It was a long, long day full of minor hiccups and irritating happenings. But, spoiler alert! Almost everyone lived!
I didn’t know the answers to any questions at work. So I took a break to put a new office chair. That was not a break. I sweated my butt off and tweaked my back, but I have a chair to replace the one that’s in the RV.
Then it was horse lesson time. It was fine, but I was already tired when I started. I was in no mood for Apache to decide he didn’t want to load in the trailer. Drew went right in. whew.
Tarrin was also having a challenging day with a bunch of young horses, so we were both happy to see Apache do a great job in his lesson. We are both improving, so maybe his next show comments won’t say “hollow” on every line. At least I now know what that means, so I can learn to fix it!
I’m proud that my old buddy is working so hard with me. We are literally starting from the bottom and slowly getting better. He got a 28% on his disastrous trail test at Sara’s, but Tarrin said I did well keeping calm with him. He apparently isn’t great so close to home, so next time I’ll film at Tarrin’s! I know Apache enjoys this stuff when he’s not nerved out.
How did Drew do? Well, he also was having a DAY so I didn’t ride him. I guess I need to get his dentist appointment and more body work. Or wait for him to grow up. He’s calmer in the round pen with me, but Tarrin is teaching him, which is less fun than me. I just sit there and look at how pretty he is.
Plus when I got home I found a sick chicken. No clue what made her sick. Maybe the snake bit her? Well, they are living longer than my first bunch. I’ll try to help her. I put her in isolation.
I’m ready for another day. They can’t all be great! I have lots to be grateful for.
It’s been a challenging few days. Have you ever been through a period where even the simplest things turn complicated? It’s felt like that lately. I mean, I just wanted to wash my car yesterday and every one I went to was closed. No wonder I don’t like going to Austin anymore. And the dentist said I need two crowns. All that flossing didn’t prevent that.
But I got to see my former coworker for lunch, and that was positive.
Plus, I got through row 4 of my temperature blanket yesterday. The black and green square is where February starts. That was the ice storm, too.
The horses have been challenging, other than being so good getting their feet done. I was really looking forward to getting a lesson today, at long last. They were, at least, good getting ready to go, but that challenging life thing struck again and we couldn’t get into the road to Tarrin’s because a huge, stopped train blocked us. Sigh. But we went the other way!
For Apache’s lesson, Tarrin tried to get him frustrated, so we did new stuff. To our surprise, he was all calm and learned to trot over small jumps. On the last one I did everything right and he JUMPED! And it was FUN! Hooray! Our hard work paid off!
We then proceeded to see if he’d leg yield at a trot. Did he get annoyed? No. He DID IT. It wasn’t perfect, but he did it! I wish I could say he never showed his Old Patchy behavior, because he did fall apart as we went to the trailer. I handled it, though, keeping as calm as I could. I’ve learned a lot!
Drew, on the other hand, didn’t need a lot of prompting to misbehave. Or be a teen. He and I did ok doing some serpentine moves, but he decided I was easy to manipulate and melted down. I “got to” work through it and did a lot of leg yielding with him. No fun but we got through it with a lot of help from Tarrin and ended up able to weave through poles and go over obstacles. I was proud that I stayed calm.
When I was done, Tarrin ride him and he continued to indicate his displeasure. I learn a lot when I watch her handle rowdy horses. And Droodles did look pretty acting pissy.
Drew kept neighing his head off, which is quite unlike him. Tarrin said she’d never seen him act that way, either. Her theory is that it’s the extra sweet spring grass. It’s not making either horse lame, but they’re not quite themselves. Other horses are acting similarly right now, which made me feel better. It’s not ALL a lack of skill on my part!
Diagnosis: magnesium. I got some to feed tonight, and I’ll order more tomorrow. Let’s hope that helps. I don’t want summer too soon!
Geez. It was a challenging day. At least I was able to pick some pretty wildflowers.
I decided after last weekend that Apache was ready to do some shows. Today I went to Sara’s house to film him doing the Trail test, which is mostly stuff he has done many times at Tarrin’s or my house. I got him clean and put on a show outfit.
We managed to get over there without disturbing the Haggard the bull, but we walked, just in case. But once we got to Sara’s, where she has done a GREAT job setting up a course to film on, Apache indicated he was not interested in my agenda.
I did my best to show him the obstacles, like the pole and flag he dealt with Saturday with no issues. Then I went to get into the saddle and he kept stepping away. That was a hint. I probably should have listened.
But instead I got on, and Apache turned into 2021 Apache. He was totally nerved out. I was patient. I breathed. He just couldn’t settle down. I’ll spare you the details of how I probably should not have tried picking up the pole. Or doing anything.
Sara encouraged me to at least film trying to go through the course once he was a little calmer. We did at least visit each obstacle. At a walk. It’s a baseline. And we did what we could do under the circumstances.
My sweaty boy and I dragged ourselves home, only to have some random black cow come after us as we walked down the drive. I just yelled at her and she stopped and glared at us.
Fine. Then I looked at our gate. What did I see? This guy.
Now, he’s a friendly bull, but I didn’t want to take any chances with a tired horse and me coming in. So, I headed over to take a chance at walking Apache down the road. But no, there was no gate that would let us bypass the cattle guard. Argh.
But there WAS a gate at the far end of our pasture, nowhere near Haggard. So we trekked the long way and made it back, with only a little scare when all the other horses came running up and I hoped they wouldn’t break through the “electric” fence that really isn’t.
Apache got rinsed off and loved on when we were back. He couldn’t help being nerved out. And I’m really glad I have leftover ice cream cake. I’ve had enough adventures for one day.
I’ll never forget the day, myself. It was Easter and Lee’s friend, Matt, was with him. Matt said he’d take some pictures of me riding, which I thought might be useful for identifying things to work on and such. I wish.
Instead of me working on Apache’s inability to jump, me learning to leg yield, or anything remotely calm, I got a series of photos of Apache having one of his stress meltdowns.
I’ve decided it’s pretty educational, though. You can see my technique issues, my poor posture, Apache’s annoyed disconnection, and more. Matt already posted 51 pictures on Facebook of me and Tarrin working on this, so I’ll make the best of it and turn it into a fun picture story for any readers who are interested in what was going on in the photos.
All that took about 20 minutes of our lives, which are seared in my brain. But, by gosh, we did it! Apache made it to the trailer. Now you know why yesterday’s approach was an impoverishment.
I’m proud of myself for being patient and willing enough to move through this and make progress. I have different goals from many of my equestrian friends, but by gosh, I’m getting there.
Because I’m so darned introspective, I’ve been examining how I cope with stress these days. I find that I can only handle a subset of the priorities I could before, and I avoid duties that appear like they’ll bring on more stress. That’s how I’m coping now, to the detriment of a couple of projects. But, as I look around I realize mine is only one way to cope. I also notice it’s not just us people who cope in different ways, so rather than call out people today, I’ll illustrate my points with how local plants are coping with the stress from Winter Storm Uri.
Some of us seem to deal with stress as if it’s not there at all. These people are often deeply grounded, have been through a lot, or have lots of support (roots!). These people, just like the Ashe juniper trees, often support others.
Others retreat and focus on one thing at a time, and try their best to do it well, like a rose bush with just one perfect flower.
There are people, and I know quite a few of them, who not only handle stress well, they thrive on it and so some of their best work when there’s a lot going on. Sometimes doing something is a way of coping and staying busy (I’m guilty of this), while others find challenges energizing. They enthusiastically bloom where they’re planted!
There are those, and who can blame them, who go into hiding, and only begin to peek out when the danger is over. Even then, they go slowly. It takes a lot out of people and plants to get their bearings when a stressful situation begins to ease up.
Stress tends to scatter some folks, too. They try this method of coping, and that method of coping, trying to find one that will actually work and get them through the hard times. I see this a lot in stressed oaks, which start putting out new growth all over, and not just at the ends of their branches. Some pop up along old limbs, and other pop up from the roots (very common).
When stress is really causing problems in living your usual life, though, sometimes starting again in a new place might help, like the redbud trees I’ve seem who look pretty sad up top, but have vibrant new growth farther down their trunks.
How many of us know people who have no choice to start over, even when that, too, is a struggle. I saw this poor tree with no leaves or other signs of life on its branches, but that hadn’t given up completely, and was starting again, hesitantly, and perhaps slowly. But, it’s still THERE! I count those of us who are in this situation as stronger than they realize.
Many of us fail to thrive during stressful periods. And it’s hard to say who’s going to cope well and who’s going to fall apart. One thing I noticed was that often there are two or more trees of the same variety near each other, and one looks great, while another struggles or succumbed to the weather? What’s the difference? You can’t tell on the surface what internal resources a tree or person has. That’s why we need to be patient and not blame people for their problems.
I think flexibility, along with resilience, makes a difference in how we weather the inevitable Winter Storm Uri events in our lives. People who lived very rigid, inflexible lives really have had trouble with pandemic changes, just like a plant that’s been groomed into a stiff hedge with no choice in how it grows may have more trouble in a winter storm.
Those of us who aren’t well situated in the first place or already have anxiety issues may cope by throwing things every which way. A lot of the plants I seem seem to be reproducing like crazy, trying to grow, and growing in weird ways, like they’re trying ALL the options to make sure they’re making a good, healthy, happy impression. This has to take a lot of energy, and I wonder how well they’re going to do if they keep all that extra-perky energy up. I’ve noticed some crashing and burning of late…maybe a bit by me, to be honest.
Now, some of the trees, and some of the people don’t make it at all through intense stress. I know more than one person who seems to be hanging by a thread right now. Some of us are just out of our element, like tropical trees (palms and such) that look pretty awful right now. I can’t fault them, and can only offer support and virtual hugs. And I will honor those we have lost.
Looking at all the ways we humans and plants deal with unexpected stress is a good exercise for me. I can easily see the parallels among us, and what’s most clear is that there’s no right or wrong way to cope, nor are we all going to cope equally well. So, I’ll try to be patient with those who are struggling, including those who cope differently from me. I hope you can, too.
True fact: every time you figure out a way to lessen one type of stress, another one comes up. Ha ha, life, you are SO FUNNY!
I had gotten a handle on some of my worries about the greater angst in the planet, which has helped me see our political stuff a different way (thanks to the mushroom book). And reading Caste gave me concrete ideas for working to make relationships among Americans better, so that wasn’t upsetting me as much. I even grappled myself into a place where I can deal with the changes at work in a positive and productive way. So proud of my own self.
But, no, I did not dwell in my feelings of equanimity for long at all.
The details are not important, just know they involve a not insignificant collection of sad animal tales and sickly family member tales (not just me; by the way I feel better).
BOOM. I got knocked right down and feel like a tumbleweed rolling down a hill in a rainstorm. Not a lot of control. But then, you NEVER have a lot of control, do you? I have to hand it to life, it doesn’t take it long at all to remind you of lessons you should not be forgetting.
There are challenges out there and they aren’t gonna stop. That’s always been true, even if right now seems like they’ve sped up, like an old 78 RPM record or something. Round and round and round, zoom!
While there will always be challenges, there will ALSO always be ways to deal with them! And I know what those are, because I’m prepared!
Deal with one day and one challenge at a time
Not worry about what’s next or what just happened
Breathe deeply and get to my familiar place of comfort/ease
Light a candle and stare at it for a while
Read a book on a non-sad topic (I’m looking at YOU, book on the color blue!)
Pet a small animal (hi Pickle, since Vlassic is staying with Jim, ’cause it’s cold)
Go on a brisk walk (guaranteed brisk, due to aforementioned weather)
Send out loving-kindness to all my friends and families dealing with similar crap as mine
So, I hope you can do some of these things with me! Peace to you.
Hey, kind readers, thanks for all of your feedback on yesterday’s post about friendship and jealousy. You all gave me a lot to think about, and the BEST part was finding out I’m not alone in having difficulty becoming a member of a group of friends. It’s important to think about it, and I realize I do it a lot. I even wrote that “friend” is my favorite word back in May!
A couple of comments made me think about WHY some of us have this issue. My son’s partner realizes she has some issues being in groups, thanks to her autism symptoms, which make forming friendships difficult for her, but make her value her real friends even more (I am happy she is MY friend!). She’s not alone. Many of us note that forming friendships is hard due to personality challenges. Some of us are shy; others aren’t great at (or fond of) the kind of bonding but non-substantive conversations that lead to deeper friendships. [Insert your own reasons here.]
A neighbor texted me wondering if people even realize I want to be their friend. I found that amusing/ironic, since this was someone I want to be friends with and have no idea if they realize it. The point was that sometimes people appear to others as if they have some kind of boundary or other presentation that makes them appear to want to keep their distance. Aha! That was an insight to me. Maybe people misinterpret my “resting hermit face” for not wanting to socialize. And maybe I misinterpret others, too!
Why, hello there, friends and readers! I haven’t been quite the blogging fool I usually am for the past few days, and for what I find to be an ironical reason. I got a new laptop.
I admit to putting the IT team off for about two years, because every time I get a new work laptop, things go crazy. I just didn’t have time for crazy, even though now most of my apps and storage are off living on some cloud and not ON the laptop. I didn’t even know if it HAD a hard drive.
My previous little system had served me well, though at some point in 2017 it stopped being able to hold power if it undocked. So, oh darn, I couldn’t present at meetings. </sarcasm> I just had docks everywhere I worked, and it was fine. The poor thing has a brand-new battery in it, but whatever the problem is, it’s not the battery. Okay, so I needed a new computer.
Finally, last week, the thing started randomly shutting down while I was minding my ow business, typing, mousing, or saving a vitally important Camtasia file. So, I let Josh, the nice young IT dude, swap me out.
I made myself laugh, because I brought three laptops home with me to the ranch last weekend (old laptop, new laptop, and my trusty Surface), so I’d be sure to be able to work anywhere. Ha ha! Silly me.
I have, instead, spent the last three days trying to dredge up passwords for things that live in the cloud, trying to log on to the RIGHT Office 365 account for the right office, finding where my fancy Adobe Creative Cloud licensed things were, and so forth.