Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way
Walnut Room? This way, please.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Stuck in a Rut

 The snow and ice came in Sunday night--it was not much, but enough to keep us home bound for the rest of the evening and Monday.  The sleet started while I was at the grocery store.  By morning, Rio's lot was a mud pit where he walks his circle around the woodpile, and his hay barn was slushy by the door, but warm and dry inside.

The Sunday day shift had not shown up, so sis and I covered from 11 Saturday night until 7 Monday morning, and then discovered that the day shift for Monday was iced in, and the evening shift for Monday would not return until late Monday night.  We covered another day and night.  Still, it is always nice when it is just sis, mom, dad, and me.  I cooked dinner and made another apple skillet cake--thanks, Lana!--and managed to get my car stuck in the mud down by the barn.  (It's a long story, so suffice it to stay, the car stayed there Sunday night and until Sis' bro-in-law came to give me a tow out this morning.)

Fortunately, the day shift was able to get here this morning so Sis could go home for the first time since Saturday night at 11, and I am able to get out and run the necessary errands: pharmacy, mail, grocery store.  I take Mom to doctor at 4 to get her stitches out, and then will make a run out to Sis' house as we are working on some plans that need planning and finalizing, and we will be back at 11 for the night shift.
 I have enjoyed sitting out on the breezeway most nights, enjoying the string of lights I hung, and the little flashing lighted star I found while repairing a drawer knob one day.  The days and evenings settle into a routine when I am here, and it is a routine that somehow brings about a sense of rest and peace, even though it is busy from the time I get up at daylight until the time I turn out the light after midnight.  I will be here for the 3-shifts-in-a-row New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and then barring more tornadoes or ice storms or parental disasters, head home to Mississippi early Saturday morning after one last time to feed Rio until the next trip.
I met my new great-great niece, and Dad enjoyed holding his new great-great granddaughter Christmas night.  It has been a most wonderful time of the year.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hello from Texas; hello from Rio

Rio and I have had a wonderful few days in the 70 degree Texas weather.  I have mowed, cleaned his hay barn, cleaned his water trough, cleaned house, and cooked Lana's wonderful apple skillet cake.  I am at the grocery store picking up a few last minute items, and unexpectedly, no one is here, and there are plenty of the items I need. 

Snow and rain predicted, so I may be here a bit longer than anticipated...

Friday, December 11, 2015

La cloture, las cerca, il recinto: The fence

Doesn't la cloture just sound way more elegant than "fence?"  Called by any name, we are happy it is completed.  We rebuilt on a smaller scale for a couple of reasons--to be able to clear the brush and keep it clear near the hillside, and because we really did not need to fence the entire yard.  The purpose is to keep dogs in the yard while they do their business, and this will also make it possible to keep their business cleaned up--unlike trying to police an entire acre of yard and brush.
It provides privacy to the back and side of the house, encloses the air conditioner unit from animals and dogs, and gives the dogs a safe place to be outside.  Only Abby is interested in the occasional romp and run, so it is large enough for that.
The fence extends along side the house and a bit into the front yard just to provide a little privacy, but does not enclose the front.  The old fence and gate extends from the house to the new fence and allows us to access the area where the air conditioner unit is located.
There is enough space to the side between the fence and the edge of the hill to get the mower and keep things under control there.  I still have a bit of landscaping work to do on the hillside itself, to prevent further erosion now that all the kudzu is burned and I am beginning to research how best to do that.  Meanwhile, another day at work beckons, and the yard has to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Final Challenge

We face our final challenge today in the groups class--the literal Challenge Course.  It is a grand way to complete our training on facilitating therapeutic groups!
The student on the right in the photo will be the group leader.  She has many years of experience and training on the Ropes Course and facilitating workshops, and since this is her area of intended practice, it was a perfect opportunity for our conclusion to the coursework.  We are calling it our Fun Final.  While they will have numerous opportunities to learn new therapy techniques and add to their skill base, it is also such a personal growth and learning experience that I can think of no better way to continue the professional development of understanding and using self in social work practice.

Although they still have the spring semester and the clinical internship to finish, it is the last class I will teach for them.  Best outcome ever!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Ouch...the gift that keeps on giving...and giving...and giving....

Yeah, yeah, I know, I quote Tommy Lee Jones way too many times in this blog about "I'm not having any fun here; you know how I get cranky when I'm not having any fun."  But, still, I am going to do it again, and you know I am going to do it again.
There was that whole fire burning up the fence, yard, trees, half the hill-side thing last month, right?  I have been steadily, including my Thanksgiving break week and all the weekends since then, trying to clean up the mess.

The fence replacement company began this past week and most of the burned fence and posts are now gone, and new fence will go up soon.  In the interim, I have cut burned brush, burned kudzu, burned trees, cleared leaves, cut live trees, bushes, and honeysuckle vines too close to the house, and raked and hauled it out of the way of the new fence line so many times I cannot remember, although my knees and hips and back can remind me.

Today dawned bright, clear, sunny and pleasant, and while I had sooooooo many other things to do, the yard beckoned yet again.  I spent the day doing the same thing I have been doing for the past several weeks, and by 4 PM, felt like I was literally on my last leg, last hip, last knee, last foot and just had to quit even though I was not done and there is more left before Monday--when fence building will start.

As I walked up and down the hill, drove the lawn tractor around moving, hauling, mulching, raked and sawed and cut and pruned and cleaned, there was that part of me who is always thinking, planning, just enjoying the physical labor.  When I finally called it quits, poured a glass of wine, and walked the yard yet again for the umpteenth time since the night of the fire, I had that all over again feeling of how close we came and how fortunate we were.  The fence (and the never-ending kudzu) actually kept me insulated from how close I really was to others.  In spite of the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" it has enabled me to get some things done that have long needed doing, and is a reminder once again of why we need to reach out even when others do not, or do not reciprocate if we do.