Turn That Calendar Page

I did so. I don’t even have a good calendar this year. That’s what happens when you only have free ones. So, Whee.

Apache and I are looking into the future.

Actually it was about as perfect of a day as a person could want. If retirement could be this pleasant I’d be more ready than I think I am now. The weather was beautiful and I just enjoyed working on projects and hanging out with the horses.

I’m practicing my hill work. I also found grass.

Drew was making me laugh, but not making Dusty too happy. I watched Drew poke and prod his buddy endlessly. It was mostly playful, judging from how horses typically play and show affection, but I wish Drew would stop chomping Dusty’s tail.

Kid, leave me alone!

I tried to use up some teen horse energy by riding Drew for a while and exercising him. He was in a great mood, so it was a lot of fun.

I like doing stuff with you!

I also rode Apache more than on most days. Why? Because I had time. That’s so wonderful. I’d love to be able to spend this much time every day. When I just have an hour, I’m lucky to do groundwork on one horse, since feeding takes so long. Anyway, we had a blast doing all our schooling and riding around the property.

I had fun. Now to nap.

See how he looks in that picture? He ended up so relaxed and calm. He even went on the road briefly and showed no concern. Only Lee’s new mobile office gave him pause, but we got through it. Drew was the same. Walking with calm horses is nice.

We’re calm, too. Maybe if you retired, you could ride us.

Of course I also cooked traditional Southern food. Even Anita the Northerner liked the collard greens! Yep.

So far 2023 is fine, peaceful, and hermit-like. The only issue was that our water went out. Then it got fixed. It doesn’t make for exciting blogging, but I’m fine with that.

Now enjoy happy horses.

Another Day, Another Year

Resolution time? No. I’ll keep doing my best to learn, grow, be kind, promote love and peace among my neighbors. I guess I resolve to keep going.

Let’s all bloom where we’re planted or re-pot ourselves. (Bad metaphor!)

I think the way 2022 differs from the last couple years is that the lows were lower and the highs higher. The family stuff has been particularly scary, between all the various sicknesses of many types and mental health challenges. But there’s been great growth and opportunities, too.

The year ended beautifully.

As for me, I experienced so much personal growth that I even impress myself! But I did hit rock bottom for a few weeks — like I said the lows were very low. Working with the horses has been so good for me. I’m so much better at trying new things, which I’ve been working on for years.

They keep me calm and seem pretty chill, themselves!

And my job has been great for me, too. I feel respected and empowered. And I enjoy what I do. Everyone deserves that kind of job at some point.

I’m as content as a turtle on a warm winter day.

And finally, I’ve gotten the hang of letting go of things outside of my control or letting the opinions of people outside my inner circle get to me. (Mostly) I’m still working on not letting people I care deeply about hurt my feelings, but we all need something to work on, right?

Butter is working on getting stuff out of this pot.

Let another year start. I’m not worried or excited. Years are arbitrary markers, anyway.

Weeks are arbitrarily marked by new manicures.

The arbitrary last day of 2022 was lovely, though. The weather was great for all activities and I got lots done. The only negative thing is that the stitch I’m joining the rug I’m trying to finish is so tight and twisty that my arm hurts. I’ll have to sacrifice for beauty, then rest a lot.

It looks good, though.

While horsing, I visited with Mandi the neighbor for a while. We need to visit more. Darn work messing with my visiting. Still, all day was pleasant. Here’s to a pleasant and peaceful future.

My gift to you for the new year is sunset and animal photos. Enjoy.

A Hermits Christmas Eve

As the years pass and our circle grows smaller, the holidays have stopped being about visitors, travel, and togetherness. Television commercials keep saying that’s what we should want.

This one goes from lap to lap.

But Lee and I are happy to spend time with just each other these days. We have plenty of animals to stand in for friends and family, and they’re certainly entertaining. The dogs have been going all out to make us smile!

The horses have been playing a lot, as if the cold weather makes them frisky. They do have really thick coats right now.

It was a beautiful day, though, so I did the usual bird watching (highlights were cranes and a butcher bird) and weather observation. All the ponds iced over, but melted when it got above freezing. I have new inexpensive base layers that made being outside okay. Nice!

It was lovely spending time with myself, giving myself holly nails, watching football, cooking dinner, and working on a present. It’s important, I think, to be comfortable enjoying each phase of life, and each new situation. That’s the way to inner peace.

Holly jolly fingers.

Tomorrow and next week will bring more people to the ranch and that will also be enjoyable. You can’t hermit every day! it will be good to celebrate with people.

I’m hoping you find peace with whatever life hands you this time of year. Maybe you’ll find comfort in traditions and maybe you’ll try something new. Just remember that we’re all dealing with “stuff” and doing our best. I sure remember that and just want the members of my own circle to know they’re loved.

Yuletide Musings

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, but there hasn’t been much going on except rain, mud, and cold. But what do you expect this time of year? I understand why ancient folks in the northern hemisphere lit lots of fires and tried to make things look cheery at the winter solstice. It can be bleak, and it has been for many of my friends and family. So, bright, warm hugs to all!

I’m a bright, warm hug.

We have been focusing on just getting by every day, feeding animals who need to be fed and dealing with things that have broken. It’s fine, just not terribly bloggable.

But I can celebrate the solstice!

The biggest excitement around here is those winter bird visitors. Two of my absolute favorites have been here for a couple of days, a pair of hooded merganser ducks. These are among the most unusual ducks, at least in appearance. They have excellent head feather arrangements that make them unmistakeable, even from a distance. That’s good, since they will not let me get close enough to take a good photo.

Blurry.

They are having a nice time hanging around with the egrets and catching the chilly little fish in the back pond.

This is a better photo (c) peterselmayr from iNaturalist.

As I was watching the ducks and shivering, I heard a distinctive cry, followed by much zooming and swooping. It was a common yellowlegs trying to decide whether to land in the pond or not. The decision was not to land, so all I got were some photographic blurs, which I confirmed since I know what they sound like and know they like it here in the winter. Enjoy my pond bird buddies:

As I write, I’m listening to the Ukrainian President speak. You know, that’s a brave and reasonable guy. And he reminds me things could be much worse, and we need to be sure our fellow citizens are all safe and secure. We need to be able to celebrate the seasons in our personal traditions and feel safe. After all, we live under the same sky. Peace. It can happen.

Community Holiday Joy

Maybe residents of our small town are sick of hearing about it, but I’m gonna say it again: Cameron is like a new town this season. I’m so grateful to all the folks who have worked so hard to turn the town around over the past year, especially everyone on the Chamber of Commerce Board. Just wow.

Honest, the square is gorgeous when not captured through car windows

There are lights everywhere this year, unlike before, when it was a few sparse displays on some of the more chipper businesses. This year, wow!

Even this building looks good!

And check out tonight’s fun event at the new Venue, the Sip and Shop.

Look at this beautiful building and the beautiful vendors!

I had so much fun hanging out here with my friends and seeing what the vendors (some of whom also are friends) had to offer.

Beautiful decorations and snacks

I got some wonderful things, you know, to support local artists and bakers. Or for fun. My favorite thing is my hat. It has a bird on it. Pamela had a hat, too.

It was just a beautiful night, and the Venue looks so beautiful! I’m so proud of the work everyone has done on this project. I admit one team member is my kid. The new staircase is awesome and the new bathroom wallpaper made me so happy. What a great project the team has completed!

Sometimes I feel alone and like an actual hermit. But events like this, where everyone is so kind and welcoming, make me feel a part of something. We even tried to recruit our jeweler friend, Mary, to be a Master Naturalist. Community peer pressure! That’s holiday magic, right there.

I got this gorgeous piece of labradorite made into a pendant by Mary. The copper backing is stamped with an “om” stamp. It’s very special.

When we get down on our fellow humans, we need to remember how communities can come together and support each other. I saw so much networking, generosity, and fellowship tonight that I couldn’t stop smiling.

So much smiling! And sweets!

That, too, was a holiday miracle. Now enjoy some friends and vendors who made Cameron, Texas magical tonight.

All Dressed Up

It feels weird to do normal fun stuff like go to a Christmas party (that’s what they call them here, since it’s pretty mono-cultural).

It appears I remember fun

I’m tired, though. I now have energy again, so I want do DO things, but I still don’t have stamina. Just running Drew through a couple of practice obstacles and setting up the trailer for a horse show tomorrow had my heart pounding. Oops.

I may have to walk all my events tomorrow. But I’ll give it a try. I’ll think positive.

Or I could just crawl into my hole and rest, like Goldie.

Today was crazy at work because so many people asked me questions. They keep finding me on the intranet and contacting me. I even answered a question from a woman on another part of Dell on software I had never seen. Dang I’m a good trainer!

But it makes me want to hide, like Carlton.

The evening was nice, and it featured our Master Naturalist party, as mentioned above. It warmed my heart to see two women I admire get volunteer hour achievement awards, and some other hard-working volunteers receive recognition from the group. Our chapter president has had some great ideas, including these recognitions.

My friends Don, Lisa, Donna, and Linda Jo. Super volunteers.

I’m a bit of an outsider, but that did not stop me from enjoying the warm community of these nature lovers. Watching them interact was so much fun. I’m glad I have this connection to my rural county and that I’ve made kind friends there. Here are many of them making gestures.

And yeah. I enjoyed wearing clothing that wasn’t horse stuff. I’ll put those on tomorrow!

Phyllis and I put on headgear to complement our ensembles

Bizarro World

When I was young, I read comic books as much as I could. I loved the Superman family (especially Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes). Sometimes the writers seemed to run out of ideas and published some really dumb concepts. Bizarro Superman, from Bizarro World was one of those concepts, but always good for a laugh.

This is from 1960. From hipcomic.com

Things in Bizarro World were recognizable but just not quite right. It confused both the Bizarros and the “real” world. (I feel as if BW might not go over as well today, though apparently the tradition still lives.)

Bizarre? No, good. Grass is growing on our new little hill and a flock of killdeer has taken over the bank.

In conversation with…well…with everyone I’ve communicated with about our lives, I’ve heard tale after tale of how life has just gotten strange recently. More than one person has said, “I feel like I live in a different world,” or words to that effect.

Ack! Giant spider eats wasp! Bizarre!

I’m right there with them. Things have happened in the past few years that have made my world unfamiliar. Recent elections. What the heck? People mass shooting each other so often it’s become commonplace. I don’t get it. People shooting up infrastructure that supports innocent families and businesses because…why?

Breathe, Suna

That’s just the big picture. People are getting weird sicknesses. Families are falling apart no matter how hard they try. My generation is trying to figure out how to support elders who spent all their money but expect…stuff. I’m pessimistic about the future.

Bizarro World.

Regular World with noms

Honestly, I’m so glad I have dogs and horses and they are still acting like dogs and horses. I need something consistent and not weirdly out of left field.

Ommm

I just feel like the world is so odd and unpredictable that I don’t want to make much effort. So I got my 2022 snow globe that says “love is love.” And some tree candles. No real tree, just a few decorations. Many say “peace,” which seems bizarrely impossible these days.

Spot my overly subtle Yule decor.

How about you? Are you in a ball of pessimism like me? What’s bizarre in your life? What helps you keep it together? Sunsets? Full moons. Here are some, anyway.

Seasonal Greetings

Yesterday was US Thanksgiving. I didn’t blog, because, thanks to still being sick, all my energy was taken up with cooking. I’m glad to report, that with some help and good cheer, the meal came out great and everyone in our little ranch community had fun.

Lee could not help, as he had a giant dog on his lap. (Joke)

It rained all day again. We aren’t getting much each day, but it’s helping. Between the dismal weather and my throbbing sinuses, I didn’t want to be out much, anyway.

Dismal

Today I’ve felt a little better, so I went to the Red House to remove fall decor and make it look Christmas-like, since that’s the thing people do nowadays. I discovered the new wardrobe had arrived for the second bedroom. It’s rather large. Some rearranging will be needed.

There are now king sized pillows on the big bed, too, though I need to exchange one of the shams’ pillow for the new ones. New ones are pretty lumpy and would be better for shams, but I got too tired to switch them out. Darned cold. In fact, I fell asleep after writing the previous sentence. I’m tired

Otherwise it’s looking subtly like winter holidays are coming. Or perhaps it’s kitschy. I did my best. Maybe we have a guest this weekend. Still wanting a couple of “test guests” before going all out.

So far, the best suggestion I’ve gotten is to leave a few books out. That’s a good idea. I can leave some of the novels I’ve read and a couple of Texas books.

Fake books don’t count.

Time to go home and rest and drink plenty of fluids. I’m thankful for you readers and friends. You make my life richer.

Life, Death, and Snouts

It being Samhain or Halloween, I figured I should write about life and death and moving on. (That’s where snouts come in.) As for life, I was happy to see a turtle head pop up in the new pond. It’s good to see it getting to support life again.

Turtle is to the left of the black leaf.

There is much new life behind us, as more calves show up. This is one of the fuzzy twins. They look like stuffed animals!

Bawww!

There’s death, too, as I discovered when I checked the mail. I found just the tail of a rabbit. Hmmm. I could choose to believe it got away with just a tail-ectomy.

Not a usual find!

This is also the time of year in my culture and many others, where you think of the dead and welcome memories. While I’m thinking of way too many friends who’ve recently lost spouses or parents, I’m also comforted by my own memories. My stepsister sent me these fun pictures of my dad, so I’ll put them here as an electronic ofrenda.

Much of the day today I thought about transition. The butterflies started it. The snout butterflies are still migrating, and I enjoyed watching them today as they visited flowers and grasses and did mating dances. They’ll lay eggs and make more little snouts as they head north. (I’m also throwing in a Gulf fritillary and sleepy orange — what a great name.)

Like the butterflies, we all move on and do as much as we can while we live. That’s my goal. Keep moving and enjoy my life.

Flitting!

Enjoy your holiday, whatever you celebrate.

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