Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Off Topic’ Category

Foto Friday: Bird at Oak Mountain State Park

An excellent bird from an excellent bird lecture as part of an excellent bird photography class led by Meg McKinney [Meet Meg] at the Alabama Wildlife Center in Oak Mountain State Park (class details).

Verdict: the majority of my photos still suck pond water, but I’m starting to understand why. Progress.

First class [Spotted at Oak Mountain State Park]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Referral Saturday: Accidental at Heart

I want to apologize for my title on a post about inspirational older women [Young at Heart]. The implication is that being young at heart is better than being old at heart. Ageism. Shame on me.

This consciousness-raising moment was brought about by Accident Icon, a 63-year-old fashion blogger who is cooler than I have ever been or could ever be. She is serious about fashion, but doesn’t take fashion seriously. While she doesn’t talk much about her academic life on the blog, a little bit of stalking Googling turns up the LinkedIn entry for for Lyn Slater, Clinical Associate Professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, (specialization) Social Work & the Law and Child Welfare. One doesn’t work in those areas without realizing what is important in life. Fashion is her way of expressing herself in the world.

Why a fashion blog, when I am on record as being as far as possible from a fashionista and still be dressed [Barn Jeans, My Denim Guide]? First, it is beautifully photographed. This made me realize what a large role photography plays in the fashion industry. I mean, duh, but I had never thought about it. Second, she has a strong personal style and a look that says, ‘No I am not 20. I see no reason to pretend to be 20. I’m me. Deal with it.’ Third, the NYC angle. The counterfactual version of me that doesn’t have horses in the backyard is a successful weaving artist in Manhattan. So I live that life vicariously [Posts: NYC].

I often forget the dignity of my age. At SSF, I am surrounded by kids and I ride in a beginner division. I fall into thinking of myself as one of the kids. Literally.

A young’un said, “Am I the only kid here?”
I thought,”No. I’m still here.”
[Boot Camp Moment]

But I’m not. I’ve learned a few things over the years. If only when to shut up [Jealousy]. No small feat. Accidental Icon reminds me to be proud of who I am now, at this moment.

Of course, my idea of Accidental Icon/Ms. Slater is a construct. She exists at the intersection of what she reveals online and what I project onto what she reveals online. Still, for a figment of my imagination, she is powerfully persuasive. She inspires me, not to copy her but to take my personal energy and put it toward what I value. She makes me want to be creative in my day-to-day life.

The assist goes to Bored Panda, Journalists Accidentally Confuse A 63-Year-Old Teacher With A Fashion Icon And It Ends Up Changing Her Life. I think (?) she had already started the blog before the Fashion Week recognition.

Previous Referral Saturdays
Horseback Reads
Cover Girl

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Letter Art: Flowers for Mother’s Day 2017

Hi Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day Posts
[Mares and Foals in Mexico, Mother’s Day 2016, Guest Photos]
[Text Art: Names of the Rose] 2015
[Text Art: Happy Mother’s Day] 2014
Skipped [Face Off] 2013
[Rodney’s Mommy?] 2012

Lettering 2017

[Zebra Stripes]
[Wallpapering with Light]
[Winter Tournament Letters]
[Daylight Savings]
[Connect The Dots]
[Pen & Pastels]
[NYC 2016]

Previous Lettering
[2016] [2015] [2014] [2013]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


Foto Friday: Stella

A Tale of Two Friendships, Part 2 of 2, Guest Post

Reader and contributor Louise Swan was inspired to consider the idea of childhood friendship after reading my post on the subject [But Keep the Old].
Yesterday. Part 1: the first decade, the first friendship.

Previous contributions by Louise:
[I Beg to Differ, A Guest Post]
[Leading Her On]
[Energy Usage]

Welcome Louise.

A Tale of Two Friendships

by Louise Swan

Part 2: the second decade, the second friendship.

In junior high school, the focus of my social life shifted from girlfriends to boyfriends. A year younger than most of my classmates, I was insecure about this whole boy-girl thing. However, I saw that access to boys was through the “right” girlfriends.

Enter my new best friend. She was very popular, a cheerleader, and always had a “good” boyfriend. I was impressed with her social success and cultivated the friendship. While she was Miss Personality, I was The Jester. She needed a girlfriend and there I was.

It worked. We talked. We phoned. We walked home together. We double-dated. We were high school best friends.

Our lives diverged. Different colleges. Different states. She married a “good catch ” during her college years.

When it was time for my wedding, she was pregnant with the first of her two sons. My mother, who ran that particular show, decreed that a pregnant Matron of Honor was not possible so she was not in the wedding party.

We continued to lose touch. I was busy with my life, she with hers.

At our 35th high school reunion, we caught up with each other. Her life had not gone as I had assumed. The “good catch” had been abusive, jealous, and controlling. She was divorced. Since she had not prepared for a career, she was making do with different jobs. With lots of anger issues, she had gained lots of weight.

That was 25 years ago. Those years have not been kind. She is lonely and poor. She lives in government-supported housing whose residents are a cohesive clique. She is an outsider. One son is estranged. The other does his best from 800 miles away.

There are physical problems. Health issues prevent her from working. She recently fell and lay unconscious for three days before a friend insisted that the manager unlock the apartment. She was hospitalized with broken ribs, then rehab and back home. She has fallen several times since then.

There is mental confusion. During a recent phone chat, she spoke of “your sister”. I have no sister. She was sure that our mothers had been pregnant at the same time. Her Mom had a daughter while we were in high school. My Mom did not.

How can a friend help? I call. I listen. Our friendship is very different than it was 60 years ago but it is still there. We talk. I hold her in my heart. She may not be gone gone, but she is gone. It is time to say good-bye. But it is hard.

Am I to lose my two first friends within a year?

A Tale of Two Friendships, Part 1 of 2, Guest Post

Blog Reader Louise Swan sent me an email, “The post about old friends [But Keep the Old] and the comments got me thinking.” The result is a two-part blog post. Welcome Louise.

A Tale of Two Friendships

by Louise Swan

Each decade has brought new friendships to me. Over the years, I have accumulated several “best friends”. Now, well into my 8th decade, it seems to be time to say good-bye to some of them.

Part 1: the first decade, the first friendship.

My first best friend was my opposite in so many ways. She was musical, conservative, and shy. I was none of the above. She had sisters. I did not. I had a brother. She did not.

We were so different. Perhaps that was why we hit it off so well. We were in grammar school, Sunday School, Girl Scouts, and summer camp together. Our mothers were truly best friends. Mom was her youngest sister’s Godmother. Our families went to the same Lake Club for summer weekends.

Our lives diverged over the years. We attended different junior high schools. In senior high school, I was seriously into dating. She was not. We had developed different circles of friends. While we continued to see each other at camp and Sunday School, we weren’t as close.

Although we settled in different states, we kept in touch, seeing each other over the decades. Each time we met, it was as if the intervening years disappeared. Our lives continued to be dissimilar. We both married. She stayed married. I did not. I had a daughter. She did not. However, the connection remained. She was my daughter’s Godmother.

Sadly, five years ago, she disappeared into Alzheimer’s disease. While I stayed in touch with her family, she was, in effect, gone.

Last Spring, she died. I was stunned by the effect that had on me. She wasn’t just gone, she was gone, gone. There were no more chapters, the book had slammed shut. My brain knew our friendship had ended when she no longer knew who I was. Evidently, my heart did not.

It wasn’t just the end of a friendship but closure of a whole part of my life. She still lives in my heart and always will. But she is gone.

Tomorrow. Part 2: the second decade, the second friendship..

But Keep the Old

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other, gold.

What’s it like to meet your best friend after 39 years?



But weird.

While I was in New York [Posts], I met up with a woman I had known in grade school.

When I was 14, I moved from NYC to Washington DC. This was long before the Internet, so email wasn’t an option. Phones existed but long-distance calls were expensive and reserved for special, usually family, occasions. We tried. We wrote. We swapped visits. Ultimately, we drifted apart.

Life went on. I’d wonder about her occasionally, but didn’t have any mutual acquaintances to ask.

Enter Facebook.

Her name is non-standard in the USA. Google can only find one of her. If her name were Mary Smith, I’d still be wondering. (Internet says 18,846 Mary Smiths). Plus, she kept her name after marriage. One argument for that practice. I did not retain my maiden name, and I changed my stable name. Unless you knew me in both incarnations, nothing connects Kathy Tuttle of yesteryear with Katherine Walcott of today. (It feels weird to even type that.)

We knew each other for six years and were inseparable for four of them. As an adult I have jeans older than that. As a kid, a small number of years is a huge percentage of your life. This was also the last time I had all my friendship eggs in one basket. When I left New York, I started riding, which meant separate groups of barn friends and school/work/non-barn friends.

So what happened?

We talked.

We talked a blue streak.

Conversations about her kid led to our college experiences led to jobs led to husbands led to family. Politics wandered in briefly. (We reach.) I don’t think either one of us mentioned our school days together. There was a little bit of, “What happened to …” from people in her high school. Mainly it was now and how we both got to now.

With most old friends, you share the weight of your years together. In this case, we went from the age of 14 to 53 in a single bound. I discovered, all over again, what a cool person she is. If I met her today, as a stranger, I’d want to be her friend.

One breakfast was not enough time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott