Friday, July 10, 2015

July Musings

Well, goodbye June, hello July!



Holy handballs - where has the time gone?!?!

As we start into the heart of the summer, I'm looking towards the rest of my weeks, weekends and trips to round out the hottest months of the year.  AKA - Swamp Ass Summertime.

I've got some lofty running goals for the rest of the year, too.  I agreed to be a suffer buddy to a friend who's running the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.  Her and I had talked about it while I was trying to distract her from her thinking about her missing dog, and I somehow heard myself saying "I'll run it with you!"

http://www.milwaukeelakefrontmarathon.org/lfm


What the what.

So I looked up the run but alas, registration had already closed.  I was not deterred however! I wanted to be there for my friend and help her along the way of running and somehow she thought I was capable of doing such ridiculous exercise feats.  I did some quick research and found another event, the Milwaukee Running Festival, the next month that offered a full marathon as well.  I decided I'd do that one, and that way I'd still be able to train with her long distance (I'm in Wisco, she in Colorado)

http://www.milwaukeerunningfestival.com/

I registered for the full marathon - and I'm a bit in awe of my own actions. 

I have run exactly two half marathons in my life.  One I finished in just under three hours, the next I finished in two and a half hours.  I actually enjoyed the second one; the first I thought I was going to spontaneously combust, or just crumble into a pile of tears.  True story.  

Proof I was standing after my second half, with my friend Sarah. 

But either way, I wanted to still do this full marathon so that I could suffer with  be there for my friend. 

And THEN, because I'm a nutjob... 

.
http://www.medcitymarathon.com/fall-half-marathon-5k.php

Yep...I'm doing a half marathon, as a nice ego boost before the full marathon.  

Because
Am
A
Crazy
Person

But really, REALLY....I feel like I can do this.  I've got all the visualizations down - crossing the finish line, high fiving people, falling into a fit of cramps and tears in a pile of banana peels and spent Gatorade bottles - I'm good with that.  Now it's just putting foot to pavement.  

Left right left right.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Over and over.  For 26 miles. 

I am a runner because I run, as my friend says. 


CURRENT RACE SCHEDULE: 
September 20: Med City Fall Half Marathon
November 1: Milwaukee Running Festival Full Marathon

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June.

It's freaking June 1st.  Well, 2nd.  (I actually wrote this yesterday but didn't publish...)
My best friend's birthday.  Yesterday, that is.
Halfway through 2015.

As I read through my "feed" of bloggers, I'm seeing a trend - none of us expected the first half of this year to go so quick. It's really quite ridiculous.  I was just complaining about shoveling the snow, and crawling into bed praying that no more would fall overnight, and BAM now it's June.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:


In so many ways, it's true.  I have a health and wellness goal and have a rough goal weight/number in mind, and this fits in perfectly.  Yes, it'll take time to reach my goal, BUT, the time is passing regardless of whether I put in the work or not.  I'm trying not to get sucked back into the world of headless fitness models on Pinterest, trying to fit impossible standards into my everyday normal life, and remembering that the goal is to feel better about myself and my skin, not to hit some magical number.


So my goals for this month and hopefully the rest of the year (because let's face it - it'll be Thanksgiving sooner than we all think!) are as follows: 

-Stay on top of tracking steps/active minutes (thank you FitBit) 
-Actually legitimately start tracking calories/macros/realfood (MFP or the like)
-Find a gym class each day that I can't wait to do (I've already got Monday-Tuesday on lock)
-SLEEP enough every night
-DRINK enough (water) 
-DRINK less (booze)
-Go out to eat less / Make home cooked dinners more special (aka use fancy dishes, wear pants, etc.) 
-STRETCH daily 
-Learn how to fish
-Subsequently, get over fear of touching fish
-Keep my eyes on my own life
-Perhaps start writing in this again because I suck right now.

Because really:  


Stay fly(yyyyyyyyyyy...) everyone. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Body Love, Body Acceptance, and Body Butter

I've been particularly hard on myself lately.

I haven't kept up with moving my body as much as I'd like.
I feel a bit lazy in the "up and at 'em" section.
I have make discouraging comments about my body almost daily.

Today it stops.  Today I'm going to take some time to genuinely thank my body for the things that it does that I take completely for granted.  It'll be weird, and uncomfortable and I'll surely cry, but we'll get through this.

And stop calling me Shirley.

My feet:
Dear little piggies, I've been rough on you.  I've dabbled in barefoot running (much to your distress), lost feeling doing Spin classes, lovingly created callouses through Zumba and have squeezed you guys into the most uncomfortable of footwear ever conceived.  I'm sorry about that last one.  But y'all have been pretty awesome to me, too.  You got me across the finish line of two half marathons (only one of which we were all MASSIVELY unprepared for), have trekked up hiking trails and down long beaches summer in and summer out.  You do good work, and I'll start painting my toenails to make you guys a bit more pretty to look at.

My legs:
I've always loved these stems of mine.  They're strong, full of scars and scrapes and bruises from my clumsiness, but they're solid.  My new favorite thing is quickly becoming when Eddie and I are just laying around and he mindlessly runs his hands up and down my legs.  He's a leg man, and I've heard him say more than a few times "Your legs are looking mighty fine in those leggings!" (Yes, he really does talk like that.) which makes me feel sexy and empowered.  Then again, I say it to myself when I look in the mirror.  These legs have gotten me through a lot of stuff in my life, and I've got high hopes for them.  And yes, my thighs rub together.  The two-to-three days after every race I run I walk like a cowboy because CHAFING.  But these thighs have kept many a phone safe whilst I text on the toilet (don't even judge, you do it too) and I like them.  I like having sturdy, strong, curvy legs.  I have no hips to speak of, and almost-but-not-quite a butt, so I've got to covet my legs for all they're worth.

My belly:
YES, my belly.  The thing I curse everyday when I try on my "curvy" jeans and they NEVER fit.  Thanks to my dad's side of the family, my waist is naturally bigger than my hips, which kinda gives me a perma-muffin top.  I've come to grips with it and figured I'll rock what I've got regardless.  It's a good belly - it's soft, sprinkled with freckles and brushed with stretch marks  tiger stripes.  Inside, this belly WORKS like it's got rent to pay.  All the good food I eat day in and day out gets taken care of by this belly.  Would I like it to be a bit smaller? Sure.  Do I want rock hard abs?  Probably not.  But I'm working on moving this belly and all my appendages to make my whole everything happy, and not just hit some aesthetic goal.

My boobs: 
Thanks.  You two know what for.  *wink*

But seriously, being a "blessed" woman has its ups and downs.  Guys - it's really not always a picnic.  They hurt when they grow, when they move too much, when you lay on them, and they jiggle like JellO during every flight I've ever taken, much to the chagrin of any 6 to 60 year old man around me.  They sweat, but that means my skin is working at detoxifying (strangely, without doing one of those detox diet things...!).  I like my boobs, but am looking forward to seeing them simmer down a few cup sizes.

My arms: 
My life has never quite been a "Suns Out Guns Out" kind of life.  My arms have been just kinda there, never totally defined as anything but just arms.  But I love them.  They let me do all sorts of crazy things like throw frisbees at kids on horses, ride horses and bikes and break my falls from soccer and rollerblading and everything like that.  They're strong and reliable, except for those few breaks back when I was a kid.  I'll blame not drinking enough milk.

My head:
Oh what a fruit basket of amazingness my head is.  I used to hate my hair and straighten it, dye it and do all kinds of things to it.  My mom told me when I was a kid that "Jane, folks would pay $60 to get the color you have, and another $60 to get the wavy texture of your hair.  Love what you have!"  but I of course knew better (because what 8 year old doesn't know more than their mother?).  Now that I'm older and no doubt wiser, I appreciate my locks a lot more.  I'm much more hesitant to dye my hair and I hate getting my hair cut unless it's just to "freshen up" and trim.  I'm 28 years old and I have FINALLY figured out how to maintain my eyebrows.  I don't follow it, but I know how.  My skin has weathered a pretty ridiculous journey of acne and sunburn and cysts and face washes, but it's mine and I think it's beautiful, even though it is getting hard to get into a routine of putting oil on my face every day.  I'm smart as a whip, funny as all get out and sharp as a tack.

Body Butter: 
It's so weird, body butter.  I'm making the "transition" (not like Bruce Jenner) to more homemade, "natural" products.  Lots of coconut oil based things, basically.  It's definitely different than your run of the mill Bath and Body Works lotions and potions, but I like them just fine.  They make me feel soft and smooth and although I can't open doors with lotion on my hand and I sometimes get stuck in the bathroom, I feel gosh darn, downright sexy.

Now if only I could figure out body scrubs so I can start using the 8 to 10 jar collection I've got in my house, I'll be set...

Doing this "this is why I love this body part" exercise really, really helps my own mindset of body love and body acceptance.  After all, I won't look like my "goal" self overnight, and I'm living in this body now, so why not make the most of it and like what I see?  Practicing gratitude towards yourself and your body and what it does for you can be super empowering - it's not about what your body doesn't look like, or what your body can't do, but what it CAN do.

Gratitude.  Compassion.  Love.  These are parts of a great mindset of happiness and sanity.

And body butter just makes you smell good.

Tootles!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Seven Sins of Jane

Heavenly Internet, I have sinned.  A lot over the years.  Repeatedly.  Mercilessly and without apology.  Here today I'm hoping to tear back a little bit of the bandage that covers up all these sins, hopefully in order to start cleaning them out of my closet once and for all.  My poor boots need a place to live.



Sloth.
Envy.
Gluttony.
Pride.
Lust.
Wrath.
Greed.

Sloth. 
I can be one lazy sonofabitch.  There are days where it takes nothing short of the hand of God to get me off my butt and out of the house.  Hell, just around the house on my own two feet.  I sleep in on days that I want to wake up early, when I want to get to the gym and get a workout in before work.  But when the alarm clock starts going off, something about the warm, cozy fleece of my blankets and the cool feel of the pillow against my cheek renders it impossible to pry myself away from it.  Repeat this every damned morning I plan a workout.  Strangely enough, when I have the time to sleep in, that's when I tend to wake up about 4 am. Shenanigans.



Envy.
I confess that I am a heavily jealous person.  Not necessarily in relationships, but in general.  I'm jealous of my friend who moved from Ohio to California and is now super zen and happy and always posting these existentially mature Facebook statuses talking about seeing the ocean every day.  I'm jealous of my coworker who seems to have everything that I've once wanted in my life (but I don't even know if I want this stuff anymore) - a husband, a few kids, going back to school.  I'm jealous of my friend/coworker/anyone who seems to "have it all", or hell, even just "have a little bit" more than me; better skin, healthier body, better fashion, you name it.  I like to say that my "middle child syndrome is showing", but deep down I know it's just plain ol' envy.  I have to practice gratitude daily in order for me not to get wrapped up in all my jealousy.  I realize that being jealous of others is a fruitless activity - it doesn't belittle them and it doesn't move me forward in the slightest.  Eyes on my own life. Eyes on my own life. Eyes on my own life.



Gluttony. 
Working in restaurants and growing up with an awesome cook for a mom has done me no favors in my life.  It was never uncommon for my mom, dad, brothers and me to sit around the kitchen table thinking of "the menu" - a yellow legal sheet of paper with dates running down the left hand column and dinners written out for every night.  We were a fairly healthy family - every meal was your standard carbs, protein and vegetables. But there may have also been nightly frozen custard.  I don't think I suffer quite as awfully at gluttony, however.  But let's face it - I do enjoy eating good food.  If I'm going to have a cup of coffee, I'm not going to flavor it with a chemical shitstorm, I'm going to use real cream.  In foods: real butter, real cheese. Balance is the name of the game. 


Pride.
If I had a dollar for every time I let a good thing pass my way because of my pride, I'd be fucking loaded.  Pride has gotten in my way a lot, especially lately.  I'm too proud to admit things about my life, too proud to admit that I'm actually a human being with feelings, too proud to let anyone see vulnerabilities. Pride has gotten in the way of a lot of my relationships as well.  My pride keeps me from being vulnerable.  If I open up and share my feelings only to be met with a blank stare or a disagreement, it's a silent lesson to me that next time I shouldn't open up at all.  I think "proud" and "jaded" are terrifyingly similar in feeling, and I'm trying really hard not to let my past experiences poison my current experiences. 


Lust. 
This one I think surprises people.  Lust isn't the idea of being slutty or seducing someone - it's the idea of being attracted to people; having chemistry.  I've made the mistake of confusing lust and love several times now and I think I'm coming out the other side a little clearer-headed.  I can tell now when chemistry will just lead to something, and when the connection is there.  I've been the burner and have been burned in the past, but hopefully I've been learning along the way.


Wrath. 
I sometimes find myself surprised at how angry I can get at the most innocuous things.  I've been trying over the years to really tune in to why the hell I get so angry at things, and to hone the skill of letting go of that anger quickly.  Because really, when you get so blindingly angry at something, nothing makes sense.  You say things and throw things and hurl poisonous words at people who might not deserve it, and at the end, smoke is coming out of your ears and everything is broken and everyone is hurt, and you can't fix it.  There are always things that can be smoothed over with apologies, but a lot of words can't be unsaid, forgotten or forgiven.  Things you say in a blind rage can really tear people up - I've had these things said to me, and I've said some of them.  I think being able to just let go of anger when you feel it rising up your spine is a really safe route.  Or be like The Incredible Hulk, and just always be a little angry. 


Greed.
This past weekend while I was at the bar my brother worked, Mr. Ed and I watched the Badgers game and tossed back a few beers.  I decided on a whim (or rather when Mr. Ed asked about it) to do the Daily Dice Roll.  When I shook, I wasn't paying attention to the "rules" or what combination of dice I needed to get a free drink, but when I slammed down the cup and peered at my die, I had a thought...

"My, my ... that's a lot of 2's.  Holy shit, that's five of a kind! Do I win anything?" 

I had won 90% of the pot for Daily Dice Roll.  I turned beet red (thank goodness for bar lighting) and watched the bar owners count out my winnings.  

$388.00.

I sat there with a stack of bills that made me look like a semi-decent stripper on an off-night when my brother snapped me out of my daydream of rolling around on top of these monies by saying "Now you're going to buy the house a round."  I believe my response was "Oh hell no, brah!"  To which the bar owner leaned over and said, "Dear, I've owned this bar for many years, and that is protocol when you win that kind of money from this bar."  I secretly seethed.  How dare I have to pony up (some of) the money I (barely) worked to win (on sheer luck)?!?  I knew I was being greedy, but I wanted all the money to myself.  I looked at Mr. Ed and, after having a telepathic conversation on how far we'd be likely to get before they caught us and took my winnings back, I told my brother to line 'em up for a house round.  I reluctantly handed back $80.00 of my winnings to the bar for the round and the tip, and then stashed the rest of the cash away in my purse.  I was even the jackass that didn't spring for dinner that night.  Again, thanks to Mr. Ed for putting up with me. 



Greed sucks, because it makes things that should be happy and joyous (or at the lowest point, fun) and makes them into a dollars and cents game.  I'm reminded of the great philosopher Chris Brown in his recent musical excursion, "If it don't make dollars, it don't make sense." and I'm guilty of that.  I've missed out on many a fun memory-making times because I was either too broke or too stingy to shell out money for it.  I strive for the balance between being able to pay my bills on time and being able to go out and have a good time without always having the looming cloud of "What bills do I have coming up, do I really need to spend $10 on bowling and beers with my girlfriends? What if I need new tires next week..." rig-a-ma-roll. 


So, that's me.  That's my evaluation of myself as a human being who sins, a lot.  I try and at least sin a different way each time, but some are broken records that I need to really, really try to change.  But like everything, this shit is hard.  Getting out of ruts and into new routines and creating new associations and synapse bridges is TOUGH.  And it takes a lot of PRACTICE.  

But I think it's so, so worth it.  



Monday, March 30, 2015

Wow, So I Suck At Blogging Now...

Apologies, my dear readers.  Clearly I know you've all been holding your breath for my next blog, but it hasn't come yet. Sorry especially to those of you who were actually holding your breath...

Part of me is sorry. The other part of me has been binge watching The Following and rekindling my totally inappropriate crush on Kevin Bacon.

Every time there's a really tense scene, I really want him to break out in dance. 


Life has certainly been giving me things to work on lately.  If it's not people breaking off friendships and burning bridges (LULZ fun times, girlfriend), it's work craziness that makes me wonder how Mr. Ed can stand me on days where he walks into my house and barely gets a kiss in before I lay in with, "LET ME TELL YOU WHAT IS RIDICULOUS ABOUT EVERYTHING!"  He is so good and patient, I'm glad he's around me, and I hope he's glad to be around me too.

I've been getting back into the swing of things as far as moving my body more.  Looking back I realize my stress levels elevated when I realized I was gaining weight, but then went gangbusters crazy when I hit the restart button on my life.  Now I'm starting to feel the pendulum start to shift back to zero, which means that I'm feeling better and moving more and "watching" what I eat. I mean let's face it - I was watching when I ordered pizza thrice weekly for months on end, sitting in front of Liz Lemon, mirroring my every move, except she was a TV/movie/comedy mogul with a banging body, and I was, well, not Tina Fey.



Art does not always mimic life, people.  Sometimes the skinny folks can eat all the food they want and they stay skinny, but I am not that person.  I may never be able to be that person without facing the weight gain that oh-so-often accompanies binge eating, but for a time it was kind of nice to push the clutch in and just coast/not give any fucks.  But after busting out of my OHGODIDONTEVENWANTTOSAY sized jeans, I realized that I had literally undone everything I had once worked hard for.  And that feeling sucked.



Anyways.... "The Fuck It Fairy" first visited me on the eve of my 27th birthday.  It was a strange visit, but it manifested a new attitude of my life.  I give zero rats asses, negative shits, and few and far between f*cks about how people look at me or what they think of me.

Except for this new gym I joined.

I used to go to this exact same gym conglomerate back in high school, rocking out 1,000 calorie elliptical workouts, followed by 1,000 crunch ab workouts and topped with maybe a grapefruit to eat.  I rocked at going to that gym.  But somehow in the wake of growing up, I somehow became UBER intimidated by going to this gym.  It was so clean and new and pretty, and so were ALL the people who were working out there. It was like everyone was done getting in shape, now they were just taking up the machines I wanted.  And clearly it stopped me from going and doing my own thing.


But I know that life isn't fair like that, and I need to actually GO and work out in order to see SOME sort of results.

But...

Why is it so hard to start up a routine again!?!? When I was in it, the gym was like any other appointment in my life: doctor, dentist, probation officer.  I never missed them, and not just because the impending jail time.

Really all I can do is step back, stop thinking and let things fall back into the routine I've been in time and time again.  I know the results I'll get and I'll know how I'll feel.



Happy Monday, children!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Jane's Dating Life: Nowadays.

At the request of MAH BOYFRIEND (cue all of the groans, lulz), here's a post dedicated to the ever lovely, ever anonymous, Mr. Ed.

Anonymous enough for you, honey? 

So I took recently took yet another stab at the online dating world, and let me tell you: my level of motivation to put myself out there on the Interwebz, talking about how much I love to be "fun" and "easy going" has hit a staggeringly low point.  Case in point: I had signed up for Plenty of Fish MONTHS ago. Perhaps YEARS ago, but just never got around to completing the profile portion of it.  I'd get emails on a weekly basis from my friends at the site, urging me to "cast a line and see what you catch!"  Oh, yes, I get it with the whole fishing motif.  Yeah, yeah, you're real funny.  So I finally finished my profile (or barely wrestled through it, between my thoughts of "Oh hell, who cares if I'm a spinster, I make cat fur on all my clothes look good!") and set back out.  

Good lawd.  Who sent all these men the memo that it's okay to just post pictures of your midsection?  Congratulations, I can use your abs to wash my clothes, but chances are that's all you're good for.  Move it along...

I was supremely lazy and didn't even upload a picture, but there was actually a less-lazy reason behind all the lazy.  I wanted to see what kind of response I got with no picture, or maybe just with one selfie.  I immediately had a few suitors ask for my pictures.  

"Pics?" 

Ah, filters...

Le Sigh.  

But this one dude messaged me "Hey Jane! How's it going?" or something to that effect.  How low are my standards for online dating?  This low:  he managed to find out my first name and use it in a sentence.  It's really not all that hard to impress me.  So I messaged him back and we started talking.  He seemed like a smart guy, had minimal spelling mistakes and no grammatical errors, which you all know are my top three qualities on my "Is This Guy Marriage Material" checklist.  

The other thing I don't really like about online dating is that the apps are all kinds of obnoxious to manage.  This could be because I'm still rocking the Nokia brick phone from the days of Yore, but regardless, to me it's always easier to text message whilst pretending to work than having to dink around with going through an app and having it load and then have other dudes send all sorts of "dtf" and "hey cutie you've got some purdy lips" messages. 

Get this thing set up with a data plan and the world can be back on track. 

Mr. Ed and I texted pretty consistently for the first few days, and talked about the normal small talk topics about which you converse with strangers: spirituality, our dating pasts, interracial dating (and the complexity of such a dynamic), and goals we want to accomplish in life. 

No big deal.

It was pretty obvious that I wanted to meet up with Mr. Ed and he wanted to meet with me, if the stable would let him stay out of his stall after bedtime, and was trying to find a good place that would allow talking equines into the venue.  I had told my mom I was going on a date with a stranger from the Internet, and that he probably had a plan not unlike the kind Dr. Reed from Criminal Minds has to uncover with the help of his (pretty hot) science team.  She didn't seem too thrilled.  Finally, we met up and besides the whole "needing to bring his own bale of hay to nosh on" issue, things went fine.  There was more discussion about life, goals, and pretty much everything we could think of. 

This is Mr. Ed's "Come Hither" face... 

And that's about it, really.  We've been dating for a few weeks, and the other day I got a text from him asking if I was going to write about him on the blog.  I asked him if he had indeed read anything from my blog and if he had been drinking heavily before sending that text.  Seemingly, my worldly charms, my amazing cooking abilities (and possibly the rohypnol...) have rendered him so senseless that he has agreed to be featured occasionally on this here writin' blog.  Maybe I can even manage to wrangle an "interview" out of him.  Bwahaha...

EDIT:  After The Horse Of Course read this post, he said, "I figure it'd be more juicy!!"  So, to appease him (and to appease myself, juuuuust a little bit) ...here you go.  A little bit of Juice. 

Lord have mercy...


[Add to To-Do List: Figure out a good way to explain to Google that I wasn't looking "roofies" up for any other reason but to spell the drug's actual name.]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Goodbye Kisses

**My thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog entry are my own and do not reflect those of Stepping Stone Farms or its staff**

In a bout of heartbreaking news, we had to put down one of our horses last night.  Kisses, one of our beautiful Arabian horses, colicked Sunday and continued through Monday, and took a turn for the worse last night.  With the vet's expertise, my trainer made a heart wrenching decision.  


Saying I'm heartbroken is just a flat out understatement.  Kisses was one of the spunkiest, sassiest little horses we've ever had at the farm, and she will be greatly missed.  She was a beautiful horse that moved wonderfully and gracefully, and no matter how many times she got feisty with me (it was only a few times, really), it was always a treasure to be in the saddle with her.

To lose a horse is a great tragedy.  I was talking with someone on the phone this morning about it and was asked, "Why would you want to stay and watch them while they're in so much pain?" The answer is simple:

Because they shouldn't be alone.

They need us - the two-legged folks who feed them, take care of them, watch over them every day - to stay with them, helping them not be scared.  It's awful to think of an animal going through pain or sickness, but thinking about them alone, without their favorite human nearby?  That's unbearable.

This is the first time I've ever been present for a euthanasia, as the horses I've called my own have crossed the rainbow bridge while I was out of town, or unable to get there soon enough.  I'll never forget my bright eyed Arabian, Thief, leaving early, early one New Year's morning - thinking about that call from my trainer at 3 AM telling me the vet was on his way out to the farm still gives me goosebumps.  Bandit, my mutt, left when I was away at college - try finding people that will console you after only knowing you a few weeks as you sob incoherently at them blubbering about your horse and how you weren't there for him.  Star, my first equine lovebug, left quietly and peacefully at her "retirement home", after a good life with us.  Each of them left deep, lasting hoof prints on my (and many others') heart, and each of them are remembered fondly whenever us horse folks gather together and talk about our favorite horses.

Not now, Neil...not now.

When you're in the horse world or dog world or ferret world, you accept certain things as truth.  Horses will almost always foal during a thunderstorm, a dog will drag their ass on the ground and eat weird things, and that ferrets are just tiny little weasels.  But one unavoidable truth you will sooner or later need to accept is that one day you will be in a position to literally play God.  You will get to decide whether an animal of yours lives or dies.  It's a tremendous amount of pressure, and it's nearly impossible to separate emotion from the facts.  In the farm's case, it is the Executive Director, my riding instructor/trainer, one of my mentors, my confidant, my "fake mom" Lia Sader who makes these impossible decisions.  At 30+ years of horse experience (which is interesting, because she must have started when she was 2...), she is the resident expert with everything equine.  I do not envy her position in these types of situations, but this time I wanted - nay, needed - to be there for her. When you're looking at these kinds of situations, certain things cross your mind:

- "Is the horse a surgical candidate?" (Colic surgeries can run into the $10,000 range and with a pretty low recovery/success rate, it's hard to justify the decision unless you sleep on a mattress stuffed with stacks of Benjamins, and while making it into a "money" issue may sound cold, it is unfortunately something to keep in mind).
- "Do we wait it out?  Will they rally and get better?  WHAT IF?"
- "What is the horse telling us?" (Horses cannot talk, I understand this. But they can tell us through body language how they're feeling.  Thrashing, rolling, looking at their side - all of these are horse for "I don't feel well.")
"What is best for the horse?" 

This last question is really and truly when the tears flow for me.  To remove yourself and your emotions from the situation and look at the animal -- a tremendously strong, graceful, elegant animal  -- and think: "Is this fair to her? What should I do that is in her best interest?" is beyond difficult.  Of course people will want to be selfish and hold on to their pets...but at what cost?  At the cost of them being in pain?  At the cost of them suffering?  It's not fair for us to be selfish. It's fair for us to do what's best for them, even if it means saying goodbye.

[Now, before you send any negative mail please read: these decisions are not made with any sort of lightness. Examining the pros and cons of euthanizing an animal is a hefty task and weighs not only on the mind but on the soul.  Frankly, this is most definitely a "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" situations.  Unless you've walked in those boots and made those decisions, keep your opinions, "shoulda/coulda/woulda's" and judgy judgements to yourself.  Okay, I'm off my soap box now.]

As the vet administered the tranquilizer, Lia and I said our "I love you"s, our "I'm so sorry"s, our "It'll stop hurting soon"s and our "You little shit, you are so loved"s and the tears and snot flowed openly. All we ever wanted for her was everything - a happy home, happy pasture mates - a good, happy, healthy life.  We gave her all of that, and now we owed her a comfortable ending.  It wasn't easy to be there, to see it happen or to feel her leave, but we knew it was the right thing to do.  There was an eerie comfort that settled upon me long after the vet left, while we fed the other horses their nightly hay.  Kisses wasn't in any pain anymore.  She was at peace, no doubt gearing up to play with and chase the other horses of ours that had made the journey before her.

We love you Kisses.  Thank you for everything.

You'll be missed, little girl. 



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