Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday Catch Up

The squirrels are running kind of slow out here in the country this morning. WiFi is spotty at best. Finally, screens actually pulled up, a little slower than normal, but I am somewhat connected to the Internet.

October temps have returned here and that is so welcomed. Cool to cold mornings with pleasant afternoons. There is a predicted warm up coming but nothing too warm to bear.

My friend Beth arrived on Monday and we have been seeing and going and talking and laughing pretty much from the start of our day to bedtime. We have enjoyed some delicious meals, even one here at the house and we have been enjoying God's creation throughout the area. You can tell it is October in all the popular places because there are more lines and cars at most places. Yesterday, we traveled over to Grandfather Mountain. We stopped in Micaville on our way to do some shopping. Both of us came out of the store with some purchases to support local artists and the economy. My favorite, an infinity scarf made of flannel. The trees are a lovely color in the higher elevations. We enjoyed Grandfather Mountain and Beth made the trip across the mile high bridge. Too many people for me to walk across. Then we headed over to Valle Cruses to eat a late lunch at Over Yonder. Dena and I had planned to do that when she was here but sadly we visited on a Tuesday when Over Yonder is closed. Oh my goodness, such a cute place and delicious food. The roasted okra appetizer was fabulous! Then we went over to Mast General Store. They had some Keen boots in my size that I have been looking at online. And yes, they turned out to be as cute in person as they were on the website, comfortable another purchase. We also went down to the Annex and shopped the tent sale but only came home with candy. The drive back home was beautiful with the sun setting behind the mountains. 

Tuesday we were in the Waynesville/Hazelwood area. We had lunch at the Haywood Smoke House. Ah brisket smoked Texas style. We headed over to the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the sights along the road. The traffic wasn't bad at all but we weren't over by the Pisgah Inn.

Today we are taking a more laid back approach to the day. We will stay in the area and see some things around here. So, here is just a quick catch up and if I don't write this stuff down I will forget.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall, Faith, Football and Baseball....

The past several days I have sat down to write a post and my attention diverted by fallish things. It is lovely to be diverted by fallish things. The view from the front porch becomes more autumnal each day. It has been sad watching the smoldering ashes of the old red barn that has been salvaged for barn wood and then burned to the ground because it must be cheaper than hauling everything off. It has taken a good two to three days for everything to become ask. I drove by the remains yesterday... All done for progress as more homes will be built on that side of the ridge. The man that owns the pasture in front of us still has big trees on the far end of his property that kind of keep all that covered up, at least for now.

Buddy gave me a little bit of a scare yesterday. She was no where to be found. I searched in all her regular spots as well as former regular spots. Then I searched the improbable spots. I mean really! I looked under the beds and behind things in our closet...well, my closet cause it isn't very big and would not hold clothes for both Roy and me. Meanwhile I am texting with Lisa P and CourtneyS because The Bad Seed was playing on TCM. Finally, after searching everywhere and then realizing I hadn't locked the storm door to the porch I did what every person who experiences unrealistic fears does; I concluded someone had stolen her off the front porch. That's when I called Roy cause I know I can't go down Unrealistic Valley Road...With his logical mind in gear we mentally checked off all of Buddy's favorite places. He gets louder as he gets more analytical and he was still in work mode. I then did what I should have done early on, put him on the speaker phone and start walking around the house...boom, Buddy shows up. We still don't have a clue where she was and I'll be watching her for the reveal...

Such a nice break from all the news, bad and good, to watch the Astros win game one of the ALCS against the Yankees. Eastern time zone makes it so difficult to stay up and watch these games to completion. The Auburn vs LSU game is an afternoon game and I think the Astros play in the late afternoon today.

This week I have been thinking about how much truth we can learn in an "aside" comment in conversations. Like an example would be, " we are going to go camping, even though you don't want to." Beginning with the red word even, that begins the aside comment that is usually said a little lower than the first part of 'we' in the phrase. Over the years I have taken notice of this aside thing while listening to preachers or to sermons. You can get a feel for the direction of the sermon whether it be an agenda sermon or truly a pastorial sermon in the aside. In conversations with friends and acquaintances, the aside tone reveals some of the truth or frustrations of the friendship. Like, "we can go anywhere you want for dinner, cause we are going to go where you want to anyways." Sometimes aside comments are unintentional, just words jumbling out that might have been thought about or over but never meaning to say them out loud. Or it could be the aside words are there to create conflict and have a person respond and thus the aside word just causes escalation.

This morning when talking to Roy after the Bible study he leads on Saturday mornings, he talked about Jesus and Judas and the accounts of Judas' actions in the Gospels. I love to hear Roy talk about the insights into the scripture he gets as he studies for each Saturday morning. He mentioned that basically Judas had anger issues and when he was reprimanded by Jesus to let the woman anoint Him. Roy said he thinks that might be the thing that put Judas over the edge. Interesting discussion.

And now I can go to sleep happy that LSU came from behind and won against Auburn and that the Astros beat the Yankees today in a dramatic walk off fashion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Pleasant Re-Cap

The phone awoke me this morning and I had overslept. So, it will be computer church or old school radio church this morning. A friend reminded me that I could remit to the front porch, with such a beautiful view and have church there. Yep, that sounds like a plan. It is a cloudy morning and the roads look as if we had rain at times through the night. It was a long, short night of sleep. Buddy and I couldn't get on the same wavelength about bedtime. I had been over at Vivian's for coffee and cake with some of her family. Well, I had water with my cake but the main event was the coconut cake. Such a pleasant evening especially after the nail biter game of LSU vs Florida. LSU won by one point. So, it was taking me a little while to settle down and once that happened of course Buddy had moved past that and wanted to stay up and meow...which means go downstairs and give her a treat.  She finally decided to settle down herself but it was fitful sleep there at the get go. Speaking of Buddy, she has joined me in hopes of helping with the blog post.

Again, I tried tackling the change of clothes for change of seasons yesterday. This year I am more inclined to be more generous for the collection of clothes to give to Salvation Army. So, there are several piles of; to go, to keep, thinking about which pile this article of clothing will go to pile and the what in the world was I thinking pile. In Texas linen can go long into the fall season and this year here, I've worn linen longer since it has been warm but this weekend the linen is being stored until the next season.

The rain has started and it was more gentle a few minutes ago and has progressed to steady. I should probably get the trash out before it progresses to heavy.
I know you all have been waiting for this news, I did get the trash out but it was in rain, but not in the heaviest of the showers. Since I was out on a school night I haven't gone down to the road yet to get the empty trash bin...but believe will happen today...Tuesday.

Why was I out on a school night? Our Sunday School class, I mean Life Group served at the Hospice Center last night. We served supper to the families and friends of those who are there with loved ones and the staff. Inez. Velda, Gwen, Judy C, Brenda and I went to represent our class, our church and our Lord. Judy W cooked the lasagna and rolls for us. The Solance Hospice Center is such a well thought out design and their great room is comfortable and comfortable art pieces of quilts and stained glass cozy up that great room. We met some of the kindest people as we served supper, dessert and sweet tea. One lady, Doris, was from Kentucky. She had come to sit with her sister as she transformed from this life into eternal life. She was an interesting woman and a grateful woman. She said, we have a place to stay but having someone thinking of bringing us supper is just wonderful. Another lady shared that when her youngest passed away from cancer, she and her daughters cooked up a huge meal and brought it to the hospice center as a thank you for all the love and care her loved one received. It is a humbling experience to serve when those you are serving are facing a huge loss in their lives very soon. Honestly, I was happy to help provide dessert, Inez's butter pecan cake was a huge hit with nothing but crumbs left, but I wasn't too sure about actually serving...being there. The rhythms at the end of life is not something I have been keen to be around since a traumatic childhood experience of being locked in a funeral home with a body, lights dimmed and the ghostly sound of the dead, being voiced by my father to scare oops, I mean to tease me. So through the years I have experienced and envisioned unrealistic fears related to the end process but through the years help has been extended by others to help me. Serving last night was one of those big helps.

After dropping off Brenda and Judy and the food we had picked up from church, I parked the truck and walked back to the serving area checking for any scores from the Astros game. Yes! They had come from behind and won the game. That is such good news especially for Houston recovering from hurricane devastation and JJ Watt being lost for the rest of the Texan's season.

The red barn down the road which has been torn down and parts salvaged for barn wood, caught fire yesterday afternoon or maybe set to fire for removal. The flames from the embers blazed on even into the evening, visible from the front porch. I hate to see that barn be destroyed for new little homes being built everywhere. So glad that Roy has taken several pictures of it throughout the last few years.

I checked our rain gauge yesterday and we had almost two inches of rain from Nate. We had wind as well but it is south and east of our area that received the most damage. The sound of chain saws filled the air as tree limbs were being trimmed down and disposed of. It is still warm and humid, very Houston like feeling but they say a cool front is a coming. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Three Whole Days To Write About Fog Or No Fog

Another coolish, foggy morning. The sun is burning off the fog. The birds in the backyard are jockeying for position on the feeder and in the birdbath. Lots of cardinals and Carolina chickadees with a good mix of titmouse thrown in for good measure. Buddy has retreated upstairs after visiting the front porch, had some treats and sat on my lap for a good while. Love mornings like this and I don't ever want to take them for granted.

Yesterday, I remembered just for a bit, last year at this time. It was a time of preparation for guests and for the much anticipated return to Katy to begin the process of bilateral knee replacement. Last year I soaked in all the mental pictures of this land and views to keep me company on those long rehab days but while recouping I did not pine for this mountain land because it would be wasted energy. If anything from this heart journey is knowing how to better use the daily energy given to me. I had told myself it might be three to four months before returning and just settled in with that.
Here it is Friday morning. The sky had pinkish hues as the sun rose. Just that little bit of fog hanging around in the valleys. Yes, fortunate to see it but then went back to bed. As Buddy feels better her nocturnal habits that I don't particularly get rest from are increasing. Guess that is the price for her to feel better. In fact she was aggressive this morning and I don't see that too often. I checked her box and she is still going to the bathroom but guess I will take her to the vet sooner than later to get another steroid shot soon. I am contemplating the other vet recommended to me.

The strangest thing with the computer this morning with programs popping up and words disappearing. Before calling in the cavalry I did the best thing, reboot. It took some coordination with the jumping of programs all over the screen but it got taken care of and now on the second try there is no jumping about.
Now it is Saturday morning. No fog but overcast. We are hoping for some rain but not too much from Nate. Just read the forecast from Ray's Weather and the mountains could get 3-5 inches beginning Sunday night.

Brenda had invited me to go with her sister, daughter and her to the Erwin Craft Show yesterday but I knew Wednesday night that I would have to decline that request. I'm still being cautious in regards to heart health and the heat. The constant reminder is that I feel good because I stay in the parameters that are set. The sesamoid bone in the ball of my foot feels inflamed so doing a whole lot of walking wasn't going to remedy that. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the day even getting a lighting project done. Can't wait to hear all about the day from Brenda and all the fun things they found.

So I spent the afternoon doing something I rarely do anymore, watch the TV for an extended amount of time. But it was for a good reason, the second game of the ALDS was on and the Astros beat the Red Soxs! They are up two games to zero and will play tomorrow in Boston.

Talking with Roy lately has made me feel like a football coach's wife. He is into major recruiting for his company at La Tech. The softball player, makes me already know she's good people, accepted the intern offer for the summer. He is already planning the February recruiting trip. Roy said yesterday this feels like it will be a year round emphasis along with the myriad other things that are his responsibility. It makes me so happy he is happy doing what he loves and is still fun for him.

This week I have watched the reports from Las Vegas and heard the stories last night on 20/20. I think this is the first time I have seen all the pictures of those who lost their lives at a concert in Las Vegas. Such evil in the world and the authorities are baffled to know the reason why this man did this horrible act. They have torn apart the facts of his life and he hasn't left anything for them to understand him.

Buddy is a little restless this morning. She had a good night but this morning she can't decide between the porch or her first morning nap upstairs. She has also tried to help me with typing this morning on the blog.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Several weeks ago I set a small butterfly free from the entanglements of a spider and its well crafted web. At first glance I thought it was dead and just twirling in the wind but signs of life were evident and I began to cut the ties that bound that poor butterfly. It didn't really matter if the butterfly stopped flailing or if it continued this avenue of exhaustion, without outside help it was doomed. I watched the little butterfly as it realized freedom had been had, it didn't fly off to flee the web up so high on the garage but it floated down to some flagstone and it rested...really, really rested and it looked so rested I reached toward it to see if it was still alive, it began to move its wings in case of the immediate requirement of flight. The image of the butterfly caught up in the web, twirling helplessly because parts of its wings were bound has come to mind often since that day of releasing the captive. Of course this is an obvious metaphor signifying so many fights and traps we encounter everyday.

Yesterday, after a great workout with Taylor, I headed over Waynesville way. Since lunch is the second most important meal of the day, I stopped in at Blue Rooster. After a delicious lunch it seemed to be a Belk kind of day as well. There I found some serving pieces that I have found I needed in the past few months. In fact they were some of the same that Ace Hardware in Katy had in January. Also some workout clothes were found and purchased. Since it is just down the road, a quick stop into Barber's Orchard for ornamental gourds and little baby pumpkins. Oh and a few apples. Then I thought well, I am so close to the Blue Ridge Parkway I should take the long and scenic way home and check out the fall colors. So on a Monday, look how Baptist I am, Blue Rooster, Belk's, Barber's Orchard and Blue Ridge Parkway. If you are Baptist you know exactly what I am writing about...

It has been a long time since I had been on this particular part of the parkway...oh so Baptist today...  The last time was years ago, back in our tourist days, when Roy and I picked up the parkway in Maggie Valley. In retrospect, it was probably around 276 there was a detour and those winding and twisting roads scared us coming down the mountain. Now, I love that road, 276. The sky was particularly brilliant and the wispy clouds radiated against that blue blue backdrop. My newest playlist is a compilation of songs done by California Baptist University and the Choir and Orchestra of Houston's First Baptist Church. The parkway wasn't too crowded and long stretches of road where no other cars were in view. Devil's Courthouse overlook was crowded otherwise it was a quiet and peaceful drive with the sun roof open. Planned on going on to graveyard fields but decided to turn around and head back for 215 into Canton. That too is a gorgeous drive. Since it was toward late afternoon the sun radiating off the yellow and red leaves demanded a few pics needed to be taken. I didn't stop at the waterfall but did take extra time around the Lake Logan area.

So today, with the exception of putting something in the mail, I stayed around the house. The long needed clean out of the closet under the stairs finally got some attention. At one point it looked like too big of a job to sort through and tidy up. Happy to report it got done and it is actually a workable closet now that doubles as a pantry since we have such limited kitchen storage. I am really trying hard not to rush through the book, The Last Castle...about the Biltmore Estate with an emphasis on Edith Vanderbilt. I also go a short story anthology today and I read the first story while eating pizza from The Fresh Market.

The story from the was rather timely and profound to tie up things neatly in a bow as it were. Funny thing, the person in that short story sure could have used someone to remedy their situation... kind of like that butterfly I told you about in the first paragraph needed a rescue from the spider and the web. Sometimes it is searched for and sometimes it is a serendipity.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

What A Gift and No Trip Of A Lifetime....

It is a balmy 52 degrees this morning. Too cool for Buddy to sit on the porch so she decided the start to her day would begin on my lap while I sipped some coffee. I missed out on celebrating national coffee day because I had an early start to that day. Most times I want to sip coffee and ease into the morning. If easing is too tempting, I just don't make coffee and that keeps me on the straight and narrow, focused on the day.

The difficult and emotional week with Buddy's health certainly were coffee mornings. I don't believe I have cried like that in years because tears are usually not my go to emotion. The time lent itself to remembering those moments and times Buddy was the healing influence during the past twelve years. This morning she was rather entertaining as she found a piece of elastic string that hadn't fallen into the trash can when that was the intent of said string's destination. She played with it like she was a kitten. Those little things that bring so much joy....

So this week's activities especially crossing the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain has generated a lot of congrats and disbelief. I have been there two times before. With Roy, he crossed that bridge like it was nothing and stopped himself from climbing up those rocks on the other side. That's a good thing cause if I had to cross the bridge to ask him not to climb the rocks...well, it wouldn't be a celebration of accomplishing the feat. When we were there the climb up the steps kind of took me by surprise since I had been feeling good since that major bout of afib in April. My heart felt fluttery and my knees felt weak, so I took pictures and occupied myself until Roy came back over the bridge. The second time I found myself at the bridge was when Dena was here. The third time was the optimal time and although it was not a bucket list thing or even something I desired to overcome, it felt like on the inside that it was a symbolic thing for me to do and for me to remember on down the road when faced with scary things. It was also encouraging to have company on the bridge that wasn't going to make it swing or sway because I think Malcolm was feeling the same thing, it just seemed like the thing to do, to cross it. Especially when an older couple in their late 70's go across it like nothing and it was their first time visiting the bridge. As we climbed the stairs to the bridge, a lady told us that she had done it and she is afraid of we were getting all the right indicators. It is an eerie feeling when in the middle of the bridge the sounds coming from the metal railings make it feel a little disconcerting. Roy and I have fallen in love with Grandfather Mountain and I think on returning trips the decision to walk across that mile high bridge will always be fraught with fear and prayerful consideration. Several have asked did I pray while walking across....well, the Bible does say pray without ceasing but after praying before taking that first step onto the metal bridge, my whole being concentrated on making my brain talk to my feet, because not all those metal slats are even and all it would take would be one little toe trip to make it a trip of a lifetime.

This week I also received an unexpected gift from a Facebook post by a friend from high school and college days. Surprising the article she shared because it seemed to be further from the truth of her childhood but more like the one we experienced. So, I have written several times about this summer being kind of an ensconced summer both emotionally and physically for me as I struggled to put some feeling and thoughts into words. The emotional tussle and the wrangling seemed to be a daily thing. It is not from a forgiveness mindset but rather the closing of a very long season of life...the victories, the mistakes and misunderstandings. OK, mainly the manipulation and passive aggressive behavior of said person. Then noticing any type of behavior now and reminders of days long ago just stirred something up whether I thought that behavior was in me or feeling like it from others put in me in my flight mode...reminiscent of those long ago days I would quote and find great comfort in Psalm 55:6, "oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away and be at rest." Of course thinking of that verse now I know the noise, well, of the sound of doves flying away. It isn't a quiet flight...never thought of that before. Just like I always thought doves were kind of peaceful birds...but they can be rather aggressive at the bird feeder. Lots of head and neck pecking going on upon their own kind and other birds. But I digress....this blog post my long ago friend posted put all those emotions and thoughts and feelings of the summer together in a well organized way and what I had been doing all summer got wrapped up in a few paragraphs. I don't think the time was wasted though because there was a lot of conversation going on with the Lord. There are many things to take away from this ensconced summer...good things. But then at the end of summer, right after the beginning of fall on the calendar, the gift came, spoke to my heart, wrapped everything up in such a compassionate way and now to experience my favorite season, autumn. I haven't even used the word autumnal until now....

Friday, September 29, 2017

It Has Been A While

Well, it has been a while since sitting down and writing on the ol' blog. Keeping an eye on Buddy took me away and the wonderful visit of Malcolm and Lisa made computer less attractive when there is fun to be had. I thought maybe I would write on Tuesday afternoon but I found myself engrossed in reading rather than writing. On Wednesday I needed to make a trip up to Johnson City and Brenda went with me. I got to introduce her to Academy Sports and Outdoors. We did the Houston thing and had lunch at Carrabba's. Then she showed me a couple of places coming home to stop for good eats in the country and then did a quick tour of Erwin before heading out to Mountain View to pick up a few things. All the fun caught up with me on Wednesday night and it was a really early bedtime for me. Thursday came with an early trip out of the house for my haircut. The appointment wasn't early but parking in Biltmore Village sometimes dictates early arrival just for parking. Even with an early arrival almost all the street parking was gone. So with that, I just paid to park like I am wont to do in the afternoons over that way. I had a little scare while parking. I had my choice of spots and I chose the easiest one to back into and then be able to get out of. With me, there can be a lot of going forward and backing up so I waved over at a man sitting in his in the main aisle to go ahead. He shook his head no and sat there. Of course the thinking is, big city crime has come to the mountains and the thought lingers this guy is going to rob me. Then I realized he was the parking guy making sure people were paying for their spots. Whew! Breakfast was at Corner Kitchen. Then a quick trip to make a deposit at the bank, look around the t-shirt shop and look around the Southern Craft Guild store. With the time drawing near to my appointment it was a quick, very quick walk through Talbot's and a good shopping trip into Williams Sonoma. Then finally it was haircut and highlight time. Yes, after three months of the experiment, if I grow out my hair to its original color will it be the same color as my brothers which looks really it wasn't to be. So, highlights are part of the whole beauty routine again. On the positive side, I don't have that much gray hair.

Before returning home yesterday I decided to do a drive through the Biltmore Estate. It was a lovely day but I had no clue some kind of outdoor extravaganza was going lots of traffic but the sheep were out. So a quick stop at the pasture for photo-ops and then leaving to come back home.

When Malcolm and Lisa were here, we went to Grandfather Mountain. We went to the top of the mountain, to the swinging bridge. Malcolm and I got the courage to go across which left Lisa the job of documenting the journey over and back. I never stopped or looked around because of the whole afraid of heights thing going on. But I crossed the bridge and bought the t-shirt. I also met up with Malcolm and Lisa on Sunday. Since their visit here was so short they opted for the Biltmore on Sunday morning and then I met them for lunch and we did the west ridge tour. That is one of my favorite tours by far and they only do them in September. We saw a bear in the cornfield.

Such a whirlwind of days and especially after the week with Buddy's health being up and down and all over the place. She seems to have responded well to the shots and this looks like steroids are her new normal.

Nancy's Monablog