Wednesday, December 16, 2009

She's back....

Well, it has been a while this time. It seems that the older I get the faster time passes by....although it probably has more to do with how much I'm slowing down. I certainly can't get all of the things accomplished in one day that I use to. I might as well face it, I'm lucky if I get one thing accomplished in a day. Yesterday was the exception. It was a real multi-task day. I started off with a trip to the doctor....it's time once again for the dreaded colonoscopy....yikes!! I did manage to put the actual event off for a month because they wanted to set me up for my probing on January 8th but I have front row/center tickets to see Mr. B.B. King!!...and there is no way that I'm having a colonoscopy as the opening act......that didn't sound quite right, did it? Anyway, thanks to my whining about this recurring pain in my side, now I have to have tests run on my gallbladder, too. So, there goes several more days since, as I mentioned before, I no longer multi-task.
After the doctor visit, I went to Wally World to buy wrapping paper, a few gifts and some non-spoiling groceries. Good ol' Walmart, you can't beat them for your multi-tasking days. They make even old codgers like me look like professional organizers. After the hustle and bustle of Christmas at Walmart, I headed to Loudon and the post office to pick up some packages containing Christmas gifts for the kiddos. The Mail Woman who refused to leave them in my garage had evidently not gotten the memo that my sweet (at least to me) pal, Fred, passed away on Labor Day because she left a note in my mailbox saying, "Packages too large for box. Couldn't leave at house--DOG!!" Apparently my Freddie left quite an impression on Mail and delivery people.
Picked up some Christmas stamps and some flat rate boxes for cards and gifts I still haven't mailed while I was at the post office and then I cut across our little town one block to get my hair cut and styled at Paula Smallen's Hair Barn. Paula is not just an amazing hair stylist, she is also a sweet friend that I've known since high school and visiting with her is always a treat. She let me know about all the goings on in town and about the newly decorated window displays down the block from her. So, I slipped in a little walk to admire them before I headed home.
Of course, I wasn't home for very long, I just unloaded the packages and Walmart purchases before heading to the grocery store for those perishables I couldn't pick up before.
I got a phone call and had a conversation with a friend before I left the house so that threw me being a bit later getting home than I'd intended. Well, that an my unexpected stop at the K-Mart next to the grocery store....they were having a 40% off sale afterall! I ended up pulling back in my driveway at 5:00 p.m.! That may not sound so terrible until you realize that I still had to put the horses up and feed them and I only had thirty minutes of daylight left by the time I changed out of my going out clothes and into my mucking the barn clothes and some rubber boots to wade through the muck in. Of course, despite the fact that they all came running into the lower pasture when I drove up, the horses refused to cooperate. Mouse, who isn't a pleasant little pregnant girl, kept kicking and biting the others if they even got close to me. This left me covered with all the muck and mud they were digging up when they'd try to get out of her way. Odd how sweet she can be with me but watch out if you have four legs and neigh.
Anyhow, I finally got them all separated and fed, I finally got the groceries unloaded and all of my packages and purchases unpacked, and I finally got some bills paid and some online work done before Steve, who worked late, got home around 9:00 p.m. Pizza and beer before bed which was eaten with the satisfaction that I had finally accomplished every task I'd set out to in one single day.
Aaah, the hustle and the bustle....it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas:D

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Long Over Due

It's been a while since I've made a post to this blog or any of my blogs. Most of the reason why is a long and boring story of minor injuries and illnesses for both me and my horses that have kept me sidelined for over a month. My sleep cycle was terribly upset by the month of illness and now I'm struggling to set it right...with little success lately. It seems most nights that I can't fall asleep until 3:00 or later. The alarm goes off at 3:45 so, needless to say, I usually lie down again around 5 or 6:00 a.m. and sleep until at least 10:30. Also needless to say, I'm not accomplishing much these days.

I really do need to get started on the magazine and hit the ground running again with that project. I've decided not to rush myself with a January publish date and will just set my goal of publishing the first issue in 2010. I want to do as good a job as possible on it and I realize that pushing too hard for early publication will cause the quality to suffer.

Also, on my mind lately....which is the sole purpose of this personal blog....I'm still reminiscing about my childhood days, particularly high school. I made a sad discovery over the weekend, my first crush, my first sweetheart and yes, if I would admit it even to myself, my first love, passed away six years ago. I've shared a lot about all of that and the memories with my close friends and family over the last few days. It was good to talk about him and the past but also depressing in many ways. Even though I hadn't seen him in over 35 years, knowledge of his death hurts me more than I would have thought. Enough about that because I don't intend to share my deepest emotions in such a public forum. I will just say that I always thought that I would see him again and that I would get the answers to some questions that have plagued me for years.

I discovered an alumni website for LHS grads that has been beautifully built and maintained by Doug Presley of the class of 1970. There is an In Memory page and I sadly realized that all of the names of those who've passed on from my class, 1974, were missing; as were several names from other classes. I put up a list on my facebook page where my fellow classmates could add names to the list. I will email the list to Doug when it is finished. It is both overwhelming and depressing to view as that list grows ever longer. I'm so surprised by the number of people that I didn't know had passed as well as by how many of them had such tragic deaths. All died too soon. I told a friend on fb that I guess this is part of the cost of growing older ourselves, losing so many people that either have a hold on our present or our past.

I've been talking with my sister today about how insecure I was as a girl. That is a very painful subject but I won't go into it here either, as much for the reader's protection as my own. Who wants to listen to someone else whine about their childhoods? I do know that I never felt like I was as good as everyone else. I think that both my father's cruel judgement and my mother's own insecurities fed these feelings. It was years later when I was seeing a therapist because of the insomnia and phobias that had suddenly developed after my father's death that I got a better perspective on who I am or at least how other people perceive me. I'd commented to the therapist that my husband and I had been in the mountains biking the day before and we'd encountered a couple that made me feel very insecure because they were what I labeled, "beautiful people." The therapist asked me what I meant by that term and I explained that these were people who obviously had it all together, they just looked fit and successful and perfect. The therapist began to laugh. I asked her what she was laughing at and then I realized what it was. I asked her, "You're not implying that I'm a 'beautiful person'?" She smiled and said, "You would be really surprised by how many people see you and your life that way." I guess she was tired of my whining, too, but it is so hard to overcome those stigmas of youth whether someone else gave them to us or we applied them upon ourselves. Maybe, finally now, as old age is creeping in and I realize that over half of my life is behind me, I can begin to have a healthier view of my self. Maybe I will start seeing and believing other people's perception of me instead of the one instilled in me over forty years ago. We will see. Life's not over yet:)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Missing my Mousie sooo much. Someone commented on an old photo from last year that I'd posted on redbubble.com. Made me think of her and how no other horse, no matter how much I love them or how sweet they are, can compare with my Mousie. Everyone who meets her loves her. Is it surprising that both Huston and I love her so much. Don't know when we'll get back to Missouri to pick her up. I know Huston is enjoying having her there and I know he will miss her as soon as I bring her home with me. It's a difficult situation all the way around. 
Now, I have to stop avoiding the inevitable and go clean the kitchen....have I mentioned how much I hate house work?
Why does this format-background make me think of poodles??....poodles, puddles, polka dots? I think I love them all:)
I'm so far behind. I feel very much like Rip VanWinkle having slept through most of July. And here it is August, Summer is almost over, the kids go back to school next week, and I'm feeling both excited and lost. I have great plans, wonderful ideas but I'm sorely lacking motivation at the moment. Seems that I still just want to sleep. It doesn't help that my sleep cycle seems to have flipped. I can't sleep before 2 or 3 a.m. and then my alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m.! Needless to say, I lie back down as soon as Steve is out the door, and sometimes before, and attempt to get a few more hours of shut eye. The problem there is that I can't get back to sleep easily once I'm awake so sleep doesn't come usually until nearly 8:00 a.m. which means my day doesn't start until nearly noon most days. Aaargh!! Frustration. 

Friday, July 3, 2009

forgot to add that there is exciting Snickers news on the Ten Oaks blog!
He spread His arms
to die
and, rising,
Gave me wings
to fly
~ r
Glory in the wings He gave you Sande!!

That's a poem by my amazingly talented friend, Renee Fukumoto. Renee is an artist and photographer as well as a poet. I told her that I think this poem will become my mantra. She wrote it yesterday in response to an email that my sister, Wanda Tilley, had sent me that I shared with everyone on face book and my email list. The email was one that both my sister and I had seen before. What we hadn't noticed previously was the last paragraph which stated that when God leads you to a cliff you have two choices: leap and be assured that he will catch you or leap and let him teach you how to fly. My sister said that she felt that the message was meant for me because she'd received it just after I told her that my new business venture was exciting but so scary at the same time because I felt like I was leaping off a cliff into the unknown. So much has happened in such a short time and I will be back to share it all. I have to get to work now but I am amazed and thankful for all of the support and encouragement that I've been receiving from both friends and strangers this past week. It is truly amazing!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Exciting New Venture

I got a seedling of an idea yesterday and called my friend, horse trainer extraordinaire (and people, as in riders, trainer, too), Brandy McDonnell for advise. Brandy took the idea and ran with it. She gave me some wonderful input and today what started as a tiny seed is starting to grow into a sapling. I've been searching the web all morning for pricing and info. I know I'm being a wee bit secretive but, even here on my private journal/blog, I don't want to take the chance of the idea getting out before I have a chance to really act on it and get it rolling. I fear someone,  with better funds and resources, will beat me to the punch. But I saw a need and I'm hoping to fill it and when it is close to fruition, I will announce and big time!:)

Wow!! It is so nice to feel back on track again and moving forward full steam!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally seem to be over my doldrums and nostalgia. I have to admit that the time spent in reflection was bittersweet. Although sad, it was still nice to remember my mama. I still miss her everyday even though she's been gone for nearly twenty years now. And it was nice to reconnect with my friend Claudia, who grew up just out the street from me on Rosedale Avenue and reminisce about all the good times we had during those summers in our "tween" years. I told her that I sometimes have a difficult time remembering what I did last week but those wonderful years stand out in vivid detail. I can smell the mimosa blossoms from the trees in my front yard (which were cut down a few years later just because of those sticky blossoms), I can hear that tinny little transistor radio where we listened to the top "10" every day until the batteries would fade and die (my brother brought that transistor back to me from Vietnam and I still have it somewhere:), the soft warmth of the summer breeze, the sticky sweetness of an orange shared and relished or a popsicle split, the burn of the pavement on bare feet, splashing in Claudia's little backyard pool, sitting with Mama under the street lights and sharing stories and jokes with the neighbors, riding our bikes from daylight 'til dusk and never tiring, playing "at" baseball with the other kids in the neighborhood in what we called The Circle (it was where two roads converged at an odd angle and formed a big wide spot where we'd all congregate, playing with paperdolls for hours and then sitting on them to hide them if a boy happened by:), sharing secrets and dreams that are long forgotten now, retreating indoors to hide from the afternoon's heat and to spin "45s" on a turntable/record player while we read Teen Fan magazines over and over for hours and secretly dreamed of one day marrying Davy Jones:) Yes, those were such good times. We didn't need lots of money or the latest electronics to keep us entertained, just each other's company. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wireless Woes:(

Cell phones have not been my friend lately. Three months ago, I got upset over our first Sprint bill in three years where we'd gone over our allowed minutes. It wasn't just the overage charge but the fifty dollar(!!!) penalty charge. I'd never heard of such a charge and I went a bit overboard with my anger and frustration. Instead of calling Sprint and asking them what was going on, I called AT&T and switched carriers. I ended up with a $250 dollar charge from Sprint for early cancelation and a $500 charge from AT&T to pay for the transfer of service and the fast access modem. I'd understood from the salesman on the phone that the modem was free but I was told that since I didn't have this promise in writing....well, you get the idea-"bend over and assume the position!" The next month's bill was normal which made me feel so much better. Then, yesterday, I'd just gotten back from a busy day of appointments and errands and I opened my mail. There was my AT&T bill. I have to admit that I don't usually look at these bills because they are deducted automatically from our checking account but I'm trying to do better with organization and one of my goals is to file receipts immediately to prevent them being misplaced or lost. So, I opened the bill and was getting ready to file it when I saw the amount. It was well over $300 and almost double what we are suppose to pay every month. I look the bill over and realize that they had charged Steve and I a thousand minutes each over our limit! Another meltdown and another angry call to our cell phone carrier! This time, I did get some satisfaction and peace of mind thanks to a customer service rep named April. Sweetest girl, she calmed me down and actually refunded my money because we'd been mislead to think that we were going to get free incoming call minutes. I doubled our available minutes for just $20 a month and April gave me 300 free extra minutes to get us through the end of this month. So, for once in I don't remember how long, I'm finally happy with the service I've gotten from a cell phone company. And, despite my threats to cancel service yet again, I've decided to stay put with AT&T....at least until the next monetary crisis.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Funny Start to the Week & the Blog:)

All is not gloom and doom and thunder boom today. I do have a funny story to share. 
I was watching the news this morning and there was a sweet story with a happy ending about two baby raccoons who had somehow managed to become trapped in a vending machine. The funny part came when the fellow from Wildlife Management came to rescue them. He turned around, his back toward the camera, and on the back of his T-shirt was written:
"I handle wild animals for a living. If you see me running, you better try to keep up." LOL

A Start

Well kind of....this day is not off to a great start. Dale, our farrier, and Dr. Melissa Hamilton, our horse Vet, were suppose to come by today to hopefully and finally get something done about Django's hooves. We've discovered that, this usually mild mannered horse, goes bonkers when we try to shoe him. He hurt both Dale and I two weeks ago when he unexpectedly reared and turned and ran. Dale was caught off guard and thrown sideways and I tried to hold on to Django which in retrospect I should never have done and certainly not without gloves. Rope burn does not even begin to describe what happened to my right hand. The skin was actually peeled away on the palm and fingers and ever surface that remained was terribly blistered. So, both Dale and I were a bit wary last week when we attempted once again to work with the horse's feet. That time we did have a sedative but it didn't seem to have a lot of effect on Django. Today, we'd arranged for Dr. Hamilton to come by at 11:30 a.m. and sedate Django for us. Unfortunately, it was already storming when my alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. and it hasn't really let up since then. Occasionally the sun will break through for a few minutes but the thunder still rumbles in the distance. It seems that I've spent most of the morning on the phone talking to Dr. Hamilton and leaving messages for Dale. Finally reached Dale a few minutes before 11:00 a.m. to cancel with him. 
So, that's one plan for today already postponed until next week. I do have plenty of other tasks to occupy my day...too many. I promised Steve that I would put together a facts brochure on Teff hay for Chris and him to hand out to prospective buyers. Teff is relatively new to this area of the country and we not only need to educate the public on the subject but ourselves. I think it will be a good move for us but we have to make horse and other livestock owners aware of just what it is and that it will not only not harm their animals but be very beneficial for them. 
If I can pull that together in the next few hours, I then need to make it to the grocery store. Our cupboards are quite bare. There will also need to be stops to pick up horse feed since their larders are empty, too and I need to pick up paper for Steve's hay brochure. 
It is going to be a busy day and there is also plenty of house chores that need doing. It would help if I weren't constantly so tired and sleepy. What's that all about? Is it my age and the onslaught of the dreaded M.. menopause? Who knows but I do know that I have more things to get done than there are hours in the day so I'd better pep up soon.

Weight for June 22...currently unknown and don't know if I really want to know!
Calorie intake..also don't know but couldn't be very high yet since all I've eaten since 4:00a.m. is a bowl of fresh pineapple and half a peanut butter on whole grain sandwich with coffee.
Diet Colas...which I'm trying to quit..really, I am!.....Ok, one and I shouldn't have had that but I know it won't be my last for the day.
Exercise....huh?

damn...the sun is out now! Sheesh!!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Beginning

I thought today how my life has changed over the years. It's sad in a way that when we reach our fifties and beyond we tend to start looking back more than we look forward. Maybe we are afraid of what the future holds and maybe we're just to aware how quickly these years behind us now have passed. I keep reminding myself that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow or even the heartbeat after this one. Life keeps reminding me of that, too. Too many people that I've known and loved have passed on too soon. Their hasty departures make me even more aware of how I should be living my life each day to the fullest....but sadly, I don't. 

My favorite time of life was certainly my mid-thirties. I'd taken a winding path to a career that had suddenly taken off with me on board. I felt most of the time like someone else was steering and I was just holding on for dear life but it was a fun and wonderful ride into new territories of adventure. 

My mother was still alive then and oh so many others who have since left us. I miss them all to some degree but my mother's death left a hole in my heart that has never quite healed even after nearly twenty years have separated me from that initial blow. It was like a being sucker punched  because death stuns the survivors that way; perhaps that's the only way we can bear the grief. Otherwise the pain would certainly be so horrible raw and unbearable that it certainly would kill us instantly or at least destroy our souls. That time of feeling like one of the walking dead, moving amonst but separate from the rest of humanity, eventually passes when the pain has lessened enough to actually allow you to make it through each day. 

When my mother died, my ambition and drive died as well. I lost my will to live and for a very long time afterward just managed to survive. Perhaps that is why they call us survivors whenever we go through any major challenge in life because some days the best you can do is to put on mask and put one foot in front of the other. We play at life and pretend that everything is as it should be but it takes a very long time before it actually is.
 
Now, I am fifty-three and my goal for this year is to get my life back. I know that I will never be thirty-four again but hopefully, I can regain some of my enthusiasm and hope. Life is useless without hope even if death is waiting a heartbeat away.

I've let myself go over the last twenty years. I've let every aspect of my life go: my body, my career, my house, and my family and friendships.

 The body is overweight and so out of shape that walking to the mailbox and back seems a difficult chore. My goal for this year is to start slowly into an exercise program so that I won't get burnt out within the first few weeks. And also, to not diet but just concentrate on fresh and healthy food for a while. I'll start chronicling here on Monday, my plan and progress. Having to give account to someone, even if it is just the faceless humanity of the internet, will force me to be more accountable to myself.

The house, oooh the house! Nine years ago, we started remodeling. We tore down paneling and tore up carpet. I bought paint and supplies. We took out a home equity lone to pay for it. Then my father-in-law got very sick. He languished in a nursing home for twelve months and my husband stayed with him every single night of that long, painful year before he passed away on New Years day. In that year, our house just kept getting more and more cluttered. I attempted to fix and paint myself but managed to only make a bigger mess as I moved from room to room and never accomplished anything but adding to the chaos. Now, not only does our house look like a warehouse with boxes and blanketed furniture stacked to the ceiling in what use to be the living and dining rooms but other problems have occurred: cracked foundation, tumbling down porch, broken windows, flooded basement, garage ceiling falling down, aging animals who don't have the control they use to over their bodily functions, and leaky roof which caused wall damage in two rooms. Only the roof has been fixed and it sometimes feels as if the entire house and my life is tumbling down around me. I work at home you see and for the last twenty years, I've become more and more of a hermit. Actually, I think of myself more as a hobbit since I hide out here, huddled in my bedroom, the only room with any order or charm left to it, as if it were my sanctuary. So, my goal for the next month is to clean up the mess, room by room, until I get to the point where I can actually start to paint and repair again. Then over the rest of the year, I hope to work room by room restoring my house to not only live-ability but also a home again. 

I'll skip over the career for a moment because I think the state of my house has so much to do with the way I've neglected friends and family over the last ten years or so. We use to entertain and we use to have lots of friends. So many of our friends lived out of town and in other states and I use to call our home, the half-way-house, because we were half way between all of our friends in cold Northern states and that warm Florida sunshine. Most of them would stop off here for at least a day or two on their way South and their way back home. It was so much fun and something that both my husband and I enjoyed. Now, I don't even let anyone in the door. In fact, I try to keep them out of the drive so that they can't see the overgrown yard, the tumbling down porch or the over flowing garage. It's a mess. So, my goal to spend more time with family and friends and concentrate more energy on them really goes hand in hand with getting my house fixed up. Not only will I have a home I'm proud to invite people into again but I'll also have a better energy and happier outlook once my surroundings are again warm and inviting.

So, I skipped the career and saved it to last. Twenty years ago, I was successful. I'm an artist by the way and the fact that I was able to make my living in a creative way is a bit of a miracle in itself. I won't go into all of the details of the career's downslide but it had a lot to do with my own burn out. I'll tell more about all of that later since it has effected all areas of my life as well. Actually, I think my main goal for this year will be to regain the balance which has been missing from my life for so long. My career goals I'll go into in later posts in more detail but mainly, I'm laying out a marketing strategy for myself. I've never been a very good sales person but it is time I start selling myself and believing in myself again. 

So, there we are and here I am. Let's see if I can get myself moving forward again over the next few months. And, if you've happened upon this blog by accident or design, you are most welcome to follow me on the journey.