A bunch of stuff and No Zero, Too

Thursdays are volunteer days; I went back to the food bank. My team was a machine! We bagged enough cereal to feed 480 people. I love volunteering at the food bank. When I glance at the clock, all I’m concerned about is how much more I can help accomplish with the time that’s left. Volunteering isn’t on my no zero list for the year, but it’s something that I’ve come to value. As I enjoy the rewards of spending my time with purpose, it becomes more of a habit.

I planned on taking a nap once I got home to have the energy to ride Max later in the afternoon, but the universe had other plans for me. My Facebook marketplace sewing machine ad had a buyer message, which turned into me driving down the street to make the sale. I’m loving the Facebook marketplace. I’ve been finding new homes for so much stuff. The energy in my house is becoming more open and serene. My sewing machine went to a sweet lady who had been sewing blankets for her grandbabies with her grandmother’s sewing machine when the old machine finally died. It’s a great feeling to know that my sewing machine isn’t stuck on my closet’s top shelf anymore; it’s now bringing a family joy. My old dressage saddle is also free of the closet and being used at a pony rescue.

While I was driving up and down the street, the blood donation bus kept catching my eye. I have always wanted to donate blood but have been ineligible because of my anxiety medication. I’ve been off the meds for almost a year now. I stopped at the blood bus and learned that 1) You should make an appointment before stopping at the blood bus, and 2) You should eat a “good” meal before stopping at the blood bus. I went home and ate a “good” meal and came back. For all their talk of “you should make an appointment!” they did a stellar job working me into the schedule. The most painful part was a finger prick. The actual needle they stuck into my arm, while HUGE AND TERRIFYING, didn’t hurt at all. I don’t know how that worked out. I’m still mystified. 10/10 would recommend, and I will be back!

Though full of altruism, my day hadn’t yet met any of the no-zero requirements. I fit in a guitar practice while I was watching TV with my hubby. I found this excellent Moonlight Sonata tab.

The whole nbnguitar.com website looks fantastic. My classical guitar is still at Guitar Center. I’m looking forward to getting it back.

I couldn’t ride Maximas because the tech at the blood bus told me to avoid anything that got my heart rate up for the rest of the day, but I’ll be back at the stable tomorrow. I’m planning on slowing us down a lot over the next week. We’ve been rushing to make progress, and now I feel like we are at a point where we can revisit that progress and flesh it out. I want to play around with transitions and bending to get us both more relaxed and in tune with each other. It’s worth a shot, at least.

I didn’t fall off!!!

Wednesdays are lesson days. I thought we were ready for our lesson. I couldn’t ride as much during the week because I felt sick to my stomach, but the couple rides I had were pretty good. Last night, Max and I were able to trot over a pole, circle back, trot over, circle, trot over, with nary a blink.

Today, we went OVER the pole and landed with a great little canter. I am not ready to canter, no sir, please just keep at the trot. I threw my hands and legs in every wrong direction possible and started yelling, “HELP ME!” I’ve cantered Max twice, involuntarily, and both times were a disaster. To be fair, I’ve snuck in two or three strides when I felt confident and headed straight at a wall, but nothing serious. My trainer saved me. She took over the brain operating. I just did what she said, and whew, everything slowed down and was O-K.

She didn’t make us do anything else after that. We walked around and over poles forever, then she had us give her another trot. Max’s trot was extended, fast, and bouncy today. If I asked him to slow it down, he would go from full speed to barely moving. I would have taken the barely moving, but he didn’t want to stay there. I tried to just slow my post, but the pep in his step just sent my butt straight up the moon.

My brain has tried to overthink this all day, but it just felt like an off day. We just need to keep practicing, and breathing, and practicing breathing. I didn’t fall off, and that’s good enough!

Just Chillin’

My body still didn’t want me to move around much, yesterday, but Max needed to get out of his stall and I needed time with Max, so we ended up going on a walkabout in the arena.

He was in his stall because it was raining most of the day.

I made a couple tiktoks from the video. It’s strange to caption an animal tiktok, because people like them to be simple minded. Animals make us look simple minded. Oh well, it was something to do.

What I needed to do

I should know by now that, even though add title is at the top of the screen, one always adds the title last. Just like I should know by now that “i’ll do this tomorrow” always means I’ll most certainly not do it tomorrow.

I wanted to ride today so bad that it hurt. At least, I hurt. I don’t know if it’s PMS or just a random bug, but I’ve been fighting a losing battle over the past few days to keep moving. I even tried to compromise by just heading to the barn to lunge Maximas, but getting dressed was enough to make me dizzy. I laid down in bed and woke up an hour later to my grocery pickup alarm.

I fought back by listing a bunch of my unwanted crap on the FB marketplace.

Writing was the one thing I could do from a sickly state. I found the perfect writing prompt to wrap up a day of closet emptying and classified posting. “I Don’t Want This Anymore”

I didn’t do what I wanted to do today, but I did accomplish what I needed to do.

“I don’t want this anymore.”

r/SimplePrompts -“I don’t want this anymore.”

“I don’t want this anymore.”

Scared to open my closet door.

Turning sideways to cross my room.

Because I wanted to be

good at that, or try something new

a decade ago.

As if I could course correct

my life with the things I’ve kept.

Because “some day” is still possible?

My possessions

serve as lessons

against impulsiveness.

I ache to throw it all away,

but I’m stopped by the weight

of the fortune I turned into a mess.

How fortunate for it

that I’ve come to value, value

over my own comfort.

When will I own up to my own objects?

When will I have the guts to reject

the pressures they represent?

How do I say all of this in a classified ad,

or bottle it into a vaccine

against buying anything ever again?

Three weeks = Worked Down Horse!

Maximas is finally worked down. I got on him today, walked him around a few times, and braced for the zoomy trot — but I got a lesson horse trot, instead! He settled into one speed, exactly as fast as I made him go, and went where I told him to go! I was amazed. I was able to check his shoulder and make sure I was on the right diagonal. I could let him go around on a loose rein. I don’t know what caused it to click for us, but I hope it stays that way.

I saw a Reddit comment a few days ago that has been helping me a lot. They advised me to put my weight along the outside of my foot. It’s really helped me drape down and around, as well as find my balance easier. While I was playing around with that, I found a nice groove to fit my legs into, and the combination makes me feel like I’m finally balanced and snug. I can go right up into two-point. I’m still working on maintaining two-point, but that’s a given. It’s easier to practice with a horse that’s not trying to win the Kentucky Derby.

I could have worked us for hours today. What if I don’t have another good day for weeks?

I was able to look up, which I’m always getting in trouble for not doing in class. I could feel Maximas’ shoulders, and I started getting the feel for giving little half halts and leg nudging when he lost balance. I also worked on lowering my post. That one did a number on my abs. I’ll take a number on my abs over jackhammering Maximas’ back.

Tomorrow, I plan on laying out some cones and poles and trotting us around/over them. My trainer spent our last lesson trying to get us over poles. We threw ourselves at it with the gusto and anxiety of a Grand Prix jumping course. I’m looking forward to redeeming ourselves in our next lesson.

After our ride, I popped my helmet on the kid and led Maximas around as he gave her a pony ride. She’s going to start lessons this summer. I wonder where she will end up in the horse world. English or western? Trails or competitions? I wonder if Maximas will be her partner, too. If I keep riding him five days a week, probably not!

When It All Comes Together

I’ve been manically consuming anything to do with horses for the past week. I finally had the ride today that I needed. I was able to get Maximas to stick to the speed I wanted, instead of just running around and making us both look like ninnies.

I also wrote a poem from a writing prompt on one of my facebook groups. Horses were able to check off three of my goal boxes for today. Riding, writing, and exercising.

Guitar center is supposed to call me at the end of the week when they can get started on tuning up my classical guitar. I’ve been playing scales on the acoustic until I get the classical one back. Maybe I’ll do that in a little bit so I can have a four checkmark day.

There’s a lot of busy human energy around me. Everyone either wants to win the giant lottery jackpot or is convinced that the presidential inauguration will be the end of the world as we know it.

I took this picture as I was leaving the stable. The sky was so pretty and calm. I want to be like that sky.

Love Poem for Maximas

A happy cloud saw a sad little girl.

He grew hooves and a mane,

And lifted her

To heaven.

Getting Stuck in the Rabbit Hole

I get stuck in rabbit holes. I’ll find something that interests me so intensely that I hyper-focus on it and wake up to find that days have passed. My brain hurts. I’m dazed.

I’ve been down a horse rabbit hole for the past few days. I’ve learned a lot, but all of that information has overloaded my processor. I want to break it down and document it all, but I just need to force myself to step away for a bit.

I’m just putting a notch in the entry book to say that I have been keeping up with my No Zero Year.

I’m going to go back to watching mindless youtube videos, now…

The Luxury of Moderation

I’m starting to experience the luxury of moderation. By keeping up with my No Zero Year goals, I’ve gotten to the point where I can take a day off from one hobby and free up space to pursue another. That’s a considerable change from clinging to a goal so hard that I resent myself for taking a day off to the point of stressing myself out and quitting. No other methodology has suited me this well. I’ve tried a schedule with different set days and times for each activity, but I’ll inevitably miss one day and another until I get frustrated and throw the whole routine out of the window. A basic New Year resolution doesn’t wield enough psychology to guide me past the “yea, I should be doing that, but I’m not” stage.

No Zero is just enough structure to get me started. Getting started is all I needed. Now that I have momentum and my goals have turned into habits, the whole process feels less like a chore and more like a luxury. I don’t have to prompt myself to do something because that now feels like a luxury.

Today’s wind chill was in the 20’s. I still felt the euphoria of my breakthrough with Maximas from yesterday. After watching horse videos on YouTube, I felt the old familiar guilt stir in my mind. I wondered if I should force myself to drive to the stable and do something with Maximas. Then I remembered that I hadn’t written any short stories in a few days. I realized that letting myself take a day off from horseback riding would give me the time I needed to write! I’ve always been the kind of person to fasten onto something so tight that it hurts. I needed this system to help me relax and prevent burnout.

I’m becoming more well-rounded and fulfilled.

Besides writing a short story, I also practiced the guitar while watching T.V. with my husband. It’s becoming so easy to slide my hobbies into my day. I ran scales for a couple of episodes. I completely forgot how to play Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star from memory, but I could play Auld Lang Syne! While I was plucking notes to try and remember Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, I began to freestyle some melodies. It’s a cool feeling to be confident enough to feel the music and let it flow. My husband has been inspired by all of my hobbying and started to learn how to use Ableton Music Software. I told him I might have some guitar music for him to use soon!