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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Vote for Me

Good gosh, I gone and done it.

I've entered two talent contests. One is local, one is national (eep!).

I've entered under my stage name*, Jaytee Minton.

The local one is being hosted by the newspaper (The Toledo Blade Battle of the Bands). The prize is opening for American Idol's Bo Bice when he performs in town in August. Here's my Blade Battle page. Voting starts in four days. (I'll remind you.)

The national one is the Next GAC Star Music Talent Contest, put on by the Great American Country TV channel. Fans get to vote for their favorites, and industry pros vote for theirs, and one winner from each goes onto the next round. Kind of like an online American Idol/Nashville Star for country musicians. Here are the deets from their site:
  • The weekly voting starts on May 23 and runs through July 21. Every week two semi-finalists will be selected – one fan voted and the other selected by our industry staff… 16 semi-finalists in all.
  • Our panel of celebrity judges will then narrow the field of 16 semi-finalists down to six finalists who will fly to Nashville for the televised competition in September.
  • The Next GAC Star winner will be selected by fan voting during the GAC televised finals!
Here is the link to my GAC Contest page. To vote, look to the right of my picture, there's a grey box that says "The Next GAC Star—Vote Now". Click on that. Of the three songs I've posted, the official entry is "Otherwise". The way it works is that you listen to two songs go "head to head" and click the "I Prefer This One" button for the one you prefer (or if you like/dislike them equally, hit the "Equal" button). So be patient—it might take a few cycles before I come up. I'll love you forever if you ride it out!

I just checked my page... and I'm astonished. I just entered last night, and my ranking is 78th. One of the artists I checked out is at 290th (that's a LOT of competitors!). It would blow my mind... anyway, GO VOTE! :-)

*Why the stage name? Well... once upon a time it was the 80s, and everyone adopted a weird name (Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless) and because it was more difficult then for females to be taken seriously, I went unisex and it progressed from J. Tyler B---- [my last name] to JT B---- to JT Bewayre (uh, 80s) to JT Minton (grandma's maiden name) to Jaytee Minton because I hated seeing it written as J.T. or J. T.—it's not initials—so I spelled it out.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yet Another Meme and Bad, Bad Mail Program

OK, no blog fodder today, so yet another MeMe, this time by way of Sheepish Annie, but before we get into that, to those of you with whom I share off-blog email correspondence, would y'all shoot me a quick note so I have your address again? My Mac Mail program went stupid a week or two ago and absolutely refuses to launch. I've been reading email in my browser (thank you, RoadRunner), meaning my contacts are unavailable. When you comment here, I get the "noreply AT" dealio. I know some of you have commented and I feel rude if I can't reply!

On to the MeMe:
1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

1998... working at an alterations shop while between design jobs. I spent my days hemming pants, altering formal gowns, taking in men's suit coats, and gossiping with the other ladies as we sewed. I actually liked the work; if only it had paid better. I was in a band... that was Before Horses and Before Home Ownership. Wow. That was only 10 years ago? Seems like a lifetime!

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):
  • clean the litter boxes and try out the new litter options
  • play with my horse
  • clean stalls (like big litter boxes)
  • acquire more job applications
  • fix the major boo-boo on my CPH
3) Snacks I enjoy:

Carrots dipped in bleu cheese dressing. Hey, it gets me to EAT my carrots. Cheese. Chocolate. Spicy popcorn I got at Big Lots once. MILK. OMG I LOVE MILK.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Invest, tithe, donate a ton to cancer research, buy a horse farm and a few really nice Paint Horses (to add to my herd), build myself a recording studio onsite, never ever "work" again, travel a lot, eat out as much as possible, hire a live-in cook (for the days I don't eat out), get tan, spend a lot of time at the beach or playing with/riding my horses, do six weeks at the Parelli Center in Ocala every year, buy a kick @$$ pickup truck and a rockin' horse trailer with a weekender package for those expeditions, write a book or two about the Law of Attraction, maybe get a PhD, and be a benefactor to those who aren't billionaires. (I've thought this through, you can see.)

5) Places I have lived:

Ohio for the majority of my life—I've lived in six different homes in two cities in this state; Lansing, MI; Hollywood. That's it.

7) 6 peeps I wanna know more about:

Only six? Heck, I wanna know more about ALL of yaz! So get to it and let me know if you posted so I can go be nosy.


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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two In One Day

Another one making the rounds, it's the Gratitude MeMe or Joy Rush. Things I am grateful for:
  • that spring is finally HERE!
  • the smell of lilacs on the breeze
  • the beautiful, enormous flowering white dogwood that has bloomed every season outside my old bedroom window at my parents' house for 45 years. It wasn't supposed to get that big, but nobody bothered to tell IT that. :-)
  • the sunshine peeking between the intermittent storm clouds
  • watching my cat Blue play fetch with the strip of cardboard removed from a box when I zipped it open. He understands the phrases pick it up, bring it, upsies (jump up), find it... one smart cat, that Blue.
  • seeing Big Brown's phenomenal Preakness win yesterday
  • the soft whuffle of my horse's breath on my cheek during a quiet moment
  • the smell of horses
  • the amazement of seeing my horse respond to one of my requests (such as, put your front feet on this pedestal and wait) and watching my horse's expression when he realizes he's "got" it!
  • clean sheets
  • the way the bathroom smells after a long, hot shower
  • the coolness in the midst of a pine forest on a hot summer day
  • the absolute silence on a dark winter's night after a big blizzard
  • the crispness of a first snowfall
  • the first crocus that peeks its head out
  • the first sighting of new buds on the trees
  • baby animals
  • the lazy summer day sounds of faraway lawn mowers and children shrieking with glee
  • chocolate!
  • that I am alive today in this moment

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A Day In The Life Meme

Seen this around in several places, thought I'd have a go...

What time do you usually wake up?


Somewhere between 10:30 AM and noon. Ah, the luxury of being liberated from the workforce.

What’s the first thing you do?

Pee. Then have coffee. (Well, you asked.)

Breakfast?

Usually something involving eggs, cheese, hash browns and bacon/facon/fauxage.

Do you go to work/school?

Not at the moment. But soon. Probably be doing both.

Do you like it?

Sure beats dragging myself to a job I hate every day! :-)

If you stay at home, what do you do all day?

Waste time online, read blogs, answer email, watch YouTube vids of horses... read A LOT—finishing Harry Potter series (in Book 7), philosophy, Law of Attraction; knit, clean, write a lot; head to the barn and shovel stalls then play with my horse... hang with the cats and watch TV at night... I'm actually quite busy.

When is lunch and what you eatin’?

Lunch? I have no lunch. I just graze.

Dinner: When and what?

Usually late. Lately it's been VERY late (like 10 PM). Monday is nachos night. Usually I try for a meat/two sides meal. Sometimes it's mac & cheese and a Not Dog (veggie); sometimes a burger, mashed taters and green beans... it varies.

What do you do to unwind?

hang with the cats and watch TV or read

What’s your favorite part of the day?

Oooh. That's a hard one. During the day, I feel pressured to DO stuff. But dark of night sometimes brings on the panics about things I can't fix at 3 AM. So... I dunno. Maybe just after dawn, because the night panics are gone, but I'm not awake and pressured yet. Twilight... means night is coming. But the pressure is over... Hmm.

Who’s your favorite person to interact with?

Honestly? Lately it's been more about interacting with animals than people.

When is bedtime?

Usually sometime after 1 AM. Depends on how ponderous I'm feeling.

Who’s bedtime with?

Me. The cats go to bed elsewhere. Contrary to what they might think, there is not enough room for five territorial cats and me in the same bed.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Can I Knit on Horseback?


What breed of horse are you? Find out!


You are... a Mustang, the wild breed of horse that roamed America in the 1700's and 1800's. Like the movie Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, you are an outdoorsy character, you'd rather go camping than attend the fanciest dance in town. Matter of fact, you're rarely in town. You'd rather gallop like the wind in some huge wild prairie, and you're free as a butterfly. (Okay, maybe that's a bad analogy...) You never have and never will have an owner... you're free! Your coat colour will most likely be: buckskin or dun.


Cute. Fairly accurate, too.

Well, we've taken the first step on the Parelli Pathway to Professional. Cheerios and I participated in our first PNH clinic together last weekend. My fifth as a rider (I've audited near as many), his first. I knew going into it that it would either be an absolute disaster, or a major growth opportunity.

I'm relieved and pleased to say it was the latter. Our instructor was 2-Star Trainee Jesse Peters, who, ironically, I'd met in 2004 at my last clinic with Wildflower—we were both participants. Jesse was still playing with Level Three at the time (it was a L2/L3 clinic). Four years later, he's on the road to 3-star... I'm starting over with a "new" horse.

Hmm, how interesting. ;-)

It was fantastic. I got a lot of strategies to use with my Left-Brained Extrovert/Introvert bi-polar horse—he flips between Extrovert and Introvert on the fly and sometimes goes into Right-Brained Introvert territory... eh, all this is better posted on my little-publicized horse blog... the point is, yes, he's a bit of a challenge, but yes, he is manageable, and yes, I have the capability to do so armed with new strategies. We made amazing progress. I had some major breakthroughs.

Thing about Parelli is that it's more about the human than the horse, and the Remudas (debriefing sessions where we discuss the sessions) turn into group therapy sometimes because your horse IS your mirror, and often I'll learn something about ME through my interaction with my horse. Such as what I learned about fear.

My underlying fear issues have inhibited me from being as firm as I've needed to be sometimes, which meant I wasn't being very clear about what I was asking of my horse, which caused confusion for both of us, and lead to my horse becoming frustrated because if he didn't know what I was asking, he couldn't find the right answer... so he'd blow up and do the things that create the fear in the first place.

Can you say, vicious cycle?

So I learned to step up and BE firm (but fair and friendly, never mean or mad) when I needed to be, and whoa. I was afraid to be firm for fear he'd get mad.

The exact opposite happened. First, I'd teach, gently. But once there was evidence that he had an idea of what I wanted, I'd nag at Phase 1 but not be very insistent (leading to confusion, etc.). Well, we changed strategies. I'd ask at Phase 1 (very lightly) and give him the opportunity to work it out, but if he didn't respond, move through the Phases and get as firm as necessary. Yes, I DO want you to [insert response], thank you. Then relax. BIG difference. Suddenly my horse has figured out, "Oh, when you start to make that motion, you DO want X. GOT IT." Suddenly, he was very motivated, calmer, and his confidence came up, which brought out his curiosity.

It's fascinating to watch, at least to me and all the other PNH nuts. To some it's like watching paint dry, but whatev. ;-)

Then there was the insight about my parents and my life. Yes. The horse clinic brought up unresolved issues and insights. My parents were my greatest cheerleaders (and annoyances, simultaneously). They were the ones who knew when I needed advice, and when I just needed to hear someone tell me not to give up. Since they died, there hasn't been anyone around to step in at those moments and tell me Do Not Quit. As a result, I've felt very lost since they died. The sad thing is, I didn't even realize this until Day 2 of the clinic while reviewing the previous day's events over my morning coffee.

The trigger was this: I was having difficulty getting firm with Cheerios' butt while asking him to move Sideways—his butt kept getting in my face and I was worried if I asked it to move out of my space, he might kick. Jesse showed me that wouldn't happen. It's about being the leader. He said I need to be persistent and stay with it until I get the response I'm asking for. He looked me in the eye and said to me, "Promise me this—do... not...—" and waited for me to fill it in...

"Quit?" I asked.

Yes. Do Not EVER Quit.

Really, it's like the Karate Kid.

So I'm mulling this over the next morning, and it hits me. One, this is how I've been living my life since they died—hitting roadblocks, not looking for solutions, just giving up or backing down. Quitting. Too easily. Two, the two people in my life who always told me not to quit were gone, and I really needed to hear someone tell me not to quit, but I had no idea how badly I needed to hear it until Jesse said it.

When I went to relay this during Remuda, I lost it. Choked on the "two people" part and sobbed my way through the rest. God Bless Jesse and the other gals—they all got it. That's the thing about Parelli people—they've all had these moments (the men as well as the women). There's an insider joke about how Parelli (like the rock band KISS) has a ton of logo'd items for sale, they should sell logo kleen*x because God knows we students go through it.

It was a big weekend.

No truck just yet. The estate... *sigh*. We went yet another round with the house sale, but THIS TIME, the contract is really, truly, finally done—I think—but it kept pushing the closing date further into the future. They almost had it moved to June but I veto'd that. I said "no way. It closes by the end of May or no go." May 31st. Hey, isn't that 1) a holiday weekend and 2) a Saturday? Oh, well. On or before.

Might not need one as readily, anyway. The barn manager at my current barn trailered us last time and as long as it isn't too far and doesn't conflict with horse shows, she'll do it if I buy the gas. Jesse's coming back to the area twice more this summer, and the barn manager at the hosting barn and I clicked and she offered to come get us if need be. So that's two possible rides. Do I need to buy a gas-guzzling monstrosity and a tagalong trailer? Maybe... maybe not.

Anyway, step one. I think we'll actually pass Level 2 (PDF file) this summer. (Level 3 [PDF] will be the fun one!)

I'm also proud to say I cleaned eight filthy stalls in record time with far less muscular acheage than before, and I seem to have misplaced five pounds.

Oh—and as for that knitting thing, uh, well, I managed to mis-knit two rows on my CPH while philosophizing with B the other night and have to rip back and figure out just where the heck to put my marker so when I don't knit on it for a month or two I'll remember where the cabling row actually IS.


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Friday, May 02, 2008

Unread

(Borrowed from KnittinHoney)

What we have here is the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods*
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex
Quicksilver
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West*
The Canturbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum*
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys*
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
1984
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses*
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time*
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes: a memoir*
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being*
Beloved
Slaughterhouse Five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves*
The Mists of Avalon (FIVE TIMES!!!)
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye*
On the Road*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything*
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values**
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers


*I'd like to read someday
**Currently reading Zen and am fascinated by it! Don't know why I didn't read it years ago. I've also just picked up from the library Kant's philosophical classic "Critique of Pure Reason"... and "Flying Changes" by Sara Gruen. Yup. Classical literature side-by-side with a horse/love story. That's me.


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One Weird Dream

I think I'm healthy again? Much better, anyway. Back to life with 90% less whooping cough.

What do you suppose it means when you dream that you've just returned home from Prom (?) and you go into your back bedroom intending to blog about it, and you open the door and find your entire computer is GONE—all that's left is a white keyboard with purple keys and a laptop. You SCREAM!!!!! as if they've just ripped your heart from your chest while it was still beating. Then you go through the awful thoughts: horror, sick, OMG I left the door unlocked, all my info, all gone, disgust, depression, hating myself for their idiocy and for letting down my guard, for trusting my neighbors, then great now I have to call the cops, I have no serial numbers, where is all that stuff in this mess...

Then you realize the desk is completely new, not your old desk... the laptop is a brand-new MacBook Air with a keyboard attached, and your mess (of books, papers, detritus) is gone, too. So like, what, they came in and stole the mess? Not likely.

Then it hits you and you feel like an ass, because you realize you'd upgraded your computer and desk and somehow finally gotten organized, and you'd completely forgotten you'd done so, and your freak out was completely unwarranted.

Yeah. It was only a dream (sadly, cuz I'd love a MacBook Air, or even a new desktop when I can afford it) but is that weird or what? Forgetting you upgraded? And Prom? Uh, that is so 29 years ago.


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