Go Far Enough and You’ll Eventually Hit Water

Boom! I hit water yesterday, a long way from Texas. How convenient that the UU Lent word for today is water! Lee and I are both water signs, Pisces, and this year for our birthdays we got each other a trip to the ocean, carefully planned to be before the onslaught of spring breaks and such.

Kendall and Jan in the neighbor’s forsythia bushes.

We had a nice visit with my cousins (Jan and daughter, Kendall) and my stepmother (Florence). Jan’s the cousin on my dad’s side who’s kept in touch with me the most. I think I’m too “out there” for most of the rest of them. She made us a nice breakfast and then she and Kendall and I took an excellent walk around her neighborhood, which was blooming with daffodils, but no redbuds yet. We even got to pet some horses!

You can’t quite tell, but the paint is sticking her tongue out.

After that, we had a short but good visit with Florence, who’s doing well for 84. She had forgotten we were coming, or had the wrong day, so we didn’t interfere with her day for too long. She’s so cute in small doses, and was so happy to show us her latest paintings. She kept telling me to approach them straight, or they won’t come out right (once a professional photographer, always a professional photographer.

Where Is That Water?

Here’s the waterfall at the rest stop.

We got to see some new scenery on the way to Myrtle Beach from High Point, which was fun. Lots of small towns and pine trees. Yesterday I shared a picture of the rest stop with a living roof. That was so interesting. The view was amazing, too, and it had water!

We had an interesting time finding the place we are staying, because the GPS routed us to 1600 Ocean Blvd in NORTH Myrtle Beach, whereas our actual place was in regular Myrtle Beach. The check-in lady says that if we had been coming from the south, there would have been a third wrong way we could have been sent in the next town south. Great choice in naming roads. This place is trying to get their location fixed on mapping software, but it ain’t easy.

Water makes me happy.

But we are here now, way up almost on the top of a big resort building, with a nice partial beach view. That’s okay, because the land view has a ferris wheel and other interesting things to look at.

Night view of Myrtle Beach. It’s pretty, but I’d prefer a less urban vacation spot. I think the next one will be like that.

Lee and I took a nice walk on the beach, enjoyed a tropical cocktail and mostly just chilled last night. We are having a very nice time, and it’s so nice to not have to rush around for a few days. This is a perfect birthday present for hermits.

And, don’t worry, we will not be attending large gatherings of any sort. I think we are going to go to State Parks, mostly, though I do want to do a small amount of shopping. Small, really.

As for Water

Water means a lot to me, as a symbol as well as bringing life to us all. The way water moves has always fascinated me, which may be why I love that arroyo on the ranch so much. I am amazed that the spring springs and sends water down that little stream. And there is nothing more beautiful than an area after an ice storm, all sparkly and dangerous at the same time. And water brings us clouds!

Look! Clouds and water!

I spent more than a usual person’s time looking at maps of river systems, and love knowing where the water on my property goes on its way to the ocean. What a journey!

Here’s the Instagram of the day, in case you were curious.

The one thing I asked Lee for in the quest for our permanent “retirement” home (yes, I realize we have failed at retiring) was some kind of water. I was so happy to have the cattle tanks, utilitarian as they are, and frontage on Walker’s Creek, even though Ralph said it was the worst land on the ranch, because it floods. Well, I hadn’t planned to build a subdivision there, and keeping it natural is just fine with me.

I had to put the photo up in a larger format, so sorry for the duplication. Here is water in all its forms. There are some icy clouds way up there by the moon. Photo by Lee.

Water ties us all together, too. The water in us has been in many other people, in many other places. When they say we are all one, they aren’t kidding.

I Don’t Dance

Nope. At least very rarely. I’m not coordinated and I’m also sort of embarrassed about it. So the UU Lent word for today sent me off in a different direction.

My step mom’s painting is like color dancing.

I love watching dances that come up around me. Flowers blowing in the wind. Vultures circling. Starling murmurations. Wind in trees. Clouds racing across the sky that’s my fancy dancing.

Today’s Instagram

I’m not sure why I prefer watching dancing to doing it. I did fail miserably at ballet. And when I got older, I sang rather than dancing. Now that I’m older, maybe I’ll be less inhibited.

Clouds dancing across the highway.

But wait! Just for this blog, I ran on top of the I73 Rest Stop living roof and danced!

Dancing on the roof.

I’ll blog more later. I’m enjoying scenery I’ve never seen before North and South Carolina.

Slowly Trudging across the USA

Whew! I have a hint for you: don’t travel east the day the time springs forward, especially with someone who’s a slow starter in the morning. Today has been long, and we’re still 2 hours from our destination for the night. Vacations are fun!

We took the northern route, via I40. It’s mostly under construction. Lots of stopping next to big trucks. I’m very glad I’m a patient traveler.

Plums. Or pears.

I’ve enjoyed the scenery a lot. Much of yesterday I looked at so many beautiful wild plums. Or pears? I didn’t get close enough. Maybe it was both. They bloom such a short period of time, I felt lucky.

More plums. Or pears.

At the Arkansas welcome station I got to see pretty pansies, too.

Pansies just make me happy.

The best scenery, though, were dogs up for adoption we saw when we stopped for lunch. I got lots of great ideas for MTOL there. They had a storefront donated to them so adoption days are good in all weather. And they have their own van.

Pet adoption.
Puppies!

Today all the trees were pink or red. I think it’s red maples. They are subtle but beautiful in the sun.

Hard to see but that’s them.

The worst part of today was driving through the area east of Nashville, Tennessee. The tornado damage from last week’s huge storms went on for miles. I’ve seen a lot, and this is the most damage I’ve ever seen from one system. I couldn’t bear to take pictures; I felt so sad for the people there.

Violet and teeny field pansies

The Tennessee welcome station had a river, violets, and tiny field pansies. I love both of those!

Rest stop view. Nice.

Then came all the slowdowns. At least the last one was in the middle of the mountains, and I could roll down the windows and listen to the river rapids.

Roadside rapids.

It just goes to show you that even traffic jams can be interesting. It’s all in your attitude!

More field pansies. I like them

Count Me In

Oh goodness. Today is Sunday, so the UU Lent word is extra UU: inclusion. This is, I suppose, to incite us privileged cisgender white womyn to give a pious lecture about including our rainbow of friends in all aspects of society. Politics! The Board room! Your church! Your neighborhood!

Sunrise over parking lot. All are included in this view.

Okay. So, go do that.

Inclusion starts in your own circle, though. It’s been a tough issue for me. I’ve felt left out a lot, especially as a somewhat weird adult. I can see all the lunches, parties, outings, etc. to which I’m not invited but thought I’d fit in with. Still hurts. Childhood stuff.

Pretty pink tree.

I do get included in things, especially in Cameron. That pleases me. And I do not expect everyone to like me. I’m over the people pleasing thing, except those leftover pangs. More growth opportunities.

Include me! (Adoptable dog we met in Arkansas)

This is the best I can do on one cup of coffee and without getting political. I guess I’ll just suggest you invite an outlier in your circle to join you and your friends, at least occasionally. You might make a new friend?

Onward to North Carolina, soon as I can move the spouse.

Why Did I Never Go to Round Top Before? Too Much Publicity

Yesterday, Kathleen, Chris and I took the day off and went to Round Top, Texas, a tiny town with a reputation for much cuteness and quaintness. We figured we deserved some R&R after the stress of yesterday. I’d never been there before, though of course I’d read about it in every decorating magazine I ever read, watched television hosts go there and charmingly buy things, and thus knew it is “the” place to go for buying the coolest antiques in Texas.

And there you have it. That’s why I never went. Since I don’t like crowds, I certainly didn’t want to go in the spring and fall when they have the huge markets there. And I figured even if I went on an off week, the prices would be super high, since they cater to the most chic of antique hunters.

It’s not only quaint, there are lovely roses.

But, hey, I am always up for a fun family trip, so I was glad to go. The area is really pretty, and we saw many attractive farms and farm animals. The little town itself looks just like its pictures (imagine that), and is about as cute as cute can be, with a dose of shabby chic cuteness on top of that.

We ended up having a very nice time in the main “destination” area, strolling through art galleries and shops just full of stuff Kathleen and I like (earrings, clothing, jewelry). Chris did a lot of people watching.

Yep, it’s darned cute. That’s where we had lunch, I think.

We had a really delicious lunch at Lulu’s (the cauliflower soup was very, very tasty and the salad had roasted grapes that had been soaked in wine). While we were there joking with the staff, we took notice of how the really old building had been restored. My eyes were drawn upward to the ceiling, which was open, like ours at the Hermit Haus, but had been painted a nice gray. Hmm. That really made the place look bright and airy. So, now I am considering having the ceilings painted in some way.

Doesn’t that ceiling look nice?

While none of the stores we went into were actually antique stores, they were full of really nice people, and we had a great time chatting, as well as getting some decor items. We were sad to find out that two really nice galleries run by lovely people with a precious dog were having to leave, because they owners of the property they were on planned to tear the buildings down to put in a hotel. I guess that’s the way the place is going.

There was a lovely and uncrowded place to sit outside and enjoy wine. So relaxing!

I got a reproduction of a painting of a donkey from the Humble Donkey gallery, and two extremely cute donkeys with painted bluebonnets that are what a ceramicist does when she ends the day and has just a little clay left over. I admit I also got some clothing, but who can resist a shirt covered with hummingbirds? Not this bird lover (no photo, sorry)

Aren’t the little donkeys cute? They will look better in my new office, I hope.

Actual Antiques

After lunch, we went out to see some of the actual antique shops and other stores that surround Round Top. It’s nice that some are open year round. I actually got a good deal on something, a red chair with grapes on it, that I’m going to call the Grape Throne in my office. It was 30% off and in great shape.

The Grape Throne chair

I did a great job NOT buying every piece of shiny glass I saw, and only got two light pink votive holders.

Meanwhile, we were looking for things to use to make bases for our door desks. We found a lot of really cool stuff at one place, which also had dozens of these weird baby-sized bathtubs on stands that must have been from some old hospital. I forgot to get a picture of that.

This is one of the metal objects of my desire. Glad we didn’t price this one.

We found some lovely old metal fencing that we liked for my desk, and an old frame for a little buggy that Kathleen liked. But, when the lady said my stuff would be “999” we were not happy to find that she meant $999.00. For four pieces of metal? Nope. But, Chris got a lot of ideas, so I’m sure he will be welding us up something.

Wine and Yarn

Just as we were about to go back, Kathleen looked at her notes and said we should also go look for the place with wine and yarn. Wine and yarn? Yes, when we found the Blue Mule Winery, they did, indeed have both wine and hand-dyed yarn for sale.

The only blue mule was a sign, but that’s okay; they had lots of other farm animals.

Once the large busload of very loud birthday party people left, we had a great talk with the owners, and I’m all psyched up to go back there in April for a yarn event they are going to have. We liked one or two of the wines a lot, too, so of course I came home with some of each.

Wine and yarn. My idea of a good time.

Since they also had alpacas, beautiful chickens, AND a baby donkey, this was certainly a good decision! By the time we got home, all sated with Bucee’s jerky, we had a zillion stories to tell Lee. What a fine mini-vacation!

Surprise Guests!

Yesterday, we were going shopping in Bandera when we saw a car that looks just like Blackie, Lee’s late-life crisis sports car. Out came the relatives, Kathleen and Chris. What a fun surprise!

Hey. We know them.

I now had a co-shopper, which made the last couple of stores way more fun. We stopped in a little boutique that is sorta like a mini Bling Box (they go to the same markets). The woman who was obviously the owner said, “You’re wearing Effie earrings.” I thought it was impressive she recognized who made my earrings. It turned out, she and her husband own the jewelry shop. That explains it. The original owner left it to them, so she’s getting a crash course in Native American jewelry. Ha!

Dang. Should have brought Apache.

We got a couple of things. I had to get this ring, of white buffalo turquoise, with a tiny blue spot. It fits so comfortably!

It’s big, but fits great.

We had a nice meal and got some jeans, then decided to go hang out at their bed and breakfast. We needed beverages, so headed out to the winery near our resort. We had a fun experience even though we were hurrying to get to the cabin before sunset.

White wine we had last night. Once it breathed a bit, it was great.

We found Chris at the brewery next door. He was having a great conversation with the owner about how they can their beers. We got Lee a surprise stout in a can. They canned it and made labels for us!

Continue reading “Surprise Guests!”

You Know You’ve Been in Bandera Too Long When…

…you start to give the feral cats names!

Yep. I was sitting on the porch a long time yesterday, since it was my designated day to not do anything in particular. The gang of feral cats kept wandering by. One of them kept sitting there, staring at me. No, feral ginger cat, I am not going to feed you or give you water, because my spouse would be Most Displeased. Besides, I happen to know you have plenty of food and water.

Cat looking through bars.
You’re the one in a cage Suna, and I’m watching YOU, says Ginger.

I was feeling all smug, because I’d already made my Move and Exercise goals on the Watch. It’s easy around here! That made my December goal, which was even more smugifying. I’m doing what the doctor said and increasing my exercise; I even raised my Move goal last week.

exercise app screenshot
I did just fine yesterday. Christmas was even better.

In addition, a Facebook friend graciously told me how to make the Exercise app on the phone show up on my watch, which means that if I stop for a second to take a picture, the app will pause. That will make my walks “count” more than they have in the past. Nothing’s more frustrating than walking for a half hour and getting one minute of “credit” for it. (Yes, I know my body counts it as exercise, but I want to make my watch happy, too. And yes, I know one of my goals for 2020 is to stop trying to make other people happy. But, this is a watch. It’s different.)

Continue reading “You Know You’ve Been in Bandera Too Long When…”

Festive Nestivus to All Fellow Hermits

I was taking the day off from blogging, but when I read this post on the Sweatpants and Coffee blog, I had to share this wonderful new holiday, which I’m apparently celebrating today! I’m already in the mood, as my Snapchat picture shows.

Santa after Christmas.

I love the idea of a celebration of introversion. By sitting here on the balcony, drinking coffee, and watching the marauding band of feral cats go back and forth. I’m properly celebrating this Holy Day.

We’re not a gang, we’re a club. (SNL quote from long ago).

According to the creator of Nestivus, Nanea Hoffman, this defines the holiday:

Brilliant! From the blog linked above.

She suggests we cuddle in blankets, pet your animals or squeeze something soft, and communicate in our preferred introvert method, avoiding eye contact, if desired. Ahh.

A vulture just flew by so close I could count its feathers. There are titmice, chickadees, and cardinals in the trees (when the cats are elsewhere), and the child in the next building has stopped hysterically squeaking a toy and yelling , “Here kitty kitty!”

Mrs Cardinal is quietly chirping in the bushes in this photo I made nice and cozy for the Nestivus celebrations.

Mrs. Cardinal and I are both relieved. Festive Nestivus to you, unless you are out in a crowd celebrating Boxing Day, the extrovert alternative.

Talk to Strangers! You Will Learn a Lot!

The older I get, the more I end up like my dad, who loved to talk to everyone he met. On this trip, even Lee has gotten into the action, and met a delightful older couple who happen to also be staying at this resort, who clued him in to other fun places to go. By yesterday, I’d also talked to the office lady about the cats, did my Master Naturalist spiel to a large family, and chatted with one of the maintenance men.

Yesterday morning, I set out on what was supposed to be a brief walk to get some steps in before whatever other activities Lee and I were going to do. I walked down the hill to the complex entrance, and saw two guys standing under the two huge oaks that guard the entrance. I heard the word “flood” and pricked up my ears. Maybe these guys would know why the river is so dry, since I know it rained some this year.

Here’s what the area I walked in a couple of days ago looks like with normal rainfall.

So, in Dad-like fashion, I walked over and butted into their conversation. It was great! Both these guys have been in the area a long time, and worked on this resort property for many years. They told me about the last couple of floods, which raised the water up to the trees we were standing beneath.

The most knowledgeable one, Dale, told me that what we cross coming into this place isn’t the Medina River; it’s Privilege Creek. Where the would-be swimming hole is marks the confluence of the creek with the river. I asked why this part is so dry, when I see other parts of the river that are flowing.

Continue reading “Talk to Strangers! You Will Learn a Lot!”

Went Down to the River, but the River Was Dry

When I go on a trip, my main goals are to look at the nature and the architecture of wherever I am. Even in small towns, I love looking at buildings. Check out the Bandera County Courthouse, especially the manger scene. I don’t think they actually had turkey vultures in Bethlehem a couple of thousand years ago!

Jesus is visited by vultures, a longhorn, merino sheep, white-tailed deer, a cactus, and cowboysl

It’s So Cowboy Here

Lee and I had a lot of fun shopping today, especially since I actually needed a couple of “cowboy accessories” and so did he. I got a Resistol summer weight hat that fits me like a glove, and has already made walking around here in the bright winter sun easier. I really loved my other hat, but it got set down within the reach of certain blue-eyed dogs, and became a former hat. Grr. You only have to forget to hang the hat high ONCE to lose the hat. I’d had it five years or so, though, which is good for the kind of hat you sweat all over (it’s a work hat).

New hat protects me from blazing winter sun.

And I realize most women don’t wear cowboy hats unless they are in a rodeo, but too bad. Baseball hats aren’t as comfortable to me, and they don’t provide as much shade for my pale little European face. At least I live in a hat-wearing part of the US half time!

Lee got a new belt, which is really nice. The Cowboy Shop had a better selection than other Western shops we’d been in lately.

Anyway, after a protracted stop at a Native American jewelry store, where I got some Effie earrings (Hopi ones by an artist who always puts snakes on her jewelry) and some lovely Navajo White Buffalo turquoise earrings (white stone with black in it)…and Lee got a RING, we came back so Lee could yell at Verizon about a mix-up. I left.

River?

I headed back down to the river where I saw all the armadillo munching away yesterday. I only saw one today, but that’s because I walked through the river. The bed is glaringly white, since it consists of polished limestone with a layer of white sediment on top of it. It’s positively lunar.

Continue reading “Went Down to the River, but the River Was Dry”