Blessing of the Animals – And a Surprise for Penney

I just got home from another fun Milam Touch of Love event, the Blessing of the Animals, which is a yearly celebration at many Episcopal churches in the US. Today the one in Cameron was at All Saints Episcopal, a church attended by a lot of my friends. They’d invited MTOL this year, and we really appreciated it.

Fifi is very friendly.

Our group brought two sweet dogs looking for homes, Henry and Fifi. The kittens Jean S. is fostering were also there, and darn, they are cute.

This sweet dog is all scarred, but so well trained and sweet, you’d never know she’d had a hard past.

I brought Vlassic along, as an example of the dogs that are dumped out in the country, which shows the need for helping animals out here. I was really proud of how well he behaved. He played a lot with Henry, who was thrilled to have a friend to play with, though he eventually wore V. out.

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Still Sunset Sounds

Panting of dogs


Cicadas get loud then stop


Lawn mower in front field

Toenails on concrete

Dog door slaps

Football left on television


Cars far in the distance

Loud mooing

Cicadas cicadas cicadas

Dog barks, another property

Different cows

Egret squawk

Cardinal chirps

Big dog barks on front porch

Crickets start up

Thunder? Plane.

Dove wings


Distant dog chasing a car

Lawn mower returning to garage

Crickets and cows

Doing Good at Feeling Fine

This whole thing where I work really hard to live in the moment (ruining my previous hobbies of “pre-worrying” and “dwelling on how things could have gone) has really been working out. Little things keep happening and I just look at them as bumps in the road as I sail down my merry path. And, hey, look, today’s tarot card even shows my merry path!

It is always fun to me when I’m subconsciously thinking of something, and my reading literally draws a picture of it. Archetypes amuse me.

My quest to enjoy the moment led to me just sitting at last night’s high school football game and listening to the drama and pageantry, without worrying about winning or losing. It was just pleasant to be around nice people doing small-town things.

In fact, the current plan is to go with the lady who sits next to me at the games and watch the Away game next Friday. She is a whiz at football, so almost as fun to watch a high school game with as my kids’ friend Wes, who analyzed the games from his trombone spot. He’s now a high-school football coach, so his dream came true, even if his parents didn’t want him playing the game. I’m so glad to make new friends.

Football action. Note how many people the other team had in the stands. They were from a LONG way (Katy, Texas). They won State last year, and we were the only team that beat them. I hope it’s that way for them this year, too.

On my way home I got to see a huge owl eating a kill, then flying off when my car approached [hn hn – Vlassic typed that by laying his head on the keyboard]. Then I found a big spider in the garage, but Vlassic scared it off before I could get a picture.

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What? Capitalization Rules Don’t Fascinate You?

We love to do research

My friends, my colleagues, and I have a rousing good time whenever one of us is stumped by a spelling, grammar, or punctuation rule. (Have I mentioned before that I am an editor/tech writer by day?) The amount of gusto with which we throw ourselves into figuring out the right answer has got to look funny to passersby at work (luckily at home no one can see us).

Recently, there have been a few capitalization questions that have come up, mostly because we are revising some old content and adding new headings. Every once in a while something looks “funny” to one of us.

Even coffee doesn’t help you sometimes.

Luckily, we solved most of the first mysteries by going to our preferred style guides. Microsoft disagreed with Chicago Manual of Style on hyphenated words in sentence case, but since we are a software company, Microsoft won.

Thus, Hyphenated-Word Capitalization Looks Like This

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Snapshots of Life in Austin

So much has gone on this week. It’s great when there’s lots of fun things to do, because time just flies.

What I wish I looked like in 1976.

Anita and I enjoyed the movie Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice on Tuesday night. Here’s a review, if you want to know more. I pretty much breathed along with her during the whole movie, thanks to having completely memorized every album of hers up to Pirates of Penzance. And both Trio albums.

She made such a huge contribution to music, got so many songwriters famous, and has done so much good work in her life. I also feel a kinship with her, since we both no longer can sing well (I don’t have Parkinson’s, just “broke” my upper range). The film is very enjoyable, anyway.

They even had logo balloons.

Yesterday was a LOT of fun. I’ll pretend it’s a totally typical day when I’m in Austin. It started out with the company where I work launching a new brand identity. We got some merchandise, and hooray, they replaced our name plates so you can actually read them! That’s right, my cube has a picture of a Marine playing the tuba. Yours should, too.

So cheerful.

Then, the excitement continued as I finally got to take my green car in to get repaired after the thing attacked it from the sky. The repair shop is so efficient and coordinates so well with the rental place that it took less than an hour in total. And I got a nice rental, an Audi SUV or whatever it is. It was easy to figure out and has most of the things I want in a car, so I’m really pleased. Last time I got a Jeep thing that was not fun at all.

It’s cute and peppy. And black. It’s Rowdy the Rental Audi. Get it?

I worked from home for a while, then made a nice dinner using my fancy red sauce from the Italian restaurant. I got fresh linguine, shaved parmesan cheese, a nice salad, and some bread. Then I set the table in our breakfast room, which we call the sun room. It looked so cute!

Such a cheerful table with the Fiesta ware and old tablecloth.

My son and his girlfriend joined us, and we had a most pleasant, relaxed meal full of laughs and stories. That’s the way it should be.

Photos from our neighbor, Maria.

This morning, Anita and I went out to walk the dogs and ran into most of the neighbors. We had a dog party! What a great start to the day.

What a cool sport.

Plus, lunch with a coworker reminded me that we have some cool pink Turk’s caps in the courtyard. Wow!

Happy me. Happy dog.

I’m choosing to savor all the good times as hard as I possibly can.

All the Best Intentions

Here’s another nature story from one of my friends. This one comes from our Austin neighbor, Ruth, also known as “the other Ruth,” because there are two women named Ruth in our book club. She lives just down the road and goes walking with Anita many mornings. Ruth always has a good story, and here’s the most recent one.

Yesterday, Ruth was in her yard checking on the plants and such, when she realized there was a nice-looking frog stuck in her swimming pool. Now, she is as much of a nature lover as any of us naturalists, and she had a good idea that the pool chemicals weren’t ideal from frogs to thrive in. Plus, there isn’t much to eat in there.

So, she decided to rescue it. She easily captured it and placed it in a plastic container. She figured that it would not be a good idea to just let it go, since it would have trouble finding a water source in our drought-stricken neighborhood (that’s why Anita’s toad friend loves the fact that she waters the plants on her balcony so well).

It’s a leopard frog, though I am not sure which one. They sure are pretty. Photo courtesy of Ruth.

The idea quickly came to Ruth that she could take it to nearby Bull Creek, which does still have some water running through it. So, she put the frog in her car and drove it down to the creek.

She carefully took it over to the creek’s edge, and happily set it free. Off it swam. For about five seconds. Frogs aren’t the only things that live in creeks. Apparently there are fish in there big enough to eat frogs.

Well, at least the frog died happy, and the fish got a meal. We give Ruth lots of props for her good intentions and kindness to the creatures of our community. And, like Ruth and Anita, I prefer to believe the frog escaped the snatches of the fish, and swam away, bruised but happy. She didn’t see the frog get swallowed. There’s always hope.

Fun with Foxes

Today we have a guest photographer! My coworker, Jen Clower-Brown, has been lucky enough to spend the summer watching a family of foxes grow up in her neighborhood north of Austin.

As you can imagine, there has been much cuteness and beauty as she captured images of them playing in her back yard and climbing her fence. Jen reports that these images are the result of much time sitting quietly on her back porch, waiting for them to show up!

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