Thursday, September 30, 2010

Uh oh! She's on a rant!

The Cow Palace in San Francisco California has been putting on the Grand National Horse and Stock show for over fifty years. It is ( was) legendary! The Rodeo has been the highlight of many of our memories- I have been going to the CP  since I was almost old enough to walk, been haunting the halls of the Palace alone or with a friend since I was old enough to get there on my own- about the age of sixteen. I love that place and the history that goes with it.
The Grand Nationals have changed a lot in the fifty years I've been attending. It went from a big world class horse show to a mediocre AQHA show. There are no more Saddlbreds,Arabians, Appaloosa's Jumpers or Show Buggies. There are only a few really die hard Quarter horse owners( usually ridden by trainers) and this year they added cattle classes -sorting, penning and cutting- but those were fought for and over seen by the local Cutting club. I love seeing those classes here, but I would love to see a better AQHA show ( it was poorly advertised and managed in my humble opinion).

The Rodeo- the REASON for the Cow Palace  has gone from a spectacular event to a fairly run of the mill Rodeo. But what really shakes the snot out of my boots is the price this year! Just to get in to see the show- and sit in the nose bleed seats- is a whopping $24.00. A box seat is $40.  The last time GNR came to town the seats were General Admission $12, and Box Seats $15. Now I can see raising the set price a little bit-but the Cow Palace seats HUNDREDS! They really didn't need to raise the price of admission that much!

This will only serve to keep the general public away from the Cow Palace. The kind of family that would want to come to the show or the Rodeo won't be able to afford it- and thus (here is the real raw spot) hundreds of kids who want to see a horse or a sheep or a pig or a cowboy IN REAL LIFE won't have the chance. And where is the future of our sport?- In those shiney eyed kids that come to the shows!

I think that the Powers That Be want to knock down the Cow Palace- it sits on some prime California real estate. Some of us die hards had banded together and sent petition after petition to the city to save the Cow Palace. We thought we won when they agreed not to knock it down-but now I see they were just being subversive. By jacking the prices, and making the competitors fight to even come to the show, the attendence will be down. Then they can say that there is no more need for the Cow Palace- no  one comes to the show ( exagerated shrugs) We don't know WHY ...! Sigh* Guess we'll have to built that shopping mall and houses on the property like we wanted to instead...aww too bad....

I will go to the CP- I will go to the Rodeo. I am a grown up and have the means. But I have made my displeasure known in letter form to the administators and if anyone else feels the same way I urge them to do the same.
And I will be contacting the AQHA to voice my disapproval there as well. With all of the really great AQHA shows that happen in this area I am sure that we can do better- we have only to ask the right people to step up and help. I will help- for free - to get this done properly.  here is my link in case anyone asks.

Here is the Cow Palace Link

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's complicated

I have been writing for a long time now- with limited sucess. When I sell something it is amazing- but mostly I don't sell. If you are writing and submitting to magazines, it is going to sometimes feel like the world is against you, or all the good ideas are gone, or that someone else has stolen your idea. Truth is- magazines publish a LOT of articles every month which equals to a lot of articles every year. They really really want your articles! But they want something different and fresh. It also means that they recieved a lot of manuscripts and articles in the mail- over the transom- meaning they didn't ask for them-and some are good and some are not so good and some have promise and some are, frankly, just horrible. You want to provide them with the very best you can do. No mistakes in format, wording, grammer or content. If you can provide artwork or photos to illustrate you have a better chance of selling your article to a magazine, but those photos better be super sharp, interesting and printable. Check their illustration guidelines before submitting.

If a magazine rejects your article and you later see something like it in the same magazine a few things may be happening.
First- there are no new ideas. Sorry gang- eveything under the sun has been done or thought of or in the works already.
It may mean that they had already contracted for that article before yours ever came in. A Magazine works at least 6 months to a year 'out'. They buy Christmas articles in January of the previous year-Halloween articles in March, etc.
Your article didn't fit they theme of the magazine at that time. Many magazines have a schedule of things they want to print- Stallion issue in January, foal issues in March. You can write to the mag and ask for their magazine theme list.
Or your article was not well written or perhaps you couldn't provide photos.
Unless you can prove that they took your article word for word and put it into print, you can not say that they stole your article.
You don't need to copyright your articles-BTW. If you have it on your computer it will have a date stamp, if they did plagerize it word for word, you could prove it by that stamp on your word program if you needed to.
What can you do to make your articles stand out?
Read the magazine you want to submit to, study it and know how they format their articles and photos. Then you can ask for their theme list for submissions.

Have an unusual story to tell. Did you drive to Montana to pick up an old horse then take it to a Rescue in New Mexico, all alone and in the dark? That is something a magazine might want to know about, and if they have the resourses they may have someone help you write it. But the same old articles about how to bridle a horse, buy a saddle, load a horse in the trailer etc... they will either pass on to their staff to write or just reject as not interesting enough.

 Buy the Writers Marketplace. It is a book that has the name address and everything else you could want to know about all the magazines you can imagine. It is worth the twenty five dollers you'll pay for it. It also tells you how to submit a manuscript, how to accept a contract, get an agent ( for those writing books) and lots of other useful information. Don't submit without it. Magazines and Book Publishers are VERY PICKY about how the manuscripts should be presented to them. If you stray from that format you show them that you are not a professional and they will not take you seriously nor will they want to buy your work or work with you.

Of course if you have a slam bang article and photos and you send it all in, you might just get lucky and have someone fall in love with your stuff- but it is not very likely. Do the ground work, just like with your horses- and then submit. You might be pleasantly surprised by a phone call or letter stating that someone is going to buy your words and stick them in a magazine for the whole world to see! What a rush!

I hope this helps some of you begin or continue your writing careers. I know that you all love to write or you wouldn't be blogging! Go for it, and if you have any other questions I'd be happy to help. Just drop me a line!

Friday, September 24, 2010

ALL right already! I'm a doing it!

Haven't posted for a few days 'cuz I've been very busy being... ( don't faint)... a writer!


Yeah, I haven't found a job after looking every day- and some kind soul on this very post reminded me that I am a writer- why don't I sell somethng, or try to.

And I thought, "Ya know,she's right! I AM a writer.I HAVE made money at this before!" So I started a notebook of ideas for magazine articles, ('cuz that is what you can usually sell the fastest and that gets the money in the bank.)
I pulled out my best book on Article writing, and in the last week I have written three new articles and queried two of them to a few magazines. Today I will query a few more.
And even though my poor ol eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen, I feel pretty good about it!
So now I am asking you all- what kind of articles interest you the most? What kind of article would you want to see from dear old Vaquerogirl?

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm close, but not that close

Yes, I do live in California. I  live about thirty minutes east from the big San Bruno Fire and Explosion.
No, I don't know anyone in the fire area- thank goodness.

There are about 50 homes burned to the ground. There are at least 6 confirmed dead and 120 injured. Many more are displaced and staying in emergency shelters.

It started by a pipe line that ruptured. A pipe line that was installed in 1948.  The fire then ran down the line and caught the other houses on fire. Everyone evacuated as fast as they could.

I live in a town that has a refinery. Periodically it blows up. Really- fire and smoke and people dead or dying. You take your chances living in a town with a refinery- we all know the risks and live with it.
These poor folks were all home just beginning to fix dinners, tuck kiddies into bed, water veggie gardens: all the things you would do in a bedroom community like San Bruno.
Then the world shook. Fearing a big earthquake ( as we all do who live in the Bay Area) people ran from their homes to see a column of smoke and fire that towered high into the sky. At that point many people feared it was a crashed jet- San Bruno is very near the San Francisco Airport and planes fly overhead all day long.

There is no way to prepare for a disaster like this. Nothing you could do would change what happened.We are at the mercy of the utility companies. That thought does not inspire confidence.

I am praying for the families of those who have died and for those whose loved ones are missing and feared dead.

Please send them all a prayer today too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What can money buy you?

It's all over the newspapers~ front page....
                                                                 Big news!

                            Money can buy you happiness!

The local paper says that the amount of money that can buy you happiness is $75,000. That is pretty specific, wouldn't you say?

How much would it suck to make only $70,000? Would you only be happy on alternating days, or maybe not happy on Sundays and Thursdays?

Once I found a twenty doller bill in the pocket of a borrowed coat ( my moms') and I was happy all day long!
And nothing beats the happiness when you roll up to the take out window and open your wallet to find you don't have enough money to pay for your order- then you look under the seat or in the glove box and find another doller! Sheer Bliss!

I keep pennies and nickles in a box on my dresser. The Hubby gets the quarters. Sometimes I get a quarter in  change, and I'll throw it in my nickle box- you should just see my hubby smile when he finds it!

The most amount of money that has ever made me happy was $4500. That bought me a really nice horse.
The least amount was a penny, found when I needed to balance my checkbook.

My happiness right now is running pretty cheap. I don't have a J.O.B.  and so I have NO money- yet I am about as happy now as I have ever been. NO worries about how to pay for anything- I have resigned myself to the fact that I won't be paying for anything. Voila! Problem solved- that makes me happy. 

I guess to the folks that judge happiness in monetary terms, $75,000. seems pretty damn cheap. That won't buy you  a house or even much of a car these days. And if you totalled up the money you spend a year on groceries for a family of four, you might come close to this number, but buying happiness... c'mon!

Now if I were going to put a number on happiness I would have to come up with some kind of formula...
Take the number of days in a week, multiply that by a thousand, add in the price of real estate in San Franciso in 1999, add the national debt, then divide that number by the age of your grandpa when he died.

What number would make you happy?



Friday, September 3, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation or How I Survived Highway 80.

So I had a kitchen pass for two days! Yippee!. I loaded up the horse into the trailer and hit the road. Let me tell ya, that new truck can haul the horses! Man alive!

But I hadn't gotten more than a mile down the road when ...

This Truck and trailer in the slow lane is going 70, with an empty trailer and it is bouncing all over the road, and weaving.

I get in the far left lanes- the fast lanes where I never drive with a trailer- just so I can pass the SOB.

He goes even faster!

I finally get around him and in my rear view mirror I see him straddling the white line and coming up behind me pretty fast- the toll booth is directly in front of me and I pray that I can get to it before he gets to me. And that he will stop when he reached the booth!

I roll up and ask the worker to call the CHP- that the guy RIGHT BEHIND ME AND COMING FAST needs an intervention of the CHP{ kind. The dopey guy just smiles and nods at me ( I don't think he understood the english)- so I grab his hand as he hands me the change and say - in no uncertian terms- CALL THE COPS!

Then I pull away, just as the truck closes on my bumper and high centers himself on the curb just in front of the guys tool booth! I had just enough time to look back and see that dopey little guy in the booth grab the phone and start jabbering!


So I make it the Dolittle Ranch. They call it Dolittle because they DO Little but work- Ha! They DO Little but treat me like a QUEEN! Although I did help Stud Spud with his surveying- I got to be the 'stick' girl. I held the stick and it went beep- and then I could move the stick. Lucky for me Mr Helper the neighbor came over and took my job.


I needed a drink after all that work!

I brough two bottles of wine. D and I sit down to visit, and before we knew it it was time to go out for dinner.

They took me to the Silver Doller Saloon in Marysville.

It was a house of ill repute at one time in its history- now it is a western style restaurant. And a good one!

The burgers are at least seven inches high, you would have to unhinge your jaw just to take a bite!

We all sat down and Stud Spud says" You have to see the men's room."


So he takes me to the mens room.

This is what I see there!

Ha ha ha ha!! Better not have performance anxiety there!

(Womens room is just plain and boring!)

The next day D and I are riding early 'cuz the shoer will be there at noon.

So we played around with the horses. D rode Little Wednesday and a cuter pony you will never find.

She did some tarp work with her, and took her through the 'car-wash'. I took Desi too.

Desi is a little bit of a prima donna- he spooks of weird and not so scarey things- like peacocks and turkeys- but he was a champ doing the 'car-wash' . For video of us going through it check out Denesirita Un-paid Ranch Slaves blog.

Before we knew it the Horseshoer was there.

We told him about the colored shoes we saw on Mikeys blog.

I won't say what he said then- it wern't pretty- and he said he would have to add an Aggravation Fee to put the PINK ones on Wednesday. Humphf!

So we hung out with the shoer- just because we like him and he's kinda cute- then left him all alone to go swimming. But ever' so often we'd jump out of the pool, throw on the cowboy boots ( we still had our suits on) and went down to clean the chaff from his work and switch horses around ( I think D had ten or so head to do!).

How many horseshoers can say that their clients changed the horses in the bathing garb? Lucky him? I might beg to differ- we ain't as young or as perky as we a' used to be!

The next day we all went to the cattle auction nearby.
D and the Stud Spud wanted to sell a few calves and one cow.
I hadn't been to an auction of that tyope since the seventh grade when My BFF and I went with her Dad to one. We sat up in the top row, and we bought a calf. He wern't too happy about that but he did pay for it- and she did raise it!

I would have bought a few more weaners, but since I didn't live nearby and it was Keiths truck- and my Hubby would have had a stroke- I let someone else buy them.

It was time to go home and the weather has been HOT! 100 degrees for the last two days ( Mikey don't snort- I know- but that is hot for us!)

Load the pony and take off.

About a hour into the two hour drive I get into a real storm- there is a huge piece of something lying across the freeway and I have no way to get around it ! There are cars on either side and I couldn't slam the brakes or come to a complete halt on Highway 80- I had to go over it.

I tried.

It was some kind of thick felt blanket and it wrapped around my drive train and started making the worst noise!

I pulled over on the side of the freeway as quickly as I could, got out and looked- I couldn't see it- it was really up there.

I got back into the truck and crept along the shoulder to an exit ramp.

I grabbed my cell from my purse-

And it was DEAD! I hadn't recharged it (because I didn't have my cord- I left it at home despite my Hubbys reminder) SHOOT! STUPID! I wanted to pound my head against the red hot pavement.

Then one of two miracles happened.

First a truck pulling a trailer pulled ahead of me and into the shoulder. He was checking his load before the weigh station I reckon- but I jumped on him like a chicken on a tick and begged to use his cell. He kindly allowed me to call 911 and I was assured that a CHP would be there soon.

I went back to the truck, climbed under it to see if I could drag the 'thing' from the drive train.

It was about a million degrees under that damn truck and I am thinking I am gonna get in so much trouble from my hubby...

Then the second miracle happened! A tow truck driver pulled up and asked if I needed help.

I said , sort of nonchelant- HECK YEAH!

He got the truck up on chocks and with a big ole knife he cut that thing off my drive train.

I gave him a hug and went to get my AAA card. NO need , says he. This is a free service and he hands me a brochure.

He is a member of the Freeway Service Patrol.

These guys are free roaming tow truck drivers that will help motorists in need! Gas, hoses, a tow- what ever you need to get you to a safe place or get you on your way. AND it is absolutely FREE!

They are all over the Greater Bay Area from Sacramento to Santa Rosa to San Jose. You call 511 for their service or 911 and the CHP will send them.

This guy had just seen me and pulled over. The CHiPper came about ten minutes after he was finished.

Let me tell you- I was one HAPPY Cowgirl!

No harm- No foul and I was on my way! ONLY 45 minutes late too! Whew!

So I got home and had a glass of wine, happy that I had survived the Interstate 80 corrider.
I still got in trouble for not having my phone charged- but I made Hubby a good dinner tonight and now all is forgiven.