Thursday, December 1, 2016

In-the-Saddle Satisfaction

I was anxious to get back in the saddle once I got the go ahead from my surgeon.  I showed up for my post-op appointment fully expecting to be told that I was good to go, and this was the last of my medical procedures.  Instead, I was told that this was one of two post-op appointments and I would not receive my physical exam until the next one.  As you can imagine, I flipped out.  I let the nurse and doctor know that I was done.  I've been feeling like a prisoner this entire month and now I'm going to spread my wings and fly whether they like it or not.

Then I was told the really irritating news.  The surgeon wasn't able to complete my surgery due to other issues, and we are still no closer to solving my problem.  Now the only way she can get rid of my symptoms and find out the cause of them is to completely remove the organ.  I said, "Maybe next summer after horseback riding season."

She laughed, and I informed her that I was serious.  I explained that I started having problems with my leg and am concerned that this may end up being my last year to be able to ride horses since arthritis is a degenerative disease that only gets worse with age.  As is, there are times when I can't mount or dismount or even walk.  I have to wait for good days to ride, and I don't want to be stuck on the couch for several weeks recovering from yet another surgery during the best horseback riding weather of the year.

Interestingly, she said that she can recognize horse people when she sees them, and I don't fit the mold.  I asked why, thinking that she was going to say that I weigh too much or I don't wear western garb or walk with bowed legs.  She said, "Horse people are aggressive and you are so low key."

I said, "Low key is what horses need."

She said, "Because horses are so aggressive themselves?"

"No.  Because horses want peace, and they respond well to low key riders."

John Lyons would have been proud of me.  (Love that guy.)

Anyway, I got the sense that the doctor would have liked to continue working toward a resolution, but I was stubborn.  I said I'd be back in her office when the temperatures rise above 100.  She said, "How about in 3 to 6 months?"

I agreed, but only if the temperatures rise above 100 in 3 to 6 months.

So, I thought I was home-free, and the very next day I joyfully pulled on my riding boots and skipped outside to catch a horse.  But gosh, there was so much manure to clean up.  I should do that first.

Once I was done with the cleaning, I had to go to the bathroom.  That turned into me realizing how hungry I was and that it was past my lunch time.  The dogs were begging for their lunch, so I fed all of us.  Then I had to use the restroom again, and before I knew it, I was flat on my back with the stomach flu.  I caught some virus being in all those dirty, germ-infested doctors' offices.  What's one more day without riding?

Well, it kind of feels like a lifetime to me.  I guess it was a fluke that the fever I had on Monday went away after I was touched by an angel.  I was still sick, apparently.

Today I still felt cruddy but was determined to ride.  I thought I'd check my phone for messages before going.  Big mistake.  There was a message from the imaging place saying that the doctor put in an order for more tests.  WTH?  I thought I made it clear to her that I was DONE.  I called the imaging place back wanting to know what was going on.  It turned out that those mammogram results that they lost were now found, and the radiologist is calling me back in for additional x-rays and sonograms.  This happens to me once every couple of years.  I have cysts all over in my breasts and chest cavity, and they always think it might be cancer, so I have to keep going back for more imaging.  I do it, because one of these days it might be cancer, but I don't like doing it.

Oh yeah, and along the line of people losing my test results, the whole reason why my surgeon had me come into her office was so that she could show me the pictures of my surgery, but when she looked for them, she couldn't find them and had to draw a picture to show me what was going on.  Oh well.  Like she said, things happen for a reason.  I can't imagine how having so many of my test results and images misplaced or mixed up with someone else's, and having reports transcribed incorrectly, can be the work of a higher power, and that there is some good reason behind it all.  I think it's just human incompetence.

After I wrote yet another imaging appointment on my calendar, I was hesitant about riding because I was so angry.  But I knew that riding would put me in a better mood, so I went ahead and rode.

Rock was being a turd and kept taking nips at me while I was getting ready to mount.

At first I was annoyed, but then I thought perhaps he was trying to tell me something.  He's not cinchy or mean, so he had to be communicating something.  I had previously checked his pad for stickers and examined the tack, so I didn't think that was the problem.  He was walking fine, though I didn't take the time to pick out his hooves.  I was afraid I'd throw out my back and not be able to ride.  Then it hit me that he was saying that the cinch wasn't tight enough.  Sure enough, I was able to pull it through two more holes.

I did have to spend some time re-training him to hold still during the mount.  He kept walking off.  I just tried to stay calm and continue to correct him each time he walked off.  I'm quite fussy about mounting.  I want to make sure that I mount on a slope so that the mounting block is on higher ground than the horse since it is so difficult for me to swing my leg over, I want the horse's feet to be square so that I don't throw him off balance if I lose my own balance, and I want the horse to keep his head out of the weeds so that he's paying attention to me in case I fall.  I had to keep making corrections, which was making Rock impatient.

Eventually, I was able to get on.  I was listening for vehicles on the road, because I was expecting a delivery, but I didn't hear any engines, so I told him to go straight across.  He stopped while I was squeezing and clucking, so I grabbed the quirt and gently flopped it against his neck.  He did cross, and I instantly realized that once again Rock knew what he was talking about.  A very quiet car was coming right at us.  Gah!

I can identify which neighbors' vehicles and which delivery vehicles are coming up the road without seeing them because I'm so familiar with their engine noises.  Because we live in a rural area, people mostly drive trucks.  This was a little sedan that didn't belong on our street.  I figured it was a lost tourist, but it turned out to be my neighbor's real estate agent.  I was riding out just in time to avoid a showing of their house.  Just think, if I were still working for my neighbor, I would have had to forfeit my horseback ride to show the house myself.  Then I would have really been pissed.  These home shoppers always seem to book an appointment for a showing on the days we have the nicest weather.

I had to spend most of the ride reminding Rock to follow my cues and not do whatever the heck he wants.  I did a lot of steering, stopping, going, turning, correcting him for eating and gawking.

Oh well, at least he kept me busy.  He is a good boy.  He rarely flat-out refuses to follow instructions.  He had a little spook when a saguaro suddenly came into view from behind a bush.  It's about the height of a person.  Last year someone put sunglasses on that cactus, which gave it a comical look, but the glasses were now gone.  At one point we were coming up a trail and I saw either another horseback rider or a hiker or a bicyclist in the distance coming toward us.  Rock raised his head and hesitated.  He couldn't tell what it was from that distance either.  This happened on our last trail ride, but this time I had the quirt and I was determined to make him approach whoever it was.  He obeyed, but then the person turned and took a different trail.  I wasn't about to chase after him or her for training purposes, so I just resumed our scenic tour.

He got moving at a good pace on the way home, so I checked my brakes a few times and he was fine.  He stopped before crossing the road again, so I looked both ways.  No one was coming.  Stopping before crossing streets is always a good habit for horses to have, so I honored his automatic behavior.

Dismounting required some effort, but he was his usual sweet self while I accidentally kicked him in the butt and dragged my leg across his croup.

While I untacked him, the mail carrier arrived with some packages, and the home shopper showed up next door.  Rock just wanted his peppermints.  If he were actually as fat as his shadow, he wouldn't have gotten any.  Gotta love that winter sun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Touched by an Angel?

Yesterday had to have been one of the weirdest days of my life.  I was supposed to have my post-op visit with my surgeon exactly two weeks after my surgery, but the Thanksgiving holiday got in the way, along with another doctor's appointment.  The day of my post-op, I developed a fever.  I hesitated to go into the doctor's office because if I was coming down with a virus, I didn't want to expose pregnant ladies and newborn babies to it.  However, if I rescheduled, I'd have to wait longer to find out if I had the go ahead to start exercising and lifting things again, and I'd been anxiously awaiting that day.  I couldn't keep asking other people to do my chores, and my horses were going stir crazy not having anyone ride them.  I needed to get on with my life.

So, I went in for my appointment, but told myself I would stay away from people to avoid exposing them if I had a virus.  Right off the bat, I had to help a lady with a baby in a stroller get off the elevator.  Then she got stuck in the doorway to her doctor's office, so I held that door for her.  She glanced back at me, but didn't say thank you.

I then got to my doctor's office, and a patient was standing at the front desk being helped.  I looked around for the sign-in sheet, but didn't see it, so I stood back behind her and kind of off to the side away from a pregnant lady sitting in a chair.  Another patient came out a side door, stepped in front of both of us and got her needs taken care of.  I thought that perhaps outgoing patients get priority over incoming patients, so I didn't think much of it.  This was a small office with one reception desk and one receptionist.

Then I heard the door behind me open, and a middle eastern woman in a beautiful head scarf floated in past both of us right up to the counter.  She picked up the sign-in sheet, which hadn't been there previously.  The receptionist must have just set it up on the counter right when this other lady walked in.  The woman signed in and started to go in the side door.  I began signing in and she turned toward me and said, "Oh, you were waiting to sign in?  I'm so sorry.  I didn't know.  Please forgive me."

I told her it was no problem, and she went inside.  A short time after that, she came out, walked right up to me, sighed, and said, "Again, I am so sorry.  I thought we didn't have to wait in line to sign in."

I said we didn't.  I just didn't see the sign-in sheet on the counter, so I waited in line.

She said, "I was nervous.  I had trouble on the freeway.  I was late.  I wasn't thinking.  Please forgive me."

She was speaking to me so respectfully, and acting like the future of her soul depended on me forgiving her.  I was charmed by her good manners and the serious way in which she viewed trespasses against others, even if they were honest mistakes.  I have to deal with asshole neighbors trespassing on my land and making noise and air pollution all the time, but they never apologize.  They act like it is their right, and they are willing to enforce what they view as their freedoms with the use of guns.  Then there's this angelic woman begging for my forgiveness because she cut in line by accident.  I was touched.

This was such a huge contrast to the woman pushing the baby carriage who didn't even thank me for holding two doors for her.  And quite frankly, someone cuts in line in front of me pretty much every time I go to a doctor's office, but I've never actually had someone realize her mistake and apologize to me for it before this.  It would be so refreshing if the American society could brush up on its manners and people would start actually caring about how they affect others.  She nearly brought me to tears, and she inspired me to be more respectful of others.

But I also felt like something was happening on a grander scale.  I felt deep in my heart that this went beyond just a super polite woman apologizing to me.  I felt as if she were from the realm of the gods, and she was trying to tell me something more.  I felt blessed and calmed in her presence.

Interestingly enough, by the time I got into the doctor's examining room, my fever had completely disappeared.  The nurse informed me that my temperature was 98.6.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Play Day

The horses have been developing stall vices in the few weeks that I haven't been able to work with them, so I made sure that I got each of them out to play in the round pen before the storm moved in.  Since most of my recent posts have been wordy and light on pictures, I made sure to get plenty of pics this time.

Rock picking up his feet for a change...

 ...and inspecting the obstacle course.

You never know.  That red whip might actually be a tall strand of licorice.

Lostine running her heart out, as always...

...and paying for it during the cool down.

She stretches out her neck and poll when it hurts.

Gabbrielle looking dainty and pretty...

...then letting her ferocious side come out.

Bombay throwing his head in the air to tell me to run with him...

Ummm, how about no.

I can't compete with that.  He's a speed demon.  Not even the camera can keep up with him...

Throughout our round pen fun, we had an onlooker...

The horses wouldn't let me leave until I let them taste my hat...

That was quickly turning into a rescue mission, but not until someone got to wear it first.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Two Steps Back

My plan to socialize Charity, the wild bunny, backfired.  Last night I needed to sit down, so I fed her next to the horse trailer, while I sat on the step.  My body had been feeling twenty years younger after two weeks of rest, but just after one day of doing barn chores, my arthritis came back with a vengeance and began locking up all of my joints.  I sat beside her while she ate, and unbeknownst to me, a bully bunny was sneaking up on her from under the trailer.  It popped out right beside my leg and attacked Charity.  It was vicious fight.  I was so surprised by it that I jumped up and screamed, scaring both rabbits off into the brush.  They did not return to the food that evening.  This morning Charity did show up, but cut a wide wake around me.  Now she associates me with that traumatic event.  She had hair sticking out all around her where the other rabbit bit and clawed her.

I also spoke too soon when I said that at least the trespassers are stopping at the edges of my property rather than just venturing through like they have in the past.  Yesterday Stewie was growling at the bathroom window, which he usually did when my next-door neighbor was out there working on his well, which is close to that side of our house.  However, I knew my neighbor was out of state visiting family for Thanksgiving, so I had to get up and go investigate.  I looked through the tiny window, but didn't see anyone.  Then I heard voices and hoof beats.

I went to a different window and saw two horseback riders in my back yard.  I muttered something to myself about them being disrespectful jerks, and the man whipped around and looked directly at the window I was looking through with a nervous and guilty expression.  He clearly knew he was doing something illegal that would probably piss off the land owners.  He couldn't have heard me, so I think his reaction was either a coincidence or something telepathic was going on there.

I headed through the house to get my shoes, and saw through another window that my horses were charging the fence to attack their horses.  The riders made the mistake of riding too close to my arena fence.  My horses are a lot like dogs in that they learn who is allowed to be in their space and who isn't.  They both welcome the horses of friends and people who are friends and family, but they both will attack strangers, even if I'm not around to tell them if someone is known or unknown to me.  If I ever hire a pet sitting service, I'll have to introduce the dogs and horses to the caretakers first or someone might get hurt.  I suspect that the horses know when someone is trespassing vs. visiting via invitation by subtleties in their behavior.

I saw that the riders stopped and there was some kind of scuffle, so I rushed to get my shoes, worried that someone would get hurt, but they were climbing the hill at the back of my property before I could get outside.  They managed to work their way around all of the tree branches we laid across the path carved by other trespassers.  When that guy in the jeep got stranded in our section of the arroyo last spring and drove up that hill to get out, he destroyed all the vegetation growing there, so now there is an even wider path for trespassers to get up and down.  We'd have to chop down several trees to get enough branches to block that expanse, but we're trying to plant trees, not chop them up.  Unfortunately, that hill is too steep to plant trees on, and we'd never get a watering system to reach all the way up there.  The wind just blew my cholla balls away, and they never took root because it's so rocky.

We've been talking about hiring someone to put up a complete fence, but that means having to battle the neighbor behind us over property line measurements.  He's already made it clear that he thinks he owns several yards of what we understand to be our property.  We've tried to get a land surveyor out here at least four times, but they won't come out if the owners have neighbors who disagree over the location of the property line, and our county is really bad about keeping accurate, easy to access records.  Most surveyors don't want the hassle.  When a land surveyor did come out to parcel off the property of the neighbors next door who have it up for sale, the neighbor behind me was standing over his shoulder watching everything he was doing to make sure he didn't place a stake too far onto his own property.  This is the same neighbor who indirectly threatened me with guns.  I suspect he has a reputation, so getting a local surveyor out here would be impossible.

Anyway, the woman's horse was struggling to get up the steep incline and I could see that it was causing an avalanche of dirt and rocks along the way, changing the topography of our property.  When they reached the top of the cliff, someone came roaring up on an ATV, followed by a delivery truck and a mail truck.  Their horses didn't even flinch.  I wondered why they had to cut through my back yard if their horses were so dead broke.  Why not just take the road home?  The shoulder is plenty wide and they'd only have to go one block out of their way.  I suppose I'd be more understanding of their trespasses if they had horses that were fearful of traffic, and if they were trying to find a quiet route back home.

My husband went out to follow their tracks to find out what route they took.  They not only cut through our back yard, but through the back yard of the neighbor who is away on vacation.  That neighbor has previously thanked me for closing off our property to hikers and horseback riders, because he was tired of them trampling his landscaping.  The land around his house had to be raised and graded to make a flat foundation for his house, and the horseback riders were breaking that apart.  We have the same problem down by the arroyo.  Every time a horse goes up or down the bank, it makes us lose about a foot of stable land, because the dirt and rocks break away and fall down the slope.  That makes us lose land that we could otherwise use to build or plant on, and it moves the flood waters closer to our house.  He said that every weekend used to be like a parade coming through our properties.

Anyway, my husband found that one of the horses snagged its hoof on our above-ground sprinkler system and dragged the PVC pipe out of alignment.  He tested it to see if there were any cracks or leaks.  Thankfully, it wasn't broken, because the last thing my husband needs with his back pain is to be down on his knees bending over a sprinkler system to repair it.

He also saw that after the point where my horses were attacking their horses over the fence, they tried to cut a wide wake around them by attempting to go down a part of the arroyo bank that we blocked off with dead tree branches.  We used to have a fence with a wire blocking people from going up and down that bank, but my husband took it down when he thought that the trees and bushes had overgrown the area enough that no one would be unwise enough to try it.  When they saw they couldn't get down that way, they walked around this pile of dead brush that the tractor left behind when grading for the arena and barns.  The pile of brush is right on the edge of the arroyo, so they must have ridden their horses through that snake pit.  They are lucky their horses didn't get bit by a rattlesnake or scratched by all the thorns in that dried brush and branches.

Then they found the old trail down into the arroyo and took that, steering their horses around a chair I had set up to block and ward off trespassers and to give us a place to rest when we are working down in the arroyo to clean up trash and repair water damage.  They would have had to ride their horses over a bed of river rock and boulders.  It turned out that the last rainstorm had washed most of our tree branches down the hillside, so my husband dragged them back up and laid them across the trail.  Hopefully, if these riders did not know that our property was closed, they do now, and they won't try it again.  That had to be a rough ride for them.

I'm keeping an eye out for the arrival of a group of winter visitors who stay in a house two doors down from us, because they are brazen enough to actually clear all the branches off those trails so that they can use them.  They have No Trespassing signs all over their property and no longer allow any horseback riders to come through there, yet they take walks on my property at least twice a day when they stay in that house.  It's ridiculous, because we have No Trespassing signs up too, I've yelled at them for spooking the horses and causing me to nearly get trampled, told them they are trespassing, but they keep doing it anyway.  What's even more ridiculous is that they have 22 miles of public hiking trails right across the street from their house, so why they insist on hiking in my back yard, I don't know.  I'm determined to put a stop to it this year, even if I have to get the police involved and press charges.  If someone stupidly stumbles upon my property and is regretful of their actions, I give them the benefit of the doubt, but these people have no excuse for their behavior.

I really don't care if I come across as being a big B or a crazy lady, because the pay off is so worth it.  I love having my space, freedom, peace, quiet, and privacy, which I get when people stop using my property for their pleasurable pursuits.  It's nice not having things stolen from us, not having to clean up other people's trash and horse and dog poop, and not having to repair stuff that they broke along the way.  I like being able to ride my own horses in my arena and round pen without having to worry about who is going to pop up out of the bushes and cause me to get into a wreck.  Those freedoms are priceless to me.  I paid for them when I bought this land, so I should be able to obtain them.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Getting Close

I'm having flashbacks to last spring when I allowed others to encroach on the best horseback riding weather all year.  At the time of my surgery this fall, we were still having summer temperatures, so I wasn't too concerned that I would be missing out on the best horseback riding weather.  However, the doctor neglected to tell me that I wouldn't be allowed to exercise for two weeks following the surgery, and wouldn't you know it, those two weeks of recovery held our only window of fall temperatures.  I missed it.  I should be able to start riding this upcoming week after my post-op exam, but we've got a weather system on its way that is going to bring wind, rain, and drop us down into the 50s.  For me, the perfect temperatures are in the 70s, and we only experienced them for one to two weeks this season.  So very frustrating.  Oh well, I tried to enjoy them from the lounger on the porch.

My horses suddenly have a lot of fuzz.  Their hair is as soft as my bunny's fur.  Charity let me pet her with my whole hand like one would be able to stroke domestic rabbit.  She was fine with it until my thumbnail accidentally poked her, and then she hopped behind me to let me know she was done.  I think the trick to taming a wild rabbit is to always show it respect by walking away as soon as the rabbit displays fear.  That's the approach I've taken with her, and it works.  I let her call the shots, so she's more confident in having me near her knowing that I will go away as soon as she asks me to leave her alone.

It's the opposite approach that I take with horses.  Horses need to have pressure put on them until they do what you ask, and only then do you walk away and let them rest.  Both horses and rabbits are fearful creatures, yet they need completely different approaches in their training.  If you back off every time a horse gets nervous, it will learn to stay nervous.  If you back off every time a bunny gets nervous, it will learn that you are not a threat.  It would be interesting to find out exactly what the thinking process is for each animal.

I've noticed that Charity has social anxiety.  While most of the other rabbits hang out in small groups and share food, Charity hopped away as soon as any other rabbit approached her.  I decided to work on that with her, and I found one bunny who is sweet and never attacks other rabbits to help me.  I began inviting that bunny to come over and share some food with Charity.  I just got the bunny's attention and pointed at the food, and it came.  Some bunnies are more cooperative and trusting than others.  Then when Charity ran away, I pointed at the food and asked her to come back while the other rabbit was eating it.

You see, I usually chase other bunnies off, because they are aggressive and poke her with their noses and nip at her.  She's skinny, they are fat, and they don't need the food.  But with this sweet bunny, I refused to chase it off.  Charity eventually got the idea and joined the other bunny for a more social dining experience, and she learned that not all rabbits are bad.

I've been anxious to start exercising again.  Every time I get into the habit of working out each day, something happens to take it away from me, and then I fall back into the routine of being a couch potato.  My kids and their significant others are all very health conscious.  My son and his girlfriend enter half-marathons and workout in gyms when they can.  My daughter watches her diet and goes to gyms after work while her boyfriend is into martial arts and taking up hiking.  They both scuba dive.  I'm envious that all of them can be so active.

I've been going stir crazy not being able to exercise, so every few days I cheat and do something to test the waters.  This weekend I started shoveling manure again, and that went well.  Then I lifted a 40 lb. bag of trash without any repercussions.  That got my confidence up, so I took Bombay for a short walk in the desert and got his help in raking the round pen.  He mostly just ate whatever morsels he could find in there, but he kept me company while I worked.  After that, my energy started waning and I felt stinging and cramping at the point of my surgical procedure, so I had to quit.

But I'm getting close to being able to resume my normal routine.  I was hoping to plant another tree by the round pen before a cold spell hit, but it looks like I'll have to wait until spring for that.  I was proud of Bombay, because he didn't spook once despite having many opportunities to do so.  He behaved more like Rock, alerting on things, but acting more interested than scared.  He spotted a cloud of dust rising from where a neighbor was doing tractor work, and he just watched it.  At the same time, someone was driving a pick up truck around their property while someone else was training a horse.  He just took it all in without breaking into a panic from being overstimulated.  I was raking near his head and he didn't flinch.  Rabbits and birds busted out of the brush around us, and he acted like he didn't even notice.  I'm looking forward to riding him again.  What I really like about Bombay is that he waits for me to give him cues, and then he follows them.  He doesn't anticipate what I'm going to ask based on my routine.  It's easy to stop him at streets while I look both ways, and easy to get him to cross quickly.  With Rock, it's more like trying stop and start up a locomotive.  I need the length of a football field before I see results.

We have a new neighbor, sort of.  A young guy moved back into his parents' house, and he drives like a maniac, so now I have to contend with him when I cross our street.  He also likes to joy ride in their ATV.  These neighbors have been good about only driving it around the neighborhood when they had guests over for parties, but now this young guy drives it for fun whenever he feels like it.  He woke me up at 6:30 in the morning one day when I planned to sleep in, because its engine is so loud.  He also drives it around late at night.  That inspired other neighbors to break out their ATVs, so there's been a cacophony of engine sounds for the past couple of weeks.  Hopefully, he'll get a job soon and get out of my hair.

The desert looks so different from how it looked the last time I hiked out there.  The bushes and trees are growing like gangbusters, so it's a tight squeeze along some trails.  There are a lot more shady spots, something I needed in the summer months.  I guess our last rain storm a couple of weeks ago did the trick.  They should really go nuts after this next one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bunny News Alert

Bully bunnies on the prowl.
My wild bunny Charity.

News flash!  Charity let me massage her body and she didn't run away.  Up to this point, she's only let me stroke her face and get one quick pet in on her body as long as I only used one finger.  As soon as she saw my hand unfolding, she'd hop away.  I have gotten a few palm pets in, but not with her consent.  I think she's been afraid that I will pick her up or swallow her with my whole hand.  However, this morning she let me massage her firmly with all four fingers.  I think she appreciated the warmth.

She's also been coming when I call, and if I hold my hand down close to the ground, she hops up to it and touches my fingers with her nose.  I call it our greeting, but I know that in reality she is just smelling to see if I have anything good to eat in my hand.

When I went out to feed the horses this morning, I noticed Gabbrielle watching the cliff while on full alert.  The other horses were huddled together with perturbed expressions.  Lostine refused to go into her stall until I put hay in it.  Then she would only run inside, snatch a mouthful, and run out of the barn snorting.  Something scared her big time.  I would think that Betsy the Bobcat has come around enough times that the horses are used to her.  They hardly pay any attention to her, as is.  There was a loose neighborhood dog in our yard yesterday, but it didn't bother the horses.  I suspect they either saw javelina or a mountain lion.  I can't think of much else in the way of wildlife that would get a reaction like that, unless there's some other animal I don't know about.  We've never had deer venture into our yard, but I did find a deer skull and antlers in the arroyo.

As I've mentioned before, I have a friend who has been helping with the barn chores a couple of days a week, which I really appreciate, especially at the moment since my husband's back hurts and he's been splitting his time between his office and doing barn chores.  I'm looking forward to giving my husband a break from it once I get the okay to start my usual physical activity.  Every time I try lifting something heavy, I pay for it.

Anyway, my friend is plenty busy herself, but always so cheerful and happy to help.  She tried to fit in a trail ride before coming over to do my barn chores, and some random lady stopped her to ask if she knew where someone lived or something.  She said she didn't know, and the lady proceeded to tell my friend her life story.  This is an ongoing joke with us.  The community we live in is primarily a retirement area, and there are a lot of bored, lonely people who will bend your ear for hours if you let them.  This is why I run and hide whenever I hear a vehicle coming up the street.  It used to be the religious groups that I avoided, but now it's the lonely, chatty, retired folk.  They literally just drive around looking for someone to talk to.  That sucks for those of us who are busy.

Anyway, my friend finally got rid of that lady, set out for her trail ride, and then realized that there was no way that she could get back to her house in time to drive to my barn and clean up manure before dark.  So, she rode her horse all the way over to my house again.  It was so late that I had fed my horses and closed shop for the day.  When I realized she was out there, I turned on some floodlights and porch lights so she could see what she was doing to some degree.  I asked, "You're not planning on riding home in the dark, are you?"

She said no.  She had called her husband to swing by with her horse trailer to pick them up.  I was so proud of my horses for not getting overly excited to see her horse again.  I think having food in front of them helped.  She led her horse up the barn aisle to a water trough, and Gabbrielle tried flirting over the fence while Bombay pranced a bit, but Rock and Lostine couldn't care less.  My friend's horse is such a great trail horse that it just followed her with its head down and didn't let my horses distract it.  I held her horse while it ate some hay, and it was so relaxed.  I felt like I didn't have to worry about it spooking into me or stepping on my foot.  It was such pleasure to spend a little time with a horse who has a level head.  He's almost duty-bound.  It's like the horse understands that his job is to carry his rider to my barn so she can do her thing, and he just waits patiently for her to let him know what's next.

I often think about the days of the wild west where people relied upon horses for transportation.  It must be so nice to have a horse you can hop on when you need to go somewhere, and all you have to worry about is if it has gas in the tank and fresh tires.  Our backyard horses of today constantly need tune ups and training before we can actually go anywhere safely.

I forgot that there is one thing that's worse than the population explosion of winter visitors.  It's the holiday visitors who come to stay with the winter visitors.  I always know they are here because we get a bunch of extra barking dogs in the neighborhood that run around unsupervised, leaving piles of crap for me to clean up around my property.  The air also becomes polluted with smoke from campfires and exhaust from off-road vehicles.  I looked out the window to see all four horses alerting on the cliff in my back yard, and this is what I saw...

I took pictures into the sun through the tinted window.  It always creeps me out when the people up there point directly at me like they can see me in my house.  But upon closer inspection, the lady and kid are pointing into other directions in other pictures.  I'm sure she probably used to live in the neighborhood and was reminiscing about how all of this used to be desert and she could ride her horse or ATV all around here before the houses were built.

At least people are stopping at the road barrier now instead of hiking down the hill past my No Trespassing sign.  Despite our efforts to block the trails down the hill with dead tree branches and a scattering of cholla balls, the wild animals have managed to carve new trails, which I'm sure some people will be more than happy to follow.  But once they get down there, they will quickly discover that it wasn't worth their while, because the trees and bushes in the arroyo are so overgrown that they'd need a machete to get through.

My horses usually become daily entertainment for the holiday visitors.  They make a habit of coming to my yard to watch them, as if the cliff in my back yard were a wildlife viewpoint.  One of these days I'm going to get down on all fours and crawl around making snorting noises just to see how these people react.  Ha ha!

If there's one thing I could change about my new home, it's that feeling of being in a fish bowl.

There are so many extra people here this fall that it took us three trips to two different grocery stores to find all the items we needed for our Thanksgiving dinner.  The visitors are cleaning off the shelves so fast.  It's ridiculous.  I feel like I have to fight for my food.  The other day I counted more Minnesota license plates in the grocery store parking lot than Arizona plates.  We're also having to wait in lines that extend out the door of our favorite restaurant now.  This is about the point where we just give up on eating in restaurants until May.

The other night someone set off a fireworks display that went on for half an hour.  It looked like it was maybe two miles away.  Midge went nuts.  She could hear those explosions through her deafness.  I went out to check on the horses, and Rock was standing in a corner quivering.  No sooner did those fireworks stop, and someone just a quarter of a mile away in the other direction started popping off firecrackers and shooting something into the sky that was exploding.  It's bad enough that we have to put up with this noise pollution on Independence Day and New Years, but now people are doing it for other celebrations as well.

I tried looking up online what the special occasion might be, and all it said was that it was National Toilet Day.  Huh?  I read the news, thinking that perhaps somebody important died, because some people in our country are getting so snarky and insensitive, I wouldn't put it past people to celebrate someone's passing, but there wasn't any significant news.  I guess two neighbors had birthday parties on the same night?  Or perhaps it was a case of "monkey see -- monkey do."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

10 Questions for November

Since things have been slow going around the barn, I thought I'd participate in this:

10 Questions for November from Viva Carlos

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden?
I started Gabbrielle under saddle when she was four, which is about right for an Arabian since they can be petite.  Here's a link to how that first ride went.  Reading it now, I can see that I made several mistakes.  Oh well, at least I tried.  Ironically, despite how easy and cooperative she was when I started her under saddle, she is now my most ornery horse, which makes me look bad.

How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden?
I think I stopped riding Lostine because of her arthritis when she was 28.  I've ridden a lot of public rental horses, and some of them may have been older, but I didn't ask.

Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? 
I started riding when I was so young that I doubt I felt anything beyond happy excitement.  I'm sure I was oblivious of the dangers.  I rode at summer camps.  I do remember getting scared when we had to lope as a group (on bareback pads with no stirrups), because I've always suffered from motion sickness when I go too fast in or on any vehicle.  I could never ride on anything at amusement parks, and to this day I still struggle with simply being in cars.  My wild ride on a gurney to the operating room last week was enough to make me never want to have surgery ever again.

Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? 
I go through phases.  I'm always nervous before a ride, but once I mount, I feel at home.  I'm usually too busy to get nervous while riding, but occasionally my nerves act up when my horse repeatedly performs a bad behavior and I as the rider can't fix it.  At those times, I usually dismount or head for home early before things escalate further.  

I'm more nervous about what other people on the trails or in my neighborhood are going to do to spook my horse than anything else.  Unless a horse has a calm nature, and has almost had that fight or flight instinct bred out of it, it's difficult to desensitize your horse to everything under every circumstance.  I've found that the "spook in place" approach only works when your horse still has its brain.  Now that I'm older and have arthritis, spooking is painful for me, so I want to avoid it.  I also find that I'm more nervous after a bad experience, and I need a few good ones before the fear will fade away.  I need to trust that the bad things won't happen again, or at least not every time I ride.

Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?
I think I am always a bit stunned by people who simply have no interest in horses and don't want to see them and pet them.  I don't understand how anyone can not be fascinated by such awesome creatures.  I respect people who ask to visit my horses because they need a little horse therapy.  I know they understand the value of horses on a spiritual level.  I've had guests refuse to go outside to meet my horses because they didn't want to get horse hair on their clothes, or they were afraid their hay fever would act up, or they thought the barn would smell bad.  They wouldn't even give it a chance.  

I don't have this problem anymore, but at my old house Lostine kept colicking fairly regularly, and I found out that several neighbors had been feeding my horses a variety of things over the fence including rotten vegetables, whole uncut apples (which can be a choking hazard for horses who inhale their food), bologna sandwiches, grass cuttings, dead weeds covered in bugs, and beer.  I had to pay closer attention and talk to each neighbor one by one as I caught them in the act to tell them that they could kill my horses by feeding them the wrong thing or by feeding them too much.

A time you’ve been scared for your life?
I don't think I've been scared that I was going to lose my life in any of my near misses or accidents, but I've scared myself a few times running through scenarios in my head about all the things that can go wrong.  I just don't ever want to be on a runaway horse that won't respond to the one-rein stop, because my motion sickness will send me into a full-on panic attack.

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened?
I don't show.

What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride?
Icelandic.  I like them short, and I want to try gaited.

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? 
Ummm, believe it or not, that would probably be Lostine, and I've ridden her more than any other horse.  I bought her when her breeder retired her from being a broodmare.  She hadn't had any recent riding.  Before being a broodmare, she was shown at halter.  She clearly did not like being taken away from her broodmare buddies, and definitely did not want to be ridden.  She paced the fence line calling out to her buddies across the street for the first two years I owned her.  Crow-hopping was a regular part of her riding routine.  Fortunately, she was too fat to pull off a full-on rodeo buck.  On the trails, she ran backwards when refusing to cross streams or pass a large rock or sign that scared her.  Pulling her head around and urging her forward was fruitless.  I'd have to twist my head and upper body around to see where we were going and duck as she ran backwards under tree branches, and I had to yell at hikers to get out of the way.  She was a real stinker, but I enjoyed riding her more than any other horse because she was so compact and low to the ground.  It was impossible to fall off her.  She taught me more about riding than any other horse I know.  Now she's my best friend, and if she lives another ten years in her retirement, I will be more than happy to care for her.

The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? 
In recent years, it has been those group rides when my horse is mysteriously nervous for no apparent reason and keeps refusing to move forward or pussy-footing along when in front, and insisting on running up on the other horse's butt when behind.  I have no patience for unfounded insecurities.  I want my horses to be able to ride out alone or in groups without reacting emotionally to every little shift in the wind.  I also don't like it when they try to sort out where they are in the social hierarchy when they go on a trail ride with a new horse.  I find it easier to ride alone, but even passing other horses on the trail seems to be a challenge for my horses, so I know they need the practice of riding with others.

With that said, I had one of those rides on Bombay a couple of years ago where he was nervous the whole way and never settled down.  We were just a few yards from home when the rider in front yelled out a warning that a group of horseback riders were coming our way.  I couldn't see them from my vantage point, but every bone in my body was telling me to dismount because my horse was ready to blow.  It turned out that the horse in front of the group that was passing us was a gigantic mule -- the first mule Bombay had ever seen -- and he completely flipped out.  I could barely keep control of him on the lead rope.  I was super glad that I got off, but still frustrated that all my efforts to get him to calm down and relax had failed.  I can't say there was anything enjoyable about that ride for either of us.

When I first moved to the desert, a couple of horse bloggers came out to ride with me to help me get Bombay used to the sights and sounds of his new home, and on both rides I had to dismount because he was so nervous, which was making me nervous, and I knew nothing good could come from nerves spiraling out of control.  In one case, he even started bucking when I wouldn't let him run for home.  I wasn't as frustrated during those rides, because the environment was so new to him and he hadn't been ridden in a long time.  However, in the ride I described above, he'd been ridden in the desert a lot, he was with familiar horses, and nothing was going on that should have made him so anxious.  That's why it was so frustrating.  I expected better behavior from him.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Too Tired to Think of a Good Title for This One

Perhaps "On Stall Rest... Sort Of"?  Or maybe, "What Part of 'Rest' Don't You Understand?"

I think that in the future if I ever have another scheduled surgery, as opposed to emergency surgery, I will call everyone I know in advance and say, "Hey, I'm not going to be available for x number of weeks, so if you need anything from me, ask me now."

I cannot believe the number of people who have come out of the woodwork right after my surgery to make demands upon me.  I got so pissed that I shut off my phone.  Even those who know I've had surgery don't seem to care, and just keep calling to hassle me.  While it's true that I'm not bedridden and I am feeling pretty good, I still do need to rest.  I can't be running around solving other people's problems, and the stress isn't doing anything to help me heal.

One relative phoned and told me that he had a dream in which I told him I had just had surgery, and he claimed to be calling to see how I was doing.  He did not know about this surgery, we have no mutual friends or relatives who could have told him, and he has no Internet access, so I was astounded by his extra sensory perception.  Then he asked for $200 so he could "pay his rent".  It's not even the first of the month.  It takes the bank 48 hours to process a transfer, and he was calling me repeatedly less than 12 hours later leaving frantic messages wanting to know where his money was.

Needless to say, I did not return any of his calls.  I've already explained to him dozens of times about that 48 hour rule, but he's mentally ill, so everything goes in one ear and right out the other.  The really stupid thing is that he kept me on the phone for hours while he rambled on about nothing in particular and never got to the point of any of his stories, so by the time I got off the phone with him, the bank was closed and couldn't process the transfer until morning anyway.  Sometimes you just get to a point where you are not willing to expend anymore energy on difficult people, and I was way past that point.

The day before my surgery, my property manager phoned to tell me that the garage door opener broke at our rental house.  I agreed to pay several hundred dollars to replace it along with the remotes to control it.  Then right after my surgery, less than a week later, the tenants contacted the property manager again, this time asking me to pay to have all the windows on the house replaced.  WTH?  Don't you think that is an inappropriate request to come from a renter?  That's a major cosmetic overhaul.  It's not like the microwave oven stopped working.

I understand that they are probably getting high heating bills this time of year, but my feeling is that if they can find a rental home with better insulation in that area, knowing that pretty much all the homes in that valley were built the same way with the same materials, then go for it.  These renters have been a pain in my butt since the day they started renting from me.  The woman acts like a prima donna.   When I tried to replace the bulging bathroom floorboards caused by an old, now repaired water leak, she refused to let the repairmen into my home because she didn't want to lose one of her bathrooms for a few days.  She wasn't willing to share the master bath with her kids.  Yet she's perfectly willing to let people replace all the windows, because it was her idea to do so.

I'm not happy about her having two very expensive "repairs" done at my expense while I've got medical bills piling up.  Her timing couldn't have been worse.  She's also in the habit of contacting the property manager on Fridays at closing time, so that the manager has to call me to handle it.  One time I had to call this renter to resolve a problem with the sprinklers not turning off.  The woman's husband is a gardener, but he wouldn't come home from wherever he was to deal with it, and the property manager was off duty for the weekend.  I tried talking the woman through the process to shut it off, and she said she couldn't possibly do that.  She went off on this crying pity party telling me all about some unrelated personal problem, and I felt sorry for the woman, so I called this poor gardener in the middle of the night and begged him to get out of bed and drive 30 miles to shut off the water.  It angered me that this woman was right there, but wasn't willing to lift a finger to help.

Another time I saw on a work order that I had to pay extra for some repairman to do something because the lady of the house was "handicapped" and couldn't do it herself.  She's not handicapped.  I've seen pictures and videos of her at my house on Facebook.  She's just too precious to do physical labor, even if it means taking 30 seconds to turn a knob.

But I digress...  Today I had the farrier coming over.  Our appointment was actually last week, but of course, the hospital had to schedule my surgery during my farrier appointment and I had to inconvenience my farrier by pushing it forward a week.  My husband had scheduled a physical therapy appointment for himself, and did not feed the horses or clean up in the barn, so I fed them, raked some manure in one stall into a couple of piles so that the farrier would have a clean place to work, fed the dogs, took them out, showered, ate, etc.  My husband got home right when the farrier arrived, and he ran out to clean stalls since I'm still not supposed to lift anything, while I supervised the farrier.  He doesn't want people to hold the horses while he works, but I still insist on being nearby in case he needs help.  Despite the farrier's calm and confident presence, my horses do tend to blow up over the slightest provocation.

The horses were already nervous, because coyotes had gone on a rampage all night and tried stealing the horses' toys again.  They made off with their T-shirt that they play tug-o-war with, but the horses managed to hide their ball in a water trough.  The horses are really getting smart about dealing with these wily coyotes.

One coyote kept coming up to our front door and that got my dogs barking, so I had to run outside in my bare feet and chase him off at 2:00 in the morning.  We were surrounded by screaming coyotes in all directions.  It was difficult to sleep.  I later discovered that the coyote by our front door had bitten into our drip system and broke it in order to drink water.  With my husband's back bothering him, he can't lie on the ground to repair it.  I'm also due for more bags of pellets, and neither of us can lift 50 and 80 pound bags, so I'll have to pay for the feed store to send a couple of their guys over to deliver and unload it.

Anyway, my farrier was blasting his truck radio, and my husband was making noise hitting the manure fork on the wagon, so the horses were a bit jumpy.  Then my husband came around the truck to ask a question and that sent Bombay flying.  He ripped his hoof out of the farrier's grasp and ran backwards right at me while I was sitting in a chair.  I screamed and jumped up to avoid getting run over.  Everyone settled down pretty quickly, but I knew this overreaction was in the making after that coyote rampage.

My husband left, we switched out horses, and next thing I knew, Bombay was making a break for it.  My husband didn't latch the barn gate.  I blurted out an expletive and the farrier said, "Do we have an escapee?"

I said, "I've got it!"

I forget that he's also a horse trainer and probably could help, but my knee-jerk reaction when a horse escapes is to tell everyone to back off and hold still.  The worse thing you can do is chase it.  My farrier told me to grab his halter out of his truck.  As I approached Bombay with it, his head flew up and he got this wild look in his eye like he was planning to bolt up the driveway.  I came at him from an angle where he was cornered and the only way out was around me.  I threw the rope around his neck and led him back to the barn.  My farrier stepped toward us, and Bombay turned away, dragging me past the gate.  He wasn't ready to give up his freedom.  The farrier grabbed the lead rope and wrestled him backward and got him through the gate.  I was thankful, because I don't think I should have been doing that at all.  I think wrestling a horse qualifies as heavy lifting and exercise.

Anyway, now that I've got all my appointments out of the way and have shut off my phone, I'm going to try to get some rest.  I still have to do some house cleaning to get ready for Thanksgiving, but I'm planning on taking that slowly anyway.  I've learned from years past that whatever cleaning I do more than three days ahead of time gets canceled out anyway, so it's best to do it all at the eleventh hour.

One other funny story.  I walked past a window and saw a strange horse in my back yard.  Occasionally, neighbors' horses get loose and wind up at my haystack.  I thought, "Free horse!  Just what I need when I can't sell the ones I've got."

I took a closer look and saw that the horse was saddled and tied to my hitching post.  Then I saw my friend.  She had recently moved into a house that is probably a 15 minute drive from where I live, and she rode her horse over to my place to help do barn chores.  It took her about an hour to get here via hoof in desert.  We've been planning on riding together, but one thing after another has gotten in the way.  She found a route to my house that only requires crossing a couple of busy streets, so hopefully once I can start riding again I can meet her out in the desert.  My horses were very excited to see her horse, and Bombay was begging for her to take him with her when she left.

Oh geez.  The insanity never ends.  I had my phone on, but with the volume muted, and was trying to figure out how to work an application on the phone.  Right then a message popped up saying that there was an incoming call.  I didn't know who it was, and I didn't want to have to deal with some high pressure sales pitch, so I declined the call.  For once, the person left a message.  They usually just hang up and keep calling back.  The call was from someone who wants to hire me for a photography session.  Really?  I went out of business last year.  How did she even find me?  And why did this have to happen right after I had surgery and should be resting?  Every time I do a photography job, I tell myself this is my last one.  I put so much effort into the whole process that it completely zaps me of my energy and it takes weeks for me to recover.

The other problem is that I always get sick with one of my pesky health problems on the day of a photo shoot, and I hate letting people down by either having to reschedule or not being at the top of my game.  People don't realize how much agility, speed and focus goes into photography... and I'm not talking about the camera.  I'm talking about the person behind the camera needing to be strong and healthy and not on pain killers.  Hopefully, after this surgery, at least one of my health problems will be solved.

Anyway, I called her back and found out that my business is still in the yellow pages.  The job was just to do a portrait, as opposed to an all day or all weekend event like I usually do, so I think I can handle it if she decides to hire me.  She sounded like a really sweet lady.  She seemed a little shocked by my estimate, but I keep telling myself to stop doing people favors and giving out discounts, because I never get paid for all of my labor.  So far, the majority of people I've worked for were friends or friends of friends, and I've given out way too many freebies over the years thinking that they would lead to other jobs, but they never did.  At some point here, I have to start charging for the whole shebang.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


I'm recovering from my surgery and doing fine.  The zany mishaps followed me into the operating room, but I'm alive and I still have both kidneys.  Oddly, I feel much better than I did in the six years before the surgery, and I don't know it if is the rest that is doing me good or if the surgeon removed a tumor and some polyps that have been giving me grief.  She did say before the surgery that she'd clean out anything that didn't belong there, but she never met with me after the surgery to tell me what happened.  I guess I have to wait until my follow up appointment after Thanksgiving.

I won't list off all the ridiculousness that happened on the day of the procedure, but I'll tell one story.  Apparently, I am in the habit of coming out of anesthesia during surgeries or too soon after surgery.  I thought about warning my anesthesiologist of that, but I figured I'd rather wake up early than to be put too far under and have something really bad happen.

So, I felt myself waking up and heard all these voices around me.  I thought I was dreaming and said, "No, no.  My surgery isn't until next week."  I don't know if I said that out loud or just in my head.  Then I heard a nurse say, "She still has an instrument in her."  Right then I got zapped with a horrible pain, and I'm pretty sure I was writhing around, because people were holding me down.  The doctor responded, "I had to leave a clamp in because there was a lot of bleeding.  I'll remove it."

A second later I felt instant relief and fell back asleep.  A while after that when I was supposed to be awake, a nurse asked if I remembered having a clamp removed and what the doctor said.  I said I did.  I suspect she had to fill out paperwork to record that in case further problems arise.  I can see how some people could end up with PTSD after waking up during surgery.

I had asked about post-op care before the surgery, and the doctor only mentioned the possibility of pain pills and antibiotics.  She ended up giving me neither.  The post-op nurse told me no lifting and no exercise.  Two days after the surgery I had ants in my pants and did a few barn chores, because I'm not good at sitting idle.  I paid for that in pain and pressure, so I looked up on my discharge papers how long I can't lift or exercise, and they said not until my doctor okays it.  Well, I'm not seeing my doctor until the end of the month, and I can't have other people doing my barn chores until then.

My husband is home from work this week to do barn chores on my behalf, and a friend is coming by twice a week, so after this week I may have to just let the manure pile up until someone can get around to it.  The truth is that this isn't a good time for my husband to take over the barn chores, because he's been having back pain, side effects from steroids to treat that back pain, and he's been passing kidney stones.  He started physical therapy for his back and was told that his tailbone is crooked, probably from all the times he's fallen off skateboards and when he fell off Rock.  I'm sure he would love to go into the hospital to have some of his own health problems addressed right now instead of taking over my daily chores.  I've been trying to do my part by feeding and taking the dogs outside.  It's amazing how much free time I have, not having to feed and clean up after the horses.  I don't know what to do with myself.

My doctor gives me a hard time for waiting several years to take care of my health problem, but literally every time I tried to focus on fixing it, a dog or horse (or several of them) got sick or injured or had surgery and I had to take care of them.

I do wish that doctors would be more forthright about post-op care, because had she told me no lifting or exercise for two to three weeks, I probably would not have gone through with the procedure.  I live on a ranch, for Pete's sake.  I have to lift and exercise for many hours throughout the day.  People who live in cities rarely have to lift or exercise unless they specifically use a gym to work out or have a job that involves physical labor.  If it's not a part of their daily routine, I guess it doesn't occur to them that it might be a part of someone else's daily routine.  I'm sure that's why she never bothered to mention it... either that or she knew I wouldn't go through with the surgery if I had known.

The other thing I wish I could change is that some doctors and nurses are in the habit of shoving legal papers under your nose for you to sign after they've taken your reading glasses away and sedated you.  They just quickly summarize what the document says and ask you to sign while three burly men wait in the wings to wheel you into the operating room, urging you to hurry because everyone is behind schedule.  Couldn't they have sent those papers home with me in advance and let me read through them?  For all I know, I was signing a paper agreeing to pay the hospital a million dollars.

I did manage to refuse to sign a paper that said I understood that they would be using a specific tool during the procedure.  I said I didn't know what that was.  The nurse said, "The doctor didn't talk to you about it?"  I knew the doctor was just in the room listing off risks of the surgery, but didn't remember her mentioning this tool.  I didn't know if she never mentioned it or if I just didn't remember, so he ran down the hall and dragged her back into my room to explain it to me.  I could hear her protesting, assuring him that she did speak to me about it.  This time she leaned in close and made sure she had eye contact with me and that I could hear.  Seriously, all of this should have been done before I was given a sedative.  It would have made everything a lot simpler... and also legal.

When I was wheeled into the operating room, a surgical assistant was complaining that the doctor hadn't filled out any of the paperwork, so no one knew anything about the patient or the procedure, and he had to do it himself.  I found that hard to believe, because I had people calling me almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to get information from me and tell me how much money I would have to pay up front.  I haven't received a single phone call after the surgery asking me how I am doing, though.  Of course, I'd call them if anything were wrong, but I do miss the good old days when patients were treated like human beings and doctors at least acted like they cared.

Onto other topics... I have a Facebook page for my business and a personal page, but I try to only "friend" people who post funny or positive words.  Facebook is my go-to place when I need to have my mood improved.  The vast majority of people I've friended post cute or funny animal photos and videos.  However, this election has changed all that.

Now when I view posts, I mostly see words of hate toward some general group of people.  Either the Democrats are hating the Republicans for voting Trump into office, or the Republicans are hating the Democrats for being "sore losers" and protesting.  The reality is that it has less to do with party affiliation than they think.  I know Republicans who did not vote for Trump and Democrats who did.  It's more a matter of there being Trump supporters and non-supporters, and in some cases, specific issue supporters and non-supporters.

I've always been of the mindset that I did not care to share my political views, because that's what ruins friendships.  I actually stopped speaking to one friend in part because she wouldn't shut up about it, and I knew I was going to blow and spill out all my unwanted opinions if she pushed me too far, so I just avoided her.  However, with so much misinformation being circulated around within social media, including fake news stories about the candidates, I am now thinking that it is important for people to discuss such things before an election so that those who are educated on the issues or have personal experience with the issues can expose those who don't know to their viewpoint.  Elections are too close nowadays for us to remain silent.

However, it is important to express viewpoints in a respectful manner.  When I see someone repeatedly calling the opposing party names like "stupid", I can't hear their message.  I can only be offended.

Several other things need to happen.  People need to accept that it is everyone's right to lead peaceful protests, even if we believe it can't change anything.  The point is that people need to be heard, and though it may not change the outcome of the election, it still may influence the incoming government to move in a positive direction.

Also, when one or two people, or a small group of thugs, do something illegal and disrespectful as a way of protesting, that should not reflect upon an entire political party.

I chose to unfriend those who repeatedly made mean, nasty comments so that I don't have to have those ugly words thrown in my face every time I seek out cute and humorous photos and videos of puppies, bunnies, donkeys and baby elephants.  However, I unfriended them a little too late, because I kept hoping they'd get over their rage and settle back into cuteness.  Instead, I saw that they were turning their anger and hatred on those who had been unfriending them.  Sometimes, when you can't reason with someone, it's best to speak with peaceful action instead of words.  Eventually, embarrassment eclipses their anger, and we can all get back to what is truly important:  Things that make us happy.  Bring on the wiggling whiskers and wagging tails.

But also, keep on keeping our government and haters in check.  Just do it peacefully and respectfully, and keep yourselves informed through fact-checking sources.  We can hear you better that way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kickin' It in the Wind

My father-in-law made this little windmill for my husband.  We still have to mount it, so I took pictures of it on the lounge chair.

That's me holding what looks like Rock with a lighter mane and tail.  Don't know when the last time is that I wore a dress and bonnet.  I actually bought two beautiful dresses to wear to my friend's wedding in September up north, but it was too cold, so I wore a pant suit instead.  The dresses are still hanging in the closet unworn.  The boots on the doll are definitely something I wear, though.

That's my husband standing in front of the haystack in his pilgrim hat.

When the wind blows the propeller, Rock kicks my husband in the butt and he falls headfirst into the haystack.

Pretty silly.  I'm looking forward to mounting it and finding a place to put it where our neighborhood burglar won't steal it.  However, with the winds we've had around here lately, they'd probably blow all of my father-in-law's hard work out into the desert where the coyotes would have a party with its moving parts.

They almost made off with the horse's ball again.  I found it outside of the paddock below our patio, and I know the horses can't throw or kick that far.