Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Caught up!

I don't think filling in some dates later is exactly cheating, but it sure does feel good to be totally caught up in this blog.  I have a few posts that give me some very good ideas for topics I'd like to expand when we write the book... and during the travel days, most everything is documented so I don't forget any details. I'm horrible with dates and names of people and restaurants. It is extremely important for me to keep a log.

It's continued to be cold and dreary around here. That's just not normal for us and we are beginning to get a bit stir crazy. Anne needs her time outdoors working on trees and stuff. I need Anne to be happily working outside. I too end up outside, frequently. It's not "getting rid of her" outside, it's "Anne being happy" that is important.

Ummmm... Is the cat still there?
Stoli stayed in the cabin almost the entire day the last two days. In the cabin with us humans and THE DOG. They did relatively ok. There were stare downs and Macy tried to growl a few times but shut up when we told her she has to be nice to her brother.

I hope it warms up soon... and without the drizzle or rain. We need a thaw out day.

Monday, February 12, 2018

English is Weird

I recently replied to a wedding invitation letting them know I would not be able to attend. I wrote a quick note: Wishing you two years of love and happiness.

Luckily, I re-read it before stuffing it in the envelope and sending it. Of course, I meant a wish of love and happiness for you two people. What I potentially wrote was a two year wish of love and happiness for you.

Ha! I almost got the "rudest reply" award!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Craft Day

We expected this day to be cold and dreary. We've been watching the forecast for days and planned our indoor activities accordingly. Anne got my Valentine's Day present and I have already seen it. I love it. It's hilariously awesome. I won't tell you what it is until Valentine's Day.

Today, the cold dreary day, became craft day. The day I would create a gift for Anne. Originally, we had both decided that Valentine's Day was nothing to make a big deal out of. She went way overboard, but really it was more of a date coincidence. The idea too funny to pass up, and Valentine's Day just happened to be next week. Neither of us claim to be good at presents, so when one gets a brilliant and funny idea, you go for it! Now, I'm in the awkward position to try and create a present equally fabulous. I'm crafty. I set to work.

With the heaters on high just to keep the temperature at 63 degrees Fahrenheit, I got out a coffee can, valentine gift wrap, tissue paper, skewers, styrofoam, and a bag of tiny Heath Bars. The plan was to create a bouquet of a dozen Heath Bar roses.

First, I took 24 tiny Heath Bars and put the rest in the bottom of the coffee can. Next, I cut round pieces from a 2" thick styrofoam board that I happened to have from a shipment I recently received. I put one into the can over the Heath Bars and wrapped another piece with tissue paper and stuffed that into the coffee can as well letting fluffy tissue paper stick up out of the coffee can. I cut a piece of Valentine wrapping paper and glued that around the coffee can. Not I have a vase for my skewer roses to perch.

I cut a dozen pieces of tissue paper about 6"X6". I took one piece and stabbed the center with the skewer, twisted the paper and added a dab of glue to the non-pointy end of the skewer. I slid the bunched tissue paper to the glue end and held it in place for a moment. I taped two Heath Bar just below the tissue paper bunch on opposite sides of each other, ... then I tied a green bow around the two Heath Bars holding everything tightly together.

When all six "roses" were complete, I stabbed them into the styrofoam in my "vase." Then I couldn't wait to give it to her...  so I DID!

It's silly, and it was fun, and that's what Valentine's Day presents should be!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Spring Tour

Today we finalized all of our Spring tour camping. Reservations are made and paid. Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Dallas area and back home. Woohoo!!

Friday, February 09, 2018

What do I call you?

I was recently asked what Anne should be called in relation to myself.

Now, on the one hand, this is a thoughtful question. In today's world of partnerships and relationship and gender words that blur and confuse, people more and more have very strong opinions about what words they want others to use for them.

On the other hand, this question was posed around the idea that, "You know I accept who you are, but I don't know what to say when someone asks about you." Someone inquired after seeing our trailer (with our website on the side) in front of this relative's home. On this other hand, I have to say, when talking to someone else about us, call us what you want.... ya know why? Your answer reflects on you more than us. Our website is right there. We use the word "partner." Like, it's RIGHT THERE on our website. If you say "Abby's friend," it implies you don't accept and/or are in denial and/or you're old fashioned....  and ya know what? That's totally fine with me! I really don't mind. Honestly. As long as you choose something in kindness, I won't be offended by your choice.

In fact, I have to admit something. New words take time to become normal in your own mouth. Many women change their last names when marrying a man. The new last name does not flow instantly. It takes some practice. I practice the word "partner." It is new to me. We both agree that "wife" doesn't fit us, but it might be the perfect choice for other women couples.

We prefer and we use "partner." Thank you for asking. What you say in your own space and to your own friends is your own choice.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Tax Time

It's still cold outside. I guess that means it's time to do the taxes. Being self-employed and fairly organized, I have all of the info I need. I just simply need to add up some numbers, fill in some blanks, and VOILA! Taxes will be complete. Haha...  never that simple.

But first, I should make us some breakfast!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


It's cold here which means we are in the 40's. Taking a look at Facebook, it appears we are actually WARM today. There are icy road accidents reported, friends stuck in cities on their drives home, and truly frigid temperatures reported everywhere.

Perspective is funny. For south Texas, we are definitely cold. We changed our plans from working outside to doing a day's work indoors on our computers. We have taxes to do, writings to write, and things to bake when I get tired of the computer. Even the cat changed his plans. He is sitting in the kitchen chair next to me. He take personal offense to bad weather, and sits with his ears back letting you know that he holds you personally responsible for this cold drizzly weather.

A second pot of coffee has been made, half-caff this time. The three heaters alternate coming on warming the cabin as well as small electric heaters can. We wear our robes and fuzzy slippers and whine about the frigid outdoor world. Luckily we have the perfect leftovers waiting for us in the fridge: red beans and rice. Yum! All is not lost.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Our mornings usually go like this:
7:30 I press the button that starts the percolator coffee pot.
7:39 Abby pours half n half into my own coffee cup and pours two cups of coffee. I carefully pass the black coffee across Anne and set it on her shelf beside the bed.
8:00 We decide what to read and who will read it. The other person draws or colors a picture.
9:30 We gather our things including the percolator and take ourselves to the cabin where we have a fully functioning kitchen.
9:35 Eat breakfast - today I made avocado toast on sour dough bread with a little bit of crumbled goat cheese on top.
10:00 Anybody's guess!

This morning, we are writing, which feels great. The last couple of days, we have been trying to make some plans and reservations for our Alaska trip. That part of trip planning is exhausting to me. Some mornings, we take advantage of good weather and immediately go outside to trim trees, mow, burn brush, or some other outdoor project.

This morning, the dog is snoring on the couch, the cat is in his "homeless cat chair" on the front porch, I am at the kitchen table, and Anne is at her desk. Both humans typing away and occasionally getting up from our computers for a break, a hug, or a comment. Macy snores more and more these days. Stoli looks rejected and homeless curled up in his chair on the front porch. The morning is foggy with no promise of much sun. Writing is the perfect thing to do.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Trying to catch up

I have a list of the days to write and catch up, things that happened and things I want to write about on boring days. I finally got a good amount of time to write today and I'm feeling totally overwhelmed, tired, maybe even physically ill... I'm NOT ill, but my brain seems to be rebelling from my mission. I keep wandering in thought and activities. Maybe I can write inside, on the couch... hmmmm... maybe snuggled in bed would be better... hmmmmmm... maybe the back porch. I can't seem to settle, and until I settle, it will be impossible to catch up all of those days. I'm not even trying to do my best writing, just get the basics down and hopefully have some groundwork done for future edits and ideas. My shoulders ache, my neck creaks, I'm thirsty, I'm fidgety, but tired, I'm cold... Sigh. None of those "complaints" are even seriously real. When others pull this "not in the mood" crap, I get annoyed, but let's face it, it happens to us all. Instead of running away today, I am making a post out of it. I'm hoping that by giving voice to this ridiculous collection of excuses to not do what I should be doing, I will get it out of my system and then be able to get back to work. I think it's working. I just thought of the real thing I wanted to write about for today...

We reserved all of the camp spots from home up to Calgary, Canada which is the first portion of the Alaska journey. Reserving five places in four states took about 4 hours. It was exhausting. One place does not have showers but does have electric sites, another has no electric but great showers according to reviews. The other three have electricity and showers which makes life a whole lot easier! One place we wanted was booked up but that lead to finding something that might turn out to be even better. Maybe that is why I feel so out of sorts today. Planning is not easy... but it's done!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Perfect Sand Dollar

This is the Sand Dollar I found on the beach in San Diego. It's perfect! I wrapped it in a towel and wrapped tape around the towel hoping I would make it all the way home with my fragile treasure. And I did make it home with my treasure unharmed.

I don't usually collect things like this because, really, what do you do with it now? Set it on a shelf to collect dust? Hope the cat won't knock it off the shelf and break this treasure that you might forget where you even got it? Seems like a lot of trouble and work to care for shells and rocks that we humans gather on the trails in our travels... yet, every now and then, something so perfect presents itself, and I have to bring it home.

My precious is sitting on a high shelf with some of my other fragile trinkets from over the years.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Don't Feel Like It

There is a degree to which not-feeling-like-it is as good as an excuse as is needed. Want to go to the movies? Want to go out to dinner? Want to read a book? Sure, any friend should accept and you, yourself, should accept this as a perfectly acceptable reason not to do something.

Want to work on this project that we both agreed to do? Want to do the laundry? Want to feed the dog? Not-feeling-like-it is an okay thing to proclaim FOR A SHORT WHILE. At some point, the partner on the project is going to grow annoyed to hear the delay is only because you don't-feel-like-it. Eventually, the laundry is going to leave you with no underwear. After a while, the dog is going to eat your leg.

I tend toward the workaholic mentality because I'm self-employed and if I don't stay on top of things, it will get incredibly difficult to catch up and I'm the only one to blame. I believe in following the ebb and flow of your own workings. Do things when they feel the most right and inspired. But if you are repeatedly uninspired, at some point you simple HAVE TO sit down and do the thing! Or, if you simply can not, admit it and bow out entirely. Don't string the partner along. Buy new underwear. Give the dog a new home.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Burns Night

The night was a blast. There was loud bagpiping in a relatively small condo with wood floors... in other words LOUUUUUUUD! Haha! I sang many songs backed by whistle and fiddle and harmonizing vocals.

I sang Burns's Ae Fond Kiss, and many Irish songs as is my way.... Wild Mountain Thyme, Red is the Rose, Juice of the Barley, and Crúiscín Lán. I got to harmonize Scott's songs.

The hostess and her friends had a wonderful array of foods. The traditional haggis, fish and corn soup, and roast beef along with vegetables, salads and cheeses were available for the eating.

No one in the band brought our significant others, so there was no one there this year to take photos or videos.  Here's one from two years ago!  A Man's a Man for All That, one of Burns's most well known.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Rhubarb Shags

For those who think I have stopped doing any music at all, here is a post to let you know I'm singing and playing with lots of love and joy!

This is the second time I have played with Richard Kean, bagpiper, Scott Jernigan, fellow zouk playing singer, and Joachim Zwick, fiddler as "The Rhubarb Shags," a name that was thrown out with a laugh and stuck. We did this same Burns Supper a couple of years ago and were called on to perform again. From the sounds of things, likely to be called on next year too!

A Burns Supper of Burns Night is a celebration of Robert Burns' life as a prolific Scottish poet in the second half of the 1700's. He was a lady's man who fathered many children by several women and his poetry for many a woman shows a sincere adoration for all of them.

Today, we gathered to refresh our minds, make sure our notes on things were correct, and see if any adjustments should be made to the music or schedule. Things went well and we expect to have a grand time tomorrow at this fun gig.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

TC-Home Portable 6L

We got the new outdoor water heater today. If you missed why we need a new one and info on the previous one, here's the story: HERE.

We chose to order a very similar water heater, the TC-Home Portable 6L, but this one has what appears to be heat stabilizing controls. It hooked up exactly the same as the old one which is very good news.
Out of the box, I can say that the shower head and hose for the head are really cheap and pretty crappy (no on/off switch on the head and the hose is super short), but that's ok because the old ones I have still work just fine.

First shower experience? First thing I noticed was the temperature screen is in Centigrade... This unit is from Canada. It's more important to gauge the consistency of the temperature and I'll get used to knowing what temp reading is good or too hot.

Really, the temperature was MUCH MORE consistent than the Eccotemp L5. It was really nice to have a consistently hot shower without the sudden blasts of hot or the drops in temperature.  This unit was only $75... and so far, I say it's a total winner!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Stoli comes home

Anne and I have many errands to accomplish today. The biggest one: bring home the cat!

We got up early enough to grab breakfast at the Kountry Bakery (We both hate that they use a K to spell Country, but it is a lovely little local place, so whatever). We got our kolaches and coffee and headed north to Georgetown and Austin.

We visited the grocery store and the bank and the post office to check Anne's mailbox. We were due to collect Stoli around one or two and it was only 11, so we stopped in for pizza and a beer at 600 Degrees, one of our favorite tap rooms in Georgetown. We got our usual cook's choice pizza slice with "no fruit and no seafood." As usual, it was a delicious surprise, this time with chicken and chorizo amongst other goodies. Then, because we became wine club members at Grape Creek, we stopped in for our half glass of wine and sat in their upstairs members-only lounge.

Stoli has been at his Auntie Pat's for a month. The house has been filled with her kids and grandkids. Stoli is one of the family there. I arrive and he pays no attention. He is a cat. Pat finally went into her room and carried him out into the living room. He almost immediately decided to go into a guest room and hide under the trundle bed. I made friends with him, stuffed him into his carrier, and brought him home.

I love this cat, but with these trips and his dislike of the travel back and forth, I consider giving him up to Pat or someone else. He certainly enjoys his time back here on the ranch when we get back and settled, but I think he is truly confused. He obviously loves and trusts Pat and he certainly enjoys being the only animal there.

I'll take him back to Pat's for our spring trip and again for the Alaska trip of three months travel. He really won't know me by the end of that one.... Poor cat. I really do not like dragging him back and forth. Really. It hurts me.