Grateful.

I've been vacillating on how exactly I wanted to do this recap post.  Day by day or activity by activity?

Okay, so this is what I'll do, things for which I am grateful:

Archie

We worked every day from Wednesday to Sunday.  I didn't push as hard on Wednesday, because he'd just had his feet done.  Actually, scratch that.  I didn't mean to push that hard, but BO was riding outside of the pasture and Archie lost his shit.  So, I actually had to lunge him and reset his brain.

Every other ride was pretty uneventful.  I don't know why, but I've been a very timid rider lately.  I think it's a loss of confidence, though I can only think of a few things that he's done recently that have been particularly naughty (no one wants to mount a horse that is trembling as he screams with his head in the air, eyes rolling, ears pivoting).  I just.. haven't been pushing.  I should push.  I ride well enough to stay on, dammit.

We've done our normal routine:  some trot, a touch of canter, some small fences.  I had some trot poles set up, but the horses keep knocking them.  So I took a couple tree stumps and made a little jump.  Should have photographed it.

And, shockingly, I have to give BO some credit.  Archie felt weak the day after our jumping.  I asked her to watch his trot and I said that I felt him being a little off in the back end.  Granted she had a fifty-fifty shot of correctly guessing which leg felt funny, she nailed that I thought the right hind was stiff.  In her words, "He isn't participating."  She also asked if I'd be interested in going on a trail ride in December, off the property.  I said sure, but that I didn't know how Shithead would react.  "We can always turn around."

Husband

What, your husband doesn't wake you up at five, the morning after Thanksgiving, to go stand in line somewhere cold?  It's his hunter instinct.  He wants fresh clothing.
Spice Cupcake with a Pumpking Beer.  Does life get any better?
We spent a very quiet, very relaxed T-Day together.  I'd actually gotten a half day on Wednesday, so we met for lunch and beers and just had a good few days off.  Lots of movies and Dr. Who and cupcakes.  Always, the cupcakes.  :)  For the actual day, I just made my one dish, modified from this recipe, except changed because I don't like dead things or fungus and canned biscuits are so much easier to make than things from scratch.  Other than that, yeah, totally the same recipe.  It was edible!
The tinfoil is his dead bird.

Actually really, really good!
We went Black Friday shopping on Thursday (we are those people killing the festive spirit!) and again on Friday and found some good deals, but nothing like we were hoping.  I was hoping to get a new TV for the bedroom (even though I've always sworn that I wouldn't be the type with a TV in there, I actually love it).  Instead, I got clothes and blue appliances and gloves.  Yeah, I think that's it.

A lot of time was spent cuddling with the kittens or playing with the kittens.  And he helped me take photos again.  He's becoming a master of reading my body language - like when I'm frustrated that he let a dog walk out of a perfectly good shadow to stand instead in the blazing noon sun.

And we had our "annual self-photo shoot."  This year was about a million times better than last year, when I didn't take clothing into consideration.  This year, we both looked good.  And, though he told me not to, I'm totally going to share the bloopers.

Family & Friends

I didn't get to see anyone, but one of my brothers and I texted.  Mom and I texted and talked.  Dad texted.  We'll see them all at Christmas.  Let the chaos ensue.

And the fur family?  Still great.  The kittens are pretty much a part of the pride now.  Savannah is still neurotically trying to play with them and clean them and love them.  Sometimes she'll just get popped in the nose for her efforts.  But Lili is showing her face again and Lizzie actually lays down with them.
She's a big kitty.
Lizzie looking drunk and Rory looking disturbed.
As far as friends go, I don't have a lot.  I think, a year ago, I had more.  Or closer, at least.  But I'm incredibly grateful that I do have a list of people that I can talk to and occasionally rely on.  And, of course, it helps to live with my best friend.

Health

It's official:  I squatted 140 pounds.  That's a small adult.  Hubs also taught me to dead lift and do a bicep curl with a shaped bar thing.  It looks like a W.  I've been obsessed with a couple YouTube videos, ShitSoccerGirlsSay 1 and 2, and they are doing ginormous bicep bar curls.  I told him that I wanted to be able to do that.

I've also listened to my body and scaled down my intentions for this weekend.  I won't be running the Double Pump, just the 10k.  "Just", even though I know six miles is a lot for some people.  So, I've been back out at the track again.  People are walking, all bundled up in winter coats and hats, and I slug by them in a tank top, sweating profusely.  I've just been having some intense pain in my hip flexors lately.  D and I will be working abs tonight, to hopefully help that out some.

Creativity

I think that just about anyone could do what I do; pressing the shutter isn't difficult.  Reading and figuring out what looks good?  Small bit of talent or just knowledge retention?  Regardless, even if I'm not getting paid for it, I'm thankful that I've got a place to go to take the photos that I love to take: there are no children, no grumpy adults, no pressures.  Just me, the camera, and a furry kid who wants a new home.

But I think I'm getting better at it, too.  I'm learning, via trial and error, about light and attention and how to get the best angle on a dog that won't sit still.  To showcase personality by listening to what the animal wants to share and then portraying that with my camera.  It's overwhelming, sometimes.

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