127 – mumblings from the mountains

Sitting looking at a smoke-hazed mountain outside my best friend’s back door. It’s beautiful, even in the fire-induced fog. The sun is trying to climb over it–she often doesn’t get actual sun on her house until upwards of 10 a.m. because it lies in the early morning shadow cast by that mountain.

Happy to be here, feeling a sense of accomplishment–a quilt that I worked on for almost a year has been given to the newlyweds, and the bride was my friend’s youngest daughter. The bride and groom are off now to Hawaii. Now a couple days just for us, the vacation we both sorely needed–and a quick visit with son John in Great Falls before we head back to super-heated but not-on-fire West Texas.

attic window quilt
attic window quilt

Got a nice, long visit with Kelsey and Brian and the kids the last week of July, got to know Miss Haley Leann a little bit better, and had tons of fun with Tyler.

Also took on a consulting job shortly before that, getting operations turned around at a restaurant in the 8000+ population town 45 minutes from the ranch. The same folks who own the ranch own the restaurant, and when their general manager asked if I’d take on the challenge, I couldn’t resist. That was July 17, and from there until we flew out to come up here for a week, I’ve been running with my ears laid back. It’s in much better shape now, with tons of help from Kels and Brian as well as Corey, who jumped in with the staff to do the massive cleaning that was the first step to getting the place back on track. It’s a 90-day contract, minus the time here in Montana, so as of October 16, I’ll be back to entrepreneuriality, if that’s a word. And November is NaNoWriMo.

Oh… and we bought a warehouse. 🙂


108 – welcome to TTAADD

As of today, I’m being published in print once more. Welcome to the blog if you wandered over here from The Fort Stockton Pioneer–you’re very welcome.

It’s been four years since I wrote for  a weekly newspaper, and a quick conversation with the publisher has me writing for them once more.  I couldn’t be happier about it.

I wrote for them during 2009-10, while I was in the process of divorcing, getting remarried, and moving three times. I was also watching my brand-new daughter graduate high school, and waving her off to the tender care of the US Army.  It was a time of much chaos.

Publisher Pam Palileo told me more than once, though, that my articles were the most popular part of the paper, and actually made me believe it. I often got stopped on the streets of Fort Stockton with the question “Aren’t you the one…” My first, last and probably only taste of fame…. 😀

I quit writing in 2010, and in retrospect, it was because I was so frustrated with having to hold my tongue about so many things. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was only about 30 days away from quitting my job of nearly three years with an oilfield services company, and going back to work for Cisco Systems.

The funny part is, had I known that was going to happen, I would have probably kept writing! Part of my frustration was that my professional position kept me from being able to say what I wanted to about the company where I worked. The few times I had, my hand had been summarily slapped.

I was also involved in the Chamber of Commerce through my position at work, as well as a number of other organizations. It put me in a place where I could only say positive things, never anything negative.  Basically, I felt like my hands were bound, and my mouth was gagged. No writer is comfortable in that situation, so I just had to stop writing.

Now… now, I’m free to write whatever I choose, as long as it’s not libelous. Should be fun!

103 – just got real

One of the more interesting things about getting older is getting to know yourself. I, apparently, have never met myself, and wouldn’t know me from Adam’s off ox.

So… if you’ve been reading the blog (and if not, why not, dang it?), you know that life has gone from real busy to bizZAY, from trying to keep myself occupied to trying to fit it all in… and I just had to offload one.  And as soon as I did, I felt totally unstressed again. It’s not the one you think, most likely.

Corey says life is never boring around me, and seems to feel that is a good thing.  So, for a quick recap of this non-boring life, over the last three months I’ve started two brand-new jobs, rented a place to live two hours away and then gave it back to them a month early, began talks with my current boss about starting a subsidiary or partnership, started my second novel, entered into an agreement to buy an office building with a shop, hiked through part of Big Bend National Park and this Wednesday, bought a van. The last three of course, with Corey. In a very real sense, actually, all of them were with Corey. None of this went undiscussed, I promise you.

I’ll also be available to sign “The Best of Critique Café” this Saturday at Fort Days in Fort Stockton, along with a number of the other writers included in the chapbook. One of my poems, “October Has Edges” is included in it, along with selections from all the other writers in the writing group that I also began attending again in September.

And, because there is a line where even good stress becomes too much, I had to stop SOMEthing.  And something more than one of the jobs, which I actually did leave in September.

So, I’m pushing off the idea of starting a subsidiary or partnership well into next year.   Lots of reasons, all making perfect sense. And the moment I talked to my boss about postponing that particular conversation with the lawyer, I felt as if a weight got lifted. I am back to unstressed, doop-de-do, dog-paddling around the pond again.

Why do I do it? Why do I load that one more thing on my plate until something has to give? Heck, I don’t know. If you figure it out, tell me please.  But I will say…

Life is never boring.

102 – autumn, and everything’s coming alive

I know a lot of people see autumn as the time of year when the plants start dying or begin shutting down for the winter to come, but I have always found it so energizing. Maybe because I’ve lived in warmer climes all my life, so fall temperatures are the first relief from the summer heat in months.

I may not be oriented on plants as keeping time because I can kill any plant ever… bought a beautiful calladium, and it’s down to five spindly little stalks with leaves and Corey may not even be able to keep the buggerty thing alive much longer.   He, on the other hand, sticks a few green onions straight out of the grocery store in some plantswater and they’ve not just lived but thrived for months; he hasn’t had to buy any since June, just keeps clipping them off the original bunch. And they’re putting on new sprouts as I speak.

The spider plant was once three spider plants – two died under my watch, but he rescued the third. The two large green leaves in the small red pot are an orchid that he has kept alive for more than two years and even coaxed into reblooming once. It was a birthday present from Johnny to me just before he went in the Air Force in July of 2012.

It’s probably a good thing Corey had the kids when he met me and they were big, strapping healthy specimens.

But, I love fall–the cool temperatures make me happy. I don’t like sweating unless it’s my idea.

Perhaps part of the reason for my happiness is that we’ve got so much going on right now, it feels as if life’s kicked into high gear. Signing papers for the new building this week. I’m finishing my first full proposal for my new job this week. We may be buying a van this week. All kinds of things going on–and they will inevitably interfere with each other.

That’s OK – that’s what balance is about. I feel as if I’ve been in a long, fallow period, something everything needs in order to rejuvenate, revive, grow again. Six days from now is one year since I left Cisco behind, and I feel as if I’ve finally healed from all that.

Happy autumn days people. Enjoy your pumpkin spice whatevers while they’re around… 😀