Quietly Trucking Along

It has been a month since I have written.  I have had nothing to say.  I have needed time to process life and what it has in store for me. I have no new answers.  I am just determined to make the changes I need to make to my life to match the challenges with which I am faced.

What has been going on?  Well, Lauren, Mia (from Malaysia), Ally, Jordyn, Kendyll and I traveled to Denver to stay with Amber and family.  Originally, this trip was booked as we would be able to see our new baby horse and we could not wait.  As it was, getting up enthusiasm for the trip was hard for me.  The last thing I wanted to do was head to Colorado the scene of my recent heart-breaking loss.

Kendyll and Lexie showing off matching rompers

But family and kids are great reminders of the good in life and I did so enjoy the time we all spent together.  We had Kendyll’s and Lexie’s birthdays to celebrate.

Amber and Ryan competed in a “Tough Mudder” race at Copper Mountain Ski Resort while the rest of us rode chairlifts (that was a little traumatizing with the kids either being scared to death or wanting to jump off-respectively), let the kids do their own obstacle course and just hung-out. It was a glorious blue Colorado day and it was hard to not be happy spending time with the kids and grandkids.

My grandkids surrounding me with love

After a couple of days in the mountains, it was back to Denver.  Kendyll, just five, wanted to go see granny-nanny (my mom) at the cemetery.  It was good to visit my whole, immediate family who are buried there now.  We brought lots of flowers, remembered good times and cried a bit. I am glad my grandchildren remember my mother so well and want to visit her grave.  One thing about the farm life is that death, as ugly as it is, happens regularly.

Back in Houston, Lauren and Mia prepared for their trip to Malaysia.  Lauren went back home with Mia for two weeks.  Lauren has had the year of living large with her amazing riding locales and this fabulous trip across the world. This trip she got to voyage on to Thailand for a beach get-away.  As if a trip to Malaysia was not enough.

000malan

Mia swimming in the clear seas.

Meanwhile, I am back in Houston doing my day job, having Ally’s great help with the horses and spending what seems to be the norm any more, time alone.  I have to say I have a great routine down and actually have been getting up, getting the horse and animal chores done and getting to work earlier than usual.  The evenings are busy with chores until I drop, exhausted, into bed.

Lauren will be home this weekend and a lot of change is in store for both of us this fall.  I have some very nice horses for sale and I appreciate that many of you have shared my ads.  I hope to find amazing homes for these animals I love so dearly.

As always, thanks for riding along.

The summer of ’77

Waking up this morning, needing to get up and feed the dogs,  knowing the horses would need attention,  knowing my old body would be grinding in protest, I wanted to turn away and go back to sleep. And suddenly I wondered, what it must’ve been like 40 years ago, the summer before my college graduation when I might’ve awakened in Fort Collins, Colorado to a whole day ahead of me with no appointments at all. And no real obligations.

Don’t get me wrong, I was busy then I worked a couple of different jobs.   I went to school full-time. I had a cat.  And I don’t remember an overwhelming sense of freedom of waking up and having a whole day stretch ahead of me with nothing to fill up but time.  I probably made up things to fill the time as we did when we were young and didn’t know the value of time or its place.

Fort Collins, Colorado, in the summer,  was as close to ideal as one could ever imagine. Perfect weather.  Blue skies, dear friends and mountains beckoning.
I wish I could capture that feeling of not having to get up and do something in the morning and have my body willingly and not complainingly wanting to do it with me. Oh the many things I would do over again if I could.

I certainly would take this day that I had off away from work and away from school and I would’ve driven down to Denver and I would’ve visited with my parents and seen my sister, Betty.  I didn’t know then how little time I would have with any of them especially my sister.
I might’ve taken a long bike ride along the mountain ridge as I often did in those days enjoying the freedom, the isolation and the ability to go where I wanted to go by myself. I might’ve just spent the day cleaning my little apartment. I don’t know how I would’ve spent the day but I would give anything to have the day over again to spend, to have time to hope and I think about my dreams.

Many, many of my dreams have certainly come true. I have had a blessed life but there’s something about the innocence of those days in the green Fort Collins that I would give anything to have one more glimpse of.

As always, thanks for riding along.

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I have some amazing horses for sale top of the crop, if anyone is looking please be in touch.

Ready to Relay?

Jordyn with the red cap before starting backstroke.

Some of you may have seen that my granddaughter, Jordyn, at age nine, tried out for swimteam and made it.  I was a swimmer for most of my youth, swimming on summer and winter teams in the Chicagoland area.  I was actually shocked when Jo made the team.  She could swim but wow, to get in and compete against kids who had been doing this for a few years already, is hard.

First meet, Jordyn did not have a quality dive or a good turn but she got in and won a second place and some other ribbons.  Excellent start.  Her coach clearly believes in her and pushed into the relay space (filling in for an absent swimmer) at this last meet.  Oh, goodness, barely a dive and now has to wait for the other swimmer to touch and dive off into the pool to swim the relay race.  She was worried sick and having a panic attack but she listened to her coach and focused on what to do.  Guess what, the relay won first place!!

Jordyn ended up with three firsts (swimming freestyle in two relays and 50 yard free) and a second place for the day! I can’t help but think where she will be when that dive becomes routine and those turns are flip turns.  Wow, this lean, tall girl is going to be (or has become) a swimmer!

I love Seth Godin on any day but this blog about relays was certainly appropriate for me (and Jordyn).  I hope you enjoy it too!

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/06/mental-load-and-the-worry-cache.html

Mental load and the worry cache by Seth Godin

It’s well known that the team that wins an Olympic relay isn’t the fastest at running or swimming—it’s the team that handles the handoffs the best.

The same thing is true of your job. The tasks could be done by many people, but someone who is great at your job embraces the mental effort necessary to do task switching, to read between the lines, to keep many balls going at the same time. Strategy and tactics both.

Sometimes, we think that these are the things that get in the way of our work. In fact, they are the work.

Writing a sentence is easy. Deciding what to write in the next sentence is hard.

Making decisions is exhausting. It involves perception and analysis and most of all, taking responsibility. Pretending to lead and manage is a trivial task, because there’s no, “what if?”

It turns out that the mental load of management is primarily around experiencing failure.

Actual failure, sure, but mostly potential failure. Imagining failure in advance. All the current things that could go wrong. And more important, the things you’re not doing that will be obvious oversights later. Our brains work overtime to cycle through these, to learn to see around corners, to have the guts to delegate without doing the work ourselves (even though that creates more imagined points of failure). Scan, touch, consider, analyze, repeat.

The other thing that’s a huge load: Worry. Unlike all the things I’ve already mentioned, worry isn’t actually part of your job. Worry (expressed through non-productive pessimistic cycles over things out of your control) is antithetical to the work you’ve agreed to do.

Clear your cache of worry.

It’ll free up your processor to focus on the useful stuff.

A Chance

IMG_6449Day by day, I have been getting a little stronger and walking about a little further.  I have had some great visitors that have filled up the hours and some beautiful flowers that are filling the air with sweet scents.

Thursday Ally was over early to mow.  She thought she saw a small dog at the top of my neighbor’s driveway.  Lauren came back from her trainer’s around noon and spotted the same little one lying deathlike in the driveway.  Lauren went to investigate and found the neighbor’s other mini-pony had given birth but mommy and baby were separated and the baby was much worse for not having mommy by her side and milk to drink.

A little investigation found the first time momma with her placenta half-delivered locked away down in the pasture.  The baby had wondered up to the road herself.

Lauren would have investigated more but for the bull that chased her out of the pasture and through the wire fence.  It had been a brutal week for Lauren anyway having suffered a badly injured forearm that took her to the ER and a fall through a palm tree (you do not want that story) so getting chased by the bull was icing on the cake.

IMG_6450.JPGLauren and Ally teamed up with our neighbors to try to help out the tiny baby that was quite dehydrated at that point.  Couple with a syringe and water, the foal got some much needed fluids and started to gain back some ground toward living.

Lauren kept mumbling that she wanted to take the foal on the road with her to Tyron (North Carolina where she is headed to show this next week) and I was was fine with that but I was not agreeing to nurse it around the clock.  The owner of the property and mare were gone and not reachable to help us save the baby.

The girls called the sheriff’s department and four officers arrived pretty quickly.  They took the baby in their arms and went in search of the new momma still hoping she would accept the baby and the baby would have a chance.

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We all left out about that time leaving the matter in the capable hands of the officers.  Last night Nancy arrived for Jordyn’s lessons and I was telling Jennifer about the bad news of losing the little foal when our eyes were riveted towards the little sorrel pinto streak of a foal galloping next to her momma in the next pasture.

Never did I expect this baby to live and flourish.  I guess she just needed a chance.  Thank you ladies for work well done in his service!

Thanks for riding along!

Coming Home-Lent Writing#2

Last night, for Lent,  I chose to do something to make me a better person instead of my usual give up red meat thing that I have done for the last several years.

I will write a new post everyday until Easter -45 days away now. Last night’s  blog went off like a bomb. Big, booming and wounding those I love. So, trust me I wrote it (you can even read some comments about it) but the post is down.

My daughters surprised me with a wonderful birthday cruise.  So, let’s move on.

Today we got off the boat in Galveston to chilly late winter weather. The skies were crystal clear but the north wind was strong and unrelenting. The walk from the ship to the parking area was a little over a mile. Lauren and Amber had on shorts. I was rockin’ some capris. But by the time we reached the car I had lost all thoughts of the tropical paradise we had recently left and wasn’t sure I could feel my legs either.

But in the short five days we had been gone, it was noticeably greener and flowers were everywhere especially the early blooming azaleas.

Our tree lined road was fully in bud. It was all the color I would call  new spring green, almost as fluorescent lime green, adorning all of the branches. The piercingly cold blue sky set a perfect picture.

Is always a thrill to turn through our gate and look down towards the pastures I identified a horse laying in the field. But I couldn’t quite get my head around whose horse it was. Then an A HA moment struck me and I thought “you’re so stupid, that is Sims!”

I am gone five days and I do not recognize my own baby. It was great to see them all happy and healthy and enjoying the sunny day. As we pulled up into the garage, Lauren quickly went and opened the door so the dogs could come out.

You know I always say no one can ever love me with as much exuberance and adoration as my own dog. A human being is never going to jump up-and-down excitedly, whipping their body back-and-forth in ecstasy upon just seeing you return. No one is ever going to do that. But my joy that I got from watching their Joy was tremendous.

Even the cats seemed to be standing at attention spread exactly 12 inches apart as they lined the countertop. I could hear their meowing from even outside the door.

As I grabbed a jacket, I rushed to follow Lauten out to the barn. Just checking up that everything was OK and everyone was all right. Things looked good and we were blessed to have great house sitters in Lisa and Jordan.

It took a while to get back inside and get started on those chores with all the swimsuits, coverups, shorts and T shirts to be washed.  It was a long afternoon of work. I got everything finished and put away. I got my bed made with fresh sheets, all the horses fed and put away for the night. Amber, Ally, Jordyn  and Kendyll came over so Jordyn could ride. My daughters and I had our last meal together for probably quite some time. It is always so hard for me to have Amber leave.

I am happily home and have no intention of going anywhere unless it is to see my wonderful Flexible  baby due in early July.

Thank you for supporting my 46 days of Lent write-a-thon. More tomorrow!!

From the mouths of babes (or in this case Kendyll)


It’s that time of the year for too many commitments and even less time. My daughter Ally found herself having to regretfully tell her four year-old daughter, Kendyll, that she would not be able to attend the pre-schooler’s Christmas party.  Guilt got the best of Ally and she took off halfway through her work at our family farm today to attend the party.
Surprisingly, she was greeted as she walked in by a couple of staff members.

“Kendyll said you were working at the barn today and couldn’t come” the one teacher said.

“Well, as long as you are here-we have some questions for you” chimed in another.

“Does Kendyll really have her own horse and ride all by herself?” was the first question.

“Yes, she does. She has been riding since she was little” Ally told them (most would think four was young, but I digress).

“She said that her granny, aunt and you ride as well” came the next question.

“We do” Ally answered.

“Kendyll says her granny is the best rider because she can ride in snow, jumps and does dressage” (what four year-old knows that word?)

But then came the best question of all!

The teacher leaned forward intense on Ally’s next response, “Kendyll says her aunt Lauren rides with the Marines!”

“Is she in Afghanistan?” the other teacher eagerly asked.

Ally was a little confused.  Lauren and the armed services are not things that go together naturally. Then the light came on.

From the mouths of babes, Kendyll had heard us talk about Trapp (Lauren’s trainer) being a Marine.  In her head, she had put together that Lauren was in the Marines!! Wow, that is the best thing ever.

Lauren might argue that training with Trapp is like being in the Marines.  Everyday is boot camp.

And just as an aside, while my step-father was proudly in the cavalry, what exactly would Lauren being doing in Afghanistan on a horse?  Maybe she and Feather doing reconnaissance missions in the mountainous regions?  Leading patrols through the shattered streets?   Just asking…

Anyway, precocious, articulate four year-olds are always listening and picking up way more than we think.  Guess we better watch what we are saying because Kendyll is on a listen and tell mission.

rose

These roses are blooming next to the barn right now.

 

Anyway, I hope you all are staying warm as this cold front descends on the nation.  Slow down and enjoy the season.

Thanks for riding along!