Thursday, June 28, 2012

No More Anxiety

Well, less anyway.

We got rain!  Enough of it hanging over the fire that the estimated containment date got moved up from July 30th to July 15th to this weekend!

Now if we could just get some rain to Colorado Springs...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Feeling A Little Anxious

You know, I'm fairly well prepared for the Zombie Apocolypse, but I am not at all prepared for the spontaneous combustion of my state.
Found this floating around Facebook. I'd give credit,
but I have no idea who created it.

With the lightning-strike fire now blazing away just west of Boulder and Colorado Springs on fire, it seems like Mom and Bill's canyon is about the only one NOT on fire.  While the High Park Fire, northwest of Fort Collins is the biggest fire in the state, the Waldo Canyon fire, west of Colorado Springs is the highest priority fire in the nation, according to the news.

Here's a slide show of the active fires in Colorado.

Mom and Bill have an evacuation plan, and we've shared it pretty much every fire season since we started blogging.  Essentially, the plan is to tag the horses with the Lodge's phone number and slap them on the ass...let them fend for themselves.  We're not the only livestock owners who are prepared to "cut fence", as several of the evacuated families did just that. 

We're fairly certain that the horses will be able to fend for themselves if they can move away from the fire.  In fact, several of the animals whose owners cut fence in the High Park Fire have found the rescuers on their own.
This horse "parked" itself at one of the fire trucks.

Ellie, the donkey, is credited with leading her herd to help.
She walked up to a firefighter and buried her head it the
firefighter's chest.
Of course, turning the horses loose is our last resort.  If we're lucky enough to get pre-evac orders (if, God forbid, there's a fire), we can haul them down to my Grandma's property.  Bill assures me he can remove the dividers in their 3-horse trailer and turn it into a stock trailer that will haul all four horses.  Estes and Ranger are small, they won't take up a whole heap of space.

Colorado's not the only state having a hard time right now - it seems all across the nation bad things are happening: tropical storms, monsoons, tornadoes, fire.  Hell, it must be an election year.

So if you're the praying type, send up a prayer of thanks for all of the firefighters and their families who are sacrificing so much right now just to try to keep us safe.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bake Sale, Wedding, and RAIN!

Saturday was the Bake Sale to benefit the American Red Cross.  I have no idea how much money was raised, but I *do* have an idea of what the term "Bake Sale" means to me.  Apparently, it does not mean the same thing to other people.

To me, a Bake Sale means you slave for hours in the kitchen, you know, baking stuff to sell.  It's all right there in the name.  You bake shit, you sell it: Bake Sale.  Easy peasy.

Apparently, to some people it means go to the store buy some shit that the people in the bakery baked, repackage it and sell it.  Really?  You couldn't even buy some pre-made cookie stuff, cut it into slices, throw it on a pan and bake it?

The most surprising thing about the Shit You Didn't Bake Yourself Sale is that people bought it.  I'm not kidding.  People actually paid money at a Bake Sale for things they could have walked across the parking lot to King Soopers to buy.  I'm still shaking my head in confusion.

Also, in other news, my brother, Junior, got married on Saturday.  Only, family wasn't invited.  But that's okay, we like Mrs. Junior.  But Mrs. Junior's mother is a certifiable crazy-ass bitch and the wedding planning wasn't going so well, what with her meddling and whatnot.  According to Mrs. Junior's mother, Mrs. Junior has been disowned.  Whatever.  We'll keep her.  Junior and Mrs. Junior solved the problem by not inviting *anyone* except Mrs. Junior's best friend to the wedding.

Nebalee and I had a home party planned for yesterday and both Deejo and Junior had RSVP'd that they were attending with their families, so we decided to surprise the newlyweds with a wedding cake.  I bought the cake mix, handed it off to Nebalee and she let loose her inner Betty Crocker to bake them a cute wedding cake.

Nebalee's fairly certain she's not going into
cake decorating as a second career.
Since it was a surprise, I texted Junior to remind him that he said he'd be attending.  Imagine my surprise when he told me that there had been a scheduling conflict and that they weren't going to be able to make it.  No problem, I said, we'll eat it without you.  So we did.
Deejo enjoyed the wedding cake
Don't worry - we saved the top for them.

When RCC and I finally made it home from Nebalee's, we sat outside and watched a storm move it.  But we weren't holding our breath that anything would come of it.  However...
Pretty certain the neighbors were locking their doors
when the crazy family was standing out in the rain.

Sadly, when I woke up this morning, it was so dry, you'd never know that we had a good-sized rain last night.  The ground was so parched that there was no evidence in the yard of *any* rainfall.  If it wasn't for the puddles in the middle of the street, I might have thought I'd imagined the whole thing.

And that was my was yours?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Betty Crocker's Rampage

Oh hell, the school's having a Bake Sale.

And my inner Betty Crocker said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

And my inner Betty Crocker said, "I'll bring stuff!"

And then my mouth opened, and the words came out, "sure, I'll donate".  Then I planned my mini-baking day with Nebalee.

We were asked to donate a dozen or two to the Bake Sale. But my inner Betty Crocker didn't care. Nope. Why even bother to warm up the ovens for just a couple dozen cookies?

This morning, bright and early, I picked Nebalee up, we hit the grocery store and loaded up on supplies then zoomed up the mountain to the lodge.  Because when we need serious baking done, only the Lodge kitchen will do.

I planned a couple of batches of magic window cookies and some chocolate Aztec cookies.  We got up there and dove right in.  The cookies kept coming and coming.  So much for a "mini" baking day.  Two double batches of magic window cookies and two double batches of chocolate Aztec cookies.

Compared to our usual baking weekend, our yield wasn't enormous, but we still cranked out dozens and dozens of cookies.  Something like fifteen dozen magic window cookies and twelve dozen Aztec cookies.

Those sonsabitches better sell.  That's all I've got to say.

(Huge thanks to Mom, Bill, and Nebalee for bailing my butt out.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Uh-Oh, My "Girl" is Showing!

Friday was graduation for my students and I'm kind of getting sick of the whole ponytail for everything look, so I decided I was going to try to do something with my hair for the ceremony.  Only, I own no product and my hair never holds a curl, and I've been doing ponytails and an ocassional french braid as my hair "style" for years.  If I needed to get girled up, I just had Ashinator do it for me.

I went to YouTube and searched "easy hairstyles for long hair" and found some really cool and easy hairstyles, but doubted my ability to pull them off.  And then I ran across the waterfall's essentially a horizontal french braid where you drop one of the strands.  I took a deep breath and dove in.

The hardest part was dropping the strand I needed to and picking up a new one without incorporating it into one of the existing strands, but I managed.
Bad overhead self-pic,
but you can see the dropped strand

Not too bad for first time out.
I was pretty pleased with it, and it only took me about ten minutes once I got my fingers sorted out.  I hate the top of the back of my head, but next time, I'll probably part my hair so I don't end up grabbing from the wrong side.  I'll also probably attempt to throw some curls in the "falling" portion of the braid.

The downfall to this braid is that it's not hug-proof.  I get hugged a lot during graduations and someone went home with one of my bobby pins in their gown.  At least the other three pins held 'til after the ceremony.

If I can continue to find really easy - and I do mean really easy - hairstyles, I might continue to give them a try, because I'm fairly sick to death of my ponytail.  Since I love my long hair, though, and have to have it pulled back while in the lab, the ponytail seems to be the easiest way to go.  *shrugs*  Guess we'll see.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No Fires, and No Boogers

How 'bout just a random post?  Because I'm pretty sure I ran off Momma Fargo with my boogers posts - she don't like 'em.

And frankly, I'm sick of the f-i-r-e, though I did find out that one of my friends lost his house.

But we're not talking about fires or boogers.


Now what are we going to talk about?

The sunset sure is pretty, the way the fading sunlight reflects off the smo...crap, that's f-word related and we're not talking about that.

We were joking at work today that we need to buy stock in Kleenex because we all have snot...we're not talking about that either...

Oh. My. God.

What is with this whole FIFTY SHADES OF GREY business?  You know, if y'all want to be reading porn, that's your business, but since when does an erotic novel become the subject of such conversation?  Holy shit - everyone and their sister is reading it, and it's all anyone can talk about.

I'm not against porn erotic novels, but for all that's Holy, keep that shit to yourself in the bedroom where it belongs.  I cannot believe how many women are proudly announcing it.  Have you no self-respect?  Stash it under the mattress next to your hubby's Penthouse.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fire Quote of the Day

Our previous two fires had been "accidental" fires caused by stupidity.  This fire occurred the day after a crazy lightning storm.  This morning, officials declared the cause "lightning".

In class, we were talking about the fire - just to get it out of the way so the students could focus.

Student: I hope they find the bastard who started this one!
Me: You mean Mother Nature?
Student:  Oops.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

So. We're On Fire. Again.

Not too much to say about our third fire in approximately four weeks, other than it's huge.

20,000+ acres.

Zero percent contained.



Here's more information on it.

It's about 15 miles due west of us, but looks a lot closer.  One of my co-workers received a mandatory evacutation order about two hours ago.  We're safe from the fire, but rapidly getting sick of breathing smoke and ash.

Elbutts would be appreciated for the firefighters and pilots helping to fight the fire.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Betty Crocker's Chocolate Flavored Boogs

The other day I wrote about my brown boogers and how it meant that I'd been outside "doing stuff" and brown boogs are a good thing.

Wednesday's brown boogs are a little different.  Yes, I went out on a ride with Mom and, yes, I might have gotten a few brown boogs from the trail, but they couldn't compare to the ones I got from making cookies.

Yes, you read that right.  I got me some brown boogers from making cookies.

I made three double batches of Chocolate Aztec cookies and while standing over the KitchenAid, slowly adding the dry ingredients to the wet I realized I was inhaling the cocoa dust.  Bill and I were joking about it, and as often happens when we're bantering, it got out-of-hand, which is how we came up with chocolate-flavored boogs.

No, I did not take a picture.  Nor did I attempt to get a sample to taste to see if they were actually chocolate-flavored, but one could reasonably assume that they would be.

The plus side is that we ended up with a whole shit-ton of cookies (we made extra just in case, 'cause no one wants to run out of those babies).

The down side? Allie-bird, my step-dog, found them on the table while RCC and I were out and ate an entire gallon-sized zip-lock bag of them.  There were three dozen in the bag that I'd saved just for us, since the rest were already spoken for.  We found a two-inch square of the zip-lock.  That's all that was left.  I guess we were lucky Allie hasn't gotten sick from eating all of that cocoa and cayenne, but we were not counting ourselves lucky Wednesday night when we wanted some.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo

...Because writing 50,000 words in November just isn't crazy enough, I decided at the last minute to join Camp NaNoWriMo.  Camp NaNo is like "NaNo Lite" - still 50,000 words, but much less pressure.

I figured it would be a good time for me to finish up edits on HUNTED LYON, and then I decided that I've only got until the end of June to get a book to the copy editor that I won back at the Thank Goodness It's Over (TGIO) party after NaNo last year, so I switched my focus to my book about my trail rides.  Still don't have a name for it.  I was going to go with TALES FROM THE TRAIL, but I want it to be distinctly different from my blog, even though a lot of the stories have appeared on the blog.

Camp NaNo started on June 1st and I've written zero qualifying words, but I have gotten the new book organized and polished up.  I have just a few more stories to add to it, which I hope will be done by the end of the week, and then off to the copy editor it goes.  As soon as I settle on a title, RCC will do my cover art for me - he does amazing book covers.

I've decided to self-publish in e-format this yet-to-be-named book.  I'm not seeking fame or fortune with it; I wrote it purely for fun and hope to share my stories with people who will appreciate them.  Trail riding stories definitely have a niche market that is fairly small compared to all of the readers out there, so I can't see pitching this book to an agent or publisher.

I've talked to Tara about e-pubbing, which she's switched to exclusively and she gave me some tips on getting the text formatted and will help me navigate publishing on Smashwords, Nook and Kindle.  If everything works out the way I want it to, I'm hoping to have it for sale by the end of August.

A small part of me wants to have "real" copies printed for sale, too, but that might be cost prohibitive. I'll have to look at how much the finished product is going to cost before I decide to have some printed up.  I could probably talk Mom into carrying a small inventory at the lodge and possibly can talk Compass into carrying some at the livery.  I don't know, one decision at a time. Even though I don't care about fame or fortune with my book, I don't want to go into the poor house either!  I spent enough time there and I don't want to go back.  Breaking even would be nice.

Any ideas for titles?  The book is primarily about my experiences as a wrangler, with some stories of horses who stand out in my mind thrown in.