Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mona-moments

The last day of 2011.  How did the year go by so quickly?  2011 will truly be a memorable year both in happiness and sadness, joy and choosing joy in adversity, and peace and holding onto peace in the midst of the storms.  2011 hasn't been such a bad year, even though we saw the passing of my mom and recently learned of the passing of a beloved uncle. 2011 began with searching for a new condo or townhouse around where we lived and developed into building a house, way out, almost to the ends of the earth or at least to 1463.  2011 held fun and good times with friends and family.  2011 was a bit of a roller coaster for me health wise and I'm  just a little worse for the wear with a little added exhaustion extended in the closing of most days.  Roy and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary in 2011.  We both read a lot of good books this year and Roy became a part of the ebook generation by Christmas. 

There is so much to be thankful for in 2011.  We experienced God's richest and faithful new mercies.  His presence and peace accompanied and held us tenderly in difficult days.  And again we realized and trusted in that well worn through faith, beloved, and treasured verse, the joy of the Lord is our strength.

It wasn't a huge year of travel for us, but I did spend some memorable and restorative days in Rosemary Beach.  I think this is the first year in a while that we didn't head up to Asheville for any time away.  I think we just might get back on the Asheville trail in 2012. 

In 2011 both Roy and I are so thankful for our friends that we do life with.  It has been a blast only being 2.6 miles away from Peggy and Bill.  We do impromptu dinners, pedis (well Peggy and me) and just hanging out together fun.  Strange in that this is the first year in maybe 20 years that we did not do a Mildred and Gertrude performance.  We had opportunities and had been asked by several churches for a show, but scheduling conflicts conflicted with our personal calendars.  For years Dena was our 2.6 miles away friend and it has taken some adjusting not being so close locally since she and I did so much spur of the moment kind of stuff.  You know like dinner or shopping.  We've been creative in how we carve out time for dinner but maybe not so much shopping.  Who knows, might be kind of a good thing.   We are so thankful for our friends Emily and David and they have even hitched up their Conestoga wagon a time or two to go west and make it out here on the prairie.  David and Roy...ah, two opposite yet alike peas in a pod.  I am so thankful for my lifetime friends.  No, not friends I have made at Lifetime gym...that would encompass me actually going to the gym for that to be accomplished.  During the emotionally difficult days of my mom's passing, Mary Madeline walked with me through them and she being all the way in Georgia.  Her wise words and encouragement were so welcomed and I was reminded of her wise words and encouragement to me in my freshman year of college.  Her life has made a definite mark on who I am today.  Alice, my good friend from Southwest Texas days and I have re-connected on FB.  Her kind words this year blessed and again so grateful for the Lord making our paths to cross in and out through the years.  I am thankful for my friend Beth.  She came to Houston this year and our afternoon together was delightful and fun.  It is like no time has passed and although, hopefully, we are a little wiser, we still feel like our friendship did in high school.  I am thankful for my choir friends, church friends, Bible study friends, Facebook friends and life friends, too numerous to name, but not loved any less.  We are such blessed people to have such good and wonderful friends. 

This year Roy determined to be a diligent reader of the Bible and using a plan to accomplish this.  Ah, Roy is a plan man.  I on the other hand received repeated reminders from You Version that I was behind, no VERY behind on my daily Bible reading plan.  Might not be disciplined enough to start and finish a read the Bible in a year thing, but I can say I became more aware of God and His presence in daily life.  My eyes, ears and heart were attuned to see Him everyday.  This Christmas season I was very determined to experience God and I come away from this season satisfied and pleased in knowing Him.  I am so thankful He is in the details, even the smallest details of life. 

I titled this entry Mona-moments because Roy is developing a website and Mona-moments is the domain name.  Once he has all the bugs worked out and actually puts it online, he will have so many of his pictures on display for viewing and buying pleasure.  I decided to use his website name because that is what the post is about, moments in our lives. 

One of the more poignant moments in my life came the Sunday evening/Monday morning before my mom passed away on Tuesday November 8.  That moment came in a dream.  In my dream I was at the foot of the bed of my mom.  Her breathing labored but her countenance peaceful.  Somehow I realized she had just died and the next thing was just like out of the scene of a movie.  Out of her tired and worn body, rose up a little girl that looked to be about 12 years old and it was my mom at the age of 12.  Her image was one that I had seen many times in a photograph of her.  She wore a pair of black Mary Jane's and white ruffled socks in the dream.  In real life her family wouldn't have been able to afford such a luxury.  In fact, I am just now reminded that my mom wore hand me down shoes from a cousin.  The shoes never fit properly and she had to jam her foot into those shoes.  Don't worry friends, I'm not going to write a song about shoes to memorialize my mother. For the rest of her life my mom had permanently bent toes from those early shoe wearing years.  My mom looking and acting so young began to run around the room...but not on the floor but in the air.  She ran, did flip, jumped and skipped joyously.  In the dream after running about she began to climb a circular staircase that she could see but I could not.  When she had almost reached the point where my ability to see her stopped, she came down a step or two and waved to me.  She said don't worry, I'll be seeing you!  And then I woke up.  In my dazed waking moment I thought, my mom just died.  She didn't at that moment but I am so thankful for the gift of that dream to me from the Lord. 

That dream has reminded me of Mark 5: 40-42
40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.

I'm feeling impressed that these verses and the ones previous and after these two verses will be my verses for 2012, for many reasons that are clear to me but I'm not going to share in my blog.  And no, I didn't chose these verses because at the end of the chapter Jesus instructs them to give the little girl something to eat. 

Happy and Blessed New Year Friends, Family and Readers of Monablog!



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Morning

It is a quiet morning.  Well, it is a quiet morning inside our home.  Outdoors the sounds of construction and big trucks fill the air.  Roy took his car for the dreaded required maintenance on his car.  My pace has considerably slowed since it is just Buddy and me.  Buddy has retreated to the bedroom for her early mid morning nap. 

We almost have everything packed away in the Christmas decoration genre.  When Roy gets home he'll have the fun job of putting everything back into the attic.  The packing and organizing of all things Christmas kind of fell into shifts.  We took a long afternoon break for lunch, errands and the grocery store, but returned to the task at hand once we returned home.  I didn't realize how many ornaments my mom had given us through the years.  The trusty and sturdy Crown Royal box that has held the ornaments for about 24 years retired yesterday to the recycle box. 

My dad keeps finding more of my mother's clothes.  Just when he thinks he has given them all away, he finds more in the deep recesses of a closet.  He is overwhelmed with the amount of clothes my mom had.  Actually, she was in the habit of wearing familiar things and would maybe wear a new outfit once and then put it away for "good."  Not for good, like never see the light of day again although that seems to be what happened, no she put things away and would pull them out when the time of "good" came.  I told my dad, she put them away for good and good never came.  My grandmother did the same thing and honestly, I have that same trait sometimes.   Good has come in that several ministries that help single mothers or women down on their luck in general have been on the receiving end of my mom's dressy, good clothes.  They told my dad that her clothes will go a long way in helping the women dress for success when they interview for jobs.  Love that my mom is still helping others even though she is with the Lord. 

The call of laundry beckons.  Also a light clean up around here since we have friends coming over tonight.  Right now, even the outdoors is silent.  Must be break time for all the construction workers because I heard the horn that plays La Cucka Rocha sound which means the roach coach has arrived.  Thanks Peggy for the roach coach term...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Post Christmas Day

This year I resolved that the Christmas season would slow down in our little world.  I actually wore Christmas t-shirts that I usually don't remember owning until December 31.  We listened to lots and lots of Christmas music, including many of the Christmas CDs we own.  My spiritual focus was on the shepherds this year and I spent a lot of time thinking and pondering their lives before, during and after the angel's announcement that a savior had been born.  We enjoyed our Christmas social life this year.  It was one of those years that all the Christmas gifts received were a home run.  For most of my adult life I have hurried through the Christmas season, counting the days until after the new year aching for the normal to resume.  The hurry wasn't from the rush of the season but from my dislike of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas day.  I'm glad we did these seasonal days differently this year and just like the shepherds after worshipping the baby in a manger returned back to normal life, but they returned to life changed. 

Christmas had to look differently this year.  It is our first Christmas without my mother.  If we tried to replicate her touch, I think we would have felt a tad bit empty with a whole lot of sadness, missing her presence.  Roy and I had contemplated traveling this holiday but we instead stayed around to help my dad get through the day.  We picked him up and took him to church with us.  After church we ate at T. Jins for lunch.  Chinese food is not a different thing for Roy and I.  We usually went to Fu's Garden on Christmas night the past few years.  I had given my dad several suggestions on what we could for lunch and I never even once suggested that I try cooking Christmas dinner from scratch.  Too painful...for me.  :)  He chose Chinese food because somewhere in those Alzheimer's years with my mom, she decided she didn't like Chinese food.  We were the only people that ate in at lunch.  Most of their business was take out.  After our delicious lunch, we drove my dad around the area on Farm to Market Roads that he had driven as a young salesman.  I think he really enjoyed that.  In fact, he was downright interesting telling us stories of how different stores began or history of the area we were driving through.  His conversations were so refreshing since he wasn't talking about his usual repeated topics.  We came back to our home for dessert and after a little while, we took my dad back home.  Once Roy and I returned home I don't think either one of us budged too much off the couch for the rest of the night.  I was exhausted both emotionally and physically.  We finally opened our stocking stuffers to one another around 9:00 pm.  That is the latest we have ever opened gifts on Christmas day.  Roy loved all his stuff from the Tractor Supply store and I loved all the things he had picked out for me.  Roy knows my love language of journals and pens....and books....and jewelery. 

The Houston area received the much needed gift of rain over the weekend.  Just a little bit of rain greened up pastures and fields around us.  Since it was so cold and rainy on Christmas Eve we opted out of the 8:00 pm service and stayed home.  Roy had gone on Thursday to a place right down the road a piece called Good Old Boys.  They have a restaurant and a catering company.  He ordered Cajun fried chicken and a cherry pie and he picked them up on Saturday.  Oh my, the chicken and the pie were so good!  Who knew? 

I feel fortunate to be alive after braving a Target run yesterday afternoon.  If we still lived in Houston there isn't any doubt in my mind that we wouldn't have made that choice.  The store was busy but not as bad as I thought it would be.  We got the stuff on our list and then some and we were home within the hour.

Today is putting away Christmas decorations day.  Hopefully Roy will help just a little if I can pull him away from the computer and working on his website.  I ain't going up in the attic...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Time Report

This morning will be a quick post.  Roy is working on his website but my pictures are also on this computer.  So, I thought better upload some photos while he is at the grocery store and then I can use the laptop later if anything brilliant or silly comes to mind and I have this immediate need to write about it.


Roy's vacation began Wednesday.  I thought it might be getting off to a dubious start when he asked me out of the blue Wednesday morning, what we spent on toilet paper cost by roll.  What?  I very rarely if ever price out things individually.  Did he think I turn into someone else while he is at home on vacation?  I posted this bit of info on Facebook and most people thought we were out of said product.  Their advice, just go buy some.  Nope, we have plenty but it was just a random question because Roy saw that it can be ordered from Amazon.  No thanks, I like to buy it the old fashioned way.  It just doesn't seem right for a delivered box of TP sitting in the courtyard outside our front door. 


Wednesday evening we had some friends over to pizza and s'mores.  We had a blast!  I have pictures but since I am writing on borrowed time, I will not upload them to the blog just yet. 

Thursday, Roy worked on a project that I have had for him since we moved.  We bought a small child's roll top desk several years ago, no not in hopes of finding a child, but to use as a nightstand.  But for my brilliant idea to work, we, I mean he needed to drill a whole in the back to run cords through.  We started on the project and realized his drill bit wasn't big enough.  So, we decided a much needed trip to Tractor Supply was in order.  First thing though, we stopped and had lunch, then onto the Tractor store.   Thursday evening Dena headed out west.  Ate dinner before it got really crowded at Lupe's and then went to look at Christmas lights.  I took her where Roy and I had gone the Friday night before.  We drove through the cul de sac and then parked Sequisha to walk through and get an up close and personal look.  Here are some pictures.  The lights move with the music that you tune in on your car radio or one house has the music playing. 








You can't tell by the picture but this Santa is two stories tall.  We were calling him Scary Santa like we do for the angel in River Oaks...Scary Angel.




In all the hoopla and lights, at the end of the cul de sac, there is a little bitty manger scene where the reindeer came an worshipped.  I would have made fun of that, but we have an elephant that comes to see Jesus in Celebration...so all kinds of animals, Snoopy and even Santa can surround manger scenes in yards.

This For Sale sign across the street from the houses with all the lights probably has a good story to be told.  It was not decorated at all for Christmas or for celebrating the holiday season. 

While I was writing this, Peggy called and asked if I wanted to meet she and Jaime for lunch.  Had to hurry just a bit because I was still on jammie time.  We met at Otto's and had a great lunch and a great time.  This also gave me the opportunity to  pick up a couple of stocking stuffers for Roy.  I only had one thing and had told him I just wasn't in the mood this year to go all out.  Well, I had a little reprieve and got a few things done.  So, he won't have an empty stocking on Christmas morning.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

We Need a Little Christmas, but It Might Not Look Like Everyone Elses

The Christmas Day count down is on.  Most probably it has been on for quite some time.  Guess it would be more accurate to say, that the rush is on, that is if one is so inclined to do the rush thing.  For the most part we are ready, that is to the extent that we are going to be involved in Christmas preparations.  We have given or have gifts ready, we are seriously mulling over the idea of eating Chinese food instead of making a traditional meal for Christmas day.  Don't feel sorry for our decision or lack of family or friends to go to, we like mixing it up for the holidays.  A lot, not all, but a whole lot of Christmas celebration is done out of, this is what we have always done or this is how we were raised.  If you are a traditional family with small children, it is really important to establish holiday traditions and take in the child-like wonder of Christmas.  But, let's say, you are reading this and right now you don't fit into a traditional looking situation.  It might be the year that you can't go home for Christmas or those who usually come can't for some reason.  You might be single, widowed, married never had children, or just plain ol' have a horrible family situation and the holidays can feel this overpowering sense of, "hmm...you don't fit in the mold."  I used to think that on Christmas day that everyone else I knew were having these fantastic, love-filled, fun-filled days, but of course I know better than that now.  Please don't think I am mocking those who have their holiday traditions mapped out the moment the last of the Thanksgiving turkey has been consumed or thrown out., because I'm not.  What I am writing about or to, those who don't quite feel a fit. 

Roy and I have spent many a holiday with our families, well mainly my family, but the past few years he and I have ventured out of doing that and making our own holiday traditions.  And here's the thing, our traditions don't necessarily come into the next year's celebration.  Our tradition is this, to have joy, to be focused on the true meaning of Christmas and to have some fun while we are at it.  Last year we went to the Inn on the Biltmore Estate and had a blast!  We experienced a white, snowy Christmas Day during our stay.  You'd think after that wonderful experience, we would head back this year...and we contemplated doing just that.  When Roy and I were first married and my family opened gifts on Christmas morning, we had our tradition of going to the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve service and then coming home to hot coco and a little something to snack on and then opening our gifts for each other.  Great tradition but we began to tweak it a little as the years went by.  At some point we quit giving each other big Christmas gifts because in reality, we pretty much get what we want all year.  So we began giving only stocking stuffer type gifts.  Some years it is a total hit and other years, we may not be all that excited about doing the whole stocking stuffer kind of thing.  We have the tradition, and can practice it or leave it for another year without either one of us getting unhappy.  Like I said, we have tweaked things throughout the years.  In the past ten years or so, there isn't anyway I can stay up till 11:00 and then go to a service, so we started going to St Martin's Episcopal church for their 9:00 pm service.  You get a once a year experience of liturgical worship and the church, music and sermon are excellent.  After the service, we by ourselves or with others, drive around and look at Christmas lights.  This year, we have found a church here in Katy having an 8:00 pm service and we will probably go there.  We will open our stocking stuffers on Christmas morning this year...Some holidays we end up at the Bains and have fun in all the craziness that is their family.  There were years of quiet and subdued times as we celebrated with my parents and my mom didn't quite understand or know what was going on.  We began the tradition of bringing catered or take out food over to my parent's home.  I'm hoping to keep my record in tact of never having to prepare a turkey. 

I have traditions with friends and every year doesn't always look the same, but we at least try to do dinner and maybe a quick look at lights.  Some years it feels pretty special and we do it up right and some years we are happy to grab some time at Luby's to say Merry Christmas. 

If you don't have any friends, then start being to others the kind of friend you would like to have.  Don't roll out your tales of sadness that many have heard time and time again.  Rejoice and be glad.  Look for all kinds of ways to be a blessing. 

Don't worry about fitting into the box of real or imagined Christmas celebrations.  Make your own.  Be happy and joyous if year to year those traditions don't look at all alike.  Don't be envious of others that you imagine have the most wonderful times and traditions.  Don't be depressed if you and yours aren't included in any one's Christmas celebrations.  Be giving and do things for those you know and those you don't.  Have a generous heart and you won't have time or the inclination to be anxious over how Christmas may look this year.  Read Facebook and Twitter with a joyous attitude as others share their day.  Heck, add you own take on the day but don't you dare add that semi sounding misery element in there so that others will feel sorry for you.  Live above that.  Go to the movies while everyone else is eating their Christmas feast.  It won't be crowded and the popcorn will be fresh.  Some years we put up a tree, some years we don't.  This year we have some Christmas decorations out and maybe next year more will be placed in and around our home. 

I've written before we've noticed by the end of Christmas Day there are a lot of cars roaming about looking for something to be open.  Too much family time can cause claustrophobia.  There is all that build up of expectations that begin around Thanksgiving and direct themselves toward December 25th.  Then comes December 26 and many are ready for life to return to normal or the focus on New Years begins.  Some December 26 can feel as if December 25th never happened. 

So, Merry Christmas!  Celebrate the Savior's birth.  Honor Him.  Love others.  Don't feel bad or pressured that your celebration doesn't look like the ubiquitous celebrations both real and portrayed.  Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Every Day is a Holiday When I'm Christmassing With You

It is hard to type when a certain cat sits in front of the computer screen.  We have a touch screen, so she is wrecking havoc with progress.  She is so interested in the letters coming up on the screen and she is interested in adding her own thoughts by touching her nose to the screen.  Her thoughts don't make a lick of sense and aren't translating well.   Buddy is also interested in me only because at this very moment something else has my attention. 

Last night we explored the Christmas lights out here on the prairie.  In Pin Oak, there is a cul de sac that has an awesome or even an amazing, amazing light display all set to music.  Side note, this year amazing was one of the most over used words of the year.  Time ran a list and of course I wasn't too amazed to see amazing on the list.  The complaint, amazing is used too often on descriptions of things or events that really aren't that amazing or amazing, amazing.  Truly, it really was an amazing feat.  We saw some beautiful lights all around. 

Greeting cards have all been sent, the Christmas rush is through...no haven't even started on Christmas cards and I try at all costs to stay out of the Christmas rush.  Lights on the tree, I wish you could see, I wish it everyday...ahhhhh....  no tree=no lights, so there is nothing to see.  Logs on the fire fill me with desire to see you and say, I wish you Merry Christmas...merry christmas darling....Gas fireplace so fake logs.  Really logs on the fire do not fill me with desire and if you know of anyone who is filled with desire by logs on the fire, I really don't want to know.  Actually the desire is to see them and to say I wish...ahhhh....  Why am I quoting MCD?  Please read next paragraph. 

Roy and I have had a fun morning.  We did our usual breakfast at BWC.  I will be a little sad once the holidays are over and their music loop will go back to normal.  Whoever's music they have bought into must be huge Carpenter fans.  Almost every other song is a one of the golden oldies from their Christmas albums.  Roy doesn't seem to appreciate these blasts from the past and so all the fun is totally lost on him.  If it weren't so early, I'd be calling CourtneyS or Linda S to sing them that old familiar melody.  Maybe next year the three of us can plan to meet for breakfast at BWC and then break into song every time a Carpenter song comes on. 

After breakfasting with Roy and the Carpenters, we ran a couple of errands, one of which was a "quick" trip to the Tractor Supply Store.  When comparing us to the other shoppers, we don't look like we belong.  In fact, after helping Roy pick out some jeans I went and sat in the car waiting for him to get everything purchased.  For a quick moment of time, I thought he might have been takin' hostage by some John Deere, feed toting farmer, but alas it was only a complicated customer in line in front of Roy.  From there we headed to downtown Katy for the Christmas Festival.  It was really great fun.  Lots of neat vendor booths, food, snow, noon arrival of Santa and well shopping...oh and a live band.  They were singing Christmas songs and then the familiar rifts of House of the Rising Sun began.  How odd that song would be included in a Christmas set.  The tune was Rising Sun but the words were Amazing Grace.  We looked at a lot of booths and bought several unique items.  While Roy took the items to the car, I headed into Bill's antique store.  Found some really cute fun things, one of which is a wooden candy cane about 3 feet tall...had about four people stop and ask me where I bought it as I took it to the car while Roy went and got some pizza slices from a place we have been wanting to try.  One lady even tried to buy if from me. 

All the construction on the new water lines is going on out on the green space.  Machinery is such a lovely sound.  I don't want them to hit the power lines which are near by and knock out electricity.  So I'm hoping a newbie isn't working the bulldozer.  Or hit the gas pipeline that runs parallel to our home.  I think back in the day when all these lines were laid no one ever envisioned houses replacing the cattle grazing on the land.  On 1463 the company that Roy works for just placed a huge sign by one large grouping of pipeline and above pipeline accessories.  I told Roy instead of going in to the office on Fridays, he should tell him he is monitoring the pipeline from home. 

Actually, now that I have had a little time out rest, maybe I should tackle one project before thinking about a Christmas party we are attending tonight.  So Merry Christmas....Darlings....!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Jumbled Thoughts

I fell in love this morning...  Well, I fell in love with a Williams and Sonoma product, Gingerbread Butter.  Oh my goodness, it made my breakfast of toast a delightful experience.  It is so good.  I wish I had bought more than one jar, but it's probably good that I didn't.  It was perfect timing because I just finished up the Sweet Potato Butter from the play grocery store.  Autumnal treats are one of the things I love about this time of year.  I also love using the word autumnal.

Welcome back cooler temps.  Two days of nearly 80 degree weather doesn't feel very Christmasy.  Christmasy should not be confused with the word Christmassing as used in the veritable and lovely song, Merry Christmas Darling. 

The fear of having a mouse in the house were unfounded.  I believe it was a product of my overactive imagination.  In reality it is difficult to hear any popping noise in our home during the day now.  Two homes are in construction behind us and on the green space cable is being laid.  The sound of machinery begins around 7:30 am.  Some mornings I sleep right through it.  Today wasn't one of those days. 

It has been rather nice not having scheduled days.  I've been getting small things accomplished and have stacked up books to read in the next few weeks. 

One of my favorite movies was on TCM last night, Life With Father. 

We got a card today from a church here in the Katy area that actually is having Christmas Eve...the emphasis on Eve not afternoon.  So we can choose from 8,9:30 or 11:00 pm services.  I no longer can stay up for the 11:00, so we will probably go to one of the other choices. 

If it's not raining tonight, I think we will drive around and look at Christmas lights.  One of our neighbors couldn't quite decide upon a theme, so they just mixed it all up and if that is the look they were going for, mission accomplished. 

There is no organization to this post.  No clear line of thought.  Of course there is nothing new under the sun. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Social Yet Nerdy Post That Might Include a Mouse

Already Wednesday, where has the week gone?  My to do list is getting a little bit shorter by the day but the pace has been rather slow.  So this is what's been going on.  Saturday night I picked up Dena and we ate dinner and went to see Celebration at Houston's First Baptist Church.  Dang, it was an awesome production and experience.  There wasn't one time in the show where I thought, "come on, speed this up a little."  The spirit, the songs and the story were so moving.  Think this is Roy's ninth year to participate in Celebration.  He wisely took himself out of the first act since dancing and moving to music is not in his natural or even in his spiritual giftings.  He does great in the biblical portion.  We hung around afterwards and we caught up with Roy and then with Peggy.  Since most of the traffic had died down we had an easy egress from the parking lot.  To further celebrate the season, we made a MUST stop at Chicky to get a chocolate peppermint milkshake.  Then we headed over to River Oaks to make a yearly visit to scary angel.  She looks a little different this year, maybe not so morose and the wreath she is holding doesn't look like some kind of sacrifice or dead thing in her hands. 

Sunday morning of course was church and since Roy had Celebration shows, I met my dad at Los Tios for lunch.  We headed back over to the house and he and I went through lots and lots of my mom's costume jewelery.  Her most prolific jewelery buying must have been in the 80's cause we found a whole lot of that.  In between the junk and the outdated were some really nice pieces...most of them gifts from Roy and me, but also some things she had held onto since being a young married.  We had great moments of laughter but there were moments of tears.  Especially when we came across something that my mom had worn a lot. 

Monday night was Katy Bunco Christmas dinner and gift exchange.  It was a whole lot of fun.

Tuesday I went to a brunch hosted by tennis friends.  I really liked how they planned it.  They invited friends from all areas of their lives.  So there were tennis friends, bridge friends, traveling buddies, neighborhood friends and work friends.  Everyone was so nice and easy to meet and talk with.  Sometimes mixing of friends not unlike food groups, is an iffy proposition.  Since the brunch was at the Lakes of Eldridge Parkway, I decided to take the back way.  I took Westheimer Parkway through George Bush park and landed on Highway 6.  It was a pleasant little drive.  After brunch, I came home and crashed.  I was exhausted from all the activities.  This creature didn't stir too far from the couch either last night. 

Speaking of creature, I might have an overactive imagination, but I keep thinking I hear sounds that I haven't heard before.  Of course with all the noise going on behind us as new homes are being built, it would never dawn on me that the noise I hear could be from that sometimes.  This morning Buddy and I both woke to the same sound coming from the other side of the bedroom...a popping kind of noise.  Then today while eating lunch I heard a sound like someone or someTHING running into something.  I thought it was Buddy, but I checked and she was fast asleep on the bed.  I thought I saw one of the Roman shades moving just a bit.  So being the brave one that I am, I went outside to look into that window.  Didn't see anything.  Buddy's food has been messed with and the bowl of M&M's hadn't been disturbed.  Just on the safe side, I put the M&M's up as not to tempt anyone or anything.  You know tis the season for creatures to kind someplace warm but my goodness, it is 74 degrees today.  It is cooler in the house than outdoors...so get outta my house. (that is if there is some kind of small furry creature stirring, you know like a mouse)

Being the book nerd that I am, I am reading a fascinating book on historical markers in the state of Texas.  Not your Alamo or battle of Gonzales type but obscure, no one knows who these people and places are...that is until you read the marker.  I have had a hard time putting the book down.  I like the concept of how the story is told before they reveal where the marker is located.  Yes, I know, I'm a nerd. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

DIY Christmas Tree

I've never been a big Christmas decorator type person.  I think the last time we went full out on decorations was in 2001.  Since then we have placed a few decorations out for the season that were easy to pick up and put away.  The period between Thanksgiving and New Years really isn't my favorite or most wonderful time of the year.  The holiday season used to be harder for me to get through and some years it was the opposite of the Advent calendar's meaning.  I was merely checking off the days until January when schedules and stores get back to normal.  When we moved into our new home, we decided we would out source the lights for the outside of the house and we would do minimal decorations inside.   Then...my mom passed away in November.  With the delay of her service until the Friday after Thanksgiving and with my attention directed elsewhere, I never did get around to getting someone to hang up Christmas lights.  My mom loved Christmas.  She loved having her tree up before Thanksgiving and she would leave the lights on almost all the time.  She could sit in front of her Christmas tree for hours and be at peace.  She had Christmas decorations everywhere.  When we moved to Houston my parents bought a house without a fireplace.  So while I was at school and Doug was taking a nap, she made a fireplace out of construction paper and she built it in our den, complete with construction paper fire.  She hung our stockings on the construction paper mantel she had crafted and we absolutely loved it.  We completed the construction paper theme with construction paper chains that we made and then hanged or hung the chains throughout the kitchen and den.  That year my my mom made the cutest little elves from felt, pipe cleaners and little Styrofoam balls. 


In the midst of saying an earthly goodbye to my mom, Christmas decorations became a main theme of my thoughts.  Roy pulled down from the attic all the boxes of Christmas things we have collected throughout the years.  Over a week or so I began putting little things here and there.  One thing I knew, I couldn't put up a tree.  Almost everyone of our Christmas tree decorations were either made by my mom or a treasure she would pick out for us on vacations.  Meanwhile, I bought an antique French pot rack from Bill Bain's antique mall in old Katy, K T Antiques.  He had shown me the pot racks when he and Peggy opened up the store for Dena and I after business hours.  A couple of days later I went back to see if they still had one.  He had two and the other one had already sold.  He had to disassemble the rack from the store window where he had different dishes on display.  The shape of the rack is somewhat like a tree and I decided this would be our tree this year.  I mainly had all the decorations already but added the O Holy Night blocks and the melamine plates.  I really should add lights but that gives me something to aspire to next year.



Top part of tree.  The big stocking that is hanging from it is one my mom made for me.  She made it out of dresses she had worn as a child.  I love that stocking and until we got Buddy, I kept it out all year long.  Buddy is too tempted by it.
 This is a closeup of the bottom half of the "tree." 

Here is the side view that is a little fuzzy.  Taken with the camera on my phone

 Here is a full view of our skinny little tree.  It was in the corner by our dinning room table but decided to bring it out by the fireplace where it is displayed a little better.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pipes, Plants, Bon Voyage and Bible Study

The past two nights have been awfully cold.  I think we have had lows into the upper twenties.  Since we have been condo bound for nearly 17 years, we have somewhat forgotten the drill of taking care of pipes and plants.  It wasn't cold enough to worry about the pipes but plants needed a lot of focused attention.  So all the geraniums are in the garage.  I thought maybe I should cover the roses but it being cold, late, me in pajamas and Roy coming in late from Celebration practice, I just prayed that the Lord would put a hedge of protection around our roses, small plants and well, our hedges.   Roy brought in the bougainvillea from the back patio.  Wish I could put it out front but it is not an approved plant by our HOA.  The other night I was awakened by a noise.  At first I thought Buddy was into something but she was asleep at the end of the bed.  Roy was so groggy from late night practices and full days at the office, he was of no help.  He wished me bon voyage and let me go exploring a darkened house.  Nothing looked a miss, but as I returned to bed I remembered when we first moved to the condo.  We brought a big fern with us that had been outside on the patio.  Roy was in law school, so he wasn't home when I watched a big, BIG, frog dig out of the dirt of that plant and jump into the middle of our living room.  I called Cynthia C and offered her $50.00 to come and get this frog for me.  She didn't like frogs either.  I called Peggy and she told me to get a baggie and pick the frog up with it, turn the baggie inside out when I had retrieved the frog for easy disposal outside.  That would mean an elevator ride with me screaming the whole time.  I'm sure that would have gone over well.  Really, you can still feel frog squishiness through a baggie.  So I did the only sane thing, trapped it under the couch and waited for Roy to get home.  So as I laid or lied down last night I'm thinking, what if that was a frog or even something worse that made that noise.  We have seen no evidence of an unwanted intruder from the illegal plant since the other night.  The next morning Roy tells me he had this dream, something about a noise and I went to check on it.  Ah, sweetie, that was real life.  So he offers this info, the noise was probably the heater.  Where did he come up with that?  This heater doesn't make any noise you can actually hear unless you are in the hallway by the laundry room. 

It is rather interesting to have your husband come home with a better make up make over than you.  He has help with his eye liner and foundation.  .  I also asked him to get hints from the make up people on creating the smokey eye look since I continually fail at achieving that make up phenomena.  I told him he should man up and put on his own mascara.  You can control your blinking that way and not end up with the wand in your eye.  Bless his heart, he has been using old towels to take off his make up.  I wonder if he ever wonders why I don't use old towels to remove mine.  Well for one, I use a make up remover product and tissues.  I offered my remover to him, but he's no wimp, he is scrubbing it off with elbow grease and soap.  Guess you have to be a little manly if one is removing stage make up. 

Today was our last Bible study in Revelation until next year. We are stopping right in the middle of chapter 12.  This year we have a 4 week break and they are encouraging us to do our homework this week and not wait until the last minute.  I say, why change when the last minute system has been working well for me this year.  There are so many details of importance, I don't want to forget anything before our discussion time.  It was large group brunch day too.  It was a veritable potluck potpourri.  Everything I sampled was really good.  Our core group discussion time was awesome.  There are about 15 of us in our group.  We were in the midst of discussing spiritual warfare, when a knock on the door sounded and the assistant director came in.  We were late!  And to add more embarrassment to being late, we were meeting in the fellowship room and our group table was right in the middle.  So it wasn't as easy as sneaking into the sanctuary for lecture time.  We came in while everyone was singing Silent Night.  If we had candles we could have looked like we were part of the program and process into the room, holding forth the light.  So we all hurriedly made our way to a table that seats 8 and crammed 15 people around it. 

I watched the season premiere of Toddlers and Tiaras.  Wow, seriously some of the strangest parents ever to grace and I use that term reluctantly, the show.  I miss Mackenzie.  Of course I will be watching next week.  It's the train wreck you can't stop watching.  Dance Moms returns in January.  So my quota of bad TV will be full. 

Our catalog deliveries have decreased significantly this year.  Even Pottery Barn doesn't seem to send out as many.  It's been nice not having a mailbox stuffed full of them. 

Buddy is bugging me to play go fish with her.  Such a mournful cry. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

It was a dark and chilly night.  The temperatures had dropped rapidly once the sun had set.  The Christmas lights outside were on.  The TV turned off.  Fire in the fireplace and balsam and fir fragranced candles lit.  Only the quiet hum of the washing machine and the dishwasher broke through the silence.  It will only be a matter of time until the beeps sounding the alarm that the towels are finished and the dishes done will alarm me and I will jump at their sharp piercing sound.  Buddy is meowing loudly for my attention.  We just finished a rousing game of go fish.  Actually, we play with a Square Bob Sponge Pants children's fishing rod.  Slick paws and slick wood floors make some interesting moves while involved in the chase.  Roy is at Celebration dress rehearsal, thus the absence of the TV.  I like silence.  Most would be surprised at the amount of silence I require and crave.  I think that is to make up for the crowd in my brain and all the inside noise that results from the chaos, fleeting thoughts and general lack of attention going on inside there.  I'm reflecting on the past month just a little this evening.  Tomorrow, my mom will be in the presence of the Lord for a month.  Bet it feels like just a moment for her, whereas time seems to go a tad slower here on earth.  When the Alzheimer's really began to ravage her brain, I think we all began a process of saying a very long goodbye.  No more phone calls made by her, soon no interest in participating in any kind of phone conversation.  My mom focused her attention on people and things we could not see.  She was continuously telling some lady that she saw behind the dresser to leave.  All too soon we couldn't understand very much of what she said.  She still seemed so happy to see us and even on Mother's Day I got the gift.  When my mom saw me, she said my name and she smiled.  I find myself thinking of her at the oddest moments.  Not all are odd and a few catch me by surprise.  Roy and I were watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special on Monday night.  Not until the scene of Snoopy licking Lucy in the face did it dawn on me that my mom and I would watch that show every Christmas looking forward to those scenes.  We knew the lines by heart but laughed each time like it was the first time we had seen it.  Life continues on though.  We all have resumed our normal lives and routines.  Maybe not my dad.  He is working through the process of living life alone and filling the hours that were consumed with care-taking with new in this start of a new chapter of life. 

I had an appointment with Cheryl today.  Mainly it was a follow up of how things went and what if any emotional turmoil had been extolled.  The visit was full of encouragement and reminders of management.  Cheryl has been a lifesaver for me.  God has used her knowledge and wisdom to help me through difficult phases and to have a new view of how to live life. 

The rest of the afternoon consisted of errands and trying to stay away from home so that the maid could work without any distractions from me.  She is awesome and it is a pleasure to return home to a very clean home.  Somehow in the course of the day I forgot to eat lunch.  So I made a quick stop at Black Walnut Cafe for dinner. 

Today, Roy became an owner of a NFL team.  He bought a Green Bay Packer share that isn't really an investment, with no return and no vote, but it brings a happiness to Roy's life long love of rooting for the Green Bay Packers.  He doesn't even remember why he started liking that team as a child but I thought it was a great emotional investment.  It's like me wanting to be an Alumni by choice at Baylor.  Maybe someday that will become a reality for me.  And I just now noticed that both of these emotional investments wear the colors of green and gold.  It's true the longer one is married to their spouse the more alike they become.  Apparently that doesn't spill over into Roy suddenly experiencing and doing some of my mad dance moves and that whole math thing hasn't even had one glimmer of light in this math addled brain of mine.

In the quietness of the evening I've been reading Psalm 34.  I think it is my all time favorite Psalm.  "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  The righteous person faces many troubles but the Lord comes to the rescue each time."  verses 18 and 19  I'm not reading these verses because I am brokenhearted or crushed in spirit but because there are so many who find themselves in that condition, especially around the holidays.  There are so many requests for generosity.  But sometimes it is not the requests that should be taking our attention and money, but those who like the Christmas song says, " faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more."  Look around and ask the Lord to show you who of those faithful friends, who might not ever ask for help, who find themselves in this season of life not any of them ever envisioned being in might need a little attention and possibly even money...not just money but all around generosity.   And don't let it be just a Christmas time thing, keep vigilant all year long. 

Now after the ponderings of a quiet evening, I'm all a flutter because a new season of Toddlers and Tiaras begins tonight.  I think I am going to put going to one of these pageants held in the Motel 6 in Eunice, Louisiana or in East Texas on my bucket list.  I have a feeling that Dena might just tag along for the ride.  I'm not too sure I could stomach staying for the whole thing, but it might be dang interesting and some very good people watching. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Weekend of December Re-Cap

A cool and overcast morning.  Just the kind of morning to stay in and ease into the day.  Nothing on the agenda today except maybe a quick trip to the grocery store.  This morning's breakfast of choice, toast with sweet potato butter and beverage of choice, butter toffee coffee.  Delicious!

Maybe I have a Nord hangover this morning.  Last night was the Nord's private shopping event.  Nordstrom must believe that the recession is over because they did it up big this year.  The past couple of years the shopping event was toned down, no band and food rather scarce.  This year the joint was jumping with music, lots of desserts, drinks (Perrier for me thank you) and with people shopping to get the 10 points to a dollar using a Nord card.    Dena and I met before the event for dinner.  We actually ate at Luby's.  Upon hearing where we went Roy made a comment too the effect "oh how the mighty have gotten boring."  We made the choice based on crowd and quiet.  Of course the quiet part didn't last long when a family with an uncontrollable kid who it seems did not want to eat broccoli and personally, I don't blame the kid, sat right behind us.  Luby's had friend chicken last night, so the festive occasion called for some good old fashioned comfort food.  Now I need to watch it on my consumption of comfort food or I am going to find myself buying elastic waist comfort pants.  We headed over to the Nord after dinner and had a short wait in line before entering the store. On every floor the shoppers were greeted with many a holiday dessert choice.  My favorite was the peppermint bark and the peppermint ice cream.  We met up with Lisa P a couple of times during the evening.  Unfortunately, Dena and I had to cut the evening short because I had a heart episode in the sock department.  I don't know if was a post tramtic stress disorder from Friday's sorting socks or what.  We had done most of our shopping and since it was a school night for Dena, the early exit wasn't unwelcome.  Lisa P texted me later on that she had stayed till 10 and so far Nord had done $900,0000 worth of business that night and they still had two hours to go before the midnight closing. Actually, shoppers were given two choices this year, choose the day for 10 point shopping or attend the event.  I might just choose the day next year if given the option.

Two out of three college teams we root for won this weekend.  The first half of the Georgia vs LSU game didn't look too good for the tigers.  They got their act together in the second half which made watching the game more enjoyable.  We also cheered on Baylor and their convincing win over Texas.  I think reading Facebook after the game was more enjoyable than actually watching the game. 

I love One Kings Lane!  I've ordered several things from there and haven't been disappointed.  If the shipping on their furniture wasn't so high, I would have ordered a couple of pieces for the house from them.  The coat rack I ordered from them came Thrusday and I put it together Saturday.  Looks good!  Also assembled a lamp we ordered from gardinroad for the guest bedroom.  It too looks good. 

Roy had Celebration practice Friday night and Saturday morning.  One night off tonight and the rest of the week will be pretty full for him.  I will use the time and the cold temps to sit by the fire and have Christmas music playing in the background.  Except for Wednesday evening at 9:00.  The new season of Toddlers and Tirana's begins.  Hopefully the new season of Dance Moms won't be too far behind. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dinner with Friends and a Little Nature Thrown In


Last night was the Women's Christmas Banquet.  A really fun evening with John Bolin and Joy Harris singing and Debbie Stewart from Prestonwood Baptist speaking.  She was awesome, dare I say amazing?  She was funny and had depth to her talk.  Emily hosted our table and she did a great job.  If you love red and green glittery things and who doesn't, you would have loved her table setting.  This is the after picture in the group and of course the before picture is at the top.  We had a blast.  There was this great moment in the evening when Joy sang snippets of Merry Christmas Darling and Bleak Mid Winter.  I so wished CourtneyS was there.  She and I keep count of MCD and if we are able, when we hear it call each other and sing it.  I get the best of that deal.  We sang that together, and maybe we shouldn't be the term to use, but one year for the staff talent show, we sang MCD with a little fun mixed in.  And of course who doesn't love to belt out one of the most beloved Christmas songs, In the Bleak Mid Winter?  Favorite line, snow on snow...snow on snow...

On the way home I decided to come home the long way and I saw my first coyote along the side of the road.  That was exciting.  When I pulled around the cul d sac and the car lights hit the green space along side our home, there were bunches and bunches of little and big rabbits.  It was nature night here out on the prairie. 

Peggy and I met for lunch today at the BWC.  I went with grill cheese sandwich and tomato soup.  It was a comfort food kind of day.  Being the productive person that I am, I sorted my socks this afternoon.  Really it was due to the fact that the pair of socks I had on today would not stay up. 

Yesterday was pay dirt on Fed Ex and UPS deliveries.  Things that had been on back order for the house and maybe a box or two from the Nord were all delivered yesterday.  Roy made a nice little pile of boxes right inside our door for me.  Love the lamp that I ordered.  It looks great in our guest bedroom. 

I am making a conscientious effort to not rush through the holidays this year.  I wait too late to start playing Christmas music most years and usually late with Christmas cards.  Charles Swindoll had a great message on Christmas this morning on the radio.  Good word along with a Christmas devotional I am using this year. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy End of Hurricane Season!

One way I can tell the temperatures are cooler is by Buddy's constant presence.  She follows me and when I sit down, she jumps into my lap.  Long ago I thought this meant she loved me.  I know now it is just the fact that she is cold, but I think there might be a little cat love thrown in.  She purrs and does a variation of kneading with one paw.  So if it isn't love, it is being content at least on her part.  I don't sit still long enough for her to nap.  Really, right now I would love to go get another cup of coffee but I will sit here a few more minutes.  It is also good that God made me with long arms.  Since I am sitting at the desk with Buddy on my lap, the chair is back a little farther than is comfortable.  Last month I finally caved and joined Family Christian Bookstore's reward program.  One of the specials was a traveling coffee mug.  I picked Joy to the World cause Joy to the World is not just for Christmas.  Actually it was written with the second coming in mind, not the first.  A little trivia thrown in.  I have only used the mug for traveling from the kitchen into the study and so far it is doing a great job of holding in the heat. 

Happy End of Hurricane Season!  Although this year, with the drought, I think most of us would have welcomed a tropical storm but not a full blown hurricane.  I had to break into our hurricane supplies for  batteries to use in a wreath and for the candles in the front windows.  Guess I was feeling rather confident this last week of the season.  It is probably safe to eat all the snacks we stored away.  Although something tells me one of us and it isn't the one writing this blog post has already been in the survivor snacks.  Mental note...next hurricane season have my own stash of snacks because someone doesn't commit to storm only provisions and probably isn't going to be too good on rationing if it ever came to that. 

My antique French pot rack has turned out really cute.  I have found a few other decorations for it.  I will take a picture soon and post it.  I have my Erin Dubroc wreath hanging on the decorative apple picking ladder in the entry way.  It looks awesome there.  Again, a picture will be coming.  I hung the stockings that my mom made and a wreath and a little quilted basket done by her hands.  While going through Christmas decorations I came across a shoe box that clearly didn't belong in the decorations.  I think it was one of those things in the moving process, you don't know quite what to do with something so you stick it anywhere just to get it moved.  That box was full of Barbie outfits my mom had sewn.  That stopped the decorating process on Saturday.   I added our Christmas wreath on the front door today.  Had to go and buy a bow to put on it to cover up the wreath hanger.  Looks rather nice.  Yep, simple and tasteful is the way we are going this year.  Lots of pretty lights on the houses in our neighborhood and of course there is the one neighbor that still has all their Halloween decorations out.  Now where is the HOA on that?  Oh, yea, they are in my flower beds counting my plants and they have probably discovered the illegal bougainvillea in the backyard. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hyper, Cyber Monday

Roy has Celebration practice tonight.  So it is just Buddy and me for the next couple of hours.  It is a fireplace kind of night and for the first time, I turned on the heater for the house.  We didn't explode so all is well.  Last Monday Stevie was able to do my highlights and I went back today for a haircut.  Afterwards I met Kathleen for lunch.  Then I made a quick stop at The Nord Rack and Target.  Fighting fatigue, I headed home.  I've taken it easy since arriving.  One thing I wanted to do today is put up the wreath on our gate.  Finally found where we put the D batteries so I was able to add the red bow and hang the wreath.  It looks beautiful. 

We didn't make it to church yesterday and we didn't even turn on the web cast.  I slept like a teenager till 10:00 am, but age reality hit once I got out of bed.  We didn't even feel like going out to lunch and the take away on going out is, we could have beat all the church people to Fuddrucker's.  (Roy was hungry for a hamburger)  Instead, since it was so cold and windy, I made Taco Soup.  It was delicious. 

This morning, once again, I tried for the smokey eye look.  Once again, no success.  I've decided I can achieve the sunny to partly cloudy look at best.  I read all the instructions and watched the video...eye makeup still looks the same.  Oh well, guess the trendy make-up looks aren't for me. 

Since I didn't participate in Black Friday, I participated in Cyber Monday.  Found a few deals that were too hard to decline.  The UPS man is going to love us. 

Since Roy is at practice, I will be setting the garbage out tonight.  Just went through the kitchen and got rid of all the leftovers from Friday.  We had the fam to lunch after my mom's memorial service.  It was a rather nice way to finish the day.  All week since I knew the family was coming I would think, oh, can't wait to show_______ to Mom.  Sadly, too soon I realized it would be the family but mom would be absent.  Hey, she is present with the Lord, so I know she is not complaining. 

My mom's service was sweet and rather different.  The family arrived at the cemetery before 10:00.  We were escorted to her grave site.  The preacher guy asked if we had a song that our family liked to sing.  Mind went blank, actually both Doug and I thought of songs, but they weren't really songs appropriate for the occasion.  We decided on Amazing Grace.  Can't go wrong with that song.  After my dad placed my mom's ashes into the ground, we sprinkled sand on top of the vault and then watched the men fill in the square hole, can holes be square?  I also know it's hip to be square...anyway, we watched in silence with a few tears shed.  We went back to the chapel building and began welcoming friends.  Once it was 11, we formed a line of cars and returned to the site.  My brother and I said a few things about my mom.  It was interesting we hit upon some of the same qualities but we both mentioned things that the other one didn't.  Lisa P sang He Touched Me and John Butler said a few words.  He is the preacher guy.  He did something that was rather surprising and he hadn't told us he was going to do this, he ended the service by opening up the floor, but out there it would be the astro turf carpet, to anyone who wanted to say a few words about my mom.  My insides did a huge jump.  In reality most of the people there were my friends and most of them had never met my mom.  I think my dad either made the decision for that not to begin or he misunderstood what John said.  My dad stood up and thanked everyone for coming.  Whew...those, is there any comment times really throw me for a loop.  One should never concede control of the floor.  I am happy that both Doug and I got through our prepared words without crying.  I am so thankful for my friends that came to the service.  It means so much to me.  The cards, emails and Facebook messages have been so encouraging.  God's peace and presence was there on Friday.  His peace has surrounded me this past month when this journey began.  I thought I would have heart monitor readings all over the place, but even in the most difficult moments and decisions, His peace and grace sustained. 

Saturday and Sunday I went through all the Christmas boxes very slowly.  So much of our Christmas decorations came from my mom.  She either brought them home from trips or she made them.  There were some tear-filled moments as I went through everything.  Saturday I stopped when I found a shoe box filled with Barbie outfits that my mom had made.  I decided I had looked through enough things for one day.  My mom's legacy is found in the little details of life, through the things, people and events she loved. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let Us Give Thanks For it is Right to Do So

Roy was out bright and early this morning.  Sequisha was due for her scheduled maintenance at the dealership.  Three times in a week, she's been on I-45 south.  That would have to be a record because we are rarely out that way.  One of those trips was to my mother's memorial service.  I'm still treasuring and pondering things in my heart on this one, so that subject will be reserved for another time and post.  But, it went well.  God's peace and presence surrounded us and it was a service that honored my mom, told her story and gave glory to God. 

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, we just might have started a new tradition in our household.  We had a leisurely morning and around lunch time we went to the Bass Pro Shop.  Yes, the outdoors person's shopping mecca and no we haven't become outdoorsy types but we did drop some $$$ there much to our surprise.  Roy found a coat he can wear in cooler temps when he is out and about taking pictures.  He also found Merrill boots, in his size on sale.  That right there is a Thanksgiving blessing.  We moseyed through the household area and found some holiday dishes that we both liked.  Festive dishes featuring a pine cone motif that will do well for both Thanksgiving and Christmas...  Now I know you are thinking, girl, you don't cook, you rarely have dinner parties and you don't cook.  Yes, but the dishes are microwave/dishwasher safe...  In fact, I think we will use them the whole month of December and not save them for special occasions.  They fit with our casual lifestyle.  We bought a few other things that I won't bore you with, but this was great good news; they have cinnamon glazed almonds, cashews and pecans reasonably priced.  The pecans were a hit with my nieces yesterday. 
The Santa and snow village they have for kids is well done.  Christmas pictures with Santa are free and the activities in the area, crafts and a large area for remote controlled trucks, tractors and cars for the kids and well...some adults to play with. 

After our shopping excursion we headed out to the country-side.  These past few weeks on the way to Brookwood, I have seen several places I wanted Roy to take pictures of.  So we grabbed his camera and spent a couple of hours driving around getting the shots.  It was the perfect day to do this, weather was wonderful and the traffic was light. 

I've been eyeing the abandoned railroad trussel.


 This is another one I spotted that has probably been abandoned longer than the other one.

 I spy with my little eye an old Hunt Retreat sign that hasn't been taken down on the road less traveled getting to Hunt Retreat. 

 A brand new sign with the church logo is on 359.
 A picture at dusk of our house with minimal decorations
 Night time with the same minimal decorations.
After our excursion to the country, we headed over to the Black Walnut Cafe for our Thanksgiving Day lunch.  It was really good and it wasn't very crowded at all.  We ate around 4:00, so we went at an off time. 

The rest of the evening we did our last minute things to prepare for Friday.  For once in our lives we rooted for A&M and we were saddened along with the real fans and supporters of A&M.  Now that A&M is coming to the SEC and since we root for LSU...we probably won't be cheering them on any time soon. 

Our first Thanksgiving on the prairie was good.  Loved seeing families out in the afternoon riding bikes and playing at the playgrounds.  Lots of family Christmas pictures were being taken around some of the scenic lakes.  Roy and I are blessed by God.  We are so thankful for the things we cannot see and for the things we can.  We are grateful for our friends, many who feel just like family, who walk with us in joy and in sorrow.  We are truly thankful this holiday. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oops, Another Thanksgiving Week Post

OK, I'm back.  I thought I would at least make it to the weekend before posting again but this blog and writing are helping me cope with situations that are unbelievable.  I'm going to write this again, one of these days I am going to write a book like Ellen Douglas: Truth, Four Stories I'm Finally Old Enough to Tell. Only I may have more than four stories to tell.   Right now I kind of envy my mom being out of here and not having to deal with the daily dramatics that keep one so...well so prepared and on their toes. 

Roy asked me last night if it would be OK to wear his dress jeans, good boots and blue blazer to the graveside service.  He said he wanted to dress like Keith Moore.  I don't know if he can carry off the look.  I can see all my friends who operate under the proper thing to do, cringing at his choice.  Who knows, I just might suggest to him that he wears his service day choice. 

Today my hero, commonly known as Roy, braved the early morning cold and went to HEB to do some shopping for the after the Friday service lunch we are having at our home for family and friends.  We have ordered most of our food from a local tea room but there are few side dishes we needed to add.  He got back with everything on the list...well almost, he didn't get cherry tomatoes, so he is going to go back in the morning and get some...along with more Dr. Pepper Bold.  He loves that drink.  Meanwhile I was doing the predustination before the maid got here.  Roy and I got things in order and then left to run a few errands, like pick up shirts from the cleaners.  You know really fun stuff.  We ate Bar B Que for lunch, went to the bank, and then went to the tea room to pick up our order.  We were a little early, everything was ready but not boxed up.  So we headed across the street to Bill's antique mall.  Little did we know that this trip for the Friday meal would become a little more expensive.  Once we got into the store, we did our usual thing there.  Roy headed for the free cookies and the opportunity to visit with all the older ladies.  I looked around and found a few things but hit pay dirt on my way back to the front of the store.  There right before me was a circa 1900's desk with drop top in the arts and craftsman style of furniture...which I love.  The vendor had just brought it in from her car, it didn't even have all the drawers in it yet.  She gave me an excellent deal.  So she and Roy turned it right around, took it out of the store to Sequisha and loaded it in while I paid for it and a few other fun baubles I found.  We almost forgot to go back and pick up the food.  I was so Proverbs 31 woman with this furniture purchase.  I had almost ordered a chest from Pottery Barn this morning but decided it would be too hard to move the bed to get the extra inches it would need beside the bed.  I saved Roy $700 plus. 

We returned home with the food and tried to get it put up yet stay out of Crisella's hair.  She was in full tilt cleaning mode.  We decided not to bring in the new piece until after she left.  Once we took care of the food, we headed back out the door and to Goode Company to pick up a pecan pie.  If you haven't ever had a slice of their pecan pie, you need to.  Love that HOV going and coming on the Katy Freeway.  We made a couple other stops looking for some gift cards and then headed back home.  Crisella was almost finished but we still wanted to stay out of the way, so we began working on our Christmas decorations outside.  We have our two little trees up.  I will have to take a picture and post it on Facebook.  I got the fire pit stuff out of the garage and set it up on our versatile courtyard table.  Maybe we will do S'mores in front of the fireplace this weekend.  Roy and his safety moment went to the Tractor Store to get some duct tape to secure the extension cords.  I think he just wanted an excuse to go to the Tractor Store to see what kind of deals they had for Black Friday.  He also found out that Bass Pro Shop is open on Thanksgiving.  I see a trip in our future tomorrow.  On his way home he picked up a pizza for dinner.  He is my hero from early morning until dinner time.  :)

Tomorrow I plan to rest up for what will be an emotionally charged and emotionally draining day.  My therapist encouraged me to save up the energy for Friday and then veg on Saturday.  She told me I will be exhausted and I believe her.  It is difficult at times to keep the energy reserves up with the daily drama and details that have hit hard in the past few days.  It didn't have to be this way.  Oh well...

I know that God's grace is sufficient.  That grace has been carrying me for the past two weeks and I don't think God will run out of it sometime Friday morning.  I am thankful I got my thoughts for Friday's service in good form and edited.  Praying that I can honor my mom with them and not slobber through it.  Note to self, put some tissues in your purse.

Once again I wish you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.  Roy and I have semi planned to eat dinner out and well, that trip to Bass Pro Shop just screams Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Week Thoughts

Thanksgiving week.  The traffic is no longer on the freeways involving a commute from home to job and back, it is in every conceivable parking lot adjacent to retail establishments.  Roy is one of those Thanksgiving week vacation people.  It has been fun.  We've been staying up late and sleeping in.  We've done things together and done our own things.  Yesterday, I spent a greater part of the day in the land of sugar.  Stevie was able to get me in for highlights.  It actually took longer than the usual time which involves a hair cut.  I'll have to back on Monday to get the cut.  I went a little early to shop the Super Target, the Family Christian Bookstore and Whole Foods. 

Today, we eased into the morning.  We had several things to do here at the house and then we stopped by Peggy's to drop a couple of things off.  What was going to be a few minutes turned into a laugh-fest, so time went by quickly.  Roy finally made all the man motions to let me know he was ready to roll, so we left for our next destination...Target.  We've been debating over outsourcing our Christmas lights or just use this year to decorate minimally.  With everything that has been going on, our attention is somewhat divided.  So today, we decided to just do some candles in the windows, a wreath on the gate and two lit Christmas trees at the gate.  I didn't think there would be any of the pre-lit small trees in an urn but there was one box left.  So Roy had to go back to the front of the store and get a cart.  I thought it best we not get a cart at first because I can find all kinds of things to fill it.  Tomorrow, while we have to be busy or gone while the maid is here, we are going to put up our Christmas decorations.  Many in the neighborhood already have their lights on their homes.  We did a late lunch at Lupe's and then headed over to Mardel's.  Neither one of us have ever been to a Mardel store.  Wow, it was really nice.  Since FBC is changing to the Holman Bible next year, we were able to score two of those babies...on sale and I found a devotion book for next year.  After all the fun we had, we headed home to do one more dreaded chore.  Roy got in the attic and brought down a bunch of our Christmas decorations and frou frou.  For someone who has not decorated their condo for Christmas in many a year, we have a lot of Christmas stuff.  It's going to be difficult going through the boxes because so many of our decorations were either made or bought by my mom.  We also need to re box or repack a lot of the Christmas stuff into containers that have locking lids.  The locking lid containers were much easier to haul down the attic steps.  That is a project to begin on tomorrow.  At this point in the day we were both exhausted.

Last night I didn't fall asleep until 2:00 am.  Right before I fell asleep I began to think about my mother's service on Friday and the words I need to prepare.  I've been using my blog to write out memories and I needed to edit and fine tune.  So many fun stories were making me giggle as I tried to lay or lie there very quietly.  I thought about this antique picture my mom had of Jesus.  It had been given as a gift to her great grandparents.  It is just an oval picture about 6 inches in length and maybe 4 inches wide.  Somehow, I don't remember how it started, but when I was there in the home while my parents were out, I would take that picture of Jesus and hide it.  Sometimes my mom found Jesus in her underwear drawer.  Other times, he would be waiting in her china cabinet or other places around the house.  I went over there once to hide Jesus and my mom had tied the picture to the nail in the wall and requested, as if coming from the Lord, not to be moved and she quoted Psalm 1.  I think my favorite hiding spot was on the switch of a living room lamp.  My parents were hosting their Sunday School class party.  My mom and several of her friends went into the living room and as my mom turned on the lamp, she exclaimed... I found Jesus!  Her friends were wondering if she had rededicated her life or might be making a profession of faith, although they had to wonder about that.  My mom explained, and showed them the picture.  They all had a great laugh.  Once we got the Christmas boxes in the garage, I came in and edited.  My prayer is this, I can honor my mom and get through the whole thing without ugly crying, complete with snot running down my face. 

Sunday evening we went to see the Houston's First Baptist Church Choir and Orchestra experience at Clear Lake Baptist Church.  It was wonderful.  I sat there on the second row and sang just about every song with them.  Well, that is every song with the exception of the Christmas music.  I don't know those songs and apparently neither did Peggy.  She got through the first song OK, but when they sang the Gloria song, complete with Latin, she didn't know a word, much less when to sing.  I peered around John to take a peak and watch Peggy.  She and I got so tickled.  I was laughing so hard, I was crying.  She is singing "stop looking at me" to the Gloria tune.  I knew the whole choir could see me laughing and several admitted looking over in the direction that had my attention and saw Peggy struggling with it all.  They got a little tickled as well, but looked back at John directing to save themselves. 

We bought wind chimes and put them out in the courtyard.  Roy was concerned we would go crazy from the noise but the key is, don't hang them high.  We have them on the fireplace utensil stand that came with our table and chairs.  No utensils came...so we are making it useful until we find some cheap untensils.  I'm really enjoying the background of the chimes this evening. 

Roy has volunteered to go to HEB in the morning.  Bless him.  We need to pick up a few side dishes for Friday's after the service lunch we are having at the house.  I ordered some chicken pot pies, salad and desserts from the Scotish ladies with the tea room.  I was going to make the Paula Deen cheses biscuits again, but decided stress wise, Sister Schubert rolls were the way to go.  We are also going to pick up a Goode Comapny Pecan Pie. 

The page will soon be turning onto another chapter of life.  Friday is the epilogue or it could be the introduction.  I know God is faithful and His grace and peace have been carrying this child for the past two weeks.  Happy Thanksgiving!  That's in case I don't get back on the blog till Saturday. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Mom Memories

Living out near the ends of the earth reminds me of days long gone when Sundays not only included Sunday School and church, and maybe if we were lucky getting to eat out at the cafeteria or the El Patio Mexican restaurant, but most Sundays when we were younger included a Sunday afternoon drive.  To my brother Doug and me, B.O.R.I.N.G!  To my mom, a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.  My dad would drive us all around the surrounding countryside on the Farm to Market Roads Texas is so famous for.  If we were to travel those very same roads today, we'd be smack dab in the middle of First Colony, New Territory, and Cross Country Ranch.  It seems like there is always a historical marker on most roads and my dad usually wanted to stop and read the marker out loud to us...  But my mother would usually say, "Can't we just see it from the car?  That became one of our favorite family sayings.  Funny as time has gone by and my sense of adventure has lessened and my knees make it difficult at times, I find myself thinking or saying the same thing, "Can't we see it from the car?"  I almost missed out on seeing the model home that won our hearts last January because I was tired and said I would wait in the car while Roy and Peggy went inside the house.  So glad I changed my mind. 

My mom made occasions fun.  She always baked our favorite cake for our birthdays.  At Easter she made a cake that looked like an Easter Bunny and she encouraged us to help her decorate it.  If she baked a pie, somehow there always  just happened to be extra dough.  She would roll out the dough, put butter, sugar and cinnamon on it and roll it up like a jelly roll and cut the dough into bite size pieces and bake them along with the pie.  My mom also had a great recipe for iced sugar cookies that we made every Christmas.  Even after I was married, my mom would help me bake those cookies to give as gifts when money was tight for Roy and me. 

Last Sunday when we ate Chinese food with Bill and Peggy, we all remembered eating chop suey at home, out of a can, made by Chung King.  You made rice, heated up the contents of the can and put crunchy noodles on the top.  For the longest time my brother Doug and I didn't like chop suey.  We learned not to mix everything up but keep the rice and noodles separate from the junk we didn't like.  We couldn't leave the table until our plate was clean.  We'd wait till Mom got busy in the kitchen and Dad was reading the paper.  Carefully, Doug and I would put the chop suey back in the serving bowl and then eat our rice and crispy noodles.  No one was the wiser until much later in life, when we told Mom what we had done. She wasn't too happy to be told of this and other dinner hijinks.  Doug and I were not fans of oatmeal for breakfast.  Mom didn't serve it very often, but when she did, we would put up quite a fuss.  We called oatmeal boo after awhile.  Why, because when we'd ask what's for breakfast, she say oatmeal and we would cry boo. 

My mom had a quirky side.  She loved her church and her women's Sunday School class.  There were several years she had a teacher that didn't talk very loud and my mom complained she could not hear her.  This teacher participated in the fine Baptist tradition of giving out verses to different ones in the class to read out loud and always called on my mom.  My mom never cared too much to read verses aloud.  She told me once she had a dream that she was in Sunday School and the teacher asked her where they were in the reading of verses out loud .  In her dream she answered, "How in the hell would I know?"  My mother never cussed.  I never heard her let a bad word slip.  In fact the one and only time I heard her say anything that remotely would be considered a bad word is when she called me a jackass.  Truth is I was probably acting like one but come on, I was in junior high and who wants to take their younger brother with them.  I was going to Astro World with friends and we just might meet some cute boys!  Oh one other thing that kind has to do with church and church attendance.   I will never forget the Sunday lunch that mom had stayed home from church to cook and prepare for the crowd of family and friends that were coming over after church.  We had all sat down, my dad sat at one end of the table, my mother at the other end (closest to the kitchen) and the rest of us were squeezed in at the table.  My dad asked my mom to say the blessing...she began her prayer and in the course of praying she thanked the Lord for the good services at church that morning.  In the midst of that sentence, she realized she hadn't been to the good services at church that morning, so she did a mid prayer correction and added, I wasn't there but You were,so I am sure they were good."

Friends were very important to my mom.  She has had good friends all through her life.  As a child I was intrigued to hear the story of my mom and her three friends who had borrowed a car and the car's  brakes didn't work.  So when they came close to her home, they slowed the car down as much as they could and my mom jumped out of the backseat onto the grass.  I've mentioned before what a prolific letter and card sender she was.  She had friends she talked on the phone with everyday and friends that she went shopping and to lunch with.  One time, Roy had rented a convertible for me and I went over to take my mom on a ride.  She said, let's go get Mary Jo.  Mary Jo was in her robe and had curlers in her hair.  As I drove the two of them they hooped and hollered like teenagers as we drove around the neighborhood and they made sure we went past all their friend's homes. 

It seems to me after writing this, the acorn doesn't fall too far from the tree.