Saturday, December 31, 2011


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 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, " 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 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 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. 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.