Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘stress

Unidentified Obfuscation

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It starts to get hard when you reach the point of not being able to hear yourself think. The little boy in me who has never grown up occasionally shows up to ask me why I’m so quick to forget about the bliss of being four or five years old and getting lost in some harmless pursuit. The answer is always the same.

It’s not that I’m quick to forget. I’m just slow to remember. Present-day life tends to do that to a person.

An awful lot of years have passed since I sprawled on the floor making truck sounds with my mouth as I rolled Matchbox cars along the borders of our large Persian rug.

The recent stress of the day-job continues unabated amidst a boom of business that started at the same time as the global pandemic and its havoc on world economies. It is proving to be a brain-scrambler of significant magnitude.

Last night the ranch received an impressive sample of the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobol in the form of wave after wave of soaking rain. I think it might make the landscape pond overflow. [wry smile]

We are hoping that the deluge won’t drown any of the plants in Cyndie’s gardens.

She served up another delicious salad last night with all the greens coming from plants she is growing. This time I remembered to take a picture.

The asparagus isn’t ours. They’re store-bought. I can only hope someday our wisps of skinny stalks will someday reach such mammoth proportions.

Much to our surprise, rainstorms seem to improve our connection for Zoom meetings, and last night I was able to participate in conversations with an international collection of members of my beloved virtual community, Brainstorms. (Ward, it was a treat to see and hear you!). For almost an hour my connection flashed instability only three times, but never once dropped my connection entirely. That was a first.

The normal mode for Zoom gatherings by way of our cell connection out here in the countryside is to freeze up frequently and get dropped/reconnected multiple times until I give up and sign off.

The last time Cyndie was in a Zoom meeting during wild weather, she enjoyed similar success. The signal must like having all those raindrops in the air. Who’d uh guessed?

The little boy in me would have, probably.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2020 at 6:00 am

Stress Squared

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Just when we thought the problem commanding our attention was an invisible virus contagion with potential to kill that has shut down life as we knew it, centuries of systemic oppression have boiled over in response to another murder of a black man in police custody, this time in Minneapolis.

It’s mind-numbing.

Unfathomable that so many people were present during the incident and either chose not to or were unauthorized to intervene.

My commute home yesterday took me uncomfortably close to some of the riotous protestations underway beside the freeway, but beyond a momentary slowing of traffic in the area, the worst disruption for me was hearing details of what was actually happening at that moment on the live radio coverage as I passed by.

The activity in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul was disturbingly close to where our daughter, Elysa lives.

Hearing about the transformation from protesting to arson and vandalism by some people is heartbreaking.

There is stress stacked upon stress, stacked upon stress.

It is hard to know how much influence one can have from a distance, standing among the trees of our forest amid a chorus of bird songs and frogs beckoning, sending love to all those people in the thick of things just 50 miles away to the northeast.

Today, that’s what I’ve got to offer.

I wish it could put out fires. Or, better yet, keep people from ever starting them.

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 am

Not Knowing

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If only we knew. Have I been infected? Do I have antibodies? Will illness strike someone I know? Will the economic depression last very long? Will the food supply chain normalize? Will hospitals near me become overrun? When I get the virus will I have no symptoms, or will I need to be hospitalized? Will there be a second wave?

Thus far, the COVID-19 pandemic has barely impacted my life. I could avoid contributing to the oversaturation of media information on the topic and only write about home projects and the weather as if there is no life-altering virus outbreak disrupting the world all the while. I’d prefer that, actually. But the reality is, there is an undulating ripple that is disturbing the universal foundation of how everything used to work, which makes pretending there isn’t seem conspicuously disingenuous.

Of greater distress to me than not knowing the answers to all the questions in my first paragraph is the growing reality that I no longer have plans on the calendar for going out with friends or family for dinner to celebrate events, or for going to see live music performances, or to go to the lake this summer, or take a week off work to go biking and camping with friends.

We don’t know what we are going to be doing next week, next month, all summer, or next year. That puts a real crimp in the realm of feeling hopeful and inspired.

It’s just not very sexy to replace that kind of hope with the more realistic desires of hoping we all get through this alive and with some semblance of our incomes, assets, and health still intact.

I struggle with a little guilt over feeling like I would prefer to just get the virus and be forced to stay home and do nothing for two weeks just so I could have a few days of certainty and also a little justification for allowing myself to lay in bed until I honestly didn’t want to anymore.

I’m tired. I don’t want to simply appreciate the sunlight shining on the newly blossoming flowers. Dewdrops on the grass. Pond frogs starting to sing again.

I don’t want to meditate on the zen of not knowing.

Well, maybe I do want a little of that meditation, especially in place of hearing one more government briefing about how they are going to ramp up testing or whether or not it is wise to speculate about injecting disinfectant that works on hard surfaces into human bodies.

Is it possible to inhale UV light? That might work.

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be sarcastic.

I feel for those who suffer every day with the fear of getting infected and for the people who are already suffering significant financial disruptions. As well, for those who are needing to work long hours for days and weeks on end at higher risk of infection to care for seriously ill patients.

Here’s to achieving the art of finding peace with not always knowing.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2020 at 6:00 am

The Diet

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Not that we want to compound the misery we put our horses through, but the weeks of indoor confinement they just endured have come with the added insult of decreased rations. If protecting them from the ravages of founder (laminitis) means we need to closely control what our horses are consuming, we need to do it regardless of how unhappy they act over the situation.

I am certain that the reason Cayenne was prancing around snorting when I freed her from the confines of her stall on Saturday was because she had grown so agitated over the lack of anything to eat in her “cell.” She had made that clear with the kicking of the wall and pawing at the floor when I showed up to greet the farrier and get Hunter some padded shoes.

The precisely measured portions I had meted out at noon were ancient history and she wanted more. Luckily, she settled down a little bit while Hunter was brought out of his stall to stand between both mares and be fitted.

Later, after the three horses were done thrashing around outside in the paddock, they settled down and took up stations over the hay boxes, where bonus servings had been made available to augment their celebration over the return to the great outdoors.

Now, even though it was a bonus offering, it was still a precisely measured meager portion of a bonus.

It didn’t take them long to show their feelings about the restrictions of this new diet still being in place, even though they have been released from confinement in the barn.

Yesterday, I spotted them grazing on the winter manure pile inside their fence line. It seems there have been a few morsels of hay raked up with the manure.

Cyndie fretted the other day that feeding our animals (and I might add, her family and guests) is one of the ways she shows her love. For the record, she loves me a LOT. It breaks her heart to see the horses stoop to digging through the manure pile for blades of grass.

I’m sure it’s not the first time a restrictive diet has brought on behaviors for which pride gets tossed aside.

In reality, they aren’t really that desperate. They were just checking out the pile for a brief few seconds. I thought it looked funny and snapped the photo. It makes for good story!

The diet is for real, and their adjustment to it is going to take some time, but we are optimistic a new balance will emerge and we will be back on a path to optimal health, soon.

Soon, in a relative sense of the word.

 

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Written by johnwhays

March 12, 2018 at 6:00 am

Trepidation Visits

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We don’t really know. Evidence is still rather vague about eliminating either of the two prevailing possibilities about what is ailing Dezirea. We’ve now had three vet visits in two days, and this morning it seems as though the only progress we are seeing is that she isn’t getting dramatically worse.

Is it colic, or anaplasmosis?

There is a second pile of manure this morning, which is generally a good thing, except it doesn’t look normal enough to inspire full optimism. She could still have some obstruction deep within the long tract of her digestive system.

Cyndie spent extended time with Dezi yesterday and came away with a sense that our senior mare is at peace. I’m afraid that has only contributed to our trepidation about where this could be headed.

Meanwhile, the other horses are growing frustrated with the forced separation and lack of access to the lush grass growing everywhere around their confines. It is hard to read their take on Dezirea’s predicament while they are simultaneously frustrated with their own situation.

We have spotted moments when they gather at the barrier fence to stand in close proximity, but not much more than that.

It is noteworthy how much the mental unease over the seriousness of Dezirea’s affliction looms over everything else for us. Finding a healthy and loving attitude and projecting that to our immediate world, and beyond, becomes increasingly difficult. Losing patience with otherwise trivial situations becomes easy.

Even though nature is forging ahead with explosive spring growth and our list of chores we would like to accomplish is longer than can be achieved, we find ourselves spinning in place this weekend.

Maybe our lesson has something to do with facing and dealing with trepidation. Once again, it seems prudent to be most fully focused on the present moment, despite the multitude of distractions lulling us away.

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Written by johnwhays

April 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am