The closer I get to retirement age, the more I think I ought to reduce my workload. Then I find myself with a day or two not scheduled to the max and spend my time hunting for new gigs and submitting bids for work. I’m a glutton for punishment, obviously.

Steady work is the holy grail for freelancers. Sure, the occasional, really lucrative project comes along every so often, but those can’t be relied upon or factored into a budget. They’re almost like windfalls, except you have to earn the money.

I actually have been busy, though. Busy is good. The state of busy-ness occupies my brain and distracts my thoughts from melancholy. It’s not good for me to have too much “thinking” time without something to command my attention.

In addition to regular work (two newsletters, a magazine, blog editing, etc.), I’ve been doing a wee bit of riding. Two weekends ago when my elder son’s friend was visiting, I went on a trail ride with my best friend, Cindra, and another good friend, Sue. Cindra brought her two horses: Henry and Cody. My son’s friend, Jess, rode Henry. Henry is the big, phlegmatic appaloosa gelding who can be trusted with idiots and little children. We trust him with novice riders and, as usual, he was perfect! (Henry and horses like him are worth their weight in gold.) I rode Teddy, the little gelding I rescued from a kill pen last year and sent into training for a few months. He did surprisingly well, much better than I expected. Teddy received a generous helping of peppermint treats for his good behavior.

Last weekend, I rode Replica, the new pony, a 9-year-old Halflinger mare. Pretty, pretty, pretty. When I rode her last, she had a bit of a meltdown. This time, she did so much better. Cindra rode with us on Cody and her good friend Terri rode Henry. Cody and Henry served as the calm equine examples Replica needed to maintain her cool.

These two outings taught me that neither of my ponies likes to lead. Both are happy somewhere in the middle or even bringing up the rear. That’s good to know. Replica can go out by herself, I think, but she’s happier in the midst of other horses and riders.

In addition to work and horses, I hired a landscape company, a 2-man outfit who came out and have done utter wonders clearing out overgrown weeds and brush and unwanted trees. Anyone looking for a good landscaping team will get a referral from me for Martin’s Landscape Revival. Great work, guys! They’re almost finished. I’ve already offered them more work if they want it.

I also bought a new riding mower. After years of making do with old equipment that my husband purchased cheap–usually because it didn’t work–then fixed to get it in working order, I finally decided it was time to get something new, something that worked right away. My younger son, Brian, who’s visiting from Alaska, has used the new mower to mow the yard and the pastures. We’re all glad to have this beast of a lawn mower.

Brian has mentioned a preference to not move back to Alaska. That makes me happy. He’s looking for a job, something in automotive restoration/auto body painting. He wants to work on classic cars. I’ve dredged up a dozen places near here, including a handful that I know are hiring. The rest is up to him.

So, that book I started last month? I’ve gotten a bit further in it, but not a lot. Because I’ve been busy and busy is good.