Thursday, August 31, 2017

Rain games

 Last Sunday it rained all day in south and central Texas.  (And now there is a catastrophic situation in Houston, with The Girl and Teddy smack dab in the middle of it.)

But Hubby had planned to clear out the garage for "big trash day" on Sunday anyway, so he just opened up the garage door and got to it.  A lot of crap got put out at the curb, including a giant roll of carpet he had been hanging onto for TWELVE years.  I vetoed his idea of putting carpet in the barn - that's a big NO.  Out to the curb it went.

The original plan was to putter around the house in the morning, then go to a wine pick up party in Wimberley.  But due to all of the flooding the pick up party was cancelled and our 5 bottles are in limbo for now.  But that was hardly a concern for us.  We were both a little stir crazy though I continued to putter, and he stayed glued to the TV news, which does nothing to allay your fears over wtf is going on in Houston.  To kill the time, forget the TV a little bit, and try to relax, we made our own pick up party with snacks and a card game or two.

I'm a firm believer in not drinking on an empty stomach, even if I'm not the driver. Well, I'm never the driver when I have had more than one glass of wine...but we managed to kill three bottles of wine over the course of the afternoon and evening.  It was a temporary reprieve for us.

The weather radio was still alarming in our ears, Hubby was still obsessively-compulsively checking his phone, we weren't able to get our messages to The Girl about the storm, and the rain just seemed to go on and on...Monday I felt like an emotional zombie at work.
Fast forward the week and our nerves are pretty worn.  It's hard to go calmly about your daily business when there is so much destruction and uncertainty happening.  If my only daughter weren't there in the midst of it...but she is.  So it's about all I can think of.  
Our plans included getting her to Austin as soon as we can because who knows how long it will take life to get back to any kind of normal in Houston?  And yet getting her here represents its own set of challenges.  So even though its over, it isn't over.  But thank God, the rain is...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Come for lunch

Come over for lunch, I always tell him.  

I have plenty of food, and your brothers and I would love to see you.  And it's about the only time I can drag information out of you to see how you are doing.

I see what you are doing there - STOP IT.

Maybe tell me about your day.  How is it going with work?  What have you decided about moving to Leander? How are your finances lately?  Are you getting enough sleep?  I hate that vape thing!
I guess I'm not done "momming" this one.  I worry about how he is navigating adulthood but I know I just need to LET GO ALREADY.

Spencer is 27 going on 14 - he's pretty silly at the lunch table.  Especially if one of the other boys are sitting there.  He gives them the wisdom of his wise-cracking opinionated self.  I call him Caveman because of his beard, and especially when I think he needs a haircut (which I give him still because its free and I can...)

He's being good-natured about me taking his pic over and over, because I think he misses us a tiny bit and likes to come over to eat.  Someday he will find someone to share his free time with and although I will miss seeing him more often, my heart will be glad for him.  I think a lot of what we tried to impart to him over the years will make its way to the surface - its in there.  In particular I love that he has a strong work ethic and is really into what he does for a living as a mechanic.
So come over all you want for lunch, Spencer.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Not one bit

School started back up in Austin.  For the first year since 1995 I do not have a child going "back to school".   I'm not going to count Gray going to ACC since his classes don't start for another week.  And unless you include my getting him a toll tag, I haven't bought him anything but tuition...

Do I feel sad one tiny bit?  No.  I never thought that would be the case for me.  I mean, for 22 years I have been all about being the homeroom mom, the basketball mom, the band mom, the scout mom, the karate mom, and the homework mom.  It was my identity and I used to shed a tear when my kids hit milestones thinking how bittersweet it was that they grew up.  But now I'm ready to be something other than The Mom.  Or a different version at least.
I mean, I will always be that Gina.  But my role is so drastically different, that it might take me a while to learn it.  And probably I will still shed a tear now and again for milestones:  college graduations, marriages, grandchildren...

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dream feelings

Very early yesterday I awoke from a bad dream, featuring Dylan.  Even after I had gotten up to potty, then returned to bed, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Which isn't really rare, when my kids make a cameo in one of my dreams.  Usually they disturb me.  This one certainly did.

We were walking along, he and I, and it was getting dark outside.  He seemed to be getting tireder and tireder, hanging on to me for support.  I asked him what was wrong and he said he hadn't been sleeping much.  At the same time, he was getting younger...
We were walking to the bank or someplace, and when we got there, he conducted his business at the counter with some woman while I waited.  I stepped up to the counter because I could hear them talking, and Dylan was curling himself up on the counter, as if to sleep.  I told him to get down, thinking, this really isn't appropriate that a grown person should be doing this!  The woman was carrying on with her business, barely noticing.  All the time Dylan was talking to her, but we finished up and left.  Flash forward a bit, and as we were walking away, he became a baby, maybe a year old or so.  It was apparent to me that he was very ill.  He was in a sort of box-like crib on the ground, struggling to breathe.  I was holding some suction tubing near him, trying to drain a serous fluid that was leaking out of him.  He also had an oxygen mask on, but I have no idea where it came from.  As I struggled to keep the fluid from engulfing him I thought to myself that I would continue to save him, even though I didn't know what I was really doing.  Then the dream ended.  Or nightmare, I guess.
I guess this is a pretty easy dream to interpret.  He's growing up, with adult pressures and responsibilities.  But he's still at home, so I can offer him support and advice. He had some kind of intestinal bug when he was about a year old that alarmed pediatrician.  No matter what I did, the diarrhea came every day for weeks, and it was a struggle for me as a working mom to balance that with two other kids and a full-time job.  So I worry about whether he will take care of himself. 
Dylan is a gentle soul of a person, and I worry that he is making very slow progress to leave home and strike out on his own.  At the same time, I know that everyone has their own path and it can be very challenging. 
Also, I worry about my kids in general as adults.  Did I hold their hands a little too long?  Was my mother right about loosening my grip? My gut feeling says no and I don't want them to feel like they are a burden to me.  But I feel like the time is coming pretty soon that Dylan will need to leave the nest and experience a little more hardship before Mark and I pull up stakes and move out to the country.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

It's not the city...

One of the many small projects I need to do at Highlands is figure out a way to store tools.  Currently they are in a 50 gallon drum, as a sort of over-sized kitchen utensils holder  (and I don't have a pic of that right now), but ideally, they should be hanging.  I want them easy to get to, easy to store, and NOT, I repeat, NOT a place where scorpions and giant spiders can build an empire.  Also, the gloves have to be sealed in a giant zip locs because apparently their cozy dark spaces are very attractive hiding places.  When we were recently up there erecting a pergola, it gave me the willies to have to pick up each glove and shake it out.  Because that small garden tools tote is the very place that a rather large scorpion was hanging out last time I used my gloves.  Like my husband said "It is the country, after all."  It's not like I'm afraid of every. little. thing. out there.  But I am so not a fan of creepy crawlies and things that sting or bite.  Nor snakes, of which there was a large snake skin wrapped around another 50 gallon drum located just a couple feet from Mabel's steps.  At least the snakes will likely slither away as fast as they can, but the scorpion will say "come at me" as it waves it's tiny pinchers at you.

In addition, there are mice that poop on every flat surface, every type of spider you can imagine, wasps, deer, coyotes, squirrels, something else that leaves scat in front of the barn, owls and wild turkeys.  Plus, I am sure there are other creatures that I just haven't discovered yet...
Someone recently told me they thought I would hate it out there.  But it didn't have anything to do with things like scorpions or snakes.  They assumed I would be bored out my mind with no theaters, no restaurants, no neighbors, and no exciting nightlife.  But those aren't important things to me now, so I don't know why that's going to be a big deal later.  And, come to think of it, we WILL have neighbors and we DO own vehicles that can take us a short drive down the road to anything we will need.  What it won't be is crowded and loud with major traffic snarls, expensive with higher than average cost of living, and big-city unfriendly.  That person also told me that a septic system is going to be a pain, but having working potties is a non-negotiable condition for me.
I can learn to live with with all of that.
It is the country, after all. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The swing

Years ago I told Hubby I wanted an iron bench for a window nook just outside of our dining room in our new house.  He was so proud to show me that he had purchased one - come out and see.  To my disappointment I saw - a swing.  Not what I wanted, but he had gone to the effort and bought it, because I had asked him to.  {Lesson learned: if you have something very specific you want, don't go sending someone else to find it for you.  Do the work to find in yourself!}  I put a couple of pretty toss pillows on it, surrounded it with a couple of large potted plants, and called it done.

That swing stayed put for several years.  It was pretty in it's little spot by the house.  It was a pain in the patoot to move, and the kids had to be told several times not to try to "swing" in it it like you do on the ones at the playground.  But we didn't sit in it much anyway.  That is, until I asked him to take it up to Highlands.  He perched it on the top of the hill, looking out towards the lake, just in front of a firepit, and we sit in it every time we visit.  
And I think, "maybe this is exactly what I wanted, after all".

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Living for the weekends

I find that anymore lately I am living for the weekends.

I remember doing that, years ago, but in a much, much different way.  The last time I had a Monday through Friday job was in 1992.  I was working as a customer service rep at a mortgage company.  One of the top 5 worst jobs I have ever had.  I was away from my children all week, barely making enough to justify the daycare, eating ramen noodles with frozen peas for lunch, and cooking God-knows-what in the evenings after I picked up the kids from daycare. I had exactly 5 outfits to wear, so I had to clean and press them each Sunday, along with everyone else's laundry.  I was exhausted all of the time - Spencer was 3, Chloe 1 - and all of my weekend off was spent trying to catch up - on everything - cooking, cleaning, shopping, wife-ing and mothering.  I'm 100% sure it was as hard on Hubby as it was on me.  We were in our 30's but pretty clueless about many things.  And we were dirt-ass poor with family far, far away.  We might as well have been alone on Hell's Island.

Nowadays, the weekends will find Hubby and I hopping into the truck on Sundays and heading out for a day of Mexican breakfast, followed by putseying around Highlands, enjoying a bottle of wine, some sun, and maybe a nap. Dreaming up plans for what we want to do out there in the future, and not worrying about money, kids, laundry, or anything else Monday through Friday related. 
The bad ole days are gone.  Not that God has promised sunny skies from now on...but I am relishing the weekend now, while I live it. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Falling down

Warning:  gore galore.

I fell on the sidewalk outside of the Erwin Center after graduation.  I was navigating through crowds in blazing sun.  I guess I lost my footing - I have no idea how it happened.  But I didn't faint, certainly, and I wasn't dizzy or anything.  It just happened.

I even walked plenty after it happened - around to the where the school buses were parked to take carpoolers back to north Austin.  On the bus riding home I told Scout it hurt really bad, and I took a picture to show him.  I don't think all of my peeps realized I fell.  Oooh nice, skin hanging by a thread.

The next morning I didn't think it looked too bad - save for the skin still there, which Hubby insisted I trim off.  It hurt, but I carried on with my weekend.  We went to a winery and hung out at Highlands.  I was doctoring it best I could.  

Hang on - it seems to be progressing to worse.

 At one point it looked like it was dehiscing.  And oh my goodness, it hurt so bad.  I had to either wear shorts or keep it under soft gauze.  Having anything touch it sent me over the edge. 

I thought it was getting infected, too, so I made an appointment to see my doc about five days in.  She said, no looks like it's trying to heal.

A couple of days after that, above.  Still hurts so bad.  I think I probably have a big bruise under there, too.  She advised me to take Aleve, which hurts my stomach.  So, mainly I am not.

Eight days later, it still hurts, and is super itchy which can only mean that the skin is healing, much like a healing sunburn.  I never had beautiful legs, so I'm not pining for perfect skin.  I just wish it hadn't happened.  In any case, it didn't hamper the happy of the occasion, and I have soldiered on...
But, damn.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Work and Life

Week three of my new shift under my belt and it has been an interesting time.  Not the least of which because there is a whole new set of co-workers - people I had seen here and there in the past, but not really worked with.  One in particular who could not be described as respectful and appropriate, but since that one has now moved on to another job, I'm even less concerned about her than I was, which was not much.  I am single-mindedly pursuing my path, keeping  work-life balance a priority.  Doing my best while I am there while trying to move out of the venting and stressing routine I was in.  Focusing on home and family during the day and on weekends instead of thinking about my job.  It's a work in progress for sure.

I miss being at my sweet house in the evenings, and looking out the breakroom at the sunset is not the same as enjoying it at my house, but for now, I feel very Ok with this schedule.  It has allowed me to see a different side of myself as a worker, a mom, and wife.  I stay a little closer to home during the week, and that feels nice.  I have had a nap and reading time every day and that's nice, too.  And I am able to provide a clean home and a meal to my peeps every day and that is HUGE.  I think that overall the change has been positive for me.  And if I move yet again to a swing shift, it will continue to evolve, and I expect that to be positive, too.  
So for now, I am focusing on experiencing the happy more often and doing my best to pull out of my negative thoughts routine.  It's challenging for me as I have deep-rooted opinions and behaviors.  But I'm just going to keep moving forward!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

So far

It's been about like I thought it would be on my new shift.  I like having every morning in my peaceful house with time to get things done as I need to.  I like leaving said house clean and neat every day, returning to a clean kitchen at night and going straight to bed.  I really like the new, simpler meal plan.  And I love that weekends are all mine to spend with my peeps  (even if we work around the house, which is also nice). 

But I also feel like I am in a perpetual time change.  I sleep like a rock, then struggle to get up in time to see my peeps for a short while each morning.  Mark leaves the house by 7, so if I don't get up by 6:30 I will miss him altogether.  I have better luck with Gray since he doesn't generally leave until 7:45.  But it's not exactly quality time.  I have fallen back into mothering mode, making his breakfast and setting some things out for his lunch.  And for Dylan, I heat up some leftovers for lunch and invite him to sit a bit, which he does.  As always, there is that push-and-shove that comes with people needing to get to school and work on time.
Only time will tell how long I can make this new schedule work for all of us, not just me.  It's just gotten started and I owe it a least a year or so. For me, there are more pros than cons.  
I don't miss working weekends at all.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happiness is the feeling you’re feeling when you want to keep feeling it

Time to do a post about things that are making me happy right about now.  I figure the more I focus on the positive, the more positive there will be.  Even if that doesn't happen, it's nice to take a break from the negative.  Sometimes, feeling happiness is so fleeting.  So I guess I need to grab it while I can, big or small.
*My nails having recovered and looking good
*New books to read
*Mark getting his cataract surgery (and the fact that we have funds in the HSA to pay for it)
*Flowers in my kitchen window
*Not stressing about my job when I am off (this is HUGE)
*Homemade banana bread for my peeps
*Mark being happy and fulfilled in his new job
*Got a new pair of shoes today and I love them!
*The Girl coming to visit in a couple of weeks
*The trash and recycle dudes arriving late today, giving me time to get all the extra stuff out after I cleaned house
*My clean house that is quiet and calm and smells so nice... and a glass of wine as reward
*Getting things crossed off my To Do list - I feel accomplished!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

No good deed shall go unbitched about

Recently an attack of "niceness" came over me.  I'm recovered now, but for a while there it was touch and go...
You know how a well-known photo gift company likes to send out freebies?  Well, they do.  About half the time I get the offer on a Sunday and am at work, so I don't have time to put photos together for it.  Or, I will think "oh, I should order that for so-and-so", but I don't have the address with me, so I don't order it before it expires.  After all, I don't want to have to pay for postage twice.  But a couple of weeks ago, I happened to get a code for 2 free 8x10 prints, and since a relative of mine remarked how she loved Dylan's work, AND I had her mailing address with me, I ordered her two prints.  I didn't even tell her I had done it, wanting it to be a fun surprise.  Because it's fun to do nice things.
Well, that received:

Subject: Thanks
For the photos you sent me.  It is just a shame they are so dark, can’t make out much in them.  And Dylan’s name is cut in half. I’m sure the originals were very nice, but Photo Company does not produce a quality print.  Don’t know that I’d use them in the future.  How about emailing me the digital and I’ll make my own copies.  Thanks!
Love, Relative

Why does this make me feel bratty?  I mean, it's not like it's worded in a nasty way or anything.  It's not like Dylan's art is being called into question.  It's not even like that person is insulting me personally with my choice of giftie surprise.  I guess it's just the whole idea of doing something fun and unexpected for someone and instead of them just saying thanks and leaving it at that, it has to be critiqued.  The thought behind the gift is not being called into question, and I have zero control over the way the photo company prints.  But, my goodness.  The only person out time, effort, and $4 for shipping is me.  I wasn't looking for thanks and praise.  I only wanted to do a nice thing.

And no way am I going to email my son's professional work without his permission.  For all I know he may have wanted to charge for it. I shouldn't have printed them in the first place, I guess.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


One of the things I have let slip the past few months is crafting and sewing - creating.  I can't really blame it on not having a crafting space any more since Spencer moved out over a month ago.  It's just that I seem to get caught in this loop of the To Do list that never gets completely done.  And I prioritize things so that "fun" seems to fall off the list more easily.  Time to let some of the drudge go, for my own piece of mind, and get engaged in creating.  And not just cooking or planting - sewing.

Even when I was in college I made time to sew, so I know it's more of a habit thing.  I just have to start adding it into my schedule so that it becomes a regular activity.  I keep pinning and bookmarking things I want to make and I know that once I get started, the creativity will flow, and possible spill over to other areas of my life.  The crafts I have going right now are: making a bunting for the mantel using an inspiration I saw at this site, sewing myself a couple of skirts, and cross stitching something for Grayson.  Plus, I want to move on to bigger projects (like maybe a quilt, or clothing) , and I feel as tho I've been away from sewing big things for awhile.  So, I intend on picking easy things and move up from there.  Gotta start somewhere!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The weight of a quilt

Let me preface this little tale by saying:   You cannot, should not, give someone something as a gift, and then ask for it back.  It's not yours to ask for.  And trying to make the person feel guilty or sad for you is underhanded.  It's something I think most of us learn as children.  But I also think that as we get older, we become more like children, no?
Last week I visited my mother and admired a quilt that she had just finished for a great great nephew of mine.  I helped her with it, even.  It had little boys appliqued in calico, each holding a toy or a treat. See?  I drew the things the boys were holding or playing with.

It was fun to see the art I had drawn, all embroidered on the quilt.  And as usual I complimented her on it.  We had an okay visit - I helped her locate a ring she though she had lost, ran her over to a feed store for seed potatoes, and took her out for lunch.  {Visits with my mother are all about listening to her, doing for her, helping her.  Seldom is she interested in what I have going on...} But after lunch she zingered me by telling me that she wanted a baby quilt back that she had given me when Grayson was born.  She said I guilted her into giving it to me.  I don't even remember having a conversation about baby quilts when Gray was born - I'm sure it was the last thing on my mind at the time!  If my mother wasn't interested in my first three babies, why would I assume she'd be interested in the 4th?  Having her make a quilt for him is not even something I would have mentioned to her. 

In the above photo, the quilt in question is the third one from the bottom, with a turquoise square between tiny red and white floral.  Its a lovely quilt - made of vintage and antique fabric, and I really assumed that when she gave it to me, it was a GIFT.  For a new baby who also happened to be her 17th grandchild.  And something about her telling me she wants it back makes me dig my heels in even harder and make sure she understands that I wouldn't consider doing so, no matter what.  Because why?  What does an 87 year old person want with a baby quilt she gave to me as a gift?  Why would she have relinquished it to begin with if it were so dear to her?  And why wait 18 years to tell me she regretted giving it to me and wants it back?  Um, too damn late.  And, rude.
     The short answer, of course, is no.  But I wrote her a letter today and mentioned the quilt at the end of the letter.  I told her I hoped she wasn't serious about wanting it back.  That I had it stored away in a safe place awaiting it's future owner - Grayson's firstborn.  And I just left it at that.  And I am hoping she and I won't have to have words over it.  Because that would be ridiculous.
     I feel as though I will never fully understand the woman.  If Chloe came to me and wanted just about anything of mine that had meaning to her, I would give it to her.  Especially things I have made with my own hands.  I would be both pleased and flattered that something I created would have meaning for her.  And I would never ask for it back, because I would give it fully and freely to begin with.  Things are not love.  Love is love.  But asking for something back that you gave in love, is like asking for the love back.
     So that's about what it boils down to - she cannot give freely of herself without regret.  And apparently, an 18 year old baby quilt is weighing on her mind.  And now I have that off my chest, so it isn't going to weigh on mine...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


I didn't make a whole lot of New Year's resolutions this year, but I am resolved to do some things differently.  Speaking my mind on this blog will always happen.  I don't have any room for regret on doing that.  This is my space to journal and I feel like I should be able to speak freely.  However, there are a few things I thought I would aim to improve in my daily life, and in moving forward.

I want to get Rustown projects done - the backyard landscaping, the deck removal, painting all of the ceilings, and replacing the bathroom floors.
I intend to get my nails back to healthy. Healthy skin and hair would be awesome, too.
A vacation this summer is in order.
I intend to move off of the weekend shift and work hours that accommodate time off with Mark.
The boys are going to get pushed closer to the edge of the nest....shove!
Simplifying the stuff we own - a must.
I've started on a few of these things already, so I feel like I have moved out of the resolution phase into the action phase.  I'm also trying reeelly reeelly hard not to vent so much about work to my co-workers.  I'm sure they understand, but it would be hard for them to only hear the negatives come out of my mouth.  So, I am trying to make an effort to narrow down who I chat with and how often I lapse into ranting.  Very hard to do. What I say to myself for redirection is somewhere along the lines of  "focus on self-improvement and health".  This helps me understand, at least on a conscious level, that I can choose to refocus on what I want for myself, not what others who don't have my best interests at heart see fit for me.  
I guess if resolutions were easy we wouldn't have to make them.  We could just decide we wanted something for ourselves and strive to make it so, on the daily, without giving in or giving up. So, I know these things won't be easy, but are they do-able?  I think so.