Murphy Monday: Murphy Goes to Kindergarten

Barbie told Murphy he was getting something all his own.  It was a surprise.  Murphy hung out at the gate, bugging her.

What is it?  Can I eat it? Does it run? How can it be all mine?!? We share everything!

Melody and True jostle for Best Viewing Position at their gate across the way:

Oh man.  This is gonna be gooood!

Uh. Mom? It tastes like just another two-legged? Is the two-legged carrying my surprise?

(It’s worth noting Barbie’s complete lack of concern. If we flip to her mental page, the title would be: Thank God Someone is Rescuing Me.)

Hilary explains good foal manners to Murphy.

This is what Murphy hears: lalalalalalalalalalalalala…you are the cutest wittow baby boy…you are handsadoracuterrific! And you can have whatever you want.

No, you don’t understand! I already know how to do this, so I don’t need to do it anymore!  Really.  I got this one. 

Fine. Whatever.

He had to walk for Ten. Whole. Minutes. With only 17 – okay maybe 26 – rest breaks.

Murphy’s feelings about his first day of kindergarten:

But he luvvvvvs Hilary:

Auntie? Aimlessly walking around is stupid. (sorry) But don’t leave!  You just got here. Can’t you just like hang out awhile? Maybe rub my back?

Melody and True: Well. That was uneventful. 

Barbie: Noooooooo…!!!!! He can work longer!  Teach him to sit!

(For a relative size comparison, and to understand our shock seeing him after a week of camping, Murphy, at 2 months old, next to Shaun, who is 5′ 4″ tall.)

Overcoming Refrigerator Fear

It’s true.  I am afraid of our fridge.

Some fears are normal and justified. They should be encouraged.  In that category: fear of hot stoves, fear of hungry mountain lions, fear of Jane’s fridge.

Daisy calls our fridge “Condiment Hell” and refuses to open it for any reason.

I prefer to think of it as “The Condiment Museum”.

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Murphy’s Big Surprise!

The stall door rolled back, and Daisy tried to lead his mom out.  Barbie, who hates being inside, would not leave her stall. It took a lot of convincing: a helper had to get Murphy halfway through the door before she would budge.

Barbie is a Supermom.  She went from:

“What IS that thing“…to…

It’s mine.  All mine. I love it. I want it. He’s MINE.”

Five hours after giving birth, she was ready for the cover of Ladies Home Journal. She needed a little help with the idea that nursing doesn’t happen in 2 second bursts.  Daisy and Molly took turns holding her yesterday, so the baby could get in a good hour of steady nursing when he needed to nurse. Today?  Barbie has it down cold.

Murphy wasn’t afraid to step out (with help) ahead of his mother. His face was confused, then wondering, then filled with surprise. He’s in the barn aisle. Just outside the open stall door. He looks up.

This place is HUGE. Whoa. You mean where mom and I live is not Whole World?

Barbie finally walks out, constantly checking to make sure he’s right next to her.  He’s completely in tune with her concern, and sticks close.

There’s more? [ear swivel, swivel] I don’t get it… Oops, where’s mom? Okay. Okay. I’m just gonna press into her side. I won’t look. Just go with Mom. Go with mom.

Daisy and Molly turn him out in Kathryn’s sale-prospect showing arena.  It’s like a giant round pen. Perfect size for his first time out. Barbie looks at all that sand, groans, and drops. I GET TO ROLL NOW!!!

Murphy: I can go really fast on these things! This place is…is…BIG. Wow. What did I just do? That was fun.  How did I do that? I want to do it again. Maybe if I…

Why are humans laughing? I think I just flew in the air! MOM! Mom, LOOK.  Look what I can do!!! Watch me mommy!  Look at what I can do!

I can FLY!!!!! And do…uh…other stuff…

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What an awesome world.

It’s his second day on the planet, and he can do THIS. No wonder horses think humans are developmentally  impaired.

Talk To The Hoof: Hudson Talks To Barbie

Dear Humans,

Jane is over the edge.  Understandable.  But she does have a blog to run.  I am completely in the loop.  I have informants. I will run the blog. Talk to The Hoof will be my new column.

I talked to Barbie on the barn phone yesterday (BTW, Daisy: you left your phone in the feeder tub in her stall. You’re lucky. She found it rather tasteless.) She’s sore, but well.

She metaphorically bit my head off.  Barbie felt I could have explained the whole foaling procedure more clearly. I played the gelding card (what do we know?) and she’s somewhat mollified. I spoke to Murphy, who of course, had no clue what he was hearing. But that whinny.  He whinnied at me!

According to Barbie this is what happened: she started feeling sort of colicky, but rather far back, away from her stomach. She said it was a squeezy constricted feeling? Next thing she knew, she was laying in the straw being horribly squeezed. She said it was like being ripped open and left to die.
(This is why she is mad at me. For not explaining exactly where the foal came out.  But I appeal to you…would YOU have a baby if you knew where it came out? Of course not.)

Barbie jumped on me: “You said I was on camera!  That the humans would see  me colicking on camera and come help!” She was steamed.

“Barbs, the human came, right?  As soon as you started hurting?”

“Well, yeah.  But it’s not like she did anything.  She just watched me. I nearly died! Humans. She could have given me a shot or something. At the very least she could have brought me a Margarita.”

Better change the subject, she’s gonna blame me.

“How did you feel when you saw the baby?”, I said.

“Baby?  I thought that thing on the straw was my stomach. I thought about trampling it, but I was too tired. I was dying, Hudson. You didn’t tell me I was going to DIE”.

“Um. You didn’t die”, I say, “and look what you got.”

“Well. I could have”, she said, “and what I “got” was HURT. You have no idea. Why couldn’t I have been born a gelding?”

I hear a hoof stomp.

“You didn’t hurt him, though, right?”, I say.

Continue reading “Talk To The Hoof: Hudson Talks To Barbie”

The Cuteness Overload Post: Foals

To be clear: None of them are ours…yet.

News flash:  her tail was braided today, and her bedding was switched to straw.  It’s like watching presents pile up under the Christmas tree.

Barbie looked at one of the midgets this morning with interest, as if she wanted to investigate. He looked back at her with a bit of sassiness, then scampered after his mom on her way to turn out. Barbie’s ears pricked.

She might be getting the idea…?

Barbie this morning:

Feed me…or scratch me…I don’t care which, just chose ONE.

Babies nearby: (Get your Awwww muscles in gear!)

The Pet Library

The 1960’s were a time in which, if something could be imagined, it could be done.

For proof see:

  1. Paper dresses
  2. The Grateful Dead
  3. A lot of unwashed, hairy, natural, armpits.

What we didn’t know then: some things are better left in the imagination stage.

My mother is not an animal person. She’s never had a bond with an animal. Not her fault, just the way she is wired and was brought up. Maybe she never met the right animal. My dad was an animal person. Unfortunately, it was a matriarchal household.

I do give my mom a lot of credit.  Despite her fear or dislike of certain animals, she thought it would be good if we kids grew up unafraid of animals. She stuck with things that could be contained in a tank.

“Moooom….”, I would whine, “I want a pony, puhleeeeze….?  I’ll do anything.”

“Jane”, my mom would say with fake cheer, “how about some nice guppies?”

Any ten-year-old who is still playing the I Want A Pony tape is going to be stumped by a come back of “guppies”.  It made me wonder about my mother’s sanity. Who comes back with “guppy” in a negotiation about ponies?

Pony = Heaven, Cloud Nine, and World Peace

Guppy = dirty fish tank that stinks. Plus, they are suicidal. (I eventually gave in on the guppies, so when they didn’t work out, I’d have pony leverage.)

What is wrong with her?

My brothers had turtles in a tank. I suspect my mom was slightly masochistic.  She also let them have snakes, as long as the tanks were outside.

One day, after a particularly grouchy I Need A Pony fight, my mom said: “why can’t you be happy with fish?”

I replied, “I want something warm-blooded, that you can hold. Like a mammal.”

She was stunned that I knew what a mammal was, and felt she should reward this somehow. She checked with her friends.  Maybe I could “borrow” someone’s hamster for a week.  That’s how she found out about the pet library.

Apparently some groovy nature-loving hippie thought it would be a great idea if kids could check animals out for a couple of weeks.  Just like a book library!  You went in, got a card, and began checking out animals. That way, you could see if you liked guinea pigs before you bought one, therefore potentially saving a life.

Parents, in those days, often took Rover out to a nice home at a farm, where he had lots of room to roam.  A farm that we never managed to visit.

Armed with my new Pet Library card, accompanied by my reluctant mother, we hit the Pet Library.

I think: Ooooooooo….rats!  Aren’t they cute?  Look at those twitchy whiskers!

I look at my mom.

“Plague” is written on her forehead in black Gothic letters. I keep my mouth shut. No rats.

There’s a tiny, golden brown hamster sitting on its haunches, itty-bitty hands up by his mouth, cheeks bulging, stuffing himself with food.

Involuntarily, my mom says “He looks like that cartoon.”

Jane sees big, flashing, red arrow pointing down at golden hamster. “That’s the one I want to check out, mom!”, I say with as much excitement as possible.  “How did you  know?!”

Her face falls. She studies the hamster closely.  I see an Ixnay forming on the horizon. Drat. The librarian walks up. “Isn’t he adorable?”, she says. “That’s Howard.”

“Do you have anything smaller?”, my mom asks.

That’s when I know Howard is coming home with us.  The only mammal smaller than Howard is a mouse. If rats = Bubonic Plague, mice = Polio, minimum.

An hour later, after a lot of imploring by mom to check out the cute little lizard in a tank, we walk out with Howard The Promised Mammal Hamster, in his cage, with a bag of food, and list of care instructions.

I eye the rabbit on the way out the door.  If I take exemplary care of Howard, maybe my mom will cave in on a cute little Easter bunny? Eventually?

I sit on my hands the entire return drive, so I will not reach into the back seat, and remove Howard from his cage.

I think the fight is over.

Continue reading “The Pet Library”

In the Shark Infested Pool of Knowledge…

I was in the pool with Micah.  He was still young enough to play “Shark”.

This is basically water tag, with gory, detailed descriptions on what body parts the Shark (me) will eat, am eating, or plan to eat.  Soon.

For years, Shark was the favorite neighborhood game during the summer. I usually started the game by volunteering to be the Shark.

Of course I had fun. How often do you get to chase kids and tell them in detail how you will mutilate them, and say “Hmmm. Tastes like chicken.”.

Being The Starter had the added benefit of teaching new kids the rules, so when they became It (Shark), they could then get appropriately gory and completely absorbed into the game.

Leaving Jane tons of time to lie on a lounge chair reading a book, occasionally yelling out something gruesome when a kid got stuck: “I’m gonna get you!  And when I do I’m gonna …gonna…uh…”

“…disembowel you!” I would shout, turning the page.

“YEAH! I’m gonna disem…bowl…you!” I’d hear.

A kid called Time Out.  A head popped up over the side of the pool. “What does ‘disembowel’ mean?”, he was clearly suspicious ‘disembowel’ wasn’t a real word. These kids were sticklers for rules.

“It means”, I said, taking a sip of Diet Coke, “to rip out someone’s intestines.”

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The Eating Monster

I got a text from Daisy:

Daisy: Barbie is an Eating Monster!  Almost lost a limb. Grained her.

Jane: She’s telling baby HERE eat your own food and eating twice as much?

Daisy: Yes. YOU feed her.

Jane: I value my arms.  Do we have a long stick?

Daisy: We did ten minutes ago.  Gone.

She’s been carrying high, she’s a racing stock TB, a maiden mare, and she hasn’t wanted to look hugely pregnant.  Now she doesn’t care.


She was attacking the grass with such ferocity her teeth were showing.

Here’s our baby:

April, April, April!

I said to Daisy: you know we are going to have thousands of baby photos. It’s going to be adorable every second.

I’ll probably be banned from the barn.

But I am so going to win the baby pool.  We’re placing bets on her delivery date.

A Cell Phone’s Revenge, and Mom is Possibly a Serial Killer

Shaun and the kids gave me an iPhone for Valentines day.  Prior to the iPhone, I had an Android.  I loved my Android.  I set it to give me directions in an English accent. When lost, having an authoritative voice give me directions in an English accent gave me confidence. I would become unlost, soon.  Someone British said so.

The Android broke up with me.  Shaun or the kids could use it, and it behaved beautifully.  When I used it, ten minutes after unplugged from the charger, it died.

I gave you seven minutes to talk.  You should have made your calls then.  I need a smarter owner.  I’m a smart phone.  Please find me a smart person. Us? No magic.

No matter how many times I turned off the Wi-Fi, the Bluetooth, the GPS, the refresh, they would mysteriously come back on, within an hour.

Lee Lee used it for an afternoon.  No problem.

The Android began to gaslight me. It subverted the app I downloaded: Advanced Task Killer.  Task Killer. I liked killing things on my phone. I killed them all.

An hour later, emails arrived.  Hey! I turned those off!  Checked settings.  It says email is turned off.  It’s not supposed to pick up email or contact the internet in any way. Subversion. Stealth. Quitting on me when I needed it the most. My phone was passive-agressive.   And completely out to get me.

It stopped ringing when family members called. I didn’t even get a missed call notice. This aggravated everyone. Thus the Valentine’s day iPhone.

The Android loved Micah, and worked just fine for him.  I wiped the phone, set it back to factory settings, hooked them up. Come to think of it, the British voice was female…

Yesterday, I got a phone call.

“Uh. Mom?”, said Micah.

“Hi baby!” I say, forgetting (again) you do not say this to an almost 16-year-old. “What’s up?”

“You know how you reset the phone?”, he says, “Like so nothing is on it?”

“Uh-huh”, I say, wondering where this is going.  Is the phone acting up for him too?

“I was wondering if you backed up the pictures and stuff”, he says, “so I could delete them.”

There are pictures on the phone?  I mentally file through the pictures I know were on the phone.



I smack my forehead. They should have been deleted automatically.

My phone didn’t just break up with me, it wanted revenge. There’s a couple of pics of Hudson, a few of the kids, Shaun, a few of the dog.


Continue reading “A Cell Phone’s Revenge, and Mom is Possibly a Serial Killer”

How I Became A Geezer and Learned to Embrace Geezerhood

Micah and I collected words for most of his childhood, the way we also collected rocks we liked.

“Bumbershoot”, he’d say.

“Glockenspiel”, I’d reply

“Calliope!”,  he’d pounce.

Hm.  Hard to come up with something good after Calliope.

“Geezer”, I say, in triumph.

His face is puzzled.  New word.  “What does it mean?”, he asks.

“A geezer is a sort of cranky old person”,  I say, “Without a lot of life left in them? But you wouldn’t pass by an older person on the street and say Good Morning, Geezer. It’s an insult.”

I watch him turn it over and store it away.

“Flotilla”, he says.  And we go on.

One morning, years later, I’m snappy about getting everyone into the car for church.  I’m trying too hard to be good.  I know I got up on the wrong side of the bed.  I am being fake-nice, which drives everyone nuts.  They’d rather I was honestly cranky.

Micah, now tall enough to put his arm around my shoulders, says “Don’t stress, geezer, we’re gonna get there on time.”

Continue reading “How I Became A Geezer and Learned to Embrace Geezerhood”