You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2010.

Let’s skip the blah blah blah and the “danger, Will Robinson, danger” of the day because it all, and by “all” I mean almost everything, panned out in the end. That’s the important thing to take away from today. That and the safety message of the title.

The wi-fi is up and running again for the neighborhood. The valve stem on the car tire is fixed. The horses were returned to the back pasture before causing mayhem and getting loose on the highway. The fencing crew for the highway construction company understood that NO it was not OK to install a gate across our approach instead of a cattleguard. And despite the fact that we started out 10 minutes later than we wanted, we had time to fill the car with gas, make two pee stops for John in a little over 100 miles (two!), get lost because of friggin’ Google Maps (again!), clean up Cooper’s upchuck in the back seat and get to the very important funeral of our young friend Josi on time.

Also, my junkman-in-law did not cause any noticeable damages or other crises while out here unaccompanied today, and the fencing crew that did cause damage by driving a fence post through the natural gas main that feeds all of east Havre didn’t actually cause an explosion.

The FYI in the title? According to the gas professionals, if you ever puncture a natural gas line while operating gas- or diesel-powered machinery, turn the engine off immediately. If you don’t, the engine will start feeding off the seeping natural gas and continue running (with the key off) until an explosion occurs. Fencing guys, you’re doing that right, anyway.

And FYI from me to you: If you’re talking to family members of the deceased after a funeral, trying to be a little funny to help lighten your friends’ hearts a bit, don’t start in on a story of the monumentally petty travails you endured to get to the funeral. They’ll laugh, but somewhere in your head, you’ll realize that you sound like a maroon blathering about things that won’t matter in five days, let alone five years, whilst they just buried a daughter/sister/loved one and that’ll hurt forever. Your voice will trickle away into one of those awkward short laughs, and your stupid brain will be rendered incapable saving you from your own social ineptitude. Socially dysfunctional brain, you should’ve turned the engine off sooner.

Peace on you Josi Jean at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

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And riding wins by a whole horse length.

I’m confessing, Readers. I’ve been spending more time riding, and thinking about riding, than writing. I would spend more time writing, even though I’m riding, but all I can think, and write, about is riding.

I’m as bad as a teen-aged boy thinking of sex. I swear I think of my horse every 3.2 seconds. And I can’t stop talking about how wonderful she’s doing and how much fun I’m having and blah blah blah to the minutia. Even when I’m talking to non-horsey people, I talk about it. I see their eyes glaze over, and I know it’s the endless horse talk tumbling out of my mouth that’s causing the severe condition, but still I keep yammering about my horse, Xena, and the trail rides and the plans and the squishy-buzzy feeling I have inside and how “‘Dwina’s right, your heart skips a beat.”

Pitiful.

I’d write more, but it’s time to feed the boarders. Plus, Xena’s in from pasture, and I feel the need to go kiss her giant horse face. So there’s that.

Who wouldn’t want to kiss her at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Have you ever been going along, going along, going along and then just discovered yourself on the Internet?

I don’t mean discover like fulfilling a journey of self-discovery in which you reach the self-actualization pinnacle of Maslow’s needs-hierarchy or some uber-Zen-like state in which you are both focused and open to the universe.

I mean you see your name and your words on some website, appearing on your monitor screen, and you didn’t for Jiminy Cricket even know you were quoted. Or, in this case, your written words were lifted from a published article and quoted as if you were speaking to the author of the second-hand work.

Yeah, that just happened to me. It’s at the very bottom of the section labeled “Horse sense.”

I was trying to find photos of the Moonrock Horse Trials eventing course in Worland, Wyo., where I evented a few times back in the old days when I had the energy to scrape together enough money and get my horse fit and trained to go do such things. I didn’t find pictures of the beautiful course, but I found an article about the course creator Terri Thurman, aka t. Stardust (you’ll just have to read the article for that explanation), and then I found my quote.

A quote that was part of one of my articles which ran in the now defunct “Montana Horseman’s Journal.” I wrote it. (And as a side note: I find it ironic that a university publication has an uncredited quote. Just saying. That wouldn’t have floated in one of my 100-level English classes. And they put it on the World Wide Web.)

To get back to the weirdness: I sound artsy fartsy. Certainly, it’s better than finding a photo of myself. But shocking.

Even more shocking? It took me 30 minutes to remember that not too long after the piece appeared on the Internet, I found it while doing a search for Terri’s artwork. And I felt the same about it then as I do now, plus, I find it frightening to face such stark evidence that I lack all memory faculties of a normal, healthy adult. Hell, I might have blogged about it for all I remember.

What a maroon at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

A big fiasco marred Montana’s Chouteau County Fair this year. It was, in fact, a big feral pig fiasco.

Seems the 30-some pigs used in the annual pig wrestling contest are let run free on a chunk of river-bottom acreage for the better part of the year then rounded up for their time to shine at the fair just prior to their big night. Grandstand entertainment at its best. This year though the pro-wrestling porkers managed to hide themselves from their would-be wranglers.

Search planes were sent to spot the AWOL herd, and rumors of grizzly bear tracks in Pigville had to stanched. As the wrestle-off time neared, however, organizers faced reality and activated the local emergency phone tree to warn fair-goers that the main grandstand event was postponed for one night.

To no avail, though.

The elusive pigs eluded captors a second day, disappointing wrestlers and spectators alike. Despite the piggishly unprofessional behavior of their cloven-footed partners, organizers vow to bring the show back bigger and better than ever for 2011 with improved wrangling techniques.

2010, though, will go down in the annals of history as the year that three stage acts were brought in to appease the fair crowds hungry for a white meat cage match.

Moooontana is the place for me, faaarm living is the life … at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

A friend of mine told me today that she ran into a woman she knows, who was severely banged up, as in all of her front teeth missing, her nose and lip split open and a metal plate on her chin holding the two halves of her jaw together. Turns out the woman was riding her bike down a hill, hooked the front tire and launched over the handle bars onto her face.

Yes, now is a good time to take a moment to suck the air in through your gritted teeth, cringe and put your hand to your face to relieve the sympathy pains.

Better now? Cuz there’s more.

She got up from the ground, surveyed the damage as much as possible and realized she was totally trashed, so she flagged down a motorist to ask for a ride to the hospital. The guy said no.

Now is the time to take a moment to assess what your response to her request would’ve been.

Because he looked her right in the bloodied face and said no, but I’ll sit right here in my car and call an ambulance. Uh-huh. And if your response would’ve been the same, you’re welcome to go be a Reader somewhere else. Seriously.

In his defense, I can report that he did finally relent to her request … after she begged him.

Stories like this bother me, and they make me wonder about my reaction in various situations. In this case, there’s no question, I’d be out of my car, helping her, driving her to the hospital. I believe most people would.

Sure, I get that he was probably worried about liability, like the time I saw a 6-year-old kid lying out in the middle of the street, crying, tangled up in his bike with his pant leg caught in the chain. I stopped to help, and while I was trying to get things untangled enough to get his pants freed, a motorist slowed down and asked me if I’d hit him. No. OK. And she drove off. Hey, thanks for the helping hand, hag. Yeah, I got the kid detached from the sprocket and both him and the bike delivered home to a harried mom.

No biggie. However, the un-Samaritan’s suspicious question did make me realize what the situation looked like, so I understand if the guy had a niggly doubt.

Still, how can you not help? I mean really help. It’s not as if the woman crashed half a world away where it’s easy to ignore and think of it as someone else’s problem; she’s bleeding and mangled right there in front of you. I’m shocked that someone in our small town reacted the way the guy did.

Then I sat down to write my column, and while perusing the news, I discovered some really and for truly good Samaritans in Sherman Oaks, Calif., who did something I only hope I’d be brave enough to do: They ran out into the street and pulled a 69-year-old man from his burning car, even as the giant fireball from the initial explosion was barely dying down. No kidding.

Not a one of them said, Ima let you finish burning, but I’ll just stand in the shade and call 911.

Those dudes rock at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

I made it through the day and weekend of Friday the 13th without nary a mishap, even though I flirted with danger by riding Xena Warrior Rocket-launcher on Sunday. I was going to post this tidbit of info last night, but figured I should wait until the light of day Monday, after making rounds in the daylight, checking for blood, broken stuff, mayhem and carnage which may have occurred before midnight Sunday.

We’re good, all’s well, relax your guard.

In fact, even my past few months have been undeniably better than the 13-year-old boy who was struck by lightning at 13:13 hours on Friday the 13th at an air show in England. Yes, of course, the boy is lucky he wasn’t killed, or hurt worse, or that the lightning didn’t strike one of the planes causing it to drop on him from the stormy skies and incinerate him in a flaming ball of av-gas fury. Just saying, it could’ve happened.

And it definitely would’ve poked his eye out at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com.

It totally hates me.

I’ve been having a reasonably crappy couple of months … not as bad as some people’s, for sure, but wearisome with the array of bad luck, random stuff going wrong and negative crapola.

So last night I considered going on a ride then changed my mind and decided I would, instead, not tempt fate, but rather stay at the house and get a few things done. We have company coming and the timespan I had would be perfect to mow a little weed patch and get in the house before mosquitoes came out.

Less than five minutes into the project a strange noise registered in my subconscious, and I looked over my left shoulder to discover that I’d kicked up a rock with the mower and shattered the rear door window out of the car. And when I say shattered out, I mean that there were a few small jagged-tooth looking pieces hanging from the window frame, but the rest was in itty bitty shards on the ground and in the back seat of the car.

Perfect end to the weekend at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

My parents were always fond of the saying, “He would bitch if he were hung with a new rope.”

I have no idea what that means. I know how they used the phrase, as a negative comment about people who complain about anything, everything, even positive stuff, but it just seems counterintuitive.

Maybe literally, you could say that the person was mindlessly complaining about the wrong point, but it would take an incredibly positive person to stand up on the gallows and say, “Bummer that I’m getting my neck stretched until I’m dead from a severed spinal cord or slow strangulation, but, hey, at least I got this here pretty new white rope.” That’s beyond “the glass is half full” perkiness. It’s beyond Pollyanna, even. It’s clinically disturbed.

Unless of course it’s a new hemp rope, which is awfully bristly, so it kind of makes sense to complain, but still, on the day it might seem a little trivial to be complaining of a momentary discomfort in, y’know, the face of death and all.

That said, I always figured, hey, I’d be bitching about everything if I were getting hung. The rope’s too new, the sky’s too blue, my executioner’s breath stinks, my last meal tasted perfect — what the hell’s that all about, please kill the chef for torturing prisoners.

In the end, even though I think the saying is pointless or ridiculous or incomprehensible, I still catch myself using it on occasion. Like the other day when I read about this ungrateful robber guy.

A masked robber walked up to the drive-through window at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, Ga., and demanded the cash drawer at gunpoint, then ran off with the cash. But that wasn’t good enough for him. He was so mad that his take was only $586 that he called the fast-food joint to complain … twice.

I’m thinking, dude, you got away clean — with the money — shut your pie hole and buy some healthy food or some crack or something, cuz it’s more money than you had that morning and you only had to work for five minutes. That’s, like, $7,032 an hour, and you get to work for yourself.

Call me glass half manic, but …

I’m rethinking my career path already at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

I admit that I’m a biased judge, since in the last 22 years I’ve had TV reception only for three years somewhere in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but I don’t think there’s a Saturday morning cartoon out there that beats Bugs Bunny and company.

By far my favorite Bugs cartoon is the one with him and Elmer in the Viking opera — which you should watch now if for some reason you have a gigantic hole in your life experience and don’t know the ‘toon, or the rest of this won’t make sense. I have very few memories of my childhood, but I remember the first time I saw that cartoon — so moving. And the horse, it slays me.

Cooper was stalking a baby cottontail rabbit Thursday evening when we were out feeding horses. He was too far away to catch it, but still, he was obviously trying to consider some way he could clear 50’ of open ground slyly or swiftly enough to get the little bunner (who was obviously taunting him by continuing to eat his greens).

While Cooper stood frozen in his classic bunny stalker pose, I broke into narrative song (which I can do because I live in the country).

“Kill the wabbit. Kill the waabbit. Kill the waaabbit!” “Kill the wabbit?” “Yo-o-ho-o! Yo-o-ho-o! Yo-o-ho-o!” And as if on cue, Cooper took off after the bunny, who had no problem getting to cover ahead of my dog, the brick bullet.

After Cooper emerged, sans bunny, another line from the cartoon popped into my head, and I told him: “Guess you needed your spear and magic helmet, buddy.” And that did it, I had to go search YouTube for the cartoon, which I’d heard once was on there.

I hit the jackpot and found it here (because one link to it may not be enough), and I watched it several times — and you know what that means. Yup, got a song stuck in my head.

Friday I spent the whole morning at work singing (lightly, so as not to hurt the ears of my coworkers): “Oh, Brunhilda, you’re so lovely.” “Yes, I know it, I can’t help it.” “Oh, Brunhilda, be-ee my looove!” (But in full imitation of Elmer, heavy on the Ws, and Bugs, twanging all the way.)

Even better, when I told our head reporter I had the lyrics stuck in my head, and actually sang Elmer’s first line out loud, he took up Bugs’ line, then we had a big finish with a duet on the last line. It was a beautiful moment.

Of course, I had to watch the cartoon again last night so the lyrics of the day today are: “Return my love, a longing burns deep inside me.” “Return my love, I want you always beside me.”

“Wetuuurn, won’t you weturn my wuv” at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com

Apparently, some members of my family didn’t like looking at the header photo of my angry red eye — some members being the squeamish, hairy-chested little girl one who requested “pretty.” I was going to find something in pink, like delicate flowers, but we had this hazy sun thing going on this morning to change the plans. This photo looks vaguely tropical, so maybe a certain somebody can imagine fruity, beach-side drinks with little pink umbrellas and heavy on the tequila in honor of sunrise.

Don’t forget the steamy hot cabana boys, either, at: pam(at)viewfromthenorth40.com