Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Doesn’t Last

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Even though I know that muddy conditions don’t last forever, I have a history of losing sight of that obvious fact after days of dealing with the worst of it. I was beginning to let it get to me last week.

This week was finally showing significant improvement on the mud front. I think that’s gonna end today. Snow is on the way again but I do know that the muddy conditions won’t last. Either we will get enough snow to cover the mud, or it will get cold enough to freeze the ground.

Or, it will just get muddy again and I will need to practice meditating on the fact it won’t last indefinitely.

Snow is another thing that doesn’t last. It might stick around until next spring, but it will eventually disappear and produce some sloppy mud in the paddocks. Maybe it’s time for me to reframe what gets my attention and start fixating on the days when the paddocks aren’t muddy at all.

I realize the preferred conditions don’t last either, but it becomes a glass-half-full perspective.

You know what else doesn’t last? Work gloves.

I picked up a couple of new pairs of my favorites yesterday and once again found myself fascinated by how dramatically these leather gloves change over a period of heavy use. I’ve tried a lot of different styles and settled on these for their versatility in a variety of conditions and because they are easy to quickly put on and take off.

In my outdoor activities, I find myself pulling off my gloves a lot. If necessary, I can shake one hand to throw off a glove. This becomes an excellent bonus feature when the other hand is unavailable because it is holding something in a firm grip.

My concern about work gloves is that this style won’t last as long as my need to replace them. I wonder if they sell these by the case…

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Written by johnwhays

November 29, 2022 at 7:00 am

Rediscovery – Revisited

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First published about a year ago. I could use some reminding today about this seedling deep in my core.

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Rediscovery

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

November 28, 2022 at 7:00 am

Barriers Down

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I will admit the ongoing pressure of caretaking the rash of events we’ve faced in the last month is making it hard for me to maintain a sunny disposition. My positive outlook is getting worn to a frazzle and the lonesome walk to the barn had become something I started to dread. The prescribed confinement of Mix intended to guard her leg against any further damage was not only taking a toll on Mix’s state of mind but the other three were starting to show their frustration, too, not to mention how it was weighing increasingly heavy on me.

With support from our liaison to This Old Horse who has been coming over twice a day to convince Mix to swallow her meds, we gradually opened more space for our injured mare. This morning I opened the gates allowing all four horses to intermingle throughout the two paddocks as one herd.

I think their relief was second to my own. It is one less thing I need to be concerned with in our daily routine. Just in time for what the week ahead holds for us. I will be driving Cyndie to multiple appointments and on Tuesday or Wednesday, I will likely need to clear snow.

It will make my life much easier if Mix and the other horses aren’t unhappy with their situation. I’m hoping that having Mix’s barriers down will help me to feel happier, too!

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Friendly Spectating

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Of all the spectator sports I follow, the FIFA World Cup is very near the top. The only disadvantage keeping it from number one is that it only happens every four years. At the same time, that long wait between events helps to amp up the interest when the year of a Cup finally arrives.

Living as far from our friends in the Twin Cities as we do, I usually find myself sitting alone in front of our television taking in the grand spectacle of the games. Yesterday, we didn’t let that distance stop us from accepting an invitation from our friend, John Bramble, even though his team, England, was the opponent of the U.S. in this game.

We were entering the lion’s den.

It was Cyndie’s first outing on crutches where she encountered stairs. With little recent practice, she tentatively but successfully made her way inside where we found our gracious host had provided a seat reserved just for her.

With tea and biscuits, we enjoyed a jovial 90-minute (plus minor stoppage time) celebration of the beautiful game. Both sides were left short of a victory since the match ended in a scoreless draw, but since England was favored, the moral victory went to the U.S.

To show his dissatisfaction with the outcome, our host dramatically removed his “England” shirt and threw it to the floor and stomped on it. John said the elaborate exhibition was actually just a rehearsal for the eventual point when England gets knocked from the tournament.

I can relate to that thought process. I’m not anticipating the U.S. team will exceed anyone’s expectations and the moment they fail to advance, I will be able to relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament with no strong connection to any of the possible outcomes.

Yesterday’s taste of watching a match among a group of like-minded football [soccer] fans was a refreshing reminder of how much fun it is to share the joys of watching sports with friends.

Thank you for inviting us, John Bramble, despite the team I was rooting for. Cyndie voluntarily chose to cheer for England in solidarity with our gracious host, since he was significantly outnumbered.

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Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2022 at 11:56 am

Growing Bones

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We made it through that holiday. With Marie and Elysa taking on the majority of kitchen responsibilities, we succeeded in holding Cyndie to a moderate amount of upright activity. Seated on a chair with her leg propped up, she partnered with Elysa to sculpt a precious turkey cheese ball appetizer.

Nobody wanted to be the first to start deconstructing the little gobbler. Looked too good to eat.

It was pointed out that the injury we are nursing on Mix is her right leg, just like Cyndie’s. Coincidence?

I’ve been given permission to show what her ankle is looking like so far.

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At our appointment last Monday, the surgeon decided to leave the stitches for another week because the residual swelling was still putting pressure on the wounds. That swelling has come down nicely in the days since. He anticipated that the numbness Cyndie was experiencing would diminish as the nerve root-like structures that were disrupted grow back.

Hopefully, a turkey dinner with all the fixin’s helps to grow both bones and nerves.

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Written by johnwhays

November 25, 2022 at 7:00 am

Thanksgiving 2022

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Written by johnwhays

November 24, 2022 at 7:00 am

Another Drama

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What is it with all the issues coming our way lately? It’s as if the universe is seeking to exercise the limits of my ability to cope with stress.

It’s getting exhausting, I tell ya.

Yesterday afternoon, while serving up pans of feed for the horses, I noticed blood on Mix’s leg.

I took pictures to send to Cyndie up at the house. While I was waiting for her to acknowledge, a little intimidation from Swings caused Mix to attempt a hasty retreat that almost failed because of the way she tried to avoid using that wounded leg. I knew this would require inspection by someone who knows much more about horses than me.

Cyndie made some calls and shared the images. Because it looked like it could be a puncture wound and the location was near a joint, it was deemed worth contacting a veterinarian.

I moved horses around and closed gates to isolate Mix from all three of the others so she wouldn’t need to do any hasty retreating. The vet finally arrived long after dark, but he quickly analyzed the wound and administered meds. I drove Cyndie down to the barn and she used crutches to come in and observe.

The vet strongly suggested we confine Mix to just the space under her half of the overhang and gave us two medications that I will need to give her with her food.

If she stops eating because I put medicines in her food, I will lose my mind.

I strung some fence tape between posts to constrain Mix to the overhang. Having her pinned in there also required me to provide her with a bucket for water.

The cause of her wound remains a mystery. I will need to look for a possible loose screw or nail that she might have come up against.

On the bright side, there aren’t many more things left that I need to fill in for Cyndie’s expertise around here. I’ve already grappled with a majority of them at this point. All this drama is helping me to appreciate how wonderful my life was a month ago before all the illnesses and accidents made their way into our routine.

On Monday we met with Cyndie’s trauma surgeon again and he decided to leave the stitches in her ankle for one more week. Otherwise, he said the foot and ankle look good. Not that I’m counting, but only seven more weeks until she can walk on it.

That will be a little drama that I am looking forward to seeing.

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Written by johnwhays

November 23, 2022 at 7:00 am

Godspeed Delilah

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DELILAH, Belgian Tervuren Shepherd,  Nov. 2012 – Nov. 2022

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Written by johnwhays

November 22, 2022 at 7:00 am

Eyes

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what else could I do
but feel so much love
for you
birds on a wing
so delicately they sing
in the background
of the energy
you bring
pausing
in attempt to gaze
through my memory
for the look
of your beautiful eyes

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Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2022 at 7:00 am

Not Better

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If something is not getting better, does that mean it is getting worse? Not necessarily, but possibly. We continue to face the parallel issues of Cyndie’s recuperation after breaking her ankle and Delilah’s mystery illness that is looking more and more like what may be the end of her life. Cyndie and I are striving to be positive and calming alongside the obvious sadness we are experiencing.

The main evidence we are getting from Delilah is that she has stopped eating. Short of further expensive veterinary options, we are left with that clear X-ray and good blood results as the only reference for ruling out easily resolved causes. There are a variety of other afflictions that may be triggering Delilah’s shutting down but at ten years old, putting her through the trauma to learn more won’t necessarily provide much in the way of extending quality years for her.

Since kitty treats were the only thing she would accept (her ignoring scrambled eggs this morning was a real gut punch), we figured she could enjoy those yesterday and get a little more than zero calories.

That just resulted in a return of her vomiting this morning.

I’ve shortened her walks to just long enough to pee and/or poo if she has it in her to do. I told Cyndie this morning Delilah’s poop was rather cat-sized. I guess that’s what you get on a diet exclusively of kitty treats.

She mostly lays at Cyndie’s feet but still occasionally pops up to bark at something outside that neither of us can identify. Delilah shows no signs of pain or discomfort so we are left with witnessing her slow down between glimpses of her old spark.

If she continues to refuse to drink water or broth or eat anything we offer, it will be a matter of days before we will need to make that final decision which is never easy to make.

Not much else beyond keeping Delilah comfortable seems very important to us at this point.

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Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2022 at 11:33 am