Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day Ninety...

So far, so good. The day started out very nicely, except for the fact that the newspaper had not yet arrived when I went out for it the first time. Not a tremendously big deal though. It was breezy and coolish, and very cloudy. The drive in to the office was uneventful, and could have been much worse, but overall a good commute. Getting lots of things done in the office, and almost ready for my classes tomorrow. Life is (and for me always has been) good, and I am really a lucky person. No questions about that.

Today's photo is a testament to what can go really wrong if you let your crocheting hobby go unchecked! This is crazy! I have actually cut back on the crocheting for a bit, I have been totally wrapped up with class preparation and stuff, but I am confident the crocheting will regain its' rightful place in my life. I really enjoy it, and Christmas will be here before you know it!

It seems like I mentioned (maybe yesterday) that tomorrow is Jody's birthday. Those of you who know him might want to give him a call and extend your good wishes for the day. I have absolutely no idea what to get him, and we will probably just make it a nice dinner out to celebrate. He has already expressed that he would like to go to Mimi's for dinner, and that is a great choice if you ask me. Maybe we will even get a free piece of birthday cake. No singing, though, please!

It turned out to be a lovely day at the office, and it was another day of getting lots of stuff done and marked off the list. Tomorrow I will head out early to the Board, and I am happy to report that preparation for the two classes went very well, and I think they will be well received. Time will tell. After that, I will begin writing two more classes, and ultimately this 'Real Estate Reality' series will have either six or eight modules in total. If I can do four modules per year, that should work nicely. Or, what the heck, maybe I should just go ahead and do all of them, and get it over with. Time will tell...

Leftovers for dinner tonight, and I for one have never objected to leftovers. In fact, I think that many times the food is better after it has had a chance to mellow than it is when it is fresh. I think the time gives the food a chance for all its' flavors to flourish and become more evident. Okay, so I am not a gourmand, I just don't think there is anything wrong with leftovers! So, tonight it is leftovers from Pei Wei that we had last week. We know some folks who refuse to eat leftovers and I think that is very sad...we can almost always go to a restaurant for dinner and bring some (usually at least half) of our entree home for another meal. The portions that are served in restaurants are HUGE, and that is part of the reason we are all just about as fat as (fill in the blank yourself). Okay, I will now step down from my soap box.

ANYHOO...have a great evening, and a wonderful tomorrow, and be on the lookout for someone that looks like they may need a kindness bestowed upon them. I do not think someone in need or deserving will be terribly hard to find, just pay attention, and then pay attention to how wonderful you feel after having done a kindness for no apparent reason!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Day Eighty Nine...

Today's' trip into the city was a good one...if you consider a traffic jam the size of Manhattan caused by a five alarm fire at a Korean All-You-Can-Eat restaurant, sandwiched between a Corvette dealer and an apartment complex (I think) to be an ordinary occurrence. I had expected a somewhat stress free trip to the Board, and since I had ten less miles to travel, I felt that I could leave the house a little bit later than usual. Oh well, so much for my thinking. Anyway, all the flashing lights were really pretty, and no one was hurt in the fire, so I guess that is something to be happy about.

I forgot to mention that all the cattle were happy to be fed yesterday, and they are all happy in the other pasture, where there has been so fresh green grass for them to munch on. Hopefully, we will get some more rain now, and the pasture I just moved them from will get a good bit of growth before I move them back. I have them on a three week rotation, so I hope that is a benefit to both the cattle and the pastures. Mimmie Moonbeam and her (yet unnamed heifer calf) are adjusting nicely, and everyone seems to be happy. Particularly Mr. Speckles, Lord of all the harem. Have you ever seen a bull snicker? I think I have. The photo is of Mimmie and her calf, so if you have any good names you want to throw out there, just let me know.

After the hearing at the Board today, I made it to the office at just about High Noon, and I got a lot of work done. This is the time of the month when all the rents start coming in, along with the maintenance requests, so we all stay pretty busy, and I am putting the finishing touches on the classes that I wrote and will debut on Wednesday. There are about thirty students signed up for each of the classes, and I think that is pretty darn good. Keep your fingers crossed for me, that they will be well received classes.

The ride home was uneventful, although most of the drive was taken up with returning telephone calls and taking new ones. It took me about 25 minutes to go about 5 miles on the Interstate, but after that, things moved along pretty well. No real problems that I can remember.

Jody made meatloaf for dinner, and it was yummy good. You can probably figure out by now that I think Jody is about the best darn cook around. Even if he buys something ready-made, it is the extra stuff that he adds to the dinners (and the love) that make them all even more special. I am truly a lucky person.

So, go make someone else feel extra-special, and see how it makes you feel! You will like it, I know!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Eighty Eight...

Well, this day is certainly starting out nicely. When I got up, the nuclear weather station reported 41 degrees, which really means it is probably about 37-38 degrees outside. And the wind seems to have settled down nicely, too. The sun is now shining brightly, and it looks like all is well in this little piece of paradise. I will most likely make my famous 'egg-loaf' for breakfast, and get some more boxes moved from the garage. It would be really nice it we could get both cars in the garage again.

Miracle of Miracles, the garage has been denuded of packing and moving boxes, and two cars fit inside it very nicely, for the first time in about six or eight weeks. I am truly thinking this is a major accomplishment. We had everything out of the garage by about 11:30 AM and a couple friends of ours came over to borrow the trailer to move some new purchases, and when they left with the trailer, we got in Jody's SUV and headed for the recycling center in Austin and to the Salvation Army in Round Rock. We could pretty much have furnished a one bedroom apartment and clothed the occupants with all the stuff we have passed on to others. BUT, I am still very impressed that we got everything done and that part is over. Is it just me, but I think as long as you have packing boxes that need to be attended to, you just cannot feel as if you are settled into you home. What do you think?

More signs of spring. It is a beautiful day here today, the sun is shining and the birds are singing and the black cat is outside stalking field mice. What could be better? Even the QUEEN CAT went outside onto the patio for a few minutes this afternoon. I got in the pool for about five minutes, and decided that the pain in my toes was from the shock beginning there (and probably working its way up) so I got out and just lay in the sun for about a half-hour. Lovely!

We are headed out for catfish for dinner tonight, and I have a Professional Standards hearing to chair tomorrow morning. So, it will be an early night, BUT because I am headed straight for the Board tomorrow (and hopefully there is no chance for rain to cause the crazies to get on the road) I should be able to leave a little bit later in the morning.

So, go and find a worthwhile act of kindness that you can bestow on someone, and just see how you like it. I think you will, and I know the bestowee will be thrilled that you were so kind.

Post Script: This is for my friend Melody in Connecticut...This post is being entered at about 4:15 PM-CDST (which would make it about 2:15 PM PDST, which is where I think Facebook Gods are in residence). Love you, and good luck to Brian!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Day Eighty Seven...

Okay, this is crazy. I got up this morning and the nuclear clock/weather station reports it to be 38 degrees outside, which means that in reality it is about 34 degrees, and we are officially in spring in Texas, therefore it is supposed to be AT LEAST in the 40's. It is supposed to be cold again tonight, and that should do it for the season. I feel really badly for those folks up around Fargo, and I hope all the hard work they have done for the past week will pay off. I cannot imagine what is going on in their minds as they watch the rivers continuing to rise around their homes. It is just another reminder to me that I am a very lucky person, and I have many blessings to be thankful for.

I am however, still coughing and hacking like a really sick person, and I cannot really tell that I am making any progress at all towards recovery. It is like I have hit a plateau and progress has come to a halt. I have been able to sleep most of the night lately, and have pretty much quit waking up in the middle of the night in a hacking frenzy, so I guess that is some measure of progress.

Ahhh, the weekend. I hope to just pretty much take it easy for the next couple days. I will be moving the cattle to the other pasture, and probably open some boxes in the garage, but otherwise, that will be about the extent of my exertion. I will work some on my Power Point for Wednesday and get it wrapped up, and do another couple modules of my defensive driving class on-line, but that is it. Hmmm, my weekend seems to be filling up pretty quickly!

Well, nothing was done about my defensive driving class on-line, but we did get an incredible number of boxes opened and emptied, INCLUDING ten wardrobe boxes. We even took a bunch of boxes and paper to the recycling center in Austin, stopped by the office, and then took a box of stuff to TOP DRAWER, a charitable re-sale shop. We will have to make another trip to the recycler tomorrow, AND we are taking lots of clothes that we no longer wear (or can no longer wear) to the Salvation Army in Round Rock.

We stopped at Dale's Essenhaus in Walburg for lunch this afternoon, home of the Walburger. We had never been there before, but it was great, HUGE portion of burger with all the trimmings and Jody had a Patty Melt which was basically the same burger on Rye bread. Very good, and the onion rings were not too bad either. Good service, we were there late, about 2:30 PM, and it was not busy, but there was a constant coming and going of customers.

So, I am about to call it quits for the day. I found out there are new episodes of Trick My Truck AND My Big Fat Red Neck Wedding on (back-to-back) on Country Music Television tonight, starting at 9 (8 Central Time), so you know where I will be in just a few minutes!

Okay, so, I think you could all probably do some spring cleaning in your closets, and it would be a good thing for you take those gently used items to your nearest charitable thrift shop for recycling. You know you don't wear some of those things any more anyway, so go ahead and do it. AND, that will just make it easier when you go out to buy a new outfit the next time. It won't get all wrinkly because there is no room in your closet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Eighty Six...

I left the house early today, because I needed to go by the office and then be back to the Board of REALTORS before a meeting started at 9AM. As I have said in the past, I always want to be early, so I thought I could get to the office and to the Board not later than 830AM. Well, that was a good plan, but I got stopped on I-35 earlier than I have ever been stopped in the past. I was not even to Georgetown, and there were TWO WRECKS, one on each side of the Interstate, within about 100 yards of each other. Traffic was really slow...I mean really slow, and all you could do was be patient. I heard later there were two fatalities in those wrecks...I do know that when I passed the debris on my side (the southbound side) there was what looked to be a white SUV on its' side, so there were some issues to be sure.

So, I decided to give up my quest to do all things, and to forget about going to the office, which relieved me of a substantial amount of stress. I got to the Board REALLY early, but I had time to sit and relax and get prepared for my portion of the presentation to the Grievance and Professional Standards Committees. It was all pretty good, and all-in-all I think all the presenters did a really good job, and hopefully the committees have some new information they can use this year.

I got to the office about 230PM (I think) and touched some of the papers on my desk, and got some other stuff done, and packed up and took off for home. I left the office at about 430PM and got home about 530PM or so...but not before I was just about home and noticed (you could not help but notice) that one of the neighbors cows had decided to make a run for it and they were headed into town. I had just the other day put all the neighbors phone numbers in my cell phone, so I called Hubert & Pauline and casually asked if they were missing any cattle. Well, that got some activity started, and I kind of blocked the cattle's journey and they came out and managed to herd them all beck into their pastures. I say and talked with Hubert & Pauline for a few minutes before I came on home, all having been taken care of on the loose livestock front.

I had not been home but just a few minutes when the doorbell rang. It was Pauline with a whole pan full of HOT fresh baked home made rolls. We are not that used to neighbors being neighborly, so we are still amazed by these gestures of neighborliness. We like it a lot, though, don't get me wrong, we are just not used to it. We love living in the country.

So, go take someone a nice HOT fresh baked pan of rolls, even if they are store bought. It is the thought that counts, I can guarantee you of that!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day Eighty Five...

Well from what I can tell, we here north of Austin were pretty lucky with the storms last night. It seems Austin is becoming a little Dallas as far as hail damage to vehicles is concerned. Hail damage to cars and property used to be a pretty common occurrence in Dallas, but I have not heard much about that any more. BUT in the last couple years, there have been several instances of hail damage to cars and property in the Austin area. I made it home before anything big happened on the Interstate, but after I was home, I heard on the radio that there was a lot of damage on I-35 and lots of storm related issues all around Austin. This photo is one I snagged off FaceBook, and it was taken by my friend Blake M (Photo credit to Blake M). It looks almost like a winter scene, but that was the evidence of the hail that fell in Austin yesterday between 5PM and 6PM. WOW.

I would like to give a special 'shout-out' to JenPB who left a nice comment about this web diary the other day. I have never met this fine woman, but it seems she somehow found the diary and like a couple things that she saw, and she decided to let me know. I sit here and make these entries, and I really never know if anyone 'out-there' is paying any attention, and I guess it really does not matter because I enjoy (and need) the exercise. But it is nice to know every now and then that someone has found something good from these entries. You can follow JenPB (if you would like to) at http://www.bestfamilyadventures.com.

A foggy ride into the office this morning, but the afternoon turned out to be glorious! Meals-on-Wheels was fun, back to it after being ill and otherwise occupied for a couple weeks. It is a pleasure to bring food to these folks once a week. As I said the afternoon has been absolutely wonderfully sunny and bright, and beautiful spring day. The weather forecast says there is a possibility of the overnight temperatures (Saturday to Sunday) being at the freezing mark. Seems hard to imagine, but while it is 80 degrees here right now, it is snowing and 17 degrees in Denver.

So, the cows have been fed this afternoon, and all is well with the world. I did not even get muddy doing it. SO, be a peach, and go do something nice for someone. It doesn't need to be anything big, just go do something. Strangers are sometimes most appreciative of a small unexpected good deed. It does a body good!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day Eighty Four...

The Irises are beginning to bloom in earnest all around the property, and we are surprised every day by the different colors of them. They are everywhere, and every time we look at a different part of the property, we see things we had not seen before. Unfortunately, the sellers of the property asked us if they could 'thin' the Irises, and we agreed. Unfortunately, we really think they took advantage of that situation and I would say they 'pillaged' rather than 'thinned' the plants. It will have to be okay, and I hope they are happy with themselves. As for us and the remaining plants, they will continue to thrive here, and will fill in and all will be well.

It is just a bit cooler this morning, just about 58 degrees when I woke up, but the humidity is much lower than it had been, so it is a nice (dark) crisp morning. I do not have a really hectic schedule this morning, and just one meeting in the afternoon. I will be able to get a lot of work accomplished in the office, and maybe even get the second Power Point finished (or at least started). I keep forgetting that I have to take an on-line defensive driving course, too, but I think I have until sometime in May to get that finished. The key to all this is scheduling!

When I finish my classes next Wednesday, I will then begin the task of getting everything ready to present my income tax information to the CPA. Then after that is done, I will take the defensive driving class. One thing at a time, mixed in with all the daily stuff, that is the way I can get everything done.

I actually started my next Power Point presentation AND signed up for my on-line defensive driving course. Multi-tasking, that is my motto. Had a lunch meeting at the Board, too, and still got some work done in the office. My partner Carrie buzzed me about 410 and said there were storms heading our way, so I left for home. Ran into some really heavy rain on the way, but no hail or strong winds. I heard later that there was some really bad hail on I-35 and lots of broken windows and beaten cars all along the way. I am lucky Carrie called me when she did.

We went to the new Denny's in Jarrell for dinner, not too bad, but next time I will be having something off their breakfast menu. They also have senior menus for folks over 55, but I just could not do that...even though I thought about it for a long time. Probably next time...that will be the first time I have ever had a senior discount for anything...oh well, the fact is, I am not getting any younger, even though most of the time I do not really feel THAT old. Hmmm...

We saw THREE (count-'em) THREE different rainbows on the way from Denny's to the house. Beautiful! So, on your quest to do a good deed today, I suggest that you go find a rainbow, and make it a gift to someone you care about, or even a perfect stranger. Okay, just an ordinary imperfect stranger will do, too. Just give someone a rainbow, and see what a difference it will make. Go ahead, do it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day Eighty Three...

I am awake way too early this morning, even though it is about my normal time for waking up and getting out of bed. I have been in the mood lately to sleep later, and I do not really think that is a bad thing. I think sleep is one of the most under-rated cure alls there is, and it is just the body's natural restorative. And there you have it. AND, it was 68 degrees when I woke up, but I guess it is spring, as of three or four days ago.

I fear Jody may be coming down with what I have been working through for the last couple weeks. He went to bed really early last night complaining of a sore throat and headache. Hopefully it is just allergies. Goodness knows we have been bombarded with winds from all directions lately, and who knows what those winds bring in to our area. All those pesky foreign allergens, wreaking havoc on the innocent!

I got lots of work done last night on the Power Point presentation for my classes next Wednesday (a week from tomorrow). It is progressing really nicely, and I have no issues that I will be up against a wall trying to get it all done minutes before class begins. I like to work myself up to delirium, not have it all sprung on me at once! Anyway, it is all going nicely, and I am even surprised at how good of a class it is turning out to be. I have really not even looked at the class since I submitted it for approval, but it is a good, fast paced and interesting class. Of course, if you are only signing up for the class because it is the only thing being offered and your license is expiring in three days, it might not be all that interesting. It is in large part dependent on the motivation for taking the class.

I have another closing scheduled for today, and this is another one that is coming down to the wire. The deal will close, I am not concerned about that, it just may not close today as scheduled, and we will need to get amendments signed, etc. Real estate deals are not as easy as they used to be. This deal in particular was one that the negotiations went on for a long time, and now the lender is not really ready with all the documentation. BUT, if they can get everything to the Title company this morning, we will be good for an afternoon close. We shall see...

All-in-all the day went very nicely. I pretty much finished up the Power Point presentation for one of the classes next week, and I have plenty of time to finish the other one. No issues there. I met with a client from California to do a quick walk-thru of his property, and then I was off to remove sign and lock box from the property that closed this afternoon. Then back to the office, and then home. Traffic on the way home was no problem, and Jody is feeling better, so that all makes for a good day.

We got about a quarter-inch of rain for the day, and there are indications that there could be more on the way for the next few days. I will feed the cattle on Wednesday or Thursday, and that will most likely be a muddy experience, but again, we will take the rain however we can get it.

I spoke with the wind energy people and we have an appointment for them to conduct a site survey on the first Saturday in April. That will be exciting, I would really like to have a couple wind turbines providing us with most of the electrical power that we consume. We have gotten to the point that I really do not think it is out of the question for us to have minimal dependence on the grid for our electrical needs. That would be really nice to know we could get most of our energy from the wind. I will let everyone know how that is progressing.

We are having chicken stuffed with cheese and bacon for dinner, not exactly cordon bleu but kind of close to it. And we are planning to go out for dinner tomorrow night. Fun.

So, how are you all doing on your good deeds? Mine are getting further and further apart, but I will make a renewed effort to be extra nice to people on a daily basis. So, it would really help me a lot if you would go be nice to someone, and tell them I sent you! Thanks!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day Eighty Two...

And then there were nine... All is well here on this windy but pleasantly warm and partly cloudy Monday. All is well with the world (okay with the possible exceptions of places mentioned way back at the beginning of this diary, and probably a few more troubled places on the globe have been added since then, but...). This is a photo of the new and improved herd, all at peace in one of the pastures. What could be better, and the cows can peacefully graze.

Okay, enough of that. The drive in to the city today was more like a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of a Monday. Really no trouble at all, and the drive home was easy as well, even though I did get on the road at a reasonable hour. I got a lot of work done in the office, and I have a couple appointments tomorrow (including another closing), and then there is some usual stuff going on, but very little really pressing on me. I began the Power Point presentation for the classes I wrote, which will debut on April 1st (I don't think there is supposed to be a joke in that, but maybe there is), and it is all going pretty well. The Power Point slide show is going nicely, and I should have most of that finished in plenty of time to review. CAN TELL YOU THIS...it is much easier doing this stuff when you are the one that wrote the class. Much easier to do, thank you very much!

This is not a complaint, but there is a very good chance of rain for several days this week, which will cause a few issues; 1). The drivers in Austin and its surrounds will go totally ballistic and cause wrecks every where you look, 2). It will probably rain on Thursday when I am delivering my meals-on-wheels (and I hate that), 3). The back pastures will be really muddy when I go back there to feed the cattle. Otherwise, we desperately need and even more desperately want the rain, the more the merrier. We need a good hurricane to come up through Houston (with no damage to property or loss of life of course) to give us a good drenching. Nothing breaks a drought like a flood!

Otherwise, again, all is good, and life is sweet. Go find someone less fortunate than yourself (that should really not be too difficult) and do something nice for them. AND, if you really wanted to, you could make it a habit, and trade one of your really BAD HABITS for that new habit. You will be helping two people with one good deed that way. Try it, you'll maybe like it. Think of it like split pea soup, you will never know if you like it until you try it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day Eighty One...

I had lots of things on my 'to-do' list today, and everything was accomplished. Now I am exhausted, but it was a good day. There is actually one more thing on the list that has not been done yet, but that is to jump in the pool. It is still kind of chilly, but I believe it will be accomplished before the end of the day. No time like the present.

We all got started early, and I put out the new cattle trough, since we are now a herd of nine, with the possibility of three more before the end of the year. Cheaper by the dozen? I doubt it! Mimmie and her calf were kind of unsure about why the other cattle were heading so quickly toward where I was this morning, but she soon figured it out, and I doubt it will take her and her calf too long to bee one of the Pavlov's Cows...trained to run to the trough at the sound of the mule heading towards the feed shed, slobbering all the way.

We also got all the bulbs planted, and tried to dig up the root beer plants by the tuber...we believe we are in for a fight from those things, and I am sure that fight will go on through the next few years. They are really entrenched on some of those beds. If nothing else, we will chop them off at ground level every time they make an appearance, and maybe that will discourage them. We also planted the zinnia seeds and the morning glory seeds. I hope they will all come up, and do well. Jody planted spinach and beet seeds a few days ago, and they are all coming up nicely. And the broccoli is actually developing heads so we will be harvesting that soon. No produce is yet visible from the cauliflower or the Brussels sprouts. We are just having fun doing this, and if we actually get a few side orders for dinners, it will be great. We shall see...

I think it is nap time, or maybe jumping in the pool time, who knows, and it is really not important which one it is, both will be pleasant, and not cause any undue exertion on my part. I am plum tuckered. Go have some fun for yourself, and tell yourself (convincingly and sincerely) that you deserve it, because you do.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day Eighty...

All is well in the pastures of paradise. I went back this morning, and all are grazing happily. It seems that Mr. Speckles is paying attention to his newest member of the harem Mimmie Moonbeam. It is getting easier for me to remember the name Mimmie, and I am getting to where I kind of like the name. It is flowing off the tongue much easier after all the goings on of yesterday. The little bull calf is actually hanging out with Mimmie and her heifer calf, and Orchid is taking a break. Speckles was quite affectionate this morning, I guess he is happy to be where he is, Lord of his Domain, Master of (most) All He Sees. One Big Happy...

Jody and I are heading out to Taylor this morning, planning stops at the Taylor Feed Store, Walmart and Tractor Supply. The stop at the feed store is pretty self-explanatory, and we are going to buy some stuff at Walmart for the pool area, I am thinking we need a couple chaise loungy kind of things in case anyone wants to relax BY the pool and not necessarily IN the pool. At Tractor Supply, I am going to get ANOTHER trough, since we added two more mouths to feed yesterday. I think we now have the possibility of three more calfs this year, and if we have another bull calf, I am going to make it a gift to the folks that helped us out here yesterday. The photo today is of the very lovely Mimmie and her calf, Mimmie is just a little bit thinner than her new friends, but I am sure she will fatten up in no time at all. We hope she is "with calf" but we shall see what happens on that front.

Well,today has truly been a wonderful day. We went for a ride in the afternoon, and coped out one of the wind energy wind mills that is not far from our house. They are really cool, and it was neat to see the meter from the power company registering a negative use of energy. The meter was not actually spinning backwards, because it is a digital meter, but it was registering negative energy use. I am really interested in that, since it is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of photo-voltaic cells for this property. I think there is gonna be some wind energy happening at the Evans-Rudd casa before too long. I hope this is not just something else that is not worth the time and/or effort. We shall see...

We have spent a good bit of time sitting out by the pool this afternoon and evening, and I got in up to my thighs. It is still pretty cold, but it is warming up nicely. I think I may take the plunge tomorrow afternoon after chores. I have a list of things I want to accomplish tomorrow, so I am expecting another great day in the country. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Have a great day yourself, and try to do something nice for someone, you will be glad you did, and it will make the earth a better place!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day Seventy Nine...

Well, this has been kind of a traumatic morning. I did not sleep worth another freakin' flip last night, and when I did become upright again, I was concerned about herding the herd into the barn to get them ready to go to the vet. Everything went better than I actually could have imagined, which I really should have expected since I TOO will do just about anything for food. Even the littlest of the cattle (that would be baby Dude) go in the trailer with not too much trauma. It is the littlest ones first ride in a trailer, so I am just a little bit nervous. Jody (not my Jody, the other Jody) and his wife Tonya and their son Patrick came out to gather up cows this morning, and they said our cattle were the best looking and the healthiest looking cattle they had seen this year. That really made me feel good, because I am constantly in this learning curve process to make sure I am doing the right thing by our cattle. As you are all aware, we just think of them as really big puppies, not cattle.

So...it will be shots and vaccinations and whatever else is needed in the bovine world all around, and I think we are getting two new cattle this afternoon, a cow/calf pair AND THAT WILL BE THE END OF THAT! No more cattle, except our off-spring of course. And Jody and Tonya and Patrick will be coming back with our herd late this afternoon or early evening, and they are going to stay for dinner with us. Tonya is also going to help me get my paperwork done on the herd, of which I am only a year behind. Oh well...

Okay, so all is well, and all the cattle are back home, I do not really think they were too thrilled with the shots and all the commotion, but they are back home and look to be making a speedy recovery. We do have a beautiful new cow/calf pair, the cow's name is Mimmie's Moonbeam and the calf does not have a name yet, so let your imaginations run wild. We may award a prize for the best name.

Tonya, Patrick and Jody (the other Jody) joined us for dinner tonight, and Jody made enchiladas and peas and guacamole and apple pie and ice cream for dessert. It was nice that everyone could stay for dinner, and everyone enjoyed the visit. They are really nice folks, and we value the information they give us about the cattle, and they are always open to answering my stupid questions. I know I can be tedious at times, but it is nice to know they are available to help if needed. Thanks to them for all their kindnesses!

Okay, so it is way past my bedtime, so I intend to have a good nights sleep tonight. I recommend that you all have a good nights sleep, and we will continue this in the morning.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day Seventy Eight...

Okay, this was another easy drive day into Austin. No issues at all, and I even went to two different banks before I got to my class at the Board. AND I was there in plenty of time. The class today at the Board was about time management, and it went well, but the attendees are basically all Directors of the Board and other kind of pro-active types, and so none of us are used to sitting in rooms all day long in classes. We are doing the best we can to remain attentive, even though we are have things we need to be doing.

I had several voice-mails and e-mails throughout the day, and pretty well managed to get everything answered during breaks or in the car on the way home, so I am pretty caught up with things that happened throughout the day today...I just got a call from another Jody friend of ours (the Jody we buy cattle from, and who give us invaluable advice on all things bovine) and he is going to come to Bartlett in the morning and take all the cattle to the Vet in Bastrop for their annual shots and things. That will be an adventure to say the least! Stay tuned for photos of that in tomorrows post, and maybe there will be some good blood and bruise photos too! What can I say???

We are heading out to the Catfish Cabin for dinner again tonight, so that is a good thing. We both like catfish, and the restaurant in Georgetown proved to be a good one last week when we were there. I will give you a better report later tonight when we get back. Stay tuned... Okay, I am back... Well, because I am sometimes directionally challenged, we ended up at Fish City Grill instead of Catfish Cabin, which shall be interpreted as no slap in the face to Catfish Cabin. We were driving down Highway 29 in Georgetown, and finally Jody said 'are we on the right road' and I said, 'well, duh, yes of course' and well, you know the rest. At least we figured that out before we were in Burnet or Andice or Florence! Anyway the dinners were very good. Jody had the fish tacos and had the combo plate, fried catfish, fried shrimp and fried oysters. Hold the cholesterol, thank you very much.

AND, there was a little carnival set up in the parking lot, complete with a ferris wheel, a zipper, kind of a tilt-a-whirl kind of thing, and a couple other rides, most of which are intended to make you puke and then go back for more. Lots of kids, lots of stuff, and I am sure there was a midway of sorts, even though I did not see one. There were plenty of concession stands, too. I have never seen a carnival set up in that kind of 'first rate' shopping center before, but I guess it is another statement of the signs of the times. There WAS a Quizno's sub shop in the center until recently, but it is closed, the sign is gone, but the equipment is still inside, visible from the street. We will all recover from this and be stronger than ever, you just wait and see.

And on the way home, I called the other Jody (that is coming to take the cattle to the Vet tomorrow) to ask him to give me a call when he gets to Taylor. No need to have the cattle in the barn cooped up for longer than they need to be. Again, I am not too sure how that is going to go, but I am sure it will all be fine.

So, now I think you should all go and practice your time management. It will be good for you, and remember, you do not need to give yourself permission to do everything, just the fun stuff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Seventy Seven...

This is just one more reason that I am glad I always have a camera (or two) with me when I am driving around. For one thing, you just never know what you will see, and I think this is a good example. I really never expected to see a man riding a longhorn bull waiting to cross the street at Barton Springs Road and Bouldin Avenue at 10:30 AM on a Wednesday. Notice how patiently he is waiting for the signal to change. That is something more likely to be witnessed after a few cocktails, you know, more likely to be seen around happy hour. And then too, usually a couple hours into the happy hour at that. One thing you really need to remember, this is Texas, and we will have no talk of little pink elephants!

But NO...there they were for all to see. As it turned out, they were there for some city promotion about energy conservation and some kind of promotion about the Smart-Car you see in this photo. Not nearly as interesting as even the most boring/least entertaining story I could have made up. The mind boggles!

I did not sleep worth a freakin' flip last night. I took some of the cough medicine that the Doctor prescribed for me (Cherry Tussin (sp?) with Codeine) and thought that would put me out, but no way Jose, all I did was cough, cough, cough! I even went the tried and true fail safe route, and got up and went to my big fat La-Z-Boy chair in the den, and I still could not sleep for the coughing spasms. Overall, I am really feeling much better, but I know also that I tried to get too much done today, and I could really feel it by the time I left the office. I am really looking forward to getting a good nights sleep tonight, and I have everything planned out...so if there is no post tomorrow, well...

And today was a busy day at work...two closings (yippee-skippee) and two meetings, and getting things caught up from being out for two days. All is going well, and I am a really lucky person to have good and competent people covering for me when I am out. When I got home, Jody and I went out to the pasture and fed the cattle, and they were very happy to see us. They love the extra feed they get twice a week, and I am happy to give it to them. I think you need to treat your pets really well, and they are just like big Chihuahuas to me!

Tomorrow will be another early day, I have another round of the Leadership Training at the Board, and that will be all day. I always want to arrive for those at least a half-hour early, AND I need to go to the bank on the way (actually the bank is past the Board, so I have to go to the bank and then back-track to the Board). So, I do not want to have any concerns with being late for these classes, so I do as I always do...over-compensate!

I got an e-mail this afternoon from the Director (David) of the Hill Country Ride for AIDS which I am participating in towards the end of April. They are going to have a training ride out in this area on Saturday morning, and I am threatening to participate in that. It will be a lot of fun, I love riding my bike! I will let you know if I survive that as well!

Okay, I think you should go and have yourself a hot fudge sundae, and I also think you should invite a close (or not so close) friend to join you. Hot fudge sundaes all around. I think that is a great idea! Have fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day Seventy Six...

Okay, I have to tell you, this laryngitis gig is crazy. I have just a very moderate sore throat caused, I am assuming, by the post-nasal drip thing I have been experiencing for the past week. But occasionally I really cannot speak above a whisper. And I still have six more hours of classroom instruction to finish today, and it kind of gets in the way of trying to conduct business, like speaking on the phone, especially if you are trying to return calls to people you have never spoken to in the past. "Hi this is Bill Evans, a real estate Broker in Austin, and I am returning your phone call, but I am whispering because everything I am about to tell you is a secret." I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday, Lynda, who said she battled this for several weeks last fall, and ended up with scarring on her vocal chords. After today, I am not scheduled to teach any other classes until April 1st, so we will see how everything goes. Two weeks should be plenty of time to recover.

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and I think that is very fitting that I wear green today since I am teaching about Green Real Estate. I think this is the first time in my life I have ever consciously worn green for the occasion, and we will see how that all turns out. I wonder if they are planning to turn the Chicago River green today as they usually do, considering all the financial restraints everyone is experiencing. Green is the color of money, too.

This is a photo of the class I had for the last two days at the Board of REALTORS. It was easier for me to just ask them to turn around than it would have been to get photo releases and permissions from them all giving me the okay to put their photos on the site. Plus I think this backwards photo is pretty cool. Class was good, but my voice was not. It was very difficult to conduct the class with no voice and having to carry a microphone with me everywhere...I could not use the lavaliere microphone because I needed the amplification right up by my mouth. I was thinking about doing a Beyonce imitation, but then I decided it would be more like Tina Turner...I am old!

Anyway, that class is over, and it all went well. I left the class while they were taking the test and went to see my Doctor. I have the best Doctor in the world, and I called and they said to come on in, they would get me in to see him. When I got there, he was reading a local physicians magazine, and he quoted the magazine article that it was reported in 2008 that five people in the United States died from flatulence, and there was lots of speculation about how that could happen. We ultimately decided that that was just another hazard as a result of smoking in bed!

Okay, that is it for this one, I am going to go take some prescription drugs and pretty much call it a night after dinner. I have two closings tomorrow, so I have to be well enough to go make some money.

Go do something nice for yourself, and remember it is okay to do it, I have given you permission to treat yourself nicely.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Well, I did not really sleep that well last night, because I keep coughing. I have been plagued with some sort of post-nasal drip for almost a week now, and I have been trying to make sure that it does not turn into something worse. I have been trying to get plenty of sleep, and trying to take a little better care of myself, and I just keep having this persistent cough, especially when I get a little bit too warm. At least I do not really feel bad, and in fact I feel pretty good, but it bothers me that I will be talking a lot today and tomorrow, and I fear that will aggravate it, and cause me some problems.

Two big thumbs-down on the Panda Express in Georgetown! The sign outside the place says "Gourmet Chinese Food", but we should have known better since they also have a drive-through lane. Oh well, some of the food was at least hot, but it was just not that great. We are still working our way through the restaurant offerings within a reasonable distance of our house (20 miles or so, one-way) and we still have plenty more to explore. In the meantime, we do not envision a return trip to the Panda Express anytime in the future. I think our next adventure will be to the new Denny's that just opened in Jarrell, you just cannot beat a good Patty Melt! I wonder do they serve a Patty Melt? We shall see...

Finally last night the sun came back out for the first time in several days, and the high temperatures are supposed to rise throughout the week this week. It should be much more temperate for us, and we are all delighted about that.

It should be an easy drive into the Board this morning, especially since I will be leaving really early. I always like being early, so I can make sure everything is working and the room is set up the way I like it. I am expecting about 65 students for the class, a good number to work with. My biggest fear is having someone that thinks they are the expert on the topic I am teaching, because I am NOT THE EXPERT. I can instruct the class, and instruct the information that I am supposed to, and make it really interesting, but there is so much more information about this topic that we cannot cover, it is just amazing. Just trying to keep control is sometimes a problem, but I really do not expect any problems. I will let you know how it goes.

Later the same day...the trip into town was uneventful, and quick. There was a lot of fog until I got into Georgetown, and then it was smooth sailing. The class went well, and all is good. I HAVE LARYNGITIS, but other than the fact that I cannot talk, I am ready for class tomorrow.

A beautiful day in Austin, temperatures in the low 80's, and Jody took advantage of our new solar dryer, and hung towels outside to dry. A good conservation of resources!

So, today you should consider your good deeds for tomorrow. Remember, tomorrow is St Patrick's day, so it should involve something GREEN. I am confident you you can think of something to do for someone that would be a help to them. Go ahead, give it your best shot!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day Seventy Four...

Another grey (or gray) start to the day. I stayed in bed until about 7 AM which is really odd for me, but I had really nothing to do, and it was still dark outside, so I just kept trying to sleep. I started that process at about 4 AM, and fought the urge to get out of bed until about 7. When I got up, I made coffee and putzed around the house for a while and finally went outside to get the newspaper, but it had not yet arrived. I came back inside, poured myself my coffee, and walked into the office...at which time I saw the newspaper being delivered. SO...I went back out and retrieved the paper, and came in a read for a while until Jody got up and started his morning ritual of feeding animals.

I did a little bit more prep for the class on Monday and Tuesday, and finally went and put on some clothes, and made the beds. We had not put the feed from yesterday in the feed barn so we had put the truck in the garage, just in case it rained overnight. Just as I was pulling the truck out of the garage it began to rain, so I put the truck back in the garage, and took the mule back to the tractor so I could put out a fresh bale of hay for the cattle. Nothing like fresh hay to get a cows curiosity aroused. But they weren't too interested in the hay, and especially Doodle Bug and Lady Bug, they were much more interested in looking at the tractor. It was almost as if they had never seen it before, and so they just looked at it while I got all the wrap off the hay.

Everywhere you look lately there are brush fires. One good rain, and everyone is burning crap while they have the chance. I do not know if they have lifted the burn bans or not, but there are brush fires everywhere. I think they figure they need to do it while they can, because there will just be a few days of sun, and everything will be dry again.

Jody and I went into Salado this morning just to see what was going on, and then we just took a nice long drive around the area on the way home. Nice to see what is around us. The cat has discovered some of the toys we bought her yesterday, and that kind of keeps her occupied. She has a lot of energy, and keeps wanting the dog to play with her, but he is really not into that.

We are going to head out to Panda Express for dinner tonight, I do not think I have ever eaten there, but maybe once, just not sure. We hope it is like Firebowl...what we actually hope is that they will open a Firebowl out here somewhere...that will be a sure sign that civilization is nearing.

So, practice random acts of kindness, and that will be its own reward.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day Seventy Three...

Today was cold, gray (or grey) cloudy, cold, damp and cold. Did I mention that it was not a really spectacular day here in paradise? Even so, I did get a few things accomplished, although I more or less just took it easy, and I intend to do more of the same tomorrow.

I did get the cattle fed, and Jody and I went into Taylor to get more cattle feed. In addition to the cattle feed, I bought two small eggplant plants and a variety of seeds; spinach, beets, morning glories and zinnias. The strawberries and the squash and pepper plants we planted last week are doing well, as are the tomatoes. Everything so far has survived the rains and gray skies very nicely, thank you very much.

Today was the first day I have seen the bull calf (Official name will be JB Orchids Square Dude, Dude for short) and he is doing really well, too. Hard to believe he is less that two weeks old, and can survive in cold temperatures, rain and mud. No signs of wear-and-tear, though. They were all happy to have some feed. I went back to look at their hay situation, and it was pretty well depleted, so, in preparation of putting out another bale of hay tomorrow, I wanted to move the hay ring. All around the ring, the cattle have worn down the grass, and it was really muddy. I found the least amount of mud and got the hay ring on its side, and worked the ring like I was a hamster on a tread mill, and moved the ring without getting too muddy. I wish I could have a picture of that. It was kind of fun, really.

On the way back from Taylor, we stopped at Tractor Supply, and got some play toys for the dog and the new kitty. The cat likes to play with things, but I think the dog is just kind of jaded, and prefers to lick plates and sleep (I wonder where he got that from?). Anyway, it was a great day, and all is well that ends well.

For your good deed today, see if you can find a friend that you have not talked to in a while, and call them up and ask them if they would like to join you at a movie tomorrow. You can make plans for the matinee and save a bunch of cash. There is bound to be something playing that you could both agree on. Then maybe you could stop and have a nice cup of hot chocolate afterwards. It will be fun! Go ahead, make the call.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day Seventy Two...

Well, more rain and unfortunately I think it is about over. I do not like the cold cloudy drizzly days, but I am happy to make the sacrifice if it means we will get some good rains. It did not rain overnight, and was not raining when I went out for the paper, but it did rain during the day today a little bit. Traffic on the way into the office was not terrible, but it was horrendous on the way home. It took quite a while, and even though I thought I left the office really early, it was not a good scene. Again, I will happily sacrifice if it means we are getting rain, but I am not that eager to sit in traffic just because someone (not me this time) is being stupid. BUT, I was driving in Austin today, and it is amazing how green everything has become just in the last week. Beautiful!

It was a good day in the office, and I got everything done for my classes on Monday and Tuesday. I will spend some time over the weekend reviewing, but otherwise, all is well. I am really fortunate to have a good business partner and a really great assistant who can do just almost any and everything we ask him. We have also just recently hired an administrative assistant, and she is doing a really good job too. Hopefully we will be all set for the busy season, and I think all of our businesses are picking up. My sales transactions are really doing well, and I think all the agents in our office have business, so that is really good. I am a lucky guy.

We are having turkey for dinner tonight, and I will most likely call it an early night. I am seemingly trying to fight off a sore throat, and I do not want to be sick for my classes on Monday and Tuesday. Because of that, I will most likely use the lavaliere microphone, and I really do not like to use it. But we are expecting about sixty attendees, so that is the route I will take.

Tomorrow is supposed to begin a warm-up temperature wise, and I will need to feed the cattle. I will also have to go into Taylor to get some feed, since I have enough for tomorrow and that is it. Hopefully with these rains, the cattle will have more green to eat and they will be less dependent on feed and hay.

How are you doing on the good deed part of your daily routine? I am not sure if I did any good deeds today or not, but I hope I did and just can't remember. So, go do something nice for someone, and see what happens in return!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day Seventy One...

Well, it is back to sweat pants and a fleece pull-over in the mornings. Not sure how long this will last, but most likely five days or so. It was 43 degrees when I got up this morning, and I think I heard it raining through the night. I have not gone outside to get the paper yet, I will give the carrier plenty of time to get here. I only need to make that effort once this morning.

I will be needing to get into the office early this morning. I have lots of work that needs to get finished, and I have a pretty full afternoon. I will need to get to a listing appointment at about Noon-30 and then I have another appointment at the Board at 2 PM. I made no progress at all on my class preparation for Monday and Tuesday of next week, and that needs to get finished. I am still pretty comfortable that I have plenty of time to get it completed. My calendar for Friday is wide open right now, so that will give me the time I need to get everything pulled together. This photo is not what you ordinarily think about when you think of electric vehicles saving energy! It looks like this one saves a lot of energy all right!

Holy Tsunami, Batman! I am much happier about the rainfall totals now that I just checked the rain gauge. As of yesterday, we had received only a pitiful 1/2 inch of rain. So much for all the great rainfall totals they weather folk had been predicting. BUT, oh ye of little faith (that would be me) when I went out for the paper, we have received a total so far of 1 and 3/4 inches of rain. I must have been right about hearing it raining through the night last night. Yippee. I can only assume the cattle (especially the little one) are making it with no issues. It will be way too muddy to go back to the pasture in the rain. As a side note, do you know that mud does not occur naturally in nature? Mud is a result of mans interference with the environment. Mud does not just happen.

It took me about 2 hours, maybe a bit less, to get to the office this morning...and it was not raining. I actually was stopped on the Interstate for almost 15 minutes...just sitting there, and I did not even have any donuts to entertain myself with. I did have my crocheting with me, but I did not even think of that til it was too late. I got to the office, and I have to admit I was just a teensy bit stressed, and I had to start working immediately, and did not stop for the rest of the day. Things should ease up next week some, especially from Wednesday through Friday of next week. Everything will be okay.

My exciting mail today was a check from AT&T for $0.13. Yep, that's right, thirteen cents. Is that crazy or what? Big Whoop. I am going to have it framed and hope it screws their accounting up for a long time. Unfortunately, I know it won't, but it is nice to have a dream.

Jody and I went to the Catfish Cabin in Georgetown for dinner. Very good, just as good (if not better) than the one we used to go to on 183 in Austin. The Catfish Cabin on 290 in South Austin sucked, but that is just my opinion. The guy in Georgetown tonight even said that he had heard the same thing about the place on 290. See there, word gets around.

More rain for tonight if we are lucky. Be a good sport and do a rain dance for us all here in central Texas, we really need the rain. That will count as your good deed for the day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day Seventy...

Okay, well, I have been up for about 20 minutes and so far the temperature has dropped about 6 degrees (54 degrees when I last checked) and the paper is not here yet. To make matters worse, it is really windy (the front must just now be coming through) and it is raining...AND THE PAPER IS NOT HERE YET. I walked down the driveway in my shorts carrying an umbrella in the rain, and the paper is not here yet. Okay, not a terribly big inconvenience, I just hope nothing terrible has happened to the newspaper carrier. She has been very dependable, and I think this is only like the second day she has been late since October. A much better record than the carrier we had in the city.

I slept kind of fitfully last night. The window next to my bed was open (as usual) and I kept expecting it to be raining outside. The forecasters said rain would begin after mid-night (and they were right, it is now about 5:45 AM and it is just starting to rain). And really early this morning a couple birds decided they wanted to have a discussion of some sort, and the QUEEN CAT was very interested in that, and just because I was laying there proved to be no real obstacle to her seeing what was going on outside the window. Add a hairball or two to the mix, and you can get the broad overall picture...

I just saw the newspaper carrier arrive, so I will go out again to retrieve the paper, and I will catch up with you later... Okay, I am back, and the second attempt to retrieve the newspaper was much more successful. It is still crazy windy, but the rain has slacked up a bit, and I was better prepared for the chore.

I will need to head out early today, even though I am going straight to the Board. I will be chairing an ethics hearing this morning, and usually that makes for a quicker drive in to town, but since it is kind of rainy, that means a longer commute. We do not know how to drive in or after rain here is central Texas. Rain is such a novelty, we act like a flock of wild turkeys and just hang out with our mouths open, looking up! Later the same day... Okay, well, you can see how my drive in was, it took me about 90 minutes to go about 38 miles. At least I was there in time for the meeting, and I figured there were going to be some issues.
So, not I am about to leave the office for the ride home. I do not expect it will be any better than it was coming in, but I will keep a positive attitude about it.
Have a great day, and do a good deed for yourself or for someone else.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day Sixty Nine...

Well, so far, so good. The day has certainly gotten off to a leisurely start. I have been up for a couple hours, and had coffee and read the paper. Soon I will toast a couple bagels, and get ready for the day. I am waiting for the gardener guy to get here and give me a bid for getting all the landscaping ready for spring. Hopefully this can be done a couple times a year, and then the in between maintenance will be something we can handle ourselves. That is the plan anyway. It was about 66 degrees when I rolled out of bed, and it is hard to believe that it will cool off tomorrow with lows in the 30's. Hopefully that will be the last cold blast of the season, and that we will have a couple weeks (at least) of moderate temperatures before we hit the 100 degree mark.

I have a pretty light day in the office today, although I do have some listings to catch up on, and I need to try and finish my preparation for my classes next week. I am comfortable with the progress I have made so far, and all should be good. It is always a little bit concerning the first time I teach a class. I never know how to structure the break schedules, and the course timing is always something I am concerned about. If anything, I generally tend to cover too much instruction too quickly, and I need to try to pace the class more. There will be a lot of lecture in these classes, and that needs to be tempered with some activities for the attendees. Nothing worse than some big goof lecturing for 8 hours a day.

I have also been appointed as a 'receiver' for a property in probate, and I need to get that property listed today. I have been trying to reach a friend of mine that is a real estate attorney because I have a couple procedural questions, but so far we have not been able to connect at the same time. AND, I have another contract that is in the works and the Seller's and I have to work out some details on a repair amendment that was submitted yesterday. All-in-all a pretty workable day ahead.

So far the gardeners have done a really good job, and I expect they will be here for a few more days...there is a LOT of stuff to do, but it will all be really well worth it in the long-term. They were here right at 8 AM and already working before I even went outside. They have a long list, and I am very happy with that decision. Everything will be very nice, and Jody and I will be able to enjoy the property without killing ourselves with a lot of that work. Very happy about that indeed.

I got a navigation update for my car on the way into the office this morning, I had ordered it last week at the 60K mile service. Not sure about how updated it is so far, but time will tell on that one. Life is really good right now, and I am happy to remember on a daily basis what a lucky person I am. It was a very good day at work today, and I got a lot of work accomplished. Still making really good progress preparing for my green classes to be done next week, and I really feel good about that.

Since we are expecting rain (possibly even beginning tonight) I am going to feed the cattle tonight after dinner. I kind of forgot about daylight savings time, and the fact that it really won't be dark now until about 8 PM. Plenty of time to feed cattle before dark. All is good.

So, if you get a chance, you might want to do something nice for someone today or tomorrow. And that someone could be you. It's okay, be nice to yourself, it won't hurt. Since the market went up over 400 points today, maybe that is the beginning of more good things to happen for us all. Be nice to yourself, you deserve it. It will all be fine, and you can be happy about treating yourself to something nice.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day Sixty Eight...

I believe that today was the first day of spring break. Either that, or 75% of the metropolitan population forgot to set their clock up an hour the other day, and they were all late for work. When it is spring break in Austin, traffic on the roads is diminished considerably, and driving to an from the office is no longer a chore, it is just driving. I am not sure even if I came to a complete stop in the Interstate. I do know for certain that traffic slowed in a couple spots, but I am not sure that I actually stopped completely. I am positive that I did not stop or even slow down noticeably on the drive home, and that is a real pleasure. We will all kind of be lulled into this false sense of security and then it will be Monday again, and all the issues will be back, and I will be certain that I have indeed some to a complete stop in the Interstate. Oh well, it is what I have chosen, and this should not in any way be considered a complaint, merely an observation.

I made it to the office early today, I needed to pick up some last minute items for the classes I was teaching today. All went well in the class, and I was happy about that. I think there were about 80 learners in the class, and as long as I have to be in the class as well, I might as well make it fun and interesting for myself as well as them. As long as everyone learns something about the topics I feel good about it.

It was a nice day in Austin, temperatures in the low to middle 80's and I think all the weather forecasters are swearing that we will have rain this week. They are all certain of that, and that is what makes me nervous...anywhere from 30% to 70% chances from now until Friday, with the bast chances to be either on Wednesday or Thursday. Also, the temperatures are going to be reduced significantly, with highs in the 50's and lows in the upper 30's. Well, this is still winter in Texas, and it is just March, and no one is even making any suggestions of freezes, so we will take what we can get. They are talking about good soaking rains, up to a couple inches, so that will be great if it actually happens. We shall see...

I don't know if anyone actually reads this drivel on a regular basis, but I know one thing for certain, and that is I am driven by food...I used to be driven by other fantasies, but now it seems that my life is a contemplation of one meal to the next. Yesterday, Jody made enchiladas, today we had giant sausages with potatoes au gratin and asparagus from the garden. It is really a good thing that we both like asparagus, but we do, so there. I am already planning my breakfast, and not so much lunch, but I do have a hankerin' for some catfish later in the week. We shall see...

Okay, I leave you now with this thought...make a phone call this evening and ask someone you have not seen in a long time to lunch tomorrow...your treat. It will make the other person wonder what you are up to, and when they find out you are up to nothing, it will be a fun time. Catch up with an old friend, and be happy. It will make both of you feel better.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Day Sixty Seven...

More indications that spring is near, even though the low temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-to-upper 30's for a couple days this week. Jody and I were minding our own business this morning, on our way back home from Home Depot, when two HUGE pick-up trucks filled with mud-covered men turned in front of us onto FM 1105. Jody thought there had been a line break somewhere and I immediately assumed that they had all just been out mud-wrestling somewhere (since it is well know that on the seventh day ye shall mud wrassle). Well, we followed them for a while and they made a sudden stop into the bar ditches on either side of the road. I stopped like any concerned citizen would/should and rolled down my window to inquire as to what they were up to on a cloudy Sunday in March. Well, you've got three guesses and the first three do not count. They were out seining ponds! Yep, netting catfish off the bottom of stock tanks all around the area, and they could not have been happier about it. I guess for the Lutherans it is 'on the seventh day ye shall seine the ponds. Whatever... I doubt most of you have ever seen this many muddy guys having this much fun before. It was a first for me, too.

I cannot blame you if you were to think that after that the rest of the day would be a downhill slide, but au contraire mon ami, not at all. Jody and I had been into town to get some garden soil for the raised garden, and we got some tomato plants and some squash plants and a single green pepper plant. The rest of the raised garden will probably be seeded, since we cannot find the actual starter plants for what we want. We got that stuff done, and Jody was busy with making lunch for our friends that were coming out.

Lunch was wonderful, turkey enchiladas and one of our friends (Chad) brought strawberry shortcake for dessert. Yummy cubed! We then went out and fed the cattle, and all were delighted to see the bull calf. All is well on the cattle front.

I was still setting a couple clocks today, and I have still not set the clocks in the cars yet. This daylight savings time stuff has got me out of whack for a couple days. It is supposed to be almost dark right now, but the sun is still up. I do not like waking up in the dark, I would prefer it to be a little bit lighter. I will get used to it in a couple days.

So, for your good deed for the day, why don't you call someone and see if they would like to take a nice walk around the block. We all need to get out more, and get a little bit of exercise, and you never know who you might meet along the way.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day Sixty Six...

Okay, we are back to cows and other things of interest around the farm. I got up at about 5AM this morning, and it was 66 degrees outside. So much for sweat pants and jackets for the duration. I will see them again next fall most likely. It is still windy, really windy again, and it has been cloudy all day. I went out this morning and put up a solar clothes dryer in the yard. It is not as tall as I expected it would be, but it will be great for hanging clothes out to dry. PLUS, we have the added advantage that it plays tunes when the wind blows. The wind causes the tubes and lines to whistle, and that is not unpleasant at all. I also did a little bit of weeding in the flower beds this morning, and I am admitting defeat on that one. I put in a call to the guy the previous owners used to do gardening work, and he is supposed to be here on Tuesday morning to give us a bid for getting the beds cleaned up and ready for the season. I am not at all interested in working every weekend to keep the beds free from weeds and stuff. I think if we have someone come in and do it twice a year, that should work out really well.

Later this morning, we went into Georgetown and stopped at Home Depot and Target and then a quick stop at HEB. At Home Depot, we got an extra garage door opener for the truck, a key pad for the garage to put on the door outside the garage, and some wood to make a raised garden for vegetables (a sheet of plywood and 2 x 8's for the edges. We already have some sawhorses for it to sit on, and Jody is going to have some spinach and stuff like that growing. We are still eating asparagus from out by the garage, and we also filled two pots with strawberries, so maybe we will have some fresh fruit. We also have at least one peach tree blooming out be the road, so maybe we will have some fresh peaches, too. Jody also thinks there are two plum trees blooming out in the back, so we shall see what develops (or what produces).

It has looked like rain all day, and there are forecasts from all the stations for rain, maybe tomorrow and through next week. The chances are not really all that high, but we will take anything we can get. We are officially in a severe drought, and so anytime now we should get about 40 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. This are gets about the same annual rain fall is Seattle, we just get all our rain in one or two days a year.

We are going to dinner tonight at Soup 'r Salad, where we went a couple weeks ago. I am going to try my best not to fill up totally on salad. The have what also looks like a pretty decent baked potato bar, and some decent soups and pizza. This particular store is much nicer that the ones on Austin, so we are going to try it again. We also found a Catfish Cabin in Georgetown, and I think we will try that one day soon.

We went out to take a look at the cattle this afternoon, and the calf was sleeping, and of course I had to go make sure he was breathing. I am just an old nervous person, but he is breathing, and all is well with that. It was much easier moving the cattle to the other pasture yesterday, and they were happy to be on the other side. Hopefully we will get some rain, and that will help with the grass and grazing for the cattle. Also, I suspect we will have two more calfs (should that be calves?) before the end of the summer. I will keep you in the loop on those developments.

We are having friends over for lunch tomorrow, so that means I have to vacuum before they get here. I was intending to vacuum anyway, since it is really too long between the times the housekeeper gets here. We now have one shedding dog and two cats, at least one of which sheds up a storm.

When I get up from here, I am going to start setting the clocks forward. Don't forget, daylight savings time starts at 2AM on Sunday morning. Set those clocks forward before you go to bed tonight, and change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

That can be your good deed for the day. Give your neighbor a call, and see if they need some help changing the batteries in their smoke detectors. It could be the best thing you have done today!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day Sixty Five...

More signs of spring and lots of accomplishments at work today will most likely mean a brief entry in this diary today. Do you have any idea what kind of plant this is? It is growing on a tree that is about fifteen or twenty feet tall, and we cannot identify it. It has lovely lavender bell shaped blooms, and we cannot find it in any of the books. If you know what it is, let us know. Thank you very much! There is a planting of three or four of these trees out by the road, and they are just starting to green up, and I saw this cluster of blooms today, and had to take Jody out to see them. It looks like they will be very dramatic when they all green up and bloom out. It is a spring of discovery for us, because we have no idea what will be found as the season gets underway. Stay tuned...

I got a lot of work done today, and made great progress in preparation for my GREEN class to be held a week from this Monday and Tuesday. Everything is under control, so I am happy about that, and I feel confident that it will be a good class. There is lots of information to share, and you cannot turn on the radio, turn on the tv or open a newspaper or magazine without being bombarded with 'green this or green that'. Where will it all end? There is a lot of good going on, but I am afraid it will cause a lot of people to take advantage of unsuspecting consumer, too. Make sure you get good references from salespeople if you go down the green road, no matter what shape it is in.

All is well with the cattle today, and they have been moved to the other pasture. They were happy to get over there, because there is some green for them over there, and they do not have to depend on the hay and feed I have been giving them. Natural green grass is always better for them than hay or feed.

Tomorrow will be a good day, I have lots of things to get accomplished, and I like having things to do. I want to do some gardening and get some stuff planted, and transplanted, and on it goes...

So, maybe you can do your good deed over the weekend bu helping someone weed their garden, or buy a package f seeds for a small person and ask them if they would like to plant a garden. You never know what rewards that can bring you.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day Sixty Four...

Well, more and more signs of spring are being seen all over town. This is a photo of a mountain laurel bush in the front yard of one of my meals-on-wheels clients. I love these bushes (trees sometimes). I can remember when I first moved to Austin, I was walking door-to-door for a political campaign, and I had never seen these trees before, and they smell just like grape bubble gum. Every one I passed, I had to stop and smell it. It was great, but then I discovered that I had sucked so much pollen into my sinuses I was sick for a week. But, I still stop and smell them every chance I get, with no regrets. It will not be long before we are in the throes of summer, gasping for breath and a cool glass of pink lemonade. We need to enjoy all this while we have the chance!

Today was a good day in the office, actually getting lots of stuff done, and cleaning off my desk to do some power-class-prep on Friday. That way I will not have to do it on the weekend, and I will still have plenty of time to get it all done next week. Also, I am going to be teaching an Ethics class and a Legal Update class on Monday, so I won't be able to prep on that day, but there is still time.

This entry feels like it will be a short and sweet one, but the day is too pretty for me to get into too much trouble. I suggest that you all go outside and enjoy the wonders of nature. It will do you good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day Sixty Three...

Okay, well, you might as well just get used to it, you will be inundated with information about the new calf for probably the next seven days, at least. I had baby-calf dreams last night. I think the most critical part of a new calf is the first several days, so my waking and sleeping moments are all about that calf. I went out this morning to check on them, and all was really good. He (it is definitely a he) was bouncing around and happy with the world. I came home this afternoon, and more bouncing, and I saw him nursing his mom and I saw him pee, so it is definitely a bull-calf. He was trying to write his name in the snow, if you can imagine that! He sleeps a lot, too.

I had my car serviced this morning, 60K miles, and not a cheap service either. I also ordered a navigation update for the car, too. I thought it would be inter-changeable with the navigation system in Jody's Highlander Hybrid AND in my business partner Carrie's Lexus...but OH NO, not so quick dude, all those vehicles have different versions of the navigation systems. At least I will be able to share it with my friends Michael and Lynda, they have the same year Prius that I do. It seems like kind of a rip-off that the updates would not work on all the Toyota models, oh well...

Jody came to pick me up at the Toyota dealer, and we went into Bartlett to get his drivers license renewed. I tried to do it on-line, but his license was about to expire, so he had to go in person. We are now all registered with the county to vote, got our vehicles registrations transferred and have our addresses on the drivers licenses change. We are finally all legal again. But...we are living in Williamson County, so that in itself is a challenge.

My friend Roy is going to take the bull-calf once he is weaned. We are going to have him neutered, too, since Roy already has a bull on his property. He just wants him for decoration. It is kind of like when I got interested in the cattle, and I actually wanted to get Bison...everyone can have just plain old ordinary cattle, so if you are going to get something, why not get something interesting to look at? The only caveat I gave to Roy was, this calf cannot become hamburger. I know some of the cattle I breed in the future will become hamburger, but not this one, and not any for the next several years, anyway.

I also talked to the other Jody (of Jody, Tonya and Patrick) that I originally bought the cattle from. He said the drought has caused them to lose 8 cattle from one thing or another. Lots of cattle are being lost in Bastrop County according to Jody, and it is really one of the hardest hit counties in the state as far as the drought is concerned.

Jody and I went to Chipotle for dinner tonight, we had a coupon two-for-one deal, so that was good. We both had the vegetarian bowl, very good indeed.

Okay, I hope you enjoy all the talk about the cattle, and if not, you might not want to check back for a couple days at least! go do your good deed for the day, and report in when you get a chance.