My Dog Smells Good

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“My dog smells good”. This statement is at the top of my list of positive affirmations, blessings, things I like, list for today. In fact, it is the only thing on the list at the moment. …But wait, let me add a few more.

My pony’s little whinny is so cute.

My house is warm.

I woke up without a headache.

I am in excellent health and physical condition.

I love my dining room curtains.

Positive affirmations are not new to me, but recently, I’ve taken them much more seriously. Normally I go to sleep thinking about problems and wake up thinking about the same problems, or even more problems.  Recently, however, I have been waking up in the mornings and writing lists of things I like, things that are going well, or what the solutions to problems might look like. For instance, instead of complaining to myself about the mud everywhere right now, I am concentrating on the solutions to the mud problem, and seeing the new mud-free version of things in my mind.

I was driving in the rain yesterday, in a run-down area of town, and I realized that in the past, I had tried to do everything from a place of lack. I identified as a victim of various things, spousal/partner abuse, poverty, low self-esteem, lack of friends, etc. I was listening to an audio book while driving, and when I heard that we are all born worthy, and have nothing to prove to anyone, my life kind of flashed before my eyes. I drove past piles of trash in yards, broken windows, and dilapilated houses. I saw people walking down the street, with pain on their faces. I could see that same sense of lack, that same sense of unworthiness that I had so often felt, an unworthiness that husbands/partners/bosses, were only too eager to agree to, and point out to me, and I wanted to stop the car, get out and shake them, and tell them how worthy they were, and that this sense of worthlessness that they were feeling was not what they were born for. I wanted to tell them how like attracts like, and the more negative things they kept their focus on, the more negative things would show up. I wanted to tell them to focus their energies on all that was good in their lives, and what they wanted their lives to look like, instead of what their lives actually looked like. I wanted to tell them that you cannot expand and attract more positive things into your life, when all of your energies are focused on your lack. It is hard to learn to think differently.

So very hard.

We are not trained from birth to focus our energies that way.

And so we often trudge through life feeling worse each day, as we grow older and our dreams remain unfulfilled.

Some days, when money is tight and there are other problems, its really hard to focus on our blessings and maintain a positive outlook.

On those days, the lists I have been making have totally changed what could have been a bad day, into a good day.

Yesterday I was getting ready for a Chrismtas party. Usually I make sure the dogs are outside when I get in the shower, but I was in a hurry and forgot to put them out. Tonya, my pit bull LOVES a bath, and  when she heard the water turn on she immediately ran into the bathroom and jumped in the tub. Her feet were muddy, and she needed a bath, but I didn’t really want a dog in the shower with me. She, however, had no intention of getting out, and the thought of a wet dog dripping mud all over the house wasn’t a good one, so I let her stay in the shower and I washed her too, even though it was a much less pleasant shower with a dog trying to catch all the water flowing out of the spout and the shower head. But, we both managed to get clean. Which is why she smells good today. Which is one of the things I’m loving about the day already. A nice clean dog.

Since the dog is clean, I’m washing my sheets and blankets too. And feeling really good about the day already.

I hope you are enjoying your day also, and if you are not, I recommend making lists of all of your blessings and all of the things you would like manifest into your life. Writing them down will give you more and more ideas on how to make them realities. I could go on, but the horses are calling me to get their breakfast. NOW!

So I better get to it!

Anita

 

Conundrum

Another Rainy Day

My dogs just ate my lunch. It was a huge bowl of piping hot, thick, chicken, lentil, and vegetable stew that I had fixed and then sat on the dinning room table to eat. I remembered that I needed to call a wood cutter to order a load of firewood, and turned my attention away from my food a moment too long. Both dogs are sound asleep now, having ate their own bowls of food as well as mine.

It is a cold, wet, grey day outside, but I’m enjoying it. Inside the house it is wood-stove warm, and there is a pan of chicken roasting in the oven. This morning I dressed warmly for chores, and with no wind to speak of, the softly-falling rain gave me inspiration…on where I need to create walkways to the house, which gutters need replacing or removing, and just where to put the loads of gravel in the horse paddocks.. I also realized I am just about out of firewood, hence the need to order a load.

I am no yard expert, but today seemed like a terrific day to over-seed grass in the mostly bare yard around the house. I know I might not appreciate the thicker grass come summer time, but having grass in the yard is preferable to bare dirt, so that’s what I am going for.

There are dozens of tiny birds resting in the trees right outside the front door in the rain. I wonder where they go at night? And do they get cold? I hope they don’t eat all the grass seed I just put down. But if they do, I still have seeds left in the bag, and I will seed again…and be happy to have grass AND birds, come spring of the year.

 

 

My Friend Tonya

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It’s Sunday morning. A cold Sunday morning. Tonya, the pitbull, loves cold mornings because I bring in wood for the fire, and she likes to decorate the house with it. While I am sitting at my laptop doing my morning writing, I keep hearing drops onto the old wood floor of the living room. I shrug it off for awhile, thinking she is playing with some of her heavier toys, like her tire, her five-foot stuffed snake with the plastic head, or her big kong. But nope, when I catch sight of her running past me with a 4 pound log of wood in her mouth, the Pomeranian jumping joyously at her heels, I decide I better investigate, and find she has moved each piece of firewood to a new location.

Two big chuncks are on my bed, one piece is on the bedroom floor, and the rest of them are scattered around the living room. I ask her what in the world she is doing, and she looks proud of herself, then when I give her my displeased look, she sulks off for a moment,  until she thinks I’ve forgotten about her mess, which is usually about 10 seconds, then comes back again ready to play.

When I let them outside, Tonya jumps onto the milk-stand turned dog sofa sitting beside the front door. It used to have two dogs beds on it but Tonya chewed them up so badly they had to be thrown away. Tonya ran out the door, immediately grabbed the board off the milk stand she had un-nailed yesterday and threw it on the ground…happy to have found a chunk of wood to play with once again. I couldn’t help but laugh.

I don’t know if anything could set a day right better than the antics of happy dogs at play. Even digging in the yard, there is something contagious about their enthusiasm and love of life, and of us, even when we are not at our best. Even when we’re grumpy, or mean, or look a mess first thing in the morning, our dogs look at us like we are the most wonderful human in the world. And to that dog, in that moment, we are.

Tonya is in training to be a therapy dog. That was my intention when I got her as a 6 week old puppy. A dog whose breed is often stigmatized unfairly. A dog that is often guilty, unless proven innocent. A dog that I could relate to.

I didn’t set out to change the world’s perception of pitbull dogs, but rather, to prove to myself that the lies others tell about us, that we tell about ourselves, are just that, lies. And to be happy, we just have to…be happy. And no matter what someone has said about us, what lies they’ve told: “you’re not good enough”, “you’re a cheater”, “you are ugly”, “you are worthless”, “you are a dumb-ass whore”, “you make me sick”, “you are one of those horrible people”, etc.  We are reminded that a statement does not equal truth, even if it is directed at us, or our dog, even if our dog is a pitbull. Untruths have no bearing on who we really are.

And then we can breath again.

ps. Tonya has her own instagram page @myantoniathepitbull

Sacred

Of a Smokey Stove and a Cold Morning

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I might say, it’s a wee bit cold in the castle this morning. The chimney is a little clogged but the clean out cap is solidly rusted on…thanks to a chimney sweep who removed the old, cumbersome chimney cap and replaced it with a new version that never kept the rain out, turning the chimney pipe into a steam heater, solidly gluing deposits of burned wood to the sides of the pipe. Summer dried the deposits out and loosened them, and gravity made sure they all fell to the bottom of the pipe, effectively inhibiting the flow of smoke up the chimney.

We have a fire going this morning, but it’s a bit smokey upon opening the stove door. A chimney sweep is being sourced at this time, after my failed attempts at removing the cap as well as the entire lower pipe piece. None of the pipe moves without moving the stove, and I am no match for a 1000 pound wood stove.

The clogged stove pipe reminds me of a few interesting insights I’ve experienced lately, being less focused on my personal problems, and more focused on things that make me feel good, like a clean sink, a swept floor, that sort of thing. It’s funny how that happens. It’s always unexpected, and only happens after you take your focus off the thing you are trying to figure out.

Kind of like a clogged chimney, where the heat and smoke don’t flow freely, and when looked at, back up out of the stove door as soon as it’s opened. When we look at our problems, and focus on them, they clog up our minds and our bodies, making us depressed, anxious, and a bit crazy. But taking the focus OFF of our problems and the things we DON’T like, and focusing instead on the things in our lives we DO like, even little things, or anything else, besides our problems, we clear the way for solutions and answers to flow freely to us, uninhibited.

So, I play games with my five year old grandson with no guilt at all. In the grocery store, we pretend we are crawling through the ductwork in the ceiling, at home we play genies and gems on the computer, get excited over new pokemon we’ve caught or hatched, animate the dogs and stuffed animals, and make up new dances and short plays…

Everyone should have access to a five-year old child. We could all throw away our prozac while constructing an imaginary world that is a lot more fun and less problematic than our “real lives”.

And that is all.

Construct

Liminal

Today WordPress’s one-word prompt of the day is “Liminal”.  Merriam Webster defines Liminal as: 1) of or relating to a sensory threshold 2) barely perceptible 3) of, relating to, or being in an intermediate state, phase, or condition: in-between, transitional, as in the liminal state between life and death.

Whoa, doesn’t that just describe me and this farm most days to a T? I don’t think I’ve ever had a day when I could say, “okay, this is it, I’m where I need to be, now it’s time to get down to the business of living.” Instead, most days are spent trying to figure out how to get over the next hurdle; what to do about a partner who wants to end a relationship and I have no where to go, finally ending the relationship and then finding myself the sole owner of an old, run-down house I have no money or knowledge to know how to fix, watching the hay supply get smaller and smaller with no funds to buy more, watching my grandson get sicker and sicker, and then finally being diagnosed with Leukemia and all the horror that treatment entails.

As I watch  myself in the mirror every day getting older and older, realizing I can’t stop the train of aging, I teeter in the Liminal state of one day looking in the mirror, or perhaps passing that certain birthday, where I will actually be old enough to be “old”. And dreading that day, while looking forward to it at the same time. Old people don’t have to worry about all this liminal stuff. They can wake up anytime they want, take some meds, go back to sleep, watch TV, play with their great grandkids, go for a walk, fall down, pee in the bed, spit food all over their nurses, and finally hold their breath long enough that they die.

The End.

I don’t know if anyone ever gets to the place where they can say “I’ve arrived”. Except maybe when they get to Walmart, that’s kind of hard to miss, and you certainly know you are there. And maybe this great lostness, and unknowingness we all feel at some time or another, is yet but another really good reason to just to super nice to each other all the time, and help each other through our liminal phases. After all, in the end, we all travel the same road into eternity…or maybe some of us head south while the rest of us tarry on towards the much cooler north, but maybe that’s really the only state of non-liminalness that exists…the state of finally being with our Lord. Thinking about it that way kind of takes the pressure off down here, don’t you think?

I wish you all a less liminal, beautiful Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Liminal

It’s Too Dark To Exercise!

Even though I did no feasting over the Thanksgiving holiday, (I know, dieters everywhere are hating me right now), I feel sated. Full. Stuffed. Over-full. Like I need a 10 mile run. Times 10. With shorter winter days, it’s getting harder and harder to find a safe place to get outside for exercise while it’s still light.

When I lived in the city, I often ran in the dark on well lit streets or at the gym. Living in the countryside, down a narrow back road with no hint of a street light or sidewalk or even a place to jump off the road when a car full of drucken teenagers or a farmer late for milking comes barreling down the road, unless you count the ditch.

And I’m not a fan of night time, country roadside ditches. They are full of road-kill stew…only not the edible kind…rather a mixed brew stew of opossums, deer, racoons, dogs, cats, vultures…and any other kind of  vehicular homicide varmit victim, with broken glass and paper wrapers thrown in for good measure, or maybe seasoning. Nope, especially after a rainstorms when the ditches are full of water and the “stew” is much more stew-like, and even more gruesome. Nope. Can’t go there.
Where I live, in the middle of no where, the only gym in town, a ladies-only gym, opens from 10 am to 4pm. I mean, who can actually use a gym with hours like that? And so, the satiation factor seems to be growing, increasing, maintaining a wider girth, etc. Luckily, I live on a farm where there is always free exercise to be had, although not quite the kind I’m wanting, and I rarely have junk food in the house…or if it does manage to wiggle in through the doorway with my daughter or my grandson, it’s soon gone, and then there is none any more.

So today, I’m thinking up a plan. One to beat down the satation feeling just a bit, and increase the feeling of being a lean, mean, (I’m actually nice, but nice doesn’t fit here), farming woman machine. Something I can do in the house, but not a treadmill. If I ran on a treadmill in the living room, me and the treadmill would soon be under the house, probably with the house on top of us.

Must. Think. Of. Something. Else.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Sated

Let The Snow Fall Where It May

Last night the heater in my bedroom kept shutting off, which got me a little worried until I woke up enough to realize that the reason it kept turning off was that it was maintaining a temperature of 75, which is what it was set on, and so did not need to run all night. Usually when I look at the heater lately, it reads 57 degrees, and runs constantly, never able to actually get the room up to 75 degrees.  What a blessing to finally be warm again, and from the looks of the weather report, it seems that the warming trend will last a week or maybe more.

I know winter is coming. In many parts of the country, a real winter is actually already here. For me, thinking about winter coming is kind of scary..kind of like the dreaded anticipation of a root canal. Living on a farm, there are lots of things to hate, I mean LOVE about winter.

There is the exhilerating, heart-attack inducing exercise of shoveling snow, the claustraphobic bliss of wearing coveralls and stocking caps to bed, the gratefullnes of no friendly, visiting neighbors, since I do not shower for days at a time because the bathroom is just too cold, the puzzle of frozen water pipes and figuring out just where to aim the heat gun while down in the 18-inch high, spider-infested crawl space under the house, having the excuse of frozen water pipes to use the bathroom outside and accidentally mooning the neighbors, the soft and fluffy unplowed roads meaning no bothersome trips to the grocery store for days at a time, living off of dry beans boiled in melted snow that take two days to cook on the woodstove, by which time I am probably eating dog food, melting snow on the wood stove and carrying it outside to water all the livestock because of frozen water pipes and and hoses.

I could go on for days about the fun of winter, living in an old, un-remodeled farm house, but I have just made myself entirely too happy to continue.  I am simply ovejoyed at the thought of all the fun and chaotic adventures of winter. A season that is sure to show its cold and frozen face just about any day now. And I do plan to enjoy every minute of it. Every. Single. Minute. What memories I’ll be making! What contrast I’ll be enjoying (as Esther Hicks might say).

I honestly can’t wait for it, because I know that once it’s here, it’s that much closer to being out of here. Like any other bad day, not one of them can last forever, and if we didn’t have the storms, the hardships, the snowy days buried stocking-cap deep in frozen white hell falling from the sky, we wouldn’t know a good day if it hit us broadside and knocked us into next week. And therefore, I say, bring it on, Old Man Winter, you old fart. I’m just going to curl up with a thick pair of insulated coveralls, a nice warm hat, some mittens, a pot of something hot, a pit bull on my feet, and let the snow fall where it may.

Winter: It’s coming to a location near you. Soon.

 

Chaotic