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Now, THIS is living

It’s so easy to get caught up in working and getting things done – especially if you’re a writer who also works full-time, has a farm, and gives lessons. I’ll be the first one to say it’s difficult to find that balance between working a real job, taking care of critters, promoting, writing, and actually slowing down and living life. Now that it’s horse show season, it’s about to get a lot more busy and harder to find that balance. During this time of the year, I’m either hauling to a horse show, judging a horse show, or giving a riding lesson. If I’m not doing one of those three things and the weather is good, I’m either working horses or catching up on some chore that got left behind during the week.

This past weekend the weather was good but instead of dashing off to a horse show – yes there was one – I decided to take it easy and stay home. It turned out to be a good decision, and one that I needed.

My step-son, who is in college and lives about an hour away, decided to come down for the weekend. The kid that was the furthest thing from a cowboy that you could ever imagine has suddenly taken a strong interest in riding. Needless to say, I’m deliriously happy with that fact and go over board to help him fuel that interest. The world desperately needs more cowboys!

David is extremely quiet and laid back, and has a wicked sense of humor, which is one of the reasons we’ve always gotten along. His quiet personality meshes extremely well with the gelding that I’ve been giving him lessons on. Even though he’s only had three lessons so far, I’ve been quite pleased with his progress, especially since the horse he’s riding quite frankly isn’t the easiest in the world to ride.

Every cowboy needs at least one decent set of boots to ride in, and a pair of jeans that go over those boots, not in them. Saturday morning we headed to French’s Boots in Crossville, Tennessee to hook David up with some boots and jeans to ride in. By the time we left the store, he looked like he was ready to head out to the next rodeo. My inner cowgirl beamed with pride!

When we got back Saturday afternoon, we immediately went to the barn to get our ride in for the day. So far all of our lessons have been in the round pen since it’s a safe, enclosed environment. This time however, I figured it was time for David to go ride out in the open. We saddled two horses and headed out to the pasture.

David riding Bubba & working on circles

David riding Bubba & working on circles

After our ride

After our ride

Sunday turned out to be a family day as well.

A few years back my husband traded for a 1974 Ford F-250, complete with decals of half-naked ladies in chaps on the back window. The truck previously belonged to my farrier and has quite the local reputation!

My husband had plans of restoring the old truck to its former glory days, but as with everything else life got in the way and it just sat in the driveway. Honestly, most the time the bed had been relegated to an extra trash can.

David has been looking for an old car to fix up, and we have an old truck just sitting in our driveway. So, my husband came up with the idea that they could work on the truck together.

After several years of being silent and a few hours of work, the old green truck roared to life and took its first ride – down the driveway and back. Might not seem like a whole lot to most people, but the look of pride on both of their faces afterwards was priceless!

"Green Slime"

“Green Slime”

Although there were countless other things that I could have been doing, I wouldn’t have traded this past weekend for anything in the world. Sometimes just slowing down, spending time with family, and doing something seemingly simple can be the most rewarding thing ever. That’s when you’re really living.

What is your favorite way to spend the weekend? Do you find yourself struggling between the pull of getting things done and slowing down?

 

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Spring Is Finally Here! Maybe. Kinda. Sorta. 4

photoI opened my office window to take this photo. It was freaking COLD. Yesterday was 54 with hazy sun and awesome. Today is bright sun and chirping birds that tell a big fat LIE. It is only in the 30s out there.

But look at those little bits of green! Our hardy lilies and hosta are coming up in front of our house, but these are mini daffodils and some other things I was given in a dish garden last year. When they faded, I planted the bulbs outside my office window. I’m so excited that they’re coming up!

We had a snowstorm on Friday. Heavy, wet, perfect packing snow that melted on the cars, sidewalks, and streets, so it was pretty perfect. Except the schools were closed. Again. And it was cold. At least when it gets cold again it’s only temporary, so we know spring is on its way, even if it’s being shy.

I am feeling more energetic and less confined. I’d been stuck with my writing, having no problems with revisions/edits and production and organization but struggling to make myself face the blank page on the new book. Yesterday it finally started to flow again. Phew!

It helped that I got a new laptop. *cue squeeing* I’d resigned myself to using a battery-less laptop with two giant black splotches on the screen for a lot longer. I mean, I can see around the splotches and keep it plugged in. But I had an opportunity to save like $600 on the laptop that was at the top of my list, and my husband was the one who initiated the purchase so I didn’t even have to feel guilty for spending so much money. :)

I got a Lenovo X1 Carbon. .7 inches thick. Weighs 2.8 pounds. Fingerprint scanner to access. Backlit keyboard. It’s really fast and really sweet and a major reason I started writing again…because I wanted reason to use it, and because it has a 7-hour battery (would be longer if I didn’t keep the screen at full brightness) I can take it all over the place! Leaving my office, where I have all this other stuff that needs attention, is a great help to my writing focus. :)

On the down side of technology, my iPod has gone bonkers. Longtime readers of this blog will sigh, knowing my iPod sob stories. Classic was stolen in NY, I went months without, got a Touch for my birthday, broke the screen a few years later, the refurbished replacement has a recalcitrant home button…and then it dove out of my hand a few months ago, right into the cat fountain. Which is not a fountain of cats, which would have been fine, but a WATER fountain for the cats to use.

It was operating okay. I couldn’t use the power button or volume up button, but big deal. Except for no reason at all, over the past week it has started acting possessed. Those two buttons work again. CONSTANTLY. The screen flashes off and on. Sometimes it wants to power down. This obviously drains the battery pretty fast. Plus side? I can use the power button to turn the screen on and off again.

The volume button is a bit more problematic. I mean, my primary use of the gadget is listening to stuff while I drive, clean, shop, etc. Oh, and working out, too, which I’ve started up again. I’m listening to Harry Potter right now, and that uses the Music app, so I just set my max volume to a non-eardrum-shattering level.  But I’m on book 5, and that means in a few weeks I’ll be back to podcasts. That app doesn’t have a max volume setting, so I don’t know what I’ll do. I might have to trade it in again, assuming Apple will even do that for a fourth-gen unit. They won’t let me update the iOS anymore, so I’m afraid I’ll be out of luck.

But hey, at least it’s spring, right? :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

P.S. I wrote this early in the week and scheduled it to post. On Thursday morning, my stepmother, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a couple of months ago, died. So as you read this, I’m on my way to Ohio and won’t be able to answer any comments. I say this only so you understand why you’re being ignored, not to incite a response. Please, no one feel obligated to post condolences…they are understood. :) DO feel free, however, to squee or lament technology and funky spring weather (or fall, if that’s where you are ;) ). Thanks, everyone!

4 COMMENTS | Categories,Natalie J. Damschroder | Tags

Pants Off Policy Now in Effect 1

First we had two weeks of unseasonably warm weather that completely thawed the ground. Now we’ve had three days of wet spring snow. The combination adds up to slurping around the barns and lots all day in foot deep mud. And by mud, I mean a particularly aromatic combination of cow manure, slush and our signature, slick-as-snot clay.

muck

In addition, we have been spending copious amounts of time shoving wobbly newborn calves around, trying to persuade them to hang out in the driest spots possible. This requires either slogging along bent at the waist pushing on their butt and developing a permanent ‘rancher’s hunch’, or bumping them forward with your thighs. Either method exposes you to their waste disposal region and baby calf poop is the bright yellow, nuclear-powered, sticky-as-tar version of manure. In other words, it reeks. Smear this on top of the usual muck and we’re darned lucky to get even a week out of a pair of chore pants between washings. And you do not want to be trapped in a warm, confined space with the outermost layer of your chore clothes.

This is why we drive around in the ranch pickup with the windows rolled down and the heater blasting. For anyone stopping by for a visit, we have also instituted a ‘shuck your pants at the door’ policy.

muddy pants

We generally prefer that you have long underwear on beneath said pants, but heck, we’re flexible, and always in need of entertainment.

~~~~~

TLRH quote 5

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1 COMMENT | Categories,Kari Lynn Dell, Uncategorized | Tags