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.