Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 - Day 90/275 - Monday...

Last Thursday, Rick and Cathy and I went to see Rock of Ages on our last night in New York.  As the big lummoxy tourist and country bumpkin that I am, I asked if we could walk the few blocks from the theatre to Times Square. Believe me, it is something of a miracle for me to want (let alone volunteer) to walk anywhere that I am unfamiliar, but Cathy and Rick like to walk so they were game.  As I stood around and oohed and ahhed, I took three photos of the neon sign that is typically shown from the Good Morning America studio...the kind of scroll thing that they show every now and then.  I did not realize it until the next day that, one of the news stories that was showing on the scroll was Police: 4th Death in SXSW Crash.  Weird. 

For a Monday, today was not terrible, but there was little chance for me to catch my breath.  That is not always a terrible thing, and I like to stay busy.  I did not leave the office until almost five o'clock, and I made it home just a little bit after 6.  Did I mention that I do not care for Daylight Saving Time?  I think I might have, I am just checking.  It is almost 8 o'clock and it is still daylight and the girls are not anywhere near ready to be put to bed.  Pretty soon it will be after 9 o'clock before they can be "cooped" up, and I will not be happy.  I need my sleep at my advanced aged.

Tomorrow is going to be a pretty busy day as well, and there are lots of things to get accomplished.

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 - Day 89/276 - Sunday...

I have good news and I have bed news, which would you like to go with first?  Okay we will go with the bad news first.  I (apparently) have joined Emily and Hunter in the killing of bunnies.  I know absolutely for sure that mine was not a malicious and pre-meditated act (not so sure about you Em), and I did not even know it happened.  I was out in the field behind the house shredding grass and when I made another loop there was a generous population of buzzards feeding on the carcass of the bunny that I had (I guess) just run over and shredded into a veritable buzzard tar-tar as it were.  Now there are a couple other possibilities; the bunny was suicidal and threw itself under the shredder after having received a "Dear Bunny" letter from a former girlfriend, OR it was the slowest bunny in the flock and the old survival of the fittest rules proved to be true.  I am not sure, but again, it was not my fault.

The GOOD NEWS is that Mr. Lay repaired the gate to the grazing area that I had repaired with a gate section and a giant sized C-Clamp.  What a pleasure it was to be able to use that gate this morning when feeding the cattle.

Otherwise, as I reported to you yesterday loyal followers, it was a Sunday like many previous Sundays.

Jody and I went into Georgetown for dinner tonight at Souper Salads (not sure if that is spelled correctly or not).  I diverted from the salads and went for the Soup and baked potato with strawberry shortcake for dessert.  At the moment of this writing, I am miserable.  Serves me right.  I doubt that my eyes were bigger than my stomach (not much is bigger than my stomach) but regardless, I did have too much to eat for dinner.

It was a beautiful day here at the edge of nowhere (which is further than the middle of nowhere), and we have the windows open in the house, and life is good.  This week will have some peaks and valleys, what else is new?

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TOO MUCH FOOD, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

2014 - Day 88/277 - Saturday...

If there was any doubt at all as to whether I was back home in Texas, those doubts were put to rest by the appearance of this two-story pick-up truck that appeared while we were filling the car up with gas at Wal-Mart this afternoon.  The driver of the truck saw me taking the photo, so I walked over to him.  He said he had tired of trying to find his truck in the parking lot and this vehicle had solved the problem for him.  His truck is never lost in a crowd, although it could possibly be more difficult to find in the parking lot of a monster truck competition.  It could happen...

Today was a pretty typical Saturday for us.  If you have any overwhelming urge to know how we spent the day, simply flip through the past five years worth of journal entries, pick a Saturday, and there you are!  DONE!

This is  photo of Sakhmet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art that Melody and I screamed through yesterday.  We had to have spent at least 20 minutes in the place.  Sorry...I was on deadline!  Sakhmet was originally the warrior goddess as well as the goddess of healing for upper Egypt.  She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians.  It was said her breath formed the desert, and she was the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.

Tomorrow will be (I expect) another typical day.  There are lots of things to get accomplished around the house as a result of the high winds and hail that came down yesterday.  Lots of good sized limbs are down, and the grass is not getting any shorter.  It is supposed to be a nice day, sunny and in the 70's.  We shall see.

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

2014 - Day 87/278 - Friday...

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!  Yes boys and girls, I am home and could not be happier!

I have never been good at math, and certainly cannot explain the principles (sp?) of physics.  I can divide whole numbers without the help of an electronic device, as long as they are equally divisible.  Fractions and I have no need to be friends.  I mention this lack of numeric temerity because (after the last two flights I have been on and many of the last flights of the past twelve months) I do not understand how airplanes (heavier than air) can fly, how they can get pointed from one place to another, actually find their ways there (sometimes in the dark) and become earthbound again with BOTH of the wings intact.  The last two flights have been so turbulent that I can only believe that they are marvels of engineering and flexibility.  I was in THE LAST ROW of the plane this afternoon, and I think the bumps and bippies may become exaggerated by the time they reach the end of the plane.  Once he had a chance, the guy sitting next to me consumed THREE little bottles of Tito's Handmade Vodka in rapid succession and continued to wail and flog his arms around as we pitched and rolled.  For once that screaming sound you heard was not coming from me but my seat mate (who very selfishly chose not to trade my middle seat for his aisle seat).  Karma.

Our friend Melody (of Bruce and Melody fame) met me at the Hotel early this morning, and we enjoyed a morning of gossip and sniping.  We love each other.  We walked the entire length and breadth of the Island of Manhattan in 45 minutes, pretended we were spawning salmon trying to get into a subway against the flow, and had a wonderful breakfast around the corner from their co-op.  Very nice, and it was wonderful to see her and get an opportunity to play with her.  We walked through Central Park, and I took this photo of the Imagine Ceramic that Yoko installed near the Dakota.  It was all in all a wonderful visit with Melody.

Tomorrow I will (maybe) post a couple other photos from today's romp, but for now, it is time to go to bed.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 - Day 86279 - Thursday...

For those of you that recognize the carnage that occurs when I fall asleep at the keyboard (which is apparently what happened last night), I am taking the necessary precautions against that phenomenon this evening by posting to this journal BEFORE I venture out into the deviate underbelly of 50th and Park Avenue.  We are heading out to see Rock of Ages this evening, so I have plenty of time to get this posted.  This post will be an extra pictorial issue, since I failed to post a photo last night and I have extra photos that were taken today.  So, let's start with last night...As we were walking (walking?) home last night from The Book of Morman we went past 30 Rock and took photos outside the ice rink.  Thanks very much to Cathy, my official photographer of this trip!

This morning was another early morning, and the information sessions began at 8 o'clock.  First was a session by the NAR Chief Lobbyist followed by an interesting talk by the NAR Chief Economist.  Okay, hold on to your hats...following that was a great discussion (kind of point/counter-point) with Robert Gibbs (former Obama insider) and Karl Rove (who was probably all the grey matter for George W Bush, not that there's anything wrong with that).  For those of you who are Face Book friends of mine, you can see the photo that I posted of me shaking hands with Karl Rove.  Note to all of you; never dare me to do ANYTHING!  This is a photo of me with Robert Gibbs.  I can tell you, I believe everyone in the room, regardless of their political agenda (or lack thereof) enjoyed the session with these two guys, and we all would have liked it to go on longer.  Very enlightening.

THEN, as if that were not enough, we had an hour with Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) who spoke to us about the security of the United States, particularly what he believes will be something of near-term concern, Cyber-Terrorism.  It is a scary world in which we live, there are lots of folks who want to do us harm, and we have to be en-garde at all times.  More really interesting information and something that requires a lot of long-term planning and preparedness.

That was followed by a break for a couple hours, trying to stay caught up (but not accomplishing it), and then down stairs again to the closing reception.  Everything was very nice, and it was a Broadway theme at the closing reception.  There were performances by (knock-offs of) the casts of Jersey Boy, Mama Mia, Evita and Phantom of the Opera.  Very nice, lots of food, lots of beverages and lots of desserts.  This is a photo of the Evita performance in the Grand Ballroom.

I have also, incidentally, determined that somewhere within the confines of the Waldorf-Astoria is a secret place, very similar to the elephant burial grounds we have all heard (or herd) about in Africa, where old food servers come to die.  They can be seen in the halls and banquet facilities of this great place, doing their best to serve one more cup of coffee, one more dish of pickled herring, one more order of bagels.  They leave your table hunting for another packet of sweet-n-low and vanish, never to be seen or heard from again.

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2014 - Day 85/280 - Wednesday...

Well this was an interesting day.  It is always interesting be out of town and still doing work  just as if you were still at home.  That is the trouble with the electronic leashes we all deal with today, we are available to work from where ever we are.  I am not sure I like that.

The day started with breakfast, and I have to say, I complain about anything when given the opportunity, but one thing I will not complain about is the bacon that was served at breakfast!  It was thick and delicious and plentiful!  Yummy!  Cokie Roberts was our first speaker this morning, and she was very entertaining and informative.  We also heard from a high powered attorney and a man named Douglas Brinkley who is an expert on our Presidents (past and present) and what they are all known for.  All of it was very interesting.

After the meetings, I took a nap.  That was lovely, one of the highlights of my day, no question!  After the nap and some more book work, I met Rick and Cathy for dinner, and then we went to see The Book of Mormon.  Rick had made the reservations a couple months ad to go and it was really fun.  We walked to dinner, walked to the theatre and then walked h not,ome,  Did I mention that is it freezing cold outside?  It is FREEZING cold, and when you live in a place like this, you have to coordinate the wearing of extra clothing.  And when you are wearing extra clothing you had to do something with that extra clothing when you get to wherever it was you were going which caused you to wear the extra clothing in the first place.  It is really inconvenient.  And then when you get to wherever it is that you had to put al the extra cothing on for, you tend to wonder if it was worth it in ..the begInung or not,
DGED,                                                             sssdEED                                                                                                                                                                                                                               s, ChNeeds, Act

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 - Day 84/281 - Tuesday...

Well, if it is Tuesday, it must be New York City...  I think this is the first time I have been here in at least a couple decades.  Of course it is an interesting place (please...I flew in to Newark, anything is better than that) but it is crowded and congested (kind of like Austin) and I expect it is expensive.  I know this trip is not cheap!  I am staying at the Waldorf-Astoria, which is similar to (what used to be) the Sheraton-Cadillac in Detroit and the Conrad Hilton where I stayed years and years ago in Chicago.  It is just an old hotel.  Big name, little rooms, poor infrastructure, inadequate electrical service, but it does have location and a name.  All in all, I am having a good time, and the meetings with our colleagues from across the country will be rewarding!

I have been up since three o'clock this morning, but I was able to get everything done before I left.  That was great.  The flight was okay, and when I landed there were dozens of e-mail; life goes on.  One of these days I think Jody and I may actually take a vacation (even a staycation would be okay), and turn the phone and the Internet off.  I just had a chill, did you feel that?  I am not sure if I can go cold-turkey or not...

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 - Day 83/282 - Monday...

I don't care who you are now, this here is a pizza.  Yessirree boys and girls, this puppy (I mean pizza) weighs in at about five pounds (the official Jody estimate), and I could not even eat one slice of it.  Well, I could have, but I did not.  I did have some salad to start, and then ate all the end crust off my slice, and that pretty much did me in.  We LOVE (LUV) these Papa Murphy Pizzas.  This one was the five-meat stuffed pizza, and it was delicious.  The author of this journal was not paid to endorse this pizza.  Thank you...

Okay, I am pretty much on target to get out of town tomorrow, pending some disaster that I have not foreseen.  I think everything is under control (and the last few things can and will be accomplished by about 9:30 tomorrow morning).  Now if I just felt like starting to pack, but I think I will put that off until in the morning, I do my best work under pressure.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a report from the BIG APPLE!

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

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2014 - Day 82/283 - Sunday...

My worst possible nightmare has come to life and rung true.  We are on the downhill side of March (just March) and it is 50 degrees outside with gale force winds from the north coming through, but there is still no sign of rain.  And what am I doing?  I am cutting the grass.  Really?  Cutting the grass in March?  I remember a couple years ago I only cut the grass once the entire summer season.  Well, of course that was because we had no rain and everything had burned up, but these little bitty dribbles and drabs of rain do no good at all except to encourage the grass (really, if you could see it you would say we were just cultivating weeds) but if you do not try and control it there will be no stopping it.  HOWEVER, in the front island, there were two or three Iris blooms, so maybe it will be a good year for those as well.  Only time will tell.

I have no idea why I am so tired today.  Maybe because I was up at the crack of last night, but I was, and I got an early start on the grass cutting (see paragraph that rambles on and on above).  I did manage to get some other chores done; cattle fed, fresh hay taken out, chicken coop cleaned, fire in the stove, that kind of thing.

Jody and I did make it into Georgetown for a couple errands, and dinner at the Catfish Parlour.  A friend of mine recommended that we put bulk lavender in the chicken coop nesting boxes, but at $20 a pound, I will wait and see if we remain successful with the diatomaceous earth.  I think it is working so far, and I put some more in the nesting boxes this afternoon.

I will do a weeks worth of work tomorrow and a few hours on Tuesday.  I lease for NYC on Tuesday afternoon and will be back late on Friday night.  I am looking forward to it, we have seats to two shows and Melody is going to come in and play while I am there.  FUN!

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 - Day 81/284 - Saturday...

Well, so far the thirty percent chance of rain has not happened but we did record a trace overnight, and there is still a chance of rain from now through tomorrow and on into Monday.  We shall see...

There is a distinct possibility that this (and the one that accompanies it that is on Jody's desk) is one of the most expensive gimme caps in the history of the world.  I expect there are probably some that are more expensive, but they would most likely be jewel encrusted or something like that.  Jody and I did our usual Saturday morning routine things and then headed off into Austin to do some errands and then went to the Tesla showroom in the Domain.  The day of the test drive was finally here, even though we thought it was last week and took the place by surprise.  ANYWAY, this test drive was much more adequate than the test drive we took in the Volt (which required a drive to San Antonio, three circles in a parking lot with no electric charge), and the guy that accompanied us (from Denver, thanks Joey) was VERY knowledgeable and was pretty much an expert on the car.  I have been studying up for about the last four or five months, so I had some good questions, but my attempt to play 'stump the chump' was not successful.  The vehicles are marvels of technology and engineering, and it shows why Consumer Reports has given them the highest rating EVER for the past two years.  They are definitely cool.

We made it home by just at 5 o'clock, and putzed around here until it was time for the news, and we both kicked back and took little naps.  I went out and read the meters and collected eggs (a dozen) and checked the chicken-bug situation (very much improved, thanks for asking). 

Tomorrows activities will wait to be determined once we figure out if it is really going to rain or not.

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

Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 - Day 80/285 - Friday..

What you see here ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, are sad, SAD little outcast jelly beans.  I cannot think of anything WORSE than an unwanted jelly bean.  Well, okay, let me think about that for just a second...there is Whoopi Goldberg and there is the conservative right, but after that there can be nothing worse or more sad than a dejected, cast aside, unwanted licorice jelly bean.  There...I have said it...LICORICE!

Friday is Friday, what else can be said about it.  It is the day before the weekend, but I am not sure I will get too much of anything done over the weekend.  Saturday is already spoken for and it is supposed to rain on Sunday and Monday, so it might just be a great day for taking in a movie or just piling up in the big blue chair.

I am heading out of town next week, Tuesday and back late Friday night.  It has been a long time since I have been to Manhattan, and I think it will be a good trip.  I was at lunch today and realized I an going to New York and had not even thought about calling our friends Bruce and Melody.  I sent her an e-mail at lunch and she called me later in the day, we will at least be able to hook up one evening while I am there.  Can't wait.  The evening news reports that a polar whatever is supposed to hit the east coast on Tuesday, I could have forecast that when I made the plane reservations.

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

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2014 - Day 79/286 - Thursday...

At 11:57 AM spring arrived.  It was a lovely day in Austin and the surrounds, should be nice again tomorrow, and then it is forecast to rain all weekend long.  Perfect.  Oh if only it were true, April showers bring May flowers.

I made it in to the office on time (for me anyway) this morning, and that was taking into consideration an upside-down 18-wheeler on a bridge over IH-35 in Georgetown (way too close to home to begin having traffic issues) and another 18-wheeler that somehow jumped a guard rail and ended up partly on the service road, partly on the Interstate, jack-knifed with all the windows blown out.  An interesting day.  Oh yes, and as I mentioned earlier on FaceBook (damn you FaceBook), today was the day that everyone was supposed to make sure the horns in their vehicles were working as intended.  And I think they all passed the test!

When I pulled in the parking lot this is what I was greeted by, a 1950 Studebaker that REEKED of leaking gasoline.  I can remember a time when all the cars smelled like leaking gasoline.  It is not something I smell that often (save for when I am filling it up), but it certainly brought back some things I had not thought about in a while.  It looked to be in pretty much original condition, and it was really fun to look around at it.  Studebaker's were cool, and the Studebaker plant was operated by George Romney (Mitt's daddy) in (I think) Wisconsin before he closed it down and moved operations to the Detroit area.  That was not a happy day as I recall.

But what, you might ask, does that have to do with Spring time, horns honking or 18-wheeler truck accidents?  And I offer you this reply:  Not a damn thing.  And if I am guilty of some historical errors, I really don't care.  Most of it is correct.  I might be a little testy because I am just finishing the latest book, Bring Up the Bodies, and it has taken almost an hour to behead Ann Boleyn in a relatively graphic manner.  That has nothing to do with horns either, just in case you are keeping score.

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 - Day 78/287 - Wednesday...

IT'S HUMP DAY!  Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike...I know you can hear me Mike...What day is it Mike?  IT'S HUMP DAY!

I had a ten o'clock meeting planned down in New Braunfels, so that was good, and I was rewarded with this FABULOUS IBM Selectric typewriter that was headed for the dumpster.  REALLY?  The IBM Selectric was what IBM first moved into Austin for in the 1960's, and that is a large part of the reason that we are as lucky as we are now.  No IBM, no silicon, no Austin as we know it.  There are some that could make the argument that 'Austin as we know it' is not really a good thing, but they have not read Atlas Shrugged.


Did I mention that it is HUMP DAY?  I love that commercial.  I think the bugs in the chicken coop are under control.  Last night when I was out there I had two or three on my arms and a couple on my t-shirt.  Tonight I did not record any.  I know there have to be some that are still out there, but I think I have cut back on their numbers substantially.

Tomorrow is a Meals-On-Wheels day, and that is always a nice thing.  I have a PM meeting in the AM, then Meals-On-Wheels and then a couple afternoon meetings, and that will pretty much take care of the day.

Before you know it, it will be Friday, and then it will be Monday again and we will start the whole thing again.  We are supposed to have another cold front come through over the weekend, which is supposed to produce a 50% chance of rain on Sunday and Monday.  Another arctic blast is supposed to settle in over the east coast next week, and my schedule calls for me to land in Newark on Tuesday and return to Austin on Friday.  I could have told you something cold was about to happen on the east coast, just because that is where I am heading!

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 - Day 77/288 - Tuesday...

Well, hello there boys and girls, I hope you are all well today, and ready for another exciting installment of the journal about nothing really.  In fact, today's topic (and pretty much the topic of every entry, is adoxography.  NO CUSSING, I am flattered that this journal could be considered adoxographous, thank you very much for noticing!

Last week when I was cruising the aisles of the HEB looking for ice cream and/or donuts (and walking out with nothing because of the guilt I would feel for throwing the jelly beans under the bus) I did come upon a batch of potted tulips that I thought were interesting.  This particular batch promise not only in the fact that they were all buds, but also because they showed promise of actually opening up and blooming (there was just the slightest hint of the color they would be).  There is nothing worse than to purchase a pot of (otherwise) abused bulbs that have been FORCED (FORCED I TELL YOU) to sprout and grow in a manner not found in nature (sort of like Ruby's hair, a color not found in nature).  The same goes for 'farm raised' chickens or 'store bought' eggs.  It is just not natural.  ANYWAY, these bulbs have bloomed out nicely on our kitchen table, and they are delightful.  I do have a little pang knowing that they will not be able to be transplanted into the yard.  Even if I wanted to, I will most likely forget exactly which 'dark spot' I have stored them in waiting for just the right time to put them in the refrigerator waiting for just the right time to plant them in the yard.  Nope, not gonna do it.  These bulbs are goners.

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day, travelling off to one of our neighboring associations for a day long meeting and sage advice and counsel giving.  Wish me luck!

Deeds, Actions, Changes, BLOOMERS (not you Diane), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 - Day 76/289 - Monday...

Well, I hope you all wore green today and got THAT out of your system.  I did not wear ANYTHING that was even close to green, but I had stopped last week and bought little green hats for everyone at the office.  And I did put the hat on for a couple seconds, so I hope that counts.  And my business cards have some green on them, so that is two things green.  And I have the GREEN designation AND I am a GREEN Instructor from/for the National Association of REALTORS® so we are up to four things.  I could probably go on, but I am even boring myself with this, so I will quit.

One of the best things I got today was a 4 second iPhone video from my friend Jon showing how quickly he passed out after being drugged during a root canal.  Pretty fun...quick, but fun!

I just had a little bit of a panic attack, thinking I had just published this entry when I was not prepared for it to be published.  Now that I know it has not published, I cannot think of anything of interest to include in this entry.

UPDATE ON THE CHICKEN PESTS:  I think things are better under control right now.  I am still itching, Joel is almost cured of the itches, but no one I know of can figure out what the pests are.  It really seems to me to be like chiggers, but I cannot figure out where Jody and I have both been that we could have picked up chiggers.

Tomorrow I have one appointment that I expect to take a good deal of time, and Wednesday I have an all day appointment.  I am and continue to be the luckiest man in the world!

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

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 - Day 75/290 - Sunday...

okay what exactly in the hell is going on?  Two days in a row, the same damn's almost time for bed and the sun comes out.  Gray and cloudy all day long (today windy like crazy) and just about time to call it a day, the sun comes out.  Twice in a row!

I couldn't sleep this morning, I got up out of the bed at 4:30 and started cleaning stuff.  I also decided to bring some fire wood in for the stove since there was a 30% chance that there would be a little bit of precipitation today (that did not happen).  Anyway, I am carrying armloads of fire wood in to put it in the wood wagon in the garage, and when I put one piece in the wagon I notice this lizard.  He did not seem to be in any big hurry to go anywhere (cold outside, blood thick) so I went in the house to get the camera and took a couple photos.  I then proceeded to take that one piece of fire wood back outside expecting him/her to run off once it got warmer.  Sure enough, I went to check on him later in the day and he was gone.

Miguel came out today and we managed to get a lot of stuff done.  We got the cattle fed and a couple miscellaneous things around the property done.  The main thing was to do a thorough cleaning of the chicken coop.  There are chicken mites out there; teeny-tiny little bugs about a 64th (or maybe a 32nd) of an inch long and thinner than one of the thinnest hairs on your arm.  Teeny-tiny I tell you.  And they bite or burrow kind of like chiggers.  SO, we cleaned everything out of the hen house, evicted the brooding girls and took the nesting boxes out and thoroughly cleaned them and wiped them down with bleach and changed the hay in the boxes.  Then I dusted the hay in the nests (and around the perimeter of the coop) with diatomaceous earth.  I think that ought to slow them down anyway.  The Internet recommends using Adams Flea Mist and/or Sevin Dust, but I do not want to introduce anything like that in the coop.  No chemicals for these girls.  We will see how this does.

This week coming promises to be kind of calm, I have a couple appointments this week, but it should be relatively slow and will let me get some office work done.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 - Day 74/291 - The Ides of March...

Garrison Keillor did a great story this morning (quick, too) on NPR about the Ides of March.  The following is not a transcript of that, but has been (for the most part) plagiarized directly from the Wikipedia site:  The Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC, stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate.  Sound familiar to anyone?  Don't get any ideas.  A seer had warned him that harm would come to him no later than the Ides of March, and on the way to the meeting he saw the seer again, and jeered him.  The seer basically replied 'the day ain't done yet a-hole'.  Cesar's death triggered a civil war that lead to Octavian (Augustus) rise to power, which is what no one wanted.

But I digress...if you look out towards our back pasture, you will see two of these ornamental Bradford Pears blooming up a storm.  The photo does not do justice to their beauty.  When we moved here, there were four of these trees, one thing or another has taken two of them, and I think one of the remaining trees is not going to make it through another summer.  Maybe if we get a little bit of rain.

We did get 0.05" of rain in the last 24 hours.  So much for the rain chances forecast for today and tomorrow.  I think we are done for this go round.  Not complaining though.  Jody and I went into Austin late this morning and got some chores done and stopped for lunch in Georgetown on the way back.

We shall see what tomorrow brings, but I think there is a serious chicken coop cleaning in my future.

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

2014 - Day 73/292 - Friday...

I was going to talk about pie today (or Pi, get it?  I crack myself up sometimes!) but instead I decided to talk about donuts, since they looked like they would photograph better than the pies would.  I was actually able to resist the temptation to purchase any at the Georgetown HEB, because what I had actually ventured in for was some Blue Bell Ice Cream (Homemade in the Shade to be more specific) and they did not have any.  Bluebell is delicious, but they go on tears with making the different flavors.  Homemade in the Shade is more or less a fudge ripple type flavor, something they do not produce consistently, which is probably a good thing for me because all my big suits are sort of out of style right now.  But it is really good and I have needs...and cravings...and desires...and stuff I cannot always control...

With any luck, I am finished with the SXSW freak show that manifests itself around our office once a year.  This is the final weekend, so the freaks will be done until the Austin City Limits Festival in the fall.  With SXSW being done, that means (unfortunately) that spring break is coming to an end as well, and school will be back in session next week, which means TRAFFIC will be back to its unnaturally normal state.  Crap...

I am looking forward to a little extra sleep tomorrow, I just need to remember to drug the dog before I drug myself, or maybe drug myself and then try out the doggie downers for myself.

Deeds, Actions, Change, SLEEP, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 - Day 72/293 - Thursday...

I do not think I have anything to complain about this evening, but the blog is still young, there is still space for something to go wrong.

This is a photo of Lucy (named by Jody) who has decided to become a brooder.  I think she is only brooding when I am around, because she is one of Jody's favorites, and Jody has her spoiled.  She has been brooding for the last couple days, and she is not in a good mood when I am around.

Today was a pretty darned good day.  I remember days like this in the past where you were not over-scheduled and had time to breathe.  I think next week will be something like that as well, and maybe even the week after.  I will be going to NYC the week of the 24th, so that will be fun.

It was a beautiful day here in central Texas, and specifically on the edge of nowhere.  Everything was good except we have to remember we are not a small town anymore, and we are (unfortunately) reminded of that fact when we are awakened to learn that a 21 year old punk (possibly intoxicated, probably not) in a stolen car runs down 23 (or so) people attending SXSW and kills two of them and critically injures about a dozen more.  Totally not what we are used to in Austin.  Our crime rate is comparatively low, we have about 40 murders a year (mostly folks who know each other) and we live in a nice place.  We are trying to be an example, and then something like this happens.  Makes the news EVERYWHERE, and just makes us look like we are not paying attention.

We are paying attention...

Deeds, Actions, Changes, WE GET IT, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 - Day 71/294 - Wednesday...

I wonder if the program DEITY of your choice will allow me to upload a photographic representation of today's lead story?  Only time will tell...

I am still not that happy with the Daylight Saving thing...the whole thing is a fraud against the public, there is no more daylight being saved than what was otherwise wasted just a few days ago.  And what happens to all the saved daylight if I don't use it?  Can I bank it like roll-over minutes with Sprint or AT&T?  I don't think so.  All we get out of it is a confused body-clock and an even more confused senior citizen sort of guy that get grumpy an hour earlier.  And if any of you have been around him when he is grumpy, you would want to avoid that at all costs.

On my way to work this morning (in the dark because of the alleged Daylight Saving Time thing) everything was going nicely until this...this is not something you want to see in the rear view mirror EVER.  This means three lanes of traffic are going to try and merge into TWO LANES and there is something in front of you that requires the attention of (hastily) trained medical surrogates.  Maybe it will be a false alarm, maybe it will be a fender bender and they are just being extra careful.  Maybe it will be nothing at all, really.  SUCCESS!

AND, INTERESTINGLY, I never figured out what the need was for this particular EMS Unit.  Whatever it was obviously melded in with all the other traffic challenges that is presented as a result of SXSW.  Interstate exits are closed to accommodate the foot traffic of (up to) 100,000 extra folks in town for the event.  At least it is spring break, so we lost 50K folks with cars for 100K folks on foot.  Not a bad trade if you ask me.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 - Day 70/295 - Tuesday...

Just because I make a comment about a 'snippet' of a conversation that was overheard in the recovery room on a colonoscopy clinic, everyone gets all freaky and starts telling me that it was TMI and, by the way, we wish you a speedy recovery.  THAT is what happens when one ASSUMES, especially if it was anything I said...

Work continues on the bridge that crosses Opossum Creek at CR 972.  This is from the other side of the bridge, and I was yelled at by construction workers (who were too far away to catch me) who do not believe that ordinary folk should be documenting their progress (or lack of it) for the ages.  Anyway, a little ways further up the road I spied a couple folks in orange reflective vests repositioning the sand bags used as ballast for one of the signs that proclaim 'BRIDGE OUT AHEAD'.  I stopped and asked them when they expected the bridge to be opened.  They responded that their part of the effort (keeping the signs upright) should be done in about ten days and they expected the bridge to be back open in about three weeks.  I was left to ponder to myself the fact that the signs declaring 'BRIDGE OUT AHEAD' would be removed in about ten days but the bridge work would not be completed and reopened for about a week after that time.  I expect there to be a rash of vehicular traffic careening out of control and ending up in the creek because there is no bridge; maybe the vehicles will just get stuck in wet cement.  Let your imagination run wild!

All that talk and the program will not let me upload the photo.  Bummer...

This is what happens when I listen to a David Sedaris book on CD.  I am nothing if not a style-plagiarist.  Sue me!

Otherwise, it was another good day in the office.  We had an office lunch welcoming our new front office (Administrative Goddess) Elyn.  A very nice young woman, and we are happy to have her as part of the team.

Tomorrow will be a couple interviews, one on the KVUE Midday News program and another by telephone.  I have decided that, if I don't like the questions I am being asked by the telephone interviewer, I will pretend I am on a Sprint commercial.  CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

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

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 - Day 69/296 - Monday...

This is a lovely little cloud that was apparent in the sky this afternoon as I was getting home.  It seems like a long time since we saw blue skies with just a hint of clouds.  Shortly after I took this photo, the grey dark clouds started rolling in, and it is becoming dreary again.  Another chance of rain overnight, and another cold front supposed to some in over the weekend I think.  It is supposed to be 80 degrees tomorrow.  This is the craziest year I have ever experienced at the edge of nowhere.  The prognosticators report this to have been the third driest winter on record.  I do not doubt it.

This is my second day in a row to be unhappy with the Daylight Saving Time crap.  I expect I will be complaining about it for another couple days, and then I will find something else to complain about.  I hope the next target will be a little bit more interesting that the amount of daylight that we are all saving.

I got up (according to my body, not the clock) really early and putzed around the house and left late.  It was not a terrible commute, since it is also Spring Break, so lots of folks are out of the city BUT more are flooding in by the minute for SXSW.  Have I mentioned that the city is full of freaks?  Well, it is.  People escaping and arriving by the thousands!

I stayed in the office most of the day, and got an incredible amount of work done.  I attempted to leave a couple times and got caught up but finally did leave after 4 o'clock, and went home down MoPac to avoid the congestion caused by all the pedestrians and pedi-cabs shuttling folks from one venue to the other.

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

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 - Day 68/297 - Sunday...

Well, the prognosticators got it wrong again.  We were supposed to have rain all day today, but there was no rain at all.  Overnight (okay, the last 24 hour) we did receive 0.55" of rain, which is SWEET!  It was cloudy and overcast (and cold) most of the day, but just about the time I got the fire in the stove started, it began to warm up a little bit and the sun came out.  It got up into the mid-50's this afternoon, and it was pleasant outside.

I did not do many chores around the house today, I did put three more nesting boxes out in the chicken coop.  I am not sure which girl it is, but one of them is trying to nest in the feeder out there.  I did make it out to the back pasture looking for some scrap to (engineer) install the new nesting boxes.  The cattle were all seemingly pretty happy where they were, and they are always pretty curious.  This young bull is a curious one, and not too shy at all.  Lots of folks complain that Longhorns are aggressive and they don't like them because of it.  Yep, if they think you are going to feed them, they are aggressive, but generally they are not too interested in messing with you in my opinion.

While Jody and I were taking the Boy Dog for a ride, we stopped at the new neighbors (and at Pauline and Hubert's as well) and dropped off some eggs.  The new neighbors (Ross and Tanya) are very nice and they are doing lots of renovations on the property.  They have three horses, three or four goats, a dwarf burrow and a Great Pyrenees.  It is interesting to see the transformation of the property, making it their own place.  I guess that means we are no longer the new folks in the neighborhood.

Jody and I went into Georgetown and had dinner at Chipotle.  We got home and just as I was sitting down to write this entry, Hubert and Pauline drove up and brought us some banana pudding, some deviled eggs and a loaf of cranberry bread.  Pauline said she just wanted to being us back some of the eggs.  They came in and talked for a while, that was really nice.

This week coming is planned to be less stressful, and I think Austin schools are on Spring Break.  That should make the commute a little less stressful as well.  We shall see.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, CATTLE, Kindnesses, Wh
irled Peas, FUN!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

2014 - Day 67/298 - Saturday...

It is raining as I sit and writ this entry.  I got up earlier than I wanted to this morning, and made a pile of eggs for me and Jody, and then headed off to Taylor to buy cattle feed.  I got back about 11, and put the feed up and fed the cattle and put out a bale of hay.  I am glad to have gotten that chore done because, as I said, it is not raining and wet ground, a tractor and a bale of hay are really not a good combination.  I have learned in the last five years HOW NOT to get a tractor stuck in wet ground.  While I was putting the hay out for the cattle, I lost the keys to the tractor (and other things),  On the key ring is the knife that I use to cut the baling rope, and when I am done, I put the keys in my back pocket.  Somewhere along the line, the keys fell out of my pocket, but I finally found them after about ten minutes.  I did not want to rifle through the hay because I feared I might cover them up, but I did find them.  Did you know that if keys fall out of your pocket into a big pile of loose hay they do not make any sound?

Jody and I went into Georgetown to buy some a new bath faucet for the lavatory in the den and I also got a new shower faucet and shower head for the bedroom bath. The lumber is scheduled to be here on Wednesday morning.  After Home Depot, we went into Round Rock and visited the Barnes and Noble, then on into Austin for a couple other chores (none of your business, sorry).  On the way back north, we decided to go by the new ABoR facility to check on the progress, and as we were driving up Spicewood Springs Road the car in front of us hit a buck.  The buck went airborne, flipped two or three times, fell onto the other side of the road and got up and ran off.  If it is still alive in the morning, I expect it will be really sore.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, 0.35" OF RAIN, Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 - Day 66/299 - Friday...

Yes boys and girls, it is FRIDAY!  That's FRIDAY with a capital FRIDAY!  FRIDAY!

Well, no big deal really.  I have a lot of stuff to do in the morning, so, other than the fact that I hope to sleep a little bit longer (can you say doggie-downer) it will be like many days; more stuff to get done than there is adequate time for.

The trunk of my car reminds me of 1). Hoarders: Buried Alive or 2). My idea of what a bag lady's shopping cart might look like (not that there is anything wrong with being a bag lady) 3). Someone trying to fake it by taking 11 items into the 10 items or fewer line at the HEB, or 4). The evidence locker at the Bartlett Police Station.  Hurry up, make your choice.  If you chose ALL OF THE ABOVE, then you are correct.  Yeah, okay, it was a trick question.

I went directly to the Board this morning and participated in the New Member Orientation.  There were about 150 newly licensed REALTORS® there and it was a fun presentation.  I enjoy doing those.  Then there were several errands I needed to get taken care of (including getting 150 pounds of chicken feed in the back of the car) and then it was off to the office.  I was supposed to have lunch with my friend Will, but had to cancel because the guy who is working on our web-site was only available at a certain time, but then he was not able to make it, so it was wieners for lunch.

Have I mentioned that the city is FULL OF FREAKS?  Well, get used to it, I will be updating you on the congestion and street closure challenges for another 12 days.

Deeds, Actions, Changes, TRUNKS (do you know what a FRUNK is), Kindnesses, Whirled Peas, FUN!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

2014 - Day 65/300 - Thursday...

My apologies to the masses; yesterday was HUMP day, and I did not even mention it.  I LOVE Hump day, and that is all there is to it.

I did not have an opportunity to take a photo of anything interesting, so this is a photo of a really pretty cyclamen that I got for Jody on Valentine's Day.  Lovely, and it is still perky and fresh.  We expect it to keel over just any minute.

I slept very nicely last night, thank you for asking.  I was pretty darned tired and, along with my innate ability to self-medicate, I was pretty much out like a light when I hit the bed, read the paper (that I had not previously had time for) watched some HGTV House Hunters International and had a popsicle.  I actually fell asleep before I finished the popsicle, but was awakened when I rolled over on it.  COLD!  I had just dozed, really, and it was consumed with no real problemo.  Comprendo?

Today I actually had the opportunity to sit in the office and make some accomplishments.  Then it was off to speak at the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association.  I had a nice time, I am not too sure about them.  Back to the office and more work completed, and then heading home at about 4:30.  I thing I totally forgot about, is what the traffic is like when SXSW is in town.  EXTRA INCONVENIENT. 

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

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 - Day 64/301 - Wednesday...

I got up this morning at 4 o'clock to get prepared for what I knew was going to be an extra long day.  When my Google Calendar alert popped up at about 5:15 I was surprised that I had forgotten about a 7:30 meeting before the 9:30 meeting that I was preparing for.

I left the house at 6 o'clock and got to Austin in record time, and I was actually early.  I was very graciously given tickets to the Opportunity Austin breakfast sponsored by the Austin Chamber of Commerce (thank you again, Cathy) and the featured speaker was Wendy Davis.  Before the breakfast, Gubernatorial candidate Davis came up and spoke with me and Fred for about five minutes; we just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I asked if I could have a photo taken with her.  I was gonna do a 'selfie', but it appears she has 'people' to take care of stuff like that, so three folks appeared to take this photo.  I also got a chance to spend some time with my brotha from anotha motha, Kirk Watson.  He is a great guy, and I like him very much.  Ms. Davis spoke of here vision for the future of Texas, and it was a very interesting presentation.  Eight months (I think) we will know the results of the election.

From there I headed to the Board of REALTORS®, and the meeting began at 9:30.  We had a lot of work to do, and the meeting ended (including the special session) at 7:10 this evening.  Possibly a world record for the length of a Directors meeting, but there was really nothing more we could cut from the agenda; we did cut a few things but there was a lot of important work that needed to be done.

I made it home at about 8:30, and I am ready to call it a night.

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

2014 - Day 63/302 - Tuesday...

It was another interesting morning, the afternoon - not so much.  I got up an hour later than usual, since I assumed the roads would be closed if not the entire county.  I was half-way correct.  Most things were on a two-to-four-hour-delay.  Most schools were opening a couple hours late.  When I went outside to get the paper, it was sleeting outside, but it was not freezing on the driveway.  There had been some lightning and thunder last night, but nothing terrible.  It was interesting for the sort-of freezing rain to come down but not cause any real problems.  I left the house about 7AM and got to the office at about 8:15.  It was slower but more consistent driving than usual.  There were several wrecks along the way, and several cars in the medians and far off on the shoulders, but it did not look like anything terribly serious.

It was a good day in the office, I was there until about 1 o'clock when I headed off to my first meeting.  Next I had an appointment to have my car serviced at 4, and then the drive home.  Jody and I had chicken pot pies for dinner, we got them at the KFC drive through last weekend and just heated them up this evening.  Pretty good, but I prefer a bottom crust on my fast food delicacies.  Just saying.

No freezes expected this evening, but another cold front coming in over the weekend and the possibility of another little bit of rain.  We are up to 1.06" of rain for the year, which is AWFUL!

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 - Day 62/303 - Monday...

Hahaha, I know a secret and I am not going to tell you.  See if you can figure it out, and if not, I will tell you all a week from today.

Cold as __________ (insert your own special description there) today.  When I woke up this morning, it was 23 degrees, the wind was from the north at 17 miles per hour, and the wind chill was -4 degrees Fahrenheit.  I had to look up the spelling of Fahrenheit, but not I have it.  Kind of the same thing with Chihuahua, no I can spell that with no trouble too.  What does a wind chill below zero degrees Fahrenheit have to do with a Chihuahua (or a group of Chihuahuas for that matter)?  I don't know either but if you think of something let me know.

All of this was just leading up to posting this photo of the warm (okay, HOT) embers in the wood stove in the living room.  It is COLD, but this stove is amazingly efficient and does a good job supplementing the heating system.

It is to be below freezing again tonight, but not as bad as last night.  We do have thunder-sleet to look forward to, and there is already talk (threats) of shutting down the city and county tomorrow.  I went to the HEB this evening to stock up on ice cream, but they did not have my favorite flavor of the season, so I came home empty handed.  I will have to make do with sugar free popsicles.  NEWS FLASH:  It has been two weeks since I had a jelly bean (I have three hundred pounds of jelly beans in the closet) and I may be weakening.  I can probably make it another night, though.  Wish me luck.

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

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 - Day 66/299 - Sunday...

I don't know where you grew up, but I grew up outside Detroit, and in the winter the skies were ALWAYS gray, gloomy and overcast.  Jody grew up in Cleveland, and he said he never knew there could actually be sunshine in the winter time until he moved to Texas.  It is as bad as it looks, too, and it does not look too much better for the first part of the week, at least.  Tonight is supposed to be the only night with temperatures below freezing (supposed to be 23 degrees here on the edge of nowhere) but that is enough for at least a week.  We have had 0.07" of rain today, so if we get another 0.07" of rain this year, that will put us at 1 inch for 2014.  Be careful, you could drown!

It was so cold today (how cold was it?) that I did not do a single thing (okay, I am a liar) although it felt like I did nothing.  I did make a few accomplishments.  It was especially nice because our friends Jetta and Collette came out for a very nice visit.  It was great.

Later on, we went into Round Rock and had dinner at Olive Garden.  We requested a WARM table, so we got one next to the fireplace.  Once they got the fire started (at the touch of a button) it was very nice and cozy.  I honestly do not have any remembrance of what I ordered, but it was good.  Jody had a fish and shrimp something and it looked good as well.  Of course, we will revisit it later this week, since we always bring food home.  I don't know about you, but I love leftovers.  I never have been able to understand folks that do not enjoy left overs. 

This will be a very busy week, and there are lots of things going on.  I think it should be okay if I can make it to Thursday.

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

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 - Day 65/300 - Saturday...

Hard to believe (for me anyway) that this is the first of March.  One of the reasons that it is hard for me to believe is because three days ago seems like it was three months ago.  The days and weeks and months are FULL of stuff, never ending!

I had every intention of sleeping late this morning, but I was out of the bed at 4:30 and again at 5:05 for one reason or another; mostly another.  Then I got back to sleep and stayed in bed until a few minutes after seven.  I made Jody and me a pile of eggs, they were delightful.  I cannot really think of anything else worth mentioning today, but I will still be able to fill up a couple more paragraphs. 

One thing I did was to "de-scale" the Keurig coffee maker.  48 ounces of vinegar and about five hours is all that is necessary, and I hope the coffee will not taste like vinegar in the morning. 

Jody and I went into Bartlett this morning as well, we were in desperate need of wild bird seed, and we have stocked up now.  We also went into Georgetown later this afternoon and had lunch at Schlotzsky's.  On the way home, I went a different route because the bridge is still out.  I do not like the most obvious alternate route home, so I am investigating other routes.  While we were (kind of sort of) lost, we came upon this sign at the driveway of a property.  I have never seen one of these signs before, and we could not really make out if there was a house back in there, but it is an interesting anecdotal reference.

We finished off the month with 0.29" or rain (0.86" for the year so far), 314 eggs (799 for the year) and 5,469 spam e-mails (10,670 for the year).  I will see your OCD and raise you.

We will see how tomorrow goes.

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