Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Vacay Stay at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate

We just got back from a wonderful vacay at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate. It is one of our very favorite places to go. We can get away, relax, ride horses, tour, read, eat and take pictures. Roy and I have an established pattern when we visit, only this time I was the one waking up early and going downstairs for some quiet time and the best coffee and I'm not saying that because it is complimentary from 5:30-10:00 am.

So we have spent some blissful and fun days in North Carolina. Here are just a few pictures and I will be adding some more to other posts. I have a funny story about the spa and the massage I received. It wasn't a good massage but I did get a funny story out of it. God really showed off His creation to us in those days. We were wowed! Psalm 104 is one of my favorite Psalms and it comes alive at the Biltmore.

Roy took this picture of the Inn from the hiking path that is in front of the hotel. If you look closely I'm standing at the window of our room.
This is a bridge. Well duh, you might say, but this bridge was used in the movie The Last of the Mohican's.
Roy actually caught the reflection of the house in the reflection pond that was originally named the lagoon. It has to be perfect conditions with the wind and water to get the reflection. He was there at the right time.

These geese have stopped going South for the winter and stay at the Biltmore Estate year round. Hey, they aren't dumb. In this field is corn that has just been planted. It is a no till field so the seed is punched into the land. These geese must think it is room service.

I love this next picture. So beautiful!

We actually drove home straight through, 17 and a half hours on Thursday. It wasn't our plan but once we hit Louisiana, we thought we might as well head on home. We arrived a little before 9:00. On our way to Asheville, we dealt with closed Interstates outside of Baton Rouge and horrific rain in Alabama. On our way home it was intermittent fog in the Smoky Mountains and a slow mini van that nearly brought traffic to a crawl in Lake Charles.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just When You Think You Have Seen It All

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama yesterday, we stopped for a quick to go lunch on the road. Not only did we pick up lunch, but we were thoroughly entertained by the tree trimming that was happening in a short distance from Burger King. I have never seen a helicopter used in this way. Not that I am around helicopters all that much. It was a great show and he gathered quite a few of us to stand around and say to one another how amazing the whole thought of doing this by air was.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unfinished Desires-a Novel By Gail Godwin

Gail Godwin is one of my all time favorite authors. I have all her books in one form or another and she is one of the few authors who I re-read on a rotating basis. The Finishing School is in my top ten favorites. I've had her latest novel, Unfinished Desires for a couple of months but I've been saving it to read. Yesterday, it was time to break it out. I've already been pulled into the story and I'm having to pace my reading because I can tell this is a book I don't want to finish too soon.

In light of some decisions and direction that life is going to take, this prayer at the end of the first chapter resonated with my spirit, "Help me, PLEASE, to listen and hear without making premature judgements. Later You will help me discern between the significant and the interesting. Or the merely diverting. In the meantime, please help me not to be overwhelmed." Having the attention span of a gnat, being taken in by the merely diverting can sometimes be problematic for me. Love the verse in Psalm 119 from The Message Bible, "Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Keep Inching Into the 21st Century

Slowly but surely I keep coming into the 21st century. Have and understand an iPod. Use email...hate excel...text, IM, understand and use different apps on my Blackberry, blog, Facebook, mastered the ever confusing different ATM's, have a Twitter account I never use and now I have entered the world of online banking. It's official. The person helping me today recognized me from the drive through. I really, really wanted to ask her if it was more from watching tapes of me at the ATM. I've written before about all the faces I make while doing a transaction at the ol' ATM. I wanted to say, y'all see me coming and call everyone to the window, don't I just know it. But no, I didn't ask. She smiled a lot at me and maybe behind that smile was concealed laughter. I would laugh too because I can see myself in the acrylic on the machine. Actually, I was at the bank for other stuff and just decided to take that walk on the wild side. It could also be due to the fact that we have the world's worst postman or postwoman on our mail route. Sometimes we get our mail, sometimes our neighbors do. Our neighbors travel quite a bit, so good luck on getting anything timely. One day when I was by our mailbox, a guy who lives here was reaming out the "regular" guy. He kept asking, how hard is it to match up numbers on letters to the box? Don't you care about the job you are doing? Postman didn't even remove his blue tooth or iPod headset to respond. That guy is never going to see his mail ever again. Maybe I should loan him a couple of pertinent Seinfeld's to help him see what path he has now taken.

I am kind of sad for the widow woman down the hall. Don't think she is doing very well. A couple of weeks ago she was sitting on her balcony, but hidden by the dense vegetation that covers her balcony. Out of nowhere I hear, "hello...Nancy." She was using her spooky, weird voice. I asked her how she was and she responded, I have problems. Well being the caring Christian I am, I responded back, don't we all and kept on moving. I was so not the good Samaritan. The widow makes me nervous. She's on medication and I don't think she has been taking it. When her lipstick looks how Peggy's did at choir last Wednesday night, all over outside her lips and red, that always gives me a hint. I let the office know I didn't think things were OK for her. We came home later in the evening and there were 3 police units here and maybe they came and got her. We haven't seen her since that evening. The widower across the hall is happy to have some peace and quiet. Guess she was knocking on his door a lot.

In other condomanium news, Deloris and Fern are ensconced at the pool. They are already deeply tanned. They also must be reading some pretty "HOT and SPICY" books because their feet have been going 90 to nothing while they sit there and read. Then they jump into the pool to cool off. Both from the heat of the day and the heat of the words...well, the later would be guessing on my part.

I've lost another pound, so that's good news. My Fit Foods has some new items on the menu that I'm anxious to try.

Since studying the divided kingdom in CBS, I have found myself reading much more in the OT. I kind of forget to read in the NT. Don't suggest daily Bible plans because I'm too ADD to stick with one. Really, even the devotion books I use, I hardly ever do the day on the calendar because I don't want to limit God by dates. :) It works for me. So I have picked up my NT with Proverbs and Psalms and plan to use it more. Of course I will so gravitate to the Psalms.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Like the Woman at the Well...

I cannot tell you how good I feel right about now. Had a massage and pedicure at Lifetime today. Both were much needed. This is my second time going to Diane for a massage because I'm waiting for Stacey to get situated in her new place of employment. Stacey does the best massage all over whereas Diane does a more medical type of massage, since that is her specialty. I likes them both. Both times that I have gone to Diane, a scripture keeps coming to mind while she works on my shoulders. First the story before the scripture reference.

When I played softball way back in the day, my position was catcher. I cannot tell you how many runners came into home, sliding to knock down a big, six foot tall catcher. I would lean in with my left side to better swipe a tag on said runner barreling in from third. There are several plays at home in memory that stand out for many reasons, uh mainly cause I tagged them out on some big drama filled play, but one play that has not one dramatic drop to it probably caused this shoulder, sub scapula problem. Some league game and there was a big, BIG, WIDE, girl on third. Batter hit a fly ball right to the center fielder, BIG GIRL, tags at third and begins the rumble home. Perfect throw from the fielder and I'm getting ready to turn and tag, when I swear, I was hit by a Mack truck. BIG GIRL never slid, she ran full speed and she was faster than you'd think she would be and came in under my chin and on the left side. I still got her out and she was ejected from the game by the ump. I remember laying or lying there dazed and confused with everyone standing over me. Finally someone decided to give me some air...uh thank you. Sweaty stinky softball players override fresh air in a small space. I'd put it in a math formula but if you are a long time reader, you know I HATE math, formulas, equations...boring stuff like that. So that is the long somewhat boring story of my left shoulder problem's beginning. All these years, many professionals and lots of non professional friends had an opinion on what all this clicking and popping noise was. Diane is the first to tell me what it is and how to fix it. NOW, scripture.... I think as I tell people about my times with Diane I am like the woman at the well...come meet a man who knows everything about me. Well, I feel like shouting from the rooftops, come meet a medical message therapist that told everything about me and my sub scapula. We are on the way to a healing! She really got into my shoulder today and it was fantastically, stinking', awesome. I was looking for a candy ciggy afterwards....but I left them at home. Well, I always leave them at home unless I'm with Peggy and we might need a fake ciggy for the perfect situation.

Wendy's pedicure was uneventful except we have a little bit of a problem communicating. I move when she doesn't want me to move and don't move when she wants me to move. I'm usually answering a text message or email while she works on these feet that need a lot of attention. I should tell her she can interrupt me because that would probably take care of the communication problem.

One more thing, I got hit on at the sporting goods store today. I didn't really realize it at first because this isn't anything I ever have to deal with on a regular type basis. But with my massage messed up hair and my good looking toes, star crossed guy might, maybe, could, did, happen. I think he was giving me his best material and I'm busy with hangers. Oh, I said, are you talking to me? Well yes he was. In the following bit of conversation he told me he had noticed over the past several months I'd been losing a lot of weight and I looked real good in my Nike capris and Life is Good t-shirt. (the store carries both of these lines and he is employed by the sporting goods store)...something about coffee or HEB or email or texting or something...cause then it dawned on me, oh my... he might ask for my email or cell number... I think the last time I was hit on was at Mills Bible Bookstore and I was in a tennis outfit. Guy asked me out and I had to tell him my husband didn't let me date. Today, I just kept moving and checked out really quick like.

Well that's it. Going to the Nord later. Took some pants back to the Nord Rack for Roy and cha-ching, I found a skirt I liked. I made sure it was a skirt and not a strapless sundress.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ease on Into Monday

Man, getting computer time on the weekends is hard to come by. Roy is immersed in 80's TV via I've never been one who can watch hours and hours of TV. Now reading a book or books is a different story.

On Friday night we had planned to go to a Rice baseball game. Roy has only been to one game this season and I'm due my once a season attendance but the dark sky bode an ominous threat and we decided just to eat at Collina's and then try to beat the rain home. The rain won. With Roy entertained by The A Team, I was ensconced in the Amish chair with a good book and a couple of magazines. Not a bad way to spend a Friday evening in my book.

Saturday morning, we had pancakes at Pappasita's. Oh those are just so good and my once a week indulgence. We even remembered to bring the sugar free syrup this time. Then we ran a couple of errands, one that included 5 bags of clothes to the Goodwill. When we got home Roy and I cleaned up the place. Of course once that was done, Roy was back in the 80's. I ran to the Play Grocery Store for dinner and some fruit for the week. Had a great deal on cherries and blackberries.

We went to La Fiesta for lunch after church on Sunday. We haven't eaten out like this for months on a given weekend. We've been eating My Fit Food for most of our evening meals. And really the choices for me on places to eat is so narrowed down now that eating out isn't that much fun. Since I am only 24 pounds from the goal the Dr's set for me, I have been contemplating the maintain mode and getting the mindset for that. That is not as much fun, well fun might not be the correct word, but let's see, oh yes, may not be as challenging. OK, challenging isn't the word either because it is going to be a challenge to maintain. The word is competitive, cause competing against me mindset is the one that changes and challenges me the most.

We've had a good sub in Sunday School. Only I tend to check out mentally when someone teaches from Romans. Oh, now anything beyond Romans 11, and I'm all ears but my attention span is so short on all the doctrinal teaching of Romans. Loved that Jesus has done it all and I believe it all, just can't study it for any period of time. This is not a reflection on the teacher who is good, but on me, attention span of a gnat. But I haven't wasted that time by talking to my neighbor, texting or disrupting. I've quietly read some of my favorite passages in the Bible and I have loved that time with the Lord.

This morning I am easing into Monday. I am making a slower start than usual. I kind of got an emotional kick to the stomach this weekend with some news I received. And once the big picture is in place, those wounds of the wounded won't be so heartfelt. The Word I read in Sunday School was a comfort and came immediately to mind when the story began to reveal itself. Or I could be easing into Monday because I don't have to rush into the day. These days are few and far between and I like to take advantage of the slowness when I have the chance.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

Last night we came to choir in red, black and white, kind of like the CBU choir only a lot of us are much older than those college aged. Since my hair won't curl, I put the little pink rollers in signifying pre -performance mode. Of course you have to love Peggy in the full curls, red lipstick and red dress. Our choir had a blast with this and I think John was pleasantly surprised. It is so welcomed to have fun again in choir.

Roy is playing bridge tonight, barely. We both forgot he was subbing tonight until Sandy called and asked if Roy was coming over to play. Good thing we all live minutes apart. Roy brushed his teeth and was out the door. Thus, the only reason I'm able to get onto the computer tonight. He has found and is happily re-watching TV from the 80's. Since BSF is done, I know he isn't in here working on homework.

The scales revealed another 2 pounds lost. So my total of pounds gone is 116. Wow, hard to get my brain around some days. I've been thinking about the day when I meet my goal and maintenance isn't nearly as fun as weight loss, but believe me, this child is going to make it fun. This month I haven't been as diligent as when working out with Debbie to get all my core work in. I do a lot of balance work though because my balance was out of whack.

Fun lunch today with Laurie, Becky and Peggy. We met at The Nord and had a blast covering all kinds of subject matter. We represented the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. No generation gap in the booth. Before meeting up with friends I returned a black jacket that I liked but didn't love. When I found one at Macy's that is linen and much cheaper, the liked jacket was expendable. Of course there were mark downs there in Point of View and I bought a few things with the future, mainly summer, in mind. J Jill after lunch was good stop as well. The traffic was backed up when I left. Something was going on because Post Oak between Neimans and Dillards was blocked and there were several fire trucks parked in the street with lights on. Made a quick reverse and got out of the Galleria area.

Tonight I'm listening to the song, The Power of the Cross. Ever since the CBU choir sang this on Saturday night and Sunday morning I can't let the message of this song go. Went out on itunes and bought an instrumental version and a voiced version.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mostly Monday

This has truly been a catch up on some rest day. Our weekend was much busier than usual. This place could use a quick clean up and I think that is next on the schedule. If I dust and vacuum, that should do the trick, at least for now. The only thing on the schedule today was meeting my parents at Cleburene's Cafeteria close to West U. We were celebrating Mother's Day a day late. It has been the longest time since last eating there and I'd forgotten how good the food is. Only be prepared because they only take cash if you decide to make the trip. My parents split just about everything they eat now and they have a friend Suzanne that they've become acquainted with as they're return customers several times a week. They split their cake with Suzanne. It's a blessing that my mom still knows who we are but so much of her conversation is difficult to understand. She gets frustrated trying to communicate with us and ironically, she has been quiet, soft spoken and not given to much conversation most of her life. My mom has always been very conscious of weight and although she said things to me through the years, she never just came out and said anything as I continued to pile on the pounds. Today, she grabbed me and pulled me close to her and said, "you've lost a lot of weight! Good for you!" Made me kind of happy she could verbalize that. Those of you with older parents will appreciate this because if your parents are like mine, they are early...for everything...really always early. To them, when we show up on time, we are late. With this in mind, I got there at 10:45 because we were to meet at 11:00. Yep, I'm on senior citizen meal times today. I'm starving at 5:00 and trying to make it to 6:00 before eating. Anyway, I show up, look for their mini van, yes my parents drive a mini van much to my dislike, and it isn't in any of the three parking lots. I go inside looking for them, not there waiting on the benches for the line to open. So I wait for them outside, getting a little worried that it is after 11 and they aren't there. Got out the cell phone and called their home just to see if they remembered. You know better than to call their cell because I bet ya it isn't on and they probably left it at home. Finally, after waiting about 10 minutes they arrive.

Saturday morning we went to Baytown for our friend's father's funeral. Such a sweet and lovely service. Several of us from Sunday School were there and we were invited to stay for lunch at the church. There are some really good cooks there in Baytown. I wanted to take Roy to the dump in Baytown that has a picnic area, but I knew we wouldn't be able to get admittance because we don't have a proper sticker on the windshield. After leaving Baytown, we had several errands to run before going to the Night of Worship by the California Baptist University Choir at church. Wow, it was an awesome experience.

Sunday morning we went to 9:30 service and skipped Sunday School and went to Pappasita's for pancakes. There was already a huge crowd but we were seated. Somehow our order got misplaced or mess up or something. The manager came by our table twice to apologize. He comped our meals and asked if we wanted to add anything to our original order... That was so nice. So I got a Mother's Day meal from Pappasita's. It worked out perfectly because we didn't have so much time to kill before going out to Peggy's. She had a bunch of the kids from the choir coming out to join her 9 girls staying there to play on the lake. We had a lot of fun with them but we left early because once again, we had a whole lot to get done at home. Apparently in the whole lot to get done, cleaning up around here got pushed far back on the list.

I know some of you are saying, that isn't even busy for a weekend. Well, yeah, I know but with such strict parameters on me, I was pushing it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And Now a Condomanium Report

It is officially summer here at the condomanium. Fern, Deloris and several other ladies are out by the pool. There are two young men out there as well and they look dreadfully out of place with the older set in the majority today. No one in the pool yet but they are loaded with supplies of books, drinks, sunscreen and food.

Another development here at the condomanium is a recent widow pursuing the widower across the hall. I've seen her at his door several times in the past few weeks. She's asking questions about upcoming condo social events and whether he will be attending or not. He is such a nice gentleman but he gives me looks as I pass by and his eyes are saying help me.... I think the recent widow is having a hard time adjusting to life alone. She still has her Christmas wreath on her door and from time to time while passing through the courtyard, her voice comes from her patio above asking what day of the week it is. We take her trash down to the dumpster for her but she really wants the widower to do that. She is working hard on getting him to notice her.

This week upon returning home from working out, one of our down the hall neighbors was coming out the door with a woman who is not his wife or girlfriend. It was kind of obvious what they had been up to. You can tell just by their faces and the fact the woman kept tugging at her skirt to come down over her rear end. From time to time in all these years of walking our hallways, very few conversations of a higher decibel are heard. Here of late that has changed. It is hard walking by doors where someone is getting chewed out royally and it can be heard loud and clear in the hallways. Hall neighbor I mention above has been yelling a lot lately at his wife or girlfriend. I pray for them, but yelling always breaks my heart.

Casserole lady is not happy with my weight loss. Less of me to step on to get to Roy if I dropped dead in the hall. Her interest has diminished in him and that makes me happy. Him too!

We have a new property manager and I like her more than the last one. A new recycling program has started and there have been more meet and greets. She keeps up with packages much better and her office help is very nice.

Yesterday as I was walking in the front hallway to the office a familiar fragrance met me. Not a food fragrance but the hallway fragrance was of Falls Hall dorm at SWTSU now known as Texas State. It didn't take me a second to even think, what does this remind me of? I had a few minutes of reliving some great college pranks and fun that happened on our hall. Ah memories.

That's about it for condomanium updates. I'm sure there will be more throughout the summer. Looks to be a young person summer by the pool this year.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Journey Begins, Lots of Life Happening and it is Only Tuesday

It is just Tuesday but seems like a lot of living has happened the past few days. Life can change so quickly. Just today I spent the morning and early afternoon with a friend as she prepared for the days ahead. She received a call that she hasn't not expected, but no matter the timing, the difficult call to take, that her father has passed away that morning. It is the sense of the moment the feeling that something must be done immediately but sometimes the next move is just to make another pot of coffee and cry. Decisions and the timing of things are going to demand attention soon enough. You just have to do the next thing, start getting things together, make those gut wrenching phone calls and take care of life at hand. The coming waves of emotions are just beginning to swell. Just last night on the way home from Bunko, Kay and I were talking about deep and significant friendships. She was telling me how she and her husband Jerrell went to be by Amanda's side in the hospital late that evening when Curtis had surgery to just love on their friends going through a scary time. She said, you just know in your heart it is the thing to do. How I thanked God this morning for that conversation last night because even though my friend said she was fine, I knew without a shadow of doubt, she needed a friend with her doing all the little things to prepare in making a difficult journey. I really wasn't quite sure what I should do or say or pray but if we ask God to give us wisdom and show the way, He is surely as good as His Word to do so. He never leaves or forsakes us. Last night I was reading in Galatians out of my Amplified Bible and by Galatians 6:2 I had written that carrying one another's burdens meant to help carry a crushing load. Sometimes a friend's presence is a more than adequate load bearer. Helping to carry luggage and an escape artist cat in a carrier to the car is bearing a burden. When we have the Hope that our loved one is with the Lord Jesus, in between the tears and waves of emotions come the welcomed waves of laughter and the comfortableness shared between good and close friends. We laughed about a funny experience with our Vietnamese Fajitas. We laughed that her Redneck East Texas cat had figured out a way to get our of her carrier while we took the first load to the car and we returned to find an empty cage with the door wide open. I quickly related the experience to the empty tomb, although it really doesn't compare to weight of Easter. She said, the stone is rolled away and I countered back with they have taken away my cat and I know not where they took her. She is not here, she has left the cage, just like you know she would. Oh that darn cat. She was quickly retrieved and securely secured in her travel carrier again. And just like that the next step of the journey began as they took off in the car. I thought of Elijah, when the angel said to him, here eat, or the journey will be too much for you. She went on her way with a McDonald's hamburger in her belly. I love the fact that the angel made hot bread for Elijah and love it even more that the Message Bible translates hot bread into biscuits. Now that will fill you well for a journey. Too bad McDonald's wasn't serving the breakfast menu this afternoon.