Hearts, Hay, Horses, and Headaches

The letter for today is apparently H. I shall start with hearts, since it’s a cheerful topic and something to be proud of. After finishing the camo blanket, I went back to work on my heart afghan I was making for Kathleen. Today I finished the heart section.

heart afghan
It’ darned cheerful!

It’s way too small to be useful to keep one warm, so I am already a third of the way through with making a border of squares to go around the hearts. I have ten colors of yarn for the centers and need 30 squares. That’s pretty dang good how it worked out!

squares
Pattern from that book I got on crochet quilt blocks.

After that, I’m gonna do something else as another border, probably also from that book. I have a lot of yarn. Well, except for the cream. I may need another skein of that one. All the other colors I haven’t even finished the first skein on!

Hay

I decided that since hay had gotten so expensive due to the drought, I should “harvest” what was left when the front pasture was shredded. There was some long and very nice coastal Bermuda out there that got mowed.

That’s a good amount of hay!

It was fun to pick it up. I feel ranchy!

Horses

Sometimes the horses mystify me. Both Fiona and Drew had smears of blood on them this evening.

Just a schmear.

No horse had a cut. Maybe Apache had another nosebleed? His nose looked fine, though. A mystery.

I’m still thrilled Mabel looks so much better.

Mostly they make me smile. They see me coming and pick those heads up to see if perhaps there’s food.

We see you. Is it dinner time?

When it’s been a hard day, watching their antics and rubbing those soft necks can make everything better. Which I needed.

Drew’s relaxed enough to drop and roll around with me right in front of him. Probably trying to wipe off the blood.

Headaches

Have you ever had a day where you start off sorta irritated and then actually irritating things start happening? That was me at work today. Sometimes I wonder how people get hired. Or how they keep their jobs if they don’t understand what their job entails. It’s like signing up to be a carpenter but you insist on hammering the pointy sides of nails. That’s not how nails work!

But I’m way better at shutting up these days. I didn’t write the software I support nor their job descriptions. I’ll just do my job and let their bosses notice the quality of their work.

Still. I got a headache.

Occasionally this helps.

Plus I missed a meeting this evening. My calendaring skills are something my boss should have a chat with me about.

Old Patterns

I’m thinking a lot the past couple of days about old patterns. One I’m happy to keep around.

Granny square burritos

I’m still enjoying the granny squares. My 63 camo squares are now nine green burritos that are actually strips of seven squares. I just can’t stop until they are all joined!

The other old pattern is here.

Do you see it? Of course you don’t. You see a horse standing at a funny angle and an older woman in cowboy attire laughing at him. Here’s what I see.

I may have a body image problem

How many years of Brené Brown telling me I’m fine just as I am must I endure? How many affirming and empowering images of women of all sizes must I see? How many articles about why women tend to add belly fat after menopause must I read? Why do I still judge myself negatively when I see candid shots of myself?

Sigh.

It just goes to show that the patterns I got into as a child, where I was made fun of daily for being fatso, tub-o-lard, elephant, hippo, water buffalo, wart hog, fatty fatty two by four can’t get through the bathroom door…um, telling myself I’m fine just won’t erase. (Was that grammatical? Cut me some slack.)

Testing a lipstick on my lip wrinkles.

The gray hair? It’s fun. The wrinkles? They seem a small price to pay for wisdom. And my health is so good! But my first thought when I see my body is judgmental.

The good news is that just like how you can vary granny squares and do cool things with them, I’m able to take a second look at my body and give it permission to change. I have lots of fun with it, and not wasting time planning how to achieve some ideal pant size gives me time to enjoy my life.

Patterns that change subtly are more interesting, I think. Cheers to my charmingly imperfect mug and self!

Patterns are what they are because they are ingrained. They’re deeply grooved in your psyche and not easy to smooth out. But, progress is possible. I’m proof. I now wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and bathing suits in public. Five years ago that was not true. I’ve modified my pattern!


Later: I’m not begging to be told I’m cute or not fat or whatever. I know I’m slightly bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I’m fine with that. I know I’m fine the way I am! I’ve gotten so much better about not caring what others think, too. My point here was that the old patterns that must be in my limbic system kick in before my higher processing can react sensibly.

Healing and Grace

It’s been almost a year since I grabbed the opportunity to leave a job where it had become increasingly obvious I wasn’t wanted. The new offer was so perfect I had to accept. It’s been a great year

I mooooved on

Today I attended the yearly conference put on by my old employer. It was my first time as a customer. Customers are way more welcome than technical writer managers, so that was good. Other than accidentally starting to attend a session by one of the people who uh, um, wasn’t a fan of me, it was interesting and I learned a lot, especially from other customers.

I just breathed and thought of the beautiful sunrise. Tuesday is sunrise day, because of the 7 am meeting.

The healing came as the day went on. I’ve heard from very few people who still work at that company, which are fewer by the day. And I have not asked the ones I hear from what’s going on there; I just keep up with the products. So, I was touched that some people reached out to me today. That felt so nice, especially since people I’d asked for help before I left had not even said goodbye. Well, only one person did.

It’s okay.

But to hear kind things and learn how some folks were doing felt healing. There’d been no closure after ten years there. The good wishes helped. Right now, with my focus on keeping just what’s good in life, I’m feeling a sense of grace.

Transformation time.

Well it’s either grace or a fever from getting both the new COVID booster and a flu shot today. No horse riding today. Sore arms.

I wish you healing and the ability to move on.

I Went to Work and Found Rainbows

Spoiler: the rainbow was not at work. But it’s true, I’ve been in my current job 11 months and had never been to “the office” until today. Well, I’d been to the first floor of the building many times, because I’d worked there on three separate instructional design gigs from 2006-2009.

Early departure!

I had a dentist appointment in Cedar Park (same dentist I’ve had for 20 years) this morning and really didn’t want to miss 4 hours of work to do it. Why work at a coffeehouse when Dell has an entire campus full of desks and wifi, and I have a badge to get in? So after my great dental cleaning (I glossed sufficiently) I went to find where the department I’m in has its seats.

A seat.

It was hard to find the cute little place assigned to the department I’m attached to. The stairs to it are unmarked! Luckily a guy I asked happened to have found the place last week, so he showed me, and reminded me where the cafeteria and the coffee shop where Lee and I fell in love were. No coffee anymore, but there is still a little food at the cafeteria.

A ping pong table!

Whoever designed this area took lessons from whoever did the Planview interior, but this is somehow soothing with all the white and light blue. It might be a nice place to work if more people were there. Today there was one other dude. It was quiet!

It’s sorta pretty for a space where no one has their own desk.

Yes, I had to reserve a “workspace.” I felt so modern and efficient. This is something that would take time to get used to, since I make a nest out of my work area. But, that’s not my worry! I’ll probably only come back a few more times before this job expires! Working from home is great, but this was a nice break.

The chatting area. Very near the sanitizing station.

I headed home with a stop by Tractor Supply for horse and chicken food. It’s always a little shocking to see all the changes along my route now that I do t drive back and forth every week. There are new traffic lights, a new gas station, and houses going up. I’ll be back next week, so it won’t change too much.

Welcome back, clacked the storks

The weather is so weird this time of year. Halfway home I hit an intense rainstorm with hail and flash flooding. I’m glad my car has a rain mode. It was clear at the Hermits’ Rest when I got home, so I was able to feed the horses. The second I was done, rain started.

It was dry in there ten minutes earlier!

It stopped pretty quickly, so I was able to feed the chickens. I saw the sun come out, and there was the bookend to my day!

Hooray!

It was a good day, even with all the driving. Time to relax. I hope your day had some nice surprises!

Slime Mold, Mystery Mold, Shimmering Fungi

Well, shoot, no wonder my head is full of mush, there is so much mold, fungus, and who knows what other damp-loving organisms right now after the rain. I was feeling better after taking the Mucinex, but then I went outside and did stuff with the horses and BOOM I’m a dizzy, queasy mess again. I think I need to stay in, but when you have these precious beings wandering around, you want to go out!

Someone let us out! Extra green grass!

As for things that might attack my head, I’ve seen some old and some new. The first thing I saw I have no clue what it is. It looks like strands of fungus growing on the ground. There were a bunch of large masses of them in the grass yesterday.

It could be the web of a spider, but I don’t think that’s it. Any ideas?

The weirdest thing I’ve seen, and one that has probably helped make me sick, is the aptly named dog vomit slime mold. At least I think that’s what it is. It weirdly covers all the plants. Yesterday I thought it was bird poop. Today, ewww. That is one fascinating thing.

Well, that’s an interesting thing.

There’s more “normal” stuff out there that I’ve enjoyed. I posted photos of some mushrooms yesterday that I call poop shrooms. I do not think they are “magic mushrooms,” but just normal Panaeolus antellarum. This is a mushroom that’s actually edible, but since it grows on dung, not a lot of us would really want to eat them. Certainly, there are enough to feed many people right now! Every pile of horse poop has its own little colony.

There are other mushrooms that have popped up, and I’ve always enjoyed them. The inkcaps are so delicate that they wave in the wind. Watch the video; it’s so pretty.

Prettiest poop ever.

I wrote about this because I know it won’t last. The mold and fungi will be gone in a few days once it dries out (though I hope it rains some more).

The horses like damp hay so they dig little holes to get to where it’s still wet.

It was dry enough today to get more work done on the front pond. These silt up quickly, so it’s always good to get in there and clean them out when a dry spell comes up. We now have a mountain of beautiful dirt to spread across the pasture, and maybe make the horses a little hill to run up and down. It’s a great opportunity to make the slopes on the side a little less steep, especially where we need to mow.

I’m not complaining about all these weather changes! You see so many interesting natural phenomena if you just look carefully.

I Think I’ll Live

I kept having dizzy spells today but got my work done. Then I went to the really nice new clinic and talked to the nice PA about my symptoms. I love that he didn’t start me on antibiotics! While my eardrums are swollen, we’re just trying Mucinex first. That should fry up my poor Eustachian tubes.

I guess one chicken is also feeling poorly.

It was a fine day other than the dizziness, thanks to my ability to enjoy the animals from a seated position. I especially enjoy Goldie when she feels she MUST protect us from those treacherous cows. The cows who just look at you funny, in her opinion.

And the horses. They tried to mow the lawn. Apache was gleeful in his role as weed eater.

I love my job.

I’m glad for this stuff. It’s been such a hard day for a lot of friends. A hard couple days for horse friends. It’s made me hug my guys so hard. And my human friends. I know I’m getting older when my friends are getting dementia falling into mental illness, and struggling. Hug your friends, too. And you family members who love you. Let’s look at some nature, shall we?

The lawn mower eating Johnson grass.

Dizzy in the Head and Feeling Blue

That’s a song lyric from The Who. But I did get a sudden dizzy spell this afternoon that’s still with me. At least I’m not nauseated anymore. It has been unpleasant, though we’ve had more nice rain. It’s not flooding like north of here.

Fiona tried to kiss me and make it better.

I can’t explain, I think it’s love? No, that’s the song again. People have so many diagnoses for me. I should know that if I mention feeling bad, there will be theories! But it means people care, so I appreciate their kindness. Here are the theories so far:

  • Vertigo
  • Dehydration
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach virus
  • Electricity in the air
  • COVID (took test, negative)
  • A-fib (added later)
  • Inner ear infection (added later)
  • Migraine from pressure change (added later)

So if it’s still here, I’ll go to the clinic tomorrow. For now I’m drinking lemon water. Maybe I’m allergic to lemons. Ha ha.

Grass. Yum. Note poop growing mushrooms in the foreground. No I did not eat them.

The horses were entertained this afternoon as the pond got de-silted. Both our backhoe and the regular tractor got in there. Lee had lots of fun making giant piles of rich, dark dirt, which then got to the clay layer.

Dirt. Or soil.

One reason there is so much nice black dirt is that when it rains, it all washes from the field across the road. I think we have half their topsoil. No wonder they have to fertilize.

Deep in the mud.

It was lots of fun to watch the digging. Even when I got extra light headed and barfy, it was fun. I even managed to get the horses fed before the rain arrived. Then I curled up in bed. Fun times. And here I remain, missing whatever fun activity I had planned for tonight.

Ah well. I’ll just make no sudden moves and it will be ok. I have much sympathy for my friends who deal with frequent vertigo. And on that note, I’ll leave you with two things I can’t explain, wasp edition.

Cooling It Down

I’m visualizing calm and coolness. Neither is easy, since poor Kathleen is still racking up the challenges and trying to avoid the hospital, and it still hasn’t rained again.

Like this persistent variegated fritillary, we just have to keep going until we find our equivalent of a frogfruit blossom.

It didn’t go over 100° today so far, so that’s encouraging. And the cumulus clouds seem bigger today that they have been. So I’m patiently hoping it all turns around. Like I keep telling folks, I’m fine as long as I have peace and hermit time.

Vlassic and I both appreciate the cool tack room now, especially since I finally got the vent set to blow on me in my chair.

Yep. My she shed is working out great. I even have a stool that lets me write at the desk AND serves as a footstool. Classy. Unfortunately, the comfort and A/C droning make it clear that this could be a nap shed.

Ooh. I can even crochet or knit in here!

Things will get more settled soon, and I’ll be able to share some cool renovation stuff.

We are much cooler and calmer when we eat separately.

In the meantime let me share a cool tip one of my local horse friends shared: you can fertilize by dropping horse apples (poop) into the gaping cracks in the earth right now, then when it rains, the crack will close and the poop will help the grass grow back. Maybe wishful thinking.

I’ll poop for you! It’s my best skill.

Found Out What’s Wrong with Me!

Well, I found out one thing that’s wrong with me. More accurately I have finally identified the name of the syndrome that reflects the set of symptoms I’ve been trying to cope with my whole life. And great news, it’s not curable! To be honest, though, just knowing how I feel is an actual “thing” that other people share helps a lot. Here’s how I came to realize that I have Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD). I have words for my mental issues!

As sometimes happens, the same message kept coming to me yesterday. First, one of my Master Naturalist friends posted about a book she was getting ready to read, The Courage to Be Disliked, by Ichiro Kishimi and Funitake Koga (2018). It’s not a brand-new book, but I hadn’t heard of it before.

If I hadn’t heard of it before, how is it on my desk?

I said in response to the Facebook post that it sounded like a book I needed to read, given my weird drive to act in ways that I think would make people I care about like me. She posted a link to the book, and I resolved to get a copy. Then, this showed up on my Facebook feed.

From Tiny Buddha, one of my favorite sources of inspiration.

I went to tell Lee about that coincidence, and he said I didn’t need to buy the book, because he’d already bought it and gotten through some of it, but he wasn’t enamored of the style. Sure enough, there it was (and that’s how I got a photo of it). Obviously (at least to me) the Universe was trying to tell me something!

And the Universe was right. I’ve shared before how I’ve been hurt by people judging me and how I seem to attract people who feel the need to let me know just exactly how awful they think I am. If it’s someone I don’t care that much about, I handle it pretty well (like our former contractor’s wife who took it upon herself to write me a letter telling me why she didn’t want to be my friend, because of…whatever, who cares?). I had another one of those happen just last month.

Do I want to hide in a cool dark place like this toad? Sometimes. Don’t we all?

Some do hurt. A former coworker I was always there for when bad things happened to her, who I listened to cry and bemoan the loss of pets and partners, etc., told me that no, she didn’t want to have lunch with me before she moved away to be happy with her new partner, because she only had time to see a few people, and you know, we’d see each other on social media. Ouch. I got to enjoy seeing photos of all the people she did care about enough to see.

Here, Suna, enjoy some hardy flowers. That will help.

Those are just examples. Therapy and long discussions have made it clear to me that I’m not always the one with the problem, and that my sensitivity to rejection came from childhood when my mother’s mental issues made her unavailable to me and my father’s conditions on love made me go well out of my way to be perfect to make him like me. This continued with future relationships and led to all sorts of mental mayhem for me. But, I’ve got tools to help me deal with it now, for the most part. Just sometimes, one backslides.

It does sorta make me feel prickly as a buffalo bur, but hey, flies like them.

I backslid last night. I spend nearly all night lying awake watching a parade of my (perceived) mistakes, hurtful things people have said and done with me, especially family members on my mom’s side (my great aunt wrote and demanded a beloved ring be returned because I was not a good enough niece, and my half-sister just up and left one day (taking nothing with her) and hasn’t spoken to me since last fall. I don’t even know how to get in touch with her other than through a third party. Members of my mom’s family have just never liked me, for exciting reasons like I’m a bastard (Mom didn’t annul her first abusive marriage), I was “fat” (leading me to do the Atkins diet when it first came out and I was only 11 years old to try to make them stop picking on me), and I didn’t do very well with “children should be seen and not heard.”

Yeah, TMI, Suna. Too bad, it’s my blog. I ended up posting the link to the Tiny Buddha, then in the middle of the night, I wrote:

I’ve been awake most of the night dwelling on how many times I’ve tried to change who I am to get people to like me. Starting from childhood, so it’s a long list. I get hurt so deeply by rejection and some people have relished doing it. I get better then I backslide. I know it’s normal to do that. I’m working not to be so hard on myself when I let it get to me. I keep repeating that no one is universally beloved!

agitated Suna

I immediately regretted it, because when I re-read it, I felt like it was just begging people to say they liked me, but that actually wasn’t my intention. I am completely aware that there are many fine people who like me!

On the other hand, I’m so glad I did post it, because a wise friend of mine (whose dear friend is one of those people I truly love and care about who got mad at me and disappeared without telling me why) said (paraphrasing), hey, that looks a lot like Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria, something that comes up a lot in the ADHD world. Another wise woman posted this link, which opened my eyes WIDE in the middle of the night.

Here’s what the article, “Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and ADHD: What to Know,” said:

The symptoms of RSD can vary among individuals, but they may include:

  • Obsessively thinking about negative experiences, especially experiences of perceived or actual rejection (only last night)
  • Perceiving rejection when it is not actually occurring (me)
  • Viewing minor rejections as catastrophic (me)
  • Misreading constructive criticism, or requests for more information as rejection (me, but I’m lots better)
  • A sense that you’re not liked by others (me, but often I’m right)
  • Low self-esteem based on how you feel others relate to you
  • Social withdrawal (me)
  • Negative self-talk (formerly me)
  • Emotional outbursts (rare now but unpleasant)
  • Perfectionism or people-pleasing tendencies (sadly, formerly me)

Although symptoms of RSD can mimic other conditions, one distinguishing factor is that symptoms of RSD tend to come on suddenly and can feel very intense.

 This article: What Is Rejection Sensitivity? provided me with more “aha” moments when it defined rejection sensitivity, which isn’t quite the same as RSD.

  • Misinterpret harmless or mildly negative social cues or behaviors as blatant rejection (improving)
  • Ignore other explanations or reasons for the perceived rejection, including reassurances from the perceived rejector (I try not to do this)
  • Expect rejection and overreact to any type of negative social cues (me)
  • Be avoidant and anxious in romantic relationships (me)
  • Pay more attention to all of the times they were rejected than the times they were accepted (working on this)
  • Evaluate every interaction for perceived rejections (I don’t think I do this)

I don’t do all those things, but wow, this hits so close to home. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told I’m too sensitive, that I over-react, etc. It gets to where I have a hard time identifying when I am actually being treated poorly, so I let it go on a lot longer than I probably should, thinking it’s all in my head. I end up avoiding certain people or situations, so I won’t do that embarrassing overreaction to criticism. Lordy.

And of course, there aren’t any great drugs other than the kind I already take to deal with my anxiety. The article also suggests “cognitive behavior therapy, and stress-relief strategies.” I have those up the wazoo! And they do help, so much of the time.

I guess I’m writing all this down to remind myself that I have challenges to deal with and that I need to be gentler with myself when I can’t cope as well as I’d like to. Certainly, rehashing every mean thing anyone ever did to me is not helpful AT ALL. So, I now know what it is that I’m dealing with, and I’ll get on with dealing with it. We all have our struggles and challenges, and mine at least lead me to try to be kind to people! (I do not think I have ADHD, though, so lucky me, I got the RSD without that issue.)

These animals like me, which is helpful.

So, thanks to everyone who rallies around me and supports me. While the line above about putting more emphasis on negative feedback than positive may have been true in the past, I am much better now about really appreciating the people around me who are kind, who listen, and who patiently remind me that they do care, even when I repeatedly ask.

And to those of you who need to give me negative feedback, know that much of it IS appreciated and taken in the constructive spirit it’s given…it just takes me a while to get there, thanks to the RSD.

Visitors and Visiting

Our house has a lot of comings and goings for a hermitage, but we’re glad that caregivers can come help out Lee’s brother while Kathleen’s still confined to her hospital bed. I get my dose of visiting by hanging out with the horses and getting them to do some exercises before it’s too hot. Luckily I usually have a little break between meetings.

I’d rather stand here and look pretty.

It’s really great just to be with the little herd and check in on them. Mabel was especially friendly today and kept hinting that she wanted different places scratched. That warms my heart.

Feeling pretty. I can hardly believe those legs hold her up.

Later in the day, I went to give the chickens more water. I noticed they were all inside the henhouse, because it’s so hot. I filled the water trough, and when I looked at it, it was splashing, though no hens were near. The water was almost alive.

Actually, the living part was a rat snake who had been cooling off in the water. It was no doubt quite surprised by the sudden bath. It slid out and headed to the edge of the chicken yard, then climbed the chain-link fence by going in and out of the links.

I’m outa here!

It ended up behind the tin that used to make shade for the chickens before the hen house went up. It seems as if the snake was visiting for the water, not eggs, as I got six, including one just plopped on the ground! This heat must be hard on snakes and other cold-blooded creatures.

I left my visitor, since it was time to go check on Kathleen. Her recovery process is neither quick nor easy! I brought her some little gifts that had come in the mail, plus a pair of new glasses she had ordered. And magazines! All invalids need reading material. Let’s hope she hits all her goals and gets to come home soon.

We miss Kathleen.

Spider spray is going to be generously applied around the outside of the house!

I need more visitors to run my soft little head.
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