The Seller and I finally closed on the property, taking 4 closing dates and 2 extra signing days to finalize it. She left me with about two dozen stray cats to deal with. Feeding strays is actually discouraged among animal rights activists and rescuers.

Note: FEEDING STRAYS WITHOUT TRAPPING/SPAYING-NEUTERING/VETTING ONLY CREATES MORE STRAYS, WHICH ONLY CREATES MORE STRAYS, and the nightmare continues unabated. STOP IT. You’re not solving any problem; you are creating horrific problems for everyone, including the cats.

Yesterday I arrived at the property, which I don’t yet live on because it’s not yet livable (in my picky opinion) and found a tiny dead kitten. I was outraged because this was completely preventable. I’m already trying to clean all the cigarette tar from the carpets and off the walls and now have a yellowed ceiling to deal with – and I find a dead kitten too beautiful and too innocent for this world it was born into. A cruel rip from the fabric of that idyllic land, one that was harsh and cat-overcrowded. I feel forced to continue feeding the cats because there are so many that would starve if I didn’t.

Last night we had our first real freeze. Tonight the temps will drop even lower. I created two makeshift shelters on the front porch where they hang out, using the nasty cabinets my bro-in-law tore out of the nasty kitchen, plus the dropcloths we’d been using to paint. Then I found some quilt batting I didn’t even know I had (queue the book I’m writing about manifesting exactly what we need exactly when we need it) … (or wait for the straight-to-video movie) so the batting became their bedding. Before I left last night, I saw that several of the kittens claimed the spaces. That helped usher up some happiness about having to improvise.

The move date was postponed about three weeks, giving me some time to get the place fixed up and the cat population (hopefully) taken down a bit. I am calling rescue groups, but haven’t found the feral cat or barn cat group(s) yet. Still searching. They’ve GOT to be out there somewhere…

pic of too many cats
The Kitten Farm

To Do or Not To Do a To-Do (list)

Being a bit ADD  but having OCD tendencies, I make lists. I’ve always made lists. But I now hear people say that having a To-Do list is counterproductive.

Really? Because it’s always helped me remember what I NEED to do while my mind can focus on what I truly WANT to do (which is A LOT.) So I make my lists and I cross out the tasks I’ve done. It’s so simple and so effective that all the recent ruckus about To-Do lists being ineffective is rendered completely bogus here in StellaCasa. Who would tell anyone not to make lists if that’s how they keep their minds clear enough to really enjoy their time? I’m here to untell that story.

Note: Time is our greatest asset. It’s the gift we can give, but also the thing we can steal from others, that can never be replaced. Use your own time as wisely as you can (not always possible) while respecting the time that others give to us (nearly always possible.) Be cool people. Don’t take someone’s time if you’re not willing to give something of equal value in return.

So back to lists… mine is (are; I might have several) ongoing. Like grocery lists. They allow me to get in and get out of the stores in a flash rather than dicking around, looking for what I might want rather than what I know I need. Anything I didn’t get is moved to the next fresh grocery list. And I save a ton of money making grocery lists. Those who know I’m becoming a Frugal Queen understand this. Of those people, I’ve been asked a couple of times to help them with their finances so, in the true (Benjamin Franklin) spirit of pouring our purse into our heads, I intend to take a course in Financial Coaching next Spring. Next Spring because I have yet to find the time to finish the online business course I signed on for last Spring. One thing we can’t actually borrow is time…. “hey, can ya spot me a little time? I seem to be coming up short”

Each list I make may not be done all in one day – or one week – so, like on the grocery lists, I migrate the “undones” to a new list and jot down all the fresh, current tasks needing done. IE: weed/edge my little RV yard so my bro-in-law doesn’t freak; continue renovating/priming/painting/caulking; commence with scraping off the massive side decals from the windows, where they should’ve been scraped off at the factory; re-pack anything I won’t be using in the next month so the impending move will be easier; write that book; explode previous website style sheets (css) and cross-reference the corresponding HTML; find the *Land Kraken family hiding in the walls; et cetera.

Then, after each has been completed, I cross it off and it’s gone and doesn’t move to the next day’s list, like the undones will be. (Or next week’s list, if I’m having a lazy week. But having a lazy week doesn’t preclude my actually doing a few tasks AND moving the undones to a new list.) It’s all so highly effective for me.

So list on, sweet baby loves. It’s the lists that get us through our mind-muck.

photo of a mouse
*Actual photo of a Land Kraken
by Yunu Dinata from Unsplash


Paradise Farm, the Continuing Saga of Closing…

photo of farmhouse surrounded by pastures
This is not my beautiful (farm)house
Excellent photo of someone else’s farmhouse by Fritz Bielmeier on Unsplash

Update October 11, 2019
The rescheduled closing for today (Friday) is rescheduled for next Friday.
More updates as they occur.
This eventual Artist’s Retreat WILL HAPPEN…. but patience is the constant while the dream is the reality.


Oh, Dear Reader, how life loves to trip us up while we’re dancing so divinely. That’s because life can be an asshole.

Spoiler alert: We STILL haven’t closed….

Despite having planned to close on the new property which didn’t happen, and the title company being paid to get their affairs in order, new surprises are popping up all over like pimples on the pubescent.  It seems the house, whose title is already in question, is also sitting about two feet on the property next door…. for FORTY YEARS. Really? And now is when we’re hearing about it??? Looks like the title company who closed on that deal has some splainin to do.

We’ve had the neighbors who own that slice of land (approximately .099 acres) deed us the slice. All the while, another gigantic issue is awakening, one that should’ve been taken care of many years ago…. but who knew.

WHO’S RUNNING THIS SHOW? How’d the property get closed upon back in the day, when the house that straddles the property line was only half its current age? And where’s its title? Who’s butt do I need to chew to get this done?

All these tiny glitches could blossom into major malfunctions so I’m keeping the faith and positivity up as much as I can. Stay busy, stay cool, and it all works out.

I’m manufacturing cool like this dog is cool

Photo by Josh Rakower on Unsplash
Photo of a coolcat dog by Josh Rakower on Unsplash


Stairs = The PIA Remodel

photo of steps with nasty carpet

The "Before" of the group, when the nastyass carpet was wearing thin

hallway'ette with nasty carpet

This is the hallway'ette that leads from the steps to the bathroom. Well... more like a shower room. I have no bath and that makes me sad.

too many staples in the carpet

Soooooo many carpet staples
"Safety First" was impossible

Is that carpet under carpet!?? It's like a carpet bonanza! Or laziness on someone's part.
Soooooo many carpet staples
"Safety First" was impossible

demo day

Demo Day!!!

The "Peninsula" arm, where someone patched a giant hole with wall material. It's like a treasure hunt, if you consider garbage a treasure.

broken nail

Wrenching the old wood framing off the stairs.
And yes. Yes, I did break a nail.

stair framing photo

Stair framing pretty solid

photo of cat checking out the work

My old girl doing some quality control work.
She approves.

new wood steps

These are the two new wooden steps stained a very light gray. So far, so great

photo of installed steps

Steps are now in place and the "real work"
(trim/paint) begins.

photo of problems in the corners

There are soooo many issues to be resolved: this one is the biggest, with the peninsula having been rebuilt and the unsmooth facing being smoothed.

photo of post-painted stair bases

Still deciding on colors for the stair bases ~ I change my mind often. Because I can.

photo of pop of coral pink inside the drawers

A pop of coral pink inside the drawers carries the Florida + Hollywood + Hemingway theme into secret places

photo of the rebuilt peninsula

The peninsula is almost done; I'll probably paint some scaly, googly-eyed critter in the coral facing.

photo of almost done steps


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Capturing Time

We’re in some shit on this over-tapped planet and it’ll only get deeper if we don’t all begin curbing our massive consumption. Repeating myself (as I’ll do a gadrillion times before I’m done) moving here has changed me. I’ve always been a recycler, upcycler, kitchen and garden waste composter, and general conservationist, but these are the times that try our souls. We are IN the very thing that was predicted toward the last decades of the 20th century – we are living within the massive destruction, and eventual extinction, of the planet. And not enough is being done about it.

In addition to researching solar for the RV, I’m beginning to study all things sustainable for when I move out of here and into another place I might finally call ‘Home’ and, dammit, I am learning a LOT. For one: most people who’ve gone sustainable-living say they wished they’d done it sooner. IT’S COMPLICATED, yes but, once done, it’s NOT complicated. It’s also doable on many scales, my latest being living closer to the Earth, feeling the ground beneath me, having that smaller “footprint” and leaving things better than I found them.

Isn’t that the way it always should be?

I’m in contract to buy a place = 5 acres of land with an older home placed around the early eighties. I want to see the final deed, see how it all began and who owned it before. A Realtor recently told me that most title searches can go back as far as the very beginnings, in the 1800s when land in Texas was traded or purchased from either indigenous people or the Spanish settlers (so all you anti-immigration freaks – guess again. WE are the immigrants.)

I won’t take Stella the RV to the new property because I’m afraid she’d belly out on the rough roads leading to it, opting to either lease her out to vacationers or sell her. That makes me really sad and I hope I get to keep her. I love her. But I will build. Small housing, perhaps shed-to-house conversions, doing it right and eliminating all the crappy materials like chip wood, MDF board, PVC and plastics of any kind, and managing the project myself so it’s done right. Living here I realized early on that I don’t need much space. I don’t even need my antiques and those unnecessary tchotchkes. Now the necessary tchotchkes I will keep! making them keepsakes. For the sake of keeping. So I can always remember who gave them to me and wish their souls well on their own journeys….

But I digress like a madwoman, and my reality is: The work is about to begin. I’ve been in a holding pattern for 5 months now, diligently working on the RV, working on finding a place to move to, working on rebuilding family relationships, but the real work awaits me in the form of building a Life. We’re in the options period where we check out everything to ensure it is sound and livable, safe and doable.

As usual, I’ll keep you posted.

photo of a country road surrounded by trees
House Hunting, always a nice drive out here…

Edit the Sun

In my off-time I’ve been researching solar and all that comes with it. By “off-time” I mean every moment that I’m not working, eating, or sleeping. That my eyes glaze over incessantly and I have to jar myself awake with all this boring mesmerizing jargon only adds to my next-day beauty. There are the solar panels, of course, and the batteries that hold the power, obviously… then there is the inverter, the link-ups, the brackets and installation methods, the cords and wires and cables, and even the solar generator I found that can serve as extremely expensive backup, and Ooooooh, the math. Lotta solar electricity math goin’ on here. Kinda nostalgic though, reminding me of the one Jr. High class where they talked about OHMS and amps and volts and actual electricity that can kill. My eyes would glaze over way back then, too.

Fast forward to today and all the YouTube videos and the websites hocking equipment and storage, and the lovely, cheerful, helpful sales staff of any one of the suppliers… it’s more than daunting. I guess I feel that, if I watch and read enough, it’ll eventually sink in. Then I’ll be an expert. Want advice? Watch this space.

In the meantime, I work on my RV bedroom steps, painting walls, spiffing up in a nautical theme for the bath, Hollywood Key West Hemingway for the living room & kitchen, and Who Knows What yet for the bedroom…. I guess that’ll be my grand finale.
And I still look for a house or land to make into my new home. Below is a photo of the front door in a house built in 1870 ~ it’s about 150 years old, sometimes how old I feel when I get out of bed too early…


Photo by Mohammad Kazemi on Unsplash
Grab the sun before it’s gone…
Photo- Mohammad Kazemi on Unsplash