SFJ 3/17/2019 So, St. Patrick‚Äôs Day, huh.

I didn’t wear anything green, didn’t eat any Irish food (but did sample some brisket from a new BBQ joint that opened close by). and didn’t sing Danny Boy. In this part of the world, and at this time of the year, locals avoid all the areas where crowds gather. We are dead in the middle of spring break for the last two and the next two weeks. The beaches are CRAZY crowded and A1A is a madhouse. Luckily for our Saturday book club, we had lunch west of the beach at a not-cool spot serving Greek food. The book wasn’t a great choice for discussion and I was sporting the same miniature sore throat as last week, so chat was a free-for-all for lunch. This be mediocre choice doesn’t mean that I’m going to change how I pick the books, but it might make me think about letting someone else run the thing…sometimes.

It’s been fabulous weather for the last few weeks and I am getting every minute of the calm that I can. I spend hours and hours on the patio in the morning reading the paper and books and arching social media. Without the air conditioners in constant cycle mode, the various birds scan really be heard. Besides my raucous parrots (now well more than 20 of them), I’ve got a nesting pair of cardinals and doves, a mockingbird nest in the ficus, and some grackles that are not scared off by the wind chimes.

Next week I’m in Columbus, Ohio for some more deep dives into the service business for that financial software changeout. I like this group and I like the office we’re visiting. So, besides the air travel, it will be more like a vacation week than hard work. Looking forward to spending my birthday week with them.

No Freezer Fill, no movies. I did binge watch the new Queer Eye season. For me, it’s a bit like getting counseling (which I do think I need but can’t seem to call to set it up).


SFJ 3/10/2019 Taxi!!

Funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to matter what city I’m in. The areas feel very similar to each other. When the weather is mild, all the non-urban areas have the same groups of restaurants and stores. Somehow, I expected that this last trip to Texas would show me something different. Nope. My host drove everywhere and unless we were in the country and between those cities, we could have been anywhere.

It was a good long week in Dallas and Austin, but full of the kinds of rewards that make me want to keep going. Each day I spent with the RCs (dispatchers to most of you) and applied my RC Recharge to each of them with how to spend each section with f the day to be the most effective. I watched lightbulbs going off in each of their eyes as they grasped what I was training. You just don’t get that when working over the phone. You get that when you see their eyes and can get reactions through body language.

After five days of travel, I hit the home airport, grabbed my checked bag, and headed out for the taxi line. It’s a short trip so my directions to the house were easy and there were no problems until we pulled up to the house. I got my credit card out of my purse and asked if he wanted me to use the machine on the back of the passenger seat. He said, “machine don’t work”. “Well, that’s all I’ve got. I’m paying by card.” He repeated that the machine didn’t work and I repeated that I don’t carry cash and that the signs on the car indicate that you take cards. We went back and forth for a couple of minutes. He fiddled with something on the dash and the machine pen showed a charge, I slid my card, added a tip (don’t test me on this; he knew where I lived) and gathered my things. Then he told me he needed a receipt. I shrugged. I didn’t need a receipt and was ready to go. “I need a receipt or I don’t get paid.” I heard that several times. I finally said that I thought this was something he needed to work out with the credit card company and opened the door to the cab and stepped out. He kept saying that he needed a receipt. I told him that I did not have a receipt to give him and he started to kind of argue with me. I stopped outside on my driveway and asked him what was his solution. What will solve this? How do you plan to fix it? He said he didn’t know and repeated again how much he needed a receipt. I stood still. It was just going dark outside, but I stayed still as I could not tell what he was going to do. He paced a bit and I stood still. He got into his drivers seat and started to pull forward, still saying something about the receipt, with the door I had stepped out of still open. He finally pulled away from the house and I turned and walked toward the house with him still yelling something out the window as he remotely shut the back door. Thankfully, the dog sitter was at the house and perhaps that kept anything odd from happening. I’ll be reporting this to the airport board.

True Confessions: most of the people I follow on Instagram are drag queens. I guess I’m not going to get too bogged down in any political issues from that angle.

Movies on the plane: Can You Ever Forgive Me, A Star is Born

Next House Project: converting the laundry room to a combo pantry and laundry. Starting the research now. Depending on the quotes, I might also get the bedroom closets upgraded. Then, I’m getting some big bookcases. (Simply cannot live without more shelf space.)

SFJ 3/3/2019 Rearranging the Furniture

It seems that this week was for the garden. Even as lazy as I am, I couldn’t put things off any longer. Since I’m spending time on the patio, having the backyard aesthetically pleasing is important. So, I’m “rearranging the furniture”. Rather than going out and buying new plants, I’m un-crowding the ones I’ve already got. Replacing that old, sweet little picket fence with a “real” fence on actual property boundaries gained me about four feet in all directions. The plants on the back side were crowded and a couple of trees had been lost on the east side. It made for a squished look.

The mango tree is in bloom–lots of blooms! These are not the fragrant blooms of a peach or lilac tree. But, the anticipation of the fruit makes up for it. The bees are having a great time. This one got a good pruning, too–just enough to be able to walk under it easily. After Hurricane Irma, the tree was tilted to the west after the leading winds pushed it. I wanted to be sure that it had fully recovered before doing anything. All those blooms! Confirmed!

I chopped the hibiscus way, way down–decimated it. I’m still aiming to have it away from the office window to the backyard. That means still more pruning is in it’s future to discourage the growth of branches in front of that window.

I had just finished moving lots of plants around and the rain came. Lots of rain. So much that some of the transplants even fell over from lack of support. Nothing to it. Just propped them back up after the backyard drained a bit and now hoping for the best. A day or so after the rain, the lawn guy finally came back and my wild meadow is no more. Much longer without him coming and I’d have a pretty good stock of sunflowers in a not-great spot in the yard. Pictures when they take hold a bit more.

Next week, I’ll be in Texas–two days in Dallas and two days in Austin and flying back out of Dallas on Friday. I’ll be traveling with one of the local managers between cities. If I had got better at the ukulele this week, I might have thought to bring that along for entertainment. Didn’t happen.

There will probably be no time to see anyone outside of the office, so I’m not announcing it or calling to make meetup arrangements. Leaving the old guard dog in charge.

So, to bed early for a 3 am wake up. I’m so relaxed after this week off that I am quite the noodle.

SFJ 2/24/2019 Oscar Night

It’s funny how the smallest things can give you satisfaction. (Fair warning, this is kinda intimate.) Since I got this house, I’ve been living with a toilet seat that is kinda rocky. I don’t know if it was actually stable when I moved in, but I do know that I’ve been living with it for a couple of years now. I actually thought that I might deserve this rocky toilet seat because I’m so overweight, so didn’t even make a move to deal with it as some kind of personal punishment, I guess. Anyhow, I realized that no amount of tightening of the bolts made it sit any more securely…and lived with THAT for a while. This week, I finally determined that I needed to fix the damned thing, got a replacement, and put it on myself. Yes, yes, I know that replacing a toilet seat is possibly the simplest of home repairs ever, but I haven’t been too handy lately and wasn’t even sure of myself on this one.  Regardless of my uncertainty, I now have a new, stable, slow-closing toilet seat that shouldn’t cause me any embarrassment now that guests won’t go slipping around then they visit. (Turns out it actually was damaged; there were some missing pieces inside of the hinges on both sides.)

I’ve been talking about the weather a lot lately. It’s hard not to brag about no living in a freezer. Anyhow, what that means to our household is that the windows are open. Lots of times, the patio door and screen door are open, too. When the weather is NOT fine, Vella is in and out in a pretty big rush. When it’s fine, she might just stay out there a while. This week, I’ve been losing track of her and find her in Guard Dog Position enjoying a breeze.

I’m trying to make a change to my sleeping position. I am a veteran stomach sleeper. There are some days when I wake up and I can barely move from the strain that I’ve already put on my lower back. To make the change, I’m attempting to sleep on my side but am using a pillow at my belly to encourage the shift. One night and I’m successful. Can’t tell if it’s got any longevity. Doesn’t help that I’m such a passive gal anyhow.

Freezer Fill: I realized that I have about a dozen meals of Buffalo Cauliflower Chicken stored and no variety in my choices just now. Still didn’t make anything new. Been eating delivered food as I’m a lazy bitch, too.

I’ve got a full week off and am planning on seeing some Oscar-winning movies. Already saw Bohemian Rhapsody (had a tiny moment when I mixed up Brian May with James May, but I’m over it) and Incredibles 2. Also got some planting and weeding and pruning to do now it’s nice and cool.

SFJ 2/17/2019

I have too much soap. I used to make soap and have a sister who makes soap, so my store of soap runneth over. There are only two sinks and one shower in this whole house and a single person using them so there’s not a lot of usage going on. Karen let me know that she’d like to test some of the different soaps, so between her and her husband there are some new test angles coming for Deena. I sent her with the felted soap and both of the chocolate mint soaps (the cream soap and the bar soap).

Glorious weather. Had a little rain to help the fruit trees grow and this morning the sunshine through the screen to show off the rain drops. It has been so overcast in the mornings that that particular magic was obscured. In addition, my lawn guy got rear ended in his work truck so my usually-trimmed yard is quite the little meadow with him not cutting it every other week. There are any number of non-San Augustine grasses and herbs growing out there now, including the sunflowers that are sprouting from the seeds the parrots drop. I had got used to the manicured lawn and now am loving having a bit of Mother Nature take back over. Hey, so long as the front looks presentable and I don’t lose Vella in the back, I’m pretty happy.

Freezer Fill: Buffalo Cauliflower Chicken

Netflix Binge: new season of Grace and Frankie (I’m a Frankie)

SFJ 2/10/2019

  • 1 year ago this week: a mentally affected young man shot and killed 17, wounded 17.
  • 2 years ago this week: a mentally affected man shot and killed 5 people at the baggage claim area at the Ft Lauderdale airport where I was a week prior.

To date, we have not had new legislation that addresses mental illness and gun ownership. Bump stocks, now banned. Minimum age to purchase an AK47, raised. Some still think that having armed teachers in the classroom is a solutions (and I strongly disagree). But, we make sure that cussing and nekkidity stays off TV. That ain’t right. What do I want? I want more control! I do not intend to own a gun and I don’t want to pry it out of someone’s cold dead hands. I want more control over who can own one. We have regulations about who can drive a car and vote. We need similar restrictions on fire arms (other weapons in other legislation). We have to be insured against accidents for our cars. What about insurance for gun owners?

After the speed trip flight to LP, I turned right around and went to Charlotte for some more work on the new “money” software for the company. What a difference from that earlier time in the 2000s when I was on the global design team. It’s unclear whether or not I’ll be retired by the time the final solution is deployed, though. Back when I was on the team, the whole shebang was to be deployed by 2012 globally. Nobody truly believed that would or even could happen. I know they want to make the right decisions, but it’s gonna mean a whole ‘nother big deployment like back in the early 2000s.

After the rushing with the travel, it was a relief to have some down time this weekend. Saturday meant a much-needed lunch with Di. We get as much talked through as some counselors or psychologists might deal with. A sloppy hamburger and drinks. Sigh. Then Sunday was the February art class. This session was about labyrinths. not mazes, as I had thought…and different from same. Maze has purposeful dead ends where a labyrinth is meant to be a path to and end. It was a marvelous mess of glue and string and tissue paper and paints. Heather was with me again. We are turning out to be the partnership of arty projects. She needed a good break as she has been burglarized this week. Her car, purse, and laptop GONE when she was paying attention to something else. Her mother and sister were on the phone. She would normally have tap-closed the garage door when she arrived at home, but was juggling some papers, too, and ran in the house. They must have been watching for just this opportunity. What a mess for her, but fortunate that her colleagues and neighbors rallied to get her a car to drive and a replacement laptop. We had a lot of fun today releasing some negative energy. (Big duh, but mine is the one with all the blue and green.)

Freezer Fill: just didn’t get around to cooking this weekend.

Week Ahead: no travel and a book club meeting on the weekend

SFJ 2/3/2019

On Friday morning, very very early, I headed out on a flight to Houston. The call? Not a casting call, but a call from my class Thespians to have a little reunion. My stage husband Doug Weston organized it and about 30 people responded. Some people never see their high school classmates. We get together almost every year since 1975. Granted, there are still a bunch of us who still live down by the Houston Gulf Coast, but that doesn’t seem to be the overriding impetus. We still like each other and keep up. If, after 40 years, they still make me laugh, I’m still coming back. We come from a small town and it’s always, always a surprise when restaurants and bars are still in business. El Toro is a Mexican food place that was our choice back in the 70s. We took it over this weekend. Somehow one waiter was able to cater to the entire group gracefully and pleasantly. (Seriously, they need to teach that everywhere.) The play this year was Newsies, the Disney-fied story about the newsboy strike of 1899. I want to be unbiased, but I thought it was incredibly good. Perhaps not as many on stage as my day, but still about 150 kids on stage at the same time is incredible. It means that there needs to be that many kids who WANT to be on stage and a complementary number of people to support the production. I don’t know that my time at high school would have been as rewarding without it. (Well, I did have a lot going on.) The next morning, again very, very early, I flew home. I had a haircut appointment that was already about two weeks late and extremely hard to find the spot on the calendar.

I leave again very, very early tomorrow for Davidson, North Carolina–this time for work…again. This year has started with a ramped-up travel schedule that challenges my energy level. Lucky for me I can sleep on the plane and so will probably be able to get another hour after waking up before 4 for a 6 AM flight. They are necessary trips to the business and I don’t want anyone else to make them. But I sure am ready for flights to mean I’m going to a fun place to do fun things. Being out of town keeps me away from fun stuff at home–liking watching the migrating birds, volunteering at the museum, and trying out new restaurants.

Freezer Fill: Buffalo Chicken and Cauliflower (Is it colloquial to pronounce that middle syllable like a throwaway instead of the long E that I hear on The Food Network?)

January reads:

I am so tired that that single one glass of wine that I’ve had today might be all that I can handle. Might not make it past the first quarter of the Super Bowl. I spent a lot of the afternoon with the Puppy Bowl and that was far more rewarding than I expect of the Big Game. I don’t actually care about either team and frankly just want there t9 be s9me good commercials to stir up some talk.

I have discovered another way that I can track the progress of the seasons. in the winter, I sit to the right side of the table because the sun rises further south. In the summer, I sit to the left to keep those rays from poking directly into my retinas. The curtain blocks the rising sun until the middle of spring or autumn when there is no avoiding it and I close the curtain for a bit until it has risen. No matter the season, I know that just past those palms is the Atlantic Ocean. Salt Life, dude.

I do not fully understand the difference between a hashtag and @. Does one go to Twitter and the other to Instagram? That can’t be it. Both of them are Twitter, but … no. I got nuthin’.