Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty Five...

Well, what about that? It is the last day of this decade, the last day of 2009. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all wondering if our computers were all going to crash and if the electric grid was going to fail with the move from 1999 to 2000. Well, we all know the answers now, and life goes on.

One year ago today, I began this blog, and it is phenomenal (to me anyway) that I have completed a post, every single day since then. It really proves that time does really fly by when you are having a good time. A whole new year of posts will begin tomorrow, so stay tuned. I do enjoy posting here, and I really think it is just like 'Seinfeld', kind of a blog about nothing!

So, for the end of the year, I just wanted to share some things with you that I have discovered this year, some things that I have realized this year, and some accomplishments I made that I am really proud of. Here goes...

Just because you have been friends with someone forever, it does not mean you have to be friends with them forever. And, even if you have only been friends with someone for a short period of time (relatively speaking), it is sometimes better to just admit defeat and go on with your life. Friendships that do not work over the long-haul are really dis-heartening, and causes some sadness, but I think it is better to just face-the-fact, and realize that, with all the extra time you have (from not working so hard on that friendship) you can make two or three new friends that are not nearly as high maintenance. So far, it is all working out okay for me.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt or Keep Your Cards Close to Your Vest! I have discovered that there is no real need to let everyone know what your are thinking every minute. It really does no good to share all your visions with friends or colleagues. It is like the old adage, 'you have to leave them wanting more'. I am not advocating that you keep secrets from your significant others, but I think you do have to draw the line. I used to tell people that, 'if I tell you everything I know, you will know everything I know'. Somewhere along the line, I quite practicing that, so I need to get back into that habit.

Other people driving down I-35 while texting and checking their e-mails are a hazard. But I am not. Okay, whatever, I will try to curtail that activity. The City of Austin is trying to legislate our behavior in that area, but I do not think that will be successful at all. What we really need is a good 'Big Brother is Watching' kind of thing, where we can all rat out each other. That will really work. Plus, I love ratting people out anonymously. What could be better than that?

In 2009 I discovered Social Networking. BUT, it is SOCIAL networking people, not another way of pitching your product all the time. I KNOW WHAT you do for a living, and I am not offended by the occasional commercial, BUT PLEASE, GET A GRIP! I want to keep up with what is going on in your life and where you live, while not actually having to speak with you in person. Is that wrong? If I wanted to purchase your product, I would do that on-line (where I still would not need to speak with you if I don't want to! On the social networking site, all I want from you is to see the pictures of your Christmas tree, your new car, your new puppy, and your new baby. That is SOCIAL.

Speaking of puppies, NEVER PASS UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO PET A DOG! As you may know, Jody and I adopted a wonderful dog over a year ago from the Williamson County Shelter, and he is absolutely about the best boy dog there ever was. I wish he could talk to me, because I know he has had an interesting life...a life full of ups-and-downs, just like all of ours. He is the sweetest dog, well behaved, timid and sometimes not so much, but a great dog. AND, he is about the biggest 'roll-over' dog you could ever find. He will lay or sit patiently while you shower him with attention, and he will give you 45 minutes to quit that. Petting a dog will get rid of any kind of unhappiness you might be experiencing at the moment. I highly recommend it!

More about puppies...It is my true belief that our dog (the Bear Dog, affectionately referred to by me as BoBo) loves me unconditionally. He is always happy to see me, no matter what I have done, or what other dogs I may have been with throughout the day. In fact, he really seems to have a grand appreciation of an occasional 'strange dog' smell on me. Really, not a jealous bone in his body. One of the reasons I consider myself to be such a lucky man is, and I profess my luck many, many times throughout the year, is that I am the recipient of unconditional love by at least a couple people in the world, and I think that is probably one or two more than the majority of people in the world. I have the unconditional love of other human beings, and they let me know that they love me unconditionally. In return, I too love them unconditionally, with all the warts and whiskers that they may have. I just don't care. There is nothing they could do that would alter my love and caring for them. PERIOD!

We are surrounded by Terror! Terror manifests itself in many different ways (one example is three paragraphs up). Our world is never going to be the same as it was before 9/11. We can only go on about our lives as best we can, and try not to let the bad guys know we fear them. We are fearful of so many things in our lives; fear of flying, fear of dentists, fear of small places, fear of failure, fear, feAR, FEAR! We fear things. I fear not being successful, among a variety of other things. I fear waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about things that might be. And, just maybe, the fear of waking up is what wakes me up. It is a vicious cycle. But, one thing is for sure, I fear...

Fewer Neighbors make Better Neighbors! I have found that to be true over the last 14 months or so, ever since Jody and I made the big move to the country. In the past (almost) 18 years, we have lived in four different places, and I think we are happier here, together, than we have been before. Each of the first three homes were surrounded with other homes and neighbors, some more dense than the others. Now, out in the country, we really only have three sets of close neighbors, and we see those neighbors more regularly, and are more likely to ask one of them for a favor than we would ever have been inclined to do before. Admittedly, we have lived in some stuffy neighborhoods, and we are not particularly that stuffy (we don't think we are, anyway), and there is NOTHING stuffy about life in the country. WE LOVE IT, and I don't think either of us are in any kind of hurry to make any changes with the life we live right now. And, we have our neighbors to thank for a good deal of those opinions.

Books on CD are a good thing. Since I have discovered them, I have probably listened to (read?) a dozen or more interesting books, everything from Fiction Best Seller's to Motivation to Self-Improvement and Leadership titles. Since my daily commute is (generally) a minimum of two hours, I can usually go through a good book in about a week. Sometimes longer, sometimes less, but always worthwhile. I am finally getting around to 'reading' some of the titles I have been given as gifts in the past, and looking forward to more in the future.

Talk Radio IS BAD! Believe me! Several months ago, I had to go cold-turkey from talk radio. I was totally a 'talk-radio' junkie, and the fact that I was in the car so much just contributed to my addiction. The 'hosts' of the various shows would occasionally make me so angry, that I could actually sense myself becoming a much more aggressive driver. I was actually making myself crazy, and I was sure to be diagnosed with Impulsive Explosive Disorder (IED), which is a new psychological disorder, also known as road rage. So, I think my boycott of many of the Austin and national favorites (you know who they are) has been a wonderful thing for me. AND, my blood pressure has certainly been reduced after making the switch!

Change is a good thing, mostly! 2009 has been a year of change for me, and most of it has been changes for the good. Thanks for noticing! I wonder what changes I will undergo in the New Year?

I am proud of many accomplishments I have made in 2009. Some involve cattle, some involve self-realization, some involve charitable endeavors, some involve my personal relationships with family and friends. The one I will 'toot' my own horn about here, is having been nominated as a Director for the Austin Board of REALTORS. I will continue to volunteer my time and energies for various committees and organizations, but this nomination by my peers is one of which I am really proud. Thanks to all of you that have had a hand in my development over the years. I amaze myself all the time about how I feel like I have changed over the past couple years. Thanks for all your help.

Another accomplishment I am proud of is my participation (and completion/graduation of) the Texas REALTORS Leadership Program. It was a long and involved process, and I learned a lot from the process. Many of the participants (there were 21 of us) were friends of mine when the process started, many I had a passing acquaintance with, and a few I knew not at all. BUT, by the time the classes were completed, and we were actual Graduates, I knew them all very well, and would trust them with any thing. I hope they are all aware that they can call upon me for any thing they might need as well. A terrific program, and something that I would not hesitate to promote.

So, that is about it for this year. This is the last post of the year. I am sure I am leaving out lots of important things that I have learned, accepted or figured out, but there is always tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that! I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Stay tuned! BUT, I cannot end this post any differently that I have tried to end all the previous ones.

I would really like to play a part in positive change in our world. Can we all just try to be a little bit nicer to each other? Can we all just try to make our world a better place to be in some small way? Can we all just try to say 'please' and 'thank you' for the nice things other people do for us? Can we all just 'pay it forward'? Can we all just try to smile and laugh and HAVE FUN every day? Can we all just...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty Four...

I think it is interesting how, even though we travel up and down the same roads every day, we really do not pay attention to the scene until we see it as static photographic image. Years-and-years ago, when my office was adjacent to the University of Texas campus, I would go up and down Guadalupe Street (the Drag) and never pay any attention to all the litter (human and otherwise) that was all around the area. Removing myself from the area, and going back years later, I am always astounded at how 'tawdry' the whole area looks. Anyway, this is a view of South First Street, near our offices, in the 'very desirable' Bouldin Creek neighborhood of South Central Austin. This photograph certainly does not make it look all that desirable to me...what do you think? Whatever...

I have kind of gotten into sleeping late in the mornings, I think it is a hold-over from the surgery last week, and the fact that I slept and slept and slept for a couple of days. I do not think I even woke up this morning til about 5 o'clock, and I thought about getting up, but then I thought better of it. I stayed in bed until about 5:30, and got up and started the routine. When Jody rolled out of bed, he was complaining of a little bit of a sore throat, so I hope that will not develop into something worse. Hopefully, he just slept with his mouth open too long, and that will be it.

Traffic was a breeze coming into the office this morning, I could really get used to making it in only 45 minutes every day, but I am not expecting this to be a trend that lasts for very long. So far, it is a quiet day in Lake Woe-B-Office. But I would rather have a quiet day than a hectic, non-stop busy day. So far, not too much complaining. Our tenants have a tendency (tenant tendencies) to complain or submit work orders in tandem with paying their monthly rent. I think it is just human nature...if you are gonna pay 'the man' you might just as well complain at the same time.

I left the office early this afternoon, about 3 o'clock, and it was an easy commute home. I got home early enough to watch parts of two different 'Jeopardy' episodes with Jody before I went out to check on the cattle. All is well, although you would not believe how much water is on the ground again, after .35" of rain that we had yesterday. That is what happens (I guess) when the ground is saturated, and it just cannot absorb any more. This is a photo of Mimmie Moonbeam and her calf Moo Unit. They are my cattle, and I get to name them as I choose. Actually, Mimmie was already named, but I got to name her calf. Why not have a little fun, shake these cowboys up a little bit? Whatever... Anyway, I think Mimmie is pregnant, and she may be the first to calve in the New Year. It is always fun! I took a series of photos of the cattle this afternoon, they were all really close, and wanted to see what I was up to. I am thinking of a cocktail table book on them, what do you think? They love being photographed!

Okay, so that is it for this penultimate post of 2009. REMEMBER...Deeds, Kindnesses, Actions, Changes, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty Three...

Well, well, well...what have we here? It seems to be time for the Fireworks Stands to be open in anticipation of the New Year Holiday. Not too much to worry about this year, there has been a good bit of rain, and it is raining again today, so GO AHEAD, knock you socks off, go ahead and shoot off your fireworks...I think it will be okay. Not too much dry brush around where we live, so we are not too anxious about it. It should be a good year for the vendors. HAVE FUN!

Okay, this is all editorial comment here. What the heck is wrong with Charlie Sheen? Seems like he cannot control himself, so why should we all keep hoping for the best? I used to really like his show on TV, and I have to admit, last nights episode was one of the better ones, but really...REALLY? I am getting tired of the double entendres (sp?), and the dirty little jokes...and I am not really that much of a prude. I am just tired of it. I don't think you have to be 'dirty' to be funny. OMG, I am turning into my mother. Now, I guess he spent some more time in the pokey over the weekend, but he really needs to get a grip. I know nothing of his current wife, but I was not a fan of his last wife, but now she may have been right all along. I ONLY KNOW WHAT I READ IN THE INQUIRER!

Okay, it turned out to be a really busy day in the office. River (one of our assistants) will be going to Mexico and won't be back until Monday afternoon, so that is a good thing and a little bit of a bad thing (end of the month/first of the month for property managers is always busy), but it will all be good. All kinds of organization going on, both at the office and at our homes as well. Everyone is working to get ready for the New Year, so we can all hit the ground running. I think it will be a good new decade.

Traffic was not terrible on the way home, even though the roads are wet, and no one here knows how to drive with wet roads. That is why everything here shuts down if there is even a hint that there will be snow or ice. That is usually lots of fun, and an automatic day off. It is not even supposed to go below freezing tonight, so that gave me a break from having to go and shut the water off at the troughs. I think everything will be just fine!

Lots of stuff to do still before the New Year, and I hope you are all making plans as well. Some one asked me where we would be going for New Years, and I told them we would be going to sleep! Will you set your clock to be up for the New Year? Well, uh...NO! Why ruin a perfectly good snooze?

My leg is doing much better, and I think just having the cumbersome bandaging off is helping a tremendous amount. Thanks for all your kind wishes!

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty Two...

After I finished my post yesterday, Hubert came over and raked the hay that he had cut the day before, and after that, he came back and baled what he had raked. We ended up with four more bales of hay, and there is still some of the front pasture that needs to be cut. We are supposed to have rain starting tomorrow, so he wanted to get what he had cut baled. That is where the old 'Make Hay While the Sun Shines' thing came from. If you cut the hay, and then it rains before you bale it, it can ruin the nutrition value of the hay. I think...but I am not sure...Whatever... Anyway, I am always fascinated by how things work, so whenever I saw Hubert heading back to the pasture, I got on the Mule and just sat out there and watched. Incredible machinery is required to make a farm go, and it always amazes me that someone could invent a mechanical process to make a bale of hay. Round bales are now all the norm, I could maybe understand the concept of square bales, but round bales still make me scratch my head. I know it is most likely a really simple process, but I still don't get it.

Carrie and Pat and I went to lunch this afternoon and we went to Dan's Porch (I am not sure that is the name of it). I had the chicken fried chicken, and it was superb! Along with 'smashed' potatoes and creamed spinach, it was all delicious, and, even though I could have easily eaten the whole thing, I maintained a little bit of control and brought half the chicken and about a third each of the sides back to the office to have tomorrow. I have NO ISSUES with left-overs, I think they are often better (aged) than the first go 'round! Now, this is the same place I wrote about a couple weeks ago and Tom and I went there for lunch. The food is very good (although the chicken and dumplings I had the last time were not great) but the service has just not kept up with the food. I even think we had the same wait person today that we had the last time I was there. Poor, poor service...but I will go back, and hopefully the service will improve. I would really like Jody to go there, maybe one day this weekend!

After lunch, I had some errands to run, and I wanted to get some office supplies to TRY and get my home office better organized for the New Year. I got what I need, so I am going to hide (I mean organize) a lot of stuff, and at least I hope to be able to see the top of my desk by the end of the night.

I had my doctors appointment late this afternoon, and I have been relieved of the 'Ted Hose' and most of the wrapping. I am still supposed to wear the ace bandage, AND I can now take a shower. YOU should ALL be thrilled about that! I am not supposed to actually SOAK the leg, but showering is okay. AND the tape and stitches are supposed to just fall off/out on their own, so that will be interesting to witness. THEN I am supposed to have a little bit of physical therapy (he said two or three times should do it), and I have another appointment on the 15th of January. TAX DAY!

Traffic going home tonight was MUCH WORSE than the breeze it was going in this morning. BUT, I made it, and no real issues, just stop-and-go for a LONG way. Once I got home, I went out to the two pastures the cattle have access to and turned the water off to the troughs. I will go back out in the morning and turn them on again. We are only supposed to have a light freeze tonight, but I would rather be safe than sorry. It is not a bit of trouble to take care of the needs of the cattle, and I enjoy doing it. FUN!

I think we are having leftovers tonight for dinner, so it is pretty much time to clean out the refrigerators (we have three), and get ready for the New Year. Then it will be organizing time in the office, and off to bed.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, Kindnesses, FUN!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty One...

Well, I should have know this was a gummint project since it was taking SUCH A LONG TIME to construct. The other day (Christmas Day) when Jody and I were coming home from our Lupper with Michael and Lynda, we noticed this wind turbine at a construction site that was not there just a few days before. So, today I decided (and Jody had no place else to go) that I wanted to go on a field trip to see what this project was/is. It turns out that it is a transportation station for CARTS which is the Capital Area Rural Transportation System. CARTS provides transportation services (for the elderly, I think) to Austin from 169 communities in about five or six different counties (I also think, not sure). This facility is going to be the Georgetown Station (An Intermodal Transit Facility, and I am not sure what that means, either). They are also building a new station in Taylor. I checked out the web-site, but it was not very helpful to the un-informed, and I think the services that are provided are some sort of a secret, and you must get the inside scoop from a social service provider, and then the whole thing becomes perfectly clear. BUT, I am sure that this is a very important service to the community, and that it is a totally worthwhile effort. My interest in the whole thing was the wind generator that suddenly appeared and I wanted to know what type of facility it was/is. The location should provide a good bit of wind for the generator, and I would imagine that, with the up-to-the-minute construction principals used the generator will provide a good bit of the electricity needed for the building. It will be interesting to find out if they will have any battery back ups for the storage of the electricity, or if they are intending to just do the net-metering, and sell electricity back to the provider. I will need to make a few phone calls to figure that part out.

Okay, now back to boring stuff. I did not sleep well last night, my leg was bothering me a good bit, and I was up and about at about 4 o'clock this morning. I went back to bed at about 7 or so, and napped until about 9 AM, and got up feeling much better. I made a (kind of) egg loaf, and that was good, and after that I did chores, including feeding cattle, putting a fresh bale of hay out for them, and putting a fresh bucket of molasses out for them. Everyone seemed pleased with the attention they were getting, and that was a good thing. The chores took longer than I expected, and I was a little tired when I got back in.

I sat down in front of the TV and stared at it for a while, and then I asked Jody if he wanted to go into town, and that is what got us started on the field trip to the CARTS facility. We took our own sweet time coming and going, and went down a road that we had not travelled before, and that is always fun. It is a beautiful day here, and temperatures are in the middle 50's and the sun is shining wonderfully. It is supposed to freeze again tonight, which means I will need to go and turn the water off to the cattle troughs before it gets dark, and I will need to turn them back on in the morning before I leave for the office.

I am excited about my appointment at the doctors tomorrow. I expect he will say it is okay to leave off these 'Ted Hose' things, and I can also get rid of the gauze and cotton wraps. Jody washed the hose for me this morning, and they were washed with a couple red items, and they are now just the slightest blush of pink as opposed to the surgical white they were when I got them last Tuesday. Anyway, I think I am progressing nicely, and I expect the stitches will be removed tomorrow, and I will also be approved for a full shower. I am tired of the PTA baths (ask me if you want to know), and I am looking forward to something that more resembles normalcy. I have big hopes!

I am thinking Jody is fixing leftovers for dinner...either that or spaghetti and meatballs. Only four more days to go for this year, and I (like most other people) will swear off pie and most sweets (I am not going to get totally carried away with it) for the New Year. I can lose 15 pounds or so with out too much trouble, and after that I hope I will be out on my bicycle and that will help take off a few more pounds. I am not sure about making any 'official' resolutions, but I do have some plans for things I would like to accomplish in the New Year. Wait and see!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, Kindnesses, FUN!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day Three Hundred Sixty...

WELL, I must say...this has been a really busy day! I know you are all tired about my knee thing, but I am continuing to make very good progress. Life is good! I just wish I could get rid of this gauze wrap and ace bandage. That would make life much, much easier. As it is, I have not really let that hold me back today. Today has been great, and I made visits to a couple of my favorite places...Tractor Supply and Home Depot. We were going to Tractor Supply to get a suet feeder for the birds, and we went the long(ish) way...okay, the alternative way from hurtling down I-35 in a metal cylinder at speeds unheard of a century ago. Anyway, I was on the lookout for wooden pallets, because I will need them for my new beekeeping hobby. I saw several places that had pallets stacked up, even some at Tractor Supply. I asked 'David' at Tractor Supply if they ever sold the pallets, and he said they would be happy to give me as many as I needed. So, we immediately went home and picked up the truck and I went back. David even helped me load the pallets into the truck, and I thanked him, and he said he was just appreciative that I had asked about them, instead of coming back in the dark and stealing them. A nice guy, and that just puts Tractor Supply even more notches higher on my favorite store list.

Leaving Tractor Supply, and on the way to Home Depot, I saw this guy hauling hay. There is always someone hauling hay, and it is always headed south. I went to Home Depot (mainly) to buy a new remote control for our garage. The one in my car does not work the majority of the time, so for a small sum, I hope I will now have a good remote control that does not cause me the frustration the old one has. We shall see. I also got a couple small tools (garden trowels) 1) Because we needed them (we can't find the other ones we had, they are most likely 'in a box' somewhere) and 2) because I needed a tool like that to dig out the dirt from around one of the water cut-offs in one of the pastures. So, that was a happy thing to do.

Once I got home, we noticed our neighbor to the east (Jim H) was there, and I wanted to go and speak with him about or desire to build a couple tanks in two of our pastures later in the spring, and we wanted to make sure he did not object to that, and we wanted to make sure it would not disrupt or hinder any water flow to his property. Of course, I got the Mule stuck in a wet spot at his place, so he pulled me out with his BIG tractor. Compared to all of our neighbors tractors, our tractor is just little Tinker-Toy! Anyway, it turns out he works for the Army Corps of Engineers, so I also asked him if he would be available for consulting on the project. he said there would be no problems with anything we wanted to do, and he thinks all the land around here should have more tanks anyway, so go for it. As long as I was there (it was the first time I had been on their property), I went over and looked at his pig-sty (I wonder if they really call it that? Maybe it is a pig-pen), but anyway, he has several pigs, and this one is about the size of a 1950 Studebaker. She was not really too interested in us, since there was food to be had elsewhere, and we did not have any!

I came back home and worked on the water shut-off in the pasture, and got it cleaned out so I can more easily get it on and off. As I was heading back for the house, I saw Hubert with his tractor, getting ready to cut hay. That is great, that is something that I am really happy about. The hay has not frozen too terribly, so it will be good to get it cut and baled, and then we can expect some more rain and get a fresh crop of hay in the spring. Perfect! Everything will work out wonderfully! I love living in the country!

Jody and I are heading back to the Filling Station Restaurant tonight...hopefully they will be offering their seafood special tonight. I have tried to get that for months now, and I hope it will have been worth the wait! We shall see!

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Nine...

MERRY CHRISTMAS! It was a glorious day in central Texas, even though we got off to a cold start. It was in the mid-20's when we got up this morning, and when I went out to make sure the cattle had water, I had to break up the ice in the troughs. The ice was probably a half-inch thick, and it would have melted in a couple hours, but I wanted to do it anyway. As always, they were very curious, and Mr. Speckles would not really leave me alone, he wanted to be petted (and fed) and he stood right by the gate the whole time I was going back and forth in the front pasture. There was ice in some of the water bowls we have around for the birds and bunnies, but one of them outside the badroom window had obviously been in the sun a little longer than the others, and there was quite a display of wild life at that water bowl.

Later on in the day, they all decided to play statues in the other pasture. Not sure if I was going to feed them or not, and if not, they really did not want to make the effort on coming all the way up to the feed troughs...maybe they should just hang out by the hay bale and see what I was likely to do. As it turned out, they were better off just staying where they were.

After all that, I came in the house and undid the dressings on my knee, and let it get a little bit de-wrinkled and get some fresh air. I am supposed to wear these weird hose (they are called Ted Hose) until I go to the doctor on Monday afternoon, AND I am supposed to keep the gauze and ace bandage on it until then as well. I can tell you that, for the few hours I was without all the dressing and the ace bandage, I was much more maneuverable, and my knee felt much better.

During that time, I cleaned myself up (little bits at a time, wink-wink) and got ready to go into Austin for Lupper with our friends Michael and Lynda. Their son Josh was also there, along with his friend Karin (who is now living in Los Angeles). Also in attendance was a friend of Michale and Lynda's (and an old biking friend of mine) Robert. Lupper was really delicious, a crown roast of pork with all the trimmings. We even got to bring some of the bones back to the Bear Dog. He has already been given one of them, and we think he basically inhaled it.

Michael and Lynda live off Cuernavaca in West Austin, and we take a short cut to their house through Seven Oaks (very fancy). When you turn off Bee Cave Road onto Marly (it may be Marly Way) you go down Marly for a while and then on the left is a house with two wind turbines. Interesting! When we were going in, the gates to that area were open, so I had intended to go up and look at them when we left, but the gates were closed then (not only were they closed, there was also a chain across the road with a substantial pad lock on it). Very fancy! AND, then as we were coming home down I-35, pretty close to Georgetown, we were passing a piece of new construction (it has been under construction for a WHILE!), and there has been a single wind turbine installed there...since Tuesday! It was not there on Tuesday, but it is now! I think it is very interesting for all these turbines to be popping up all over, and I am very excited to see what kind of commercial enterprise it is on I-35 that has installed the single turbine. I will let you know as soon as I figure it out!

Once we got home, I changed clothes and went out to turn the water off at the troughs. We are supposed to have another freeze tonight, and I would rather be safe than sorry. No sense taking any chances. I do not think it will be a cold tomorrow morning as it was this morning, but it is not a big effort to turn off the water. AND, as long as I was out there, I had a chance to take this photo of the sunset. There were lots of interesting cloud formations occurring on the drive home, and I was glad there were some still showing once we got home.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, Kindness, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Eight...

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope you are all ready for the best Christmas ever, and even if you choose not to celebrate this particular holiday, I hope you have plenty of things to be thankful for, and that you are looking forward to a wonderfully Happy New Year. As for me, I am very glad to be going to get a hair cut shortly, and then to do a little bit of last minute grocery shopping with Jody. Then it will be back to the house for naps, and maybe a little pain pill on the side, but otherwise, I am planning to just really enjoy the day, and I expect I will take a little time out to count my blessings. My friend Jana reports (via a FaceBook post) that her family has adopted a four-legged friend from the Williamson County Animal Shelter. The new addition is named Coconut! Congratulations! We adopted our big Bear dog from there just a little over a year ago, and we are really delighted that he has come home to live with us. And our friend Greg P reports that his furry friends were rescue pets, too!

Well, the temperature yesterday was about 74 degrees, and not it is about 46 degrees, and there is a nice strong wind from the Northeast. You know the old I won't repeat it! All I can say is, you never know what the weather will do in these parts. Jody said it was really windy and rainy last night, but I was (obviously) out like an incandescent light. I did not hear a thing. We did record about .35" of rain in the gauge overnight though. The breeze is really strong right now, too, and I am amazed that the Christmas Tree on the parch is still standing. If it blows over again, it will be down for the season, I expect. No sense raising it again, just to dismantle it for the season.

It is CRAZY WINDY here, and I am surprised the Christmas Tree is still standing on the front porch. There are gale force winds from the Northeast, and even though the temperature is about 41 degrees, the hurricane force winds are making it feel much colder. Jody snook (or snuck) one in on me this afternoon. If you know me at all, you know I REALLY like rusty stuff, so he got into cahoots with Michael and Michael came up with this rusty piece of agri-history for the place. I am not sure what it is called, but Michael said it was used after planting to cover the seed with dirt. I think it is great, and it will be a new piece of the new collection of STUFF! In this photo, behind the agri-antique, you can see the original hand-dug well that was on the property when Aunt Mary used to live here. The concrete trough to the right of the well is dated 1932, and I have no idea when the well was dug, but it has always had water in it, even during the worst of the drought this past summer. After I went and admired it for a while, I decided there was no better time to go make sure the cattle had plenty of water, and to turn the water troughs off so there will be no chance of them freezing overnight. The cattle always think if I am back there with the Mule, that they are going to be fed, so I hated to disappoint them. They are not that hungry, because there is still a half bale of the hay that I put out for them last week. They have been enjoying the grasses in the two pastures they are in for now, so they have been letting up on the hay for a while.

I think Jody and I are going to try the Filling Station again for dinner tonight, maybe they will have the fried shrimp tonight, and Jody is wanting to try their stuffed baked potatoes. That will pretty much do it for this Christmas Eve, and I hope you all have wonderful traditions at your houses that you will be enjoying.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Seven...

...or bury my knee at wounded heart! Whatever... So, I am no longer delirious, things have calmed down somewhat, and I have actually been able to eat some solid food, and I am really looking forward to continued progress. I finally became coherent last night about 11 o'clock, and after that I pretty much woke up every hour-on-the-hour. I stayed in bed until about six o'clock this morning. Somewhere along the line, I was attacked and nearly strangled by all the pillows in the bed (gotta keep that knee elevated, you know) and at another point the granny stocking on my right leg was cutting off the circulation to other vital body organs and that had to be removed. BUT, other than that it was a relatively uneventful night. The doctor has called twice today, and I have to keep the knee wrapped until I go to his office on Monday afternoon, and I have to wear these hose until then as well, as a precaution against blood clotting. I think of it as a trial run to varicose veins. I remember when my grandmother had to wear these special hose because she had 'very close' veins, but I thought everyone had 'very close' veins, so it made no sense to me whatsoever. Now I know, I will become my grandmother at some point, and I just hope I can remember where I put the hose. We also changed the dressing this morning, and I thought they were only going to make two incisions, but it looks like they made four...and, in deference to the season, they decorated them each with a little star-like decoration (that we are leaving on). Really, no blood, no bruising, just a little pain every now and then. I have taken one pill, but other than that, no issues. I have walked anywhere and everywhere I have wanted to today, I just have not really wanted to walk anywhere too far away!

The door bell has been ringing pretty steadily today. I think the doorbell has rung more today that it has cumulatively since we lived here. Mailman, FedEx man, UPS Man and Pauline. Pauline was the important one, she brought us another of her famous cheese braids; they are yummy-yummy good. Jody and I both hardly waited til she had left before we tore into it. Jody fixed me some scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning, and around 11 I finally had my morning coffee, which immediately got rid of my headache. I guess it was my body telling me I had not had caffeine in a couple days and it needed its' fix! Happy to accommodate!

After naps, we went into the Bank in Schwertner, and made a couple other stops. Along the way, we went to look at the progress being made on the electric transmission lines they are putting in not far from us. The main thing is they are not far from us and NOT ON OUR LAND! That would have been a bad thing. These lines are going to be monsters, and I think they will forever change the landscape around here. That is what is called progress, however, and I guess it cannot be stopped. We are having nice winds today, and stronger breezes are expected tomorrow, up to 35 and 40 miles per hour, so we are expecting our turbines to generate some nice power; it would be great if we could get another two or three 'zero-power-usage' days before the end of the year. We will all keep our fingers crossed.

Can you believe it is the 23rd day of December and it is a beautiful 74 degrees outside here (according to the nuclear powered weather station in the kitchen)? Friends of mine in Virginia and other northeastern areas are sending photos of the 'snow storm of the decade' and I am not envious of all that snow. I hope they realize that all that snow is going to melt eventually, and they will be wondering why there is suddenly a flood. Watch and see!

Okay, thanks for putting up with all my knee stuff, and I guess this will all taper off as the swelling and other anecdotal stuff wains.

Deeds, Changes, Kindnesses, Actions, Whirled Peas, CHEESE BRAIDS, FUN!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Six...

Chapter One: Okay, the cattle have been fed, and all is well. It is too early for me to start getting ready to go into Austin. I am supposed to be at the center at 10:45, and that is a killer to me...I am WAY too much of an early person to wait around like this. It was all I could do to wait for the sun to come up (and it was late, of course) so I could go out and feed the cattle. Half of the cattle were in the front pasture enjoying the tall grass, and the other half were in the middle left side pasture, enjoying the bale of hay. The ladies in front knew something was up, and they were all ready for the feed. Interestingly, they are not smart enough to figure out how to get through the gate to the middle pastures if they are in the front pasture. They have a one track mind, and in their opinions, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. SO, I have to take the blue wiffle bat and herd them into the middle pasture, and after that, all was fine. Finally Mr. Speckles and the rest of the pack figured out there was feed being disbursed, and they all came up for their ration. Life is good.

I have not had anything to eat or drink since I got up this morning, and that is actually going better than I had expected. I did save up a massive quantity of saliva so I could take my one pill that they said I could take, and that is it. I expect I will cheat a little bit when I am showering and brushing my teeth.

Jody is already ready to go, and we do not need to leave here for over an hour, so I expect I will go turn the TV back on, and bide my time.

Chapter Two: I am sick as a dog. I am really too sick to be finishing this post, but I am on a mission. I have not missed a day, and I am not going to start now! The surgery went well, everyone at the WalMart Discount Surgical Center was very nice, except for the masochist they sent in to prep and GASP) shave me in various spots on my torso. I woke up fine, and so far things have gone downhill from there. SPOILER ALERT: THERE WILL BE INDELICATE DESCRIPTIONS OF BODY FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THIS PARAGRAPH! I had not made it too far towards home before I found it necessary to cleanse my stomach of its' contents (of which there were not many). I think it is the pain pill they gave me that I was objecting to. Pretty much after that, I kind of dozed off, and when I got home, I went to directly in the bed, did not pass go, did not collect $200. A couple hours later, Jody asked me if I was hungry, so I asked him to give me some turkey slices, some ranch dressing and some saltine crackers. I ate most of that before I had to LEAP from the bed and return that little bit of food. Have you ever tried to regurgitate while standing up? It is a feat I had never tried before, but as I have often said, always go for the new experience. Anyway, I do not think I will be trying the pain pills they prescribed for me, I would rather hurt a little bit than keep running to the bathroom to up-chuck.

So, other than that, all is well. Thanks for the kind calls and text messages, but for right now, I have to go back to bed. I really had no expectations that I would be this drug out. I guess I thought I would be up and at 'em after the 'routine surgery'. This must be another example of things to come as a 'seasoned citizen'.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Five...

If this doesn't get you into the season, I just don't know what will! Actually, I saw this little decoration on an ancient looking Mercedes on Thanksgiving Day, and kept it so I could use it for later posts. I think it is really interesting, kind of like the blue box from Tiffany's. Tasteful, understated, kind of elegant in its' own way. Not too commercial, somewhat environmentally friendly (especially if it is a diesel, huh?) using sustainable products and re-using what you already have (instead of going out and buying a NEW Mercedes). AND the car was parked outside the Michael's Hobby Center in Georgetown, so you know the owner is not only artsy and crafty, but budget oriented as well. All the good things in life. What could be better?

So far the day has been a good one. Traffic was NO PROBLEM this morning, and I have actually gotten some work done, and I have made a trip to the post office, and that was not a challenge wither. Everyone must be caught up in the snow-drifts in the northeast, having abandoned the warmer climes of central Texas for the annual 'oh, now I remember why I moved to Texas' trip to visit relatives and kin folk. Whatever... I needed to mail a small gift to my friend Michael who lives in Florida, and I know he will be overwhelmed by our generosity and thoughtfulness when he opens it on (or about) Christmas Day. Whatever...

I still need to make one more trip...I am doing NO SHOPPING this year, and so far that is working out pretty well. Jody and I made a pact not to exchange gifts...we really do not need to, since if we want to get something for the other, we just do is kind of like celebrating Christmas all year long. I am truly a lucky man, and I am totally aware of that fact!

Okay, that is done...I went to Academy Sports and bought a new pair of sweat pants. I needed those for a couple reasons; 1). So I don't need to hold my stomach in every time I try to put them on, and 2). So when I go to have my knee done tomorrow, I am supposed to be wearing clean, loose fitting clothing. So I figured it would be okay to have a new pair of loose fitting sweat pants. I also got a new hat...a Texas A&M hat, so I can be a equal opportunity (I did not attend either school) hat wearer. You never know where the allegiances lie out here in the country, so I figure it can't hurt to have an Aggie hat handy. We shall see...

Leftovers for dinner tonight, and I am supposed to be drinking LOTS of water tonight, since I cannot have anything to eat or drink until after the surgery tomorrow. That SUCKS! Also, I am going to take my camera with me...what do you think the odds are of the surgeon taking a photo (mid-procedure) so I can post it on the blog tomorrow? So far, the odds-makers are not thinking it is going to happen, but I really don't see what the big deal is. They can change their gloves AFTER they take the photo and everything will remain 'sanitized for my protection'. Whatever...

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day Three Hundred FIfty Four...

Okay, the troughs have been moved, I did a bad thing to my back, and the cattle are now moved to another pasture-and-a-half. This is a photo of Mr. Speckles, HE DA MAN! He has a good thing going for him, and he knows it, too. He is really just like a giant Chihuahua, and he loves to be petted, brushed and paid attention to. They have not been fed yet, because they are so far too busy eating the fresh grass and hay. Mr. Speckles always is in the lead of the pack, and his harem follows obediently behind. However, it seems this time that three of his girls have outsmarted him and the rest of the girls. Doodle Bug and her family of two calves found the front weening pasture that I left opened, and the three of them are all happily munching away on the tall grass that has not been bothered for several months. It will be interesting to see what happens when the rest of the herd discovers that area. I expect it will all be eaten down pretty well within several days. I cleaned out one of the water troughs, and that will be pretty clean for them, and I do not expect there will be too many issues with freezing weather for the next several days. All should be good.

Here we have three generations of cow butts. From left to right, they are in order of youngest to oldest; 'Cow-Patty' is the youngest calf we have, then 'Lady Bug' and then the matriarch of this little family, 'Doodle Bug'. I am really most fond of the black-and-white cattle, but I think they are all very handsome cattle. I think I just like the contrast of the black-and-white. 'Cow-Patty' was sired by Mr. Speckles, and she will be the next calf to go to a new home, most likely in a month or two. She is already spoken for, and then we should start working on our next round of spring calves. It is always interesting to walk out, make a count, and end up with one more than there was yesterday.

It is a beautiful day here in central Texas, even though it started out a bit chilly. Jody is feeling a little bit puny, so I am not sure what we will be up to later this afternoon. I do want to go over and visit with Pauline and Hubert and Michael and Abby and the baby for a little while, but other than that, I have nothing on the agenda. Maybe go through the movies that have been here for a couple weeks, and get them sent back to NetFlix. Who knows... More about the bad thing I did to my back...all I did was lift up a piece of fence and I heard it crack. You just never know when something like that is going to happen, and so far, it only REALLY hurts after I have been sitting or resting for a while. It takes me a while to get the loco-motion going, but after that, it seems to be tolerable. Good think I have the pain pills for my knee surgery on Tuesday...I may need to dip into them a little bit before the actual event!

Jody and I went into Georgetown primarily so I could get me hair cut, BUT when we arrived, we found our my stylist of choice (Irene) was not working today. She has always worked on Sunday, but not today. So, we went over to the Collector's Market, Tractor Supply and then to Dairy Queen where we luxuriated in another spoiler. I think we are going to the Filling Station for dinner tonight. When we got back, I went over to Pauline & Hubert's, but no one was around, and no one was at Michael and Abby's either. Everyone must be out doing last minute Holiday stuff. It seems we have our very own 'lost maple', and it is glowing brilliantly out by the road. Neither Jody or I remember it making a display like this last year, so it is another one of those found treasures on the property. It is always fund to find something new.

Jody decided to take a nap, and I fast-forwarded through two of the movies that have been here for a couple weeks from NetFlix. I think we will watch the third one together this evening, and I will get these back in the mail tomorrow, so we can get a fresh batch before the long weekend.

Actions, Deeds, Changes, Kindnesses, Good Wishes, FUN!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Three...

Okay, so I doubt that many of you could have seen this coming, but if you know me, you also know that NOTHING is outside the realm of possibility. Today I attended my first beekeeping class, and it was really interesting and fun. I had read an article in the Austin American-Statesman a few weeks ago, and thought we might be able to do some beekeeping here at the farm. We have plenty of room, and could not think of any reason not to, and I honestly think it is kind of a natural thing for us to think about. I was concerned that there may not be enough flowering plants to sustain bees, but the Instructor (Konrad) said the bees would be perfectly happy with the grasses and things that we have around here. I think we are going to put in an area of wildflowers anyway, not so much for the bees (although I am certain it could not hurt) but for our own enjoyment as well. It should be interesting.

The photo above is of the (from left to right) the Instructor Konrad, then Phoebe (who has taken classes before), Linda (who is a friend of our friend Dawn), Phoebe's husband (I can't remember his name and if they are not married, then they are at least really close friends), Jennifer, ME and Alan (an engineer, but I won't hold that against him). It was a three hour class, and part of the time was spent actually going to a hive (he called it a training hive) not far from his office. That is what the second photo is of. Konrad had actually taken the hive apart, layer-by-layer and exposed the more activity of the bees. As you go deeper into the hive, there is more activity. I expect you will all get pretty tired of the bee trivia that will be forthcoming in the next several months. Anyway, if you want any honey, you will need to put up with the trivia rants!

So, after the beekeeping class, I came back to the house and got Jody and we went into Georgetown and had lunch at Chick-Fil-A...basically just so I could have another one of their cookies-and-creme milk shakes. DELICIOUS. After that, we took a drive into Austin to do one piece of shopping, and on the way home we stopped at Sprouts in Round Rock for one more specific piece of shopping. Weird though, we have been able to get Cinnamon-Raisin bread from Sprouts ONCE and every other time we have tried, they have been out. I am trying to decide if the shortage is of raisins of Cinnamon? Not sure.

Anyway, we are home now, and looking forward to a quiet evening (I think). There is a possibility we may head into Bartlett for dinner, but I actually think we are both pretty full from the late afternoon lunch we shared.

Tomorrow will be a day to feed the cattle, and I am considering moving the cattle from the pasture they are in to another pasture. It will greatly depend on how I am feeling tomorrow, but they probably should be moved. The weather forecast will play a large part in it also...if there is REALLY strong freezing weather predicted, I may leave them where they are...they have plenty of water in the tank, and I can keep the water in the trough shut off and not worry about it freezing. If I move them, I will be going back and forth worrying about the freezing temperatures, and I am having knee surgery on Tuesday, and don't want to really be thinking about a lot of walking back and forth from the pastures. We shall see...

Okay, remember...Deeds, Actions, Changes, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas and FUN!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty Two...

Here is another photo of me and Jody. This one was taken on Wednesday at the Office Holiday Luncheon at Green Pastures. I am not sure who took the photo (it is a cinch that it was not either of us), but I like it. Jody has not yet seen it, and his response at the party was 'I am smiling on the inside'. Jody is generally not fond of having his photo taken, but he humors me, and after this long, he realizes this is not a battle that is worth fighting. Just grin (?) and bear it!

It is FINALLY a really pretty day in Austin. When I went out to retrieve the newspaper this morning (and to check the meter readings) I was greeted by a sky full of stars. I have not seen stars for a long time, it has been terribly cloudy and foggy and hazy for so long, I had forgotten how wondrous the stars are as seen from the 'light pollution free' country place where we live!

Got into the office early again this morning, and it has been a good day so far, and it is not even close to being concluded. Lease applications on a couple properties, returned several e-mails (some of which were more sensitive that others) and just overall having a good day. There has been one instance so far of a Hershey's Chocolate Bar being consumed in my office, but so far, other than that, there has been no tragic occurrences!

In preparation of my knee surgery early next week, I have been on the phone with my insurance company, and my deductible rolls over on a year-to-year basis. If I had been smarter, I would have scheduled this surgery for after the first of the year, so I could have covered the deductible, and then had a whole year to choose to do other things (maybe) kind of like something my doctor has been wanting me to do ever since I reached to golden age of 55 (wink-wink). For that, I will get to pay full-retail AND not even get taken out for dinner! OH THE HUMANITY OF IT ALL. Whatever...

The drive home this afternoon was pretty darn brutal, and there was absolutely no reason for it. ALL the wrecks were on the other side of the Interstate. I counted three, and they were spaced out every 5 or 6 miles for a while, which caused all of us (okay, I was doing it as well) to try and see if there was any blood or anything. No guts and/or gore, just property damage and damage to the psyche of us trying to get home before dark:30. Once I got to Georgetown, it was pretty smooth sailing, but I did have to stop for gas. BUT, after that it was really smooth sailing. I got home just in time to see the last five minutes of Charlie Gibson's final news broadcast. I think he was a nice guy, BUT I think Diane Sawyer is a nice woman, too, so maybe it will all be okay. I am NOT CONVINCED that George Stefanopolis (sp?) and JuJu (sp?) Chang are the right mix for Good Morning America, though. Time will tell.

Tamales for dinner tonight, YUM! And, I am off for a special secret adventure tomorrow. If all goes well, I will tell you all about it in tomorrow's post. STAY TUNED!

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty One...

Guess what kids? IT'S RAINING! Whatever... Imagine that, it is raining again in Central Texas! So far, only about a half-inch, and we really need the rain, but you know the song I have been singing for the last several weeks. It would be nice if we could dry out a little bit between rains, but I guess that is not in the cards for us. The trouble is, when it does decide to dry out, I expect it will be dry for months-and-months! Drought is what we are used to here in Central Texas, and we will take the wheat with the chafe, as we always do. We are happy to be here, a little bit more damp than we would like, but still happy to be here. Traffic, on the other hand, was not that happy this morning. It has been a while since traffic was this slow coming into Austin, but it might have something to do with the fact that I did not really have an urgent need to be in the office really early, so I left the house later than usual. BUT, it is all worth it! I love my job, I love where I live, and they just do not happen to be next door to each other. I am a REALLY LUCKY guy!

We had our PM meeting this morning, and River was absent. She has not been feeling well lately, and at the luncheon yesterday, she only had soup. We all hope she feels better soon. We are only going to be open three days next week, and it is the winding down to the New Year that is happening now. Carrie and I made a pact to make NO GIFT PURCHASES for each other this year and I am delighted about that. We both (I assume) have everything we could possibly imagine, we do not need more material things.

Oh, and today is my Meals-On-Wheels day! I love delivering food to my 'folks', and I especially love delivering IN THE RAIN! Rain is one thing, but we are experiencing rain and FREEZING cold weather. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating just a little bit...we are experiencing rain and temperatures in the 40's, which to us in Texas is just about the same thing a freezing cold weather. Temperatures in the 40's with bright sunshine and clear skies we can deal with! Okay, I am back from delivering my Meals-on-Wheels route, and I have ONE client today. Somehow, that seems impractical at its' worst, but at least it was my favorite client.

Here is a pretty cool picture of three of the peacocks (maybe a peahen thrown in) from our luncheon yesterday at Green Pastures. Carrie took this photo, and it is really an interesting composition. I love the gnarled live oaks that you see in this area, and with the pea-whatevers roosting in the trees, it just makes it even that more interesting. It almost looks like the birds are camouflaged in the trees, and the whole thing is very subtle. Very nicely done, Ms Carrie Sue-Jean!

A little bit of Tex-Mex for lunch today, and then I was off to CostCo to shop for snacks. We were sponsoring an afternoon break at the Austin Board of REALTORS (hi Beth!), and I needed nibbles for fifty students. I now know why I have not done any Christmas Shopping yet...because it took me 25 minutes to GET OUT of the parking lot at CostCo. That took longer than it took for me to park, shop, pay and pack. It was crazy! Total chaos and grid-lock in the parking lot. Anyway...I got the stuff, and we did the break, and when we left the building, the sun had decided to make an appearance! Very Nice!

So, I decided to come home from the Board, and I made it home pretty early. Jody was not home (he had gone to Taylor to do some shopping), but I was not home long before Jody arrived. The sun is still out, and it seems like it will stick around for a couple days. That will be nice! I need to go watch the tribute to Charlie Gibson, two more days until he retreats into retirement. Darn!

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day Three Hundred Fifty...

Today was the day for our Annual Holiday Luncheon. Ever since we started our company, we have held an luncheon to thank all the people who have a part in making us successful. It is not important what your measure of success is; we measure our success by the joy and happiness we share with our colleagues, vendors, staff and friends. We would be nothing without all the help, advice and counsel that we receive from those that share in our good times, bad times, ups-and-downs. We are indeed humbled that so many people share our good fortune, and we try not to be stingy with our 'pleases and thank yous'. So, again this year, we had our luncheon at the historic Green Pastures restaurant in Central Austin. It is a lovely old Victorian home that has been through many incarnations. One of the incarnations was as a dairy farm, and I am sure there have been others. It has been a very nice restaurant since I have lived in Austin (I moved here in 1985), and we have enjoyed our annual visits. They also have peacocks and peahens roaming the grounds, but I did not see them today. What a lucky man I am! Did I mention that I had a couple glasses of wine with lunch? I wonder how I could have forgotten that?

So, do you think this is the ugliest commercial building in the city of Austin, or can you think of any other building you would like to visit less? Upon close inspection of this facade, I think it would be perfect for a urologists office of maybe a mammologists office (mamms, get it?). I had an appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon this morning at 8:20 (after THEY cancelled the appointment that had been set for the previous Monday. Anyway, so far I have never been told what to expect when I go to this doctor. Today they surprised me that I needed to go and have a blood draw so the anesthesiologist can say whether or not I am fit for the surgery on Tuesday. Never mind that I might have a schedule to keep. Whatever... Anyway, if I can make it through the surgery and the follow-up visits, I think everything will be just fine. I am not expecting any complications at all.

Once we all got back to the office from the luncheon, we all sort of did a bit of work, and we just kind of enjoyed the fellowship of the day. I am really a lucky person to have been fortunate enough to have surrounded myself with the wonderful people that work with us. The drive home was really pretty uneventful. I have no audio-books at the moment, but I hope one arrived in tomorrow's mail. I have gotten addicted to those books, and I have really enjoyed it. I did make a quick stop at Round Rock Toyota to deliver a small Christmas gift to my favorite service person, Sally. If you are looking for a new place to have your Toyota serviced, let me know and I will get you hooked up! AND, once I got home, there was a nice sunset off to the northwest. What do you think?

Okay, time for this: Deeds, Changes, Actions, Kindnesses, FUN!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day Three Hundred Forty Nine...

Well, this is a photo of the traffic congestion I encountered on the way home this afternoon. Some of you that read this journal may never have seen two icons in one photo...the glorious capitol dome of the Great State of Texas...and another icon usually seen smushed in the middle of a road somewhere, the Armadillo, the Official Something of the Great State of Texas. The things you see when you are on the highways of our great State. Traffic opened up somewhat once we got through downtown, and it was relatively smooth sailing. I made it into Walburg before 5 o'clock, which meant the ONE service station in Walburg was still open, so I stopped for gas, so I won't have to do that tomorrow.

This morning, I was up early again (I do not seem to be able to sleep much past 3:30 AM, and that is a bit of a concern to me). I think maybe I should sign up for a paper route, since I am already awake! Anyway, I needed to get into the office early again, I had stuff to do, and needed to be in Cedar Park for a 10 o'clock appointment. I was a defendant in a small claims court proceeding, and I was able to get the case against me and Carrie dismissed by the Judge. Basically, I felt that the complainant (I am not sure what they classified the unhappy party as in this court) named the wrong person in the proceeding, so now I need to see how the person that should have been named wants to react, should the complainant want to further pursue the case. Anyway, I really feel that there were no winners in this proceeding, and I would like the former tenant to feel that he was treated equitably. I guess I will just have to wait and see how this all plays out.

I went to HEB for lunch, and had catfish and mashed potatoes from their Deli for lunch, and there was lots of it, too. So much, that tonight I am settling for soup and salad for dinner. As I was beginning to write this entry, Jody remarked that there was a pretty sunset outside. I have been a little disappointed in a couple things with our sunsets lately; 1). They are not as fabulous as the sunsets as photographed by my friend Blake, who lives in Lago Vista, and 2). I am not satisfied with the way my camera reacts when I am taking sunset photos. It is a poor worker who blames their tools...whatever...

Okay, tomorrow is our office Holiday Party, and we are all pretty much looking forward to that. It will be a lot of fun, and I think we are expecting more guests this year than ever before. I hope everyone have a nice time, and I am also sure that by this time tomorrow night, I will be complaining about have too much food at lunch AGAIN!

Deeds, Actions, Kindnesses, Changes, FOOD and FUN!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day Three Hundred Forty Eight...

Okay, today could officially be the last time I preside over a Professional Standards hearing on behalf of the Austin Board of REALTORS. AND, in honor of that occasion, this photo was taken of me, the panel and the hearing staff. Left to right: Doug, Gina, ME, Jim, Sally, Kevin, Edie and Dave. I have really learned a lot by being active in our Board of REALTORS, and I will really miss participating in the Professional Standards hearings. I will still be a member of the Committee, but I am not sure if I will be a member of any panels, since in January I will become a Director for the Board of REALTORS. Another interesting journey is about to begin!

Tom and I went to a new place in Austin for lunch, it is called Ted's Porch (I think) and it is on South Lamar, close to Brodie Oaks. In the spring or fall I think it will be a really nice place to go, because they have a second floor terrace that looks over a valley towards Westlake Hills, so that will be really nice. I ordered the Chicken & Dumplings (made the way mom used to) and you know what, they were nothing at all like MY MOM used to make them. And the 'smashed potatoes' were not smashed so good. This should not be taken as a complaint, more of a critique. The menu description also did not mention anything about cilantro on the food, and it was COVERED with cilantro, which is not one of my favorites. Tom had the chicken fried chicken, with smashed potatoes AND macaroni and cheese. Thumbs up for the chicken, two thumbs down for the smashed potatoes and the macaroni and cheese. BUT, Tom said he would go back just for the chicken, it was that good. I think I need to start keeping the menus at restaurants I go to, just so I can compare the final product with the advertised product. I am REALLY getting cranky in my old age!

It is another grey and overcast day in Austin today, and I was supposed to have an appointment at the Orthopedic surgeon this afternoon at 4 o'clock, but he has called and cancelled, BUT we made another appointment for Wednesday at a totally inconvenient time. We shall see what happens, but I really am not expecting any complications from the surgery, I guess I am just enjoying to complaining part of the whole thing. I think it may be a prelude to even older age, when I will sit around in the home and ask people in the next chair if they want to see my scar. It could happen...very easily...I could well be turning into my mother!

Not sure what to expect from traffic on the way home tonight, but if the number of sirens (police, fire, EMS) that have been screaming past my office for the past thirty minutes is any indication, I need to consider leaving for home NOW!

Well, of course I put off leaving for a while, but traffic was really not terrible. I had some errands to do (bank, post office) so it took me about an hour and thirty minutes to get home. That also included looking for the new subdivision 'Walburg Estates' which so far continues to elude me. I will find it, and when I do, I will report back! Otherwise, life continues to be good. I spoke with an old friend Chris while I was driving home this afternoon; he was a REALTOR at the first agency I worked with 15 years ago or so, and he left that to sell Volvo's, and he is doing very well at it. He and I have not talked for quite some time, and it was fun to catch up. I also had a call from another REALTOR that may want to refer a piece of sales business to me later in the spring, that will be fun!

SO, it is almost time for dinner. It seems I live for food. Meat Loaf! YUM! So, as I close this entry, remember...Deeds, Changes, Actions, Kindnesses, FUN!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day Three Hundred Forty Seven...

The cattle are all thankful that the sun decided to make an appearance today, since they just all got fed, and we put a fresh bale of hay out for them. I have not posted any photos of the cattle lately, and this is not the best one of the day, but this one best shows the last of this years calves. She is REALLY a pretty one, and she is going to be going to a good home soon. Probably in another couple months. Then we will all be excited to start seeing the new 'class' of calves. Hopefully mostly heifers, we have been pretty lucky in the heifer department. It will be interesting to see how many calves we have next year, but we are expecting seven. Mr. Speckles needs to be taking care of his wimmin folk! I am pretty sure he already has been! It would be lovely if we had some good sunshine for about a week so we could cut and bale the hay in the hay pastures, and get the fences fixed in the back pasture so I could rotate the cattle into it. THEN, I would seed the front two cattle pastures with the VERY EXPENSIVE blackland prairie grass seed that I bought, so the cattle could stay off it for a month of so and let it germinate. That would be a great plan, but you never know what is going to happen with the El Nino effect we are experiencing. I was told yesterday that this years El Nino is even warmer than typical, so we may have lots of rain for a while. I know, I know...soon enough we will all be complaining about having no rain, and we will be complaining about that. We are never satisfied.

I had a ground hog moment this morning, and I saw my own shadow. It was amazing. I was watching the early morning news, and they were talking about the blue skies in Austin, and about thirty minutes later, we had the same thing here. WONDERFUL! I worked on cleaning out my closet this morning, and, if I do say so myself, I made great progress. I took about 15 pounds of suit and shirt plastic bags from the cleaners to the recycling center at HEB. Just having those bags out of the closet makes it much more organized LOOKING. It is not necessarily that organized, but it looks much better organized. While we were In Georgetown, I got the car washed at the quarter-car-wash...except now the quarter-car-was is $10. Whoa! The quarter-car-wash used to be only $8, but it is now $10. But my car was really dirty, and so I figure $10 every three or four years is not that terrible. Honestly, I not not particularly a slave to having a spotlessly clean car, even though I do understand that a clean car produces better gas mileage. It is just not that convenient to get the car washed, AND I live out in the country, and it is dirty out here. Whatever...

Coming back home, we detoured off one of the County Roads we had never been down before, looking for the 'Walburg Estates'. Michael keeps asking me if I had seen the signs for that new development, so I thought we would go and try to find it. I know whee the 'Daum Estates' are, but I am still looking for the 'Walburg Estates'. Pretty soon, I expect much of the area around us will be developed, but I do not think some of the neighbors will sell. The guy behind us has 30 acres, and he wants to build...Michael, Pauline and Hubert probably have hundreds of acres, and I don't think they are interested in selling. On one side of us, they have 50 acres, and that might go...and Randy and Irene have 75 acres, and I think that could be bought if you had enough money. I know they are kind of informally offering the property for sale, but I do not think it is actively being marketed. At any rate, we have enough land around us to be somewhat insulated from development if that happens. I just hate that the stars may fade away with development.

The flags are flying beautifully this afternoon. I just love flags and flagpoles, and as I have said before, I do not think there is a State Flag more beautiful than the Texas flag. I can imagine as a kid in Elementary School, while being taught Texas History, that the Texas Flag was such an easy flag to draw in that Big Chief tablet and some dull but colorful crayons. I wish I had been a kid in Texas so I could have had that experience. I grew up in a state that NO KID could possibly ever have drawn the State Flag, and I don't remember ever having been advised anything about our State History and NEVER had any mention of the State Flag. Too bad.

So, that is about it for this post. I need to get into the office early tomorrow. I have a hearing to chair at the Board tomorrow morning (it may be my last hearing for a while), and then there will be owner statements to approve, then there is a doctors appointment at 4 o'clock, and in the middle, I have to get the finishing touches on a small claims court 'pre-trial' I have to attend on Tuesday. I remember when December was a quiet month. Whatever...

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