Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Check this out

January 15, 2014

Googling “decluttering” or “home organization” yields a mind-boggling number of results with very few novel concepts.

A comment on a post on Apartment Therapy had a link to a post on Zen Habits which led me to click on the author’s bio which listed his other blog.

Follow me? ūüėČ

mnmlist is blowing my mind.

When you aren’t up to your eyeballs with OMGWTFSTUFF!!!!!!! you don’t need to organize. When you learn to honestly assess your needs vs. wants and be happy with enough you can quit the Googling about things you don’t need – like decluttering and organizing your home.

May seem like a big fat DUH … but if that’s your response you’re probably not thinking deeply enough.


Weekend Update: clearing the head and the teen’s room

January 5, 2014

THANKFULLY no before pics were taken but instead of cleaning the floors and buying flowers, per The Cure, the kid’s room got gutted.

Apparently we won’t be following directions – entirely ūüėČ

You may recognize more than a few things in the discard pile (like my precious and done silver vanity). But onwards and upwards!


The huge TV, vanity, desk chair and SIX bags of trash went. The computer armoire and top bunk are slated to go. All that will be left is a twin bed, a dresser, bookshelf and W I D E open space that’ll be her own personal music studio.


Taking the top bunk off = breathing room

We need to paint next weekend – but lots of trim and picture rails means a lot less to paint! We’ve settled on an ultra modern color palette. Can’t wait to see it all come together.

Next weekend we’ll finish her room and start ours. By the end of January our house will be much, much improved!


Sometimes you just need to ride through

April 27, 2013

The Child’s summer job is to be my groom. Today was her first training day.


She has to retrieve horses for me…


She needs to groom them and get them tacked up…


She needs to cool them out (and hack Magic!)


Then she feeds them a bucket and puts them away.

I’d say she and Magic got along famously ūüėÄ

Of course she won’t be riding Chloe but she’ll be doing all the rest. Chloe is getting quite good about being groomed.


You can see your reflection in her coat! ūüėČ

I didn’t lunge her at all today. She had some moments of short circuiting but you can see and feel her trying her heart out. She’s got some “bad tapes” to erase but she has moments of lovely relaxation… She seems to appreciate being given room to breathe.

I just need to ride through the hysterical moments and pretend they’re not happening…


The more I do that, the more she just melts into a coppery puddle of sweetness…


What a difference a day makes

April 25, 2013

Yesterday I did not have anyone to record Chloe being the biggest drama llama ever. She ran herself around on the lunge line for close to an hour, screaming her head off. We did end lovely and relaxed but drenched with sweat.

I hoped today she’d come around to her senses a little quicker – and she sure did!

It's hard not to be a drama llama! Someone has to be on guard!

It’s hard not to be a drama llama! Someone has to be on alert! (I am the one on alert, Chloe – you just chill!)

Snuggles make everything better

Snuggles make everything better. Perhaps it’s ok to not be zombie patrolling all the time.

Relaxed and straight - SUCCESS!

Relaxed and straight – SUCCESS!

Chloe learned right away that it’s much nicer to just¬†relax and stretch and get lots of “Good Girl!!” I have no worries about this one… in a few more rides we can actually work on real dressage work. Once we have this chillaxing thing down-pat ūüėÄ

And then FINALLY I got my Magic out – and of course he was lovely and sensible and just the coolest horse EVER.

Forward and into the contact - can ask for much more from a baby!

Forward and into the contact – can’t ask for much more from a baby!

And, more importantly, Magic is officially a family horse. He did not disappoint!

The 6'2" Husband looks right at home on the 15.2hh Dark Horse... :D

The 6’2″ Husband looks right at home on the 15.2h horse.

Clearly, Magic was not too concerned about The Husband’s less than centered seat ūüėČ We’ll work on that another day.


Two weeks

April 18, 2013

The state of affairs summed up in one picture:


Thank you Kitty, Hoyt, Scott and Molly… I owe you all forever…


Weekend Update

April 15, 2013

To say this weekend was busy would be an understatement.

Friday night was date night. Just me, my husband, two friends and four thousand rowdy hockey fans. We hoped our beloved San Francisco Bulls would stay alive in the playoffs in their inaugural season… but it didn’t happen. We still had fun – and GO BULLS next year!

Next weekend I am running in my first ever race. It’s a 5k but I’m not smart and starting off with just a plain 5k – I’m going a trails challenge. Why? I have NO IDEA. I blame Janette ūüėČ

So I got up bright and early for my long run. I intended to run four miles. I was positive¬†that Lake Merced was 4 miles around, on the dot, if I didn’t take the short-cut bridge. Whoopsie – it was almost 5.

I survived. Barely.

I survived. Barely.

The Husband picked me up and we headed out to breakfast.

Ok - that really looks good despite all the animal inconvenience.

Ok – that really looks good despite all the animal inconvenience.

Then we met Ronda and Richard for a double-date at the driving range. We are a funsome foursome, for sure!


After lunch I took The Husband back home so he could watch MOAR¬†HOCKEYS and nap before his graveyard shift – then I headed to the barn with Jess. It’s so great – she has a great interest in learning the training part of riding and wanted to be my shadow at the barn. She’s the very best kind of sponge and I get to raise a mini-me that will allow me to take a weekend off with my family and know that my horses are under her loving guidance ūüėÄ

Magic continued to blow me away.

After that full day it’s really no surprise I was out cold by 9p ūüėČ

Sunday was a slightly later start. I stopped in Vacaville and took my hand-me-down Tony Slatter¬†dressage saddle (it’s brown!) to a saddle maker to be restuffed¬†and repaired. I had decided I only wanted to put $300 into it – otherwise I’d just buy a used Wintec. The lovely man talked some sense into me. Spend $600 for a used Wintec¬†that has 10 years in it – or put $600 into a saddle that’s got 30 years left in it. Ok – fine. I will be the proud owner of a totally rebuilt and classic BROWN saddle in 6-8 weeks. (The thought of a brown saddle on my sable brown gelding – or chestnut mare – is totally swoonable!)

After picking up Haley I went back to the barn. Molly was aghast – she said Magic’s #4 ride looked more like #45. I think I agree!


We are actually doing straight lines! And circles! And even some leg-yielding at the walk! Oh – and STANDING QUIETLY!!

I am convinced he’s pretty¬†much a super-genius super-athlete!! ūüėÄ

Then Jess got on – and he was totally unfazed by a change in rider. I schooled the Pones¬†some¬†and we all went out for a ride around the roads at the barn. You can see – he’s one of those totally crazy OTTBs – totally unsafe at any speed¬†ūüėČ


Who’s more laid back? The OTTB or the Paint? I think it’s a toss-up!
(I know it was NOT the pony I was on! ūüėČ )

Yes – I am 100% positive this horse – a winning race horse – is going to be the poster child for life after the track.

Also – my life is goooooooood.


Pinch me

April 11, 2013

I must be dreaming. The Husband asked to go to the barn. ASKED. Well, The Pony is pretty much his favorite pet but he wanted to spend time with me Рand the ponies. (SQUEEEEEEE!!!)

ANY WAY… he wanted to be sure I could get on Magic today and I felt like I still needed the option to have someone there to lunge me. He’s good that way…

Magic is pretty much the greatest green Off The Track Thoroughbred EVER. I’m not sure I’ve ever ridden a horse that so desperately wants me to be happy! He¬†tries.

So, after a 5 minute twirl around on the lunge line I just got on and went. And it went wellllll.

Please keep in mind this was his second ride…


So steering still needs some work – but “round” will not be a problem for him at all! ¬†Also, at the walk to the right I thought he felt more like a drunken sailor but at the trot he was already listening to my inside leg and staying on the rail.

I was a good baby!!

I was a good baby!!

And while I was riding, The Husband and The Pony were enjoying each other’s company.

OMG they are adorable

OMG they are adorable

So after a successful ride in the outdoor arena without a lunge line or a lead, we headed out for a walk on the roads. He was perfect. We walked on the buckle and were all smiles… We were having so much fun that we got super brave and we decided to do a bit of work on the grass jumping court!


The picture of relaxation – OUTSIDE!

The REAL subject of the photographer's eye ;-)

The REAL subject of the photographer’s eye ūüėČ

(zoom in to see Magic being amazing)

And then the BEST part of the afternoon…. SCOTT JUMPED FIONA!!!




Sweet freedom

April 10, 2013

Magic is one happy little camper. He’s been released from quarantine and is a happy resident of the boys’ pasture.


Bodie doing what Bodie loves to do: bite butts. Hopefully Magic will kick him in the face!

After a week of rain, this sun and wind is drying up the mud in short order!

I was a little worried that Magic would hate me. I stuck him in a terrible stall and made him work, after all. My fears were unwarranted – as soon as he heard me call him he knickered¬†and trotted right up to me. I am going to assume that’s because he loooooooves me and not just because he’s a darling, social little horse. ūüėČ

Just to reinforce that I do, indeed, love him to bits and I’m not just a big meanie who locked him in a cave – I just took him out for grooming and a bucket.

I brought Fiona out for the same and whilst admiring my gorgeous equine family it hit me…

I like big butts, and I cannot lie.

Seriously – look at those asses!

Wide Load 1 and Wide Load 2

Wide Load 1 and Wide Load 2

Dat ass! It’s made for flying over fences – high and fast!

I’m sure it’s some subliminal compensation for my own fatassitude. At Kitty’s suggestion I am founding Feed the Sandbags International where big bottomed creatures of all species can gather… and¬†EAT! ūüėÄ

I could stare at this horse all day long.

I could stare at this horse all day long.
(even if he does knock my phone in the dirt)

Can you tell that my barn life is very good right now? Thanks to my amazing family, my home life is even better! They have been SAINTS about not having dinner on the table and me being good for almost nothing other than offsetting some of the horse expense with a paycheck and creating laundry. So. Much. Laundry.

As good as things are, they are going to get even better… When The Husband lovingly put his foot down and told me that I was only “allowed” to ride for myself and follow my passion all kinds of good karma came rushing my way. Mostly in the form of HORSES!

In about 10 days, the equine family will grow to THREE! Eeeek! OMG! and YAY!!¬†Anyone looking for a nice little dressage mare should look me up… I’ll have a beaut for sale shortly!


The new girl.

And again… because I really can’t do it too much… THANK YOU to The Husband and to The Child for loving me and supporting me and allowing me to do this thing that makes me so incredibly happy. Without you two, I am nothing.


Pony playdate

April 1, 2013

The Child and I spent yesterday afternoon playing ponies with our dear friend, Erin. It was time well spent.

Also… if you want to learn to ride – ERIN IS THE BEST!

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Single pics below…

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Washington weekend

March 1, 2013

(It’s taking me far too long to get this posted, so I’m just posting pics!)

This last weekend I got to spend some seriously good time with two of my favorite girlfriends. Food, dogs, horses and lots of conversations about life and horses… yeah, it was pretty much heaven.¬†Oh, and then there was a tack swap from which I scored about $1,100 worth of tack for a measly $177. Yeah… HEAVEN.

Kelly and Kalisa… THANK YOU.

and thank you to Kalisa’s teenage girls who suffered through us out-teenager-ing them!¬†yes, there were giggle-fests and unladylike behavior!¬†ūüėÄ

* Please forgive about half of these pics… My point-and-shoot camera is pretty much a POS.¬†

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Scott’s forty-somethingish birthday

February 18, 2013

For Scott’s birthday I took him on a little trip down south: San Luis Obispo for lunch and diving off Anacapa Island on Saturday.

Except for Scott rupturing his ear drum, we had a BLAST. Then again, we always do. We play well together.

Happy birthday, Baby… I love you so much!

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The Husband and I met and live in San Francisco – and we love it – but there’s something about the weather, the devastating sunrises and sunsets, the real coastal living and the proximity to family who needs us closer… I feel like we’ll be landing there full-time in the future.

Individual pics…

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A fleeting thought about food

February 14, 2013

It’s a popular belief that the EU has higher food standards than the US. GMOs are either banned or must be labeled. Many artificial ingredients are banned.

Yet THIS happened.

100% horse meat in jarred Bolognaise.


Remember when Food Lion was caught remixing their green ground beef and relabeling it as fresh? 

Is there any wonder why I prefer to buy food made of plants – yet defend my friends who hunt?¬†I’m not against meat eating – I am against mass produced meat.¬†Eat less (A LOT less) and this shit will become a rarity.


Orange you glad I love you?

February 14, 2013

Ok Рthat is my pretty lame attempt at peripherally acknowledging the greeting card fabricated day that is today.  Also, because this Рthe greatest Valentine ever Рwas found in my purse this morning.


Yes, I am one of those annoying “today is just a¬†day” people – and I’m neither bitter or single! What I am is a crappy gift-giver and therefore I am uncomfortable receiving gifts.¬†It’s easier to just do away with the whole nonsense!

Random little things like an orange with a heart-on ( ūüėÄ ) make me happy. The Husband leaves us little notes and little gestures all year long, so we don’t need a stupid Hallmark holiday.

Shhhh… I did finally buy The Teen a pair of red skinny jeans today.

It seemed like a good idea.

sf fog

San Francisco didn’t seem to get the “today is just a day” memo. It’s one of those painfully beautiful and surreal days where it’s simultaneously cold, perfectly clear, and foggy.¬†Trade¬†the cold for wind and you’d think it’s summer. I wish I could just stare out the window all day – watching the fog swirl around the buildings.

Tomorrow is The Husband’s birthday and we have a big adventure planned.¬†Tonight we planned on the usual – nothing special.

Then these landed on my desk…


It turns out that this evening will be special, indeed!


Pony Projects

February 13, 2013

My name is Emily, and I am a horse flipper. 

Not really – but I am super lucky in that I’ve accidentally stumbled on a pony project that makes me very happy…¬†Helping to resell very nice horses to very nice people.

I took the baby boy, Zanzibar, to his first show¬†on a Sunday and listed him for sale two days later.¬†¬†The next week¬†he belonged to someone else.¬†It was meant to be and I couldn’t have dreamed for a better home.

I delivered him to his new mom, Joan, on Saturday. He walked out of the trailer and into her happy arms as if he was always hers.

zan and joan


Then I hurried back to the barn and found my new project, Spike, waiting for me.


He’s certainly a lovely mover and is wowing everyone¬†at the barn.¬†There is a trainer who has already expressed interest in him, is actively looking, and is going to try him next week.

He’s been out of work for a while so I’ll take him slowly. I’m not going to think about selling him for at least a month (except the trainer trial next week – I’d be stupid to put her off.)¬†I am, however, signing him up for his first show in March ūüėÄ


Have I shown you how lucky I am –¬†where I ride? It is pretty fantastic!

My horses live in an actual pasture but I have a gorgeous indoor arena to ride in at night. The horses there are happy and well cared for and the owners, trainers and boarders are all pretty much wonderful.

Also… you know what the BEST. MEAL. EVER. is after coming home from the barn and being cold and tired?



And they’re even kind of fantastically healthy when you smother them in garlic saut√©ed¬†kale, refried¬†black beans, enchilada sauce, a little Daiya cheese, diced yellow and orange peppers, and onions.

You’re welcome ūüėÄ


Well that’s unexpected

February 12, 2013

In my quest to pare down and have quality over quantity I seem to have found an eff to give about fashion.

Wait – wut???

The Husband and I have almost completely re-wardrobed ourselves in the last two months. I can go years without shopping but suddenly I find myself doing it A LOT.

It’s ok – I totally need to. We both looked like hobos.

About five years ago I decided that the 60s aesthetic was for me. I wanted to avoid trend and stick with the classics. Well, that resulted in a ratty, worn out wardrobe as I wore through pieces faster than I could find new ones. Also, I ended up with clothes only suitable for corporate America or filthy, stained barn clothes. God forbid I had to look casual and presentable!

Now that my weight has been stable for over a year and I have decided that looking less than dog-eared is a good thing, I am kind of having fun with clothes. 

Don’t get me wrong – I still loathe retail environments with the strength of a thousand suns…

But today I have a kimono style dress on (me!!) and really cute new boots that I can’t wait to wear with jeans, too.


Who woulda thunk it? 

Tossing the clothes that have clogged my closet for ages just so I had something to wear in favor of clothes I never thought I would be “brave” enough to wear is a reallllllllly good feeling!¬† Catching a trend or two hasn’t made me any less “me” and I haven’t suddently turned into a shallow twit (well any more than I was already!).

I feel pretty confident that those words said to me about 13 years ago – “you can’t pull that off” – will never again be spoken inside my own head. And if they are spoken to me again I will respond with a fist to their mouth. Maybe.

Now, hopefully, I can finally get that accessorzing lesson from¬†my beloved Umber Dove next week when I’m in Seattle. ūüėÄ


An end to barbarism is on the horizon

February 5, 2013

Kudos to the EU for taking giant strides toward the end of the Barbaric practice of animal testing.  Beginning March 11, 2013, there will be a ban on animal testing for beauty products and toiletries.

Here in the United States approximately 20 million¬†animals are used in research.¬† The FDA does not require animal testing on personal care products, it is largely done for defense against future lawsuits.¬† Companies want to show that they did “all they¬†could to determine safety.” It’s done out of tradition and there’s money in it.

There are numerous companies that proudly label “Not Tested on Animals” on their products.¬†Big ones, like Bath & Body Works, Paul Mitchell, The Body Shop, Pur Minerals, Physicians Formula, and Aveda. Why does Maybelline need to? And why can’t MAC and Urban Decay demand better products from their suppliers in China? (and do you really want your cosmetics coming from China?)

There are a number of viable alternatives that are likely to produce more accurate safety data:  chemical assay tests, tissues, cell and organ culture systems, cloned human skin cells and patches, computer and mathematical models.

Please be a conscientious consumer. Please read labels. Please demand we move in the same direction. 

It’s just needless suffering. Anyone that’s ever loved a bunny, a cat, a mouse, a rat, or a dog knows that they feel affection, pain and fear.

Is your mascara worth that?


Projects: big and small

February 4, 2013

Projects come in all shapes and sizes – but the size is often more determined by the emotional outlay required to complete it than the physical expenditure.


I am the Queen of Pain Avoidance.¬† If it makes me uncomfortable I will go to amazing lengths to push it to the bottom of my To-Do List.¬† Dealing with the deluge of incoming mail at home is boring¬†and ungratifying.¬†The lack of pleasure I receive dealing with it results in MOUNTAINS of mail that gets stashed in a bag or box or some such¬†receptacle¬†do be dealt with at some vague date in the future.¬†Needing to find something in that slush pile takes so much time and frustration.¬† This leads to imagining THE most stylish and efficient solution that will CURE ALLLLL MY WOES… when I can find just the right cabinet, or when the exact thing I want goes on sale.

See what I did there?¬† I’m still avoiding it.

So I end up with this.


 This started out as a the pile that grew in the corner of the dining room when we moved in 2.5 years ago.  When we threw our Christmas Eve Eve party it took over the only meager (and not at all clear) corner of our bedroom. Yesterday morning I dragged it out back into the light of day.

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Ok, I think it’s finally for sure…

January 23, 2013

… I think I am a grown-up. Finally.

Well, at least I think so.

Things that didn’t make me feel like a grown-up for sure:

  • getting married
  • having a baby
  • getting divorced
  • turning 30
  • joining the PTA (I thought that did it, but now I’m not so sure)
  • getting remarried
  • turning 40

This morning I realized that I am feeling compelled to keep a full fridge. I noticed that I was panicky at work yesterday because I didn’t have any food in the fridge there. I am so over eating out and would always rather eat something I made.

Every time I go in the kitchen I feel like I have to cook something to stock in the fridge for my family to grab.  In the last 36 hours I have cooked:

  • two whole roasted chickens, then broke them down in containers for Scott and John (yes, they were local hippy chickens from Whole Foods. I’m cooking happy meat twice a week for the boys – that’s less genocide meat they’ll be eating)
  • a whole large sheet pan of roasted root vegetables and split them up for Scott and John
  • a large pot of rice
  • a turkey and Gouda omelette for Scott
  • tofu scramble for me and Haley
  • 2 pounds of hash browns
  • crispy chipotle tofu nuggets
  • garlic ranch dressing
  • chick’n salad*
  • … and been to 3 grocery stores

* no one¬†makes a better chick’n (and chicken – but I don’t eat death)¬†salad than me.


3-4 days of meat and veg for the boys
(note the tofu ūüėÄ )


We are down to 6 containers of yogurt and 1 box of instant oatmeal and feel like the world might come to an end if I don’t get to the store soon – even though the rest of the cabinets are stuffed.

I kept a partially stocked fridge until single motherhood – then finances prevented me from buying more than a few days of food at a time.¬†I’d shop and then we’d be a horde of locusts and wipe it all out.

Feast and famine.

When money got less tight we’d eat out more. Oddly we had more control over how much we ate because we weren’t eating ALL THE FOOD just because it was there for once.

Three weeks into our mission toward ending wastefulness (eating out, for example), and I think the locusts in our brains have full bellies and are getting used to the idea of “there’s always something to grab in the fridge.”

Happiness is a well stocked larder ūüėČ


my work drawer


I finally “get” why I feel like a kid when I visit my Mom’s or my Aunt and Uncle’s house – they are always well stocked with FOOD.¬† Now we are, too!

Yes, folks, this really is my exciting life ūüėÄ



January 18, 2013


Ironically, I find I am happier when I have less…

Have you ever noticed how your possessions and your habits become you?¬† They become insidious life-snatchers until you are your wardrobe, your brand new car, your fine taste in single malt Scotch.¬†Or worse… you are that pile of clutter in your bedroom, your debts, your dead-end job.

Periodically life brings to my attention that my shit has gotten out of control – or more specifically, my shit’s gotten control of me. I kicked off the new year by taking inventory of what is important but yesterday I was reminded that it’s not an inventory, it’s life.

There is a lovely, lovely woman in my office who is a few years younger than me. She is smart as a whip and sweet as can be. She just returned from maternity leave and is the most devoted mother to her 3 month old and 3-year-old daughters. She is successful at work and a genuinely nice person. Her 35-year-old husband died yesterday Рmost likely a heart attack.

If that doesn’t make you really sit back and think about not only what is important –¬†but also ask yourself, “what am I doing about that??” – I don’t know what will.

If today were your last day of life as you know it Рwas it good? 

Did it fulfill your vision of a good life?

I love my family. The very best days are days spent having fun with two of the sweetest and funniest people I know – the two people I live with. No one plays together like we play together – whether it’s roller coasters, traveling or skiing. We genuinely enjoy being around each other.

The daily grind is a serious damper on fun and I will admit that I am the most susceptible to stress in the house. If it’s not fun, I can be difficult to be around. I am “intense”, rigid and painfully direct when I am not on vacation mode. I know this must suck for my family and I can only hope that they know that it really comes from a place of “ohmygod I just want to be having fun with them!!!” I am annoyed with life, not them, but I don’t think they know that.

Less is More

This is my new mantra. I promise myself that I will say this before I shoot off my mouth. 

… Because if today was the last day of life as they know it, would I really want to be Dragon Lady stressed over the clutter pile? Or would I want to be Loving Wife and Mother?

Servicing the things in my life causes me stress. The only two things that are really important are named Scott and Haley. Well, and Lucas and Fiona.

This weekend is going to be busy with the horse show – but I plan on taking advantage of the extra day off to see some City sights and divest myself of some things…



January 16, 2013



Yes РI am steering  and attempting to change course. 

Stay tuned.

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