The Unfollowing

I did an experiment. It might have been the single most important experiment I’ve ever done. This one feels less like a fad diet for my brain, and more like the start of significant change to my existence. Here’s how it went down. Continue reading

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The Morning After, and Dave Stamey

I almost wrote this entry into my handwritten journal, which I take such great pleasure in since I bought an el cheapo fountain pen off Amazon and some luxurious ink. For whatever reason, I felt like I wanted to share these thoughts with you today. They’re not profound or particularly interesting, but they’re in my head, and in a few minutes, they will be out in the world.

It’s a warm and fuzzy sort of morning. I’m still in my pyjamas, wearing slippers that a friend gifted me for my birthday, one of the Cowboy’s old shirts for warmth, and I’m tucked under a blanket in my favourite chair. Outside, it is raining, and the relief that comes with it is powerful. The summer has been uncharacteristically hot and dry this year, leaving our pastures bare and dusty and the fire risk utterly overwhelming. It is not just here in Washington. Continue reading

The Glamour of My Life Overwhelms Me

Henceforth, there will be no apologies or explanations for a gap in blogging. Who cares? Nobody. If you care, assume that I am busy working, sleeping, eating, and otherwise living, and you’re not missing anything.

I’m hiding in the house, which is relatively cool even though it is still stifling in here. Outside, the heat is draining. I attempted to suck it up and keep going, but after ten minutes under the baking glare, I had to hobble back to the shade, suck down another glass of iced tea, and admit that it’s just impossible to function.

My To Do list today is entirely unrealistic – unless I had got up at 4am and achieved most of the tasks during the cool of the morning. That would have been smart. Instead, I was deluded enough to think I could do manual chores like weeding the vegetable garden (seriously? I must have been drunk) and exercising two horses in 30+ degrees (celsius. I can’t do fahrenheit).

I ended up sucked into my computer. I trawled through the photos from Sort 4 the Cause from last weekend, and found just one acceptable image of myself and my horse (We got schooled, and I found a ton of holes in our dance moves). Then I watched youtube videos about how to crochet. I’m not sure why, except people keep tagging me in a post about crocheting an apron for collecting eggs, and I’ve never crocheted in my life. It sounds appealing.

Lately, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Slow Home Podcast, which changed my life last summer when they encouraged a screen-free bedroom experiment. Continue reading

A Late Night Post: Second Sight & my friend Sam

“You ever have that?” Cowboy asked, looking up from his spot on the couch. I hadn’t been paying attention, so I had to ask him to explain himself. “Where you dream about meeting somebody or something happening and then you meet them or it happens?”

“All the time,” I replied. “You know that.”

“Oh, that’s right,” he said, rolling his eyes at himself. “You have that Second Sight thing. And I really think that you do have that.” Continue reading

Still going!

Oh, look. I’m not dead after all. I felt a little close to it, as I battled some kind of cold that set in about two weeks ago and has only just moved on. It started as a sore throat, then moved into a phlegm river gushing out of my nose, and then mutated into my sinuses being blocked 80% of the time, and a good chesty cough. To be fair, I haven’t been ill like this in a long time, and the fact that I can now relax enough to be ill is really quite positive.

I’m back at home after a long stint away. I was with my family in the UK for about a month, flying straight out from Seattle after getting my diploma from school (woohoo, finally completed something!), and I spent almost the whole month dealing with preparations and executions of our second “wedding” – a blessing service and second reception for all of my friends and family in the UK. Suffice to say, the day was glorious, beautiful, fun, and everything we wanted it to be, and I look at the photographs of it all and wonder if we were really so lucky – or was it just a fabulous dream?

So, September has snuck in, and the weather is quietly beginning to turn. After the spate of wildfires that have hit Washington this summer with so much sunshine and so little rain, when the heavens finally opened over the last few days, it was a relief to everybody. Of course, it had to be accompanied by some high winds which have ripped down trees and knocked out the power across the county. Our power went out for about twelve hours on Saturday, which was when we realised we had no candles, no backup plan for cooking, and only a handful of bottled water – when your well and your cooker rely on electricity, and your power might be out for a few days, it’s best to be a little better prepared than that…

Walmart saved us, and we equipped ourselves with some essentials (my preferred essential being some UHT milk so I could at least still have some tea if the milk in the fridge went bad. Priorities, people). We now have a little propane camping stove that I can cook on, some candles, headlamps, an extra case of bottled water, and three cartons of UHT milk. There’ll be no shortage of tea in our next power outage!

We were lucky to have our power back over night, and other people around the county are still waiting for their power to be restored. Everybody is grateful for the work being done to put life back to normal.

Here on the homestead, I’m grappling with finding “normal”. In a fit of productivity, I began painting the living room the other day, but the prospect of moving all of the book shelves and furniture in order to get around the whole room is rather daunting, and now I’m floating about in painting limbo. I finally tidied up the spare room only to fill it with junk again. I had to tear apart most of the kitchen in order to deal with a fruit fly infestation, and have only just put it back together again. I’m trying to find a routine, but for some reason, it is just not happening. I’m consoling myself with the thought that balance will come eventually, just sometimes it takes quite a bit of swinging from one thing to another before everything comes to rest just so.

One day at a time. And if I can remember and find the rhythm again, one blog at a time.

On being not quite ready

I graduate (one hopes) next Thursday, and will be sent out into the world to go and be a fully fledged massage practitioner. I’m not quite ready to leave the comfort of the classroom, nor to leave my interesting and wonderful classmates, who have been my first real social group since I moved to Washington. It is great to have made so many new friends, but most of them live in and around Seattle and think that Bellingham is basically in Canada. I will need to make an extra effort to keep in touch with them all.

I am taking the State licensing exam tomorrow, which is the last real hurdle in my training, and I feel not quite ready for that too. Some of the anatomy classes that I will be relying on for my knowledge were taken quite some years ago, and I am hoping that my brain has filed the information away in some way that will allow me to dredge up the correct answer without too much angst.

Then we have a long weekend, which will include the America-fest that is the Fourth of July. Continue reading

When Big Moments Pass By

Some pretty big stuff is happening. Cowboy and I actually went out on Saturday night, as in some kind of date, I wore makeup and washed my hair and everything. We danced together, I ate greasy food and felt a bit sick, we went home and he was up for talking into the small hours and I really wanted to sleep off my grease nausea; it was romantic as heck.

We bought a barbecue, like grown up people. Admittedly, it came from Walmart, but it should see us through a few years.

I entered the last four weeks of school, which is rapidly approaching the last three weeks. Three weeks sounds like a long time until it’s flying by and I realise I need to pack my suitcase for England a week ahead of time, as I’ll be going straight from school to the airport. School has been tough to manage, but as we laughed our way through class today, I knew I will miss all of the wonderful people I have met and been lucky to spend time with over the last few months.

On Friday, I finally swung a leg over Mr T and rode him. Continue reading

An Audit

We spent several business management classes at school discussing how best to avoid a dreaded audit from the IRS (like the Inland Revenue) every year when we file our endless and absurd taxes that don’t even provide a national health service.

I’m sorry, I must have slipped on to my soapbox there. Let me hop down again.

An audit would mean having to find all of the documents that support what your taxes are saying. Receipts, invoices, reports, statements, pay slips, that scribbled note from somebody who promised they’d trade you a massage for a custom belt. It means somebody taking a good look at the picture you’ve painted of your life and making sure that you aren’t fibbing to everybody.

I’m sitting in Panera Bread (I have a problem, they put crack in the scones, I’m certain), about to open my text books and do my homework. This in itself is unusual – I am a die-hard last minute homework doer, and this homework isn’t due in for two whole days. I could do it tomorrow, but I’m oddly keen to get it out of the way today. Over the weekend, I finished my homework in the more traditional fashion: late on Sunday night. Except for I finished without rushing, with time to spare before I panicked about going to bed. This included the time it took to dick around with the printer and make it work, which was a solid forty minutes of going back and forth, sighing, and of course tutting. Continue reading

On climbing back on.

“Get straight back on!” my instructor would shrill, marching over to wherever I was picking myself up out of the dirt. “Up you get! Get back on!”

That’s the first rule that I remember learning about horses, apart from never using a mane comb on the tail. If you come off, get straight back on.

It’s decent enough advice, and intended to stop setbacks from sticking long enough to become issues and obstacles. See that crappy thing that just happened? You can get over it and move on and still have a great time, and that crappy thing becomes a great big nothing.

It’s been a strange time in life lately, and I fell off this blog. I fell off normal life. I fell into being somebody else for a little while, and realised it was no fun. Worst of all, I climbed off my horse. I climbed off, voluntarily, intentionally. Even though I landed on my feet like a regular dismount, I might as well have thrown myself face first into the dirt. My demons cackled with glee.

See these crappy things that happened? They’re huge and terrible and your life is over and you’ll never be happy again. You are a great big nothing.

It spiralled. I watched myself behave in a way that I hated. I listened to myself say things to Cowboy that were unfathomably horrible. I felt myself sliding like a poisoned body into a murky swamp, completely apathetic to stop it from happening.

It wasn’t quite what I wanted, given that I was making plans for my whole future at the time, and a murky swamp wasn’t what I really had in mind.

Shut up, the demons said. What you want doesn’t matter. You’ll never get it. You’re going to fail at everything you ever do, you’ll lose everything you’ve ever had, and you’ll never have anything again.

And then I finally saw the sunshine. I saw this Sunshine:

We played today. :)

I sat in the saddle in tears, about to climb off again (throw myself metaphorically face first in the metaphorical dirt). I had a violent meltdown. I was on the verge of quitting – quitting everything. I’d just go back to bed and never get up again.

Cowboy gripped my knee as I went to dismount, holding me still. He was unusually forceful. He almost shook me.

“Stay on the horse,” he said. I fought him feebly for a moment. He said it again, slower, more urgently. “Stay. On. The horse.”

“I can’t,” I protested, sobbing. “I’m just not in the right mood.” I’ll never be in the right mood again. Everything is worthless and useless and my life is already over.

“She doesn’t care,” he said. “Go ride.” He let go of us, and chased Sunshine off into the middle of the arena.

I sat there as she walked about, looking for a spot where she might be allowed to stop. I didn’t even pick up the reins. I watched her look back at me first with one brown eye, and then the other. She listened to me as I tried to catch my breath between the tears. She heaved a big sigh, and stepped onwards across the sand.

I finally came out of the haze. I emerged, squinting, from the toxic fog where the demons muttered at me, and I noticed the way she moved beneath me. I noticed her gentle, deliberate footfalls, and her patient breath. When we finally stopped, I felt her big heart pumping.

We had a big breakthrough that day. I say “we” did. I mean me. She has life all figured out already. I needed to hear it from her. She turned her head a little, looked up at me on her back. I like to think she was saying “Hey, human, what’s the big deal? I’ve got this.”

She became a safe place. That’s an amusing notion, given that just a few weeks earlier I had been frightened to be on her back. Now, I will climb on her fresh from the field, and we put the world to rights.

Except now I am back in England, thousands of miles from her, and looking into the fog once more. In searching for another safe place, I’m climbing back on to the blog. Let’s ride.