Day Is Done. Not Work, Though

Yeah, the sun has set, horses are fed, and it’s my usual relaxing or educational time. But I have classes to teach every night this week. I don’t mind a bit, since this isn’t a frequent occurrence and I think Asian people ought to have a chance for training during their work day!

Sun setting over scenic Walker’s Creek

I haven’t had much to write this week because I’ve been productive at work, which is fine, right? Since I’m working in the evenings, though, I took a few hours off this afternoon to get things done.

Ooh, that feels good.

Actually, Trixie did all the work on the horses. Drew got a little body work and was medium well behaved for his hoof trim. Apache was good as gold, though, and we are happy to say his hooves are perfect.

Also, very clean, unlike the rest of him.

I had to leave Trixie to finish Apache so I could go help the resident offspring move more things from the church. We managed to get a heavy dresser and a bookcase loaded into Lee’s Tahoe ourselves. That church sure has lots of stairs.

Other cabin addition

I was busy working and trying to avoid electrical sparks (workers blew a transformer and knocked power out on us), so no photos of that. Instead, look a the cool door the resident nephew found hiding at our Ross property! It fits the cabin, and will sure be a cool entry.

All I have is some happy flower images from the arrangement I got for Kathleen (the rarely resident niece) for her birthday. It was not too bright of me to assume she would be here that day, knowing how plans change so fast!

But flowers are cheerful from afar, too. Sending love to all who are struggling. You’re never alone when I’m around!

We Have New Neighbors

Yesterday, we hauled the stock trailer over to South Austin to pick up the large items that my son and his partner could not fit into their tiny car, so that they can be officially moved to the ranch community. Wow, we’re pushing double digits!

Happy young folk getting ready to organize all their stuff.

There was a bit of a challenge getting to Austin. Right where we have to make a sharp right turn, there were two immense storage tanks being moved down the road. These tanks had quite an entourage. There were lead cars, following cars, plus utility trucks to move power lines out of the way. AND, in a first for me and Lee, each tank had not only a big truck pulling it, but also a big truck pushing it! That had to be mighty hard to coordinate.

It was big

I wonder how long it actually took the tanks to get where they were going!

The moving out was a lot harder than the moving in, exacerbated as it was by dust and cat dander rendering half the people unable to breathe, and recovering from coronavirus doing in another helper. That left me and my son to do most of the climbing up and down stairs (I did 27 flights yesterday).

Staging

But, everyone pulled their weight and did the things they were best at. Lee did a LOT of the heavy stuff, and is paying for it today. We were mighty glad for the hot tub last night.

Working hard

All in all, it wasn’t too bad, and they now just have to go back and get a few items and clean up. We’re also giving them some of my old things that are in the church, but we must wait until it’s not raining to do that. Then they will have a dining table, nice couch, and a chair or two. Oh, and a dresser, since the one my son had been using since…uh…birth, finally split in two after many years of threatening to do so. Since that dresser was at least 65 years old, I’d say it had done its job well.

Happy new neighbors by the poopy stock trailer. It got everything in it, though! With room to spare. So glad we could use it!

This week is going to be challenging, since it’s the busiest one since I started this job, but I’ll try to find some time for fun, horses, and oh yes, knitting. My shawl is coming right along and is very soft.

Not so great photo, but you get the idea.

Absent from My Big Day

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.

Something else I am thankful for is that Lee hung up the curtains in our bedroom and finished turning it into his office/den. I’ll just sleep there.

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!

Anita in the empty house.

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.

Lee and the nephew has to disassemble it to get it in. It replaces the nonfunctional wine fridge in our pantry.

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!

Two Things under Control

Getting two things under control in one day is sort of miraculous for me. I’m on one of my rare “get things done” kicks, and wow, I’m doing great. In addition to the big things I have taken care of, I’ve also scheduled the movers to take my stuff from the Bobcat Lair to its storage location, made a plan for dealing with all that stuff once it’s in Cameron, filled out my timesheet on time like a good employee, updated all my kanban board cards, and drafted two new job aids for work. Go me.

Two weeks old!

The biggest thing I remembered to do today has been to get my flu shot and COVID booster scheduled. I figured if I was scheduling, I might as well just get it over with today. I might feel sorta icky over the weekend, but I think I’ll be able to power through like I did last time. And since I’m going out of town next week (why yes, I am going to Colorado to hide out in a condo and continue to work hourly, but with better scenery and food), I wanted to be as safe as possible while traveling.

Ready for my jabs

The other thing I did isn’t quite as big in the health department, but I have two little chirpers who are very happy with me, and one big squawker as well.

It’s good to see the floor.

Yesterday, I watched Star once more knock over all the food and water dishes in the baby chick cage and I just had enough of her. She didn’t seem happy, and she wasn’t actively caring for the chicks anyway. So I shooed her out. At first I had her in with Babette, but I noticed Babette would not leave the top of the cage, even to lay an egg, so this morning Star went back to the big flock.

Not Babette, but I was happy to see Blondie using the chicken swing!

Let’s see how long she goes laying eggs until she gets broody again. I hate to tell her, but she doesn’t get to raise chicks when it gets really cold outside. She was really happy to get out, as she was molting away in the little cage and desperately wanted to take a dust bath. I’m glad I made her happy.

Now that the Black Chick and the Brown chick have reached the mighty age of two weeks, they have their own quarters. I took the opportunity at lunch to clean Star’s mess up, so they could actually see the floor of the cage, and get to their food and water. I have them both hanging, which means it is a lot harder to knock them over. The only thing is, I believe I have the world’s cheapest hanging chicken feeder and waterer, in the most flimsy plastic ever. I figure it will last long enough to get these guys into the bigger area (i.e., soon as they are too big to squeeze out of the fencing).

We can now get to all the perches!

It was pretty unpleasant doing the cleaning, since I had to scrape it up. I couldn’t just slide the bottom out and wash it, because the chicks would escape. Next time I will put them in a box or something, if I have a helper.

Look at me! I’m up high!

I feel a lot better about the chickens, and there is a lot less stink now that Star is out. And I am all sure I’ll get all my other annoying chores done, like changing my driver’s license address and registering to vote in Milam County, where, alas, my vote will rarely count.

Well, darn it. The internet went down hard over here in Milam County for a few hours. That meant I couldn’t work, even after I got my shots. I assume someday this post will upload.

So Many Transitions

Whew. I got through my last day at this job pretty easily, because there was a workshop all morning that was sort of fun, other than a couple of people scowling at me for showing up. But, they couldn’t stop me!

Generic desk, devoid of Suna.

Two colleagues showed up at lunch, and we had a nice lunch in the courtyard, which is the part of the building I’ll miss the most. They then helped me load my car. My poor desk looked so empty.

It was good to see that Trevor is a real person.

At least I got to meet Trevor, the newest person on our team. He was nice in person, just like on Zoom.

t looks so fancy. I gave Anita those nice flowers for her birthday.

Then I went back to the Bobcat Lair, which doesn’t look at all like my house anymore. It should appeal to all bland people! I put a bunch of stuff in Lee’s car, so there is room in the garage for my son’s stuff to hide when they are taking pictures and showing the house.

The rug has been hiding since I got Carlton and he tried to tear it up. Nice rug.

I also did a lot of sitting and looking out the windows, because it’s so darn pretty.

This is our guest room, or would have been if it hadn’t been crammed with plants and boxes. It had a beautiful view.

Carol, our long-time friend and real estate agent, is working hard to get the house ready, and we sure do appreciate that. Things are just so crazy for me that I can’t stick around here to be of much help. But, I did a little, anyway.

Some of my wonderful book club neighbors.

Last night we had book club in the neighborhood, and they all seemed glad that Anita and I plan to continue to attend, even when we no longer live in Austin. I told Anita she could share my hotel room. I’d even give her a ride. (Sorry I didn’t get good photos of everyone; I love them all.)

Very sad friends.

My friends were SO sad about the house going on the market. But we had a great time. Friends make even hard transitions a little easier.

This Is Hard

Today I went in to Austin, because it’s book club day, and the day after Anita’s birthday. I must hand out post-birthday hugs! And, I must remove things from the Bobcat Lair house, because the garage is full and they can’t store anything else in it to get ready for staging and photographs. Leaving my sanctuary is hard, hard, hard for me. I love the house, the neighborhood, my roommate, and the fantastic neighbors there. But, it makes sense to sell now, while it’s worth a lot of money (no matter how hideous we apparently made it when we lived there), and Lee and I need retirement income.

While I’m not feeling terribly happy right now, I do have my stickers on inanimate objects that I’ve had for many years. Luckily this lamp goes home with me.

I’m also in Austin so I can get ready to vacate my office at the company where I’ve worked ten years. I can tell you one thing: a Suna can accumulate a LOT of stuff in ten years, especially when she was still saving “important” papers from all her jobs since 2006.

I’m guessing Polycom is not going to ask me to do any more e-learning videos with so many acronyms they’re incomprehensible ever again, so I threw that stuff away. I also have stuff from every other time I’ve worked at Dell, and I’m not sure why those things were so important, either. I didn’t throw away all my old work pictures and stuff from when I had walls. I must find a place for my framed Breathe and Exhale images. I’ve loved them for so long that they are faded.

My stuff. It’s really not that much. One box is mostly Christmas decor.
This smiling face gets left at the office, since it’s on my monitor support beam.

Anyway, I have been having some wonderful conversations with colleagues that have made me feel better about my image in the company (no, it’s not all negative after all, which I suspected). I just got on the wrong side of some political thing or another, and that’s all I need to know. I do want to make this known: there are some absolutely wonderful folks in the place I’ve been working, with life experiences and ideas I’m so glad to have had a chance to learn about. I’m hoping the company thrives and moves forward, because its people are making such an effort.

I left this on the whiteboard.

Still, I am all excited about my new role, and not just because I get to keep working with material I helped create many years ago. I always like meeting smart new people. My new boss even sends nice emails! And my new laptop comes tomorrow. I’m ready to roll with the changes, whatever they may be.

I’ll miss this three-monitor setup, the adjustable-height desk, and of course the free fruit and beverages. I won’t miss the concrete pillar in front of me or working in the least-pleasant area of the whole building. And yes, I had a rear-view mirror. No sneaking up on me!

Knowing Your Issues Doesn’t Fix Everything, Nor Should It!

As always, things are changing in my life. One of the changes anticipated for this year is that Anita and I will need to move out of the Bobcat Lair house in Austin. That’s sad, because we really love the setting, the house, and most of all, the neighbors. But, the cost of just paying the City of Austin property taxes is more than the mortgage to our old house, and now that we are getting closer to me retiring from paid employment, we’ll need the money from that house as part of our income stream. Things are winding down, and it’s time for investments to pay off.

It’s the Austin house (Bobcat Lair) showing lovely dark rain clouds. Ah.

Yes, that’s all logical and good. Anita has her own little house in Cameron that we hope to get renovated as soon as her contractor is available and her tenant, who’s already month to month, knowing Anita is going to need to live in the house herself, finds another place to live. This is all quite reasonable, right?

But, when Anita started talking to me yesterday about how much she’s packed up already (she does all her moves all by herself, because she would rather invest her time than her money), and that she gave her tenant notice that she needs to be out, I found myself going back into one of my old, unproductive ways of reacting. I am not good with moving, AT ALL, and the thought of having to leave my beloved sanctuary sent me into a panic. It just seemed like a HUGE amount of work, change, and uproar was impending, and I kind of shut down.

A little wine on the deck helped me feel better, too.

Anita (bless her) kept talking me through it, and I began to realize that I can do things in stages, that I actually don’t have all THAT much furniture in the Bobcat Lair, and that I even have a place to store things like my books and such. And all the boxes I still haven’t unpacked (though there aren’t all that many now!!).

Plus, I plan to rent an apartment near my work, so I can easily figure out what things go where, move them, then get the rest moved to Cameron (except for what’s needed to stage the house). I’m just trying to breathe as I think of more things that need to be done, like electrical work to fix outlets that stopped working…but it’s not too much.

I just have to face it; I’m who I am, and I’m going to have trouble with changing things when it comes to my home, because having my own place grounds me. I’m still a fine person!

Ernesto apparently agreed with my coping strategy. Photo by  @juleslang via Twenty20.

I’m Not Alone

Speaking of my issues, which I am, I had an odd experience last night watching the PBS show on Ernest Hemingway. Now, he’s not someone I ever would have thought I had anything in common with, other than being fond of short sentences (he was way better at actually writing them, though). As I learned how he grew up, the experiences he had with his family, and how he coped later, I was really surprised to see how we have a LOT in common when it comes to our inner demons and how we deal with them.

One part of the show, in particular, hit me hard. He was talking about how happy he was when he had both his wife and another woman he was also in love with. He said it made him inexplicably content, even if he knew it was hurtful. And then he talked about how, in his relationships, he always made sure to have another love interest all lined up before he left someone. Ouch. Those were my destructive patterns in my younger days.

Hemingway statue in Cuba that apparently chokes people up.  @prezioso02 via Twenty20.

I’m really glad I didn’t live such a public life as Hemingway did, because reading all the criticism of my life, like he had to, would have been really uncomfortable. I’m glad I just got to judge myself harshly without too much help from others (except former partners).

I don’t think Hemingway was able to get much control over his demons, much like his father, who committed suicide when he couldn’t get a handle on his mental struggles. He knew perfectly well what his problems were, which is clear from his books, but knowing what his challenges were didn’t mean he could fix them, any more than I can help my issues with moving.

I’m glad I had help, good reading, and inner work that has gotten me out of destructive patterns, at least with romantic and friendship relationships. I’ll be interested in watching the rest of this series and getting more insight into this fascinating writer and historical figure.

What a good thing that we happened to watch this interesting Ken Burns documentary right after I was beating myself up for repeating patterns from my youth (I know perfectly well that I hate to move house because leaving my beloved home as a teenager was so hard on me). It gives me perspective to cut myself some slack and bear in mind that some of our personality “features” are deeply ingrained, just like those unconscious biases.

We can only do the best we can and keep making an effort to improve. Thank goodness I’m a lifelong learner and never plan to stop enjoying the challenges of living up to my best intentions. Let’s all keep open to ways to learn more about ourselves and others, and be patient with ourselves.

That’s my lecture for today. Take what works for you and leave the rest!

A Note from a Friend

After reading my blog (with all the typos I just fixed), my friend Kelli Martin Brew responded to echo my thoughts. I really got a lot from what she said, so I’m happy she allowed me to share her thoughts with you:

I love this. The longer I live, the more it seems clear that a lot of who we are and what we do is hardwired. But how I have wanted to believe that knowing something was the same as changing it! At this stage in life, I think we can use this hard-won knowledge to be more merciful – and to be honest about our own struggles and behavior. I grew up with a huge mandate to “be a good example.” At this point in life, I have contented myself with being just an honest “example” of… something. Whether it is deemed “good” or not will be decided sometime in the future, if at all.

Kelli, Facebook, April 6, 2121

I really treasure connections that allow us to share our inner thoughts, struggles, and learnings. I plan to be an example, too!

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