What In The Blink?

Who blinked and made it half way through November???!!!

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I know you are out there somewhere. Just come forward and make yourself known.

How is it already half way through NOVEMBER?!

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Even more disturbing is that I have not written to you since LAST MONTH! Err, what? It feels as if it was just yesterday that we returned from our ride.

What have I even been doing, do you ask? A whole lot of the same…Living life. Taking time to breathe. That ADULTING thing (I am literally staring at a mountain of clean laundry over my computer screen that needs folding…I prefer to write to you! Hey, at least it is clean…). Wading through it while remembering to smile.

Sometimes life can just be hard, you know? Things seen and things unseen. Things talked about and things left unspoken. Sometimes, your capacity is just full and that is OK. AHA moment. Do you hear me!? That is OK. You are OK! This life has seasons, and as the globe goes around, so too does this life we live, giving you seasons. Seasons are for praying. Waiting. Listening. Learning. And changing before the season itself changes.

That is what I have been doing. That and, well, avoiding laundry clearly. I mean, I do not even know how I accumulate so much!

Work has been crazy. The farm has been the farm. A constant rolling list of work (which we are tackling!), but it is my blessing.

Friday evening at the farm, when it was full on winter blowing through these parts (which it is doing again! Half way through November and all the way into winter), I cooked some version of ratatouille. Really, I combined two recipes and put my own spin on it because Lord help me, I just can not follow a recipe. Go figure. It was pretty good though! I will make some changes next time and follow the recipe a little closer.

We watched the sun rise and set as we do.

Sunrises in the cold, especially after the first real fronts, are the prettiest. Merle thought so too as he sat just like a setter does, right in front of it. So, I did the only natural thing and took his picture.

Next to a big Texas sunrise (I sure do love those random pine trees), he does not look quite as big as he actually is.

I told you it was a pretty sunrise.

Speaking of Mr. Merle.

He has been living his best puppy life (wonderful, joyous, and glorious proof below!). Growing and raising all kinds of naughty trouble as he should (he is a puppy after all). Learning all the things. Growing into my wingpup. Boy howdy, I will tell you this puppy has the biggest and strongest personality. At present he is jealous of my computer and he is showing as well as telling me about it. I have deleted several of his ‘comments.’

I can almost not keep toys he goes through them so fast. I am not exaggerating when I tell you he has blown trough toys that Darcy had her whole life. He also tries to make everything a toy. His preferred wake up time is 4:45 AM, but he is generally kind enough to stay quiet until 5:15 AM. He leaves water and drool all over the house. He has a loud voice completely his own and so very different from Darcy. He is very much attached and watches my every move, but he seems to also have opinions on what we spend our time doing. Very loud opinions. He is also a fetch machine. Darcy never seemed to care for the simple game of fetch for lack of point. She was much too practical for that.

I will be honest. After all, that is what I do here. My heart is still more than aching over my Darcy girl. Still more than broken and almost completely open. Almost every day and truly as I type these words to you I get tears in my eyes with a storm brewing on my insides. Almost tormented by images, memories, and feelings. The whole thing is so wrapped in so many emotions, at times I do not even know where they come from or what they even are. Anger. Anguish. Sadness. Sorrow. Loneliness. Dolefulness. Despair. Despondent. May God help the person that ever tells me she was just a dog. Luckily for them, we have not crossed paths.

I told you. What joyous proof.

Given all of that I just told you, would you look at that face on that puppy. The joy. My heart almost can not handle it, and at the same time, it is the only thing that seems to help. Do you want to know what else I almost can not handle? Do you see the collar that Merle dog is wearing? That is one of Darcy’s old collars. My Merle man is good for my soul. My heart. Even if he tries my patience almost on the daily.

Do you want to know what is even better?

Merle with my horses. He thinks is is every bit one of them. (Let us not mention the bur filled tail on my Lito.)

 

It really is a sweet thing to witness. He seems to really have a special bond with Lito and Petunia. The above image is not a fleeing moment, but a scene that goes on for minutes multiple times!

While that love scene was unfolding, I turned into a crazy lady on the run with a pair of clippers and roached Cheetah’s mane again. I used to keep it that way when I first got her.

I was just staring at her mane shaking my head at the burs and the ragged, scraggly look of all the hairs as she stuck her head and neck through the fence. Before I knew it I was shaving her mane off. Boy we both felt good after. She looked and felt so clean and sharp! While I did not, covered in her mane!

Afterwards, we had a nice, relaxing ride. Another great thing for the heart and soul.

You can not see them, but there are at least six white tail does under the changing pecan trees in the distance. Do not miss the moon there though! Or the fiery sunset light!

So, whoever is blinking out there, just stop already! It is almost Thanksgiving! I have gifts to find and desserts to bake! Sunrises to catch and horses to ride! A Merle pup to watch grow!

Slow down and find the joy in the season you are in, even if it feels like you have been in one hard season after another.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Alright

You know what it is going to be? Alright. Everything is going to be alright.

I used to hate it when sister K would say that. Mostly because she would say, “you know what it is going to be?! Fine.” Something about that ‘fine’ word would just…stick…stick in my craw, you know? Still does as a matter of fact.

Maybe you don’t know what I mean, but I do. Trust me.

Do you need to hear that everything is going to be alright right now? I have been, so I am going to tell you. I know I am not alone and neither are you!

Let me tell you how and why I know everything is going to be alright.

I could go on and on with a multitude of reasons, but I will just limit it to the reasons my eyes have been shown as of late.

So today (it would be today, such a Monday thing to do), pretty much just now, I started some laundry. Do you feel the bad omen? One of my sets of bed sheets if you must know. Also if you must know, they have been sitting on my bedroom floor acting as a play mat for Merle covered in toys (his doing, not mine) waiting to be washed for a week (some good adulting right there, let me tell you), but let us not speak of that.

Back to the story. Said sheets are now in the machine. We, Merle and I, are going about our business about to go on a walk when I walk in to the kitchen (that is where my washing machines live) and I see suds streaming down the face of the washer onto the tile floor. I told you there was a bad omen. Apparently I got overzealous with the soap. Admittedly, this is not the first time this has happened.

I curse myself for not being more careful AGAIN and stomp off to the front door with Merle confused (after trying to lick up the aforementioned soap suds) and running after me. We left the sorted mess to be dealt with later. After our walk and after I run an extra rinse cycle.

Let us admire all that color and the way he sprawls out…and my pink socked toes…

I opened the door and it was hot and humid and so very muggy. I roll my eyes and just start walking. Eventually at some point down the street I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow. Not bold and distinct and in your face like you might think, but subtle and quiet and soft, just like its message (hardy har har). A, “hey, you, yes you. Open your eyes and see. Forget about all that other stuff and see all your blessings.”

I could not help but smile. Then I started to notice the after rain blue sky. The green green grass as a result of all these rains. The beauty in the aftermath.

I took a deep breath and knew it was all alright.

Every day I come home to this (as in that. That puppy up there with the toys) little orange and white puppy named Merle. This little Merle just explodes with unconditional love the second he sees me. A kind of love us mere humans can barely fathom or even hope to express. His tail wags so fast I can not even see it. He has his own smile and language. He tries so hard not to use his teeth on me because he knows he is not supposed to, even though he still does sometimes. I love this little pup and he makes my heart smile even if I still shed tears at the slight passing thought of my Darcy girl.

I stumbled upon these pictures of her the other day and just could not keep it together.

I can not.
I can not EVEN.

I got angry and down right mad to be honest. Then that little mighty Merle came and plopped himself in my lap and looked up at me with those dark, soulful eyes as deep as the biggest ocean while he pressed his body and head against me. Just like Darcy would sometimes do.

I knew in that moment Merle was meant to be mine at this time and that everything was going to be alright.

This cuddle bug.
This guy…

Even if I am not over Darcy (which. I do not think I ever really will fully be). Even if Merle is a slower learner. Even if he is worlds beyond smarter than me. Even if he is into and chewing everything. He is a puppy and that is what they do! And you want to know what? He loves my travel bag, just like Darcy. And he loves to sleep on my feet, just like Darcy.

He lets me know everything is going to be alright.

Two weekends ago Lito and I went to ride with friends. I woke up early to feed, load, and hit the road not too long after sunrise to beat the coming heat. We were greeted with a full moon and a clear, starry sky. There was a slight ‘chill’ in the air. I could see the fog not too long off down the valley and the way it reflected the moonlight. I could see the long moonlit shadows of the pecan and oak trees. I could smell the distant aroma of the previous night’s cooking fire.

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The sights and smells stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions. Excitement for the day to come with my boy. Joy and anticipation in the change of seasons. The end of summer and the beginning of fall. The excitement and promise of the future and things to come. The small feelings of that moment and how they reflect the bigger picture of life.

I knew in that moment, walking to the barn to feed with Merle at my feet that everything was going to be alright.

Then there is this guy. This guy right here. I am not sure I can even find the words to express the feelings and emotions and I do not even know what. The gratitude and the love. The pride.

Look at that face and proud stance. He marches right up into that trailer now. We were listening to a Ken Burns interview on his Country Music Docuseries before going out to ride with friends.

He is my love bug.

I have written some about our struggles over the last year and a half. The difficulties and set backs and trials. The ‘phase’ my Lito has been in. I just stopped writing about it after a while, just trying to give it time to play out and for him to come around. Giving him his time and not putting more energy into the situation. And because honestly, I did not understand it. I raised this horse. He was a consummate professional from the minute he was born until this whole thing started. It was not ‘supposed’ to be like this.

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It is hot and humid here. We all sweat.
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Pecan trees offer nice shade and the sun offers nice shadows and reflections.
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Any time is a good Lito nap time.

I do not think understanding it is the point. I think the point was and is to let it go (go figure that one there!). To just accept him where he is and the situation and let it be. Give him his time and work through it and allow our relationship to be better than it was before. And I really think it is. I am not going to say we are completely over it, but man oh man, we have come so far. And getting even better every day.

Just being in his presence lets me know everything is going to be alright.

That is a lot of words for tonight, especially after my prolonged silence. I suppose that is the natural way of things! There has been a lot going on and yet, at the same time, not much going on.

I know I have already said thank you, but I really do appreciate y’all. More than anything, I want each and every one of y’all to know everything is going to be alright. This I know.

Sometimes life just is not fair and we do not understand it. Stuff happens. Or does not happen. No matter what, everything is going to be alright. AHAmoment. Trust me. Take a very deep breath and hold it. Have faith. Pause. Have faith. Then slowly, very slowly let it out. Have faith. Being completely aware of every molecule and how your body reacts. Have faith. Where those molecules go. Have faith. Rinse and repeat.

Then see and count your blessings. Blessing number one is the fact that you are awake and breathing. Open your eyes and see and feel the rest. There are so many.

Everything is going to be alright.

Tell me, how do you know everything is going to be alright?

Walk in love, dear readers.

 

 

August 14th.

August 14th.

I was outside with Merle after I got home from work yesterday when I heard what I thought was distant thunder roll. I looked up at the sky to some gray clouds and then down at the patch of grass Merle was standing in. I thought to myself not for the first time how crunchy and dry it looked. How it felt under my bare feet. How it might feel on Merle’s puppy paws, without the wear and tear of running and dog life, all brand new and soft.

We really needed some rain. I might have said as much out loud as Merle took care of his business, likely looking at me with a cocked glance as only a dog can do.

It made me think on how wet this past fall and winter were. All the grass growth we got because of that. How things have seemed to change so much since then. I shut the door behind us as the first drop of blessed rain fell from the sky on the hot, concrete walk that leads to my front door. I sure hate when good rain is wasted on concrete.

I turned around to look out the window and watched as more drops came down. Then the sky opened up on that dry grass. A smile sneaked up on my face even if I did not want it to be there, and not just because the weather now seemingly matched my mood. It was a doozey of a day that smacked and whacked me around a bit in a lot of ways.


My girl would have been six years old today.

You know how you avoid certain days on the calendar, even though you believe that every day is just a day like any other? Yesterday was one of those days. I tried to avoid it like the plague. Try as I might to stop time, it came rolling on by, as it does.

I miss her like I would miss, oh I don’t know, my arm? Something more than significant. I really and truly do not have the words. It is still a punch in the gut when I think about it. Which, I try not to. I still get mad about it, the whole thing.

But, you know what? I have this little guy.

Kisses for Tuners.

Cheetah back there was jealous or something.
Lito loves Merle and Merle loves Lito.

Loving his first farm visit.

These are my favorite shots of these funny dogs.
He is obsessed with my bag. Also, how is he already so big?!

I also have his big brother. And his big brother’s mother.

They make everything all OK. No matter what. They are always there with unconditional love. They are my blessings.


8:30 AM rolled on in on time while I was working. My phone rang. It was my horse vet. They were scheduled to be out there to give some vaccines and check teeth. It was too early for a call, but I knew what it was about.

Apache.

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It was his time. I had been waiting for it. Watching its glacial pace, giving him his time. I told him goodbye the evening before, like I have been doing the past several weeks. I thanked him. I told him that it was OK, that he could go if he was ready.

He was down when my vet got there. We decided it was best to help him on his way. Certainly a hard thing to do, but it is also too the easiest thing to do.

He was the last of the originals. The third horse we ever got. It is the end of an era it feels.

Funny how it seems certain days seem to really stack on the things. Mix in some more life things in there and it can get pretty heavy. Lay it on me if you’ve got it.


After that much needed evening rain storm passed, a full rainbow shone against the dark sky in full glory. They say we will have a break from triple digit temperatures the next few days.

Red wine and chocolate pie, anyone?

Today is a new day, as they say. AHA moment. Start fresh and clean, like the rainbow shining above your head. Look up. Take a breath or ten, and make them deep. Make them count. Say a prayer. If you messed up yesterday, it is OK. Make it right today and tomorrow. See the blessings around you. They are there and they are plenty.

Walk in love, dear readers.

My Darcy Girl

There are sometimes things that happen in this earthly life that we do not understand, and it is likely that we will never know why on this side. This will most probably go at the top of that list.

A week ago tomorrow, I looked at my Doolittle and I knew it was time for me to let go. In the way that people always say it happens.

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I had done everything up to that point to keep her comfortable and she told me that it was no longer enough, but more meds did not mean living. I did everything I could to slow if not stop this freight train, but I found it had no brakes.

I could go on in details, and I will privately for anyone that is in the same position if it would be helpful, but I do not want that here. I do not want that on her remembrance.

So. I did the only thing I could do for her. The last, greatest and hardest gift I could give her. To set her free. To let her go home free of pain and suffering. To let her be happy.

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My mom drove us out to the farm that Friday afternoon where my Pops was waiting. It was threatening to rain and the clouds were growing darker. We took one last short walk in the pasture to greet the horses. Darcy was not much up for it, but I needed them. My Lito buried his head in my chest and Cheetah looked at me in that way only a special mare can. In that knowing way.

We sat on the porch and watched a light rain sprinkle and dry before our eyes while we waited.

The vet and tech arrived and they were as kind and nice as they could be. It was all very calm and peaceful. There were a lot of tears.

Then the most amazing thing happened. I have no words to explain it other than I know it was God. Those dark and threatening clouds parted in the very moment that Darcy left this earth and the sun shone through so very bright and strong. The intensity I felt I have never known and I can not describe in words. I could do nothing but smile up through my tears.

I carried her down to her final resting place with the others on the far side of the pond, under a great Pecan tree. I dipped her paws in the pond one last time so she could be farm dirty like she is supposed to be.

Back up at the house, I sat on the porch with my parents looking down the valley. I found myself looking through a heart shaped hole in the leaves of an oak tree with the sun twinkling and winking through.

I do not know how I did it other than I knew that was what I had to do.

She loved unconditionally. She more than spread joy everywhere she went, she was the living embodiment of it. An example to be made. She taught me about life and perspective. She taught me more than I could write about, here or otherwise. She was independent as heck fire and tough as nails, but she was also supremely sensitive, perceptive, and gentle. She was unabashedly herself. She was Darcy. She was my wingpup.

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She was more than just a dog.

I may not know much or why, but I do know where she is, who she is with, and where she will be waiting, putting her own spin on that angel band up there in the sky. I have no doubt that her great spirit was needed for His good. Even if it does feel like a double barrel kick in the guts. Even if it does feel at times like my heart might not even be there anymore. I am so grateful to have had her for those almost six years.

I want to thank all the vets and techs who have worked so hard to help and comfort us through all of this. My Pops who called and arranged everything because neither my Mom or I could do it, both of them for being there for us in the moment, and my whole family for checking in on me. And, I think most importantly, the vet and tech who met us out at the farm to do the job. I can not thank them enough for just being them. I do not have the words to thank you properly. Just, thank you.

Interestingly enough, this poem popped up today.

Get your tissues out, you will need more than one.


If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay you hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
~Unknown

 

 

Walk in love, my dear readers, we all need it.

When It Rains

This world has a lot of sayings, many that are often misunderstood. Have you ever heard the one about when it rains?

Something about it pouring?

Ya. I have heard that too. When it rains, it pours. A lot actually. I even use the phrase myself, lightly and in passing, never really giving it much thought. It has a whole new meaning to me now.

It truly is a shame that sometimes, as in right now, my life can not be like a music video. At least there would be some laughing matter.

Yes indeed, something quite like this. This looks lovely, would not you say? Kinda funny.

However, in my particular case these days, when it rains…..

It pours…

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Sorry, I am not really sorry. I do not know how to even say it without trying to make light while my heart is in my throat choking me.

This is my reality. Part of the ‘whole lotta life‘ I have been living. A curve ball so far out of left field, it came from the right, just as the fast ball barreled through the heart of home plate.

I can’t believe I am having to write this. Never did I ever think in a million years this would happen.

I have some not so good news to share. The worst possible kind.

The silent kind.

My Darcy has been diagnosed with cancer.

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What the literal heck fire on God’s green earth?!

My sweet and innocent Darcy girl. Not even six years old.

It is quite advanced and pervasive. Between ultrasound and test results, her current status and lack of appetite, my own research, and separate vet opinions, there is not a viable treatment option.

I am completely gutted. It has taken us by storm, the likes of which I have never before known. Not like a slow creeping hurricane. It feels more than rude and unfair. Human life is hard enough on its own without making the animal lives hard.

I could go on in this manner, and admittedly I have had those moments (completely broke down while driving and again on a restaurant patio with my mom), but we must be strong and positive for her. View the world and live life the way she does. Give her the best of the best. Keep playing. We have not struck out in the game of life.

So.

We celebrate the life we have, every day, and take each day as it comes. I am going to do everything I can to give her the best quality of life possible until it is her time. She can eat whatever she wants to eat, healthy diet out the window. She is going to go with me everywhere possible. We are going to have as much farm time as I can manage. We find a reason (and there are many) to sing a song through it all.

All the prayers, positive thoughts and vibes would be greatly appreciated by us both.

I do not understand this and I do not think I ever will.

Such a happy dog that brings endless joy to every being she encounters. So much greatness must be shared. Her spirit must have a greater calling.

If you have any tried and true proven ways to keep a dog eating, lay them on me. I need more tricks up my sleeve.

There is a life lesson somewhere in here. I am just working on unpacking it.

Walk in love, dear readers, even when it is dang hard. I am taking my time.

 

 

Middle Of Nowhere

Nowhere I tell you.

You know, grief and loss are some interesting things.

Or rather, that moment is interesting when they smack you like a mac truck out the middle of nowhere.

WHACK!

Did you feel that?!

Where the heck did that come from??!!

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The middle of nowhere, that is where.

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Well, I guess not quite exactly.

There I was today, in my office. At my desk. In the middle of the long afternoon on an innocent Wednesday. Just working away doing my thing while listening to music.

Then all of a sudden…this song comes on.

And then, BOOM!

WHACK!

I was smacked in the face and straight through to the heart. It all almost came right out my eyes, but it got lodged right there in my throat, above my chest, in a knot for a good ten minutes. Practically choking me.

And this had nothing to do with Merle Haggard (although, yes, that is sad too) and everything to do with the memory of my grandfather.

No Sir, he will never be gone. He lives on in us in so many ways.

Man oh man. That was exhausting! Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out. Be back later.

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Has that ever happened to you? Seemingly out of the blue?

I told you I get this way this time of year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Music Monday

Hey there! Long time no chat. Remember me?

Today is a Music Monday kind of day.

Well really every day is a music kind of day to me, but I have a special song to share with you today.

Written about the loss of a loved family music man, it is speaking to me today. I think ol’ Geege would approve and be happy with our celebration of his life last week.

A few others for you in honor of our family music man. Because who doesn’t like to get a little teary on a Monday?!

I know I do.

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Just a glutton for punishment I am. These are the songs we sang at the service…

It was at about this time, when this song was ‘sung’ by all of us, in the memorial service that I lost it. I say ‘sung’ because I could not do it. I was not prepared to sing this at the beginning. I was hanging my hat on it being at the end. It was about downhill from there for me.

Then there was a medley of these greats.

And then this one at the close. I mean lawd. Bowl me over twice.

For the full effect, here is the actual medley. This is my Aunt’s Sister. If only I could sing  Even if I could, I would not be able to keep it together.

I mean, does that get you like me?

Oh boy was I tired after all that. And then getting sick again.

It is crazy how you listen to all of these songs a million times and then bam, they all have  a new memory and meaning.

Music is so great that way. How it attaches itself to you and intertwines with certain memories and feelings. Like the stitches on the fabric of your clothes or the fibers of your being. How it brings us all together and takes down the barriers. Makes you feel and floods you with emotion.

Know what I mean? No? Oh well.

Walk in love, dear readers.

 

 

 

Tribute

Get your sunglasses out. I have started and stopped about ten times and still do not quite know how to start it.

A great man went to his Heavenly home on Monday. My Grandmother’s Husband since she was 19. My Mother’s Father. My Grandfather. Although, he would get mad at us if we called him any such thing. Made him appear old he would say. Gee Gee for George. Everyone, family and friends, called him that. I learned this week that there are people that did not even know his name was George. Gee Gee is his name.

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Mere words do not do him justice. How does one pay tribute to such a being. You had to know him or know someone who knew him. Larger than life he was, and he knew how to live every second of it and fill it with music and dancing, tequila (it makes you smart he would always say, but he had plenty of smarts all on his own), family, the outdoors, and of course horses. Lots and lots of horses and horse stories.

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That dapper man there, sitting in the middle next to my Grandmother, wearing a tux. We have a big family, and this is not even all of them!

I still can not write this without tears in my eyes. Which is less than convenient with a face of makeup. Go me for being an adult and putting my face on.

The tears are represented by many emotions. Sadness, of course, is very present. The realness and suddenness of it (sudden as in one day there and the next not), sure. It really was not that sudden. The thoughts of looking to the future and visualizing what it looks like and feels like. Him not being there (how about a punch in the gut to say that?). At the same time, the blessing and relief. How strange it feels to feel and write that.

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A moment I captured close to the time he passed. I had a funny feeling at the time and did not know why. A few minutes later my sister called me.

When my sister first called I had a feeling it was coming. I did not know quite how to act when she told me. I did not cry or have much to say, it just was. It seems most of us feel that way. I suppose that is the blessing and relief of it. That he is now whole and complete, making music again.

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He was 92 years old. We went a few years thinking any day was going to be his homecoming, but, he continued to defy the odds. It was still a shock when it actually happened. On Monday, January 22, 2018 he went peacefully with a smile on his face and a full belly. What a blessing that is! To live his whole life happy and to go peacefully. Even with the years of dementia (that he was even able to hide for many years in the beginning), he was happy through it all and always knew the love of his life.

I have lived my whole life, of 29 years, with two full sets of grandparents. How many people do you know that can say that??? I have discovered not many people can. When people would hear that I have 2 full sets of grandparents still alive, they would look at me in wonder and astonishment. I have stopped being surprised at people’s looks. There are nine of us Grandchildren (non including the spouses) that could claim that.

I could go on and on about him. How smart and passionate he was. How he loved music and could sing and play multiple instruments. How he made records and sang with the mariachi bands at the Mexican restaurants. How they would marvel how well he knew their music. How he helped my mom with her math homework after coming home late from work. How I see him in his younger brother, 16 years his junior. How he loved his dogs and the outdoors and to fish and hunt. How he stamped all of us in a unique way.

My stamp was the horses and music, but mainly the horses. Entirely different than that of my Grandmother, the ultimate horsewoman.

I would sit with him for hours and listen to his stories about horses past. He was generally a quiet man, letting everyone else do the talking. An easy thing to do with our family. There was never enough air in the room and being in our presence was commonly compared to watching a tennis match. But what I loved most was when he would get to talking about his horses, even my Grandmother would sit silently staring at him, completely captivated.

I remember the last time they came to the farm. My Grandmother, naturally, was drawn by Ike and my Lito, wanting to talk about them and how they rode. Gee Gee on the other hand, with not much of his memory left, took one look at Chance and said, “now that is a Quarter Horse. I like this horse. You need to flush his eye.” I guess he liked the look of him! His eye lid was irritated and swollen at the time. I had already flushed it.

“Now that horse comes out half cocked, so you better ride him down and work him out of it first,” he would say about Chato, the last horse he had. He was a little feed lot horse and would politely slow down to a halt every time my phone would ring.

My Mom would always tell me how Gee Gee would ride every horse first before any of the kids hopped on, just to make sure their heads were on straight. Something I have always done because of that.

He once hauled a horse in a trailer with a faulty floor. The thought gives me nightmares. He crawled in the loaded trailer and fixed the floor mid route because the man said the horse would be fine to do it.

Consequently, I still can not find pictures of the two more prominent horses in his life. Jenny and Rowdy Dexter. Or of him taking my Mom and Aunt and Uncle riding. Jenny was the young filly he kept at the local stables where he met my Grandmother. She kept her horse at the same barn. My kind of love story. I will never be able to tell a story like him. I am not going to give up on finding them.

To tell some of the stories, I have these to share.

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I believe this was Jenny’s sire.

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Time to hit play on the music and stir our tequila drinks as we remember and celebrate this great man. I do believe anything less than a party he would not stand for.

This has been a slow blogging month for me, but I am still here chugging along. There is still much to see to yet, but I am not going anywhere.

Life is an interesting thing, as you have heard me say multiple times. How everything comes full circle. With death there too also comes life. Gee Gee will live on in another member of our family, due to arrive in August. I get to be an Aunt again!

Till next time, dear readers, walk in love!

A Big Thanksgiving

Or rather, a long Thanksgiving. Big and long.

Big in thanks and giving, yes, much gratitude. We have much to be thankful for.

Also big in numbers. Number of people. An abundance of family and friends. Tons of conversation and laughter. Bucket loads of love. Many dogs. Food, food, and more food (and booze). And not just any food, great food. I have to say, I am surrounded by talented people. Pretty much all of them are great cooks!

Some sadness, yes. That can not be denied, but I have to say, I think we all did a great job focusing on the positive and being grateful for each other. Which is what Thanksgiving is all about.

This particular Thanksgiving was long in a sense that it felt like it lasted from last weekend to today. Even with all the regular day to day things, like work, and all the preparation and cooking, it somehow felt like vacation.

Now, I know some of you will be in disbelief upon reading this. Or even rolling your eyes at me. But in all honesty, it did. I am sitting here with my coffee trying to psych myself up for this work Monday.

The weekend before Thanksgiving week (after the Charlotte Dujardin clinic…which I still need to write up for you…sorry, I will get to it. In short, it was great and I shattered my phone screen) I spent at the farm by myself. It was a terribly therapeutic weekend. Strong and funny language, I know, but stay with me. It was both releasing and restorative.

After taking care of some errands and chores during the day on Saturday, I quickly saddled up Chance and went for a sunset ride.

Then I built a fire in the pit, hit play on some great music, made a cocktail, and sat down with my dog to watch the last of the sunset with the northern front at my back. Drew Kennedy has a live album titled Sad Songs Happily Played which acted like my own personal concert in the best venue.

Sunday started early and chilly.

I took a little drive in my pajamas while the horses ate with my dog, coffee, and music. Because I could. I started listening to Dani and Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Sky‘ on repeat (I am weird like that) and just allowed the tears to flow. It feels …strange, I guess, to say that. To admit that. But hey, it’s the truth, so there. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry or two…or three, as was the case on Sunday.

I got dressed and headed out into the sun to catch up my first horse of the day.

I came upon the horses and discovered the three young geldings laying down, having a post breakfast nap with Cheetah standing guard over them. I just could not resist the temptation and sat down with them. The most wonderful thing happened when Cheetah decided she felt comfortable enought to lay down with us. I have no idea how long I sat there with them snoozing, but it was simply glorious. One of them broke the spell and they all got up, so I haltered Cheetah and started grooming.

Keep scrolling for this cow’s newborn on Thanksgiving weekend!

Cheetah decided she was a saucy mare, but her son made up for it by giving me the best ride on him to date. Lito is really starting to put the pieces together and it feels really great. Really learning to travel between my legs and reins and lift his shoulder. Yielding his hindquarters and shoulders. I just need to keep reminding myself he is not farther along because I can only ride on weekends. I need to not push too hard and have it not be fun for him. Well, both of us. He is seriously the most comfortable horse I have ever ridden.

I had a quick ride on Ike after a late lunch on the porch. Then I built myself another fire to close out the day. As one of my dear readers said, I just sat with my feelings and reflected. That is what time alone at the farm is about for me.

I stayed at the farm until Monday morning to meet the farrier before heading back to town and into the office for the short holiday work week.

I took the day off of work on Wednesday to get my cake baked at my parents house and the kitchen cleaned before Thanksgiving. Middle Sister, K, her husband, T, and their dogs were staying at my parents house for the holiday so Darcy had ample entertainment. She is currently passed out after I made her go outside.

Baking is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. This pumpkin cheesecake cake was worth all the work and calories, trust me. It really was not even that much work. Do yourself a favor, and go make it for yourself. Decorating it is also easy peasy, if you want to do that. Which you should because it is fun. And pretty.

My mom’s side of the family and a few friends came to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. And oh, the food. The food was so good! I am still dreaming about it. We all had a grand time and then loaded up and headed out to the farm just in time for sunset.

I give to you the post Thanksgiving sunrise if you missed it.

Remember that calf I mentioned? We all got to see it right after it was born. You are welcome for the cuteness. I do what I can for you, you know.

Another stunning sunset from the weekend.

On Saturday my dad’s side of the fam came out for lunch and some much needed togetherness and fresh air at the farm.

I took three kids on lead line rides and one solo ride all on Chance. There was so much fun and cuteness, I almost could not even handle it. Chance was so well behaved and we stuffed him with carrots and gave him lots of love.

My cousin got to harvest his first deer which was very exciting for everyone in the family.

I came back out to the barn before bed to give Chance another carrot and to thank him for giving those kids his gifts.

You haz carrot?!

This is a terribly long dump of a post, but there it is. The point is, I am thankful this Thanksgiving and wish I had another day before going back to work.

Thankful I got to enjoy it. Thankful to be surround by loved ones. Thankful to spend time at the farm and create memories. Thankful to ride all the horses. Thankful for cows and calves. Thankful for my happy dog. Thankful to see the sunsets and sunrises. Thankful for music and reflection and fresh air. Thankful that I got to pick out a Christmas tree with my parents and begin decorating. And even thankful for my job that I need to go get ready for.

That is all. Up next, all about the Charlotte Dujardin Clinic!

Walk in love, dear readers! Thank your lucky stars today and every day. Keep in the spirit of thanks and giving.