A Journal of Sorts

January 1999
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My -love- pot of pansies

14 January 1999

Ahh, Texas winters! Temperatures were in the 20's last night and are expected to be in the 70's tomorrow. I've just come in from a tour of the yard and am always excited by the goings-on out there. We had an exceptionally long autumn this year - no cold weather until just a few days before Christmas.

I'm seeing green in the bulb gardens around the three trees out back as well as something sprouting in some of the pots. Interesting that the little shoots in the front don't look anything like hyacinths, so I'm thinking that I probably had something in those pots before my latest plantings. The grape hyacinths put up lots of leafy growth immediately after I planted them last fall, so, complimented by pansies, they've given the 'excavated' portion of the front bed real garden look.

During a weeding foray, I found a good deal of gravel near the front walk, so started exploring the area. There is old landscaping under the lawn buried under several inches of soil. I'm excavating a nice brick edging and gravel. . lots of gravel. Someone had carefully dug out the area, put down some plastic sheeting and filled the area with about 4" to 6" of gravel. It extends along the walk and across the front of the house.

It has been a long time since I've had a yard where I could play gardener. Tom bought this property in 1997, about a year before our marriage. The yard was somewhat barren and the lawn was about 90% weeds. He's done a remarkable amount of work creating a lovely green lawn where there was none. It is always well manicured. Although the place came equipped with two live oaks in the front, there was nothing in the back. He's planted four crepe myrtles, two hollys and a mystery bush that has pretty white blooms on it in the summer. In addition, he's planted the three little trees that I'm especially fond of. The Bald Cypress and the Red Oak are about 8' tall and the Burr Oak is about half that size. All three of them have raised beds around them with tulips or daffodils starting their second season.
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18 January 1999

It looks like the job market has really opened up in the past couple of weeks. The newspaper employment section is about twice as thick as it was and I'm starting to see more and more opportunities that appear 'perfect' for me. I suppose folks are back from their holidays and ready to go back to work - or maybe their 1999 budgets have kicked in.

I'm hoping to find some sort of technical support job. I've decided that straight programming is not my cup of tea. I love being a hero and getting feedback from the clients. When I was working Year 2000 stuff, I often didn't have any contact with PEOPLE for a week at a time. If we didn't have weekly meetings, I probably wouldn't have come out of my cubicle even then. I did like the bonus $$ though. That 'extra' money was sure fun to spend.

I'll be happy to have income again. I certainly don't much like being so frugal in my spending. When I want to go get gardening supplies or just misc. junk for one of my projects, those expenses certainly fall in the category of 'not necessary'. I miss being able to go out to eat and I especially miss the ability to get little presents for people. At least I'm keeping fairly current on my obligations, although I did pay my car payment in two installments last month.

I think my self-image is way too tied up in my paycheck. I still have a tendency to do without things (like groceries and medications) if I have to ask Tom for financial aid. Even I know that is foolish pride or something . . .still, I haven't been able to bring myself to do more than hint around that it would be nice if he offered me a bit of his paycheck from time to time.

When I get back to work, I'll be giving up a few things I really like, though. I have enjoyed taking Jason to school in the mornings. We try to leave early enough to go to the donut shop across from his school. Those few minutes alone with him every day have certainly become a joy to me. I also enjoy walking Tom out to his car in the mornings and kissing him goodbye. I like planning and cooking nice meals, digging in the gardens, playing with the dog and surfing the Internet, too. I'm sure I'll be doing much less of those fun things when I find gainful employment.

Life seems to be one adaptation after another . . . .
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22 January 1999

Ed and I went to an awards ceremony for Jason. The national PTA's sponsor a competition every year called Reflections. The kids are supposed to reflect on a given subject and create whatever it inspires in them. . a photograph, a painting, a poem, etc.

This year, the theme was "I Turned Around and . . ." Jason wrote a short story about a monkey who became lost in the jungle. Not only did he win the highest award in his school, but went on to win the highest in the city as well. He got his Reflections of Excellence trophy at the awards ceremony and his story has gone on to compete in the district. We should hear how he placed sometime in February.

Jason has always had a flair for language; his vocabulary is more advanced than most college students'. He is very descriptive in his creations, adding detail about emotions, color, texture, and smells. He also builds a good character. With these talents, it pains me that his reading and writing skills are down around a 3rd or 4th grade level.
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27 January 1999

Today is a hodgepodge of activity. We've done some landscape planning, some moving, some bird research and lots of housework.

Jason and I have selected the vegetables he is going to grow in his garden this year. Normally, he only has a two or three square foot area, but this year, it will be a bit bigger, probably an eight to twelve square foot area will work for him. We plan to do a raised bed and plant potatoes and peas as well as his usual carrots and tomatoes. This is the first time we've done any research. Although his gardens have always been a success, now we know about the proper soil preparation, drainage, support and the types that grow well in our area. We've even researched the best planting times for spring and fall crops based on the first and last freeze dates. I've resurrected my old garden journal to keep the notes in. It was interesting reading about the gardening adventures I logged in the early 80's.

Tom and I have been married for three months and I'm still not moved in. The majority of my furniture and personal belongings is still in the garage. It sure makes it difficult to get around in there, so I've started the process of moving things into the house. We now have a table in the entry, all polished and bright. I put the vases we got from Tom's uncle (or maybe cousin) on it with some ivy. That particular piece of furniture is well over 20 years old and has certainly seen a lot of wear and tear over the years.

I saw some woodpeckers today so just HAD to get out my bird book and see what they are. One of them was pounding on the ground in the back yard . . and the other was tapping on the tree in the front. Then, I got all involved in figuring out what birds are around here and what they might like to eat. I love birds and have certainly enjoyed the few times I've had feeders out for them. Of course, my big dream is to keep birds in mind when I'm doing the landscaping and gardening and build a nice habitat.

Had a good time doing housework today, too. The entire 'family area' has been thoroughly scrubbed and polished and dusted and vacuumed. Looks nice in there. I especially like coming in the front door and seeing the light from the patio door shining off the tile. It is beautiful white tile with marble like gray and silver markings in it. Tom put it down just after he bought the house last year.
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