Monday, July 27, 2015


We get asked a lot of the same questions over and over again when people find out we are hosting an exchange student.  So in case you wondered which ones get asked, and what the answers are, here ya go!

1.  Where is she from? Not surprising I'm sure-this usually comes first!
Egypt.  And most people are surprised by this, I think they typically expect something a little less exotic.

2.  How old is she?
Almost 16.  Some people have expected that she would be college aged for some reason and I think others were thinking more like jr/sr aged.

3.  Do you have to teach her to drive?  Usually this follows the age question.
No.  They are actually not allowed to operate any motorized vehicle while here.  And driving age in Egypt is 18 so she's not missing out.

4.  Does she speak English/good English?
Yes.  This one always surprises me-she has to attend the public high school and maintain satisfactory grades, so  somewhat fluent English is a required for the program.

5.  What is her native language?

6. Is it expensive?
No, you are required to provide three meals a day and reasonable transportation to school events and exchange program events.  Plus the increased cost of electricity or water (if you have a water bill) for an additional person.  Additional costs for eating out, travel or other activities are at your discretion.  Scholarship students come with a monthly stipend plus an allowance for specific incidental costs.

7.  How long will she stay?
Approximately 10 months-she will return home sometime after the school year ends. 

8.  How is it determined which student you get?
You get to pick your student.  You can filter based on gender, country, scholarship vs non-scholarship, hobbies and interests.  They also write an essay, answer several questions and describe their daily life and activities.  You are also provided with basic academic and biographical information. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

GOAL Round 2

When we first decided to have two trials this year, we weren't sure if we would end up with enough entries to support them.  We thought maybe people would come to one and not the other.  We shouldn't have.  This was our biggest trial ever with more than 850 runs for the weekend. It appears to have been a huge success!

The girls were quite successful too!  Legend was 5/7 and Lyric 5/6.  Most notably Legend picked up a TNG Q and well as a Chances.  Leaving her 5 Qs away from NATCH 2.  It did leave us one TNG Q short of having all the points for champs but I sent my entries in anyway this week.  Hopefully no issues with that since I'm on a team!

In other news sweet little Polly is moving back to the clinic tomorrow.  There is nothing else I can really do for her rehab wise.  And despite Petfinder and being shared all over FB and taken to two agility trials I've had no serious inquiries about her.  At least at the clinic she will get exposed to potential adopters every day. And she will get to play with the other resident dogs up front and the staff, so it's not like living in a shelter and being in a cage all day.  The clinic dogs-permanent and adoptable actually have it pretty good.  I feel kind of sad, but I think it's the right choice.  And it gives us a few weeks of "normal" before we add another person to the household!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Big girl Polly

Pollyanna is growing like a weed!  She is probably almost 20 lbs now. She can run, walk, and go up and down stairs.  But her nerve damage has let to a condition known as quadriceps contracture-which means that once the nerve damage led to muscle atrophy, the muscle healed with fibrosis and her legs are permanently stuck straight.  There is no real treatment for this but as long as she is ambulatory she can enjoy a good life.  She is still pretty cute though-of course I am partial to big ears.  She is also still looking for a home!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Boston AVMA

Since my buddy Kelly now works for big pharma now I got to enjoy a lot of freebies at the CE conference this year.  I pretty much only paid for my conference fee, the plane ticket and a little food! Plus I got enough CE for two years so I double my value!

Kelly's company paid for her hotel room (which of of course I shared) in the upscale hotel adjoining the conference center, gas, parking and a lot of our meals.  She was also sweet enough to take me to and from the airport.

The first night we stayed at her house and I got to see her home and visit with her and her husband and of course Penny!
The next day we went to Plum Island is Mass, and enjoyed the beach for a bit (not the water, it was frigid) and then enjoyed lunch on the waterfront.

Then it was off to Boston.  On nights we weren't going out for free dinner I tried to get in some running.  I only managed one time, the others I was to tired from staying up late, going to classes and trudging around the exhibit hall all day.  But here is a picture.

The last night we met with a few friends from school and had a great time!
The next day I flew home, arrived back late in the evening-but anniversary flowers were waiting for me!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Good luck Moses

For many years Moses' only real function in life was to be Squirt's companion and occasionally cause me irritation and annoyance. But with the addition of Socks, we didn't necessarily need another companion horse, especially one that hogged the barn and bullied the other horses making them stand out in the rain or wait in the corner for scraps of  hay. Yet, Squirt seemed attached and the two were virtually always together. And really, who would want a stubborn, half-broke 20 year old gelding known to buck who hasn't been ridden in over a decade? 

Well, as it happens, at least a few people. I finally bit the bullet and responded to an ad on the local horse buying and selling page. I was surprised by the response I got and today his new owner picked him up. He was looking for a horse he could work with awhile and then give to a friend looking for a trail horse. 

I have kind of mixed feelings. Although I personally didn't really care for Moses that much, Squirt's reaction to his buddy leaving was kind of gut wrenching. He has since settled down and gone back to eating hay and hanging out with Socks. I know he will be fine but I still feel a little guilty separating them. And it will be weird to not see them together anymore. Beyond that I hope that Moses will be well cared for and happy. I didn't do much with him or for him but I don't want him to suffer or be neglected. Which is part of the reason I kept hanging on to him.  On the flip side, it opens the door (or gate) for a much nicer horse that should be more enjoyable for everyone! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

More hay bales

I played with the hay bale photo with Photoshop some.  I think they turned out good.

This one I just improved the color and the intensity of the sky.

This one I took the above photo and added an artistic effect to make it look more like a painting.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th of July

We started off the day early by doing a 5K down at the Branson Landing. Unbelievably, I knocked a minute off my time from last week finishing in 24:19.  The course was a few 1/100s short but it still would have been faster than last week and still under 25:00.  Which I have only managed to do 3 times since college.  And one was on a course that we ran before GPS watches so may not have been accurate.  So, I was pretty pleased with that.  Guess I'll continue my current training plan!  Sadly though, this only earned me 4th in my age group.

Then we went home and cleaned up and rested.  We spent the afternoon and evening killing time in Silver Dollar City and shopping in Branson.  Then we spent the evening at home listening to the racket outside with all the neighbors shooting off fireworks.  Interestingly, Zodiac does not seem to be afraid of fireworks anymore.  He just slept in the living room like a normal evening.  Maybe he didn't hear them very well.  Lyric is mildly concerned but Legend was way worse than previous years.  She usually just lays in the bathroom or entryway  corner during thunder or fireworks but this year with fireworks she has laid in the corner panting and trembling for hours on end.  I guess next year I'll have some Xanax on hand and maybe try a thundershirt.

Today I spend most of the early afternoon bathing and brushing dogs.  We have had an incredible amount of hair to vacuum up lately so I figured they must be overdue for a grooming.  Based on the way the yard looks now that assumption was correct!  It looks like a dog exploded out there.

Tomorrow is a day of running errands and packing, Tuesday and Wednesday I'm working and Thursday morning off to Boston for a conference and some time with Kelly!