In Which Jane Remembers Why the Real Horse is Better than the Dream Horse

Before Hudson, I would go to Tiny when I was upset, and he would “hug” me. If I stood at his neck or shoulder, he’d try to bend his head and neck to wrap around my body.  Tiny’s affection saved me often. If I hung on  him, he’d drop his head over my shoulder and pull me toward his chest by pulling his head back.  He was amazingly smart and intuitive, and very willing to share his boundless affection. Horses are all different, but my experience has been they “get” sadness, and try to help. (I may also be living in Black Beauty World.)

I leave the hospital determined to see Hudson.  A hug from Hudson will make it better.

Helplessness is not a  useful feeling for me.  It leads me right into Train Wreck Thinking: helpless goes to hopeless, hopeless goes to powerless, powerless goes to (?) I’m a terrible human being.

Yeah.  I don’t get it either.

The weather mirrored my emotional state: driving rain, erratic shifts in the direction of the wind, with low visibility.

By the time I got to the barn, my train wreck was in full dramatic rending and crashing.

I step out of the car. It’s freezing cold, and the storm seems to have intensified.  I fill the boy’s grain buckets, and hike up to their shelter. It’s unexpectedly cozy inside.  It’s only two and a half sides, but it’s quiet, dry, and wind-free.

I dole out buckets, and check under-blanket temperatures.  They’re fine.  Toasty.

I walk up to a chewing Hudson, and plunk my forehead on his shoulder. I sob.

Hudson looks at me with mild alarm:  Okaaaaay. 

He doesn’t move, but his body  weight shifts away from me.

Oh. I’m bugging him.  Maybe it’s  the weird forehead plunk? Surely he’ll comfort me.

I do a more normal thing: I stand at his shoulder and gently lean my shoulder against his. I want to crawl under his blanket. I continue to sob, leaning on him.

Hudson scoops a huge amount of grain into his mouth, so he can chew and consider me without having to reach down again.

“It’s just hard”, I say. “I have all these feelings.”

His ears swivel. Grain dribbles out of his mouth, and he tries to catch it with his lips: the big wad of grain remains safe behind his clamped teeth. Talented horse.

“I don’t want to keep bugging my friends”, I say, “and I can’t stop crying, I thought talking to you would help.”

Hudson doesn’t have a clue what I’m saying. But I am convinced horses can read our emotional intention.  I wait for my “hug”.

Instead, this happens:

Continue reading “In Which Jane Remembers Why the Real Horse is Better than the Dream Horse”

All I Want For Christmas…

…are things that don’t exist, but should.

I have everything I need, which thankfully coinsides with everything I want. Anna Blake did an awesome blog post on Thanksgiving for Christmas here.

  • Donkey Lending Library.

(Self explanatory to anyone who has ever met a donkey.)

  • Opinionated, talking, inanimate objects.

I feel this would be the fastest and most consistent way of having humor on an hourly basis. I would crack up if my fridge firmly clamped it’s doors shut the second I plunked groceries on the counter, and said “You’re not gonna put THAT in me, are you?! Nu-Unh. NO WAY.”

Life would become highly entertaining. Of course, this would have to come with a “mute” option, so we don’t get carted off to the hospital.

  • Magical carrot bags: impossible to empty, always fresh. (We have to have Hudson’s wish in here too.)
  • Horses should poop gold nuggets. Win-win.
  • Weather. Clicker.
  • Google App for the brain: Download a Skill.
  • If Congress refuses to work out an issue reasonably, everyone, on both sides, should have to wear a huge pointy party hat, polka-dotted, with streamers and uncomfortable chin elastic until it’s settled.  On TV.
  • Option to Reverse Retire: retire when young, energetic and fit, work when older, stiff, and wise enough to keep mouth shut.
  • FaceTime and Skype connectivity to Heaven. (Hi Grandma!!  Miss you!  How’s Mr. Chips?”)
  • Fairy Dust. Who doesn’t want fairy dust? Sprinkle on barn politics, broken cars, sad critters, one’s own brain: the list could go on and on.
  • The Argument Remote: pause, think, rewind, do-over, database access, and of course: mute.
  • Zen Vision Goggles with Zap capability: instant perspective for self, ability to zap others in need.

What’s on  your “should exist, but doesn’t”, wish list?

Celebrating Annie

This is the story of the life of Annie.

It’s also the story of what happens when a chain of people care, and make the effort to do the right thing.

It started with Kimberly, who noticed a dirty, scrawny, sick looking cat.  Kimberly worked for a year to gain the cat’s trust, which was remarkably difficult. She put food out for her daily, and kept trying. Kimberly and her husband Steve were finally able to catch the cat and take her to the vet.

The vet examined her and did tests:

The cat was:

  • about 15 years old
  • deaf
  • had thyroid cancer
  • had infected teeth

Kimberly and Steve opted to have her treated, with the goal of finding a forever home. (Kimberly is allergic to cats, and they have large boisterous dogs.  Not a good option for an elderly, deaf, recovering cat.)

The sick kitty was at the vet for a very long time. Kimberly and Steve paid for all of her treatment, which had to have been a massive vet bill.

Daisy received a mass email asking if someone could take a 15-year-old cat for the remaining weeks of her life. Daisy replied, and asked what the situation was.  (Read: the cat had a permanent home as soon as Daisy hit the ‘send’ button.)

Daisy named her after ‘Little Orphan Annie’.  The vet speculated that Annie had been cared for earlier in life, and was  dumped when she began having health issues.  Annie weighed 7 pounds when she left the vet’s office, was extremely shy, and almost instantly bonded to Daisy.

The cat who had weeks to live thrived under Daisy’s care. Instead of the steady decline the vet sketched out (as the likely scenario), her coat bloomed, she gained weight, and gradually began looking younger and younger.

Annie couldn’t stand for Daisy to be out of her sight, and followed her from room to room, no matter how exhausted she was. She slept on the bed, and would reach out a paw in the middle of the night to touch Daisy’s face: are you still there?

Daisy must have felt like a miracle to Annie: a person who loved her again.

Annie passed away a few weeks ago. She’d lived more than a year longer than predicted. She died plump, happy, loved, and bonded, instead of abandoned, uncared for, fearful, and uncertain.

Kimberly and Steve gave her the gift of a chance. Daisy gave her the gift of time, love, and healing. (On many levels.)

For Annie:

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In Which We Still Have Musical Hold…and Fried Cheeto Sandwiches

Due to circumstances beyond our control, I need to be rebooted. My code is flawed, and hit a loop error into endless Worry.

My personal Psych Techs are off camping, eating fried Cheeto sandwiches and starting their own SWAT team.  You gotta love Psych Techs who feel a band and a SWAT team are perfectly complimentary occupations.

I haven’t posted for fear of infecting TLH with neuroses/anxiety. My PT’s are on vacation.  (And also because my keyboard is really sticky from all the frosting.)

Aside: I have invented the All-Frosting Cupcake.  That’s right, skip the cake, go right for the frosting!

We had a family health crisis, it’s over, looks like all is going to be well eventually. We are SO grateful. And it will be a very long road to recovery.

I am stuck in intensely busy, unfunny Overwhelming Land: which is okay if that is the sort of thing that makes your heart beat faster.

Micah and I are managing the command center-slash-travel agency/medical contingency planners.  His job is hug-giver, Master Zombie Slayer (Call of Duty, Black Ops, with TONS of Zombies), and personal driver now that he has his learner’s permit.

I need to be driven to the places where Frosting spawns.

Sigh. Every time I look at TLH, my mind goes blank (Fine. It goes blanker).

Here’s the new plan.  I will actually use the post a day prompts.  No idea if this will be lame, awesome, or profoundly disappointing.

We can always call in the Rock Band SWAT Team…

In Which We Accidentally Create Gopher Karma

Shaun stares at me.

I asked, as innocently as possible, “Have you ever ticked off a gopher?”

It’s 6:30 am, we’re both wearing 6 layers of clothing, and holding speckled tin cups of coffee, gazing out over the deserted campground.

She’s a city girl. “Ticked off” goes with “frisk for firearms” not gopher.

She squints. There’s a busy person in her brain trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

“How do you tick off a gopher?”, she asks, looking blankly at the picnic table.

I blow steam off my coffee cup. If I answer literally, she won’t understand what I’m suggesting.

“Skunk karma?”, I say.

Continue reading “In Which We Accidentally Create Gopher Karma”

Gopher Karma…

We were careful to pitch our tent far from the floury dust mounds. The humps are near the front of the site.  This puzzles me. I look around. Mounds at the front of all the sites.


Of course. Next to the picnic tables. Dinner.


My first clue that these are no ordinary gophers: no holes in the parking spots.

Shaun knocked on the window of the car the next morning, waking me up. She raised her eyebrows: Why are you in the car?

I groan, and wonder: Why am I in the car?

Continue reading “Gopher Karma…”

Becoming Dirt People: Disney Day Arrival

Shaun and I are staring at the ground. It’s green.  It smells like grass and old coffee grounds. Someone tossed handfuls of white daisies across the blades. Butter yellow dots stare back at us. Everywhere we look: lush carpet of grass, wildflowers, earth that springs back underfoot.

We have a problem.

Who could possibly pitch their tent on flowers?  It would be like yanking satin ribbons from the feet of singing bluebirds before they got to Cinderella.

I scan other empty campsites. The entire campground is carpeted with flowers, and pocked at random intervals with powdered mounds of flour, the color of milk chocolate. My brain immediately pictures a woman in a floaty dress, skipping through the daisy field, stopping to pour a little chocolate cake flour out of the box here and there.

In my world, cake flour is a reasonable soil amendment.

In the real world, dirt-flour poofs up in the air: blooming like a miniature atomic cloud.

Once I wrench my brain from the story it wants to tell me, I understand we will be camping in a gopher paradise.

Due to previous vacations in which we had to deal with my skunk karma, Shaun and I decide it’s okay to pitch the tent on the daisies, as long as we do not pitch on a dirt-flour mound.  We know the wrath of small furry creatures.

I put down the tarp, we assemble our housing, and secure it into earth that is ridiculously easy to stake.

It’s adorable to have daisies poking out around your tent

“What are we going to do about the dog?”, asks Shaun, as she crawls around after the leash, unwinding it from the picnic table leg, the tree, the tent stakes, the car tire, and almost catching Christmas before he winds it twice around a post.

We brought a screw in stake with 20 foot cable line, so the dog would have some freedom. This much trouble with an 8 foot leash?  Adding more line to tangle is not going to work.

I’ve never camped with my dog.

I have camped with horses.

I make a high line, securing it between two trees, hook the leash to a carabiner, and slap it on the cable: instant no-tears detangler. Shaun is awed by my ingenuity.  I don’t correct her.  It balances out the cake box lady that was skipping around in my head.

Once set up, we walked the 100 feet or so to this:

With the exception of an RV on jacks, the campground was deserted, and so was the beach.

Really? It’s going to be this easy? It’s kind of blindingly gorgeous. It’s warm.  No fog, no stiff wind.

I think: if this was a movie, this is when the ominous music would start.  

I smack  myself: I need to be saved from my imagination. What? The cake flour lady is going to get eaten by a shark zombie?

I learned this on our camping trip: do not even think a dubious question about ease.  Throwing a question out into the universe is like throwing a stick into the water in front of a golden retriever.

It is going to come back.



And determined to share.

Murphy Friday: Color Wheeling

The first thing I did, the night we returned from camping, was to go see Hudson. Literally. Okay, maybe I threw some grain at him. So he’d stand still long enough for me to “see” him in the late evening light. I wanted to hug him, like a pony crazed 10-year-old.

So I did.

Jane: [Huuuuuuuug]

Hudson: Jane. I can’t chew and swallow grain if you are choking me.  Glad to see you, etc. etc. But it’s my grain. Mind moving, please?

So I hugged his butt, laying my cheek on his cheek. I believe we were both happy. I’m pretty sure he didn’t miss me at all, and that’s good. It means he’s been happy and content, which I already knew, since Bella took care of him.

Life feels much more approachable when one’s cheek has been on a horse’s rump.

The second thing I did: see Murphy and Barbie. (I didn’t wait for my camera batteries to recharge.  So we have cell photos.) I expected he’d change in a week.  I knew he was scheduled to go out to pasture with mom on July 1.

I did not expect Super Foal:

His head is filling out, looking less foal-ish and more horsey. He will absolutely grow into the promise his ears made.

He’s huge. Everything has changed. His rear end hit a grow spurt.  Possibly encouraged by the freedom of running in pasture.  Major engine power.

We have color shifting.  It’s not the color he’ll end up, but it’s fun to hang on the wheel while it turns! The baby fuzz is wearing off on the tips of his ears, a spot on his neck, and his withers are definitely a shade darker.

Barbie was happy to see me. Until she realized I did not have grain. The absence of grain makes her cranky. Still, I had to hug her too, and she tolerated my hug.

She loves me. Happy sigh.

Murphy was curious to see me. I had the sinking feeling I fell off his radar. I hugged him, and hovered, stroking and touching him. He was mystified, but didn’t move, and seemed to enjoy the attention.

Murphy Monday, with real camera, here we come!

A Camping We Will Go…

Technically, it is possible for me to post from my cell phone. But I’m guessing anything more than a sentence or two would give me serious finger cramps. And some wild “auto correct” phrases. Add in: no idea if we will have a signal.

We’re going to be gone a few days.

FYI, in case TLH has a hidden burglar readership, we have an alarm, a house sitter, and we borrowed a pit bull that flunked out of dog training. Plus (sigh) we have nothing worth burgling. Don’t break the window, ask the neighbor for a key, and please do not put the milk carton back in the fridge after you drink out of it. You could dead head the roses while you’re here…?  (It would look less conspicuous, and they’d be pretty when we return!)

Hopefully we’ll have some silly stories to tell when we come back, that do not involve disaster calenders or office visits.  I’m seriously hoping my Skunk Karma has been resolved.

Please, to the skunks who read TLH, know I respect you, and would never, ever believe the ridiculous cartoon starring Pepe Le Pew represents you in any way…

(le giggle)

Property of Warner Brothers…

Things You Don’t Want to Hear in Your Doctor’s Office

B-52 noseart
Image via Wikipedia

Before Shaun went to the orthopedic surgeon, she had to go to our regular doctor.  Some sort of insurance rule. The day after the accident, the staff squeezed her in at the end of the day. Really nice.

The doctor came in, smiling.  She looks down at the chart, and then up at Shaun.

Thing #1:

“So what happened?”, she says.

We look at each other. Um. ER report? They faxed the x-rays and test results to her office while we were still in the ER.

Shaun dutifully explains.

“Ow”, says the doc, wrinkling her nose at the horror of it, and distractedly shaking her finger, “I bet that hurt.”

Shaun, nodded, asking, “Did you read the x-rays? They couldn’t tell if it was fractured”. She hopes this doctor might be able to give her an answer.

Thing #2:

“Ewwww”, the doc shudders, “X-rays? No, of course not. I can’t look at the pictures.  I’d be sick”, she laughs, stares at her finger, adds, “I read the report.”

We look at each other. A doctor who gets queasy over an x-ray of a dislocated thumb? How did she make it out of medical school?

Thing #3:

“Excuse me”, the doctor says, “this really hurts, I’m afraid I have to deal with it before I see you”.

We stare at her blankly.  Shaun can’t take the medication the ER prescribed for pain: it’s clear she’s allergic. She’s in a lot of pain, and covered in hives.

Thing #4:

“Paper cut”, Dr. says, holding up her finger, so we can see.  “This little sucker  hurts like the dickens.  I’ll be right back.”

She leaves.

We don’t speak. Did she just leave a patient in pain, with a hand the size of a lamb shank, because she had a paper cut?

Shaun can feel me winding up.  “Down, girl”, she says.  “I can’t deal with that and you going off”.


I imagine chasing the doctor with a sheet of printer paper, slicing edge forward. I clamp my mouth shut. Getting mouthy will lengthen the process of Shaun becoming pain free.

The doctor returns, wrapping a Bugs Bunny band-aid around her finger. “Sorry, I know it’s stupid, but these things really hurt!” She has a hard time wrenching her attention back to Shaun: her eyes keep straying to Bugs Bunny.

Shaun stares at her.

“Nothing like yours though, of course!”, she adds, hastily.

I back down. The woman has shame. I do an emotional reboot.

Shaun asks if there is something she can take that won’t give her  hives.  The doctor says, “yes, there is”. We leave with a new prescription.

In the car, we turn to each other while I crank the engine, and say simultaneously: paper cut?!? and start giggling. Shaun says, “Seriously? I can’t actually LOOK at your x-rays, because I’ll throw UP?”

(If there was a disaster calendar, it was hidden, or we were both too deeply in shock to notice.)