Sunday, February 28, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Nine...

Well, can you believe it? This is the LAST DAY of February! Man, as I said before, it has gone by quickly and drug out all at the same time. There were times that I thought this month would never end, and right now, it seems like only yesterday I was on that ship cruising the Caribbean. AND, the freaking tiara (Pat) is not handling the decline and fall of its' reign very well. As you can see by this photo, she gave up on the gnomes (I still think they are bachelor farmers) and has taken up with Jean Claude (the sumo wrestler of questionable heritage) in its' attempt to find on-going fame. I don't know about you, but that steely gaze is not looking like it can be warmed up with a bunch of jabber from a near committed bunch of semi-precious stones. Talk about the attraction of opposites! Anyway, this is Pats' last day, and I suspect there will be something else happening before it is all over. I do not expect it to go down without a fight!

I got the cattle fed this morning, Jody helped me and it was done pretty quickly. They are pretty much trained to know the routine, and it all went well. The little winter heifer calf (Stormy) looks very good and seems to be thriving. I am convinced that she is the calf of Orchid, but I have still never seen her nurse. I know she is nursing someone, and I know it is not me, so I am pretty sure she is nursing Orchid. All the cattle look kind of thin to me this morning, but they have plenty of food, so maybe they are just spending a lot of energy keeping warm. I cannot comprehend that they are hungry or they would be eating more hay...I think they would be eating and grazing all the time if they were hungry, and not taking snooze breaks in the afternoons.

After we got the cattle fed, we went to the front shed and opened some more boxes. I think we opened about six more boxes, to get ready to take the resale place. After that, Jody and I went into Georgetown and visited the Collector's Market where we have a space rented. I think we are taking a bigger space in the front of the shop, a space with better visibility. We both have fun doing that, and it gives us something else to do.

Before we left for Georgetown, I was out sweeping the garage, and Jody was out there with me. We both looked up, and there was Hubert bringing us a bag of cookies that Pauline had baked. Pauline was sitting in the car, and they were on their way home from Church, and they just stopped by to drop off some cookies. WE LOVE LIVING IN THE COUNTRY! The neighbors out here are actually neighborly! We could not have chosen a better place to move. Well, maybe we could, but we think we did pretty darn well.

After the market, we stopped at Tractor Supply and got salt for the water softener, and a 50 pound bag of birdseed. Then it was on to Dairy Queen, and then home. Once we got home, we went into Bartlett and walked around the downtown area, and went into the antique shops that were open. As we were walking around, we spied these two old advertising signs painted on the walls of a couple of the buildings. I am especially fond of the one for the Wrigley's gum, but the Coke sign is nice too, if more utilitarian. I really like the Wrigley's sign...I think it looks really deco and I am surprised that such a sign was in Bartlett, Texas.

On the way home, we stopped at Hubert and Pauline's and talked with Michael for a few minutes. I want him to come over and make sure everything is working on the fences in the rear pasture before I let the cattle back there. While I was there, Hubert and I started talking about bees, and thy have a bees next in an old 55 gallon barrel. We both went over and looked at it, and of course as I was taking 'just one more picture' one of the bees took offense and stung me. Well, that just means there is one less bee. I am going to send the picture I took to Konrad to see if he thinks we can move the bees to one of my hives. That will be an adventure for sure!

That's it!

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Eight...

Okay, I think Pat (the tiara) is barking up the wrong tree on this one. It is still trying to escape its' inevitable faith, and I think it has put a little bit TOO much faith into these two gnomes. These gnomes have been hanging around the house for years (both here and at the Red Rock farm) and never once have I known them to have any interest at all in glitter and the big city kind of life. Well, just look at them...if they don't look like your typical 'bachelor farmers' I will kiss your old Aunt Mary at high noon on the corner of Sixth and Congress. Pat was thinking these two guys could help her escape, but I think it is just trading one pile 'o crap for another. I guess we shall see, but it has just one day left before the rest home. Only time will tell.

Today was a busy day, even if it was a Saturday. I took off for my bee keeping class, and I guess Konrad thinks I am kind of an advanced student (after all this was my third class) so he took me and three other students to a place somewhere near Hell-and-Gone but Konrad said it was in Georgetown...not any kind of Georgetown I know of, but I was not driving so I guess it could have been in Georgetown.

Anyway, the property was off a long dirt road, very much scrub and cedar trees, and probably five to seven acres. There were two Great Pyrenees dogs, a couple burros (or mules or Jack-asses or donkeys, I can never tell the difference) and some sheep and goats. One of the goats (his name is Walter) took a shining to me and I reciprocated. I have never petted a goat before, so that was kind of fun.

There were about five hives on the property, all right next to each other, and there was only activity in one of the hives. Konrad forgot his smoker, so we got a tin can and filled it up with dry hay and some dry (but damp) oak leaves and tried to get it to make some smoke. Not really too much success on that part, but then one of the students had a knife so we made holes in the bottom of the can and that made things work better. We also supplemented the dry hay and damp leaves with goat poop, and that made a pretty good smoker...okay, not nearly as good as the store bought stuff, but it worked okay.

The inactive hives had been active last year, but during the freeze, the bees in the other hives froze to death and there was evidence of a lot of wax moth activity. The remaining hive is a very strong hive, and no evidence of wax moths. Interesting seemed the failed hives had already been compromised by the wax moths and the freezing temperatures just took a toll on them. Most of the dead bees were found all huddled together to keep warm, and some of them had their heads inside the cells.

Whenever you are working with bees and you don't get stung, that should be considered a good day!

I finished my class and headed into Austin. I had a two o'clock appointment to show property, and got all that done, and I was back on my way home by about 5 o'clock. We had chicken (or turkey) tamales for dinner, with chili and cheddar cheese on top. Good food for wintry weather (okay it was almost 70 degrees today) and it was a delicious dinner.

Tomorrow I will feed cattle, go to the front shed and try to go through a couple more boxes, and then we will head into Georgetown. We need some bird seed (Jody thinks we are the only folks in this part of the county that feed the birds) and of course there is the traditional weekend stop at Dairy Queen for spoilers that must be attended to.

That's it!

Deeds Changes, Actions, GOATS NAMED WALTER, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Seven...

Interestingly, the tiara (Pat) is still trying to hitch a ride out of town. I had to rescue the monkey from its' tyrannical rants, and the monkey was last seen hanging from a vine towards the front of the property. As you can see, the monkey has also been perfectly content for the last several years with its' own adornments, namely the cute little Holiday Antlers that he/she arrived with. What is more difficult to determine the sex of...your choices are 1) a cat, 2) a tiara 3) a ceramic monkey or 4) all of the above. Just checking...

Today was a MOST EXCELLENT day. Got a TON of work accomplished at the office, and took off at noonish to the Board of REALTORS, by way of running few errands first. Luncheon at the Board presented by the Professional Development and Education Committee. The New TREC Administrator, Doug Oldmixon was our speaker today. Every time I a close enough to hear Doug Oldixon talk I am happier about the career I have chosen. I am proud that he is the TREC Administrator, and I a real looking forward to the changes and vision he is bringing to our Commission. Good things are ahead!

After that was another meeting at the Board, working on tweaking our Leadership Training Program. GREAT MEETING! Thanks Leonard. Wonderful ideas were brought out, and I think that was a very successful use of our time.

Made it home early today, if you wanna call 4:30 early, but I will and so there! Jody and I watched a little bit of the evening news, and then it was off to Catfish Parlor, where there was actually a wait. Anyway, it was worth it, and now we are home, I am having some peach cobbler (Jody is having bread pudding) and I am going to have a glass of milk, some wine and then I am going to crash. I am contemplating seeping till about 6:30 in the morning. Not sure if I can do it, but I am going to try like hell!

I am going to my beekeeping class in the morning, and then I will go into Austin and show properties with my new clients from last week. We have seven homes to look at, so that should be fun. They are a very nice couple, and are very interested in learning all the details about the home buying process. They are reading books about purchasing a home, so I am hoping to pass the test!

Good night...

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Six...

Man-O-Man, this month seems to be dragging by, but at the same time it seems to be flying by. Not sure how that works out, but I guess it does. Okay, the tiara (Pat) seems to be trying to associate itself with things around the house. This afternoon, I guess it was trying to kindle a friendship with this clock in the den, an obvious try at merging its' semi-preciousness with a knock off Louis XVI reproduction, and even at that the lineage of the clock is questionable at best. Some people just cannot be satisfied with their station in life. I really and truly think that fame and glory of this most-fabulous blog has skewed its' perspective on life, and even though it knows about it pending retirement to the 'home', it is still trying to find more glory. Not sure how that is gonna work out, but we shall see.

Nice day today, after a really nice sleep, although I am still feeling a little bit like I will NEVER get caught up on my sleep. We had our PM meeting this morning, and most everything is pretty much under control. I may wish I had not made that comment, but I am going to chance it.

Lots of itty-bitty things got caught up on in the office today as well, before I headed out to do my Meals-On-Wheels gig. Mr. Stan (the facilitator at our location) was absent today, and that makes me a little bit nervous. He has only been missing in action once or twice in the three or four years that I have delivered from that location, and once was because he had taken a pretty bad fall. I will check in next week to make sure he is okay. I had seven clients today, down one from last week, and one client was not home, so that can sometimes be a challenge. Otherwise, all was well, and it was a beautiful day to be outside.

After that, I was on my way to a property inspection. I always try to show up at the end of the inspections because I cannot keep my mouth shut, and I am not an inspector. There were a couple odd things going on at the inspection, and if what I think was going on can actually be verified, I will let you all in on it in a later post.

On the way back to the office, I stopped at the ATT store on West Fifth, and had Chase (my very own ATT guy) take a look at my phone, and he fixed one little issue I had been experiencing with it. Overall, I am VERY SATISFIED with the iPhone that I bought, although I do believe the ATT service is somewhat lacking. I am not really sure that any cell service is good enough, it just depends on your tolerance level.

Work, work, work this afternoon, and I left the office about 4:15. Traffic was a little touchy, but I made reasonable time getting home. I was here in time to see a little bit of the National News (of which there was very little) and Jody is in the kitchen right now making dinner. Pasta with chicken and broccoli in an Alfredo sauce and a Caesar (spell check says that is right, it does not look right to me) salad. Okay then, yummy!

Tomorrow morning will be a little bit of an open morning, the afternoon is pretty well booked up. Saturday I have another bee class, and then I will be showing properties for sale starting about 2PM. Pretty well booked through Saturday. At this time, I am open on Sunday, so we will see how that plays out.


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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Five...

Four more days and the tiara is being shipped off to the rest home. Sunnyville or something like that. I have it convinced that it is a 'rest home', a very nice little spot in the country. Just between us, it is kind of a ... how should I put this ... home for wayward tiaras. Pat has really taken this whole 'tiara theme blog month' far beyond the scope of anything I was imagining during the planning stages. I thought it would be nice, but suddenly the tiara has begun making demands. It insists the waiting area before the photo shoot have nothing but blue M&M's; any bathing type facility will have only 'blue/white' towels, the room shall be freshly painted blue with white trim; and its' 'handlers' are to outfitted in sand blue crushed velvet ensembles 'befitting its' station in life'. Whatever...four more days and that thing is history. Can you say Sunset Boulevard? I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille? You are one brick short of a load? How about this; You're one rhinestone short of a tiara? I don't care who you are, that's funny! Anyway, today's guest is Miss Hessie from the Board of REALTORS. A wonderful friend, and always lots of fun. ABP!

A busy day today, and it was interesting travelling into the city. My car actually skidded a little bit on IH-35 and on MoPac as well. Just little patches of ice here and there, but you needed to be careful. AND, as you know, I am like an old granny driver when there are conditions like that, so I was extra-conscientious, much to the dismay of the drivers behind and around me. I did not even do any text messaging. How boring is that...and how can I be expected to be out of touch for up to 45 minutes at a time?

This is a photo of one of the little photo-cell lights we have outside the bedroom window. I thought it would make an interesting remembrance of the SNOW EVENT. We do not expect to have another for about twenty-five years. The last time is snowed this much in the Central Texas area was early in 1985...about six months before I moved here. Driving home this afternoon, there were still spots around with snow, in fact, there is still a little bit of snow on the roof of the house, and around the truck. So, that is a good thing. I think the temperature might have reached the low 50's today, but not 100% certain of that.

There was a nice sunset in evidence as we were sitting down for dinner. I am having issues with my camera(s) and cannot get what I consider to be a good sunset shot. Maybe it is the fault of the camera operator, and not of the camera. That is the way it usually works out, in my opinion.

Okay, short entry today...tired...

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Four...

Calling all cars...calling all on the look-out for a late model Toyota Prius, reported stolen early afternoon by a hardly-coherent real estate agent. The 'perp' is reported to be a tiara named 'Pat', allegedly from the Miami area. Suspect will most likely be seated atop a couple dozen pillows, many with fringe and tassles attached. Most likely headed south, last seen in a Central Austin area parking lot, complaining bitterly about its' 'jewels' beginning to freeze, and needing to find a place to thaw. Should be considered armed and extremely 'semi-precious'. That is all...

So, today is being kind of a fun day...kind of a snow day...kind of a 'is it still snowing outside' kind of day. When it started raining this morning, we were all opening blinds and trying to take photos, with little or no success. There is really no accumulation on the roadways, but there is some snow staying on the ground, and there were a few slicky spots on the bridges and overpasses during my trip (early) home this afternoon. Kind of fun, the BIG snow flakes have quit, and the tiny snow flakes are starting. When I was growing up outside Detroit, we would always say the big flakes were not anything to worry about, it was the small little bitty flakes that meant problems. We shall see. I have an 8:30 appointment in the morning, and everything will be dependent on what the Austin Independent School District does. That is the benchmark. It the schools close down, my meeting is cancelled. If the schools open two hours late, my meeting is two hours later. Not a bad way to figure things out. None of us have any rules for this kind of stuff.

BEFORE ALL THAT started, though, I was at a breakfast meeting this morning that started at 7:15. The TREPAC Awards breakfast this morning, and the guest speaker was our Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Todd Staples. A nice breakfast, nice company, and a good speaker, letting us know he appreciates the involvement of the REALTOR community in the affairs of the State of Texas. Again, I am still learning all the complexities and the intricacies of a the various associations, local, state and national. Fascinating stuff!

AND THEN...I headed off to the office, and got a lot of work done. Yesterday my Buyer/Seller client got his sale transaction finalized (out of option now) and the purchase of his new property negotiated, and he is in option for the purchase of his new home. Got contracts receipted, earnest monies delivered, option fees delivered and receipted, and then it was time (almost) to head home. Once I got home, there was more work to do (but in sweats and t-shirts) and a lot of looking out the window at the snow falling, and going outside every now and then to see if I can take ONE MORE PICTURE. Every time I get close to the tank where the ducks are, they freak out and head out. If you look closely at the first picture, you can see the ducks in the tank. There are about a dozen that have taken up residency in the tank, and we hope they will stay around. If we get to another really bad drought, we will have to come up with a way to keep water in the tank, and that will most likely mean digging a well just to keep the tanks could be worse, and hopefully worth the expense for the sake of nature.

The second photo is just kind of a nice photo looking to the back of the property from about the corner of the house. No cattle is sight, hopefully they are in the barn where there is some shelter. Earlier they were seen chowing-down on the hay, and the neighbors cattle have no shelter at all. Totally not common for us to have this kind of weather. REMEMBER, it was 77 degrees here just two days ago. Kind of crazy, even for us!

Pretty much done for this post...

Deeds, Changes, Actions, SNOW FLURRIES, kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Three...

Okay, there is some scandal brewing about the tiara and martinis. AND just how did the tiara end up 'sloshed' at the Four Seasons yesterday afternoon? Admittedly, this whole thing about having the tiara in the spotlight for 'Theme Blog' month may have been a mistake, but WHO KNEW? Has success spoiled Pat the Tiara. Can you say Haley Joel Osment? I THINK SO! Anyway, to recap (and re post), the tiara was seen being applied to the noggin of Marcie by Carrie, the princess of all Princesses. There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding that point, and they were both overheard saying they were the 'Queen' of the meeting, but as we all know, you cannot be Queen as long as your mother is living, and I am not sure the status of these twos parental units. ANYWAY, it seems the tiara (Pat) was taken off to the Four Seasons for cocktails, and when I showed up to fetch it, it had to be uprighted (and removed quite unwillingly) from a Martini Glass. Okay, this next bit qualifies for the TMI department...I did sternly scold the tiara for un-tiara-like conduct, but NOT BEFORE I licked what little vodka I could from those semi-precious stones. Whatever, it was late and I was desperate. Go judge someone else! Pat's days in the spotlight are numbered, and it will soon be back to the bookshelf. Fame is fleeting, and those that shine the brightest may be just burning out!

NEWS FLASH Prepare for the blizzard of 2010. There is a chance the Austin area will experience some freezing precipitation over the next few days. Store shelves have been depleted of Twinkies and Blue Bell. Home Depot reports a shortage of gasoline powered generators, and Beall's has sold out of men's long underwear. Road crews across hundreds of counties are at the ready with sand trucks, and school children are contemplating what they will do with the extra two weeks off. It was just yesterday that people were sweating and complaining about the heat at Zilker Park. Okay, that was just one fat guy, 'sweating to the oldies' or was that me, a sweating old fat guy. It is very complicated. Who can keep up. ANYWAY, the odds of central Texas coming to a grinding halt in the next 48 hours or so are better than even. When can only wait and see what kind of devastation there will be. I will do my duty to keep you all informed.

Speaking of duty, no mater what the case, I will be on the road tomorrow morning at 5:45 heading for a breakfast at the Association Meeting. My last event of this vent for this season. I have to leave a little earlier than I expect I need to because you never know what you will encounter on the roads. Better safe than sorry. I hate arriving places late, so I almost always arrive early.

I did my civic duty on the way home tonight, I stopped and did my early voting thing. I was not more than a minute in the actual voting part, it was the primary ballot, no big deal BUT A REALLY BIG DEAL TO LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. The ballot was three pages, but I already knew who I was voting for, so it was a snap-a-reno! GO VOTE...DO YOUR DUTY!

That's it. I am going to go watch Antique's Roadshow.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty Two...

This do in honor of Socar! Socar is in the 'barrel' today as the wearer of the tiara. Socar is getting the place of honor, since I will be attending the Region 15 Caucus this afternoon, and she is one of our three representatives of from that Region. Man-O-Man...the more I get involved with this real estate gig, the more-and-more complicated I find it to be. This is definitely a well-oiled machine. I believe most REALTORS believe they pay their dues for the use of the various MLS systems, but their is MUCH MORE to it than that! A LOT of dedication and hard work goes into the local, state and national Associations, and none of it could be accomplished without all the volunteers. My hat is off to all who work so hard.

It began as a foggy morning, and I had LOTS of chores to get done, and lots of other things to work into the morning. Feeding the cattle was the first (and honestly the most important) thing I needed to accomplish this morning. I was able to get the cattle fed and a fresh bale of hay out to them in record time. AND THEY should be called 'Pavlov's Cattle', because as soon as they hear that Mule coming towards them, they are all lined up at the trough. THEY ARE READY to be fed; I am glad there is a fence between them and me, and also grateful that they think the fence can restrain them. REALLY? A little fence holding back GREAT BIG Longhorn Cattle? REALLY?

We had about 1/8" of rain last night, just enough to make everything damp and wet. Add that to the already soggy pastures, and that means the cattle are still up to their ankles (do cattle have ankles) in mud around the troughs. The littlest new calf (Stormy) seems to be thriving, which Longhorns are wont to do. One of the reasons I chose them; they require very little care. Anything that can survive the uncertainties of Texas is a pretty darn hardy stock in my book.

I am going into town shortly to show some property to a Buyer client, then back home (after a stop at DQ), and then back into town for the caucuses. I expect it to be a really interesting and educational day. If I can get back to the meeting by 2PM, I will take a class as long as I am there. Take advantage when you have the chance!

On our way home, Jody pointed out to me the carcass of a coyote hanging off a fence on one of the County Roads. The idea is that if you hang the carcass it will be a warning to other coyotes that there is danger there. I think that gives other coyotes credit for being a little smarter than they really are. I still go on the theory that, as far as animals go, we as a species (human beings) are the only animals that realize and are conscious of the fact that we are going to die. Maybe I feel that way because I am not fluent in coyote...or basset hound...or whatever. Just a thought.

Okay, so it was a busy day. I made it back to the Association Meeting in time to attend a class at 1:45, then the Regional Caucus for the Austin Region. During the class, the tiara was kidnapped, and had to be retrieved. More details about that in tomorrow's post. The class was about gadgets and things (technologies) for making REALTORS lives easier...but it was really more about where to find things on the Internet that would be useful to REALTORS. Interesting class.

As it turned out, the day was a beautiful one, with bright sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70's. A beautiful day. A busy day is in store for tomorrow. Good night!

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

Saturday, February 20, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty One...

The lucky person to ascend the throne of tiara wearer is none other than my friend Doren. Doren is the owner/editor/chief cook and bottle washer (along with his lovely wife Tawanna) of a real estate oriented newspaper in Austin. This photo was taken on Tuesday, when he was visiting the Board for some reason that I am not aware of. He stopped by the class that I was teaching on Leasing and Property Management, and we had a nice chat during the lunch hour. Doren is a wonderful person to know, and I am happy that he took the time to sit and talk with me that day. He was also in evidence the next evening at the TREPAC Chili Cook-Off. What fun that was! I was told today that the Cook-Off raised $6,000 for TREPAC. I hope that number is accurate; if not I will make a correction/

Well, as I suspected, today began much like yesterday. I got us early, did my usual routine things, left the house about 6:30, and began my day at the Texas Association of REALTORS Winter Meeting. This photo was taken about 7:30 this morning, and the foggy hazy stuff was really interesting, obscuring the top of our newest TALL BUILDING! It is now about 10:45 and I am in my office waiting on two Buyer clients. We are going to go look at some properties! It is not raining at this exact moment. It has not ACTUALLY rained, but it has been a dribbly morning! So far, I have attended four different events at the Winter Meeting. First was a coffee of the Graduates of the Texas REALTOR Leadership Program; then there was the Ombudsman training; then there was the Property Management Forum, and finally (so far) the Property Management Committee Meeting. I kind of floated between the four different venues, but they were all worthwhile, and I am glad I got a 'little-bit' of each of the meetings. It was great seeing all the Graduates of the Leadership Program, Ombudsman was great (I love the negotiating aspects of serving as an Ombudsman). AND I can never learn too much about the different aspects of Property Management. Congratulations to the Texas Association of REALTORS for another great Winter Conference!

I showed a lovely Buyer/Client couple five or six houses late morning/early afternoon, and then I headed back to the meeting. I arrived in time to attend my friend and fellow Instructor Marcie's class about the trials and tribulations and pitfalls of Real Estate Marketing on Social Networking sites. Very interesting stuff, and it creates many kinds of Broker Liability that were not even thought of twenty minutes ago, let alone YEARS AGO when I became a licensed agent in Texas. You can never be too careful, and I never know if I have done anything inappropriate. I hope not, but that is most likely not a very good defense. We must all remember to be Scrupulous and Meticulous in ALL of our real estate dealings.

I then attended an Instructors Forum which was VERY GOOD and VERY INFORMATIVE. Many people I consider to be friends were the facilitators of the forum. Basically, it was designed to give instructors a variety of ways of presenting the instructional material. Very well done, and it was a very good use of time allotted.

Afterwards, I went to the TREPAC Reception on the 17th floor, and had a glass of wine. ONE GLASS. Having not eaten since 5AM or so, that was all it took. I was then on a quest for food-stuffs. There was not a lot of bread items (which was what I was looking for), but I did manage to have a little bit of sustenance before I left for the trip home. DO NOT MESS WITH MY CHEESE! No issues, all was good! This photo is of the City from the 17th floor. Pretty Darned Impressive, if I do say so myself. Many folks consider Austin to be a very provincial place, and usually they are very surprised at how cosmopolitan our city really is. We should have indoor plumbing in the spring of 2015 too!

Tomorrow I will show some property, feed the cattle and go to the State Caucuses.

That is it for tonight. ENJOY!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, ONE GLASS OF MERLOT, PLEASE, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 - Day Fifty...

Well, well, well...what have we here my little pretty? Well, if it isn't Sally...all decked out in a little tiara named Pat. Even though this photo was taken a few days ago, Sally and I shared a table early this morning in an Instructor Evaluation Forum at the Texas Association of REALTORS Winter Meeting. It was an interesting and difficult beginning (for me) of the REAL day (my other day started MUCH earlier, more about that in a few paragraphs). I know how much time and effort go into preparation by the Instructors and, on the other hand, it is important to provide CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. I do not receive criticism well (imagine that) but over the years I have decided I need to ACCEPT it in the spirit in which it is offered, and I must consider who it is giving the criticism. Usually, even if not at first, I believe the criticism IS constructive, and try my best to make it something positive. Whatever...

SO, my day began early, about 4:15 this morning. I had various goals to achieve before I left, and one of the goals was to leave NOT LATER than 6:30. When I got into my office at home, I found several e-mails that had arrived AFTER I was already asleep last night, and I was asleep at 9:15. SO, I was busy responding to e-mails and composing e-mails to clients concerning property offers, amendments, this and that. So, after all that was accomplished, I determined I needed to stop in the office before I went to the Association meeting, which meant I was cutting my schedule even closer. I got everything accomplished, BUT I did not have time for any breakfast or to read the news paper.

TOO FAT TO FLY? WHAT ABOUT TOO BIG TO PARK? After a quick stop at the office, I made it to the meeting site, and found (finally) a parking spot. There has been a lot of noise in the media lately about the guy that (for whatever reason, blah, blah, blah) needed to buy two seats on the airline but there was only one seat available, so he did not get fly. he guy knew he had to buy two issue. I wonder, did this person have to pay five times for parking? I doubt it, but it would make sense. What do you think?

I made it to the meeting with about ten minutes to spare, got settled in and ready to get going. As I mentioned above, my first forum (not sure if that is the right word) was to evaluate Instructor candidates, and it was a very interesting process. The persons critiquing the candidates were all Instructors with the Association, and I imagine it was a tough room for an Instructor. Instructing Instructors is always a tough gig.

THEN, I went DOWNSTAIRS (from a meeting room on the 17th floor) to a larger ballroom where the Professional Standards training was to be held. That training was from 9 until 4 and it was a very good session, got lots of ideas and networking started between the attendees. The room was PACKED! This is a photo of my NEMESIS (wink, wink) Candy. She volunteered me to be a member in a role-play in the afternoon, much to my surprise. I walked back in the room after a break (I was in the little boys room), and was immediately called to the front to participate. I had no time for preparation or to even know what I was supposed to do. BUT, it all went well, and we all had a good time. No animals were harmed in the role play, so we can all be thankful for small miracles. BUT, Candy knows she owes me one! I will get her back, bwaahahahaha....

Towards the end of the day, our table looked like something had exploded on it. I had been conducting business during breaks and at lunch, and when I left the session, I needed to go back to the office to get some work done there. I did about thirty minutes of power real estate, and took off for home, and spent most of the drive-time making phone calls and continuing to negotiate Amendments to contracts. Everything will work out just the way it is supposed to. We may wish things worked out differently, or things may not work out the way we would like, but in my opinion, everything works out just the way it is supposed to.

Okay, that is pretty much it for today. It will pretty much be a repeat tomorrow, except in the middle of the day I will be showing properties to a Buyer couple. YIPPEE! Buyers are a good ting. I will leave tomorrow morning before 6:30 and will get home tomorrow night around 8PM (at least that is my goal).

Good night!

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Nine...

Well, the tiara (Pat) is proudly being sported today on the head of David, my friend and colleague in Austin. David was seen with the tiara earlier this week when I was at the Board, and he graciously agreed to being 'used' as a prop for Pat. David was also at the Board offices last night for the Chili Cook-Off, and I expect to see him over the weekend at the Texas Association of REALTORS Winter meeting. David is VERY active with both the Austin Board and the Williamson County Association of REALTORS, as well as the Texas Association and the National Association of REALTORS. He is one busy guy, and thanks for appearing in today's post!

I may be talking about the Chili Cook-Off for another day or two in this blog. There was also an appearance last night by the Spice girls. I thought they were a 'has-been' British girls-band from the late nineties, but alas, there is a new incarnation in the world of fabulous chili. They made a very good pot of chili, and they were passing out bags of their special seasonings! Thanks very much for that! I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Cook-Off since last night, and it was really a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of hard work to make this whole fund raiser come together. Kudos to all those folks that worked in the background to make it all look and feel like it just came together with no effort. Those are the kind of functions that have the most work and effort involved. It was great!

Was there any way you could think the day would be anything less than excellent after this mornings' sunrise? It was absolutely beautiful! It is always interesting to think about what I will see when I walk into the garage to get in the car and head out for the day. AND, compared to the day I complained about yesterday, this has been a great day. A tremendous amount of wonderful and positive things were accomplished. It could have only been better if someone had deposited a million dollars in my bank account ON PURPOSE. Okay, well, any amount of money deposited into my account on purpose would have made the day better, but it was pretty darn good just the way it was!

Something that also made my day even better...I got a lovely note in the mail today from my NEW FRIEND Pam (Hey, Stinky!). That makes me laugh. What a wonderful new friend she is, we met on the MCE Cruise (I think our paths had crossed before) and we really became friends almost instantly. Isn't it interesting how that happens. I feel like I have know here for a really long time, not just a few weeks. When things click, they click! So, it was wonderful to get her note in the mail today, along with some drink tickets for Southwest (can you say Merlot?) and a ten-spot. That is really kind of a complicated tale, but I will let all of you just use your imaginations about the tenner! THANKS FOR LETTING ME IN YOUR WORLD, PAM!

I will be attending the Texas Association of REALTORS winter meeting tomorrow and all through the weekend, concluding on Tuesday. Always a wonderful learning experience! I will be reporting more about the goings-on as they develop. I wonder if there will be any tiara moments at the meeting? We shall see...

Okay, I am going to make this comment in this entry, only because I think I need to document it. I don't want it to be too much of a downer, but it needs to be included. Months or years from now, it will be interesting to put today and this incident together. Today, it seems an unhappy person flew his (or maybe someone elses) small plane into a building in Northwest Austin, ON PURPOSE, allegedly because he had an issue with the IRS. It is really amazing to my how creative people can become when they want to harm themselves and others. As I said above, tomorrow (and through Tuesday) I will be in meetings in a high-rise Austin Hotel, and we are not safe. We can only hope for the best. I hope no one had a bad meal in the Hotel...goodness-gracious knows what the offended person might do. I think many of our neighbors are out of control. I sometimes think I am out of control, but then I just think of my business partner, and try to decide...'What would Carrie do?'...or I think of Jody and think...'What Would Jody Do?'. And then I am calm, and I can go on. I am just lucky that way. I will not talk too much about the man that took his revenge and harmed others who were innocent. I do not intend to give him any glory. Heaven help all those that were affected by this unhappy human being.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Eight...

Okay, the tiara found its' way to the Lakeway area this morning. I went to have lunch with my friend Bryan, and he was more than happy to have his photo taken with Pat (the tiara). I have not seen NEARLY enough of Bryan lately, and I really miss him. We used to call each other up at the spur of the moment, and meet for 'retail therapy'. Bryan is a computer guru and God of all things electronic. I would always call him with my stupid questions, and I know he really got tired of me. BUT, I will take what I can get of him, he is busy, I am busy, we are all busy.

This was the first time I have EVER been to the Hill Country Galleria, and I have to admit, I was UNDERWHELMED! Not any big deal, and I can kind of understand why the place is in bankruptcy! Nothing special about it, on the contrary, there is a lot about it that is inconvenient. And, as we all know, we are all about convenience! Why do you want to park in a kind of remote parking garage to go up and down a single street of shops. Okay, there are shops on both sides of the street, but still. Even the shopping center I worked at when I was 15 years ole (1967) was better than this one. This new 'outside mall' concept is just not working for me. I will admit to the fact that I am (likely) not cool enough for the concept, BUT I most likely will not make it a destination spot for my shopping needs. Target gets me!

I have had a difficult day, and I am over being yelled at and misunderstood. I believe I am having a failure to communicate kind of moment. ANYWAY, it is almost over. There are always peaks and valleys, I think I have just been on the short side of the peaks today.

I am off in just a few minutes to the Board of REALTORS for the 3rd Annual TREPAC Chili Cook-Off. That means this post will be uploaded LATE tonight (okay not late, but later than usual). I'M OLD, GET OVER IT! I am expecting it to be lots of fun, and it will be good to network with our colleagues and have some good chili to boot. I will let you know more later...

I am home from the Chili Cook-Off and it was a lot of fun. There were LOTS of people there, and it was a good chance for networking and mingling and trying various chili recipes and having a glass (or two) of wine. There were lots of opportunities to have Pat's (the tiara) photo taken with various celebrities from the Board. There will be lots of photos forthcoming, but let me just share these two with you. These are photos of the two Jim's...and they won the 'Best Theme' booth (Mardi Gras, a day late but maybe NOT a dollar short) and they won the best vegetarian chili award. I am not sure, but they may have had the ONLY vegetarian chili, but I am really not keeping score on that front. ANYWAY, kudos to them and all the rest of the participants. It was a fun evening and I believe there was a substantial amount of money raised for the cause.

OKAY, that is it...I am done for the day.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BEANS IN YER CHILI, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Seven...

Well, well, well...who have we here my little pretty? Why, it is my friend and colleague Carrie (not the other Carrie, this Carrie). Carrie that was at the same meeting I was at yesterday at the Board. I have a BETTER photo of her with the tiara on, but she threatened me, so I will not share that with you. HOWEVER, if you have enough money, and I can fix the damage she will cause me with the money you pay me, I will send you a special copy of the photo. Just don't tell her, it will be our little secret.

NEWS FLASH FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE AUSTIN BOARD OF REALTORS! Tomorrow is the Third Annual TREPAC Chili Cook-Off, and it will be held at the Board Offices. If you are a member, you know where that is. The Chili Cook-Off will be from 5:30PM until 8PM, and the first four people that respond to this post can attend the event as my guest. I will spring for the admission fee, and that admission will be part of my contribution to TREPAC for 2010. What a deal, you get to come and have some good grub, some good fellowship with your colleagues, and you will get to learn more about TREPAC. I think that is a win-win-WIN situation. Let me know if you would like to attend. There are plenty of ways for you to contact me. Offer open to REALTOR members of the Austin Board only. Void where prohibited. Some other rules may apply, I am just not sure what they are yet.

I taught two classes at the Board today, and it was a lot of fun. The classes were on Property Leasing and Property Management. We had about thirty folks in each class, and it was really fun. I had a great time, and I think I was able to meet my goals for when I teach a class: Get the required information across to the attendees in an interesting manner, expect that they will walk away from the class with some good knowledge, and I also walk away having learned something from the attendees. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! A side note...another thing I like about teaching classes... it is really an opporunity to get to know my colleagues better. Today I had the chance to kind of...get to know some people that I had passing knowledge of, but now, I really feel I know them much better. Interesting thing about being able to spend time with people! I LIKE IT!

On the way home, I take my customary route. I pass one house along the way that is the home to a nice family, and they have (I think) about five dogs. Two of them are Basset Hounds. The Bassets in particular are real car-chasers, and I used to (imagine this if you can, it is so unlike me) become aggravated with them because I was afraid I would hurt them unintentionally. Well, a couple months ago, whenever I passed the house, and the dogs were out, I decided to stop the car and talk to the dogs. Dogs chase cars, but they have no idea what to do if they ever catch one! So now the dogs are kind of bewildered by the fact that there is no car to chase, and all participants in this little exercise kind of look forward to seeing each other. They get to bark, they sometimes get their heads rubbed, and everyone walks away happy. BIG ADVICE: Never pass up an opportunity to pet a dog.

I made it home this afternoon with no real trauma, so that was a good thing. I showed you a photo of the amaryllis last week or so, and it is still going strong. We are on the second round of blooms, and the first blooms are still not too faded. We still have one set of blooms to go. I love red, and these are just beautiful. Even when it is cloudy and rainy outside, these flowers make me feel better about the situation. I am happy about that.


Deeds, Actions, Changes, PET A DOG, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Six...

Well, in honor of having negotiated an acceptable contract for the sale of his property this afternoon, my friend Ed granted me the opportunity to take his photo with the tiara. This is a shot of him at his regal best, try not to pay too much attention to the clutter in the background...if I had more time, I would have found someone to photo-shop that out. Goodness knows, I am not smart enough to do that myself!

Today was a really busy day for a Holiday. No one I know was on a Holiday except for those snow-bound in the Northeast and all the State and Federal workers in the area. We have lots of those in Austin, too. For a while there this morning, I was really surprised that traffic was moving along so nicely, and then I remembered it was President's Day. But no matter, traffic moved along just like the engineers and roadway designers had envisioned it, and it was lovely.

I stayed in the office most of the morning, and then had to go meet Ed for some initials and signatures, and then off to a meeting at the Board. Suddenly, we (I) am getting busy, I have three new buyer clients and one sales listing under contract. Life is good, and I just need to get myself back into the swing of being busy with real estate transactions. I have certainly been able to fill up my time with other things, and I need to get back in the buyer/seller groove.

Leftovers for dinner tonight from FireBowl. It keeps very well, and it was yummy. I am kind of tired this evening, I have not slept comfortably for the last couple nights. I may need to address that challenge this evening. Tomorrow I will be teaching at the Board all day, and that will be fun.

A short post today, and only one photo. How things change from day to day!

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

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Five...

Well, after yesterday's guest tiara appearance, today's guest tiara is kind of anti-climactic, unless of course you are someone like Walt Disney. AND, I guess that if Walt Disney appeared in the blog wearing a guest tiara, that would be kind of exciting...but it's not, it is a couple parrots wearing little-bitty tiaras from who-knows-where... When we were in the Cayman Islands about ten days ago (seems like a lot longer than that, doesn't it Pam, Shara, another Pam, Mark and Jim and Patty?), I was walking down a street and I could hear a bunch of parrots, but I never did find them. I accomplished my mission (rum cakes and t-shirts) and headed back to the boat. No more drug deals for me! Anyway, it is possible these are the parrots I heard, because I was carrying the tiara, and I asked a Cayman Islander guy on stilts to wear the tiara so I could take his picture and he would have no part of it. First off, he did not know what a tiara was, and if I had not been quite so exacting in my description of it (I almost had him at CROWN), I think I could have convinced him, BUT NO... Anyway, these could be the same parrots, you never can really tell...all parrots kind of look the same to me...does that make me a bad person?

We saw another Great Blue Heron out by the near tank behind the house this morning, and I got one quick picture of him, and then he was off...I was trying to find him on the camera screen, only to realize later he had flown-the-coop as it were. Whatever... I made egg-loaf this morning, and that was yummy, and then I decided to get ready to take a bale of hay to the other pasture, so when I move the cattle next time, that will already be done.

You see, it was a perfectly lovely morning, and the sun was out, and life was good. More about that a few paragraphs from now.

All the cattle were happy in their pasture, and the newest baby girl was happily irritating her mother (although she looks very angelic in this photo), and after I got the bale out and situated, Jody and took a ride on the Mule and went into the far pasture. It is actually pretty dry back there, and I think I could actually get Michael to come on over and till it up so we could plant that prairie grass that I bought months ago. I was amazed at how dry it was in the back pasture. That is a really good sing. AND, the wire fences are looking really good, too. I think there are only a couple places in the far corners that need some attention, and we can have the electric fences all up and working. That will be great! A good accomplishment, considering how much rain we have had lately.

So, after all that, Jody and I got a few (three) boxes from the front shed and went through them. We disposed of a lot of stuff, and get some stuff together to take to the re-sale place. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, we will have made some room in the front shed. I will need it for when it is time to harvest honey. I should get my 'package bees' in about a month, and then that will be another extravaganza. Who knows what will happen when I try to get the five hives started. The mind boggles!

After that, we went into Georgetown and I got my hair cut, and then off to Target where we got the dog-boy a new bed (which he likes very much, thank you). Then to Old Navy where I reinforced the boxer situation (with fabulous ones, ask me to show them to you the next time you see me), then to Dairy Queen, and then home.

On the way home, the NEXT COLD FRONT came through, very breezy, and temperatures dropping by the second. What the heck, I stopped at the place where I had been told they were planting olive trees about this time last year. I spoke with the guys that were there (one was the owner) and they have 33 acres of olive trees, 23,000 trees in total. That's a lot of olive trees! They are in the process right now of building the structure that will house the 'press' and they expect their first harvest in 2011, about 30% of a full harvest. So far, it has been interesting to watch the process. We got home, and the flags are pretty much straight out in the breeze.

BUT NOW, it is really windy and really getting colder. The good new is the turbines are generating their little hearts out, and we are makin' us some 'lectricity! The bad news is it looks like more rain and cold weather for another couple of days.

Whatever... So, that's it for today.

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

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2010 - Day Forty Four...

WELL, how do yer majesty? Welcome to our world. I guess my tiara has better connections than I expected! While the overworked and overwhelmed tiara is off on a brief hiatus, it arranged for guest tiaras to appear on the blog. Today's guest is the tiara belonging to the second most famous Liz in contemporary times (first place belonging to the Liz of axe fame a century ago), the one, the only QE ____ (insert Roman Numeral of your choice here). She does look stunning in that faux hat kind of way, doesn't she. I can hardly wait for tomorrows guest now, BUT I am not sure this one can be topped. You may be wondering why I refer to the tiara as 'it' rather than gender specific. Well, in reality, the tiaras given name is 'Pat', and, well,you can figure out the rest yourself. Worse than trying to figure out the sex of a cat, all those little shiny bits!

We had a pretty good freeze last night, and I ave come o the conclusion that, when all is said and done, the only things that will remain on earth will be the cock roaches and the weeds. It seems weeds are invincible to freezing weather. I do not understand why the plants that we try our best to nurture and coddle will succumb to the tiniest hint of foul weather, but the weeds can survive several days of temperatures below freezing and not even look the least bit concerned. We will have wait until sprig to determine if any of the palms around the pool will survive. There is one privet that we think is a goner, and I will shed no tears for that. It was not the healthiest plant last year, but some good trimming seemed to give it a new lease on life, but it looks pretty sad right now, compared to the other privets around the pool.

I have not said much about our cat (OKAY, Jody's cat), Missy in a long time. She led a hard life before Jody rescued her about fourteen years ago. Ever since then, though, she has led a wonderful life. Jody found her, and brought her home. We both thought she had recently had a batch of kittens, and he went back to where he found her but could find no evidence of a litter. When she was taken to the vet, we discovered she had been shot (bb's or shotgun, not sure) and there was some evidence still inside her. Since then, she has gone blind in one eye and is now content to lead a life of an indoor cat. When we lived in the condo, she stayed inside. When we moved to the farm, we let her venture outside every now and then, BUT after the foundling little black cat 'Mischief' was abducted by either the coyote or the hawk, we decided to go back to keeping Missy inside. She has recently re-discovered this bed we bought for her a decade ago, and you can hardly get her out of it, except for food and her ritual of being petted and loved on once Jody gets into bed for the night. Funny animal!

I think there is a trip into Taylor in our future today. I am going to get up from here and put on my clothes and walk out to the pasture to check on the cattle. Maybe I will be able to figure out who the new heifer calf belongs to. We shall see...

After breakfast this morning (Jody made blueberry pancakes. All the blueberries sink to the bottom of the batter, and in honor of Valentine's Day, I got the prized pancake!), I noticed this Great Blue Heron out by the tank behind the house. They are VERY SKITTISH of people, but they do not seem to be so skittish of other animals. Jody said that the Dog was out there the other day raising a ruckus, and the Heron was not annoyed at all...but let one of us get too close to the window (probably a good 50 yards or more away), and it is all over. Jody also said he had been watching birds with the binoculars the other day, and saw something that he could not identify until it moved its' head...turned out to be a brown pelican. He looked it up in the bird book, and it seems that it is not that uncommon for brown pelicans to be in this area. They even go so far as Midland! Who knew?

Okay, we were ready to go to Taylor, and of course I got the truck stuck (there is that word again) in the mud. I had to get the tractor to pull it out, and Jody steered the truck for me while I did it. We felt like actual farmers! We had the tractor, the chain, the stuck truck, everything we needed for that particular challenge! We got into Taylor, and I got the cattle feed, and on the way home we stopped at the Dairy Queen for our usual spoiler.

When we got home, we both took naps (I was kind of restless because my feet were cold), and when I woke from that, I went out and fed the cattle and put out a fresh bale of hay for them. All is well on the cattle front. The littlest new heifer calf is doing wonderfully well, and I am getting more and more convinced that she belongs to Orchid. I still have not seen her nurse, but she is not feeble, and she just runs and plays like a big girl. This is how muddy it is out in those pastures, especially where the cattle go back and forth. I will have to plant something in these areas this spring if it ever quits raining. It is CRAZY wet! As usual, Mr. Speckles was the first one to hit the fresh bale of hay. HE IS THE RULER OF HIS DOMAIN! Let there be no question about it. This blog seems to be becoming PHOTO INTENSIVE, so I may need to start taking the sizes of the photos into consideration when I am posting them. I think photos make the entries much more interesting, but there is a limit. Maybe the smaller format will allow for more photos, but this is just an experiment right not. There is usually not a lack of things to take photos of, and cows are one of my favorite subjects. Not everyone gets a chance to be up close and personal with a bunch of cattle, so I think other folks find the photos interesting as well. Of course, if you ever want your own up-close-and-personal experience, just let us know, we can always use another hand. Try to make it on a weekend when you can help with feeding and stuff like that. DON'T FORGET TO BRING BOOTS. We have pretty much all the other stuff you might need.

We decided we will be going to Catfish Parlor for dinner tonight, and after that we may stop at the auction to see if they have anything interesting. We had seats reserved, and then we changed our minds and called and cancelled them. BUT, since we will be in the neighborhood, we may go ahead and stop.


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