Farm Girl

Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Amazon betrayed me

Last Sunday was my oldest niece's confirmation. I couldn't be there, because I'm going to see her next month, and I'm not made of money. This is one of the (very few, in my opinion) downsides of living 10,000 km away from your family, but that's life. 

Being confirmed is a big deal in our small town. You have to attend regular classes for a year, write a test, and if you pass it, you get a fancy black outfit and become an adult. At least in the eyes of the church you do. We all know that in real life, giving 14-year-olds the power of adulthood is a frightening prospect. 
(There are times where I don't feel ready for the responsibilities of adulthood - just keep reading.)

For the kids, the best part is all the gifts they're getting. It's customary for friends and acquaintances to give a small(ish) gift, receiving a cake in return. It's a great way to liven up the long weeks before summer, when nothing much is happening in town and people are getting bored and restless. 
Since my niece is a third-generation local with parents and grandparents having a business in town, I expect she got a great haul. 

Maybe not as great as what I raked in 23 years ago:
Towels and candle holders were very popular that year. Please note that I also received several sets of cocktail glasses, 3 hair dryers, and a full set of silverware (45 pieces!) for my dowry. Yes, dowrys were a thing in 1994. Maybe they still are? I have no idea.  

Also, I don't want to deprive you of the glory that was me at 14 years old, allegedly an "adult":
The outfit, the hair, the uncomfortable smile, the bow tie (my mom made me wear it*, I didn't want to) - there are no words. The 90s were rough. All I can say is, thank god this was before the invention of social media.
*My mom definitely has a thing for dressing me in short shorts and skirts. What's that all about, mom? 

Please keep my personal history with gifts in mind for the following, embarrassing story. Remember the towels and embroidered hankies, okay?

I knew that the jewellery-portion of the big day was covered by my sister, a goldsmith by trade. She wouldn't give that responsibility to anyone else, which is fortunate, because none of us would choose the right thing in her critical eyes. It's tradition for the confirmand to receive a gold cross-necklace, and maybe a bracelet or ring, and my sister bought them for her.

To be completely honest, I didn't start thinking about what to get her until less than a week before the confirmation. I'm a terrible aunt! (That's one of the many reasons why I don't have kids.)
Being so far away, the only option I could think of was to resort to my trusted Amazon. I've used Amazon for birthday- and Christmas-gifts for my German family for years, because it's easy and convenient, the main shopping-requirements for me nowadays.

Clueless about what to give to a confirmand these days (I doubted that towels were still a thing), I searched 'confirmation presents' in the Amazon search box. Not one of my proudest moments, and definitely one of the points in my life where I felt decidedly un-grown-up.
You know what came up? Books! Also some candles and clever ideas to give money, but as soon as I saw the books, I didn't look any further.
I love books, and I believe one can never have too many.
I chose one for my niece with great care: It's partly a guide into grow-up life (I should have bought one for myself), partly photo album, and partly a place for friends and guests to write in congratulations and well wishes. I would have loved it. And it got 4.5 stars! And lots of great reviews! And it says right in the product description: "With this book, parents, relatives, god-parents and friends definitely have the right gift at hand for the confirmation."


Well, on Sunday night, my sister sent me a few photos of the day. It had been lovely, and she was still filled with joy and parental pride, giving me a pang that I missed it.

She also included this photo:

That's my niece, opening the gift her uncles gave her. You know what it is? A TV.
The tiny present next to it is my puny book.
I have never felt so humiliated. Did I get it wrong or what?

The only thing I can do to redeem myself is give her money, using one of the clever money-giving ideas I saw on Amazon. Except - on second thought, I don't think I can trust Amazon any more. It never told me that TVs are an appropriate confirmation-present now! I come from the towel- and glasses-generation, and it was Amazon's responsibility to inform me of the new ways.

Amazon betrayed me.

So did the photographer by not eliminating this photo right away:
Please note the embroidered hankie. My book doesn't look so bad now, does it?

Adulting may be hard, but being a teenager was infinitely worse!

xoxo Miriam


Saturday, 20 May 2017

A series of exploding pants

The first one happened about 2 weeks ago. I was doing morning chores, carrying half a bale of hay in my arms to feed the horses, mini cows, goats and sheep, when I suddenly felt it - a breeze. A breeze in a spot where there shouldn't be one - on my left butt cheek. Huh? How did the breeze manage to get past the layer of denim that ensconced my buttocks?
I put down the hay and reached to my backside. Where my fingers expected to encounter soft denim, they found instead warm, slightly squishy flesh. Damn, my pants ripped! I quickly finished the morning feed before hurrying back inside the house to inspect the damage.

Do you remember Kylie Jenner's butt jeans? I now owned a pair, and I didn't even have to pay an exorbitant amount of money for it! While my rip was not below the butt cheek like on hers, but went down vertically just left of the seam, I figured a ripped butt is a ripped butt. Tomatoes, tomah-toes, right? 
I briefly wondered if I should continue wearing them as a fashion statement, but knew in the end that I wasn't brave enough. Off into the garbage they went.

All the while, I tried very hard not to think of the reason why they ripped in the first place. 'They were old,' I assured myself. 'Old and cheap, and I've washed them approximately one gazillion times. That's the reason, and nothing else.'

I suspected that this may not be the only reason, but in the name of preserving my self esteem, I figured a little white lie wouldn't hurt anyone. I happily went on living my life, and forgot all about the ripped pants.

Until it happened again
A week later, another ancient pair of pants ripped. They were Old Navy corduroy pants, at least 10 years old. I had worn and washed them so much that the corduroy part had worn off in many places, making them soft, infinitely comfy - and apparently quite fragile.
Different pants, same rip - a coincidence? Or a pattern? Once again, it was an old pair. It had worn thin in many places. But still - the fabric was just as thin in the front. It could have ripped around the knees, or on the thighs - but no, it was the butt. Again on the left cheek. What was that cheek up to? It needed a sharp eye on it to prevent further mischief, but nature and anatomy prevented me from doing so. I was doomed to keep my back permanently turned on the cheek, hoping for the best. 

Alas, reality doesn't care about our hopes. A few days ago, I was about to visit a friend. Eager to use this as an opportunity to dress up a little, I decided to wear my bright-orange happy pants. I call them my happy pants because it's impossible to be in a bad mood when wearing them. They are summer in pants-form, representing everything that's great about summer: They are bright and sunny, and they make you want to break out in a spontaneous dance party while sipping a colourful cocktail. With an umbrella in it. 
Anyway, I put them on. They weren't exactly lose-fitting, but I told myself that it's because they were in the dryer. 'They will give in a little while,' I reassured myself. 
Aahh, the old dryer excuse. It's been a staple in my arsenal of self deceit since the late '90s.

Off I went, excited to see my friend, ignoring the tightness of the pants. I was filling up the gas tank in town when Rich called - he asked if I could turn around and come back, to pick up the billy goat we had borrowed from friends. I was coming by their house and could drop him off. Usually, a request like this would annoy me, or at least cause me to roll my eyes. But not that day! Thus is the power of the happy pants. I readily agreed, turned back and went home again. 
Thank god for that. 

Because, guess what? Yet another pair of pants had ripped, again in the same spot: Vertically down the left butt cheek. My happy pants had betrayed me. 
This time, I was fresh out of excuses: While the pants were several years old, they hadn't been worn or washed very often. There are only so many occasions that call for bright orange pants. 

I had to face the truth: My butt had gotten bigger. Or maybe just my left butt cheek? The jury is still out on that. 

While the old me would have been devastated, her day ruined, diet- and exercise-regimes planned, and lots of cursing and smack-talking been directed at her, the new me just shrugged. She could even laugh about it. 

I gained some weight, so what? Instead of berating myself, I went to the mall, and bought myself 3 new fabulous pairs of pants. A size bigger. At a department store, instead of my old teeny bopper haunts. 

And it was fine. 

Will this be the end of the series of exploding pants? Only time will tell. I keep you posted!

xoxo Miriam 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Yoga with goats - do you want to try?

I love yoga. It calms my mind, makes me feel strong, and has taught me that anything is possible
I also love living on a farm. It calms my mind, it's relaxing, and also hilarious.  
Combining the two is a match made in heaven. 
Ever since I started my practice, I've taken it outside whenever possible. 

Breathing in the fresh air, feeling the breeze in your hair, the sun on your skin, and watching a flock of ducks waddle past you while doing a downward facing dog is the most blissful experience in the world. 
Evidently, I'm not the only one who enjoys that. 

At the beginning of the year, a friend told us of a lady in Oregon offering something called goat yoga.
It's yoga classes that take place on her farm, with a herd of miniature goats hanging out with the yogis, climbing all over them, snuggling up and playing with them.
Right away, it became hugely popular. 

I'm not surprised. Miniature goats are mischievous little creatures, curious and funny and full of life. 
I mean, just look at them:

Amongst the many animals we have on our farm, we also have a few mini goats.  
Here is Matilda:

Matilda (right) and her son Sammy
  That was our first baby Garth, born 11 years ago
Stevie, Jimmy, and Henrietta
Sammy and Matilda wondering what the heck I'm doing...?

Ever since I've heard of goat yoga, I can't stop thinking about it. 
I have the passion, the goats, and the perfect space for it:

Headstand in the winter
Headstand this morning

So, here is my question: 

Would anyone be interested if I started offering yoga with goats at our farm?

We live in Merritt, BC, in the heart of the southern interior. We are 45 minutes out of Kamloops, 1.5 hours away from Kelowna, 2 hours from the Lower Mainland and 3 hours from Vancouver. 

Yoga all by itself is amazing. But add animals to the mix, and what you get is pure magic.
For the past 2+ years, farmyoga has been my therapy, my salvation, my joy. 

I want to do the same for you!
If you're interested, please let me know in the comments!

Are kids in your future?

xoxo Miriam

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