Sunday, April 23, 2017

3 French Mares

April 21, my birthday, was on a Friday this year, which was awesome. The weather here was not quite as awesome - I'm not sure it even made it to 50 degrees. At least it didn't rain, for once. 7Up was my lucky mount on HI2. Here we are with my birthday flute:
Not bad, but definitely not PepsiSummer-herd-worthy. Maybe someday we'll find a great Norm. To be named Norm. Or Norma. Assuming the filter allows for that.

I think that my sisters and I should have a contest this year to see who flutes the best horse on her birthday. There could even be multiple categories. Might I suggest highest stats, prettiest artwork, and coolest avatar? We could also have a "most similar to the horse on Mom's page-a-day calendar" category, though I'm pretty sure I'm not going to win that one. This gorgeous foal looks nothing like my Norm. XD

Winner of each category could get a premium companion of her choice. Is it a deal, guys?

Remember how Lily recently fluted that wonky 6/6 Selle Francais? Well, guess who I found going to the foreign bidder last week? I was a big softie and bid the piddly $5k or whatever it was to keep her on the game.
Truth be told, she's a nicer Selle than the one we caught. Nicer personality and higher stats, anyway. Let's not tell Mr. Wonky, though.

Ah, one of those not-black horses that has a darker avatar than many black ones. XD
Since we didn't catch her ourselves, and since her stats fall short of the elusive +80 threshold, I reluctantly let her go before I logged out on my birthday. When Bethany checked the livery horses the next morning, she was no longer among them. Hopefully that means she found a good home.

While Bethany was checking out the livery horses, she also noticed this mare:
Just look at that personality stat distribution! *Applauds appreciatively* So visually pleasing!

Bethany also urged me to share this ad that she saw come up:
She almost did go compete in Orbs II after seeing this. =^) Almost.

Finally, here's me posing with the Floppalots from my sleepover in Mom's room on Friday night. (We stayed up late watching a marathon of Expedition Unknown.) Mom's decided to name the bunny Eleanor.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Post-Easter Post

Nothing all that exciting has happened on HI2 for us lately. I did happen upon a really nice Cleveland Bay in the auction house on Saturday, though. I thought he ought to get a second chance at staying in the game, so when nobody but the foreign bidder had bid with less than a minute left in the auction, I bid.

Such a stately horse with the personality to match! At +68 and only two stat points away from being 6/6, I think he has a decent shot at being adopted. Before I dropped him off in the livery, I rode him around Narrowed Isle for a little bit to check out his avatar.
Yep, he looks about how I expected. :^)
Good luck, big guy!

My flute today (the day after Easter) was a pretty nice mare too.
Hee hee. I love Fort's hooves.

Another proud-looking horse with an interesting persona. Drat that conformation stat!

Mom took some photos of us in our Easter dresses on Saturday. (It was warm - in the 70's! - and dry out, and she knew she wouldn't have much spare time on Easter itself.) We hadn't anticipated how windy it would be, though, so it was a brief photo shoot. Our hair was blowing everywhere, Mom's hair was blowing everywhere, and it was super sunny, which did not make for the world's best photos. We mostly stayed in the shadow of the house, where the lighting was less harsh and it was marginally less windy.

Here's Bethany lounging in the shade of an oak.

Here's Lily walking through the myrtle. Behind her on the right is the backyard's "mossy expanse," a carpet of moss that thrives in the shadow of the house.

Here's Felicity on the the edge of the incredibly soft "mossy expanse." Note the purple flower to her left. <3

And finally, here I am on the brick patio. The glaring sun makes for an interesting background. x^)

We mutually agreed to retreat to a comfy chair in the sunroom for our group shot.

Easter itself was pretty low key for us dolls, but it was a huge day for a certain stuffed elephant.

It wouldn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out which Easter basket is Mom's.
Ha ha, Nala's cucumber made it into the photo.
Speaking of Nala, the chocolate bunnies in gold foil you see in Mom and her sister's baskets?
This is the same size and type of bunny that Nala consumed a few months ago.
Mom's little sisters got cash in their baskets along with the candy... and Mom gets a stuffed rabbit. Yep, that sounds about right. XD 

Mom may have dropped the hint once or twice that this is what she wanted for Easter. And the Floppalot bunny from eBay did not disappoint. As you can see, she's (because clearly she's a she, right?) been well taken care of. In fact, she has much fluffier stuffing than Norbert, which means Norbert still easily wins the floppiest stuffed animal prize. Here she is from the back, so you can see her impressive yarn tail:

Here she and Norbert are meeting each other for the first time. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. <3

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lucky Horse and Lucky Leeches

It's official. Let me introduce you to our March horse, Caraway. (She looks like she was sprinkled with a spice, after all.) Here she is in her shamrock-themed tack:

This past Tuesday, Lily and Yetta caught six horses on an expedition to Twin Rivers and Prairie Isles. Read on for the three most interesting ones!

First to be caught was this flaxen chestnut. From first glance, I'd have guessed it was a Belgian.
Not even close! It was a flashy American Saddlebred mare. 
She is just one stat point away from being +6/6, but alas, those stats only add up to +62.  So, no antisocial yet easygoing Saddlebred for our herd. :-( 

Lily got a bit excited for this one, another overo American Paint Horse. (We have all the Paint pinto patterns represented in our herd except for overo.) This one's avatar looks a lot like Misty the Chincoteague Pony, one of our first Millennium Field retirees. =)

Nope, no overo Paint for our herd either. *Sighs*

The last wild horse they caught was this chestnut. Not the most thrilling avatar in the world.
Lily totally stumbled upon this one on her way back to the dock house.
Nor the most beautiful profile artwork either. (The hind legs on Selles look awkward to me, as does the oddly long-toed right fore hoof...)
Nevertheless, he is our first +6/6 wild horse of 2017. He also happens to have charming markings, a pleasant smattering of golden dapples, and a personality stat distribution that makes a cool (albeit tilted) X. Lily's not sure she wants to keep him, though, since his stats only add up to +69. Unless we catch another horse with superior stats this month or find him another home, I'm guessing he'll be sticking around in all his wonky glory. XD

Two other horses from this week also deserve to be mentioned. The first is a livery horse I was tempted by yesterday:
Wow, what a horse! If we'd captured her instead of the wonky Selle, I don't think even Lily would've been able to say no. (The color and markings are eerily similar, aren't they?) I resisted her, though, since her stats only add up to +72. I hope somebody gave her a good home!

And the final horse was my flute from yesterday while I was riding Toasty:
Our first Irish Cob!
Drat, only 2/6 stats. All the same, she is definitely special enough to be retired to our Millennium Fields! Name suggestions, anyone?

Now I am going to switch the subject to... sports. Unprecedented, I know. Mom, my sisters, and I do not generally follow ball sports, nor do we enjoy playing them. Mom has, however, participated (reluctantly and unenthusiastically, but participated) in her extended family's NCAA men's basketball "March Madness" bracket pool every year in recent memory. Each family member gets to create two brackets, which resulted in 38 total brackets in the pool this year. 

This year, somehow, someway, one of Mom's brackets ended up winning the pool! Wow, go UNC Tarheels! Mom picked them because she likes their uniforms (light blue and white) and their mascot, Rameses the ram. Here is proof of her triumph.

Her bracket names, in case you were wondering, come from creatures in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. (She thought they would make amusing mascots for basketball teams.) Lachrymose leeches are fictitious leeches from Lake Lachrymose that will eat swimmers and boaters on the lake, but only if someone in/on the water has had something to eat recently. The Incredibly Deadly Viper is a fictitious species of snake that looks scary (big and black with green eyes) but is actually one of the friendliest, least deadly of animals.

Oh, the irony. At the next family gathering, there will be the ceremonial passing of the trophy (Hoops, a beanie baby bear holding a basketball) from last year's winner to Mom. 

Believe it or not, this isn't even the first time Mom's had the trophy. She also won in 2011 when the UConn Huskies were champs... but only because nobody else in the family pool had picked them. This time her bracket beat out 6 others who also had predicted the UNC Tarheels as champs. Talk about dumb luck. XD

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Tribute to the Elite 3

Mom has three favorite stuffed animals. These were the ones that for years slept in her bed with her every night. I think that they deserve a little tribute, because while Mom loves us, her dolls, she was way more into stuffed animals than dolls when she was little. (We came later.) She has quite an impressive stuffed animal collection, but these three were (and still are) the elite, the best of the best.

The first one, Hoppy, was originally Mom's grandma's: she bought her to be a spring decoration in the house. Every time Mom went to visit, she asked to play with the beautiful white and blue bunny. Eventually, her grandma gave her Hoppy to keep. Hoppy went with Mom on every vacation and sleepover from then on. On one fateful camping trip, Hoppy accidentally fell in the dirt. Mom's mom tried washing her in the washing machine once they got home. Her once-prisitine, fluffy fur was never the same after all of that, but Mom continued to love her as much as ever. Hoppy is quite well travelled - she's been to many states and to Canada, often traveling crammed into a carryon to serve as both companion and pillow. She has a yarn necklace strung with an orange bead, each a token from two of Mom's best childhood friends. She wears an old one-sy that both of her little sisters once wore when they were babies. So, she connects Mom not only to her grandma, but also to best friends and sisters. 

Next to come along was Shaggy. Mom remembers admiring him in a toy aisle at a grocery store - she and her mom visited him on multiple occasions. On her birthday, as always, Mom saved her biggest birthday present, one from her mom, to open last. Inside was Shaggy! Mom was thrilled. Big, smiling, and covered in shaggy brown fur, he was to Mom the epitome of a teddy bear. Because of his size, Shaggy didn't get to travel as often as Hoppy or Norbert. (I'll get to him in a moment.) Mom vividly recalls, while packing for a vacation to Florida, squishing him into her suitcase along with everything else to try to convince her dad there was room for him. It didn't fly. Or rather, Shaggy didn't get to fly. Mom sent him a postcard from Florida. XD

Third to arrive was Norbert. The library at the church Mom and her family went to had a few "book bags" that could be checked out. These book bags contained both a children's book and a stuffed animal that went with it. Mom's favorite was the one with Norbert the elephant... in fact, she can't even remember the others anymore. The book's title, appropriately, was:
The Norbert illustrated in the book doesn't look anything at all like the elephant stuffed animal they paired the book with:
Mom fell in love with everything about the stuffed Norbert, though, from his floppy patchwork body to his goofy eyelashes to his clump of pink yarn hair. She remembers dreading returning him, begging her mom to hurry after the church service to see if they could check him out again, and being really sad when some other kid checked him out. Mom's mom worked her magic again. She came up with the idea to buy another stuffed elephant for the book bag - one that actually looked something like the book illustrations - and then ask the church library if we could swap them so that Mom could have the original Norbert. It worked! Norbert came home with Mom for good, and Norbert II took his place in the book bag. (Later on, Mom's sister took a shine to Norbert II, necessitating a Norbert III to take his place, but that's another story...)

I guess all this goes to show that Mom was the sort of little kid who tended to like what she couldn't have best? (Maybe that's part of why she has always loved horses so much, because she knew she'd probably never get to have a real one?) XD She's lucky she had such a generous grandma and mom!

These days, Hoppy, Shaggy, and Norbert still reside on Mom's bed, though they don't sleep under the covers anymore. They don't travel anymore either, unless you count being carried to the basement during tornado warnings. I think they are enjoying their semi-retirement - it may be less exciting, but it's definitely less taxing on the fur (in Hoppy's and Shaggy's cases) and stuffing. They've been joined permanently by two stuffed animals that Mom inherited when her grandparents passed away: Donald, a puppet Mom used to think was alive when her grandpa got him out, and FiFi, a poodle Mom gave her grandma (the same grandma who gave her Hoppy). 
Other stuffed animals join the party from time to time, as do my sisters and I when it's our birthdays, but Hoppy, Shaggy, and Norbert still get the places of honor closest to Mom. <3

A big part of why I decided to write this post now is because my sisters and I googled Norbert's brand name, "Floppalots," this past week. We found out that he's older than any of us realized - apparently he was made in the late 80's! No wonder his stuffing is so compressed! I wonder what the owner(s) he had before the library and Mom was/were like? 

We also discovered from the image search that Norbert has Floppalots "cousins!"




Aww! We never knew! I think we should name them. =^)