Tired of Tiring Tire Repairs

So, I’ve had to get two new tires in the past few months, and now Lee had his own tire surprise. As he was turning onto the main road in Cameron, he heard a noise and lost ten pounds of air pressure.

What the heck?

He made it to the tire store before it lost all its air. We were all surprised by the photo above. How did a nut driver get into his tire? It’s so big. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something this big get it. Lee says it must have been sticking up at just the right angle. That poor man has sure had a lot of breakdowns and such lately.

The culprit.

At least it could be repaired. I hope it’s a good one, because I have to drive the Tahoe to Austin tomorrow so I can put stuff in it from the Bobcat house. There’s no more room in the garage for things the stager rejects.

That house has got to go on the market! I’m sorta scared to go in there in case I might muss something up.

I’d rather be with Penney running around in the empty pool.

Not really looking forward to the last two days at work. I’ll miss my desk, the courtyard, and the coffee machines.

Things Have Improved, Laptop-wise

It has been a long time since I got a new laptop for myself. I’d been getting along with the one from work and a Surface, but it ended up just being easier to use the work one, since most of my stuff is web-based.

But, I realized I needed something new with the new job, because it’s not going to last all that long and I’ll just use it when I am working (maybe that will keep me from answering work email and messages when I’m not working, since I’m no longer in management).

So, I got myself another large laptop (I just LIKE the big ones), and it showed up the next day. Today I had time to set it up (and my hands aren’t shaking so much from the drama around me). I tell you what, I was really surprised to find out how easy it is now to get all up and running on a new system.

The computer just talked to me and told me what to do, then I logged on to my Microsoft and Google accounts…and boom, there was all my stuff. I didn’t have to install anything, look up a million passwords, or anything like that. Things just work. I guess they learned something from the Apple computers.

I have created an awkward corner in my office/den. but I can easily work on two different computers now!

The new screen is really nice, and I don’t have to wear my computer glasses to use it, at least for reading email and blogging. That’s nice. The camera is not as good as the fancy one I use on the other system, so I’ll probably switch that. Otherwise, I think I did a good job. I didn’t get the snazziest one, but not a generic one either. It’s just right.

I still need to find one of my many “spare” mice, or mouses, because I still hate those touchpad. But, I do have the touch screen option, and I love those. Oh, and I temporarily made myself an el-shaped desk, using my sad old secretary. Eventually I’m going to have a better two-computer setup, but this will do!

Here I am, writing this blog post.

Now, to go deal with stuff. Honest, I’m not even the one dealing with the stuff. I’m really, really grateful for family and friends right now.

Weirdest Day Ever

Sure, it’s been a weird couple of weeks for me. I’ve not shared most of it. Lots isn’t mine to share. But today. Wow. I literally was left with my mouth hanging open a couple of times.

I spent some time on the porch sorta glazed over, watching hummingbirds. They are monotone, because that’s how I feel.

I got a new laptop of my own, so I won’t be relying on work machines, but I’m so un confident in myself that I’ll wait until tomorrow to get it going. I am just zonked.

It’s silver.

So, here are some plants.

And look, a baby water snake and fish I need to rescue, once my brain engages again.

But wait. I did get to laugh last night. Mandi and I were talking to Lee on the porch, and Goldie got thirsty. She did her usual drinking method, where she buries her head and blows bubbles. We were so humor starved that we just laughed and laughed. Here’s Goldie today, though I couldn’t get a shot with bubbles.

See, even the weirdest day ever isn’t all bad. That’s worth remembering.

Escaped to Another Ranch

To celebrate my job change and help me wind down, the family surprised me with a getaway to Bandera.

It’s a different place than we went last year, though nearby. We are the first guests in the guesthouse at Farmer’s Daughter, so everything is fresh and new. Even the trees are new. But it’s also really familiar, with horses, cattle, a bunch of dogs, and rustic stuff.

Looking through the gate

It turns out you can bring dogs and horses here, so we might return! I’ve walked around and identified some plants, you know, because I do that.

This is virgin’s bower.

I also am thrilled to have a horse to pet. This fellow will show you how Drew will look in a few years. He even has a snip on his nose like Drew.

The cattle are two longhorns, one friendly, one not. The bull is so beautiful!

I’m doing my best to relax, though I’m annoyed I didn’t know there would be a hot tub. Mine is all wire, so no good yet! Because I’m just wiped out, I’m going to just going to share some scenery and sign off.

I’ll be more coherent tomorrow. Now I shall eat my celebration cake and drink wine.

Admission: Lee Was Right

Yes. My spouse was right. It is true. We doubted him, but he was right. What about?

A lot of PVC

Lee saw a guy starting to fill in the hole with all the pipes leading to the pool and stopped him, saying they need to do a pressure test before filling it in. So they stopped.

The hot tub. Mmm. Jets.

As you can see, today the workers finished all the water lines. There was a lot of use of the bending torch deal! There are so many curves.

Bending the water line.

Eventually they got it all completed. So, they did the test. We were just sure it would al be fine.

Do we see water?

Darn it, Lee was right. There was a cracked pipe.

Proof.

The good news is that it was easy to fix, and the second test went fine. The pool is looking really cool. Cool pool.

Today they finished early, I guess so everything can dry. Knowing they are coming back gives me something to look forward to tomorrow. I also have a writing workshop if it works out!

Think of my relatives in the path of the latest hurricane. Hope it’s less awful than the others so far this year.

Lost Memories?

Wow. I’ve discovered that I’m not alone in having trouble remembering things. That’s another reason I’m glad I have my bullet journal — I can remember what I’m supposed to be doing and am scheduled to do. But, that’s the day-to-day stuff.

Suna in the only long, white wedding dress she ever wore. Sadly, it belonged to her friend Liz (still married to the guy she wed in this dress). This is in Pennsylvania, when I went on a visit to cry about being a bad girlfriend.

Talking to people in my extended circle, I realized that many of us have lost access to our past. One friend said she no longer has memories. Others are having a hard time remembering things when they need to, or remembering whether they told someone something. Lee totally forgot to tell me his car broke down—that’s something you usually remember to share!

This photo reminded me that my dad put wood siding up on our house in Plantation, Florida, just before he left. He was ahead of his time.

We all have a clue as to why this is happening. It’s the stress, the mega-stress, the overwhelming worry and anxiety. We all have COVID stress. No one can avoid having world events stress right now, what with wars, storms, earthquakes, and shootings galore. We have overload from black-and-white thinking in politics, organizations, and families. Many of us have big work struggles. Our brains are full. And so are the brains of the people we encounter. I’m getting stressed just writing this.

Here’s a happy memory of me and my friend Robin, who, by the way, is still my friend Robin and has children older than she is in this photo.

Sometimes, you can get your memories back, though, which is why I’m glad I grew up in the age where people took lots and lots of photographs (though nothing like today). Today, for a bit of stress relief, I wandered through my photo album from 1984-1986, which were not my best times (I managed to lose the love of my life and my mom in just a few months), I’ve got to say, but which also had some really good times. I’m so glad I can see both types of memories.

Here’s a place I once lived, in Urbana, Illinois. I doubt it’s still standing. I’m remembering that is my Asbury Jukes jacket that I won at a record store.

Also, when I was young, I wrote a lot of letters. It was in my blood, since my whole family wrote letters to each other. I found a box from when I was in college and grad school lately, and they reminded me of my journals in that some were a bit embarrassing (I sure fell in love HARD in my twenties, repeatedly), but others reminded me of what strong connections I had to my communities, and that brings me back to today, when I’ve learned from some of those infatuations and heartaches and gained some balance.

I never share photos of this guy, but I remember him. It’s the late Bill Crain, my first husband, being coached on good husbanding by my dad, in 1986. He didn’t listen.

I’m glad to be able to dredge some of my memories back up, after all. I hope you enjoy some little glimpses into my box of memories. See if you can come up with some.

My office in October 1984. I wallpapered the walls of this closet/office that I shared with two fellow grad students with my word a day calendar pages. Behind me is an original IBM PC that had two floppy drives and no hard drive. I can’t believe how happy I looked. I was one big mess and had anxiety symptoms 24/7. And migraines.

Quick Hello

I’m not able to write much, due to not only work and figuring out all this moving stuff, but also because I’m sad. A good friend from my volunteer past, Terry Stafford, died a few days ago from a stomach cancer that came on fast and hard. That’s the one that seems to hit people I particularly love.

Here’s sad ole Suna showing how to move more things to your permanent house. Wear them.

Sadness is to be expected, but I’m actually pretty overcome with fear. You see, some of her children stopped speaking to her years ago, saying some things about her that she didn’t understand, and didn’t want to try to work things out. It broke her heart and caused so much pain, but nothing she tried helped. She died unable to reconcile with them.

I’m also transporting these boots. Clever.

What a sad thing. I don’t know the whole story, so I’m not blaming any party, just sad that they couldn’t work it out. And I’m now coming to realize that could happen to me. After 2.5 years, will my older son every decide to let me know what his issue is? I sure hope so. When they said parenthood is hard, I thought they meant the early part. This grief is always there, even as I learn to live with it.

Meanwhile, I learned today that one of my favorite speakers in our Master Naturalist program, Dr. Alston Thoms, passed away in June. He was supposed to be our speaker last month, and that explains why we hadn’t heard from him. Read his obituary to learn about a life well led and a person who truly loved all of humanity, all living things, and the land.

Well, hope your day is going well. Hug people you love.

I Said I Wanted Fun, Once in a Blue Moon

In today’s family meeting I said I wanted to do fun stuff. I’ll be careful what I wish for.

Well, hello equines.

The fun started yesterday when I went out and found Drew chomping away on the nice grass by the round pen. It turns out I may have left a gate open. The second time I found him out there, I began to wonder if he’d opened the gate himself. No way to know. I am a bit forgetful these days.

Ow.

Today when I went out, I discovered Drew looking like this. Something had bit the heck out of him. Maybe Apache, but then I realized I hadn’t shut another gate, the one that puts a buffer between Grandma (who is on a liquid weight gain diet) and my guys. My guess is he went after her food this morning and she made it clear that wasn’t a good idea.

Ow.

From the look of him, he didn’t listen very well. Tomorrow he gets a bath. Today was the other horses’ turn, so I’m waiting until evening tomorrow.

The round pen is a good place to dry off.

Later, I came back out to give the chickens some apple core. I was surprised to see not just Drew, but Apache and Fiona out grazing by the henhouse.

We’re the lawn mowing brigade.

I’d let Drew out on purpose, because the little pasture is all dry and perfect for Apache right now, but not for a growing boy. But how did Apache get out? It turns out it was Kathleen’s turn to forget to shut a gate. We all laughed at ourselves. She told me that was the fun I’d wanted!

I’m doing better. I gained 100 pounds.

At least they will be easy to get back in their pasture if I dangle good at them.

The other “fun” we’ve been having is rearranging furniture, putting away books, and decluttering. Now, I’ll never be minimalist enough for Carol, our old real estate partner. But my office looks better. That’s the second rearrangement in two weeks.

I also cleaned off the desk Lee stopped using in the great room, though I still don’t know what to do with his giant yellow/and-black tote. it WILL be gone soon!

The fact that you can see the surface and there aren’t piles of neon printer paper there is evidence I did something.

I brought a couple plants from Austin to help make that house more spare. It makes the corner that used to have plants and a beautiful stained-glass lamp look a little better.

Reading corner.

What happened to the lamp? Heck if we know. One day I looked over and the glass was separating from the metal top.

Wah. This was not a cheap plastic lamp either.

That was not fun. Stuff like that just happens once in a blue moon, and that’s today!

Random Goodness

Hey, isn’t it tine for a good day? I think it is. The main highlight is this here somewhat blurry dog.

Should I go hide?

As we noted a couple days ago, Penney refused to go down the stairs. We never have figured out what caused her whining and groveling behavior. Lee was having to get her started, and she was having accidents.

She was playful once downstairs.

Well, suddenly, late this afternoon, she thought about it, and came on down. What a relief.

Resting on her laurels

Other good stuff! I went on such a nice walk this afternoon, to celebrate having an actual fun day at work again, after a couple weeks of struggle. I got lots of observations for our Master Naturalist Summer BioBlitz. But it was such a pretty day.

The hill next to our property.

Sure, it was hot, but there were so many plants, bugs, and flowers! I didn’t think about anything but how varied life is in this little microclimate.

My favorite grass. Silver bluestem.

Plus! It rained a tiny bit. We are in a more normal weather pattern, so any rain is good. It was sprinkling while the horses were eating, and we looked down and saw this.

People keep saying I’m a horse, so I may as well eat hay.

That Goldie. You never know what to expect with her. She’s always getting all the other dogs to run and play. But she also gets tired. It all makes me smile.

I love a good dog bed.

The Pool of Dreams

Now that my horse dream has come true, it would be good to have a way to cool off. Lee had authorized us to find a pool company, which I finally did, and the guy came to measure our space a while back. Finally, we got to go look at designs.

This is where the GPS took us. We were alarmed. The more pool-showroom-looking kinda place was the next building on the other side of the road. Whew.

You’ll not be seeing the first design, though it was nice. It had every possible high-end finish, two fire features and thousands of dollars worth of rocks. Lee was not pleased. So, we found other options and knocked a third of the cost off. It’s still really nice!

Artist’s rendering

Other than the complete lack of shade, that’s darn nice. I like the patio space and the tanning ledge, which I will use after dark, no doubt. It will look very cool at night.

It can be purple.

The hot tub has a waterfall, which gives a running water sound without building a giant rock waterfall. And I plan to put subdued tiles around it, to blend in with the rest of the house.

I guess I just like the colors of rocks and sand. The top one is the pool surface. Looks just like beach sand.

I’m very proud of myself for not choosing the shiniest option.

Secretly, I love the one on the right. It’s way shinier than it looks.

I know things change around here at a moment’s notice and we may have to pivot once again. But until then, I’m dreaming of this pool as I water the horses and splash it on myself to cool off.