Wordless Wednesday – Bluebonnets

2016-03-24-16.48.05afivefs
2016-03-24-16.47.25afivefs

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Elbow Grease

Work at home, work at the RV and work on settling Mom’s estate

Owning a home and an RV means ongoing maintenance for both, and this past weekend, we tackled several projects while we had a free weekend to devote to these needed tasks.  We made some good progress, and we are glad to have these chores completed, even though there are still even more projects on the list to come at some point.

Storms in May wreaked some havoc with our west fence, and Hubby finally got around to bracing it up a bit to hopefully survive any more spring/summer storms over the next few weeks.  We own all of the fences around our backyard, which means the posts are in our neighbors’ yards and in our alley.  Our sweet little elderly neighbor to the east has always been careful to take good care of the posts, but the series of neighbors that we’ve had to the west have not been so careful.  They continually whack the posts with their weed eaters, and now, all ten posts are pretty much ruined (again).  We have a bit of an issue in having to continually replace these posts because of this abuse, so at some point later this summer or in early fall, we are going to propose installing metal posts and offer to split the cost with the neighbor that now lives there.  We will just wait until the worst of storm season is past for this upgrade, too.

Also, thanks to the *twelve inches* of rain we received in May and subsequent sunshine and warmth last week, our yard looked like a little jungle after only a week from its previous mowing.  Grass definitely wasn’t the only thing growing in the yard, unfortunately, and I pulled milkweed while Hubby took care of other chores.  Our little garden area has completely grown up in grass, and we decided to just forego planting a garden this year, since we should have planted around the first week of May.  We didn’t have great luck with our tomatoes last year, so we will just visit the farmer’s market for our fresh tomatoes this year, since I will be purchasing some other fresh vegetables there anyway over the coming months.  In the fall, I think I will plant pansies and ornamental cabbage in this area to give us a bit of color in the yard this winter.  In the meantime, we are enjoying our beautiful cannas that are growing like we’ve never seen them until this year, thanks to the wonderful rain!  These are great flowering plants for this area, and while they don’t really require much water, they are definitely loving the water they received in May.  We are loving the sight of these gorgeous things that now line the entire backside of our home, and we are looking forward to our Red Rocket Crape Myrtles blooming soon, hopefully in two or three weeks.  All ten plants survived our rough winter, with only one plant still questionable right now.

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Our beautiful cannas after twelve inches of rain in May

On Sunday afternoon, we tackled several projects on the RV, and I was grateful to have the RV under a cool cover at the storage place to give us a break from the sun.  I worked on cleaning the windows inside and out while Hubby worked on replacing all of the 1″ wide channel trim on the outside of the rig.  We pulled the old stuff out a while back, as it had become quite brittle over the years, and the new trim really helps freshen the look of the exterior.  I helped to replace some of the trim in the lower areas around the wheel wells while Hubby also fixed a loose connection on our water pump, which only took a few minutes.  Lastly, we re-sanitized and rinsed the holding tank, just in case we opt to boondock somewhere this summer or fall.  Our next project, which we have already started in a small way, is to replace the 3/4″ trim all around the door and the basement compartments.

Now that a couple of area lakes have filled up once again, boondocking at those lakes for a weekend is a possibility for us, as well as traveling to a couple of areas in the cool mountains of New Mexico that only offer boondocking sites in the national forest.  The state parks in our area are much harder to get into on the weekends right now because so many of the state parks in north and central Texas are closed due to flooding or are recovering from flood damage.  For that reason, we will have to get creative if we want to get away for some quick weekend trips in July or August, and I am once again checking out available options in New Mexico, especially near Cloudcroft and Ruidoso.  Unfortunately, one lake in our area that we really like somehow missed out on all the rain in May, and we are still hoping that they receive much-needed rain sometime this summer.

Last week, I finally made some good progress on my spring house cleaning at last.  I need to get both refrigerators in the house cleaned out this week, as our new refrigerator should be arriving soon.  We are getting rid of two and just replacing with one, which will give me some needed storage space in our laundry room.  I’m excited to finally have a fridge with a bottom freezer, and it will be black to match the rest of our kitchen appliances.  We may also look at replacing our freezer in the garage with something a bit smaller at some point, too.  Our food storage needs are much less than we needed while raising a family, and I’m ready to make these adjustments.

Finally, on Monday afternoon, I think I actually closed out the estate income/expense report.  It will be final unless we happen to receive an unexpected check or bill from a yet unknown vendor.  I can’t even begin to say how good I feel about getting to this point, too.  I think I did a pretty good job as executor of minimizing estate expenses, and my family members only owe the estate (me) a total of $721 combined after I sold an old Rolex watch to Circa in NYC yesterday.  It needed almost $800 in repair, which was not an option for us at all.  The watch was the only piece of jewelry that I had to sell, and I’m glad we could hang on to the rest of the jewelry to keep it all in the family going forward.  I have an appointment this morning with the jeweler to inspect everything and clean it all up before I distribute it to family members in a few days, and I am also going to discuss having a custom ring made for me for the very first time.  That should be fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Flowers of Point Reyes National Seashore

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California Poppies

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Wildflowers of Chimney Rock

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Saying Goodbye to Mom

It is once again Friday morning.  I woke up about an hour ago, realized it was Friday, and reminded myself that I need to call Mom after she is done with breakfast around 9 a.m. at the place where she lives, and has lived for the past six years.

But, I then quickly realized that there is no need to call Mom because she is no longer with us.

Mom passed away on January 20 at 11:24 p.m.  I was with her by her bedside, as was a wonderful nurse from Hospice.  We were the only two people with her when she just suddenly quit breathing, took only a few more short random breaths, then left us to run into the arms of Jesus, leaving me reeling from her passing, which was a day or two earlier than what we had been told would likely happen by the nurses caring for her.

No more Fridays out with Mom.  Ever.

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Instead, I have a list of appointments with the attorney, the broker, the funeral home and the monument folks who will soon be etching her date of death on the marker that she placed on her own grave site back in 1999 when Daddy died.  She has missed him so very much, just as she has missed my older brother, and if there is any consolation to me right now, it is the fact that I truly believe she is with them once again, along with many other family members and friends that she has deeply mourned for years.  It is some consolation, but honestly, not much.

I haven’t had the ugly cry yet.  I am trying to put it off until I get more of her business affairs in order and can eventually just try to relax a bit.  There has not been time for that since late December and probably won’t be time for at least a couple of weeks at best.  I guess I am afraid that once I break down, it may take a while to get back up or something.  But, it will come.  It always does.  I’m betting it will come when my hubby resumes his work travel next week and leaves me home alone for the first time since her death.  It won’t be his fault, but being alone will now have a whole new meaning in my life.  I also don’t think the reality and finality of her passing has truly hit me yet.  I know it will at some point.

I have been able to share some brief tidbits on Facebook with friends there through this sad time of her illness and death, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually write more from my heart here.  This is about the best I can do right now, but I think over time, I can start writing again.  I’ve always been able to move on at some point after a tragedy and loss, and I trust it will happen again.

For the first time in our lives, my husband and I have no living parents.  I am now a matriarch at age 56.  That just doesn’t seem right.  I’m too young to be without a parent, I think.

Time to get ready and head out for all these not-so-fun appointments.  I would much rather be looking forward to lunch at the steakhouse with Mom instead.

I miss you, Mom.

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Water Lilies

I have been absent online for a bit, but it’s been fun… learning more about using PSE9 that was just recently released.  It is a great tool, although I still use Lightroom for my basic photo editing.  I have found many great free action sets online that run in PSE9, and I like them better than most of the actions I have in Lightroom so far.

I have a favorite photo from a 2009 trip to Grand Cayman that I recently pulled from my trip archives to re-edit, and it is now much closer to what I envisioned when I took it.  By adding an adjustment layer and removing much of the yellow that was in the background and taking away from the beautiful floral bloom, the flower itself now stands out more.  Using a black brush to remove the opacity of that adjustment over the yellow in the center of the flower kept the bloom vivid while muting the background just a bit.  I love the end result, and I think it’s finally time to send it for printing and framing.

Taken at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Gardens in Grand Cayman

Isn’t the water-lily just one of the most beautiful, delicate flowers ever?