Moving.

Did you know we moved? Well we did. We bought a house and moved down the street. Same town. Same street. Just down the hill. It wasn’t how I planned. At all.

First of all, the house buying process hit so many speed bumps and brick walls. We persevered and with some help; we finally defeated all those road blocks and got into a complete mess of a house with good bones.

In my dream brain I had this fantasy on how moving was suppose to go. We had a good portion boxed so I had this idea; we could move some in the garage and then when we went to move the rest would be so easy. I had this slow move, organized process all set in my mind. I wasn’t worried. It was going to be fine. I should know me better by now. That’s now how any of it and none of it would have got done if it wasn’t for a horse trailer (that’s country for u-haul), my family and lots of deep breaths.

What happened was 3 days of frantic packing and moving. Moving boxes from house to horse trailer and repeating the process until exhaustion. You never know how much you have until you have to pack it up and put into boxes. I won’t be able to find most of my things until next year. Our garage is smaller so now it looks like an episode of hoarders. I want to call the women from The Home Edit and have them come in with containers and rainbow my whole space. I do have the next best thing, my sister. She doesn’t get paid and she has to deal with my shit ass attitude; but she is the organizing queen. She will also toss without remorse and tell me that I have too much shit and I need to get rid of some of it. Obviously or I wouldn’t be in this disaster where I can’t find my shampoo!

I have also been told they are never moving me again.

The bright side is I get to unpack. I am going to get to settle into this house and this life. I loathe change and crave stability. I understand why. My brain doesn’t do well in chaos or change. It panics and searches for any time in the past to give us some sort of grip on the situation; but it comes with the last few times we had to move and how much anxiety that caused. I have to breathe and remember I survived that and this is so much easier.

So my ADD brain starts to refocus on what we can do; which is unpack one box at a time and get side tracked by dirt on the floor. Unbox and remember that I have laundry in the washer. Unbox and look at all the wine glasses we now have on display on the shelf. Unbox and remember to be grateful and say thank you for this opportunity to grow and learn to adapt.

It’s all I can remember to do. In the midst of life; and I hope to have a lot left to live, is to remember it’s all apart of the journey. I will try to remind myself that I am not the organized person I would like to be and embrace the mess that I am.

Complaint.

I reached up and hit snooze on my watch. The annoying buzzing against my skin had gotten my attention without the beeping too. Grace, our lab, groaned and stretched. I mumbled something that sounded like go lay down, but she stuck her nose under my arm any way. Jax, our chihuahua, began to dance on my back and lick my ear. Angus, our black cat, not known for subtlety jumped on the bed and meowed loudly. Jax growled at Angus, and in turn Grace became more excited at bumping me. It was my turn to groan. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to go through all the morning routine. I just wanted to stay in bed. I rolled out of bed and headed to bathroom. I growled at the animals. I frowned at my refection.

I could lay in bed and complain. I could lay there and talk myself out of letting out the dog, feeding the dogs, feeding the cats and working out. But I brush my teeth and start my day. Grace dances at the door and Jax dances in the kitchen. One wants out and the other wants his morning banana. Then the cats. The all want something to eat before heading out to hunt. I let Grace in, feed her, let Grace out. Let the cats out. I sigh and stomp and repeat, “but I don’t wanna!”

It’s 5:30 am and I am the only one up with the pets. No one cares but them. No one is going to listen to me whine, but them. And they just want their food. I sigh and I scroll. I sigh and let Grace back out. Before I can talk myself out of a good mood; I take my butt into my room and I change into my work out clothes.

I have learned in my life that complaining gets me no where. It just delays the action. It delays the thing. Whatever the thing is will still be waiting for me. I will still have to do it. Now not only am I in a bad mood because of the complaining but now I am behind schedule. Mel Robbins (follow her on IG) taught me about the 5 second rule. She said to treat it like the space shuttle lift off and count down; when you get to one you have to do it. Whatever it is. Get out of bed, push play on the work out, clean out the dishwasher (which literally takes 3 minutes. Seriously.); whatever the thing is that has you saying, “but I don’t wanna.” Count down from 5 and then do it with a happy heart.

Did you know that complaining rewires the brain? The brain likes to make things easy on itself, so as you complain it simply splices the wires for the easiest route. So over time it’s way easier for you to think about the negative. The brain already built the route for it. Humans love to think a like, so the more we are around a negative voice the easiest it is for us to be negative too. Not to mention the stress. Every time I am around some one who just complains, I feel my stress level go up.

So as I walk out, set out my weights, turn my play list to my “work out jams” and push play on another “I’m gonna die” work out; I change my brain. I change my thoughts. I start thinking about all the things I am grateful for in this moment. Like I am so fortunate to be healthy and I know without a doubt that this work out is about to kick my ass; but I will be so much better after. My brain gets to burn off that negative energy. I get to not think for 30 minutes and I keep pushing myself; even when my brain wants to say quit. I just tell it to shut up and do 5 more minutes. On particular grouchy days, I repeat the “just 5 more minutes” until the end. I just lay on the floor at the end and smile. I smile because I know I just did something for myself. I just helped my brain into a good mood and now I can do hard things. I can smile at every one and I can try to put my RBF away for the day. I don’t make any promises, but on those days I say “be nice it’s not their fault you’re being a cranky bitch. ” That’s my pep talk and it seems to help.

The next time you want to complain re-wire your brain with gratitude. Think of just one thing to be grateful for in that minute and breath. It will all work out. Your brain loves the easy route, so teach it the fastest route to gratitude. So far it works for me. My complain list is way down. Not my drama for having to do it any way, just less complaining.

We can all be happy, people.

Coffee.

I took down the bag of coffee from our cupboard and poured them into the coffee grinder. I took a big inhale, as one does of fresh beans, but to my shock and dismay they smelled off. Like old, burnt coffee beans. I looked at the bag. French Roast. That may explain it, I thought. Just a bitter coffee bean. As I went through ritual of pouring in the water and turning the machine on I kept waiting for that delicious smell of coffee. It never came. Even fresh coffee smelled bitter and burnt. What the ……

I persisted. Other brands smelled the same burned and bitter.

I realized something after trying in vain to get my favorite brand of black coffee to smell amazing to me; Covid-19 had ruined my smeller. Not only that it ruined coffee for me. That once delicious smell that I would inhale and make me think of sunshine and better attitudes to come in the day was now lost. Gone.

Great. I kept thinking just great. Don’t worry. I am an over comer of obstacles. This is just one more thing for me to figure out and find a work around. I have been told I am pretty competitive and a little stubborn; so letting something like a virus defeat my connection to smell wasn’t going to happen.

See coffee and I had only been together for a little over 15 years. It was too short of a marriage to give up without a fight. We had a nice romance going. Coffee was there at 5 am when my 1 year old refused to stay in her crib and I realized that it was just going to be me to get up with her. She would sit in her high chair and have some milk; I would wipe the sleep from my eyes and watch brown liquid gold quietly fill up a glass pot. Only after the I poured my first cup would I look at her and ask what she wanted for breakfast. It was usually dealers choice, but I still liked to give her an option. Her only complaint was how slow the wait staff was being. Since that was me; she had to wait it out. Our clean up crew (Tiber the Lab and Rion the Rottweiler); however, were on it. They didn’t turn down tips in forms of pieces of food dropping from the sky either.
I would just stand with my hip against the counter and hold my warm cup of joe.

I quickly realized coffee was always there. It came in different forms but no less delicious. It was there to keep my eyelids pried open when heartbreak wanted me to sleep; it was also there after a night out of drinking and my head wouldn’t stop pounding. Just black please. Okay maybe two sugars and some cream. Or when I would sit on a comfy chair and laugh with my best friend.

Not too much though. Me and caffeine. We have an uneasy understanding. Too much and my heart rate gets a little crazy, I get a little hyper and I feel like a bumble bee (well what I imagine one feels like). I vibrate. I get lots done. I also have a slight anxiety attack along with my get up and go. It’s kinda like drinking whiskey. I am good with two. Four and I have creative ideas of what we should do next. They are rarely amazing ideas and always end up with a drive through looking for food.

I do miss the smell of coffee. I wish it would come back. I wish mint would taste right again as well. But then again, maybe there is a bright spot to all this. Maybe looking for healthier options is not such a bad thing. I chew a lot of gum, so I am sure my jaw appreciates the rest from the constant addiction of chewing. I have replaced black coffee (monk fruit and creamer) with sugar free vanilla lattes. I didn’t say I was giving up coffee. I just said I didn’t like the way it smelled; but lattes still smell and taste just as delicious. A 12 oz latte can last me most of the day and into the next; because that much caffeine is too too much for me. Some days I like to fly around like a bee and get so much more done.

I don’t think it’s the taste or smell of black coffee but what the routine meant to me. Slow steady mornings. A giggle from a little brown haired girl having a quiet breakfast with me. She’s now fifteen and learning to drive. She is just as independent now as she was then; and just as stubborn. She is learning to like a little coffee in her life as well. She always loves tea; but has dipped her toes into what coffee flavored drinks she likes too. I think mostly because she needs something to sip and something to drink to keep her eyelids open.

For now I will take my sugar free vanilla latte to go. It works with my hectic life pace of running late and being too chatty. It’s the stage of life I am in now. It warms me and keeps me going. Not too much. Some days I need a little more water. And some days I still drink it black, a little cream and two sugars while on the sofa waiting for Sunday Brunch. It’s just as good.

Manufactured.

I had an anxiety attack the other night. It was full blown meltdown and pacing. The cause. Disharmony, people pleasing and the biggest of all; lack of sleep. The stress of someone else’s opinion on my life caused me to lose sleep. The anxiety was a manufactured result of waking, sleeping, waking and crying and pacing. I finally turned on Good Luck Charlie and let that play in the back ground. My brain shut off and I was able to sleep.

I am not telling you my anxiety drama to be one of the cool kids. Anxiety is a part of life. I understand that it is our body’s response to fight or flight. It keeps us moving. I use to suffer from stress and anxiety a little more often. It would become a full body paralysis of shaking and indecision. Manufactured by someone’s need to control every aspect of my life and remind me of what I was doing wrong that caused them to react a certain way to me.

Manufactured.

I had come home from a Halloween Party. I had, admittedly had a little more to drink than I should have, it was at a friend’s house and I was having a good time. I thought we both were having a good time; until the way home. I could tell by the look on his face that he was getting less and less impressed with me by the mile. I remember being happy and bubbly. Or something like that. What happened when we walked through our front door was another matter entirely. We had a two dogs at the time; they gotten into the trash. He was not pleased. The yelling began and the dogs ran outside. What happened next I am not telling you to have you roll your eyes or think I am looking for sympathy. That shipped long sailed. I made my choices and I also lived through the consequences. The lab ran outside because he was being punished and being yelled at. It went on long enough that I had cleaned up the mess and taken the trash out. I went outside as the dog was being drug out of the dog house and I placed myself between the dog and the man who was hell bent on making this dog learn a lesson. I looked into his eyes and I told him that was enough and to please stop. What happened next happened so fast I can’t recall the exact chain of events. I was shoved out of the way and unto the ground where I was smacked with the end of belt on my legs. I laid there for a few minutes after he went inside and the dogs came to see me. They were both still panting and anxious after all the commotion. I remember hugging them and apologizing that I was too drunk to drive us any where. I eventually got up and let us all inside. I went into my very tiny bathroom to wash up. I closed the door and turned on the water. The door was flung open and he got a chair and sat it outside. I continued to find face wash to wash my face as he began his manufactured reasoning behind his violent outburst towards me. I don’t think the words I am so sorry ever came out of his mouth. What I did get was a run down of the things I had done wrong that caused him to be upset with me all night. I can’t tell you what he said, I had sobered up some but my brain had also shut out the tone of his voice. Anything he said to me after that door had flung open I didn’t hear. I am not sure how long I was made to sit on the floor of that bathroom without leaving. Did I try to leave? Probably not. By this point, I knew very well that his need to prove himself right was more important then any rebuttal I could make. I got the biggest floral arrangement I have ever seen the following day. I rolled my eyes and threw them out.

To this day I have a very visceral response to any time I try to leave a room during an argument if anyone tries to keep me in a room. Now I know my anxiety response. I can get my brain out of the immediate flight or fight mode and calm myself down. That has come with therapy, lots of personal development and lots of thought work. I also left the relationship that was no longer serving me in the best way. He isn’t a bad person; he just wasn’t the person for me. My empathic self could not stand up until we had broken up and I had a lot of coming to Jesus moments with myself and with my therapist.

So my 1 am waking, walking, pacing, crying anxiety attack made me remember all the times I couldn’t calm myself down. All the times I stood shaking uncontrollably when something small happened. It took me years to be able to watch a scary movie or watch a show with violence in it. But that’s part of healing. The work. I didn’t expect to get there over night and I didn’t. Some days I have a step back but my self talk is better at getting me out before I get to caught up on the manufactured hamster wheel of anxiety.

As anyone knows after you go through some trauma in your life; you have choices. You can either sit in it and pull others in it with you every chance you get. Or you can choose to do the work it takes to heal yourself and become a better person for you. After all, you can’t control someone else and their behavior. You can only control what you can do for you. For me that comes in the form of some times being too stoic or appearing unsympathetic. I am much better at telling you how I feel but I also still hold back; still make too much space for other people’s emotions. I am a work in progress but I also learned that not all love shows up as love. Some love shows up under the umbrella of control. It’s why I tell my daughter things like, “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with someone or if you think you love them; if you are unhappy or if you feel that you not being treated right and they refuse to work with you or blame you: get out. And don’t ever let anyone make you feel as though you are less then.”

My anxiety is less today. I started working out again after taking some time off to feel better after being ill. It makes dealing with life a lot better. I also got some sleep. That is the most important thing for your brain is good quality sleep. Drink your water, get at least 7 hours of sleep, get outside and move your body for at least 30 minutes a day.

Remember some people manufacture emotions.

verb manufacturedmanufacturing\ ˌman-​yə-​ˈfak-​chə-​riŋ  , -​ˈfak-​shriŋ , ˌma-​nə-​ \

transitive verb3: INVENTFABRICATEknown to manufacture evidence4: to produce as if by manufacturingCREATEwriters who manufacture stories for television

December.

Sigh.

December can suck it.

Once upon a time when I was a wee little lass; I use to look forward to the Jolly Fat Man. I loved the tree being put up and my mom always had themes. She still does. I didn’t catch that particular gene. As of this moment, we still don’t have a tree up in our house even with my constant chattering of “we need to get a tree” I really want a fake tree but my daughter insists a real tree is better. So no tree yet. I did get out the boxes but not as much as usual. Tis the season

December can suck it.

My grandpa decided to leave this Earthly Plane one December. He sat down to read the paper and just like that the Angels said “okay big guy. Time to come home.” That was a sad December. It was cold and we had Grandma put up a tree for sense of normal. It seemed sadder to see the big ol’ tree sit in the living room and no one seemed that excited about it. So all those Christmas pasts always come flooding into my memory bank this time of year. I always see him with a glass, kicked back in a chair with a black and white dog next to him. Probably giving sage advice all while the noise of the family went on around him.

This year has been full of ups and downs. Loss. Loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of what feels like our freedoms; but in this year of upside down time I have focused on hope. Cause even though December can suck it; it has been a year full of growth. We can’t go through something like this and not be changed. We can’t go through this and not grow. Those lessons that we have been learning are a good thing and will forever be our teacher in change and forward motion.

Tragic loss is a great teacher and a hard master. She comes in without warning and destroys everything in her path; and then when we least expect it she serves us the lessons of hope and growth we are meant to learn if the loss hadn’t happened. If the person we love the most was still around to make us laugh and watch us grow.

I never wanted the growth part of the hurt. God, that ache in my chest never went away. That pain that I couldn’t quite reach or make go away. I wanted the people that I lost back in my life and things to go back to whatever version of normal I had come to expect. My grandpa use to come to all my basketball games and after I was living on my own he would stop by and take me to get ice cream. Little things.

Loss makes a person fearful. It takes away that sense of innocence. All the sudden everything is wide open and scary. It can either stop of us from enjoying life that is still in front of us. The good and the bad. The beautiful lesson I learned is there is no safety net. It was always an illusion; so the best thing to do is do it afraid. Do it despite having that huge hole in your chest. Do it afraid.

As I have had growth thrust upon me I have learned to trust that God ( High power, spirit or energy whatever word you want to put in there); always waits for me to ask for help. I have learned to trust the process. Otherwise that incredible heavy foot of anxiety and out of control sets on my chest. I begin to spin and when I do that I realize I am trying to control too much and I am not asking for help. Prayer in my car or in the shower is a great stress reliever. It has also gotten me through many situations where I just had to do it afraid.

So even though December can suck it; I look forward to gifts, trees and family and creating memories. I am also looking forward to facing the next year braver than I was this year and pushing myself to do it afraid.

Begin.

I love getting up when it is still dark. I love that quiet early morning light. This time of year everything is quiet. There isn’t a bird making a sound and the ground is crunchy with frost. I sling my feet out of bed and search for my pink fuzzy slippers. They are around here some where. If I was organized or thought ahead, they would be right beside my bed. I am not. So I pad across the cold tile to the bathroom and see them sitting next to the sink. The dogs are stretching with excitement. They know the routine. Out the door to go to the bathroom they go. I rub my eyes and look around trying to remember why I am awake. I flick on the kitchen light, because well, it’s dark and the littlest dog of our tribe is jumping around. Jax gets a banana. Well part of one, if I give him too big of a piece he won’t take it. I let the other two in and they promptly sit. They each get a little banana too. It will do until they get fed in another hour.

Begin.

We are out of dog food this morning, so I take the defrosted stew meat and dump it in a pan to get a quick warm up. Normally I would feed it to them raw but it’s being mixed in to some other grains so I give up some garlic powder and turn it off. The pack looks at me expectantly. I shake my head no and tell them it needs to cool first. I don’t know why I explain everything to them, but I know they understand. Grace sighs and Sophie keeps sniffing the air.

I turn to fix my drink.

It’s not coffee this early. I need to wake up first. My daily habit to begin my day like I had every day for two years had came to a woah when I got sick, so I forget how this little bit of liquid gold helps me begin. This being my first week back I am taking an easy route. I get on my stationary bike and turn on TBS. While I was sick I would get up and hit the sofa. In case you weren’t aware there is more than just the news on at 5 am. There is either Every Body Loves Raymond or George Lopez reruns. So I turn it on and peddle. I increase my resistance during commercials and I tend to be peddle at a good easy speed during the show. I get bored easily and often times have to resort to Instagram to keep me going or I just want to dive off the bike and sit on the sofa. I am only using this week as a beginning. I needed a transition. It’s so easy to just keep sleeping in and not working on myself. So while I think about my next routine, I am allowing this little bit of exercise to help me begin.

After my show ends and I look at my watch to see that I did make it to the 30 minute mark; because I am a little bit competitive no matter what I try to say about myself. I also have found that my temper needs a run for about a mile or so before I am able to people. The more wore out I am the better I feel about the rest of my day. Growing up my parents always told us to get outside; turns out that’s not bad advice. Fresh air and horse hair make everything amazing. It’s cold and dark, so I am happy for my indoor work out

I make my way back to the kitchen to prepare the dog’s food and kick them outside to eat. They are excited as I am.

When I go back inside, I am not as excited. I notice that Sophie (the 9 month old Australian Cattle dog/border collie cross) showed her displeasure at not getting her way by promptly tearing into a succulent and spreading the dirt across my white-ish and blue rug. It would be great if she wasn’t such an asshole. That’s her barking at the door to be let back in. She has stopped jumping on the door to just an annoying bark to remind me that it’s cold and no one has thrown a ball for her yet. I ignore the barks. And remind myself she is just a baby and this too shall pass.

My dad should be here any minute. He has been picking up Grace and Sophie to take them on his morning route. I am not sure where they all go or what they get to see; but they are always excited to get to ride along.

Begin.

I clean up the mess and hit the shower. As much as I don’t want to, I know I need to begin the rest of my day. That includes being an adult. I turn on my podcast and turn on the water. I have started the routine of putting something good and worthwhile between my ears each morning. It fills me up and I know that I have developed a routine that helps me when the day goes to shit. No not every day does. There is GOOD in each and every day. My attitude determines it and so do my thoughts. I have found it’s better to just replace the shit thinking with the I AM thinking. I AM capable. I AM amazing. I AM deserving. I finish getting ready and some days those jeans just don’t fit like they use to, but you know what, I am grateful. I am blessed. I am healthy. Doesn’t mean I don’t still don’t have off days. They are just fewer between now. I just begin.

I know it takes a effort to begin and stop counting days to begin a habit. I know once you do something enough, it becomes routine. A good routine will take you so many places you didn’t think you could go.

This December as we wind down this crazy year; I am thinking of all the ways I began. All the ways I look forward to beginning. I just know I just have to say yes.

What are you looking forward to begin? Just begin.

47.

I was a chubby, blue eyed baby girl with lots of brown hair and dimples. One look at me in my baby picture and I knew I never missed a meal.

I still don’t. I like food. I am a foodie. During my 46 years on this mud ball we call Earth I have learned that eating all the things I like has consequences. Like ballooning up to almost 200 pounds. Like my pants not fitting. Like my boobs looking huge in my shirts.

For reference, I am a size 10 with an Eastern European body. Thank God thick thighs and big booty came into vogue! I would like to think I was some curvy milk maid in a former life; but in reality I probably was carrying a walking stick, an apple and singing loudly off tune across the plains.
I don’t walk across many plains these days, I have a horse. I still sing off key but I own it. I also work out to hold off the temper and the attitude.

I recently had my round with the Covid-19. I was in complete denial. I really thought I had a cold. My other half was not as convinced. I thought he just wanted to get it. The day we went in for testing is when he told me he couldn’t smell anything! I said you’ve got to be kidding I can still smell. After spraying half a can of Old Spice in the bathroom; turns out I couldn’t smell either. Up until then my symptoms had been a dry cough, my joints ached and I just generally didn’t feel well. Then the fatigue set in. I got wore out just taking a shower. I took 3 hour naps and read four books in the span of 10 days. That to me is an ideal way to spend any down time! My smell isn’t quit back and neither are my taste buds;which makes drinking wine a fun game. My body is still fighting off the effects; but I am happy to say I feel so much better now than I did two weeks ago.

This birthday I haven’t had my usual burst of “this is what my goal is for the next year!” I’m working on my biggest, scariest goal right now. I am working on more than just a blog. I am working on a book. There I said it out loud. I started a story 5 years ago and life got in the way of my creation and my muse left. The idea floated out and back. It still comes back to me so I know I need to finish it. I have written some short stories. I have started other stories; but the middle and the finish is where I get stuck and scared. So part of this crazy year, I have decided that I am going to finish my goal. I started this blog. I know I can finish the story.

I am sure I will come up with my next best idea of developing a goal to work towards. 2020 has been a crap shoot at best. I am now enjoying things like getting up before 6 am so I can enjoy the quiet part of the day and watching re-runs of shows on TBS because I won’t watch the news that early. Side note: Is watching the news something we just age into? Because it’s weird. No one needs that much negative bullshit. I would say I would stay off social media; but I have way too much keeping up with friends and at the same pissing people off with my opinion. I do know I want to plan for trips because even though I am home body, I have had enough. It’s time to explore the world.

If I could just say a couple of things and then I will wrap up this birthday letter. Be yourself wholly. The path to being yourself is trial and error, but do a shit ton of work on yourself. Keep growing, listen to all the personal development you can get your hands on and that speaks to you, and surround yourself with people who want to see you win! I see people struggling with who they are and why they are “unlovable.” That simply isn’t true. You are just surrounding yourself with negative people and negative self talk. Get into therapy but you have to do the work. This comes from my heart and knowing how much fucking work it took me to get here.

As I tell my daughter daily, since she was 5 years old; Be kind, but take no shit.

I really can’t wait to see what this next trip around the sun brings. I look forward to it and I never ever forget how blessed I am to simply be here.

Cheers to the next year. Tonight I will eat German Chocolate Cake because it’s my favorite.

Cows.

My fingers were frozen. It was 24 degrees and I was gripping a flag to help usher cows down the alley. It was cold for the middle of October. It should have snowed, it would have made me feel better.

There we were sending our cows down the alley at 7 am to our vet to let us know who was having more babies and who was not ( or who got with the neighbors bull).

I danced in place and felt better about life when I was moving.

The temperature didn’t rise and by noon we were all frozen and ready to call it a day. We trailed them to the pasture and dumped them off.

Dad on Blueberry

Ranch life is not glamorous and being women in a man’s world sets it’s own sets of issues.

My sister and I have been our dad’s hired hands our whole lives. We have been on the back of horse and in the middle of a pasture most of our lives. Funny enough our dad still will pair us up and send us off together; and still repeats directions every time. No we don’t go up every goat trail he does, which is why a man in his 60s still gets pissed at us and still says things like “ don’t worry about your horse, he can do it.” Which is true; but even some days my Steady Eddie Nuisance stops and asks me if I’m serious.

However, we learned to sort cows and we learned to look for a calf drooping. We also learned to shut a gate and open it in the same yell.

I am still out of practice every time we ride because I’m not out in it every day. I also don’t know every cow because I’m not looking at them every day. That comes from having to have a full time day job to supplement my full time cow hobby.

There’s a lot to be said about a beautiful day of riding. That’s easy. When the sun is shining and the wind is at your back. You get to look around at God’s Country and think about how blessed your life is to be on a back of a horse.

Women in agriculture is on the rise. There are more women taking ownership of the land and becoming stewards for the brand. Women have always taken an active part in the leadership and running of the land; whether they have been recognized or not. If I stop to think about all the times my Great Grandma had re-arrange her day according to when her husband would take coffee breaks or need a meal out in the field; it blows my mind. And she kept a house so clean you could eat off the floor. My mom has often been doing one thing and had to drop it to go help my dad either move a tractor, bring him a vehicle, take him lunch or be the gate opener.

This time of the year is when our year officially starts over. Our calves have been shipped and we have gone through our cattle to see who needs to go, so we can replace. My sister and I are learning as we go and our wild bunch of 3 year olds didn’t do too badly this year; so we are pensively hopeful they will do just as well this coming year. We will pay our bills, pay for grass and pay for hay.

T on Little Sis with Sophie

And as I watch the snow fly today I realize this winter won’t be easy and there will be a lot of cold days. A lot day of spinning out of a frozen cow poop. More days of remembering to bring cake ( cow feed) for our favorites like 809, Biscuit and white tag. Cows are a curious sort and most of the time will sniff my neck while I cut the twine on a round bale. They also know when it’s my dad feeding them or when it’s the girls. They become impatient and demanding. We are slower. We tell this to them every year; but on those really nice days it’s nice to just turn off the pick up and sit with them for a minute.

So when you buy that delicious steak and cook it to perfection (just not well done!); remember there are hard working men and women who don’t get a day off, who worry about their animals daily, who spend a great deal away from their families, and who do their very best to feed America.

https://www.usda.gov/our-agency/initiatives/women-agriculture

For even more information please visit Sustainabledish.com

Distracted.

I watched the dogs bound across the yard after the ball. SoSo hates coming in last. Grace isn’t as speedy as she once was; but her competitive edge is still there and she cheats a little. Grace stands in the middle of the yard and waits for the throw, while Soso sits in front of me. She’s the puppy so her manners need to be ingrained now before at age 7 I let her slack. I release the ball and watch SoSo fly to were her keen eye sight watched it go. She didn’t count on bounce and roll; Grace uses that to her advantage and snags the ball. I can see the look on SoSo’s face. She looks at me to Grace in disbelief before spotting a cat laying in the sun and trots over to see her. Grace meanwhile takes her victory lap around me wagging her tail.

SoSo’s distraction is easy enough to explain. She’s a puppy. A toddler really and everything is new and exciting. She hates to be by herself but loves to be outside. She’s easily distracted by the newest shiniest toy.

Me. I start thinking about this blog a week in advance. I start thinking about what is on my brain and some days I almost have a glimpse of an idea before it flits away. I know I need to spend more time writing; if it’s really my passion or hobby. I need to carve out and devote time to the ideas in my mind. I also need to finish at least two projects I have started. But then….

I open my phone with the purpose of catching an idea and entering it before it fades away when my fingers automatically find that little square and I push open. I am scrolling and scrolling. I scan a snippet of information or see a friend’s post where the rant is on and heated. Some days I give into the temptation to add my voice to the fray; and when the name calling starts and the self righteous indignation starts I am out.

It’s all a distraction. No one is getting their mind changed because I voiced my opinion on a subject. I have been “unfriended” and I have “unfriended.” I don’t check my numbers because really who cares. In the year of fake news; none of it matters.

It’s all a distraction.

I get caught up by matters that don’t matter. I waste time getting mad over petty things I see on tv/social media when I could be reading. I could be writing. I could be writing this blog and another so that I don’t put off the weekly panic of not knowing what to write. Or talking myself out of it because who is really listening anyway.

Then I remember that I didn’t start out writing as a 12 year old girl because I was doing it please anyone. I was doing it because the voices in my head were characters begging to get out. They had stories and some of them were short. To this day, I can write out a quick short story about someone because that muse was so loud it had to be let out. My distraction comes in when I get into the middle of the story and I have to figure out how to get out, so I stop writing and end of scribbling notes on paper about where I should be going with the story.

I am distracted.

So while you are arguing with your friends about who is right and who is better; remember why you are friends in the first place. If we didn’t have differences as people; it would boring. I don’t want to be friends with someone who is exactly like me. I need balance. So do you.

We don’t need more distractions. We need to remember we are all humans having a human experience. Some days, like with Sophie, we need to be guided back to the truest part of our soul and remember at the end of the day sunshine, the wind blowing and a good game of fetch is the best distraction out there.

Sleep.

Some nights are great. I get my routine done and into bed by my pre-set bedtime. Other nights, like tonight, I decide it would be a good idea to try to have a conversation with my very hormonal teenage daughter.

I’m pretty certain I could write a book on How to Fuck up your child 101. I was told however, that I should not give myself that much credit.

I am not the best at giving loving, giving, heart felt advice. As my Popi once said, “if you looking for sympathy, try the dictionary between shit and syphylus.” My emotions tend to hover between stoic silence, anger crying and delirium.

I wasn’t the most outgoing teenager either. I had maybe two friends and some how still got used and abused. I didn’t fit in and still really don’t most days. I’m older now so that ship has sailed whether I give a shit.

So here I am sitting on my teenage daughters bed giving her the worst pep talk of her life. No really, if this was a movie this would be the scene where she did something rebellious with her friends like steal a car or run over prom date. She sobbing. Of course she is. Once a month the female species loses their minds. Still doesn’t excuse my shit pep talk.

Maybe it’s from being an only child brought into the world by two people who never really got their shit together. We weren’t drug addicts or child abusers; so really in the scheme of things we did okay. I felt I was a single mom before and after the relationship.

I was paralyzed by anxiety. I had a lot shit to unpack from being in an unhealthy situation and how I got there. I didn’t get a full time job because I worried about being away from my daughter, so I worked two part time jobs. That makes sense right? Anxiety and being in an unhealthy relationship made my brain do weird things, like hesitation on making decisions. The funny part is I made it though 1 year of dental assisting school while my personal life was a complete disaster. I mean going to school after having been tossed across a room 15 minutes before kind of mess. So I get her anxiety. I see it. It’s tangible and real.

I have worked on my personal shit through therapy, personal development, Pendleton whisky, and work outs. And I have a ton of empathy for that fear and out of control feeling; but, girl pull your shit together.

Easy for me to say. Years of coming to terms with my own bullshit and straight forward friends who saw me and set me straight every time I went into the ditch.

So I sat on her bed, watched her cry and I hugged her. I held her and I told her she was capable of so much more then this fear was allowing her to see. I held her and told her that she was so afraid of not being in control she was losing the magic of now.

I should probably take my own advice on some things.

And then at the end of this shit pep talk where I said everything wrong she wiped her nose and looked at me and said, “ I didn’t know I was letting my fear get in the way of every thing. I don’t think I have bad anxiety because I don’t feel it every day. So thank you.”

That’s how I know I don’t deserve a kid as wonderful as she is. Because she found a rainbow in the middle of a mess.

I think my sister was right when she said we would make better ‘80s moms: minus the tab and cigarettes.

The title of my book will be called How to drive it out of the ditch: a parents guide.

Don’t worry, she’s seeing a therapist.

*If you are having issues with dealings of life, please seek help. You’d be amazed at how many people need to hear your story.*