Thursday, December 31, 2009

Do YOU Know Where Your Owner's Manuals Are?


Seriously, it's been seven days since Christmas. Do YOU know where your owner's manuals are? You know, those encyclopedia-sized texts written in at least two languages (but more often six or seven) that come with your new toys? The toys you got for Christmas.

You DID see them in the box didn't you? I'm sure you had to dig through them to get to the prize. Ahhh, the camera you wanted! Now, how do you use it?

They might have been wrapped in plastic to protect you would READ them!

They had tables of content and indexes so you would READ them!

They came complete with safety warnings and quick tips for you would READ them!

If you must take a break from your manual search curl up with a good book by a good man --- Mark Rashid's Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Developing Consistency, Dependability, Trust and Peace of Mind Between Horse and Rider

So, all kidding aside (yeah, right!), look for those owner's manuals. They could be the difference between enjoying an awesome present you have now...and "re-gifting" that item next Christmas.

Happy New Year from everyone two and four legged at WhereMyHeartLives!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

National Winter Pasture Beautification Day

December 21st was the first day of Winter. From that day on the sun stays around a minute or two longer each day....woo-hooo! Just in time though 'cause winter pastures are looking a little pitiful this time of year. I, and other like-minded horse keepers, throw flake upon flake, bale upon bale of hay out to the poor, starving FAT four-leggeds. And it collects.

So I proclaim (roughly any day in the month of December) National Winter Pasture Beautification Day! Gather your wheelbarrows ladies and gents. Arm yourselves with rakes and pickers. Bundle up against the 25 m.p.h. wind and bitter cold. Put a smile on your face and head out to the mess in your pasture. Lastly, don't forget to draft some help from the equines.

When the call to action went out at my place two trusty souls stepped up --- Otis and Pete. (Quaker asked to be excused this year as he was busy growing more winter coat!)

The work commenced. I raked and I raked. The wind blew and the hay swirled back to it's starting place. Grrr...

Pete had to taste the hay one more time to be sure it was "waste". Yup, blah.

What could have taken 20 minutes took more than an hour because of the wind....and the cheap laborers who had hired on.

OK, you two. Help like this I do NOT need! I have a teensy, tiny piece of "goodwill to men" left over from Christmas. I guess you can have, get outta here!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Halleluia" on Steroids

Ohhhh, myyyyyy, gossssssssssh!

A very clever rendition of the famous "Halleluia" chorus! These high school students, and their music teacher of course, are waaaay kewl for Christmas 2009.

I will never, ever listen to this music again without remembering these "monks" and their placards.

Merry Christmas Everyone from WhereMyHeartLives!

Enjoy (and, turn it UP! Your boss won't mind...the ole Scrooge!):

Silent Monks Singing "Halleluia"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reindeer Reservists

Every Christmas it's touch and go with Santa and his reindeer. He has his regular, full duty know, the Dasher and Prancer crew? But with life being what it is, sometimes, just sometimes Santa needs a helping, hoof.

So we train. The horses and Pete standby to help Santa deliver all his presents --- from Burbank to Boston and Bismarck to Bixoli. Before the call comes from the North Pole, training starts with costuming. And the antler thing always presents a problem.

If you're a donkey you kinda already have antlers. They're just ears, of course, and fuzzy like antlers but not the correct russet brown color. Santa insists on antlers, though, so we do what we can to help out the old guy.

Pete, where do those antlers go? Behind the ears? In front? Get it right, dude.

Raider, having completed a stint in service to his main man Santa, stepped right up and showed the barn how it was done.

This year the challenge was with the rookie, Quaker. When asked if he would serve his reaction was predictable --- a rousing "YES!"

Difficulties mounted with the antler accoutrement. First it was on, then it was off. Geesh, it gave a new meaning to "eight second ride"!

So we begged and pleaded and threatened. We told Quaker how important it was to train to be a reindeer on the outside chance Santa might need him on Christmas Eve. The antlers went back on and were tossed off again and again.

Finally (gulp) we promised him the point position in Santa's hitch. That did it!

Sorry Rudolph...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanks for the "Thanks"

The memorial service for the four slain Lakewood, Washington police officers is over.

Over twenty thousand mourners attended the service at the Tacoma Dome with remote viewings held at local colleges. Churches held private viewings of the memorial service so on-duty officers could stop by. Law enforcement officers from across our country attended along with more than one thousand Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It was a bittersweet tribute to the fallen officers in particular and law enforcement in general.

Thousands paid their respects as they lined the processional route in below freezing temperatures. Signs held simply said "Thank You" and children waved small American flags. Sunny skies prevailed as the four-mile-long procession of a thousand police and fire vehicles slowly made it's way, taking almost four hours to complete the route.

The shooting has impacted me in many ways. Sadness has trumped every emotion but one. Gratitude.

The display of gratitude started the day after the shooting...people looking at me in a different way. Little smiles. Nods of the head. Eyes glanced at the black mourning band covering my badge.

A man approached me in the courthouse the next day, tears streaming down his face. All he was able to get out was, "Sorry, so sorry. Thank you."

A woman stood next to me a day later at the bank. I was on my lunch break and in uniform. She reached in her purse and pulled out a small silver police badge. She showed it to me lovingly. It had been her father's. She thanked me for serving.

Yesterday while the memorial service was underway a man stood before my desk. He asked if he might shake my hand. I don't usually shake hands with my job, it's an officer safety issue. But I did. I gladly shook his hand. He squeezed mine and thanked me for protecting him and his family.

Today, the day after the thousands gathered to honor my fallen comrades, I am honored. A young lady stepped up to my desk, tears in her eyes, and thanked me for doing my job. We shook hands.

I fought back tears...not due to sadness this time but because of the gratitude expressed to me by those people over the last week.

I am reminded there are more "good guys" in the world than "bad guys". Thanks for the "Thanks".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cold Blooded Murder x 4

Sorry folks, I just need to "vent" a little. I've been off my blog for a few days because of events nearby that have made me not too cheery or "bloggy".

I've been a law enforcement officer for over 22 years. Everyday I'm honored to do my job and I'm glad to be a member of the profession. I'm totally devastated when my brothers and sisters, who also "serve and protect", die at the hands of a cold blooded murderer.

I'm referring to the murder of the four Lakewood, Washington police officers while they gathered Sunday morning. They sat at a local coffee shop with laptops open, reviewing reports and getting ready for the start of their shift. Ambushed, shot execution style, three died immediately. One officer pursued the suspect, shooting and wounding him. The suspect fired one last time, finishing his horrifying deed, leaving four dead at the scene.

A manhunt ensued. Every heart of every police officer in the area beat faster. The suspect's picture was kept close at hand. Blood pressures rose, nerves were on edge. The collective family of law enforcement worried as their loved ones worked the streets. Searching, searching.

The suspect was found this morning in Seattle, driving a stolen car. The manhunt ended. There will be no one to prosecute for the murders of the Lakewood officers.

When a police officer is killed in the line of duty it's tradition among the departments to wear a black band across the badge on their uniform. The band is worn until midnight of the day of the officer's memorial service. Yesterday I put the mourning band on my badge, again.

Again? Just four weeks ago I wore the band for a Seattle Police officer who was gunned down while he sat in his patrol car, with his recruit, on Halloween night.

Some would say it's not a good time to be a cop around here. As frightening as each day may be, I would have to disagree. To me, the feeling of satisfaction I get serving my community outweighs the risk.

Officer Ronald Owens. Officer Tina Griswold. Officer Greg Richards. Sgt. Mark Renninger.

End of Watch: November 29, 2009

Rest in peace comrades. Rest in peace.

Folks following my blog...


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