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

Monday, April 25, 2016

not one single thing to be grouchy about!

My plate is the half order (S) of Migas.  That is my coffee, café con crema, a daily first.  Joe's Bakery was recommended by One as a place I would like and he was absolutely on point.  As soon as we stepped inside I knew we were in for a treat.  It's rare when this type of food tastes exactly as it should, as it would, had I prepared it myself.  Joe's Bakery epitomizes every good thing about the blending of the old Mexican-American culture which is a part of any Texan's heritage.  Wait, that may be an exaggeration, Texas is a big place.  The guys in East Texas may not appreciate this branch of the family tree as I, having grown up along the coast, do.  What I really want to express is, if you're any where near Austin, an want to eat authentic Mexican food, eat here.  Tejano is blasting on the jukebox, there seemed to be every sort of pan dulce (which I don't ever eat, but it looked delicious), the waitress was the model of warm hospitality, and the food was ... bliss.  I could happily eat there (and grow fat) everyday.  Did you know that a flour tortilla has about 120 calories j u s t  i n  i t before slathering on the butter and whatever else you're gonna eat, I mean, it is intended to be a conveyance device right?!?  Gosh I love Mexican food.  BBQ I like, I really like Texas BBQ (Mexican BBQ is the bomb too).  Oh well ... . I mention this today because it's just one example of how nice it is to be home.   I do associate "this food" as part of my life ... these smells are the smells I grew up smelling and feels like a hug.  Joe's is the story of a person who spent his life in ways that are still positively influencing lives ... that's admirable.  

This is what I'm working on.  What I'm trying to be most mindful of.  I'm trying to keep my focus on what I am thankful for.  The little thankful for, the daily delights. Like eggs ... migas.

The thing I like the very least about myself is my tendency to "pick" at stuff that doesn't make sense and won't make sense.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction.  Fiction has to make sense."  A lot of stuff is just that ... nonsensical, aggravatingly so ... so ... why go there.  Why not go towards the stuff that does make sense.  How long have old men and old women been discontent with politics (just for example) to the point of becoming habitually grouchy.  Politics doesn't make sense.  I understand why people are bitterly disappointed with the state of our affairs.  
We watched all of the show 11.22.63.  Don't.  It pretty much sucked.  The interesting take away was, after the guy did the work "to change history" the present he came back to was dismal.  Everything got worse!  As I look back over  (US) "politics" as I understand it, it seems like the assassination of JFK was perceived to be the turning point, or the Nixon/Watergate scandal (really ... how scandalous does it seem now in light of where we find ourselves/) but every time in our country's history has suffered from the disease of the weaknesses inherent in mankind.  And ... I think our country is still the best place if not the best time.  

I exhaust myself with my "frettings" about how a person in the very periphery of my life has acted, is acting, might act in the future when in fact it doesn't really matter very much at all to me.  I'll do right should the occasion come up when I'm called upon to do something.  That should settle it for me I think.  I really don't enjoying wasting moments of life on that.

It's easy to "pick".  I'm really trying to habituate "gratitude".  I really dislike grouchy old women even more the I dislike grouchy old men.  

silly, I know

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

Friday, April 22, 2016

It's quiet here on the river.  Every early morning the deer are down by the water.  I've started keeping the bedroom window closed at night because one of the neighbors showed me a picture of a five foot, or even longer, black snake.  The snake was on an outside wall of their home, contorted like some ominous hieroglyphic message.  A warning perhaps ... maybe he's making his way this way.  Maybe he's heard my window is open.  Not so much anymore.  Snakes creep me out.  Came upon the next door neighbor on our evening walk last night.  One more sip and the moon will be full, it sure was lighting things up last night.  Or maybe I was paying more attention to seeing things, the snakes, you know.  The nd neighbor said don't worry about the snakes, and he named off several venomous snakes that supposedly aren't around here.  He went on to tell me that poisonous snakes have a complete rib like line on their bellies while their non venomous brothers (ok, and sisters) have a center line which intersects the rib's from head to tail.  Hmmm, he provided a visual by interlacing his fingers for the bad snake and touching fists together for the good snake.  Apparently snakes around here are friendly enough to roll over so one can discern the veracity of his character.  To me, all snakes are politicians no matter the state of their "six pack".

uh oh ... he didn't mention the "anal plate" as a distinguishing marker ... you will note that in  line drawings both the venomous and non-venomous snake are smiling, again, just like they're running for office.

My mom passed on this day two years ago.  I was so worried about Tommy that I barely knew what to do for her once she was gone.  He had the surgery which gave him "more time" and I sat with him through what was most certainly one of the worst nights of our lives.  We had to get through the yucky stuff to find a few more sweet times.  I've spent some time thinking about CANCER during these past many months.  There are pros and cons for however it is addressed and choices are largely personal ... the one certain thing is it's not a solo journey if one "has people".  I was unable to think about "after" because Tommy didn't want to talk about it much.  It seemed right to stay with him where he was in the process and until the very last week or so he didn't want to address the possibility that he was going to die pretty soon..  It's a good note to help your people think about after,  I'm pretty sure "after" thoughts fit with "during" thoughts.  Tommy's wife has continued to ignore my overtures towards her.  It's a complicated story and I can see only one side of it so ... I don't think about it much anymore.
Last week one of the hospital nurses came over to spend the day.  As we sat down to lunch she asked if I'd seen (his widow) and I said nope.  She had.  She said (his widow) had given her (something specific) which I know (his widow) heard Tommy say on several different occasions during that last week, he wanted my husband to have.  It hurt to hear about it.  It's not the "thing" it's the hatefulness or thoughtlessness of the action.  I am very disappointed and hurt by her behavior.  I know things get tangled up and emotions run high during the most stressful times of our lives ... I know.  It's just ... I know what my intentions have been towards her were ... for her to continue to act out like this is just way over the line.  I've never experienced anything like this before.  It seems to be another "window" that I'll have to shut ... only pain comes in through there.

That "window" I will shut.  the bedroom window where the snake could possibly come in I'll probably leave open.  It's just too nice to hear the outside and feel the cool air.  There's an owl out there at night.  I love wondering about him.

Drove out there today.  It's hard to believe that was two years ago.  Lots happens inside two years.

I'm thinking a bit about that lately - how fast the time goes.  We signed the contract for another year in the rental house. 12 more months.  I'm wondering what I can do to make it feel more "like home".  Maybe it's as simple as "live in it".  Sitting out here on the back deck is really just great -birds are everywhere chirping and the night insects are starting their singsongs.  Tonight will be a full moon, it's at it's apogee.  I"ll be able to see it from right here. Pretty soon 12 or more deer will stroll through down by the river.

drove by this early today

and this later in the day

I'm trying to get a good "set" of Texas pictures for a project I'm working on.

Four sent this, snapped to today when she went by our house.  It seems like it's getting ready to belong to someone else pretty soon.  We have a trip back planned in support of something special Two is doing (pics of that later).  Yesterday the Realtor sent a pic of a nest in the front porch rose vine and said someone is definitely making themselves at home there.  A Robin tends a nest there every year about this time ... there are very likely pictures of that nest/vine in previous Spring posts.  I particularly liked the birds building nests and tending their chicks there.  It was super sweet when my phone pinged in "doings on the front porch". (pics treated with the WATERLOGGED app)

Everyone is loving it over here - great to be back home.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

'58 Chevy Truck

I know I can't put a truck together by myself.  Without my little brother.  I sure have been seeing a lot of reminders of that plan we had.  The truck I had in mind looked like this, 'cept as lovely as that buttery yellow is I'd have chosen a grayish blue.
Trucks like this are out there for sale.  I'm starting to play around with looking at them some.  Some of the stuff we cooked up together can be completed. Some of it just wouldn't be the same, but some of it would bring joy.
It's getting a bit easier ... imagining them, my childhood family, well.  Happy.


Isn't that as cute a little bushy tailed squirrel as you'd ever hope to see?

As squirrel go, he is just adorable.  I hung that bird feeder there with the expectation that it would be out of reach for all but fly up patrons.  It is as far away from the deck railing as it can be while still allowing me the tippy-toed ability to refill as needed.

From what I can see this little guy's life consists entirely of monitoring the white beast's activities in anticipation of neglectful moments which might allow stealthy positioning on the railing nearest to the suspended buffet.  Once correctly positioned, and that takes some doing, this little scoundrel will take a leap of faith.  He has recently worked out all the details.  The feeder is frequently emptied.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Astronaut Chris Hadfield ~ Space Oddity

Notes on the ISS

interactive tracker (it'll track via your IP address) linked to your Lat/Long
in case you want to know where the ISS (and several other satellites) are currently positioned
the map also indicates when the ISS may be visible to you

watch a "walk through" guided by Astronaut Scott Kelly here
(mock up at Kennedy Space center)

The main truss is 356' long and provides the structure on which the other components are attached.  I am surprised to realize the scale  as being the length of a football field (with the end zones).  The central components are labs, observation areas, and living quarters.  Including the solar array panels the size is comparable to the size of a football field.  The living area is compared to the size of a five bedroom home or the cabin space provided in a 747.  There are scale model mock ups at the Houston NASA facility which are open to guests. There are also storage and docking bays.

Incredibly, it "flies" at an average of 17,500 mph (15207 kts) traveling around the Earth every 90 minutes.  My window of opportunity to spot it is about 5 mins long from a stationary spot.  Night flying airline pilots are likely have the best siting advantage.  I read that the ISS' daily track is a comparable distance as that to the moon and back.

 From the ISS one would see a sunrise/set every 90 minutes (16 times per every 24 hour cycle) and there are several gorgeous images documenting that in the various galleries.  This image seems very similar to one I have seen which was take from an airliner at approx. 37000".  The ISS orbits at 249 miles above the surface (5280 feet in a mile, so -> 1314720 feet.  I walk around 5 miles a day and still can't truly visualize a mile without "seeing" the AUO runway during approach.  I scale 249 miles as a three hour drive - pretty good distance from here to there!

I especially enjoy seeing the "weather" images shared by the ISS crews.  
Typhoon Maysak

very cool photo galleries made available by Space Center Houston

The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to The Forum arena for a stopover and celebration on its way to the California Science Center from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Inglewood, California. The space shuttle Endeavour is on 12-mile journey from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center to go on permanent public display. 
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
... final destination, the California Science Center in South Los Angeles. 
~via The Altantic  Space Shuttle Endeavor's final journey

Saturday, April 9, 2016


The gun shop owner brought eight handguns, all semiautomatic, out to the shooting range so that we could try them out and select the gun we liked best.  I had two favorites.  We bought the Heckler Koch VP9  .  My other favorite was the SIG P229, it's on the wish list.

Today I did the concealed handgun license course.  

It is so much fun to shoot. 

This video was the midrange distance for qualifying.  We were instructed to shoot 5 shots within a certain few seconds.  I, notorious to those who know and love me as a "counter", shot 11 times.  It was embarrassing ... I knew I was over shooting, but I didn't stop.  Later, the guy to my right, recently retired career army guy said, "Well, at least we know you're not queasy about using deadly force." 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

As I sat still yesterday tears came suddenly to my eyes.
You were supposed to take care of him, the thought came out of the blue.
Today I noticed that I play a very ridiculous game on my phone - popping dots by "shooting" a dot at them - while I'm "waiting".  Waiting is different then "doing nothing", or "wasting time", or "lounging around". Waiting is actually active, an activity.  I did begin to play a couple of games on an app -  WORDS WITH FRIENDS, also YAHTZEE by some other name - when I sat with my brother.  While I was taking care of him.  While he was dying.  I deleted the with friends games, but kept the solitary game.  I still play it sometimes.  I play it when a program is airing on my laptop.  I play it sometimes before I'm tired enough to sleep at night.  I think the brightness makes my eyes wish to close.  I play it while I am waiting.  It keeps my hands busy when I don't want to think.  

I did the best I could.  

This topic I'm looking into talks about mindless activity.  For example eating the entire bag of popcorn - maybe you would have been satisfied with just a bowl full (which is also a mindless choice - you will eat till it's empty no matter the size of the bowl, we are so conditioned and do it on autopilot).  I have previously learned (learnt) that tossing decisions in to a "habit bucket" frees up space for activities which require real thinking.  This also happens - if I have a candy dish sitting out where I see it, and even more so if it is transparent, I place myself in the position of having to decide whether or not I want candy.  After I asked myself that question repeatedly (over time)  I will automatically (very likely to anyway) get a piece (or handful or seven in my case) of candy.  Even writing (because thinking) about candy makes me want to respond to candy.

Playing that game reminds me of my brother.  When I think of him, my deepest memory of "him" is tapped. "I am supposed to take care of him."  And this ... my mother's last words to me were "Go take care of your brother".  I think I heard her admonish that often over my life time.  We, my brothers and I were taught to look out for one another.  The question of "Am I my brother's keeper?" has always baffled me - like, really?  You need to ask that?  When I think of him I think as far as the furthest far back thought is planted ... take care of ... . 

Yesterday I began to answer that thought by reassuring myself that I did my best.

There seems to be a lot of good in clearing away the clutter enough to be in a more mindful "place".  

Along those lines - It's not at all uncommon for a pilot to set up on autopilot during the cruise phase of a flight.  There are mission advantages (including fuel flow optimization >$<), when I am flying with someone it always surprises me when they are surprised that I go lean on the autopilot.  I like to fly.  When I say that, they smile.

I'm looking at what I have made "automatic", "habitual", "mindless".  I like the opportunity to think about some of this stuff - stuff I've previously off loaded.  

and that is a waterlouge of the fountain I snapped a pic of yesterday ... the colors are good

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Round Top pictures and random thoughts

Things I saw at Round Top

Several people have asked what I bought at Round Top - Nothing, not even a cup of coffee.

Moving has taught me that I have absolutely more than enough of too much.

I'm always interested in a COMPASS and It's interesting to hear the story/stories that collectors of compasses like to share when one can linger.  He was into nautical "stuff".
The skeleton (?) was on a booth full of what I think of as weird Austin artness, while I was there snapping the pic I felt a bit of strangeness.
Next is a close up of something I've never seen before but of which there were several examples all over the Big Red Barn - an embroidered (blanket stitch) felt circles hand sewn together to make a table runner.  I thought it might be fun to recreate something like that.
The piano was fabulous - original paint - I love the color, the whimsy - 1920(?) for 10K
The chandeliers did not photograph well.  There are bronze deer heads (with antlers)  above each of the smaller light drops.  Seemed kinda perfect for a very tidy barn.
I have a chair waiting of be reupholstered in burlap as these are - needed the attachment detail.  There is no cording.  My chair, a wing back, is current upholstered in a white fabric.  It would be in perfect condition if it hadn't spent the past 11 years out in the garage (because some little miss enhanced all of the buttons with a red sharpie).  It's been in the garage with a sheet over it just waiting for what comes next.  Maybe burlap.  Maybe linen and burlap.  I'm thinking about it.  I have been ... . 
The lady said those hanging dresses are French gowns.  I think they look interesting - ghostly, in the nicest possible way.

Lately I have been thinking about the sense of free fall.  Remember that Red Bull free fall?

This guy, Skydiver Felix Baumgartner 

I don't think what I am describing as free fall feels anything like what that might feel like.  I really think that would feel a bit like flying (and prepping to land) to me.  I know it's not a controlled fall, but at some point it's a basic skydive type event. He has a gravity induced arrival to somewhere that feels quite routine for him.  Just saying ... he prepared for that.  What ever it is appropriately "called" doesn't feel like this.  (Pretty freaking amazing isn't it?  I would have closed my eyes and gone to my "happy place" during most of this descent. ... and nothing to drink before hand!) Impressive stunt.

Tonight I watched a Ted Talk by a French free diver, make that:

He talks about free diving in a way which is more helpful for me as I sort this out.
What I dealing with is how to I want to best deal with stuff feeling not normal - not organized, out of control.  

Probably Mr. Baumgartner  approached his event with a certain mindfulness.  Mr. Néry eloquently describes his dives as an exercise in mindfulness among other things.  

The way he was able to share his experience can be a helpful tutorial for me.  I liked that he equated the Blue Dot photo, how the earths suspended in space to how he "feels" suspended in the depths.  He talked about the air leaving his lungs, the compression, and about how as he became less buoyant, how the depth pulled him more surely down.  Then he talked about the ascent back to the surface.  He talked about relaxing and going with it.

I'm not falling ... free fall is an exaggeration.  I'm more like diving ... I'm more like exploring a different "time" in life.  I am surprised that I like my little "ruts".  It's funny really.  I thought of myself as up for adventure.

I'm shifting towards a more curious approach to this time.  I feel optimistic about that.  Everything is different - not everything, but a lot of stuff is.  I am figuring out how to enjoy that.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Through the dancing poppies stole 
a breeze most softly lulling to my soul. 
~ Keats