Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category
I thought about doing a second post titled ‘500 Year Flood Part II’ because that’s what we had Friday afternoon, but I decided I’d rather show pretty pictures of the garden a week ago and just tell a short story about the second epic flood in less than 24 hours.
When we woke up Friday morning and as I had written the post about the night before, the water was still in the yard but slowly receding. The front yard always takes forever to drain and well, patches of it haven’t drained for about two months because it has been so damn wet this spring. I’m half tempted to start putting wetland plants in it because that’s what those areas really are, wetlands. I did get to mow one of the wetter areas when it dried up enough a few weeks ago but for the most part those areas have been tall all spring. So, the front yard was going to take awhile to drain and that wasn’t disconcerting really.
Work was closed, daycare was open but we kept Forest with us. Chris ended up having to do some work for a few hours from home and in the midst of all of this flooding stuff we were trying to get packed for camping for the Memorial Day weekend in which we were meeting my family halfway between here and Dallas. While Chris was working I took Forest to drop by daycare and pick up his napmat, run into Walgreens to get a few things, and pick up lunch at Sonic. There was a rain shower south of us and as I turned back around and made for home I could tell there was rain coming from the west. It was noon or so by the time I got home and it had started sprinkling.
We ate lunch and the thunder rolled. Forest and I settled in for a nap while Chris was going to wrap up whatever work he had and the bottom fell out. And fell and fell and fell. I had the door shut and couldn’t see outside but the power went off. I heard the rain quite clearly and knew that the pond, which had become a pond again earlier that morning, was going to be in the yard. Sure enough when Forest and I woke up around 3:30 it looked just about how it looked the previous night.
Meanwhile the power came back on for about thirty minutes and we got some cell signal for a bit. We had been having trouble even using the data from our phones to get on the internet to watch the radar or even send texts out. And it just kept on raining and raining and raining. Once we got online we saw that the front had stalled over us and the storms were just building right over us and sitting there. Then the power went off again.
Let me tell you how fun it is to entertain a toddler who a: likes going outside and b: has been cooped up already and just wants to watch some tv when the power has gone out. Our downstairs doesn’t have enough windows on the south side so it can get kind of dark, especially when it is cloudy outside. I had to go upstairs for awhile and open all of the blinds up there to let what light in we could to play for awhile there.
At some point though I switched out with Chris so I could take some photos and videos with my camera and get outside for a few minutes.
The rain slowly started to taper off after 5pm when the front slowly slid south. The power was still out by 5:30 and we were trying to figure out how to make dinner. Chris had the camp stove but had to dig around for fuel as he thought we were totally out. He ended up finding fuel buried somewhere in the shed and had gathered up everything to cook when the power flickered back on. Of course.
We quickly got everything together inside and made dinner, cleaned up, and hoped that the power wouldn’t flicker off once again.
Slowly the water started going down once again despite rumblings of thunder a few times. The sky lightened to the west and we got a few glimpses of a colorful sunset somewhere on the horizon.
We woke up the next morning quite early and hit the road for a planned camping trip with my family. The sky was bright and there was no rain, hopefully, on the horizon for the rest of the weekend.
Before we left we made a mental note of which backroads over to I-45 might still have water over them and made an effort to avoid them. The road we ended up choosing was open but as we crossed over a bridge over a creek we saw that just a few hours previously we wouldn’t have made it across. The water was rapidly flowing maybe a foot below the bridge. On I-45 the San Jacinto River was well out of its banks and spreading out across the floodplain, access road, and into a community adjacent to the river. We ended up having a great weekend camping, albeit a little hot and humid and with a cranky toddler, but at least we got out of the house.
So far the yard damage appears to be a small post oak that fell over, losing a nifty wood bench Chris had made for the fire pit, one of the plumerias on the dock went into the water and sat there all weekend because Chris wasn’t able to retrieve it before then—it may end up rotting, a peach tree is wilting—we’ll see if it pulls through, it looks like the tomatoes are toast—at least most of them, as well as a few other plants in the vegetable garden. We’ll just have to see how the rest fare in a few days and if they are able to dry their feet out. I suspect we’ll end up losing the Mexican/Texas olive because it has been on life support a few times already and really hates wet feet.
Our neighbors did get water in their house. On Friday morning they had pulled a lot of items out of the house and garage to assess the damage from the night before but the Friday afternoon storms just came suddenly and they left without getting anything back in before it flooded again. They lost most of their chickens, the coop, and I’m sure their vegetable garden looks even worse than ours, as well as having the damage in their house. I know their neighbors also had some water in their house and I need to touch base with them again to make sure they don’t need any help ripping carpet up.
We’ve had these few days to dry out but it looks like more rain is in store for the latter part of the week with rumors of the system stalling once again. I just know that this portion of Texas and along the Brazos cannot handle that happening again. It needs to stall elsewhere.
If you’ve been reading here for any amount of time you probably remember the first few weeks we were living here and it flooded. We’ve had a few simliar floods and smaller floods since then, including at least two or three others this spring. The most recent was the Tax Day Flood so it is very fresh in everyone’s memory. After that flood I remembered that back in 2012 someone had mentioned a massive flood in 1994 in Houston and that was recalled again so of course looked it up and was definitely worried about that ever happening again so I rechecked the floodplain maps for our county and was relieved that for the most part all of the buildings on our property were high and dry even in that 500 year floodplain. The line definitely traipsed the edges of our shed and man-cave buildings but the house sat good. That was reassuring…but still, a little worrying.
Yesterday afternoon at work the sky got dark and I checked the weather and saw Bryan/College Station was taking a pounding with a tornado and flooding. We were on the edge of the system and didn’t seem to be affected too horribly at that time. That is until we got home from work. It was Chris’ turn to pick up Forest from daycare so I started dinner. When they arrived home I rushed out with an umbrella to get Forest out and we had a good dinner. It was raining hard but didn’t seem like it was going to be horrible. Of course we weren’t watching the radar heavily at that moment. From the span of 6pm to about 6:45 the pond went from being a pond to coming into the yard up to the fire pit. By the time I started getting Forest to bed at 7pm Chris said he was going to go and just check the yard for things that might float away. It didn’t seem as daunting as it was going to get at that point.
Meanwhile I’m sitting in the dark in Forest’s room, rocking him to sleep, and Chris is sending texts throughout that the water is as high as the Tax Day flood and then nope, getting higher. Then he tells me water is now flowing between the man-cave and our neighbor’s house. Not long after he’s telling me the water is 4″ from the bottom of my neighbors house which is on pier and beam. And soon after he texts that the neighbor’s family, who also lives in the neighborhood, has come to get them in a canoe and they paddle off down the street! Needless to say I’m freaking out by this time. The toddler senses my anxiety and takes for-ev-er to get to sleep and when I finally escape I am stunned to see what it looks like outside. These are all Chris’ photos but it was even higher just after sunset but the photos wouldn’t have come out. I wish we had a video to show how fast the flow was between the houses; it was crazy!
I ended up calling some of our older neighbors two doors down who are much closer to the creek and while they did end up with a little water in the house they thought with the break that it would recede enough to compensate for any more rain and didn’t want us to come down in the canoe to get them at that point.
Luckily we got a break in the storms after around 11pm with a few smaller storms through the night and one bigger one closer to dawn. The water is down now in the yard but the area roads are still flooded near creek crossings. Chris ventured out to see about getting breakfast tacos for us and to scout out the neighborhood. He said there were cars submerged and it was pretty awful. I know based on social media and the news that there was an interesting corridor of flooding in a line along the Montgomery County/Harris County line along with other flooding in areas near Bryan/College Station as well as 16″ of rain in Brenham. It appears portions of the Austin area have had flooding too.
Hey, and guess what happened last year on Memorial Day weekend? Flooding in Houston and Austin. Yep.
And Chris just tells me, after he’s been moving debris from the yard, that the neighbors did get water in their house as well as their vehicles. Bummer.
This is between the shed and the house. The water came up more from this photo to the those containers you see.
Chris moved his truck further up from here because the water came up even higher on the driveway. The kayaks were out from a fishing trip he took a few weekends ago and those were moved further up as well.
Looking to the neighbors house from our carport.
This is usually a ‘high and dry’ kind of spot. But also part of the 500 year floodplain.
Those wood pieces were later submerged.
From the side door/laundry room of the house looking to the carport.
I’ve never seen water under Forest’s swing. It’s at the lower end of the mounded slope which leads to the house.
From the driveway near the man-cave looking to the neighbors driveway. There are azaleas planted by that pine tree but they were submerged in the photo.
Driveway, veg garden, and front yard submerged.
Around 11pm I heard the pipes gurgle and then a few other sporadic times throughout the night and got very nervous about the septic backing up into the house. Thankfully that did not happen. When we knew the water was coming up towards the septic we stopped using the plumbing. I thankfully opted to shower before toddler bedtime, mostly thinking about a power outage, but it was a well timed idea. Dishes and diaper washing did not get done last night!
So, I’m ok with having a fairly dry summer after this entirely too-wet spring.
It’s taken awhile but I am slowly feeling like I can begin doing my old kitchen experiments once again. I may not be getting wild hairs on a Friday night at 8pm to make homemade pasta (done it!) but I feel like I can tackle some small projects in the kitchen once again. Suffice to say, the last 15 months have been hard, the first 9-12 months of that the roughest. An adjustment period. Some of the more curated blogs and social media sites are very great about depicting the ability for a new mother to keep up with her old ways, or even a mother with a new baby and several other small kids at home, but the messy side is hardly ever shown. The tears, the feeling of being rushed to accomplish some big goal, instead of being able to enjoy it, the frustrations, and the feeling of losing oneself…you don’t see that.
Chris, thankfully, stepped into the role of chef for most of these last 15 months. This was mostly due to Forest’s need to nurse as soon as we got home from daycare each evening. For months and months, until he was probably almost 9 months, he would take forever to nurse and then he would fall asleep as, usually, would I. Chris would make dinner and then after I would do the dishes. I don’t mind doing dishes, I honestly almost enjoy the satisfaction of getting the dishes washed and either loaded into the dishwasher or put into the other side of the sink to wait for loading. But, Chris’ chef hat was getting worn down and so I’ve been pitching in here and there when I can. I still opt for easy because there’s no time for frou-frou stuff at the moment, aside from weekends. And weekends, well, half the time we’re off doing something and still come home needing something easy.
I planted a lot of radish seeds back in October and most were beyond ready to harvest. I’m not a huge fan of eating radishes raw but I thought it would be fun to pickle them. Several years ago when we were still childless and had gotten back into gardening after being long distance backpackers/field workers without a home for awhile, we were canningaholics and canned so many pickles and jars of tomatoes that we never ate all of the stuff we canned. I even canned peppers…that went into the compost later. Yeah, we had a problem.
So, I had the radishes and shredded them up with some onions and carrots—those from the store—and pickled them in the brine that was my grandmother’s recipe. No sweet pickles for me, which is what many radish pickle recipes on the internet call for. After that, I had a hair to make lemon curd. We’d recently recieved a few lemons from two different people and weren’t going to be doing anything with them anytime soon. I’ve been putting store bought lemon curd in my morning oatmeal on occassion and thought that it would be a nice treat. Also, it seemed easy. Something exotic but attainable.
Best of all, I found a recipe that used honey. I put to use some of the honey from our hive.
Five egg yolks, half a cup of honey, a stick of butter, and some lemon juice later, I ended up with lemon curd. Kind of. It certainly didn’t set like it was supposed to, though the blog recipe I followed suggested it might be runnier than a typical lemon curd made with sugar.
It did end up setting a little more in the fridge and I’ll likely have to freeze the extra to use at a later date, because that’s a lot of lemon curd!
The moral of this story is…life gets in the way sometimes but things start to come back. The urge to be how you used to be returns. While the wild ways you might have lived pre-child might not be there, for awhile at least, you’ll get glimpses of it. You might need the help of a cartoon or three, but you’ll get there in between all of the toddler maneuvering.
Coming up on my wild kitchen experiments for 2016: I got a bread making book for Christmas AND a mead making kit!! Bread and wine, y’all.
PS: Episode 3 of the podcast is out!
+In My Head
Another year is just about over. I’m looking forward to 2016 and moving on from 2015. 2015 was a good year but the first half felt quite heavy. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in 2016 but I do know my parent’s 40th anniversary is in June and my dad turns 60 in September, so those are two milestones to be looking foward to.
I had planned to try to work with Forest on potty training/elimination communication harder during this Christmas break but he came down with RSV and has been extra clingy, sleeping like crap, and lost his appetite, so working with him on that has been thrown out the window. I hope to revisit it sometime in January and get daycare to work with me on it, too.
Homeland has wrapped up for the year, with a somber end note. #SaveQuinn just didn’t happen to work…I don’t think. It’s tv, somehow they are going to either really kill him off or through miraculous and fantasmal television workings, get him to live from his sarin gas ordeal. Next on deck is Downton Abbey at the beginning of the year. I happened to see a spoiler the other day after spending all of this fall avoiding spoilers as the final season aired in the UK. Let’s just say it was a pretty big spoiler, too. But, a good one that gives me hope for this final season!
Also, watching far too much Wonder Pets while we’re off for the Christmas break. We can only wrangle a toddler so long before we need some downtime, and Wonder Pets solves that for us.
+Outside My Window
Mid-spring temperatures paired with the beginning of winter foliage/lack thereof…it’s tricked a few things into blooming early. Looks like we’re going to have a pretty strong front come through in a day or two and get back to business as usual around here. I’m not sure how long that will last, though. I really don’t mind having mild winter temperatures…after all, 8 year in Florida will do that to you.
+In The Art Studio
I haven’t done much in the way of my studio this month. I meant to but I spent time in the evenings upstairs enjoying the Christmas tree this month. I’d like to get back over there and get caught up on my scrapbook. I’ve also had a hankering to do a pastel drawing. Maybe I will make a goal for a small drawing a month for the new year? I’m hesitant to even set goals for art because I never follow through on them.
+In The Garden
Trying to get caught up on weeding here and there in the garden. We really need to tackle all of the fire ant mounds that are popping up, as they do when we aren’t vigilant. The other day we went for a walk in the neighborhood, something we haven’t done in a few months, and laughed at the amount of high mounds in a small pasture. It really looked like a scene from the zoo in the anteater exhibit! I’ve also noticed the leaf cutter ants have gotten out of control in our neighborhood, too. We don’t have any mounds in our yard but the mounds we’ve found are quite extensive.
Chris has been working on modifying the fences that protect the trees, making them a little smaller and nicer, while still being effective at preventing the der from destryoing our trees. Down at the pond, the beavers have made a dent, literally, in a few of the sweetgum trees. Chris has put mesh around the trees he wants to protect and left one for the beavers, a sickly sweetgum that needs to come down anyway.
The warm weather has bok choy trying to bolt so I think I am going to pull the majority of it and freeze it for green smoothies. I froze some two years ago and it worked really well to break off chunks of it for my smoothies. We planted onions and peas in the last week, too. A little weeding here and there is probably all I can hope to do for the next few weeks.
In the last week I read Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis, about her 46 day supported thru-hike record in 2011. Scott Jurek broke that record this past summer by 3 hours. As I read her book and remembered that she only broke the previous record by a day, I really believe that it will be awhile before someone else breaks Jurek’s record. The stars really have to align for everything to go well and have that record be broken. Overall, this book was much better than her first. I saw some people criticizing this book for being very general in the description about the trail but the book wasn’t about that. It probably helps that I’ve hiked the trail so I could get a good feel in my head already for where she was at any given moment. There were times I was annoyed with her attitude but honestly, she was probably right to be feeling some of those things, re: her unorganized husband, too chipper friends, hiking mentors pushing too hard. We all have our own mental battles, and feeling how we feel and her expressing the truth, well, I can’t fault her for that, especially in her particular situation. The one thing that did stand out was her mother. I just couldn’t get over the fact how her mother did not support her at all on any of her hikes. It seemed a little selfish, frankly. Sure, her mom finally showed up when she summited Springer Mountain at the end of the 2011 hike but it wasn’t without side comments.
I picked up The Gift of Imperfection once again. I need to work my way through a bunch of books I’ve already started, however a comment that Elizabeth and I talked about on the most recent recording of our Dragonfly in Amber read-along has me wanting to pick up the Anne of Green Gables series and read through the entire series, something I haven’t done in years.
Angry Orchard hard cider and Ruta Maya coffee, plus some Kona blend coffee that I got for Christmas.
Almost two weeks off of work! It wasn’t supposed to be this long but I ended up taking two sick days earlier in the week because Forest was sick, and we were also given from Christmas Even through New Years off of work. I’m also loving this mild and warm weather, though it appears it will be changing soon as a front is supposed to blow through.
What’s up in your world?
+In My Head
I need to get back on the workout wagon this coming month. November ended up being a wash since I spent so much of it with vertigo. I still have the vertigo but it seems to be mostly when I’m laying down or when I’m dealing with a lot of action in front of me that has me needing to try to absorb and focus on a lot of things. We went to Moody Gardens aquarium in Galveston over the weekend and some of their tanks had me reeling.
Christmas is around the corner and I am still in awe that we’ve come a full year from last Christmas. I’m looking forward to getting our tree and spending every evening upstairs enjoying the lights and ambience. Last Christmas I had a little kiddo who would sleep on the Boppy while I was up there. This Christmas he should be in his crib for most of it, but I think we’ll play upstairs a lot so he can enjoy it, too. The big fun will be keeping him off the ornaments!
Big Bang Theory and Homeland! A lot of people didn’t like last season’s Homeland because there was no Brody but I did enjoy that season. This season is even more different but I am completely shocked (as are others) at just how similar the season is panning out to current events, particuarly everything to do with Syria and the refugee crisis. From what I understand the show runners are being very adamant to state that this is a fictional show and it has nothing to do with current events, but damn, the writers did their research and must have used a fortune teller! It’s a very good season!
+Outside My Window
Typical winter in Texas: wet and cold. It looks pretty, though! I think we got peak leaf color a bit later than normal this year.
+In The Art Studio
I hung Christmas lights in the studio a few weeks ago and it has really changed the dynamics in there! I’ve been doing some scrapbooking but not as much this month. I’d like to get back over there a few nights every week in December.
+In The Garden
The vegetable garden is flourishing and I need to get back on top of the weeds. They aren’t too bad, yet, but the cool season weeds like chickweed and Carolina geranium are making their appe
Not much! Trying to play catch up on a stack of magazines and get back into a few books.
I just finished a blend from the Sprouts grocery store that was flavored and am now going through the Starbucks Thanksgiving blend.
I’m kind of flummoxed at the moment because there’s not a lot on my list! November was a bit of a bummer, like I said. It went quickly, I had vertigo, went to the dentist for the first time in *cough cough* six years. There’s really no excuse for the last four years. I had insurance the entire time. I just got lazy. So, the dentist turned into a lovely affair of cavity city. Now I’m going through the multiple sessions of deep cleanings and fillings. It’s so ironic because I’m the best teeth brusher in the house *and* I drink a ton of water. I also went my first 29 years without a single cavity. And here I am at 35 with a bazillion of them. Damn that aging thing.
Well, that was a downer of a first paragraph of a ‘loving’ post, right? SO…what do I love right now???
A walking toddler!!! He’s so awesome and it is fun to watch him figure it all out!
Leftovers from Thanksgiving! mmmmm!
A big project I’m working on that I’ll be debuting tomorrow!
My studio! I cleaned it up a bit and put Christmas lights up and now it is my little happy place!
Alright, what’s up with you lately?
+In My Head
FINALLY! The weather has cooled off, the sun has changed positions…it’s FALL! Ok, so, there might have been some mid 90* days in the last few weeks but in general it feels like Fall! That said, I’m now wondering where this year went. It seems like once July hit that the accelerator was pushed to the floor! It’s going to be bam!—Halloween—bam!—Thanksgiving—bam!—Christmas! I’m not sure I’m ready yet for a new year.
Forest has had many ear infections over this last year and this last one from September that never quite went away had our pediatrician finally decide to send us to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Upon her recommendation we’re now moving forward with having ear tubes placed in his ears. It’s definitely nerve wracking for me and Chris but we know in the end it will be better for him in that hopefully there will be less infections and that his hearing won’t be jeopardized. I have ear problems and can barely tolerate a light wind even if it is 70* out, muchless anything colder with a wind.
More on the toddler front is that sleeping and walking is changing around here. In early September I started losing my mind with bedtime and it was just time to move him out of our room and into his room full-time. That meant that I started a new routine in his room at bedtime as well as deciding to sleep downstairs for awhile since his routine after 10pm was to wake up every 2 hours. I wasn’t interested in going downstairs every few hours, bleary-eyed, to put the kid back to sleep.
In the last week nursing to sleep had stopped working so well and so I finally started moving on to something else that I hadn’t been able to do before…nurse for awhile, give the kid his pacifier and then stick him in the crib to put himself to sleep. Now, mind you, I can’t leave the room while he does this quite yet. I have to stand over his crib and let him know I’m there, and towards the end I can sit down in the rocking chair. This is definitely progress. On a good night the routine is about twenty minutes whereas on a bad night it can be an hour. So, in response to all of this, his being able to get himself to sleep, is that he’s sleeping longer stretches at night. Sometimes he wakes up at 12:30 and then around 3 or 4, other times it’s 2 and then 4 or 4:30. I’ll get him back down in the crib after the first wake-up but so far after the second I just carry him over to the guest bedroom and we snooze until it is time to get up. The upside is that I’m back in my own bed again *and* sleeping longer without interruption. Someday I’d like these wake-ups to be just once and eventually for that ever fantastical thing called “sleeping through the night” to occur. Slowly, slowly. Patience is key for gentle sleep training…that and just general developmental changes!
Homeland is back! Only three episodes in but I’m loving this season so far. Gah, I love Clare Danes!
I’m also watching on Netflix a show called Peaky Blinders. It’s a mob drama set in 1919 Birmingham, England. Very dark but has great acting. I’m not sure how I like the meshing of modern music with the period visuals, but it’s good so far.
+Outside My Window
Leaves are falling off of the trees. It’s looking gorgeous outside now with the bright blue Fall skies! Chris and Forest have been going down to the pond to fish after dinner most nights lately which lets me finish dishes and get ready for Forest’s bedtime. Sometimes I pop out there and sit with them for a few minutes. Sally duck is back but has joined the domesticated duck herd our neighbor let loose. Now that she’s going to get free food I wonder if she will ever leave in the summer again?! We’ve also got a pair of Egyptian geese flying around lately; not sure where they came from.
It’s just a great time of year!
+In The Art Studio
I haven’t done much in the last few weeks. I need to wrap up the scrapbooking photos I was working on so I can order another round. I’m thinking of doing some crochet cat and dog blankets for my friend’s Marc and Eliana at their business Project Pet Snip. She said they would be beneficial to use after a spay or neutering to keep the animals warm and cozy—and I have a ton of acrylic yarn that I have no idea what to do with. Sounds like a good tv watching thing to do this winter!
+In The Garden
I planted a lot of cool season crops over the last few days. Most of it was greens but I also threw in some radishes and will be planting carrots soon, too.
I’ve decided I need to spend one or two days a week during lunch to do some gardening since I’m losing my time in the evenings now. I’ll be pairing that with my workouts during the week. The flower garden is in a weedy state once again and some things are trying to go dormant, such as the banana trees. That means leaves are falling off and there’s just a general need to clean up the garden once again.
I wrote my book report earlier this month. I haven’t done much reading since, other than get caught up on Dragonfly in Amber. I did buy Big Magic because I couldn’t resist after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert on so many podcasts recently. I have opened it up and flipped through the first page or two and it looks like a very easy read. Hopefully it is also thought provoking!
I’m back on the Ruta Maya coffee once again. Really, you can’t beat the price I can get it for at H-E-B. 2lbs for $15!!
- How much Forest is changing on a daily basis! Light bulbs just go off daily for him! He’s in a pointing phase now where he points to things and we tell him what they are!
- Getting in the garden once again. I love this time of year and I have loved feeling more like my old self again. I’m never going to be who I was before Forest but at least I don’t feel as out of sorts as I did earlier this year.
- When we were in Austin a few weekends ago and visiting the Natural Gardener I bought a few small, very small, pots for my office at work. I ordered some succulents off of Etsy and they are now potted up and in my window at work. This was spurred because Chris has got himself a mini conservatory going on over at his desk at work! We don’t really have a space for plants indoors at home so making some space at work offers a chance to grow a few things we couldn’t otherwise.
- Working out! I found a gym very close to my office and joined it about a month ago. Since then I started lifting weights three times a week and I have noticed a considerable gain in muscles both in strength and in shape! I’m very happy about this! I have two months left in this program I am using and after that I need to figure out another three month plan. But yeah, already noticing more changes!
- Thred Up! I wrote about it last June with my first order. Since then I have ordered two more times; once for two pairs of workout shorts and more recently in order to spruce up my cool weather wardrobe. My cool weather wardrobe is in pitiful shape. Living in Florida for so long did not require much in the way of warm clothing and I just never built up anything once I returned to Texas. It isn’t *that* cold during the winter where I live here in the greater Houston area but it is not nearly as warm as south Florida! I’m slowly going through and making a donate pile of winter clothes I won’t/don’t wear and trying to build up clothes that are more my style now. This recent order was mostly a hit, though I did send three shirts back that didn’t quite fit. I’ll get store credit and reorder when that transaction is completed. If you are interested here’s a link for you to get $20 towards your first order.
- Ok, I’m not totally loving this because we’re in third place now, but I really need y’all to go vote daily for the next two weeks so the Florida Trail can win a grant for $25K towards rebuilding trail in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. We were winning quite well until early October when votes were taken away from us and the set-up changed in which you need to verify your email address once so that the rest of your votes can count. It sounds like someone was doing some fraudulent voting. Really peeved! I don’t think we can beat the Ice Age Trail, which is currently in first place, but we are within enough votes that we might be able to pull back into 2nd place and secure one of the two grants. So, please go here to vote and be sure to check your email to verify it so that you can continue voting through the end of October. Forward the link to your friends and on social media, too!
I guess that’s about it!
The last camping trip we went on was back in the spring at Brazos Bend State Park. Summer came and we were thoroughly busy but it was also too hot for enjoying the outdoors much. About a month ago Chris and I sat down and made a bunch of camping reservations for the fall and winter, even a few in the spring. If you don’t reserve early many campgrounds get booked quickly, especially the more popular ones. We made a three day weekend out of this camping trip.
This weekend was one of the more popular weekends apparently, because our searches for our general area and over to the Hill Country turned up nothing. Instead we had to look eastward and found Martin Dies State Park on Lake Steinhagen, in Big Thicket country. It turned out to be a wonderful place to camp and I forsee us returning to the park in the future, especially when Forest is old enough to take along in a canoe or kayak. In addition to hiking trails there are also paddling trails on the lake. Several years ago I read Paddling the Wild Neches (this was my review post) and the author paddled through this lake on his way down the path of the river. Out in the middle of the lake are beautiful stands of cypress trees that are now glowing in fall glory.
It was a spectacular weekend to be outside. A little bit chilly in the night and early mornings, but warming up (maybe a bit too much today!) during the day.
I recently came across a blog post that talked about nowstalgia, basically finding yourself in a moment that you know you are going to be want to be reliving and remembering in the future. One of those days you’ll yearn for at some later date. This weekend was definitely up there as one of those nowstalgic moments to savor. I intermingled some nowstalgia with good old fashioned nostalgia a few times as I was thrown back into some hiking and outdoor memories in Florida. Cypress trees do that to ya.
One particular moment, or hour and a half, happened yesterday afternoon. Chris had gone to lay down right after lunch and I finished up my lunch while trying to get Forest to eat his. We wrapped that up and headed over to the restrooms and to survey the deserted campground as everyone had booked it out of there right before or at lunch. When Forest and I returned to camp I knew it was time for a nap for Forest so we went over to the hammock Chris has set up instead of heading to the tent. It took just a bit for Forest to fall asleep but he eventually relaxed and dozed off. I dozed on and off, too, but mostly I just listened to the sounds of campers leaving, the birds chirping, the squirrels fighting, and the wind in the trees. The sky was brilliantly blue with the autumn sun lighting up the green of the forest canopy. It was just pleasant to be doing nothing and enjoying those brief moments of solitude but also cuddled up with the cutest little toddler ever!
It wasn’t just that moment but other moments we had while hiking. It felt like old times with me and Chris, hiking along in the woods. Of course this time we had a kid in tow. But it brought back many memories of recent times of tromping through the woods, just seeing what we could see.
Ok, I’ll leave you with one photo. I plan on getting to more photos soon, though I still have some from last weekend in Austin to share as well. Hey, looks like I’ll have enough to write about for the rest of October now!
Anyway, the photo is just a nerdy plant photo comparing three leaf morphologies. It was the first time, or maybe the first time I’d been looking and paying attention, to see southern sugar maple. The first tree I saw had me thinking it was a wacked up sweet gum but then Chris mentioned that it was a different kind of maple. Sure enough…southern sugar maple. Looks like it is only in two counties in Texas but it relatively common across the rest of the south.
From September 2009
In My Head
I’m thinking about how fast we’ve sped through September already! I am also thinking about how glad I am for the Autumn Equinox. I’m finding that so many people have latched onto loving Fall in the last few years. There’s just something about the light and the colors that make it a magical season.
I decided to go through my archives and pick some old posts from the last five years from September. It was fun to go down memory lane:
+ The Ocean
+16 Miles Through Sam Houston
+Making Way for New Growth
+Cedar Brake Outer Loop | Dinosaur Valley State Park
+Forest at 3 Weeks
Still not a whole lot. I debated getting back into Big Bang Theory this season and did jump into it the other day. After not watching much tv the last three or so months it is a little overwhelming/overstimulating to see commercials and general tv. Still waiting for Homeland to debut in a week or two.
I did end up watching part of that movie Tiny on Netflix one day. I never finished it as I kind of lost interest.
Cowspiracy has been on my radar for the last several months and I did end up watching it on Netflix. I definitely recommend this one as it touches on veganism/vegetarianism on an environmental aspect in regards to water and land use in agriculture. After watching it I did my typical delve into the internet to read about it and to also see about opposing viewpoints. A few years ago I became interested in permaculture and listened to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of blogs about the subject, and overall I generally like the principle. Around the same time there was a TED talk going around by Allan Savory about using grazing animals and how they can restore habitats. Initially the talk captivates you and it all sounds well and good. Until you think on it a bit more from an scientific standpoint. I had a lot of problems with this theory because a lot of permaculturists have latched onto this but I don’t think they quite get that local ecology and local ecosystems might not be well suited for grazing and thus try to apply permaculture principles/theories to habitats that aren’t built for it. The movie did touch on Allan Savory a bit. The guys in the movie were also on the Rich Roll podcast recently and delved a bit more into Mr. Savory, talking about meeting him and actually being invited to his home in New Mexico. The whole thing is a complex issue. I do recommend watching the movie, though. It offers a differing viewpoint on the thought process behind being vegan/vegetarian with less of a focus, though touched on a bit, about animal welfare and more on impacts environmentally.
Since I was on a documentary kick I ended up watching Miss Representation, a movie I saw previews for about four years ago. This movie discussed issues regarding sexism in regards to women, blatant and covert, in our media. The more I watched the more I was happy I am not watching a lot of tv right now. I mean, none of this is news, sexism towards women, or the fact that overall in this world we live in a patriarchal society. Just a good re-focus movie if you want need a little bit of a reality check.
The final documentary is Stories We Tell. I love Sarah Polley and when I first heard about this movie a few years ago I knew I wanted to watch it. I, of course, forgot about it until I went looking for something the watch the other night. Overall I really liked the movie, loved how she shot it—she did good with trying to replicate scenes and passing them off as home movies (there were real home movies interspersed). It actually took me awhile to figure out that a lot of them were replications. And of course it made me want to dig out my Road to Avonlea tapes.
Outside My Window
The light, I love the light this time of year. It is something to soak in.
In The Art Studio
Scrapbooking! I am finally scrapbooking again! Yes, lots of !!!! surrounding that. My photos came in the mail one day and the itching began so I got everything spread out on the table in the studio and I’ve been scrapping away. I have spent a few evenings over the last few weeks in there at just an hour a time, but it feels glorious to be using that space and to be creative again. I’m planning to do a scrapbooking post sometime in the next week.
I need to do some more clean-up in the studio but I anticipate getting back into painting/drawing later this Fall.
In The Garden
Chris and I spent two hard weekends, really it was a total of about four hours between two weekend days over two separate weekends, completely weeding the vegetable garden. Chris has spent another probably two hours tilling in compost and then spreading mulch over the beds themselves. Our weekends are full for the next month so he is trying to go early in the morning to get mulch during a weekday and then spreading it out in the evenings. I’m just glad that space is usable again.
Same as I was reading in July, but I did start Wild. I am making progress with Wild but since I read it before bed I end up getting sleepy rather quickly.
+Kicking Horse ‘Bear Claw’ coffee in the mornings once again. I had a bag of Cinnamon Dolce Starbucks but just finished that. I love Kicking Horse, though. Thanks Elizabeth for getting me into it!
+In the afternoons at work I’ve been sipping some hot tea. Usually chamomile, decaf chai, or my Mother’s Milk tea.
+A new self-supported/unsupported Appalachian Trail thru-hike record has been set and smashed by Heather Anderson aka: Anish with a time of 54 days 7 hours and 48 minutes! The previous record was by Matt Kirk in 2013 of 58 days 9 hours and 42 minutes. Now all that is separating a supported record and an unsupported record is 8 days! I think it will be a few years but I do think someone out there will attempt to get this even closer. Chris and I talked a bit about that 46 day record for a supported hike and how Scott Jurek only bested Jennifer Pharr Davis by a few hours, that beating that 46 day mark is going to be tough. In essence, all ducks need to be in their proper rows while at the same time the stars align perfectly. I like Anish…she’s a badass.
+ Matrimoney podcast. I have listened to Kelsey on her other podcast, The Girl Next Door, but this one is with her husband and they talk about money and marriage. They have an aggressive goal of paying off their mortgage in about five years. Lots of interesting advice and discussion in this one.
+Seriously lifting weights again!!!
+Being more serious on potty training Forest. I’ve been getting him to use his little potty lately, first thing in the morning and it is working. Slowly, but working! In fact, #1 and #2 is being done on it! I’m so thrilled about this and very glad I started casually doing Elimination Communication when he was a month old.
What’s up in your world?
Tomatoes from two years ago on this date.
In My Head
I’m thinking about Autumn! I am so thrilled that the weather is thinking of cooling off and am very excited about camping and hiking trips! Going outside in the summer isn’t so bad for myself but we’ve kind of kept Forest out of it since he was so little this year. The heat just isn’t something to joke around with here, especially paired with the humidity. I will be happy to be able to get out in the yard on the weekends and in the evenings during the weekdays for a few minutes with him now!
I’ve actually been thinking about a whole heck of a lot but I can’t really put it into words here!
Still just watching Masters of Sex, which should be wrapping up soon. I’m looking forward to Homeland starting in October as well as The Paradise—err, I just looked this up, there is no season 3 of this show! I severely disappointed! This was a great PBS/BBC period piece. booo! Ok, well, I guess Homeland is it.
Our library system is set up with several digital lending options, including one called Hoopla. I listened to an audiobook from it the other day and saw they have a lot of movies to stream as well. One particular caught my eye, Tiny, a documentary about small house living. I think I’ll be checking into documentaries soon!
Outside My Window
The changing light. Hummingbirds. Deer. The garden switching to slowly go dormant. Weeds. The neighbor across the pond added some dirt on his yard near the shoreline and now it looks like a beach over there. Right now as I sit typing this the sky is a tinge of pink, the mimosa tree is still blooming, and Chris and Forest ran down to the dock for a morning look-see before they head off to daycare.
In The Art Studio
Nothing much but I rearranged it a bit to accommodate our old kitchen table as my new crafting table. Which means I’ll be in there a lot more often very soon! I’m going to be starting my Project Life scrapbook soon as well. I’ve actually been thinking about crocheting once again. That hobby is very much a dark season hobby.
In The Garden
I’ve been spending time weeding the path once again. Hopefully the weed growth will slow down soon and it won’t be such a big deal. I need to tackle more weeds this weekend in preparation for Forest’s birthday party. This fall we need to replace several small trees that bit the dust either in the deluge this spring or the heat this summer. I thought we were going to lose our longleaf pine sapling last week—I saw several trees in the area looking like they had just hit that breaking point with the lack of rain and heat—and then we got a bunch of rain over a few days and I *hope* we got that haulted. It’s iffy at the moment. I’ll be disappointed if that happens because it had done really well since we planted it almost three years ago.
On that Hoopla site I streamed The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I had wanted to read it for awhile but didn’t necessarily want to buy it and I figured the wait list for a hardcover check out would be really long at the library. This was a 5 hour listen and very easy. I’ll do a formal review of it next month when I have a few other books to review, too. The main premise was “Get rid of the things that don’t spark joy.” And loosen the emotional tie you have to certain things.
A few blog posts to highlight:
+Speed Bumps On the Way to the Mail Box by Pure Florida
+Finding What’s Essential by Elise Blaha Cripe
+Scenes from Chesuncook by Patrice and Justin
+River Lover from 6512 and growing. When the news of the Animas River mining spill happened a few weeks ago I thought of this blog immediately. The family in this blog had recently written about their outings to the Animas and are into a lot of outdoor activities around that area. It’s a lot easier to identify with some disaster when you ‘know’ of someone directly affected, even if it is from behind the computer screen.
Still reading Wild and Illumination in the Flatwoods. I plan on using September to tie up some loose reading ends.
Ruta Maya coffee. Water. Pineapple juice flavored kombucha.
+The Matrimoney podcast! Money + Marriage…it’s great! They’ve already given me a lot of good ideas to think about. Definitely worth listening to.
+This Conrad Anker interview on the Rich Roll podcast.
+I’m just loving the idea of Autumn! I learned to love it so much when I lived in Florida. I mean, anything from October to April was just the best part about living in Florida. We get those glimpses here in my region of Texas with a just a couple of harder cold months, but I like to soak in what I can of the best months!
Last last year I wrote about my return to fitness after having Forest. Since then I feel like I have come even further down this path to fitness and wellness.
Some time after the New Year I decided that in order to really work on losing the baby weight and to get healthy once again I needed to take advantage of my lunch hour to work out. I am lucky that our office is next to a residential neighborhood and that we have showers at work. Working out at home in the evenings was just too much for me. It was doable but I felt like I was cramming in just another thing to do into my already busy evenings of making time for chores, the family, and then whatever personal stuff I wanted to do. At that time, too, Forest was littler and still not in a good rhythm with bedtimes so it made the evenings even more stressful. I was doing the PiYo and other YouTube workouts but losing motivation. I knew I had to return to doing what I enjoyed most and that was to be outside.
I started off by walking and then running and it all felt good. Over the spring months I was joined by coworkers on occasion but most of the time I took off on my own. Sometime in May, I think, I remembered about rollerblading—why I forgot I really loved it, who knows?!—and dug them out, putting them in my car so I’d have them there when I wanted them. Since then I have switched to primarily rollerblading at my lunch hour. I bought a new pair this summer after I realized just how bad of a condition my old ones were in. It’s pretty amazing how much better I’m able to move down the road now!
Also in late spring I started incorporating weight lifting back into my routine. I had lost a lot of muscle and strength since being pregnant and having Forest. I know, I could have lifted and done a lot of workouts that are available to pregnant women but I really took it easy on the heavy lifting while pregnant. Lifting weights is something I have always loved since I did it in highschool for softball. Lifting and having a good muscle mass is very beneficial, especially as we age. I would really love to do Crossfit and considered it a few years ago but never bit the bullet. Maybe someday I’ll get to try it.
Another thing that has been on my mind this year has been mobility. It’s one thing to do cardio and get some weight workouts in, it is also another thing to keep joints moving appropriately and muscles stretched right. It’s also an aging thing, too. While I definitely want to be in good shape for vanity reasons and for overall health reasons, I want to be in good shape so that as I age I don’t become susceptible to diseases and ailments that plague our current culture. So, I’ve also been incorporating exercises that help to work various body parts and I can definitely tell a difference when I’m active in doing them. Before I got pregnant I started to have ocassional lower back pain but it has definitely been exacerbated since being pregnant and having Forest. Not only that, I seem to have developed some kind of heel problem, too. Yay, thanks 35!
One thing I have really appreciated this year has been my FitBit. At first I didn’t think I would enjoy using it but it really helps hit home how much I move and motivates me to get steps in. Some months I’m a lot more diligent about trying to hit 10,000 steps. Other months I’m less diligent but will try to push myself to get another thousand or so if I’m only at 5 or 6K for the day. Just Google ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ and you’ll get a ton of articles about how detrimental sitting can be to your health. I remember feeling just how constraining sitting felt four years ago when I came to my current job after being active for previous last year and a half. I now try to make sure I get up more often during the day and change positions from sitting to standing and trying to move myself out of one position the entire day.
As for weight loss, I’m not sure what I weigh now. The last times I’ve checked I’ve waivered between 7-10 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight, but it has been several months since I’ve done that. I started controlling my portions a little better in May and did notice an impact to my clothing at that point. Many pieces started fitting looser and I am able to get into a few pieces here and there that are what I was wearing in early 2014. For the most part I still sit teetering at a standstill and I know a lot of that has to do with my eating. It’s not that I necessarily eat all that unhealthily but like I said it is more portion control than anything. I still have a bigger than normal appetite since I’m still breastfeeding, too.
That’s kind of where I am at now. Trying to increase my activity and start pushing myself a little harder. I’m looking forward to cooler weather so we can start hiking again, too.
Some interesting links:
+Katy Says: A blog about natural movement. She has a podcast, too, which is fantastic.
+Lift Like A Girl
+Sitting Is the New Smoking—Even for Runners
+Harder to Kill podcast