Surrender? Who, Me?

I ordered a bookcase for only $250. I must be confident things will improve.

BAH. I’m not surrendering to defeat and negativity. In only two days my self-imposed extra-carefulness after coming home from our vacation will be over, and I’ll feel a lot better to know I didn’t get sick or make anyone else sick when we traveled.

Rather than surrender (word of the day for UU Lent) in a “giving up” kind of way, I chose to surrender my expectations of how things should be. Getting rid of that will let me enjoy things the way they are now.

Actually, I think rattlesnakes are at the end of the path. I’ll wear boots if I go out there.

I have bluebonnets to look at. I saw whistling ducks at the ranch. The trees and grass are so darned green that it makes my eyes hurt. My chickens make me laugh every day. It’s thundering big time outside while Kathleen plays “Amazing Grace” on her phone. I’ll surrender to that beauty and wonder of the day.

There are always sweet surprises out there, even when we feel imprisoned by our lack of choices right now. (Baby blue eyes just on the other side of the fence)

If this is my last spring, by gosh I’ll enjoy every moment. And if it isn’t, I know I’ll appreciate all the future springs even more. It’s a privilege to be here now. Since I can’t change what others do or what happens to the rest of society, I surrender to the lessons I’m learning and the love around me.

I am part of the love around you. And I lost weight.

Peace to you all in these “interesting” times.

I Don't Want to Write about Justice

Nope. Don’t want to write about the next extra-PC concept the UU Lent folks brought forth, justice. My Instagram says it all. I got a rock.

Rocks are grounding, though. This is my grounding rock.

I’ve never seen a lot of justice out in the world. Luckily I do see small amounts of mercy, which I find more important, anyway. Creepy people do well. Good people fail and suffer. The wrong people get punished. Whatever. Just keep moving forward one day at a time and see what you learn, but don’t expect to learn a lot about justice.

Ugh

One of my friends on Facebook said it best yesterday:

Today I hit a wall.

FB Friend

I did, too. I was trying to work on my perky email newsletter for friends of LLL, and I just didn’t have any perky in me. I read too many articles on predicted deaths, people doing unsafe things, and tragedies. I always wondered how I’d cope with one of these weird times. I guess, like many, I’ll have good and bad days.

Folks, we are allowed to have bad days, to be sad, to miss things from our previous life, and to worry like crazy about people we care about (and people we don’t know who have it worse off than us). Let’s be gentle with each other and support the people who have a hard time, even while doing our best to keep our own spirits up.

Where I spent yesterday. My ridiculous bedroom would make a great isolation area.

So yep, I spent a lot of time in bed with the dogs, reading a book. It helped. The rest of the family all worked until late in the evening. I’m worried about them, too. But, we are all doing our best and trying to do self care!

We’re entertaining.

I’m glad I have the horses and chickens, who make me go outside even when the weather is awful (we have flooding today, which means the chicken food is a mess). I’m glad the dogs can run around and play, even when it’s raining.

Playing in the wildflowers.
I like the stripe colors, anyway.

I’m glad other people are finding stuff to do. I looked on Amazon just to see what books are popular right now. Best sellers were all preschool math, for some reason, I guess homeschooling. I looked in the crafts section. I had to chuckle, because I never saw so many adult coloring books in my life. My favorite was the obscene one. Maybe I’ll get it.

I shall try to be cheered by the basement office’s art and fake flowers.

Keep in touch with me, and with those you care about. I like hearing from everyone. It helps. Now to go be perky.

Getting Supplies Safely and Helping the Unemployed

We’re still working on the Pope Residence project, even though we are down a couple helpers, temporarily. Yesterday, Chris made a trip to the Lowe’s in Temple for the supplies needed to do the trim. How did he keep himself safe, you ask?

He felt really good about the precautions the store was taking, which let contractors and others get supplies they needed but not spread germs. Each cart got sanitized before a customer used it. And all the staff stayed 6 feet from customers. When Chris needed to look at a staff member’s screen, he moved away. Chris was impressed with how customers all kept their distances, too.

Chris ordered some doors. They look just like this, apparently.

Chris got our sink for the break room and a lot of interesting trim to finish off the sides of the windows and around the doors, where there are gaps between the brick and the frames. It will look pretty spiffy. Wow we have a LOT of trim to paint, though! He’s thinking of ways to automate it.

A very deep sink. Perfect for the break room.

Next, though, is texturing the few drywall areas. It has not stopped raining for three days, though, and he really wants to do it on a dry day. It’s also cold, ugh.

All taped up and ready to texture.

Helping Out

As you probably know, a lot of businesses around here have closed down due to the state of emergency, curfews and such. One was the local car detailing shop. So, we have brought on Marcus, who works there, to help out on our project. It’s good today, since Randy is out and Easton is taking care of stuff back at the farm.

Chris is adding boards here, so it will match the upper part of the stairway. We will paint this the ceiling’s color.

He is really meticulous (duh, he works at the car detailing place), and is doing an amazing job taking layers of gunk of the door trim. I almost cried when I saw how beautiful the trim around the stained glass above the door came out. Wow.

Just glorious.

I’m glad we can help out people who’d otherwise be unable to contribute to their families or their own needs. It’s only a few people, but it feels good to be doing something positive.

When it is stripped, you can really see the trim details better.

Bummed

Like many of us, I’m having a bit of trouble being positive right now. We have daily meetings of the Hearts Homes and Hands staff, in which we go over in excruciating detail what we need to do to protect ourselves and our clients. And I think I’ve read too many articles on disease progress projections. And I miss Anita and my other house. All normal stuff everybody is dealing with right now.

Here’s the trim o go around the windows and doors. That is a nice distraction.

Sure, we’re all lucky in some ways, and we’re all inconvenienced. It’s okay to be sad and miss the old world, even as we are grateful that precautions we take may save lives. I think I’ll take the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, volunteer work and more work. And I’m glad I can do it.

The Darkness Fades: Spring Is Coming, I Think

It’s such a sunny, clear morning that the fog and gloom of the last week or so seems a distant memory. It’s got me thinking.

Bobcat Run at sunset.
Tenpetal anemone, which is named after another Greek myth, but is a welcome early sign of spring at the ranch.

I’m thinking and hoping the glorious sunset that I got to enjoy with the Austin neighbors seems to signal that maybe I and all my associates can start to crawl out of their holes, and rise, like Persephone, from the darkness. It’s a little late, but I have hope today. If kale can grow in the middle of the messy garden at the ranch, I can deal with the mess in my life.

Free food! Carlton inspects the volunteer kale I found. You just never know what’s going to come up, from the ground, or in these weird-ass times we live in.

I’m thinking of the sad person on my friends’s blog yesterday. We’ll probably never know how much help we were, but I was touched by the kind words fellow blog readers sent their way. At least a whole lot of positive energy came that person’s way…and I think energy like that can’t hurt.

I think a lot of the energy around me that is so sad has to do with being tired: me, my family, my friends, my cuber-community. I’m a lot better after my day off on Sunday. My poor friend at work was so exhausted from traveling to the other side of the world and getting flu that she turned blue and started shaking. ARGH. “Just exhaustion” is still exhaustion!

In a total aside, guess who was really thrilled to get to Austin? This dapper guy, along with his photo-bombing buddy in the corner. He later got to destroy the squeaker in his tuxedo.

Think!

I think I can!

Keep thinking and wondering. New life and new adventures always await. Look at the very early Indian Paintbrush blossom I found on my walk last Sunday. It’s a little bedraggled, since its brethren are still sprouting up, but the little bursts of orange on the side of the road were just what I needed to see.

Maybe the colors will keep getting brighter as the sun and rain wake up all the wildflowers and bring the middle of Texas back to its yearly celebration of pollination and abundance. I think so.

May the pansy fairy remind you of cheerful faces, even in the darkness.

My old friend Kathy D. reminded me that the pansies of winter always keep me going (even though I didn’t have any real ones this year). I just have to look to see that magic is everywhere and it’s not all bad. That’s just me, though, after all my years of positive thinking training.

Yep, I get it that it’s sometimes harder than others, and for people dealing with depression it’s worse. I do NOT want to be one of those people spewing forth platitudes like “just smile” or whatever. If it’s not in you, don’t. But DO keep putting one foot in front of the other and at least nod to the beauty you pass by, so you can enjoy it later.

Let’s stick together and see what we think about this spring. Change is in the air. We may NEED to stick together!

Aftermath

This is just a brief note to let you all know that, after my undignified fall, I got through yesterday okay and am okay today so far. I am just stiff and sore. I am proud to say that by walking slowly around the house during a couple of phone calls, I managed to keep my streak of hitting my movement goal going, so now it’s up to 154 days. I’m glad that once I’m actually up, walking is fine. I actually got in more steps yesterday than the day before, but they sure weren’t brisk after I went BOOM.

I was proud of myself when I hit the goal.

Now that I am older, it takes longer to recover from falls and such. Actually, falling makes me feel old, but I would have fallen where I was yesterday at any age. I’m just going to make the most of it and pay attention to where the hurt is each day.

For example, yesterday my chest muscles hurt so badly that I honestly didn’t notice anything else. Who knows how falling on my back strained them, but it sure did. Today, though, my shoulders and upper back are reminding me that I fell on them, and my upper leg is tender. Interestingly, my arms now hurt from trying to break the fall. It’s not bad, but it’s THERE.

And I realize I hit my head, thanks to the headache and bruising back there. I haven’t had any “concussion protocol” symptoms (thanks to American football on television, I know what they are), so I am pretty sure I will heal fine.

Since it is still raining hard, I have been sure to put on sturdy shoes today. We’re grateful for that rain!

That looks a heck of a lot better. Photo by Chris.

I’m grateful that I don’t see any bruising anywhere, though I’m surprised, knowing how hard I hit the deck. (Ha ha, I literally hit the deck.) You just never know what the effect of an incident will be! I hope there are no lingering symptoms, like the ankle that still occasionally hurts from when Carlton pulled me down the hill as a puppy. THAT incident produced a LOT of colorful bruising.

But, I am not hurt badly, so don’t worry about me. I’ll be back to other topics now, like renovation progress. I was so happy to see that they scraped all the paint smears off the stained glass over the front door. It will look so good once everything is cleaned and re-painted (carefully).

I’m on Fire in the Snow(ish)

It’s been interesting lately, but at least not bad, just interesting. Yesterday was another long, but productive, day at work. I enjoy those a lot, when I get to have ideas and help other people out. Plus, some of my favorite “drudgework” is coming up, so I’m all pleased. I am grateful every day to have work and a place where I’m appreciated. It was a long time coming.

See, I’m a person at Planview, even though that was a couple of job titles ago.

But, I had to leave a little early to go get the mammogram the doctor ordered yesterday. I wasn’t worried, since the 3D ones aren’t as awful as the other ones were, but as I was standing there, extremely awkwardly, I began to itch. Yoga breathing to the rescue, and I got through it, but wow, was I itchy.

Oh look, I had a rash.

Yep, I was covered in a rash, everywhere I had touched the machine (I kindly cropped the photo). All I can figure is that whatever disinfectant they use between patients (which is, of course, a very good thing) disagreed with me rather violently!

So, I ran off to the haircut place, where I had a nice glass of wine and was comforted by Dan, who also removed a ton of hair, with no disasters involved. I’m glad I finally found someone I like to do my hair, and that it is CLOSE to the house. Next time it will be a lot more fun, so stay tuned for late March.

Snowpocalypse!

It was really cold when we came back from having a Chinese dinner (chicken and broccoli, healthy and good with no rice!). Declan came over and chatted with us while we ate, which was a nice break. It is always so nice to catch up.

On the way home, little frozen rocks were spitting from the sky, I guess graupel. So, I was not surprised to see what passes for a “winter wonderland” around here when I woke up.

It was crunchy.

Better mark myself safe from Austin Snowpocalypse 2020! I think Cameron got a little bit more, from photos I saw (it will be long gone by the time I get there this evening). Be safe out there, Texans! Everyone up north, enjoy a chuckle on us!

This much snow is pretty. And once a year is often enough!

Cat-astrophe?

I wrote this blog entry originally for Milam Touch of Love, our animal welfare organization, but hey, who doesn’t love a story about beautiful kitties (other than Lee)?

This week I’m in Bandera County, Texas, which is west of San Antonio in the Hill Country. I’m staying in a cozy log cabin in a pleasant, older “resort” that’s perfect for hermits. It’s mostly scenery and quiet.

View from the picnic pavilion where all the cats are.

However, there are cats. Lots of cats. They’re feral, but obviously very well fed. I thought my husband was going to explode when he saw all the cats (as much as he loves dogs, Lee is not fond of cats and has a convenient “cat allergy” to prevent us from having any). 

img_4461-1
Excuse us. You’re interrupting our meal.

This morning, I put my MTOL Board hat on (it’s really an ear warmer) and set out to investigate. As I walked around the complex, I noted a number of plastic bowls full of cat food. I also noticed three lovely shelters built out of boxes covered with blankets and with a tarp over them. Hmm. Someone is taking care of those kitties!

Can you count the kitties?

I wandered over to the picnic pavilion, where I found a LOT of very happy cats smacking away at bowls of milk, drinking fresh water, and eating cat food. They were not happy to see me, however.

So, I decided to find out more about the situation and headed into the office for the complex. There is a really sweet woman who works there (it’s a small resort) who I’ve already talked to a couple of times. 

Continue reading “Cat-astrophe?”