Monday, 5 January 2015


My blog has moved to its own shiny new domain name! This old one is staying up to preserve a few links that other people are using, but no new posts will appear here.

If you'd like to keep up with me, please head on over to my new home. I'd love to entertain you in some fashion over there.

Thank you, Blogger, for your kind service over the months. I'll never forget the time we had. It's just that I've met somebody else, and... well... I just have to follow my heart on this one.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Some announcements

Good evening! I'm in bed with cold toes and a stomach ache.

1 - I tried drinking some tea to help with how gnarly I feel this evening. It did not help. I must be terminally ill.

2 - I met roughly three thousand new people today here in Cowboy's small home town in Montana. All were very lovely. I remember no names.

3 - I was expecting turkey and roast potatoes for Christmas lunch. I got prime rib and pasta salad. America is so strange.

4 - Cowboy is disappointed that there isn't more snow. He wanted me to be as cold as possible while I was here. I'm just pleased I brought my long johns. It is quite cold enough, thanks.

5 - I'm in the process of moving my blog from Blogger to its own domain name. This is more complicated than I first thought, but I'm nothing if not stubborn, and I'll get it done, by George.

6 - Who is George??

7 - Nothing like a bit of Bach Cello Concerto to soothe the brain after a busy day meeting people, but it's a little odd to be able to hear Yo Yo Ma breathing in my bedroom.

8 - I miss the heck out of Richard. I imagine he is spending most of his time like this:

Missing this little blob something rotten. He has probably eaten his own body weight every day and is the size of a house by now. And probably doesn't think about me at all.

9 - It seems Cowboy and I are the only people in the world who like a good firm mattress on a bed. I have struggled to sleep since we left our home in Washington, as every bed we've been put up in has been about as firm as a wet sponge. I'm developing kyphosis.

10 - I love the word kyphosis. It makes me feel clever.

11 - I'm going to bed now. The end.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A very non-British thing to say

Today, we were out and about in the car, getting errands done before Christmas sets in, and we stopped to at the petrol station (the gas station) to fuel up the car.

It was pouring with rain, and the windows were still a little misted up from the cold. Cowboy got out to do the honours at the pump.

I sat and waited in the driver's seat, pondering dull things like how best to dispose of the broccoli that was fading in the fridge - maybe soup? Or just compost?

Then I glanced in my rear view mirror and caught him drawing this...

When he draws a heart in the dirt on my back window while he puts fuel in my car... #ilovehim

... and I got all warm and fuzzy inside. I love him.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Self-care and starting again. Again.

Self-care is a big thing in the trade that I've been learning over the last few years. If you spend your working life using your own body to assist other people to feel better in their bodies, it can be wearing - on the joints, on the fingers and thumbs, on the muscles, and on the soul.

Tonight, slouched on the sofa in my most disgusting clothes, having scarfed down an entire packet of Jaffa Cakes in a bid to feel good about where I am in life, I realised I'm not being good at self-care. Again.

I haven't eaten the five-a-day in months (the orange in the Jaffa Cakes sadly does not count). There have been days where it hasn't even been one-a-day. I've let these days slip by and accumulate. Oh, tomorrow will be different.

We've all made the resolution that starts right after we jump gleefully off the wagon. Right now I'm watching the wagon leave without me, telling myself I'll take up running again to catch up with it, while I plan more ways to make myself sick enough that I can't get out of bed tomorrow.

It's not the food that's making my body sick. I can only blame the nation I live in for so many things. The supermarkets in this part of the country are stacked with goodness that I could sink my teeth into, but instead I end up reaching for the boxed mac and cheese, telling myself I won't really eat it.

It was delicious, by the way, with a good lashing of black pepper.

I could eat the good food. I could tell Cowboy that beef is off the menu, he can just suck it up, it's steamed fish and vegetables from now on - although I'm not sure how long our relationship would last if I cut him off that abruptly.

I cleaned the stalls in the barn today while he was out, because it was physical activity that would get me warm and breathing a little harder, and it felt lovely. Later, in my Jaffa stupor on the sofa, the thought suddenly hit me in the face like a wet sponge.

You are really quite depressed, Bee. You need to do more exercise, and eat better, and you'll feel happier again. You always do! It's ok. You can fix this.

So I did the sensible thing and went to get into my pyjamas and go to bed in a funk. Here I am.

The first step to self-care has been to put on Beyonce in my outrageously loud headphones and blast some empowerment into my eardrums. The second step was to google counselling in this neck of the woods and discover that the gym is so very much cheaper, gracious me. So, my therapist will probably be telling me to squat and push rather than asking me how my week has been. But that's ok, I get the same end result of being a more normal human being.

Added bonus: revitalised buns, abs and guns of steel.

Here's the kicker: this whole thing is a cycle. Every few months, I get into this dark, deep place, and I have to haul myself out by my arse again. This blog will become a catalogue of pledges to start again, to change again, because I get happy and I get complacent, and then I get not happy again.

It's ok to keep starting again. As long as I keep checking in and noticing that it's bad, it's ok to have to keep restarting. Ignore all those snappy Pinterest posts about how if you're sick of starting over, stop giving up. Bullshit. Start over as many times as you need. Good for you!

I'm going to go and eat cereal for dinner. I'll start over in the morning.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Cowboy dating guidance: the Montana Wife Tests

These are little tasks which I find myself compelled to complete, even though I could just act like they don't exist. Cowboy doesn't set them for me, they just arise, but I find them to be a reasonably good indicator of how solid our relationship is, and how well I am going to be able to cope with our lifestyle in the future. If you are a cowboy, you might like to set these tests for your future (or, indeed, current) wife. If you are considering marrying a cowboy, you might want to see if you will pass these tests.

Here are some examples.

Montana Wife Test #1: Fill an entire vehicle (car or truck, doesn't matter) with dirt, old tobacco, loose change, fast food packaging and Mountain Dew cans. Spill some coffee in the carpet, and let the dog sleep in the back seat for about four weeks. See if the potential wife can get the thing cleaned up and smelling good. If she finds your missing drill bit that you wanted four days ago in the process, and remembers to give it to you, score an extra point.

Montana Wife Test #2: Ask her to get your good fencing pliers from the house. If she doesn't have to ask you what fencing pliers are or what they look like, she scores an extra point. If she knows which ones are your good ones, score an extra five points.

Montana Wife Test #3: Leave two different hats in different locations, and change their locations regularly, all around the homestead. Ask her for the whereabouts of either hat at any time. If she can correctly locate both hats at the time of asking, score an extra point. If she instinctively knows which hat you are looking for without you specifying at the time of asking, she scores an extra five points.

Montana Wife Test #4: Leave a perfectly good shirt out on the driveway and allow it to be rained on several times. Walk over it, kick it around, dump other things on top of it. See if she asks if you want to keep the shirt. This is the pass/fail section of the test. Of course you want to keep the shirt, it is perfectly good. If she is willing and able to launder the shirt and restore it to a wearable state, she scores an extra point.

Montana Wife Test #5: Obtain an expensive insulated coffee cup, either as a gift, or purchase one at outrageous cost. Fill it with coffee. Do not drink the coffee. Leave the insulated cup in a vehicle, preferably the same one as in Test #1, for an indeterminate amount of time. The longer the better. If the potential wife does not immediately discard the cup, she has passed the test. She may ask if you want to keep it. If she asks, confirm that you want to keep the cup. You may like to add that it is one of your favourites. Get her emotionally invested in the cup. If she is willing and able to clean it to a standard where it is safe for a beverage to be consumed from the cup, she scores an extra point. If she then adopts the cup for her own use, she scores an extra five points.

I am certain more tests are coming... I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Friday Night Feeling

It's Friday night! I'm on the sofa with the cat and Cowboy has gone out to play poker with the boys. Living the dream.

Earlier this week, I came down with a strange headache thing that meant I missed a day of school. This is very sad to me, because school is much more fun than it used to be when I was eleven.

I finally got our thank you notes for our wedding gifts in to the post and they are on their way to the lovely people who showered us with kindness several weeks ago.

Sir Richard found a new cubby hole today.Sir Richard is getting ridiculously big, and now when he sleeps on my chest in the mornings, it's less adorable and more suffocating. I still can't help being utterly besotted with him. I am powerless in the presence of his little face.

He continues to tear things up, climb on things he shouldn't, and shove his paws under the bathroom door and cry every time I go for a wee.

Occasionally he pushes a toy mouse under the door and we play instead. We have that kind of relationship.

Today, Cowboy pestered me into riding Sunshine for the first time in over week. We've had a lot on our plate, and I hadn't felt up to doing much in recent days. Sunshine has been out in the pasture with Beau, getting as much good grass as possible as the winter closes in.

Well, I brushed her off and saddled her today (ok, Cowboy threw the saddle for me... I'm puny...), and we went out to the round pen to see how we would do.

Bill Dorrance writes about feeling for the horse; true horsemanship comes through feel. I've been working hard to put aside my frustrations at my lacking horsemanship, and to leave behind my annoyance when I step into the barn. I've been focusing on putting out a good feeling whenever I am around Sunshine, and keeping in mind that she is my partner in this work.

We've worked on little things on the ground as I've brought her in and out from the pasture - she's stopped being pushy and impatient and has begun to feel for me when I'm leading her. When I'm brushing her down, I try not to be brusque about it, but to feel for her response to the work and to give her the sense that I'm there to help. She has stopped dancing about while I'm grooming now. She watches me with one eye.

Today, the weather was cold and damp, and both of us were feeling a little stiff and sore. I made an effort to tack her up quietly and gently, and to invite her with me to the round pen. We both stretched out a little bit. We both heaved a sigh as if to say "Goodness, I am out of shape for this sort of thing." That's entirely true...

We stretched out, we moved, we got as loose as we could, and I thought all the time about how she felt. She felt stiff, tight, unfit, but willing enough. She did everything that I asked without a fight, but she couldn't offer me the flexible, pretty thing. That was ok. I could feel her trying. I could feel her feeling for me.

I love it when a plan comes together. She and I are finally starting to get each other figured out.
"OK," she said, dropping her head and trying to round, "I hear what you want. I'll give it a shot. This is all I can manage today. Is that OK?"
It was more than OK. She and I have got ourselves into battles before. Finally we're learning to talk to each other without yelling. We're learning to meet in the middle.

It was possibly the best ride we've ever had together.

I'm going to go and throw hay at her now.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Investing in the nesting

Our friends and family were extraordinarily generous to us when Cowboy and I got married. Amongst the gifts were gift cards to a place I had never heard of before: Bed, Bath & Beyond.

"OH, I love Bed, Bath & Beyond!" my sister gasped. She usually has good knowledge about where to shop, so I grabbed my computer when we got home and went to scout out the website.

Well, goodness me, I nearly died of excitement.

I have spent the last three weeks - as Cowboy and I have been happily married for three whole weeks - agonising over what to spend these precious gift cards on. One cast iron trivet? Two cast iron trivets?? Turkey lifters? Maybe not turkey lifters... Wine glasses? No wine glasses. Wait, actually, wine glasses are essential. And seeing as it's a wedding gift, let's get red wine glasses and white wine glasses. Stemless wine glasses!

Let's get pillows. No, maybe not pillows, we can get a Le Creuset honey pot instead! And a lamp. I do love a nice lamp. Cowboy has been hankering for a coat rack, so we'll get a coat rack. Clearly I also need a butter dish, and a slow cooker.

In short, it was a spectacular shopping experience, and a glorious opportunity to nest into our little home. I had to remind myself not to feel guilty about getting the little luxuries, they're gifts from people who wanted us to have what we really wanted. I'm not planning on being eligible for wedding gifts again, so one ought to make the most of it.

The delivery should be some time next week. I'm beyond excited about finally being a grown up, with grown up things.

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