I was killing time this morning, and decided to listen to some old Simon & Garfunkel. (Is there any ‘new’ Simon & Garfunkel? LOL) Anyway, I remembered that one of Mom’s all-time favorite songs was “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, and I began reflecting how that song really really did sum up her spirit and attitude when I was growing up, and it’s how I remember her: Feelin’ Groovy! No matter what difficulties she might have experienced, she always had such a beautiful outlook on life, and loved living.

The next song on my playlist was “Hazy Shade of Winter”, and I had to laugh, because that song really is more my outlook on life! Nowhere near as optimistic as my mother, but will a little hope still in there amidst the cynicism.

Since I’ve not posted in a while, I thought I’d just share the two videos, side-by-side, in case some random viewer would like to walk down memory lane with me. 🙂


I am (believe it or not!) a bit of an introvert. I love being with people, and going out and doing things, but when I’m done, I’m DONE. And then, I want to be ALONE. I’ve spent a great deal of my life fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to have some time. . . ALONE.

Well. I have plenty of that time now. Gaylon and Abby work all the time, and Mom is gone, so most days I’m alone. And you’d think I’d have accomplished so much. Like that quilt I started two years ago for A.J.’s son, Asher. At the rate I’m going, he’ll be in college before I get it done! (I hope A.J. and his wife don’t hold their breath on that t-shirt quilt I’m going to be doing for them. . .!) Or all those other sewing projects I’ve got planned. Or, how about my last lesson in Module 2, Unit 5? Nope. It’s just sitting here accusingly as I type.

And never mind projects and schoolwork. You’d think my prayer life would be brilliant! Nope. I mean, I do still pray, but all those Bible study aids are still covered in dust. As is my house. (In my defense, it’s hard to be motivated to dust when one has brochitis!)

And I keep sitting down at my computer thinking I’ll design a website for Gaylon Brooks Construction, or write all these riveting blog posts that will rock the world. But, no.

I really do think it’s shock. Or maybe this is what “Empty Nest Syndrome” looks like. I used to be such a doer, a go-getter. I would make a list, and by nightfall, I’d have it all marked off. But instead, I get to the end of each day, and wonder what happened. I usually manage to get the bed made, the coffee pot cleaned out and prepped for the next day, and most of the time I get dinner made. No, I don’t think I’m depressed, although I suppose that’s an option. I just think that after almost 50 years of having someone around to be with, I’m in a bit of shock that I’m alone  now.

I remember my Mom was always doing something. Going to lunch. Shopping. Political meetings. She was amazingly busy for someone who hated cooking, refused to sew or do any sort of handiwork and pretty much had no hobbies. And then I think, perhaps its because she didn’t have the internet to distract her. I mean, Facebook is the one think I manage to “accomplish” daily. I never turn on the television, but I do check Facebook, Instagram, etc.

So, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to put all this wonderful “Alone Time” to good use. I’m going to force myself to spend at least two hours each day working on school. And as soon as I get this darned bronchitis under control, I’m going to start going back to Daily Mass. I love Daily Mass, but it’s so easy to slip out of the habit.

So, yeah. . . .being alone is not exactly what I’d imagined. But I’m hoping I have the power to change that.

Well, my apprenticeship in Bryan was eventful, but has come to an end. I got to observe 5 lovely births, met lots of delightful folks, and learned a bit about birth centers. Now I just need to observe 5 more births before I can move on to “assisting under supervision”. I will have to do 20 of those! Then I will need to do 25 “Primary Midwife Under Supervision” births, along with mastering various skills. (Anyone wanna volunteer to let me practice venipuncture??) I am hoping to find an apprenticeship in the Austin/Round Rock area this time. It was really difficult being out of town so much.

But, now that I am back home, I am hoping to get back to work on some quilts and other projects that have been on the back burner for far too long. I still have plenty of studying to do, but I am confident I can still get quite a bit of sewing in, too. I’m also hoping that, since I won’t be eating out so often, that I can actually start and complete a Whole30. I feel so much better when I’m not eating junk food!!

Abby has decided to take a Gap Year from school. She is babysitting a LOT, and spends the rest of her time in the sewing room. She is happy, and I’m happy she’s home. Alexander finally got some roommates that he enjoys, and bought himself a new car. He is also happy. Kendall and Gaylon are working their fingers to the bones trying to keep our business moving in the right direction. They are amazing.

There’s not much more news to tell for now, but I thought I’d just sort of post a brief snippet to let everyone know I’m still alive.


So I finally carved out time to actually do the “cool” thing and go to a coffee house and work on my blog. No go. I got to Thunderbird Coffee, no problemo. Got an iced chai. It was not bad. I got a nice (albeit freezing!!) table in the corner, and set up shop. And that is where my blog totally failed me. I tried to log in, but it gave me a “403 Access Denied” message. What. Last time I tried to work on my blog it locked me out. The freaking security features I added a couple of months ago seem to be the problem. Or at least they were last time, and I’m hoping this will be an easy fix this time, too.

I’m hoping, that is, that I will go home, log into my home network, and all will be well. If not, I’m going to seriously consider getting another hosting service.

I’ve used Bluehost since 2007, and have had relatively few issues with them. For the most part, their customer support has been very helpful. But this is getting ridiculous. So, for now, I’m typing this out on my trusty word processing program, and will upload it as soon as I get the chance.

I had this idea that I would blog more this year. That my blog posts would be more focused, and maybe even more meaningful. And certainly more frequent! I don’t think I have much of a readership other than my faithful cousin, Russell. (Hi, Russell!) But my stupid blog has even locked him out of leaving me comments, so I need to look into that, too.

At any rate, I thought that the actual discipline of writing regularly would be a good thing for me. And as noisy as this coffee shop is (and God help me, they’re playing disco!!!) it is a lot better than my office. Because nobody here knows me or wants anything from me. Most of them are talking, lost in their own little worlds, much as I am in mine, and there are a good number of us who are immersed in our computers. But not a single person here wants me to get up and open the door to let the cat out, or wants to come over to my table and begin a conversation with “Sorry to bother you. . .” or “I just have this one thing. . .” like my mother ALWAYS does. No matter what, if I’m in my office, she just cannot help herself, and she MUST come in. To tell me she’s going to the mailbox or something of great import along those lines. Bless her heart! (Yeah. . . I’m Southern. . . )

So, perhaps I should make good on my threat to run away once or twice a week and come to a coffee house or a library somewhere and write. It would probably be very good for me. However, I think when the weather warms up, I’m going to do a little genealogy research. Or write that breakout novel. . . who knows what amazing things might happen if I have some ‘alone’ time!

(Note: Sure enough. I got home and it logged right in. I’m gonna guess it has something to do with the fact that I was trying to log in from somewhere other than my home? Grr. . .)

My original website, Brooks Bunch of NC, is 10 Years Old! Wow! I have finally updated it, and changed it to the Brooks Bunch of Austin, Texas, and made several other minor changes, as well.

In lieu of giving it a complete overhaul, (which I’m sure it could use, but I sort of like keeping it pretty much the same, for nostalgia purposes), I just tweaked it and fixed all the broken links. I also tried to update my info on each page, in particular the one on Homeschooling, hoping that it will more accurately reflect that the boys are grown now! I was surprised to see that I’d not touched it since 2009. So much has changed since then. . .

When I started this blog, I moved my info on Homeschooling and Genealogy over here, but left my Midwifery pages on the old site. So, if you want to read them, that’s where you’ll find them. There is a lot of really good information to glean from them, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, it’s sort of a cyber ‘blast from the past’, as far as design and coding, but I’m sort of partial to it. Probably cuz it’s my first. 😉 If you do go check it out, please let me know if there’s anything hinky about it. When I try to do updates like this, I tend to miss links or my verb tenses don’t agree. . . you know what I mean. Let me know what you think!


I am always highly entertained by the things my kids say, and just because they are older now, doesn’t mean they have gotten any less entertaining. In fact, I tend to think that they are getting funnier, and I keep trying to get Alex to write his stuff down and try an open mic night at a local comedy club.  Anyway, today has been rich in humorous conversations around our place!!

This morning, at breakfast~

Okay, I just needed an excuse to put a picture of Tony Stark on my blog!!

Okay, I just needed an excuse to put a picture of Tony Stark on my blog!!

Alex: I had an epic dream last night that I was Iron Man!
Me: Really? Were you flying?
Alex: Yep! And I was using those hand cannons and everything! It was awesome! But I can’t tell you everything, because my dream had spoilers in it, and you haven’t seen the movie yet!
Me: Seriously? Your dream had spoilers???
Alex: Yeah.
Me: *SIGH*


Who can resist a recipe collection like this??

Who can resist a recipe collection like this??

Later in the day, upon returning home from Jo-Ann Fabrics, where Abby and I bought a book entitled “Zombie Cupcakes: From the Grave to the Table With 16 Cupcake Corpses” by Zilly Rosen. When we started flipping through the recipes, we discovered that it is full of Zombie Movie Trivia, so I was quizzing her on it, even though we hadn’t seen most of the old zombie flicks.
Me: Okay, try this one: The movie “The Serpent and the Rainbow” (1988) is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by which anthropologist?”
Abby: The what???
Me: “The Serpent and the Rainbow
Abby: Oh, great! Gay Slytherins!
Me: Wow. That was an amazing leap!!

Stay tuned. Kendall is coming, and that can only precipitate more hilarity!!!


Today I’ve been really busy, so thought I’d just share a sweet picture. They look so sweet, napping under the Christmas tree! I wish I could be that comfortable, just for a little while!

I don’t think there is anything that is more deafening than . . . silence.  I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, and was desperately hoping that I’d be able to sleep in til 9:00 a.m. or so this morning when, suddenly, for no discernible reason, the world fell quiet. And I was wide awake.

I’m not sure why the power went out, but when it did, the white noise machine stopped, the ceiling fan stopped, the air conditioner stopped, and I was enveloped in a cacophony of stillness! There was nothing to do but wake up.  Although, it seemed rather pointless, since I couldn’t exactly go downstairs and brew coffee, or check my email on my computer, or scan that application for water service and email it to the new water company, or ANYTHING.  But, the longer I laid in my bed, praying for the power to come back on, the more awake I became, and so I finally got up.

And tried to call the electric company.  We live in Texas, where, supposedly, we have this wonderful free market and can choose from gobs of power companies to supply us with the necessary magic to brew our morning coffee.  I suppose there are lots of other uses for electricity, but for me, unless I get that first cup of coffee, nothing else really matters.

But I digress.  We use Reliant, and for the most part, they’re okay.  Except that when the power goes out, it’s virtually impossible to find out who to talk to about getting it back on. I Googled them on my iPhone, and got a handy ‘mobile site’ which would have actually been handy if I lived in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, West Texas (thank God I don’t!!) or New Mexico.  They also had a link to a nebulous area labled “South Texas”, but apparently, Austin does not qualify for that region, either.

So, after several tries, I finally got a Customer Service rep who asked me if I was the account holder.  Really?  So, I couldn’t help it, I had to ask him (remember, I’d not had that all-powerful first cup of coffee) did it really matter whose name was on the account, if all I wanted to do was tell him that the power was out?  “I’m just doing my job, Ma’am.”  Apparently his job description does not include any sort of rational reasoning or thought.  But, perhaps I’m being too hard on the guy.  He did at least connect me to the people who could help with the power outtage.

The power came back on fairly quickly (if one can consider 2 hours quickly. . . ) and when I looked outside, I saw a couple of very guilty looking Time Warner guys.  I hollered out and asked one of them if they had been the cause of my electricity going out, and he had a deer-in-headlights look when he said “Oh, no ma’am, no way!”  But he didn’t really convince me after he promptly turned to his coworker (who was ominously walking toward one of those big greenish power boxes across the street) and yelled “Bob! Pow’r!”  So, yeah, I’m thinking I could have just saved us all a lot of time and called Time Warner to start with.  Who knew?

Anyway, we are in the process of moving, having found a new house to rent that has about 750 more square feet, and lots more storage! It’s in another neighborhood, and I really will miss the neighborhood we’ve been living in, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about the area we’re moving to, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.

So the rest of the day has been spent trying to get utilities hooked up, new keys for the mailbox, buying packing supplies, and shuttling Abby all over the place.  I have managed to catch every red light I’ve come near, and get behind every weirdo driver in Austin today, in the process.  People who were driving 20 miles under the speed limit, people who were weaving all over the road, people who couldn’t decide how fast, exactly, they really wanted to drive.  I’m beginning to understand road rage.  Some people simply should not drive.  As my friend Donna likes to say “Just because you can, does not mean you should!”  And she would know: she teaches motorcycle safety courses.

I’m going to try to take a break for a while, get a bit of rest, and try again tomorrow to get some packing done.  We are hoping to get everything packed this week, and have movers come next Friday.  If we keep that schedule, then I should still be able to get the FISCHE Yearbook put together and back to us by the end of the month. At least as long as the coffee keeps flowing. . .

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