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!

Horse Heaven!

Blog readers know that I’ve been struggling with my goofy and issue-filled Paint horse. He gets better, he gets worse, I do better, I do worse. He goes lame, he feels better, he gets adhesions, Trixie works on him…

…and by gosh, he gets better. Last weekend was a big step. I’ve been doing what I can with him with it so cold. Today, though, it was so chilly Sara and I decided not to go to our lessons.

Still we wanted to do something, so she came over with Aragorn to work on things. I got all our horses put away, and even managed to move Drew and Apache at the same time.

But the best happened after I mounted. Who is this horse? We walked, we trotted, he tried to misbehave, I corrected him. He settled down and started doing everything I asked him to like a normal horse. It was so nice.

So we went out of the round pen and lo and behold, he acted like a normal horse. Round and round behind or in front, walk or trot! Comfortable trot!

Ta-da – this may look boring but that’s what we want!

I asked Sara if she could lead us to the barrels! In the direction where he used to get squirrelly. Aragorn didn’t want to, so WE led! Straight to the barrel and around. We went all over my messed up playground, including over the little jump.

When I figured we’d had enough success, we stopped and grinned and got emotional at each other (the humans). This was such a great point on our journey. Sara knows how hard I’ve been trying, so she was happy with me. It was great to have a friend and witness to our progress.

Aragorn says he’d have been a leader if Suna’s pieces of metal by the gate hadn’t unnerved him.

Like she said, the horse is feeling much better thanks to Trixie, he’s understanding what we are asking thanks to Tarrin, and I’m doing so much better with the support and wisdom of Tarrin. It takes a village. I’m so thankful for this. It’s really helped me through the other challenges.

Now on to new skills, or a setback. I’m ready for whatever. I’m in horse heaven with both my guys. It sure makes up for working so hard.

No, You’re Not Responsible for the Happiness of Others

Here is a post where I lecture myself and remind myself of how one of my personality features bites me in the butt, repeatedly, for the same dang thing. It’s bugging me so much that I’ve started writing my own passive aggressive memes about it. I put a picture of Fiona enjoying Johnson grass under the words “You are responsible for your own happiness.” I felt good.

May be an image of animal, outdoors and text that says 'You are & responsible for your own happiness 0'
Fiona knows this!

And, by the way, I am still occasionally annoyed beyond belief when people post thinly disguised “messages” to folks who are in their disfavor via memes. On the other hand, some of Kathleen’s do make me laugh, so I’m not saying y’all should never do it. Perhaps I just don’t like the ones aimed at me. Wow, that makes me sound like a jerk. Newsflash: I AM a jerk, at least in the eyes of some people. Hey, it reminds me of another meme I wrote years ago: No one is universally beloved unless they are boring as hell.

Where I’m going here is that I keep re-learning is that it’s not my job to “make” anyone else happy. In fact, when I try to do so, it usually blows up in my face in a spectacular manner. And I’m the one who gets hurt. That’s why I wrote a meme to remind myself. It said: “Reminder time: You’re not responsible for the happiness of others.”

I’ve probably mentioned this before, since I’ve been blogging so long, but indulge me as I repeat that one of my “features” is that I find sad people, see their good points, and want to help them become happier. This started in my twenties, where I tried to help a paranoid grad school friend realize that people weren’t always talking about him behind his back and the professors didn’t hate him just because one didn’t say hello in the hall. I knew I couldn’t “fix” him, but wanted to make things easier on him. Of course, he hurt me badly in the end. And I didn’t really help. I heard from him a few years ago, and he was still thinking everyone was out to get him. I didn’t contact him again.

Not by me, but true.

Moving forward, many (okay, most) of my “love affairs” I now see as me trying to help someone sad feel better. Coincidentally, many had some pretty severe mental illnesses they were living with (a LOT of borderline personality disorder). I’d help with their self esteem and get them to a better place by being kind and listening a lot, but I couldn’t “cure” them, just show that they are worth caring for just as they are. Once that message sunk in, they’d move on to someone more well suited to them. And I’d be sad. I do hope the new relationships went well. And hey, I did eventually see my destructive pattern and STOP IT. Lee’s the last sad person I rescued, lol. I was also sad, though, so this time it was mutual, and we are sticking together through thick and thin.

It wasn’t just people I “fell in love” with. I also would come across younger folks and want to help them get a good start in life. Some of those actually worked out very well, and I have some great friends living wonderful, independent lives. But, I was still drawn toward people whose issues were really not something I could do anything about. I couldn’t “make” them happy by providing them with a safe home, sharing experiences with them, giving them tools for their hobbies, or anything. Mostly I now have a lot of baking and art supplies to show for that.

Ooh, this meme hits close to home.

At least two of these people I tried to help and even brought into my home ended up lecturing me for being kind to them just to make me look good. I took that to heart. Maybe a lot of it was MY problem, not theirs. Ugh. All this self-evaluation is not fun or pretty. But I hope I learned the lesson that each of us is responsible for our own happiness, and while giving people a chance is good, they need to find their own way.

I need to keep writing myself some memes, though, because it has dawned on me that I’ve been trying to make life better to some other folks, STILL. I spend so much mental effort trying to figure out ways to make their lives easier and more pleasant. I want the people in my home and work life to feel like they’re contributing to society, cared for, and not alone. That’s probably okay. I still can’t “make” anyone feel less depressed, less unfulfilled, or satisfied with where their life has ended up. It’s not my job.

A meme about walking your own path.

I say all that to try to reinforce it in my head. I’m NOT a failure if people I care about are not handling things well. I can’t rescue anyone, including myself! So, right now I’m working to get a better balance between caring for others and protecting myself from hurt. I know I’m not alone in this, but it’s damned hard. I’m not doing a good job of it a lot of the time. I’m wired to be an annoying rescuer, and I’m sure it came from growing up with a powerless, mentally ill mother, or whatever.

All’s not lost, though. I’ve been learning a lot in working with my team in Austin, and my boss has come up with this helpful way of looking at the mentor-mentee relationship. And that’s that the mentor can only give 50% of the effort in improving situations. The other person ALSO has to give their own 50%. Expecting someone to fix everything for you never works; you have to put in the effort. Thanks, boss, you super-stoic.

Sara and Ace are the perfect example. Each of them has to be doing their part for their horse-rider relationship to grow.

Forgive me if I’ve ever tried to help you and it made you upset or angry. I’m doing it because I also need help, ya know? Eventually I’ll figure out a balance between being part of a supportive community for those who could use some help and supporting my own self. Maybe even I’ll do better at asking for help. Those are some big dreams.

Until then, I’ll look for memes.

PS: On the podcast, I added that I may not have been clear here. I’m not saying you can’t support, love, and cherish people who are struggling, nor that you shouldn’t. I was trying to just make it clear that you can’t force people to not feel the way they feel. Did that help?

The Tiny Calf

I can tell this story, because it’s happy, and I like happy baby stories. We’ve had a calf on the property for a week who was having trouble immediately after birth. I saw one of the lease guys pick it up and put it in the utility vehicle. I noticed it wasn’t standing.

The sun shining on mama and day-old baby

I was relieved to see the little feller in the pen the next day. He was sure cute, and his mama was very protective. I noticed he sorta scooted around.

I’m so cute.

The next couple of days I figured out there was something wrong with his front legs. He always stood with his hooves folded under. It turns out his tendons had gotten stretched at birth, and it’s not uncommon. Usually it resolves itself in a few days.

I’m trying!

The other issue was he was having trouble nursing. Not being able to stand very long couldn’t help. But, the guys who own him were not giving up. He got bottle fed twice a day, and believe me, milking a beef cow is not a romantic event where you sit on a stool with a pail. No, she had to get squeezed in the chute so she’d hold still!

You may not photograph me getting milked. By this time, he was standing more and even ran a few steps.

Monday, the cow looked way better, and sure enough, we saw the calf nursing. My resident experts were concerned that his tendons hadn’t settled back yet. Both Sara and Trixie said they’d never seen it last so long. That worried me.

My right foot is pretty good.

Today was all rainy, but I sure was glad to see the little family still in the pen. And hey, look who was standing and walking around like a calf? Our little guy! I needed that happy sight.

You be careful over there, son.

After a week, he’s almost normal and obviously gaining weight from all that delicious moo milk. I found out he hasn’t had a bottle since Monday. Looks like all that patience and extra care was worth it! Just look at that smile!

Cheese!

He’s a friendly fellow, but mama isn’t. I know she will be glad to get back in the pasture! I really admire the guys who care for these cattle for being willing to take extra care of their herd. Ranchers with good hearts! (And they’ll make money, too.)

Irrational Pleasure at Small Things

I’m beginning to think the reason I’m usually in such a positive frame of mind is that it’s so darn easy to give me little bits of happiness throughout the day. Just in my office, alone, there are things that make me feel a wee bit of joy every time I use them. Just now I was talking to Anita about my love for the very large set of gel pens she got me for Christmas.

Oooh, ah. This thing has TWO layers.

They replaced the HORRIBLE gel pens I’d been using to write in my notebook every day. I’d say 75% of them were dried up before I even got to use them, and they weren’t that old. I do love the stand they came in, but I guess Anita got tired of me cursing every time I tried to write something down.

Bad pens, on their way to Pen Heaven.

The new pens work like a charm. I, being me, and using them in order to write my notes each day. It’s the baby version of the incredibly complex, but meaningful to him, system Lee uses in his really fancy journals.

Other things that just perk me up a little every day are my various rose-scented items. I love the smell of roses. Of course, it makes Lee sick (I have never met anyone so sensitive to scents in my life, and that’s saying a lot for someone who attended a Unitarian Universalist church where scents, real candles, and many types of flowers were banned because of folks who, I assume, would not have lasted long prior to this century), so I indulge mostly in Austin or in my office in Cameron.

Before I got so lost in my parenthetical ravings, I was going to say how I like the rose cuticle oil (with cute li’l dried strawflowers in it) and my fancy rose oil perfume from my favorite multi-level marketing vendor. I have one of those for all my desks.

Smelly objects!

Naturally, my red leather notebook with my name on it makes me happy, too. I write in it every day and enjoy how soft it is. It’s from Jenny Bick, if you want your very own cute journal.

One more thing I love is a good keyboard. I must say I irrationally love the clicky keyboard I have in the Austin office and the cute candy-colored one I have in the Cameron office (they are from a Chinese company that markets itself as the PNK Stuff). Why not enjoy yourself while you type all day, every single day?

Well, look at that. I just came up with all these things just sitting at my desk! No wonder I’m such a chill type of gal these days. I doubt I’ll continue and share what I love about the area around my chairs in my living rooms or my bed. I think it’s clear that many things bring me joy. No wonder I can’t toss most of my things.

What makes you happy just by having it nearby or using it daily? Suna wants to KNOW!

Why Does the Horse Pee at Me?

Apache. He’s quite a guy, with the heart shape on his chest and his pretty mane and tale. He’s also quite funny.

He likes to stand on anything that makes him look taller.

Lee tells me that while I was gone, Apache made his annoyance at not getting his hay regular enough quite clear. First there was snorting, then he snatched a big hunk before Lee could even get it down to him.

But for me, he reserves a very special message. As soon as he spots me coming down the driveway, he snickers. Then, like he’s on a schedule, he pees. That’s an impressive sight that I’ll spare you. Consider it a Blogmas gift.

I’d noticed it before, but I’ve been keeping track, and that horse has peed for me every day since I got back. I actually found a forum post on the topic, and a bunch of English people agreed that many horses “wee” from excitement to see their human friends. Aww. Happiness in horse language.

Now that I think of it, lots of female dogs pee from excitement. Or fear. Ha. I don’t think he’s afraid. Not him!

I love you, too, Apache.

I’m always glad to see him and Fiona, too. But I can hold my pee until I get home.

Crissi McDonald

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