Happiness Is Birds and Beasts

This is an interesting part of my life. Outside of me, things are challenging. Inside of me, I’m feeling better than I ever have. I wish I’d learned to focus on what I can influence and let other stuff go much earlier in life. But I think only experience teaches us how important this is and helps us do it.

Vlassic is a great role model. Really lives in the moment!

I had a lovely day. Birds made me so happy, just watching them. I watched the resident great blue heron looking for food in the new pond and wondered if there are fish in there now.

Then I just watched our sparrows traveling from tree to tree, and was really impressed at how many bugs a mockingbird got while I was getting the mail. That bird was busy, and it seemed very pleased with itself.

The beast that made my day happy was Apache. We had quite a productive day. We’ve been working on cantering after jumping and in the round pen. He’s really improved since our last lesson. He was a jumping fiend today and did his cantering exercise in the round pen the best he’s done so far. He has figured out what I want him to do, and he actually seems proud of himself.

I’ve got skills.

And we had a fun ride, too, with improved skills and encouraging calmness when we went out to ride around. Things that used to be hard are getting easier, and his demeanor is so much calmer. Y’all, I keep saying this, but I’m still blown away at how much better things are getting between us. We’re a team!

See how calm I am. I’m tired from all that cantering.

I know I’m feeling good when I get goofy. For the past few days I’ve been doing arts and crafts at the horse pens. I’m making a decorative weaving with the strings that hold hay bales together. Well, that’s re-using a waste product, right?

So far, it’s mostly warp.

I’ll need more string soon, but that’s okay, since they need more hay.

Sure, some grass is here, but it’s winter, Mom!

You know, having a calm and peaceful part of my life took a lot of work. So I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it.

Why My 2022 Blog Stats Don’t Disappoint Me

People often share year-end blog recaps. I remembered that today (oops) and checked the hits and views and other statistics from last year. I was not too surprised to realize my numbers were down 13% compared to 2021.

People may be bored of flowers

I know a couple of reasons why not as many visitors came last year.

One: not as many projects to follow. I used to write a lot about projects we were engaged in, like renovations and ranch improvements. Some got lots of interest. But we’re not able to share as much now. Just horses.

Two: not as much drama. Posts about deaths of pets, illnesses, natural disasters, and conflict get lots of hits. I didn’t have but one dead rooster and a niece bitten by a lack widow. I’m not going to complain about a lack of drama!

Three: better mental health. I’ve felt better, so I’ve ranted and whined considerably less. Reading about how good I feel, how much fun I’m having, and how little other people’s issues are messing with me is not riveting entertainment. And that’s fantastic!

Four: apparently there were folks reading this blog just to find things to gossip about. By not mentioning most people in my life (other than my husband and horse trainer) I’m not providing gossip fodder. Please gossip about me and my flaws all you want, though, because that’s your problem, not mine. I’m at peace with my idiosyncrasies.

I figure yakking about what I learn from

So yeah. I’m more boring! That’s the BEST! The people I care about are still here, and I appreciate the chance to share nature, horses, dogs, needle crafts, and travel with them. Thanks for hanging out with boring and happy Suna.

Keep writing about us! We’re fascinating!

I Can’t Breathe, but I’m Happy

Finally, the strep symptoms are fading away, but I think I also have a common cold or something causing me to be rather stuffy nosed. That, I can deal with. I took some decongestant and felt all right the rest of the day (and I got nice soft tissues, so I’ll survive). And not only that, I’m in much better spirits. Hooray!

My feathers are no longer so ruffled.

The day started out pretty fun, as I tried to help out Declan as he figured out how to move round hay bales. There’s a first time for everything, and the two of us managed to figure it out (me with ideas, principles, and horse moving, and him with actually wrangling the tractor and hay).

I think I can, I think I can, says Declan

There was a lot of horse moving involved. They were fascinated when we moved the hay ring and had to try to see if they could knock it over. Then they were extra fascinated when the new bale came in (after Declan heroically figured out how to stab the rather unstable bale with the hay forks so it could move).

Let’s see if this thing rolls.

Once the bale went down, we realized it needed to be set upright, but the horses were having none of that and began eating as if they had never seen hay before. Mabel was especially excited, but at least she moved out of the way. Droodles stood in front of the bale like a statue, but once I asked him to move, he was a good boy. That impressed Declan.

Mabel demonstrates why you have to remove the hay net. She made it into a hat.

We were very proud of our ranching selves once everything was set up and the intense munching began. Maybe now Drew won’t keep eating in the bur field (he had a solid bur tail when I went to groom him). And next time we’ll be like professionals.

This afternoon was Tarrin’s monthly visit to the ranch. We were disappointed that the promised sunny day didn’t appear, but when we had a few sprinkles, we were rewarded with a rainbow that ended in Sara’s horses. I always knew there were attractive horses at the end of the rainbow.

Worth the rain!

Let me tell you what, there are two reasons I am so happy today, and their names are Drew and Apache. My horses lifted me up today, and I lived up to their encouragement and did pretty well, myself. Tarrin and I were both pretty darned pleased by the end of our lessons. We are having success!

Drew showed no signs of backsliding after getting back here and having two days off due to my sickness and the rain. He was lovely to watch when Tarrin rode him, and when we moved into the round pen, he and I made a lot of progress. We are figuring each other out and enjoying it at the same time, I think. I petted him and praised him so much! Plus, the new saddle felt great. I forgot all about it, which I figure is a good sign.

By the way, I’m majestic.

Apache, though, oh my goodness. The bodywork he got last week seems to have made a huge difference in how he feels. He was so calm, relaxed, and cheerful for his whole lesson…seemed like a new guy. Tarrin says his rear end really looked better, with no dragging of his hooves, etc. He could move sideways way better, even side passing adequately. I was right that it was hurting him, I guess.

Who’s this? Why is this in my Apache section? Well, it’s Apache’s mother, Nytengale! Sara found this picture today. You can see how he got his bay good looks.

Riding him was so much fun. He was so responsive to everything I asked him to do! That’s what I’ve been trying to get to with the horses. It takes me learning how to ride, the horses learning what they need to do, and getting everyone healthy and in shape. Tarrin’s so right that a pain-free horse can learn better and definitely in the case of Apache, they can listen better.

I’m not kidding, though, Apache seemed to be enjoying himself as much as I was. We are turning into a team. I think that’s good for both of us.

Two Dreams, One Came True, One Didn’t (Thankfully)

Let me start with the dream that didn’t come true. I was obviously a bit stressed out from going to work and not knowing where the office actually was. That night, I had a dream that I was visiting my previous job, the previous location for it. Everyone was there, and it had been remodeled with very cheerful colors and furnishings.

They had alcoholic beverages, too.

I chatted with the happy workers, but then, as it often happens in my dreams, I had to pee. I headed to where the bathrooms were, only to find people at workstations in there, cheerfully typing. I asked where the bathrooms were. “Down the road,” was the response.

WTF??

In the dream, I blurted out, “What if you have diarrhea?” The answer was, “We have an Uber right outside!” I went out and yep, there was an old black car. I got in, and the driver sped off. I asked him if he thought driving people to the bathroom struck him as weird. He turned around and smiled at me, saying, “The tips are great!”

I woke up.


The other dream, the one that did come true isn’t that exciting, except to me. The past two rides I’ve had on Apache the Paint horse have made me so dang happy that it’s like I’ve nailed my bucket list. We’ve been improving slowly over the past year, as you probably know.

Honest, he’s happy, too.

Yesterday we did the thing I’d been wanting to do so badly. We went out in the back pasture and wandered around, going up and down the arroyo, and checking out all the fences and trees. We just did it. No stress, no spinning around, no freezing and snorting. We just had a good time.

Hey Drew, we had fun.

Today was just as fun. First I worked with Drew, who’s getting better at his stuff on the ground. His reward was a nice walk together, which we both love. Halfway through was his big reward: he got to eat long grass in the unmown front field. What a dream, hanging out in the shade and relaxing.

So. Much. Grass.

The dream continued with Apache’s ride. He’s just doing so well. We trotted around like we k ew what we were doing, walked all the way across the road (I checked for cars), then headed out to the front field. Rather than getting worried as we got farther from the other horses, he looked around and checked things out. We looked at pretty pink flowers, sunflowers, and long, waving grass.

Wandering around looking at flowers while feeling safe on a happy, calm horse…that has been my dream since things went sour with Apache a couple of years ago. And I’d never been able to ride through fields alone before. I’d been afraid to ride without another person with me.

The view from the pool. Ahh.

Things are better.

Electrified!

Yesterday had a lot of happiness to it, so let’s celebrate that! The electricians came in and hooked up all our new outbuildings so we can enjoy some light, air conditioning, heat, and fun. Yes, the pool house, chicken coop, and most important, the tack room, are all hooked up. Whoop! Some work still needs to be done, but the tack room was all ready to go.

Look, a light!

The lights are good, of course, but the most important thing that happened was the perky new air conditioner got up and running. I enjoyed basking in its coolness while I rearranged all the new feed I got when we went out yesterday.

Why, no, the air conditioner will NOT be set to that temperature in the future. Lee requests 78. We will see.

To celebrate the advent of the electric age, I also upgraded my floor cleaning technology and installed a cute little stick vacuum cleaner that’s cordless. It arrived all charged up, so I gave it a whirl. It worked great and now there are no crumbs laying around to encourage vermin (they can easily get in through the doors, because they have a gap–plan is to replace them one of these days with a nice barn door.

Vacuum cleaner, ready to go (plus stored bags and my helmets)

I’m all excited to finish fixing up the tack room. There is some painting to do, a light fixture to install, and the small refrigerator to obtain. That will all be soon. In the meantime, I have art to put up and things to allow me to get a bit of work done in there. I’m also going to get a small coffeemaker.

Also, light bulbs will go in those lamps today.

However, no coffee will be made today, since we are under a boil notice from the water company. Boo hoo. Hope that is fixed soon. In the meantime, I have bottled beverages to take over there.

Outside view of the little air conditioner that CAN! (It will also heat)

There was a lot involved with getting the electrical work done. Many things needed to be hooked up, large pipes needed to be filled with wire, and hookups made to all the little breaker boxes (we still need one more larger one, which I think will show up later today). The horses were fascinated when the workers were at the tack room!

We aren’t interested in the electricity. What’s on that trailer?

Yes, the horses got a present yesterday, too. I bought them a hay ring. It’s not as nice as my dream one, which is what my friend Cindy had on her beautiful ranch, but it will last a long time and was “only” $300. Livestock stuff ain’t cheap.

Hay ring, and chicken food that has to go over to the coop. That porch light ALSO works now, by the way.

I’m so excited that I have a place to cool off when working with the horses and Fiona, and that I can write in my horse journal there, have horsey friends over, and whatever. I am also glad the chickens will be able to have a heater in the winter and a warmer if we have chicks again. The coop still needs to be finished, but it wasn’t a high priority. The chickens are happy enough to have the new coop to hang out in when it gets hot. Every day I go to get eggs and find them all in there, relaxing comfortably!

I’ll show you just how happy I am. Lee gave me a flower sticker and it fell on my nail polish box just right. I’m as happy as that donkey looks!

Have a good weekend!

Why Am I Feeling Good?

Hey! Everybody! Woo! I feel good today! Even with no anti-anxiety meds! It IS possible!

Like this weed we are pretending was planted on purpose I’m blooming despite challenges.

Here are two things I feel good about. First, after many years, the ear worm in my head has changed. Goodbye Billy Joel’s “My Life” and hello Stevie Nicks repeatedly reminding me that thunder only happens when it’s raining. I’m not sure it’s an improvement. But just like with the first song, I looked up all the lyrics in hopes that more parts of the song will play. It’s called “Dreams” in case you, like me, are unable to remember stuff from that long ago.


Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?
It’s only right that you should play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness

Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost
And what you had
And what you lost

Oh, thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know
You’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me who wants to wrap around your dreams
And have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness

Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost
And what you had
Oh, what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know

Oh, thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know


Remember to pronounce it “waSHEZ” you clean. Argh. What an awful song. It often thunders when it’s not raining! But, it’s different.

I may find her voice annoying on this song, but she’s always been my on-stage wardrobe role model. That and she didn’t deny her spiritual beliefs, which meant a lot to me as a young woman.

The other thing I’m happy about is that I let myself rest for a couple of days. Oddly enough, my knees have been hurting me. I don’t have bad knees! I think my hurt feet made me walk funny, plus running around beside Drew didn’t help. The knees finally feel better. I listened to my body!

Carlton reminds us all to stop and snell the flowers. I don’t think hibiscus smell, but that’s okay.

The funny thing is I’m now so used to being active that I felt all slug-like when I didn’t put in my 30 minutes or more of exercise and 10,000 or more steps. Am I still me?

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this switch from such deep stuff! Enjoy your Friday.

Back with My Tribe

I’m somehow really tired today, even after a great night of sleep. So much happened today, but the best part is I’m home with my family and animals. It’s what counts.

Christmas cholla in bloom. And today was like Christmas.

Things are fine here. Horses and dogs and chickens all fine. Plants good. Pool sparkly. I’m happy.

Drew looks like a real horse.

I’m grateful to my family for caring for things here and making them even better. More on all that tomorrow after I recover from a day of surprise and delight.

Althea flower at a house we’re buying.

The World Collapses, But I Feel Okay

This morning I was listening along with Lee to his morning podcasts when one of them (sorry, I forget which one) began to discuss a phenomenon that is not uncommon today. People report that they are experiencing a good time in their lives, with positive experiences, interactions, and situations. Yet those same people are concerned about the fact that outside of their own little bubble, things seem to be going downhill in alarming ways.

Today is a more alarming than usual day, especially for those of us with friends or family in Ukraine or Russia. I’m especially concerned about the everyday citizens who have nothing to do with the posturings and agendas of their political leaders. I’m one of those people here in the US, so it isn’t hard to imagine what regular folks who just want to earn a living, enjoy their families, and have some fun are dealing with right now in both places. It’s worse for people like me, since random wars are always hard on pacifists. And no, I am not going to apologize for being a nonviolent person, no matter how much it might offend people who treasure violence or at least the possibility of being violent.

Even with all the turmoil going on around me in my family and very small (but fabulous) circle of friends, I keep thinking this may be the best time of my life. I’ve achieved a lot of my goals, minimized people and things that bring me down, and have a comfortable life. I’m even dealing with the inevitable little hiccups (like the heater going out AGAIN on the main floor of my house, where my home office is) pretty well. I’m quite happy as long as I keep to the things I have some control or influence over.

I have influence on my desk, so I made it cheerful.

Maybe people were happier back in the times when the news of the world wasn’t blasting in their ears 24/7 and all drama was local drama. Sure, if invaders attacked, it was bad, but the rest of the time, you weren’t worried about the invaders on the other side of the planet.

Perhaps it’s crafts overload, but it all makes me happy.

No wonder so many people are becoming more hermit-like and just staying away from all the things that threaten others. I wish I were better at it, but I still rail at Texas politicians who are fighting to take away the rights of my family and friends, just as others rail at rights they feel are being threatened. We’re all the same, it seems, just with different focuses (foci). I’m working to care about all of us, but not internalize it to where it eats away at my ability to see what is good around me.

Come visit me and relax in what I hope will soon be my retreat area.

Also, the heat came on. Yay?

Suna and Apache Go Forth and Ride

I must have the best horse trainer and instructor on earth. She has helped me and my horse work through our issues and come out better than ever. She said it’s like we went through marriage counseling. So true!

I am so happy here.

Apache did well during his week with Tarrin. She got him back to paying attention to his rider and getting confident. Lots of great work gave him such a good tuneup. Obviously. We went out into the pasture like we did it every day.

We are both smiling.

We also successfully made it down the passageway he had so much trouble with last week, twice, without incident.

I am concentrating. But I’m happy inside.

Apache gets to stay another week for further refinement. It is probably not his idea of fun. It may be, though, because he has always seemed to be having fun when we did things together in the past. We always enjoyed trail rides with Sara and going to clinics. I’m looking forward to a clinic in a couple of weeks, now that we are doing better together.

Happy trails to us!

I feel a lot better now that I have the tools I need to communicate well and not confuse Apache. And I can stop his inclination to test me quickly. We both have refined our skills. Of course, there is way more to do.

Coming around the round pen to test his new skills.

Wait until we get to trotting and someday cantering! That would be real progress for him. He’s never been balanced enough to canter well. Let’s hope his trainer has more education ready to roll out. I think she does.

Thanks to my photographer friends, Tarrin, Teddy, and Lee. They captured moments that will keep me going in the coming weeks whenever I feel useless and unimportant. I’m important to my horses!

I have a big day tomorrow. More on what I’ve been learning tomorrow. Today I learned that Suna and Tarrin don’t like me pushing into them.

Taking Time to Smile

Not much time to write, because I was busy working and having fun. I got to check out Anita’s house renovation in progress, and I was surprised to see how pink the bricks are that haven’t been exposed to the elements since the 50s.

Same brick! The ones on the ground were removed to add the window, which is original to the house, but was removed to add a patio door.

Her house is going so great, and I’m proud of the work so far. Heck, the whole town is looking better. Some ugly stucco was taken off a building in downtown and this was revealed.

Old ads.

After I finished teaching, Lee and I went over to a lesson for Apache (because I’m busy this weekend). He seemed in a bad mood, but quickly perked up once we got there. It WAS a bit late.

We had another great lesson in which we both learned a lot. He’s still confused at cantering but was willing to do it for Tarrin. I ran around a lot, but he wouldn’t.

I’ve decided I really like the Western saddle on him. I can feel what I’m doing with my feet better. He started to try to be squirrelly with Tarrin, but she worked with him to get used to being under her lights.

Then I got to try some tight turns and circles, using more “refined aids.” That means not yanking the reins. I figured it out, and was just barely tugging the reins and moving my legs to get him to follow instructions.

I felt so good after improving! I could trot and look correct, even. I think I may become an okay rider after all. I just needed Apache to learn what to expect, then learn to do it. We both are getting a clue.

I even was able to handle him outside the training arena in the dark. Some parts he just did well on, and other parts I coped with. So proud!

Drew and I have a competition number!

I smiled all the way home. I’m so grateful for my great teacher and the chance to keep learning. Heck, Drew and I may even compete later in the year! And Tarrin said trail rides may be sooner than I think. I miss them!

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