Saturday, June 21, 2008

Like Wet On Water

I went for a long, easy ride this morning, just letting Trickster meander wherever she wanted, picking up a couple of neighbor dogs along the way, getting lost in thoughts about nothing at all.

When we came up out of the woods over by that big beaver dam on Salt Creek, Trickster's ears flicked forward and she cut left, toward that old road everybody used to use for a bypass before it got too rutty. As we picked our way along the grass shoulder, I caught sight of the white top of a pickup truck just over the next rise. Juno, one of the neighbor dogs who'd been following us, took off trotting and got over the hill first. By the time I got up where I could see good, the woman beside the truck was sitting there having a real involved conversation with Juno. That struck me as awfully cute.

Riding up, I could see what the holdup was. I called out, "Hey, there," in my friendliest voice.

She just nodded once.

I took my hat off and pushed my bangs back. "Looks like you're stuck."

She stood and turned a little pirouette, picking her feet up all lively. "Nope, ain't any more stuck than a six-inch shovel in two inches of dry dirt." Then she looked down at her front tire. "Now, my truck's about as stuck as a full-grown hummingbird in a baby bullfrog's throat, if that's what you're talkin' about."

"Um, yeah, I meant your truck. Anyway, my name's Margo Moon. Happy to be of any help you might need."

Isn't it funny how sometimes a real irrelevant thought creeps in? All of a sudden it hit me that I've never really been intimate with a blonde before.

She looked back the road for a second, then turned her head and looked forward, kinda squinting her blue eyes in a way that reminded me of something or somebody I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then she offered her hand. "Destiny Jane Cavanaugh. Pleased to meet you."

I think I shook her hand too hard. And a little too fast. "Mighty pleased to meet you, Destiny Jane."

There's power in the ability to just stand there not saying anything and looking like you don't mind how long it takes for the next sentence to come out. I think Destiny Jane coulda been happy to wait all day, so I had to give in. I said, "Do you happen to have a spare tire?"

She smiled so bright, I knew the answer was going to be yes. She said, "Did Evel Knievel know how to pop a wheelie? Question is, do I have a jack."

Dang. I said, "Okay, do you have a jack?"

"About like a butterfly has a suitcase."

I took a deep, cleansing breath. "So, no?"

"You're a mighty perceptive little thing, Margo."

Who the heck was she calling little? We were the same height. Exactly. I said, "Well, I guess the only thing to do here is get you back to Happy Hands Ranch and see about fetching a jack that won't slip in all this mud. You hungry?"

There went that smile again. "Is cornbread for soppin'?"

Trickster stood nice and still while we got on, and somehow, without me even telling her, she knew it was time to go directly home.

When we got there, Starr Ann was out by the front gate, and I could see Jodie's horse, Amelia, in the paddock with Oatmeal. I waved big at Starr Ann from pretty far across the field, and seeing I had somebody with me, she waited for us to ride up.

I said, "Destiny Jane Cavanaugh, this is my best friend Starr Ann."

"Hi, Starr Ann."

Well, that kinda disappointed me, the way Destiny Jane greeted Starr Ann so normal.

We slid off Trickster and I explained the situation to Starr Ann. She told Destiny Jane, "Unless you're in a hurry, probably be best to wait until that mud hardens up before trying to jack your truck up. You're welcome to stay here for the night, and I bet things dry out by tomorrow."

Dusting off the seat of her pants, Destiny Jane said, "I'm no more hurried than a jackrabbit in two acres of carrots on a sunny day in July."

I thought the games were about to begin, but Starr Ann just said, "Perfect! Now let's go see what Jodie's cooking for breakfast."

Breakfast was real good. Jodie makes better hashbrowns than just about anybody in the world. Sitting around the table full of empty plates afterward, Jodie asked Destiny Jane how she happened to be driving along that old road anyway.

Destiny Jane rocked onto the back two legs of her chair and said, "Might as well ask how it happens that userid DestinyJane88green was already taken on Yahoo."

I could hardly believe Jodie nodded in complete agreement, and said, "Know what you mean."

A little while after we got the kitchen put back together, Jodie and Starr Ann announced they were heading out for a ten o'clock meeting downtown with Jodie's publisher. Starr Ann said, "Hate to rush off from such nice company, Destiny Jane, but we're already about as late as a pregnancy clause in a contract full of loopholes."

Destiny Jane said she knew how that was.

Destiny Jane and I were sitting in the porch swing watching Jodie and Starr Ann fade in the distance across the fields. She said, "So, are you spoken for, little Margo?"

"About as spoken for as a slice of fruitcake on a platter full of sugar cookies. And I'm as tall as you are."

Destiny Jane smiled real big and scootched over to my side of the swing some. "Well, just so happens I prefer fruitcake. And I bet ya'll make it with bourbon here in Kentucky, for that nice bite I like so much."

Right then, I started thinking that road prolly won't be dry by tomorrow. Might even take several days to get safe enough to jack up that truck.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They Walk Amongst Us

Nobody ever accused my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) of timidity. And I don't guess anybody ever will.

There's a Baptist convention in town! Yep, Starr Ann was talking to our neighbor earlier, our neighbor Andrew who waits on tables at TGI Friday's.

Andrew said, "Girlfriend, they're four-percentin' us to death! Just to death."

Starr Ann tried to cheer him up. "Well, they have to save up, Andrew. Can you imagine the gas money it's gonna take to get all those buses back to South Carolina? They might have to end up skimping on beer."

Then Andrew started reciting, in that real snippy tone of voice he can get, a bunch of phrases he caught as the Baptist people were picking their teeth after eating supper last night. Things like 'blasphemous same-sex marriage farce,' 'God hates fags and fag-enablers,' and 'Satanic sodomitical outrage masquerading as holy matrimony.'

Well, that was when Starr Ann stopped trying to put anybody, including herself, in a better mood. Right this minute, we're dressing up like Republicans. Us 'morans' are going downtown to mingle with the Baptist mental giants. Confuses the heck out of them when you look all Wal-Mart dressed, just like them, yet you say things like, "Hi, I'm a vegetarian who loves women, Praise the Lord! And you? I'm guessing carnivorous fornicator?"

Later, Starr Ann's gonna poll folks coming out of the convention center on whether they'd support a ban on opposite-sex marriage. She's willing to bet a month of doing the dishes that over 50% say yes. So far, nobody's taking her bet, especially not me, because I still recall what Starr Ann did to all those Christians from the "Be Not Deceived, God Is Not Mocked" festival two years ago.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Seeking Protection

Look at these legs. The front ones in particular.

I took that photo moments after 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin won the Stephen Foster Handicap on Saturday. It was a Herculean accomplishment. He carried at least 10 more pounds than any other horse in the race, and for most, he conceded 15 or more pounds. Watching Curlin's long, relaxed stride as he rolled past in the stretch, you'd have thought he was out for a romp in the park. He did it easy and he did it happy. And this half-ton boy did all that on those legs you see up there.

Starr Ann and I promised to stay on top of what the horse racing industry does to make breeding saner, racing safer, and life better for thoroughbred horses. So far, they're making all the right noises. Here's the latest:

Ban on Steroids, Toe Grabs Recormmended
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by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: June 17, 2008
Last Updated: June 17, 2008

The Thoroughbred Safety Committee announced June 17 that it is recommending the elimination of steroids in race training and racing, a ban on toe grabs, and a series of whip-related reforms, all aimed at improving safety and integrity in Thoroughbred racing.

You can click here to read the details.

Anyway, we aren't about to forget. And if these reforms fall by the side, or if the changes don't keep on coming, we're ready to turn up the volume. But one thing we won't do is turn our backs.

Curlin about 15 minutes before the race:

And right after being doused before going to the winner's circle:

And since this is a lesbian blog, we can't let some big boy have the whole post. Here's a pretty little girl who won the very next race, The Mint Julep Handicap. This champion filly is Dreaming of Anna. Now, what self-respecting lesbian has never dreamed of Anna?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sometimes At Night

Do you know that wave that washes across you for no reason and it feels just like homesickness, only you’re at home? That happened to me last night.

So I went to Starr Ann’s room and stood in her doorway because Bates growled from somewhere in there and I just really wasn’t in the mood to get my foot bit.

All Starr Ann had to do was say, “Bates,” and he settled back in his bed. Then she said, “Everything okay, Margo?”

“Yeah. Just having the dark blue lonesomes.” That’s what Starr Ann and I always call it.

By the window light, I saw Starr Ann pull back the sheet. “Well, come on in here and let’s get all floaty.”

Once I was settled and we were both lying there looking out her window, Starr Ann said, “Don’t you just love those trees against the night sky?” Then she got real quiet so whatever I needed from her could filter up.

I said, “Tell me the first, prettiest thing that comes to your mind.”

“When two women are singing a duet, the smile on the face of the one who’s not singing at the moment.”

I nodded in the darkness. After another while, I asked Starr Ann to tell me something that never fails to crack her up.

She said, “The sound you made that time when we were little and you jumped off the high end of the porch holding that umbrella like a parachute.” Sure enough she cracked up. “And then you laid there in all that pain and figured it was probably that you were just too heavy for the umbrella, so you told me to try it since I was littler. And I actually did! And there we both were – laying there lucky we didn’t break something.”

“Tell me the first, saddest thing that comes to your mind.”

“When you cry.”

I smacked her arm real light. “It’s hard to make me cry.”

Starr Ann cranked her head in my direction some. “Margo, you cry at yard sales, for Goddess sake.”

“Yard sales are mighty sad.”

She got her head re-situated on the pillow, and I could tell she had that one smug look on her face.

“Tell me the first, best lines of poetry that come to your mind.”

Starr Ann recited:

I can’t believe your hands and mouth
Did all of that to me,
And they are so daily naked
For all the world to see.

“Tell me something fun I get to have tomorrow.”

The longer Starr Ann thought about it, the funner I knew it was going to be.

Finally, she said, “I’ll do my Elvis for you. I’ll do him singing Rock-a-hula Baby.” And she even gave me a preview. “Rock-a-hula, rock, rock-a-hula.”

I said, “Nobody loves me like you do, Starr Ann.”

It was too dark to see it, but I just know Starr Ann was smiling like the lady in a duet who’s not doing the singing at the moment.”

Thursday, June 12, 2008

War On String May Be Unwinnable, Says Cat General

We've seen the prettily decorated generals testify before Congress. We've heard some of the right questions get asked. We've heard the lies and ambiguities that passed for their answers.

We've seen the bloated oil executives testify before Congress. We've heard some of the right questions get asked. We've heard the lies and distortions that ended up making them sound like victims of high oil prices.

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, has scheduled several big names in thoroughbred racing to testify starting June 18 in a hearing called, “Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Horseracing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse.”

According to reports, a subcommittee statement said recent deaths “point to a persistent and widespread problem, raising significant questions about the sport and its governance.”

It sounds like they've summoned the right people and are going to ask a lot of the right questions. Maybe for once, they'll actually demand accurate answers.

Who knows, it might start a trend.

Whether you live in a horseracing state or not, a letter or email to your representative, urging real pressure and expressing concern for horse welfare, could help.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Click Your Way To Happiness

You know how we imagine technological change to go one certain way and sometimes it does, but sometimes it doesn't? Like how a long time ago, people thought cars would give way to tiny private helicopters. Or like how when you were little you thought they'd soon invent a pill that would make you miniature and whole families would be able to live in a single chest of drawers. Or how we believe any day now Google would have an olfactory option where you can search for, say, "brownies baking" to get a bunch of search results that when you click on them you'll enjoy the chocolatey scent of hot brownies?

I don't know. Maybe it's only Starr Ann and me who think that way. Because none of that's come true yet.

Anyway, something they have come up with, and I'm telling you, Starr Ann and I are as surprised as anybody about this, is a brand new, beta version, clickable orgasm. I know! What the heck!

So, this snappy new technology is being tested all month over at Hahn at Home. Just click the button you'll find at the top of Lori's blog. I've highlighted it here with a triangle, just in case you aren't familiar with its location. Heh.

Feel free to click all month. And not just for your own selfish pleasure. Clicking often will also help Lori finally beat out that Xeno blog that seems to get a load of votes every single solitary time Lori almost takes the lead.

You know how Starr Ann is. She's getting adventurous with her 'votes.' Right now, the evil thing is out with my laptop, clicking in various innerestin' WiFi spots around town. She's also threatening to double click later on and I've kinda dared her to try a right-click. We'll have to see what happens with that.

Me? I'm heading out to Best Buy for an optical mouse. Gonna hook it up to Starr Ann's computer later on and see if I can't rig up a little surprise for her.

Good luck. Happy clicking. And please come here to share any new features you discover with this beta version of ClickJoy by MycroSofter.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We Take Back What We Said Earlier

So, there was this man,

and he did a quite honorable thing.

When my best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) and I were still at the orphanage, they brought this little boy to stay there. He was real cute, and real small for his age. Starr Ann was around twelve at the time, and I guess Jake was maybe four or five.

Anyway, Starr Ann was crazy about this child. She took him over right away and gave him the closest thing to a mother you can imagine. I always found it so sweet to see how Starr Ann and Jake got along.

Jake was forever falling out of some tree, wrecking his scooter, or being hit by a swing. Getting banged up was one of Jake's claims to fame. The other claim was that he was constantly talking about being a jockey someday.

Well, Starr Ann was pretty protective of that kid, and every time he got hurt she'd go pick him up and check him over real good, then worry like crazy that he had internal bleeding or something. One time, she heard in health class that when somebody hurts their head, besides making sure their pupils aren't out of sync, it's a good idea to ask them a question and see if they answer it the way they normally would. So, since Jake was never without a favorite jockey, that was Starr Ann's question for him. Whenever Jake got messed up, Starr Ann would grab him up (after carefully checking for broken bones) and rock him for a few minutes, then ask him, "Who's your favorite jockey." And he'd tell her his current favorite, which Starr Ann always knew, and then she could finally relax. Well, except for waiting for him to poop, so she could be sure he wasn't bleeding internally. But at least she could check head injury off her worry list.

Jake got adopted after only one year at the orphanage. The nuns frowned on letting kids keep in touch after they left us. Starr Ann grieved for a long, long time.

Still, after all this time, I don't mention Jake hardly at all. I'm just not up to seeing that one look Starr Ann gets on her face. But yesterday, after watching the Belmont, where Big Brown had an off day, and his jockey pulled him up coming off the final turn, regardless of what anybody might think of him, I kept thinking of Jake for some reason. And I could feel that Starr Ann was too. I just knew she was.

About an hour after the race, Starr Ann came walking by as I was folding some laundry. I rolled up a towel and bumped it across her head. "Hey, who's your favorite jockey."

The sun came out in Starr Ann's eyes. "Kent Desormeaux."

Well, at least I knew she didn't have any head injuries.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Boobs Have It

My best friend Starr Ann (hi, Starr Ann) doesn't take no-class stupidity lightly. Well, she doesn't exactly take it hard, either. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

She was surfing around the Internet (under cloak of my passwords, of course) and all of a sudden we hear her, all the way out in the kitchen, laughing that one way you really don't want to hear Starr Ann laugh. Jodie looked at me. I looked at Lane. Lane shrugged her shoulders.

I said to Jodie, "Lane hasn't seen Starr Ann in this particular shade of sardonic before."

Now, we're working real hard, all the while trying to make it look like we aren't working at all, on getting Lane to get even halfway innerested in something, anything. So, naturally, she didn't take the bait.

Jodie pursed her lips (I love when she does that) and said, "Well, Miss Lane, get ready, because in oh, I'd say about 20 seconds," Jodie took a fake look at her watch, "Starr Ann should be coming through that door with a great big load of some kind of bullshit."

Lane nodded real neutral.

In about 20 seconds, Starr Ann came walking through the door, carrying a copy of that picture up there. She showed it to Lane first. "These people have the honor of being connected with one of the best-going horses to come along in our lifetime, and look how they've decided to try and cheapen him."

Lane took a dismissive glance and handed the photo to Jodie, who didn't hold back one bit. "Fuck a frickin' duck upside down and sideways!"

If you think I didn't rush across the room to see for myself, you're wrong.

Starr Ann's eyes darted over at Lane. Still nothing.

So Starr Ann got this real casual swing to her voice and it all of a sudden sounded a whole lot more Southern than usual. "Tell you what, Margo, I think you and me oughta buy us a racehorse. Name her Boob Job. See if Hooters wants to pay us the big bucks for lettin' 'em sponsor her."

"You're right! I can just hear the race call now. '...and as they near the wire, it's Boob Job by a nose, no wait, that's not a nose...'"

Jodie said, "Then after she wins, ' entering the winner's circle is Boob Job, a 3-year old gray filly out of Silicone...'"

Starr Ann's turn. " the two time Grade II winning sire Owl Eyes..."

Ouch! We all groaned at that. Well, Jodie and I groaned.

But the really bad lines crack Starr Ann up more than the good ones do and she was ready to roll. "Reminds me of those Hoof Hearted videos on youtube."

I said, "Huh?"

Jodie said, "Huh?"

"You never saw those? You gotta pronounce 'Hoof' like 'roof' and say 'Hoof Hearted' real fast."

Jodie said it out loud that way and just about peed in her pants. "...and it's Hoof Hearted by a nose..."

Then the miracle occurred. Lane asked, "And I suppose you're going to tell me Hoof Hearted has a come-from-behind running style?"

I doubt any of us has ever in our lives been so happy to hear such a silly, juvenile joke.

Tomorrow, we put Lane on yet another airplane. This one will be taking her back to Walter Reed Army Hospital (you know, the one at the heart of the not-so-distant neglect scandals) where they will subject her to their Warriors In Transition program.

Starr Ann, Jodie, and I have every reason to hope that Lane's wonderful, resilient, youthful, hopeful, healthy mind will whisper something like '...Hoof Hearted coming on from the rear...' or '...gray filly by Silicone...' right when she most needs a chuckle.

And just for the record? They haven't invented a level of base corporate sponsorship low enough to take one bit of class away from the likes of this exquisite creature.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem

There was only time to act. Starr Ann saw to that.

After a fifteen-hour sleep, Starr Ann took a sip of the coffee I had waiting for her this morning and said, "The Posse should start arriving any time. Do we have the boots?"

I nodded yes about the boots, and Starr Ann caught me up on what she had planned. Hard to believe one little cowgirl got so much arranged in such a short time. Goddess, that's my Starr Ann.

Lori and Jodie got here before that first cup of coffee was halfway gone. Jodie was stunning in a beige brushed cotton shirt with a turquoise bandanna around her neck. Lori cut a heroic figure in midnight blue tailored slacks and a white silk shirt, flared just right at the neck. One glimpse of them, and I realized I needed to get to my room and change.

By the time I got back, they were all there. Quieter than I've ever seen them.

Frannie, smiling but subdued, was on the couch with CJ and Joyce, telling them about the conversation she'd had with Jamila that night of the big campfire and snowball toss. Seems Jamila liked to sketch, and she'd promised to send Frannie some impressions from Iraq. In a month or two, after she and Lane got their bearings.

Over by the window, looking outward, Nina and Gina had their arms around each other, slightly swaying, not saying a word.

Lost in thought, JoeyJo and Heather did what they could to pacify Bates and keep him out of trouble. When Bates growled and nipped at Heather, JoeyJo snapped out of her reverie and said, "Never saw the little monster take to anybody the way he took to Jamila. Did you see her put her face right up to his that night?"

Mimi wiped her cheek and pretended to have something to do in the kitchen. She didn't.

Over by the front door, Eryll was speaking softly to Folkrockgirl, who looked like her young heart was about to break.

The only one sitting alone was Cap'n Dyke, and her stony expression left no doubt she wanted it to stay that way.

I'd had just enough time to scan all these precious faces when Starr Ann came in the front door. She took a deep breath. "Okay. Everybody knows their part. I brought Lightning around. Jodie, great job with the wagon. Lori, what about Lane?"

Lori said, "Starr Ann, honey, I don't think she's going to come with us."

Starr Ann didn't say a word, just walked upstairs. Fifteen minutes later, we were all rushing over to help her maneuver Lane into the wheelchair.

Lane was saying, "Starr Ann, please! It's not gonna help anything."

Starr Ann looked around at everybody, then back to Lane. "Did you ever think it might help us?" And before Lane could get any angrier, or say no again, Starr Ann wheeled her onto the front porch.

At the foot of the steps was the old fashioned buggy Jodie borrowed from the saloon girls in town. They must have worked real hard to get it that shiny. And the dark upholstered seat was all fixed up with a soft extension for Lane's leg to rest on. Alongside, all the pretty Posse horses stood calm and steady, not moving much more than to swish a tail.

Out in the grass, slick and handsome as could be, Lightning stood under English tack, with Jamila's boots reversed in the irons.

Lane didn't move a muscle for a long time. Then she sighed, pulled her gaze from Lightning, and inclined her head toward the buggy. "Will you lift me into it, please?"

Starr Ann led Lightning on foot, with Lori driving Lane just behind and the Posse trailing, all the way to the river. We stopped there on the bank for a few minutes of peaceful silence. When a hawk flew over, circled, came back and soared off again, we watched her until she was a speck on the sky, then just the memory of the speck.

Starr Ann took Jamila's boots from the stirrups and placed them in Lane's arms with such care, then she removed Lightning's tack and set him free. He picked a few bites of sweet river grass and sauntered over to sniff at a shiny wet rock. Then, a blue streak of horse electricity shot through him and he kicked his heels real high before striking off toward home. By unspoken consent, we all let our horses run right with him. I barely had time to swoop Starr Ann up with me, so we trailed back with Lori and Lane, but by the time we turned for that last run at the barn, we were one big herd, pure nerve, muscle and sweat.

I don't have to hope Jamila was with us. None of us does. There's a peace in our hearts that tells us she was.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Marching home

Yesterday evening, Jodie and I were just about to have a light supper when the kitchen door flew open ahead of Lane in a wheelchair and Starr Ann pushing. I don't know if you ever hugged someone in a wheelchair before, but I guess you have to get the hang of it. Well, the chair was only partly what made it awkward. The other part was that Lane isn't exactly accepting affection or anything right now. Fact is, she's barely answering direct questions. Which we totally understand. It just would have felt nice to hug her good, that's all.

Anyway, we barely got a few bites of macaroni and cheese down them before they conked out, and they're still sleeping.

Jodie and Starr Ann of course slept up in Starr Ann's bed, and I offered to let Lane have my room because of not having to navigate the stairs, which was really my way of helping her not have to face the room she'd shared with Jamila, but she just got a little out of humor and said if we didn't want to help her up the steps she'd crawl up.

This morning, when Jodie came down, I asked her if she'd had a chance to get any details from Starr Ann about how she managed to bring Lane home. Jodie said no, Starr Ann was way too sleepy. But she did ask one question. She was pretty concerned about whether I'd arranged to borrow Jamila's riding boots. When Jodie told her the boots should be delivered today, Starr Ann smiled real sweet.

Jodie also said she had to go in to Lane three different times because of bad dreams.