adventures

St. Nicholas Brings Us a Snow Day!

Well, I was going to write a post this week, about my housekeeping routine. Kind of a “week in the life” sort of thing. Since I have been super stressed, it would be a self-care routine as well. While I have been feeling a little better physically, I still have been very sore and tired, definitely from stress.

So, Sunday I decided not to do any work for my job, and enjoyed a Weight Watchers meeting and got my nails done. I chose a fun, glittery color for my toes.

Housekeeping is self-care for me, and I always do Fly Lady’s “Weekly Home Blessing Hour” on Sunday. So I tidied up, Swiffered the floors. changed the bedding, took out the garbage, cleaned the mirrors and glass surfaces, and dusted. I mostly got caught up on the laundry and washed and vacuumed my car. I employed our trusty cleaning robots to assist in my endeavor.

I prepared Iliana’s and my lunches for the week and got all of our dinners tracked and ready-to go. Things were off to a good start.

Then, Sunday evening, I got an email from work saying that we should be fine to go to school on Monday, but that Tuesday was up in the air, due to the latest possible hurricane. A quick look at the forecast told us that it would not be anything more than a category 1, so suddenly the possibility of a “snow day” seemed enticing!

By bedtime, I had received another email, saying that school would release at noon. The traditional public schools in our area were closed, but since we don’t have bussing and are smaller, getting the kids home before the storm hit would not be a problem.

Morning duty wasn’t too wet, but the sun had already gone into hiding.

We made it home, and since we are already well-provisioned for an emergency, we did important things like dropping off the dry cleaning, lest I have to iron shirts because we waited too long.

Everything was uneventful, until we woke up around 4 am, to the sound of crazy wind and rain. Some quick research let us know that Nicholas had made landfall as a category 1, and the eye would pass over Houston. And it also let us know that many of the surrounding counties were without power.

We lost power shortly after that, so we filled out water jug. I knew we were unlikely to lose water, so we didn’t bother getting the 50 gallon tank.

Going back to bed was the sensible option, of course, but enjoying some coffee and a book sounded like more fun. So it was time to employ the camp stove.

Our alcohol fireplace provided a little ambiance.

A few hours later, the power came back on and the storm seemed to be over. I took Jasmine for a walk, to see what I could see.

We had picked up the Jeep from the marina, in case we encountered flooded roads. Which we did not.

There was a slight mishap in front of the store, as well as some downed branches and bent street signs. There had been 70 mph gusts, but for the most part the winds were 40-50 mph.

The sky still looks grey and hurricane-y. But it probably won’t stay this way for a week, like it did after Harvey.

Space City Weather reported that Clear Lake had a 6 foot storm surge, so we decided to check on the boats. The docks were a little hard to find!

Our boat is fine for the moment, but it does have a piling that is failing. Rob is going to check on it throughout the day, as the water goes down.

So that was our adventure! Nicholas has become a tropical storm again and moved on, although we might get a little more rain. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to getting some much-needed relaxation on my unexpected day off!

About Us, Family Fun

8 (years)

Grew up in a small town
And when the rain would fall down
I’d just stare out my window


Dreaming of what could be
And if I’d end up happy
I would pray

Trying hard to reach out
But when I tried to speak out
Felt like no one could hear me

Wanted to belong here
But something felt so wrong here

So I prayed (I would pray)

I could breakaway

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes ’til I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I
won’t forget all the ones that I love
I’ll take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Wanna feel the warm breeze
Sleep under a palm tree
Feel the rush of the ocean


Get onboard a fast train
Travel on a jet plane, far away (I will)
And breakaway

I’ll spread my wings and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes til’ I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Out of the darkness and into the sun
I won’t forget all the ones that I love
I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Buildings with a hundred floors
Swinging around revolving doors
Maybe I don’t know where they’ll take me,

but
Gotta keep moving on, moving on
Fly away, breakaway

I’ll spread my wings
And I’ll learn how to fly
Though it’s not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won’t forget the place I come from
I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change
And breakaway

Source: MusixmatchSongwriters: Benenate Bridget Louise / Gerrard Matthew R TBreakaway lyrics © Wb Music Corp., Almo Music Corp., Music Of Windswept, G Matt Music, Friends Of Seagulls Music Publishing, Avril Lavigne Publishing Llc.

It was been a wonderful 8 years in Texas, and I look forward to many more!

Family Fun

Summertime Fun!

In case you don’t live in Texas, I will tell you that you are looking at an armadillo. Our neighborhood is home to the most adorable armadillo family, and they like to greet us on most of our evening walks.

In addition to our new animal friends, we have more adventures to share with you this month:

Birthday Ceramic Painting

When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to find out the baby’s gender until they were born. My friend Jocelyn, however, had a dream that I had to leave her daughter’s second birthday party because I went into labor and had a baby girl.

I never made it to the birthday party, but our daughters do share a birthday! They have always been good friends, and we decided to take them out to paint ceramics shortly after their birthday.

Our adventures included shopping, and I found yet another pain of blingy jeans!

Iliana decided to end the day by baking some cookies, using the teenager cookbook my mom got her for her birthday.

One Last Ronavax Encounter

Okay, we’re a little done with rona in this house! Iliana got her last dose of Ronavax this month, so none of us have to worry about that virus eating our brain, ever again…

It wasn’t a school day, but she wanted to wear her school uniform anyway. I loved her choice of mask!

Iliana made sure to wear her Pride month visor that she made at camp back in April!

When we got home, we found a lazar tag set from her Uncle Chris and Aunt Kelly!

Shopping Trip and Another New Neighbor!

After meeting the armadillos, our dog, Jasmine, was happy to meet another friend on her walk.

Yes, Rob snuck a picture of me into the series!

Iliana has been formulating her own sense of style, especially in the summer when she does not have to wear her school uniform. She and I decided a trip to the mall was in order!

Ili decided that I could go to Forever 21, since I had been good! I found a peasant cropped top that made her roll her eyes…

Otherwise, Iliana is keeping herself busy with her summer algebra bridge class, which she is taking over Zoom. (Since she is going to be taking algebra for high school credit next year, she has to take this class over the summer). Luckily, she enjoys it!

And of course there is more cooking…

And trips to the dog park!

Alligator Camping!

Sometimes armadillos and turtles aren’t enough. Then it is time to spend a weekend at Brazos Bend State Park. Their mascot is an alligator, and the park map contains a section titled, “Alligator Etiquette.”

My parents joined us, in their new camper!

We had our usual accommodations…

I started my day with my usual celery juice.

And we had lots of adventures!

Iliana met a baby alligator and a snake.

We saw a poster explaining that a Jeep running over an armadillo is a part of the carbon cycle.

Oh, and did I mention that it was gorgeous?

So those were our adventures this past week! This next week will bring us a trip to Elijah’s Retreat, which will definitely be fun, relaxing, and welcome.

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer as well!

About Us

Some Pictures from Armageddon

“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”
– Bilbo, The Hobbit, An Unexpected Party

Update: Winter is now over in Texas. It is 60 degrees outside and sunny, and the guys at Space City Weather are saying that should be in the 70’s next week.

Our electrical grid is stabilized, and the powers that be are most certainly planning ahead so they are more prepared for the next time a winter storm hits Texas.

We all still have to boil our water before we drink it, but since I mostly drink coffee, that isn’t a major lifestyle change here. Everyone is calling on favors from their one relative who can fix everything, so they can get their burst pipes fixed without having to call a plumber. Not a lot of heat tape available in Texas…(I tried to describe it to my friends! It’s like an electric blanket for your pipes!)

The grocery stores are slowly getting restocked. I cooked up all of my emergency food, so now I have meals prepared for the next week (and then some)! We dumped out our water tank, which, once again, was good insurance. We have now filled it three times and have never had to use it.

Our internet and cell reception is still sketchy, but we have a wired internet connection that is working well enough to upload pictures at the moment!

I could barely walk through the entire adventure, due to an incredibly painful knee. It felt like I had a bruise, so I figured I must have bumped into something. Lidocaine, ibuprophen, and dragon balm sometimes took the edge off enough for me to sleep. After a yin class yesterday, I was able to run and climb stairs with only a little tenderness. Power flow today felt amazing, and I’m still only a little tender. It turns out tight hamstrings can cause knee pain, and cold weather (coupled with not being able to go to yoga for 10 days) makes my leg muscles very tight!

So here are some pictures from our adventure!

Monday Morning: White S— (as my dad always called it in Michigan) on the Ground!

My parents lost power over the night, so they brought their cats over and checked into a hotel.

Since the building owner was planning on shutting off the water (which he did Monday night), I did the laundry and filled two water jugs.

When my parents’ hotel lost power, my dad and brother decided to stay, but my mom came over and became the first overnight guest at our apartment!

Tuesday: The Day We Officially Ran a Refugee Camp!

One day in a cold hotel is one thing, but two is a bit much. On Tuesday, my dad, brother, and his girlfriend joined us!

And then, just as we were relaxing in the evening…

Rob got called into work early in the morning, where he was put to task improving our standard of living!

Iliana could not complete her distance learning activities due to the power outage, but if she read from her novel (Tom Sawyer), she would be counted present for school.

Yes, she did decide to wear her school uniform that day!

I said I was nervous about running out of water, because I did not want to die of dehydration. Except that we had a ton of soda and juice. What I meant was that I was afraid of not having coffee. So as soon as the water came back on, I excitedly began gathering whatever water I could, to fill our 50 gallon tank!

I went to Walmart for more provisions, but there was a bit of a wait…

Iliana put on another school uniform and kept herself entertained with bubbles! And yes, we were back on the grid when I got home!

Time for more reading!

This was the next day–no uniform!

So here we are, back in Texas temperatures! Every year here has had an adventure, and I would have it no other way. Maybe our next adventure will be a little warmer…

About Us

Greetings from “The Day After Tomorrow”

Hello, folks!

I thought I would check in with a quick update!

The day after I published my last post, the ice storm hit our area (and most of the state). We did fine there–it was definitely not my first or worst ice storm!

Of course, I am sure that most people have heard about Texas’s electrical grid and its collapse by now. We kept power and water at first, and I did distance learning on Monday and Tuesday, meeting virtually with the few students who still had power and internet access. Iliana unhappily completed her assignments online and logged into class meetings.

My parents lost power in the storm. My mom stayed with us Monday night, and my whole family stayed with us on Tuesday. So of course that was the night we lost power! By morning, we had lost water as well.

Between the kerosene lamp we had and an electric heater that we powered off a generator, we were able to keep the apartment at 64 degrees. We had 11 gallons of water, which I figured could get our larger group through 2-3 days. I was not happy with that, but it was something.

I had some sweet tea that Walmart had mistakenly put on my order (none of us drink sweet tea), and I used that to cook up large amounts of rice in my instant pot, running it off the generator. This significantly stretched out food supply, so we could feed anyone who happened to be at our home! I moved our perishables to a dock box in the store parking lot, utilizing the Michigan trick of the “outdoor fridge.”

On Wednesday, distance learning was 100% asynchronous, meaning there were no virtual meetings. If students did not have power, they were to read from their novels or otherwise complete low-tech schoolwork. Iliana is reading Tom Sawyer for her English class, so she has been enjoying her reading time everyday! On Wednesday, she wore her school uniform anyway.

We were lucky and got power and water back yesterday evening. I promptly filled our 50 gallon water tank, which is always good insurance. This is my third time filling it, and we have never been in a situation where we have needed it, after filling it!

We are very lucky, because I have friends who have not had electricity or water for four days now. But everyone is finding ways to keep warm, and the stores are doing a surprisingly good job of restocking water.

Today is a day of making preparations. There is supposed to be another storm tonight, before it warms up on Saturday. And nobody knows when the grid will be fixed.

In addition to filling the water tank, I have stocked up on propane, deep cycle batteries, rice, and other essentials. I froze a bunch of water containers, so we can keep some food in the Yeti cooler if we lose power. Everything is charging, and I am getting caught up on laundry. I am even ironing Rob’s work shirts, since our dry cleaner is not doing their run this week! (I joked that I could start a homemaking blog!)

Our Internet access is poor, and our cell phone reception is spotty, due to the towers losing power. I can’t upload pictures right now, but I will have plenty to share after this adventure is over!

I will also get caught up on everyone’s blog once I am living in the 21st century again! And one day, I will return to a yoga class. Between this and my Rona near-miss, it has been ten days since I have been to a class! That is definitely a record!

If any of you are affected by the storms, stay warm! I will catch up with you all soon!

About Us, Family Fun

A Birthday Weekend in My “Happy Place”

This post has been a long time in the making.

I turned 40 on September 30, and I wanted to share my celebration at Elijah’s Retreat, in Jacksonville, Texas, with all of you shortly after.  However, I have also been getting settled in at my new job and working on balancing work, family, and myself.  

I am getting there, so today I am writing.

The First Visit

Somewhere in our second year living in Texas, I spent a night Googling activities for children with special needs.  I had seen a Facebook post about a special needs amusement park in San Antonio, and while I was looking for that, I stumbled across a website for Elijah’s Retreat. This was a resort, located about 3 hours away from us, for autism families.  It cost $30 a night and had 3 cabins.

Of course I was interested, but I was dismayed to find that the calendar was booked for the next year.  I followed Elijah’s on Facebook, and when the calendar for the next year opened up, I jumped on it.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break were full by the time I made my way to the site, but I managed to book two nights on a weekend at the end of summer vacation.

That weekend, Rob ended up having to work, so Ili and I headed out on a mother-daughter road trip!  Rob had looked over my Jeep, and found it to be in good working order.  However, the randomness of life had other plans.

As we were approaching Cleveland, Texas, the car started shaking, badly. I pulled into a gas station and noticed a large goiter on one of the tires.  I filled it with air and hoped for the best.  However, the tire had other plans.

We were stranded at the Love’s in Cleveland.  I called Rob, who would walk me through a tire change, if I could find a jack.  I could not, so I called AAA.  While I was waiting, an employee at the store said that his friend could put on a new tire for $120.  A bit steep, but that would get us to Elijah’s that night, rather than a hotel.

I told Rob, who cautioned me to ensure that the tire is new.  And sure enough, the f, riend showed up with a used tire.  I apologized for wasting his time, and put the AAA guy back on call.  He showed up, put on my spare, and shook his head at the “country bumkins” who were trying to “take advantage of the city girl.”

Rob had found a nearby Motel 6, where Ili and I spent the night.  She likes hotels, so this was fine.  In the morning, we arrived at Walmart as soon as they had opened.  The said my Jeep would have a new tire in 30 minutes.

Ili and I headed to McDonald’s to eat breakfast, then we returned to Walmart.  They were not ready.  Two hours later, my Jeep was still up on a hoist.  They said that oil changes take priority, and that they would not work on my Jeep as long as there were oil change customers.

Rob called, and I loudly explained that I could not take my daughter, who had autism, to an autism resort, because they were holding my car hostage.  Before I could finish my conversation, a manager appeared.  I hung up, and he apologized.  He said I could get my Jeep back right away, with the old tire, or I could wait 15 minutes for a new one.  I got the new tire and was on my way.

When we arrived at Divine Acres Ranch, Iliana was greeted by a volunteer, who took her on a horseback tour of the property.

At the time, the resort was still being run by its founder, Jeff Moore.  He was happy to see us, and offered us an extra night, since we arrived a day late.  Unfortunately, we both had school on Monday.

We had reserved cabin #2, but there was a mix-up, so we stayed in cabin #3, which I refer to as “The Palace.”  In the morning, I woke up before Iliana and enjoyed my coffee on the porch swing.  I was new in my yoga practice at that time, but during savasana, we were always asked to think of our “happiest place.”   To this day, I think of the swing at cabin #3.

Iliana had a great time.  There was one other family staying in the other two cabins, and their oldest drove Ili around in the barrel train.  I called it her “chariot.”  We both cried when it was time to leave.

Visit #3

We did not take any pictures of our second visit, but we had the resort to ourselves.  Elijah’s was struggling financially and in danger of closing.  The price increased to $100 a night, but I knew Rob needed to see it.

Then, the Torres family purchased the property, and we returned last spring, right after I went on leave from my job.

Here I am, on the swing, in my happiest place!

Lots of new changes happened with the “changing of the guard.”  The price went back down to $30, and the “little ranch hand” program was started.  Every morning, Miss Cheryl would drive by with the hay ride, and Iliana could jump on and feed all the animals that morning.  She also had the opportunity to ride a pony everyday, mid-afternoon.

And while attendance was down, Miss Cheryl’s children would come out to the playground and keep Iliana entertained!

Our Most Recent Visit

30 pounds less and one year older, I decided to issue in my fourth decade of life, at Elijah’s Retreat!

The obligatory kitchen picture…

Enjoying cabin #2…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanging out and feeding the animals!

There was a news crew there that weekend, and here is the segment they aired, which included Iliana!

https://www.easttexasmatters.com/news/local-news/local-autism-retreat-serving-families-as-a-home-away-from-home-/1501423719?fbclid=IwAR0Y0kEBDmw24sOrLZW-kiEGdfAnp0oS3wySG0D_AjmePOC-YqbVD_770rA

Thank you to to Torres family and everyone else who has kept Elijah’s Retreat alive!  We had booked again for Iliana’s 12th birthday.  See you there!

 

About Us

Happy Texas-Versary to Us!

IliTX

On this day, five years ago, Rob, Iliana, and I drove our Volvo station wagon, containing all of our earthly possessions, into the parking lot of Lakeshire Place Apartments in Clear Lake City.  The office was closed, but the super found us and called the manager, who lived in the apartment below our soon-to-be-home.  In the evening twilight, we signed our lease and officially became Texans!

So I thought it would be fitting to tell our Texas story today.

Believe it or not, we were adults 6 years ago.  We had a mortgage and lived in a grey two-story chalet in the middle of the woods in Amish country, in Harrison, Michigan.  Pilliated woodpeckers were a common sight in our yard, and we actually walked through the woods to get to the grocery store.

It was idyllic.  I loved the woods and still do.  We had easy access to farm-fresh and organically grown food, and we got raw milk from the Amish.  My commute to work was breathtakingly beautiful.

It was a beautiful world, but it was very, very small.  I never found my tribe there, and I wanted Iliana to grow up seeing more.  I wanted to see more.  We sailed, and the port towns we saw and lived in on the Great Lakes were more than enough to give us the wanderlust.

In 2008, Rob and I agreed to have a five year plan.  We would stay five years, then move to LA.  We had never been to LA at that point, but it sounded interesting, and we could sail and live aboard year round.

(Play this in the background now!)

We didn’t think it would actually happen, but the power of intention is stronger than we think, at times.  In 2013, things started to go downhill at my job.  I had not been advocating for myself, and I had been trying too hard to people-please.  I ended up getting caught up in a dispute between two principals, and it became clear that it was time to leave.  In hindsight, things would have worked out fine, but it was the perfect opportunity to make a break and move on.

At first, we considered living aboard part-time in a port town on Lake Michigan. But a phone call to Rob’s brother in Houston, planted some new seeds.  We could live aboard full-time on the Texas Gulf Coast, and his brother and his wife could help me find employment in a school district.

I applied, and before I knew it, I had Skype interviews lined up.  Before my first interview, I set up the computer so that my blue jeans did not show, and so that it was not obvious that my blazer no longer buttoned.  Iliana started saying, “In Texas they say ‘y’all’!” so Rob took her outside to play.

The interview lasted 12 minutes, and I wrote it off as a “practice.”  But the next day, which I had taken off of work so I could accompany Iliana on her preschool field trip, consisted of many conversations with the district’s HR.  That evening, the principal called me on her cell phone to offer me a position.  I accepted, even though I had never been to Texas, much less that school.  And I booked a flight the next week.  I stayed with Rob’s brother and his wife.

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I thought this quote was perfect! If they ever get rid of that picture, I will claim it.

 

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With my sister-in-law, the other Mrs. Rosselit!

At home, we emptied out our house, while dealing with finding a place to live in Texas.  At the end of the school year, we drove down, trying to find a place to live, but failing.  We signed our house’s deed over to the bank, not knowing that we should have signed an apartment lease before that.  Our last day in our house, we still had no idea where we would live.

That very night, the apartment manager called us and told us that we were good to go.  She had gone to bat for us and secured us a lease.  Which is a good thing, because we were living in our motor home, at Wilson State Park, that night.

camper.jpg

We continued to be “homeless” for a week, and it was lovely.

We spent two nights at the Rosselit family “cottage” on Thunder Bay, Lake Huron.

We spent five nights on my parents’ wooded property in Midland, Michigan.

I said “good-bye” to my best friend in Michigan, Jocelyn Davis.

And our daughters (who share a birthday) had fun playing!

We joined Rob’s dad for a kayaking trip on the Rifle River…

And then it was go time!

(Play this in the background now)

We settled in to our new apartment, where we all slept on the floor at first.

Iliana started kindergarten!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my brother in law and his wife, who lived nearby!

Then my parents joined us in time for the real Thanksgiving!  They lived near us at Lakeshire Place for a year.

I commuted to work on my bicycle…

Then we moved onto Breaking Tradition, our first boat in Legend Point!

The rest, you may say, is history.  I have told you about the boats we have lived on, my weight loss, and my yoga journey.  

So here we are, beginning our fifth year in Texas.  Iliana is entering the fifth grade, Rob now works for the marina, and I am beginning a new job in the fall.  Has it been what we expected?  No.  We thought we would be cruising full time by now, and I did not expect the job related challenges that I have faced.

But has it been worth it?  Absolutely.  I have met so many good friends, and so many people down here have been instrumental in my journey.  I doubt we will grow old here–there is just too much world left to see!  But right now, this is home.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.