As a parent, a daughter, and as a friend or just as me, I worry.   My biggest worries involve my daughters and my mother-guess that is to be expected. 

Each day I call my mother (I have called her every day on the way home from work for years).  But suddenly, she is never there.  She has moved to a closed unit of an assisted living but disappears all the time. Isn’t that the point of a closed unit?  For those of you who haven’t priced assisted living-it will be a shock.  For the price of care, I would expect the unit to know where my mother is-but they don’t.  I get calls from her caregivers, asking me where she is.  I am in Texas.  They are in Colorado.  How would I know where she is?  Her husband, Jim, was living in an apartment in the “non-assisted” side of the center.  He would come and take her to his up to his room.  They would drink Margaritas (which has been a ritual of his for years) and she would fall asleep in his room.  Seriously?  They are like teenagers with no parents to watch over them.  She is supposed to wear an alert necklace which allows the center to track her but she decided it did not match her outfit and took it off.  When the nursing staff told Jim he could not take her off the unit without telling them, Jim, a doctor, told them he could take care her.  I don’t think the nurses telling the doctor set well with him even at age 95.  He is the doctor and they are the nurses and he will do what he thinks is best. 

My mom got angry when Jim decided to move out of the apartment in her building and into a house with his elderly sister.  I understand why he would want to do that.  It is so much less expensive and his sister enjoys his company.  My mother took it as a personal affront.  She has been angry and confused about his leaving her since her move to her new room in the new unit. 

It is difficult to get her aligned with the program when Jim is constantly taking her somewhere else to do something else.  She is not falling into a routine because there is no routine.  You might remember, even when I went there to visit her, she was not there and didn’t remember I was coming.

She told me excitedly on Friday that she knew I would be so happy because she and Jim were getting back together!!  They have been married 15 years. I didn’t know they were apart.   It was like she was telling me the star of the football team asked her out.  I was happy she was so happy.  But I was confused as well.  It’s like a soap opera keeping up with it all.

Yesterday, when I called-she whispered into the phone that bad things had happened that day and she couldn’t talk about it then.  I immediately thought of death and dying.  I asked if she was alright.  No, she said it was really bad.  She told me to call back after dinner.  I was so worried.

When I called back she was carefree and happy.  She said she thought Jim was cheating on her with another women there at the assisted living place-but thankfully, he wasn’t and she was so happy.  Oh my goodness, this is nuts.  I cannot keep up with daily drama.  I don’t know if she has just entered an alternative universe where they are teenagers in high school or what.

I do have a couple of caregivers that go to her place and I get reality checks from them.  They help me to understand what is really going on.  The other day, I came into the house and there was a phone message from one of them that they couldn’t find my mother.  Apparently, she had been gone a long time.  She showed up shortly thereafter. I don’t know how to manage her disappearances from Houston.

I never know what (or who) I will face when I call my mom each day.  I wish I was closer and I wish this was easier.  I should be consoled that at least she still knows she is talking to me, her daughter.

Every day now, I wonder if she will answer the phone.  If she does, what does she think is going on and what is really happening?  Hopefully, she stays on the unit and doesn’t run off for more margaritas but we sure can’t count on it.

No horses?

Dreaming of the lake.

There are times when all of us as horse owners, parents of kids who ride, or equestrians ourselves, ask, what would we do if we didn’t have this all consuming sport and commitment?

I saw my friend Dee bring it up on Facebook this week-she talked about kitchen make-overs (she is I suspect-a good cook who would love to have a great new kitchen).  But Dee quickly dismissed the idea by saying-wait we have horses; we can’t have a new kitchen.  Lauren and I talked about what the family used to do on Memorial Day weekends before she was born.   I told her we used to go to the lake (in Missouri-it was Smithville Lake or Lake of the Ozarks). We had access to a boat from Dave’s folks and spent many weekends on the water.   A lot of my family had places at the lake in Oklahoma as well.  I remember bright days with my cousins learning to ski at Lake Eufala.  I suspect here inTexas if there were no horses, we might have a place at Somerville or Lake Travis.

It wouldn’t be fancy- but there might be some jet skis or a boat.  There would be great family times, hot, summer days and long summer nights spent with friends.  I remember the days at the lake fondly and wish there was a way to do both.  But there is not, not now.

I think the one regret I have of Six Meadow Farm is that it has gotten to be so much.  Yesterday I enjoyed my solitude but was a little overwhelmed by the end of evening (and a little short with the cats and dogs-yes, I was yelling at them all) because I was hot and tired.  I was yelling at a tiny Yorkshire terrier-really inappropriate.

The horse life that I am living along with so many of my friends is rewarding and demanding.  The show schedules take up most weekends.  When there is a weekend without a show, you need to catch up on barn chores. It is hard to have outside interests.  I am sure my daughters Amber and Ally feel at times they are second to the horses.  The horses demand immediate and intense actions.  I have hung up on my daughters to care for my animals way too many times. 

Those of us with our own places feel it the most.  The majority of us work fulltime outside our lives as barn managers.  We are gone all day.  We work hard at our “regular job”.  We have that competitive spirit and it spills over into all aspects of our lives.  We want to do it all well.

Not as a call to feel sorry for me or what I have chosen to do but as an example, instead of getting up, going to work and coming home, cooking, eating, watching a little tv or doing some computer work, the horse people with outside jobs, must do all those things and care for the animals as well.  Most of us are not content to have just horses, but have scores of cats and dogs as well.  It is a choice.  It is a choice we are lucky to have made.  In the winter it is cold, muddy and darkness falls early.  In the summer, it is hot, miserable and darkness (and the cool it brings) never seems to come. 

I think my friend Gaylyn has had three evenings away from her place in the last two years.  On those three nights she came home but we went over to feed the animals because they would be gone during feeding time.  She has not been on vacation away from home that I am aware since they moved there.  That is nuts.  Lauren and I have not been gone at the same time in the evening or overnight except once-for one evening at a horse show in the last few years.  We did go on a week’s vacation this year but that took military precision planning to accomplish.

So, I guess no lake house is in our future.  We have chosen our lot in life and reap the rewards.  But there are those days when the memory of the still lake water makes you long for days gone by and choices made.


photo by Linda Potter-Potter Photography

It is the fourth day of my weekend. Friday I had some blood work done-feeling a little better today.  Lauren is off at a pool party.  I have had a quiet day at home. 

I started with my early feeding, no kittens fell from the sky, everyone was in their usual place.  I did my chores at first light, the temperature at the barn over 90 degrees by 8:00 am.  I moved some sand to fill holes.  I brought Kena out to the barn, more to stop her incessant barking so early in the morning than anything else but really enjoyed having her company and she did very well with the animals.

Later I placed Lula and PuppyGirl in the big water trough and they enjoyed (I think) a swim on a hot day.  I know they enjoyed running and rolling in the grass afterward.

I made a good lunch and read a book.  I have afternoon chores to do when it cools off a little and it is time to get the horses back in.  The phone has not rung once although I did call my mom as I do every day. 

It has been a quiet and peaceful day here.  I have totally enjoyed my solitude.

Kittens Falling from Heaven (or somewhere)

Hissing, baby kitten.

Lauren and I slept in a bit this morning.  It was a holiday Sunday morning; we didn’t get moving to start feeding the animals until after 6:30 am.  Being an hour and a half late, everyone was waiting for us and not in their usual positions when we made it outside.  The dogs were anxious to eat.  The pack of cats had almost given up on us ever emerging from the green box (that’s what they call the house) and were checking out the backyard in search of food.  When we let the dogs out the back of the house- the cats (and baby kittens) went scrambling.  We got the dogs fed.  We headed out to feed the cats and horses.  As Lauren stood with PuppyGirl and I headed around the house, we heard a distinct thunk!

I had no idea what the noise was, but Lauren yelled for me to come back to the driveway.  “Did you see the kitten fall into the bed of the truck?”  No, I had missed that.  Apparently, when the kitten scrambled to get away from the dogs, she headed up the tree.  When she couldn’t hold on any longer-she dropped like a rock into the bed of the truck. The little, tiny, feral kitten was hunched in the corner of the bed of the truck, hissing at us.  We decided it would be best to leave her, so we opened the tail gate and headed back to the house.

As we came around the corner of the porch, another tiny kitten hissed and clawed at us from behind a potted plant.  Behind her was another tiny black kitten that was not quite so angry with us-at least she wasn’t hissing or clawing.

The kittens from the wild moms are getting older and braver.  I will try to catch them and tame them.  In the best of worlds, I will tame them enough to get them spayed or neutered.  These are the first kittens we have actually seen or gotten near this year.  I will probably manage to catch a few of them, get them to the vet, spend some money and they will die on the highway. I have trouble getting motivated to save the kittens when too many times it ends badly.


Orange says “Where’s Siobhan?”

Update-Orange Cat is still searching for Siobhan.  He is clearly asking us in this picture where she is.  But he is spending more time with his brother and other friends and seems to be moving on.  Sometimes that is all you can do.

Corn and Dreams or Dreams and Corn

Happy Memorial Day.  I am enjoying some time at home with Ally, Jordyn and friends, who all came down to the farm today.  Lauren has been working hard re-painting jumps.  Scot came to drag the arena yesterday and things are starting to look nice around here.  We got the new jump course set up last night based upon an article in Practical Horseman Magazine. 

Lauren took young, four-year old Feather through the gymnastic course of jumps designed to help the horse understand how to jump and how to maneuver through a course.  It was her first time.  It was my first time to see Feather jump more than one jump in succession.  With horses and jumping, they have to be a good combination of athletic and agile.  They also have to have what is called “scope” to get over the bigger jumps.  Lauren was jumping Feather over the barrel jump which was about 2’6″.  The barrels themselves measure a little over 3’3″.  So when I caught them in this picture, I was more than a little excited.  It appears Feather has “scope” as she is clearly two feet over the barrels.  We could have a winner on our hands!  So, the Feather dream continues.  If she continues to jump this well…it could be the start of something amazing for us.

Dream come true? Feather is flying.

Caroline and Arianna brought their horses down this morning and we enjoyed the clear day and good riding.  Jordyn and Abby saddled up Mr. Kid and Mickey but were quickly bored and off playing in the sand pile.  Ally was kind enough to watch the little ones while the rest of us took a ride out to the corn field.  As we rode down the dirt road between the corn fields, it was like being in canyon of corn.  The horses (and all of us) got quite a work-out as we cantered the long roads of corn.  The corn is so high it literally swallows us all from sight. 

Riding the corn roads.

I am grateful for friends, my family and warm days of summer.  I remember on this Memorial Day weekend those that are riding along with us in heaven.

Wait for it.

No Hurry!

I am constantly in a state of waiting for the next thing.  It is very difficult for me to be in the “now”.  I get up in the morning, hurry through my feeding chores, get dressed, hurry out of the house, hurry down the freeway to work, hurry through projects at work, hurry through lunch, hurry through the afternoon so I can hurry down the freeway, hurry home to feed the animals and hurry to get to bed so I can be sure to get enough sleep so I can hurry through tomorrow.

What kind of life is this?  How many of us are guilty of the same.  We look forward to our upcoming weekend activities and then can’t wait to get home so we can get ready to get back to work (not necessarily because we want to go to work but because we are afraid we will be too tired to do a good job at work).

At some point in my life, I must stop the hurrying.  I must stop the treadmill.  It is not about having a vacation or being well, it is about making better choices about spending time.  Undoubtedly, my best moment of each day is when I sit in the early evening after the horses, dogs and cats are all fed and watered.  Usually, Lauren is off doing young adult with the boyfriend things.  I am alone.  I sit in the plastic chair in front of the barn, in the shade and just watch.  If I truly do it right, I see not only the chores that I have not completed but the lovely pattern the evening sun is making against the barn wall.  I hear my wind chimes moving with their soft melody in the breeze.  I see the cats tumbling and playing in the spring grass.  I pet the cat that has staked out the spot on my lap.  I register the occasional objection of my dogs as they quarrel with one another or guard the fenceline from the advancement of feline intruders.  I see the vehicles passing along the road in front of me.  Many (that I don’t even know) waving at me in the early dusk. Right now, I can smell the jasmine still flowering on the vine.  On other days it will be the hay, just cut in the field that is fresh on my senses.  I am dirty.  I am tired.  I am most at peace.

If I could learn to take this time of contentment and spread it over to my other activities and be more in “the moment” I know I will be a richer person.   If I could just learn to wait for it and enjoy the wait, life would be fuller for me.

I can’t join the Justin Bieber Fan Club

Jordyn loves Justin Bieber. She is going to be mad at Granny.

Do you remember that my granddaughter Jordyn loves Justin Bieber?  I heard on the radio this morning coming into work that he was launching a new world tour and that he would be coming to Houston.  All I could think about was how amazingly delighted she would be if she got to go to a concert and see Justin. 

On the radio they mentioned that his fan club members would get priority access to his tickets.  I am not out of touch so much that I do not realize that getting tickets for this event will be difficult.

So, I went to the “Bieber Fever” website.  I scanned through the opportunities to join the fan club.  There were monthly, quarterly and annual commitments for sale to his fan club.  Each more expensively priced option promised better access to tickets.  For $100 a year, you would have first access to his tickets, or so they promised.  I wasn’t sure which option I was going to go with but decided to “register” to join his fan club.  First screen asked for name and date of birth.  I decided (this is where it all goes wrong) that I should use Jordyn’s name and birthday so she would get all the crazy and annoying Justin Bieber crap that would no doubt be generated from this membership in Bieberville.  So, I put in Jordyn’s name and her birthday of September 4, 2007 (and the year was an option-no where did it say you must be a certain age to join Justin in his fan club).  But as soon as I pressed enter-big warning signs came up that said I could not register!!  I immediately took out her information and tried it again with my daughter Lauren’s information (she is over 18) and once again I got the big error again.  I shut my computer down and tried again with my name and date of birth.  AGAIN, I could not join the Justin Bieber Fan Club. 

I sent an email to the “contact us” tab on the site.  I explained that I had tried to belong and could not.  I quickly got a message back and it is shown below.

Subject: Justin Bieber Re: Can’t register 

Ticket #6090: Can’t register


Your request (#6090) has been deemed solved. To reopen, reply to this email or follow the link below:
http://justinbieber.zendesk.com/tickets/6090Sean, May 23 08:44 (EDT)Pursuant to the current privacy policy, membership registration is not available to you at this time. For further inquiry, you will want to contact (646)367-5441 between 10am-6pm Mon-Fri. Please note that if someone does not answer it simply means that all representatives are assisting other customers. Please leave a brief message stating your name, and call back number. We assure you we will contact you as soon as possible.


So, I cannot join the Justin Bieber Fan club.  It concerns me a little that I may be on some “child creeper” list somewhere.  I may have made a huge mistake in trying to be a member of the Justin Bieber.  Just wait until I try to go through customs at some international port and find I have been placed on some government watch list.  Later, I tried to log-in from my home computer that has a different URL address.  Still failed.  No Justin Bieber membership for me in my future.  I guess I will be regulated to trying to find tickets for Jordyn on eBay.  My biggest concern is, given Jordyn’s undying love and devotion to Justin Bieber, what if I have somehow, inadvertently, caused her to be blacklisted from the “Biebs”.  I think Granny may have finally succeeded in doing something that makes Jordyn madder than sending her pony, Snowney away to Devs.  A loss of the Justin Bieber Fan Club could clearly ruin her young life, and I was responsible.  Oh, boy!