Wednesday, August 24, 2005

October 6, 2004


Falling behind...
I am. Seriously. I'm trying to catch back up, but I'm not doing a good job. Different things are happening here, nothing really bad...well, except my sister's 28 year marriage went down the tubes. She's been a stay-at-home-mom all 28 years, too. Now she is starting all over. By the time the dust settles, both parties will walk away with the bills paid and just about nothing else. Maggie got a not-very-well-paying job and now lives in a small apartment, but expenses are tight. Eventually, I'd like to move closer to her or have her move closer to me. We shall see. My younger sister finally fled California and moved in with Mom and Pa. She's coming out of a long-term relationship, too. She got a not-very-well-paying job, too. Pa and Mom are glad to see her - she and Pa have been felling logs and driving the tractor around the property to do stuff. Mom now has a partner-in-crime when she goes antiquing. And Shelly is relaxing and has no more headaches or stomach pains. In other news, Richard and I cashed in some stock and used the proceeds to buy the property next to Mom and Pa. We are still awaiting our deed, but it looks good. 3.8 acres in the woods about a mile from a lake. We'd trekked all over it a few years back, hoping to buy it then. Now its all ours (well, almost). Richard and I are now spending evenings cruising the Net to look at houses and septic tanks and leach lines and log homes and cool house-building ideas. The dream sheet is big. The cash flow is small. It'll be an interesting few years as we decide what we will do and when. Dennis and Bobbie and the kids were great. We all had a fabulous time together. I've not seen him in too many years, or the kids, either. We all went to San Antonio and walked the Riverwalk, ate there and the rest of them rode the boat around while Matt and I stayed on the sidelines and waved as they floated by. The next day, we took the kids and Dennis to the USS Lexington while Bobbie and Jenny went back to San Antonio and saw Amanda one last time before she had to go back to base and on to her tech school. Tech school is in Wichita Falls so Amanda is coming here for Thanksgiving. She will go spend Christmas with Dennis and Bobbie in Alaska. Her next duty station is in Arkansas. She'll go there after Thanksgiving. Jenny got her college ring and her first Honors sash last week. This week, she's getting her gown, her second Honors sash and her Honors cords. The kid will be loaded down with Honors stuff! She also is getting special recognition for other contributions, I'm not exactly sure what. Dean's List? President of an Honors Society and the MIS Club? Anyway, she graduates in December and then heads out to her new job in Houston. She's plenty excited. Her Houston workmates (from her internship) came down to the beach a few weeks ago and were thrilled when she was actually able to come party with them for a while. They missed her and tried to shanghai her on the way back to Houston!At work, all is well. MEB got his motorcycle fixed and put most of it back together. When he got the front piece, I stood with him and held bolts and lugnuts and wrenches like a real motorcycle mechanic while he attached it. We got all suited up and took it for a spin...and got a flat tire right down the block!!! He tells everyone it was my added weight that did it! Ha! We also have a new puppy at work. Someone dumped 4 puppies over our fence! The Humane Society is right across the street and this has happened to us before - that's how we got Tiger, our little dachshund/chihuahua. Anyway, the end result is that we took 3 of them over to the Humane Society and decided to keep one. He's a tough little guy, all muscle and all cheerful, happy puppy. They all looked to be a cross between Golden Retriever and German Shepherd. One was all black and long haired, one looked like a small shepherd with apprpriate markings and two looked like Goldens - we kept the male Golden. The guys wanted a larger dog around the place and this one looks like he'll be huge. They have decided against calling him Hercules (my vote) and will call him Dutch. I am quilting more. I started Mom's tablerunner, napkins and placemats for Christmas. They're pretty. She chose flannel because she loved the pattern on the fabric. I had to wash everything so it'd shrink before I started working with it. I am also cross-stitching the pillowcases for the girls. I've finished Leslie's and am now working on Bun's. Jenny chose a new set for herself as the other set got lost somewhere. I am listening to Christmas music to remind myself I only have 12 weeks to Christmas to get my sewing stuff done. That is, if the recipients get their quilts and other sewn items for Christmas this year! Jewel's rendition of Silent Night is awesome. Donny Osmond's Oh, Holy Night is pretty. I've been listening to a mix of Mannheim Steamroller and others, too. Enya...Andrea Bocelli...Mahalia Jackson...George Winston...I truly love Christmas time. I love the music, the foods, the anticipation, the aftermath...its a great celebration. Flint and Echo are as full of fun as ever. Echo has taken to wanting to be in my lap and has not realized she is a big dog, now. She climbs up with her front feet and just cuddles and cuddles. Flint just needs a head-rub and a treat and he's happy. Both hate the lightning so I have puppies cowering at my door when it gets loud. I have been doing off-leash training every weekend in the back and front yard. Amazingly, they are both really starting to take commands well! They spent over an hour in the front yard with Richard and I while we hacked down the overgrown junipers, crape myrtle and eucalyptus. Both got to explore but did not go beyond the boundaries I set. Echo still likes to lollygag along when I tell her "HERE!" and do the hand signal, but she does come to me...she simply takes her time and stops to smell the roses, the grass, the shrubs, the rocks, etc. Richard and I are tearing up the front yard. The bushes and landscaping have way overgrown (they were that way before we bought the house, but now its even worse). We are ready to take care of it now we both have the time to do so. Pulling out the stumps is HARD WORK. However, we have one side almost done and ready for new plantings, whatever they may be. Gerrie, my best friend, is a Master Gardener and has recommended Indian hawthorn and/or yaupon holly. We shall see. I want a froth of flowers and it was her idea to make a petunia flower bed out of the front space and put a small fountain in the middle if it. I have been coveting a lovely solar terra-cotta fountain for over a year and this was a great idea, I thought! This is my fountain: ordered it and am now awaiting its arrival. In hurricane preparedness, I ordered more buckets and gamma seal lids. We had to replenish the water and sports drink supplies - while the kids were here, we depleted the entire stock! I took an ice chest and a small cooler everywhere with us because they simply are not used the heat here in South Texas. Thank God I did it, too! We all got thirsty with the hot weather! I am going through the flour at an amazing rate! I had no idea I used that much! I use 25 pounds of flour in about 3 weeks! Wow! We are slowly stocking up on medicinals, we really don't use a whole lot other than vitamins, but YNK. Its been interesting reading the preparedness/survival listings on the Internet. Everyone has their reasons for "laying by and storing" and they are as varied as the people who do it. From survivalist philosophy to religious expression, its been an education reading up on it. Richard and I have always maintained some stock items because our Navy life prepared us for shortages and inclement weather and natural disasters. We've lived in earthquake, monsoon, hurricane, flood, blizzard and volcano climates for most of our married life and have survived every one of those conditions from large to moderate magnitude. We also endured no electricity for months on end and port strikes in foreign ports where the price of goods was astronomical. Being prepared saved us a lot of aggravation when others were gnashing their teeth. Anyway, that's about all that's happening in my life right now. Well, except writing. I'm sticking to a schedule with it and am still producing at a moderate rate. Two articles/books are out there floating in the nether regions of hopeful publisher acceptance. In the meantime, I am consoling myself by writing short stories and working on my micro-opus. (Well, it can't be my magnum opus...I have to develop as a writer!). Anyway...need to get off here and go quilt!

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