la la la, what do you mean I have a deadline at work?

stalinWithout fail, when I have a very high pressure deadline, I start reading a really interesting, really long book.  I’m sure it’s just a coping mechanism, but I am equally sure it looks like craziness. I’ve pick up Stalin before, but I got distracted by some BookGeeks books, and it spent some time languishing on my shelf.  Not because it wasn’t fascinating, because it is, and tremendously well-written, but I’m fairly certain there was a David Eddings and random young-adult-lit craving in between then and now, and it just wasn’t the right time to read the book.

Now, though, now that I need to write a 6,000 word article by Tuesday, well, now I really feel like some gritty Russian history. Unexpected, I know, but it’s really engrossing right now watching everyone run around in response to some of the truly terrible policies they were busy implementing while he was in charge.  I suppose it’s partially about perspective.  (If I think I’m stressed, imagine what day to day life at that point must have been like). I think that it’s also so divorced from what I’m experiencing that it’s easy to forget about everything else I’ve got going on when I read it, making it quite a successful distraction.

The second most successful distraction in my life (well, after my husband) would have to be the horses. I am so glad that I’m back to my four day a week riding schedule with Moss. The holidays were nice, and the extra sleep was nice, but seeing the sun rise Thursday morning on my hack was just one of those things that seems to make life solid and happy. There was no one else on the farm ride, and Moss just relaxed, stretched his giraffe’s-would-be-jealous-neck out, and ambled around.  He’s easily the happiest horse I’ve ever ridden, happy to be in work, happy to be on a hack, happy to snuffle through pockets for mints.  He’s still got the thoroughbred edge, which is what keeps me interested, but there is something about a horse that sincerely seems to be enjoying himself that is gratifying and confidence building.  I’ve been working lately on getting him really motoring around and going forward-forward-forward.  Suddenly, I’ve got this huge powerful horse on my hands, and we’re magically able to work on collection (before we’d unlocked the motor, he’d always strongly objected to any sort of compression in his stride).  Next I need to work on his downward transitions, as I think I’m too hesitant to really demand them.

I keep considering writing a review instead of going back to the paper, but I think I’ll save that for a reward for myself after I finish the edits on the paper.

Sigh. And now, back to the typing and editing of the paper.

Moss: the 17h TB with a walnut brain

horseI’ve settled into Cheshire Riding School nicely, partially because they have lessons that run into the early evening, so I can ride even if I don’t get off work until after 5pm. I started out with one group lesson and have managed to worm my way into a private and a loan (the titular walnut brain), so I’m quite pleased.  The vibe at the riding school is good so far, less tense than many places I’ve been, and I will admit to being a bit starry eyed over the all-weather gallops they have.  Between that and the the gorgeous TB stride that Moss showed off on a hack, I was easily convinced to loan him. And, because he doesn’t jump, it means I still get to ride other horses when we jump in lessons, something I really enjoy.

The loan started two weeks ago, so I’ve been riding five times a week (instead of the three I usually did).  The two rides on my own in the arena were only okay (I am certainly out of practice in the riding without instruction thing!), but the hack was…genius. I went  before work, so the yard was suuuuper quiet, and we had the farm ride all to ourselves.  Moss doesn’t get to go out often ( I don’t think he’s been out on a hack without me riding him in months), and he absolutely loves it. Steps out with ears straight ahead and absolutely flings himself into a trot that I think is actually impossible to sit. It’s nearly impossible to post! He was on the buckle about 90% of the time, and for a supposedly flighty TB, he really showed himself to be a solid citizen. We are certainly doing that at least once a week! Weather allowing, I suppose. (Especially as today it is freezing. I am crossing my fingers for Tuesday morning being the one “nice” morning we have this week. Although as long as the sun is out like it is today, I’m sure it will go well.) Continue reading

skyscrapers, booksellers, and school horses

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to go to a physics’ work party (not my work party…but hey, scientists generally throw good ones) that was held on the 43rd floor of the Hilton, the tallest building in Manchester (by a “wide margin” according to Wikipedia). The views were excellent; pizza was consumed in copious amounts, and the beer was cold. It was also fun to get a look into what is definitely one of the premier addresses in Manchester. The views are amazing, but we’ll probably stick with our quieter, cheaper, flat for the time being. Although being able to see the (now under renovation) Central Library (it’s that circular building on the left of the photo) from above was seriously cool. I still can’t believe that that was my public library. The new one isn’t as impressive on the outside, but it’s equally gorgeous on the inside. So cool.

The second highlight of the weekend was a new book, a new series, and a new author. (Colin) Bateman’s Mystery Man is one of the funniest books I’ve ever run across. The combination of random references to classic detective novels, what must be one of the few laugh-out-loud grammar jokes in literary fiction, and an unnamed, totally wacky, detective made it the highlight of my month, if only for quotes like this one (prompted by our not-so-intrepid detective trying to deny both that his store is named “No Alibis” and that its motto is “Murder is our business”.)

Noahbylies–yes, indeed. It’s an….Elvish word. Elvish for bookshop. We specialise in science fiction and fantasy novels. You know, Lord of the Rings. Mordor is our business.

Hee. Continue reading