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For the past couple of weeks (I’ve been shamelessly keeping him to myself for far too long), Thor has been a distinguished guest in my home up here in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I had such high expectations, but things quickly went awry.

To my dismay, he arrived completely worn out from his escapades in South Carolina, but he wasn’t too weary to notice Superman keeping watch over the abode.

Superman keeping watch. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Superman keeping watch.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Yes, that is my McDonald’s happy meal toy, don’t judge me.

At first, Thor was a little upset that another superhero would be dwelling under the same roof. Until . . . he saw the bull riders. His fascination was immediate.

Thor meets the bulls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor meets the bulls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“I wish to conquer these great bronze beasts,” exclaimed Thor.

Naturally, Thor being Thor, decided that he would ride the biggest, baddest bull in the pen – Bodacious, the PRCA bucking bull of the year two years running (1994 & 1995).

“Thor,” I said, “you cannot ride a bull without there being a bull fighter present. They may look like rodeo clowns, but they serve a very valuable purpose.”

Intent on his mission, but aware of the danger, Thor decided to rouse the resident bull fighter, Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafeal Jones from his afternoon siesta.

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When Mr. Jones was ready, Thor mounted the snorting beast and called for the chute to be opened.

Thor rides Bodacious Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor rides Bodacious
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Thor completed the 8 second ride, however, because he failed to have the bull rope in his hand, he was disqualified. The judges declined to pay the prize money, but did allow him to keep the buckle.

The winning buckle Original photo by P. Rickrode

The winning buckle
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Disheartened by his bull riding experience, Thor decided that perhaps instead of riding the bucking bulls, he’d fight them like Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones.

“How hard can that be?” Thor questioned. “They look a lot bigger when you’re on their back.”

"This bull fighting - how hard can it be?" Original photo by P. Rickrode

“This bull fighting – how hard can it be?”
Original photo by P. Rickrode

I explained to Thor that bulls come in many shapes and sizes, but he remained firm in his resolve to be a bull fighter. Until he saw the entire bull pen bearing down on him.

The bull pen Original photo by P. Rickrode

The bull pen
Original photo by P. Rickrode

Exhausted from his hasty retreat over the arena fence, Thor proclaimed that it he now understood why Juan Eduardo Jose Frederico Miguel Bernardo Jesus Pablo Rafael Jones needed a siesta. I suggested that he climb to the top of the Great Tide Basin waterfall and do a bit of yoga or meditation to relax a bit.

“Yes,” said Thor, “I shall climb and meditate.”

The great Tide Basin Falls. Original photo by P. Rickrode

The great Tide Basin Falls.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

After his siesta, meditation, I thought Thor might enjoy a bit of our natural surroundings. We ventured deep into bear country.

“I’ve wrestled many a bear in my life,” said Thor with great gusto as we roamed through the woods.

But, when he saw the bears, he seemed eager to turn tail and run.

Welcome to bear country. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Welcome to bear country.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

“You could have warned me that the bears were so huge!”

Thor was not having a good day at all, so I suggested that for the rest of his stay, he stick close to Sherlock for protection.

Sherlock - the mighty proetctor. Original photo by P. Rickrode

Sherlock – the mighty protector.
Original photo by P. Rickrode

When I was finally able to coax him away from his mighty protector, I told him that often when I’m feeling a bit fluxumed I sit and play the piano for a while. It usually calms me.

“Yes,” agreed Thor, “I will play this piano you are so fond of.”

Thor the one-note wonder. Original post by P. Rickrode

Thor the one-note wonder.
Original post by P. Rickrode

Unfortunately, Thor’s attempt at the Moonlight Sonata sounded more like the one-note sonata so I begged him to stop. He only agreed to cease the madness when I offered alcohol as an incentive. I gave him a glass of local wine, but when Thor spotted the Bushmils on the top shelf of the liquor cabinet, he demanded whiskey or threatened to entertain me again by tickling the ivories.

Needless to say, I let him have his fill, which he did, but he slept for a week afterward. Seems Thor can’t handle his whiskey. Or perhaps it was the alcohol coupled with the altitude that wiped him out. Either way, he’s really quite a wimp when it comes to drinking games. Not that I minded. Seems Thor was quite taken with the piano and I feared if he awakened he might bang on it play it again.

I had many other exciting things planned for Thor, but his liquor-induced coma kept him away from the gold panning in Coloma, the very spot where James Marshall discovered gold in 1848, picking out pumpkins from the local pumpkin patch, and a round of wine tasting here in the foothills. I thought I might even take him to Tahoe in my husband’s new car, but I was afraid he might puke on the way so didn’t even suggest it.

My advice to anyone who hosts Thor in their home – hide the booze.

If you want to read more about Thor’s journeys and adventures, check it out here: http://www.debrakristi.com/thors-world-tour/

Thanks Debra Kristi for sending Thor my way and sorry I kept him so long (really it was his own fault for drinking all that whiskey).

Word of the day: Meliorism

Fun fact about me: I am hopelessly lost when it comes to technology.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt 2013. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

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Welcome to 2013!!  We made it. The Mayans were either wrong, or they simply got tired of keeping a damn futuristic calendar. I’m voting for the latter. If they were as busy then as I am now, I’m not even sure what I’m doing tomorrow, so who needs to know what’s going on 2000 or so years from now?

2013 calendar

But, anyway, here we are. Another year stretches before us. So many possibilities, so many challenges, so many new things to try. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I do believe in always striving to better oneself, exploring new things, taking risks and just living without sweating the small stuff.bucket on beach

So as we embark on this brave new year, here are some things you may want to consider:

Make a bucket list. Blogger, Myndi Shafer shares her list here: http://myndishafer.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/my-35th-year-living-with-intention/ It doesn’t have to be elaborate or even long, but write down some fun things you’d like to accomplish this year or maybe next year.dog and cat

Make a promise to be more like your pets. So much can be learned by following the examples set by our pets. Jenny Hansen tells us what she’s learned about her pets here: http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/10-writing-lessons-i-learned-from-my-dog/

Pets are one of God’s many blessings that we often take for granted. Take time to enjoy the gifts your pet has to offer.

Keep a gratitude journal as suggested by Ginger Calem here:  http://gingercalem.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/writersbutt/ Ginger has many helpful tips and suggestions for leading a healthy and fit life on her blog. If you haven’t checked it out, I encourage you to stop by sometime for some kind words and positive advice for being the best you you can be.

Journal

cruise shipTry something new for vacation. Might I suggest a cruise? Debra Kristi had a fabulous time and tells about it here: http://debrakristi.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/spring-break-will-you-vacation-how-about-a-cruise/ I recommend resurrecting your inner child and take a trip to Disneyland or Disney World. There’s no place more magical than a world created by Disney Imagineers.

Every day we are confronted with a multitude of opportunities to make lasting memories if we simply slow down and take the time to enjoy what’s around us. This year I challenge my readers to try something new, something a little out of your comfort zone, a little outside your normal every day box.

Even if it’s as simple as trying a new recipe or experiencing a different type of food. Perhaps sushi, Thai food, Indian cuisine. If you’ve thought about it, but haven’t taken the steps to make it happen, I encourage you to join a writer’s group. The advice and uplifting support from other members are hugely rewarding. My gang at the Sacramento Valley chapter of RWA has opened many many doors for me and my creativity.

If you haven’t ever done it, volunteer at a food kitchen or other charitable function that gives back to the community. Volunteering your time is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever enjoy. And who can have too many friends? Reach out to someone, touch a life, enrich your own world. You’ll be glad you did.

holding hands

Whatever you decide to do this year, make it brave, make it awesome, make it you!

Tell me, where are you going to venture off to this year? What exciting things do you have planned? What goals have you set for yourself? I’d love to hear them and cheer you on toward attaining them.

Word of the Day:  Natatorial

Fun Fact About Me:  I love to make scrapbooks.

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