Friday, January 24, 2014

Various Musings ....

from Jacqueline

Well, it’s done!  I have submitted my Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) to the USCIS.  That’s the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.  It arrived at the offices in Phoenix (to which applications from California must be sent) at 10:30 am on Wednesday morning. I tracked that package all the way (wondering, I might add, why a package that goes from CA to AZ had to travel via TN).  Now the countdown begins.  According to various websites, the time from receipt of application to “The Oath” is about 5 months.  I sincerely hope it is, because what with book tours, a few events in the first half of the year, Left Coast Crime and a couple of trips to see my mother in England before the summer, I just hope I can schedule it all, because one does not call the immigration people to say, “Could we move that appointment back a bit?”  In any case, now I am doing my homework at every opportunity, so that during my naturalization interview and the nervous heat of the moment, I can automatically answer the ten questions thrown at me.  I’m pretty OK with it, but all the same, I’ve ordered a few books to help me along.

And I learned an awful lot during my addiction to this show ....

Moving right along!  I can add one more thing to my list of living things on earth that make no sense. Along with skunks and ticks, I think Justin Bieber or whatever he calls himself is right up there on the strange and nonsensical species list.  And as an aside, I do believe I have Mr. and Mrs. Skunk and a family of little blighters living under my house. I have decided that discretion is the better part of valor and will not look. 

My walking buddy and I encountered a lovely dog (with owner) on our morning trek a few weeks ago.  What a gorgeous pup it was too – four months old with black curly hair.  It was a medium-sized Labradoodle.  We asked the name of the breeder to check out the website later.  Well, all I can say is … $2500 for a mutt?????  Has the dog-loving world lost its marbles?  I mean, they’re lovely dogs, fun and perfect for people who want a dog that doesn’t shed, but twenty-five hundred bucks for what would have once been considered an accident???  A sheepadoodle will set you back about the same (that’s a poodle crossed with an Old English Sheepdog).  And now apparently the oodles are starting to come up with problems due to inbreeding – there’s been too much doodling around, apparently.

Now, having said all that – about spending money on animals – when I bought my beloved Friesian horse, Oliver, the vet who came to do the pre-purchase examination said to me, “You know, you could buy a high-end mountain bike and save yourself a whole lot of money.”   

I reflect upon that conversation at times, and usually when the vet bill arrives in my mailbox.  But it comes down to the fact that if you have the money and you want something, it’s no one’s business but yours.  I’d saved up to buy a young horse, and the minute Oliver and I locked eyes, I knew he was The One I had waited for my entire life.  My very own black beauty.  

And even if I had known then that Friesians have a delicate digestive system, I would still have bought him.  Oh, that would be the same delicate digestive system that took us to the equine hospital late at night just over a year ago – he was in the throes of a serious colic, so I’d walked him up and down for four hours waiting for the emergency vet to arrive at ten o’clock on a dark and stormy night (probably the last stormy night we had in CA!).  He immediately referred Ollie to the equine hospital ($$$$), so off we went trundling the trailer along flooded freeways to be greeted by three veterinarians and a surgeon on standby - fortunately, the three angels stabilized Oliver so the surgeon wasn't needed.  Maybe I should have bought a medium black labraoodle after all.

But instead, we have Maya.  A Mutt from the LA County Shelter.  Ahhhhh ….

Who, as I write this is scratching her ear while giving me the "I've got a tick!" look.  Now I have to look for a deer tick on a black dog - oh joy!

Well, that's it from me for this week, folks.

Have a lovely weekend.  If you're here in California, let's pray for rain.  If you're on the east coast, we'll pray for a bit of sunshine for you, and if you're in the UK - jeez, I hope that rain stops soon.


  1. Congratulations on going for naturalization! I'm sure things will go smoothly.

    PS: Our rescue dog Declan looks a lot like Maya, but I hope Maya has more brains than Declan.

    1. from Jacqueline

      Thanks Jerry! There's a list of 100 questions and possible answers to memorize - many of which are fairly easy - but you never know which ten are going to be thrown at you when you're very nervous! Maya is a very sharp dog - but has a very strong "let's follow the scent" smell. At one point I put a large bell on her collar so I always knew where she was when she vanished into the bushes!!

  2. James O. Born1/24/2014 7:02 AM

    I can remember discussing citizenship with you at the Virginia Festival of Books several years ago. I just went to my first swearing in ceremony for a Canadian friend who is now a US/Canadian friend. She said it was a thrill and she is still thrilled by it.

    As for mountain bikes and horses, I see your point but I've never been bitten by a mountain bike. Wish I could say the same about a horse.


    1. from Jacqueline. I remember talking it over with you Jim, about my issue with the "gun" question - which had caused me to drag my feet in terms of applying. I came to the conclusion that if someone in government thought the country was so hard-pushed it needed a woman to bear arms who has reached the age of %* without firing a gun, well, I should step up to the plate and do what I can.

      The horses might bite, but that ground bites when you skid and come off your bike!

  3. So great that you're becoming a US citizen! Welcome! I'd be nervous about answering a bunch of questions, that's the truth!
    About your beloved Oliver, I absolutely believe that if that is what you want, then that's what your soul needs. You two will have many wonderful times ahead! And I'm really looking forward to your next book!

    1. from Jacqueline. Oliver is now 9 years old, Val, so I have had him for 6 years this year! He is a most wonderful horse - talented though a bit of a dreamer at times, but with a really cute sense of humor, and SO affectionate.

  4. Congratulations on taking the big step! A bit scary, though. Probably means the Queen won't make you a Dame or whatever they're called.

    You and Oliver look great together. When you find "The One," nothing as trivial as money matters. Are you two competing?

  5. from Jacqueline: Different countries have different arrangements, and at the present time as a British citizen I am allowed to have dual nationality. Seeing as I am not likely to gain a Damehood (thought it would be nice wouldn't it?) it doesn't present a problem. But my green card was coming up for renewal, so I thought it would be a good idea - there are some advantages to it. Oliver and I may well be competing this spring and perhaps in June and later in the year - I just have to get over my nerves. I get in a real fluster at a show and my mind goes blank - not a good thing when you have to remember a specific dressage test. But we can do many good things (he is doing piaffe which is a very difficult move for him - sort of dancing on the spot) so we might well take ourselves off to a show or two.

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