Healing and Grace

It’s been almost a year since I grabbed the opportunity to leave a job where it had become increasingly obvious I wasn’t wanted. The new offer was so perfect I had to accept. It’s been a great year

I mooooved on

Today I attended the yearly conference put on by my old employer. It was my first time as a customer. Customers are way more welcome than technical writer managers, so that was good. Other than accidentally starting to attend a session by one of the people who uh, um, wasn’t a fan of me, it was interesting and I learned a lot, especially from other customers.

I just breathed and thought of the beautiful sunrise. Tuesday is sunrise day, because of the 7 am meeting.

The healing came as the day went on. I’ve heard from very few people who still work at that company, which are fewer by the day. And I have not asked the ones I hear from what’s going on there; I just keep up with the products. So, I was touched that some people reached out to me today. That felt so nice, especially since people I’d asked for help before I left had not even said goodbye. Well, only one person did.

It’s okay.

But to hear kind things and learn how some folks were doing felt healing. There’d been no closure after ten years there. The good wishes helped. Right now, with my focus on keeping just what’s good in life, I’m feeling a sense of grace.

Transformation time.

Well it’s either grace or a fever from getting both the new COVID booster and a flu shot today. No horse riding today. Sore arms.

I wish you healing and the ability to move on.

There and Back Again

Well, dang it, I was not elsewhere for very long! Like the Hobbit, I was there and back again. As anyone who’s my Facebook friend already knows, I discovered that the conference I went to Kerrville to attend was not happening. There were two others there wondering what the heck was going on, too. We couldn’t even get ahold of anyone listed as being in charge of the conference for a long time. So, we spent some time looking at the endless supply of taxidermized animals in the hotel lobby. I love the fact that the mother and baby giraffe had a sign that said they died of natural causes. You know, it’s an art and everything, but taxidermy isn’t one of my favorites.

Finally, Tiffany, the mom in the other group, got in touch with the AgriLife folks in Kerr County, who informed us the conference had been canceled. I called and gave them my name and number, and they promised we’d get contacted by someone who knew something. The Smith family, who had driven five hours, went to visit some relatives. I decided to have a “me” day, and sought out a coffee shop to ponder my plans.

Someone can’t read

I really liked the Pax coffee shop I found. The coffee was Cuvee Coffee from Austin, which I like a lot, and the honey-infused latte was quite yummy and the avocado toast was seasoned well. I know a person who goes by “Pax” from my old church, so I got them one of the t-shirts from the shop. They are pretty, too.

After a little walk around downtown Kerrville, I went off to Fredericksburg, my favorite place to go off to, to be honest. I had a lot of fun visiting all the shops I miss so much, like the fantastic Native American jewelry store I like so much (I got a ring with snakes on it by Effie Calavaza, who was Zuni), where I got to listen to a phone call in Navajo. That doesn’t happen often.

Snake on the other side had red eyes

After enjoying the hat place, the boot place, the fancy clothing place, and a candle place, I headed over to the wine place. That’s the Becker winery shop. I’ve been a member of their wine club for three years and this was the first time I even got to take advantage of my free glass of wine per visit perk. I just sat there in a big ole leather chair, knitted on my next blanket, and felt all fancy. Since I took the contractor gig I hadn’t taken any time off. It felt good to have no agenda.

Next, I wandered down the road a bit to have lunch. It was in an old warehouse building. My goodness, it was PRETTY. I just sat there and looked at all the rustic things around me and enjoyed a “hippie panini” (all veggies) and some delicious fruit. I’m glad I am comfortable dining solo.

The building next to the one with the restaurant in it must be owned by the same folks. This was an “antique store” but not one of the dusty fusty ones. No, it is a trendy spendy antique store. I was impressed with the interesting finds in that place, such as a lot of grates and urns from France, industrial pieces that could make cool lamps, an antique weaving machine, and a somewhat creepy amount of things sourced from old Catholic churches or something. There were many things I thought we could duplicate here, so I took a lot of pictures.

Of course, because it’s trendy, most things in the store were white, cream, or wood colored. I’m not sure why colors are so scary, but they are. All the linens were extra natural, too, and pre-wrinkled. Whatever.

After all this fun, I drove home quite pleased with my day. Then I started getting calls from various AgriLife people apologizing and such. They are refunding my registration and even paying back my hotel room! I did not expect that. Later, they offered me a big discount on the next conference in October. I guess they expect that one to actually happen. HA HA.

Bonus. Store dog.

I appreciate the caring and concern, though. Since I spend a LOT of time volunteering for them, I’m pleased at how they are willing to make amends and are so nice about it. Heck, we all make mistakes, right? And I ended up having a nice day and got home in time to feed horses, so Lee only had to feed once.

Mansion I should have taken the tour of in Kerrville.

Bonus: I was going to have to miss a Master Naturalist Board meeting tomorrow, so now I get to go to it after all. It’s always good to have the secretary in attendance. And I will get to see friends. Score!

I Am Elsewhere

Look at me! I’m doing an activity! For fun! In a different place. Alone. I’m going to a conference I attended Before COVID and really enjoyed, sponsored by the Bennett Trust and Texas Parks and Wildlife. So I’ll get Master Naturalist credits.

It’s rustic.

The hotel in Kerrville (YO Ranch) is old but charming, and I have good memories of staying here during the Kerrville Folk Festival. I like the quaintness and quiet. I hope it’s fun tomorrow.

Rustic

Things are still moving along at the ole ranch. With Anita’s house done, we can get some things we’ve been waiting on. First, we’re going to put the gutters on our house, at last. Lee wanted rain chains, but the wind killed them. So, the gutters have come out of the storage container!

Drainage

First, we needed to make the water drain away from the pool. I feel really bad for the team, because they had to dig this trench with a pick axe on the hottest day of the year so far.

Hey, there’s a house in the back yard. And a trench.

A big drain hose will go in the trench. I am, however, hoping at least my son feels better today, when he got to drive the backhoe around and destroy stuff.

Vaguely happy son.

They were taking down the fence we used to use to keep the dogs in. Now that we have a larger fenced area and the pool is done, we don’t need that fence, even though it’s pretty. I’m assuming the crew will re-use the components.

I was proud of how well the guys did without any supervision. They’re a good team.

???

I have saddled poor Lee with horse feeding for the time I’m gone (until Saturday). I prepared buckets of food for Apache and Drew. I’m hoping he can hold down the fort until his helpers return! Secretly, he is doing much better with the horses and has been helping a lot! Yay for my spouse.

More tomorrow. Now I must post about knitting.

Dangerous Memories of Middle of Nowhere, Oklahoma

I’m glad I kept looking for all those wedding photos, because next I found photographic evidence of MOST of a very memorable trip I had in the late 1990s. It’s one of my favorite stories, so those of you who know me in person probably have heard it. But I have PHOTOS to prove I’m not making it up! (I have way more photos, but didn’t want to break the Internet.)

Just Another La Leche League Conference

Back in the olden days, when La Leche League was a volunteer-staffed breastfeeding support organization headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, the US part was organized into Areas. Some Areas were one state, some a group of states, and some part of a state. But it had something to do with geographic location. How quaint.

I knew I was in Oklahoma by the themed clothing and the hay.

I lived in Texas, which was its own Area. Up north from us was AR/OK, which was Arkansas and Oklahoma combined, due to their lower population. Many of my friends lived there, and I was working on my online projects with them. Since I’d recently become the webmaster for the parent organization (making this probably be 1998), they invited me to give a talk, my first in that capacity where I was invited out of state…ooh. It sounded fun to me!

It Gets Interesting

I had a hard time finding the place, even though I think I followed my friends from Little Rock. It was in an old 4H camp (or something like that) either in or near a reservation.

Here is the place. I think that’s Sandy, followed by Barbara looking in her purse.
Kris, in a calmer moment.

The minute I got unpacked and hugged my friends who were sharing something like a dorm room with me, I got in touch with my artsy friend from Oklahoma, Kris, who I had yet to meet (I had a LOT of online friends back then). She had her own cabin off from the main building. We met, which involved much squealing and hugging (oh, how I miss squealing and hugging).

Immediately we decided we MUST go on a hike. There were trails! A lake! Rocks! Plants! There was a reason I liked Kris; she was also a nature gal. So, we went on a fabulous hike. The woods were beautiful.

That is soooo pretty.

We found all sorts of cool rocks, plants we didn’t recognize, and bugs. Kris also likes bugs.

Finding something fascinating

We even managed to see a deer, which made us so happy. We gabbed and gabbed about our children, our spouses (hers was way more annoying than mine and still is, as an ex), our LLL stuff, our friends, and so on.

A deer. Aww, we liked deer. At that moment.

We were happy and tired when we arrived back at her little cabin. Then, I felt an itch. And another. I pulled down my socks. Kris had no socks, so she just pulled up her pants. Oh, crap. There were tiny, tiny things on our legs. There were tiny, tiny things ALL OVER us. Almost at once we screeched, “Ticks!” and immediately began throwing our clothing off. Now, only a couple of hours ago, Kris and I had never laid eyes on each other. Here we were basically naked, picking ticks off each other. Tiny, tiny deer ticks.

No photos of this are available. Lucky for all.

At last, we got most of the ticks off, leaving an interesting pattern all over us. We de-ticked our clothing and headed to the main building. We found our friend Barbara. She had gone on a hike. Oops. Luckily hers was shorter and she wasn’t totally infested. Everyone else avoided those trails!

The rest of the conference, we had to keep showing people our bit-up extremities. Now you know why I do NOT get close to deer.

The Rest of the Conference

Things went uphill, and as far as I remember, the rest of the conference was fine. I met a lot of “high-ranking” LLL women, which was fun. I gave my talk, learned to dance the two-step with a very handsome actual cowboy (little did I know that would become nothing special to me eventually), and cemented life-long friendships.

I also did the limbo. It’s not my best skill. The children behind me were much better at it, and are all adults now.

We also got a lot of work done, which always amazed me. My team back then were so good at multi-tasking, since they all had young children, led lots of mother-to-mother support meetings, AND did extra things, like our new email lists, websites, and online communities. I’ve always been very proud of those women.

The other thing I remember about this weekend was that I made a lot of purchases at the sales area, where groups brought things they made, and such, to raise funds. I also bought a LOT of raffle tickets. I was trying to help out an Area that had less money than mine. Plus, they gave me a free trip.

I ended up with so much stuff that I had to take an extra suitcase home, but I had no idea how much I would treasure the things I brought. A lot of the stuff was made by Rudy, the husband of the woman in charge of the area (Wista). He was a talented Native American artist who did scrimshaw on mammoth bones (he was allowed to), did paintings and drawings, and a whole bunch of other art stuff. He was also fascinating to talk to and very patient with all my nature questions.

This is Rudy, Wista, me, and one of the two Ednas who I worked with in the Texas LLL.

Among many other wonderful items, I got a picture of a wolf by Rudy for my son that he probably still has. I also won dozens of wooden symbols of the West, like buffalo, cacti, howling coyotes, etc., which were I think made by Wista’s brother. My kids loved them. They sat in the windows in my house for years and years. They bring back such great memories (and yes, some are still around in boxes somewhere).

You just never knew who you’d meet at one of these conferences, but I soon learned that you would always come away with lifelong friends and lifelong stories to tell. Yep, it wasn’t all bad.

PS: If you were there, correct or add to my memories! I am not the best remember-er on earth.

Ranch Management for Women, Part 1

Where have I been? It’s been a combination of being really busy doing interesting things, along with having a pretty rotten virus attack me. Let’s concentrate on the first of those!

SueAnns
Sue Ann K and Sue Ann U! Hey Sue Ann! What, Sue Ann? Women with twin unusual names can be silly.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I attended the third Bennett Trust Land Stewardship Women’s Conference. I’m glad I signed on to the Texas Parks and Wildlife email list for events, because I didn’t hear about this remarkable opportunity until a couple of weeks before it happened. After talking to my spouse and boss (the outdoorsman), I got pretty excited about the opportunity, even with some sort of sexist language in there. After all, it’s Texas.

The conference was divided into two halves, with one day of classroom work and one day getting out and looking at places. Today I’ll talk about what I learned the first day.

There were 40 or so women in attendance, mostly older, but a lot were young, too. All own ranch property around Texas. Some were very impressive women who’ve been on their land for generations, while others were just starting and even less experienced than me.

Most important, there was another woman there named Sue Ann (shown above), so we hung around a lot, so we could say, “Hey, Sue Ann, what about this?” It made us happy. Of course, I learned a lot about her business working with folks to get appropriate tax advantages form their land. A bonus.

Continue reading “Ranch Management for Women, Part 1”

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