I’m always a bit too slow (read: distractible) to do proper year end round ups, and I’ve been dragging my feet more so than usual for this rabid wolverine on shrooms year. But I’m stealing this from Starlight Lane Farm’s blog, someone I’ve been following and appreciating for years.
What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2020?
Personal: Growing as wide as a bus for baby Ragnar, and seeing the delight, happiness, and new parent confusion in his dad’s eyes. They still send me regular photos and updates (five months already, wowza!) from Minnesota. Being a surrogate was a bit of a wild ride, straining in some ways, but fully delightful and a perfect new light in contrast to the rest of this year.
Horses: Although it’s now bittersweet, riding down the beach on Flash with Cyrus trotting along behind on a cold, sunny winter’s day was the pinnacle of the entire year. I’ll be chasing that high through building a solid partnership with my new mare Tarma and searching for a new dog (possibly a puppy?) throughout 2021.
What’s the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?
Personal: Our litany of losses this year is long and disheartening, and had nothing to do with the pandemic. We lost my Grandma Marcia and our giant white cat Wilson in the spring, Flash in the fall and Cyrus, the Best Damn Dog, in the winter. To loose all of our animals in one year pushed us all almost beyond bearing, and it’s a struggle everyday without Cyrus by our sides, begging for BBQ from Tom, snuggling with Kade and seizing every adventure with me.
Horses: Loosing Flash so quickly and unexpectedly was a huge shock, not just in loosing him but it how it made me question myself and my ability to be a good horse owner. The second guessing was horrible and took weeks to shake. The outpouring of love and empathy from the solid, wonderful group of horse people I’ve been able to build gave me the confidence to try again with Tarma, and I’ll be forever grateful for every message of support and understanding.
What was your biggest purchase in 2020?
Personal: Through a stroke of mixed luck and perfect timing, we were able to have a brand new HVAC system installed for the house right before the hottest week of the year when I was still pregnant and overheated. To be able to sit my giant butt and peck at my work laptop in comfort was fantastic in every way. I also have to give a shout out to the 10 foot butcher block desk in our home office that my husband whipped together during the first quarantine, allowing me to work from home and guide Kade through sudden remote schooling in beautiful, organized luxury.
Horses: Buying Tarma was only possible because my husband is an overtime fiend, and also so much better at actually saving money than I am. We needed something to focus on after loosing so much this year, and bringing her along and caring for her is a wonderful distraction. Welcome to the family, pretty lady!
What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?
Personal: Considering I support the EHS group at work, guess whose group bore the brunt of the responsibility and pandemic related fallout? Juggling our day jobs and the company response has been an immense challenge, and just lately my boss has tapped me to create a new office to help ease some of the burden on the rest of my team. It’s still ongoing, but just being trusted enough by my boss to be tossed into the ring is a huge boost right when I needed the work to bury myself in.
Horses: Just being able to grieve and let myself try again with a new horse is the best I’ve done this year. Between pregnancy, pandemic and wildfires Flash and I were pretty much stuck at home or grounded, and I haven’t even ridden Tarma at home yet between saddle fit, fixing her feet and the constant downpours.
What do you feel COVID robbed you of in 2020?
Personal: Honestly the worst of it was loosing Kade’s soccer. He loves everything soccer and was starting to develop into a really good player, but all that has totally stalled and whenever it’s able to resume, he’ll have lost over a year. So has everyone else, but it was his best outlet for dealing with life in general. Being able to travel to Canada, which we usually do around the holidays, was also a blow.
Horses: It was mostly other things that kept us from doing All The Things with Flash this year, as horse camping and trail riding was more or less still possible with some creativity and precautions.
Were you subject to any impulse buys in 2020?
Personal: My husband and I have discovered the most excellent Duluth clothing (most especially, their underwear, which we gifted to all our friends, not awkward at all I swear). We’ve done two large stock up trips and honestly, between Duluth, Kerritts and some cool t-shirts, I’m never wearing anything else. Seriously, try the underwear. And the pants! Women’s pants, quality made but tough enough to withstand barn life and makes my still unfit, post pregnancy butt look fantastic. With all the pockets! We also finally broke down and purchased a new couch on Labor Day (delivered almost three months later due to the pandemic and wildfires but it’s been amazeballs!)
Horses: If you’re reading this Husband, everything I buy for the horse is carefully thought out and 100% required.
For everyone else…I did purchase a beautiful blue ear bonnet for Flash, who frankly totally hated it in every way and wore it a grand total of twice. I haven’t yet shown it to Tarma, but pretty sure it won’t fit her anyway, as she’s literally two feet shorter than he was and has a petite, refined head. Not that his wasn’t beautiful, it was just much larger. I can feel my best friend glaring at me now so I’ll stop writing….
Unexpected silver linings in 2020?
Personal: A bit terrible and probably privileged to say, but being home and soaking up every additional minute with Cyrus was a benefit. It doesn’t make loosing him any easier, but we definitely got a lot more time to enjoy with him. The camping trip Cyrus, Kade and I took to explore some quieter corners of Oregon was also a delight, and the milkshake in Fields is the best in the state!
Horses: As wrenching and horrible as it was loosing Flash as we did, finding Tarma and envisioning hopefully the next few decades with her is a brighter point. Flash was 19 and although perfectly healthy from the outside, my time with him was going to be limited. Tarma’s only around 6 or 7 (vet’s best guess), so barring horses being horses, I can at least hope for the next two decades of exploring the backcountry with her.