I just saw that We have 400 WordPress followers on this blog! Sure, pro bloggers have more, but I’m pleased! It sure makes me feel less isolated. Thanks to those of you who read in email, on Facebook, or any other way, too! And a Merry Blogmas (inserted later, for SEO).
It’s been another weird day, COVID-wise. That’s all I can say, I guess. What’s good is I have no symptoms since I traveled, so I’m able to see my family soon. Lee’s quarantine ends Monday, so yay!
Celebrate friendship and love where you can find it!
I’m glad I kept looking for all those wedding photos, because next I found photographic evidence of MOST of a very memorable trip I had in the late 1990s. It’s one of my favorite stories, so those of you who know me in person probably have heard it. But I have PHOTOS to prove I’m not making it up! (I have way more photos, but didn’t want to break the Internet.)
Just Another La Leche League Conference
Back in the olden days, when La Leche League was a volunteer-staffed breastfeeding support organization headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, the US part was organized into Areas. Some Areas were one state, some a group of states, and some part of a state. But it had something to do with geographic location. How quaint.
I lived in Texas, which was its own Area. Up north from us was AR/OK, which was Arkansas and Oklahoma combined, due to their lower population. Many of my friends lived there, and I was working on my online projects with them. Since I’d recently become the webmaster for the parent organization (making this probably be 1998), they invited me to give a talk, my first in that capacity where I was invited out of state…ooh. It sounded fun to me!
It Gets Interesting
I had a hard time finding the place, even though I think I followed my friends from Little Rock. It was in an old 4H camp (or something like that) either in or near a reservation.
The minute I got unpacked and hugged my friends who were sharing something like a dorm room with me, I got in touch with my artsy friend from Oklahoma, Kris, who I had yet to meet (I had a LOT of online friends back then). She had her own cabin off from the main building. We met, which involved much squealing and hugging (oh, how I miss squealing and hugging).
Immediately we decided we MUST go on a hike. There were trails! A lake! Rocks! Plants! There was a reason I liked Kris; she was also a nature gal. So, we went on a fabulous hike. The woods were beautiful.
We found all sorts of cool rocks, plants we didn’t recognize, and bugs. Kris also likes bugs.
We even managed to see a deer, which made us so happy. We gabbed and gabbed about our children, our spouses (hers was way more annoying than mine and still is, as an ex), our LLL stuff, our friends, and so on.
We were happy and tired when we arrived back at her little cabin. Then, I felt an itch. And another. I pulled down my socks. Kris had no socks, so she just pulled up her pants. Oh, crap. There were tiny, tiny things on our legs. There were tiny, tiny things ALL OVER us. Almost at once we screeched, “Ticks!” and immediately began throwing our clothing off. Now, only a couple of hours ago, Kris and I had never laid eyes on each other. Here we were basically naked, picking ticks off each other. Tiny, tiny deer ticks.
No photos of this are available. Lucky for all.
At last, we got most of the ticks off, leaving an interesting pattern all over us. We de-ticked our clothing and headed to the main building. We found our friend Barbara. She had gone on a hike. Oops. Luckily hers was shorter and she wasn’t totally infested. Everyone else avoided those trails!
The rest of the conference, we had to keep showing people our bit-up extremities. Now you know why I do NOT get close to deer.
The Rest of the Conference
Things went uphill, and as far as I remember, the rest of the conference was fine. I met a lot of “high-ranking” LLL women, which was fun. I gave my talk, learned to dance the two-step with a very handsome actual cowboy (little did I know that would become nothing special to me eventually), and cemented life-long friendships.
We also got a lot of work done, which always amazed me. My team back then were so good at multi-tasking, since they all had young children, led lots of mother-to-mother support meetings, AND did extra things, like our new email lists, websites, and online communities. I’ve always been very proud of those women.
The other thing I remember about this weekend was that I made a lot of purchases at the sales area, where groups brought things they made, and such, to raise funds. I also bought a LOT of raffle tickets. I was trying to help out an Area that had less money than mine. Plus, they gave me a free trip.
I ended up with so much stuff that I had to take an extra suitcase home, but I had no idea how much I would treasure the things I brought. A lot of the stuff was made by Rudy, the husband of the woman in charge of the area (Wista). He was a talented Native American artist who did scrimshaw on mammoth bones (he was allowed to), did paintings and drawings, and a whole bunch of other art stuff. He was also fascinating to talk to and very patient with all my nature questions.
Among many other wonderful items, I got a picture of a wolf by Rudy for my son that he probably still has. I also won dozens of wooden symbols of the West, like buffalo, cacti, howling coyotes, etc., which were I think made by Wista’s brother. My kids loved them. They sat in the windows in my house for years and years. They bring back such great memories (and yes, some are still around in boxes somewhere).
You just never knew who you’d meet at one of these conferences, but I soon learned that you would always come away with lifelong friends and lifelong stories to tell. Yep, it wasn’t all bad.
PS: If you were there, correct or add to my memories! I am not the best remember-er on earth.
In addition to successfully working all day from the condo, I got a little note from my buds at WordPress. I feel as high as these here mountains.
I know I feel compelled to blog every day, but it sure has added up. It really helps me think things through, and I prefer writing to talking (so I won’t be joining the great Franklin Habit and vlogging).
Thanks for all your input and thoughtfulness in your responses. I’m looking forward to another THOUSAND posts. Or maybe I’ll find a way to earn money by writing.
Wait a minute. I DO earn money by writing. I guess I go to so many meetings that I forget I’m a technical writer/editor. So, if I want to blog as a hobby, I can. I give myself permission! But, I may knit some more. Maybe. Yarn is coming.
On my last morning in Wimberley, I decided to see if I’d missed anything on the property. Sure enough, after saying hi to the cows, I found a nice tent camping spot.
I found a few more plants for iNaturalist, and took this photo to show those of you not from the middle of Texas what our limestone rocks look like. they have lots of water holes and sometimes fossils.
Most of the trees here are live oaks or cedar elms, just like at home. The difference is there are more live oaks here and more cedar elms at home.
As I was trying to find more plants I discovered where there’s a waterfall and pool when it’s rainy. There were chairs to sit and relax, so I did.
As I looked around, I saw many flowers and plants growing straight out of the rock, many in the creek bed. They must pop up fast! Their tenacity and drive to grow, thrive and reproduce inspired me!
It’s just plain encouraging to see the native plants in their homes. No one planted them, but as they say, they bloom where they’re planted.
Finishing my walk, I saw more and more signs that autumn is here, even way down south in the US. I’ll leave you with these vines.
Hi, readers of Mama Suna’s blog! I’m Vlassic, and I’ve been hanging around the Hermits’ Rest Ranch for the past two years. I like it here a lot. Wanna know why?
I have so many friends! At night I sleep in Jim’s RV. He is so nice to me, and feeds me (I don’t go in the big house because Penney acts weird in there). When I go outside, I spend half my time with my bird buddies, Bertie Lee, Gertie, Fancy Pants, and Clarence. We like how cool it is.
The rest of the time I spend with my new friends, the Bull calves. It’s SO much fun there! Calf poop is so delicious, and they have a wonderful water bucket just the size for me to cool off my black coat.
On good days, Mama Suna takes me with her to visit my other friends. Sometimes we ride the little bumpy car. Tonight, though, we walked. It was a beautiful night.
I chased two of the 18 series cows, but just a little, to remind them of how we used to play when they were babies. Mostly I was good, though, because I wanted to see my friends.
I love this place! There are so many smells of cattle dogs! I have many places where I simply must pee. They need to know Vlassic rules…when they aren’t here.
There are other fun smells here, too. I especially like donkey poop. Mmm. Thanks, Fiona. Sigh, I was disappointed she didn’t get to come out and play. I love making her put her head down and shake it.
The other great thing about where my friends live is that they have an even bigger water tub! I like to swim in it, but not when it’s full.
After all the friends were fed, we went back. I had to investigate this new hay. It looks funny and smells different. Mama said it’s sorghum, whatever that is. I made sure to pee on it, so it won’t smell so new next time I come.
As we passed the cabin, Copper the dog came outside, so I ran like the wind.
I ran and ran. Meanwhile, Mama saw a new cow patty on the road, that had appeared since we came by before.
As she got closer, she realized it was a turtle crossing the driveway. She told it hello, but for some reason, she did NOT call me over to introduce me! Geez! I’m nice to all the other animals!
After rolling a bit in some silage (it’s an acquired smell, but I’ve acquired it!), I ran back to Rip, Poop Nugget, and Buster, to see if they’d pooped any more.
Then, to end the evening right, Lee and the other dogs showed up! We played! Then it rained a little. Not enough, but it made Lee and Suna smile. We need rain, because my pond is gone!
Here’s another post high on imagery and low on content. Because I’ve been out as late as possible lately working with the horses, and because the dusty air has made for such pretty sunsets, I decided to do a fun exercise and take pictures of the barn residents and caretakers last night. Have fun with moody lighting and sweaty masked caretakers.
Excited about photo time.
Sunset and horse and donkey butts.
Very clean Fiona.
Suna unable to get the light adjusted. But cute sloth mask.
Big Red insisted on her own photo. So dramatic.
Socially distant Sara, with Spice and Lakota.
This is how you have fun in the hot Texas summer of 2020.
The front pasture at our house hasn’t had herbicide applied to it, so it’s full of wildflowers, grasses, and riparian plants (by the arroyo). Since our internet tower got messed up and I can’t use the computer to write, I thought I’d share some images from walking around the pasture after a rain. It’s really windy, so the grasses are blowing around.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that my mid-life crisis has been to mess with my hair color. It’s my little inexpensive rebellion, I guess. Much less than lots of tattoos, piercings, or motorcycles. I’m not sure WHY I decided on bright hair, because I actually like my gray just fine. But, it’s my head and I’m a Free American Who Can Do What I Want. So, I had a major hair event scheduled for last March when I got back from vacation, only nope, the salon had to shut down.
(below are colors from the past couple of years, along with lots of glasses, which may be my OTHER mid-life crisis item)
I tried to refrain from putting any more Overtone color on my hair, so it could go back to more like the natural color, but I succumbed and used up the last of my coral mixed with red. Of course, right about then is when the Powers That Be in Texas decided it’s a great idea to “open up” the state and let salons open.
I read all the precautions the place I go to is using, and felt comfortable with them. I decided to book that appointment. Admittedly, my long bangs and scary morning hair pushed me a little. And it gave me an excuse to drag myself to Austin so I can work in a different basement office, see Anita, and visit with the neighbors at a safe distance.
I washed my hair daily with Lee’s extra-harsh coal-tar shampoo as soon as I knew I was going in, to try to remove as much color as I could.
Off I went, yesterday, knowing I was in for a slog. Bleach was happening, so I can have more pale colors. Last time I got bleach, it wasn’t good, but Dan swore he knew what he was doing, and had tested a strand. When I got there, I was impressed with how nice the place looked, even with all the plexiglass dividers they’d hung up between stations. They hung them from macrame hangers, so it looked like it was part of the design aesthetic. Everyone cheerfully wore masks, I guess because they were glad to be able to work or get hair services.
On to the slog. First, there was like an hour of putting hair in foil (which looked fun, but I forgot to take a picture), followed by a lot of heat. I took a nap.
When that was done, I had white hair with rather scary orange edges. Whoever said Overtone was temporary didn’t know my hair. But Dan wasn’t worried. He proceeded to then put bleach on the roots that had no dye, and stick me back under the dryer.
The result of that was a much nicer peach color, which Dan declared would add dimension to the final color. Okay. Then, one last round of heat.
I had planned to just stay pale until my light blue color came in, but Dan found some stuff that looked really intriguing. I said, “Sure, make my hair steel blue.”
Back under the dryer I went. He promised it was the last time. And it was! It was weird when he rinsed the dye out of my hair, because the water ran clear. ALL the dye went into my newly porous strands. That’s never happened. I’m hoping that means this color will last a while.
I really like the color it came out to be, and the salon owner said it would fade to the pale baby blue I was looking for, which means I can maintain it with the Overtone that should show up some day.
I think after all the experiments, I’m back to blue for the long haul. I’ll be a happy blue-haired Austin-style hippie, and I’m sure people in Cameron can handle it.
The hair didn’t scare the neighbors when I attended one of their social-distancing happy hours last night. It sure was great to see them, and we could hear each other just fine. I feel all caught up with the news and like I’m back to being part of the community. Now, of course, I miss everyone at the OTHER house.
Hey, if you are “of a certain age,” did you have a mid-life crisis? Are you still having it? What did you do about it? Or are you having a mid-pandemic crisis?
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤