Carrie Vaughn

Do not read this again.

I bought Kitty and the Midnight Hour in hardback and epub. What an idiot. I should have known why it looked familiar. She gets raped by her werewolf boss. There’s nothing in the book discussions that mentioned that.

I am not reading this author again.

What about Abilene is good?

Abilenians are dang friendly. For example, we saw a punk rocker at the front door as we were coming home from somewhere. She had come by to say our dog got away and she had put her back in the yard for us. Then, just last week a lady from church started her call with “I don’t mean to be a stalker” and then told me that as she had driven by the house she saw a FedEx package parked on my front porch. Also, when a bunch of planes were diverted from DFW because of storms over the Metroplex, Abilene ordered and delivered pizza to all the folks stuck on the tarmac.

The restaurants are good. I like Pad Thai, which has authentic Thai food and will even serve it to you Thai hot, which is a level beyond American’s hot. AbiHaus is interesting and I enjoy the fry bread, sans paprika, and the Farmer’s Plate of cheese, honey, and fruit. Belle’s is great for when you are really hungry so you can gobble up rolls and have them refill the vegetables… though gravy as a vegetable could only happen in Texas!

I like the alleys, so I can walk the dog without being on parade for folks driving across town.

I like Abilene’s history. One thing I learned from eavesdropping on a commuter flight is that the Air Force gives out an award every year to the city most friendly to the Air Force folks. The speaker explained that many places give discounts to military personnel, but not if there is a base nearby. Even though Dyess is the largest employer in Abilene, however, many businesses in Abilene give military discounts—including grocery stores, furniture stores, and car dealerships. Abilenians turn out for groups coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan and folks buy meals for those in uniform. In fact, the Air Force award went to Abilene twelve years running. After which point the Air Force approached Abilene and asked for support to rename the award and give it to someone besides Abilene. I like that the Abilene Award is the Air Force’s highest award for most friendly to the Air Force—and I like that it goes to the second most friendly city every year!

What about Abilene is Fun?

What about Abilene is fun?
Searching for new things to do and trying to find out what Abilenians might be doing this weekend.
Found the Garageband Woodstock 4 that way.
Went to the Cowboy Action Shooters’ Christmas in July shooting at the range, where I shot pictures.
Good Shakespearean plays at ACU, done as musicals.
The longer playing musicals at McMurry.

Tree Guys

8:30 am: The tree guys are here to cut the dead parts off the pecan trees that we almost lost to shock from the drought.

Hopefully it will be swift and sure.

They said they would send out three guys, but there are only two. Both are fairly young and one was eating breakfast when he rang the doorbell.

It will get hot out there fast.

9 am: There are four guys here. Do not know when the other two showed up. However, the guy up the tree was on a ladder that kept shifting. I pointed that out and one of the other guys held on while he was up there.

The tree we almost lost to shock last year now looks like it was lost. It’s just the trunk and the new leaves. … They cut off at least one branch that had new growth, but I don’t know how it was situated. That tree isn’t finished yet. They have one large branch left to come down.

I am fairly sure they started with that tree. The others should be fairly quick. So it won’t be more than two hours unless someone gets hurt. God, please don’t let anyone get hurt.

9:30 am: Tree most lost to shock is finished. At least two sprouting branches were also removed.

They are taking branches off the largest tree. Hopefully they will be careful to only cut those without leaves. That tree is in fairly good shape and still looks nice–right now.

The guy with the chain saw is not wearing a safety harness and is standing on one of our tree branches. I am remembering Phil’s fall and praying for him to be kept safe. (Phil used to do tree work in town. He fell 3 stories, broke tons of bones, and is no longer able to do tree work. And they had no insurance.)

The guys were sweating up a storm so I took out some drinks. First two taken were a Gatorade and a Manzanita Sol.

10:15 am: The tree guys are finished cutting in the front. They are raking the yard and the roof.

I talked to them about watering the trees. They said that the trees get their water from so far underground that watering the ground around them doesn’t really make a lot of difference.

These died from last year, but I hoped they would come back. However, they haven’t, so I felt like we needed to get them cut while we could see them (so with the leaves on), which is why they are being cut now.

The backyard tree is in the neighbor’s yard, which doesn’t have an entry way, but two of the branches have broken partially off and onto the tree house and another is back there waiting to fall down.

The tree guy said if it hangs over their yard it is technically their tree, but it’s a rental and they probably won’t cut it and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. So we will get that tree done too.

The main guy also said that we may have to cut back our biggest tree, that it was obviously impacted negatively by the drought last year and that it may keep dying. Please, God, don’t let that be true! I will be so sad to lose this tree.

If we have to replant, I am going to put in live oaks. They grow slowly if not watered, but if they are watered, they can look 100 years old in 20 years. I don’t know if I will be here in 20 years, but there is hope there for a beautiful set of trees.

Guess it will be three hours, then.

House Arrangements

We moved the television into the library (or media or “back” room) in late May. But that is where the dog is when she is inside, so we had to get a cover for the couch.

R offered the microsuede couch to the youngest for his new apartment and I expect he will take it. His bud’s don’t have furniture.

We are planning to get a hide-a-bed so that when the two boys are here, they both have somewhere to sleep. I found a gorgeous one at Sam’s, but it is a bit large for the office (which is where we had originally discussed putting it).

Friday we had friends over for supper and the gold couch was in the dining (front) room. It’s really not a comfortable couch and not big enough for multiple people, so Melanie and I ended up sitting on the dining room chairs. That works, but it feels odd to pull them around.

So R and I talked about getting a different couch and putting it there.

Yesterday I was boogeying around town getting price quotes on things (like the table refinished and the rear bumper on my car fixed) and I found a mid-century red blended leather couch in good shape at a consignment store. I called R about it and then sent him an image.

Last night the red leather couch moved into the media room. That left the red microsuede to go into the front room… It is really too big for that room as it is set up, but I like it better than the gold one. However, when M moves into the apartment, the red microsuede will disappear.–Or we will buy him a different couch.

When I started writing this post I was thinking I would want to buy him a different couch, but the red couch is really too big for the room. So I guess I will start looking for a smaller red couch.

I found a blue rug I really like, with some red in it. But it also looks a bit plain and probably doesn’t have a nice feel to it. I was thinking it could go in the front room. However, it is $670 and I am not sure I would like it so I probably won’t order it.

While my office is even more crowded than it had been (since I have my stuff and the gold couch there), the front and back rooms look better.


We’ve been working out for a year.

Last July Ron read a book which said that the older you get, the more you need to exercise. It made sense and we started working out.

First we did FMS testing with a personal trainer. And we have worked with her for 2x a week for the last year. It’s been good, but hard. She changes stuff up all the time, so you don’t really know what you are going to do. I have been improving, however.

Besides working out with a trainer, I was walking 6 days a week. I walked at least 2 miles a day and some miles I walked 6. I also lost 10 pounds by Christmas, so 2 pounds a month without really trying.

Somewhere along the way, I quit walking and changed medicines. I gained those 10 pounds back. So, here I am again, on the old medicine and starting to walk again. Today I only did 1.5 miles, but I started.

Yesterday I had intended to get up early and go after it, but I didn’t go to sleep until really late (2:30) and didn’t sleep well, so I didn’t get up. I did today, though, and I will. I need to get in shape, lose at least that 10 pounds again (though 20 would be better), build up my strength training, and work through all the problems with my feet and knees.

right knee cap pops off, rolls over the bones
left knee cap shifts, managed to break a blood vessel all by itself
left foot, the joint between the big toe and the ball of my foot has been swollen/inflamed and painful for about 3 years now. Sometimes it will relax for a couple of weeks, but then it is right back out there.
both elbows appear to have weak attachments of muscles because those get stressed really easily

Good thing:
my left elbow, which felt just like it did when I broke it (but I didn’t do anything to break it), took 12 weeks to heal, but it is mostly done

I am taking DSF again. Taking magnesium and D3 (10,000 units). I have a bone scan scheduled for August 15 at 2 pm.

I have given up soda pop. In the last year I have had fewer than 10. (I had already given up DP and Sprite, because I was having allergic reactions, so I just had to give up Coke Zero and Diet Mountain Dew–which I don’t really like anyway.)

Wasting Time

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and not a lot of work. I have a lot of work to get done in the next six weeks.

Maybe I need to start going in to the office again.

Almost finished with minimum issues with Early Brit Lit book.

Still thinking through what to do with Old English literature course. But have some ideas that will be fairly easy to implement.

Issues with MS Word for getting my dissertation finished. Otherwise, I think it is done.

iBooks is still not working on my iPad (again). It had worked before, but suddenly decided to stop working.

So I have made progress on my 3 main goals.

And I bought enough postcards that I can send post cards for the August post card co-op.

Thoughts on Being in Abilene

So focused in Abilene on the need to be going and doing, on owning and having. I want “the perfect house” to make up for what I feel like I lost in moving—space, money (because we would have had two incomes).

However, I have gained things. I need to look at those.

One, Ron is able to work more for himself, try things out, do different things. He took City University. He learned a lot about Abilene.

Two, I am able to teach a variety of different classes and I am being pushed to grow in my teaching (iBooks and grad class, linguistics, Old English class this spring).

Three, I am connecting with some people, though not as deeply or often as I would like. The bunko group keeps me connected with Nancy. Being a newbie helped me develop a relationship with Karen. Mikee was an incredible encouragement to me when I was here without Ron particularly. In addition, we have met Neil and Melanie. She makes me smile and makes me grow. (I played pool volleyball for the first time ever. I am definitely not athletic and yet, I did it.)

How can I focus more on my work—this summer—while still feeling a change? Last summer I spent the summer recovering from teaching and being alone. I don’t think I have to recover this summer, but I do have a lot of things to do that I am not willing to or wanting to work on and that lack of desire is pushing me away from getting stuff done.

This morning I was thinking that I needed to go online and find some more fans in the “right” colors so I would have fans to match my different outfits. I don’t need more fans. The one I have (or really ones I have) are more than sufficient.

Ownership and sense of self… I think I have connected my mother’s things to my mother and held onto them to hold onto her. But she is always going to be part of my life, even if she has died. She is always going to be part of whom I am and how I am. I only hope that in some small way I can be more like her in terms of loving people and being open to getting to know folks.

I read a paper that said 50 to 60 years after you die, no one will remember you anyway, and I think that may be accurate, if you live to be an old person. If I live to be 70 and my grandkids are in their teens, they’ll live another 60 years and then they’ll be gone. It really shocks you into a sense of the ephemerality of this world when you have already lived 50 years and you think about all the people who will be forgotten when you die…. My Grampa Ben, my Great-Uncle Charles, Uncle Ward… None of my siblings or children met those people, knew them, and loved them. So they will leave the world, too.

And that is part, I think, of my need to hang on to possessions that belonged to family—to keep holding on to that family that is gone. In a real sense they don’t exist anymore.

We have given lots of things away this last two years, as we have moved, inherited goods, and moved some more. I am okay with having given those things away.

But I can think of my office and know that I have held on to many things simply because at one point I could not have afforded to replace them. And some of those things I may never use. … Or by the time I got around to using them they might not be usable.

Since I own all I need (and most of what I want) I really need to start thinking about paring down. What can I give away or get rid of that is just sitting around taking up space for no good reason? Yes, there are even some pieces of furniture I have that I kept because they reminded me of something when I was a girl. But I will always have those memories and I don’t really need that furniture.

I have also told myself that part of the issue is that I don’t know what the boys may/will want. Well, I asked Micah and I know what he wants. And I asked Elijah and he says he doesn’t want anything. I know that he might take some things eventually, but he doesn’t want anything. So I need to stop letting that idea enable me to hold onto items that I don’t need and that are filling up my space in a less-than-useful way.

God, I need your help. I need your focus and guidance to figure out what I need to be concentrating on and I need your grace to get my work done and let go of the physical possessions that are unimportant—both to my family and to my life.

God, I also need your help to integrate my life into Abilene, to become a part of Abilene. Please give Ron more contacts and people to be in touch with. Please help us to reach out, to plan to spend time with, and to make the successful effort to develop some relationships as a couple.

Finally, God, please help me to think about and concentrate on you more. I tend to leave you on the periphery and say it is because I am busy. But really it is because I am so focused on myself. One of the things I hoped Abilene would give me/us was a stronger relationship with you, because it seemed that it happened that way before. But really both of us have drifted farther away from a relationship with you rather than into one. Give me grace, strength, and focus to see that you are the eternal, you are what will last, and help me to invest my treasures of time and money more in you and your work and your will than in my ephemeral interests.

God, thank you for my wonderful experience at Houston Community College. Thank you for my getting to know Linda at Houston Baptist. Thank you for the teaching experience, writing experience, and presentation experience I have gained in the last five years.

God, you are creator god, maker of heaven and earth, ruler of the stars in the sky and you call them by name—you are amazing God! indescribable, miraculous, loving, focused on me, on my family…

Thank you for that.

Serenity is 9

I can’t believe my beagle is nine years old. It doesn’t seem that long ago we got her. But it must have been. I found the first post when we got her in May of 2004.

She’s mostly recovered from the attack of the dog when she ran away the night I came home from the AP Reading 3 weeks ago. However, the hole in the back leg had dirt in it when I let her inside. (Today was her second day out.)

I am going to have to give her a bath, which she will not like.