Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another (hopefully graceful) transition!

Aah yes, those transitions, changes in life that we all continually encounter...we just try to handle them as they come, and hopefully those transitions take place gracefully, with little more than ripples in our daily routines.  Because whether we readily admit it or not, I believe that most of us, like our animals, are creatures of habit.  And change can be a decidedly uncomfortable, oftentimes unpleasant and downright scary undertaking.  But change we must!  We must always remember that life is a series of continual changing, evolving and growing.  Without that change, life would quickly become stagnant, and we'd most likely die.  Literally or figuratively, wither up and be no more.  Such a pleasant thought!

The most recent transition to which I'm referring is the retirement of my husband.  Having been laid off from his job early last year, his unemployment benefits are finished.  This coming month of February will be the first time that he will be collecting the first of (hopefully many) social security benefits payments.  Yikes!!  For some reason, I envisioned this as something that would happen a long way off, you know, when we're old.  Ahem...does this mean we're old?  Nope!  Quite the contrary, I see this as another chapter in our lives.  With God's mercy, it will be a long and fulfilling chapter where we have more personal time to enjoy doing the things in life that we previously didn't have much time to enjoy.  Working is something we must all do in life, but it seriously infringes upon our personal pursuits!  And frankly, I can be a bit testy about how little of our time we're able to utilize and enjoy doing what we want.  It's just never seemed fair to me, especially when I look around and so many families have only 1 working family member.  Do these stay-at-home working family members seriously realize just how much of a luxury that is?  I understand working around the home, but it is quite different when one has to commute to a place of employment 5 days out of every 7 and be there without fail, doing whatever it is that you do in order to collect your paycheck.  It's vastly different than working from home, scheduling your own hours and accomplishing whatever it is that you determine will be done in that particular day.  Very different.  Aahh well, but then life just isn't about being fair is it?  Life just is, what it is.  Life is what you make of it.  I have a good life, and I'm thankful.  I also admit to looking forward with great anticipation to the day when my time is much more, my own time.  In the meantime, I'll continue to commute and do my job to the best of my abilities, and also be thankful that I do have a job that I usually enjoy, and that helps to pay our bills, and take care of our animals and our home.  But I digress...

My point is, we're adapting to this most recent change.  I'm actually looking forward to my hubby being at home more often, and being able to pursue projects around our property and our home without everything trying to get finished on our weekends.  Hopefully, this change will enable us to follow more entertaining pursuits on our weekends!!  Now that is something to look forward to!!  I am all open for that...poor guy, just don't know if he realizes everything I have in mind for utilizing his time.  This must be how it is for husbands though, their wives always finding new and more clever ways to fill up those idle hours.  Idle - hah!!  Ladies, you can relate right?  :)  And besides, you realize what's said about idle time being the devil's workshop don't you?  Mustn't contribute to that!!

In other news that is news, our weather is considerably warmer and wetter.  It's much more akin to what we usually expect in January.  The mud is back to being sticky and wet, no need for the water trough heater, and the blankets are only for Miss Kadie on those particularly wet and blustery days.  However, she doesn't really need a blanket for warmth at all, I just don't want her getting wet and chilled.  Our temps are in the upper 40's by night, and into the 50's by day.  A light jacket or vest is all that's required to ward off the winter's chill.  I've noticed recently that the horses are starting to shed their winter coats as well, so are the dogs.  Just maybe, we're in for a warmer and drier spring than we've had in the last several years.  That would be wonderful!  I've noticed the daylight hours being a bit longer as well.  There's still some light in the sky when I head home in the evenings, and daylight savings is less than 6 weeks away.  I'm amazed at how well I'm handling my SAD this year.  Although, there's nothing in particular that I'm doing, it just doesn't seem to be bothering me much yet this year.  What a blessing that is!

We took a day trip to the beach last Sunday.  It was raining on and off all day, but there was very little wind.  The surf was angry and the tide was in, which made walking on the beach a more cautious affair.  Despite the weather and the formidable waves, we donned our coats and hats and walked to our heart's content.  I've definitely noticed Annie slowing down a bit lately.  She loves walking, but she prefers to stay close by my side and keeps my pace rather than running off with Ruby.  It just breaks my heart to admit this, but it's true.  My girl will be 8 on April 30th, so she is a mature lady, a puppy no more...I will love her and care for her every single day that we have together.  I'm her person.  She's a momma's girl, and always has been.  :)

When we grew tired of walking, we went into McMenamen's Pub for their amazing clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls.  Oh my - their chowder is the very best I've had since I worked for Lois DeVore many, many years ago.  She took her chowder recipe with her to her grave, and the world would grieve if it only knew what it was missing.  I can honestly say that this is the first chowder I've EVER had that even remotely comes close to Lois'...and that is saying something.  It is delicious and I highly recommend trying it if you have a McMenamen's near you.  Try it alongside an icy glass of their Ruby Ale...they brew it themselves and it's infused with raspberry puree.  So good!

 My sweet hubby had cleaned the stalls and put hay rations out before we left, so when we got home, all we had to do was bring the horses inside and give them their grain.  They were definitely ready.  Warm, cozy stalls are much more inviting than standing outside in mud and rain.  Our ponies love their little homes, and that makes us happy!

January full moon over cingspots

May we all look upon our transitions with grace and with thankfulness...
Blessings, Lorie @ Cingspots

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mom, are we normal yet?

As you've probably guessed, our weather has normalized.  Yes, it's raining and it's substantially warmer, and I hate it.  Not surprisingly my mood has deteriorated right along with the weather.  How can that be?  I don't understand how my outlook on life in general is so closely related to what I see out the window?  I just don't get it.  Then again, maybe it's not all weather related.  I've been fighting a cold for over a week now.  It started out with a sore throat.  That's how they always start for me.  Anyway, so the sore throat came and went for a few days, and then BAAMM! I had the telltale cottony feeling in my head and sinuses.  Eyes feel slightly out of focus and the old brain wasn't working quite right.  Then nightfall comes and I'm congested and I can't sleep.  This is where the problems begin.  No sleep is not good.  Not one little bit.  I'm a person who has always needed an adequate amount of rest each night to function properly and to maintain a "cheerful" demeanor.  Otherwise...I get very, very cranky.  Downright ugly in fact.  My entire outlook on life goes right down the drain.  My alter ego...the bitch takes over.    

She can't help it either.

I have no pictures of my own to post today, but found these winter whites on the computer and thought they were much nicer to look at than what we've got outside our windows.

They were predicting a very messy transition early this morning with freezing rain. That, thankfully didn't happen.  Nope, it warmed up very quickly, ground thawed out and we just got plain old everyday Oregon rain.  Oh goody.

We've been very fortunate so far this month, and for that I'm thankful.  If we don't get our quota of mega-amounts of rain soon, we're going to start hearing the weathermen predicting the eternal doomsday reports of drought...in all my years of living, we've never, ever had a drought.  So, why do they make such a fuss?  I have to shake my head at all their talk about our weather.  Seems like nothing we ever have is "normal".  We're either below average, or we're above average.

In all their many years of keeping records in regards to our weather patterns, don't they realize that "normal"  or "average" is a very tiny speck smack dab in the middle of that data sheet in time?  It's much, much more common to be either below average or above average in my opinion.  *sigh*

Maybe I'm just cranky.  Then again, maybe I'm more realistic and pragmatic about what it really means to be normal or what it means to be average.

Normal is a very rare occurrence.  Both in weather, and in people.

Something else I've realized; weather and normal, along with most things in life are subject to opinion.

And you know what they say about having opinions don't you?  That's right, they're just like mothers...everybody's got one.

Which just leads us into another foray of the colors of winter...a big, fat grey area.  Just like our skies.

Bah-humbug  HUMBUG!

Dreamin' of the blue...
Lorie @ Cingspots

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shades of Grey and Winter Whites

We've been ensconced in frozen fog, frigid weather and an unusually dry weather pattern for a couple of weeks now.  We've even been blessed with a few days of blindingly bright sunshine!  Really - I think I know exactly how a mole must feel when he burrows up and out of the depths of the earth for the first time in days.
I've had to drag out my summer shades a few times lately!  One must always remember that squinting causes laugh lines and wrinkles.  :)

Speaking of wrinkles, and of aging in particular...today is my birthday!  My 53rd and counting to be exact!  I am astounded that I'm this old!!  I don't feel 53.  But then again, how is one supposed to feel at this age?  I feel older than I once did; of that I'm positive, but I don't feel old and in actuality I believe there are many benefits to having reached this specific time in my life.  Many to be sure!!  For one, I am again a great-great auntie.  Yep!!  And the newest member of our family was born this morning on my birthday!!  How's that for a birthday gift?  Pretty cool, I think!!  I don't know her name, nor her weight, nor what she looks like...but of one thing I am sure...she shall and always will, hold a dear and special place in my heart because we share a birthday.  What a blessing!!

So, I've been thinking about winter white lately, and various shades of whites and greys.  White is quite underrated I think.  Vanilla for example, a divine flavor on its' own and highly under-valued.  Winter is full of white and probably so, because so much of what winter has to offer is otherwise quite bland.  So we're given white and its' various shades to brighten things up a bit!  A different kind of light in an otherwise barren season devoid of sunshine.


hubba hubba!!

winter wonderland


Eagle - lover boy  :)

Dear, sweet, mud-loving Ladde

Kadie - my princess 29 this year

Sweet Harley (guilty of trying to bite my kneecap repeatedly yesterday!)

My sweet prince, Ladde

Merlin...the definition of cremudgeon

frosty white hairs on his ears

If you feed them, they will come...

Charley, she's pointing that thing at us again!

Depending on where you live, and what your winter weather woes have been, your appetite for warmer, brighter days may be overwhelming.  But, hang in there my friends...only 2 more months of winter to go!  Today charts the 1/3 of the way through winter mark!!!  Spring's warmer and sunnier days are closer than you may think.  Like the song says..."time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me".  

Tick Tock

Blessings everyone, Lorie @ Cingspots

Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcoming in the new year

Alright, so maybe I'm a bit behind the times, but to me it's still an appropriate time-frame for welcoming in our new year.  I haven't done a blog posting since a week or more before Christmas and I've got so much catching up to do!  I won't try and say everything for fear of putting you all to sleep.  :)

For some reason, I've not been suffering from my normal S.A.D. this year.  I am so thankful for that!  I've been getting plenty of sleep, trying to get fresh air and outside activity each day and eat lots of fresh citrus and fruits and veggies in general.  I get lots of citrus, but can't say truthfully that I'm eating as much healthy veggies as I should.  But I'm trying!  Last night I made a simple, homemade bread that is delicious.  Thanks Karen!  It has only 3 ingredients and gets stirred, then baked.  That's it!  Yummy!

3 cups self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar.  Mix well.  Then pour in 1 can/bottle of room temperature beer (not flat) and stir until moistened.  Dump into a greased loaf pan and bake at 325 for 45 minutes.  Remove and butter top.  Bake for 15 more minutes, then remove and butter top.  (mine was done here) Recipe says to bake for an additional 15 minutes.  You be the judge!  So simple and so delicious!!

My girlfriend and I went to the beach last Saturday afternoon.  Saw Charlie Pride in concert at the casino and it was really fun.  Great music and we had center stage, row 3 seats!  Amazing and so very close!  The music I grew up on, and I remembered just about every song and most of the words.  Lots of fun!  We stayed overnight because Kris had a free night, even had a free breakfast the following morning.  You can't beat that!  Gorgeous, but cold weather.  Brilliantly blue skies and sunshine...just perfect!  I'd love to go again and stay next weekend for my birthday, but don't know if we can swing that.  We'll see.

 My friend Kris, who is gonna KILL me!!  :)  She was saying no, no, don't take my picture!!  The devil made me do it...

Our weather has been cold and dry for about a week now.  Some days the sun shines, but mostly we've been encased in freezing fog.  Beautiful, and the mud is frozen!  I like that!  I'll take this over rain any day.  What am I saying?  I take most anything over rain any day!  I'm sure this is contributing to my mental health.

Our tv went on the fritz, but our dear friend Claudia gave us an extra one she had.  What a blessing!  Thank you Claudia, we owe you big time!!  And we got a new box springs, mattress and pillows.  Sheer heaven!  The pillows we're still getting used to, they're Tempur-pedic memory foam.  Very firm.  Sometimes I think they're very comfortable, other times I'm not so sure.  But the bed is delightful!  *sigh*  I'm sleeping much more soundly and waking up less often throughout the night.  Another advantage to my outlook in general, I'm sure.

All our horses are fat, fuzzy and healthy.  Our dogs and cats are fine, even the llama is as stubborn and healthy as ever.  We are blessed.  We have plenty of firewood for the winter, and we think our hay supply will last until sometime in March.  One of our hay guys still has an abundance of hay in his barn, so it's there when we need it.  So thankful for that.  My hubby's social security payments are scheduled to begin in mid February and we've probably just deposited his last employment benefits check, but we've saved enough of a cushion to make a comfortable transition.  Again, we feel thankful and blessed that this is the case.  Over the last several months, I've been working hard on stocking our pantry and our freezer.  We have plenty of food in storage so there are no worries there.  What can I say?  We're doing great!  And heaven knows, we're both plenty fat, so if worse came to worst, we have built in cushions in that department!!  :)

Ladde do like his mud!!
A sign of spring...red-winged black bird.  We call them deeter deeter birds.

I am so anxious to ride that I can hardly stand it!  Now that we're into winter and our days are slowly, but surely gaining daylight every day, I want to get back into the habit of working with Eagle and Ladde, and slowly beginning their (and mine) conditioning for the upcoming riding season.  My hubby got me a helmet for Christmas, and I'm hoping it gives me an additional measure of confidence when I ride Eagle the first few times.  My girlfriend told me that it's obvious to her, that Eagle loves me, so of course, he's going to be good for me!  That made me feel soooo good!!!!  :)  I think that I know in my heart he'd never do anything to purposefully hurt me.  He is such a kind, loving horse and really does have a gentle heart.  It's just that he spooks very easily and is extremely athletic!  Not a good combination for a middle-aged, overweight gal whose ridden very little in the last two years.  Not good.  I'm just hoping that I can regain my leg strength and improve my balance, which will dramatically increase my confidence.  I just need to get out there and do it!
And I will.

Anyway, this catches me up partially.  Hope all is well with everyone and that nobody's getting the winter blahs and all are fat, fuzzy and healthy.

Blessings everyone,
Lorie @ Cingspots