Wednesday, May 23, 2012


First off, I apologize for this post. I went to work for a half-day, it was hot outside on the way back, and what do you know, but I have Woodchucks hard cider in the refrigerator. So now I have 12 ounces of that at 5% alcohol in my bloodstream and haven't eaten lunch... follow along and do the math! Or let the nearest cop do it! I bet they can do it in their heads.

But the thing you should take from that isn't the strange feeling of my brain trying to float out of my skull, but the fact that now I have a job! Buying the hard cider was in celebration. I just picked up a position at Valvoline Instant Oil Change.

A step up from food service? In my opinion. A good job? In my opinion. I get that it is still an entry level job, but it isn't food service... and I like the idea of doing oil change. It's mechanical in nature and I like things like that. I've always been interested in putting things together and fixing stuff, but I wanted to be unique and my little brother is now a helicopter mechanic out with the Marines in Afghanistan... so if anyone in the family was the fix-it person, it was him. And, you know, I'm a girl.

But that aside, they pay better starting than what I ended at Panera, they have seven holidays to Panera's two, they are closed Sundays (the one I'm at is), and they seem a lot nicer and a lot more chill. I was at work only a half day today, but it felt like I was hanging out. Even with cars to work on, it didn't feel that much like actual work.

Oh, I know it's all new and shiny (or dirty with engine grime, as the case may be), but it still seems like it would be better, even after the 100th or 1000th car. Better than asking 300 people a day if they want a drink with their meal. I know it gets busier, but I've been in busy situations and you just have to take it a step a time.

I think I could do this. And maybe in a year or so, if I don't still love it, I'll find something else to learn. But I like where I'm at right now.

My adopted grandfather-in-law said something along the lines of, "that seems a strange sort of thing for a girl to do. But we heard you liked that."

"I'm a strange sort of person," I replied.

I'm living my Mercy Thompson (urban fantasy, Patricia Briggs, my favorite) fantasy. I have oil under my boy-short nails.

I've also always been a bit of a boy, in some things. I don't wear makeup, but I get proud when I get oil under my nails, blisters, and make my knuckles bruise and bleed from boxing. This might be just the place for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Linsey's Plant Manifesto

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I have taken many lives today. But with God's help, I will not use a weed-whacker again.

I don't like weed-whacking, even if all the lives taken were of green matter so low, that my mother-in-law won't even deign to call them "plants." Apparently, that special title is reserved for the green things that are wanted.

Poor little non-plants.

Anyway, a death sentence hangs over all non-plant vegetable matter in my mother-in-law's garden and yard, especially the ones next to trees and buildings and the like that cannot be mowed. Sneaky little usurpers. It's that sort of anarchic behavior that calls for a brand new bright orange weed-whacker.

Ok, so I don't feel the same way. I like some long grass around trees, I think it looks nice. Kind of like how I think hair in strict ponytails looks better with a few tendrils escaping on the sides. I've always had a more chaotic preference when it comes to lawns. Whenever someone says their lawn needs to be mowed, I look at it and think it looks nice the way it is. But this isn't my lawn, so it doesn't matter. It is Michelle's, and she can have her lawn the way she wants it.

Expect, I was working for her. And David had the more manly job of chopping down a tree that I will have to hold a funeral for later (it looked plenty alive to me!). Armed with a very noisy bright orange death bringer, I set out to force order upon the lawn. The lawn that looked as though it needed to be mowed again (not my standard) even though I just mowed it three days ago!

But back to forcing order. In the beginning, I was just doing a job. It was clearing debris, snipping hair, or some other task of making things look neat. But the loss of plant life was taking it's toll. About the time I had to whack a group of perfectly innocent purple flowers at the base of one tree, I was sorry. My conscious was laden with the innocent grass-like things adorning the bases of trees. But I had a job to do, and I pressed on.

After that, I needed conditioning. I couldn't just keep killing and remain the same. So I got angry at the plants. Why were they making me kill them? Didn't they know better? Didn't they ever consider that under the trees was a bad spot? Stupid poor dying non-plant things.

Finally, I thought I had hit every tree on the lawn. Personally, if I had that many trees, I'd let them keep their plant adornments. And supposedly Michelle is the only person at that residence that does weed-whack around the trees. The kids just do the fence in the front yard.

So I put the death-thing away and went on to the other tasks. We rounded the shed to hook an ill-fated auger to the tractor, and Michelle pointed out some knee-high plant life in an area behind the shed and the horse yard, rife with junk and other not-junk stuff that was sitting in the way. "That will need to be weed-whacked too," she said.

"It's David's turn," I replied. My hands were still vibrating in their gloves. And I think whacking that portion that isn't even lawn yet is superfluous. You should know David probably won't do it, either, but he is her son and can get away with just being stubborn. He wasn't even going to cover the trees.

I also spend some time weeding Michelle's garden of various non-plant plant-resembling things. And I've decided something. If I ever put effort into a garden, the effort is going to go into specifically designing it to exist with minimal effort. And maybe I like some of those weeds.

All this to say, I would suck in the army. I can barely kill plants.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Horse is a Horse

I'm sorry but I really had nothing to say! Not a thing! That's what I get for posting all my book reviews on Goodreads now. I'm coming to realize I like action/adventure books with a budding romance and maybe some mystery. I should just surrender to the young adult genre.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about.

I wanted to talk about horses! Don't all little girls love horses? Want a pony for Christmas? Frolic about pretending to be one?

Well, while I did like horses (and pretended to be one, frequently. I was an imaginative child.), I never actually wanted one. I think even as a child, I had an idea about how much they pooped. And I lived in an apartment...

But, I do know one girl who is living the horsey dream, as she is fourteen and has not one, but TWO horses. She is my sister-in-law, Emily Gravlin.

That is Emily and one of her horses named (deep breath) Folly Bug Sue Can Do. Not kidding. Apparently horses like carrying around their sire's name, and I think that's one of those words there. And horse naming is just ridiculous. Emily's other horse has the much more sensible name of Twigs. Course, she isn't horse royalty, like this one here. Sue here has a pretty good bloodline and is also a trained barrel horse. Which is why Emily is in the location pictured.

The location pictured is an indoor arena somewhere on the Iowa State Fairgrounds hosting a fancy-pants horse event. I say that because it is nothing like a rodeo and has mostly highly boring English riding events, with the rodeo-style barrels and poles tacked on to the end as "speed-events."

Here's how I would choose between styles, if someone was offering to teach me one: Which has the coolest hat? And that is Western, hands down. Cowboy hats vs black velvety helmets. Then look at the rest of the outfit. Button-up vs standard high-neck navy blue jacket. Jeans vs tan leggings. Cowboy boots vs knee-high black boots. Well, actually I think their boots were the only thing not bad about their outfit, but still can't beat cowboy boots.

Not to mention, I like the pommel of the saddle. Like an emergency handle.

Now, rodeo vs fancy-pants horse event. If you've even been to a rodeo, you know they are conducted loudly, with blaring pop music, rodeo clowns, and large crowds of cheering country people in blue jeans, cowboys hats, and strangely stylish bling tops on the girls.

This event had under thirty people watching and was conducted in almost complete silence. And most of the English events (that I saw) consisted of like four to seven girls in the same blue coats and tan leggings walking, trotting, and cantering around the ring.

Hey, the snack bar sells strawberry daiquiris!

Rodeos have crazy events that involve lots of speed and danger. I saw a guy break his leg while riding a bull.
Crazy bucking broncs and bulls, roping cows, racing... yeah.

Not like I'm really comfortable with either. All my hours of pretending to be a horse did not unlock horse whispering or any sort of higher understanding for those creatures. Riding them is like riding a bike with attitude. But I find horse events fun because it's like looking into someone else's world, a blast from the past that had cowboys. I'm a city kid, and rodeos are distinctly country. But hey, always fun. And Em might give me the beads from her broken cowboy hat strings... cool stuff for my hair!