Walking Around the Texas Capital…. Merry Christmas!

I took a walk from my office in downtown Austin to the Texas State Capital building and grounds on my lunch break a few days ago. The sun was shining and the temperature was about 74 degrees, not bad for a December day!

I’ve been to the Texas Capital a few times but I wanted to see if there were any Christmas decorations, and take a look at some of the statues and plaques.  I captured just a few statures and memorials, as well as a few historical pieces while I got some exercise and enjoyed the beauty of the day. Texas is a state with a rich history, being that it was once controlled by Mexico before becoming independent and then joining the United States of America. It is also the second largest stated and has the second largest population.

I may have been born and raised in Chicago, but I am proud to be a Texan! As the saying goes, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”

Merry Christmas from Texas!

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

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Moved To Tears… Happy cows

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.” Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

This may be a big admission, but I don’t normally cry unless I am sad or frustrated. That’s not to say that I don’t cry. However, the occasion touching moment that really gets to me does happen from time to time. Not that I don’t have moments that touch my heart in some way, it’s just not how I express myself on a regular basis.

One moment that did move me to tears was watching dairy cows being let out to pasture after all winter. This came to my attention while perusing articles on The Blaze news website: Watching the excitement of cows put out to pasture after a winter inside. I read the article but didn’t have time to watch the videos. The next day at work when I needed a break, I used my phone to find the cow videos and found this one on YouTube:

This farmer also has a website I plan to look at a bit more: http://www.richardcornock.co.uk/#!

Watching those beautiful cows run about joyfully, eating freely, and seemingly joking with each other made me so happy. I even shared it with a co-worker who had a similar reaction on a stressful day, which also made me happy. Now that I live in Texas I frequently see cows grazing and napping in the sun and I find it calming and peaceful. While I live in a town, the country is a short drive away and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the scenery.

Boyfriend and I drove past a feedlot farm in West Texas on a roundtrip a few years… all I can say is yuck and how sad. We could smell the feedlots before we saw it and it seems to go on for miles. I was disturbed to see cows cramped into small spaces, some of the standing on mounts of excrement because there was nowhere for them to go. And to think that those cows and others treated the same way produce a lot of the  red meat that Americans eat everyday.  Not to get on my soapbox but, if there is plenty of land to keep building and building and building houses, shopping centers and other buildings while there are homes going unsold, vacant crumbling buildings in major metropolitan areas, and lots of people who can’t afford housing, we have plenty of space to let animals roam as they are meant, especially the animals that produce our food.

Photo0057Boyfriend and I used to purchase pasture-raised beef, eggs and ham from a farmer in Illinois, and loved the food his animals produced. The eggs are the yummiest with the most golden yolks I have ever seen, and I really miss the deli ham! I can also attest to his animals being well cared for and pastured-raised because we visited Nature’s Choice Farm. If you are near Chicago or the South and Western suburbs, you should check them out! Photo0056

I’m here… Part II

I started my blog in November 2014, and I am proud to say that I am still here. I have been writing about different things that I notice or have affected me personally, covering topics from my family and Boyfriend’s family, hobbies, politics, my hometown Chicago and my new home Central Texas, and life in general.

I have written in various forms for most of my life – poems, journals, stories when I was younger, and news articles for the school paper. I did it because I liked it and it helped to get thoughts and feelings on paper. I wouldn’t say that my poetry was great but I enjoyed writing it, and it helped me process life in my own way. I haven’t written poetry in a long time, maybe 2-3x in the past eight years, which I have tied to working in social services. My jobs have entailed lots of people time, sometimes dealing with lots of stress, and I would gain satisfaction from helping others but also be left drained mentally and emotionally.

I really enjoy blogging- writing blog posts and reading blog posts. I wish I had given this a-go sooner than I did but I am glad I am  here. Kind of reminds me of the saying about Texas, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could,” which also pertains to me. I hope to gain more comfort in sharing my thoughts publicly, though in a most anonymous manner, and I hope to develop skill at building different types of posts. I plan to continue writing about various topics, including family, life, politics, and other topics as they peak my interest.

Again, welcome to blogdaysofchrell!

My hopes for our leaders…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dear Leader.” If your government (local or national) accomplishes one thing this year, what would you like that to be?

My hope is that the politicians we elected, at all levels of government will do their jobs by making decisions for the true good of the people, not for the good of only their families, their investment portfolio, a small group of society they think will vote for them, or for the good of the devil they made a deal with to get into office. My hope at the national level is that more Americans will come forward who are not afraid to ask questions, that our elected officials will put our interests, our rights, our economy and the problems of our people first and that they will let the rest of the world handle their own problems for awhile (Ron Paul commercial). My hope is that we, as a country, will exact less of our solutions when we are not solving our own problems or, rather, are creating our own problems. My hope is that our texts, our phone calls, our emails, our photos will be securely ours because, to quote Kentucky Senator Rand Paul at 2015 CPAC, “I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.” 

courtesy of www.zazzle.com

My hope for this country is that we can appreciate why we exist and how we came to be, which was to be free from an oppressive government (See explanation on http://www.history.com –  American colonies declare independence). The Declaration of independence and the U.S Constitution and Bills of Rights are the result of a desire for freedom and liberty. I realize that they were written in a time very different from the present and that our forefathers were imperfect in many ways but these documents are still important and have stood the test of time. It is troubling to me that some groups of people would even classify our forefathers as troublemakers or terrorists for, without them, we would not be living in the United States of America.

 

As a Texan, my hope is that Texas will maintain it’s independent spirit. My hope is that the Texas Legislature will eventually pass Constitutional Carry, but I am pleased that Open Carry is making great progress and that Governor Abbott supports it. I believe that each American should have the right to defend themselves but that it should be his or her choice. Police typically show up after the fact, and I keep seeing stories of people with firearms protecting family, friends, fellow shoppers and their pets, which could not happen without the ability to legally possess a gun. My hope is that more Americans see value in having more choices rather than less choices, and that they will not over-regulate to the point that criminals, rather than good people, are armed. My hope is that Texas and my corner of Central Texas will not borrow us into the monetary condition of states like Illinois, which remains toward the bottom of the economic outlook list (48th in 2014). My hope is that Texas will protect itself from both intruders and the federal government, who seems to forget about states’ right when they make policy.

Overall, my hope is that all of the predictions of another economic collapse, another war(s), and further restrictions on our rights don’t come to fruition, though these events are likely to happen at some point, and my hope is that we can tip the scales back in favor of the people.

Liberty and Justice For All -courtesy of http://www.zazzle.com

Texas Flag – courtesy of clipartpanda.com

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Recovering From The Chaos…

The past few weeks have been… interesting.

First, I had the long-awaited visit from my mother and my aunt, which went well for the most part. My mother and my aunt are the middle and youngest children, respectively, and they are very different in their opinions. Yet, they are both very talkative and competitive of each other, but neither would admit to this. Both women are in their mid-to-late 60’s , overweight, and they love me dearly. I was glad to see my mother and my aunt, but I  was disappointed when my mother became somewhat jealous of me and my aunt talking, as I enjoyed hearing stories about my uncle and eight cousins that I had not previously heard. My mother would interrupt, add to the conversation in ways that didn’t may sense and would throw zingers at both me and my aunt, which Boyfriend witnessed, rather than telling us how she really felt. There were even moments when my mother channeled my father’s impatience, disagreeableness and negativity, which surprised me. Boyfriend and I tried to plan a few things to do and places to go that would allow us all to spend time together, see some sights and eat good food.  The high points, for me, were their appreciate for Boyfriend and for his patience, good nature and how good he is to me, and learning about my family. The low points were two arguments with my mother because she said I was being negative.  To me, sometimes an apple is just an apple, not the most beautiful, tasty red apple ever! All I did was share my account of an event, so I walked away for a few minutes to collect myself, and the second time, when I actually told her how I felt, and she threw a fit in front of the Texas State Capital because I was being real rather than in the clouds. I love both of my parents but I continue to have trouble with the fact that they take it personally if I happen to agree with the other parent on something about which they disagree. Thank God for my aunt, who was not only understanding but able to somewhat mediate and salvage the day. Overall, it was nice to see my mother and my aunt after not being home to see the family for almost two years, and it felt good to share some of my life in Texas with them. My mother and I have talked since, and I think we now having a better understanding of each other.

Next, Boyfriend starts getting calls from relatives about his mother and some problems caused by his older brother. His mother and brother, as mentioned in a previous post, are both narcissists, and are enemies and best friends depending on the day. Boyfriend limits contact with both of them but did talk to his mother for her birthday (in March), Easter and Mother’s Day. The calls from relatives came somewhere in between, and culminated in Boyfriend’s decision to fly home for a few days to see for himself about his mother’s health and the accusations about his brother’s, um, shenanigans. The stories changed a little once Boyfriend started investigating and he found out the truth, which he already suspected. Let’s just say that, due to my dealings with these people over 12 years, I have much respect and admiration for Boyfriend being courageous enough to ask tough questions and stand up for himself in the presence of a women who does not deserve the title of mother due to her blatant favoritism, manipulation and standard  narcissist behavior, and he still put a plan in place for his mother to be cared for and helped. I don’t think I could have done it, but Boyfriend is the strongest person I know.

This has been a lot of stress on both of us. Then, there is work. Boyfriend started a new job about two weeks ago, and they were kind enough to allow him the time to go home. I had several days off recently while preparing for and during my family visit, and I have felt emotionally drained from everything.  While I am grateful to have a job, but it has its own set of challenges. Working as somewhat of a team has it perks and its drawbacks. Sometimes it is nice to have someone there to help with complicated cases but you don’t get to make decisions on your own, and you have to do what the team agrees with. Also, it is tough when each person has a different relationship with the boss, and there is some favoritism from time to time. I realize that I have not handled my stress the best as of late, but it makes things even tougher when you don’t get the same benefit of the doubt or the same information as others do. I know I must do better and work harder, and accept things as they are.

While it has been hard for Boyfriend to be gone due to concerns about how he would be treated by his family, I am glad to hear that he gained support from a few surprising sources. I hope that, in between his chaos, he got a little time to himself that is hard to get living in a 650 square foot apartment with me and the Cat, and I was glad to get a little time to recover from my chaos by talking on the phone to family and watching a few favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail and keeping the Faith. The best recovery for me, though, will be picking Boyfriend up from the airport tonight.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell