Ready, Set, Go – The Art Of Packing Light

So today it’s Wednesday, and I’ve started to count the days until I leave. It’s five days. (If you’re a new friend, I’m moving from northern California, to Las Vegas. I sold most of my bigger items, and my horses. I still have a truck I’m planning to sell, but I can’t sell it until I bought a car..five days..)

I packed, and re-packed my things. I asked myself questions about everything I packed. Why did I pack this? Do I need it? Want it? Is it a sentimental item? Does it help me focus on my dreams and goals? How soon will I use (……)? Is it easy to replace? I also use these questions every spring, and every fall, to stop myself from collecting things that I don’t use. Which definitely helped to make things easier now. I enjoy living a life free from clutter (in every aspect.)

I have a couple items that helps me focus on my dreams. Things that aren’t really necessary. Like a small framed picture of my first horse. I held it in my hand today, again. I reevaluate that photo every time I move. So far it has stayed with me. Even though it may not seem very special to a guest visiting my house. Yes, I took the picture, but the quality of the photo isn’t the best. The balance in the photo is perfect, but the resolution poor. Unless my guest know that I saved ten years to be able to buy that horse, they are probably not even noticing the photo. Or, if they do see it, they probably wonder why on earth I saved that photo.

That photo reminds me that I can get anything I want, if I’m willing to work hard enough. It helped me many times already, and keeps helping me. How could I not bring it with me?

I also use the photo, and the story, to encourage children I tutor, to go after what they want. When showing a child a physical item, like a framed photo, it’s easier for them to believe,  that no dream is too big, even if it seems slightly out of reach for the moment. I often let the children hold the photo in their own hands, while I’m telling them the story. I paint it with details about this very special horse. I tell them about that time when we got chased by a big bull elk, when the horse wasn’t broke to ride yet, and that other time when a bunch of wild pigs chased us. By coincidence (?) the horse’s name was Draumur, Icelandic for dream .

My mom was a single mom, and we were relatively poor (we only had hand-me-down used clothes etc.) We did not have money for me to take riding lessons, and having a horse of my own did not exist in the same universe that I lived in then. Still I knew that I was going to have a horse of my own. I kept that dream alive. I envisioned it. I manifested it every day. It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up, and the last before I went to bed, every night. On my free time I worked hard, without pay, in all the stables within biking distance. To learn more about horses. I also read all the books there was about horses, in the three libraries closest to my home. I did this for ten years. I think of myself as a minimalist, to some degree. Things doesn’t define me. I choose to travel light, and live with a light heart. I do choose to keep a few things, like that frame, and some books that motivates me. I wouldn’t cry if I lost them, but seeing them motivates me, and makes me stronger.

I decided to leave half of the books I had packed, making my already light load, lighter. Books are important, but I decided that I could do without some of them. I also decided to give two large, framed, canvas photos, of wild horses as a gift to a friend, instead of bringing them. I decided to keep my snowboard jacket and pants, even if they take up some space. I invested in quality (I bought them in December last year,) and those are good clothes that will keep me warm, and dry for many winters. The snowboard itself, I’m not so sure. A snowboard takes up space, and I really would like to have one that is a little longer anyways. My snowboard clothes can be used in various settings (snowshoeing, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, or on a winter vacation,) since they aren’t extreme in any way. They will be useful. Unless I decide to make a bookshelf out of the snowboard. I did that in an apartment I had as a teenager. I used two snowboards that had seen lots of fun, and been replaced by newer boards. Just seeing those bookshelves made me happy. (I love snowboarding!) I almost forgot about that. I might just bring the snowboard..  (Writing really helps to get things straight in my head.)

I downsized the tools in my toolbox, leaving some I rarely use behind. I still haven’t decided wether I should bring my fencing tools…you never know when those will come in handy. I mean, I do know, but how important is it to bring them now? I also unpacked some portable solar showers, that I bring for off-grid camping sometimes…lol. I don’t know why on earth I packed these things in the beginning. The survivalist in me still think that those things are essential for a good life. I think it might of been to remind me that I can still do things like going camping in the middle of nowhere, even if I live in a big city? Maybe to feel the country connection? (Naturally I’m not unpacking my collection of rare heirloom seeds for my future homestead..those will be useful when that day comes, and they’re so tiny. I’ll always make room for those. )

Still, everything I packed from the beginning would easily fit in the trunk of a midsize car, so it wasn’t a crazy amount of stuff. I am good a packing, and now it’s even less. I took care of the horses at work this morning. That is always enjoyable, and I will miss that job immensely. All the horses there are my friends. Going there in the morning and grooming each horse thoroughly doesn’t feel like a job. I will miss the lady I work for as well. I don’t see her every day, but our conversations are always great, when I do see her. 

Besides my morning job, I had two things on my schedule today. The first was to watch a little boy, that I have been watching from time to time. I prepared healthy snacks, and fun games for him, when I was done with my morning job. However his mom didn’t feel good, so he got lucky and got some extra mommy time.  The second thing I was going to do was to test drive a new (used) car. The current owner got caught up in work, and rescheduled to tomorrow. All of a sudden I had several hours. I harvested veggies in my garden; yellow squash, cucumber, tomatoes, and figs. I also played with my dog, groomed her (twice,) and even clipped her nails. I then started to read Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people, for the 11th time! The bible is the only book I’ve read more times. Neither of those are books you can read in one sitting, or learn everything from by just reading them once. Do you have a book/books that you’ve read several times? If so, tell me about them! 

Can you tell that I’m ready to go? When I make a decision, I do everything in my power for it to succeed, and happen quickly. In most cases I’m a patient person, a very patient person, but I don’t feel patient right now. I like being busy, in the face of a big change. To work actively towards making things awesome. It’s kind of itching in me to be able to give my new job, and place to live my very best. I’m not sure if I told you what job I decided to say yes to? Did I? I’m going to take care of two little boys. I’m very excited about meeting them. I’ve talked to their mom, and I’ve seen several photos of them. They looks so happy, and full of life! It’s going to be a lot of fun!  Gretchen (my dog,) is going to to love it as well 🙂 She is very good at taking care of little kids. It just felt right. I put an ad up online, with my education, and a short job resume. I literally got more than 100 job offers. I was planning on going to Vegas, and go to interviews for a couple weeks, and then decide. In the end I choose to follow my intuition. I instantly felt for this family. (They also live less than an hour from my daughter’s father.) I love all children, but the youngest ones have a special place in my heart. I just love being there with them, when they discover new truths for the first time. 


I kind of feel like dragging out my Halloween costume from last year, and use it to fly into next week. LOL.

I hope you’re having an awesome day 🙂


Ms Zen

Carr Fire – Game Plan

I realized that I did not write a post this morning. Just want to let you know that I am safe from the fire. It is still burning at 163,207 acres, with a 45% containment, as of this morning. The winds are moving the fire further away. The city of Redding is not in danger anymore, other smaller communities are. It is a good thing that the the Carr Fire is getting a little more contained by the day. Neighborhoods have Raking Parties! Neighbors gather together with rakes, and help each other go through the ashes. Phew. It almost feels wrong to have been spared from the worst of the worst. We’re still wearing face masks outside. The smoke is thick.

It’s been a super busy day today. I took care of the horses at work this morning, and then my own. I’ve given away some of my trees and plants. I won’t be able to take them with me when I move to another state. You can’t bring plants. Which is sad in a way, but a dear friend of mine is going to enjoy them a lot. That makes me incredibly happy. Then I didn’t do all that work for nothing. My friend makes these most exquisite metal work. She made this rose for me, isn’t absolutely beautiful? I feel so blessed to have so many amazing people in my life.

I’m a minimalist and I purposely don’t have a lot of “stuff” laying around, but I do highly appreciate the few decorative items that I do have. The all have a special meaning. This rose from my friend will definitely be one of those precious things with a special meaning.

I’ve started to downsize things that I don’t need to take with me to my new home. Yesterday I sold two saddles, and some other tack I had in my tack room. This morning I notified the lady I work for, and she was so understanding, and kind. I know it will be troublesome for her to have to train someone new, but she was so sweet.  She knows how serious I take motherhood, and moving closer to my daughter is something that she could understand.

There’s a gentleman coming to look at my horse Ghost on Thursday. I have not put an ad up on Fancy yet, still there’s two people interested in her. I am mostly concerned about getting Ghost into a good home, since he isn’t trained, that is more challenging. Not so many people can responsibly take on an untrained horse. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the gentleman that is going to look at him on Thursday. Our phone conversation was very promising. I think he would be a great match. Finding wonderful homes for Ghost and Fancy is my number one priority these next coming days. After that everything will be relatively easy. I’m fairly sure it will be easy to find Fancy a home, even though her hooves is not 100% yet. They will be soon, and she is a very nice, trained, registered horse, with zero vices that I’m aware of. In fact she’s the easiest horse I ever owned.

When I’ve found the horses new homes, I’m going to sell my truck, and buy a car. Buy then I pretty much should have my other possessions figured out, and packed the things I want to bring. I’m going to donate a lot of things, and clothes to Goodwill. I usually do that every spring, and every fall. I don’t like collecting things that aren’t being used. The move is going to be fairly easy. I might even have a job, with housing lined up. Nothing is set in stone, but it felt promising. It’s less than an hour from my daughter’s new home. My timeline is to be on my way by the end of this month, if everything works in my favor. Now you know my game plan. I believe it is totally doable. I am a doer. When I decide something, things happens, and I can be rather stubborn (or goal oriented) about it. It’s been a productive day today. I hope you had an awesome day!

..and I’m going to have to figure out a new name for this blog, NorCal won’t do when I don’t live in NorCal anymore…I’ll have to think about that one.


Ms Zen


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The theme for the weekly photo challenge, for the first week of 2018 is Growth.

In this first week of the year, many people anticipate beginnings, changes, and opportunities for growth. Share with us an image that evokes this spirit of change and newness — the smile of a new friend, a freshly planted garden, an empty journal waiting to be filled.

What could be better than the new beginning, with my new horse? Last weekend (Saturday) I picked up the gelding I met a week ago. When I first met him I felt that there is something about him, that makes me believe that he is a once in a lifetime horse. Even though we just spent a couple hours together in a pasture. I felt that we connected. I’ve been looking for that special horse for a couple of years now. I believe that I’ve found him.

He was not halter broke when I picked him up. He’s spent all his time in a pasture up until now. When we arrived to his former home, he was very cautious around the stock trailer that we rented for the occasion. Not unexpected since he haven’t been worked with at all. This is a new universe to him. He was even more uncomfortable leaving his two buddies in the pasture. One of which was an identical blood relative (probably brother. The owner wasn’t sure.) Considering all that, things went pretty smooth. He trailered reasonably well the 2,5 hours it took to get him home.

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The important thing is somehow to begin. – Henry Moore

My impression is that Ghost is a sweet, curious, and highly intelligent horse. He had a different name with the previous owner. He was named after a king who killed his brother. I thought that was bad karma sort of, so I changed it. I doubt that he knew his name. He is 3 years old, 3/4 Arabian and 1/4 Mustang. I haven’t measured him yet, but I’m guessing that he is around 14.5hh (and probably have some more growing to do.)

When we arrived to the boarding stable that is going to be his home, we made a corridor leading straight to the stall that is going to be his, and opened the door to the trailer. His stall is big, and connected with an open door to an outdoor pen. He was hesitant to step into the corridor we’d made for him. Not surprisingly since he never been indoors before. A lady at the stable brought a sweet little pony, as encouragement for him. We let them say hello to each other (while Ghost still was inside the trailer) and then and we followed her into the stall, where she turned around taking the pony with her. Before leaving I sat down in his stall. Ghost walked up to me after a while, putting his muzzle towards my cheek. After sharing a beautiful moment of silence I told him briefly about his new life and all the good times we’re going to have together. I think he understood. I left him to settle in for the night with a good feeling in my chest.

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The day after when I returned in the morning (yesterday,) I found him calm in the outdoor part of his pen. Our first training session included getting used to a halter, and some very basic leading exercises. He allowed me to take the worst of the mud and dirt of his body. I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I kept the session short and sweet. Left with a good feeling. I believe the good feeling was mutual. I took this photo with my phone by the end of the session.

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Our growth depends not on how many experiences we devour, but on how many we digest. – Ralph W. Sockman

Later yesterday afternoon I brought my daughter to the stable, so that she finally could meet Ghost. For safety reasons I thought it would be wise to get to know him  little bit myself first, (because I know my daughter. She learned how to walk by dragging her self up using my favorite horse’s tail as She liked Ghost a lot! He seemed to like her as well. He tolerated hugs and kisses patiently, almost like he enjoyed it. When I could convince my daughter to leave his pen for a few minutes I worked a little bit more with him. He is OK with wearing a halter now, but is scared of ropes, so we worked on that. It went well, but it’s definitely something we’re going to work more with, to get completely comfortable. We ended on a good note.

Today it’s been raining like crazy. I went to see Ghost after lunch, and he did call out when he saw me. He was very wet, because he choose to be outside in the pouring rain, and not in the stable. He is not very comfortable indoors. That might take some time. The outdoor part of his pen is big, and I’ve been working with him there. I still haven’t taken him outside his pen. I’m planning on doing that in a couple days, when the rain stops. When I ask him to go to the part of his pen that is inside the barn, he is hesitant, and uncomfortable. It’s still new to him…and I can relate, I like it better outside as well. I did ask him to walk inside a few times while doing some leading exercises today. Other than that we had our session outside. (I did not bring my camera today because of the rain.) He was more spirited today. Probably a combination of colder weather, and being confined for a couple days. He was still very sweet. He response very well to calm, clear requests. Sometimes when I have a lot of fun, my energy levels goes up, for now I’m going to have to control that. As long as I stop, and give him a few seconds to figure out what it is I want, he tries his best. I’m very proud of him. By the end of our session today I asked him to give me his front hooves. He did. I asked twice for his left front hoof, and twice for his right front hoof. He gave them to me both times. I made sure that he was well balanced, and I gave them right back after a couple seconds. I did not ask for his hind (back) hooves. That is a bigger question, and I want to make it easy for him to give me the right answer. We have time. I liked him from he beginning, but he definitely grows on me a little bit every time I see him. I am very excited about our budding friendship.


Ms Zen