Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why My Office is in the Barn!

I'm feeling a bit peckish today. I've been having a bit of trouble sleeping lately, for many reasons-overtired, reading good book, mulling over good writing ideas, a dog who likes to sleep with his hind feet toward my face and frequently stretches, another dog who insists he must pinion my legs, too hot, too cold, my hip hurts if I'm on my right side, stiff neck on my left, not comfy on my back or get the idea. I'm just the princess and the pea restless lately. Plus I wake up at 5:30 AM waiting for the elderly Jack Russell to get up, which makes the mixed breed perk up and wait for me.

The bottom line is I decided to relax a bit and write at home. Yeah.

It goes something like this:

Push the kitten out of my skim chai latte (LOVE the Keurig milk frother!)

Yell at the dogs to get away from the kitten's crate-they love the litter and the food.

Shoo dogs out of office. Put up the gate and barricade the door.

Sigh when the Pomeranian starts whining. Let him in the office.

Yell at the ancient JRT when she knocks down the gate and tries to jump the barricade.

Go see what the other dogs are incessantly barking at.

Tell them to stop. They do. Walk away. Run back an yell at mixed breed who has returned to whoofing at the door. Look outside and assure myself that there is nothing there. Place hands over ears when all four dogs return to barking just because the mixed breed sees a bird in the lawn. Threaten all dogs with bodily harm if they don't stop. Stomp my feet to get their attention and tell them, "good dogs" when they look at me like I am possessed.

Go back to computer and type a few words. Sip what the kitten left of my skim chai latte. Pet kitten who has lovingly settled on my lap.

Get aggravated with JRT trying to force her way in. Move the kitten, who bites me to let me know he's annoyed at being moved. Lock the kitten's crate, move gate and unblock the door.

Type some more.

Grab kitten before he pees in a bucket of snake bedding (don't ask, I don't know why it's there either), unlock crate, shove kitten in box, lock crate.

Why are they barking now? Go look. Let them all outside to bark.

Hit the keyboard a few times.

Yell at the Brittany who is throwing himself at the door and barking to come back inside. After all, he's been out for a whole nano-second. (Yes, this is the dog who used to have an automatic doggy-door. It would open when he came near with his special collar. He burnt the motor out. Enough said.)

Let dogs three dogs in, let kitten out and relock crate.

Sit at the computer again.

Go let the fourth dog in, who couldn't be bothered to come to the door with the rest, he waits until I get comfortable and back into some semblance of a writing rhythm to emit a high pitched bark every three seconds, just in case I wasn't aware that he is ready to come in NOW.

Type until the JRT starts scratching at the crate's tray in an attempt to dump the kitten's food dish.

Push her away. Ok and yell a bit, then feel guilty for pushing and yelling because she is so ancient.

Type some more.

Break up dog fight between the old JRT and the mix (Maltese/Shih Tsu/JRT-what were they thinking? And what was my mother thinking when she adopted him...sigh) as they argue over who has the right to dig their way into the kitten crate for food. (And while I appreciate their kindness in wanting to clean the litter box, I must gracefully decline said offer.)

Clean litter box and remove food dish to a high shelf.


Yell at kitten who is climbing the shelf to get to his food.

Shoo dogs out of the room, yell at the JRT for trying to bite my foot, tell the Brittany to go lie down, break up another bicker session between the JRT who has snuck back to the kitten crate and the mix who now thinks it all belongs to him. Physically pick both up and throw them out of the room. Close the door and settle down to...

What did I want to write again? Oh. Yeah. Ok. Sip my cold skim chai latte. Revel in a moment of peace and quiet. The kitten comes back and snuggles on my lap again.


Until the Pomeranian starts whining and scratching at the door...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rainy Days

Here it is the end of another schizophrenic weather day and I have yet to accomplish anything. It was raining and breezy, then sunny and humid. I took my backpack, weighed down by my computer and all the possibility it contains, to my office. My intention was to finish barn chores and write until lunch, take a break and head back to the office.

I cleaned the barn, emptied the manure cart, dumped buckets, and swept up. There was a phone conversation with my sister. And I did watch the filly run like a possessed maniac around the paddock, but I was ready to work.

Unfortunately, I looked at the time when I finished the manual labor portion of my day. It was almost lunchtime. My stomach rumbled to remind me of my scant piece of toast breakfast. Ok. Food is good. I’ll go eat and come back with the kitten for company.

The best laid plans…

Lunch consisted of yogurt, strawberries and granola. I ate that while I finished my current pleasure reading. There was a knock on the door. A neighbor dropped off some invitations for some of the local horse-related shindigs-big foxhunting area and I wanted to get to know some more of the riding community. We chatted for a bit and I went back inside to finish up.

The phone rang. I caught up on the latest happenings at the farm in Vermont. The heater needs fixing. Of course.

Hung up the phone, yelled at the dog, who was barking at the sheep(actually the owner of the sheep and his dog. It was still annoying.)

Phone rings again. This time it was my friend, Anne, who keeps her “pony” (15 hand, heavily built Halflinger) in the sheep field.

“Did you eat lunch yet?”


“Oh. I’m starving and I wondered if you wanted to meet, grab a bite to eat and then go with me to return things to Tractor Supply…”

“I could go with you…”

I had a cup of soup and a Diet Coke. And I wonder why my clothes keep getting tighter.

We ran errands, groomed her “pony,” and I came back inside. How could it be 3:00 already?

And I wonder why I am not published yet. I can only laugh at myself. I know there are days like these and I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that I am learning to accept that. Just yesterday, I was writing at a rate of about 500 words an hour. I surpassed my 10,000 word mark (last count was 12, 094). Progress.

So when I break 300 pounds and 5000 words a day, I can call that success!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


There are all types of balance.

I just came from yoga class, so I am thinking of the literal practice of balance. Tree pose. I'm getting better. I can actually mimic a good tree. Until my yoga teacher cocks his head, in that way he has, and asks me to try to take the snake out of my tree.


Then I catch a glance in the mirror. I may have imitated a tree, but it was not a very straight one-no mighty oak for me. Which made me think that I used to live at a farm where they described that kind of tree as a "craggle tree." I am a craggly tree.

I was told that recognizing my lack of linear alignment was part of the journey. Still working on it.

Then there is balancing all the things that demand my attention, namely, five cats, four dogs, and four horses. It's all about the routine. I am trying to allow myself time to write. But mainly these days, a lot of my time is spent trying to resist the lure of my iPhone 4 birthday present. I was happy with my old iPhone. I thought it was pretty neat. This new toy? A whole new level of mind crack.

Some "good" friends, (helpful, productive friends) suggested a few new apps. Angry Birds, Words with Friends, and then there is the reemergence of Snood on the desktop...

Plus there is mowing to be done, a garden to begin to put to bed, the patio furniture that still languishes in the garage, waiting to be brought back to the light of day. Piles of stuff, closets, and cabinets await organization.

And then there is making sure I have time to ride on those days when Mother Nature cooperates. My options are limited these days; the streams are still running high and quick. I have taken advantage of these limited opportunites to work a bit in the ring, trying out my other birthday present, a new bit for Tucker. What a miracle that is.

(I also got a gift certificate to a tack shop, along with a g-string that says "Barn Diva" on the front. My friend Anne has such a sense of humor. I think she meant to give those to Ramzi. he's the Barn Diva. I'm the "Tack Whore.")

But we are talking about balance.

Yesterday's ride was miraculous. It was magic. Tucker was forward, light in the hand, supple, and actually chewed the bit (that's a good thing). Walk, trot, canter, jump. It was like buttah.

Today's ride was a challenge. Tucker was trying to keep up with Velvet as she power-walked down the road. She and Anne were in full Morgan-on-a-mission mode down the trail. (The old nag. Sure) Tucker felt like he was saying "WTH? Really? I am NOT walking that fast. I CAN'T walk that fast. Please? I'm just going to trot. What? Putting my head in the air and inverting my neck is a bad thing?" He was good, but it wasn't buttah.

You can't have magic everyday. It has to be balanced by the mundane. It teaches humility. Just like Angry Birds and being an English Major/writer and getting your butt kicked in Words with Friends, while trying to take care of daily business. Throw in a craggly tree and I'm good to go.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No Real Point.

Let see. Do I go on about Vermont? Mention the piles of silt that have created beach-front properties in a land-locked state or the challenges of putting up a bannister, or do I wax poetic about holes in the roads; how you really can't get there from here? How about being able to catch up with at least some friends? It was nice.

Or I can write about writing or my jones for riding? I am such a whimp when it comes to trotting down the road in the rain. How about Gil's adventure with hives? It's very dramatic when a large animal throws himself down to itch frantically. It required quite a few injectables to get it under control. Then, because he rolls over so well (quite a feat for an equine) he kept getting stuck. Again dramatic and LOUD!

How about our fly infestation? Not fun when you have a touch screen computer. Who knew that a fly can open and close programs and move all the icons on your desktop?

Then there is the kitten, who now insists that he needs some of my breakfast toast, well, really he just wants some of whatever I have...but he's really cute about it. I took him to the barn office the other day. I put him in his little travelling bag, got in the truck, Putter jumped in and away we went. He was out and about before we were out of the driveway. He sat on my lap happily. Guess he told me.

And now there is water. Lots of water. The sump pump is going 24/7. And for that, I am extremely grateful. The last time there was half this much ground water, combined with a power outage, the basement filled with a foot of water. I can still see my oldest cat floating around on top of a trunk, yowling. The pump is now tied properly into the generator. And the basement is damp, but has not turned into an indoor wading pool. No floating kitties (or bouyant litter boxes-ick).

So today, when the rain abated for a time and, gasp, the sun came out. I tacked up my freshly bathed horse and headed out. The road was the only option. Down and back, with Tucker watching the rivers that ran down the edges. (I did convince him to trot through one- future eventer!) Even though he hadn't been exercised for almost a week, he was beautifully behaved. We came to a long incline, I gave him his head- permission to go as fast as he pleased. Keep in mind, he had won a race back in the day. He cantered. Then went a little faster. I was so happy to be out, exhilirated with the prospect of an adrenaline pumping gallop, anticipating the release of all his pent up energy. I leaned forward, anticipating a burst of blazing...oh...okay, you want to trot.

He did win a race back in the day.