Who Supports Whom?

I was thinking about support even before I saw that it was the UU Lent word for today. Right now pretty much everyone needs support, right? Times are so confusing for everybody. Still, many of us are called on to support others. And sometimes the people we support need us to support them, too.

Yesterday, when I blew on this dandelion, I imagined each seed was flying off to touch someone in need of care and support. Cheesy, but what the heck.

My boss at my software job made this point yesterday in our Zoom meeting, when he said he’d probably be needing to reach out to us sometimes, too. We’re all glad we have jobs that we can do virtually and that we haven’t been laid off yet, but it’s still challenging. Remember, it may not be all that great for your boss, if you start to feel gripey.

I am really glad that I can be there to listen to the people I manage, because it’s hard enough to work from your personal cell (mine is even in a basement, and at the moment a bee is trying to attack my monitor), but it’s even harder when your work gets frustrating. A couple of my team are dealing with that, and they NEED to have someone to vent to and to tell them to just do their best, because none of us is at our peak of efficiency right now.

This wonderful friend curls up to me, sighs, and sends calming vibes. Well, he does that when he’s not running around like a goofball and barking for attention.

The concern I have right now is for the people I know or work with who are isolating all by themselves. It’s easy for me to immerse myself in my tasks, but I’m hereby reminding myself to check in on people like my sister, my stepmom, my coworkers, etc. We have all these fine ways to keep in touch, so don’t think, oh, their other friends/family members are supporting them. Your support is also important!

Suna’s Support Team

Hello Zoom, my old buddy.

As for me, I’ve got my precious dogs to help. Carlton has been especially good, since Vlassic is hanging out with Lee’s brother, who’s mostly alone in his RV. I do treasure my daily walk to see the horses and Fiona with him! (Fiona is healing, I think.)

I have to say, though, that the Zoom company, whoever they are, is my biggest support system. I’m sure they are getting rich, but I don’t care. It is so great to be able to talk to my coworkers, my friends in my nonprofits, and groups of online friends. I am so grateful for the technology that some of us lucky and privileged people have for keeping in touch.

He has no fat, because he is on the go all the time.

And of course, there’s the Hermits’ Rest commune. It’s so helpful to have the family around to support each other. I just wish I had ALL my family with me. I guess I better go send those supportive texts, letters, and emails now!

FIRE Brings Hope

It’s the SUN! It makes the earth shiny! It kills germs!

The UU Lent word for today is fire. It came on a good day, because a fiery ball of light appeared in the sky for the first time in a LONG time, or at least it seems.

Seeing the sun this morning made me hopeful. I have read that it’s harder for some viruses to thrive when the sun is out, baking away. I keep hoping the coronavirus is one that will be slowed by sun and heat. It’s supposed to get to 90F today, after many days of cold and damp here in the middle of Texas. (I also hope it helps Fiona’s legs heal up.)

While I’m mostly a watery Pisces kind of person, fire has always meant a lot to me. Like my favorite goddess, Brighid, the goddess of the hearth, the forge, and poetry, I like to make things from fire (pottery, bread) and I like to use my words to ignite a spark of recognition, passion, or learning in others.

Notice how different each brick is.

I took the picture of the bricks a few days ago. I love how every one of these hand-made bricks is different. And that they’ve required some repair to the mortar holding them together. But they still stand, because they work together. WHOA! A METAPHOR FOR OUR TIMES! We need to be this way.

Alfred’s still guarding the fort. We all need an Alfred from time to time.

We may be just “another brick in the wall,” but in reality, we have our own jobs to do right now. And so what if we’re cracked or a little broken, we can still do it! I’m thinking of all my family and friends who are trying hard to hold themselves together. That means YOU!

Cheers. Who needs to brush your hair in a pandemic?
I do still wear a bra, but it’s a comfy one.

I’ve actually lit a fire (sticking to my theme) under myself and am getting lots of work done for all the jobs. I guess I’m getting used to the new normal.

I recently read that Texans are drinking the most alcohol during this time. I did my part yesterday with some proseco.

But, here’s a weird thing. I took off all the dip polish and cut my nails. I am hoping that Tina, my nail technician, is able to take some time off to take care of her family, so I spend some time bonding with the smell of acetone and made my nails naked.

They are pretty thin anyway, so even when I go back to the nail place, I’ll probably just get polish for a little while, so they can grow out.

Now I look like Granny Kendall, who had little short, fat fingers and bit her nails to the quick.

I don’t recognize my hands. They are very clean. I’m having to use so much hand lotion that I took off all the big rings. That’s a new normal for me, too.

What’s your new normal?

A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves

You know how hard it is for me to not share when something exciting happens. I’ve had to wait a couple of weeks for this one, and it’s been killing me. Good news is needed these days, and we have some! Let me tell you a story (which I will share on another blog, too, but that’s okay).

Back Story

Once upon a time, last month, Kathleen was taking a back way from the grocery store to the office. She passed by a house with a For Sale by Owner sign on it. Kathleen thought it was really beautiful and reminded her of her grandmother’s house. She kept driving by it, but didn’t mention it to me or Lee, since we are so busy with the Pope Residence project. She did call the seller and got information on it, but never went farther than that.

Look! It’s a cool old house!

It kept tempting her, though. So, finally she broke down and told us about it, the week before we were scheduled to leave on our vacation. She scheduled a viewing, but could only get it for the day we were supposed to leave, because the current owner lives out of town. We debated whether to put off the trip or not, but I really did want to see my family…

Look! It’s the other side’s equally grand entrance.

We were pretty excited by her description of this large 1885 house on over 1.5 acres that had been partially renovated, so we decided to drive over there and at least look at the outside.

Continue reading “A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves”

Playing! Fun! Okay!

Today’s word for UU Lent is play. Great choice, since Lee and I are taking a birthday present road trip to visit a new place and see some relatives. It’s my gift to him. We hope to get Lee relaxed and me out looking at water. Fun.

As you can see, he’s thrilled.

I’ve always tried to incorporate play into my life. Some of the goofy stuff I do, like weird hair colors and holiday-themed nails are play for me and a way to encourage others to bring some fun into their lives.

Tina really enjoyed making these St Patrick’s Day nails.

My two main sources of fun at this point in my life are the Master Naturalist activities and my animals. I learn so much in our MN meetings and classes, and I have fun sharing it with others.

Boy did I learn a lot about plant ID a couple weeks ago.

The dogs and chickens make me play. They can’t help it. But true play is when I’m with Apache and Fiona. They both love to play, and I love going along with them. They just like to hang out together. Like yes, when Trixie the farrier came, we spent most of the time cuddling and nuzzling.

My guys.

Apache loves when Trixie comes and he gets to get in those weird positions and then feels better. I think he thinks they’re playing.

Today’s Instagram post shows a horse playing!

Riding just exhilarates me. It’s the best playtime ever.

One More Way to Play

I must admit that some aspects of our work renovating properties is like play. I do have fun picking out colors, fixtures and such. And Chris and I tend to play pretty often. Yesterday, we decided to check out the well behind the Pope Residence.

Look! Water!

It has water in it. We are now working on ideas for what we can do with that. We both admitted we had wanted to look in there for a long time.

I’ll have a Pope update soon. Until then, here’s a hint of what we hope will be the next project.

Hmm. Looks like a house…

I Love Color Choosing

Today Kathleen and I headed over to the ole hardware store to look at paint chips. It’s time to get the paint for the Pope Residence project! (Content below stolen from another blog; sorry, but the blogs have different audiences.)

We chose the colors for the trim and walls that aren’t brick, as well as the painted ceilings. The main color is called Rosy Pashmina, and will complement the brick really well. It’s a shade lighter than the actual bricks, but will blend in with them, we hope. It goes mostly in the back of the building.

Paint samples! This is the image taken in the shade.

The trim is a “designer white” called Wings of an Angel, which is a very light cream. We wanted to be sure to get a warm white to go with all the brick and wood.

The main bathroom is a calm yellow (if you can call any yellow “calm”) called Deviled Eggs. I hope it doesn’t always make me hungry. It’s toned-down nature will go with the rustic decor of that room quite well.

My office bath will be a very vivid red-orange called Steelhead Redd. It shouldn’t be overwhelming, since one wall will be metal and the brick wall will be the cream color. Besides, I like vivid bathrooms. I love the one in Bobcat that is a paprika color.

These are the colors in the sunlight. Probably in the house they’ll look a third different way.

And in a move that I hope works out well, I selected a very pale blue (Dreamstress) for the ceilings that are currently white. I think they will register more as white, and will be a nice contrast to all the warm colors. I always wanted a ceiling that looked like the sky, and it reminds me of the tradition of painting porch ceilings the “haint blue” color.

If it doesn’t work out, like they say, “It’s only paint.”

My Car Is a Billboard

In an unsubtle attempt at bringing attention to Hearts Homes and Hands, I finally put the giant sticker of our logo and phone number on the back of my car.

Wave if you see me! Don’t honk; I’ll think I did a traffic faux pas.

Let’s see if the rest of them get installed. I think Kathleen will start using the car magnets on “official business” now that we rescued them from the back of her office.

Where Was I?

I’m feeling bad for CJ, who looks forward to me writing every day, because yesterday was just too much. But I’m back, and I’ll have two today.

Trying to look cheerful.

Between meetings for both jobs, I had zero writing time, and you wouldn’t have wanted a fresh rendition of the hissy fit I threw when presented with the plans for the dark, blocked-off staircase and ugly flooring at the Pope house. It must have been a good fit I pitched, because now the plan is for a lovely open staircase that will bring in light!

The area of contention. They wanted to build the staircase in such a way that my tiny bathroom would only have 6’ ceilings

Later in the day, Kathleen and I selected different flooring for the main floor, because the team sadly found out that the floors in most of the rooms are too far gone to salvage. But I’m glad that the front reception office will have original floors using the good parts of the other floors. That will be nice.

Fixing brick.

We also picked a really nice metal ceiling, because I thought I was supposed to get the fake stuff. Turns out they wanted real metal. I also was a little annoyed at how long I spent picking stuff out, only to find out it was the wrong stuff. Not my day.

Fixing brick from the other side

Oh Quit Complaining

It’s not all bad, honestly. The house has been leveled, and that’s amazing!

Reinforced floor joists. They also added concrete footings. It’s steady.

And electrical work is going on! We’re just hoping the inspector likes it. He isn’t as fond of our exposed brick as we are, though we’re fixing it right up. Chris will get it all worked out. He is doing great with coordinating and schmoozing.

I will have outlets in my office!

Plus, Tina gave me these hilarious Valentine nails. She wouldn’t let me see them until she was finished. So cute! How could I stay annoyed, especially since I went straight from there to wine with friends!

Happy nails.

I’m human. I can lose it occasionally. The key is to get past it and get back to being kind. I can do that!

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!