Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year

Wow. Another year. Can Ya'll believe I've been doing this for a year and a half? I sure can't.

I took a peek back at last year's New Year's Eve post, and man, things really haven't changed much.

A lot of things have happened this year, but I'm still thankful for the same things.

This year, I rode a whole different horse. Etta is gonna be a hell of a girl, too... and I'm gonna stretch out her training as much as I can because once she's "finished" I'm not sure I'll get to ride her again. Farmmom is in love with her, and Mamaw is so proud of her it's actually pretty funny. I used to joke that she carried more pictures of her horse than me, so she started carrying the one that had both me and the horse in it. Now, she's got more of them. Pictures of me on her horse. Of course, I fully expect to be replaced by the pictures of her on her horse, but that's the way things roll in the Farm Fam.

I got "new" teeth. I'm getting there on being comfortable with them. I do know that I'm smiling a lot more freely these days.

I learned more new things, spent more time with friends. I got to spend some time pushing cows across the fields, and a little bit of time just enjoying the sunshine and my ponies.

I had love, and then I didn't. I've always maintained that nothing in life is worthless, and nothing in life is entirely bad. One of my hopes for the new year is to get myself to the point where I can look back on my time with Cowboy Mechanic and see the things that made it worthwhile first. I'm workin on it.

Grandpa. God I miss that man. But, occasionally, I can still feel his hug, smell his shampoo and feel the bristles of his beard stubble against my cheek. A lot more, I hear him murmur in my ear. He's at peace, now. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure he's got Grandma in a bikini on a lake somewhere, skiing, or fishing. He missed her for so long, how could I not be happy that they're finally reunited?

I made very little progress on Jane, but I did make progress. I'll get her story told one day.

I don't know if I'm better, or worse than I was last year. I do know that I wouldn't change anything. It's my life, my choices, and they all combine to make me, me. And, I wouldn't want to be anyone else... it'd just be too weird!

Thank you to everyone who reads. I love doing this, and entertaining people, and ya'll make me feel so great when you tell me you enjoy it.

Here's wishing each and every one of you a Happy New Year. As with last year, I'll wish you all more joy than sorrow, more smiles than tears, and more money than debt!

Ya'll have fun tonight, and be safe.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well, Hell

I had been planning for a group for New Year's. Unfortunately, things aren't working out the way I'd planned.

One guest is snowed in... in Washington state.

One has to work early early the morning of the first, more than an hour from here.

One is on call at her hospital... and she's the one that draws the blood for the drunks. Yeah. She ain't comin, short of by some miracle finding someone to cover for her, or an even bigger miracle, the drunks holding off being stupid until she passes the torch to someone else.

Of my back up, last minute guests (not because they weren't high on my list of people I wanted to see, but because I figured they had their own plans... tried just because I might have been wrong and they're spontaneous kinda folks)

One has to work at gawdawful in the morning on the first, four plus hours from here.

And One hasn't called me back yet.

I really, really want to get all gussied up, and go out and feel purdy for a while, and have fun with friends. I'm gonna be pretty disappointed if I wind up ringing in the New Year with just me myself and I and a bottle of Cuervo.

Small Towns...

Can turn a flu into an unplanned pregnancy,

An argument into a knock down drag out battle,

"Hi" into "I want you I need you I can't live without you,"

And, a heart attack into an epic shootout, complete with illegitimate children and cheesy one liners.

Gotta love the small town rumor mill... always entertaining.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


There’s a place that I like to go. It’s not a real place, although it started out that way. Years back I spent a week in Yellowstone, camped on Slough Creek, and I fell in love with that place.

It’s peaceful there. Even with dozens of people camped around me, it was peaceful. Birds, chipmunks, deer and bison, and the sound of the water trickling over rounded stones. Elk bugling in the twilight hour, and the scent of pine on the air.

I loved it. I was in Yellowstone with so much to see, so many places to explore, and I spent four days just sitting in my campsite watching the world go by.

I use that memory, when things get bad. I close my eyes, and take a deep breath, and put myself back there, in the opening of my tent. I guess it’s a form of meditation. It’s not exactly a “happy place,” more of a relaxing place. It doesn’t work as well as spending an hour in a pasture surrounded by my horses, but it does buy me time to get there, when everything is going to hell.

And, every once in a while, it just provides a few minutes of peace.

It’s changed. It used to be a straight up memory of the time I spent there. I’d pick a day, or a moment, and just bask in it. Now, when I go there, other things happen. I saw deer, when I was there. A bison crossed the creek and walked by not ten feet from me, as unconcerned as if I’d been a tree stump.

Now, if I think of the evening, I hear the elk, like I did, but I also hear the wolves. I never did hear Yellowstone’s wolves when I was there, although I listened every night. I hear the wolves singing to each other and it doesn’t make me afraid, it makes me feel even more peaceful. I think because that’s the way it should be. The wolves, they belong there. That place belongs to the animals, to nature, far more than it does to man, for all of our building roads and campsites and the thousands of people who go there every year.

With very few exceptions, we leave. The animals are always there. That’s how it should be.

Inside my head I watch a grizzly wander across the meadow across the creek, a cub gamboling around her feet. The sun shines down, the sky is so blue it hurts the eyes to look at it. The trees are a deep, deep green, and the grass is golden and waving in the slightest breeze.

I’m sitting on the ground with my feet in the crystal clear water, resting on a rock polished smooth by unknown decades of flow. My back leans against a fallen tree, bark gone and wood bleached white by the sun. My head tips back and I savor the sensations of the sun warming my body, and the breeze ruffling over my skin, through my hair.

Birds that I don’t know tweet, twitter, and sing in the trees surrounding me, while squirrels and chipmunks chatter back and forth. It smells of life, dirt and growth and animals mingling in my nose. I can’t hear an engine, I don’t smell gasoline, diesel, cleaning products. I can’t see a human being, and I know I won’t, as long as I stay here. I know that people have walked across this creek, crossed the meadow in front of me, but I might as well be the first person ever to see this, for all the impact they’ve left.

I lean back again and let the wild world wash over me, eyes closed. As the sun begins sinking behind the purple mountains, the wolves sing their evening song, lulling me into a deep, peaceful sleep.

I like it here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

For many, many years, Farmmom and I would go to her sister's house for Christmas Day with that side of the Fam. Farmdad was banned, due to an unfortunate incident with the other sister which involved hypoglycemia, deliberately honey glazed ham, and Farmdad mooing.

Anyway, a couple years ago (I guess it's officially three years ago now) we went up to Aunt L's house for Christmas Day with Grandpa, Aunt L, Aunt M, Uncle D, Aunt P, and the Herd of Cousins, only to be surprised when we arrived.

See, I tended to dread that trip, mostly because the food sucked, but Aunt M would be snarky enough that I'd suffer through two full plates, while she picked at a half a portion of green salad. Aunt M is unfortunate enough to have gotten the other side of the family weight issues. I have to struggle to maintain my weight and keep from losing, and she can't hardly lose at all.

She's also a bitter old harpy. So, she was just as snarky as she could get away with in front of Grandpa, to me and to Farmmom, every year. And, every year, Farmmom would extract a promise from me outside the house to behave myself and not cause waves. So, I ate seconds. And pie. And seconds of pie. It was the only weapon I was allowed....

But, this year, practically as soon as we walked in the door (all the while with me thinking "white its all white I can't touch anything I'll smudge it it's white don't touch....") we realized that something very important had changed.

They had Booze! The aunts and Uncle B, Aunt L's husband, had decided to make it an alcoholic Christmas.

There was apple cider with three different kinds of liqour in it, and Uncle B was in the process of making home made Egg Nog.

I thought... finally! Something to make the day bearable!

Then I realized how heavily they'd been into the Special Grown Up Cider. And decided to sit back and enjoy the show.

Of course they offered myself, and Farmmom, a libation. We politely declined on the grounds that we had a three hour drive home, cops everywhere ya know.

Then they offered some to my sixteen year old cousin... Who was playing Chauffer that day for Grandpa.

She was wise enough to decline.

Bout then the Eggnog was remembered. When Uncle B went to check on it, he discovered that he'd left it on the heat too long... it was about the consistency of oatmeal.

Aunt M insisted on trying it anyway, so in went the rum, and into a glass.

Less than five minutes later she's wandering around with a glass of oatmeal-nog and a spoon, happy as a clam.

That was about it for entertainment, until we got to the table. Aunt L has this long formal dining table... in white marble... so we were fairly spread out. Uncle B got the head of the table, Grandpa got the foot. Uncle B was bracketed by Aunt L and Aunt M.

Somewhere between pass the potatoes and 'scuse my belch, Aunt M leaned over and started extolling the virtues of Salt and Pepper haired men... while running her fingers through her sister's husband's hair. At the dinner table. While murmuring "Oh, so sexy..."

I snorted. I looked at Farmmom, beseaching. She squeezed her eyes shut, wrinked up her forehead, and nodded.

She says that the grin that came over my face at that moment looked like a portal into Snark Hell.

Well, maybe. But after howmany years of having to promise to keep my snark locked behind my teeth (and as a result saying a total of about twelve words in the entire day most times) it was frankly a relief to let it out.

Still, it was a family affair, and Grandpa was there, so I confined myself to a single comment.

"You know, I think that end of the table might just have had a little bit too much of the Christmas Spirits."

Grandpa choked on his mashed potatoes. Farmmom nearly snorted peas.

Aunt M merely looked down her nose at me, wavering as she attempted to decide which one of me to snob at, and said "You can never have too much Christmas Spirit."

Well. So much for one comment.

"There was an S on the end of that for a reason," I said. She couldn't seem to decide whether or not to be offended.

Meanwhile Grandpa stopped even pretending to eat, and Farmmom was preparing to carefully move her plate to one side so that she could perform a headdesk maneuver on the marble table. Probably regretting giving me the go ahead. Grandpa, sitting right next to me, was shaking, and for a moment I wondered if I'd crossed the line.

Then he snorted a bit, trying to hold in laughter, and I knew it was all good.

All in all, I gotta say, the food was better than normal, the company was far more entertaining than usual...

Yeah, it was the best Christmas Day I ever spent at Aunt L's.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Obligatory Gift-List

Well. Paper has been shredded, tossed, carefully searched for dropped small gifts, and stuffed into trash bags. Boxes have been opened, broken down, and bagged.

For a while there, with everyone opening presents in Mamaw's living room, it looked like Santa crapped everywhere.

I'm pretty proud of my gift choices this year, I didn't get a single "oh, gee... thanks."

As a matter of fact I got several "wow, I love it" and "ooohhh"s along with one actual squeal. Which was pretty damn impressive considering Farmmom has a cold and can't hardly talk, let alone squeal.

Mamaw loved her bronze statue of a rearing filly, and Step-Grandpa was very pleased with his super fuzzy warm blanket.

Brother got what he asked for, and sister in law went "ooo pretty" over the necklace that Farmmom and I went together on.

I won the bet on who's gift Eldest Nephew would play with first (I cheated, I got him the Hulk Hands that make noises when you hit something with them.)

Youngest Nephew enjoyed opening packages so much he was trying to steal everyone else's.

Farmmom squealed over the Ostrich Attack shirt I got her from AD's Zazzle store... Farmdad said "Yes!" when he opened his.

Brother and Sis in Law made out like bandits with a Wii system and a bunch of games and controllers.

Me? Well, the best gift was watching everyone open their stuff, but frankly, I made out like a bandit too.

Since I was playing "santa" and delivering everyone their gifts, I was the last to finish opening mine. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I didn't take as much note of the tags as I probably should have.

I got those shoes I mentioned before (which SB promptly called Hooker Heels... so I hit him with one.... his fam was putting off all the holiday celebrating until this weekend, so I invited him to ours. A person ought to have a real Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve or day, and I'm just nice like that.)

I got a new pair of Eeyore PJ's.... fuzzy ones. What can I say, I'm addicted to PJ's and Eeyore is just too cute.

I got a wall to car plug converter... which is auspicious since I left my wall charger for my phone at my house, and had to borrow Mamaw's converter Monday night.

Bro and Sis in Law got me a smore's kit in the cutest little paint can, and the traditional bag of good coffee, although this time it was Dunkin Doughnuts, rather than Starbucks.

Between Mamaw and the Farmparents I got pretty much every kitchen accessory I've asked for in the last two years. A Kitchen Aid mixer (oh how I love thee, let me count the ways...) and a fancy Magic Bullet blender... the one with the juicer and all that.... and I won't have any place to put them for a couple of months yet!

And, a gorgeous dreamcatcher, standing instead of the traditional hanging, with a wolf motif on the base.

Mamaw also gave me the spiffy new laptop that I'm now in the process of configuring, and am posting on. My old one, the hinge for the screen is broken. I never know if this time closing it or opening it will be the time the whole danged screen just falls off. With the new laptop I can set it up so that the old one is a stationary unit, and just leave it open.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go pet my presents some more.... hehehe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis The Night Before Christmas... Eve....

And all through the house,
Not a dog is stirring,
Though the cat stares at a mouse.

Thermal socks are slung over the radiator with care,
In hopes that come morning toasty toes will be there.

Farmmom and Pop are all snug in their bed,
While visions of Hawaii surely dance in their heads.

And I in my sweater, and Noel wide awake,
Are waiting so patiently for the pumpkin custard to bake.

Tomorrow we'll feast, and open our gifts,
For tonight I have pups, and my hefty cat Ziff.

All in all it was good, a real family tradition,
Farmmom and I, at the table a-dishin.

Recalling years past and the way things have changed,
Telling tales on each other, and friends... best not named.

No hot mulled wine, no hard apple cider,
We're crazy enough, we couldn't be tighter.

Tomorrow is time for the Fam and those things,
Tonight was for us, and the joy that that brings.

The nephews will reach for their gifts full of glee,
Seeing their faces is the best part for me.

We'll eat and we'll laugh, and all will be well,
What will come in the new year, only time will tell.

I fear I must leave you, for I'm out of rhymes,
But I'll wish you much joy, and the best of times.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wow. I'm a Weirdo... TV Edition

We all know that I'm a bit... odd. Especially those folks that have known me in an "online" sense for years (Yes, I'm talking about you, Josh) and those who know me on the other side of the computer screen.

(A while back I was actually approached in the real world by someone who reads my blog and knows who I am. She's an acquaintance of Mamaw's, but she complimented me on my scribblings and made a point to tell me that she read. I'd like to thank her, cause that just blew my mind at a time when my mind needed blowing.... or something along those lines that doesn't sound quite so dirty...)

My lust for all things electronic and nifty, paired with my at times overwhelming urges to be, literally, in the middle of nowhere.

My lack of interest, and frankly skill, at the girly arts of hair and makeup, paired with an unfortunate yen for snazzy shoes that then stare forlornly at me from the bottom of my closet as I yet again pull on a pair of work or "cowboy" type boots.

Odd. That's me.

But, some of the greatest examples of my weirdness come blaring out of the TV screen... Here's some examples:

1. I love Bones, House, ER, CSI: Miami (it's all about waiting for that moment when Horatio gives his dramatic pause, usually paired with either putting on or taking off his sunglasses.)

2. Farmmom and I were entirely addicted to Gilmore Girls. Like, every Tuesday night, and later Wednesday night, without fail, no matter where we were, whether we were together or not, we would sit down and watch. If we were apart, we could sometimes refrain from calling until after the show to go "Oh. My. God... can you believe what Jess did??"

Farmdad learned quickly to pretend to be invisible for an hour. We would discuss the show when it wasn't on, and speculate about what would happen next. Obscure references were made. Quotes are still thrown around. We have the first four seasons on DVD.

We threw a farewell party the night of the series finale. We cried.

3. I'm often caught by odd "informational" shows. I've seen how they make sink drains, pencils, M&M's and Airplanes. I've watched as the most boring people in the world, assisted by people with a little more skill in presentation, show me tombs of rulers long gone, theorize about who was banging who four thousand years ago, and somehow... wow... find entire countries that are only obliquely mentioned in any known recorded history.

4. I've banned myself from watching Animal Planet. I don't always succeed in my determination not to tune to that channel, but I try. Animal Cops invariably pisses me off and makes me cry, no matter what city they're in. And it's always on.

5. HBO is the debil when it comes to wasting time when I really should be doing something constructive. Taxicab Confessions... just... wow. Cathouse... again wow. Seriously, I don't think I could manage being a prostitute myself, but that show always makes a little part of me want to try it. Real Sex... just flat out fucking fascinates me. Forget Skinemax for late night naughtyvision, HBO takes it to a whole new level. Sometimes, a very creepy level....

6. True Blood gets a whole number to itself. I started watching because I love the Sookie Stackhouse books. I kept watching, in spite of being able to sit in my recliner and tell myself what was going to happen next, because it just rawks.

7. Deadwood. 'Nuff Said.

8. I can sing the entire theme song for the Wonderpets. In fact, it's an earworm that never quite goes away.

9. Infomercials. I never buy anything, but I can't resist seeing what crap they're trying to sell now.

10. Food Network. In spite of the fact that I can't find half of the ingredients of the things that I really want to try, and at least half of the things I see on there make me go "waitaminute... what?" I can't resist. Alton Brown can give me tunnel vision in ten seconds flat.

I think that's enough for now. Add in the fact that I bounce between all of these things, and more, with no coherent pattern (Real Sex to Gilmore Girls reruns to Bones to Wonderpets to Food Network to.... you get the picture) and it's just another layer to my sometimes borderline crazyness.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ahhh, Holidays

It's that time of year again, when people put up trees, trim them with care, adorn their houses with greenery and lights....

A miserable time of year.

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays. Time with the family, finding the perfect gifts, the anticipation, waiting to find out what is in the pretty packages.... (shut up, Farm Family. I'll tell that story when I'm damn good and ready.)

Not to mention the beautiful decorations and scent of evergreen everywhere....

There's just one teensy little problem.

I'm violently allergic to "real" evergreen plants, when they start to dry out.

I don't mean stuffed up nose, sneezing, sinus headache kind of allergic. I mean, the last time we had a real tree, Farmmom darn near hauled me to the ER, cause I was one sick little kid.

Every year since then, I've been a little sad when we put up the tree. I love the smell of a real tree, to the point that when Farmmom and I were in Yellowstone, I literally rolled down the window and hung my head out as we entered the forest lanes.

No joke.

Unfortunately, I'm allergic enough that it's a situation where I'm absolutely miserable. Like, so much snot running down the back of my throat that I puke, eyes swollen nearly shut, sneezing hard enough I'm pretty sure my brain is getting bruised from the whiplash, coughing wheezing wanna die now kind of miserable.

Of course, 90% of the world has real trees, and real wreaths on the door, and in extreme cases, real garlands along the eves of their homes.

Including my high school.

For some reason, no matter how many phone calls Farmmom made, doctors notes I took in, or days I spent skipping classes to sit in the principal's office hacking up a lung, they never got the picture.

Every year they would have a real tree in the foyer/lobby area, which I had to walk through to get to classes, and which is where we were required to go during our "brunch."

The first week or so would be ok. They'd keep the tree well watered, take real good care of it, and I'd only get mildly stuffed up. As time went on, though, the caretakers of the tree would start to slack, and it would start to dry out. And I would get progressively sicker.

On the bright side, I usually got to start my Christmas Break a few days early.

Anyway, when we were shopping last week, Sam's Club had a display of wreaths, and I just had to smell them. I told you, I love the smell. I think it's genetic, this unhealthy draw towards things that you're horribly allergic to. Farmmom can lick her fingers after touching a slice of cantaloupe and break out in hives all over, but she loves cantaloupe. Every summer Farmdad gets stuffed with it, because she'll buy it and cut it up just so she can smell it.

So, Tuesday I got a little stuffed up. Apparently the wreaths weren't quite as fresh as the sign claimed... I can live with that, though.

Unfortunately, I think my neighbors have a real tree. Today, I've been sneezing, and had a bit of a headache, with itchy eyes and the various little signs that I recall from my highschool days.

Luckily, I'm going back to the Old Homestead tomorrow, so it should clear up ok.

I've been trying for the last few years to convince the Farm Family to buy one of those potted trees, and try it. I figure, it's a live tree, it's not going to dry out, which is the stage where I have real problems, it should be ok, right? They keep telling me no... I don't see why not, though. If I'm wrong, I'm the one who will be miserable.

'Course, if they're right, they'll have to put up with my whiny ass, so I guess they have a say in it.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's Been Happening?

So, I've gotten a couple of emails since the last post (and by the way, thank you to everyone for your kind words and support... I feel amazingly blessed that people out there on the intarwebz not only give a hoot about my little blog but come out in droves just to give me a figurative hug when I'm down) wondering what's up.

So, lets take this week... Friday, I took my last final, found out what I'd gotten on my other final (passed the class, with a B, this makes me happy) picked up a suitcase, the Dawgs (oh, yeah, I got a new pup... a six month old male miniature schnauser... he's thick as a post but cute as a button) and hit Safeway because they had Pepsi products buy two get three free. Picked up ten twelve-packs of Mountain Dew for Mamaw, stuffed them in the trunk, and headed for the Old Homestead.

Got here in time to watch round nine of the NFR on the big screen, with Mamaw, Bill, and SB (who wasn't about to pass up an opportunity to watch bull riding on a fifty inch hi def) with much hooting and hollering by myself and SB.

Saturday I replaced/repaired the plastic on Mamaw's windows, which turned into an all day ordeal, since nothing wanted to go right. Saturday night we watched round ten of the NFR, which SB missed because his ex gf showed up begging him to take her back and he couldn't get loose.

Sunday, it was cold and nasty out so I decided to stay over one more day and go back to my house Monday. So, I puttered around the house for Mamaw and got some stuff done here. Monday, I puttered some more, and we decided to go Christmas Shopping Tuesday, so I figured there was no point in hauling the dogs home just to leave them shut up in the house all day, when I could stay one more night and they could play in a big yard all day instead. That night, SB and I went out to drive around and look at the Christmas Lights and talk.

(I swear, I need to carry a 2X4 around with "I'm not ugly" on one side and "I'm a good person who deserves to be happy" on the other. That boy has no self esteem, and maybe if I beat him over the head with it enough he'd get the picture.)

Tuesday. Yikes. We got all the shopping done (I swear every year that I'm going to start my shopping in June, and I never do....) but it was still a long day. I can't even brag about the perfect gifts I got people, cause they all read my blog!

So, Wednesday. I was going to go home Wednesday, but about twenty minutes before I was going to get my stuff together and get on the road, I got a phone call from one of the neighbors out in the country... the cows were out. So were the horses.

I spent all afternoon yesterday pushing cows around and making my horse, and SB's horse, mad. Farmmom got there to check the cows in good time to push some that I'd cut off on my way in... they were headed for Kansas, so I got them pushed onto the neighbor's wheat, figured they'd stay for a while, and went to get the horses since I didn't know where they were. I was planning on calling Mamaw and having her bring my tack out so I could get them with a horse rather than driving over the wheat.

Farmmom saw em on her way by so she started easing them towards our place as I was getting the ponies in the corrall... I'd discovered that the entire south side of the fence was down, so at least I had somewhere to take them in. Luckily, our ponies like people and figure that they usually get treats when they follow the pickup, so I just had to drive into the corrall and shut the gate.

Of course, when Monkey and Sis (SB's mare) saw that we were pushing calves around without them, they got cranky. That's their job... The other horses were milling around, wanting the out gate cause they like their pasture... Monkey and Sis were cutting a calf off together and taking it hither and yon in the big pen. They work well together...

So we got the calves all in, got the fence fixed, water re-arranged so that we could leave the cattle in the big pen and water the horses in one of the smaller ones, the tank heater replaced and the float cleaned on the tank in the big pen, and the other cows checked.

By then, it was dark.

To top the whole day off, on the way back into town, a german sheperd ran out about five feet in front of the pickup, stopped and looked at me. On the highway. No more doggie. No more right turn signal on Mamaw's pickup. Lovely recurring flash of the thump doggie made when the pickup hit him.

When I went to the house he belonged to, they basically said "It's ok, he's dumb, he's from Texas."

Ate dinner, and got a txt from SB so I went over to his house to lend an ear for a few hours. Came back to Mamaw's and went to bed.

And that's just since Friday!

Still have present wrapping to do, and packing. I'm moving back to the Old Homestead, since I'm planning on doing my internship down here, and there's no point in driving that much, or paying rent when I'm not there. So, much to do yet, including planning New Years, cause old friends will hopefully be in town.

I do know that I got a kickass pair of shoes for Christmas (since I picked them out) so I'll have great attitude shoes to wear for New Years. Yes, I do wear something other than boots, it just doesn't happen very often....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Well, Then.

I know I haven't been posting a lot, and that most of my posts haven't been up to my usual (admittedly meager) standards. I sincerely apologize to everyone who reads this blog regularly. I know ya'll understand that things have been happening on the other side of the computer screen, and I appreciate your support and patience, believe me.

You know the bare bones of what's been happening, but that doesn't really explain why things have been so... blah... around here. It wasn't until I realized that I was embarrassed about parts of it, when I have no reason to be, that I decided to go ahead and flesh the story out a bit. Not only to explain the flat writing, but perhaps to help myself move past certain aspects, as well.

See, my boyfriend, the man I loved, dumped me. Broke up. Left me. Tossed my happy ass to the curb.

Believe me, I've had plenty of time to think of all of the euphemisms.

Bottom line, I was crushed. Still am pretty crumpled. And, of course, this happened right in the middle of the whole "Surprise! Grandpa's Dying!" adjustment period.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Yeah, he came over to my house the night that we brought Grandpa home (his home) to hospice care, after listening to me fret, worry, stress, and generally lose my damn mind over the whole thing for a week, and dumped me.

If I could hate him for anything, it would be that.

But, that's one of the worst parts about this break up. Not only is it the first time I've been dumped (really, am I that fabulous that I'm always the one to call it off? Nah, I think I just get annoyed/bored easily...) but it came out of the blue, as far as I was concerned.

I thought things were ok. I knew there was a bit of strain on the relationship... neither one of us had a lot of free time, and I'd spent a week hitting what classes I felt I couldn't miss and skipping out on the rest to drive an hour to the hospital to be with Grandpa, handle family members, and generally provide the small amount of comic relief I could manage. But, he hadn't said anything. He hadn't complained, hadn't said I was spending too much time away (which probably would have started a fight at that point).... nothing.

Until that night. I'd just left Grandpa's, seeing him safely settled back in his home, and texted him, asking if he had plans or if I could come over. I missed him, I said.

It had really hit me that night, seeing Grandpa laying in a hospital bed in his own home. He was leaving us, and the only thing I could do for him was be there, help out what I could, and most importantly, not mourn him yet. At least not in front of him. I really needed a little emotional support. A little time with the good things in my life, to remind me that it wasn't all death.

So, when he said he'd come over to my house, I snuggled deeper into his coat (which I'd been wearing all week, yes I'm one of those weirdos) and felt better immediately.

That is, until he walked in. He was serious, too grim. I went to the door and wrapped my arms around him and he hugged me, and I felt a little better. Until he told me I needed to sit down.

(Do you see the rollercoaster here? Cause it was one hell of a ride, at the time.)

He started talking. He said the kids felt like they weren't getting enough time with him, that we had a lot in common, but there was a lot we didn't. He said other things, but I didn't hear them. I was hearing the one thing in the world that he wasn't saying, the one thing in the world that could break me right then.

I stopped him, and asked a question. I asked him, flat out, if he was breaking up with me. He at least had the integrity and the balls to finally flat out say yes.

I think it took a moment for it to hit me. When it did, all I could think to say was "I'm not going to beg." I don't know why I said it, other than the fact that I really, really wanted to. I wanted to cry, scream, crawl on my knees and beg him to take it back.

Instead, I got up, walked outside to my car, grabbed his coat, and turned around. I hadn't heard him follow me, so when I realized he was there I nearly punched him in the face with his own jacket trying to give it to him.

"Just so you know, this is the only thing that has gotten me through this last week. This and knowing I had you."

He left, after that. I went inside, shut the door, and collapsed. I literally fell to the floor. Once my knees broke, so did my control. I cried, screamed, sobbed, and generally scared the shit out of my dog for a good forty five minutes before I was coherent enough to call Farmmom. And that, folks, considering the kind of relationship Farmmom and I have, wasn't that coherent. I remember having to repeat myself at least three times, because she couldn't understand me.

And, I don't know if it's a character flaw, or a virtue, but the instant the phone started ringing I regretted calling. Not because I didn't want to talk to her, but because she was staying with Grandpa. I didn't want to add to her stress. But, I knew that once the phone started ringing, if I hung up, she'd call back.

Practicality kicked in when I realized that I couldn't make myself sound calm enough between hanging up the phone and her calling back to play it off as meaning to call someone else. Otherwise, I would have.

She was shocked, concerned, and finally pissed. She wanted to kill him, on my behalf. I just wanted him to come back and say it was all a bad joke.

That night, all of the stress, all of the anticipated pain from Grandpa's situation, all of the emotions of the break up... I couldn't control any of it. I couldn't get ahold of myself. I don't cry like that. Ten minutes of vigorous sobbing, sure. I think every woman, and some men, know the value of a good cry. I'm just more "male" than most girls, in that I never, ever cry in front of people.

That night, I couldn't stop. I vascilated between sobbing, and sitting there staring at the walls, not even realizing I was still crying until I tasted the tears. I lost time. One moment I'd be sitting in my recliner, and the next I'd be on the floor in a little ball, with no idea how I got there. I cried until I was sick.

That Friday, I texted him that I had the things he'd left at my house together, and I'd like to do the dreaded shit-swap as soon as possible. I was hoping to do it Saturday, since Sunday was my day to sit with Grandpa.

Of course, that couldn't happen. It had to happen Sunday morning. And, it had to happen at his house. I dreaded it even more.

See, he hadn't just taken himself away from me. He took the kids, too.

When I knocked on his door I could hear them playing. When he opened it, Youngest Child came running to give me a hug, yelling my name, and then towed me by the hand to his bedroom to show me his new toys.

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was telling that beautiful child that I had to leave.

The ex's only comment inside the house was "I thought you'd call, I've got your stuff in my car."

He followed me outside, I got my stuff, and started to get in my car. I couldn't look at him, I was afraid I'd break if I did, so when I realized he was still standing there, I stopped, stared hard at a spot on the pavement, and asked, "Was there something else you wanted to say?"

"No..." he said, and I managed to look at him long enough to realize that he was staring at the trunk of the car next to mine, just standing there. "No."

So I got in my car, and I left. I made it to the corner before I started crying. I'm not sure how I made it home without getting into an accident. When I got there, I walked into the house, flopped down on the couch, and stayed there until my wonderful dog came to check on me.

See, Noel knows my moods, just like any dog. She is, however, the most responsive dog I've ever met. When she came to check on me, I wasn't even crying, I was just laying there. She jumped up and curled up against the back of my legs, trying to comfort me. The next thing I knew, she was laying on top of me, shaking. That broke me out of it enough to get a handle on myself before I had to be at Grandpa's to relieve The Aunt.

I didn't tell Grandpa. I didn't know how, for one thing. He was so happy for me when he saw how happy I was just talking about CM, and he'd met Eldest Daughter and fallen instantly in love with her, just like everyone else.

I couldn't bear to have him worrying about me at that point. He was dying, fast. If he didn't need to see me sad over that, he really didn't need to worry that the man who had made me so happy had broken my heart.

I felt guilty about it at the time, and I feel guilty about it now. But I wouldn't change my decision. The last time I talked to Grandpa I left him with a smile, in spite of having to feed him pill after pill, just to keep him comfortable, in spite of everything that was going on. The last time he saw me, I made him laugh.

I'll keep the guilt.

When Grandpa died, the seat beside me at the funeral wasn't filled by the man who had said he loved me. It was filled with my best friend and confidant since second grade, who stepped up during that horrible time and kept me from going completely ballistic. Literally. She actually held me down in the pew at the funeral, to keep me from climbing two rows up and beating the hell out of relatives.

Thanksgiving sucked. I managed to keep it at bay until we sat down to eat, but it was the wrong table. We were going to have Thanksgiving dinner at Grandpa's this year, and CM was going to come to finally meet Grandpa.

This whole thing would be a lot easier if I could bring myself to hate the ex. Or, if I knew what actually went wrong. All the stuff he said that night still adds up to "I just don't love you anymore" inside my head.

Thanks to some good friends who are, amazingly, endlessly willing to listen to me whine, and great friends who not only listen to me whine, but are determined not to let me wallow too much, I'm still kicking. It still sucker punches me, don't get me wrong. I still tense every time I see a red car, and if I'm sleeping and my cell phone beeps with a text message, my heart beats faster.

But, I'm getting better every day. I miss Grandpa. I miss the ex. I miss the good mood I used to have, just from thinking about him, and the dumbass grin that crossed my face every time I saw him.

But I know, in my own mind, and in my heart, that the only male I need in my life has four legs and wears a saddle.

Everything else is just details.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stolen Memery

I stole this from Holly, because it looked like fun. Ya'll enjoy finding out a little more about me.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band. (Does jamming with them when you're 12 count?)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (Writing? I'm not counting this one...)
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. (And an ice fight, and popcorn fights, and and and...)
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. (Does the Venetian in Vegas Count?)
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. (Locally, yes. Globally, No.)
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David. (Not in person, but in lots and lots of pictures)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted (drawn.)
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie. (Hi-Lo Country. I was roped by Billy Crudup on set.. I tell ya'll that one later)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. (They won't let me, I too skinny.)
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. (The only eggs I want come from a chicken butt, as my brother put it when he discovered that fact. He was quite disturbed... course, he was two, so yeah...)
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. (I'm workin on it, I'm workin on it!)
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.(A few times, actually.)
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury. (They keep sending me jury duty, and then canceling the trial.)
91. Met someone famous. (Sam Elliot, Billy Crudup, Patricia Arquette, and Woody Harrelson were all on that set I mentioned earlier.)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. (Not yet, thank god.)
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (Many, many books have been read in one day at my house....)

Friday, December 12, 2008

What The?!?

Last weekend, we had to move the cows and sort off the calves. Of course, Monkey didn't want caught. It took longer to catch his silly butt than it did to move the cows from the pasture they were at to the corrals.

'Course, all the running he did probably saved me some bruises, when I did get on him. Big boy was pretty wound...

And, as it usually goes, the horse that's supposedly the hardest to catch, that you don't want that day, is the one that's right in your back pocket.

Finally got Monkey in the alley and he gave up, got him saddled and lunged him a bit, and then decided to have Farmdad hold on to him while I got on.

What? I hadn't ridden him in several months, and he was fresh as hell. I figured he was gonna blow and I haven't had much practice with the vertical stuff lately. I wanted a fighting chance, at least a chance to get my butt set in the saddle good before he blew.

The worries were for naught, though, he didn't splode on me. He wasn't being nice, but he didn't blow. And, once we got to the cows, he just got excited to play.

The delay catching his sorry butt was enough to make us late, though, so we just got the herd to the corrals on Saturday.

Got up Sunday morning, went and caught the horses (a much easier prospect considering we just threw em in a small pen Saturday night) and got the calves sorted off. We'd tied the horses to the trailer, which was just sitting on the block. No biggie, except SB's mare went to sleep, and when he walked up to her when it was time to saddle up she woke up rather abruptly, and pulled the trailer off the block.

Got saddled, and I went to warming Monkey up while the other three (Farmmom on Etta, Sparky on mom's new mare, and SB on his mare) pulled the cows out of the corral. He did pretty good on the warm up, and we went to moving cows. Since it was only Etta's second day on cows, and the new mare's second day on cows with us, we let Farmmom and Sparky trail, and Monkey and I and SB and his mare took the wings.

All went pretty well, the cows only halfheartedly trying to turn back, until we got to the fenceline of the pasture we were putting them in. Then, they thought it was a really good idea to take off across the field across the road.

Monkey and I had just gone from about halfway back in the herd to the front to block off one cow that was taking a field trip, and I looked back to see that the rest of the herd had taken it into their heads to go see what exactly was in that field.

Now, right where we were at, the ditches are pretty steep, so every time you have to cross the road, it's sloooowww walk down so that your horse can find his footing, and then run like hell up the other side. So I turned Monkey around, which he didn't really understand, until he saw the cows going the direction we'd been blocking them from. Then he was ready to go. I kicked him up, and he gave me the nice, relaxed lope that I'd spent so long cultivating in the arena. So, I touched him again, and I swear ya'll, you could see the lightbulb come on over his head.

"Oh, we're not in the arena... I can run!"

So my big pretty boy (I think I pretty much inherited him this weekend, at least until he's more finished, cause Farmmom fell in love with Etta) took off like a striped assed ape. The cows saw him coming from one side, and Farmmom and Etta from the other, and decided that they might just want to go back to the road. After that it was pretty much a nice turn into the pasture, but as soon as they got inside they headed back south. No biggie, except that we had to take them to the windmill and show them where water was.

Farmmom and Etta stayed behind while Sparky, SB and I went to get the cows from the south end of the pasture and bring em back north, and Mamaw finally got the chance to ride her girl.

Of course, taking the cows to the windmill was another interesting prospect, since this pasture is the one we've got the last of the old bloodline in, including Dusty, the big as a tank pure white baby blue eyed stud horse. He dropped in a flank, so we don't get babies out of him, but we left him a stud cause he takes good care of the two mares we've got in there with him. Neither one is rideable, Roanie is too old, and Muffin, my buckskin mare, got a tendon cut when she was a foal, and isn't sound.

But, Dusty doesn't like any other males. Even if they're cut. And SB's mare just happened to be in heat. So, I hopped off Monkey as soon as Dusty got curious and started over to say hi, and SB stepped off his mare cause he really didn't feel like having Dusty try to mount while he was on her. When Dusty started pushing the issue, I handed Monkey's rein to SB and chased him off.

Which entertained SB to no end since Dusty is a big baby most days. Even when the mares are cycling he'll come right up to a person on the off chance that they've got grain. Can't halter, lead, or ride him, but he'll follow you around like a puppy dog.

Once I got Dusty deterred, we mounted back up and headed back for the gate. Once the question of whether to ride the horses back or get the trailer and load them was settled (ride, of course!) I discovered a gap in Monkey's education so far.

See... I've never actually ridden him away from the cattle. It's just always worked out that we had the trailer there, and we'd just load him up and haul him home.

He was still saddled, I was still on, by god we were supposed to go push the cows around!

So, he tried to turn around and go back. When I wouldn't let him do that, he figured he was in trouble, so he started backing up. When we bought him, he hated backing. So, when he didn't want to do something in the arena, I'd make him back up, until he figured the thing I'd asked him to do was a lot easier than what I made him do instead. As a result, Monkey can go backwards danged near as fast as he can go forward.

So, back we went. Down one side of the ditch, back up the other side, across the road, back down the ditch.....

Straight into the neighbor's electric fence.

No joke. When his butt hit that fence he kind of stood up a little, just enough to let it slide down to the curve of his stifle, and then he sat on it. Just kind of squatted down and leaned back into that smooth wire.

He was getting shocked, I could feel him twitch every time, but he sat there until I picked up the whuppin tool I'd hung on my saddle horn (just in case... I follow the boy scout motto, and at times, all it takes for Monkey to behave is to see me pick up something in my right hand... Since I had the roping reins on him, I couldn't use the end of my rein, so I brought a tool.)

And that took a few shocks from the fence cause I was holding rein in both hands, short as I could get it, and plumb up by his ears. I didn't want him to back up anymore, so I was trying to urge him forward when he hit the fence, but if he blew like I expected him to when that fence hit him, I definitely wanted both hands to keep his head.

SB kept his mare walking, while he turned around in the saddle to watch Monkey and I have our little discussion. He figured I was going to get my ass canned, and he'd have to go catch the big idiot.

I tell ya folks, I have never had a horse even brush an electric fence and not get fairly upset about it. And, this is the horse that if he catches a toe on a smooth wire that's loose and laying on the ground acts like a snake just reared up and bit him on the nose. But he just sat right down on that damn fence and wasn't moving until I picked up that over & under and waved it where he could see.

*shakes head* He sure didn't try to back his way out of riding away from the cows again, though.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Preparing for the Ever Dreaded Finals, catching up on things that I missed when I was helping with grandpa, and friends have really sucked up the time.

I promise, it won't be this way forever. Finals are next week, friends, well, I'm keeping them around, cause they're fun.

I.E. Last night when Sparky, SB (you haven't heard about him... he's from the next town over, and while we haven't hung in a while since he's been at the college we have been. It's a taste of home..) and I hung out and had a few beers. I didn't realize how much I missed the people I used to hang out with until SB said something smartassed, I poked him in the ribs and it turned into a battle of epic proportions.

No one has had the guts to try to wrestle with me in a while. I have sharp elbows, and I'm slippery.

Fun was had by all, including Sparky, who stayed out of the line of fire and made comments like "doesn't that hurt?" "how do you bend like that?" and "don't you choke drinking beer when you're upside down?"

Not to mention "Jeez, that looked like it hurt!"

Ahh, memories.