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.

Poor Patchy Horse

I tell you what, Apache is one good horse. Yesterday he was scheduled to have a lesson, but when I looked at him after work, he seemed down. I went to say hi and saw he was crying and blinking like crazy. His right eye was a mess (sparing you photos).

Look. I’m in a building.

I cleaned him up, though he did not like the eye wash (who would?). He seemed okay, but he stepped on my foot, like he was unaware of his location. Or he was nerved out because the tire on the trailer was getting changed while I groomed him. Here’s why:

All the tread fell off on the way up here. Oops. It was ok. Lots of wheels.

He round penned very well and seemed happy, so off we went. When we got to the training place, the trainer took one look at him and said he might be contagious. He looked awful.

I did get to see Drew and check on his progress. He’s doing so well.

We decided to take him straight to her vet, which is only a half hour from her place. He was already in the trailer, and it would be better to get him looked at fast, before he hurt himself rubbing on the eye. She was nice enough to call and get us in, just before they closed.

Pretty Drew.

We got to the place, and it was SO nice. I filled out the forms, then Apache politely got out and walked to the waiting area. The vet tech commented on how calm he was. He even went in the building like he did that every day. He never had! And the door closed so loud.

The tiny vet did a great job. She flushed out his eye and stained it. He didn’t like the shots much, but between than and getting twitched, he was great.

A twitch is a thing they use to settle horses for being worked on. It doesn’t hurt; in fact it relaxes them. Who knew?

She said he was not injured, and probably just has a blocked tear duct. When she checked his nose, it had very thick mucus. So she decided to clean him out. That was something else to watch!

Look closely at his eye.

The vet used a syringe of saline and slowly squirted it up his nose. It came out of his eye! Horse anatomy is weird. But he should feel better. She sent home some ointment with antibiotics and steroids. He also got an antibiotic shot.

Getting him back to the trailer was funny. He was a very relaxed horse. Apache walked out with his wee wee hanging out (why his name used to be Dingle). I had to get a nice man to pat his butt to get him to go in the trailer. But wow. Drugged Apache is easy to tie up.

I was so pleased with how well he behaved. And I sure hope he feels better today!

Go Away Anxiety. I Need a Nap.

When you’ve been graced with a genetic predisposition to anxiety, you can meditate, breathe, do talk therapy, and take helpful medicine all you want, but still have days when you can’t deal with the symptoms.

Current co-napper

I woke up that way today. I was dealing with my personal “stuff” fine yesterday, but since I woke up this morning, some chemicals are flying around my brain that are decidedly unhelpful and unpleasant. I got through my meetings, and through the screaming haze and fuzziness, I was even able to contribute. But wow, I feel like I’m in a vat of buzzing jello, with a high-pitched droning soundtrack. Oh, with bonus eye tic and chest pains. Thanks, anxiety.

Napper to my far left.

I’m going to try to sleep it off, me and the canines, who are great napping role models. I’ll share some nice sleeping dog images to entertain you, since I can’t put two thoughts together right now.

Napper to my immediate left.

My sinuses are yelling, too, because it’s dusty and the air pressure keeps changing. I’m a big ole negative whiner!

Napper in the next room.

Tomorrow is another day.

He was napping, then I came downstairs.

Careful Where You Stick Your Head, Goldie!

Kathleen’s precious Great Dane, Goldie, turned up with a marble-sized lump on the side of her head a couple of days ago. We wondered what it could be, but noted that it was near where she had some marks from a tussle with Harvey.

I gots an owie.

It kept growing, and by yesterday evening, it was WAY bigger than a marble, more like a plum in size. We knew Dr. Amy would be in town today, so she went into town first thing this morning.

The lump, after treatment started.

The diagnosis was either a snake bite or a dog bite. We aren’t sure which it is, since there is a lot of neck chewing going on in this house, mostly in play, though. And, of course, there are a lot of snakes a curious dog could run into.

An example of neck chewing fun.

We think Goldie had fun on her outing, though it was reported that she didn’t want to leave the juice place where her friends work and had to be lifted into the truck. That’s getting harder, because she now weighs 106, up six pounds since we got her. She is filling out to be just right for her breed!

Yep, could be a snake bite, all right. And doesn’t she have lovely gums?

And, with all the playing and running she gets in with Carlton and Penney and with chasing Fiona all over the place (grr), a lot of her weight has to be muscle!

And Harvey, he also gets in on the frolicking.

We are glad that she has the medicine she needs to deal with the infection. The injury certainly didn’t put a damper on her good spirits and cheerfulness, however.

We live on a ranch. Things like this just happen as a normal part of life! I bet Goldie is a lot more careful where she sticks her head from now on.

Lessons Learned about Medications and Their Pricing

Yesterday I mentioned that I paid an unexpectedly high price for some prescription medicine I take. Half my usual dose cost three times as much, which came as a bit of a shock, but because I needed to up the dosage, I paid. I resolved to later figure out what the heck was up.

My pills are not in this picture. @SteveAllenPhoto via Twenty20

I spent a good portion of my morning on hold or in chats with the “Health Joy” representative, then with a woman from my health insurance company. I’m glad a meeting was canceled, and that I can keep working while on hold. More on that later.

I discovered something I didn’t know, and wanted to pass it on in case any of you find this kind of thing happening. There are lots of reasons prescription costs go up and down, so it is not always easy to figure out what is going on with them. Prices just go up on a whim, or when a medication becomes scarce. They go down when generics are available. BUT, here’s the thing I learned: not all generic manufacturers price things the same!

I am glad I only take one prescription med. @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20

I checked to see if I’d been accidentally given the name-brand version of my medication, but nope, it was a generic. But, it was made by a different company. And that’s what the insurance representative explained to me. You not only have to be sure you’re getting a generic, but also that you’re getting the least expensive generic! I guess I’d always gotten the least expensive one back when I was using the grocery store in Austin, but the tiny drug store in Cameron must not have had the cheap one, so they gave me a costly alternative.

If I had refused the medication, the insurance company could have called and told them to switch it out, but I needed it, so I paid. I’ll know better next time, and now you know, too!

In happier news, I’m once again glad that I am so friendly and patient when some task takes a long time. I ended up having a nice conversation with both the Health Joy person, who was in Mexico and surrounded by chickens that I could hear, and the insurance person, who asked me what kind of ear buds I was using, because I sound so clear. I made her day by telling her what I have, that it isn’t expensive, and she can get it on Amazon. It’s so great to laugh a little.

They look simple, but they work!

I’ve also laughed a bit at work, thanks to my team members, so it’s one of those days where life does not suck at all. I am even moving forward on getting the Austin house sold.

The grass is always greener in the middle of a pile of rocks, says Mabel.

I think that’s just the way life is, with a few bad days, a few good days, and a lot of days with ups and downs. As my circle of friends lost a valued community member yesterday, I have been reminded that I’m lucky to be here, be healthy, and have people who care!

Drew’s Clues

I’ve talked before about my concerns about my 3-year-old colt, Drew, and his issues with balance. He can’t get his back feet cleaned, because he can’t stay upright on three feet long enough. And he’s fine with the front feet. And he stumbles on his back feet when he’s running. Something seems wrong.

Can I hold him up with this? No, Fiona.

Today ended up being farrier day, because we had a schedule mix-up, but it all ended up fine. I told Trixie about my concerns, wondering if he was just lazy, as had been suggested, or if there was another reason.

Checking Drew out.

Trixie felt around and tried a few things. She agreed he has a problem. His pelvis is tilted, with one side higher than the other. That makes it hard for him to put weight on one side, and hard to bend the other side. I asked about how he clamps his tail down, and he said he was doing something to his sacrum with than (I forget what; forgot to take notes).

Perhaps this Vulcan mind meld will help.

Her theory is that he could have scar tissue or adhesions from being gelded in a popular way I’ll not describe here. That makes sense to me. So, she worked on him. He loved neck stretching but not foot work, which didn’t surprise me.

Ima fall down! Help!

Not much helped his pelvic area, though his head and neck felt good, from his reactions. Trixie will have to come back Monday and do some other stuff.

Do what you have to do, ma’am.

I’m so glad I paid attention to the clues he’s been giving me, so I can get Drew in better shape before he goes in for training. Luckily there is good news! Drew let his front feet get trimmed pretty calmly for a first timer! I’m proud of my little boy.

Meanwhile, Apache slept through most of Drew’s stuff and his trim, even though we had a few little showers. He was a model citizen and even stood perfectly for his back feet!

It is NOT sunny.

The weather is so weird. It’s so pleasant outside that I can sit and enjoy Lee’s pond after spending some time with the horses. It’s August. It should be 105, not 77 right now. And the grass should be brown, dang it.

Weird

Welcoming Deaths and Treasuring Lives

It’s an interesting time for me, when it comes to life passages. While I’m fine and not going through a life change, I am privileged to know people who are heading toward the end of their time on this earth, as well as people who are honoring lives of loved ones whose spirits left before their bodies did. I’ve never been one of those people who feared death or worried about it much, but I have always been intrigued about the legacies our loved ones leave behind. So, I’m going to share some stories that have been causing me to think. Some readers who are mutual friends may be familiar with some of these, but I’m not naming names.

Coincidentally, I spent some time this afternoon with my friend Holly, who’s documenting graves at Walkers Creek Cemetery. This one was like a jigsaw puzzle.

The Strong Spirits

My colleagues at La Leche League tend to be people of great fortitude and spiritual depth. My very first role model in living a good life while facing death was my mentor, Roberta Bishop Johnson, who shared many insights and nuggets while she dealt with breast cancer in the 1990s. She made sure she was participating in the lives of her friends, offering up ideas, and sharing her love for her family right up until when she passed. That stuck with me.

Two of my other long-time LLL friends are nearing the ends of their journeys here with us, and both have been incredibly open about sharing their ups and downs, feelings about their bodies and what’s happening to them, and coming to terms with the fact that things are winding down. I really appreciate their openness and willingness to share.

Not everyone is up to doing this; I’ve known people who didn’t share what was going on with them at all, which is a completely understandable option, but takes away their friends and families’ ability to share life with them as fully as possible while they are here. But I get it; people don’t want to appear to whine, to bring others down, or to share the painful details.

For me, learning about how these two women have made sure to do things they’ve always wanted to do, while they can (one married the love of her life, and one made sure to get in travel with her children, especially to the beach), how they carefully planned for things after they are gone, and how they enjoyed their friends and family to the fullest all contributed to making me much more comfortable with dying on your own terms. I’m not saying they are lucky, but they do have the luxury of knowing what is happening and being able to plan accordingly. I know my dad would have liked that chance, so much.

One thing that comforts me greatly about knowing I won’t have these friends around much longer is that I know their spirits and legacies will remain. After Roberta passed away, I could still hear her tell me what she thought about what I was doing in my life. And I also still hear my dad (and tell him stuff; I can’t help it). We will feel these generous friends with us for years.

This tree growing around a t-post reminds me of the struggle to fight unwelcome things growing inside us. Sometimes you just have to accept them and keep growing anyway.

The Ones Whose Losses Happened before Death

Another set of friends I’ve learned a lot from in the past few weeks are two dear local friends whose mothers passed away recently, but had been gone in spirit since an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. These women felt like they’d lost their parents long before they actually passed away.

One just had the memorial get-together with her extended family, and it was more of a nice gathering to share good memories and enjoy each other. The mourning had happened years ago, when they lost her personality, or essence, or something. The other friend seems to have gone more into business mode, of taking care of details. She had been so kind to her mother, though, even with the difficulties of COVID. Who could blame her for feeling some relief and just wanting to move on to the next phase?

I feel a lot of sympathy for these people and their families. They’re sad, yet relieved that their parents aren’t dealing with confusion now (though, I know some people with dementia who are happy just as they are…it varies so much).

Takeaways

Watching all these events as a third party, not intimately involved like families are, has taught me some lessons, maybe not consciously. I think the reason I’ve gotten a second horse and plan to start lessons again is that I want to do these things while I still can. And getting a swimming pool installed and making the ranch house look better, too, were things I’d been putting off or giving up on. But, if I can’t have fun now, when am I supposed to?

To show how far I will go to make things fun, I spent quite some time trying to line up my head and my hat so it would look like I am wearing a tiny cowboy hat.

AND, as I’ve been telling myself for the last couple of years, I need to recommit to being with people who bring me joy and make my life pleasant, go places and do things that expand my mind, and take the time to find the fun in whatever I’m doing. I think that’s the key to enjoying whatever time we have here in this life–enjoying where you are and who you are with NOW.

With love in my heart for my friends heading toward big transitions or recovering from them, I invite you all to do something fun with someone you care about.

Dang! Animal Issues! Plus Sweetness

I have to admire Trixie. She came over and trudged through the scary clay mud to take a look at the new horses. It was obvious she couldn’t do their feet, but she wanted to take a look at Remington, especially.

He immediately took to her and started showing her where he hurt. It was so endearing. She is concerned about his old head injury and his limited vision in his right eye. But she said he’d learned to compensate.

Nonetheless, Trixie doesn’t want to do much with Remi’s neck until she sees the x-rays Kathleen has. But she did a few things for him, and at the end he yawned and yawned. He obviously felt better.

Meanwhile, Goldie wanted to play with Fiona, who was having none of that. Much kicking and donkey attitude ensued.

Dusty was fine, other than having an oddly shaped butt and needing to gain a couple hundred pounds. That was good to know. Trixie recommended supplements.

Then it was Drew’s turn. Trixie thought he may be younger than three, but I think his owner was right; he’s barely 3. Other than being thin, she said he was in good shape, EXCEPT his eye was all goopy. What the heck?

After goop was wiped.

While Trixie was looking Drew over, perhaps the sweetest thing I’ve seen in YEARS occurred. Goldie, who had already herded loose cattle today, came up to us. She sniffed all over Drew as if to figure out he was in pain. Then she licked his face!

Hmm. You smell funny.

Then my heart melted. Drew must have spent ten minutes being kind to Goldie. He licked and licked her back, licked her sore area where she is in heat, and carefully nipped her all over.

You are my friend.

They spent a whole lot of time calmly standing nose to nose. It was so dear. I could not love these two animals more. The both are so full of love and gratitude for their nice new lives.

You smell so good.

Because of the eye issue, as soon as Trixie left, we loaded poor Drew into the trailer AGAIN and rushed him to Dr. Kildore in Rosebud. They were great to let us in. The vet found he had a lot of debris in his eye, so he numbed it, flushed it, and got everything out. His cornea is not scratched. Whew. He needs ointment in his eye for a few days, then should be okay.

I’m staying here forever.

We still had trouble getting Drew out of the trailer. I wonder what has caused it? Once he was out, though, he held no grudges. He is such a wonderful soul.

Drew Goes to the Doctor

I think Drew, my new colt, is annoyed with me. He had to go to the vet today, and I don’t think it was his favorite experience so far. He is really glad to be home.

Home at last.

It took us forever to get to the vet, who was in Waco, because we were behind a wind turbine propeller. Wow, it was slow. Thankfully, it stopped for a minute and we got past it.

Moving roadblock.

The vet place was nice, an all-equine practice. I was too busy paying attention and hoping Drew wouldn’t be too traumatized to take pictures, but I took a lot of notes! Here’s what I learned:

  • Drew is 14.1 hands high. That’s short, but he should end up about 15 hands, which is just fine. (A hand is 4 inches, and height is measured from the top of their shoulder, not their head.)
  • He is right at 3 years old, so I decided his birthday will be July 1.
  • Drew is not a red roan. He will be gray at adulthood. It will be so fun to watch him change!
  • He needs high-protein feed.
  • His facial features are a star on his forehead and a snip on his nose.
  • He is healthy as a…you know what.
  • He has a great face.

The people at the vet place were all so nice. A friendly old vet and a really helpful technician who gave me lots of helpful information. I sure appreciated it! Drew did not appreciate three shots, one nasal spray, and oral wormer. That’s why he’s pissed off.

Nice place

I enjoyed talking to some folks when I checked out, then we headed back, making better time. We had a fun stop at the Rosebud Feed and Seed. It’s a cute place and has its own brand of feed! We also found the brand of high-protein feed the vet tech recommended there, too.

It’s also fairly local!

By the time we got home, we were all wiped out. Poor Drew didn’t want to leave the trailer until Chris cowboyed him out. Now he is very happy with both grass and space to run.

What about my other precious beloved equines? Well, now that Andrew is vaccinated and wormed, I can bring Apache and Fiona here! That excitement should commence tomorrow. Sara sure is glad, so the paddock can rest until Aragorn arrives.