Thoughts Thoughts

The Many Faces of Frustration

Since I decided to post “A Cowboy Prayer” for my photo today, I figured I’d stick with that cowboy/girl theme here.

I’m a competitive person. I don’t like to lose or do poorly on things. I hate to fail. For instance, this class I took this past weekend on learning how to spin yarn was hard for me. It’s hard to spin yarn. People work for years at it before they’re good at it. Even knowing that, and feeling at the end like I’d done a pretty good job, I always feel like I can do better.

I’m fortunate in my life that I get to do things I do well and love doing so generally speaking (except for not having enough time to do it all) I’m pretty happy.

The first time I “worked” cows was in Wyoming with my friend Terry probably 6 years ago. She explained to me that trying to work a cow is like trying to hold water in your hands; they just slip away. Now I don’t think cows are the smartest animals on the planet. Generally speaking I think they’re probably on the lower end of the brain chain, but when you’re trying to catch one or make it do something it doesn’t want to do — they may as well be Albert Einstein.

This was Lyle Lovett. He was the smartest cow in the herd this past year. If you notice the hairdo you'll understand why they named him that. Looks like he sleeps in curlers every night.

I stunk the first time I worked cows, and I still suck at it 6 years later. However, I love it. That first time Terry put me on cows at the end I said (well, practically screamed), “That was so much f… fun!”. She still laughs about it and has told that story over and over to people. Something about it just appeals to me. The frustration. The concentration. The unpredictability. The excitement.

Now Terry’s another story. She grew up on a ranch and if I can ever ride or work cows one quarter as well as she does I’ll die a happy lady. This is what Terry looks like when she’s working cows.

This is my friend Randy working a cow.

Now before I show you this I’ll start with something pretty. Like the sunrise on the morning I was headed to compete in my first rodeo this year.

Now it’s gonna get ugly.

This is what I look like when I’m working a cow.

But, every year I get a little better.

This was me competing in my first rodeo this year in the Novice Team Penning event

But I still suck.

This is Terry’s face when she’s trying to teach me. It’s a good thing she loves me. Plus she teaches riding for a living so she’s used to idiots like me. She is looking at me like she’s saying to herself “What is that stupid girl doing?”

I can’t even show you a picture of Randy trying to teach me. He’s deaf in one ear. I’m deaf in one ear. We’re screaming at each other and he gets very frustrated. He’s extremely patient with me though.

At the end of the day though after my very first rodeo our team came home with first place in the novice team penning. I assure you it had nothing to do with me.

And when I stop being able to laugh at myself at the end of the day, I’ll stop trying.


  1. I just adore you, and your smile. And I love the part about the teacher being deaf in one ear, too. You are one of the most talented women I know.

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