Great Little Things in a Little Texas Town

Happy Lunar New Year!

Like I was talking about yesterday, I’m trying to take notice of little things that bring joy. I think it’s important, even when you know perfectly well that the bigger things require attention. I just don’t want the scary stuff consuming me, because that would paralyze me and I’d get nothing done.

So, here are a few things that have sparked joy in me over the last day or so.

Lee’s future office. Ahh.

Of course the Pope Residence renovation is bringing joy! We have master masons working to shore up the brick on the interior, and the rest of the walls have been revealed. Want more pictures? I put some up on the Hearts Homes and Hands blog.

There are a couple of small town signs that I enjoyed yesterday, too. One was put out by the local bank. It’s so smart of them! And still, it has small-town charm. I edited it to say “office” and deleted “drive-thru” and hung it on our office door.

Keep our town healthy!

This one has to be my favorite. Kathleen and I walked to the Bistro to get our Friday wine, and I glanced over at the Italian restaurant. I thought, hmm, someone must be hanging out there and annoying people. Then I looked on the bench. I had to take THAT picture!

Bad kitty. Can’t you read?

It’s Ricky, the town cat, owned communally by all the downtown merchants. According to my friend Jean, he’s not only loitering, but soliciting pats! There’s a happy Cameron kind of thing, right?

Other things that have kept me perky are just things. We got new sticky notes and magnetic clips to give to clients at Hearts Homes and Hands. I think they came out great, which is always a relief when you pay money for things.

I didn’t make any typos!
There’s a hand that’s been working on stuff.

And the last thing is I got my nails done and honored Imbolc, my favorite time of the Celtic calendar. I put Brighid’s sacred flame on them. That will make me smile for the next couple of weeks. It wasn’t easy for Tina to do this, so I appreciate the effort, even if I’m the only one who really knows what it’s about.

And what else?

What the heck! From @stephenrx7 via Twenty20

We are going to go get CHICKENS for the new coop today! And food for the old chickens, who get to stay right where they are. As you can guess, the ladies in my family are pretty darned excited.

Let’s hope they get along with the dogs. There will be some training involved!

Why MUST I Blind People with My Brightness?

Today I’m a vision in yellow and pink, with sparkly shoes, a shiny necklace and earrings and my crazy sunglasses. At least I washed my hair, so it’s not mega-coral/pink.

Since I hit the big 6-0 with a splat in 2018, I’ve gotten brighter and shinier. My hair has been flaming red, orange, pink, and all colors in between. I have quite a collection of sparkly shoes. I have shiny nails, shiny jewelry, bling-y tops, and some pretty interesting glasses. In some photos, I stick out like a heavily bruised sore thumb.

The response, at least to my face, has been surprisingly positive. Random people at work tell me I always cheer them up, or that I’m their outfit coordination role model. I get shouts of, “Love Your Hair” from people I’d never have suspected would love my hair, based on their appearance.

Why, Suna, Why?

I have always enjoyed choosing clothing and putting together outfits, which conflicts mightily with my urge to wear a t-shirt and jeans every day (I just coordinate accessories, I guess). I’ve found that looking at my happy clothing cheers me up when I’m in long meetings, dwelling on how ill all my friends seem to be, or listening to the news.

No doubt my love of fire, hearth and home and my attraction to the Celtic goddes/saint Brigid has something to do with my love of shiny.

If I look deep in my heart, I’m sure a part of it is enjoying the positive attention, because, let’s face it, short, chubby, mousy women with graying hair and a tendency toward sarcasm tend to not get a lot of it. But, I’m inevitably surprised by attention, because really, the brightness is to help ME keep positive, look on the bright side of life, and share my internal peace and joy with the outside world.

My bright yet windowless office.

My Austin home is also really colorful, and it makes me happy to be there. My book club members and friends who see my photos often comment on how the bright colors reflect me and Anita and make the Bobcat Lair house feel so homey. All the color in the ranch house is in my office, but I make up for it at my office. I like to be around things that are bright. They remind me of how much inner light I feel shining within.

Really. The last two years I have felt so much more at peace with myself, at home in my body, and secure in my place in life, that I just want to show it. Sure, I get upset occasionally by world events or situations beyond my control, but I’m doing a lot better at focusing on things I CAN control, surrounding myself with people who DO care about me, and letting other things sort themselves out. Not trying to save the world, help others fix themselves (unless requested), or sending all my energy OUT has helped me find a lot of inner peace.

It shines through.

What Helps You Shine?

You don’t have to dress like Elton John on a worldwide tour to project a blinding shininess to the world. Just taking the time to notice what makes you happy, and perhaps sharing it with the world is a good start.

For example, today I woke up to more sparkles in the world, as the sun shone on heavily dewed fields. As I was driving out of my driveway, my breath was taken away by the color of the bare river willow trees along the arroyo. Everything looked shining and orange (like one of my outfits, ha). I didn’t get a picture of it, but I found this one that really evokes how I felt:

Peace among the orange willows, by @loreke76 via Twenty20.

Share how you shine, how you would like to shine, and what makes you happy. Give me a comment here or on Facebook, share on Twitter, Instagram, or email. Just walk around and be your shiny self. THAT is something we can all do to make the world better, inside and out.

Little Yellow Puffs of Cheer

Thanks, Folks

Here’s what I have for my supportive friends, readers, and even critics: Love.

I got great comfort from all the people who came up to me in person or wrote on Facebook to say “Wow” about my post from yesterday. I’m really grateful to the original author of the explanation of political liberalism in the US, Lori Gallagher Witt, who wrote it a couple of years ago. It just struck a nerve in me yesterday. I just want to be clear that the part at the bottom of my post was not written by me. And no, it was not written to convey any implication that if you have different beliefs from mine, you are a bad person. If it made you feel that way, examine your belief system.

Welcome Rain

You can’t keep a happy person down, though, and yesterday brought me many reminders that all is not gloom and doom. The best thing was that we finally got a GOOD rain, after many days of fog, drizzle, and damp. I can’t wait to see how the tanks/ponds at the ranch are looking.

Our bird tree now is full of Valentine hearts, which brightened up the rainy day!

Yellow Puffs

And during a long day at work, filled with meetings, brainstorming, and thinking, I looked out the window. I had to mute my microphone and tell Craig, sitting next to me, to look out. There, in the bare cedar elm trees, was a flock of goldfinches. It’s not a huge surprise, given that this is the time of year we see them in Cameron, and I happen to know the area where I work is right on a migration path. But still.

Thanks, Jason, for the happy, if wet, birds!

Those yellow males and their flitting green-gray female companions literally brought puffs of sunshine to a rainy, rainy day. We watched them jumping around and fluffing their feathers for a long time (though I did go back to concentrating on my call). I looked a lot in iNaturalist for what exactly these could be, and I think it’s lesser goldfinches, due to the amount of black on the males. I’ll upload a photo and see.

Jen wondered if they could be yellow-bellied siskins, but they live mostly in South America. Goldfinches are siskins, also.

I’m sharing my coworker Jason’s photos, since his came out better than mine. That courtyard is just a whirlwind of bird action!

Ending on a Good Note

Last night we were the hosts of the neighborhood book club, in which we discussed Ragtime. It was great to see the neighbors who weren’t sick or out of town (about half of them). We’re all different, of course, but so supportive of each other’s ups and downs.

Vlassic had been cuddling with Ruth, but when the camera showed up, he had to show us his little tooth.

In addition to the book, we talked about how being “old” just creeps up on us, then suddenly doctors are taking your age into account before procedures, you’re needing to get things replaced or lifted. Everyone was in agreement that they weren’t old in their heads!

To me, community is what will hold me together during the hard times we’re experiencing. That’s probably what held our ancestors together for tens of thousands of years, too. Our neighborhood never wants anyone to move, even though we know some of us must. It feels good to feel a part of something warm and loving.

Bright Beginnings

And get this! Today dawned bright and beautiful. It was as nice to see the sun this morning as it was to welcome the rain yesterday. It’s all got its place. As I left to take Vlassic on his morning walk, I was enthralled by shining droplets of water on the “cedar” trees by the deck.

Beauty in the dreaded ashe juniper!

I hope you enjoy my pictures. Of course, by the time I got out the phone to take them, the sun had moved. But, it was still a shiny greeting for the day.

The view from the Bobcat Lair deck is always nice.

Go thank a member of YOUR community for keeping you sane!

It’s Just Not Vlassic’s Week

I feel sad for my little black buddy Vlassic right now. It was bad enough that he ate foam rubber and it came back out on both ends. But no, it has not ended there.

I’m safe out here with Alfred.

Yesterday, Lee left for the office around noon, as usual. He shut the door to the upstairs like he usually does, so that certain white dogs (Carlton) can’t find his shoes or random foam rubber cushions and gnaw away at them. Unfortunately, Vlassic was still up there, snuggled under the covers.

He ended up being there until Kathleen and I came home from dinner. Poor boy! As you can imagine, his still-delicate digestive system did not make it through that time. I’m relieved (pun intended) that he chose to “go” on one of my Jacob-sheep rugs rather than furniture (thought I’d have preferred the tile in the bathroom).

Note that I’m outside and the other dogs are IN.

Of course, I didn’t know that until I went into the closet this morning. Before that, Vlassic had his morning slumber RUDELY interrupted by good old Penney, who’d been behaving fine for the past month or so. Vlassic was right next to me, and Penney decided that’s where SHE wanted to be (she’d been fine there earlier, when Vlassic was between my legs). They exploded into a ball of frenzied dog action, right on ME (I did get a cut on my hand, but not worthy of photography).

I’ll just stay out here, thanks. Glad it stopped raining.

Vlassic ran off screaming, and spend the next few minutes yipping and trembling. But, he is not hurt. A lot of drama for no hurt except to me!

Mmm. Appetizing.

I did not enjoy having to clean all the pee and poop off my lovely sheepskin this morning. That thing sure gets heavy when wet. But, once it dries and I go shake off the rest of the dirt, it will look way better. Maybe I should wash the other one? I think yes.

The other one. It’s so cute.

By the Way

Yesterday I wrote about issues with restaurants and other businesses in our small town. I got the good news (right after I posted) that the Bush’s Chicken will re-open soon! The Sonic now has a for-sale sign, so all the people who have ideas for what to do with it can fight each other off to make the dreams come true.

I vote for coffee shop, so I can pick it up on my way into the office.

Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses

Now that I think Pickle and Vlassic are over their foam-eating issues, I can return to other topics. One that has especially interested me is how people in and around Cameron feel about the customer service mentality in the area. I may have mentioned that a couple days ago, Lee wrote a blog post about why Cameron has such a hard time keeping restaurants open.

Lee’s photo of the former Sonic, now up for sale.

Usually, our blog posts and Facebook business page posts get between 100-200 views/hits each. Not this one. The Facebook one has 2500 views and 14 shares. Mandi said the one on her page also got lots of shares. The website stats look hilarious. There were 1500 hits that day, which made the previous week look totally flat.

So, yeah, Lee’s thoughts on this topic struck a nerve. I’ve been hanging around Cameron for just nine years now, but I’ve seen so many places open and close right up. One has done it at least four times (I’m not naming names, just noting facts). When I talked to a former cafe owner, she said people would just walk off their jobs or not show up because they didn’t feel like it. Turnover was huge. Just a week or two ago we went to a local place where only the cashier had showed up, so she was trying to wait tables. It didn’t go well.

Continue reading “Ups and Downs of Small-Town Businesses”

The Yuck Side of Dog Ownership (and more)

The dog part is coming, honest.

How Am I Eating?

I’m trying really hard not to get immersed in the news, so I’m filling my mind with more important things, like, um, good nutrition! Yes! I try to cook a meal for Anita at least once a week, since she’s not a “cooker.” Last night I found some non-wheat pasta with quinoa, corn, and chickpea flour. I cooked it. I combined an organic tomato sauce with black beans and some kind of re-constituted Chinese mushrooms (labeled “fungus” on the package).

It looks festive with some pumpkin seeds on top.

Does that sound weird? Yes. But it was good. The pasta does not pass for beautiful semolina pasta, but it has a reasonable texture and should make my triglycerides happy.

Continue reading “The Yuck Side of Dog Ownership (and more)”

I Think I Need to Rest

I don’t think I’ve just done nothing since last Wednesday. I’m so glad to be sitting in my living room in Austin with Anita, with my honeysuckle whiskey. Not in a meeting.

Who is sleeping through my meeting?

Today I was still in Cameron, so I met with Lee and Kathleen about Hearts Homes and Hands. The dogs helped. There I found out my office is the old storage room. That will be fun.

I ran from there to move the horses back to their usual pasture, since I got home too late from the hospital last night (my sister is recovering just fine).

Alfred takes care of my sis.

Next I met with Mandi about our little event venue, since it’s now getting bookings. Then I worked a while. Then a meeting with a coworker that happens weekly. Then met with our contractor on the Pope residence. That was fun.

I got home, exhausted. Looked at email. Oh…there’s a Friends of LLL board meeting. There, I volunteered to be secretary since we only have four members temporarily.

By the way, the Christmas branch is now a Valentine branch.

Hooray. I then got to drive like crazy to Austin to get to my visit with the ole therapist where I said I’m fine but too busy. After that I tried to buy sheets for our weird Sleep Number Bed that raises up. Nope. Went to the wrong one of 800 mattress stores in Austin.

While I was writing this, three people needed me on Messenger. I am a failed Hermit. And my eyes are tired.

Penney had really tired eyes.

Tomorrow? Ha! Two stressful meetings and one lovely chiropractor appointment. And time to walk at lunch. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday have meetings in the evening. I think next Sunday will be my next day of rest.

Carlton says get some rest.

I hope the fog dies off by then. It was foggy almost all day today! And honest, I enjoy everything I do!

What are YOU up to? Get some rest.