Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Trip and Fall on the Way

As most of you know, Heath and I took the Blu Roo and went to California for the last month of summer. It was a fabulous trip, so I thought I would share some of the highlights.

To begin with, one of my granddaughters was visiting, so I had company besides my Service Dog for the long drive. We packed Roo to the hilt with stuff I was taking down for some of the grandkids and we left as soon as I was able to drive. Other than a Cinnabon in Winnemucca, we didn't stop to eat all day. By the time we made it to Turlock, we were starved. It was dinnertime. I don't know my way around Turlock anymore, even though I used to occasionally compete at ApHC shows there. I suddenly remembered that Heath has a sister in town, so I had my granddaughter message her owner on FB for me, and we met up for an impromptu dinner date, after Heath and his sister had a short reunion.

Heath and his sister Lark, an agility competitor

We had a great time at dinner and Lark's owner was a really good sport about the total lack of forewarning that we were coming.

A few hours more and we made it to my granddaughter's home. It was neat to see all of the creative improvements they made on the house, and fun to be in the midst of a family again, with all of the laughter that goes with it. We stayed most of the week, my daughter-in-law graciously taking care of me as most of the time I was recovering from the drive. When I was stronger we all took a drive up to where they often camp and go boating. Heath, happily followed Hannah into the river, a big surprise as he doesn't like water, but he apparently likes being hot even less. He also really likes Hannah, who took care of him at the hospital while I was in surgery. My son treated us all to ice cream and candy at a nifty little shop, where Heath diligently protected us from a large stuffed gorilla with his low, threatening growls and then we headed back.

We passed the stables of an old competitor friend when I was showing clients horses on the circuit, so I mentioned if they were considering riding lessons for the girls, she'd be a good fit.

And so it was.

We also spent an evening out with a daughter and her family for dinner, the night before we headed down further south. Another granddaughter was also with us, but I didn't get a pick as she and her friend quickly snuck out and took my car to be washed before we got back. Sneaky, sneaky...

The littlest

One of the boys, preparing to dash....

That night, for my grand finale, I managed to trip over a sprinkler and splatter all across their front lawn, requiring my son and a neighbor to hoist me back up and drag me into the house. We can't let them forget me too easily, can we??

We headed to my younger sons and wound up staying at an in-laws with him as he had promised to help put in sod the next morning. Heath had a great time with 4 kids to entertain him. We also got to go to church, which was a huge blessing as it has been 10 years, there not being any where we live, for obvious reasons...

There was also a lot of fishing going on... back at the ranch my son works for and lives at...

Heath and I mostly stupidvised from the top of the hill.
We eventually made it up to my old home town and met some friends who I've been talking with on the internet for years, but never met in person before. It was great! I also got to meet with a couple of different friends I have not seen in years....

And more grandkids, who kept me entertained for at least a week!

More kids, grandkids, it was a busy month. We sewed, embroidered, played xbox, went to swim lessons, boxing lessons, riding lessons...all the things I have missed living so dang far away.

Heath also had a great time. We played in water, went shopping, out to eat, to parks, played with all the kids, played with the family dogs, and then, after a short trip back up to my oldest son's for a day or two, we headed to Northern Calif to see my cousins that I haven't seen in wayyyy too long.

My cousins' beautiful wife (which of course is also my cousin) took us on the most amazing day trip I've ever been on. The beauty of Creation was exquisite!!

Even Heath was in awe at the Redwood Nat'l Forest

We stopped along the coast

We love this woman!

It was a soul restoring month. I felt welcomed and cherished everywhere we went.  I had to head home a few days sooner than I had hoped, as I got sick and knew I would get worse before I got better, but I hope to go back soon. Meanwhile...

Heath and I are still wondering why one cannot Pee between signs...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Change of Season

When I started this blog, it was Range to Range as I was slowly losing the ability to ride and be out where I wanted to be, and was spending more time in the kitchen, trying out recipes, making milk products and homemade meals in an attempt to fill my days.

As the years have passed, my disease has been looming larger and taking away more and more of what I love in life and leaving me feeling much like an empty shell. I couldn’t blog because my state of mind was nothing I would want to share with anyone, nor anything you would care to read. My life is changing again, so although there will be a little about ranching and livestock, I will share the life I’ve been given, such as it is.

As my readers know, I now am dependent on a Service Dog to help me through the normal activities of my day, that I can no longer manage on my own. I would like to expand a little on how he assists me, as it is doubtful there will be many entries in the future that don’t include Heath.

Unable to bend over and reach the floor anymore, Heath hands me anything I drop (which happens more and more often as my hands become more involved) and anything I point and ask for. On really painful days when I cannot get up, he brings me my pillow and blanket. I consistently forget to take my medications, and mid day cannot remember if I took them or not as I am easily distracted or confused, so Heath brings them to me the minute I wake up, and stays with me until I take them, then he puts them back on the table where he prefers to keep them. That in itself has been a tremendous help. He also brings them to me at night, as there are meds that have to be taken at certain times of the day. I know when it’s almost  bedtime because he hands them to me.

He picks up all the dirty laundry and hands to me so I can put it in the rolling hamper and he takes the clothes out of the dryer as I cannot bend far enough to get them, especially things like socks, where even he has to crawl in to reach them. He’s doing a good job pushing the buttons that open doors for wheelchairs, although I am not yet in need of him to do so. He already does a good job walking along beside a wheelchair as I have to use the scooters in the store, unable to walk that much. Better to get the training done before it becomes critical. There are always new tasks that I find I need to teach him, such as flushing a commercial toilet, helping me to undress, and bring my attention to my scratching as my skin always itches and I tend to scratch till I bleed.
Over the years, I have lost my ability to do many things, and medications as well as disease both changed my body.I no longer wanted to see people or go out. I hated shopping, refused to join the parties on the ranch and Lord have mercy on anyone who points a camera in my direction. I’ve always been a ‘loner’, but I was becoming a recluse. A very unhappy, depressed and pain-wracked recluse. Heath has made huge changes in my life.

After 10 years, I got myself a phone, got a drivers license and bought a car. I enjoy going to town with Heath and doing the shopping or whatever, as he is always so happy to serve and seems to love new places. I no longer suffer from anxiety being out in public, because people tend to focus on Heath, not on me or what I look like.

The boss wants me to get rid of my animals. I had already planned to get rid of most of them as I cannot take care of them anymore, but they were not selling fast enough, so all our cows went to a sale one day, and the sheep another. There's not much reason for the kids to come visit anymore. Their highlights of the trips were gathering eggs, playing with and feeding the lambs, goats and calves, milking the cow and the other stuff they could only do where we lived.

We held back 2 lambs for our freezer, one for the dogs and 2 ewes and the ram to send to a friend we worked a deal with so we will still get our 2 lambs a year. Bruno and Mr Potamus are not very thrilled with this decision, but it wasn’t mine or theirs to make. Without a flock to protect, they now live in the yard and house, much to my dismay, as they constantly loose enormous clumps of white hair on the carpet and make a challenging obstacle course in our very small house for me to try and negotiate. As I am not allowed to seek outside help to get the house and yard clean, which is beyond my abilities, I found my life was easier to just leave the ranch and take a long running road trip with Heath.

It’s been a great month, and has been good for me. TheMan has agreed that I will come home for awhile and then take another road trip whenever life there becomes too overwhelming. I don’t know how long I will be able to exercise this option, as we don’t know when the disease will render me unable to drive, but until then, I hope to make the most of it! I will be able to make up for all the time I lost seeing my grandkids and my kids. I will meet some of the people who have encouraged me on FB for the past several years, and hopefully, I will see parts of the country I’ve never had the opportunity to see.

Here’s to the future!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Roo's First Road Trip and A Few Repairs

Gunner and The Heathen
It’s been a CRAZY winter, as all of you know. I finally have a car and was ready to hit the road with Heath. I planned to stop and see my Brother and niece. We got to their new house where my brother has mother-in-law quarters, so to speak, and Heath was excited to see his doggy-friend Gunner, that he met when my brother came up last year. What he wasn't ready for was meeting my niece's two elderly golden retrievers. One of them, Ruger, decided Heath did not belong there and chased him until Heath found a safe spot under my car. I was glad to see that he was smart enough to get  himself out of what could have been a bad situation.

Once they were formally introduced, the dogs all got along fine. The 2 Golden Retrievers and the Yellow Lab all walking around, content with mouthfuls of soft frisbees. They use them like pacifiers. Heath, on the other hand, just wanted to rough house and play with someone. As Gunner spun in circles protecting his toy, which he thought was Heath’s target, Heath gleefully pinched and gently pulled his ears, which were his real targets. It’s how he punishes the Maremmas at home, when they come to close to me, wanting attention. He grabs and pulls their ears. Never hard enough to make them squeal, but enough to be annoying. After a yummy spaghetti casserole made by my brother and a couple of rum and cokes, we were ready for bed.

They had a nice big reclining chair for me to sleep in, which made a strange noise when it reclined, but everything was great until 2 something-o'clock-in-the-morning when Heath quietly sneaked up the stairs into the MASTER bedroom to chase their cat around. My nephew-in-law came down the stairs behind a speeding and contrite looking sheppie and I apologized and spent the rest of the night insisting that Heath sleep on the chair with me, which he begrudgingly did. The next morning when I got up, the chair made an even louder awful noise and I was horrified to see that it had apparently been too close to the wall and one corner of it had pushed through, making a large hole in the drywall...of their brand spanking new house.

 It had been raining steadily for days, and their back yard, which was too new to be landscaped was a muddy sinkhole. They had sectioned off a small area and filled it with gravel so the dogs had someplace to potty. They would all go out together, the two old male Goldens both squatters, and Gunner a lifter. There was a nice wooden post just a few steps in that made a perfect faux fire hydrant that Gunner appreciated. We opened the glass doors and let Heath out with the rest of the boys. However he found the barbecue leg more appealing, much to the distress of my nieces who loudly said, “OH NO HEATH!”
No she wasn't really yelling at him and she wasn't really angry but he is super sensitive and took it that way anyhow. He curled his tail between his legs and began slinking back to the house. I caught up to him and talking to him  reassuringly, led him out to the gravel area. He refused to put a foot on the gravel and was obviously quite intimidated by it.  I puzzled over this for a moment and realized his memory is quite good. The last time he saw gravel like this was a trip to town when we had let him out to pee. As he jumped into the planter that was full of gravel, all 4 feet were punctured by goathead stickers and he whimpered painfully. We had to lift him up and pick all the stickers out of his feet. As his mama didn't raise no dummy, he wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. I had to push him onto this gravel so he could see that it was safe. After that, he had no problem competing with Gunner to see who could cover the stick the highest. Potty problem solved.

Next day Hwy 20, where I was heading to see my friend, was closed and washed out, so I changed my plans and was going to go visit my cousin on the West side of California. Then the snow and mud slides closed I-80 overnight. If I could sneak by and just get down to Sacramento I could take Highway 5 up to Williams. I was leery of I-80 when it opened as there were already 3 wrecks reported the first 20 miles, so I opted instead to spend another day with my brother and my niece. That day, Williams flooded and the Oroville dam was still in danger of breaking. I am grateful that I heeded the still, small voice, because all of Northern California flooded and the roads were a mess. I definitely dodged a bullet.

It looked like our only option was to head back home before we caused any more havoc at my niece and brother's new house.
It was snowing when I left Reno for the 5 hour trek home. It turned to rain outside of town and rained all the way home. By the time I got to Winnemucca, I was flaring painfully and shaking. I was tired, and weak and didn’t have much strength to work with. I called TheMan and told him I couldn’t make it home, I was too weak and in too much pain to manage the 3 more hours of remote desert driving.  Heath and I went into a Mexican restaurant we were parked next to at a casino and I had lunch while he napped under the table. It was relaxing and restorative.  I took my time, feeling no pressure, and no anxiety because Heath was near and by the time we were done, I felt well enough to make it home.

So went our first big excursion away from home on our own. It wasn’t quite what I had hoped, but it was a good start.  It turns out that when I lifted my saddle several months ago, hurting my right arm it was more than just a tiny little tear in my bicep. Instead, I tore my whole bicep tendon loose at the head of the femur, and 3 of the 4 large muscles that make up the rotator cuff are torn through and badly atrophied, so I just had surgery to make what repairs they could. The doc said he thinks he has bought me some time before I require a complete replacement.

Heath making sure Lamby doesn't try to sit with me...
Heath watching over me while we have car worked on after Dr appt
HannahBanana feeds Lamby
One of my grandaughters came up to help me after surgery. It made for a great 2 weeks, as her cheerfulness was even more valuable than her helpfulness and that was generous. We had a bummer lamb born just before my surgery, so she took care of bottle feeding her as well as feeding the Heathen and helping feed us. I don't think I would have fared well that first two weeks without her as it was pretty painful and needed icing around the clock. Now I am waiting to heal and figure out what is next for us. Hope its something good!
Heath watches over Hannah