December 06, 2016

Winterizing the Stock Tank Pond

We expect our first freeze Thursday, so Hubby and I went out to the farm to winterize my water lily tank.

While we were at the feed store buying the straw bales, Hubby picked up a sack of corn to fill his feeder. After filling the feeder, he noticed the neighbors who had come begging for a free meal. So he fed them.

The other neighbors were just as vocal, just too far away. I took these photos with his phone, fully zoomed, but they were just too far away for a good picture. I included them anyway because a) they had an impressionist look, and b) this is kind of how my vision is. Just enough distortion to be kind of pixelated and blurry.

December 02, 2016

Is No News Really Good News?

If so, have I got good news for you.  Because really, I don't have anything new to add here.

I am delighted to say that summer is finally over and the weather is terrific.  We finally closed on our land the Friday before Thanksgiving.  We had hoped to be able to get the building ball rolling immediately, but we've had delays here just as we had with both closings.

Even though I have more free time now, I have less internet time.  We couldn't use our last internet provider here and didn't want to sign a year or two contract for another one, so thought we'd just use the hotspot on our phones.  We burned through six gigs in just a few weeks.  We just bought a dedicated hotspot last week and started with six gigs.  I went to the library to read blogs and compose my answers and blog post and came home to post it.  Hopefully, that will work for me without using too much data.  It is a pain though.  I don't log into anything on the library internet.  It may be safe, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

Since we are living in such small quarters, I packed all my fabric and most of my quilting tools.  I did bring three sewing machines here because I didn't want anything to happen to them in storage.  I also brought my English paper piecing because it takes up so little room.  With my eye problems, I didn't think I'd be doing any kind of sewing though.  However, I found that the hand sewing is much easier to see than using the sewing machine because I can get it just the right distance from my eyes.  I can even thread a needle without too much effort.  I've been spending time every day working on my hexie project.

It is cat approved too.  Buddy has decided he likes being a house cat, and loves being a lap cat every evening.

I don't remember what I last said about my eyesight.  So a short review: I've had a retinal tear in each eye and now macular pucker in each eye which causes a blurry distortion even with glasses.  At my last visit, the doctor said the puckers were progressing rapidly and recommended surgery.  We left believing that without the surgery, my vision would continue to deteriorate until I couldn't see anything without this fairly risky surgery. His diagnosis seemed to prove correct as over the last month, I've noticed that it is harder to read signs while driving and even to identify things on the side of the road.

So today, I went to another doctor for a second opinion.  Another reason I wanted to see another doctor is because the first doctor doesn't explain anything and I wanted to know exactly what to expect.  This doctor not only explained what was going on, he showed me the pictures of my macula, and explained that, for me, this surgery is risky because it actually would be three separate surgeries.  Also, he said that the surgery probably wouldn't do anything for my right eye and only slightly improve the vision in my left eye.  One line up on the eye chart, he said.  Not enough improvement for three surgeries.  He didn't recommend surgery right now.  Good news though; he said even if the macular pucker continued to get worse, it wouldn't cause blindness, and if it did get a lot worse, then we could do the surgery.

In the meantime, he suggested an optometrist who might be able to tweak the refraction with glasses so I can continue to drive and read signs and maps.   I'm not putting a lot of hope in that, but it is encouraging.  We learned more in fifteen minutes with him than we had in ten months with the other doctor.

October 29, 2016

Living in Limbo

I had to laugh at allthingzsewn's comment. It seems like (and our backs feel like) we have been moving for a month. We finally closed on the house on the 24th, yes, just five days ago. The inspection wasn't bad at all, but the appraisal was a different story. That's where FHA is a pain. If I ever sell another house, it will be cash or conventional only! After the appraisal we went back and forth with the buyers a few times and finally worked out a deal. Then their realtor forgot to order a survey so that pushed us back another week. But it's finally all done and we are living in a friend's rental for a few months. It's in a Dallas suburb and not a great neighborhood, but it's not as bad as I originally feared. Or it wasn't, until our friend told me to keep the doors locked all the time, even if I just went to the car and back (to get to the car, I have to go out the front door, through the back yard and to the parking spots beyond that) because the guy next door just got out of prison, doesn't have a job, but isn't lacking for money. Great.

No pictures of a new house yet either. We should close on our land next Friday and there were some delays there too so we probably won't start building as soon as we planned. Until then, we are living in a 600 square foot duplex. I told Hubby that living here will make me appreciate our small barndominium home more than if we moved from our home. Buddy The Cat made the move pretty well and has settled into life as a house cat. Once again, he shares space with Hubby in the office, and he has a window seat for sunning and bird watching.

We have met several of our future neighbors. One of them developed a skin cream that is very effective on poison ivy. One weekend, we spent the afternoon clearing brush where we wanted to put the driveway and in a few days Hubby was itching. I ran over to a store that carried Cindy's cream and made Hubby use it. He has gone to the doctor with poison ivy before and pooed the idea that "Crazy Cindy's" cream could stop it. A couple of days later he was singing a different tune because the cream eased the itching, stopped it from getting worse, and then made it go away. So now it is "Clever Cindy's" magic cream! lol

No internet service here at our temporary housing. We will just hot spot off the phone until we can get out there. I wasn't sure how much data we have on our plan now since we share our daughter's plan. But she assured me that as long as i don't stay on the internet all day (and yes, I used to just leave it on all day), then I could get online every day without a problem. I'll watch my time, but I should be able to get online for at least thirty minutes every day, so hope to see you soon.

Until then, Marti

September 15, 2016

Sold the House!

After a week trying to sell the house on just zillow, we decided we needed to list it with a realtor and get it on MLS. The realtor we chose got it listed early Saturday morning, but told us not to be surprised if it took a couple of days to get showings. Well, we had two showings Saturday and two showings Sunday, and got two offers. We picked one and the inspection is tomorrow. It's an FHA inspection and I'm really nervous about it. I've heard they are super picky. Prayers appreciated.

August 26, 2016

The House Is Listed!

After six weeks of non-stop work, we finally have the house ready to sell, or as ready as it it going to get. The survey is supposed to be done on our new place this week and the sellers offered us a no-cost lease which we signed this week. So, things are finally beginning to happen.

I'm sorry I haven't been blogging, but we've been on a breakneck schedule trying to get it all done. And of course, since no good deed goes unpunished, a ceiling fan light quit working after a power outage this week. Word to the wise, don't ever buy a ceiling fan with a remote control. This is the second one in a year where the receiver quit working. But it's not the worst thing that could happen, so we'll replace it and move on.

We have sold stuff, given stuff away, thrown LOTS of stuff away, and burned our precious (or former precious) wood scrap stash. Those of you who quilt can probably relate if you've ever had to give up your entire stash of fabric. Now, we're down to the weird-shape-won't-go-in-a-box stuff. What do you do with a five foot wrought iron candelabra?

Friends and family on facebook want us to post pictures as we build our barndominium. I don't want to annoy other friends on facebook with an endless parade of pictures: here's the land, here it is again, here's the fence, etc. One suggestion was to start a blog, which would be a great idea except I don't have time for this one, much less two of them. However, now that we are finally winding down on the home improvement front, it is a possibility. If it happens, I'll post it here too.

To those who are still checking on me after such a long absence, thank you, and I hope to visit your blogs again soon. Now, to bed "to sleep, perchance to dream." Tomorrow, I am chauffeur. The cat goes to the vet, and mother-in-law to the eye doctor.

July 24, 2016

Sad Story About a New House

My son-in-law's parents recently sold their home and bought a smaller home that was under construction. It was still early enough in the construction that they, or rather SIL's mother, could pick out the flooring, counters, and all the accessories. She chose wood flooring in all the public areas and carpet in the bedrooms.

She opted for a high end Roomba vacuum rather than a whole house vacuum system so it would do the cleaning while she was at work. If you've ever seen a Roomba in action, you know they cover every square inch of every room, even under the bed where most vacuums don't reach. Plus they have a dirt sensor so can go over dirty areas more than once.

They had to move into a rental for a few months and sold most of their furniture rather than store it, and most of it wouldn't work in the new house anyway. So when they moved into the new house, they had new everything, and she was thrilled to pieces every time she came home from work to a clean house with that new house smell.

That is, until one day when she came home from work to find that the Roomba had run over a fresh pile of dog poo and tracked it into every room of the house. Every square inch.

True story.

Linking to Silly Sunday at Comedy Plus.

July 22, 2016

National Parks on the Air

National Parks on the Air is to ham radio operators what Pokemon Go is to gamers. That's the best analogy I can come up with.

On our recent vacation, Hubby (who is a ham radio operator aka ham), wanted to do some activations. That means that he wanted to set up a radio at some approved national locations and see how many other ham radio operators he could talk to in a short amount of time. I was okay with that. He's certainly done his share of quilt shows and photography stops. So I told him I would help if he needed it. Turns out he did because his computer, where he usually logs his contacts, interfered with his radio. So I logged his contacts by hand. That sounded easy enough. I can write, and pretty fast too. But it wasn't quite that easy.

To begin my story, let me set the scene. It was a pleasant day with temperatures in the mid 80's, and a fine, steady rain. The location he wanted to activate was the beginning of the Santa Fe trail, and once we decided that a little gravel parking site and a little monument was actually THE site, we pulled in to the parking area so Hubby could set up his antenna. The rules state that you have to be within so many feet of the monument, and since we were also pulling our travel trailer, we were fairly limited where we could park. Notice the power lines in the picture below? That's where the fun began.

Once Hubby had his antenna mounted on the hood of the pickup, he set up his radio on the center console and we got into the back seat so we could have room to move. Hubby began looking for an open frequency (I think I got that right) but all I could hear was static. When I'm in the office with Hubby, I usually think the noise coming from the radio sounds more like sounds over a transistor radio (if you are old enough to remember those), but this was worse. Hubby said it was the electric lines overhead. Horrible place to set up a ham antenna. The running pickup and his laptop were making the static worse, so he turned them off and he said that made a difference. Still sounded like static to me. Hubby called some ham friends who were at their home computer and they helped him find an open line to transmit on and they posted it to a facebook page that is just for National Parks on the Air. Hubby began calling CQ on that open line and finally we heard something over the static that sounded like it might be someone saying their call sign. Or it could have been a different level of static. Hard to tell. Somehow, Hubby managed to pick out a few letters of their call sign and asked them to repeat it until he understood it, and then Hubby would repeat it so I could write it down along with the time and how good their signal was. This went on for about twenty minutes and then more of them began calling to Hubby. I guess they saw our friends' post on the facebook page.

I couldn't understand anything they were saying. All I knew is that with the heat of the radio, Hubby shouting his call over and over, the windows rolled up, and no air conditioning, it was getting pretty steamy in there. After another ten minutes of rapid fire calls and jotting down letters and numbers only Hubby could hear, and with sweat streaming down my neck, back and everywhere else, I told Hubby he was going to have to roll down a window. "Now?" he asked in disbelief. "Yes, now," I said. "It's a sauna in here and I can't breathe."

So he jumped out of the pickup - in the rain - got into the front seat, and stuck the key in the ignition. He lowered the driver's window about two inches and without looking back, lowered my window about a half inch. Then he jumped out of the pickup, jerked the backseat door open and jumped in before I had a chance to stop him. So I pointed to my window and said, "Really?" He reached over the seat this time, put the key in the ignition and told me to roll it down as much as I wanted. I pressed the button and nothing happened. Nothing happened because Hubby has this habit of using the driver's door handle as an arm rest, and that's where all the window buttons are located, including the one that keeps everyone else from being able to open or close their window.

By then, Hubby was CQ-ing again, and was none too happy when I told him he had locked my window button and I couldn't roll down the window. So he lunged out of the pickup again, jerked open the front door and turned on the button, slammed it shut and jumped back in the back seat, dripping wet because the nice, pleasant light rain had turned into a heavy rain. He picked up his microphone, turned to me, and asked through clenched teeth, "Anything else?" "No, I'm good," I replied cheerfully, "CQ away."

Then an ear-splitting squeal joined the static and I could no longer hear those sounds that I thought might be another voice. But Hubby kept picking out a letter here and there and got a few more contacts in the next thirty minutes, and then he too decided the conditions were just too bad to continue. As if they hadn't been bad all along.

That experience was enough for me to wonder why anyone wanted to spend time trying to talk on a short wave radio. But for some reason, trying to hear other people shout numbers and letters makes Hubby happy, so I was willing to do the next NPOTA activation with him, and hoped it wasn't raining and that we weren't parked under power lines.

We were a little late getting away from the RV park and Google map showed the next activation quite a ways from the highway we were on. We wanted to eat dinner with our daughter and her two foster kids at the next campground, so Hubby groused that he would just not do that activation. But after the last fiasco, I thought he needed to do it and talked him into going to the next one. The signs on the highway said it wasn't far away.

As it turned out, it was just a few miles off the highway. It was at a Civil War battlefield, and they had a nice, big, paved, parking lot. The skies were cloudy, but not raining, and there was a cool breeze blowing through our completely rolled down windows. This time, there was no static and even I could clearly hear the call signs unless they talked too fast. I logged onto facebook while Hubby found a frequency and within seconds of posting it online, we had people calling. Hubby described it as a tidal wave of calls and said it was a real adrenaline rush. This time I had trouble keeping up with the logging as Hubby went quickly from one call to the next, and finally, after I filled up several pages, he announced that he would take two more calls and then we had to move on. People clamored to be picked so Hubby took several more calls before he quit. If I understand it right, everyone who calls and gets through to the ham doing a NPOTA activation also gets points, and this particular site hadn't been activated very much, so a lot of people wanted the contact.

As we drove away, I asked Hubby if he was glad we stopped for this, and he said doing this one made it all worthwhile. Since I feel that way about getting the perfect photograph, I can totally understand. But I still can't understand calls signs when people say them fast. So slow down you guys! Next time, I will be ready.

July 13, 2016

Galveston, Oh Galveston

Now where was I?

Oh yes, I had been talking about the changes in our lives. I stopped posting because I didn't want to be one of those bloggers who moan and whine about their health, their mothers-in-law, and their poor lot in life. Well, maybe I want to moan and whine about my mother-in-law a little. *smirk* I thought my life changed at 50, but at 60, it just fell apart. But I think we are mostly back on track and looking forward to the future, whatever that may be.

After four months of worrying that I would soon be blind, I had another retina tear. In my good eye. The one the doctor said had pigment around the thin spots that would protect them from tears. Guess he was wrong. So anyway, as soon as he told me I needed another surgery, I started crying and he asked why, since it wasn't a bad tear. So I asked him how many tears before the scars from them made me blind. He stepped back in surprise and said I wouldn't go blind from the tears, no matter how many, because they are on the outer edge of the retina. I had been holding this worry for so long that once the tears started, I couldn't turn them off. This doctor is good, but he isn't good at explaining what is going on. I could have used a lot more information at the beginning of this.

So anyway, I've been pulling myself out of the hole I was in, and we started getting the house ready to sell. Plus I had a trip planned with my girlfriends, and Hubby and I had planned a vacation right after that. Not much time for blogging with all that going on. Hubby probably wouldn't be too pleased to see me here typing right now instead of painting something, but I'm waiting for a phone call so I thought I'd make a quick post. Seems I can't do a quick post. But I'm going to end now because the microwave just beeped that my tv dinner is ready. Trying to eat everything in the freezer has been interesting, to say the least. I didn't even know there were tv dinners in there. I probably should have looked at the expiration date on this one. Looks like something .... yellow.

Here is the house we rented for our girlfriends' trip. About a block from the beach. And sunrise at the beach.

Linking to image-in-ing although I am anything but wordless today.

April 28, 2016

Stop Me If You've Heard This

I haven't been posting much lately, in case you haven't noticed. I also haven't been sharing much, not because nothing is going on, but because so much has been going on.

At the end of February, I had a retina tear and laser surgery to repair it. If you are a regular reader, you already know that, and that the retina specialist told me I am high risk for more tears. But, he said everything looked good at my one month exam, so we breathed a huge sigh of relief and prepared to get on with our lives. Then, just a couple of weeks later, I started having a lot of flashes in that eye. So the next morning, it was back to the retina center. My usual doctor wasn't in that day, but the doctor I saw said that there was scarring growing over my retina, called a macular pucker, and it was pulling on my retina. He said that sometimes happens after laser surgery, but sometimes it stops on its own, and if not, there was a surgery to remove it. But he wanted me to wait three more weeks to see if it would stop.

Sounds simple, right? The assistant gave me a brochure that described the procedure. Basically, they drain the vitreous fluid from the eye, peel the scarring from the retina and then refill the eye with saline. And of course, there is an increased risk of retina detachment during the procedure. And that is for normal people. I'm already high risk so it was going to be a very risky surgery. I was scared to death, and anxiously waited out the next three weeks before seeing my regular doctor. And I prayed. A lot. I think there was some begging going on too. I didn't tell anyone except my best friends from high school, and my mom of course. Hubby knew because he went in with me and he lost sleep worrying with me.

At the appointment, my doctor said the scarring had not not spread much in the last three weeks. He didn't know if it stopped or just slowed, but said for now, he doesn't recommend surgery.  He said he will leave it to me to see if I have surgery later.  I blurted out that no! I didn't want to have the surgery.  He smiled and said no, that he will leave it to my eye to determine if I have to have surgery later.  Drats!

The scarring that is there causes lines to look wavy, printed letters run together a little, and little dark objects on other dark objects are impossible to tell apart. Little dark objects like fire ants in dirt. I used to be able to see them on the ground to know where to step or where NOT to put my hand when pulling weeds, and now I can't see them until they are on my hand. And if you know fire ants, you know that that is just too late. Hand sewing is also difficult, especially on black or dark fabric. The work I've done lately probably doesn't look very good, but hey, I can't see it so it doesn't bother me.

So that's one big thing. The other is that Hubby changed jobs. Same company, just different division. He had been after this job for several months and was beginning to lose hope, but then they finally decided to fill it and Hubby was their first choice before they even started interviewing. He just started this month and has been doing a lot of overtime with paperwork and training, but it should get easier in a few months. There's a learning curve with every new job but he's anxious to start producing. With this job, he works from home and doesn't have to report in to any one place every day. His territory is mainly the entire metroplex area but also includes everything one hundred miles in every direction.

Those two events have made us evaluate our lives and our future. We are at the age where friends and relatives have had heart attacks and strokes, and when that happens, we always talk about some of the stuff we want to do someday while we are still able: traveling, developing a hobby, clearing the clutter, or whatever is on our minds at the time. And while there is nothing life-threatening in our lives at the moment, my eye scare made us realize that someday is now. None of us know how much time we have left, or what the quality of life will be like next year or even next month.

One thing we have always wanted to do is downsize into a house that is as maintenance free as possible and easy to close up and leave for weeks at a time. We finally decided that we are ready to sell our house and do just that. We were thinking we'd find three or four acres within thirty to fifty miles of the metroplex, and build a barndominium, or rather an rvdominium. Since Hubby isn't tied to any particular place now, we could move anywhere around the perimenter, and we thought it would be great to move north of Dallas in the Gainesville area. Then the reality of commuting in North Dallas traffic set in, and we decided that living in this area will be much less stressful, not to mention cheaper. Plus, Hubby's mother lives here and our moving would probably mean moving her too and that would be really difficult.

I always thought I would be jumping for joy and running to the car, bags in hand, if we ever agreed on when and where we wanted to move. I disliked this house from the moment we moved in - until about three years ago when we added the bright and sunny dining room and courtyard. Doing that freed space for my sewing space, and Hubby had his radio space, and suddenly, I started liking this house. Then we painted the exterior and for the first time I thought this house was actually pretty. Then, we had a couple of odd characters knocking on doors in the neighborhood, and we formed a new neighborhood watch group, and started having block parties, and ladies' game night. Now, I'm really torn about leaving. We'll still move if we can find the right place, but I'll miss this house, all the work we've put into it, and all of our great neighbors.

We've been warned that rental houses are hard to find, have long leases, and are more expensive than a house payment, so the plan is to buy some land first, and then build the shell of our rvdominium before selling this house. Then, if we have to, we can move into our travel trailer while we finish the house there. That is the last resort, the very last resort. I'm afraid that living in a twenty-one foot trailer with no counter space, very little closet space, and a dinky little bathroom will push us to our limits.

So wish us luck, pray for us if you choose, and we'll see what happens. The good thing is that I know we'll be happy now whether we move or stay.

April 18, 2016

More on The Bluebonnet Trail, Ennis, Texas

Linking to Wordless Wednesday at image-in-ing

Along the Bluebonnet Trail

Last week, a friend called and asked if I wanted to join her exploring the Bluebonnet Trail near Ennis, Texas. It isn't the best year for bluebonnets but we found some nice areas.

Linking to Macro Monday.

March 14, 2016

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow. Or Not.

I had such high hopes for this day. I was going to get up at dawn (now that it's an hour later), get all my housework done, and then get my sewing room set up. But my house conspired against me. Yes, I am blaming it on the house. The front door to be exact. It just doesn't like me.

I was surfing the internet trying to find out how to clean something, when I saw a neighbor pull up outside. We trade books we've read and I saw her grab a bag that looked like it was full of books so I went to the front door to meet her. I had already cleaned the kitchen and had the back door open and the glass pulled up on the storm door to get some fresh air into the house. I had the storm door locked though. Unless I'm outside, I always keep the house locked. So when I saw my neighbor strolling through the flowers in the front yard, I went out to join her, leaving the front door wide open so it couldn't play any dirty tricks on me.

We chatted about trading some daffodils and irises, and what was this, and do you want that, the typical chatter of gardeners, when I heard the front door shut. It used the breeze coming through the two doors to shut itself, and then laughed when I ran to see if I could open it. I couldn't. Our front door has two piece lock and handle; the deadbolt is one piece and the handle below it isn't keyed, it just has a latchbolt. Lately, the inside knob will turn the latchbolt, but the outside thumbpiece on the handle won't move at all. So when it shuts, it's as good as locked, except no key will open it. And this time, no key would open the back door either because we don't have a key to the storm door. I was SOL.

So I walked a few doors down and borrowed a neighbor's phone to call Hubby. He was fifty miles away, on the way to a meeting, but bless his heart, he postponed that meeting because he had another later that couldn't be moved, and he came home to rescue me. While I waited, I tried the credit card trick on the front door, tried to pry apart the trim on the back storm door, and even tried to pick that lock. Nothing worked. Finally, I just sat on the front porch and started reading one of the books my neighbor had left me. When Hubby came home, he was in the house in less than five minutes and he didn't even have to break anything.

That's the last time I feel safe with just the storm door locked.

I was going to run out and buy a new lockset, but after taking the old one apart, shooting some WD40 in it, and shining the brass, I just couldn't part with it. So I spent most of the afternoon taking apart the door handle, cleaning it, stripping off the remaining lacquer and tarnish, and getting it ready to go back on tomorrow. It took a trip to the hardware store and then another trip to the big box store, but still much less than a $150 replacement handle, and I have a lovely rubbed brass handle.

After doing that all day, I didn't get anything done in my sewing room. The only accomplishment of the day is culling through some books in my bookshelf. I am torn between keeping or donating some of the books, and I hate that I can't just let them go. But then there are other books, like a cookbook my mother gave Hubby. It's title is Game Cookbook, How to take the "gaminess" out of wild game. Make every dish a gourmet's delight.

On the cover are pictures of the kind of game Hubby hunts, but inside was, well, game that Hubby never thought of hunting. In fact, I don't know that I've ever heard of anyone hunting some of it. We had a few laughs thumbing through it (even though that was not the intent of the cookbook) and after the crummy day I had, I needed it. So I am going to end this post with a bit from the section titled "Small Game."

The porcupine can be done in with a rock or a club, but even when he is dead, his quills can do damage. If you're that hungry, do as the Indians did - just throw the porky on the coals of a fire, heap with more coals and roast for about an hour. Then remove the burned hide.
(Insert Julia Child's voice here saying "bon app├ętit")

February 29, 2016

The Clutter Shuffle

The Clutter Shuffle: The act of moving clutter from one room to another in order to make the first room appear neat, clean, and orderly.

I quit cleaning house, really cleaning that is, a long time ago. I figured I kept a sparkling clean house for twenty-five years and I had done my time. No one noticed when it was clean, and they immediately messed up everything I had just done anyway. And then we moved to this house where we had more stuff than room to put it, and no one would part with their beloved stuff. That's when the clutter shuffle began. And even after we added on to this house, we had more clutter than space because we had had years to collect more. A phone call that someone was on the way over and the whole family sprang into action like a well-trained tactical unit, clearing the clutter out of public spaces and stashing it behind closed doors.

When the kids left home, they left most of their clutter behind too. Most of that was packed into the attic, and they have retrieved some of it over the years. A request to come get it or it's going to the thrift store is met with wails of "Noooo, please save it until I get settled" and so it stayed.

Hubby and I have been talking about getting rid of all this excess, and we've even talked about becoming full or part-time RVers. But we look over the stuff, and can't let it go. It would be a lot easier if we didn't know how much we originally paid for this stuff we aren't using anymore. Or maybe not, a lot of things are picked up by one of us only to hear the other say "I have a plan for that," and so it remains as it is, unloved and unused.

Then, last month, I opened my big mouth and said I would host a neighborhood game day. Since I had a month, I figured I could go through this clutter, take loads to the thrift store, and not only would I have a neat and orderly home for guests, we would be that much closer to being able to downsize to an RV or smaller home.

But that hasn't happened. So now we are days away from having guests. Not enough time to sort through all this stuff, only enough time to hide it. If I can clear out three rooms every day for the next three days, I can present the facade of a neat and clean house. Let the clutter shuffle begin!

And then I join Hoarders Intense Denial of Excess. H.I.D.E.

February 16, 2016

Quote of the Day

If you are a fan of BBC's Grantchester series, or the books of the same name, you know that the main character is Sidney Chambers, vicar of the Grantchester church. This is a line from the first book in the series, Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death. The time and setting is December 31 as Sidney is on a train going to London for a holiday, so plenty of time for him to think about the events of the past few weeks (he just solved his first murder mystery, began to fall in love with the widow, and had all the church services surrounding Christmas) and of the coming year.

"...Sidney was determined to remain cheerful in the year ahead. He believed that the secret of happiness was to concentrate on things outside oneself. Introspection and self-awareness were the enemies of contentment..."

Interesting thought, especially since it would appear that it came about after a time of introspection. What do you think? Does self-awareness hinder happiness?

February 15, 2016

February Blooms

We have had such a mild winter in North Texas (zone 8a last I looked) that spring has come early. We haven't had any ice or snow this year and only a few days where the temperature dipped below freezing. It's nice to see the blooms, butterflies, and honey bees, but not so nice to see the crickets and mosquitoes. As you can see, I need to spend time cleaning out my flower beds, but I took pictures anyway. It has been such a mild winter that schools are closed today to use one of the bad weather days that are built into the calendar. I think that's a first since we've lived here.

February 11, 2016

Project Demolition

On my to-build list is a media/china cabinet for the dining room. Yes, I said media cabinet IN the dining room. I think I've told you before that I am totally addicted to the tv, and being alone all day, the tv breaks the silence and the monotony of my day. Once before, I tried to eliminate all the tv sets except the one in the family room, and even the kids complained that I wasn't cooking as much without the tv to keep me company. But there isn't a place for one in the kitchen, so it has to be in the dining room.

Right now, the tv and dvr are precariously placed on odd bits of furniture, but yesterday when I was borfing (that is boredom surfing the internet), I saw a post for the top part of a shelving unit and thought it might work in that spot. And it was FREE! For that price, I could make it work.

Since I am not doing any heavy lifting right now, Hubby went with me to get it, and put it in the dining room. From the photo on craigslist, I thought I might be able to turn it upside down, put a top on it, and call it good. But now that it is home, I can see that that won't work. Even though it is only about half the size of the original, it still overpowered the room; it is at least a foot taller than I originally wanted.

Plan B is to rebuild it. The piece is from Ashley furniture, and the good thing about that is that it was easy to take apart. This took about 30 minutes.

The bad thing if you have furniture from Ashley, is that it is easy to take apart. And it is made mostly of mdf. Parts of the crown molding top are real wood and the arched piece across the top of the shelves is real wood. Everything else is veneered mdf. So if a salesman tells you the furniture he is selling is solid wood, he is right, in that it is solid and not hollow. But it's not real wood. It's mdf.


February 07, 2016

Be Careful What you Wish For

Yesterday, we went to Waco for Storm Spotter training. Well, Hubby went for the training. I went to keep him company. I took my English paper piecing kit and worked on that during the class, and found that the class was more interesting than I thought it would be. The advanced class was pretty technical, so I was glad I had something to keep my hands busy. I noticed that a couple of women there were knitting too. And while I didn't go there to learn to be a storm spotter, I think I picked up enough to be able to know when a cloud over my house is going to be dangerous. Maybe.

I wish I could say I've been doing great with my goals of getting the house decluttered and projects finished, but I feel I've been idling lately. Last Sunday, we went out for an afternoon drive and after an hour or so, I could see why the doctor said to limit driving. Just being a passenger was tiring on my eye. But it has been getting better, and eye drops help the dryness (a common result of laser surgery), and I'm adapting to the black spot and the blurry spot. Funny how the eye can do that, kind of like not seeing the nose even though it's sticking out there.

At my one week followup, the doctor said the laser repair looked good and that it probably wouldn't tear again. I reminded him of all the thin spots he had counted the previous week and asked him if everyone had that many. His answer was no, that most people don't have many and that I'm above average.

I've always wished I could be above average in something. I think I should have been more specific.

January 07, 2016

Texas Ranch Gates

B. Lazy Ranch

You've seen 'em on tv or on long drives across the country: a big, sprawling ranch surrounded by a pipe fence, and long before you see the house or driveway, you can see the gateposts rising into the sky.

Texans are proud of their ranches, even if they are only a few acres, and often announce their presence with gates, both simple and ornate. I like gate posts; they tell us a lot about the owners even if there are no words. Some are just a couple of tall posts between gates, put there for the purpose of, well, of having no purpose. But others have tall posts with a sign between them. Those are the ones I like.

Some of them have just a simple name sign telling who owns the ranch.


Some of the name sign gate posts are embellished.


A few ranches are so spread out they need a gate for every section.

Gill Ranch II

And some ranches modestly put up one letter instead the their name.

Brands are still popular in Texas, and many ranches identify with their brand.

Rafter J

Many working ranches show their business with their name.

Barbaras Trees

Or some just give an idea what the business is.


This one has the name of the nearest town.

Tupelo, Texas

Then there are the gates that just sound nice or maybe describe a feature on the ranch.

Arroyo Escondido (Hidden Stream)

Mustang Ranch

But my favorites, of course, are the ones with a little humor.

2nd Chance

Fat Chance

Lazy Oaks Ranch

Hard Times Ranch

Flying Dollar Ranch

Linking to Good Fences at The Run*A*Round Ranch.