Saturday, July 23, 2016

All Is Well...All Is Fun!

All is calm, all is foggy, all is peaceful and my heart full. I am having such a fun week with one of my best friends. All is well. We have been, as in the words of Johnny Cash, everywhere man. Tuesday we stayed around Weaverville. Wednesday, we did the Burnsville, Micaville, and Little Switzerland excursion. Thursday we went to Waynesville and helped the local economy quite a bit and ended our day at the Biltmore Estate eating dinner on the Veranda. Since it was pouring down rain when we arrived, we went back Friday morning after having breakfast at The Moose Cafe. We went back to Waynesville because we found out where the artist's gallery that we have looked for...for a long time in past years and this artist is much beloved by the Dayspring Life Bible Study class. Can't think of the artist's name this morning. (her name is Gretchen Clasby...Dena has just now come downstairs) We walked into the Gallery with skies being overcast but not necessarily rainy. When we left it was pouring rain. We checked the radar and it would be a while before the skies cleared, so we braved the rain and walked to the truck. My running days are long behind me. Soaked to the bone, we made our way toward home with a side trip to Canton to see the paper mill. Yes, I am that great of a tour guide! No, the reason we did the drive by is because Dena's career marketing and communications included paper mills. Doesn't everyone remember the slogan she came up with? " You likes the paper and inks, but making that paper included the process that stinks," Ah yes, the smell of money as they say. We stopped for supper at Turkey Creek. Delicious! The rain followed us from Waynesville and it poured and yes, we got drenched once again. Too bad the rain didn't follow us home. While we did get some rain, not the amount that moved through the surrounding area. We settled in on the porch and invited Brenda R to come by and sit on the front porch with us. She brought tomatoes from her garden. Yum! We sat on the front porch and visited and talked like it was 1949 or maybe 1959. We had a blast with occasional laughter thrown in for good measure. Dena and I stayed up past our bedtimes and as a result I slept till after 8:00 and she is still asleep. Buddy has finally situated herself on me that makes both of us happy. It is difficult to type with half a cat on the keyboard. Thankfully, she came to her senses and has moved back off the keyboard with half of her on the chair and the back half on my leg.

Roy bought a suit at Nordstrom with the assistance of one of the fine associates of The Nord yesterday. Nothing like texting pictures of suits and ties on the backroads of NC. It looks good on him and needed just a few alterations. He has been able to get away with blazer and slacks for dressy events the past few years, but he has a business dinner coming up that requires a suit. He has suits but from long ago and back in the day. Business casual is such a blessing until you require a suit.

For the second year in a row Dena and I have seen the colorful display of a rainbow from the front porch. It was kind of a double rainbow, but the second one faded out a bit very quickly. The birds are beginning to return to the feeders and we have seen lovely cardinals and all types of finches.

Yesterday was the hottest day. It was tough in Antler Hill Village but we rested and kept hydrated. We had the joy of walking with two employees of the Biltmore from the parking lot down to Traditions. Rachel is over the retail and Nick, in I T. Of course we had a blast visiting with them and I was able to tell them about Norma, a retail associate, whose kindness and friendliness has developed into a friendship over the years. Rachel loved that story and asked if I would email what I told them to the website and letters and emails like that are read aloud in management meetings. Loved that I was able to share an experience that has been a part of our coming back year after year and the total fun of us purchasing a home here.

I have rediscovered a love of my childhood. When Vivian and I went to the original Mast General Store several weeks ago, I bought some rock candy on string. Rock candy is nothing more and nothing less than sugar, crystallized sugar. Imagine my delight when I found rock candy already in little tiny pieces so you don't have to be patient for your sugar rush at the Mast store in Waynesville. Well, let's just say the trip from Waynesville to the Estate was quite a rush.

Ms Sleepy Head is up and we will soon be off to Weaverville where she is getting a spray tan. I will be at the grocery store.






Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Evening Reflections

We sat out on the porch and watched the daylight slowly fade to dusk. The cows began their evening journey from the back pasture toward the grass on the hill. Slowly, as they were mysteriously guided one by one both the big cows and the calfs made their way and soon they were all together, yet spread out. The fireflies began the evening show of lights while the full moon, the buck moon or hay moon slowly rose above the treetops. The birds made their songs known as they slowly settled into the tree homes they have built. A few, even a cardinal couple came to the feeder maybe even surprised to see dinner once again after an absence. Mike the Mower Man was here early cutting and weed eating the grass. I don't think he had a chance to mow since we left for Houston. The fragrance of cut grass lingered throughout the morning. He even got to the weeds near the trees that are newly planted and he removed the watering system he had devised. Back once again, home. My spirit quieted. The process begins a little once we see the rolling hills of Birmingham, then the mountains began rising in height in north Alabama, through Georgia on my mind and into Chattanooga TN. The great scenes of the Ocoee and past Ducktown, soon to cross the line into North Carolina. I'm like a horse headed to the barn, not much deters me making that last leg of the journey.

Dena and I left the lovely Holiday Inn for breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel. The reviews had been, nice hotel but don't eat breakfast there. The hotel had spillover golfers participating in the national tournament for high school and colleges, that 's why we could not stay in Ooltewah no room in the inn, We had a delightful breakfast conversation with two gentlemen who had moved there from the yankee land. A quick stop to fill up SequishShawn and we were on our way. We made a side trip to Merceir's. We were not disappointed and were able to get some apple cider donuts there. Dena has never had the opportunity to try them. She was pretty happy with breakfast this morning. As is our usual custom, we laughed and talked across those miles and soon found ourselves at The Blue Rooster for a late lunch. I do believe Miss Dena liked her fried chicken and the coconut cake was absolutely the bomb diggity. We waddled out to the truck and again made our way home. We unloaded and rested, then went to CVS to pick up prescriptions. Seemed like a little drive around was the best thing to do with the remaining daylight, so that is what we did.

This morning we were able to ease into the day. Drink coffee, eat breakfast which means donuts. We dined on the front porch in style. After getting cleaned up we headed over to Op-Tix. I wanted Dena's help in picking out new frames. Found some for both glasses and sunglasses. Dena even hit the jackpot by finding some sunglasses on sale. Our next stop was lunch at Twisted Laurel. Oh my goodness! Such a great lunch! We went to a gallery and then went to the Karat Patch and praise the Lord, they change out Brighton batteries on watches. A stop at an ice cream shop...shopping is very draining and calorie burning. I think we might make a return again. A quick trip to The Fresh Market and we were home. Such a fun day.

It is now Wednesday evening and another full day is coming to an end. We got up earlier than yesterday and headed out the door at 10:00. Our first stop the post office so Dena could get some stamps. We made our way toward Micaville and I do believe Dena hit the jackpot in finding gifts and things for herself. We drove over to Little Switzerland. Oh my goodness, the scenery is beautiful! We ate lunch there, delicious as usual, did a little shopping, stopped and took some pictures and then headed toward Spruce Pine. Spruce Pine should have better signage and that is just about all I am going to say about that. Then we began our journey to Burnsville. We went into a few shops and Dena even found some pants and a shirt at a really cute shop. Since the day was turning into late afternoon we took the beautiful drive through Mars Hill and Marshall. I think Dena fell in love with Marshall. In fact I think she wants to go back. I told her the stories that Inez and Velda had told me while we sat there by the old high school now turned artist studios. Since we had hardly eaten anything all day...ahem...we stopped at DQ for ice cream cones and then at CVS for two out of three prescriptions. The other one wasn't ready.

Such a fun and full day with little respites. Resting up this evening for another day of adventure tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Road Trippin' With Dena

Good morning from Covington LA.  Refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Dena and I started out yesterday morning for the journey back to the mountains. Since she has moved to a foreign land it is not as easy as it used to be when she lived in Rancho de Five. An hour later we loaded her things in and took off for points east. First stop Buc-ees. Then a quick stop by her mother’s and we were off on our road trip about 10:30. A stop in Sulfur for a potty break at CB and then a stop at the gas station to fill up before we made our trek across the swamps and bayous and the big crossing over the Mississippi River. We had a little traffic and a few stoppages but nothing major like you can experience on this most boring route of I 10 from Texas through Louisiana. I was focused to get us through Baton Rouge in a timely manner and I had told Dena once we had done that, I would be lots more fun. And yes, just around Denham Springs, we had a dance party in the car. A miracle transpired in those fun moments, Dena finally danced in the car! She never dances even with the encouragement from Lisa P and me. We had a blast and it made the time go by quickly for our first stop in Hammond. We had a late lunch at East of Italy which was delicious and we did a little shopping. Next we moseyed down the road to our stop we were most looking forward to, Cafe DuMond. Yum! Yum! Yum! 

By the time we had eaten and with an early morning start and hard rain and traffic this girl was done. I had hit the wall, no more energy…done, stick a fork in me. I had just enough energy to check in and go to the room. OK, I mustered enough energy to go get ice and a Diet Coke, then in for the night. By 8:30 jammies on and pillow over my head. I haven’t a clue when Dena closed down her side of the room but I slept really well and she has reported the same results, a good nights sleep. 

I left my compression socks in Katy. They help my heart not have to work so hard when I am in the heat and then sitting for periods of time in the truck driving. When I was doing all the Dr appointments this past week, the decision was made for me to have bilateral knee replacement. If you are like me I needed some ‘splaining on this one…this means they are going to replace both of my knees at the same time. Dr Smith, after looking at my X-rays returned with a somber look. I thought he is going to tell me I have cancer of the knee, but no, it was to tell me he thought the best way to handle this is to do it all at one time because….no pun intended…I didn’t have a good leg to stand on while recovering. This means about five hours in surgery and a longer rehab time, which means a harder rehab process. I told Roy after reading several blogs and articles, we will probably need to hire someone to help with me for the first two weeks. I’m encouraged by what I have read but know it will be painful and lots of hard work but the end result is worth it not having the constant pain and aggravation. So, we have scheduled surgery. I will also have to attend joint camp and meet all those who will be with me pre, present and post surgery. Then you do all your labs. I will also need to get my cardiologist to sign off on being under anesthesia for so long and to make sure my heart can stand the time. 

We began in Covington and now we are in Chattanooga. On eastern time zone and we had dinner at Abuelo's.  So delicious! Since it is Sunday all the stores closed at 6:00, but it is thundering anyway, so we came back to the hotel. We are on the top floor and have a lovely view of the Waffle House. 

We made it home and due to the fact I will keep adding to this and never get it posted, I am posting now. Stay tuned, we might have a guest blogger in the next few days.   

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday Round Up...It's Still Hot!

Only one more doctor appointment for this trip and it is in the morning. Today, I have time to catch up on energy because I was out the door at 8:45 am, returned home for ten minutes to bring some things in from Goode Company, grabbed a yogurt, ate a nectarine and out the door to my 1:30 appointment for injections and consultation from the orthopedic doctor. Since Consuela is here on Wednesday afternoons, I needed to stay out of the house. Several weeks ago a rock hit my windshield and cracked it...South Carolina...  So, I went to the windshield repair place and had the crack and a small little nick taken care of. They fix everything while you sit in the comfort of your air conditioned car. Since I was close to the bank, I ran over there to use the ATM. Then I hit the mother load of traffic on Cinco Ranch Blvd mainly due to a lane closure across from La Centerra. All the little cut throughs came back to me and I executed a u turn and headed over to Home Goods. I know now just get the basket when coming inside because there is always something that needs to make its way home. I did not leave the store empty handed. The Katy Home Goods is just about my favorite because it is truly all home goods. By this time it was after 5:00 and Roy told me that Consuela is usually gone by then and she was. I brought in the minimum and flopped down on the couch exhausted and hardly moved off of it for the rest of the evening. Even the very tempting offer of Bahama Mama's to meet Peggy couldn't pry me off. I settled in to watch WWII in color and slept through critical information and formation of the why and how of the beginning of that war. Then there was all the reloading from streaming and I got weary of waiting while watching the story of lightning like movements of the panzer tank division.

I know two doctor appointments in a day is nothing to so many unfortunately, but it is a lot of information to process. My cardiologist is so pleased with my numbers. My heart episodes have gone down to less than 2%, They gave me part of my monitor read out and it is interesting to see how long episodes last and the long ones, I could remember just about every one of them. The episodes have increased since being in hot Houston and that is no surprise. So cool mountains, with less stress and staying within my parameters is paying off. He could tell a huge difference from the previous year. It is difficult sometimes to stay in the parameters when I know it is the best thing for me and fun is calling my name.

The Yard of the Month guys were just here which meant I had to do a stealth sneak back to our bedroom. The family room has Roman shades so I didn't want to scare the guys by them seeing me with dirty hair and in my jammies. I had forgotten about these kinds of things. I know Abel and his crew will be here this afternoon to cut and trim but the Yard of the Month guys do the fertilizing and the weed kill application to the yard. They come once a month on Thursdays, but it has long gone from my brain what Thursday that happens to be.

Good thing I had just finished up with the chat feature on nordstrom.com. When my session timed out while doing early shopping before the Anniversary Sale, the ship to address reverted to Katy and not on NC like I had changed previously. When I saw the error, I got on the chat line to see if a manual fix could be implemented. Caught it in time.

The hours are counting down and I wrap up this portion of living in the heat and hot. Next week it is supposed to be even hotter here and it will be hot in NC but at least there are the cool mornings and evenings.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Good Tuesday to Ya on Thursday

Our home here is still surrounded by a plenteous number of mockingbirds. Being territorial makes them fun to watch as they dive bomb one another and other birds that dare get in the way. For a bit of time they are loyal to their spouse and children, but once the birds have left the nest, it is every bird for itself in the territorial game. I watched a couple of mockingbirds on the back fence last night and the viewing didn't disappoint. There are lots of mockingbirds where we live in NC but they seem content to stay in the tops of trees and sing, loudly of course, from the wires. So it is a treat to once again observe these funny, dive bombing birds but I am missing my cardinals.

The temperature gauge in the car hit a 100 on the way home from the Galleria. Walking into this heavy heat and humidity in the mornings is energy zapping. Roy just emailed me that it was 81 degrees this morning at 5:00 am. Yesterday, the morning began at the doctor office. The building my doctor is in has gone from plenty of parking to grab a space while you can. The spaces seem small and SequishShawn so big. All went well but that's because I did my labs at the end of the appointment. Soon the results will be posted on my online My Chart. Since it was a fasting appointment it seemed like the good thing to eat lunch before venturing out into even worse traffic and road conditions. Many an evening as I have sat on the front porch visions of orange chicken from Fu's Garden danced in my head. Their sauce is the best around. Since I was just down the street and hopefully not too many people filling up parking lot yet, I made my way to Fu's. Grabbed a good parking spot, even able to back in since there was little to no activity in the lot yet. Ah, orange chicken....you are so good. A quick lunch and then I launched into traffic on San Felipe heading toward Whole Earth Provision Company to check out their Flax clothes. Not too much of a choice on the sale rack but I was able to procure a few items that will work into the fall. The store itself is filled with interesting books, shoes, clothes, and has a huge children's area. Loved looking around and even checked on availability of some shoes I liked, but no dice. All the other big footed women in Houston had beat me to the shoes. That sent me next door to DSW to look around and didn't see anything, well at least in big feet size, that I liked. Then I got brave and ventured over to The Galleria and oddly enough not to go to The Nord but to Macy's. Nothing close by the Macy's end of the garage but I did find a close spot at the Nordstrom end. I didn't walk down to Macy's because almost every time I have in the past, I have experienced a panic attack or a semi attack. I haven't analyzed the reason but I suspect in my nonprofessional opinion that I relive an experience I had early on in this heart journey thing. So into The Nord I went and again I have to say, I'm disappointed in the changes. Maybe it is just me, an older type, that wants the Nord to be what it was in 2003 when it opened in Houston. Gone now is the Home Dept which had become my favorite part in the store. This added to the fact they did away with the customer service area as well as the piano. Instead of the sleek feel of the store it just felt oddly empty. I bought some pants and the trademark, walk around to hand you your bag has left the building. They slop over the bag across the counter just like every other store. Still love The Nord but more so online shopping rather than in person.

Since the Westpark Toll Road is so close to The Galleria that was my choice of the way home and that put me by Hobby Lobby for a quick look in. By this time I just wasn't feeling it because of the heat. That trip was short and I came home and found coolness and comfort on the couch which also included a nap. I think it surprised Roy that I stayed home last evening. On Monday night Peggy and I met Marcia at Escalante's for dinner. We had a great time catching up with each other and there was plenty of laughter to be had. We got the scowl from our waitress to vacate the table and being good people we left her more tip on the table for any lost revenue on her part. Our conversation continued outside but it was limited to my ability to take the heat even with a great breeze blowing.

All in all it was a good Tuesday,


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday...Another Hot One

It is funny how a real life experience can meet up with a real life spiritual experience. I have to admit I love driving around on all the back roads around our NC home. Even the freeways are mostly two lanes and while sometimes it feels a bit aggravating when all the cars overwhelms the dated infrastructure, I can just look to the hills and mountains knowing my help doesn't come from them but they are sure nice to gaze upon when one is found in stand still traffic. Here, in Houston, there are multiple lanes...sometimes six lanes on just one side of the freeway and most of the time they are jam packed. In the Asheville area, the traffic infractions that usually lead to wrecks comes from trying to cross a road with little time to spare. There are not as many traffic lights to give an opportunity to cross the road just like the chicken we read about, so ya gots to take ya's chances. Here in Houston the traffic infraction is, oh, you left three inches of room between you and the car in front of you...let me just merge right in there. It is really bad here with that. So, I'm on the way to church, just starting to go onto the ramp that takes me to I 10, when a woman begins to merge in the three inches between me and the other car. Man, I lay on the horn...even until she is in the lane that I so graciously, uh yes, graciously, allowed her into. She waves her hand at me like, it's your fault for leaving that much space, WHAT? It might have been a good thing that she was heading west and I toward the east. In those brief seconds I realized I could get really angry about the whole thing or just keep calm and drive to church. I chose calm, thankfully. The whole drive toward church my initial reaction bothered me because I think I believed that my former way of dealing with traffic and the idiots, I mean blessings, that drive the other cars had been redeemed. It had come under Christ's control...fruit of the Spirit...the whole deal and that morning I had to realize the only thing that had changed was my location and the lack there in of this kind of traffic and madness. It had only been removed by changing locations. Yes, you can still get aggravated there in those scenic mountains, but that's just it, the beauty is so overwhelming that you really don't care. Here...well....you have to look for the beauty. Right now dust from Africa has blown over the Atlantic Ocean, into the Gulf of Mexico and right onto shore making Houston and the surrounding areas one big hazy and dusty scene. The dust seems to intensify the heat, holding all that heat in that reflects from all the concrete. I think I even said to Roy it is so hot, the heat is making the sky look like melted blue.


I get to church, park onsite since I'm not a member anymore but a guest. OK, I parked onsite as a member most Sundays....anyway, church service, awesome. Then comes LBS which used to be called SBS but started out as SS which means Sunday School. As Jennifer Kennedy Dean made a point about the flesh, what it is, what engages it, why does God use it for our freedom (changing us) and why the enemy likes to use it and boom...you guessed it, one of her examples was when a car pulls right in front of you. Hello, JKD must have been an invisible passenger in the car that morning. So, I could be happy that it didn't go to anger but my reaction wasn't really a resurrected reaction. Really, that means there is nothing really to be happy about but the fact grace is extended and the opportunity to do good will come again. JKD mentioned that maybe God uses that person in the car to get your attention to intercede for them because maybe you are the only person that will. Ouch!

This trip is getting a point home to me, Katy, Houston...is no longer my home. Each time I take things from our home in Katy for our home in NC, a little less of me exists here. As I walked through the halls of church, I barely even knew or recognized anyone but if I was still there and involved, most likely I would. Thankfully FB can keep up with lives but those who are my closest friends, well, we will have to be intentional about communication because it doesn't take much to become a nostalgic friendship. Right now we all do a pretty good job with this but it will only become harder as the years go by.  You might be thinking well duh! Is this just now a revelation to you? Of course not and sitting here in our air conditioned home, trying to get my body to cooperate and be on its best behavior for the doctors, I know my heart has turned and focuses on getting back to the mountains. Roy and I talked about this yesterday and the plans are for more times in NC than me coming back here. This means, in earnest, I need to start finding doctors there and drop this mid summer visit cause it sucks the life out of me. With the whole hip thing in January I have recovered quickly yes, but not feeling as good as the year before. My endurance is slowly but surely recovering and getting my afib in better check is a top priority. It is happening too much lately, even the little events which only last for a while...it still all exhausts me.

Well, those are the thoughts of today...a little too warm and hot with a lot of humidity.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Logical and Orderly Update

The pace I have been keeping of late needed to be supplemented with a nap this afternoon. I have kind of gotten out of the habit of the Sunday afternoon nap, only having one once in a while but today when Roy asked what time I would like to be awakened, I gave him a time because if he didn't I might just sleep through the afternoon and evening.

After a fun and full Friday with Lisa P, I was ready for a fun Saturday beginning with a trip to a foreign land to see my friend's new house. OK, she doesn't live in a foreign land but only in Spring TX. North Houston area is like a foreign land to me. I almost always got lost trying to find the tennis courts when we would play HLTA matches in the Woodlands. North Houston is just a place to pass through going somewhere else or at least that has been the thought in the past. When Dena took me to see her house being built in January, we had to go the most confusing way, at least for me to get there since TX 99 wasn't completed yet. Now 99 is open and it was a breeze to get there...a long breeze but so worth it. Her home is beautiful! She had made brunch for us and it was delicious. We had an all too brief time of catching up but that doesn't even concern us cause we know we have extended visiting time ahead. I came back to Katy, rested a bit and then took off for SW Houston to spend the evening with friends who had been a part of the Tuesday Night Bible Study with Beth Moore praise team. Not to scare anyone that I led with them, I am their mascot. Oh my goodness, we had the best time and laughed hard at stories we shared. Lisa P, CourtneyS and I introduced the movie The Bad Seed to them. It is always best to see that movie for the first time with a group. I stayed out much too late and way past my bedtime. Pro-lots of lighting on the drive home. Cons-it is a long way home. I have gotten used to being so close to just about everything I do in NC.

Saturday night into Sunday morning was rather short, but I got up and went to church. The pastor at First Baptist takes a sabbatical month every summer and filling in for him Sunday was Dr Fred Luter, Pastor of Franklin Avenue Church in New Orleans and past president of the SBC. God gifted that man with preaching and teaching. I love to sit under his teaching although I always leave the service while hearing him with a cramp in my hand from writing so quickly and so much from his sermon. The worship led by the choir and orchestra of First Baptist was God honoring and the bonus, Lisa P singing Say Amen with the choir. But wait a minute....that's not all. Dayspring, my former Sunday School class, is studying prayer and using a book by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Carole Lewis, one of the teachers of the class, is friends with Jennifer. So, Jennifer was in Dallas for a conference, flew in to Houston, taught Sunday School and then flew out to spend time with the grand kids. Double cramped hand time because Jennifer is a great teacher and so logically puts her talks together. I had to leave class early but I ordered her book Altar'd on Amazon when I got home.

Roy fixed ribs and veggies on the grill, then I napped the afternoon away. We also had a surprise visit from our friend David who brought a book to me that he thought I might enjoy and he thought right.

The appointments with doctors begins tomorrow. Thankful to have the driver's license taken care of.

When I recouped from surgery in January - March here, I think my focus truly was on rehabbing and getting back home in the mountains. So, I didn't notice how much our home in Katy has Roy's fingerprint throughout and there is less of my touch here. Well, I almost totally "shopped" from our home for furnishing our home in the mountains. The things I have noticed is Roy likes having little gadgets around. He has a thermometer in the garage to remind him it is hot. Uh, I just go by feels like on that one. He has a squeegee in the shower. We purposely had ribbed glass installed because we are not squeegee people but apparently, we must be. Roy has this not for looks but to keep the humidity levels down in the bathroom. There are all kinds of kitchen gadgets he has added. He has an orderly and logically arranged home. Uh, yes, me too only NC is arranged in my orderly and logical way.

Nancy's Monablog