For Reference, Graphic Boolean Operators II, Doughnut Holes and Other Weirdness


Awareness of the outside world. First day of Advent. Going Medieval: On Advent & Going Medieval: On the Medieval secret to a balling Christmas, for once. Preach. I used to do posts on the 12 Days of Christmas in their proper place after Christmas Day, but I eventually caved to social pressure and gave up the practice. + + +

Original operations, for comparison. [For Reference, Graphic Boolean Operators I, The Basics]

While I was fiddling with shapes, I found an operation that took me by surprise. If the smaller circle is on top of the larger circle, subtraction/difference looks like exclusion, i.e. a donut hole. If the smaller circle is under the larger circle … poof. Everything disappears.


In part one, I thought of subtraction as “Top takes a bite out of bottom & then disappears.” In this case, the ‘bite’ that the top shape takes is all encompassing, and then the top shape disappears. So, still makes sense. [ibid]

While I’m at it, more shapes.

Wait? What? Working backward, I can see how each operation got that shape. Predicting what was going to happen? Pffft.

Uncovering ever new gaps in my knowledge.

Update: Inkscape commands are Union, Difference, Intersection, Exclusion, as above. The Boolean Game uses Union, Subtract, Intersect, Difference, Not that the varied use of difference is confusing or anything.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Cue Cheesy Music

Words & Movies

Awareness of the outside world. Photo guru Meg gets ink! “We spoke with a local photographer and instructor at Samford Academy of the Arts to find out why you should express yourself …” Bham Now: Express yourself—register NOW for Spring 2022 classes with Samford Academy of the Arts. Itson, 11/22/21.

Tis the season … for holiday movies. Here’s one I’d like to see.

A successful but harried city dweller is called back to her hometown during the holidays. She meets up with her high school sweetheart. They spend a magical two weeks together, during which time she learns the power of family, and the joys of the holidays.


She gets the hell out of Dodge. She realizes that two weeks of family is a gracious plenty, that he needs to stop chasing strange and commit to his long-term on-again, off-again girlfriend, and that she needs to get back to her life, because the one thing she rediscovered over the holidays is why she left that Podunk town in the first place.

Holiday Movie Rabbit Hole

IMDB: A Christmas Carol Remakes, DragonflySuz, 2016. It lists 69 movies. Who knew?

Playbill: Who’s Holiday!, Starring Lesli Margherita, Streams to Benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Beginning December 11, Gans, 2020. Perhap it will get streamed again this year. Saw it live. Loved it. While this review is accurate, it is harsh, TheaterMania: Who’s Holiday!, Stewart, 2017. But, I will grant that am a sucker for a one-person show. The Village Voice: Lesli Margherita Slays in the Raunchy “Grinch” Spin-Off “Who’s Holiday!”, Purcell, 2017.

AV Club: Die Hard director confirms film is a Christmas movie inspired by… It’s A Wonderful Life?!, Gomez, 2020. With video chat from the director.

All Christmas. That’s the one I know about. Care to tell us about holiday tropes from other traditions?

Stay safe. Stay sane.

In Which I Set A PR, Walk Report, Magic City 5K 2021

Fit To Ride

Awareness of the outside world. Race benefits Girls on the Run.

The Results
Magic City 5K
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Birmingham AL
Time, gun – 48:43.6. General race start to my finish.
Time, chip – 48:06.6. Crossing start line to crossing finish line.
Time, Racejoy – 47:44. GPS on phone.
RunSignup: Results, Individual
Props to the race for supplying free photos. Photographer not listed.

The Walk


First since the before times.

I wanted to see what time I could put up with a clear course in front of me. No stoplights, no decisions, just walk.

As I tell my horse, I thought about taking big, fluid steps. I thought about setting my feet down softly rather than stomping on the concrete, possibly faster, certainly easier on my legs.

I did excellently. Personal Record for 5K.

Between 47-49 minutes depending on which timing method I consult. That’s close to 15-minute miles. With work, I could maintain 4 mph.

Did I want to? I don’t know.

Part of my daily walking is letting my mind wander. I think about this & that. I let my mind go gently blank.

That did not happen on this walk.

To get this PR, I had no time to ponder. I spent the entire time concentrated on the walk. Can I add an inch to this stride? Am I swingy? Am I at maximum capacity? I found it very easy to slide down to 80% effort. Still feels like work, but wasn’t the max. Spent most of the walk goosing self back up to 100%. Speed up. Take a few strides. Speed up. Strides. Speed. And so on.

That is also why there is not in-walk media from me. Didn’t want to get waylaid.

Speed or strolling. Which is better? Depends on the purpose.

Side note. As I said two years ago, I have zero nerves about these walks. That’s worth noting, as I can get spun up at the drop of a hat over trifles. Either this is what I should be doing with my life or I am not invested enough to get in a tizzy. I suspect the latter.

Second side note. Wore a mask for the crowds at the beginning and end. Took it off during walk. Kept my distance.

Third side note. I’ve gotten so used to virtual races sending loot all at once that when the shirt arrived, I wondered were the medal was. Oh, that’s right. Shirt. Walk. Then medal.

Personal Record!

Last year, virtual [Vulcan Stroll, Magic City Virtual 5K, November 2020]
2019, IRL [Proof of Concept, Race, er, Walk Report, Magic City Run 2019]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

On A Day About Food Another Post About Feed


Awareness of the outside world. McSweeney’s: The Radical Differences Between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, Seely, October 12, 2020.

Remember my problem of differentiating between the red feed bucket and the green feed bucket? [Feed Buckets and Color Theory]

Fixed it!

Had to get some small buckets for another reason. Made sure one of them was a suitable color for Milton’s new feed bucket. I would have preferred white, as we had before. Gray works good.

Happy Thursday!

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Rodney & Milton’s Excellent Instruction


Awareness of the outside world. Whatever activities you do with your body, better biomechanics will help. I highly recommend checking out a biomechanical expert in your field(s). American Society of Biomechanics, International Society of Biomechanics.

Stephanie Mosely lessons
Stables of Shiloh Farms
Camp Hill (Auburn) AL
November 13-14, 2021

Part 1 [Rodney & Milton’s Excellent Overnight Adventure]
Previous clinic [Rodney, Rider Position, and More Saddlebred Than I Was Expecting, Clinic Report, Stephanie Mosely, June 2021]

I would like to rant about my riding lessons.

Not the instructor. Mosely is awesome. I wish she lived closer so we could take regular lessons. I’d like to convince riding friends to take lessons. Once again, 10/10, would heartily recommend.

My issue is with my horse.

Once again, he was an utter star.

You’d think that would be a good thing, no? The problem is, it’s the only time he acts this way. It is as if Rodney hears Stephanie’s voice – he is definitely on a first name basis with her – and says, ‘I shall now be flawless.’

Walk? Trot? Canter? No problem, Improving the canter? Of course. Transitions? All you have to do is ask. With just enough attitude that I feel part of the team.

Really, it is how one imagines riding should go, but seldom does.

The week before was how riding usually goes. We went to Stepping Stone Farm. Spooky at the walk. Hesitant at the trot. Peak pretzel at both gaits. Forget the canter. Yes, I’m sure I ride differently when someone is watching. Not THAT differently. [Best Seat In The House]

My horse is messing with me.

For The Record

As before, this is my take. What I heard may or may not be what Mosely said.

* I was concerned that I hadn’t done much since the clinic. We’d have a spurt of progress and then it would rain for two weeks, or Rodney would get shod and retire to his fainting couch, or … or … you know, life. Anyway. One of the first things that Mosely pointed out was that I had retained the improvements from last time. So, no progress, but no backsliding.

* When you shorten the reins, the horse has to meet you part way. .Just moving hands forward leaves you with your arms sticking out.

* Keep your core. Bring your tum back. Push against a wall.

* Hands forward.

* Mentally, Rodney pulls me into his drama. Physically, he pulls me into being disorganized.

* Points made where much the same as last time, but up a notch.

* Milton responded well to rider improvements. He & Greg had some seriously stellar trotting. Milton liked the Fix The Rider approach.

Until he didn’t. Fortunately his new go-to move is refusing to budge. Different rider & magnesium seemed to have cut down on the hoppy-hops (crosses fingers). As someone with a vested interest in Milton’s rider, I can live with doorstop as a protest move. [Milton’s Meals]

From Mosely’s website, The Empowered Rider. “The ‘Ride With Your Mind’ approach streamlines rider concentration, body awareness, and core muscle strength to create incredible improvements in the rider’s seat and in the horse’s movement and responses.  Riders learn how to be proactive rather than reactive.” Home

“Stephanie is currently one of only 6 Instructors ranked Level 2 Mastery with the Ride With Your Mind/ Mary Wanless organization.” About

Mary Wanless, Ride With Your Mind.

And Finally
The lead photo was the view from our hotel room. We camped out in the trailer. Below freezing. This could be its own post. Short version. We still like being on the grounds. Once I went full turtle into my sleeping bag, I was reasonably warm. Will continue to camp. May upgrade the equipment next time.

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Rodney & Milton’s Excellent Overnight Adventure


Awareness of the outside world. Madame President, pro tem. WFLA: Kamala Harris first woman to have presidential power as Biden undergoes colonoscopy AP, Nov 19, 2021.

We took Rodney and Milton for a sleepover.

Simple, right?

People take their horses places all the time, yes?

This was a first for us. First time Rodney has been away from home overnight since he arrived. First time we had taken both horses.

Rodney used to stress about shipping. He thought each new barn was his new home. He figured he was being abandoned at this new place. Took him many, many trips to convince him that we would always bring him home.

Milton was 50/50 for sleepovers. In the plus column, the two practice shows back in 2017. In the minus column, the Tennessee show that led to the practice shows and the vet visit, which went fine from a people perspective, but Milton would definitely put it in the minus column. Links below.

They did great, mostly we think because they were together. Rodney either knew it was temporary or decide he could cope with relocating as long as his buddy was there.

Simple plan. Drive down. Dual lesson. Camp out. Second lesson. Return.

Working in our favor was all of the shipping we have been doing for schooling. We capitalized on this. The first day was treated as we would a one-day trip. Arrive. Unload. Get tied to trailer. Hay snack. Nap. Tack up. Nothing different. Nothing to see here. This is just another normal schooling day in a new place.

Stalls were not mentioned until riding was done.

The stalls were wonderful. Big. Wide open. Next to each other. The half wall at the back looked out over paddocks in the distance. Rodney was fascinated with the view. I had expected to do more hand-walking. but they were fine in the stalls. Whenever we checked on them, they were chill. So we left them to it.

The only downside was that the viewing area was on one side and the hay was on the other. Back. Forth. Back. Forth. The shavings got mix-mastered. Next time, hang hay in viewing area so Rodney can snack while watching.

The next morning, Milton seemed the slightest bit jumpy. I don’t know what was on his mind, but I started having Tennessee flashbacks. We decided to operate out of the trailer again, photo. Worked like a charm. Apparently, they are more comfortable standing being tied to *their* trailer than moving around in a strange stall. I’d say it was weird, but we all have our foibles.

Tomorrow, where we went & why.

Practice Show I [Here for the Experience, Milton at Mid-South 2018]
Practice Show Ii [Notes from North Georgia, Milton]

TN show [I am not back. This is not a post., Milton The Driving Horse]
Vet [Milton’s Medical Update]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Care Leasing, Or How To Ease Back Into Riding, Guest Post

Care Leasing, Or How To Ease Back Into Riding
By E.B. Hickman

Dakota. Photo by E.B. Hickman

First, from a mental perspective, I never thought I ‘wasn’t’ a horse person. But I had slipped into a person that lives in a house near the city, works full-time, doesn’t own a horse (and last owned one in 1986), and last rode regularly in 1990. There’s nothing wrong with that, and for years I would take lessons here and there and ride with my lovely and very generous friends.

When I finally felt like ‘I had enough money to buy ‘a really good horse,’ I used that money for a down payment on a house as a single person when I was 30. I’m careful. Responsible. But never thought I was ‘really out of it.’

Having a supportive best friend with a farm, plus a daughter (my goddaughter) who also rides, was life-changing. They were in the loop in the horse world. They knew people.

My goddaughter, the lovely and talented Cey Johnson – it’s Welsh and pronounced “Ki” for those who are wondering – had a friend with two horses. The friend wasn’t showing one. She was in college a half-state away. Her family was just paying to board the horse.

Who was that horse? A 18-year old, handsome bay Appendix-bred quarter horse named Dakota. He was 15.2 hands high with a star. Impeccable manners, calm jumper, smart. He had played polo as a youngster, worked cattle, and been a child’s show horse for years. He had a sweet face and the solid temper I needed. And my best friend said, ‘why don’t you care lease him?’

A care lease is just that – you pay for care only, and pay nothing to the owner. The owner keeps ownership, control, and suddenly has no bills to pay to maintain their horse. The person care-leasing a horse has a horse “for free,” and has to cover care – farrier, vet, feed, board…the regular things. Terms are agreed to in a written lease.

It’s a wonderful idea, and has worked well.

If you’re interested in exploring a care lease, below are some tips (not to be construed as legal advice – ALWAYS consider asking an attorney to review any contracts you sign – it’s well-worth a 30-minute consult, and ask friends, your trainer, the owner of a barn where you ride, for input):

* Leases should be in writing and list the Lessor and Lessee’s full names, be signed and dated by both parties, have a beginning and end date of the lease term, and the full name and description of the horse and where it lives.

* Include renewal terms and cancellation terms – can either party cancel the agreement in 30 days with written notice? This may be sensible if someone suddenly had to deal with a family illness, financial downturn, or a job change – both parties may want to be able to get out of the contract. Same with renewal terms – can you renew for another year? When? Spell out when that renewal can be signed.

* Include ground rules where the horse lives. The owner may want you to keep the horse where it currently boards.

* Include ground rules for the horse’s activities. Can you take it to a foxhunt as a guest? Can you ship it out-of-state for a competition? Can you show the horse? As an owner do you want to prevent activities, like barrel racing competitions or amateur horse races? It’s good to list what you plan to do: trail ride, lessons, hunting, occasional shows, etc.

*Talk about and include the hard stuff. Who pays for a cremation or a burial if the horse dies when it’s under your care?

*Illness – include requirements to communicate with the owner in the event of illness or injury. Spell out who will pay for vet care – both routine and emergency, one or the other?

*Details. The owner of the horse I leased wanted me to continue using his regular farrier – no problem. It was in the lease. Same with his regular vet in order to continue keeping in-force an insurance policy. Again, no problem – in the lease.

Happy riding!

Update: I’m now a horse owner! After two years, I’m very thankful to report Dakota’s owner recently decided to sell, with the express condition (in the contract) that she has the first right to purchase if I ever have to sell him.

Reader, I bought him. Photo by Megan Johnson.