Area of Refuge

refuge sign

Despite the best of intentions, it’s been awhile since I posted here and will probably be awhile before I post again. It’s been an interesting summer — strange and perplexing and directionless and maybe a better summer because of that.

As a try this thing and then that, and vow to do better this week but end up doing worse instead, I have tried to pay attention to the why’s and what’s of it all. And there are a few things I’ve noticed…

road bike
I hate driving a car during rush hour.  I mean, who actually likes it? As though crawling in traffic isn’t bad enough, you have drivers that appear hell bent on killing everyone around them. Even when riding a bike makes me race to make the train, I end up more relaxed when I ride. And even though the train rides can be crowded, without enough room for all the bikes on board, and it takes longer to get to work, it’s still better than driving. The train is like a mini-community. You see the same conductors and riders every day and people joke around and talk to each other. They hold doors for you. They’re just plain nice. And the commute is the high point of my work day. So if I can ride my bike more often, I’ll be better for it.

I’m saner when I fit writing time into my day, even if it’s only 30 minutes. Not writing makes me very cranky.


I love the way my dogs greet me when I come home from work. No matter how bad my day has been, they make me laugh. Latte has this whole conversation going when I walk in the door, “Where’ve you been? What’cha doing? Hurry! I’m starving!”

She barks and she play bows. She dashes away to her food bowl, does a sliding stop, then dashes back to me, spins in a circle, then dashes back down the hall. Sometimes she break dances with head spins and all. It’s very entertaining.


In the meantime, Java has either her zebra or dragon toy that she is madly squeaking and whipping back and forth, slapping it on the floor. She stops occasionally to do a howl, which comes out muffled by the stuffed toy in her mouth. Java’s dance is a bit more like the shy guy on the dance floor that just bobs in place and throws a side motion in every now and then.


Things are going well at the new barn Luke is at. I like having other people around. It’s nice to chat while grooming and talk about our horses and the type of riding we like to do. One woman is a fellow gardener so we exchange ideas of how to use up our over-abundant tomatoes. Most everyone there is working towards a goal of showing or improving their riding. When asked what Luke and I do, I reply, “We just goof around.”

I usually ride alone in the outdoor arena, but that’s okay because that’s my time with Luke to enjoy the outdoors and watch the hawks that circle overhead. Once in awhile, we ride around in a grassy field and I pretend I’m trail riding.

horseback riding

I have come to realize when things go awry that it’s not the situation I’m in that makes me miserable, it’s thinking about the situation I’m in that makes me miserable. That’s an over simplification, as some situations are in themselves truly miserable. But obsessively thinking about how bad something is makes it even worse.

There are other types of destructive thinking. There is comparison thinking, where everyone else is madly happy and successful, and only you alone are struggling.

There is future thinking where you obsessively think and plan how the future could be different than your now. Such thinking leads to madness.

I’m taking a clue from Luke…

While there is grass, eat it. When there is no grass, eat hay. Whatever is before you, is what you got, so go with it. And if you are really fortunate, someone will put a goofy hat on you to keep the flies away. ~ Luke wisdom

horse grazing

Truthfully, I don’t know where people without animals find their daily wisdom. I would truly be lost without my gurus.

I’ll end with a few photos I took while riding in the St. Paul Classic Bike Tour. The event was put on by BikeMN, and AARP was one of the sponsors of the event.  I was introduced to the AARP MN Communications Director by a friend and wrote a post for their site about riding in the Classic. So rather than repeat all the details, you can read about my ride here.

Steve and I rode thirty-three miles, but with the rest stops along the way, where there was food, music and lots of fellow bicyclists to talk to, it didn’t seem that far. It was a super good time!

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour

St. Paul Classic Bike Tour

Porcupine Creek Musical Group

Roe Family Singers

Roe Family Singers

It’s almost October and summer is wrapping up. I hope you are enjoying what’s left of this gardening, fun-in-the-sun season!

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  1. As the friend who talked you into writing about the St. Paul Classic bike ride for AARP MN, thank you. And thanks for all the great motivation in this post. Today I promise to get outside and enjoy.

  2. The bike ride looks awesome and your commute sounds much saner than driving, for sure. And your sweet, furry companions are totally adorable and wise.

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