Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As the clock ticks down...

... to the end of this amazing year.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The "cell" is fully padded..

So now it is time to play ~ oh, and the padded cell is strictly referring to my apartment / home.  I have not been legally committed yet.

And along those lines, as I arrange and re-arrange a working area, been drawn to working small.  Completed a few ATC just because of fleeting thoughts or materials at hand.

Working on schedule for coming months for wanderings, creations, and festivals.  Thanks to a wonderful nephew, I have a guidebook that is detailed enough to trust in the pages rather than hope for the best and drive...  Combine that with new friends, meet up groups and what I hope to be an opportunity for service...2014 will be all good.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just this weekend I have learned....

.... I do like martinis as long as they are made with Godiva chocolate, beer samplings can be interesting, and there is a way to cook flank steak that has nothing to do with fajitas.

Had the opportunity to introduce a friend to the unique shops in downtown Greensboro. Seeing what caught his eye as opposed to mine was fascinating.  This was my second trip to downtown but  assuredly not the last.  The buildings are truly amazing.  Wandering back street allowed us to visit with a gentleman that is reviving a building that is over 130 years old - he took the time to give a brief history that included blacksmith shop.  It will, within the next year, be home to a micro-brewery.

Also learned this weekend ~ one of those truly "duh moments" ~ what I have missed over the years that I lived in Texas.  Community.  While visiting pubs and shops, listening to people visit at yoga classes - there is a feeling of comfort and community.  No, I am not going back to thoughts of "what used to be" but what I never found in Texas and sadly did not realize it was missing.  I do know it could be I was just not in the right place or it could be it was me.  I did have a good life in Texas - husband, son, friends, work...no regrets...but...now I am in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013

Today marks 52 years since Malena Marie Duffy passed.  The loss is felt but not the feeling of loss due to death.  It is the loss of not having had an opportunity to know this woman.  During my visits this summer, I heard tales and stories about her and my youth.  I was fascinated to learn more about Mom…but felt I was hearing about someone I just met in passing.  Well, actually, that was the case.  Add to that of stories relayed based on other’s knowing her, showed a woman I would have liked to have known yet not sure we would have had much in common.  My life’s path was defined by her passing.  It removed the roots and gave me a lack of restrictions.  I received custodial care without direction, which allowed me to become this person destined to be right here and right now.

……….that just sums it up….for now. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

There is frost on my car !!!

…and reading posts on Facebook discussing weather in Texas  ~ so far, I’m adjusting to this quite well.  Ok, dressing in multiple layers and put the flip flops away for the time being.

I said I was working on the “new chapter” that included parole from work [three months !] and claiming a new home.  Within that chapter, I anticipated meeting new characters,  which I have done.  But now I see I am a new character – “noun 1.the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.
The base description has not changed but I am discovering more of what was always there.  Shedding the have-to and should-do imposed by what I perceived as required for the should-do that makes a difference to me.

There have certainly been an array of people – even a person that used to live in Angleton !  I’ve interacted with them as well as wandering solo.  At all levels, I am comfortable which I could not always say in the past.

Completed padding my cell with the purchase of a couch.  No earth shaking news per se, but I was obsessing about it.  Granted, it is could be referred to as a “no tell hotel” piece of furniture, but it clean and the color blends with the rest of my finds.  Now I just need a mantle – yes, you read that correctly.  I have a fireplace that looks like a hole in the wall and NO mantle.   Back on the sofa which was found on Craigslist…I met an amazing couple that are affiliated with an organization that serves the community.  More to come from that meeting I am sure.

Now…off to Yoga.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Still adjusting to East Coast Time Zone

~ ~  but one advantage is awaking early and listening to an owl duet.  Enjoying the clear crisp clean air of the morning.  It bears the aroma of my past – I recognize the smell of fall.  It reminds me of riding my bike as a child and driving the VW camper in Dallas. There is a scent of October – not the packaged pumpkin fragrance. It is the smell that feels clean.   I knew there is pollution in the Houston area.  It became an accepted oppressive feeling without realization of what was missed.

Things / stuff are in place.  It is not home…yet…but the cell is well padded and becoming comfortable.  Work space created for when the urge to create strikes ~ and feeling it calling but still the inclination to ramble.  Dependent on the GPS for wanderings.  Have the feeling I am in a maze and will receive a treat when I reach my destination.  Did pick up a map so I can put everything in perspective.  Found that I could not locate myself on a digital screen.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I’m beginning to think I landed in the wrong town...

Isn’t it Seattle that has the reputation for extreme amounts of rain ?  Two months and 5,328 miles later I arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina where the weather has been overcast, wet and chilly for the last eight of twelve days.  There should be some profound statement summarizing the expedition  other than commenting on the weather … but it is not there yet.  Or I am not there yet.  After a year of preparation for this major change I discovered there were quite a few fine points that were thought of only in passing that should have rated a greater consideration.  There are also quite a number of things that were not given thought to other than it will work out just fine. 

A journal was altered with the intent of recording notes and observations along the way.  That worked for a while….until Paducah, Kentucky.

August 11, 2013 Angleton
I keep looking at this move as a new chapter.  Truly it may be a new book.  There will certainly be a change of characters and I have a feeling the lead one will be changing as well.  (92,256 miles)
August 13, 2013  Glen Rose
Having that thought of wanting to tell people do not drift.  Let me be the bad example – look around and appreciate all parts of the day.  When David died, I looked at couples and wanted to say “that fine print – till death do you part – is real.  It does happen.  Appreciate your best friend while you can”.  Which leads to thoughts of this trip.  Everything will go on - it always does.  But this is the last time I will have a memory of it.  That is why I love taking photos.  The split second of capture that only God and I see.
August 20, 2013  in Missouri
Change of route along with time – two days in Eureka Springs.  Awesome !  Do not like the overuse of that word but it certainly sums it up.  The beauty and feel of the place could be a perfect home.  BUT I know I would become a hermit in the winter.  The roads are challenging enough in ideal conditions.  Now I have two favorites – Key West and Eureka Springs.  Did travel along Route 66 – will reconstruct stops based on photos.

……..and then just one liners.
August 28 thru September 11, 2013  Indianapolis
Oliver time, Columbus Indiana, and Matamora Indiana [where I picked out the future homestead - where else could a person purchase TWO log cabins for a mere $150,000.] .  Suffering mini-panics when it truly sunk in of being homeless and unemployed.    Plotted next portion of the adventure to include Historic National Road / Highway 40.  Had preconceived notion that it would be similar to traveling along Route 66 and sadly it was not.
September 15 – October 6, 2013  Salem, Connecticut
Three weeks of time with a wonderful friend that happens to be my sister.  It was a challenge to make myself stick with “the plan”. 
October 9, 2013  Greensboro, North Carolina
The apartment I had intended to occupy was being “prepared” therefore the management would not allow me to view it until Thursday which just happens to have been the scheduled date for the storage unit to be delivered.  I allowed my indignation to override my common sense and told them …. I’ll get back with you.  Four hours later, arranged for another location.  A bit smaller, a tad more expensive but it will have to work for at least one year
October 16, 2013
Awoke to the realization I questioned the date yesterday during the news broadcast.  Then recognized that it is going to be quite easy to lose days – what was done, what needs to be done.
What was accomplished Monday was the oil change that “Silver Streak” so deserved after covering over 5,000 miles.  My hoopy [as Charlsy taught me to call cars] has held up well.  More than well.  Again, I did not question transportation.  I just knew she would hold up and do as I expected.  Part of the chore of taking care of my vehicle was the benefit of meeting a charming young man [yes, I’m using that phrase] at the Firestone dealership.  He was friendly, informative and so easy to speak with.  He spoke of his accomplishment of a securing a degree in sociology / criminal justice yet unable to obtain employment.  Mentioned what is because so obvious – the job market in Greensboro is horrible.  He is moving forward and returning to school to pursue further education in law.  

.....and that is it.  Two months in a few paragraphs.  But there was so much more.......... 

Monday, September 2, 2013

So this is what retirement is all about....

a tad unnerving, definitely fun {so far}...and things just falling into place - well, sorta.  Some things are falling and just bouncing out of the way.  Luckily nothing damaged in the fall.

Felt compelled to add notes along the way- even quasi composed numerous posts yet never slowed down long enough to do what I am doing now.  And what better time then when #1 Grandson naps as his parent do their chores.  

Amazing...unemployed 4 weeks and technically homeless for 3 weeks.  Time has sped by much quicker than I anticipated.  While traveling, I gradually changed what had been the routine of waking at 4:30...getting things prepped for the day and taking action in one form or another by 7 a.m.  This has migrated into a slower easing into the day....quiet times some mornings, others start with a roar [literally coming from Oliver].  And as I mention him....He is a hoot !!!  My son could never deny this child.  Looks and acts just like he did - complete with wavy blond hair.

Back to the journey to my new home.  I did check the miles between my former home and first major stop - Indianapolis.  It was supposed to be a mere 1400 miles.  Two thousand four hundred and forty five miles, eleven days and approximately 2300 photos later I arrived.   I've been a guest here for nearly two weeks and will leave next Wednesday for the second phase of the journey.

And speaking of photos....I found so many backroads {obviously} and deserted / abandoned locations that begged to be remembered and shown.  So many buildings that are truly on brink of nonexistence.  Houses that make your mind spin wondering why the family settled where they did and sadly why they were forced to or chose to move on ....

I set the albums up as "Just" - just abandoned, just blue, just theaters, etc.  If you follow this link: this link  you will arrived at Just Ghost Signs and then travel to others by clicking on albums at the top.

In closing....I explored two amazing towns:  Paducah Kentucky and Eureka Springs Arkansas.  Neither were planned stops but both proved to be the absolute highlights of the drive.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I am looking out over the edge...

And it is making me a tad queasy.  I've left the world of the working class {although I am sure that will not be a permanent condition} and worked on the preparation for relocation. Waves of uncertainty are breaking at my feet.  

But...deed is done ~ buckle up ~ it is going to be a fun / challenging / exciting ride !!

Still finding "must see once or for last time" items.  Visited Art Car Museum but did not make the Port of Houston boat tour.  Who knew the latter was so popular that it is booked solid through the month of August.  Taking its place on the list was the National Museum of Funeral History.  I knew it would be interesting but had no idea how fascinating it would be.  Beautiful displays, wonderful vintage vehicles.  And it also has extensive, informative area dedicated to the history of Popes.

The ongoing "Goodbye Tour" is shown here:  August 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013


The countdown is in the single digits.  Management of transition in the office is going well.  Still twinges of reluctance to let go...but, as my mantra for last year has been "It is not my company".  I do believe the correct person was employed and the safety nets will hold under extreme stress.  It is all good..

Creepy Monkee
As part of the Good Bye Tour, visited the Mosquito Festival this past weekend.  It has been at least 14 years since I last attended.  The quirkiness of the event made it as must see that first time.  It was an event that suited the time and town.  I really thought with as many years that had passed, and change of location within the town, great strides would have been made to make the event more appealing.  I am here to report that time was not their friend.  It is still a festival that can go on the "should see at least once" list.    
Creepy monkey was on front of the children's zoo train ride.  

OH but must mention Wild Bill's Soda ~ they had a booth set up promoting fantastic soda.  I try to avoid drinking soft drinks, but their sales approach is such fun.  You purchase a metal mug [either $8 or $15] and refill as often as you wish.  The mug is dated so it can be used at other festivals that they might attend.  And the root beer is amazing !!

Back to the Good Bye Tour ~ next week is the Art Car Museum and a boat tour at the Port of Houston.

Two weeks from this time - - give or take a few hours - - I will be on the road.  The route outlined is most assuredly not a straight road from here to there.  Once I started playing with the thought of travel, the development of a most interesting trip evolved.  And the beauty of the plan is that I am free to change it at any time.  The minimal restraints are to be in one spot at the end of August and another in mid September.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I have turned procrastination into an art form....

There is still quite a bit to resolve before beginning the road trip ~ some items cannot be addressed until I am officially unemployed, others I should be researching and finalizing NOW....but...obviously not just yet.  

Though it took longer than anticipated, a person was hired to take on the challenge of my current position as office manager.  When being brutally honest, my leaving this company is as much good for them as for me.  It is time for someone else with new perspectives to manage the office.  The woman hired is amazing !!!  Young, intelligent, well educated and up to the challenge.  I strongly believe she will make a favorable contribution to the growth of the company and it will also be beneficial for her.

One item I have begun to plan [thanks to prompting from my son - he asked when I would arrive at his home.  He asked that of a person that can turn a five hour trip into nine hours...] is the route to be taken.  Originally planned to wander up to Dallas, then head northeast.  As previously mentioned, a friend suggested a few towns that would be of interest...which led to checking out "ghost towns" in Texas.  This changed the route.  Now will be go northwest 'ish....Waco, then Mineral Wells, Dallas.  North from there to Turner Falls.  Of course I just had to check out ghost towns in Oklahoma ~ I might not make it out of that state any time soon.....So it will be a work in progress.  Again, always grateful to my sister that gave me a gps - she said I could wander but did not have to be totally lost.

Still working on the "goodbye tour".  Visiting places that I always meant to see before distance makes it impossible.  Included in the list was the Luling Watermelon Thump Festival.  Of course, back roads as much as possible.  A selection from the 300 photos taken over nearly 500 miles in one weekend are posted here Luling adventure.    

Locally, I participated in the Haak Winery harvest.  The owners are wonderful promoters - they put out the word that volunteers can help with the harvest [free labor !!].  They supplied juice and muffins prior to the event along with plenty of water {it was hot...} and tools.  Prior to beginning the harvest, the owner stated it should not take over three hours.  1-1/2 hours later it was completed.  There was an amazing number of people that attended ~ individuals, families, couples....all ages.  After the harvest was completed, there was an opportunity for wine tasting and music...   Did take a few photos [of course] and included in latest photo album  July 2013 here and there.

and now...back to list of things to do....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What ??? only three weeks to go....

...YES !! Actually, three weeks from today will be the final day of employment.  I do believe being a tad over the top in trying to be in control may have paid off this time.  Plans are being finalized for the trip - Running the roads for a few months while possessions reside in storage.  Thanks to dear friends' input, have added a few stops to the route.  I've been assured they will be great photo opportunities.  A tad unnerving, if  I allow myself to dwell on it for long, that I will be unemployed...and, technically, homeless.  In the past [ok, it is more my normal approach] I don't necessarily think things all the way through...

"God watches out for little children, fools, drunks and 
the United States of America.".  

I will just trust in the universe and travel on [with wasp & pepper spray, just in case].
Now on to the office...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

45 and 57....

Today's numbers are 45 [days left until unemployed ~ by choice I might add] and 57 [days left until I am homeless ~ again by choice].  Both impending events do cause occasional bouts of anxiety and of course the roller-coaster emotional ride.  Commitments have been made, ready for change {on most days} now to show some faith in the universe and myself.

Making time to visit places and enjoy unique adventures.  Yesterday went to Houston Arboretum for the Hawk Hike.  I did not read the "fine print" and thought it was viewing birds in the wild.  Rather it was a person that holds license to own wild birds.  It was quite informative, enjoyable [despite the 95 degree weather]...and they serve wine !!  As much as I would have enjoyed the latter, I did stay with cold water.  I did not want to tempt fate knowing there was an hour drive home and the troopers are out there earning their keep.

Of course, I took a "few" photos - click on text for link:  This is a sampling of photos from the adventure

Still working on the "good bye tour" which includes a few events marked "I better see it now or I never will"...postings and photos will follow of course.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

And then there is Greensboro...

I did my research and selected the locations that I felt would be "right", or at least close to right, for me.  Thanks to the wonderful folks I met via Unity in Greensboro and my generous sister that gave me a gps, the trip to Greensboro NC  went better than expected.  Beautiful location, plenty to offer and, of equal importance, affordable.  During visit did pay a "stupid tax" - had reserved a room at a hotel that had acceptable reviews and photos appeared to be ok along with good location....But I did not have a pimp or drug dealer, so chose to pay for one night per their cancellation policy and then wandered off to another hotel.  
The trip included checking out various apartment complexes - various as in 11 visited on Friday and Saturday. I know my preferences, it will just be a matter of what vacancies available when I choose the move date.

 And this is sampling of photo from Greensboro area

Now begins the wind-down of time in this area.  Mixed feelings of leaving ~ been with employer for 10 years  and it is going to be good for me to leave and for the company to have a person with a new perspective.  

It is all good.....

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tyler is well...

...Tyler.  Beautiful, sedate, clean, comfortable....but...Will continue with the list.  I did enjoy the adventure and learned my lessons.  #1 is that apartment offices are not open on Saturday.  Now that put a hiccup in the things to do list.  Found some amazing apartments but unable to see interiors - except for one and that location left a lot to be desired.
Did visit the Tyler Rose Gardens and did, of course, take a "few" photos.  Tyler Rose Garden and did see various places I would like to revisit just for the opportunity to take photos.  
And just for fun....went to The Blue Man Show presentation at UT at Tyler.  What expected ~ ~ yet so much more !!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Everyone needs a theme song..

... or at least background music to enhance their everyday activities. (**and drown out those negative voices**) 
For this place and time, I have adopted "Leaving Song" performed by Mary Chapin Carpenter.  It is so mellow, sad yet hopeful. 
I took the liberty of using it as background to a series of photos from my collection.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tag you're it worked !!!

Even before signing the reference letter.  Yesterday was a case of bad news [too wet for crew to work on any of our customer's property] and good news [they were "volunteered" to do what I physically could not do].  That is take down the palmetto forest.  And they did !! With chainsaws...  
Now that made me feel less like a old lady weakling.  
Especially when I saw the size of the stalks/trunks !  Should have put a ruler beside stalk in the photo for dramatic effect.

Now back to planning and scheming my escape.  Will be visiting Tyler, Texas the first of May.  It seems to meet my criteria with exception of drive time to visit favorite people.  Other area to be scoped out is North Carolina.  Flights have been booked for the end of May to see if that area has the potential of being my home.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Once again trying to do the right thing....

...but met my quota.  Not sure if you know what the palmetto plant is but you can get on line and see these beautiful glades filled with the growth.  And there are places to read about the wonderful medicinal value.

    Honey, don't believe everything you read on the internet.  

It is a vicious, mean, invasive plant that loves swampy, humid areas.  Now guess how you could easily describe my back yard - - ....yes, swampy and humid.  
And it is called "saw palmetto" for a very good reason.  Along both sides of the stalk are these horrid, extremely sharp "alligator tooth" shaped spines.  The plant has grown to a height in excess of 10' beside the dormant pool and large storage building.  I am taking a stand !!!...I am NOT going to remove any more.  I will just walk away and tell the property owner: Tag.  You're it.  [right after I get him to sign a letter of recommendation for future landlord...].

Thursday, April 11, 2013

You know spring has arrived in South Texas...

... when the Pecan Tree blooms !!! Despite the chilly evening yesterday {low 40's} and same predicted for this evening ~ long range forecasts show 80's as the norm for upcoming 10 days. 

I briefly alluded to major changes in last posting.  They are finally building steam and starting to take place.  I gave notice to my employer that I will be leaving at the end of August.  I emphasize here that it is not retirement - it is time off for good behavior.  I've done my 10 years, behaved as well as can be expected under the circumstances and now it is time to get ready to hand it off to the next brave soul.   And it is time for me to have the opportunity to awaken in the morning and plan things that I want to do, not things I have to do.  
  Checklist in preparation:

  • Living estate sale - DONE
  • Have my #1 Son claim what he wants - he whittled it down to JUST 14 boxes !!
  • Begin boxing things that I can't bring myself to let go of
  • Search for my new home
The last is my current challenge.  I have a listing of cities - one in Texas, a few in North Carolina, and one in Virginia.  Over the next two months they will each be visited with the thoughts of being a resident...That is an adventure I can't wait to begin...but work keeps getting in the way.

Any insight from my readers will be appreciated [my criteria includes reasonable cost of living, plenty of potential activities - hiking, fishing, zumba, art, photo opportunities].  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I know...old, overused saying....

...but time flies when you are having fun.  And facing major changes that can become overwhelming.  Building a blanket tent in the living room in front of the fireplace was so compelling at times.   Despite the roller coaster ride of last sixty days, things are chugging along.

Did make time for an adventure - traveled to Austin for the first time.  Visited the Capitol building and then wandered a bit about the city.  As much as I have solo-traveled, this is the first that I had that unnerving feeling that causes the hair to rise on the back of the neck.  I was not threatened but very unnerved.  Did not stay long in the city.  Took to the road and visited Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery.  Beautiful location, calming place.  Photos uploaded here: Austin December 2012

Continue to take photos in my own backyard [literally] and they are posted here:  Backyard

Still working on downsizing so little time spent on creating.  Few ideas on "finds" that have re-surfaced as I clean up and clean out.  Hope to reach a point later this month that I can work on a few creations...