Time to Rest

I have finally become a dot net thanks to our daughter and son-in-law.  A gift from them was to pay my annual fee and our daughter set it up for me.

This spring has been extremely busy.  He and I took a trip to San Dimas to see our son, his bride and our little California Dream.  Then our daughter and and son-in-law welcomed our Yellow Rose of Texas into the world.  Dream came to Texas to meet her little cousin.  I had a grand couple of weeks!

I haven’t quite caught my breath from all the goings on over the past couple of months.  Every weekend has been packed with activity.  Evenings have been busy, too.

I have reached my step off point.  I am not feeling well at all.  Time to do some tending to me.  Tonight will be a super hot bath and a long stretching session.  Some pain reliever and an early lights out are in order as well.

Tomorrow is iffy for the 9 to 5.  If the morning starts like this one, I’m out.

But, my Physician is with me.  He will provide the healing required in His time.

Not much else to say right now.  Just figured it was past time to set words on the screen.  Especially with my new identification as rainingorchids.net.

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Texas Heat

Sweltering. Steaming. Suffocating.

The heat drains the body’s energy and smothers the mind’s thoughts. I try to keep going.  My heart aches for those who work outside and those without the benefit of air conditioning.

I suppose if I worked in it all day, it would not hit me so hard. I am not conditioned to it.  If one can be conditioned to Southeast Texas in August at midday?  Long after sunset the heat lingers.

I have so much I need to be doing. Inside and out. After getting in a car that has been sitting in the bald open parking lot all day, the last of my will power seeps through my pores and puddles in spots or soaks into my clothes.

I arrive home just wanting to sit quietly and drink a sweet iced tea.

Yesterday, somehow, I did get a few things done. I stopped by the hospital to see about a friend. I did some wash, some mending, repotted (hopefully did not murder) an orchid. I got the outside plants watered.  I put fresh sheets on the bed. I helped him put out hay.

Today, I have been again to see about a friend in the hospital. I have the dryer going. I chopped up some cooked chicken in preparation for chicken and cheese quesadillas for supper.  We will be attending the evening Bible study at our church a little later.

I say all this to remind myself that the Texas heat has not defeated me. Though my mind is sluggish, I am still attending the keyboard.  Good food and clean clothes are at hand.  I am eternally grateful for the central air in our home.

I love summer. I plan to ask for a boat trip to go fishing and swimming this weekend. I’m not sure what is on his agenda.  I want at least one more run before the dog days end.   Him, me, a fast boat and a cold river.  Especially him.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

I spent the day at home. Took a day of vacation from the 9 to 5.  I sat on the deck in the heat most of the time.  I would come in and cool off and get something to drink occasionally.  Crazy. Yes. I know.  Southeast Texas in July is hot and humid. Sweltering is a good word to describe the heat.  I needed to be outside.

I have been battling the abyss some this summer. Sitting outside detoxes my mind and spirit. I spent some time reviewing my resource notes.  I like to use my birthday to reflect and assess my situation.

I am pleased at what I found when sitting and listening to my own thoughts. I am not as down as I thought I was.  I have had a few days of aggravation at the 9 to 5 and in dealing with some things at church.  The frustration was at my own performance and attitude rather than other people.  I complain about others when it is really myself with whom I am angry.  I think I have let go of the irritation and I am already feeling better about things.

There was a special set of events today that had a profound effect on my well-being. I got to enjoy the gazebo he put together for me.  Our son called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter called and we had a great visit.  Our daughter-in-law called and we had a great visit.

Another great thing for my birthday-I had an iPod that had become like an IV for my soul. I had my music with me any time I was not at the 9 to 5.  Then, I broke it.  I have had a difficult time since.  I stopped walking at the track. I feel down more than usual.  I was simply crushed without being able to listen to Dean Martin or Martin Denny whenever I wanted.  But, he presented a small package to me last evening.  A new iPod!! I am so grateful!

Now I have to figure out how to make it work again. Our daughter advised me on what to do. I want to wait until I have a clear head to fool with it.  But, I have hope for music again.  I did not realize how critical music is for me until I had it at will then lost it.

I found another gift today. As I was sitting outside, I noticed a tell-tale purple petal on the ground near the porch.  The banana tree has baby bananas!  Year before last, we ate a couple from our tree that produced late in the season.  They were very small. They had a pleasant and less sweet taste than the store-bought variety.  These have developed in time to perhaps have a full hand of them to eat later this summer.

Our daughter had sent books and movies from my Pinterest wish board earlier this month. A card and perfect gift from him.  Calls from my beloved children. Time at home feeling Texas summer to my bones.  No cake or candles. No happy birthday song. None needed.  Happy Birthday number 51 to me!  Thank you to the family for making it wonderful. Thank you to Him for making it wonderful. Thank you to him for being wonderful.

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Searching for Paradise

Incessantly seeking. Endlessly restless. Always planning and scheming. What for?

I am forever trying to manipulate my house and my personal behaviors to make less housework to keep. I am forever trying to let go of expectations and self-created problems.  I am forever asking “is this necessary?” when I look over my lists.  Seemingly my desire is to have very little “must do” and a lot of “spare time”. Searching for my paradise.

When is it all enough?

I am reading a travelogue of a fellow who went off to a very remote island in the South Pacific. It is a second such I have gotten my hands on written in the past few years. It echoes so much of what I have read by Michener and Mytinger.  James Michener wrote of the less than romantic islands riddled with death and disease and insanity.  Mytinger wrote of the natives of Melanesia between the world wars.  It too echoes Michener’s tales of despair and adventure.  I read over again the Trader Vic Cookbook that covers the Pacific, Mexico and Texas.  I love Texas being included in the exotic text of cookery.

The Hawai’ian Islands and French Polynesia are certainly lovely and have the possibilities of evoking the feeling of having found paradise. Hawaii is beyond lovely and the climate is divine.  These are not really included in the materials I gravitate toward.

What is so appealing to me about these tales of the tougher parts of the Pacific? Perhaps the definite challenge of survival and tales of adventure.  Perhaps the stripped down lifestyle. Perhaps the freedom from societal restraints.  Perhaps only the vivid blues I envision when reading them.  Who knows for sure?  Do I even need a reason?  Always trying to figure out why I think or feel whatever it is going round in my head.

I certainly over-examine many issues. Remunerate. Chew the cud.  Stew. I do get a lot done sometimes just to get past thinking about it.  Then, I find some new topic on which to stew.

If I lived on one of the islands I read about, I would probably go stir crazy. He has helped me create a little haven like one I might erect were I to be cast adrift in the Pacific. Sitting out here writing with the wind and the bird song, I am in my own paradise.  My jungle plants provide visual texture.  The bright aqua bench evokes the tropical waters.  I will add images to this haven to increase the mood of escape.

I do enjoy escape from the nine to five, the television blaring, the claustrophobic feeling of central air living with the drawn drapes and darkened rooms. And yet another part of my paradise is a bathtub full of clean, hot water to soak chin deep. A room cooled by that very same central air with a comfortable, dry, bug free bed in which to snuggle.  Satellite services bringing my television and internet connection to the rest of the world at my fingertips.  Too much food available to eat at any moment. Him somewhere on the acreage or piled up in his chair.

I don’t have ocean waves rolling and crashing outside my window. I don’t have the smell of salt air or the scream of seagulls assailing my senses. I don’t have sores festering from the bacteria that thrive in the equatorial band around the globe. Tsunamis and storm surges don’t threaten my world.  Yes. I would certainly love to visit the tropical places of my dreams.  I have seen some of it.  But, I will continue to appreciate my little bit of paradise he has helped me create right here in my own back yard.  For today, it is enough.  No need to search beyond the front gate, today.

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Lockhart

We went to the longhorn sale in Lockhart this weekend. Got to see lots of folks we have known for these many years in the business. Sold a cow and calf; bought a cow and calf and a heifer.

I have a young friend who lives in the Northwest.   Oregon cowgirl. She came with her father again this year. We are running buddies for the sale. She and I like to go to town and do a little shopping around the old town square. This old lady loves hanging out with that lovely teenager.

This year I went with her to a new spot for me. The San Marcos outlet mall. We had a good time and it was an adventure. I picked up a few things and so did she. She had been there before and had even gone the day before to scope out things.

During the sale, we went downtown as usual. They didn’t have the soap she likes at our favorite store this time. But, we always like prowling through all the shops of both new and used things. Lots of vintage and antiques to dig through. Some of the other ladies from the sale barn had made their way to town as well.

When I go to Lockhart or to other similar environments, I always get antsy to be creative. I see things others have put together and want to do something myself.

Today, I have salved the itch with my crochet thread and Pinterest. I crochet plain old dish rags from pretty cotton thread. I don’t really know what I want to do. Plus, I have given most of my crafting things to my daughter or the charity thrift store.

But, I have made some progress. I have talked with him about an idea for a work space. We are going to try to get something set up for me. I asked him about some ideas I have and he is going to help me with them. Simple as that. Just ask. Ask for help.

Often my argument against myself is the end product. What will I do with the end product? At this point, I am not thinking too much about that. Trying to focus on ideas and go through what I have at hand. Also, I am trying to pick one idea to pursue to completion. If I find success, I will probably share it here.

Fall and Hallowe’en are nearing. I would like to do some seasonal decorating. We don’t have much company, so it will have to be for me to enjoy. Can I stretch enough to do something just for me? If he and I are the only ones to see, will I be okay with that? Must I have a large audience or can it be an audience of two? I must consider myself to matter enough for special effort. Again, this lines up with the end product issue. Doing the creative process is one thing. Having an end product is something else. The southern girl in me thinks it is all about the show. Hospitality. Setting the stage for an event. I want to do things for my own satisfaction and pleasure. If someone else sees and enjoys, fine. If not, that will have to be fine, too.

“Don’t worry. Everything is going to be amazing.” That is the saying on the shirt I bought in San Marcos. It is under the motif of a full moon. Last week’s post. Aunt’s Facebook share. Shirt. Somehow it means something special. I am trying to listen to the message. Be still and know. He is trying to reassure me. I want to open my heart to new risks, challenge my mind with new ideas, let myself feel amazing.

I am not trying to save the world or even change it. I am simply trying to be who I should be. If it helps someone else, good. I have paid my dues in life. Children raised and wonderfully successful. Parents, grandparents nurtured until they left this world. Supporting friends and family the best I could at the given moment. Even now doing more of the same. I am working on giving myself permission to be just a little selfish. To be a little self-directed. To become more me. My shirt says it will be amazing!

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Another Long Weekend

Summer is kicking off wet, wild and dangerous in Texas this year.  Weeks of heavy rain have saturated the ground and filled every low spot.  Things are running over now.  There are deaths being reported and dozens of raging water videos and photos circulating the web.

Regardless of the weather threat, we were blessed to have my niece and her lovely family with us for two nights.  We enjoy their visits for many reasons.  He gets to visit with our dynamic and comical nephew-in-law.  I get to visit with my “first child”.  I was sixteen and still at home when my brother had his daughter.  I spent many days tending her the first few years of her life.

Her four year old is a charming pistol.  She is so smart! She tries to work every situation to her advantage.  Often with success.  She and I are always measuring each other up for the next challenge.  I love her and see in her so much potential to contribute to the world at large with her sharp wit and bright mind.

Baby sister is a lovely doll!  She displays a stubborn temper occasionally.  But, that does not detract from the spell she has bound over him.  He melts when she is with him.  The two of them seem to have that special chemistry with each other.  Even though he only sees her every few months, she takes to him each time.

We ate and visited and ate and visited.  We napped some, too.  After they left, I wanted to cry over this empty house.

This morning, he and I had a leisurely start.  Finally, he mentioned something about a fishing trip before the rain returns.  I loaded up as fast as I could.

We had a great adventure!  We saw several alligators, including a small one that chased his top water lure over and over.  He was careful to not let it latch hold.  I got one good strike.  We didn’t land anything.  We also saw several extra-large turtles and one extra tiny one.

Oddly, no one was at the sand bar.  There were very few boaters out at all.  I guess the flood reports and rain threats kept everyone home.  We road down to where the forks of the rivers meet.  The Angelina runs into the Neches.  The boiling Neches did make me a bit nervous.  He asked if I was afraid.  I nodded yes.  He laughed reminding me we were in a boat!  We only barely passed over into the current before turning back to the less turbulent Angelina.

There is a slough that runs into the Angelina from the area between the two rivers.  The Neches is overflowing into the slough and running flood water into the Angelina above the forks.  We road into the slough just to see it.

Thing is, the water is supposed to be still rising.  The floods north of here will run through in the coming days.  Already there are trees toppled into the river and debris piled up in new places.  When the water returns to normal levels, things will be different.  One positive of the high water is evidence of sand bars developing.  They have been non-existent for a while. The Angelina will form long vanilla cream bars of semi-course sand.  Luxurious to lie on and watch the boats go by or the children splash about the shallow edges.

Half my life ago memories were made I still take out and admire from time to time.  Memories of young men and young women and young children playing, laughing, loving life.  We were young and strong and fearless.

Things did not go as I imagined them to go.  Things changed for our family and our friends.

One thing I have come to understand.  Those golden times of our lives are transient.  I look back and see periods of time when everything is remembered as wonderful, though we certainly had problems just as today.

My best example is of my mother.  I imagine she had about 10 years of her 59 short ones where life was as is should be.  She had married my father and he had not yet succumbed to his illness.  But, just like my husband, you would not know the hidden parts of her struggle.

She continued to live, live, live! She did not let illness, hers or his, get in the way of what she wanted her life to be like.  She was never bitter or ill humored.  Yes. Privately I held her when she broke down.  One time it was too much for me.  I didn’t know what to do. It was a time when she really faced that she was close to leaving us.  That is all she cared about.  She hated to leave us alone without her.  She knew the pain and struggle we would have to face without her support and courage.  She knew the joys and triumphs we would achieve without her participation and celebration.

Several times this weekend, I could feel her here with me.  How she would love her now grown grandchildren bringing their loves to see her!  But, I cooked a pot of pinto beans and they were pleased.  As I sit here this evening, I know she is pleased as well.

Summer has again returned.  I have closed the windows on the porch to allow the air conditioning to flow in and cool things.  I do sometimes wish he would let me feed coons again.  Over the fence, away from the dog.

But, he is stronger than even she was and I will not change his mind about that issue.  I do not even try.  He takes me to see the alligators and the flooding water and does not let me allow fear to best me.

Confidence.  They both push me to be confident.  It was one trait my mother insisted I develop and he picked up beside her and continues to this day.  Pushing me to be confident.  My daughter has taken up the task to assist him in her stead.

Golden times are often transient.  But, if I will allow it, the golden times will continue to transition.  One era fades and the next emerges.  I must not wallow in pity or stagnate in the past.  Embrace today.  Embrace the flood of orchids pouring into my life.  Let them surround me with lovely fragrance and move on into the realm of memory.  The next lovely flow of petals will arrive soon enough.  Take in the loveliness of the present bouquets and on brief occasion ponder the past bouquets with gratitude.  Be ever ready to receive the gift of raining orchids.

Sometimes orchids have bumpy hides and live in murky waters.  A wondrous creature to behold……this one is kind of cute, too.

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More Connections

Friends, friends, and more friends!

Friday with a couple at their special place simply referred to as “the hill”.  We hadn’t seen them in nine months.  Just that couple of hours were wonderful.  Touching each other’s lives again.  Feeling like we had never been apart.

Saturday a road trip took him and me to spend the next 24 hours or so with our bestie.  Our best friend and I have been friends since I was 14.  When I met my husband, they also became best buddies.  Our friend has a lovely wife and three of the most wonderful sons I have ever met.  Crawfish, huge delicious crawfish were on the menu for supper.  Lots of laughs with the larger group of their friends.

Sunday, home and a nap!  My porch felt wonderful!  I laid up and read a book all evening.

Monday morning brought severe weather to our area.  Many of our neighbors and friends are still without power.  Thankfully, ours came back on earlier this afternoon.  He spent a good part of his day going round the neighborhood helping neighbors with trees and clearing the side roads.

We did get to see another couple of our friends.  She is a precious lady in my life.  I can go to her with my heartaches and my happiness and her compassion never ceases to amaze me.

Our son sent video posts of the amazing waterfalls on the road to Hana.  One of the videos has his voice in the background.  It is just a passing word or two.  But, I listened to it over a couple of times.  Just to hear him.  Yes, we can call on the phone.  But, the time difference and the reception on his end along with my job place restrictions regarding cell phones reduce the window of opportunity for that.

The best part of the past few days was this evening.  My daughter turned 28 today.  I cannot begin to describe her endless wonderful qualities.  I would certainly be accused of exaggeration by those who do not know her and scolded by those who do for leaving out their favorite thing about her.  Generous to a fault, incredibly smart, energetic, creative, compassionate, sassy, stubborn, beautiful……her father and I were blessed with a brief supper date this evening.  We had planned on a slightly grander event, but the weather put us off from that trip.  Still, no matter where we are or what we do, time with her is all that matters.

Orchids pouring like the waterfalls of Hana, like the powerful storms of a Texas spring, like the love of friends and family.  Filling my life and my heart with a lovely fragrance and beautiful blooms.

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