Blessings are reminders….

Good morning all you food drunk, retail exhausted people! Welcome to My Contradictory Life! I hope you all had an awesome holiday weekend, but it’s time to get yourselves back to work.

The furry support staff is particularly vocal this morning. It seems there is a stray dog (imagine that) running around loose this morning and has chosen my property on which to do his business. This has my crew in a tizzy trying to jockey for a good position at the front window to get a glimpse of the intruder. I can only imagine the view from outside with the Beagle on the bottom, Aussie in the middle, and the Weimaraner towering over top. My view is little butt, fuzzy butt, and large butt! The Corgi team is in the bedroom voicing their frustration at not being able to join the chaos, but trust me all the other dogs are much safer with them separated.

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I cannot describe the job felt by my entire family to have our mom home. My sister Robin, and my two brothers, Greg and Chad and I all pitched in to fix an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out beautifully. We were joined by our Grandmother Gladys and her husband Johnnie as well. Clean up went well and we were reminded by our mom not to make a mess on several occasions. After the dishes were done and everything was put back into its proper place, we all gathered in the sun room to share memories and laughter, just like old times.  It made me realize how much I missed my sister and how happy I am that she has come back into the fold. We all realize how blessed we are to have spent this holiday with our Mom. It is a reminder of the power of prayer and will that she is still with us. It’s a reminder that God is good and our faith in him should be what drives us every single day. Blessed is almost an understatement in my opinion. I have my sister and one of my bestest friends back, I have my mom, my hero, my mentor, my idol still here. Blessed, lucky, fortunate, whatever you call it, there is no question that God performs miracles and answers prayers.

Cody’s 2018 colt

My favorite Chincoteague mare, Cody 2 Socks has foaled! The above photo is her colt by Wild Thing. He has the most unique markings. He was almost a Medicine Hat, but these markings are so crazy it doesn’t matter.  He looks like two different ponies from each side.  I really hope that he goes to someone I know so that I can keep up with him. Her colt from last year went to a sweet young lady in California and she named him Bongo.  Cody has one daughter on the island named Doc Amrien. She is a beautiful bay pinto mare who produced her first foal this year. Cody herself is the daughter of the beautiful half Arabian buckskin stallion, the late Copper Moose. Copper was stunning when he was in his prime and at the top of his game.  A vicious, nearly fatal fight with another stallion left him weak and unable to sustain a band.  It was so sad to see.  He disappeared in late 2014/early 2015 never to be seen again.  Doc Amrien is the first photo below, it was taken at this year’s pony penning by me. The second photo is credited to Daisey’s Island Cruises and is of Copper Moose.

Doc Amrien
Copper Moose

So, I managed to survive another Thanksgiving and subsequent Black Friday weekend at Cracker Barrel.  Why don’t we just call it Black Weekend? Seriously, the sales start on Thursday and the ensuing chaos extends into Sunday. Why not call it what it is? I mean except for ridiculousness personified. Every year it becomes more and more foolish. Deals start earlier, decorations go up way earlier, and the tensions soar higher. How can anyone enjoy the holidays when they are embroiled in these battles to get the perfect toy for the perfect kid and the perfect time? I never, as a parent bought into the idea that my kids had to have the popular toy of the year. If, by chance, they got one, it was given by another family member. The idea of Black Friday and all the stress it beings feeds into the growing rudeness with which people are treating each other.  On Thursday I was assisting a guest with a lost and found issue. Another guest bullied her way through and began asking me questions while I was helping the other. No “excuse me” or “pardon me” was uttered, she simply butted in and insisted I answer her question. The first guest spoke up and said “excuse me I was talking!” The second didn’t skip a beat and just continued to talk to me about what “she” wanted. I tried to apologize to the original guest but to no avail, it was then and only then that the offender felt it necessary to apologize. From where did all this lack of respect for others come? I witnessed first hand, numerous incidents of guests verbally abusing fellow employees over this past holiday weekend.  I’m sorry, but that is absolutely unacceptable.  The folks who are working on the holidays are not with their families because they have to be there to serve the public. They don’t have a choice in most cases, as most companies block requests for holidays off.  I, myself, worked a short four hour shift on Thanksgiving day and then made haste to be with my family in Oriental.  On the way home Kayla and I decided to stop at the closest convenient store to grab water because we were both extremely thirsty. As we were checking out I asked the clerk if she had been able to spend any time with her family for the day. She replied that she hadn’t so that someone else would have the opportunity to enjoy it with family. Upon hearing that, I profusely apologized for having stopped and creating a need for someone to be there, even though I had worked that day, I felt bad for stopping.                   I saw two kinds of entitlement that day. First, was the kind in which the person felt as though something was owed to her. I’m sorry I owe you nothing more than respect that should be mutual. The other was the kind that chafes my butt the most and that is the kind in which the person deems himself or herself better than the people around him or her. I’m sorry but who died and made you a princess? Get over yourself! So, this one group came in and bulldozed its way to the hostess stand only to discover that here was a thirty minute wait on Saturday. The group chose not to wait and as they were leaving I overheard one member say, ” There is no way I am going to sit here and wait thirty minutes to eat some crap ass food!” Wait….wut?? So, you mean to tell me that were there not a wait, you would be perfectly willing to eat and pay for “crap ass food?” You are a special kind of stupid!!

Well now that I got all that off my chest I must get busy!  Oh don’t worry there is more to discuss soon! People make it easy!!

As you begin your week, please keep in mind that someone else is probably experiencing the same holiday stress as you, of not very similar. Little Johnnie or Jenny will actually survive if that “oh so, can’t live without it” toy isn’t available.

Don’t forget the furry ones as you blow up the internet on this Cyber Monday. The need lots of biscuits in order to get through this odyssey called “holiday shopping” with you.  Scritches and much love to them all! Santa better come see them!! I will be watching! Please comment with a photo of your furry support staff! I will put them all in a Furry friends gallery on my page!

Take care of yourselves! Would love to see all of your decorated homes and yards, so feel free to share. By the way, if you are looking for a charitable cause which to donate, please consider the Chincoteague Pony Rescue. My friend Deb Ober works tirelessly to make sure these ponies get what they need and your help, no matter the size would be greatly appreciated. There is a link on the My Contradictory Life home page. http://www.chincoteagueponyrescue.org  

See I told ya!

Santa is watching so…

Play nice ya’ll…

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Apathy=Self Preservation

Good frosty morning my friends! Wow what a difference a week makes!!!    Last week this time we were trying to find a way to keep cool without turning on the air conditioning. Today air conditioning is not necessary by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes I know it has been a while!  I made the mistake of letting life get in the way of what I really wanted to do.  So much has happened in the last months that I hardly know where to begin.

I will start with the furry support staff! Everyone is doing well and seem to appreciate these cold temps much more than I do.  I’m not sure if I have already introduced you all to the newest member of the herd, but we now have a rescued Weimaraner, named Merle. He is beautiful and much larger than I thought Weims to be.  He came to us underweight, very needy, and with a light and shadow obsessive, compulsive disorder. Not much is known about his previous life, but is obvious that he has suffered from neglect and some abandonment issues. I have seen improvement as he integrates into the pack here. His fit with the others is quite awkward, I’m guessing because of his size and exuberance. Having dealt mostly with herding breeds, I was not prepared for the need for constant companionship of a sporting breed. Thank goodness for the help and advice of friends who have the experience.  I have developed a bit of insight from them and the vet where Merle is concerned. We discovered that he is just at a year old, not approaching two as we were informed when he was brought here. So anyhow…we have a Weimaraner!

I went to Oregon in September for the opening of yet another Cracker Barrel.  This time it was in Medford, near the California border.  Let me just say, I love Oregon! It is a beautiful state. Little to no humidity and gorgeous landscapes make it one of my favorite places to visit! While there I had to opportunity to knock something off my bucket list that actually wasn’t on my list, but it was on my late husband, Jeff’s. I went to the highest point possible by vehicle to Mount Shasta.  It was the most peaceful, breathtaking place I have ever visited. The air was so clear and the lack of noise was incredibly relaxing. I didn’t want to leave! I kept thinking “on a clear day you can see forever.” And you could!!

mount shasta

I returned home from Oregon early upon news of my mom being in a coma. Her leukemia had morphed into lymphoma and it was bad.  As a result it was decided to administer an aggressive chemo regimen, which proved to be more than her system could take.  I have learned, without a doubt, that there is power in prayer.  At one point we were quite sure we would soon lose our mom, we all prayed for peace, we begged friends, family, and complete strangers to join in our prayers. I came home from Durham and within a few days received a message that she was awake.  Within a couple of weeks she was walking and talking, something none of us had thought possible just a few short weeks ago. This past week my mom came home! Yet another milestone no one expected to see at the beginning of October.  I want to thank everyone who supported us with prayers, calls, etc… Another moment of extreme joy has been reconnecting with the sister whom I have missed more than I was willing to admit. I will never forget one day when she was at my house…oh about 25 or 30 years ago, something struck us funny! To this day I cannot tell you what it was, but whatever it what was erupted into a giggling session that lasted a good ten minutes. When we finally were able to get our breath, my now ex-husband walked in the door and looked at us like we were mad! His perplexed look lead to an additional session that lasted another ten minutes. I have not laughed like that in a long time!

ROBIN

This past few months has been trying at best!  I am not going to go into detail on everything, except to say “UNCLE!”  I’m not going to admit that I am superstitious openly, but I did get rid of the $2 bill that was hanging in Justin’s room and the broken mirror that was behind the house. The loss of a friend who was basically an extended family member was extremely difficult to take.  My heart goes out to my “sissy” Teresa and Ray’s children and mom.  I want to also mention that my dear friend, Cindy became a first time grandmother! Little River was born with a slight defect that had to be repaired surgically shortly after his birth, but so far the little trooper is thriving! Congratulations to Cindy and her son’s family!! Yet another piece of good news, desperately needed, is in the photos at the top of this post, from DSC photography and Captain Dan’s Island Tours.  A medicine hat colt was born to the stallion, Wild Thing ,and the mare, Thetis on Assateague island, in Virginia. Medicine hats ponies are considered very good medicine in the Native American culture. These highly prized animals were thought to protect their riders and were sought after.  Often they were stolen by rival tribes that wanted to benefit from the powers the horses were thought to possess. This beautiful colt comes at a time when the herd is suffering from a swamp cancer that has claimed the lives of many and has affected several more. Maybe the birth of the little guy is a sign of better days for the herd.  Who knows? It won’t hurt to believe!

Did you ever feel so overwhelmed that you became calloused to everything around you? It feels almost like if you retreat into yourself things will slow down or somehow the effects will cause less damage.  You appear to be apathetic simply to protect yourself from the stress that would come from blowing a gasket. There is a fear that if you release the valve on your feelings or emotions that you will be deemed psycho, emotional, or even ridiculous. You are afraid to hurt someone else’s feelings so you sacrifice your own in order to prevent that from happening. This has been what’s happening in my world and in almost every aspect of it. Slowly, I have started to take back my life, my home, and my sanity. Though my plans for my future have been put on hold for a bit, I still intend to live out my dream!!

Well that is all for today. I promise not to be so remiss in my posting from here on out!  Love and scritches to your furry support staff! It’s the weekend, make sure you spend some time with them. You and they will be happier for it in the coming week.

Remember, I love you all most ardently! And remember even when it seems like things are crashing down around you and you can’t get a handle on things….

Play nice ya’ll….

Puppy Love…or not?

Good morning people! Welcome to Wednesday! It’s gonna be yet another hot one so be prepared!

The Furry Support staff appears to be quite grumpy this morning! Everyone is voicing opinions on something I’m not privvy to at the moment. The only one not letting his voice be heard is my grandpuppy. He’s just chillin’ in Justin’s room wondering what all the fuss is about. I will so miss that dog when he joins Justin in Ohio. Oh, i will miss Justin too, but that dog is the last of my Aussie line and his resemblance to his grandad JasperJax in looks and most of all personality is uncanny. The first photo is Jasper, the other is Bailey.

I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my road bestie, Suzan! I miss being on the road with her so much! One of the only people I know that I could spend five weeks in a hotel room with and not want to kill! Lolol! Love you much my lady!

I want to share with you all a photo taken by my go-to photographer and friend Deb Noll. This is the mare Misty Mills, that surprised everyone by producing a filly a few weeks after it was thought she had rejected her colt. Turns out the colt wasn’t hers at all. So, this beautiful filly now has a forever home as does the mystery colt. The filly is part of the Feather Fund group directed by another friend Lois Szymanski, which helps young people to purchase a pony at auction. Can’t wait to see this little girl grow!

So, today I want to touch on a subject that might tick a few people off, but it’s something that literally drives me nuts! The act of humans transferring human like qualities and emotions to animals is simply inaccurate, and I believe arrogant on the part of humans. Animals are so much smarter than we are. Humans have lost their ability to use all their senses together. Our sense of smell and hearing is nothing compared to what it was in the early days of man. So now we rely on other animals, particularly dogs to do those things for us. The domesticated animal I believe was man’s saving grace. But back then these animals were not pets! They were working animals! They were not coddled, petted, or even fed most of the time. They got the scraps. This continued into the early 20th century and even a little longer. Horses were generally used for farming or as mounts for the military. Pets were considered a luxury of the well-to-do. Dogs were used for hunting, herding, and protection, while cats generally lived in the barn to keep the mice out of the grain storage. Again, only the very wealthy could afford to keep animals as pets. When taxation reared its ugly head, all animals on a farm, that had a tail, were taxed. This began the idea of tail docking of dogs as the norm. Yes it also was a safety issue for dogs herding large animals, but the tax was the main reason. In those days, everything that lived on the farm had a purpose. An extra horse used for merely riding would have been considered a hay burner. The point is the relationship between man and these animals that were domesticated was born out of necessity not loneliness or love.

Does Jeb love me? Hmmmmm, the pet lover in me would like to think so. But really, it’s probably more akin to a pack leader kind of thing. Do I love him….yes I do! And he misses me when I am gone for the first few hours and then goes on with his life. When I come home he is happy to see me, he tells me everything that happened while I was gone, then brings me all of his babies and settles on my feet. Does he know he is my heart? He probably has more of an idea that in the hierarchy here, he is number 2, which is evident in How the other dogs here give him a wide berth. He rules with an iron fist! The relationship between my son and Bailey is different. That is pure devotion! That dog worships that boy.

Do animals mourn? Yes they do! Domestic animals appear to feel it more deeply though and for longer period. For example, when my first Corgi, Peedee died, Jeb sat it the back yard for a week waiting for him to return. In the wild, however, animals don’t have the luxury of extended mourning periods. Elephants have been known to mourn a lost member of the herd, but they move on quickly. Last month, with the loss of Butterfly Kisses, the heart wrenching story of Riptide trying to get her up, had everyone misty eyed. Is he still mourning her, probably not. He has a job to do, he doesn’t have the luxury of mourning her, even though she was his lead mare. He has foals and mares to protect. He has mares to breed to ensure his line continues. He is a stallion, he is wild, and he doesn’t have time to mourn. The job of lead mare will fall to the next mare in his band, probably Starry Night, and life will go on.. Hate to say it, but the beautiful Butterfly Kisses is probably already forgotten. But I have seen several comments about how he misses her so much and he is in mourning. Ummmm no….as much as many would like to believe it’s so…its not. We as humans can and will mourn her loss, just as we did with Surfer Dude, Courtneys Boy, and the many that have passed through the years. These animals don’t dwell on things as we tend to do. It is not in their genetic make up.

One thing I have discovered is that my dogs do have a sense of fairness. If I give one a treat, I should be ready to give them all one. If I love on one, yes it is expected I will love on them all.

Another thing, I wanna touch on is house training your dog. So many times i have seen people reprimand a puppy by smacking it or rubbing its nose in its own urine. The problem is, that puppy has no idea that it came from him. You can’t beat it out of him…(heaven forbid you tried that with a human baby). The best thing is diligence about letting him out regularly and I’m sorry but immediately after he eats or drinks is not the time. Also, putting down paper or puppy pads isn’t the answer either. All you are doing with that is teaching him to pee on paper, then you get upset when he leaves a deposit on your newspaper left on the floor. I remember when Bailey was around a year old. He had come to live with me around the fall of that year. He was house broken but the first thing he did when I put up the Christmas tree was lift his leg on it. Thankfully it wasn’t decorated yet and I hadn’t put down my beautiful candle wicked tree skirt yet. But I couldn’t get angry with him because I saw it from his point of view.”Granny put a tree in the house!It must be for me! I must mark it!” I had brought him his own personal bathroom into the house….how convenient for him! Your dog doesn’t have the same consideration for material things that you have, and most definitely your cat doesn’t! He doesn’t care if you buy him an expensive collar, he gets excited because he feels your excitement. He doesnt care that you just spent a small fortune getting him groomed and all pretty….if he encounters something that smells bad, he is gonna roll in it. He has no concept of value, or appearance, or keeping up with the Jones. He is a dog, he is gonna do dog things.

This brings me to my last story, this one is about Jeb and the Fox poo. A few years back my bestie and I took a road trip to Mathews, Virginia. Jeb was along for the ride. It was January and it was cold as heck! There was ice and snow on the ground and the air was bitter. As we were about to leave we decided we should let Jeb run a bit and take care of business in the field adjacent to where we were visiting. So he is out there, running around like a little kid having a blast, when all of a sudden he dives to the ground and starts rolling. Curious as to what has caused this reaction, Susan and I walk to where he is and discover this fascinating scent he has found is fox poo! Now, I don’t know if you know this, but foxes have a musk gland that excrete musk whenever he poops. Somehow it is extremely attractive to other foxes and well I guess Jeb too! Susan and i didn’t find it so attractive once we got him in the car and to return home. Both of us had tears in our eyes. Once the heat from the car hit that odor it permeated throughout the car. I’m quite sure there was a green funk cloud! We rode home on this cold January day with the windows down just to keep from puking. Jeb didn’t care, he was happy in his stench! It took close to two weeks to get that smell out of his coat! And again, Jeb had no clue how offensive he was, all he knew is that he got to run around and roll in something delightful, in his opinion. Lol!

Well, I think i have said enough… This was an extended post, no doubt.

Everyone have a great rest of your day! Extra scritches to your furry loves!

I love you all most ardently!

Play nice y’all…

Love of Chincoteague/Love Chairs

Good morning people! Yep it’s Tuesday! I am so sorry….It looks as though it is going to be another hot one today. Please be careful in this extreme heat. If you have to be outside in it, take breaks, stay hydrated, and don’t push yourself too hard. Please also keep your pets in mind. Make sure they have plenty of shade and water if they have to be outdoors.

The Furry Support staff has been fed and are now partaking in the ritual after breakfast nap. I can hear Beagle puppy (I call him Rut Roh) snoring like a human. My plan is to let them all out once it is light enough so they can at least have some time outside today. My grandpuppy Bailey’s world is about to change. His daddy Justin, is heading to Ohio soon to learn the art of a farrier. I am so excited for him! Since he is flying and I am not about to put a 9 year old dog on a plane that has never been on one, it has been decided that once my car is fixed, I will drive him to Ohio myself. I have another option as well, but that will be if I can’t get him there. So, I guess my world is gonna change a thing it as well. I will have an empty nest for the first time since shortly after Jeff passed away almost six years ago. That’s when my decisions will be made. Anyhow, stay tuned, same Corgi time, same Corgi channel…lol

Hope this photo of Jeb enjoying a doggie bowl at Mr. Whippy’s might help you stay cool!

Today I am off work, so it is the day I will begin the task of cleaning my art area, in the hopes it will spark that creativity bug. It will be a monumental task, so if you don’t hear from me tomorrow, send in the troops!

I’m going to use today’s post for a bit of advertisement. Many of you know ow about my Love Chair design that includes Chincoteague ponies in each of the four chairs. The design has really been a hit and I must take a moment to thank Sue Johnson at Blue Crab Treasures on Chincoteague island for believing in me. She and I are both surprised and pleased with the reception of this. The design is available at this time in t-shirts, long sleeve and short, in a variety of colors, kids sizes are also available. Tanks tops are available in two colors! There are zippered and pullover hoodies, along with pullover sweatshirts. Sue has prints, post cards, koozies, bibs, and onesies as well. New items are being ordered with the design too! Can’t wait to see those. There will be hats with the Ridtide/heart chair embroidered on them. So, we have a lot going on.

Above is just a small sampling of what is available. Call Sue at Blue Crab Treasures in Chincoteague, Virginia, for sizes and color availability. Special requests may be preordered with the next shipment, so give her a call! The the number is (757)336-5507 or visit the Blue Crab Treasures Facebook page.

I would lastly like to mention a contest we are holding at the moment. If you get your shirts and you are on the island, take a minute to have your picture taken on the Love Chairs right across the street from Sue’s shop at Robert Reed Park. Post the photo on the Blue Crab Treasures Facebook page. Judges will choose the top four photos from those submitted. Those top four will be given the opportunity to pick which ponies appear in the chairs next year. And I personally will throw in a t-shirt for the four winning submissions. So let the games begin….the judging will start after fall roundup in October!

That is all for today folks! I am so excited about the events that are happening now. This has been a whirlwind and surreal experience for me. Thanks to all of those who have stood by me and had faith in me when I didn’t trust myself. My bestie, Susan Jones has been my rock and biggest supporter. My Cracker Barrel road bestie, Suzan Sheldon, has listened to my rantings many an early morning when we were stuck in a hotel room for weeks at a time. And again, Sue Johnson, who has stuck by me since that first December day when I walked into her shop.My daughter, Kayla Nassef who used to joke about all my paintings being in the garden tube in my bathroom. My dear friend, Deb Ober, who has been my sounding board, my pony conformation advisor, and sister from another mister. Lastly, there is one person that I need to thank especially, my mom, Emma Lupton, for a phone conversation while I was in Alabama, encouraging me to follow my heart and not wait for things to come to me. That evidently was my turning point…

You all have a wonderful day! Please stay cool and hydrated…are you listening Deb Ober?

Lots of fresh water and scratches for the furry loves. Be aware of their feet and be sure those paw pads aren’t being burned on concrete or asphalt. If they seem to be overheated, a damp tepid cloth to the belly will help cool them down…no ice!

My favorite quote from Pony Penning….”you’re famous!” My response… “well at least I didn’t have to wait until I was dead first!”

I love you all most ardently!

And even when this heat has your nerves frayed to the max….

Play nice y’all….