Friday, February 7, 2020


A somewhat unrelated photo taken while farmsitting.
I don't have many Avalon-related things to write about. I don't see her nearly as often as I'd like. I need to spend time on school and work, and even when I have time . . . it's darn cold out there!
That doesn't mean that I don't have things to write about.

First, on a horsey note, I am taking another riding class this semester. Not the class I had my heart set on (colt starting), but I am open to every opportunity to learn about and ride horses. This class will be english, and focused on jumping. We got to choose which schoolie we wanted to be assigned to for a few weeks. I asked for Polly, my favorite schoolie. She is a ex reining show horse trained by one of the instructors on campus. I love her because she is forward and (if you know which buttons to push) very well trained. Unfortunately, she is almost three-legged lame. I hope that doesn't mean she will have to be euthanized. Seems like such an unfair end to a life full of hard work. I wish I had the cash to buy horses like that and put them out to pasture for the rest of their comfortable lives. Since she can't be ridden, I was reassigned to (can you guess?) . . .  a grey Arabian. I laughed when they told me.
Some wild cucumber for your enjoyment. Wisconsin winter is cold, but it is beautiful!
I'm only a few days into the semester, but I'm settling into a rhythm. This semester feels different. The classes feel easier, the work seems less stressful, I feel less busy. I know that the classes and work load are the same as they have always been. The change is in me. My process-based practice in consistency and thankfulness is started to seep into all the areas of my life. I'm making similar choices and mistakes, but my mindset about those successes and "failures" has completely changed.

For example, I have struggled with anxiety during horse related activities for many years. I used to be afraid of horses, and when I overcame that, I developed a habit of becoming anxious around horses - even if the anxiety wasn't directly related. I often found myself irrationally afraid that I would not be able to find the right horse in the pasture and/or bring the wrong horse in to the arena. On the second day of class, I fumbled around for fifteenish minutes searching for that grey Arabian. I could feel my anxiety building, but I caught myself attaching a narrative to my struggle. By listening to myself and hearing the story I was building, I was able to redirect my thoughts to a realistic, constructive narrative.

Anxious narrative: There is something wrong with me. I can't find this horse, so I must be a bad equestrian. Everyone thinks they are better than me. I'm a failure. This is going to happen every day we have class. I always do this. Why am I like this? 

Constructive narrative: I am having a hard time finding my horse today. It doesn't matter what anyone thinks, including myself. I am feeling anxious and negative, but I won't allow myself to feel ashamed. This doesn't say anything about my riding ability or worth as a human being. This is a challenge I can overcome, an opportunity to improve in the future. 

Another change in my mindset became apparent in my Learning an Motivation class. I take notes on paper (or my rocketbook which I might explain in the near future). Many professors don't allow computers and often I find myself surfing the web (or blogging) during class when I have my laptop open. However, my Learning and Motivation professor allows laptops and posts a study guide online with every powerpoint. On the second day of class, I was sitting, taking notes in my notebook when I had a little conversation with myself.

It would probably be easier to fill out the study guide on my computer as she lectures. 
Great idea! I should bring my laptop to school.
Actually, I have it in my bag now. 
But I've always used my notebooks.
I would probably complete the study guide - unlikely last semester when I didn't turn a single study guide in.
But class is half over. It would look awkward if I got my laptop out now. 

Then I remember a statement I learned from Sam Laura Brown and Aileen from Lavendaire:
Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.

And I got my laptop out.

I love the way my classes interweave with each other this semester. I'm taking health psychology, where I am required to make a plan to change one health-related behavior. Immediately after that class, I have behavior modification, which is a class on ABA. I also have to form a plan to change one of my behaviors for this class. Later that day I am taking Learning and Motivation. This class is all about motivating changes in behaviors and behavior-based learning in humans. However, many of the studies are done on animals - which ties into my first class the next day: Companion Animals. This class is all about being a responsible pet owner. Training and motivation and behavior are key subjects in this class as well as my horse riding class. In senior seminar, my group is presenting on mainstreaming in classrooms (separating developmentally or socially challenged students from their peers), which is closely tied into those themes of learning, motivation, and behavior. 

This is a terrible photo, so you'll have to take my word for it . . . that is a robin.
On a completely random note, something very strange has been happening in my region. I live in western Wisconsin, where the first sign of spring is the appearance of robins. Usually they can be spotted in April or May. If you're lucky, there might be one or two in March. However, this January I have spotted robins on three different occasions. There are six living in the trees across the street from my house. The picture above was taken of a robin on campus. I spotted it out of the window as I typed this post. I've never seen robins around this time of year before. 


  1. Your classes sound really interesting. Here in Nova Scotia there are always a few robins that overwinter here. So that may be what you’re seeing.

    1. Part of me wonders if they've always been around and I never saw them because I wasn't looking for them. They seem to hide away until the odd 30 degree (Fahrenheit) day.

  2. I love when classes work together, then you are able to bring concepts from one class into another!

    1. Me too! I feel like it makes my studying workload easier because studying for one class is also studying for another.

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