"I also have in mind that seemingly wealthy, but terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their own golden or silver fetters.” —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Check out this Book

I've fallen off the posting wagon again, but life has been very busy. I left Sul Ross State University and now work for Texas Parks & Wildlife, and I've been traveling. A lot! This change is a good move for me.

I'm here to shamelessly plug my brother's latest book, "Ravens of the Valley." It's available at booksellers and also on Amazon for purchase or for borrow from the Kindle lending library.


I'll be reading it this weekend. I hope you'll join me, not because the author is my brother, but because he's a really good writer.

:-) Special thanks this Memorial weekend to all the men and women who have served and are serving our country. We appreciate you.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's NOT Spring Forward

Aunt Jenny, about whom I've written before on this blog, was my smart, sensible, stubborn, stately, great aunt, the sister of my paternal grandmother, Mama Grantham. Della Mae Grantham was about as small as Jenny Brown was tall, but they were matched in their feistiness. I don't recall the year that Aunt Jenny died, which makes me sad. I'm equally sad that I don't know where she is buried, and that I probably didn't go to her funeral all those years ago, and perhaps there isn't anyone alive who can tell me when she died or where she rests. Aunt Jenny, Mama Grantham, and Daddy are on my mind a lot these days. Mother, not so much, which doesn't mean that she is any less on my heart, but we had our time together. While I think of those who have passed on occasion, I don't usually dwell on them. These days, though, and since Christmas, just giving a thought to Daddy and his family brings tears. Perhaps it's my own mortality. I woke up in the middle of the night over the winter break with the clear message (literally, spoken out loud - startlingly loud - in the dark quiet of my bedroom, which awakened me with a jump and my heart pounding) that I am the age - 53 - that my father was when he got sick. (Cancer. 1981. Age 66. Seabee. Asbestos.) I'll never know for sure.

My inner voice is bugging me lately to take a leave from work and go visit the cemeteries where my family are buried. This leads to today, someone asked me the strange question, "Have you visited your father since he died?" to which I answered, "No," and realized that this fact surprised me. (This isn't true, though. I have visited him, but I haven't visited my mother's grave. They are buried side-by-side.) I've logged many a quiet hour in cemeteries where there are family or none - especially in the old parts where the grave stones have tilted and faded - walking and weaving through the headstones, making sure to not step on graves because my mother taught me that that's disrespectful - and wondering what stories the dead would tell. We all have a story to tell, you know, given the opportunity. Will you tell your story here in the comments? I hope you do.

But I digress. This post is about opting out of Daylight Savings Time. Each year, when it's time to spring forward, I remember Aunt Jenny. (Read about her here and help me keep her memory alive.) Can't we do this? Can't we just keep real time? I don't know one person who says "Yippee, let's lose an hour!" I live in the western edge of the Central Time Zone. We probably should be in the Mountain Time Zone. We are in the "almost land of the midnight sun" here. In the summer, it's still light at 9:30 pm. I want the morning sun streaming through my windows before I leave for work, and the chance to awaken naturally with the sun. I want to be free of the fatigue that often lingers after springing forward. Dr. Mercola reports that there are more heart attacks around daylight savings time. My friend and co-worker, Jesse, is making an anti-daylight savings bumper sticker. Let's tell our leaders what we want. Let's opt out, like Aunt Jenny.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In the Middle

At the beginning of a project or endeavor, it's easy to stay the course. The entrance to anything in life is usually looked back upon as the easy part. There are passes given to beginners because beginners don't know any better, and not much is expected of them. Each new accomplishment, no matter how small, is seen as something grand, and sometimes, even celebrated by those who surround the beginner.

I sometimes think that my time-limit for staying the course is much shorter than others I have observed. I get bored. I've done some job-hopping over the years, ended relationships that may have been served by sticking them out, or just simply quit the task at hand. No apologies. At least, not anymore. I've wasted time apologizing, but I've left that behavior in the dust. Apologies for things done wrong to others are still in my hip pocket, but apologies for decisions I've made or things that could be the source for regret are in my past. (I had a little relapse of inappropriate apologies yesterday, but that's for another day. At least I recognize it.) And speaking of the word "could," it is my new replacement for the word "should." ("I should take out the trash" becomes "I could take out the trash." You see the lack of judgment in the latter, yes?) For growth, willingness, and moving on, I'm grateful.

I have several projects that can be classified as being "in the middle" at the moment. Remembering the prior reference to willingness, I'll not let them go by the wayside, but this will take some effort. How to remain motivated, to stay the course, to put one foot in front of the other? Non-traditional school (I'm in school for integrative health coaching), traditional school (I'm also working on a bachelor's degree, but I'm not taking classes this semester), my side business (the highest quality nutritionals I could find, no surprise), the renovation project that has multiplied like bunnies, maintaining my repaired health (probably more time consuming now that I'm well), relationships, both human and canine (their placement on this list has nothing to do with their priority in my life), and oh, by the way, a full-time job.

How do you stay the course during the "grunt" phase... the time when there is little visible affirmation? I'll offer some examples: the renovation is in the phase when there is little impact in the proverbial before and after photo, as in new plumbing pipes; I'm just a few pounds from my fighting weight, a time I've dreamt about, but the final pounds are proving to be stubborn; I've advanced title in my side business, and the next advancement could be far away depending on my commitment; I'm four years on my current job and can do most things without much study or brain power; I've settled into a non-traditional school routine, and a little procrastination is quite tempting.

For now, my daily routine includes intentional quiet time by myself, usually in the morning before work and at night before bed, just breathing and keeping my mind clear of worry, doubt, and negative thoughts, and instead, focusing on gratitude for the people, things, and situations I have. Some people call this meditating. Most importantly for me, my quiet time at night includes some decisions to simply do specific things that need to be done the next day while intentionally not focusing on the day after and much beyond that, and following through with a mental to-do list. This is working for now, and will, as long as I keep boredom at bay (another project to add to the list).

So, I asked a question and I'd like some answers. How to you stay the course during the "grunt" phase? I'd love to read your comments.

David, staying the course during a search for a lost friend. Photo courtesy of James Lynch.


Monday, January 28, 2013


On Sunday, January 27, we did a day-long hike into two separate areas of Big Bend Ranch State Park. This picture was taken early in the first hike, before the sun got above the mountains and warmed us up. That's me on the left eating some olives, and new friend, Anita, on the right. After this trek, we returned to our vehicles and drove 20 miles west to begin our second hike. About 2/3 of the way into the second one, David and I called it done and decided to make shade with our denim shirts. We waited for our friends to finish the remainder of the hike. In a reversal of roles, I took a relaxing nap on the ground in the warm breeze while David kept watch for our friends to return. David is usually the napper.  It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Realized I Wanted Freedom...

Where has the time gone since I last posted here? I've not written for lack of desire to write; I've been wanting to post here. It's simply a matter of taking the time to sit down in front of the computer to gather my scattered ideas and thoughts.

Over the last year or so, I've gotten sick, and then I've gotten well. I've learned so much along the way, but the biggest revelation was that I'd gotten way off course and was heading in the wrong direction. Illness has a way of doing that to a person - getting them off course and then getting them back on course.

After getting my "wake-up call," I did some hard-core soul searching. My search led me to realize that I wanted freedom, but was working toward reliance and dependency - trading an hour for a dollar while tethered to a desk. At the core of this realization is the old cliche, "life is too short," and I made a decision to venture into the business world, to get a foothold in creating some time, location, and financial freedom.

I'm hosting a phone-in information session on Wednesday, January 30, at 7pm Central Standard Time for about a half hour. Interested? Write a comment or send a message to me to RSVP, and I will reply with the phone number and passcode. It's free.

See you on the interwebs. I'm back for good.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Construction Zone

I thought at six months into this project, we'd be much farther along. David has been working a lot and we've both been doing some volunteer work, so we are not as far into the restoration as we thought we'd be. We are in the phase where the visual reward isn't a reward at all, like electrical updates, insulation, knocking down unnecessary walls, etc. I can see the end result in my mind's eye, though, and this keeps me going. I've come to the conclusion that demolition is awful, even when you have a separate (clean) place to retreat to at the end of a demo day. I don't understand why folks on the home improvement shows get so excited about demolition. This little cottage was destined to become a chicken coop and had been condemned. Will post more photos soon.


Certainly not after, but a work in progress...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No Internet!

I've had limited internet access for the past couple of weeks. I miss reading my favorite blogs, researching how to do things - like creating old-style adobe blocks - and checking my email. Back soon. In the meantime...