Murphy Monday: Dry Cleaning, Zebra Loaning, and The Crazy Chicken

Going to see Murphy turned into a Daisy and Jane Road Trip.

It was an unusual Daisy and Jane Road Trip.

We didn’t get lost, eat junk food, do a Mafia exchange for a baby goat beneath a deserted freeway underpass, or accidentally drive through anyone’s broccoli, because we missed the mare wearing a bikini.

Actually, the goat/Mafia/broccoli was a Daisy, Bella and Jane Road Trip.  Three of us together somehow sideswipe the universal Road Trip trajectory potentials.  Weird things happen. Like goat payoffs.

A new RT trajectory formulation started the second Daisy picked up her keys.

She said: “We’re leaving the back open for Mike, he’s bringing me the Zebra because he’s moving.  But it’s a loaner.  I don’t get to keep it.  Even if it’s a forever loan.”

Daisy rolls her eyes at the stupidity of loaner Zebras vs. non-loaner Zebras.

Well, duh. Zebra’s Are Forever.

“Do you care if we pick up my dry cleaning on the way?”, Daisy asks.

“No. I’m good with dry cleaning.”  I pack my camera bag into her Jeep. Zebra? I rack my brain.  Who’s Mike?

We’re driving. Her cell rings.  The Jeep answers. I love technology.

“Hey Mike.”, Daisy says, “You have my zebra?”

“I’m still stuck in traffic”, Mike says via the Jeep, “and it’s not YOUR zebra. It’s on LOAN.”

“Whatever”, Daisy says.

“I’m bringing you some throw pillows too. You can keep those.” says Mike, “or throw ’em.”

I’m feeling the need for a zebra.  And some throw pillows.  Maybe even dry cleaning. I wonder how I can get a Mike.  My life would be seriously improved by a guy who would drop off a zebra and some throw pillows while I visited my horse.

At some point while Daisy is in the dry cleaners, my throat starts to close up and I realize I’m having an allergic reaction. Daisy comes back with garment bags, and I ask her if I could be allergic to this plastic thingie on the dash. She snatches it and throws it out the window.  Ta Da. Problem solved.  I start breathing again. Daisy deals. I love Daisy.

I probably would have talked about it until I croaked.

We catch up on all the important stuff, like the backstory of Zebra rights (I don’t bother to ask if the zebra is a sculpture, photo, painting, or live zebra that will be clopping around Daisy’s kitchen when we return, rummaging in the vegetable drawer in the fridge.) Work, Murphy, Barbie, life, Hudson.

I pay zero attention to the route.  Rolling hills.  Grape vines.  Wineries. I have a vague idea where we’re going.  It’s not all that far from this incredible bakery on the square in Healdsburg? Which I’m certain I could find blindfolded in a hurricane. Or if Daisy stopped the car now and shoved me out.

We wind down the road through vineyards to the barn. Here and there paddocks interrupt the acres of wine grapes, the paddocks gradually taking over. Very South-of-France-ish. Olive trees. Is that lavender?

I see Murphy on a little hill.  Oh thank God.  Standard horse ID test: I can still pick him out of a crowd from a moving car. If you can pick ’em out in a drive by, you are definitely still their Auntie. I’m flooded with relief.  I missed him.

Oh. So THAT’S how this gate opens…

This is our size-check photo.  Remember, he’s two. And Daisy 5’11”.

You can see the adult horse peeking out.

My ears are forward because my mom is throwing grass in the air. GRASS. What is wrong with her?
That vine is almost in reach…one more sneaky step…

We’re horse people, we have to see both sides:

This is stupid. Take the picture.

He’s still the same little friendly foal who wants to see the camera lens. Give or take 1,000 pounds.


After not quite enough time annoying Murphy by draping my body over his, smooching his muzzle, and asking a thousand times if he remembers Auntie Jane (face it, it’s never going to be enough time, right?) we have to pack up and go home. Oh well. I’m looking forward to meeting the loaner zebra.

Daisy says, “Hey, wanna stop for a salad at The Crazy Chicken?”

Unfortunately this activates the rarely used science center in my brain. Which, once it gets going, won’t stop until it feels it has exhaused all analytical conclusions: Is there such a thing as a sane chicken? Would someone ever name a restaurant, in which one eats chicken, “The Sane Chicken”? How about “The Well-Adjusted Chicken”? “The Perfectly Normal Chicken”?

I imagine ordering a chicken salad in front of my friend the psychotherapist.  “It’s okay!  This chicken is certified wacko.”

“Sounds great!”, I say, hoping Daisy doesn’t notice the long pause.

I think we can easily see how Road Trips with any combo of Daisy, Bella, and Jane turn into wormholes in the space/time continuum, rushing us past Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Buster Posey, and The Goat Mafia, only to drop us off at…The Perfectly Normal Chicken.

Excellent salad. Yummy insane chicken.

I meet the Zebra:


Definitely worth four years of Daisy teasing a good friend for hanging rights. Even as a loaner.

I’m about to start bugging Daisy to loan me the loaner Zebra. The good news? This could become very “Who’s on first…?” if someone else starts bugging me to loan them the loaner zebra.  Eventually everyone except Daisy will forget where it originally came from, and she can claim it back. Forever.

Daisy? Thank my logic center. (It likes cake.)

Did you know there’s a bakery really close to your new barn…?

Jane’s Hiring: Must Be Good With Convolution, One-Trackness, and Brain Routing

My friends are  professionally accomplished, and have big important jobs.  Using classic Under-Achiever logic, I feel I don’t need to do more with my life, because they are doing so much. It’s kind of like I’m achieving by association. (Keep up the good work, guys! I like feeling important.)

The big important jobs happen in the big important city. Super Achieving friends have major commute. Months-without-sleep kind of commutes.

They never whine. I never hear about freezing at the bus stop at 3 am or the four hours a day some friends spend driving back and forth to their jobs.

I’m only on day three of driving back and forth to San Francisco. (I do not get to call it a commute: by the time I hit the freeway, everyone is finally up to the speed limit, I have an “ish” arrival time, and I do not have to apply mascara at an ungodly hour.) Annoyingly, I still want to whine.

I don’t have to be functional when Tokyo comes online. I just have to stay in my lane.

The Under-Achiever in me feels super important about how well I stay in my lane.

Re-wiring issue #1: No Whining.  I think we all understand why it’s imperative to keep Jane from whining about the drive. She’d like to keep her friendships.

Re-wiring issue #2: Because my usual commute involves a short hallway and bunny slippers, my brain believes driving to San Francisco is a Road Trip.  If you regularly follow this blog, you immediately know why this is a bad thing.  If my brain continues to send out Mayday “Road Trip” signals, I will never fit into my skinny jeans again.

Yesterday I needed more caffeine to keep up my excellent lane-management skills.  I stopped at a gas station for a diet Coke. Twenty-seven seconds of aisle-frenzy later, I was sitting in my car staring at a candy bar (love),  vinegar potato chips (hate), a pack of gum (?) and a diet Coke. All for the low, low gas station price of fifteen bucks.

Amend the above: if I don’t stop the Road Trip mentality, I will be fat and broke. I yell at my brain.

Jane: This is not a Road Trip!

Brain: I know. Sheesh. What was THAT all about?

Jane: Um. Shouldn’t you know what that was all about?

Brain: Nope. Sorry. Take it to a shrink. Not my job.

Jane: C’mon! You’re the brain, you’re in charge!

Brain: Hello. Obviously I am not in charge.  Look down.  Vinegar chips.  9:30 am.  I rest my case.

I have to concede the point. It knows I don’t like vinegar potato chips. In fact, I can’t remember my brain ever suggesting I buy them.


IT Position: Laid back company with “ish” mentality, welcomes driven, proven, IT managers with systems routing experience. Must have current psychotherapy license, sense of humor, patience, and strong “Mother says NO” attitude capabilities. Fast reflexes a must: light duty cellophane bag snatching is required.  Salary commensurate with results.

Any takers…?

Jane Plays Donkey Chess, and Plans a Donkey Abduction

Daisy and I are checking out a facility for a friend who rides endurance, to see if it’s worth her making the trip to visit the place. It’s an Endurance barn with a capital T.

As we get out of the car, we see a trailer being loaded nearby, and hear this:

“Yep. Going to the Tevis again this year, how bout you?”

Reply: “Oh yeah, we’re in. Gotta go – loading  up for a quickie 50, see you later…”

While the facility is relatively close to where we live, it’s way off the beaten track, in the middle of country that looks like this:

FYI, those are thirty to forty foot tall trees, not bushes.

The barn itself is homey and funky, a gigantic old livestock barn brought back to new life. It’s repurposed and well organized, with soaring ceiling and shafts of light. It smells like saddle soap, hay, leather cleaner and warm wood.  There are only a few horses in stalls. There is a lean and muscular horse bucking, trotting and squealing in the round pen.

The owner introduces herself, and follows our gaze. “We have to turn him out in a small area first.” The gelding breaks into an easy canter. “He’s 35, and we don’t want him to immediately gallop off.  He might slip.  So we take the edge off first.”

Thirty Five? He’s sound, muscled, and looks in his teens. Daisy figures out from the barn owner that it’s a horse she knew from 25 years ago. This is his retirement home.

The owner slides back a big interior barn door, and we see a room the size of a gymnasium, full of comfy sofas, oriental rugs, bookcases, trophy shelves, and the kind of coffee table  you can put your muddy boots on.  “This is available to all our boarders year round, but we have a Yoga for Equestrians Instructor here on Monday and Wednesday nights.” I mentally check the mileage. Could I make Monday and Wednesdays?

The owner tells us about summer pasture, winter pasture, and the criteria they look at when deciding it’s time to move them for the season. She says: “Let’s go take a look”.

Daisy and I prepare to walk.

Laughing, the owner dangles keys to an industrial looking vehicle. Imagine a Monster Golf Cart, with a truck bed, roll bar, and 4 wheel drive. I get in back. Daisy is better at reporting the details our friend will want to know. I’ll go on for hours about trees and rocks.

The diesel engine roars to life.

Within seconds, it’s apparent why we are not walking.

Continue reading “Jane Plays Donkey Chess, and Plans a Donkey Abduction”

A Roping We Have Gone…

The title is a bit of a misnomer. (You might want to get a cup of coffee, this is a bit longer than usual.)

Hudson and I were invited to watch Bella’s roping practice.  Hudson’s been bored, I was thrilled, and he would LOVE going.

I felt some high-school type anxiety: would I fit in (wearing a helmet), ride well enough, do something stupid because I didn’t know any better?  All these people have known Hudson longer than I have.  Would they find me worthy enough to be Hudson’s new owner?  Bella texted me: I didn’t need to bring anything, she had all the tack I’d need in her trailer. A very kind way of saying lose the dressage saddle. Bless you, Bella.

I also had a smidge of loading apprehension: I haven’t loaded a horse into a trailer for years. Never in a slant load.  I’ve always owned horses (with the exception of Mr. Chips) who viewed trailers as the secret club house of all chain saw wielding serial killers.

I leaned on Bella. I handed Hudson to her to load. I could have saved myself the anxiety.

Hudson didn’t walk into the trailer: he jumped into it with glee.  He would have run over Bella to GET INSIDE NOW, if he didn’t know what that would get him. She threw the lead rope over his jigging back and leapt back.  Hudson put his weight on his haunches and launched himself into the trailer, leaping in with both front feet like a hunter taking off for a fence, pulling both rear feet up neatly behind him.

“I see he’s awful to load”, I say.  I’m holding Dinero, who is up next.  He’s standing placidly in front of the open back.

“Terrible”, she says, shoving Hudson’s happy butt sideways so she can close the divider.  Hudson buries his head hungrily in the alfalfa.  I have the distinct impression that given the choice, he’d live in the trailer.

Bella steps aside in the doorway.  “Just throw the lead over Dinero, will you?”  The minute the rope hits Dinero’s back he hoofs himself up past Bella and into the trailer with no guidance.  Bella hooks him up, checks latches and we close to go.

I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.  Two horses loaded, tied and ready to roll in under 60 seconds.  They like it in there.  I need to take Loading 101 over again.

It was a gorgeous drive.  Nothing like living in the middle of California wine country to make you appreciate how good your life is:

Continue reading “A Roping We Have Gone…”

The Mother of All Road Trips

It’s time for Barbie to go get pregnant.  We’re thinking of it as going off to college.  Higher education.  Potential pregnancy.  Same-same.

Did I say that out loud?

I could bore you all with the “reasons” why I in invited myself along:  never been to an AI facility, totally bored with broken ribs, fun with Daisy and Bella, want to see and take scrapbook pics of Barbie in her new digs.  All true.  But you know the real reason, right?   Let’s see, three hours going, an hour there, three hours back.  SEVEN  hours!

Finally, a road trip with eating potential.  That’s at least a Happy Meal.  It would make a Happy Meal look downright modest.  FRIES.

Daisy spends forever (the night before) buffing a mud encrusted Barbie to an other wordly gloss. No arriving at the Fancy Schmancy clinic looking like a horse cutout of The Great Salt Flats.   She’s going to arrive as a show ready hunter.

Timing is tight on moving day. I volunteer to get there early for HazMat duty, in case she rolls.

Continue reading “The Mother of All Road Trips”

Road Trip

One sunny summer Saturday at the barn, Daisy said “I gotta take the girls to the dentist.”

If you’re picturing two cute little kids in pigtails and head to toe pink Hannah Montana outfits…you are SO wrong.   The “girls” were Daisy’s two fillies: a 3yo and a yearling.

Barbie, the TB,  was developmentally equal to a 15 year old girl going through that bratty, sarcastic, mom is SO lame stage, and Lucy, the yearling warmblood, was the equivalent of bratty’s younger sister:  wants to be just like her, steal everything she has, but hates her guts.  And they were going in a little metal box on wheels…together.

“You wanna come?”

Of course I wanted to come!

I’m insatiably curious when it comes to other barns , veterinary facilities, and horse care.  You can learn a lot visiting other facilities.  Um hmmm.

Real reason:   ROAD TRIP.  That means, besides rolled down windows , warm air, and loud music,  road trip food. I was already stocking up in the junk food aisle in my mind.  Maybe we could stop at Burger King.  FRIES.

Continue reading “Road Trip”