Sunday, November 25, 2007

Balancing Act

We all juggle far too much in our modern lives, trying to keep our work, our social lives, our relationships, our responsibilities and our minds and bodies running at optimum speed and productivity. I haven't been doing a very good job managing all the segments lately. We leave for St. Lucia this coming Friday and all I can think about is how stressed I am about the cross-country flight and how much work I'll have to catch up on once we get back -- how sad is that? I know once I get there I will relax but I suspect I have a very tense week ahead of me.

My trainer Willow was still very nervous about me riding Miss last weekend, every time she lunged her she'd been crazy, so before my lesson she gave her a weak dose of tranquilizer. This turned out to be a mistake. She was so dead it took all we had to make her canter on the lunge line and I spent the entire time having to push her forward and pick up her head.

I rode her again today without the drugs and she was fine, although her right front was obviously a bit sore. She's due for new shoes tomorrow and it's possible the pad has worn down and is causing the soreness. Let's hope that's all it is anyway. It was such a pleasure to ride a horse that needs hardly any leg to stay at a nice big trot. She's so comfortable at the trot, it's like riding a giant sofa. I hope that I've proven to Willow that I can ride her without being a liability.

I was chatting with another horse owner at the farm about my frustrations and she said she'd gone through the same issues with her young mare and that the farm has to protect itself, plus nobody wants anybody to get hurt. She told me I shouldn't think of myself as a green rider anymore, that she's seen me ride and thinks I'm great, that I have balance. You can't teach balance, she says, you either have it or you don't.

Strange how on my horse, perhaps the most precarious place I could be, is the one place right now where I do feel balanced.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tucker Time

I've mostly pulled myself out of the funk I descended into last week. I suspect that no matter how much time passes, every once in a while that grief will surface and I'll need to deal with it.

Kathy commented on my post about reconnecting with my old friends that she's never been able to explain how big a part her horses play in her life to non-horsey people. That's been true for me in all facets of my life, not just with this group. Not one single person asked me about riding or even said anything about all the pictures I posted. When I asked A what he thought about it when we met for lunch all he said was that he was surprised. One of the ladies has a 12 year-old daughter who rides; I guess it either seems like something a young girl would do or its looked at as an elitist sport or activity, not something they would ever come into contact with.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to finally ride Miss again. Yes, that's right, I still haven't ridden her since she got sick in mid-September. After a month off my trainer started doing ground work again and then eventually started riding her, but she wanted to get in a good half-dozen rides before I got on her again. Due to schedules and the weather, that took longer than expected. I'm more than a little frustrated. I realize I am still considered a novice, but I am beginning to resent the fact that I have to have permission from my trainer before I can ride my own horse. I would be happy just to get on her and walk around, but Willow doesn't seem to think Miss would allow that, even after lunging. To rub salt in that wound, I got a notice from the farm owner that they are increasing my board roughly 12% starting next month, and I am now paying one of the farm hands $40 a month to blanket her. They do comp me a lot of things, including lessons for almost a year, so I can't and won't complain, but I would feel better if I knew I could ride her when I wanted to. She's had no issues with her feet since the farrier put pads on her the last time she was shod, so I'm crossing my fingers that will continue.

Tomorrow is the day we picked as Tucker's birthday, since we don't know the exact date. We adopted him through Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue in November 2000 when he was approximately 1 year old. Happy 8th birthday, our sweet and silly red dog. (Check out Bailey's birthday post from May if you missed it.)

Sunday, November 4, 2007


When someone says the word "family" to me I think of my nuclear family: my parents and siblings. To anyone who has children, "my family" means themselves: their spouse and their child or children. I think of me and D as a couple, a unit, a pair, a partnership...but not a family. Maybe I would feel differently if we never wanted children and never tried to have a baby, but since we did and failed, it doesn't seem to fit.

Yesterday I had lunch with A, my old boyfriend that I've recently reconnected with. He drove down here for some personal business and we spent a few hours together. He has two sons, 17 and 12, and has been married for almost 20 years. I mentioned in my last post that I'm finding it hard to wrap my brain around the fact that all my contemporaries have teenage kids, but that's because I've spent the last 5 years surrounded (somewhat virtually) by women who are infertile. Normal people get married in their 20s and have kids, there's no question, no drama, no tears.

Of all the married couples we know, only one doesn't have any children, and they are the parents of a stillborn son. Many of those infertile women I've met persevered and now have children as well, by some means.

On the long drive home I was unprepared for how sad I got. We'd had some laughs and it had not been a serious afternoon by any stretch. I was so happy that he was so happy, and we'd talked about how my life turned out just fine, but in all that history there was so much wasted time, so much heartache. After spending 5 years getting up the courage to get out of a horrible marriage, while D waited for me, we were so damned happy just to be together we didn't think of anything but ourselves for the next 5 years. Finally at 36 I decided it made sense to marry this wonderful man and, for the first time in my life, I felt safe enough to want to have a baby. You know the rest. As I cried in his arms last night, D whispered, you have a wonderful life, and I whispered back, I know. I wish I had never wanted a child, so I didn't have to carry this grief.

I'll get back to the horsey posts soon, I promise, I've just needed to process some of this by writing it down.
Right after I finished writing this I found out that the wife of one of my old drum corps friends was killed in a car accident a couple of weeks ago. The funeral was today; I suspect they waited until their daughter (who was driving but not at fault) was out of the hospital so she could be there. I've spent the day in a teary daze. I just can't imagine losing my husband. They have three children in their teens, she was only 41. I hope noone reading this takes this the wrong way, but when I heard this news I was happy for my friend that he had children. Please tell someone you love that you love them today.