Give us This Day Our Daily Irony

San Quentin: the Scenic Prison.

It was a gorgeous day.

I had to run an errand that was near the Richmond Bridge. Specifically, I had to take the exit for San Quentin. (You know, home to our friends Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Ng, Scott Peterson, and other horrific  murderers.)

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken that exit. I have to admit, San Quentin is stunning. It glows a beautiful pale yellow in the light off San Francisco Bay. The razor wire is all glittery and sparkly.

Exit is straightforward. Prison Men’s Correctional Facility to your right: you can see one of the first guard towers from the exit.

The signs cracked me up.


Turn right to go to the prison or…

…left for a more Scenic view.


Given the choice, I’ll take the scenic view every time….

(click “more” to see Wikipedia photos of prison)

Continue reading “Give us This Day Our Daily Irony”

Murphy Monday: Almost a Year Old!

Murphy will be a year old on May 5th.  Can you believe it?

I am date challenged.  When he was born on Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Independence Day) I was relieved. I’d never forget his birthday.

Ha. I am completely capable of forgetting the most memorable date. Late one night, I saw a status update from Daisy on Facebook, noting Murphy was 11 months old. I immediately panicked, and tried to wish Daisy and Murphy a happy birthday on Cinco de April. When he was eleven months old. (That’s less than a year, FYI, if we have any other date-challenged people here.)

Daisy moved Barbie to the same facility once Murphy was weaned.  Princess Barbie has never been happier. Acres and acres of land to roam.  The barn owner found her rolling in the pond.  This is the horse that hated to get her feet wet. Clearly she’s modeling her new royal behavior after Princess Fiona from Shrek.

Princess Fiona
Princess Fiona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barbie is relaxed and happy. Yeah, I have to say that twice: Barbie is relaxed.

It was almost too much of a shock for me.  I recovered quickly. Daisy strapped a feed bag of grain over Barbie’s head,  immediately annoying her. (There’s my niece!)  Very un-royal looking.  But it does keep her grain hers, and lessens her ability to fling it all over the pasture.

Once Barbie is munching away, we turn to the baby pasture.

Murphy is positive we made a mistake, and went into the wrong pasture:

It is instantly obvious someone has broken the rules about hand feeding the babies. We were mobbed.

We had no food.  Undeterred, they tried to root through our clothing, certain treats were hidden somewhere.

Even with two of us, a baby escaped, and Auntie Jane had to use The Mane Grab and Cheek Lock to drag the baby back in, so Murphy and Daisy could escape. Daisy was busily multi-tasking, keeping the rest of the pack herd in, while attempting a Navy SEAL level extraction.

Look, Auntie Jane! I’m old enough to shave!!!!

He should be shed out a little more by his birthday.  Hopefully we will have less shaggy baby photos…we might even get to see what color he will be.

He was very wiggly and antsy – unusual for him.  No good full body photos, I’m afraid.

But he’s still our gorgeous boy!

Murphy Monday: Winter Quarters

We’ve been enduring days that end up clear, sunny, and 50 + degrees.  Horrible, I know. How can we stand it? This morning was very chilly and damp, with heavy fog. (Then it turned clear, sunny, and 65 degrees.)

Winter is due to stop by this week for a meet and greet. A few showers. I hope it brings a hostess gift. Something for in front of the fire?

The foals have been moved to winter pasture: enough slant for drainage, but  no hills that might get mucky and slippery.

Today photos are in quarters also: Murphy was so cuddly and insistently affectionate, we could not get him far enough from the camera to get a decent full body photo. This is a kind of  body-parts photo shoot.

Daisy and I were much more about soaking up the affection than getting ‘good’ pictures. Below, Murphy looks up when he hears Daisy call him. I love that – if he can hear her – he comes when called.

Apparently in winter quarters, mobbing the humans is not a requirement.  Only Marilyn and Murphy mob Daisy.

Marilyn has appointed herself “Queen Murphy” and feels entitled to be in charge of all things Murphy-related. (Her Divine Blondness is named after the iconic movie star.)

Murphy growth perspective: Daisy is 5′ 11″.  Marilyn is a three-year-old.

Marilyn helped Murphy tremendously with the weaning adjustment.

It’s worth the few rounds of “flick the nose”  we have to do to engage her memory that humans are higher than Queens in the food chain, and may not be run over or imperiously commanded to leave Murphy alone.

A sweet, happy, in-your-pocket quarter…

When it’s finally time to go, Murphy takes Daisy’s departure easily, and walks back toward the other babies.  Marilyn stops to redirect his focus when he looks back. He’s on higher ground, but their heights are not all that far apart.  I can’t help but wonder how much taller our 7 month old boy is going to get.

Daisy’s decided to move Barbie to the same facility.  Barbie will be in the brood mare pasture. It will make Daisy’s life a lot easier to go to one place instead of two.  The only foreseeable problem? Barbie is unlikely to come when called.

But this is why there are buckets and grain that rattles.

Happy New Year, everyone!

In Which Jane Does a Little Mowing, and Hudson Runs Away From Home

I printed out this visual aide and took it with me to the barn.

Left to my care-free, easy-going, eyeball-it devices, Hudson could easily have been clipped into a Standard Poodle finish.

I Googled clipping to brush up on body clipping, after 20 years off.  A horse-sized stick of white chalk to mark out my ‘lines’? Seriously? Who has giant white chalk?

Genius strikes. I hit up the tool shed, and score a roll of masking tape. Press on to apply, then peel off in the direction of the hair. Totally painless. Chalk-shmalk.  It won’t smear!

Hudson is One With The Clippers.  He Zens out as soon as he hears the whir:  tension drains out of his muscles, he yawns, his ears get loose, his eye glazes, his lids begin to drop.

While I uncoil cord, pour blade wash into a pan, oil blades and turn clippers on and off, I  see  Zzzzz’s beginning to form in the air above his ears. He’s supremely content.

Seeing him happy and soft makes the tension drain out of my muscles. I riiiiip out the first length of masking tape, utterly relaxed. H paid no attention to the ripping.

Zzzzzzzzzz. Riiiiip.  Zzzzzzz. Riiiiiip. Zzzzzzzz. Press.


Hudson is now forty feet tall. It’s ON him?! He snorts.

“I like the tape?”, I say, conversationally, as if he has a choice, “It makes it easy…Cut Line Here. See?” I poke him,  to point out tape is a sensible alternative. (No, I never  learn.)

My pressing the tape on his body creeped him out, in that crime-scene, she’s marking-where-the-bodies-fell sort of way. The moment I laid masking tape along his belly, he stopped sleeping and began scowling:

Hudson fully expected to wake up with something manly on  his butt, like a star, or a steer head, and a full body clip. Instead, it looks like I knocked him out, rolled him over, and mowed his stomach.

It looks like a Brazilian wax job done by a ‘technician’ that advertised their prices in crayon on a cardboard sign.

Still, I was ridiculously pleased I got the line this clean.

I took him out of the cross ties, and he, uh, stretched out his neck. I immediately squished his head back down.  His throat latch looked like it was cut by gleeful kindergartners with  stubby little-kid scissors.

His belly was surprisingly good.  But then, we have to turn upside down to make any comments about the belly clipping, which gives most people a headache: far easier to say “great job on the belly” without looking.

When I finished, I warm toweled all the loose hairs off, brushed thoroughly, blanketed, and put him away, automatically checking the gate locks.

You see, he and Dinero had a jailbreak. It was my fault: I either didn’t clip the chain right, or (gulp) I forgot to chain the gate shut.  I was completely paranoid about opening the gates for weeks.

They got off the ranch.

Luckily, both follow their stomachs, and ran UP the driveway to the racing barn, and were happily chowing down in their hay shed. Thank God Alice woke up thinking, “Hooves…?  I shouldn’t be hearing hooves outside my window at 1 am.” She woke Bella and they hunted down and caught the boys.

There is something terribly wrong about being the people needing to catch the loose horses, on a work night, near a busy road, when you aren’t the one who left the gate open.  (They were both extremely generous with me about my mind loss.)

This is why, after clipping, I check all the gates twice, even those I haven’t used. I slip out through the bars so I don’t have to unlock anything.

45 minutes later, at home, my text bings. It’s Lily:

Did you know the horses are out? BM found and is putting them back. It’s ok, they’re in barn area.


I know Hudson is the culprit. A few years back, Bella woke up to the sound of the chain banging on the gate: she ran outside pulling muck boots on over her pj’s.  Hudson had managed to work the chain up out of the slot and back out the little hole TWICE (because it’s locked twice) and let himself out.

It seems obvious to me that Hudson is mortified by his trace clip. He’s running away from home, and taking Dinero with him.

Maybe I can mollify him with a press-apply tattoo? Before he packs all his belongings in a haynet and slings it over his shoulder? How to keep him from running away?

(I bought a horse-proof U clip for the gate. So far, so good.)

Hudson, Here. You Have No Idea What I Put Up With…

Hudson, here, hacking into the blog.  Tip of the carrot to Smokey; thank you my lady, for tiptoeing on the keyboard.

Jane’s been tending to a sick family member, barfing (whatever THAT is) dog, and healing the wheeled box that brings her to me. Yes, I do know it’s called a car. But it can’t haul a trailer.  Therefore, it doesn’t deserve to be recognized appropriately.

Jane. We need to review. Again.

I am aware you have limited brain capacity, and can’t help it; humans are simply born that way. (Listen to the Lady Gaga song. Finally, a human that gets it.) Trust me, I take your disability into account daily.

How I wish humans could think in concrete, logical terms.

Exhibit A:

I am not going to leave this on.

Continue reading “Hudson, Here. You Have No Idea What I Put Up With…”

Murphy Monday: Guest Photographer

Photos were taken by Laurie, the mom of Ginger, Hudson’s girlfriend.

(Being horse people, friendship lineage goes through our horses.)
Laurie is a talented graphic artist and designer.  I love to see Murphy through her eyes.

My imagination immediately went to Ford Agency portfolio shots, for his future movie career.

Drama: John Wayne remake;

Courageous Heart warmer: Foal in National Velvet;

Comedy: Blazing Saddles, Bucking Horse 1;

Drama, Robert Redford style: Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, allll the way;

This last one totally slays me. Gorgeous!

What movies are you seeing in his future?

In Which, Trying to Shoot Hudson, We Want to Shoot Hudson

I have had Hudson for nearly a year, and do not have a picture that looks like him.

There is one photo in which his eyes are open, and he bears a mild resemblance to a horse, even if he does not look like himself.

Essentially, the rest look like this. Only worse.

I have 1000 good photos of Murphy and Barbie, Melody and True, random stranger’s horses, dogs, cats,  even a gold-fish.

I complained to Daisy: how the heck does he know I’m shooting him?  He can’t be totally anti-paparazzi!! Can he?

He got a bath. Even had his face shampooed. (This is a breakthrough that involved $50 worth of carrots.)

Since there was no one else present, I had to tie him.  Hoping for that regal shot in the classy leather halter.


  • Tied: looked like a mule.
  • Tied: held up carrot; looked like a starving mule being tortured.
  • Tied: snapped carrot in half and waved around; he looked like a cranky, starving mule, undergoing torture, who is about to kick.
  • Untied: walked away. Looked like an emaciated mule on his last legs (with a sway back and knife withers). His body stretched out like one of those double-long city buses with the accordion connector in the middle. But…a fabulous tail.

Gave up photographing.

He instantly stood normally. Snapped it quick: his non-mule, non-emaciated, nicely muscled body, with head on floor.

He is going to drive me INSANE.

The best of 50 photos. Horrid, busy, background. His face isn’t this long. But at least his ears are forward?

The starving, sway backed horse with giant butt:

Great body, who cares if we see his head and neck? Clearly NOT bony and emaciated:

Even better: head in bucket with fly spray racing stripes, with the angle off just enough to make him look…sway backed, over at the knee, and pear butted.










I swear he does this on purpose.

(Oh all right. The racing stripes out of flyspray? Guilty.)

Murphy Friday: Color Wheeling

The first thing I did, the night we returned from camping, was to go see Hudson. Literally. Okay, maybe I threw some grain at him. So he’d stand still long enough for me to “see” him in the late evening light. I wanted to hug him, like a pony crazed 10-year-old.

So I did.

Jane: [Huuuuuuuug]

Hudson: Jane. I can’t chew and swallow grain if you are choking me.  Glad to see you, etc. etc. But it’s my grain. Mind moving, please?

So I hugged his butt, laying my cheek on his cheek. I believe we were both happy. I’m pretty sure he didn’t miss me at all, and that’s good. It means he’s been happy and content, which I already knew, since Bella took care of him.

Life feels much more approachable when one’s cheek has been on a horse’s rump.

The second thing I did: see Murphy and Barbie. (I didn’t wait for my camera batteries to recharge.  So we have cell photos.) I expected he’d change in a week.  I knew he was scheduled to go out to pasture with mom on July 1.

I did not expect Super Foal:

His head is filling out, looking less foal-ish and more horsey. He will absolutely grow into the promise his ears made.

He’s huge. Everything has changed. His rear end hit a grow spurt.  Possibly encouraged by the freedom of running in pasture.  Major engine power.

We have color shifting.  It’s not the color he’ll end up, but it’s fun to hang on the wheel while it turns! The baby fuzz is wearing off on the tips of his ears, a spot on his neck, and his withers are definitely a shade darker.

Barbie was happy to see me. Until she realized I did not have grain. The absence of grain makes her cranky. Still, I had to hug her too, and she tolerated my hug.

She loves me. Happy sigh.

Murphy was curious to see me. I had the sinking feeling I fell off his radar. I hugged him, and hovered, stroking and touching him. He was mystified, but didn’t move, and seemed to enjoy the attention.

Murphy Monday, with real camera, here we come!

Murphy Monday: Growth Spurt!

Due to Shaun’s unexpected participation in the Disaster of The Month club, and it’s included, grueling, Doctor Visit Marathon, I hadn’t seen Barbie or Murphy all week.

Shaun won the Marathon, btw: she was at a different doctor’s office every day, and TWO on Thursday.  The Marathon has a delightful prize. If you flip to page 87 in The Mom Manual, you’ll see any hurt person in the household has a right to invoke The Doctor Clause on appointment day: entire family gets as much ice cream as they want.

I’m thrilled Shaun picked frozen yogurt.  (I’ve only increased one clothing size instead of six, and I discovered that I like Tart Mango.) I confess, I received a distinct, if possibly exaggerated, OOOF from Hudson when my tushy hit the saddle leather.

Shaun needs to see Murphy every weekend, despite her horse anxiety.  We went on Saturday, and Daisy’s mysterious text suddenly made sense.  Out of the blue this week, I received this text from Daisy:


That’s it. No explanation.

The second I saw Murphy, I texted Daisy back:


He hit an enormous growth spurt. I promise better pictures.  Forgot the camera.  (Duh. Kinda important when you want to take pics.)

Shaun took most of these with my cell.  She couldn’t risk getting her cast bumped, so had to stay out of the stall.

I can go out by myself now, if you’d just move over a little…? No, really. I swear. Then why am I whispering? Uh…because I don’t want to bother mom? Of course she knows, she…YES MOM, I’m right here. No mom, I’m not leaving

Me and Auntie Jane. Did you know the two legs get short as they get older?  Mine are getting short fast. They must be really old.

I’m a grown horse now.  I eat what mom eats! But I still get the good stuff too. My mom shrunk a little bit.  I have to crink my neck to get the liquid stuff. Frustrating.

Even though she shrunk a little, my mommy is big.  Someone said my daddy is big. They said I’m going to be big too.  I don’t know what they’re talking about.  Why is everyone shrinking?

Whatever. As long as I can reach the green stuff.

Murphy Monday: Barbie Teaches Murphy The Art of Posing

You can never get them ready too early for paparazzi…

First, you stand like this…then turn your head just so…Murphy, are you listening?!?

Now this is a hunter pose..

Murphy!  Bring that inside hind back just a little…and ears forward…no no no, turn your head more toward the camera…or look straight ahead! There’s no inbetween…

that’s it…much better.  Too bad the photographer cut you off.

Mommy? When I get teeth? Guess wat I’m gonna do?