Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

C: Spring Work on the Homestead

What a beautiful day, last Sunday!   We took the opportunity to work on our front  steps where the support beam had worked loose.  I use the term “we” loosely…you can see from this picture who was actually doing most of the work!DSCN1074

Son and I purchased our first jack!!!  A hydraulic jack!  A red DSCN1079hydraulic jack!  (This sounds so very impressive to me….it takes so little…).  We jacked that sucker up and went to work!

We had lots of help from the dogs, who simply adore it when we are outside working.  They stick right with us, offering to help, keeping a watchful eye.



DSCN1095There is still so much to do (always), and my place is never going to look like Martha Stewart’s home and certainly not like some of my blogging friends’ places.  I envy all you folks out there who can share pictures of gorgeous flowers and projects  It is all Son and I can do to keep the grass down and the place in repair!  It seems we both work all the time during the week. 

I have my “projects” list but it never seems to get shorter.  I just took a “before” photo of my bedroom’s screened porch, intending to wow you all with the results of my renovation project, but we’ll see.  I am mentioning it now as added accountability to spur myself to get it done!  So frustrating at times not to be able to get to it all!

But we are content and happy to be in the country! 


I much prefer this view from my front porch to a cityscape.   Happy Spring to you, too! C

Saturday, March 27, 2010

C: A Matter of the Heart

He [Jesus] answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'’" Luke 10:27 (NIV)

So, Jesus, do whearte have a “heart” AND a “soul” AND a “mind?”    Could it be that we could love the Lord with our minds but not our hearts?  Yes, I think this happens all the time.  Maybe most of the time.

Could it be that we could love Him deeply in  our souls but not realize it in our minds? 

Are these separate components but which combine to make us a whole?

The verse above has been on my mind recently because, of all things, Alzheimer’s Disease.  We lost my father-in-law to Alzheimer’s not quite three years ago.  How vividly I recall the devotion of MIL to his needs; watching his fear and confusion as he began to forget; the surrealism of having him turn to me, his daughter-in-law for nearly forty years, asking, “So, do you and your husband have any children?”  His memory just began to seep away.forgetting

V’s mother is now in the struggle, and I know that soon V will share with you about that. 

But what has started me really thinking about this is a story from a friend of my sister.

“B” is a lovely retired nurse practitioner; I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple of years ago because she needed some legal preparation for the darkness coming over her from Alzheimer’s.  From what I hear (and from what you are about to hear), B does, indeed, love the Lord in her heart and soul.  And she loves her neighbor as herself.

At the time I met B, she was living with her daughter and son-in-law.  Since that time, the darkness has deepened, as we knew it would.  B’s family found her a place in a facility which could care for her the twenty-four hours a day she now requires.

Just this week I received word that B’s family had been asked to take her back home.  The nursing home, although it is equipped to handle Alzheimer’s patients, cannot keep her.  B continually tries to “treat” the other residences, messing with their IV’s, pushing them in their wheelchairs.  nursehatTry as they might, the nursing home staff cannot persuade B that it is they who care for these residents, that she needs to rest, they  have it under control.  B cannot help herself, so she cannot stay.

This means that B’s daughter and son-in-law must, instead, provide the care.  How?  They both work.  This is a hard place, and I will pray for them, watching to see how this last act of the play unfolds.

I told my mother-in-law this story.  She recalled for me another woman, also a nurse, who was in the nursing home where my father-in-law lived out his last few weeks.  This woman, too, cared for the other residfolding clothesents, although not in a way that would endanger them medically, like in B’s case.  This nurse would go into each patient’s room and straighten it up, opening the drawers and folding clothing neatly, putting it back in place.  She never took anything, she never made any disturbance.  She just spent  her days taking care of others in the only way she still could.

This has made me think about what has been driving B as she persisted in her “nursing.”  The cynic might say it was long years of habit or the fact that her identity is so wrapped up in “being” a nurse.

I am not a neurologist or a psychologist.  I have no scientific basis for this; only by observation and my instinct. 

I believe that as one of these components—the mind—fades, there are left the others.  That the heart and the soul remain and they are able to shine through, unencumbered by the facades the mind causes us to put up for others.

When my father-in-law really began to fail, he became very childlike, trailing after MIL everywhere she went.  She often likened it to a having toddler.  He would bring her little gifts, much like a child might bring Mom a dandelion, presenting it as if it were a rose. 

If you have read MIL’s blog, Immigrant Daughter, you will know that Father-in-Law was an abandoned child who grew up with no one in his life, shuttled from alzheimer'sstampharsh foster home to harsh foster home.  It seems to me that as his mind began to recede, the need for the security he had missed as a child and harbored in his heart always began to come to the forefront.

As for B, I believe it was her heart; that even though her mind is gone, that heart of hers shines through.  It is in her  heart to care for the needs of others.

And, that is a beautiful, marvelous thing. 

It was my son who observed this morning as we talked about this that our minds/our intellects cause us to calculate and adapt to the expectations of others, often covering up the fears or the needs or the gifts that are harbored in our hearts. 

Just something to think about.  Maybe sort of a little bit of a silver lining (boy, I say that haltingly) to a dreadful disease.  C.

Friday, March 26, 2010

C: Chili Update

You may recall the sorry recent saga of my Belgian Malinois, Chili.  You can see the back story at this post. He had been going missing for days at a time.  This was causing his mama (me) grave emotional distress and was ravaging Chili’s health—he was a walking skeleton by the third DSCN1005episode of disappearance.

So, what’s a mama to do?  I took him right off to the veterinarian who in turn took his testicles right off.  (Aha! Take that, you wayward male!!) But the veterinarian warned me that it would take  up to three months (!) for the hormones to leave his body to the extent that he would quit roaming.

This was not good news.  I am a woman who likes things my way NOW.  I was disappointed that my swift action against his sex drive would not give me an immediate cure for the roaming.  I have no good way to confine him while I am at work.

But, I am beginning to learn to relax and just let the things I cannot really do much about go their own way.  So, I just stayed around close during Chili’s convalescenDSCN1002t weekend, then went off to work as usual, leaving Chili outside.

Well, I’m happy to report that, residual hormones or no, Chili has stayed right around the house!  Not once has he roamed off again.  The only thing I can figure is that he is sooooooooo smart that he realizes that really bad things happen to dogs who don’t stay close to home!  In any event, I am thankful that this problem seems cured.  He’s back up to his normal weight and looking quite handsome.


And he still spends time in the woods, sniffing, chasing those threatening squirrels away.  He has a good life in the country.

We on the farm are now back to our comforting routine.  The dogs sleep on their beds on my bedroom floor at night.  When I drive off for work, they immediately trot up the driveway to spend the day with Grandmom.  On two or three occasions recently little Scout (the Sheltie) has “asked” t o stay the night with MIL, and that  is just fine.  It is amazing how much comfort and company MIL and I get from these dogs!!

Here’s Chili looking longingly toward the woods, hopefully realizing that his roaming days are over:


Tomorrow my son and I are hosting a conceal-and-carry class.  Believe it or not, this was MIL’s idea, and she will be getting her license, too.   We will be gun-toting mamas.  This will be a gathering of good friends who want to get their licenseconceal and carrys, and we will do so with my back porch as a classroom and a pot of soup for our break. 

I am looking forward to really learning about my pistol.  MIL has been  saying for a while that we country girls need this skill, and she’s right (note to self, don’t mess with this Immigrant Daughter….).  I will report on this endeavor.

And somehow the subject of guns sorta seems to mesh with the beginning theme of this post: a cure for wayward males…but I’ll leave it to you for that connection.  C

Saturday, March 20, 2010

C: Let’s Help This Budding Scientist!!

Spring is here, which means all of us will be out in the midst of nature, whether gardening or just strolling through the woods.  Watch this video and see if you can’t keep your eyes peeled while you’re out and about and help her out!

You might want to equip yourself with one of those little butterfly nets, like she has.  I think Pink would be best…for reasons best understood after this video.


Remember, some things have to be believed to be seen 

Happy Spring!  C

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

C: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Those of you who have been reading Stickhorse Cowgirls for very long riellegettingoffbed knew this was coming…you had to have known that Rielle Hunter’s GQ Magazine interview would activate Cowgirl C.  In a big way.

At the risk of my PG rating, it gives me great pleasure to post Rielle’s pictures here.  I want to post these pictures because I am afraid some of you will miss them otherwise.  And I believe the camera does not lie….Rielle needs to be exposed for the trash that she is, and the whole world needs to know.

Look at this portion of the Cleveland Celebrity Examiner’s March 15, 2010 interview with Rielle Hunter describing Rielle’s first meeting with John Edwards:

The two met in the bar of New York's Regency Hotel in 2006…she handed one of Edwards' people her business card and he met her at the bar moments later. According to Rielle there was a mutual attraction.

… And I just uttered to him, 'You're so hot.' And he said, 'Why, thank you!' And he almost jumped into my arms. Literally."

Amazing.  Talk about trash…both of them. 

I remember reading of this meeting, as told by John Edwards, during the time when he had “repented” and returned to Elizabeth.  What stuck in my mind from that conversation is his description of her approaching him, saying, “You’re hot…”  Apparently, that’s all it takes for him to ditch everything—his family, his political future, all that he had worked so hard to gain and maintain.

And now there’s a baby.  A little, innocent baby.  Sorry.  You cannot convince me that this baby was an accident.  Seventeen-year-olds get pregnant by mistake.  Adult women who know how to premeditatively snag married men are savvy about birth control.  Write it down: this babyrielleandbaby was intended.  It is the way women try to solidify relationships.  I see it all the time.  It is a fool’s game, and it is unfair and blatant using of an innocent baby.

And look where Rielle is because of this baby-pawn: getting a reported $20,000 per month in child support, a house, yadayadayada….a spread in GQ, far and away more than she would ever have made on her own.

Here’s her picture with baby (not that she would ever use  her child, mind you).  Doesn’t she just look like the sweet mommy?

And, by the way, she’s whining about these photos you see here.  She’s calling them “replusive” and says she cried for hours when she saw them.  My question: Where was she when they were taken?? Now she’s worried they make her look like a slut.  If the shoe fits…  I am so happy to post them….

And let me dispel her statement to GQ when she said, “….healthy marriages are not susceptible to infidelity…”  Wrong, honey.  There are studies on this one.  Look at this quote from therapist Ann Bercht, who specializes in adultery:

…[It is a} commonly believed myth that affairs happen only as a result of problems in a marriage. That it is not possible for someone who is genuinely happy and in love with their spouse to have an affair. This is false. You can be in love with your spouse, have all your needs met perfectly and still be enticed by the flattery, seduction and smooth talk of another. Why is he there? Because it feels good to have an affair … for a brief period of time, like eating chocolate cake when you’re on a diet.

Can you say that if you’ve had a very satisfying and fulfilling meal, that you are immune to the temptation of a desert or 2nd helping? This is ridiculous logic. Every married person needs to protect themselves from the temptation of affairs, first of all by being aware that that they are not immune, and then by learning the truth about affairs, and the subtle ‘letting down of walls’ that can lead you down their deadly path. When it comes to affairs, what you don’t know DOES hurt you. (Anne Bercht.  “My Husband’s Affair became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”, 2004)

Probably because I have a personal axe to grind, I feel the need to refute Rielle's statement absolving herself.  I want women everywhere—on both sides of this adultery fence, the betrayer and the betrayed—to understand this: that, yes, sin and riellewithtoys temptation can invade a happy, healthy relationship.  The adulterer needs to own her responsibility in, yes, “home-wrecking.”  The betrayed spouse needs to be absolved of it.

Here’s another picture of Rielle…looking for all the world like a slut…amongst the toys, being one herself.   An ego toy for Johnny.  I’m sure she’s embarrassed, sob (not!).

And, after denying that she was, in her words, a “home-wrecker,” because who would want to be called that, Rielle says this of herself in GQ:

I was never, as it's been reported, a drug addict. The word addiction means inability to stop. I stopped doing drugs in my twenties. As for being promiscuous, I would say that I was a bit promiscuous for about six months. But it was because I was partying, and there were a lot of very good-looking available 20-year-old men around that you'd be partying with, and there was a lot of, you know, hooking up going on.

Well, isn’t that a character recommendation???

Okay.  That’s it.  For now.  C

Friday, March 12, 2010

C: Weekend Approaches!

Well, the week has been action-packed, again.  I spent all day in trial yesterday.  Will have to wait until next week for a verdict but ended with a well-satisfied feeling. 

I had to drav4eal with some car maintenance, which is difficult to manage timewise and Dollarwise.  Someone backed into my cute little RAV4 and smashed the wheel cover.  They did not even leave a note!  That sucker was $492 to replace!  Not enough to report to insurance, but  enough to dent my budget!

Also, my two-year-old car had worn out its tires.  I replaced them today….my first ever purchase of tires (or as the service guy said, “Tars.”).  Note the addition of tire purchase under the “Power Accomplishments” list on the sidebar!

The car drives so much better than it did, and my brakes are chemichelincked and good and the little car just seems to be quite in good shape!  But, I gotta tell ya, that’s a budget-buster, too!

All this in the midst of Toyota recalls.  My mother has been antsy about this.  My car was not included in the recall.  I talked to the service department about the recall, and they were very reassuring about my 2008 car…still…

V and I headroadtrip out EARLY tomorrow morning to fetch her new pup (in my newly-refurbished Rav4).  We are excited about the road trip and the dog and will fill you in.

Happy Saturday!  C

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Daffodils are showing around here!  daffodils2008 I am just about to convince myself that winter is over.  ‘Bout time.  For this Southern girl whose blood gets thinner each year, this winter seemed coooooooold!  I think of my friend at life through reflections when she wrote about the ocean shore near her home freezing!  Brrrrr!  Could I survive that kind of winter?  Oh, probably.

We only lost power once this winter, which is a good thing, and then for only about eight hours.  Husband left me with a small gasoline generator but I cannot get it started.  I think something isgenerator wrong with it, and even when it is in good condition, it must be cranked, and I’m not a good cranker!  I loathe dealing with the weed eater with its crank cord.  I don’t mind the actually weedeating but the stopping to add line and then the re-cranking gets on my last nerve.  Besides, even when that generator works, it won’t power the well pump, just the house lights, heat and refrigerator which, still, is something.

Son and I were in The Home Depot this weekend, and boy did I eye those big automatic generators!  They looked about like the one in this picture.  The two I looked at were $1900 and $propane generator 2800.  I am trying to justify that on a credit card (would have to be—not that much cash!) and keep telling myself that we survived with the outage pretty well with our trusty fireplace.  And I’m good so long as it’s just a matter of hours  and not days without energy.  But I harken back to the several years ago (2000, maybe??) when we went six days!!! without power.  We had our little generator then, and it still felt like we were roughing it.

It just occurred to me…so like C to be talking generators when here we are at the end of winter!  You’d think I’d learn to plan ahead!  Maybe that’s what I’m doing: planning ahead for next winter.  Yeah, that’s it!

Anyway, I’m chomping at the bit to get out and work on the place, putting my little tractor back to work.  Amazing that this time last year I was still approaching that tractor with trepidation.  This year, I’m actually looking forward to the bushhog!  Progress!

We have a work day lined up with son and his friend this weekend.  We’ll be working on stump removal and clean up of limbs and such that fell through the winter and one of my favorite things: the burn pile!  Hope to DSCN0665 have pictures for you then.

Saturday is taken up with a road trip!!  V and I are traveling to the next state to pick up a dog she is adopting!  We are excited to be hitting the road together and about the new addition to V’s family.  She has needed a new little terrier since her beloved Wendy passed on.  Maybe we’ll have interesting road trip pictures from that trip!

MIL is doing the exercycle to build her muscles up for the spring and summer.  Her hip has healed nicely, but she clearly has lost some strength which affects her confidence in walking.  So we moved my stationary bike up exercycle there (it was collecting dust here, anyway), and she is diligently getting herself into shape to be outside putzing in the good weather.  She’s driving herself now, but still feels a bit confined.  But we know that Spring brings opportunity for more “action” in her life!

And, so, that’s the early-morning report from Stickhorse Cowgirl C!  Thank you for tuning in.  Hope you are looking forward to the day as eagerly as am I!  C

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I love on-line banking.  It helps give me a secure feeling that I know eonlinebankingxactly how much I have to work with without worrying too much about my math in the check register.  Most days I look at my on-line statements for my checking accounts and it is a good thing I do.

Recently I noticed some weird charges on my account.  For example: $148 worth of Pizza Hut pizza at one order (I kid you not).  There were charges to wireless service companies, and just odd pizzascharges in a town I had not even been to recently.  This happened on a Saturday when the bank was closed.  There was about $600 out of my account, and the notation indicated it was debit card use.

I rushed to my purse, thinking my card had been left somewhere and was being used.  No, it was there.  How, then????

I called the 24 hour banking number without success.  It eventually (after all the button pushing) directed me to call the bank at weekday business hours.  Big help.  I e mailed them right away so I would have a record of my report.

On Monday I went to the bank at the earliest opportunity.  The bank put the money right back into my account and took the debit card, ordering creditcards me another.  Their investigation revealed that the debit purchases were not in person: they were either on-line purchases or telephoned orders (as in the pizza orders).  These did not require a PIN, only the debit card number, the expiration date and the security code.

Here’s the only the explanation the bank can give: They theorize that when I made a purchase (such as giving my debit card to a waiter at a restaurant), that person jotted down the information from the card.  This enabled him or her to go online or call and purchase using that information.moneyoutwindow

So, word to the wise: keep careful tabs on your accounts if you use debit cards.  My bank was greatly cooperative, but just think what a mess if those purchases had overdrawn my account!  And my money was just flying out the window!!

This could also happen with credit cards, so it is a good idea to establish on-line capability for those accounts so they can be checked regularly.  Never again will I go a month without looking at all my accounts.  C

Saturday, March 6, 2010

C: WARNING. This is a Soapbox I’m Standing On

Whew!  Let me say it again: Whew!  This week has been a humdinger.  As a family law attornpaperworkey, I feel a bit macabre in saying that my business “has been good” lately, because that means that people are in pain.  However, it has been sooooo busy that it is phenomenal. 

I have found myself  going from one conference room to the next, meeting with clients.   What this means, of course, is that all the paperwork needed from those will have to be done this weekend!

Yes, people are still getting divorced at alarming numbers (yours truly…), but that’s not what this rant is about.  Before I go full-swing let me say a few “givens,” because I am going to sound somewhat harsh in this post:

  1. All babies, regardless of circumstance of birth, are blessings, end of story.  We are happy, happy, happy they are here.babies
  2. Life throws us curves.  Things (pregnancies, included) happen when they are not expected.  They just do, and I get that.
  3. If you or someone you love are in the position of single parentdom already, I’m sorry, and I mean no offense.  I know many are there by other-than-choice and that is not what I am preaching about here.  Well, not exactly….

I think we all know there has been a steep rise in unwed births.  I am very tempted to lapse into statistics here, because they would alarm you, but if you want those, ask and I’ll supplement.  I’m scared this is going to be too long as it is.

What I want to focus on today is the not one, not two, but three young women I encountered in my practice recently.  All have babies (under one year) by men to whom they are not married.  All three mothers are wild-eyed crazy (sincerely) at the thought of those men now getting visitation.  All three mothers want supervised visits for reasons from among the following:

  1. He has a rage problem and no patience;
  2. He uses drugs—she just knows it because she knows what he did when they were together.  We just can’t seem to get a sample to prove it.
  3. He never cared for the baby before and only wants visitation as revenge on her—probably true in one case.
  4. He lives with his mother in a falling-down trailer with four cats and three dogs in the house; nasty, nasty, nasty.  Where is her baby going to sleep and where is her baby going to safely crawl around?
  5. He’s irresponsible and immature (ya think??).

All three women admit that they knew of these unsavory characteristics in these men before they got pregnant.

These women are in sincere distress when I tell them (all but one) that supervised visits ain’t gonna happen under their facts.  No, thewaveir babies will be sent off for some variation of every-other-weekend and maybe one night per week plus rotation of holidays and some graduated extended vacation.  What!! I have to let him take her on vacation???!!!  Yep, he’s daddy.  Learn to wave “bye-bye.”

What about breastfeeding?” they ask, “Isn’t that a special case?”  Sure is; my advice: start pumping and freezing.  The courts will (must) ensure that almost any father has a real relationship with his child if he wants one.

And, now, we come to the issue that really has me worked up: Many of these girls are getting pregnant by men they have never had intention of marrying!!! When I ask them, they will tell me all those reasons they now don’t want him visiting (see above),  finishing up their litany with “I would NEVER marry him.”

They slept with him (unprotected) but they don’t think he’s good enough for them to marry?  They would foist a jerk on an innocent little child? I’m sorry. It upsets me no end, no end, no end. It is rank “me-ism.” Me, me, me, me, me—hang the consequences to anyone else, including an innocent baby not yet born.

And, while I often see women who just petulantly don’t want to “give” visitation, these three cases involve sincere concerns.  I happen to agree with them.  If I were these babies’ mother, it would give me ulcers to send him/her into these environments.  But, those kids will go.  Why?  Because their mothers chose poorly for them.  They set them up with circumstances that are far less than ideal.  They did not have to do that to these children.

I want to shout this from the rooftop to young women everywhere: If you want to sleep around, I won’t preach morality to you—your business, strictly. But we live in a day and age when birth control is absolutely available and you should remember that taking care of your unborn child is more than just about quitting smoking and drinking during pregnancy bird and watching diet. 

It’s about safe-nesting.  Wild birds do it—they choose the best location and circumstances that they can to give their offspring the best chance in life.  Why can’t human women do it? Folks, over thirty-five percent (conservatively) of all births in America are out of wedlock now.  There is a whole ‘nother post about why this, alone, even with great fathers, is less than ideal.

If you do not heed my warning here and you get pregnant out of wedlock by someone you have no intention of marrying, you are starting out as an irresponsible parent from the get go. You are consigning your unborn child to disadvantage because of your own rank selfishness. And if you inflict upon your child a father that you don’t even want as a husband because of his character flaws, then shame, shame, shame on you. That child had no say in any of this, and your selfishness will impact him or her far and away more that it does you.

And I am flinching to be hit by you out there in blogdom for my statements above..I know they sound harsh.  But they are my perspecbonk-on-headtive,  honestly.

All I’m asking here is that women THINK! And care about someone else other than themselves when the consequences are so dire.  Please take care of your unborn child by building a safe nest before he or she comes.  It is basic mothering…

C’mon out there…how do we get across to young women that they have a responsibility to their future children to nest safely?  Do I need to get a tent and a bullhorn and go on the road?

And if you’re already in this predicament, there is hope. Sequel to this rant covering what-to-do-now-that-I’m-in-this-pickle is available on request. People usually pay $250 per hour for this advice…

See, I told you this was a rant…I’m gonna push “publish,” but I am, truly, flinching…C

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PS: I see Barbara from 3 Acre Homestead is first on the comment bandwagon. This is ironic, because I first got the thought about the responsibility for "safe-nesting" from her blog. She wrote about her ducks choosing good locations for their nests, and I thought "WE need to do that..." Go visit Barbara. She is wise and you will love her blog. C
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