Friday, September 17, 2021

The Perils of Pauline

 As I was scrounging through my memory banks for a title, this old blog occurred to me - “The Perils of Divorced Pauline”, which was a valuable source of camaraderie/support for me Back In The Day. (Had to go look it up, archives still available online)

Perhaps I’m too melodramatic myself but I neglect my yoga & other self-care these days at my own peril -  I’ve been crippling around like the Tin Woman, but finally limped upstairs last night to do a couple of easy yin routines. I could feel my spine glowing in gratitude, don’t know how else to describe it? Now this AM I’m a little sore, the aftereffects of a couple of weeks not doing my normal bends n’ stretches, but it’s all good. Slept fairly decent also, a solid “B”, even though I’m still training Busy Izzy to be a good bedbug. Several times nightly she migrates up & down - perhaps nibbling on my ear, or taking a good hearty sniff of my rump when she squirms all the way down my body! Eventually she’ll figure out where her place is - it doesn’t have to be my R hip or shoulder, where dear Buddy-dog would snuggle, and then Clarice can return to HER customary position at my L shoulder (for now, she’s exasperated with the puppy & sleeps on the big dog bed on the floor).

But this weekend, Clarice will have me all to herself - I’m not taking the puppy camping until she is leash-trained. Got the trailer hitched & loaded - all I’ve got to do is load the chosen pony (haven’t decided which one, need to trot Scarlett out later!) after work today. It’s not ideal but at least I’ll get one full day back in the piney woods mañana.

I also got an update from Dr. M - her husband’s surgery is not scheduled till October 25, so there goes the rest of my ride season. (I almost titled this “Another whimper” as in “not with a bang but a whimper “)  I didn't get a chance to post - during the hullaballoo of SP shutting down, ride manager for Ozark Trail made an abrupt decision to cancel, so it's just as well anyway that I won't be fretting over that non-event. It will  be exceedingly difficult from here on out to get away for all but the closest rides until I have Dr. Major’s  help on Fridays  again and let’s face it - that may never happen, hinging on her own as well as her husband's health. All veterinary resources are stretched razor-thin (like my nerves, ha ha) these days, and it is next-to-impossible to find help. I put word out to the relief agency months ago in anticipation of Ozark Trail, but everyone is all booked up.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Perceptions (including a few photos ;-)

 I am SO proud of my son’s acute perceptions/insights as we enjoy our conversations these days… (now, granted, some of them are monologues, an unfortunate tendency to monopolize the conversation he inherited from his father 😳)

Zach had our neighbor Curt pegged from a fairly young age: not to put too fine a point on it, a functional alcoholic who likes the crazy ones! Curt and his first wife, an MD, bought the house next door shortly after Michael & I built our home in ‘92 - they had 2 young sons. We did not get a chance to know them very well before their marriage imploded - I do not know if it boiled down to infidelity on his or hers parts or what? What I DO know is that Cheryl was remarried within a fairly short time frame (less than 3 yrs)…

Cheryl reached out to me several times in an attempt to keep our fledgling friendship afloat, but I’m ashamed to admit that I rebuffed her offers - Curt was the one who kept their marital home so he would continue to be our closest neighbor, and to be completely honest I was afraid of catching those “divorce cooties” - Michael & I had already weathered our crisis but unbeknownst to me, my leopard never changed his spots and our marriage likewise disintegrated between ‘97 - ‘99.

(If you want to accuse me of dwelling in the past, that’s fine but I thought the backstory was important)

I suffered a brief period of unrequited attraction to Curt in that twilight period before I met Peran -- I realized it would never work out, as he has had a series of shall we say “eclectic” girlfriends over the years. . . The most recent being a Trumpian South African dental hygienist (yes, he met her while in the dentist’s chair). Zach loved picking apart her arguments (Curt is a yellow-dog Democrat) after the fact - he was smart enough NOT to engage the crazy! 

I had to run an errand with Zach yesterday to pick up another set of rodent cages; Peran texted me to say we were invited to Curt’s for drinks which turned out to be his eldest son’s belated wedding reception - they got married last year but of course could not hold any public celebration with Covid and all. I felt like a schmoe showing up empty-handed, but it was a fun occasion with impromptu golf lessons on Curt’s patio…

Van Gogh impressions 

Friday, September 10, 2021

I Dream of 19

 A nice thoughtful poem posted by a friend (one more reason not to delete FB this week):

Stop Being So Religious

By Hafiz


Do sad people have in


It seems

They have all built a shrine

To the past

And often go there

And do a strange wail and


What is the beginning of


It is to stop being

So religious



My title has nothing to do with the AGE of 19; it is the number of our fabulous Cowboys wide-out Amari Cooper. Zach & I have  been watching the “Hard Knocks” series which features Amari in Episode 3. There is an amazing slo-mo sequence which could be in a superhero movie: how can any mortal being move like that?!?

I have re-watched it several times, and the music helped me power through the bike ride I promised to do with my husband yesterday evening… Even though it’s only a short 5.5 mi loop, there’s a long pull going up into town which felt pretty grueling - all I could do was keeping spinning those pedals and breathe, baby, breathe! Yesterday was a busy so-called “day off” since Z & I had tickets to the immersive Van  Gogh exhibit which has come to Big D, a memorable audiovisual presentation which they set up in the old Masonic Temple downtown. Z was able to take a midday break, come down from school to meet me for lunch, tour the exhibit, and browse Farmer’s Market. He had to return for Physics lab, while I was then tasked with picking up a young male dragon Z had been negotiating to purchase…

Got home, quickly changed into cycling clothes as we were running out of daylight, did our loop, and then I could happily pile on the couch to watch what turned out to be a fantastic opening game against the Bucs! I had feared it was gonna be a beatdown, but my ‘Boys hung tough throughout the entire game, losing to a last-second field goal (29 - 31) - not to mention a questionable NON-call by the refs (as I tried to console Z, they wanted another Tom Brady last-minute march downfield to succeed, home field advantage & all that… Disappointing but “That’s Bidness”!

And once again, my photos are slow coming through cyberspace so I will have to add later, not to mention it’s time for me to suit up and get to work. I will check in with Dr M next week so I might get some inkling of how things are going for her & her husband down there in the City of Houston…

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


 Yesterday, my anxious brain once again awakened me around 4 AM… Tossed n’ turned for a bit, but finally gave up/got up shortly before 6 AM in a change of pace - trying to start my busy day off right with a short morning yoga routine, which helped me feel as if I might survive my day.

My ever-so-brief Labor Day getaway for the Unicorn Hunt ride didn’t go as planned, but it reminds me of that saying: “A Bad Day Fishing is Better than a Good Day Working” - poor Christina apparently drove in early Sun AM (manager sent 55 mile riders out at 5 AM, so that meant a 4 AM alarm for Val, not that I got much sleep in oppressive heat & humidity) carrying the vestiges of food poisoning; she had to pull less than 20 miles in when she started vomiting. I had an ominous feeling anyway and I had been right on the verge of pulling executive privilege: making Christina “just” ride the 25 with me. (One of these days I’ll learn to trust my instincts!) Perhaps I’d have finished my own event if I would’ve…

We 25 milers went out at 7:30 and even though Kizzy was a bit fidgety and jumpy and head-shaking (all understandable in her first big event), we were traveling along nicely until about 6 miles in when we were traversing a dirt road and came across an old wooden bridge - Kizzy wasn’t having it! We were all by our lonesome since she had wanted to slow down; the woman we’d been riding with had forged ahead. I noticed my seat felt precarious for quite a while and dismounted to see that the tang of my cinch had popped loose so no wonder the saddle felt unstable because it WAS! I avoided a nasty roll there…

But Kizzy wouldn’t follow when I tried to lead her across; a couple of 50 milers came along and tried to help me but after she cocked a heel at them, I waved them on - I wasn’t gonna get anybody hurt or kicked in this attempt. This time I trusted my instinct that she might break free and leave me stranded miles from camp; I decided discretion was the better part of valor so I turned around and backtracked back to camp. 12 miles was a fair enough showing in the oppressive heat and humidity! No doubt I had plenty of company because despite the beautiful piney woods atmosphere, these are tough trails. I haven’t heard what the final statistics were…

                                                         The evening before…
                                             Marching back in not-quite-ignominious defeat…

Just as well I came back a little early because life continues to swirl on - “Bonus Son” Alex decided to return from Nashville briefly to pick up winter clothes and have his say with his parents - all that got him was a lot of heartache as Michael ejected him from the property, going so far as to threaten to shoot him!
And Zach broke a faucet in his backyard Monday evening, so he was without water for almost 24 hours until I got the plumber out late yesterday afternoon to fix things…
In other news, I’m planning a family & friends birthday event for mom‘s 90th Sunday - we’re just gonna meet up and eat barbecue, but this reminds me to order the cake today.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Ken & Barbie Grow (not quite so) Old Together

 The best descriptor of my mood this morning would be “somber” even though I should be thrilled - in a few minutes I’ll finish my coffee, hitch up the trailer and make one more swing up into town to do a couple of things for my mom and then I can head down to horse camp this afternoon for a long-anticipated  Real Ride…

Scarlett’s leg is healing up nicely but not quite ready to go back to work yet - let’s hope Ms Kizzy has what it takes to knock out 25 miles while Christina will be whipping through the 50 on Baraq. 

I’m in a somber mood because I’ll be missing one of my riding buddy’s husband‘s funeral which is this afternoon; there’s just no way I could carve out the time for the funeral and get to horse camp at a decent hour. (Scheduling conflict: I also want to see my endurance riding buddies & have a little time to socialize with them!) If that makes me a selfish, terrible person, so be it. We did attend visitation last night and I’ve always heard the unofficial social contract is that going to either one satisfies your obligation as a non-family member?

I burned up my day off yesterday helping bring some order to my son’s disaster area of a house - I realize I’ve got to quit bailing him out like this but a lot of it was the wreckage and residue left over from Josef’s abrupt departure, so I felt I kinda owed him a helping hand. Fortunately Steve’s visitation was at a funeral home in Mesquite which was quite convenient for me.

Leslie is a few years older than me - likewise grew up in Oak Cliff, however she attended the public high school… another glimpse into alternate reality for Val although of course, she would’ve been a senior when I was a freshman so we wouldn’t have been close friends! But she and her husband (high school sweethearts) were known as “Ken & Barbie” and the nicknames certainly fit - Steve was a male model for a while before branching out into real estate and what Leslie called entrepreneurship.

Leslie became a nurse but from what I’ve seen and heard, Steve was a functioning alcoholic and this finally caught up with him - over this past year, he suffered a series of catastrophic health declines. His stated cause of death was heart failure at age 62. I sent a live plant (which Leslie thanked me profusely for) - it seems ever more practical than flowers which wither and die, and there were no stated requests for specific donations to a particular charity.

Thank days I seem to be pretty evenly balanced between “Surviving” and “Struggling” with a couple of troubling “In Crisis” points - but all I know how to do is keep moving forward. Perhaps things are balanced out by the “Thriving” points 😉😊

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Photos While U Wait

 Maybe my attorney is an insomniac like me - I received an email from him at 1:26 AM, requesting mine & my mother’s signatures on a form? Of course this might have just been at the whim of the servers, since the photos I was emailing to myself didn’t go through until late yesterday afternoon - go figure?

He hopes that Texas Dept of Transportation may actually get this deal done by next month - but I myself won’t believe it until we are actually seated across a table from one another, signing paperwork… I just want to KNOW what’s going to happen, beyond that vague foreboding that yes, they’re going to bulldoze my life’s work! Which absolutely SUCKS even if they’re writing me a big check for the privilege…

                                                       Carla aboard Kizzy

                                                        Puppy naps

Zach made a rare appearance at the farm - he helped with a little landscaping and then allowed a brief photo op, as he and P are almost identical in weight now! (Z is 213, P is 219)

Monday, August 30, 2021

Mule School & Other Errands

 Seems as if I turned around twice and my weekend was GONE! (I really miss my Fridays, but of course precious few would feel sorry for your 3-d workweek)

I dawdled around Thursday morning until it was already hot by the time I went to work Mr Bo - so even our short round-pen session had us both pouring sweat! (Of course, part of that was nerves on my part) But Bo did great - when “the time came”, I just swung a leg over him and he stood like a rock, just as he did when I “bellied over” bareback a few weeks ago. Now, unfortunately he had NO idea what I was asking of him in the simple knotted-rope halter - I’ll have to drop a snaffle bit in his mouth so we can communicate better during our next lessons…

Saturday morning I hauled to Weatherford (suburb on far W side of Ft Worth, usually a couple of hrs away with traffic & all**) to take Carla’s renegade in for “re-education” and soak in a lesson myself: “How Val needs to Quit Spoiling Her Animals and Toughen Up”. Kizzy was doing great by the end of our session and even though I did NOT have a chance to ride yesterday, I’m confident we can bring up the rear at next weekend’s ride. I hope those aren’t famous last words - one thing endurance SHOULD teach you to accept is the fact that things don’t always work out; there’s a fairly high failure rate especially at the longer distances. Too many folks (I know I’m generalizing to include a lot of our novice riders) seem to think that paying that entry fee guarantees you something?!? But Carla (who hasn’t been able to ride for almost 2 months after getting bucked off, breaking a few ribs & her L scapula) also rode Kizz for a few laps in the round pen, then her husband’s gelding when she got back home. Hopefully I’ll soon have my riding buddy back!

Meanwhile puppy Isabel is learning how to be a dog - like most babies, she doesn’t sleep through the night but she’s so stinking cute you can’t help but love her! She pinned me in bed yesterday to keep me down until the unprecedented time of 9:30…

So I’ll have to save my musings on the long-awaited estate sale at my mom’s and other shit that went down in my next thrilling entry - “Get a load of this!” Obviously I’ll also be adding photos later as my clumsy system of emailing them to myself seems to be working under considerable delay this morning? But I did save these old cartoons:


Definitely in my younger days, I'd climb aboard anything that'd let me get a toe in the stirrup...

(Needed mounting block since age 40, when darling Quig stretched my hip flexor for me ;-)