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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s see what further adventures this new week brings!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We have really enjoyed relaxing, watching birds, and letting the sea wash our feet. Sea bubbles are endlessly fascinating!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Take care, everyone, especially those of you dealing with losses and illnesses.
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.
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.
Once he scraped off the paint on the panes of glass, it was quite lovely.
Last night, Lee installed it, all by himself (tiny help from me and the nephew, but mostly him).
There’s a ledge of trim that connects the two doors and turns them into one piece.
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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 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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
My sons escorted me down the aisle, wearing neckties with the tartan of their father’s ancestral land in Ireland.
My dad gave “approval” in the ceremony.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The days before the wedding were hectic, but fun, as all these folks, plus my dad and sister, were helping set 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).
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane for me. It sure made another quarantined Sunday happier for me.
Yesterday, my spousal unit, also got a lot of his office furniture moved in. He has a massive and beautiful desk and credenza that we’re quite the doozy to get over here. Thank goodness Chris was able to help with the desk. They had to rest afterwards!
It’s a good thing Lee got one of the larger offices, because that desk takes up quite a bit of real estate! I love how the green leather on it picks up the green in the shiplap wall. It makes it all look on purpose!
Lee plans to get seating in the room that’s comfy for his Hermits’ Rest Enterprises visitors, who will be able to enter through his private door and not interfere with operations at Hearts Homes and Hands.
He also decided that his old desk lamp won’t work in this office, so he has ordered a stained glass one. It will be nice to have a touch of color, I think.
It’s a crazy time for all of us, but now we have non-dungeon offices to work in. I know that’s made my morning good. Off to face the afternoon, with hopes that all of you readers have something to look forward to, as well.
I just wanted to say how happy I am with the amazing job our little family team has been doing as we work together to build our Hearts, Homes and Hands (HHH) business over the past year plus. We each have contributed time, effort, and sweat to the endeavor. And it’s been quite a learning process! No doubt it will continue to be.
I encourage all the readers of this blog to also follow the HHH blog, which features lots of writing on elder care and health issues, along with business updates. That’s where you hear more from our chief hermit, Lee, too.
My contribution is helpful, but minimal, since I have another full-time job at the moment. I do the blog, maintain the Facebook page and LinkedIn, and write some newspaper articles. And I help with renovating our buildings by selecting materials and such.
On the other hand, Kathleen, Lee, and Chris have been working so, so hard that it’s been hard on their mental and physical health. Still they’ve kept going, and it shows by how much the business has grown!
Lee has become quite the financial analyst for a writer, or for anyone. He helps us see where we’ve been and where we’re going. His attention to detail awes me.
I’ve mentioned Chris and his work many times here, since I enjoy sharing rehab updates. His ability to design structures and then build them has been amazing to watch. The stairs! The crown molding! My bathroom! The ceilings! I can’t wait until he can have a team helping him, which will be a lot easier when the office is done. I’m really grateful for his patience and willingness to do this work.
And wow, Kathleen has done a yeoman’s job of getting us set up, keeping state-required records, training the initial staff, and recruiting customers. It’s really a job for more than one person, and it’s been hard on her! Many days she just comes home and goes to bed, unable to deal with anything else! I don’t blame her one bit.
I’m glad she’s got enough staff trained to help with the day-to-day operations of our business, because I know she will really be an amazing marketer when her time is less booked. Well, and when the pandemic makes doing things in person a challenge.
That’s the thing, we’ve done darned well to be still going after the past few months. I’m so grateful for all our talented family members, and for the great staff that is providing the much-needed personal assistance service to this county. Kudos to all.
Getting in touch with your emotional truth, by processing feelings to improve the human condition in the 21st century. Living out loud by my motto,"Triumphing over Trauma" 🌈
In light and in shadow, always with ❤