The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!
This is the daily blogging prompt. When I saw it, I immediately knew the answer. It’s really hard on me when people ask:
How is your son?
Every time I’m asked, I’m reminded that it’s been years since I heard from him directly. One day he said he needed some time before he’d talk to me again, and that was that. So, I really don’t know how he is, other than indirectly.
Maybe someday I’ll know what caused the rift. Maybe not. As I’m repeatedly reminded, it’s the estranged person’s right to do what they need to do, and that should be respected.
It’s not at all helpful to speculate about possible reasons for the situation, because I have no way to know. His father won’t talk to me about it, nor will anyone in his household. I’m glad they respect his wishes, and if the situation were reversed, I would be grateful.
Still, I’m human and a mother who loves her children unconditionally. So, it hurts to be asked how my son is doing. I wish him peace and love, and respect his wishes.
I’m always being warned by people wiser than me that I should expect ups and downs with Drew and Apache. Monday was a big down for Apache, with his difficulty settling down.
And I’d been concerned that I’d messed up with little Droodles, too. But today was extra encouraging. He came up and asked to go out. He was rewarded by a chance to do more “mowing” and enjoy the removal of excess hair. He’s looking good.
I wish I had a picture of him standing there watching me and Apache when I groomed him. He is really looking like a healthy horse.
As for Apache, he was back to his new normal today. He jumped great going left and medium going right. And he cantered up a storm in the round pen, looking happy.
Our ride was just great, too. We did a bunch of the things in the Trail test just fine. I was so pleased. Lee said all he heard while working on the RV was “good boy, Patchy!” I did say it a lot. I am not so concerned about the show this weekend. We will get lots done tomorrow and Friday, and he will have fun.
And in honor of International Woman’s Day, here’s our girl Mabel, leaving her leftovers to her buddy Apache.
To be truthful, the number one thing I’m grateful for is my tack room. It smells pretty good in here for a room full of horse feed.
Number 2: Happy horses. Apache is calm again today, Drew has been running around with Dusty, and Mabel has let me rub all over her.
Number Three: Good health news about dear friends. I was so relieved to learn a former neighbor is recovering from a bad stroke, and my friend Jeff got his eye worked on again.
Number Four: Returning birds. I was greeted by the sweet sound of a red-winged blackbird this morning. Plus, the barn swallows are swooping and chattering outside my office. I love that sound.
Number Five: I got to see some local friends when I went to get a prescription filled. I was off really early because I’d started work at 6 am today. You can edit a lot of job aids in that silence.
I’m Not Grateful for…
Why was I working so early? Because I was awakened by the familiar horror of skunk breath. Yep, Goldie got another one. Once more I had to remove pitiful remnants of an animal who was where it shouldn’t have been. Once more Lee and I were trying to deodorize a giant dog. Ugh. But the rest of my day has been fine.
Geez. It was a challenging day. At least I was able to pick some pretty wildflowers.
I decided after last weekend that Apache was ready to do some shows. Today I went to Sara’s house to film him doing the Trail test, which is mostly stuff he has done many times at Tarrin’s or my house. I got him clean and put on a show outfit.
We managed to get over there without disturbing the Haggard the bull, but we walked, just in case. But once we got to Sara’s, where she has done a GREAT job setting up a course to film on, Apache indicated he was not interested in my agenda.
I did my best to show him the obstacles, like the pole and flag he dealt with Saturday with no issues. Then I went to get into the saddle and he kept stepping away. That was a hint. I probably should have listened.
But instead I got on, and Apache turned into 2021 Apache. He was totally nerved out. I was patient. I breathed. He just couldn’t settle down. I’ll spare you the details of how I probably should not have tried picking up the pole. Or doing anything.
Sara encouraged me to at least film trying to go through the course once he was a little calmer. We did at least visit each obstacle. At a walk. It’s a baseline. And we did what we could do under the circumstances.
My sweaty boy and I dragged ourselves home, only to have some random black cow come after us as we walked down the drive. I just yelled at her and she stopped and glared at us.
Fine. Then I looked at our gate. What did I see? This guy.
Now, he’s a friendly bull, but I didn’t want to take any chances with a tired horse and me coming in. So, I headed over to take a chance at walking Apache down the road. But no, there was no gate that would let us bypass the cattle guard. Argh.
But there WAS a gate at the far end of our pasture, nowhere near Haggard. So we trekked the long way and made it back, with only a little scare when all the other horses came running up and I hoped they wouldn’t break through the “electric” fence that really isn’t.
Apache got rinsed off and loved on when we were back. He couldn’t help being nerved out. And I’m really glad I have leftover ice cream cake. I’ve had enough adventures for one day.
I had a philosophical post about aging all planned, but I’ve had such a nice day, that I’ll just say how glad I am to be 65 years old, alive, healthy, and able to enjoy life.
I spent my whole officially old birthday doing whatever I wanted to. I spent the morning chatting with the men of the house and giving myself hippie fingernails. I earned them by surviving the 60s.
I enjoyed the flowers Lee got me that I arranged to look about as tie dye as my nails.
Then I spent an afternoon horsing around. What fun it was. I was just Sara’s helper as she did recording of her horses doing their Q1 Virtual Show. I enjoyed helping groom them.
It was fun watching Aragorn do cool stuff, but more fun watching future mama Sully try her best to open gates and deal with that darned flag. But by gum, she trotted through the slalom like a dream. And she gave me a gift! I got to feel the foal move inside her! It was so cool.
On the way home we got birthday ice creams, which was sweet. What a good afternoon. But it wasn’t over, because I then got Drew going and we had a fine ride! After that, he kindly mowed the grass where the mower can’t reach. He is such a cutie.
So what if I’m old? I had a great dinner with an amazing ice cream cake for dessert, and enjoyed the gifts of family and friends today! Look at all these “gifts!”
I’m happy that the season for horse clinics and shows has started up again, because I’d been feeling isolated and worrying that I couldn’t do much this year, since Drew isn’t quite ready to show under saddle. But hey, I have my old buddy, Apache!
He’s been blossoming, so I figured I might as well see what he can do. He did ok in a clinic last year, so I dragged him out of his dewy morning grazing and took him to a clinic with Tarrin, to see if we could do the functionality patterns and obstacles.
We were in the first group, and definitely the least experienced. And it didn’t start out well, when he decided he didn’t want to do what I asked, but after a little calming activity, he turned around! We managed to complete the functionality test just fine for our first tries. I think we had fun.
After the patterns we all tried something new, working with a flag. It’s a thing people like to do on horseback. Tarrin introduced it slowly, having us follow her while she carried the flag.
The riders whose horses who did ok with the flag then got to try carrying it and doing a figure 8. We did well, and I learned it’s hard to use your feet and hands to direct the horse while carrying a flag, so you need to use your body. What fun!
If a horse just isn’t up to being ridden, though, em riders can dismount and walk them, so they don’t forfeit the whole thing. Sully did fine with this, and there was another horse who needed this option. They can keep working on it!
Other obstacles also got worked on, different ones for each group, which grew more advanced throughout the day. We enjoyed practicing figuring out the best path between obstacles, which differs whether you’re doing the precision phase or the timed phase. We did ok. I was just happy Apache was up for 2.5 hours with me on him.
I enjoyed watching all the groups of horses and riders. You can learn a lot watching others. I also learned in the “class” part of the clinic, where Tarrin showed us things that can happen to horses that aren’t visible from the outside.
Sara was a good sport and helped demonstrate how pulling back even gently on reins makes it hard for horses to move. I had to unlearn that habit. And I’m still learning.
I’m feeling lots better about this year now. Apache and I will have fun and work to improve our skills. And maybe Drew will get to join us later. I’m sure grateful for this horse community!
Honestly, the blogging software asked, but I was also asked by my contact at the company who contracts me out to Dell at my current position.
Yes, Bertie Lee, I do. I like it as much as I liked my previous job before they replaced my amazing boss with, um, someone else. I’d figured I’d stay until the contract ended next September then “retire.”
No, I’m not. I like having something to do, and if I’m helping people out, I feel good. In my current job, I help people use confusing yet powerful software to get their own work done. And I help my team get their work by answering questions so they don’t have to.
No, Bertie Lee, they thank me by giving respect and autonomy. There’s no micromanaging on our team, just encouragement and support. It helps that everyone is great at their jobs, of course. It’s been a great last hurrah in corporate America.
I’m just saying that if this job continues, I’ll keep going for another few years, though it’s tempting to have more time for horses and travel. I guess the month that Medicare kicks in is pretty much guaranteed to cause introspection!
I’m only as young as I feel, but other than the lingering wheeze, I feel as good as I ever have. And yes, I like my job.
PS: I only had time to take chicken pictures today. Much work followed by long-overdue grocery shopping filled the time. Good news is Zippy Bippy, the new car, can hold a LOT with the seats down.
This has been rolling around in my mind for a few months. I’m somewhat rant-y and quite a lot confused about this. I’m totally cognizant of the fact (oops, another word whose definition is migrating faster than is usual for words to change) that there is a wide blurred space between news and entertainment. Combined with the blurry lines between facts and truth, there’s a giant mud pit of bewildering word slime that keeps presenting itself to me.
The problem is that I really miss the times when reputable sources produced clearly labeled descriptions of things going on in the world (news) and smart people’s comments in these news items (editorial opinions).
I’m generalizing, of course. I’m aware that even in the times when I was young, information was presented from a certain viewpoint. I didn’t take high school journalism, but Anita did, and she told me this. And I’m quite aware that the viewpoint was well educated white guys. But the network news, Time, Newsweek, and most newspapers generally talked about the same “news” from different and interesting angles. I enjoyed learning from these sources to put together my own opinions.
Today, though, I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to care how a professional athlete’s bowel movements came out. But there it was, in my “newsfeed.” Who the heck cares about this? Why?
I made the mistake of perusing the “Facebook News” recently. There was so much clickbait that I got a little queasy from it. And gushing newsflashes about minor celebrities sneezing or burping. Or so it seemed. And did I mention gore? Endless reports of stupid people being horrible.
The few actual pieces of news from serious sources tended to be behind paywalls. Sigh. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to the New York Times. At least it’s got stuff in it about news I find important, like wars against small countries and insane political events (well, that’s mostly in the Austin Anerican Statesman, where the list of anti-trans pro-censorship bills keeps me queasy). Or science news.
I just resent that I have to dig through layers and layers of drivel and nonsense to find information that matters to non celebrities and fans thereof. I’d prefer to have these two genres separated. And labeled. I’m not against fun and celebrity worship. I’d just like it to get out of my face.
Well. I rambled. Now it’s time to get ready for tornadoes that are heading this way. Texas. Extremes!!
After a year and a half, our Mabel has crawled out of her shell, gotten into shape, and started to act like a real horse, not a sick, frightened shadow. I’m so happy for her to have possibilities of a healthy, productive life. Wow. I’m having trouble expressing how much today meant to me.
She’s been through injuries, illnesses, and emergencies since Kathleen rescued her and I started helping out. She was so thin and sad. She’s not fat now, but she has muscles and is interested in life around her. And here’s the thrill: she let Jackie do bodywork on her!
Jackie was so gentle with Mabel that she completely win her over. With every move, Jackie asked Mabel’s permission and she kept saying yes. Her neck got stretched, her back got worked on, and even her legs and feet were rubbed and lifted. Mabel was gracious and calm. Just wow.
Mabel is learning that humans can make her feel good. She already knew her farrier makes her feet feel better, and now she knows Jackie makes her body feel good. This way, if she needs more intense stuff later, she can trust that good stuff will follow. I’m grateful that Mabel is getting treated so well!
After the session was over, Mabel even stayed with us a while. She felt safe! I can see potential in Mabel now. Even her back is looking stronger, like she can be ridden again at some point. It’s been worth the time and money to see her improvement.
Yes, Drew and Apache got worked on, too, and both are improving. Drew needs to stretch his legs frontward and Apache needs to stretch backwards. Huh. Drew got lots of deep work done and found it very relaxing.
Apache was more alert, because he was watching bulls and trucks, but he seemed happy. He is really improving in his conformation. I’m proud of the old guy!
He is a delight to me, just knowing how hard we’ve both worked and how far we’ve come. I’m happy to keep getting him worked on to continue the progress his whole team of helpers have enabled him to make!
I wish I was as good to my own body as I am to the horses. I could use some bodywork! But I do have eye doctor and dentist appointments in March. And maybe the cough will go away someday.