New Friends…

This time last year, I didn’t know any other these women!!! And look how lucky I am!! They all live in the neighborhood where I live! Aren’t I lucky!

We met at a place down the hill from our house…which has a nice deck and a reasonable happy hour.  Next, we plan to tube the river, Very nice women, all of them..!

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A YEAR IN TEXAS

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feetswater995818_10103216034657640_1377140441_nI’ve gone Native…

Its been a while since I wrote my blog…seems it wasn’t necessary. But now that a year has passed, I feel inclined to sum up the time…so here goes..

4th of July

It is a nice warm day here in Central Texas, San Marcos in particular……at this time, it is quiet enough so that we hear the birds…people are still sleeping. Come noon, the noise will start.

There is a parade in downtown San Marcos.   I’m not the biggest fan of fireworks, truth be told. I do like the idea of getting together with friends, however…we are invited to a neighbors house later this evening…in the meantime, quiet.

We have been here for a year now! And its just starting to feel like our house is settled. Jack has finished the front porch area with a fountain. He has worked on the outside and on the inside…I’ve been arranging and unpacking and sorting and organizing and getting rid of extraneous stuff…I set up my sewing machine and have been sewing. I have my paints out and have been painting…Jack has his tool box and has been hammering and sawing and fixing. We are making friends in different places. It takes time. It takes time. You can’t force the friend thing.

We were able to escape a brutal winter in MN. They had snow in May! Yikes. But now, while its lovely there, we are having the 104+ temps…its kind of the same…you are in the house to get away from heat here, and the opposite in MN. I’ve learned to go out early or later, and cover up the windows to block the heat.. it works.

We have enjoyed watching the wildlife around our neighborhood…yesterday, we watched a flock of fawns, chasing each other in our neighbors backyard. There is one baby black deer…its is the cutest!! Its mother was gently licking it yesterday…the other babies were out frolicking, while this one wanted to stay near its mother…deer have no color  discrimination issues, A beautiful sight.

There have been many many beautiful things which have happened in my life lately. i’ve been able to see my girls regularly, swim with them, have lunch with them, help them. And they do the same for me.   I will get a text from Viv that says ” want to hang out today, Mom?”  and I am so so grateful. I drop everything and go. Or I get a call from Eleanor, in tears because of the house or her dog, or whatever, and we talk and I listen and she even asks me for advice!!! and  I tell her what I think, and sometimes she listens and then she seems happy again, after she sorts it out.

And Jack loves his projects. And he is fun to watch. He is so handy with his tools. And i have my projects and its good.

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We celebrated 30 years of marriage…this past May. I am surprised. ..I give Jack the credit. He has to put up with me.

We took a day trip to Goliad Texas…the skies were spectacular. The drive was lovely. Through beautiful countryside…almost to the coast.  The missions were worth seeing.

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check out those clouds…love love love clouids!

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I did this painting from the photo that I took…

Here we are when we first got married…Image

in South Carolina…we liked dancing…look how happy…and so much has happened. Of course!!

Well, that’s enough for now…more later…

 

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Big Bend

ImageWe gave each other a trip to Big Bend and surrounding towns for Christmas…We finally got to go.. February 4th was blast off date. Our car was loaded with bikes on top, with camping gear in the trunk and a wonderful feeling of excitement…it had been 45 years since I had been to Big Bend..and I don’t remember that it was an easy time. This time was perfect.

This Park was formally designated a National Park in 1944…it is over 800,000 acres!!!

Massive in size…hence, wonderful to visit..just pure land and sky for miles as far as the eye could see…wonderful Where else in the US or the world can one have that opportunity?

We camped for three nights, stayed in hotels for three nights. First place we stayed was at the Gage Hotel in Marathon…what a charming place. It was quaint. Old floors creeked, original paintings on the wall. Very welcoming and friendly staff…the rooms were very comfortable for we two…we were happy to have found it. ” this will be our get away place, this room, this time of year”…Image

Front entrance to Gage Hotel…February 4th…we ate at the Paisano , the restaurant on the grounds…delicious. I had a most wonderful desert, an apple cranberry crisp with ice cream..yum

the next morning, we got back in our trusty Buick and headed off to the Mountains…it was , it seemed, a long drive. But , it was really only an hour…we took these photos while entering the park…Image

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The land looks rugged and dry, but once you are there, it is comfortable…the best part was the temperature…not too hot nor cold. except cold at night. around 40.s

Jack slept right outside under the stars..he loved it. I slept in the tent. I thought the tent would protect me from mountain lions and javalina’s..Jack kind of laughed at that falacy. Oh well…we slept on cots…not the most comfortable but better than on the ground…

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We used a cookstove which once belonged to his grandfather, Hart…it didn’t work very well , despite its distinguished history…and we couldn’t use firewood because of the drought…we had to use charcoal brickets…which was a disappointment to me because I love a campfire…( Iused to be a campfire girl and was a girl scout leader)  Oh well, I suppose its best.

We camped in two places; Chisos Basin and Cottonwood campground, not far from San Helena Canyon ..That was a wonderful campground..peaceful, flat, plenty of space. Oh, just thinking about it makes me miss it.Image

We awoke to the most glorious sound of birds singing high up in the sycamore and cottonwood trees…no engines, early in the AM, as most of the campers were very respectful people…several from MIchigan, one from New Mexico, some from Canada..all living in their travel trailers..it was a sacred place in a way…it is. from my tent, I could look up into the stars at night and into the trees with birds flying from limb to limb in the morning…we both just loved being there..

WE made a few friends too. Maybe we will see them again next year!  Lee Turner, a musician and folk artist, was traveling in her Casita, which has been her home since November. She has no plans to stop for now…I may want to do the same one day…who knows? She was so in tune with nature, so alert, so alive…she is 65 and the fact that she went to Harvard divinity school in her past was just mildly mentioned…I wonder if we will see her again. I hope so.Image

Lee came to visit from Big Bend then leaves after 5 days…she went on to the coast of Texas…

One day, we rode our bikes to San Elena Canyon, about 16 miles, which is a canyon that is 8 miles long and 1500 feet high…on the Mexican border. We saw it in the afternoon and also in the morning…the sunlight on the canyons was spectacular…Image

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Our bike ride to the Canyon…we made several stops aImagelong the way…

one was a deserted homestead of a family who lived here in the 1920’s or 30;s…there are books written about how people survived living on this land…I cannot imagine the isolation…

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I thought these branches were just so beautiful…Image

and other places, so stark yes so beautiful…Image

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One thing you cannot experience in photos is the sound…an echoing sound of voices in the canyon, of the small trickling Rio Grande River…and the smell, hard to describe..it smelled of river, of sand, mud, cottonwood leaves…Image

and it was a visual delight…everywhere you looked…Image

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we hope to stay here next time, Emory Peak Lodge…in Chisos Basin…they have ktichenettes and porches..

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I did a watercolor…it was hard to sit still to do it, because I really wanted to keep exploring..but my legs got very tired.

We left our campsite after two nights and headed to Marfa, Alpine and Ft Davis. We stayed in Alpine at the Antelope lodge for a couple of nights. That was the most charming little place. We both loved it.

Then, after almost a week. we decided it was time to get back to “reality”, back to our dog, to our house, to our yard and the beautiful comforting live oak outside our side door…it was good to go and good to come back…now we are planting our spring garden..

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Then there was Valentines Day….Jack gave me these pretty pretty roses…so lovely…I am so grateful …for Jack, for this time, for this house, for my health, etc…Image

And on to new ventures, whether being in town, in our backyard, wherever…always a new day..spring is coming…buds are out already!! Yikes. No time for sitting around the fire and reading books or watching the snow. time for living!!

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Sunday January 27th

Well I went to church today. Presbyterian. In San Marcos. A sweet simple friendly church…I think it will be a good place for me to go. Except I’m Episcopalian, no Methodist, no Convenant…then I skipped church altogether for years..but I felt really good about this one. Almost hesitant because of how it was just so so friendly and welcoming and genuine…time will tell.

Dad joined me too today. a simple old fashioned church…

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love this weather…

HI. I see photos of cold cold places in the US…and I don’t have to go there or live there anymore..I hate to gloat but there were many sacrifices to get to where I am today…and the journey was  largely because of the good will of my husband Jack. …yes, its true. He does most of the sweat, and with good spirit. Most of the time. I see him digging in the dirt, planting seeds, looking at his January garden and I don’t think he minds it all too terribly much. This time last year, it was another bitter cold in MN…I was told the coldest on record. I hear tell the temps are – 20 this past week, but up to 18 + this week. My bones remember the cold..it hurt.

The good news is that I didn’t loose my mind afterall. Almost, but did not. Image

I took this photo last year, on the trail from our house…a trail that i took regularly…and wanted to say goodbye in a way. This was before I knew we sold the house…we had not put it on the market. It was a blur. Jack worked ever so hard on that house. And he made it a little masterpiece…and it sold in two weeks. But anyway, the house pops when it gets so cold. And the place, Edina, at times seemed like a ghost town. So many people fled to Arizona. Half the houses were closed up, I remember. Such a horrible feeling. Windows closed, houses dark, no one home, I walked by in my downjacket, crunching on the snow, hating that I couldnt leave…but , then, I decided that I could leave!! And so I figured out a way to and took action and here I am, sitting on the back porch with my laptop, feeding the birds and looking at roses, blue sky and green grass. Do I seem happy? Yes, I am.

Last night, I opened our house to several of the ladies in the neighborhood. All I can say is they are a wonderful, beautiful group of women. They seemed to enjoy being here. It was a delightful evening. Want to do it again…there were about 15 women! I got the house all fixed up, with candles and homemade soup and cookies. They all brought something, and wine. And smiles and good energy. This house needed that. And it was happy too. Washed windows, painted walls, good spirits abounded.

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Visited my sister, Cindy and her husband

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My sister, Cindy, ( Cynthia Elizabeth Chadwell Corwin) is the coolest…She goes about her days, quietly, without needing attention, doing her job, ( a nurse) taking care of her animals, loving and laughing with her husband of 36 years…she has always been one of my most favorite individuals…and she gets better and better…

I see the movie stars and the famous people all wanting and needing attention, more more more…insatiables…but she is satisfied…with her life, with her job, with her home …”  I am contented”….and not without struggles, she continues her life in Rio Frio…home to a flock of goats and lots of baby goats, pigeons, chickens and dogs, ducks and maybe peacocks…she said ” we have a farm”….

I picked up one of the baby goats yesterday, it cried out, as goats do, but then it got quiet…and let me cuddle with it…what a splendid experience!!! To cuddle a goat…Cindy says they are smart, personable and so darned cute!! One of the mama’s tried to eat my sweater! And when I pulled my sleeve back, she looked at me as if to say ” what’s your problem?’ They are funny…

I liked watching the little ones nursing…their little tails wiggling back and forth…I hope to go back often.

I asked Cindy to take down her hair….what a mane she has!!! About 5 times more hair than mine!! Who gave us those curls, ????

I will look forward to spending more time with her…her eyes so bright and her hands so willing…love my sister, Cindy…a saint…maybe…

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January 15th, 2012

Its very cold outside…the temps dropped down to 32 last night…brrr. Its windy too. We built a fire in the fireplace and sat in front of it last night. Had our dinner on our laps. It was lovely.

I love a fire when its cold out…the neighbors had one in their backyard, the wind was howling and I was worried when I didn’t see them out tending to it…a little dangerous. I texted one of the residents and asked ” hey, I see a fire, can I come over?” I didn’t get a response…then it was out…The house is three guys, one is the owner who rents our rooms to pay for costs and they may have been a bit surprised at my request. Oh well.

I like a fire in the fireplace but I REALLY like campfires, especially out under the stars…It harkens back to my childhood, when I slept in the back bedroom of our house out in the hill country, with my brothers and sisters, and there was a fireplace in the bedroom. I didn’t realize how special that was .

Jack and i just sat and watched the fire, in silence. That was nice. We have had “words” recently, disagreements, explanations, etc…and it was so nice to sit there in peace and quiet. Words sometimes just mean so little, then can mean so much at times…Charlie our dog never talks and yet, he’s such good company.. I told Jack ” the kind of friends I like to have are the ones that can sit by a fire and say nothing”. He agreed. It was so nice to sit with him.

Part of the reason there has been friction is because I’ve been restless…yes, I admit. I have a case of “FOMO”….fear of missing out. And so have been going to AUstin and to New Braunfels to catch music and see what’s happening…I ran myself ragged..And decided it was TIME to stop and be still..  We have spent several days, in total silence, working on things at home, on the computer,not working, reading, being…being still. It is a good way to be. Peaceful. Jack can stand me now. And I appreciate his stillness.

With the new year, of course been thinking about changes, resolutions..One is to draw and paint and sketch more..but when there is something that “should” be done, its hard to find it to be fun and when its fun then I want to do it…Is ART fun for me anymore??? Maybe not. Maybe it feels like work, and that’s why I’ve stopped doing it so much. How to make it fun?

I’ve been dancing, yes, out at the Broken Spoke and Gruene Hall. I love to dance. Now and then, not all the time. Jack didn’t go with me. Too loud for him. I made some music lover friends there and we just sit and appreciate what we hear…the other night, at Gruene Hall, listened to Warren Hood again..wow..he’s playing again tonight. Maybe I’ll go again. Not sure.

Brothers John and Chad are here together in Austin. John is here for work and we had a nice time together the other day canoeing on Town Lake…Image

It was a perfect day, ….

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The water was just so beautiful, clear, and it was overcast and a litlte humid, and I got to see my nieces smiling face in that canoe, for just a short time, but ever so meaningful. My heart was full. To see her happy made me happy.

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this was taken about 20 years ago, in the SAn Marcos river…this is with my brother John, who is now working in NY, and seems to have a big job, he travels all over the country…He has unlimited energy and interests in lots of things…its fun to be around him and he is a good father too.

He sent me this photo of me underwater with the girls…I love it… what a wonderful time with those two young spirits who are now young women with ilves of their own…

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Brothers…How very lucky and grateful I am to have such brothers, Chad and John…I’ve missed them. I went away for so long…and I think we have reunited…it takes time. You can’t push these things…but at least we are able to look each other in the eye and just be…just BE…

And that’s all for this blog today..

 

 

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