Cultivating Calm

I read today that what horses want is peace. No wonder I like horses. I, too, crave peace. And calm. It’s been my goal all my life. I do not crave excitement, uncertainty, or the unexpected. But, guess what? That stuff shows up all the time. What to do?

I found a moment of peace when the afternoon sun visited my bathroom.

I’m relieved that my anti-anxiety meds have kicked back in. They are really helpful for me. They don’t make me calm, but they do give me a better attitude about uncertainty and the unexpected. They help me detach a wee bit.

Knitting is something that has kept me calmer my whole life. Today I put this sweet knitting corn husk doll that my sons gave me on my little display shelf someone I used to know made me.

Calm and peace. You do have to work on them, but it pays off! For example, my work laptop has been a bit off since I got back from this trip. Just little things were happening until yesterday afternoon, when my webcam stopped working in the middle of a fun meeting. It didn’t work today, either, but because I didn’t get all upset and pissy, I was able to patiently wait until the Logitech help person found a solution. Yay! I stayed calm and didn’t just order another one.

Goldie was doing this while I was fixing the webcam. Distracting!

And just as the camera was fixed, I had another meeting. Throughout the meeting the sound of the Zoom phone ringing kept playing. For an hour. I just laughed and tuned it out. What else could I do? I cultivated calm and just dealt with it. Go me.

I’m calm, too, even though I have all these gangly legs.

There’s so much going on here that keeping on an even keel is important. My vacation helped. The horses help. Having great conversations with my son helps. Lee helps. All of you help. Keep spreading peace, calm, and lovingkindness. The world needs it.

Pride and Practicality

I have to say my horses make me proud. Today was another lesson day for both of them, and you could really see progress, even since last week. Drew. Damn. He just loves to learn new things, so it’s easy to sneak new knowledge.

The goal today was to work on turning right without crowding. He thought it was working on stopping and starting, then going in and out of cones without me following. I walked in a straight line and he had to weave. He didn’t get it at first with Tarrin but got great at it with me. Proud!

He’s a winner.

He also is now jumping higher jumps, which is really going to help his muscles. And today he did it calmly, so he didn’t have to re-do anything. He was cool as a cucumber. In fact he drifted off a couple of times when we were talking. Maybe he will learn to turn more straight and I’ll learn to turn correctly, too. We’re getting instructions!

Q2 Virtual Show ribbons

I’m also proud of these ribbons from the virtual show we did in May. It’s the first time he ever had competition. And I was very proud of both Drew and Sully. They were very close in their scores. This was a great show for Sully’s first one! Sara has done such a great job training her. I’m proud of her, too!

Dog play break

As for Apache, he was moody at first, but he got really excited and seemed genuinely happy when he managed to jump over the high jump twice, in each direction. I think he surprised himself!

And that boy worked his butt off today. His goal was getting under his haunches and stopping properly. He has really been reluctant to stop when he’s anxious. Well he practiced stopping a LOT. He did many of the things Drew was doing, but including lots of stopping. To his credit, he got the idea!

By the time we were doing the “approach the scary trailer” ordeal, he was paying attention and stopping on a dime. Screech! That’s real progress. The whole trailer approach is improving. It’s not there yet, but Tarrin says he’s starting to trust that I’ll keep him safe.

I’m also doing better with my ability to be calm and deal with his stuff. I’m proud of our progress, but feel bad for how wound up he gets. I did give him a nice bath, and I can assure you he had a nice roll later.

Practicality

I thought you might get a chuckle out of how I decided to organize all those Color Street nail polishes I have. I found that one of my shoe boxes fit them perfectly.

Ta da

I felt like decorating it, so I found my 2020 calendar of donkeys and used it to cover the shoe box. It’s certainly cheerful.

Howdy

The donkeys make me smile, and now it’s wY easier to see what polish sets I have. I also sealed the used ones in hopes that I can use them later by warming them up.

Ok. Fun.

And there ya go. Something random and not depressing! And because I want to reward those of you who read to the end, let’s enjoy the dogs on a pleasant evening.

Hope Is a Lily

Today I was walking around the property wishing it would rain again. I looked down and saw this ray is sunshine.

Hello!

The rain lilies always surprise me. We only got .6 inches of rain a few days ago, but these copper lilies popped right up for their yearly visit. Glorious.

Get out of our way, leafy plants, we’re blooming!

It’s so dry and parched here, which matches many of our moods right now. But the strength of these plants, which just need a wee bit of encouragement to push through and be their fabulous selves, gives me hope. I hope that our efforts to bring forth love and peace can push through like these lilies.

These rays of hope nourish others, too, like these sugar ants. Can we?

The copper lilies brought a smile to my face and planted a seed of hope. Well, technically I guess the hope is a hidden bulb full of strength. That metaphor will do, too.

Howdy from Recovery Land

I’m feeling better about some things and I know Vlassic is!

Suna loves me

We had a good night last night. He slept straight through the night next to me on the couch in the future in-law suite. It’s a comfy couch that makes a bed.

Happy little doggie

I did okay. There is apparently something living in a box that makes occasional noise, so I kept hearing it. I wish Vlassic were more of a vermin eliminator. He’s great at eating grasshoppers!

I’m glad I did this, though. He can run again today and isn’t shivery. He’s recovering.

It’s all about ME

But I made it through work just fine and even got out to ride Apache. It isn’t as hot as it was, so we both did fine.

I guess I have to get to work since I’m wearing all this tack.

We did well. He even came when I called! We practiced all our homework and even did leg yield. But best of all, we made it down the paddock and back with no meltdowns. I did it!! So did he, of course.

We’re a team. In neon.

I think not only I am feeling better, but so are my dog and horse. We all feel safe with each other. I’ll sleep with Vlassic a few more days, so he will know this is his new home. It’s where his food is, and there’s a doggy door! And one day soon he’ll have his human buddy back!

Self Care Lets You Care for Others

It’s thoughtful not to bare your inner torment then just drop the subject. People worry (at least two of them!). So, hey, not only did I get in some quality talk therapy and encouragement from people I rely on, I bravely ventured to a new health-care facility to get my medications back (or see what other alternatives there are).

Hey, look, my tack room has a horse sign now. Thanks to Lee for hanging it!

Cameron is not overly full of health-care options, but a new one opened last month, and I tried it rather than stressing myself out by going to my old neighborhood in Austin to see the doctor. More self care, right there! The facility is nicely renovated and conveniently located on the same road we live on (only in the city, not the country). I had a rather negative first impression thanks to the relentlessly cheerful Christian radio station (complete with phone number I could call to get the staff to pray for me!) that clients have to listen to. But, at least it was positive in focus and not a certain television network I would have walked out on.

A cricket frog also cheered me up.

Good news! The PA I met with was just great. We talked a half hour, at least, and he both listened and shared information with me. I went ahead and got the same thing I was using before, but he gave me some ideas to look into, including a kind of progesterone treatment I hadn’t thought of. If it would help my hair grow more, maybe I’d like it. But, I’m going to read up on it a LOT before trying anything hormonal. I am really susceptible to hormonal flux.

Great blue heron says, hey, the pond got a wee bit bigger

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll feel more like my easy-to-live-with self soon. That will let me be helpful to others, including animals. And oh my. Poor Vlassic needs help. Last night it rained, and of course rain is good, right? Especially when you are in an intensifying drought.

Better than no rain at all

The rain came with thunder and lightning, and poor Vlassic was over in the RV alone. He didn’t cope well. When I came to get him this morning, he couldn’t walk right, was screaming in pain and was unable to bark. He must have panicked. Well, that is NOT going to happen again.

I need love.

It looks like his companion in the RV won’t be home for a while, and Vlassic won’t come in our house because Penney traumatized him soon after we got her. So. Lee and I have all his stuff set up in the new apartment, even though it isn’t quite finished yet. There’s a couch in there, and I’m going to sleep in there with him until his buddy comes back. Then it will be plenty busy and he will be happy again.

I’m tired from being scared.

I can’t let my animals get all messed up. I’d been thinking Vlassic would only have to stay alone for a few days, but that isn’t the case. He needs to be with people at night as well as during the day (we’ve been spending a lot of time with him during the day). So, wish me luck, knowing how many nightmares I’ve already been having! But, Lee will have the other dogs and I’ll have Vlassic, and we will all have the care we need.

Sunrise after rain.

This will work until next week, when we had planned to go out of town. I’ll have to see if I can get some help after that if Vlassic’s companion isn’t back yet! Or stay home. I can also do that, because my little buddy’s more important than a vacation!

I guess this is good news. We apparently have an aviary in the porch. The former ceiling fan fixture near where the swallows live has just morphed into a gigantic sparrow nest. Mrs. Sparrow seems so happy about it. At least we lived here quite a while before those English immigrants found us!

Now, I have to say, it is hard to not be grumpy about some things. Some dog ate my crochet hook. It was a nice wooden one. Now I know I have many, but they are all packed up still. Damn. Back to knitting until Friday. Um, let’s look at more photos of more cheerful things…ish.

My former crochet hook. I thought they’d eaten a walking stick bug. No.

Things You Find when Looking for Something Else

My spouse is trying his hand at book binding. He needed a needle he could thread dental floss through to sew the binding in. So, I went through my unorganized craft stuff to find something. I found a needlepoint needle, which was good. But I found many other things.

Found!

One thing I found was this pouch I made to test out felting an entrelac project. I ended up using it more than the very nice purse that was my main project back in the old Bluebonnet Yarn Shop days. Believe it or not, I stored tampons in it.

Mama bear

The necklace is one my therapist made for me back in the Very Bad Old Days when my marriage was painfully ending, as were the marriages of many of my friends. On top of that there was a horribly toxic woman who showed up at our UU church who ran around ruining marriages, breaking up friendships, and rampantly spreading rumors and suspicion everywhere. Many of my friendships never recovered, and though I stuck around a while, I never again felt safe at church. Victoria was making jewelry at that time, and she made me the mama bear necklace to protect me.

My spouse found these journals. The top one covered 6 months of this time in excruciating detail. I feel so bad for my kids. And I can’t believe how doggedly I insisted people had good intentions in the face of evidence to the contrary. I’m sure glad my ex and his dogs and super-fit wife are so happy. We paid for it.

I needed it. My son was struggling, too. It was the start of so much stress, struggle, and growth. All that hit me when I saw the necklace. I’m sick to my stomach. No wonder it’s a good idea not to live in the past!

This is actually slightly more organized.

On a happier note, I found this UFO (unfinished object) in the knitting bag where the necklace was. It’s another entrelac project. I think it’s a table runner? It’s made of leftover sick yarn. Maybe I can work on it later.

Speaking of the past

The other UFO I found is this very warm shawl. I’m on the border of this one, too. What is it with me and unfinished borders? I should finish it before I start the other project. Sigh. It is very soft, too. Fancy yarn.

Hey, I remember this.

But wait, I found something else. I was in the Hen Haven or whatever I want to call it, and realized I didn’t know what was in a box under the work table. So, I opened it. Wow! Leather tooling supplies!

They must have cone with all the horse stuff.

I immediately knew what to do with it, too. I ran to get Drew’s fancy leather lead rope. After practicing on an old belt, I got to work.

Custom lead strap!

It’s Drew’s now! He fancy. I’ll see what else I can whack with a mallet. By the way, if the nephew is reading this, I did put the mallet back.

Bonus content: how many hens are at this chicken conference?

Finished a Shawl, Finally

And it came out great! This shawl is what I was working on before I started making all those baby blankets.

Knockout Round shawl with large sawtooth border

I started on January 15 and was almost finished in February when I sat the project aside. I knew I had to finish it, though, because both yarns were delicious. The tan yarn is baby llama. Baby llama! It’s called
Frog Tree Llambrosia. I used up every bit of that. The second yarn is a hand-painted yarn, whose name is a mouthful: Knitwhits Freia Handpaints Freia Ombré M/S Sport (Refined) – Gradient (the links are to their Ravelry pages). That Freia feels so good to knit with. It’s a silk/wool blend.

As you can see, it’s a simple, triangular shawl, but I did use a pattern to do the tabbed start, so credit goes to that person. The border is based on a classic sawtooth pattern, but I messed around with it. Since I had a lot of Freia left over, I added some plain stitches to make it wider. (Want to learn more? Here it is on Ravelry.)

Border up close

The big surprise was that when I got to the end of the triangle, I was at the end of a border repeat, which made turning the corner easy. Then, today, when I got to the end, it was EXACTLY at the end of a border repeat! It looks like I did a bunch of careful planning to get the pattern to come out right. I wish I could say I did, but nope, it was total luck.

I’m happier than I look. Just tired from horse lessons. That is why my shirt is dirty.

And no, I don’t have a border pattern. You cast on some stitches, and declare some number your sawtooth and the rest the plain part. You knit some, yarn over, K2 together, then knit to the last stitch which you knit along with a border stitch. Then going back out, you knit 2 together at the end. When there is only one stitch before the hole for the yarn over, cast on some number and start again. I believe my number was 12. You see, I’m a technical writer by day, and it’s the weekend now. No technical writing.

Yes, you can find the pattern online at http://www.interweave.com somewhere.

I actually DO have something interesting I want to make after I use up all the Mandala yarn from the baby blankets with my overly colorful crochet ripple afghan. It will be a garment! A sleeveless top! With yarn I have been saving! It’s from the latest Interweave Knits (Summer 2022) and called Morellet. Let’s see if I can do that!

I’m so glad that there are at least a few knitting magazines out there. I can read patterns much better on a page than online. And no way am I sitting through someone yammering on and on for some online pattern. I know I am old, but I don’t have time to sit through endless promotions, background information, videos on how to do a stitch…I just want a pattern.

Vlassic would like to thank me for the very pink chair he can sit in to watch me in the tack room.

Don’t get me started trying to find the actual recipe for anything online. I have no sympathy with people’s needs to cram more and more ads in their patterns and recipes. I hope they get rich from it. Wait, don’t I have ads? Yes. And I have yet to hit the magic $100 to get paid.

Heat apparently makes me grumpy. I did drink my healthy supplement o’ magnesium and potassium when I was running around with the horses though, honest. Tarrin made me do it. (That’s her tag line, too.)

Product Endorsements? Sort of

Yesterday I got some new items to add to my arsenal of products that protect my health. After all, I’m in really good shape for someone my age, according to my doctor. You see, I looked up what could be causing the disturbing symptoms I’d suddenly started having, where my knees hurt so badly I could hardly walk, and I kept getting leg and foot cramps. Since all signs pointed to not drinking enough water and taking in insufficient magnesium, I’d sought to fix that. I immediately upped my water intake even more (I keep forgetting to have a drink nearby when I’m out with the horses), but I knew I needed more.

I’m so cute that my horse keeps kissing me. Vlassic thinks it’s cute, too.

Some of my friends had been drinking little packets of powder that they put in water to help when they are outside in the heat. They were pretty good, but to me they seemed to generate a lot of trash. When I saw something similar that resembled old-fashioned Alka Seltzer tablets, I was intrigued. Reading the ingredients list pleased me a lot.

I found it on Amazon, of course

I got the Nuun stuff yesterday, and discovered I liked them just fine. They aren’t too salty and sweet like Gatorade products can be, and I appreciate that they are sweetened with Stevia (but not too much). And look at all those things that will help my body! Potassium! Magnesium! Other stuff!

This does not look bad for me, unlike Diet Coke.

So, I now have a package of it in the tack room and one in my knitting bag, so there will always be some nearby. I’ll probably stash some in the horse trailer or the car, too. I got plenty.

Getting this Nuun hydration helper reminded me to check what else I’m putting into myself. I only take two supplements, both of which have made a difference in my life. One is the Doterra turmeric capsules. These have both the essential oil and the powder in them. Yes, yes, there’s no black pepper in there (that is supposed to make turmeric work better, and I wanted to nip those comments in the bud). I eat enough of that as it is. I have been taking two of these per day for a couple of years now. I honestly think that is why I’ve been feeling so much better physically for quite a while: my body is less inflamed. I had lots of inflammation issues before. Now, nope, not a problem. I’ll just keep taking these. I order them from me, by the way, since the only thing I sell is essential oils (and I think I’ve sold two things to someone other than me: I’m not a sales person).

They are pretty, too.

The other supplement I take is a combination of probiotics and B vitamins. The probiotics are “live” I guess. Whatever they are, they have kept my notoriously sensitive stomach in better shape, and I don’t have to worry about being low on any of those vitally important B vitamins that I have a hard time getting in food some days. I get plenty of D and C in my food, which I prefer to multivitamins, since they stick with you better.

The probiotics and anti-inflammatories seem to have combined to make me feel physically the best I have in my whole life, and I think the ingredients in the fizzy drink tablets are the final thing I needed. I’m ready to go play with horses in the heat, I guess!

Other Things I Like

In the past year or so there’s been a shift in my self-perception, and I feel a great deal less “ashamed” of my appearance. I used to use colorful, baggy clothing to hide my body and a lot of makeup to hide my perceived flaws. Thanks to the pandemic and some soul searching I’ve stopped caring. I’m wearing clothing I find comfortable but allow my arm flab to be seen in public. Nothing bad has happened.

Arm flab! Giant ears! Wrinkles! Natural hair color!

I quit wearing makeup except when I want extra sunscreen. And I only wear mascara when I feel more girly than usual. And, as I admitted earlier this year, I quit shaving my legs AND wear shorts. I am even seen by others in a bathing suit. New Suna! I do still take care of my face, though. So here are my face product endorsements.

I do hate it when something I love changes. I am displeased more than I probably should be that the Rodan+Fields cleanser for sensitive skin went from a lovely cream I could wipe off to a weird gel that I can’t tell if it’s gone or not. It’s the New Coke of expensive cleanser. Sigh. I’ll talk to my friend who sells it, though, because wow, the rest of the line has made my face happy. It’s not red anymore, so I don’t need the Clinique foundation!

There, now you know how I got to where I feel comfortable in my skin and healthy. I’m proud. Oh, and all those glasses come from EyeBuy Direct. They do a good job.

Nope, I don’t get paid for endorsing things. I’m just sharing.

Progressive Progress

More and more progress is happening here at the Hermits’ Rest. My favorite thing is the power washing extravaganza that went on today. The part of our garage that faces north has been mildewing, as north-facing surfaces tend to do.

Partway fixed

I was really happy to see the guys cleaning it, because Kathleen and I have been joking that the mildew ruins our view from the pool. And hey, power washing is a good job in this weather!

That’s not the only power washing that went on. After some trouble with not enough voltage to run the electric washer and having to coax the gas one to life, all the shipping containers also got power washed.

Cleaned of horse products.

Our old one was primed years ago by me and Lee, but it never got painted. The other one is also primer color. They are going to get painted!

The hay barn.

It’s been decided to paint them barn red with white trim to match the two portable buildings. I sorta wanted all the buildings the color scheme of the garage, but this will look nice, too, and farm-like.

The idea is that the pool house will match the house and garage, so it will be obvious which buildings house people and which house animals or their supplies.

Horses were fascinated

Meanwhile, I got a little more furniture in the Suna Shack part of the tack room. Kathleen got my pink chair from my former office and I put a couple of decorations there and in the chicken area.

And ooh. The cabinets, microwave, and sink are ready for installation in the brother-in-law suite. Progress!

Glad I was inside writing all day, though. I could get tired!

It tired out one dog, anyway!

On the Road to Comfy

Two of our many projects are moving quickly toward a better state. The in-law suite, which will actually be occupied by my elderly and a bit unsteady brother-in-law, is rapidly approaching a livable and comfy state.

Simple and clean

The room that was our first office/bedroom for Lee, which is in the back of our garage, is looking great, especially when I don’t show the other side of the room, where there’s still papers, books, amps and such that are Lee’s. I’m looking to see if any more of my stuff got put there. All the horse stuff is in the tack room, though.

In progress

The room now has a doorway to get to the bathroom and new kitchen area. Everything has been painted, new light fixtures are in, and the fridge is in place (and cleaned off from where the chickens used to roost on it). That was a lot of work.

Nice fridge!

The recycled granite is ready for cabinets that will hold the sink, microwave, etc.

I didn’t know we had a granite saw. Maybe that was already there.

The nephew went to get cabinets today. They need to go in, and I assume some flooring. Then it will be livable, even though the outside wall still needs insulation, which will happen when the pool house gets its insulation blown in.

We already had this bathroom with a handicap-friendly shower. It’s getting a bench.

I’m very pleased at how nice this looks. Speaking of nice! They put a desk in the tack room, which looks very nice with my temporary chairs. I’m hoping to get my furniture in there soon, now that it’s pretty clean.

Sure, the chandelier look better than the fly trap, but this is good.

I tried to clean all the lids to the horse food, but one I can’t get the oily stuff off. I’ll get a more intense cleaner, I guess. I’ll get there. And it wasn’t even too hot today!

I practiced this game today. That proves it wasn’t too hot.

Now to sit by myself again. I’d feel lonely around here, but I was so surrounded by people in my 9 meetings today that I’m actually okay that everyone has other stuff to do!

Me at work. I dressed nice to get me through things. Like my sparkly tooth?
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