There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Hello

I have thought about posting here many times in the past few months. This year has been the kind of series of events that is hard to write down and hope to make any sense whatsoever. The ups have been very high and he downs very low. Since I am someone who dwells most comfortably in the "neutral" range, that means it's been rough on my fascinating collection of issues. Perhaps the most interesting discovery that I have made is that when things get unexpectedly better than I ever expected them to be...trying to figure out what to do about it is really stressful! Of course, I can learn to cope!

Holiday Stuff

First, let me share with any of you still reading this blog my little piece of holiday cheer--the kids playing music together for Lee's dad.

They had never played together before, but I sure hope they do it again. We spent Christmas with Lee's dad, who is dealing with some bad health issues. We have been visiting there at least monthly since we got Ursula the RV (he values his privacy, so staying in the trailer is a real invasion of space). I have grown to really enjoy the visits--it is fun watching Lee's dad enjoy his fancy new tractor and watching Lee and his nephew, who has been mostly staying in the area since Lee's dad has needed someone around these past few months, do stuff with each other. The farm has become a lot more organized, and a lot more fun.

For example, when there was a scary brush fire caused by a welding spark, a bunny got injured by the tractor. Lee's dad has been caring for it for a couple of months. It has really grown!

Bun Bun wishing it had more of that gourmet lettuce Suna brings
They lost half the hay crop that had just been baled, but saved the buildings! Yeah, stuff like this happened all year. But fun also happened. I got to play with the cows. Of course, the friendliest two are now someone's dinner. But one bull calf did get to become a Daddy Bull at a friend's farm. More cows are coming, too.

He was a sweetie pie.
I got a real Stetson hat. That is because it's the only thing that doesn't blow off in the heavy winds, and I can't see without a hat, due to my hair growing out. I look very official, don't I?

Why I Have So Much Western Gear and More Ups and Downs

I said there were ups and downs this year. Maybe it will be easier to just enumerate things. Then move on.

1. Jobs. I really loved working in the small office with the wonderful view and the wonderful coworkers and the wonderful lunches together. However, I did not love never knowing if there was actually something to do on any given week. When people began to leave, I decided to stop ignoring all those calls about other jobs and go for them. I had turned down one job this time last year, and resolved to not repeat that. I told myself I would take the first thing that came up, even a contract. There seem to be more jobs out there now, so I had more confidence I could find something else. So, I took a job at Dell. The pay was most excellent, and I learned about Agile Project Management and Oracle products. However, in the entire time I was there, no one ever said "hello" or "goodbye," or asked me how I was doing. I was spoken to about work and that's it (they were perfectly nice and very smart people, but sitting in a cubicle staring at a 200 page technical document with no breaks was more than a little tedious). So, I kept applying for "real" jobs and ended up having two offers at the same time--one for the job I didn't take last year and another very similar job that had more training to it. It was hard to decide, since the people were nice at both places, and while the second one paid more, the first one was much closer to home. I decided I would lose all that extra money in gas and traffic sitting hours, so I took the first position as contract to hire. Hip, hip, hooray they actually liked me and I am now full time there. It's a really nice company with good ethics, and I am doing better than I thought I would at doing nothing but making one e-learning module after another. They do let me do a bit of editing, too. So, ups and downs, yes, but it has ended on a big up. The people are fun, and I have made more good friends!

2. Life and Death. After a truly wonderful 80th birthday party, I hugged and hugged my dad before I left. I am glad I did, because 5 weeks later, his best friend died at the wheel of the truck he was driving. Dad was the middle passenger. They veered straight into Interstate traffic. The next two weeks were unbearably difficult. I went to NC and stayed as long as I could with him in ICU. That was horrendous. Since people read this, I will omit some of the reasons, but it is sufficient to say that emergencies bring out the worst in some people, and Dad married into that kind of family. Dad's funeral was not quite as bad, because I had my wonderful husband and kids with me, and my wonderful husband did a great job easing things for everyone. The ensuing issues with wills, property and other stuff were difficult, but my brother did a good job executoring. Hopefully at some point the remaining little bit of bucks in Dad's checking accounts will be taken out and that will be over with. Sigh. I cannot tell you how much I miss my dad. There are a lot of things that come up internally when something like this happens!
Dad's 80th Birthday

And it hasn't stopped. There have been some deaths of friends' family members that have been very sad, too. But, it's a part of life, and most of the time I bear that in mind and do OK.

3. Spirituality. The church I have attended for well over a decade continues to be a big ole source of stress, strife and difficulty. There are also good parts, which is why I have so much trouble separating myself. I guess it is a good thing we spend so much time camping, farming and ranching these days--being in nature settles my soul much better than crabby infighting ministers, power plays, political maneuvering and public displays of all of the above! They way people have treated fellow church members in the past few months appalls me. Much like how people on different ends of the political spectrum just say awful stuff about each other. Why on EARTH do that? These are your friends who have a different perspective from yours, not enemies. I have tried really, really hard to listen to everyone, act according to my conscience, and plug away, but it is very, very hard. I had loved singing in the rock group, but the leader moved away, and while choir is OK it is no longer much of a challenge--I feel like more of a hindrance than a help there these days (to be proactive, I have rejoined the choir I sang with a few times years ago, and hope that will be a fun experience over the next few weeks.)
Fun with Funkatonic
4. Windfalls. There have been opportunities opened up for us that we never foresaw, thanks to the concept of "mineral rights." Trying to figure out what to do with unexpected income? Save! But, savings have no interest nowadays. So, we are planning to invest in a place to retire to, part of a lovely ranch. We go there often. I hope to share more photos when we start making improvements.
Ranch, looking toward woods.

I love looking at the birds around the tanks (ponds), wandering in the woods, and exploring the fields. The place feels good. That's what counts. Obviously we are still working, so we won't be moving anywhere for some years, but it will be great to have a place to retreat to. I need it. The world is such a contentious, unpleasant place these days. I can cope better with some "hermit time."

There is more, way more. But at least I have sort of caught up on this year. Next year I hope will be calmer, with more travel (RV and otherwise) and fun with friends and family. Because for sure, friends and family are what counts most. It's been a transition period for friends, but the ones who remain are treasured all the more, and I feel fondness for the good times with those who have moved on to new adventures!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer of No Moisture

We are going through a really bad drought here in the middle of Texas, even as so many people are dealing with so much rain and flooding elsewhere. The inch or two of rain we got last week was the first in many weeks, and it doesn't appear that more is on the way. Temperatures have also been very, very high for days on end. Temperatures like 104-106 day after day. That cannot be good for plants.

Yet, I went for a walk around the block yesterday, after it got down into the almost-bearable 90s. I passed yard after yard with perfectly manicured, green lawns. There were two or three that looked barely green and with some brown on the edges (like mine). But I was surprised at how well watered everyone's plants appeared to be. And to be honest, I haven't been hearing the usual exhortations to conserve water, to water only on your designated day, etc., that I remember from previous dry spells and long droughts. I guess this is the new normal, though of course, no climate change around here. Just lots and lots of above-average hot and dry years (plus one wet one not too long ago!).

As I came back home, I realized our house looked pretty nice. For once there weren't four cars in the driveway, and the wildflowers have been mowed down. I realized the burr oak is finally taller than the house--I knew I had planted a slow-growing tree, so that's fine. The edgings ELAB has put on the flower beds look very nice. The ones on the right of the driveway are new this year. So, this is how it is during our summer of no moisture.

Our house, summer 2011. Thanks to JGT for PhotShopping out the street light pole that is really in the middle of the crape myrtle on the right.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just a Quick Link

I'll try to post more tomorrow--I will have a car repair and a crown to report on. Oooh.

But until then, I wanted to share that I did start a blog for RV fun and learning. If you would like to know more about where we go, what we see, and the (sometimes physically painful) lessons we learn, check out Lumbering along with Ursula. She'd appreciate it. Maybe she won't be so temperamental if she knows she has fans.

And to tempt you, here is a pretty picture from this past weekend.

Sunset Saturday night. Photo NOT found on other blog!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I think I am going to start a new blog about driving around with the RV. I will link to it, so any of you who are interested can follow along.

I will keep this one for personal writings, which I will try to do more of these days. I think maybe it's not so overwhelming now.

So here is a picture of my dad, in honor of Father's Day coming up. He had a really crappy 2011, and lost his life in April. He was finally feeling better and hadn't counted on his friend dying at the wheel of the car he was riding Interstate traffic.

 I just found out I will be inheriting his car soon. Not how I wanted to become a two-MINI family. 

Ethel meets Princely. Princely has been very lonely since March.
My Work Buddy (well former work, still buddy) and I were talking today about his parents and ELAB's dad and how they don't want to spend any money, even though they are quite elderly (his mom won't buy a book for the Kindle--would only want free ones). I realized that one reason I went along with the plan to buy the RV was that I I have been putting off doing fun stuff, having adventures, and seeing the world around me for a long time. Oh, I had no money in grad school. Focused on the kids and expensive trips to visit the Irish relatives when the kids were small. Was struggling to make ends meet or had no vacation as a contractor after the divorce. Well, I can take a day or two off now.

I'm still saving for the future, and not planning to go wild, but it will be nice to go relax in places I've never been before. Now's the time to enjoy my husband and my kids, while I can. Off I go. Follow me on Ursula's new blog...soon as I figure out where it will live!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hey there

I am thinking of taking this blog and using it to chronicle our trips with Ursula, our new-to-us RV. So look forward to some traveling travails.

I am still alive, by the way, though it has not been a terribly fun period. Lost a bunch of friends, lost my dad, changed to a job with no friends...but it's not all bad! Beccano managed to graduate from high school, we have a fun house guest all summer, and the house is always full of happy chatter. Not bad. And when the chatter gets too much, ELAB and I head out in Ursula.