Monday, November 30, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirty Four...

Never let it be said that I am a procrastinator. That may be one of the only things that cannot be said about me, but that is another story. No, not a procrastinator, not me. I am announcing now, that I have already made my New Years Resolution, and I am just about thirty or so days ahead of schedule. AND, I have already been practicing my new resolution. I RESOLVE TO USE MY TURN SIGNALS WHEN I AM CHANGING LANES OF MAKING A TURN. There, I have said it, it is now public knowledge. So, I have been trying it out today, and I have to admit, it is not that difficult. I also have to admit, that at least once or twice today, I have made a lane change AND THEN turned by signal indicator on...but at least I am trying. Better late than never. Now, maybe if I can get just a few hundred thousand more to do the same thing, we can avoid a few of these traffic jams like the one I experienced on the drive home this evening. You never know, it could happen... AND if that works, I may make some other sort of resolution for something else even more out of the ordinary. We shall see...

Today was a pretty good day, I got to the office at about 7 o'clock, and had the place to myself til almost 9. Then, since it was the last day of the month, I had security deposit refunds to process, end of the month payables to process, and general kinds of office stuff that has been hanging around since last week (before the long weekend). Got one lease application approved, working on a couple more, and that got me through lunch and into the early afternoon. I had a closing at 3 o'clock and got back to the office at about 4 (by way of the post office to make sure the security deposit refunds were postmarked today). I left the office at about 4:40, and the photo above is what I encountered even before I had made it 7 miles or so. BUT, tomorrow will be a better day!

One of the nice things about living in the country is, when I am stuck in traffic or involved with some other minor inconvenience, I always know that I am heading for a calm and quiet place. There was beautiful color as the sun was setting this afternoon, and I stopped to take a photo of that, to kind of counterbalance the traffic congestion that about an hour before was commanding my entire attention. How pitiful that was of me!

ANYWAY, as I said, tomorrow will be a better day, and I remind myself that I am the luckiest man in the world, and the happiest, too!

Deeds, Actions, Thoughts, Changes, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas and FUN!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirty Three...

The day has been totally grey and cloudy and if we were somewhere further north, you would swear it would start snowing just any time. Today has been a really lazy and restful day. After breakfast this morning (my special egg loaf and raisin bread toast) we went out in the front yard for a while, just walking around and looking at what there is to see. Off about 50 yards from where we were, there was this Great Blue Heron, just hanging out. We miss the wildlife from the other farm (painted buntings, wood peckers, squirrels) but we have totally different wild life here in this area. We see lots of Herons around here, and they are not particularly skittish unless of course you try to see just how close you can get to them to get a better picture. And, about 20 yards is just about as close as you can get until they fly off. I will know that for next time.

Later in the morning, I decided to get cleaned up and go into Georgetown for a hair cut. Once I got cleaned up, I decided I did not really need a haircut, so Jody and I went into Salado instead. We are kind of scoping out restaurants to try, and are hoping to find a nice place for a nice dinner later in December. We had read a review in Texas Highways (I think) for a place called Adele's on Main, and we found it but it was not open today. Actually, Salado was DEAD CITY today, and I was really surprised that all the stores were not open. I mean, REALLY? I would have thought that Salado would have been a shoppers paradise today, just twenty-something days before Christmas, but it was not the case. DEAD CITY. We ended up having lunch at a little cafe in a courtyard, and it was very nice, and quiet and calm. We will still try to get into Salado later in December for dinner, so we will still be on the lookout for more establishments. Last year, we had dinner at the Stagecoach Inn, and it was nice, but it is not fun like it used to be (or maybe I am not as much fun as I used to be, whatever...). Anyway, we will try something new this year.

On the way home, it sprinkled on us, off-and-on, but nothing serious. We came through Holland and Bartlett, and in Bartlett we stopped at the Dollar General Store, I needed some dental floss! I am here to tell you, that place was a television sit-com waiting to happen. There is no way I could describe it to you in this post so it would be even somewhat amusing, you just needed to be there.

We watched Barefoot in the Park this afternoon, and now it is news time, and it is again threatening rain. It is supposed to rain tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night and Tuesday. We need rain in Austin over the watersheds, not here, not right now! Whatever...

This will be a busy week at the office...end of the month/first of the month issues, and I will be teaching classes on Tuesday, taking a class on Thursday and chairing an Ethics hearing on Friday. It is the end of the year...crunch time!

Deeds, Kindnesses, Changes, Actions, Whirled Peas and FUN!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirty Two...

Well, I would believe that, even the most jaded of us would have to admit, it is not every day that you see a giant cow in a Santa Claus outfit...even if the giant cow is (probably) some high school kid earning minimum wage in a Chick-fil-A cow outfit in Georgetown, Texas. Jody and I went to Chick-fil-A on a quest for a mint chocolate chip milk shake. Our friend Mike in Florida had told me they were serving them when he called on Thanksgiving afternoon. I had intended to surprise Jody with it, but I could not figure out the logistics of the surprise, so I just told him, and we ventured out this afternoon. The milk shake flavor was actually 'peppermint chocolate chip' and that was just fine with Jody. I ordered a 'cookies and cream' shake, and Jody went to find us a seat. The place was packed. Then, out of a deep fat fried fog appeared the giant cow in the aforementioned Santa suit. Of course, since I go nowhere without my camera, I was at the ready. I knocked down several little children and a handful of tweens to get the photo, but it was worth it. I need documentation! The rest of the time was spent mocking the other people taking photos and being gleeful in the presence of a double-knit bovine with invisible udders. My advice to the mascot was simple, 'stay in school'.

It sounds like I am being mean, but I think I am really just tired.

We had our hired man out to work around the house today, and he brought five extra guys with him to work in the yard. The main thing I wanted done was to bury the various water connections around the property in the underground boxes, so they will be protected from freezing, and I will not have to wrap pipes like I did last year. The other men worked in the yard, and dismantled various pieces of wooden structures that had been left behind by the previous owners. The jungle-gym is now gone, as is the 'blown over' lattice work back drop the previous owners had used when they were running the iris farm here. Little by little we are getting things done to suit us, it will just take some time. I also moved the three-and-a-half bales of hay the Micheal baled for us last week, and moved them over with the other bales, so things are looking a little bit cleaner today.

On the cattle front, everything seems to be going well, no issues. I do not think there was a peep out of the two cows that were separated from their calves yesterday. We fully expected to hear from protests and calls for their young, but we did not hear anything last night, and I have been back there a couple times today, and no one seems to be the least bit agitated. All is calm on that front. Orchid's calf was eight months old, so she may well have been ready for him to go, and Daphne still has her first calf with her (Violet was not sired by Speckles, so we are keeping her for our breeding program), so she may not mind either. Anyway, it is all a nice peaceable kingdom in the back pastures.

Tonight is going to be a quiet night, no fire in the fireplace, but quiet none the less. I finished my latest book (Water for Elephants) and I found it to be very good, but I find it difficult to comprehend (this is the chauvinist side of me coming out) that it was written by a woman. I do not feel that a woman could not have written the book, I just would have expected the story to be told from the female characters point of view if it were written by a woman. Okay, go ahead, I am ready...

Deeds, Kindnesses, Changes, Actions, FUN!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirty One...

Last night, after dinner, I put the new LED lights on the OLD Christmas tree that we installed on the front porch. You really have to be careful what you put on the front porch when you live out in the country. At first, everything is okay...just a couple tables and chairs, some potted plants and a small fountain for a water feature, maybe a small battery operated radio to listen to KUT. BUT, if you are not careful, you will end up with a Barca-Lounger out there before you know it, and then you are really in trouble. Add to that a 26" color television that only works right after you pound the side twice, and a beer cooler, and you have the makings of a mobile home lodge building in the making. It is the same way with 'yard art'. I am not sure what the boundaries of 'yard art' are, but I am relatively certain that if you are not careful, you end up with, not really 'yard art' but a bunch of crap in the grass. Whatever... Anyway, the tree will stay up until New Years, and then it will be banished back into the shed, awaiting the next season. It won't be all that bad, and when we take it down, we will really be surprised how big the porch is.

We headed off to Taylor this morning, and got some cattle feed, and a few other things. On the way there, the emergency pager went off (November is my month) and it went off again this afternoon. Not too bad, no fires or anything, just a couple maintenance issues that could not wait until Monday. One of the issues was somewhat exacerbated by the tenant but that is another issue that will need to wait until next week. No sense getting all worked up over it now. It is always interesting to me how some folks cannot use common sense to stop or at least minimize a problem. Oh well, that is why I pay myself the big bucks. My time with the pager will be over on the first of December (for the next two months, anyway), and it has not been too much trouble. I hope by saying that I am not jinxing it.

When I got home, I put the cattle feed and the other supplies in the feed shed, and got a bale of hay loaded on the tractor to take out to the pasture. Jody, Tanya and their son Patrick were on their way out to the house, to pick up a heifer calf I had given Patrick, and the also said they could take the steer calf out to another friend in Smithville. So far, the two mamas are not making too much noise about their calves being missing, but I expect them to start bawling about dark:thirty. These are the first two calves we have given away, and I feel kind of odd about it, but that is just the way things will be. We will pretty much keep seven cows and the bull (Mr. Speckles) as our program breeding stock, and go from there. Although we did not know it as we were building this stock, we have some pretty good blood lines of cattle, and they calves that have been produced have been very nice, and are expected to show well. Live and learn!

Other than that, it has been a really calm day, and that has been good. The cattle have been fed, the new hay bale is back there, and I am pretty much in for the day. I think Jody (the Tanya and Patrick Jody, not my Jody) is going to do some dozer work for us also, if it ever dries up. I think we are going to contour some of the land in the pastures to make a couple more tanks; one in each of the pastures that does not have a tank. Hopefully, that will also help with the drainage of the rain water so it will not just pool, it will drain in to the tanks. I hope anyway...

I think tomorrow we will probably go into Georgetown for a little while. Chick-Fil-A is having a mint chocolate chip milk shake special, so I think I will take Jody into town and surprise him with one of those. He loves mint chocolate Chip, and he had that for his spoiler last week at Dairy Queen. Maybe we will work a little bit of shopping in to the mix as well. know the drill...Deeds, Actions, Kindness, Changes, FUN!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirty...

Before and After...I'll bet you will have a hard time telling which is which. In case you still can't figure it out, the photo below is also a 'before and after'...after I finished my dinner but before the plate was put down for the dog. That after photo would probably have been a more genteel photo for this post. It seems we chose to indulge in a high carbohydrate dinner today...turkey, dressing, sweet baked potatoes, mixed vegetables, cranberries, rolls, gravy. Pie will be later, as will the scavenging of the turkey. It was a delicious dinner, and it has been a beautiful day here. We hope you have many things to be thankful for, and tht you count your blessings every day.

We got up sort of late, and the morning newspaper was huge, stuffed with every imaginable kind of sales advertisement you could think of. Nothing really struck me in the sales department, I truly do not need a thing. I will, however, be going out later today to Michael's (the hobby kind of store) to get some LED Christmas lights. They are on sale, buy one, get one half-price, AND you get 25% off your purchase today from 5 til 9. So, even though one of my goals for today was to NOT start the car, this is something I will do. You see, Jody and I have this huge artificial Christmas tree (how we ended up with it is another story) and we put it up (for the first time) out on the front porch this morning. It is a pre-lit tree, but many of the lights are not working on it, and I worked for a couple hours on it trying to get the lights to work, but I think it will be easier just to string new lights on it and be done with it. Hence, the trip into Georgetown later to get the lights...and they are LED lights, so that is even that much better.

Tomorrow morning, I need to go into Taylor to get some cattle feed, and make a stop at Tractor Supply. Then I will be spending the rest of the day (probably) at the house feeding cattle and taking a fresh bale of hay out to them. They were looking pretty good this morning when I went back there to check on them. All is well.

I think there is a football game tonight, and the Horns are meeting the Aggies in College Station. All the predictions are for a Longhorn victory, and I am never too sure about UT. I hate to get my hopes up too high, for fear of jinxing them. The game does not start until 7 PM, so I expect I will not know the outcome of the game until I go out for the newspaper tomorrow morning.

The last week of November in Central Texas, the high temperature today was in the low 70's, but it was chilly this morning, down in the 40's. Still no hard freezes predicted, and that is the way I like it. Callas are blooming, along with several varieties of lillies, Irises, petunias, pansies, and geraniums, to mention a few. It is really very pretty, and it was really quiet around here today.

Our friend Mike called from Florida earlier this afternoon, and they were all doing wonderfully well. He had just put the Turkey in the oven, so they should be sitting down for dinner right about now. He said they got about three inches of rain yesterday, and they really needed it. We are supposed to get rain here on Sunday, and we really DO NOT need it. We need to dry out for another couple weeks, and then gentle showers would be very much appreciated, thank you for asking!

Kindness, Deeds, Actions, Changes, FUN!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Nine...

Let the Holidays begin! We closed the office at 2 o'clock this afternoon, and I actually left before that. Carrie worked from home today, Tom is on vacation, and our other agents mostly work from home. That meant River and I were in the office by ourselves...the only calls were few and far between, and most were not happy campers...folks looking for places to move to 'as soon as possible', which breaks down to someone elses problem! Not mine... ANYWAY, I got a few pieces of business done, and crossed several items off my to-do list...there are things on that list that have been there for several list-changes, but I will eventually get around to those things. No big deal since I have no plans to go out of town anytime soon. On the way home, I stopped at the Sprouts Market in Round Rock, and picked up our Thanksgiving feast (the package included a pumpkin pie, so that makes a total of four pies for this Holiday alone, but I am not complaining), and as long as I was there, I picked up a loaf of raisin cinnamon bread and a couple cinnamon rolls for breakfast in the morning. We have plenty of food in the house for the two of us. Okay, we had plenty of food in the house for the two of us BEFORE I stopped and got this, but you know what I mean. I hope EVERYONE has a wonderful day tomorrow, and the Happiest of Thanksgivings to you all!

SO, I got to the Austin Radiological place this morning just before 8 o'clock for my appointment to have the MRI done on my knee. I am having more interesting pains in the knee than usual, pretty much ever since I visited the orthopedic guy about a week ago. Whatever... Anyway, they did not put me all the way in the MRI tunnel, so that was good. I do have a bit of claustrophobia, but at least my head was sticking out of the tunnel, so that was good. I should have started this process back when it was 108 degrees in the city, because these places are colder that a fart in a dead (fill in the blank, but I usually say Eskimo). That is allegedly the coldest thing in the world, but this is a family blog, and I am not sure if that is a slur against Eskimo's or not, but I am sure if it is I will hear about it. Where was I? Oh yeah, COLD. Naturally, I wait until the temperatures are in the forties to decide to do something that entails taking off most of your clothing, putting on a surgical robe that does not close in the back, and then laying down on a stainless steel (okay probably not, now that I think about it) table for an extended period of time. They finished just before I slipped into shock from the drain of body warmth into the table. Whatever... So, now I will go back to the orthopedist on Wednesday so they can tell me the results of the MRI, and maybe figure out a plan of action. We shall see...

The drive home was even crazier that yesterday. There can be no citizenry left in Austin, they are all in their cars heading north somewhere. I think there can be no one left within the city limits, and they all took separate cars to make their exodus. ANYWAY...I made the aforementioned stop in Round Rock and came on home. I stopped at the ONE gas station in Walburg and got gas, and that should about do it for the day. I am hoping that the cars will not even be started tomorrow, but I have big plans for the truck on Friday. I will need to go and get cattle feed, and miscellaneous stuff in honor of the BLACK FRIDAY sales. Never accuse me of not doing my part for the economy!

That is it for now...remember...kindness, actions, deeds, changes, and have FUN!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Eight...

Okay, so things might just be getting out of hand...just a little bit. This is a photo of the homemade candy that our neighbor's Irene and Randy brought us this evening. It looks like chocolate peanut clusters and chocolate pecans on a little piece of a cracker. I know one thing for sure, there is no real need for a name for anything that looks that good. We will 'dig in' after dinner tonight, and I will keep you informed. I know one thing for sure, Irene is a dynamite candy maker, as are most of the folks around here...she made us a big batch of fudge last year, and other chocolate candies, and they were all delicious. Woo-Hoo!

I got into the office really early today, that is what happens when you wake up from a sound sleep at 3 o'clock in the morning, and cannot go back to sleep. I got lots of stuff done in the home office, and the paper arrived about 4:15. Had coffee, some breakfast, and then settled in front of the television in the den and watched the morning news while I crocheted. Got ready to go to work, and I think I was in the car at 6:15 and made really good time getting to the office. I had a 9 o'clock appointment, so I ran an errand on the way to the appointment, and completed an errand on the way back to the office. I like to be able to coordinate trips to make good use of m time. An interesting note is that I was speaking with a friend of mine, Roy early this morning, and he said he had awakened at 3 o'clock also, and could not get back to sleep. Must be some phase of the moon or something.

I had a lunch 'date' with my good friend Bryan, and it was really great to sit and talk. Bryan listened with great interest about all my recent maladies, and all the new places that I have recently found hair growing, and those sort of things. I think he may have been taking notes; pay attention, this is what happens when you get old! Bryan kind of admitted to kind of - sort of being a germ-o-phobe, and that his big fear presently if to get the flu. He says he goes through a LOT of hand sanitizer! We have not had a chance to visit in a really long time. After lunch, we just sat in the restaurant and continued to play catch-up (not ketchup or catsup), and as we were leaving, I asked Bryan if he had time make one stop with me before going back to the office. He did, and so we headed off to the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), to pick up the pies I had ordered from the Texas Pie Kitchen. It is too late for Thanksgiving, but I highly recommend the Texas Pie Kitchen for your pie needs. Visit and place your order. DELICIOUS! Anyway the ARCH presents a different kind of reality, and neither Bryan or I were totally prepared for it. My friend Jen works there, and she is in charge of the pies, so she came down from her office to make the delivery. I told her she was a better person than I, and she complimented me and said she doubted it very much. Anyway, Bryan was really caught off guard, because many of the clients there did not seem to be the picture of health, so we grabbed the pies and made a hasty retreat. If you need to be brought back down to reality, I suggest you try volunteering for a day at the will be a better person after the experience.

Okay, so then we headed back to the office, and Bryan left, and we agreed to have lunch again next month. I was busy working away at my desk, and I had a call from the (I hope I have this correct) Education Committee Chair Person for the New Braunfels Board of REALTORS. We scheduled a teaching gig for me next June...three days of GREEN in New Braunfels. After that telephone call, I had another call from the Association Executive there in New Braunfels, and everything is confirmed. I am really happy about that, it will be a great experience, and I am really looking forward to it.

Okay, so now the afternoon was winding down, and it was time for me to head to the house. TRAFFIC WAS A NIGHTMARE! Everyone decided to leave for grandma's house a day early, and they did not tell me. Whatever...

Kindness, Deeds, Actions, Changes, FUN! And, I think we could throw in some volunteering too, while we are at it. 'Tis the season!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Seven...

Hey Kids, What Time Is It? Well, of course, it is PIE TIME! I was at a meeting today, and one of the women attending the meeting said 'from here on out til the end of the year, all I do is eat'. Well, welcome to the club. This pie was a gift from our friend (and mortgage broker) Dawn. She does this every year at this time, and this year we chose pumpkin. I think we chose pumpkin last year also, but we are nothing if not predictable. Yum, PIE! Kind of brings out the Homer Simpson in us all! Could be worse...

So, my meeting today was very interesting, and it went from 9:30 until about 3:30, with lunch and a couple breaks in the middle. Interesting stuff I have to say, and it is giving me a whole new way of thinking about things. THINKING is the key word in that sentence.

During the meeting, I was inundated by semi-emergencies...the kinds of emergencies that have to do with window screen challenges on a sales transaction that is scheduled to close in a few days (remember the four day weekend thrown in there, too) and HVAC system repairs that may or may not have been accurately diagnosed originally, and other issues with just not being able to respond to calls in an acceptable amount of time (all relative to who is calling and how important the return call is, in my opinion). AND, there are issues of civility, assumptions, perceptions (possibly the most important of all) and manners and etiquette. I am still working towards making our society (that includes you) a kinder, gentler and more civil one. It all starts with us. I am trying to go twenty-four hours without becoming terribly annoyed at the person in the car next to, in front of, behind, or under me. I have, on occasion, been diagnosed with 'Impulsive Explosive Disorder' (or IED) which is the technical term for road rage, or so I read in the National World News in the checkout lane at HEB several months ago. Whatever... Anyway, once I master that, I feel like I will have a good base to go forward with my quest to make the world more tolerant. I will let you know how that all works out.

No real issues on the way home this afternoon. I am listening to a new book on CD, it is called 'Water for Elephants'. I am on about the fifth chapter, and so far I am finding it a very interesting book. Very interesting. It is told from the point of view of a man 23 years old, and the same man at 90 (or 93, he is not sure), when he is in an assisted living center. Very interesting.

No meetings tomorrow, but I do have a 9 o'clock appointment, and then lunch with a very dear friend (Bryan), and then errands to take care of and the other things that we do to fill up our days. Tomorrow will finish the 'hump' day towards Thanksgiving, and I am really looking forward to the long weekend, even though I intend to do a lot of work (catch-up) while I am taking it easy. Wonderful!

Remember; kindness, deeds, actions, whirled peas, changes, and FUN!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Six...

Today was the day for the Austin Empty Bowl Project. I arrived to volunteer at about 8:15, and there were already about a dozen people in line. My job was to be an outside greeter, and pass out programs. I decided to make it a little bit interesting, and tried to get everyone in line to be courteous and well mannered. The bottom line to that was that everyone was required to say 'please'; example, 'Would you like a program? Yes, please.' There, what is so tough about that? Throughout the morning, I explained to people that I was just trying to make our world (the line to get inside the building) a kinder and gentler place, and that they were all there today to do a good thing, and that it is the simple things that will ultimately make our world a kinder and gentler place. Most folks were in a really good mood, and they willingly went along with the schtik...there were a few folks that were not wanting to play, and one woman even told me she was 'not a child'. WELL! And to top that all off, I was outside a Starbucks later in the day, and a sign in the window said 'I wish adults could remember back when they were children.' PERFECT. ANYWAY, towards the end of my volunteer shift, Carrie and I met a new friend whose name is Drace. We pulled him out of the line and asked if he would have his picture taken with us, and I asked him if it was okay for me to post his photo on the blog. He gave me his permission, and I later went back and found his mom and asked her permission as well, and I gave them the web-site address. So, if you are out there reading this, Hi Drace and Mom, I hope you got some great bowls today. Thanks for being there!

Afterwards, I had work to do, and when I got home, I had to feed the cattle and take a fresh bale of hay out to them. All the cattle were happy to see me, if not just a little bit impatient to get at the feed. Then Jody and I went into Georgetown to the new Sprouts grocery store, and ordered our Thanksgiving dinner. Our friends Lynda and Michale told Jody about it while were were all attending the first Austin Empty Bowl Project Preview Party. That was a lot of fun, and we all had a big time.

Of course, this will be a short week, and there is lots of stuff to do before it will be time to settle down for a long weekend. Life goes on, and we are almost all over-shceduled. Just part of living.

Okay, so try and do a kind thing for someone who does not expect it of you. It does not take much, maybe just a kind word...a 'please' or a 'thank you'. You never know. Try to make some small change in your life that will make the entire world a better place for all of us. And, remember to have FUN!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Five...

Rain rain, go away...come again some other day...LIKE IN ABOUT A MONTH, IF YOU DON'T MIND! Okay, I know, we have short term memory, BUT where I live, we have had enough rain. We have truly gone from one extreme to another. We have had LOTS of rain in the past two months or so, so much rain that the fields cannot be planted, the hay in the fields cannot be cut and baled, and most of the fields we expect will just lay fallow for the winter. Our neighbor Michael came and baled the hay that he had cut a couple weeks ago (to try and get that done before it rained again) and this photo is of one of the fresh bales and the cattle looking weak and starved...neither of which they are in reality. If we could get one good dry week, with a little (okay a lot of) sunshine, and some good breezes, we could maybe cut the rest of the pastures and bale the rest of the hay. See what you can do for us on your end, we will appreciate it greatly! AND, places in Austin (50 miles south) really need the rain, it is CRAZY!

My friend Diane (who I have not talked with in a couple years) gave me a call this morning. We have been stalking each other on FaceBook, but had not had a chance to talk. Anyway, Jody and I are going to a preview party for the Empty Bowl Project tonight (and I am a volunteer for the event tomorrow) and she has her eye on a couple of the celebrity bowls, and I am bidding for them in her stead. She has a limit, but I won't divulge that here, in case we (whoever you may be out there in blog-o-land) are pitted against one another. I will let you know how it all works out next week. So, we will be leaving the house this afternoon about 4:30, and work our way into Austin, with a few side stops here and there. The event starts at 6, so we should have plenty of time to get everything done, and arrive about 6:30.

Jody and I went into Georgetown this afternoon, and stopped at the Collector's Market, made a few changes to the stock, and then headed off to the Dairy Queen for our weekly spoiler. Stopping by the Collector's Market was really just a thinly veiled excuse for getting anywhere close to the Dairy Queen. REALLY!

When we got home, Michael came back over and we went and looked at some things that he may try to get started for us in the next week or so...running a water line out to the back pasture, and running electricity out to the pasture (for an electric fence connection) and to the feed barn and to the big long as we are running electrical cable, you might as well do it all at once. Then I went over to his grandparents house with him and visited with Pauline and Hubert and Michael's wife Abby, and of course, the main event is the baby, JACKSON. He is just six months old, but he is a really sweet and a really cute little kid. I held him for about three or four minutes (breaking my old record of child holding by about twice) and then we headed over to the house he is building across the street. It is a great place, and I know that he is proud to be able to say that he did almost all the construction by himself (with Hubert's help, too). Quite an accomplishment. They want to be in the house before Christmas, and I think they can get there. The house may not be 100% finished, but is any house ever really finished?

So, time for me to get up and start getting started to get started. Kindness, Deeds, Whirled Peas, Actions, Changes, FUN!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Four...

Okay, I am temporarily back in the office. I had a Professional Standards Hearing at the Board of REALTORS this morning, and it was a very interesting case. I have always really enjoyed the things that I have learned by being on the Grievance Committee and the Professional Standards Committee, and I have learned how to be a better REALTOR by being on those committees. You learn (in pretty much everyday language) what to do to be a better agent to those that I serve.

I made it back to the office at about 1:30 this afternoon, and I had a telephone conference scheduled at 2:30, so I had just a few minutes to do some power-real-estate before the conference call. This was the second conference call in as many days, so I am hoping for a break from conference calls in the near future.

When I woke up this morning, it had rained a little bit at the house, I am thinking about an eighth of an inch of rain had fallen overnight. I made it to the Board of REALTORS and it rained on me most of the way. When I left the Board, it was raining pretty briskly, and again it has quit raining again as I write this. We REALLY need rain in certain parts of the area, but we DO NOT need more rain out at our house. We have had plenty, thank you very would be nice if it would quit raining for about a month at our house, and then a nice moderate rain every week or so would be very much appreciated.

The very best part of my day today was when I pulled into the driveway at the house. I am truly a lucky person, and no matter how difficult or challenging the drive home is, I always know that I am headed to that tranquil place where Jody is. AND, that is pretty much enough for me!

NOW, traffic was somewhat entertaining on the trip home tonight. I began my campaign of intolerance a mere mile or so away from the office. People should determine which lane it is hey need o be in before they are forced to make a decision that is not of their choosing...instead of bullying their way into the lane that I am occupying (including the space that I am occupying in that lane). I sit and wait my turn like a good citizen, only to be practically pushed out of the way by someone (gender need not be divulged) ho is a poor time management person. We should all just leave a little earlier, and that way we will all be in less of a hurry.

AND it was raining pretty much all the way home tonight. When I got home, we had over an inch and a quarter in the gauge, so that means we have had over an inch of rain since I left this morning. Looks like I will need to call our hired men and tell them there will be no yard work this weekend...unless we have a BIG drying spell, which is unlikely, since there is a big green, yellow and red blob heading our way from San Antonio. Hopefully, the lakes will get some rain and rise significantly. We shall see...

Deeds, Actions, Kindness, FUN...and don't forget the empty bowl project on Sunday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Three...

This is a photo of the cheese danish our neighbor Pauline brought to us last night. It was (and will continue to be until we finish it) absolutely delicious. Have I told you lately how much we truly enjoy living in the country? We are just happy as a couple of clams. On the way home from the office today, I was greeted by about four bales (not really sure, it was pretty dark) of fresh hay. Michael (our neighbor and Pauline and Hubert's Grandson) had cut a couple swipes through the pasture a couple weeks ago, but it was too wet and he did not want to tear up the coastal, so he just left it for a while. Well, it is supposed to rain again tomorrow, so I guess they decided they had better try and bale it while they had the chance, since we do not know when it will be dry again. Thus, the old 'make hay while the sun shines' adage.

I have had a lot of comments about my knee since my posts of the last couple days. Really folks, it is not as bad as it may sound. Remember, I have been putting up with this inconvenience for a couple years, and I just decided to take the plunge and see what was going on. Now, I am just going through all the bureaucratic stuff, and that is the most painful part. My knee is only painful when I walk...or sit...or sleep...or whatever. But it is not catastrophic pain. BUT I really appreciate all the nice comments and well wishes. If they decide to amputate or anything, I will let you know, and seek other opinions. As for now, I just gimp along for a little while...once I get moving, it is relatively okay. I really appreciate all the kind words and thoughts though, thanks!

My friend Dawn made a status update on her FaceBook page that she had left her cell phone at home, and she was hoping that all of her Meals-on-Wheels clients would be home. Well, today was Meals-on-Wheels for me, too, and one of my clients was not at home, so that is what I had for lunch. It was something like a breaded and baked fish patty, some spinach, macaroni and cheese, a piece of wheat bread, an apple, a packet of butter and a small serving of 1% milk...AND...a packet of ketchup. Now, I like ketchup with just about everything, but I am not sure everyone would appreciate ketchup with a fish patty...but it was good. Oh, and there was a nice apple, too. I also have some concerns that one of my clients is not in really great health...there was kind of a vigil going on at his home today, and the relatives told me he was 'very ill'. He also has a developmentally challenged grandson that he takes care of, so if anything bad happens, that will affect many lives. I really love delivering Meals-on-Wheels, it is a good thing to do, more people should try.

I had a conference call this afternoon, and that lasted about an hour, from 3 until 4 o'clock. I have another one tomorrow beginning at 2:30. Also, I have a Professional Standards hearing at the Board of REALTORS in the morning, and I am not sure how long that will last. I will be winding down as vice-chair of that committee, and I think I have about five more hearings to try and get completed between now and the end of the year.

If you are in the Austin area, please try to attend the Austin Empty Bowl project on Sunday, from 11AM until 3PM (I think). For details, go to, and you can get all the information. I great charitable event, which benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. Try to make it!

Kindness, Deeds, Actions, Changes, FUN!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty Two...

Okay, the sad news is this: I am officially 'IN THE SYSTEM'. I knew I should not seek medical advice for 'what ails me' but I did it anyway, and now I am trapped in bureaucratic crap. I got the results from the four x-rays I had taken yesterday, and reported that in yesterdays post. I had an appointment with an Orthopedic specialist this morning at 8:20...finally was taken into a cold room at 9, and the Doctor came in at about 9:20. In between being placed in the cold room and being instructed (not sure that is the right word) to put on the pair of paper shorts I was handed, another person came in and said 'x-rays'. So, I asked if they wanted to know if I had already had some, dis I want to have more, or if they wanted me to have more. The guy thought I was some kind of comedian, but I was led down the hall to an equally cold room, placed in many different positions and laid down (in various positions) on yet another stainless steel slab that they call an x-ray device of some sort.

Okay, I was then led back to the first cold room, and eventually the doctor came in. He seems to be a very nice and capable person. I got up on the examination table, and he turned and twisted my leg seeing just how many ways he could make it hurt. AND, he came up with several! So, now the new diagnosis is multi-faceted: A bit of arthritis, a dislocated knee cap, a bone spur, significant muscle atrophy and something else that I can't really remember right now. I asked if I should get a second opinion, and he said, 'Okay, you're ugly too'! Ba-Dump-Bump...

Now, this is where the system part comes into the picture. I have ANOTHER appointment to go to Austin Radiological Associates (where I was yesterday) to have an MRI and then another appointment to go back to the Orthopedic guy after that. I am not certain that the process will ever end. I am in Medical Purgatory. HELP ME!

Believe it or not, I got an incredible amount of work done, and life is good. Previous reports to the contrary, I am a very lucky man, most likely the luckiest man on the planet. What of it?

So, shortly I will be heading home for the day. What a wonderful thought that is. Can you believe it? A week from tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Where have the 321 days before this one this year gone? Hmmm...

Kindness, deeds, actions, FUN!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty One...

It was a busy day today...I made it to the office about 7:45 this morning, and just after 8 o'clock I was at Austin Radiological Association for x-rays of my left knee. I was back at the office before 9 (I made a stop to buy shoe laces, but the only had black, I still need to find brown), and worked on lots of stuff before heading out to Marie Calendar's for the NARPM Luncheon. I made it back to the office at about 1:30, and then at 1:50 I headed out to the eye doctor. It seems my prescription has not changed (in my old age it seems I have 'stabilized') and I am now wearing bi-focal contact lenses. I tried these several years ago, and they were not satisfactory. My optometrist said there had been good advances in them, so I am trying them again...but I am not happy and I do not think they will work. I am going to just get my regular contact lens prescription filled, and I will wear reading glasses for close up stuff. Not an issue.

I got the results back from the knee x-rays, it seems I have been diagnosed with 'minimal hypertrophic bone spurring off the patella'. Whatever...and I am not sure of the spelling. What that all means is, I have an appointment with an Orthopedist tomorrow morning at 8:20, and I expect they will begin treatment with a cortisone shot, and see if that will fix it...otherwise, I expect there will be some routine surgery to correct the issue. Two years is long enough to have to deal with this, so now I have made up my mind to get this fixed. I also went on the Internet and looked my diagnosis up, and it made references to anything from bone spurs under the knee cap to a dislocated knee cap (which makes more sense to me than a bone spur) to canine arthritis. Whatever...We shall see...

We are having our Property Management meeting tomorrow instead of Thursday, so that will just mean a little bit of schedule adjusting. No Worries.

Jody made beef stew for dinner tonight, so that smells yummy in the kitchen. We had the chance of a light freeze last night, but it did not happen. We have a better chance of a freeze tonight, but I am not too concerned about it. I think we will survive. We will not be below freezing for more than a couple hours, so I am not expecting anything catastrophic to happen. I guess I will know better tomorrow!

It is about time for dinner, so I will close this post for now. I will let you know what happens tomorrow, really not too concerned about it. Try to be kind, patient, helpful, considerate, changeable and FUN!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twenty...

Okay, I pretty much did not do ANYTHING today that would be of interest to ANYONE (maybe not even me). But I did have a really great day. My theme today is 'I DON'T CARE' and one day soon, my goal will be to answer every question that is posed to me by saying 'I DON'T CARE'. Whatever...I mean I don't care.

We did have a great office meeting this morning with our staff and agents, setting goals for 2010. We talked about the company Vision and our Mission Statement. Carrie (my BP) did a great job presenting the information, and we are expecting it all to be a win-win situation for everyone. I hope so. To this I will not respond 'I don't care' because I do very much care!

The photo in this post is nothing more than a corner of my desk at home. See, I told you I did nothing too exciting today, certainly nothing exciting enough to take a picture of it. Another goal I have in the near future is to do nothing, and run out of time to get it all done, so I will have to finish doing nothing the next day. I like goal setting!

After the meeting, Tom (our PM) and I went to visit one of our managed properties, and then I did more office stuff, and then I left for home. There is a lot of work to do between now and the end of the year, and the social circuit is just starting, and that is always a crazy time. FUN but CRAZY; I don't care!

I am going to have my eyes examined tomorrow (I know you probably think I should start with my head, and work my way down to my eyes), but it has been a long time since my last exam, and it is time to do it. Then, I am scheduled to have an x-ray of my knee done. I have been having pain in my left knee for, oh, a couple years now, and I finally broke down and asked my doctor what I should do, so x-ray is the first step. I actually mentioned it to him at my last physical, but I don't think he was taking me seriously (imagine that), so I really do not blame him at all, totally my fault. So, I also am working towards being in better physical shape in 2010 as well, ergo the eye exam and x-ray.

Jody is making pork chops for dinner tonight, and we are going to split one. Tomorrow is the NARPM Austin Chapter luncheon, and I am planning on having the salad bar for lunch...we will have to see what they are offering, actually...I don't care! I think it is very interesting that Jody and I quite often can get two or more dinners from a package of food that says it is a dinner for two...I am not sure 'two what' but...I don't care! Part of our (the US population) problem is that we are all eating way too much...I don't think it is all that much about WHAT we are eating, it is just that the portion sized are so big. But, well, I don't care.

That is just about it for today, try to do a good deed, make someone feel better about themselves, make a small change that will benefit all of us, and Have Fun!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day Three Hundred Nineteen...

I'M HOME! Yippee! Okay, so I like going places, and I had a wonderful experience at the NAR Convention in San Diego, but I am really happy to be home. I miss my home when I am gone, and I miss Jody. BUT, no more travelling for me (for any length of time) until the end of January. So, I am a happy man right now. Okay, so you might think this is odd, especially since I spent most of the day crocheting. I got to the airport this morning and spend about an hour-and-a-half waiting for my plane to leave. I got a cup of coffee (since the Hotel restaurant had a 'few' people not show up for their shifts) and a Egg, Cheese and Sausage Bagel (which were both very good, at about a-third of the cost it would have been at the Hotel, and then went to the gate to await departure. I opened up my back pack and took out my crocheting, and started working. When they called my flight, I put it away, got on the plane and waited until we were taxiing away before I got it out and started again. I crocheted all the way to Austin, and just about used up the entire skein of yarn (244 yards). BUT, even though you all might think that was an odd thing to see, even more odd was the GROWN MAN CARRYING HIS PILLOW AROUND with him in the airport and on the plane. He sat in front of me on the plane. Okay, I could well be the pot calling the kettle black, but I think it is a lot more odd to see a grown man carrying around his security pillow that it is for someone to see me crocheting in a public place. I am most likely setting myself up for octo-criticism here, but there you go. Whatever... Anyway the photo for today's post is at the baggage claim at the Austin Airport, lots of giant sized guitars for the 'Live Music Capital of the World'.

So nice to be home. I got home, gave hugs all around to Jody and the dog (the cat is never that glad to see me), and then I changed my clothes and Jody and I went out and fed the cattle and put out a fresh bale of hay for them. Mr. Speckles was out there giving the neighbors bull a good 'talking to' but when he saw us with the feed he reluctantly abandoned his 'bull session' and came up and fed. They are all doing well, and seemed glad to have some 'kibble'. The weather for the next seven days does not predict any freezing weather, but that is not too far off, and next weekend I will need to spend some time insulating the stand pipes, and getting things around the farm ready to survive the infrequent freezes we will have. It will not be too difficult, but I am happier being safe and taking care of the pipes and water outlets around the place.

Jody is in the kitchen making dinner, and afterwards, I will most likely call it an early evening. We have several fresh tomatoes from our tomato plants, and they look really good. I have already unpacked my bags, and all I have to do is gather up stuff to take into the office tomorrow and get some stuff organized, and it will be pretty much like I was never gone.

Remember, if it is not too much trouble, see if you can't do something nice for someone who is not expecting it from you. A kind word or a thoughtful deed is really not that difficult, and it can really make a difference in someones day. There is a thread going around on FaceBook about, between now and Thanksgiving, try to verbalize what it is you are thankful for, and let every one know it. I AM THANKFUL FOR JODY AND OUR LIFE TOGETHER. Try to make some small change in your life that will make the world a better place for all of us. And...remember to Have Fun!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day Three Hundred Eighteen...

To the victors go the spoils. I should be ashamed of myself, but I'm not. I had three classes today, two of them were TOTALLY EXCELLENT, and one was not-so-good, but that is not a bad average. Between classes, I trolled the trade show, and this time I knew where the stuff I wanted was lurking, and I systematically worked those spots. I have a partner in crime (my friend and colleague Socar) who was working the room with me. We both did pretty well. It is amazing, if you want a REALTOR to show up at a function, just provide free food. Today, I felt like a shark circling a meal, and that I had not fed in weeks...MONTHS! It kind of became a game, but I have some useful stuff that I can use in my business, and some other stuff that I can pass out when I get back to my office.I also had my photo taken with Anne Marie Howard, the very gracious and kind lady that is the national spokesperson for the National Association of REALTORS. You have to hand it to her...she was accosted by REALTORS for three hours during this convention, and she always had a smile on her face, she is definitely a class act!

I also saw William Shatner (did not get within 35 feet of him) and he seemed to be very gracious and sincere. Folks were standing in line to get their photo taken with him, and to get a copy of his book. By that time I was too tired to stand in line, so I didn't. Oh, yesterday I did see the guy that was the star of 'Slumdog Millionaire' in the Hotel here is San Diego. Perhaps a little bit taller than I would have expected, but otherwise, her looks pretty much just like he did in the movie, and I first became aware of him from the BBC television series 'Skin' (I think that is the name of it). Anyway, that is pretty much it for my stargazing in San Diego.

As I said, two of my classes were excellent, and they were both on memory enhancement. 'Discovering your Memory Power' and 'Winning the Name Game'. I am looking forward to putting some of this information to good use in my real estate practice and my everyday life. I found I actually have an excellent memory, I am just a poor listener!

It is just about five o'clock in San Diego, and I am again totally exhausted. I am thinking about an early dinner, packing, watching some TV and then calling it a night. I will be leaving the Hotel at 7AM, and getting on a 9 o'clock flight back home tomorrow, and I will be happy to be home...I am missing Jody, even though we have talked on the telephone several times since I have been here. I am just an old 'I wanna be at home' person, which is wonderful when you have a home as wonderful as ours! Have I mentioned to you lately that I am the luckiest person in the world? Well, I am!

Okay, that is enough for this post. Remember, Kindness, Change, Deeds, Whirled Peas and FUN!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day Three Hundred Seventeen...

This is the view from my Hotel room, and if you know what you are looking at, you can see some water off in the distance. There was a MUCH BETTER view in the building across the street from my Hotel (if you know what I mean) but all good things have to come to an end! ;-)

A much better day today, but I am totally tired. I should be in bed by now, but it is not even seven o'clock here in San Diego. These shocks to my system are not being welcomed by my body clock. Charlie Gibson is just now finishing the world news, and I am thinking about calling it a day! I attended two classes today, and saw lots of people I know from Austin. Tomorrow I have three classes planned, and I am really looking forward to them. I think tomorrows classes will be more beneficial to me than the ones I sat in on today. After the classes, the Trade Show portion of the conference opened (at 4 o'clock) and I walked all up and down the trade show. Lots of interesting products and usually I have to walk through the thing first, think about stuff, and maybe I will go back tomorrow and buy a couple things. I have my eye on a couple things that I may go back and get...I'll let you know.

I have been able to keep up with what is going on back at the office, and it is good that there have been no real traumas, and nothing that cannot wait until I get back to the office on Monday. Jody said he went back to the pastures this afternoon, and took a count and all the cattle were accounted for and all looked happy. I think it is cooler here than in Austin, and I believe the humidity is much lower than in Austin. I have met some nice folks from different parts of the country, and that is always a nice thing.

There was a slow-speed police chase going on this morning on the local news channel. It ended up well, it was an older gentleman in a Prius, must have been disoriented. He was taken to a relatives home, and I just heard he has been ordered to re-take his driving test within three days. Interesting...

Okay, this is it for today...

Deeds, Kindness, Changes, FUN!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixteen...

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days...I am in a good mood, I am in a bad mood...I have no patience is the main issue. The day started out well, just as the past three days this week. I was up early again, and made it into the office by about 7 o'clock. We were in the middle of owner's statements, and I needed to get my statements approved. I went to my closing at 9 o'clock, and that had its' ups and downs, but everything worked out perfectly. The closing officer could not remember my name, so instead of just not guessing what my name was, she would just make up a name, and hope that was my got to be kind of ridiculous, but it was just one of those name was not the important one! The closing ended, and I headed back to the office...I was truly over scheduled, so I called and cancelled my delivery of Meals-on-Wheels (and I feel very badly about that). Did more work at the office, and headed off to the airport. This is a photo of the aisle in the airplane...I was not sure if I would have a photo for this post.

When we landed in San Diego, my checked bag was not there, but someone else had taken it off the carousel and they were holding it in security. They acted like it was all my fault, but I was there with all the other people from my flight, and everyone else was getting their baggage, so I have NO IDEA how I missed my bag. Whatever...then, the Shuttle got me on board, and they decided to drive around the airport in circles for a while (trolling for more customers), and I finally got to the Hotel. Once there, there was ONE person working the check-in and there were dozens of folks waiting to check in. This Hotel it TOTALLY TOO COOL for me, but I have to admit the room is nice, as you can see from these two photos. I wanted to head out to the convention sight, and noticed that the in-room safe did not work, so I reported that, and they told me I had to wait and they would send someone from Security to fix it. He has come and gone twice, and now they are gone again. I told him I did not want to wait around in this room all night, and he said he would be right back. HE IS STILL NOT BACK, that was twenty-five minutes ago, and I AM STARVING. They made a squeaky noise about moving me to another room, but I have already unpacked and I do not want to pack everything up to move. In your opinion, do you think I am being unrealistic? Am I just too finicky? Should I just shut up and forget about it all? Have another glass of wine? OR WHINE? Whatever you say, I will take your advice.

I am done.

Kindness...Changes...Actions...Whirled Peas...FUN!

Oh yeah, I am at teh National Association of REALTORS Convention in San Diego, and I am looking forward to some good classes and to learning lots of stuff in the next three days! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifteen...

Veterans Day; the day we TRY to remember and thank those who sacrificed so that the rest of us can take our blessings for granted. A very sincere 'thank you' to all who have served our country, made us all safer, and allow us to enjoy the freedoms that we all share.

I finished up the third day of the Green Class at the Board of REALTORS, and it was evident that most of the people in the class were ready for it all to be over. Three days of classroom instruction for people who are not used to sitting in the same place all day is a commitment and a challenge. It all went well, though, and everyone in the room (I believe) walked away with more knowledge and insight into how to deal with clients interested in buying a green product.

I am heading for San Diego tomorrow afternoon, and I hope to take some good classes there and get some good knowledge to bring back. Again, this is only my second time to the NAR conventions, but I really enjoyed the first one, and I am really looking forward to this one. I probably should have gone earlier in the week, but I had made the commitment to teach classes, so I was delayed somewhat.

Jody has mice in his car now...he took his car in for service, and there are little critters living in his car. I guess they went from my car to his car...I just need them to go somewhere else and forget about it. The garage smells of moth-balls, trying to discourage the pests from feeling too comfortable in his car. We shall see what happens.

We are heading out for dinner tonight, and we are going to El Patron in Georgetown. They have really good Tex-Mex, and we always like going there. Michale came by the house this afternoon and tried to cut some hay, but it is still too wet...he will come back in a few days, and maybe by the time I get back from San Diego, I will have a fresh supply of hay for the cattle. That will be interesting, to see how much hay we get from this cutting.

Okay, that is it for now...Kindness, Deeds, Changes, FUN!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fourteen...

This is a synopsis of the class I have been teaching for the last two days (copied and pasted from the National Association of REALTORS web-site): The National Association of REALTORS® created NAR’s Green Designation to provide ongoing education, resources and tools so that real estate practitioners can successfully seek out, understand, and market properties with green features. The course curriculum requires completion of a 12hr Core Course and a 6hr Elective Course in either residential, commercial, or property management. All courses are available in live lecture and online formats. NAR’s Green Designation gives designates the tools to become a community leader and resource in sustainable issues. Tomorrow I will be instructing the GREEN Residential Elective Course, and then the attendees will be eligible to apply for their Designations. It was a great class today, although there is a lot of information to provide in twelve hours. Tomorrow will be a busy day again, but I think, overall, the class was very successful, and I think the learners got a lot of good information, and will be able to go out and speak more knowledgeably about Green Issues with their clients. I am happy with the way the day went!

Once again, this is going to be a crazy busy week. I will be glad when next week is here, because I like to do more at home than just sleep. I will finish the Green Elective class tomorrow, come home, sleep, get up on Thursday (hopefully I will have packed my bags on Wednesday night), go to a closing Thursday morning, deliver my Meals-on-Wheels route late Thursday morning, have a property management meeting in the office, HOPEFULLY go to the bank, and then head off to the airport and get on a shiny Southwest plane to San Diego. It is crazy to think I need to go out of town to get some rest! was/is a beautiful day in Central Texas, springtime temperatures, lots of sunshine, and associating myself with nice people all around. Who could ask for anything better? I am a lucky man.

Kindness, Actions, Changes, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day Three Hundred Thirteen...

Today was an excellent day...I was up WAY early (as I expected I would be) and headed into Austin and arrived at the Board of REALTORS about an hour before the start of my class. I do not like getting places just in the nick-of-time...I like time to settle in, chill out, make sure everything is working...I just do not like being hurried for things. Anyway, this is a great class, nineteen folks, nineteen folks again tomorrow and a few more a few less on Wednesday. I love this class topic, which is all about Green Building and full of information about green products, energy conservation, green practices...all the stuff that I have been working towards for the last several years. You know, we all tend to gravitate to people who share our beliefs and values, and these classes act (for me) as a re-affirmation that green principles are alive and well and THRIVING in Central Texas. There are two folks from my office in the class, along with another REALTOR that I have been familiar with since my beginnings in the Industry. The first photo in this post is of my office participants (Pat and Carrie) and a colleague that I have had the pleasure of dealing with for years, Tim. The photo below is of the class, my typical shot of their BACKS, since I cannot get releases and permissions from all of them to post their photo on this site. This is just easier, and it has become something I do with every class.

After the class today, I headed off to the office to do some WORK...some 'power real estate'. I had the advantage of checking and answering e-mails throughout the day, so I did not get too far behind in my work. AND it is especially helpful to have a couple of very competent and trusted assistants in our office, Tom and River. They are excellent in what they do and they keep the 'ship' afloat when we are not around. We are lucky that they are a BIG part of our team, and they let all of us go and do what we do best...face time with prospective and current clients. Did I mention to you lately how lucky I am? I don't think so, so this is a great time to do it. I AM THE LUCKIEST PERSON IN THE WORLD!

So, I am home now, and the commute was not a terrible one, even though I got kind of a late start. It will be that way the rest of the week, even though I have kind of a short week...I will be leaving for San Diego on Thursday afternoon for the National Association of REALTORS Convention. Last year was the first time I attended, and it was very well worth it. I think there is a tremendous value to all the conventions and conferences we have available to us; local, state and national. Well worth the effort and expense to attend.

I am hungry! I have done a pretty good job of cutting back on my intake of empty calories, and I can continue for another couple of weeks and maybe another month or two. BUT, the Holidays are approaching, and I have already ordered pies! I get the greatest pies from a non-profit group, and in the next day or so, I will post their web-site address so you can take a look (if you are in the Austin area). YUMMY!

Gonna make it a short evening, I will be up early again tomorrow, and I need all the rest I can get.

Remember...deeds, actions, thoughts, kindnesses, changes, FUN!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day Three Hundred Twelve...

You should know that I spent the second half of the morning cussing. When I was not cussing with the regular cuss words that you may (or hopefully may not) be familiar with, I was making up entirely new cuss words. I developed an entirely new language of cuss words this morning, and I have to tell you that I am quite proud of myself! I was out moving cattle troughs from one pasture to another, since I thought that I would feed the cattle this morning (one of my goals for today that I reported to you yesterday). It was a really foggy morning (little did I know it was going to stay that way all day)and it was dribbly and the land here is still really wet. We actually have a little spring going down the middle of the front of the house to the middle tank. Babbling just like a brook! Anyway...the cattle are ALWAYS curious about what it is I (we sometimes) am (are) doing, and they were all congregated by the gate. Well, Mr. Speckles (the bull) and I were not seeing horn-to-horn about how the best way to get the troughs over into that pasture, but I will admit that I persevered and he went off and stuck his head into a molasses bucket, and he left me alone so I could secure the troughs.

I fed the cattle and then took a bale of hay into their pasture...feeding them first tends to occupy their time, so they leave me along while I take a bale of hay out for them and take the nylon windings off the hay. They had not eaten all the hay from last week (that must mean they were happy with the fresh grass and not starving) so I brought one of the hay rings from the other pasture into the the pasture they are in now, so they won't just waste the hay that was left from last week. Cattle are like us in that regard, they will always go for something fresh and new, and they will just crap all over hay that is just laying on the ground. If it is surrounded by a hay ring, they will eat it...if not, they will sleep in it or crap in it...there you go.

SO, on the way back to the house, I took this picture of the house, kind of looks like an English cottage (or at least the back side of one) with the fog all around. This is the middle tank that the water is babbling into. The sun has not come out all day today, and it has even spritzed rain on us a couple times. We went into Georgetown after I recovered from my cussing exhibition, and we went to Dairy Queen for spoilers. Yummy! Then we went to HEB to pick up a few things and we came home. When we got home, Jody went down for a nap, and I fast-forwarded through two movies (while I was crocheting) and when Jody got up, we watched part of Slumdog Millionaire, and turned it off out of disinterest. There was a movie on one of the broadcast channels (The Night Listener, based on a book by Armisted Maupin) and Jody watched that for a bit.

In between times, Jody and I went on a little tour of the property in the Mule. We went to the back to check out the cattle, into the front to see how high the water is in the old hand dug well, and into the middle to listen to the water babbling like a brook into the middle tank. We are easily amused! And, again, more and more things are beginning to bloom in our fabulous second spring. This is another color of the Irises that are blooming everywhere. And the Cannas are just a riot with blooms and color, It is just magnificent. Beautiful! I wish you could all see it, but you would need to remember to bring your boots.

It will be an early day for me tomorrow, teaching class Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then a closing on Thursday, Meals-on-Wheels on Thursday, PM Meeting on Thursday, and then catch a plane to San Diego, where I see the high temperatures are in the low 60's and the low temperatures are in the middle 50's. Interesting.

Kindness, actions, deeds, thoughts, changes, FUN!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day Three Hundred Eleven...

Whatever...most of you know that, deep down I am just a sophomoric juvenile, and I admit I still sometimes snicker when someone says 'wood'. Whatever... So, is it any surprise that I had to circle back and take a picture of this street sign this morning when I was on my way to class at the JJ 'Jake' Pickle Research Facility in Austin? Of course not, what are you thinking? Okay, here is what I found out about Dr. Boner:

Born: 1900, Nocona, Texas
Entered University of Texas 1916
BA Physics, 1920 (UT)
MA Physics, 1922 (UT)
Whiting Fellow, Harvard University, 1927-1928
PhD Physics, 1929 (UT)

Dr. boner accomplished the rare feat of serving at every position in the University organization, from Freshman through PhD, from Instructor to full Professor, Department Chairman, Dean and Vice President of the University.

In 1923, he spent one year in commercial radio. During this time, he developed an intense interest in sound and electroacoustics.

During the 1920’s, he worked under Professor S. L. Brown of the Physics Department. He helped build and operate the first KUT radio station, and built the first large scale public address system for Memorial Stadium. At the time, it was one of the most powerful in the United States. Sound was broadcast through 3 groups of megaphones, each measuring 10’ x 10’. Each such horn was fed by 4 loudspeakers, with 120 Watts of power. Total cost of this early system was $3,000.

During the 1930’s he served as Professor of Physics at UT, including appointment as Chairman of the Department in the late ‘30’s. During this time, he conducted extensive research on various phases of acoustics, especially in regard to the physics of organ pipes, valve construction of pipe organs, broadcast studios, architectural acoustics, and electroacoustics. He helped pioneer the design of broadcast studios and music rooms employing sound diffusing structures. The design of WFAA-KGKO Studios atop the Santa Fe Building in Fort Worth was the first such constructed in the United States (1941).

Appointed by the Federal Trade Commission to help settle disputes relating to sounds of electronic organs as compared to those of pipe organs, he devised instrumentation analyzing tonal characteristics, resulting in settlement of a major truth in advertising dispute.

The biography goes on-and-on... Whatever...

So, the reason I was at the JJ 'Jake' Pickle Research Facility (a University of Texas Facility) was to take part in the Austin Energy 'Green by Design' class. It is a first class facility to say the least, and the program was good, and I was able to pick up some information that I will be able to use in my GREEN classes next week and in the future. It was relatively painless, and it proved to be very interesting for the most part. One of the presenters was more interesting and had a better delivery style than the others, but that is always the way it is. AND, they have done this enough that they were RIGHT ON SCHEDULE the whole time. NO QUESTIONS, hold them all till the Q&A period! They stayed on schedule too, and did not deviate from the script!

So that is what I did on my Saturday, when it was a beautiful day in Austin, and there was a home UT game...I think the score was UT 35, and some team in Florida was 3. I don't know what the spread was, but probably not enough.

Tomorrow I have a few goals; feed the cattle, move a bale of hay into the pasture with them, take a look at the fences in the back pasture, go to Dairy Queen for a spoiler with Jody, and review for my classes next week. I should be able to accomplish all that, and still have time to take a nap or watch a movie. 'Slumdog Millionaire' came from NetFlix, so that sounds like something to watch tomorrow.

Kindness, Actions, Deeds, Changes, Fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day Three Hundred Ten...

Just so you know, I am boycotting unhappiness, strife, tension and mass murder. If you are looking for that, log-out and turn on the news. Pick a channel, any channel. They will have what you are looking for.

Our cooler weather and rain have brung (is that a word?) many of the flowering plants back to life. Okay, after some thought, I think the word 'brung' is not a word, and the actual word I should have used was 'brought', but I am not going to change it. Whatever... Outside the office window at the house, the cannas are a riot of color and beauty. Lots and lots of them. I went outside to take a photo, and there were also Irises blooming. Incredible. It is (again) like a second spring season, and that is perfectly okay with me. This photo is of some of the cannas around the property, and the one below is a real beauty of one of the Iris. The folks that lived here before us obviously had nothing better to do than to tend the gardens, which is NOT something we are that good at, but we are happy to reap the benefits of all their prior effort. The property is magnificent in the spring, and we are delighted with the displays this fall season.

For those of you with short-term memory issues, this is a photo of one of the Iris that are blooming all around the property. Exquisite. Today was a day of many small accomplishments. I am pretty well prepared for the classes I will be teaching the first three days of next week, and I have confirmed my flight on Thursday, and my e-mail in-box is (was) empty as of the time I left the office. I assume the e-mail-box have been assaulted several times since then, but I will do my best to keep it under control so I can stay pretty much caught up with it all before I leave on Thursday.

I will be in a class all day tomorrow, and I think it will be a good one, and it should give me some useful information for other classes I teach. I always try to take classes that can give me more (or different) information for the classes I teach. It is a class offered by the City of Austin called 'Green by Design' and it is coming at a great time, since I am teaching GREEN classes for three days next week.

Okay, this is a short post, but my tirades about happiness and beauty are obviously not as long as my tirades about the things I referenced in the first paragraph of this blog.

Kindness, Change, Deeds, Fun!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day Three Hundred Nine...

TWELVE DEAD, THIRTY-ONE INJURED, ONE SHOOTER KILLED, TWO ACCOMPLICES APPREHENDED. What in the bloody hell is going on? We live in crazy times, but I think one madman is just trying to best the last one. People are totally crazy, and they just try to 'one-up' the last horrific thing they saw on the new reports. Planning has to be taken into consideration, and heaven forfend we should try to regulate who can have access to a gun. I guess that does not matter too much if the crazy persons are members of our armed forces! Whatever... Anyway I have no good grasp on what is exactly going on up the road from us in Fort Hood, but it does not sound good. Fort Hood is about 35 miles or so from our house, and there was lots of activity on the Interstate and in the air. I saw one black helicopter following the expressway, one black helicopter (at about 100 feet) following down a Farm Road not far from the house, and three vehicles (one black with lots of flashing lights, two white vehicles, one that looked like a Winnebago, and then a white van of some sort) lights all flashing and going really fast towards Killeen (the town that Fort Hood calls home). These are strange times in which we live.

Other than that, I had a pretty nice day today. PM (Property Management, Mike!) meeting this morning, Meals-on-Wheels mid morning, and the property inspection this afternoon. In between those times, I just did ordinary office stuff, getting things finished before I teach classes next week and head for San Diego. Once I get back from San Diego, that should be the end of my roaming at least for this year. I will be going on a cruise for seven days the first week of February. It is a regular Carnival Cruise thing, but they will be offering some Mandatory Continuing Education classes on the cruise, so the whole thing will be a (monkey) business trip. Oh the pain of continuing education!

Jody and I will be heading out somewhere for dinner tonight, not sure where just yet. And I am sure there will be options, but there has not been any decision yet.

Tomorrow is Friday...YIPPEE...Whatever...I am going to get stuff ready for my classes next eek, and I will be taking a class on Saturday, something that will maybe beneficial for my lasses next week. Is that confusing you? It kinda is me!

Kindness, Compassion, Whirled Peas, Fun!