Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: nap time

The ginger pups are under the cover, on top of me in the recliner. Praline liked to be on top of the covers, generally, though she has poked her nose under the edge for warmth, most of the time today. Have a nice Sunday. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

True story:

Happy for my friend conquering smoking. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer's underway.

With the surprise rain we got in the region, scads of fireflies have ended their dormancy in the soil, and my house seems to be ground zero for lightning bug frolics. One night the young woman next door knocked on my door to tell me I had hordes of them in my yard, and that no one else did. Sure enough, there's something here they love. :)

My flowers and herbs and everything are doing well. It's been pretty easy to keep them well hydrated, and even my lobelia are still putting on a grand show. I put a small variety cucumber plant in a big pot with coreopsis, and it's bloomed quite a bit. Time will tell if I'll get enough little cukes out of it to make at least a little jar of home-growed pickles. Fingers crossed.

The basil and mint are going great guns, and the Nasturtiums (my favorite) that I started from seed are thriving. The rock rose is huge and doing well, and even my butterfly weed is looking pretty grand and blooming continuously. I hope to put a few hours in on weeding and planting a thyme and bronze fennel I got in Dallas County last week - the swallowtail butterflies just love bronze fennel, and it has such a nice architectural feel to it.

I was weeding by the rock rose (labdanum) and skullcap last week and a nice  fat little frog came flying out when I got the roots up on a stubborn little clod of weed root. He was so lovely and healthy. I hope he rains froggy death on many mosquitos in my yard, and I hope he brought friends to help in the war effort.

All in all, this summer is quite pleasant thus far.

I have a job on campus at my university, and someone from another department asked me last week if I knew someone who could work 10 hours a week in his department, and he lit up when I said that I'd be willing to work there, also. He got everything sorted, and now I'm going over to his department whenever I like. He doesn't micro-manage and doesn't even expect me to keep set hours, so I am all over that. I have a limited few set tasks, and I can listen to music or podcasts, and this will be great work once the semester starts.

I'm hoping to get some long-dreamt-of sewing projects off the ground very soon, and I've had marvelous quality time with the puppies.

Father's Day was a great time at Mom and Dad's. Mom is still mending well from her surgery, and seems in much better form in general. Dad had a good time with all his kids and grandkids in the house. We laughed and laughed, and it was so easy to linger in the good, cherished company Sunday evening.

I'll try to write again soon, and I hope your Summer is as pleasant as can be!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beauty is its own reward.

Here's a lovely version of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by J.S. Bach, interpreted by xylophone in the beautiful setting of the gardens in Hokkaido, Japan. This made me smile like a first class goober. Love it. :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer in full bloom.

The summer has been busy, to say the least. From an array of options, I took a job at a library, and this has been quite fulfilling. Today I was asked by the head of another department if I would double my hours and work for him, as well, and I said yes, at least for the summer. My task on the new assignment will be largely brainless, and I'll be able to listen to podcasts and music the whole time. Plus a lot of the library activities are a workout for the arms and shoulders, so it's like getting paid to exercise and listen to music-- win/win, yeah? Today at work in 4 hours, I walked 3 miles inside the library. It's been the best job I've had since leaving Dallas. I love not being chained to a desk. :)

I've already received most of the books for a literature class in the Fall. I'm trying to do a little recreational reading daily, and also a bit of writing. It will be great if I have all this material read before the semester begins so I start ahead of the game.

The rains have been amazing, and many things I've planted are really thriving now. The drought restrictions in my area have been completely lifted, so this is a good thing. The rains have also meant that as compensation for permanently frizzy hair, I have to water my plants less.  I have a large pot of herbs out front, and I have two types of mint, a big basil plant, and a lavender. They are big and bushy and thriving. There's something so satisfying about grabbing a handful of this or that and using it in the cooking. :)

My salvia, rock rose and scullcap are all blooming great guns, but I have yet to see a hummingbird this year. Hopefully it's just bad timing, or maybe they went around this monsoon region on their way north this year. I wish they'd come gobble up some mosquitos. I'd settle for skeeter-gobbling bats, though.

I think this Fall will be the first time I've felt refreshed at the beginning of the semester. I hope so, anyway. I've got plans for more fun things with friends and family, so I hope I'll feel less out of touch with dear ones than I've been in years. I also plan to get a little sewing done. Huzzah!

Have a great weekend, and I'll try to post again soon.

Although I'm staunchly pro-2A...

...perhaps we should restrict gun access for people who require a bowl to cut their hair. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: The Ginger Guard

Woe betide the squirrel or bunny that happens into their territory!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Studies in sepia.

As I'm sure most folks heard, there was extensive flooding in many regions of Texas in May, and my area was hard-hit. Tragically, some folks died in the flooding, and I'll bet pets and livestock were lost in substantial numbers, too. These storms brought tornadoes here and there, and although that peril is never far from a person's mind during particularly violent weather, it's something of a crap-shoot: it's not like an earthquake that's going to break stuff in every single house in a region, including the houses themselves, the roads, etc. Sooner or later, we all get reminders that no region is free of the potential for natural disaster.

On a recent drive to Dallas I noticed water standing deep in a yard where someone keeps pygmy goats. I hope they got the wee goats to safety in time,  but with that kind of flooding, major arteries were blocked all over the region, so there's no telling.

With the advent of the rain, my area went from a second or third year of stage V drought restrictions to no restrictions at all. In the space of less than a month, area water supply lakes that had been at less than 30% of capacity were filled to overflowing. This is the silver lining for the region.

Here and there, you see the after-effects in the form of sandbags put by in case they are needed again. They appeared around the doors and garage entries of houses to keep the flood at bay. Large things like trailers kept for storage were knocked over. Trees were broken or just tumped over with the force of the water coupled with looser, saturated soil.

The river in the area is not a big or deep one, so all that water rushing from every direction to the natural tributary had not much place to go. The rains had been so persistent for so long that the ground was saturated, and there was only so fast it could run off. The overflowing of banks of creeks and rivers was inevitable.

Here's one spot near the Little Wichita River that I drive past usually at least once per week. You can see water on the ground, but this area is normally completely dry. The remarkable thing is how the trees and everything appear to be dipped in a rusty sepia tone up to the high water mark, which I'd estimate is about 12' - 15' high on the trees in the photo. It's a rather startling thing to see, and it's there as a reminder.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: if the chiweenie sees his shadow, we stay in bed.

Also, if the chiweenie doesn't see his shadow, we stay in bed. I had a crazy busy week all week, and this one looks to be the same. Good times. Treasuring quiet moments with my snuggle pups. 

Saturday, June 06, 2015


My plants are doing fairly well with all the rain we've had. Here's a small butterfly in my coreopsis. 

Friday, June 05, 2015

Summer's in full swing.

It's so good to be out of school for a bit. As usual, I have several irons in the fire this summer, but it's good not to have assignments due and all that stuff for a bit.

I got a call this week out of the blue from a job prospect that I thought had died on the vine. We chatted for a bit and I told them I'd entertain the prospect of coming to work for them. However, I've since decided to stay with what I've already got going. I started work at the library at school recently, and it's the most satisfying job I've had in years. I'm doing a lot of filing and moving around the library, so I'm not glued to a seat for whole days at a time. I also get to set my own hours, so that's great, and the gravy on the sundae is that my boss is a swell guy.

I went to Dallas yesterday to see my folks. Mom's recovering well from her surgery, and seems to feel better than she has in years, although she still has some soreness from the surgery. I spent the night there, and slept well. Dad's having a back issue. Dad's a very active person, so "slow down" is not in his vocabulary! I'm planning another trip to Dallas to stay more than one night in probably a couple weeks.

Yesterday my sister and her family moved from the Dallas area to a house in Big Bend, and it was bittersweet for them to be so far away. They bought an old adobe house in a smallish town, so they're looking forward to a quieter, slower pace of life after ridiculous hours spent commuting daily for years and years. I hope they'll be very happy. They have splendid gardens established on the property, and a sky-deck over one of the structures, so they can watch fabulous sunsets. They also get dive-bombed by a dependent-class horde of hummingbirds.  This sounds like a version of heaven to me. Her pups were delighted and larking about in the contained yard, off-leash and exploring.  I hope I can mosey down there to visit this summer and see it all first-hand. Niece and Nephew graduated from high school and 6th grade, respectively, and it's amazing how fast they are growing up. She is going into the Navy in August.

The drive to Dallas yesterday was interesting.  The stock tanks all along the way were full, and everything was lush and green, the water mostly having receded where the floods washed through. One large pond had a notch eaten away in an elevated side, so that pond was not the full-to-brimming thing all the others were. It was interesting to see how the water chewed through the side of the earthen dam, leaving a jagged V-shaped wedge down the side. Signs of the flooding are all over the region.

I'll post a photo soon of some of the aftermath of flooding in my immediate area. One lesson learned from the flood zone: if you're having insomnia, don't start watching Japan tsunami videos on YouTube - it won't help you sleep. I'm sorry for the loss of property, livestock, and human lives that have happened here, but we so desperately needed the rain, too.  And compared to what happened in Japan, what happened here is barely a blip on the map. The floods are also a reminder of hubris, of the folly of thinking you live utterly removed from sudden, inescapable horrors. (I'm a ray of sunshine today, aren't I?) My point is actually not to be grim, but to say I'm thankful it wasn't worse. As long as you and your people and your critters get out of something alive, you got out with everything that was important. They're making new stuff every day of the year. Stuff can always be replaced.

Before I left DFW today, I met AE Pilot Jim, and Scribbler and his fiancee at a favorite Indian restaurant in Irving. It was great to share a fun, laughter-filled meal before hitting the road for Greater Redneckia.

This summer I'm trying to take time daily to give my pups attention and affection. They know I love them, and we get lots of snuggle time, of course, but they are so sweet and so dedicated, and I want to make time for them to know how important they are to me. I love them so. I'm sure this comes as a surprise to you.

Looking forward to seeing dear friends tomorrow night in Denton to celebrate lovely Holly's birthday. I'll write again soon, and I promise not to be so scarce through the summer. I have lots of lovely plans I'll want to share with you, and my flowers and herbs are going gangbusters, so there'll be lots of pictures to post here.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 01, 2015