Happy Birthday to the Blog

Well guess what? I started this blog four years ago today.

I’ll skip the stats. I’ve posted lots. Many people get them by email or read on Facebook. Thanks to all of you! I sure enjoy your comments, however you deliver them. I don’t expect anyone to read my ramblings, so it’s so gratifying to know I’m not alone.

It’s nice not to be floating on an island all alone.

That’s it. Just thanks. It can be very lonely out here where I’m even weirder than I was where I used to live. I’ve missed friends so much during the pandemic, plus I’ve lost so many family members to I don’t know what…

Thanks.

Sleet? So What? Toys Arrived in a Big Sleigh!

Right on schedule, the yearly winter weather event has arrived. Here at the Hermits’ Rest, we are having a sleet fest. Elsewhere, it’s snowing or a wintry mix. We are safe, sound, and snug, thanks to all the winterizing the ranch community has done (I am so grateful to all). The cabin residents are stocked with water, since theirs has to be turned off, and all the animals’ water is taken care of, too. So yes, it’s a bit nippy out, and sleet sure can hurt when it’s blowing in your face, but who cares? Not me!

Hey, look at that!

Yesterday, the wonderful men of my household set off for the environs of scenic Cleveland, Texas to investigate a trailer for sale there. The resident nephew had been looking and looking for a two-horse bumper-pull trailer that I could eventually haul on my own to all these lessons and shows I intend to go to in the future. They all were either scams (like the dealership in Oregon pretending to sell a trailer in Texas), big messes, or gone very quickly.

I was getting so sad that I resorted to SnapChat filters to cheer me up.

But, this one seemed real, and the guy selling the trailer was apparently a real hoot on the phone. So, the guys and their funds set off, hoping to make a quick trip before the weather turned bad. Well, it was NOT a quick trip, but that was fine and dandy with them, because they had a blast with the older couple who was selling the trailer and some other stuff. They were both a real hoot, though they were bummed that they need to shut down their horse operation due to unforeseen circumstances.

Good thing this sleet didn’t start until this morning.

By the time the conversation-filled visit was over, the trailer had been procured for an excellent price, along with numerous gas or diesel saws and other tools (the people are moving to a place with an HOA that only allows electric ones), a lot of useful other equipment, and an incredible amount of horse tack and other supplies, some of it in original packaging. HOLY COW! Lee says it’s my birthday present for the next many years, but I will note that the money from selling the Austin house is also MY money, so I helped buy it!

I ran out and got a trailer selfie.

I’m guessing I can worm a LOT of horses now, and if I need to, they can all be snug in blankets (other than Drew). And I will no longer worry about my “carrot stick” (the thing that looks like a whip, but you don’t actually whip the horse with it) that is falling apart. There is an entire tube of brand-new ones in a tube, plus more loose ones.

WOW. Those blankets look too nice for a “regular” horse.

I’m told there were so many poop scooper rakes at this place that we’d never run out if we got them all. There is also every kind of horse tack in the world except saddles. Those were already sold. That is okay. I’ll be fine with what I have.

Lovely saddle racks.

This is MOST exciting. I feel like that little girl on the commercial who got the pony all gift wrapped. But, I’m so frustrated that the weather is awful and I can’t climb in the back of the trailer and see what’s in there.

Now here is what’s amazing. This trailer has barely been used, though it’s a couple of years old. And it has been kept in a garage (the folks had garages for every one of their many vehicles and trailers). So it’s in amazing shape. It has all the things I dream of, like tie-down things, windows that open and close, padding on the stalls, and a smooth floor that I can easily clean. Hooray.

Fancy tail light.

It has LED lights! They are very bright. It’s aluminum, so quite light. It theoretically could hold three horses, but we would need to use a larger vehicle than the Tahoe to pull that much weight. I think it will be great for all seasons and keep the dust off the horses. It will also keep the dust off my saddle, which will be able to ride in glory in the little tack room with the saddle racks.

So, what’s the catch? There is always a catch, right? It’s a funny one. We have no place to put all the “stuff” the guys bought, so I can’t use the trailer yet! (Good thing I have no lessons this weekend.) But wait, there’s another good thing!

Many horses can be encouraged to canter in the round pen with these!

The current plan (it changes daily) is to bring the really cute storage building we’d set up at the church over here and put it where one of the shipping containers is. It will be converted into a tack and feed room, which will make life just grand when it comes to feeding, grooming, and storing horse stuff! I think they may even make a covered grooming area and a spot to wash horses. Now, it won’t have a water heater like the fancy ones at the stable I visited last weekend, but this will be SO nice. The shipping container can be moved and be our hay storage area, which will mean a lot less hauling of hay from over by the cabin.

Here’s the other side. All that black stuff is, I think, translucent? Not sure. I’ll have to actually pry the back door open to find out. Darn ice storm. Lee says the door opens like a dream. Aah.

There’s a lot to look forward to on a wintry day so I’m feeling rather warm and fuzzy inside. I’m so glad we got a good deal on all this stuff, that the guys got to make some new friends, and that the new friends know their old stuff is going to someone who appreciates it. I’m still sort of in shock and SO grateful to Lee and the nephew. I just expected them to come home with a basic, useful, older trailer. This thing should last the rest of my life!

I sure hope to make GOOD use of the things we now have and share with others. I can’t wait for Kathleen to get back so she can squeal over it and for it to warm enough for Sara and Mandy to look around. It feels good to recycle/re-use all this equipment rather than buy new things.

Thankful for Each Other

Since today is a day to be grateful for your family and friends, I’m going to share some joyful photos and leave it at that.

Goldie is thankful for cozy bedding.

Now that we have a fence all the way around the house, the dogs can frolic and we can watch them from the front porch without worrying about them running off to chase things. I’m grateful for that!

Frolic time!

And we have Pickle to run with us, too. It’s great to have Anita with us for a few days for frolicking!

Now we are just cooking and relaxing. We will have my son and his partner with us, which will make it way more festive around here!

Dressing. Yum.

Celebrating a Real Estate Win

So, yesterday wasn’t all bad. The Bobcat Lair house sale finally went through and funded. That was such a relief. The way things have been going lately, I was not going to believe it was real until a check was in our hands. So, our friends and former real estate partners, Carol and Russell, drove up from Austin and brought us the check.

It’s real! Carol gives Lee the check, with happy mariachis looking on.

We met at the El Charro restaurant in Cameron, where we had delicious food and celebratory margaritas (for many of us). Other than those of us who are professional writers boring those who are not, a good time was had by all. This was really a long time coming, and we still can’t believe we sold the house for its asking price.

Me trying to wrestle the check out of Lee’s hands. Harvey was hoping it was food.

We went back to the ranch for some celebratory prosecco and to ogle the check, which was the largest one we had ever seen (mainly because we didn’t have a mortgage on the house, so there was no payoff to a mortgage company).

We were very impressed, though Russell was more impressed with the prosecco.

I’m so relieved to be able to breathe a little easier, no longer having to pay two sets of utilities and property taxes. We now have some retirement income, too. I’m feeling such relief. And I am grateful for Carol’s and Anita’s help with getting the house sold, too. They both put in a lot of work! It’s so good to have friends to help you along the way.

A toast to old friends.

A bonus to the evening was that Carol and Russell delivered a lovely gift. Carol had re-painted my old metal dining set, which I’ve had since the first house I bought with the kids’ dad (so it’s at least 30 years old). It’s now red, the color of a red crayon, just like I wanted. That made me so happy!

They look brand new!

I can assure you that my gratitude for tomorrow will be for having figured out a way to have funds for my later years, for having loyal long-time friends, and for having family that wants to be with me for holidays. We are very fortunate. That I will not forget.

Grateful for Help and Relief

We are so relieved. The power came back on after just 28 hours. Lee and I were talking about spending the night in a hotel just to take showers and sleep normally, when Sara alerted me that she saw a power truck going toward our house. They did something at Mandi’s and across the street, and that fixed it!

Even my avatar who doesn’t look like me is relieved.

Lee and I were able to stop by and tell the Heart of Texas Electric Coop employee thank you. These people, especially linemen, work so hard in bad weather and good.

It’s a small rural electric coop. They are great.

I’m also grateful to my kind friends who offered to let us take showers at their houses, too. Also to our friends who are helping my sister, and our caregivers who whisked Lee’s brother to a place with heat and light last night. Plus, Ralph baked us some bread.

The cup of coffee Lee made me once we had power was incredibly delicious.

And my Austin neighbor dug out my water main control so if a disaster with water happens to us, we can fix it. After the adventure other neighbors went through last week, this brings peace of mind.

To be honest, we’ve had enough of this weather event, and are glad we’re on the backside of it. I still know folks with no power or water, though. I’m glad there are water distribution sites and warming centers.

Carlton is relieved that it’s over 60 degrees in the house for the first time since last weekend.

Please keep people in Texas in your thoughts. Most of us had nothing to do with weird power grid decisions and such. So many of us are embarrassed by uncaring elected officials and greedy jerks.

Enough. I’m gonna get ready for all the book reports I’m going to write!

Stop and Pause

I came up with a goal today that I truly want to achieve. I want to stop my frenzy at least three times a day, pause, and notice what I’m grateful for wherever I am.

Yesterday I noticed the golden sun on swirling grass.

Here’s a thing many religious traditions get right. So many ask practitioners to pause to pray, reflect, chant or perform a ritual at intervals throughout the day. Think of all those nuns, monks, and traditional lay people who rise to pray, bow to Mecca, ring a bell, or whatever. They stop what they are doing and appreciate what they’ve got.

I paused to watch the sun rise this morning, as did many of my friends.

Slowing down to the speed of life is so good for the soul. It’s a gratitude practice any of us can do. Or it’s a way to stay close to our Source, whatever we call it.

This afternoon I paused to be grateful for a very odd dog and her beloved possum skull.

One thing we’ve all become aware of lately is how quickly things change. It’s more obvious to me every day. So tonight I’ll appreciate the wool running through my fingers as a sweet, white dog curls up in my chair. I won’t have it forever, so I’ll treasure it now.

Chickens don’t live forever, so go ahead, Bertie, peck my shoe.

Every day, at least three mindful pauses! Go, Suna.

The Joy of Typos

This morning, Lee was reading over my recent posts, and he spotted a couple of typos. While I was fixing one, I found another. It’s great to have another set of eyes to look over things for you.

One of the errors was pretty funny, in which I called Lee’s brother, Jim, his father. He’s Chris’s father, not Lee’s! That gave us a good laugh.

Then, Lee said he wrote about being grateful for typos in his journal today (he always says what he’s grateful for as he plans his day and does the dozens of other activities his journaling system entails. He kindly shared it with me:

That says:

Gratitude: Typos and awkward, ambiguous sentences are mistakes we all make and I believe we can all admit to. They give us the opportunity to practice gracefully admitting our imperfections. Hopefully we can apply these lessons to other areas of our lives.

Lee Bruns, personal journal

I thought that was a lovely way to look at our human slip-ups, as chances to practice grace and acknowledge our all-too-human slips.

What’s not to love?

That said, you can always let me know if you see a typo, or if you don’t understand something I’m trying to convey here. Since I’m mostly just “thinking as I type” here, I’m bound to get lost at times. I appreciate the chance to interact with readers, anyway!

And now, I must shift to what will be a difficult volunteer group meeting, if they get to the hard topic before I have to leave for a paid work meeting.

There’s Always Something to Be Grateful For

Yes, today’s word is gratitude. You knew that one was coming, right. Those of us working on our attitudes are told by all our self-help books, tapes to keep gratitude journals, because it actually makes us feel better at a brain chemistry level. I know my spouse does it every day and it’s been really good for him.

I don’t write a gratitude journal, but I’ve been practicing just “noticing” where I am and what is going on, often through the day. This just leads to gratitude welling up in me. Corny as it may seem, I’m often just grateful for the privilege of being here on this earth, able to live and continue to learn every day.

Just noticing where I was. Grateful for the ever-entertaining ducks of Cameron.

Today, I awoke from the first decent sleep I’ve had in a while, looked out at my chickens, who got through a pretty bad storm last night, and was glad to see that my sadness of the past few days had moved on to a new phase. The first song I heard this morning said it well:

Let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day

Raglan Road, Irish folk song

I’m practicing being grateful even for the stumbling blocks and unexpected changes life brings, which I’ll talk about more in the next post. Right now, I just want to share how grateful I am for my support system, including these precious beings, who have really improved their behavior lately.

Two good doggies.
Lee is ready for when we are allowed to open our office and need to wear scrubs!

And I’m grateful for my family and close friends (thanks Anita and Mike) for listening to my vents yesterday. I feel very well cared for, with Chris sharing his stories of similar things in his life, and Lee jumping right into lists for planning our future. With this network of support, I’ll get by.

We all deserve a support network when things get weird, and by gosh, things are weird for everyone right now, and lots of us have other things piling on top of the isolation. If I can EVER be a listening ear for YOU, I’m here. I want to pay forward the kindnesses for which I am so grateful.

Your thoughts are always welcome, friends.

Book Report: Can We, Should We, Be “Happier Now?”

They started a book club at work, where everyone is to read some self help book. Even though I had to miss the first meeting, I have been dutifully reading Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones), by Nataly Kogan. Kogan is a Russian immigrant who founded the “Happier” app, which I used for a little while then got nothing out of, because no one else I knew was using it and I probably didn’t quite “get it” at the time. Still, I figured this lady would know something about happiness, since it was her job.

It’s certainly a cheerful-looking book!

I was dubious about this book, to start out with. After all, I’ve read plenty of self help books about learning to love myself as I am, embrace my imperfections, and be kind to myself. I have said more than once that Brené Brown saved my life and that I should re-read The Gifts of Imperfection annually. Her books are how I became the much-less neurotic Suna who writes these blogs.

I told myself that, since I have already turned around my negative self-talk (I scare myself sometimes when I find my inner voice saying stuff like, “I feel great!” or “I’m happy today.”), I really don’t need another book on this topic. Of course, I conveniently forgot that I vowed to read books on this kind of thing yearly, to remind myself of how I want to be in the world.

Continue reading “Book Report: Can We, Should We, Be “Happier Now?””
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