Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day Three Hundred Four...

The Monarchs are swarming all around us, especially around a loquat bush we have in the front yard. There were dozens of them this morning when I was outside with Jody and the puppy (no he is a mature dog, just a puppy to us). I am sure there were actually hundreds of the butterflies, but I do not want to be accused of exaggerating! ME? Carrie (my BP) gave us some ice plants the other day, and Jody was outside 'placing' them (I don't think they really need to be planted) in one of the beds, and I went out there with him to see what he was up to. I walked over to the well (the hand dug well near the front of the property from the original owners...probably dug close to 75 or 80 years ago, at least) to see how high the water was, and that was when I discovered the Monarchs. BEAUTIFUL!

We got the pool cover installed on the pool this morning, just in time, the pool guy came yesterday afternoon and cleaned the pool and the filter and all, so now with the cover on the pool, we can cut that expense til next year. And, since the pool is salt water, we should be pretty maintenance free for a couple months. I can use the leaf-blower and just blow the leaves off the pool cover, and that should do it. We shall see.

I also got the Amendment back from my clients this morning, and forwarded it on the other Buyer's agent, so we should be pretty much done with that deal. That will give me two closings this month, and that will be pretty sweet. Next week will be pretty quiet, but the week after that will be CRAZY! I will be teaching class on three days, have a closing on the fourth day, head to San Diego to the NAR convention on the same day as the closing, and then attend the convention for four days, and fly back home. Things never seem to be able to spread themselves out seems like all the activities get 'clustered' if you know what I mean.

Jody and I went into Georgetown this afternoon for a spoiler, and we are going to have pizza for dinner tonight. I have been crocheting like a fool, and there will be plenty of scarves to go around this Holiday season. Jody helped me straighten out all the different yarns I have been collecting since the sales last year, and I have enough to complete several more mufflers before I need to go buy more yarn. I said before I NEED to go buy more yarn, not necessarily before I GO BUY more yarn. It all depends on what happens to be on sale. The Sunday paper will be the determining factor.

Tomorrow will be a pretty quiet day. I may move the cattle to the other pasture just to have done it. There is lots of good grass in that other pasture, so they should like that, and it will give this other pasture time to try and make a recovery. They have been in that one (okay two) pastures all during the heavy rains we have had. AND then Jody and I are planning a trip into Austin to go to Costco. I have to pick up some stuff for a class break that our company is sponsoring on Monday morning at the Board of REALTORS. Always something...

In anticipation of the time change back to Central Standard Time, I have set all the clocks in the house back an I have no idea what time it is. Whatever... Have a great kind, do something nice for someone, make a small change in your life that will help our planet (and all of us), and HAVE FUN!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day Three Hundred Three...

I have a headache. I attended a class all day today (two classes really) that were presented by my friend and fellow Instructor Marcie. I have a headache. It was really a very good learning experience, all kinds of information about the pitfalls one can encounter when they are practicing their profession (in this case, I am focusing on REALTORS) when combining their advertising or marketing with Social Networking. I have a headache. My headache is not as a result of something that I think I might do that would be in violation of a code, or something that I think one of my agents or colleagues might do that could be a violation of the code. My headache is the result of the fact that I WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING and I believe the agents that are affiliated with my company, and most of my friends and colleagues want to DO THE RIGHT THING. My headache is because there are a handful (okay maybe more than a handful) of agents and colleagues that don't give a 'fiddler's fart' (don't forget I am reading Angela's Ashes) about doing the right thing, and they will do anything they think they can get away with because they figure the odds of them being caught and held accountable are slim at best. That is why I HAVE A HEADACHE! Now...having said that, I hope you enjoy the photo of Marcie and me. This was not Marcie's first pick for a photo to be put out there in the Ethernet, but I AM THE BOSS of this post, so I got to pick. Marcie, I will send you the other photos and the other information you asked for on Monday!

So, the classes are mostly what I did today, and now I have to disseminate the information I learned today to the other members of our Brokerage, and keeping folks up to date in this day and time is a job all by itself. Whatever...

It was, according to all accounts, a beautiful day in Austin, Texas, and we are expecting the possibility of no rain for the next week. That is pretty darned exciting, I may even be able to get some hay cut and baled, and maybe the cattle will even be able to dry out. If this trend (almost ten hours now) holds out, we will finish the month with about 9.8 inches of rain for October (that is from the rain gauge at our house, not any official weather reporting station). Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

I am looking forward to the weekend, and I am looking forward to setting the clocks back an hour before I go to bed tomorrow night (about 9 o'clock). With any luck, I will have a very nice and quiet weekend, not too much stuff on the schedule. I do have an amendment for one property that needs to be wrapped up, but nothing too difficult, and all the terms and conditions have been agreed upon by all the parties, so all that needs to be done is delivery of documents. Nothing big.

Have a great weekend, and try to scare someone (it is Halloween Weekend) with your kindness. That will be a switch! Have Fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day Three Hundred Two...

It was seventy-nine degrees this morning (in the dark) during my drive into the office. That is too warm for the early morning at the end of October...too warm. Right now, the nuclear weather station reports the temperature to be 76 degrees, and there is a cold-front coming through the area as I type this. I wonder how much it will cool off the temperatures? Two or 3 degrees? It was sprinkling a little bit this morning when I went out to get the paper, and it rained on me pretty much for the entire drive to Austin. It quit for a while, then it started again. So far, we have about a half-inch of rain in the gauge, so that will pretty much put us over 10 inches for the month before it is over. This photo is just one of the lane that goes back to one of the pastures. Our tanks are FULL and the ground is soggy with water. We need about a week of no rain and good sunshine so we can cut and bale hay. We will see...

Today was my Meals-on-Wheels day, and I only had four clients today. I made it without getting rained on, and on the way back to the office I stopped at a portable hot dog trailer (advertising Chicago Style hot dogs) and placed my lunch order. Of course, between placing my order and getting back in the car, it started a downpour, and I was soaked. The parking lot was decomposed granite, so I had little specks of granite all over my pants, and my shoes may never recover. If that is the worst that happens to me from here on out, I am a lucky guy! Remember, I am 'reading' Angela's Ashes, so I am pretty much thinking I have no reasons to complain about ANYTHING. I am a lucky, LUCKY man!

I got a good bit of work done at the office, and tomorrow I will be in a class with (I expect) some friends, and the Instructor is very good and a good friend as well, Marcie. I am looking forward to it. Marcie's classes are always interesting and topical, so I will come away from the day with lots of good information.

I think Jody and I are heading out somewhere for dinner tonight, not sure where just yet, but I will let you know tomorrow. My new car tags came today, so I am pretty close to being official 100%. Now all I have to do is put them on the car! Maybe tomorrow.

Kindness, Small Changes, Deeds, Fun! Not a bad mantra if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day Three Hundred One...

Well, the thing we all know for sure thing leads to another. I was in my office this morning, minding my own business, and wondering what I could do to keep myself busy. Not that I did not have plenty of stuff to do, but we were cutting over to our new web-site this morning (scheduled for 10AM), and in my mind, that meant that our Internet service and e-mail would not be functioning for a period of time. So, that meant that I needed to find something to keep me occupied. Okay, so it would be a logical thing to clean my office. It had more or less become a storage shed for all kinds of things that really needed to be stored elsewhere. I am posting one or two photos of the 'before'...well, really more like 'the middle' of the process, but by the time lunch was needed, I was pretty much completed and had already made a trip to the storage place, where I have now basically 'hidden' all the clutter that was in the office. Whatever works...

Anyway, I may post a photo of the 'after' tomorrow, just for reference. Today's photos do not really show the worst of it...just some chaos as a result of cleaning off bookshelves, and researching what I could bear to part with, etc. My desk is really not ever as cluttered as that...but the floors are a different story all together!

So, this morning I got some work done for a class that I am reviewing for NARPM, a class on Tenancy. It will be an on-line class, and I am kind of doing a review and timing the class before it is made public. This afternoon, Tom (our FABULOUS Assistant) and I went to visit a property that we are having extensively renovated; we expected the painting to be completely finished, and it was not. After that is finished, we will have the floors redone, and then get it back on the lease market, and find the next set of tenants for the property. It will be really cute and affordable. A win/win deal for everyone.

After that, I worked on putting together a certification package for a professional designation I have been working on since July of 2008. I expect that I will submit the package in the next week or so, the deadline is November 17th. It is quite an extensive package, and there was a lot of criteria to be completed before I could submit for the designation. And the interesting thing is, as soon as I receive that designation, I will immediately apply for another designation, and that designation cannot possibly be completed before this time in the year 2011. That certainly seems like a long time away, but it will be here before we know it.

Is there any book around that could possible be more depressing than Angela's Ashes? That is the book on CD I have been 'reading' for the past week or so...and I am so happy that it is almost finished. It seems especially depressing wince it has been cold(ish) and rainy and grey here for a lot of the time I have been 'reading' it, and the book is a lot about living in Ireland in the late 30's and 40's and being cold, wet, hungry, poor, drunk, ill...all the sad things from that period, not to mention being Catholic on top of all of it. My apologies if I have offended anyone, that is not the intent.

Tomorrow will be another day, and it will be my day to deliver Meals-On-Wheels, so that is always something to look forward to.

Be kind, say something nice, change a bad habit, Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day Three Hundred...

Okay, how in the world am I supposed to starve myself and lose a few pounds between now and the Holiday Season if my desk drawer looks like a blue light special aisle at K-Mart (we don't even have K-Mart's here). I guess it would be the lack of will power that I have been displaying while I walk down the health-food aisles at HEB, and then the vitamin aisle, and finally the seasonal aisle, which contains all the Halloween Candy. Whatever...maybe I will just blow up and get crazy, but I hope not. I am really having issues saying 'NO' to the junk food right now, I must be having some other issues that are not manifesting themselves properly. Whatever...

Can you believe this is day 300? I have faithfully posted an entry to this blog since the last day of 2008 (Day Zero...) and it has not become a burden at all, in fact, I really enjoy it. Again, I have no idea if anyone anywhere is reading these things, I call it the 'Seinfeld Blog', the blog about nothing. Anyway, every now and then, someone will come up to me and tell me about something they saw in the blog, and it never ceases to amaze me. Weird, huh?

According to my minimalist attempts at record keeping, we have accrued 9.4 inches of rain this month...add that to the (about) 15 or so inches we received last month, and I would say we are doing pretty well in the rain department. But that is just where we live, there are other parts of the area that have not seen nearly that much rain, and are still hurting terribly for rain.

I made it to and from the office with no issues today, it is actually a beautiful spring (I know it is the end of October) day here. The temperature was in the middle 40's this morning, and it was in the low 70's for the drive home. Not a bit of trouble wither way.

The ground is totally is like walking in a bog, the ground is just like a sponge. At least the cattle are moving around in the pasture this afternoon and they may have an opportunity to dry themselves. Just a few minutes ago when I sat down in the office at home, a beautiful young male cardinal flew into one of the windows. He looked dazed and really startled by the crash, and we could see him sitting on the front porch. We assumed he would be okay, and were waiting for him to fly off so we tried not to cause him any more panic. I guess it was just too much for him, he has just had a couple spasms, and that was the end. I guess he must have broken his neck. What a shame. There is so much pointless death. So sad. The evening news programs are hurtful to watch. Never mind...

Try to do something nice for someone, maybe just be doing that it will make our world a better place. It won't hurt, that is for sure. Have Fun!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Nine...

IT IS RAINING. It is official, we are tired of the rain. We need the rain, we love the rain, we just want it to rain when it is dark outside and not when we are supposed to be getting our daily doses of Vitamin SUN! A friend of mine today on FaceBook was the third or fourth person recently to complain about the rain. As you will remember, I was WAY AHEAD of the curve in my least ten days ago I confessed to appreciating the rain, but wishing it would (like all things should) be a bit more in moderation. It is just like New Orleans or San Francisco...too much of anything is just plain old too much. The lakes are rising nicely, and that is a know that we will have drinking water for at least another couple of years, but otherwise, I AM TIRED of it and getting kind of agitated by it all. CRAP!

The car wrecks were pretty evenly distributed between the morning and the afternoon commute...four each way. This morning, I did not even make it to the Interstate before I was stopped because of a wreck (or something, I never did figure it out). On FM 972, just about a mile before the Interstate, there were two fire trucks and two sherriffs cars with lights ablaze but no signs of a fire or a wreck. Since that is a two lane road, it made navigation somewhat challenging. Then on the Interstate there were the usual wrecks in the usual places...same thing on the way home, although traffic did not stop or even slow down for these wrecks...we just kept going and paid no attention.

Since about three o'clock this morning, we have recorded over two and a half inches of rain in the gauge, and the cattle are in water up to their knees...okay, not really, but the ground is totally saturated, and I am not even sure if it is dry in the barn or not. Everything is a muddy mess. Have I mentioned in earlier posts that mud is not something that is found in nature? Mud is a direct result of the interference of man. Mud does not occur naturally. Think about it...

It is supposed to be sunny and warmer tomorrow. It is in the 50's right now, and supposed to go down to the 40's tonight. 70's tomorrow, and more rain later in the week. We may float out of here before it is over.

Do something nice for someone who may not be as fortunate as you, make some small change in your lifestyle that will make our planet a better place, and do not forget to thank someone who does something nice for you. Have Fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Eight...

Feeling better after 14 hours of sleep. I really think that sleep is the best curative there is...second to self-medication and scotch...but sleep is a good thing. I very wise person taught me that sleep is good for what ails you, and that person is very much loved and respected by me!

Once I got up this morning, Jody fixed omelets and biscuits, and it was all yummy good. We buttered the biscuits and enjoyed them with honey...the Hotel we stayed at was giving away free honey (shut up Mikey) and I took them up on their generosity and brought a napkin full home on the plane. It is very good, and given the low cost (or the extremely high cost, depending on how you look at it) it makes it even better. I went and walked around the yard for a little while this morning, and discovered to my delight that some of the morning glories are still with us...the gardeners must have missed a couple spots, and they (what is left of them) were out there glorying with the best of them. It is an incredible second spring here in central Texas...we have iris blooming, cannas, yellow bells, all kinds of things that think it is spring again. Some of the trees are even putting up new shoots. One of the roses by the front walk is putting on a wonderful display, and it will be interesting to see what blooms out next.

The cattle all survived my absence, and they acted like they did not even know I had been gone...just where is the food? I fed them and put out a fresh bale of hay, and that was pretty much all they cared about. They are a vocal bunch of cattle...Jody and I went out to check the pastures, and did not feed them right away, and they all started hollering...and just like those of our species, once the food is delivered, they all shut up and started eating. Afterwards, we looked out int he pasture, and they were all congregated around the hay bale, and then they all decided to take a nap in the sun. Not too different from the other, sleep, poop.

The wind has been blowing nicely today, and we generated a nice amount of electricity while I was gone. Jody had occasion on evening to turn the heater on, and it was the first time we had used the new heat pump. He said it worked very nicely, so that is good. While I was gone, the replacement copy of the book on CD arrived, so I finally got to find out hoe 'Middlesex' ended. I am in the middle of 'Angela's Ashes' now, and that is (so far) not the most upbeat book I have ever read. But it is very interesting, and well narrated by the author.

Jody and I went to Georgetown for spoilers this afternoon, and I had the truck inspected while we were there. I had also received my new registration for the truck and the trailer in the mail, so I am now totally legal with those two things. I am kind of disappointed that my car tags did not arrive while I was gone, I had expected them but I guess they will get here eventually. My temporary tag is valid til the 4th of November

We are heading to Jarrell for dinner tonight at the 'new' Tex-Mex restaurant. Everyone that we know that has eaten there says it is really good, and we hope so. I will give you my personal review in another post. Right now, I am hoping just to see a little bit of local news. I have not had any updates in a week, so I just want to know what has been going on. AND, as soon as we get home from dinner, I am heading back to the bed...starting to feel just a bit sluggish again, so I think more sleep is in order.

Tomorrow will be a busy day...first day back after being gone for a week. Taking a class on Friday, it will be a good class, given by my friend and colleague Marcie. A class about social networking, REALTORS, and the pitfalls of policies and procedures. I always learn a lot from Marcie.

Have Fun, do something nice for someone, make a small change that will be of benefit to the rest of us, and give someone a kind word.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Seven...

Home from Orlando, SICK...not happy but REALLY HAPPY to be home. BUT I AM SICK, so there will be no official post for today...sorry. Whatever...

Kindness, deeds, changes, FUN!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Six...

Okay, I give is official...I am SICK...not well...contagious... And, obviously delirious from this photo that was taken at Downtown Disney just this afternoon. It is a photo of (allegedly) Snow White and Cinderella, but I must be so feverish that the focus was totally wrong...and basing this assumption on the shadow of Cinderella, it was take at about 5 o'clock. NO, REALLY...I guess I have given in to the viral (or hopefully just the allergens) contaminates of Orlando. All these people, all these confined all results in a veritable breeding ground for catastrophe. Or, maybe it is just the fact that I got my flu shot a couple weeks ago, and it is widely known and well documented that getting your flu shot will automatically cause you to succumb to the virus. Whatever...

I finished my last seminar at the conference this morning, and came upstairs and took a short nap...I have been getting in extra little naps, mainly because my mucous discharge (if you don't want to read it, what can I say, I'M SICK!) is very irritating, and I can really get no prolonged sleep without chemical additives. Anyway, after the nap, Mike and Carrie and I went over to Downtown Disney again, we got there about 4 o'clock, and had lunch at Fulton's Crab House, which looks like an old paddle wheeler docked in the middle of this man-made lagoon. The miracle of Disney. Dinner was very good, and we left there and walked around some more. I was able to find some lozenges and some fake Sudafed, so I am hoping I will get some relief later on (sooner than later would be excellent).

Mike and I had our pictures taken with Poo and Tigger, as long as we were in the neighborhood. We walked around a while more, and ended up walking back to the leg complained all the way. I really think I will be visiting the doctor soon, and I expect arthroscopic surgery will be the way to go. BUT, maybe I will be given the cortisone shot first, and that might work to allow me to WALK like any other member of the species. We shall see. So, as we got back to the Hotel, we stopped into the little Hotel store in the basement, and loaded up on junk food to last the rest of the night. Key Lime Pie in a little plastic clam shell was my choice, and I can hear it calling me even now.

So, I am pretty much done for the night...I have prescription drugs to ingest, and television shows to vegetate in front of. I hope to have some recuperation before I have to get on the plane tomorrow and start this process all over again. I think those giant aluminum cylinders with wings act like a giant petri dish at this time of year, and my advice to all of you it to WASH YOUR HANDS!

Kindnesses, Good Deeds, Actions...Vicks Ny-Quil...Have Fun!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Five...

So far today, I had a networking breakfast (we all had little cartoons animals on the backs of our name badges, so we were required to sit at tables with that cartoon character). I am a monkey...a sad little monkey...but it was fun, and it got us all to meet and interact with folks we might not have otherwise. I walked away from that session with ONE REALLY GREAT idea that we will implement when I get back to the office. Then, after that, I hosted a break-out session on 'The Green Property Management Office'. The first photo is of the class setting, with a really good attendance. The speaker was very informative and I will walk away from this with lots of good ideas. The second photo is of the same class, and you should be able to see Carrie in the far left hand corner of the photo, sitting in the back row. After the green class we had a networking luncheon (same cartoon animal thing) and I met lots of other nice folks from all across the country. The lunch speaker was an economist from one of the local colleges, and he spoke about the national economic forecast for the US, and I have to tell you, that is not nearly as cheery and upbeat as the economic forecasts we get concerning the Austin area. No wonder you guys are so freaked out!

OH NO! SAY IT AIN'T SO! In the immortal words of Judy Holiday (I think) in Guys and Dolls, I think it am coming down with 'la grip, la grip, the post nasal drip'. I made this terrible assumption last night and I am not a bit happy about it. Irritated throat, not exactly a sore throat (yet), but I am really trying to be extra careful. Let's see, I have been on an airplane, been touching things (elevator buttons, etc.) that have been touched by virtual hoards of the great unwashed, shaken hands with and hugged literally hundreds of people that are potential virus carriers...I should never have left the farm. Whatever...

I will be taking an Ethics class from 3 until 6 PM, and by that time, my friend Mike should have arrived from Miami, okay really from Del Ray Beach. We will have some dinner and then we will all go to a 9 o'clock Cirque du Soliel show at Downtown Disney. So, that give me two or three things at least to be excited about, and to also hope I am not REALLY getting sickly! Before he gets here, I am going downstairs to get a couple bottles of Coke...on my floor the ice/vending area is ICE ONLY. Whatever...AND I am sure the cokes will be about $3.50 a bottle. Oh well, captive audience!

Okay, well, we are all back from Downtown Disney, and I still have about 45 minutes to finish my blog (or longer if you this I am on the West Coast). So, about 7 o'clock, we decided to go up to the 27th floor where they were giving away free food and free booze...REALTORS just seem to be drawn to that stuff. Anyway, I had another glass of wine, and we had some fingery type of food. We quickly left to go to Downtown Disney, where we shopped for a while and then left to get to Cirque du Soliel. It was a good show, and as always, there is too much going on to catch all of it, but overall their performances are always visually stunning. Lots of interesting things going on. We shared a couple of pretzels and sodas, and watched the show. It was great, and I recommend it to anyone looking for something d=to do on a Thursday evening.

After that we walked around Downtown Disney for a while longer and just looked around and bought little trinkets for people back in Austin. There are so many people and so much CRAP that is available for purchase, the mind boggles. Capitalism at its finest. One of the best things we saw the other day is the place where they make candied apples, and it's all done in the window. I think this is a great photo...have you ever seen an apple with mouse ears before? I have seen apples with 'mouse stuff' before, but never mouse ears.

Then we went through Paradise Island, and looked at the cool stuff at the Lego place. Amazing things can be done with Legos, just look at the photo one up from the last one. They can really do some neat stuff. and there are lots of samples there. I will leave this all up to your review and judgement. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Four...

Okay, I am really day started with a class at 8 o'clock, that went until 3 o'clock. In the middle, there was an hour for lunch, but I went to my room to check my e-mail and take care of some business. I got back to the class with about five minutes to share, and all was good. After that, there was a short meeting at 3:15, then there was a general session at 4 o'clock until 6, and then the trade show opened at 6 o'clock and it is still going on as I speak. This photo is of a group of local Boy Scouts presenting the flags prior to the opening of the business meeting.

This photo is the guest speaker after the business meeting, Steven Oniki...he is an inspirational speaker, and not at all politically correct. His talk was interesting, but maybe I was just too tired to find the humor in some of his speech. Many people around me found it to be quite humorous, and maybe it was. Anyway, there were parts of the talk that I liked, but overall, it was towards the end of a really long day. The Association does some really good things, and the recap of the year was really interesting. There were brief reviews by all the committee chairs (Communications, Finance, Governmental Affairs, Long Range Planning, Member Services, Nominating, Professional Development and Rental Home Professionals) was really very interesting, and they should all be proud of their accomplishments.

After that, there was the trade show, and that will continue for at least another day, so there is no rush. I stopped in and had some munchies and a glass of wine, and now I am in my room, getting ready to do some serious chilling. This photo is looking off my room balcony towards Epcot...sort of at the right side of the photo, you can see a rain shower off in the distance. It did rain here for about twenty minutes, and that was a nice diversion during the class.

I spoke with my friend Mike from Miami this evening, and he is coming into Orlando tomorrow afternoon, and he and I and Carrie will have fun tomorrow night and Friday night. We will all be leaving on Saturday morning, and this trip will be HISTORY!

Be kind to someone who is not expecting it of something nice for someone who has less than you...make a small change in your life that will make the world a better place for all of us...Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Three...

Busy day today...just as I was really getting comfortable in this Hotel bed, it was time to get up...okay, not really, but I figured I needed to get up, because if I did not, I would sleep through the breakfast and the first part of the class, and I have this thing about setting alarm clocks. I just don't do it... Today was a class provided by the Disney Institute, 'Disney's Approach to Leadership Excellence'. As with everything Disney, it was a very well done presentation, very professional, and I learned a lot that I can use both in my career path and in my teaching efforts. It was very well received by the attendees, and I am glad that Carrie and I took the class.

Tonight, we will continue that theme of 'Leadership Disney' with a backstage event at Disney's EPCOT; dinner at 'The Living Sea' exhibit (I have no idea yet as to what to expect), entertainment (more I don't knows), a private viewing of the fireworks and a dessert buffet. I will give a full report later!

Kind of cloudy and overcast in Orlando today, but it is a very comfortable temperature, and the humidity seems pleasantly low. I really do not expect it to rain anytime soon (maybe later in the week), but so far so good. Did I mention that my room is on the 26th floor? Well, it is, so I have a really nice view, and even a little terrace, probably 30 square feet and a triangular shape, with two cute little plastic wicker chairs and a little round table. It's really all I need, so no issues.

Okay, back from Walt Disney World, and I have to say it was pretty fun. We took a bus ride to Epcot, and we were ushered into 'The Living Sea'. Pretty neat place, it is like being in a large municipal aquarium, only not a lot of people, nice carpets, a pretty good buffet dinner, a two piece really great jazzy group (Plexiglas grand piano and a bass), and cocktails. Groovy! I really did enjoy this part of the function, and it is really interesting to see how things are done at Disney. Interestingly, backstage there is evidence of 'litter'. I have NEVER seen a piece of litter in the actual Disner Parks (they are kind of finicky that way), but 'backstage' was a little bit more normal. Not trashy or unkempt, just not perfect!

I don't have any estimate of how many hundreds of thousands of gallons the 'habitat' was, but there were lots of fish, very large turtles (or tortoises, I never remember the is like stalagmites and stalactites), AND cast members in scuba gear that interact with the dinner guests. Pretty Fun!

After dinner, we had plenty of time to mingle with the other attendees, and then it was time to head off to the fireworks. The promo said we would see the fireworks from a private patio...and it was really nice. We had a pretty good walk from the dining area to the patio area, but we did indeed have front row seats for the fireworks. And we got there in plenty of time before the fireworks started, to enjoy the dessert buffet. Lots of different desserts...and I concentrated on chocolate. I expect I will be ill just any minute now! Then, a short walk from the patio area to 'backstage' again, and then onto the buses, where we headed back to the Hotel.

Now, time for beddy-bye.

Deeds, Actions, Kindness, Fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety Two...

Okay, Carrie (my BP) and I went to dinner tonight after we went and walked around for a very brief time at Downtown Disney. We came back to the Hotel and went to one of the restaurants there, and they served butter shaped like little Izod Alligators. I really do not think this photo shows the exquisite texture and attention to detail of this particular butter mold, but it is truly something to be seen (and tasted). I think butter in the shape of an alligator makes the experience all the better. Whatever...

It was a good day today, I got up pretty early and left for the office and made it into town with no issues. I got to the airport at about 11 and the plane left at about 12:30, so it was all good. No issues in the security line, no issues anywhere, unless you call a bar-b-que sandwich for lunch with a bun that would better serve as a Frisbee an issue. Not too big of a deal, though.

The flight was pretty uneventful, we had a great flight attendant that made the whole thing fun. Carrie and I talked a lot, I was busy crocheting, and we were making plans for the duration of the convention. Life is good.

We checked into the Hotel, and we both went to our rooms, and took care of some business. We met back downstairs, and went to Downtown Disney, back to the Hotel, had dinner, and now I am wrapping up the day.

Tired and sleepy.

Deeds, Actions, Kindness, Have Fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety One...

It is another beautiful day here in central Texas, wonderfully blue clear skies, temperature in the 70's and very low humidity. The morning glories are being all glorious, and it is just another reminder that life is grand, and I am most likely the luckiest person in the whole entire world. Woo-Hoo! EDIT: I am very happy that I took the photos of the morning of the guys working in the yard 'weed-eated' the morning glories at their bas, so they are no longer being very glorious. They had just recovered from all the heat of the summer, and were just beautiful. Well, it just goes to show you, you get what you pay for! Boo-Hoo!

The day got off to a busy start...I am getting closer and closer to my trip to Florida for the NARPM convention, and I have gotten all the (okay, two) begs ready to be packed, found the locks for the one checked bag, got my boarding pass printed, all that kind of mundane stuff that needs to happen. Most likely I will begin the packing process tonight after we come home from dinner. No sense in jumping into anything.

Miguel arrived at about 9 o'clock this morning, with four other guys to try and get some of the yard into some kind of shape. We could easily become the 'Grey Gardens' of the south. With a little bit of rain (okay almost twenty inches in the last month or so), things are growing to beat the band, and easily can get out of control. Right now, Miguel has hooked the shredder up to the tractor and is trying to get some of the tall grass closest to the pastures cut down. It will be a long process but it has to be done.

It is late afternoon now, and the packing gig is starting to get a little bit more serious. We are going to head out to the Catfish Parlor here is just a little bit, but I am already starting to put stuff in the cases to take along. I expect I will seriously over pack, as I always do, but I will try to keep things under control.

Have a nice rest of whatever part of your day is left, I am gonna go eat catfish!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day Two Hundred Ninety...

The cattle were looking kind of pitiful this afternoon, so I took pity on them and gave them some feed and then put a fresh bale of hay out for them. I really expect they had been enjoying plenty of fresh grass, but they were looking at me with those big 'cow eyes' and I am just such a pushover, that I gave in and fed them. I had actually gone back there to survey the fence situation in the back pasture. I am hoping that I can get Michael to do some fence work next week while I am out of town, and I was trying to count up how many t-posts and wire I would need, so I could go into Georgetown this afternoon and get the supplies, so it would be not so much trouble for Michael. ANYWAY, by the time I finished feeding the cattle and putting out the hay for them, I forgot how many posts I thought I would need, so I just kind of guessed on that when I went into Tractor Supply. Whatever...

Just a side-note...this is what the tractor looks like with a 1,200 pound bale of hay on it...more than I can lift!

The day started out nicely, a good calm morning, and I left the house about 8:30 to go into town for a 10 o'clock appointment. Actually I had two appointments at the same house, so I had one set meet me at 10 o'clock and the other meet me at 10:20. Everything worked out nicely, but no applications. I was also able to stop in the office both before and after the appointments, so that was good. Still trying to get as much stuff done as I can before leaving town on Monday afternoon. I will never get everything done, but I can get a lot of it done. AND I will have my electronic leashes with me anyway, so I will be able to do business remotely. Never out of touch, the new American way...or is that Never able to relax? One of those.

When I got home this afternoon, the guy that is installing the pool cover was here doing the final measurements, and I guess we will have a pool cover in another week or two. That will be a big help with all the leaves and wind around here. And I think we can cancel the pool cleaning guy for a while, at least until the next season. Since the pool is salt water and it generates its own chlorine, it should kind of take care of itself for the winter. We will keep running the filter system and keep everything running, just the skimming and leaf skimming should be cut way back. We shall see...

Jody and I left and went into Georgetown to get some supplies, and of course while we were there we had to stop at Dairy Queen for spoilers. Basically, we hope to have no reasons to leave the house tomorrow. Miguel is coming tomorrow with a crew to work in the yard, so that should keep us busy, and then I will begin packing for being out of town for a week. That is a long time to be gone, and I am torn...I am looking forward to the convention, but I do not like being away for such a long time. Whatever...

Texas won the football game today, yippee-skippee...16 - 13, but I bet it was a good game. Maybe they need to work on their karma...deeds, actions, kindness, FUN!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Nine...

Busy, busy, busy day today. I had lunch with my friend and colleague Chad this today, and we went to this place called The Mighty Cone on South Congress. Really good food, served in a cone like you would expect at a shaved ice place. Inside the cone was a tortilla, and then the food was inside the tortilla. Really good...the unfortunate part is, it was the first time either of us had been there, and we did not know how to eat the stuff (no knives, just bio-degradable forks) and no one else was eating, so we had no one to watch. So, after we spilled everything out on the table (okay, the french fries) we finally figured it out, and I will happily go back again in the future. I HATE going places for the first time, but after I have a handle on the modus-operandi, it is usually okay. I boycotted La Madeline for years because I did not understand the concept, but now I am okay with it! Whatever...

I finished up reviewing an on-line ethics course for NARPM, and that was interesting. It is interesting to see how things 'behind the scenes' work for these different organizations. I think 2010 is going to be a really GOOD and INTERESTING and REALLY SUCCESSFUL year. Now, get out of my way.

I went and put a lovely home on the sales market this afternoon, and I hope it goes under contract quickly. It is wonderful, in a very nice part of town, and hopefully very desirable by someone who is ready to move really quickly!

Traffic was a bit of a challenge on the way home from the office this afternoon, so I called my friend Michael who lives in Florida. Michael and I have known each other for almost 35 years...we were friends when we both lived in Memphis. We lived in Memphis at the same time for about 4 years, but we became close (inseparable almost) friends, and Mike moved away to Florida just a few months before I left Memphis for New Orleans (the first time). But, our friendship has endured for all these years, and we talk on the phone or visit (Michael comes to visit much more often than I visit him in Florida, bless his heart) and it is like we still live just around the corner from each other. We do not skip a beat...we just laugh and cut-up like a couple of kids (well, I am anyway). I think Michael will come up to Orlando next week while I am there, and that will be lots of fun. I love him dearly!

After the telephone conversation, I stopped in Georgetown and got my hair cut (or several hairs cu, okay Mark?) and stopped for gasoline, and made the rest of the trip home. I am busy getting everything ready to be out of the office for the entire week next week, and there is still lots of stuff to get done.

So, tomorrow I have two appointments in the city, and three appointments here at the house. It will be a day of juggling appointments, but there is a lot of stuff that needs to be done.

Time for dinner! Kindness, Actions, Deeds, Have Fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Eight...

LORD OF THE FLIES, flight of the bumble bees! Today is a beautiful day in central Texas...okay, actually it is a little bit warm for the middle of October. The nuclear weather stations says it is 94 degrees. AND the humidity is just a touch excessive. But other than that, it is a beautiful sunshiney day. I was scheduled to have lunch with my friend Deb, and we went to El Chile Cafe y Cantina on the east side of Austin. This was my second time to visit, and it was just as good as the first time. Delicious food. BUT, the flies were going just a little bit crazy, and there were also several bumble bees playing havoc with Deb, who I have learned is not a particular fan of bumble bees. It finally got to the point that we could not enjoy just sitting and talking (that was after we had finished our lunch) and we had to escape. I am not kidding, it was a riot of flies and bees. One bee (I suspect) was even crawling up my pants leg. No panic, just try to act normally! No stings, either! Anyway, it was really nice to have a few minutes to sit down with Deb and just talk about stuff that is going on. She is REALLY a busy person, and I am generally 'over-scheduled' as well, so it was really nice to get to share some time with her. I hope we will be able to do it again soon.

Today was also my Meals-on-Wheels delivery day, and that is always a fun thing to do. One of my clients has already decorated the inside of their house for Christmas. Banners, Christmas Tree, the whole schmere! It may be a little bit too early for some, but these folks obviously believe there is no reason not to celebrate the season!

Okay, so this must be my time for petty annoyances! I am listening to books on CDs as I go to and from home and work. My latest book was 17 CDs, and I finished the 16th CD and the 17th CD is blank. I do not know how the story ends! The subscription place is sending me another set, BUT I WANT TO KNOW HOW THE BOOK ENDS! AND I WANT TO KNOW NOW! Whatever...

Believe it or not department...when I got home from work today, Jody reported that one of the smoke detectors in the house (we have about 150 of them here) was chirping, but he had not been able to definitively figure out exactly which one it was. I was sitting in my big La-Z-Boy chair, sort of in that twilight between consciousness and slobbering down my shirt, when it went off...then again, and again until I decided there would be no snooze before dinner. Anyway, it was found to be the detector between the kitchen and the family room, and that battery has obviously not been replaced in the last 15 minutes (I change batteries in these smoke detectors ALL THE TIME), so now that has been done. I hope nothing starts chirping in the middle of the night.

We are heading out to Dale's Essenhaus for dinner tonight, Jody is in the mood for something burgery, and I think I will have the club sandwich again...or maybe I will make up my mind after I see what the specials are.

Deeds, Words, Actions...Have Fun!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Seven...

Okay, so here is how my day went...just keep in mind that it all turned out perfectly, and all is good. I got into the office really early because I did not want to miss the windshield replacement person, who was scheduled to arrive between 8AM and Noon. When he arrived at a very reasonable time, I asked him if he would be able to save my registration sticker and my current inspection sticker. He replied in the affirmative, but told me that my registration sticker was already had expired in May! I was very surprised. Anyway, I went back into my office and called the auto registration person and was informed that not only had the registration expires but actually some one else had 'snatched' (my words) my personalized license plate. So, who knows how long I had been driving around with both an expired registration and a license plate that no longer belonged to me. Yippee! I am relaying this information to you (so far) in one was not such a condensed version when I was being informed of this development.

Okay, so I went to Cedar Park to register my long as I was there, I thought I would see if I could get a different personalized plate and, oh what the heck, go ahead and get the snazzy 'I AM A TEXAS REALTOR' plates that benefit the Texas Association of REALTORS. The only reason I had not already done so was because I had personalized plates that pretty much identified me as a REALTOR, and I thought I should keep what I had...BUT, as long as was going to make a change, I would look into it.

As it turned out, I got a very nice woman at the registration office, and we came up with a good personalized plate, and life was good. I then left to have my car inspected, and while waiting for the inspection, I came up with many BETTER personalizations for the car tag. I went on to inspect one of our managed properties and could not get the better plate IDs out of my head. I was almost back to the office when I decided it was too big of a deal to settle for second best, so I turned around, drove back another 20 miles to the place, and started over again. BUT, the main thing is that I will be satisfied now, and all of this had a wonderful ending. What is meant to be is not always what we think should be, but (wait for it...wait for it comes) it is what it is.

Otherwise, life is good, and it was a relatively uneventful day. Of course, part of that is because I had little time for anything else! I got back to the office and did some 'power real estate' and then headed home. On the way, I stopped by one of our managed properties to make sure it is ready for a new set of tenants who are moving in on Friday. All is well.

I am home now, and all cozy and happy. I am really bad about getting excited over matters that really don't matter. So, I try to remember, 'not to sweat over the small stuff, and it is all small stuff'. I am really trying to be a kinder, gentler, calmer, more compassionate, less self-centered, more understanding, less judgmental, more whatever Bill.

Good deeds, kind words, small changes, Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eights Six...


Leslie Cochran reported in critical condition
Austin's thong-wearing homeless icon found with possible head injury last week.

By Erin Mulvaney


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Albert "Leslie" Cochran — Austin's homeless, thong-clad celebrity — remains in a semi-vegetative state at University Medical Center Brackenridge after he was found unconscious on a sidewalk by a taxi driver Oct. 3, according to a public health official with knowledge of the incident.

The official said that Cochran's injuries are life-threatening and that if he survives, he may experience "life-altering effects," including remaining in a vegetative state.

"He's very, very sick," the official said.

University Medical Center said it could not confirm that Cochran was there.

Cochran has established himself as an Austin fixture, known for his skimpy outfits, cross-dressing and unsuccessful mayoral campaigns. He typically can be seen downtown clad in thongs, tiaras, boas and high heels.

Alan Graham, president of Mobile Loaves and Fishes, said he has known Cochran for years, and from conversations with him in the past, he knew Cochran suffered hardships living on the streets, despite his high profile and playful nature.

"It doesn't surprise me when people who live on the streets eventually end up in hospitals," Graham said. "Existing medical conditions can be exacerbated by lack of nutrition and shelter, and Leslie was no exception to that."

NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure, I copied the information above from the Austin American-Statesman on-line edition (found at, for today, Tuesday, October 13, 2009. There was no photo credit on-line, but if anyone can identify the person that took the photograph of Leslie, please let me know so I can provide proper credit. Bill...

How many homeless persons do you think there are in Austin, Texas? At least hundreds...perhaps thousands. Do we pay any attention to those that we see with ratty cardboard signs at the intersections? They do a pretty darn good job of being anonymous, and we help them out by averting their eyes and look away. Well, Leslie is/was the face (oh, what a pretty face) of homelessness to many people. He is a character, and is someone that is recognized by many. I doubt there are many folks out there that, at a chic cocktail party would exclaim 'some of my best friends are homeless'. Whatever...

Which just kind of brings me back to one of the points I try to make on this blog every day. Try your best to do something nice for someone EVERY DAY. That does not mean you have to give them money at the corner. For the longest time now, I have simply acknowledged the folks on the corner with a wave of the hand...just to let them know I recognize their existence. If you want to give a person on the corner some money, go ahead and do it, but do not (in my opinion) try to make rules as to what they can/cannot spend that money on. Give them money because you want to give them money. But, you don't need to give them money. Just be kind, give them a kind word. Or just thank someone for doing something nice for you. We have forgotten our manners lately, and I wish we could all be more considerate and civil. I remember when I was a kid in school, we were graded on 'citizenship'. By all of our teachers. I wonder if students are still given 'citizenship' grades in school now?

Okay, enough of that.

The sun has come out after a morning and part of the afternoon of grey clouds and rain. Today, between the time I left for work and the time I got home from work (approximately 9.5 hours) we received another 8/10 of an inch of rain. That puts us at about 4.7 inches of rain for this month. Approximately 20 inches of rain so far from September and October! I love seeing the sun, and it is a welcome friend back. On the way home, going down FM 972, I saw a buzzard sitting on a fence with her/her/its' wings outstretched trying to dry out after all the precipitation events we have been experiencing. I tried to get a photo, but the buzzard would not cooperate. He/she/it did not leave, just folded the wings. As soon as I left, I could see the wings all stretched out again in my rear view mirror.

I went down one of the back roads to see if the creek had risen, and indeed it had, as the photo above shows. We need the moisture, but just like everything else, too much of anything is just too much.

So, to close today's' entry, go up four paragraphs, and follow the directions. Have Fun!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Five...

BLECCHHH! There, I said it, and I am making no apologies. Say what you want, I do not have THAT SHORT of a memory...I know we are in the middle of the worst drought in modern times, I know we really need the rain, I know we are all glad that is is raining...just give me some rain with some grandmother used to say 'The Devil is beating his wife' whenever it was raining and the sun was shining. Well, I am all about that particular kind of spousal abuse. I am tired of the grey days, and the clouds and the fog and the dampness and the humidity! GIVE ME SOME SUNSHINE! I want to see a shadow!

Okay, I feel a little bit better now, but not really that much. I promise not to raise my voice for the balance of this post.

Today was like the last several days...except that I had to get out in it and drive into Austin. Very foggy (several days ago I referred to the fog as 'ethereal' but not today). Today the fog was just a traffic accident waiting to happen. Traffic was jumbled up all around, and I was just happy to get into the office with no real issues. The day at the office was a good one, and we got a lot of things done for a Monday. Tom and I went next door for lunch, where, since it was a Holiday, they were not offering any lunch specials. So I had the dinner salad and a glass of water. Of course, I had the chips and salsa, it would have been impolite if I would have ignored them, since they did bring then to the table.

I had a 10 o'clock appointment, and then this afternoon I left the office to go and pick up my income tax (for 2008) to get it in the mail tomorrow. I am actually early this year, the deadline is Thursday, and I will get it in the mail on Tuesday, a new record (almost). Anyway, I am due a refund so we are just gonna 'let it ride' and apply it to the 2009 taxes due. The life of the self-employed. My CPA was giving me all kinds of information about what I need to be doing to keep records of the income and expenses for the farm. Another accounting class in the making.

Tomorrow is the local NARPM chapter luncheon, and that is always interesting. Wednesday I am having the windshield of my car replaced (if it does not rain). Rain is predicted for tomorrow, but Wednesday is only a 30% chance. I remember the days (when I was young) that a 30% chance of rain meant dust for dinner! Whatever...

I think the temperature hit 70 degrees today, and that is nice, but I do indeed miss the sun. So...nothing more about that in this post...

Good deeds, kind words, small changes, SUNSHINE, Have Fun!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Four...

There was no rain forecast for the area today, and so far we have had about three-quarters of an inch of 'no rain' as of this post. The 'no rain' began about 10:30 this morning, and we continued getting heavy amounts of 'no rain' all through the late morning and early afternoon. I was 'no raining' so hard during our drive in to Georgetown that visibility was reduced tremendously. We were intending to do a little bit of shopping, and as long as we were in the area, we decided to stop for a spoiler at Dairy Queen. It was 'no raining' quite vigorously when we got there, but it let up some as we were leaving. This is one of those 'no rain' photos I am so fond of taking. We made it home with no real issues and we pretty much spent the rest of the afternoon watching the 'no rain'. I watched two Net Flix movies in between the 'no rain' events, and right now, the 'no rain' has slacked up a bit. BUT, take heart, they are predicting rain for the first part of the week, so that will be great. We really need the rain, I just hope their predictions are accurate.

This will be a busy week, so I am expecting to leave for the office early on Monday. Lots of work to get done, and I have appointments every day except Wednesday so far. Then next week I will be heading off to Orlando for six days for a NARPM Conference. I think it will be a really good conference, and I am looking forward to it. Then in November I will head out for San Diego for the NAR Convention, and that is always a good meeting. I am really looking forward to that one.

There is really not a lot to past today, basically as a direct result of the 'no rain'. I moved the cattle into the nearer pasture, because the little bull calf keeps getting out of the electric fence. I am going to need to re-think' that one, and I already have sort of a plan to re-work it...I just need to consult with Micheal to see if he thinks the new plan will work. So, considering the 'no rain' today, and the expected rain for the rest of the week, I decided I would concede to the cattle and let them think they won this round. I put them in a closer pasture where the fences are proved to hold in little bull calves. We shall see. It is about time for that little guy to go to his new home, anyway, so his days here are numbered.

Jody has made some pumpkin crisp and it smells wonderfully. Omelets for dinner tonight, and more crocheting. One can never have enough scarves to distribute over the Holidays, can one? Do you think I watched 'The Devil Wears Prada' a few minutes ago...high fashion crocheted scarves? Whatever...

You know the drill...kindness...deeds...changes...Fun!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Three...

This pyracantha bush is at the front of the property next to the driveway. It is just a riot of berries, and a little later in the year, the birds will eat the berries and, if they have fermented, they will be too drunk to fly. Quite a sight. There was also a beautiful bloom on the passion vine today as well, maybe I will be able to get a photo of a bloom for tomorrow's post.

Just a trace of rain today, winds are calm and there has been no sunshine at all. Supposed to be sunny with temperatures in the 70's. When I got up this morning,the temperature was 54 degrees, and it got up to a high of 60 degrees. A grey and somewhat gloomy day in central Texas. We have pretty much stayed in the house all day today. I actually put on sweat pants (but no fleece jacket yet). I have been pretty much useless all day, although the most energy I have expended was to feed my face, and even that die not work up a sweat.

I went over to the neighbors too see how they were coming with the house building. They are getting their HVAC unit installed, so work is progressing nicely. They have most of the sheet rock on the ceilings installed, and they will be moved-in before you know it. It is going to be a wonderful new home for Michael and Abby and Jackson.

I think we will be going in to town at some point tomorrow. We need a few things from here and there. Next week does not look too full, some of my schedule has opened up nicely, and we are on the down hill slide towards the Holidays. It is always kind of slow this time of the year, and the weather today is just reinforcing that fact.

Sleeping was good last night, and I expect it will be the same tonight. I look forward to it, and to sleeping a little bit later in the morning.

Good deeds, kind words, small actions, Have Fun and Keep Warm!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty Two...

We made it through the evening with no rain BUT the wind was going crazy! I got up at about 5 o'clock and broke my routine...I went out to see if the paper was there before I did anything else. It was just barely beginning to rain, and the wind was blowing stronger than I have felt it in a good while. We have lost a few big trees in the front of the house, and there have been some limbs falling in the winds and the trees were a creakin' while I RAN out to get the paper and RAN back. I wish I had a movie of some OTHER FAT GUY running out to get the paper, but NO, I have the movie of ME running through my head...and gasping for breath when I made it back to the safety of the garage! So, between the time I went out to get the paper, and the time I left to head for the office, we had already gotten 3/4 of an inch of rain, and it was still raining at about 11:30. I have the local weather news on, and it looks like we will end up with about an inch and a half of rain.

The drive into Austin was not as bad as I was expecting. It was slow going, but that is better than being at a total stand still. I am actually getting to where I like the drive in to the office, it gives me time to listen to my books on CD, and that is really good when I am enjoying the book (and the narrators actually make the experience). I have now listened to 3 or 4 books on CD, and I have enjoyed them all, but one of the narrators I did not care for at all. I am now listening to 'Middlesex' which was a Pulitzer Prize winner. When I read the reviews, I was not sure I would like it, but it is really interesting. A very good listen. This is a photo of traffic this morning, since I have the time while I am in my car, and I have tried to quit texting while I am driving, I have decided to take up listening to books and brushing up on my photography skills. Whatever...

So far the weekend is pretty open, I am hoping to get some big-time crocheting done, and maybe even check to see if there are any auctions in the area that look interesting. I am not sure if Dierdre is coming into town so we can build a fire, but it may be a little bit too wet for a good fire. We may need to put that off.

Here is an exciting piece of information. Yesterday we actually had a pretty substantial net reversal of electrical usage at the house. We were charged for our lowest usage of electricity (13 kilowatts) since I have been keeping up with it, AND we sold 23 kilowatts of electricity back to the grid. It is really hard to determine how much electricity we generate, because whatever we generate is used by us before and excess is sold back to the grid. Anyway, I think that is really great, we actually had a negative electrical usage for the day. Pretty cool!

I should not have been so excited about the easy commute in to the city this morning, because the commute out of the city was not pretty or fun. I got to listen to a good bit of my book, but I would have preferred to be cruising home on this Friday afternoon. Anyway, I got home around 4:30 and we have exactly 1.5 inches of rain in the gauge from this little precipitation event we have been experiencing. Everything is really lovely and green after the summer drought and scorching temperatures. We are all being lulled into a false sense of security about water conservation, thinking that rain is normal here in central Texas, and in the backs of all of our collective minds, we need to remember that rain and plenty of water is the exception and not the rule.

All of the cattle were accounted for by long distance...a pair of binoculars and a quick count to see that they are/were all where they are/were supposed to be. Life is good. Try to do a small kindness for someone, or have a pleasant word for someone. Try to see if you can make a small change in you life that will be a good thing for the rest of the world too. Have Fun!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty One...

All is relatively quiet right now, seems like a normal SUMMER afternoon. It started out kind of cloudy, now the sun is shining brightly, a few lovely clouds in the sky and a good (sort of) strong wind from the south. The humidity is VERY HIGH, and the forecasters say the heat index should be about 102 degrees today. Outside my office, the nuclear weather station reports the temperature to be 84 degrees, and the forecast calls for rain. All this is supposed to change in a few hours. A strong cold Front (relatively speaking) is supposed to arrive early this evening, and cause storms and rain and lightning and the end of the earth is expected to arrive before midnight. Okay, I am most likely exaggerating, but the possibility of strong storms is in the forecast. We will wait and see what happens. Where we live is known for strong winds (sometimes very damaging winds), so we will remain alert and ready!

I am still kind of tired from yesterday. I was actually too tired to sleep last night, but I managed to drift off eventually. Just when I thought I was settled in to get some serious sleep, it was time to get up. I went out twice to retrieve the newspaper, and as of my departure for the office, it had not yet arrived. I used to brag about how much better the service was in the country than it was in the City, but I am beginning to get worried that our delivery will become mediocre at best. Our carrier has had some issues, and then her mother had some issues, so I am not sure what is going on. All I know is, I would like the paper to be in the box when I go outside to fetch it. Is that too much to ask?

We had our regular property management meeting in the office this morning, and got recaps of what all is going on. After that, it was Meals-on-Wheels time, and that is always fun. I only had three clients this morning, but not complaining about that, either. I have delivered to a few as one, and as many as 11, you just never know what will be needed from one day to the next.

ABC News (and I am sure other outlets) reported on the nations' most annoying words and phrases this evening. Number 1 is 'whatever', followed by; 2). 'you know' 3). 'it is what it is' 4). 'anyway' 5). 'at the end of the day'. I am glad to know I am somewhat mainstream with my current phrases. Whatever...

I got home this afternoon, and put on my boots and went out to check the cattle. I went out last evening, and all was good, a peaceable kingdom of cow manna. This afternoon, the bull calf had once again escaped, but I was able to 'herd' him back into the pasture with the mule, and I am not really that thrilled that he has figured out that he can wrangle his way through the electric fence line. I will outsmart him before this is all over.

Jody and I went out to Dale's Essen Haus for dinner, in Walburg. Jody had the meat loaf, and I had the club sandwich. Both were very satisfactory, although I have to tell you that the omelet Jody made last night was probably the most delicious omelet I have EVER eaten. It was DELICIOUS.

The weather forecasters are predicting rain overnight, and especially on the drive into work tomorrow. Then, it is supposed to be an absolutely lovely weekend. We shall see... The high temperature reading I saw today was 92 degrees, and the heat index was 102 degrees. Too Hot.

Tired tonight, short, to the point conclusion: Good deeds, kind words, small changes, Have Fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day Two Hundred Eighty...

Today's post should come as no surprise, it will almost entirely be about the Realty Round-Up event hosted by the Austin Board of REALTORS. It was a long day, but a day of great satisfaction to see all the hard work the staff of the Board and the volunteers of the Realty Round-Up committee come to fruition. It was a day full of learning, of new thoughts and ideas, and a day to see how all the pieces of the puzzle come together.

I got to the Convention Center shortly after 8 o'clock, and got right to work. There was lots of details to attend to, and the Convention Center (and the exhibit hall specifically) cover a lot of territory. This is an exaggeration (perhaps) but I think I walked about thirty (okay maybe six or seven) miles today. The first event was at 9:30, with a Broker's coffee with Dr. Jim Gaines from A & M. He stated that Texas (and more specifically Austin) is on the cusp of an economic surge that should last upwards of 25 years or more. Again (although he did not use this term) the 'Texaplex' (draw a line from San Antonio to Austin to Dallas over to Houston and then back to San Antonio, that's the 'Texaplex') is where it is all going to happen, and we are ready for it.

After Dr. Gaines's talk, I headed back to the ABoR registration booth, and was talking with the two Texas Rangers (these to guys are great, and they are at Realty Round-Up every year (as long as I have been attending, anyway). I took advantage of the photo-op, but they would not let me borrow their hand cuffs. I should have brought my own! Anyway, they are great guys, and they stayed busy patrolling the trade show floor. There were a few crashers to the trade show (there was another couple of functions taking place simultaneously), but they kept everything under control.

At noon-30 I went to a presentation about Alternative Homes and Home Owners, and there was a panel presentation by three local home owners who own 'alternative' types of properties; the first was a couple that built a 'concrete insulated foam' home, the second built a 'straw bale' home and the third built (building is on-going) an 'earth ship' home. If you notice, many of the classes I take (or sit in on) have to do with topics that I also instruct. I always like to get new or different ideas about a topic, and that is a great way to do it. If you have any questions about any of these alternative homes, just drop me a note, and we can talk. For my part, I found the discussions of the straw bale and earth ship construction to be really interesting, and I picked up lots of tips to make my classes more interesting. I am hoping that I may even be able to have these owners come in and speak to different classes, sort of a 'real world' round table discussion. I think that would be great.

At 3 o'clock, I moderated a panel discussion with two representatives of our local and State governments; Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Martinez and State Representative Eddie Rodriguez. We were supposed to host a third representative, an aide to one of our elected county officials, but he was ill. I wonder if he has the H1N1? Anyway, the topic of the panel was 'Issues Affecting Growing a Greener Austin', and to be perfectly honest, it was a great discussion. The attendees knew what they wanted to know, they asked good questions, they were respectful of the panelists time and knowledge about the subject, and there was no shouting. No town-hall 'shouting down the speakers' crap for us! We were serious and it was a great showing for the members of the Austin Board. This is a photo of me and Mayor Pro-Tem Martinez.

And then I left the Convention Center. Traffic was only bad up until I got to about the Rundberg exit, and then it was smooth sailing. No issues.

All-in-all, I am really happy with the day...especially happy with the knowledge I took away from the day, and ready to put all of that to good use. I was lucky enough to see LOTS of people I don't get to see that often, even if it was only briefly (Hi Deb!).

And now for a brief closing (because I am tired and it is time for dinner). Good deeds, kind acts, small changes, Have Fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day Two Hundred Seventy Nine...

JUST PUT YOUR LIPS TOGETHER AND GO MOO! Okay, so this is the rather pastoral scene AFTER the two escaped calves were back in the pasture, the fences were back up, Michale and Hubert's truck had been pulled out of the mud where it had become stuck, and the electricity to the fence had been restored. I have taken a vow...whenever I am going out to the pastures, even if I think I am just going out to check the fences, I will, from this day forward, dress in more than boxer shorts, a t-shirt, a pair of white socks and my pink knock-off crocs. I highly recommend dressing appropriately.

It all started out as just a quick tour of the pastures to make sure the fences were all functioning as intended. We have had rain the past several days, and today was the first dry day, so I wanted to take advantage of that. As soon as I got into the first pasture, I could see two cattle 'outside' our fence line. When I got closer, I figured out is was out first calf (Violet, now about 17 months old) and the steer calf that was born earlier in the spring. I got Violet back in the pasture, but the steer calf (I named him Dude, but he has been pledged to Roy and Sharon, and Sharon has another name for him, and I forget what it is) was not really interested in returning to the group. I ended up calling Michael and Hubert for some help, and they arrived and in about 10-15 minutes we had all the cattle back in the middle pasture. Then the truck was stuck in the mud, but (unbelievably to me) we hooked the Mule to the truck and believe it or not, the Mule pulled the truck out of the mud. For those of you who have not been following this blog, the Mule is a Kawasaki Utility type vehicle, not a Hee-Haw kind of a mule.

Anyway, life is somewhat back to normal right now, but I am not sure if my pink knock-off clogs are ever going to be the same.

Otherwise, today was a nice quiet day. I spent most of the day at the Austin Convention Center, trying to pitch-in to help the Realty Round-Up Committee get things ready for the big event tomorrow. My contribution consisted mainly of sitting at the ABoR booth, giving advice when folks would come by and ask for it, and directing folks that needed some kind of direction. In between tasks, I sat there and crocheted...the Holidays are not that far off!

On the way home from work, I stopped by and had my 80K mile service on my car completed. The miles are just racking up on that car. It won't be long before I have 100K miles on it, and that will be a real milestone for me.

Jody was busy today, he baked some cookies and some pumpkin bread. So much for me wanting to lose some weight...I will suffer through for the cause! Tomorrow will be a long day...I need to leave the house around 6 o'clock, and the Round-Up is not over until 4 o'clock, and I don't really expect I will leave the convention center until about 5 o'clock. SO, it will be a long day. I will let you all know how things have progressed.

Kind deeds, kind words, small changes, whirled peas! Have Fun!