Thursday, August 30, 2012

There's Blood on Them Thar Hands!

Being trained as a core group leader this week has cut into blog writing significantly.  All summer I have had just a few appointments or responsibilities that happened before 10:00 am.  This week we had training both Tuesday and Thursday morning.  Add to the training, having to find something to do Wednesday afternoon while the housekeeper was here and choir last has nearly worn me out.  Worn out in a good way.  Oh add an appointment with my therapist Tuesday afternoon and an old fashioned blood letting right before her appointment.  Maybe it was the loss of blood that has made me so tired.  I feel like I will tell the story of the bloody hands...bahahahaha, she said in her best scary and eerie Halloween voice.  For those of you who are Baptist like me and aren't supposed to say Halloween...the story of the bloody hands....bahahaha she said in her best Fall Festival voice. 

So after a delicious lunch with the leadership of the Katy Community Bible Study, I headed into Houston for my 5000 mile check up with my therapist, Cheryl.  I had about 30 minutes to kill before meeting with her, so I stopped in at a store just to peruse what's new in total cuteness.  I had my left hand in the pocket of my pants, new pants I might add, and thought why does my pocket seem so wet?  I didn't look but concluded it was due to the heat.  I have this habit of holding my hands up close to me when I am shopping in a store where you don't want to brush up against anything and if they break it they cry, if I break it, I buy.  Finally, I came across something that I wanted to look at closer and that is when I saw my hands.  I looked like I had just killed or hurt somebody.  "Officer I am only guilty of killing time!"  And because I am sure people aren't too used to seeing someone shopping with bloody hands, I left the store quickly and went back to Sequisha to try and figure out why I was bleeding.  There was the brief thought of stigmata since I had been at biblical training that morning, but let's face it, I'm not the type who would get a stigmata.  I finally found the source of all the blood, a tiny, itty bitty, little cut on my thumb.  It wasn't even this, -, big!  And I hope you are not reading this before any meal, but I couldn't believe how much blood was flowing onto my hand.  I grabbed a cloth and applied pressure to the cut.  Then I found some Wet Ones and used those to control bleeding.  Probably better to use than the rag I use to dust with inside the car.  I look down and there is blood on my pants, lots of it coming from my pocket area and there are several huge stains on my shirt, semi new shirt.  I decide to go on over to Cheryl's and get cleaned up in the bathroom.  Now, how to enter the building without drawing attention to myself?  God made a way because I didn't see anyone in the usually busy building.  Cleaned up the best way possible and headed over to Cheryl's waiting room.  Usually, there isn't anyone there and if there is it means that Cheryl accidentally double booked.  A man came into the office and I leaned over as not to show my bloody self.  He only came in and left something on her desk behind the glass partition.  I did ask Cheryl if she had a band aid because my thumb was still bleeding without constant pressure on it.  Out of luck, guess she only has "emotional band aids."  Really, who wants to show up seeing their therapist with lots of blood on them?  Makes for a less than dramatic answer when asked, "so how is everything with you?"

Finally later on in the evening it stopped bleeding.  Since being on Pradaxa, I have cut myself and never had any problem with stopping the bleeding, so this was a first and I want it to be the only time this happens.  In another humorous happening, I spilled tomato soup on me at the Black Walnut Cafe on Wednesday. 

Well, I guess after all of this blood talk I will wait and write at a different time about what I am learning about facilitating a group.  Man, we had some tough but fun role playing today.  Let's just say I excelled more at disrupting than I did at setting boundaries and having the right response to the situation I was thrown into.  Somehow I don't think this info surprises any of y'all who know me. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wow! What a Weekend!

This was a fun-filled busy weekend.  I knew it would be crazy busy and believe me I made sure rest was incorporated in between activities.  Friday evening Peggy and I met Emily for dinner before Christmas Choir Camp.  We were talking and laughing and didn't even see Dena come in for her to go order.  She came over to say hi and we persuaded her to stay and eat her to go with us.  Great laughs were had all around the table.  Christmas Choir Camp was fabulous.  Loved all the music we sang and began to learn.  I knew if I wanted to sing Sunday morning, I would need to be absent from Saturday's camp because our friend Debbie had invited several friends who just happen to have birthdays in August to tea at the St Regis Hotel Saturday afternoon.  It was awesome!  No, it was amazing!  We all tried not to embarrass Debbie by being uncouth or loud but truth be told, we did get a little rambuncious.  Of all the ladies teaing that day, I believe we had the most fun, yet refined experience.  I think the tea went to our heads.  
Debbie being the lovely and wonderful hostess.
Posing for a picture in the midst of our delicious scones. 
 Carolyn and Debbie stopping in mid tea for a photo op
Linda and Dena enjoying the beautiful harp music in the background.

 After our tea, Dena and I went back to her apartment for two things.  One, with the remodeling of the hotel the closest restroom was up one floor,  we opted out of that long journey because it probably was quicker to get to her apartment than the one floor up.  Two, the final piece of Dena's birthday present had come in, so she unwrapped her gifts.

This is a picture she has been thinking about getting for several years now.  It is a print of a famous picture in the Biltmore House, The Waltz.  The fine people and customer service at The Biltmore Estate were so kind and helpful in getting the print shipped. 

Another less refined side of Dena, meaning she has such good taste in choosing the Biltmore picture, is her goal of going to every Cracker Barrel.  Some people want to go to stadiums, I'd like to go to every Nordstrom, but I am so willing to help her with her goal of visiting every CB in these good United States.  So, I stopped at CB and got a map of all their locations.  Then I had it laminated.  Then I took it over to Katy Art and Frame where they mounted the map on foam core and framed the map in a lovely red frame.  Also, Dena got some color push pins to help her see her goal.  Believe me, I think we have stopped at almost every CB between here and Asheville, NC.  She has been to other ones with other friends, so she'll have to get their help to locate their CB stops. 

This morning the choir sang Midnight Cry.  What a blessing that song is!  In Life Bible Study we had a guest teacher from Jerusalem.  She has been to our class before and we love her and her women's ministry in Jerusalem.  After class we had a Sunday pot luck lunch together.  The whole morning was completed with shopping.  She has jewelry with her made by women in the ministry.  Everything is so beautiful.  In fact, I bought two rings.  So Roy will not have to buy me anything for our anniversary that is coming up next month.

So tonight, after a good nap, Roy tried out his hand at preparing pancakes.  Not just any pancakes but pancakes kind of based on the ones we loved at Papasita's.  They were delicious!  He made a trial run because it is his turn to make breakfast for the men's Bible study he attends out here at an Episcopal church this Saturday.  The only requirement, it has to be a hearty breakfast. 

Now, I need to quit blogging and go back to the homework that is due on Thursday for Community Bible Study Core Group Training.  Maybe on Thursday I should wear the t-shirt that Peggy brought me back from Aspen; 'I don't have a.d.d. I have....look a squirrel. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Essays and Animal Tales

I can officially bring good news now...I just got a much needed pedicure.  How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good news. 

The essays of E.B. White were my companions this morning in the pedi chair.  E.B., remember him?  He wrote Charlotte's Web, a sad barnyard tale.   While relaxing in the chair I languidly turned to an essay, any essay.  Just so happens I came across an essay that includes many topics, but he wrote quite a few paragraphs about his dog, who had been dead for over seven years.  He recalled fondly how the dog came to be their dog, his quirks, habits and the happiness he brought.  Couple this essay with an article I read this morning on the Real Simple site about coming across letters and memories from this person's twenties and how affected the writer was by the plain and simple fact he was not who he was in his younger years.  Oh, it was a good thing, but my reading pump was primed and then the dog remembrances made me think of our dog Tiff.  Her official name was Leap Years Tough Tiff.  She was a silver miniature schnauzer that we bought from Peggy.  Tiff had ecalsya and for the first few moths we had her, she had to eat on an incline for gravity to take its course and after she ate, we had to burp her...just like a little baby.  She finally grew out of it and the dog I picked out and loved, loved someone else, she loved someone more than me.  That someone, Roy.  She followed him and sat at his feet while he worked or watched TV.  When he would go into the bathroom, she would wait outside the door for him.  Once he left for the office, Tiff turned her attention to me and I became, her 'you'll do.'  When riding in the elevator at the condos we lived in, if there was anyone else, especially a woman riding along, Tiff would go nuts protecting Roy.  Tiff kept the famous casserole lady at a distance and for that I am grateful.  Tiff loved bananas and she could hear the breaking of a banana off the bunch from far away.  She'd be there at your side waiting for her piece of your banana.  A friend , Lou, kept her once while we were on a trip and Lou taught Tiff to have tea.  Tiff never had her biscuit until you had your treat and she was given the ok sign for her to go ahead and eat.  Tiff knew tons of tricks.  Tiff was not a very social animal with anyone other than us.  We got set in her ways and when we stayed up later than she liked, she would go to her kennel as a hint it was time for us all to go to sleep.  *** Old Yeller moment ahead***  Tiff was nearly 14 when we had to put her to sleep.  She was fine and then one morning she woke up and couldn't move her back legs.  I called Roy and he made an appointment to see the vet that afternoon.  The vet warned him that the kindest thing we could do for Tiff was to put her to sleep because she was in a lot of pain.  I called my friends who I was supposed to play tennis with and they got a sub.  I carried Tiff outdoors so she could go to the bathroom and then we spent the rest of the morning sitting in the big chair in the living room.  I held her and cried.  I think she knew things were not good for her.  She took in all the petting and loving.  We were waiting for Roy and she heard him getting off the elevator down the hall.  She was excited, yet frustrated by not being able to meet him at the front door like normal.  He came in, petted her, spent some time with her.  It was nearing appointment time, so he went into the bathroom before taking her to the vet.  She whined and wiggled and struggled to leave my arms.  She wanted to go sit outside the door, one last time.  She knew...because she made me put her down and let me know she was going to do this on her own one last time.  She dragged herself that small distance and waited for Roy.  I am crying, unable to even catch a breath.  I told Roy, I can't go with you.  This is so hard, too hard for me.  Although Roy never said it, I think he was happy that I was staying behind so he could have that last ride with his little buddy and long time companion.  I was tearing up in the nail salon thinking about Tiff which naturally made the progression to thinking about Buddy.  But!I!Am!Not! bringing worries in the future into the present of today.  I was trying to keep composed in public. 

Now, I cannot leave the post with the Old Yeller moment or any animal movie or book where the long loved pet passes onto puppy or kitty heaven.  So, I will tell you another animal tale that just happened to take place last night.  Oh, this is going to be more of a reptilian tale.  Last night after dinner, Roy was helping me with some things and he stops in mid help and says to me, I need to tell you something.  Well, that didn't sound good, it was foreboding.  I braced myself, trying not to let the million thoughts of what could be wrong go through my head.  He told me, on Tuesday night where the sidewalks split on the green space, he had seen a little snake.  He wanted me to be careful and mindful of their presence.  Uh, I have thought and moved and had my being when outdoors to have a snake sighting in mind since March 24.  He said it looked like the one he killed at our front door, water moccasin and he thought the snake to be about two years old.  What????  Hey, when did he become a snake expert?  Two years and he added he thought maybe it could be the child of the snake he killed.  I'm thinking all this from just seeing that "little" snake on Tuesday?  So I asked him how he knew it was two years old.  His response, I'm from Louisiana!  I grew up in the bayous.  What?  You were raised in Shreveport which is like saying, you are from Dallas...not the Cajun bayous and waterways of south Louisiana!  He told me he grew up playing in the bayous around his house.  Well, Roy, I grew up playing in the bayous of Houston, slid down the banks of Braes Bayou on waxed cardboard and rode my bike on all the trails and little hills located where the Nob Hill apartments are now and I could not tell you how old any snake is.  Alligators yes, snakes no.  By the way alligators grow about one foot per year.  He let the snake go on his merry way but if Roy really loved me, he would have killed that snake. Haha! 

One more animal story of note, these wild birds that we are feeding are picky eaters.  I bought this fancy smancy bird food for them when I got the new feeder.  They throw the berries and almonds to the ground.  Hey, that is like expensive granola in the human world.  So, I went back to the old seed and they are much happier.  Well that is when they are merely eating and not fighting each other for a place at the dinner feeder. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


This is my last Thursday for the summer of easing into the day.  Beginning next week Thursday mornings are going to look a whole lot different and a whole lot earlier.  This is going to be interesting because on Wednesday nights I come home wired from choir and it takes a little while to settle in and calm down for restful sleep.  Looks like I might have to pull out an oldie but goodie from the past.  Years ago when I couldn't sleep I read all our insurance papers.  A jillion boring words that hold lots of meaning yet not even a little bit of interesting reading.  A couple of pages later and it's lights out. 

Almost every morning this summer I have sat down at the computer looking for an email from Roy.  This isn't any ordinary email, it is the safety moment email from the company he works for.  They have been so interesting and informative but what I like the best about these safety moments is the commentary or instruction Roy adds to it.  Many times he directs his comments to Buddy and her activities and sometimes he directs the comments to me, to help Buddy be a safety minded cat.  It seems that Buddy has no interest in safety.  An almost daily occurrence is hearing her lunge into the window trying to get a bird.  Her bird watching is contributing to a decrease in late night wanderings and sheep disbursement.  Bird watching has really cut into her abundance of nap taking.  She tries to sleep there by the window but the sound of birds chirps and the of wings disrupts her plans.  If she wants to sleep during the day, she goes to the guest room where it is nice and dark, without the sounds of birds.  She put both paws over her eyes as if to enforce not being disturbed.  Something I didn't realize when we moved my desk into the room formally known as the dinning room but used as a retreat room for me and I guess Buddy is the small speaker and iPod system behind the drop down door of the desk.  Yesterday I had music so loud I didn't hear the phone ring.  The day before that I played quiet instrumental music.  Buddy isn't a fan of either but tolerates the instrumental better.  Now what she really likes is the harmonica , and I am using this term loosely, that I play. 

Earlier this week I got to visit with a friend I haven't talked with in quite sometime.  We got caught up with each other's lives and briefly compared notes on our respective and for a lack of a better word, our respective "toxic" someone or as I refer to them as toxinistas.  Her someone has much more active influence in her life than mine at this point.  I listened empatheticaly as she shared the difficult road she's traveling and the emotional upheaval that seems to come with the territory.  I heard a term used for these toxinisitas, Hoarders-Buried Alive.  Of course they aren't like the TV show that tells the stories of people whose lives are cluttered almost to the ceiling with stuff.  Their yards littered with bits and pieces of weathered and rusted cars and implements and not in the good way of patina or shabby chic.  Most of the stuff that blocks entrance or exits is really just worthless junk and trash.  The unmanageable paths they've created to live, move and exist is far more excruciating to those helping them change their minds and emotions and throwing away the junk.  Now instead of looking at literal junk think about these toxinistas that have hurts, both perceived and real, unforgiveness, jealousy, envy, insecurity and pain piled up to their emotional, relational, and spiritual ceilings.  Most toxinistas are also quite good at sabotage which insures and reinforces their barriers and walls.  Nothing, no happiness, no special occasion, no holiday in reality will ever live up to the fantasy they've conceived in their brains or live up to what they think others are experiencing.  So they would rather destroy rather than being disappointed. They are also skilled in diversion.  So they spend their days hoarding hurts in order to be prepared for the day they might need those hurts to lash out and inflict pain yet at the same time harvesting more hurts to be piled up, to meditate and relive over and over again in that cess pool of poison.  Their minds are a prison constructed by, guarded by and imprisoned in by their own making.  Sometimes these toxinistas are looking for others to join their group.  It's not a fun group because everyone wants to tell their story or top the previous story that has been told.  As my friend and I compare notes we were happy, no thrilled and joyful to begin our observations with Colossians 3.  We both have chosen not to be a member of that dreary little band of Debbie Downers.   We pray for them, we love them but the time has come to not be drawn in by their schemes and mean spirited plans.  Years ago, I was borderline and could have joined that negative bunch.  When Roy was in law school, there were many Sundays I came to church by myself because he had study groups to attend.  Every Sunday morning while I got ready I recounted and meditated on every wrong and injustice and like a good grouser I began at the beginning from childhood and worked my way through the years.  No wonder I was never in a good mood when I got to church, not even the music could reach into my miserable spirit.  What the heck?  Even hearing Beth Moore every Sunday in Sunday School had limited effects.  Not because she hadn't studied but because my heart was so hard.  One Sunday when she taught from the Psalms on having spiritual Alzheimer's, the light broke through the darkness.  It became so clear that meditating on the bad instead of all the good and the blessings from God in life tainted me and continuation of this was going to lead me to a not so good God glorifying life.  There had to be a change.  Fast forward almost 20 years and what a difference God's Word makes in lives.  Now that's an understatement!  I continue to learn that thankfulness and thanksgiving are the window openings to light and better understanding of the ways of God.  Being thankful keeps our hearts soft and pliable to hear God's direction.  Go through the Pauline epistles and see just how much Paul exhorted and encouraged his readers to approach with thanksgiving in the ordinaries of daily life. 

As a kid there were those scary stories that we told one another.  One in particular, the story of a girl being buried alive and when her casket was exhumed for some reason or another, they, whoever these theys were, found scratch marks on the inside lid of the coffin.  She had been buried alive!  If you find yourself traversing the path of being a toxinista and feel like you are buried alive on all the stuff and the past and hurts that you won't let go of, it doesn't have to end like the girl buried alive.  You don't have to scratch your way out from underneath.  No, there is resurrection power that lifts you out of the miry clay that has been beneath, on top of and all around you.  That is the miracle of Christ in our lives and then we like Paul who said in Phil 4, I have learned...I have found...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  It is learning and finding and surrendering, by letting God's Word do its work in transforming and renewing our minds.  Cause really when you think about it wouldn't you rather be a Wordinista?  With thanksgiving, joy and peace?  Maybe even some love thrown in?  It is the ultimate catch and release program, catch that thought and release it back into the wild or pin it in the Word of God.  Don't take it home, not even in a to go box. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

If a Question Isn't Asked, Does it Ever Get Answered?

I realized this week I never saw synchronized swimming in the Olympics this year.  Saw pictures and heard about the medal count but when I watched it wasn't synchronized time.  I really don't have interest in the sport which by the way back in the day was called aqua ballet.  Guess I think about the SNL skit and others I have seen that use synchronized swimming as the comedic vehicle.  I have always thought it would be fun to do synchronized choir or some other normal activity in that very stilted and dramatic way. 

Several months ago I wrote about not asking myself the hard questions.  Lots of people challenge themselves with hard questions that demand well thought out responses.  I've been trying to ask myself the hard questions but mainly have been warming up with easy questions like, what should I fix for dinner?  In retrospect that is really a hard question for me, so the better question would be, where do I want to go eat dinner?  Should I buy_____?  Would I rather have Diet Coke or coffee with breakfast.  Questions that I can answer in my sleep.  When I was younger I did ask myself hard questions but youthful zeal answered back.  Sometimes that wasn't the wisest response.  Somewhere along the way in life I stopped asking myself hard questions and have been very content to go with the flow of life.  In fact I can honestly report I have dodged a lot of the harder questions in life.  I have Googled 'asking hard questions' and have found out there are a whole lot of hard questions out there.  Mainly financial planners address money, how you save, spend and invest it as hard questions but there are few others out there writing and asking.  Now I confess I do ask myself difficult questions.  Maybe the hard questions change in seasons of life.  Like I am not asking the hard question of who and what kind of man do I want to date?  What college should I attend?  What do I want to do when I grow up?  OK, I still ponder on that last question but now it is more, who do I want to be?  Now the questions should be what legacy will I leave behind?  How can I make a difference?  Where do I want to invest my time, materials and talent?  Hmmm....maybe I do ask some hard questions and it is more like I don't answer the hard least not immediately.  Maybe I am too comfortable with the process and just maybe being comfortable in the process I am missing out.  On Twitter @CSLewis had a great quote yesterday; "Our Father refreshes us on the journey with pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."  I've lingered longer than anticipated in this paragraph but this won't be the last time I think things through in print. 

We got one project done this past weekend.  We moved my desk into the reading room.  It looks great and yesterday I bought a small lamp and small iPod system to place behind the drop down door.  For now we have a table in the entrance way but I'll be on the lookout for something else to place there. 

I'm waiting for my homework for next week to be delivered.  It is part of the training for being a core group leader.  I am really looking forward to this year of study and I have to prepare to do the homework better and more thought out.  This week is my last week of having multiple days of quiet and doing the things I love here at home.  A busier schedule will help me appreciate this time and use it wisely when future quiet opportunities arise. 

Stuff is awaiting me.  Laundry, sweeping and the like but a good book that I am trying to read slowly is calling out louder than anything else.  I think the book just might win. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Revenge on the Mini Vans and Other Burb Happenings

The sun is peeping through the clouds out here on the prairie.  There is a chance of rain today and we welcome rain's return.  We did get some rain yesterday but I am getting ahead of my story.  Roy took yesterday off.  We began the day with a great breakfast from Pecan Grille, fashioned after Buffalo Grille by some former employees of BG.  There is a Kroger in the same shopping center as PG and we had to do a Kroger run because this Kroger carries Dr Pepper Bold in six pack bottles.  Roy loves Dr Pepper Bold.  We had an uneventful drive home that is until we got to the intersection of Westheimer Pkwy and Cinco Ranch.  Some kind of incident happened but not to sure what.  There were no wrecked cars but we did see someone being put on a stretcher.  Isn't it good how the best in people come out in a traffic stand still, she said sarcastically.  A sheriff po po was in front of me and couldn't even get up to the accident.  She had to get out of the car, leave her flashing lights on and go to the incident by foot.  Begrudgingly, a small car let me into the right lane to get around the po po or should that be the sher sher.  Anyway, I needed to get back into the left lane and it didn't take us too long to realize we would never make it back into the lane.  And that is when I saw my opportunity.  Not only an opportunity to get back in the lane but to score a retaliation to mini vans in kind.  My arch nemesis are mini vans and if you are one of my friends that drives one, I won't hold it against you.  Of course this lady driving the mini van but somewhere deep inside her psyche thinks she drives a bus had left a Sequisha and a half distance between her bus, I mean mini van and the car in front of her.  So I did it.  I pulled in front of her and let's just say she was not happy about it at all.  You see I drive a SUV like it is a sports car.  Granted if someone did that to me I would be mad but to insure calmness, I would have never left that huge opening between me and the car in front.  Bahahaha...revenge for the mini van that stole my parking spot two weeks ago!  I was really kind of surprised that she didn't walk up to the side of the car and yell at me but she did take the opportunity when traffic began moving to pull alongside for a brief minute, shake her fist at me as she was saying words that I chose to interpret as encouragement.  Her friend in the passenger seat was waving her arms and I believe she was also shouting out encouragement to me.  I shrugged my shoulders and made the universal gesture we all learned in childhood that says, what did I do?  This is why I cannot have a Christian bumper sticker or Jesus fish on my car.  I have matured in my driving ways but every once in a while, I do something that I'd rather not bring shame to the name of Christ.  Only the good name of Nordstrom was besmerched since I have one of those license plate holders that says I'd Rather Be Shopping at Nordstrom. 
Some where in the DNA chain in our family is the propensity to seeing all kinds of conspiracies.  I fight against it on a regular basis and have seen a change by the grace of God that this type of thinking is not my first option now, but deeply recessed in me, a good conspiracy can come forth from time to time.  I jokingly said to Roy, I am sure word has gone out to the mini van community and they will be out for us all day as we do errands.  It did seem like there was a little more harassment from mini vans yesterday, but I think those harassments were imagined.  Now that I think about it, mini vans are probably behind our garage door hassles on Sunday mornings!

Since Roy was with me I did some errands I have been putting off knowing I would need an extra set of hands to help with some lifting and carrying.  So new to us now; a six foot ladder, several raised flowerbeds, rolling storage rack and several bags of cleaning supplies.  If the world was slightly askew yesterday it is because we went into a Jo Ann's fabric store.  I am so totally out of my element in there.  We grabbed a late lunch at Spring Creek Bar B Que and there were a few drops of rain as we went in.  When we left a major downpour was going on.  The rain was constant on our trip home.  Knowing how rain patterns are, I mentioned to Roy that probably it wasn't even raining at our home.  I almost was correct.  We did not have the hard rain like everyone else but we are so thankful for the rain that fell. 

When we got everything put up we both were worn out from being out and about most of the day.  I did the short power nap thing and Roy relaxed and caught up with shows he has DVRed.  A quiet evening at home was welcomed.  We ordered my birthday bird bath online since neither Lowe's or Home Depot had what I was looking for and I got an inspired thought of rearranging furniture which we just might do today.  We ended our fun day watching a mini marathon of Cajun Justice.  We LOVE that show and after watching the show Roy would love another opportunity to go back to the Houma office.  That trip isn't looking likely. 

The birds, at least the smarter birds are enjoying the better bird feeder we brought home yesterday.  Buddy is on bird watching duty this morning.  I think I will go join her. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Journals, Organization and The End of Summer

In the past few days I have sat down to write several times only to give up.  Maybe because I really don't have anything very interesting going on in life but that has never stopped me before.  I also know that Roy is taking off tomorrow and he will monopolize the computer, so if I want to get anything written, today is the day. 

So I decided to go through one of my desk drawers, sort through stuff and then came to the conclusion I need to actually divide all this stuff up and organize it better.  This project began this morning and as you can tell just by the fact I want to write a post that it has not been a particularly focused task.  Just now progress came to a stop as I looked through old postcards that I have collected through the years.  My grandparents gave me some of them, Roy has some from his parents and then there are those I have bought in antique stores.  And my journal collection is officially a sickness.  If they had specialized hoarding, mine would be journals, pens, and greeting cards, oh and note cards.  I think I could open up a Hallmark store in my home.  But, all the above are somewhat organized and not impeding entrance and exits or hallways.  Everything is neatly placed in containers that are stacked in closets.  Some people think shoes need to find a home with them, some people bring home books (not as bad as I used to be) and others like me love to have journals and office supplies. 

Yesterday afternoon I had to find stuff to keep me busy to get out of the housekeepers way.  I am fortunate to have the casita bedroom to retreat to, but haven't done that yet.  I save up junk that needs to be done for every other Wednesday.  One of my stops was Home Goods and the parking place I had so patiently waited for a couple of weeks ago was open.  Did a quick Target run but think I will be staying out of Target for the next few weeks with the back to school people overwhelming all the aisles and check outs.  I had a late lunch, early dinner at Black Walnut Cafe.  Love their grilled cheese and tomato soup.  I was able to sit back and relax with a good book.  I almost created a huge mess by spitting ice tea.  That prompt came from a very funny email I was reading. 

Peggy and I rode to choir together.  Lots of fun, laughs and conversations.  We opted for choir over the Women's Ministry dinner we were invited to attend on the same night.  It was a difficult decision to make but since this was the second rehearsal in the new choir year, it's always good to know the music for Sunday morning,.  Besides Peggy and I thought we might have been a bad influence on the younger generation there and it would be best to leave a good influence up to the wiser, seasoned and well behaved women of the church.  I heard the dinner was really good and the party didn't break up until 11:00 pm.  Wow, Peggy and I got home way before then and of course I had to watch T&T and Honey Boo Boo when I got home.  I think I am going to stop watching Honey Boo Boo.  That show is disgusting!  Real life, real people, real rude, real crude and really they don't care what anyone thinks. 

Buddy is really into bird watching these days.  Some of the doves have figured out that the window and screen protect them and they sit there taunting Buddy.  I can always tell when Buddy has landed on the window sill by the noise she makes bumping into the glass.  I think she has been awake the most ever since she has been bird watching.  It seems like she knows that if she stays in the front room she will not sleep but watch.  So she has been napping in the afternoons in the guest bedroom.  We have the blinds pulled in there.  Nice and dark and no birds to distract her. 

Think this week we will be finishing up the last of our Texas peaches and nectarines will be soon to follow.  Then we come into the boring fruit season of oranges and apples.  The little produce stand off Pin Oak has closed up until next spring. 

Yesterday the lawn service guy showed up.  He is the one who is treating our brown patches and weeds.  Our yard has some of the toughest weeds going but he said they will slowly but surely go away.  I have been thinking and planning the next raised flower bed for our yard.  The one in the corner of the back yard is doing so well.  Even the lawn guy commented on how beautiful it is.  So I think the next raised bed will be outside the windows of the front room and I'll plant roses.  That's where the bird bath will go and new bird feeders.  With all the anticipated activity Buddy will be sleeping through the night and there will be less sheep herding happening in the middle of the night. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

That Darn Cat!

How can anything that is this cute cause such problems on a Monday morning?!!  Buddy and I have settled into a nice summer routine.  She usually gets up before me and then when she hears me stirring, she comes to the bedroom for her morning rubbing and petting.  Buddy is like clockwork except that is, this morning.  I got up, moved around, no Buddy.  I came out to see if she was engrossed into ardent bird watching, no.  Checked all her favorite sleeping spots and then checked her favorite hiding places.  No Buddy.  Next move, do the shake the treat bag.  Not a creature stirring.  Then I did the go out the front door and come back in thing.  That usually shakes her world.  No Buddy.  So I called Roy to see if by any chance Buddy had been up when he left at dark thirty.  He said that Buddy was asleep by my side when he left.  I went back outside and called her name.  A neighbor walking her dog probably got the shock of her early morning life seeing me with Albert Einstein hair and my beautiful jammies.  Came back in and threw on some workout clothes that I don't seem to wear for working out and decided to get in the car and drive around the neighborhood.  Pulled the car out...garage door will not close.  This is the first time it has done this on any other morning but Sunday.  Came back into the garage and got the door to go down on the first try, unset the alarm and came into the house just to go back out the front door to continue my search.  I am singing, no Buddy knows the trouble I feel, no Buddy knows but Jesus.  Who was sitting there at the laundry room door?  Buddy.  So glad to see her but need to find her new hiding place. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

And the Door Finally Came Down

Do you see our garage door?  This door works everyday except on Sunday mornings.  Last week we fooled the door and parked Sequisha on the driveway on Saturday night.  Fast forward to this morning.  Roy had gone early to work out before leaving for church.  I was ready faster than normal so I decided to back the car out.  Door goes up just fine.  I go into the garage to shut the will not go down.  By way of discovery in the last four times this has happened we learned that if we hold the button the whole time the door is going down and release it right before it gets to the ground, the door will shut.  I tried two time and didn't time it properly.  I had decided not to panic and I remember what John Bolin said Friday night in choir...having done all to stand...stand.  I was going to "stand" this behavior of the garage door.  Can garage doors be demon possessed?  Anyway I stood by the door and prayed.  I asked God to break the power that the devil has a hold of our door on Sunday mornings.  I was prepared to Jericho march but I didn't really want to mess up my hair.  Plus the no trumphet thing.  Behhold I stand at the door and pray. Know there are verses about the window of heaven opening, I need to find a verse about doors closing. I went back to the garage door button and pushed it in faith, asking God's direction of when to let my people go...I mean let the button go.  He answered my prayer and delivered my hair in pretty good condition and I didn't break a nervous sweat before leaving.  Roy came home just a few minutes after the door came tumbling an orderly way of course.  I had to tell him about God's answered prayer.  This afternoon after we got home from church and lunch, Roy went out there and sprayed the Blaster stuff the garage man told us to use.  One spraying is supposed to last 3-4 months.  Guess for us it is 3-4 days.  Door worked beautifully.  This is the strangest thing!

This morning I returned to the choir loft after a long absence.  It felt good to be back and singing with friends and worshipping God.  It was the best loft time physically for me in several years.  So thankful for that.  I did have a little lightheaded event in Life Bible Study but hey, I will take that over feeling that way in the choir loft any day. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


It is dark and even with a breeze it is dang hot outside.  Since I have neglected my plants a bit in the past two weeks I decided that tonight I needed to get out there and take care of business.  I was only out there for thirty minutes and sweat is pouring from my brow.  Roy had to go out and finish up the job for me.  The past few days have been rather warm but not compared to the heat of last summer, but I sense that inner urging to decorate in autumnal tones and it is still hotter than a bad girl's dream out there. 

Today was a catch up kind of day for us.  We took care of several minor projects and rested a whole bunch.  Friday night we had an extra rehearsal for choir.  Peggy and I rode together and made a quick stop at Macy's so she could pick up some pre-bought makeup to get the bonus...only Macy's wasn't having a bonus promotion.  I hope she figures out where she bought make up.  Had a blast at choir practice.  We worked hard and had fun.  Afterwards we stopped at Pappy's for dessert with Dana.  It has been a lot of years since I've been to Pappy's after choir practice.  Good times!

Buddy got her mani/pedi this morning.  She is never thrilled about that.  Roy discovered that Fry Road is now open all the way to 1463.  The prairie is getting populated my friends.

This afternoon we met Dena for a late lunch.  Who knew that Chuy's is a happening place with a 25 minute wait at 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon?  We opted for Spring Creek.  It was good.  Roy was the only carnivore today and because Dena and I ate veggies we split some banana pudding.  It was so calorie worthy.  Roy and I thought about stopping at Lowe's on the way home to look at bird baths but it was so crowded and so hot, we opted to just come on home.  Great choice because we didn't do anything once we hit the house.  Roy is thrilled that football has started and I watched an Andy Griffith marathon. 

There was a wonderful surprise for me in the mail today.  Two letters from my cousin Becky!  I was thrilled because I love some snail mail letters.  Becky, she reads Monablog, thank you, you made my day. 

This has been a relatively quiet summer.  May was our last really busy month.  The slow pace and the quiet has been so welcomed.  I have been doing a lot of reading.  Well, more than usual for me.  I have spent a lot of time in the Old Testament, taking in truth and loving the stories.  I've started a writing project that I have been toying with on and off now for several years.  I'm not looking for a book contract or a ministry or anything like that.  Just want to get something crossed off my bucket list. 

Ah, the ceiling fan has done its job and I have finally cooled off. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

All's Quiet on the Western Plot

Yesterday marks the one year anniversary of moving into our home.  We had actually started before the 8th but we consider the 8th the anniversary date because that is the day the movers came and transported everything out here to our little house on the prairie.  I went back to last year's blog posts and re-read the days leading up to and after the move.  Wow, I forgot a lot of those details and I am so glad that they were recorded on the blog.  It's like the other day when I went on iTunes and looked over the pod casts of our services in 2009 or so.  I totally forgot we had gone through the book of Genesis.  I blame that on concentrating so much in those days on my health and not so much to other things going on around me. 

Last night was the kick off for the new season of The Choir and Orchestra of Houston's First Baptist Church.  It was a blast!  I had forgotten the spirit of love and fellowship of choir and found myself immersed to overflowing in the Lord, the music, John and Jill's leadership and friendship.  This my soul knows very well.  There are a lot of encouragers in choir and I benefited from their words and dare I say it?  Hugs...there I said it.  It has been a near recent development that I have become more huggy and letting people in my space.   In the spring I had made several attempts at returning and circumstances and health interfered.  I soaked in every note, although I can't read music I can tell when the tune goes up or down, chord, whatever that is, words both in songs and those shared by John, catching up with friends and was so wired it took me awhile to settle down once I got home.  I hate to report I ruined all that goodness by watching the DVR of Honey Boo Boo Child.  Words escape me about this program.  I may find words for another post someday. 

We also had a little scare with Buddy last night.  Roy was asleep and I was in the other room being appalled by Honey Boo Boo.  OK, I knew the program was going to be like it was because of how they acted on Toddlers and Tiaras yet still...anyway Buddy comes in the room acting all weird.  Her tongue is hanging out and something is wrong with her mouth.  She wouldn't let me come near her and I chased her into the bedroom which wakes up Roy.  You know from previous posts he is not at his best in a nighttime sudden emergency wake up but last night he came to the rescue and is my hero.  I think he heard the fear in my voice.  He was able to get Buddy and hold her for us to see the problem.  Part one of bravery he held onto Buddy while she was scratching and clawing to get out of his grasp.  Part two of bravery, he didn't have on a shirt so he was taking a direct hit rather claw.  I'm frantically trying to see what's the matter.  Buddy had a piece of pink plastic caught in her bottom teeth.  So it wasn't her tongue hanging out but she was doing a whole lot of licking to add with the kicking.  Even though Buddy resisted I think she knew we were trying to help and didn't bite me as hard as she could have.  Part three of bravery, Roy holds fighting, biting, clawing Buddy and removes the plastic from her teeth.  Cue Bette are the wind beneath my wings.  In time the excitement of the moment died down.  Buddy eventually made her way back to me and laid on my lap.  At midnight it was time to go to bed and Buddy didn't leave my side all night long.  It was a traumatic experience for all of us.  Maybe not Roy, he lost sleep but was able to go right back into dreamland.  How do I know Buddy didn't leave my side last night, no sheep removal or grazing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Compelling Stories and Other Tuesday Stuff

Another exciting day here on the prairie as I wait for the lawn service guy to come and treat our yard.  At his inspection last week he determined that our backyard needed to be watered a little more.  So thankful for the inch of rain we had on Sunday that has helped our yard and flowers and actually, me.  I've been a tad remiss in taking care of the flowers and such with the Olympics on and having a few more social nights. 

Jason Swiggart spoke on Sunday morning.  Members of our staff are filling in while our pastor is on sabbatical.  This is the best I have ever heard Jason and believe me I got to hear him a lot since I was his ministries associate for six years.  Those on the leadership team get to take a sabbatical every seven years and Jason just came back from his.  I remember his first sabbatical really well because he came back a changed man.  He came back focused and with a plan but more compelling were the changes in how he worshipped and obeyed the Lord.  And the changes and rebuilding that began on that first sabbatical stuck. 

Sunday afternoon we had a nice surprise.  Emily and David were out here in the Rancho de Five and wanted to know if we would like to meet for dinner?  They came by the house first and after lots of laughs and conversation we chose Black Walnut Cafe as our dinning option.  Love their grilled cheese and tomato soup. 

Last night was "not bunko night."  We've become a Phase 10 group.  Last night our gathering was at CourtneyS and when not bunko is at CourtneyS, you know that pure deliciousness is included in the evening activities.  Girl can cook.can bake.sets a beautiful table.  We had her famous biscuits and bacon last night.  Yum!  It was great catching up with everyone because I had to miss our last gathering and we took off meeting in July. 

Olympic fever or fervor creates an unusual interest and excitability in sports we don't even think about until another Olympics rolls around.  For sure if I was invited to go watch a swim meet or a diving competition, I'd have to use the oldest excuse in the book...I've got to wash my hair that night.  I might be persuaded to go to a track and field event but probably not.  But if it is a sport in the Olympics, we are glued to the TV or have our DVRs set to catch all the action.  We sit through and some cry through past Olympic montages.  We remember what that one foot stick the landing did to all of us in 1996 and how it inspired us to always stick the landing no matter what in life.  Then smile and raise our arms in victory, then fall to the mat and wait for help.  Well, maybe that last stuff we weren't supposed to be inspired by.  Such compelling stories of overcoming adversity or years of sacrifice for that one Olympic Sized Moment.  I think of friends whose stories of life are just as compelling or maybe even more compelling because their hard work and sacrifice is not for one Olympic moment or two but for survival and day to day existence and they get through each day not by sheer will and determination, but knowing they totally have to depend on the strength of the Lord.

This is totally off subject, not that there is any one theme in this post but I wonder how you become and ite or an ian or a ion or stine?  This is in reference to people and tribes in the Bible.  There were Jebusites, Amalakites, Hittities...etc...there are Assyrians, Egyptians...Babylonians and Philistines.  What determines the ending of names? 

Tomorrow we will celebrate our first anniversary of moving into our house.  I cannot believe it has been a year!   We have celebrated and had fun in our new home and we've walked some hard days of my mom's illness and passing.  She never got to see our home not because I didn't invite them but because my invite was turned down.  So many times when I have plant and gardening questions I wish she could be reached by a quick phone call.  She would have loved sitting on our patio and enjoying the evening breeze that seems to be a constant out here in prairie land.   Roy and I still have projects to do around here but we are working through the list.  Last week I finally bought a small refrigerator for the casita bedroom.  Now I need to get a trundle mattress and coffee maker to complete the room. 

I could end by telling you my compelling story of how I will overcome obstacles to go grocery shopping later today, but I'll leave compelling stories to the professionals.  Well at least for now. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Very Happy %* Birthday

This had to be one of the best birthdays ever!  It was a weekend long celebration and as most readers know, I love the extendomatic birthday.  The celebration story begins in June for me but in actuality the story has its beginnings in March because that is when Dena purchased tickets for The Lion King.  At the end of June she asked me to save the date August 2 and she really wanted to tell me then but, she's so good, she waited to tell me what the save the date was all about in July.  To say I was blown away is an understatement!  And not only were we going to The Lion King but I got to pick two people to come with us.  Of course I gave Roy the first right of refusal, which he graciously refused in order for me to ask friends.  I invited Peggy and Emily.  Neither Dena nor I had ever seen The Lion King and we were not disappointed.  I think I could go back and see that production several more times. 

So on Thursday afternoon Dena came over and we picked up Peggy and headed over to Vincent's for dinner.  Emily met us there.  We got to the Hobby Center in plenty of time to take pictures and buy souvenirs.  Oh yes, and the most important, pre show potty stop.  We had great seats, both in the bathroom and the show.  I realized I couldn't just say we had great seats right after talking about a bathroom stop...the seats at the show were even better.  We could see everything and be totally amazed by the creativity.  Yep, I am going to give it an amazing, amazing rating because it truly was.  Out of that sell out crowd, we ran into friends from long ago choir days, Angel and Lou.  Great catching up and seeing Angel's daughter and granddaughters.  Peggy saw other friends she knows.  I think Peggy sees friends wherever she goes be it play or grocery store or Target....

 We show that we're grrrrreat by sporting Lion King shirts.

Dena, Peggy and I headed for the prairie.  Dena spent the night in the luxurious guest bedroom...:) which Buddy happily shared.  Although I think Buddy has a hands off policy on anyone besides her moving sheep from that room.  We stayed up and watched Olympic recaps.  The next morning, early, like around 5:45 am Roy calls and excitedly relays the word, Shipley's has officially opened.  He had bought some donuts and if I would meet him at the front door, he would bring them back before heading out to the office.  I have to be honest, at first I was not thrilled about the early morning call and really couldn't believe that the man who doesn't eat donuts would be so thrilled about Shipley's.  It wasn't that he was thrilled, he was being thoughtful because he knew Dena and I had stayed up late and he didn't think we would be able to actually do our plans of going out for breakfast before our mani/pedi appointment.  He was right.  We were able to ease into the morning and to get to our appointment early.  After the treat of the salon, we headed over to Las Almades for lunch.  The same waiter served us that had several months ago when Peggy, Dena and I went there for dinner.  He remembered the flauta off the menu request.  Great lunch.  Since time was growing short we only shopped at Home Goods.  Of course my arch nemesis, the mini van, stole my parking place that I had been waiting on.  It really made me mad and I was going to just pull behind her and sit.  Then when we saw that she went into Home Goods, I was going to run into her with a cart, accidentally.  No, we could just stand near her and talk about the stinking mini van driver that KNEW she took my parking place.  I was about to go say something when I heard that still small voice speak into my spirit, What are you doing?  Stop this nonsense right now!   So I did and happily continued shopping and both Dena and I found things we needed to purchase. 

We came home and had delicious birthday cake. 

Saturday afternoon we met Emily and David at Taste of Texas.  We did the senior adult go eat at 4:00 thing.  You really have to there.  It was fun and the food delicious. 

Thank you all for the cards in the mail and the Facebook birthday wishes.  That really made my day.  So, I am looking forward to this next year another year older, maybe not wiser but most certainly blessed by a wonderful husband and the best friends anyone could ever ask for.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ain't No Cure for Summer Time Olympic Fever

We have Olympic Fever here.  I didn't think we would catch it, but the hype and Twitter made it simply irresistible.  (80's song flashback)  I am so glad I knew the outcome while I was watching because I might not have ever fallen asleep last night.  During the commercials I did predustination preparing for Chris coming tomorrow and cleaning the house.  If predustination were an Olympic event, I believe I might have taken the gold.  The difficulty of the couch dismount and with only a few deductions for style is why I believe I could have been awarded the gold.  The casualties of Olympic Fever are the flowers outdoors.  I really need to dead head them and do a soaking for the plants.  Buddy must have Olympic bird watching fever because she is still asleep at the end of our bed.  She is missing some great bird activity this morning.  Roy dropped out of Olympic coverage around 10:15 but I stayed up.  Partly staying up was due to the fact I took my meds rather late and they needed some time to kick in.  In order to get the adrenaline back into normal ranges I flipped between late night recaps and World at War.  World at War probably wasn't the best choice because of the victory factor of winning the war and that is what was on late last night...the end of WWII. 

Another factor that might have led to restlessness last night is from the Shipley Donuts Roy brought home.  He was on his way to the gym and he saw people in the new Shipley out here in Rancho de Five.  He stopped in only to find out they were getting all the new employees up to speed and are hoping for an opening on Friday.  They gave him two donuts and he brought them home and then went on his way to the gym.  Oh my it has been sometime since I have had a Shipley's even with the plethora available on Sunday mornings. 

Roy has become the grill master.  He is grilling great burgers, chicken, veggie kabobs, a small little steak for me, and last night turkey sausage.  I think he enjoys grilling as much as I am enjoying him grilling.  Sides are a quick fix and don't zap the energy to prepare like other stuff, so I guess I am becoming the side mistress.   

Yesterday, Roy had a lawn treatment guy come out and check the brown spots in our grass.  We didn't know if it was fungus or cinch bugs.  Well, it was neither nor.  Our yard guys are cutting the grass a little too close so says the lawn treatment guy.  He'll be back next Tuesday for our first lawn treatment.  He does seven a year.  Maintenance whether it be home, yard or body comes with a high price but the irony is, it comes at a higher price if things aren't properly taken care of. 

I continue with my Bible reading and yesterday I finished up II Chronicles and went on to parts of  Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther and finished up reading the Song of Songs.  That girl in Song of Songs runs around a lot looking for Solomon, thinking she has lost him.  Then he comes knocking at her door and she doesn't let him in, so he leaves, then she leaves to look for him, again, and gets beat up by the watchmen on the tower.  Then that chorus that follows her around isn't exactly encouraging.  Girl may have found love, but it's messing her up something fierce.  Contrast to Esther and she gets a year's worth of salon and spa appointments and she is dressing up in the finest designer clothes, she has maids and someone watching out for her. She even has someone who cooks and helps her to eat healthy.  I find it much easier to eat healthy if you have help.  Healthy eating takes a lot of prep work.  Then comes her turn to see the king, boom, crown on her head...she's the queen.  I think I like biblical option number 2 better.  I was telling this to Roy last night and he said but Esther still competed with concubines and I told him so did SOS girl, but Esther got the crown, got to live in a palace and continued spa treatments.  Another thing I noticed yesterday in Ezra, there at the end when names are named for men marrying the women of the land and had to repent...only one singer was named but there were scads of others.  Like it that only one singer had disobeyed.  There is something to singing and worshipping God that guards the heart.  Oh, for those who don't really know me and are reading maybe for the first time, I like finding ironic things in the Bible and doing comparisons.  I'm not a biblical scholar, that is obvious, and I tend to the humorous side of life.  It's kind of like the time when I was a child that my mom asked me, 'who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?'  I didn't know this Queen of Sheba, so I looked at Encyclopedias and the Bible and came back to my mom with the answer of, 'who wouldn't want to be the Queen of Sheba?'  I got in trouble for sass instead of being rewarded for looking up subject matter that I knew nothing about.  For goodness sake, I used the encyclopedias that my dad thought we didn't use and would bring them up whenever we asked for something.  "I bought those encyclopedias for you all and I never see you read them."  Maybe because when I read them, you were at work dad?  Thankfully, I kept that thought to myself. 

I am anxious to hear from my Cardiologist when I can cut back on the meds that eat me alive and take my lunch money.  There have been a couple of episodes this week where my heart is struggling to go out of rhythm.  This stuff slows me down even more than the other stuff I take.  I'm just so thankful for a regular beat and to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the Living.