One of my goals for 2018 is to take a monthly day trip and blog about it.  I have 3 days left for January and I needed proof that I did the day trip and I had to tell you all about it! So here it is, I went to Round Top to go antique shopping with my boyfriend.  I went with some friends a few months ago and I knew he would love it.  A 2 hour journey full of breakfast tacos leaking in his lap, one missed turn, and good conversation was the perfect setting for an amazing day.

Can I tell you that it poured rain in Round Top yesterday.  We got there and there was NO cars and where were all of the vendors?!?  I freaked.  We had waited months to make this happen.  I added every Round Top Antique Winter Show Facebook Event created.  I looked multiple times.  I even found a map.  Did I get this wrong?!?

We started out at Chelsea Meadow and my poor TOMS quickly let water come in and I started to get a small idea of how wet the ground was under my feet.  There were some interesting items but the one that caught my attention was the old McDonalds Hamburglar playground toy.  Last time I came, there was an enormous cheeseburger for sale also!

rt 1 jan18

I am glad I didn’t let the muddy walk up to second stop discourage us.  It was for sure my favorite of the day.  McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors and this was the coolest place.  Far better than old stuff in a field.  Sadly, my bank account and their prices made my love of the tables, and the lights, and the doors – Oh the amazing doors – just a love story for the books.  The lovely owner shared with me that one of the perfectly British red double decker buses out front is a cafe in the spring and summer.  How fun is that?!?  Okay, I tried not to take a ton of photos but I took the one of the table because I keep thinking the parquet floors that might be torn up soon would be an amazing headboard.  Who can feel that with me?!!?

Stop three was Moore’s Antiques and they had the biggest mud pit for a parking lot which told me they were a popular stop the day before.  This place was such an interesting collection of things.  I almost wondered if they bought a church and tore it down and brought EVERYTHING to the store.  You want a confessional?! They got it!  Tons of old linens.  Crosses, pews, pub booths, urinals, glass bottles, enamel covered bowls, and so much church stuff.  It was interesting and more than anything, I wanted to know the story of the items that built their collection.

We got in one last place (name forgotten) before lunch.  It had a fun collection of vendors.  I didn’t take pictures of everything but the fun ways of re-purposing items.  I wish I had taken photos of the ways the used license plates.  clipboards!!!

And then there was lunch at Royer’s Cafe.  Yep, the place with the world famous pies.  I tried the Buttermilk Delight with Blue Bell.  You can never go wrong with Blue Bell! And then we wandered around the corner to a fun shopping area.  My two favorites were the Humble Donkey Studio (hello mimosa!) and Two Sparrows Roasting Company (which filled the air with the most amazing roasted coffee smell…ahhh!) I need you to know there were two Bluebonnet paintings at the Humble Donkey that I fell in love with.  The first was undoubtedly out of my price range while the second is a possibility.  I might have included it in one of the photos below so I can keep looking at it and try to talk myself into bringing it home!

Alright, next stop was Warrenton, TX which had antique shopping from big areas to roadside collections.  I can’t remember the name but the front shopping area might have been the Crazy Chicken and the back booth and house was the Cajun (Something or other?!).  I fell in love with this table, but it didn’t seem stable and I don’t refinish furniture.  Definitely not to this degree.  But it has such pretty potential.

Okay last stop on the way home was Junk Gypsy which was filled with some amazing things.  I debated a few tshirts but it’s the end of the month and my checkbook was like “Kelly… Do you need another tshirt?!”  I do, but I need money more.  You get it.  Ugh, but all the pretty things.  And some old school retro things.  Like the amazing lip gloss from 1983?!?!  Yesssss!  This part of Texas is pure country and there were longhorns next door.  Of course, my boyfriend had to take pictures because he likes the Longhorns…  My question is… how do they sleep with those horns?!?!

My recommendations on Round Top… Go with friends willing to look at all of the random things and laugh.  Share stories of 4th grade lip gloss, old bedroom furniture, and life around the kitchen table with THOSE bowls.  And take time to imagine the lives of the items.  All of the families that sat at the table, drank from the glasses, shined the light from the ship, and drove the red double decker bus.  Only use your phone to take pictures and enjoy a slow easy day.  Consider taking something home and how you might re-purpose it.  Could you make the letters from the old Radio Shack work when you get them home?!  And where could you hang it up?!  Most important, enjoy your company and remember that Not All Who Wander Are Lost.

rt26 jan18

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9 to 5It’s been a while, eh… okay 3 years.  I promise a post in the next few weeks with an update on the highlights of life. Because life has been crazy!  But for now, I wanted to share my thoughts on the advancement of women.  And I decided this was a great weekend to make this post.  

I am sure to some of you, this will be nothing more than another feminist speech.  Interestingly enough, I never thought of myself as a feminist but rather someone who thinks everything should be fair, including opportunities.  Feminism has taken on different interpretations these days, but the bottom line is that women are strong and able to accomplish so much more than the world used to believe.  In the last five years, I find that I am proud of what so many of my peers have accomplished in our generation because once upon a time it would have been impossible.  I stand in awe of the women who did the work before us so that we might be educated, employed, creators, and leaders outside of the home.  

Growing up, my mom told me every day (or just about) that she didn’t care what I did when I grew up as long as I went to college and graduated.  I could study anything, but I had to get an education.  Maybe it was the tape that she played on repeat at night saying “Go to college.  Get a degree. Graduate.  You are getting very sleepy. Go to college. Get a degree. Graduate. You are very sleepy.  Don’t wake up, but do go to college.  Get a degree. Graduate.” Or perhaps it was her generation of women that went to college, that snuck in a class here and there, read to their kids, and taught them that they could accomplish what they set their mind to as long as they worked hard and studied.  They had jobs outside the home, often something that was below their ability but “suitable for a woman”.  They often found that their pay was less than their male counterparts and they continued on with the same work ethic and attitude while striving for equal opportunities and pay.

Maybe you are like me and grew up watching the movie 9 to 5 where three working women got even with their boss.  Or you sang that Enjoli (I had to look that up) perfume commercial on repeat: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan“.  I love that these little snapshots of female empowerment stick in my head so many years later.  But more so, I love that my mom and so many other women worked so their daughters had choices in what they did with their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be amazing to be a mom and stay at home with my kids.  But I don’t have kids, so I work.  And that’s what is kind of amazing about being a woman.  We can all work together to make the world a better place.  Maybe a mom is staying home and encouraging education, developing character, and empowering confidence in their children.  While another woman is working in her chosen field and broadening the opportunities wherever she works.  Perhaps she has children at home or maybe she doesn’t have a family.  And maybe one of those children finds their way into your work groups where they are encouraged to think outside the box and to be leaders in their field.

So back to my mom….  She started college at the University of Texas (gasp, I was born to Longhorns) in 1969 when women were starting to attend college in higher numbers.  I am mindful that college wasn’t the norm for men or women when my mom graduated from high school.  In fact, a lot of young men fresh from high school were headed to the Vietnam War.  Nevertheless, 13.1% of the male population completed college while only 8.1% of females did.  (Let’s be real, I am not writing a grad school paper and I am not looking for critics or statistical analysis.  What I am quoting can be found in here if you are interested.) I started college in 1992 when 24.3% of the male population and 18.6% of the female population graduated from college.  If you compare it, both sexes basically doubled their graduation rates but the women actually had a 4.3% lead in growth on the men.  So what about 2016 you might ask.  Well, women have a graduation rate of 33.7% and men are just about even with 33.2%.  So, we can make a lot of conclusions here and we can certainly discuss the social trends and implications, but I am not looking to be critical and I hope you aren’t either.  I love that education is an equal possibility for both sexes.  I know other things play a factor, but we could probably argue that all of those topics (income and race to name a few) also find college to be more accessible for them than in 1969.

Alright, now that statistics are out of the way, let’s get back to my mom and how she did it all.  She started college but when it became too expensive for her and my dad to both attend classes, she went to work at the Internal Revenue Service (gasp) while my dad got his degree.  I think the plan was for her to go to school after my dad graduated but then this (me) precious bundle of joy came along and blessed their lives and my mom stayed home to raise me.  There were a few moves and maybe a part time job and then a little brother until about 1983 when she went to work for the VA Hospital.  I don’t have a ton to say about these specific jobs and how she performed, but she did teach me it was really smart to work for the federal government if you want a good retirement package.  And since I am a social worker, I took her advice after a few grant funded jobs that had hardly any benefits and very little pay.  Anyway, smart mom with good lessons that I will repeat here for you just like she has repeated to me along the years; Go to college.  Graduate.  Get great benefits.  The government has great retirement.

My mom found her way back to the IRS where she was one of those dreaded Revenue Officers who seized your property when you couldn’t pay your taxes.  It sucked.  She hated it.  And she thought there was a more “just” way to handle it.  So, she did what any strong, confident woman would do and quit the IRS and opened her own tax business. She has The Tax Group since 1993 where she serves as an Enrolled Agent and represents taxpayers so they are fairly represented before the IRS.  And I think that’s freaking awesome.  She added tax return services for anyone looking to get their taxes done!! (wink wink) Even better, she became a well respected speaker in her field, tax attorneys collaborate with her and ask her for advice, and because she is highly intelligent, she writes in the enrolled agent textbook each year.  (If you are critiquing this post, please know I am not writing a resume and didn’t call her to get the proper terms but summarized based on a lifetime of talks at the dinner table.)

I hope you have a little badass in you just like my Momma.  And I want more than anything for you to surround yourself and your children with people who set their mind to whatever they want to accomplish regardless of what society says.  If you want to line up with thousands of women to march, do it.  If you want to be a leader in your industry, do it.  If you want to start your own business, you can do that too!  And if you want to stay at home and raise children who accomplish big and amazing things, please do that!  But don’t just let life pass you by because you are an exceptional person able to accomplish phenomenal things.

I specifically used “you” and not female pronouns because the social worker in me knows that you could be a man or woman who has not been surrounded with the best of parents and maybe you wish for more.  You can accomplish it. Better yet, you can also create a culture around you that believes in the ability of others and encourages them to accomplish big and amazing things.

I know we rarely use the comments section, but I would love to hear about your goals there and those who have inspired you or whom you hope to impact.

Vote for Narciso

Driving around Cabo, you can’t miss the election posters. One is particular, Narciso, comes across and sleazy and no one I would trust with a child or my puppy dogs. He reminded me of a fellow I met a few weeks back. And that reminded me of a post that needed to be written…

  
Who knew I would make so many blog posts in Cabo, but it seems like I am emptying my mind of all this stuff. I’m waiting in the Cabo airport with the most amazing view and thought this might be a good time to post my recent adventures in “getting out there.”

I’m no longer paying for online dating but a guy from Ft Worth and I started exchanging emails during an eharmony free communication weekend. Below is the first real email I received from him. I have no words…  
A bit about me:  I don’t work as I am disabled due to anxiety, depression, and COPD. I am in process of getting off disability and going back to work.  I am actively searching for work.  I have become very bored in my early retirement and I am going completely stir crazy.   I went in for a routine gall bladder operation in 2010, and the doctor made a couple mistakes, leaving clips inside me, cutting a bile duct, and sending me home half dead.  I am a heavy person, but I am actively trying to change that through daily exercise and rigorous dieting.  I Just recently joined a gym and I am loving it.  My teeth are a bit on the bad side due to the medications I have been on since my surgery.  I am scheduled to start the process to get them fixed in July of this year.  And finally, I moved back in with my parents when I became Ill and couldn’t care for myself.  Now I am here out of convenience to my parents in helping them around the house in their silver years.  I cook quite a bit for my diabetic father and make sure he takes his medications when needed.  And I also help keep the house and the yard to give my parents a break.”

Please don’t think I look down on him or judge him for all of those things, but that is a lot to unload on someone in the very first paragraph of the very first email. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it all and somehow he felt like more of a client and less of an interest, so I never replied. If you are trying out online dating, please let the person get to know you and your personality before unloading all the issues. We all have them. But I am sure you feel stressed out and overwhelmed if you received a similar email. 

Someone I know recently challenged me to try a meetup.com group. I had been watching a few groups for a few months before I decided to join 5 other people in a local singles group for dinner. Besides myself, only two guys showed up. They probably asked me two questions about myself and seemed content to talk about themselves. One guy rattled on and on about his connections in the music world, his status as a professional wrestler, and his profession as a biochemist. As I got to know him more, it turns out he does not have a college degree. Neither did the other guy. No judgement there. But he went on and on slamming college as stupid and unnecessary without even finding out that I had a few degrees under my belt. I was curious about his biochemist profession and how he came by that without a college education. He stated he just learned it. From books or the Internet?!? Eh, he kind of avoided that question, but I learned that he had a protein powder he was developing and getting to market soon. Which is concerning given that he seems to be developing this out of his own fantasy world. The other guy really only shared frustration that his meetup seemed to be dwindling in size. He shared how several girls showed up to the first event and the two of them started dating two of the girls. It ended badly. That seems to be the logical connection, being rude to some gals while breaking up with them. Guys, we as women talk. We use social media to get information and process how things went. So if your buddy is going to be rude to the gal he is seeing, you better believe that your gal is going to be loyal to her friend and cut ties quick. It’s that whole “bros before hoes” mentality. And if you allow your friend to be a total jerk and your still friends with him, it’s easy to conclude that you support that behavior. I know this is a huge rant, but I even told the young man several times that there isn’t anything wrong with being kind and respectful. He said “Everything I do is with honesty and transparency.  I won’t change who I am for anyone.”  I reminded him that kindness isn’t exclusive and then shut down. 
I noticed I had been fidgeting my feet for a while now and I felt like I was about to explode or have a seizure. My clients are far more pleasant and respectful than this guy. And his friend just sat there and agreed with everything.  I quickly announced I was leaving. And I escaped as soon as I could. 
So there’s that. I tried meetup.com. I doubt I will return to that group but I will give a more mature group a try. I hear a lot of good things and surely it’s a great way to make more friends and help this social butterfly spread her wings. 
On a positive note, I sporadically hear from kind and educated guys and I am exchanging emails with one now. They are few and far between, but they make this journey worth it.

Paradise

I don’t want to bore you all with details about paradise. But I have been reminded of two important lessons while I am here. It’s never perfect nor are the people who inhabit it. In an age of social media and immediate gratification I could easily show you all of the highlights and none of the fails. Like walking gracefully along at the pool and then eating it in front of several people. Scraped knee and injured pride. 

    

The second lesson is all about clearing my mind and renewing the soul. I believe you have to do that a lot to stay sane. Kim and I selected a spot away from the party crowd and with a pretty view. We staked our claim first thing this morning since it was our last day and we really wanted to enjoy it. I consumed a book, The Selection by Kiera Cass. It’s sort of in the same group as Divergent and Hunger Games but with less killing and more pageantry. As soon as I get home, I’ll begin the second in the series. Anyway I was laying in the pool looking at the amazingly perfect sky. To my right was the moon floating all alone in the sky. To my left and out of view was the sun. It’s presence obvious by its warmth on my skin. I started to consider life in the in between. Just looking at it makes no sense because I don’t mean that I struggle with my existence between the two, but in some ways they are polar opposites. Light, warmth, and life versus cold, isolated, and dead. And so is life. 

I do think life is a delicate balance. Feeling torn between emotions, people, and roles. I think Americans, Type A’s, oldest children, parents, or whatever role you play often feel this pressure to be and do everything. But as I sat in the pool and reflected on life, I realized perfection is never in my grasp and the quest toward it leaves me feeling like a failure. 
I don’t think that’s how we are meant to be when so much of what I know about society, people, and God tells me that we are a body or corporate entity working together to highlight each other’s strengths and working together to compensate for each other’s weaknesses to be our best. Whether that be family, team, work group, or church. 
So there you have the go-to lessons of vacation in Cabo. It was probably way too deep and introspective. I’m a thinker, that’s what we do. And I’m sitting here with my leg propped up, by book finished, and taking in paradise. 
   

 

  

I wanna be a billionaire, so freakin’ bad

We met Hector at the airport yesterday and he was so helpful. He gave us pointers and a map we accidentally left behind. He helped get us discounted plans as well. What the crap is some strange guy doing trolling at an airport specifically looking for single women over 35?!? I know what you are thinking, he is going to kill us and mail our heads back home.  Not quite, he never used the word “presentation” so we did think victim of violent crime was in our future. But no, it ended up being a vacation rental (so close to a timeshare but supposedly it’s not).  Just to be a rebel, I’m calling it a timeshare. 

If you know me, I am the most gullible person and you could talk me into donating money to Donald Trump to help the poor people. It’s just ridiculous. So I got suckered in. And lucky for them, I signed a confidentiality agreement so I can’t figure out how bad or good the deal was. 

  
 After HOURS of presentation and negotiation, we had lunch with this awesome view before we headed back to Santa Fe to get ready for a sunset cruise to the ever famous “arch” that was very close to lovers beach.  

And Divorce Beach.   All so we could see The Arch and take a crazy amount of pictures. 

I love people watching and the sunset cruise didn’t fail. And adorable 80ish gentleman offered to be my sugar daddy. And speaking of that, one guy on the boat had a reputation for being Rico Suave at a neighboring resort. He brought his game and a curvaceous woman wearing a creative outfit that left little to the imagination seemed to enjoy the flirty game with him. I think there was a love connection you guys. 💏💋 I know, hearts all a flutter. 

 
Kim and I also meat a great couple and their 35 year old hipster craft brewing son who was rather attractive while waiting for the cruise. We joined them for dinner and talked about the world traveling jet setter life. It’s a glorious thing and I pray you find a way to see the world as much as possible. Speaking of that, I now have 6 weeks to jet set, so let me know if you want to go on some adventures!  

I leave you with the funny picture of the day. And if you think it’s not funny, I beg you to consider that I am a social worker with teenage boys and I find it pretty awesome!  

 
Buenos nochas amigos! 

Jesus just served me a margarita

Dear friends, it’s been months. I know! Work was crazy busy. It wasn’t all bad but by the time I got home I didn’t really want to organize any of my thoughts into sensical statements. Then the weekends filled up with fun. 

And that’s when I booked a vacation with my college roommate, Kim. We are staying at the Riu Santa Fe in Cabo San Lucas. It seems to be the vacation hot spot for most of Canada, aye. I had no idea they enjoyed partying so much. Some are so warm and friendly. There is one that is loud and has an accent much like fingernails on a chalkboard. I have to find a spot across the pool from her tomorrow. 

It is gorgeous here, people. Just look at this picture.  


But on the flight and drive in, I saw a desert and poverty that doesn’t equate with the richness of this place. The employees are so friendly and nice. I hope that means they are well taken care of and they have happy safe homes. We saw the devastation from the hurricane that came last fall and I wondered about their homes. 
So back to the Riu, I think it’s like Mexican Dirty Dancing. They have classes during the day and performances at night. And I am fighting this urge to carry a watermelon to the back of the resort or jump up to declare “nobody puts Baby in a corner.” I can’t even begin to tell you how many Wednesday’s my friend and I walked to the movies after school in 8th grade to imagine we were Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze fell in love with us. Let’s just say it was every week. Every single week. I had the time of my life. 
 
So this is my week along with resting poolside and listening to crazy Canadians. Occasionally dipping my toe in the rather chilly pool before I jump in to make it over to the swimming pool bar. Where Jesus will serve me a margarita. No judgements. It’s basically the wine of Mexico. I also need you guys to know that the Sangria here seems magical. I’m pretty sure the salad bar was the culinary highlight of my eating day. Except the flour tortillas are almost transparent, they are that thin and a delicious. 

This is a legit vacay. I did not bring a hair dryer. We don’t have wifi except in the courtyard so I basically get online for a few minutes. I have yet to get a sunburn which is completely miraculous and further proof that Jesus is here performing miracles. 

  
God Bless Mexico and vacations. I will leave you with a picture of the sunset from the beach overlooking the marina and Cabo.  
 

Adios amigos. 

Drunk Dog

I woke up at 3:12am this morning to 10.3 lbs of poodle paws walking on my back. I don’t blame Pelucho because the other option is to walk on Ruthie and she can be so grouchy and mean to him. I assumed he needed to go to the bathroom so all three of us got up to go outside. It’s not an easy task when you consider that I have to wake up and remember to turn off the house alarm because NO ONE wants to hear that in the middle of the night. So, they did their business and came back inside but Pelucho just wasn’t himself. He wouldn’t let his head rest and he seemed really lethargic. He was shaking all over and he kept his eyes half open.

It was stressful and so scary people. I am not ashamed to say that I called my mom and sent a text to my brother. Let me back up a little bit to tell you that Pelucho has renal failure and high blood pressure. I give him high blood pressure medicine twice a day. Once a month he gets medication for heart worms and when I give both of them at the same time, this sick, shaky, oh my word is he dying behavior starts. So, I decided to wait on the high blood pressure medicine and skip this dose. I wasn’t sure what happened so I gave him his blood pressure medicine at 3:30am. No change. Stress. Prayers. Cuddles.

He went back to the corner of the bed where he continued to hang his head out really weird and acted like he was sniffing stuff. He looked terrible. We went back outside where he strolled around, ate some grass, and did some business. Back to bed where we cuddled, I prayed, and I begged the guy to get better. Every single possible bad thing went through my mind. I was so thankful that the vet’s office was open this Saturday.

Would you believe the little furball was back to normal? Ugh, I did NOT imagine this! I still decide to go in and everything was fine. Not just fine people but several of the higher levels were going down and he was in the normal range in two major areas – creatinine levels and the diastolic (bottom part) blood pressure. GET OUT! Praise God! I think I even did a dance right there because I have been a food nazi with these dogs to make sure he got better.

So, why is he shaking and acting drunk last night? Maybe he was out partying before I got home, but the more likely option is that he missed a high blood pressure medication. So, from here on out, those stay the same and the heartworm is taken mid-day. What happens if we run out of medication or land in the poor house? I am not sure but, you might find a social media fundraiser for the guy.

And because you can’t write about the cutest poodle boy ever without posting pictures, here are two from the weekend.

Pelucho and his Valentine's Day frog that he wasn't as interested in as Ruthie's dog.

Pelucho and his Valentine’s Day frog that he wasn’t as interested in as Ruthie’s dog.

Pelucho at the vet like nothing even happened last night

Pelucho at the vet like nothing even happened last night