“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” 
— Helen Keller

I started to get down in the dumps again today as I tried to do some housing research. Trying to figure out what my future options are. I think I’ll have to rent for awhile when I eventually move from here – rent a home, a storage unit, and a place to board my horse(s). Did I forget anything?

But where? Near where I’m at now — more countryish? And closer to horse boarding? And where I can hear the music of frogs, crickets, birds, and coyotes? Or closer to where I work so I can let Java outside during the day? And where I can listen to the music of busses, people yelling, and sirens? Hmmmm…

Maybe I should have people vote. Or at least tell me, how do you make huge decisions like this? Some sort of instinct? A list of pros and cons? Pray? I’m pretty much doing all of these and there is no sense of direction yet.

Java and I went for a walk at Elm Creek park this afternooon. There are bike trails, horse trails, dog walking trails, hiking trails, snowshoeing, skijoring, and skiing trails there. Would be perfect to live near such a park, don’t you think? 

No. They have so many restrictions on dog walking — certain length leash, dogs allowed only on paved trails that you end up sharing with a lot of bikes, and the trails weren’t very pretty and no water. Plus, I didn’t see any rental housing around there, only farms and suburbia houses. 

Elm Creek dog path

I then searched on line for rental housing and couldn’t find anything that allows a cat and a dog over 20 lbs. It would also help to have something with a fenced in yard so I don’t have to do a leash run all the time. And something I can afford – that’s probably a huge decider. Oh, yeah, and my puppy needs a pool! Okay, so I probably won’t get that last one. Maybe a kiddy pool?

Java in pool

I managed to somewhat pull myself around to believing that I can be happy anywhere. All I need is a decent place to keep a big, active dog. I probably won’t be home much anyway. Just a place to sleep and eat. The rest of the time I’ll be at work or riding my horse or exercising the dog. Right?

I feel like we adopted Java under false pretenses. She was supposed to live where she had room to run. The people that visited our house to approve the adoption were so excited about leaving her with us. These are the kind of things I end up worrying about and feeling guilty about.

Hopefully, I can teach myself and Java how to skijor so she can run off some steam doing that. But I’ve discovered the equipment for that is expensive too. Maybe someone out there has a suggestion how to skijor on the cheap? Maybe if Java can learn agility and there’s a course somewhere that the public can use? Suggestions? Ideas?

It was another absolutely gorgeous day today. Unfortunately, I was too tired and cranky to enjoy it much. I woke up at 5:30 AM with the worst bloody nose I’ve ever had in my life! I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital the way I was losing blood. Freaky…

Waking up at 5:30 or earlier isn’t that unusual for me, but going to bed at midnight is and that’s what I’ve been doing lately. Must make wiser choices…

After our walk, I went to Fleet Farm and bought a training collar for Java. I’m tired of being the crazy neighbor, screaming at my dog to “Come!” I hated to spend the money, but Java keeps ignoring me more and more each day. She needs a wake up call. The thing is charging up right now. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and put it on Java! (Trying hard to refrain from cackling.) I’ll let you know how it goes.

Training collar

I also got a bracket to hang a new bird feeder off the deck. I didn’t like the bird feeders that were at the store. They were too big, too small, not a big enough slot to let seed through. too easy for a squirrel to destroy, etc. I finally bought a small, cheap bird feeder just to test out whether the bracket will work or not. No use spending a lot on a feeder if the bracket isn’t raccoon proof.

Bird feeder

Geeze! I just realized that I’m sounding a lot like all I do is sit around and worry about money. Well, kind of. It’d be different if I was younger and had a long time to make up the loss on my 401K and had a long time to be working period. God says not to worry about these things, but I don’t think that means we should be stupid about our finances. I just want to make wise choices.

On an up note, I found three agates today, which is totally amazing as I haven’t been finding any agates in the rocks around the house lately. I figure my big score is a sure sign that good things are coming into my life.


Okay, so I’m reading a lot into a few rocks, but can you blame a girl?

When I let Java out last night, I saw something big jump off our bird feeder. I was thinking that either it was the biggest squirrel I’d ever seen or it wasn’t a squirrel. I ran up the steps to the deck with H’s super-duper bright flashlight and found a raccoon on the deck.

This explains what has happened to our birdfeeder. I had been thinking that we had some really strong squirrels. But no, that wasn’t it.

Chewed up bird feeder

What a mess!

Bird seed mess

So now the birdfeeder is shot and I just bought a bunch of birdseed. I like having the birdfeeder on the deck because you can see the birds really well through our windows. And we’ve had some really beautiful yellow finches, bluebirds, cardinals, and what I think is a rose-breasted grosbeak. 

I’m not sure what to do with the birdseed now. There aren’t a whole lot of choices of where to put a birdfeeder and still have it visible from the window. Another life challenge…

I didn’t get to the kayak demo I was planning on going to today. I looked up how far away the lake was and it’s 40 miles away or 80 miles round trip. I had so many other things I needed to get done so I decided maybe I’d go next time. They have another kayak demo on June 6th.

Instead, I took Luke trail riding again. I had a hard time getting him to go far enough forward to close the divider in the trailer. Once again, he didn’t ride very well on the way to the park and ended up with a couple scrapes, one on his hip and another down by his right front hoof. Nothing serious but I had to clean the scrapes up and put some salve on them when I got home to keep the flies away. I may need to put wraps on his lower legs next time to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

There were a couple other horse trailers at the park but I didn’t see the riders at all. It’s not a very big park, so that’s kind of surprising.

I did manage to take a few photos while riding. Luke was very well behaved.

I’d like to try going to a bigger park but I’m going to have to look up the rules. Some parks require that you have a trail pass that you keep on your saddle, plus a sticker to park your trailer.

After I got home and put Luke back out with Murphy, I moved some of the outdoor furniture out of the barn and washed it off. After all that hard work, I had to sit on the furniture and cool off with a beer. I really like Goose Island Nut Brown Ale.

Goose Island beer

Java kept herself busy by running in and out of the pool. 

Java in pool

The water gets her revved up and she had to run through the long grass to work off some energy. Kind of helps her dry off a little too.

Java in tall grass
Java in our woods
It was another beautiful day weather-wise. And should be decent tomorrow too, which should mean more trail riding. Gosh, I love summertime!

On Saturday, Lynn and I went to Art-A-Whirl, a yearly event where artists of all kinds open their studios to the public and sell their goods. Lynn knows a couple of the artists that were participating and I’ve just always wanted to go and see what it’s all about. There was a pretty good crowd at the Northrup King Building.

Northrup King Building

First we visited Christina Hankins studio. I love her paintings. The colors are so vibrant! Looking at her art simply makes you feel good. 

Christina Hankins' paintings

The artist I was most interested in seeing was Sarah Anderson because she does pet portraits, mostly dogs. I really liked this one of a German Shephard.

Drawing by Sarah Anderson

I asked Sarah if she does any drawing classes. She doesn’t but I can e-mail and set up a time to meet in her studio and draw together and she’ll give me some tips. Cool!

Lynn and I entered a contest at the Northrup King building to win a scooter. I love the green. It goes well with my eyes…

Mary on scooter

Lynn and I found a place selling some incredibly fun hats. I liked the cat hat.

Mary in cat hat

While Lynn went with a chicken.

Lynn in chicken hatWe couldn’t stay long at Art-A-Whirl because I had a hair appointment to get to. This may seem like very bad timing on my part, but the appointment was actually supposed to be on Friday night. When I arrived on Friday, they couldn’t find my appointment on the computer. I mean nothing, no appointments at all in my name. I know I’ve been confused lately, but not that confused. So they set up another appointment for me on Saturday.

Because they’d made the mistake, I ended up with a free haircut and free deep conditioner. The only thing I had to spend money on was the highlights. I’ve been coloring my hair myself and not getting haircuts because I’ve been so worried about money when they were laying off people at work and after we spent so much money on remodeling our first floor. Well, I needed a mood lifter. It doesn’t make me look 10 years younger like I’d hope, but it’s an improvement.

Mary's haircut

Today I went kayaking with Sue and Pam. We started out in a lake and then went down a small river and back again. I had some issues with paddling — kept hitting my thumb on a screw, but eventually I think my technique got better. My shoulders ached while I was paddling but everything feels okay now. I’m sure I would get the flow down eventually.


It was a beautiful day and so much fun being out on the water. Peaceful. I hope I get to do it again soon. I’d really love to go out next weekend and buy a kayak and a rack for my car to carry it. But I suppose this isn’t the best time to spend money or to have one more thing to move. But then again, I need to do stuff, lots of stuff, so I don’t have time to think. Thinking bad — very bad. Sun, water, fresh air good.


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