nonsensical my wit is not quick enough to catch up with yet) and you have the wonderful duet. Check out their website or do some searching on YouTube to get a feel for the music.

However, in the meantime while I am listing them as a couple of heroines? Simply put I am impressed by their wherewithal of putting their actions where their mouths are. Case in point, during their 2nd album release and tour that was to support that. They were big on a kick at the time that we need to help the world with a little less pollution. So, they did their tour from CA to NY via bicycle. It was, as you can imagine with a smaller lesser known group like this, not all completely planned. However, they did 40 performances along the route and it was measured a success. Their comments on the endeavor ran something like if we can do a tour this way across the country then everyone can make a small effort to reduce the usage of the automobile just a little bit.

They followed this up by being instrumental in the ban of plastic bags in the city of San Francisco. Now, I am personally not sure where I stand on this, but come to think of it paper bags are not nearly as apt to be found blowing around as the urban version of a tumble weed that I see a lot of plastic bags become. Further, while both are recyclable, I feel that the renewable aspect of paper over plastic (oil based) has a plus to it. Further, with such a ban maybe everyone would be more apt to lead to a much wider adoption of re-usable bags, such as canvas. This reminds me of something that I need to get in a better habit of doing myself.

Lastly, the one most near and dear to my own heart. They toured in America’s heartland in 2007, promoting the plight of the American farmer and the ideas of sustainable agriculture. I especially like the sustainable aspect of what they were doing with this and need to find some additional information on just what all that involved. That mini tour ended with a performance at, you guessed it, Farm Aid with Willie.

Why men need the right women

Men need a good woman to stand beside him, keep his feet on the right path, and keep his focus on the hearth. A part o this comes from a good friend recently sharing with me some information from the 1800’s. There is a series of thoughts that goes something along the line of the man should be the one taking care of things outside the home, women should be the ones keeping the virtues of home and hearth.

Fundamentally I can fully admit to being the kind of man when given half a reason to justify it (or not) running off to my favorite pub and having a drink. And of course with a drink comes the desire for women. And why is it that with or without drink us men are apt to be attracted the type of woman who does us no good? Maybe it is the lure of the possibility of ease of that which all heterosexual men desire – and especially those of us that are apt to run off to a drink at a seedy pub kind of place.

Point is I am kind of on the fence as to whether I agree with the notion or not. Fundamentally I do agree with it though. As wrong as it sounds I think one or the other in a relationship has to have a final say about things. And as being a male, I tend toward that direction of things. However, I also feel that any final say should strongly consider the thoughts of the matter from the other party involved in the relationship. And in such a relationship it should always be a matter of honor for the one in charge to take up the cause of the one who is deferring to the judgement of the one in charge.

Now the catch is of course why would the one in charge consider the thoughts and feelings of the other one? Obviously out of love, concern and respect for her wishes. And this is why it is so important for a man to be attracted to the right woman. I think of all the times that I am seemingly the lost soul and attracted to the wrong woman – most often just infatuation – but how easy it is for even just that to lead me down the wrong path. And why is it that us men think we can somehow impress a woman to run off with us for the eve when at the bar, or worse yet, think we can catch some girls eye as we drive beside her down a two lane road? When I think of the wasted efforts on my part for such inane things I am amazed that I have had time or money for anything of real value.

I look back and see many mistakes historically made with both the right kind of woman and many more made with the wrong kind of woman. I wonder why I didn’t emulate my grandfather more in his obvious choice of the right kind of woman. Him and her, as one, against the world. One thing I guess I can say is back then perhaps there were less of the wrong kind of women to lead one astray. But even that is not fully the answer, as a lot of time it is not just the wrong woman but wrong choices made with the right woman.

Well now – I have written what is on my heart – now to decide wether the brain is in the right place to publish this or keep to ourselves as a private post? Well, I am going to go ahead and post this – surely of all things I have written this will stir up some comments of nothing else will.

Chuck Norris, teenagers, and presidential hopefuls

Chuck NorrisChuck Norris is apparently a major player in the presidential primary campaigns for the 2008 election cycle. First, just to keep Chuck from coming and wanting to kick my behind-end, let me state that I have no problem with him endorsing any candidate he wishes (my understanding the nod goes to Huckabee). Nor do I have any problem with his stumping for said candidate, especially on issues that Chuck holds dear and feels that candidate is the best man or woman for the job. What I do have issue over is the marketing power of such folks as Mr. Norris (and I am sure there others like him) and the way the candidates have recognized this and are fully taking advantage of it.

Continue reading “Chuck Norris, teenagers, and presidential hopefuls”