Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixty Five...

Today is the last day of the year. We are all ready for the new. On this day of reflection, you will not find me proselytizing but instead sharing a prayer of sorts from the Sixteenth Century, somewhere around 1513 to be exact.

In 1513, Fra Giovanni wrote a letter - what we would now consider a Christmas card - to a friend and patron, containing a Christmas prayer. I am copying the prayer here for you all to consider. I have substituted the words 'New Year' for Fra's original words 'Christmas time', but I believe it to be just as effective. I hope you enjoy it.

I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present moment. Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach is joy. Take Joy!

And so, at this New Year, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.

My best wishes to you all for the New Year.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixty Four...

Okay, this is the penultimate day of 2010. No, really!

Okay, so I got gas for the second time with my new vehicle. The first time really does not count as far as calculating mileage is concerned, because I needed the information to be in a more controlled setting. Whatever, work with me on this. SO, as I was saying, I got gas today, and I had driven 650.6 miles since the last fill-up, and I got 8.492 gallons of gas (the tank holds 9.3 gallons). My average is 76.61 miles per gallon, and as soon as I get a little more driving experience under my belt, I expect I will easily be able to top that. PLUS, when I have more convenient access to 240 amp charging, I think I will EASILY be getting 90 miles per gallon. I am happy with this car so far! WOO-HOO!

A nice day at work today, I spent (between yesterday and today) WAY TOO LONG on the phone with the folks at XM Radio. BUT, the mission was accomplished, and I now am paying ONLY for the receivers that still work, and I will add the new radio as soon as my 90 day free service is over. SWEET!

I am posting this entry today from several venues; this particular part is being done from the office. Our friend Lynda was going to have lunch with Jody this afternoon, and they were going to dig up a bunch or Iris, cannas and lillies from the yard, and then Lynda is bringing Jody into town.

When Jody gets here, we are going to run a few errands (we need organic chicken feed, and my favorite place to get it is Buck Moore Feeds on North Lamar) and then we are going to the Gold Class Cinema at the Domain. Drinks, dinner and a movie with a bunch of the Directors from the Austin Board. It ought to be really fun. Another friend of mine (hey Chris) was there a couple nights ago, and said it was really nice and a fun time. So, we are looking forward to that.

I expect the chickens will not have an opportunity to run loose today, but that will hopefully give them incentive to increase production. The last time this week that they were kept confined (that time because of rainy weather) they delivered one-egg-each the next day. Sometimes a little bit of intimidation is a good thing!

More later...

It is now later, and all I can say is, we had a GREAT evening. Good setting, good friends, good food and good wine...okay, and the movie did not suck either! This is a photo of Jody and me before the movie began. We were at the Gold Class Cinema, compliments of Chairman Horton and there were about sixteen of us there. Great fun to see everyone removed from the Board Room and in a casual setting, sprawled out in very comfortable chairs, having a nice dinner and a few drinks. A totally different (and enjoyable) atmosphere that we are all accustomed to. The movie was 'True Grit' and it was a VERY GOOD movie, and it was interesting to see because much of it was filmed less than ten miles from our house, in Granger, Texas. More photos may be available in later entries to this journal. Stay tuned...

It is late, time for snoozing.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TRUE GRIT, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, Fun!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixty Three...

Well, hardly any trauma at all in the office today. We were not totally devoid of trauma, but it was a normal day of normal trauma, as opposed to the trauma that reared its' ugly head last night. AND, as is (almost) always the case, everything worked out just the way it was supposed to, and no one got hurt. No one even needed to have any concerns about anything; it just all got taken care of and went away!

I do not think I have given fair coverage of the dog or the cat, especially the cat. I cannot remember EVER having a photo of the cat in this journal. I remember a long while back, there was some mention of the 'queen-cat' when the 'princess cat' arrived, but I do not think there was ever a picture of her. We have had this cat since about 1994 or 1995. She is a foundling, as is most of the really precious stuff in our household. Jody found her way back when, and she was scavenging for food. Making a long story short, she had been shot, abandoned, 'knocked-up' and you name it, whatever can happen to a cat in the wild had pretty much happened to her. She had definitely had a litter of kittens, but we never could find them. No telling whatever happened to them. ANYWAY, she is DEFINITELY Jody's cat, and pretty much just tolerates me. However, this afternoon when I got home from work, she looked exceptionally cute sleeping on the bed, and so I fetched the camera to immortalize her. When we got her (her name is Missy), we had two other cats who have since gone on to that great cat-nip in the sky. This one, however is definitely a cat that prefers to be the 'only' cat. And so she is!

The sun came out this afternoon, and that was absolutely GRAND! I did leave the office a little bit early, and got home at a very reasonable time. I cleaned coals out of the wood stove, and got another fire started. We don't really need a fire right now, but we will overnight, so it is good to have it going now.

Jody got SIX eggs from the girls this afternoon, and we are pretty surprised about that. We love eggs, and that is really a good thing! We get plenty of eggs!

Tired, so that is it for now.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, LITTLE GIRL CATS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixty Two...

Okay, well there is still a lot to learn about all things electric-carish. When I got to the office today, I determined that the GFCI had tripped on the plug I was using to charge the car, and that accounts for the malfunction yesterday. Everything went very well today, thank you very much. By lunch time, I had about 17 miles on the charge, so I went out and did some errands, and I stopped by the Whole Foods Market to check out their charging station. Well, to make a long story less boring, the charging station was not working on the 240 volt system, and I was not going to use the 110 volt, so it was all pretty much a bust. BUT, since this is a FREE SERVICE that Whole Foods Market is offering, I cannot really complain. I can however, say that the folks that put in the charging station need to communicate better and let folks know their service is out-of-order. This could turn out to be a big deal in the future of plug-in vehicles.

Got some good work done in the office, although it is ghostly slow this last week of the year. Once I got home, there was a minor emergency at one of our managed properties, which necessitated my going BACK into the city, and I just now got home. Another reason that a 240 volt charging station would come in handy. All good things will happen at the appropriate time.

The girls gave us four eggs today, and they were not loosed from their pen because it was a really ugly misting raining kind of day. By the time I got out there with their food (about 5:30) they had pretty much called it a night, and were all on their roost. They did brave the weather and get some of the bread and other goodies I took out to them.

Time for beddy-bye! Let's not even get started about bed-bugs.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, ROUND-TRIPS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixth One...

Okay, a wonderful day was had by all. Well, maybe not all, but a lot of people had a wonderful day today. I was one of them! Thank you very much...

This is a photo of the last part of my lunch. The first part of the lunch was pretty much the same as this part, just more if the burger. AND, the first part of the lunch did not have a 'Happy-Face' garnish fashioned out of the tomato, onions and pickles by Carrie! HOWEVER, a good time was had by all. All of this has no real meaning, other to proclaim that the diet is still active, and I (gloat, gloat) have a head-start on millions of people across the country. The first week is generally the hardest (remember when you quit smoking), and I am WAY past the first week. Oh, and you also need to remember, everything (and anything) is okay in moderation. Just tell them I said so...

A good traffic day today going into town. HOWEVER, there was a malfunction on charging the car today, and I will have to pay closer attention tomorrow when I get to the office. I had the car charging for about six hours, and I only got about three miles worth of charge. I was expecting about 15 to 20 miles of charge for that length of time. As I said, I have to pay better attention tomorrow. Another interesting thing is, whenever I disconnect the charger before the charge cycle is complete, it sends a text message to my phone saying the charging has been interrupted. No text message from the car to me, so there was obviously something I did wrong. I will pay better attention.

HOWEVER, even when I am on the generator power, it is averaging about 44 miles per gallon, so there is nothing to complain about. I just want to average more miles on electricity than via the gasoline generator. I will learn all the tricks to this before too much longer (I hope).

I went and visited a very dear friend this afternoon on the way home, and that was delightful. I have been totally embarrassed because it has been so long between visits, but now all is good, and I am starting fresh.

I have come to the conclusion that it takes chicken-energy to make eggs, and it also takes chicken-energy for them to stay warm. SO, it makes perfectly good sense to me that the egg production is decreased when it is cold outside. If any of you are chicken experts, please either confirm of disagree with my obviously inspired theory of chicken-energy.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CHICKEN-ENERGY, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Sixty...

Okay, let me get this off my chest right now. Just as I was sitting here getting ready to make this entry, the dog comes over and sticks his nose in my piece of Key Lime Pie. This dog is getting just a little bit pushy. I do not mind offering the dog something to eat off my plate (or even foods specifically for him). Heck, we feed him all the time. But not once, not ever has he EVER offered me or Jody anything off his plate. I know he was a rescue dog, but somewhere along the line, you would have thought he would have learned some manners. I can live with the 'chewing-with-his-mouth-open' thing, but this thing of never wanting to share is getting a little tiresome. PLUS, he really does not play well with others. This is getting to mound more and more like an episode of 'Modern Family'!

Not a whole lot accomplished today; I did get a bot more of the garage organized and cleaned up. I even hung two ladders in the garage so I do not continuously trip over them every time I go to look for something. Of course, we did take a little trip into Georgetown for spoilers, and all is well at the Dairy Queen. The Blizzard of the month is 'Nutty Banana', and I think I may have to try one before long. ANYWAY, along the way, Jody asked me if I had ever looked under the hood of the car. Well, the thought had actually NEVER entered my mind, but when we got home, I popped the hood and looked inside. Nothing much about any of it looks familiar, so I just closed it back up and went on about my business. I did recognize some orange things that look like wires, and a place where you would add oil, and what looks like a dip-stick thing that you would check the oil levels with. But other than that, it was a total nothing. All I really care about is if it works. Our little escapade this afternoon took us about 48 miles, and we used a total of .007 gallons of gas. I am liking that, although I am not liking having a car payment again for the first time in about five years. Whatever...

We got four eggs from the girls today, and they got fresh water and some fresh food. They also got to go out and wander the property and scratch for some bugs, which they totally enjoy. The water trough in the front (where the bees get their water) had about a half-inch of ice this morning, and the cattle troughs had ice in them as well, but not as thick. We have turned the water off in the pastures again tonight since we are supposed to have another hard freeze tonight, and that should be it for the next week...maybe a light freeze for New Year's Eve...we shall see.

Tomorrow is a work day. I think I am going to have lunch at Whole Foods so I can check out their charging station.

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Nine...

Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you were able to make and enjoy your observations of the season as you saw fit, that is the whole point of living in a free country. A very big thank you to all of those that work every minute of every day to ensure those freedoms are maintained. ALSO, I hope you all received the gift or gifts of your liking, which is a lot different from getting what you deserved.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

I found out the hard way (or the cold way) that there were certain things that I wish I had done yesterday A). Before it rained and B). Before the temperatures outside plunged to coldness. Okay, so it was about 45 or fifty degrees when I went outside to feed the cattle and take them a fresh bale of hay. It felt A LOT colder. And several of the cattle were in the barn, and were not that thrilled to exit so I could put out their feed. The whole process took about 45 minutes or so, which in not terribly longer than it takes under normal circumstances, BUT ten minutes in a cold pasture is like an hour in ordinary human being minutes, if you get my point. Otherwise, everyone was pretty happy. This is a photo of the steer calf, Chairman Moo, who is getting his winter coat on. I love it when they get all fuzzy in the winters!

The chickens, on the other hand, were not thrilled that they did not get to do their 'free-range' routine today. We were heading out to have Christmas dinner with our friends Michael and Lynda, so we left the house about noon, and did not expect to get home until after dark, which is exactly how things turned out.

Michale and Lynda and their son Josh had all prepared a wonderful dinner of crown roast of pork and all the fixings that go along with it. There were three other friends on theirs that joined in on the festivities; Robert who we have known for many years from back when I was a recreational bike rider, and John and Roseanne. John is with the Architecture School at UT (I think) and I apologize I am not sure if Roseanne is gainfully employed. A lovely time was had by all. I also asked if their dog enjoyed bones (he does not) so I asked to for the bones from dinner to bring home for the Bear-Boy. AND THEN WE FORGOT THEM! That's okay though, Lynda is coming out this coming week, so I will ask her to ferry them out to us then.

A nice ride home, and once we got here, I needed to go close the girls up for the night. I collected five eggs, and then had to go out to the pastures to turn off the water since we are supposed to have a pretty good freeze tonight. Better safe than sorry. Even turning the water off back there is no real guarantee that nothing will happen. Water and cold (really cold) weather do not make a great combination, and you never really know what to expect.

But, it is all done for now, and we expect no real issues. I will know better tomorrow. By the way, I was rewarded with some very lovely gifts from several people. I am the luckiest man in the universe, no really, THE LUCKIEST and the happiest, too!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, DELICIOUS DINNERS, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN.

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Eight...

Today has been a really wonderful day of nothingness (for the most part). Got up late, did the rounds, read the paper, drank some coffee. Observed a really pretty sunrise that is not well documented with this photo, but it was a sign of the day to come.

We hardly moved a muscle all day long. the most activity we had was going out to let the chickens loose. We played a game of Scrabble for the first time in this house (over two years), and we both miss playing. At the old farm, we played a game of Scrabble almost every day, and we really liked that, so maybe we will start playing at least a couple times a week, most likely when I do not have to go into the city. Judy beat me by about thirty points, even though he had to skip a turn and turn in some tiles. Whatever...there is always tomorrow.

It actually rained today. The first rain all of this month, and maybe the first significant rain we have had in about three or four months. We measured (at last look) just shy of an inch of rain, so I am going to go ahead and call it an inch. Perfect!

We got six eggs from the girls today...maybe the rain put them in the mood, who knows. We hung around and napped and watched Jeopardy, the watched a little bit of the news, and then headed into Georgetown and had dinner at Montana Mike's. Lovely medium prime rid. Now we are home, I have a glass of wine and a half-slice of triple chocolate cheesecake. If yo happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by, we have desserts coming out the ying-yang.

Tomorrow is Christmas day, we both hope you have a Merry one!

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Seven...

Uh-Oh. I am in really big trouble now! I had an appointment to get my car to the dealership in Hutto between 1:30 and 2 o'clock this afternoon, but I was a few minutes late. My friend Chris had told me he would meet me there at 2 o'clock and we would go have a drink or something. Again, I was about 15 minutes late, and then I had to meet with the service guy and everyone at the dealership has been VERY nice and VERY accommodating and that has been a pleasure so far. ANYWAY, Chris and I headed out and we drove into Thorndale, where Chris has several friends and does computer work for several of them. I met Louis at the Downtown Cafe who was a very nice man. Chris had not expected that I had already eaten lunch, but I had, so... Chris had a Chicken-Fried which looked like it ma well have been the MOST DELICIOUS Chicken-Fried Steak ever made in the history of mankind. It looked yummy!

Well, we Chris finished his lunch and we finished talking with Louis and said our goodbyes, and walked two doors down to a small oddities shop. Well, just a few steps out of the cafe doors and I was falling down with desire. Yep, there is a cannon for sale in Thorndale, AND it is totally rusty and will look fabulous in the front of our house. I showed Jody the photo and told him he needed to sit down first, and he did not faint or anything, which I took to be a good sign. Rusty stuff (especially rusty OLD stuff), what could be better.

Okay, so we made it back to pick up the car, and I headed home. I stopped and filled the car up with gas, I had long ago this morning run out of electrical reserves. BUT, I am happy to report that in the 17 miles from the Taylor HEB where I filled the car up (it took just a little over four gallons, the tank is a 9.3 gallon tank) I averaged a little over 42 miles per gallon, not too much less that I was averaging with the Prius. BUT, I do admit that I was much more conservatively than I had lately in the Prius. With the Prius, I could regularly go up and down the Interstate at 70 to 80 miles per hour, and average 43 to 44 miles per gallon with no effort. This car will take a little getting used to.

On the way home, these clouds were breaking and I had to slow down a bit to take a photo, which did not please the people driving behind me. Whatever... Jody reports that he got four eggs this afternoon from the girls, and that is lovely.

Looking forward to the long Holiday weekend, STARTING NOW!

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Six...

Well the temperature turned cooler today, and I was not at all prepared for it. I was thinking it was supposed to be in the mid-60's with sunshine, not mid-60's and gloomy and looking like it was going to snow at any minute. So, I was wishing I had a jacket with me, or at least had dressed with a long sleeved shirt. BUT, no matter what the current weather situation, these roses that we planted in front of the garage are just a bloomin' their little hearts out. They are so very pretty even if everything around them is gloomy.

Well...guess whose car has already been recalled. And, as of this writing, I have not even had it 48 hours yet! Maybe 'recall' is a little bit harsh, but I had a call from the Service Manager at the dealership this morning. It seems the dealership had a call from GM in Detroit that a few 'minor' adjustments needed to be made on the car and when would be a convenient time for me to stop by? AND to make up for my inconvenience, they would give me a $100 credit towards any future service AND provide me with a car to drive while I was waiting. They said it would take a couple hours to make the 'adjustments'. So, CHRIS, if you are reading this, do you want to stop by the dealer around 2 o'clock tomorrow and I will buy you a drink? Or you could introduce me to the Downtown Cafe...or whatever, if you are going to be in the 'hood, that would be fun!

Three eggs from the girls today, and all is well. Looking forward to a half-day tomorrow; a couple errands to run, a luncheon appointment and then taking my car to the shop.

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Five...

Well, as my business partner Carrie would say, I am pretty much always willing to jump off the cliff and expecting that, once I do that, the net will appear. So, after several years of watching (okay stalking maybe) the on-going development of the Chevrolet Volt, and being on a waiting list for somewhere between 18 and 24 months (I really don't remember how long it was) AND after putting down a deposit (in real money) and officially placing my order about three or four months ago, I went to Covert Chevrolet in Hutto last night and took delivery of the car. It is just a little bit nerve wracking to drive, only because it has so much technology in it that you really need to pay attention for a while. So far it is a very nice vehicle, drives like a dream, handles wonderfully well and is VERY fuel efficient. So, Jody and I went to the dealership last night and they delivered the car, and today there was a deal at the Austin-Statesman this afternoon to introduce the car to the media (not just mine, there were a dozen vehicles there, about eight of which were driven in by their owners. I introduced myself to State Senator Kirk Watson (and talked about the upcoming legislative session and REALTOR issues) and finagled my way into getting a photo with me and the new car. Very interesting car and talking politics with our State Senator. Pretty much a good day for me!

So...I made it to the office this morning on electric energy only for just a little bit more than 41 miles, and the rest of the way with the gasoline generator operating the electrical motor in the car. Very interesting and seamless. You cannot tell (except for the displays) whether you are using electric energy only or if you have the gasoline generator providing the power. Come on over and I will take you for a drive. I apologize in advance, I will most likely be boring many of you with anecdotes about this car for the foreseeable future.

At work today, I pretty much immersed myself in the operators manual of the car, but I did get some work done, and then headed out to the media thing and then ran errands before heading home.

Once I got home, I successfully got the garage door opener in the car programmed and I might have (or might not have) gotten the Bluetooth system connected to my iPhone so I can have hands free calling. I will know tomorrow if I did that right.

Five eggs from the girls today, and they were waiting for their food this evening when I went out there.

Still have a pretty flexible schedule for the rest of this (short) week.

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Four...

Long day, short entry! I did not sleep particularly well last night, I think it was because I had some VERY STRONG coffee late in the afternoon, and so I was somewhat wired! Anyway, I got up as usual, and did my usual things, and went to the office (as usual) and did the usual things. BUT, I also had to go to the Post Office, where it was a MADHOUSE! However, as you can see by this photo of the line, I REALLY lucked out, and all I wanted to do was buy stamps, and they opened up a special line, just for that. I had to make another trip to the Post Office, but I decided to stop at the Georgetown Post Office on the way home, and it was MUCH more civilized!

Four eggs from the girls today, and all is well there. Jody and I headed off back to Hutto this afternoon, and came home with a surprise. I will tell you if you ask me.

Late, late, late, and I barely have time to finish my wine before I call it a night.

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Three...

A lovely sunny and warm day in Texas today. We started out pretty chilly, probably had a freeze. We are kind of lucky here, we seem to be a little bit higher than some places around us, so we stay a little bit warmer in the winter than other folks. The recorded low in Georgetown this morning was 28*, but I do not think it was that cold here. We are not going to need to turn the water off in the pastures this week until Christmas Day, so that is wonderful.

After a lovely breakfast of egg-loaf, I went out into the garage to continue my quest of cleaning, straightening and organizing. I found several more hats that we had not seen since we moved here, including this lovely seasonal number, modeled beautifully by Jody. Believe me, the photo of Jody is much better than the photos I took of myself wearing the hat. I also found some sweat pants that I think are large enough to be comfortable and they will be welcome as well when the weather cools down more. Just because it is almost January does not mean we are out of the woods weather-wise. We are all expecting some pretty cold weather before it heats up again.

After I did what I was going to do as far as organizing was concerned, we drove into Hutto for a while. I have always wanted to take a picture of this sign at 'Amandas Honey Pot Porta-Potty Store' but I was always in too much of a hurry to turn around. Today, I was on the look-out for it, and pulled into the driveway to snap the shot. I guess if your marriage is going down the crapper, this is the place for you! Whatever...

On the way home, we went back through Taylor and of course stopped at the Dairy Queen. What can I say? We need our spoilers! We got back home about 3:30, and let the girls out for their afternoon forage through the lands! We got four eggs from them today, and they are mighty good eggs, too. They were ready for dinner too when I went out there to feed them. Jody prepared them an extra big dinner of white bread and cabbage, and they are happy for sure!

This week looks like it is starting out to be a pretty quiet one, leading to the end of the year and the beginning of a new one!

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty Two...

Today was really a pretty darned good day. Special congratulations go today to Miguel and his wonderful and lovely bride Sarah. Jody and I have known Miguel for a few years, and he is a wonderful young man. He called us about a week ago to invite us to his wedding. It was a very nice ceremony, and I was kind of the stand-in-photographer for a while, and had really never seen a wedding from the angle of a photographer. Very fun, and I enjoyed it. Jody and I both were honored to have been invited, and we wish them years and years of happiness together. We also got to see our friends Roy and Sharon at the wedding. They live in Smithville, and we do not get to see them often enough. We had a good chance to talk and catch up just a little bit, but not enough! I think it was a little bit stressful for the bride and groom, and they were happy that it was over and they could finally just enjoy their guests and their future!

Started the day out with an egg loaf, and it was DELICIOUS, even if I do say so myself. After breakfast, I went into Austin; I had some things I needed to deliver to Konrad (the Round Rock Honey guy), and then I needed to stop at a clients property and then needed to go into the office. As it turned out, just as I was getting off the exit to go to my clients home, she called me from the airport to report that she had (in her haste to get to the airport) forgotten to leave the package for me. Not a big deal, since I was heading into the office anyway.

Once I got home, I went out to turn the water back on for the cattle; they were enjoying the sunshine, and as you can see from this photo, nine out of ten cattle agree that it was a very nice day in the country. In this case, all the cattle are in this photo except for Orchid, who is over to the right just out of range.

After this, we headed into Georgetown for spoilers, and then to the HEB to pick up a few things on Jody's grocery list. When we got home, I let the chickens out to roam around, and then went back to feed the cattle and take a fresh bale of hay out to them. After that, I went inside and took a really short nap, and then had to get started getting ready for the wedding.

Tomorrow is another day!

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

Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty One...

Well, as the old saying goes, if you don't like the weather in Texas, just hang around a few minutes and it will change. As I was so gloatful (I must admit I doubt that is a real word) to share with you earlier in the week, it all started out wonderfully...then a front came through yesterday, and today the high temperature did not get out of the mid-50's, and I do not think we saw the sun at all today. Very gloomy, dank, cold, not fun.

I started the day with a Spokesperson Training class at the Board of REALTORS, and I was very happy with the way that class proceeded. About a dozen attendees, pretty evenly mixed with experienced speakers and those that aspire to speak about TREPAC. I was totally delighted with the enthusiasm and command of the tasks that the new speakers showed, and we were all delighted that there are colleagues that will want to take up the cause when we 'old timers' are put out to pasture...literally in my case!

After the training, I had been asked to judge the Holiday Decorations of the various departments at the Board, and that was really a lot of fun. A lot of hard work had gone into the decorating of the departments, and there was a lot of competition for bragging rights, all in a good natured sense of camaraderie.

I made it to the office, and got a little bit of work done. I have to admit that it is REALLY slow in the office, but we always expect that at this time of year. I headed to the house about 3:30, and made one quick stop, and then headed home.

It is supposed to be a bit colder tonight, with a pretty good chance of a good freeze, so I went out and turned the water off in the back pastures. That was at about 5 o'clock, and I will be able to turn the water back on about mid-morning, so there is no real danger of the cattle not having enough water. This is a photo of some of the girls, thinking that just because I am back there, I am supposed to be feeding them.

We thought we had lost a chicken tonight as well, but everything turned out alright. When I went out to feed the girls, one of the production reds was missing, and we looked and looked and could not find her. I thought maybe she had wandered into the garage and I had closed her in there, but when I looked all over the garage she was not to be found. We figured we had a casualty in the chicken department, but Jody looked in the garage again, and there she was. She must have been under one of the cars. Okay, I admit, I did not get down on my hands and knees looking for this chicken. I figured if she was out in the garage, she would have made her presence know...BUT NOOOOOOOOO! Anyway, she got carried out to join the other chickens, but also was carried through the house to the front door. She did remark that she liked our coop, and now she is talking about hiring someone to re-do their coop. It never ends.

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Fifty...

Another wonderful day in central Texas. It was nearly 60* this morning when I got up and started doing things...and the temperature had dropped a few degrees before I left. I noticed some interesting clouds on my way to work and the temperature rose and then it started to drop again. Interestingly, the 'cold' front was heading into town, and I was out-running it to Austin. BUT, by about 9 o'clock, it was here and the temperature was dropping like a rock. Right now it is about 55 degrees, but still a very nice day.

Today was our annual Holiday Appreciation luncheon at Green Pastures. We try to take a little bit of time each year to tell all the folks who made us successful throughout the year just how lucky we are that they are all in our lives. I don't think we stop often enough to thank those that are helpful to us, so we are happy to do it. I try to remember often that I am just about the luckiest person in the universe. REALLY. The photo above is a group shot, and if I may say so myself, it is a really handsome group. Lots of talent, knowledge and energy in this group. Thanks to all of them, and we are happily looking forward to another hundred or so years! This photo is of yours truly with a pair of FABULOUS sun glasses that I found in the restaurant. It really does not matter if anyone claims them, they are MINE now!

We did not even leave the restaurant until about 2:30, and yes, we were the stragglers. Several of our group had begun drifting out, and it left a die-hard group of about 8 of us, but it was a group of really good conversationalists and story-tellers. Most of us have known each other for a really long time, and there were plenty of stories to go around.

Tomorrow morning I am giving a two-hour seminar on public speaking (sort-of) to members of the Political Action Committee that are interested in joining the A-Team. The A-Team will make brief presentations to education groups, and will make longer presentations to real estate offices when asked. It will be a fun, brief and jam-packed meeting.

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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Nine...

Another fine day in Austin, Texas. The high temperature was 79*, low humidity, beautiful blue skies, a strong wind from the south and nothing else really mattered. Life is not just good, it is GREAT!

I began my day at the Austin Board of REALTORS, where we had our last Directors meeting of the year. The first part of the meeting was basically social, and we were treated (those of who wished it) to a nice light breakfast of pastries, juices and fruit, along with some wonderful juices AND MIMOSA'S! I love Mimosas, and actually think there is not a much better way to enjoy orange juice (pulpy or not pulpy)!

We then conducted the business of the Association and after we adjourned, we headed off to one of the larger meeting rooms for the Annual Chair and Past Chairman's Luncheon. There were Past Chairpersons from the 1960's forward, and it was a pleasure seeing them all gathered in the same room. The amount of knowledge and experience in that room was totally awe inspiring. Someone should have recorded their thoughts for posterity.

The luncheon itself was not without excitement; there was delicious sausage, bacon, a carved beef station where you could make sandwiches if you liked, a crepe bar and an omelet station. Everything was going along nicely until the crepe station put out a little bit too much smoke, which set off the smoke detectors, which in turn caused the entire three story building to be evacuated. It was interesting, to say the least! This is a photo of my lunch, which was perfect for me since I am on a modified-Atkins diet. AND, guess what I had for dessert? BACON! One of my table mates thought that was about the funniest thing she had ever heard, but it-was-what-it-was!

After the luncheon, I headed back to the office and my friend, colleague and fellow NARPM member Brian stopped in for a visit. Brian is a property manager in San Antonio, and he was here meeting with another colleague about the 2011 calendar of achievements for the NARPM Professional Development committee (I am vice-chair). It was really nice to have Brian visiting, and we got a good bit of planning accomplished!

Tomorrow is our annual Appreciation Luncheon for the office, it will be a fun and happy day!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CLEAR THE BUILDING, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Eight...

A lovely LOVELY day in Austin, Texas where temperatures this afternoon reached a very civilized 73*. Perfectly lovely!

It is relatively slow in the office these days, I think everyone (or a lot of people) are otherwise occupied with the festivities of the season, and the business of doing business if waning. I was at the Board of REALTORS relatively early this morning for a quick in-and-out and stopped by to say hello to our TREPAC coordinator Anna. It was a somewhat cold morning (no freezes or anything) and Anna was a bit chilly in here cube, so she had supplemented her personal environment with a Snuggy, or something like it. I love this photo, thanks Anna!

Made it back to the office, and got a few more things accomplished. I took a little trip to run some errands and stopped by the new Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library. I have had a library card for the Austin system for a while, but had not used it since we moved to Bartlett. I stopped in and they told me, as long as I lived in the STATE, I could get a library card. PERFECT! They have a lot more books on CD's than our local Bartlett library, so that will be a pleasure when I am 'between-books' with my CD Book subscription service. An added benefit is, this new branch is very environmentally 'green' and they have reserved parking for energy-efficient vehicles. That is the first time EVER that I have had an opportunity to park in a spot reserved for fuel-efficient vehicles. I do believe it will be the trend of the future! This is a picture of the sign at the library that makes a couple parking places 'hands-off' to the land yachts! BRAVO!

All is well on the home front. We have no fire in the wood stove for the first time in a couple weeks (at least), and I have cleaned the ashes out and we will be ready for another fire in a couple days. The temperatures are not expected to dip below 50* tonight, so we expect we can survive without a fire. Maybe not the heated seats in the car, but at least no fire tonight.

Directors meeting tomorrow and then a nice luncheon at the Board. YUM!

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Seven...

It was a pretty good day today, all things considered. I got up at the pretty much usual time, maybe a little bit early, and nothing was obviously frozen that I could tell. There is a trough in the front up by where we keep the bees, and the water in that trough was not even considering a little becoming frozen, so I thought that bode pretty darn well for the pipes and things out by the pastures. I did not open the chickens door before I left for work, and Jody took care of that for me later in the morning, and all the girls survived our coldest night of the season with no obvious maladies. Four eggs today.

I did a bit of office work before heading to a meeting about meetings at the Board. It was a pretty interesting meeting about Robert's Rules of Order, and how things should progress during a meeting. Who was Robert? Why was he so obsessed with Rules? Did he have a bad experience at some point trying to get his dinner with mashed potatoes instead of fries? These are questions I shall address in the future, and I will report back to you with the appropriate answers to these queries. Feel free to chime in at any time!

Back at the office, conducted more business.E-mails, snail mails, phone calls, face-to-face visits. Communication is the key!

Carrie and I happened to take a few minutes to visit the Capitol, where I was totally prepared for the 'pat-down' and I was totally disappointed that no one made even the slightest attempt to mess with my 'junk'. That is kind of like being chosen last for dodge-ball in fourth grade. I got used to it then, I will get used to it now. I love the Capitol building, and took this photo to commemorate the visit. Thanks to Carrie for helping me get a good shot.

My friend Chris switched his agency affiliation today, and we are all delighted to have him working alongside us for the betterment of all. It is interesting how folks all around are making changes for the coming year; it is like getting your goals and activities all in line to start the New Year with both feet on the ground! WELCOME CHRIS!

Once I got home, I went out the other pasture and turned the water on to the two troughs for the cattle. They had consumed about half of each trough, and there were no problems. I am not nearly as afraid of cold weather now; I used to believe that any hint of a freeze meant that LOTS of precautions needed to be taken. Whatever!

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Six...

There is always something good that comes from cleaning out the garage, sheds and barns. Personally, we have a better inventory of all the crap we have, and we have actually made some areas for an actual work shop area (just in case we decide to make a coffee table or a set of book-ends), and we have an area where I can work the bees and gather honey and keep all the bee supplies. All the farm chemicals are now back in the feed barn (closer to where they may be needed). I can actually get my car into the garage and open the door sufficiently so I do not have to SQUEEZE out the door. We are much better organized have much more room, have contributed greatly to the local (or maybe distant) landfills and overall we are just happy with the progress we have made. BUT, the best thing is I found my old ski-hat (not that I ever was adapt at standing up on slippery surfaces with sticks attached to my feet). I was not that good (okay, I never played) tennis either, but I thought I looked pretty darn good with tennis shorts and a pink Izod shirt. Whatever...the hat is back, and it will be seen in public before long!

We went into Georgetown solely for the purpose of having a spoiler, in celebration of a job well done. I have no idea what all the other spoiler celebrations were, but the folks at the Georgetown Dairy Queen get pretty ferklempt (sp) if I change my order, which I have been doing pretty frequently. ANYWAY... When we got home from Georgetown, Jody went down for a nap and I went out and fed the cattle, put out a fresh bale of hay for them, cleaned the chicken coop and gave the chickens fresh water. Everyone (in the farm animal division) is pretty darned happy right now. This is a photo of the 'former bull calf' which is in the process of becoming a steer calf, little sleepy. He is gonna be a pretty one, and will be someone for Mr. Speckles to play with!

Earlier in the day, we took a dozen-and-a-half eggs to both Randy and Irene and to Pauline and Hubert. We are still getting plenty of eggs, five eggs today from the girls, just short of three dozen for the week. Yes Virginia, the cold weather has somewhat cut back on the production, but there are still plenty to go around.

We went back into Georgetown for dinner tonight. We have been twice now to the 'Montana Mike's' steakhouse and find it most acceptable. Very good steaks, especially considering that we bring enough home with us to have another complete meal. Tonight we both had the Kansas City Strip steak (14 oz) and I had a skewer of broiled shrimp as well. Shared the shrimp with Jody and we were both happy. The cocktail sauce with the shrimp had a good bit of horseradish in it, and it was delightful.

It is going to get pretty cold tonight, supposed to be 29* in Austin so that should be several degrees colder here. I finally decided to put the covering on the outside water faucets, went and turned off the water to the cattle and drained the pipes to keep from freezing. Tomorrow night the low temperature is supposed to be in the forties, so we have not had terribly cold weather for very long periods of time so far this year. Don't mind it cooling off, but freezing overnight temperatures is not something I really care for over long periods.

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Five...

Today was a calm and quiet day, that is, it was calm and quiet if you were expecting finger snapping revelations about a wild and crazy day. We slept late and had some breakfast, and went out into the front shed and started cleaning out and trowing away and cleaning and sorting and straightening. WHOOPEE! We have, however, made great progress.

We actually took a truck load of stuff to the Goodwill in Georgetown, including a very large Christmas tree, two LARGE boxes of incandescent light bulbs and a box full of housewares. AND, a large television stand that has been in the attic of the front shed since we moved here from the condo. Let's talk about the light bulb situation. We had BOXES of incandescent light bulbs since we changed everything to compact fluorescents. I know there will be a day in my future when I will have to go to the store to buy a regular light bulb, and I am not really going to appreciate that day when it arrives.

I also took a load of corrugated cardboard into the recycling center in Austin. That combined with the trip to Goodwill were the real achievements of the day. You can clean all day long, but if there is stuff that still needs to be done, it makes me feel like the job is not finished. BUT, it is, and Joel and I are both happy with the achievements. It has only taken us two years to get it done. there is still some stuff to do, but we will get it done, some of it tomorrow (maybe).

Nothing really noteworthy in the photo department, but I am always fascinated with these trucks being pulled by trucks down the Interstate. I used to be really surprised to see the cab of an 18-wheeler heading at me on the Interstate, but now it is just another one of those things.

The girls were really feisty today, they would not leave us alone while we were cleaning the shed, and we gathered up five eggs from them today. A pretty good haul, considering there is another cold front coming through today. It is supposed to be close to freezing again tonight. We have a nice fire going in the stove, and that is lovely.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, FIRE IN THE STOVE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Four...

This is pitiful. It is 9:30 in the evening, and I can hardly hold my eyes open. Given, it has been a long day, but I should be able to stay conscious til at least 10 o'clock, but I am not going to push this, I am going to cave to what my body is trying to tell me, finish this entry, have a Popsicle and go to bed.

Early day, did all the usual things, went to the office, got some work done and headed off to the Board to give a brief TREPAC presentation to new Board members. Then a 10:30 meeting, and then teaching class from 1 o'clock til a little after four. Drove home, sat a while, fed the girls, put the girls to bed (Jody collected four eggs today) and then Jody and I went back into Austin.

Tonight was Carrie's annual Holiday Gathering, and we arrived about 7:30 (we were not first this time) and had a wonderful time. Many of the folks at Carrie's are people we see only once a year. Lots of folks there, but we left early (FIFO) of course because we had a ways to drive back. This is a photo of Jody, me and Carrie.

Not too much trouble getting home, although there were lots of folks on the roads, the shopping centers, etc. ALSO lots of cops on the Interstate. LET MY PEOPLE DRIVE FAST!

Tomorrow will be a sleeping in day!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, OUT AFTER DARK, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Three...

Say hello to my new little friend! Furby was a popular electronic robotic toy resembling a hamster/owl-like creature which went through a period of being a "must-have" toy following its launch in the holiday season of 1998, with continual sales until 2000. One of our agents brought this into the office today and said she was going to post it on EBay, but I lassoed it and claimed it. I offered her a dollar (cash, which I thought was a fair offer) but she is holding out for more. I am thinking of starting a contest of folks who read these diaries to name my new little friend, and each vote is a dollar, so I can afford to keep the little guy or girl. What do you think? Any suggestions for a name?

A really good day at the office, beginning with the PM meeting in the AM. Then it was on to Meals-On-Wheels, then the first of two scheduled telephone calls. The problem is, I worked through the second scheduled call, and totally forgot about it. I am sometimes such a loser. I did not remember it until 10 minutes after it was over. I am totally embarrassed and will have to pay for that lack of remembering. I wonder if it is age-related?

OKAY, they are here, and we have already received the follow-up call that the propane converter and final installation will be preformed tomorrow. They are really pretty (kind of like me), and I can only hope they preform as good as they look. That is sometimes my problem, I look good but don't work that wonderfully. Jody already has a full day of washing and drying planned for tomorrow, and he has already read all the instruction manuals TWICE!

Tomorrow will be a really great day. I will be in the office early to get some work done, and then head off to the Board; 10 o'clock speaking engagement to new members of the Board, 10:30 PAC meeting and 1 o'clock NAR Ethics class. I LOVE teaching Ethics, and I ALWAYS enjoy teaching those classes. It will truly be a great day.

AND, to top off an already great day, my business partner Carrie will be hosting her annual Holiday get-together, and that is ALWAYS a lot of fun. The only problem is, I am old and go to bead early, so I almost always cut out early! We will see, I may surprise everyone!

How about this sunset? I was heading out to put the girls to bed, and this sunset was over before you could say Jack Robinson! Things change quickly in the stratospheres! The girls only produced three eggs today, and one more broken egg. Someone is really being taken by surprise lately, and we think the cooler weather is affecting the production, which we expected according to everything we had read about chickens. Oh, and if you happened to watch 'Modern Family' last night, I feed kind of like the parents of the adopted child...I was putting the girls to bed, and one of the girls was not ready and she tried to take a plug out of my finger. I know I am sweet, but this is ridiculous!

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

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty Two...

So, you know, if you drive up and down the same road (IH-35) on a pretty regular, consistent basis, you tend to recognize some of the people in the other vehicles, even though you are hurtling through time and space in a metallic cylinder. This particular guy is pretty easy to recognize, and this is the second time this week I have seen him. The first time, I thought the lights spelled out something, and that they were inside the car, but no, they are entwined in a piece of garland and fastened to the luggage rack kind of thing on his trunk lid. It is pretty effective, especially before the sun comes up. I really expected that this would be a female type driver, but I guess that is just the chauvinist in me burbling to the surface.

Today was a day of honor for a couple friends of mine. My friend Chris was honored as the 'Rookie of the Year' by the Austin Chapter of the Women's Council of REALTORS, and my friend Sytha was honored by the same organization as the 'Entrepreneur of the Year'. I know (having just experienced something similar last week), that this has been an exciting and emotionally draining day. What a wonderful experience it is though, to be honored by your peers for tireless dedication to a cause. They both have my respect and admiration. Congratulations again to you both!

I got some good work done today in the office, in between meetings. Tomorrow will be our Property Management meeting in the morning, then Meals-On-Wheels, and then in the afternoon I have two telephone calls scheduled. Not a bad day, all things considered. I really enjoy my Thursdays! Friday I have a pretty full day at the Board; a meeting in the morning and then speaking to a group of newly licensed REALTORS about TREPAC, and then I am teaching an Ethics class in the afternoon. THEN on Friday night is Carrie's annual Holiday Party, and Jody and I will be there with bells on! FIFO!

The chickens were doing well this afternoon, and although there were five eggs in the nesting boxes, one of them was broken. I think every now and then this egg laying things sneaks up on them and takes them by surprise, and they just 'shoot' out this egg at a pretty high velocity, and that leads to a (relatively speaking) egg disaster. Since we have been collecting eggs (about 11 weeks now) we have probably had three or four eggs broken before we collect them. Not a bad track record, all things considered.

Okay, I am not having a great feeling about this, but we are supposed to have the new washer and dryer delivered tomorrow, and they still have not called to confirm the delivery. When I got home from work today, I moved the old washer and dryer into storage, and because we are ready for the new units, I expect something will come up and they will not be delivered as (for the second or third time) scheduled. We shall see...

We have had a fire going in the wood stove non-stop since Sunday, and we are really enjoying that. Lovely!

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

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty One...

What a great day this was. It has taken me a while, but I am pretty darned motivated and working towards balance. Legs crossed, fingers in the correct position, now...'OMMMMMMMMMMM'. Groovy. I should also probably try doing some yoga. I don't think you really need to be taught yoga, and think if you can just find a quiet place, close your eyes and erase everything from your mind, that ought to do it. Kind of like business meetings except without the fluorescent lights. What do you think?

I am delighted with the good work I am getting done (or supervising others to do for me). I have always said creativity comes in having the idea, not in the execution of the work of art. If I can think it, I can always try to get someone else to turn it into reality. Works for me!

I had the honor of going to CostCo this afternoon, to do shopping for a break we are sponsoring tomorrow morning. I picked one heck of a time to start a diet, but I am doing pretty well all things considered. After all, it was my birthday last week, and there was cake. And the week before that it was Thanksgiving, and there is still pie in the refrigerator out in the garage. And I have not been 100% strict, but I have done pretty well. Just vetoing the trips to the drive-through will give me a certain amount of benefit. ANYWAY, my car is full of chocolate bits and all manner of things with carbohydrates. Honestly though, once I make up my mind to do something, I am pretty dedicated.

On the way home, the Basset was sitting out in the road again waiting for me. I worry that he will get hit by someone that does not know his/their routines. ANYWAY, this seemed like another good photo-op, so I took several photos of him, none of which I was able to get when he was looking at me. SO, I opened my car door to get a better shot, and then I thought the owners might think I was trying to kidnap the dog, so I went on. I have talked with the owners several times, so they pretty much know my routine with the Basset Boy Dog!

I got home, fed the chickens, boiled some eggs for lunches, stoked the fire in the stove, brought more firewood into the garage an then went out to put the girls to bed for the night. Jody got six eggs today, so they are still doing well, and they are certainly happy for all we can tell. They do not seem to mind the cold weather at all, and they certainly never complained about the heat. Resilience! Just a note in passing, the morning glories are down but they are not out! They are still putting on a nice show, even if they are a little bit pale!

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

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Forty...

Yesterday had a glorious sunrise, this evening there was a glorious sunset. That is only one of the great things about living here in the country, nothing much gets in your way. There are a couple two-story buildings here and there, but nothing too close. Bartlett itself might have a main street, but you can go around to the back of the buildings and see for several miles. Nature is a good thing.

I had a good and productive day in the office, I am working very hard to get things ready for the fresh New Year. I have big hopes for 2011, and I am going to do my best to make sure good things happen. Why does it take us all until the 'new year' to get motivated? Maybe because we have become discouraged and suffered through a few set-backs. Well, I think I need to try and remember that more in the future. We are what we make of ourselves, and we have no one to blame but ourselves if things do not work out right the first time.

One of my accomplishments was getting my flu shot this morning. It was nice to visit with the Doc, Rene and Lisa. I was just a 'walk-in' flu shot person, they had no idea I was coming in, that is one of the things I like about my doctor and his staff. If you need a recommendation for a GREAT GP, let me know!

I left the office about 3:15ish, and traffic was somewhat backed up on IH-35 heading north. One thing I have learned in the couple years I have been going back and forth on IH-35 is, you do not try to finesse the traffic situation. Tom from my office called me and warned me about the traffic even before I got on the Interstate, but I got on anyway, and I made it home in about an hour and fifteen minutes. If I had tried to go around it, I would have been trapped in traffic light purgatory. So, I have just learned to 'deal' with it.

When I got home, Jody said he retrieved five eggs from the girls today, and they were happy to see me when I went out to feed them. Then there was the sunset, and when O went outside to photograph the sunset, I heard the pool filter gurgling, so I am not running water into the pool. Always something.

The rest of this week looks like a winner, and I am happy with the progress that is being made!

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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Nine...

After a brief mention of this glorious sunrise this morning, this entry will be devoted mostly to things cow. Yes, you heard (or herd) me correctly, this entry will be ALMOST entirely devoted to things that go Moo. But first, the sunrise... I got up this morning pretty darned early for a weekend day, and it had cooled off pretty intensely overnight. It was in the forties, but there was a pretty brisk wind out of the north and my new birthday present barn coat was a handy thing to have. The lights were still glowing on the fence towards the road, and that was really cheery, so that was fun. I waited to let the girls out, and just read meters. Eventually, dawn broke and this sunrise was blooming. Wonderful!

Okay, then I went out and tried to straighten up from the chaos I had caused yesterday when I was 'cleaning' out the front shed. Basically, I was moving trash from one place to another, and basically I moved it again this morning, from the front of the shed to the trash cans and out to the road to be picked up tomorrow morning. I let the chickens into their pen, and kept up.

My friends Jim and Pam were scheduled to arrive around 10 o'clock to help me gather up cattle into the barn, and then Jody and Tonya were expected to arrive from Cedar Creek sometime after 10. I had everything planned out. Well, you know what that means, nothing goes as planned. Jody and Tonya got here about 9:30, and I had accomplished nothing as far as the cattle were concerned. HOWEVER, I did make some head-way today about cattle psychology. I have a better understanding of cattle now, and hope to use that to my advantage in the future. took us about an hour to get four calves loaded up onto the trailer. I had previously (about 15 minutes before) decided that I would keep the black and white bull calf since Jody had brought along his tools to 'band' him. He is now in the process of becoming a steer, so when John and Susan find a place for 'The Chairman', Mr. Speckles will still have a steer to play with. This is a picture of the Chairman, a very nice looking steer, and he will be a good steer, wonderfully gentle, pleasant to look at and basically a really happy cow.

SO, now we are left with ten cattle; Mr. Speckles the bull, his harem or seven cows and the two bull steers, 'Chairman Moo' and 'Sleepy'. Sleepy got his name because I moved all the cattle to another pasture one day, and he got left behind, he was asleep in the tall grass and did not even know he was missing. This is a photo of the NEW STEER, 'Sleepy' who is most likely thinking he did not care at all for that brief adventure in the cattle trailer earlier in the morning. And he has this nagging feeling that all things south are no longer correct. He just really cannot put his finger on it right now. ANYWAY...

This will be a nice week work-wise, and I am looking forward to it. Nothing traumatic in store (and I wish I had not said that). Have a great week!

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

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Eight...

A wonderful week-end day. Stayed in bed until after 7 o'clock, which in and of itself is kind of a record. Jody and I got the day started by reading the paper and having coffee. No breakfast, we were really full from dinner last night. I may not have even mentioned that we went to dinner last night at Montana Mike's in Georgetown (in celebration of my birthday) and we both had prime rib, which is TOTALLY on our diets. When we got home, however, the cake we had (compliments of my office) was not on the diet, but we had it anyway, and we are having more tonight. So there! Just in case you care, this is a picture of the water meter I check everyday.

Anyway, the first thing on the list was to try and reach the folks in the corporate maze of BestBuy. We are getting a new washer and dryer, and it is caught up in the delivery/installation/conversion to propane purgatory of the BestBuy oligarchy. We may have gotten everyone to see it our way, maybe not. BUT, they all tell us that they will concede to our desires, and deliver the product on Thursday. THEN, they will send someone out to install the conversion kit and hook the dryer up to the propane source. It is very complicated, so try not to ask too many questions.

After that, we headed out to the big storage shed to begin the miraculous conversion from chaos to organization. After a trip into Georgetown (stopping at Dairy Queen for spoilers of course, also not on the diets) for organizing supplies, we actually made very commendable progress, and we are both proud of the accomplishments. Another three or four days, and the main floor of the shed will actually be (okay, this is actually a MAY BE) organized. At any rate, it is 250% better that it was when we started this morning. Now all we have to do is to figure out what we should do with all the garbage we want to throw away, but cannot fit into the garbage cans. We shall prevail in this quest, I have confidence.

I also moved the cattle to the other pasture this afternoon, and they are happy to be there. We are being shed four calves tomorrow, three are going to be sold, one (that has already been sold) is going to live in Cedar Creek. That will leave us with only the steer calf that is also spoken for. No real hurry for the steer calf to go anywhere, he (it) won't be hurting anyone, and it will give Mr. Speckles someone to play with. Jody (the other Jody, the one from Cedar Creek) and Tonya and their son Patrick will be coming out in the morning to get the calves, and my friend Jim (who owns the other calf) will all be here in the morning around 10 o'clock. I still have a pretty good bit of stuff to do between now and then, but I am pretty much done for the night.

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

Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Seven... has certainly been a day for me to remember for a long, long time. It started out innocently enough, with me heading off to town to attend the Austin Board of REALTORS Installation Brunch. It is really difficult to believe that it has already been a year since the first Installation I attended as a new Director at the Board.

At 8:30 this morning, I was at the Austin Country Club drinking a delicious Mimosa, and saying hello to many of my colleagues, on both a local and state level. It was a wonderful function, and when friends would come up to me and wish me a Happy Birthday, I would make a joke about the Board sponsoring this party for my birthday.

The brunch was going nicely, and we got to the awards portion of the event. The last award presented was Chairman John Horton's Special Presentation. I have had the privilege and honor to serve on the Board this year with John as the Chair, and as he was describing the award and the recipient of the award, I started getting an odd feeling, and the associates and friends at our table started kicking each other under the table. Okay, so cut to the chase...I was awarded the Austin Board of REALTORS Chairman's Award for Outstanding Service in 2010.

Dumbstruck. Speechless. Undeserving. These are just a few of the adjectives that immediately come to my mind when I think of the events of the day. Some others include: Overwhelmed. Proud. Tired. Grateful. Blessed.

What a nice birthday. I am truly humbled, but tomorrow will be another day, and no sense in looking at the past, there is only tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that...

I hope you enjoy the photo above of my friends and colleagues at our table.

I had a terrific birthday. Thanks.

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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Six...

Alright (see) when I was standing in line in the freezing cold of that long ago Georgetown morning, I also bought the CHEAPEST laptop computer I could find. AND, I am now trying it out as a replacement for my older desk top, that has developed a myriad of frustrating issues in the past several months. SO, this is the trial run of the new laptop. We will see how it goes. There are already a few things that are more convenient with this computer, not the least of which is the size and the amount of extra space I have at my desk. There are also (already) a few things that I will not yet complain about, but will try my best to get used to.

I had an inspiring day at the office, a day filled with resolutions to nagging issues I have been coping with. I am really excited about some decisions I made, and am looking forward to getting some things implemented before the New Year. I think 2011 will be a good year, and I am looking forward to it with renewed vigor. Whatever...

Well, there was a temporary delay just then, I had to download a program that re-sizes photos that I post on this journal. BUT, I am really happy that I could figure this part of the process out. I continually short change myself when it comes to being able to figure out computer stuff, but in reality, I think I can pretty much get from one point to another successfully. Truth be known, it is really much simpler for me NOT to have to read the books, and even simpler for me to get someone else to do the set-ups and things for me. I admit that...

SO, with all the new attitudes, I am a pretty darn happy camper. Several accomplishments made, chickens fed, chickens put to bed. It is a warmer overnight expected, so that is also something to put in the plus column.

Tomorrow will be a pretty fun day; 8:30 Board Installation at the Austin Country Club (I do not know if I have ever been there, if I have it has not been frequently), and then the afternoon to play catch up for the weekend.

Who can complain? Not me! Life is excellent! Enjoy...

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 - Day Three Hundred Thirty Five...

I am having a little bit of trouble keeping up with the days. I know today is Wednesday, but I have to keep reminding myself of that fact. And a week ago tomorrow was Thanksgiving, right? Seems like it was a month ago. Time is flying, and sometimes it seems to stand still. Whatever... ANYWAY, this photo is kind of what I wanted to do for the milestone day yesterday, but I was too lazy to get up off my big-fat-chair and go to the HEB to find the candles for the 'in-store' photo shoot. It seems to all be about convenience these days, doesn't it?

This is a photo of our Christmas cactus that is just now beginning to bloom. I don't remember if I got this cactus last year or the year before, but it is a beauty, and I bought it at CostCo, I remember that much. It is covered up with buds, and it is really going to be spectacular when it gets into full bloom.

Okay, just for the record, I need to confess to (sometimes) being a bad chicken daddy. I did not open the girls door from the coop this morning, because it was extra cold. I waited until I was leaving for work, thinking it would be a little bit warmer. When I got out there, I discovered I had not closed the door last night and totally forgot to put the girls to bed. So, they went all night exposed to who-knows-what, but they made it with no obvious problems. Good chickens, strong chickens.

I had a few meetings at the Board today, and this if how I felt. Pretty darn awesome. Why fight it? No real need, that is for sure.

Tomorrow is my Meals-On-Wheels day, and I am looking forward to that. I really like delivering to clients, some of whom have been on my route for many years. I have really good relationships with many of them, and that is very rewarding.

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