Empathy for Those in Chronic Pain

It’s been a rather painful couple of weeks for me. Since my ungraceful exit off Apache, I’ve been healing in some ways and getting worse in others. What does an “older” person expect, anyway?

Yesterday’s sunset, to remind me that I am in my sunset years.

The funniest injury I found turned up when I was getting my hair cut. Dan put me under the sink and started scrubbing away at my dirty hair, when I said, “Hey, that hurts!” Apparently, I had hurt the top of my head during the fall. I would assume that the helmet squished down on me. It’s odd that I hadn’t noticed it, but then, I don’t brush my hair often.

But, it sure is a cute haircut.

My back is also not as happy as it was at first. I feel all right in my recliner and in bed but sitting up and standing aren’t great. Sitting up in a desk chair is no fun at all, so I made myself some lumbar support. I think it is just going to have to heal, or I am going to have to go to the local chiropractor. At least I have insurance that covers it!

The worst has been my pelvic area. That bruise was bad news, and it went deep. I got swollen so much that some of my pants felt tight, and I could feel hard lumps under my protective layer of belly fat. It just hurt, that’s all, and going up stairs was always a reminder that I’d fallen. I still feel it a bit, which makes me glad I was too busy working to go to the Christmas Parade with Lee yesterday (he was helping the Chamber of Commerce). The lifting and toting would not have been a great idea.

Autumn is such a nice time for tree photos. Plus, this is much nicer than a photo of my bruises.

I think the bruising, congestion, and pain are improving. The lumps are smaller. We will see if I am able to get on a horse tomorrow. At least the mounting block at the trainer’s place is taller than mine. I probably shouldn’t have gotten the bare bones model.

Whenever I get a temporary pain it makes me think about people who don’t have the option of healing and have to live with chronic pain. I am so grumpy when I hurt, which doesn’t make me fun to live or work with! I hope I get better at dealing with chronic pain, since my guess is I’ll end up with some sooner or later as I continue my march toward deepest crone-hood.

Fiona’s with me on my march. This is on our walk yesterday.

But, as for today, I’ll take a nice, gentle walk with my horse and donkey, like I’ve been doing all week, and get back to the knitting. The latest striped blanket is coming out different, but just as interesting as the last one.

Perhaps that background blanket is not the best choice.

I’m wishing you all a good weekend. It may cool off, but I’m all prepared after getting some key items in Colorado. Ooh, and I booked another trip there in late summer of next year. Hiking here I come!

Remember That Pool of Dreams?

Hey there, readers! Do you remember that back in September we started building a swimming pool over here at the Hermits’ Rest Ranch? You haven’t been hearing much about it lately, have you?

Lee inspects his plastic palm trees. They will help keep people from falling off the steps, which has already happened.

That’s because, just as Lee feared, the workers disappeared for about a month. Naturally, the only day all this week that I was gone was when people showed up, at last. They came to put the plants in the flower beds. Hooray.

Workers, working. Photo by Lee.

They also put in Lee’s fake palm trees, which I have to say look pretty good right now. We will see how they hold up after a few rains. I was glad to see that the real plants are hardy items like palmettoes and those yuccas with the red blooms. They will at least lend some color.

The dogs seem to approve of the plants or whatever peed on the rocks before they were delivered, perhaps.

Lee and the gang were glad to see that they did put landscape fabric down and they put tan rocks in, not glaring white (which pretty much cooks plants in the summer sun here).

They didn’t have enough rocks. Oops. My job is to remind the owner to order more rocks.

The frog pond is now dry, as well. There is a lot of silt and such in the bottom of the pool that they will need to get rid of before the plastering can occur. I have been told that the plastering will commence tomorrow or Monday. We’ll see.

I think the plants look nice, but I do hope they remember to make the electricity work and make the pool actually work after the plastering. I want that hot tub.

In Other News

I enjoyed a book club at a nice restaurant last night with Anita and the women from the old neighborhood. Finding the restaurant was challenging, because it is in a dimly lit (but lovely) shopping area and its sign is not lit up at night. You are just supposed to know where it is, sorta like Bob’s Steak House in Cameron. It was really nice to see everyone and get caught up, at least a little bit, on what’s going on with them.

It’s not quite everyone, but is most of the neighbors!

They gave Anita a lovely poster with lots of photos of them as a going away gift. Wasn’t that sweet? No wonder we’ll miss them once Anita is no longer cat sitting on the next street over!

They say hi.

You will also be happy to know I got a replacement helmet for riding the horses. I actually ordered two, in the vain hope that Anita or someone else concerned with the safety of their noggin will want to go riding with me some day, once I have two horses. I guess, though, if one’s my son, I’ll have to get an XL helmet.

I figure if my horse is named after a Native American group, I can have a matching helmet design. The other one I ordered is plain white and has more air vents, like for summer.

At least Sara and I won’t mix our helmets up anymore.

Baby, It’s Cold Inside (Or, weird hotels I have known)

That’s right, blog readers, I am in yet another hotel. I had to be in Austin today for a couple of appointments, and I didn’t want to miss a whole lot of work driving to Austin and back from the ranch. The original plan was to stay at a friend’s house, but their guest room was full of boxes, and my back (and pelvic area) can’t take even a pretty and spacious couch right now. So, I booked two nights in the hotel closest to the Bobcat neighborhood.

This was quite modern in the 1990s.

I’ve looked at this hotel for what, 25 years now, but hadn’t been in it until last night. It’s an older one that has obviously seen lots and lots of conferences and workshops, but thanks to COVID has a lot of empty space. I got the corner room on the top floor, facing the courtyard, which gives me an interesting view of scaffolding.

View from my room

I thought it would be quieter, but the bartender, a fun Cantonese woman, assured me that sound travels up and echoes around. Sure enough, it does. But there are not many people around, so it’s okay. She said a month or two ago there was a film crew in the hotel, and it got VERY loud. Yes, I had myself an Old Fashioned at the bar last night. There was only one creepy person there. I ended up with two drinks, because the bartender didn’t like how the first one came out. Fine with me.

Trusses, up close and personal.

I had dinner last night with Anita at a teeny-tiny Japanese restaurant at the Arboretum, which brought back fond memories of when I first moved to Austin and the kids’ dad worked in the office building next to the shopping center. We spent a LOT of time at the bookstore and Thundercloud Subs. Hey, that’s where the Japanese restaurant is now.

We took a walk around the shops after dinner, and they were all closed except this really cool space full of things by local Austin artists. I wanted one of everything, but just got Anita a candle holder made out of tiny skulls. The place is called ArtUs Co Shop, and will only be open through the holidays, sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have put off checking the place out. If you are in Austin and need to buy gifts, go there. It’s like the Armadillo Bazaar only less crowded.

Anyway, about this cold. Wow is this hotel quirky. The staff are GREAT, though. But the hallway to my room is colder than it was in Colorado, and my room has stayed a brisk 67 degrees since I got here. It’s fine at night, since there are my beloved Hilton linens and pillows to keep my cozy, but while I have been trying to work, I’ve turned into an ice cube.

Brr.

I told them at the front desk, and they brought me a warm blanket (just as nice as the warm cookie upon check in). But, no one has come to work on the heat issue.

I do love the down comforters on these Hilton beds.

I went to get coffee to warm up, and the front desk clerk said to get nice fresh coffee upstairs. The server rolled her eyes and said they ALWAYS send people up there for coffee without pointing out that it costs $3. I got mine free because I had been downstairs earlier for a quirky but delicious breakfast. They sort of have a restaurant at the hotel, but not really. I did like the breakfast potatoes a lot, even though I think they made me sick. I ate along with an assortment of bald business dudes and younger couples whose male members wore gimme caps. Every single male under 40 had one on.

If I’m frozen to this desk, Anita knows where I am.

I think I like cold and quirky hotels, to be honest. They have character, like Valdoro Lodge in Colorado did. I can overlook the ill-fitting hallway carpet and random buzzing noises as well as the outlets that will not charge my phone. I have peace and quiet, which means I got so much work done already today that my boss is probably mentally telling me to stop. I did stop to eat a Kind bar and blog during “lunch hour.”

I look forward to seeing my old neighbors tonight, so I hope to have more to report tomorrow. At the ranch, the horses all got out of the pasture, but Lee says they are fine. Did I forget to lock a gate? I wouldn’t put it past me! And in final ranch news, I am told the pool will get worked on again Friday or Monday. As Lee’s dad would have said, “We’ll see.”

Ranch Work Never Ends

That declaration should come as no surprise. There is always something new that needs to be done, or more likely, something broken that needs to be fixed. It’s a good thing we get to enjoy such lovely sunrises and sunsets! Today, the sky was pink 360 degrees around the ranch. Ahh.

A nice sight to wake up to!

The good stuff is that the dog fencing is all done, and most of the gates are in. The big ones are wide enough for a tractor or truck, so that equipment can get into the yard to work on various projects.

The gates are already handy, since some repairs needed to be done within the fenced area. For one, the pool guys discovered a leak in the pipe leading from the garage to the septic system. I guess it’s a good thing that water isn’t used too much. We would have guessed the earth shifted and broke it or something, that is until our intrepid team found the duct tape that had been holding the pipe together. There’s no way we would ever have known if the pool guys hadn’t dug that hole.

It’s fixed now.

Perhaps you now see why we no longer use the general contractor for this house. But wait, there are more reasons for that, right near the problem pipe.

Hmm.

Whoever ran the water lines and air conditioning stuff to our garage building did not bother to seal the holes into the building. That was sort of okay at first, since in the tack room (former office, living quarters, and other things) the walls kept the room sealed. But, something broke at some point and a hole had to be put in the wall.

You don’t want to know what’s in there.

You could easily see daylight from that hole in the wall. Guess who else could see it? Rats and mice. They got in and ate a bunch of chicken food and made a huge mess. Worse, they ate the plastic cover on my expensive refill container of fly spray. Why on earth? I really didn’t like them in there, and neither did anyone else, since they also ate cattle cubes.

One hole blocked. And yes we need to get the mold off the north side of the building. Of course, the pressure washer is broken. Ranches also break a lot of things.

Today we got them sealed out or in. All holes have been covered up. Now we just have to kill off whatever rodents are still in there. Otherwise, they could live a long time, and reproduce just like rodents tend to do. I’m not sure what we are going to do, since I don’t like keeping rat poison anywhere around dogs.

The really bad hole, also fixed.

Now wasn’t that an appetizing blog post? Let’s see if I can produce something less icky for tomorrow.

More Horse Stuff

There’s always a surprise around here. Today’s surprise was a horse I didn’t know in my pens this morning.

Hello, I’m a large, black mare.

I knew that someone had come back last night after I went to bed, because the dog alarm went off. But I didn’t know who. It turned out to be the nephew and the stock trailer. I recognized Dusty, Remington’s buckskin buddy, but who was the black beauty?

I’m built like a brick house.

I finally figured out it’s Kathleen’s horse from the farm, T, who I’d only seen once before and who did not look quite so fine at that time. It turns out she’s here to get all checked out and such. How about that?

Look, I’m friendlier that Apache and Fiona!

Do you see how shiny she is? Her secret is living for 3 years in a herd of cows and eating grass (and cattle cubes). It works!

She seems happy to be around other horses, and they all seem to be getting along. And she is friendly under all that muscle.

Meanwhile

I didn’t go into detail about my lesson with Drew yesterday, but it was very enlightening to see how hard he is working to learn new habits and build good muscles.

Developing his back legs

He is now going over his little hill under saddle, backwards and forwards, and he is working on using a bit. He doesn’t like them, probably because he had a pretty uncomfortable one before I got him.

And he is developing patience.

We talked about the plan for him, and currently the thinking is to bring him back home at the new year to do ground work and grow to a more adult size. Then in some number of months he can get back for finishing. I’d still be bringing him in for lessons.

Canter practice

I got a lot out of watching Sara’s lesson on Aragorn, who had been feeling agitated for a few days after being spooked by a horse wearing a blanket. He was trying his best to annoy Sara, but she didn’t let him. We were impressed at how she kept her cool and fixated on getting the job at hand done.

Here I was trying to capture his red mane tips, but it didn’t come through.

We had a darned pleasant afternoon with our horses and our trainer.

Today was also pleasant. I walked Apache all over to build back our relationship. Yesterday he turned and walked away from me, but today he came up, eventually and we had a good walk. Fiona, of course, is the best. What a donkey.

We’re all good.

My bruises on my lower abdomen are swollen and painful. I hope it’s just healing. If it gets worse, I will have it looked at.

A Visit with Drew and Friends

I’ll tell you more about this tomorrow, but what’s important is that I got to visit Drew and see how he’s progressing today.

Where have you been, Suna?

He’s getting really muscular and filled out.

No ribs showing!

I went with Sara, so we got to watch each other’s lessons. I was not alone when I was watching.

I watch lessons all day.

The resident bull sat with me, sighing periodically like he thought these horses should be doing better. I also had another friend to entertain me.

Who’s a good dog? Me!

This guy was with us the whole time. Every time we go to training, one of the dogs joins us. This one sure reminds me of Harvey.

We also enjoyed getting to know some very curious new horses at the training center. When we drove in, they ran up like cars were very exciting.

We like people.

I went in to look at them to learn about confirmation. The big buckskin and the two fillies were fascinated by my water bottle. I wish you could see their three noses all sniffing at it. Such curiosity!

I’ll share more tomorrow. I spent so much time with horses today that I’m zonked.

Come back soon, Suna!

Plus I’m full from a nice dinner my friend Martha made for us. Sunday family dinners are back!

Square Simplicity

It was suggested that I make a giant Grandma’s Favorite dishcloth pattern as a baby blanket. It’s also been suggested that babies no longer use blankets. So, it is also a “tummy time mat” or whatever modern babies use.

It’s not plain and boring.

I had two balls of this nice, soft baby yarn, Sridar Snuggly Pattercake, in two different pastel color ways. I used the same stripe sequence as with my hexagonal blanket I just finished.

The colors lined up similarly, but it ended up looking nice, I think. It’s certainly soft and snuggly. And it can be washed by machine if soiled by normal baby activities.

This will go to one of three upcoming little ones in my friend and family circle. I like making baby things, because I can give them away! That makes less yarn in my soon-to-be-bursting yarn room.

Speaking of not bursting, my closet is less stuffed today, since I packed up 6 large bags of clothing (size small and medium mostly) and a bag of shoes this morning. Maybe I’ll have room for the remaining clothes and shoes that got moved here. The purge has begun!

It’s Penney’s turn.

Rainy days off are good for something after all. And since it’s chilly, there are more dog snuggles.

Just Us and the Dogs

With our housemates at their other house for Thanksgiving and Anita off to house sit for a while, Lee and I have the ranch to ourselves.

Love

But we aren’t alone. I thought I was earlier today, but then I realized I was surrounded by 6 sleeping dogs. I took a panoramic picture.

Alfred, Gracie, Carlton, Penney, Goldie, and Harvey

They take turns keeping us warm in the evenings. I usually have Carlton or Penney. Tonight I was reading and not paying attention when I realized the dog on me was quite heavy. It was Harvey. Aww.

It’s my turn.

He’s a bit smelly, but sweet. And he growls if Goldie tries to come near.

I’ll just lay here and play with my toys.

But, he spent so long watching TV with me that my foot fell asleep. He’s heavy.

Great show.

Lee usually has Penney laying beside him, sitting up like a person. Since my lap was full, Carlton joined them. Surprisingly, no fighting occurred.

Buddies.

That’s what makes a quiet evening at the Hermits’ Rest. I’ll just share this nice photo out friend Carol took of me and Lee. I declare it our anniversary photo, even though it’s a few days away. Lucky 13 years.

Suna and Lee, looked over by mariachis.

Wishing you love, wherever you find it.

Thankful for Each Other

Since today is a day to be grateful for your family and friends, I’m going to share some joyful photos and leave it at that.

Goldie is thankful for cozy bedding.

Now that we have a fence all the way around the house, the dogs can frolic and we can watch them from the front porch without worrying about them running off to chase things. I’m grateful for that!

Frolic time!

And we have Pickle to run with us, too. It’s great to have Anita with us for a few days for frolicking!

Now we are just cooking and relaxing. We will have my son and his partner with us, which will make it way more festive around here!

Dressing. Yum.

Celebrating a Real Estate Win

So, yesterday wasn’t all bad. The Bobcat Lair house sale finally went through and funded. That was such a relief. The way things have been going lately, I was not going to believe it was real until a check was in our hands. So, our friends and former real estate partners, Carol and Russell, drove up from Austin and brought us the check.

It’s real! Carol gives Lee the check, with happy mariachis looking on.

We met at the El Charro restaurant in Cameron, where we had delicious food and celebratory margaritas (for many of us). Other than those of us who are professional writers boring those who are not, a good time was had by all. This was really a long time coming, and we still can’t believe we sold the house for its asking price.

Me trying to wrestle the check out of Lee’s hands. Harvey was hoping it was food.

We went back to the ranch for some celebratory prosecco and to ogle the check, which was the largest one we had ever seen (mainly because we didn’t have a mortgage on the house, so there was no payoff to a mortgage company).

We were very impressed, though Russell was more impressed with the prosecco.

I’m so relieved to be able to breathe a little easier, no longer having to pay two sets of utilities and property taxes. We now have some retirement income, too. I’m feeling such relief. And I am grateful for Carol’s and Anita’s help with getting the house sold, too. They both put in a lot of work! It’s so good to have friends to help you along the way.

A toast to old friends.

A bonus to the evening was that Carol and Russell delivered a lovely gift. Carol had re-painted my old metal dining set, which I’ve had since the first house I bought with the kids’ dad (so it’s at least 30 years old). It’s now red, the color of a red crayon, just like I wanted. That made me so happy!

They look brand new!

I can assure you that my gratitude for tomorrow will be for having figured out a way to have funds for my later years, for having loyal long-time friends, and for having family that wants to be with me for holidays. We are very fortunate. That I will not forget.

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