Saturday, January 31, 2009

Getting Rid of Stan

Yesterday my vet, Buzz, came out and we started our “Evict Stan from Dreamer’s Legpit” plan. For those of you new to my blog, Dreamer is my horse, and Stan is the sarcoid that has developed in his front “legpit.” Stan recently had a growth spurt and we decided to take some aggressive action. First step was the biopsy. Buzz gave me a copy of the pathology report which I will not post because I’d have to re-type it and anyone who actually knows me knows that my typing is sub-par. And I’m lazy. Plus there are a lot of really big words in it. So if you wanna see it send a self addressed stamped envelope and I’ll send you a copy. Oh, and yeah, include $10 to help offset the medical costs.

Anyway, Here is a picture of Stan I took before Buzz got there to freeze him.

Dreamer was a very unhappy pony because I wrestled him away from his girlfriend Missy. Normally, Dreamer and Missy have their own cozy little run off to the side of the riding arena, but it’s been so muddy lately that the stable manager put some livestock panels up in the gelding pen and Dreamer, Missy and an ABH* mare have been hanging out there instead. It took me ten minutes to find him. I’m a bad owner.

A note about Dreamer: He’s a gelding. He’s been a gelding for 17 years. But right before he was gelded, his previous owners used him for stud. When I had the farm in Missouri, our herd included Dreamer and 3 mares: Nitemare, Poco Loco, and the pony Gypsy Heart.

Nitemare and her daughter Poco Loco

Is Gypsy not the cutest pony you have ever laid eyes on? Hackney Pony, a rescue from the Miami County KS debacle.

So Dreamer still thinks he’s a stud. He gets along way better with mares than he ever did with geldings, and when you take his girls away from him, or visa versa, he has a fit. So, here is a picture of Dreamer calling to Missy, making sure she still loves him even though he’s been away from her for all of ten minutes.

And here is the object of his affection, Missy, who really couldn’t care less.

Dreamer got really mad when another gelding took the opportunity of his absence to make a little fence time with Missy. There is a large hole by where Dreamer was tied he dug out of frustration.

Anyway, back to Stan. Buzz showed up and gave Dreamer a mild sedative, then we spent the better part of an hour freezing and re-freezing the sarcoids with liquid nitrogen. Buzz also wants to try some formaldehyde as a topical because according to what he’s heard and seen sarcoids become resistant to whatever treatment you use, so we’re gonna change it up a bit, just to keep Stan on his toes. Or whatever.

Stan after his first treatment: No change

So treatment #1 went okay and we probably won’t see any change for a few days. But we’re going to be diligent about getting ride of Stan. Why? Cuz he’s ugly.

*ABH= Average Brown Horse. I don’t know the other mare’s name. Which I think is appropriate since Missy is Dreamer’s girlfriend and the ABH is just a side-job.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Name that Tumor

My personal horse (as opposed to the horses I work with carriage driving) is L.P. Prairie Dreamer. He is a 20 year old triple registered Appaloosa (ApHc; Appaloosa Horse Club. ICAA; International Colored Appaloosa Assn., Ranger Bred Appaloosa Assn.) When The Husband and I first purchased Dreamer he was a three year old who had been shown by his owner/breeder on the "A" (club) circuit from the time he was a foal.

Dreamer was a handful, but that's what you get when you buy a smart horse.(His nickname is "Mr L.P. Prairie-butthead") He refused to walk through any kind of mud or water; a trait I believe he developed because he was constantly forced to stay clean

(big white blanket + horse shows = many baths). He was a funny fellow- he got a kick out of removing The Husbands pager off of his belt and holding it in his mouth. Once, while in his stall, he removed the jacket of the girl who was grooming the Palomino across the barn aisle from him (his arch nemesis; the Palomino not the owner) from the bars across the front of his stall, dunked it in his water bucket, dragged it through his dirty shavings, and then hung it back on the bars. In his defense, she used to leave her horses stall door open while she would go and get her tack. Her horse, Sonny, would lurk just inside the door and wait until another horse passed by, at which time he would lunge out, bite the horses in the ass, and jump back in his stall, all innocent. I believe I saw him looking at the ceiling, whistling, after one of these attacks.

Several years ago at his current residence the stable hand let him roam the barn lot while she tended to his stall cleaning chore. He took the liberty of removing her key ring from the picnic table, and, after she moved on to muck out another one, deposit them in his stall.

I think he was planning to borrow her vehicle for a late night beer run.

The next day she found them while, once again, cleaning his stall. She was going to call a locksmith later that day. She swore he snickered at her.

Dreamer has a history of "growths."
It began back in 1992 when, preparing to take him to the World Championship Appaloosa Show in Fort Worth, Texas, we noticed a pinky finger sized growth protruding from the inside of his right front fore leg. For simplicity's sake, let's call that his "leg pit" (because, you know, he doesn't have arms). So the vet came out, removed the growth, we let it heal, and off to the show we went.

Fast forward to the present.

His growth has come back, gradually, over the past few years. I have had several vets look at it, and none of them could tell me what the heck it was. One offered to "try" an ointment made of apricot pits but, at $150.00 an ounce (were they virgin apricots made from gold that produced 100 barrels of crude oil each day?), he couldn't tell me if it would work or not. Another suggested that the growths were warts, and doing surgery on them would only make them spread more. So, since it wasn't painful, did not impede his movement, was in an area that, if cut out, would not be able to be stitched up without having the stitches tear every time he moved, we just let it go. He's been retired from showing for years now, so all I ever do is hack around on him anyway.

Part of his growth went into hyper-overdrive last month and began to increase in size. So we called out a vet and he did a biopsy. I'll find out the results later this week. Until then, if you think you know what this is, please Name that Tumor.

Right now I'm calling it "Stan." And if it keeps growing, pretty soon Stan is gonna need his own stall.

On 1/29/09 Slave Driver added the following;
Dr. Buzz called, it's a Sarcoid, and he's going to treat it by freezing it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Save the Last Dance for Me

The 2009 Sundance film Festival is now officially over. No, wait, they still have Best of Fest tomorrow night at The Egyptian Theater in Ogden…but it's in Ogden, so it doesn't really count.

As usual the fest had its ups and downs; No one assaulted me, but we did have a few more odd ducks than in my past experience. I got to see a lot of volunteers that I've come to know in the last four years that I've worked at The Rose, but some didn't make it back this year. And of course we had our share of new ones. For some this is their first and last, others get hooked and return again and again. Clearly, since I only saw four films, I don't only do this for the free movie tickets. When we first moved to Utah, I volunteered for the festival because I love films, but I kept on volunteering because I enjoy the company of the other volunteers.

Besides the volunteers, I've come to know the patrons. Some return each year. Their eyes light up when they see you, they come over and shake your hand or give you a hug, saying how good it is to see you again. You chat about how things have gone for the last year, marking milestones or highlights. We survey each other on what we've been to watch and what we like or dislike. Sometimes they will seek you out when they know that they will not be coming back to your venue again and say goodbye. Some just fade away. All of them leave an impression.

And then there is the staff at The Rose Wagner; Julie, Jeff, Brad, Stephanie- theater managers who work there full time and help us out when we invade their turf and muck things up for ten days. There is also a satellite Sheriff's office at the venue. The fine men and women assigned there assist us, laugh with us, share coffee and stories, and genuinely act like they are pleased to see us. Of course, they could be faking it and would be just as happy to use us for Tazer target practice, but I'd like to think not.

Tonight, as a special treat for our volunteers, the six managers ponied up some money and we had Sundae Monday. We provided our people with ice cream, toppings, and whipped cream. It was a small gesture meant to be a token of our appreciation for all the hard work that they do for us. Jennifer, who is a vegan, also brought in vegan chocolate lava cake, vegan whipped topping, and soy "ice cream". A good time was had by all.

So this ends my last dance for this year. And, barring any unforeseen circumstances (or a stint in prison), I'll put my boogie shoes on next year and do it all over again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Third Rock from the Sundance

Monday night I had off and since The Kid had been liberated from school on both Monday and Tuesday, we decided to take in a couple of Sundance films. But first we went to dinner.

Benihana had been the gold standard in teppanyaki style restaurants for years. There's one in the heart of downtown and although in the past I have recommended it to tourists, I will never send anyone there again.

Before Monday night's horribly dry, tasteless and overcooked meal, we had dined there about 5 years ago after first moving to Utah. I was kind of disappointed in the service and the quality of the food back then but one can always chalk stuff like that up to an off night. Since then we have found much better, closer restaurants that give us our fix for this type of food. The only reason The Kid and I went there was because I had a gift certificate. Still, the meal cost me $45 bucks, and it was really nasty. I know, I know; when it comes to food I'm a snob, but yucky is yucky, any way you cut it. And it aggravates me to pay a lot for yucky food.

Okay, enough of that. So we were able to get into both of the films playing at The Rose Wagner. The first was "Brooklyn's Finest" with Don Cheadle (I loved him in Hotel Rwanda) Ethan Hawke (not such a big fan) and everyone's favorite Buddhist, Richard Gere. Directed by Antoine Fuqua.

It was really long, and depressing. The Kid said, "A two hour movie about the last 15 minutes." So…only if you have free rental somewhere or maybe you lose a bet.

The second was a documentary that I have wanted to see ever since they announced it was to be shown at a volunteer screening that I ended up not going to because I was tired, my hip ached, and the steep incline of Park City is no place for wimps.

This one is called "Prom Night in Mississippi" and it is an excellent exposition of racism in America.

Can you believe that up until 2008 there is a town in Mississippi that was still holding segregated proms? I wanted The Kid to watch this. Why? You ask. Because I feel that it's important to show besides tell. I can tell my kid untill I'm blue in the face, and all she hears is "Blah, blah, blah." But if I show her, or have other people (film makers) show her, then it's no longer her mother crabbing at her about social injustice. And maybe she will think I am not so weird and stupid after all. Maybe.

Tuesday night I had to work. The first movie we were to screen was "500 Days of Summer." I arrived very early, hell bend on walking the block and a half to the Social security office. I parked in front of my venue, garnering a primo parking spot and plopping $2 into the meter. Upon reaching the social security office I found a note on the door saying that they had moved five blocks east. Knowing that walking the five blocks, sitting in the waiting room, and returning would take me way longer than two hours (the maximum amount of time I can get on a downtown meter) I bagged it, got a chicken wrap at Squatters, and hung out in the Rose Wagner lobby, watching Sundance shorts on my iTouch (10 are available free from iTunes). I had, after all, already paid for my parking spot. Remember it's me, and I'm cheap.

So, back story; Almost every night there is someone who approaches us with their tale of woe. Most of the time it is because they failed to listen/read how or where to pick up their tickets. We do not have "Will-Call" at our venue. All tickets are either mailed or need to be picked up at the main box offices in Park City or Trolley Square, so we do a lot of explaining of that to patrons. Tuesday a nice lady dragging her luggage approached me and said that her son was in the film, and the tickets they had never made it from Park City to Salt Lake, and she was advised to ask for "A" or "C" (the theater managers) and was assured that they would be given tickets.

When "A" arrived I advised her of the situation. She checked the official Sundance/Rose Wagner cell phone, and much to our surprise, there was a voicemail confirming the woman's story.

Wow. That almost never happens.

Anyway, we were able to get her party of five their tickets, stored their luggage in the volunteer lounge, and even arranged for a cab to drive them up to Park City when it was over. They were all very nice, appreciated what we did for them, had a great sense of humor, and never tossed around the name of their actor relative as leverage, which was refreshing. (You would not believe the amount of people who do that to impress/scare us. Which, by the way, doesn't work anyway. None of us work in the "industry".)

And their relative's name? Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Six Degrees of Desperation

The first two days of Sundance, for me, sucked ass. Why? Because I’m in a new management position, don’t know WTF I’m doing, and in my capacity I had to have a lot of face time with angry people who feel that their inability to properly navigate the space-time continuum between their residence/hotel room and the theater constitutes an emergency and/or exception on my part.

I know that’s a lot to process. I’ll make it easy on you. They were late, the film was oversold, and when they did finally arrive, late, there was no place for them to sit. Now, if I had the ability, using only my mind, to arbitrarily enlarge a building and make seats appear (or, on the converse, make people in seats “Poof” and fade away like wisps of smoke) I guarantee you that I would not be a carriage driver or a Sundance volunteer. I would be working my jolly way to world domination.

Anyway, this has been the scenario for the last few days:

Angry patron, waving her finger (complete with carefully applied Lee Press-On nail) in my face: “But I have a ticket”

Slave Driver, wearing a poker face, nodding sympathetically, repeating the same litany over and over while simultaneously watching cartoons in her head, which is where her “happy place” is: “Yes, but as stated on the back of your ticket, right under ‘No Refunds, exchanges, transfers, or resale’s permitted’ it also says the following:

Ticket holder must be seated 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time or seat may be forfeited. Event not rated. Viewer discretion advised. Ticket and privileges may be revoked at any time for any reason without liability to Sundance institute from any claims resulting from attendance. The likeness of this ticket and any Sundance Trademarks may not be used without the express written consent of the Sundance institute.’

All right, now that the legal jargon is out of the way, here is the deal. Sundance is a film festival where the films are shown and tickets are sold on spec. If the film showing sucks, the buzz will get around and the theater will be empty. If the reason you want to see a particular film is because everybody who has seen it says that it kicks ass, then guess what? We’ll be filled and then some. So, patrons are required to be in their seats 15 minutes prior to the films scheduled start time. Many people arrive late, and if we have room we seat them. If not, we’ll refer to the back of the ticket. And I offer the customer complaint line phone number. But still, they think it is our fault and thus direct their rage at me, my volunteer staff, other people in line, and whoever else will listen. If there was a puppy in the lobby they would probably kick it. There was a mob that gathered in the lobby Saturday night, and I was watching for pitchforks and torches to appear.

Oh well. So the first two days sucked.

Sunday, however, was great.

As a full time volunteer I have credentials that allow me to, if volunteer tickets are available, see any film I want for free, saving me $15 for each film.

So far, I’ve seen one. And I didn’t like it.

Sunday I went in early, burned a bag of popcorn in the volunteer lounge’s microwave, almost setting off the fire alarm (that would have been very bad) got in line to received a ticket for “Taking Chance”. Directed by Ross Katz and starring Kevin Bacon, is it a moving and powerful film about the true story of a Marine who volunteers to escort the remains of a young soldier killed in Iraq back home for burial. This film is about respect, and I highly recommend it. Written by Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl (ret)It will premier on HBO Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 8pm.

When the film was finished I had 13 minutes left before my shift began, so I ducked out before the Q & A, walked backstage (I hold a managers position, I get to do stuff like that and no one questions me) and was able to tell Kevin Bacon that the film was fantastic and he did an outstanding job. I don’t fawn, but I like to give compliments when they are deserved.

KB, by the way, is tall (okay, Tina, one of my cohorts, said “He’s not tall,” but I’m 5’4”, Tina is 6’. So, yeah, to her he’s not tall.) And he is very thin. And nice, which was refreshing.

After my shift started we were graced with musician Randy Granger who plays Native American flutes and also a percussion instrument called a “Hang Drum”. I enjoyed Randy’s music enough that I borrowed cash from a volunteer and purchased two of his CD’s.

Then, Robert Townsend arrived to intro his Film “Why we laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy”. I’ve been a fan of his for a while and, since he had almost 25 minutes to kill, suggested he might wander over and enjoy listening to Randy. Well, the two hit it off, with Robert asking Randy questions about the different flues and Hang/Hapi drums, culminating with them playing an impromptu duet.

The film is based on a book by Darryl Littleton, who brought copies of it along to sell after the screening. We chatted for a while and as he was leaving he asked, “Did you get a copy of my book?”

I felt bad because I had not purchased one but I had already borrowed $20 from Linda and I was running out of people to mooch off of, so I had to tell him “No.”

He handed me a copy and said “Now you do.” which was very kind. I started reading it when I got home last night. The book is excellent.

So to sum it all up:

Two days filled with crabby customer, one day with a great film, nice actor, fabulous musician, engaging director, interesting and kind author. It all evens out in the end.

Plus now my Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is at 1

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breaking News!!!

I know it's been a while since I updated the Confessions blog and I could tell you that it's because I have been so immersed in writing, carriage driving, the Sundance Film Festival, and all the other aspects of my totally glamorous and exciting life that I have been too busy to blog, but here is the shameful and dirty truth:

Nothing has been going on. Nada. Zip. Zero. Bupkiss.

Why? Because I haven't worked since December 27, except for going into the barn and stripping my carriage of Christmas decorations. Sundance doesn't start until this Friday, and I lead a relatively quiet and boring life.

But I'm okay with that. Exciting is no good. Boring is fine. If I want exciting I'll watch TMZ, thanks.

Now that I've brought you to the edge of comatose, I will shove you into pure vegetative state with what I have been doing:

I watch a lot of movies in January. In the last 48 hours I have seen

Hamlet 2

Ghost Town

Burn After Reading

The Shining, which was on HBO Monday evening

Mad Dog Johnny, which was a Sundance Volunteer screening last night

Appaloosa. We saw this in the theaters when it came out because it was a Western and The Husband enjoys Westerns. Unfortunately, it was not a good Western. A good Western is a movie like "Jack the Bull" with John Cusack .

I totally forgot that 1) we had seen Appaloosa in the theaters, and 2) it sucked much, so 3) I rented it at Blockbuster by accident. Because it was a Western.

Too bad for me they don't give you a do over because you are an idiot.

This week I also went shopping for new ski goggles. Now, let me explain something to you about me. I am the most frugal person who ever walked the earth. Cheapness so ingrained in my psyche that I squeak when I walk. So, after having a minor heart attack looking at the prices of ski goggles (I cracked mine, and although still useable they are not exactly good, and I have a birthday coming up…) I took my helmet and descended upon the sporting good stores like a locust, trying on every pair they had until I found just the perfect fit.

Then I came home and bought them on eBay for a savings of $50. Happiness abounds.

Have you fallen asleep yet? If not read on, you will.

The heater in my jeep died last week. I agonized about where I would take it for repair. Luckily for me, everyone was too busy to fit me in. I tore down the dash, diagnosed a bad switch (partial melting on one of the prongs) and walked around the local Pick & Pull junk yard for two hours on Sunday. It cost me a dollar to get in there, and I was pissed because there were no jeep Wranglers to be found. On the upside it was 2 for 1 Sunday so The Husband got in for free, and I let him to carry my tool box while I perused the selection of dead cars. This makes him feel like he's helping. He isn't into fixing stuff like I am. He'd rather go buy a new one. The cheap gene, it ends up, is really a nature vs. nurture thing.

I checked for the part on, you guessed it, eBay, and I could have gotten it for $35 and $10 bucks shipping. Instead I called the local Chrysler and got it from the parts department for $24. Drove the nine miles and picked it up. Installed it and re-assembled the dash in about 20 minutes. I even found all of the screws. YAY! Now I won't have to scrape the windshield on the inside when it's cold out, and I saved myself about $150, if I'd taken it to a mechanic. I'll let the Pick & Pull dollar slide. If you ever need to reinforce to someone the importance of wearing their seat belt, take them for a stroll around a junk car yard. Best dollar you will ever spend.

Also this week I got a call from Ro, carriage barn manager extraordinaire, and listened while she threatened to kill drivers because she can't get any of them to work in January.( It's too cold and you don't make any money.) I reminded her that I am on sabbatical, thus dodging any of her wrath. But I do sympathize with her, and knowing that she has a birthday coming up also I figure I will get her a gift. She is a jewelry hound, and I'm thinking about one of those rings with the compartment you can put powder in to poison someone's drink while their attention is elsewhere because you've said, "Hey, look! There goes Elvis!" (Which, by the way, we do say because we, in fact, have a driver named Elvis.)

Now, I have no idea where one might purchase that type of ring. But I think I'll start with eBay.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


A few observations during my down time:

When you get a new cell phone, especially a model you have no previous experience with because, say, it's sleek and sexy looking with lots of fun features; make sure that, besides showing you how to access the internet, games and music, the helpful associate also demonstrates how to actually dial a call.

Unless you live someplace warm, the heater in your car is a necessity.

The minute you think you've put all the Christmas decorations away you will find something either behind the couch or stuck in your dog's tail fur. Most likely both.

Your dog, despite your best intentions, will not appreciate having his tail un-decorated.

If you have nothing to do, the weather will be beautiful. If you have an entire agenda of things that absolutely, positively must get accomplished, it will all go to crap in very short order.

When you find yourself in a hurry, whatever you need to complete the process you are attempting to finish will break down: Most people are unaware that it's due to a mysterious component called a "Critical Need Sensor", and Mother Nature, along with most electric appliances/computers/copy machines and small children have them in some form or another.

Allowing mechanical things to perform "Spontaneous Self Repair" is inexpensive in the short term only.

The Shins should only be listened to with head phones. There are always weird background noises on their tracks.

487 channels on satellite and the only thing worth watching are re-runs of "NCIS".