Grace

It was rain-snowing today. Which meant of course, that scooter broke down again. As it happens, it is hardly three weeks since I had it at the shop for doing just that- breaking down when wet. They swore then, that it was fixed. Turns out, it wasn’t. Not at all.

Standing on the road side, in the middle of the pouring rain, with a scooter that just died and refused to come back to life, is one of the most lonely feelings in the world. There is nothing you can do. Nothing at all. You can kick, you can scream, you can cry, and believe me I did all of that, and nothing changes the fact that your options are very limited.

One, you can turn around and walk it back home, then pick up a bike and go to the stable that way. That solution of course, will add about two hours to your transport time, and considering that your horses are going to be hungry and two hours is a long time, that is hardly a good option.

Two, you can leave it at the road side, (hoping it will get stolen….) and take the bus. That option is flawed as well, because while going on the bus might get me some of the way, it will leave me half way to the stable, where the bus doesn’t go any longer. So, I would have to walk for about an hour and a half after getting off the bus. And that takes me back to two hours, being too long.

Three, you can always hope it stops raining and keep trying to kick it into action again…

I picked the third option today, refusing to let it die on me like that. The last time they had the scooter at the shop, they fixed the kick starter, so it should work, even when the electrical starter doesn’t. Only, clearly, it doesn’t always.

In the end though, after a lot of kicking and crying, (it wasn’t pretty, a poor lady who lived nearby came out of her house and hung around for a while, asking soothing questions, clearly wanting to help me and having no idea how,) I got it going again. So, I arrived at my horses an hour later than I had planned on. Thankfully they are the forgiving kind…

After having tended them, fed them and groomed them and treated Ablaze’s eyes, (that infection just won’t die, I am on my third “cure” now…. *sigh*) I went to go home. Scooter had been kept at a dry place while I tended the horses, but it didn’t matter. It was stone dead. No response at all on the kick starter and when I tried the electrical starter, it just coughed and smelled of gas. Awesomeness…

The last time I walked it home, (I didn’t, I can’t push it very far, my boyfriend walked it home,) it took us about five hours. Not something I look forward to doing again…

So, I decided to feed the horses a lot of extra hay, so I wouldn’t have to go out there again in the evening, (if I should make it home somehow,) and then I started all over again with my kicking and screaming and crying…. and I got nothing from it.

The guy who owns the stable came by, (of course not offering to take me home, even though he had the car, the licence and even the trailer that could transport the scooter, and I am not asking for help. A little stubborn, that is me….) and we fired up his heat gun, to try and dry out the engine. He then added that if I didn’t get it going, he could take me home in about 3-4 hours, he just had to go somewhere first. And me, not the scooter. Which I said no to, simply because leaving the scooter at the stable won’t fix anything. It won’t get it to the shop, and it will only leave me tomorrow, with no means of transportation… So no thanks. Besides, waiting 4 fucking hours in the rain at the stable, will be sure to make me sick…

The heat gun did not make a difference at all. Even once it was dried, it did not respond. So I called the shop and asked what exactly it is that sets out and what I could do to fix it?

His response was, “Get it dry. I am sure you have a hair dryer somewhere?”

Mostly that is the kind of response that makes me laugh and cry at the same time. First off, it IS dry and it is still not working. Second, you guys FIXED it (or should have) mere weeks ago. Third, when was the last time you had a hairdryer in your pocket when you went riding your scooter, and if it had broken down on the road, when was the last time you came across a roadside outlet for electricity? Fourth, yes, actually I do have a hair dryer at the stable, don’t ask me why, but I don’t have one at home. Not all girls do, you know.

So, finding no real help there, I went back to my kicking and crying… I feel like I have been crying most of the day. I am not sure why. It is just such an impossibly hopeless situation to be in, I can’t seem to handle it. When my means of transport abandons me, my world collapses.

I start thinking, and that is always a bad idea. I start wondering how, if I wasn’t sick, I might earn more money, and have a house and a stable, and no need for transportation when I wanted to feed my horses. I start to wonder how I am ever escaping this situation, because I can’t keep doing it forever, going back and forth like this. I am getting too old and my body is not keeping up. I am only turning 33 this year, but I can feel my body failing me more and more these days, and I feel a desperate need to have my horses closer to my home, before I won’t be able to see them anymore.

Everything seems to just close in on me, when my time with my horses are threatened. Even writing this, makes me cry, which is kind of stupid, I know, but my horses are the sole reason why I get up in the morning and force my body to not fail me, yet another day. What happens to me, the day I can’t have them anymore? And then I get stubborn. No bloody scooter is going to come between me and my horses….

In the end, I got it going. I arrived at the shop with it about an hour before they closed up, parked it outside and went into the shop to let them know it was there. The guy followed me outside and turned it on, using the electrical starter and it just responded, first try.

That is how it usually works. When it is warm, it responds. The trouble is, when it is cold. I do feel a little like an idiot when I show up with a scooter and tell them that I have been kicking at the kick starter for 4 fucking hours and it flat out refused, and they just turn it on like that…

Okay, so, listen up. It is broken, I swear it is. And now it is yours. Try turning it on tomorrow, when it is cold, I dare you…

I think I have had this scooter at the shop about once a month (at least) since I got it. Mostly the guys there have managed to get it going again, without hospitalizing it, so it has not been recorded just how much this scooter has broken down. I realize now, that is a mistake on my part. It should have been written down, every single time. It has been doing this since it was brand new. I dare say, that no matter what the problem is, it is a factory mistake and try as they might, they cannot fix it. It’s not like they haven’t tried. Actually, the guys at the shop are really nice and helpful and always try their very best to make me happy when I show up crying… Of course, crying customers can’t look good, but still. I have no complaints over them. Just that worthless piece of …. ahm, scooter they sold me. Small wonder they are not selling that particular scooter anymore… I wouldn’t either. Mine alone should discourage anyone from ever buying one of those.

The helpful guy I spoke to on the phone before I got the scooter running, the hair dryer guy, had promised me that they had a scooter at the shop I could borrow while mine got fixed, again, again, again… Turned out, the guys at the shop did not know they had a scooter I could borrow and the one they might have, was in kind of miserable condition. Missing a mirror, seat lose, electrical starter broken, and I swear, after driving home, it has a wheel lose as well… It is going to be interesting, surviving a full week with that one, but they didn’t have time to look at my scooter until next week and they swore that this one, can handle rain-snow….

A friend of mine, Jen, wrote an interesting blog post today, about handling adversity with grace.  I realize that today, I did not. Absolutely nothing graceful about how I broke down today, alongside the scooter, and sometimes that is okay too. Not everything deserves a smile. It really doesn’t.

But look at this. It gave me something to write about at least… While my head explodes. Oh yeah, my old migraine has returned, for the first time in 20 years, and has localised itself at my left temple. Maybe I should have that checked out, but with the scooter being so unreliable, I can’t wrap my head around, (pun intended,) going to the doctor. Chances are, I won’t make it anyway, so why bother?

Okay, it has been a bad day. I am sure things will look better tomorrow. And if that borrowed scooter won’t kill me, then maybe I do need to talk to someone about how ungraceful I am, and how I cannot handle problems like these one with a smile. Or at all.

What I can do, tonight, is tell myself that I got through it. The horses didn’t suffer and I got the bloody thing to the shop, all by myself. Who needs grace anyway?

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My Little Pony Board Game

I came across this wonderful My Little Pony board game yesterday… And of course, the boyfriend had to be subjected to playing it.

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Actually, it is kind of brilliant. Excruciatingly simple. There is no room for being clever or in any other way affect the outcome of the game. It is pure luck who wins.

Basically, you just fly your little ponies in their air balloons, from the start and to the rainbow at the Dream Castle. You move by spinning the wheel and hoping you will land on a nice pink, purple or blue cloud. I mean, how awesome is that?

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The boyfriend and I had a lot of fun with it yesterday. Especially after having played X-Wing all night, picking up My Little Pony, not having to focus at all, just laughing your way through, is kind of uplifting.

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I know I will be bringing this game the next time the girls and I meet…. Pure awesomeness…

And of course, we got tired of playing with the cardboard figures, so our blind bag ponies joined in and made the game fun all over again…

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You will notice how Doctor Whooves and Roseluck are always in the game. That’s the boyfriends ponies… I am more of an Applejack, Rainbow Dash kind of girl, but I adore all the ponies, so I did fly Cloud Chaser and Medley and Breezie as well… Just to see them on the board, you know…

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I tried too, to take a motion blurred picture of the spinning wheel, but the camera flat out refused. No matter how low I set the shutter speed, it remained un-motion blurred. Sometimes that camera is a little too ninja… Anyway, I am sure you get the idea.

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So, if you can get your hands on this game and you like plain, unintelligent fun, make sure to buy it. It is pretty fantastic.

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As always, My Little Pony rocks.  The cat thought so too…

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Spring….

It was a nice and warm day… Birds were singing, spring was in the air…

And then I stepped outside.

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Bam, hail! Bet you didn’t see that coming! Welcome to spring in Denmark.

Apocalipse didn’t think it was all that funny.

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Kind of pretty though…

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On another note, Ablaze is totally sneak-growing up on me. I tried his old halter on him the other day, you know, just to see if we could still wear a halter, and he had out grown it by quite a lot… So here he is, borrowing Marble’s old red halter, size cob…

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I cannot believe he is two years old in a few months. My tiny boy. Okay, Ablaze was never tiny, but still… He can’t be two years old this year. He can’t be a size cob already. Where did time go?

He does look spiffy in red though…

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Selective Empathy

The annual Stallion Performance testing in Herning is coming up again soon. My friends and I used to go every year, have a nice time, looking at horses, and tack for horses in all shapes and colours imaginable. It always nagged me a little, that by going, by paying entrance, I supported Danish Warmblood, and the way they test their stallions, but I kind of pushed it away. The girls and I used to have fun, after all, it is the horse event of the year, in Denmark… How can one not go?

Well, the more I thought about it, the more I had to realize, that I am not going. Never again. How can one go, really? The young horses, most of them not even three years old, are tested at this event. How can I support that? How can I support that horses this young are broken in and tested? If we allow that, even celebrate it in the sport of dressage, jumping, ordinary games, what is to stop us from ending up on the race track, where two year old horses are ridden and raced openly?

How can I support a breeding federation that breaks in their two year old stallions, so they can be shown as three year olds, even if no one admits to be doing it? We all know it is happening.

I always found it interesting how people tend to pick one thing to rant about and never look at the big picture. I believe that most of my friends will agree, that what goes on at the race track is repulsive and should be stopped. Still, no one cares about the little baby stallions shown in Herning.

I realize that I have been a hypocrite myself, for years, choosing to hunt down rollkur riders, and the race track, and doing everything I possibly could to overlook what I didn’t find convenient to be upset about. Truth is, there are many kinds of abuse, and I am getting sick of supporting any of them.

At long last, I may add.

One may object that the stallions in Herning, the “three year olds,” are not shown while wearing a rider for this particular event. I know that. I know too, that those who pass the not ridden test, will have to pass more than one, ridden test, later on, without the audience, so all the stallions competing in Herning are broken in and ready, just in case they should make it through to the ridden testing. There can be no excuse for that, really, and no justifying it.

I think that as I am getting older, hypocrisy is one of the things that annoys me the most, in others and in myself.

Just like when people claim to love animals, and yet they eat them and by doing so, support a horrible industry, based on abuse, pain and mistreatment of living beings. Or, even better, all those pictures going around face book, of dogs in cages in China, and how people scream about how insane the Chinese are and how it should be stopped, only to go buy themselves a nice burger, not caring that the pig, or the cow, or even the chicken they are eating, had a life that was just as miserable as those dogs. That is hardly loving animals. That is loving SOME animals. The cute, adorable ones.

I realize that most people won’t go vegan, because most people are raised to not care. I was raised to not care. All of my family eats meat and I am shunned at family gatherings, only invited when they absolutely need to, because not eating meat is just too strange.

I just know, that the older I get, the more I realize how animals are treated in this world, the less I want to be a part of it. Any of it. When push comes to shove, I have to answer to only one person. Me. I have to be able to look myself in the eye, and live with the choices I make and the things I support. Performance testing two year old horses cannot be one of those things anymore.

I have to be better than that.

I do sometimes wonder if I am cutting myself off from all the “fun in life.” Not going to Herning, not having this day with my friends, is it worth it, to take a stand? No one is ever going to care if I go or not, my money for my entrance, won’t make a difference in any way. If I don’t go, I do so, for me, and nobody else.

Still, if everyone thinks that not going won’t make a difference, then it won’t. Just like if no one cares that little pig babies are killed by having their brains smashed against the floor, nothing will ever change.

Thing is though, it is in all of us to change. I can’t change my friends, or the way the farmers treat their animals, and I can’t make Danish Warmblood let their stallions grow up before they break them in, but I sure as hell can stay away from it all.

One person hardly ever makes a difference, but all I can change is myself. Maybe someday, more people will realize what is happening, and stay away as well. Maybe then, if we are really lucky, animal welfare might mean something for horses, pigs, chickens and cows, as well as for dogs and cats and cute and cuddly animals.

Why am I writing this post? Well, mostly because my friends think I am just being annoying and cross, when I don’t want to go. Secondly, because when people try to defend the way farmers treat their animals, my head implodes. Yes, stallion performance testing seems like child’s play, in comparison, and maybe my skin is too thin these days. So be it.

I never really chose to be a vegetarian, the idea of eating animals always repulsed me. I stopped when I was six years old, much to my mother’s dismay. Turning vegan, is a choice, sort of. With enlightenment, comes responsibility.

Not going to Herning, is a choice. Not supporting animal abuse of any kind, yes, that is a choice.

Empathy, however, is not something you are born with. It has to be taught. Perhaps I was taught too well. Sadly, most people seem to have been not taught at all. Or, to have been taught, selectively. That, more than anything else, is beyond me.

Maybe someday, when I grow a lot older, I will understand it…

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Morning Glory

Life met a new pony today, Morning Glory. She talks and moves. Life loves it. Although that pacifier seemed a bit like something Life wanted to keep for herself…

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I know, my cat loves My Little Ponies… But really, how could she not? They are just too cute.

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Spring (Yes, Please)

Just a quick post here to show everypony what it looks like when Marble has started working. Yeah, these kinds of pictures, from her point of view is something we better get used to!

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In a couple of years, of course… kidding! Marble may be turning four this year but she is so immature, mind, body and soul, that riding her is out of the question. Still… if you ask her, I am being over protective. So, she helps me ride Saleem at all times…

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Once she got Ablaze to help out as well, I had to surrender.  Ablaze doesn’t help out, he runs interference and makes sure to be in the way at all times.

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Saleem did ask me more than once, “Really? I can’t kick his ass, just a little bit?”

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So, we decided to change our plans, find our bridle and go away from the pasture and the two little ones… It was a nice day, yesterday. Almost like spring.

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Of course, today it is pouring down, but I guess I couldn’t ask for more, in February.

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X-Wing, Miniatures Game

I’ve tried a new game lately. Yeah, I know, I seem to be doing a lot of playing these days, instead of writing… Anyway, I would like to start out by saying that I am not a Star Wars fan. Not at all. In fact, I haven’t watched the movies. Every time I try, some golden robot comes by and ruins the seriousness of the universe for me… I am sure that is just me, but all the same… That is how I feel.

My boyfriend keep telling me to give Star Wars a fair chance. Who knows, maybe someday, I will. For now, after seeing my boyfriend and his friend play X-Wing, I realized that this is a miniatures game, I can actually play.

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First off, they come pre-painted. Meaning that unlike other miniatures games, I don’t have to glue the pieces together and paint them myself, which is where I always died when sneaking a peek at the boyfriends Horses and War Machines for instance…

Second, it is not that difficult to learn to actually play the game. I have no doubt that to become good at it will take some time, but to understand the basic of how the game works, and be ready to play, is a rather fast process.

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I like strategy games. I like games where you have your turn and you can take your time. I hate most computer games, for instance, because they are too fast and I keep freaking out and dying, because I have to think fast. Not my kind of games at all. (Which is why I have spent years of my life playing Heroes of Might and Magic III. Fantastic computer game…. Most others though, not for me.)

X-Wing is not that stress full, mostly because no matter how good you are at planning your strategies, or anticipating your opponents moves, a good deal of the game comes down to luck. The dice plays a huge part in this game, and there is nothing clever you can do about it.

In some ways, I believe that I am going to hate that over time. I want to be able to be clever, and figure out how to plan my moves and win the game by outsmarting my opponent, not by simply being lucky when I toss the dice…

For now though, getting started with playing the game, it is sort of okay that part of it comes down to luck. Truth be told, you can be somewhat clever, when you build your list of spaceships. Some sure are easier to navigate than others, and some attracts you more as a person…

Me, I love the big fat bully, the Decimator is. Perhaps it is because the Decimator “overrules” the dice and actually damage enemy ships if he flies into them. That way, if you just make sure to collide with the enemy, you will be sure to damage them each turn, instead of leaving it up to actually shooting at them, and running the risk of the dice failing you. I know, I am a brute…

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Another thing that has me drawn to this game is how hard it is to not fly off the game board, or crash into your own ships. At least for me, it is. I am not that visual, I have a hard time envisioning where the ships will end up when I make my moves, and I tend to focus too much on where the opponent may be going, and forget that I am heading directly for the edge of, well, space….

It is kind of funny too, that you can run out of empty space… All in all, I am not blown away by this game just yet, but I find it fascinating and it doesn’t take as long time to play it, as say, Battlestar Galactica… And maybe it will grow on me. I am sure there must be more to it, than what I have seen so far.

Either way, the competitive part of my persona must keep playing it for a while now, just to figure out how to move those space ships around. I hate it when I mess up. I can do better. I really can.

I write books. I have created entire worlds, kingdoms, solar systems… I can anticipate how far a space ship will fly on a soft left turn… I mean, seriously. I will not accept nothing less from me.

That, and I won’t lie. The idea of playing tournaments with other geeks, is slightly alluring… I am sure the boyfriend will regret it someday, letting me into his world, but he should have known better…

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