Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trying to be Spring

Spring comes to Southern California in February.  But, we live in the mountains where frost isn't unusual in early May.  My garden is confused.  Most of the plants are still dormant but there are signs of life.  My rhubarb has cautiously poked a few curly leaves away from the root, little leaf toes poking their way to the sun.  There are a few brave flowers as well.  Daffodils are appearing, although they haven't started blooming for the most part.

 Hyacinth, one of my favorites, are almost done.  Done?!  The weather has been so cold that I haven't had a chance to lay down on the grass and stick my nose into the middle of these fragrant puffs. 

A few daffodils have opened.  
Brett is out mowing with the weed whacker today.  He promised to be careful of the daffodils.  I have them everywhere.  Under trees, on the slopes, amongst the boulders... they are my favorite flower and I have planted a lot of them.

Kersey has recovered well from her ACL flare up.  She's back to bouncing around.  Thank you all for your concern -- she sends you all wet doggy kisses and a slap of her tail against your leg. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Lion's Share

Last year, shortly after I broke my toes, Brett's son broke his foot.  It was a doozy, freak of a break.  He crashed on his bicycle on his way home from work as the chef at a restaurant in San Diego.  The break required a couple surgeries, pins, plates and an immobilizing cast for what seemed like forever.  Needless to say, he lost his job since he couldn't stand or walk on the foot.

Around Christmas time, Scott was back on his feet/foot.  He was hired as the executive chef at a restaurant called The Lion's Share in San Diego.  The restaurant had a very successful bar, with exotic decor and creative drinks but the food side of the business was only so-so.  They hired Scott to work wonders on the food side and he has.  He created an interesting and creative menu and the restaurant side has been steadily gaining in popularity.  They serve a lot of game and exotic meat -- the restaurant name and decor give you the feel of being on an African game hunt.

Last Sunday evening Brett and I went to dinner there with Brett's sister, Dana, and her husband, Doug.  We went early so we would all be home at a reasonable hour since Monday was an early work day for all of us.  We were also at the restaurant before the evening rush arrived so Scott was able to come out and talk to us about our food.
Brett and Scott

 Scott prepared a prixe fix meal for us with small, tasting size plates.  He wanted us to sample all menu items he was most proud of.  .... Three and a half hours and twelve courses later, we staggered out of the restaurant.  The food was amazing.  I'm not surprised.  Scott is a very talented chef (and I'm not just saying that because he is Brett's son).  I took pictures of each course to share with you -- although sometimes I forgot and took a bite first.  I couldn't help myself.  It was all so good and so interesting.

Doug and Brett

Me and Dana
Here we go...
1.  Chicken livers chopped and mixed with herbs and dates.  Dana called this "pizza" but it was way better than pizza.

2. Crispy White Anchovy with lemon and golden raisin vinaigrette, Arbol chili and egg.  I'm not a huge anchovy fan, other than mixed into sauces, but this was really good.  Salty, but not too much, and sweet.  I would definitely order this again.

3. Deviled Eggs:  There were four eggs, each with a different filling (caviar, proscuitto, vegetable and a savorysweet one).  We cut them in half to share and  forgot to take a picture while they still looked pretty. 
4.  Poblano Braised Frog Legs with black garlic and scallions.  Okay, I had never had frog legs before and wasn't sure what the texture would be but, OMG, they just melt in your mouth.  So tender and tasty.  Yum!

5.  Grilled Oysters with truffle, parsley and lemon.  I thought of our friend, Christian, who loves oysters when this course came out.  He would have been in heaven.  After eating the oyster, I picked up the shell and licked it.  No lie.  Don't tell.

6.  Texas Red Fish with grilled tomatoes, polenta and beet sauce.  This is Brett's new favorite fish.  It was moist and mild with a wonderful crunchy skin.  The tomatoes burst in my mouth, warm and juicy. 
7.  Braised duck meatball with grilled peach & ginger coulis, cilantro, serrano chili.  I love duck but I'm not a big meatball fan so I didn't go as crazy over this as the rest of our table.  They all thought it was amazing.
8.  Roasted Bandera quail with Calabrian chili couscous, caulifower, arugula sauce.  Brett dutifully tried the cauliflower despite "hating" that particular vegetable.  Then he gave the rest to me.  That was A-OK with me.  This was another of my favorite dishes.  Everything worked great together from the couscous with a hint of heat to the crispy salty skin of the quail to the roasted sweet cauliflower. 

9. Rabbit wrapped in savoy cabbage with thyme potato gnocchi, brown beach mushrooms, sweet pea puree and madeira jus.  This is one of the most popular items on the menu and I can see why.  By this time, I was full and having trouble finishing my little plate.  But I did.
10. Lamb Bolognese topped with goat cheese ravioli.  This was very good and also very rich.  I ate half and gave the rest to Brett.  He scarfed it down.
11.  Grilled kangaroo with a chickpea waffle, pea tendrils, and a cherry reduction sauce.  Brett thought the meat was delicious.   It certainly had good flavor and the sauce was perfect (Scott has always excelled at sauces).  Kangaroo is lean, the way grass fed beef is, so it isn't a tender meat.  I was really too full to enjoy it at this point.  Both Dana and I were sliding most of our food onto the plates of our husbands (who were happy to oblige).

12.  Dessert!  From the left:  Hazelnut Bread Pudding (too full to do more than taste it), Goat Cheese Mousse with blueberry and basil (I ate every bit of this), Mexican Chocolate and Chipotle Cookie (I ate half.  A good cookie with a hint of heat.  Dana wrapped hers in a napkin to take to work the next day.  Smart girl; I wish I'd thought of that).

If you ever find yourself in San Diego, make a stop at The Lion's Share.  The food, the drinks and the ambiance are fantastic.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jackson Moves Out

Last night the wind picked up and we heard it howl around our bedroom throughout the night, rattling the fence and slapping the trees.  This morning was sunny and bright; so bright that it hurt your eyes. But the wind was icy cold.

Guess who joined the herd yesterday afternoon?

When we got home from our trail ride yesterday, with a very tired Winston and mellow Mufasa, we decided to try moving Jackson out with the herd.  He looks so forlorn in his paddock.  We were hopeful that Winston and Mufasa wouldn't push him around.

They all behaved beautifully.  Mufasa has been here long enough for herd dynamics to be established.  Other than some polite discussions between Mufasa and Jackson about who is at the very bottom of the pecking order, things are mellow yellow. 

Even at feeding time.  Flash has taken over the run in shed.  It's the herd king's palace, apparently.  He eats in there and enjoys the shade.  He doesn't share.

Jackson, Mufasa and the donkeys settle in together at the lunch pole.

Winston tried to gain access to the palace -- and failed.  He ambled down to join the group; making sure they all understood that he ranks above them, just below Flash.

In other news, poor little Kersey is having a rough time.  She's never been the hardiest dog in terms of her joints.  She was tested for hip dysplasia as a puppy and didn't display any symptoms.  However, she pulled a muscle in her hind about a year ago (or more) and it has never completely healed.  She's always a bit gimpy in the morning and if she lands on it funny, she will yelp.  Last night, when I let the dogs in at bedtime Kersey could hardly make it to the bedroom.  She was shaking like a leaf and didn't want anything except her bed.  This morning she couldn't follow Brett and Sedona to go outside.  She tried to get up, sat back down, and looked miserable.  Brett came back and carried her outside, all 80 solid pounds of her.  I gave her a pain pill and her muscle meds.  She was doing much better at lunch time.
Sedona and Kersey, best friends

I love you, Sedona.  Kiss kiss.
I'm going to put her on a two week regiment of the medication for her joints.  Pain meds as needed.  Poor little thing.  If you can call an 80 lb solid lab a little thing.

Thank you all for your kind, supportive comments about my trail ride with Winston yesterday.  Winston is great on the trail, and loves it, when we go out with just Brett and Mufasa or Flash.  He's even pretty good all by himself.  He just doesn't like being in a group of horses he doesn't know.  I think he worries about the herd dynamics and stresses about establishing his place.  So, we will continue to trail ride but we will do it with Brett.  I prefer that anyway.  Brett and I go at the same pace, and we can go as far (or not) as we want with no pressure from a group.  Plus, there are always some ya-hoos in a group riding in a manner that isn't smart or safe or both and that bugs me. 

Also thank you to Shannon and TheresaA for advice on how to work on my corners.  We have poles and we have cones.  I plan to use both.  Unfortunately, we do not have the room to create a bigger arena so I can't practice in a competition size one.  But I can get my corners better and I can work on accuracy at the letters. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Long Walk Back

Brett signed us up to go on an interpretive trail ride today
with the Irvine Conservancy Group.
Winston has been on one of these rides before,
early last year, 
and he was calm as a cucumber
even when we walked past an angry rattlesnake.

Winston walked willingly out of the pasture with me this morning.
When he saw Brett backing up the trailer,
he became less willing.
He pooped four times in ten minutes.
...should have been a clue...
Brett loaded Mufasa first.
Thankfully, Winston loaded easily.

We arrived,
the docent unlocked the gate,
we drove into the staging area
and unloaded. 
Green grass everywhere.
Happy calm horses.

Green grass,
my best buddy Muasa,
What me worry?

He refused to stand still while I saddled him.
He was a royal pain in the butt.
And I was running on low energy;
fighting a cold or some bug.

The docent told us that they have found the remains of Native Americans in this canyon.
They have been carbon dated to 8,000 years ago.
Sometimes, an aura or ray of light shows up on his pictures.
He said it is the ghost of one of the Indians,
who rides with the docents.
He calls the Indian, Ray.
I don't think Winston liked Ray.
He jigged and fussed and was not fun to ride.

The docent stopped periodically to talk about the history of the canyon.
Winston stood quietly.
He seemed to be settling down.

We turned off the wide trail onto a single track and started to climb the hills. 
Winston took exception to a gelding behind us.
He kicked back.
With both feet.
Thank goodness he missed.
Then he reared a few times.
I asked the gentleman behind me to switch places with another rider on a horse Winston didn't mind.
He settled a bit.
On we climbed.

As we reached the steepest part of the trail
the docent stopped 
and warned us to be careful.
Their were steep cliffs
on both sides of the narrow, steep trail ahead.
We were to stay in the center of the trail.
Just then, Winston decided he was done.
He reared straight up.
I thought we were going over backwards.
When he landed he bucked.
I grabbed the saddle horn
(thank you Camille;
when he bucked me off last October,
Camille asked me why I didn't hold onto the saddle horn.
Her voice came to me.)
I grabbed the horn with one hand,
and turned him sharply with the other,
while pushing with my inside leg.
He stopped.
I got off.
And started the three mile walk back.

I'm not sure if Winston was remembering last October,
or doesn't like riding in a big group, 
or was still upset about the gelding,
or didn't like Ray (wrong tribe? Not an appy or horsey tribe)
or was just in a pissy mood.
Half way back to the trailer he relaxed.
He's used to me hand walking him when he's worried.
He bumped my hand repeatedly with his nose,
thanking me for keeping him safe.

I told Brett
that I'm happy to trail ride with him.
But I'm not happy to do group rides.
It's not my thing
and clearly isn't Winston's either.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Comments from Judges

One of the (many) things that I love about dressage is the constant learning it involves.  The journey never ends.  You start with basics, at the bottom of the training scale, and move up to more difficult challenges as you gain strength and suppleness.  When you compete at a dressage show, you have other riders in your class and you can win ribbons but, really, you are competing against yourself; trying to improve, to solidify the basics, and move up the training pyramid.  And judges help you.

When you ride your test, it is broken into a number or steps.  For Winston and I there are 13-16 steps in the tests we are riding.  For each step, there is a short explanation of what the judge is looking for (i.e., willing and balanced transition, quality of gait, shape and size of circle).  Next to each movement, the judge gives a numerical score and also a comment about how you can improve that movement.  At the end, there is a space for the judge to write her comments about the overall ride.  Sometimes they just say "nice ride" or "need more bend."  Sometimes they write more.

Peggy Klump was the judge at El Sueno.  She made comments on my test next to each movement and she wrote long comments at the end.  It was very helpful.   Here are some photos Brett took of my first ride, at training level 2, on Saturday.  I tried to match the photo to the judge's comment as much as possible.

 Movement 3 (trot to corner, then go across the diagonal): "wrong bend at K; good straightness on diagonal" Score: 7

 Movement 9 (free walk): "jigged/not ridden to M"  Score: 5

 Movement 11 (20m circle): "steady contact - needs impulsion" score: 6.5

 Movement 12 (trot across diagonal): "unclear bending through corners, drifts left to S" score: 6.5

At the end of the score sheet, the judge wrote me a novel with lots of advice for how I can improve.  The cool thing is that she pointed out the same things I noticed.  Her comments are accurate, fair and motivating.
Capable pair that shows some solid basic connection and obedience.  However, too bad you give away so many chances for great scores with inaccurate or sloppy lines.  Ride precisely, show control and balance using corners to help create self carriage and also show balance and impulsion.  With polish this pair is capable of brilliant performance.
We have lots of homework before the next show.  Lots and lots of homework.  Always. But capable of brilliance?  Made my day!  And I certainly feel motivated to improve.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lions and Tigers and Mirrors - oh my!

Winston had his first encounter with mirrors at the El Sueno show.  I walked him past the mirrors on Friday before the show started but he acted like he had never seen them before when we entered the court for our first test on Saturday.
The court was beautiful with a comfortable grassy area for sitting and watching.

Winston wasn't happy, but he walked calmly past the mirrors, giving them the hairy eyeball as he went.

He's looking at another bank of mirrors.  They were everywhere.

Getting his focus back: the first trot circle

There's those mirrors again- but he listened to me.  Note the ear cocked back.  (note to self: look up!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Wee Bit of Snow

All day yesterday, the weather report kept getting worse and worse.  By the time I got home from work, they were calling for heavy snow in the evening and overnight.  We were expected to get in the neighborhood of six inches which is a lot for us.  When we went to bed, close to 11:00, it was very windy and we could hear ice being hurled against the windows.  But no snow. 

This morning, we woke to half an inch of snow and clear skies.  It must have also rained before the skies cleared and the temperatures dropped into the 20s because there was a thin sheet of ice covering the snow, the sidewalks and the patches of bare ground.  Walking down to the barn was a treacherous.  I thought of Lori and Kate falling on ice recently and walked extra slowly and carefully.

The horses were hanging out at the bottom of the pasture in the sun but they came running when they heard Brett with the hay cart.

The sun stayed out all day but the wind hung around as well so temperatures were far from comfortable.  It was, however, enough to melt the snow by noontime.  In the late afternoon, we let the horses out to graze a bit.

Poor Jackson can't come out and graze.  With his insulin resistant condition, grazing on green grass would put him into a tailspin.  He doesn't understand that of course.  He stood in his paddock looking forlorn and giving me the stink eye.

The donkeys begged to come out but they don't have grazing privileges either.  They look sweet and innocent here, but they REFUSE to be caught and we don't enjoy the "challenge" of getting them back into the pasture.

Monday was Brett's birthday.  I made his favorite dinner: barbecued ribs, scalloped potatoes, homemade rolls and sauteed mushrooms.  For dessert I made creme brulée.  You can't beat creme made with fresh eggs.

We have lots of leftovers.  Come on over!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mr. Personality

Winston loves attention. Between his friendly personality and unique markings, everyone seemed to know him by the end of the show.

While I was studying the test movements for TL3 on Saturday, Winston hammed it up wiggling his lips at us.  I should have played with him instead of studying.  I went off course despite the last minute review.

Everytime I opened the tack trunk, he closed it.  Winston thought it was a great game.  Me, not so much.

Heh heh heh.  I got her good that time.  The lid banged her on the head.  heh heh

Who me?  I didn't do anything. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last Test

Sunday, Winston and I were scheduled to ride TL2 and TL3 again.  My first ride was at 2:15 with training level 3 following at 3:30.  Winston was relaxed when we arrived in the morning to feed him.  He had shavings in his tail and in his braids so he had slept well. 

In the morning, the FEI and upper level tests were ridden so we watched those.  Leslie Reid had two lovely rides.  Leslie Morse rode her stallion (she always rides brilliant hot stallions) Excalibur.  Debbie McDonald was wandering around... and all the riders, except one, wore helmets.  There was only ONE top hat.  Yes!!  Fancy helmets with sparkles and accents to complement the shad bellies of the superstar riders -- how wonderful is that? 

In the warmup, fancy warmbloods floated around.  A little girl who was showing her haflinger in the afternoon, came in to school.  It was the funniest, cutest thing to see her struggling with her opinionated mare while the warmbloods danced.

My camera died before I rode my test so there aren't any pictures.  I could tell that Winston was tired when we got there in the morning.  When Winston is tired, he gets pissy (don't we all) and argumentative.  I was concerned about how our test would go.  In the warmup, he was great.  He carried himself at the canter, he was responsive to my inside leg, he went deep into the corners.  We practiced the more difficult movements from TL3 since I knew I wouldn't have time to work on them between the tests.  I was working with a mostly empty fuel tank so I wanted to focus on those areas we struggle with most. 

We started our test well.  Winston was tired but he was obedient.  I was happily surprised -- there was not a belligerent moment anywhere.  Half way through the test, he started to fade on me.  It took all my strength and urging to keep him forward.  We picked up the second canter movement and he died.  So tired. Can't. Canter. Sorry.   He broke into trot.  Picked it up.  Broke again.  The gas tank was empty.

I scratched our last test.  If Winston didn't have enough gas to finish the easier test, there was no way he was going to be able to do TL3.  I wanted to reward him for trying hard, for being obedient even when he was exhausted, and to make sure he didn't change his mind about showing being fun. 

We scored a 4 on the canter where he broke into trot and that movement had a co-effiecient of 2 (worth double the points) so that cost us.  If he had kept the canter, we would have scored better than the day before.  As it was, we got a respectable 61.6, a blue ribbon and a good experience.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Winston Is The Bomb... Me, Not So Much

There is a cold storm making its way to Southern California from the Gulf of Alaska. You wouldn't know it by the weather today; clear blue sky, a light wind, and sunshine. We dragged our chairs into the shade and spent the day there. Even so, and despite my sunscreen, my face is sun kissed pink.

I had two rides today; training level 2 at 2:20 and training level 3 at 3:15. We rode training level 2 at Thermal but Winston had never done TL3 before. TL3 is full of circles and half circles and bendy lines. Winston is not consistently soft as butter and bendy as Gumby so I didn't have high aspirations. My goal was to improve on our TL2 score from the Thermal show and to introduce Winston to TL3.

I was dragging at the show today. I took Winston for a walk, braided his mane (came out OK; nothing to write home about), and then collapsed in a chair. Last night I woke up at 2am and then every half hour like clockwork thereafter. You young women out there... you just wait. Hot flashes are hell. Just sayin'.

Winston, he slept well. He was bright eyed and calm; shavings stuck to his fuzzy belly, in his ears and his tail. Our warm up rocked. He was like butter, he was responsive, and he was on his game. When we went into the court for our test he worried about the mirrors set up along the side and flanking the judges stand. We didn't do so hot going down center line. But the rest of the test was good, even though he was still worried. The judge commented that he was "obedient" (YES!!!) and had very solid moments. She said our basics were very solid, that I was effective, and that with more work we could be a brilliant pair., WOW. We scored a 62 and some change.

I put Winston back in his stall to chill for half an hour or so. He was very good about my throwing the saddle back on him -- he even seemed eager to go back out. We entered at A, halt and salute at X, trot on, turn left.... and went off course. I started riding test 2 again. Oops. I realized it immediately, yelped, the judge laughed and we went on to do the correct test. Totally rider error. Despite the mistake, we rode a good solid test. Even with the 2 point deduction for the error, we scored another 62.

Winston is interesting. He truly loves doing this. Auke hated it and fought me. Jackson tried his heart out -- to make me happy -- but he couldn't do the work because he was so crooked in his body. His love was trail riding. Winston, he loves this showing stuff. He puffs up and he gets a glint in his eye that says "Look at me! I'm the man!" When we finish, he doesn't ask for reassurance that he did well. He looks for acknowledgement of his wonderfulness. ...its hard to explain, but it is very different and it makes this whole showing gig lots and lots of fun.

Brett took pictures but I can't download them onto the iPad since they are on the regular camera. I'll share when we are back home. Tomorrow we ride the tests again. Tonight, I'm sleeping.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 15, 2013

Its A Small World

This morning we loaded up Winston and headed to our show in Somis. If you've never heard of Somis, don't feel bad. I hadn't either. It's north of LA, just as you leave the hot interior valley and reach the coast. We waited to leave until late morning hoping to avoid rush hour traffic. We forgot that it is a holiday weekend so we sat on the freeway with everyone else trying to get out of town. It was a long, warm drive. Winds buffeted the trailer and gave Brett a tension headache. We arrived in the mid-afternoon, tired and dusty.

The show grounds are beautiful, nestled amongst orange and lemon groves. Winston has a huge - I mean HUGE - stall with floor mats and an automatic waterer. He has three windows with the stall door opening towards the warm up arena. He settled in nicely, despite the windy conditions. I decided not to ride him but walked him all over the place instead. He didn't care about the covered warm up arena and the dressage court didn't faze him either. There are three banks of mirrors around the court, a new thing for Winston. I walked him around the perimeter of the court and he watched himself go by in the mirrors. He flinched at the first one, and then he was bored with them.

We put him back in his stall and settled in chairs outside his stall door. Two horses arrived and were put in the stalls next door -- Winston has the end corner stall, lucky boy. The trainer with the two neighbor horses introduced herself. She brought two to the show -- a seasoned 14 yo doing 4th level and a 4 yo at his first show. She is just going to school the youngster. She came over to meet Winston, rubbed his nose, asked his name -- stood on her toes and looked into his stall so she could see him -- and gave a little squeak. She asked if I bought him near Fresno (a good five hours away). Yes, I told her. She said she saw him at the barn there when she was looking for a horse for her client -- who ended up with the (beautiful) 4 yo two doors down. She hadn't tried Winston, since he was for sale as a jumper, but she remembered him. How many Winston Churchill spotted butt appy crosses are there out there? My guess is not too many.

Lucky for me that she didn't try Winston. Because, really, who could resist him? Clearly not me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone.  Do you go out to dinner?  Buy chocolates?  Drink champagne?  We stay home and I make something special for dinner.  Last night when I got home from work I found a bouquet of flowers and a sweet card on the kitchen table.  Tonight I'm making lobster and steak with asparagus and bread on the side.  A nice bottle of wine, bien sûr.  I'm going to set the table with my fine china and maybe a couple candles.  Romance at home.

Today, we trimmed a couple trees in the orchard.  Brett rode Mufasa and I'm hoping to get on Winston a bit later.  We're loading up the horse trailer because tomorrow we head out to a show.  I talked to Gayle, our trainer, this morning and she is sick as a dog with the flu.  She had to scratch her rides so we will be flying solo. 

The weather today was sunny and warm.  It feels like spring.  It will be warm through the weekend and then it will be back to winter.  We're enjoying the warmth while it lasts.

I made a short video for Brett as a Valentines Day gift.  Of course, I'm going to share it with you...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Clothes

When we got home from the Central Coast Sunday night, the house was freezing cold.  We have been trying to get warm every since.  The wood stove is working overtime in the evenings but then we head off to work -- and the temperature in the house drops again. 

This morning, Brett left at 4am to go to the funeral of his best friend's mother up in Bakersfield.  The bed got really cold with him gone.  He's a great heater.  Way better than a hot water bottle.  Anyway, the dogs and I went down to do chores at 7am in the freezing cold -- 24F.  Brrr.  I didn't even bother trying to turn the water on in the barn.  Can you see the frost on the barn roof?  The roof is normally black.

I haven't had a chance to ride Winston since last week between the rain, being out of town, and work.  I scooted home after my last meeting today and got home just before dark.  There wasn't time to ride, but I did take Winston into the arena and free lunge him for awhile.  I left him out while I mucked the pasture.

When I brought hay into the pasture, he didn't even look up.  The others dug in while I went to gather my grazing boy.

After finishing the evening chores, I grabbed Winston's blanket.  Oh, great.  A small tear in the lining had ripped completely down the entire blanket, leaving big hunks of fuzzy filler hanging out.  It was not salvageable.  Jackson has been wearing a light blanket since he isn't clipped and just needs something to keep him dry when it rains.  Jackson's medium weight blanket was folded, neat and clean, on the shelf in the tack room.  It fit Winston.  Thank goodness. 

And the color suits him too.