Jim is getting married (wait, he already is!)

Yesterday I got to the nursing home to find mom resting on her bed. Always my favorite, because I get to lie down beside her and rest my aching back, too.

She was pleased to see me and told me she was so happy I had gotten there when I did because she had just gotten some awful news. I never know what the news is going to be, from the home closing, to an awful storm brewing, to her not being allowed to go in her room, the results were always varied and never the same. Today’s catastrophe would be a new one.

Earnestly, she looked at me and said, “Jim is getting married!” Huh, that was a new one. I explained to her that she was still married to Jim so he could not marry someone else. Immediately, she became indignant (as she always does when I do not believe something she says). “Yes, he is and to a younger women!”. I could see that arguing this point was going to be of no use.

The rest of visit was spent going over the details of Jim’s marriage. Now, remember, she has not seen or talked to Jim since December of last year. With complications with their hearing and their health, I have been limited to reading her notes that Jim sends and reminding her about him and that he loves her.

But in her mind, Jim had been there at the nursing home with her. Breaking her heart with the news that he had fallen in love with another women! She went on to tell me that the women had children, but she had not really listened to him when he told he that part because who wants to know details like that about their rival (that’s what she told me!).

I tried a couple of times, unsuccessfully, to tell her that she was still married to Jim and he was not getting married to anyone else. She was not interested. Or not accepting that could be true. She told me he would not be available to drive her to the doctor next week so I better make plans to take her.

It was a brutal visit and sad. I can only imagine that after all this time apart she has come up with this as the only reason Jim would not be visiting her. Obviously, he had to have meet someone else.

I hope on my next visit she is off on a new kick and not worried about Jim and his new bride. What I really hope is that Jay and Jim can once again make the long trek to Texas again this fall and they can be re-united again.

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Feather and Lauren are off to a horse show tomorrow. I have reserved two stalls for the October Pine Hill show in hopes Bruno might be ready to make his debut in the ring. (OH MY GOODNESS THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!) But if not, maybe Snowney can come and he and Jordyn can enter the Halloween costume class. Any great ideas for a white pony and pretty little girl-I am totally okay with painting the pony rainbow colors or whatever it takes to have an imaginative and creative Halloween entry. Send me your ideas!

You’re in Big Trouble Bruno!-a Bruno Story

Bruno giving us a sly look after he is safely back in his stall.

Bruno giving us a sly look after he is safely back in his stall.

Last night, I got home to Roland making his monthly farrier visit. It was the first time he was having to do all the horses as in the past he has made separate trips to do Bruno. He had been there for well over two hours when I arrived. He was waiting for a patch to dry on Bruno’s bad hoof. I commented it looked like drywall tape and I guess it is similar.  Bruno had pulled off his specially sculpted cast and shoe about a week ago.  His hoof was looking pretty ragged.

Roland told me if it comes off again, I am to immediately duct tape his entire hoof and then put it in one of those boots that is used to protect the hoof when a shoe is lost.  Bruno’s hoof wall is still so thin, it cannot hold up to any type of abuse, even just walking around on soft ground.

It was another balmy day with heat indexes over 100 as we stood and held horses for Roland to shoe.  By the time Roland left, Lauren and I were both tired.  We might not have been paying a lot of attention to the usual details of closing the barn at night.

On clear nights, Snow, Mickey and Feather go out all night in main pasture.  Bruno is locked in his paddock, which is covered in case a stray shower heads our way.  To keep ol’Kid safe from Bruno pushing him around all night, Kid goes in the paddock in front of the main stalls.

We try not let any horse but Kid in this area.  As Roland told me, it is supposed to be a barn not a green house, but I have enjoyed planting climbing vines and hanging baskets full of flowers from the front of the barn.  Also, the cats have their food out which Snowboy would clearly eat (and did) when he had a chance.

Snowboy sneaking a snack of cat food!

Snowboy sneaking a snack of cat food!

We put Kid in his paddock, turned off the fans, locked the tackroom, closed the hay room, double checked the water troughs and went in to the much-anticipated air conditioning. Kid can be trusted not to bother anything.

This morning at my usual 4:00 am I let the dogs out the back of the house and immediately noticed the barn had all the lights on.  I rushed to Lauren’s room, thinking there had been some barn emergency I had been lucky enough to sleep through.  “Why are there lights on in the barn?”  I demanded.  She looked up sleepily from her bed with no comprehension of what I was talking about.  Then I got scared.  What if someone was out there?  Although, that would be pretty stupid, why would you turn on all the lights if you were planning to attack someone?

As I came around the corner of the house I saw Bruno looking at me from the gate (he was back-lit like a giant statue in the blazing lights of the barn).  However, he was on Kid’s side of the paddock, not his.  And what a time he had!  Sometime during the night he had gotten through the connecting gate of the two paddocks.  He literally reached in and pulled all my plants out of their pots and left them strung along the fence.  The cat food was a thing of the past.  We had bags of shavings stacked next to the main gate, just under all the industrial light switches that have a toggle switch instead of a normal up and down switch.  The bag of shavings was torn open and the lights and fans turned on.  Perhaps the industrial lighting switch company can use this in their advertising, ‘so simple even your horse can turn on the switches’.  I am not sure that is really an asset. I got the morning feed and literally had to drag Bruno back over to his side of the paddock and his own stall.  Apparently he likes all the attractions on Kid’s side of fence.  I guarantee we will be triple checking the chains on that gate tonight.  That’s after I have gotten all the plants re-potted and bought some more cat food.  Oh, Bruno!

Discipline

In a hundred ways, every day, every hour, there are times I must discipline myself. I am really good at some things and not so good at others. For instance, I have worked out a way to successfully wake myself up each day at 4:00 am without an alarm. Or whatever time I need to. I can just make my unconscious self do it.

Likewise, I am very disciplined about my barn chores. Everything gets done in a certain order and in a certain way. I am not so disciplined about my in-the-house chores. We have hard wood floors and I am good at sweeping. The rest of the cleaning I am not as apt to complete. But you will never find a horse of mine with a dirty water bucket.

Back in Florida, before I turned 40, not too long after Lauren was born, I got into a walking routine. It changed my figure, my size and my outlook. I was a little obsessed about getting my walk in, how many miles I had gone and what my total miles for the week were. I had a calendar that let you record those totals. I walked over a hundred miles a month at one point.

I came to Texas, had to give up my horses, became sedentary and gained weight. Okay, what is the point of this, you are asking.

I saw a couple of examples of discipline this weekend. One when I thought of Sarah, the horse trainer where Pixie is, I know she sets a schedule of what horses get worked when and very little deters her from that schedule. She remarked, when she had our previous pony Mimi, that Mimi did not like working in the dark. But Sarah had five horses to work and not enough daylight so they continued on in the early dusk.

The second one I saw was a family member who had quit smoking after years of doing so. He had successfully quit for over a month. But he had given in and was back to smoking again. I understand somethings, like alcohol and smoking, are not just a question of making a decision and sticking with it. Addiction is another topic.

My daughters and I are all on a diet. We completed the initial 24 day phase. We are into the “just keep dieting because in the end you will feel better, live longer phase”. It is a much more difficult phase. There is nothing hanging over your head to help you keep making good decisions. We have agreed to a goal weight weigh in for October 1st. I sent out a reminder to the girls today. I am about six pounds away from that weight. Lauren is pretty close. Amber and Ally are working at theirs.

For me to lose six pounds this month, means I have to look at everything differently. I have changed a lot of habits (a big one with Chik-fil-a) and another with my best friend, diet Coke. It is taking a lot of discipline.

I want to help my daughters. Help keep them motivated to do well and succeed. I know I have three bright, smart, talented daughters. Why is food such a difficult obstacle for all of us? It almost seems like the more you try to do the right thing the more weight you gain instead of lose. We are genetically pre-disposed to being a little heavy. Both my mother (yes, my tiny little mother) and my father fought their weight. My mom (along with her sisters) tried many different diets. My mother joined Weight Watchers in like 1976, lost weight to become a lifetime member and religiously weighed in every month of her life until she moved to Texas. Now the doctor wants her to gain a little weight and she just cannot let herself do it.

My father would struggle to get back his college football playing weight (225) and he would do so. It would sneak up on him and he would lose weight again. He had the discipline to get it done.

I want to lose this weight for the last and final time. I have a degenerative joint disease. I have one hip replaced and another that needs to be. All of me would be happier (more pain-free) if I was slimmer. I am going to do it this time. Something has just changed in perception of what I need to do. I had waited for this diet and now I am sticking to it. I want to be able to counsel my daughters and help them see the results I am having. We all have to get to our own point when we want the change more than anything else.

I can exercise a lot, but until I slow down the calories, it does not matter, just saying, for me. But I have found, when I do exercise, I am more engaged in my body and tend to treat it a little better.

Discipline, especially for ourselves, is the hardest. We are weakest in our own short comings, and grand in our illusions that this or that will not matter. I wish for all of us, especially my dear children, that this was simpler and more defined. I pray we all find the discipline to beat whatever demon has us entrapped.

Thanks for riding along on my weird diatribe I promise to get back to a heartfelt horse story next!

UnLabor Day Weekend

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Pixie just off the trailer at her new trainers

My goal was to have a nice quiet weekend, in essence , to have an unLabor day. But at the farm chores do not follow the calendar. Every day, horses need to fed, cleaned, sprayed for flies, feet checked and a million other things. First, we had to get Pixie, the German Riding pony, ready to go to Sarah’s for a month of training.

We met years ago, when she was a teen and I was new to Houston. Ally’s top appendix horse, Savannah (by multiple time World Champ-Rugged Lark) had moved here from Florida with us. Her stay did not last long. I was newly divorced and really not making ends meet. A very hard decision sent the mare back to Florida. Sarah and her mom, Sharelle ran a horse rescue in Alvin. If I was going to without my horses at least I could help them at the rescue. I worked in the Galleria and drove down to Alvin a couple nights a week. Sarah was a little older at the time than my 13 year old
daughter, Ally. I would watch Sharelle manage the 501.3 C business, always on the phone, hustling for feed, a place to put a newly donated horse and organize all the donators with correct adoptees.

I watched Sarah grow up during these years. She was home schooled to have more time for riding and training. I am sure my girls and many others coveted her life. Not having to go to school and riding endless horses every day. But the reality was much harsher. Sarah and her mom, got horses in each day, some nice ones that people turned in for the tax deduction. But often the horses brought in were sick, starving, some close to death. Sarah worked harder in those years than most kids ever work

Sarah rode barrels. She rode for the prize money. It was her spending money. She ran my horse, Kid, until he was 20 years old. She won the Gulf Coast Barrel Racing Association end of year prize. Then she retired him to me. Sarah has an incredible work ethic. She is successful because she steadfastly, calmly and concisely works each horse to get results.

Every horse in our barn except Bruno has been to Sarah. She always gets them back (or there for the first time) to a great work ethic. Mimi went to Sarah’s and came back a finished pony. We hope for the same results from Pixie. Sarah gets results.

After we dropped off the pony, we hurried to meet Ally and her extended family for Jordyn’s birthday lunch. Lauren left after we got home to go out of town for the rest of the weekend. I have my outside chores and am also trying to clean things up inside the house. I am pretty sure I could work all day, every day and never finish.

Mama Kitty, who we have never been able to catch will go the vet to be neutered. I think she has had at least 60 kittens. I hope I can get her there. Poor mama kitty- enough is enough. Her current litter is six kittens, all different colors and kinds. They were hiding in my car and started popping out as I backed up the car. I am going to park away from the house until we get this figured out. Hope I catch mama on Tuesday. No more babies!

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Mama Kitty guarding the entrance to old garage

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one of the darling babies poking her little head out