Enjoying Better Weather

Fall wardrobe + scowl.

It’s been very pleasant here in the center of Texas for the past few days, with pleasantly cool mornings and nice warm days (contrasting with the usual blazing heat). I’ve enjoyed being able to wear a couple of new light jackets and wraps on my daily walks around the neighborhood.

Oak Lawn Cemetery

Yesterday I had a lot of thinking to do, so I walked over to the cemetery. It’s a good thinking spot, and usually quiet, other than maintenance workers. Since it’s a pretty old cemetery, there are lots of big trees to look at.

Nice place to sit.

Of course, I had to go visit the Popes, in whose house I sit and work every day when I’m in Cameron. I do hope they like what we have done with the place.

Maybe I’ll clean this up and leave them some flowers.

It’s nice to have a little furniture and the mirror installed in the front room. It seems so complete.

And in honor of the crisper weather (relatively), I turned on the fireplace to heat! Just a little, but it’s nice.

I was happy to find out the electrical outlet still works after all that rain dripped on it.

Be gentle with yourselves, friends, because you deserve kindness and acceptance.

Can We Counteract the Negativity?

While I do spend a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram, they aren’t my only source of information. I see so much negativity everywhere these days that it gets exhausting. And I get it: there’s a lot to be negative about, and lots of it’s legit! But, I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, we could conspire together to cut our fellow humans some slack, not just the faceless “they” we’re all upset with, but also the people in our extended social circle – friends, family, acquaintances.

This is about as perfect as folks I know get!

I shared my passive-aggressive Facebook memes post again on Facebook yesterday, when I realized I was getting overwhelmed with people saying how others should defriend them if they don’t agree with their politics or religious beliefs, if they make certain kinds of mistakes, etc. And some of the things are just so judgmental of others. It hurts me, even if I don’t think the judgment is about me (I guess I figure there but for the grace of God…).

I know most of my circle of friends and acquaintances are messed up people. I’m absolutely sure of it. I know they have done things they regret. I know they’ve treated others unkindly. I know they’ve been snippy or rude. I know they fail to meet the expectations of others. How do I know that? Because they’re all fallible human beings, just like me, and it’s just human to screw up or disappoint others.

My plan is what I said earlier today on Facebook.

I can do it, yes I can. Maybe. I’ll try.

There is just SO MUCH going on right now. No one is at their best. We are all short-tempered, anxious, confused, fearful, angry, exhausted, or some combination of those. We are going to say and do things that don’t reflect our highest selves sometimes. I know I have, and I hope I’ve apologized to all the right people!

Life is hard, and it’s gonna stay that way for a while. Actually, life is rarely easy for most of us. That’s how it goes!

You take the good, you take the bad,
You take them both and there you have
the facts of life, the facts of life.

Ancient television sitcom theme

And on a less silly note, a Facebook friend reminded me of The Four Agreements, which is worth reading and applying to your life, if you haven’t. I can usually tell when a colleague or friend keeps these principles in mind:

Stuff to think about. And if you realize you aren’t good at some of this stuff, it’s okay, just keep trying. I know I’m working on 2c and 3b – I can really say things in unclear ways, to my own regret!

You can’t change the behavior of others, but you CAN change your own behavior. I’m going to keep trying to assume the people around me are doing the best they can, even if they piss me off, are mean to me (that’s for my sister), or otherwise screw up/disappoint me. How about you? Ready to rise above the negativity?

PS: I know it’s hard. Oh boy, do I know it’s hard!

Thank Goodness for Family, the Equine Kind

Let’s think about what makes for a nice day. For me, it’s being out in nature with friends of the human and animal kind. That’s just what Sara and I got yesterday afternoon, only marred by how hot the humidity made us feel.

When we got to the horse area, Apache was drenched in sweat, which got us worried, but, he acted happy enough, so we decided to take our walk in a shadier area at the back of the cattle pasture, to get out of the sun. First, we successfully moved her cattle from that pasture to the one Spice and Lakota had been in, moved Lakota to the cattle pasture, and got Fiona in to walk with us. It took no time at all. Sure is nice when everyone already wants to go where you’re trying to send them!

Lakota and Fiona noshed their way through the walk, right along with us.

Then we just walked and walked. And that meant ALL of us. Lakota followed us around like he was being led, like Apache was. Sure was good to see him acting peppy again. Sara says she worries about letting loose horses walk with horses being ridden, since she got kicked by a horse and broke a bone that way once. But, Lakota was a real gentleman.

Yep, they were having fun.

It was a little spooky where we were, since it’s behind a ridge and you feel hidden from the rest of the ranch. Fiona liked it, though, and ran around exploring.

It’s very green and spooky down here!

Even Apache seemed to have fun. He plodded right along with us, only occasionally distracted by yummy grass. Going up and down the little rises was probably good exercise for all of us!

I love how the color came out on this picture! You can see the rise behind Sara.

We saw osage-orange trees, which makes sense, because the area we walked in is an arroyo/wash that stays wet a lot. Those trees like dampness.

The fruit is easy to spot.

We were happy to also see a lot of milkweed. These were green antelope horns, and they had seed pods, some of which had opened. The opened pods had lots and lots of these extra-cool milkweed bugs. Aren’t they pretty?

We went out again this morning, minus Lakota. The weather was better, but Apache was not in a great mood to walk, which makes me think yesterday’s walk made his poor feet hurt. Let’s say it was good practice encouraging him to do what I wanted him to.

This is what he wanted to do. And yes, Spice photobombed many photos yesterday. We laughed.

We also saw this incredible jumping spider. I believe it’s an Apache jumping spider. They look like “velvet ants” (which are really wasps), and are quite good mimics! They fooled us.

It hardly looks real!

And when I went to pick up my tack box, I almost set my hand down on this lovely mantid. I was able to get her back outside to go eat bugs and stuff.

Please get me out of here. There are no delicious bugs on this plastic thing.

That made me feel good, and contributed to another nice day. I really enjoyed taking my mind off complicated issues and just enjoying my walking companions, my ranch family.

Lakota, the Circle of Life, and Being Startled

I’m guessing that today you’ll be wanting to find out how our boarder horse, Lakota the elderly fancy palomino, came out after his rough time yesterday. Last we heard, he’d been sweating and heaving, and Spice was standing over him like she was guarding his life. Sara is happy to report that after he stood up and made a big poop, he walked off, normally. She did keep checking through the night.

This morning, to our great relief, he was standing under a tree with Spice, and they both had been sleeping. It was probably a rough night for them, too. They both kept yawning and yawning, and were very loving and affectionate. Poor guys.

He just let me hug and hug, and he hugged back.

Sara had a couple of ideas about what had happened. Her current theory (and it’s just a theory) is that he ate some of the nightshade (Silverleaf Nightshade Solanum elaeagnifolium) that had been mown in the pasture (because she is allergic to it). Apparently, horses and cattle don’t eat it when it is alive, but for some reason think it’s tasty when it’s cut and dried. I hope that’s all it was.

It does have pretty flowers.

Thanks to me looking up alternative veterinarians, Sara was able to get in touch with Dr. Brimlee, who works with Milam Touch of Love, and while he couldn’t come last night, we are scheduling him to come soon (Apache’s teeth need to be looked at, too). In any case, we were both really relieved to find two horses standing under the trees this morning!

Spice was a good friend and nurse last night.

After this, my morning went downhill and my anxiety went uphill, but that’s the way the circle of life goes, I guess. As I approached our gate, I saw lots and lots of black birds in the pasture. What, a crow convention? As I got closer, I realized it was vultures. I also saw this.

Brown cow guarding two calves.

I drove overo where the feasting birds were, and found one of the three calves was no longer with us, and hadn’t been for a day or two. That certainly startled me. I don’t know what happened, and I probably won’t, but it was sad and a bit of a shock to see him laying there. Circle of life strikes again.

On the other hand, the chickens are all still here! Haven’t lost one in weeks! And Hedley seems to have given up on being broody, but hasn’t started laying again. I hope she does. She doesn’t seem sick or anything. They all got quite a treat out of a bunch of tomatoes Kathleen donated to them.

Hey, this is good! Thanks! Hedley is the one by the water trough, looking perky.

Even Buttercup and Butternut ate a tomato, which is a first. Maybe they’ll start branching out and eating more than just their feed and only their feed soon. I do enjoy them, and they cheered me up.

THEN I went to drive to the office. There was a giant wasp in the car, the black kind with red wings (sorry, no ID). I usually don’t worry about them, but two of my friends have had bad wasp reactions in the last week, and it started buzzing my head. As I tried to shew it away, I ran off the road. Luckily, I just drove through a lot of long grass, and probably made County Road 140 passersby curious. I am just not having a calm day so far! I’m still shaky. On the other hand, I did find some pretty groundcherries in the overgrown office lawn. These are clammy groundcherries (Physalis heterophylla).

The blossoms face downward, so you often don’t spot them.

So, I will go do my other Saturday writing tasks and breathe deeply. Has anything startled you today?

Horses: Worry? Don’t Worry?

Two quick horse things. The farrier was in again on Tuesday. There were so many things that came up, I had to take notes. The most interesting finding was his hooves. She said his hooves were full of blood that had pooled there when he foundered, which may have been long before we realized it.

I feel better now.

Sara and I had the aha moment that perhaps the reason he was so hard to ride and kept insisting on turning around was sore feet. At that time, they looked fine. From what we deduce, the damage didn’t show up, because it was hidden.

No wonder he’s like a different horse! And I was right that something must have caused him to start acting so weird. Poor guy. The best news, though, is that his hooves are growing in really well. Hooray.

And Lakota

So, this evening I was feeling all good about stuff. We even saw a really pretty rat snake, thanks to a vigilant cattle dog spotting it.

Getting the heck away from the dog!

Poor Lakota feels bad. He keeps lying down and rolling. He tried to eat, but laid back down. We couldn’t get him up, so we called his owner.

Sad horse

Mary said he’d colicked before, and since then, he’s occasionally done that lying down thing. Still, we’re worried. Sara has called many vets, so I hope she hears from one soon. We sure can’t get him up to go to Texas A&M.

Sara put fly spray on him for his comfort.

Say a little prayer for poor Lakota. I hope it’s just his occasional issue. He’s a nice old guy. If it’s his time, that’s fine. He knows he’s loved. Spice is watching him. And Sara keeps checking.

She says he finally got up, pooped, and walked off normally. Well. Do I worry or not? Horses!

Solemn Lessons from RGB

This morning, I left around 8 am to go back to the Cameron office. While I was driving through early-autumn fog, NPR played the ceremony around taking Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to lie in state in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. I’ve been listening to, watching, and reading tributes to her all week, since she passed away, since she’s someone I’ve admired for years.

The perfect weather for today.

As I listened to Nina Totenberg and a former law clerk of hers talk about the things RBG accomplished in her life, a huge wave of gratitude came over me. I drove through the silent fog of southern Milam County, thinking the blurred scenery was perfect for such a time of major transition. The fog reminded me of the fact that, while I’ve come far in my life, I can’t see very far ahead to where I’m going. And while Ginsberg achieved so much for the rights of her fellow Americans, the direction in which her beloved country and its legal system is going is also veiled and unsure right now.

Where are we going? It’s up to us, I hope.

I shivered, there in my car, alone with the dog.

Something one of the commentators said really hit home with me. She spoke about meeting up with two sisters who’d driven many miles to pay their respects to their Supreme Court hero. They pointed out that they are in their 60s, and their own mother was born at a time when women weren’t allowed to vote. My mother was born two years later. When my great grandmother was born, people could still own slaves where she lived. We have collectively gained so many rights in a few short years. When I was born, women could not make their own reproductive decisions. Gay people had to hide if they wanted to join the Armed Forces.

Vlassic wants the right to chase cows.

Ginsberg did so much to bring equality to the United States, even when it was not popular. And her dissent, well, as she noted, those were written for the future, in the hopes that they would reach the wise people of the future. Even when she didn’t create change, she kept going. She kept trying. She persevered.

Today I renewed my own vows to keep working toward what I think is right, true, and fair. There will be consequences. But I don’t think I could live with myself if I hid in fear of those louder and more well armed than myself.

I want us all to be able to fly wherever we want to, in safety and abundance.

How has the legacy of RBG influenced you? Dissent welcome.

Oh Well

Ya can’t do your daily blogging if you’re in meetings from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. So here I am finally resting and watching Anita’s old movie channel. Mmm. Dr. Kildare.

That young whippersnapper doctor.

It’s funny. I’m exhausted but enthusiastic about things. I guess that’s good. Work is moving along.

Me at work. With filters. Lots of filters. I’m making that face because I’m biting my tongue.

But what’s great is that I enjoyed my Board meeting with Friends of La Leche League so much. The group will soon have a new website and be able to do so much good work and connect so many people.

The Board and committee chairs are so enthusiastic and full of ideas. If you’re one of my friends from LLL, keep your eyes open and consider joining us! It’s more than just trips and that newsletter I happen to edit.

Let’s just see what’s next!

And happy Autumn! I’m ready for new adventures.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

You just never know how a day will go. Today is just dandy, EVEN with an 8 am dental appointment! I had put the dentist off for four months, but I was assured they take precautions. And they did! And my teeth are okay, even with my recent jaw clenching.

I got the day of the week right!

The second day in my work office in Austin was nice. I actually had time to accomplish some work, and the team meetings went well. I think we’re getting the hang of Agility, a bit.

Mainly, though, I had a good meeting with my boss, where I got to share ideas and brainstorm. I admit it. That’s my favorite work activity. I love collaborating and planning, way more than being handed a plan and being told to go execute. Buy in! Yes! I like making things, too. I dislike tracking work and devising metrics. So, if you’re a potential employer, bear that in mind. Also bear in mind that I hope to not get a new job, like ever.

Living my dream.

So, what about the title of this post? Well, it’s hair day again. And I’m bleaching again. It has grown out to where at least half of it is undyed, which means if I keep this up, I’ll never have any hair that’s been bleached a lot, thus the straw effect will be less likely to happen. That’s my hair theory, anyway.

So, enjoy this “live blogging” version of me getting my hair done. I blogged during and after the event, because, well, that’s the time I had.

Before. Roots a-plenty , though I don’t think they look all that bad.

And, Dan the hairdresser says this time he’s making it pale blue to start out. I’m pretty excited. Yep, I’m tying under the dryer. There was no blogging time earlier today!

Bleach applied. Cooking away. Looks scary in there.

I always like the white phase. This time there’s no orange! I wish I was brave enough to keep my hair white. But, to me, blue is safer. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.

Blonde bombshell.

The pastel blue color looks fantastic even just applied! It’s quite goopy and drippy. And I hope you enjoy my little wave. It’s classy. Thanks, Dan.

Mermaid time.

I enjoyed “resting” while the color cooked, but wanted to see if it really came out pastel blue. The last time it was rather dark. I got delayed getting a picture, because my fancy earrings fell on the ground. Sigh. But lo!

It’s pastel blue! Anita says it’s the color of an ice cube tray. Michele at work says it’s blue cotton candy. I like that better.

And in my Bobcat office, it’s lighter. This will be easy to maintain and fun. Life is good, other than the headache I have. It won’t stop me from book club, where we will talk about The Vanishing Half. I won’t vanish with such blue hair!

It’s weird that I now feel more comfortable with blue hair than my natural color. It’s also weird that I now very closely resemble a manic chipmunk. At least it’s a chipmunk with clean teeth.

I Still Remember How to Get to Work

Big day today. I sucked it up and went back to the corporate office in Austin today. I really want to come here more than every 6 weeks, but to do that I have to work outside the house, so Anita can concentrate.

It was weird driving there, since I hadn’t in so long. And the parking garage had only like ten cars in it. I parked on the first floor, which I never had before.

There were lots of hand sanitizer stations and signs indicating where you can and cannot stand. At least there’s coffee. Only two people in the break area, please.

I managed to find my desk in its new spot. Oh my. It’s in the middle of the building, with no natural light or privacy. At least I have a white board “wall” for now. And a big concrete pillar to look at instead of someone’s head.

What a fine “wall.” and yes, I drape things a lot.

I didn’t give myself enough time to get settled in before my first meeting, but I did it fine. See, I don’t completely suck at scrumming. and after that, I found most of my cables and got things set up to where I can work.

Another thing I suck at is minimalism. Even not using all my stuff, I gots the decor! But I need to feel safe, secure, and aesthetically well to do good work. Ah.

Man. This looks bleak. The boxes are gone, at least. It’s like a basement that’s not underground.

No doubt I can stand this until we get better seats, which I hope will happen soon. Right now I’m only the second person in my department to go back. It’s so quiet, well, except my friend Henry is back within earshot. It’s good to hear his Spanish calls again!

I guess it feels a little more normal. But safe. No one breathed on me! (You have to wear a mask except at your desk.) Maybe I’ll have fewer nightmares tonight.