Freedom: A Loaded Word

You know what? I used to think I was free. I used to think more and more people where I live were becoming freer. I used to think the world was becoming a better place.

Lost

I can remember feeling especially happy to live in a place where people were free to worship or not worship any faith tradition, where people were free to love whoever they wanted to love, where people could have families or not, where people could live wherever they found beauty, where judges strove to put their personal beliefs aside and be neutral, and where people could have respectful debates over policies. Heck, people could even go to the grocery store and expect the worst thing that would happen would be a long line at checkout.

Interestingly, this was posted by someone with different views from me, but I think it’s true for all of our viewpoints.

I felt like “progress” toward equality for all was being made, right during my lifetime. The water fountain labeled “Coloreds Only” was gone from the Alachua County courthouse, in my lifetime. As a woman, I could play any sport I wanted and attend any school I wanted, in my lifetime (I gave up on being a veterinarian because women were not allowed in vet schools). My gay friends got married – legally – in my lifetime. Buildings were made accessible to people who could not climb stairs, in my lifetime. I could live 20 years next to a black family and nothing out-of-the-ordinary occur, in my lifetime. I could live around people who had come to my area from all over the world and it was fine. People could choose whatever identity they cared to present themselves as, even if I got confused…all in my lifetime…and it made me happy.

I could trust that people in politics felt it was their duty to tell the truth and apologized when they made mistakes. I could trust that law enforcement officers respected all citizens and did their best to keep all of us safe. People who joined the military were assigned duties they could be proud of and were respected for what they did.

I was once a Girl Scout.

I didn’t live in fear of my neighbors because I voted for a different Presidential candidate and don’t worship the one they prefer. I didn’t feel in danger because I’m a pacifist, because I don’t like organized religion, and I think no other human is any better or worse than me.

Fuck that. It’s all over. I was so happy when 1984 came and went and Big Brother hadn’t showed up. Oh, Suna. He was just a little late. Lies are now truth. Freedom is a word only for a small subset of the population. Rights are just for old white males. Women are back to being nothing but property for males to use as they please, then are punished for the consequences of what men do to them. Again.

When I’m wrong, I can be really, really wrong. I was wrong all along, too. None of those illusions of mine were real. I gotta go back to reading about how all culture is an illusion that’s just out there to help us feel like life has meaning. I have no clue right now, other than life is suffering. Thanks, Buddha.

Bad Mental Health Day

I’m not ashamed that I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life. I’m just wired that way. For the past few years I’ve done a lot of work to manage the stress levels in my life. I’ve:

  • Changed jobs.
  • Cut out volunteer work where people didn’t respect me or weren’t truthful.
  • Minimized contact with people who put me down or try to manipulate me.
  • Changed my internal self talk to be more positive.
  • Made good progress on liking myself even when I can see my unlikeable traits.
  • Stopped trying to fix things I can’t control, including wars, divisive politics, other people’s beliefs, and other people’s actions.
  • Spent more time in nature.
  • Got more exercise. Especially with horses.
And I keep flowers in my life.

Nonetheless, BOOM, anxiety attacked me today. My chest has hurt all day. Badly. My neck has tingled. My mouth feels numb. All the fun stuff.

Poor Bitmoji me.

I think it’s because my boss said yesterday that I interrupt too much. He’s totally right. It’s why I hate talking on the phone or in groups. I have a weird inability to take turns in conversation. That’s got to be annoying to others, since I’m often embarrassed when it happens.

I’d like to disappear.

Everyone has issues. But sensitive people like me can take a small comment and leap to conclusions, like that they won’t renew my contract because of it. I know I’m a good writer, though, which helps counter my conversational impairment. I can edit writing. No wonder most of my jobs have been online!

Not my best thing

The thing is, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up for things I know are an issue but am working hard on. I’m paying attention and trying once again to be quieter in meetings. Usually my issues rear up when I relax and stop self censoring. I guess the real me is just an over-talking, sarcastic, judgmental bitch. But a lovable one, right?

I’ll knit you a heart.

At this point in my life, it’s going to be easier to just accept myself and enjoy being with people who accept me, warts and all. I’ll certainly return the favor and grant them the grace to be their flawed selves. I should add that to the end of my bullet points above.

Sigh. I was going to destress by riding Apache, but I realized the horses are now all together, which I hadn’t realized was imminent. They all ran far away. Mmm. Grass. I think two horses are going to the Farm this weekend, which will be easier on Drew.

Instead, I really-did my horse playground, since it was taken apart to mow, and a new fence is going to cut some of it off. That was enough exercise!

Ready to jump, slalom, figure 8, circle, and side pass. And plenty of leg yield space.

See, I’m flexible and going with the flow and adapting to change. Gooooooo Suna.

Anyway, I love you all, imperfect as we all are.

Why Do I Work the Hardest When I Feel the Worst?

First, I do not have anything contagious; my lunch (which was delicious) disagreed with me. And I felt okay this morning, when I worked on so many different things that it made my head spin.

I need to stop and admire the flowers, like Fiona.

After a fun time telling a new coworker fun things to do where she lives (one neighborhood over from where the kids grew up in Brushy Creek), I headed out to lunch with Anita for our newly traditional weekly gab-fest. It was so nice to just share our week together like we used to.

I told her they got this far on the pool house deck.

By the time I finished getting groceries that Lee had missed when he went out (plus ice cream—why I usually stay home), my stomach was sad. Rather than go to bed and rest, I instead dove into every work project I could think of, including some stuff that hurt my head. Me learning SharePoint is probably like my coworkers trying to learn Planview. It is counterintuitive and won’t let me do what I want to do.

Another exciting home improvement is this screen door to the garage. No chickens allowed!

Actually it is probably descended from the bane of my existence when I did websites, the dreaded Microsoft FrontPage, which let you make any website you wanted, as long as it looked just like one of its templates. I digress.

Goldie says, “Focus, Suna.”

But by golly, I made a thing I find absolutely hideous, but is quite SharePointy and full of big margins, giant useless images, and not enough information to tell you anything. Yay. It did, however, take my mind off my stomach hurting.

I’ll clean your ears.

I then wrote a bunch of blogs for other organizations, did miscellaneous to-do items, and nearly checked off all the bullets in my bullet journal for the day. So far I only have one bullet for tomorrow. Ah. Horse stuff with Sara!

Another Topic

By the way, I got recertification for another year as a Texas Master Naturalist! I’m enjoying it more this year, since it’s a lot less stressful just being the secretary. And no, I will not take over the website until I retire from paid employment. Boundaries! I have them!

Hey, look, I’m with my most faithful blog reader, Catherine!

I’m quite proud of my fellow volunteers, though, and so glad I get to see them again. I just had to hug a couple of women I’d missed so much. And I was very sad to learn that Sam, one of our members in the last class, had passed away this week. He was so helpful to our older members and did some good work.

So yes, life’s short. That’s why I spent good time with my horses and Fiona this afternoon. I groomed and loved on them as hard as I could. It was my reward for getting through the afternoon of mental and physical owies. It’s just so peaceful when everyone is in a good mood and crunching away on their dinners.

It’s not peaceful on the patio. By the way, Alfred is just to the right of the photo, pawing for attention.

Whatever you are celebrating this weekend, enjoy it. I’ll enjoy what everyone else is celebrating, with thoughts of peace and kindness to all, even those who want to cause you pain. I’m just not letting it happen!

My Ten Commandments

I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. It started when I read a list of important things for living a good life that someone posted. It included things like not airing your dirty laundry (makes for a dull blog, but probably a good idea), not putting down your spouse in public, and my favorite, which is to remember you can’t control what others do, only how you react to it.

Today’s sunrise featured frost and banks of fog. I’ll miss sunrises when it’s back to being dark when I get up.

The one that got me thinking the most, however, was the one that said (I’m paraphrasing):

Even if you aren’t a Christian, follow the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.

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I thought that, well, as a matter of fact, there are some commandments that I seem to find more important than many American Christians. The same goes with the teachings of their prophet, Jesus, but I’ll stick with commandments and the Golden Rule.

An’ ye harm none, do what ye will.

You are probably aware that the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated is found in most spiritual paths. I’ve put a version of the Wiccan version up there on the image. I like that one, too – do what you want to do as long as you aren’t harming others. I sure watch a lot of people who will firmly assert their adherence to Christian beliefs who have no trouble at all wishing others ill, calling them and their elected officials horrible names, and attacking their morals. Then they squeal if anyone dares call them on it or say a negative word about their leaders.

Take a deep breath and enjoy some shepherd’s purse.

I am going to assume that they are members of one of the Christian sects out there for whom the rules are just suggestions. You know, the ones who get elected to office on their Christian values then vow to eliminate liberals and moderate Republicans from their county (true story and it’s making me grumpy).

What about Those Commandments?

So, what about them? I always thought most of the “guidelines” Moses passed on were pretty darned good. Others don’t apply literally, but may in spirit. And I think it’s fair to expect people who insist on following any of them try to follow them all.

There are many versions. Here’s one from @mockingbirdstudios via Twenty20

No other gods before them

Whew. I sure see a lot of folks out there who worship power and money more than the god they profess to worship. If I have a deity, their god is wrapped up in it, since I’m a big fan of Mother Nature, or the life force around us that guides us. That’s as woo-woo as I will get here. So yeah, the Great Spirit in its many guises is number one with me.

No graven images

Yeah, right. That is the most optional one for many Christians, though there are sects who take it extra seriously. Since I can’t carve a picture of spirit, I do this, for sure. I admit to lots of images of various deities, but those are just metaphorical representations, I hereby declare. (So, you’re okay, Brighid and Buddha.)

No taking the name in vain

This one gets broken over and over and over by most people in the US, though there are some who are quite careful, gosh darn it. Much of it’s just habit and talking the way we were raised to talk. I’m always saying, “Oh my god,” but for some reason don’t say “goddamned this and that.” In any case, I fail at this one even as a nature worshipper, because I sometimes curse the weather. I should know better, too, because as I’m often told, we need rain around here!

I will try to better about taking the name of Gaia in vain! After all, you gave us all life and a fine planet to hang out on. That was a good idea, Moses.

The Sabbath

Visiting one’s house of worship regularly is something lots of people do, and I used to do it myself. It’s nice to be around people who have similar beliefs and to hear a good message. Organized religion and I have just never gotten along (not just Christianity…all of them), so I don’t do that anymore. I do take time, often, to spend quiet time in nature, where I learn lessons from the trees and birds and give thanks for everything around me. That counts for me.

Besides, many folks who diligently head to a house of worship weekly think nothing of hate speech, cruelty to others, and breaking the other commandments. It’s their choice, though.

Parental honor

Societies around the world revere ancestors and honor parents. Anyone who has a hand in raising a child and does so with good intentions is worth honoring. I’m grateful to my long-departed parents for doing their best to raise me. That said, blind obedience and devotion don’t work for me. If your parents treated you badly or hurt you, you have every right to distance yourself from them. And I say that as a parent whose child has left me. That hurts deeply, but they have every right to do what they think is best.

So, I guess this one is not one of my favorites. Hmm, I’m halfway through the list of commandments and none of these are things I think about a lot. Now let’s get to the good ones.

No killing

They might as well delete this one off the list. Christians around the world flagrantly disregard this one and can come up with oh so many reasons to make exceptions. This is the one that I absolutely agree with. I’m not killing people, even people I don’t like, disagree with, or think want to hurt me.

I get yelled at often for this. Won’t I defend myself or my property? (Yep, without killing people.) And yes, if the County Judge sends out the minions and rounds up all the people who don’t share his political beliefs, I’d rather die than harm a neighbor. I couldn’t live with myself if I harmed another human on purpose.

Please note that I do not, and never will, want to force my morals on others. Nor do I disrespect people who choose a way of life where killing others is a possibility. That’s part of the society I live in, and I accept it. I know I’m in the minority, and it’s okay.

No adultery

At one time in my life, I struggled with this, since I could love more than one person at the same time and really felt like this rule was more about keeping inheritance straight down the patrilineal line than about who one loves. And when bound by legal or personal commitments, I refrained from it. So, I’ve followed the letter of this law, even though it’s grounded in a system I dislike.

I think people should have agreements on this stuff and do what works for them in their private lives, though. It’s not my business nor the business of any deity. It’s legal. That said, I am not looking for hookups at this time. (I can just see all these sad potential suitors out there…not really.)

If I go to hell for this, I hope it’s a hot tub.

I feel compelled to point out how many people Christians admire and follow have no qualms about the whole adultery thing. I wonder if power makes people exempt.

No stealing

I’m all for this one. What’s yours is yours. Some organized religions ought to think about this. Some Christians ought to think about their personal ethics and whether they preclude stealing from others in less blatant ways than just grabbing stuff out of their houses.

False Witness?

I loathe it when people out and out lie about others. It’s a big peeve of mine. Sure, everyone’s version of the truth differs, and sometimes hearing things from two different points of view might make you think one person is lying when they each think they are telling the truth. I get that.

I’m baffled, though, about how people who repeatedly make false statements, accuse others falsely, and even contradict themselves over and over can be respected and revered. That always seems to be the case with totalitarian leaders, for example, or wannabe totalitarian leaders. This worries me a lot.

One of the things that is important to me, ethically, is to not lie to others and to not point fingers, so I do my best to keep opinions to myself outside my trusted circle. Everyone needs a trusted circle, so they won’t explode from keeping things in!

Coveting

I can remember repeatedly asking my Sunday School teachers what the heck coveting means and what it had to do with Frenchie Purvis next door (the neighbor’s wife). I did eventually figure out that it has something to do with not being jealous of people who have things you don’t. I am so grateful for what I DO have that I’m fine not having what other people have…except maybe grandchildren. I think I covet grandchildren. I sure would like a little baby to dote on all of my own. But I will just knit blankets for others and once the whole pandemic thing lets me, hug and snuggle with the babies of friends and neighbors.

Moses was right about this. Other people’s lives always seem better than our own, because we don’t know all about them. I’m glad for the good things other people have and get to enjoy. I’ll enjoy my own things.

Was this worth it?

After going through this exercise, I have concluded that the Hebrew rules are okay, but not really the ones I am going to base my life on. That seems to be the conclusion most people come to, even ones who are members of groups supposedly required to follow them.

Peace, love, nature, freedom, and unicorns to all of you.

It IS good to think about where your ethics and morals come from and to do a check on whether you’re being consistent, falling down on some, or holding others to standards you can’t keep up with. I hope by reading this you thought a little bit about your own rules for life and how they’re holding up.

I send love to ALL of you, including those who may not agree with me or may think differently from how I do in some areas. Variety is good. I just would hope that most of us treat each other well.

Who’s Afraid?

I’m not sure if “afraid” is the right word for what I want to talk about. I think I aim here to make the point that we aren’t all that different from people in societies we’ve been told to feel sorry for because they are not free to be their true selves. What got me thinking about this is all the commentary I’m seeing from all sides about Russia just deciding one day to take over a neighboring country because their leader decided it wasn’t really a country. I’m sure glad Mexico hasn’t done that to Texas, which used to be part of Mexico.

I felt like expressing that I care about the people there by wearing my shirt and watchband that have sunflowers on them. I think the watchband is a handy way to remind me to send of my good thoughts/prayers throughout the day. Of course, I’m also sending good thoughts to the average citizens of Russia, who have no control over what their leadership does. Oh, the poor people of those two countries, right?

Well, wait a minute. Why am I acting like they are any different from me? I certainly have little to no influence on what wars and conflicts the leaders of the country where I reside engage in, even though those may well put me in danger someday. And locally, there’s nothing I can do about fellow citizens who act like they are ready to mow me down just for having the nerve to want to get along with others and not thinking I’m any better than anyone else just because of who my ancestors are.

We love you, Suna, you wimp.

I feel like I live in the land of the free, as long as I am free to agree with the people with the weapons aimed at my property. Yep, just like people in the Ukraine or Russia. I don’t want to harm anyone and don’t mind disagreeing with others, which for some reason is so threatening to my neighbors that I am careful to not go around in public acting all peaceful, caring for people who are different from me, and practicing a different religion from most of them.

I bet the Russian cows love their children, too.

I was always told growing up how sad it was that people in the USSR had to toe the line and reject religion, democracy, and such. I was told how terrible it was that in China they went and killed all the intellectuals or put them in work camps, because they were dangerous with all those ideas and such. No, I was repeatedly told, we Americans are not lemmings who would march lockstep off a cliff if our fearless leader told us to do so. We aren’t married to just one ideology. No, we’re free.

I’m not doing what anyone tells me. I’m a horse, says Dusty.

Look out the window. Is that what you see? I see me afraid to express my thoughts or opinions, even among people I care about and wish the best for. Welcome to the oligarchy. Hey there totalitarian dudes! Enjoy running the place.

I do plan to stick around as long as I can, though. I love this land, and the land doesn’t care who’s in charge. And I love the people in my community. All of them. Nothing will stop me from wanting the best for them. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I’m with him.


This was a bit whiny. I know perfectly well that it is way worse elsewhere, like Russia, where I couldn’t complain. I’ve been shaken by Texas elections and probably over-reacted. My main worry is that dissent may be stifled in the future, and we need dissent. On all sides.

Ducking and Covering

I was a child during the Cold War. I was petrified of atomic bombs. We had duck and cover drills in school, as if hiding under a desk would do us any good. I had nightmares about bomb shelters for decades. I don’t want to go to sleep tonight. Baby Suna might take over and return those dreams.

I never thought the threats would resurface. I thought our leaders were more interested in money than power. Maybe the current situation is about money after all.

Curl me up in a ball.

No one should have to live like this. Our brothers and sisters in the Baltics and Russia should not have to live in fear of their neighbors. They should not have to feel the need to fight their neighbors. I’m so disappointed in humans. Again.

In my mind I’m 6, not nearly 64 and covered in wrinkles.

I feel sick for the everyday people of the world who have lies fed to them to rile them into hatred. That’s here where I live, too. It’s so disheartening.

Sure, like I said earlier today, many of us are having good lives right now. It can go in a flash, though. I’ll leave you with a Bible verse, for the first time ever.

And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

Daniel 8:24, New King James Version

Applies to more than one would-be emperor, I think. Dark times. And we are unable to affect them. Powerless. Resigned. Curled up in a ball like the dogs.

Back to the Serenity Prayer for this pagan hermit. And I’m not gonna duck and cover. I’m not interested in living in one of those apocalyptic times.

(PS I do know more about nuclear warfare and such than I did at age 6 and think that other methods of genocide are now preferred.)

Trapped in Two Ways

I couldn’t sleep last night for two reasons, and I realized this morning that it’s because I was feeling trapped and powerless. I don’t need a lot of power, but some would help, like the leadership I’m working on with horses. Bear with me as I think “aloud.”

I need to know who’s in charge.

Yeah. The deal is, I have few other areas where I’m in charge. My personal space is a good example. I’m an introvert. I need somewhere to be alone and recharge. Currently it’s the bathroom.

I used to have an amazing office in a cool old house in Cameron, which I’d invested my heart and soul into decorating to my own quirky tastes. We had just gotten my window of glass objects up when we had to leave for COVID reasons. Then last year’s cold front killed my plants.

It was so pretty. I helped make the desk.

This is where I both feel powerless and trapped. While I was told to stay away for COVID reasons someone else was moved into my office, with my glass collection that I couldn’t keep at home because of the dogs. I was told it was because the climate controls weren’t working upstairs so they had to temporarily move in. I said sure.

That person left, and I had hopes of going back to the good wifi, but now I’m informed I’ll never get it back. It’s not my office. Of course it’s best for the business. Still. That broke a piece of me, since I’d set that up as my retreat and barely got to use it. I’m trapped at home with all the dogs.

Oh look, my desk is in my home office.

At least I’m being allowed to bring some of my stuff to the house. How it will fit is beyond me, but I sure appreciate the kindness. I’ll work hard to make this office/den my own, but I’m never able to relax there. Dogs take up every seat, and I have to cover my good furniture so it won’t get ruined. That’s why it looks like I have a solid colored couch.

I have some lovely art I will have to bother the very nice new office occupant to remove, and all that glass. I can’t move it until we bring china cabinets over.

Which brings me to the other reason I am trapped. My Austin house is gone. There I had a bedroom with a television I could watch whatever I liked on. I had internet. I had space to myself. I could use the whole bed!

Current bed. Four dogs (the lump is Carlton under the covers depositing dirt).

In my bedroom at the ranch, I have one-eighth of a bed and one end table. The rest is Lee’s office, since his old office now belongs to someone else (he likes working at home anyway), and the sitting area had nowhere to sit. Trapped. But hey, I have my closet once I deal with all the clothes from Austin.

Ooh. I feel whiny today. So, that was why I feel physically trapped. Mentally, it’s slightly different. The good news is I CAN work on fixing that, but it will be a lot of work. You see, I feel right now like I don’t have any say in big decisions that are made. I just get told, and not to ask questions. I don’t know who lives at my house or what’s happening in our businesses (apparently we are back to buying and renovating houses, with a family member as general contractor—which is better than constant contractor failure from before).

I think there is a plan to do x, but then find out y is happening. Lee tells me I mistake brainstorming for planning. That makes sense. I’ve been working for the past couple of years to not have expectations. Stuff really isn’t in my control, since I can go with the flow and other people have more important needs that make it hard to plan. I get that and support it! Just sometimes it’s hard to deal with.

It occurs to me that I need to take that serenity prayer to heart and just focus on what I actually can change or plan for, and know what I can’t. Help me do that, please, readers?

I know my supportive family members are doing their best and I appreciate them. My issues are mine, not theirs. I AM grateful to have my office stuff and SUPER grateful to have my horse facilities! Improvements coming soon!

Hint.

So, if I keep posting about horses, well you can understand that it’s because I set that schedule. I pay for it. I am making myself better through them. And one day I’ll be able to escape from all the noise and go riding alone. Goals.

I’ll Just Show My Knitting

After the most disturbing evening of television watching EVER last night, I hope the poor shawl I’m working on won’t forever be linked with the dismal 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s not the shawl’s fault I was holding it in disbelief as I watched the poor little girl who won the gold medal being totally ignored.

Here. A warm shawl.

I said I’ll talk about knitting. So, this has been a pleasant break from baby blankets. It’s soft and cuddly, though I’m not sure if it’s all that attractive.

Dizzy stripes

I’m done with the brown baby llama yarn, so I’m going to end with a few inches plain, then bind off with a border of the silk/wool blend. I’m not sure what the border will be.

It will be a perky border!

Now I’m trying to decide what yarn and pattern to use for two more baby blankets, since Mandi is expecting boy #5 and my mentor from my previous job is also expecting. I’m no longer a fast knitter, but it helps me relax.

Wonder what pattern I should choose? Ideas?

Consider my pattern choice while viewing this morning’s sunrise.

I’m the meantime, I’m relaxing and trying to recover from a shoulder tweak from lifting and tossing hay bales. I need a farmhand.

What a Poop Show

We were all excited yesterday, because the propane people were supposed to come hook up the hot tub and fire pit, since our swimming pool is just a large water dish right now.

We love our water dish.

Let’s start with good news. The guy from DIRECTV showed up and stood the satellite dish back up so we can see television. He was unable to do anything about getting things set up so we can put a set in my office, because we have the COVID in the house. But, now he knows what we need, so he’ll be prepared in case we ever get the all-clear to participate in society again. This disease can make some people so sick. It’s horrible. Yes, that was the good news.

Standing tall again.

The rest of the stuff for the day did not go well for anyone involved. First, the pool company sent a young fellow out to “fix” our fire pit, because it apparently needed ventilation holes that they didn’t know about before. They’d started it last week, but not gotten very far.

Early in the drilling process

So, the young fella drilled and drilled, and repeatedly said, “Oh, snap!” which I thought was charming. Pretty soon, he’d burned out the drill, so he had to go all the way back to Waco to get another one. That thrilled him to no end.

Where’s the pool guy? (Even the dogs are looking)

Before he came back, the propane guys arrived. Let’s just say they weren’t thrilled to find out that a) the pool heater was not functional, so they couldn’t hook it up, and b) they were supposed to install a line to the fire pit, which they had not been informed about. There seems to be a lot of miscommunication going on around here.

Fine. We at least brought enough of this yellow stuff.

They went ahead and attached the gas line to the propane tank, which was the thing we were most concerned about, then grumbled a lot as they got pipe to the fire pit.

Hope nothing escapes that sewer line!

Speaking of grumbling, the nice pool kid returned with what had to be the biggest drill I ever saw. I think it’s an impact driver or something. He couldn’t even lift it! He also couldn’t change bits until our resident tool person showed him how in a rather graphic fashion that I will not share here.

The giant drill is on the ground. That’s our medium-sized drill he’s using. The young man has shed many layers.

I finally suggested that maybe we’d have a drill bigger than the first one and smaller than the second one, and sure enough, we did, and he finished after five endless hours of drilling and being complained to by the propane guys about sending them here with none of the stuff ready (like some vitally important key to turn the fire pit on and off, which I swear used to be there). None of these workers had a good day, though they were all perfectly pleasant to us, and we did get in a few laughs.

Waiting for something to hook up to.

I was told that a new heater was coming today and that they would get the hot tub going. It’s afternoon already and I see no workers of any sort. I’m not surprised, since the propane guys have other clients. But, where is the pool heater?

I’ll just sit here and wait, says Vlassic.

I pity the poor young woman who works for the pool company and had the bad timing to email me asking how the propane went. I told her. Many excuses later, and we still do not have a fire pit, a hot tub, or a covered trench. I think the Pool of Dreams will just have to remain a dream a while longer…another cold front is coming and the wind’s picked up again!

I’m sure glad I have all those horses to fill me with joy!

We Face TV Challenges and WIN

My goodness was yesterday a total pain in the butt and other places. Today, however, we kicked our challenges in the butt.

The cause of the frustration

Yesterday I mentioned it was really windy and that the satellite television receiver was damaged. Today it finished falling over. So, we had to call DirectTV. Lee couldn’t find the customer support number, so I found that. Much dialing, redialing, cursing, and knitting on hold ensued. Finally a guy answered. And after some combined effort and cursing, we actually got a repair scheduled for tomorrow.

Next, I wanted to watch football. The customer support person just said, in a chipper fashion, you can use the app! This set me off toward many hours of trying to figure out how to log in.

Then I discovered I needed to sign on to AT&T to get to the television app. No password or user info I had worked. So I got to enjoy another customer support person. At least they answered fast. After 20 minutes explaining that I’d give them my 8 digit passcode if I had any idea what it was, I got many things reset.

Next, I tried to log in with all the various numbers and letters I’d gathered. Everything I did required a text or email verification, half of which went to me and half to Lee. By this time, even I was getting testy. They make things so damned secure that legitimate users feel like they’re being interrogated. I kept typing in the special secret passcode the nice lady had set up for me, but I could not get in. Turns out they needed the shorter passcode that had reared up way earlier in the day.

At long last the DirectTV and AT&T accounts are merged. I know the username and password, not that dang passcode or the other passcode. I watched football. Ironically, I watched it on Paramount+ not the thing I took hours to set up. Can’t watch live TV on the app without the upgrade. Crap.

Today I also wanted to watch football. We had been unable to get the phone to stream to the TV on Bluetooth yesterday, also frustrating. So, today I got the game on my laptop. Woo! Then Lee moved a shelf into the house, found an HDMI cable, and got the thing to work. Ta da.

Not pretty, but it works.

You may be a millennial or younger person, which means you’ve been watching television on many different apps for years. You may find our challenges funny. But I have an excuse!

We never watch streaming services here at the ranch, because we don’t have good Internet. We can’t stream without using up our limited data. No 5G. No cable internet. No fiber. No nothing. So, we never had to set all this up before.

Now I have some choices for emergencies. I’m not gonna get Netflix until we have something more viable. But that was sure a lot of work.

Looking forward to tomorrow. Both the hot tub and the satellite dish should function! And maybe our sick relatives will be on the mend?

sara annon

seeking the middle path

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