Horse Dentals – it’s a thing…

Today as I stood  helping to steady each of 1000LB horse’s the vet floated both their teeth I thought “I have to write about this”.   That is the millionth time probably in my life that I have thought this thought. Can you imagine if I could just follow through on those thoughts how many blogs or books I would have written by now? Too bad most of the time I think this thought I later forget the topic I thought I wanted to write about – though I do sometimes write the idea down. Still doesn’t mean I actually write about it. But teeth floating made the grade!

I think I am lucky any time I can make time to sit down and write.  I have had many things lately that have had to come before my need to write -such as animal care and family issues. Like the fact my mother has been in one medical facility another for the last 6 weeks became a priority. But man did I have a lot of  “I need to write about this” moments in those 6 weeks!  But priority and sheer fatigue after spending days in hospital rooms and consulting with this nurse and that doc just kept me from feeling like extending my brain further to form the words that form the stories I want to write. I just couldn’t.

Today was a good day because mom is home now (yay!) and I had the vet coming early this AM and I was ready and excited to spend time with the equines and also to see how teeth floating works.  I put this procedure off for my horse Harley for years. He had been checked regularly and it was never a hard you need to get floating done now – it was more like he’s got a few areas that might need attention (a few years ago) to maybe we should do it next visit(said during last July vaccines). Yukon our guardian horse was on a more regular schedule that I must keep up on as part of my agreement with the rescue. So I scheduled for both of them to be done along with the fall vaccines.

The procedure to me was very interesting. Maybe because in my younger years I worked in a dental office! I am not sure but after feeling the before sharp edges in the horses mouth (they are sharp!) and feeling the much less sharp tooth after- and holding my horses tongue out of the way for part of the time (they have large tongues!) I was further interested and I knew I wanted to know more about floating.

So what is teeth floating? My mother jokingly asked today if they were going to take the teeth out and float them in a glass of liquid or on a cloud.  It is an odd word for sure – and after watching it be done today I wanted to learn more. What I did know was that horses develop sharp points on their teeth that need to be filed down. Upon looking it up online I found that the definition is that basic.

Here is a slideshow of some of the photos I took today:

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From Cowboyway.com “Floating a horse’s teeth means to file or rasp their teeth to make the chewing surfaces relatively flat or smooth.” A flat surface is required to allow the horse to properly and fully chew their food. If they can’t chew their food properly this can lead to poor digestion. Our vet Dr. Juress said that digestion in a horse really begins in the mouth. They need to be able to chew well to aid in the best digestion.

Horses chew in a circular like motion so that can get the food thourougly ground up. So with this motion, sharp edged teeth can rub the cheeks and create sores and ulcerations. This can make the horse try to chew more quickly and to drop feed – and not grind the food up correctly.   In the case of my horse Harley , I was told today that he did have some ulceration in his mouth.  I knew he needed floating done as lately he was fussing with the bit when I rode him – this and his occasional dropping feed from his mouth – let me know it was time for sure.

Of course we had to have a cold snowy day in which to have this procedure performed. I was not looking forward to just standing in the cold barn, but what I quickly learned was that it is a pretty physical procedure.  I warmed up pretty fast- shedding my jacket early on. Since my husband was going out of town I enlisted the help of my son who is a strong 19 year old. I was pretty sure that with my nerve damage issues my assistance alone would not be enough for the vet and I was right. It is quite a workout- and even more for the vet performing the floating!

The vet first lightly sedates the horses. This makes them just list a bit back and forth. My horse Harley listed more than Yukon.  My job was to steady him if he seemed to be listing too far one way. We try to back them into the stall corner where they can get more stability. My son helped by keeping the head on the stand that she uses to hold their head up. She inserts a speculum which keeps the mouth open and then takes the motorized file and begins the tasks of etching of the hooks and sharp edges. This doesn’t hurt the horse and sometimes no sedation is used. But with unpredictable animals that weigh 1000 Lbs I can see why the safer bet is to use it.

The vet or practitioner (floating can be done by a non-vet) will not make the surface smooth- that makes chewing harder actually – the surface still needs to be rough so they can properly grind feed and forage. This is definitely a procedure you want done by someone who has studied it and is skilled at it. Our vet became an expert in it because she loves doing it. Some vet practices don’t have this option and refer you out to equine dentists ( there are those) or some people use their farriers for floating.  Just make sure your practitioner comes with good references.

So what about horses in the wild?  What happens to their teeth?  I was curious and of course when you google that and also “teeth floating” their are tons of websites where one can find varying opinions on the topic. But I read that the horses in the wild will develop the areas with sharp edges and hooks – but the horses in the wild are in grassy and wooded areas 24/7. They use their jaws 24/7 to chew.  They are chewing not only grass – which likely will have silica in it which can help grind down teeth, they also eat woody plants that can further help their tooth surfaces stay relatively flat.  So in essence they are their own dentists.

Of course there are jaws of deceased wild horses that do show the hooks and sharp edges – I am sure each horse will be have their own specific biology and some will have worse teeth than others – same as in humans.  Sadly in the wild horse world bad teeth could lead to malnutrition and weakness and even death- but again that is in the wild where there is natural selection and survival of the fittest and all that. In general horses in the wild will chew more times a day – because of their access to 24/7 forage -than our companion horses. All we can is is try to navigate the right health procedures for our own horses – and even then the topic of teeth floating can become more complicated.

There are many opinions on whether a horses teeth need to be floated at all, or as often as recommended by the practitioners that perform the procedures, under sedation or wide awake, with manual files or motorized. I read an interesting article (here) that discusses whether in our modern world whether we interfere too much with a horses teeth. I think this is an opinion to consider. I think there is always a balance. In our horses situation maybe Yukon could have gone more time before he had it done. But in Harley’s case he had some ulcerations in his mouth which Dr. Juress could see once she was able to get a good look with a light inside Harley’s mouth – he really needed it done.  I think he will be more comfortable now for sure.

If we will do this yearly for Harley – I can’t say as yet. He went a good while without it. But he is older and has other health issues that can effect his weight. So I think making sure his teeth are in good working order is important. As for sedation…I am not against it..because I know that the amount given is very small- and for me safety for the human is key when working with horses. They are big animals. I know my horse Harley would not tolerate this procedure fully awake even with manual tools, no speculum and head down. Or he wouldn’t have today anyway because it took longer because he had more issues. Maybe if he had only a few areas that needed to be done he could have tolerated it without sedation. Not sure.

I do intend on reading more about the subject and looking at all the opinions. I think the best way each horse owner can approach the choices when it comes to equine teeth floating is to read as much as you can. Ask your vet, your farrier, other horse experts and then garner your own opinion.

There is so much to learn about equines and there care- I have been back into the horse world now for 15 plus years and I will never ever run out of things to learn. It is amazing and overwhelming. I am pretty sure that most horse owners want to do what we think is best for our companion horses to keep them comfortable and healthy. Today for us it was learning more about floating teeth. Next week it will be something else I am sure- and I will probably want to write about it- hopefully I will!

Recovering kind of….bites

Well I am into my second weekend post surgery. I am healing. If the itching is any clue then I am healing well! I have gone from pain drug nirvana to non-pain drug – well lets say discomfort – as well.  I am not a fan of pain meds. Well…not true… I am a fan…they work and make you feel ever so spacey and dreamy. I slept so well on them. I take 1/6 the prescribed dose as well but I still felt if I am not in a lot of pain I would not take them. Still the discomfort makes me less mobile and well maybe that warrants a reason to take some. But I don’t- too much fear I suppose.

I get the drain out on Tuesday and I will take some for that procedure. It isn’t fun. But worse is having the thing in. It has been a – I really want to write shit show here- but instead I will say a tad of a pain – literally and figuratively to have this drain. If you don’t know what a surgical drain is you are lucky and look it up bc I don’t want to explain it more than needed. But my lovely husband tends to the drain upkeep – God love him- bc if I had to I would puke I think – I think this is because it is all happening in my body and I would like to ignore it as much as possible.

The drain is a pain. You are carrying it all the time- this appendage. Showering is tough. I shower in a tank top so I can keep the bulb pinned to something so it doesn’t hang down. Then I get out of the shower with a soggy ,dripping tank top on. It’s fun!

The drain also sprung a leak twice this week. The first time in the middle of the night. I woke Kevin but I really don’t like to do that since he is caring for everything (Me, my mom, and household and farm stuff ) all day. I want to grant him some decent sleep. Though I think almost nightly this past week a dog has also woken up in the middle of the night and either needed to go out, puked or pooped somewhere in the house. Which got Kevin up. Anyway I woke Kevin to fix the drain – I said sorry with my nicest voice. It wasn’t anything I could do alone.

Calling the surgeons office about the drain problem rendered an answer that this was all normal. Really?  I have had them before and never had anything like that happened. I will say it is  not a fun event and the second time it happened it ruined a new shirt – I should not have put it on I know…I take full blame but still grrrr.. and ick. The drain remains painful as the incisions heal and there is less drainage…so think a couple chopsticks lodged up inside your armpit..right… feels great!

I hear you saying – why won’t she just take a pain pill…I know, I know.

I have come to realize that five days is my limit after surgery. Five days to keep a good attitude – like I got this! attitude (and I am normally still drugged at this point), and its five days that I think I should be feeling well and start to feel guilty that I am not up and around feeling good. I have walked once, done squats and lunges – all probably too soon. The walking was ok but the second drain issue occurred just after that. So now I am waiting two more days until this drain comes out to do anything physical. But five days is my limit and then I get cranky and frustrated.. not the best look on me.

I have no idea how the surgery has worked. It is a 4-6 week recovery and 2 of those are supposed to be off work. So it’s going to be a while. I am supposed to start PT around week 4 – but I am hoping I can do some lower body stuff next week.. I dread PT. Thus far PT has been so crummy for my arm.  Maybe this time will be different! It all starts with ATTITUDE! Rah Rah! Haha…

I have found this time around that there are some items that I have come to rely on during this recovery. I know I am bored if I am keeping tabs on this stuff! Sorry for my ramblings…just needed to write.

First and foremost – a back scratcher. With 12 plus inches of scar and a dumb drain -things get itchy. For some reason this time they sutured up the skin – maybe because it is a graft and then they put this clear large adhesive covering over the entire graft and same for the donor site on my back. And this covering is tight! But it allows me to be able to shower normally so I guess thats good. But as I recover the itching is soooo intense…so the light touch of a back scratcher is wonderful.

Next is medicated chapstick – well this is a must have always but for some reason I am very needy of my chapstick as I recover. And at this minute I just looked for it and can’t find it- so now a search will need to be set forth. Note to self- get more than one medicated chapstick at a time. I picture it chewed up in some corner…dogs…nope FOUND it! yes!

Gauze and bandaging- I go nuts sometimes at the drug store on first aid items. Having kids and also having a small farm where we get splinters, blisters, step on stuff etc I am super paranoid about first aid.  I now am so happy I did over-buy because gauze and tape have been needed for this stupid drain.

Pill cutter-this is awesome- I got it as a parting gift after my one night stay in the hospital – where they were very good to me and to Kevin who also stayed the night. Yes I got parting gifts I was so excited! The pill cutter is the bomb and will go into my newly organized linen closet. I got bored the other day and had the fixings to redo the closet later in my recovery but I found I could sort items that were in the old crammed bins easily sitting on the bed – so new organized closet done. Anyway a pill cutter that cuts like butter is a must for your medicine cabinets.

I thought the the exhaling thing the hospital gives out so you don’t get pneumonia was cool but I got bored of it after two days home. So though helpful,  I don’t see it as a long term medical item that I will keep.

Oh and of course I got to keep the hospital socks. I have tossed out too many of these things over the years but they are great as a no slip alternative to slippers. Why are slippers called such? I know bc you slip them on- but they aren’t the most safe shoe!

Ice water has been another must have and so the trips to the bathroom are frequent…which is annoying!  I am one of those people that have to have liquids with them where ever they go.  And I mean I even carry bottled water into restaurants. Once I was even told by a very stern server at one restaurant we go to I could not have my own bottled water that I brought in because some people bring vodka inside the water bottle and get a glass of ice and drink their own alcohol. Is this really a thing?  I know teens do that stuff but I am not a teen!  I seriously just laughed as I was typing this! Crazy!

Last is magazine, puzzle books, and laptop. No explanation needed here.

Oh gosh and finally- my adjustable table – that allows me to reach all this stuff I listed – and my meds, and books and laptop etc! The thing is the bomb. Such a nice item when recovering from surgery or even the flu.

Recovery is just a process. And I am so impatient. I know with a surgery like this the benefits will hopefully show as time goes forward. Now I just have to take it a day at a time. I have just had more than my share of surgeries. I am sort of done. I hope this is it for this problem.

Well I brightened my day just by writing this. Nobody even has to read it. I just feel somewhat better. I think I will walk to the barn.

Think of me Tuesday at about 11:30 as they remove this drain. (But probably nobody is reading this by this point. I likely lost them at chapstick.) Oh well! I’ll be brave!

 

Today’s shakeup

Photo cred : mycdi.com

Nope didn’t vote today. That’s not what this is about. I voted last week. I didn’t want to deal with the crowds when I am in pain.

Today was MRI day for me. Every year I get an MRI now instead of a mammogram because I have such bad nerve damage my surgeon is afraid more will be inflicted if they squeeze my breast into a patty in that machine of torture known as a 3D mammo.

Listen 3D mammos are great if you aren’t damaged in the way I am. I just can’t tolerate it. At all. So every year I have to get my MRI approved by insurance -last year there was a big POW WOW of doctors over the request and after weeks of debate it was approved. This year the process went much smoother.

Today was the day. I really didn’t want to go. I woke up in horrendous pain. This flare that began in early October has been relentless. I’ll have a decent day which means I can maybe go for a walk or to the store. Not a whole lot. But then I have a flare of the flareup!

Today I felt crummy and I was going to cancel this MRI but I decided no I’m going to go. I skipped the Valium this time and opted for some medical MJ and some CBD. I had my cold friend with me. Mr. Ice Bag.

Kevin and I drove in awful rain to the building where the wide MRI is. I like wide. But it still feels like a skinny tube with lots of noise.

I got checked in and changed into scrubs and a gown that opened in front. Kevin got changed into scrubs. He’s my wingman on these excursions. Hand holder extraordinaire.

They gave me great news. The test is only 15 minutes now. Some change in software. Blah blah. They put my IV in. They had me on the table. For breast MRI you lay on your stomach. They pushed me in. I had the emergency call button in hand. Earplugs in. I felt that encased feeling like being shut off from the world. And then…

Nope nothing. You thought I was going to say I freaked out. No I did not. But I was very uncomfortable but thought I could last 15 minutes. But the place was quiet. I was waiting for the banging. Nothing.

Then the techs come back in and roll me out of the machine. There is an issue machine won’t go on. We will try to reposition you.

Back in the tube I go. Ok so here we go. Let the banging begin. Nope. Nada. Nothing.

So by now I’m getting a tad impatient sitting in a wide tube that seems skinny to me and we don’t have anything going. I would never on purpose lay in a tube face down one arm up above my head with an IV needle stuck in my arm with a blanket on! So I wanted to get the show on the road.

Then techs come in again. They roll me out again. Machine isn’t starting – we have to call the company and you need to get up and go sit in the waiting area. They said they may need to restart the computer. As past software engineer I agreed. Reboot.

Kevin the most patient person and I -not the most patient but I was acting like a very patient patient because the techs were very nice -sat in the waiting area in our little scrub outfits. We looked kind of doctor like. Or as Kevin said later- escapees from a mental hospital. That would be more like it.

The techs came back and said the cooling system on the roof broke and they can’t use the machine at all. They said we could head up the road to another of their locations in the same town where there was another wide machine. And the test would be fast. But I had to decide fast because they only had one opening and that was in twenty minutes.

I with Mr. Ice Bag pondered this. I could bag it and reschedule because I felt like crud. Or I could try to go get it over with. Hmmm. In my head I heard “Bag it Bag it Bag it” but I said “ok let’s do it.” I just wanted it over with.

So Kevin -saint that he is- grabbed all of our clothes and we left in the scrubs. Me with the surgical gown tied as best we could get it so it would not open and scare others and the IV needle jammed into my arm.

What a morning this was turning out to be. I took a little more medical MJ. Clearly it wasn’t enough because I was as aware of all that was going on once I finally got into yet another “wide ” machine. But I felt somewhat calm – so maybe the medical MJ helped.

The tech from the first radiology office I was in came to this location with all my paperwork And performed the MRI. She was great and professional through this major blip in her day. Not only did it effect me but also many other patients who may have needed that broken machine now had to be rescheduled.

So crap happens -let’s just get this MRI done. And finally as I lay face down yet again – earplugs in – arm up – IV ready – I hear the sweet sounds of banging metal. Ok let’s start thinking about fun Pinterest things. Bang , whomp, whaa whaa. Contrast in. I always feel a bit weird when that happens. Don’t think about how skinny this machine is. Is fifteen minutes up soon?

And finally it’s over. Done.

I powered through and have had terrible pain the rest of the day. But it’s done and this pain flare will hopefully pass and now I’m counting down the days until I see my surgeon.

23 to be exact. 23.

Imperfect

Today I turned on an episode of “This is Us” to binge watch. I promised myself only one (so not a binge) because they make me emotional every time. I thought I could handle one today before I went off and did things on my to do list.

As the episode began to run I realized it was going to be a tough one. It was the one after the fire where we see how Jack (the father of the triplets) dies. I actually forwarded it through the first few minutes because I was afraid to watch -and it went on to some commercial and that commercial made me think about something and I went to check today’s date.

Oct 23- my dad died two years ago today. His death was sudden -as was Jacks who made it out of the fire only to die later in the episode.

So by now you know I watched the episode. I cried almost through the entire thing. A snotty nosed cry- not pretty.

It’s ok. I kept going because I think it helped me emote and sometimes as hard as that is it’s cathartic.

I miss my dad. A lot. And I often wonder why I miss him so. After all he was imperfect and he had his demons and he and I struggled in our relationship together. I guess I thought because of all of these issues I wouldn’t feel so much grief – that I would have missed him less.

But maybe it is because of these things I miss him more. There were things I lost with my dad. I didn’t have his adoration. Nor did he ever seem to get me -though he and I are so much alike but I only saw it after he died. I can’t blame him for not seeing me as being like him if I didn’t see it either. I spent years not wanting to be like him. And yet… here I am.

We fought a lot. I spent too much time being mad at him. Much less as I aged but I was mad sometimes. I didn’t understand his drinking problem. I didn’t see why he thought he was fine. I worried it would kill him. And in a way I guess it did. He lived to 81 but maybe with less drinking he’d still be here. But that we will never know.

I wanted him to get me. Be proud of me. Later I would realize he was but didn’t show it to me very often. I heard it from others later.

I wondered why he held back praise to me. But as a parent I’ve done the same sometimes to my kids and I have no idea why. See I told you I am like my dad. But I’m trying to praise my kids more. When I see things I want to change I own them and try to do better.

Sometimes my dad seemed mad at me. I didn’t always know why and sometimes I did. We danced all over with each-other never getting the right rhythm. But I’d gladly take one more off kilter dance with him.

Relationships have so many facets and that’s what I had with my dad. I have so many quick snips of memories. Some sad, some not great, some funny as hell, and some so wonderful.

My dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding. I see him looking up the staircase at me (I had a long one to traverse on high heels. On wooden steps). I was praying I’d make it down alive -and I see my dad watching me he’s smiling brightly (at me!) -and his arm is outstretched and his hand wide open ready to take my hand. Step by step I made my way down each step feeling stronger when I finally had his hand. Hand in hand we made our way to Kevin. I got that memory. Some people never get that.

I remember him taking me homecoming dress shopping in 9th grade. I’d been grounded for four weeks — I deserved it. But he shortened it so I could go to the dance with a boy who had asked me. He took me to the mall. (My mom and he were separated at the time and I lived with my dad and my brother.) We went to David’s Village Shop. I knew I had a short period of time before he got impatient but oddly he let me get through a few dresses as he stood awkwardly in the shop. And I only needed to try a few as I found “the one” in that bunch. I got that memory and some people never get that.

I miss hearing him say “How’s Annie today?” I even miss hearing him joke “picked up any horse shit today Annie? “.

I just miss him.

My imperfect father. One thing for sure was that he was always there. Call him and miss him. He’d call you back not long after. I didn’t always confide in him but sometimes I just needed to hear his voice. I’d listen to his rant of the day or a bad joke. Just to listen.

You don’t have to be the perfect human for people to miss you when you leave. God knows I have too many things I’d like to do over. It’s part of life. It’s the hindsight’s 20/20 cruel joke.

My dad could sometimes take imperfect to a perfect level. But we are all trying to figure this freakish world out. My dad was my dad and he meant the world to me.

Two imperfect people just trying to get the dance right.

Miss and love you Dad….always.

Dad and I in 1964

Over planning – my claim to fame

I always have the best of intentions. I always think I can accomplish what I plan. Sometimes I get more done than I planned but often now with my physical limitations I can’t meet my goals.

Case in point. I planned a trip up north for Columbus Day weekend. I was headed to upstate New York with Kevin to visit friends and attend my friend Jon Katz’s open house he has each fall on his famous Bedlam Farm.

I was so happy I was feeling well enough to go on this trek. We were going to drive..and it is long- 7 hours plus. This was to be my first long drive and furthest vacation from home since all my pain trouble began back in May 2016. We have a new large truck that is very comfortable to drive in so I thought the drive would be fine.

I got an AirBnB not far from Bedlam Farm. We planned two nights there. Then I decided to tack on to the trip. I wanted to go see Kevin’s brother and sister-in-law in Maine. It was less than 4 hours to their place from Cambridge NY (the home of Bedlam Farm). So we added two more nights – one in Maine and another in Connecticut. The latter a place as a rest stop to break up the ride home from Maine to Maryland. Oh and we were bringing two dogs. That adds to the planning but I like to have them along.

In my head I was going to be fine for this trip. I planned ahead trying not to do too much the week before we left. I didn’t want to initiate a flare up of pain. I didn’t ride my horse. I didn’t do barn chores except feed the horses and add water to chicken waterers. I didn’t do much walking and I went into the gym once and did a few leg exercises. But I really tried to keep it light.

The big day came. Kevin packed the car and loaded the pups and we were off. I was very excited to see friends I hadn’t seen in quite a while. Then it happened – just a short time into the drive I began to feel the twinge of pain that often comes at the beginning of a flare. I didn’t want to say anything to Kevin. I wanted to power through it. But my heart sank just a bit.

By the time we got to New York I was having definite pain issues. We got to our house – which was awesome by the way- and we got the dogs settled. I had taken some medical marijuana which I use only when I really need some extra pain relief. I also had a glass of wine. Normally I am not a big mixer of these items but drastic times….

I did all this in the hopes that I would make the flare go away. I know better they normally last 3 days – more even. I woke on Saturday feeling just so so- and we went over to a local restaurant in Cambridge NY to meet friends for breakfast. But by the end of the meal I was feeling badly again. I was determined to go to the open house though. I came all that way and I was freaking going. So I took some medical MJ again and I had a couple sips of wine- God I sound like a wino druggy! I can assure you this isn’t the case – but this is what I needed to do at that moment to get through the day with less pain. I carry opiates with me. But I don’t want to take those again unless it was absolutely needed. Medical marijuana is much safer. I will write on that topic a bit more sometime.

I attended the open house which was really nice. I think the best one so far for me. We enjoyed sheep herding and sheep shearing as well as poetry readings and lots of  wonderful art for sale. When we left that afternoon I fully intended on attending it on Sunday as well. Though I was feeling pretty rough I was able to enjoy a nice dinner out on Saturday night with friends. It meant so much to be there among these really nice humans. I hope they know how much I appreciate them.

Sadly the meal didn’t sit well with me later that night. Probably too rich for me and I was a bit ill all night. So I sat much of the night awake and fretting about how bad I was feeling and how I really should pack it in and go back home. But that felt like such loss to me. I didn’t want to give up. In the morning Kevin and I talked it over and it didn’t take long for me to see that it would be better if we went home.

I was sad and depressed.  I had my cry. I worried about disappointing people. Would my New York friends think I was rude for not saying goodbye before I left?  I was feeling so crummy and was so down I just could not bring myself to make formal goodbyes in person. But a couple friends ended up driving behind us on the road 30 miles from the farm.  what are the odds? So we pulled over and I got my formal goodbye with both of them – that did make my heart hurt less for sure.

I also worried I would be disappointing family in Maine because we were cancelling. I have wanted to get up to see them for so long. It wasn’t to be. I think many of these friends and family know my heart and that I would not skirt out without saying a formal goodbye if I wasn’t feeling crummy.

I feel like pain won and I really hate that. I really really do. I am trying to navigate this life and have some semblance of life despite this pain. I don’t like IT to win. And often it is an adversary that wins some of the battles.

It took me this long since I have been home to write this because I have been so disappointed in myself. I am still dealing with pain. I was dumb and went to get a laser treatment this week which caused more pain. Which it shouldn’t but did because we did too big an area. So frustrating.

I just want to live my life and although I have come to accept that pain will likely be part of my life forever ( I sigh when I think this) I hate when it makes me unable to do something I set out to do.

My heart hurts over this. But I need to look at the bright side- and there is one. I had a great time seeing people on Saturday. I got to talk with many people – though there is always more to talk about. And there are people I wished I could have spoken with longer. But overall the experience and being with some people who share my creative spark was just what I needed.  It was enough.  I wanted more but it was enough.

This is what I am trying to take away from last weekend. The good time, the good people, friendships. So I think I won. Screw pain – the visit might have been cut short but it was enough. What was accomplished made me happy and that lifts my spirits.

And I just have to learn not to over plan.

–side note – I have discussed my pain concerns with my surgeon – and the laser debacle-and we are have an initial plan of attack for this flare up.  He is a great doctor to have on my side. Lets hope we get this under control.

_____

Here are some unedited photos from my phone that I took over the weekend – my DSLR camera was too heavy for me to use – bummer.

Red keeping the sheep in on place

Jon Katz- Author and friend and owner of bedlam Farm (along with Maria)

Maria Wulf with an amazing sheep shearer! 

Just shorn

Fate 

Mary Kellogg reading her poetry- she’s a wonderful person

Our next guest home?

On the way home

Somewhere in PA

Taken through a filthy windshield!

Things on the mantle.

Things on the mantle (and hearth)….

I’ve been at the beach for a few days. I was sitting on the floor stretching by the fireplace. And I was looking at the things that we chose to place on the mantle and hearth. It’s dynamic – anything can be moved at any given time. I like that it’s fun to change things up.

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This is the lantern? Orb? Lantern orb I picked up at a furniture store. I liked its shape. It really has no function and the fake candles battery has died. But I still like the thing.

Then we have the tin “S” and I don’t think the reason for purchasing that needs much explaining. The jar next to it is for collecting stones and shells we find on the beach by the Bay and ocean.

I might love this bike clock the most right now. I’m having a thing for bicycle decor recently. The clock doesn’t work right and it’s loud so we took the batteries out. But I still think it’s cool.

These are the special stones and shells that are laying inside the fireplace. I don’t know what qualities they have that makes them special. It may have been size or uniqueness that kept them from the jar on the mantle above. Or maybe I was too lazy to put some of them in the jar. Anyway I find myself checking the shells and stones out often and I think the “Joy” stone is my favorite. Oh I ordered those. (In case you thought you could find word stones on the beach. 😉

This real oil lamp is a gem. It is very sentimental. We got this from my in laws Home. It was in their home for years.

I have always been drawn to people’s mantles. Since I was a kid. I think it was because my Nana’s Neighbors used to keep items on their mantle that Kids could play with. They had a puzzle and a Newton’s Cradle. You know where the metal balls hang in a row and you pull one back and the ball on the other end is the only one that moves? I loved that thing. I think that gave me my mantle fascination. I really do like to check out mantles and hearths. They lend themselves to creativity I think.

Things are changing

Boxes for the boys dorm rooms.

I’m starting to get a little flustered and a nervous because we are facing a lot of changes right now.

In a way it’s good Yukon wouldn’t load on the trailer yesterday. He will be coming on the 28th via transport by Days End. They have a bigger trailer and the trainer will get him on. So that’s all good. So it’s good we are delaying it because I just have too much to deal with this coming week.

I was feeling like I was rushing getting the horse here and I was because I wanted Harley to have a buddy. But he’s doing fine. I think I feel the delay in getting Yukon here was a blessing. We have to leave Tuesday to take my boys off to college. That’s a huge change.

I have spent weeks getting forms together, getting medical appointments done and buying all the stuff they need for their dorm rooms. It’s all packed and ready to go.

We will be empty nesters in a few days. Well we will be if you don’t count my mom living here! My daughter is in Ohio and the boys wont be too far away from us at Salisbury University on the Eastern shore. It’s actually only 40 minutes from our beach house. Which gives us more reasons to spend time there.

So I’m trying to wrap my head around how I’m feeling. So many people are posting how sad they are that their kids are going off to school. I am a mixture of sad and happy.

I’m happy for them because this is a great opportunity for them. They will be living in separate dorms by the way. I’m hoping they will at least say hello to eachother if they see one another on campus. They aren’t the best of friends at this point. One can only hope that might change in the future. Anyway we got them to the door now it’s up to them to open it and make College a success. We will see. But I am so happy for this for them. Two boys born almost 18 years ago in a far away country and being sent to an orphanage the future wasn’t looking great. But God had a hand in guiding their lives to this point. They may not see it the way I do but I hope they take advantage of this opportunity . And I hope they have fun too.

I am also happy they will be out of my house!! I’m done with the pigsty we call a basement. Which is where they live. We are taking back the area and consolidating them to one bedroom. We will make sure they have privacy when they come home to visit but no way is it going to look the way it does now ever again! God bless those that have teen boys that aren’t messy. I gave up a while ago trying to get them to be organized. I feel for their college roommates.

I also will be glad they are gone because I know how much they will learn by being away from home. Maybe they will appreciate more what’s been done for them over the years when they have to navigate the world on their own. I know my daughter is realizing a lot living on her own in a city five hours away. I’m also excited for them to have these new experiences. It will help them to mature.

I’m sad because they won’t be around. The boys live like mole people sleeping much of the day and banging around at night. They really don’t want to be around us yet they do. I know they have that desire to be free but they have the fear too. We don’t see the m much actually. Sometimes they make their way upstairs to eat all our food. They often forget there are other here who may like to eat as well. They eat in epic proportions. It’s uncanny.

They are also terrible conversationalists. Me: how is packing going? Do you need any toiletries? The boy: good. Ok … I asked too many questions. Me: do you need any toiletries bc I can get you some before we go to the dorm. Boy: ok. Me: tell me what you will need we leave soon. Boy:ok. I will have to guess at what they need! Hey at least we talked.

But I’ll still miss them. They will be absent. The house empty their essence. The little boys are no more. I know the next phase for them has begun. But the change is going to be hard on me even when some of me rejoices they are gone.

One son just had a short convo with me to discuss possible crime in the city where his school is. He is my shy one. The anxious one I worry for but have to push out of the nest.

Nobody can ever prepare you for parenting. I have been in over my head too many times to count. I hope we’ve made some influence on their lives. I hope they have felt loved.

So many changes. It’s inevitable. Sometimes they happen close together. Like the new horse and the boys leaving. I have seen so many changes in my life in the last five years. I guess am better at rolling with it but I also know that I sometimes have to stop and let myself feel the feelings associated with each thing. Losing horse … very sad. New horse.. very exciting and scary too. Boys going to college ….very exciting and sad and scary too. If I honor my feelings it helps the flustered feeling and anxiety. If I take things a step at a time it helps slow my mind down. I’m an incredible planner. It must be the IT person in me. I can take some event and plan the heck out of. I Extrapolate the what’s ifs and I get everyone organized and I have contingency plans. It’s what I do. But I often get too far ahead of myself and I sometimes become overwhelmed or anxious. Especially if the things taking place are really life changing. Like your kids leaving.

But this is life. There was a time when I found out I had breast cancer that I considered maybe I wouldn’t be here for these events. But here I am. So in reality I’m so grateful even if changes are sometimes hard.

So off to college (and wow College is so awesome these days with all the food choices! ) I’m jealous.

Go get ’em boys. We love you.

Ps – boys we may use your new updated bedroom as a guest space and hobby room. But you are always welcome with advanced notice.

Of course I’m kidding. Or am I?

I am.

Blessings.