Strolling Of An Evening, Or Trying To


Awareness of the outside world. Could you live or work in a former church? Whatever: And Now, the Latest Scalzi Acquisition.

Now that Greg is riding more (yay!), we are riding together (yay!). That often means riding after work (not so yay.).

Evening has never been Rodney’s fav time of day. Because it’s getting cooler? Getting darker? Who knows.

In order to get him adjusted to the concept, we have gone back to first principles. Handwalks in the gloaming. Stand practice as the sun sets. He’s better with company, not surprising. So we practice the baby steps when Milton’s rider can’t get away before dark.

To date, Rodney is calm on the surface, but jumpy underneath. He doesn’t believe yet.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Lessons from No Stirrup November


Awareness of the outside world. CETI: The CETI scientific team collaborated to develop a scientific roadmap, Cetacean Translation Initiative: A Roadmap to Deciphering the Communication of Sperm Whales.

Achievement: unlocked! Clear – 16 NSN rides. Grey – 7 rode, not NSN. Stripes – 7 no ride.

No Stirrup November with Equisarte Shows. “The main goal of the challenge is to complete the 10 rides without using stirrups for a portion or all of the ride.” Equisarte: No Stirrup November

What I learned:

+ Don’t wear slippery riding tights.

+ The slick Wintec saddle may be part of the reason I don’t feel like dropping my stirrups with Rodney. Not an excuse, but a contributing factor.

+ Practiced dropping stirrups & picking them back up. Also, this means the horse learning to ignore the rider fishing around with their feet.

+ Lost momentum mid-way through the month. I know I can do it. I know riding without stirrups is good practice. Not with this horse.

+ Keeping track of our rides showed me that while we don’t do much on each ride, we do ride often.

+ I found retrieving my stirrups to be harder when they are short. Dunno if it is objectively harder, i.e. less room to maneuver or because I’ve only recently raised them. I can certainly tell they are shorter when I go to mount up. [Speaking of Stirrups, Up They Go]

+ It’s all about the horse.

Data Dump

NSN: 16 days. One day during a lesson with a school horse, trotted. Fifteen days with Rodney, lots of standing, a little bit of walking, no trotting. In order to do *something* I practiced picking stirrups up without looking.

Rode: 23 days, out of 30. Sixteen NSN. Seven did not: forgot, tired, rider not feeling it, or horse not feeling it.

Non-riding days: 7 days. Three days off. One day for shoeing. Three days groundwork/handwalk.

[No Stirrup November Begins]
[No Stirrup November, In Which I Complicate An Introduction]
[No Stirrup November, No Stirrups Not On Purpose]
[No Stirrup November, No Stirrups, No Tack]

I wish I had done more. At least I did this.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Blog Logo, Graphic Boolean Operators III


Awareness of the outside world. The Dance Foundation: Freeform. PERFORMANCE LIVESTREAM: Sat, Dec 11 at 7PM, FREE.

Continuing to explore Boolean graphic operations in Inskcape. Part 3, this time with logo practice in keeping with the monthly State of the Blog yesterday. [Part I, Part II]


I thought this was going to be a doddle.

Union. Okay. Merge, as expected. Result from bottom color.

Difference. ??? Where did the second and third letters go?

Intersection. ??? Everything disappeared.

Exclusion. Okay. Donut holes, as expected.

So … this is what happens with multiple shapes?

Hmm. Intersection. I guess there is no point were all three letters overlap, so a null set makes sense.

Hmm2. I still don’t understand the subtraction operation here. When the letters are on top, why does it only show one letter? When the letters – the smaller shapes – are underneath, why doesn’t everything disappear, the way it did last week?

The mystification continues.

Enough. Moving on. Returning to generating art next week.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

The Difficulty of Writing the Mundane, State of the Blog

Blogging About Blogging

Awareness of the outside world. Books. Rereading Hogfather. HO. HO. HO.

Have I been riding Rodney? Yes, I have. Just haven’t been posting about it.

The most recent riding post was the end of last month. [Rodney & Milton’s Excellent Instruction 24 Nov]

The most recent non-lesson riding post was at the beginning of last month. [Best Seat In The House 9 Nov]

Part of issue is structural. Weekend posts have completely left the barn. Saturday is words and fiction. Sunday is images and art. No horses at all, mostly. Fridays are for fitness, which is riding adjacent but contains no actual horse hair. [State of the Blog, Weekends NOT off]

That’s three days out of four when I don’t even try.

Wednesday posts are lessons at Hunter Barn, which is riding but not the home team. Mondays have been No Stirrup November stories.

Still, that left me two days a week for the latest on Rodney & Milton. What’s up with that?

Part of the issue is specificity. The signal gets lost in the noise. Riding is cumulative. When you work day after day on the same things, it is hard to pinpoint exactly when progress occurs. That is why shows and lessons and purchases make such easy posts. They are discrete events. I did this thing. I bought that thing.

Part of the issue is story. Riding is about feel, which is hard to put into words. I seem to do okay with horsekeeping posts. Those are analytic. The horses did this. We are feeding that. It is hard to describe right-brain events, especially for someone who is so very left brain to start with.

Finally, this is not a new thing. I wrote this post back in 2015 about the superabundance of saddle seat. ”Quiet progress is the order of the day … Exciting if one is the owner of the horse. Not the stuff of gripping narrative if one is the reader of the blog.” [Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. Or Not]

What does this mean to you?

Moving forward, I am going to work on having more home team, even if it means little bits of this and that. For example, I have two short photo posts planned for next week.

We’ll see where this leads.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

The Next Step, State of the Fitness, November

Fit To Ride

Awareness of the outside world. What a difference a few miles makes. Hat tip to M for pointing this out. Birmingham is known as The Magic City. We have Magic City this, Magic City that, Magic City here, Magic City there [Magic City 5K]. Over in Atlanta, Magic City is a strip club.

Last month I wanted to be more intentional with my time. Check. [State of the Fitness, October Walks]

I’ve been better about going out, sticking with the program, and coming home. Less time wandering around Birmingham looking for diversion. OTOH, the weather has been nice, so walking in the pasture is possible.

Walking going well. Considering what next.

Option 0. No change. One-mile daily walks. The occasional 5K, virtual or IRL. Legit possibility. One mile is still enough effort that I feel tired after. Keep on with it. Any extra energy could go toward variety, which I so clearly need, see below.

Option 1. More speed. Adding effort changes the walk from moving meditation to exercise. Not a good thing or a bad thing, just a thing. [In Which I Set A PR, Walk Report]

Option 2. More distance. Same speed, longer walks. Proves nothing. Improves nothing. Give me enough time and I can walk anywhere. [October, two walks on 26 Oct]

Option 1.5. Combination. You’d think I would be able to ponder the music of the spheres while walking at a slightly faster pace. Not so much. I really like that first mile of strolling along. So, I have been walking a slow mile and then stepping it up a bit after, with an eye toward increasing the “after” distance. Only problem? I keep forgetting to tack on the after.

Where does that leave me? Not sure. At least, I wasn’t sure. Now that I see this out laid in writing, Option 0 is the obvious choice. Walking is great. I don’t need more of it. What I need more of is, well, pretty much everything else.

New Places & One Repeat Of Note

Lock Haven Park/Hoover Dog Park, November 5, NYC Virtual 5K, post pending.

1.1 miles
November 16, 2021
Daily mile. Wandered about after dental appointment due to being dark by the time I got home.

Downtown Birmingham, November 21, 5K IRL, repeat. [In Which I Set A PR, Walk Report, Magic City 5K 2021]

McCallum Park, November 28, Savannah Bridge Virtual 5k, post pending.

UAB Hospital Concourses, November 30, daily mile, post pending.

Activity Summary/Data Dump

Time frame. 34 days. October 28 through November 30, inclusive.

Walking. 20 days. Three 5Ks, above. One mile dailies. [Walking Virtually, Mount Fuji]

Got caught out by darkness a few times. I like to walk at the end of the day. Not practical when your day ends at 6pm and it gets dark at 4 pm. Need to plan to walk in the afternoon. Wandering out in the evening will have to wait.

Dance. 4 classes out of 5 weeks. Missed one for work. Walked that day.

Biking. 2 days early in the month, then weekends got crowded. [Great Ocean Road II]

Stretching. Cardio. Weights. And so on. As before. 0. 0. 0. 0.

Total. 26 activity days, including one Hunter Barn lesson day when I also walked. 8 days off, 5 days of which were weekends. Used to kinda give myself weekends off, unless we biked. Toward the end of the month started trying to at least hoof it around the pasture once we were done with activities of the day.


State of the Fitness moved to the first weekend of the next month. That way, I can record by month instead of by random chunks of the time between posts.

Previous [State of the Fitness, October Walks]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Winter Vittles


Awareness of the outside world. “… pretending not to see color means denying that people are treated differently on the basis of this.” Comment by 2QS on Whatever: The Big Idea: Patricia A. Jackson about her novel, Forging a Nightmare.

Conversely, a news article on the Arbery case (apologies for not relocating) explained that using race as an argument has a history of backfiring, and that people who would be influenced by the racial component were already aware of it. Article finished by saying family was fine with the prosecutor’s approach. (Will try to find.)

Where does that leave us? I have no idea.

Hay to the rafters. Always a fine sight.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Lack of Lessons Lately


Awareness of the outside world. Ancient Alabama, part three. Stunning White Cliffs of Alabama hint at the forces that shaped the Black Belt, Pillion, Nov 12, 2021.

No lesson at Hunter Barn in the last two weeks. [That Moment When You Remember You Are On A School Horse]

The first week was a conflict with an interview.

The second week was Greg coming home to ride in the afternoon (Okay, I’ll give you that one) and conflict with blacksmith appointment.

I’m not that busy. Of the few things I do, everything seems to happen at the same time.

Hunter Barn says they would prefer a set slot each week. Time to pull socks up. Be predictable.

I can do a better job of arranging interviews. I tend to panic & agree to whatever they ask. (Yes, I’ve been doing this since 1989 and I still panic. Welcome to my world.)

About the blacksmith, I have no choice. Maybe big barns have some say in their appointment days & times. As a little barn with only two horses, I gotta be as amenable as possible. When they say, ‘Can I come tomorrow instead of today?’ I smile and nod. Yes, I have some control, if it were absolutely impossible. But I try not to go to that well too often, and only when it is really impossible.

Truth in advertising. I didn’t fight for the first week as hard as I might have. I let my anxiety get the better of me. Could this be a subtle warning sign from my subconscious? No. Not in this case. My nerves are not, currently, a useful basis for decision making. If I didn’t do things I dread, I’d never do anything at all. At least, not anything I cared about.

I’ve had times in my life when I felt bulletproof. These are not those times. While I’d like to blame the pandemic, I was not entirely froggy about ASB lessons in the pre-pandemic days. But I have wandered into the weeds. [Lessons, Theory Vs. Reality]

Lesson this week, horses and fate willing.

Stay safe. Stay sane.