11 July, 2012

Home, Sweet Homeless

My junior year of college, I moved off campus with three of my friends, into an ugly little white ranch house with garishly painted teal doors and windows. The Bronze, which took its name from a bar on one of our favorite tv shows, became our home over the course of the next two years. We spent many drunken nights at the bar in the walk-in basement, and plenty of other [slightly less] drunken evenings dressed in semi-formal attire upstairs in the living room with our friends. The beat up television showed us many a Ryan Gosling film, and the wall by the kitchen soon became home to our handmade 'Theme of the Week' posters.

In the days following graduation, my roommates left The Bronze to go back home with their parents and prepare for their own, much more exciting adventures in Grownupland. I, however, remained in the house to live out the remainder of the lease by myself, with only Dennis the Ghost and Steve the Mouse for company. (For further details about said companions, see my video blog entry.)

The lease ended on June 30th, and late that night, I moved in with a friend from work, Lizzy. Lizzy lives in an apartment complex that also houses roughly 30% of the staff from the restaurant where I work. It's been an interesting adjustment, especially for someone who usually prefers to keep her work and personal lives pretty separate.

I'm sleeping on an air mattress in Lizzy's living room, which is admittedly very comfortable, except for when her two kittens, Bella and Sadie, use it as a trampoline when I'm trying to sleep. Lizzy's Internet only works with an Ethernet cable, which does not bode well for my Tumblr and Netflix addictions.

Lizzy is doing everything she can to make me feel at home here, and for that I am extremely grateful. When she talks about me to other people she refers to me as her roommate, and tells people at work that I live with her, with no mention of how long I will continue to do so. But I still feel like a guest here. I refer to her as "the friend I am staying with," and though I have a key and my food is in the fridge, my toiletries in their own cupboard under the bathroom sink and even a couple pieces of my furniture integrated into the house, I don't feel like this is home. Because it's not.

So amidst this interesting little vacation I have been grappling with what to do next. This coming weekend I leave Ithaca for Sprucelands Camp, a place where I spent a great chunk of my childhood. Eight weeks every summer, and weekends all through the school year. It's been a refuge for me and my entire family, really, and I owe a lot of who I am today to this place. Long story short, it's closing down this year, and so I am heading back to stay for three weeks, hoping I can get some closure and clarity during a summer that is saturated in turmoil and change and big decisions in every aspect of my life.

For a few months now, I've been trying to decide what I want to do after camp. Should I move back home with my parents? Should I try and find an apartment in Ithaca? Should I pack up and move to London, or Boston, or New York, and try and find gainful employment in publishing or journalism? I'm 22 years old, and the possibilities are essentially endless. But which to choose? I'm awful at decisions, I really am, because as a highly imaginative person I tend to look at making a single decision as rejecting every other option. I see a fork in the road and fully imagine what lies down each path, knowing full well that I can only choose one, and knowing just as well that I will always wonder about the other.

My mother and I had a conversation last weekend in which she gave me some very good advice. "Choose what will give you the least amount of regrets," she told me.

In this I am still torn, because I know that no matter what I choose I will have regrets. No choice stands out at me right now as THE RIGHT CHOICE, and so I know that whatever I choose will mean sacrifice in one way or another.

Moving home means comfort, being with my family and the dogs, around people and places I know and love. It means being able to go to my Aunt Cookie's house on weekends to watch Sabres games and eat junk food and see my cousins and their babies on a regular basis. It means snuggling with the dogs and a book in front of the fireplace during the winter, and getting my own bedroom back from my sister. It means home-cooked meals and proximity to my friends. On-premises [free!] laundry machines and having my auto technician father around whenever my car craps out on me. It means sleeping in my own bed and waking up to the dogs barking at a deer, or the garbage man, or Dave the Bunny. It means being able to sit down with my mom and talk to her about my life whenever I want, and being able to sit on the couch with my dad watching Family Guy, laughing, not at the show, but at how funny he thinks it is.

And I want this. But it also means losing some of the independence I've gained over the past four years. A very good friend of mine graduated a year ago, and upon asking her for advice, she offered me this:

"There's different sorts of expectations. And after being on your own and as independent as people like you and I are, that takes some getting used to. And if you get to the point where you DO get used to that, you're probably going to have another issue... You're out of school, you made it through an ENTIRE four years of college and then you would (as many, many do) move back home. It feels like you're going backwards."

And I worry about this. I have a lot of living left to do, a lot of dreams waiting to be fulfilled and a lot of places left to see. It's no time for me to be moving backward.

It's difficult right now for me to do what so many of my friends are doing, moving out to big cities and starting exciting new lives, because financially I'm not in a great place to do that. And I have a good job in Ithaca, albeit waiting tables, but it's decent money. And I have the barn. Stoneybrook Farm has become sort of a second home to me, one I am hesitant to leave. The people there (and the horses too!) are like family, and I feel like leaving them now would be like only reading half of a book, or watching part of a movie. So when my mother told me to choose the option that would give me the fewest regrets, I decided that my biggest regret would be leaving Stoneybrook.

But would staying in Ithaca be moving forward? As far as I can tell it's just sort of staying stagnant, which is not what I want for myself either.

It's an interesting dilemma, when every path before you looks appealing and repulsive at the very same time. A lot of opportunities and options have opened themselves to me, but at the same time each of these options presents its own gamut of obstacles and consequences.

I feel, as I type this from my friend Lizzy's living room, not just literally homeless but figuratively as well. By putting off choosing a path I feel as though I'm rejecting all of them in some way. Since none of them feels entirely right it's like I've made them all wrong in my mind.

Perhaps another coin toss, or one more round of Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo will help this time?

More likely, I will have to suck it up and make one of my first Real Grown Up Decisions. And soon.


05 July, 2012

Advice From Seasoned Grownups

Throughout the past year I've spoken with a lot of adults who have tried to give me advice for my life as a post-graduate. Nearly everyone, from my internship coordinator to my professors to the alumni speaker at my commencement ceremony, has advised not to worry so much about getting a job.

"You'll hate your first job," they tell me. "It's not supposed to be a great one. You'll probably switch careers anyway. Besides, you're young and you have your whole life ahead of you to work in an office or settle down in a career and in your life."

Most of these adults have told me to travel, to enjoy my youth and see the world because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and because once I settle down it will make me more passionate and more certain in my career choices than I am now. I mean, that's not saying much at all, since I'll tell anyone who will stand still long enough that I'm not sure where my life is headed, career-wise, but hey, a little more direction would certainly be nice. And I do love to travel. (Just look back at some of the earlier posts on this blog, they're from my semester abroad in London two years ago.) Sounds great, right?


From the second we graduate college, the vast majority of us who have not been accustomed to holding that silver spoon since birth are forced to think about our finances or, more specifically, the massive pile of debt we've somehow managed to accumulate. For me, completing the exit interviews for my federal loans was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. If I stick to the minimum payments, I'll be paying off these four years at Ithaca College well into my thirties. The personal loan I took out for my final semester at Ithaca has a sky-high interest rate that will probably have accrued several more dollars by the time I finish typing this sentence.

So when veteran grownups tell me to enjoy my youth, or not to worry about money, it always makes me laugh just a little bit. Don't worry about money? If my four years in college have taught me one thing it is that I will be worrying about money for quite awhile yet. I've been put through a system in which I paid massive amounts of monies to my school, in numbers that only increased with every passing year, only to be thrown into a job market that, well, sucks. Because believe it or not, the world apparently just isn't looking for a ton of sassy aspiring novelists at the moment.

What adults mean when they say, "Enjoy your youth," is really, "I never took full advantage of mine."

And the sad truth is that right now I can't really do it either.

22 June, 2012

Video Blog!

And as a special treat, today you get not one but TWO posts! And this one is even a video blog, made with my dodgy video editing skills.

So I present to you: Emily's Adventures in Grownupland, Chapter One: Rodents are a Girl's Best Friend.

And as always, thank you Youtube for your ever-excellent ability to choose attractive screencaps of me.

Emily's Adventures in Grownupland

It's been awhile since I've written in here. And I'm fully aware of this. Since the last time we spoke, dear readers, I have graduated from college. Now facing a multitude of decisions, such as what I want to do with the rest of my life, whether or not to move back in with my parents, and what on earth to make for dinner this evening, I have decided that this blog could become an interesting [and very therapeutic] way of dealing with my Adventures in Grownupland.

So stay tuned, folks. I don't know much about the future right now, but I do know one thing: this is going to be fun.


11 September, 2011

I was in Mr. Nowak’s sixth-grade science class on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I remember he stopped class to explain to us what was happening. I’m from a little town near Buffalo, I’d never been to New York City, and I didn’t even have a real handle on what the World Trade Center buildings were. I knew of them as the Twin Towers, but they weren’t nearly as iconic to me as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. I was eleven years old.
I remember being very confused, thinking “Okay, how does this affect me?” and I remember him using the sentence, “New York City is basically a big flaming ball of fire right now,” because it was the sentence that made me understand that something really big was happening.
I remember coming home from school that day to find my mother in front of the television in our kitchen, crying. I remember watching the towers falling down on the news, accompanied by the caption “US UNDER ATTACK.” And it isn’t the image of the towers that comes to mind most clearly when I remember that moment, it’s those words. Those words that made me feel real fear of a brand I’d never felt before in my life and haven’t felt since.
In the days and weeks that followed, I remember hearing stories from my friends who had family or friends in New York City that day. I remember watching clips on tv, played over and over, of the planes hitting the buildings. I remember hearing about the Pentagon and wondering why no one talked about it as much as New York. I remember hearing the story of United 93, and the way those passengers fought back, and I remember feeling proud of those people I had never met or heard of, in a way that an eleven-year-old shouldn’t know how. I remember the nationalism that my friends and family, neighbors and strangers, people across the country exhibited, and the American flag that grew faded from hanging outside my front porch, bleached almost white from the elements.
I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11, thank God. I was young and didn’t understand exactly what was happening at the time, for which I am almost grateful. I remember all of these things with a childlike simplicity, without many emotions attached, because those came later. The knot in my throat when I see footage or hear stories about September 11, that dark shadow haunting my mind which grows darker still with every story I see or read about it. I cried reading the Wikipedia article about Flight 93 the other day. 
That day was surely one of the most trying days in recent American history, and it’s one that most Americans above the age of fifteen or so can claim some emotional affiliation with. It’s the “Where were you when…” of our generation, and it’s one national day of remembrance that’s fresh enough to make us stop and think, to make us forget for a moment about our lives and our issues and just remember that day. It makes us forget any problems we have with our government, makes political affiliations moot, allows us to forget any differences between us because all that matters for this one moment is that we are unitedWe are a country. And we will remember.
I know I’ll remember it for the rest of my life, and I hope there never comes a day when it doesn’t make me feel emotional. 
Never forget. God bless.

23 December, 2010

I've always wanted to run an advice column...

From Meg: emilyyy! i finally saw your blogpost and it helps sooo incredibly much. i have a question for you about packing--what's essential, what's not? should i bring things like toiletries, school supplies, etc? i need your advice oh great london traveler!!

Thought I'd post this up here for all to see!

My advice for packing would be to pack as light as possible: Bring some really versatile outfits that you can layer and make look different without actually having a large quantity of clothing. Same with shoes. Bring a pair of GOOD walking shoes, some cute boots (flat heel is best), and a pair of heels or dress shoes for going out. If you're anything like me, you WILL buy an entirely new wardrobe in London (not to mention all the souvenirs), so make sure you leave room for coming home, unless you're planning on buying another suitcase. (I sent some things home with my mum when she came to visit me, so I had some extra space.)

Right. Toiletries. It's really up to you. If you have room, I'd say go ahead and pack them. They're things you don't need to bring home with you, so putting it in your luggage on the way there is like saving room for souvenirs you'll bring back. You can find most American brands of shampoos, conditioners, body wash, toothpaste, etc at Boots, so don't worry about having to pack enough for the whole semester. 

As for school supplies I would DEFINITELY suggest bringing some if you've got room. Notebooks, binders, paper, pens, it's all ridiculously expensive in London. I've no idea why, but stationery stores feel the need to rob you blind. Also, for a few of my classes we had to do journals as our final projects, and they were more like scrapbooks. Don't underestimate the need for crayons and markers and glue sticks. So if you've got room, throw in your trusty old box of 64 Crayolas. :)

Oh! Here's an important one. DO NOT BRING ELECTRONIC TOILETRIES (like blow dryers or straighteners) EVEN IF YOU HAVE A VOLTAGE/OUTLES CONVERTER. One of our roommates almost set our flat on fire (and ruined her expensive straightener) because she couldn't bear to leave it at home. Bad, bad idea. We pitched in money with all the girls in our flat and bought a nice straightener (his name was Remy) and we shared him. It worked out really well. Also, the London Centre has got some extra hair dryers and straighteners and such that other students have left behind, you can ask when you get there if there are any up for grabs.

I'm so excited for you guys, you've no idea. And by excited I mean I am moping about my house wishing I was going again. Feel free to ask me any more last minute packing questions as you come up with them. Most of you have got my number and/or know me on Facebook. And you had better keep in touch once you're in London!

Love you all,

EDIT: Another thing. I'm a HUGE overpacker. If you're like me, and you're sitting on your suitcase to try to get it closed, do what I did. I packed my suitcase about a week or two before I left, and every day, I would repack it, taking EVERYTHING out and putting it back in. I'd find all sorts of things I didn't actually need, and eventually got it all to fit. Beware of weight limits, too!

13 December, 2010

Traveling Tips

Places to buy cheap airline tickets:

Train tickets:
If you're planning on doing a lot of traveling in a short period of time, buy a EUrail pass. You can choose how many countries it works for and how many trips you can use it for. You still need to pay a reservation fee for train trips but you save so much money.

14 November, 2010

THE ITHACA COLLEGE STUDENT'S GUIDE TO A SEMESTER IN LONDON, or Everything I Wish I Knew Before I Went But Had No One to Ask

-       Buy Oyster Card (travel card for Tube, Bus, etc.) BEFORE you leave so it is waiting for you when you get there.
-       DO NOT USE TRAVELER'S CHECKS. I REPEAT, DO NOT USE TRAVELER'S CHECKS. Convert about £50-100 before you leave, so you have some cash for the first few days. When you are in need of cash, try and find a Barclay's ATM or HSBC. They have the cheapest ATM fees, and are free for some American banks.
-       Try to walk and explore as much as you can. The tube is really convenient, but it's really easy to get dependent on it, and before you know it, you'll realize you know very little about London aboveground. Take the bus, which takes longer, but has a view, or walk to ICLC in the morning if you can. I highly suggest bus surfing, aka hopping on the first bus you find, getting off at a random stop, and exploring. It's a really good way to get to know the city, and you will see things you would never have seen otherwise.
-       London is one of the safest cities I have ever been in. I felt perfectly comfortable walking around by myself in the middle of the night. Moreso than I do in Ithaca, actually. Obviously, don't be stupid. Don't go out alone if you've been drinking, don't flash your cash or wear ridiculously skanky clothing if you're by yourself in an unfamiliar part of the city. But if you're smart and alert, it's a really safe city, and one that has a lot of cool details you would never notice if you weren't by yourself.
-       Forget the iPod. Listening to the people around you as you walk/are on the train is one of the best parts of London. If you don't want people to bother you though, wear your headphones but don't turn on your music. But just a tip, it's sometimes really fun to let people interact with you. You'll meet a lot of really cool people that way.
-       Be conscious on the sidewalks. People walk fast. There's not really a specific side of the sidewalk that people walk on. I think the British prefer to walk on the left, like cars do in the roads, but they are so used to tourists, they just weave. Watch for what everyone else is doing, and do that too.
-       DO NOT BE A WEIRDO TOURIST. Try your best not to be obnoxious or stick out as an annoying American. It's the #1 way to piss people off. What worked for me was to imagine I belonged there. I was not a student staying there, I was living there. It makes a difference when you try to become part of the city rather than someone visiting it.
-       Keep a camera with you whenever possible, but don't spend your time in London looking at it through a camera lens. While I do wish I had some more pictures of my everyday life in London, I'm really glad I didn't spend my whole semester glued to my camera. You miss so much when you're taking pictures of everything. Just put the camera down and experience the place, God dammit!
-       Get your mobile phone from Carphone Warehouse. There are locations everywhere. Get the cheapest phone for £5, and get a pay as you go plan. Put about £20-30 on it, and you'll be set for most of the semester, depending on how often you use it. Try not to call your family and friends back home. Skype is your friend. And it's free!
-       If you ever find yourself in need of Wifi, McDonald's has it for free, so do a few cafes. But most places in London charge for wifi, which sucks, and the Internet there is kind of bad. But you'll get used to it, and you'll figure out loopholes in how to make it work best for you. Be patient though, because it will most likely get frustrating.
-       Washing machines in Britain are usually Washer/Dryer combos. But the dryers usually suck. They just make your clothes really hot, but just as wet. I suggest buying/bringing/improvising some sort of drying rack.

-       Boots – a pharmacy, like CVS or Rite Aid. (Fun fact: pharmacies are sometimes called "chemists")
-       Tesco – Your basic grocery store. Tesco Express is like a tiny convenience store with sandwiches, milk, eggs, etc. The basic stuff. Tesco Metro is a decent sized grocery store, and Tesco Superstore is a GIANT one. There is a Tesco Express near ICLC, which sells a lot of good sandwiches and pastries and such that are good if you forget to pack a lunch that day.
-       Sainsbury's – another grocery store, with a lot of different options. A lot of things are pricier here, but if you shop around you can find deals.
-       Primark – Picture every one of your favorite clothing stores. Now roll them all into one and knock off half the price. Welcome to Primark. There are several locations, but the best one (though always SUPER crowded) is on Oxford Street. Take the tube to Marble Arch (District/Red Line.) and it's right near the exit onto the street.
-       Ella's – a cupcake shop in Covent Garden. They sell the best cupcakes you will ever eat in your life. Kind of pricey (about £2,50 each), but you HAVE to have at least one during your time in London. They are life-changing cupcakes. AND THEY SPARKLE.
-       Ryman's – a stationary shop. They sell school supplies, etc. and they offer a student discount. HOWEVER, BE FOREWARNED. School supplies (notebooks, glue sticks, binders, etc.) are SUPER expensive in England. If you have room in your suitcase, try to bring some notebooks and school stuff with you.
-       Waterstone's – The UK's biggest bookshop chain. Kind of like Borders or Barnes and Noble, only much cooler and more British. Go here for your schoolbooks if you're taking a literature class, they usually have a 3 for 2 deal. The Charing Cross location is GINORMOUS.

-       Lyle's Golden Syrup – a really delicious sweet, honeyish syrup that is absolutely FAB on tea biscuits, toast, pancakes, bread, etc. Really yummy.
-       McVities Tea Biscuits – plain shortbread biscuits (not cookies. They're called BISCUITS.) that taste fabulous dipped in tea. Also taste really good smeared with peanut butter and nutella and made into a sandwich.
-       All the candy! Cadbury chocolate beats Hershey's by a landslide. My personal favorite are Crunchy bars and Lion bars. A lot of people really like Cadbury Flake bars. There's also these ridiculous candy bars called Yorkies, and on the package it advertises that it is NOT for girls. They're gross. They really are not meant for human consumption at all, but especially not girls. On a related note, near St Paul's Cathedral is a place called Mr. Simm's Sweet Shop. GO TO IT. IT'S FABULOUS. BUY ME TOFFEE. I WILL REPAY YOU.
-       Yo!Sushi – Located in Whiteley's, a big shopping center in Bayswater. There are a few other locations, but I don't know where. Basically, you sit at a bar, and bowls of food go past you on a CONVEYOR BELT. You choose what you want, everything is priced by different coloured bowls, and at the end of your meal, the server charges you based on the bowls you have accumulated. SOOOO GOOD. Such a fun experience. I don't even like sushi and I LOVED this place.
-       Frog – a frozen yoghurt shop in Bayswater. So good, it yog-hurts. Right across from the entrance of the Bayswater Underground Station. Fro-yo in the UK is very different from the US, but sooo good. Frog has a 50% off student discount during the colder months. (Also, if you have time, order me a medium natural fro-yo with raspberries. I will eat it vicariously through you.)
-       Walker's Crisps (Potato Chips) – the label on the packet looks just like Lay's chips. They come in flavors like roast beef, prawn, and bacon.

-       Skins
-       Take Me Out – A HILARIOUS game show in which a man tries to impress a group of 30 women in an effort to get one to want to go out with him. It's like The Bachelor, but in thirty minutes. AND IT IS HILARIOUS.
-       Doctor Who – Yes, Monica, I know you are all over this one already. But seriously, everyone watches it.
-       Scrubs and Friends – Yeah, I know they're American shows, but they are literally on tv ALL THE TIME. Get used to it.
-       X-Factor – Basically American Idol, British people are pretty much obsessed with it. If you hear mentions of Jedward, Leona Lewis, or Alexandra Burke, they are X-Factor winners.
-       Music video countdowns – it's really funny hearing British pop music, although British people basically listen to most of the same things we do. They do some really fun DJ mixes that are good to listen to while making dinner and doing chores and such. Good background music, almost constantly on E4.

THINGS PEOPLE IN LONDON LIKE TO WEAR (Or at least, things they wore when I was there):
-       Boots
-       Leggings/tights (they like coloured/patterned tights)
-       Scarves. Everyone wears scarves.


-       Gloucester is pronounced GLOSSTER
-       Leicester is pronounced LESTER.
-       Malls are called shopping centers. To British people, a mall is a patch of grass in front of a building. They will know what you mean if you say "mall," but they will judge you.
-       Stores are called shops, usually. No one really uses the word "store"
-       Packaged food does not come in "bags," it comes in "packets." For example, a bag of chips is "a packet of crisps." A package of cookies is "a packet of biscuits."
o      Likewise, "fanny" means "vagina." Do NOT, under any circumstance, use the phrase "fanny pack." If you must speak about these things, they are called "bum bags."
-       Bathrooms are referred to as the loo, the lavatory, or the toilet. Brits will make fun of you for saying bathroom, because most of them don't have bathtubs! Go ahead, try to argue with them. It will last for hours. Seriously, I tried.
-       It is prohibited by law to put a light switch of electrical outlet in a bathroom toilet. Light switches for these are on the outside, which makes it easy for roommates/passerby to be jerks and turn the lights off whilst you are in the shower. Anyone wishing to use a blow dryer or hair straightener in the bathroom are SOL.

-       Camden Town (on the Northern/Black Line) – a really cool market town that looks like it's still stuck in the 70s punk-era. GREAT place to explore.
-       Portobello Market – sells antiques, fresh produce, crafts, clothing, souvenirs, etc. Fun to explore. (Near the Notting Hill tube stop, on the District/Red Line) Fun fact! Location of the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts movie, Notting Hill! Woohoo!
-       Hyde Park – Hyde Park is HUGE. And beautiful. Take a whole day and just explore it. Trees, swans, geese, sculptures, squirrels, fountains, cute guys walking their dogs, beautiful scenery, etc. You could walk in it for days and never see it all. It's a good place to bring a blanket and a book and relax for awhile.
-       Covent Garden – another markety area, with lots of street performers, etc.
-       The South Bank Book Market – Right near the National Theatre, underneath Waterloo Bridge, the market is open air, all year round, underneath this giant bridge. They're all used books, and most of them are cheap. I bought my British HP books here for like £3 each.
-       Angel – on the Northern/Black Line, this is a good place for nightlife. Kind of far, and you have to get back home by bus usually, but there's a lot of clubs and bars that students hang out at.

Got questions? Ask me! I will add more as I think of it or if you guys have a question... I'm so jealous you all get to go!

01 November, 2010

The Lovers

Writing poems about famous images has been an interesting experiment for me. It's an exercise in imagination to build a story behind a single frame, that one moment captured on canvas or film.

This poem is based on a painting by Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte called The Lovers. I wanted to convey a sense of blindly loving someone without actually knowing them, but the initial feedback I got was that my message didn't come through. It was described as "adorable," which wasn't quite what I was going for. Anyway, I've tweaked it a bit, so let me know what you think.

The Lovers

This thin barrier of fabric, rough and crude,
Tastes far bitterer than the sweet lips behind it.
Yet they feel their way,
These lovers,
Ignoring cruel obstacles, and so their passion triumphs.
It thrives in the fight
Against this sad, mean attempt to separate them.

This Pyramus has no moon to light his way,
This Thisbe no crack through which to speak.
Yet this wall has been erected between them
Hoping absence will make the heart grow indifferent.

"One day," he tells her, holding her close.
"We shall lift this veil, you and I."
One day they will finally see each other,
He thinks as he leans in, blindly searching
For those sweet mulberry lips.
The ones he is certain lie beneath.

19 October, 2010

There are days when I hate how quickly horses can wriggle their way into your heart. Today is one of them.

For those of you who don't know this, I'm really into horseback riding. Besides the exercise it provides both me and my equine partner (because yes folks, horseback riding is a sport.), it never ceases to fascinate me how close a bond a rider can form with his/her horse.

There's a horse at my barn named Bates. He's the sweetest thing on four legs. He loves people, and he loves to snuggle. He's not too old, maybe about sixteen or so, but he looks it. Bates is very skinny, despite eating nearly half a bag of senior feed every day, and no one can figure out what's wrong with him. Beth, his owner, got him from someone who was going to euthanize him four years ago, and she's worked hard to make him get better since. But in the past month or so, Bates' kidneys have been starting to fail him, and he hasn't been able to go outside with the other horses at all because he gets too cold, even with a big warm blanket over him. Bates is being put down today, and as I finished chores for the morning, I saw a few cars pull up at the lower barn. Some girls from Beth's high school riding team had skipped school to come and say goodbye to their friend. One in particular has been his only consistent rider since he's been at Stoney Brook. She loves him so much, though he's not pretty, though he's out of shape, though he's a mess in the ring. And he loves her too.

So here's to Bates, the cuddliest horse I have ever met. I'll miss you, buddy.