Wednesday, October 31, 2012


No power. No phone. No cell service. No Internet.  Quick update from Starbucks. The horses are enjoying their stay at the luxury horsie hotel, aka my neighbor's barn. They may not want to come home, but I hope that we will be able to get them back tomorrow. I hate looking out the window and not seeing Silk lift her head to meet my gaze.

We lost our 70 year old huge pine tree in the front yard. Luckily, it fell away from the house. Otherwise, some big branches down and another pine tree near the barn - it is in my neighbor's yard and fell towards her property. If it had gone the other way, it would have taken out Siete's stall. So, I'm very happy that we decided to move the girls.

Wondering how long it will take the utility companies to find us this time around......

Monday, October 29, 2012

Quick Update

Thank you, everyone, so much for your concern. I was able to go to the barn and feed the horses this morning. They seem glad to be there. It's cozy, and the concrete really makes the place feel secure. They are drinking water, pooping normally and eating hay. I was concerned about Siete all night, so it gave me peace of mind to see her happy face this morning. That was the last time I will see them until the storm has passed.

My husband did a great job securing our barn and house, so we're in for the duration. It's his birthday - exactly a year ago, on his birthday, we had the freak snowstorm. Some birthday present - maybe we can skip the weather drama next year. I'm making chili and enchiladas, and we've got a fabulous ice cream cake from our creamery.  And lots of candles.

Hopefully, we won't lose power. The wind is about 35 mph. We had a brief hit where it went off and came back on. I'm pretty sure that we will lose it at some point. The big excitement should come this evening.

I'll check in tomorrow if I am able.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moved the Girls

 We waffled about moving the horses to our friends’ concrete block barn up the hill from us. I even called the woman who was going to trailer them up for me and told her that we had decided they should stay here. Then, my husband went out to the barn and looked at the pine trees that line the property between us and our nearest neighbor. Last hurricane, one had come down on our side. He pointed out that the remaining trees could hit the barn, not to mention the big hickory tree that is next to it. He said we need to move them just to be safe.

So, two hours later, the horses were in the concrete block barn. Last time, we just walked them up the road, but it was stressful for them because there were these crazy barking dogs in one of the yards. And with my arm still being pretty much useless, we didn’t want to take any chances. 

Silk seemed to settle in easily. Siete is a bit anxious. I hope that the wind and rain won’t be too bad tomorrow morning around 7 am so I can drive up and feed them breakfast. Looks like by noon, we’ll be in the thick of it.

My anxiety level dropped dramatically as soon as the horses were safely tucked away. I have no doubt that we did the right thing. My friends who own the barn promise they will be able to get out there and feed and water the girls throughout the storm.  They’re the kind of people that I can trust to do what needs to be done. I’m so thankful that I have such kind friends and neighbors.

I’ll check in again tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Here We Go Again

So, it looks like Hurricane Sandy is planning to stop by for a visit. We’re not sure when she’s coming, or if she intends to make a hit a bit further south. Whatever her track, we’re in for some mighty winds and lots of rain. The only good news is that my husband arrived home after a month long run of gigs all over the country. I’ve never been so happy to see him!

My big decision will be whether I move the horses to my friend’s concrete block barn. I did during the last hurricane, and it was a good decision until after the storm. The horse that lives in the barn is the queen and she hated Siete. We had to do an emergency evacuation right after the storm was over, which was very stressful for my girls. This time, the queen is in the lower part of the barn so they can all be separated. But I would need to trailer them up the road since I can’t walk them up and risk messing up my arm. I will wait until Sunday to decide what to do. Hopefully, by then Sandy’s path will be more certain.

Meanwhile, we’re stocking up on food and gas, cleaning the generator, buying wood pellets in case the barn floods. I think back to the morning that the hurricane hit last year, and the memory is still vivid. Huge trees were crashing down outside, and we hid in the basement with the cat and dog watching the sheets of rain and the tops of the trees flailing through the little windows in the door. Makes me think that I should put the horses in the other barn since being in our little shed stalls would be terrifying in that kind of wind.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More Thoughts on Falling

At 5 am, in the pitch-black front yard, Stella and I encountered a skunk this morning. Luckily, I had the blasting bright flashlight with me and saw the little guy before the dog did. I held on tight to the leash and got dragged a bit, but the skunk went on its merry way while we managed to slip and slide back into the house.  The dead leaves have become treacherous for me on the paths and on the wet grass over the last few weeks.  I am increasingly aware that I am afraid I’m going to fall again.

I’ve written and thought a lot about falling over the years, usually in relationship to riding my horses. So, I have some good resources to draw upon to overcome my new incarnation of this familiar fear. I have been working with Julie Connery Smith,  an excellent Feldenkrais practitioner, here for a few months to help restore my balance and awareness of movement while I’ve been in physical therapy.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Feldenkrais, I will quote my dear friend, Mary DeBono, who performs miracles on people, horses and dogs :

“It is very common for people to hold onto protective habits since they once served a useful purpose. But these unhealthy movement patterns can cause pain, stiffness and damage to joints over time.  They interfere with freedom of movement and quality of life. Most people, however, don’t realize that they have these harmful movement habits. The Feldenkrais Method works to uncover such inefficient habits of movement and help people learn how to move in a more comfortable, efficient and healthier way.  Aches and pains often disappear. Flexibility, balance, posture and coordination improve.  Simply put, Feldenkrais helps us develop awareness, so that we can move through life with ease and grace.”

            I know what I need to do -- If I can let go of my fear of falling, I know that my range of motion will increase. As my movement becomes less braced and tense, I will be able to blend my motion and my intentions better.  I did it successfully when I was riding my horse. Now, I have to do it while I’m walking on my own two feet.  I think it has something to do with feeling grounded and solid while I’m just standing still. Some days, my whole body feels skewed towards the right since I spend so many hours in splints and exercising that weakened side.

            Another great Feldenkrais practitioner, my old friend, Alan Questel, once wrote an explanation of what led Moshe Feldenkrais to develop his practice. He understood that we are always thinking, feeling, sensing and moving. To change any one of those things would bring about change in the whole person. Movement is the most immediate and concrete of those four aspects, and changing how we move will cause dramatic shifts in the other three areas and in how we perceive ourselves.

So I know I’m going in the right direction, even if I’m out there slip sliding around in the dark. As Feldenkrais said, “If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want.” And I want to move through life with ease and grace.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Slow Path of Progress

I’m making progress.  Last week, I touched my right thumb to my nose – which was a huge moment for me.  So slowly, achingly, I am recovering the use of my right hand and moving my arm more naturally.  Most of the time, I don’t try to focus on my progress because it is so small, and I can get discouraged that it doesn’t happen faster. I just make time to wear the splints and do the stretching and strengthening exercises, even if I don’t feel like it. And believe me, most of the time, I don’t feel like doing the splints, so it’s an exercise in discipline, that’s for sure.

Siete is also getting better, but her back right and her front left are still not totally healed. It’s kind of driving me crazy, and I wonder if there might be Lyme disease in the picture. This okay-one-day-and-sore-the-next routine could be a clue. Johnny comes out the end of the week to trim Silk, and I’ll have him check Siete to see if there’s any sign of abscess in either of those hooves.

We’re having a very rainy, dank autumn. I notice that the trees are more yellow and less red and flamboyant than usual. I feel less enthusiastic about Fall, my favorite season, this year. I think it’s because I’m so wrapped up in my routine of splints, exercises, splints, exercises, splints, ice packs and more ice packs. My future depends on it.

So when I saw this quote from the Dalai Lama this morning, it really spoke to me:

“You see, the past is past, and the future is yet to come. That means the future is in your hands—the future entirely depends on the present. That realization gives you a great responsibility.”
The Dalai Lama