Wednesday, January 7, 2009

~Queen of the Barn~

aka... me.

 Yes, that's my job title now. It makes me think of Yertle the turtle... I'm queen of the barn, and queen on the horse, and queen of the donkeys, and queen of the rake and queen of the manure... I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

Until 4 years ago my job was advocating for kids with FASD and their families. I organized and facilitated support groups, taught classes, presented at conferences, advocated at schools, etc. I loved what I was doing, although... after 10 years... there was a fair amount of burn-out. FASD can be brutal, both for the kids (and adults) that have it, and their families. The almost complete lack of  resources made things even harder... I can't tell you how many times I had to tell families that the supports and services their child needed... didn't exist.

 But then M's schizophrenia progressed to the point that he was too unpredictable to take to support group meetings... and too unstable to leave at home...and I retired and started my new job.
I get a lot dirtier in my new job, but I love it just the same.

It's been a difficult week at our house. M's holiday good spell is over, and we've had several rough episodes this week. I've been dragging around the house all day, exhausted, just waiting for bedtime.

But then dh got home a little early from work, and since M was doing ok and it was still light outside, I headed out to the barn.

After feeding the animals, I raked the paddock, cleaning all the manure out... Then I raked and swept the barn, and picked some hay out of Blaze's forelock (he was pretty impatient with me... interrupting him while he ate!)... I puttered for almost an hour out at the barn.

It was wonderful...

I used to wonder why I love working out at the barn, and with the animals so much. It didn't make sense... I'm a city kid, as were my parents. But for years... decades... before we moved away from the city, I yearned to be away from it. I would stand at my front door, and imagine I could see the horizon, the clouds moving over the mountains, the rolling hills of the high prairie... when really all I could see was the neighbor's house. I've always had the frequent urge to leave Denver and head for the prairie... And when I would finally leave Denver behind, and be able to look out the car windows and see those rolling hills, and the bigness of the sky, it felt like I was finally able to take a deep breath after holding it for a long time.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

still decluttering

I can't remember the last time I was so consumed (lol, I started to type confused just now... which is probably a more accurate word to use) with clearing things out. I've been working for almost a week now and am getting close to being done. It snowed most of the day today, and the kids were happy and settled, so I went through closets, cupboards, etc. and have almost another full load to take to Goodwill (I took a load on Weds. too). It feels so good to have things cleaned up and organized...

Today's snow was just beautiful... there was almost no wind, so it just floated down  softly and silently, with no huge drifts... Drifts that always seem to block the outside steps that lead down to the path to the barn, leaving me stumbing around them through the deep snow! It's nice to have the snow without the wind howling and blasting it against the windows... 

The animals stayed close to the barn... Tilly, especially, doesn't like snow and cold, which makes sense because she spent her first three years running free through the part of Nevada bordering Death Valley. What a shock that first Colorado winter must have been to her!  

Hmmm... it really didn't seem windy today, but the snow in the picture definitely isn't falling straight down....  I guess it takes more wind than that to seem windy to me. :)

(That's Blaze in the front, Tucker behind him, and Tilly peaking out of the barn)

As the sun was starting to set, it was so beautiful outside... everything seemed muffled and silent... and the snow, falling through the dusk looked like a gauzy curtain softening the edges of the trees, fences... even the barn.

I took a picture, trying to capture the light... the peacefulness... but I couldn't catch it. I guess you would have had to be here...

So... I cleaned all day, and while I was cleaning I found these two things.

I got them from my neighbor, but I don't know what they are...

They look pretty old, and are almost identical. They both have a hole all the way through the middle...

...and smaller holes around the outside.

And the bottom is grooved.

Does anybody know what these things are? (Or what I might use them for??)

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's a new year...

...and it seems like a good time to get stuff cleaned and organized around here.

 So I've been cleaning for days... going through boxes in the storage area, getting rid of things we don't need or use, going through old files (how does paper multiply so quickly?) and throwing away, or shredding, all those papers that are just taking up space.

I would love to be able to go through each room, cleaning things out... but I don't know if my enthusiasm for this project will last that long.

I've gotten a few rooms done though, and the storage area looks good.

Before I started cleaning, you couldn't even see the floor in this room. it was so piled up with boxes and things. (J, the bookcase in the picture is the one I called you about.

Christmas was good... M made it through both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without any problems. It was wonderful to have a calm Christmas (I can't remember the last time a holiday went so well), and we enjoyed seeing family and friends.

On Christmas Eve we had some friends and neighbors over for dinner, and all the kids and grandkids were here that evening.

I didn't take many pictures that evening, but here's one... It's E (dd#1) and her husband and two of the grandkids with M and R... (no, that helmet isn't M's, I got it for our grandson for Christmas, and M was "helping" him with it :)

We stayed home Christmas morning, and it was a beautiful, calm, relaxing time... then, that afternoon, we went to dh's folks house. All his siblings were there (plus spouses and kids!) so it was a lot of fun. We do a "white elephant" gift exchange instead of exchanging gifts (there are more than 50 of us when we all get together, so too many to exchange gift with each person). The white elephant is always fun and rowdy...
Here's the gift I worked really hard to get:

 ...a pot thrown dh's sister. Isn't it pretty? (And a much better gift than the sit-on-a-shelf Santa figurine with light up legs, the singing Christmas wreath, or the room humidifier shaped like a huge baseball!
 Anyway... Christmas was good, but I was happy to get all the trimmings and decorations packed away again. Next week we'll start back to our regular school routine... since this week I seem to be possessed by clearing stuff out and getting organized!