Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Report;What I Did in Sunday School This Morning

A typical happening to a substitute teacher
Three time substitute teacher of the year, Peggy Hill.

What is it about a substitute teacher that brings out the mischief, laughter, and downright silliness in three mature adult women? OK, mature might not be the word to use, older, Titus 2 women? I don't know but we fell into fifth grade shenanigans during the Sunday School hour this morning. The poor teacher had the assignment of teaching on the battle of Armageddon. It was obvious she had done a lot of research and studying but this ADD riddled mind could not take in all the facts, figures, and excerpts from experts. Maybe a story would have helped. Lessons without stories are soon forgotten by this attendee. I was totally overwhelmed with it all. Not too dormant is the attitude I took through most of my early school years and childhood Sunday School experiences, find something fun in all the boring statistics and have a good time. I mean that attitude must be lying on the very surface with me. It has been a long, long time since I have had this kind of fun in Sunday School. I have fun in Sunday School almost every Sunday, but not this kind of fun. Peggy drew a wonderful picture of the battle of Armageddon complete with soldiers, horses, blood and the valley of Meggido. I added the drawing of a tour bus in the corner because surely some tourist group will be visiting on the day of the battle. When I was in Israel, it is one of the first places we went to. There is so much I have forgotten from that trip in 1988, but seeing the Meggido Valley is not one of them. You totally can see how all the armies of the world will do battle on that vast plain. We also sang something anytime anything sounded like a familiar song. I forget one song that all three of us altos wanted to take the low part, so the others, Peggy and Cynthia made me the soprano. The only time I want to be a soprano is when I watch the A&E version of the Sopranos. "Hey, you...somebody is going to get whacked and ya take it to your grave." Now that is Soprano.
Let's see, what other childish things did we amuse ourselves with? Oh yes, the class was asked if we knew what the word hooda meant. Uh, no surprise here, no one raised their hand. It was a loaded question. I wanted to answer in my best hooda voice... yo, yo, yo...don't be playin' while dog is in the hooda. Peggy used the word in a sentence... when I buy a sweatshirt, I like to buy one with a hooda. a hooda is over the engine of your car and if you make a Soprano mad, you might just be a hooda ornament. I also remember this question, "does anyone remember what happened on the plain of Dura?" We all acted like we knew but were eagerly awaiting the no one answered until we got another clue, when King Nebuchadnezzar set up the golden image? Well duh, why didn't she say that part cause we could have all answered about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo in the fiery furnace. Punk...yo would have been popped in the hooda for that. When Peggy's daughter Jenny was little, Peggy asked her what she learned in Sunday School that morning. Jenny replied, oh something about the three bad boys that went to hell and this was complete a drawing that Peggy still has. I just called Peggy, she says the word was hoodna, but it works either way and the song we all wanted to sing the low part on was, Have a Little Talk with Jesus. I busted out with an oldie but goodie by the Happy Goodmans, He's Coming Again.
Next on our agenda of things to amuse ourselves with is, the three of us texted Dena and asked how her Sunday morning off was going. We also let her know, we missed her. Well, the end of class was wrapping up and I had told Roy I would leave early so that we could grab some lunch and he could get over to Reckling Park. I was just about to leave when the sub wanted us all to pray, good, but asked that we get on our knees if we are able to. Well, I couldn't leave early without tripping over legs trying to get out the door. You know how you can get clumsy when trying to be quiet.
I wish my mom didn't have Alzheimer's, cause I would have loved to call her this afternoon to let her know she would be getting another visit from a Sunday School teacher. This seemed to be an annual thing when I was a kid. I was the kind of student you loved to hate, I knew the lesson backwards and forwards and would use it against the teacher with endless unanswerable questions. Sunday School, especially opening assembly was a total bore to me. It became my mom's usual habit to call the new teacher for the year at Promotion time. She said it saved a lot of time to do that.

In church Pastor Gregg taught on the anti Christ. An excellent sermon. Today, Peggy, Cynthia and I were the anti class. It is just horrible what happens when there is a substitute teacher.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Have a Nice Trip and Other Mall Thoughts

Buddy, the wonder cat, is not too happy with me this evening. I have not made it to my blue chair to read since returning home. I have been on the computer and doing other various and sundry things. So, periodically comes the most mournful cry from Buddy as she stands in the entrance of the hallway and beckons me to go to the blue chair in order for her to climb up in my lap. Here's the deal, she won't stay there. She will get into things and places that she knows better than to mess with. Buddy loves attention and she doesn't care how she gets it.

Roy has gone to Reckling Field to cheer on his play college, Rice University. We went to a game last night and were thrilled with the tickets that Roy has ordered for this weekend's regional playoff. His seats are about 10 rows back of home the shade. Of course my love language is t shirts and we bought two for the regional playoffs. Princess Hamburger's provides the concessions and they do a great job. We left after the 7th inning. On our way home we stopped at Central Market and got a few things for next week.

I met Dena at The Nord for a very early dinner, around 4:30. In fact, I went a little early to take back a few things that just weren't working for me. A trip to the shoe dept is always in order and I bought the cutest pair of Volitive shoes. Laurie M wrote about them on her blog. They are wonderfully cute with a little bit of bling and comfortable to wear. The road to old lady shoes has once again been thwarted. Dena and I had an awesome dinner and got caught up on all the happenings going on in our lives. We shared pizza and a crab stack and we both ordered cups of crab bisque. I left the peaceful surroundings of Nord and went out into the hectic and frantic mall. Made a stop at Eddie Bauer's to see if they had some shorts like I bought at the outlet mall. Then went on down to Border's with my 25% coupon that I used on a book about Cornelius Vanderbilt. I did have a chance to totally embarrass myself in the store. My flip flop hit the top of a stair wrong and I tripped hurling me and all my packages up a few of the stairs. I didn't get any stares as I came to my feet, everyone fortunately was engrossed in their books and magazines.

I've been reading outside of my usual Southern genre. I have read several travel essay books. One I am reading is the biography of Freya Stark. Once I finish it, I have two of her travel books to read. She was a traveler to the Middle East beginning in the 1920's. She traveled mainly by herself, only accompanied by guides and was the first woman to discover main ancient ruins that only the local people knew existed. Her travels and her books welcomed her into England's high and learned society. Although she appreciated and thrived on the attention, her thoughts were mainly concentrated on her lack of beauty. Those thoughts and actions made most decide to admire from afar, for she was much too high maintenance. She and two other women who were scientists, made a critical journey into Yemen and the three of them could not get along for the greater good of what they would soon discover. A book Without Reservations actually introduced me to the writings of Freya. All these travel books are not for me to travel, but I am noting how travels and spiritual travels have some of the same similarities and the decisions that are made in good and bad circumstances. I learned that the word travel is derived from a Latin word that translates travel to mean torture. Some journeys both physical and spiritual are torture. As I walk a very familiar, yet somewhat difficult pass way, I find myself with the same choices, am I going to chose joy or will I let a root of bitterness be planted. There are days when choosing joy is downright hard to do, but having several bitter people that I come in contact with on a regular basis scares me into choosing joy. Don't you know I thank God for reminding me to make the good decision because it seems on those days I struggle, I run into or see the bitter ones.

Well, travel books are calling out to me and I think Buddy put the books up to it. She is looking for a lap to crawl into. Aren't we all at some time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hanging Out In the Burbs

Yea, went to the burbs today. Went out 290 to meet Laurie M for lunch at the cutest tea room on Klunge Road. The chicken lime crepes were delicious! And the creamy zucchini soup was slap your momma good! Oh,catching up with Laurie was fun too. She has always has been agreeable to come into The Galleria to meet and that was mainly when I was still working. So being the retired lady, I made the scenic trip out to the burbs. There for a while it seemed like being out in the country with all the horse farms. Loved it! Laurie and I share a unique talent when it comes to being volunteered for all kind of church work, we have the ability to say no and really mean it.

While out that way, I decided to make a trip to the outlet mall. I found a great sale at Eddie Bauer's and at Reebok. Love to find bargains and some of the clothes were 70 % off. Found a great pair of shorts 16 inches long. Made me laugh thinking, that is probably the inseam for Peggy's capris!

Speaking of Peggy. I went to her home yesterday for a play day. I took my computer because she showed me how to make photo books and of course you see that she has started a blog. I thought, it will be so easy to show her how to do this, realizing at first, I couldn't remember a thing since it had been over two years ago when I set mine up. Jaime was there with Keely and once Keely had had enough of us, we all worked on the computers. I was so overwhelmed with questions and Bill looking for a medical was a bit overwhelming and I was worn out in no time flat. Of course Peggy and Jaime were laughing at me and saying you can tell you never have been a teacher and multi task your attention. When I pulled in at Peggy's she was power washing the driveway in flip flops, but her toes all seemed to be intact. This is our first time for Peggy and me to get together for a day of fun since we both retired. We both have been too busy. Mainly, we are busy with stuff we want to do which can make a big difference in attitude.

After shopping and on my way home, I tried to find the farmer's market that Laurie told me about. I never found it, but had a great time looking for it. There is so much of Houston I have never seen especially out in the burbs. It was a small adventure for the day. Being so close into town, my daily trek is on the same streets. It was exciting to get out of the rut.

Roy and I went out to Collina's last night for dinner. We have been so good and eaten most of our evening meals at home this week. Even had hot dogs that we bought at Central Market. Dang, those are some good hot dogs.

I am finishing this up on Friday morning. Need to get over to the gym since I have missed two days in a row. Spray tan still looks good and yes, I have already made another appointment to get another one. Had to change it though since I am volunteering for VBS when I had scheduled it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Peggy Bain is Blogging!

Great News! Peggy has started blogging, well barely. But she is blogging, sorta... She is typing and asking a lot of questions. In my book, that is blogging. To encourage her and to have her share some of her greatest insights, make a comment on her blog. I will comment further on how we both taught each other new skills on the computer. I know how to use Photoworks now and can publish my pictures into book form. And Jaimie and Keely brought us some Chick-y for lunch. It has been a fun play and learning day.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Lovely Sunday Night

Last night was just too lovely of a night to be indoors. One thing we wanted to do is go back to Wabash Antiques and take a picture of the sign welcoming us back. Well, maybe it is to welcome back some distant relatives, our 3rd cousins twice removed, Monarch butterflies. We noticed this sign today after lunch at Molina's with Dena. I have to give some props to Dena, she is who I called on Saturday after the whole wedding dress dilemma. She listened, consoled, shared and made me laugh over the whole thing. There is always that choice to make, joy or self pity. I chose joy. Yep, take the pain and turn it into laughter

Roy's office building.

The new fountain that replaced the sculpture that looked like a wrecked metro bus

After rereading the sign, guess that is why our distant butterfly cousins don't visit. No milkweed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hi My Name is Nancy and I'm an Idiot

Hi, my name is Nancy and I'm an idiot. You see I've been been planning my attire since March for the wedding of Roy's bosses daughter. This wasn't a wedding to attend with joy and friendship overflowing from our hearts like most weddings we attend. No, this wasn't one of those weddings. We didn't know anything about the couple getting married. All I knew is, we needed to attend and I needed to dress like Mrs. Monarch. In attendance would be Roy's peers and upper level executives. You know I wanted to look my best and Roy be proud of me. Thus all the planning that began in March, I found the dress, bought new shoes, bought new jewelry, got a pedi and a mani, planned my haircut to coincide with the wedding so I got my best hair and got the spray tan. I don't know if I went to all this trouble for my own wedding, OK yes I did, but tanned the old fashioned baby oil with iodine way.

Today as I write this, so many verses have run through my mind and spirit today, we make plans but the Lord directs our steps, there is a way that seems right to us, and the Lord knows our rising and our sitting down. And there it is, with all the planning, all the attention to detail, I forgot the rising and sitting down aspect of the new dress. I mean, I had the hem taken down as long as it would go and it seemed a go when I tried it on. But yet there is that one thing...sitting down. So, yesterday, I began preparing early and all systems were go until I sat down to check my cell phone before putting it in my purse. The almost perfect dress rode up too much and exposed too much skin, even such wonderfully tanned skin. Even in my young, skinny days, I would have not showed that much leg. I stood up and sat down again thinking maybe it was a fluke. The dress creeped up a little higher. ZZ Top's song about legs went through my head, but I was singing it like, "she's showing leg, it's downright abusing." I called out to Roy, I can't go, I can't go. He couldn't believe what I was saying until he saw my dress and he knew I couldn't go. Now I have to admit for the past few months I have called this the stupid wedding but I would have never not gone. If this was a wedding at church with friends, I would have found something to wear but when I knew that what I wore would be a reflection onto Roy. I knew there was nothing to wear, nothing to do. Now time is ticking down really quickly, so Roy needed to get on to the wedding but I escorted him to the door apologizing profusely and repeating my new mantra, I am such an idiot. I am so stupid! I didn't think about everything, I am an idiot! Roy was so kind and so understanding and said he would go to the wedding but not the reception. He told me to stop saying I was an idiot and that I wasn't stupid. But he asked, what should I say if anyone asks about you and I told him he should just say...

Well just say....something came up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Spray Tan from a Professional Can

From afar and maybe even close up, my week's activities have me more in the role of a dilettante than my usual activities of working out, eating lunch with friends and reading a ton of books. It all fell together on this one week. I rescheduled my massage from last week to this week and because we have a wedding to attend Saturday, this morning I found myself back at the club getting a spray tan. I have never had one of these in my whole entire life and now I am questioning myself why I waited so long.

Things like pedicures, manicures and massages became a regular part of life, later in life. Once I turned 50, there was no looking back. I wanted to enjoy the pampered life before adult Pampers became a part of my life. Now I may have to add spray tans. Here is how all this came about, Roy's bosses daughter is getting married tomorrow. Last year we got a save the date refrigerator magnet to keep our calendar open for the wedding and then came the elaborate invitation. Now I can get away with the skirts I usually wear for weddings and sometimes funerals at church, but I knew for this occasion something dressier would be appropriate. I told Roy a couple of months ago, I didn't want to attend because I didn't have anything to wear. He said, go buy a dress. So being the submissive wife that I am in my own imagination, I went to the Nord and found a fabulous dress. The fit perfect, except for one little thing, it was a little shorter than I am used to wearing. Even with the Nord alterations of letting down the hem it was going to have to be panty hose or tan legs. The only two choices open to me to help cover up my surgically ugly knees.

Now it just happens that my massage therapist is one of the best spray tan professionals in the city of Houston. So I gutted it up and made an appointment. To say that I was a bit intimidated is an understatement. You have to admit that it is just putting it all out there to get this done. As it happens I have been reading a wonderful travel/memoir, Without Reservation. One of my favorite thoughts from the book is the writer's observation of people. She writes after watching groups and the lines and roles that people form, she would rather be a part of the fun attitude toward life group than the whinny, cranky, critical people in life. So look at mishaps or intimidating things as an adventure and have fun with it. So that is what I decided I would do, just have fun with the whole process. Of course it helps that I have been going to Stacey for about 5 years, but.... it wasn't bad at all, kind of fun. I was happy to have had some working out under my belt...or lack of belt, because you hold your arms out and away for a good bit of time.

I love my tan from a can. It's great! Roy likes it a lot and says it looks really good and he wouldn't mind if I did this like once a month.. Yahoo! In between maybe I can prolong the tan life with some tanning products from the Walgreen's. Bet I don't see an old woman in tight knit workout shorts wearing Depends on the tanning aisle... Hmm..let me re-think that. NO, it won't be me with that outfit on. Anyway, hopefully, I will look OK for this wedding where we won't know very many, but it is one of those Mrs. Mon times and I want Roy to be happy to be seen with me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh I Don't Know, it Depends

I'm getting the timing of Walgreen's prescription counter down. Normally, I just go through the drive through but I thought there might be a discrepancy on one of my prescriptions, so I went inside. I tried this yesterday but the line was so long and each person seemed to have issues with prescriptions that wasn't going to be solvable in a short amount of time. I left and thought another time might just be the thing. It seems that the older set descend on the Walgreen's right after what they might perceive as the lunch rush. So between 1:30-2:30 go to Walgreen's and then go to dinner and be back home by 5:00. You see I am picking up the patterns they weave so well.

Today, I am coming home from my massage and feeling all nice and relaxed. What better time to hit the Walgreen's. I noted I was earlier than my previous attempt. Only one person in front of me and she couldn't decide if she was going to take all the prescriptions they had for her. When it was my turn at the counter, I happened to glance back and the line had increased in a matter of minutes so it was a long line behind me of yes, you guessed it, old people. Old people with no patience and loud voices. Fortunately, I didn't have any issues with my prescriptions after all and it was a clean, timely transaction.

Why am I writing this because in the week of interesting and different people encounters, I had another sighting of a bad clothes decision. I have written before of so many odd and inappropriate outfits that some of the older set seem to wear. Today an older couple were dividing up duties at the Walgreen's. The lady had the man stand in line for prescriptions, while she gathered up some other things so they could check out together. When she turned to go down the aisle, I saw the bad decision. She had on a knit pair of workout shorts, cut very short, so there was a whole lot of leg showing, bad legs showing. But, that didn't really get my attention, it was this; under those short, tight knit workout shorts she had on a big ole pair of Depends! Not only was there a whole lot of bunching up going on, there was a whole lot of swishing noise going on as she walked. It had to be pretty loud because I had the hard of hearing behind me yelling conversations at one another. Yep, cross it off the list of bad clothing decisions to remember as I age, no white pants, no tight knit shorts when wearing Depends.

Tears of a Clown

On Tuesday before meeting CourtneyS and Lisa P I had a couple of errands to run. One stop on the way, no surprise here, Barnes and Noble. I had seen a book there Saturday when Dena and I stopped in for a brief look and see and decided not to buy it then. During those few days in between visits, I'd find myself regretting the non purchase. Thus the Tuesday stop. Now that is just background, now I am going to tell you the reason for the post. While traveling up the escalator, there was a woman in front of me. Must be a corporate type because she had on a stylish, modern business suit, pantyhose and comfortable pumps. She seems a bit impatient on on the edge, because she never stopped moving the whole ride up to the second floor. She didn't turn around until she got off and looked back in my direction on the escalator. I nearly fell back and I felt my body do a unexpected and uncontrolled jump back. This business woman needed to take a right and go into the health and beauty section of the bookstore because clearly she could not put on lipstick. She had used a lip liner outside her lips and the liner wasn't even near her lips. She filled in the area with a dark burgundy lipstick. Now contrast that dark emboldened color with the fairness of her skin, OK I am not even going to be PC here, she was white, really, really white and you had Bozette the clown. That is why I involuntarily jumped back, cause I have a fear of clowns. Bozette waited at the top of the escalator as if she was waiting for me and as I made my now fateful journey near the top, I broke out in panic attack sweat. I got off the elevator and made a left to retrieve the book I had thought about for 2 days. Bozette stopped me with a question, could I recommend a couple of books to her. She had a long flight coming up and had no clue of any fiction worth reading since her main reading was business related. She went on to share she had been instructed by her boss and her life coach to read some fiction on this trip and add some pleasure because she took business and her job much too seriously. They were afraid for her, her health and her well being if she didn't lighten up just a little. Of course it took me a moment and everything within me not to direct her to the book How Not to Look know cause of the strident use of her lip liner and lipstick. Then I thought, why did she ask me? Do I look like I take life a little less serious than most, was I dressed so casually that I was an easy sign to give her direction? Ah yes Nancy, the answer is yes to both of those questions. Guess the jean capris led her to the right source. I responded with a list of great fiction for her, nothing too classic and nothing too frivolous. I even recommend some non fiction that reads like fiction. She thanked me and then went to the children's area of the bookstore. Maybe I had been too serious in my recounting of good reads and she was looking for someone a little more childlike in their approach. Or maybe the lady was crazy. I once heard a story of a woman who struggled with mental illness and when she was in her manic phase of life, her makeup was applied loud and garish...much too much. Now I was a little panicked as talked with her cause of the clown fear and with my ADD I was afraid I would forget the book that I had made the trip to Barnes and Noble to pick up. After my purchase, I was on my way to meet friends. I must have a kind face or look like I don't mind being asked questions, because my opinion or some kind of instruction is asked of me by strangers a lot. Maybe today as I am out and about, will be an uneventful and non clown encounter type of day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nordstrom's, Good for What Ails You

Seriously, I need to read some of the great books that are stacked by our bed. You know how you hit times when every book you pick up is unforgettable. Each book hard to put down? I find myself in that wonderful predicament. I also find myself with a schedule right now that is not allowing much time for reading. That should change soon hopefully. Serendipitously I have found several questions and thoughts that have taken me captive and I find it difficult to get my mind around in the few books I have been reading. I’m not even ready to give blog post or journal ink to many of them. There are a few I can put in print today. This is how I have arranged the order of these questions and thoughts; what do you do with your pain, do our sorrows shape us, and do we let those sorrows define us? Cliff note answers for me would be pain turned into laughter, yes sorrows can shape but so does joy and hope. Hope then faith is what gets us out of the pit of sorrow and sadness. In my life I have tried not to be defined by sorrow, but sometimes a word or a memory can haul me into sorrow before even knowing it. I’ve asked the Lord to let me know the moment I have stepped back into past sorrows and pain. I do not want for those sorrows and sadness to define me now. Believe me, we all know people crippled spiritually, emotionally, and physically by sadness and forgo living the abundant life of John 10:10.

The phone just rang and it is UPS delivering my order from Amazon. Timely timing, heh.

The young moms and children at the pool have replaced all the old ladies who have been camping and staking out the best chairs around the pool all morning long. The laughter and squeals of delight from the kiddos have chased off all the cranky yet tan biddies. Now the children have gone in and soon the young professionals will tan with the waning sunlight.

Today was a good first day of the Nord sale. Also the unexpected delight of meeting up with Tillie for lunch made the day even more fun. Yesterday I met CourtneyS, Moriah and Lisa P for a late lunch/snack at the Nord. Yep, retired life is what it is cracked up to be.

OK, I need to go open that box of books. I have ventured from all things Southern for a bit and finding myself engrossed in some wonderful memoirs. Oh, I was wrong about the young professionals being the next round at the pool. The old ladies must have realized the silence and have stampeded back to claim the table and chairs. I love living above the pool.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Buddy Lee Now Happily Napping at Home

This is one happy former camper. Buddy meowed all the way home on Friday, but she soon got over it and was happily sitting in my lap a few minutes after getting home. She has been my constant shadow and companion all weekend. It has cured her of running into the hallway anytime the front door is opened. She has even made up with Roy. She blamed him for her camp time because he took her in. I just didn't have the heart for it.

Regular routines came back to us naturally but just as the beginning of the book Rebbecca, "our hearts return to the thoughts of the Biltmore."

On Wed we were in Nashville and got to spend the night at my brothers. We also had dinner with Doug, Nancy, Megan and Erin. Of course each time we see the girls we cannot believe how much they have grown up. They were in the midst of finals and weren't able to hang out with their old auntie and uncle for very long. They missed a fun excursion to Trader Joe's. Houston doesn't have one, but we need one. Roy and I bought all kinds of goodies. Doug's home is in West End and we loved that area of town. It is a combination West U and Heights. He gave a great tour. Of course we always comment, why do we live in Houston?

Roy and I were talking at lunch about our trip and what a wonderful time we had on it and with each other. Both of us were refreshed. We celebrated the return of good health for me. We prepared our hearts and minds for some anticipated good news and awards for Roy. So grateful for God's presence and His goodness to us, especially in the past year. We appreciated the joyful fact and effects of my retirement and the joy that lunches with friends brings, having unlimited study time, great books waiting for me to read, and the remarkable recuperation that has brought me to a disciplined work out again. Roy says just about every week, how thankful he is to have me out of the office.

In the past few weeks I have been able to reconnect with a friend from college thanks to Facebook. I had never gone out to the Texas State University network but several weeks ago I did. There on the first page was my friend Alice. She had a different last name since the last time we talked, but I knew by the smile on that face, this had to be Alice. I sent her a message and we have been blowing up the Internet with emails ever since. She teaches Old Testament at a Bible College in Arizona. She and I have remembered some crazy good times and we have picked up right where we left off. God used her so tremendously in a really hard, battle weary time in my life. How do you catch up? One email at a time.

Well, my happy camper Buddy has moved back to the bedroom where she is probably taking her late afternoon nap. When she wakes up, she'll start crying and come running to find me. Once she knows I'm around, she'll be able to peaceably have her early evening nap.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sweet Home Houston

Good Morning! We arrived home last night around 8:00 pm. We were so happy to get in and off the road. On the road by 5:30 am we only met one round of severe weather and that was between Nashville and Memphis. So thankful not to have encountered severe weather all week when it had been all around us. I blew through Mississippi and did the length of the state in 4 hours and 15 minutes and that is with two brief stops. Once we were in Louisiana, I slowed down a bit. We are so thankful that I did. We encountered a wreck right before Crowley. There were fatalities and they had the cars involved covered in blue tarps. Those of us who were detained in a long wait as they worked on the wreck probably felt a little guilty for our impatience of stand still traffic. Once we were passed the wreck, we decided to forget about setting the all time family record of driving through from Nashville to Houston and stop for dinner in Sulphur, La. It was a good stop for me since I had been doing all the driving. And the 5 hour energy shot came through to help with the last leg of the trip.

At home, we unpacked the rental car and returned it last night so we wouldn't have to wake up so early this morning. In a little bit I will go pick up Buddy. I have missed her.

I'll also get some groceries into the home today. Uh, not like we are starving to death after all the wonderful and creative dishes we had at the Biltmore. I am also happy to be home because I didn't have quiet times like I usually get to have at home. God's presence surely was felt and known by me during the week and I feel like He spoke truth and the Word I needed into my spirit. Now at home, He and I can have a huge debriefing....:)

Roy and I certainly had fun together and enjoyed our trip. We had great conversations in the car about all kinds of stuff. It gave us time to talk seriously too because those moments at home sometimes can be few and far between with busy schedules and the daily that demands our attention.

Of course, things are getting back to normal already. Roy and I do mornings so differently. So our personal likes of morning schedules were sacrificed for one another. When I got up this morning, Roy was eager to get up right with me to begin the day. I asked if he could give me just a few minutes alone before joining me in searching the kitchen for something suitable for breakfast. As I read the paper, just sitting still with my Diet Coke, Roy already had huge political discussions going on in his head and wanted me to join in. This morning I just didn't have it in me.

So, I should quit updating the blog and start doing some laundry. I need to get cleaned up and go get my little Buddy. Of course she will have to act all mad for a time, but hopefully she will be happy with us by evening.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fun Day

Our wonderful trip to the Biltmore is just about over. We have had the best time. Roy has done well and has relaxed and put office concerns aside, finally. There is so much to share I will wait until getting home. Here are some pics.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Day at the Biltmore Estate

A drizzly day didn't stop us today. By the afternoon the skies were clearing and we were able to get some more sightseeing in. We toured the Biltmore House and gardens today. We started our day with a big breakfast. If you haven't ever had the breakfast buffet at the Biltmore Inn, you haven't lived. The grits are about the best grits I have ever eaten. I know many of you aren't fan of grits so let me add that every thing was excellent. Everyone around here is so friendly, including the other guests. We have had wonderful conversation with couples from New York and New Jersey. We met a couple who are here celebrating their 35th anniversary and Asheville is where they came for their honeymoon. Three girlfriends are having the time of their life here and one of them gave us quite a laugh. The story is George Vanderbilt's newly married wife had never seen Biltmore. The words were never recorded of what she said when coming around the bend. The driver asked the ladies to give their ideas. One lady who was sitting in the back of the bus and had no clue to what she was going to see said, Oh s**t! The driver said, well maybe she said that, but she was a proper society lady, so probably not. Tomorrow, Roy has signed up to go segway riding for 2 1/2 hours around the estate. I will use that time to shop, read or take a nap...or maybe go back to the gardens. When we went back to the gardens this afternoon there were hardly any people there. I was able to take a lot of pictures without a lot of unknown people being in the pictures.

Mom and Dad Goose getting their little goslings across the street
Roses just began blooming last week

Monet type qualities

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens...Sound of Music...not one of my fav movies

It was like this robin was posing for me. He had a big ol worm in his beak

It felt like the rapture had happened. No people

Our morning tour of the house

This place is usually teaming with people

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Room With a Wooded View

We have arrived at the Biltmore Inn! Ahh, relaxing here is such a special retreat. Oh, happiness, o joy, oh boy! We are definitely not roughing it, because our bell boys were not slow. Roy and I have walked the terrace and surrounding areas. OK, once I saw the chairs, I wasn't anymore interested in hiking than I would be in camping. So, I walk a little ways to show Roy, oh yes...I want to do this and then reneged on that suggestion and waited for him after his stroll in the chairs that were beckoning me to come, rest, cast my cares and sit in the chair.

Today has been the first day of beautiful sunny weather in a week here. Thank you Lord for your favor and blessing. Our drive here was outstanding! We took the less traveled and more scenic drive into Asheville from Chattanooga. Since it was Sunday morning we sampled the preaching of the surrounding areas. The FBC guy in Cleavland, TN was OK. The Church of God preacher brought the Word with authority and conviction. We learned some new things from him. We heard a couple of others that went fuzzy before we could even listen. Got a great rousing lift in music from all Gaither radio and then as we got deeper in the heart of North Carolina, it was major Southern Gospel. It was enjoyable for me at least to sing all the parts whenever I wanted to with the groups. We saw motels on the sides of the roads that looked as if we were back in the 1950's. Tourist courts with rockers outside the door of your room. Roy would like to go rafting and spend some time in that part of North Carolina. Hmm...maybe but I have that roughing it prejudice. We arrived in Asheville and toured downtown. Then came over to Biltmore Village, had a late lunch and did some shopping. Several of the shops I would like to visit are closed on Sunday. A return trip to the village is in the plans. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so we will tour the Biltmore home then. I have several great books to read and we could always have tea in the library tomorrow afternoon. When Dena and I came here in 2002 we decided 2 nights weren't enough. Now that Roy and I are staying 3 nights, I am thinking maybe a week would be good.

As I sat outside I heard the same conversations from couples aged from young to old and no matter the age, this is what I heard, " well, what do you want to do? Do you want to walk? OK, how about sit here for a while. OK, do you want to go inside and get something to drink? So, what do you want to do?" It doesn't matter if you've been barely married or ancient of days married, the questions are still the same. Now, there are a lot of girlfriends here too. Never heard a question of what to do, they were together laughing and catching up... I think they might have wound up different places and thought, well how did we get here?

The Inn on the Biltmore Estate (rear view)
Another back view

The entrance to our room
An inviting chair to read, think and dream in. Roy is in this very chair right now asleep.

We'll be sleeping well the next few nights

A separate shower

A jacuzzi bathtub

The vanity with me trying to hide as I take the picture

Well, we are going to change clothes and go down to the lounge for a salad supper. Yum! I need to do that. I haven't been eating that healthy so far.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pardon Me Roy is That the Cat Who Ate Your New Shoes

Such a great night of rest last night. Roy got up early this morning and let me sleep in just a bit. A good breakfast is the way to start off the day. There is something about the grits in the deep south that are so good! We got on the road a little after 9:00. Stopped in Trussville to get gasoline. Trussville is where Mildred and Gertrude went national. I was able to get in and out of the Shell station without being recognized. :)

We were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery as we drove I59. There was a plethora of Cracker Barrels on that highway. If Dena and I were on this trip together, we might still be on the highway stopping at each and every CB.

Today Roy and I went to Lookout Mountain when we hit Chattanooga. Our first stop; Rock City. It has been years since I have been there. It dawned on me as I was kind of struggling with the altitude if this was considered mountain climbing because that is the only restriction I have with my heart. I did ok, but it was a bit of a struggle. We made it to the top and we were rewarded with a great view. We decided against the Incline Railway and went to Point Park. As we finished up there the clouds grew darker and the rain began. Since we weren't too sure where our hotel was located we decided to head over this way. We never had lunch, so we did a big dinner at the, you guessed it, CB. We are in an area that is brand new development.

Roy in a LSU rocking chair at CB

The end of our journey of Rock City

Wooden swing and me

Point Park, battle for Chattanooga in the Civil War

More Point Park

Tomorrow, we head to Asheville.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stars Fell on Alabama...It's a Book Title

Greetings from the great state of Alabama. The states the stars fell on and sweet home Alabama to many. Tonight Sweet Home Alabama is my theme song. I thought we might stop in Meridian for the night but Roy wanted to go on to Tuscaloosa. I mentioned to Roy this might be Bama's graduation weekend. He wanted to keep moving, so in Jesus Name we pressed on. We pulled into a Hampton and he received the great good news, graduation.... but the fine folks at Hampton made some calls and the Hilton Garden Inn had one room left, a smoking room. At that moment I was willing to take up the smokes to get a room. When we arrived here and nothing is easy to get to in this town, we were told at the desk, there was no room in the Inn. I began to walk out back to the dumpster since there wasn't a stable behind the Hilton, just a movie theatre. Roy explained to the patient clerk about the phone call, etc... Well, she did check with the manager and there was a room for us being held under the name of Hotel. Hi, my name is Nancy Hotel and I am willing to take up smoking for the night to get a room cause I be so very, very tired. We must have looked so worn out and tired, because they also discounted the room and gave us a coupon for free breakfast. Praise the Lord! While Roy was waiting for all this to happen, I was in the Ladies Room praying out of our deep need and desperation. I didn't think I had it in me to drive to B'ham this evening. So, here we are and so very thankful.

We left Houston around 9:15 this morning after dropping off Buddy at camp. I couldn't even take her in, Roy had to do it. I miss Buddy. We had a wonderful lunch at Cracker Barrel. Roy isn't as much fun as Dena in a Cracker Barrel. In fact, he didn't realize the tradition that she and I have at making a stop at each and everyone we see. Moon Pies were on sale, 2 boxes for $8. They even had vanilla ones. We will pass that CB on the way home and I am going to pick up some Moon Pies for home.

We rented a Blue Camry for the trip and it is a great ride. We've had good weather so far. Roy has been reading a book from the 1800's on prayer and he has read me several passages that were really good. We've had fun talking and discussing and solving every problem that is happening in the world. Although we have no answer for the e coli problem with the Baytown water.

Dinner was in Meridian, MS. We ate at Chicky and it was good. The last time I was in Meridian was with Dena on our way home from Asheville. We ate at a scary McDonald's in Meridian and my street smarts came back strong. I called her from Meridian to let her know it was a new kind of place or maybe we hadn't driven far enough.

Sleep is calling my name. Fortunately, we don't have to smoke to rent the room. Although if this was a drinking and smoking room, I might take a sip of the know just to fit in and to be all things to all people so that I might win some. OK, yes, I know all out of context, but you know me, I am pushing the envelope. Good Night!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our ChatAsheNash Trip

It won't be too much longer and we will be going on our ChatAsheNash trip. That is Chattanooga, Asheville, and Nashville. Looks like the weather will be somewhat cooperative. I am trying to pack and remember all the small details that need to be taken care of before leaving. Roy is tying up loose ends at the office and he hasn't even packed. But guys they can throw together stuff and be fine. I am a mood packer. Since we are driving, I can bring a few more things than if we were flying. I can give myself a little leeway with what in the heck clothes mood I will be in.

I have quickly reverted back to my tennis days in choosing what to wear. I am happy to be in workout capris and t-shirt all day long. It's wonderful. If I look worse for the wear on a particular day people think I have already worked out instead of me working out later. Some outfits have become just so darn cute with pinks, mint green, and aqua blue.

Books have been narrowed down to 2 and I am taking my travel journal with me. I am also taking a different version of the Bible. I mainly use ESV and NIV, but I am taking the TLB on this trip cause I am know, taking care of business.

We've decided not to get all fancied up for dinners. We are choosing casual dining choices. Done the big expensive dinner thing at the Biltmore before. When Dena and I went several years ago, our table was next to a couple celebrating their anniversary. They barely even talked and were so interested in our conversation. I told Dena we should have started making up all kind of junk. One morning at breakfast they put us next to an older couple who were not talking, so we did make up stuff in our conversation just so they could have an interesting breakfast. Roy and I are always talkative with one another, but I don't need the pressure. When Peggy and I stayed at the Grove Park Inn on a girl's trip, we had started the day looking oh so cute and summery. But my friend in Chattanooga took us on the Bataan Death March in the middle of July when it was hotter in Chattanooga than Houston and we sweated ourselves out. Once we showed up at The Grove Park they informed us we needed to be in resort casual to eat dinner there. We took the hint and ate in town.

We will get to spend some time with family in Nashville and then we will head home by the way of Amish Country and Oxford. Roy said in conversation one day, once we have finished wasting time in Amish Country....what???? There is perfectly good stuff to do there. He was OK when I mentioned this place that serves awesome food.

In case I don't get a chance to post before we leave, I will be posting some from the road, I hope.

Answered Prayers and Some Thoughts

There is so much to be done today, but I couldn't let the morning really begin without posting a few thoughts. I have some fun things to share, but everything isn't quite in place yet for me to give details. Though I am willing to share something that happened Monday. I have been working out 3-5 times a week. I've been watching the personal trainers knowing that when I hit a plateau, extra intensive work will be needed. During tennis years I spent a lot of time working out with trainers. Some push way too hard without any thought to what the trainee can really accomplish or what the body will let them do. Some trainers just set the weights and the machine for you...then right down what has been done. Then there are the trainers that are uniquely interested in uniquely helping you accomplish your goals or even help you bust through what you only thought could be done. So, I've been observing, hoping not to be too obvious and look like Grace on the show Will and Grace. She would shadow a workout and do the same things feeling great that she got a workout with a trainer for free. I've been asking the Lord to give me wisdom in who to choose and asked Him to send the right personal trainer to me. And by that, specifically that they would talk to me during my workout. In the 3 and 1/2 months I've been there, no one has ever come up and talked to me during my workout. That is until Monday. Long story short, Brock the trainer is specifically trained to work with people who have joint immobility problems. He was kind and informative in talking with me. I tried not to go all grandma on him and give long boring details of knee and heart issues, but enough details to see his reaction and his thoughts on the course of exercise. Even after our conversation ended he returned with some brochures of what the club could offer me in the way of classes and programs, not his personal services. He included his cell number so I would have it when the plateau hit. I think God has answered my prayer and I am so thankful to Him.

If you want to read an interesting and insightful blog, I recommend this one by Mark Batterson. Today he has reprinted his Lion Chasers Manifesto and if it doesn't encourage you to strategically begin to plan change in how you live you life, you must already be doing it. I have just recently been reading He is a church strategic planner and is very insightful. Today his blog is his twitter while listening to Andy Stanley at a conference. If I was still working in a church, I would really want to discuss the subject matter. An interesting point Stanley makes is communication in leadership and he doesn't want his staff or any staff to experience what he did while working on the bottom rung of the ladder. Every corporate, non-profit or church has a hierarchy and organization chart and in my opinion the church organizational chart is meaner and more destructive than it is helpful and guiding. Corporate America doesn't hide behind "God's will" in how companies are run. Of course in the case of Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Anderson maybe throwing in God's will for good measure would have helped. In church leadership, being a visionary is thrown around a little too much and visionary is hard on the worker bees so much of the time. A lot of visionary leadership is, I don't know what I want until I see it. So worker bees spend a lot of time working through endeavors that might see the light of day once only to discover that wasn't what the visionary person had in mind once he or she sees it. Well, I just went down a rabbit trail and I am going to stop right now because I might write something that is not edifying or profitable and bottom line is just my opinion.

I am going to cash in some of my $5.00. Since November I have been keeping 5 dollar bills I receive as change and saving them. I am up to 700 dollars and it was a painless way to save. I have read where people do this and have a separate account set up for their $5 savings. Then when they go on vacation or an unexpected expense comes up there is money set aside.

We have both of our cameras ready to take pictures along the way of our trip. I just hope we remember all our various chargers and cords we will need for all our electronic baggage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Any Daniels Out There Who Want to Interpret My Dream?

Last night I finished reading an article in a New Yorker magazine about two women who left a comfortable life on the East coast and went to Colorado for a year to teach school in a mountain community. The article written by the great granddaughter of one of the women, who also is an editor at the New Yorker, wrote how that one year in the early 1900's affected the women and the community where they taught. Actually, teaching school was secondary and just a early 20th century eharmony. A town lawyer thought this would be a great way to get single women to come out so far in the West to meet all the eligible ranchers and cowboys looking for a wife. After finishing the article I thumbed through the rest of the magazine and actually started reading about alligators and snakes in Florida, and the problem they present. I didn't get too far in the article when it occurred to me, if I read about snakes right before bed, I am going to dream about them. So I put that magazine down and picked up my Bible. I wisely stayed away from Adam and Eve and the snake story in Exodus.

The combination of reading about snakes, studying end time prophecy in Sunday School, and eating a small bowl of popcorn before bed all played a part in the story I am about to tell.

Here's the dream. Roy and I were watching a documentary at my parent's home, not where they live now, but where we lived while growing up. The documentary was about this huge snake that ate a baby bear cub and the mother bear tearing through the snake to rescue her baby. By the way in the dream, this bear was owned by Madonna. Yea...I know... Anyway, after watching the documentary I went to the back part of the house where my little girl bedroom was and I came upon one of those big snakes. I am scared and trying to get rid of the snake. So I call out Roy's name and he comes. He picks up the snake in a way where it can't bite him and tells me this is the only safe way to carry a snake. He takes it to the backyard to kill it. Of course I am relieved only to notice there is another smaller snake and it is almost dead. I try to pick it up how Roy showed me and I accidentally touch the bottom fang of the snake. I throw it down and break its jaw, but it is still moving toward me. I am madly calling out Roy's name and he answers back after each panicked call for help, "just a minute." I can see him looking through his brief case. In the dream I begin to shut the bedroom door so that the half dead snake can't bite me. It is at this critical point in the dream where in real life Buddy who is sleeping on my arm just happens to move one of her back paws and the tip of her nail goes into my arm. In the dream the snake bites me at the critical point of Buddy's nail touching my arm. The end result is my blood curdling scream that wakes me up, scares Buddy half to death and she races off the bed, and Roy wakes up. In a math formula it would look like

Dream + Buddy's nails+scream-Roy's casual attitude toward the scream =all of us wide awake at 5:00am.

Roy casually gets out of bed, stretches and says, oh good I wanted to get up at 5:00 am, thanks for waking me up. He heads to the bathroom. As he walks away I said to him, you know I had a bad dream and my scream is what woke you up. He replies, "I thanked you for waking me up."

When he returns, Buddy is at the end of the bed frightened and won't even come near me. I tell Roy my dream and then I started laughing. Just think, if Roy had wanted to sleep another 10 minutes, he might have reached over and hit my head like a snooze alarm. It took awhile for me to go back to sleep and yes, I slept with the light on. I didn't think there were snakes in the room, but I was concerned that if Buddy got over her fear of me and my scream, what if she touched me again in my sleep? The result wouldn't be good for either one of us.

Now I ain't no Nebuchadnezzar but are there any Daniels out there?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Weekend, Nothing Spectacular Happened

We are in the midst of laundry. You know, trying to get everything clean and ready for a trip. Living on the third floor none of us have adequate ventilation for our dryers, thus taking more time than usual to dry clothes. Our dryer has been running since we returned home from church. Roy just asked me if I had a candle burning and it was at that time I smelled the burnt smell which was emitting from the dryer. No fire but a very hot dryer. It is cooling off now. We love where we live except for this laundry ventilation thing.

This has been a good weekend with nothing spectacular that stands out except it was good. Roy was called on Saturday to see if he would step into substitute teaching his Sunday School class. He was pleased and happy to do so. I am impressed that he was able to put together such a great lesson and the subject matter happened to be the last chapter of Isaiah. Watching him study and pull his lesson together made me miss teaching Sunday School, well just for a moment I had that thought. I wouldn't mind subbing but I'm not ready to go back full time.

I loved watching the Kentucky Derby and loved the story behind the horse that won. After derby watching, I picked up Dena to eat and do some shopping in The Galleria. We ate at The Nord and the delicious special pizza was still on the menu. Sometimes it is difficult to find someplace to eat a relaxing dinner and be able to hear the other person speak. This can be found in the evenings at The Bistro. We had a weeks worth of catching up to do. During prom season it is fun to be in the mall and watch all the couples arrive or leave early from the Westin hotels and last night we were not disappointed. Although, there didn't seem to be as many milling about in the mall. So either that prom was really, really good or everyone had already left the building.

Today I took a 3 hour nap. It was great!

We are getting really excited about our upcoming trip. Everything is falling into place. My bunko game got moved, so I am in the process of looking for a sub.

Easy going weekends, love them.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Energy Shots for an Apathetic Spring Cleaner

OK, it was downright creepy driving underneath the freeway at the frontage road exit under Beltway 8. Knowing that this whole section of road was covered in 10 feet of water on Tuesday was surreal when I navigated the u turn with no problem. A man lost his life there. In fact this is the same place where the cops chased some bad guys and one was shot right there on the u turn of the freeway. Today's trip was totally uneventful which is how I like them to be.

Are y'all more aware of someone coughing or sneezing around you know with all the swine flu news? I notice it more and in fact right now I fear a moment when I might have a little tickle in my throat and heaven forbid it, I cough. At least I cover my mouth with the crook of my elbow. I heard about that during the winter, makes sense. Anyway, I was in Barnes and Noble yesterday, within 3 feet of a cough, who I might add, did not cover her mouth. I high tailed it to the check out line and didn't even linger in my favorite section of the bookstore, journals. Today, me included, more used the antibacterial wipes for the machines at the gym. I even washed my hands before leaving. I think I would rather wear latex gloves than a mask.

Have y'all watched Melissa's video on LPM blog on the gondola in Calcutta? What tickled me is the thought of people feeling safer on rides at Six Flags or Astro World. Way back in the day I worked at Astro World and I was all of 16 years old. I was running rides...and sometimes, no many a time working a double shift to make more money. I think about this any time I am riding amusement park rides, which I don't do too much of anymore, that my life is in the hand of 16 and 17 year olds. My manager was a guy who was a classmate of mine in high school. He was over about half of the rides. Even years afterwards when I would go to the park as a guest, there were certain rides I wouldn't ride cause I knew what was holding them together. Rather I knew of how little was holding them together.

My dad called today or as he says when leaving a message, Nancy, this is your father... Anyway, he and a bunch of his friends get together every Friday for lunch. One of his friends told the group about these two funny ladies who had come to Tallowood on Sunday night. According to my dad, his friend went on and on, nearly doing our whole routine for the group and everyone was in hysterics when it dawns on my dad, it maybe could be me and Peggy. So he asks some questions and then he reveals to the group the tall one is his daughter. He didn't say if he was proud of me or how funny we can be, Peggy and me, but I think he felt a little closer to the stars...ha ha she says in jest.... among his friends.

Today, I came home after my workout kind of tired and beat. I didn't sleep as well last night as I would have liked. About a month ago I bought a couple of shots, love saying that on a Baptist girl's blog, of Organic Energy Shot. So today, I took a shot of energy. Totally weird in how I drank it, like it was a shot of something. Then realizing it's just a name, not how I have to consume it. Don't ask me how I know about doing shots, yea, I must have seen something like that in a movie. So, I have started doing laundry and I'm about to vacuum, so we'll see how much energy I get from this. It is lemon flavored and it is not bad tastin

Just stopped for a minute to get a Diet Coke. This energy shot isn't half bad. I feel like I could do a big spring cleaning...I feel like I could. It doesn't mean that I am going to. Actually, I am testing this stuff out to see if I can drink it on the road. I do most of the driving because Roy hates to drive and I hate his driving. As we talked about our trip, Roy's mind is made up about getting back to Houston quickly once the excursion portion of the trip is done. I'm think that will be after visiting Square Books in Oxford.