Sunday, July 31, 2005


Funny how the mind works. Thursday morning, quaking, shivering with fear, I knew I wasn't going to get another breath. The world collapsed into me taking me down with it. Rich was walking by the bedroom and he knew. His arms went around me and patiently, quietly, he spoke to me holding me, rocking me gently. A man with his own PTSD demons who I've seen fall apart...was holding me together.

Leap ahead to Saturday. I swung my leg over Badger...Glennie was up on her Arab mare and we left on a 'road trip'. Two people with animals that have never met ... two people who have known each other for 10 yrs and...have not yet ridden together.

We laughed we chatted we found some sort of friendship across our mount's backs...a good friendship. We found we liked each other and had a sense of humour.

I also found out that that ugly, awful, anxiety, and depression doesn't dare come near my mule and I. I am safe there.

I hate the night. I hate when I can't be in that safe place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yellow Mellow

Yellow Lily
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Sunsets are a great time to photo warm colored flowers.

But that is beside the point. I'm jumping into a new adventure. I am taking matters into my own hands in some ways.
I'm going to drive my truck and trailer...join up with another female rider and train for distance riding with her and her Arab.

I'm not sure how Rich feels about it, he seems supportive...and maybe relieved b/c he doesn't ride with me hardly at all anymore.

I'm just so tired of waiting for life to pass me by.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hot summer nites

Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Turned into devastating summer nites last nite. The air was thick and menacing. A huge storm blew up form no where and winds crashed branches against the house...through the howl and roar we heard snapping and the power went out.

This morning the pen where our mini stud lives is now a resting place for an old maple tree. How Lil Richard survived and managed to stay in the only non smashed and treeless part of his pen is beyond me. He is alive, but a bit wide eyed.

The fences have trees down across them, but what I can see is that the mules are all ok...will have to go out and check things again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Miss Ariel

Miss Ariel
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

I suppose there are better things in life, but I cannot think of them. Having a grandaughter is like having a breath of fresh air...getting to photograph her is a wonderful privilege. She is in constant motion, never stopping, never...until she drops from exhaustion.

Of course she is an independent 'cuss' as Grandpa Rich says.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Stormy Days?

sunset storm cell
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Before I departed to Virginia, I was sent to the cancer center in LaCrosse to be checked out for yet another lump in my breast. Having done this for yrs, it was no big deal.

Until the doctor's eyes got squinty and his breathing changed while he was ultrasounding my area of complaint. He didn't say anything for a bit, then sat back and looked at me.

'You have a mass over your sternum,' he said, 'and this is beyond what I can do for you here, so I want you to see a general surgeon right away.'

My heart did a frickin' flop.

'The general surgeon will want to look at this perhaps with a CAT scan or MRI.' He looked at the nurse and asked that she schedule me ASAP -- was today possible?

No, it wasn't. August 18th. So now I am waiting and wondering. But I am on a cancellation list to the first available surgeon..yikes.

Meanwhile my regular doctor and her nurse have called to make sure that I don't miss this appt.

Rich and his depression seem to be weighing so heavily too. I can't make him better. I'm hoping the CPAP increases his energy.

I'm hoping I don't stay so angry all the time. I am either angry now a days or very sad. Flip-flop, back and forth.

At least I am trying! I trimmed my mule's feet [Rich's job] and am preparing on a new venture of Limited Distance Riding.

So this morning I hope to ride around 15 miles solo before the ungodly heat sets in.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Going Back Soon

North Shore Sunset
Originally uploaded by Auntie K.

For my 50th birthday, I am planning on going back to Hawaii for at least 10 days to 2 weeks. I have been elected to take my father's ashes and spread them in his favorite place.

Last night I conveyed this to my son, who has been there too. He decided that he and his wife would love to join me and help defray the rental cost and perhaps share in all but the flight expenses.

Hmm, I had considered only going by myself. Will have to mull it over.

Beauty above

Originally uploaded by Xena~.

It took me two years of experimenting but I finally figured it out. How to 'shoot' the moon.

My 5 days in Virginia were very relaxing even if I was dealing with a loss. I feel emptier now than before. And I find my tolerance for things...well in a word, I am short tempered.

When I come home from work and my husband doesn't leave his perch by the computer to say hello, it sort of sets me off.

At least the dog, Morris, is excited to see me.
No riding last nite. Fell into an exhausted sleep after I spoke with my son.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Up Up and Away. Somewhere over North Carolina and Virginia I gazed out the window at some of the most amazing sights I've ever seen in my life.
The clouds were threatening and unreal at the same time. I watched closely to see if I'd see any angels flitting about.

Nope nary a one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

goodbye dad

goodbye dad
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

I created a music slide show yesterday with all of my pics of dad in Hawaii from our 2001 trip. I used transitions and fade outs...then added a song by IZ, a Hawaiian singer whom dad admired and introduced me too.
When I came to the last picture in the series, I made this one in photoshop. I took a picture of him walking away and edited him into a sunset shot he coached me on how to take.
Eerie effect with him appearing to walk off into the ocean at sunset.

So when I put it all together and played it...with my husband watching over my shoulder, the tears came freely...and when we got to this last picture.

My husband just said one choked up word.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Peace in the valley

Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Saturday nite. Alone, armed with a digital camera and riding a mule...I rode up to my neighbor's now abandoned farmstead and looked down into the valley to the north and east.
We stuck to the roads and I visited with one of the other neighbors who was out cutting her hayfield. I enjoyed a sunset gallop across the ridgetop.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Back to Basics

Originally uploaded by Xena~.

Nothing like getting back to the basics with photography. I put down my digital and went out the other day to do some 'real' work. Not to knock digital in any way. But I had to manually focus and tweak my exposures to come out with this picture.
I'm more comfortable getting the close up...special shot with an oldy camera. I really, really, was excited at doing some brain work again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Travel plans

After a lengthly discussion with my brother, I decided to fly to Virginia to my dad's Memorial...or informal get together. I'm looking forward to sharing with some of my father's latest friends a day of celebrating a very eccentric man.

I didn't think his death would affect me in this manner. It is really odd, I thought I'd just pass it off because Dad was a man who didn't show affection real well...he was handicapped I think in those areas...his childhood wasn't exactly conducive to showing affection.
That is okay, because we had a heck of a time together for the past 4 yrs!

I learned so much more about him on my last few trips to Virginia.

Honor thy father!

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Today was one of those very ho-hum boring days. We had to drive 4 hrs one way for a birthday party for a little boy. I am glad we went, but really didn't enjoy most of the people there. I felt kinda 'flat'. When our grandaughter showed up and got her first ride in a swing I didn't even run helter skelter for my camera. So I knew I am not being myself.

I'm sort of disgusted with 'me' in a way, because I'm really wanting to try hard to get back to that funny, witty, spur of the momment person I usually am. Pretty difficult when trying to be the ultimate support person to a person suffering from severe depression ... this evening I just bit my tongue when the words came to my lips--
'I don't care anymore.'

Yep that surely sucks and I know if I don't pull out of this funk soon I will make a call to my friendly counselor who has helped me with some 'issues' before.

Friday, July 01, 2005

My dad

My dad
Originally uploaded by Xena~.

So finally I know he is gone. My brother sent me a copy of the obituary and reading it made me feel very sad. I have trouble letting him go you see, because he was a man who was so different than most fathers.
He was aloof as we were kids growing up. After he and my mother were seperated I began to learn who 'my father' really was. He was an interesting fellow, someone I actually had a fun time with as an adult. I don't think he was ever really comfortable with children.
He was an avid photographer, and a wonderful story teller.
I'm not always sure where the truth sort of ended and the embellishing began in his stories about his life, but heck...embellishment always made it so much more funny and interesting.

I'm really looking for some private time to grieve him...but right now it seems that everyone else in my life 'needs' me.

I ditched my digital cameras today and pulled out my ancient Pentax. I heard Dad's voice as I lifted the heavy old camera and focused...his instructions on how to gauge what the exposure should be set at...what aperature to use...should I use the zoom lens...????

Honor thy father, take some awesome pictures.