The Three R's: 'Real' Reality Rant

Monday, January 28, 2013

Do YOU know...  
How unbelievably and obnoxiously annoying you are? Is it just me or do you get fed up with the deluge of automated emails vomited out en masse to in-boxes everywhere by the social media giants? Do you know this person? How about this one? Wait! Here are 27 more people, just in case. I would say I appreciate the thought (self-serving though it may be), but I'd be telling a whopper for sure because I DON'T. I have to admit that whoever coined the term "the web" really knew what they were doing. As much as I appreciate and even [almost] enjoy technology, (when I'm not yelling at my screen, that is ;o) sometimes I think social media's sole purpose is to lure you in until you become hopelessly entangled in the virtual reality black hole. *Bangs head on desk.*
Case in point: I got on Pinterest over the holidays looking for some easy recipes, and got sidetracked by a cute crochet pattern pinned by a friend. Two hours and 2,000 Oh, look how cute!'s later, however, I was furious with myself for wasting so much time basically doing nothing (particularly since I had completely forgotten my original purpose). Recipes, ohhh yeah. *Facepalm* Yikes. It's a supernova turned black hole into which large quantities of time are sucked daily, I'm telling ya. Then there's the inevitability of the interface update; about the time I think I have a handle on a site, sweeping changes are announced and nothing looks like it did. Like the all new Facebook Timeline. Wait... What? Hold on, where the heck did everything go? Why are you tracking me on a big scary map? Cut it out, it's creepy. Hello?!? That's not even ME people; it's someone else with the same name and a smarter phone that lives in the next town. Oh, hey I got it: subterfuge. Okay that one could be good. I'm getting more like the horses every day; gimme a nice predictable rut. It may be boring, but at least I know what the heck's going on. *grin*
Now I'll confess to laughing hysterically at the Toyota commercial featuring the girl in her room mocking her "lame" parents for only having 17 sorry friends on Facebook compared to her own 600+ virtually vivacious pals. Of course her parents were out having fun with their real friends, while she sat home alone all night staring at a screen. I suppose it could be argued that technologically speaking she was with her friends (but that perspective just creeps me out completely, and move over Max Headroom). In honesty, the only reason I even joined Facebook in the first place was to create a Fan Page for Epic Farms (one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time). It was almost fun for about 20 minutes, too, but I think it was the never-ending barrage of Little Green Patches and Farmville requests that totally killed it for me. Let's not forget the added drama that spills over into the school day from Facebook; superfun, that. Never mind the fact that you're supposed to be 18 either; nobody cares, believe me. I will say that DD was 20 or 21 before she signed up for Facebook, (and I dimly recall asking her what that giant whooshing noise was; it was the sound of her getting sucked into the virtual void *sigh*).
Do I appreciate the convenience? Sure I do. It's nice to be able to catch up with things at 4a.m., which is generally the only time I have a few extra minutes to spare. It's handy too, when something major (like a surgery) is going on - it's a great way to let everyone know an update all at once. But where's the line? Do I need to know that 12 people I do not know 'liked' what someone else posted that I didn't read? Nope, and I pretty much don't care either (sorry). I signed up with Twitter to promote my Etsy shops (you know, the ones that were stuck in vacation mode for the past year) and announce new blog posts but I rarely remember to tweet either one. I totally forgot to announce the Epic Farms Etsy shop was open again too - my bad. For some reason, Twitter grates on my nerves too. I'm mostly sure I don't need to know what you're doing every minute of every day. Saw a tweet one time that someone had just finished scrubbing the toilet, and was getting ready to jump in the shower; talk about TMI. Who on earth get's that bored? Oy. For a little while, I was interjecting one-liners just to break the monotony of all those self-serving monologuistic tweets. 
Then I joined BlogFrog and four or five other promote-your-blog-here sites (that I don't even remember). All that did for me was generate still more friend requests/followers from people in places I've never even heard of and whose profiles basically scare me. I couldn't even tell you why I joined LinkedIn (although I'm fairly certain I had a reason at the time). Truth be told, that was the catalyst that led to today's posterior-exposing post (SO not explaining that one if you missed it ;o) A whatEVER request (friend? circle? group? clique? groupie? network? follower? stalker?) from some random real estate person that I've never heard of who works halfway across the country in some state I've never seen. Hitting the online white pages for the entire US of online A these days are we? There just seems to come a time when the harassing and haranguing overrides said convenience and becomes one more set of overwhelming obligations on that never ending gotta get "tuit" list. I'm going back to my virtual beginnings and see how many of these online onuses I can start ditching to cut down on my bit... Er, as much as I enjoy the occasional rhyming game, perhaps we'd just better not go there (we are rated G don'tcha know ;o)
Wow. That was a lot. Hope I didn't hurt anybody; seems I've been saving up *grin*. Somehow, I'm betting there are at least a few of you that have the same love/loathe relationship with technology. Or is it just me? I'll have a Sarabear update next time and the upside of technological advances. For now though, I'm sending you a happy smile and a virtual hug. BTW: have you noticed that we are up to 114 Facebook Likes? How exciting *bounce*bounce*bounce*. So feel free to Like us, tweet this, link to it, pin it, Digg it, Stumble it...  
Oh, ACK!

Epic Fail-yers (coffee and a donut post)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

No, no, no, not YOURS yers (MINE yers). *sigh* After much internal debate (read wrestling), discussions with our vets (first one then the other one), debates with DH and a couple of our horse loving friends - not to mention a boatload of research - we have come to the inevitable (and crushing) conclusion: Sara's not going to get any better. Ever. For those of you new to the blog, our Sarabear was diagnosed with Heaves/COPD last year and in spite of everything, has gone from bad to worse to awful. So awful, in fact, that I keep expecting to see someone from the Sheriff's office appear on our doorstep to investigate a starving animal report (although the rest of the horses are pretty much on the tubby side of life). In a way, Sara's troubles seem an awful lot like my own health hiccups; the disease and its symptoms just didn't follow those "classic signs". Added to that were things like heavy smoke from people burning somewhere nearby, crazy winter weather (80 degrees in January? Seriously?) and a stubborn girl who just won't let us help. PHOTO:This is one of my favorite pictures of Sara taken last year. We had just put out a new roll of hay, and the rest of the girls had already gone thundering by. Sarabear has never been one to hurry, although she does look awfully cute prancing her way up the hill.

Heaves symptoms generally appear around age 8, although I have no idea if she exhibited any signs at that time. She came here at age 14, and had a very slight cough, but only once in a great while. Since this area does quite a number on the sinuses (I never had allergy issues until I moved here), and her cough followed the same pattern we didn't really think much of it as it never got worse. I had little knowledge of heaves, because it was generally an issue that effected stabled horses (ours are on 24/7 turnout with shelter available). Besides, surely her owner would have told us if she had a serious condition, right? Betting that one got a laugh or ten out of one of you out there. (insert eye roll here). Ignorance may be bliss, but it sure can cost you a pretty penny. Not to mention drag you heart first through the emotional wringer. Sara is eating more feed per day than all eight other horses combined; and she is still skin and bones. She will not eat more than what we're giving her now, although I've also been giving her treats in between feeding. PHOTO: This was also just last year. Funny how her coat looks so different; it was taken very early in the morning (her little white markings were a funky blue until I corrected the color cast).

The sad thing is, I can't even sit here and say it's been a long road because it really hasn't been long at all. Tough? Oh, most definitely so. Frustrating. Disappointing. Maddening. Infuriating even. And very, very, depressing. The past several months have been a roller coaster ride of high expectations, dead ends and false hope that something (anything) would change. Smack in the middle of it all was Sarabear who, if I am going to be honest, is her own worst enemy. She refuses to eat any of the medicines or herbal supplements no matter how I try to disguise them/hide them (although she has always been okay with eating worm paste in increments hidden in small handfuls of sweet feed). Anything else though? Nope, not having it; she just knocks it right out of my hand and walks off. Certainly she won't let me put anything in her mouth that comes in a tube or syringe. Nosiree Bob; that's not happenin' either, she'll rear straight up. Funny thing is, she's the only one we have that I can't schmooze into eating or even forcibly dose if I have to (not to mention the only one that rears up). How's that for irony? PHOTO: Sara catching a few zzz's by the stalls (I woke her up trying to get a shot of her snoozing; had to settle for a sleepy expression instead ;o)
The short version is this: Sara's appetite is extremely unpredictable, and as a result she is pretty much skin and bones. Sometimes she'll gobble her feed right up, sometimes she'll take a bite and won't eat any more and sometimes she'll dump it all out. Just yesterday she opted to flip her bucket over and waste all the feed instead of eating it (again). If I put the bucket "up" (which is better for her breathing than on the ground), she won't touch it at all. She is furious with me for separating her from her pasture pals, and has now taken to chewing up all of the wood in protest. Up until about 3 weeks ago, we thought she would make another rally. Appetite had stayed fairly consistent and she was starting to put on a little weight. It was probably when I started feeling a little too hopeful that she reversed direction and has been going downhill since. Because horses under stress (and heaves definitely qualifies as stress) can lose up to 50 pounds in one night, you can imagine what she looks like now. Wit's end here. I opted not to post a photo of her current condition for the simple reason that I am afraid someone will misinterpret it. I'm sure many of you will find this quite shocking, *tucks tongue in cheek*, but there are an alarming number of people out there that would take something like that and run with it; without bothering to get the whole story. Even though I can back up everything I've posted about Sara, I just don't want to go through all that. It's hard enough as it is, you know?
Another epic fail (almost) was the Etsy shop, which was supposed to have been closed for a "brief" period while I re-shot photos for my listings. Let me just throw in a ha-ha-HA. *cough* Umm...hmmm. It's been more months that I wish to count since I've even given it a passing thought (and that was a couple of months after I stuck it on vacation mode).  Yikes. It was only after I got a friendly reminder from the Etsy for Animals team about the membership rules (resulting in a holy cow *slap to the forehead* jumpstart) that I realized just how long it had been. Ruh-Roh. Bad Jen. Very bad Jen. *wince* After some frantic scrambling - and a few repentable words - I am happy to say that the shop is now back open. Of course I've only manage to retake about five photos, but I must say I really like the way they turned out. That was probably tacky of me to say out loud, wasn't it? Sorry. Anyhoo, it's another nod to irony the way that went, too, as the proceeds from the shop would have definitely come in handy towards Sara's expenses. *sigh* Oh well, going for better late than never yet again, eh?
So there you have it (or most of it, anyway - I actually skipped some of the Sarabear stuff as I was beginning to feel a tad maudlin). Meh ;o/ Since I hate to end on an icky note, how about something to give you a giggle? (although for me, it was more like a much needed gut-busting laugh). As most of you know, DD is deaf and there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to lipreading as a form of communication. Believe it or not, only 30% of the words we use are clearly visible on the lips; the rest is guesswork (and if you don't believe me, stand in front of the mirror and watch your lips as you say "bay, pay, may" ;o) This came through one of my interpreting lists the other day, and I thought I'd share it with you. It's from and just boggles the mind how well the wrong words fit:
Have a blessed week everyone, and hug those furballs!

Well Bless My Stress...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

 So hi. It's been awhile (eek). This is the last post I started (in November) but never got the chance to finish before the insanity of the warp jump into the hectic holiday season hit (and flattened) me. I'm posting it "as is" lest you guys think I was abducted by aliens (well, it would certainly explain the flake factor, wouldn't it? ;o)

- Jen

Isn't it funny how those two things often coexist? What's that saying again? Blessed to be stressed? Ha. Sadly for the flawed human race (present company coming dangerously close to topping that particular dented can list), it is sadly simple to miss the blessings that are often completely eclipsed by the stressings. Maybe it's because those stressful things are all up in your face like Hollywood-sized block letters of flashing neon blinking madly, while the blessings tend to be in two point light gray type (and if you're seeing spots from all that flashing,'s easy enough to overlook, wouldn't you say?). I am, however, going to do what I am supposed to do daily but often forget when I'm busy having a crises-induced spaz fest: and that's count 'em. This is a photo of Mariah, by the way. I managed to squish in a quick trip to visit Sandy the weekend before my surgery since I wasn't too sure how that would end (I think I already told you that, didn't I?) My visits to Sandy's house are always a blessing! Anyway, Mariah's expression just seemed to fit my feelings at the time (if you know what I mean. *laugh*)
The biggest blessing at the moment would be the Divine BENIGN from the recent ovarian cancer question, and praise the Lord! Although you'd think I would have been bouncing off the walls over that one, my reaction was more along the lines of dissolving quietly into a large puddle of relief. Funny how life can change your prayers. I didn't even pray to not have cancer, only that I would be able to accept whatever God's will was. In other words I was ready if He asked me to, but I sure "dinwanna" walk down that particular path again (been there, done that, got the battle scars and a stupid T-shirt collection to prove it ;o) I do like the colors teal and pink together, just not in a ribbon. Know what I mean?
In other blessed news, my Body Language Lens on Squidoo was chosen as "Lens of the Day" which is a big whoopie-do in Squidland. *laugh* Unfortunately, everything else had gotten so crazily insane by then I really didn't get to enjoy it much nor did I have time to respond to all the lovely comments that poured in. Nuts. It's okay though; I can keep those warm fuzzies I get whenever I think about it, right? The biggest surprise came in an email offer to buy the lens; didn't see that one coming ;o) I didn't sell it, but I did make a new friend of sorts. Aiden and his pal Liza are building a monster horseback riding site and trying to generate some interest. I added a link to the lens to try and help them get some more traffic, and Aiden sent us a nice donation (for which we are extremely grateful). If you have a minute, please drop by thehorseridingsite and give them a boost. Tell 'em Jen sent ya. *grin*
On a sadder note, I'm afraid we may be coming to the point where we will have a difficult decision to make about Miss Sarabear. Although this looks like raffia ribbon, it is hay [photo right] and I believe it may be what initially caused Sara's heaves to suddenly and so dramatically intensify. We've been buying our hay (in big round bales) from the same farmer for many years, and never, ever had a problem. This was some very bad, very dark hay that was buried at the very center of a bale; just one of those things, I guess. Some stray dog could have peed in that spot in the field right before it was baled or something. Who knows? It wasn't a big section in the roll, but none of the girls would touch it. None, that is except Sara, who had her nose totally buried in it for reasons that completely escape me (it was dry, but stunk to high heaven - made me gag as I hauled it off). I took it away the moment I saw it, but I'm thinking the damage was already done. The initial steroid shot from the vet in conjunction with the SmartBreathe Pellets (SmartPak) seemed to do the trick, and I was feeling hopeful we could keep her from getting any worse. Then Sara had a series of relapses and her breathing difficulties just spiraled completely out of control. In a sense, Sara has been her own worst enemy in this, as she will not eat her feed if I put anything "else" in it; she'll either dump the whole thing over or flatly refuse to touch it. She has gone from being our chunkiest monkey last summer to looking like the wrong end of a rescue horse. For awhile, she would let me sneak a nutritional supplement into her feed; which is generally used to rehabilitate rescued/starving animals (and how depressing is that?) but now she won't even touch her feed if I put it in there. I just don't know what else to do for her. Although we are able to deworm her by sneaking bits of paste into pellets and hand feeding her until she gets the required amount, dosing her with anything else is out of the question; Sara simply won't allow it. She won't touch any kind of medicine no matter what I put it in (or by itself), she just gives me that "Do you think I'm stupid?" look. Her head shyness (from some idiot show trainer in her early days - halter classes) is SO deeply ingrained that even in her current sorry state - and after a second tranquilizer shot - she reared repeatedly when our equine orthodontist made what she considered a "wrong move" as he worked on her teeth.
Although we're feeding her three times a day, Sara's weight has been slow to return without the added weight gain supplement (I don't want her to founder).  Her interest in food is unpredictable, and sometimes she won't even touch her bucket. Unseasonably warm temps and people burning leaves in the area have only compounded the breathing issues (and not a thing I can do about either one). While I wouldn't go so far as to say Sara is suffering horribly, she is definitely uncomfortable and desperately unhappy to be by herself (but it's for her own safety/well being). We moved the girl's hay roll over by the fence line where Sarabear is so she can still feel part of the herd (and that's where she spends most of her time). My biggest concern at the moment - other than her weight - is a lack of shelter, now that her stall is inaccessible. Her last steroid shot was administered on November 24th and, sadly, does not seem to have made any difference. Actually, the last 2 or 3 steroid shots have not helped her breathing at all (it's 30 days between shots), so there doesn't seem to be much point in continuing to administer them. Because the damage heaves causes is irreversible, my fear is that this is as good as it's going to get which forces us to think in terms of quality of life issues. My poor girl. *sigh* Sara should be more comfortable with the colder winter temps, but right now we're just taking things day to day as this has been a very strange winter season. I hate this. Okay, now I'm depressed (and probably made you sad too; sorry).

Thinking, thinking, thinking... Okay, I
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