Monday, March 23, 2020

Bloghop: Gratitude in Uncertain Times

Liz over at In Omnia Paratus posted last Friday about things she was grateful for amidst the uncertainties of this pandemic, and it was a post that really resonated with me. Amidst all the fear and misinformation and negativity online, I'm trying to focus on the many, many things I have to be grateful for, and I think sharing them can be a small ray of sunbeam in the turbulent storm that is the present. So, without further ado.....

Two of the brightest spots in my life, global pandemic or not.

Things I'm grateful for amidst the uncertainties of this pandemic:
  • My husband, who is my rock. It hasn't made it to this space yet, but he was promoted to Deputy Warden at the state's flagship institution (starts today, incidentally), and even as the world melts down, he steps up. He's currently busting his butt to finish up our detached garage by mid-April while also just generally being a real-life Superman on the daily.
  • My animals, who have no idea that society is descending into chaos. The routine of their care as well as the unconditional love and laughs they provide me keeps me grounded. Side note on this one, I'm so glad my horses live at my house, so I don't have to worry about being prevented from seeing them. I didn't get pictures of all of them to include, but enjoy some scenes from the last week or two that made me smile.

I think my favorite part of this photo is the bouncing bebe in the background, haha.

  • My home (and nearly complete garage), because I cannot imagine trying to function like this in our previous space. It took us a really long time to build, but I'm glad we waited and built precisely what we wanted, because this space is so functional and perfect (minus the fact that if I had known when we designed the layout about the next bullet point, I would have absolutely added a home office, lol).
  • My job, particularly the fact that it can be done from home. After my promotion last fall, I've gotten to participate in a lot of cool programs, teach training sessions, and grow in new and exciting ways. I'm so blessed to work for an agency that prioritizes it's employees, and once all hell broke loose, those of us who could work from home were mandated to do so until further notice.

Day one setup, waiting for some purchases to make it more comfortable for long-term use!

New coworker giving me some sideeye....

Another new coworker being needy, as she does.

New chair, additional monitor, new mouse, just waiting on a slightly better keyboard!
  • My friends, who are constantly a source of light, laughter, and love in my days. I don't know what I would do without the incredibly brave, brilliant, and downright badass women I have in my life, many thanks to this little corner of the blogosphere. Whether its sharing silly memes, dissecting news releases, getting the facts about tech and science, sharing pictures of pets that I love like my own, keeping each other grounded in the bad times and celebrating the good times - I love all of you more than you could ever know.
  • My relative safety, both physically in terms of distance from any major cities, and financially, in that I'm not worried about being able to pay my bills and buy necessities throughout however long this lasts. Assuming of course that I can find said necessities, as shelves in my town have been pretty bare the last few times I've ventured out into the world.

Even if there is currently standing water everywhere, I still love every inch of this land and what we've built from nothing.
  • eBooks -- I know this might seem frivolous to most, but I LOVE reading and between house construction last year and my job, I was doing it a lot less than I used to. Losing myself in new worlds, or old familiar ones, is one of my favorite pastimes. Now that I don't spend 2 hours a day commuting (and it's currently too soggy to ride, lol), I'm burning through books I've had sitting on my Kindle for ages.
  • This might be a little dark, but I'm super grateful for the timing of our construction and the mortgage rates bottoming out 🤷‍♀️ we would have wrapped our construction loan into a traditional mortgage last fall, but waiting on the garage means we'll be ready to hopefully lock in some stupid low rates. Gotta find that silver lining!

I saved this to my phone last Friday and I have a feeling it will be true for a loooooong time.

OK I could seriously go on all day about the things I'm grateful for. How about you? Are you managing to find the small moments of joy in an otherwise terrible world? I hope you and yours are staying safe and sound!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

WW: Kids & Construction

New bebe goals born Monday! Two darling little girls. And of course, Blanca is the BEST mom! And in construction news....

Garage slab is poured. Will hopefully start framing over the weekend, and I picked out some awesome garage doors (which is really my only contribution to this project, it's DH's baby lol).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Carrying On

The first week of January things were really going great. I was finding a rhythm with the horses, and I was so excited to maybe be able to slot some time for updating the blog more regularly into my schedule.
Photos after a good ride that week on Ruby.
And then we lost Rufus and my momentum just...crashed. And then burned. That week was already shaping up to be stressful at work, and adding his loss to my already overflowing plate forced me to compartmentalize and shuffle my feelings around to be dealt with later while I focused on fulfilling professional obligations and pretending to be a fully functional human being.
I worked from home one day when human interaction was just too much, and I looked out the window to see Jack laid out flat, not moving at all. I was still a little sensitive from losing Rufus and I was CONVINCED Jack was also dead, but naturally he was just napping and in reality was VERY ANNOYED that I woke him up. 
And then the weather got shitty - first cold, then wet. We needed the cold for some property work (moving stuff without sinking the trucks in the mud) so at least on that front we've been getting things done. We also should be able to start the garage work soon (the concrete contractor was actually supposed to come out last week but it snowed, then snowed some more). The last time I saw my arena footing, it was very very wet, and the current blanket of snow and ice won't help much once it finally melts off. So I'm going to proceed under the assumption that I won't be riding in it for a little bit.
The ice storm did make even dead grass look pretty neat. 

We had a very heavy, wet snow that made for some beautiful photos but a particularly awful commute, on a day I HAD to be at work to teach a training.

The horses are enjoying resuming their vacation, and are taking their job of hay hoovers very seriously. Jack seems to be wintering better than usual, which is probably due to the extremely mild temperatures we've mostly been enjoying (with the exception of the last few weeks), and also his $$$ alfalfa, which he adores and the other horses covet haha.
The dogs are their normal goofball selves and can always make me smile -- although the loss of Rufus and accompanying changes seems to have set off a renewed bout of separation anxiety for Cici.
I've been baking a lot, which is great for everything but my weight.

Also used a hack I found online to use a lighter to reattach broken pitchfork times since I can't seem to ever remember to stop and buy a new one! 😆
I'm not letting the weather get me down -- that's just Missouri in winter. We are getting some nicer weather this weekend so I might see about hauling out to ride if I can find somewhere that isn't ridiculously muddy. Aside from that, not much going on. Work is going almost suspiciously well, but I suspect that's mostly a natural outcome of finally being in an organization that prioritizes professional development and actually like...rewards high achievers. It's weird, but good. Now to focus on a way to add riding back into the delicate juggling act that is my schedule! And who knows, maybe I'll recover some of my momentum and pick this back up as well 🙃 I'm trying, anyway.

Thank you to anyone who slogged through that rambling, nonsensical, sort of update. If I could, I'd give you a delicious homemade cookie 🍪

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

WW: Rainbow Bridge

Photo by Pam Langrish
We lost our best boy, Rufus York, this morning. I'm sure the many, many dogs I've loved and lost greeted him at the Rainbow Bridge, including his daughter Snickers.
4/16/06 - 1/8/20
Photo by Pam Langrish
Back in his "well-padded" days.

"Helping" my friend with work

Letting the students dress him up at one of his many vet appointments

Last Sunday night, just an average photo of his favorite place - at the bottom of a pile of dachshunds. 
"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan."
Irving Townsend

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year, New Me?

Just kidding, I'm gonna be the same old inconsistent blogger in 2020. But I did think I should try to get off to a good start, and I have actually ridden TWICE already in the first week of the new year, so we can start there :)
DH accidentally left his door unlatched one night and Jack had an aisle party.
He very helpfully pooped ON the manure fork though, so there's that. 

Last week Friday I got home from work and the weather wasn't awful, so I grabbed Cinna. I knew before we even made it to the ring that the ride was going to be a shit show, but that's okay!
When the giraffe comes out like that in the cross ties, better hold on 🤣
DH wasn't home from work yet, and believe it or not, I DO have some sense of self-preservation, so I decided a lengthy lunge and then walk-only ride would probably be in our best interest. She was explosive on the lunge line and in hand, but she did settle in and we had some nice work at the walk. Annnnnnd then DH got home and let the big dogs out, and they charged the fence barking. The yard at the new house is a lot closer to the arena, and they hadn't been out in it while I was riding yet. Cinna decided to expediently vacate the area. I managed to stay with her, laughing the whole way. After the dogs went back inside, we did manage to find some relaxation and end on a good note.
Missing some legs here 🤔 

How we felt after the ride 😆
It was still a productive ride, even if not in the way I hoped. She hasn't been in regular work and the weather has been all over the map, so just getting her out was a win in my book!
Robot vacuum cleaner = more time for me to ride while it does my housework for me 🤣 new favorite purchase!
We had more nice weather yesterday, so I managed to meet up with a group of friends for some trail riding! We went to Three Creeks Conservation Area, which DH and I did manage to visit back in 2018. I was a bit underwhelmed on that trip, but we parked at a different trailhead and ended up getting some direction tips from a rider/hiker pair who were on their way out as we were tacking up.
Adventure pony!
I opted to ride in my Ludomar after I saw it being used on horses in the Witcher (which I binged a few weeks ago, lol) and it reminded me how much I liked that saddle -- although I really do need to get a sheepskin cover for it!
Stuck with the trail hackamore though, didn't go full Spanish on the bridle (although I *did* consider it!)

With some better guidance this time, we were able to navigate several of the loops and rode through some of the namesake three creeks. There were a few rocky and hilly sections, and Trigger struggled a bit. He's getting a bit too old for some of the more difficult trails, so next time I may need to see if DH is ready to step up to Ruby and I can bring baby brain Cinna.
Ruby was a little unsure about her new friend Mikey the mule

But she definitely liked her little mini-me, another opinionated little bay mare also named Ruby!

My poofy vest and fleece tied around my waist was an unflattering look lol

Aside from Trigger getting a little tired, we had a lovely time! Good company (several ladies I know through the local GMO), and we couldn't have asked for better weather (50s and sunny!). We ran in to a few hikers, and some with dogs, but everyone was very polite! The equisense tracked about 2 hours 20 minutes, although quite a bit of that was standing still (the group as a whole had some small tack issues that had to be addressed).
All in all a really good start to 2020! Hopefully we can keep up the momentum and I can get the horses fit so lessons can resume :)