Resting? Not According to My App

Honest, I was going to rest all day today. But I felt good and at peace, so I kept coming up with things to do (other than knit, because I’m trying to finish this baby blanket.

This does not look like it’s making a square.

I’m just having faith that the blanket will work out.

For some reason I have been energized by all my vaccinations, so I decided to clean all the windows in the doors. They have, um, “some” dog nose prints on them. I say have, because I didn’t get it perfect, but now I can see what’s outside. We will see if I’m up to downstairs window washing when the pool is done.

That door is clean.

I knitted and watched football a while, then BOOM I got an urge to sweep the back porch. It’s gotten pretty messy with all the pool construction. I swept and swept a LOT of dirt and the inevitable bugs.

I swept here with their help.

Then I rearranged our sad old furniture to look as nice as it can. I didn’t clean anything, knowing that if the pool dudes come back (and I assume they will since they left stuff here), more sand, particles, and such will be deposited.

The construction viewing station.

I’ll clean everything up once it’s all done. And I think perhaps we will get some slightly less ancient and more comfortable furniture.

The benches will go sit outside by the ponds. This is where my iron dining table and chairs will go, if I can find them. I’ll paint them red.

Yep. That’s boring. But it sure gives one exercise and steps. Then I went out and rode my sweaty horse for a while. When he got twitchy, I got even more steps in. I guess I’m getting ready to go hiking with my friend in Colorado (I assure you I am hydrating and will get used to the altitude first).

I didn’t even TRY to exercise today!

Good thing I cooked a good dinner. Leftover steak with onions and mushrooms. Well, that’s all the news of today that’s safe to blog. Still. It’s so weird to feel okay.

More Spontaneous Saturday Stuff

I just kept rolling along today, enjoying whatever came up. I was knitting away, when Sara invited me to hang out with her while she rode Aragorn. I walked over there, and discovered a bit too late that Vlassic came along. I was worried he’d have a problem with Sara’s newest cattle dog.

I really missed this water bucket.

At first the puppy was not pleased, and her hackles were raised big time. Aragorn ignored it all. What a good boy.

Dogs don’t bother me. And how do you like my new muscles?

We needn’t have worried. Moments later I looked over to see play bows all around.

You’re okay.

Those two dogs didn’t stop running and playing the whole time I was there. I think they were thrilled to find each other.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed seeing Aragorn’s significant progress in this lessons. The most fun was watching him try to back up a hill like Drew did earlier. He was a bit tired from his lesson yesterday, but he did it!

Back he goes.

I headed home and suddenly got a text asking me to get home so we could go. Huh? Turns out the nephew and I were going to Steak Stein and Wine festival after all. Yep, I went home, put on a necklace and lipstick and acted spontaneous.

People seemed to have fun.

We were a bit confused, but ended up seeing lots of people we hadn’t seen in a long time, had good chats, and enjoyed our fine booth for our company.

Lovely staff/friends at our booth.

It turns out we were sponsors and had a cool sign in the bandstand. Ooh la la.

I see our logo!

I sampled some liquor but not too much, then we had the steak part of the deal. It was good. The twice-baked potatoes were GREAT.

Mmm

I’m glad our little town is coming back to life now that our COVID numbers are way down. It’s not the way it was, but it’s better.

So, let’s see what happens spontaneously tomorrow!

Choosing Happiness, Starring Drew the Colt

So far, the weekend hasn’t gone as planned. I woke up bright and early this morning to get Apache all ready to finally get to his training, but there’s no trailer here. And I thought we were going to all be going to the Steak Stein and Wine event in Cameron today, but Lee doesn’t feel well, and there’s no one to go with. Am I upset? Nope. I have contingency plans, and am having a lovely day!

I’m all saddled up, but not being ridden yet.

I just left Apache in the round pen after I groomed him, where he was happy to nosh away at the grass and crow poison in there (I think he actually avoids the flowers). His saddle and stuff was ready, if the trailer had arrived. Meanwhile, I got myself into my nice, comfy car and drove over to the training place, where I proceeded to have a great time!

I’m fine. I’ll just walk myself over my poles and get in shape.

I enjoyed watching Drew get groomed and saddled, but the highlight was getting his feet cleaned. He picked up his back feet! Then he stretched them out to get them in better shape! He’s been improving consistently since they started working with him.

The trainer says he has just gotten to the point where he is in good enough shape to be ridden. He had to have a lot of work done to his back muscles, which were all confused, as well as a lot on his haunches, especially on the right side, which I knew was at least part of his problem.

Look at that back right leg moving like it should move!

He’s getting bodywork monthly, and that is helping. I can see how much muscle he has put on. He is working hard (and I think saying WTF about that), but learning so quickly. The trainer says nothing he does wrong is out of malice; it’s more that he doesn’t understand what he’s being asked, or he’s not quite able to do things yet. I’m really proud to have such a good learner with a willing disposition to work with!

Not cantering here.

Drew is way better at the ground work. It turns out the horrible noise his sheath always made when he was running fast was from having his back all tense. Now, when he isn’t tense, it doesn’t make any noise at all. It’s convenient that geldings have this handy alarm system. You just have to look at mares. I was really astonished at how he responded to very subtle cues. It turns out he does not need big corrections or anything like that. All you have to do to get him to trot is to life the rope and crop, and he will stop when you turn sideways. He also canters on command.

His cantering is a work in progress, because his back was so messed up that his front legs and his back legs were not coordinated. He is learning to start off on the correct “lead” (which I am not great with yet, but will be). It’s obvious he’s making progress and trying to figure it out.

I’m sure he’s having fun.

What else can Drew do? Well, to build up those back leg muscles, he’s jumping over an obstacle while going in circles. He apparently doesn’t like it, but he does great.

Hill backing.

He is also practicing going up hills backward (it’s a small hill they got installed in the training pen, very cool) and going over the hill while running in circles and not zooming down. I was told he is making huge strides with this. All of it is building the muscles he needs for being ridden.

Backing uphill.

Something I felt good about was confirmation that Drew was born in the fall. He is three years old, but NOT three and a half, judging from his teeth. I thought he was younger than he was made out to be.

This is more practice for his legs, and for getting on and off trailers. Now that his legs feel better, he does it fine.

The most fun thing I got to do this morning was practice giving Drew the subtle commands to walk, trot, and stop. I did pretty well, and he paid good attention to me. I was just beaming when it was all done, and the trainer was, too. She is so happy with how both Drew and I are doing!

I’m doing it. Go me.

And oh yes, she is training him not to rush at you at feeding time. This will be so good. I saw how she is doing it, so I will work on the other horses to see how well I can get them to act.

A moment of not cooperating.

One more thing I learned to do was some releases on his head. I learned three different ways to relax him, all of which were easy. He seems so happy when this is done. It’s a good reward for all his hard work!

I like this thumb poking into my head thing.

I tried the releases on Apache. He liked two of them, but not the third. He seems to have something going on with his head, anyway. Or he hurt his foot jumping over poles yesterday.

So, I had a great morning, then I came home and shoveled a lot of horse poop. Lee said he wasn’t feeling well, so we’re staying home today–he did tell the lady he was working with that he wasn’t coming, so she wouldn’t be looking for him all day!

Here’s Drew going in circles with the slight hill in them. He looks relaxed.

I’ll just hang out and see what the rest of the day brings and whether we do what we’d planned to do tomorrow, which was go to Austin and get some of my stuff. That can be done without the trailer, thankfully, but I want Lee to feel okay. Oddly enough, I feel fine other than sore arms from my vaccinations yesterday. You just never know!

I’m ready to enjoy the moment, and I hope you are, too!

Two Things under Control

Getting two things under control in one day is sort of miraculous for me. I’m on one of my rare “get things done” kicks, and wow, I’m doing great. In addition to the big things I have taken care of, I’ve also scheduled the movers to take my stuff from the Bobcat Lair to its storage location, made a plan for dealing with all that stuff once it’s in Cameron, filled out my timesheet on time like a good employee, updated all my kanban board cards, and drafted two new job aids for work. Go me.

Two weeks old!

The biggest thing I remembered to do today has been to get my flu shot and COVID booster scheduled. I figured if I was scheduling, I might as well just get it over with today. I might feel sorta icky over the weekend, but I think I’ll be able to power through like I did last time. And since I’m going out of town next week (why yes, I am going to Colorado to hide out in a condo and continue to work hourly, but with better scenery and food), I wanted to be as safe as possible while traveling.

Ready for my jabs

The other thing I did isn’t quite as big in the health department, but I have two little chirpers who are very happy with me, and one big squawker as well.

It’s good to see the floor.

Yesterday, I watched Star once more knock over all the food and water dishes in the baby chick cage and I just had enough of her. She didn’t seem happy, and she wasn’t actively caring for the chicks anyway. So I shooed her out. At first I had her in with Babette, but I noticed Babette would not leave the top of the cage, even to lay an egg, so this morning Star went back to the big flock.

Not Babette, but I was happy to see Blondie using the chicken swing!

Let’s see how long she goes laying eggs until she gets broody again. I hate to tell her, but she doesn’t get to raise chicks when it gets really cold outside. She was really happy to get out, as she was molting away in the little cage and desperately wanted to take a dust bath. I’m glad I made her happy.

Now that the Black Chick and the Brown chick have reached the mighty age of two weeks, they have their own quarters. I took the opportunity at lunch to clean Star’s mess up, so they could actually see the floor of the cage, and get to their food and water. I have them both hanging, which means it is a lot harder to knock them over. The only thing is, I believe I have the world’s cheapest hanging chicken feeder and waterer, in the most flimsy plastic ever. I figure it will last long enough to get these guys into the bigger area (i.e., soon as they are too big to squeeze out of the fencing).

We can now get to all the perches!

It was pretty unpleasant doing the cleaning, since I had to scrape it up. I couldn’t just slide the bottom out and wash it, because the chicks would escape. Next time I will put them in a box or something, if I have a helper.

Look at me! I’m up high!

I feel a lot better about the chickens, and there is a lot less stink now that Star is out. And I am all sure I’ll get all my other annoying chores done, like changing my driver’s license address and registering to vote in Milam County, where, alas, my vote will rarely count.

Well, darn it. The internet went down hard over here in Milam County for a few hours. That meant I couldn’t work, even after I got my shots. I assume someday this post will upload.

Gotta Watch That Pool Construction!

We dodged a bullet yesterday with the pool. I’d been wondering why nothing was happening in the planter area, so I brought it up to the Men at My House, and they said, “Oh, we found out that there will be no planter. It was one of the things deleted to bring the cost down.”

Retaining wall in progress

I was really confused, because I remember the planter and plants being in the contract. But, they said they’d talked to Kevin the Pool Guy. I went ahead and called Kevin the Pool Guy myself, and said that I thought something was wrong. He said yes, indeed, there was something wrong, and he was about to call us about it. The planting area IS in the contract and paid for, so we WILL get it.

Drainage for the sides of the patio

The mix-up happened when we made the pool bigger and the designer had to hurry with a design. He’d omitted the planter, because he was just showing the changed part. Everyone thought that was THE design. Um. Not good.

These look pretty to me.

My assumption is that the people who will be here today and start working on that, too.

Ready for the fire pit insert. It fits, by the way.

Speaking of those people, wow are they doing a fantastic and thorough job with the preparation for the patio area. We can’t stop watching. All the workers are so skilled and careful. There is a LOT of smoothness. I especially thought how they worked on the drainage pipe for the gutter that’s in the way of the patio. One guy (the very large man with the very high voice) has been pretty fixated on that piece.

A nice surprise came yesterday, when they put in some shiny blue tiles (what, a color? I didn’t pick that!) on the steps and seating areas. That will be pretty under the water, plus it will be a great visual reminder of where the steps are.

More than just patio work happened yesterday. They also installed all the lighting (except one, which needed a longer cord) and the fittings for where the water will come in and out. The jets already had their cool outlets. That hot tub will sure have plenty of jets!

You can see the little light bulbs in there.

It’s cool seeing the area around the pool take shape. I keep wanting to go sit on the patio! Here are some more pictures of the action.

Arrivals and Departures

The population of the Hermits’ Rest is always changing. Today there’s someone new who arrived and someone old who departed. No one died, to put a spoiler in there.

Pet me once more

Dear old Granny, the skinny old mare with the inability to properly eat grass, has been sent off to hang out with Dusty and Kathleen’s other horse at the farm in Yorktown. She can wander around and squirt and quid all she wants, hang out with cows.

Enjoy your new friends!

I must admit I’ll miss her bony old self. She is awful with other horses, but she’s a real sweetie with people. I enjoyed hanging around with her, and gave her lots of love every day.

New resident

This little guy just moved into Lee’s pond. It’s one of our many baby bullfrogs from the spring mating fest.

I like my rocks.

He’s not as friendly as Granny, but he isn’t too afraid of people. Somewhere around here is a little toad, too. Lee found it in the house and put it back out.

I’m a toad.

Another new arrival is this skink. I think they are really cool. I’m not sure if we have one or multiple. I’ve spotted skinks a few times in the last couple of days.

One other visitor I have no photos of, but my guess is it’s a pocket gopher. I hadn’t seen any here, but Sara had some. I guess they hiked over here to enjoy chicken food. I blocked the holes last night, and lo and behold, there was a lot more food left this morning. I may end up just sharing my fancy chicken food with them.

Stay out of our food!

And in other chicken news, I tried letting Babette back in with the other chickens. An hour later, she was all bloody-headed again. Darn. So, she’s back in her isolation ward.

I’m a delicate flower. But at least I’m finally laying eggs regularly.

Apache has normal eyes again, and the dogs are fine. That’s it for our comings and goings.

We Made Them Fix Stuff

The day is over, and it was long but good.

Sunset over freshly mown grass.

More work got done on the poolside patios, but it got slowed down a bit because the Men spotted exposed rebar that happened when the workers chipped off the pool edges.

The beach are looks good, though.

So, they made some concrete and fixed it. They even dug up some areas to check. I’m sure that didn’t go over well, but it will make the Pool of Dreams last longer.

Fixed now.

I was impressed at how much work it took to build steps from one level to another. These are going to be STURDY. No corners are cut. And wow, they measured a lot.

Checking the stair measurements.

There was more pounding, including a manual pounder for smaller spaces. This patio ain’t going nowhere.

It does the job.

We were happy to see drainage pipes in the retaining walls they’re building. Lee approved big time.

You can sorta see the little pipes.

So, that was today. I worked a lot and then hugged all the horses. Ahh.

Even I got petted. A lot. I love Suna.

Enjoy more work in progress!

We had a beautiful sunset and moonrise to enjoy while feeding horses and planning future improvements. Ranch life is pretty good.

Intense Day at the Pool Site

Whew, it was a whirlwind day at the Pool of Dreams, with deliveries coming and going, plus machines zipping and banging. It was the big day for preparing the edges of the pool for installing the pavers.

It sorta looks like a pool!

Trucks brought loads and loads of fine sand, which was then packed down as hard as possible by one of those vibrating things that packs sand down well.

One of the men was zipping around on some kind of little tractor thing that dumped sand and smoothed it a bit. Let me tell you, there was a lot of dog barking, back-up beeping, and banging going on. Oh how I miss my office at the Pope house! But, hey, I’ll get a pool. That’s good.

Lee and his nephew have many opinions on what the guys are doing, so I can’t wait to see how that all works out. I was just impressed at how much got done!

Gracie thinks it looks really good so far.

Trucks also brought in the pavers, which look like they will blend in very well. I think they’re the color of the dirt here. That was a creative choice of mine…I guess. In addition, a decision was made to make little retaining walls, so some retaining wall blocks showed up, which I had not selected, but will look fine. I’ll not be complaining about that.

Even though I saw the outlines they drew on the ground before starting the work, I’m not a hundred percent sure what the whole outside patio and planter will end up looking like. I know there will be steps! And retaining walls. That will just have to do.

Penney approves.

I tried to do Apache’s schooling this afternoon after work, not realizing that the noise of the pool building might not be his favorite thing on earth. So, I got a lot of chances to settle him down and practice not getting all nerved out when he got jumpy. He simply would NOT walk over to the cones. So, I ended up running him in circles in the round pen and doing figure eights in the field and around the fencing pipes in front of the house. After that I walked him over to the cones and let him look at the workers, then I walked him around his circles. I figure that was a win in the long run.

No picture of Apache, but I thought Mabel looked rather pretty out in the field. She is looking much better.

I took so many pictures, plus Lee took some, so enjoy the process of building the paver foundation.

Does Your Subconscious Try to Sabotage You?

As you know, I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, consulting at Dell on the software I worked with at the previous job. The new job features a very smart team, some fun clients to work with, and a reasonable and kind boss. These are all good things! I’ve completed a couple of little projects and a sorta big one already, and everyone seems pleased with it. No problems there!

This angst-filled woman keeps making an appearance in my dreams. That’s me and Eudora in the early 1980s.

But, my dreams have just not left me alone! I keep dreaming that I am unable to finish things, that I have messed something up (including one where I completely forgot how to use the software I was demonstrating). I’ve dreamed repeatedly of people telling me I’m not fitting in, am a poor worker, and that I don’t know what I’m doing.

Gee whiz, subconscious, what are you trying to say here, that I am Imposter Syndrome Queen or something? I’ve been doing really well in my waking hours with not taking criticism to heart, realizing that whatever went wrong in the previous job was not all me and had to do with something I wasn’t even aware of. I’ve been doing GREAT at not expecting everyone in the world to like me or think highly of my work. I am not basing my self esteem on someone else’s opinion, while still trying to do good work and owning my mistakes. That all sounds fairly adult of me (about time).

To change the subject, my it was a dewy morning.

These things you develop as you are growing up really stick with you, don’t they? I was always so darned fixated on pleasing my dad and my teachers that when I made the slightest error I was horrible to myself. The hardest thing I ever did was give up on academia, because even though it was the best thing for me to do for ME, I was so concerned about disappointing my family and my professors. So outwardly focused.

No matter how much better I’m doing and how much I learn, little Suna keeps peeking out and waving around to remind me that I’m still a bit of a mess, just like everyone else is (thank goodness I realize THAT now).

I did have a weird work-related dream that made me laugh, though. I dreamed I wanted a Wendy’s walnut burger (??). I had not been to Wendy’s in a long time and it had changed since COVID into a weird antiseptic, white subway-tiled place, where you went in one at a time to order. When it was my turn, the server told me that before I could order, I had to set up my Wendy’s PIN.

Something else to make you laugh. Brown Chick riding on top of Star. Black Chick did it later!

Well, that was fine, I guessed. Then the server told me that my PIN had to be the number that corresponded to one of the things that was on a laminated sheet of paper. The paper had on it photos of various things. I can remember a glass of wine and some piece of clothing. I said, “I don’t have any numbers associated with those things.” The server insisted that I had to use MY number for one of the things.

It’s cozy up here.

I finally decided there was a number I could associate with one of them, and asked the guy, “So, where do I write it down?” He looked at me, all fuzz-faced and panicked, and said, “I don’t know! I just started!”

I was never so glad to hear an alarm go off.

Happy Monday.

Complaints? Nope.

Well, it’s been a nice couple of days, that’s for sure. The worse thing that happened to me was driving through the confusing world of Dallas, Texas traffic. But, I lived! So, what’s up?

Here’s the progress on the little baby blanket I’m working on. So far it’s very blue and purple, but you can see that will change soon.

House News

The first good thing is that the Bobcat Lair house finally sold! We were surprised it was on the market for so long, but we guessed it’s because the house has zero curb appeal. You literally can’t see anything but its miniature driveway! But the best part is it sold for what we asked for, minus an allowance to replace the deck, though apparently the new buyers are normal people and not afraid of a house with imperfections. Anita says the folks are nice and will fit in well, which makes me happy for our wonderful neighbors.

Pool News

We have good pool news, too. Yet another surface is going in (probably done by now, since I’ve been gone for a couple of days), this is some lovely flagstone that is covering the “beach area” where we can sit in little chairs and the dogs can safely enter. It was another one of the works of art that the tile guys do. Laying the flagstones was like filling in a jigsaw puzzle where you’re allowed to tear up the pieces to make it fit! In the end, it turned out really pretty. I can’t wait to get home to see it all grouted in and smoothed out.

They also did a pretty cover for the fire pit. By the time I get home, it will have a circular opening.

Horse News

Before I left yesterday, I checked on Apache’s eye. It looked way better. However, it sure was hard to keep his head down to put the drops in. I ended up with a sore arm! Glad I had help, for sure.

I look better. I don’t like drops.

Fun Times

I’m in Plano this morning, because I drove up to attend my bonus daughter, Ellie’s baby shower. I’m so happy she and her cute husband are going to have a baby! They announced the name by showing us a cute sign they’d had made on Etsy. I was thrilled to see her name will be Ruby. And they were all dressed in ruby clothing. So cute.

The baby’s middle name came from her grandmother.

I was so happy to see Ellie. There were multiple extremely long hugs exchanged. She is just a dear person and has done so well with her life. I met her when she was in college with my older son, and our families became good friends after we let her stay with us while she was doing summer internships and stuff.

This young woman is a therapist in her own practice now. Go, Ellie.

I am so happy to have also gotten to see her mom, Pouri, who has been a great friend to me for the past decade and more. She is one of the kindest and most generous people I ever met. And the best cook. If you’ve never had a home-cooked Persian meal, well, I’m sorry for you, because they combine some of the most interesting and delicious ingredients. I still dream about a beef dish with some kind of fruit in it that Pouri made once, no exaggeration.

My dear friend, Pouri.

Anyway, it was a sweet party, and then I got to spend an evening all alone. There were no dogs, no noises, and no distractions. I enjoyed knitting, reading, and watching mindless HGTV. Pouri and I agreed that that’s the best part of any trip or vacation!

I hope, so dearly, that all of you get a chance to enjoy your friends, rest, or recharge this weekend or soon in the future. All of this good stuff has really helped me, and I wish it for all of you.