Good Things Come

I waited, and good things came. This evening I went out to work with the horses. Apache was in a good mood. So was I. We had a great time together. It’s how I imagined horse ownership could be.

No horse photos, so here is some gaura, which I also have been waiting for.

Warming up was fun. He is cantering so much more calmly. And we went out to practice jumping, like we’ve been doing all week. He would trot the circle, then stop dead to cross the jump, then take off. But finally he jumped! We were both so thrilled! Going the other way he didn’t jump but did trot over the jump. That may have been his first jump. I’ve certainly never seen him do it before.

Spring! Willow buds.

Then we had a great ride in which he barely got nervous and I didn’t react inappropriately once. We are getting the hang of things.

While my hotel sunrise was pretty, I was glad to get away from the city.

Other good things are also coming along. There’s been good progress on the tack room. They wired it for electricity and are insulating the walls. How fancy!

I see future light switches.

I like what they chose for the walls. It looks like shiplap or something. It’s thicker than paneling but not as thick as the stuff we’d originally wanted, which was really expensive. Wood prices, sigh.

I think I’ll leave it unpainted.

They added a side window to the south, so the air conditioner can go in it. That will also bring in a little light.

The mini fridge will go under this new window.

I’m pretty excited that it’s really happening! Good things come to those who wait.

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.

I’m the Hero

Yes. Thanks to ME the pool dreams are coming true. The show of poop came to an end today, to much hilarity.

Cutting to the chase: we have fire.

Yes. Other than a minor adjustment, the pool is working. It is a miracle, sort of. First, the pool guys showed up bright and early with a new heater. This one worked and was not too bad to install. However, they’d been unable to find the missing mechanism for the fire pit. Bummer.

Glad to have this out of the way.

Then I worked a lot. Work, work, work, meet, meet, meet. Oh, did I mention we had our first “meal” with the kids at the cabin last night? Yes! Dairy Queen drive through! Official move-in date is this weekend.

Anyway, mid afternoon the propane guys came back. They got the heater hooked up, and now we’re cooking with gas. Yep.

Thrilled.

We were all sad that we could not get the fire pit going. They got more stuff attached, and we’re looking around at the inside of the pit. It was all dusty and full of plastic stuff that appeared to be trash.

Looks like trash.

Ha. That was not trash. I picked up a bag and there was some copper stuff in it. Hey, is this the thing you we’re looking for?

Yes.

Well. I was the hero of the day. In fact, everything they needed was under the dust from drilling the holes. Sheepishly, the guys set off to hook everything up. And soon, as you saw earlier, fire occurred.

Glorious reflection of fire pit, and Lee’s beloved vacuum hose.

So yes. The pool is a pool! Other than needing something to brace the fire pit mechanism against and covering the new holes, we are set. Just in time for a cold front. I do think we’ll get to try the hot tub, though.

Hot tub is heating!

I know the lady at the pool company got a good laugh out of me finding those parts. She no longer has to try to buy one and get it rushed here. As for me, even though I work 7 am to 8 pm tomorrow, I’m seeing nothing but blue skies. Quarantine with hot tub is way better than without.

Success!

Hot tub inaugurated. Still not hot and the cold front blew in!

Two Good Horse Days

Though it’s been a little chaotic behind the scenes here, there’s a definite bright spot for me, and its name is Apache.

Who, me?

I’ve been listening to the things my trainer says and reading her stuff, and I’ve gotten a lot of insight from another horse person, Warwick Schiller, who stresses the importance of your relationship with your horse. He often talks about building the relationship on the ground first.

A circle on the ground.

I finally got the schooling circle built so I could practice my Apache homework. I got these little cones, then realized I had bought some old ones from Lakota’s owner. Sara gave me some good advice on cobbling my circle together, and it came out good. Plus, it’s easy to move or put away, like when the wind kicks up.

I’m supposed to pay attention.

I figured since my next lesson isn’t for a while I could spend a few days just working on connecting on the ground. Now that I have guidance on keeping him paying attention to me in the round pen, we are progressing well. We both have fun. He really likes following me around the pen wherever I go (with no lead).

I’m listening now.

But the best part comes when we go out. He has been walking beside me in that “partner” way. He walks beside me politely and doesn’t bump me. He doesn’t veer off to grab grass or be squirrelly. Nope. He only tried to eat grass ONCE yesterday and once today.

Happy us.

It’s been totally stress free. If he starts to rush, I just stop. Neither of us got worked up. Once he tensed up, and we just waited. We walked all the way down the driveway and around that circle in and out. His head was down and relaxed, he snorted, and he had a nice time. So did I. This stuff is working. I’m pleased. It feels like we’re starting from the beginning, but the right way. Yay.

Good night from Fiona

From the Pit to the Pinnacle

Whew. This has been a weird-ass week. I was really pessimistic about work over the weekend, and Monday I found out some changes were happening, right when I was supposed to be gearing up to contribute to an initiative.

But, I wrote myself that perky pushback post, read some of my other messages to myself, and by gosh, I pushed back. I figured out a way to empower one part of my team, make their work more visible, and engage other folks to share their value.

I only had three half days to do this, and I required help, but it happened. One of my colleagues really stepped up to help, and between the two of us, we went from feeling defeated to feeling renewed. We could have just sat there in Eyore mode and moped, but no, we did something.

I was a little worried about the amount of initiative I took, but after enduring me excitedly outline my plans, my boss was impressed, not upset. I felt supported and validated. All it took was leadershipping, as we call it.

Knowing that I’ve developed the skills to pick myself up and start again validates the hard work I’ve put into becoming the person I’d always hoped I could be. You really do have to slog through the pits if you want to reach the pinnacle of your personal growth goals.

On to the next challenge.

By the way, we stayed at a hotel near Tyler, Texas last night. It’s known for its roses, so I had to take some pictures for the blog readers. The white ones even smelled good.

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?

Celebrating All Wins

Along with Lee and two other business partners, I used to be a part of a real estate organization called FortuneBuilders. While it was an investment, the classes and networking ended up being well worth it. The leaders were a very positive bunch of human beings, and they brought in good motivational speakers and topics (I am a HARSH judge of motivational speakers, so when I say they were good, I’m not kidding).

Sometimes we had fun at those conferences

Anyhow, one of the things the FortuneBuilder folks stressed was that it takes a lot of small successes among even more setbacks and challenges to get ahead in whatever you’re trying to do. They encouraged us to “Celebrate All Wins” no matter how big or small (if you got a response to one of your annoying postcards offering to buy someone’s home, for example). They even gave out shirts emblazoned with CAW to people who shared their wins at conferences (ah, I remember live conferences).

They are also nice and comfy shirts. By the way, my closet is STILL organized and in good shape.

This morning, I was telling Lee about something that was challenging at work that I did a good job handling, and he said we need to make a bigger deal out of these things, like back in the good old CAW days. The idea works for home health agencies, software companies, horsemanship endeavors, fitness goals, and even interpersonal relationships. In other words, it works in all areas of our own lives!

Here’s Russell interacting with one of those motivational speakers

I’m going to take Lee up on it and celebrate my wins for the past day or two!

  • I started my bullet journal
  • I participated in that Bioblitz
  • I figured out a helpful process for working on our documentation at work
  • I reassigned two team members and they each like their new assignment better
  • The friend for whom I knitted the striped shawl received it and loved it
  • I got all but one chicken to sleep in the coop last night, rather than the garage (more on that in another post)
  • I made progress on my stepping off a cliff project. One step closer to flying.

I feel better already, just for writing all those things down! No wonder I have felt perky and chipper all day, even on day 5 of 8 AM meetings!

Just bullet journaling away for two whole days.

A Challenge

Here’s today’s challenge: Share your wins! Celebrate them! I want to know!

How to Be a Superhero, or Not

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook may notice that I don’t share very many memes, but when I do, they tend to be from the Tiny Buddha page. Tiny Buddha was founded by Lori Deschene in 2009, and has always been a favorite source of content that is both uplifting and insightful. The content they share is always relevant and thoughtful, unlike a lot of meme sources that I don’t particularly enjoy.

Ooh, that’s right!

Today’s meme that was shared is one of those little ideas that spark some contemplation in me. That usually means I have to go for a walk around the office to think, but since I’m working from home today, I walked the dogs and thought, using the rest of my lunch break to write. (Now you know how I do all this…I fit things into small blocks of time and type fast.)

How I felt as a kid. Image from @rfgjune1968 via Twenty20

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Supergirl. I wanted to save many planets, bring people in danger to safety, and be invulnerable to attack. In fact, I still like Supergirl, since she’s a superhero with a big heart and a little bit of self-doubt on occasion. I think, in reality, my goal was to do something big with my life, not just hide in the shadows and watch the world go by.

Hmm

The above paragraph does explain a lot about me. I wanted to be relevant, meaningful, and accomplished (in what I do not know, but I think it involved typing fast, for sure).

Of course, time passes and goals slip away. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped in my first career choice, thanks to a relationship or two that went bad (mistakes were made and mostly by me) and made me want to flee. I got lost for a while. I floundered. Then I crawled out of a hole, and one reason was that I stopped wallowing in my failures and found ways where I could help others.

Like Persephone, I found reasons to climb out of the underworld. (So dramatic, Suna!) Image by @BridgesBridgesBridges via Twenty20

No matter what’s gone on in my life since I caught my second wind, I’ve been proud to be able to help others, contribute to important causes, and make people’s lives better (helping mothers with breastfeeding and parenting, along with teaching so many people to knit and crochet may be what I am proudest of). Does that make me a superhero? No, probably not.

I haven’t physically fought bad guys, brought down corporate evil-doers, or written a book that saves lives. But, I can see that I made a positive difference in people’s lives by bringing them happiness, joy, or a sense of accomplishment. As someone recently pointed out, I always seem to be teaching someone something (that may explain the Master Naturalist thing).

You never know what YOU might do that constitutes being a hero. Maybe you listen to a friend in need. Maybe you can share a passion for animals or plants. Maybe you find a way to volunteer. Maybe your kindness to grocery store clerks makes their days better.

Mandi presented her own kids with tech awards. They both also work hard, for very little recognition. But I see!

Somehow, this all raises my spirits. I can think of people I know and what their “superhero” traits are, and my heart fills with admiration. Mandi mentors both adults and children in community theater, with no reward sought (I was proud she got acknowledged at last weekend’s children’s theater award banquet, though).

My friends Carolyn and Georgia constantly raise my awareness of social and political needs and actions I can take. My sister shares beautiful animals she finds on the Internet. My husband mentors people who want to learn about running businesses, even when he isn’t trying. Facebook friends and fellow bloggers open their hearts and make me feel both smarter and more connected. On and on.

Allow me to share some beauty. This little plant blooms twice a year! That makes it a superhero!

You don’t need to be a superhero. Just be you. It matters.

sara annon

seeking the middle path

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