Thursday, July 23, 2015

Here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I've been waiting SIX YEARS to make!!!

I've been mentally composing this post for weeks, no, years, and I'm just gonna go for it okay?


That's right -- we'll be in our own home again!!  I can finally stop having dreams and nightmares about the cute bungalow we sold.  I can stop dreaming and obsessing, both waking and sleeping, about whatever home would be ours in the future.  It's really happening.  It's for real.  The deal is firm.  The sorting and purging and packing up of our belongings has been started, and about a month from now, we'll be moving into OUR NEW HOME!  And Jethro will drastically cut his commuting time!

I can say, for real, that this house, our new house, our home, is gorgeous and perfect and wonderful… the kind of house I'd ooh and ahh over and wish, faintly, that someday I could live in a house that pretty.  Dream come true?  Pretty much, yeah!


There is only one flaw with this place.  One problem, one serious flaw.  

It does not have a barn and pasture.

Yep… we're moving… are you ready for this?  Deep breath… to town.



It's okay!

Whaaaaat?  Heidi the Hick is moving to town and it's okay?  Yes it's okay.  But what about my need for wide open spaces and surrounded by fields and horses in sight and a clear view of the horizon?

We found the perfect town lot.  I mean, if you have to live in town, this is the place.   It's on a side street that gets very little traffic, because the road heads out of town to a dirt road, and there's a nasty old wooden plank single lane train bridge that has to be crossed before you reach the side road, so most people just avoid taking that road into town unless they have to.

Our house is between bridges; the "Thunder Bridge" on the way out of town, and a bigger bridge over the river on the town side.  There's one house between us and the river.  Then the river curves around so that across the road, we've got two small houses and then acres of flood plain before a lovely view of the riverbank.  This means that even though I'll be technically living in town… I'm still looking out my window at a hay field!!

That flood plain means there won't be any construction across from us.  And there won't be anything built behind us either, because there's a train track back there.

It's a landlocked obscure little street. We've got municipal water service, but all the houses are on septic systems.  (This is really why we ended up with the place; it was sold to someone else for a couple weeks, but after the septic inspection they decided against it.  So we were like, heck, septic system needs replacing in ten years?  Hell that's better than s***ting in a bucket!  Let's put in another offer!!!!)

I am obviously not going to be thrilled about leaving the farm.  I love the farm.  I love being in the country and I love this specific property.  But, it's still here.  The horses will stay here, and I am only a 7 minute drive away from them.  It's not ideal, but it's something I can do.  They won't suffer.  They might not even figure out that I don't live in the house across the lane from the barn anymore.  The farm is still going to be part of my life, just as it has been for my entire life.

Here's the thing… my husband, for over five years, has been working in Toronto.  That's almost two hours away from here.  And I can't be inconvenienced to do a 7 minute drive, there and back, twice a day?  I can do that for him.  It's worth it.  I actually do love my man more than my horses, believe it or not.

As for the work situation, it's looking like we can figure that out.  This has been terrifying.  Honestly.  Is there a thriving music industry in Smallburg Ontario?  Ha.  No.  Well, is there a thriving music industry in Toronto?  There is, but it's pretty hard to make a living. When you're paying Toronto prices for everything, it's just not worth it.  Not for us.

He'd be in the control room, looking out at his beautiful live room, with the three massive windows, and he'd be thinking about how much it costs to pay for it.  He's not tracking every day.  But he's got to pay for that big studio.

Very soon, we'll start building our new studio in our backyard.  We'll be going from 3500 square feet to 750 sq ft.  There will be absolutely no wasted space in our new studio.  Jethro will still have to drive to the city to record in big tracking rooms which are owned by other people.  It's okay.  If he has to stay overnight, getting a hotel room is way cheaper than the mortgage, condo fees, waste removal fees, commercial taxes and utilities that he's been paying.  He can record in the city and bring it home to mix it in his backyard.  I can sit beside him and write stories if he gets lonely.

Until our new studio is built, all of our gear will be set up in what would normally be the living room and dining room in our house.  We'll be hanging around upstairs, which is fine because that's been our arrangement in the farmhouse.  Our house has 4 bedrooms, so the biggest one will be our office/TV room.  Setting up the studio in our house isn't ideal either.  Well guess what?  Nothing is ever going to be perfect!  I'll take excellent over perfect any day.  We have had all the discussions about who will be the biggest problem -- him playing the same three words over and over for several hours, or me tiptoeing up the squeaky steps from the kitchen.  We'll be okay.  Gotta have some challenges in life, right?

Letting go of the studio has been difficult.  We love that place.  It's been good for his career, it's been a wonderful place to work, and it's been something we could be proud of.  But it's time.  Letting it go means getting our family back together.  Bucky heads off to college in September, but he has a home to come home to.  Selina can stay with us until she's ready to go out on her own.  I have thanked our magnificent studio and set it free.

It won't be a studio anymore.  A church has bought it.  We're okay with that.  I like to think that the drum booth, with soundproofing and three windows, will make an excellent room for parents to take their screaming infants during sermons!  We did have a hope that someone else would continue using it as a studio, because it's such a unique and beautiful and well functioning studio.  But in almost five years, this was the only offer we got.  Ever.  So it's time.

Our next home isn't what I had expected or planned.  I should just get used to that.  That is life.  This is not a farm.  A couple years ago we did some math and realized that we would not get a farm.  That was hard to accept.  I had imagined touring a small farm with my husband and kids, and what it would be like to picture our life in that house.  Instead, the two of us went looking at what we decided would not really be suitable for us, but by the end of the weekend couldn't stop thinking about it, and put in an offer with our guts in a knot.  And got overbid.  And then got a second chance at it.  It's in town, it's beautiful, and it's about to be ours.

I'll have to put up thick curtains to block out the street lamps, and the train whistle that we now hear as a mournful echo from the other side of the highway will be basically in my backyard… hey, it didn't hurt Jimi Hendrix to have a train practically on top of his studio… we'll be fine.  As fine as we are here, just different.

Seriously, it's beautiful.  Look at this.  Can you believe it?  The current occupants are friends of ours and they have taken loving care of it for the last two years.  They are happy for us.  The whole thing feels pretty good.  

So you saw our front porch, and this is the back porch.  BACK PORCH.  TWO PORCHES.  I am going to consume so many cold beverages in the summers while sitting here.  Or there.  That will be my hardest decision - front porch or back porch?  Am I extroverted or introverted today?    

And this is the patio Jethro will cross on his way to our future studio in the backyard.  Our backyard which is quite private and as you can see, doesn't have uncomfortably close neighbours.  It's about as country as you can get while still having good internet.  

Know what else this house has?  Old woodwork, new wiring.  A shower.  Like an actual shower.  And a dishwasher.  For real.  A dishwasher.  Also a stone foundation cellar that a 6 ft tall person can stand up straight in.  And an unfinished attic.  Which our daughter thinks will be hers.  It also has room for a Digidesign console, a gear rack, a 7 ft grand piano, and old upright piano, three boxes worth of kitchen stuff I haven't seen in six years, three beds, some dressers, a few truckloads of books and records and CDs, and four people and a small dog.  

Home, is really just inside a person and inside a group of people.  We've always had Home, and now we will have a House to put it in.

Friday, June 19, 2015


First of all, I missed Johnny's birthday this year.  I mean, I didn't blog about it.  Selina and I had a pathetically fangirly moment where one said Hey it's Johnny Depp's birthday  and the other said, Hey it's Matt Bellamy's birthday  and then we both squeal-giggled.

Johnny don't look so dubious.  He is brilliant, and a perfectly good choice for a celebrity crush.  And listen, pal, nice try with the not-trying.  Takes more than that to scare me off. 

So it's not like I totally forgot about my non-biological half-twin.

In a neat coincidence, we're both poking around in the world of real estate.  It really is a coincidence, seriously, I'm not putting any kind of symbolism on this.  Do you have any idea how many properties are for sale, always?  I do this thing every day, and lately it's been several times a day, which I call "The S***s and Giggles Real Estate Tour".  I get out my iGadget, dial up realtor.ca and I check out what's up.  I've been doing this for years.  I know what the insides of several houses in the nearby town look like.  It's borderline unhealthy.  But I'm going at it with a new intensity.  Please don't ask. I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but I just don't want to blab about anything that might not end up being a thing.

But today, as I take my regular afternoon chill-out therapy time with the dog on my feet, I find out on the internets that our man Johnny is selling his magnificent French estate.

It's not totally awful, right?  We could graze a few critters on that lawn. 

(Still not going to talk about why real estate is such a preoccupation.  I will.  Later.)

Did you know that after a property is "sold" it is still on the websites as being for sale?  That kind of freaks me out.  I also didn't know that after a place is sold, agents can still take clients to view it.  Whaaaaat.  Weird.

can we get a pool boy too?

I wonder, every time I look at an ad, what happened.  Are the sellers sad to leave their home?  Are they freakin' totally ready to get the heck out of there?  Did they outgrow it?  Why are they selling and moving out?

This was the Paradis-Depp family home.  He's selling it with much of his personal belongings included.  Wow.  Seriously.  If we all got together and scraped up 24 Million, we could hang around in the Pirate Themed Wine Cellar OF COURSE DUH and dine in the restaurant and sleep in the old church.  It's like, a tiny hamlet.  It's a rock star pirate amusement park.  There's a freakin' art studio.  I mean.  Really.


I'm pretty sure I could shoehorn a grand piano and a digital console in one of those buildings.  And there'd have to be room for two medium sized Appaloosas and a small pony, right?

I know this sounds creepy… Okay, it IS creepy… I just want to go there and look at all his books.  Not only because I would love to know what he reads.  I just love books.

Like, I really really love books.  And guitars.  And candles.  I love all the stuff.  

Of course, my writer's brain takes over.  I admit, I'm probably more heartbroken over the Johnny and Vanessa split than they are.  In my mind, Amber (about whom I have still not made up my mind although I'm leaning towards she's cool) put her foot down, tossed her magnificent blonde mane to one side, and said, "I can't even remember how many homes you have.  We have.  We should sell something.  And then buy a pet velociraptor."  Or whatever she would say and however she would say it.

And he's like, "Why is the rum always gone?"  Oh wait.  That's not him, that's a character.  (Or maybe I really do wonder why the rum is always gone.)

So in Heidi's brain, Johnny rolls his eyes, sets his beat up fedora on the arm of the romantically threadbare wing chair he's sunken into, and says, "Fine darling.  You're right.  We never go there anymore."  He looks around the room, at the stuffed bookshelves and candle holders and crystal skulls and taxidermy crows and old macaroni art from the kids, and a bunch of scarves and belts hanging over the door, and the KISS pinball machine, and RDJ's sunglasses (must return them at the next gathering of Heidi's Celebrity Crush Club***) and the gramophone.  "Amber?" he says.  "Honey?  Darling?  Sweetness? I really do not want to go over there and pack everything up."

"Sell it," she says, "Put a price on it and make it go away."

He calls up Vanessa.

She takes a break from being a quietly ass-kicking fabulous 40 something year old woman who is not afraid to have a few smile lines on her face, and has a civil conversation with her ex.  "I don't want any of it. I took all my stuff two years ago."

"Really?  You mean all of what's left is mine?"

greaaaaat.  I aaaam soooo tiiired.  

"Yes dear.  I couldn't fit all three pianos in my gorgeous 18th century apartment in the most beautiful area of Paris.  Do with it what you will.  I need to go now, I'm very busy being cherished by all of Europe.  I'll see you at the kids' music recital, oui?"

"Of course, yes, I'll see you there."  And they exchange polite air kisses over the phone.  And Johnny looks up at Amber and says, "Darling, do you want anything from France?"

And Amber replies, "Baby, I got my rifle and the license plate off my first muscle car.  I'm set."

So he puts the place up for sale, lock stock and barrel.  Lock church and swimming pool?

I don't need a 37 acre French village.  If all goes according to plan, I'll need a place to put a huge amount of recording gear. (Said too much.  Please don't ask.)  I have nothing against France -- looks lovely -- but I have no need to be there.

As much as I always wonder why a place goes up for sale, I find myself hoping it's all in a good state of mind, that someone is ready to move on and it's okay.  I'm ready.  I'm ready to let something go and move on.

Just not to France.

*** The Celebrity Crush Club has a new member.  You'll meet him later.  Right now I need to concentrate on not being superstitious about real estate.  Seeya.

Friday, June 12, 2015

My life is Therapy

That's what I do with my time these days: THERAPY.

horse petting therapy

dog therapy

Apartment Therapy reading therapy

group therapy

lying down therapy

slow motion garden therapy

novel reading therapy

art therapy

writing therapy
hot beverage and comedy therapy
Instagram therapy

So you get the idea.

I sat on my horse the other day.  This was a huge event.  At times, when things in general are pretty okay, it's normal to be on a horse several times every week.  They're not always long rides, but I have tried to get on each horse at least twice a week.  Sometimes I rode two in one day.  Sometimes rode one horse twice.  It's not an impossible schedule and nowhere near what a professional trainer would put in, but it kept the horses and me in decent shape.  And now I look back, now when things are, in general, pretty okay in terms of yes I am still alive and I can leave the house regularly … I'm looking back and wondering why I berated myself for not riding enough.  It was never enough.  Not enough training, not enough barn cleaning, not enough gardening, not enough dishes and laundry and housework being done.

You know how long it was since my last ride?

Eight months.


It's not the first time I've had a long time off.  Basically, extreme winters, a couple bouts of mental illness (I blame the drugs) and two pregnancies.  I have been enjoying my horses, relieved to not be working.  I worry about the loss of income, but I don't bring that into the barn with me.  They always seem happy to see me and I love any moment I have with them.  I'm feeling better enough now that it's been really bugging me that I'm not sitting on a horse.

I got Selina to saddle Phoenix for me.  She saddled Copper for herself.  Copper doesn't deal well with time off -- she is a horse who is always better with regular work to get the energy levelled out -- but Phoenix is the kind of horse you can leave in the field like he's retired, and he's the same.  He's consistent and reliable.  Above all, I trust him.  Maybe I shouldn't.  I mean, can we trust any horse, really?  And we did have our difficulties a few years ago.  But I go out to the barn, and his eyes and ears are on me.  I rub his forehead, which always seems to be right there in front of me.  He blinks his big eyes at me, slowly, and I know I'm crazy but I feel like he's giving me this vibe that he knows I'm weak right now, and he'll take care of me.

I dragged myself into the saddle.  It used to be easy.  I settled in and remembered that last summer I was getting accustomed to this new saddle with its high cantle and deep seat.  The fenders aren't worked in yet; I had to reach down to get my feet in and the world tilted too much.  It was all very weird.  The ground was far away.  I didn't understand how this could be so familiar, something I've done all my life, and yet so foreign.

(Is THIS how it is to sit on a horse for the first time?)

I wasn't planning on going anywhere.  I intended to literally just sit there.  Phoenix didn't move.  I rubbed his neck.  He rested a hoof, I felt insecure, pressed my foot into his side, and he set on all four again.  Meanwhile Selina and Copper were practicing backing up and taking little steps forward without any head flinging or bit worrying or foot stamping, while keeping her in view of the geldings.  We'll work on the herd bound thing later.   Basically, she was convincing the little mare that everything is okay and there's no need to be so anxious.  Eventually we all stood there with sideways ears.  Even Parker, tied in the barn, rested a hoof and closed his eyes.  The anxious mare and the weak shaky anxious depressed woman were calm.

Selina put up her horse and came to get me.  She put a hand on my left leg while I pulled my right over the cantle and paused with my chest on the seat.  Why is this so hard?  This is like breathing.  How many times have I gabbed the horn, popped both feet out of the stirrups and flung myself out of a saddle, landing on both feet lightly with the reins in one hand?  Like it was nothing.  And now I was clinging to the side of my horse, waiting for the dizziness to pass, feeling around for the bench to put my right foot on before pulling the left one out of the stirrup?

Phoenix was a rock.  With both feet on the ground, I reached my arms around his thick neck and pressed my cheek on his speckled coat.  I took a deep breath and let it out.

It was both wonderful and disappointing to sit on my horse.  It was better than not sitting on my horse.

I'm going to try it again, as soon as I can.

Regardless of my mental state or physical condition, there is stuff going on.  All I'm going to say is that THINGS ARE CHANGING and I don't even know what but it's in motion.  Did you know that nothing is permanent?  None of us are permanent.  Neither are our problems.  I have to remind myself of that.  I'm not a follower of horoscopes but I happened to look at this one and took it as a reality check.  Yep, I'm getting reality checks from constellations now. Seems about right?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My daughter, the ADULT.

Here's a self-portrait Selina took on her birthday.  She's so sassy and slightly awkward and… kind of amazing.  

Yesterday was my first born child's birthday.  She is TWENTY-ONE.  She's a young lady.  She's a woman of her own.  She's creative and funny and sometimes she's a forgetful spazz but she's always good hearted and kind.

Legally, she's been an adult for three years already.  She's been legally allowed to drink alcohol for two years, although it's just not her thing, and she got through two years of college without anybody talking her into drinking.  She's pretty good at using her stubbornness for good rather than evil.

She gave me a ride to my group therapy class (I mean, that's a good thing for a young person to do, right?  Take mom in for mental health help?) and then she got her passport photos taken, which of course made her look sweaty and tired and slightly ill, even though she wasn't any of those things.  It's like magic.  After she came to get me, we went to the Samsonite outlet and picked out her new suitcase.  Next week I'll have enough money to pay for it.  The saleswoman remembered us from her 19th birthday gift two years ago.  Same routine: stick a label with her name on it and set it aside until we come back.  This is just one more reason why I like that small city.

Then we went to Complacent Joe's for lunch.  It used to Crabby Joe's, but they just did a huge renovation, so it's all slick sports bar with "luxury" finishes that will probably look like crap in five years.  All of the sarcastic signs about good food and bad service are gone.  There are a few snarky notes in the menu but that's it.  Of course we laughed about this.  We ate our lunch while working up bits about how Crabby Joe made enough money that he's just not grumpy anymore.  And then we split a chocolate cake.

I absolutely love this person.  She is someone I choose to spend time with, and how convenient that she's my kid!

I've been needing a lot of help, and she's been a life saver.  She never complains about doing my barn chores if I'm not well.  She helps out with the garden.  I couldn't do it without her and my ol man.  Meanwhile she's been working away on her professional website, getting ready to present her art to the world, and run a business.  Oh, and also working part time at the church camp.  And cleaning the house.  And watching her favourite YouTube people do funny things.  And taking photos and cuddling the dog.

Today, she drove her brother to work and then took the Jetta for an oil change.  They will split the bill because they share the car and they are both, y'know, adults.  A few hours later, she's off to the other city, the bigger one, with all of her passport papers signed and ready to go.

She hugged the pug once more, sprawled on the foot of my bed, then flung her hair over her shoulder and grinned and said something like, "look at me, all ADULTY, driving around getting my stuff together like an ADULT!"

That's my kid.  Wow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Not showing up for work: Johnny Depp is not hanging around my place, honest, I'm not hiding him.

I haven't worked in… six months.  There are times I seriously question whether I ever did really have a job type thing or if I made that all up and believe it because it sounds like fun.  I can't imagine going back to work.  I can get the chores done, but the thought of being upright for two hours, long enough to get the horses and barn ready, and get through a lesson, is exhausting.  I'm working on convincing myself to just sit on a horse.  Not go anywhere, just sit. I might need different drugs.  I'm broke, I'm tired, and I'm indecisive.  But despite all that, I'm actually doing much better than I was half a year ago.

Meanwhile, Johnny Depp bags off work for a week, and it's plastered all over the news.  Yesterday it broke, and there was talk of him holed up somewhere with no electricity that can only be accessed by donkey, or something, hiding from his wife.  Oh the speculation!

Well settle down, world, because he has conveniently arrived where he's supposed to be: back in Australia to resume shooting the 5th Pirates movie.

You know I fall for this stuff.  I get my news off internet entertainment sites.  Right now that's  the only news I care about or can emotionally handle.  There are people in this world who make a career out of making headlines about The Famous.  If Johnny disappears, it's news.  If he shows up the next day, as if all it took was a little disruption in the news ripples, that's even better.


I'd link to something but I seem to have busted my computer, or maybe I broke the internet, I don't know how this crap works.  Feel free to assume that I got my information wrong and don't know what I'm talking about, okay?

So awhile back, on the set of THE FIFTH PIRATES OR THE CARIBBEAN MOVIE, Johnny had some kind of mishap that resulted in a broken hand.

Here's what I took from that: another Pirates movie!  Heck yes!  I don't care if it sucks.  Gimme my Captain Jack.  You know how I am like that.

Accidents happen, and I'm sure there's a whole crew of people tasked with keeping everybody undamaged, but occasionally something happens.  I don't know what it was here.  Maybe it didn't even happen on the actual set.

Here he is getting on a plane to go fly to some hand fixing hospital somewhere.  

I can get behind the duct tape arrangement.  I was raised on a farm; this isn't the first time I've seen someone literally tape their hand back together and head off to the hand fixing doctor.  

And of course that's usually accompanied by the "Awright catchyalater, I'm aright seeyasoon."

About two years ago, he was still his crazy looking normal.  He looked like he got a bag of hand me downs from somebody's uncle, and the day of the Grammys he was like, aw crap, I gotta present a thing at that thing today, what's in the bag here… everything.  I'm just gonna wear it all.  And then snickers to himself as he imagines how all the tabloids are going to rip a strip off him for it, and how many worst dressed lists he'll end up on.  

But then...

He showed up to another thing, looking pale and waxy.  I'm not entirely convinced that's not a wax figure up there.  

And it got worse.  Last fall he was staggering and stuttering and it may not have been cute or funny.  

It would worry me greatly if he were an actual friend of mine. I'd be wanting to check on him and see if he's okay.  He's not looking okay.  

 The thing is, I see movie stars and celebrities as playing this very strange role in my life where I get to live vicariously through them.  I'm hiding from the world in my room, with my snoring pug, writing my little stories and listening to the vicious spring wind, while my horses roll in the mud and eat hay.  I like to look at pictures of interesting Famouses doing things in their interesting lives.  The problem is that I know just enough about how this whole thing works to totally suck the fun out of it.  Nobody on this planet has nothing but good days, first of all, and also, the career of Being Famous is a full time job.

I could be easily manipulated by those whose job it is to manipulate my feelings.  I like Johnny Depp as an actor, and I'd like to believe that I'd like him as a person.  I want to like his wife.  Depending on what I read, she's either really cool and different and interesting, or she's an opportunistic blank slate.  I can't even rely on photos because it's so easy to manipulate those too, just by inclusion.  Those pics of Johnny above?  I carefully chose one from two years ago where he looked pretty good, then chose ones where he looks slack jawed and pale.  See?  I'm not even making a living on this.

But I'm always making up stories in my head.  You know how your teacher in grade 3 showed the class a picture and we all had to make up a story to go with it?  That's my life.  That is constantly going on in my brain.  I can't shut if off.

 For example: Because I like Johnny, as much as I can like a person I've never met, I want to believe that his new marriage is a happy one and that they are well suited to each other and they're good for each other.  So this is how I see the following picture:

AMBER: You okay, darling?
JOHNNY: Sure, love, just walking down the airplane steps.
AMBER: Let me reach out my hand lovingly so that the wind doesn't grab you by the hair and whip you away from me.
JOHNNY: Thank you, darling, take the uninjured hand which bears your huge honking ring of enduring affection, which I offer to you as I gently brush my fingertips along your delicate beautiful skin.

Only I'd hope it's all a lot more sincere and less cheesy novel style.  

But I fear it may be more like this:

JOHNNY: Where are we, Amber?
AMBER: Australia.
JOHNNY: Movie?
AMBER: Pirates.  Hold my hand, okay?
JOHNNY: I wrapped it in a scarf.
AMBER: It looks great, honey.  Let's just do this okay?
JOHNNY: Did I lock the door of Marilyn Manson's house?
AMBER: You weren't there, you were at a motel in Arizona, remember?
JOHNNY: oh yeaahhhhh.  Netflix.  

AMBER: Hey everybody, we're back, he's back, I found him, take your pictures and we'll go do the thing.
JOHNNY: Okay let's go do the thing.  That I do.  Do you think anybody will say anything about me being a week late for this?
AMBER: Not if I can help it.  We're all good, ready to work!  Happy!  See?  All good!

I mean, at first glance, it's fine, right?  He's got a scarf raggy thing tied around his busted hand, so that's normal.  He looks like he was recently rolling around on the dusty cement floor of a garage, fixing something with wheels, so that's normal.  He's got a bunch of things hanging around his neck and his shirt appears to be half ripped off at the bottom and pinned together with a big safety pin, so that's all normal.  And she… honestly, who can wear pants like that and still look good?  She's just wearing mom jeans and a white T shirt, but she's got glorious thick blonde hair and she's wearing fun shades, and to top it all off, she's carrying a giant hardcover book, which works on me.  Right away, I'm assuming she's alright because she carries big books, which I assume she also reads.  And that's a nifty belt too.  I'm a sucker for a nice leather belt.  I want to like all of this. 


Say what you want about Johnny, love him or hate him, prefer he takes a bath first, either way,  you know he's got a reputation for being all-in when he's working.  He shows up.  He works.  

Maybe it's nothing.  

Maybe people all over the Greater Ol Homestead Area (including downtown Smallburg) aren't whispering about me either.  Maybe they are.  Maybe I'm not getting a lot of calls for lessons because everybody around here knows my horses are just hay burners and emotional therapists these days.  

Maybe Johnny didn't have the advantage of asking his pastor to just say a little note during the Joys And Concerns part of the sermon a few months ago about taking some time off and starting new medication. 

But in any case, I am still mostly hiding in my cozy bedroom, and Johnny Depp has shown up for work, and you don't need to come out here looking for him.  Even if he was hiding in my barn, I'd lovingly pep talk him into giving me Amber's number so she could come and get him.  Or send him to the emergency room, if it's bad enough.  I'd take him, but I let my driver's license expire in December.  Or maybe we'd drink tea and talk about how frickin hard life is sometimes and how loud it gets inside the skull.  We'd talk it out, man, we'd talk it out. 

It's what we do for our loved ones.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

THIS is happening

As much as I still don't enjoy spring like normal people do, some really cool stuff has been going on at the Ol Homestead.  

First of all, these two teenagers got kicked out of mom's pen and had to get their own apartment.


This is the first time new goat kids have been born at our place.  Usually their people have them moved up to the river where they spend summer by the time the babies arrive.  SURPRISE! Mildred looked like she had maybe a little goat or two in there, but she is just very good at her job.  

Then three days later, our friend came out to do her chores and there was a tiny wet goat kid in the next pen.  She had to figure out who the baby belonged to, and it wasn't the one she expected.  So first-time mother Lucy got off to a bit of a confused start, but we have them in their own pen now, the baby has figured out where milk comes from and the mother has figured out that the whole process is okay, and everybody is alive.  

Phoenix would now like to remind us all what it's all about.

RELAX.  Seriously.  Why so stressful?  (He is a horse, he has no idea what the word taxes  means and he never has to pay bills with no income - he has no concept of income, so really, why wouldn't he relax, right?)  He's totally IN THE MOMENT.

This is simply a great thing to see in the morning.  These critters know how to enjoy a nice day.  

Here's Parker whinnying to me as I walk in the gate.  

Then I sat on the floor of the shed, half in the sunshine, and watched horses chew hay.  

Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday

My mom, being an adult who gets to make her own choices, decided not to go to Good Friday service at church.  It's too depressing.  It's like going to the same funeral every year.  It's horrific, all the torture and anguish and death.

This morning I told my husband, as we were getting ready to go.  He agreed.  "Yeah, every year, Jesus keeps getting killed!"

Every year.

I read the book, I know how it ends.

Well, we can look forward to the part 2 of the ending, when everything is all beams of light, but today… sadness.

To which my response is… "Well I'm already depressed."  What's the worst that can happen, right?

I'm glad I went.  As I've been going through this last bout of depression, I have noticed, with great relief, that I haven't felt alone.  I feel God's presence, which sounds strange considering how bad it was,  but it's true.  And I've felt the care of my church family.

I haven't been to church much since last fall.  There were a lot of Sundays that I needed to be lying down, like I was every other morning.  And there were a lot of Sundays when I couldn't face anybody. It's not that I didn't want to see them, I just couldn't handle it, all the emotions, all the explanations.  I needed quiet, and stuck to a very small circle of people, occasionally letting one more person in at a time depending on how strong I was feeling at the time.  Through all of that, I am absolutely sure that I could feel the prayers.  What an amazing feeling.

Mennonites didn't used to celebrate Lent, I guess because the idea was that we lived a pretty sparse life all the time. What would you give up?  Well, I grew up with cars and a black and white TV and jeans.  Somewhere along the line this thing called Lent crept into our worship services around the end of winter, just like the odd concept of Advent showed up at the beginning of winter.  I haven't really adjusted to it, but I have to say, this year more than ever, I've relished the chance to really meditate on what it means to suffer.

So I went this morning, sat quietly, listened to the readings, read the hymns, and had a good think about how awful life can be, and how it could be worse, and that I'm not alone.

And the story doesn't end.  It never ends.  It never will end.