the Zen of the Parting with the Saddle

No, I didn’t fall off today.  I resurrected these from some old posts on my old blog, to keep me humble while I am trying to teach Mo how to teach me how to jump.

These were inspired by Stormy, one of my quarter horse mares, who is now a pasture ornament, while I was healing a football-sized hematoma on my backside from one of her dirty spooks.  Which is why she is now a pasture ornament.

A Haiku Poem:

Cooler day, windy
Says “Be Spooky!” to the horse
And “Eat Dirt!” to me.

Another Haiku Poem:

Neighbors have big party
Says “Act Silly!” to the horse
She does. Rider flies.

One Last Haiku Poem:

Wind blows, horse blows up
Rider now riding on air
Briefly. Hello Earth.

Okay, one more:

Hello Earth. Meet Butt.
Horse stands calmly now of course
Waiting for cookie.

me on Stormy, with Sunny our angel palomino

Out of the Scary Closet and into the fire

10 years ago I met a man and got involved.   Regrettably.  Poor judgment and denial on my part and an f-ing moron of an abusive alcoholic on his part made for an interesting six months.  Blog post on f-ing morons and surviving domestic violence forthcoming.

Back then at the ripe old age of 46, I decided I should probably try to do something about my singleness before I got so old and grizzled that the only men who would find me appealing would be older and grizzleder.  So I did some dating and eventually hooked up with the f-ing moron.  Who, although not much older or grizzleder than me at the time, was definitely meaner.  And stupider.

Now at the way riper age of 56, I am no longer so concerned about being single, staying single.  I fully accept and appreciate my freedom.  I am content on my own.  I have always been easily amused by me and a variety of interests that I can pursue and enjoy without many, or any, people around.

I have enjoyed relationships with good men over the years but I have never been the sort to just relax and enjoy companionship, or to define my happiness or self-worth in terms of whether or not I am in a relationship.  I have never “needed” to be with someone.  But I think now I would be happy to give it a go with a right person — thinking that I have finally reached that point where  I know who I  am and I can wear this skin,  if not completely proudly (40 or so pounds to go),  absolutely without apology.  So perhaps I am finally fit to be a willing and supportive partner to someone, and able to accept the same in return without feeling crowded or resentful of the obligation to care about someone else’s needs or worried that I will have to behave myself at all times or whatever it is that has kept me thinking that relationships are just too much trouble to bother with.

So I went on a blind date the other night, first date in over 10 years .  It went pretty well, all things considered.   All things being  —

[1]  I don’t know how to act on a date.  I don’t know what modern-day dating norms are.   I’m sure I don’t care.  Which can affect whether I give a good impression.  Which I don’t care about.

[2]  I was burnt out from a chaotically normal work day and had overshot my daily quota for polite social interaction some hours before.

[3]  I hadn’t gotten around to locating my fall/winter-going out in public wardrobe until just before I needed to dress and when I finally found it, in the Scary Closet, I couldn’t be absolutely sure that there weren’t any black widow spiders nesting comfortably in the folds of the cowl neck tunic thing I eventually settled on as worthy blind date attire.

[4]  I was a bit nervous.  Because of having to Go Somewhere and Be Social.  This is not to be confused with anxious.   Nervous is normal and I was thankful to be nervous rather than the Other Thing.  Because if it was the Other Thing, I would have remained at home, naturally, probably in or near the Scary Closet,  where I was safe and, spider possibility notwithstanding, where it was like Christmas morning tearing through piles of  favorite-season clothes I had completely forgotten I had.

Dressed in real (aka not-barn) clothes, hair cooperating, I showed up to meet the guy.  I’m pretty sure he was very nice, articulate, engaging, comfortable in life, and easy to talk with.  He didn’t bat an eye when I went for the prime rib.  A big treat I felt I deserved — after all, I showed up, to a restaurant, to meet a new person, after going to the trouble of putting on fall/winter-going-out-in-public clothes on that I had cowboyed up a trip into the Scary Closet to get.    That, by the way, fit way better than last year.  *Smug*

I had one margarita, which helped to take the edge off.   Or, finish the taking-the-edge-off process I had started before leaving home, when I had taken Another Thing to help take the edge off.  So, edges neatly smoothed obliterated, the only cause for alarm I experienced all evening  was horseradish.  I kept shoveling in too much horseradish and then regretting it and making the “yikes,  too much horseradish”  face.   And then doing it again, over and over.  I wonder what he thought of my incompetence at calculating the correct dose of horseradish.  Not to mention what he thought of the faces.

I confessed my anxiety problem.  He proved himself at least semi-normal with his inability to understand it.   Might have scared him off,  but even if so, I consider the evening a success.  I showed up.

Brownie points.

more Autumn … to-do lists can be fun, too

… as long as they don’t contain too much to actually do.

I am a gifted to-do list-maker.   I write to-do lists that list the to-do lists that I need to write.

Lately I am spending a lot of time looking around my farm and writing conceptual to-do lists of all the maintenance that [1]  I should be thinking about and [2]  that I should be writing the actual executable to-do lists for, that will list the actual to-dos needed to prep the farm for winter.      Usually, nothing actually comes from all of this looking and thinking and writing, but I give myself brownie points for walking around and looking at possible future when-I-am-good-and-ready farm chores.   I also give myself brownie points for having nice handwriting.

The problem is that I am a bit dyslexic when it comes to accurately writing down what I am actually seeing.

what my eyes see:  (barn needs cleaning and repair)

what I write down:

seen:  (horse-bent gate needs to be put back on its hinges)  (and turkey needs to be put in the freezer for Thanksgiving)


I don’t know what it  is about autumn.   Perhaps my maternal instinct, which has never wanted anything What-So-Ev-Er to do with any actual human children, foresees the cold and wet and mud involved with winter caretaking of large outdoor-style creatures, and prefers to ignore them and care for some little indoor-style creatures inside, where it will be slightly warmer and/or not quite as wet and muddy as outside.

winter chore things

Or, more likely, my version of maternal instinct does not even wish to care for little indoor creatures as much as just to pile them in furry stacks on the bed to serve as extra pillows.  (Aside:  I don’t need them for warmth.  I am and always have been, change of life notwithstanding, Way Too Hot.   I  build a fire in my woodstove just to add cozy visual ambience to my knitting/reading nest in the living room.  The rest of my house stays at the same comfortable temperature as the one in the magic ice cube-making compartment in my fridge.)

Or my maternal instinct does desire the pitter patter of tiny feet.  Galloping in fours at top puppy- or kitten-speed away from me when I am trying to catch them to show them Pee Pee Outside or Pee Pee In The Box, depending on the young’un’s Genus.  After they have Pee Peed Inside Anywhere They Feel Like for the third time inside of 30  minutes.

Cuatro and some kitten or other

Reminds me to add something to the fall chore to-do-someday list.

There was a time a few years ago when there were usually not less than 5 animals in my bed at bedtime.  Not counting me.

I kid you not.  Meet my bed.

this is why German Shepherd Dogs are considered one of the smartest canine breeds.   the Febreze was Cuatro’s idea.

I slept so well then.  Now, with only one dog with the athletic ability to jump on my bed without assistance, and one cat who graces the very foot of my bed only now and then, and only when that dog, her favorite,  is snoring comatose nearby, I don’t sleep well at all.

So, I’m thinking  two or three kittens and a puppy should do it.


Cisco, the best dog that ever graced my planet, with yet another some kitten or other.

welcome Autumn! or not.

I live on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, north central California.   Near Sacramento but far enough away that I can tell people I live ” in the Sierra foothills”  or perhaps the more historically exotic-sounding “near Coloma,  you know, Sutter’s Mill, where the California Gold Rush got started.”

It is the beginning of October, which means Autumn is just around the corner.   But not here.   Here,  it could be four more weeks of Too Freaking Hot Still, followed by Skipping Autumn Altogether,  directly to the Mother Of All Storms that will launch our Winter (aka Just Rain), leaving me without power and water for a few days and having me daydreaming about living in a tidy little condo with a garage and prefab landscaping maintained by someone not named Carol,  that has year round electricity and running water, and fewer opportunities for field rodent corpse pieces to find their way into my shoes.  And fewer games of lizard soccer played in my kitchen by some of my outdoor barn cats who sneak  indoors somehow during the wee hours with a soon-to-be-soccer-ball lizard buddy (scratch scramble scramble *thud*  scratch scramble scramble *thud*).  And fewer skunks following my barn cats into the kitchen to watch the game and help themselves to the inside cats’  leftovers.

I kid you not.  Meet Flower.

what’s one more cat?

Which brings me to my upcoming annual one week Autumn (or not) vacation from my day job.   This vacation will be spent cleaning house (scrubbing the kitchen floor of lizard remains-stains), doing farm prep for winter, riding a lot, working on The Book,  and of course, working incognito at my day job, since I have to take vacation to get time away from work so that I can caught up on my work.

home, when there is Autumn

The Upside-downside to being Nutty(er than usual), or More Fun (Way!) with Math

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a bit bored with the whole anxiety/panic disorder topic.  Not to mention the whole anxiety/panic disorder thing (IT) itself.   Honestly, writing about IT has helped some.   Up until now, when IT has started to Thoroughly.  Piss. Me. Off.

Today’s status:  Still here, still have some of IT symptoms, dealing.  But I have a buttload of work to do before my vacation next week.  So the increase in my usually barely tolerable work stress is making life a bit more enjoyable.

Now, on to the Upside.  Which is a Downside.  But a good one, especially given the whole freaking point of this freaking year and this freaking blog.

Since August 1, I have lost

♦     18 pounds     ♦

(204 to 186 today).  My last published weight log showed my high point at 202 in March. That was not the eventual high point.

All of my not-so-hard work was paying off in the reverse.   Which was not the trend I wanted to publish, which is why I took down the weight log,  although I did continue doing and woe-is-me-ing weigh-ins March through July.

(Aside:  Rather than Outright Lie, I prefer to Withhold Comment.  Sort of like when a  friend asks me if they look (good or bad or smart or stupid) (doing or wearing or dating) (something or somebody).   I do not want to Lie but I do not want to tell the Truth, either.  So I WC, which is similar in concept to being PC,  but of course without the P.    Since I try not to do or say anything whatsoever that has the remotest chance of having the label P(olitical) attached to it)).  (I love parenthetical comments, as you know.  I think this wins the Most Parentheses Ever In One Paragraph In My Blog award.)  (But I am more in love with run-on sentences than anything, as you also know.)

And no, I do not think achieving the reverse of desired results had anything at all to do with  IT, the Thing I Am Tired Of  Writing About.  Being overweight does not cause me IT.   Being overweight  just Pisses. Me. Off.

Anyway, I told you I was feeling different and bits and pieces were rearranging and my underwear was getting large enough to hold both the Boob Section and the Other End.

I think that I get the biggest kick out of the fact that I have lost a good bit of weight while I am still on Paxil (holding at 10 mg, terrified to step down again until I get a better handle on things).

My formula appears to be:

<20 gr carbs (very little sugar/starch) +

>50 oz liquid +

(30 mins cardio 5-6 days/wk)

= – 18 (in 2 months).


Aiming for the gate Part 2

It has been a difficult week — persisting anxiety most days, a couple of severe panic episodes that had me testing the Emergency speed dial on my cell phone.

This is what panic attacks do — they trick you into thinking you are on your way Out and you need to start interviewing new parents for your children, or, as in my case, for my 13 or so four-legged vet bills.

Something terrible is about to happen.

If you were out walking in the woods and a grizzly bear suddenly jumps out from behind a tree, adrenaline will do lot of good things for you.  Your sympathetic nervous system springs into action.  Your heart races, breathing becomes more rapid, you break out in a sweat.  All of these are good if there is a bear, because your body is preparing for strenuous physical activity — either to stand and fight the bear, or run away from the bear.

With panic, there is usually no grizzly bear, but you get all of the physical symptoms of the same adrenaline rush, plus tingling or numbness, dizziness, a sense of unreality or disassociation.  These can be overwhelming and cause more fear, which naturally causes  more adrenaline.  It builds and builds, churning, strengthening, spiraling upward, your own personal tornado.  With flying cows and everything.

You really do think you are experiencing the onset of something terrible and deadly.

It just so happens that these are also the same symptoms one typically gets from riding a rollercoaster.  The thrill and excitement and fear and exhilaration — all of these things bring on the adrenaline and the effects are pretty much the same as the grizzly bear in the woods or a panic attack.

The difference with the rollercoaster ride is that you perceive the ride as fun.  Mostly.  Unless you ate too many corn dogs to squelch a bad case of the munchies.  Because you were smoking weed like we did in Santa Cruz in the 1970s.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Big Dipper — ah, memories.  Or lingering hazes.  Whatever, man.

I get the same “good” adrenalin rush from riding my horse.  In all rides I get a physical work out and some adrenalin pumping around, and in some rides Mo offers some Extra Added Attractions very very similar to a rollercoaster that cause more adrenaline.  This does not cause me to panic.  It just causes me to want some Gatorade.

If the only real difference between a panic attack and a rollercoaster ride is perception of fun, and if panic gains power from fear, then it makes sense to me to aim for the gate.  Aiming for the gate means that when I get the initial “OH NO!” feeling of panic coming on, I run toward it instead of trying to hide from it.  I call it by its name and embrace it.  I let all of the physical symptoms just happen.   And ask for more.

I buy the rollercoaster ticket, buckle in, and hang on for the ride.  Delight in the thrills.   Laugh while screaming.

Sounds a little nutty.  Therefore, I must try it.