Family Fun, More Floods

At least today was a little different. It didn’t rain until around 5 pm, so I got to get some work done and do some fun things. The most fun was a visit from my son and his partner, who wanted to do some ranch stuff. My son wants to learn to ride horses, so we headed off to the horse pen to rescue Apache from his solitary confinement.

Horse wranglin’

So, I gave the two of them a lesson in what you do before you can ride a horse. I taught them about putting in the halter, the grooming steps, and hoof cleaning. Apache was so good!

Cowpoke from Austin.

I didn’t get pictures of it (I didn’t even take these pictures), but Fiona also got groomed. By the time R. got finished, she looked like a show donkey.

We appreciated the attention.

After that, my son got to walk Apache, stop him, and walk him in a circle. Apache really wanted to eat grass, but he begrudgingly complied. We were too hot to force things (oh, the humidity!).

Back at the house, I got some help with chickens. Barbara has a hurt foot, and she was getting badly pecked, so we decided to let the other pullets in with the big chickens and leave her to recover in the small enclosure. I didn’t get photos. Too busy distracting chickens.

Boring, but clean.

Earlier today, I’d cleaned the front porch and started repotting my Norfolk Island pine. I’m glad my son came, because he helped me with the potting soil. I hope the plant perks up.

I had to do something while it wasn’t raining! So I sweated, shined, and perked up the porch.

But, all good weather must come to an end. By the time we got back in the house, rain was back. We sat and talked while some really strong rain fell. Really strong.

But at least rain brings the bonus of golden rain lilies.

We managed to get out and have a nice Mexican dinner and some great conversation about music and comedy, then our guests went home, as did we. The rainwater had been busy while we were gone.

Oh no! The backup culvert is activated!

It was way more flooded than yesterday. The secondary drainage culvert hasn’t come into operation but one other time since Lee added it (prevents the driveway from overflow). The water was really rushing and high.

The water was even flowing across the road. Eek.

At least you can drive through it.

Of course we had to let the dogs play. Alfred, in particular, had a blast, pawing and biting at the rapids.

On his way to the next splash area.

Funny though, in the 20 minutes Lee and I walked around looking, the pond/tank crested and all these culverts did their job. By the time we left, it was already down a foot or so. Check out the pictures.

We will be fine, but we do wish we could send some rain to our friends and family in California.

Those trees in the tank are usually on the shore.

Who Hates Changing Email Addresses?

Um, that would be everyone, right? I’ve known I’ve needed to do it for quite a while, since we downsized our real estate work and parted (as good friends) from our Hermit Haus Redevelopment partners. Eventually all that internet stuff will get retired, though I need to figure out a way to archive our blog and photos of our work.

My reward for boring as heck work.

I’ve never liked using Gmail but it’s the best option for right now. My presence at Hearts Homes and Hands is very minimal, since I’m not beloved in all parts of our community. I’m no longer too concerned about it. Life at the ranch is good, and that’s what counts! Anyway, I’d only use that email account for business.

Speaking of the ranch, this will grow up to be the arch going over our cattle guard or second gate. It’s happening!

Still, it has boggled my mind when I realize how many logins, sign-ins and account names are tied to your email address! I spent hours this morning changing things, and I’m nowhere near finished. But, it had to be done, and I certainly don’t have many expanses of unbooked time at home!

After I at least got my major accounts and lists switched over, I tediously went through my Gmail account and deleted spam and ads from 2015 until today. 20,000 plus emails. Fun times. I didn’t want to delete them all, since there might be personal email in there. Yep, my sister, my friend Pamela, and two others had been sending me things I never saw.

I’d rather have been at the pool!

Actually, that’s what prompted moving at this exact time. My sister, who is the latest person to say they are going to the Farm in Yorktown for a weekend and not returned, texted me to “check email.” Nothing like a cryptic text to get me concerned, you know? But I couldn’t find anything on my work or personal accounts. Was something wrong? Did I mess something else up? Finally I looked at Gmail. Whew. There was a message there. I’d forgotten to send some money in our confusing travel stuff.

All, right, I said, it’s time to start using that account and phasing the other one out. Once I figured out how to delete everything from a particular sender, it was only slightly unbearable. And at least I could look out at the ocean while deleting. It was fun mass deleting email from presidential candidates who won one and l0st another election. Quite a trip through time.

I’d rather have been in the ocean. Yes I went in. No jellyfish got me.

Now I have that account organized and set up to store email right. Still, I have to figure out what stuff I get on Hermithaus I want to keep getting. And I have to figure out why the new signature I made refuses to show up. This is why I didn’t want to embark on this task. Ugh

But, I’m at the beach, in the shade, and drinking a drink out of a bucket. And my ranch family is busy planning a swimming pool.

Everyone is saying my obligations can wait, so today is just Beach Day. Hope you’re doing well and handling what can be a hard weekend for some of us.

Another Thanksgiving

Sure, weirdest Thanksgiving ever. But it’s an adventure. I’m making turkey and sides, but not dressing. I’m incapable of making small quantities of dressing. But it’s just me and Anita. Poor Declan can’t come, because there was an exposure at Rollie’s workplace. We will miss them.

Future cranberry sauce. Recipe.

Lee is at the ranch with his brother. My sister is alone at her house, but also cooking. And Kathleen and Chris are alone at the farm in Yorktown. Whee! But by gosh, we’re keeping our germs to ourselves!

Anita peels potatoes.

Hopefully after we eat we can visit neighbors in the cup-de-sac. That will be nice, even if it’s just us and Ruth next door. We have community!

And speaking of community, I’ve made a couple of calls to people I care about, as I said I’d do yesterday. And last night I went to a Zoom birthday party for my friend Mike’s mom. I laughed so hard at their Zoom confusion that my face hurt. But seeing the joy of the family getting together was worth it. Plus, I got to see the amazing cake her children got her.

All her passions are on the cake.

I hope you have things to keep you busy this holiday (or regular day if you’re outside the US). I’ve got that knitting.

It’s getting long!

And I have three new books. I’m so excited about the book about alphabetical order! But I’m reading the Obama book first. Wow, he is a good writer.

That’s it from me today. I’m grateful to have a blog and readers. And of course for having a healthy and safe family, which is quite extended. Virtual hugs to all of you.

Baby Steps to a Comfortable Life

Work Comfort

I’m realizing that my life is coming back, slowly. It’s different, but things I care about keep coming back. For example, going back to my Austin office has let me visit my tree friends in the courtyard (even if we can no longer see them from our desks).

Courtyard oaks.

I’ve known the trees since I moved to this area. We used to drive by them all the time while they were building my house. Then they were mottes of trees in beautiful meadows. Now they got saved when an office complex got built.

So restful.

I saw extra cool honey mushrooms in the rocky karst area.

Home Improvements

Our Bobcat Lair house has been stuck in February mode. The front tree has had Valentine decor, and there was a broken statue on the dining table for months. I was hardly ever home, and Anita stayed downstairs.

Farewell February!

But tonight Declan and Rollie came over and fixed that. We put up all the decorations we have, and Rollie really wanted orange lights, so we have them.

And we did the mantel. Yay.

It felt so good to be doing something together. I miss having the kids around. And they helped so much. We may have been wearing masks and keeping our distance, but we were doing fun seasonal stuff. Time has stopped freezing.

Spooky young people. They ARE smiling.

And we all walked the dogs together. That has always been my favorite family activity, ever since I was a kid. Traditions continue. Life goes on. Love can’t be stopped!

Sending air hugs to all.

Health Care. Does Anyone Actually Care?

If you are healthy the US health care system works just great, because you don’t have to deal with any insurance or bureaucrats.

If you are sick, your doctor is not in charge of your care. Oh no. Some company is going to second guess them, delay your authorization, or deny you.

At least they have lovely decorations.

And if you are on Medicare, good luck. Even if you go to the hospital ahead of time, meet with the people, schedule your necessary procedure, etc., you can end up just sitting around hoping your heart doesn’t give out before you are graciously granted your authorization.

At least they have free valet parking.

That’s where I am now. Waiting with my sister, who foolishly believed she had an appointment this morning. The numerous agencies that have to communicate about it seems to have missed talking to each other. Argh.

Really. The woman needs her procedure. We all wouldn’t have driven to Temple and camped out at a hospital full of germs if it weren’t necessary.

I don’t get it how anyone thinks the system where huge insurance companies control the lives of innocent people and you have to pay a third of your salary for the privilege.

Nope. I don’t like hospitals.

Doctors don’t like it either. Nurses don’t like it. They’d love to actually help people with health issues rather than coding and paperwork.

Rant over. I just want my sister to get treated, not get apologies about how badly the new system works. I know it’s hard to disappoint people. I don’t blame the staff.


Well. It turned out “someone” had sent her info to the wrong third-party processor. I do believe the hospital figured out they messed up, because approval came only a half hour later.

I’m all confident now, because the medical team seems great. We will have a healthier and happier family member soon!

Wine Room Accomplished!

You may recall that we started putting our wine cellar/shoe closet together a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the office area has been in a bit of disarray with lots and lots of bottles stashed here and there, plus pieces of IKEA furniture.

Masterfully installing a door.

So, yesterday, since I had to leave work early, I invited my strapping son, Declan, to drop by and pick up his next batch of treasures that I unpacked from the garage (lots of vintage albums and some 45s). While he and Riley were here, he was also kind enough to help me put the cabinet together properly. It helps, I think, to invite a non-drinker over to your furniture-building events.

Light shines from my son’s head as he expresses pride in his work.

I did assist by un-doing some of the things that we’d done haphazardly before, when we didn’t have all the parts, but Declan jumped right in there and started assembling like a pro. Wow, I gave birth to an assembler! He even got the fancy doors on the cabinets to do their fancy thing.

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Whirlwind Family Visit

It’s not even noon on Saturday, and we’ve already had a busy and fun weekend. This may be a long post, but it’s just nice to write about something that went right. I’m hoping we were able to be good to others and relieve a bit of stress for them.

Yesterday, Kathleen and Chris came by, with Lee’s brother Jim and Eva, who is usually the caregiver for Jim’s wife, but was along on this trip to help out with Jim. Also among the visitors was 14-year-old Joe, Eva’s son, who gets to do some heavy lifting and helping out.

The gang’s all here.
Rose Gold. It’s subtle.

We all had a nice lunch at Dutchtowne, of course, where I spent a bunch of time taking pictures of my hair, because the light was good. I did also take a picture of the group.

After the business reason for the trip, in which Lee, Jim, and I signed a bunch of papers and Mandi notarized them, the family ran off to do errands in Temple (Vlassic asked to go with them, so he did, that traveling fool), while I tried to work as people took down the ceiling in our offices. I was forced out due to dust. This will be a topic of the Hermit Haus Redevelopment blog shortly.

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Leave Me Alone, Nighttime Patriarchy!

You know how your childhood issues, fears, and old patterns haunt you no matter how hard you try to move past them? (If you don’t, wow, you’re one exceptional human.) That’s certainly a struggle I’ve dealt with my whole life, or at least since I’ve realized you actually might be able to move past such things.

Spiders aren’t my childhood fear, but they make a good representation for scary things

I’ve made great progress in recent years with a lot of my “issues” (thanks to my fine therapist and Brene Brown books). I no longer blame everything that goes wrong in my life on my own shortcomings. I no longer hesitate to speak up when someone in authority makes a proclamation or judges someone in a way I know is wrong. I care much, much less about whether my personal appearance pleases anyone but me…and so on.

I’ve talked about it before, how I’ve managed to get the negative voices in my head to shut the heck up and say nice stuff instead (“Great work, me,” says my internal voice).

Bugs don’t bug me either

Working on Community

When we first moved to the ranch, I was worried that it would be isolating living so far out here. That’s what Lee, the hermit, wanted. I wanted to have a community to enjoy life with, as well as some peace and quiet. I’m happy to report we are well on our way to a real community out here.

We missed the storms that hit Austin last night, but got cool clouds.

We were relieved to find a place near our friends Sara and Ralph, who warmly welcomed us when we first got here and really helped us set things up. And what would I do without my horse riding companion? Life would not be the same without these folks. We’ve also been lucky to make friends with Cathy, who lived at the cabin when we first arrived, and Tyler, who lives there now and does my snake handling.

When we added Mandi and her family over at Rattlesnake, wow, we could have been happier. They are so helpful in so many ways. One son cares for the horses and hens when I’m in Austin, and another has been helping Ralph with his mowing. Grateful for them.

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Arts? Crafts? All in the Family

This is the kind of thing my house is full of. It’s a very large needlepoint of pansies that I did when my kids were young, The canvas is from an Irish artist.

One thing my genealogy forays didn’t turn up is the fact that I’m descended from a long line of artists, mostly fiber arts, but many other types as well. What got me thinking of this was looking around my Bobcat Lair rooms and realizing that most all of the art is by someone I know, much of it by relatives. Granted, some of it may be “crafts” to some of you (needlework kits and such), but it’s all art to me, because the makers had lots of design decisions to make, even in a kit.

Let me introduce you to a few of my talented family members, then I’ll share some art by friends and acquaintances in another post. Note that most of the pictures don’t go with the text, since some of the things I talk about don’t have photos to go with them.

This is my prized tatted doily from Aunt Susie. It’s one of the larger ones I have.
Susan Canova

My maternal side in Florida was a bunch of crazed crafters/artists. The foremost in my mind was my great-aunt Susan Canova. Because of her mental health issues, she was mostly confined to her home (she liked to take stuff). But she made a living for herself by creating amazing table cloths, beadspreads, blankets, curtains and trim. I am happy to have a number of pieces of her tatting, a linen tablecloth with filet crochet borders, and other treasures. She was very productive, and I think it’s really cool that she made a good life for herself despite her problems.

Continue reading “Arts? Crafts? All in the Family”