Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Review: Laura Crum's Going, Gone

Going, Gone-A Gail McCarthy Mystery by Laura Crum

Gail McCarthy, veterinarian, horsewoman, also wife and mother, is settling into a new direction in her life with husband Blue and young son Mac. Life is good.

A much anticipated camping trip, to an old boyfriend's ranch, begins quietly and without complication until Gail arrives at Lonny's ranch.Gail discovers Lonny has been arrested for a double murder. Gail being the good, loyal friend she is, doesn't believe Lonny could kill anyone and is determined to find the truth.

Going, Gone is an engaging mystery that keeps you guessing until the last ride. Readers also get a glimpse of Gail's new life as she tries to settle down with Blue and Mac. Her thoughts and how her priorities have changed since raising her young son. As happens in real life, circumstances intervene.

Gail's animals, especially her horses, are a big part of her life, something horse lovers and animals lovers can all relate to. The horse scenes are appealing, endearing, realistic and believable without getting into cutesy characterizations. Laura Crum writes with an abundance of realism and sensitivity. The scene descriptions of the landscapes vivid. You are moving along in the story with Gail, Blue and Mac.

Great read, Quick read and all in a tidy package. If you enjoyed Laura's earlier titles you won't be disappointed with Going, Gone. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Absolutely Perfect Birthday!

Saturday was my 49th birthday. I look at that number and say, whoa! How'd that sneak up on me?  But then I realize, it took all those years to have the perfect day I enjoyed Saturday.

The weather was gorgeous. After all the winter storms of February, the past weekend was our reward for persevering through the bad winter weather. Bright sunshine and clear blue skies!

Hubby and I simply enjoyed our day. We had a few things we attended to in the morning including attending a gun & knife show and then stopping by a jewelery store to see about getting my original engagement ring re-set. I'd been meaning to do the ring thing for a long time. I told him that's what I wanted for my birthday this year. I'll either be getting a ring close to what I had or, depending on the estimate, I may have my tiny 1/5 c. diamond mounted in the middle of two emeralds. The diamond in my engagement ring has always had a special sparkle but the setting is showing it's aged wear and tear.

When we got home, I spent time with my horses. They enjoyed the attention and the brushing.

Later in the day, and during the evening, #1 son and his wife, as well as #2 son and his girlfriend, stopped in. They brought gifts, which I will always cherish in my memory, bright yellow tulips and a handmade button flower pin. We simply enjoyed the evening with good pizza (my choice) and good talk.

I told Hubby yesterday, it was probably the best birthday, and day, I'd enjoyed in a very long time. I think I smiled and laughed all day!

Saturday and just "being" with those I love was the best gift of all!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Debate

Since I was a little girl, I have been in awe of orcas. I don't like calling them killer whales. I was interested in them before they were chic. When I was young, I saw nothing wrong with Sea World having orcas in their shows. Children and young adults, in the late 70's and early 80's, were much more innocent than the children and young adults of today. Today, information is at fingertips.Truth often crushes the rose colored glasses.

The horrible incident at Sea World, Orlando, last week, touched me. Made me think again about using wild animals in shows, for human entertainment. Educational? I can't quite buy that one anymore, not at the price of human lives, and the lives of the animals.

What are we really doing? Conservation? I don't think so. I can't buy that argument anymore either.

Upon hearing about the tragedy, I was sad for Dawn, but I was also sad for Tilikum. I don't fault either one. It was a tragic accident no matter how you try to turn it. I have personally decided orcas should not be used in shows for the entertainment of humans. I know it won't end, I'm a realist. 

I have been relieved at Sea World's decision to keep Tilikum, though I realize that decision comes down to dollars, not necessarily sense. He's their prize stud having produced thirteen offspring making his services highly valuable. He's been in captivity for something like 25 years. What else are they going to do with him? Sea World is sort of between a rock and a hard place with this one.

As when working around your own horses, you learn their behaviors.You learn to pay attention. You learn what bugs them and what they don't ever pay attention to. When working with horses, you learn to know their body language and what kind of mood they're in. I personally don't believe there is such a thing as a bombproof horse. There is a button for every horse. Something that will cause him to surprise you when you least expect it. It's really inevitable. It's just the way they're programmed. It's not about being on edge around them, it's about being observant. 

Unfortunately, we're human, we're emotional, and we have a tendency to probably relax when we trust. I don't believe Dawn did anything wrong, but then I wasn't there. I'm only forming an opinion on the interviews I've seen and the articles I've read about the incident. I believe, it was one moment in time, when Dawn trusted and let her guard down. 

Sure, orcas are different from horses. Orcas are predators. They have the ability to kill with a giant mouth, strong jaw and lots of sharp teeth. On the other side of the coin, how many people are killed by horses every year?  And what is the main reason? I don't have statistics, but I'm thinking, it just happens.

As humans, we're the ones who choose to interact with animals, both wild and domestic. We're the ones responsible for most outcomes, good and bad. But sometimes, it just happens.