Just Breathe. It Works.

Today could have been kind of frustrating if I were hell-bent on getting what I wanted to do done. But I took the attitude that I’d just do what I could and be satisfied.

My “office”

I had to check out at 10 am, which left me fancy free until a 6 pm flight. I was fine with that, and headed over to the “business” area of the condo place, where I’d never been. It’s also where the kid area and very fancy gym were.

Kid area

That would have been fine, except it was not great for internet connections. My personal hotspot was lukewarm at best, making my Friday friend chat iffy, and my work quite un-fun. I did get a lot done until some employee decided to teach one of the many local homeless people how to check email. ThT was kind of him, but loud.

I decided to go ahead and try my luck at the airport. Of course there was no shuttle, and when the taxi arrived, neither the bellmen nor the taxi driver wanted to open the door for me and my heavy bags and my turtles. Finally, the cab guy shoved my things in. When I went to get my knitting bag to sit with me, I slammed my knee into some hard object under the scuzzy seat cover, getting a bruise and a rip in my favorite non-ripped jeans.

Everyone on Facebook has informed me that ripped jeans are fashionable again. I never knew they weren’t. And I own some.

But, I took a deep breath and enjoyed the ride to the pretty airport. Since I was so early I enjoyed a really tasty veggie quesadilla at the Nacho Hippo restaurant. Honestly yummy and full of roasted things I like.

I then found a nice table with the right plugs, and tried to do some work to help a colleague. The internet continued to frustrate by going in and out and the software I was documenting was most snail-esque. I breathed a lot and only muttered a few curses.

When I couldn’t upload or find the URL for the PDF I’d tried to upload, it occurred to me that I’d already worked 6 hours and things would work way better at home tomorrow. I gave up and set to knitting and people watching. The border on my blanket is looking lovely. It’s simple but effective.

Nice gradient

The people watching showed me I have completely missed out on a fashion trend. It’s some kind of jumpsuit or romper or something. It is skin-tight, like what a DC superhero would have worn in my prime comic-reading years.

Some are skin-tone, ranging from beige to dark brown. Others have wild patterns in them. All show, um, everything about the wearer, including raised scars, cellulite, etc. I find it incredibly unpleasant yet I keep looking at them.

She volunteered to wear this in an ad so I feel ok sharing. I didn’t take pictures of people in the airport.

Kudos to the folks who embrace the look at all sizes. I did note it was mostly popular with those who appeared to be under 30, and is often accessorized with Crocs. It makes my frayed jeans seem tame and old.

I was glad to get on the plane where I could see how my new phone camera does looking out plane windows. I got views of water and Charlotte, NC.

There were more of those outfits in that airport, along with the tannest and fittest whites woman I ever saw. I think she might have been a professional body builder. Still, I’d have preferred to not see every detail of her in her tights and cropped top. I’m getting old, folks.

Plane is leaving. I’ll upload and say bye to the eastern US. And breathe for a while.

Things to Smile About

I’m thinking hard about hard things all day, so indulge me in dwelling on some good things that are going on around here.

I have a shiny rooster

The chickens are cheering me up. For one, Peeper is proving to be spectacularly gorgeous. Today he was so shiny it didn’t look real. Bruce hasn’t killed him, so I guess they are ok.

Should I attack this shadow Peeper?

The hens are doing great, too. I got 7 eggs yesterday, which is a record for my weird chicken collection. Even the older hens kicked in! And they’re happy with me for letting them out to run around the last few days.

We’re a-comin’!

For the past three evenings, I’ve walked into the coop and they’ve all waddled in to join me. I haven’t had to chase them or anything. Now that’s how chickens should be!

Hey, look!

Other goodness: I found my Navajo dragonfly ring that had been missing for a long time. It was in a jewelry drawer from the Austin house, in a bag full of La Leche League stuff. Yep, I last saw this ring before COVID when I was in New Orleans. Happy times!

Trailer on blocks

And finally, Tillie the Trailer is getting new tires tomorrow and her bearings refreshed. The tires were in good shape, but older. And we were asked to re-do the bearings so Sara can ride with me. Now Tillie will be even better. So grateful to have help for things like this.

My office coworkers help by snoring, farting, and growling. Who needs humans?

I’m doing my best to concentrate on the things I can influence, so all this good stuff makes things easier. I’m doing well at not doing the stressful parts of my volunteer work, while keeping what’s fun. That’s so hard, but I’m managing.

Now I just need some sleep. It will let me send energy to those around me and around the world who need it.

Yearly Social Event

I didn’t have much blogging time today, since most of the time I was in meetings or driving to and from Cedar Park (Austin suburb) to get my teeth cleaned. That was unpleasant, since I’d delayed it 2-3 times due to all that COVID exposure.

My feelings about delayed dentistry.

I ran to Tractor Supply in the way home, so all animals have food. But I had to hurry and feed horses so I could get ready for this year’s Chamber of Commerce banquet. I hadn’t been to one in a while due to COVID and trying to keep a low profile with the family business.

I mainly enjoyed seeing some of my friends in town that I’ve missed. It’s nice to know you have a few friends, wherever you are!

My actual friends, Liz and Courtney.

Lee and all the Chamber Board and volunteers did a great job. It makes you proud of your little town to go to these events. We heard how great the Texas economy is doing from the speaker, and really enjoyed the yearly awards, which didn’t just go to rich business owners. Awards went to regular folks who helped out their neighbors in the freeze last year, a family plumbing business and the new high school basketball coach. It was nice to see people of all races, ages, and genders recognized.

You can tell we are in Texas by all the hats, though.

We had a fine dinner and conversation, too. The wine selection was great, too, much of it local. Since the venue was the Youth Livestock Pavilion or something like that, the Texas decor looked great. I hated to help tear it down!

It was very clean.

Now you know why I’m not a fascinating blogger today. But it was nice to get out to a well ventilated place. Glad it wasn’t tomorrow. It’s getting cold again, and all that fresh air would be chilly.

I’m an Ice Princess

While I seem to have aggravated my weird shoulder blade issue and have to deal with sharp jabs, I’m doing just fine this evening. Mainly it’s because I got my scary hair taken care of.

It was too long and too grown out. But it looks spunky.

It was a bit challenging getting to Austin, though. My first delay was when a guy who lives down the road asked for a ride back from his broken motorcycle. He was nice. And they have cattle dogs, so of course he was. I’m glad I did that, because when I thought of texting the salon to say I might be late, I realized I didn’t have my phone. Sigh.

And of course, there were poky trucks and a construction delay to deal with. But, ha, I was only one minute late.

Blue hair and red face. It was hot under there.

I always enjoy talking to my stylist, Danny, who I have a lot in common with. He asks good questions, too. And I was excited to see they had a new bleach product that turned my hair quite blue. It was excellent and so relaxing to just sit there and process. Yesterday evening was hard. I needed to zone out.

So snowy and white.

When it was done and toned, it was eerily white. I think we have the ingredients for Ice Princess hair. I rewarded myself with a trip across the street to the Randall’s supermarket. I went there mostly to look at the flowers, which are always amazing for a small grocery. It didn’t disappoint. But I just got pineapple and some sandwich rolls.

And canned wine. Tastes okay and is pretty.

And now I’m cozy in the weird Doubletree hotel, listening to a strange noise that sounds like waves crashing on the shore. Austin Beach. That’s okay. I have wine, knitting, Olympics. Oh, and horse videos of the pattern I have to do with Drew.

That’s some white hair.

Yes, You Can Mix Knitting and Crochet

Now, if you are a fan of Franklin Habit, you’ll know this. But in case you’ve never heard of such a thing, it is perfectly acceptable to mix in a bit of crochet with your knitting or vice versa. See I did it. And yes, I can crochet.

Completed baby blanket

I just didn’t feel like doing that jumpy edging that was on the previous blanket, though there was nothing wrong with it. So, I got out my handy size F crochet hook and started going.

I ended up doing a row of single crochet where I did a stitch for every knitted row, approximately. That was followed by four rows of 3 double crochet, skip 2 stitches, 3 double crochet, etc. In the corners I did 3 dc, ch1, 3 dc. It worked fine.

It’s pretty darned cozy, even if the colors might keep you awake.

The blanket looks pretty good on the reverse, thanks to being constructed all in one piece, and I think a baby would like to crawl on it. I do need to block it to get all the borders to ease into position and stand up straight, which I’ll do as soon as I can figure out somewhere to let it dry. Dogs make that hard. It was good that the previous one of these blankets (that’s the pattern link for those of you about to ask) was finished when I was alone in Colorado with a spare bedroom.

The central vortex on this thing could make you dizzy.

Currently, all bedrooms are taken, one being the COVID ward and the other being the people who have been exposed and are looking for a test ward. No need to mention that pandemics suck. But, I said it, anyway.

You didn’t think I could crochet? Look, I made a large doily in the 1980s in the trendy color of brown. It WAS trendy.

I don’t know what to work on next! I know I need to use up the yarn I have, as tempting as new yarn may be. I may make a vest, since they are back in fashion, and I am larger than most of my old vests. I do like vests.

Why look, I am wearing a vest today. I didn’t make it. I also didn’t make the necklace, but it’s handmade.

Why I Don’t Wear Shorts

What, a person in Texas who doesn’t wear shorts? Yep, that’s me. I do own some, but I rarely wear them. I’d started wearing them around the house, but after this morning, that’s a big “no” from now on.

She even wears long pants when she’s sleeping. Ask me how I know.

Today, as I was getting dressed, I said to myself that no one was going to see me from the waist down other than Lee, and I was going to change into riding breeches to ride the horse, so why not wear some shorts and let my legs get a little sun?

It’s all swollen now. Nice.

Less than a half hour later, I went upstairs to get more coffee (downstairs Keurig had kicked the dust). As I walked to the coffeemaker, I passed dogs. Right at that moment, Goldie, Penney, and I think Harvey started to tussle. Penney has been acting aggressive to Goldie. I guess I need Cesar Milan. Anyway, there was my poor leg, right in the middle of all those dogs.

I discovered that scratches from dog feet that are actively engaged in a fight are much worse than ones from playful dogs or accidental contact. It hurt like heck! Now, if I’d had my usual sturdy blue jeans on, I probably would have been scratched, but just a little. There, one reason why I don’t wear shorts.

At least this one didn’t bleed much.

The other main reason I don’t wear shorts is that here at the ole Hermits’ Rest Ranch, the ground is covered by things that bite or sting or worse. Having pants (and closed-toe shoes, which I sometimes omit to my chagrin) on helps me avoid things like:

  • Fire ants
  • Spiders
  • Ticks
  • Wasps
  • Bees
  • Mosquitoes
  • Hairy caterpillars (ow)
  • Leaping dachshunds
  • Stinging nettles (charmingly called Nettleleaf Noseburn)
  • Mesquite thorns
  • Christmas cholla (cactus)
  • Prickly pear
  • Spear grass (aptly named)
  • Poison ivy
  • Sunflowers (leaves and stems are quite prickly)
  • Burr clover
  • Buffalo bur (giant burs)
  • Prickly lettuce
  • Bindweed (Smilax)
  • Hay
  • Barbed wire
  • Rusty pieces of metal
  • Baling wire
  • Horse/donkey hooves
  • And more!
Bad ole noseburn

Yeah. Texas is so welcoming, isn’t it? So, when we get that swimming pool, you can bet I will keep some pants nearby if I am stepping off the patio! By the way, contract is signed and money getting deposited. The process has started!

Example from real life. Walking a horse around a fence with barbed wire.
If they veer too close, well, ow.

I’m not inclined to ride horses in shorts, and usually wear boots, too. That’s because I tend to do trail riding or riding around things on the property, and if a horse spooks or has a mind of its own about where it wants to go, you can end up rubbing a lot of branches, metal objects, cactus plants, and so on. First time I rode Apache I got a nice scar from a mesquite thorn.

I hope wherever you are, nothing bites, stings, scratches or pokes you today. That seems like a reasonable goal, doesn’t it?

Glad for Goods and Good Vision!

I’m just plain glad and just plain good, I guess. As always, I’m glad for nature. When I stepped out of the house at 6:45 am to drive to Austin, I discovered we had a visitor. We looked at each other, I took her picture and bid her a good morning. Kathleen said she was still there when she came out to go to the gym, so I sure hope she found someone else to visit before the dogs woke up!

Young, confused skunk.

As I drove down the side road to US 77 (to avoid the potholes of our road), I saw a deer jump across the road. Thinking that if there was one, there were probably more, I slowed down. Yep, another one jumped by. When I got to them, I saw that they were both mature bucks with beautiful racks of antlers. I’m always glad to see the deer population recovering in our area.

Excitement!

All that nature love fit right in with my new license plate, which came in yesterday. It’s even prettier in person, and has my nickname surrounded by hearts on it. The plates raise money for our organization, and look way prettier than the standard one. Those are some good goods.

I learned a lot at work meetings today and got to hug various people who I missed very much during the pandemic times. At one point, my cheeks hurt from smiling at old work friends. That’s way better than my back pain from all the shoveling and Drew wrangling I did over the past few days! All good, though. Goodness.

And in addition, I got to enjoy good vision, finally, because I was able to pick up my two pairs of glasses at the optometrist. They are still very serious about their masking and such. It’s a very clean office. Anyway, the round ones are transitions lenses, which I know aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but work great when I’m messing with horses and having to go in and out of the sun.

I hope you enjoyed that tour of my lip wrinkles and saggy jowls. Both glasses look much better in reality than they do in these photos! But, what matters is that I can see better; good vision is good. I am curious to see how the ones I ordered online came out. They should be done soon for which I will be glad. That will certainly do for glasses for a few years!

That is just about all the goodness I can dredge up right now, but I’m sure something will come up. Are you good? Any goodness to share? Do you hate it when people say “Are you good?” to mean “Are you well?” Are you glad I’m moving on from the topic of goodness and gladness?

Book Report: Green: The History of a Color

This is the fourth book in the series of books by Michel Pastoureau that detail how colors have been perceived and used through European history that I’ve read. It’s convenient that I was reading this along with the Greenlights book, which has all the green print and green pages. I find the color series really interesting and entertaining, so if you like colors, check out Green: The History of a Color. A lot of what I learned surprised me.

Jane Fonda is smokin’ on the cover, in more ways than one.

You do begin to feel sorry for green, like you did poor yellow in the book I read most recently. It really didn’t get much mention in historical texts, and wasn’t even used in paintings for a long time. One reason was that it has always been difficult to get a green dye that wasn’t made of copper or arsenic or some other poisonous substance. The safe ones were pretty dull. Another was that people just didn’t divide things into colors the way we do now, so a lot of what we would call green was blue or brown to the eyes of people in the past.

Then, poor ole green had a bad reputation of being a color of evil, deceit, and treachery (green knights were never up to any good), unless they were very young men, who were “green” in the untested sense. As time went on, it came to symbolize young love (not necessarily faithful love), peace, and fairy folk.

Apparently, saucy horses wore a lot of green. I love the fact on that horse.

People just didn’t like to wear it, other than a few brief fads where various rulers decided green was their color. Then the sickness came…apparently from covering walls with paint and wallpaper that was green. Some even think that’s what actually got Napoleon.

Green and nature do go hand in hand, though, so there is a lot of green in landscapes and such. A lot of it wasn’t very stable, though, so some landscapes that look brown were once green. And natural objects like the sky, sea, lakes, and rivers were often painted green, not blue. I found that interesting.

Etchings on green paper were popular. I just like this dude’s fuzzy hat.

Since this book dealt primarily with European history, Pastoureau didn’t bring up the color green in other parts of the world. From my studies, I know that Japanese didn’t have a word for green for a long time; aoi meant both blue and green. And the number of colors languages distinguish vary from three to dozens. It just depends on what’s important in a society. For Europeans, Pastoureau notes that texture and other tactile features were more important than color in describing objects (also, apparently in the Middle East when people were writing Biblical passages), which I found pretty interesting.

In addition to all the history stuff, the illustrations in the Green book are just as gorgeous as in the others in the series. These are majorly great coffee-table books (in fact, mine are on the coffee table!) and they are just fun to page through.

Your friends will be green with envy if you display this one, with that fine smoking Jane Fonda on the cover!

Feeling Pretty…Social

Blinding whiteness

It’s been an interesting few days of social activities since I came to the Austin house Tuesday evening. I got my hair turned back into my preferred whiteness yesterday, and that always makes me feel better…prettier…fancier. It makes that last month or so with the extensive roots worth it. I think adding the silver worked well to make the roots less obvious, so I may do that again, especially seeing that the bleach made it go away.

Working on hair seems like such a privileged thing to do, but I save up for it. Yesterday I even got a nap while sitting under the hair dryer. And it’s always fun to listen to the stories my hair stylist tells about his life and adventures. Well worth the time and sort of worth the money.

Getting pretty isn’t very pretty, however. My hair looked like worms when I came out of this dryer. I felt like a butterfly undergoing metamorphosis.

As soon as I was released from my cocoon in the salon, this social butterfly ran next door to participate in our first vaccinated people’s book club meeting indoors. All of us were so happy to be able to both see and hear each other! We did have to keep steering the conversation away from topics that might lead to strong words (Did you know none of the homeless people in Austin are willing to work? Neither did I.). One of the women there lives in the alternate world, and said she’d not worn a mask except the few times she went to Austin last year. Wow. I kept waiting for Anita to jump on her, but we were all good and decided not to cause a book club scene.

I took myself, my PRIDE! shirt, and my giant rainbow earrings (I wonder why that one lady wouldn’t talk to me?) home just before yet another bad storm rolled through. Those are so hard on poor little Pickle the dog. Anita and I tried to distract her by watching weird shows about people with weight and skin issues, and she did eventually calm down.

Today I am back to feeling pretty and social. I was feeling so femme that I suddenly painted my fingernails and toenails this morning, and put on ALL the makeup I haven’t worn in a year. It worked out, because the office had more people than I’ve seen since February 2020 today. It has been so much fun seeing old coworkers, meeting some in person for the first time, and eliminating misconceptions (one coworker is much smaller than her large Zoom personality would indicate).

I may not be gender fluid, but I sure go from tomboy to lady-like in a flash. Hey, you just take fun wherever you can get it, right? I like wearing my “costumes” and looking different every day as much as my hair stylist likes to wear a white t-shirt and khaki shorts every day!

By the way, today I tried out the new “columns” functionality in WordPress. It looks pretty good on the computer, but let me know if it looks weird however you view the blog.

And yes, I will podcast again. I’m just really low on time these days (or bone tired) and can’t get to a lot of my volunteer and optional activities.

Controversial? I Stopped Shaving My Legs

What. The. Heck. Have I no shame? Can’t I just keep stuff to myself? Why yes, I have shame, but not about this. And yes, I keep things to myself! Not this, anymore.

Undercover legs. I have sun allergies.

I started thinking about growing up with the modern feminist movement. One reason I love jeans so much is that girls weren’t allowed to wear pants at my elementary school! The minute that changed in sixth grade, I refused to wear dresses for a LONG time. Can you imagine?

Eighth grade chorus photo. Who is wearing pants? Me.

One reason I liked pants is that teen girls HAD to shave their legs (white girls; black girls didn’t back then). I had pretty darned hairy legs, so I spent more time than I liked with the shaving. Yuck. But I had to do it. The one Orthodox Jewish girl whose parents didn’t let her got whispered about. Poor kid.

16th birthday. Big pants! Low waist! Pigtails (not fashionable, just weird me).

I aged into college and tried my best to be one of the cool radicals. But, “real” feminists and fans of being “real” women read The Joy of Sex and didn’t shave themselves. Check out that book’s illustrations some time. Teen Suna did.

I just could not stand my hairy legs. I felt feminist guilt, but I just was too brainwashed by my culture to go against the norms. It still baffles me why that was so. It’s not like I was conventional in other ways.

Fast forward. Rather than becoming more accepting of natural body hair, the US went way overboard the other way. Women got Brazilians, which appeared to be making little stripes on their privates. Then they started going hairless, except on their heads. Not for me. I thought that all looked painful, itchy, and expensive. It did make a nice tattoo canvas (another trend I prefer to observe rather than participate in).

Now trendy men shave all over, too. I keep thinking how prickly day-old arm stubble must be for the Property Brothers’ partners. Day old beards, though, that’s still trendy. Um, enjoy trendy celebs.

Then I began to notice young women bucking the trend. I sure admired that. The partners of both my sons, who are gender fluid, don’t shave, far as I know.

And as I thought about how femininity has never been my favorite mode, and how no one looks at blue-haired old ladies anyway, I gave myself permission to stop with the shaving and rashes and all that.

My legs.

As they grew out, I realized they are a lot less hairy than they used to be. I’m okay with them. The first time I went outside with leg hair, I felt the breeze on my legs. How strange! I’d not felt that since age 11!

I’ve been swimming in the hot tub and pool here, and no one seems to have noticed. There are even a few other people in covered bathing attire, even men. And there are the deep tanners. But, I enjoyed hot tubbing with a Muslim woman, because I’d always wondered if they got to enjoy pools. Yes! All covered up and happy.

Mr. Sparrow is not offended.

So, hooray for my legs and freedom of choice. It’s making me feel happier.

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