Life Lately | February 2018

+In My Head
Finally, we are warming up, though I could do without the constant cloak of grey the sky seems to be enveloped in for 5 out of 7 days of the week. Chris and I have already been talking about spring storms and the possibilities of floods occurring. Our consensus is that the likelihood is high considering the wet winter and the fact the low spots in the front yard haven’t been dry in about two months. I’m hoping not because I’d rather not have spring and early summer crops thwarted because of their being emerged in water.

I find myself needing to talk myself down from all sorts of projects and ideas these days and the following beratings that happen because I can’t possibly do them all. Which brings me to a wonderful essay by Austin Kleon about The best thing ever written about “work-life balance”. In other words, one thing at a time, Misti.

I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been trying to sell various kid items through Craigslist and Nextdoor and I’ll have spurts where the selling is good. The key, which I’m having to remind myself, is to delete my post and repost it about once a week so it is up at the top. I always get bites when I do that and make some progress. Last weekend I took out all of Forest’s 2T clothes and moved the 3T items in and it was bittersweet, as it is every time I switch out his clothes, to say goodbye to pieces he will never wear again. I saved favorites and even some he didn’t wear much but were special, such as Aggie related items or Texas Ranger related items. I remembered a former coworker who lives in the area that I could pass them off to so that will help me with those items but I will have to find someone else for the smaller sized clothes when I finally get through them. I would rather get our bedroom cleaned up from the other items I’m selling before I dig out more stuff.

I finally finished Charmed a week or so ago. It feels good to be through that binge but also sad at the same time. The earlier seasons are by far my favorite, particularly the pre-9/11 episodes because of what they recall, a different era. It seems like the 90s were yesterday but they nearly two decades ago. It feels like the 00s were yesterday and here we are 8 years after those. That said, the series should have ended at season 7, maybe tied it up a little differently, but ended then. It worked. Season 8 was good but it felt like a different show in a way. Kaley Cuoco was in Season 8, just before she started with The Big Bang Theory and it feels as bit like that was a launching pad for her to land into TBBT.

Victoria is still on, though the final episode is tomorrow. The season went by too quickly and the bundling of two episodes each the first two weeks made that happen. I do enjoy going to Google particular characters after an episode airs to figure out what the true story was and I’m finding out they are taking some liberties with the show. I mean, I know tv does this but really didn’t expect some of it to be like that on a PBS show. Ah, ratings.

This is Us: Tell me you haven’t side-eyed every appliance in your house after that episode?


The Big Bang Theory: It’s been on hold for a few week so I don’t have much to say at the moment.

Homeland: I’m torn between throttling Carrie for BEING SO STUPID TO CLICK ON A LINK FROM A TROLL ON A DARK WEB FORUM, are you former CIA or what girl???—and being all up on the bandwagon of what are they going to reflect back at us from our current state in politics. You know you are in a confused state when you find yourself cheering on the alt-right radio show host (who, it looks to be, doesn’t actually like his base listeners…that’ll be interesting to see) because he’s denouncing a fascist president—but you know this isn’t quite mirroring real life because in real life the alt-right radio show host is all on board with the fascist president. It’s confusing, I’m wondering where they are going with this and because real-life events are getting more insane by the day (read: Mueller investigation), and so insane that I can’t keep up, nor do I necessarily understand how all of the pieces are fitting together. Anyway, more on that spin in just a second….but yes, Homeland, very good. Every time the opening song comes on I’m taken back to my maternity leave when I binged the first three seasons while nursing Forest during that time period. It reminds me of those quiet mornings and afternoons of early fall and a particular way the sun was—already a different era.

We watched Arrival with Amy Adams a few weeks ago with Jessica, our SIL through Chris’ brother. It was a wonderful movie and I highly recommend it.

Other than that and since my Charmed binge is complete I haven’t been watching much tv. Which is probably a really good thing.

+Outside My Window
Spring! Trees and bulbs are blooming and it is so delightful! The earth is awakening and I am delighted to finally be seeing that, though we could use a period without rain.

At the end of last month I met my friend Meghan at a local park to do some sketching. Meghan and her husband went to college with us and they moved to DC/Maryland for about ten years or so before they moved back to Texas this last summer. When I got to DC for my last job when I lived in Florida, I met up with Meghan a couple of times where we had some fun evenings trying to be creative with night photography and generally just seeing different sites in DC. We actually reconnected back when MySpace was a thing and then through Flickr when Flickr was what Instagram is now. I miss Flickr and the community there, it was so different than what social media is today. It felt closer. So, yes, Meghan and I were creative friends for awhile and they met us in Harpers Ferry when we came through on the AT. But then since I quit Facebook, like so many other friendships that are seemingly only based on that these days, we drifted apart. But since our re-connection I’m hoping we pick up our artsy friendship again.

While we were sketching I noticed she had a cute travel watercolor kit. I wanted one so I used a Michael’s coupon and some Christmas money and bought myself one for keeping in the house and for taking on camping trips or hiking trips to do quick sketches. It feels very cathartic to do some art, even if it is a quick painting that means nothing more than getting paint on paper.

+In The Garden
As I mentioned, the garden is waking up. We’ve started cutting back dead vegetation and I’m itching to get the tomatoes planted. I’m also growing various plants out on the potting bench and we need to get some small trees in the ground before it warms up too much. That was something we should have done a few months ago. During the floods over the last couple of years we lost an olive and peach tree. The peach tree was actually a replacement to one we lost before that and so now my thoughts are to go with some native fruit trees that can handle that fluctuating hydrology that may come where they would be planted. Those trees are some Chickasaw plum saplings that Chris dug up from another tree in the yard as well as an American persimmon that I grew from seed from a tree in the neighborhood.

I ordered some seeds from Wood Thrush Natives a few weeks ago and those are all in the fridge stratifying. I’m also trying some out straight in pots on the potting bench just to see what might sprout. I need to plant a few things that I have been growing in pots over the last few weeks and months, too.

Lots to do to get ready for spring but I’m happy that life is coming back.

I have a book report to write for the month that I should get to in the next few days or early next month. Last month I saw a book called The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables and promptly went to Goodreads to flag it as to-read. I saw that a lot of people had reviewed it already despite it not being out for sale yet and realized that they were reading it via NetGalley. I have always wondered how people got pre-published books for review but never really investigated it, however this book prompted me to look. So, I signed up with NetGalley and filled out my information on what kind of reviewer I was and then searched for this book and some others of a similar vein and requested them from the publisher. The publisher can deny the request, of course. But within a few hours five of seven books I requested were approved and I was sent protected PDFs to read. I then I had to figure out how to read them because they were in a weird format but I was able to download a program called Bluefire Reader on my Kindle and voilà!

So, the last few weeks I’ve been reading those books because there is a time constraint, though not so much like the library digital loans of 2-3 weeks. But, I do want to read them before they expire so I’m trying to get them read!

I meant to include this article in my link round up that I did recently but forgot about it: Meet the Unlikely Hero Who Predicted Hurricane Harvey’s Floods. I was constantly tuned into Space City Weather during the storm and it was their forecast several days before landfall that really had me thinking it was going to be a very bad storm. Unfortunately they were right.

Beto for Texas! March 6th is Primary Day in Texas—go vote!

HEB’s Casa Ole Decaf Coffee: Last month I mentioned that I was going off the caffeine coffee since I had found whole bean decaf at Sprouts. Well, Sprouts is another 10-15 minutes down the road from our usual grocery stores so it isn’t on our typical route. But HEB is nearby and they actually have whole bean decaf in stock and I am loving their San Antonio and Austin blends! I tried one bag and when I was out and it was Chris’ turn for grocery duty I sent him to a detour from Kroger to HEB and had him get me three bags to last the month. I’m a decaf convert now. The jittery, nauseous feeling from the caffeine is gone and I still get to enjoy a delightful cup of coffee in the morning. WIN!

Slow Burn: A Podcast About Watergate: being that I was not born when Nixon was president, I’ve only ever had the cursory story in history classes growing up where we would watch All the President’s Men and then of course there was the movie Dick from my late teen years, which was spoofy. But as I listen to this podcast—and I have to listen to an episode or two at a time, I haven’t been able to devour them as there’s so much information to take in—all I can think of is the similarities to 45.

Oh, and in that vein: Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now by Thomas L. Friedman in the NYT:

Our democracy is in serious danger.

President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.

Putin used cyberwarfare to poison American politics, to spread fake news, to help elect a chaos candidate, all in order to weaken our democracy. We should be using our cyber-capabilities to spread the truth about Putin — just how much money he has stolen, just how many lies he has spread, just how many rivals he has jailed or made disappear — all to weaken his autocracy. That is what a real president would be doing right now.

My guess is what Trump is hiding has to do with money. It’s something about his financial ties to business elites tied to the Kremlin. They may own a big stake in him. Who can forget that quote from his son Donald Trump Jr. from back in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets.” They may own our president.

But whatever it is, Trump is either trying so hard to hide it or is so naïve about Russia that he is ready to not only resist mounting a proper defense of our democracy, he’s actually ready to undermine some of our most important institutions, the F.B.I. and Justice Department, to keep his compromised status hidden.

That must not be tolerated. This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.

What’s up with you?

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