Horseback: In Search of Stillness

I recently took delivery of one of the most significant purchases I’ll ever make in my life. It’s up there with the house, the visa to come and be with Cowboy, and Sunshine in terms of important purchases. It was my saddle. Continue reading

Sunday Morning

It isn’t even 8am yet, and I have somehow found myself out of bed, dressed (albeit in my finest of mens’ trackies/sweatpants and a holey jumper), almost-upright on the sofa, having already been outside and across the yard to open the door for the chickens. Only one hen, Two-Eyed Jim, was smart enough to find her way outside while I was there, but the others may follow soon enough.


I’ve been leaving an alarm set for 7am this week, so that even on days when I don’t have a reason to get out of bed, I do at least get my sleep disrupted. Richard has been helping to motivate me in the mornings, and between the cat, the alarm and my habit of drinking too much tea before bed, I am slowly getting out of bed earlier and earlier. The dog is appreciative of his earlier breakfast time, and it has meant that I get to see some of the finer things about living in the Pacific Northwest in the autumn.

The dew is heavy, thick like a blanket on the grass every morning. The grass has been growing rapidly since we started getting rain again, and the whole lawn starts sparkling as the sun hits it. The infamous Fall colours are starting to appear in the trees along our west border, and yes, they are lovely.

At home, I have finally repainting the living room from the gloomy purple into a scrumptious golden sandy colour, and now my furniture doesn’t clash with the walls and I can sleep at night. Cowboy made me a beautiful shelf out of old cedar boards from the old barn, and it looks divine, except on the back where I experimented with homemade beeswax and oil wood finish and changed the colour…

I washed and rehung the curtains, except for the one pair that I ruined…

Now I just have the clear the dining table of junk, find a home for all of the junk¬†under the dining table, attack the mountain of clean laundry that just won’t put itself away, and perhaps get a grip on some kind of routine. The routine is close, beginning to form itself, and I expect it will be overturned by something unexpected just as I get settled in to it. My life just goes that way.

The double-edged text message – Cowboy Appreciation

*Caution: this post discusses my romantic life and might induce vomiting. Please stop reading now if this post might offend your senses. It pretty much offends mine.*

This week, I decided to make an extra effort to appreciate Cowboy and to let him know that he is in my thoughts. On Monday morning, before I left, I took an extra ten seconds to give him a kiss and tell him I loved him. He was still sleeping, so I could only kiss a vague corner of his beard. I don’t know if he remembers me doing this. He did mumble something about driving safe, which led me to assume he must have been conscious on some level.

Mostly, this appreciation for him started on Sunday night, when I was generally intolerable with panic and stress. Continue reading

10 (Financial) Thoughts on Emigrating

I just got stung by my own disorganisation. This happened in two ways.

The first way is that I forgot to pack clean underwear and clean socks for the week. I survived today using the trusty “inside-out” technique, but that isn’t entirely savoury these days, and isn’t going to get me through another two days. I will be off to the mall shortly to find some kind of bargain basement knicker supply.

The next way arrived while I sat in the mall car park waiting for a hail storm to pass. It came in the form of an email from the bank telling me that we had overdrawn on our account.

I said some expletive things, checked the account activity, and saw a recurring international payment to Amazon listed. I called Cowboy, certain that we were the victims of fraud and theft and other terrible things. As I expected, he had nothing to do with it. What dreadful person had poached my information and used it to buy an Amazon Prime subscription in another country, of all things?

Well… me, it turned out. I had attached my US debit card to my UK Amazon account some time ago, and hadn’t thought anything else of it, and my binge-watching of Nashville last summer had been supplied through an Amazon Prime subscription on my UK Amazon account. I hadn’t even imagined that it would renew by helping itself to my US dollars. Of course, the US bank slapped us with a fee or two for the privilege.

To Amazon’s credit, I could cancel my UK subscription service with just a click of a couple of links, and they will even be refunding the fee in full because I hadn’t used any of the services since paying. Thank you for not being bastards, Amazon, it is very much appreciated. The whole incident prompted me to make some thoughts about emigrating to the USA, and all the stupid stuff you don’t even think about in the throes of romance. Continue reading

New friend

I came across an unexpected companion just now. I was picking up rubbish outside, because I can’t help myself from caring, even though it isn’t my rubbish and we are moving in a week, and had ventured into a pasture that we haven’t used in a while. There is a piece of what looks like felt or a wool blanket piled in one corner. I went to pick it up when I noticed I was being watched.


Oh, hi friend! I didn’t see you there!


I felt confident about taking pictures because a) there are no poisonous snakes this side of the Cascades, and b) this snake was about as big as a pencil and didn’t seem very interested in starting a fight of any kind. He was mostly concerned with getting back into a nice sunny spot.

Google informs me that he is just a garter snake, so I have no cause for alarm. I like to stay positive about various critters that I’m encountering – my new snake friend will be helpful in keeping down the population of pests, and is likely to keep himself to himself (or herself… I didn’t ask). There are plenty of less desirable critters out there, who aren’t nearly so polite.


I took my pictures and left him to go about his snakey day. I also let him keep the blanket. It wasn’t really in anybody’s way anyway.

The longest 14 days

They begin tomorrow. Well, I suppose they have already begun. Tomorrow, the last day of March, which is an odd month. I had to agree with a classmate this morning as he contemplated March.

“It’s a weird month,” he said, stroking his magnificent beard. “I always find that life throws big changes at me in March. New job, or I get injured, or something massive happens. I’ll be glad when it’s out of the way.”

“Me too,” I said. Actually that’s a lie. I said, “Ahahaha, beware the ides of March.” But he didn’t seem to get it, so I had to drink my tea and be embarrassed for a second and hope that he forgot all about how socially awkward I can be.

April is the month of my birth, so I always like April. This year, April is also the month when I get to return to my homeland for a few days, where I intend to eat curry, Branston Pickle, and have a solid Sunday roast. Not all at once. That would be awful and strange.

I’m going to spill the beans, I just can’t hold back any longer.

April is the month when we will move in to our new home. This time it isn’t a friend’s RV. It isn’t a friend’s basement. It isn’t a tumbledown trailer house rental property. It’s a real house, sitting on a real foundation, nestled into eleven acres. In fourteen days, we will sign the papers to become the owners of this little snippet of splendour. Cowboy and I.¬†Homeowners. How thoroughly grown up.

We are unbelievably lucky to be in a position to do what we are about to do. Whatever higher powers are out there, they are paying us back for all of the shit that we’ve endured.

In that vein, there are two weeks of shit to endure, still. I am fully booked at school, rehashing a lot of the material that we covered at physio school in London, but it’s important for me to get a handle on the scope of practice that I’ll be operating in here. This weekend, Cowboy will be working down in Yelm, where he handles the cows for the Westside Team Penning Club at their monthly competitions. He has to borrow my horse so that his helper has something to ride. I get to stay at home and start packing.

Then the following weekend, he is planning to leave for Montana to fetch some things that will help us at our new home. It means I will probably only see him for a few hours this Thursday and Friday, and then not again until the Monday afternoon before the move. It could be worse. I can eat girl food as much as I like with him gone, which means no beef for a long time, and Sir Richard and I can snuggle without judgement.

“It’s not like we’re not going to see each other again for six months,” Cowboy said stoically. I mumbled something grumpy and moody in response. He’s right, we are over the worst of it. Our days of living long distance are behind us. It doesn’t stop me feeling thoroughly bummed about it.

I bought this t-shirt in Target today to cheer myself up.I made an impulse t-shirt purchase today. I couldn't help it.

I may need such motivational words to get me through the next fortnight. Incidentally, “fortnight” isn’t really a word here in America. I never thought I’d have to explain that one, but life is full of surprises that way.