Monday, November 7, 2011


I've got Sentimental Cider in the warmer tonight, so the house smells like mulled cider and it's making me feel the need to jump on the gratitude bandwagon. At least for this post. And mostly because I can feel gratitude again--I have wicked awful PMS to begin with and when you toss in the change of seasons to a colder, darker variety, it's compounded into something that makes me Hate All of the Things.

Basically, I have Daleks for hormones.

It also doesn't help that I'm going through riding withdrawl. It's hard to compare a weekend trail ride with my summer job of trail guiding, where I'm on a horse about 70 hours a week. But, this post is about good things, so here we go.

1) I have a part-time job again! I don't often like to have "real jobs" because I'm just not the type of person who can be happy sitting under fluorescent lighting all day. I've got ADD, sitting still is just Not A Good Thing. So, the magic fix is to get active jobs involving animals, such as the riding,l or, in this case, a doggy daycare/boarding resort. And as an even bigger bonus, it's one I would actually feel comfortable leaving Sawyer at if the need arose. I got spoiled by the last boarding resort I worked for and hadn't found one to measure up to those standards since I moved to Colorado.

"Why you put me in boarding? I'm part of your baggage!"

It's part-time, so I've still got the ability to networking and do shoots, edit, have a social life, all that jazz. And I can bring Sawyer. And they offer health insurance. WIN.

2) My photography. It helps take my mind of stuff and is pretty much on the same level as riding when it comes to Zen Therapy. Plus, photoshoots are fun! I had the opportunity to shoot a new friend I met through networking and her Mach5 of a chihuahua on Sunday.

One second she was standing still, posing and then right before we threw her toy for her, she decided the ducks looked like a better idea. At another point, she simply decided mere running was too slow and activated flight mode.

"Houston, we are go for launch."

And things that I'm not going to put up pictures for but am obscenely grateful to have in my life anyway, Ted and my friends. They help make a bad day better, they're there to cheer good news, give encouragement, offer constructive criticism and just plain make my life better for them being a part of it.

Ted gets extra bonus points for snogging. Lots...of bonus points.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Horsie horsie horsie!

But first, a quick YAHOO moment: I have my first team member with Scentsy! She's one of my former first level consultants from Passion Parties, so I already know and love her and she's going to be fantastic! Annie is an Army SAHM taking online vet tech courses while packing for their deployment to Texas, so this fits in perfectly with her busy schedule. Plus, hey, no flames in the products, so her little monkey, I mean daughter, is in no danger and it keeps diaper and doggie smell banished.

OK, so, a few months ago, right after my car accident ( see here) I went to one of the First Friday Art Walks on Santa Fe. It's this neat collection of galleries all in a row, so you can stroll up and down the streets, popping into places that catch your attention, grab some nibbles and a glass of something fermented (or just hot chocolate/cider). I went to go support another photographer I know who had a gallery show going and there was this other photographic artist there whose subject material was this herd of wild horses she'd gotten to know over a period of time. She was "friends" enough with the herd that even the stallion left her and her little clicky box alone after the first few times, which is pretty darn neat if you know anything about wild herds and stallions. Anyway, her pictures could give Robert Vavra a run for his money. Of course, I've been to sleep a few times since then and can't remember her name so you'll just have to trust me.

Somehow that ramble is supposed to lead into me posting my own horse pictures from the last few months. Insert your own segway.

Even I'm rolling my eyes at me. Punstastic, that is. I swear I'm sober.

That's probably the problem.

There's this amazing ranch not quite 10 miles from me that takes in all sorts of rescue horses. Some are rescued from auction, some from hoarders, abusers and some from well-intentioned people who just have no clue/business owning a horse and didn't realize that just because a little grass grows in their lot during the spring, it doesn't mean it's enough to sustain a 1200lb animal year round. Hay is now almost literally worth it's weight in gold, which is going to result in a lot more horses losing their homes. 

Horses. My Anti-Drug.

Zuma Rescue Ranch is one of the best set ups I've seen for any type of horse facility. And they have a program to help troubled kids/teens help troubled horses so everyone ends up bonding, growing, learning lessons that will stay with them through their life and eventually lead to a Hollywood "Feel Good" movie. I'm old enough to be this cynical, right? No? Moving's a really awesome place/program. And they take really good care of their horses. The grey on the left has cancer and the chestnut is a former racing Thoroughbred, but they're just as happy as can be.

"I'll be happy when you get out of my paddock."

This mare wanted absolutely nothing to do with me and my clicky box. Thank God for zoom lenses! She's a color called "grulla"--pronounced "grew-ya" if you want to be proper about it--I still say "Gru-la" in my head because I can. It's really not a color you see around a tremendous amount. It's part of the dun coloration family (believed to be a "primitive color"), which you can read more about here because otherwise I will start rambling about modifers and base colors and I have precious few enough readers as is. And I spent waaaaay too much time clicking through pages to find that one, which wasn't the one I was looking for, but that page seems to have disappeared into the mists of the Internet and that makes me sad...

 "You were saying?"

Ok, so it's rather unusual to see two in the same place without it being part of a breeding program. As you can see in this picture, grullas have that back stripe characteristic of the dun modifers. You may hear some cowboys refer to their horses as "line back dun" which is sort of redundant.

See what I did there?

Maybe it was the chicken and dumplings I fixed tonight, in which case you can blame The Pioneer Woman, since it was her recipe I used.

"O hai."

This was probably my favorite shot of the day and definitely the most popular one on Facebook. Zuma is a haven for the "less common colored" it would seem. The foremost horse is a bright bay, the middle horse is an adorable little filly who is a dun of the "smutty" variety. She's the cutest little thing! The grey at the back is a bit trickier. He's most likely not a dun, but his patterning is hard to pin down between roan or something else entirely. His name is Dan, which doesn't sound very neat until I tell you that he is the *spitting* image of his mom, named Steely.

Pending an actual nice day on Saturday and clear ground (there's another foot of snow outside right now...), I *may* be getting to go for a ride on Steely. And I will have more pictures with which to bombard you with, gentle reader.

Continuing on with the "Nifty Horse Colors Tour", we come to Reagan, who was recently adopted by my friend, who is donating untold amounts of farrier services to ZRR.

Lookit the spots on her legs!!

Reagan is a buckskin paint, meaning she has more going on with her color genes than you can shake a stick at.

 "Love me because I am beautiful."

"Can you shake a stick at me?"

Sorry Havanah, you've got nearly as much going on. Well, not sorry. Because she is just as beautiful. 

I never really grew out of that horse-crazy stage nearly every girl goes through and I haven't quite decided if that's a blessing or a curse. It's probably a little bit of both. If you think dogs are an expensive least this is a cost-effective way of getting to satisfy that craving and hey, bonus points for the philanthropy, yes?

And it will also give me a chance to break myself of this habit I seemed to have acquired of anchoring everything on the left...

 The end.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I do what I do

Many times during networking, I get asked what is my favorite part of my job. On days like today where I woke up to 6 inches of snow, it's being able to stay home in my slippers if I want, unless I feel like going out to photograph the new scenery. But one of my other favorite things is getting to bring a smile to someone's face and to help them in some small way.

I did a photoshoot earlier this month for a family and their five dogs. Yes, I said five. They have a couple of their own and some long term fosters as well, so they all came out to Cherry Creek Park and we had ourselves a fine time.

Autumn the Chessie/Shepherd mix

 Orpheus the Lab was in Heaven with all the water still in the streambed.

 Satchel leading the charge

Sinister the Rhodesian/Rottie/? mix. He is teh awesomesauce!

And then there was the grand patriarch of the family, Mozzie. Mozzie had a very rough go of life for a very long time before he ended up with Mile High Weim Rescue and this family. Then he was so pampered he didn't know what to do, except rule the house.

Old dog smiles rule

What made this shoot so special? Because Mozzie had a bunch of health issues and that included not being able to walk very far for very long. But luck smiled on him and us that day and he had a blast through the hour, even making it down into the riverbed with everyone else. He was having a Very Good Day.
Mozzie loves his mama

Because I'm friends with his family on Facebook, I was privy to the updates following this shoot. Mozzie had a great night that night. The following morning he wasn't feeling too hot. It progressed through the day and got worse each day afterwards. Trips to the vet to see if there was more medication to give him, something to help ease the vomiting, anything. 

Mozzie was helped over the Bridge about four days after this shoot. 

What makes me happy about this is that I am able to give his family picture proof of his last good day, complete with smiles. 

It's the little things that make me love my job.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Fall Color Contribution

Even though the only thing that says "Hey, Summer took off for a few months and left me in charge" is the brilliant colors on the trees, Fall has arrived, if only for a short time.

My neighbor's gorgeous maple tree

Something I'm learning about Colorado is that there is Summer, Indian Summer, Winter, Not-Quite-Winter and Summer. The median seasons sort of get run roughshod around here. So while this weekend is going to be in the 70's and sunny (perfect for the Chazzer BBQ!), by Wednesday they're predicting snow. *sighA fellow forum member has been getting some absolutely brilliant action shots with her 50mm lately and it's making me a tad bit jealous, even though I'm adoring this thing for portrait work. So I decided to slap my 50mm on my camera and see what I could come up with.

 Unfortunately, I'm not quite bendy enough at the moment to get the angle I wanted (all tree/dog, no house) and still hold up the rubber duckie for his attention. Sawyer was being...less than cooperative that day. 

 Still, though, how freaking awesome 40's Golden Age of Hollywood handsome is this??

 "How YOU doin'?"

Words cannot adequately express how much I love this dog. Even when he goes all cavedog on innocent toys.

But then he goes back to looking like this and I just *melt*

Since the trees are gettin' all glammed up and such, I thought I'd join in on the fun and paint my nails. Since, you know, they're getting all long and pretty and this is a great way to get them to break off to the quick. But damn if they don't look good while doing it!

Before/iPhone pic (fluorescent light)

After two coats of Essie's "Thigh High"/iPhone (natural light)

This was part of the Reds collection I won in a giveaway from Laquer Ninja and also came with a fabulous "Malibu Blue" from Essie as well. I love how this stuff wears, especially with the topcoat. I'm rather hard on my nails and it's not often I can get them long enough to where polish looks good. Now, thanks to taking JuicePlus+ for a few months and the season winding to a close at the stables, they've actually had a chance to grow. Which means I have a chance to murdercate them in the name of beauty.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Change of Plans

So in my last post I mentioned how I was constantly amazed at the sheer obliviousness of people? Now put those people behind the wheel of a car and get ready to *facepalm*.

About like that...

Carriages have turned into such a novelty that people have wholly forgotten that A) horses are living, breathing, thinking animals and B) they don't have that German-engineered finely tuned precision steering that your BMW does. Also, they're sort of slow. So when you see a carriage in front of you in whatever downtown you happen to be in at the time, please remember to PAY FUCKING ATTENTION TO WHERE THAT CARRIAGE IS GOING. If the carriage is half in a turn lane when you come flying up on the back of it, they're probably going to be turning and is moving into position. This does not mean your correct response should be to try and squeeze in between the carriage and the curb. And especially not at speed.

 Even Picard and Riker know that.

No, I'm really serious here. It's like meth. Don't do it, not even once.

But that's exactly what happened last night and I about died of a heart attack. The horse nearly died of a V8 engine. Luckily, thankfully, there was *just* enough room and I was frantically hauling back on the reins as fast as I could to both stop and get the horse stepped over, but please refer to the above part about not being a finely tuned etc. etc. so no equine to fiberglass contact was made, but it was damn close.

And then there's that whole Occupy Everywhere thing going on, right? I don't much get into politics on this blog, BSL being the the rare exception and I'm not going to start now as to where I stand on the whole issue. However, last night I was keeping a very close eye on my Twitter feed about the whole issue, because where the protesters were massed was not all that far from where we park in between rides and was definitely on one of the most popular routes. So when I started seeing tweets mentioning that the riot police had started trashing everything and forcibly shooing people out of the park, things got a little tense. An unknown amount of riled up people were now marching through a semi-confined area on 16th St. Mall and it could turn pretty ugly, pretty quickly. We ended up bailing as soon as we could hear the shouting, mostly to save the horses the trouble of getting spooked.

Downtown Denver is never boring, to say the least.

I know I said driving carriage was going to provide a lot of blog fodder and that's true. However, this is the last post about carriage driving I'm going to be able to write. After the episode with the car, combined with the fact that things are only going to get busier as the holidays approach and the reality that downtown and my ADD just won't work together (I hate driving a car downtown for the same reasons and try to avoid it at all costs), I talked with the owner and quit.

Moar stress? Do Not Want.
Sinister, part of a family photo shoot I did the other week and will talk about in a later post.

Thankfully, I was able to do it in such a way--and I had made a good enough personal impression with her--that we parted on good terms (she's still going to be my Scentsy customer!) and the offer stands for me to come back and try again should I ever feel the urge. I love horses, I think carriage driving is fun, but I can't take the stress and pressure of driving downtown. I have it too ingrained in my head that people have a sense of self-preservation, that people in cars pay attention to details such as a half a horse sticking into their lane. Silly me! I don't know how the Amish do it these days, driving on the side of friggin' highways. Hats off to them!

I finished out the night and did all the usual end-of-night stuff, pushing my carriage back into place, cleaning the harness, all that stuff. Turns out it's a really good thing it was the last night, because in the course of all that, I threw my shoulder out. Again. This whole "getting old, healing slower, getting nagging injuries" really blows hard, y'know? I was looking forward to getting to play Ultimate Frisbee again for about the 5 minutes between quitting and realizing what that "pop" in my shoulder signified. I'm hoping that I'll be able to play Spring league, as Fall league is now shot.

In the meantime, I've got some photo gigs coming in, Scentsy is picking up quite nicely and I just interviewed for a supervisor position at a new pet food store that's opening up about 15 minutes from me. If I'm going to have to work outside the house this winter, at least I won't have to drive far to do so and won't have to actually be, you know, outside. And I'm pretty stoked about the fact that I'll have my weekends back again!

More time for me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

End of the Summer

Means a return to blogging and other techo-oriented type things. Yet another summer managed to get sucked into the stables, depsite me spending all spring going "NO, NO, I'm only going to ride on the weekends!" And then the weekends turned into, "Well, Thursdays are getting pretty busy, they need the help..." and it just went from there. Suddenly I found myself in the saddle for six days a week again. It's not all bad though, money is always nice, riding is awesome and I got to bring my camera and play around.

A little bit of artsy: "Tools of the Trade"

A little bit of people; these two girls were inseperable best friends, until August. Then the red head went to college here in Colorado and the blonde went to Kansas. So they had a "last hurrah" shoot before they parted ways. It was one of the most fun shoots I've done in a while--and they made it SO DAMN EASY.

I've actually gotten some good business from that shoot, just from how much people like the photos. Hooray!

Then there was the horses themselves. They're always a blast to photograph, especially when they feel like kicking up their heels.

Manitou, 22 years old and one of our best trail horses. He still knows how to get down and party.

I finally managed to snag that 50mm f/1.8 portrait lens I've been coveting for oh so long. I sold the 18-200 for enough to literally turn right around and buy the 50mm. This is a spiffy little lens!

Lazy Dog Days of Summer

I seem to have made one gross miscalculation though. Seized by a moment of panic back in August, I realized that my sort of steady stream of income was going to dry up and while photos and Scentsy are bringing in some nice pocket change right now, it's not guaranteed that everyday I'll be getting handed money. And camera equipment is expensive. So I asked the owner of the stables if he knew of anything, he pointed me in the direction of a carriage company downtown, who essentially hired me on the spot.

I don't know nuthin' 'bout drivin' no carriages, Miz Scawlette!

But I'm learning. There's more that goes into it than I thought there would be, mostly because PEOPLE ARE FUCKING STUPID. Seriously. I'm driving a big white Percheron, attached to a big white carriage.

Pretty much this exact setup, except that horse would blend in with my pants instead of making them look plaid.

One would think, "Hey, that should be easy enough to notice, right? Especially in an area where one has to constantly be on the look out for big giant buses that take great delight in trying to run over anything in their paths."

One would be sorely mistaken.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people have walked straight into the horse or the carriage, or backed up into the horse that has been standing still for 15 mintues and then act super surprised that we were there, or they'll just traipse blindly out in front of us as we're moving. I very nearly ran over a group of three people that just walked in front of us, as we were trotting down the street to try and get out of the way of the bus coming up behind us and THEY DIDN'T NOTICE. I had to pull up so short my poor horse about sat on her haunches and THEY DIDN'T NOTICE. The people behind them noticed enough to yell at me though. It's like, seriously? Isn't one of the first rules any of us learned "Look both ways before crossing the street?"

Ted likes to go on long-winded philosophical rants about the obliviousness of people and how it's such a heavy contribution to what's currently wrong with the world. I like to hear him ramble, so I don't really stop him, but in this case, it's true. And what's even more screwed up, is that I would be the one held liable for someone else's rampant stupidity. I can't even slightly bruise them to try and make them pay just a little more attention to their surroundings.

This job is going to probably give me a few more grey hairs but at least there will be plenty of blog fodder.

Anyway, here's your Happy Ending Puppy.

Plz only squish me with luvs!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm Back, Redux

Ok, so after all the upgrades in the last post, I neglected to mention the biggest--moving! We're in a good, solid, owned house again, after years of renting. Ok, no, I did not buy the house. Cowboying and photography don't pay near enough (yet) to afford anything that isn't a cardboard box on Colfax out here in Denver, so Sawyer and I are still playing the part of entrepreneurial moochers with my parents. I get a fair amount of grief from various persons over that, who think I'm just sitting on my ass with a hand out. That's so far from the truth I can't even being to laugh enough. There's something to be said for swallowing one's pride in exchange for getting out of debt and being able to start from a clean slate, versus barely treading the financial waters just to have something for appearances sake. To each their own though. For the time being, I'm enjoying all the flowers and the waterfall that we have in the backyard. Ready made backdrop once it all gets fully put together!

There was a big Harley event called Colorado Hog Rally the other week and I went to go set up a booth. The weather was being, well, Colorado weather, sunny one minute, raining with gale winds the next, then back again, so the amount of bikes that came out was much smaller than anticipated. There were still some interesting characters, such as the guy who owned the below bike. He also had airbrushed on part of the Declaration of Independence onto his tank and affixed a plaque with the Founding Father's Oath of Service. Then proceeded to show me the copy of the Constitution he liked to hand out to people, point out his signature that he had added and then say that either he was really old, or it was as much of a fake as Obama's birth certificate. That's where the smile, nod and walk away comes in really handy.

 What a Tea Party member likes to ride.

The advertising for the vendor section was pretty non-existent as well, but we all made our own fun regardless.

I got to swoon over this wee adorabeagle!

And because there was so much free time, I started playing around with the token baby and seeing if I could get anything decent for her being of the two-legged human variety. 

Most Chill Baby Ever Award goes to...

Baby blues

Two days in a tent, in the heat, with a ton of bikes and commotion and I never heard one fussing squall out of her. If I could somehow copy/clone this kid for my own, I might be a little more persuaded to change my position on spawning.

Between moving, riding, networking and trying to steal some time with Ted the Engineer Boyfriend, I haven't gotten to spend a lot of time with Sawyer. We did manage to make it out to the huge park up north for the Solstice.

 I swear that is his coat blowing in the wind that's making him look so big/fat/fluffy

We had a nice surprise waiting for us.


In the two-ish years I've been going to this park, I have yet to see a drop of water in the canal. Sawyer was well chuffed at the change though, because that meant not only did he have the muddy pond to jump into, he could dive off the bank and splash through to get to the other side. 

I'm a wet dog!

Wet dogs with longer coats make funny.


Especially when they multi-task

The Summer of Getting Into Shape is going well. Saddling up 27 horses does wonders for the arms, mounting a tall horse is making my left leg look awesome and hiking is attempting to make my right leg match the left. Frisbee is taking care of my core, what with all the sprinting and cutting and running and dying from lack of oxygen thanks to you forgetting where you put your working pair of lungs...but that's getting better as well. I bet if I went back to Kansas and played, I'd run circles around everyone. Hooray altitude! Anyway, as soon as I figure out how to stop being radioactive white (i.e. I glow and throw off the white balance in photos right now, especially since my arms are really tan but the rest of not.), I think I can feel good about being in a bikini again.

I should have more Aussie puppy pictures on Thursday, as I'm going up to Ft. Collins to photograph a friend's newest addition. We're trading photos and tilapia for beer and more beer, maybe some organ meats or some other such things. Raw is so much fun to feed, just because I like grossing people out. My new neighbors can't quite figure out what to think when Sawyer comes trotting out of the house with half a chicken in his mouth and just nonchalantly lays down and starts gnawing on it.

I'm easily amused, what can I say?

At least I didn't go through with my devious plan to use the baby to give a friend a heart attack...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hoooooly crap it's been a while since I last posted, hasn't it? Sorry 'bout that. Here's my farrier's new Aussie pup as an appeasement offering.

It's been interesting in the computer realm as of late, first my laptop's power supply died and there was more discrepancy than there should have been as to what model I needed to replace it, so I just said screw it and got a whole new machine. I needed to upgrade my OS anyway and the other laptop was less than happy as of late about trying to keep up with my ADD. That took awhile to get here, as it had to ship from overseas and Japan had just had the earthquake, so that messed up shipping lines for a little bit or something; it got here when I was out of town meeting Ted's extended family. Lovely people they are, too! I'll get to that in a second though.

So I get the laptop, get everything all moved over and it's great. Then I go petsitting for a friend who was getting married and going on his honeymoon. Said friend has three dogs, including one of my nemisis breeds.

I'm coming to torment youuuuu...

Weims and I just...don't get along. Throw in the fact that he's the spoiled child of the bunch and yeah. It was an interesting three weeks. And I didn't have my laptop for most of it, because SOMEONE thought it would a super good idea to dump a cup of coffee all over it because they wanted to carry a freaking styrofoam cup around instead of the Kong they had in their mouth when I got up to go to the bathroom.

This is me, not caring.

The keyboard shorted out and I was left staring at a brand-new, rather expensive paperweight.

I think the fact that Parker is still alive should be a testament to my candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The last upgrade recently has been the camera itself. Everything in this post is courtesy of my (new to me) Nikon D80. A friend was selling her kit off to defect to the Canon side and I happened to have a bit of money at the time, so voila. New camera, new lenses, it's all good in the neighborhood. The D50 I sold to my friend Renee over at Good Kharma Tags. She's got a bunch of old Nikon lenses and I'm really anxious to see how they work out; the body is backwards compatible, so it's just a matter of getting her to use the thing now!

Since I now have two new lenses that cover the range my Quantaray does, I'm selling that off. Quantaray 18-200mm f5.6/6.3 with a Nikon mount. Email me if you're interested. Price will depend on how much I like you. Just kidding! It's going for $150 (retailed for $300+ new).

So we'll make that the quickie update for now. I've been doing a ton of networking, event shooting (more photos are up over at CDP ), traded out Passion Parties for Scentsy (more on that later) and now the stables have opened back up, so I'm on horseback a handful of days a week again. Just that alone has made me feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders; 4-legged Zen therapy it is!