Shiver and say the words of every lie you’ve heard.

As I mentioned yesterday, I saw a chiropractor on Thursday, July 16th.

She was all, “You’re a DISASTER.”

And I was all, “You don’t even KNOW me.”

And she went, “Do you know what I call people like you?”

And I go, “A disaster?”

And she was like, “Yes! And also? A TURTLEHEAD.”

And *I* was like, “Well, you haven’t seen anything yet, because in two days I’m going to ride a horse for the first time in my life! And that’s probably not the best idea!”

On Saturday, July 18th, Harper and I met half of her Girl Scout troop at a ranch near the airport for a horseback riding session. Because I had never ridden a horse before, I was matched up with Luke, and then told that Luke’s bad habit is stopping for snacks. (SO IS MINE!!!) Helmet on, quick lesson in steering and stopping, and off we went! Into the woods!


(Into the woods without delay! But careful not to lose the way. Into the woods, who knows what may be lurking on the journey?)

Anyway, all of the scouts and the scout leader and the wranglers were in front of me on our ride. The fact that I was last in line and riding on a horse that liked to snack made me a little nervous, because Luke? Luke really did like to snack. Often. Every time he stopped to grab some leaves off of a tree, the wrangler two horses in front of me would yell, “Kick him. KICK him!!!” But I was wearing my suede sneakers and I’m afraid my kicks felt like velvety love pats to sweet Luke, so: No luck.

When you’re me, you tend to take things entirely too personally. And you’re working on it, but you also know that you’re 45 and still completely self-conscious and it’s hard to NOT take “You’re a disaster!” personally, even if “you” is referring to the musculature surrounding your shoulders and neck and not to The Whole You. When you top all of that off with a (very) young wrangler encouraging you to kick a snacking horse, well, it’s taxing for a fragile flower in the wilderness.

Thirty minutes into the ride, the horse in front of me stopped.

Wrangler: KICK him!!! KICK HIM!!!

The Girl Scout on the horse in front of me tried to kick her horse. She tried to steer him. She tried everything. Resting Horse was done. (The mud on the trail was knee high in some places. If I was a horse, I wouldn’t want to slop through it, either. (Sometimes I take three showers in one day for no good reason.)) The wrangler looked back at me and said, “Take Luke up and see if you can smack her horse on the rear.”

Me (in my head): I’ve never even spanked my own children!!!

Me (to the wrangler): Gotcha! Tally ho, then!

So suddenly I’m trying to inch a snacking Luke up to Resting Horse and I’m leaning way over Luke’s head to see if I can touch Resting Horse’s butt and my fingertips barely touch him, but my fingertips clearly feel more like a fly than a command because Resting Horse starts throwing his beautiful white tail into my face and I Quit. I quit, damnit! I’ve never ridden a horse before and I also have no idea how to swim, and I’m so sick of feeling tired and headachey and ugly and unmarketable and my life is halfway over and my brain STILL hiccups when I try to change a halogen bulb and twice in the past week I’ve forgotten to put detergent in the washing machine and I think my eyebrows are getting thinner which means it’s only a matter of time before my bones start breaking and I spend all of my time talking about illnesses and funerals. You know what? If my horse wants to eat and her horse wants to stop, let’s just GO WITH THAT, because how many of us have the opportunity to do whatever the hell we want WHENEVER the hell we want?! Not many of us! More power to the horses! IT’S SNACK TIME!!!


(I’ve always been intrigued with the programs that pair horses with troubled teens. After spending 45 minutes on Luke, I totally get it. Breakthroughs can happen on the back of a horse.)

Quick route to a happy ending: The wrangler did a very impressive U-turn on her horse, grabbed the reins of Resting Horse to get him moving, and then Luke followed along without snacking again for nearly ten minutes, which was just long enough to arrive at the clearing where The End Was In Sight, where The End = My Hyundai.

(Suddenly, the way is clear, the light is good, I have no fear, nor no one should. The woods are just trees, the trees are just wood. No need to be afraid there.)

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20 thoughts on “Shiver and say the words of every lie you’ve heard.”

  1. I’ve ridden a horse like maybe three or four times in my life and every time in my head I’m Annie Oakley or circus trick horse rider. The reality is none of those things.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, I am 42 and, twice this week, I have remembered the detergent but forgotten to turn on the machine.

  3. I know you don’t really want Internet advice, but my lovely hippie chiropractor told me to adjust my car seat straight up and rest my head on the headrest as I’m driving to help adjust my issue is holding my head forward, which is what I assume the evil one meant by turtle head.

  4. I wish we lived closer so we could be friends in real life. I would meet you at the vegan restaurant and we could commiserate about being socially awkward at scouting activities with our kids.

  5. I took my troop to that same place last year (I was fascinated that it is where it is. Totally unexpected.) but they were too young to trail ride yet. Sounds like that may have been a good thing?

    I am sorry the chirp (thank you autocorrect, let’s call bad chiros “chirps”) called you names. That is not fair and I would not have liked it either. Although turtles are pretty cute and I would hate to kick a turtle or a horse. We are delicate flowers and that is okay.

  6. Horses are strong, gentle & beautiful As are women. I think that’s why girls tend to identify so closely with them.
    However, one in Costa Rica once ran off (literally) with my husband.
    They made it to the lodge a full 30 minutes before the rest of us.
    Just like women – there’s always a sassy one.

  7. “Epiphany on horseback”: Book title, or band name? Either way, I love it.

    I seem to remember we found plenty to talk about so, conversationalist? I think you’re fine in that regard.

    “Turtlehead”? Clearly a term of endearment (as opposed to the ever-popular “PoopyHead”)

    “Crap mom”? Pfui! (Just ask your kids)

    Bottom line: Most important part of that sketchbook illustration? Your heart.

    So big. So beautiful. So “you”!

  8. I’ve ridden a horse exactly once in my life, but I hold out secret hope I’ll someday have the opportunity to ride one on a beach. Also: you look great on that horse.

  9. you are a great yarn spinner and teller of tales.
    too funny! ps-i am petrified of horses. you are very brave.

  10. Sweet shirt.

    The scene that sprang to mind when you mentioned a horse farm near the airport:

    Plane Taking Off: VROOOOOM!!!!
    Horses: HOLY SHIT *gallopgallopgallop x infinity*

    I’m not sure if zoning was a thing when the farm was established, but the location strikes me as potentially problematic.

  11. You are an expert at many things, including song lyrics. Never knew it was “shiver.”

  12. “Let’s just go with that”, indeed! Great philosophy for life.

    I really must know where you got that shirt! My college student, biochemistry loving daughter told me a few weeks ago that she was a nerd and proud of it and wanted to a t-shirt that says so.

    Pharmgirl…why have I never heard that story? I almost spewed wine all over the computer!

  13. I only rode a horse once, when I was 17. The daughter of the owner of the ranch we were visiting told me I should just sit on her horse, there was no saddle or bridle, it would just be sitting on it to see what it was like. She boosted me up and then slapped its ass and the horse took off with me hanging on for dear life, literally, clamping my knees and arms around whatever I could while he ran — RAN — till the ranch was no longer in sight. Finally, the horse just decided it had taken the joke far enough and stopped, turned around, and trotted me back to the laughing bunch that had brought me there. I have always been grateful to that horse for knowing what to do, and more than 50 years later still hold a grudge for the people who thought that was funny. I no longer know any of them.

    I also won’t have a lamp with halogen bulbs. Life is too short to deal with some things.

    You are a good and brave mom. Your girls know it. We know it. You should know it, too.

  14. Thank you for the Echo and the Bunnymen reference. They’re on tour right now, but I will be out of town when they’re playing locally on the 10th. Probably better not to indulge in that much nostalgia.

    Also, I went to Girl Scout horseback riding camp at 9, having never ridden before. When they asked at the beginning of camp who had ridden before, I raised my hand, because I’d been led around on a pony. They put me in the intermediate group where instead of learning to post I went right into jumping. Oops.

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