Listen up, Buttercup!

Last week was not a good week around here. Actually, all of January has been a bit of an ordeal. And I mean ordeal in the literal sense.

In addition to feeling nauseated and exhausted all the time, I am still doing battle with the lack of appetite that goes along with one of the drugs I’m taking.

Also, the T1 internet line that I pay a truly insane amount of money for every month has been down since 12/27 and I have spent actual days on the phone with both customer and tech support trying to get it fixed. I spoke with more than –wait for it — 70 human beings in the course trying to get the em effing internet turned back on, to no avail.

Then the hard drive on my computer crash while I was in the middle of editing the 4000 pictures I shot last weekend for our Spring/Summer photo shoot.

I got at flat tire after leaving Amy’s house at nearly midnight in middle of a rainstorm.

Oh, and did I mention that I came home to find that the house was suffering from an infestation of field mice and that rats had taken over the barn?

Like I said, not a great month.

To say that I was feeling sorry for myself would be an exercise in understatement. I felt like a black cloud have settle over my life. I was overwhelmed. I was drowning in a sea of misery and despair.

I was a wreck.

And then a couple of things happened. First of all, my mother, who has always been the person I call first when things go wrong, pointed out that I was spending an awful lot of time and energy feeling sorry for myself. She didn’t exactly tell me to knock it off, but she pointed out that I might feel better if I cut that shit out.

I’m not going to say that I turned my frown upside down and that suddenly the sun came out and the mice took their leave. But I did stop wasting energy on being miserable. When I felt a wave of self-pity coming on, I took a nap or worked on editing the photographs for our forthcoming collections. When I felt any overwhelming bout of brooding about to overtake me, I took Amy and Paul up on their standing invitation to come over and use their internet.

The nice thing about being with people who care about you when you are miserable, is that you really can’t just spend hours on end openly weeping. Plus, Amy and Paul’s house is always kind of a circus. Their daughters change outfits five or six times a day to suit their moods. The chaos is hilarious and infectious, and I always leave their house feeling better than I arrived.

My friends Saint Tanya, Kris and Shirra also helped me tremendously by checking in with me from time to time via text and emails.

I started taking itty-bitty baby steps to get things back under control. I fired the internet company and found an alternative. I ordered a couple of humane (but deadly) mouse and rat traps (they’re called Raticator Max Rodent Traps, in case you’re interested) and successfully evicted my uninvited guests. I cleaned out my pantry, bagging up everything I can’t eat and am sending it over to Amy’s house so that I don’t have to fight my gag reflex every time I need a snack. I found a few more things that I can eat fairly successfully and stocked up on them.

And then I did something completely out of character for me- I turned the heat up to 70 degrees in the house. (I figure with all the money I’m saving on food and wine, I can afford to be warm this year.)

The greatness of man lies in the decision to be stronger than his condition.” Albert Camus wrote that and I think it’s so important that I’m going to write it again. “The greatness of man lies in the decision to be stronger than his condition.” That is powerful stuff, y’all.

Next week, I am going to take more baby steps. I’ve got to go to Texas for some some medical tests and an adjustment in my medication, but while I’m there I am going to continue to my forward progress. I’m going to make some difficult but necessary decisions about the future that will make things easier going forward. I’m going to try very hard to be stronger than my condition from here on out. That’s the first decision, and I have made it.

Why am I sharing all of this with you, my lovely readers? For a couple of reasons. First of all, because I think we are all fighting our own battles, struggling with our own demons, nursing our own wounds. I want you to know that you are not alone. That whatever you are dealing with right now, there are other people who are going through the same thing. And there are other people who have been through it and come out on the other side.

I’m also telling you this because I want to encourage you to spend this upcoming weekend getting all that self-pity out of your system. Take naps. Cry into your pillow. Take long hot bathes.

Cause, come Monday, I want you to make a decision to be stronger than your condition, too.




  1. That is just what I needed to read this morning. Thank you

  2. wow, help where i least expected it. Thanks Susan. I am done crying for today and plan on taking your advice. Good luck with baby steps.

  3. Love this post! Thanks.

  4. i love u.
    thank u for your candor and honesty poured out on the page.

    i am working on conquering the demons as well
    and am comforted to read (even though i know it’s true) that
    i/we are not alone in the ruckus and chaos and uncertainties that lead us to fears and self pity to sabotage.

    you have touched my spirit in a deep way from the very first time i came across your blog. your heart is golden and one day….in person…i wanna be able to give u a big hug and hang out or in.

    sending u lots of love, courage and clarity to keep strong in the midst of rats and mice and feeling nausea and and and…
    right there with u conquering other demons

    slay away


    p.s. my new website is ALMOST ready. the holder page is up…. keep posted for more good stuff as it all goes on.
    we’ve all got to do our part to make it work.

    perspective perspective perspective
    keep it broad when stuff looks unconquerable & move mountains…eventually.

  5. I’ve been OVERWHELMED with work the last few weeks with no end in sight. I’ve been *just a little* bitter about this, too. You know, it was supposed to be a holiday and I’ve had none. I gave up this morning and went back to bed at 8:30 (getting up at 6) and slept until 9:45. I keep thinking that if I just have enough hours, I’ll get caught up but the truth is, I’ve been spending a lot of that time so exhausted and angry about being exhausted that I wasn’t producing much. That extra hour of sleep has really helped today. So has reading this. NO more self-pity. Napping is powerful stuff. :-)

  6. Susie, I hope you know how much you inspire people to do better and be better.

  7. Thank you for posting that. I’ve been dealing with my own series of negative happenings since mid-December and attempting to derail the pity party without much success. I needed that reminder that everyone deals with their own version of the perfect sh*tstorm at some point. I’m a lucky girl and I need to put on my big girl panties and just get over mine so I can go back to being a happy person. Annnndddd, I think that long hot bathe might be scheduled for this evening. Thanks for rocking so much :)

  8. Thanks I needed that. I’ve become a shut in because my mother’s failing health requires 24/7 attention. Staying put is NOT the real me. You’ve inspired me to knit more and whine less. And a hot bath sounds rather lovely, too.

  9. Susan, I came across a book title you might want to order: The IBD Healing Plan & Recipe Book: Using Whole Foods to Relieve Crohn’s Disease and Colitis by Christie A. Korth. ISBN 9780897936125

  10. Dear Susan – You are such an inspiration! 2012 started out good for me and ended on a horrible note which is continuing into 2013. Your post today brought tears to my eyes. I will strive to Knock It Off and get my life back on track. Bless you and keep on fighting. Love Always – Denise

  11. It certainly seems obvious to me, and I see others also, that the “sparkle and glitter” of 2013 has already rubbed off! lol. I propose a toast to telling 2013 to “get better” because we are moving on without it! ! Due to my Mom being very sick with the flu at the age of 85 and then my coming down with it for a week and also being HLN-b27 positive with fibro and ankylosing Spondilitis , I am just tackling my Christmas tree today! Now, I am one to take the tree down the day after New Year’s. So, I am proclaiming a new New Year’s Day for me TODAY and starting 2013 over! I will let you know how this works out for me! lol. All be well…

  12. You inspire me. Hang in there – life does suck sometimes, but then it usually gets better.

  13. You are an inspiration and encouragement! I have been on crutches, in a cast and then a boot since before Thanksgiving. Since I usually workout almost every day and do 20 mile bike rides, this has been difficult to say the least. Yesterday I got the ok to walk on both feet again, which I am doing very carefully :) I have been trying to stay positive through it and I love the quote you posted – ”The greatness of man lies in the decision to be stronger than his condition.” – powerful! We all have a choice to have a pity party or keep going and be positive, so I am choosing with you to be stronger than my condition. Thank you for this!


  14. Aw, jeez…Here I was all fired-up to fix your Internet woes, and then fourteen paragraphs in, you fired your ISP!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! How am I supposed to be useful if you keep solving your problems yourself? :-)

    (Not that you need my help, mind you – It just makes ME feel better to try and be helpful.)

    Speaking of which, will you get a darned barn cat already? I guarantee you’ll never have rodent issues again.

  15. I am for the barn cat!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Jane from Maryland

    January 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Want me to come visit with my terrier? Seriously, I second the barn cat idea! Since my terrier only WANTS to kill rodents, but never has.
    And, here’s to a change of attitude as the best we can do when things slide downward!!

  17. Don’t you just hate that? Everyone has these moments and we all need a little feel-sorry-for-ourselves time… But, it has to end. Good luck and stay strong!!!

  18. You’ve been strong for creatures great and small. Time to let others be strong for you.

  19. Diane Shepherd-in-the-Making Not Given up Yet

    January 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Looking back we can often see how change was opportunity in disguise. Yay!!! ME!

    Looking ahead it can often just look like change. Boooooooooo! Hissssssss!

    May you soon know YAY!!! ME

    May all of us soon know YAY!!! ME

  20. Diane Shepherd-in-the-Making Not Given up Yet

    January 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    PS: Have the Feline Four Minus One (now that Barney’s in a box) who would be great.

    But, a recent posting in the Wild & Wooly newsletter cautions that cats in barns need to be kept away from the preggies & their food & bedding because of toxoplasmosis transmitted by cat feces. Been showing up in goats & sheep.

    What about a few barn owls……..

  21. Is there anything we can do for you? Straight up, can we help in any way?

  22. Thanks, Susan, for the timely reminder. I can use Camus’ words in my own life right now, and I’m going to make that decision. I’m done whining about how badly everyone has treated me, and how awful life is treating me, and I’m going to be grateful for what I have here and now. And I’m going to move ever forward. Maybe slower than I would like, but I am going to move forward.

    Best to you, and thank you for the inspiration.

  23. Thank you for a very encouraging post today. When I stopped crying I felt a lot better! Camus’ words are definitely powerful, but your words have more meaning for me.

  24. I would just love to give you a big hug while patting you on the back–you go girl!!

  25. Thank you for this. You have managed the balance of a gentle hug and a much needed slap across the face all at once, and I appreciate that. Now take care of yourself!

  26. Oh Susan! Exactly what I needed as I was was heading down pity road myself…
    Thank you!
    And the barn cat should be an orange tabby :-)

  27. being a cat person – with my temporary cat on my lap, hence no capitals… I was about to offer up a pretty good mouser who will soon need a new home (or will end up at mine, with her two siblings…) and then Diane popped up with a reason not to use cats… hisses to that whole toxo stuff…. You truly are an inspiration to so may of us, even if our demons are minions of your demons. Still campaigning for a sweat-equity CSA…

  28. Real. Tears. You are right, it’s been a hard time. I think yours has surely trumped mine so I will shut up and stop whining. Maybe some knitting will help? (I’m like you, here lately my stomach has not been my friend so I’ve been drinking a lot of peppermint tea. Keeps me warm and things settled. Have you tried it?)

  29. Susan, I LOVE that quote! I am the “Quote Master” at the Hope Lodge, which means that one of my duties is to change the quote on the whiteboard every week, or or more often if I feel like it.

    When I was at work last night, I wrote your quote (or I guess Albert’s quote) on BOTH whiteboards in ALL CAPS because it is SO AWESOME.

    Hugs to you, and if you need anything from the Frozen Tundra of Minnesota, don’t hesitate to ask! (I know you’ll hesitate to ask, but still… just ASK!)

  30. Lovely, inspirational and powerful. Thank you for this on this Friday morning!!
    sending good cheer and healing thoughts your way…

  31. Peppermint tea…. I may have to try that when my tummy decamps for greener spaces. Rodent control is tough. I am all for trapping them and sending them to rat heaven, but I’ve heard that if you kill one, six come for the funeral so I don’t know….

    I like the Camus quote too, Very timely in my life to hear that this month. Isn’t serendipity fun ?~! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Thank you, Susan, for your post. I rarely if ever write online, but I so appreciate your words right now. I have been in the midst of feeling so bad about a horrific situation developing around those close to me, and tough situations of my own, but telling myself that I should be grateful for so many other things alone hasn’t helped. The decision to not be miserable merely because I’ll feel so much better concentrating on other things is a perfect reminder tonight. Sometimes I need to be told– and tell myself– (lovingly, of course) to Suck it up, Cupcake! Good thoughts and wishes to you as you fight your battles, and appreciation as you help many friends and strangers along the way with ours.

  33. Susan, Last week I sent you an email. Waiting for a response I started looking more into your website. I read through the blogs and found the reason why there are no listings for 2013 events. I am sorry to hear about your sickness. I have loved reading your blog and seeing what you do and hearing your passion for it! I loved reading your resolution to start saying no. Last year my sister photocopied a page from a self help book and sent it to me. It was entitled “42 ways to say no!” I’ve gotten better! My husband and I were hoping to bring our almost 13 year old daughter out to your farm. She is interested in raising sheep for wool. She spins and knits and crotchets. When you determine what events are audible for JuniperMoon Farms this year, please let me know! In the meantime I will continue to read! Heck, maybe I’ll learn to knit! Karami Crandall

  34. Sorry, that is supposed to be feasible not audible! Dang autocorrect! Karami

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