The good news is I feel better today. I was even able to ride Drew. Taking it easy was a good idea.
I had a lot to do today but nothing too stressful. After our weekly friends’ lunch, Anita came over to get the Red House ready for guests while I did a bunch of meetings. It’s nice to hang out. And after work, we sat on the porch, taking advantage of the sunshades.
I did scare a big moth while I was sweeping the porch. It’s beautiful.
After this peaceful break, all I had to do was hang out with my friends the horses and chickens, then float around in my pool of dreams.
Kathleen and I even saw another one of those cool spider wasps dragging along a hapless wolf spider. It must be wasp breeding season.
It’s really a relief to have a lull with no stress or drama. Even Lee had a good day! We are going to all enjoy the pleasant and peaceful lull while it lasts.
Lee is probably right. I don’t just sit often enough. I’m always jumping up to do something, like take a picture or pull weeds. Indoors, I have to read or knit. I want to learn how to just sit more.
I did get some practice today, though. First, some of our old outdoor furniture got delivered to the Red House this afternoon. That’s because we will soon have new stuff! The back porch is great for relaxing and looking at flowers, while the front porch will be fun for watching the citizens of Cameron wandering around (one guy wandered by at least four times while I was working today).
I’m going to put red cushions on both the wooden benches, even though they’re the wrong shade of red. I washed them this evening.
This was good timing, since we have a paying guest this long weekend. I hope they like the outdoor options. They will get to enjoy lots of flowers, which Anita and I did after finishing work (me) and house cleaning (her). We just sat!
When I got home and finished chores, I decided to sit some more. I failed at first, because I remembered that pulling weeds was on my to-do list. So, I pulled most of the evil spurge out of the pool garden. Sigh. I’ve gotten everything else under control, but these sappy things are tenacious.
I even looked it (Euphorbia maculata) up on Wikipedia. No redeeming qualities other than being native. Sap causes rashes. Plant causes cancer. Geez. The tap roots can be two feet long! It’s sure hard to remove. But I got another section done, so I could sit with my beverage.
I ended up sitting for an hour! There were really happy bunnies frolicking over by the horse pens for a long time. It was so much fun watching them leap and run around. Plus I had good conversation with the family members who joined me. What a nice evening…just sitting a spell.
I hope you get at least a few minutes to just sit every so often!j
It’s been a good weekend. Yesterday was spent driving to Houston and back for a family errand. It reminded me that I’m glad to live outside of a small town. But it was a change of pace that still let me get all my animal stuff done.
The men in my house and I spent a lot of time this morning sitting by the pool. It was a nice, cool morning, the kind there won’t be many more of this year, so we took advantage of the opportunity.
I weeded the pool planting bed, which of course has many volunteer plants coming through the landscape cloth. It’s mostly morning glories, nut grass, and the dreaded spurge. Yuck. That’s one native plant that’s totally a weed for me.
Weeding was made much more pleasant by the presence of the portulaca (or moss rose) plants that we put in just two weeks ago. I just love these cheerful succulents! They’ve already more than doubled in size.
This is the only plant that I’ve found that thrives here in the dry, hot summers. Last year, I had three plants, and they grew huge, but died in the big freeze. If only I’d known you can take cuttings and root them over the winter for next year!
Next year, I’ll be all set for more beauty! And wow, they are so lovely. Lee is very happy that they aren’t plain pink and yellow, as he feared. But I think the yellow ones are fascinating.
It turns out that the portulaca grandiflora that we grow as an ornamental is related to the edible plant purslane, which chickens love and is full of vitamin A.
All in all, this plant is a winner and I don’t even feel too bad planting a non native. At least it’s food for someone. And it’s not showing signs of becoming invasive.
I’m not feeling bad about planting them, since they’re surrounded by red yucca, which seems to please all sorts of pollinators. We enjoyed hummingbirds this morning, plus many types of wasp visiting the yucca, which aren’t native here, but grow not too far away.
Yep, I’m looking forward to using portulaca all over the place, but I’m still going to encourage our native flowers. They take my breath away.
Yep. As long as I focus on beautiful flowers, insects, and random animal buddies, I’m okay. I hope you have something lovely to think about.
With the radio news making me nauseated today (good thing I avoided Lee’s nightly dose of depression known as ABC Nightly News), and thinking somber thoughts about the local police officer who died in the line of duty (plus a friend’s husband out doing the thankless and scary task of guarding the border down south, I just want to go hide in a soothing bubble.
As I had the thought above, I was reminded that Tarrin said today she felt like she was in a snow globe that was being shaken. Maybe a bubble isn’t all that safe after all. I think she and I both need a hug.
Everyone has their limits of what they can take and for how long. Most of my friends have some pretty firm limits and strong boundaries, and I appreciate that. I feel safer around folks like that! I looked around at my friends at lunch today and thought, yep, I’m safe around these people. That’s good, finding your tribe and drawing strength from them (and giving back, one hopes).
It did occur to me that I’ve been letting some more negative influences in my life get under my skin. I’m also reading and listening to sources that feed into my insecurities and reinforce things I don’t need to reinforce. What’s that thing…confirmation bias. Yes, I’m having my fears and worries reinforced, and I don’t need that.
That’s when I decided to do some trimming. I switched around my social media feed to help me see less stuff that isn’t helpful or makes me upset. I trimmed my friend list. I added some positive topics to my feeds. Believe me, I’ll still be aware of whose rights are being taken away and who’s being attacked by whom, but not quite so repetitively.
Next, I jumped into some self care, which led to the literal trimming. I got many layers of mud off Drew, in preparation to try to ride him. Admittedly, I spent most of the time picking mud balls out of his mane and chatting with him. I then took him off to do his ground work, only to quickly discover it is still too muddy. The poor guy slipped and yelped like a little kid. I felt bad for him, so we just went for a walk around the driveway. That went well until Penney barreled around the corner and surprised us both. Drew yelled and jumped away, but I successfully stayed calm and all was well.
I decided we both needed self care at this point, so I sat in my chair outside the tack room and let Drew graze on the tall grass that was mowed last week but shot back up.
I appreciated the great job Drew did in trimming around my steps and the saddle rack. He seemed to appreciate me, too, checking in a couple of times to nuzzle me. Now that’s something healing that goes a long way to bringing back equilibrium.
Thanks to Drew, a nice swim in the very full pool, and time with my family and dogs, I may not be in a bubble, but I’m in a protective cocoon of love. My wish for anyone who reads this is for you to find what nurtures and soothes you and trim away the excess as much as you can.
*yes, I’m aware an Althea is a rose of Sharon. Trying to be witty.
Naturally, I’m feeling a bit better today. A lot of it is because my friends and family have been so supportive and encouraging. Thanks to everyone who’s reminded me of my humanity and that there ARE plenty of folks not out there judging me (and that judgmental people’s judgments aren’t worth spending time on).
Today was productive in so many ways. I really enjoyed work today, though I have to say the interruptions were even better.
The first interruption was this guy here.
It was Brenham Iron Works coming to fix our gate, which has been beeping at us for over a year, then when we finally got it to shut, had a car push it open. Poor gate (and car). At the moment, it works!
It was fun watching the nice guy fix it, and the company got more business when the neighbor across the road got all excited that we actually got a repair person in that she came over and got their info. They have a similar nice gate just a year or two older than ours.
The next minor interruption was my Becker Vineyards wine delivery. I got two old favorites so I didn’t complain. A much more fun interruption was a visit from a guy who’s interested in growing some vegetables here. It sounds like a fun project, if it goes through. I’ll tell you more if it goes through. It’s just a possibility but it made me happy to just imagine it.
Lee even suggested that we use our gardener friend’s expertise to spruce up the pool area and such. He’d do way better than us! Now, this is my kind of gift. A gift of service. I was quite tickled at this development.
I love having something to look forward to, though I’ve learned not to count on anything until it happens. There are just so many sudden changes and pivots these days that it’s just the new normal. That’s fine! I’ll enjoy every day and see what happens! I feel so loved.
And it didn’t rain. The sun even shone for a while. For that reason I ended up just walking around and enjoying late afternoon light, flowers, and birds. I love it when the nighthawks come out. They’re so graceful. I’ll skip my bad bird photos, but do enjoy the other things I saw.
Thanks for bearing with me! I appreciate my community, both in person and online.
It’s funny how it goes. You cope, cope, cope. You grant folks grace, repeatedly. You deal with illness and death around you without falling apart.
Then you don’t. I’m sure that’s normal. I’m trying to keep letting some unkind things I’ve noticed slide by me. All the mental challenges make it hard right now.
In addition to being sad about the young police officer and his family, I’m very sad that an old friend passed away on Saturday. Johanna Horton was helpful to me when my children were young, and supportive when my mentor died from breast cancer. She’s been in my life ever since. She and her husband both were kind, gentle, and very talented. They shared all they learned at Elder Hostels and when they bought and sold antique books. She seemed all right just a week ago on our weekly Zoom call (spin-off of an ancient email list and Facebook group). I had a real hard time joining the call today, knowing Johanna’s face wouldn’t be there. We all said we’d even miss the rug on the wall behind her chair. Sigh.
And it still hasn’t stopped raining. Yes, we love rain here in the land of drought. But there’s standing water everywhere. Even if it had stopped, I don’t think we’d have been able to get the trailer to pull out of its parking area to go to Drew and Apache’s lessons. And I almost hurt myself trying to put food out for the chickens. The run is solid slop. At least I’m not worried about the horses getting enough to eat. The grass is growing in front of my eyes.
Mother’s Day is always hard for me. Mom was so…out of it. And I wasn’t a great mom, either. Maybe I should have listened to myself when I didn’t think I was cut out for it. I think I was trying to please others and probably too focused on their happiness. Well you can’t change what you did as well as you could.
And it’s funny. I’m finally feeling part of a community here in Cameron, but I’m still feeling isolated and alone. I hear and read so many people saying scary things about my views. Same goes for people in my family who are just trying to live their lives. This undercurrent of feeling unsafe can make one jittery.
These things just come and go. I do have friends and family who love me just as I am. I’m just musing.
We are still going through boxes from my old house. Lee has been bringing up things from deeper and deeper in the past. For example, he brought in a box I instantly recognized. It was a shoebox covered in contact paper that looked like wood.
The box contained my high school diaries, 1972-1975. See why it’s no surprise I like to write blog posts? I’ve always loved journaling. There have been very few years of my life that didn’t have journals, diaries, or some record.
I remember writing these diaries and I remember that everyone I knew was aware that I did. What I didn’t remember until I opened the later diaries was that I wrote them in Spanish. As I posted on Facebook, not only did I protect my family from reading it, but also future me.
From my reading of the exciting year of 1974, I came to a couple of conclusions about teen Suna. One, she was driven by hormones. I sure read a lot of details about what various young dudes said and did. They apparently spent more time asking each other who they liked than actually dating, however. I was insanely jealous of two girls my “dream date” seemed interested in. On the other hand, I had plenty of hormones left over for numerous high school band members.
In addition to my secondary theme of what Anita and I bought at the mall, I did something that I’m pretty sure I’m still doing today. I wrote things down partially to convince myself that they were true. Every week it was either “Dream Date is NOT for me,” or “I feel all gooey when I look at Dream Date.” I think I tried very hard to convince myself that person wasn’t important at all to me, but I was lying. I mean, shoot, that guy is STILL someone I am dazzled by even though we broke up in 1985 (all my fault).
Just reading the stuff I wrote gives me an impression of myself that isn’t very good. I don’t think I’d have liked me very much. We were all pretty mean to each other, we had horrible nicknames for teachers and fellow students, and we were overly cliquish. I’m glad I’ve spent the last 50 or so years trying to be less of an asshole, even though I still fail at times.
Any Other Memories, Suna?
Yes, I have memories that are less harsh on myself that showed up in these boxes. There were a lot of old photos that somehow missed my anal-retentive storage organization system. I was charmed to find photos of the playhouse my dad and maternal grandfather made for me and my brother when we were little. Those two mathematical geniuses decided to build it with no right angles, anywhere. Oh my gosh they had fun with their protractors and saws. We loved that thing.
The playhouse eventually became Dad’s tool shed after he built us a “treehouse” that we used as older kids. The playhouse still stands.
Another creation of my dad’s that I found pictures of the fishpond. He built this himself of his own design. The photos below were right after he finished. Later he added a pump and turned poor Saint Francis into a fountain. Water came out of the bird’s nest he held (Dad also thought it was Saint Frances for many years – hey, the saint had long hair and wore a dress, plus Dad had a sister named Frances). Lucky for Francis, dad later found a cool rock to be the waterfall, and the birdbath went back to its original purpose.
That pond was a real thing of beauty and a highlight of our home. We had huge goldfish and catfish Mom had fished out of Newnan’s Lake as babies. Mom’s favorite story was that a little boy came to visit, wandered behind the house and came running up to his dad, saying, “Good God, Daddy, they gots a LAKE in their back yard!”
On that note, I’ll just share some photos that gave me warm fuzzy feelings. First, it’s no surprise that I like horses. I unpacked my china horses and giant plastic draft horse and this photo of me embarrassing my dad and kids.
And we can’t forget my first dog, Gwynneth. I got her because that’s the kind of dog I thought would fit our family best. That dog sure barked a lot, but we did love her for 15 years. Even when she was blind!
I didn’t write a blog yesterday, because as hard as I tried to distract myself, I just pondered and pondered the highs and lows of life. It started because the morning was spent at the funeral service for a friend’s husband, who died at 86. It was a surprise to all, since he’d planned to do stuff that day and was also planning to live to be 100.
I’m glad so many members of our extended community were there to support my friend, because it’s always hard when your life’s story takes a hard turn into a new direction. And that’s what got me thinking of how many others I know who’ve recently lost their partners and how long it takes to get back into a groove again while dealing with a big hole in their lives.
It seems to me that sometimes it’s hard for folks to go out and have fun again. I know many are helped by sharing memories and talking about how much the departed loved one would love to see them doing well. As the minister hinted at the funeral, you’ve not really lost your partner, just physically separated. I could see how the Christian beliefs of my friend and her family were comforting in that respect.
I’m comforted by my experiences that thanks to memories, I feel the presence of my loved ones, like my dad, especially. I always find myself “telling” him things.
Anyway, to take my mind our of thinking about how lives change suddenly, I convinced Lee to take me to lunch at a fun place we’d never eaten at before, the Oscar Store, which is the only thing in Oscar, a settlement just outside of Temple, Texas. We drive by it often, because it’s on our favorite shortcut to Tractor Supply and Lowe’s.
It’s really cute inside and outside of the restaurant, and the food is great. I had liver and onions with fantastic lima beans and fried okra. Yes, lima beans. They were in a yummy sauce. I was full well past dinner time from that! Lee had a beautiful cheeseburger.
After the fine lunch we went to look at outdoor furniture at Lowe’s, because we need stuff that’s heavier and won’t blow into the pool repeatedly. The stuff we replace can go on the back porch at the Red House, since we don’t have stairs there yet.
So, that helped. But, I still sorta dwelt on things the whole day. What else helped was that I spent much of my pondering time listening to birds, of which I keep identifying more and more. Plus, I got to plant the flowers I showed you above. I finally found portulaca or moss roses so I could plant them by the pool.
That overheated me like crazy, so I had to jump in the pool, even though it has a lot of grass in it from the mower going the wrong way by it, and there were also flying ants. Yuck. But the water was refreshing!
Time with the horses also helped, of course, They are doing darned well, and yesterday I even figured out that Apache had to pee and moved off his kidneys for ease of pee. He was full of opinions and also informed me when it was time to stop riding. He makes me laugh. Drew is way more cooperative, though he was really muddy this morning!
The rest of the weekend is for relaxing. I bought a whole bunch of stuff to make sandwiches for Sunday Dinner. The things I’ll do so I don’t have to cook…the sandwich ingredients probably cost more than making something to cook.
Nothing’s wrong with pondering your and your loved ones’ mortality occasionally. It helps you remember to treasure every single day.
Long day. Got a lot done and even received my new internet thingie. Can’t make it go, so more tech support tomorrow. Think of me.
By the time I got to an event I’d been looking forward to, a party for our recent Master Naturalist class graduates, I had a raging headache. Turns out the weather was changing. But the food was good and I enjoyed talking to friends.
After all the serious photos I took, we got goofy with the paper flower decorations.
When I got home, Lee proved he was just as goofy as us. We all needed a good laugh!
Well, we dodged the worst hail from tonight’s storm and haven’t lost power. That’s probably because Martha isn’t across the street. Lightning DID hit the transformer across the road from her, though. Is Martha and lightning equal to Kathleen and snakes? let’s hope it’s coincidence.
It’s good to be home after a fun few days. Many family members were glad to see me and Lee.
Other residents were not so glad.
Horses were also glad, and I was relieved to find Apache semi-clean after big rain. Drew, on the other hand, has mud dreadlocks that I’ll wait until tomorrow to fix. They at least got their exercise and food.
Luckily, the ranch didn’t get struck by lightning or hailed on. Just rain. I guess if lightning struck, it couldn’t break my internet access any more than it already is. Sigh.
I came home with a big to-do list, most of it involving accessing websites. I had four or five Master Naturalist blogs, two horse shows to register for, weather data to look up, etc. Too bad for me. I believe I’ve used up my personal hotspot bandwidth. I got one short Master Naturalist blog up after 45 minutes.
The to-do list did contain some non-internet tasks, so I got them all done. At least I have rainbow nails ready for the work week, which I guess will start off at the Red House, until I get that router fixed.