Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Life on a big, round ball

...moves along and never for a moment, ever slows down.  Not very poetic, but most appropriate.  Well, I think so anyway.  I live in constant amazement at the passing of time.  And how, with every passing year that time thing seems to move at an ever-increasing pace.  I sometimes feel like I'll wake up and be like 80 years old tomorrow.

As is common when I attend funerals, they bring forth many emotions that are usually kept deep beneath the surface.  My cousin died last week and it was a "celebration of life" accompanied by many pictures taken throughout his life, presented in movie form.  Very well done and enlightening on many levels.  Lots of family and friends, both known and unknown by me, were present.  But emotions aside, my overwhelming feeling was one of sadness that, although he was my cousin and I've seen him here and there throughout my life; I didn't know him.  I did not know him as a person. But his life seems to have been full.  He leaves a wife who obviously loved him and whom he deeply loved, 2 grown children and 6 grandchildren.  He was a decorated Army veteran, did 2 full terms of duty in Vietnam, was a drill Sargent for many years and then a medic and finally retired from the military.  As a civilian, he started a landscaping business, loved to camp and fish, and loved to grow vegetables in his garden.  Hmm, who knew?  Interesting to me how I can know someone my entire life, and never really know them.  Another argument in favor of real conversation, rather than shooting the breeze.

My take-away message is this:  life is very short, and death is sure.  Make the most of what time we're blessed with.  I wonder how many others' feel the way I do.  These milestones in our lives serve as reminders.

We've been given a break from our torrential rain the last several days.  Last Friday was overcast, but dry and cool.  And then Saturday morning dawned beautiful!  Clear, blue skies and full-on sunshine.  It was so incredibly warm!  Although I was home sick with a wicked head cold all weekend, our windows and doors were flung wide open to let in the fresh air and lively birdsong.  Oh my, it was just lovely.  Monday was even nicer, if you can imagine that.  Not sure what our high temps were for the day, but I spent time sitting outside on the deck for the first time since early last Fall and the sun felt so good on my face and shoulders.  Just heavenly!  Seems like we're always thrown a bone sometime in February with a false spring.  Likely, so we can tolerate more of winter's woes until sometime in April when spring officially gets going.  :)  Not that I should complain about our winter though - besides the rain, it's been another very mild winter season.  Not much of a winter at all really.  But when the sun comes out and the skies are so blue, everybody just seems to perk up and feel so happy.  Whatever ails ya, can be easily overcome!

We must be as boring as all get out because I really have nothing news-worthy to report of late.  Life just keeps on, chores and horses to be tended, house to be cleaned, working at the clinic everyday and dogs to be entertained.  I am happy to report that Miss Charlotte came through her surgery with flying colors!  According to her doctor though, she had a very traumatic day.  Barked all.  day.  long.  :( Poor, sweet baby!  She did not appreciate being left at all.  And since that day, she is suffering from what I believe is, separation anxiety.  Either that, or she's been possessed by some little dog devil who wants to chew things she's not supposed to be chewing!! *sigh*  My poor chair!  My poor car seat!  Oh dear...

This too shall pass...right?

And what's worse - she's just too darned cute to beat.  I am toast.

The farrier is due tonight.  Trims all around, and I'm happy to report that Ladde continues on the road to recovery.  Yay!!!  We've been cleaning his feet and painting his soles with hoof hardener 1-2 times a day for a couple of weeks now.  It's working.  His soles are tougher and since the weather has been nice, he's been on full turn-out with the herd.  Oh my, I cannot tell you how happy that makes him - and me!  I do believe I can finally see light at the end of this tunnel...and we had him re-tested last week.  Insulin, glucose, Leptin and ACTH (cortisol) levels are all within normal range!!!!!  I was so happy I kind of cried a little.  Oh, but they were happy, happy tears...

I have faith that our boy is back.  SO thankful (!)

Hope you have reasons to smile and give thanks too,
Lorie @ Cingspots

another sign of approaching spring - my daphne starting to bloom

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Birthday eve

Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow's gonna be another one.

Dr. Seuss

I'm one of those odd ducks that doesn't mind birthdays.  In my family, growing up we never made a big fuss of birthdays.  I remember having one party when I was in grade school, but otherwise, there was usually a cake.  Don't remember too many gifts.  But the day in itself is the gift.  Oh sure, there's pitfalls to growing older, but overall it's a blessing.  The alternative's rather boring, so bring them on!
But holy moly, I'm going to be 56 - where has the time gone???  So many memories, so many adventures and so many that I've forgotten about (conveniently?)!!  Maybe...

Ladde continues on the road to recovery.  He's off all pain meds and has no bandages on his feet, and he's on turn-out with the crew weather-permitting.  Lately it's been a day out, a day in, a day out and so on.  Yes, we're still raining.  *sigh*  We sleep with our bedroom window open because temps are in the 50's and down comforters are so warm.  I'm sort of hoping for a cold snap, frozen mud and blue skies, but we'll see how that goes.

Charlotte is now 7 months old and is almost as tall as Ruby.  She's long-legged and very slender, but a tall girl.  She's going in for her spaying surgery this coming Tuesday.  I pray it goes well and her recovery is smooth-sailing.  She's a very active girl, so we're hoping for the best.

Rick (boss man) took some action shots of her the other day with his new lens.  So many of my pictures of Charlotte are just a blur, but apparently the new lens is meant to capture action shots.  Guess it works!  I haven't been posting many pics here lately because of being photo-uploading challenged.  And my phone lost all the pics I've taken since the first week of December.  grrrrrr!!  It seems to "think" that the chip has been unloaded, and needs to be reloaded, which of course, it hasn't.  And there's a procedure to follow when taking the chip out or there's a danger of losing photos!  Really!?  Problem with that is - I didn't remove it.  I really kind of hate technology.  Anyway, no sense in crying over spilled milk...they're gone.  So, I'm thankful to have these...

She's a fun little dog.  Very interactive, wants to be in your business all the time.  All the time.  She's a watcher too, and I like that.  Annie always kept her eye on me, and I've been missing that.  Ruby's more like an adolescent girl who needs her space. Very protective of "her" private space and all that.  Two very different personalities, both good.  Both loved and appreciated.  How much more boring would life be without dogs in it?

Guess I'll never know...

Our "daughter from another mother" Jessie, lost her horse Monday to an ulcerated intestine - basically an internal hernia.  We thought we were dealing with an impaction colic as he wasn't ever very painful.  Just mildly uncomfortable for several days, and we didn't think he'd pooped.  The first vet examined him, wasn't very concerned, announced his vitals were all good, and to just watch him.  24 hours later, same vet called out and this time he was stomach-tubed with mineral oil and water, left a tube of banamine and said to watch him.  Rectal exam revealed no distension and a spongy impaction which she thought would pass within 24 hours time.  That was Sunday afternoon.  By Monday morning he was so distended that a rectal exam couldn't even be performed.  Jessie took him to OSU where they did an exploratory surgery and found the problem.  Grave prognosis, so Lil Buck was euthanized on the table.  Sad day for all.

Appreciate those in your lives that you love.  None of us is guaranteed anything.

Take care and for all you fellow Oregonians...take care not to float away.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It's all about the weather

If I were ever to envision myself in a "career" that involves one of the sciences, I'd likely pick meteorology.  Yeah, I find everything about our weather systems, patterns, atmosphere and all, just fascinating.  So did my dad.  Chalk up another one for following in dad's footsteps, or at least his personality traits.  :)

Anyway, we had the most fantastic weather last weekend!  Brisk temps, bright blue skies, nothing more than a gentle, occasional breeze and it was warm.  Just about perfect I'd say!  So, in celebration of our glorious weather, hubs and I took the dogs and went on walks both days.  Just beautiful, and super duper exciting for the pent-up poochies.  We actually had to pull over near our destination and let them out in a grass field to run some of that energy off.  They were yipping, howling and just about to burst with the anticipation of it all.  Plus they were digging holes in my hubby's legs.  Fair trade-off I'd say.

Good thing we did get out and enjoy it because since then...the rain has returned.  And in spades!!!  Good grief, we've been getting it in buckets.  The lakes have returned to our back yard and our pastures, the horses have been in the barn for the last 2 days and we have so much mud that wearing anything other than knee-high muck boots would be a disastrous mistake.  *sigh*

Oh well, can't complain because nothing I say, or do will have any kind of an impact.  Just best to go with the flow and make the best of what is.  I'm getting better at this.  Really I am.

In other areas, remember that I'd mentioned having my car repaired to the tune of almost a thousand dollars?  Well, while driving it home I noticed that the brakes felt funny.  Or the lack of brakes to be more specific.  Yep, my car now has no brakes.  I can pump, pump, pump and get back a little, but with foot pressure, the pedal just slowly goes to the floor.  It is absolutely unsafe to drive.  So, without having had anything checked out yet, my best guess is that the master cylinder is kapoot.  Before doing anything, we'll take it somewhere and have the entire braking system checked out just to be sure.  No sense in replacing something just to find out that's not the problem, or the only problem.  But we're likely looking at another $300-$500 repair bill.  Again.  My old car's seen better days for sure, but she's paid for, was totaled, bought back for peanuts, and then I pocketed a couple thousand dollars and has overall been a reliable car for about 8 years now.  It was my mom's car and I didn't even buy it initially, so as you can see, I shouldn't complain.  But still.  I am kind of complaining.  As I said earlier regarding the weather; when it rains, it pours.

We've been fortunate that our temps so far this winter have been overall, quite mild.  I say this because we've been heating our home with only our little kitchen wood stove.  The reason for this, is that our fans on the living room pellet stove have gone belly up.  Yep.  Both of them at once.  This will be the second time that we've had to replace those fans, but considering we've had the pellet stove for about 20 years, I guess that's not too bad.  Based on what we paid last time, we're likely looking at $350-$400 to replace the pair of them.  Ka-ching!!!  Yeah.  That's why we work...

As far as some good news, Ladde is doing much better.  If he blew an abscess, I haven't been able to find one, but the last few days we haven't had to soak and we just change the poultice and pads every third day now.  So thankful for that!!!  He's been off pain meds for a couple of weeks (?) give or take, my memory grows fuzzy, but he seems to be doing very well overall.  I called our farrier and we're hoping to get him trimmed real soon.  It's pushing 9 weeks since his last trim and those toes have gotten quite long.  He isn't growing excess heel as some foundered horses tend to do, but the hoof itself appears healthy and has good growth.  I've put it off just a bit because of, well you know the story.  I just hope this is IT for a good, long while!!  He's had company in the barn lately, but we're really looking forward to getting back to normal and turning all the horses out in the daytime.

My stocked up bedding that I bought early last fall, which was supposed to take us all the way through the winter, is almost gone.  Now I'm just hoping it lasts until the first of February when our local farm store has their big "farm days" winter sale, and hopefully puts those bedding pellets on a reduced price again.  I gotta catch a break somewhere, right?  :)  The hay supply is holding quite well though - so count blessings where and when we can.  As my granny used to say, "it could always be worse".  Truth.

Until next time my friends, stay warm, give thanks and God bless us.  Every one.

Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, January 8, 2016

Moving right along

Again, it's been almost 3 weeks since I've posted.  Guess I just don't have much to say.  Some of you can stop laughing right about now...

Anyhoo, Christmas Eve was a delight.  I prepared a delicious dinner after having had the house to myself all day long.  I love those days!  Talk about a gift.  :)  One of my daughter's from another mother called out of the blue, and asked if we were going to be home.  She had a little something for us, and could they swing by?  I said of course, do you have any plans for Christmas Eve?  No was her reply.  So I invited Josh, Jessie and their two kiddos to dinner.  We enjoyed the evening so much more than we would have, had it just been the two of us.  Again.  It really was a beautiful evening. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we went out and fed carrots to the horses and it was great.  I even wrangled up some gifts and goodies were unwrapped.  Then afterwards, when the house was again all peaceful and quiet - we watched a very old version of A Christmas Carol.  Very nice.

Christmas afternoon we went to my sister's house.  It was the usual, same ole, same ole and I left there feeling a bit sad, disappointed and feeling like it was nothing special.  I say this every year, but I just don't want to spend next Christmas there.  *sigh*  I love my family, but I really don't like my family.  Sad huh?

The highlight of the evening, for me though, was getting to meet my great-great niece, Catori for the first time ever!  She was born on my birthday and will be turning 4 years old this coming January 21st.  She is adorable, doesn't speak, is extremely tiny for her age, and totally sweet!  I would take her on in a New York minute!!!  I won't even get into the details about her sad little life, but suffice it to say that it is not good.  Mother, and I use that term, very loosely, is a druggie, homeless, jobless and God only knows what all.  She has given up her other two children and lost another baby last year.  Forgive me  for saying so, but that was most likely, a blessing.  Catori doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of having a decent life.  I do not exaggerate.  Anyway, her mother dropped her off via an unlatched window before my niece's household was awake and left her.  No word, no note, nothing.  So, grandma has her for now and is also raising the middle child.  It's a sad, sad situation.  Like I said, I would take her and raise her if given the chance.  I've lightly gotten into this discussion with my niece (her grandmother), with not much of a response.  So, I leave it up to God.  I don't have any other choice in the matter.  It would be a drastic change to my life (our lives) having a little girl full-time, but never having had children of my own, I would do my best if given the chance.  She deserves so much more than what she's already endured.  I can't even imagine what her life's been like.  I don't really want to know.

In other areas of our life, Ladde was doing fairly well for a couple of weeks, but we're back to soaking and poulticing his front feet again.  *sigh*  He's already doing better, but without pads, he is sore, sore, sore.  Abscesses are a part of life for a horse that's foundered, but this is a bit excessive, at least in my experience.  I'm about to scream and I cannot even imagine how poor Ladde's feeling.  He is, as usual taking everything in stride.  He's been stalled more in the past 3 months than he has in his cumulative life so far.  And he just handles it with grace.  Such a trooper.

Our lives lately have revolved around working at our jobs, keeping the home fires burning, taking care of the horses and trying to get outside in the fresh air as often as we can.  Winter is a time of cabin fever if we're not careful, and that doesn't bode well for me, especially.  Our weather has been pretty good overall, ever since the monsoons of December stopped anyway.  Wettest December ever on record.  Christmas day was cold and we had sunshine.  Another gift.  Since then we've had some freezing temps and sunshine, some rain and last couple of days, cool and foggy.  We're supposed to get cold again and be dry for a week or so.  That's my favorite.

I'm happy the holidays are behind us for another year.  I enjoyed everything more this past season than I have in years, but it always feels good to go back to normal again.  I was even a little saddened to take the tree down.  I really loved our Christmas tree this year, for some reason.  I finally got my all white lights and it was just so peaceful and soothing to gaze upon.  Now it's in the backyard sporting bird seed and bread crumbs for the birds.  We're still getting pleasure from that little tree.

Anyway, dinner out with friends this weekend and nothing else on tap.  We're just playing it by ear.  Hope all is well with all of you.

As for resolutions, that's not something I've ever really done.  I like to pick a word that speaks to my heart, and keep it near and dear for as long as it's seems appropriate to do so.  Without thinking about it much, a word has been rattling around in my head for a while.  It seems fitting for some things I would like to accomplish in my future, so here goes..."courage".  That's my word and that's what I'd like to exhibit more of in the coming years.  If not now, when?


If you would, please wish me luck and send up a prayer on our behalf.  For several reasons.

Happy New Year to you all!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Oh happy day, Ladde's better

Finally!  And in answer to my prayer, Ladde blew out a huge, (bloody) abscess in the front of his left front foot, just at the coronet band.  He still has the bruise on the tip of the sole in that same foot, but I'm hoping that's it.  We took an x-ray the other day and could see the line of infection travelling up the foot.  Why UP???  Talk about going against the grain?  Gravity?  I don't really care!  He's so much better and I'm so glad...him too! His whole facial expression is brighter, and he has lots more energy from being pent up.  That will have to remain for a while, I'm afraid.  At least until the hole heals up some.  And our weather changes for the better.

Good grief our weather!!  Rain levels continue at record-breaking amounts, and today we're getting strong wind gusts.  You know what happens in the land of the giant evergreens when the ground is supper sogged and the winds come up?  Well, it ain't pretty.  When a tree comes down on your house, you know it.  We're fortunate in that we don't have any very large trees right by our house, but the old walnut right by the barn worries me some.  It's a heavy, old tree.  If it did come down though, it wouldn't hit the horse barn, or at least not much, but it could wipe out our main hay barn.  Wouldn't want that!  No sense in worrying about it though, I can't stop a tree from falling.  Worse than that, are the landslides.  So many people being dislocated from their homes.  Sad, especially this time of the year.  The only good news about this is the quantity of snow falling in our mountains.  That hasn't been the case these past couple of winters, so we need it.

Finished up with Christmas shopping last night.  Hubby's shopping.  We went to Cabella's.  My first time there, and I have to admit that I wasn't impressed.  They have some cool camping stuff and they sell fudge, but it's a spendy store that was crammed with lots of people who seem dazed, like I was.  Stuff overload!  It's definitely a guy store.

My personal least favorite thing about Christmas is wrapping.  I really don't like it much.  I buy pretty bags and have fun making bows and such.  That's about as fancy as I get.  :)  I was actually quite surprised at how quickly my few purchases added up to.  I can't even imagine how expensive Christmas with little kids would get.  Fun, yes - exciting, yes...just wish goods weren't so much these days.  Maybe that 's what people through the ages have been saying.  Anyway, we're spending the afternoon and evening at my sister's.  Dinner, lively conversation, and our annual gift exchange game that's always nice.  Then if all goes as usual, we'll sit around the kitchen table, well fed, sleepy, relieved; and reminisce about Christmases past.  Of our dear, loved ones who are no longer with us.  And we'll smile with tears in our eyes at how much we miss them.  And we'll laugh at fond memories with them.

Then we'll one by one express our best wishes and our goodbyes, as we head to our own homes.  Amazed, once more at how quickly Christmas came.  And went.

How will you spend the holiday?  Whatever you do, I hope you laugh, make merry, eat and talk, surrounded by people you love and who love you just as much.  Even if just for the day.
Merry Christmas everyone!!

If you get snow, please share those beautiful pictures with us soggy, Pacific Northwesterners...kay?

p.s.  thanks so much for the goodies Claudia.  we love them!

from drier days

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Be the change...and other miscellany

Did you catch any of the debate last night?  

Is it just me, or does anybody else think these men (boys) act like spoiled, rotten children?  And - like they don't have any idea of how to work together?  Do you think they know the meaning of the word, team?

"I"  never did do much.  Especially in politics, it takes a village.
Enough of that.

Oh, just one more little thought...we're living in troubled times, I think all will agree on that.  I personally have no faith in whoever's voted in as our next president, to make much of a change in the grand scheme of things.  We're told that our world is only going to get worse, until the end, when Jesus comes back.  If you don't believe that, then I'm sorry for your loss.  Trust me on this - it's a huge loss.  The relationship is real and He's our only hope.  You need only to study the Word to realize that every single little detail that's been foretold literally thousands of years ago, is being realized today, by us.  

You and me, wherever we are, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in - need to be the change that we're hoping for in our world.  Every single life matters.  Every single individual is valued, and makes a difference.  So, 
even though it might not seem like a lot, smile at someone.  Give of your time, of yourself.  Offer to help in any little way you can.  Change what you can in your world.  Be kind and generous, slow down and don't rush through your days.  And here's a good one for me, think before you speak.  And more importantly than what we say, is how we say it.  Simple enough, right?  

If only...

Charlotte's first Christmas.  She is 6 months old today.  :)

Yesterday marked the 11th anniversary since my mom died.  I sat with coffee in hand, in front of the fire before daybreak, with my beloved dogs by my side; and wished that I could talk with my mom.  Oh, I still miss her so much!  I can hardly believe that it's been so long since she's been gone.  In some ways, it seems like yesterday, but so much has happened.  There have been so many changes.  It seems like a lifetime since I've been able to hug her, to share a smile, ask her advice on something...oh, cherish your loved ones while they're here.  They won't always be.

See that little frog under the tree?  It croaks "Jingle Bells"...Charlotte's not sure whether it should be played with, feared or destroyed.  

Doesn't everyone have a Christmas frog?

Charlotte really enjoys our tree.  She likes to just sit and watch it, like this.  I do too.  I find it soothing.  Where we're spending Christmas is still unclear.  We may host, and then again, we may go to my sister's...time will tell.  We're staying home on Christmas Eve, and I'm so grateful for that.  Christmas Eve is my favorite.  I love the intimacy of it, the quiet and the twinkling lights and the peace.  And I really love sleeping in on Christmas morning, and lounging around in my pajamas.  That's an enjoyable start to Christmas Day!

My old piano.  It was made in the early 1900's and is still in pretty good shape.  It's out of tune and has a couple of dead keys, but when played, the music it makes, is still sweet.  

I've always loved that picture of my hubby and Bo...they were quite the team.

Dear friends at our riding club party

We always have a cutthroat gift exchange

I've always said that I don't suffer from hot flashes, but that evening I was soooo bloody hot all evening!

I got a shot gun toilet plunger for Christmas!  Ha!

Treasure or never know

Our precious Ruby...she's so beautiful.

If you can believe it, I finally for the first time since getting this *$!!*> new computer - figured out how to load some pictures from my camera onto my blog.  Good grief, there must be an easier way!  But as I've said so many times before, I am not a techy kind of gal.  These things just elude me, but there is hope, I am learning!!  :)

Ladde is still no better.  He is like 4-1/2 out of 5 lame on a scale of 1-5...just breaks my heart to see him so sore.  Rick says he has a major bruise over the entire toe of his LF and in that spot, his sole is paper thin.  Why?, I have no idea.  He's never had thin soles before.  But then again, all of this crap is new to him.  He's never had any of these horrendous problems before.  I hope and pray that soon we'll be able to put all of this behind us.  I can only imagine how he must feel about poor, sweet guy.  :(

I can't believe this is the last weekend before Christmas!  Shopping has been so easy this year, all of it done locally, or on Amazon.  I do love Amazon, don't you???? Oh my gosh, their prices are very competitive, I always get free shipping (thank you Claudia!) and their selection is ah-mazing!  Kinda dangerous having these slow December days at the clinic though...

On another note, this coming from the gal who never, ever does anything with her hair other than stick a clip in it, wad it up in a quickie updo, or just leave it down...I never blow dry, never curl, never style.  Forever - if I try to "fix" my hair, it is disastrous!  But, I bought myself a curling iron, some bobby pins and I've been having such fun playing with my hair!  I know, it's totally silly, but I'm finally having fun playing around, and if I mess up (which I do), I just rip it out and try again.  If you're also hair style challenged, then I absolutely recommend this blog - "the simple things".  The little gal is totally cute, is a wiz with doing hair and is constantly coming up with new ideas/simple things to try.  And trust me on this...if I can do this, then anybody can!  Oh, or you can YouTube her and watch the videos.  Just check it out!  I feel like a giddy school girl or something.  :)

Until next time,
Lorie signing out...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Joy to the world!

Well, if you're stressed out and harried from too much Christmas already - then just shoot me now!  For whatever reason,  I'm enjoying this season far more than I'm accustomed to.  Yeah, I'm usually the grinch - the bah humbug in the punch bowl!  But I'm having fun, and it feels good to be so relaxed and content.  With everything.  Seriously, did somebody put something in the water?

Speaking of water...

It hasn't all been a bed of roses either.  For starters, our weather.'s been a little wet.  We're experiencing the wettest December on record and we're just almost to the halfway point.  November was spectacular!  December, not so much.  Since the first of this cheery month, we've had measurable rainfall every single day.  And by measurable, I'm talking from miles away.  Have you seen us on the news lately?

We've had lots of rainfall, flooding all around us, landslides, road closures, detours, power outages, homes sliding off their foundations, down hills ahem, homes flooding.  Yeah.  Seriously a drag.  We are again, so thankful.  Our land is flat, so we do have small lakes everywhere, the wood shed has several inches of water under the pallets of wood, we have a river running alongside the driveway, lots and lots of soupy mud, but nothing disastrous.  Oh yes, and we have muddy paws.  Lots and lots of muddy paws!  :)  But we can't complain.

Oh well, here's one tiny complaint.  Mice!  Forgive me, but I seriously hate the little buggars!!  They've been at work again in my pantry.  Grrrrrrr  Several days ago we first noticed this hideous smell!  Oh my gosh, I am SO not exaggerating!  The smell of a rotting carcass.  You know the smell.  The one that makes you gag and you close your mouth really fast, so it doesn't get inside?  Yeah, that smell.  Not really a Christmasy smell at all.

Anyway, long story short.  We've unloaded every single item in our rather large walk-in pantry.  And we have a lot crammed into that room.  We're in the process of washing in bleach water every single can, container - you name it.  We've disinfected the shelves.  Searched and searched and searched some more for the smelly little culprit.  To no avail.  If it be the end of me - I will find the source of that smell!!  And when we're finished with that, we will, once again return every single item to its' rightful place.  It will be wonderful when it's all finished!!  But right now, we have stuff everywhere.  That's the kind of thing that makes me crazy!  But I'm handling it.  Very well, in fact.  I really am suspicious that my hubby might be drugging me.  :)

What else?  Oh yes.  Another bout of major pain for Ladde.  Poor, poor horse!!!  :(  For about a week now, we've been soaking, poulticing and cushion-bandaging his left front foot.  It just keeps getting worse, so we thought we'd forget all that and put on a foam bandage for support, in case it wasn't an abscess at all, but rather another founder issue.  (please no!)  So yesterday the boss vet comes over and determines that it's a very bruised toe and paper thin sole over that area making Ladde very painful!  But like the trooper he is, he stood still for Rick to bandage both feet.  *shaking head*  Not quite sure how we got so lucky being blessed with this awesome horse, but there you have it.  We're giving him 1500# banamine twice daily until he improves.  Caching!!  That stuff is not cheap.  Oh well, it's all gonna burn in the end - right?  And this is Ladde we're talking about.  If there's anything we can do to help him be comfortable, and return to soundness, and it's within our power to do so.  We will do it.  This has been such a long, drawn out affair.  This coming weekend marks 13 long weeks.  Rick says the blood flow to his feet has improved, which is good news though.  And we're getting very close to another ACTH level check.  *fingers crossed*

I've been driving our truck for the last 2 weeks because my car has a problem.  Seriously - right?  It's been overheating.  Dropped it off at the car shop last night and I get word of an $886 repair bill.  What!?  NOT the news I'd been hoping to hear.  New radiator, new belt, new overflow tank and a new water pump later, we should be on the road again.  Seemed really high to me, but most of the cost is in the labor to change out the radiator, I guess.  *sigh*

And yet amazingly enough, all I can do is smile and be thankful for so many reasons.  I visited an old friend that I'd not seen in many years.  She is now wheelchair bound, living in a tiny and sad little apartment.  I left there feeling like I was the most blessed person in all this world because our home is huge by her standards, and I'm healthy and very capable.  She has trouble cooking even the simplest of meals for herself because it's painful and she's only able to lift her arms slightly above her waist.  Rheumatoid arthritis dramatically changed her life.  She is in that tiny space most hours out of most days.  I can't even imagine!

It's not how we wanted to spend what little savings we have, but I can write the check for my car repairs.  Again, thankful for that.  We have a beautiful Christmas tree in our warm and cozy home, with twinkling lights and memories scattered all over it.  There's a lovely and welcoming wreath on our front door and fragrant evergreens abound.  We both have jobs, have our health, and are managing to take care of ourselves every day.  It's Christmas.  I have the perfect excuse to bake cookies and drag out all my favorite seasonal music.  Our barns are full of hay, our home is not flooding, our horses are well-fed, loved and have dry beds.  And if you don't count this morning; Charlotte hasn't chewed up any of my husband's hats in a good, long while.  Well...relatively speaking in puppy terms.  :)

What in the world have I got to complain about?

Our little get-together at our house went very well.  I managed to adorn the house with fresh evergreen arrangements, scented candles and even enjoyed decorating our tree.  Hubby strung lights along the drive to welcome all visitors.  We were cozy, but not bad.  We enjoyed wonderful fellowship, worship, good food, sang some beautiful hymns and enjoyed our cut-throat gift exchange.  We're so thankful for dear friends.

I hope you can relax, savor this season and enjoy the blessings in your life too.  I truly believe that most of us are rich, indeed.

Merry Christmas