Admission: Lee Was Right

Yes. My spouse was right. It is true. We doubted him, but he was right. What about?

A lot of PVC

Lee saw a guy starting to fill in the hole with all the pipes leading to the pool and stopped him, saying they need to do a pressure test before filling it in. So they stopped.

The hot tub. Mmm. Jets.

As you can see, today the workers finished all the water lines. There was a lot of use of the bending torch deal! There are so many curves.

Bending the water line.

Eventually they got it all completed. So, they did the test. We were just sure it would al be fine.

Do we see water?

Darn it, Lee was right. There was a cracked pipe.

Proof.

The good news is that it was easy to fix, and the second test went fine. The pool is looking really cool. Cool pool.

Today they finished early, I guess so everything can dry. Knowing they are coming back gives me something to look forward to tomorrow. I also have a writing workshop if it works out!

Think of my relatives in the path of the latest hurricane. Hope it’s less awful than the others so far this year.

The Little Pond Miracle

I mentioned a while back that Lee was building a pond for in front of the house. He has worked very hard on it, hand-placing every decorative rock, and constantly rearranging it. We were mighty disappointed when the water started disappearing out of the lower part every night. We’d come in, and there would be just a small amount of water in the bottom.

Pond, in good shape, with grass that needs to be dealt with.

Lee worked hard to fix it. First he put some foam stuff in to seal the leaky area (or as far as we could tell where the leaky area was. The next day the foam was floating like a black iceberg, and the water was down again.

Next, he tried some paint-on stuff. Nope. Third, he tried different stuff, and it appeared not to work. We left it for a few days with just that little bit of water in it. However, Sunday night he filled it up again, just so we could enjoy the sound as we sat around enjoying the sunset with our friends.

The fountain has rocks with shell fossils in them, from the driveway. Maybe not great for fish health.

The next day, a miracle occurred. The pool held. It’s still holding. I think the last stuff just needed to cure longer than we were letting it cure. Happy dance! Of course, thanks for sitting still for those few days, the pond was now a mosquito hazard. Something had to be done.

Yuck.
I’m full.

I went and fetched two goldfish out of the horse troughs and put them in there. I am not sure how much good that’s doing, since the fish can only eat so much. Plus, the pond gets a bit hot for them. I’m going to look for some of those mosquito fish. Or, I’ll put the goldfish back where they were and put in mosquito dunks. Sigh. I don’t like using chemicals.

There also appears to be a dog growing in the upper pond.

Anyway, there is still a bigger plan for all this pond stuff, so I’m going to sit back and wait to see how Lee does it. I’m proud that he fixed it after all his persistence!

Alfred has not managed to get rid of many larvae, but he does explain why we have a hose right there. He and Goldie are heavy drinkers.

The dogs are very happy with their new outdoor water bowl and are convinced we made it just for them, so they don’t have to walk ALL the way to the pond on the other side of the driveway. Besides, the bullfrogs scare Goldie. And the grasshoppers think I put the pond plants in there just for their snacking, at least the ones who live. I got a net to fish out the dead grasshoppers.

I look forward to sitting on the porch and listening to the water gurgle, which should make things harder for the mosquitoes. Another reason not to wear shorts!

Lee Has a New Project

This is exciting! Lee has been thinking of doing something for a long time, and decided that now’s the time to get going on it. He’s working on a series of decorative ponds for the front of the house (these will not be cattle tanks, but nice ponds, with water plants and such).

A project begins. That orange paint got all over Lee, by the way.

He got started over the weekend, and spent much of yesterday digging the holes to hold a waterfall and a main pond, next to our new walkway. Since it was a very hot day, this all went in stages! Kathleen and I served as consultants and beverage fetchers. That’s very important!

Water will flow out of the top one, which will be covered by a big rock.

The idea with the pond is to eventually have the current one flow down a little creek lined with river rocks into a much larger pond, then recirculate back up. Rain overflow will go into another planned diversion.

The general idea of the pond. The pipes are for going under the path, I think. I need to get rid of that grass.

We will have to see whether we can put anything in there other than native mosquito fish, because we don’t want goldfish washing into Walker’s Creek, which is bad news! And we realize birds will want to snack on fish, dogs will want to mess with the pond, etc. So, this is all to be determined. At this point, Lee is going to get the small pond and waterfall going.

The stream will go down that low area, over to the new pond at the corner of the house. We like ponds.

And Dogs

I can’t resist sharing dog stories. Yesterday, before our biweekly Board meeting, Goldie decided I was a chair. I guess anything’s a chair to her.

I’m gonna nap right here.

We’ve also been enjoying watching all the dogs play. Goldie and Carlton have ended their embarrassing love affair, now that Goldie’s heat is over at last, and are now just buddies again. They have a lot of fun together.

Playtime is all the time!

Let’s see what further adventures this new week brings!

Solace at the Sea, and Travel Planning

Even though I had meetings that went until almost 6 pm yesterday, Lee and I vowed to have at least a little fun at the beach. And the late afternoon is a wonderful time to go out and enjoy the water. We even went in! I had on a hat and t-shirt, so I didn’t go deep, but I got soothed by the salt water, anyway.

This is an unusual place to wade, thanks to the weird currents that keep the red flag flying at the lifeguard station. It alternates between being very shallow, then there’s a trench a foot deeper. If you successfully negotiate the trenches, you can get pretty far out and not even be waist high.

You can see how far out the people behind Lee are.

We had a wonderful stroll down the beach, where I had a good time looking for little beach fish (the water was crystal clear today, not all churning with stirred up sand and shells like it was earlier). It was fun watching the patterns of water as they flowed from low areas.

I think there are people prints, bird prints, and dog prints here by the outflow area.

As always, the gulls were entertaining. They seem unafraid of people, but not as obnoxious as some of the ones I remember in Fort Lauderdale. They enjoyed the little pools, too.

They flew all around Lee, too, which made him laugh a lot. We’ve been laughing a lot this week. This time alone together without the stresses of day-to-day chores has been really great.

That’s our building reflected in the shiny Sea Glass building.

After our nice, long walk we managed to get to the pool bar just before it closed, where I got a hard-earned beverage with dark rum and ginger beer, and Lee got two Cuba Libres. Well, we don’t have any Coke in the room, now that we’re trying to use up everything, and what we had was Coke Zero (my vice). So, to get two drinks, he had to buy them both. He got some funny looks in the elevator.

This should get me through the elevator ride; it’s a long way up!

We enjoyed our final relaxing evening at the condo, and I made the most of the chaise-lounge (however you spell that) part of the couch, and cozily knitted away at the Lines and Lines shawl. I got through my fourth pattern repeat, and now that I see how it works, it’s a very relaxing and satisfying project.

I can’t stretch it out any more than this, but you can sure see the lines!

I have a good amount of yarn left on my first skein, so I’m sure I can get at least one more repeat before switching to the border that makes up the second half of the shawl.

We Have a Plan

I was sitting around last night, thinking about going home and not looking forward to the same interstate highway scenery, when I got to wondering how much longer it would take if we went on state and local roads? I plugged it into the Maps app and here’s what I discovered:

Two travel options

We were going to take three days, anyway, so this adds less than two hours to each day of travel. We will get to see Montgomery and Selma in Alabama, which are historically interesting, plus we go through the center of Louisiana, where I’ve never spent much time. I brought the idea up to Lee, and he was sold immediately. We both LOVE looking at small towns.

By taking this alternate route, we will have a fun weekend of driving, and I won’t have to do too much work tomorrow, since I got so much of my writing stuff done already. I’m looking forward to heading back to Texas and seeing new things. Then I’ll be home and get to see both familiar and new things. Hooray for the weary travelers.

Thanks for reading, and for those of you who give it a try, thanks for listening to the podcast version.

Spousal Pride

Yesterday I hinted that my spouse, Lee, was going to be surprised last night. We were hanging out watching television, when we got a phone call from the folks at our company who were attending the annual Cameron Chamber of Commerce Banquet. We put on speaker, and enjoyed our friend Melanie announce some nice awards. Then, she started in on the Chamber Member of the Year biography. I said, “Wow, that’s well written” and at that point, Lee realized it was him.

Who, me?

It was nice to see him recognized for all the stuff he’s been doing. I know it’s really helped understaffed Melanie! Both Lee and Kathleen have stepped up to serve on committees and do work to improve little old Cameron. I’m glad Melanie has such great other volunteers, too. And somehow, this helps us feel part of a larger community.

A fine award, too.

It must have been a fun night, because Kathleen won a lot of wine at the raffle. We can use that, if I ever stop pivoting and make it home.

Woo hoo!

I’m proud of Lee for lots of reasons other than his civic pride. For one thing, we’ve been together practically 24/7 for two weeks and we’re really getting along fine! Now, that’s a sign of a stable marriage!

Beach umbrellas sure look cheerful.

We’ve each been compromising, dealing with what comes up, and enjoying whatever we do. It’s taken us a while to get vacations down, because neither of us has really done many, but I’m no longer rushing him to get out in the morning, and he’s not been forced to go shopping, so he’s happier.

Sunny pelicans.

I get to go on boat rides and nature walks. So I’m happy! Plus the beach view really helps. I’ve had a nice week off.

And more pelicans

Time to read and knit and look at waves. I’m lucky in so many ways to be stranded at a lovely place with a fine human.

Some Couple Time

Lee and I truly needed some time away. As much as we love the ranch, it’s easy to get in a rut. We’ve really been enjoying some down time to relax, while still doing our work. Ahh.

Gazing at the ocean.

We have enough time to relax now and for the future. A nice retirement plan and the knowledge that we can travel when we want to. Not bad. It’s been a dream of mine, and I hope to share it with the family!

I found some nature!

We have really enjoyed relaxing, watching birds, and letting the sea wash our feet. Sea bubbles are endlessly fascinating!

Shells and bubbles

I did finally find some more birds! I found a house finch and a crow, but didn’t get the crow’s photo. I did enjoy some laughing and herring gulls.

We’ve been having the kind of trip we like, relaxed and full of nature.

What? Nature?

Now, here’s something that’s pleasing me. I bought a new bathing suit, one of those “modest” ones. I got shorts, a tunic, and a long-sleeve top for sun protection. I did this because I really hate people staring at at me. And I just prefer for my curves and bumps to be for me.

My swim attire

I appreciate that so many people here don’t give a hoot and wear whatever they want to at the beach. I’ve seen people of so many shapes, sizes, colors, and styles on this trip. It’s great! But, for me, covering up feels comfortable. We each get to do what works for us!

Happy in the sun.

I never thought of myself as modest. I think I’m just not interested in being “sexy” or flirty. I want to protect my skin and still have fun in water. This works for me. Right now, though, we are inside watching storms. It’s so pretty.

Stormy weather.

Take care, everyone, especially those of you dealing with losses and illnesses.

Nature is so powerful.

A Gift from the Heart

This repetition may be getting tiresome, but I’ll say it again. No matter what stress and strain life presents, there are always bits of happiness that help you get through. Yesterday was one of those times!

My husband, Lee, followed through on a promise he made to me a few years ago, and made me a headboard for our bed out of recycled materials. The headboard was originally a set of double doors that led from the living room to the dining room in one of the houses we owned on Travis Avenue in Cameron. We had taken that wall and another one down to make the living area of the house larger.

Lee held on to those doors all this time, hoping to be able to do something to recycle them. He also knew I’d been asking for a headboard for our bed at the Hermits’ Rest house.

The doors right after painting.

He decided to do it this year, and figured out a plan. It sounds like it was a lot of fun to work on, hiding in the garage room. He and his nephew apparently had a lot of fun asking at the hardware store for a brownish kind of red color to paint it. They ended up with a lovely color called Red Ochre. That reminds me of all my reading on the color red! Ochre is the first paint the people used in caves, other than charcoal!

At last the weather cooperated enough that he could paint the doors. They called me in to take a look, and I was so touched to see it the red doors. Lee was trying to make them look rustic, and did a great job not making it look perfect.

You can see bits of the original wood stain, and the brush strokes. It’s intentionally rustic.

Once he scraped off the paint on the panes of glass, it was quite lovely.

Here you can see the supports behind the headboard. Also, you can see an electrical outlet. Luckily, there was a broken pane of glass RIGHT where the outlet for the cord that keeps the bed pumped up is!

Last night, Lee installed it, all by himself (tiny help from me and the nephew, but mostly him).

It’s up. Great picture of Lee’s bed that raises up and down, too.

There’s a ledge of trim that connects the two doors and turns them into one piece.

Here you can see how the headboard sits on something sturdy. The piece of trim does a great job connecting the doors. We left the holes for the handle, for authenticity.

There are also many screws, and such, including an invented kind of attachment that holds the bed to the headboard, courtesy of our resident mechanical genius. I’m just amazed!

The dogs were relieved to have their bed back. They did not like it moved to the middle of the room.
Happy headboard user.

I don’t have a picture of everything completely set up, but you can get the idea.

I slept well last night, thanks to my new bed. I felt loved and appreciated. I’ll think of Lee every time I walk into the bedroom now (as if I didn’t, anyway).

What treasured objects remind you of someone you love every time you look at them?

Exciting New Uses for Tongs and Other Items

This morning, I was emptying the dishwasher of items used in last night’s holiday meal. I kept picking up tongs. Tongs and more tongs.

Hmm. Tongs.

I’m a person who never uses tongs. I’m not sure why. I just use other kitchen tools. I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally bought tongs. So, how did we get EIGHT pairs of tongs?

Tongs for every possible tonging need.

Anita and I were baffled. With such an extensive collection, we could do so much! We could open a store called “Just Tongs.” When my cousin, Jan, called she suggested a Tong Monster Halloween costume. Hmm.

You could play a game where you try to grab people’s heads with tongs.

My best idea, though, was to form a tong band. With so many sizes and materials, you can get a lot of sound out of the tongs, I think. And they are easy to use as a rhythm instrument.

You could poke an eye out!

The pictures here are me trying out the bass tong and the baritone. They made a cheerful sound! I need to get a couple of other people to help me out and create a composition for tong orchestra.

Another Creative Use

So, at Christmas I gave Lee a lovely silver box with turquoise stones on it, which I found in Utah. He seemed to like it. I had thought he could store some of his nice pens in there, but naturally, he has a set pen storage system that no gift can interfere with.

That’s Lee looking pleased.

Meanwhile, Kathleen gave him a series of joke gifts to help him deal with the woman in the next office (her). There was aspirin, a funny calendar, etc. Lee realized that one of her gifts could be beautifully stored in the silver box.

Yep. That’s hemorrhoid cream.

So, whenever Kathleen is a pain in his butt, he can reach into the silver box on his desk and find relief.

We are quite a creative family, huh?

Did you experience any gift creativity at your COVID Christmas celebrations?

Rainy Saturday of Love

Hooray! It’s actually REALLY raining today. This is what we need to refill the ponds and help all the plants over the winter. That said, I don’t look forward to going out in it!

Someday we will pave that giant puddle.

Meanwhile, I’ve enjoyed a morning with Lee. I even gave him his anniversary card (note that the anniversary was November 29). I’d left it in Austin. But, there’s rarely a bad time to remind your partner in life that you love them!

Lee wants to keep the wooden part. Good card.

It’s nice to spend a morning enjoy your loved ones. Harvey’s giant belly has been rubbed a lot! Carlton is under the bed, because it thundered.

I’m watching it rain.

I’m especially grateful to be home and warm, since the rest of the household had to go out and do some hard work. I love their dedication. The personal assistance service is not an easy thing to run!

A Question

I was thinking about how much I love our former Christmas tree that’s now a tribute to nature, peace, and our pets. The poor thing no longer lights and has gotten droopy. I think I need to find another tree with mostly bare limbs to put my ornaments on.

It used to be really gorgeous, if non-traditional.

If any of you see a tree that’s at least 6 feet tall and mostly bare (on sale!) that I could order, send me a link in the comments or on other social media! I’m on a quest!

Twelve Years Ago Today

Twelve years ago today was a day much like today, although a little warmer. It was cloudy and a bit gloomy. I was, as usual, a little bit stressed. But much of it was GOOD stress, because I was looking forward to the wedding of my (quirky) dreams to the quirky man of my dreams, Lee.

Aww, we are so quirky.

While the setting was great, what was most important was that I was surrounded by the people I loved the most in the world. My beloved father and my sister had both joined us, and my two sons were there, pitching in and helping. I had some of the best friends I could ask for participating in the wedding, ranging from my church family to my dear knitting friends. And when you threw in the people who came, including kids from the band bus, a high school friend, and Chris, who I met that day…wow, what happiness.

As long as Lee and I were publicly declaring our intentions to be a family for the rest of our lives, I didn’t care about the rest. I’m just so glad to have him at my side (figuratively right now) as we experience the joys and sorrows, fun times and challenges of the latter part of our lives. Better late than never!

Sitting here, separated by two counties and 80 miles away from my husband, and with yet ANOTHER exposure to deal with and keep me away, I’m getting a lot of comfort from remembering how our wedding came out so well.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

People who’ve known me since 2008 will know this, but I’d like to share anyway. What else is a blog for? We got married just before sunset on the labyrinth at Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Church. That was special to me, because I helped build the labyrinth.

We had two wonderful officiants, a long-time pagan UU friend (Linda) and one of the ministers at our church (Kathleen). We had beautiful vows that Linda helped us write.

Linda and Kathleen

My attendants each dressed in an appropriate color and carried a symbol for earth, air, fire, and water. They were good sports, especially the LDS and evangelical ones.

Carolyn (fire), Suzanne (water), me, Deana (earth – she’s carrying a crystal), and Susan (air)

My sons escorted me down the aisle, wearing neckties with the tartan of their father’s ancestral land in Ireland.

Dad and my boys. Lights of my life.

My dad gave “approval” in the ceremony.

Dad covered up his nametag.

We had great music. My friend Jeff, who’d lived with us for a long time, played my favorite instrumental piece that he wrote as we walked around the labyrinth (shortened so it wouldn’t be interminable). And Bill, from my folk trio, sang “My Beautiful Mystery Companion,” by Jackson Browne. All the music was great.

Jeff at the music station.

As the ceremony went on I looked around and saw my entire community. I never felt so supported in my life. There were my neighbors, old friends, new friends, young people and elderly folks, all in a circle, surrounding us with love.

I see so many friends.

Even the decorations and the reception were done by friends. My dress was incredible, a “real” wedding dress, just red, that my friend Katy helped me order in San Marcos, where she’d gotten her dress. The flowers came from Costco, and we just arranged them in vases we already had (except the one BIG arrangement).

We ran out of red and gold, so we put the pink ones in a separate area.

My friend Tina was there to help with decorating and all the logistics, while Elizabeth baked the beautiful cake with the topper that looked just like us.

I found this wedding topper on Ebay. I couldn’t believe I found a bride wearing a red dress, and both with the right hair colors.
Elizabeth making the cake. I can’t find a photo of the finished product, but I know there were some!

The days before the wedding were hectic, but fun, as all these folks, plus my dad and sister, were helping set up.

You can see how tired I was the day before the wedding. Tina was holding me up.

We had a fun reception, where my friends played music and everyone got to eat barbecue from our favorite resturant (and were glad to be indoors, since it really cooled off once the sun went down).

Pre-wedding photo of me and Parker (who is now Kate) making the signs directing people to the wedding. I miss the pansy wallpaper, still, but not the decorative fly swatter.

I was glad to have my wedding shawl, which was made from wool I picked out and was spun by my friend Jody. I knitted it to be filled with beads, so it made great noises, and laid perfectly against the dress.

Here’s a good view of my shawl. Linda is beaming at us from an altar with a cloth from my friends Gregory and Ravi’s wedding, which had the same colors. That’s Martha in the black shawl.

Memories like this help you get through hard times. Knowing that I’m still friends with nearly everyone who attended warms my heart. Following all these people over the past twelve years has brought so many changes. Birth, deaths, marriages, divorces, new names, new careers, moves to distant places, and so much more. Community. A varied and colorful community. And someone to enjoy it all with. That makes life great.

So many people helped! Canova arranged the peacock feathers, which came from Lee’s niece’s birds.

Thank you, Lee, for sticking with me as these darned quarantines keep getting expanded and expanded. Thanks for listening to me and making me think. Together, I hope we get to enjoy many more years. I’m glad we found each other, at last.

We’re older and our hair is different colors, but it’s still us!

Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane for me. It sure made another quarantined Sunday happier for me.