Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcoming 2011










My preferred champagne has gone up to $40 for a small bottle, so this year I'm trying one from Spain, Segura Viudas Aria Estate Brut Cava, which was only $15 and supposedly fits my request for something bone dry and not very fruity. Plus, I have FIREWORKS! I haven't shot off fireworks in... it's been so long I don't remember. And I had no idea fireworks were so cheap. That little group in the picture there cost less than $20. Woo-hoo! I'm so excited that I'm not sure I can wait the five hours until midnight. I just might have to celebrate early.

Post-midnight update:
I was able to make it until midnight and our little group of revelers toasted the New Year right on time. Ah, good times, good friends & neighbors and good sparkling wine. T'was an excellent way to kick off the new calendar year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's an extra coffee morning
I had a great time last night, despite the cloud cover that moved in and prevented me from watching the eclipse. It was so nice and warm outside - 65 degrees - that I stayed up way past midnight enjoying the outdoors and my rockin' mini-bonfire. I bought a bag of mesquite chunks that turned out to be regular firewood cut into 4 to 6 inch long pieces. That allowed me to have the fun of an actual log fire, instead of just burning some wood chunks. And well, campfires are a bit addictive for me so I stayed up later than I should have because I kept saying, "Just one more log on the fire and then I'll go to bed." Then again, if I had been able to see the eclipse, I probably would have stayed up even later than that so I guess in a way, I came out ahead sleep-wise. Anyway, I need to sign off now and go make another pot of coffee here at work. Apparently I'm not the only one needing a few extra cups this morning.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar Eclipse and Winter Solstice!
I've very excited about this and while I can't stay up the whole night to watch the whole event, I'm hoping I can at least stay up long enough to watch it start. It might be too cloudy to actually see the eclipse, but I'm going to give it a shot. I used to have a tradition of lighting a fire on Winter Solstice and although that's technically tomorrow night, I'm going to light the fire tonight instead. The fire won't be a real campfire because the the RV park doesn't allow ground fires, but I plan to burn wood chunks in my BBQ grill and that will be close enough.

I've always considered the Solstice to be the real start of the new year, not January 1st, and I think it's pretty awesome that I have a lunar eclipse marking the start of the first year of my new life. I don't have any idea what my future holds or where this new year is going to take me, but I'm sure it will be quite the adventure. Life always is. And while the future is uncertain, I do know what I'm doing tonight: cooking something on the grill, drinking some beers, setting up my outdoor Xmas lights, listening to good music, watching the flames of the fire flicker and the moon disappear for a bit. I might even see some meteors from the Ursids meteor shower while I'm at it. I couldn't ask for a better start to a new year! Cheers!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Epiphany
I woke up this morning and discovered that the imaginary light bulb above my head had gone off during the night. The chaos and confusion was gone and suddenly it all made sense. This is a very good thing, but the timing sucked. Instead of being able to get a firm hold on my revelation, I had to get ready for work, drive to work and then, of course, start working. I know I can't reasonably expect an epiphany to only occur on a Saturday morning when I have nothing else to do, but come on "powers that be", can't you give a girl a break once and a while?

Now here it is lunch time, a mere 8 hours later, and I finally have time to write it down so I don't forget, but it's already too fuzzy. Sigh. Next time, maybe I should just be late for work.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fail
I got to thinking about my current situation and decided that since I've basically had a mid-life crisis foisted upon me, that I might as well try to act like I'm having one. But I don't really want a red sports car. Well, I don't want the car payment part of it because that would take all the fun out of a bitching new Camaro. I could take a lover since apparently there's something about being married, but separated that is attractive to men. I've had quite a few offers, but it just hasn't appealed to me. When the right guy comes along, that may be a different story, but I have no desire to go out and look for him.

And although people say this is the perfect time to rediscover yourself or to find yourself, I was never lost. There are also no burning desires or dreams that I put on hold just because I was married. Sure, there are things I'd like to do or learn how to do, but those are more along the lines of deciding what to have for dinner. Learn German, jam out to Heavy Metal or read a book? Soup, salad or chicken-fried steak? Same sort of thing.

With one exception, the things I feel passionate about are still in my life . I guess you can't have a mid-life crisis unless it's the real thing and a plain old, run of the mill crisis just isn't the same. Shrug.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Bridges on Fire
Will they burn to the ground? I don't know. I haven't posted much here about the turmoil in my personal life, but it's been a matter of trying to stay on the best side of things as possible. I've given it my best shot and done all I can possibly do, but I've reached the point where I have to concede defeat. I'm worn out and tired of the struggle. The foot that's been trying to hold the door open on my marriage is battered, bruised and bloody from having the door slammed on it repeatedly and it needs a break. Time to let the door shut. It might open again later, but for now, time to rest and recuperate.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

No voice, no work
Hah, I woke up this morning with laryngitis. I thought it was just a sore throat until I tried to tell my dog to chill out because he needed his morning walk before I was even out of bed. If I didn't have a dog to talk to, I probably wouldn't have even noticed that I had no voice until I got to work. So thank you, Theo, for having to go outside so badly this morning that you saved me a pointless 30 mile trip.

I don't feel sick, other than the sore throat, so it's pretty ironic that I ended up with a day off work on a day where I'd really rather be there earning some money. Most mornings, I'd like nothing more than to to go back to bed for some extra sleep, but not today as I got plenty of sleep last night and I'm wide awake. Oh well, I've been needing to do some serious housecleaning and it looks like this is the perfect opportunity. It may even get warm enough this afternoon to open up all the windows and air the place out. And if the internet connection holds, I might even catch up on that month's worth of email.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Still kicking
Haven't had internet access at home for a long time and there's been no chance to sneak in a post while at work. There was a time when not having internet access would have disturbed me greatly, but I find it only mildly annoying these days. I particularly miss being able to check the weather. I suppose I could hook up the TV to the free cable and watch the weather channel, but then I'd have to endure commercials and a lot of talking head jabber just to find out half of what I could get in seconds on the internet.

These days it's cold and dark when I get home from work and after I've tended to the dog and we've both had dinner, all I want to do is curl up under the covers with a good book. Even a bad book will do and I'm headed off to bed with one tonight that will, no doubt, have me asleep in minutes. I suppose instead I should take advantage of this sudden, unexpected wireless signal, but sleep is a more appealing notion at the moment than slogging through three to four weeks of unread email.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Blink; it's Friday again!
Another week has flown by and with the weather turning colder and windy, I've had a couple of nights of hibernating in my RV which has been wonderful. However today, I decided that I'd had enough of the indoor life and since there was no blustery north wind to contend with, I spent the evening outside grilling sausage and hanging out until temperatures dipped into the low 40's. At that point it was time to go inside and crank up the electric heaters in preparation for the freeze warning tonight. My electric heaters can only raise the temp inside the RV about 20 degrees so I'm in for a bit of a chilly sleep tonight, but I've got warm clothes, good blankets and a big ol' dog that's willing to share body heat when it's cold. I could wimp out and use the propane furnace, but I'm trying to spare myself the expense. For someone who hates to be cold, this is a challenge. Right now, it's a still a balmy 60 degrees inside, but that's going to drop as the night goes on. I'm hoping that later on I will be sleeping, snug as a bug under the covers and not notice.

Something cool happened this week. I'd had a couple of invitations to go camping lately and had been thinking about getting the gear again to be able to do that, but I've hadn't had the extra money to actually buy anything. Then this week an old friend of mine, who I haven't talked to in about 12 years, sent me a message that he still had the camping stuff I'd loaned him and he wanted to give it back. I had completely forgotten about that; this was camping gear that I had before Rob and I got married and one of the few things I took with me when I divorced my first husband. Since Rob had his own camping gear, I didn't mind loaning mine out at the time and promptly forgot that it ever existed. Well, here I am years later wishing for camping stuff and suddenly camping gear appears. I'd say that was a pretty good sign that I should take up my old camping hobby again, eh? It is, after all, one of my favorite things to do and at this point in my life, there's no reason not to take it up again. Theo is a grumpy old dog, but I can board him if it's a group event or take him with me if I'm going solo. Despite protests from the peanut gallery, I used to go camping by myself all the time and never had a problem, even solo without a dog for "protection". In fact, it's probably a good deal safer than an evening out on Sixth Street in Austin and in my option, a hell of a lot more fun (though to each his own.)

Speaking of Theo, he's currently informing me that it's past bedtime and we should go get under the covers before it gets much colder in here. And I agree; see y'all later.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!
Yes, it's a few days early, but at work we are celebrating it today since no one will be here on Sunday. The employees have been decorating the office for weeks (I have a fake spiderweb tent over my cubical) and today even more decorations have been put up. Most of the staff are in costume and we are having a big potluck lunch. Ah, it so nice to work for a company that allows a little bit of fun in the workplace.

Time has really flown by this week and it seems like only yesterday it was Monday morning and I was groaning about long it was going to take to get to Friday. Maybe I'll remember this current time warp feeling next Monday when I'm sure I'll be groaning about it again, but I have no idea what's responsible for this perception. My weekdays are very routine and there's not much time for anything other than work and household chores and that sort of routine usually makes the days drag by instead of speeding rapidly along.

There's that old saying that time flies when you are having fun so I suppose I could be having more fun these days than I realize. It's not something I've thought about before now, but things are certainly better today than they were six months ago when I was unemployed, heartbroken and about to be homeless. Those were some really tough times and so yes, I would have to say that life is definitely more fun now than it was at that time. Perhaps it's all relative to where one has been and time will start to slow down again when this current routine gets to be old hat. Well, to quote another old saying, "Time will tell."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cornucopia
A cornucopia is the sort of decorative item you might see around this time of year for the Thanksgiving holiday. I apparently have acquired an invisible small one because I've had all sorts of unexpected gifts appear this last week or so. I've received a free BBQ grill, four free outdoor solar powered landscaping lights, three free t-shirts, six free dinners, one free lunch and lots of free beer. I've even received unexpected money. Yesterday I found out that I'm getting a small hourly raise at work and then later in the day, I found two $1 bills. Pretty cool, eh?

Friday, October 22, 2010

RV living

This week has flown by! It continues to be very busy at work despite being "off-season" and the weather has been beautiful so it seems that everyone at the RV park is outside and visiting in the evenings. I escaped socialization only one night this week because I locked myself in my RV and didn't dare stick my head out so I could finish reading a book. Once the weather turns colder, we will probably all stay inside and then perhaps I will have plenty of time to play computer games, read books and be a hermit. For now though, this seems to be the time when everyone wants to be outside and visit with their neighbors and it seems I can't walk to the dumpster without being called over for a chat or two or three along the way.

The RV park where I stay is not a resort park or a vacation spot so it tends to attract long-term residents. Some are full-timers who live in their RV year-round, others are folks that are staying in their RV for many months while their new house is being built and a few are there because it's more convenient and cheaper than staying a hotel during long-term medical treatment in the Austin area. Most people stay at least a month or two and many residents have been there for over five years.

I expected to encounter predominately retired folks in an RV park, but a large number of the park residents are my age and are still working full-time. Some of these workers are "travelers" who work on long-term construction projects and move on once those are finished, but others have regular full-time jobs in the Austin area. There are even a couple of college students and people in their late 20's/early 30's who have discovered that living in an RV suits them better than renting an apartment. The one thing you don't see much of is people with children and that suits me just fine. It's not that I hate kids, but they are not always well behaved and I don't miss one bit the brats down the street from my old house that used to scream at the top of their lungs on a regular basis.

People live in everything from tiny campers to large "park models" which have up to 400 square feet of living space. There are a few million dollar diesel pusher motorhomes, but there are also a few well-maintained older travel trailers that might be worth $2000 on a good day. There's plenty of diversity here and a surprising sense of community that I thought I would be missing once I no longer lived in a traditional neighborhood. In fact, I've gotten to know more of my neighbors at the RV park in just 4 months than I ever got to know in my old neighborhood where I lived for 15 years.

I'm content so far with my decision to buy the RV and I suspect I'm much happier here than I would be in an apartment. My long term goal was to eventually buy some land and a mobile home, but I may rethink that and work towards buying larger RV in a few years instead. Either way, my current RV should provide me with some trade-in value at that time and so I'll come out further ahead than if I had rented an apartment for a few years. Of course, there's no telling what the future will hold; I could win the lottery and that would probably change a few plans.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This is so cool!


Click on the link below to read the article and see the video:

A father and son send an iPhone into space using a weather balloon

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Perfect weather
We've had daytime highs in the mid-80's and night-time lows in the low-60's these last few days and that is exactly my cup of tea. I wish it could be like this all year long. If anyone knows of a place with similar year-round weather that is not California or Hawaii, let me know!

I ended up not driving out to Cedar Creek today since Z had to drive into Austin to help his cousin and it made more sense to grill burgers here at the RV park instead since it's only 10 minutes away from his cousin's house. And man, it sure was nice to chat with him in person. It's been a long time since we've actually seen each other and while we've kept in touch by phone and instant messaging, it's just not the same as having a face to face conversation. Technology is definitely better than nothing, but I don't see how it could ever completely replace physical interaction. Although I could see where a really good holographic system might come close. Ah well, maybe in my next lifetime...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Woof! It's bedtime!
Heh, Theo is barking at me, annoyed that I haven't come to bed yet and after midnight it is late for me to be up, but hot damn, I have internet access! One of the RV spaces between me and the wireless source is vacant at the moment so I've actually got a pretty stable connection right now. I don't have it in me to stay up all night surfing the web and I really can't do that anyway since I'm going to another car show tomorrow, though I don't have to get up near as early as I did last weekend for the other car show. After the show, I'm meeting another friend for beers and conversation in the evening and then on Sunday I'll be making a drive to visit with my friend Z out in Cedar Creek who I haven't seen in a couple of years. It's all gonna be fun, but I gotta wonder what happened to quiet weekends at home? I kind of expected that I'd be having a lot of those now that I'm "single", but it hasn't happened yet.




Pictures from today's car show. Too bad my camera only holds 5 pictures or I would have taken more. Need to buy a memory card one of these days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feels cold to me...
Last night the temperature got down to the mid-40s which is not really all that cold, but it sure feels cold after a daytime high in the mid-80s. My RV has insulation, but it also has a lot of windows, more than most trailers it's size, and two uninsulated doors so it gets chilly inside in a hurry. I remember back in the 70s during the fuel crisis there was a saying "Conservate at 68" which has stuck in my mind, probably because of the discussion of whether conservate was or was not an actual word. But anyway, I decided to give that a try since 68 degrees seems like a balmy temperature. However, I have discovered that while it's plenty warm for sleeping and hanging around the RV, it is definitely not warm enough for my morning shower. Even cranking up the heater to 74 degrees wasn't warm enough and who knows how much propane I burned this morning while getting the entire RV up to that temperature.

I've been looking for an electric heater to use just in the bathroom, but it needs to be a very small size and most importantly, low wattage. It's really hard to find anything under 1500 watts which is way too much amperage to be pulling through my RV wiring and most of the "personal" size heaters are so cheaply made that I'd be afraid to use them. After some research on the internet, I think I may have found one made by a company with a good reputation that might work in my tiny bathroom, but I'm not confident enough to order it on-line. Of course, I can get the dimensions off the internet and measure, but it's not the same as actually seeing a product and holding it in your hands. So it looks like I'm going heater shopping even though I hate shopping in stores. But I hate it far less than I hate feeling that cold air after stepping out of the shower in the mornings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Checking in
It's been almost a month since I last posted and although things have been rather tumultuous, overall I've been doing okay. I rarely have internet access at home so I have to rely on getting a break in activity at work to hammer out a post and there haven't been many of those in the last three weeks or so. That is good news though because it means there was enough business for the company to hire me on as a regular employee after my temporary contract ended last week. I also got to keep my M-F, 8am-5pm schedule. The only downside is the long commute and spending two hours every day in traffic. It might be time to start thinking about getting a new car and I really like the new Camaro. I think I may go visit a car lot this weekend and take a closer look at one. I have no idea how I would be able to afford one, but it never hurts to dream.





Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to me
Yesterday was my birthday. I've never minded getting older and for me, birthdays are just an excuse to have an extra good time that day. I usually don't buy myself anything for my birthday, but this year I made an exception. I decided to buy myself a Kindle because now that I'm reading books again, I've rediscovered just how fast I devour books. I bought a paperback on Sunday to read while I was at the laundromat and two hours later it was finished. That brought the total number of books that I read in a week to six. Five of those I will want to read again later, but I don't have room in my RV to keep a bunch of books so I ended up giving some of them to my neighbor. I got to thinking about the Kindle and the other variations of the same thing and decided something like that was a perfect fit for someone who lives in a small space, but loves books. It was a bit more money than I usually spend on myself and not a very practical expense at a time when I should be pinching pennies, but what the hell - who wants to be practical on their birthday?

I know it won't be the same as having a real book in my hand and I much prefer reading off paper instead of a computer screen, but I'm very excited at the thought of eventually having hundreds of my favorite books right at my fingertips. I guess it will be much the same as my migration from albums to MP3s. I still think the music sounds better off an LP, but it's very nice to have the convenience of all my music in easily accessed MP3 files and it's definitely the better music storage solution for RV living. I suspect the same will be true for books.

I wonder what's next? Digital clothing? I'd love to have shirts that could change color or design. That way you could have five physical shirts in the closet, but hundreds of choices. Hopefully someone is working on that right now and it will be in the stores soon so I can also solve my lack of closet space problem.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Texas Swing evening
My trailer repairs were finished today, but when I got home I found it was not put back where it was before they hauled it off to the shop. They did at least get it in the correct lot, but it's way too far back on the pad. And, I hate to admit this, but it's also crooked and I know that's going to drive me crazy. I was a little bit annoyed. Well, let's be truthful - I was very annoyed. They didn't even hook up the electric back up so the trailer was hot as hell inside. Could I live with it where it was? Nope. So that meant not setting it back up - no lowering the stabilizer jacks, unpacking breakables out of cabinets and drawers, and no picking stuff up off the floor since I was going to want it moved at least five feet forward. In other words, everything I had planned to do tonight if the trailer work was finished was not going to happen so that left my evening free and unscheduled. And for reasons too complex to explain here, I had a craving for an old fashioned honky-tonk. But a DWI is not something I want to experience and I have no idea if there's cab service or even an old-fashion honky-tonk around here. But I had cold beer in the fridge and a Texas Swing station already created on Pandora that would play the perfect music. And there was a cool breeze blowing outside so I cranked up the computer speakers and left the door open on the RV so I could hear it. My neighbor on the door side of my RV was gone so I could play it plenty loud and I kicked back in my lawn chair under the stars and found myself sitting in a great honky-tonk beer garden. It was a very nice couple of hours thanks to Shiner Bock, Pandora and the beautiful weather. Oh, and thanks to the stars as well - nice to be able to see so many more out here where I'm a tad bit more in the country than I used to be.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A funny thing happened last night
I took the last of the "stuff" that was getting stored over a friend's basement. I pulled into the driveway on the side of the house, a dirt driveway that I had never used before, parked and unloaded the stuff. I stayed for a short visit which was long enough for it to get dark outside so when I backed up out of the driveway in the pitch black darkness, I didn't realize I was backing up too far to the right and headed for a retainer wall that I hadn't noticed when I pulled in. Instead, I thought I was just backing up down the gentle slope to the street until... oops! Yep, the right rear wheel went over the retainer wall and the frame came to rest squarely on the wall leaving the wheel spinning freely in the air. Now I do have an SUV, but it's not four wheel drive so I definitely wasn't going anywhere. After surveying the situation I realized I probably wasn't going to have any success getting someone to pull me off of that with a pickup truck so I bit the bullet and called a wrecker to come winch me off the wall.

This event was funny for several reasons. First of all, it just IS funny - I mean, this is the sort of stupid thing that, when you see people do it, you just can't help but laugh. After all, there was no harm done - no one got hurt, not even the SUV. For the second reason, I had unexpectedly received $80 not two hours before this and guess what? The wrecker fee was $85. It was as if the universe knew I was going to pull some bonehead stunt later that day and made sure I had the cash on hand so I could just laugh about it and still get home before midnight. The third thing that makes this so funny is that I have had nightmares off and on about this exact sort of thing happening ever since I started driving a car. And of course, this was nothing like the nightmares - just a bit of a bump, the realization of what I had done and a good chuckle over it.

Hmm... I wonder if this means another recurring nightmare is about to be retired?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Countdown to a holiday weekend
I pretty much have no internet access at home these days and I've been way too busy at work to squeeze in a post. But being busy at work is good since it increases my chance of keeping this job past October when business slows down, however, I'm definitely ready for a break. Well, I've got one on the way since Monday is a holiday and for the first time in many, many years I will not have to work on the Labor Day holiday. In addition, I'll be spending the holiday weekend away from home which is also something I have not done in many, many years. My RV will be in the shop for repairs so I'm going to be staying with friends at a vacation cabin on a lake where I plan to do a lot of beer drinking, napping and book reading. There's no internet access or even cell phone access out there so it will definitely be a bit of "digital downtime" and that's going to be a welcome relief after these months working back at a call center. And there's just two more days of work to go...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Each night my prayer is that I can get out of bed in the morning.
Posting has been sparse because I usually do not have an Internet connection at the RV and work has been far too busy for me to sneak in a post from there. We still have an Internet connection here at the house, but when I'm here I'm busy working on clearing out the house. Spending most of my time bent over at the waist sorting stuff and carrying boxes/trash bags has not been good on my back. And I wish someone had not taken off with the portable table that I put outside, piled up with "free stuff", but I guess they assumed the table was free as well since I forgot to put on the sign "Please do not take table!" Oh well, one less thing to have to get rid of, but I was using that table to sort things standing up instead of bent over.

Anyway, I am taking a short break right now to rehydrate since there is no A/C in the back room that I'm working on and it's very hot today (and has been all week since it's August in Texas.) Oh, and to rest my foot a bit because to add insult to injury, something stung my foot yesterday as I was carting a bag of trash across the yard. Probably a wasp or a scorpion, although the amount of swelling had me looking for fang marks (there weren't any.) That's two freak accidents that have prevented me from busting ass as much as I need to at the house. I guess I didn't blog about the other one, but two weeks ago I got smashed by a couch and twisted my neck and back and bruised a rib and I'm still recovering from that. But whether I'm battered, bruised or stung, the work must be done and it must be done by tomorrow evening. So I'd better get back at it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A perfect fit & what a storm!
I was wondering where I was going to put the dog food in the RV, but found this cabinet was a perfect fit. I was planning on a quiet evening alone at home, but Mother Nature threw a major wrench in those plans. I had stopped by Charles & Sheree's place to chat with the group of neighbors gathered there when one of those sudden Central Texas thunderstorms blew in with driving rain, high winds and lots of lightening. We all scurried inside their RV expecting it to blow over quickly, but it didn't. And so an impromptu dinner party ensued. Food was rescued off the grill and finished off on the stove, margaritas and beer appeared and a good time was had by all for the several hours we were trapped in the RV. By 9:30 PM the storm had passed and I was able to head home safely and determine that Theo and my own RV had weathered it well. And now I'm off to bed because I've gotta go sell lawn mower parts in the morning :)
The fat lady has not sung yet
Rob had plans other than working at the house this weekend and so arranged for us to have a more time on clearing out the house. I did, however, manage to get quite a bit done over there on Sunday. I would have accomplished even more if it hadn't been so damn hot. Hopefully next weekend the heat will not be quite so oppressive and we can "get 'er done." I suppose there's never a good time to move out of a house, but doing it during the hottest month of the year is just nuts.

It is taking Theo awhile to adjust to RV life. I'm sure that some of it is due to being without the girl dogs since Irene had been his constant companion for all these years. There was a bit more howling and some barking this weekend, but I don't think it's going to disturb the neighbors. Today is his first day at the RV by himself for an 11 hour stretch while I am at work and I'm hoping he does okay. The 11 hour stretch is not a problem, he's used to that, but alone in a strange place... well, I'm hoping it doesn't feel quite so strange to him now that he's spent the whole weekend there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Theo's first night at the RV
The RV finally got moved and the steps finally got built so I brought Theo out to the RV tonight. He's been pretty freaked out so far. Every time I take him outside he heads straight for the car and gives me a look that plainly says, "Take me home!" Poor old man, I think he may be the worst affected by selling the house. I've stepped outside without him a few times, leaving him alone in the RV, and have heard him do something he never does - howl. And what a mournful howl it is. Hopefully he won't do that all day tomorrow while I'm at work. And hopefully I can work and not spend my whole day worrying about him.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

One week left...
One week left to get everything out of the house. I should be busting my ass right now instead of blogging, but I'm too exhausted. Last week was a real pain in the ass for a variety of reasons. I suppose the most irritating was that they were supposed to move my RV to another spot on Tuesday. So Monday night, I put everything on the floor, disconnected my hookups (except for the electricity) and put in the slide. But the people in that spot paid for another day so I didn't move on Tuesday. Which meant that when I got home I had to set everything back up again for the evening and then put it all back in the morning. However, on Wednesday, the people paid for another day again. Rinse and repeat for the entire damn week, including last night. I have decided that if they do not move today, then I'm just going to stay put. It would be nicer for Theo to be in that other spot, but it is not worth this aggravation.

There was one really cool thing that happened last week. There was an oriental style rug at work that I had admired and had thought at one point that I might get something just like it for my trailer to cover up the mauve carpet. Then one day last week I walked into the office and noticed it rolled up and sitting on a table with a note that said, "Want me? Take me!" And so I did. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this rug, no rips or stains and it has virtually no wear on it at all. I have no idea why someone would give it away. But it's pretty damn awesome that I was thinking about getting rug for the trailer and wanting one similar to this exact rug when it suddenly became mine for free! How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The heat is on
Have been working over at the house this evening and the sweat is just pouring off of me. The window units keep the house comfortable enough in this hot weather if you are just sitting around, but I've been hauling trash and packing boxes. The dogs were very happy to see me and they kept knocking each other out of the way to get as close as possible to me - it was an ever shifting kaleidoscope of dogs. Unfortunately the house smells of dog poop because apparently the dog's digestive systems are having to adjust to this new food. I had eight piles of diarrhea to clean up - yuck! I am also filthy having moved a lot of dusty stuff and that sweat is now turning it to mud. But we are running out of time to get stuff out of the house so I'm trying to get as much done as possible in the evenings this week even if it means being sweaty and stinky and running a bit short on sleep. I'll have to just keep reminding myself of that old saying, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." And stock up on coffee.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I need more sleep
I haven't gone to sleep before midnight for four nights and a row and I'm determined to hit the hay early tonight. Despite being rather sleep deprived, I did manage to get some stuff done today including buying the lumber I need to build the steps for Theo. And I gotta say that was the best shopping experience I have ever had at a Home Depot. I didn't catch the employee's name, but he was friendly, courteous and helpful which is a rare experience in any store these days.

In other news, I finally bought an electric skillet this weekend. I was trying to find an 8" or 10" so it would fit in my tiny sink, but the smallest I could find was an 11". I used it to make squash casserole this weekend and quickly learned that it draws a fair amount of amps when it popped the RV park circuit breaker outside. I only have 30 amps total for the trailer and the A/C consumes a big chunk of that so summer will always be a bit of a juggling act.

Well, my eyes are closing at this point. Even with hitting the bed early, I suspect the alarm is still going to go off way sooner than my liking tomorrow morning.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another week flies by

A couple of weeks ago my computer's on board graphics card decided to go on the fritz. Sometimes it would work, but only at a non-native resolution for my monitor. By Monday of last week it was down for the count. I had been wanting to put a better graphics card in this computer since I bought it many years ago, but never could bring myself to spend the money for something that wasn't necessary. And now it was necessary, though definitely not in the budget. I had enough money in the bank to buy one, but that would leave me pretty much broke until payday (Friday of next week.) I struggled with that for a few days, but finally decided to spend the money. My computer is one of those "luxuries" that I do not want to do without!


And so, having purchased and installed a new graphics card, I was looking forward to spending some time this weekend playing one of my favorite games, Eve Online, which has always been difficult to play with my on board graphics card. Alas, it was not to be. Instead of gaming on Friday and Saturday night, I had unexpected company on both nights and ended up socializing until midnight. I was planning on being a hermit computer nerd this weekend and things went in a completely different direction, but that's okay - I had a great time and gaming can wait.


I brought Theo out to the trailer yesterday to see if he could manage the steps. I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be able to get up them and I was right. I ended up lifting him into the trailer so he could at least check it out for a bit. He was already freaked out by the road trip out here and trying to get up the steps freaked him out a bit more. And then lifting him up into the trailer freaked him out too, so his first visit here wasn't exactly pleasant for him.


Here's a picture of him where you can tell he was none too happy with the situation. I hung out with him at the trailer for only a short while because I could tell he really wanted to just get back "home". We'll have to build either stairs or a ramp that he can manage and do that very soon. He's going to need time to adjust and we only have three weeks left of him being able to stay at the house. Hopefully we'll have something built by this next weekend and he can spend Friday or Saturday night out here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Much more comfortable computing

I found a computer desk on Craigslist for $25 that not only fit in the Rodeo, but also fit through the RV door without having to take it all apart.

Before & After:









The window valences are a bit in the way, but I haven't figured out how to take them off yet.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The house is officially sold & the RV is almost paid off
We finally closed on the house today, three weeks later than planned, but at least we still get 30 days from today to get everything out of the place. All the debt has been paid off except for the $7000 we've borrowed from my parents over the years, but at least that's an interest free, "pay when you can" loan. I also still owe about $700 on the RV, but I'll have that paid off in 30 days so I feel like I can now start on my RV redecorating plan.

First thing to go is going to be the couch/sleeper sofa and the table and chairs which I will put into storage in case I decide to trade the RV in later on. I never use the uncomfortable couch, other than to temporary hold my groceries when I come back from the grocery store, and the table is currently being used as a computer desk. With those two items gone, that should give me enough space to put in a comfy chair & ottoman, a small desk and a small table for two that can double as counter space (I currently have no counter space which makes meal preparation a real pain in the ass.) I also have eight window valences, some curtains and a bedspread to replace. That will get rid of most of the mauve and teal. I'll still have the floral wallpaper in the bathroom and on 1/2 of a kitchen wall, but I can live with that. Then there is the mauve carpet, but I can cover the living room carpet with throw rugs to disguise that and I'll just pretend that the carpet in the bedroom is brown (there's not much of it that can be seen anyway.) I haven't decided on a style yet, but I'll be on such a limited budget that it's probably going to be bohemian or hippy-chic and look similar to my friend Chris C.'s garage apartment back in 1978. Hmm... do they still make bean bag chairs?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

RV-ing
I went out to my RV this afternoon to do a couple of weekly maintenance tasks. It felt so nice out there that I decided to hang out for a while since I always feel like I'm on vacation when I'm out there. And what better reward for all my hard work this weekend than to spend some time feeling relaxed and comfortable! There have been days this week when I wondered if I made the wrong decision in buying the RV rather than trying harder to find a place to rent, but all those doubts vanished once I got back out there.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I thought my wish to by an RV one day was always in the context of doing it with Rob, but my friend Tracy reminded me how I used to talk long ago about buying a used bread truck (aka step-van) and turning it into an RV. I had completely forgotten about that. Then I also remembered that back when I was very young, I would fantasize about having an Air-stream trailer someday so I could just easily move to a new town every year or so. This was back when I was planning on being a writer and that just seemed like the perfect lifestyle for a novelist since you would be regularly exposed to new locations and new characters. And so while it seemed at the time that buying the RV was something completely unexpected and out of the blue, perhaps it wasn't really that way after all.
Bit by Bit
I've been staying at the house this week with the idea of getting some stuff cleaned out and I've made a little bit of progress, but not as much as I'd like. There's just not much time to get anything done during the week after work. But now it's the weekend and I made a big push today on the bedroom and I'm currently blogging at midnight instead of sleeping because I have the bed all apart while I clean out from underneath it. The dogs are not happy since they want to curl up on the bed and go to sleep, but the bed is not there and that's causing much confusion. But it will all be back together soon enough and then I can sleep knowing that at least one room is cleaned out of everything but the bare essentials for daily living - just the bed, dresser, and alarm clock.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Being Flexible
Now that I've pretty much settled into my RV, it's time to switch back to staying at the house for a few weeks to give Rob that same opportunity to settle into his new apartment before the house is gone. This will also give me time during the week in the evenings to work on clearing stuff out of the house, something I can't do if I'm staying out at the RV. I spent Saturday running errands and was finally able to get a PO Box out in Buda (there's been a wait list for weeks.) I also had to get another new tire for the Rodeo since the right rear tire started acting up on my way back from Buda. I guess it decided that it didn't want to wait until we closed on the house either. Damn tires. But since I now had good tires all the way around on the vehicle, I was able to drive out past McDade Saturday evening to visit with an old friend and finally see the house that she built several years ago. McDade is not that far away, about an hour's drive, but without a reliable vehicle it might as well have been on the moon and I had never seen her new place. We had a nice visit, but had to make it a short one because I knew I had an hour drive home. And on the way home I was thinking that so many of my friends live north... maybe I'll move my RV up that way if my temp job down south doesn't become permanent. I always swore I'd never live in North Austin or north of Austin, but perhaps it's time to stop limiting myself in so many areas of my life, including where I live. Time to be a bit more flexible...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Serendipity
I had a flat tire yesterday, one big blowout of a flat where the tire literally comes apart. The flat in itself is not remarkable considering the tires on the Rodeo are ancient and need to be replaced. I was waiting until we closed on the house to do that, but the left rear tire decided it didn't want to wait and had to give up the ghost last night. But what was remarkable was how and where it happened. It did not happen while I was driving 60 MPH down Hwy 290. Instead, it popped while I was stopped at a traffic light. Yes, I was completely stopped and not moving and therefore I avoided the risk of rolling the car over on it's roof which sometimes happens with Rodeos when they blow a tire. And it also just happened to occur right next to a very wide median that I could hop on which would provide a perfectly safe place to change a tire. Except that I had no spare tire with me. It was in the carport at Garden Villa and as far as I knew, it was not a usable tire. And all the tire stores I knew of closed at 5:30 or 6:00 pm and here it was already 5:45 pm and I was a long way from any of them. So I called Rob (who was still in North Austin) and asked him to swing by the house and pick up the old spare and bring it to me because maybe, just maybe, we had pulled it off due to a slow leak and it might at least get me to the house. In the meantime, I figured I'd walk over to Wal-Mart and wander around in the air conditioning because damn, it was hot yesterday. On my walk to Wal-mart I looked up and saw that there a tire place in the same shopping center. I figured they were either closed or closing soon, but I might be able to at least find out how much a new tire was going to cost. So I walked over there and discovered they were open until 7:00 pm! That meant I had time for Rob to get there with the spare and I could just get a new tire put on that rim. One small problem though - we had no money for a new tire. However, the tire store just happened to be close enough to my parent's house that my dad could get there in time and front me the money for the new tire. Which is exactly what happened. Rob brought the rim, dad paid for the tire and then Rob, bless him, changed the flat for me. If that tire had gone flat at any other place at any other time, there's no way I could have had a new tire on the car and been back on the road the same night. Simply amazing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plodding along
I've been spending about 1/2 my time at the trailer and the other half at the house. There is much stuff that Rob and I need to go through, but we have not made much progress on that yet. We also did not close on the house on Friday as planned and that's put a bit of a wrench in things, but hopefully it will get worked out next week. There's only a month left to get everything out of the house, but we have to wait on the money from closing before we can get a storage space so it's gonna be one hell of a crazy ride to get everything done once we do finally close.

The new job has been going well. Right now it is very easy work, but it will get a little more challenging in the next week or so as I take on more duties. I work with a great bunch of people and that's really the most important part of it. Monday and Tuesday are very, very busy days and I've learned it's not a good idea to plan any evening activities for those days - best to just drive home and collapse on the couch. Things do slow down the rest of the week and it doesn't seem like this is going to be one of those call center jobs where I'm left incapable of doing anything in the evenings all week long. And well, you can just imagine how excited I am that I don't have to work weekends!

I have learned a thing or two this week about living in an RV trailer. For one, no matter how long I spray the top of my head with the shower, I cannot get my brand of cream rinse out of my hair. There's just not enough water pressure. And I've learned that if you have an RV propane stove, you really need a good set of pots and pans because you can't get a good big flame and the cheap ones just won't distribute the heat. But I'll be buying an electric skillet instead of expensive pots and pans because electricity is included in my lot rent, but propane I have to pay for out of my pocket. The less I use the stove, the more money I save.

In other news, the old hot-rod crowd I used to run with over 20 years ago now meets up in a parking lot on Saturday nights very close to where my RV trailer is parked. I wandered over there this weekend and saw some folks I haven't seen in a very long time. I haven't sat around and talked about engines and camshafts and nitrous and rear end gears in ages and it was fun to dip my toes into that again. I can't say that I'll be building a race car again any time soon, but the thought did cross my mind. Who knows what my future will bring from this point?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lots of changes
There has been much going on that Rob and I have not blogged about, but the basics are that we are splitting up and going off in different directions. It wasn't my choice, but that's the way it is and I will just have to make the best of it.

The house has been sold and in five weeks, I will officially no longer live in South Austin for the first time in my entire life. I had an impossible time finding a rental since I've only had part-time income for the last year, plus I have dogs. Finding a new place to live wasn't working out very well and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I mentioned to my parents at one point that I thought I might have to just buy a used RV to live in and what a crazy idea that was! Well, my parents owned an RV for many, many years and it turns out that they didn't think it was such a crazy idea at all. In fact, they liked the idea so much that they went out looking for one. I didn't know they were doing this until they called me to say they had found a great deal on a gently used RV and asked me to come take a look at it, which I did.

Now Rob and I had talked about doing this same thing one day, selling the house and buying an RV, but for me that dream had always been in the context of our relationship. I'd never really considered it in any other way (or so I thought at the time, more on that in a later post.) So there I was on the sales lot with only a couple of hours to make a decision about this crazy idea. I puttered around the trailer a bit - stood in the shower, laid on the bed, pretended to cook in the kitchen, etc. and started weighing the pros and the cons. But there was just too much to sort out in such a short period of time so I stopped trying to do that and instead, I took a look at how my gut instincts felt about the whole idea. I was surprised to discover that I didn't have any strong feelings one way or the other. This was real different from how I'd felt when looking at the few rentals where I might have been able to get approved. That was always a "No, don't do it," feeling. But while there wasn't a "No" feeling, there also wasn't a feeling of "Yes, this is the way to go." either. It felt more like... well, like I was deciding what to have for breakfast or what to wear to work. How odd. I considered this to be a major, life changing decision and yet it didn't "feel" anything like that at all. And I thought to myself, "If it doesn't matter one way or the other, why not go for it?" So I did and became the owner of a 2001 Sunnybrook Mobile Scout FSK 27 foot travel trailer.

Friday, June 04, 2010

WHAT A LONG , STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN

I know I haven't posted here in a very long time (damn you facebook!) and I will not be a contributor to depthmarker from this day forward.
If you wanna you can find me at FullMetalJackass
If you don't wanna , then so long.
it's been fun.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Full-time employment, here I come
I have a new job, but it's not just any job. There's a business that I've had my eye on since about 2006 and when I saw the job opening posted on craigslist, I jumped at the chance to apply and wrote the longest cover letter I've ever written in my life in the hope of at least landing an interview. It worked. I got the first interview and then made it to the second interview and now I'm hired. Although I'm only hired as a temporary seasonal employee, there is a possibility to stay on full-time since one of the temps will be moved into a permanent position in October. That person might be me, or it might someone else, but either way, I'm thrilled to work there even if it's just for a short time.

I love my other part-time job, but unfortunately it has to go. I can't do both due to commute time involved with the new job and given that the part-time job is currently only paying about $50/week with no guarantee of an increase in income any time soon... well, time to resign. It was fun and I lost a lot of weight doing it, but I can't live on $50/week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yea!
I had a job interview today. I interviewed with three people at the company and it went very well. I don't know if it went well enough for me to get the job, but I was pleased with my interviews. I would very much like to work for this company and I hope they would like me to work for them. I'll just have to wait and see... I should know something no later than the end of next week...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whack a Weed
Our lawn guy has pulled another disappearing act. That's something he can get away with in the middle of summer, but at this time of year the weeds actually grow like weeds. Several of them are almost as tall as I am. We have no lawn mower because they keep getting stolen and it's been cheaper to pay someone else to do the lawn than to keep buying another mower every time one disappears. Oddly enough, nothing else ever seems to disappear out of our carport, back yard or front porch (we've stored the lawn mowers in all three places.) In fact, there is a DVD player on the front porch that has been there for months and it's a lot easier to cart off than a lawn mower, yet it remains undisturbed.

Anyway, since we have no lawn mower and our lawn guy is in absentia, I have decided that today I will attack the front yard with the weed eater. I once had a neighbor that mowed his entire front lawn ever week with a weed eater so I know it can be done. I'm sure I will not be able to do it with the skill of said neighbor who was somehow able to achieve a perfectly cut St. Augustine lawn. Now I've only used a weed eater a couple of times in my life so I have no idea how he was able to cut every blade at an equal and precise height, but with our lawn o' weeds, precision doesn't matter. Even if I cut large areas down to the dirt, which I am likely to do because I am extremely unskilled with a weed eater, then the weeds will just fill back in, probably overnight. If I manage to pull this off today then I will have Rob take pictures of the aftermath when he gets home tonight and we can all have a good laugh.

Update: I only got half done this morning before it got too hot and steamy. I was going to do the other half tonight, but I have a job interview and assessment test to take - woohoo!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A tip of my hat to Cobblestone Mills and Flowers Bakeries
Good customer service seems to be a rare thing these days so I'm pleased to share this example of it. I posted the other day that I found a loaf of Rye bread inside a package labeled Sourdough. I didn't mention the brand name in my post, but I did email the company and let them know what happened. It's a pretty big operation, with distribution in 29 states, and while I was hoping for a response, I didn't really expect anything other than a form letter. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to get an actual phone call. That's right, a real live person called me from the local area bakery to offer an apology and they also spent a good 15 minutes on the phone with me to make sure I remained a happy and satisfied customer. Yes, they are sending me coupons, but the personal touch of that phone call is what made the difference between my possibly never buying that brand again and being a regular customer. Good job!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NWM's bad boss series

NON-WORKINGMONKEY

This short film is simply brilliant!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An unexpected sandwich
I bought a loaf of Sourdough bread yesterday and set out to make myself a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch. Except when I opened the package I found a loaf of Jewish Rye inside instead of the Sourdough I was craving. I generally don't like Rye bread, but I was hungry and didn't want to go back to the grocery store so I grilled my sandwich on Rye instead. It actually wasn't too bad; either I've never had "Jewish" Rye bread before or my tastes have changed as I've grown older. I wonder if anyone else got a surprise in their bread package or if this was just some odd way of circumstances conspiring to get me to try something new? Or perhaps it was a reminder of Warren Zevon's advice to "Enjoy every sandwich."

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Decisions, decisions
I'm currently faced wtih a variety of major life changing decisions, none of which I'm comfortable blogging about at the moment so instead I offer this less monumental one - should I pay $30 for a pair of 34 inch waist jeans that fits or just keep sinching the belt on the 36 inch pair that I have until I get down to a 32?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stuck at 180 with a smaller rack
Back in November, I posted that my weight was down to 175 pounds. I didn't realize our old scale was off by 5 pounds so I was actually at 180 pounds at that time. Today finds me still at 180 pounds, but I have been losing inches during this time. Lots of them. It's a mystery how I can lose so many inches and still be the same weight. I know people will say, "Muscle weighs more than fat," but I haven't gained any muscle that I can see. Instead, I've lost 4 bra sizes, 2 pants sizes and 1 shirt size. And why is it the weight always comes off the boobs first?

Monday, April 26, 2010

A WALK WITH THE DOGS AT DAWN




was very nice...Layla just walked into this shot.
A quick story
Between my current "heavy workload" at my job and all the other stuff going on around here I haven't gotten around to blogging, but I did want to share something nifty that happened the other night. I had gone to Artz Rib House to pick up some BBQ for dinner and while I was waiting for my food I was able to enjoy some of the live music there. I don't remember who the group was, but it was three ladies singing and a gentleman playing an upright bass. They were singing old standards (and I mean OLD standards) and I thought, "Gee, wouldn't it be cool if they sang Goodnight Irene while I was here?" The current song ended and one of the ladies said, "We have a special person here tonight and she's requested a song. We don't don't really know it, but we are going to do it anyway." And damn if they didn't play Goodnight Irene! I don't know who the special person was that requested it (it sure wasn't me,) but it was pretty amazing to have a wish granted like that.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The change in EFT
EFT - Electronic Funds Transfer. I started paying my bills by EFT many years ago after an experience I had with a credit card company. Back then I paid everything via check and postal mail like most people, but the credit card company kept insisting that my payments sent by snail mail were late which allowed them to increase my interest rate and charge me some ridiculous late fee every month. The postal service had it's issues, but I seriously doubt it was taking more than two weeks every month to get my payment to a location that was only two states away. Once I started using EFT, I loved it and started using it for any bill that I could - no stamps, no checks, no driving to the post office and best of all, no waiting weeks for a check to clear. If a bill was due on the 3rd of the month, the money came out of my account on the 3rd of the month. Nice and simple. Until recently. These days I can no longer go by the due date on my bills. For example, I have a cell phone bill that is due on the 3rd of the month, but the money will come out of my bank account about a week before on a date that varies from month to month. It might be the 28th. Or it might be the 29th. Or maybe even the 25th. I find this highly annoying and would like to know who the hell is getting the use of my money for 5 or more days of "processing time". One of the involved parties, either the bank or the billing company is getting interest on that money for those extra 5 days or so. It's irritating even though it's not costing me, personally, a lot of money - after all, it's not like I'm earning very much interest in 5 days on $100. But back in the days of paper checks, the "processing time" was on the billing company side. The more efficient they were at "processing" payments, the faster they got their money. Under this new way of handling EFT, I'm the one paying for their processing time. I don't like it. I think I may go back to paying my bills in person. With cash. Except some places won't accept cash anymore. And that's another thing that really annoys me, but I'll have to save that rant for another day - time to go to work so I can make my electronic bank balance bigger next week with my electronically transferred paycheck.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Woo-hoo!
Yes, I'm excited. At this moment, some things in my life are actually going quite well. Specifically, tonight, I'm excited about things that are job related. I have the opportunity to get more hours at the job I love. In order to do this, I should quit the other job because there are only so many hours in a week and I can't realistically do both for more than a week or two without collapsing from complete exhaustion. However, the hours at the job that I love are not guaranteed to be permanent and I felt that it was too risky to just quit the other job with no notice and burn bridges so I was going to attempt to some how, some way, juggle the two for a while. The problem with that scenario (aside from complete exhaustion) is that I have to do the extra hours at the job that I love and do them well in order to get those hours on a permanent basis. And I realized that might be a bit hard to do while juggling the other job, but I was going to do my best. Ah, but then the other job that I don't like as much changed dramatically which caused me to have get trained on something new and as it turned out, that made it the perfect time to resign with no notice needed and no bridges burned. And so it all worked out that I could comfortably accept the extra hours at the job that I love and painlessly exit the other job. Pretty awesome.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I THINK I REALLY MUST BE GETTING OLD

Once upon a time there was this little baby girl that I could almost fit in my hand.And then suddenly she was a bright little girl , full of energy and filled with the imagination of a child.And then she was a teenager...and dark days would follow.
I was there for most of it...the good and the bad , and even though she wasn't really mine I felt I owned her , she was my kid.
and yesterday my girl got married...a beautiful thing. And I remember thinking how lucky I was to experience this twice. First time around was my son , another dark story with a bright finish and a brilliant future. Two happy endings for very important people in my life.
You could feel the love in the air...
And I spoke out to them (you know, pass the mic around and say goofy things during the reception) and I don't remember exactly what I said but it wasn't because I was out of my mind...well I was, but I was out of my mind with joy for her and her man.I remember saying at the end "Richard , you scored".not exactly genius , but right on the money.
I miss that energetic little girl and that sullen teenager...they are memories from long ago left in the back of my head.And they had to scoot in for a new memory , a glimpse of a new life starting to happen.




And I smiled to myself and said yeah , a reason for being.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Two jobs, sort of...
I have two jobs; both are part time with varying hours and days. One of them had a sudden increase in work this last month and I have been running myself ragged to keep up. The other job has been very slow and I'm only working about 10 hours a week there right now, but I still have to get ready, log in and hope I get cut early at that one so I can get the extra work done at the other one before midnight. Having two jobs with varying schedules and hours requires a bit more coordination than I expected. I've worked two jobs before, but they were both set days and hours; this is something very different. And although it's sometimes a challenge to coordinate the two, I find that I like it better than the old 8 to 5, M-F routine where nothing ever changes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

BEING WELL GROOMED IS AN ASSET

When I was a kid , there was this old man who drove a beater station wagon and lived near me in the hills and made his living selling eggs from his chickens.He had a bumper sticker on the back of that wagon that is the title of this post.He hated that the boys of my generation wore their hair long , pierced ears mortified him ... he was old school.
I used to hitch hike a lot (because I was too cool to ride the bus) , and sometimes he would drive past my outstretched thumb like I wasn't there and on the days he was inspired he would pick me up and try to convince me to change my heathen ways.
His wagon reeked of chickens and dirt , the odor of a poultry farm ...he was a nice enough old man , he just didn't cotton to us hippies.
The first few rides he lectured me on the virtues of being well groomed ... and I would shoot back my opinion on that subject and after a while we would just talk about "stuff".
I remember him because in retrospect I think maybe he picked me up because he wanted to understand and connect with a generation that was obviously alien to him and beyond his grasp. I don't think he ever understood , but he tried and we connected on some level ...
And after a time I didn't see that old station wagon on Bee Caves road anymore and it made me sad ... he was gone.
But the memory remains 35 years down the road and I think I understand that old man and his bumper sticker now , being well groomed is an asset. But it's more a state of mind than a standard of hygiene.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

STORIES ABOUT BEING 'FACED

Way...and I mean WAY back in the day some friend's of mine were visiting from Colorado for the pecan street festival here and we had consumed mushrooms , weed , alcohol and we were basically trippin' balls when one of my friends busted out some ginseng extract. evil energy in a little glass vial.
We were eating pizza at the time and laughing so hard...I shot one down and then had to have another.And then it was technicolor yawn time...instantly...I jumped from my chair and made a break for the half bathroom...as soon as I ran into the laundry room I was Linda Blair in the exorcist and projectile vomited the entire contents of my gut on the washer and dryer...the walls... the doorway to the half bath...the walls...the toilet seat...the sink...it was everywhere.and then I was done.
I stood there for a minute and started laughing again...looking at the pizza / frozen marg /stems of mushrooms / and the black satan that is ginseng extract. I made everyone come and look at it...at that moment it was some mad art.
After some teasing with my then girl about who was gonna clean it up , I cleaned it up.
We then attempted a game of darts in the back yard but ended up throwing a claw hammer at a tree branch...with the goal of hanging the hammer claw side in to the tree.
One of my friends broke his wristwatch , which was exceedingly funny under the circumstances.
We lived in a duplex and the back yards were separated by a chain link fence covered in vines...an adult brother and sister lived next door and I was loudly talking about my imagined incestuous relationship they were having to my friends..."Oh...no doubt...they are fucking each other BIGTIME..all the time".
Turned out the brother was sitting on his patio and heard every word
not to mention witnessing our kill the tree with the claw hammer game.
At some point my girl herded us back inside.
One of my prouder moments.
Not really...but when you are young and crazy...damn.
The memories.
:)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Better
That last post was pretty negative, but no doubt it was due to the fact that I was physically exhausted, grumpy, and very sleep-deprived. I managed to get a bit more sleep/rest this weekend with a bit of fun thrown in and that makes for a better outlook at this moment. It's not that the situation has changed much, it's just that it all looks better from a more rested perspective. That said, it's gonna be another hell of a work week, much worse than last week, but I'm optimistic that I'll have a better handle on things this go around.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Interesting times
Juggling two jobs has proved challenging. It's not the number of hours worked so much as it is the coordination of the work hours between the two. And even that wouldn't have been a problem if my scanning job workload hadn't suddenly and unexpectedly tripled. I'm grateful for the extra hours, but it's caused me to end up with no days off for the next several weeks. Ah well, it's only temporary and I'll muddle through somehow.

In other news, the call center where I work has decided to start doing random drug testing. I wouldn't have any problem passing the piss test since I don't use any illegal drugs, but it's bothersome to me as a matter of principle. People sometimes wonder why I'm so against drug testing since I don't smoke pot or do any other illegal drugs, but to me it's an invasion of my privacy and what I do on my personal time is none of my employer's business. Ah well, drug testing by employers is so commonplace these days it's probably getting hard to find a company that doesn't do it. This will be the first time I've ever worked for a company that did drug testing and while I don't like it, I need the money too much to quit. Never thought I'd see the day when I'd be sacrificing health, happiness and now principles for the sake of earning $8 an hour. Fuck this economy - someone send me a winning lotto ticket!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SOMETIMES IT'S THE SMALL STUFF THAT COUNTS THE MOST




The look on Layla's face just kills me...so very sweet and full of wonder / mischief.

Friday, March 12, 2010

F*CK IT

Have you ever just come to the conclusion that everyone and everything is completely and totally full of shit? For example...I used to be very political , hopefully so , advocating for change and to throw the bastards out and recently it occured to me that they are all bastards and it doesn't matter really how many you toss, another bastard will take their place...doesn't matter what party...they are all the suck.
The right wing pundits are all spewing hate and vitriol non stop...such blatant complete horse shit and the sheeple eat it up allowing themselves to be whipped into a frenzy by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh and their minions in the press / media.
There are local radio personalities I would love to meet in a dark alley with a sock full of wood screws...they make me angry...no , they fucking enrage me...they make me want to shit in my hands and rub it in my hair (sgt. sam I'm talking to you). Nothing but hate and prejudice veiled in the soft false horse shit of what passes for christianity in their twisted distorted view of the terrain we are currently deployed on.
So I decided to tune them out and focus on my little microcosm of that same terrain.
Instead of talk radio in the truck between pools it's music...Slayer , Ministry , Melvins , loud and angry...but the difference is it makes me smile rather than want to drive into a ravine.
This hope and change thing has disintegrated into the same old song and dance...what a bunch of fuck ups...pandering to the same special interests only in a different , yet somehow similarly slimy way.
I have adopted a new perspective...and it boils down to this : I'm fucked , you're fucked , we are all fucked , so leave me the fuck alone while I try to navigate the mess that my life is and somehow stumble through it and (hopefully) the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train bearing down on me.
There is no more sense of community anymore...only cliques of people intent on slandering and defeating other cliques of people with a different ( and oddly, completely full of shit) agenda that has nothing to do with the fundamentals of being in this world.
"why can't we all get along"? is a fucking joke...it's just Rodney King being a titty baby after he got his ass kicked for being a baghead...nobody wants to "get along"...they just want to get over.
As much as I've tried to not draw a line in the sand...here is my line. Clear...defined...don't fuck with me.
You will be sorry if you do.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Plastic Easter
One of my jobs involves seeing which products are on the shelves at grocery and drug stores. Every week I check the seasonal aisles and when I started back in October it was the Halloween candy that was stocked on those aisles. I was pretty amazed at the amount of plastic that was going to be handed out since half the candy seemed to be in some sort of plastic container. Some examples would be a couple of pieces of candy in a hand-sized plastic pumpkin or some M&Ms in a plastic tube with a plastic character on top. This kind of packaging held constant over Christmas and Valentine's day, but Easter has taken it to new heights. I assume this is because hiding plastic eggs in the backyard now takes preference over the old-fashioned hard-boiled kind. But this goes beyond the old empty plastic eggs that you filled up with candy out of a bag and then reused those same plastic eggs from year to year. No, these egg shaped plastic containers already have candy in them and don't appear to be reusable. Buy a bucket of them, throw them out in the yard and you are done. Perhaps it's convenient, but all that plastic seems so wasteful and unnecessary. Is a plastic egg really more fun to find than a hard boiled one?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Printing, Don't Shoot!
I've been really busy lately and neglecting the blog, but decided to do a quick post to share with you something funny that happens here at our house. Our printer is located right by the front door and when it starts to print, it sounds just like someone trying to open the door when it's locked. After a couple of times of freaking Rob out late at night, I realized that I needed to warn him when I was about to print, something along the lines of yelling "Fore" in golf. And my phrase of choice is... "Printing, Don't Shoot!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

THE FUN JUST NEVER STOPS



Just as my foot issue was getting better my knee blew up last thursday to thrice it's normal size.I have been in constant pain for what seems like an eternity , but let me tell you , the foot drop thing pales in comparison to the pain in my knee.They fixed me up at urgent care on saturday and gave me a script for vicodin and naproxin.
By fixed me up I mean they aspirated 60 cc's of fluid from my knee with the biggest needle / syringe combo I have ever seen.
yesterday I spent time with an old friend and he gave me a cane to assist my walking , which was a very thoughtful and kind thing for him to do.
Annabelle has taken very good care of me as well. And the dogs have been very protective and concerned.
While it's been a trauma , it's comforting to have so many friends and family backing me up and supporting *sometimes literally* me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not my typical Saturday morning
I spent this morning sitting in the waiting room at the Victory Medical Center due to this:


That picture of Rob's knee is from yesterday - it was much worse this morning. He has either acute patellar tendonitis or bursitis of the knee. The doctor aspirated 60 ccs of blood and prescribed Naproxyn for the inflammation and Hydrocodone for the pain. Hopefully tomorrow he will be able to hobble about with less difficulty.

This was a four hour long ordeal due to the nature of the walk-in situation - no appointment and we had to wait for a doctor to become available. And on a Saturday no less. But folks, I'd so rather spend four hours here than at a hospital's emergency room any day and besides, previous experience has shown that the wait at the ER would have been much longer. Here you have comfy couches and chairs plus a very nice coffee shop. And it's much, much cheaper than the ER, with or without insurance. Total out of pocket expense for the visit plus prescriptions was $40 (with insurance.) But all of the credit for making this experience better than the usual misery one gets in these circumstances goes to the clinic. And Rob says to add that "Jim was awesome!" That's Jim Howard for anyone local that is looking for a new doctor.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fifteen plus years of software...
Today I dismantled and flattened over fifteen years worth of boxes of computer software. Over the years I had saved every box that every piece of software originally came in. From computer games to programing languages, the box that once contained the CD (or floppies in the case of older stuff) was stored away on shelves in a closet. I also had some stored in large boxes - yes, I had boxes full of boxes! It took me a good part of the day to break all those boxes down, make sure there wasn't any non-recyclable material in them and squish them flat. After I was done, the pile of flattened boxes, cardboard inserts and user manuals was about three feet high!

The pack rat part of me was sad to see them go. The practical part of me is happy that a large amount of useless clutter now resides in the recycling bin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A computer keyboard for those of us from the old school?
I've been typing for a long time. I learned how to type on a scaled down portable manual typewriter when I was about 5 years old. I used that typewriter for many years, then moved to a full-size manual once my hands grew large enough. Eventually my mother went electric with her typewriters, but I never liked them much. And when I entered the workplace where they were also using electric typewriters, I wasn't too impressed with any of those until I had the opportunity to type on an IBM Selectric. That machine was a typist's dream come true until, of course, computers replaced them all.

Not surprisingly, IBM's first computers came with a keyboard that had a similar touch and feel to the Selectric and while it wasn't quite the same, it was still pretty enjoyable to use. Maybe the "quiet touch" revolution put an end to all that or true touch typists fell by the wayside or died off. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems that keyboards just gradually became worse and worse over the years. I certainly have hated every one that I have bought recently and the one I have right now has got to go. I did a little internet research and I think I have found my next keyboard purchase. A little company in Lexington, KY still makes the original style IBM computer keyboards. Yes, complete with the spring technology that makes a click when you press a key like the old Selectric (or you can get a quiet touch version.) Check it out at Unicomp's online store.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back to the call center
Yep, it's true; I am going back to work for my old employer in a couple of weeks. There are quite a few advantages to this particular job over anything else I might do at this time. There's the flexible scheduling and the weekend workhours that dovetail perfectly with my other job that I love, but doesn't pay enough to meet my needs. It's a job that is not only familiar, but is also is something that I do very well and that greatly reduces the amount of stress I would feel from having a new second job. I still have friends that work there and if I decide I want to work from home again, then I can do so. But regardless of any pros or cons that I might weigh, mostly it was that the decision to do this just felt right. There is this "knowing" that this is the right job for right now. It may not be the right job six months from now, but for this exact moment in time, it's the right job. And I'm not even thinking about it as a "job", but as as tool that will allow me to accomplish some other things I want in my life. That's a real different attitude than I usually have about a job so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Don't judge a book by it's cover
I'm a redhead, but not a natural one. I was born blond and stayed that way until a good chunk of my hair turned grey in my mid-twenties. The grey happened practically overnight, after a particularly grueling work project that had me working 18+ hours days for about a month. Yes folks, stress really can give you grey hair.

So I did what most women in their mid-twenties would do if they suddenly had grey hair; I had my hairdresser dye it back to blond. I did this for a few years until she suggested I go red instead of blond since it would match my skin tone better. I thought, what the heck, it's the same price so why not give it a try? And she was right, it did match my skin tone better than the blond. So much so, that people have a hard time believing me when I tell them I'm not a natural redhead and that I don't have a drop of Irish blood.

Anyway, I spent one half of my life dealing with the assumption that I was a dumb blonde and the other half dealing with the assumption that because I have red hair, I have a temper. And quite frankly, if people are going to assume anything, I would prefer they assume I have a temper.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I drink a beer unlike any beer I've ever tasted before
I was at the Flying Saucer tonight with my friend working toward my plate on the wall when the waitress suggested I try a certain beer. I'm all for trying a new beer so I went for it. I took the first sip of it and thought, "This is beer?" It was sweet, very sweet, but also sour and just sour enough that I didn't mind the sweetness so much. And what a nose, though I'm not so sure nose applies to beer so much as wine, but in this case, this beer was extremely fragrant and had a hell of a nose. I'm thinking at this point that it was the sort of beer I might have for dessert and would probably only ever want to drink just one. Then about half way through the glass, it's starting to grow on me and I can see myself drinking more than one, maybe two. By the bottom of the glass, I had decided that it was damn tasty, and could probably drink quite a few of them. However, I did not order another one or two or three since I was driving home later and it's a pretty expensive beer and out of my price range for more than just one. Still, I enjoyed it and will add it to my list of luxuries to have one I've won the lottery.

Here's the information on the beer from the print out that the waitress handed to me that I couldn't read at the time without my glasses:

Deuchesse de Bourgogne (BTL); Flemish Sour Belgium
Clear tawny reddish-brown with a sedate tan head. Sourish malty nose with a medium smooth body. Hits your tongue with a quick sweet and sour flavor. Very candylike. Smoothly transitions and leaves your mouth with a fruity syrupy flavor that hangs around for the next sip.

It's an odd beer (to me, anyway) and probably not the last odd beer I'm going to be tasting at the Saucer. I'm looking foward to the next odd find there.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on the mom situation
My mom is doing okay. The blood clots are a concern, but they are not deep vein clots so they did not do surgery. She is getting Lovenox shots and taking Coumaden pills and if she stays off her feet like she is supposed to then she should be just fine. The home health care folks will be stopping by daily to check vitals and test her blood each day which eliminates the need for her to stay in the hospital while we wait for the clots to dissolve.

I spent the afternoon there today and can see that the biggest problem is going to be keeping her lying down or sitting with her leg propped up. She is as independent and stubborn as I am and definately not good at letting other folks do things for her. I'm hoping her brother will knock some sense into her when he gets into town later tonight.
Serendipity
I've been needing to get a different cell phone plan. My prepaid phone used to be a good fit since I rarely used it and $20 worth of minutes would last me more a month. Lately I've been spending $50 or more a month on minutes even though I've tried really hard to keep my minute usage down. Friends and family just don't understand why I can't spend time talking on the phone. I guess everyone else has unlimited talk time these days so they don't think about that sort of thing. Then there are the work related calls that I've tried to divert to email, but unfortunately my coworkers are not very good at email. It's not using email that is the problem, but it's their inability to compose coherent and meaningful sentences. My coworkers are not stupid and we communicate just fine over the phone, but writing skills are not a requirement for this job and I doubt that using email is ever going to work well. Now add in the fact that I'll be calling to check on my mom every single day since the rest of the family isn't going to bother to let me know when she's sick or in the hospital and I'm looking at a ridiculous amount of money each month.

Last week I had checked on a good deal I heard about for an unlimited plan with no contract, just month-to-month, but I had to buy a new phone to get it. The cost of even the cheapest phone pretty much killed that idea, but that was last week. Given the current circumstances, I decided this morning that I would just have to spend the money on a phone because it was going to be much cheaper in the long run. That's when I discovered I could now get a refurbished phone for $10 and the first month of service free (this was not an option last week.) Total upfront cost was less than I'd spend on another minute pack for my existing phone and the new phone will arrive just about the time I'd need to buy another minute pack for the old one. Perfect timing. I love it when stuff like this happens.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What we have here is a failure to communicate
I called my mom tonight and discovered she had been in the hospital since Tuesday afternoon. I last talked to her Tuesday morning and I had no idea she had been sent off the emergency room Tuesday afternoon because NO ONE BOTHERED TO TELL ME! My dad didn't call me and my brother didn't call me. And my mom didn't call me because, well, she was in the friggin' hospital in severe pain and calling anyone was the last thing on her mind. I'm pretty angry about this, but also feeling very bad that I didn't go visit her. Of course, I know that it is impossible to visit someone in the hospital if YOU DON'T KNOW THEY ARE THERE, but I still feel bad about it.

She got back home tonight and was not interested in a late night visit or I would have gone over there right now. Looks like I'll have to wait until morning. I don't have all the details of what's going on other than she went into the hospital for a a blood clot in her foot and then some other stuff happened and she may also have gout. I also found out that she is going to need home health services to help with the medical care, but I got no details on what that care will be. But it sounds like she's down for the count for at least two weeks so I'll have to make plans to help out with the household chores. Meal preparation is probably going to be the the most critical one since dad is on very restricted diet. I'm trying not to ruminate on it too much since I don't have very many details as of yet. Hope I can manage to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BLOOD SIMPLE

I got my blood work back and everything was within normal limits except for my triglycerides , which were very high. I got some information on why that might be and I was batting a 1000 on causes.
-Sodas...too many cokes a day.
-fried foods...If you can't fry it I won't eat it.
-sweets...I have eaten a truckload of all kinds since the holidays started.
-alcohol...can you say screwdrivers ?
-concentrated fruit juice...screwdrivers again .
-B vitamin deficiency...alcohol depletes B vitamins
Fortunately , all of these things are easy to correct and my levels will sort themselves out quickly ( in some cases just days ).
This seems to be the likely culprit(s) and I have noticed some improvement ( albeit small )in my ability to walk normally since last Friday.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Better
I'm doing better and this won't surprise anyone that knows me well. I'm naturally optimistic and while circumstances might get me down for a bit, I always manage to bounce back up at some point. And well, if I had to choose a theme song for my life, I suppose it would be Jerry Jeff Walker's "Gettin' By".

Friday, January 15, 2010

THE ORAL HISTORY OF THE ARMADILLO

Lauren and I did our interview at KUT this evening for the oral history of the armadillo project. You go in with a list (we each had one) but you deviate. and we were there for almost 3 hours.It was an amazing experience...to relive the past, telling stories that will be archived into the library of congress about getting high and drinking and music and hippies and the love that surrounded that place at 525 1/2 Barton springs road.
We didn't cover it all...we barely scratched the surface and they have invited us back for more.Nick (the interviewer) wants to interview me and Billy boy together...that will be a hoot...I'm sure we will trigger many more memories talking together.
It was a very special place and time and I am proud and honored to be able to be a part of this thing.
And just the fact that the 'dillo is getting it's due is enough.
We made history...back in the day and tonight.
Can't wait to call Bill tomorrow and set it up...we have endless stories to tell.
Once upon a time there was this magical place called the Armadillo World Headquarters...yes :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sucks to be me right now
That's all I've got to say. But I'm guessing I'll feel better in the morning.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year's Resolution

One of my wishes, for as long as I can remember, is to always have fresh cut flowers in the house. I've never followed up on the "always" part, even though it's a pretty simple wish to fulfill. I've always considered flowers to be one of those "unnecessary" expenses and usually will not buy them unless I'm feeling extremely prosperous (which doesn't happen very often.) Rob brings me flowers from time to time and I leave those in the vase long after they've dried up because I consider dried flowers to be better than no flowers.

I've decided to change that this year, thanks in part to a friend of ours that gave me a beautiful vase that is perfect for the inexpensive five stem bouquets that I can get at the grocery store. The right choice of flowers could last a week and that comes out to not so much money a month. And of course, I can even grow my own in the spring and fall and maybe fill up a big vase.