Monday, July 2, 2018

May/June Recap


This being the product of the rare occurrence of Chloe having most of a weekday afternoon with no outside obligations.





stuff that happened:

I found a new job! It's up about fifteen minutes away from the college. It's similar work to what I was doing before Chickfila. The people are nice, and the facility is pretty awesome. God truly brought all the puzzle pieces together at just the right time! However, gas money has been kicking me soundly in the shins.

Dad dislocated one of his toes. He accidentally kicked a chair, but it didn't hurt until he looked down and saw it was way crooked. Mom reset it. He did eventually have to go in to see a doctor, and discovered that he had also broken two of his toes. The chair has only been there ever since we built the house ten years ago.

Our neighbors went out of town for a week, so I looked after their horses. That was a good and educational experience. One of them was especially curious when I took care of them after my first day of work. He wanted to know why I smelled different. It was hilarious. And then we had rain for two days in a row right before they got back, so they were all covered in mud when they got home.

I have a new car now, but she doesn't have a name yet. I lasted about a month driving it with the windows down before finally giving in and getting the a/c fixed after I spent one particularly sauna-like drive home after one particularly hot-as-the-biggest-oven day.

I accidentally adopted a classmate. I told her to go to sleep early and everything.

Classes ended. There was a banquet for the equestrian teams, and a cookout for Farm and Shop class. Our last ride for Horsemanship was to complete a pattern. The horse I had and I didn't do as well as some of the others, but we sure didn't fail. We got through it, and I'm grateful to her. I passed College Algebra by the skin of my teeth, though I have no idea how. Grace and Mercy were bestowed, that's for sure.

Mom and Dad went to Maui for a little more than a week. Lydia and I held down the fort.

I worked for a day at a horse show scribing for a judge and running buckets of ice to four different coolers in four different arenas. It was fun! (not so much the ice bit, though) I got to see a different side of a horse show, and that was pretty cool!

A person in charge at the horse show: "Hey, can y'all run this parking pass up to the gate for someone coming to work?"
Me: "Sure, what's their car look like?"
Them: "Well, it's a big diesel dually."
Me: "You realize that this is a horse show, and that everyone is driving one of those?"

We had two weeks of snakes. I found two (on two different days) rat snakes ('harmless,' as in, not venomous; can range between 3-6 feet, with the majority of them hitting the 5 foot mark) in the back of the chicken coop while Mom and Dad were gone; Christian was also gone, and so was Grandfather. I had to call a neighbor to kill it, but he only was able to scoop it out. I had to kill the second one the next day. It probably took me 30 minutes. I was mad too. Roaring at it. Was glad no one else was down there until after it was dead. A different neighbor got it out of the coop and disposed of it for me. Then Ava ran into one in the pasture. Christian nearly ran over one on our driveway. I startled a grass snake in the barnyard. A younger rat snake slithered past my foot, into the coop, and then right back out again. My nerves were pretty much shot after all that. I still open up the back of the coop holding a garden hoe in striking position.

*watching Thor 3 with Christian*
Lydia: "Enjoy your thor-y!" *starts laughing*
Me: "You just cracked yourself up there."
Lydia: "Wasn't it funny though?"

*trying to hurriedly navigate the crowded produce section of Walmart when a guy rushes by and says "Killer shirt, man!" (ma'am?) in reference to the Jurassic Park t-shirt I was wearing.

Gabe: "Heebie-jeebies. Hippy Gypsies?"

*Lydia comes home from her work*
Me: "Well, if your hair is any indication, then your day must've been busy." *gestures to her very frayed braid*

Christian and I went and saw Jurassic World 2. It was alright, but followed the second Jurassic Park a lot closer than we were expecting. We were able to call several of the scenes and plot twists. Though, I did almost cry at one bit, and if you've seen it I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

We hatched out a few more birds. Two chicks: Guinevere and Lancelot, both of which should have switched names, as I believe that Guinevere is a rooster and Lancelot is a hen. And three ducks: Jane Lizzy, and Mary, all of which I have no idea if I named correctly. From the last batch; Curious, Edward, and Christiana are roosters. I named Darcy correctly, and he will be dark, but Bingley still has me confused; girl coloring (though the neck is starting to sprout darker feathers) but boy sounding. We shall see.

Lydia went to a friend's wedding in Colorado.




work things:

Horse spooks in the cross ties while I'm trying to wash a different horse's face because a cloud of mist is really terrifying. This horse also spooks at fly spray.

Horse logic: Perfectly fine with a vacuum being run all over them. Terrified of the sound tape makes.

Just turned a freshly cleaned horse out in a pen, and the first thing she does is go roll in the mud. The second thing she does is go berserk and freak everyone out because she was running full speed around and around and we were scared that she was going to slip and go straight into the fence. We didn't leave her out.

*goes to longe a horse on the long line that I had never worked with before even in the round pen* *picks up the longe whip* *horse freaks out and almost drags me to my knees* "Dude! You stole part of my handprint!" *blows and shakes hand from where the rope burned* He owes me a ride eventually.

Went down to Waco during the hottest weekend we've had this year (high 90s with the heat index getting up to 105). Discovered that I am a pain in the neck when I haven't had enough food. It was good though! We took 12 horses, stayed for four days, didn't eat or sleep very much, and came home barely awake. One time my coffee walked off before I got the chance to drink it. A lot of time was spent cleaning stalls and refilling water buckets. One time they left the hotel at 4 in the morning and I didn't even hear them leave, and so didn't wake up until 6, when someone called me to tell me to hurry up and get dressed because someone was on their way to pick me up. I got to watch some of the classes as well, and practiced seeing if I could place any similar to the judges.





After attempting to longe a few horses on the long line at the horse show: "We didn't happen to bring any longe whips with us, did we?" One of them wasn't wanting to turn and work her other side, and another was being just plain lazy.

Lady: "HGTV ain't got nothing on us!" *as we are hurriedly shoving mix-matched fabric flowers into flower boxes to decorate a trail course*

*horse is perfectly calm and serene as I lead her out to the turn out pen* *we get through the gate* Horse: "Oh look at that, I've turned into a pegasus."

*puts horse outside in the pen for six hours* *horse waits until I try to halter and bring her in before tearing all over the pen bucking and kicking*

While at the show in Waco, one of the horses discovered that his water bucket could move. By the second day, he was throwing his water everywhere.

There was the Appaloosa National Show in Fort Worth for two weeks. They took about 20 of the horses, while I held down the fort and looked after the remaining ones. They are still gone until the end of this week.

Of course, right after everyone left, one of the mares out in a pasture decided to have her baby. By herself. No help. The baby wasn't there when I got there at 8, but was already standing up and dry by the time I went to go check on the horses in the pasture at 1:30. He's the cutest thing!


Was asked three times in one afternoon if I wanted to try riding a bull. No thanks, I'd like to not break anything, especially while I'm the only one coming in to work horses, thanks very much. I watched though. The guys weren't too bad.



Well. That's that.
How was your May/June?
What are some of your favorite songs to listen to in Summer?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Review: The Stealthmaster’s Shadow, Hope Ann



So I actually forgot I was supposed to post this yesterday  (jeesh guys, busyness that is a full time job) until I saw a reminder I had set on my phone telling me to write a post ahead of time and schedule it for then.

So, brought to you by said phone and La Quinta hotel internet: I give thee “The Stealthmaster’s Shadow,” by Hope Ann.

*I was given a free copy in exchange for my honest review*


Blurb:

It’s been ten confounded years since the war ended.

Verus, a retired soldier, determines to enforce the peace the victory ought to have brought. His wanderings bring him to the city of Nerva, a sprawling riverside chaos no other Stealthmaster will touch.

Commandeering the task of a former comrade, Verus presents himself to the governor and promises to search out hidden Subverters. The true reason for his actions he keeps to himself. After all, the tyrannical governor will hardly approve of lending aid to those pitted against him, but the Subverters need information. Maybe even weapons.

The wishes of the Subverters themselves are immaterial. They weren’t there during the war. They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread.

Verus has.

So has the new ambassador from Zahavia who strides through the great doors of the feasting hall, bringing Verus face to face with nightmares from his past.

As the simple mission dissolves into confusion, Verus struggles to help those he’s plunged into danger, from a serving lad to the infuriating woman he’s taken to calling “Princess.” Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…

Staying could doom them all.


A stand-alone story, The Stealthmaster’s Shadow focuses on the fourth fruit of the Spirit, long-suffering, while following the results of the war between the Prince and Tauscher.


My Thoughts:

Of course, I am a big fan of Hope’s books, the overall feel of her work and the ideas behind her stories; so it didn’t surprise me when I discovered that it was AMAZING!

The character arcs are fantastically thought out and delivered, the dialogue is great, and there is sarcasm!

I would have finished it in one sitting, but I had someplace I needed to be. It is not super long, but it doesn’t seem like it ends too quickly.

Just go buy it ok!

Details:

It is only in ebook form, since it is a novelette. Click HERE to find it on Amazon.


Well, that’s that!

Friday, May 4, 2018

April Recap


And we're back to starting the post toward the beginning and working on it all month.




stuff that happened:

Easter on April Fool's day. Nope. No pranks for us, but we did invite the whole church out to our house (not everyone made it though) for a potluck meal and a short service, so that was fun.

Weather's been pretty nice. A few cold days and a few hot days, but nothing too surprising since it is Texas, after all.

Lydia: "I'm trying to put together a young adults group with people from church, and the only name I have is 'Young Adults from Church.' What should we call it?"
Me: *thinks for a minute* "How about 'YAFC,' you know, like 'YMCA,' but not really?"

Our horse-owning neighbors were gifted a horse from a family member, and OH MY GOODNESS GUYS. She is an absolute dream! Their trainer friend came out to look at her and told them that someone had basically dropped a corvette in their laps. She's tall, pretty well-built, and a fantastic mover.


Farm and Shop class, crash course in learning how to drive a tractor. Professor: "Hit that to kill the engine if I fall off, and please do it before you run over me."
(wow, thanks for the vote of confidence, that really helped a lot.)

I also learned how to back a trailer. I can't do it well, but I didn't knock over any of the cones, so there's that. For the record, a hauling truck is waaaayyyy bigger than the family suv.

Someone saw a mountain lion hanging around their backyard one morning. I guess that's where my birds went. Yeah, I didn't let them out for a while after knowing that.

Our next door neighbor has talked about putting a small steer in our pasture, so I spent one morning setting up fence panels around the chicken coop because it is only by God's grace (and a heap of staples and zip ties) that the chicken wire is still attached to the frame, and I don't know how anxious the steer would be to rub all over it. So now it's all ready for him.

About to drop off the sleep and vividly seeing a huge red semi coming right at me. That was fun. and then a week or two later a red semi was tailgating me on the way home from school.

Camp NaNo started, but I had way too much on my plate to try for it this time. Here's hoping for July! I really do want to get back into writing- it's been so long, and I know just sitting down and typing away is relaxing for me (hence the reason some of my blogposts are mini novels just by themselves), but TIME. And it's been a while since my mind has been forced to be imaginative.

You know you live in a small town when you stop by the bank and there's a new teller, and when he pulls up the account information he goes "Oh! You're one of the Linns! I can see it now." *gestures at my face* "Your Dad was in here earlier." Oh, nice to meet you too, person I do not know.

Christian had a wreck. It was not pretty. It is a miracle that he got out of it alive and without any injuries outside of a few scrapes and bruises. He took a curve to quickly, hit a patch of gravel, lost control and over-corrected, went through a fence, was airborne at one point, got hung up on some trees and ended upside down way off the road. Car's totaled, and he has a healthy timidity about being in the driver's seat, but Dad made him drive again a few days after the fact and he did alright.


We had our second judging contest- up in Oklahoma City this time. We drove up Sunday, and made it back Monday night. Just three of us and our Eval professor. There were fewer competitors than at the contest our school hosted, or maybe it was just because we were in a much bigger facility. Two of us gave two sets of reasons, and the other person gave four sets. We judged eight classes, then were told which ones we'd be giving reasons on, hustled over to a different arena and prepared our first set, gave it, then started on the second set. I stumbled over the order I placed the class for my bottom pair in my first set, and then forgot a grant for my middle pair, and froze up when the reasons-taker gave me an odd look in my second set. I still placed 8th of 18 in the division, so not too shabby. Our professor was oficialing for the contest (so she helped determine the oficial judges scores that we were trying to match), and even she said that a few of the classes were tough. We stopped at Chickfila on the way home for milkshakes. We went through the drive, but I needed the restroom, so I hopped out. By the time I got out (there was a long line) we realized that we hadn't decided on a pick up spot, and I had left my phone in the truck. The professor said that she probably would have forgotten unless the others hadn't reminded her I wasn't in the car.



The week after our judging contest, we helped oficial a 4-H contest out in West Texas. It was a ton of fun! We judged eight classes, then listened to reasons. Some of the kids were really, really good, and there were a few where we just had to smile and say 'Thank you,' and then shake our heads after they left. We learned afterward that it was the contest that determined who was going to go to State. So that was pretty cool!

I got an email from a student I didn't know low-key freaking out because he couldn't register for classes. Sorry buddy, you might just have to go up to the campus.

Riding out in a field during the golden part of sunset. Best feeling ever!

We learned about being in the correct lead in Horsemanship. If you're in the left lead, you will feel your left leg moving ahead of your right, and vice-versa in the right lead. The horse also will move at a slight angle. If you feel yourself moving towards the left, but the horse is going around the arena to the right, then he is in the wrong lead. His left fore and hind feet are hitting the ground first, but it should be his right fore and hind hitting first if he is going around to the right. I also figured out how to not bounce as much while loping, but I'm not sure if I'm doing it right because the next day I felt like my lower back was thrown out and was incredibly sore for the next few days. Then I figured out that it was because I was locking my joints to stay stiff instead of staying loose and moving with the saddle; no soreness for me the next day!

Something snagged one of my ducks in the middle of the day. We are naming the critter The Phantom Menace.

Mia: "I'm choosing Calcium to be my main food, because Calcium makes your bones stronger, and I want mine to get so strong that they can't break."

I'm thinking of living on campus this fall semester. Everyone I've asked about living on campus has said that it's been a very good experience and that they really enjoyed getting to make friends with their roommates. I think it would be a good idea because of the nature of the classes I'm looking at taking for next semester. Most of them are either first thing in the morning or evening classes. There is one class that meets for an afternoon, but otherwise I'd need to get up and drive to campus early in the morning, then find something to do until the evening/late afternoon classes. It would not be efficient at all. Of course, I would probably drive home every weekend to spend time with the rest of my family. I could probably find a job up there or work on campus through the fall.

We're incubating our second set of eggs for the year. We ended up with five chicks (Curious, Eleanor, Marianne, Christiana, and Edward) and two ducklings (Darcy and Bingley). They are getting big and are almost ready to be put in with everyone else. Ava has done a fantastic job keeping up with their care in addition to monitoring the eggs!

We had a really windy day, and Coal isn't allowed in the garage anymore, so he was crying and hanging around the back porch a lot, so I went and had my breakfast out with him. He hates sitting on anyone's lap, or being held, or pretty much any contact outside of petting. Not five minutes of being out there, he was snuggled up on my lap and he stayed there for an hour.





work stuff:

Washing dishes, and I can tell someone is nearby on my right, but I'm more focused on trying to stay out of the way of the person on my left trying to maneuver boxes around the table with all the dishes on it and wash the thing I'm washing, so needless to say, I'm not paying attention to the people on my right. Suddenly, I get this really weird noise right in my ear and almost jump out of my skin. It was the short manager and some other person from up front, and I still don't know what they did, but I narrowly missed slapping the manager.

Coworker brings back a tray. Me (*jokingly): "Aw man, I was just about to get to go on break! I don't know why it surprises me though, it happens almost every time." CW: "Yeah, it's almost like we have customers." Me: "And almost like the dinner rush is about to start." CW: "Almost."

The shift where everyone was dropping things loudly. Yeah. I jumped a lot. Ok, not so much jumped, but more like a tensed-up-whirl-around-what-happened-do-I-need-to-hit-something? move. Me, by the end of the night:

Cleaning out the cage. Almost gets hit by the door twice.

Getting tortillas out of the freezer. They were stacked three boxes high on the top shelf. I can barely reach the edge of the top shelf, standing on tiptoe. I almost face planted getting them down because my shoes were wet and sticking to the floor.

After about an hour and a half of trying to wash lettuce and keep everything stocked, I finally have all the trays done and am about to move on to finish washing the lettuce when we are told to throw out everything that had romaine lettuce in it. All that work. For nothing. Yay.

I put in my two week notice at Chickfila. Don't get me wrong, they are a great company to work for, and I learned a lot- but it boiled down to too much pressure to have everything perfect and complete, when in reality the whole job is completely unpredictable. You wouldn't know how each shift would go until after you completed it. And hey, some people might enjoy that, and I applaud them! But I was feeling really sad, depressed and dead inside, and I could feel almost everyone else's stress in addition to my own and it was impacting how I behaved outside of work as well. I discussed it with my parents while sobbing one night after coming home from what should have felt like an easy shift, but I despised every move I made and really was not happy at all. They told me to sleep on it, so I did, and in the morning things looked slightly better, but I still didn't want to go back in. So I started seriously considering turning in my notice. Three weeks later, I finally did it and felt an immense wave of relief and peace.

So now I'm looking for a new job. The goal is to get back into horses. The break from that sort of work, and then going to school to learn more about them has really motivated me to stay with horses.

My last shift was a closing one. It all ended on a good note, no hard feelings at all, the managers made sure that I knew that if I wanted to ever work there again I would be welcomed. They even asked if I would be willing to stay if they moved me to work a different station. Of course I thanked them. I exited the parking lot with the windows down blasting the Pirates of the Caribbean theme. It was awesome.

music things:

Haha, I was right! I have a few new things this month!


Not a whole lot, but it's better than nothing.

I'm super excited for the Broadway Frozen soundtrack to come out. The few songs they do have already are pretty fantastic!

Dear Evan Hansen has some very talented singers, but I don't really like the storyline, and a few of the songs touch on some inappropriate subjects, so there's that forewarning.

I had no idea there was a Zorro musical. At first I didn't really like it all that much, but then it grew on me. Again, there are a few songs that touch on some mature subjects, but overall it has some pretty cool vocals.


How do you like to write your end of the month posts; 
all in one sitting, or throughout the month?