Friday there was a big barrel-racing competition in Corona that Julie and four of her friends were riding in, and Julie invited me along to cheer them on. It was a nighttime event in a lighted arena to spare the horses from having to compete in the heat of the day, and I knew I’d be home really late, so the kids spent the night with Steve.
Julie brought a green horse she’s training and rode for “time only,” meaning that she didn’t pay the full entry fee and wasn’t eligible to take home any prize money.
This was an end-of-the-season event, which meant that the riders were not only competing for day money but also tallying the points they’d won over the spring and summer in hopes of taking home one of the prize saddles. Julie’s friend Shannon was already in the top of the points, and Friday she scored day money for her ride AND the saddle for the points she’d accumulated.
It was a fun night. I got home about 2:30 Saturday morning, and I would have loved to sleep in late. I didn’t get to though, because I had a calf to brand at Trinity that morning.
One of my cows (Steve and I split the herd when we separated) had calved after our spring roundup, and it needed to be branded. I asked Steve if I should handle that with some of my friends, but he said no, he’d come and help. In all honesty I was glad to have him there, because he’s bigger and stronger and more experienced than anyone I could have rustled up to help me. I still invited Julie, and she brought Josh’s two strapping teenage sons to lend a hand. And Steve OF COURSE brought his parents, because he is apparently unable to function without them.
Anyway, it all went smoothly. Turned out one of Steve’s cows had a new calf too, a little bull, so we branded mine and castrated his at the same time and had the whole thing wrapped up in less than an hour. I wish I’d gotten pictures, but my sleep-deprived self forgot my camera.
Sunday morning the kids and I went to church. Those of you who know me well are rereading that sentence, wondering if it’s a typo, because me and organized religion have never really gotten along very well. The one time I’d tried a local Anza church a few years back, it only reinforced my impression that home worshipping is, for me, the way to go.
So here’s how it happened: when school started up this year I volunteered to help out with an upcoming fundraiser. This led to having a very nice lady named Michelle invite me to join a walking group she was putting together. That led to meeting a bunch of other very nice ladies that I go walking with in the mornings now, and also to a recommendation that I try out a local nondenominational church with a great pastor.
So to church we went, and I did indeed enjoy it (and so did the kids, who got to make tie-dyed tee-shirts in the Sunday School part), and we’ll be going back next Sunday.
Sunday evening we had a dinner party. Not as fancy as the term might suggest, but fancy enough for us. It was a couple of weeks ago that Luke first said that he wanted to have a dinner party on Sunday. I kind of brushed him off, saying that dinner parties are expensive and the house was a mess and blah blah. A few days later he brought it up again, and I told him that the last thing I needed right now was a bunch of people in our house. This time he clarified that he didn’t mean for me to invite people over. He just wanted the three of us to have a fancy Sunday dinner together. I have no idea what inspired this request, but I told him that yes, that sounded like fun and we should do that sometime, and then I instantly forgot all about it. So when the next Sunday rolled around and Luke asked if we could have our dinner party, I had absolutely nothing on hand to serve that was worthy of such a grand event.
But THIS Sunday I was PREPARED. When we got back from church I sent the kids to go visit Steve, and then I got busy roasting a chicken, making mashed potatoes and gravy, baking biscuits, and chilling sliced cherry tomatoes and zucchini in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I got out the good dishes and some candles, and when the kids got back we had a perfectly lovely dinner party, just the three of us.
It was so nice that we’ve decided to make a Sunday tradition of it.
Today Julie came over with her truck and helped me get rid of the last of the trash, the big stuff that never would have fit in my car. So that’s DONE!! Whoot!
And because no Ramblings post would be complete without a bit of navel-gazing, I’ll share a minor epiphany I had this week.
I think I like being single.
I don’t mean that I’m glad Steve and his issues are out of my life, because duh, obviously.
I mean that I’ve begun to genuinely enjoy my life just the way it is. I like the freedom and the simplicity. I like the lack of drama, and the quiet sense of unity, and the cleanness of it. After 39 years of shaping my life around the expectations and demands of other people, I’m discovering an unexpected peace and joy in simply tending to my own spirit for a change. That sounds horribly selfish, but I can’t help it. It’s where I’m at right now.
And that was my weekend, and the rest of my week is even busier. Sadly, my immediate future is mostly full of oil changes and smog checks and doctor’s appointments and school meetings and similarly unblogworthy events, so if there’s a long dry spell that’s why. I’ll be back when things slow down a bit!