More Things I Get Confused

Believe it or not, I have found more things to add to this list since its original posting.  Confusion: It’s not a trend.  It’s a lifestyle.

Adrian, put down your coffee before you read this.  We don’t want you to spill/spit all over your computer, clean clothes, kitchen table, Liz’s textbooks, or Liz.

More Things I Get Confused:

Capital punishment and affirmative action.  I can’t say for sure why I get these two mixed up.  I only know I was rather alarmed a few years ago when I read about legislators pushing for increasing affirmative action in the workplace. 

Tim Allen and Tim Robbins.  One is married to Susan Sarandon, one is hysterically funny.  Both are hysterically funny?  I’m pretty sure only one is married to Susan Sarandon….

The 700 Club and the Mile High Club.  I googled the 700 Club today, and now I feel like I need to go to confession and say a few dozen Hail Marys.

FX and FOX.  One is a Republican news channel, the other is….a movie channel?  Reruns from the ’70s?  24/7 Buffy the Vampire Slayer? 

Horns and antlers.  Which one does an elk have?  An antelope?  A whitetail?  A moose?  A bighorn sheep?  A plain ol’ blacktail buck?  If I never know the answer, does it really matter? 

Jim Carey and Jim Young.  Just kidding!  I totally know that I’m dating Jim Carey.

Every male country singer since 2003.  Except Josh Turner, because he is an upstanding citizen who writes and sings about faith, family, and good old-fashioned clean fun.  Actually, it’s mainly because he’s hotter than a grease fire on a propane stove.

Jimmy Buffet and Warren Buffet.  You can imagine my surprise when I read an entire article about Warren Buffet and thought My goodness, the man is a financial and wealth-building genius, but they completely left out his stellar music career!  What talent!  What diversity!  What am I thinking!  This is WARREN not JIMMY!

Body lotion and body wash.  This only happened once, but it made for a very confusing swimming experience.  Our supposed “body lotion” (I accidentally dragged my best friend into the confusion) began foaming up when exposed to the ocean water during a beachfront vacation.  This was the same day we picked teams for a family-and-friends football game on the sand, and they counted me and Casey as one person.

Abraham and Abram.  Oh, no wait – they were the same person.

Graduating “cum laude” and graduating regularly.  I graduated in Chico State’s class of 2008 cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in AgBusiness, but I don’t know what exactly it means.  Should I say “I graduated cum laude from Chico State”?  Or, “I graduated with a cum laude degree”?  Or, “I graduated from Chico State with a degree in AgBusiness, cum laude”?  I don’t even know where to put it in a sentence! 

I get irritated with myself sometimes for being so confused so much of the time.  But at least I’m dating a movie star.

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Monday’s Prayer

In the absence of Internet, cell phone, or a good book, I have decided to devote the remainder of my workday afternoon to writing a prayer.

Isn’t that shameful, that only when I have nothing else to do, do I turn to sincere and focused communication with my Lord?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for the many blessings in my life.  I’m so glad that You are alive and real, with me all the time.  I sometimes find myself in a faith crisis, wondering “How can I be certain God is real?  I can’t feel Him in the tangible sense.  We’ve never shook hands or hugged.  I don’t have any photos in an album labeled ‘Me and Jesus – Lake Eerie, 1992.'”

I know You, God, are real because I couldn’t have merely imagined my life better during the last seven years, when I began seeking a way to be closer to You.  I still struggle with the Trinity.  I’m perfectly secure with the Holy Ghost concept – I like the voices in my head, offering advice and encouragement throughout the day.  I like talking about and to God – the strong Father figure, director of the universe in whole and each minute part.

I am uncomfortable saying aloud “Jesus is my best friend.”  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I feel like a Froot Loop.  I love – crave – letting You guide my life, both every day and in the grander scheme of things.  I wish I wasn’t so squeamish about being all lovey-dovey about Jesus.  I know He died on the cross to save me from eternal damnation.  I know that there is more, so much more, to this world than just what we see.  I know the Bible is the truth, and we should believe it and strive to live its principles every day.

So, why is my heart shrinking from wholly and openly acknowledging Your son, the ultimate sacrifice and Savior, as my closest and most treasured companion?  I like to think I would refuse to reject Jesus as my savior, even if that meant I would die, perhaps painfully.

But how can I expect to do that if I can’t proclaim Him to my closest mortal friends?

If somebody asked me “What’s the most important thing in your life?”  I wish I could say with 100% certainty that I’d answer, ‘My relationship with Jesus.”

Truthfully, my knee-jerk reaction would probably be “My saddle.”  It’s brand-new, custom-built, has a sweet horn, and has ‘John 3:16’ tooled on the cantle.

It’s a great sentiment, my wanting to witness to all who see my saddle.  But, is it what I truly live?

How much of my time do I waste on worrying about money, health insurance (or lack thereof), magazine deadlines, what people think of my hair/clothes/roping ability/colt starting skills/article ideas/tack/what I eat/what I drive.  What if I took that time and instead devoted it to thinking about Jesus?  Instead of worrying, I could just ponder, just savor in my mind for a moment, the awesomeness of the fact that God actually walked around on the Earth for a few decades, then died painfully so people He’d never met (or had He, if ‘He’ is the entire Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit?) could live forever in a glorious paradise?

I don’t have to strive for answers; I just have to grasp this huge concept in my mind for as long as I can.  That’s difficult enough.

But maybe, if I practice holding onto this seemingly simple yet everlastingly complex concept, other things will gradually become more clear.  I can’t build a structure of knowledge without a rock-solid foundation.  Every rodeo competitor will say “Practice the basics for superior results.”

If I’m doubtful of the veracity of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my life, maybe I should just spend more time thinking about the Son.  Just thinking.  Just spending minutes that I could choose to spend watching reruns of That ’70s Show, reading The New York Times online, or texting, just resting my mental power on Jesus.

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The Joys of Fall

Autumn is upon us, with its crisp fall air that makes a person want to long trot several miles first thing of a morning.  Ahh, those frosty mornings – wild rags are fluttering in the breeze, cotton gloves are holding the reins, and guys are getting bucked off at the Span. 

I have decided that the American cowboy population constitutes a subculture,and not just because I substitute teach in the winter and cowboy in the summer.  (Get it…SUBculture?  Nevermind.)  There are notable cultural differences.  When fall arrives, other demographics in America (the blue-collar working class, the white-collar working class, celebrities) hold football parties in each others’ homes.  Cowboys (the dirty-collar working class) hold shipping parties at Basque restaurants.

Mainstream American citizens (hereafter known as “regular people”) enjoy getting themselves purposely lost, and hopefully subsequently found without dialing 911, in corn mazes.*  Cowboys (hereafter known as “cowboys”) could do the same thing with willow patches.  How fun would that be – an exciting adventure of thrashing around in the willows, wading through mud bogs, swatting mosquitos, and getting your hands bloody with scratches!  Before entering, participants would receive a list of inventive cuss words, as they’re sure to use all the ones they already know, and a Border Collie.  Hey, you never know when they might find a remnant steer.

By this time of year, regular people’s children have been back in school for several weeks.  Cowboys’ children are back in school, too.  We’re brushy, not dumb.  Plus, it’s a federal law.

In a couple weeks, regular people will hand out gobs of candy to neighborhood children.  Cowboy-type people, not having any neighbors (no, the pack rat in the mud room doesn’t count), will watch Good Old Boys and eat all the stale Snickers bars left over from last Halloween, when (big surprise) no trick-or-treaters arrived.**

Right now, regular people are carving pumpkins.  Right now, cowboy people are, too.  Dude, they sell ’em at Raley’s. 

Regular people are currently raking fallen leaves.  Cowboys have leaves to rake, too.  Except they won’t actually rake them because 1) the 3 total trees on the high desert don’t generate too many leaves and 2) that’s rawzin-jaw work.

As we plod through fall (aka “the fall works,” aka “no sleep ’till Thanksgiving”), I am overcome with an urge to bake fresh apple pies on a regular basis – like, every 3 hours.  Elko County residents have to purchase apples at the grocery store like lowlife scum, unlike in my native California where we picked them freely at will from the tree in the front yard/back yard/cow pasture up the road.  Purchasing fruit goes against the grain of my moral being; it’s worse than voting for a Democrat or wearing sunglasses indoors.  I won’t do it!

Okay, maybe I will.  I really want an apple pie.

*Am I the only one who thinks it’d be more fun, if not somewhat redundant, to call them “corn maizes”?  Get it….MAIZE?  Nevermind.
**Avoid eating the ones with obvious pack rat teeth marks in the wrappers.  Unless you’re really craving chocolate.  Then, pretend you didn’t see them and chow down.

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Things That I Get Confused

I have been living as an independent, pay-my-own-bills, buy-my-own-groceries, do-my-own-laundry, call-home-and-cry-once-a-week kind of person since I was 17.  I moved to Texas by myself at age 21, I start my own colts, change flat tires and and wrestle wild steers into submission on ridge tops with no assistance (except my rope, my horse, Tilly, Tilly’s rope, Tilly’s horse, and Tilly’s expert advice and encouragement).  Despite these practical accomplishments, not to mention my 3.8 collegiate GPA and graduating cum laude, I’ve heard a rumor that I’m an airhead.  I don’t get it.

Things That I Get Confused:

The movie titles The Ringer and The Rounders When someone quotes a line from one, I’m liable to attribute it to the other and laugh in a confused manner.

Jokes that are: told while I’m drinking/standing too far from the joke teller/dirty/about chipmunks.  This will not prevent me from laughing enthusiastically; only the vacant look in my eyes will tell you I have no idea what’s going on.

Rachel Bilson and Rachel McAdams.  Surely I’m not the only one!

The accelerator and the brake pedal.  It’s a terrible feeling to drive down the street in town, go to pick up speed, press a pedal, and slowly lurch to a near-stop.  I always think Oh, bleep!  My pickup’s broken!  My pickup’s broken!  I’m going to have to take it to the shop and spend hundreds of dollars that I don’t have to get it repaired, because I depend upon it for transportation to my job, which I need to pay rent and buy groceries!  Oh, bleep!  Equally intense is the relief that I merely stepped on the wrong pedal.  That almost makes up for the embarrassment.

The time I’m supposed to be at work and the time I’m supposed to leave for work.  I always forget to calculate for town traffic, stop lights, distance from my house, running back to the house from my pickup because I forgot my sunglasses, parking my pickup and walking to the school office, running back to my pickup because I forgot my whistle, etc.  I seriously need to give myself 30 minutes to get upstairs from my basement room each morning. 

South.  I have a pretty good handle on east, as I am up and going every morning before the sun.  If I physically observe the sun arising from a horizon, I immediately peg that direction as east for the remainder of the day.  After about 4 o’clock PM, west is pretty easy to detect, and north is toward Owyhee, so actually I should be able to derive south using the process of elimination.  Ah ha! 

Ty VN quote: “Jolyn’s always confused, so that doesn’t count.”  He may have a valid point.  I’m not sure what it is, but I really think the man has a valid point.

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First Day of School

Today was my first day of the new schoolyear back behind the teacher’s desk.  I gave the high school kids their English worksheets, threatened them at regular intervals with a bad sub report for talking/not doing their work/using their cell phones/throwing things, and caught up on my online reading.

I learned, courtesy of Time Magazine‘s website, that teenagers are angry, explosive people prone to frequent fights.  Seriously, they had a whole article on the subject.  Research and everything.  I read that there are now more normal-weight Americans than overweight Americans, a statistic which may possibly be due to 1) our increased awareness of the fact that we are (were?) fat or 2) Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.  Ok, there were more reasons listed in the actual article, but I stopped at that one because I thought Really?  In three years one woman who is known primarily for her toned biceps reversed a decades-long, steadily increasing, detrimental health trend?  Call me skeptical, but I ain’t buyin’ that.

The author then stated that the data might be skewed because the information used was self-reported.  You don’t say?  People dishonestly self-report their weight to the DMV person looking at them who knows they’re lying; why in the world would they treat an anonymous survey with any more honesty?  Sheesh!

One gal with a big belly recently ran the Chicago Marathon, grabbed a sandwich, drove to the hospital and delivered a healthy, full-term 7-pound baby girl.  Quote of the week: “Of course, my feet hurt!”  Side note: She completed the race faster than her (non-pregnant) husband. 

In the midst of my catching up on the nation’s gossip, in walked a school staff member with a bouquet of flowers.  My first thought was Oh, how pretty!  And just for me! followed by I’m never again telling Jim where I’m working as I felt my face become hotter than a greenhouse tomato.  About the same color, too.

I recovered my wits, took roll, and finished my day with a lovely-smelling vase full of fresh-cut roses, reddish-biggish flowers, smaller-darker-redder flowers, and orange really-neat-looking flowers on my desk.  I don’t know the proper flower names (obviously), but Jim said he called the flower shop and told them “Anything but carnations.”  He did good 🙂  He also pointed out to me that, even though I blushed furiously in front of 20+ people, delivery is still a nicer gesture than driving to the florist’s and picking them up myself. 

I felt like a high schooler walking through the halls after class with my flowers.  I wonder if he’ll ask me to prom?

 

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20 Things To Do While Waiting

While buckarooing, a person oftens finds his or herself waiting.  Sometimes one waits for 10 minutes; sometimes one waits for 3 hours.  You just can’t know. 

I would like to formally dedicate this post to Mrs. Tipton, aka “Annie Maddalena,” aka “Annie Banannie,” aka “Little Sam.”  It sounds like you can relate 🙂 

20 Things To Do While Waiting

  1. Hobble your horse and take a nap. First, make certain sure you are waiting in the correct place.

  2. Make your partner guess your boot size/middle name/cost of your saddle/horse’s age/favorite country song

  3. Tell a joke. Q: What did the old Indian say when his horse ran away over the hill? A: “There goes my horse.”

  4. Guess what time it is. No one actually wins, since no one wears a watch.

  5. Utilize the sun dial method to determine what time it is. This will kill a good twenty minutes while you argue with your partner about which direction is north.

  6. Discuss which foods would taste really delicious. “Mmmm, prime rib from Lone Mountain.” “I could really go for a cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake from Mattie’s right about now.” “Doesn’t a gin and tonic sound delicious?” This is especially fun if breakfast was 10 hours ago.

  7. Cut off a saddle string and re-lace your stirrups.

  8. Cut off a saddle string and make a stampede string for your hat.

  9. Cut off a saddle string and make a friendship bracelet.

  10. Re-string your saddle.

  11. Blow your nose. This works best with a handkerchief, but don’t be afraid to improvise.

  12. Adjust the seams of your socks so they are in perfectly straight lines.

  13. Braid a piece of pink flagging ribbon into your horse’s mane.

  14. Scan the countryside for mountain lions

  15. Whip out a mouth harp and play When The Saints Go Marching In until your horse hates you.

  16. Adjust the knot on your get-down rope several times, until it is exactly the way it was when you left the barn.

  17. Make up a list of things to do while waiting.

  18. Memorize the grooves in your horn wrap.

  19. Invent middle names for your horses, i.e. Bojangles “Whitey Face,”  Cat “Elizabeth,”  Shorty “Short Hair,”  Jubilee “Many Freckles,” Owyhee “River,”  and Muley “Fatty.”

  20. Sing The Battle of New Orleans.

    Me and ol' Banner, just a-waitin'

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A Shoeing Saga

“I shod a whole horse for the first time last week,” I told a friend over the phone.

“What did you do, a foot a day?” he asked.

“Of course not!” I replied.  “I did half on Monday and half on Wednesday.”

The front feet took me roughly 3 hours, give or take 45 minutes.  I used to think it was really gross when I saw a man with sweat droplets running off his nose and down his hairline while he shod a horse.  On Monday, I was too busy sopping up my forehead with my shirtsleeve to pass judgment on anybody else’s loss of bodily fluids while performing manual labor.

The hind feet took me approximately 2 hours, so progress was made.  Halfway through, Katherine paused in shoeing her horse to flop down in a chair we keep in the barn.

“I’m just going to sit here and hurt for a minute,” she said.

I suppressed a deeply felt urge to lay down on the barn floor, picked up a rasp, and resumed my attempt at leveling a foot.  My personal technique, not currently taught at any professional horseshoeing school, is to rasp the foot until I can no longer stand, then tack a shoe on.  I’m not afraid to set the foot down and rest in between nails.

While shaping a shoe, I held it up to my horse’s hind foot and realized it was slightly off.

“Oh, shoot,” I said.  “I brought the heel in a bit, and now the rest of that side is too far in.  Well, I guess he does have a little flare I can take off.”

“That’s the spirit!” called Katherine.

I thought I would feel immense and complete satisfaction after tacking iron on a horse in my string.  After I clinched my last nail and straightened my back, I didn’t think, “Wow, check out what I did!”  Instead, I felt the onset of total-body soreness, surveyed all the faults in my shoeing job, and thought, “Oh, crud, I hope nobody looks at his feet.”

When guys finishing shoeing, they look at their friend’s horse and say “That looks like $#!*@.  Are you sure you want to take him to town?”  When a girl finishes shoeing and laments how lousy her work looks, another girl looks at the horse and says, “Don’t worry, he looks fine!  You’ll get better every time.  Just keep practicing.”

So far, it’s been one full week and my horse still has all his shoes and is sound.  At this point, those are pretty much my main two requirements in a Jolyn Laubacher shoeing job.  As time goes on, I may add more, such as Does Not Look Like a Beaver Chewed on The Front of His Hoof, but for right now, we’re going for sound and still there.  It’s something to build on 🙂

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