TUES. MAR 23
It’s finally Tuesday, March 23, and I’ve been waiting for this day for months. I’m finally going to meet Sharon and Aunt Annabel in Maryland. Chris was still asleep this morning when I kissed him goodbye. Brian slipped me some extra money before he took me to the airport and said to use it on something that Sharon and I would both enjoy….like ice-cream. He has good taste! Now I’m in the air on my first flight. It’s amazingly peaceful…no screaming babies or whining children. First flight I’ve been on for ages that’s been as quiet as this.
Arrived in BMI airport, collected my luggage and made it to the front entrance in about 14 minutes. Man, BWI is a neat airport…no large crowds…and plenty or signs to indicate where to go. Felt so sorry for an elderly Hispanic woman who was waiting for her family to pick her up. She was dreadfully upset and couldn’t speak English, so I gave her my cell phone to make contact with her family. Sharon and Aunt Annabel arrived soon after to pick me up.
Used some of Brian’s money wisely within the first thirty minutes as we stopped for Cold Stone ice-cream. Wow….I can see Aunt Annabel is Dad’s sister alright…she loves ice-cream almost as much as he does! Took 15 minutes to make up her mind. She eats hers properly though…not like Dad taking the top half from the spoon! Yucky! Dropped Aunt Annabel back at the apartment then stopped at the Seven/Eleven for her lottery tickets before driving out to the barn.
Received a call from the Hispanic lady’s family…2 hrs later and they still haven’t found her at the airport. Hope they find her. Bless her heart! Everything about this trip so far has been magical.. Hope those horses will be friendly
Man, the horses are just fantastic. They were friendly to me straight off…probably because I had those horse cookies in my hand. Wulffe is a big gem...and Eclipse is so adorable. Rockin Rita and Shetan are beautiful but they’re obviously a couple, and the other two seem to get left out a little. This is going to be the best week ever!
We fed the horses and put out extra hay for them. They loved the cookies and had about five each. I so love the feeling of a horse nuzzling in my hand. Sharon’s horses are more friendly and in tune with people, than the horses next door to Stafford. Wonder why…guess, it’s because she talks to hers all the time and they relate to people. They actually watch you as you move around and talk, it’s as if they understand you.
It was hard to leave the barn this evening. I had such a good time and I’m so looking forward to coming back each day this week. Wulffe followed us out as we were leaving for the car, and we gave him an extra treat. He’s a character….but so very big. Hope I don’t have to ride him this week. I’d be scared to! Stopped by Safeway on the way home for groceries and bought Aunt Annabel some flowers. Ate tuna and baby carrots for dinner. It was delicious.
Sharon and I talked non stop the whole evening long. She’s so neat. I can see why Brian loves her so much. It’s easy to talk to Sharon and she listens with her heart too, not just her ears. Apart from Mom, I don’t know who else in the family knows how to do that. Thank you God for bringing us together, especially at this time when we both needed it most!
Aunt Annabel liked her toffee from Oregon. We made up my bed…my favorite place to sleep…on the floor curled up under a quilt. No cats running over me tonight….I’m going to sleep well. Talked and laughed for ages and Sharon introduced me to this stuff called BAG Balm. If I use it, maybe I’ll have a complexion like hers. Feels like I’ve known Sharon in another life or something. Didn’t take us long to bond.
Got to sleep around 1:45 a.m. Kept listening to tap…tap…tap…from the toffee hammer in the living room. Thought about my childhood days, and wondered how long ago Blue Boy died. He was a nice old horse and put up with a lot from the owners. Makes me sad to think about it now. It’s best left untouched.
Wed. Mar. 24, 2004
Sharon and I woke up around 7:45 a.m. and talked quietly for a while in bed so we wouldn’t wake up Aunt Annabel. Ate bagel and scrambled egg for breakfast…never had it with cream cheese before. I will in the future…it was delicious.
Got ready to go riding. Sharon showed me a lot about make-up and insisted I try her bag balm and lipstick. I was surprised how different I looked! She French braided my hair. Oh, I’m loving having a sister…it feels right! Drove out to the horses and saw everything in daylight. Found a key to the landlord’s house in the side door. Sharon kept it in her closet to return next week.
The stables are adorable. They look as if they’re from an English story book. We groomed Rockin’ Rita…and Wulffe….of all the horses…I have to ride Wulffe. He’s huge! But, so beautiful and sweet natured….I just love him.
We took the horses out on a trail ride and Eclipse and Shetan gambolled along side of us just like they were puppies. It was the cutest thing and they were so well behaved. Sharon could teach many horse trainers the things they need to know. The horses really respect Sharon. And she never gets mad at them. All she has to do is talk to them and they listen to her. This is the way it should be with all animals!!
We saw lot of deer today with white tails. They seem to run in packs on this side of the country. Spent a glorious day at the barn and was quite sad to leave. The time flew past. We stopped at Phil's at 5 p.m. so Sharon could get her hair highlighted. We were introduced to a flat iron this evening. Those things are neat. Phil straightened my hair for me…what a nice man he is. He put highlights in Sharon’s hair…it was so pretty. It was fun to watch him work…and to see the two of them interact.
Decided to stop by the salon tomorrow and purchase flat irons from the store next door. Talked and laughed all the way home and for the rest of the evening. Had a delicious salad with tuna on it this evening for dinner.
Sharon had to do some computer work for a while. I felt badly for her because I knew she was tired. Late getting to bed again but we had so much fun. Aunt Annabel was so wound up she got out of bed again at 2:40 am to watch the television. In the middle of the night I squealed and woke up. A big, squishy gel pack had fallen on my face from Sharon’s bed. We laughed about it though, and got up to nuke it in the microwave again. Slept peacefully without waking until 7 a.m.
Thurs. Mar. 25, 2004
Sharon surfaced after me this morning….she was still tired from last night. I got up quietly and worked on the fifth grade musical until she woke up. Skipped breakfast today and went straight out to Starbucks, the shoe menders/dry cleaners and a couple of other places.
Maryland is a very pretty state….I love what I’ve seen so far. Today, Sharon dressed Ritakins up. I’ve never seen a horse wearing pretty colored leg wraps...and she didn’t seem to mind either. We rode Rita and Shetan out to the canal today, across a road and past Poole’s General store. What a fantastic day for riding. The whole day was magical. The other two horses were less than thrilled about staying by themselves and let us know it for at least ¼ of a mile.
Bought a drink from Poole’s store on the way home and shared it. Found a new drink we both enjoy…vitamin water. That sweet Eclipse was so glad to see us, he came trotting up to the gate when we came home. He nipped at Shetan’s behind when we came in the gate and Shetan moved fast! After we fed the horses we walked up the pasture towards the car and I nearly stepped on a big, ugly frog. It scared the life out of me!
Drove to Phil’s but he wasn’t there and we had no idea what type of flat iron to buy. We decided to wait until tomorrow. Wonderful salmon dinner, with steamed veggies! Got to bed late as usual…it’s so much fun to talk and laugh with Sharon. She was really tired and fell asleep before me. Tonight I learned lots about our family history, and found that the things I’d been told before weren’t exactly the correct facts. Woke up in the night with a little problem, as Sharon’s bed was wet from her leaky back gel pack. Had to put her stuff in the bathroom then put a bath towel on her bed so she could fall back asleep. Ah…memories…I have lots of good ones from this trip! I’m having the time of my life so far.
Fri. Mar. 26, 2004
Stopped at Phil’s on the way to the barn and bought our curling irons plus some gold hair spray. It will be good to use at the OCCYC concerts as they are televised and the lighting is bright.
Stopped at Starbucks and bought breakfast and lunch. Sharon seems to have taken a liking to Starbucks…I’m glad! I get so many Starbucks cards from the children so now I can share them with her.
**** Picked up our boots and Sharon’s jacket. Everything looked good….and I love my new boots. Trash was picked up this morning at the driveway. At the barn, Eclipse decided he wasn’t staying home again today! On our arrival he walked directly to the middle of the aisle; stood at the cross ties where Wulffe was yesterday and waited to be groomed. I was amazed. He made it very clear we were riding him today!!!. No if ands or buts!! I swear these horses are half human.
Sharon talks to them as if they are her children and they understand what she says. Eclipse certainly let us know how he felt. He was sweet and calm and kept closing his eyes while I brushed him. What an absolute darling pony. He really enjoys being fussed over and talked to. I love the way he peeps over his stall rope and bangs the rubber mat thing at the front of the rope to let you know he’s there. Today our ride was really special…I rode Wulffe and Sharon rode Eclipse. We actually saw a fox, a herd of white tailed deer and a wild turkey buzzard. The turkey was so colorful and cute, just like he’d stepped out of a children’s pilgrim book. I’ve never seen a wild turkey in real life before. I thought the horses might get freaked out a bit, but they were completely calm as if they see birds like this all the time.
Today we went on a different trail and we got to canter up a hill and explore the woods. It was good to ride Wulffe again. I love that horse…he’s like a big gentle giant! Left the barn pretty late and made plans all the way home for what to bring tomorrow night when we spend the night there. It’s going to be fun!
Back at the apartment, we put several loads of laundry in then realized that the pool didn’t close until 11 p.m. We changed into our bathing suits and made our way down there fast. Had a great time in the hot tub and the pool, but what a mistake that was. Our backs were so sore afterwards. We made good use of Advil painkillers before we went to sleep. Ate dinner on the balcony this evening wearing matching aqua terry robes. It felt like we were at a spa.
What a nice vacation this has been so far. So different than when we go to Florida. Everything is fun and friendly…nothing is formal and stiff. Aunt Annabel has a good sense of humor. I wish we hadn’t taken Dad’s advice and not called Aunt Annabel when we were here a few years ago. I don’t think she would have been too busy to see us, because Sharon says she likes having company. I like it when the three of us laugh about something. We’ve had several laughs on this trip.
On that note…Sharon had to sleep on a towel from last night! We forgot to change her bed linens. She was so very tired it didn’t make any difference anyway. She fell asleep quickly!
Sat. Mar. 27, 2004
Today’s the day we sleep at the barn. Aunt Annabel didn’t have a very good night so she slept in quite late. I felt badly for her. We had our bagel, cream cheese and scrambled egg. That’s such a good breakfast…I’m going to have that when I go home! Made a pile of things to pack for this evening. It was a teeny bit overcast and rainy today so we relaxed indoors and watched home videos, etc. I enjoyed that very much. Molly and Ashley were adorable children. Played beauty parlor and experimented with the flat irons. Finally we left for the barn with two bags full of stuff. Stopped at Starbucks for our supplies…hot chocolate, latte, breakfast food, etc. and some jelly beans for Aunt Annabel.
On arriving at the barn we found the outside barn light ON. We knew we had turned the outside light off yesterday. We were scared. We made our way down there with trepidations, but it turned out that Jorge and his guys had cleaned out the stables for Sharon and left the outside light on for her. It made Sharon really happy, as I know the job of mucking out all the stalls was a job she was dreading. It’s hard work for one person.
**** I brought back the big water tub on the wheelbarrow from the front field while Sharon started feeding the horses. Feeding them is my favorite part of being at the barn. It’s neat to watch them eat…and they love to nuzzle for treats. We made our bed out of six bales of hay, a tarp, three quilts and several horse blankets. We were toasty warm in bed and talked for a long time. Wulffe decided to visit us in the night and keep us company. He also decided to open his bowels in the middle of the aisle at 3 a.m. and we were awakened by several big “plopping” noises. How we laughed!
Just got back to sleep again when Sharon woke me up with a piercing scream and yelled, “No Wulffe. Get off Now!” Wulffe wanted to join the pajama party so badly and had put his big hoof up on her bed.. We didn’t sleep much for the rest of the night. Both of us peed in the stall at 3:30 a.m. What a lot of memories we’ll both have after this week.
Sun. Mar. 28, 2004
It was so nice to lie in bed this morning and gradually feel it get warmer as the sun shone down on us. I got up and fed the horses then went back to bed as neither of us wanted to stir before we had to. Kept telling each other that we’d have fifteen minutes more and that stretched into an hour and a half.
Such a nice, relaxing time for us both. Finally, we lay on our tummies and ate breakfast…after I dropped both the latte and the Starbucks chocolate on the floor. What a klutz…or however you spell it! I felt terrible. Had to re-make hot chocolate, using “Swiss Mix” in the microwave. That spring water from the barn tastes really nice. It was good hot chocolate.
We got dressed, played with the flat iron again then groomed Wulffe and Rockin’ Rita and took them out for a ride. Wow…we saw another fox really close. This was a bigger one. The foxes in the USA are much bigger than the skinny, sleek kind in the UK.
Deep down in my heart, I’m so glad Sharon didn’t go to the fox hunt. I would have missed her all day. Seeing that fox was enough for me…I’m glad he wasn’t caught this week. Not sure of the traditions over here, but I can’t help wondering if they are as cruel as the UK kind. Glad that Sharon found the little hound though, and was able to help return her to the owner.
Stopped a guy who was standing near his car and asked him to take a picture of Sharon and I. Glad we’ve got one of us together. The ride today was glorious…beautiful weather…saw more deer, and I was on my favorite Wulffe again. One tiny problem…Wulffe seemed to want to go off the trail a bit. I let him...I shouldn’t have…and he rode under a low tree branch. I grabbed the branch as I knew I would hit my chest or face on it...and I came off Wulffe. I was so afraid he’d hurt himself or get lost. I prayed really hard that God would have him stop! He did. Sharon just kept talking to Wulffe as she approached him. The horses always listen to her. I’m glad Sharon didn’t have a camera with her at that point. Left the barn around 6 p.m. to pick up Aunt Annabel and take her to dinner. I was worried that we wouldn’t be allowed in the restaurant in our riding stuff, but we were fine. We saw the guy from Starbucks at the restaurant. Sharon noticed him first…she’s more observant than I. Dinner was wonderful and so was the cheesecake afterwards. Where has this week gone? It’s flown past. Only one more night left…and I have to go home.
Stopped at the apartment briefly to pick up two more gel packs, and a couple of things. Paid our last visit to Starbucks then headed out to the barn for our final night of fun! Our bed was already made up but it was so freezing cold that we slept in warm jackets and didn’t even take our clothes off…just our bra’s. I even slept with socks on…first for me! It was cozy. We slept with the door halfway open…and talked and listened to the horses gallop around the pasture.
We hoped Wulffe would come back inside. Instead it was Shetan that came in to explore and see who was back. We woke up off and on during the night, but woke completely when Shetan and Rockin’ Rita decided to stick their nose under the tarp and eat Sharon’s side of the bed in the early hours of the morning. What a way to wake up!
Mon., Mar. 29, 2004
Same routine as yesterday…hot chocolate and pound cake in bed for breakfast. Enjoyed it more than a full course breakfast at a five star hotel! Fed horses a little bit, then groomed Wulffe and Rockin’ Rita and took all four horses on a final ride.
I tried so hard not to cry. This was the way I wanted to end the vacation…the same way it started with all six of us going out together. It’s so special to watch the horses and see how they listened to Sharon.
Rockin’ Rita amazed us on our return to the stables. Sharon mentioned that she hoped if she continued to ride like this, she might be able to get herself and RockinRita fit enough to start jumping again. As we made our final turn toward home, Ritakins turned in the opposite direction; toward the jumps. She jumped over the lower ones and it was clear she felt proud and enjoyed jumping. Strange thing was that Sharon didn’t steer her in that direction, Rita just heard her talking about the subject and took off over there. It’s amazing what the horses hear and understand. This week has been an eye opener in so many ways.
So hard to say goodbye to the horses once we took them back. Eclipse and Wulffe got some extra treats from me. I hope I get to see them really soon. Took my last look at the stable…until next time! Rushed home and took showers, packed, used Sharon’s flat iron as mine was packed, and headed out for the airport. Aunt Annabel drove (she’s an excellent driver) and Sharon (who was exhausted) fell asleep within seven minutes of getting in the car! Even though there was heavy traffic we made it to the airport in plenty of time. Really like BWI airport as there are no crowds and you go through the line in no time at all. Hugged and kissed Aunt Annabel goodbye, and thanked her for a really special week. Hated to wake up Sharon but couldn’t leave without saying goodbye properly…and giving her a last hug! I hope it’s not too long before I see them both again. This has been one wonderful Spring Break! I’ll never forget this week as long as I live. I want Sharon to come out to Oregon so I can give her the same type of special week she gave me. The flight home was great…and Brian picked me up, commented on my lovely new jacket; said I returned a “Cowgirl” and listened to all my news on the way home! Back to school tomorrow!!!! Dear God, thank you for this week. Thank you for bringing us together…we needed this...both of us! Surround Sharon and the horses with your love and care…and keep them safe for me. Amen.