The Storm Passes

Last night we had quite a strong storm pass over the Bobcat Lair, our Austin house. Just as we were emerging from our dungeon…I mean, office, to go pick up some plants, the sky let loose.

The edge of this little storm front stayed over our house a long time.

That was okay with me, since I was dealing with that panic attack/anxiety thing last night. I went into self-care mode and concentrated on my own needs.

I burned candles, smelled appropriate aromatherapy oils and blends, watched HGTV, and finally sat in my room and meditated for a half hour.

See, there’s a reason my notebook says “omm” and I have a little crystal ball on my desk. You never know when the need to empty one’s mind will come up.

The best thing about the storm was that we ate dinner early and went to bed early, thereby enabling me to get enough sleep. I’ve noticed that my antsy days tend to be when I haven’t slept enough, which is usually Mondays (I have to get up early to drive to Austin).

A few minutes after the first picture. Eventually, storm clouds will pass.

Today I’m still feeling sensitive to “stuff” around me, but I’ve been able to get much work done, even a meeting with the boss of my boss’s boss. I am back to myself!

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Finished the Bug Book

Not much going on here, because I was busy researching the history of our Cameron properties for a blog post yesterday. I’m learning a lot about the church and the houses around it. I’ll share links to other posts on this topic, in case folks are interested. Here’s my favorite aerial shot of the neighborhood in 1960:

The area of old Cameron around our office building, which used to be the First Christian Church.

But, otherwise I am still reading a lot. I finally finished Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live. I would recommend it to any of you naturalists, biologists, entomologists, parasite lovers, and such.

I was fascinated by the last chapter, where they talked about about sourdough starters and how the microbes and such on the hands of the bakers make breads taste different. I was wondering about this, since the sourdough my friend Barron’s wife makes always tastes really good to me, but some other people’s is just to “sour” for me. Now I know why!

My other favorite part of the book was where the author, Rob Dunn, tells us not to mess with the spiders in our houses, because they are our friends and eat all sorts of things that we would LIKE for them to eat. Another tidbit was that most of the things people think of as “spider bites” are really staph infections. I was surprised, but there was plenty of research backing it up, according to the HUGE notes section.

So, there’s a book review for you. It looks like my next non-book club book will be the one Barron recommended that’s about the mind-gut connection. More microbes for me! Whee!

Here’s Why You Dispose of Plastics Properly

Today’s bonus post is about how recycling and properly disposing of waste really, really matters. This is not more of my New Age jargon. It’s real, man.

Here’s a picture from this date in 2015 of Sara and me out riding. She is on Apache, who is now my horse, and I am on her previous horse, Aladdin. This was the first time I rode a horse other than the ancient plodding sweetheart, Pardner.

Yesterday, as often happens on weekends, Sara and I were out riding our horses. It was a really beautiful day, and the horses (Spice and Apache) were informing us that they’d rather do things other than what we were asking, so we needed to keep them out there to remind them we are the leaders and they are the followers.

So we wandered all over the property where it wasn’t too wet to wander. There were still a lot of good-sized puddles that are turning into small ponds, so I practiced convincing Apache it would be fun to walk through them, while Sara convinced Spice she really DID want to trot in giant circles.

Speaking of not being bored, Apache is learning the new skill of riding with a bit and bridle! We usually just use his halter and reins. Next, I have to learn to use the new tools.

That got boring, so we went into a pasture we’d not ridden in much before, over where our precious cattle are. There are some cool low spots I want to investigate on foot over there.

What was cute, though, was “checking on” the cattle. Basically that meant we walked up to each of them and calmly said “hey, cow/calf.” The littlest calf, who’s chocolate brown and very dainty (her mom was the youngest mother of the group) hid behind the larger bull calf at first, but then she peeked out and came right up to us.

All the mother cows have known these horses for years, so they were fine.

And what about plastic?

I’m getting there. We took two different routes to return the horses to their pasture, do to gate rearrangement needs (a common ranch thing, moving gates around). I was walking toward Sara as she was bringing Spice to where I was, and I noticed she was carrying something funny looking.

What in the world is she carrying?

I asked her if she’d found a plastic bag on the ground (we have recently found mylar balloons, which I think I’ve mentioned).

She said yes, but look at the decorations. Oh, ick, the bag was covered in nuggets of horse poop. One of our equine friends had eaten it and excreted it (and we all looked at Apache).

This image, seared into your brain, should convince you to not randomly throw away plastic bags.

Friends, that could have messed up his innards big time. Obstructions kill horses. They aren’t great for cattle either.

Fiona says she’s grossed out, too.

So please, please don’t let loose of mylar balloons and don’t let your plastic grocery bags fly off. Not only do most of them end up way up in trees, which looks awful, but if they end up on the ground, very valuable livestock could ingest them. That would be sad.

PS: Sara reminded me that they lost a calf (valued at thousands of dollars) once because it ate a mylar balloon. Expensive balloons!

Pathway to Fearlessness: Walking

I’m still pondering how I got to be so fearless all of a sudden. Did I suddenly become a wise crone when I turned 60? I doubt it. A lot of things I do contributed to it. Now, I know everyone attains their wisdom and maturity differently, but I also know that I learn a lot when I read about other people’s journeys (probably why I like blogs so much, now that Facebook no longer has as many interesting personal updates). Memes schmemes.

So, I’ll be sharing what’s worked for me over the next few days or weeks, and you are welcome to take what works for you and leave the rest, as we used to tell mothers at La Leche League meetings.

Let’s take a walk

I can remember thinking I was a slothlike slug, because I never was very good at vigorous exercise. I sure was over-generalizing! Looking back, I see that I was, and still am, a big walker. I walked miles and miles while I was getting my university degrees. I have strong memories of exactly how far it was from the Foreign Language Building to the Engineering building on the University of Illinois campus, especially when it was below zero outside.

Then I had kids. Walk walk walk (also a lot of bike rides). Walking on trails. Walking at football stadiums. Walking.

I can see this path from my window at work. I usually walk around the whole complex, which takes a half hour, or walk this over and over (many lovely birds here). When it is raining, I can always walk all the way up the parking garage and back!

Then I started working in office buildings. The only way I can survive is to take a walk most days. That’s where I do my best thinking and pound away my concerns.

Continue reading “Pathway to Fearlessness: Walking”