How Nature Deals with Trauma

You may remember that a couple of days ago we were surprised by a fire alarm in the building where we are staying, right in the middle of important meetings I was supposed to be holding. Going down all those stairs, then trying to train people in software from an overly sunny condo balcony was hard on my nerves. I am not convinced that it was traumatic, but it was most assuredly unnerving. I ended up getting rid of all my nervous energy by taking a very, very brisk walk up and down the Myrtle Beach boardwalk, which is about a mile and a half.

Some of the boardwalk area is not even a little sleazy.

I felt a lot better after that and was able to get through the day. I must admit, however, that I walked more briskly than I realized, because my legs still hurt today…and I’m used to doing a lot of walking! I’m sure I look like I’m old and arthritic when I try to haul myself up out of a chair or go downstairs.

Latest reading matter

Anyhow.

Here’s some more of that synchronicity that’s been happening to me ever since I declared myself someone who didn’t believe in such things. I sat down in bed last night to read more from Mark Rashid, the horse trainer who talks about people’s relationships with horses and how horses’ minds work. One of the first stories I read in Whole Heart, Whole Horse: Building Trust Between Horse and Rider was about a horse who had been through some rough times just could not settle down and whose person had tried “everything” to get it to do her bidding. Except one thing.

I feel as if some trauma is about to happen.

Rashid suggested that if the horse wanted to run, to let it run. Sure enough, after the horse ran all its energy off, it calmed down. He shared how his mentor had done the same with another horse that was a bundle of nerves. They just ust let it go run and run until it got all of the nerves out of its system and felt better.

Perhaps I will need to run and run to feel better after this lady takes away the torture device and stops shining scary lights in my mouth.

Huh, I guess that works with people as well as horses, because I’m just great now (other than sore legs), even after enduring a sales meeting!

I think I will take a nap, instead.

I remember letting Drew loose to run and run soon after I got him back in July of 2021, too. He came back much calmer and has not acted jumpy or upset since then. Rashid posits that it’s how animals who get scared often, like prey animals, get rid of their post-scare adrenaline and go back to calmly grazing and otherwise going about their normal prey-animal lives. Interesting.

I may be woozy, but not so woozy that I don’t want to cuddle up with some hay. And my teeth feel better.

Back at the Ranch

As you can see from the photos above, Drew got a visit from Bonnie, the equine dentist, yesterday. He has a cracked tooth, so she looked at it and did some work to make it less likely to get worse. He did just fine and thanks to sedatives, he was not traumatized. Dental care is really important for young horses whose teeth are still coming in, so I’m grateful that she was able to get him seen along with her horses.

Now Drew is back home with his friends at our part of the ranch after his little vacation among the green g

We’ll see if tomorrow brings more adventures than canceled meetings and gale winds, but I’m afraid my fun field trip on another boat tomorrow may be canceled. I may just have to watch the lifeguard making fun tracks in the sand that will soon get overwritten by the high tide. That’s fine. I’m safe and warm and my family is mostly all right.

Not Bad for a Free Boat Ride

Once again, I woke up extra early and got to work by 6 am home time. I guess not having the dogs keeping me from sleeping soundly let’s me get enough in just 7 hours. Of course I still miss the dogs.

I only wish we went out on this one.

After a much more successful day of meetings, training , and spreadsheet analysis (with no more fire alarms), Lee and I went downstairs to go for a boat ride we were given as a bribe or thanks for going to yet another condo sales pitch.

We had a reasonably good time on the paddlewheel trip down the intracoastal waterway. It was a cute little boat, and we had what I thought was a good meal. There were ribs and some good chicken with rice.

I enjoyed looking at fancy houses and their landscaping. I was happy to see that many of the residents had veggie gardens.

Of course I kept an eye out for birds. There were cormorants, mallards, Canada geese, and swallows, who skimmed the water as they got bugs off the surface. It was sure fun to watch them.

There were just 40 people on the trip, but it was too many for poor Lee. Plus an Elvis impersonator sang karaoke for the entire trip. He wasn’t too bad, nor too loud. But I’m not big on an endless parade of country and “I Love America” songs. I did enjoy Purple Rain, which he sang for the nice woman with the Prince purse.

It was a good break for me. Of course I have to spend an hour listening to some upgrade pitch tomorrow. I’ll live. It’s a small price to pay to get a free boat ride. Did I mention the open bar?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to write more deep stuff. Right now I just want to watch nature shows. First some nice musician drove a Harley to look at woods in Wisconsin, and now David Attenborough is telling us how cool eggs are. Yay. Nature. Here’s some more, plus evidence of humans.

Alarmed, Inconveniently

Today is my usual early work start day. I woke up extra early, so I got working around 7 Eastern. It’s a good thing, because I had a lot of setup to do in preparation for training. Lot of good THAT did me.

I felt as prickly as this guy.

I had a support meeting to lead at 8. Then training people at 9. No problem, right? I dialed in on the phone and all was fine. Then. Lights flashed and horns honked.

HONK HONK. THERE HAS BEEN AN EMERGENCY IN THE BUILDING. CEASE OPERATIONS AND PROCEDE DOWN THE STAIRS. ELEVATORS ARE NOT OPERATING. HONK HONK.

That put a kink in my ability to help. So, I grabbed the three most important items I had: my work computer, my phone, and my knitting. I proceeded down 26 floors. Behind fragile elders. Behind handicapped people. Lee came gown eventually, behind a poor guy with heel spurs.

Naturally, on the third floor we were informed it was not a fire. A worker hit the wrong wire. Argh. I was lucky that they had an employee driving the elevators and I got back up quickly.

Happy beach flowers.

When I got back to the room I realized the honk honk announcement was still blasting away. Umm. I was supposed to do training in two minutes. A comedy ensued.

I somehow got into the meeting. Then they said they couldn’t hear me so I dialed on by phone. THEN I realized I couldn’t see my screen because the balcony is in bright sunshine early in the morning.

Hooray! The honking finally ended! Boo! Zoom told me my meeting would end in 6 minutes. Apparently Dell didn’t give me a pro account. Of course right then a user asked a long and complex question. I felt doomed.

But I managed, though I had to keep switching to my notes and guessed where to click a lot!The plan had been to use the giant television with my software on it, and my notes on my laptop. I could have breezed through the training. Nope.

These plants spit their seeds. I felt like spitting.

Like good little troopers, everyone rejoined and I managed to finish only one minute late. Way to go, me, and major thanks to my helpful colleagues. And you know what? I wasn’t overly stressed out from all this!

I did, however, take a brisk and cathartic walk at lunchtime. That’s where the pictures came from. The beach flowers are hardy and resilient, just like me.

Resilient

This margarita and my knitting will make me feel ALL better. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Margarita and valuable knitting project.

It’s Beautiful to Me

I started reading about the universal theory of beauty, but didn’t get far enough to say anything wise about it. I was comforted to know there is such a theory, though.

Marshes. That’s my idea of beauty. And birds.

Much of today I had my head buried in work. I do miss vacations, but Planview would have sent me to a mental health facility by now if I’d stayed.

I looked out the window periodically, though.

When I was finished, I rewarded myself with some time in the hot tub (alone!), some splashing in the pool, and a mango daiquiri.

Quite blue, isn’t it?

Then I enjoyed a quick beach walk at high tide, which let me see actual sea life and intact shells, a rarity here at the tourist beach. And the waves were great colors. Sea foam green is a real thing.

Lee and I went to the Murrell’s Inlet boardwalk for dinner at a seafood place. I was very pleased with my blood orange old fashioned I drank and the “crab stack” I ate. Crab, mango, avocado, cilantro oil and siracha (however you spell it) are all among my favorites.

We topped the meal off with a walk along the boardwalk, which features a goat island, oyster shells, and birds. Not bad for an area with like 20 restaurants in it.

The best part of the boardwalk I didn’t get a picture of, because we were enjoying it so much. There were these twinkles and tiny splashes. At first I thought it was something swimming under the water. But no, it was eensy fishies jumping together! Little sparkly fishies! We were charmed.

So, that was beautiful.

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!

Hit a Wall, Figuratively

Oops. I’ve been pushing myself too much. Working long hours followed by caring for 6 horses followed by evening meetings…and in between trying to be helpful to others. I’m wiped out.

I did go out for a half hour today. I saw lots of birds and heard more.

My poop-scooping arm is about to give out, which is really kind of funny. I’m taking a break for a few days and am scaling back my weekend plans. I need to listen to my body and mind, both of which are screaming about fatigue. Yuck.

That’s a warbler. Best I could do.

I guess this is just part of my normal cycle. Too much caretaking and being patient has hit me in the head. I am just exhausted.

How prickly do I feel? Like this mesquite.

HOWEVER. I am encouraged to keep going at work by kind people today who told me how grateful they are that I’m there to help them 2-3 hours a day and make them all sorts of professional-looking handouts. One guy said, “They’re so readable and clear!” Hooray for everyone who trained me, I guess!

Hey, it’s an anemone.

Yep, people have no idea how their little bits of encouragement can keep others going, even when they’re tired. Think about that when someone helps you out—letting them know you notice their efforts could be just what they need to keep moving after they run into a figurative wall.

Survived the Week

That’s pretty much the highlight of the day, which had some challenges, but nothing insurmountable. Things started out cold, which made me move kind of slow.

My role models.

The heater was having the same problem it had last year when it got really cold, not enough pressure to turn on. So it was a brisk 61 degrees as I tried to do my early meeting.

This is what it felt like. A giant ice cube.

The photo above is what was in each of the horses’ food buckets. We got 3” of rain over two days. It turned into sheets of ice. Brr.

Anyway, the menfolk got the heater going around noon, so I thawed out enough to record some voiceovers without vocal shivers. I’m relieved. Last year’s cold event was miserable with no heat.

I did my best to stop working around 2, since I worked such long hours this week, and I’m theoretically an hourly worker. But, of course I could not resist answering questions until we’ll after 5. It’s hard to not help!

Still, I got a bit of a nap in. When I awoke, Goldie was next to me, Harvey was draped over my lap, and Penney was on my chest and face. I must have been tired.

Lee gets the multi-dog nap thing, too.

It’s going to be a quiet weekend. I’m sure something will happen worth blogging.

Or you can knit and sit with me.

Oh! I did manage to brave the cold and see what was in the new trailer. It sure is shiny.

Fancy windows. Mysterious tubs of who knows what.

I was sorta glad to see that the trailer isn’t totally full. Maybe we will be able to fit it all in the new tack room.

Well. Let’s see what happens. I’ve got nothing to complain about other than a bit of chill. It’s worse elsewhere. Love to all you readers.

Day Is Done. Not Work, Though

Yeah, the sun has set, horses are fed, and it’s my usual relaxing or educational time. But I have classes to teach every night this week. I don’t mind a bit, since this isn’t a frequent occurrence and I think Asian people ought to have a chance for training during their work day!

Sun setting over scenic Walker’s Creek

I haven’t had much to write this week because I’ve been productive at work, which is fine, right? Since I’m working in the evenings, though, I took a few hours off this afternoon to get things done.

Ooh, that feels good.

Actually, Trixie did all the work on the horses. Drew got a little body work and was medium well behaved for his hoof trim. Apache was good as gold, though, and we are happy to say his hooves are perfect.

Also, very clean, unlike the rest of him.

I had to leave Trixie to finish Apache so I could go help the resident offspring move more things from the church. We managed to get a heavy dresser and a bookcase loaded into Lee’s Tahoe ourselves. That church sure has lots of stairs.

Other cabin addition

I was busy working and trying to avoid electrical sparks (workers blew a transformer and knocked power out on us), so no photos of that. Instead, look a the cool door the resident nephew found hiding at our Ross property! It fits the cabin, and will sure be a cool entry.

All I have is some happy flower images from the arrangement I got for Kathleen (the rarely resident niece) for her birthday. It was not too bright of me to assume she would be here that day, knowing how plans change so fast!

But flowers are cheerful from afar, too. Sending love to all who are struggling. You’re never alone when I’m around!

Computers, Cows, and Companionship

Today seemed to last way longer than your average day. It is always that way when I think I have something all planned out, only it actually isn’t. I thought the pool people were coming this morning, but nope, that got postponed again due to rain…somewhere.

While waiting, I perked up my office/den with some lights. Ho ho ho.

Then I thought a technician was coming to repair my dead laptop. They said it was scheduled (they being some disembodied text bot). But next, I got the message that the part was delayed, so I would have to wait until Monday. I got annoyed, to say the least. Then, boom, the technician drove up.

In a desperate attempt to cheer myself up, I put nail things on my stubby little nails.

Erica, the technician, was a fun woman, and we had a reasonably good time working on my system. She had about a five minute task to do (replacing the brains of the thing), but she could not get the cover off. Three of the screws would not completely unscrew. Now, Erica didn’t want to break my new computer, so she called tech support. That went about as well as when I called them earlier this week.

When will this end?

The woman she talked to seemed to have no clue what Erica was asking. I realize she was talking through a mask, but she kept saying that the screw would not unscrew. The call went through several levels of support until they finally said I’d have to send the laptop in for a replacement, which would take even more time than I’d already taken.

Nope, I said, let’s figure this out. So, Erica called a guy from where she worked. Sure enough, this random guy, knew what the Dell Technical Support team did not, which is that those three screws do not come undone. You have to pop the case open with them still partially in. ARGH.

Erica is relieved the computer booted.

Once we had that down, it did indeed take five minutes to fix the computer. Naturally, one of the teeny screws fell off the desk. We spend another twenty minutes looking for that. Even the magnet couldn’t find it. All I found were dead bugs and places where Carlton had peed. He is having an issue this week, probably due to the Harvey episode.

But the afternoon got so much better. As Erica was getting ready to go, she looked into the main room of the house. She asked if she could please look at it. She ran into the room, just beaming, twirling around and exclaiming that is was Christmas! She said my decorations were just so cheerful. I can hardly express how happy that made me. No one here cares at all about decorations, so I felt very happy to know I cheered someone else up. My smiling muscles were hurting.

The dogs were having “fun” today. I’m really glad Vlassic is neutered.

By the way, the laptop works and is almost set back up.

Cows

The other thing that got me all cheerful today was watching the dogs play with the mama cows and babies behind the house. The cattle are so curious and keep coming up as close as they can, until a dog moves and scares them into backing off.

These dogs are fascinating.

I must have spent a half hour this morning just watching the calves and their antics and how hard Goldie tried to get them to play with her. Unfortunately, Carlton and Vlassic can’t help but bark at them.

Hello new friends.

I hope you enjoy these sweet bovine faces as much as I did!

Companionship

The companionship I’ve been experiencing over the past couple of days has been with two horses. One is not a surprise, and it’s Apache. Wow, has that boy settled down since his lesson last weekend. I’ve been trying to do at least something with him every day, and that has helped. He has paid so much attention to me in the round pen that it’s not like the same horse. And we have been doing the thing where he needs to walk straight along the edge of the round pen, and by golly, that head has not curved ONCE in two days. Today we even sped up a little! As well, he has been walking with me practically glued in the correct position. I can feel him breathing at my elbow almost all the time.

Last night the trainer said what she wants more than anything is for us to be able to enjoy our time with our horses. Success!

The other horse that’s been a wonderful companion is Kathleen’s horse, Miss T. After Trixie looked at her and said she was in pretty good shape, I thought, well, why not pay her some attention? She sure seems to want it. Yesterday I gave her a nice grooming, and she was pretty patient while I worked on the issue she has with her tail (a big scab is growing out). We went for a nice walk, and Mandi checked her soundness. She stumbles a bit, on occasion, but it may be because she needs her feet trimmed (which will happen next week).

Miss T is so happy to hang out with people

I put her in the round pen, just to see if she would trot for me. Did she ever. Everything I asked of her, she did, including turning, stopping, and showing a lovely balanced trot. I told Mandi it was sort of like driving a Jaguar car, so responsive and elegant.

Today I did that again, after going on a walk. She had never been in the front field before, but she followed me nicely, and the couple of times she got concerned, I just told her it was okay and we walked on. Hey, this is what I’ve been reading about horses doing. I guess it can actually happen! And when I put her in the round pen, she was so attentive that I decided to see what would happen if I took the lead rope off.

T demonstrating her confirmation. Those are some high haunches! She is all muscle.

Wow. She did everything I asked, walking and trotting, turning and stopping. I tell you what, if you tell T, “Whoa,” you’d better be prepared for that horse to stop. She stops on a dime, and looks ready for her next instruction. She’s like the horses in videos of fancy quarter horses.

I hope we can do more with her as time goes on. T is a darned good horse. Maybe I will ride her this weekend, if there is any time at all. I wonder if the things planned for the weekend will go as scheduled or be absolutely unpredictable like today’s events?

And one more thing. I had two flies die in my beverages today. Gee! This had been such a good cup of coffee! And my wine was so good that I just fished that one out. What a day.

I’m just glad we can sit on the porch and watch the happy lights on the fence turn on as the moon rises each evening. That brings a little bit of predictability.

It’s probably more cheerful in person.
sara annon

seeking the middle path

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