Don’t Tread on Me!

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I was greeted yesterday morning, over a delicious cup of coffee NOT made by me (since I’m clever enough to sleep an hour later than my darling) by the news that our neighborhood newsletter was warning more about snakes needing to be removed from people’s homes.

Do you remember the scene from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones is hanging over a pit full of writhing serpents and says, “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”

That’s exactly how I feel about them, and to hear about this before I’d even finished my coffee.  Arrrggghhh!!  

So what’s a gal to do?  Since we live in a city, (we’re out in the country, but it’s still within a city) a shotgun is out of the question. Not that I’d ever kill one, no matter how afraid I was.  Education (as with most things in life) is the answer!

Having been horrified when I moved here, upon learning that there are poisonous snakes everywhere in Texas, I took advantage of an avid herpetologist friend’s knowledge  to learn everything I could about snakes.  I wanted to be able to recognize the ones I needed to worry about…  instead of worrying about them all.

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As it turns out, any snake will try to bite us to defend itself, even a little green garden snake.  The State of Texas is home to 15 potentially dangerous snake species or subspecies. 

Despite this, each year, there have been more deaths in Texas attributed to lightning strikes than to venomous snakebites. The four poisonous snakes species here: rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins, and coral snakes.

By not hanging around the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks, I can avoid water moccasins. Copperheads? Rattlesnakes? Out here, in the woods… and I’m not a hiker through uncharted trails. Nope, thanks.

Coral snakes are small with little-bitty mouths, usually only biting fingers when we stick our hands somewhere without looking first. I don’t garden without gloves, don’t reach into trees or bushes or woodpiles without looking first. 

 Snakes tend to be accidental house crashers. You might find one curled in a corner on your patio looking for coolness in the heat of the summer. Or in your garage… seeking the same. 

The good news? Rattlesnakes will usually signal if you’ve startled them by rattling or buzzing their tails,  giving you an opportunity to pee in your pants then run in the opposite direction! 

I’ve lived here for 41 years, and have never seen a dangerous snake anywhere besides my herpetologist friend’s house! More good news – they are as afraid of us as we are of them! 

The newsletter shared common-sense tips for living where there are poisonous snakes: turn on a light and have a look around before stepping out on your patio at night, or into your garage. And even look around first before stepping out on your patio during the day. Mindfulness, that’s all.

If you encounter a poisonous snake in your garage, on your patio, or in your garden… run away, and call wildlife management. Or, if you live out here, you can call the group of “snake wranglers” who will come fetch them. 

XO Donna

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Like Goldilocks

I realized after we moved in that I’d sold my set of modern black bookcases. Somehow, I remembered having kept one… just in case. 

Now, in order to set up my office and conquer the chaos, (I have six boxes of books waiting for a place to live) I need to buy a new bookcase… which is actually pretty exciting. 

I also realized that I have finally outgrown my “black phase,” which is pretty exciting, too. This all seems relatively simple and straightforward, right?  

What I want is a white bookcase. Or maybe a very light grey one. Under $200.00. With a little bit of trim, so it won’t look like dorm furniture.

Plan A:  Get online at IKEA, since there’s one nearby, and see if there’s one that fits the bill, then go get it. I’m always up for the challenge of assembling a piece of furniture. I quickly found exactly what I was looking for, and my sweetie and I headed off for a short field trip. 

We thought we knew the shortcuts through the maze at IKEA, but they have done some rearranging and we ended up totally missing the furniture section and display of bookcases. 

No matter, I went to the Information kiosk, looked up the product number and aisle location, and voila! There was just one problem: the box was more than six feet long and weighed almost 75 pounds! We couldn’t lift it. Well, he couldn’t do it alone, and I couldn’t help since my shoulder is still out of whack. This bookcase was just too big!

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I moved on to Plan B: Find someone who delivers… preferably for free. Amazon, Rooms to Go, and Home Depot (did you know they now sell really nice looking furniture online?) Nothing I liked on Amazon. Nor at RTG. I went to Home Depot’s website and found a beautiful bookcase, but it was shorter than I wanted; so maybe a pair might work. Alas, side-by-side they were five inches too wide for the space allotted. Dang it, this bookcase was too wide!

 Who knew that buying a bookcase could be such a challenge? 

I looked further, but I wasn’t finding what I had in mind. Staring at the floor, well actually, at my new rug, I realized I could probably find one at BirchLane.com the same place I bought the rug. As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise… surprise, surprise!” 

They had so many nice ones that I had to enact another plan.  Plan C: pick out the first three white ones in my price range, write down their measurements, see which fits best and get ‘er done!

One of them was off-white, and another was rustic white; picturing them next to my modern white desk, I decided on the third one, which was white. At last, a bookcase that was just right! 

image from catalogue 

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I was expecting it Monday, but got an email this morning saying it would be delivered today. It just arrived, and it came with free shipping!

XO Donna

(P.S. – I am not compensated in any way for any store I mention when I write. I wish! I have faves, and I like to share what I have good experiences with.)


Here’s to Us!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Thanksgiving. It’s December 19th and we are in San Antonio, at one of our favorite RV parks. I hated to leave Austin with the holidays coming up… but San Antonio at Christmastime is something we looked forward to. Read More


Got the Blues

Before we left Texas, I’d harvested a bunch of the red fruit (tunas) of prickly pear cactus where we were camping. I’d made prickly pear juice quite a learning curve, with quite a few sticky (ouch!) issues.  And I had another bag full of tunas thinking I’d do it again, using my new wisdom, and make thick syrup to give as gifts for swirls in Margaritas.

Passing through Santa Fe, we were invited to return for Mad-Stock, a Woodstock themed celebration of music, peace and love. I decided I’d make tie-dye shirts for the guys our of the prickly pear juice! Both said they didn’t mind wearing hot pink… what a washout!!!  After all my work; cooking them in the hot juice for an hour, then letting them sit overnight in plastic bags, when I untied them they were gorgeous. When I washed them, this color faded completely away.

Now, you know full well that if I spilled any on a good white blouse, it never would have come out!

I was even more determined now, and after looking through Pinterest, I decided to try again, this time using an old friend from the 70’s…  RIT dye in a lovely Indigo Blue.
I used some of my old tying techniques (I used to love doing tie-dyes in pretty patterns, but simple, beautiful colors) incorporating tying stones into the folds, simple pleat-and-band, and Japanese Shibori folding and resistance techniques.

I followed RIT’s instructions TO THE LETTER, and when I pulled them from the dye bath (done in a 3-gallon bucket in my kitchen sink) I was over-the-Moon thrilled! Indigo blue! Shibori folds! Gorgeous circles with marigold-like patterns within!

Still following instructions carefully, I washed and dried them, and what I pulled from the dryer 40 minutes later was a pale imitation of what I had put into the dryer.  My well-defined lines of indigo and white had become a soft cream and denim blue design. Sigh. I went to bed that night feeling like a failure…

Turns out the failure was in RIT’s isstructions, for when I looked online there were completely different guidelines than on the box. Had i known, I would have gladly taken all the extra time they were proposing. I hoped the guys would still wear them.

The next morning when I awoke, the first thing I saw on my FB feed was this post by a friend, Lynn – “Failure is an event, not a character flaw.”  That changed my mind, what I did failed, but now I know where to pick-up next time. This was entirely too much fun, too relaxing, and too fulfilling to quit. I’m not ready to take orders yet, but I see a lot of Blue in my future!

 

XO DONNA



Mother’s Day

 

It’s been raining cats and dogs, accompanied by thunderbolts and lightning. Although it’s just past breakfast-time it’s as dark as night and the volume is MUCH louder in our motorhome than in a traditionally built home.  Read More


Where the Wild Things Are

Looking out at the lake, I see my reflection in the window as I write… and to quote my dear departed friend, Nancy, “I look like the wrath of God!”
Even though I took the time to blow my hair dry this morning, the winds have been blowing steadily at 20+ mph, something no amount of styling product can endure.

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Read More



Grey Haired Beauty

Notice how when you begin to think about, or buy, a new car suddenly they are everywhere? I decided to grow out my hair to it’s natural color, whatever that was, a few months ago. Now that it’s grown out, and it’s grey, I’m checking out all of the other women close to my age sporting grey hair. Appropriate word… because some women really do “sport it” by wearing bold colors and jewelry, and makeup that highlights their eyes and lips. I admired lots of these women in Santa Fe, whether their hair was long or short.

In the ”hippy-ish” towns of Silver City and Bisbee I saw women who embraced their silver strands as just a natural part of growing older. I saw everything from short shocky haircuts, to gleaming streaming flaxen hair with rainbow-bright streaks atop gorgeous global, open-hearted, chakra-balancing, essentially-oiled, inner-peace clothes.

Both groups felt like women who loved the power of being women, and wore their crowning glory atop faces that radiated lives being well-lived.

That’s what I want, although right now it’s in that Ugly Duckling stage between a pixie and something else. And without color it’s as fine as frog-fur, but with my experience I’m certain  I can come up with something I’ll grow to love.

The last group I noticed was all the women who had become pale water-colors. Pale hair, pale skin, fading eyebrows, dressing in pastels and beiges. We ate lunch in Las Cruces one afternoon and the restaurant was full of women my age and older, and all but one seemed content to have grown invisible. I wondered when their fire went out? Why?

My conclusion: no matter your age, grey hair in and of itself, doesn’t make us look old. What’s going on in our mind about who we are, and what our worth is, those make a woman look old. My solution: the same things I discussed in my book, “Sick and Tired… & Sexy, Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness,” about taking care of yourself first.  

Make the time to do a quick 5-step make-up; tinted moisturizer, fill-in your brows, mascara, a touch of cream blush and a swipe of lipstick.  Wear colorful clothes, they lift your energy. And jewelry. Have a good haircut that is appropriate for your hair, face shape, your ability to style it, and your figure.

To steal a line from a men’s clothier  – “You’re gonna love the way you look!”

XO Donna

 

 


Christmas Countdown

Two days till Christmas Eve… and an intimate family dinner. Three days till Christmas, and a raucous pot-luck supper filled with games, good cheer, and friends old and new.

44D52D36-52BD-4380-8A6B-30A0917ACBEBI love the tradition of sharing the foods associated with these holidays. When we were children, as a way to decorate the tree, and probably keep my sisters and me occupied, we used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as a garland on our tree. It took a few days to accomplish, but we enjoyed the time spent with our Mom, having her undivided attention while eating a piece of popcorn for every one we strung!

Feeling sentimental, I did it again for the first time in years, and adorned my tiny tree. Now, all is right with the world.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season, and a Healthy, Prosperous, New Year!  Remember… the very best gift you can give, is that of your time and your attention.

XO Donna