Tag Archives: horse therapy

Groggy Bye-Bye to 2015

I’ve been wanting to write an appropriate post for the end of 2015. Nothing has come to me. Partly due to the fact of being in the throes of a big cold/flu episode. Partly due to the fact of just not being able to face the blank page. I keep trying to get something written to post before this self-important/imposed deadline, but most of what is started is blithery and blathery…yet the urge is insistent: tie up loose ends!

Where to start? Continue reading

A Walk in the Swamp with Joe

Over these past three years of Thanksgivings, a tradition of sorts has evolved.  It seems our son Joe’s holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. Each Thanksgiving since landing here in South Carolina after our between homes journey, he has flown in to join us at the family feasting table. This fourth year was no different. He spent 10 days with us, kind of a combination re-group after his 2.5 month vacay in the DR and holiday time with the fam. This year we three took our walk in the Swamp the Saturday after Thanksgiving as usual only at a new-to-us spot: Woods Hole. To date, that is hands down our fav Swamp-place. But this post is about last year’s Swamp walk…

The Saturday after Thanksgiving 2014, I took a walk in the swamp with my son.

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)

Turns out, he has become more of a walker since his youthful accident a few years back which requires him to keep his ankle supple and stretched.  Because my hubby was in the throes of knee problems, we took our walk without him.  It made for a long-overdue Mother-Son time together.  Yes, we communicate via texting, phoning and e-mailing, but there’s nothing like actually spending physical time with those you are in relationship with.  There may not be much spoken, but just the living, breathing and, in this case, walking presence of another produces a deep communication that can only be transmitted in such a manner.

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)

Getting into each other’s head and space, without pretense is very freeing.  It also helps me to sort through stuff.

That November, I was blessed to be able to focus on my Musical Non-fiction project, via my Nano Rebellion. It progressed nicely and I was pleased with my output as well as organization of said output.  It also served to re-connect me with myself.  A self that has by circumstances of ‘place’ not been easily allowed to come out and play.

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees

The Monday following our Swamp walk I took Joe with me to be a part of my regular Wounded Warrior Horse Therapy volunteer time. I was excited to show him off to the gang as most of those there have family nearby 24/7 – warriors, therapists and volunteers alike. He got along with most everyone as he always seems to do wherever he goes, especially with Jason.  Funny, that, since they remind me of each other. Joe’s interest in the horses wasn’t all that much, but he did like seeing his Ma doing her horse thing anyway.

What happened there was something I didn’t expect. Doing what he always does, talk music with me comparing notes on gigging and crazy audiences; drawing others into our conversation cuz you know, everyone loves music. Between talking up his own bands and the Denver music scene, somehow it came out about my being a working musician, my dad being a pro-jazzman and that that was how he was brought up – surrounded by rehearsing musicians, learning to help set up gear for Ma’s gigs/concerts… No one there knew of my status as a musician prior to moving to South Carolina. I was just one of the horse handlers.  Mostly due to the fact it wasn’t something relevant to horse handling chores or in bonding with the warriors.  And also due in part to my own healing process related to the last months of our between homes experience…But that day, that ordinary Monday during horse handling chores and bonding with the warriors around the picnic table after therapy sessions, my son bridged the real me with the current me.

Lion King Quote

Remember Who You Are – Lion King

The Last 10,000 Miles

Anticipation:

Around this time last year, I noticed the odometer on our 2003 Toyota Camry read a little over 290,000 miles. And I remember thinking, “Wow, almost 300,000!”  Okay, that’s an obvious, yet  normal reaction.  Along with it came a heightened sense of wonder each time the car was driven.  Would today be the day it’d get to 300,000?

We do a lot of driving.  We figured it’d get to 300,000 in no time.  Feelings of tingly anticipation for the imminent occurrence of the momentous event were close to the surface of our emotions. And yet, those 10,000 miles seem to have taken longer to accrue than ever.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville. Impressive.

Son-in-law David mixing up a mini-margarita for his mother-in-law (me) during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014). Impressive.

Michelle and the Smokin Thighs food truck, Nashville

Kicking around town with Michelle during our visit to Nashville (Summer 2014)

Even after our trips to Atlanta, Nashville, and crosscountry to our roots in Colorado and back, that odometer just didn’t seem to budge. Soon, we left our vigil, but not our curiosity of when it would occur.

 

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Bro, Dad and me during our visit home to Colorado (Fall 2014)

Everyday mileage:

While driving back and forth to work, daily errands and events, along with weekly commutes to exits 131 (Wounded Warriors horse therapy) and 98 (Camden Writers critique group), the miles just kind of tagged along and tallied up slowly but surely.

Laura Bruno Lilly and Dennis Bruno (Orlando 2014)

Me, my cousin Dennis and Wizard Mickey (October 2014)

Thrown in for good measure was a trip to Orlando, Florida with cousins Chris and Dennis which added some mileage as well.  Oops, they drove, so those miles don’t count.

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Terry and Michelle at Lynches River/Swamp (October 2014)

Visits from the kiddos meant excursions to the Lynches River/Swamp, Pawley’s Island and even a trek to the stables.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle.

Joe visiting the stables with me and Belle (November 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darn, but that odometer stubbornly hovered slightly above the 295,000 mark.  Not much closer to the big 300K.

Startled into alertness:

It wasn’t until I drove to Camden one fine morning in April for Brenda’s celebratory luncheon that I happened to glance at the odometer. It’s 298plusK didn’t quite register, until my math-mind insisted upon doing the numerical calculation.  Something clicked – we were a mere 1500 miles from the elusive 300,000 milestone. Again with the “Wow, almost 300,000.”  Note the fact that there is no exclamation point.  Aside from the fact that the Camden writers routinely point out they should be used sparingly if at all, it also reflects the fact that I was more keenly aware the big event wasn’t as imminent as it looked numerically.

“Almost” is still not enough:

Shortly thereafter, the car ‘got a new pair of shoes’ as hubby says.  Woefully in need of new tires, we splurged and got a great deal on a set of Michelin’s complete with a 90,000 mile warranty.  This baby was gonna get closer to 400K in no time…Ahem. Let’s just get to 300K, ‘k?

Anxious to break in those ‘new shoes,’  hubby got out the map and plotted a spontaneous day trip to St. Augustine, Florida.

Lighthouse St. Augustine, FL

Lighthouse St. Augustine, Florida (May 2015)

We thought for sure that adventure would tip us over the 300K mark.  It did not.  The following weekend was Mother’s Day.  I wore my new top purchased at a little boutique in the historic district of St. Augustine.  Surrounded by cards, gifts, phone calls of love and a doting husband, my day was made even more special by the prospect of the turning of that darn odometer.

Laura Bruno Lilly Mother's Day 2015

I am loved…Mother’s Day 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s the day:

Well, we almost blew it.  Last night after filling up the car with the old guzzleline (gasoline) master mind hubby looked down on the odometer.  “What are you planning on doing tomorrow?  There’s only 34 miles left to go.”

Nursing this puppy to greet 300K with both of us in attendance was top priority so I stayed home doing this blog post along with music related items on my Swimming with Swans project.

299,999 miles 2003 Toyota Camry

Before…

After work, Terry picked me up and away we went to countdown the final 8 miles left after a day of frugal driving.

Mileage300k

…After

 

 

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Terry and our 2003 Toyota Camry, where it reached 300K

Laura and Terry sitting on the bumper of the car

Happiness is… journeying together for another 300K

 

Inspiration during a simple Convalescence

Okay.  So I’m laid up a bit from a pesky back muscle spasm. In my mature wisdom, I know it is nothing as incapacitating as what many of my favorite Wounded Warriors have had to endure in a life less than half the length of my own.  But, when one is on a roll with a project that has been working its way to the top of the slush pile of my creative mind, the intrusion of this mini-disability is an aggravation.

In keeping with a term I earned back during my horse rescue days, I choose to ‘Cowgirl Up.’

Yep, being (he)artistic and horsey walk hand in hand in this lady’s life.

I confess to times of grumpiness, but mostly I’ve been reading lots, listening lots and vegging lots.  Never one to run from the creative crock pot of silence, the waiting is invigorating, but the physical stillness is my undoing!

Here then is a sampling of stuff I love, especially when I can’t position myself on my own practice stool and work on my own music.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Ecco là – Coffee Beans – è Finito!

Thought I’d spice this up a bit with some of my good ole Italian…besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, so if there’s any question of what that title means, just take a gander at this:

Coffee Beans Means Love to Me, back & quilt label

Partial view of quilt back with label signed and dated

Yep, Coffee Beans Means Love to Me is no longer a WIP, but a completed project.

Last seen on the table ready to be basted a few posts ago, I experimented with using large quilter safety pins.  In general, I liked the way they held the 3-layered sandwich together while I machine quilted.  However, the holes they left in the fabric after being removed left me wondering why I didn’t just do it the way I’ve always done it.

Basting together pieces of (he)art

Basting together pieces of (he)art*

Live and learn.

Perfectionist that I am, I feared I’d wrecked the whole thing.  Then I remembered: part of our between homes experience was embracing the ‘strange life path’ He had for us.  So what’s a few microscopic pin pricks?

Still living.  Still learning.

 

Finishing Coffee Beans has been freeing.  A sort-of final transition stage where our between homes past has been pieced together into something beautiful to be seen in the ‘now’ as a reminder while we proceed into the ‘next’…

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

The road between homes has ended for now, but the creative journey has not.

*creative confluence: Coffee Beans Means Love to Me (2014), my NaNo Novel, ‘The Woman Who Didn’t Belong’ (2013), my hand scored original arrangement of ‘Mo Giolla Mear’ written while I was ‘Swimming with Swans’ in IN (2010), favorite guitar strings and an old photo of me with an anonymous horse in Montana during Spring Break (circa 1977).

 

Meanwhile, back at the barn…

Barn buddies: Joanne & Skipper & Me

Barn buddies: Joanne & Skipper & Me

I figured you guys needed a horse photo fix, so here’s one of us taken the end of May just minutes before tacking up the horses for the 2nd Annual Bethlehem Therapeutic Riding Stables Horse Show.  My, don’t we look fresh and perky?  It’s a far cry from how we all look and feel now during the dog days of this endless South Carolina summer.

I love doing horse therapy.  Today I spent another Southern morning amongst sweaty horses and humans.  All of us out and about focused on the task at hand.  Humans enabling horses to enable Wounded Warriors who in turn enable us all to thank God for this gift of life.  Truly, it is a privilege to be part of such a place.

I came home after four and a half hours of such enabling, drenched.  Soaked to the bone with non-secretive sweat patches emerging over 90% of my clothing.  Not quite a wet T-shirt display, but daringly close to one! Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part two)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

What better way to ease into another set of 2013 Reflections than with luscious references to food?

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

This past year, I resumed my life as a ‘good cooker.’  This family badge of honor, proudly reactivated now that I have a kitchen at my disposal, has provided nourishment to both body and soul.

~ 4/13  The unfolding of my ‘horse gentler’ skills learned during our time of horse rescue being placed within a new context of use.  While making a final pilgrimage to visit Terry’s Mother in Dallas (just a week before she passed away) our ‘nephew’ Jeremy helped with a fundraiser for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ project in nearby Rocky Top Ranch.  Himself a Wounded Warrior, he opened my eyes to this realm of horse therapy for returning veterans and their families.

Shortly thereafter, to my delight, I discovered a local established horse therapy group beginning to implement a Wounded Warriors component into their program offerings.  I immediately contacted them and not only signed on as an active volunteer, but got in on the ground floor as part of the initial group starting the WW program.  In addition, I work regularly with the other students.  While my primary role is in enabling the horse(s) to be their very best while in use during therapy, I enjoy the blessings of working with the various students and their families, other volunteers sharing my passion, the therapists and owners of the stable…

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I'm wearing orange)

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I’m wearing orange)

We all worked hard to put on the First Annual Bethlehem Therapy Horse Show this past November.

Matt's victory salute after his horse show debut

Matt’s victory salute after his horse show debut

 

Really, really cool.

 

 

~  The many loved ones who passed on this year.  Continue reading

NaNo Prep (or getting it together before the Big Event)

Call me crazy, but I’m actually enjoying NaNo Prep this year.  Having one NaNo win under my belt, I’m feeling kinda cocky, I know.  But this year, in addition to doing some household planning and work schedule planning, I’ve done some exciting novel planning, as well as special events planning.  What’s that?  Special events planning?  How does one squeeze in special events during NaNoWriMo where all spare moments are focused on the mammoth task of pounding out 1667 words per day for 30 days?

For one thing, Thanksgiving, the major special event of November, comes at the end of the month and I’ve already determined I’d be done with my 50,000 words by then.  So that means I’m essentially doing NaNo based upon a 27 day month which tallies up to 1852 words per day.  If I get in at least 2000 words a day, I get two days free and clear for a sick day and a special event.

Knowing all of this ahead of time helps me.  And here’s where we get to something that’s been nagging at me since working on this website blog over the summer: I’ve let my inner geek out and she’s begun to take over my mindset!

Notice the emphasis on ‘doing the math’ in my NaNo Prep? Relegating a single day for illness or an unforeseen circumstance and another for a special event?  I know better and yet, my inner geek insists that’s the way to NaNo Prep Peace.  And, get this, for added security my inner geek got herself html text to put that sidebar widget you now see on my Blog Page.

This ‘live’ word count gizmo is directly connected to the NaNoWriMo site.  Not only is it cool looking, but it is a type of motivator for me to show off my word count each time it is entered on the NaNo site.  We Wrimos keep track of each other’s daily word counts, but out here in the infinite space of the internet on my website blog that has so many visitors (picture a wry grin on my face) well, it makes me vulnerable and more committed to producing impressive daily word counts!

Oh yes, and what exactly is that special event day going to be used for during the month of NaNo?

A horse show.  Continue reading