Frustration and a funk…continued

It has been almost two weeks since my last post. I am still in a funk. I am still frustrated. Whether it is at work, at home, or talking to the kids, this blasé feeling continues.

I find myself thinking a lot about it. Why am I frustrated? What is causing my funk? It could be caused by a great many things in my life. I look around at the insanity that there is in the country, in the world. I look inward and wonder about my own sanity. What is it?

Sometimes writing helps, but the fog bank that covers my mind is fairly significant. Writing reports at work is long stretches of sitting at the computer staring at the monitor. I try talking to my kids, to my coworkers, my friends. I cannot put my finger on the problem. What is the problem? Should I be concerned?

I remember one morning about seven years ago feeling like this for quite sometime. Going through some heavy things, divorce and all of that. I was pissed. I was getting screwed. I was confused. What did I do wrong? Long sleepless nights. Well that one day, I think I got up and thought I would go to work early…too early. Could not sleep. Drove to my office and thought this was all bullshit! Turned the car around and went for a drive. Drove from Los Alamos to Telluride. That is over 300 miles on some fairly scenic roads. Driving the back roads of Colorado, snow on the peaks, green forests. Managed to get to the New Sheridan Hotel in time for lunch. It was a beautiful day.

Walked in to the bar and ordered a beer. That was it. Had a cold beer.

Finished the beer and walked out of the hotel. It wasn’t even a fancy beer. But it was cold and quenched my thirst. I was relaxed. The first time in a long time. It was a beautiful day. Took a deep breath, got back in the car and drove home. Forgot about everything that was bothering me. They say that driving can do that. Not sure if it was the serenity of the countryside, the carefree attitude of just blowing off work, the stress in my life, the fresh air. I love Telluride and wish that I could live there all year round.

Anyway, I returned to my reality and realized that I blew off work, blew off picking up the kids, blew off the world around me. All of those stressors suddenly came back. People were out looking for me. My phone had literally hundreds of text messages. I had turned the damn thing off before the trip. The police were out looking for me. I didn’t call into work so there was the whole fitness for duty matter. I was relaxed and at peace. I did nothing wrong, was in complete control of my faculties. I felt great. I actually chuckled at the whole thing. The first really humorous thing that made me laugh in a long while.

Yes people were concerned. But I felt great.

Maybe it is time to take another road trip.

Road Trip…days 3 and 4

Two very long and tiring days so I am combining them in today’s post. As I write this, today is Monday July 8th. I have taken the day as vacation, knowing that we would be very late in getting back. I know I got to bed sometime after 1 am this morning.

To add insult to injury, I got up about 6:30 am. Wide awake, I went and fed the horse. A horse that I think is happy to be home.

To recap the weekend. Daughter unfortunately fell off her horse during show jumping. This eliminated her from the competition after a reasonable dressage score. Her weekend of eventing was over. So much in preparation comes to an end in the matter of moments.

The photo above is of daughter warming up in dressage. She then went in and scored well for her forth try at this level of competition. Typical issues are documented in the judges scoring sheet; needing to be fluid and bend more with the horse. We were pleased with her showing.

Show jumping was later in the day. Her practice jumps in the warm up area were great, but there was a long pause between warm up and her ride. She was able to start and cleared the first jump but lost balance on the approach to the second jump. Enough said.

Cross country was yesterday (Sunday). Had she competed, it would have been very late in the day (later than it was). The course was very tough, poor footing in a few places and many refusals at the jumps for many riders. Several riders fell during their rides. In fact, daughter’s trainer who was also competing, fell during a jump in the middle of the course. After she was checked out at the urgent care (concussion), we packed up and headed home.

But the sky was still blue.

The ride home was equally troubling. Motorcycle accident in Arizona; slow traffic due to road construction in New Mexico. It was a long day. We switched trailers at Goose Downs around 11 pm and managed to get Ruby unloaded about 12:45 am this morning back in her own paddock.

I find myself writing this post at about 8 am Monday morning. I am very tired and need to get some more sleep. As it is, I never sleep well on travel in hotels. Not that I sleep well at home, averaging 4 to 6 hours on a normal day.

Long weekend with the kids. Great time had by all.

RoadTrip…day 2

The first full day in Flagstaff. We dropped daughter and mother off where the horse has been put up for the weekend. Son and I then embarked on a 90 minute detour north to check out one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Grand Canyon.

When son walked up to the edge, he looked out and said “amazing “. He stood there in silence for a several minutes, admiring the natural beauty and sheer size of it. It was not what he expected.

We walked around the canyon rim for about an hour. Checked out two gift shops, and then hopped back in the car to return to Flagstaff. Today was the teaching portion of Coconino. It’s where the contestants get to pay to practice dressage, show jumping, and get the opportunity to walk the cross country course.

We got back in time for daughter to bath the horse. As you can see, daughter is telling stories to the other riders who are there washing their horses as well. I wonder what drives som many little girls to ride horses. There are literally a hundred plus competitors here. I only say maybe three male competitors.

After bathing Ruby, it was time to dry the horse and hope that she stays clean until tomorrow.

For daughter, it’s quiet time to get mentally prepared for the competition. After getting the horses tucked into their stalls for the evening, fed, and general getting ready, there was a stable social hour. I was admiring the truck and trailer rig that sponsor had. A heavy duty Ford 350 and a trailer that could hold four horses and a complete camper. Impressive. First class. Then for us it was back to the hotel, dinner and an early bed. Until tomorrow.

Road Trip

Instead of spending the 4th of July at a picnic, watching a parade, or going out to hear music and watch fireworks, I spent the day in the car. As a family, we drove to Flagstaff Arizona for a weekend horse competition for Daughter. My 4th of July hotdog was from a truck stop on I40 heading west. Ketchup but sadly, no onions. The Coconino Horse Trials are held every year about this time. The competition starts on Friday with classes and practice and the competition is Saturday and Sunday. We already know that it will be a long day because her cross country ride is not until 3:23 Sunday afternoon. Then pack up the horse and a 7 hour car ride. Stopping at Goose Downs to change trailers puts us into Los Alamos about 3 am.

For son and I, it is kinda like a family vacation. Of course I’d like to see her compete but my weekend will be spent entertaining him. And since this post is entitled Road Trip, I took a number of obligatory photos on the ride to catalogue this adventure.

Your author, as we pull out of Los Alamos at 7 am. First stop is to Goose Downs to trade trailers and get the other horse for the trip. Of course, we have to entertain son, so it is a must to have WiFi for the trip.

Pit stop at Goose Downs to unload Ruby while we transfer the gear to a larger trailer and load two horses for the long trip west.

Leaving Santa Fe on I25 after Goose Downs. Next stop will be outside Grants for gas along I40. Stops are short, long enough to get a bathroom break.

Eventually we cross into Arizona. I40 often parallels Route 66. So a little nostalgia runs through my mind. The best part of the trip is several hours into Arizona…

Sadly there is no time to stop and check out it the corner, but we played the song twice as we drove past.

Well I’m runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me two that wanna
stone me one says she’s a friend of mine
Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place make your stand
Take it easy
Well I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on baby
Don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win
Though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in
Take it easy
Alright

Yes we sang the great Eagles song, these lyrics courtesy of Google. Both son and daughter just looked at their parents in wonder. It will take awhile, but they need to learn traditions, or at least great music.

Finally Flagstaff and the Coconino Fair Grounds for unpacking and settling Ruby in for the evening. She is on a working vacation.

For the family, it is the hotel, dinner at a brewery and then back to the hotel for bed.

Rewriting History

I see lots of stories on FaceBook and elsewhere about renaming schools, getting rid of statues and memorials about Civil War Generals and events. For those who may forget, July 1 is the first day of the bloodiest battle in American history. July 1, 1863 marked the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg. One Hundred and Fifty Six days ago the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac met in the small community in south central Pennsylvania. After three days, there were a total of 51,112 casualties (dead, wounded, and missing from both sides).

Books, movies, a PBS series by Ken Burns, all cover the subject from different points of view. In school back in Central Pennsylvania, a class field trip to Gettysburg was the norm. I think I went there at least twice. The trip would tour the key points of the battlefield: Big and Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, Pickett’s Charge, a number of the monuments and the Gettysburg Cyclorama.

Last summer, I drove through the town of Gettysburg after I took Madison back to Pennsylvania for a two week riding camp. I had my son with me and after a short vacation for him at HersheyPark, I place I worked at during several summers in college, we drove to and through the town of Gettysburg. It has really changed over the 40 years that I was last there. He wasn’t too excited about the park, the cannons, or the history. I tried to trace part of Lee’s travels to Gettysburg, and then his retreat after the battle in our rental car. I really enjoy visiting such places. We were making our way back to the airport in Baltimore to return to New Mexico, so it was my way of trying to have an educational trip as part of the mini vacation. Not interesting to a 10 year old.

Yes, a long way to the airport. However, it was quality time with son. Of course, as he is in 5th grade, the only thing he knows about the Civil War, aside from the fact that it was a war between the North and the South, and that the slaves were freed, Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, and the Battle of Glorietta Pass. Yes, there was a Civil War battle fought just east of Santa Fe in March of 1862. Today, parts of the battlefield are part of the Pecos National Historical Park. There are a couple of monuments and signs, but no cannons or cemetery, or things like you find in Gettysburg. You can get a gate code and a map to unlock a gate at the Pecos National Historical Park Visitors Center. This allows you to hike the Glorietta Pass Battlefield trail.

I loved learning history in high school and in college. Sadly, what I see today is lots of people trying to rewrite history, or trying to change things so that we forget it, or to feel like we must understand the feelings of others. We rewrite the textbooks, often without much change in the historical truths. As Orwell pointed out, history can be and often is rewritten to suit the needs of the present. Some say that we rewrite history because the prevailing opinions of the period have changed. I should not be surprised that we also need to rewrite or recreate or reimagine that places where the history was actually made.

Today we rename the elementary school from Robert E Lee Elementary to another Lee who may or may not have contributed anything. We remove statues because a group of people think that they are evil, or that we need to forget the past. To this I say bunk. Robert E Lee was an American general who fought for what he believed in (state’s rights). Arlington National Cemetery now stands on his former homestead. Yes slavery was wrong. We fought a war to end it; and to properly define elements of the rights of the state and the rights of the federal government. We need to understand history so that we do not forget the sins of the past. To forget history is to rewrite history. The fact that we had to fight a war is enough to understand that humanity suffers because of it. That alone should be enough of a reason to not rewrite history. We are seeing failings of remembering the past unfold today in many areas of our political spectrum.