Thursday, September 14, 2006

Goodbye, Ann Richards

Ann Richards has died.

Since we moved to Texas and I learned more about her, she's fascinated me. I wish that I had half the nerve and courage she had. She was a remarkable woman.

Here's hoping some more women like her come from this school.

Ann, please try not to give God too hard a time.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's just about that time. . .

It's almost September, which up here, means that it's almost time for hunting season. Llano is the "deer capital of Texas", so hunting is big here.

Now, honestly. I'm not sure how they can claim "deer capital of Texas", because I've seen, at most six deer in the 5 weeks we've been here. If that's what it takes to be the "deer capital of Texas", then the rest of Texas must not have many deer.

Seriously, though. What it does mean is signs everywhere for a Hunter's Appreciation dinner, which sort of boggles my mind. I'm guessing the deer aren't throwing it.

The festivities are being held Labor Day weekend, but, sadly, we won't be here to enjoy them.


What we have been able to enjoy recently is the Harvest Trail, a two-weekend thing that the local wineries do each August. Last weekend, we visited two area wineries. Although it's a bit o a stretch to call one of them an "area winery", since it took us nearly an hour to get to it and it's practically in Austin. It was well worth the trip, though, as the wine at Flat Creek is quite good. They had quite a crowd, none of whom, I hope, was there to hear the musical entertainment. If Michael Stipe was dead, he'd have been spinning in his grave over the guy's version of "Losing My Religion".

It never ceases to take my breath away when we come up over the crest of a particularly good hill and get a really nice view of the area. A lot of people think Texas isn't pretty and, before I came to the Hill Country, I was one of them. But this area is really magnificent. There are times you think you can see clear into Oklahoma, the views are so good. It's hard to put it into words. One of these days, I'll remember the camera, so I can actually get some pictures of it.

Of course, it'd be my luck it'd rain if I did that.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

It's the eleventh plague!

There are butterflies EVERYWHERE right now.

Seriously. You can't go anywhere in this area now without seeing them.

Apparently, lots of rain followed by dry weather and lots of heat combined to create conditions favorable for major amounts of a particular species of butterfly. And they are nearly impossible to avoid.

We drove to Fredericksburg last weekend and there were times we'd see mini-swarms of them along the road. We kept wondering why there weren't any birds there, picking them off. I think the birds are scared of that many butterflies. Like the butterflies could join forces and take out a bird, so the birds are being extra careful.

It's a good thing we filled the windshield washer fluid before we moved, because we probably went through half of it just on that drive. Those little butterflies (they're not very big, but they far make up for that in the fact that there's something like 47 billion of them, it seems) make a reasonably icky mess on the windshield when they smack into it.

I did see a bird swoop down to pick one off yesterday, but it was a slow bird. I nearly hit it. That would have been bad.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Fifty minus 17 equals a whole lot of reading to be done

My New Year's Resolution this year was to read fifty books. I thought it was reasonable. If I spent a half an hour to an hour a day reading, plus time spent on airplanes and in airports, I could do it.

But then we decided to move.

That means I've finished just 17 books so far, the latest being John Updike's latest, The Terrorist, which I definitely recommend. It may not be his best work ever, but it's a fine insight into the mind of a young Muslim who decides it's time to meet Allah.

So it's almost August and I still need to read 33 books to reach my goal. I knew it was ambitious to begin with, since that's practically a book a week and I don't tend to read short books. That said, I'm currently reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's latest, the barely-over-100-pages Memories of My Melancholy Whores.

I still think I can do this, even though it means I have just 22 weeks left to do it. We're going on a cruise soon, so there's some airport/airplane time, plus maybe some time on a deck chair. And I've been better lately about taking time during the day to read, instead of just trying to read at night. Reading at night inevitably leads to dozing off while reading, which doesn't help matters. And I'm going to make a big effort to go to the local used bookstore, sit in one of the comfy chairs there for an hour or so, and read, once a week.

I've read more than 50 books in a year bunches of times, but never since I was a kid and my books were way shorter than they are now. And it's not like I don't have the unread books to do it. I just have to stop trying to read 300-500 page books all the time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Life in a small town

We have survived our move.

I'd guess about two-thirds of the boxes have either been unpacked or stored. The rest still sit in the office or living room, reminders of what I ought to be doing instead of what I am doing, namely writing this entry and reading.

I'm in my second day of being alone. Not completely alone; the dog is here and the cats are around somewhere. Each week, I get to live on my own for three days, something I've never really done. To be truthful, it's a bit liberating; I can set whatever hours I want and do nearly whatever I want. It'll be more liberating when I actually have a car.

Right now, I'm basically stuck here. We're right in town, so I can do as I did this morning: walk to the post office. Walking in Texas in July or August? Not high on my list of things I enjoy.

Haven't really had much in the way of interaction with anybody yet. The neighbors have been leaving us alone. We live on a short street, with only a few houses near us. We've met most of our neighbors, but that's about it.

With the exception of my trip to the post office and the visits yesterday from the guys delivering my new washer and dryer and the DirecTV installation guy, I've been relatively isolated. It's not so bad. I'm kind of enjoying it. I've been reading, writing, chatting with friends online. I talk to the dog a lot, which is a little scary. But at least she doesn't answer.

I get to get out of the house tomorrow and be sociable. The library is having a lunch with speaker thing and I figured I'd go. Gotta meet some people sometime. Plus, it saves me having to figure out what to make for lunch.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Would you look at all that stuff...

I think the movers must have brought somebody else's stuff with them, because I can't believe it's all ours. I don't know where it's all going to go.

We're such geeks. First thing we did when we got here, after hauling all the stuff in the car into the house, was set up our computers and hook up the network.

The movers, despite being over an hour late, have really worked hard in very hot weather. They're getting a BIG tip.

Saying goodbye

There are boxes all around me. It's moving day.

It's been a roller coaster ride this week -- freaking out over not beign able to get everythign packed, crying over leaving good friends behind, laughing over fun memories.

We're moving from a metro area of 4 million to a town of about 3500. No malls, no Target, no Costco, no Borders. No longer will we have nearly every type of cuisine imaginable available to us on a daily basis.

Obviously, we want to make this move. And I know it's the right thing for us, no matter how much I'm going to miss being able to see my wonderful friends pretty much any time. The new town is not without amenities; there's a movie theater, bookstore, fabulous barbecue places. Everything we need on a daily basis is there. Plus, we'll have goats for neighbors, which, well, here it's against the deed restrictions.

I'm excited by the prospect of moving to this town and I can't wait to be in our lovely little house. I really can't wait for this house to sell, so we have disposable income again. Mostly, I can't wait for my fabulous friends to come visit us.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Lists

Things I'm loving right now:

Firefly


VH-1's World Series of Pop Culture

The fact that I'm within days of moving to a cute house in a cute town.

The incredibly cute kittens that a neighbor's cat had two weeks ago.

The liberation of getting rid of a lot of things we had but didn't need.

New shoes I just got from Zappo's.

All the possibilites that come from moving to a new place.


Things I'm not loving right now:

The general suckiness that is summer in Houston.

Packing.

Not having sold our house.

Mosquitoes. Well, bugs of any kind in general.

Having to say goodbye to my wonderful friends and neighbors.

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