Monday, June 27, 2016

Pulled In and A Heart Captured

This past weekend I kept a close eye on Buddy. I could tell on Friday she wasn't feeling good but it didn't concern me too much because we all have those days every once in a while. On Saturday she seemed a little more out of it and there was a lack of evidence in her litter box that she might be having some problems. Even while she didn't feel good her appetite was good and she would play when I engaged her with chasing a ribbon. This new food she eats was supposed to take care of her problem. By Sunday evening I vacillated between Buddy's problems as something minor and something major and would call the vet office first thing when they opened on Monday morning.

Monday morning came too quickly and I got up and checked the litter box. Eureka! Evidence! I still called the vet's because Buddy seemed like she was still bothered by something. They had a 12:40 appointment open, so that was good news. Now the process of getting the chill pill down Buddy presented itself. I had learned a few things from the last experience. So I put this knowledge into place. It was difficult but the buttered pill went down her throat. She did not fight me like she would have if she was in the vet office. No biting or scratching, just unhappiness. The pill kicks in and she chooses the most awkward place to sleep. So I go about the rest of the morning getting everything in place to be able to get her into the crate and into the truck for the appointment and act like everything is normal.

Just as we are about to leave the heavens open and the rain comes pouring down. It was a hard fast rain and I was surprised once I pulled out onto the main road just how much rain had fallen in a short time and the effects of it happening so quickly. I have driven in hard rain around here but never around the house. I saw how the water drains and where a few iffy spots might be. The rain continued all the way to the vet's office but by the time we were finished with our appointment, the rain was over and the roads nearly dry as we drove back home. Again, the evaporation rate is unbelievable here.

So poor Buddy...she needed to be...let's see, how shall I say it...expressed and it was a good thing we caught the problem when we did because the right side would soon abscess if no expression had taken place. She also got a steroid injection in the spot under her tail where she had licked away fur. Before leaving I got another prescription for her chill pills. She was rather calm going home and since we got back she has spent the majority of her time sleeping and I must admit, I took a short nap too.

Since it rained, I don't have to water the trees tonight. I have laundry to do and other things as well but it has been good to relax this afternoon because Buddy and her well being had me on edge all weekend. You know the day will come when it won't be something minor and I was mentally preparing for that what if when I kind of knew it wouldn't be too serious. These pets take us in and capture our hearts. This weekend she was rather clingy and wanted to sit on my lap much more than usual.

The weather alert just went off on my phone and we should have rain in a little bit. Thankful I don't have to get out in it. Now to fix my supper.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Fine Story...No A Great Story

As a long time reader and collector of Southern fiction I have come to appreciate sense of place, redemption of many types, prodigal son or daughter returns from big city to find what they have always wanted in the place where they began and odd, eccentric characters that are the odd duck in a family of conformists or just family members that are strange and odd. We all have those kinds of family members or at the very least, we are the strange and odd relative. It is very easy and usually the familiar way of making fun of them and the "qualities" we don't quite understand. Or maybe it is difficult to find something redemptive in who they are and it takes time and patience to search those qualities out.

There's not a lot of compassion in the let's laugh at them. Yesterday, I got behind just this kind of family as I was going into the grocery store. I love this place but there are a few things here I don't understand. The lack of lane space to merge onto a freeway and the entrances to stores are so small.The entrance and exits of grocery stores here are so compact. There is nary a bit of room to get your cart, turn it around, and try to get in the store with others trying to do the same. At the same time that same amount of people are trying to get out of the store and then there are those who just stop...stop in their tracks and stare...probably thinking of getting a Starbucks or what size cart do they need. There is so many obstacles to maneuver once you get inside, that causes limited access which is probably by plan because the organic veggies and this week's fruit specials are there to greet and tempt you.

This is where I found myself yesterday in a crowd and behind a family that had more members strange and odd than what I would think of as normal. And they were slow, they debated over grocery carts. The woman in charge of the family had her hands full. Either the two men that took the most attention were brothers or uncles of the lady. The men were identical twins and I'm guessing in their 70's but life can be rough here and age a person beyond their years. They both wore jean shorts with suspenders, black socks dress socks with tennis shoes and t-shirts. Both men looked to have been outdoors a lot because the chigger bites on their legs were numerous and recently scratched for relief. The son of the lady in charge looked to be 12 or so and there were two girls along with them, one was probably a sister to the son and the other older girl might have been a helper for the two brothers. Slow and frantic are not my best patient times. Added to the mix there at the front door were two women visiting, one finished shopping and the other one fixing to...it was claustrophobic standing there, in the ready position with my cart and no where to go and the only thing to do was wait. I watched the lady in charge help everyone with selections in the bakery. You see I had an opportunity to break free and get to the produce area but dang it, I forgot I wanted nectarines and had to decide if I was willing to get behind the family again for some fruit I love. I made the move and yes, once again thwarted in easement through the store. There in the bakery, those two brothers were so animated and finally made the choice of a huge container of croissants, like you would purchase for a party. One of the twin boys took out a change purse and began counting coins to see if they had enough money but the lady in charge told them to put up the change purse and continue shopping. I kind of lost track of them because they were buying real food whereas I am there purchasing food that looks like I am in college. Mostly snacky but there was some real meal deals strewn among the Triscuits and chips. We met up again on the Coke aisle and there was equal excitement just like the croissants in being able to choose the kind of Coke they wanted which turned out to be a Pepsi product. For that lady, on that day, there wasn't a quick trip to the grocery store for her. She was patient and funny but didn't put up with back talk and shenanigans. Lots of trying to put junk in the cart and she sent them right back to put it up. Reminded me of an experience after my ablation. It was the day after surgery and Roy and I were stopping at the grocery store. It had been several years of not having any kind of energy for anything but the task at hand but now I was feeling pretty dang good and the tremendous loss of water weight made me footloose and fancy free. Roy is trying to get the groceries through the checkout and we were close to the Easter candy. I kept bringing things to the cart and Roy kept sending me back to put the candy up. A similar scene was happening in the next lane and a woman with three children dealt with the same dilemma and like Roy she was sending kids back to the Easter candy aisle to return product. Roy looked over at her and said I feel your pain yet he was inwardly rejoicing because I hadn't had that kind of energy or interest for several years.

I should have gone up to that lady when she and the entourage were checking out and just told her she was doing a fine job, no a great job. Encouragement can lift a spirit and give you a little more energy for the task at hand. It is really so simple and so kind.

So that's it.  I'm glad for the change of heart and I'm  glad I chose not to present this story in anything but an honoring way because y'all...it would have been a fine story but now it is a great story.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Just Give Me The Countryside

Last night before going to bed I went into the front bedroom just to take a look or maybe just to take in the view. The isolated barn light in the pasture on the other side of the road, the house down the road and across the way that must have a huge electric bill with all the lights around their property that stay on all night long, really all day long as well. I turned my attention to the sky and in the tall tree tops down the road there was a brilliant redish light coming out from the trees. At first I didn't think too much about it after living in a city for years with tall buildings but I realized, uh, you are not in a city but out in the country. That is not a tall building but rather it was the strawberry moon and as I stood there for a few minutes, the moon rose above the tree tops and it was beautiful to behold. I tried to capture the moment but distance and an iPhone couldn't capture the scene. So I went to sleep with the vision of the moon coming over the top of the trees in our little area of immense beauty.

The day called me to other things and so now it is Friday. We welcomed the rain last night, well mainly the plants and trees welcomed the rain. I slept right through it and by the looks of a pottery dish outside we received a little more rain than I thought we would. The red and yellows mixed in with the green on radar couldn't hold together going over the mountains, so it looks like we didn't get the storm part of the rain.

I am recovering from a cold and it has almost taken a week to get past the worst of it. It feels good to breathe again without using my mouth for the main intake of air. Several days this week I forced myself out of the house to take care of much needed errands. Today, I made a grocery store run and it wasn't a force operation, mainly an out of need and I realized when I got home I forgot a couple of items. Thankfully, there was still store made guacamole available. Today it felt like the day before Christmas in the store. It was so crowded and there were clerks restocking something in almost every aisle. The suits seemed to be more involved with people shopping.

After getting everything put away, I went to Turkey Creek for lunch. Love their hamburgers. I am rereading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. His style and narrative is such a pleasure to read. So I read my book and ate my lunch in the calm before the storm. Tonight is all you can eat fish and shrimp night. Always a huge crowd.

Tonight I watched the cows across the road a bit before watching Witness for the Prosecution on TCM. All the calfs seemed to be having a fun time of gathering and running. The herd dynamics are interesting to watch and figure out. At first it looked to be a lot of rough housing but then as the group picking up more members as they ran, went toward a very young calf near its mother. I thought these cows are up to no good but it looked like they were just welcoming the baby to the herd. I hope that is what they were doing.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

This morning I am writing in a haze due to a restless night and lack of sleep. I tried, I did everything that normally works but it was to no avail. A restless cat and one with a cold who is in the can't breathe/runny nose stage is not a good mixture. This cold has been going on for just about a week and I am loading up on Vitamin C, elderberry mixture, over the counter remedies and I have got to find the soft Kleenex because the skin around my nose is getting a little raw. Where's my Vicks? Other than feeling less than productive and a bit lethargic at times this cold isn't the kind that wears you out. There are those colds that when you are finally able to take a shower you have to take a nap beforehand to have strength and then afterwards for strength to dry your hair. My goal is to breathe out of both nostrils by the end of the week.

Mike the Mower Man was here yesterday and did a fabulous job clearing the front embankment that had become overgrown with vines and beautiful flowering weeds. Also a lot of baby trees and how the seed got there and the area so compacted was a thing to behold. Last night I was out on the driveway looking to see how the weed war is going along the side of the driveway. Slow and steady but some progress being made. My neighbor stopped to visit with me for a bit. She's been busy and also recovering from dental surgery. We were talking about the gravel road behind me and how the new neighbors who won't live here for two years, is letting the end of the gravel road grow over the area where Jennifer had a set up to make wood chips and I think they destroyed all their compostable garbage there too. I told Donna about seeing the silhouette of an animal crossing our yard and finding out later from friends that it probably was a bobcat. She said she has seen several around here over the years, or maybe it is just the same one. She and her husband saw one last year crossing the road that runs in front of our houses. She said there are foxes that come down our little neighborhood road too. You can hear coyotes at night sometimes. Ah, just nature. I had also come out to look at what I think are small little eggs broken open after seeing a pic on Facebook on the Appalachian group page of someone asking and showing a picture of some small little eggs they found when they were digging around their garden. Consensus is snake eggs. I did my comparison and the ones by the road didn't look the ones on FB.

It sure looked like we would get rain last night but the mountains of TN into NC did their job of disrupting the storms. I will need to water the trees extra today. I was banking on that rain making it here. Many times I have said and written that the view from our front porch doesn't get old and when there is rain to the south and to the west our view is bathed with filtered light shuttered up next to silver gray skies. The greens of trees and grasses are brilliant in color with the backdrop of filtered light. If I am in the house sitting in one particular chair the view from the front window displays well and nine times out of ten the lure to the porch beckons me and I respond, whosoever will...may come...to the front porch.

Well, I need to go find Buddy and wake her up repeatedly. Yes, I know she hasn't a clue of what I am doing but it would be so nice to get a decent night's rest and sleep tonight. I also think Roy's conversation on end times might have disrupted my sleep patterns as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Monday Tuesday Catch Up...More Like a Nature Report

Ah the rough and tumble world of squirrels is being played out most mornings in our backyard. Last year it seems like it was the lone squirrel kind of season but this year there is a passel of them rollicking about with one another. Once again underneath the deck seems to be where everything in the wild kingdom comes to pay homage. These squirrels also like the deck, well yes, don't we all, so I have to make sure they do not get too comfortable hanging around on the deck. When we had the cool temps and breeze on Saturday, I had the back door open and could yell at the squirrels at my leisure although I feared they might be smart enough to open up the back screen door.

This morning the little birds have taken over the birdfeeder. I love watching them gather on the feeder that looks like a porch swing. They can get quite the group going and of course it only takes one to upset the feeder thus a swing clearing brawl ensues. But the smart ones go as far as the butterfly bushes, wait the thing out and then return. Three out of four butterfly bushes are in full bloom and the purple glory is great in the backyard. Yesterday, one tree in particular had so many butterflies feasting on all the goodness contained in the blooms. They have also been enjoying the lantana to a lesser degree. When you add the brilliant flashes of red streaking through the air as the cardinals return or leave from their secluded habitat, it makes for great viewing and puts getting things taken care of on the back burner.

Since I didn't care anything about the basketball finals, I turned over to TCM when I got upstairs last night and caught the last thirty minutes of Life With Father. Right on cue Lisa P texted me that she had just come to it late as I had. We had a good time texting through the last part of the movie. We watched Life With Father when I was recovering from surgery. It is one of my favorite old movies. I have the book and need to reread it as it was a great read and story told by Clarence Day Jr, the oldest son. Oh and while looking for a different book I found the Life With Father book. I don't have my bookcases organized like usual.

The grass is being cut on the land above us so we should see a few more bunnies out and about looking for something to eat. I am trying my best to keep the birds and reluctantly the squirrels as well in water. I read somewhere that in the summer, which today is the first day of summer, birds need water more than food. Food is abundant for them right now. I saw a few blackberries along the road that are in the red stage and will soon ripen into the dark blackberry stage of fruit. Birds, bears and snakes will all be happy for the abundant provision.

I now greet you on a Tuesday morning. The birds are in fine voice this morning and the squirrels are tending to the thuggish side of life, fighting amongst themselves and chasing the birds. There are too many of them coming to the feeder so I will have to get out the squirrel resistant feeder later. The porch swing feeder is just so cute.

This cold is lingering too long and I am ready for it be out my house. We are now at the stopped up portion of the cold where I cannot breathe as well as I would like. It's running its course. I am trying to take advantage of the down time by taking care of little things that I just let go. So far so good but as I was working in the front bedroom it became a little too warm even with the fan going. I stopped my work and went to the bonus room, grabbed a cold water and turned on the TV. This is something I rarely do, have the TV on during the day. Of course one of those real life mystery programs got my attention. Little did I know that the episode was a two parter and I was not going to give two hours to find out the end result. Trusty Google came to the rescue and in just a couple of seconds I knew the ending and the solving of the mystery.

Looks like a trip to Lowe's is in order today as well as a stop by the Post Office. I need to go out and see if my latest dousing of vinegar, Epsom Salts and Dawn had any effect on the vines and weeds. The battle is real and constant.






Sunday, June 19, 2016

I'm Boring Today

Another thought from these past few days and shopping for men's dress slacks in general. I would like to know why stores believe they need an inordinate amount of size 36x29? Where are these short men and why aren't they buying these pants. That seems to be the most overstocked size in all the brands. These stocky short men must live somewhere so if you are in need of dress pants, this area has a plethora of pants in stock in the 36x29 size.

We are having a bit cooler temps than last week when we had July temps in June. For lunch today I defrosted some pot roast I had made and it was a delicious Saturday afternoon lunch. I had one window box fly off into the yard from the front porch on this gusty day. All the other plants were moved to a safe place on the porch and then they were watered. The zinnias in particular were needing a drink. I refilled the bird baths since evaporation is accelerated with this wind. The new trees were watered as well as all the backyard plants.

The phenomenon of Camp Houston on Facebook has been so wonderful. Peggy and Bill took some pics and posted them on Facebook when they made a side trip to Alto Frio Baptist Encampment. Even though Alto Frio is in the San Antonio Baptist Association, a long time ago when Houston's First Baptist was called First Baptist Houston, they were able to get a week to have camp there. Face it there is nothing as beautiful as Alto Frio near Lakey beside the Frio River around the Houston area. Houston camps tend to be hot, swampy mosquito pits. Almost to a person so many memories of camp, campers, sponsors,  cabin skits, shenanigans, mean deans,  recreation time and skits involving dead fish, chickens and pig heads put on by the staff. This is back in the day when no one was worried about salmonella and ecoli.  Oh yes and we had meaningful Bible study and quiet times. There is talk of a camp reunion and a FB group has been formed. Kids that are now adults are posting such fabulous pictures from the 80's and 90's camp. I was fortunate enough to be a sponsor for several years and camp is where I finally got to meet Peggy. All this time in choir everyone kept telling me you need to meet Peggy. Y'all would be fast friends. She was recouping from major knee surgery and when the summer rolled around and someone could not go to camp as a sponsor, I was asked to step in. Peggy and I finally met at a camp sponsor meeting and as they say, the rest is history.
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It's Sunday evening. I'm at home with the last bit of a sore throat that is going into coughing up a lung.I have been taking meds and drinking fluids. I have totally rested except for getting a little bit of trash down to the road. It has been a reading day. Which conversationally makes me boring. Good thing Roy is equally as boring this evening. Roy would talk politics but I rule out those conversations after 5:00. I would talk about watching the Made in America OJ Simpson story but Roy is totally not interested in that at all. ESPN did a great job in having that made showing all different angles to the story.

I was getting desperate for real food not junk stuff so I made a trip to the grocery store this morning for essentials. Thankfully, that didn't take long and I was back home in a jiffy. I think working at VBS might be out for tomorrow as well. How appetizing to have someone hacking a cough near food. Yuck!

Today is Father's Day and the pictures on FB have been really good.

Well, that's it. I told you I was boring.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Back Home

It is so good to be back home. Back to the tumbling squirrels, baby bunnies and birds. It is great to be back in cooler temps. I had a wonderful quick trip to Chattanooga but so happy to be back here. I left on Thursday with a slight sore throat which is either the precursor to a cold or I have done too much and my body is giving me a preliminary warning sign. Sore throat with my immune system is always the first sign of overdoing for me and it has been a while since experiencing this. So, I will take it easy today and see how it goes. The combination of doing a lot with very little sound sleep is not good.

So if people call Atlanta, Hotlanta, someone needs to come up with a name like that for Chattanooga because it can be one hot city. And the funny thing is people seem to be in denial about the heat. When Peggy and I did our girl's trip in 1999, we found that out then and now in 2016, it doesn't seem like that fact has changed. Many stores were under air conditioned as well as understaffed. The appeal just wasn't there to stand in long lines, sweating.

I left Thursday around 10:45 and as always the drive, beautiful. Light traffic and good music kept me company. In fact I arrived at the hotel before check in. My room on the first floor wasn't finished yet so I opted for a room on the second floor. Great A/C, cold and quiet. I headed over to the Hamilton Place Mall starting with a late lunch at Abuelo's. Loved the three salsas and the shrimp tacos. Strengthened for the journey I started out shopping for dress slacks for Roy. Hit pay dirt! Sometimes 36x34 pants are hard to find and I was a tad discouraged at first but I kept at it, going through all the racks and found Roy four pairs of dress slacks. All in gray or blue which is what he needs. I shopped at a few more places in the mall before calling a wrap on that portion and headed over to the shopping area where the Hobby Lobby and Fresh Market are located. Both stores hotter than Hades and both had long lines at the checkout counters. I decided nothing in either store was worth the time in the heat, so I headed back to the hotel but made a quick stop for refreshments at Sonic. I slept so well that night.

Since I wasn't meeting Erin until 11:30, I was able to take my time Friday morning. Grabbed a quick bite to eat around 9:00 at the hotel which was a fabulous stage for people watching. I also know I was probably somebodies fodder for people watching. The nice thing about staying around Ooltewah is it is far from all the touristy things of Chattanooga, Civil War battlefields, Rock City, downtown Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. When Roy and I first started staying in this area there were a few gas stations, a Cracker Barrel and the Hampton Inn and then built Holiday Inn Express in this vast area of openness and nothing. Not the case today but you're not dealing with fussy kids and addled parents from all the excitement of vacation. Yesterday it was senior adults, a few business people and a group of adults doing volunteer work in the area. The volunteer group became the main attraction at people watching. After breakfast I checked out and went back over to the mall area beginning at Home Goods. This Home Goods is like the one in Katy in that the whole store is Home Goods and not mixed with clothes. I had a good time ambling throughout the store and found a few things to buy. It was in Home Goods, the warm store with no lines, that I began to wonder if I was having a heart attack. I could not stop sweating or perspiring. There was a general lack of energy and when I got back to the truck I wondered if I should call off lunch with Erin...but as I made my way on my list of things to accomplish before lunch Academy reassured me that I was just not used to the intense heat and humidity, coupled with the possibility of my immune system on alert for overdoing, making these shopping trips almost undoable. In Academy they had the A/C cranked up and opened up check out lanes once they realized how long the lines were. I felt great! I was doing fine!

I met Erin for lunch, had a wonderful time and then headed back out to the road for my trip back home. On many trips in the past couple of years I have wavered on doing a little side trip to Mercier Orchards right before you get to Blue Ridge. I always talk myself out of it but this time I did not. They have a great store with fruits, veggies, jams, kitchen goods and a bakery. I got some Georgia peaches and a small container of local strawberries and then I saw the Apple Cider Donuts. Yum! I also got a few fried fruit pies. The people working there are so nice and helpful. I loaded my car and then went back in for a DC for the road. I enjoyed seeing all the white water rafters on the river. So colorful. GPS said I would arrive home about 6:19 so it was my bound duty to beat that estimate and I arrived home at 5:53 pm, thank you very much.

Buddy was at the door to welcome me home but mama had to wee wee like a wild woman, so our greetings took place a minute or so later. She was happy to see me and didn't want to leave my lap which worked out well because Lisa P and I were on the phone for about an hour. I was so tired I would have unloaded the truck today but I had put my suitcase in the back, so I needed to get it out. So this will be an unrushed Saturday. Better go take some more elderberry mixture to help my sore throat. This is feeling like an immune issue. Good thing I have lots here to occupy me like some good books, magazines and a few apple cider donuts for breakfast.

Just got the news that Erin is officially a Registered Nurse! So excited for her and her new adventures ahead. She makes her aunty proud!

Nancy's Monablog