summer of discontent

Don’t want to revisit the summer of 2011…..ev-er. Hoping this is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ kind of character building experience.

Tried to obtain hay yesterday for my best-old-lady-horse-in-the-world, Rodney. There’s no hay….for cows, horses, or any other ruminants. Oh I exaggerate, but the hay producers don’t have much hay to sell. Limited quantities=high prices. Most producers are hoping we’ll get some late summer rains to start a fall crop of hay. I dunno if that’s gonna happen-the forecasts are not promising.

People are praying for rain. There’s many a private prayer being offered and lots of public gatherings beseeching the Creator for more moisture. The governors of Texas and Oklahoma have asked the citizens to pray for rain. The governor of Oklahoma said “We’re the Bible belt…praying is what we do”. Well put, Governor.

We can’t complain even though we (like many others) are selling cow herds. This is especially sad because it takes some time to put a cow herd together with the genetics just how you like them. There’s no pasture, no pasture close by to lease and no feed. The economics are not working this year. We’ll survive (by the grace of God)….but many will not.

I have an intense admiration and fondness for the salt-of-the-earthers in this area. They set their jaw and they get the job done. They understand hard times….their ancestors endured the dust bowl. Surviving tribulation is in their genes. It’s a boot to the gut to witness these long-suffering folk lose their livelihood.

I’m praying for rain too, although I wonder what the larger lesson is we should be learning while living through this historic drought. All I can come up with is we are totally dependant on God…for every breath and for every drop of rain. His presence surrounds us in good times and in bad. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Any other lessons you can think of?

Oh….but there’s one thing keeping us enthusiastic. The thing that makes us wanna get up and greet each new day with a grin and a shout. It’s this bulging belly full of promise!

doesn’t he look like he’s going to have red hair??

 The Sprout was kind enough to let me take this photo. She generally shuns the limelight, unlike her overbearing mother. I think she’s beautiful.

The bump helps me keep enthusiasm for the future. Makes me do silly things like pony-shop and write songs. In the midst of this summer of discontent, I am most profoundly grateful.

Cool misty love to all.

living, per se

I find per se to be the most liberating phrase in the English language. O.K., I know it’s Latin, my fellow chicken-wingers. To be absolutely certain of the meaning, I looked it up. If I’m gonna be living my life per se, then I better know what it means….in and of itself, intrinsically.

You’re saying per se doesn’t do it for you? Allow me to explain.

Some of you remember the blog post about the adventure I had while being diagnosed with a heart ailment.
You can refresh your memory HERE.

not my actual chest

The Cliff Notes version:
Last Christmas my heart morphed into an uncontainable herd of sweaty, wild-eyed mustangs.

When the mustangs weren’t kicking up their heels, my chest cavity became a holding pen for an anvil. I had a breathless episode one day-next thing I know I’m attached to a finicky Holter Monitor. Blah, blah, blah, blahty-blah-blah. The cardiologist prescribed a beta blocker. Said ‘Take it the rest of your life’ and ‘see you in 3 years’.

I took the meds…I was a good patient. The meds relieved most of my symptoms…I think. Can’t really remember too much because I slept through most of it. A mild-mannered pony replaced the remuda of mustangs, but now my legs became two heavy boat anchors and every movement was a chore.

In the midst of this drama, the Texan and I were taking care of our sweet moms in hospice (they were next door neighbors) and they subsequently died within about 3 weeks of each another. One day while cleaning out some of Mom’s things from the nursing home, I ran across her blood pressure monitor. One of those nifty cuff things to help you monitor your blood pressure at home. I slapped it on my wrist and discovered I wasn’t alive. Really. Put it on the Texan….alive. Put it on me….ready for a body bag.

This set me to pondering, Is something else wrong? Did I need a second opinion? I mustered all of my energy, made a phone call to the Cooper Clinic and folded my boat anchor legs into an airplane seat and got myself to Dallas, Texas.

If you don’t know about the COOPER CLINIC, you should. You can read about it, but suffice it to say it is the leading preventative medicine clinic in the country. Dr. Kenneth Cooper founded it….he coined the term ‘aerobic’ exercise. Went there a couple of years back and passed with flying colors. Perhaps their internists and cardiologists could enlighten me?

Anyhoo (this is all getting really long), after going through their battery of tests, including their infamous ‘stress test’ (where they put you on a treadmill and try to make you literally DIE while monitoring all essential bodily functions) I had some answers.

My internist consulted with the cardiologist and here’s the MONEY quote: I have reviewed the echocardiogram which has essentially normal readings with only what appears to be fairly trivial and common regurgitation of both mitral and tricuspid valves. This is a common finding and does not necessarily represent pathology per se.

The doc explained many…ahem…older folks have some amount of trivial leakage around the heart valves and it is not a pathology, per se. Why were there wild mustangs making a home pasture in my chest occasionally? He wasn’t sure, but he was sure the arrythmia was not life-threatening or heart attack-inducing. Could it be…could it be…stress, perhaps?? Oh and by the by, quit taking the beta-blocker. It’s making your blood pressure too low.

Hells Bells!! Per se is now my favorite word. Per se, per se, per se-hey-hey! Had a burial at sea for my two boat anchors. I’m squeezing all the joy and life out of every per se day. Getting ready for my per se grandson! Playing more ball with my per se wiener dog!

I’m exercising and enjoying myself every damned per se day. No mustangs in this chest…only a faithful Quarter Horse by my side. Haven’t even experienced as much as a chest pony-kick since my second opinion. Hal-le-freakin’-lu-YAH!!

Does this mean I’m a fat worry-wart hypochondriac? Uh….yeah, probably. But, I think it mainly means I’m human and I can live with that.

Hoping you find the per se in YOUR day!
Exuberant love to all.

birds and ashes

The mountain vacation was a Colo-palooza! Nine breathless days in the gloriously glittery high country air.
It was a fun time to enjoy friends and family. There was a theme to our trip this year. A couple of things I hadn’t experienced before.

The trip was NOT mainly about canoe races.

Nor was it about the courageous souls who braved the zip line.

Uh…didya think to bring some dry clothes?

It wasn’t about winning at mountain golf or lining up the perfect putt.

Yes, smarty. I missed the putt.

It wasn’t mainly about fishing, even though we fished and caught a respectable amount.

Walter is still out there….FYI.

And it wasn’t about going on long death marches with uber-fit mountain bichons.

Helluva mountain dog if ever there was one!

Nor was it about the ginormous amounts of food consumed at our humble dining room table.

Miles from a fast-food restaurant!

The theme of this trip was the robin’s nest in the window!

Can you see the debris hanging down from the corner of  the second window? That’s our bird’s nest.

Each day dawned a new chapter in the life of our robin family. We even stayed out of the sunroom so as not to disturb our growing young family.

The mother AND father were industrious and faithful in taking turns feeding the babies. The dad-bird would squawk and cause a commotion if you got too close to the nest.

The father bird with a meal for the young ‘uns.

It was something extraordinary to see the workings of this family…even though robins are considered a rather ordinary bird.

Watching the bird’s pin feathers pop out day-by-day…we were astounded at the rapid changes in the babies.

This mother was faithful and protective. She sat on the nest at night and during some noisy rain/hail storms.

The second theme to our trip was ashes. Mom’s ashes. Since her death in February, I’ve been mulling exactly what to do with her ashes…she couldn’t spend eternity on our bookshelf at home! The decision was made early on to take her to the mountains. I just couldn’t come up with exactly where to lay her earthly remains…in the water…on the hills…under a tree…scattered to the four winds-what?

The black plastic box containing her remains sat on the fireplace mantle and waited. I admit it…I was having some trouble. Maybe I wanted it to be too perfect. My children and family gathered around and reciting the ashes to ashes Bible verse. Sorry Mom, I couldn’t make it work out like that.

One afternoon (towards the end of the trip…I was feeling pressure) I bounced up from a little nap and told the Texan.
Now….we’re taking Mom up the hill and spreading her ashes near the guest house where she spent so many summers with us.’
The Texan found just the right spot in the center of a circle of small pine trees overlooking the lake and just up from the guest house.
I gingerly poured her out of her plastic bag and surveyed her view. I kissed the Texan and we walked down the hill and back to the house. Unceremonious, perhaps…but I think she would approve.
She would’ve adored the summer of the robins.
Safe, nesty love to all