Life Is A Snow Globe

I love metaphors, don’t you – Life is like a snow globe?

Sure it is…give it a little shake and in the blink of an eye, the scene changes.  Sometimes ever so slightly, sometimes way more dramatic.  So with a shake of the snow globe of my life, here is where we are two months since my last post.  It may take more than one post to bring you up to speed.

First of all, nothing EVER came of the bad mammogram.  My radiologist decided after many visits etc, that it was nothing to be concerned about and we will revisit in six more months.  Not sure how OK I am with that in light of the fact that big sis died of breast cancer, but what to do?   Its a crap shoot depending on who you choose to trust. How in the world do you know who to listen to.  My doctor feels that I should wait and see, so I guess I will wait and see.  AND it turns out that the place that I had the mammogram has had a high incident of false positives lately.  So, I am putting my head in the sand and will cross that bridge again in six months.

Speaking of breast cancer, I orchestrated an event in early October that raised over $3200 for breast cancer research.  I named it Ride for Research and with the help of a very good friend and my riding club we put together a very successful benefit ride.  ride-for-research

We had over 90 riders come for the day.  It was spectacular to see so much support.  My husband and brother in law served food for everyone.  We even had a silent auction going on during the day.  It was a lot of work, and took almost a year of planning but I feel really good about what we did and how much money we donated in my sister’s name.  In spite of the fact that she would have hated the event, I know she is proud of what I was able to accomplish.  (Hum maybe I have a career as an event planner?)

Robley, my new horse, has settled in nicely.  He is doing well, full of himself and about to pop!  The boy can eat and is now getting fat off of the air.  How he does that I have not a clue.  I have cut all his grain out, he is just getting hay and still he packs on the pounds.  He and my mare have a hate, love, hate relationship.  He has decided he is in charge and is pushing  my “boss” mare around at every chance he has.  She has nailed him with some nicely placed kicks and still he comes back for more.  My little energizer bunny!  I took him to a weekend clinic to improve my confidence and get some concentrated saddle time.  It was a very good weekend, I was in the saddle literally for 18 hours over three days.  AND we cantered.  That was my goalimg_11451

The job I was so excited about has ended.  I had applied for a 20 hour a week job with the local Head Start office.  I was hired as the Disabilities Services Coordinator (for which I was highly qualified)  Took the job as a 32 hour a week position and ended up working 40 hours a week.  Not the biggest issue. What I didn’t know was that the group running the local organization was circling the drain of incompetence.  Two weeks ago, the regional office came down to inform us that a new company was going to take over, revamp and the whole thing would be put out there for bid to be run by another set of folks.  Basically, there was a corporate take over.  Now since I was a contractor, I was told that I would not be offered a position with the new folks until I went through the interview process.  Since it was more hours than I wanted, I politely declined.

Oh did I mention all this happened while I was out for knee surgery?  Yes almost a year to the day, I had my knee operated on.  Same knee, same issue, same surgery.  Different doctor, and it appears a different outcome.  I think it is going to be alright this time.

So to recap…back to work for hubby, no breast cancer, and still hobbling along.  Maybe my shake of the snow globe just put my life back to where it was last December.  All in all it could have been worse.  The rest of the story next time…

mvb

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Whew What A Week

Most weeks I am not happy that Monday has arrived, but today is an exception.  I want last week in the rear view mirror.  It is a toss up as to if last week was a good week or bad week (Are you a good witch or a bad witch?) 

Three very exciting things happened to the residence(mostly me) of Flamingo Farms.  First of all Robley, my new mount, and I went on our first camping trip.  For three days we were in a fabulously serene setting sharing good times with my friends.  It was a total me weekend.  While I am still not trail riding, he and bonded over copious amounts of ground work and hand grazing. Ground work to me is what builds a bond with your horse.  It is where you gain repeat and cooperation.  For the most part that was true, but I have found my new honey love has an obstinate streak as well.  I got a few rearing ups when he didn’t like what I asked of him but overall he was great. The place we ride has a great big arena so that is where I did my riding.  Walked and trotted fine until he spooked at the barrels on the fence.  That was enough for me, I pushed him into a slow jog, got four steps so we could end on a good note and promptly got off.  But all in all it was a successful weekend

Also noteworthy is the first egg from my new flock of Rhode Island Reds.   I call the girls the Supremes since I can’t tell them apart.  It isn’t as large or as brown as I expected, but a great first attempt. The newly added rooster, Smokey Robinson, has started crowing.  He is so handsome that hearing him in the morning just makes me smile.  I don’t have a good picture of him yet, he is a little camera shy.  When I hatch some eggs out in the spring, they will be called the Miracles.   Do you see the theme?

And finally on the good side I guess is that I am going back to work.  Since it is a 32 hour position I should still have some of my free time to still do what I want.  I will miss my mornings sitting in the rocking chair with my coffee watching the fields wake up. But it will give more structure to my life.  We will see. 

On the negative side last week, reading that word in bold caps, is the fact that they found someone in my mammogram and I have to go in for a biopsy. YOu may recall that my sister passed away from breast cancer last September.  Needless to say I am petrified.  And the kicker of it all is that they can’t take me until October.  I am working now to find an option sooner.  Very unsettling to have that hanging over my head. 

Stay tuned for an update.  

mvb

Thunderbolt and Lightening…Very, Very Frightening!

Last night my little corner of the world was under tornado and severe thunderstorm threats for most of the night.  The wind was howling and the lightening was fantastic.  Dogs were drooling and pacing and I was very scared.

I do not like lightening.  If I am driving I pull my shoulders to my ears and close my eyes for a second.  Not the best thing to do when you are operating a car, but a response I am unable to avoid.  When the warnings to take shelter came over the radio, I ran to the closet under the stairs to hide. My husband thought it was the funniest thing he has ever seen.  But when I told him the reason for my over the top response, he totally understood.

When I was young, 4 or 5, my family lived in Winter Park, Florida. A magical place to grow up; summer all the time. Storms and hurricanes every season.  One evening, with a hurricane bearing down on our town, my parents decided that they needed to go play bridge with their friends in the next neighborhood.  They left my oldest sister in charge, telling her that if things got really bad before they came home, we should go into the hall and shut the doors so that we wouldn’t get hurt if the windows exploded.  Now my sister watched us all the time.  Her mode of getting us to do what she wanted was using fear as a motivation.  When we played on the phone, she used the extension and told us she was the police and they were on the way to pick us up.  When I wouldn’t go to bed, she pretended to take pills and kill herself.  I was only a little girl for goodness sake; she scared the poop out of me.

Anyway, the parents left, and it was time for me to go to bed.  I could here the storm outside, but it wasn’t bad enough to get worried, but storming non the less.  Well I didn’t want to go to bed.  I wanted to stay up with the big girls.  My dear sister, the one I looked up to the most,  informed me that if I didn’t get to bed, she would not wake me up when it was time to go into the hall.  She would leave me sleeping in my room to get cut up by the flying glass.  I didn’t sleep that night at all.  I remember laying in bed, trying to be still so she would think I was sleeping waiting for someone to come and get me.  Thankfully my parents came home before we needed to do anything.

Obviously the incident made an impression on me.  I have never forgotten that feeling and every time it storms I have cow!  My sister is gone now, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remember her in some way or another.  Not always in the fondest terms but ever present in my life.

mvb

Oh Mercy, Mercy Me

Wow, it has been a full month since I last posted.  And I recall indicating that I would be more diligent about posting.  Well evidently I lie!  What a strange month it has been…

I don’t know if I posted that I broke my knee.  Broke, cracked, whatever, the knee doesn’t work as well as it used to.  This is also the same knee that I had surgery on in December.  Ouch!  So the doctor told me to take it easy, not do anything that would put any pressure on my knee.  “Can I ride?” I asked.  “Well, I would rather you didn’t,” he replied, “but if you must, take an easy stroll and don’t go crazy”.  Ok I can do that.  At 58, I am not that much of a dare devil anymore.

imageTwo weeks later I went camping with my peeps.  We set up camp, had the horses in their fences, life was good.  “Lets go riding”  OK, that was what we were there for.  I got my trusty steed Cisco (the love of my life, mind you) and started to get ready.  He didn’t want to stand still to be tacked.  He spit the bit out several times, and was generally a brat.  Got him ready, put on my helmet (usually I don’t ride with one), and the three of us set out for a nice stroll in the fields.

Cisco evidently didn’t understand what the doc told me.  He was jiggy from the start.  If you ride, you know what I mean.  So around the trees we went, trying to calm him down.  I should have taken him to the ring, but friends were waiting so one I went.  Surely he would settle.  As we rounded the field to go up a slight incline, he decided he was done with walking and started a very animated trot.  I tried to pull him back. Felt things were starting to get out of hand and sat really deep in my saddle, and quietly put my hand on the horn.  Next thing I know we are doing a full out gallop up the hill with him doing his best impression of the bucking bronco.  I was on such a loose rein I could not even do a one rein stop.  I remember saying, well this is it, good bye life….took my foot out of the stirrup and went flying out of the saddle.  However, I would have won that silver buckle! My riding buddies said I had great form and stayed in the saddle well past anything they would have expected.

When I came to, I was staring into Cisco’s nose.  He had a look on his face that was asking what the heck was I doing down on the ground.  My friend was talking to me but my ears were ringing.  I think she was telling me to lay still, but up I went.  Wow did the earth start to spin.  I told them I would walk back to camp, but they called someone who came out into the field and drove me back to camp.  I don’t remember much from that night except that my ribs, neck and back hurt like crazy!  Needless to say, I didn’t stay the weekend.  Left early the next morning.  Crying all the way home.  How could he hurt me like that!  Since I couldn’t stop crying, my husband thought I was really hurt and insisted I go to the urgent care to get checked out.  After 20 x-rays, we were assured nothing was broken, just very very bruised.

This incident was a real eye opener for me.  I know I am getting old, but it never really impacted me.  It sure has now.  I have only been on Cisco once since then.  I am afraid of getting hurt.  It I had osteoporosis, I would be a bag of broken bones!  But I can’t give up riding, it is my only outlet.  So what do to do?

imageBUY A SMALLER HORSE!   Meet Robley…he came to our house Sunday and will be my new riding partner.  A full hand shorter with only one speed, he is going to help me gain my confidence and get back to riding without much fuss.  The vet comes today to check him out.  I sure hope he is the age they told me, and not a horse ready for retirement.  More on him next time.

mvb

Times They Are A Changin’

You may have noticed that I made a slight change to the name of my blog.  It used to read Knitting Socks:  Musings on Life and Death   It now reads Knitting Socks: Life, Love and Adventures at Flamingo Farms.  Why?  Well originally I started writing my blog as a way to help me deal with the sudden death of my older sister.  We had her memorial a few weeks ago after putting it off for several months.  Immediately after the memorial, I spent some time with my middle sister; a very accomplished woman who always looks on the positive side.  Those few days with her have changed my life.

I have a tendency to dwell on my past.  Not a good thing to do.  You can’t change it and  you can’t make it go away.  But what you can do is reduce or eliminate it’s ability to ruin your future.  When I was with my sister, I realized that the difference in our outlook on life were how we processed the past.  She, of course, has regrets, but she has not let those regrets paralyze her ability to positively move forward.  No, that has been my job.  SO, effectively immediately, I am moving on with mindful purpose and  positive outlook.  Maybe easier said than done, but I have a great support system and a wonderful and wise adviser.  And besides, how can you be negative when you get to wake up to the simple (?) life on a Hobby Farm!

The other day, it actually stopped raining.  I went down to the barn at 6:45 as I have been doing for the past 6 years.  But this time, I took my morning cup of coffee with me.   My mare, Va. Tech Gina Leigh is on stall rest.  She has a hole in her flexor tendon and has been in a stall since mid February.  Needless to say, she is not a happy camper at all.  After I gave both of the horses their breakfast, I sat in the barn and drank my coffee.

imageTiger Lily, my lovable feral cat jumped into my lap; kneading and purring in happiness to be there.  Gina was munching quietly on her hay.  The birds were starting to wake up, and were chirping and singing good morning to one another.  There were no other noises, no other distractions to the peace that was Flamingo Farms in the morning.  It was just breath taking.  I sat there so long, my husband came looking for me.  He saw that I was communing with my animals and left without saying a word.

How could you possibly dwell on the negative when you get to start your day like that?  The universe was sending me a message…Life is good, embrace what you have and move forward with confidence and conviction.  Do you think my sister was really the one sending me the message?

mvb
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Anywhere But Here

Have you ever wished you could do anything or be anywhere different than where you are expected.  This coming weekend is one of those times.  I am filled with such gloom and sadness that I am not sure I can even get through the rest of the week.

My oldest sister passed away very suddenly last September.  I am devastated and this weekend, her husband is hosting a celebration of her life at their home.  It is the first and only public acknowledgement of her passing.  My sister, a very private person, did not want a ceremony, religious or not, she didn’t want a burial, there is not a headstone. No where that I can go to, to place flowers or sit and talk.   She wanted to be cremated and if he wanted, she wanted my brother in law to have a garden party with her family and their “group”.

I thought I was o.k. with this plan.  I thought I was o.k. with playing the supporting role.  I thought, as a sister, I would receive some deference or acknowledgement that I am hurting and missing my big sister.  One of the most influential people in my 58 years of life.  There wasn’t one important event in my life that she wasn’t there to lend her support, humorous approach and love….except this one.

How do you say goodbye to that part of you that is a sister?  How do you stand by and smile when people you don’t know tell you about your sister, your best friend?  My middle sister will be with me.  We will represent her family, we are all that is left of our family.  We will have each other, but it will still feel like something has been removed from our being.  Last year this time, the three of us were in the Keys.  Regrouping a year after we lost our mom.  Three sisters together; processing and holding on to our shared past.  Now there is only the two of us.

Losing a sister, or a sibling I guess, is different than losing a parent.  You aren’t supposed to watch your sister die.  They are of your generation.  You bury the previous generation together.  This feels unnatural.  It has been a very long 8 months.  I kept thinking that I was doing well and patted myself on the back for handling this life changing event with grace and maturity.  I was just kidding myself.  I want to scream and curse and shake my fist!

i will put on my good face Saturday.  I will do what I need to make sure my brother in law feels supported.  I just hope that someone recognizes how difficult this is for my sister and I and take care of us.

mvb

Spin, Spin, Spin

This weekend my hubby and I went to a Fiber Fair.  We were supposed to go towards the water, but the weather was just so terrible we chose a different activity.  Fiber is my thing.  I love the colors and the feel of all the wonderful yarns.  I actually think I enjoy looking at the fibers more than I like knitting them.  I have drawers full of fabulous colors and blends.  All projects that I haven’t gotten to yet.  But that is another story.

The day was dreary, but we had a wonderful time.  My husband and I have this thing we do when we go places like festivals and malls.  We separate and plan when we will meet back up.  That way he can look at what he wants and I can take all the time I need to see what I want.  Neither of us has to worry if the other is having fun, we move at our own pace, and we can buy things without the other seeing.  That is my favorite part.  Usually he is the one that makes a purchase.  I love surprises!

This time, when we went our separate ways, I ended up in a booth learning how to spin yarn with a drop spindle.  drop spindleI have one at home and have never really figured out how to use it.  So, for 20 minutes in the middle of this festival, I focused totally on something I wanted to learn.  I can now create my very own magical fibers.  I am no expert yet, but I have made some thread and once I have enough spun, I will make something small.  What a joy!  Little does my husband know that I have a master plan.  I want to add sheep or goats to our little kingdom.  I will drop that bomb after I have mastered the spinning!

Anyway, there I was spinning away is this tent, just totally absorbed in the experience of it all and I happened to glance up.  There he was, a handsome man just smiling at me.  It took me a minute to realize I was looking at my very own man!  He looked so cute, standing there with a package.  Yes, he bought me this awesome bag that was hand-made out of coffee burlap bag.  It is so cool.  I will use it to carry my spindle and roving.

I came home from the day just glowing.  It had been a while since hubby and I got away and just had fun messing around.  I lose sight of the good things in my life when there are so many challenges at one time.  He is the one constant in my life; always there to give me support, back my crazy ideas, tell me when I am off base and love me without strings.  I hope everyone has someone like that in their life.  I wish my children would find that kind of love in their lives.

mvb

Camping Weekend

imageI had knee surgery in December.  It was not as successful as I had hoped.  Evidently I do not have any cartilage left in my right knee.  I am a candidate for knee replacement, but the Doctor, in his infinite wisdom, wants me to wait.  The replacement only has a thirty year shelf life and he doesn’t want me to have to have it replaced a second time.  Come on!  By then I will be 87 years old; who cares if my knee works at that age.

My biggest fear is that I will not be able to ride my horses for more than a few minutes at a time.  I have spent lots of time on the ground teaching Cisco to drop me off at the mounting block and to stand quietly while I get everything situated.  I’ve lengthened my stirrups to relieve some of the pressure.  Other than an hour or so around the house, I haven’t done much.  I believe in the old adage, what you don’t know doesn’t exist!

This past Friday I loaded my trusty steed and headed out for a weekend of camping with horses and friends.  I thought “Ok, if it hurts, I’ll just stay at the camp and that’s ok”.  Well, let me tell you, it was the MOST wonderful weekend imaginable.  Sure my knee hurt after two hours in the saddle, but then again, so did my butt!  We logged a total of ten hours on the trails.  Which is approximately 20 miles.  I can’t move today, but I also can’t get the smile off my face.image

My new trailer is great!  I sleep in the goose-neck and live in the dressing room.  We have it down pat and set up quite the site.  My hubby decided he would “cater” my food and packed me the most wonderful cooler imaginable.  Who else gets to dine on crab cakes, stone crab claws and cold baked spaghetti.  He even packed me a pancake wrap of peanut butter and bananas.  Each container was neatly labeled with which meal it was.  I even had happy hour containers!  It is difficult to stay mad at that man.  My peeps want to hire him for their meals as well.image

Cisco was great.  He and I do not have a smooth history on the trails.  We both grew up in the English Ring, going around and around.  Nothing to jump out at you when you do that.  This weekend he discovered that playing in a stream is much more fun than shying away from the mud.  He moved some trees, earning the name Dozier.  (I still have leaves and branches in my saddle) and he walked quietly no matter where he was in the conga line.  He does not like grapes.image

All in all a wonderful and restorative weekend.  I am so excited about the next trip!

mvb

Ticking Time Bomb!

I am a 57(gosh weeks from 58) year old woman.  I am accomplished.  I have run a 30 million dollar business, I have raised two boys on my own.  I ride horses which means I can control 1,000 pounds of living breathing animal.  So why, why is it so hard for me to tell the people I love what is on my mind!  Lets see….

I loved my mother.  She died two years ago.  I miss her, but not the gut wrenching loss I feel for my sister.  But that is besides the point.  The point is, that whenever I disagreed with her; tried to assert my independence; express a difference of opinion, she would stop talking to me.  Ouch!  I don’t mean just short sentences with attitude, I mean totally not talking.  Once when I was home from college, we had a tiff over my wearing jeans when her bridge game was going on at our house.  I guess I didn’t look nice enough.  Anyway, I wouldn’t change, and left the house to go on my date.  We didn’t yell, no slamming doors.  So imagine my surprise when I got home to total silence.  I mean so silent that when I left in the morning to go on a trip, she would not even say good-by.  As a matter of fact, when I returned, she didn’t say hello either.  Ruined my first adult trip out of the country.  For 10 days I obsessed about what would happen when I got home.  Talk about withholding love.  I don’t think I ever asserted myself with her after that.  I was all mom, all the time.  What ever you say Mom!

Based on my childhood issue with speaking my mind, I find it hard to tell my loved ones how I feel.  I am afraid of them walking out of my life.  But, this week I had to speak up to two of the three most important people in my life…my son and my husband.  DANGER, DANGER WILL ROBINSON!  On both fronts, things had been brewing a while and probably should have been talked about earlier, but gee, I was chicken.  So when things brew, they build, and build, and BUILD.  Potential for disaster.

I decided Monday, that the time had come to let it all out.  On both fronts.  I pulled up my big girl panties and made the call to my son.  He answered (big surprise), we exchanged pleasantries and then I told him what was on my mind.  He got his back up at first; I could hear it in his voice.  I got a very quick “well I said I was sorry”.  I explained that we shouldn’t even get to sorry; the incident should not have happened; that he hurt my feelings.  The conversation ended on a good note; talk of getting together for my birthday. Wow, that was so hard for me.  I love that boy more than life and would be devastated if he walked away.  But it didn’t happen, the world didn’t explode.

Hubby was just as hard.  On the upside we are working to solve an issue.  If I had just continued to stew, I doubt that we would have much of a future.  But now that the problems are out, we are on the same page and will try to solve them.  At least it feels better to have a partner instead of an adversary.    And the thing was, he had no clue how I felt.  Talking…imagine that!

mvb

 

Emmy

Into our lives you crawled.

We didn’t know you, yet you touched a chord,

Like a softly strummed guitar tune, playing on a loop.

We danced, we sang, we loved, we cuddled.

You left, and now, there is a hole where your smile should be.

Till the next time.

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