Drowning in the To-Do List

You haven’t seen much of me in a while, and probably won’t until Friday, unless I squeeze some “me time” in. My calendar looks pretty scary, even though the all-day training on Thursday doesn’t show up. The gap in the afternoon on Thursday is for me to drive to Cameron so I can do two MORE meetings.

Goodness, that’s not much time to rest.

I have been trying to remind myself where I am and what I’m doing by using some of my Starbucks mugs that say “Austin” on them. I hope that helps, at least a little.

I am HERE,

But, I have to say that my mind is as cluttered as my desk, as I think about the newsletter I have to put together for a nonprofit I help with, the Master Naturalist presentation I need to finish putting together, and all those t-shirts I’m supposed to make into tote bags. I regret taking last weekend off to watch the rain!

I do like my keyboard, other than the broken “n” key, which I will blame all my typos for.

Hey, have a good rest of YOUR week folks. I will take some time to read other people’s blogs, and I hope to have a book report for you by the end of the week on a book that combines fiction with naturalists!

We Had a Little Spring. Now Chilly.

My friends the blue-eyed grass have returned.

Well, shoot, just when I was really getting into long walks and frolicking amid the wildflowers, a late cold front has driven me indoors. Yesterday, we hosted an event at 11 am at our office. The front showed up right as all the attendees were coming in or trying to find us. A big wind and brief rain surprised everyone, and blew away my meeting signs. March decided not to go out like a lamb after all!

We have a patch of pink evening primrose that is nearly white. It’s striking against the green grass.

But, I did get a lot of flower-viewing, pet walking, and iNaturalist uploading done before the front! It’s a great year for flowers, thanks to the winter rains, so I know I’ll be out finding more to share soon.

Yellow Flowers

The wild and crazy collard green in bloom.

Here’s something I’ve been grappling with lately. Many of the flowers that are blooming right now are yellow. They’re just beautiful, but when I try to photograph them, they are all washed out, making it hard to see details. Luckily, the collard greens I let go to seed (I ate off this ONE plant all winter) look pretty good. Perhaps the blue sky helped.

Poor little glowing flower.

But this ragwort, like many other yellow ones I’ve photographed, looks like a bright blur. I have tried adjusting the color on my phone, but no luck. Suggestions? Get a real camera! Yes, I know.

Just a giant dog, making ripples in the pond!

I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon. I know the dogs are, too. Alfred had a fine time yachting around in the pond on Friday, but I don’t think he’ll try today!

Take care, friends, and don’t forget to like, share, and comment!

Busy Little Volunteer

Once again, I’ve over-volunteered, but I’m okay with it.

Dog Love

Last night I went to an organizatioinal meeting where a group of local animal lovers got together to figure out ways that we can support animals in need in Milam County. You may recall that almost a year ago I adopted our precious blue-eyed boy, Carlton, from the Cameron Pound, and while their staff is doing all they can to protect the lost/mistreated dogs in the city, we know there’s a wider need throughout the county.

Jean Schara tells us about the work she’s been doing to organize an animal support group in this area.

A few hard-working people took the initiative to look into forming a nonprofit organization to support all county-wide efforts to help animals, which led to the meeting. Jean Schara, who led the meeting, is a knowledgeable and organized person with a good head on her shoulders, which led me to agree to volunteer to serve on the board with her and four other energetic people.

Look forward to more on this organization when we have more to tell!

Activism Love

I also volunteered to host a group watching the campaign launch of a national political candidate. That’s brave in these days and times, I think. We had a lot of fun, though, and made new friends. My main triumph was managing to get the projector to work AND scanning the sign-in sheets to send off. At least so far, this former techie still has her skills.

LLLove

I hope I don’t screw this up. I’ve already delayed getting in touch with people who said they’d help me out! But I can do it!

Third, I’ve been working on a website and newsletter for the Friends of La Leche League, which is a group of people who want to support that organization. It’s nice, because those of us who went through some hard times there can get back together with friends and remember why we joined in the first place: to support each other on our parenting journeys. It’s been healing for me, so if you are one of my LLL friends from the past, please consider joining us.

Of course I still have my work for the Earth Day event for the Master Naturalists to get done, so I have a full volunteer plate!

Book Report Time

Ever since I joined the neighborhood book club, I’ve been reading more books that other people might consider reading. (Usually, I read really dry nonfiction that mostly only I would care about.) But, today I will share the past couple of weeks’ worth of reading. It’s better than ranting about Facebook and the internet, but will get fewer hits, I wager.

Book Club Book

This month, we chose my favorite genre, the memoir, as our book. Becoming, by Michelle Obama, had everything in it I like in a memoir, including figuring out how she ended up where she is, stories about interesting mentors, and from what I can tell, honesty. I always like it when I find things in common with others, and there were a few times when good ole Miche said something like it was coming out of my own mouth. It’s worth reading, especially if you’re familiar with Chicago and can enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Continue reading “Book Report Time”

Why Is Facebook So Happy? Or Is It?

I have a Facebook friend (I’ll call her MR, since those are her initials) whose wisdom I admire very much. I’d like to share some of her thoughts and add my own. She recently posted:

As I scroll the feed and see endless perfection and happiness, I reflect on my childhood, youth, teens, to adulthood and reaffirm to myself how unrealistic and unhealthy social media can be if taken literally. This is molding our children[;] many false beliefs and visuals are creating a society stricken with major depression, high anxiety and extremely low self esteem.

Faccebook post, March 11, 2019
Come sit a while in my favorite chair, since I have a lot to say again today.

This friend has recently experienced the loss of a young adult child, and has shared her grief experience and thoughts about her son very openly and honestly. I really appreciate this, because I’ve learned a lot, and her perspective has helped me with my own young adult children and their issues (that’s right; my children have issues). She continues:

As I continue to walk through my life, experiencing the rolling hills, twists, turns and storms, I’m realizing and confirming it’s through my imperfections and dysfunction that helps define who I am.

MR, on Facebook

Any of you who know me personally will recognize that sentiment as something I’ve conveyed many times in one way or another. I firmly believe that if you never screw up, your path to wisdom and inner peace will be long and hard. We grow through our mistakes, learn to forgive and accept forgiveness through them, and gain a sense of community by sharing what we learn.

Continue reading “Why Is Facebook So Happy? Or Is It?”

Get Ready for the Kitchen Witches!

Hello again, friends and readers. I’ve been asked to occaasionally blog about the goings-on at the Milam Community Theater group, which I’m very happy to do. My hope is that those of you in and around Milam County will come join us for a performance or volunteer to help out in some way.

A Sneak Peak

These ladies look like they mean business.

Last night, I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek into the MCT’s latest production, the Kitchen Witches, a darned funny play by Caroline Smith, starring Mona Butala and Martha Lee. They are joined by Jonathon Deal, who is also the director, and the trio make for some fun moments. (For more on the play and actors, visit their Playbill page, which has some good photos and information.)

Mandi pays attention to the action on stage so she can make the lights and sound seem effortless. She even has a cameo appearance in the play.

I was up in the balcony-level booth with my friend Mandi. the Queen of Sound and Lighting for the production. I’d never been upstair at the Lester and Beatrice Williams Event Center before, so I enjoyed tripping around on steps and checking out the equipment. They have a really good sound board, and some high-tech new speakers, which make a big difference in the sound.

Modernity.

Mandi was kind enough to give me a tour backstage, so I got to see the new wall system they have, and even to glimse into the glamorous dressing rooms the actors share. I was kidding about glamorous, but it is nice and clean.

Action!

Here’s the set from way up high. I love the floors.

The most fun was being the only actual audience member at the dress rehearsal. I was able to enjoy the experience and watch Mandi expertly bring in music and lights exactly when needed (mostly). I also was impressed at how the stage hands brought in and removed props quickly and efficiently (mostly).

The kitchen witches engaging in snappy comebacks, of which there are many in the play.

The set is really a good kitchen (it has a genuine kitchen island, from the kitchen in the building!), and the actors really are enjoying their parts. I’m always impressed by how they not only memorize lines, but come across as so authentic and genuine. And funny. Don’t forget that. I kept laughing, even though I was trying to be quiet.

Thanks to the team for letting me sit in.

Hey, do you want to see it, too?

Well, of course you want to see this play! As always, MCT productions are among the highlights of life in Cameron, and this is no exception. This post is probably going out a bit late for you to make the dinner theater opening night tonight, but you have plenty more opportunities this weekend and next weekend (performances are March 8-10 and 15-17). Check the website or Facebook page for exact times and prices.

Plays are at 408 S. Columbus Avenue, Cameron. There’s a sign pointing to the Williams Event Center from US 190, if you need help finding it. The turmoff is right near where the feed store used to be (that’s a country way of giving directions).

And you know, if you are reading this after March 2019, don’t despair! MCT always has something in the works. Upcoming productions include Peter Pan (youth play) and Driving Miss Daisy, among others.

So please attend a production, sponsor them if you can (our company is a sponsor!), or even try out and be a part of a production.

It’s my birthday

That means I’ve been busy hanging around with family and, to be honest, busy at work.

But! I’m going on a fun jaunt and will have things to share later today and tomorrow.

Italian cream cake. Thanks, grocery store.

In the meantime, I wish I could have gotten photos of the hundreds of cedar waxwings at work today. Wow. The most I ever saw all together!

Birthday wine. Very, very fruity.

Dreary Daze

Sunset yesterday at least had a hint of pink. This is the front pond.

Once again we’re going through a dreary time. Since that one nice day last week, it’s been chilly and cloudy or foggy for days. It sure doesn’t feel like Texas.

Today’s sunset looked no more cheery in color. So much mist. This is the back pond.

But, of course it is. You just never know how it will be this time of year. It probably will even freeze again next week.

Colorful blooms from outside of Rockdale.

The most color I saw today was at fellow Master Naturalist Catherine’s house, where she had made us a fragrant flower arrangement as we planned the Rockdale Earth Day celebration for next month.

I guess all my dogs and I will curl up while I read my nonfiction book. I’ve written blog posts and helped my Friends of LLL coworker with WordPress already. Time to relax, friends.

Let’s Read Nonfiction

You might not be surprised to learn that I mostly read nonfiction (when not reading my many magazine subscriptions). I do this, because I really love to learn new things, especially how the natural world works and what makes living organisms tick.

For example, two of my past favorite books were an excellent history of the pencil and a book called Salt, which showed the importance of salt to commerce and history.

I also really like memoirs and biographies, so I’m really happy that my book club chose Becoming, by Michelle Obama as our next assigned reading. My quick recommendations for this genre from recent years include the memoirs/biographies of Keith Richards, Warren Zevon, Bruce Springsteen, and Sally Field (see, not all of them are musicians).

What am I reading now?

At the moment, I’m in the middle of the book you see here, Underground. It’s Will Hunt’s first book, but what a fun one! He goes all over the world looking at caves, mines, catacombs, and tunnels. Each chapter is very different, but always fascinating.

I learned a lot about what’s underneath Paris, and right now am learning a lot more about the significance of red ochre to civilizations around the world, while Hunt visits an ancient site in Australia and learns of how holy it is to the people of the region.

If you’re not a sufferer of second-hand claustrophobia, I recommend it!

I just received my copy of Never Home Alone, in which Rob Dunn makes it abundantly clear that you can’t clean a house well enough to eliminate all your uninvited “neighbors.” I can’t wait to learn all about spiders, crickets, dust mites, and their teeny-tiny cohorts!

This book really drives home the point that you can’t escape “nature” by staying indoors! It appears quite plausible that there can be “indoor master naturalists” who just focus inside the house. Hmm, with my never-ending battle against the moths in my kitchen cabinets and the yearly cricket invasions, I may already be one of those.

Oakleaf hydrangea. I love the contrast between last year’s purple leaves and the newly emerging ones that are so pale green that they are almost white.

Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments! As a reward, here are a couple of photos of some beautiful new spring growth.

Work redbud. If only you could hear the birds and smell the sweet olive!

PS: Baby hawks should be on the way! Mating was observed. They have no shame. Of course. They’re birds.

That Dog

Just a funny little Vlassic story.

I’m friendly, that’s all.

This morning I had to gas up the car before heading to Cameron. I pulled into the bay, got out, and Vlassic jumped out right after me.

I was worried he’d get hit by a car at the very busy station.

But no. He ran around the car at the pump next to me, which had also just pulled up, and jumped into that car. He was ready to go.

The man at the other pump laughed and laughed. He said, “He must have known I have a dog that looks just like that!”

How dare those men park here!

Right now we are waiting for Lee at the scenic Buckholts State Bank, where Vlassic is focusing his laser vision on people who have the nerve to park next to us.

Scenic Buckholts State Bank, as seen through a wet windshield.

(Weather report sidebar: yes, it’s raining again. We sure enjoyed that one sunny day this week.)

I need a knife.

When the people leave, he’s trying to break into my giant box of egg cartons.

BottomsUpOrange

All Things Crochet!

Crissi McDonald

Heartline Horse Training

sara annon

seeking the middle path

Tonya's Tall Tales

My life with horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and cows.

rfljenksy - Practicing Simplicity

Legendary Whining and Dining World Tour.

The Backyard Horse Blog

All about keeping horses at home

Hazel's Animal Adventures

My life on the ranch.

Katie Zapfel

Children's book author. Mom blogger.

365 Knit Socks

I knit a lot of socks and I make a few other things

recoveringpornaddictcom.wordpress.com/

Coach, author and educator

The daily addict

The daily life of an addict in recovery

Just Vee

A regular gal who likes to stop and smell the flowers.

Happy Heidi's Happenings

My life in the country.

BrownesPups

A family of dog lovers, owners & breeders since 2015

The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

panic-stricken mountain adventuring!

Something Over Tea

Scribbles from my notebook

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Heccateisis's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Upstate Gardener

The Upstate Gardening blog with Gardening Information, Recipies, Home Improvement Ideas, and Crafts Projects to make your life more beautiful and healthy.

Read, Learn, Live

Look closely around and about you, and you will see all forms of beauty.

Nature And Photography

Bring Nature Into Life

AT PATHO

no streetlights, just star light

Words and Stitches

woolgathering at its best

The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

iRoseStudios.com

Art Studio Dumfriesshire

The Creative Pixie

eat up some crafty goodness with this creative mama

Writings of a Furious Woman

My thoughts, sentiments, and scribbles on womanhood

Paws Bark

Dogs Leave Paw Print in your Heart

Yeshua's Child Art

Art that Expresses the Heart

Chicken Coop Plans

Build Your Chicken a Home

Leaf And Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Cathartic Tendencies

motivational posts, rants, and stories!

TotallyTexasGifts.com

Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.