Have fun!

  • Have been a little erratic with posting, what with last-minute work thangs and all kinds of errands I wanted to get done before enjoying a few free days.
  • Yesterday while waiting for my gay electrician (I love saying that) to fix something in the kitchen I noticed that Border Collie was squinting. As the faithful readers know, he is only partially sighted. One eye is most probably blind. He probably sees about 50% with the other one. Of course it was the sighted eye that was squinting. And the third eyelid was partially visible. OK, alarm bells going off in my head again. Got on the phone to his ophthalmologist (who once gave me her cell number for emergencies, bless her) and it turned out she was about two hours away. I'd gladly have driven, even in the snow, but she suggested going to a local vet and being called from there. The point is that an infection in this eye could have serious consequences because of the cataract ("aftercataract") and artificial lens in his eye, plus endangering his retina. A scratch on the cornea from a bush or something wouldn't be as bad. Well, there was apparently not much visible, but the vet didn't have the equipment an eye doctor would have. After a short discussion the eye doctor made the vet (I can't describe it any other way, haha) give me atropine drops to dilate the pupil and prevent possible scarring (and reduce irritation), as well as an anti-inflammatory medication (pills) and antibiotic salve for in the eye. That's what I like about her: she gets right in there and treats aggressively to prevent serious complications. He looks better already, discounting the fact that the light bothers him because his pupil is huge. I have to say, a stoned Border Collie is a weird sight to behold (although he only looks stoned). I'm going to talk to the eye doctor on Tuesday and bring her up to speed. Maybe she'll want to take a look.
  • So anyway, considering all the stuff that's been going on, I'm ready for a break. I'll be off the air until January 3 or 4. The whole Reverb10-prompt-thang kind of got pushed to the background and didn't speak to me much the last couple of weeks. I felt kind of wimpy until I saw Shauna Reid's similar feeling in her post on What's new, pussycat?. I mean, if she's feeling the same way I'm allowed to slack off too, right? Right?? I am going to print out the prompts, though, and see whether they produce any results during my break.
  • I hope everyone has a good last week of the year, and hope to see you all (virtually) in 2011! Happy New Year!


  • Horse seems fine, I'm very happy to say. No idea what caused the colic (sometimes you just don't know). But she perked up quickly after the injections and hasn't had a relapse. Big relief.
  • I, on the other hand, am fighting off a cold. Peanuts, of course, compared to what she had. But too bad there's no NyQuil here. Used to love that stuff. Little cupful of it on board and speaking of relief... :-)
  • Continuing my amazing streak of activity, I changed my phone/internet situation per sometime in January. Scary. I'm always afraid something will go wrong, and I don't deal with that very well. Not only do I work mostly from home, but I'm a real e-mail and internet junkie.

Just a little sidetracked

  • We've had a s***load of snow today, very unusual for where I live. If you've been reading along you know I am not happy with snow, because I can't bike and have to walk, and walking hurts. So I'm really not happy. Of course I can take the car (carefully). But I can't take Border Collie out by car, so...I have to walk. And I can't walk Horse by car, so...I have to walk.
  • And speaking of Horse...the worst weather in possibly years, snow coming down at several inches an hour, huge traffic jams, roads closed, accidents everywhere, and: she colics. At first I wasn't sure, because horses often paw at snow, so pawing as a sign of colic was unclear. But back in her stall, she lay down. Not normal. Alarm bells in my head. A minute later, she stood up again. I said out loud to her, "if you're sick, it's ok, but you have to tell someone so we can help you." A few seconds later, she lay down again.
    Anyone with a horse knows that colic is an emergency. Colic can be caused by a number of things, and depending on the cause, the horse can be very seriously ill very quickly and in some cases it won't survive. And there we were with the snow and the traffic jams, the closed roads and the accidents. The standard procedure is to walk the horse and call the vet ASAP. We walked her, with breaks when she got tired (snow was about two feet by then).
    To make a very long story short, at one point there were three vets on the way from three different clinics in three different towns (yes, they all knew there were three on the way). The one that made it first took two hours to get here, and in the meantime Horse was regularly lying on her side, breathing heavily, eyes half closed, exhausted and in pain. My first horse (Horse is the second one) died of colic, so this is when I really started to worry. The examination showed that she had a lot of pain, but that this form of colic would probably be fine after an injection of something to relax the intestines, and something for the pain. After the injection she felt a lot better. I stuck around cleaning up, making sure she was warm enough etc., and then dug out my car. The people at the farm would keep an eye on her for the next few hours while I went home to warm up and have something to eat. Now, six and a half hours later, the medication will have worn off, and the people at the farm haven't called to say she was still ill (they are trustworthy), so I can go to bed. Pfff. Looking forward to seeing her tomorrow morning.

Five minutes

  • Reverb10 prompt # 15 (Patti Digh): Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. Many of the things I'd want to remember have to do with my beloved Man: how he looks at me, how he smells, my back against his belly falling asleep, his willingness to deal with and often enjoy my animals (he wasn't raised with animals around), how giggly we can be, how he is happy to help me with things, how we are good at taking vacations together, how proud I am of his work, cooking and eating together. Then my own personal happinesses: happy dog, cat and horse. Discovering that the capacities of my body, while limited, can be improved. More or less being able to arrange my life as I wish. Sitting around laughing with friends and coffee. Learning and growing. (Really.) Being happy, actually; knowing how that feels. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Thank you!


  • So we slept for about 24 hours this weekend. Besides the fact that I'm barely not getting a cold (ditto for Man), apparently I have gotten a little tired working on the Reverb10 prompt for today, avant la lettre. The prompt, by Scott Belsky, is: "Action. When it comes to aspirations, it's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?" Turns out I have been spending the last few weeks getting my a** in gear on a number of projects, some of them concrete (getting the car serviced, figuring out why the kitchen sink has been draining so slowly for months, making an appointment with the vascular surgeon, ewww), some of them not so concrete yet (working on next year's budget, talking to Man about living arrangements, changing my will). Somehow I've gotten the get-up-and-go to actually take steps concerning a few things that have been hanging over my head. And why does it make me tired? Well, actually it doesn't make me tired to tackle things I've been dreading or putting off. It actually frees up energy. The tired part is that I know I don't have the get-up-and-go every day, or even often. So I want to take advantage of it while I can. What would be your next steps to reach some goal or tackle some project? Leave a comment!

I always cry at flashmobs...

  • Someone sent me this today. I don't know why, but I always cry at this kind of thing. Sound of Music in Antwerp Central Station, Frozen Grand Central, lump in my throat every time. Love the films by Improv Everywhere. (Though I don't necessarily get teary-eyed at no pants in the subway, hehe.)

Not a bad Tuesday

  • So, let's see. I finished a work project this morning, cared for Horse, did some tax stuff, did some other work, did a load of laundry, did some shopping. I guess I "did" more than I thought I did.
  • Oh yeah. To celebrate the end of the project I actually polished my nails. It's OPI's "Just a little Rösti at this," which is a vacation memory for me. We were in Cleveland, it was really, really hot, and I decided one afternoon I was going to stay somewhere inside with air conditioning and have my nails polished. Which I did. And Man actually loved the stuff. So I found a bottle of it today and Did It. Polishing your nails is a pretty effective way to slow yourself down, since you can't do much until the stuff hardens. You do have to remember not to drink much beforehand, lest you have to get rid of it again before the polish is completely dry. If you get my drift.

  • Reverb10 prompt (Cali Harris): Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? Not such an easy one for me. I'm not such a big community person in this sense, and I'm getting comfortable with the idea that that's OK. I'm more of a person who's comfortable with the Loved One and a small group of friends. In 2011 I'll be meeting more of Man's friends and colleagues, also a kind of community.
  • Very happy to be able to get back on the bike today, even if the ice prevents me from biking everywhere I'd like to. Much less pain if I don't have to walk much. I certainly hope the temperature goes up a few degrees tomorrow.


  • OK, this is just too funny to keep quiet...imagine you're having an, um, intimate moment with your Loved One. And at the moment suprème...the air raid sirens get tested! I kid you not! 
  • Pfff. :-) And now for something completely different. Took Border Collie to his eye doctor today and she said he's still stable. Woo-hoo! His vision is probably at about 25%, so she was really proud of his sheepherding and all the other cool and intelligent things about him, which I tell about at every possible opportunity. 
  • And today's Reverb10 prompt (from the lovely Gretchen Rubin at The Happiness Project): Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? Well, literally, the last thing I "made" was an apple clafoutis. Very much appreciated by the audience. The expected ingredients took part, and I gave a special role to a friendly splash of Calvados. And I'm making a photo book of our summer vacation (I'm s-l-o-w-l-y making a photo book of our summer vacation). I need my computer for that, and my memory (and hopefully some wit), and input from Man. What would I like to make? That's a good question. A very good question. I'd like to make a good drawing. I'm terrible at drawing, though my stick figures seem to add hilarity to drawings that are meant to be funny anyway. And I'd like to make some kind of system to keep my life running smoothly, but without exacerbating my perfectionism. (That's got to be worth about 50 Scrabble points right there, "excerbating" and "perfectionism". Too bad I'm supposed to be learning chess instead of Scrabble-ing.) Anybody out there making anything? I'm going to go check some random blog via Reverb10 and see what someone's making.

Let go (Reverb10 prompt)

  • Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Alice Bradley) I let go of a friend this year. I still see her and say hello, but the trust is gone. It happened after the second time she blew up in my face over something that was not my fault. The first time it happened (about a year ago) I did all the right things: waited until she had stopped yelling, approached her calmly, said that it looked like something was going on with her, that I would be happy to talk about it with her if she needed that, but that I didn't appreciate being attacked. It didn't work, but I decided to try to get past it (after all, everyone has problems; wanted to cut her some slack), and treated her more or less normally. But a few months ago it happened again. After a reasonable question from me (yes, there were other people there, and yes, they all agreed it was a reasonable question) she blew up at me again. Something shifted in me, and I realized that this thing wasn't my fault, and that it wasn't my responsibility to solve her problems (something I tend to want to do with others). I was able to decide not to invest any further, to wish her the best, to greet her when I see her and be sympathetic if she comes to me, but not to expect or want anything else. It is really freeing to be able to let go of something like this, instead of trying to carry the burden of the whole situation by myself.
  • In general, I actually have made progress in letting that onerous feeling of responsibility control my thoughts. Sometimes...it's just not my problem/fault/responsibility! An amazing feeling if you've spent years thinking everything was.
  • And I let go of a lot of stuff. Real trend-follower here, with the decluttering. :-) There's a lot of stuff here from my previous relationship (he passed away 7 years ago) and I'm at the point where I can go through things and decide what I really want to have, what (else) can go to his family, what can go to the thrift store, etc. Turns out I don't need to keep nearly as much as one might think. Also freeing.

OK, we get it

  • OK, we get it. Snow is beautiful. The light is different, the sounds are different. It's beautiful. It's magical. Enough, already!
  • Reverb10 prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). Well, what would that be? I think in any case a moment when I was playing music. When I sit down to play I notice that the muscles and tendons in my hands need warming up, as does the visual processing part of my brain. I feel the cold smoothness of the keys under my fingers. I love to look at the wood the instrument's made of, and I often think of the people who made it. Funnily enough I associate playing music with a room scent; the bottle's always near there and I often spray a little when I play. I feel Man's presence, even if he's not there (he likes to listen to me play and encourages me often). And the sounds of even imperfectly played Bach or Buxtehude reach directly into the heart. This reminds me of yesterday's answer to the prompt: why do I not give myself more of these moments? And let the people around me enjoy them too? Probably perfectionism. How silly. What a waste.


  • Well, it did snow. Sigh. Appointment changed to next week.
  • Discovered Reverb10, a project with daily "prompts" and the invitation to react to them. "Reflect on this year & manifest what's next" is their motto. They've invented an ingenious way to get people thinking, writing, and commenting on each other's writing. Got a badge on my home page for this one too, so check it out!
  • I'm going to start with the second prompt (from Leo Babauta): what do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing - and can you eliminate it? Well, I think that's an easy one. MUCH too MUCH aimless internetting! Why? It's restlessness. Just looking for something to do. And escapism. Just looking for some kind of distraction. The stupid thing is: once I actually do sit down and...write, or read, or play music, or think about something, I love it. What is the story on that?? Why deny myself these things? And deny my loved one(s) the person who does them and enjoys them?
  • Oh, I love this. Simple tips to declutter, once again on the Happiness Project. For me, that's about the same as "simple tips to feel good". Amazing: how simple, and how good you can feel afterwards.

Just cold

  • Hoping for no snow between this evening and tomorrow afternoon, so I can take Horse to the clinic. It hasn't snowed today; temp is around -5C/23F, windchill about 5F. I don't mind the cold, as long as it doesn't snow.

Work can be fun

  • Had a meeting this evening with one of the groups (the nicer one). I'm officially there to take the minutes and answer questions about the project, but this group actually listens to me, and they decided to go with the author I suggested for an article! That's a good feeling. But I'm pooped now, so I'm heading off to bed in a minute.
  • Cold. Even though it's just below freezing, there's a hefty northeast wind that makes everything seem colder. I'm now wearing thermal underwear every day, and I use an electric blanket when Man is not here. Have to decide tomorrow whether I can take Horse to her vet appointment on Thursday to have the leg checked. The main roads are fine, but the rural road where she lives is covered with ice. It's only about half a mile, if that, to a main road, but if it's not an emergency I'd rather not chance it with her in the trailer. Have to see how the road is tomorrow.
  • The little Christmas shopping I've planned is going well. Love internet shopping. Never had a problem with it, except for one time last year when some flake on Etsy (not saying that everyone on Etsy is a flake!) took my money and didn't send the goods. The PayPal complaint procedure works well, by the way. I got the flake suspended from PayPal until she paid me back. Take that!

Let it not snow...

  • Well, I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but it did...snow. Only an inch or so, but enough to make biking treacherous. I'll continue as long as I can. The temperature is not going to be rising anytime soon.
  • Dragged myself to the gym again; hope to go twice this week, which has been the plan all along. (I did, until my dip last month.) I really must let myself reap the benefits of exercising. I was thinking today, I have the kind of body that isn't strong (although I can leg press 100 pounds) or sculpted, but it needs the exercise to work out back tension, keep the blood flowing, reduce stiffness, give energy, try to increase the cardiovascular fitness. And it probably won't ever be easy for me to keep it up, but missing a session makes a difference in how I feel. This is where ya gotta be an adult, folks. Still working on that sometimes... :-)
  • Talked to my fave uncle. He sent me a little wooden ring with flowers painted on it for Christmas. (I peeked.) I like it just because he sent it to me.

And so to bed

  • After a crazy week, a bit of respite today before starting up again tomorrow. (A colleague of mine has a personal situation requiring her to be somewhere else during the week, so we are doing our joint work this weekend and next weekend.) It's cold, but not raining or snowing, so I can use my bike as much as I want, which I much prefer to walking (leg problems). I hope it just won't snow at all this winter, much as I love the way it looks and sounds outside after a snowfall.
  • Hope that everyone has a happy and safe weekend! I'd love to hear how people will be spending their weekends.

Nothing like pumpkin pie

  • The pumpkin pie was a big hit! Not difficult at all. And the maple whipped cream was, in a word, amazing!
  • I'm thankful that I am free to decide to use my time to make a pumpkin pie, that I have a kitchen to bake it in, and the rest of the house to eat it in, that I can afford these things and am healthy enough to enjoy them, that Man and I are happy and that I live in relative peace. I know there are many people who can't say the same. And there are plenty more things I'm thankful for.

Take it easy...but how exactly?

  • Although I am not a Buddhist, I can "relate" to many aspects of Buddhist philosophy and practice. One point that seems to keep coming back in my thoughts is "lovingkindness". It's closely related to compassion, and may be familiar to many people from the Plato quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." The post on Brave Girls Club illustrates this so well. Melody reminds us very movingly how we can't see what's going in another person's life just by looking at them. It makes me think of the times I've actually wanted to put a sign on my desk, saying, "Can't you recognize that I'm doing the best I can?" Or one saying, "Can't you see how much your behavior is hurting me? Don't you care?" Of course, we won't make those signs. But we could, in a different way: by somehow making known what we would like to put on the signs. It takes courage to say that someone is being hurtful. And there's no guarantee that saying it will solve the problem (says one who knows). I'm always looking for some kind of balance between different ways of "protecting" myself, on the one hand making sure I'm not too hardened, on the other hand being hard enough to say "NO!" when something goes too far. Trying to gauge when I should give a sign and when it would be better not to. And trying to learn that the consequences are not predictable, and that I'm not always responsible for someone else's reaction. It's definitely not easy, all this interpersonal stuff. But the other end of the spectrum is loneliness, being cut off, wasting our possibilities. Meeting others in openness can bring big rewards to those who dare to try it.
  • And now for something completely different...I've made my own pumpkin puree! Tomorrow morning the pie. Man has never had it, so I'm curious what he'll think. Me, I love the stuff. And I read somewhere you can put maple whipped cream on it; how amazing would that taste?

Just passing through

  • It's a crazy week, with three work projects running at the same time (one of them is for the group I dislike), extra work because of Horse's leg problem (walking her and cooling the leg twice a day) and a number of other things, including making a pumpkin pie, my only tangible genuflection to Thanksgiving Day. I find it helpful during this kind of week to make a table with three rows (morning, afternoon and evening) and the same number of columns as the first several crazy days. Then I fill in what I will need to do during which part of which day.
  • For those of us who want to help dogs and cats (and who doesn't?), there's a great free and easy way to do just that. Go to FreeKibble for cats and/or FreeKibble for dogs and play the trivia game. For each answer - right or wrong! - given, ten pieces of kibble will be donated to animal shelters. The (other) very cool thing is that this program was started a few years ago by an 11-year-old girl! You can get yourself a daily reminder in your inbox, as I do, so you never forget to visit the sites. Run, don't walk, to sign up! See the badge on the right side of my homepage.

Riddle me this

  • I only have one question that bugs me enough to postpone my bedtime by a few minutes: what's the story behind the lone shoes you see on the side of a road? There's never a pair; if it were a pair I could imagine...well, probably more than I can imagine with one shoe. Is someone (I'm assuming it's the passenger) riding around out there with one shoe? Why? And, given that the shoe is not on the foot it's meant for, why is it lying here? Why not in the ex-shoe-wearer's backyard? Or at the home of the person with whom he (they're usually men's shoes, you know) had a secret tryst before escaping out the window just in time? Or anywhere besides here? Who has a theory about this?
  • Speaking of theories (yes, this is indeed how we end up going to bed too late): here's a shout-out to Rupert Sheldrake. Who is Rupert Sheldrake and what does he do? He's a British biologist (Cambridge-educated) who does scientific research on the intangible side of biology (my words). He's looking at "a larger scientific view of the world" (his words). I started with his book "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home" and was hooked. At a seminar I learned something about his theories on "morphic fields", amazingly interesting. I have yet to read "The Sense of Being Stared At", but fully expect to be entranced again. Can't recommend him enough to readers who are interested in the "more" that's out there beyond the obvious physical world. Really fascinating.
  • And speaking of British biologists (I really see how this works, this bedtime thing), check out anything by Redmond O'Hanlon, who is British but not a biologist, and who jumped up in my thoughts because of his thoroughly engaging participation in the re-creation of the route Charles Darwin took around the world on the HMS Beagle. The website of that project is mostly in Dutch (it was beautifully filmed by a Dutch TV company), but in the lower left-hand corner there's an icon of a British flag. You end up with a list of posts in English. And the videos are incredible. Anyway, O'Hanlon has written several books describing his adventures while traveling. Again, recommended.

Love, public and private

  • So Wills/William and Kate/Catherine are getting married. I admit that I always look forward to these royal weddings. Love to see all those perfect-looking people walking around in their sparklies. :-) They seem very happy, as did Victoria and Daniel (Sweden) at their wedding. I hope they stay happy, which will probably be extra difficult living as they do under magnifying glasses. I love looking good and wearing sparklies, but I don't think I could live that way. 
  • And the way I do live...well, I had an appointment this morning and would just come home for a few minutes before leaving for another appointment that would take all afternoon. When I got home after the first appointment I discovered that Man, who was gone for the rest of the day to do his own things, had made me soup and set the table so that I could have a quick but good lunch. And done the dishes and made the bed. That's as good a princess feeling as any! 


  • So. Horse has "splints". At some point she must have banged her leg against something, or gotten a kick from one of her girlfriends, something like that. It's something like a bruised bone; the bone is not smooth anymore and is irritating the tendon lying over it. The place has been injected with something I forgot the name of because I was so astounded after hearing the cause of her problem. :-) (Later note: it was hyaluronic acid. Kind of like WD-40 for joints or other moving parts.) When I pick her up tomorrow they'll give me a report and a plan for further treatment. The prognosis is generally good, the vet said.
  • Nothing much else to report. Enjoying the media frenzy about "Wills and Kate". They do look happy, and I hope they stay that way.

What's next?

  • I was intrigued by Barrie Davenport's post, "Make 2011 the Year of You: 49 Days of Preparation" on Live Bold and Bloom. It's designed to help you "put yourself first"; I think it is applicable to any big change(s), whether or not you have problems putting yourself first. The thing I like is the step-by-step approach to identifying goals and identifying the steps needed to reach them: it's actually divided into discrete steps for each of the 49 days until the end of the year. And the plan doesn't ignore the problem of negative thoughts we and others might have. I recognize elements of Getting Things Done, including the need to look at your life from different levels in order to discern what's working and what's not. A very good point is the emphasis on integrating your plans into your social system. For example, the author asks you to share your goals with friends and family and to plan for their reactions. You're also invited to choose two people to whom you'll be accountable with respect to achieving your goals. (That's two people other than yourself. :-) ) And if this all sounds like too much hard work, there are rest days and inspirational articles included. Soooo...I think I'm going to give it a whirl. I love making lists, using notebooks, thinking about what I'd like to do or be. This looks like a great short-term project in which I can do all these things, while paving the way to the realization of important goals. What's not to love?
  • Had a wonderful weekend with Man. I certainly am lucky.
  • The animules, as my favorite uncle always says, seem to be happy. Horse is going to a clinic tomorrow. She's not lame or ill, but her way of moving has not been totally normal. After a check of her back and her saddle it's time to have a more in-depth check. Hope the mist lifts early tomorrow, otherwise we won't be going anywhere. Safety first.

Love and dreams

  • I read another lovely post by Courtney Carver, revealing some very personal experiences with love. I was really touched by it. What she's learned from her husband and her marriage resonates with me (I feel lucky to be able to say that). "Not everything needs to be resolved": so true! I'm so glad her husband didn't take her up on her offer to "let him off the hook" (my words). :-) And what a fantastic idea, to propose to the daughter as well. I wish them all the very best and hope that many of us can experience the same depth and beauty in our lives and our relationships.
  • Interesting research into what the researcher calls "daydreaming". At first I thought: daydreaming can be a good thing: relaxing, helping the creative process, etc. But if I read the story correctly the research is more about a kind of multitasking, wandering off in your thoughts while doing something else. (I can't get the image of people filling in research forms during sex out of my mind!) This must fit in with what we know about mindfulness. I think the moral of the story is that daydreaming should be, well, daydreaming, in order to benefit us.
  • Hoping for a restful weekend. Orange muffins will most probably be a part of it! Mmmm....

Blustery, frugal (at least, MORE frugal)

  • Lots of wind today, and periods with lots of rain. Managed to avoid most of the rain.
  • Thinking a lot about how to arrange some financial things, balancing out short-term and long-term wants and needs. The animals can be expensive, as far as health care etc., but I'm not cutting down on that. By shopping at one of the discount grocery stores I've realized how much TOO much I've been spending at the regular grocery store (which isn't even the most expensive chain). It does help a lot to get in synch with Man, who's not a big spender. The trick (as it is with trying to lose weight, for example) is to choose the things you're willing and able to spend more on, and emphasize the things that don't matter much if you don't. The discount grocery store is an example of the latter. I do have to plan my trips there to coincide with other appointments, because it's not close to here (and I'm trying to save gas as well). For me the whole money thing is kind of loaded. There was very little money when I was a child, and that continued throughout college. Then I had a period of there being more financial leeway, and to be totally honest: I loved it. I loved the freedom. I loved being able to surround myself with things and situations I really enjoyed. Now I'm cutting down again to meet some long-term goals. I can do it, but sometimes I have to fight the fear of having no leeway and of having to "make do" with things I don't love. I don't particularly want to go back there. It should be possible to strike a balance.

Christmas is coming...

  • Getting going on the Christmas thang, which I keep pretty low-scale. Man always has a busy time up to and including Christmas, so I do some cards, think of a few presents I want to give, try to see a couple of people I haven't seen in a while. Sometimes I make some Christmas cookies. I saw something that might make a good present - in two senses. It's Kiva, an organization that facilitates microfinance. You can pick the person or business you want to help, based on geographical location, gender, sector, or individual/group. It occurred to me that this could be used as a Christmas gift, kind of like a donation to a charitable cause in the name of the gift recipient. Worth looking into.
  • Border Collie had a good vet visit today. Horse is unfortunately not what she should be. I think she'll be going to the clinic next week, since the back treatment she had didn't solve the problem. She's not lame, just not moving as she usually does, and I want to see what's bothering her.
  • I "cleared the decks" the last couple of days, trying to reduce the stress level that's been making me a bit snappy. You never know exactly how long you need to clear the decks. But I have been feeling happier and my mood is more even. Nice for everyone concerned!


  • So...the short version of the sheepherding story is that Border Collie did a fantastic job and had the most points! I should mention he has a visual handicap, and even with that handicap he blew everyone else away. Unfortunately, he nipped at a sheep right at the end of the second run, and nipping means disqualification. Actually, he did a very logical thing considering the situation at that moment, so I was proud that he took action to solve a problem. But it's against the rules, so no winner's trophy, just the knowledge that he was the best sheepherder there (aside from the nip). And  just to reassure everyone: no sheep was hurt. He didn't even get a mouthful of wool. :-) 
  • Mom is leaving the hospital today. There will be more tests later, but it looks like she got some kind of "bug" she just couldn't shake, and had to have support during her recovery. She's really feisty again. Wonder whether this is just because of the whole hospital thing, or whether it's some kind of new development in her personality.
  • Speaking of medical questions, there is as always an interesting post by Alex Lickerman on Happiness in this World, with his thoughts on medical screening. I don't agree 100% with his criteria for screening or not screening, but I always appreciate his well-considered thoughts, products as they are of both his medical training and his Buddhist practice.
  • I realize more every day that I get overstimulated by too much fast information. At the same time, it's addictive: I keep wanting to check the news sites, my e-mail, etc., my cell phone's on and I enjoy getting and sending texts. I often zap around the tv channels in the evening. I once read that constant running around on the internet is a sign of needing some other kind of movement, like going for a walk or whatever. Whatever the cause, I notice I really need to pay attention to creating moments/hours/days with less (or other) stimulation. Courtney Carver at Be More with Less just wrote a great post about "disconnecting". I agree (obviously) with her premise that we need to disconnect more, at least from the whole electronic scene. (It gives us room to connect in other ways, including with ourselves.) I also agree with what she says about the shift in perspective you get when you do turn off the electronics, however temporarily. Since Man and I communicate a lot by e-mail, this is a challenge for me. But I could certainly "let go" when I know he's busy or not around his computer.
  • Made two pans of brownies. Mmmmmm....
  • Mom getting feisty. On the one hand it's a good sign. On the other hand she can be kind of harsh. Not the easiest conversations to have.
  • Early to bed and early to rise: sheep tomorrow!

Not much

  • Was too tired last night to post. Mom is in the hospital getting tests. Not clear yet what's going on with her. 
  • Have to try to rest enough today so I can enjoy the sheepherding tomorrow. Also...I have to bake brownies for 45 people. :-) 

Mud. Wind. Sheep.

  • Last training session before the sheepherding trial-ette this coming Saturday. Man. It was muddy, there was that kind of driving drizzle rain that doesn't seem like much until you're out in it for an hour and a half, and the sheep didn't move. Haha. Sometimes you have sheep that run as soon as you look at them, and sometimes they just stand there and dare you to get them going. Frustrating for the dog, who'd really like to run. :-) Apparently we may have to drive them into a trailer on Saturday as part of the run. Haven't done that yet. Really enjoying the fact that a few friends are going to come and watch. Unfortunately, Man can't be there.
  • Anybody else running around in mud and rain as a hobby? It's supposed to be good for your resistance, being outside a lot. Well, I qualify.

Trudging along

  • After a weekend spent dealing with the backlash of my own medical news (sleeping an unusual number of hours, tissue in one hand, tea in the other, Man at the ready), and that of my Mom (not getting significantly better; unclear what exactly is going on), it felt surprisingly good to work this morning (annoying colleagues excepted) and reasonably good to go to the gym this afternoon. Not feeling so bad now, except that I'm ready to snap at total strangers if they even look at me. Have to cut myself some slack, I guess. At least I am doing the dishes and have brought some stuff to be sold second-hand for charity.
  • Fall has cut loose and it was foggy and leafy this morning. Ever since I was a kid I've loved fog: the way things melt into the fogginess, the hush, the lack of wind. Of course, whenever the sun decides to show up I'll be glad about that, too.
  • Christmas. Don't do a whole lot about Christmas, but Man and I have picked out a photo for Christmas cards. Do have to think of a few presents. Wonder how I'll deal with Brother's antipathy, because I'd like to send something to his child (I'm an aunt!). How do others deal with this kind of tricky situation, I wonder?
  • Animals are doing pretty well. Waiting for the osteopath to check Horse's back on Wednesday.

Almost weekend

  • Not too much to tell. Mom is getting better. She's getting annoyed at the attention ("I just want to deal with things MYSELF!"), which is probably a sign of getting back on track.
  • Had a lovely free day with Man. Such a happy relationship makes me thankful every day. I hope there are lots of people who can say the same thing.
  • Looking forward to doing a little straightening up this evening and this weekend. It may not be true for everyone, but a messy environment makes me feel edgy. Not that that means the apartment is pristine....
  • Got a couple of Border Collie decals in the mail today, which I'll tape onto the inside of the hatchback. Getting psyched for our first Sheepherding Trial-ette next week!
  • Hope everyone that reads this has a good weekend. What are the good things you'll be doing for yourself and your loved ones? If you run out of ideas, check out The Happiness Project

Stop? Go?

  • Well, it turns out Mom didn't have the test because she is rather sick; looks like some kind of stomach bug, but for a lady "getting up there", as we used to say, she doesn't have much extra strength to deal with not eating and hardly drinking for almost a week now. Luckily she called the doctor and ended up getting extra fluids and some medication at the local hospital. She kept down a few crackers today. Hope she gets stronger soon. 
  • The other downside was that I had to e-mail my brother to bring him up to date. He can be a real [insert word of choice here] and I limit contact with him to what's absolutely necessary. Hope she hears from him.
  • Speaking of what's important, I read this post on Be More With Less. The video, about not just going on and on in/with your life, really is moving. As much mindfulness as possible, that's my goal, and I'm far from reaching it. How close are you?

Not bad

  • Slept pretty well, worked an hour, got my hair cut, bought a new frying pan, went to the gym, and saved money on groceries. Now going to play some music while the washing machine's going. Must call Mom later; she had some kind of chemical stress test today.
  • I do hate doing grocery shopping at the end of the afternoon: lots of people in the store, trying to get stuff for dinner. Is it that way everywhere? Why don't I do it earlier in the day as long as my schedule allows? Why don't I have personnel to do everything I don't feel like doing? Hehe.

How to "do" today

  • After receiving bad health news last week (luckily not fatal, just painful and annoying) and fighting off a cold, in addition to a lot of Stuff that's come my way recently, I'm once again faced with the question of "how to 'do' today". Today's first steps seem to be: a nap and making soup (zucchini, quinoa, tomato, basil) from a recipe given to me by a kind of Ayurveda dietician. And straightening up the bedroom. I'd love to have a perfectly made bed, but "just straightened up" is fine, especially since straightening up the bed lets me look at our Amish quilt: beautiful in itself, but also special because I remember the family where we bought it on vacation this summer. They were all sitting outside enjoying lemonade and a chat. One of the boys found a cicada skin for us.
  • In about half an hour I'll take Border Collie and go and care for Horse and possibly ride a little. Horse is recovering from a mild strain and is now trotting for two periods of 3 minutes each most days. She's happy to be doing something "productive" again.
  • And today's question is: how do people deal with the clothes that have been worn, but are good to go for another day? Don't want to put them back in the closet/drawer. Don't want them cluttering up the view. Looking for your input!