Look Up!

Yes, look up and you can see all sorts of new things. I need to tell myself this often, since I spent an awful lot of my time looking DOWN, to see what kinds of plants, bugs, odd items and such are below my feet.

Pipes make a nice grid, plus bring the ever-popular “pop of color” to the ceiling in my office building.

But, by always looking down, I realize I do miss a lot, like the tin ceiling in my favorite restaurant, Dutch Towne. Or, like I found out last night, I miss the patterns cast by the mod light fixture in the place where I’ve been getting my hair cut the past few months.

The light fixture has bloomed into a flower.

It’s a good thing I looked up last night, since I won’t be going back to that location again.

I decided to see what I could see by looking up at my Austin office. It’s one of those open offices with unpainted concrete floors and no drop ceilings, so you see all the infrastructure. That’s supposed to appeal to millenials, you see. They like the industrial look, I’m told.

They’ve missed a big model train environment in these wire cages that hold all the wiring.

I have to admit you see some things that you can have fun using your imagination on. I keep wishing they’d put a model train track on these long tracks of wired that go all over the place.

Mmm, cozy pillows. Except they are full of fiberglass.

And the giant air conditioning duct that makes the very loud “white noise” we enjoy daily looks like it would make a very nice pillow.

This makes me dizzy. Maybe it’s a quilt pattern.

And while I admit that I looked straight ahead to see this, I keep wanting to turn the acoustical foam tiles in the recording studio into a game board.

So, if you are somewhere that doesn’t excite you visually, just look up! There may be a pattern, a shape, or an object that sparks your creativity right over your head.

I Can See for Miles

Sunday I needed to play tech support for my Master Naturalist and artist friend, Pamela. I love the detective work aspect of figuring out why a computer doesn’t work.

Greetings from the chubby dog statue.

I’m happy to report that I got her frozen computer unfrozen and set her up with WhatsApp so she can talk to her friend in India.

If you had binoculars, you could see the ranch house.

Then I got to have fun looking at her art-filled home and garden. One highlight was verifying that yes, you can see the Hermits’ Rest from her house.

You can also see the huge black scar across the land that a new pipeline is making. That thing goes through the whole area. At least land owners get compensated. As I recall, these companies make big efforts to put things back the way they were, judging from Lee’s dad’s old farm.

Happy faces on the deck.

After looking around outside I toured Pamela’s art studio and gallery, where there is much clay, tools, and a kiln where she makes beautiful pottery. Her work has both humor and grace to it. So, of course I love it and had to get some.

I got this one for me, since it reminds me of the labyrinth where Lee and I got married. It had been waiting a long time for the right person.

I’ll let you all know when her gallery re-opens! She’s renovating it now. You can find her work in the cute shop in Rosebud, too. Yes, Rosebud is a real town near Cameron. (Aside: I write much shorter sentences on my phone, so this text seems a little disjointed. I promise to use my computer for the next post.)

Fu dog, not by Pamela, says bye!

Like I was saying yesterday, it’s never dull around here! The people are both fun and fascinating. I’m so glad to be at the Hermits’ Rest.

Small Town Joys

What a beautiful setting to sit with Santa Kyle.

A great part of living in a small town is community theater, which Cameron is great for. Jonathan Deal and the rest of the Milam Community Theatre board have been making some changes, but it’s still fun!

We went to last night’s performance of “A Fairy Tale Christmas,” which was cute as the Dickens. Dickens is capitalized because the play mixes the Scrooge story with fairy tales. I wore my Bah Humpug sweater.

Lee and I kept introducing each other to people, my Master Naturalist friends and his Rotary friends. And we knew most of the adults in the play. The child actors were all very good, with the smallest boy showing real talent.

Mandi and her fellow pigs. Photo from Milam Community Theatre.

Mandi made a great pig, and the pigs even brought me and my sister up to dance. The highlight, though, was Mandi’s dad, playing a hip hop King Midas. Hard to explain but hilarious.

There were cookies and cocoa, plus Santa photos afterward. Kudos to the team who worked on this cute play.

Why Do I Do Stuff Like This?

I have been over-doing it in the decorating, lifting, toting, and moving department for the last week or two. I need to learn to do a few things, say “good progress, me,” and stop.

This is an old kitchen. But it’s less disgusting now. And our stuff is moved in

But no, once I get into a frenzy of decorating, unpacking, or moving furniture, I cannot stop until I feel like it looks to some unknown outsider like I’m finished.

That futon is another heavy object I should not have moved.

So today, despite having a sore back from lifting heavy objects the day before, not only did I completely decorate my new office in the old church building we bought, but I unpacked all the other office stuff, “cleaned” the kitchen (really made it less dirty), then rearranged all the furniture in the main room of the church building to look like a meeting area, an eating area, and a lounge area.

Why was I driven to make a little arrangement of random furniture?

I felt all justified when an unexpected visitor (the president of the bank who loans our business money a lot) showed up. It looks like people are working here, even though it is obviously an unrenovated space.

The lights don’t work in here, but maybe you can see the many chairs and tables I moved to make this arrangement. Not seen are boxes I moved OUT so it would look better.

My guess is that I am, at my core, a nester. I feel incomplete if the space I am in does not feel comfortable. Still, someoene MAKE ME STOP.

More on My Darned Watch

Shut me up!

My precious Apple watch, making me happy with its bright changing colors, while telling me useful stuff. I believe this is my ugliest strap.

For reasons I don’t really understand, I am still all fascinated by my Apple Watch. Besides, I need something to write about that’s not my current real fascination: the history of the old house in Cameron that we just bought. More on that later.

Awards. Ooh ahh. They motivate me.

The watch is one in a long series of fitness trackers I’ve used. While they haven’t turned me in to a lean, mean, exercise machine, I find that I’m one of those people who will put in a little extra effort “just to make the watch happy.” I was actually surprised to see how much I enjoy setting goals and making them, winning dorky “prizes,” and comparing myself to friends (though I only have one Apple Watch friend, my spouse).

Continue reading “More on My Darned Watch”

Pushing Past Fears: Party Time

The past two years have been a time for me to push past fears and try many things I haven’t wanted to do in the past. I won’t whine and whine, but there’d been a period where I lost a lot of friends and was feeling bad about it, so I was not being very social. I kept to myself and just hung out with my ranch friends and one or two people in Austin.

I have a welcoming heart, even if I’m scared to show it sometimes.

Because of this, I never had the open house I’d vowed to have when the Bobcat Lair house was finished. We had dinner with one or two friends, but that’s about it. I didn’t want to hold a party and have no one come.

Very proud that straightening up the kitchen gave me an idea of where I can display my Starbucks mug collection.

But, I meditated on it, talked to some wise people, and totally escaped my cocoon of self pity. I came to the conclusion that things just happen with friends and acquaintances, and I don’t need to try to figure out why. Instead, I need to live my life full of openness and welcoming to everybody, whether I’m their favorite person or not.

Continue reading “Pushing Past Fears: Party Time”

No Place Like Home, Really

This weekend I spent a lot of time indoors at the ranch house, because the weather was not very good. As a consequence, I spent more time than usual in the seating area part of our great room (it serves as kitchen, dining room, living room, and Lee’s office).

Even after rearranging our furniture, the room holds plenty of dogs and guests.

As I relaxed and enjoyed our candles and various dogs, it occurred to me that maybe Feng Shue has something going for it. Just making a few changes in how out furniture is arranged has increased my well being.

Lee and a dog in the “old man chair” that makes him happy and somehow makes the bedroom feel less vast and cold. Yes, I do make the bed. We just woke up.

I admit that I really never felt comfortable in many parts of the house until recently. The bedroom seemed cold and vast until Lee brought in a love seat and Big Old Man recliner. We both have nice places to sit now, and there’s plenty of dog space, too. The new window coverings also bring in needed warmth and intimacy to the space.

Continue reading “No Place Like Home, Really”

Yoj to the World!

Anita and I have a quirky tradition that I guess constitutes a family holiday joke. My family is full of them, which explains the abundance of “Christmas owls” in the house that stem from a childhood experiece my brother and I had.

We are the Griswold family of our neighborhood. There are many lights and blinking things.

Anyway, our tradition in Anita’s and my household is to have a sign that says “Yoj” instead of “Joy.” You see, I had a sign with big red letters and lights that spelled out “Joy” at my office, back when I was big into office decorating. When we moved to the new “open office” minimalist desk spaces, there was no place for it to hang, so I took it home.

I spent at least 20 minutes looking for this dang picture.
Continue reading “Yoj to the World!”

Weather Fun to Come

Me with weird hair, my kids with lots of hair, and Lee with no beard. I knitted my shawl from yarn spun by a friend.

Yesterday was Lee’s and my tenth wedding anniversary! We married late, but this one is working! I enjoyed looking over our wedding photos yesterday, so indulge me while I share them.

My attendants, all still good friends, even if I don’t see them often since I moved to the ranch. Carolyn was South, Suzanne was West, Deana was North, and Susan was East.

We had our wedding on a labyrinth at our Unitarian Universalist Church, with my attendants representing the four directions. They were all good sports about it.

My funny big kids and funny little dad.

Having my kids and my dad there meant so much to me. We were all so happy. I have the kids ties with their family tartan as a remembrance.

We were surrounded by our dearest friends, which felt great. I highly recommend getting married in the center of a circle of friends.

What about the weather?

Well, it got chilly after the sun set in 2008, but I wanted to talk about 2018!

Ooh! Can’t wait to set this up.

Proof that Lee really knows me is the gift he found for me. It’s a weather station that’s WiFi enabled! He said he thought it was quite the gift for a Master Naturalist. Smart guy.

I’m pretty excited about the data we can collect with this thing. Wind will be really interesting; it’s so windy here at the Hermits’ Rest. And this will make Lee’s rainfall statistics more accurate.

I’m now ready for ten more years of fun with the Hermit of Hermits’ Rest!

Everything Is Broken

Sometimes the stars align (or something more scientific happens) and the same thing keeps happening to lots of people. I think it’s often just that we pay attention to things that remind us of our own lives and that people like to commiserate, so it appears a lot of folks are going through the same things.

an egg plate
An intact Longaberger deviled egg plate. I got mine during my intense basket-buying phase in the 90s.

The past week, things have been breaking. On Thanksgiving, my deviled egg plate took a tumble and smashed, probably because I didn’t put it away properly. But, darn, it’s discontinued.

We also lost a coaster when it jumped off the table.

broken clock
Poor concrete-colored work clock in a very Humpty Dumpty state. Should it be put back together again or replaced?

After I talked to friends this week, they kept reporting broken objects in their own lives. And when I went to the reception area at work, there was poor Erin with a very smashed corporate clock (but it was ugly anyway).

Maybe it’s a metaphor for larger things. When something breaks, you have to decide whether it’s worth it to try to repair it, or to start all over again with something new.

It sort of reminds me of parts of the world in general today (governments, health care systems, stuff I shouldn’t go into). At least some things CAN be replaced. I want to be sure to keep the natural beauty I love safe, because our planet’s the only one we have.

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