Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty One...

Do you remember the old 'Chicken Man' radio show? Do you remember the exclamation the narrator used just before the ending of each program? Wellllll...
That is kind of how I feel about today. It was just such a really wonderful day! It started out pretty much as usual, but at about 10 AM this morning, there was RAIN in Austin. This stuff was coming out of the sky! It was a beautiful sight. And it was cooler than it has been in the last couple of weeks. It was still in the high eighties even after Noon! That has been unheard of lately. Folks everywhere were exclaiming about the cool temperatures. There was something new to talk about and did not include a really awful joke about Michael Jackson.

And then there was the property showings today, and the threat that someone might actually want to buy or lease something. I showed two properties today, and walked a couple others, and there is potential for a paycheck in each one of them. Yippee-Skippee!

As I was on my way home, I called and asked Jody if we had any rain, and he reported that we had about a quarter-inch, and that will just have to do. Anything is welcomed! There is a possibility that there will be a little bit more, we will just have to wait and see.

AND THEN after I got home, it was time to raise the flags on the new flagpole Jody got me for our anniversary. And they are beautiful, if I do say so myself! Of course, there is no wind right now, but that will change, and I am sure you will see plenty of flag photos flying unfurled in the Bartlett breezes that we so often have plenty of! Wait and see!

Okay, so how are your good deeds going? This is something you do not write down every day, but today I went and bought seventy pairs of children's underwear. See, I told you that is not something you see that often in print. Anyway, my friend Tandy is going off on an Amazon trip with her church (I think she does that every year or maybe every other year) and this year there seemed to be a need for kiddo sized underwear. Anyway, I got her several pairs, and she will distribute them as she sees fit. Good for her!

Do something kind for someone, and remember to have fun!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day One Hundred Eighty...

Yum, DONUTS! Today's photo was going to be of the fantastic flag pole that was installed at the farm today, but the concrete is still wet, and the flags cannot be raised until the concrete drys, so it looks like I will save that until tomorrow for your viewing pleasure. Suffice it to say that the flag pole is wonderful, 23 feet of brushed aluminum with a shiny gold ball on the top, and a very attractive brushed aluminum plate at the bottom that disguises the offensive dirt and stuff that it is buried in. Wonderful!

So, instead, I am showing you the glory of the find of the decade. Okay it only seems like a decade, but I went into the HEB on Oltorf this afternoon, and they had just put out a fresh pile of chocolate covered donuts, and so at 50 cents a piece (and no tax) I bought four of the beauties. I had one already, and will save the others for my commutes into the office the rest of this week. You would think those donuts are the most popular things in the city, and they are very seldom in stock when I go on a search for them. After this week, my craving will be over, and it will be on to something new for me to obsess about. Wonder what it will be?

It was a good day at work, the day started out wonderfully, and there were really no down issues in the day. Had some property showings, and those were pretty successful. Made appointments for tomorrow and later in the week, so it will be a good week overall I think.

I wish it would cool off some, but I think that is really too much to ask at this point in time. It seems like the high temperatures are with us for the duration, and August and September are generally the hottest months. This one could be a real scorcher.

As always, life is good and I am thanking my lucky stars for all my blessings. I am a lucky man, and I am very aware of that. I hope you feel the same way, and I hope you can see fit to share some of your blessings with someone who has less than you do. Have fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Nine...

Well, if today is Sunday, this must be Dairy Queen!

I actually stayed in bed until about 6:15 AM this morning (I wasn't asleep, I just stayed in bed). The cool front has done nothing so far, it was 78 degrees outside when I went out to get the paper. After reading the paper and having coffee, I watered stuff in the front of the house, and came in for a break before watering stuff in the back of the house. Then I decided that, if you can get migas at a Mexican restaurant, you can get migas here, too. So, I started making up a recipe for migas, and I have to say they turned out pretty darn well! Nothing too difficult, and I was pretty darn happy with the outcome.

After breakfast, Jody and I went on a 'property tour' to see what all had been accomplished yesterday, and we are pretty darn happy with the progress. The property looks good, and is not any longer a candidate for 'grey gardens-ness'. We finished up the morning 'dead-heading' the Irises and Canna Lillies around the place, and it looks much better.

I needed to go into Georgetown to the Tractor Supply store for a couple mineral blocks for the cattle, and as long as we were in the area we NEEDED to stop at the Dairy Queen for 'spoilers'. That is what we call it when we get a 'Blizzard' since it will spoil whatever meal should be next on the agenda. In this case, lunch was 'spoiled' so we will slide until dinner time.

It is only 105 degrees outside right now, and we are trying to stay inside for the rest of the day. I will not be excited to get our electric bill this month (or next) because I know that when the heat is brutal, the electric bills will be brutal as well.

Tomorrow the flag pole is to be delivered and installed, and I am really looking forward to that. I think it will be a nice addition to the property, and I really like to fly the flags. We are lucky to live in a place that we can pretty much do what we want.

The week ahead will be a fast one, we will be closed on Friday in observance of the Holiday, and I already have appointments for the coming week. Time flies when you are having fun.

Do a nice thing for someone that does not expect it of you, and remember to have fun while you are doing it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Eight...

Little House in Hades...okay, maybe not quite Hades, but I can remember when I lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi people used to say 'It is hotter than the hinges of Hell' and that is pretty darn applicable for central Texas right now. A mild 'cool front' is supposed to come through in the next couple of days, lowering our temperatures to around 99 degrees, instead of 107 degrees. We will take what we can get. Electric and water consumption have been at record highs in Austin the last couple of days, and there is really no end in sight. We need rain, and we need it now! Do a little dance for us if you think it will work. We are ready to try anything.

I have spent most of the morning re-thinking the landscaping around the house, and wondering if next year we might go with plantings that do not need the level of water and maintenance that we inherited with this property. I fully expect that next year we will be in one of those periods that gives us plenty of rain and it will lull us into a false sense of security that water will remain plentiful and we will plant water needy plants oblivious to the cycles of drought that are so common in Texas. We shall see, but the glimmer of hope that El Nino is percolating in the oceans to the south is a seductive thought. We shall see.

We are (okay I am) thinking of going to an auction in Thorndale this morning, just to see what is going on. There is absolutely nothing that I need, but a couple things on the auction sheet have caught my eye. It will take us about an hour to get there, and then that will give us something to do as well. I am not sure if Jody shares my enthusiasm (okay, he could really care less) and I do not know if he will go with me or not, but I hope so. A lot of that will depend on whether Miguel shows up to work today, but I think he will.

Miguel showed up this morning with three other people, and they accomplished a lot of stuff. All the hay has been brought in from the pastures, and lined up (okay kind of crooked, but whatever) near the feed shed. When you are experiencing a drought, hay is like gold, you can get it (sometimes) but it gets really expensive. I am delighted to have enough hay to last a good long while. All is well in that arena, and I am proud that it is hay off our land, too. It took Miguel probably four hours to get all the hay moved, while the other three guys were weeding the landscape beds, and doing other stuff around the house. There is always lots of stuff to be done, we are lucky to have people around that know what they are doing.

It seems my gentle bull Mr. Speckles has been tearing up more fence along the pastures between our property and the neighbors (where the other bull is). So, since the fence reinforcements have been finished, we are now going to put in a double wire electric fence along that side of the pasture, and see if that will deter him from tearing up the fence. I do not know what the alternative will be, but the worst case will be to keep him separated from that pasture, which will kind of defeat the whole purpose if you ask me. Worst case is we may have to get rid of Mr. Speckles, but I really do not want to even think about that.

All seems well with the world right now in cow-ville, but part of that is because it is so incredibly hot outside. It is too hot for Speckles to raise hell with the other bull, so maybe he will just relax for a while. Keep your fingers crossed.

Take a chill pill yourself, and do something kind for someone else, it will make you feel good about yourself. HAVE FUN!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Seven...

So, this is the weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow. All of central Texas is under a heat advisory, and it is really just too darn hot!

Even though this was not a terrible day or anything, I am feeling kind of blue, and I am not sure why. Maybe it is the heat, maybe it is just that I am tired (of the heat?) or maybe it is just my time to be blue. Who knows? I think it is just a combination of several things, and maybe a little bit of frustration over non-consequential things. Small stuff should not be sweated over!

I showed some property this morning, and that was fun, there are lots of houses for sale right now, and good deals are available, I am always happy about that. I got back to the office, and had lunch (I think I ate too much which may be part of my problem), and I need to leave here soon because I need to have my car serviced on the way home. 70 Thousand Mils, and they are all my miles. I do not think I have ever kept a car for 70 thousand miles. It could be just another sign of the times.

Travis and some of his fellow workers were at the house last night working to get the fencing reinforced in that one area between us and the neighbors. I hope I can let the cattle back in that small area of pasture tonight, so they can take advantage of that green grass (before it burns up) and the trees that are there so they can have that area for shade, and not have to go into the barn for shade. I expect Travis will be back tonight around 6 PM and get everything finished up.

I left the office on schedule this afternoon, and traffic was a nightmare both heading north and south on the Interstate. Crazy traffic, backed up all over and people being particularly unfriendly, obviously because of the heat. I am ashamed to admit this, but I saluted a woman on her telephone that felt very strongly that she needed to be in the left hand lane, and it was her divine right to cross four lanes of traffic while paying no attention at all to any of the other traffic in the Interstate. She did not even notice that I had saluted her, and I am kind of ashamed of myself. The only good this is, I was not being an example to little kids in the back seat. I have no little kids, so I am not a role model to very many people, if any.

During dinner, we determined that one of our air conditioning units is not functioning, so that will make the evening interesting. Half of the house will be relatively comfortable, and it will be a minor inconvenience, so there you have it. Being a property manager, I am thinking I will be able to get someone out here to look at it, and it will not be terrible. We have been suspicious that the unit was not functioning as intended, but it was functioning. The heat takes its' toll on lots of things in lots of ways.

Take care of yourself, remember to drink plenty of fluids, and offer someone some good fortune if you can spare it. It will be greatly appreciated, and you will be a better person for it, and you will be rewarded in the long run. HAVE FUN!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Six...

Okay, I am full as a hot, sweaty tick. I just had lunch at the El Mercado Restaurant next door to our office, and that is always a dangerous thing for me to do. I love their chips and salsa, and I cannot quit eating them. I had the #5 lunch special (chicken enchiladas with re-fried beans and rice), and now I will not be worth killing. I need a nap.

Funniest comment about the heat I have heard in the last twenty four hours: "IT IS HOTTER THAN A NEW BRIDE IN A FEATHER BED" I lifted that straight off FaceBook, courtesy of my friend Paul. It seems you cannot go five minutes without listening to or making some kind of comment about the heat, which, in all honesty, is getting freaking unbearable.

I did my meals-on-wheels route today, and I only had five clients (down from a high of 11) so that was not too bad, plus it was a little bit earlier. The good news is the the state wide electrical grid is supposed to have plenty of generation capabilities, and they are saying there should be no need for brown-outs. It will be crazy if that starts up already. One issue after another.

Property Management meeting in just a little while, and I have a 3 PM appointment.

PM meeting was good, lots of stuff happening, and the office is very busy. I prepared for my 3 PM appointment this morning, so all I had to do was pick up my stuff and go. I hate being late, so I was there about 15 minutes early, and it was almost TOO HOT to sit on the front porch playing solitaire on my cell phone, but the client (June) showed up early as well. A wonderful lady with a wonderful property in a very desirable neighborhood in old west Austin. We were together for almost an hour-and-a-half, and I got the property listed for lease, and life will be good. Thank you to my good friend (and client) Ann for referring the piece of business to me. Very very nice!

On the way home, I heard that Michael Jackson was taken to a hospital in California, and simultaneously heard that TMZ was reporting that he had died. Kind of hard to believe, but life is precious and you never know when everything will be taken away from you.

Try to live every day as if it will be your last. Tell everyone you care about just how much you care about them every time you see or speak with them. You never know!

The pool was VERY WARM last night, and I expect it will not be cooler this evening. It is very warm here, record breaking heat all across this part of Texas, and that is truly saying something. Our nuclear weather stations at the house are reporting 107.7 on both stations, so it is really hot. Too hot...but I have been singing that song for a long time now.

Enjoy yourself, have fun, be kind to someone who is not expecting it of you, and you will be rewarded for the kindnesses you have shown. Trust me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Five...

I just love the smell of fresh mown hay in the morning. This morning it was especially sweet. I walked out to get the paper, there was a light southerly breeze and it was just below 80 degrees (at 5:30 AM). It was a magnificent morning, the sun was no where to be seen, and the warm air was gently cradling me. If I had been near a hammock, I might have been late to work. Okay, later to work. It was a really nice morning. It makes me think of those days in the winter when I actually have to put on a jacket to get the papers, and I do not miss those days at all. HOWEVER, the weather forecast is for our 100 degree and above days does not seem to be coming to an end any time soon, so we will take our exterior comfort any way (and any time) we can get it.

This was the exterior temperature reading in my car on the way home yesterday afternoon, and it is supposed to be warmer this afternoon. By the time I made it home and away from the 'heat island' that is central Texas, it had cooled down to a balmy 97 degrees. It is amazing how much difference the temperature can be when you are not surrounded by asphalt, cars and pavement. Just one more reason that we are happy to be where we are out in the country.

Okay, so this seems like it will be the new song and dance on this diary for the foreseeable future...IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? My car thermometer said 106 degrees on the way home, I passed a bank time/temperature thing that said 108 degrees, and the nuclear clock thing in the house reported an outside temperature of 106.8 degrees (on both of them, we have two). My theory about this area being consistently cooler than the Austin metro area has taken a beating today. Here, we do not get the Austin news channels, our local television stations are Waco, Temple and Killeen. They reported a high temperature today of 106 degrees, so that gives me some validation that our weather station outside the house is pretty accurate. DAMN!

But, now I am home, and getting ready for dinner, then after that a dip in the hot tub (okay, really the pool, but it is warm), and that always makes things feel better. Once the sun gets somewhat lower in the sky, it will begin to cool off nicely, and all will be right with the world once again.

Stay as cool as you can, drink plenty of fluids, and try to be kind to someone in need of the help you can provide them, no matter how small. You are always welcome to go along with me tomorrow when I deliver my meals-on-wheels route. It will put a warm feeling in your heart. Have Fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Four...

Okay, so this is what I am up against every single day. This 'magnetic' sign was on the side of a pick-up truck in our parking lot yesterday, and I have asked my faithful assistant Tom to pixilate the obvious identifiable characteristics of the sign so I do not risk the chance of being 'litigated against' by the 'REALTOR-Lawyer' person that is using it as a means of seeking clients. Whatever... In my opinion, it is a person who cannot do one thing very well, so he/she chooses to do two things badly. That is my opinion, that is all it is, nothing more, nothing less. It is sad that he/she feels compelled to belittle one group in an effort to achieve monetary gain. I am all for advertising my services to the public, but there should be some sort of standard that you do not go below in marketing yourself. Again, that is just my opinion.

I am so TOTALLY OUT OF IT, and so totally NOT HIP it never ceases to amaze me. I had a 10 AM appointment this morning at the Starbuck's location on Great Hills Trail near the Arboretum. I am not a consumer of fancy coffees, and I think Folgers is just fine. Actually, Jody has tried to instill in me some sophistication, and I now drink CostCo brand coffee as an upgrade to Folgers. But I digress... I was several minutes early for my appointment, so I was sitting at a table outside under a big tree. I was playing solitaire on my phone (because I wanted to look cool and important, like I was checking e-mail or something) watching the masses trickle in and out of coffee purveyor. The flow of humanity never ceased, and there were all these middle-class folks drinking their little hearts out at at least $5 a pop. I know this because we ordered two small PLAIN cups of Joe and the total was somewhere north of six-bucks. And we were the cheap folks in the place. Thinking back, we did not even leave a tip for the 'barrista'. I fully expect to burn in hell for that omission, but it was an honest error on my part. I do not know how to act in those places. I went through a Starbucks drive through with clients one time, and I started giggling, and could not stop. I thought it was pretty darn funny to listen to them order their coffee, and I could not stop laughing. I was embarrassed, but I made it through without killing myself. Anyway, I may need to go back to Starbucks and watch society (at least that society) more closely sometime in the future. Hmmmm...

This is what an UBMO (Unidentified Black Motorized Vehicle) looks like after it goes 'SPLAT' on the corner of South First Street and Gibson (a half block away from our office). Picture this: a guy on a two-wheeled motorized vehicle (we cannot decide if it is a motor cycle, a Vespa kind of thing or a scooter) is driving down the street and another car pulls out in front of him. The guy is wearing no helmet, and he still has the temporary tags on the thing. WEAR A HELMET! People are crazy, you should know better. Above all else, watch for traffic that can KILL YOU! Last week, a friend of mine (Kevin) had a wreck on his Vespa. Although I do not know of the details, he has commented that life is precious, and you cannot really comprehend how quickly everything can be taken away from you until something like that happens. He is a lucky man, as are we all.

I have had WAY TOO MUCH COFFEE for one day, I need to take a break!

I made it home without too much trouble, and I am happy to be here. Too much activity going on today, and I think I am ready to chill. Try to be mindful of those that might benefit from your gracious consideration, and remember to drive carefully and always be mindful of others in your line of sight, whether they be walking, bicycling, motor cycling or in an 18-wheeler. Always try to watch out for the other guy. It takes on a new meaning now. Okay, and try to temper your care and caution with a little bit of FUN!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Three...

It is the beginning of another work week, and I have had some good things happen over the past several days. I have decided to try to be less to some and more to others. I have made some decisions that should work well for me in the future, and cause me to have much less stress in my life. I am planning to continue to do the things that I have a passion for (which is not the same as doing the things that I am passionate about) and discontinue to do the things that make me less comfortable. I think this is a good call, and should make me a happier person all around. Life is too short to get all concerned about the small stuff, and even though I really do not feel that I was not in control, I was trying to do things that I felt I was more obligated to do than what I really enjoyed doing. So there too! I feel better already!

Yesterdays entry kind of took me by surprise. I was going to do kind of a whimsical entry about my Longhorn Bull, Mr. Speckles, but Jody said he had expected that I would write about my father, and so I did. It really took me off guard, and made me realize that I have forgotten many things about my dad, my family, and all those things. I still have the vague images of those times and the circumstances, but they are getting foggy, which I guess can be expected after many years.

Anyway, here is a photo of Mr. Speckles in all his glory, one big happy boy and master of all he surveys (except when he surveys the neighbors cattle and their big bull). The neighbors bull seems to really pay no attention at all to Mr. Speckles, but Mr. Speckles puts on a good show for all. I need to have some work done on a part of the fence that I thought he was going through yesterday morning, but hopefully that will be taken care of by the end of this week. I need them to be able to graze in that pasture annex, since there are some trees there and they can get in some shade during these hot days.

Today has been a busy one, Jody had an early morning appointment, and so we drove into town together. He is busy out running errands at the grocers and CostCo. I expect him back at the office to retrieve me about 3 PM. Here is a photo of the 'mystery mallo' one of the plants that has come back in the garden...for the longest time, we were not sure if it was a weed or something that was growing intentionally. We all thought it had characteristics of the hibiscus or mallo, but it sure did take a long time to finally bloom. It looks like it was worth the wait though. BEAUTIFUL!

I am expecting one of our neighbors to come by later this evening, to give me a bid on supplementing the fence that Speckles thought he just might go through yesterday. I really need them to get into that pasture so they can have some shade and a little bit better grass to graze on. It is always something. We are still just short of two weeks away from the Fourth of July Holiday, and I am really looking forward to the long weekend. I live for the weekends, and I love the farm!

Be good to yourself and to someone else who least expects it. It will be a wonderful thing for both of you. HAVE FUN!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy Two...

Let's talk about my dad, Robert H. Evans. This photo was taken in about 1954 or 1955, when we lived on Dwight Street in Trenton, Michigan. The photo is of my dad (Robert H. or Bob) my brother Joe (who decided he wanted to be called Bob in High School and then decided he wanted to be called Rob in college and beyond) and me. I am the little kid in the background.

My dad was born on April 5, 1929 (in Bethlehem, Alabama) and he died on July 12, 1968 (in Rockwood Township, Michigan I think). I was 16 years old, and it was the summer between my Junior and Senior year in High School. My dad was about my height, but not as broad as me, but I think the population back then did not tend to be as large. He worked hard, very hard, and came from a background of little. His mother did not care for him as much as his older brother, so he was pretty much raised by his mother's sister, Ruby. Ruby was my great Aunt, and I have wonderful memories of her too. My dad answered to the name Bob, but Ruby always called him Robert.

My dad's education ended in the eighth grade, and I do not think that was too far from normal back then. He had migrated from Alabama, where he was born, to Memphis where he met my mother Martha. He was working for Gordon Truck Lines, as some sort of laborer, I am sure. He and my mother married in Grenada, Mississippi, and they were married until his death.

As I said, he worked hard, and always was wanting a better life for his family, and he provided that life, as his own sacrifice. We always had dinner at 5 PM, just a few minutes after he cam home from work. He was a predictable man, he worked Monday through Friday (and sometimes the weekends too), but he was ALWAYS home from work between 4:30 PM and 5 PM. Maybe that is why I like routines in my life. After dinner, he always fell asleep in his chair, but it was not unusual for us to go visit friends or relatives during the week to play cards or just to visit.

I had paper routes from the age of 8, and when it was really bad outside (usually cold), my dad would always drive me on my route, and in fact, he would generally let me drive the car part of the way on the route. I did not grow up hating my parents, as was the fashion of the late 60's, and I really had a great kid-hood.

My dad was a nice guy, liked by most and loved by me (among others). He has been dead for almost 41 years. Forty-one years is a life time, but I can remember details about it like it was today. I have often wondered how my life would have been different if he had lived. I can remember the last conversation I had with him, on the night of his death. I was working at Montgomery-Wards in Southgate, Michigan, and I had just gotten my first paycheck. I was making $1.60 and hour (and I had to pay union dues and taxes out of that), and I bought a pair of black wing-tip shoes with my first pay check. I called him from a pay phone, and told him about my check, and he said he would look at the shoes when he picked my up at 9 PM. He did not show up. I waited and waited, and many times I have dreamt about that night.

He and my mom and some friends had gone to an auction, and in the middle of the auction, he just fell over, and that was the end of that. No autopsy, but lots of speculation. My life changed when his life ended.

There is a possibility that I have lived his dream. He subscribed to farm magazines, and I think he was hoping to retire someday with some acreage (probably more than my 44) live the good life.

I hope I make my father proud.

Happy Fathers Day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy One...

Well, the day started out rather badly, our hired man (Miguel) had other work to get done, so he did not make it out here today. We have LOTS of stuff that needs to be done, and he was scheduled to do it, but life happens. That means that the cattle were not moved to the other pasture today, so I will do that in the morning. I needed Miguel to work on the two water troughs in the pasture that we are moving the cattle to, and since that did not get done, I will need to do that first thing in the morning and then move the cattle. If I did not have appointments today, I could have worked on the troughs this morning, but I am not going to do it in 100 degree heat and full sun. That is why you need to do things in the morning when it is REALLY REALLY HOT. That is just one of the lessons you learn on a farm.

BUT, one really excellent thing did happen today! The wonderful metal sculptor (Luke) was here bright and early and delivered Jody's anniversary gifts, and these three photos are the testament to that delivery. AND when I was uploading the photos, I screwed it up, and had to start over, AND when you live in the country, you don't have High Speed Internet, you have Farm Boy Internet, which means, it takes a long time to do some things...so, I am being very careful not to mess it up again. ANYWAY, Jody was truly delighted with the sculptures, and we think they look wonderful as parts of the landscaping. We hope you do to, and if you are ever in the market for some nice rusty stuff, let me know and I can hook you up with Luke. He is a very nice man, and he loves his art, and he is a true artist. I really need to ask him what he does for a living, I think he must also have a real job.

So, after Luke brought the sculptures, I headed out for my 11 AM appointment, and it was good, except I had expected that the listing would be signed this morning, but he said he needed to talk with his wife about it. It is a leasing and property management deal, so I may hear back from him tomorrow or Monday. He is leaving town tomorrow afternoon, so I expect he needs to make a decision relatively soon.

On the way back from the appointment, I stopped at Lowe's to pick up some stuff for the house. Jody and I had already decided, he was going his way and I was going my way, so I went to Lowe's, the resale place (to pick up our check for merchandise sold), HEB to see if they had any chocolate donuts (they didn't) and to Tractor Supply to get some other stuff. ANYWAY, at Lowe's I had a few things on my list; a new water filter for the kitchen sink (PUR) and a ceiling fan for the breakfast area. The ceiling in that room is kind of high, so I decided I needed an extension for the fan, but I did not know how long of one I needed to get, so I got a two foot one and a three foot one. THEY WERE BOTH TOO LONG, so I headed back out (50 mile round trip) to exchange those, and finally got the ceiling fan and the light kit installed and it looks very nice.

After that, we had dinner, and Jody is already out at the pool, waiting for me to finish this entry. So, have a nice rest of the day. Tomorrow is Father's Day, so I hope all you fathers out there enjoy your day. I will spend some time thinking about my father who died in 1968...41 years ago! That seems both like a long time ago, and just like it was yesterday.

Do your good deeds for someone, and remember to HAVE FUN!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day One Hundred Seventy...

Yippee-Skippee, it is Friday. A special shout out to the birthday kiddos for today, Marcus and Deb, congrats to you both and I hope you both have wonderful days, and many more to come. Birthdays are always fun, but I prefer them to be 'other peoples'.

Today was a short day in the office, I needed to be back at the house at 1 PM to meet the wind generator folks (turned out to be one person) to 'balance' one of the the generators. What I was expecting to happen is not what materialized, so I am not sure who is having the communication issues, me or them. Of course I think it is them, but I am willing to meet them in the middle. Anyway, he was here for a total of 30 minutes, 20 minutes of which he sat in his car talking on the phone. He never did shut off his car, it just sat idling in the pasture the whole time. AND I was fresh from having taught a Green Real Estate class, so I had some issues with that, PLUS the fact that the guy is servicing a wind generator, so he should be a little bit more into the environmental movement, which means you SHUT THE CAR OFF while you are out in the middle of a pasture. Okay, take a deep breath and continue...

Dinner tonight: A lovely casserole that Jody made, the ingredients included artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms, onions, cream of mushroom soup and some other things...with some crunchy stuff on the top. It was delicious! Along with a nice salad and some squash, it was very tasty! Jody is a great cook.

I am off to some listing appointments tomorrow, I need to leave here at about 10 AM to make it into Austin for my 11 AM appointment. Hope to be back here at least by 2 PM. Will also try to sleep in a little bit tomorrow morning. The metal sculptor (Luke) is supposed to deliver the sculptures tomorrow morning at about 8 AM, so that should give us plenty of time to take care of all that stuff.

Now it is time to go and jump into the pool, and cool off a little bit. Have a wonderful weekend, and remember to to a good deed for someone. HAVE FUN!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Nine...

What do you say to the guy that just stole your bag of Fritos? NACHO CHIPS! Well, the only reason that comes to mind is because today's photo is just a pretty scene (purtier than a gingham dress) but those are not my bales of hay. I just thought the field of hay bales and the clouds were really pretty, so there you have it. Hope you like it.

I taught a class today at the Board of REALTORS, and it was a pretty good class overall, but there were a couple hiccups along the way. I don't think there were any major issues but there was a lot of information to cover and it was only a six hour class. My style generally runs along the lines of giving 'real world' examples of situations that are expressed in the class work, and there was just not enough time to do that. I really felt like I was just lecturing all day long, and I don't really like to do that. On the other side of the situation, it was the first time I have instructed the class, and the timing was good. The breaks were all timed pretty well, lunch happened right in line with the instruction, and the class ended on time, and no body got hurt in the process. Perfection!

Today is our anniversary, and in addition to the metal sculptures that I am giving Jody in honor of the occasion, I gave him a belt and buckle, the buckle is of our cattle brand, and it looks really nice. I will take a photo at some point so you can see what it looks like. I found out this afternoon that Jody is getting me a flag pole for the house...I just love flying the American and Texas Flags, and Jody is getting me a 25' flag pole with 'weather and wind resistant' flags...the Texas flag will be somewhat smaller than the American flag, and will always be flown following proper flag etiquette. I did not grow up in Texas, but I imagine that drawing the Texas flag with crayons in first grade would have been an easy thing to do...not necessarily the case with other state flags that no first grader could ever draw. I tell my real estate clients moving to Texas that being a Texas citizen is kind of like being in a club (okay a really big club), and that you can just feel the pride of living in Texas. I was not born in Texas but I got here as quickly as I could!

We are staying home for dinner tonight, we may go out tomorrow night or one day over the weekend. Just going to be a nice quiet evening at home. The heat continues, and for all you fathers out there, the first day of summer begins early in the morning of your special day. Enjoy!

Tomorrow I will need to be in the office early, I have a 10 AM appointment, and I have to be back home by 1 PM to meet the guys from Dallas that are coming to service the wind generators. We shall see if I am validated about my 'not balanced' issue, or they are going to try and continue telling me that everything is just fine. Even my neighbors can see the same issues that I am seeing, and they are watching from afar. Come on, just get the one generator fixed, and put me out of my misery. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Okay, time to finish this entry. Have a good rest of your day, and take an inventory of the good deeds you have done for others this week. It is not that difficult to make someone elses day, even a well deserved thank you is sometimes sufficient. Just the mere acknowledgement that someone exists and a thank you for doing a good job for you can mean the difference in someone having a good day or a bad day. HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Eight...

HAY! You heard (or herd) me, we have more hay. We yielded 25 more bales from one of the back pastures today, and so that makes us have 45 and-a-half bales of hay for this first cutting. What that basically means is, the cattle could consume almost a bale a week, and we would have enough hay to last us a year. We expect we could get some more rain in the next 52 weeks, which would give us some more grazing grasses, but the worst case scenario us that we are in good shape for the cattle. We really need some more rain. I will be moving the cattle to the other pasture this weekend, and where they are going is really dry, so we may actually have to give them some of this hay. Actually I have three bales left of the hay that I bought earlier in the spring, so we will go through that first, and then give them some of the new stuff, but things are really getting dry around here, and the weather forecasts are not showing any possibilities of rain.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, we will actually celebrate 17 years together tomorrow, but the real celebration will be on Saturday. I have a small gift for Jody for the actual day, but the metal sculptures are scheduled to be delivered on Saturday morning. I stopped by this afternoon to take a look at them, and they are really going to be nice. We have sort of decided to mount the one that seems to be taking off on top of the gazebo at the pool. The wings are kind of sharp, so I want to put them somewhere that will diminish the liability of someone hurting themselves on them or getting cut. Here is a new photo of the three pieces, what do you think of them?

Today was another good day, got a lot of stuff done in the office this morning, and then there was a luncheon meeting at the Board. I had some errands to do after that, and I got back to the office and got busy comping some properties, e-mailing listings to some new clients, and talking to another prospective client about property management. Business is really picking up, but that is to be expected at this time of the year. PLUS, three of our agents are out of town beginning today for various lengths of time for the next ten days. So, it will really seem even busier than it really is. That is okay with all of us, we need the business.

At an economic forecast meeting yesterday at NARPM, there was a representative from the Chamber of Commerce there that said that everyday there are 84 more vehicles on the Austin roads...84 more vehicles are moving to Austin, so that means, probably, that around 100 more persons are moving to Austin every day. So far, more people are moving here than are leaving here, but there is some of each, BUT we are still in positive territory as far as positive population and job growth is concerned.

Tomorrow I will be teaching a class at the Board of REALTORS, and that is always fun. It will be a good class, and I believe there are about 40 learners signed up for the class so far. I will let you know how it all works out.

Veggies for dinner tonight, goodie, goodie, goodie! Sometime the simpler dinners are the best, and it is SO HOT OUTSIDE (how hot is it?) that you just need something light to get you through the evening. At least until you hit the pool. I am actually amazed at how much we are using the pool...it is hot outside, but after you get in the pool for a half-hour or so, and you get out and sit under a shady place, it is very pleasant, especially with all the breezes we have up here.

So, remember to do your good deed for someone, and remember to do something nice for yourself every now and then. If you need any hay, let me know and I will think about sharing. I guess that could be my good deed! HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Seven...

It is hot, and it is not even summer yet. It is okay if all you are doing is staying inside your home/office/car/whatever, but if you have to get outside and stay outside for any length of time, it is really hot. A good argument for losing weight, I guess. This may be my new rant, and I am already tired of complaining about it, so I doubt it will get any better for at least a couple days.

Today was a confusing day, all of us at the office were trying to accommodate other peoples schedules, and meetings were changed, timing was all confused, and really we had some questions as to what exactly we were supposed to be doing at any given time. Amazingly, it seems that everything that was supposed to be accomplished was accomplished, it just felt kind of dis-jointed.

The morning was spent walking property and getting caught up with e-mails. Then we left for a NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers) luncheon at the Marie Calendar's Restaurant near the Arboretum. After that, we all headed back to the office and we had a Property Management meeting (usually held on Thursdays) because some of the staff will be out of town. After that meeting, I got a little bit more office work done, and I headed home.

I was excited to be getting home so I could see how much hay had been baled. I was absolutely amazed to find that the front pasture along had yielded 20 and a half bales. INCREDIBLE! Last year, that same pasture yielded 7 bales, so all the money we spent on having the pastures fertilized and sprayed for weeds has paid off. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY. That means our cattle will have feed even in the worst conditions, and that is really a great feeling. Michael and Hubert will come back tomorrow and they will bale the back pastures and they are saying we should yield at least 15 bales from that. Wonderful! Hay is expensive when you HAVE to buy it, and it is good to know that we will have enough hay to last us. Here is the broken record part...we really hope to get some rain, and if we do, we can get a second cutting in, and that would just be extra fine!

Our neighbors (Randy and Pauline) brought us more corn this afternoon, and they have told us how to freeze it...now we just need to make room in the freezer, but that should not be a problem. If it is, it is a good problem to have. Worst case scenario would be that we go to Sears and buy a small chest freezer, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I think there will be vegetables of other kinds brought over to us before the season is over.

We both love living in the country, and we are blessed to have wonderful neighbors, and we are trying to be good neighbors in return. We have repeatedly said that we see our neighbors here more than any of the neighbors we had EVER when we lived in the city. Country life is good!

Okay, the snake is still in the fish pond in the front of the house, and I rescued a rat out of the pool this morning. They must all be looking for water. See my comments about hoping for rain a few paragraphs above this one. Last year I rescued a skunk out of the pool, but that is a different story.

Have fun, do something nice for someone, and remember to do something nice for yourself while you are at it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Six...

It was a wonderful, beautiful day here today, BUT it is SO HOT already! It is exhausting just to go outside, even though it is generally from one air conditioned space to another. What would we do without all the energy we consume. Don't get me started on that subject. Just crawl under your desk and put your head between your legs...duck and cover as we said back in the 1950's, those were the days!

It is not unusual for me to see hawks on the way to work, whether it be on I-35 or MoPac, but it is just as easy to see them on the little County Roads I go back and forth on, and at least on the little roads, you can actually stop and take a nice look at them, and they are not too skittish until you get really close to them, and then they take off, and show their beautiful wing span. SO beautiful and gracious, as long as you do not think about them ripping the skin off other small mammals.

I am finished preparing for the class I will teach on Thursday, so I will try not to think about it too much for a few days. I think it is better to let everything sort of absorb into my little pea-brain, and then revisit it casually just before the class. Kind of like prepping for a long bike ride, you train and train, and then take a couple days off before the big ride. No sense in over doing it, especially since everything will be just fine.

My business partner Carrie took us all (me, Tom our Assistant and River our Administrative Assistant) to Threadgill's for lunch this afternoon. I had my usual, a club sandwich on whole wheat. I like club sandwiches, and at least I am predictable. After lunch, I had a couple appointments with folks in my office, and got some e-mails and other correspondence done, so that was good. It will be a busy week, Carrie will be out of town starting on Wednesday, I will be teaching a class on Thursday, and I need to be at the house on Friday at 1 PM to meet some vendors. What would we do without our Outlook Calendar programs? Life is complicated and generally over-scheduled.

Our neighbors came out and cut the pastures, so now they will need to come back and rake it and then bale it. I am not sure if they will do that later today or tomorrow, but we are getting closer to knowing how much hay our property will produce. Now if we can just get some rain every now and then, we can have another cutting in the late fall. That would be swell!

Did I tell you we have a snake living in the fish pond in front of the house? I think he has already eaten the fish that were there, and he just decided he would move in. Kind of squatters rights I guess. Anyway, he is kind of brown, slimy and really long. Last night I went outside to make sure I had turned off the soaker hoses, and he and I kind of play peek-a-boo with the flashlight. So, he had enough of me last night, and he slithered completely out of the little pond, and he is a pretty long dude (or dudette). I have no idea where he slithered off to, but I saw him again this morning. Oh well, he is not hurting me (the fish cannot say the same, however) so I guess I will not bother him.

Do a good deed for someone, and try to do something nice for yourself while you are at it. Have Fun!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Five...

This is a photo of our first official bale of hay that we produced on the farm. I am thinking of having a contest to name it. I am kind of liking Barry or maybe Barbara. It is really difficult to figure out the sex of a bale, but it really looks like a boy to me. What do you think?

This was supposed to be the weekend of rest, but as always, we found lots of stuff to keep us busy. The day actually started out kind of slowly. I worked on my class preparation for Thursday (I have one chapter left to prepare for) and after that we had a leisurely breakfast. I made one of my famous 'egg loafs' this time with three cheeses and English muffins. Yum-goody! After that, we hung about six or eight more pictures in the house, and so now most of the pictures that have been laying around in various rooms actually have a place on a wall. We still have dozens of pictures that are hidden away in bedrooms that we don't use, and I think we will hang those up one or two at a time until we are done.

Then we went out to the shed and got an antique roll top desk out and put it together to take it to the resale place. We also priced about 20 pieces of art to take to the resale shop. BUT before we could do that, I had to get started on placing the soaker hoses around the flower beds so everything will not just literally perish from no rain. Hopefully, that will keep things moist for a while.

After we took the stuff to the resale place, we went to Dairy Queen for our usual 'blizzard fix', and then we went to Chipotle for food to go, which we will have for dinner tonight.

When we got home, I hit the pool and Jody took a nap. THEN, Jody said someone was in the front pasture baling hay. Actually, they had come and raked what was cut yesterday, and then they went to get the baler. It was one of our neighbors Hubert, who said they had to get what the cut yesterday baled before it got too dry. So, I am now on my way to actually having produced some hay for the cattle. The bales are not as big as you might ordinarily see, and that is mainly because our tractor is not a huge tractor, so we need to bales to be small enough that we can move them with our tractor. I am really not interested in trading my tractor in for another one. So, I am just about as happy as a pig in sh*t that I am actually getting hay from our own land, and hopefully we will not need to buy supplemental hay in the future. Now, we still need rain, because we would really like to get another cutting from these pastures before the end of the year. This is a photo of the half-bale we got, and I think I will name this one Junior. The life on the farm is good and wonderful!

Dinner was good, and now it is tome to get back into the pool before we both call it quits for the day. It was hot and I did a good amount of work around the place, so it is time to go back to work and get some rest.

Do a good deed, and have fun while you are doing it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Four...

Still Life With Peaches. While we were out opening boxes and getting stuff ready to take to the resale place, I went over and looked at the peach tree the former owners of the property planted. We had seen some peaches on it, but the last we looked, they were hard as a rock. Today, two of the peaches were on the ground, and one was still on the tree, so I picked the ones off the ground and picked the other one and brought all of them into the house. We will try them later, I hope they are good, but I will not be too disappointed if they are not. They are free peaches, so you cannot complain about free stuff.

I got a pretty good nick name on FaceBook this morning, 'LuckyBill' which I feel is really appropriate, because I think I am a really lucky guy. I could have gotten 'BilltheRealtor' or 'RealtorBill' but this diary is not intended to be a way for me to push my real estate stuff, it is more of a place for me to just keep a daily diary of what goes on...kind of the Seinfeld of blogs, it is really about pretty much nothing. So, I am happy with being referred to as 'LuckyBill'.

Jody and I took the stuff to the resale shop, and we were not gone all that long, and when we got home, we decided to bring some of the art work in from the shed. The house has been pretty much barren of artwork ever since we moved in, and we are pretty much overwhelmed with art work inside the house now. We are going to take a lot of it into the resale place tomorrow and see if it will sell. We do not have nearly the wall space here that we had in the combined tow houses we incorporated into this one.

I was sitting down enjoying some down time, when a big green tractor passed by us in the near pasture. I figured it was Michael coming to start cutting the pastures to bale some hay. So, I put on my clothes (I was working inside in my boxers) and grabbed a couple beers and went outside. Come to find out, they had just bought this tractor and were trying it out to see if they wanted to keep it or not. They should be back tomorrow to cut and bale and they are all telling me I will have more hay than I will need, but the proof is in the pudding! We shall see.

We are heading out for dinner tonight, and I think I am going to go and jump in the pool before we do that. It is hot like a pistol outside, and we have been working most of the day. Summer is here, and I just hope we do not all fry. I am still hoping for some rain, but you can never tell. We are going someplace casual, so I do not really have to get too prettied up. Then we will pretty much hit it again in the morning when it is cool, and see how much stuff we can get done.Be nice to someone, and someone else will be nice to you. That is pretty much the way it works. Try it, you will like it. Have Fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Three...

I am a victim of hay bale envy. I know, I should seek professional help, but I am first going to try self-medication and yoga to see if that will get me through. Drugs is generally the answer to everything, so that is my first course of action. All around me, the neighbors are cutting and baling their fields, and I am really looking forward to the day that I come home from work and find that Michael has come and cut and baled. It will indeed be a glorious day, and I will certainly post photos of the result. I am wondering how much hay we will get from the first cutting, and hoping that we will get some rain after that so we can get another cutting in the fall. All the stuff I am learning about this farm stuff is interesting to me, and amazing to my friends. I truly am living a charmed life!

For the most part, this was a really good day. First day back in the office for a couple of days, and I got lots of work done, including wiring funds to our owners for the proceeds of their June rents. That is always an interesting thing; one minute the money is there, and the next minute it is somewhere in the ether, winding its' way into bank accounts all over the world. Amazing what can be done electronically. I am really starting to sound old, even to myself.

I will be finished with my class preparation over the weekend. I really think this next class will be a good and interesting one. The more you teach the classes, the better you get (at least that is what I think) and this class is going to be a good one (even though this will be the first time I have taught it). It is much more direct than the classes I taught earlier this week, and much more specific, with good specific information for the learners that they will be able to use right away in their careers.

When I was leaving the office today, this little Prius was in the parking lot, a vehicle of AustinCarShare.org. I knew they were available in the city, but I had never seen one of their vehicles, and I think it is interesting that is just like my car (except for the logos and things on the back and doors). So, I thought that was worthy of a photo and a free plug in this journal post. I hope you don't mind. If you really don't mind, take a look at their web site http://www.austincarshare.org.

Leftovers for tonight, which I do not mind one single little bit. Pork loin, fried rice (from the night with the fortune cookies), corn on the cob and a nice salad. What could be a better way to end the day? Okay, well, end the serious eating part of the day. There will be pop sicles later, after a jump into the pool.

This is the weekend for ROT (The Republic of Texas Motorcycle Meet-Up). Robbie Knievel is supposed to fling himself across a series of something lined up on Congress Avenue at 11 PM this evening. If anything bad happens to him, that will mean the paper delivery will be delayed in the morning. Let's all hope he has a safe jump.

We did not get any mentionable rain last night, although there was some rain (maybe a trace) and some good winds, nothing more here and happily there was no damage. There was some damage in Austin, but nothing severe, so that is a happy thing.

Enjoy yourself, it is the weekend. Do a small kindness for someone else, and remember to have fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty Two...

Well, I am posting this entry and talking with my friend Chad at the same time, and his called continues to 'drop' and he says his phone has been doing that all day. I think is has less to do with his phone and more to do with his service provider, since we both have the same exact phone. EXACTLY! Whatever...

Today was another swell day, and it could only be made better is we were to get some rain. There is rain to the north east of us and rain to the south of us. There were strong storms in the Dallas area overnight (but Dallas is a WEIRD weather place). So, that is kind of promising that there is some possibility of precipitation in the area, we will just have to wait and see what happens.

My two-day class ended today, and I think it went well, but we will await the evaluations most likely next week. You are always trying to judge the room...do you need to speed up, do you need to slow dow, how many more questions can you take, is that guy sleeping or is he unconscious? And you try to adjust your instruction according to the class feed back, so we shall see. But the subject is interesting and I do not think there was a single person in the class that was there because their licenses were expiring and they needed the credit. They were all there because they wanted to be there and because they were interested in the subject matter. AND, most of the desired goals that were expressed at the beginning of the class were met, even though you cannot get all the expectations covered. It was only a two day class.

Tomorrow my schedule is pretty open, and I will get the preparation for my next weeks class finished, and then just enjoy the rest of the weekend. I am hoping for a really nice weekend, because I really do not think there is a lot of work at the house that needs to be accomplished. I think we area pretty much caught up, so we should be able to just sit back and relax...at least that is the plan for now. I do want to get the soaker hoses that I bought distributed throughout the planted beds, and get some water to the plant life.

Random Photo: Just a couple (okay, three) gladiolas that the wind broke over in one of the beds in the back of the house. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

Okay, it is about time to go and skim the pool and jump in. Make sure you are being kind to those who might need a good deed, and remember that what goes around, comes around. Have Fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty One...

Today was a good day, which is nice because almost all of my days are good days. I think (or maybe I hope) that as we age, we pay less attention to small inconveniences, and that affords us to have a more positive outlook on things. I am very lucky that I cannot really remember having a bad day this year...okay, there was that time when I was sick, but other than that, I lead a really charmed life! How lucky am I?

The first day of class at the Austin Board went nicely, a good group of folks who are interested in the subject, and happy (for the most part) to be there. There was one gentleman who came into the room relatively early and started calling staff members names like 'dictator' and 'chauvinist'. And that was because they required him to sign in when he got there and take his book and some other materials and have a seat. Not a good sign, but I think it all worked out in the end. We had two sponsored breaks and a catered lunch. One of the break sponsors even has a business that related to the course work! That took some planning, and I was happy about that.

The class started at a very civilized hour, and ends at an equally civilized hour, which is good. Most REALTORS are not used to sitting in the same place for several hours at a time, so the shorter class times are a blessing.

I stopped by the metal sculpture place on the way home to check on the progress, and to acknowledge the fact that the sculptures will be delivered in ten days...I hope they are well received. A week from tomorrow will mark our seventeenth anniversary...honestly, the happiest years of my life. I am a lucky and privileged man. Thanks for asking.

There is a fortune cookie sitting at my place at the dinner table, so I think that it would not be that much of a stretch to believe we will have some sort of Chinese dish (or an American version of a Chinese dish) for dinner. If I am wrong, I will post a retraction tomorrow.

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and think about all the nice things you have done for others recently. That should make everything better. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty...

Well, the day is almost over, and a good day it was, too. Lots of stuff accomplished at the office, including the finish up of my preparation for two days of classes at the Austin Board of REALTORS. Then, starting on Friday, I will start the finish up of preparation for the class I will teach there next Thursday. I love teaching, but if you are not prepared, and if you do not keep the classes interesting, the students (adult learners) will eat you alive and spit you out. So, being prepared (like a good boy scout) is always a good thing.

I worked in some errands for the office today, as well as some personal errands. Okay, well, I actually went to Lowe's and accomplished everything at one time. Shopping for the office, home and getting some 'give-aways' for the classes. We are working on a series of soaker hoses for the house, and so I got MORE hoses, and some brass two-way-diverters for the hose bibs. That should keep me busy over the weekend. We are also getting 35 railroad ties for the gardens to replace all the rotted ones around the place. WORK, WORK, WORK!

Our neighbors have all been bringing corn to us, and we have been enjoying it all, except we have taken some to our friends in Austin. We cannot eat all the corn we have been getting, but like the Blue Bell Ice Cream People, 'we eat all we can and we give away the rest'. Thanks to the Schneider's and to Randy & Irene.

I am looking forward to having some hay baled in the next week or so, and that will be exciting. I have never had our own hay baled, so that will be a real treat. No more bought hay for us, I hope. Jody said he heard something on the radio yesterday that there is something happening out in the oceans, and it looks like an El Nino pattern might be developing, which will mean more rain than normal, but that is still months away, most likely. We are seriously in need of rain, for the benefit of everything around here, people, pets, plants and livestock.

Have a nice rest of your day, and I hope you have been reaping the benefits of all the good deeds you have been doing for others. You may not realize it, but lots of times, the good things that happen to us are merely a kindness you have done for someone else being returned to you! Have Fun!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty Nine...

The world as we know it will be coming to an end very soon. For the first time since 1988 (I can give you the exact date if you like, it was the day I was 'discharged' from my last job that was not created by me) I put on a necktie. Not only that, I actually bought four neckties last week, and I intend to make good use of all of them. AND I expect I will even buy more neckties in the not too distant future. What will come of the world is yet to be determined, although this bit of knowledge that I am sharing with you will certainly knock the earth off its' axis, and all manner of things will become catty-wampus. I am not sure if any of us will be able to recover!

Today is the final class in the Leadership program, and the graduation ceremony and luncheon, ergo the occasion for the necktie. This is a photo of the class, many important folk from both the Austin Board of REALTORS and the Texas Association of REALTORS (and me). I am expecting lots of comments from folks at the Board. When I became a REALTOR and first joined the Board, I was proud of the fact that I wore 'short pants' every day of my life. Then I decided I wanted to become an instructor, so I made a conscious decision to wear 'long pants', even though they were mostly jeans. Now I am making a conscious decision to don a necktie. What will become of me, I am not sure.

It is 2:30 PM and I am back in the office. It was a good closing class, and a nice luncheon. Lots of congratulations and things, and lots of kind words by all. There were representatives of the local Board as well as the Texas Association of REALTORS at the ceremony, and we are all ready to see if we can use the knowledge that we have gained. This photo is of me with Deb Waldman, the Director of Professional Development with the Texas Association of REALTORS.

Life goes on...it kind of feels like Christmas afternoon, something that you have worked towards for a long time, and once you get to it, suddenly it is over. I am tired, and jumping straight into getting stuff ready for my classes on Wednesday and Thursday, and getting prepared for my class next Thursday.

Interestingly, since much of this entry is about my sartorial endeavors, something else comes to mind. When it is all said and done, it will not really matter what kind of clothes you wore, or that you were very stylish with the latest fashion trends. What will really matter is how many people less fortunate than yourselves you helped with the most basic of clothing. How many people were you able to provide a new pair of shoes, or a warm coat when winter was bearing down? So, with all that in mind, remember to do a good deed for someone at every opportunity you get, and, remember to have fun!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty Eight...

Yesterday I was dieing, and today there is something living in the attic (still). I am not as sore as I was expecting to be, and so I decided to go out and pull more weeds and trim some of the bushes back that are around the pool. I also pulled up onions that have been growing in one of the flower beds, so those are gone, and I will be distributing them in the office tomorrow. We will keep a couple, and I will give the rest away. Even though I love onions, they do not care much for me unless they are cooked, so...

Okay, on to the something is living in the attic stuff. I told you a couple days ago that there was something in the attic, and I was waiting until the weekend go go up there and see what it was. I was also working on the 'if I ignore it long enough it may just go away theory. Well, that did not work. Last night, the Queen Cat (Missy) found herself a mouse to kill, and promptly delivered it to Jody in the form or a gift in his slippers. We were all very proud of her, and we praised her highly. We have no idea how old she is (she was a foundling) and we have had her for about 12 or 13 years, and she is blind in one eye BUT she is still a hunter. I thought she was mostly a sleeper, but she actually got that mouse. Okay, given it was a small mouse and most likely lacked the experience of an older and wiser mouse, but she still got it. AND I unceremoniously flushed same down the toilet. That mouse now sleeps with the (whatevers) in the septic tank. I am certain it will decompose and go back to the earth as all things do.

Oh yeah, I was talking about things living in the attic and I was distracted... So this morning I was laying in bed, and heard something in the attic over the bedroom. So, I begrudgingly went up in the attic this morning, and I cannot see where anything has a nest, nor can I see any evidence of critters up there. Maybe it is trees rubbing up on the house, maybe it is something, but I do not know what. All I do know is we need to figure this out before we have a really serious problem on our hands (in the attic).

Miguel (our hired man) is here and he is out there weeding up a storm, and I have given him lots of jobs to get accomplished today, and jobs for the future. There is always work to be done here, and it needs to be kept on top of or it just gets totally out of control. Miguel is a good hard worker, and I have no issues trusting him with whatever he needs, but I am not sure about the people he brings out here with him. He brought someone today, and we have both decided that the extra man is lazy and I for one do not want lazy folks around when they are supposed to be working.

Jody and I are leaving here around 11 AM to go into Austin and run errands, and have lunch, and we should be back around 3 PM, so that will be in time to get everyone paid and marvel at all the improvements in the landscaping arenas. Cannot wait to see how much better everything will look when we get back. Okay, well yesterday,m I said we were having lunch at 'Three Forks' and it was actually 'Roaring Forks' near the Board of REALTORS. It was delicious. We were there in time for Brunch, and I had chicken enchiladas with eggs, and Jody had Migas. It was all very good. We saw one of Carrie's clients there (Keith) and he said he had been there three times this week. I think he needs to broaden his horizons a bit, or he will tire of the place very quickly.

After lunch, we ran a few errands in Georgetown, and came on home and did a little bit more work in the yard. Things are looking very nice right now, and I am happy about that. Miguel will be bringing his uncle out to the house on Thursday, and we will keep this going until we get everything under control.

No dinner for either of us tonight, we are just going to go take a dive in the pool and that will be it. We had enough food at the restaurant to last us for a while.

Have a great rest of your day...and remember to do a good deed for someone. It is never to late to do a good deed, and it is never to late to Have Fun!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty Seven...

Okay, I am dying here. I went outside and started pulling weeds at about 7:30 AM this morning, and I did that for about 3 or 4 hours. The bending over has taken a toll on my calves (not the ones out in the pasture, either). I can hardly walk, and I have taken two naps already. Oh, crap! BUT, on the other hand, I did get a lot of weeds out of the beds, and that is some satisfaction. Not enough, however! During one of my naps, Jody and I watched a documentary called 'Grey Gardens' about a couple of eccentric and (most likely) psychologically challenged women who lived in the Hampton's, and whose house kind of disintegrated around them, and you could hardly see the house for all the weeds and (formerly beautiful) overgrown gardens around the property. They had raccoons and opossums and other vermin in the attic and they would take them loaves of bread and boxes of cat chow to eat...just spread it on a newspaper in the attic, and leave the vermin to their own devices. That could easily happen here I think if we don't get control of the weeds in these flower beds. Hmmm...

So, after that film, we jumped in the pool. I had let some water run in the pol this morning, and I got it too full, so now the skimmer will not skim properly. It should evaporate in a few days and be back to normal (I hope). Otherwise, I will have to figure out how to drain a little bit of the water out.

The winds have picked up today nicely, and the wind generators are out there generating up a storm. The winds are coming from the SSE and that will bring a bit more humidity into the area, so here we go again, hot and humid for the duration. You have to do the outside stuff early in the mornings, or it is just too hot to do it, or in the evenings, which is quite lovely when it is breezy.

Jody and I will be going into town tomorrow afternoon, doing a little bit of shopping and then having lunch at the new 'Three Forks' restaurant near the Board of REALTORS. Quite a nice place, and I was introduced to it one day when there was a 'luncheon challenge' at the Board with one of the lunch providers. They got all their signals crossed, so we went there for lunch, and it was great. So, I have been wanting Jody to try it out, so we will do that as part of our Austin trip.

I was delighted to learn that a very good friend of ours (Kay) has become a member of FaceBook (or MyFace if you can't remember which networking sight you are a member of). It will be fun to catch up with her, and I am looking forward to it. Welcome Kay!

Enjoy the rest of your day (or afternoon or evening) and remember to do something kind and unexpected for someone if you can. It is not difficult to do, and is always appreciated and worth whatever small inconvenience it might cause you. Have Fun!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day One Hundred Fifty Six...

Interestingly, I really do not remember much about the day today. I know I got to the office at about 7:45 AM (I have been making really good time lately), and I know I got a lot of stuff done, but there was nothing really remarkable about it. I guess that every day cannot be a 'hum-dinger' of a day. Just a nice day, but that is better than a really bad day.

I ran some errands in the morning, and had my usual lunch of What-A-Burgers (off the dollar menu) and I am still getting things prepared for my classes next week. I am still pretty confident that everything will go well, and I will try some different strategies to keep the class interesting and the learners interested.

Monday is the last day of the Leadership Training class, and we will begin about 9 AM and have a luncheon about 11:30 AM and it will conclude with a ceremony, at which time we will get our pins (just like in the fraternity) and then we will be on our own to do with the training whatever we feel like doing. Oh well, that is not until Monday, and it seems kind of like a far away thing right now...

Tomorrow I have weeds and vermin to deal with! Last night (about 10:15 PM, the coyotes sounded as if they were right outside our bedroom windows. We were sleeping with the windows open, and they must have caught a rabbit or something, because there was quite a ruckus. It is really interesting what goes on out here. Then this morning when I got up and was making coffee, I could hear something up in the attic, near the fireplace, chewing on something. I did not want to get into it this morning, but I will do that tomorrow morning. It may be a opossum or maybe a raccoon, or maybe just a rat. BUT, I am kind of leaning towards a opossum. We shall see.

I also have a date with some weeds in the morning, and I also hope to get some of the soaker hoses places around the flower beds to see if that will solve some of our watering challenges. If there is no rain, we will have to water stuff or everything will be dying, and we do not really want that to happen. I will keep you informed.

I got a couple interesting e-mails today, that go along with my daily thoughts of trying to be kind and helpful to others. When all is said and done, it is not so important how big your house is, but how many others you were able to share your home with. Not how many square feet you have, but how many others you were able to give shelter to when it was needed.

Have a great rest of your day, and try to do something nice for someone. Have Fun!