A Tank Update

February 18, 2019

Today is my horse Tank’s 24th birthday! As a registered American Quarter Horse, he “officially” turns a year older on Jan. 1, but I still celebrate his actual birthday—or foal date, as it’s known in the horse world.

As you may remember, back in November I moved him to a new boarding barn. This was wrenching for me, and I was worried about how he’d handle the change. We’d been at our old boarding barn for all of our 15 years together. Happily, he’s done very well overall.

The new barn was still under construction when we moved, but it was completed enough for the horses to move in about a week ago. It’s a big, airy space (and smells like new wood). Tank seems to really like his new stall.

Especially the way it tastes. (Face palm.)

We’ve faced a few challenges since the move—he developed a case of hives, and then a painful hoof abscess—both things have happened before and aren’t related to his new home. I’m also still trying to develop a routine of care and exercise for him. Most recently, though, he spooked one day while I was riding him and threw me. I pulled muscles I didn’t know I had trying to stay on, but I wasn’t seriously hurt. (Apparently there were horse-eating monsters in the woods bordering the field in which we were riding!)

Tank’s new schedule will involve being stalled part of the time and being turned out into various paddocks the rest of the time. He’s still getting used to being turned out in different areas with different horses nearby—he makes it clear he DOES NOT like being the first one turned out or brought in!

All this adjustment to different conditions can be hard on a horse, just like change can be hard for most people, myself included. I try to help him by going to see him as often as possible and not making any other changes in his management.

And while it may feel uncomfortable at first, change can also be beneficial. For horses, it can provide new stimulation and learning opportunities. For humans, change helps us be more flexible and creative. And, really, we’d become bored if nothing ever changed.

I’m trying to make the best of the recent changes in my life, and Tank is, too (I assume. He seems like he’s trying to understand what’s happening, and communicate his feelings about it!) Eventually, these changes will become the new normal…and then any further changes may feel uncomfortable! 

What changes have you experienced recently? How have you been coping?


Want a Lasting Relationship? Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness

February 15, 2019

Photo by on Unsplash

“The truth is, the way we can show up as our very best and offer the greatest amount of love and support to our partner is to take the complete responsibility for our own happiness, from A to Z. The purpose of a love relationship is not to fill a void, to complete us, or even to be part of the foundation for our happiness. It’s purpose is to help us grow emotionally and spiritually and to enhance an already, full, happy life. This is a key standpoint from which joyful, lasting relationships survive, thrive, and grow.”



February 11, 2019

Photo courtesy Andrew Martin via Pixabay 

As I mentioned briefly here, the word of the year that presented itself to me for 2019 is “rise.” And it did present itself—I was minding my own business, going about my normal, everyday life when it popped into my head. And wouldn’t leave.

Some years I’ve had to do exercises or put in time pondering possibilities, but not this year.

Rise scares me a little, as passion did. With its connotation of picking myself up after a fall, rise initially felt like a word that you turn to during hard times. Please, 2019, I beg of you do not to be as emotionally challenging as the end of 2018!

But as I was noodling around with the word, a more gentle, cheerful take appeared: the concept of floating, of lightness, of flying like a balloon.  Rise has an uplifting feel to it, one of upward movement. The sun rises, cream rises to the top, bread and other baked goods rise (becoming tasty and delicious). One “rises to the occasion.”

Rising is gentler than climbing.

To rise, I’ll need to let go of heavy things dragging or holding me down, release attitudes, beliefs, worries, and negativity.

I like it. I have a tendency to be internally dark, heavy, serious, and intense. As light offered me a chance to explore and focus on more happy aspects of living. perhaps rise will offer some of the same benefits. 

I recently came upon this passage in Jon Cohen’s book, Harry's Trees:

“Olive was particularly inspired by dawns like this when she could not see the sun. It gave her strength and comfort to know that it was out there, rising, doing its daily job, unthwarted by clouds, rain or snow. That’s the way she liked to think of herself. Against the impediments and disappointments of life, she was a riser.”

I think I’m a riser, too.

I like a word of the year with some ambiguity to it. It makes for interesting encounters with myself throughout the year. What about you? Do you have a word of the year? If you feel comfortable, please share it and what it means to you in the comments section!


Instead of Pursuing Love and Happiness…

February 08, 2019

Photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
— Rumi

Food for thought: Substitute the word “happiness” for the word “love.” Do you (I) put up barriers against love and happiness? How can we be more open?


Libraries I Have Loved

February 04, 2019

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash 

“What else is a library, but a temple of truth? What other function do books have, the great ones, but to change the reader? Books to comfort. But most of all, books to disturb you forward.”
Harry’s Trees, Jon Cohen

February is Library Lovers’ Month, and today I want to pay tribute to libraries I have loved and sing the praises of an institution that has made my life infinitely better.

The first library I remember is the Pasadena Public Library where I went with my mother and on field trips as a child. Once I remember laughing uncontrollably (but quietly) with my best friend, Julie, when we happened upon the name Wyatt Earp in a book—the name struck us as being hysterically funny. When I wasn’t laughing at names, I was earnestly checking out books from the children’s section, coming home with as many as I could carry.

As an adult working for a magazine for teenagers, I also used the Pasadena library for books to use as references or to fact check articles I was editing. Oh, the days before the Internet!

As a teenager I haunted my public library in Lakewood, spending hours wandering through the books, making discoveries or reading old favorites (Judy Blume, Erle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie). My mom and I visited regularly together, but sometimes I’d walk there on my own.  I once tried to get a job at that library, but was so shy I couldn’t manage a coherent follow up to my application. (If I weren’t a writer, I’d work in a library. And I don't rule it out in the future!)

My current local library is invaluable to me—even with the Internet at my fingertips, I use books for education, entertainment, inspiration, and research, and I’ve attended free talks and workshops there. I still consider it a miracle that we can borrow books (paper, e-books and audio books), music, magazines, and movies for free. I would go broke if I bought every book I read. Thank you, public library. (Check out “What’s Your Library Worth?” here.) 

In addition to lending books and other media, most public libraries also host educational programs, serve as polling places on Election Day, and provide many more community services. “At the core of public library service is the belief in free access to information—that no one should be denied information because he or she cannot afford the cost of a book, a periodical, a Web site or access to information in any of its various formats,” according to

The library is one of my happy places, and I want to spend more time there this year. I’ve gotten into the habit of placing holds on books, then just running in and picking them up. On a good day, I’ll spend a few extra minutes in the library bookstore. I miss soaking in the library’s (to me) peaceful-yet-exciting atmosphere. Perhaps I’m due for an afternoon spent wandering the aisles and exploring the shelves—a true simple pleasure.

If you haven’t been to the library recently, why not pay it a visit?

Do you have any favorite memories of libraries?

Look for my travel writing here