Review: The Girl Who Rode the Wind by Stacy Gregg

May Contain Spoilers


I noticed The Girl Who Rode the Wind while trolling the shelves of my local library.  How could I ignore a book with a horse on the cover?  When I read that the book features Italy’s Palio, the world’s oldest, most dangerous horse race, I had to check it out.  I had just seen a video short about the race, and I’d read about it when I was a kid.  I have always found the race interesting, so I couldn’t wait to read this.

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Not Much Fun – A Night at AEC

I am a sleepy dog!

Well, we kicked off the holiday weekend in dramatic fashion, which seems to be becoming a habit around here. After a lovely day of running around town, stocking up on flashlights and water softener salt, we had a very tasty lunch at Steve and Rocky’s.  Then I met Jen and Mike at the mall for a little shopping.  The three of us finished off our evening gorging on sushi and tempura at Happy Sushi.   Then things took a turn for crap.

Back home, I was settling in for some blogging when I happened to notice that Buu had developed a growth the size of a golf ball on his front leg.  This instantly set me into a panic, as it ballooned up during the day.  He has a permanent scab on that leg from nervous licking when we aren’t home, a habit he’s had since we adopted him.  Guessing that an infection flared up, I started looking for the number for the emergency vet.  I was afraid to leave it be until the morning because it was so big.  Helpful hint for pet owners; make sure you have the emergency clinic’s phone number hanging on the fridge along with the number to your regular vet.

Getting Buu and Dean loaded up into the car, we arrived at the clinic a little after nine.  We didn’t get back home until 12:45!  I am so tired.

Because Buu is dog aggressive, they took us to a room right away.  Something must be up with the local area pets, because the clinic was very busy.  We first saw the vet at about 10:30, and he scared the complete crap out of me.  After aspirating  the area, he wanted to take x-rays to make sure that the growth wasn’t invading his bones.  Then he mentioned the “c” word, which completely threw me into a tizzy.  It was a very tense forty-five minutes until he came back with his diagnosis.  It was indeed an abscess, (whew!) and he wanted to drain it and then send us home.

His wrapped leg, dirty from collapsing in the driveway.

They had to sedate Buu to do the procedure, and the vet tech came and told us later that there was a lot of foul smelling fluid in his leg.  After they drained it, they cleaned it out, wrapped it up, and sent us home with a bag of medications.  This is when the real fun began.

It was raining softly when we left, and getting Buu into the car was an amusing sight. He was still groggy from the sedatives, and he just couldn’t summon the energy to hop into my Jeep Liberty.  Good thing we didn’t take the Explorer.  We finally got him in, just before Dean was going to resort to picking him up, and off we went. 

At home, things became very stressful.  Buu was too groggy to get out of the car!  Then, after we finally got him out without hurting him, he just slumped over onto the wet pavement and wouldn’t move!  Try getting a 116 lb Rottie to stand up!  He was like a limb noodle, and I was getting progressively panicky about getting him into the house.   Dean could have picked him up, if we could have gotten the dog to stand up for a second,  but he refused to move.  I think at this point I was just about in tears, because the dog was getting wet in the rain, and I was so tired. 

Dean finally had a brilliant idea.  He went into the garage and grabbed a tarp.  We carefully maneuvered the beast onto the plastic, and then we dragged him into the garage.  There’s a step into the garage, and of course he still wouldn’t get up!  With me pulling and Dean lifting the back of the tarp, we got him over to the steps into the house.  Once the door was open, Buu got up and climbed the steps on his own power.  Then he walked over to his blanket and collapsed.  He hasn’t done anything other that lift his head briefly since then.  It took about half an hour to get him into the house!  I think the clinic should have kept him a couple of hours before sending him home!  If Dean hadn’t been there, I never would have been able to get him into the house!

Since we didn’t want to even try to get him upstairs, Dean made a little nest of comforters and the two of them crashed downstairs.  This morning, Buu’s a tiny bit more alert.  He’s sitting up, at any rate.  I’m worried that he’s a little dehydrated, because he drooled a lake at the clinic, but he doesn’t seem interested in water.  Or greenies, his favorite thing in the universe next to his ring toy. 

Here’s some info on his condition, which is called a lick granuloma abscess

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Happy Birthday, Buu!!

This is totally off topic, but today is BuuBoo Baby’s birthday!! 

Buu is our Rottweiler; we adopted him from an animal rescue four years ago today.  When he first moved in with us, he was sick and 50 pounds underweight, and wary of strangers.  He was found wandering around Ingham County, eating out of trash bins and somehow avoiding being hit by cars.  He had been abused; he shied away anytime someone tried to pet him on the head.  He was so sick that he almost died at the Ingham County Animal Shelter, because the vet there doesn’t believe in inoculating his charges against kennel cough.  While under his care, Buu became sick, and would have died if Arlene from the Rottweiler Rescue of Michigan hadn’t heard about him, and freed him from his death sentence.

We had just been forced to end the suffering of our Doberman, KC.  She had congenital heart failure, and a horrible, raw tumor in the roof of mouth.  I loved her dearly, and still cry when think about her.  Dean didn’t want another dog yet, but I did.  The house was so empty without the sound of toenails scratching on the floor and the cheerful jingle of dog tags.  He finally agreed to let me get another dog, and we decided to save one, to make up for not being able to save our KC.  Our vet referred the rescue to us, and the rest is history. 

Buu was supposed to be a female.  I didn’t want another big, stupid male in the house (just kidding!), but when I found out that he sick, I decided he was the dog for me.  (Sucker!)  Now that he’s a healthy 120 pounds, he can be a bit of a handful.  He is dog aggressive, and he has this annoying tendency to be overprotective of me, any time we are outside.  He drools, he sheds, he farts, and I think he surfs pr0n when I’m at work. But I guess I’ll forgive him, because I am the center of his universe.  It feels so good to be loved! 

His is the first happy face I see when I return home, and the last one I see before I trudge off to work (somebody has to buy his Greenies!).  He is always ecstatic to see me, even if I’ve traveled no further than the bathroom.  He is my shadow; he patiently naps while I waste time staring at the little box on my desk, typing away at meaningless little posts.  He makes an excellent pillow when I’m watching anime or reading manga, not to mention a wonderful space heater on frigid winter days.  He’s not so good at DDR, but I don’t think Rotties are known for their rhythm.  He never gets mad at me, even when I make him move when I’m trying to vacuum around his sleeping body.  He loves me unconditionally, and other then my parents, there isn’t anybody else in the world who does.

Why am I blathering on about my dysfunctional dog?  Because there are 1000’s of Buus out there, tossed away like yesterday’s trash, unwanted and unloved.  The reasons are many; they shed too much, they bark too much, they got too big, they cost too much.  When I think back on the dogs I’ve been lucky enough to care for, they have given me so much more that I could ever give them.  How often are you the center of someone’s universe?

If you can find it in your heart, please give an abandoned pet a forever home.  If you can’t have a pet, and you have the means, please make a small donation to a rescue group in your area.  Even a bag of food would be appreciated.  If you’ve already adopted a dog or cat, please let all of your friends know what a wonderful pet a stray makes.  The rewards for these little things are so great!

Happy Birthday, Buu!  You are my most precious treasure!!

OT – Random Riding Lesson – Are We There Yet?


Last night I took a riding lesson with Roxanne and Krystal way out in the boonies. I raced from work over to Karla’s after wolfing down a package of Thai noodles, and then we drove for an hour to arrive at the barn, just in time to wait because the lessons were running late. *sigh*

Roxanne went first. She is catch riding at ASHAM next weekend, so she rode the horse she’ll be showing. Her lesson was only about 20 minutes. Yeah! I was really tired by that time and just wanted to get on a horse and then go home.

Krystal was next. I thought we would be riding in a group lesson; I was disappointed to find out we weren’t. The arena is about half the size of DHS’s, but there is an observation room with a bathroom. The barn was clean and well kept. Overall, the farm was nice, but it’s so far away!

They brought out a paint while Krystal was still riding, and I hopped  on. The horse’s name was Vinny, and he’s a country pleasure horse. That means he doesn’t have a lot of forward motion, and doesn’t trot very high. He had a nice head set, though, and I didn’t have to fight to keep his head up.

Vinny was a lot of work! It was rather warm last night, and I soon worked up a sweat. He was a notch lazier than Harley – argh! The entire time we worked at the posting trot it was sit, kick, up, sit, kick, up. I can’t believe how quickly I became tired! The canter was the same – stride, kick, stride, kick, and he still kept falling out of it! I was able to get the correct canter leads every time he took off, though.

After the lesson, we went out for a bite to eat. The Tomato Kitchen was right by the freeway, so we stopped there. It was ok, but it was so far past my bedtime that all I wanted to do was go home and sleep! I didn’t get home until after 11, and I have to get up at 4:45!!

I Pick All the Winners!!


On Saturday, we had to take Buu to the vet’s.  His ear was bothering him, and we were out of his ear medicine.  Before we took him, I thought I would try to clean the ear with some Opti-Calm – bad idea!!!  This is a liquid that you squirt in the ear, massage it a little, and the dog is supposed to shake all the accumulated gunk out of its ear.  We do this in the garage, because it’s rather messy.  It also is smelly, so I don’t like to use it.

After the application, the poor dog started running around the garage, shaking his head frantically.  He tried to rub his head on my ebay box stash. I took a towel and rubbed his ear, then took him in the house.  More running around and rubbing his ear against everything.  Dean then accused me of breaking the dog!!

Thankfully, we were able to see the vet shortly after.  Buu has another bacterial infection in his ear.  The vet suggested putting him on hypoallergenic food because it could be a sign of a food allergy.  We mentioned that cheese usually triggers the ear infections, but we cut it out of his diet. She said he’s probably allergic to milk, and told us to check the labels on his treats.  Since Dean has been giving him yogurt covered dog biscuits, this made perfect sense! 

When we got home, I checked the ingredients of his other cookies; yup, they’re loaded with milk.  We are going to cut any dairy from his diet, and see if this helps.  It gets expensive having to buy his ear drops all the time!!  This is the second dog I’ve selected with chronic health disorders.  At least gooey ears are easier to deal with than KC’s colitis!

Fireworks in Salem


Last night, Dean and I traveled to Karla & Roy’s for a fireworks party.  Salem celebrates Flag Day with a fire works display.  There was a ton a people there, and a ton of food, too.  They grilled up hamburgers and hot dogs, and everyone brought food to share.  

The temperature dropped rapidly as the sun went down.  I had to pull out my riding thermals and sweatshirts, which, thankfully, I hadn’t removed from my car yet.  The wind picked up at about 9:30, and then it got really cold.  They started a bonfire, but it didn’t warm things up much.

The fire works show was very good.  It was even better, dare I say, than the displays that Clawson puts on.  However, it would have been even more enjoyable had it been a little warmer.

Every time Roxanne and I started talking about horses, Dean and Karla gave us grief.  It was pretty funny.  Might I also add that I usually didn’t bring up the subject.  But given the opportunity to discuss it, I wasn’t going to change the topic of discussion!

The blow up after the show

Ah, I love my dysfunctional family so much! As I was dropping Jen off at home, Vic decided to be an idiot. He decided to confront me about something that Dean had said to him at Easter. When I told him if he had a problem with something that Dean said he really needed to discuss it with Dean, he started getting extremely belligerent. Repeated requests on my part for him to drop the issue resulted in more shouting, on both our part, so I hugged the females in the house good bye and walked out, with him shouting after me as I crossed the lawn and got into my car.

Apparently, Dean, irritated with Vic towing the party line at Easter, told him he didn’t want to discuss politics with him because he was too programmed. Why Vic didn’t speak up at the time and let him know the comment bothered him, I don’t know. Instead he let the issue fester in his little mind and took it out on me. Let me add that I wasn’t even there when the original comment was made.

I will vent for a few more sentences, and then the issue will be dropped. I resent being spoken to like one of Vic’s kids; I have my $%!+ way more together than he ever will, and I don’t need him talking to me like I’m a child. Two, if he wasn’t such a narrow minded bigot, whose real joy is baiting people and arguing about issues, instead of sharing adult views of world events, he would be a lot more fun to hang around. As it is, I truly dislike going to his house when he’s home, because I know that he’s going to try to start a fight about some front page news story. I find his aggressive views distasteful.

Evidently, Dean and I are no longer invited to Kim’s graduation party (I didn’t even know we were invited in the first place!), and we are not welcome in his home. As I said before, he is a narrow minded freak, but I never realized he was petty as well. Kim, don’t worry, your auntie will do something special with just YOU.

Oh, yeah, and Vic, you ARE programmed. Go out and get a thought of your own. The mere stink of the scandal permeating the current administration should tell you that not everybody there has your best interests at heart. I don’t care if people haven’t been convicted of crimes, the way the Republicans tamper with our Constitutional rights should alarm you, too. Let’s not even mention the state of the current economy or the out of control deficit. I wish I could spend trillions of dollars that I didn’t have, and sleep well at night knowing that future generations of Americans will be struggling with fewer opportunities for good jobs because of the global economy to pay off my largess. Maybe one day, I, too, will have a huge ranch in Texas where I can vacation most of the year while sucking the life out of the poor slobs who have to pay $3 a gallon for gas, laughing all the way to the bank with my dividend checks from gas and oil companies.

We’ll not go into whatever is going on in Iraq – we can’t call it a war anymore, because the administration declared long ago that we were the victors of the armed confrontation taking place there. Why our troops are still experiencing casualties on an almost daily basis is a question for people far more intelligent than myself. Vic, ask yourself one question – are the lives of the Iraqis really that much improved now? What are we doing now to make life safe and secure for the citizens of that country?  If you went back there today, would you find things any better than the last time you were there??


Easter Dinner – The Low Down

I am receiving grief from some of my gentle readers.  Apparently, some of you that were too busy to attend Easter Dinner wanted some details.  Though dinner wasn’t as interesting as you might expect, here are some details.

Even though we left our house later than planned, Dean and I were the first to arrive.

Jen arrived shortly after.  All of the attendees were:  Uncle Rich, Stephen, Julia, Elly, Vic, Ok-Hui, Dean, Jen, Mom, & Dad.  Hopefully I haven’t fogotten anyone.

Dad remembered to dig out his camera tripod, and I played with it the entire time I was over, annoying many family members (do you sense my remorse??).

Our newest family member burst into tears any time anyone looked at her.  Somebody (Stephen!) needs to explain to Elly that even though we look insane, we are really aren’t dangerous.

Dinner consisted of ham, angel hair pasta, yummy little pieces of bread, salad.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but that’s all I ate.

Dessert was key-lime pie, supplied by Uncle Rich (and he brought the bread, too!).

As Dean and I were getting ready to leave, Dad dragged out his Nikon film (film??  who uses that anymore??).  He let me borrow a telephoto lens to test it out. 

 And that, gentle readers, was it.  I’m certain that if some of you had attended, the entire gathering would have been a little livelier…..