Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Little Friday and Saturday

The long and winding road that leads to my door....Okay, the road isn't long or winding but it is steep and exhausting. I just got back from a trip down to the mailbox. We have little important mail delivered here but sometimes when Amazon uses USPS and if the package is small enough, the scary mailman leaves it in our mailbox, with the door open so we and all who pass by know we've got mail. Amazon texted to let me know the package had been delivered and it had been left in the box. As I have been making more trips up and down our road, it is getting easier to traverse and it is easier if one follows the slopes that aren't as steep and are easier to maneuver.

The calfs that would be considered teenagers in human terms looked to be creating quite a ruckus across the way. There was a lot of running and head butting and taking of sides. It was amusing to watch and quite entertaining. In fact, I grabbed the binoculars to get a much better ring side seat.
Well, we all know what the asterisks mean...its another day. Saturday afternoon to be exact. I got out about this morning to visit Jazzy Alpaca Ranch, just a short jaunt away from our home. I love that in a ten minute time radius I can see cows, horses, alpacas, elk, bison, camels and watusi. And yes, even chickens. Jazzy had an open ranch, rather than an open house to come and see their alpacas. The owners are jazz musicians who retired from traveling to play...and all the alpacas are named after jazz musicians. I loved it but even though it was in the high 70's the sun proved way too much for me and I had to cut the visit shorter than I wanted to. I also forgot that there would probably be hills and inclines, and yes, there were. The views of the valley were beautiful! The alpacas are kept separated, non pregnant females, pregnant females, males, and stud muffin males, which get to do all the procreating with the females.

Thursday evening Vivian had Judy and I over for a tasty supper. We came hungry and went home very full. Vivian made recipes from an issue of Southern Lady, wow! So good. The only thing that wasn't from the magazine was the coconut pie which is from her grandmother's recipe box. Always so good, always so delicious. We sat out on the back porch and visited and laughed. A very fun evening indeed.

This week has been a very easy going week and I am thankful to be able to have time like this. This morning in the heat is a good reminder for me that I feel good because I stay in the parameters set for me. I had planned on going over to Marshall for an art show but know better than to push. It is more the heat that worries me and probably has the biggest effect.

It is difficult to believe that Truman Capote's ashes were sold today at auction, and as a bonus the clothes he died in comes with the ashes. He went for $35,000 today.

Buddy has risen from her umpteenth nap today. She's eyeing my lap where the laptop is occupying right now...I bet soon enough she'll be right beside me.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Lovely Read and Scene While Dealing With Ordinary and Frustrating Things

Maybe my frustrations today come from messing with our non cooperative printer. It has plenty of ink but will only print yellow highlights. There are times when I love technology and there are times when I just don't. Printers have never been my strong suite and that goes with copier machines and although not technology but is used by technology, Excel. Thankfully, my days do not consist of these things anymore, but dang it when they do. So for now I will memorize my script like Abraham Lincoln did, sitting by the lap top each night and waiting for the post office to deliver a hard copy to me.

I finished reading A Wrinkle In Time this afternoon by Madeleine L'Engle which won the Newberry Medal in 1963. It is really a young adult book but after reading a biography of the author I know she wrote with adults in mind as well. It is not my ordinary choice of subject matter but my goodness, this is a great read and so thought provoking and relevant today. I found the book in an antique store for $2.00 and that $2.00 was well spent. Because of Wrinkle in Time, I am reviewing yet again and loving even more Walk on Water. Such jewels and treasure of wisdom in the book.

Finally, nearly a year later, Blossman sent someone out to clean up and remove inspection pieces for our propane tank. It is looking good and the young man working on it did a great job. Now if we can get Charter to bury our cable line after a year, we will be doing good.

I also used my new mop. Yes, I know jealousy is running rampant right now. All I will say is this mop is a much better mop and makes the job easier. These simple days around home have done much for me. Yes, I am already in a slower pace mode but the extra rest and time for reading and contemplation has ministered healing. I think I have a lot of anxiety over the knee replacements and I keep packing down the excitement to have it done along with the knowledge that it will be one of the hardest things I have ever done. I'm trying to stay present in the here and now and not take the what if journey. My prayer along with many other prayers concerning this is, I will be able to sit and stand normally. It has been way tooooo many years since I have been able to do that. It might be like having to learn a new way to walk after hip replacement, keeping my brain in communication with my feet cause as we grow older the brain stops talking to the feet. That ain't right!

I am going a little later to pick up the picture that Roy had made onto canvas for me. It is one of my favorite pictures from the year 2010 when we were here for Christmas at the Biltmore. It snowed nine inches on Christmas Eve and Roy went wandering about in the snow and took this awesome picture of a cardinal, sitting on a low branch in the snow. This morning I saw my first cardinal really taking advantage of the bird bath. They are at the feeders and in the trees all the time but this morning the bright red cardinal, at first hesitant, then cautious and finally all in the water, flapping wings and splashing water all about. It is one of the finest scenes of God's creation I have ever seen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Two Things I Have Learned and Happy Birthday Dana D!

This morning I am delighted to report I will not have to throw away the Eggo Waffles I bought last week at the grocery store. Thankfully, those waffles are only good through October whereas the recalled ones are dated November 21 or 22. Whew! Close call...

I received my first weather alert about fog this morning. There are many, many foggy mornings in the mountains, but none of them have warranted an alert. Thankfully, I am easing into the day and conserving gasoline by staying home this morning. Now, I did get out and about yesterday, doing my best to conserve. Slower driving speed and some of the time without using the A/C. The Fresh Market was nearly deserted and Ingle's wasn't as busy as usual. In fact, lunch time in Weaverville is always a fun fest of traffic and yes there still was traffic but not like most days when cars are bumper to bumper. Roy called early this morning and retold a conversation of the morning at the office concerning the pipeline leak. Interesting insights from those in the business and I will need to be a little more patient while this pipeline gets back online, gasoline trucks run a regular schedule and going to the gas station isn't a big deal, nor requires a lot of planning and contingency plans.

Vivian dropped by yesterday afternoon. She had a bowl I had accidently left behind from a choir party a week or so ago. The bowl is actually a pottery brie baker but it came in handy as a candy dish holding peppermint M&M's. We were hearing our Christmas music that evening and we were to bring our favorite Christmas snack. My favorite Christmas snack is what anyone else makes or brings but I didn't think that reasoning would fly. I also took more than M&M's.

I am also happy to report I survived eating grocery store sushi for lunch yesterday. That's always an iffy proposition, but I've been craving that epicurean taste for a few weeks.

Today is my friend's birthday. Yes, Dana D is to be celebrated today. There are many things to love about Dana, she has a wicked sense of humor, sarcasm is a second language, she can hit high notes musically, (high notes high notes, it's up the scale she goes..whistle, whistle whistle...high notes, high notes), she's a thoughtful friend, a loyal daughter, a fabulous mother and an all time encourager. One of my favorite memories with Dana is from the way back when I taught high school seniors in Sunday School. As teenagers are wont to be, they were wiggly, giggly and let's face it sometimes rude. In opening assembly, probably in today's vernacular it would be group gathering connection actual occasion span, when someone was in front of the group talking or mattered not to these seniors, who I now realize are in their 40's. Our director Mickey, came up with a great idea. He asked Dana to come sing for our opening and I got to play the part of rude high schooler #1 but played as an adult. So Dana starts singing, she is in on the plan, and I stand up and ask those around me if they would like a donut? Peggy's daughter Jenny was sitting next to me and she told me to sit down. So, I did and I said to Jenny, do you think I can hit that same high note as Dana? And to Jenny's mortification, this low note alto tried to match those soprano notes. That is when I pulled out a lemon from my purse and said, watch me disrupt her singing. That is when I took a bite of of the sliced lemon and made the, ewh, that is so sour face. Dana, never broke or laughed but I know she wanted to and we taught life lessons in group gathering connection actual occasion span. Happy Birthday Dana!

I am still having the pain in my neck and shoulder and yes, I realize, it is usually more that I am a pain in the neck but this new muscle rub, besides smelling sweetly of honey, seems to be taking care of the pain. Last night in one of the many wake ups, I felt the a little more rub and went to sleep and tried to remember in my sleep not to rub my eyes. In the middle of the night I awoke remembering I had left out a "standard" Mildred and Gertrude line in the script I sent Peggy. So, I will fix that and resend.

Last night the backyard kept me entertained for quite a while. The little bunny is new to the mix. He or she comes around in the evening and chases away the doves from scattered bird seed on the embankment. The hummingbirds are still here fighting one another for territory. The cardinals have welcomed a young couple to the neighborhood, the black capped chickadees still take nervous trips to the feeder and then back to the nearby tree. A few sparrows and house finches come by at least twice a week and the gold finch is working their way through the last remaining drooping sunflower head full of seeds. The squirrels and chipmunks have been absent but they are returning slowly but surely. I seem to think they might be victims of black rat snakes and when the snakes recede the squirrels and chipmunks return. I read this morning if you see spiders making their webs up high, lots of snow to be had. I've had two huge spiders making their webs up high...webs are still there, spiders have gone to spider heaven. They were huge and I didn't want to see them in the house for any reason. I also read about persimmon  fruit and if the inside looks like a spoon, going to be a lot of snowfall. So, two knew things I have learned.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Good Day Monday

One of the loveliest things about this pre-fall, yet kind of hanging onto summer time is the beginning of leaves falling off the trees when a breeze stirs and with just a few yellow leaves fluttering in the wind. The joy is driving through the showering of leaves. Right now, it is just a few but in a couple of weeks, it will be more than a smattering and the colors will be vibrant reds and browns not being confined to the yellow leaves of now. Of course with this gas shortage, I can only remember with great fondness that kind of driving that I experienced on Thursday and Friday of last week.

And this shall be a sign unto you...a sore throat is my immune system's way of telling me to pull back. This morning I woke up with a sore throat and made the decision it would be better for me to stay home than go to SS and church. I worked hard in the garage yesterday. There have been a lot of early mornings and this whole insomnia thing keeps showing up a couple nights a week. And then the Buddy factor but she wasn't so much a factor last night.

Last night I made jalapeno cornbread to see if I like it better than the cornmeal I get from Georgia. Mainly thinking about making the cornbread chicken enchilada bundt pan thing. It is very tasty but I think I should have left it in the oven for another ten minutes, so I have put it in the oven to see if that firms it up a bit.

I beat my neighbors today in taking the trash down to the road! And I didn't use any gasoline to do so. I put the trash bag on the mini hand truck and rolled it on down the road. The gas shortage must have curtailed the caretaker visit at the house above us. Although they have cameras everywhere and keep an up to the minute view of their property.
This Monday is beginning overcast and gray. We've had light rain but it has been enough to enjoy the pitter patter of rain on a metal roof. Maybe to celebrate the new roof I should watch Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, which is a favorite old movie. It looks like a winter day and the look gives the hint of what's to come. The feeling of not having to be up and ready is also wonderful today. The coffee I selected today is from The Fresh Market and it is Pecan Pie. Very tasty! I am considering venturing out for a few errands later. Need to run by the cleaners and a quick grocery stop.

Football was fun to follow over the weekend. I watched the LSU game and followed the Texans on Twitter. I did the same for the Baylor game Friday night, followed Twitter and friend's FB postings. Baylor, even though they are winning just doesn't have that umph they've shown the past few years.You can only declare fun football when your teams win.

I strained a muscle in my arm last week and I found this great muscle rub from It blends honey, peppermint, rosemary and whatever else to soothe those aching muscles. I love the fragrance since it not like the usual menthol eucalyptus scent. I'll use more today because I have a bit of a crick in my neck which probably is due from my sore arm and trying to sleep comfortably with it.

Our little post office is a hub of activity. I have mailed several packages in the past few weeks thus being there a little more than usual. It is such a friendly place and you know, you don' t say that often about a post office. Not only do we experience friendliness but the view of the French Broad River from the parking lot is wondrous and the sound of the river, which tends to be on the shallow side is relaxing and soothing. You don't even care if you have to stand in line, which rarely is past two deep. The parking lot rarely full but I have got to get off the same schedule as this cute little old lady who parks way too close to SequishShawn and there is ample parking available...not next to one car or truck, but she chooses to park next to me. With her cane and shuffling about I don't even see how she gets in and out of her car, that is mere inches away. She is just so cute toddling up the slight incline and through the post office door.

I have been reading and thinking about satellite church campuses and all the structure that goes into those campuses being successful with ties to the "mother" church yet keeping or having an identity that makes the site unique or in sync with with area the campus is located in. Hats off to those in planning and praying through all that it takes. Even greater props, I saw Erwin McManus use that old school term this morning on Twitter, to the members who work so diligently each week making the campus a go especially if they are meeting in a school or other building where they can't leave things around, so to speak. It all has to be picked up and stored just to be put up again on the next Sunday. Campus pastors have the hands on work of just that being, the pastor without all the sermon prep time. The articles I've read stresses the burnout rate of pastors in bigger churches. Really, with this structure it is more managing even though much of the work is delegated and thus maybe for some the burnout comes from less pastoring and giving more attention to the business aspect of being a church. No matter the profession or vocation, burnout is hanging about trying to nab and capture thus discouraging and breaking wills and spirits of those who labor. Lots of work and love going on.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is This Trip Necessary?

This Saturday morning's plans have changed all due to a pipeline in Alabama. The colonial pipeline to be specific that runs from Houston to New York, that supplies most of the east coast with gasoline had a leak that was discovered September 9th. The pipeline is in the midst of repair but while that will take some time into next week, we here on the east coast will deal with a possible shortage of gasoline for the next week or so. Now you would think this Houston girl would have been the Paul Revere on this for sounding the alarm, but it was my friend Brenda who called me. She told me what her sister had experienced with the gasoline situation in south Asheville. Brenda was on her way to CVS to pick up meds but she would keep me appraised of the station situation as she drove. Are you kidding me? I was gathering my things heading out to fill up SequishShawn. Our phone conversation was getting broken up rather badly, due to the gasoline, the squirrels out here weren't running fast enough to keep the cell lines open. I went to the Exxon station and there wasn't a line but I had passed lines at Ingle's and another station whose name escapes me right now. And who should pull up to another pump but Brenda. I was in the midst of texting Bill and Vivian, away from the pump because cell phones and gas pumps can be volatile, to fill up their cars. I read about the leak on Twitter earlier in the day but it didn't phase me when it should have. At first I thought it had been a refinery fire, but that didn't seem right for a refinery to be in the middle of the state of Alabama. Usually refineries are found along the coast due to easy access from pipelines and tankers. It felt a little like preparing for a hurricane. So, while driving to the Exxon station I called Roy just to let him know what I was doing, being out later and nearly dark Friday night. He didn't seem that concerned and told me what was probably happening and the scheduling of deliveries, telling me a big picture story, when I wanted him to listen to the "how this is affecting me story." And what I was doing and the adjustments I was making for weekend plans. When I got home I sounded the alarm to several friends and fixing to settle back in for the night, when Roy called. This time I could hear the concern in his voice because he had Googled the story and at first he thought maybe his company might have an interest in the pipeline but after researching it, they do not. Then he told me I had done the right thing by filling up the truck and he agreed with my change in plans for Saturday. You see, yes I am finally getting back to my first sentence in this very long paragraph, I had planned to go to Robin Blu today for their annual yard sale and 25% off everything in the store today. But that is in Waynesville. Even though this "crisis" should only last a week, that little part of me being a responsible adult and preparing for unexpected emergencies (are any emergencies really expected?) is in play. When I would watch Bugs Bunny cartoons as a kid, several times the phrase, "Is this trip necessary, would show up in the dialogue. I asked my mom what that meant and she explained about rationing in WWII. So I have asked myself, is this Saturday trip necessary?  The plans have changed, I am easing into the day and a garage project I have been procrastinating might get a little attention today. And maybe just because I am paying more attention to this, it doesn't seem that there are as many cars and trucks on the road as usual. It is a quiet Saturday morning in the country.

Yesterday, while running a few errands, I heard a discussion on one of the comedy channels on Sirius radio. Now the man speaking had a heavy country/southern accent and some people will dismiss what a funny redneck is saying, but his soliloquy drew me in. He was talking politics or maybe it was more talking about the candidates. What he said made sense...although he kept repeating himself after making valid points, which takes away from the effectiveness of a major point. Before I paraphrase what he said, I am not dissing or endorsing this candidate nor am I implying I endorse her opponent. But what this radio redneck said was this; Hillary's handlers are just trying to get her across the finish line and they will deal with any illness after she has secured the presidential vote. Like all candidates running for major offices and probably minor ones too, they have made promises to major contributors who want a return on their money and they can't keep those obligations if she is not in the office and thus might hurt any contributions for that party down the line. The guy went on to say because Hillary has been known to lie or it is her campaign on issues, this was an opportunity to tell the truth, set the record straight but he understood the risk of that, again referring to those who are in power behind the scene. I never thought about the notion it could be just getting her across the finish line. If he talked about Donald Trump faults and discrepancies, I missed it cause my errands came before the ending of the program. No, it is not rather convenient, it's the truth. Grocery shopping, ahem...trumps sitting in a truck listening to a radio show.

Reports are coming that fist fights are breaking out at some service stations and that cars are lined up while others are throwing caution to the wind and driving madly about trying to find gasoline. Meanwhile I have made a huge dent in the garage project and have even enjoyed some porch rocking time. The wind and temps aren't too bad. I fixed some lunch, ordered some stuff from Sephora and have generally enjoyed the day. I have lots of clothes to fold and put away from doing the laundry the past few days.

Roy found the cutest birdhouse for next spring and the guy he is buying it from will paint the roof red. I think the house will go out in the redbud tree. Once winter arrives and the forsythia is just bare branches, we will clean out the blue bird house and put some red tin on the top of it. I'm sure I will find a few more houses for these birds I love. On a sad note, I found a deceased butterfly in the backyard last night. Its wings were so soft and this little butterfly was sporting some rocking polka dots.

Probably in the next few days I will ask myself several times, is this trip necessary? I will be thrilled when the gas supply returns to normal and I can resume the drives about the countryside.    

Friday, September 16, 2016

It's Friday!

It was a long night or an early morning or both. Buddy had trouble once again settling down if I decided to move one iota not to her liking. Around 5:00 am I pulled myself out of bed and the truth is I could have done that at 4:00 am cause there wasn't any sleep for the weary. I came downstairs and read a little but didn't make coffee because the plans were to go to Corner Kitchen for breakfast before my hair appointment. Sometimes I get so enthralled with a certain Psalm and Psalm 65 has been on the repeat read these past few weeks. Lots of nature in this particular psalm. A few shout outs about the harvest time too. Verse 11 in the NLT, "You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." We all know and we are all praying for those we know on the hard pathways. We may even be experiencing the hard pathways ourselves, but I love that even then, the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

The past three nights have been rough for sleep. I've been active and doing things but my brain wants to keep on working through the night and sleep has been fitful. This is not a usual experience for me. My head hits the pillow and I'm out but in the past few months I have really struggled with falling asleep. Add in the Buddy factor too. So, it was still dark when I came downstairs this morning but from my view of a front window I watched an incredible sight. As the light began to make an appearance the skies became a wispy gray with gray clouds accompanying the morning. I looked out again several minutes later and the gray skies had been overrun by the fog making slow progress across the valleys and pastures. The speed of the rolling fog sped up much quicker than before and all I could see were dim outlines of what might be trees but for the area in front of our home, it was pure de fog. While this grand picture is playing out in the front, a much smaller stage is observing the huge spider that has been working on its web for the past couple of days. In that dark, gray atmosphere I could make out the workings of that spider, speedily constructing a larger trap for the plentiful amount of insects available for capture. Both the fog and the spider socking in and nabbing victims. The murkiness and haze began receding into those nearby valleys. Even this morning while mostly clear around here, the vapor lingered down the road and especially on the shallow water of The French Broad river. I was so tempted to stop and take a few pictures but with the fog so thick, I was a little nervous to do that.

Got the usual at Corner Kitchen. After breakfast I walked around Biltmore Village, The brick sidewalks are difficult to traverse when one needs to keep their brain focused on communicating with my feet. I carefully walked down to Mountain Merch, and a little tempted to buy a t-shirt, but talked myself out of that. It was a bit of a jaunt for this energy conserving person to Wink but I got there and was able to cool down before my haircut. On the way home I stopped at Home Goods, which is always a fun trip.

Friday early evening...OK, that spider was so scary, that I took it out last night with some wasp spray. It did the job.

I am thankful that Josh made it by today not only to pick up his check but to pick up all the scraps of metal and supplies on our neighbor's property. The caretaker usually comes every other weekend and this be the weekend that they'll be caretaking.

Last night I went to bed at 8:00 pm. I was exhausted and barely could keep my eyes open. I fell into a hard sleep three times in forty five minutes...two Buddy awakenings and a phone call from Roy....which he is so fortunate that I heard cause I was so asleep. I slept till 8:00 am. Now I really, really needed this! I did ease a bit into the day but not like I am wont to do because I needed to make a trip to the grocery store. I came home, had a fun conversation with Lisa P and then Josh came by. After he left, I was off to the Post Office to mail two packages, came home, finished up the Mildred and Gertrude script and now thinking about fixing dinner. I found this ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach today and I think that is my dining choice.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Soon And Sooner

The day didn't go as planned but it worked out really well. We are still in the learning process of how things are done here in NC. Our inspection on the truck is due as well as property tax on it but not until October. But, you can have the inspection done three months before it is due. That information, if passed, goes straight into the state computer, so that when you pay the property tax it shows you have passed the inspection. For the first three years it is just a safety check, then it goes into more details like we are used to in Texas. So, the dealership said we could just bring the truck over and they would take care of it... This morning, my first stop of the day was the dealership and when I got there, the tech guy said it was a two hour wait...and told me to find an inspection garage or location near me instead of sitting there for two hours. I knew this info would not set well with Roy but I called him to let him know. I did the Facebook asking and several said to go to Swann Tires which is close by the house. So instead of going straight home, I did errands along the way, one of which was stopping in at Whole Foods. I stocked up on locally made elderberry elixir for the Texas journey later on. And I also got some sliced oranges. Came home, ate lunch and was pulling out of the garage when two of the roofer guys pulled onto the gravel road. They were there to finish up the roof over the front porch.

The inspection took all of ten minutes and since the roof guys were still working on the house when I passed by, I went on into Weaverville to take care of a few things there. When I came home, they were gone and we were left with one fabulous red roof. I drove down a nearby road to take pictures from a distance and then later this evening I ventured oh so carefully out into the yard, with my cane in hand, to take close up pics. Facebook had reminded me that yesterday was the one year anniversary of falling while spreading wheat straw. I was extra careful. Our next project will be the front porch but we are waiting till next year to begin that project.  I have picked out a few pieces of tin from the scrap pile and Brenda gave me a great idea when she called this evening. If I find some existing bird houses, just wooden ones, I can put the tin scrap metal on as a roof to match the house. I love that idea.
It is a little after 5:00 am and I'm awake and up but not so willingly. Buddy was a royal pain for most of the night, so bits and pieces of sleep. And then about thirty minutes ago a pain, not Buddy, has kept me awake, so why fight it. At first I tried watching some I Love Lucy on the Hallmark Channel but it is not one of my favorite episodes. I could watch some on Hulu but if the TV hasn't been on it takes too long to load. Yes, first world problems. Almost everyone to a person who has had knee replacement has told me, you'll know when it's time and here of late, my knees have been screaming, it's time! But not yet, two months from today.

The script for Mildred and Gertrude is just about complete and last night I looked through my Millie suitcase and found a song that we rewrote and only used once or twice. It seems like a good fit for this presentation. I texted Peggy last night and told her as soon as I fix a few lines and add the song I'd email the script to her. We haven't done this in a long time, I am thinking the volunteer breakfast for LPM volunteers several Christmases ago is the last time. We will do this a month from today for the Ladies Loving Laughter at my church.

The book Mountain Born came yesterday. It is written by a woman, Jean Boone Benfield who grew up in this area. It is on my stack of books to read while recovering from knee replacements. It is so tempting to start it.

It is still dark outside but the sun will be coming up soon, but not sooner.

Nancy's Monablog