There isn’t much going on. It threatened to rain here all day, but didn’t until evening. Lee and I went to the Lowe’s and Target stores in Temple (the town, not a synagogue, even though it was Friday afternoon), where it did rain a bit.
Dodging raindrops got me chilly, though I was glad we got most of the bedding for the vacation rental so it can get going soon.
I got home in time for a dinner and gabfest with Anita (and the very nice server at the Central Avenue Bistro), where I got all caught up on Pickle the dog’s adventures.
Nice normal day other than the rain that we humans welcome and the thunder the dogs hate.
First, I do not have anything contagious; my lunch (which was delicious) disagreed with me. And I felt okay this morning, when I worked on so many different things that it made my head spin.
After a fun time telling a new coworker fun things to do where she lives (one neighborhood over from where the kids grew up in Brushy Creek), I headed out to lunch with Anita for our newly traditional weekly gab-fest. It was so nice to just share our week together like we used to.
By the time I finished getting groceries that Lee had missed when he went out (plus ice cream—why I usually stay home), my stomach was sad. Rather than go to bed and rest, I instead dove into every work project I could think of, including some stuff that hurt my head. Me learning SharePoint is probably like my coworkers trying to learn Planview. It is counterintuitive and won’t let me do what I want to do.
Actually it is probably descended from the bane of my existence when I did websites, the dreaded Microsoft FrontPage, which let you make any website you wanted, as long as it looked just like one of its templates. I digress.
But by golly, I made a thing I find absolutely hideous, but is quite SharePointy and full of big margins, giant useless images, and not enough information to tell you anything. Yay. It did, however, take my mind off my stomach hurting.
I then wrote a bunch of blogs for other organizations, did miscellaneous to-do items, and nearly checked off all the bullets in my bullet journal for the day. So far I only have one bullet for tomorrow. Ah. Horse stuff with Sara!
By the way, I got recertification for another year as a Texas Master Naturalist! I’m enjoying it more this year, since it’s a lot less stressful just being the secretary. And no, I will not take over the website until I retire from paid employment. Boundaries! I have them!
I’m quite proud of my fellow volunteers, though, and so glad I get to see them again. I just had to hug a couple of women I’d missed so much. And I was very sad to learn that Sam, one of our members in the last class, had passed away this week. He was so helpful to our older members and did some good work.
So yes, life’s short. That’s why I spent good time with my horses and Fiona this afternoon. I groomed and loved on them as hard as I could. It was my reward for getting through the afternoon of mental and physical owies. It’s just so peaceful when everyone is in a good mood and crunching away on their dinners.
Whatever you are celebrating this weekend, enjoy it. I’ll enjoy what everyone else is celebrating, with thoughts of peace and kindness to all, even those who want to cause you pain. I’m just not letting it happen!
Not much time to write, because I was busy working and having fun. I got to check out Anita’s house renovation in progress, and I was surprised to see how pink the bricks are that haven’t been exposed to the elements since the 50s.
Her house is going so great, and I’m proud of the work so far. Heck, the whole town is looking better. Some ugly stucco was taken off a building in downtown and this was revealed.
After I finished teaching, Lee and I went over to a lesson for Apache (because I’m busy this weekend). He seemed in a bad mood, but quickly perked up once we got there. It WAS a bit late.
We had another great lesson in which we both learned a lot. He’s still confused at cantering but was willing to do it for Tarrin. I ran around a lot, but he wouldn’t.
I’ve decided I really like the Western saddle on him. I can feel what I’m doing with my feet better. He started to try to be squirrelly with Tarrin, but she worked with him to get used to being under her lights.
Then I got to try some tight turns and circles, using more “refined aids.” That means not yanking the reins. I figured it out, and was just barely tugging the reins and moving my legs to get him to follow instructions.
I felt so good after improving! I could trot and look correct, even. I think I may become an okay rider after all. I just needed Apache to learn what to expect, then learn to do it. We both are getting a clue.
I even was able to handle him outside the training arena in the dark. Some parts he just did well on, and other parts I coped with. So proud!
I smiled all the way home. I’m so grateful for my great teacher and the chance to keep learning. Heck, Drew and I may even compete later in the year! And Tarrin said trail rides may be sooner than I think. I miss them!
There always seems to be some house or another than needs to be worked on in our little community. The focus right now is on Anita’s retirement house, Pickle’s Pink Palace. I’ve probably mentioned that a few things have come up, so she isn’t in there yet (she’s in my office, right where I am typing).
The crew (the nephew and his helper, Marcus) have already taken down some walls, made some openings, and come to the conclusion that the whole place needs rewiring and insulation on the outer walls (there is NO insulation).
But the place actually looks a lot better already, thanks to painting the walls a neutral color and removing the old cabinets and scary appliances (the stove is not scary, just dusty, and the fridge holds beverages for the crew). The biggest eyesore, a heater that took up the best wall in the living room, is also gone. The hole it left is much more attractive.
An electrician and a spray-foam technician have already been scheduled, so that will be taken care of soon and the walls can go back up.
Then will come more painting, flooring, cabinets, and the all-important HVAC installation. And oh yes, new windows and roof.
Much landscape cleanup has been accomplished, but there are a lot of nandina plants and other nuisances to get rid of. I hope we can save some of this beautiful little “weed,” though.
There are a few very large, very old trees that were planted when the house was built in 1955. They are in their old age, but we hope to pamper them a few more years. The oak and pecans make Anita look even tinier!
We’re all extremely excited to get this house livable. We know it has a good vibe from back when we bought it. Anita is going to make it so true to its lineage, and so livable as well.
My eyeballs are all blurry from trying to make job aids on a very small computer screen. That hurts my eyes. But, it could have been worse. I could have been supervising my move from the Bobcat house. But on the contrary, Anita did that for me. She deserves a big reward. Well, I did pay to move her stuff from Austin. A small token of thanks.
And then, the relatives in Cameron helped with the unloading. I am incredibly lucky to have such a fine support system. I’m sort of at a loss for words to express my gratitude. Yes, me, all inarticulate.
According to the team in Cameron, Anita’s and my stuff totally fill the place they are stored. As soon as I get home, MY work of unpacking, downsizing, and organizing begins. It did feel weird to miss my own moving day. And I hope to heck it’s the last one! For sure!
The moving company we used is Square Cow Movers. Or moovers. They are small and local. Sort of. They are also in Denver. There was no hassle at all booking the move, and from all reports, they were just great. They even helped move this giant refrigerator.
I highly recommend that company. And the price was reasonable, too! It feels good to have positive things to say about a company.
Over here in Colorado, a nice guy at the condo place found me a good box to mail things home in. That makes up for the unfortunate fact that they installed a family with children who never stop moving the entire time they’re awake upstairs from me. The parents are also stompers, thumpers, and droppers of heavy objects. That’s good, I think, because it makes me want to go home.
It was a bit cold for hiking this afternoon, so I shall visit the hot tub and rest my eyes. And I’ll soothe my muscles from not helping with the move. Ha!
This is a rare time. There really isn’t anything pressing at the moment, and I spent all last night doing things that weren’t stressful (other than figuring out why the television isn’t working in the living room at the Bobcat Lair). I even did the things on my to-do list (Kathleen now has software for us), including finding someone to clean the ranch house. I have three candidates to talk to!
One thing that’s good about having two houses is that you get new scenery and a bit of a break. I LOVE that there’s usually so much to do at the ranch, but an occasional day of not sweating profusely or shoveling anything does give my back a break. I’ll have plenty of energy for when I get back!
Anita and I watched Dr. Pol (show about old Dutch vet in Michigan) in my beautiful bedroom and said ooh and aah to cute puppies and kitties, and ICK when there were two scenes of cutting off cow nipples. That was plenty of drama for me!
Regrettably, this may well have been the last peaceful evening we have. Tonight we have visitors and will get some work done around here as we prepare to move all Anita’s boxes to her new house in Cameron, and I prepare to get the beautiful and unique Bobcat Lair sold. Have I mentioned the housing market in Austin is ridiculously hot? So, as a professional house flipper, I know it’s time to flip the house, as much as I love it.
The plan is to get an apartment near my work for the next couple of years. A quiet one, if possible. We just have to get the boxes out, sell the house, and move things to various places, other than the things that just go away.
I am no longer stressing out or worrying about any of this. We can handle it all by doing one thing at a time. I may still occasionally lapse into patterns of self doubt or have trouble handling change, but I’m sure doing a lot better. That’s all any of us can ask; to do better. I’m also doing way better accepting people in my life just as they are, warts and all, and am only requesting that favor in return, when possible. No wonder things are a bit calmer for me!
Thanks for the kind words about my stress dreams and such. I’m honestly okay with having some extra-anxiety-filled times occasionally, just as long as I have some extra-chill time to balance all that out. And I generally do! I share a lot of my fun times and relaxing, so I hope you know I’m not always a Debbie Downer, even if I AM overly inclined to introspection.
One of the most wonderful things I’ve found as I deal with all the interesting new challenges that have been coming up is that it doesn’t take much to lift my mood and help me see what’s good out there. I’m so glad I have a support team of friends and family who can always be counted on to provide perspective, without guilting me about how I feel, telling me to just smile, or downplaying my concerns.
Yesterday, I dragged myself out of the office after some hard work and hard conversations (don’t worry, I’ll LIVE), and took my fully vaccinated self over to the salon to get a haircut by the fully vaccinated Dan. I’ve had a good run of luck with hairdressers the past few years, and he’s the latest good one. We have a lot in common and similar senses of humor. By the time we finished telling stories about our mothers, cranky people, and random stuff on television, we were both laughing so hard I’m amazed he was able to cut my hair. Good thing I have one of those spiky cuts.
I then sped on over to the Bobcat Lair house, where I got to hang out with Anita and catch her up on the doings from the last couple of weeks. As I told her all my stories, my tales of woe, and my challenges, it suddenly became quite clear that some of my hard stuff was making life much easier on Anita, because she’ll get to start remodeling her house in Cameron. Things are moving in a good direction, just on a twisty path! A new phase in our lives is coming, and it will also be a fun one.
Then I started telling her all the good news happening with our buddy Mandi, all I learned from Apache this week, and of course how cute the chicks are. I realized I felt MUCH better. I was totally blanking out on the good that may come from some of the hard stuff, especially my life in Cameron!
And after I went to bed, I got to text with Lee and Kathleen and have fun with them. Yeah, Kathleen can’t hardly walk, Lee keeps losing his data, and I’m feeling old and tired, but we have each other, we can find the humor in everything, and we know good times are coming not too far down the road.
That’s what I need, perspective, humor, and the ability to look at things past the next few days. I’m gonna apply that in all that I do, and maybe I’ll make it through next week at work after all. I hope you, too, can see better things on the horizon and that using your buddy, humor, you can get through the rocky path toward something new and fun. Let’s do it!
Allow me to return to the original purpose of this blog, which was to document my nature observations and Master Naturalist activities. I want to share that I finally solved our Bobcat Lair fruit mystery.
For a few weeks we’ve been seeing these weird fruits in the road and in the grass near our house. Anita and the neighbors had been baffled. A plant identification mystery!
Finally, last week, Anita and neighbor Angela determined that they were coming from across the street from us, where new owners had recently trimmed back some overgrown shrubbery. That’s been letting more fruit be seen. And it appeared to be coming from…a cedar (Ashe juniper) tree?
Looking harder, at the tree we realized there was something non-juniper-esque in there, which we never could see before. Well, we couldn’t see the house, either.
I took a photo of the fruit, which resembled a fig or a banana or a cashew to us. It was identified on iNaturalist as a snail. Nope. I posted to our chapter Facebook group and a couple people said a fig. But it didn’t feel like a fig.
So, today I took more photos, including the leaves, by crawling in the neighbor yard. Hmm. That tree could be a big vine.
I also got more fruit and cut one open. Hey, there were lots and lots of tiny seeds in there! Like a fig. Okay, so I have fig and vine.
I uploaded all my photos, and finally found a match. And it’s both a fig and a vine.
This seems to be a weird plant. It often has tiny leaves, but also parts with large leaves. I think the one across the street has both. (Look at what’s growing on the tree trunk above.) And those weird pulpy fruit! They are not like figs you eat. And they are in the mulberry family?
I looked into it more. Mulberries are a big family. So is ficus. Breadfruit is also one. Here’s more from Wikipedia (donate to them) about our new figgy friend:
But what the heck is a liana? I have a friend named Liana…what is she named for? It’s a woody, bridgy viney thing.
Do any of you know more about these plants? Interesting, huh?
Today is Anita’s last day with me in Utah. I just have to say it’s been great. One of the best things about hanging out with your long-time friends is that you can enjoy yourselves without doing much at all. We did a lot of nothing this week.
We did have a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but since we didn’t have access to a car most of the time she was here, we spent a lot of time just hanging around the Canyons Village resort area. All the walking was a blast, and it sure used up a lot of energy. That meant we got to enjoy a lot of food, too! Thank goodness the pho and ramen restaurant finally opened, so we could eat there!
The shopping and sight-seeing was also fun, and we sure were grateful for the family visitors for taking us around. Yesterday we did a bit more shopping, and Anita got some great coral Zuni earrings. I’m so glad she got to have fun, while Kathleen and I were drooling over a huge jewelry selection AND Navajo blankets. Not bad ones!
My favorite thing she got is a huge cactus-shaped birdhouse thing. It’s going to be her “travel pillow” so she can get it on the plane. It is stuffed with excellent newspapers from Nepal!
The best part was just hanging around in the condo, eating our random foods, watching the snow, the birds and the one giant black cat that hangs around here. It was so good having someone to watch election coverage with and talk about things.
And of course, the four seasons of Schitt’s Creek were a blast. Neither of us had laughed so much in a long time.
She got out while the weather was still great, which is good, since a snowstorm is a-brewing. I’m sure the rest of us will figure out something fun this evening, though!
The intent of this post is just to say treasure your friends, and make the most of times you get to spend together. Usually Anita and I are both working a lot, so just hanging out was a real treat. Relaxing, truly relaxing, is rare, and I am glad we got to do it together. Only she and I would laugh when I pompously declare that I just realized that for every mountain, there is a valley (that’s after I looked at a team photo in the newspaper stuffed in the cactus and wondered where people played soccer in Nepal, with all those mountains).
Tell your friends you care about them! (Hey, friends, I care about you!) Write me!