Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year’s Eve Morn.

12-31-2011
I had a ferocious day yesterday.  I worked from 6:30 in the morning to 9:30 last night. I got out three appraisals and believe that I did a good job on all three.  But it was hard to work through the stress and tension that coursed through my body.  I fought it most of the day; it was a roller coaster ride. But i have been on this ride before and today I managed to keep my butt in the saddle again and again. 

At 6:30 in the morning I was filled with optimism.  I had a very tight plan, step by step; I was going to make all my deadlines. It was doable as long as I stayed on tract. At 9 AM I got a call from Chase Bank that my check had bounced and I was two months late on my mortgage.  I am not going into all the details now but my day crumpled. Piece by piece, minute by minute, an hour on the phone to five different people at Chase … it all fell apart.  I tried deep breathing, I apologized to the folks I was talking to when I started to lose my temper.   One issue led to another, and to another and one by one I made things right. But I was MAD!!!
I discovered that I had seriously screwed up my bank account two weeks ago by not transferring money from my savings to my checking account. I had the money in one account but didn’t transfer it.  That’s all.
Since I got my new computer this summer I have been having trouble logging into my online banking.  I almost remember that being the issue. I probably thought that I would try it the next day … and then I didn’t do it.
I realize now that i was MAD already. I wake up every morning and look in the mirror and say, “Hi, my name is Annette Price and I am an Equine Gestalt Coach!!”  It is a GREAT way to start the day. But for the past three months I have been working long, long hours on real estate appraisals.  I am glad to be working. I can make money as an appraiser, have done it for years; but I have another vision now ……..
I have found so little time to be with my coaching business.  I cannot let the breath die away from “On the Wings of a Horse.”  She needs sustenance and I am afraid that I have not been feeding her. I need her to know how important she is to me.  Sometimes I lay in bed in the darkness of the very early morning and I visualize her, I see her wearing a t-shirt with our new logo on it. It looks good!
This morning is New Year’s Eve Morn.  The sun is shining even though the wind is blowing hard from the west. I tucked the hay I fed the horses into tubs and hoped that they would eat it before the wind could blow it to Kansas.  I have another appraisal that I CHOOSE to work on this morning but FIRST I sat in a quiet loving space and did REIKI on a friend in need, knowing that I was receiving even as I was giving. I wrapped myself up in soft fleecy sweats that feel like wearing a cloud. I ate five chocolate covered almonds that I had received for Christmas with my oatmeal this morning, just because I could.
I have spread totems around my house, in every room, so no matter where I go this day, I will be reminded of my commitment to my sweet new business, On the Wings of a Horse. With these I will nourish her. And she is feeding me as well. We are not alone. We are surrounded by our angels. We will not let the wind blow away that which sustains us. I CHOOSE to believe that this wind is clearing off the face of all that it sweeps over.  Great and wondrous treasures are waiting to be discovered.  I celebrate JOY.  Whew!!!!!    

Thursday, December 29, 2011

War Horse, the Movie

I sat in a packed theatre on Christmas day and shared the experience with lots of people. I liked the movie but I did not LOVE the movie. There were some grand and thrilling moments, just gazing at the beauty of horses and watching them move across the giant screen. I understood the way this horse touched so many people lives as he endured the agony of war. I did not enjoy the war moments, and there were many ~ hence the title “War Horse”.  Watching the battle scenes took me back many years ago when my son was young, about seven or eight  years old. 

I do not remember the context of the discussion, but he told me that the war experience changed when enemies no longer looked each other in the eye as they killed each other. I was rocked back into my seat with the profound and deep wisdom of his words. I gazed into his little round cherub face and my world changed a little bit. I had a glimpse at the old soul that he truly already was.  I remember asking him if they were studying war in school and he said no, it was just something he had been thinking about. Although I do not remember his exact words, I have carried the weight of his pronouncement with me from that day on. I am sure it is true, I just had never thought about it before.

As a mother, I despise war.     As a human being trying to figure out a better way to exist on this beautiful planet, I detest war.     I loathe the argument that there is nothing like a good ole war to boost the world economy.     I do not have all the answers at the moment, but I believe, with every cell in my body, that there is another way. I wanted Steven Spielberg to show us not only the harsh reality of the war experience, but another way of being. To plant another seed in the psychic of human consciousness that will wake people up.  An awesome movie will do that.
I know through my experience with horses that they have an innate way of lifting us up. It just “happens” when you are around them.  We are the lucky ones who already know this.  And maybe that is what this movie will do; open people’s heart once again to the awesomeness of horse power.  And maybe that is enough at this time.  Joey, the war horse, brought sunshine into the lives of many different folks in a dark and troubling time.   I wonder what my son will take away from the movie. It will be interesting to hear his opinion.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A WINTER’S TALE.

Long, long ago there sat a village kingdom high in the mountains, nearer so it seemed to the gods, and which certainly had a feeling of being  “heaven on earth.”  Or so it felt to the local residents, who sometimes whispered that their tiny village was indeed, “the spiritual center of the universe”.  And it became known as truth that some residents were indeed higher than others, for the land flowed with mead and many various flavors of the nectar of the gods, as well as a pipe filled with local and imported greenery, which was also revered highly by most of the grateful inhabitants. As the deep snows of winter set in, the residents gathered in their halls of worship, huddled together for warmth and companionship, and partook heartily of their sacred substance of choice.
In this village lived two fair maidens who brought joy to those around them.  They, being short of monetary treasures, were long indeed on wit, creativity, flair and beauty.  It came to pass that one of the fair maidens had received a large quantity of the imported greenery in exchange for a favor that she had rendered to another. She had indeed hoped to be paid in tokens that could be exchanged easily for her honey mead of choice, and was quite sorrowful for a time as she sat with her friend and separated seeds from stems of the low quality barter. What to do? But slowly an idea began to take shape and the maidens eagerly embraced it and discussed in great lengths how they could turn this vision, which now resided only in their in enthusiasm, into a reality. It would take every penny they had between them, but vowed to one another to accept this challenge and swore one another to secrecy, until such time as it came to pass.

They separated and began their quest to secure many different ingredients, requiring mountains of  flour and butter, a whole basket of eggs  and large measures of nuts and candied fruits. And the day arrived when they secured themselves behind locked doors, surrounded by their varied acquisitions and set to task. They laughed and sang loudly as they rolled up their sleeves, pulled out their largest cauldrons and plunged their bare arms into the forming dough ~ it was a glorious sight to behold.  At the end of the day, they wiped the sweat from their brows and sat back and marveled at their creations.  
There sat seven loaves, beautifully baked to perfection, weighing thrice over what they appeared. They were in uncharted territory now and had no elder to guide them on the next step of their journey. They appraised the recently laundered cotton sheet and measured again the seven loaves. Sacrificing the sheet to this creation was another measure of their unfailing commitment to their quest, for sheets of such good structure were a prized possession of the young maidens.  Reverently they dipped the torn cotton into a bowl filled with the best brandy they could acquire and wrapped tightly the loaves ~ imbuing each with love and good tidings.  

For seven nights, the two maidens would gather and bring out the loaves from their hiding place. For indeed, word of the wondrous creations had seeped into the villagers imagination, and were whispered about in the halls of worship.  Night after night the giddy maidens stole away from the communion hall, filled the bowl with brandy, re-soaked the sheet fragments and re-wrapped the heavy loaves. It was a labor of love and the maidens became quite attached to the seven swaddlings.  Alas, one night, upon retrieving the loaves from their sacred hiding place, they found one missing and they mourned the loss.

The time came to pass to share their handiwork with their friends and family. Many who had long scoffed at the idea of fruit cake, stood in line to receive their portion of the maidens delicacy for it was known to all that these loaves alone contained the sacred greenery. And every villager knows that even that greenery which does not produce the desired affect when smoked in the pipe, becomes a powerful intoxicant when baked or cooked. And the mind blowing effect of the magic fruit cakes were soon known to all with the curiosity to take them in.
And many a glass was raised that holiday to toast the ingenuity of the two maidens. And many were the invitations they received to share in the holiday festivities of their beloved neighbors.  It was a winter to be remembered, but never repeated.

And so ends this tiny tale with these words of advice.       Pure Love and Joy are free dear friends.     Imagination is your goddess given right ~ partake and be of good cheer.
Merry Christmas and green blessing to you all, each and every one, and to your friends and family, and their friends and family, and so on.

<< And, oh yea who so stealthily stole the seventh loaf, you are forgiven, but the maidens would love to hear your side of this winter’s tale. >>

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice

PRECIOUS MOMENTS

We had a nice snow storm followed by brutally cold weather which means most of the snow is right where it fell a week ago! Going out at seven am for a morning feed feels better with a scarf wrapped across my face, so the nose hair doesn’t freeze as quickly. We are feeding our outdoor critters four times a day if possible, to help everyone keep their body weight up and because I work from home a lot, I can make this happen.

I was talking to my mom the other morning, with my feet propped up on my desk and gazing out my north window at our little herd. Every critter stood out in stark contrast to the white snowy backdrop. I watched with growing interest a little brown bird that was hopping around the perimeter of a large overturned Rubbermaid water trough.  Hilde, a two year old mini donkey, was playing with him.  She would stick out her nose towards him, he would hop and she followed him around the circle of the tub. Then he flew onto her back near her shoulder and she turned around and looked at him.

I often see birds perched on top of horses out in the pasture so this was nothing new to me, but it made me wonder what went through her young mind. Her enormous brown eyes checked him out for a long moment and then she almost touched him with her nose before he flew back to the grey tub. I described to my mom what I was watching and then I burst out laughing. This was totally new to me.

The little brown bird jumped back onto Hilde’s rump. And then he wiggled his little bird butt, nestling down into her fuzzy fur, a thick winter coat. He nearly disappeared!!

I could just hear him exclaim (in my best Tweety Bird voice)  “I taut I saw a little nest. Oooh, I did!  I did! I did find a little nest. My little feet-sies have been sooo cold. Oh goodie, goodie, goodie. Dis is very warm place.”

Hilde turned and looked at him again with a huge question mark on her forehead,  “Really !!!???!!”

But she let him stay. Mom and I laughed out loud. Another precious moment at Dragonfly Farm.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

UNRAVELLING MYSTERIES

UNRAVELLING MYSTERIES; An Anthology of Women and Aging.  
Last Monday night a small group gathered to listen to authors' reading their own pieces of work in the recently published anthology edited by Jyoti Wind. As a contributing author, I secretly had my own reservations about driving to Golden to a used book store, Read, Write & Brew. It was brutally cold, dark, and did I mention cold?  But we did. And it was good.  The readings were well received; I listened to women reading their own words and they were even more profound than when I had read them myself. And Jefferson, the store owner, donated homemade chocolate chip cookies!!!  The night was a complete success.


A friend, sister author and listener, wrote to me about the evening,
“...i ventured so much through other people's heads in that hour and a half....my heart filled up so much in that hour and a half...and, to top it all off, i learned what a MILF is..........”   *csm
This would make an excellent gift for the woman on your list who has everything. If you are interested, please go to Jyoti Wind's Facebook page for information on buying this new book.
And if this piques your interest in writing, we are having our monthly writing drop-in group at the Barbed Wire Books in Longmont, this Thursday night, Dec 8th, 6 to 7:30 pm.
In-joy!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Salad

This is a reprint from our cookbook, Food and What Feeds Us.  It is is one of my favorite recipes and a holiday favorite.  Yesterday I bought a pecan pie but couldn’t stay out of it last night (hardly even a slice gone  ... yummy!!)  I cut my homemade egg noodles this morning and tonight I will make a big batch of cranberry salad.   I consider it “middle-of-the-winter-medicine” as it practically 90% vitamin C. 
Have a marvelous Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Salad

 It is Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day, an entire day set aside for gratitude. Yesterday I made a batch of home made egg noodles; the first batch I have made in many years.  And I must admit it was a little trickier than I hoped.  I had called my brother, Gary (an incredible cook, he could be the Emeril of KCMO) for a few tips and got his recipe.  I got the noodles made, rolled out and cut, and I think they will be fine. And then I made my first batch of cranberry salad for the season.  It is red and beautiful and I had to test it this morning ~ it is yummy !!!!!!!!

On the eve of every winter holiday, you could walk into my parent’s small kitchen and there they would be. The kitchen looks similar from year to year, only the outfits change.  

Mom and Dad … standing side by side, cutting the fruit, sorting the berries, and grinding everything into that scrumptious red delight.  My Mom said that she originally got the recipe off the back of the cranberry bag, but I have not found it there for a very long time. They made at least a double batch every Thanksgiving.  My sister and I set in front of the TV on Friday night and we ate bowls of … not ice cream, but cranberry salad. We fought for the last bite every year; you may imagine that I am kidding, but I am totally serious. The first thing I remember asking my parents for Christmas after I left home, was my own grinder to make cranberry salad.  It was necessary to carry on the tradition.

And so I would like to share this recipe with you on this day, quickly, as I must get my turkey in the oven. 

Cranberry Salad

1 qt. fresh cranberries ( two 12 oz. bags)
3 oranges – leave the peel on one
2 apples
2 cups sugar ( I only use 1 cup, try honey or agave)
1 cup black walnuts
1 pkg. cherry jell-o

Set up your grinder.  Make up your jell-0 with only one cup of hot water and set aside to cool.  Wash the berries, cut out the bad spots and discard the soft ones. Cut the apples and oranges into 6 to 8 slices each.  Do not peel the apples but do cut out the core.  Feed the fruit into the grinder, it is fun … the cranberries pop and the oranges juice up.  I do not put my walnuts through the grinder; I chop them up into little pieces and add to the mixture.  Stir in the sugar and liquid jell-o.  Refrigerate overnight.  It gets better every day … and then it’s gone.  I freeze some every year to pull out in the middle of summer and then I eat it mostly frozen.  It is almost pure Vitamin C. 

Enjoy. And thank you, Mom and Dad.  I will always love you.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Morning Miracles 11-11-11


I don’t normally consider waking up at 4:46am to be a miracle, but this morning it was moonbeams falling across my comforter that softened the blow.  I was instantly aware of pain in my head; it felt as if I had a tightening band of steel wrapped right about by eyebrows. I get this when my neck is out of alignment or I haven’t swallowed enough water the day before. I did some neck crunches, relaxing on the out breath to see if that would help ~ maybe a little.
I sat up and pushed aside books and magazines and rearranged my pillow so that I was laying sideways across me bed. The moon light caressed my face.  She was gorgeous, huge and round and I felt a funny kind of warmth in her glowing-ness. I played with the moonbeams, gazing through my eyelashes, or squinting my eyes to make shafts of light shoot off from her roundness in all directions. Silently we played together; I, warm under my downy quilts and she, Morning Queen of the Heavens.

Ka-da-thump.  I heard my cat, Magic, jump off her perch in the living room and then she plopped up on my bed. Pulling my right hand out I scratched her ears and then she showed me where she really needed it. She walked around and over me, seemingly curious about my strange position in bed.  She sat by head without blocking my vision of the moon. Gently she reached forward. I recoiled, rather violently, from her cold wet nose where she touched me right between, and a little above, my eyebrows. Nonplussed, she did it again and this time I was ready and the effect was soft and fuzzy.
I was instantly aware that the band around my forehead was gone, the pressure was released. It was if she had found the release button and set me free! One cold wet nose like a magician’s wand. I thanked her profusely, she jumped off the bed with another ka-da-thump, and trotted off.

Well, I don’t really know what this day, 11-11-11, will bring  ~  a new era?  a new paradigm?  or same old blessings (!) but it was a marvelous start to this Friday!
One thing is for sure, a person can never have "too much" Magic in their lives! I will be looking for more on this portentous day.



Monday, November 7, 2011

More Ramblings of a Road Trip

Yesterday, walking up Lynnell’s road I stopped to tie my shoe.  As i stood up I noticed a hairy, black tarantula right between my shoes. I think I squeaked!  Where did he come from?  When we go back to look at him he rises up on his hind legs, posturing defensively. Yes, he does look bigger and it works. I am so out of here!

Last night we talked about how  out here in the high desert with absolutely NO light pollution, the stars come right down to the horizon.  There are stars apparently sitting in the treetops on top the canyon wall. They are decorated for the holidays!  It is incredibly beautiful!
8:45 am. Wave goodbye to Abiquiu.

Today, I am on the road heading north, home.
White flanks of antelope, glow in the sunshine
… then for the next ten miles every white rock cluster in the scrubby grass promises to be another herd
Bleached white rib bones curl towards the barb wire fence ~ another victim
Elk crossing sign seems to warn away that very creature
Tears well up, never quite enough to fall out of me, just enough to blur that, which in front of me, wants so badly to recognized as reality. Is this it?
Thoughts that Patricia will never again share this scenery
.... but then again, maybe she is sitting here beside me …
… maybe these are all her observations, reminding me to pay attention ….
I forgot it was October 31 until I stopped for a cup of coffee and handed my $1.50 to an impressive Queen of Hearts! Fun!
11:15 Alamosa ~ catch 17 straight north …. great short cut.
According to one property owner, Hwy 17 is the official UFO Highway; complete with watchtower, camp ground and small geodesic observatory … I keep my eyes open! They must be with the elk!
Sand Dunes on my east, I wave and call out to my friends that live in Crestone.
Joyful Journey Hot Springs looks very prosperous and that makes me feel good. If Patricia were here we would stop for an hour, but alone, I don’t feel enough inspiration … I drive on.
Down into Pagosa Springs, I missed the golden cottonwoods ~ last week’s snow fall must have worn them out.
Salida.   Patricia, remember the time I forgot my suit. We were heading south and we left the highway and popped into the local Wal-Mart.  I still have that bathing suit.
Collegiate Peaks, Arkansas River valley, Dvorak’s Rafting Co …. Earlier time, different friends, glad I lived to tell that story!!
Wide open South Park, rimmed by snow tipped mountains, so close. Light dusting of snow still on the ground.
1:30 Fairplay.  Might miss Denver rush hour , that would be good.

Wait for it … wait for it … ah, there it is. On Kenosha Pass there is one pull off that Patricia showed me the very first time we drove to New Mexico together.  Park the car, locate the small opening in the fence, find a private spot in the junipers, listen for voices, check the wind, squat and pee.  We discussed how much we enjoy peeing outdoors while we were peeing outdoors.  On more shared memory.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

COMFORTABLE WITH “UNCOMFORTABLE”

Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

This is a major life lesson for me that I have been peeling away, like layers of the proverbial onion, for many years.  Like an onion, the pure essence of it often brings me to tears and yet I know that if I persevere, render it to smaller pieces, then apply heat with a dollop of soothing oil, a transformation will occur ~ a softening ~ as the pungency caramelizes before my very eyes and is now a sweet concoction that will enhance any recipe that it is added to.

I have rushed the process and ended up with a smoky, bitter mess. And all you can do now is clean up the mess and begin again. One time, when the experiment had gone too far awry, I threw away the ruined pan and left the kitchen.  It may have seemed like the only answer at the time, but in the end it left me hungry.
I am ready to try again; gonna need more onions.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Place of Worship

I wrote this as I drove away from Abiquiu, New Mexico.  It was inspired by a conversation sitting in a beautiful sun room with new friends.
My Place of Worship

The landscape is my cathedral,
this rock shall be my pew
and a dandelion leaf my communion.
The bird and the cricket form my choir
and their tracks in the dirt are my hymnal.
The clouds across the azure sky, my stained glass windows,
even as the night-time sky is an open portal welcoming me in.
The trees are my elders,
this pungent sage, my incense.
My love for you shall be an unending tithe.
I kneel beside my horse, in awe of all that I witness.
Dear God, Goddess, Creator of all that is,
thank you for this sanctuary.
No walls to hold me in, nor others "out".
Bless you for this day.
Amen.
    

Friday, October 21, 2011

MY DEAR TILDE

 
I have always known that I was a tilde ( ~ ) kind of gal.  I just had not put the word, the symbol, and my persona, all together in the same conscious thought stream. But now that I have, I can see that it could never have been any other way.  
I grew up with the hyphen a.k.a. the dash (-); dashes were ordinary.  I flitted in and out of a fascination for ordinary. Elementary school is kind of a blur; all I can remember is my love for reading and recess – rather ordinary.
By junior high I dreamed of looking like most of the other girls = normal = ordinary. I was haunted by my parent’s out-dated sense of a proprietary dress code ~ they were stuck in the middle ages and I was walking the halls with thigh-high skirts and tight sweaters over padded bras. Well, mine was padded.  I lusted after well-shaped bangs and the wonders of caked on mascara. I wanted so badly to be ordinary and look like everyone else.
In high school I read the poetry of e.e.cummings and adored the fact that he had thrown away punctuation entirely.  The rules of punctuation seemed trite … vulgar even. I could a diagram a sentence till the cows came home, but “who cared”. Punctuation after all, was devised to assist a reader in following the thought process of the writer. For me, the use of ellipsis ( …. ) and my dear tilde (~) were much more expressive, and please pardon my fascination for multiple exclamation points ~ I am a highly excitable gal !!!

It was in my junior year of college that I found a book about Edgar Casey in the closet of my new apartment. I dove deep into the ideas of a planet of free will. The unrequited romantic in me continued to write poetry; it allowed me to mess with the rules, follow my true spirit, and meander with the meaning of my muse. Lost my virginity, but not my heart, to a husky Phi Sig junior who wrote me love poems ~ it seemed only fitting.

So imagine my surprise last week when I sat in a real estate appraisal class to prepare us for yet another over-haul of our regulated-to-the-max-no-room-for-free-thinking way of doing business with yet another round of federally-mandated-standards-of-professional-practice. It makes a sane person want to scream and believe me I have ranted till I am sick of hearing it myself. It is the reason so many of my peers, all very good appraisers, have thrown in the towel and ran away from this drowning profession. But I digress.
In the new UAD, Uniform Appraisal Dataset, effective September 1, 2011, the ( ~ ) tilde has now become the symbol of approximation.  As in, "if the year built of the subject property cannot be determined or is unavailable, “a tilde (~) must precede the estimated year built”.
There it was ~ on Page 30 of 58 pages of strict rules and definitions guaranteed to constrict the normal blood flow to arteries and cause inadvertent spasm-ing of various sphincter muscles in older, decrepit appraisers ~  I was actually liberated. My beloved tilde ( ~ ) had come to my rescue.
I will use my guidebook until I have memorized the definitions of C-1 through C-5 and Q-1 through Q-6. I can play their ridiculous game until they tire of this one and some moron gets paid a million dollars to come up with another set of rules that will allow the readers of these reports to become even more brain dead than they obviously already are. Poor dears. I will set in front of my computer, naked if I want, and continue to do my job in the restricted format now dictated, and pray the UPS delivery man doesn’t notice my tilde state of undress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Barbed Wire Writers

Well, we have the first writing adventure under our belt and a good time was had by all.  Were some of the writers slightly challenged?  Yes, I think I heard a couple of big gulps ….. but did they all rise to the occasion? Absolutely!!  If you are remotely interested, give me buzz and we will get you the information about this NEW writing group. 

We have the room at Barbed Wire Bookstore reserved for the second Thursday of every month and would love to have you join us.  An RSVP would be appreciated so I can have the room set up and now we know, you can bring in your own coffee!!!
Here is what one of the participants had to say the next day. 

 “I wanted to give a shout out to Annette for offering and leading an awesome drop-in Writers Meet-Up at The Barbed Wire Book Store in Longmont last night! I had a great time and discovered that I am a pretty good writer outside my journal entries!!! We really had a great time and I can't wait for the next one! If anyone is interested in being more creative in your writing or to clear the cobwebs please come to the next one! They will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6-7:30.  Don't forget that this is a great way to network!”
Next writing adventure:  November 10th 2012,  6pm to 7:30 pm, Longmont, Colorado!

In-joy and have a great October.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ZEVON’S GIFT

Recently I was given an incredible and unexpected gift.  It was not a gift the giver was totally ready to give but the circumstance was not to be avoided.

It began with a phone call at 8:45 in the morning from a dear friend of mine, an accomplished horse woman who has spent her entire life in the company of horses.  There was an edge to her voice that hinted of urgency.  “Zevon is colicky and I can’t get a hold of my vet.  Can you call yours and see how fast he can get over here?”  “Of course,” I replied, already flipping through my day timer.  “Is Richard home this morning”, I continued, wondering if she was dealing with this by herself.  Not that she isn’t competent to deal with the situation; she’s told me dozens of colic stories and helped me out twice with my own horse.  “He’s here.  He’s out riding horses.  He’s not really helping me.”  There was that tone again.  Her housemate Richard knows as much about horses as Molly, but I thought she might need a girl friend.  I told her I would come up for a little while.

On an impulse I threw a tamale in the microwave and took it with me for the short drive to her house.  I prayed between bites as I hurried down the country roads.  I have never seen a full blown colic before and I was as curious as I was worried.

I have known Zevon for several years.  He is a handsome fellow, a tall dark bay gelding with a friendly face and a kind eye.  A few years ago he came to my house to babysit my little mare when I was between house mates and Lakota had lost her herd.  Horses are herd animals, most prefer not to be alone ~ they are too vulnerable.  As Zevon liked the ladies, he took his new assignment in stride.  He was a natural born leader and took control of every herd he was in.  He had been retired by the time I met him so I never saw him under saddle, but I knew that in their twenty-seven years together, he and Molly had covered many, many miles. 

When I pulled into the driveway, Richard, still riding, waved me over to the barn.  Zevon was lying down in his stall with Molly kneeling by his side.  She had finally connected with her vet who was now on her way.  Molly told me how every thing had appeared fine this morning but he had deteriorated quickly.  Zevon would lie still and then kick his legs and swing his head around to look at his stomach.  He would sometimes try to stand and end up sitting with his front legs straight in front of him like a trick pony, but this was not a show any of us wanted to watch. 

Richard joined our vigil and shortly after that the vet arrived; she was marvelous.  She told Molly that she was very concerned with the situation, especially as Zevon was not a young horse.  She left us with medications and a time line to follow.  At one point in the early afternoon it appeared that Zevon had turned the corner.  Richard, Molly and I commented over and over how much better he appeared to be feeling.  We walked with him, stroked his beautiful neck and Molly gave him sponge baths.  But our optimism was short lived and Zevon grew more restless as his pain intensified.

It was time for Molly to make the hardest decision an animal owner ever faces.  With tears in her eyes she looked at Richard.  Through the years I have heard them discuss this very moment.  She always told him, “I am going to have trouble making that call when it’s time.  I need you to be honest with me and tell me the truth.”  Even though the words strangled her, she squeaked out the question.  Richard studied the toe of his boot and nodded yes.  I drifted back and tried to get a grip on my trembling chin; I had no intention of making this harder for my dear friend.  The call was made, the vet was on her way back over and we each paid homage to this outstandingly gorgeous being. 

As I drove home later that day I thought what a precious gift Zevon and Molly had given me. I will never forget this day, which was to be his last, and the memory of their dignity will be with me forever. When it is our time, I pray that Lakota and I will have friends to hold us up, to ease us through the transition, to answer the question that can’t even be asked.  What a marvelous example they had presented me ~ filled with Love and Grief and Grace and Tears and Tenderness. 

Such a gift.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The EGCM 1st Annual Summit

What a marvelous week-end for a coming together of like-minded souls. The Equine Gestalt Coaching Method TM herd was 27 strong beautiful women + our beloved coach Bob.  The weather was fantastic, sunny and bright as the ideas that were shared; the air as clean and crisp as the topics discussed. As cliché as it sounds, I had to write those words, for they are my truth. It was great to be with the women that I have met already on this journey; to stay in touch with one another is important to me. And to meet the new women coming in, to learn the faces that go with the voices that I have been hearing on class calls.

Friday afternoon, we graduates set up our booths in the hallway of the barn and shared stories. It always feels good to be back in this barn, a place where so much growth and transformation has transpired.  Melisa called us all to order and we shared a social hour of cheese cake and coffee.

Saturday morning came pretty quickly, I must admit. I got dressed, fed the critters, drank a cup of coffee, took my shears and basket out to the yard and collected some herbs, and headed back the 35 minute journey to Little Bit North Ranch. I was excited to participate in whatever came my way this day.  The break out session with all of us who have Peggy as a coach was fascinating to me. I had gone prepared to do a greeting ritual, but learned that Ashara had something planned so I slipped easily into Plan “B” which ended up being a wonderful experience for me.  Melisa is always touting my herbal back ground in our class calls and yet I was having a difficult time weaving my passion for herbs with my passion for horses.  I gestalted a little talk about the three plants I had brought with me and then opened it up to the group as to how I could integrate the two.  And as we shared ideas, I did gain insight and it was so much fun. I want to thank costmary, motherwort and mugwort (Artemisia) for accompanying this day and playing their part so beautifully.

As I drove away towards home Sunday, I was thankful again to have found this program, for my determination to see it through, and I could feel the excitement of this adventure as it coursed through my weary body. The first summit was an inspiring success and I came away with new skill sets to play with and the determination to continue learning. I am at the beginning of a new adventure, with an urgent desire to learn new ways of walking beside a horse; to deepen my love and to honor these sentient beings.  When I stand in their presence I am lifted up ~ they give me inspiration and hope for the future. I am outrageously blessed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Guest Review ~ from our Innisfree Reading

Sixpenz Reading

It was raining so hard last night, an umbrella was needed, something unusual in
Colorado, as we walked around the corner and into the Innesfree Bookstore, on the
“Hill”. There was a reading by Sixpenz. The “z” for the dog always under one womanʼs
foot.

Words began flowing in and around the gray headed and students, some sitting around
tiny tables, some standing in the tight space. One woman after another read until the
entire room was awash in a movie of thoughts, images and ambience.
Sometimes the words, so deftly knitted together, that what remained after the voice
ended, resembled a finely woven tweed cloth draped, fluttering in the wind. Other times
vivid images of a womanʼs body curves caressed by a sheet still imprint on my eyes as
bright as her blue-green shirt. A wild turkey trotting alongside a biker pecking the bare
leg of his owner kicking back from his bike, was not only comic, every annoying peck on
the struggling biker trudging up the mountain, it was felt on my skin as well. I was taken
to foreign street scenes, red nail polish, a hand on a glass, was reminded we donʼt need
“saving”, that saintly mothers guide us, and we donʼt know who we think we know, after
all. Lastly, that the weak lay down until the strong rise up again.

The focused, hushed atmosphere accentuated the experience of the spoken word. Last
night every reading was articulately presented. I left refreshed, swept along by voices of
lives living their feminine journey. Christy, seated next to me and a newly transplanted
Boulder woman, so excited by the group, she wanted to join on the spot.

Ann Griffin
9/22/11

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Careful! My Writers Group is out on the Town !!

INNISFREE
POETRY BOOKSTORE AND CAFÉ
PRESENTS
SIXPENZ
AN UNLIKELY GROUP OF WOMEN WRITERS SHARING THEIR
VARIOUS PERSPECTIVES AND BACKGROUNDS, EACH WITH
THEIR OWN VOICE..........
FILMMAKER, CHOCOLATE EXPLORER, ASTROLOGER,
RECOVERING LAWYER, HORSE WOMAN, POTTER.................
WRITERS ALL!
SUSANNE DOUCET * ANNETTE PRICE * PREMA ROSE
KATHY SCHUBERT * APRIL BENNETT STONE * JYOTI WIND
SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 7 P.M. - 9 P.M
1203 13th Street, Suite A
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Moving Too Fast ~ Making Mistakes

WOW! The past couple of weeks have been so busy. My real estate appraisal business always seems to be feast or famine.  And we have had way too much famine in the past three years of this business ~ so I have been saying “Yes” and accepting every assignment that comes my way.  I am driving all over the front range area from Fort Collins to Parker, which is not ideal, but if that is where the work is, then that is where I must go. 

Yes, I am my own boss, but it hasn’t always been pretty this past week. Up until a certain point, being pretty busy makes me sharp as a tack and I get amazing amounts of work done in a single day. However, I have reached that warp speed where the faster I move the more mistakes I make. The boss woman part of me has screamed her bloody head off at the worker bee part of me. Yikes!
Wednesday, the worker bee part of me left our home office with not enough time  to inspect a new assignment in Boulder that the Boss had scheduled ~and certainly not enough time to stop at Staples to buy printer ink cartridges vital to work the next day ~ and then make it back to Longmont for a business dinner before a professional engagement. What a stupid careless mistake. Now it was raining and everyone else was driving really slow; there was no way I could make it to Boulder.  The boss woman part of me sat at the red light at the intersection on the south side of Longmont and screamed till her throat hurt.  As she drove ahead, she made an executive decision and  sent the worker bee part of self back to Staples and got several important things done!

Thursday, the poor pitiful worker bee part of me picked up the mail at our Boulder post office box, rented only in the hopes of getting more appraisal assignments in the Boulder/Denver area where properties actually sell. The only envelope in the box was her Discovery card bill.  Smoke came out her ears, she was instantly furious.  Who authorized that her Discovery bill would be sent to her Boulder address?  No one asked here, G** damn it!!!!  when she got back into the car, she grabbed a pen and wrote a huge note across the envelope and wrote in large letters, “what the f***” followed by an enormous question mark.  This “note to self” was apparently so that she would not forget to address this grave breech of power once she returned to her office.
Friday, the worker bee picks up the envelope, slices off the end to remove the statement which should have the phone number of someone she can speak her mind to and get the address corrected to its former status.  It was only then that she realized that the intended recipient of this particular envelope was the lady who has the PO Box below hers. It had been deposited in the wrong bin. That was all. Hardly a federal expense. However, now it has a huge blue expletive written across the bottom of the envelope. Oh well, just more minutes spent by the worker bee to camouflage with the help of blank white sticky labels. GEEZ!

The Wise Woman part of me is watching, grinning, waiting for me to remember ...  I am an awakened sacred heart .... and this "reality" is all an illusion .....   Goddess Bless Her !

Thursday, September 8, 2011

RENEWED COMMITMENT

Dear Blog,
I feel like I am approaching an old friend
that I have been remiss in visiting.
A part of me wants to gush out apologies,

telling you that it is not just you that I have not made time for:
unanswered phone calls, personal emails buried so deep
I weep at the thought of searching them out.
And another does not want to be judged
by what has happened ~ allowed to happen :
computer woes, maintenance living,
addiction to “free cell” installed on my new hard drive,

graduation :) new beginnings :)
finding time to dream into reality my new business
even as my old profession perks up and vows to fill the coffers.

Know this to be true.
I have sorely missed writing; many promising ideas
sang out to me as I was driving, but I failed to jot them down,
and they are gone.
So be it.
Let us begin anew, my dear sweet blog.
You have waited patiently for me to find you again
and of that I am eternally grateful.
Sincerely,
with love,
the story teller.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Taking In.

 
It feels like I have been in a receiving mode …. a place of “taking in” …  but I understand … it is also an inability to “put out”.  I am content to read, so many good books, and have read morning, noon and night.  Taking in the words, other people’s lives, even the made-up ones, tranquilized by their life situations. I listen to inspirational CD’s on those nights when I cannot sleep or those dark mornings when I desire a few more hours of respite ... and then wake up later with headphones pressed into my cheek.  I have sat with rented movies and dissolved into their premise letting them flavor my own life.   I have accomplished the “have to’s” and even a few of the “should’s”, but even as I think about writing some little incident, I cannot muster the strength. 
And amazingly enough, I have allowed myself to indulge in this place for weeks with very little recrimination.
But I am growing now uncomfortable.  I have flyers to create, I have workshops to fill, I have new people to meet and the ideas that have been percolating are ready for more.  And I have so many ideas!! It is time … to gather up all the little pieces of paper that have accumulated on my table tops … to review my moments of inspiration penned so quickly.   
I am heading home for my mother’s birthday and these ideas need to be birthed so that I will fit better, comfortably, in the seat of my transport.
It was not a cocoon and I don’t feel like a butterfly. I lay in bed this morning as the warm glow promises a pretty day and drank a cup of lovely coffee. I read my story and the many other stories printed in a new book, Red Silk, a Red Tent Anthology. I am thrilled to hold it in my hand, to see the printed words, some of them are mine!  I am inspired.  I am ready. And I do have so many ideas!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reciprocity – Just an Idea.

Last Friday night I stood with my class, the Mid Pack, at our graduation ceremony!! Whew!! Almost two years of studying, practicing, and working through our own “stuff” … and we are now certified in the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method !!  The range, depth and potential of this work is awesome.

But I would like to take a moment and acknowledge those who came before me.  Among many other things, the Mid Pack had the outstanding privilege of learning from the Genesis group how to accept new members into this marvelous herd. We learned from their generous example.  It may not have been easy for them to let us in, to transition into a larger herd, but I never once felt that.  Not once. They were outstandingly gracious and accepting of us.

I have been thinking about the rumblings I have heard from new students as we each face our fears and our doubts about this program.  How large is this program going to get? Will there be enough work for me?  I confess that I have had my own doubts, my own dark fears.

I am reminded of a lesson I leaned fifteen years ago in South America. I was studying with a Peruvian shaman and one day he told us a story of his idea of reciprocity. To him and his fellow shamans, if anyone came forward and said they wanted to learn the ancient sacred ways, that teacher had to take them on as a student.  Because it was their understanding that not until each and every human stepped into their highest potential, could any of us ascend to the higher realms.  No one could move forward until every got it!  This idea was new to me and the hugeness of that statement stayed with me ever since. Every time you reach out and help someone up, you are supporting a larger cause.  Plain and simple, we are all in this together.

Then there is the sentiment that my dear friend Patricia offered up one day. She said, “If everyone on the earth was a healer, we would still have tons of work to do!” I don’t even know what she meant, but I know on a cellular level that the words are true.

And so I keep reminding myself of these two little stories. I totally believe that for each one of us to reach our highest potential we need to champion the successes of one another.  By supporting each other with grace and authenticity, we will each find our place.  There are thousands of horses waiting for us to step up to the plate and there are millions of folks who need us when they are ready.

If I had any words of wisdom for those coming into the program it would be this. If you need to compete, as is in my nature, compete with yourself.  Set your goals, keep an open mind, ask questions until you “get it”  and know that you are in a loving herd whose survival depends on your strength of character. We are in this together and it is so outrageously rewarding!!  There is room for all of us. I welcome you to a marvelous adventure.  It will be what you make it to be.

And I know for me this is just the beginning.  I look forward to many more years of studying, practicing, and working through my own “stuff” as I move forward as a practitioner of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method !! 

Namaste.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Beginning

I remember standing in front of my kitchen window staring out on the cold January morning. I could see my reflection in the window;  looking out ~ yet looking in.  It was a bright beginning to a new year. My mind was racing with thoughts of the Melisa Pearce’s Touched By A Horse Certification Program.TM   What if this program was the answer to the riddle that had presented itself over and over to me for the past five years. Reading after reading after reading, I had been told that I could work with horses if I wanted to. Wanted To? It is what i wanted to do most in the world! But I could not see what it looked like. I could not visualize it and the women giving me the reading could not answer that for me. They all said, “I don’t know what it means. This is just the information I am receiving.”  

One of my ego’s strongest arguments was the cost. It was pricey and I was having trouble paying my mortgage. That was the most evident problem on this physical plane.  I am not a horse trainer even though my dear sweet horse, Lakota, and I have spent hours and hours in various clinics studying Natural Horsemanship and how to be better partners to one another.  On the other hand, I did truly want to work with people. The last 15 years of running my own appraisal shop has become more and more unsatisfying, financially, mentally, and spiritually. I am ready for a change. But my “Doubting Thomas’ voice is loud in my inner debate. “What if we sign up and spend all this money and then we can’t make a living at it? What if we find out we’re not good enough? What if this is not the answer? What if? What if? What if?”

But a part of me knew. This is an answer. Here is a teacher right in my own back yard. “What if she moved up here from Arizona to be my teacher? What about that…huh?” I asked my Doubting Thomas self. “What if this IS the answer and I’m too scared to go for it?”

The part of me that “knows” smiled at the reflection in the frosty window and whispered, “It will be what you make it to be.  It is up to you, dear one.”  I walked to the phone and left a message with Melisa’s office. That was January 1, 2010.

Today, June 10, 2011, I will graduate with four of my fellow classmates. I would be lying if I said the journey has not been extremely challenging at times. But with help I have walked through my fears; I have acknowledged and moved beyond the nagging doubts ~ and there have been many along the way.  But in every cell of my body I KNOW that this was the answer. I am proud of myself for staying in the program, looking the “what-ifs” square in the face and finding the funds, finding the courage, and finding the stamina to move forward.  With Lakota’s help, and with the horses I sense will be joining us ~ we will make it glorious!!

Once again ~ we are at the beginning!
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy June 1st

I made it!!  Ya hooo!
I wrote a three page essay this morning on how badly May sucked, but I decided I won’t subject you to it. Take my word for it, it was a difficult month. I was presented with daily challenges, most around my computer crashing and now my dear old friend of a Honda is not doing well. In between times I bought the funniet graduation cards only to get home and realize they were birthday cards, the check was “not in the mail”,  I stepped in melted used chewing gum and then stepped into my new car and got it all over the clutch, the brake pedal, the carpet and me and……

I have watched myself fight and resist every new twist in the story. Fear of the unknown.  Forced to spend more money than I am making wasn’t too much fun.  Computer-technology-ignorance is certainly one situation where ignorance is not bliss! I rarely entered into the change gracefully, no, I watched myself resist wildly, either inwardly or outwardly. It took a lot of energy to be me last month. Whew! I am exhausted.
I called a good friend of mine yesterday and told her I was really concerned about how angry I had been this past month. And she said, “Well, I don’t know if I would call it angry, but you were certainly irritable.”  I apologized for those times when I called her and vented and she said, “Don’t worry, I didn’t take it personally. It will probably be me next time and you always listen to me.”  That is a good friend. She didn’t sugar coat my “irritability” but she kept open the door to a rewarding friendship.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning and the sunrise colors were incredible; fuchsia, deep oranges, hot rose pink, it was a promise of a new day, a new month, a new ......  !
Happy June!

Monday, May 16, 2011

ZEN & New Computer Set-up

I am re-reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirzig, while I wait for my new computer to arrive.  I am surprised by the byline, “An Inquiry Into Values.”  I don’t remember that. In fact, I don’t remember much about this book.  It is totally new to me. The paper back I recently purchased for $2.50 at the used book store looks exactly like the one I moved from house to house for the last twenty-five years or so. I am, at this point, not sure that I ever read the book even though I professed many times to having done so. It was first published in 1974, one year after I left Missouri and travelled to Colorado in my personal search for freedom.

This morning I am curled up on the couch with my little purple book as I wait for Bonnie to come and take away the frightful, strange, ‘too new’ yucky feelings I get when I look at my new computer. I read these words in Part II, Chapter 14, which speak to my anxiety – my fear of the unknown.

“Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind.” ...

…"Peace of mind isn’t at all superficial, really,” I expound. “It’s the whole thing.  That which produces it is good maintenance; that which disturbs it is poor maintenance. What we call workability of the machine is just an objectification of this peace of mind. The ultimate test’s always your own serenity. If you don’t have this when you start and maintain it while you’re working you’re likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.” 

WOW!!!!  There it is.

Before Bonnie gets here I want to adjust/transform my fearfulness of computers into something more productive.
A willingness to allow this computer to be as great as it can be ~ allowing me to keep my real estate business going even as I move into my new career as an equine gestalt coach, writing and producing fliers as I go!!!!!
I intend that my quickening heartbeat is all about excitement for the future, not the dread from long time limiting beliefs of the past.
Together we ARE powerful. 
I sense a different way of being moving in. I make way for it.  

And I hope that when I finally get around to unpacking the boxes in my shed I will find my original copy of this marvelous book.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is timeless.

Thank you, Bonnie, for your time, patience, and your far reaching knowledge of the computer. 
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!!!

PS.  She told me her name is Melanie. Yes, my computer told me this. Could be my imagination, but no matter, I will call her Melanie.




Friday, May 13, 2011

Computer Woes

Well, I am sitting at my local library where I have been checking emails all week.  Last Saturday my hard drive crashed. What a bummer. I still haven't found out if they are going to be able to get all the data off my dear old Jorge (i know, i know ... i do have a propensity for naming what some of you consider inanimate objects). But yes, it is Jorge with a "J". 

Minus a computer I have been out of business as a real estate appraiser ~ no work ~ no pay. Bummer. It is not as much fun having a week off when it is not your choice !?!?!  On the other hand, I have been reading and writing and working on my new business schedule for this summer ~ just in the nick of time.  I even vacuumed  behind my computer desk and straightened all of my computer accessory cables so that it will make installation easier.  The thought of which makes my blood run cold, but, with a little help from some friends we will get 'er done.

I have my fingers and toes crossed that my external hard drive was indeed functional enough for the tech support folks to pull off information and that all of my writings for the past seven years and all of my pictures ... have been saved to my new computer.

It will be a few more days before my new computer gets here and I figure him (or her) out.
I wish you all a great week. 
Annette.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Horse as Healer: Chakras & Empowerment

Chakra balancing.
I have seen Melisa’s horses do this over and over.  They start at the human’s toes and with their nose they go up one side of the body and down the other, slowly, methodically. Sometimes they walk around the human and scan the back side as well. Sometimes they will stand in front of the client and sway back and forth with their nose at the heart chakra. Well they don’t really sway their whole body, they just gently swing their head back and forth usually standing fairly close to the human.
One very large black and white Gypsy Vanner horse, will slowly back up to a person and press her root chakra onto the client. She will move around the person and press her butt on them from different angles. It looks kind of funny but she is trying to ground the person into the “now-ness” of the moment. She is very gentle and walks very slowly with her large magnificent feet.
 When they are finished the horse will back away or move away from the human and they often look over at Melisa as if to say, “I know it only took two minutes, but we’re done here. This one is cleared and balanced to the best of my ability.”
 It could be scary to the human if they didn’t trust both the facilitator and the horse, but that has not been my experience. The human always love it in the end as they walk out of the round pen glowing.

Empowerment.
Once there was timid woman with a very, very sad story that she told very well. I am beginning to realize how boring stories really are when they are polished and embellished due to years and years practicing of the telling. (And I look at myself and how many tedious stories I have bored people with. Write them, get them out of me, and move on for goodness sakes!) Anyway the woman was going on and Melisa said “Okay I get the idea. Lets try an exercise. Are you willing to do that?”

The woman agreed and we brought in a large dark bay gelding, a very handsome creature to be sure. Melisa also sent someone for the mounting block and brought a couple of extra students.  We all knew that the woman had a little bit of horse experience and were not surprised when she agreed to ride this horse bareback. She looked like a tiny fairy up on the horses back and she immediately broke out in this huge grin. We led the horse around the circle with a side walker on either side to make sure that she was safe and had the woman speak of joy.
Melisa coached her with stem sentences like, “I feel joy when …”

And ended up by asking where in her body was she feeling this joy. “It is like my entire core is filled with golden light; my whole rib cage is expanding with joy.” She bent over the horse and wrapped her hands around his neck, still grinning and indeed, it was if a light were radiating from her. We walked in silence for a while and Melisa instructed her to feel all the joy, to let it soak into her body, and to know that she could come back to this memory in an instant, any time she wanted to. This was her touchstone for joy.
The woman walked out of the round pen and she truly did look different to all of us; softer, more relaxed and happier than we had ever known her.

And still, that is just the beginning……