horse d’oeuvres

It started with a coupon – buy one lesson, get two free.  Studley jumped on the offer to take a few horseback riding lessons in November, 2011.  It was something we had discussed, and put on the “one of these days” list.  With the winter chill looming, and a good bargain, we went to the stable for the first time.

We had no idea where it would lead.  It has brought tremendous joy.

If someone had told me that i’d learn to assemble gear on a horse?  That i’d be comfortable grooming a 1,200 pound animal on my own?  That i’d have no hesitation in grabbing a horse by the ankle and confidently picking manure out of his hooves?

That i’d be riding in my first horse show at the age of 50?


But last weekend, that is just what happened!  It was a “Fun Show” held by our stable, to raise money for Saddlebred Rescue.*  Not a competitive event, it is used by the instructor to help the newer riders train for more serious competition.

Last year, Studley and i had been riding for a few short months – so we just sponsored a few classes and went to watch.  Sitting in the arena on a chilly spring morning, we watched the youngsters, and some older riders, get their horse game on…

daisyfae:  Do you think we’ll ever be able to ride like that?

Studley:  Probably not, but it’s fun to think about!

This year?  We decided to take a run at it. Well, a “walk-trot” at it.

The kids would have their parents, and grandparents, in the barn… Encouraging.  Cheering.  Proudly saying “That’s my kid!”

Receiving a random signal from the trailer park planet, i hatched a plot to get MY mommy there, too!  With serious support from Studley, she was in the arena with us that Sunday morning.

She encouraged.  She cheered.  Her advice to me as i headed out to mount up – “I’ll be proud of you if you just stay on the horse!”  When my name was called for a second place ribbon?  She hooted and hollered and said “That’s my kid!”

Studley and i also rode in a pairs event — similar to the “Pas de Deux” in Dressage, our instructor modified it to make it more accessible to novice riders.  Instead of the team riding side-by-side while riding a pattern, we rode “mirror” patterns – with the goal of staying synchronized and not running into each other when crossing paths!  We referred to it as the “Faux Pas de Deux” event.

We got second in that event… out of two teams!

That night, we decided to figure out what those ribbons cost.  A year and a half of weekly lessons, riding gear (helmets, boots), entry fees…  Right around $1,300 EACH.  And worth every penny…

Roller Derby, Hard Hat, Pith Helmet, Paintball Mask, Ski Helmet, Motorcycle Helmet, Horseback Riding Helmet, Bicycle Helmet, plus assorted shooting gear

The Helmet Shelf in my garage

* WARNING – adorable animal alert!  You might end up with a four-legged friend in your guest house if you look at these lovelies…

** We had to ride with the adults – it wasn’t proper to let us ride in the “Youth” class.  Probably because those 12 year olds would have kicked our asses!  i placed 2nd out of three riders!  And Studley just missed knocking me out of second place by a few thousandths of a point!

Always use protection

Installed a shelf in my garage last fall.  The helmet shelf…

From left to right:  Paintball mask.  Ski helmet.  Motorcycle helmet.  Horseback riding helmet.  Bicycle helmet.

If any of these get a little too dusty?  i’m doing it wrong.

What’s missing?

Stay tuned…

i’m still a bit buried with stuff.

Work has thrown me some of the most incredible “you’ve got to be shitting me?” moments ever.  Just when i think people can’t surprise me?  i am proven wrong.  Repeatedly.  Sometimes within the same day.

Skiing?  Sort of.  With the warm winter, it’s been more like pushing slush from the top of a hill to the bottom without breaking a leg whilst wearing slippery sticks on my feet.  But, the warm weather has allowed weekly horseback riding lessons to continue!  And a few bicycle rides thrown in for good measure.

The home office renovation project continues – hoping for completion over the weekend.  If the planets align, it will allow me a chance to gather all tax documentation before the end of this month.

And then there are those other things… Things that don’t require helmets.  But probably should…

Ladeeeeeez and gentlemen….

"Meow", bitches...
“Meow”, bitches…
Last night, i attended a local event that is pretty much the annual throw-down bash of the year.  It’s a fundraiser for the local AIDS Resource organization, and the best halloween event ever.  Several hundred people show up, and these folks know how to play. 

Masks are required.  The cool kids know to paint them on, because attempting to throw down for five hours with a plastic mask on your face just sucks.  The venue is typically an abandoned warehouse or loft space, done up with lights and theatrical props. 

Live entertainment includes fire-throwers, acrobats and the nationally recognized drag troupe…  Servers and hired dancers are wearing nearly nothing but body paint.  Never mind the entertainment of the crowd – these are people who take their costuming very seriously.

There are still over 55,000 new HIV infections in the US every year.  It’s not a problem that has been solved.  The fact that this is a highly successful fundraising event for something that matters?  Extra damn cool…  One of my friends, DK, has become a ticket ambassador, and her enthusiasm for this event is truly contagious. 

This years theme?  1930’s circus sideshow.  There were seven of us attending as our own ‘troupe’.  Pre-party and masque painting at my place before gametime.  After spending most of today recovering from tearin’ it up last night, some random thoughts…

 – Mask painting, costuming pre-party at my place from 6-8pm.  The dog was covered in glitter.  i was so fragged from trying to get everything done in the afternoon, i’d missed his walk – so he added to the artistic decor by painting a lovely wet sketch on my carpet.  Swirling and twirling around as the poor mutt attempted to hold it…  i couldn’t be mad.  My fault for not taking him out…

– DK had ‘hired’ a designated driver.  A young friend from the theater who is temporarily unemployed was hired to drive us there in her minivan.  So naturally, we are on our way to the party, in a family minivan.  And what’s the soundtrack?  Why “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog“, that’s what… Nowhere on earth could i have been in such a situation – costumed gaggle of festive humans, in a minivan, singing silly songs while stashing glow sticks in their undergarments.

– My ‘statistically significant other’ and i went as the Liontamer and his Lioness.  My children pointed out there wasn’t much sparkly gold clothing in the 1930’s, i was covered from head to toe in gold.  The costume was home made, and it was my intention to make the drag queens weep with envy.  i think i succeeded.  Until i dropped my 4″ sandals at the “coat check” at 11:00pm.  No way i was going to last another 3 or more hours…

– When my daughter came upstairs to assist with the group photoshoot, her words were “Holy shit, my mother looks like a hooker”.  i have achieved…. something…. not entirely sure what….

– Naturally, i was on a leash.  It was nearly impossible to find a gold dog collar and leash.  We tried every pet store in the area.  Until it hit me – “Where do you get such gear for your dog? WalMart!”  Success.  Oh, and it couldn’t be a retractable leash.  That would have been degrading… and no “monkey backpack” toddler leash… Geez… i have standards… 

– The leash proved challenging.  If my friend was off to the men’s room, he’d hand the leash off to someone else.  There was another ‘cat woman’ character there, and she felt compelled to ‘release’ me when she saw me.  A few years ago, if anyone had told me that i’d be perfectly happy being walked on a leash, while wearing 4″ gold stiletto ‘fuck me’ shoes and a gold afro in public at 47 years of age?  Ok…  i might have believed them.  i’ve always had a flair for drag-queen dramatics.

– Highlight of the evening, without question, was being invited onto a dance podium with a gorgeous young ‘tiger boy’.  Oh, shit.  We had fun.  Not that i’m an exhibitionist, mind you…. At one point, i told him, “Baby, i’m old enough to be your mother”.  Not missing a beat he said “Honey, you’re waaaaaay hotter than my mom” and proceeded to dry hump me.  There might be video.  It won’t be posted on facebook. 

For your amusement, a few pics….

he invited me up.  i have witnesses.

he invited me up. i have witnesses.

i was wrong.  there IS a heaven...

i was wrong. there IS a heaven...


oh, to have been born of different genetics....

oh, to have been born of different genetics....

Young At Heart

Very tiring week, which included another late night with the theater posse for karaoke following an evening of auditions, work responsibilities keeping me awake and some internal thought-rumblings regarding where i was a year ago* – all of which have interfered with my sleep.  Last night?  Tucked in to bed with work readings and then happily off to sleep before 11:00 pm (rare for me). 

Awakened by the phone, i groggily reached across the bed and snagged it from the nightstand.  With no idea of what time it was, i saw it was The Girl, and briefly experienced that momentary parental terror thing… but it still didn’t quite wake me up!

The Girl:  Mom, you have to turn on Leno**, there’s this amazing group…

daisyfae: [blurble… snort…] huh?

The Girl:  Oh, shit.  Did i wake you up?  I’m sorry – i didn’t realize it was so late.

daisyfae: [flipping channels… scratching assorted body bits…] hlumphf?

The Girl: They’re called the Young at Heart Chorus!  A bunch of senior citizens singing rock covers!  They’re amazing!

daisyfae: [grinning wildly… staring in awe at the spectacle on the television…]

The Girl:  The Ramones, Mom!  They’re singing The Ramones!

Yes – it was beyond beautiful… and well worth a brief interruption in my sleep.  Ladies and Gents, i present the Young At Heart Chorus – covering “I want to be sedated“, and then there’s David Byrne’s “Road to Nowhere“…

It is without question that i shall join up as soon as i get my retiree card!  I think they could use a choreographer…  and it’s cool that my daughter knows me well enough to know i wouldn’t have wanted to miss this!


* One year ago this week i was finishing radiation.  One year ago this week, i joined up with Team In Training and committed to run a half-marathon.  One year ago this week i was turning on my denial machine full blast, and putting the cancer behind me…

** For any non-US readers, Jay Leno hosts “The Tonight Show”.  Which starts at 11:30 pm, and finishes at 12:30 am.  Which is why my Vampyre-Daughter should have realized that it was, in fact, just a little late to be calling the old lady on a work night…

Screwing Off on a School Night…

Decided to drop into a “Latin Dance” class series this week – with the need to step up my workouts and my adoration of dance, it just made sense.  Just 2 hours a night, for three nights.  i recruited some of my local theater-posse to share the pain salsa-love. 

Last night the session focused on Salsa* – and we were informed that we’d be learning the basics, then “building” new moves over the next two nights as well. 

Holy. Crap.

i’m clearly a “Freestyle” performer.  “What do you mean i need to keep my feet doing that back and forth thingie while i start dragging my arms around my partners head like i’m wrapping him in spaghetti?”  This was a true test of coordination.  Oh, and i failed. 

i can do feet.  i can do hands.  i cannot do both at the same time…

The Meringue** was much more fun, and a helluva lot easier!  Imagine your ankles are chained together***.  Alternate knee bends, while keeping your feet on the floor and shuffling around with a healthy butt-wiggle.  Major lower body action as a result of the foot/knee movement.  Oh, and remember to keep your upper body still.

Ridiculously Cute, Hardbodied, Puerto-Rican Instructor Lady:  Remember, everybody is asleep upstairs, while there’s a party going on downstairs.

Lots of fun, successful workout.  My ass hurts. 

From there, off to drink beer – $2 Pint Night at a local pub.  And Karaoke!  Woo-hoo!  Once i’d ascertained that the local talent was lacking, daisyfae got up to belt out a few tunes.  After the second number, i had a table full of drunken groupies. 

Big fun… My ass and throat hurt this morning, and i’d felt like i’d been “ridden hard and put away wet” as i dragged myself out of bed to get to work by 7:30.  And to think i had that much fun on a school night fully clothed?


* Mmmm… “salsa”

** Mmmmm…. “meringue”

*** Mmmmm… “chains”

Lighting up the dance floor

Over the weekend, i attended a charity “April Fool’s Costume Ball” – DJ’d by none other than my friend Joey London, who flew into town on his solar powered Lear Jet to spin tunes for a good time and a good cause.  Completely stumped for costume ideas, i pulled an idea from my ass at the last minute, arriving at something fun, yet comfortable enough for a long stint on the dance floor.

A German General officer’s hat (quite similar to the one below) and my favorite party geek toys on my fingers (not to mention a collection of flashing LEDs attached to my hair, and various parts of my clothing)…. Wearing all black, it made for some big fun on the dance floor.


There was a theme to my costume…  Unfortunately, only a few folks guessed right away.  I was mistaken for a “lost raver” as well as “Madonna”…  A “Biker chick with robot hands” was another guess…

C’mon… It wasn’t that hard!  Take a guess…

Danced like a machine for 3 hours straight… Great crowd.  Youngest person there was probably 30.  Oldest?  60’s!  Didn’t matter!  So very nice to have an opportunity to dance, drum and be “tribal” in a non-club, non-meat market environment. 

i hope i never get too old for this… Sheer joy… and playing conga drums with my LED-encrusted fingers?  Major trip for those happy hippies who were eating the brownies!


I don’t wanna work…

The beauty of a New Years Eve houseparty?  Booting that ‘countdown thing’ if there’s a good tune being spun at midnight.

We danced through it.  Did a ‘time-shifted’ version a few minutes after midnight to allow folks to down the champagne and get in a good snog.  Rather than deal with that moment as a single gal, i cleverly performed the countdown using the conga drum pair in the percussion section of the dining room dancefloor. 

Great bash…  You could imagine lovely silver serving dishes with psilocybin and Snickers Bars being passed.  It is all about presentation, you know…

Tactical error of the night (Trailer Park Moment?) – always wear proper attire to an event where you expect to dance.  The DJ/Host was spinning everything from techno to zydeco, seasoned with James Brown, Costello/Presley fades and just a touch of New York Dolls. 

It’s a little tough to pogo and slam dance when you’re wearing a smallish halter dress – intended to debut the 2007 Model Year bionic twins.  But i managed… 

And my body feels it today… there are certain muscles one only uses for dancing.  Or maybe for…well…horseback riding?  In any case, i was a bit out of shape to survive 4 hours on the floor unwounded.

Even the palms of my hands.  Especially the palms of my hands.  A girl can only play congas for so long before becoming bruised…