Five years

My blog will be 5 years old on Jan. 11, 2017. Initially, it started as a way to get out the many thoughts I had swirling around in my head. It helped me get through maternity leave when my first son was born in May 2011. Same with the second in February 2014. It helped me get through the death of my father-in-law and other family and friends. More often than not, I write about subjects that annoy me or make me think, and often times others share my same thoughts and ideas.

Last week before the new year, I decided to go back and look at the statistics for my site. In 2016, I had one of the most viewed blog posts ever, I’m a rural voter. It had 6,517 views. I was completely blown away when it got shared and shared and shared again. In the history of my blog, I’d never had that kind of exposure. It also made me think about the subjects I write about on my blog and how they resonate with readers.

In 2016, I’d only written 11 blog posts, but garnered 8,415 views, most because of the rural voter post. Previously, the most views I’d gotten was 2,922 in the first year of blogging. I’d written 78 posts. So, I guess you can say, I’ve learned that less is more.

Here’s the top 6 posts in 2016:

  1. I’m a rural voter
  2. January 21
  3. Out of my comfort zone
  4. Losers live forever
  5. There’s always something new
  6. Thank you

I’d like to thank those who have taken the time to read my posts, and/or comment on them. Its amazing when people can relate to my thoughts and ideas. If you have any questions or ideas for me, just let me know. I look forward to interacting more with readers. Happy New Year!

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Losers live forever and the good die young

The title of this blog is a line from one of my favorite Jason Boland and the Stragglers songs, Pearl Snaps. I can’t help but think how appropriate it is for the last couple of weeks.  It’s always the good guys or the good horses who go too early.

A friend of mine recently lost her husband after a horse wreck at a ranch horse competition. He held on for five days before succumbing to his injuries. While I knew Nicole better than her husband, it didn’t help me from grieving. Today was the funeral, and I think for at least my husband and I it hit especially hard. Similarities exist that make it easy to compare.

Walking into the church I couldn’t help but notice the crisp, white pearl snapped shirts many of the pall bearers wore. Along with their tanned hands, sun-kissed faces and ears and the obvious dents in their hair lines from hats. Chris’ hat, rope and leggings had lovingly been placed atop his casket – never to be worn by him again.  Later I noticed a hat under a chair with a program sitting in it and behind me I heard the emotion coming from a friend. I’m not real sure why things happen to good people who have so much life left to live.

Usually I find comfort in knowing someone has gone “home” to be with the Lord, but this time I struggle with it. Those two boys need their dad. Nicole needs her husband. The boys need him to teach them how to hold a rope or become the horsemen he was. My husband said Chris would have made a good old man, like many who were in attendance today. I believe that too.

During the service the pastor read a prayer Roy Rogers would read before his Riders Club meetings. It sure gave me comfort today, and I’m sure it did others.

Lord, I reckon I’m not much just by myself,
I fail to do a lot of things I ought to do.
But Lord, when trails are steep and passes high,
Help me ride it straight the whole way through.

And when in the falling dusk I get that final call,
I do not care how many flowers they send,
Above all else, the happiest trail would be,
For You to say to me, “Let’s ride, My Friend.”
Amen

The family also prepared a video of photos from Chris’ life and I was ok up until they started showing photos of his young sons. Then it was all over but the crying for me. Literally.

As we were leaving the church, people were milling around and I heard the distinct sound of shod hooves on concrete. I looked around to see Chris’ horse saddled and being led by a family friend. How appropriate and sad all at the same time. We watched as the horses followed the hearse up the hill to the cemetery. We couldn’t bear going to the graveside service.

I often try to gather something from a church service (or a funeral in this case). I feel as though I need to be better at letting those around me how much I do care. It’s hard for me to physically say how I feel, when it’s much easier to write it down. Hence this blog. But I will try. You just never know when it will be your turn to ride away.

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Chris Moore with one of his sons. (Photo shared on Facebook.)

Innocent projects

It started innocently enough. Last night Shaun wanted to play outside. It was the first nice night in a week. The sun was shining and there was no wind. I sat on the steps thinking about how it’d be nice to have shade in the front of the house where all their stuff is and a real chair to sit in. Off to the shopping app on my phone looking for an appropriate solution. That didn’t last long as I had to put the phone away since the youngest was heading for the mud, again.

Today, I had one errand to run at lunch time – to pickup a prescription at the store. I thought, heck, I’m here might as well go see what kind of patio furniture they have left. Not much appealed from browsing through the patio sets at the store, but that’s normal. I did see some plastic lawn chairs, and as I was snapping a pic I thought, I wonder how far the wind would take these? Then I thought, get a “snubber rubber” and attach it to the porch when the wind is going to blow. Why not? We’re pretty redneck as it is.

Driving back to the office I thought, I wonder what I could find on Pinterest to fix up the back “patio” area of our house? I had 30 minutes to kill. I use patio VERY loosely to describe the east side of our house. There’s not much time spent out there, and it’s pretty ugly. How bad is it when I feel as though I accomplished something by pulling out all the cheat grass and weeds from around the air conditioning unit? There’s a non-functional barbecue grill and various odds and ends that need to make it into the trash.

The first thing I ended up pinning was about how to make a fire pit and a cover to keep the kids out when it isn’t being used. It also can double as a table. Perfect I thought. I snapped a pic and texted it to my husband. I’m assuming his non-reply was because I had found another project for him? More looking and pinning.

My 30 minutes on Pinterest turned into 45 and by then I had sketched out a plan to build a patio cover out of pressure treated wood and galvanized metal. That turned into an idea to elevate it and get rid of the steps on the sliding glass door and have a wooden deck area under the new patio cover. Even a pony wall to block out the AC unit and have a little “wind break” for the grill. Lots of plans, lots of plans.

As I tried to get back to work, I wondered if something like this will ever come to fruition. My husband and I have talked about building a garage, and that’s a big step and most likely an expensive one because it would likely be a multi-purpose building, containing an office space, storage room, a place to park vehicles and likely a place for livestock and horse stuff. It’s a dream really.

We’ve dreamed of having a yard and now with all the rain, it’s looking like we have grass and not just weeds. Heck, my husband even spread weed and feed around the yard we do have growing and put out some grass seed in the bare spots on either side of the house. We were both pleased when the grass actually came in and continues to grow. Baby steps. Some day we will have a patio and a garage. It’s only taken us 5 years to have grass!

Looking east from the back door following a rain in early May.

Looking east from the back door following a rain in early May.

It’s the little things

As I was pumping gas the other day I had a thought as I caught a whiff of diesel fuel. I haven’t bought diesel in over a year since we bought an SUV. It made me think of all the things that have changed in my life in the last 5 years.

We’ve lived in our home for nearly 5 years. The yard is not perfect. Neither is my flower beds. I wish daily for a garage. I cringe when they call for hailstorms because I don’t want the vehicles to get trashed. Eventually we will get there.

Shaun’s 4th birthday is in a couple of weeks. I look back on his photos and see how much he has changed. From a 9 pound baby to his rambunctious, drive-his-momma-nuts self that he is now. Seems like yesterday we were going to our last few doctors appointments and preparing for his arrival.

I have a gray jacket I wear a lot of the time. It’s from the last time I got to enter the BBR Finals in Oklahoma City. On days where I don’t feel like myself I can look at the back of it and remind myself that yes, I once was a barrel racer and will be again sometime soon. I still have the horses and even though I don’t get to ride as much as I would like, I will again.

All these little things remind me of how life has changed. Don’t ask me how I like life now, because there are days where I don’t know the answer. Things change, people change, and life never stays the same. But as long as you wake up in the morning and start a new day, it’s better than the alternative!

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Have a plan

I heard someone say the other day, “If you have money, have more than a plan to spend it.” It stuck with me enough for me to write it down, and now write this blog post.

My husband told our son Sunday that he has two kinds of money, spending money and saving money. Shaun was convinced he could use his “saving” money in his piggy bank to buy himself a bull truck (a semi with a cattle trailer). It was a cute conversation and one that I’m glad my husband handled. He’s much better with saving than I am.

When I was a kid I had a collection of pennies and didn’t really have a savings account. I spent birthday and Christmas money about as fast as I got it. I didn’t get a checking account until I was a senior in high school and heading off to college. (Admittedly I didn’t get a savings account until I was well out of college.) When I was in college I enjoyed life and didn’t have a job besides my school work. I’m glad I had it that way because my grades never suffered.

But, and I’ve written about it before, I’m still paying for that $7 taco from college. I was lucky enough to have a couple of grants and scholarships that helped pay for my tuition, but I did have to take out some school loans to pay for my education and the remainder of my loans is what I lived on. That and credit cards.

I’m only about half way through paying my student loans off and I completely envy my college classmates announcing on social media they’ve paid theirs off. I chose to go out of state and value my education. I do not mind paying every month for my education.

Now, for the first time in six years of marriage, my husband and I got a decent sized tax return. While it’s not enough to pay off our bills, it is enough to get my brain working. I’m dreaming of a garage or a new set of tires on the vehicles and doing appropriate research. Meanwhile, it sits in the bank. I’ve got to have more than a plan on how to spend it.

Shopping around

Whenever I’m in a parking lot or driving down the highway, I notice the license tags on cars. It’s interesting to me to see where someone is from. At a couple of stores in my town I tend to pay particular attention to the counties on the tags.

A bigger town west of here just got their very own Hobby Lobby (among other stores) and the grumblings going on here in Dodge City are that our store is likely to close. Someone even said the employees are “trained” to say ours will remain open. Today when I stopped in HL for some sewing supplies, I noticed an older lady with a Grant County tag on her car. Garden City is a lot closer to Grant County than we are I thought to myself. Wonder why she’s shopping here? While walking up to the doors, I thought maybe she doesn’t like crowds, or she doesn’t like driving in Garden City. I’m with you there ma’am. The added traffic and people in the stores can be a little overwhelming.

As I started down the main aisle to find the velcro I was looking for, it occurred to me if those same people doing the grumbling would SHOP in our town, maybe our stores could stay open. Your pennies spent in our HL will help keep it open. Maybe if they supported the community we would get some of the stores Garden City has. It doesn’t have to be every time you are shopping for something, but make a point to buy something local. On the other hand, do we want the added development that Garden City has experienced? I’ve heard property taxes are going up in Finney County among other things.

I’ve also heard our city and county commissioners are out to sabotage progress in Dodge City. I’m not exactly sure if this is true, but the only way to change how something is run in a city is to get involved, go vote and participate in local government. Only the commissioners know their agenda and what the future is for our town. They have no idea what the locals think and want unless the voices are heard. If you want something to change (as the morning radio DJ I listen to says) – stop complaining and  change it.

I’ve always believed the notion that those who complain the loudest do the least amount of work. I feel like this applies to people and businesses in this town. You didn’t like the service at ____ restaurant. Did you speak with a manager? Did you file a complaint with corporate? Boycotting a restaurant may or may not help the situation, but is it a solution? What is the solution to bad customer service?

I tend to shop in my town or in towns I am traveling through. If there’s not XYZ store in my town, but in another, I will likely stop if I’m in the area and occasionally buy if the price is right. If the neighboring town happens to have the same store we do, I will shop in my town (even though the sales tax is cheaper else where). While I do like looking online for purchases and use it as a comparison tool, often times in the end shipping always seems to cost entirely too much and the mail carriers not being able to find my house or they won’t ship to a P.O. box make it not worth the hassle.

In the end, shop where you want, but if you have something to complain about, take it somewhere else. I get enough whining from my two boys. I find myself telling my three-year-old if you’re going to whine, go in your room, I don’t want to hear it. Stores can’t survive if you don’t spend money there and shop somewhere else. Communities can’t survive if it’s residents don’t support it.

Something for nothing

There’s always someone wanting something for nothing was a text I sent to my sister recently.  She had a horse for sale, and after reading some of the comments on her picture on Facebook, the next thought that came to mind is how can people be so dumb.  There are people who know horses and there are people who think they know horses. But that’s not the point of this blog post.

In recent years, I have tried to become a bargain hunter, and like the challenge of the hunt. The last two Saturdays my Mom or sister, along with me and my kids stopped at a few garage sales. Mom will talk to the people with the item she is wanting and often gets the item for cheaper. Me, I won’t buy it if it isn’t in my price range. I don’t like asking for a cheaper price, but if it’s reasonable I will buy. I’ve had garage sales, and know how much work they are and what a relief it is to get something cleared out of your house. I also find it annoying for people to give a ridiculous price offer for something you know is worth way more.

I had a good childhood. I worked on the family farm, and didn’t have a job until I was in college, and that was mostly during the summers between semesters. I admit I was spoiled. I had a nice pickup to drive, a fuel card and a trailer. My folks gave me a lot. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and started my first “real world” job that I knew all the sacrifices my folks had to do to give us what we wanted. Now that I am a parent, I want the best for my boys, and if it requires me to sacrifice I will.

There are people in this world who want to take the credit for hard work done. There are also the ones who want to get “their share” even though they didn’t do any of the hard work. I’ve encountered both in my short lifetime, and each and every time it has left a sour taste in my mouth. The most recent comment got me to thinking and researching a way for one aspect of my life to change and hopefully prosper. What this person said was probably thoughtless on her part, but it helped me open my eyes and see what’s really important in life.

Stuck

I haven’t blogged for two and a half months. I can’t decide if I want to continue to write on this blog or not, but part of me thinks I ought to. My brain tends to get clogged up with unnecessary junk from time to time, and I’m beginning to think that is unhealthy. I looked back at a few of the blog posts on my list that I started but never finished, and many of them spin negative. I’d like to say I don’t know how that happens, but then that’d be a lie. My mom was negative, some of my coworkers are and eventually I become that way. Sometimes I try not to be, other times I just really don’t care.

In the past months a lot has happened. Kashe the Corgi disappeared and has yet to return. A couple of calls to the neighbors merited nothing. Countless miles driving around the “neighborhood” found nothing. A couple of days after he left, the neighbor to the north called and said they had found a dead dog in their pasture, but wasn’t too sure if it was ours because it was pretty weathered. In my mind Kashe went to find a better place so I wouldn’t have to make a decision to put him out of his misery. He was blind and had trouble hearing. He didn’t eat the best and was sleeping a lot. He’s been with us since 2003 and before we got him he didn’t have the best of life. I’d like to think he had a good time with us for the 10 years we had him. He went to countless rodeos and barrel races, and was my favorite. I will miss the stubborn, rowdy guy.

Also during that time announced that Shaun is being promoted to a big brother. “Number 2” as I have been calling him, will make his appearance in February 2014. My husband is excited, and I have my moments. I sure don’t miss being up in the middle of the night with a crying baby, drool or the spit up. I survived the first, I guess I can probably survive another. I just have to make it that far first.

Because of a sore horse and being pregnant, I haven’t been on my mare since Labor Day. She ran pretty good at the barrel race that day, and even though I felt like Whiplash the Monkey, I managed to stay on and not embarrass myself too much. Then a couple of days later we got some rain and consequently one of her front shoes got sucked off. I didn’t know it and when I found it I was already planning to leave to go on a work trip. The horseshoer called while I was gone and he managed to get it tacked back on when he was in town. Between then and a day in mid-September when I actually had a babysitter and could ride I found her sore. And she’s still sore. Even after a set of new shoes and pads. Guess we will see. Muddy pens again this week aren’t helping her cause, but maybe by the weekend the fence around the horse trap will be safe again and she can spend the winter turned out some. I just hope she can stay safe turned out with the other two fat mares.

Now that we’re on the downhill slide to the end of the year, I guess I better get after getting a family photo taken so I can get Christmas cards ordered. It’s not even Halloween and it seems like marketers are already cramming it down our throats. Seems like once it’s the week of Halloween, they skip right over Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. Boo.

Until next time.

Sweet Heart Slew

Sweet Heart Slew

A whole month?

Has it really been an entire month since I blogged last? There’s no excuse. Well, there is a couple – I have been busy, it snowed and I’ve traveled.

Here’s some photos of my adventures.

This guy and I spent about 5 days in the house when we got snow not once, but twice from Feb. 21 to 25.

This guy and I spent about 5 days in the house when we got snow not once, but twice from Feb. 21 to 25.

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter was our stop after a BASF media event at Universal Studios.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter was our stop after a BASF media event at Universal Studios.

Kashe decided to take his own adventure from Feb. 3 to 12. Luckily he came home.

Kashe decided to take his own adventure from Feb. 3 to 12. Luckily he came home.

Maybe it’s just me

I blame being the middle child on a number of my personality faults. Even more things get blamed on being a twin. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood and even though dysfunctional at times, I love my family and my twin sister. But I believe people are a product of their environment and there are reasons why I am the way I am. When talking to other people I still have a tough time saying I or me instead of we or us.

When I am upset, I yell. The less I feel as though I am heard the louder my voice goes. My husband hates it when I yell. I would guess it stems from my small frame and the desire to feel as though I am bigger (or more right) than someone when I have a disagreement.

I despise being “told” what to do or how to do things. Just ask my husband or sister. If you ask me to “check something out” or “research” a subject, I am all over it. Tell me to do this, buy that, do it this way or visit that (just because I had fun there and you should too) and I will turn a deaf ear and most likely get ticked. Likely this stems from having a bossy older sister, but it’s something that really bothers me.

I am a thinker. I think way too much about how to handle a situation and can stew about a relatively simple decision for a week. Ask my sister, we had a text conversation about over thinking paint today. I’ve painted exactly two rooms in our new house in the nearly three years we’ve lived there. A kitchen wall and a living room wall. The same color. I want to paint a wall in our bedroom to accent the new DIY tufted headboard, and I’ve agonized over what color of turquoise to paint said wall. Her suggestion, “Go cheap in case you don’t like it you can do it over.” Good call sis. I blame over thinking on my perfectionism fault.

i despise a know-it-all. A person who knows every thing about every one, I can’t stand. Or one that has a story for everything. Throw in some negativity and I tend to write that person off and avoid them. Just does not mesh with me. I do tend to be a little on the negative side myself and when I have to listen to someone else complain besides my own internal whiner it sends me over the edge.

What ever it is that sets me off, hopefully by writing this out I can let it go. Set it free. Happy Tuesday.

Sunrise Jan. 28, 2013.

Sunrise Jan. 28, 2013.