Love, Herons, and Horses

Sorry folks, I’m running out of stuff that’s not navel gazing and depressing. I’ve got to stop dwelling on the end of democracy and the worship of guns over people. When did the second amendment become so much more important than the first? What a world. Ok. Last incriminating expression of opinion and back to cute animals.

Another cute picture of Vlassic as edited by Lee.

So, I’m concentrating on love outside of the hate-filled realm of humans. Yesterday afternoon, Sara came over to do her farrier thing and trim Apache and Drew. While she was working on Apache, Droodles did everything he could to get attention. His head kept coming through the hole in the pens and poking us. Luckily, Mabel was in the pen with him, so she distracted him some. They just did calm friendship things together. Lots of rubbing and nuzzling. It was sweet.

Everyone got lots of fly spray, since Haggard the bill was also hanging out, and like most cattle, he was covered in flies. Droodles immediately rolled his spray off. At least he rolled in a dry spot.

That’s better! You should roll too, Mabel. No thanks, I would rather swish my tail.

When Drew tired of Mabel, he bonded with his other friend, the bull. They played for quite a while. The horses have enjoyed him while he’s been over here.

Apache was just sighing and getting his feet done through all this. Both horses look much better now. I’m glad it dried up enough to get this done. It rained overnight of course.

After the trimmings I was hot as heck. It’s so humid. So I jumped into the pool. Suddenly, I heard an unfamiliar squawk. I looked over at the pond behind the house, and sure enough, there was a large bird at the very top.

A large bird

I thought to myself, ah, that must be one of the green herons who are building a nest in there. I’ve been seeing them flying around together, and just recently saw them bringing large sticks over to what I figure must be a nest deep in the trees. I’m pretty excited about it. So, I took pictures.

Hold on, that bird has a neck and is not brown and green.

So, I dripped my way into the house and grabbed the binoculars. HA! That’s a male yellow crowned night heron in breeding plumage! Dang! How beautiful. I wish I had a real camera and good lens, because this guy was gorgeous. As I watched him, there was movement slightly lower on the tree. I saw a bill and realized his mate was also there.

She’s to the right. Hard to see.

That means there were two pairs of herons together. I confirmed it when the Merlin app identified them both during a squawking episode. I never saw the green ones, though.

Just wow!

The best part of my poolside bird watching was when the pair took off. They flew right over me, and with my binoculars I could see the beautiful female really well. Ah, love.

Speaking of love. We have at least ten nest boxes, but these ladies wanted to lay their eggs together. One blue egg, one white egg, one pinkish brown egg.

Things Just Build Up

It’s funny how it goes. You cope, cope, cope. You grant folks grace, repeatedly. You deal with illness and death around you without falling apart.

Rain rain rain rain

Then you don’t. I’m sure that’s normal. I’m trying to keep letting some unkind things I’ve noticed slide by me. All the mental challenges make it hard right now.

Dampness makes very large mushrooms

In addition to being sad about the young police officer and his family, I’m very sad that an old friend passed away on Saturday. Johanna Horton was helpful to me when my children were young, and supportive when my mentor died from breast cancer. She’s been in my life ever since. She and her husband both were kind, gentle, and very talented. They shared all they learned at Elder Hostels and when they bought and sold antique books. She seemed all right just a week ago on our weekly Zoom call (spin-off of an ancient email list and Facebook group). I had a real hard time joining the call today, knowing Johanna’s face wouldn’t be there. We all said we’d even miss the rug on the wall behind her chair. Sigh.

Johanna (from a public Facebook post)

And it still hasn’t stopped raining. Yes, we love rain here in the land of drought. But there’s standing water everywhere. Even if it had stopped, I don’t think we’d have been able to get the trailer to pull out of its parking area to go to Drew and Apache’s lessons. And I almost hurt myself trying to put food out for the chickens. The run is solid slop. At least I’m not worried about the horses getting enough to eat. The grass is growing in front of my eyes.

The dogs did NOT like today’s big thunderstorm. I had five panting dogs surrounding my desk at one point.

Mother’s Day is always hard for me. Mom was so…out of it. And I wasn’t a great mom, either. Maybe I should have listened to myself when I didn’t think I was cut out for it. I think I was trying to please others and probably too focused on their happiness. Well you can’t change what you did as well as you could.

Speaking of mothers, I guess the birds ran out of space in the sides of the house. Yep. A nest on a door.

And it’s funny. I’m finally feeling part of a community here in Cameron, but I’m still feeling isolated and alone. I hear and read so many people saying scary things about my views. Same goes for people in my family who are just trying to live their lives. This undercurrent of feeling unsafe can make one jittery.

Uh, subject change. I’m real good with fingernails. They get cut next week. The middle one is secretly broken.

These things just come and go. I do have friends and family who love me just as I am. I’m just musing.

Darn rain, dampness, sickness, and death!

Sad Times

Wow. People just go around shooting each other and doing collateral damage. Our community lost a police officer after someone shot their wife and then shot at the officers who came after him. I’m not going into details. It’s too sad. I just feel terrible for my law enforcement friends and their families. I’m sure family members of the shooter will never be the same either. Our violent culture creeps in and makes us all feel less and less safe every day.

Kindness seems so futile against so much anger. Keep trying to listen, understand, and support even those who differ in their perspective. That’s how we can work to heal in these hard times.

Internet AT LAST!

Last week when Sandy the Squirrel accidentally set off the transformer across the road, my fancy wired router bit the dust. Since then, I’ve been trying to get it fixed, replaced with a new one, or replaced by some other thing. It’s been gruesome.

My old antenna receiver has nothing to talk to now.

I have spent over 8 hours on the phone or online chat with various AT&T entities. Today was “only” two hours trying to figure out why I couldn’t get the new hotspot they sent to replace my fancy router to connect to the internet. I got passed from chat to chat. Finally they said they’d call me in 10-20 minutes. Um. They still haven’t called.

No one wanted to help my new hotspot.

I thought to myself, “Suna, you went online and on the phone to avoid driving to Temple. You could have driven back and forth many times by now.”

I thought of bringing my mouse catcher with me to wave around. I didn’t.

I stuffed all my equipment in grocery bags and hauled the Angry Snow Kitty to the AT&T Store. I took my knitting, expecting to wait a while.

By now I felt like this guy. Close to deceased.

Thankfully, they weren’t too crowded and I got a competent young man named Quincey to help me. After much trial and error, with consultation from the head tech guy, they figured out the hotspot was not configured correctly. They had to completely reset it. I was assured I couldn’t have fixed it myself.

My feelings about Quincey.

Triumph! Then, young Quincey showed me I hadn’t cracked my phone screen recently, it was just the screen protector. AND rather than trying to sell me a new one, he looked up which one I’d bought and walked me through getting it replaced under warranty! I just paid shipping. He’d done the same thing recently. How helpful!

My faith in customer service is restored. Both the guys who helped me said to just drive over there next time. I said I sure would. I have always had good experiences with this store. I’ll remember that. Online support? Nope.

I needed this sangria.

I’m SO glad this saga is over. Onward!

When Things Take a Turn for the Better

How do you unwind after a demanding day?

…you answer a blog prompt? Ha, no. I just thought the question was so easy! I wind down by blogging and knitting. Writing and handcrafts both involve repetitive motion and take your mind off other things.

Flowers help, too.

I’m happy to report that today only started out demanding, however. I dragged all my computers out to the Red House (our vacation rental) because it now has wifi. I was able to actually get a lot done, though, plus I was able to finish the laundry and sweep the porch.

I enjoyed the bricks on the porch.

However, I still hadn’t heard from AT&T about replacing my router. So I called the special line for my equipment. I talked to some woman who tried to sell me equipment insurance and somehow I got rid of her and was able to talk to a reasonable person. The news was bad. They no longer make my equipment.

I was ready to throw a brick through the phone.

Folks, I was truly annoyed. I was extra frustrated. I have wasted a week trying to get something replaced that couldn’t be. Why didn’t someone say that last week? Grr.

I didn’t mail them poison mushrooms.

I was so patient. I just took a deep breath and ordered a wifi hotspot to use until we figure something else out. I think we will do another service. Stay tuned.


The day got way better after I finally made a plan and could get off the dang phone with the AT&T people. I ran home to get the horses ready for a lesson, and somehow got them ready (-ish — Drew still had globs of mud in his mane but I got the majority off his body).

Lo and behold, Apache wasn’t sick and Drew was in great form! All of us had a really good time. Apache is learning to speed up and slow down correctly and stay straight. I’m so proud of him and so glad he is no longer all inflamed. I succeeded in helping him!

Drew was a relief to ride. He has gotten over whatever was up at the last couple of lessons. Tarrin wonders if maybe he wasn’t feeling well when he was acting so funny. Today was fun. I felt like we were working together.

It was beautiful watching Tarrin ride him after I was done. He cantered so well and easily. I love watching him move. He looks fancy!

A happy horse trainer and tired horse.

Sometimes It’s So Weird You Have to Laugh

Admittedly, I am not laughing right now, but I’m sure I’ll be able to at some point. I woke up this morning with the positive attitude that all would be well. I had a technician scheduled to come work on my router, I’d be able to finish my work project, and things would be just fine.

In the long run, of course, everything WILL be just fine. It’s just going to take a lot longer to get there than I would have imagined. It’s funny, I guess, with some perspective. Here I go with my tale of weirdness.

Other good news is that I did finish another row in the temperature blanket. It looks like a Klimt

I got numerous texts today about the technician arriving, but I never saw him. Finally I got a call from the technician guy (who is really nice) asking me if he was at the right address. Hmm.

It turns out he was at the Red House. I had signed into THAT account on AT&T but it didn’t have the address anywhere, so I had no idea. And of course, he couldn’t come to the ranch, since he was assigned to go to the Red House…

…and it turns out I needed him to be there, since the phone or cable or whatever line it was had been obliterated in the ice storm. Why didn’t I know? Because the router there had never been set up. Why? Because there was no phone outlet. So, I needed to get that all taken care of anyway.

As I tried to work and failed miserably, the technician called back. He needed to get in the house, since whoever had built the back porch had covered up the phone wire access point.

My house is still here.

So, I zipped with much haste over to the Red House. Hooray, I thought to myself, I brought the correct key! He could get in! And he did. Brr, it was chilly in there. And hey, it was also dark.

It was chilly and dark because there was no dang power. What the heck? The house had power last week, so that wasn’t caused by the ice storm! People had stayed there and Anita had cleaned up after them. But, no power today. Great. I called Lee and asked him to look into it, but he was quite busy paying our scary tax bill. He says the bill is paid!

And the pool house and hen house are still here.

So, we went on in to figure out where to put the modem. We found the right spot in the dining area and drills started drilling away. The technician asked me to bring him the modem. Um, the modem…it isn’t there? GREAT, another bump in the road!

So, I called Anita, since I’d asked her to plug it in for our first guests, but she’d not been able to find a phone outlet. That’s because they’d all been removed in the renovation. We didn’t think we’d need it…

I asked Anita where the modem was. She had taken it home! Oh. Well, I needed it. Luckily she had a little time and was able to run over with the box, and they could at least get everything set up. I’m going to be super optimistic and assume it will work when the power is turned on.

Meanwhile, I still needed to get my original issue addressed, didn’t I? I spent another hour or so talking to AT&T customer support, once I shouted enough at the automated system that they gave me a person. The system kept insisting I didn’t know my special secret PIN, but I did! The human being I got was really helpful, and had to be patient with the fact that he was talking to me, Lee, and Anita as we tried to first figure out what account the ranch is on, and what the equipment was.

False dayflower at the Red House today.

Eventually, it was officially decided that the router didn’t work, but the rest of the equipment was okay. They almost made me an appointment to come tomorrow to fix things…when the customer supporter said oh, first they needed to be sure that the towers were working. ACK!

No one has called. Dang. I leave to go camping Thursday. We sorta need a router. I think I’m using a lot of my phone’s allotment of data trying to work via the phone hotspot.

Sure, it’s not all bad. Anita and I were able to put up the dining room curtains, which I neglected to photograph, and we did a few touch ups. We discovered the shower curtain doesn’t actually stay up, so we will need to get that fixed before the next paying guests show up. At least it shouldn’t be too hard.

One more good thing! The RV office area is now complete and lovely. The keyboard stand is custom and blends nicely with the decor.

I’m just going to stop here. I’m sort of shaking just writing it all down. I’ve just been laying low and not doing anything that might cause me to fall, break something, or piss anyone off. I’m not getting in the hot tub, so I won’t have a water accident, and I’m certainly not going into the woods where there are snakes. Did I ride horses? No way. I carefully exercised them. If I’m just patient, maybe the time will pass safely.

No swimming for me.

Deep breaths, Suna. We all have our periods of challenges, and sometimes they just keep building on each other until it’s sort of funny.

Ha ha, time for a glass of wine.

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?

I don’t know what to do or say or think about the divided society I live in. I’ve been trying to hold it together and feeling isolated and more and more defeated. I had such bad nightmares last night that I knocked a glass of water over. What a mess. Things are a mess.

Hint about why I’m sad. I love children.

I know I’m not alone. I am grateful for a supportive network of friends. I’m grateful for people with different perspectives who are willing to talk to me. But there’s so little I can do to help make a safer society (where we don’t worry about all the things we’re concerned about from all sides). The Texas Legislature has no interest in my thoughts. I’m not a huge lobby.

Just a coincidence, I’m told.

I think all the people I know feel powerless, like someone else is making decisions. We just blame different factions. Everyone is frustrated. The world feels like a scary pile of poop. I can’t change that. Even venting among friends only goes so far.

I wish I could just be a bird, or a scarlet pimpernel.

So, I clean things. Poopy things. Thankfully, a vacuum cleaner for the RV arrived. I took out my frustrations on mouse turds. (And dirt; there were only a few turds.)

That helped. But I needed to clean more. So I shoveled all the horse poop out of the trailer. I hope that doesn’t make me sick. It did involve hay, after all.

I didn’t have to clean the shed. Someone had already weed-eated what the horses had missed. My tack room helps me feel better.

I wasn’t done cleaning. The tack room doesn’t have much of a mouse problem right now, but there are “fly specks” on my stuff. Or were. I cleaned all that, too. Then I got out my good old buddy the label maker!

The bull needs his own bin label.

I have some new horse supplements and will need feeding help soon, so new labels had to be made. I felt so organized and productive. And I’m control. At least I can control my dang horse stuff, and I even feel safe in my little room.

I actually do feel a little better just by making my little part of the world cleaner and happier. And I guess that’s the lesson I needed to remind myself of. I can do what I can do. I can clean things (no wonder I like grooming the horses).

These guys helped by picking up hoof trimmings.

And now I can think about ways to help others. I’ve send some funds to recent tornado victims. I can contribute to organizations I agree with, and I CAN contact elected officials and remind them they’re human and are supposed to serve humans, not institutions. I guess.

I’m weird

What is one word that describes you?

This question made me smile. I’ve felt weird my whole life. I made up a club called the Weird Happys (sic.) in middle school and invited all my interesting, smart, non-traditional friends to join.

I’m a weird donkey who escaped after dinner.

I’ve always been weird, non-standard and rather off center. That’s never been a problem except when I wanted someone I found fascinating and atypical to be my friend, but it turned out I wasn’t their kind of weird. Trying to fit in NEVER has worked. I eventually wear out my welcome and am shown the door. Like:

  • My previous job
  • My church (was informed I no longer fit their demographic because I liked small, community oriented congregations)
  • The animal welfare group I helped found (those of you who know, know why)
  • La Leche League (turns out I’m not a good cult candidate)
  • The yarn shop friends where I used to teach knitting and crochet (some individuals are still friendly, though)
  • My book group (they ghosted me!)
  • My marriage to my kids’ dad
  • Etc.

I felt bad about these things at the time, but now I realize I don’t need to put my weirdness where it bothers others. I have choices, and it’s better to be true to myself than to try to fit in.

These guys just deal with my weirdness because they have no choice. Awww.

Anyway, my word is weird, and I’m happy now. I’ll enjoy the communities I have now while I can, and move on gracefully when it becomes apparent that I’m not a good fit.

I’ll be as graceful as blue-eyed grass, which appeared this week.

But hey, I still feel accepted by most people in my Master Naturalist group (I don’t expect them to all love me, just to work together). And I’m doing okay in the little horse community I’ve found myself in, thanks to us all loving horses! That’s plenty of folks to be weird around.

I am glad folks accept that I get frustrated when I can’t ID a plant.

Plus, my hobbies and family keep me happy and centered. I can be a Weird Happy!

What Exactly Constitutes “News?”

This has been rolling around in my mind for a few months. I’m somewhat rant-y and quite a lot confused about this. I’m totally cognizant of the fact (oops, another word whose definition is migrating faster than is usual for words to change) that there is a wide blurred space between news and entertainment. Combined with the blurry lines between facts and truth, there’s a giant mud pit of bewildering word slime that keeps presenting itself to me.

Is this ladybug DEAD? Who killed it? Is this news?

The problem is that I really miss the times when reputable sources produced clearly labeled descriptions of things going on in the world (news) and smart people’s comments in these news items (editorial opinions).

Dogs getting along? We must sensationalize this now. What are they thinking? Why aren’t they growling?

I’m generalizing, of course. I’m aware that even in the times when I was young, information was presented from a certain viewpoint. I didn’t take high school journalism, but Anita did, and she told me this. And I’m quite aware that the viewpoint was well educated white guys. But the network news, Time, Newsweek, and most newspapers generally talked about the same “news” from different and interesting angles. I enjoyed learning from these sources to put together my own opinions.

Today, though, I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to care how a professional athlete’s bowel movements came out. But there it was, in my “newsfeed.” Who the heck cares about this? Why?

WTF

I made the mistake of perusing the “Facebook News” recently. There was so much clickbait that I got a little queasy from it. And gushing newsflashes about minor celebrities sneezing or burping. Or so it seemed. And did I mention gore? Endless reports of stupid people being horrible.

Gore, sensational gore.

The few actual pieces of news from serious sources tended to be behind paywalls. Sigh. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to the New York Times. At least it’s got stuff in it about news I find important, like wars against small countries and insane political events (well, that’s mostly in the Austin Anerican Statesman, where the list of anti-trans pro-censorship bills keeps me queasy). Or science news.

Really. Who are these people and why would I care?

I just resent that I have to dig through layers and layers of drivel and nonsense to find information that matters to non celebrities and fans thereof. I’d prefer to have these two genres separated. And labeled. I’m not against fun and celebrity worship. I’d just like it to get out of my face.

I like dogs. But is this news?

Well. I rambled. Now it’s time to get ready for tornadoes that are heading this way. Texas. Extremes!!

Actual news. Here it comes.

American Rural Health Care, You Stink

I have spent the past two days trying to get a chest x-ray, you know, because my chest is full of fluid and probably horrible fungal growth. I am concerned, you see. I am beginning to see why people just use the emergency room as their primary healthcare provider, because trying to AVOID such things and not go into debt over a cough is a pain (in my chest and brain).

So, I went to the nice little clinic in my home town that is not affiliated with the corporate mega-system I am not fond of. They said yep, my lungs are rattling and wheezing, so I needed a chest x-ray to help diagnose. I also got blood work, after two tries, because Worker A probably had never drawn blood out of a living human and left my arm looking like this:

Old woman with bruised arm

Worker B then arrived and took the four endless vials of blood out of the other arm. Sigh. I won’t know if I have the fungal infection or other issue until the lab results come in. So, merrily I cough along.

Merrily coughing at sunset, when normally I’d be horsing around

I was so short of breath yesterday that I didn’t dare try to groom the horses or ride them, though I did sit and look at them while they ate, then spent a long time just hanging out with Apache and massaging his poll (top of head), since he asked for it.

The others were busy scarfing up leftovers

Anyway, of course the nice little clinic doesn’t have its own radiology department, so I consented to go to the only place in town that has a machine, which is operated by the company I am not fond of. When I arrived with my paperwork in hand, they informed me that their x-ray machine is broken. I could go to another town to another of their facilities, but I declined.

Goldie backed me up. She doesn’t like crowded scary places, either.

This started me on a health care odyssey to get an x-ray elsewhere. By noon today, I’d made six phone calls, left numerous messages, got many corrected phone numbers, and lost my patience. Usually I’m a fairly patient patient, but I didn’t feel very well, as I soldiered along recording myself talk and pausing to breathe a lot.

Let’s take a break and enjoy all the henbit that’s blooming right now. It will get mowed soon, so I’m enjoying it while I can.

Finally, after I’d gotten irritated enough to get in the car and drive back to the clinic to try to talk to someone in person, they called to say they’d faxed my orders to a place that was associated with my OLD doctors in Austin. Soon they actually called and said it had gotten through.

Did I make it to Temple, Texas in record time? Of course not. I got behind a very strange-looking semi-truck that plodded along at 60 in 70 mph zones, trailing up to twelve cars. Thankfully, they pulled over at a turn and let us all go free.

I thanked my lucky stars, as well as the moon, Jupiter, and Venus.

The place I went was clean, spacious, and NOT crowded. though a little hard to find. The facility did please me. How long did the x-ray take after spending 20 minutes filling out paperwork? I’d say 65 seconds. Now, let’s see if I get any results from all the testing and perhaps get treatment. That would be nice. I just do NOT want to get sick enough to go to a hospital. I really don’t like hospitals and all their germs.

The sun is setting on this struggle.

I just wish we had our old local hospital back, where you could get an x-ray and labs, and get looked at quickly. However, it’s now the county office building. Rural health care in the US is sad. I can’t imagine how it would have been if I didn’t have insurance.

I promise happier news in the next post.

something poetic

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