The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Colorado things we did during this visit

Hike around National Center for Atmospheric Research - the trails were great and the Center was made even cooler by being a free resource and having a beautiful lunchroom/cafeteria

Pearl Street Mall area in downtown Boulder -
we spend several hours on several different days during our visit here
there was always something different to see
lots of fun


Brunch in Lewisville at The Huckleberry - delicious
(and super cute with outstanding service)

Train ride and silver mine tour at Georgetown, Colorado.
Super fun and very informative.
(And I learned a new word = Tommyknocker)

Palo Duro Canyon (Texas near Amarillo)

cowboy dugout replica - you could practically walk right by this place without seeing it

I was telling my husband that when I was little I used to very carefully lift this dried, crack earthen tiles up and rebuild the pattern somewhere near by - like puzzle pieces.  He said I must must not have had much to do as a child.  

Friday, June 23, 2017

This is the first time we have driven in to Denver via the SE route. The unrelenting flatness was a huge surprise to me.  And I was amazed to see the classic structure of this thunderstorm cloud.  I thought we would be driving right through it but we skated the edges, negotiating the blowing dust on the SW side - maybe 10 large drops of rain spatted the windshield.  I am used to seeing systems with "red" in lines.  These seem to spin off of Pikes Peak in small clusters or as this one, an energized lone ranger.

Large aircraft in the area took it all in stride.  I bet it's bumpy coming in to DEN.

Next pic past the airport area out towards Boulder where we will be staying for the next several days.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Max - 7 months old
Yeah, he's a big one.
I think he'll be bigger than Sammy was (peak weight 160).
Shows every sign of being a good dog.

Early Saturday I drove down to San Antonio and spent a while with an old friend.  She was preparing for a wedding that evening and was able to get me in with her nail people for a manicure while she had hers - chat time.  I can't remember when I last wore red nail lacquer.  I don't like red.  I like a natural palette.  Red couldn't be more shocking to me on my fingers than it would be on my hair ... Woody the Wood Pecker red.  That's not the name of the color on the bottle.  The name of the color on the bottle was Your Husband is Going to Love This! Yeah, with the exclamation mark.  Something like that.  It feels very 80's to me.

It was fun to share some time with her.  She'll be hosting a long "Girl's Weekend" for a bunch of us in August.  I suggested we go tubing on the Frio, or some such, on one of those days.  (Shouldn't that be "Girl's Long Weekend"?  No surprise that they can figure out where we are from and where we have been by the words we chose and how we use them.)  Next up, meeting an Alabama friend and her two little ones for a sleepover on the Riverwalk.  They selected to wind down their week here in Texas by staying an extra day so that we might have a few moments together.  The girls did not like the riverboat tour.  They thought 99 degrees in the shade with a heat index, which took it up to 110 (the lady bringing lots and lots of ice(d ... lol) water told us that once we found some AC and yet another order of chicken bits and fries) was a bit much.  Rather than sticking to their seats they were sliding around. As soon as we were off the boat we starting standing in line at Margaritaville with a pager that promised to ring in 25 minutes or less.  I felt that a Margarita was in order, but we left before being seated to order dinner - we left as soon as the man on stilts handed the girls their balloon poodles.  Next up - Stone Cold Ice-cream place (all I had eaten for the day was found around the edges of the Charcuterie) ... next Ghirardelli.  I did tear in to the sample offered there but resisted further temptations.  Dessert is just not fun when you're actually hungry.  I ended up splitting weird nachos for dinner.  They were topped with fake cheese spread (like you expect at sporting events), some other stuff (I did recognize and enjoy the avocado bites) and shaved slices of radish.  I've never seen radishes on nachos.  It wasn't yummy.  The water was perfection though.

I don't have grandchildren.  I don't even have grandchildren on my mind yet.  These two little darlings helped me see what I might hope for some day.  If my kids do decide to have kids I think I'll like it a lot.

what we thought we ordered ... what we actually got

San Antonio is such a hospitable place so it surprised me how easily I drove away once my girls were safely at the airport.  I was stuck (briefly) behind someone driving 65 in a 70 while everyone else was doing 80 or better.

It was nice to get home.

Father's Day found a couple of my own at home celebrating their excellent Dad.

We bought a house.  Yes,  f  i  n  a  l  l  y  !   It's not the river house that we have been renting for the past two years.  Surprisingly, it is a house in a neighborhood of homes on small lots - quarter acre lots.  It doesn't have a stitch of landscaping so to speak.  I love that about it.  It has a nice pool and a super blank canvas yard.  It also has a master bathroom with just a shower (no bath tub).  First inside project - upgrade bathroom!  I get to pick out a tub and I am so excited.  Like Pointer Sister's Excited!
Outside project - landscaping!  It's the little things.  Closing mid July - pictures to follow.  

What else?  

Denver next week ... .  Visiting Three.  I like Colorado.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pictures from lately taken by V.

I miss making my notes here - life gets busy.  And it's a weird sort of busy because I'm not really doing anything.  He went on

Yesterday, -SHRA as the pictures indicate, was filled with early church and later my chorale's concert (which went well).  The sermon drew from Ephesians 4.  Essentially, "Love people more than issues" was the point.  The pastor began his sermon with this illustration, plucked form the news I guess, a 73 year old woman has divorced her husband because they voted differently in the recent Presidential Election. He went on to muse,  ...she would rather be alone than married to someone who thinks differently on the issues.  I did get sidetracked thinking about that.  Could he possibly believe that or did it just suit his purposes to say so?  The starkness of his statement seemed ironic as I briefly explored the idea of ALONE compared to LONELY.   I packaged it like this ... it was expedient because I feel bad when I stop listening to what a speaker is attempting to communicate ... I thought maybe this: she, the 73 year old divorce√©, was looking at a kitchen knife, unable to escape the blaring buffoonery of say CNN broadcast at old man volume, when she decided to do them both a favor.  Was it for the best?  Probably not, but maybe for the better - the divorce thing. 

Here are my notes from the Sermon -->
He also went off on a snarky rant clothed in good humor about the "church music" issue this particular body still seems to be struggling with.  That in addition to the announcement that the Senior Pastor is off "praying" about the direction of this church (for I think he said a month) made for a sorta awkward feel in the room (or maybe just in my seat, it's a very big congregation).  

The words from the WORD make sense.  Ephesians 4 is actionable on an individual level.  

On a different topic - near here a family began to build a home - a huge home, a family home for a man, his wife, their two sons and the son's wives (one each presumably), and their yet to be born children.  As it was explained to me, this is a traditional family home within the muslim sensibility.  I'll add a picture of it later today because it is really quite something to behold.  It's built on a tract of land abutting the city limits - in other words, it's in the County.  Two things leap out to me - well, more than two and all of them odd and alarmingly so, the enormous structure looks intentionally defendable, and there is a huge pile of rock debris accumulated from - has to be a basement.  In this neighborhood people sometimes cut swimming pools in to the rock, but it's incredibly expensive to have that done.  I was told that it's a family home but no property owner is listed on the tax record.  A local realtor said churches, while being built, are exempt from public records.

I mention that here - the building - because it's an issue.  It's an issue and one never sees people (to love) anywhere around it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It's a bit of a quandary

If we buy the rented house that we live in we will put glass sliders across a lot of the back of it and a covered patio to extend the living space.  This weekend we saw a model home (pictured) near Dripping Springs that perfectly modeled our idea (theirs was on a grander scale) and educated us on the electronically actuated "blinds" which are ~perfection~.  The house (that model home house) itself is just huge, as in 5,000+ and it's beyond my imagination to "see" a family actually living in it, iow, I don't know people who live like that.  The agent hosting the open house said every person who visits asks if the second floor (half of the house) can be deleted on a new build.  Of course anything is possible for so lofty a price tag.  Here is a link to pictures of the home when it was staged for the Parade of Homes Tour (2016) ... it was furnished differently when we visited.  I especially loved the glass partition wall between inside and outside and a scaled down representation would be perfect for the rental house if we renovated here.  I think we will reach a decision about buying it within the next 30 days.  The owner is offering it at almost 20% above the appraised value ... and it has several hundred less square feet then he has believed (and has been paying taxes on for the past many years) ... don't know how that happened.  It would be hard for me to justify spending above the appraised value.

A man was in to clean the HVAC this week.  He said he doubted the duct work or the condenser had ever been cleaned (the house is plus40 years old) and because he was contracted by the landlord for a "light" cleaning and it was ... more ... he left without doing any cleaning.  He offered a new quote for the work to the landlord, who in his usual style has decided to "get a few more estimates".  Normally, as least as I make sense of what I observe, he brings in three or four different tradesmen/vendors to provide estimates for the cost of repair.  In the past none of them actually is hired to do the work.  Landlord has a long term arrangement with an after hours "handyman" who will "do" a barely passable, half cooked, version of what was initially needed.  Here is an example:  There is mold coming out of the vents and completely coating the air-conditioning unit, coils, wires, housing, etc. in this house.  The evidence points to some cosmetic clean up prior to our moving in two years ago ... by that I intuit, a person with a bleach rag wiped the vents and probably the outlets right next to the vent coverings. The ceiling near those vents shows signs wear and tear (maybe scrubbing) on the popcorn ceiling treatment, some Keltz paint (maybe, one can hope) and some probably white spray paint to finish the cure.  It did render the mold problem undetectable to the uninitiated (me).  The "HVAC - pro" who came in said it was the worst he had ever seen, definitely not the light cleaning that he was sent out to complete, and that he suspects the house needs complete "mold remediation" which will cost thousands of bucks due to the removal of affected sheetrock and studs.  If we buy the house it is our intention to basically gut it so that's not a huge deal ... the problem is in paying premium dollar for an uninhabitable home.  Because maintenance has been deferred for(ever) so long on this house, it is hard to assess the extent/cost of a remodel project.

Here's my quandary - the lot is perfect.  It is a perfect place.  I feel very blessed to be where I can see what I see from the back porch.  It's great.  The house is - a mess.  It's a mess that is going to take a lot of money to clean up and I don't have a way of truly knowing how much money and time it's going to take.  It may be too costly on all levels of consideration.  But, the lot is great.  My husband is able to make extra money which would go to remodeling the house.  It seems to be enough money to make a remodel ... easy.  What if the availability of those funds "disappears" before we finish the work?  The remodel would be largely dependent on his extra (post retirement) income.  Did I mention  the lot is truly amazing.  This morning I saw deer wading in the river, frisking around on the lower lawn, and standing on their hind legs while stretching up to eat low hanging foliage from a tree. It's time for baby deer.  Last year we saw one, as small as a cat, still wet and able to take only a few steps before settling back in to the grass.  Remembering makes me smile. The forty year old single pane aluminum windows don't make me smile ... neither does the dry rot ... L, though he has replaced most of the back porch decking constantly reminds me to watch my step when I go out there lest I fall through as he did.

If we don't buy the house we will be in a different situation by the end of July.  We are developing "Plan B and C".  I can't really call buying this place "Plan A" because we are still working through the possibilities.  I am very mindful that when we decide what we will choose we are also deciding what we will do without (like spending extra money on travel ... like the luxury of not needing extra money ... like not having an amazing walking trail right out the front door, ... like these trees and the variety of birds they give perch to, etc.).

This filter "highlights" that hard earned grey hair!

What I saw on a recent walk

And then you're gone and home might be something like this
strangers walk by snapping pics with their phones,
it's behind a fence but that doesn't keep the critters out ...

All this "important stuff" is so temporary.

the magnificent trees he planted are flourishing

 at two miles Max thought to protest
I have to remind myself that he is still a puppy
6 months old now

this - not on that Berry Springs walk, but in the stream in the back yard

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brushy Top pics on the drive through

These pictures were snapped while on a little drive around - we were near enough to one of my very favorite places and decided to drop by to see what we could see.  Center picture is a five or so acre - they call it a ranchette ... I think that is a stretch, and mostly about an ag exemption with the tax man. Herds and lone grazers meander around - they are mostly exotics and a vet is on staff compliments of the HOA to tend to them.  This is a project called "Brushy Top" - I've linked it before I believe.  It's a bit out for how my husband likes to live.  Nearest town is Blanco, Texas ... probably 45 minutes in to either Austin or San Antonio.  It would be quiet out there, but I think I'd like it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wow, May is well on it's way to gone!  I have been neglectful of updating here.

“Until I know this sure uncertainty,
I'll entertain the offered fallacy.”

~Shakespeare/ Comedy of Errors

I keep on thinking we are going to find "our" house over here in this red hot seller's market!  House hunting, along with living in a rental house that has a reputation for not being maintained has just about worn me out!  Have you ever known me to use two exclamation marks in a row?  I'm not much of an exclaimer!  

I've probably said before - I love this lot/location.  With the river visible from every window on the back of the house I get to see all kinds of birds, big and small and literally herds of deer. It's beautiful at night too because of the fireflies and the insect serenade.

Here's today's walk: