Life goes on

Joy-pure and simple with Jordyn and Isabel and Prosecco.

Joy-pure and simple with Jordyn and Isabel and Prosecco.

The long weekend has proven to give me some much-needed time to catch up on the million chores left in the wake of a month on speed drive.  I finally actually sat on my couch for the first time since the August started.  I weeded some flower beds.  But mostly this weekend was about getting to a new normal.  Where I am not driving each day to see my mom.  Where my daughter who has spent almost every day on horseback for 15 years is settling for designing some jump courses and helping where she can.  It is all very new.  But we are settling in.  I have a routine now and it is not quite so overwhelming.

I still do not have a death certificate on my mother.  One doctor won’t sign it and the other has been out-of-town, then it has to go to Austin for completion.  I am stranded in this land between living and dead where I cannot manage her affairs (or mine).

This weekend is my grandson Riley’s fifth birthday to be celebrated in Denver tomorrow.   Wish he was here to celebrate with Jordyn and I.  Jordyn has had a weekend full of fun.  She has finally developed enough skill handling her horse Mickey that I can leave them in the arena and she can walk and trot him all on her own.  She was perfect when showing her Mimi and Papa Friday.  It is a huge accomplishment for her and one that goes a long way to building confidence in other areas of her life.

The barn girls are great with her.  They all give her special attention and put up with her constant questions.  Isabel and her horse Prosecco offered to let Jo ride bareback double with them and they wandered all over the back pasture with huge smiles.

Jo happily accompanying Isabel on a ride.

Jo happily accompanying Isabel on a ride.

Teenagers and seven-year olds don’t always make fast friends but Isabel has been so kind and caring.  It makes Jordyn want to try new things to be more like her friends.

I understand her other friend Mia has a surprise in store for Jordyn with a saddle pad she has sewn herself.  Jordyn will be thrilled.

Lauren and I need some therapy so went and got our hair cut.  Lauren’s looks beautiful after some color and a good cut.  Almost like when she was a baby with her long blonde hair.

Sometimes a girl just has to know her hair is perfect

Sometimes a girl just has to know her hair is perfect.

Lauren started occupational therapy mid-week.  It did not go well.  The therapist reportedly told her it was unlikely she would ever use her hand again.  And in demonstration of that had her talk to a women whose hand was hurt in 2011 and still has not had it returned to full use.  Wednesday was a dark night.  Lauren was overwhelmed with grief, loss (of her nanny and her hand) and the loss of her usual life, riding, caring for horses and going to school.  Fortunately her therapist on Friday was way more upbeat, praising her for what she accomplishing and not dwelling on the future.

Some of our favorite friends, Caitlyn and her mom have been over for dinner and now Cate has been back to ride Feather for us a few times.  I am happy Lauren and Caitlyn are re-igniting their friendship and hope maybe Lauren can travel some with Cate during this quiet period in her life.

Another friend has been on the search for a top barrel horse and after a few stops and starts, I think she has found a winner today.  Well started with cutting training, quiet but with quite a motor when it is switched on, and breed well enough to turn into an outstanding brood mare any day, I think this “Dashin for Love” horse could be the one she has waited for.

I am happy to be holding someone else's new mare!

I am happy to be holding someone else’s new mare!

I did not get the draft cross mare from the rescue back East.  Lauren has been campaigning against her saying we have too much on our hands, but I regret not getting her.  I just pray she goes to a happy safe home.  It is the best I can do.

I also had a question from the former owners of our Burmese cats, how were they doing and had they settled in to be part of the family.  These two cats have cheerfully and totally kept Lauren company, cuddling alongside her through these many, many sleepless nights as she has suffered in pain through the wee hours of the morning.  We are so grateful for them coming to us at this time and loving us so fully.

Burmese brother and sister cats.

Burmese brother and sister cats.


Final note, Bruno is starting to get around better on his abscessed foot.  He made it from the barn all the way across to arena.  Young Jordyn sat tall on his bare back as he gleefully watched his horse friends work in the lesson this morning.  I am encouraged he is better and proud Jo is brave enough now to sit on the gentle giant.


Thank you as always for riding along and sharing our life. We are grateful for your love and support.

Summer’s Close

Jordyn headed off today, with much trepidation, to her new second grade class in the public school system.  She has attended a private school for two years and this may be quite a change.  Originally, she attended private school as her birthday on September 4th falls just after the deadline in Texas.  Her parents felt she was mature enough and physically ready for school two years ago, but she had to attend a private school to get around the birthdate issue.

Now, with a quivering lip, trying not to cry she headed into the classroom.  I hope she comes home with stories of her new friends and the wonders of her new school.

Riley started kindergarten in Denver and except for missing times with his momma, is really enjoying it.

It has been quite a summer here at the farm.  A year ago, I certainly had no inkling as to what would become of us by summer’s end.  We have the new place, new boarders and riders who come for lessons.  The farm resounds with laughter and horse sounds.  We have many new friends.  I even got a note in my mailbox from my dressage neighbor asking if some of her group could take lessons here.  I love meeting new people and especially meeting their horses.

This summer brought my mother’s passing.  I moved her to Texas two years ago this weekend.  It is well documented in this blog how hard the move was for all of us, yet, how right it was to bring her and I can only say how grateful I am to have had the time with her.

Lauren’s many horse related injuries were totally overshadowed by the horrific break of her arm over four weeks ago.  Today, in a surprise move, the orthopedic surgeon removed her cast, said her x-rays were GREAT and all the incisions looked top-notch.  He said although he had planned to cast it additional times, it was good enough to go it alone.  Lauren is mortified.  The cast was like her armour against pain and it is so scary to have something so painful exposed to the world.  But her movement of her fingers (or lack thereof) continues to be problematic so for her to get moving on occupational therapy, the cast had to go.  The nerves were sliced by the ulna bone as it ripped through her skin during the fall.  Her little finger still works not at all.

Alex flying Mickey around the ring.

Alex flying Mickey around the ring.

One of our favorite riders, Alex, who was just a little bitty thing when we first met her years ago, stepped up to show Mickey for us last weekend.  Mickey is quite a change from Alex’s usual ride, so it took a couple rounds to really get his flow, but then they picked up the blue ribbon for the fastest round in Junior-Adult Jumpers.  Mickey is 15 now (we adopted him at five) and he never missed a step when he galloped through the courses.  Alex was outstanding with him.  It brought big smiles to Lauren and I to see her favorite boy do so well after having been off so long.  I hope Alex wants to show him some more!

A big, bay draft cross mare, sprinkled with splashes of white was pulled from the kill pen before she could be sent to slaughter in Canada.  I am trying to adopt her and send her here to a forever home with us.  I think she would be great for Ally and I as she is quiet and dependable.  I am waiting to hear if my application for adoption has been approved.  I realize I have more than enough on my hands but something about this mare just called out to me.  We will see what happens, if she is meant to be a part of our family she will be.  If not, I know she is off the slaughter truck for good with another family.

I have not written about it but Bruno has been laid up, lame, since mid-July.  It has been almost six-weeks since he has walked without pain.  I have my best team of vet Lynn and farrier Sean working innovative approaches to get the big man back to sound.  Currently, he has a huge abscess draining from his good front foot, (I have video again for you all that love pus in action). I hope that with the healing of abscess we get him back to right again.  It breaks my heart to see him stall bound in the hot barn, not moving a step, day after day.  I will not let him continue if we do not find an answer to his pain.

Libby getting TeeDee started.

Libby getting TeeDee started.

The Canter adopted OTTB mare, TeeDee, continues to gain weight, muscle and become a star horse.  She will not be bred this year, so we are working to see what kind of horse she can become in the interim.  Libby has been helping me work TeeDee, Feather and Mickey. I am very grateful.  She has TeeDee cantering quietly and collected.  We even started her over some Xes this week and she took it quietly in stride.

TeeDee taking her first jump,

TeeDee taking her first jump,

I feel battered from the rough summer, emotionally and physically.  But this weekend was finally a quiet one. I caught up on some rest, did a lot of chores, managed to go through many of my mother’s things and feel at ease about farm for the first time in many weeks. This morning as I went out to feed in the pre-dawn light, there was a hint of coolness in the air.  A sea change coming bringing new times and life at Six Meadow Farm.

Thanks for riding along and thank you to all of you who have sent cards, flowers and meals to us. You are much appreciated!!

No writing or riding

Paisley sleeping through August.  Wish I could.

Paisley sleeping through August. Wish I could.

The dog days of summer are clearly upon us or maybe it is the cat days of summer.  It is hot, muggy and afternoons seem to hold a hint of a thunderstorm.  It is a time when riders are gearing up for the fall show season and Zone finals.  It is a time when students are headed back to class.  And even if they are reluctant to do, a certain excitement about classes, teachers and new adventures fills the air.

Neither of those things will be happening for Lauren this fall. There will be no riding or writing. She had to dis-enroll from college due to her horrific broken arm.  She still cannot use her fingers of her right arm at all.  They are paralyzed in to a sort of claw-like position from which they do not change.  There is absolutely no chance of her being able to type or write for quite some time.  When the bone dislocated through her skin, it severed nerves that lead to her hand.  The really sad thing is that her hand hurts constantly.  But it is without movement.  We certainly hope this will change and that she will regain use of her hand but the time frame is unclear right now.

The two plates, numerous screws, two large incisions and the first of at least six casts.  It is bleak.

The two plates, numerous screws, two large incisions and the first of at least six casts. It is bleak.

Riding is so far out of the question right now that it isn’t even on the page.  I can see as Lauren continues to push her abilities with her casted arm that she might one day climb up on Snowboy and let me lunge her around some at the trot, just to keep up her strength in her legs.  She wants to join the local fitness center and walk on the treadmill or ride a stationary bike some.  I feel that would be pretty safe.

At home, with the heat creating sauna like conditions, I worry about her sweating into her cast and perhaps causing issues with the still healing incisions in her arm.  She has two lines of incisions, top and bottom, plus the multiple places where the bone left her arm.

But Lauren wants to try to help with the daily chores.  I am juggling home and work responsibilities and always have more work to do than the day allows.  I want Lauren to be able to do some things.  Each day I come home and am surprised with what she has accomplished.  But then there is the issue if she should have accomplished those things.

Lauren has (not necessarily wisely) taken over vacuuming the house again (with one arm).  She bought 22 bags of 40 pound shavings for the stalls and she and six year-old Jordyn unloaded them into the stalls. She suffered deeply for that the next day but I cannot tell her anything.

I am sure many active people with bad injuries have suffered this same frustration at not being able to do any of the things they love, or even just feel they need to do. I have not necessarily set myself as a good role model in this area, doing chores with a broken pelvis or after shoulder surgery.  It is no wonder Lauren tries to do all kinds of impossible things as well.  I am constantly thinking of things for her to do and then realize they are just not possible for her.

Today Lauren and her barn friends are designing a new jump course in the arena.  In spite of my warnings, I know Lauren will get too hot, will try to move jumps and standards and will suffer later.  I guess she will learn as she goes what she can tolerate and what she cannot.  In the meantime, the sight of her on a ladder, balancing on the top step, turning on fans high in the rafters, while she wobbles to maintain balance with her one arm, is a little too much to bear.


My grandson, Riley, will start kindergarten tomorrow.  Jordyn will be headed on to second grade next week.  My best wishes to all of you starting back to school and onto the fall show season.  We will look for you at the shows!

Thanks for riding along!


True Friends

It has been a trying time but the one thing that has made it all better has been the laughter (and tears) that I have shared with family and friends. It has been gratifying to learn that I have people I can really count on in my life (I feel like a loner most of the time).

From doing unsavory chores like mucking stalls to cleaning my dog’s blood off the concrete last night (just a flesh wound!), my terrific unit of supporters has gotten me (and us) through the worst of times.

The biggest and best surprise in all this was when my very best friend from childhood, Camille, messaged me that she was coming to the funeral. I immediately invited her to stay at my daughter Amber’s house, although I knew beds would be scarce. The real kicker? We had not seen each other in 40 years. Really.

20140814-185411.jpgThat is Camille in the blue jacket and I in the yellow.  That is one ugly little cat but I didn’t think so at the time.

Camille and I were back lot neighbors. She  lived in the house up the hill from me.  We did everything together from ice skating miles and miles down Salt Creek, building tree houses and forts and riding any horse we could.

My dad rigged some way for us to go to horse camp in Wisconsin supposedly as sisters.  Here is an awesome picture of the two of us dressed as Native Americans huddling over the camp dog (of course!).

I am in the blue leotard.  What great costumes!

I am in the blue leotard. What great costumes!

We ran free most of the time. Spending winters sledding and ice skating and the summers swimming and riding. It was a great way to grow up.  We had some usual (unusual) parent angst but got through it all.  College Camille headed east and me, west, back to Colorado.  Although sporadically in touch, we had not seen each other in all these years.

I think my daughters were a little panic-stricken when I casually let them know some stranger was spending several days with us.  As we discussed where everyone would sleep, they kept calling Camille, “your friend”.  I would correct them with her name, which they didn’t remember and kept calling her “Clarice” in that tone that Anthony Hopkins uses in Silence of the Lambs.  Amber told me, no offense, but a random stranger was not sleeping in the room with her son.  I get that.  I think they were all a peeved that I had invited someone into our inner circle.

On Camille’s behalf, as she tells the story, she doesn’t frequently travel.  Her husband was out-of-town and she just decided she was going to go to Denver for the funeral and started making flight arrangements.

Camille and I before the funeral.

Camille and I before the funeral.

The minute she pulled in Amber’s driveway with a big smile and wave, Immediately we were off to see the filly, Betty Sue, and Camille was smashed in the back seat between my suddenly quiet grandkids.

Camille and I chatted like the old friends we were.  My kids loved her and said she was good for me.  We settled the whole sleeping arrangement thing with Camille and I sharing a room just like old times.  Funny how the years fall away.

At the funeral it must have been a little disconcerting to suddenly face my family, my step-sister, her husband and my nephew along with my former brother-in-law Sean, all aged forward 40 years.  How weird would that be?  But I am so glad she came.  I would have never asked and it meant the world to me.

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind in so many ways, my family, my old friends and many new friends who really have stepped up to aid me at a time of grief.  May God Bless you!

A Bright Spot

My first  time to see and touch my new filly.  A big smile in the midst of some dark days.

My first time to see and touch my new filly. A big smile in the midst of some dark days.

It has been a rough couple of weeks, starting off with Lauren’s horrific broken arm, then days of death watch with my mom, to putting her in the ground next to my father and sister today.

By far the high point in our trip to Denver, in addition to being able to hug and share stories with those I love, was the chance to see my already purchased, but never seen filly, Betty Sue.

I had hoped to get out to Denver this summer to meet the now four-month old Warmblood filly but with my mom so sick, I didn’t dare travel.  But with coming to Denver for her burial there was no reason not to sneak a trip in to meet and finally run my hands along the golden, painted coat of my newest horse.  She will not come to Texas until late October after she is weaned and RPSI inspected.

A quick request to Stephanie landed Lauren, my oldest friend on earth, Camille and two of my grandchildren, Riley and Jordyn, at RoanOake Farm in Longmont, Colorado.

I am not sure who was more excited out of all of us but can assure you that nothing about the filly disappointed me and her sweet disposition gave me back some faith in a world that had gone a little dark for me.

Lauren  who has felt nothing but pain physically and emotionally at the death of her grandma, brightened up extensively as well.  The grand kids easily walked about with baby Betty Sue and Riley even got to pet her large stallion grandpa.

Probably the best news was that Betty Sue’s maternal grand sire was quite a jumper back in Germany.  We hope she carries a lot of those genes!


Third Day in Heaven

imageToday is my mother’s third day in heaven. I wonder how it is going.

My mother passed away Wednesday evening. It had been a full week since she had become unconscious, stopped eating and drinking and started actively dying. At least that was what the hospice nurses called it. She had nurses around the clock. We never met the nurses who worked from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am but the nurse that we spent our days with, Caroline, was terrific. I feel we are fast friends now. Lots of time to talk as we watched my momma breathe and quit breathing periodically, just to be sure we were paying attention.

I hated watching her die. Yet I was glad that she could take this journey of her last days, virtually pain free and calmly. She laid quietly as Jordyn and Kendyll played, we ate meals and Lauren iced her aching arm. At one point, I think Lauren would have liked to join her Nanny in the hospital bed just for so pain relief.

Each night, we would say good bye, believing that she would not live until the next morning. I would hold her tight, tell how much I loved her and tell it was okay to go on. I would be okay without her, clearly I was better with her here but she needed to let go and let The Lord take her home.

Anyone that spent any time with my mother knows she took her time getting ready to go out, lingered (seemingly forever) over a good meal, spent more time in the grocery store buying five items, than I spend getting a week’s worth of food. There is a Brad Paisley song about Waiting on a Woman, and we all waited on my mom. Her death was not any different. We were told from the first day that she was so tiny that she couldn’t last more than day but she did. And then she did, again and again.

It broke my heart to see her shrink away day by day, with sunken eyes and cheeks. It broke my heart each night to give her what I thought was my last kiss and last “I love you” only to return to do it again the next day.

My father and sister have been gone for many years and it has been her and I against the world. I can’t imagine life without her.

Amber, my oldest daughter came in from Denver Tuesday night. We spent Wednesday with my mom. Amber held her tiny hand and as a nurse tried to get a pulse or a blood pressure. But yet momma kept breathing, shallow, hurried breaths. All the girls, Jordyn and myself held her, kissed her, and told her we loved her, forever and forever.

Later, just before Caroline’s shift was to be over, the phone rang.  I had dreamed of the phone ringing with just this news for a week.  now I was paralyzed. Our favorite nurse had called with a tear-filled voiced and told us momma had taken her last breath. I loved her so!


Hour by Hour

May God Bless her and keep her.

May God Bless her and keep her.

Just a short post to update friends and family that my mother who was placed in Hospice care a while back, took a turn for the worst on Thursday morning.  She is 90 years old and has had a tremendous life but time is running out now.

The hospice case worker told us Thursday that time was being measured day to day.  On Friday, due to dropping blood pressure and other symptoms that was changed to hour by hour.  As in she could die any hour.  She is being kept comfortable and seems peaceful.  We have all said our goodbyes and tried to tell her stories to celebrate her life.

I am, of course, having trouble believing this is really “it”,  After all, my momma has always been with me.  My nurse daughter Amber talked with the hospice nurse long-distance from Denver yesterday.  She quietly but simply assured me last night that this was not a drill.  My momma is leaving this earth.

The plan will be to take her to Denver for burial next to my father and sister when she passes away.  Meanwhile, I keep waiting for the phone to ring with the news she is gone.

Please keep us in your prayers especially my dear mother.