Calgon, Where Are You? Can We Transcend This Madness?

Today’s will be a short blog, if you can imagine that. Things have sort of taken a downward turn in my non-pandemic life, so I will need to deal with that. I have lots of support, and I was really moved yesterday when the support I needed came from so many parts of my life, and there’s where the UU Lent word for the day, transcend, comes in.

I realized that I have support that transcends all boundaries, if I only remember it’s out there and reach out. Those 128 likes and 93 commenters include people I’ve known since I was a child, people I’ve never met, elders, youth, people I disagree and agree with, and people from:

  • Family
  • High school
  • College
  • Grad school
  • My first job outside school
  • All my previous and current jobs: Akibia, Dell, Planview
  • Friends from when my kids were in school
  • La Leche League
  • Unitarian Universalists
  • FortuneBuilder friends (real estate)
  • Master Naturalists
  • Email lists founded long before Facebook
  • Knitters and crocheters
  • Musicians
  • Community theater
  • Neighbors from Austin, Round Rock, and Cameron

I am sure we all have a varied network, even when we feel alone. I am imagining them lifting me up in support, so that I can transcend these mundane roadblocks, personal issues, and unwise decisions made that we have no control over. Community support is vital right now.

The earth abides. The harvest goes on. Nature transcends human problems.
Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away. I put this t-shirt on this morning, and it turned out to be quite appropriate. (It’s a Slaid Cleaves album title.)

I know blog readers are also here to support me. And we are here to support each other. I’ve been sending out so much empathy to people I know who have lost loved ones during this time when we can’t gather together. I’ve been sending strength to those of us for whom this new world is scary and brings out their anxieties and depression. I’m sending calm out to all the people I know who are trying to work and school their worried children. And of course, super duper vibes are going out to people who can’t work right now and need to keep their lives together.

This too, shall pass (I think that’s the message my t-shirt is trying to convey).

Let’s all send out what love and light we have to spare, while taking in what others are sending us. Maybe that will keep us all able to move forward.

Contemplating the meaning of life and transcendence on a Maundy Thursday.

Thank you all. Supportive messages for me and all the rest of us blog readers and their circles are welcome.

Old Tin for an Old House

We’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to share this latest upgrade to the Pope Residence. Chris had torn down an old tin building in Dewitt County for some friends, and saved the metal for some future project.

Notice anything new? The front door is red! The other doors will soon be red, too. Along with the chair cushions, the house looks much more festive.

He asked us if we could maybe use that on the Pope Residence, and everyone got all excited about it. We didn’t want to put too much rusty tin in the office, but just enough to accent the rustic look we have going with the exposed brick, etc.

A pop of teal! It will go with Kathleen’s rug and other accessories.

Now that all the paint is done except the archway, which Nicole just painted teal on Kathleen’s side (it’s her favorite color) and the blue ceilings, it was time to bring that metal over and see how it could be used.

Here comes the tin!

As soon as they started putting the tin up on the wall where our “break room” cabinets will be, I got excited. Suddenly, the hallway looked “finished” to me.

The first metal wall goes up.

It was really fun to watch Chris and Easton putting the metal up. There are so many different textures and colors, between the rust and other signs of wear, it looks like it’s always been there.

Dang, this looks good. Rustic but good.

It’s especially lovely going up the stairs. It looks so great as a bridge between the two wall colors. It definitely makes a statement, and makes the stairway look less like a new addition.

Going up the stairs, it’s all tin.

Both bathrooms also got tin installed, and it tones down their intense colors enough, I think.

In all, I think I am personally in love with the tin. It gave me a much-needed moment of happiness after a long day of meetings and hard conversations.

Watching the work through my office window.

What has lifted your spirits a bit today?

Reaching Out/Reaching Up

I was surprised to see reach as the UU Lent word of the day, but then I realized it’s really appropriate for me, and probably for many of us right now.

Reaching Out

For me “reach out” is most important. It’s no longer optional to reach out to friends and family, but mandatory. With so many people living alone or dealing with challenges (like schooling children…or heck, just feeding and entertaining them), it’s important to be in contact with your peeps.

Don’t do as the cattle do! Isolate!

Goodness knows, I am not a great correspondent (other than blogging), but I’m doing my part. I write a couple of letters every day and make sure to say hi to someone I don’t often talk to, especially those who live alone. Today a friend reached out to ME on the day I was going to reach out to HER, which made me smile.

Gratuitous chicken picture. They are reaching up and grabbing at clover I picked for them.

Some of the things people have been doing for each other have really warmed my heart. People who have surpluses share them (we got some bread products that way just yesterday). Restaurants are selling supplies they don’t need due to not being open to the public. And there’s all that mask sewing going on! Way to go, sewing people!

I hope that when this is all settled down we remember all the kind and good things people have done for each other, and let the memories of people who aren’t considerate, run around in public, and hoard stuff fade away.

Reaching Up

My Instagram of the day featured Spice the paint quarter horse in a quest for delicious hackberry leaves, which she deserved after going for a ride and surviving being barked at by my dogs. It’s nice that Sara and I can still ride, as long as we take some reasonable precautions (we no longer share grooming tools, and only one person at a time can be in the tack room, which I keep forgetting).

Spice stretches out while being groomed after a nice ride.

I did a lot of reaching up (and down) yesterday while painting trim. But, now that much of it has multiple coats of creamy white, it looks great.

Nicole paints away on the trim yesterday.

Today, Chris is really reaching up as he works on painting the wall behind the new stairs. He has most of the priming done and is hopeful that there will be two colorful bathrooms very soon!

Looking down from the front door. Lots of white trim, new subfloor, and a primed wall, ready to be a cheerful color.

Peace within Reach

Other than being a mirror image, this shows me all dazed in a meeting, sharing the sight I get every time I drive down County Road 140 to my house. It’s lots nicer with that field of flowers to enjoy.

Many of my coworkers are doing their meetings on their patios or porches. It’s a great way to get outdoors a bit and enjoy some peace, while still getting stuff done.

I’m stuck in the basement for meetings. But never fear, I took a couple of photos of hos beautiful it is on the road leading to the ranch, so I use it as my Zoom backdrop. A little bit of peace for all!

The view without my head in it, and not mirror image. Not bad, is it? You can see my house around the bend.

I hope you can get out in nature, reach up and touch something not made by humans, and find a little inner peace. Let me know how you’re doing!

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…