Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shutters on Saturday

We've got shutters!  The installation man was here a little before 9:00 and had everything done around 10:30.  Roy's study as well as the casita bedroom got plantation shutters along with the reading room.  .  I still liked the dark blinds in the study but it wouldn't have matched the reading room formally known to others as a dinning room which all the windows can be seen from the courtyard.  Then the little casita windows face the front of the house so that looks really, really nice. 

This is two early beginnings of the day in a row.  I am prone to ease into the day.  Yesterday, Chris came to clean the house.  Peggy needed to trade my regular Wednesday for her Friday.  Not a prob but Chris comes around 7:15 am.  So we were up and almost ready to roll when she arrived.  We mailed some stuff which included return to sender mail that has the names of almost everyone of Roy's family members on it.  If it was important we would send it on but I don't think any of my s-i-l are worried that this might be their last catalog if said company doesn't hear from them.  Then we breakfasted at Black Walnut and checked out Sprouts afterwards.  Sprouts is awesome!  We got some really good deals.  The produce is so fresh and the take home meals, you know I was going to investigate that, look really good and are more reasonably priced than Whole Foods.  Roy tasted a sample of their meatloaf and he loved it.  Roy doesn't like or love meatloaf, usually.  They didn't have peeled oranges but I can make that special trip to Whole Foods to get that.  We came home and put up the cold stuff and headed out the door since Chris is still working.  I went to the land of sugar to get a haircut and highlights.  Roy went to the land of home improvement to buy a flat of snap dragons, sold out, water softening rock salt and augers for our trees out front.  We both got home around the same time, we were both ready for a late lunch, so we went to Spring Creek.  There is a Houston Garden and Patio near by Spring Creek so we stopped and got some snap dragons.  This was a much better HG&;P than the one on 99.

I had my first difficult day since my surgery yesterday.  I could feel my heart trying to slosh and the beat was out of whack.  Today, I feel great.  They told me I might have episodes like this but I have been very fortunate not to have anything like yesterday. 

Just got in from my first attempt at working in the backyard flowerbeds this spring.  I planted the 24 flat of snap dragons and when Roy came outside he helped me rearrange the patio furniture.  He has gone on to ride as I opted out.  Funny thing that has happened since moving to Rancho De Five, if I spend time working in the house or yard, afterwards I just want to sit here and take it in.  I've been itching to rearrange the red gate over the mantel and put it in my reading room.  Then I took the new picture I got at Home Goods last week and put it over the mantel.  Monday all the Easter decorations will get put away and then I'll bring out the smattering of spring stuff.  If you know me can you even believe I am writing this kind of stuff?  I need to go out to the casita bedroom tonight and get everything back on my project desk. 

I cannot get the song Footloose out of my head and I am blaming my church.  Every time I see the Easter promo in the paper with the young guy that looks like he is either throwing dice and thinking, baby needs new shoes or he looks like he is dancing to Footloose, that song becomes an ear worm.  Everyone else advertising in the paper has three crosses or an empty tomb or even worse than the Footloose guy, a big ol' picture of the pastor.  Oh yes, that will convince me to come.  I remember a study I read about when I was on staff at church that if the first thing you saw was the ministry person on the website or in emails, that totally disenfranchised the 30 and younger group.  So glad our church does not do that. 

Roy and I went into Houston to get Memorial Bakery cookies for tomorrow.   Even though we had barbecue yesterday, we ate at Good Company.  I do wish Good Company would come on out here.  Love that sauce!  We stopped and got some what a deal knockout roses at the Kroger and then Roy went to Good Ol Boys to pick up a lemon tart and a key lime pie.  Yes for Easter we are only eating dessert items.  Nah, we are joining in with Peg's crew for lunch. 

When Roy gets back from his ride we are going to grill our blue cheese hamburgers for dinner that we bought at Sprouts yesterday.  Then I am going to get back to reading The Land Between.  It is a great book. 

Happy Easter!  He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sayings, Compliance and Tells

Today I grabbed a cough drop and noticed the writing on the wrapper.  There are several affirmations on them.  Stuff like keep your chin up, put a little strut in it, bet on yourself, inspire envy, flex your can do muscle, get through it and many more.  What?  Really?  Affirmations from your cough drop wrapper?  I want that cough drop to alleviate any cough due to cold or a lingering heart cough.  The little sayings should be, cover your mouth when you cough, quit sniffling and blow your nose, don't forget to wash your hands and if you hock up a lugie, take care of it quietly. Reminds me of some jammies I had and on the cute little decorative draw string were sayings and words to live by, NOT!!!  Yes, I know saying not is not in vogue, well neither is's dead to me.  Ah yes, finally a trendy saying. 

I met Laurie M for lunch today at Bistro N.  That's what they are calling the Bistro in the Nord now.  I came a little early to do some shopping before lunch  We had a great time and we stayed around after we finished eating.  Guess the constant check back and take away of things until the table was empty was the BIG hint to leave.  A lot of the world's problems are solved in the Bistro and I don't know why no one will listen to our well thought out solutions. 

Roy sent me an email today with an invite to go to a dinner one of the nights we will be in Washington DC for the Compliance Conference.  I asked what was the dress attire and he told me sport coat and tie.  Uh no, don't think that would be an option for me.  The only reason I would like to go is because it is at some historic hotel right across the street from the White House and the views are said to be astounding.  I have to weigh that with, it's a major accounting firm hosting a dinner that has to do with internal compliance.  Certainly I would have to bring something along to keep me amused because you know Dodd/Frank, Sarbanes/Oxley, and Ebony and Ivory are just riveting subjects to me.  I had a phone long time ago that had some great animation that kept me mesmerized during boring subject matter and shop talk.  Maybe I can find a fun app or something.  I asked Roy if he really wanted me to go with him and he's not sure. We are staying at The Mayflower and he said it is about 8/10 of a mile to go to the dinner and he would like to walk.  If I am in heels, nah.  I'm thinking room service or something like that for me would be best.  That way I don't have to bring dressy type clothes and one of my least favorite things in the world to do is be Mrs. Monarch instead of just Nancy.   

I started writing this post late on Wednesday night.  Now I am eating breakfast and preparing to go to Bible study. It's our last day of Hebrews and we begin Philippians homework this week.  I have learned a lot from Hebrews but I am ready to move into another book. 

When you go to Israel you see a lot of places with the word Tell or Tel in front of the name of the place, like Tel Dan.  I read the other day what the meaning of tell or tel is.  A tel is a mound formed over hundreds of years by the repeated destruction of a city and it continual rebuilding on top of the accumulated ruins.  This information tuned me into my own tells.  I have a stack of magazines that I  plan on reading.  From time to time I go through them and either finally read or finally recycle them.  Yet, I keep piling new magazines on top of the old.  So I shall now name the spot where the magazines are stacked, Tell NewSoOpSimpOxLady.  Translation, the huge stack of New Yorkers. Southern Living, Oprah, Real Simple, Oxford American and Southern Lady.  There is also a smattering of Garden and Gun magazines. 

I'm excited!  Our plantation shutters are being installed Saturday morning.  Sooner than expected.  Now I must go clear out a few 'tels' in the casita bedroom. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

No Encounters of the Minivan Kind

Maybe it's because of my almost brushes with minivans yesterday but I decided to cook last night.  I picked up some fresh zipper cream peas, added some turkey sausage and veggies and you've got yourself a dinner or something.  This is actually more of a summer thing.  So instead of fixing soup or wanting cheese enchiladas, the peas won out.  I only needed some homegrown tomatoes and I would have been in business. 

So I am in the process of making vacation plans.  Last night as I was looking through options of different places I started looking at Chamber of Commerce sites.  The video that advertised one particular destination included people who had moved to the area and they hadn't planned on staying but they loved the town and almost to a person each one said we have so many churches here where you can find an abundance of new friends.  That led to look at church websites.  Most of them were really well done and made me want to just go there one Sunday but the biggest Baptist church in that town and it happened to have a First before the Baptist was so, so, so, out of it.  Their website still looked like ones from the late 90's or early 2000's.  Each and every staff minister's bio, which means all male except for admin and the preschool person, all were called Brother_________ in the descriptions of their families and schooling.  Yep, it's a Southern thing, but this went way beyond the norm.  I have a feeling this particular church is rebelliously and piously dragging themselves into the 21 century.  The number of Sunday School classes and I call them that because I don't believe the term Life Bible Study would actually work for them for the 65 and 70 year old crowd were top heavy with options but if you were younger than 65, there was only one option for your decade. I guess there aren't many young people there.  See I could go there because I used the term young people but I don't think I would like it very much. 

I certainly hope Roy isn't expecting dinner again.  No, he knows better than to hope for that.  I have requested pizza for dinner, so we'll see if he brings that home with him.

There were no major or minor brushes with minivans today.  Maybe the word is out to stay clear of me.  I'll be venturing from the prairie tomorrow to go into town and meet a friend for lunch and not just any lunch...a Nordstrom lunch.  It has been a while.  I can taste the crab stack just thinking about it. 

Had normal hair today, so no one was scared.  Good thing the circus isn't in town.  I might have been returned to the Big Top yesterday.  Looks like I have a bird fight going on at the feeder.  Better go break it up. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

That's Some Wild and Crazy Bozo Hair

Who knew that this would be one of my favorite things about moving out to Rancho de Five and that is watching the sunrise.  The sky turning from darkness to all pink hued and then to full on light.  It is beautiful and it never fails to astound.  The birds are gathering for the morning feeding and it will only be a matter of minutes before the mockingbird shows up and scatters the grouping, even if just for a few minutes.  The morning seems to be calmer than yesterday when gale force winds howled and bent the trees.  The birds struggled to hang on the feeder and I wouldn't have been surprised if anyone of them became car sick.  It was also a lucky day for a few of the doves and what I am trying to say without saying it is, we should be seeing some little baby doves soon.  That is if they survive.  Doves are not the smartest nest builders around. 

I am still meditating on what I heard and learned this past weekend at the leadership development training.  For sure this statement will stick with me and there was an audible..ouch..from the participants when we heard this.  When God began His walk with the Israelites it was about relationship.  When the Gospel made it to Greece, it became more of an idea.  When the Gospel came to America, it became an enterprise.  Ouch again!  I was just reviewing my notes from The Land Between.  I think this book is tying in nicely with my word for the year, proceed.  This heart season has truly been a land between and I'm thankful to be moving toward the land of promise.  Something that I want to stick with me from that time is, don't get so busy you miss the uniqueness in everyday life and not being busy just for the sake of being busy.  There is a lot to be said for experiencing stillness. 

So I thought I had a hair appointment today and I'm so glad I called to see if I had messed up and yes I had.  My appointment is later this week.  So what does one do when they are up and dressed and ready to head out the door?  They head out the door but it didn't dawn on me until I saw my reflection in Target's windows that I hadn't done one thing to my hair...since I thought it was salon day.  I kind of was wearing the Bozo the clown look...flat hair on the top of my head and the sides sticking straight out like I had put my finger in an electrical socket.  One little girl that looked to be about 4 stared at me with a frightened look.  She is probably afraid of clowns and here coming down the aisle is her worst nightmare.  When checking out the lady mentioned how many stuffed Easter eggs I had and so as any AARP card toting fifty something would do.  I told her why I had that many eggs.  The neighbors in our neighborhood are organizing an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday morning and bring a dozen stuffed Easter eggs for each child to the neighbor that is collecting them.  Since we don't have kiddos we decided to buy eggs already stuffed because most people get nervous when childless people donate stuff to children's activities unless it is money.  Instead of stuffing those eggs ourselves I'm giving like a 100 eggs that have already been stuffed.  So the I told the checker this story and added because we are not weird or strange people.  Then she looked at my hair and kind of had a nervous laugh.  I felt like I hadn't scared enough children so after Target I went to Home Goods and Kroger's.  No wonder two minivans ran stop signs today with me being the benefactor of  potential minivan damage except I had a few smart out-maneuvering moves.  Looking back it was probably my lack of hair product that caused these women to speed through well marked stop signs.  I was starting to get a little paranoid about minivans and they were out in force this morning.  So note to self, never go shopping right after moms have dropped off kids at school because those women go crazy with freedom.  In all fairness I must also report that a Lexus SUV nearly ran me over in the Kroger parking lot and I saw a BMW run a stop sign.  I should have ran around yelling like Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith show, 'citizens arrest, citizens arrest.  Only I would have been carted to the security area because of my wild and crazy Bozo hair. 

The birds need some water in the bird bath.  I usually go out and clean it before adding water but it is too dang cold to stand out there any amount of time and especially mess with water.  I think we have maybe one more night in this season to use the fireplace.  I need to finish my Hebrews homework and those sly dogs at CBS with their review questions have us reading the whole book of Hebrews one more time.  I'm rethinking my plan of dropping off the Easter eggs at the neighbors until tomorrow cause by then I will have at least tamed the Bozo do into something that looks like this will do. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Leadership, Late Lunch and Logistics

Roy just returned home.  He tried to ride his Trek in all this wind.  I think he had high hopes that it really wasn't that bad, but it is.  Watching the trees being blown about in the wind gives a clue. 

I spent Friday night and Saturday at a Leadership Conference done by Community Bible Study.  It was great!  The sessions, except for one I attended, were helpful and informative.  The speakers dynamic but genuine.  Words spoken from the heart without slick presentation and agenda driven topics.  Well, except for one.  About 24 from our group attended.  We had a blast with one another and had some great laughs Friday night.  I overheard several conversations this weekend by women, who I don't even know, say this is so much better than going to a women's retreat.  With the exception of a few men speakers, much of the leadership there this weekend were women.  A very nice and welcomed surprise for this Baptist girl.  The video clips they used throughout the weekend were some of the best I have ever seen here.  It's worth the time to watch it.  Another thing I noticed, the same words over used here in Houston are overused in the state of Colorado and Michigan, amazed (but no amazing, amazing), ramp up, unpack, and I think the term vision casting is synonymous to using the term, give leadership to.  Lots and lots of vision casters looking for minions to make their vision happen.  I think this is kind of like a Ponzi scheme in that you only benefit being a vision caster if you are the first to do it in the group of people you work and serve with.  Funny, Jesus told the disciples to cast nets not vision.  The sessions on teamwork were just about the best I have ever heard and broken down into simple enough bite sized concepts.  The session of what to do in the land between by Jeff Manion was deeply, deeply thought provoking.  It spoke to me and so I bought the book.  There was only one session that I didn't find interesting but fortunately my friend sitting with me has about the same attention span.  We tried not to act up but there were many things that made us laugh.  In order to keep ourselves quiet, we doodled, she being a much better doodler than me.  This guy was so slick and a tab bit egotistical but that's what bored and entertained us. What was refreshing about the conference, only two chances to buy resources.  So you didn't have people hanging out at the table the whole time. Not one used emotional tugs to get the response they wanted.  It didn't seem like it had been planned by a marketing person so the presentation was genuine and not full of production values and over the top graphics and lights.  The soon retiring executive director of Community Bible Study, Camilla Seabolt taught her session and her two breakout sessions.  She didn't welcome everyone, do the door prizes or give all the announcements.  It didn't seem like the farewell tour.  That is true leadership when one trusts staff and others on stage with important duties.  Camilla has my utmost respect.  When we sang the last song and it was over they didn't try to wrap it all up with a bow, they just told us goodbye and thank you for attending. 

After the conference I met Dena at Molina's for an early dinner.  It was delicious and fun to get caught up.  Then I headed back toward the prairie very full on both the Word and Mexican food.  Since I had stayed up till 2:00 am on Friday night I really thought I would be hitting the bed around 8:00 pm, but I actually made it till 10:30.  We slept in today because both of us were so very, very tired.  This is how tired we were, we didn't even go out for breakfast.  So there you go.

Wednesday night I needed to leave choir early and when I got to the car, what did I find?  A minivan had pulled so close to my side of the car leaving only about 5 inches to open the door.  Ah minivans, they are my arch nemesis.  No one was parked by the passenger side, so I got in the car and tried to figure out how I was going to get into the driver seat with two knees that don't bend.  I kept thinking, I need some leverage or something so I opened the sun roof thinking if I could get one leg out and up maybe I could have enough space to maneuver into the driver seat.  At one point and I do not know how this happened I had both my legs out of the sun roof.  Now I got to thinking about how this must look and that's when I saw the flashing light of....Deacon Patrol.  Their first thought isn't going to be someone must be trying to scoot across the front seat, no it looked more like a situation that couples who have no other place to use for, let's see how should I say this, to be close to one another do.  Really?  Why would this be happening in the front seat when the seats fold down in back and would be a much better place?  So I am losing precious time thinking about that.  I need to get into the seat with both legs before being seen by the Deacon Patrol.  I opened the car door just a bit, turned, got one knee bent and over and somehow, the other knee made it over the console and I was in business.  Now I have to confess, back in the day I would have done something to the minivan but with cameras everywhere, you can't take the chance.  I was tempted to pull off every other stick figure of family off the back window.  If only I carried an exacto knife with me I would have made some changes to the bumper sticker on the back.  It said, 'My Child is a Honor Student at__________.'  I would have exactoed the sticker to read 'My Child is a Ho.'  If you are a friend and drive a minivan, please do not be offended by my constant battle with minivans.

So there you have it, life at both extremes. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Few Thoughts on Storms

Early in the morning in the middle of the night, it was a dark and stormy morning.  Guess what I'm trying to convey is, dude it stormed big time out here in Rancho de Five.  In fact this is the worst storm we've experienced out here meaning the accumulation of hail, thunder and lightning and the torrent of rain that made everything blur into gray outside.  I should have known something was up because just a few minutes before the storm started moving into our area Buddy woke up and she used me as her springboard and extra leverage to bolt out of our room.  That woke up Roy and he got up to go to the neccitarium.  Then in that few seconds I began to hear thunder off in the distance and a few drops of big raindrops.  I got up and by the time I had walked into our family room it was pouring rain and little chunks of hail were hitting the windows.  Roy came on into the study to look at the radar and we were shocked to see that Rancho de Five on the radar was beyond the color purple of bad weather, the radar showed deep, dark purple or black.  We turned on the porch light and saw a nice accumulation of hail.  Buddy was mournfully crying underneath the bookcases.  For a passing moment I thought we should join her there.  Roy announces he is going back to bed and I decide to stay up and watch the storm move on through.  Because everyone knows if you keep watch in a storm nothing bad will happen verses trying to sleep through a storm.  So Buddy the scardy cat and I sat in the study listening to the howling winds, cringing at the hail pounding the roof, and watching the rain.  It seemed to be as good time as any to look at Facebook and Twitter to see any updates or if any Rancho peeps were up with the storm.  There were several green dots by friend's names and Peggy and I actually made a few comments and while we were up so early wished her youngest daughter Jaime, a Happy Birthday.  Peggy said she was going to check out what was in her frig.  I got a drink of juice and headed back to bed, hoping to be able to fall back asleep.  Wasn't a problem at all.

Yesterday, I started working on a post about storms but not actual weather storms, but the storms we experience in life.  This quote from a FB friend, "Some people create their own storms, then get upset when it rains." grabbed my thoughts because I know so many that are going through the stormy season.  Some but not all find themselves in a storm that they created either through being a storm maker or from lack of action being sucked into the whirlpool of  other people's storms.  Others didn't pay attention to the storm warnings and find themselves stuck in or in the aftermath of devastating life storms.  I am embarrassed to admit that I used to be a devoted storm maker and did so because I was pretty darn good at it and because I erroneously believed it kept my wit and words sharp.  I figured if I had to be experiencing a storm then by golly I was going to bring others in.  Last night huddled against the forces of nature I might have a new perspective or maybe a renewed understanding of surviving, in tact hopefully, from the experience of storms.  Psalms 107 and Acts 27 are two of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Through these stories we can see the process of, like Barry Manilow has sung so strongly, "We made it through the rain."  Although I love me some Barry, I also love me some Psalm 107.  Yesterday as I re-read it for the millionth time, hmmm maybe a little exaggeration there, but this verse grabbed me.  "He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.  What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor."  I think of my own made storms the blessing of stillness far outshines the chaos of brewing storms.  I think in storms of my own making, I now choose the storm that is worth stirring and the battle worth fighting for.  Like most people in the background noise of life there are things that upset me.  Things that I find unjust and situations of hurts and misunderstandings but yet in all these things, not all are storm worthy.  I'm glad that at least later on in life I have found the joy in the stillness.  Some people never find it.

I was comforted by the fact that if we had another 2:00 am wake up Monday morning that at least I could watch the Pope be Officially Poped. Buddy gave us a rough start at the beginning of the night but soon fell into deep cat sleep. Our mistake, we let her sleep all evening and when we were ready to turn in she wanted to play. She can make the most mournful cry when looking for a little attention. Right now watching the birds is wearing her out. She can hardly grab a cat nap due to the heavy traffic at the feeder and bath. I find myself sitting with her mesmerized by these birds. Only difference is my desire is not to trap and kill just watch and be amused. This little mockingbird is the bomb! She or he can clear out a feeder like nothing else. I can even see her now chasing birds out on the green space. So I sit here watching the birds just like my mom did and I hate to admit it but I would make fun of her bird watching and the stories she would tell us of the birds and their antics.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Treks, Mud Bugs, Brunch and Adventure

We are in the last days of winter but dangerously close today of skipping spring and going right into summer.  Have to love Texas weather.  The rest of the week we are being told will be cooler and I so hope that is true.   Saturday afternoon as Roy and I attempted trek riding it was hot and the wind relentless.  I've had a couple of days where the breeze was strong but Saturday wore me out quickly.  I was trying to impress Roy with how far I had come from riding but I don't think he was impressed.  I also blame the differences in our two treks.  Mine is a little different on the gear shifts so I struggled a bit with that as well.  We did ride 2.54 miles, actually I rode 2.54 miles.  Roy kept riding after safely seeing me home where upon I hydrated even more and took a nap.  This morning's ride was totally different, not much wind and overcast.  It made for a more enjoyable ride but I have quite away to go to catch up with Roy's speed and mileage. 

See, I needed my rest to be in tip top condition to rip mud bugs apart.  We met Bill and Peggy and two other couples for dinner at Good Ol' Boys.  The crayfish hot.  The music, loud zydeco.  If you didn't order crayfish for dinner chances of getting your order, slim to none.  Only the three of us who ordered crayfish got our orders in a timely fashion.  Bill got his much later and his dinner was cold.  Roy and three out of the other couples didn't get dinner at all.  They ended up at Sonic.  We went to HEB.  But Peggy and I had the chance to play with our food.  Not that the chance isn't there at every meal, but crayfish...  Almost as much fun as when we played with our St Peter fish dinner off the Sea of Galilee.  Peggy and I could probably have fun with fish sticks and the fillet o fish from McDonald's.  We are much too easily entertained and amused but we could because we actually had our dinner served not unlike everyone else.  Let me also share there was some good people watching.  Not good people, but people who deserved our stares and comments to one another.  Nothing like four beer buckets to loosen up a crowd.  Four women, three of whom were wearing sleeveless shirts and should have known better, were up dancing around to the music.  Ugh!  Almost ruined our buckets of mud bugs.

After missing several which usually means three but in our case more like five Sundays of church, we went to church yesterday morning.  No, the building didn't implode.  We opted out of Sunday School for the good of relinquishing a parking place on site and I guess since it was the last spring break Sunday there were many open spots for the 11:00 crowd.  We had about an hour to waste before meeting friends at Le Peep for brunch which actually was breakfast since all of us ordered breakfast type food.  What better way to spend an hour?  Go to Nord Rack.  I could have easily been singing I Love the Nord and I Go to the Rack, both songs by Whitney Houston from the Preacher's Wife, as we went inside the store.  I did find three cute summer tops.  Roy contemplated a pair of shoes but decided against getting them.  We had a fun brunch with Emily, David, Peggy and Bill.  Good thing we don't live near a Le Peep anymore because the cinnamon pecan pancakes are yummy. 

The past two nights have held adventure both around 2:00 am.  I've shared my concerns if I had any type of emergency in the middle of the night.  The few heart events I've had at night, Roy has been consistent.  It takes forever to wake him up and when I tell him I'm hurt, in pain, or think I'm dying, he does the same thing.  He gets up and runs to the front door.  Doesn't matter if it is here or when we lived at the condo, he runs to the front door.  Upon arriving at the front door he has awakened enough to know he needs to return to the bedroom and help me.  So Saturday night I hear Roy crying out my name and I awoke immediately, did not run to the front door or pass go or get $200.00.  I asked him what I could do, what was wrong, how can I help?  He was having a really bad charlie horse right along his shin.  I got the Bio Freeze and liniment to help ease the pain.  He relaxed and fell back asleep.  How nice, because I can't go back to sleep wondering if it really was a charlie horse or something more serious.  I only thought that because several years ago he woke up with really bad cramps and as soon as he stood up, he fell, stiff body to his right and hit his head on the nightstand.  I thought he had died.  So until I could finally relax and go to sleep I woke him up about every 15 minutes to check on him.  Last night around 2:00 am I heard him walking around the bedroom and then went into the bathroom and shut the door.  He never does that in the middle of the night. Oh, he goes to the bathroom, he never shuts the door.  I called out to him and he told me he was checking on his watch.  Uh....ok.  I asked him again what the Sam Hill was happening and he told me he was worried about his lunch.  I finally got him to wake up.  He has never, to my knowledge, walked in his sleep.  That is more my department.  Here's hoping that my baby sleeps through the night tonight.  These 2:00 am wake ups are difficult.  Maybe I should just start running to the front door like Roy in the middle of the night.  Maybe he's on to something. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Today I will be saying goodbye to an old friend, Big Red.  Big Red is the mountain bike we bought a little over thirty years ago.  I have had many fun adventures on that bike.  We've been all over Brazos Bend State Park, up and down neighborhood streets, on the mountains of Crested Butte, and on a few Moonlight Madness rides. For many a year Red would be strapped onto the back of the car and went on camping trips, day trips and vacations.  In between adventures she has done a bit of sitting.  When we lived in the condo Big Red got to ride in the elevator and lived not in bike barn on the property but in the entryway or study.  Don't judge, it made me feel like Roy and I were still in college only we never rode our bikes to class.  Several years ago after losing my sense of balance and functional fitness, my doctor recommended I start riding a bike to regain some of my balance.  It was a surprise that when I tried to get on the bike, I couldn't without feeling like I was going to fall.  Big Red is a boy's frame bike and the Schwinn dealer told me the boy's bike frame would make my bike a lot sturdier on rough rides but now it only hindered attempts of riding any of the nature trails around us.  The few times I tried to ride there was at least one bike spill in a very short distance.  So we bought a girl bike and this time a road bike that would be fine on the trails in Rancho de Five.  I still had the balance problem and my legs bore the varicose veins of older age and the knee and calf scabs of childhood.  Both of those combined is not a good look.  Truthfully on their own, not a good look. Today, we are bringing home a Trek for me.  Since it is like a recumbent bike it is less stressful on my knees and because of the low profile even on windy days it is fun to ride.  The bike place where we buy Treks has offered a fair price for both Big Red and Roy's mountain bike.  I hate to see Red go, but we need the space that the two unmoved bikes take.  It is good to know that Big Red is going to a good home and will be used like a townie bike and not just going to the scrap heap.  So goodbye good and faithful bike.  Our friendship was sealed in miles and joy filled through adventure. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I'm debating on whether to trek or not this morning.  Last night and early this morning my leanings were toward not but as I've been awake and moving around a bit, I'm thinking I might make a few laps around the water feature. 

Yesterday afternoon I attempted to stay out of the way of the housekeeper.  I had several errands to run.  Finally got batteries changed in three watches and while waiting I looked at pocket watches.  We picked up a cheapy at The Biltmore for Roy.  The watch I gave him several years ago for our anniversary has proved itself to be a tad cumbersome.  That sucker is a huge watch.  I bought a new pocket watch for Roy yesterday that is really cool and I gave it to him last night.  I knew I couldn't keep it from him until our anniversary.  He loved it!  I also stopped in Target, yes I know I said it was off limits during spring break, but there were a few things we needed.  I also picked up some stuff that I didn't know we needed.  I was in there for maybe 30 minutes and the whole time there was one child who screamed the whole solid time.  They even took breaths while screaming.  Loaded up the car and headed to Brookwood to look at plants and for the first time ever, I came away empty handed.  I tried marigolds last year and I killed them...marigolds are supposed to be hearty plants but they weren't as hearty as they need to be in my garden.  I have had better luck with zinnias and snap dragons. 

Last night I heard this big sloshy sound coming from the laundry room.  Roy was bringing in a few things from the car and he accidentally dropped some Ocean Spray Cranberry/Pomegranate juice.  We were trying to be quick about getting it all up but we disagreed on the method that would be the most helpful and would get the stain out before setting.  The juice was quickly being absorbed by the grout.  In this specific case neither one of us wanted to give leadership to the task, we both wanted to tackle it.  Roy and I very rarely argue.  Oh back in the day it was a daily happening but being married all these years we have learned that arguing is a futile exercise and we now pretty much hold the same ideas, except when it comes to juice clean up.  I think we upset Buddy as well as ourselves.  Long story short, arguing didn't last long, we both apologized, our combined efforts have the grout nearly restored to original color and we got the job done before the new episodes of Duck Dynasty. 

It has been an interesting season of reading.  I just finished The Resignation of Eve, What if Adam's Rib is no Longer Willing to Be the Church's Backbone, by Jim Henderson.  The interviews and the Barna research are heart and eye opening.  The stories tell of the different ways women resign, by giving up hope in the situation or resign by leaving the church.  In the light of recent news in the election of a new pope, The Vatican Diaries has given me a little more insight into the behind the scenes happenings when a new pope is selected.  I think the next choice of reading will be something in the light fiction genre. 

I trekked this morning after all.  It was beautiful.  I learned a couple of things though, the earlier you go almost everyone on the trails are Asian Pacific couples.  When you go later like I did this morning, it's a lot of young moms running with or without babies.  Also when you go later the chance of getting sprayed by sprinklers increases 50%.  I'm sure when it is warmer I am going to love that but today it is warm enough but downright chilly when doused. 

The housekeeper ate almost all my chicken salad yesterday so guess I'll just have to return and get more. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To Fly a Mockingbird or Give Leadership to It

Think I am going to name our mockingbird Boo Radley.  He takes up the cause of the doves and fights for them.  It's a time of a mockingbird hiding in the knothole of a tree located next to the NOT ramshackle home of Buddy.  And this is when I met Boo Radley, the bird.  Boo watches from a distance and then jumps to action. 

How weird is this?  I have a pinched nerve on my outer thigh.  It hurts like the dickens.  Who knew?  I have had pinched nerves over the years but those were mainly in my shoulders but I have to say this pinched nerve in the thigh is one of the more painful things I have ever experienced and I have a high threshold for pain.  It feels like a huge contusion without the bruising.  If I sit still for too long a pain that I cannot describe in any other way than it feels like an ice pick is stabbing me.  It gets worse at night and every time there is that pain like an ice pick, my whole leg jerks and wakes me up.  The only remedy is an over the counter drug like Tylenol or Advil and I cannot take either one of those in conjunction with the meds I am on.  Oh and wear loose clothing.  Not a problem on that. 

I went to Whole Foods this morning and picked up a couple of dinners for the coming days.  The peeled oranges and tangerines got a ride home to our house too.  I spent less money than last week, so that's a good thing.  I came home and put the food up and then headed to Enchanted Garden to find some drift roses.  They also had some snap dragons and geraniums that looked good.  I need to finish clearing out the back flower bed and we need to raise it up a couple of notches so I can plant roses back there.  I loved having all the flowers all over the flowerbed but it was a pain to weed and that means Roy has to weed.  I may put in another raised bed closer to the patio this spring.  Guess I'll have to wait and see. 

After my delicious chicken salad sandwich for lunch I decided to venture out on the trek.  I made the first round of the water feature, which has a name.  Found this out on the trail.  It is the Cedar Grove Creek.  Who knew?  Then I rode down to the new elementary school and back across the street and began on a journey I have never made.  I went on the other side and rode on the north side of the lake.  Steeper slopes but I made it and decided to return home via Rancho de Five Blvd and then take the tunnel across the street to get home.  I emailed Roy when I got home and told him.  He sent back a blank email.  He was speechless.  To tell you the truth so was I. 

So now it is Wednesday morning.  It's a beautiful sunrise and I'm contemplating a little ride around the water feature.  I used this spray liniment that I bought at Cracker Barrel last year on the way to the Biltmore.  It's that Watkin's brand and that stuff worked.  I never woke up last night from shooting pain in my thigh.  For the next few days if you are around me and the lovely fragrance of liniment greets you, well then you'll know it's me. 

One of my favorite sayings to make fun of besides 'amazing, amazing' is 'giving leadership.'  I will now use it in a sentence; On this project I am going to give leadership to it.  Translation, you are going to do all the work but run stuff by me so I look like I am in the loop and when it comes time for kudos...if the project is successful and why wouldn't it be because I gave leadership to it,  the leader takes the majority of the credit.  I remember sitting in a staff meeting years ago and the person in charge of a particular ministry tool was given time to explain why this ministry tool is important and how to use it.  She could explain it but she couldn't do it.  Why?  Because she had given leadership to her admin.  This person went through a whole lot of admins because they became wise to her ways in a short period of time, they quit before she could fire them.  At least most of them got the jump.  Then came that day not too soon after the demo or should I say lack of demo, in the the words of Duck Dynasty...she gone.  Seems to me there are a lot of business terms bandied about in the church world that doesn't keep the original intent of the term.  Churches like business models it seems but when the business models don't fit into what they want to do, BAM!!!  They retreat back into church world.  I don't know why I am even thinking about this except this morning in an exchange of emails with Roy we both were using the term 'give leadership' to each other because neither one of us wants to make the needed phone call.  So in true form I went to church world and pulled the 'women can't be leaders or take leadership roles' excuse.  Not that I think that but it did work nicely for me.  Now I'm off to give leadership to Buddy and see if she will pick up the sheep she scattered about the house last night.  Who am I kidding?  She'll totally pull 'cat world' out of the bag because cats are the kings and queens of the universe. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Don't Mess With Texas-Mockingibrd Style

I have just been entertained for over thirty minutes by the birds outside the windows.  In the flowerbed of roses and snapdragons is a bird bath and bird feeder.  It took several days but the birds finally discovered the feeder is now stocked full.  The doves were the first to return and then the mockingbirds.  Today, some of those trashy birds that no one can get rid of and fly in packs, I forget their names, have now discovered the feeder full of goodies.  Since these trash birds fly in packs they can quickly take over a bird feeder in nothing flat.  The doves put up a little bit of a fight but soon they are relegated to the seed that has fallen on the ground.  A brave dove will attempt another fly by of the feeder and quickly again returns to the friendly confines of the ground.  I tried to help the doves by making noise to chase off the piggy birds and it worked for a few minutes only to have the return of the pack.  That is until a beautiful, singing a song mockingbird showed up.  There's a new sheriff in town.  This one mockingbird began to put on an air show that rivals anything that the History Channel and the Military Channel have to offer in the vein of famous air battles.  This little mockingbird cleared the pack chasing them from our yard into the trees off in the distance.  Flight 99 of the Mockingbird express did another flyover and began chasing the next set of birds.  The airshow and stunts this bird performed had me applauding.  Mockingbird was chasing those birds away and sometimes into our windows, much to the delight of Buddy. 

The mockingbird never messes with the doves and in fact it looks like he's trying to help them.  So MB 1 is taking out the enemy, the doves return to the feeder.  This in fact is a fabulous subplot to the whole scenario.  One dove can't quite figure out how to fly off the top of the feeder's roof and onto the ledge where other birds are perched eating.  This little dove hops and hops and hops, making his way all around the roof.  I think there are a couple of doves doing the age old mating dance among the flowers and so far no one has hooked up yet.  If they had the entertaining show would now have to be rated PG 13.  A rebuffed male dove will fly up onto the fence and with his pride seemingly hurt chase off any other bird who happened to be sitting on the fence, except the mockingbird.  The females fly up onto the shepherd's hook waiting for the chase to begin once again.  In the midst of all this flirting and wooing a few of the trash birds make their way back ever so warily to the feeder.  I could see the mockingbird in the distance.  He had landed and rested on the branch of a tree.  Just as the birds made their move to the feeder this bird flies faster than a speeding bullet and once again performs feats of brilliance in the air and clears out the feeder.

This mockingbird is Batman or maybe more like Superman.  In between the clearing of the feeder sans the doves, this mockingbird lites onto the fence and sings his heart out.  It is just beautiful!  Maybe this bird is more like Tarzan.  It almost seems to me that singing on the fence has a bit of a Johnny Weissmueller Tarzan call about it. 

With #livingwonderstruck so fresh in my spirit, I am in awe of the details of bird life I got to see in action.  I had to go to Psalm 104 again and read of God's creation, in which the birds get at least two mentions.  The mockingbird is singing and the doves are cooing.  Thank you Lord. 

I know that the Don't Mess with Texas saying is really about litter and taking care of the trash on the highways of Texas, but I'm telling you this Texas Mockingbird is taking care of the trash at the bird feeder.  Don't Mess With Texas Mockingbirds!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Break Monday

Spring Break!!!!  I don't know why I just did that because spring break doesn't even affect me in the least.  OK, I have vowed not to go to Target or Katy Mills Mall this week because of the plethora of jr highschoolers at the Mall and moms and the 50 children in tow at Target.  We have a week off from Bible study so I have a few days wide open with nothing planned and I love that feeling.  Today I will make the 99 journey to get my haircut but I think those days are fast coming to an end because Emmanuel will have a Katy location soon. 

We had one of those weekends where we come into Monday feeling productive because we did all the 'things to be done on a time change weekend.'  There were a couple of light bulbs that needed to be changed out, changed the batteries in the smoke detectors, changed the filters and put bleach in the HVAC thing in the attic.  And we did all these things with one hour less sleep.

Saturday afternoon I met friends for lunch at BWC.  Great fun and great salads.  It was a good thing that I had my phone on the table because Roy called.  He doesn't call when I am out and about with friends too often unless he really needs to get in touch with me.  He needed Sequisha to take his trek to the shop for an adjustment.  The chain was frozen and wouldn't move and the bike shop was open till 6:00.  So I broke up the party and headed home.  I decided to go along with Roy.  He has been talking about one of these trek things that folds up and to ensure he has my interest he keeps saying we could take it with us to the Biltmore.  So while the trek was adjusted I looked at the fold up treks and kind of came to the conclusion that these fold ups are a lot more expensive and the extra cost wouldn't be worth it.  We both came to the same conclusion that when we buy another one of these and I can see that in the very near future, it will be the same model as we bought before. 

Roy hasn't had a break in his schedule for the past twelve days.  Lots of early mornings, responsibilities, and late nights and I'm not even including everything he had to do for me last weekend after surgery.  We made an executive decision to stay home one more Sunday from church and to show just how serious I was that Roy needed to catch up on some rest, we didn't go out to eat for breakfast.  I think this is the most Sundays I have missed in a row since the 80's.  Truthfully, it would be so easy to miss some more Sundays but we know that is a mindset we can't even entertain. 

Roy missed last week's The Bible on the History Channel.  He started watching it last night.  Oddly, The Bible was sounding oddly like Duck Dynasty.  Roy was having problems with some of the portrayals of the stories from the Bible, so he lost interest quickly.  I'm highly involved in the book The Vatican Diaries, so TV wasn't holding my interest last night. 

I'm home from the land of sugar.  I stopped by Academy on the way home.  Roy is needing shorts and we threw away all our bike water bottles when we moved so I picked up a couple of those.  Academy is another happening spring break place.  I want to go ride but the wind is something fierce.  I guess if I stayed east and west it wouldn't be too bad. 

Either a book or a bike is calling my name so I'm outta here, I know this is lame. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Love Shares Their Biltmore Grits

There's nothing like a late night clean out of the pantry when searching for a package of stone ground grits from the Biltmore.  In addition to finally finding the grits we were also able to reorganize our growing addiction of Pop Chips into some semblance of order.  We also threw out some 'hurricane preparedness food that never was used and went out of date.  Hey, I would rather that than an actual hurricane.  I am not going to cry over out of date tuna. 

Why were we looking for grits at 10:00 pm?  This morning is Roy's turn to cook breakfast for the men's Bible study he attends.  He asked me a question about quick grits and a crock pot, he must think I got a new brain and not a new heart.  I responded with such compassion and kindness, Google it but I also mentioned the Biltmore grits and that got the whole thing started.  He did put those in the crock pot and they cooked overnight.  He left me a big bowl of grits on the stove but I think I will save them for later.  I like eating scrambled eggs with my grits. 

All this thinking of Biltmore grits is making me want to go on a spring jaunt to my happy place.  Since I am a pass holder, I get this neat Biltmore magazine and yes that marketing move did its work.  I want to see the beautiful flowers of spring on the estate and let's be honest, stay in the Inn, shop and eat delicious food.  But they got my attention first with the flowers. 

When Roy got home yesterday afternoon we decided to try Swampy's at lunch time.  In that little strip center is a sports grill, donut shop, Swampy's and a sandwich place.  No wonder there isn't hardly any parking in that lot in the eveings.  After a delicious lunch we went to Good Ol' Boys to pick up sausage gravy for Roy's breakfast fixin's.  We pretty much stuck around home for the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I was really tired but it was a mental type tired.  I had done a lot of research yesterday morning and my brain was on overload. 

Think we kind of had Buddy worried last night while cleaning out the pantry because I think in her cat brain it looked like we were packing.  She got rather feisty before bedtime and she hasn't done that in quite a while.  She got the Buddy big eyes and that doesn't bode well for me.  My feet were under attack and I knew if this continued when we got in bed she would attack my head.  Remember she rips the faces off her stuffed animals.  I think she put herself in time out because when she finally came to bed, she slept on her blanket at the foot of the bed.  So the three of us are falling asleep and Roy says to me, out of the blue, I quit drinking diet sodas after 6:00 pm and I don't get up and go to the bathroom during the night.  Good grief, where did that odd statement come from and why?  It was more for 'suggestion' than interesting information on the habits and choices of Roy.  I told him I could not have had anything to drink for two days and I would still get up at least once in the night.  I woke him up this morning at 5:11 am to let him know I had made it through the night and just now needed a trip and I had drank a Diet Coke right before going to bed.  I think why this kind of gets on my nerves, no it doesn't kind of, it did get on my nerves is I don't like lecture conversation.  You know the conversation that happens where it is more important to make your point to said person than to really understand the why of things.  It's right up there with agenda preaching, prayer used for announcements, to quiet a room or to set up a stage in my book of "nerves." 

Today's a big day in the recovery process.  I can now feel free to lift seven pounds and I'm cleared to ride the trek.  So that is the next thing on today's list of things to do.  It's overcast and in the 60's so it should be a nice morning, read into this less than an hour on the trek, for trekking.  Then I can come in and have a little snack of grits and plan the trek I really love to the hills of North Carolina. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

So Thankful

I was happy when they said unto me let us go into the house of the Lord where CBS is held.  It was so good to be back with the core group this morning.  And the icing on the cake was Peggy's return after being out for a while recovering from her knee surgery.  We even finished early but some of us were still a bit tardy heading into the teaching time.  I ate lunch afterwards with friends.  A little before 3:00 Amanda and Jack came over to bring us dinner for tonight.  Amanda is the daughter of Teresa and you might read her blog but if you haven't here is the link to get to her blog.  After several years of just knowing each other in the blogosphere it was such a treat to meet Teresa on Sunday night and then to meet Amanda today.  They both have such lovely Shreveport southern accents.  I could listen to them talk all day.  Sometimes Roy will fall back into his Shreveport accent but not too often.  I just talked to Roy and told him what Amanda had made and I believe he is catching the first bus he can to get on home. 

With the exception of yesterday's aggravation of my stitches, recovery continues to go well.  I'm happy I got the bird feeder and bird bath filled and ready for bird type visitors.  The mockingbirds have rediscovered the oasis and several of the doves that come and sit on the fence in the mornings are eyeing the birdseed but not yet fully trusting it is there. 

This Saturday is Roy's turn to cook breakfast for the men's Bible study he attends.  He isn't doing pancakes but is doing a few creative breakfast type dishes.  I am happy for spring break next week although I guess every week is spring break in our lives.  Maybe the exception being no Bible study next week...corporately...not personally.  I will be reading my Bible. 

Well, I better go preheat the oven.  Again and again I see God's compassion enter into my life and I am so thankful!  Tomorrow will be a week since surgery and tomorrow I am cleared to go trekking again.  Maybe I will do just a couple of laps around the cul de sac to see if I'm really ready to ride solo again. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

It Matters

I asked Roy last night if pulling a water hose around to water plants would be something like more than five pounds.  He supposed it would depend on whether there is water in the hose or not. didn't matter because full or empty  I shouldn't attempted this.  My incisions are screaming at me and if they don't watch out I will be screaming back at them. 

This afternoon I was flipping through the paper and saw that my cardiologist's mother died on Feb 28.  Uh, I had surgery the next day.  Now I am really glad to have had Dr. Ivy in the OR praying.  Roy said when the doctor came out to talk with him, he said you would have never known.  His mother was 96 but I don't care how old, it is still painful to lose your mom. 

Window measuring has gone digital.  It was really cool watching the guy who came to measure windows use this little thing that looked like a phone.  He even fixed our problem shade in the guest bedroom.  We had an interesting conversation on decor and window treatment fads.  Right now brushed oil rubbed bronze is the thing.  Thank you, I picked that for every fixture but the kitchen.  I am going with a uniform look in the front of the house but I am keeping the dark blinds in the bedrooms.  Those will come back by cracky.  It all does because if styles didn't a lot of people in the home building, designing and show rooms would be out of work. 

This past week I have been thinking about the things that matter which kind of goes along with things I want to remember.  I am seeing with new and better understanding of why the little things are so important.  Now I that I have had this new experience, I want to be more aware of how to help things matter in other's lives.  Before surgery and afterwards it is the people that pray with you not just for you that makes a difference.  There is something about hearing your name being lifted by another person to the Father.  Praying that way with friends matters.  The notes I have received from prayer groups other than from my own church have blown me away.  I am humbled by the kindness of people who don't even know me yet have taken the time to ask God to bless us as we, hopefully, cross the finish line on this particular part of the journey.  It matters and I will remember those who have walked this heart journey with me complete with the twist and turns between reports that despaired and reports that encouraged.  I have seen people that have had greater heart issues than me have faster recoveries and I have wondered why this season couldn't be a little shorter.  This path has been filled with twists and turns but this I know for sure, God has been with me every step along the way. With every racing beat of my heart.  I knew His peace when I was sent home to die, when I made progress only then to be told to make my bucket list.  He's been with me as my doctor has worked for a conservative approach yet knowing that conservative approach couldn't be done for a long period of time.  He wanted to see my heart come back on its own and when it became apparent that wasn't going to happen, another approach was designed.  Echos have seen things and then things have gone away.  Tests have been run and feared tried to grip me in its fierce grasp, but God's peace surrounded me.  Years ago Lisa P and I had a conversation about how we see things sometimes in what we are experiencing.  So for me I saw everything through heart eyes.  Schedules, fatigue, decisions, energy and the like.  Some people even when they are into a different season of life still look at things with whatever their heart eyes would be; cancer, death, loss, divorce and circumstances in which they have no control.  They still look at things with those eyes even though life has moved on.  I can tell you this, each and everyday I shed more and more of my heart vision because freedom has a very nice ring to it. 

Buddy doesn't like a lot of change in her life but I think she likes the latest change.  Today at Home Goods I found cat dishes in a metal stand.  I just changed out her food and water and she is drinking already.  Yea, cause I thought this would be a time of being patient with her.  Maybe she likes that her head doesn't have to go inside the bowl.  Who knows?  But it's a good change.

When Roy gets home he is trying out the black bean tamales I bought at Whole Foods and I am going to have another chicken salad sandwich, with Pop Chips, my newest addiction. 

I'm Addicted to Whole Foods

I went to a dangerous place today and I really didn't have any plans to do so.  After leadership meeting I wandered over toward Whole Foods in Rancho de Five.  I hadn't really 'shopped' the one time I stopped in just to take a look around.  I was in trouble when I reached for the smallest grocery cart.  This is all how it began when we lived near Central Market.  So, I meandered toward the take home meals area.  I found several delicious entrees for dinner this week.  I also found some chicken salad for lunches.  You see, I kind of feel guilty about letting down the play grocery store when we moved from the loop to the ranch.  Without my weekly purchases of dinners they have closed all their stores except for one.  My sister in law told me to go there and find this holistic medicine stuff for bruises.  And then I found myself sauntering through the fruit section and something more wonderful than words grabbed my attention.  I know this is going to make me sound like such a dilettante but they sell peeled orange more than just one orange.  Hallelujah!  Really, I purchased them in the total interest of safety since I am still on blood thinners and most accidents in the home happen in the kitchen.  I was only doing it for the good of being safe.  In comparison last night, after we went out to eat, we ran by Kroger.  I am not to lift anything over 5 pounds and so Roy needed to go with me to push the cart and lift the heavy stuff.  Our grocery cart at Kroger's looked like we both were in college.  We spent $80.00 on nothing substantial in any way for meal preparation.  I found the cutest little paper sheep and then we are on a pop chip diet so of course we had to get a few more bags.  Then there was the usual, bananas, half and half, bread, Diet Cokes and then we found these really cool crackers and vitamins were BOGO.  We stood in line waiting our turn to check out.  Next to us was a mom with two daughters and the youngest daughter kept bringing stuff she wanted to the check out line only to be told by the mom to take it back.  It was mainly stuff from the seasonal Easter aisle.  Funny, I was kind of doing the same thing only to be told by Roy we don't need another stuffed sheep for Buddy, take it back.  Roy looked over at the mom in the other line and said, I feel your pain.  But back to Whole Foods.  I found all kinds of great stuff and I'm thrilled that I got out of the store under $100.00. 

Roy had already made the observation at dinner that if this had been the same time last week, we would probably be home eating take out and there would be no way I would have had the energy to go over to the Kroger.  Really, two morning appointments, a quick stop at Tanglewood Pharmacy, Walgreen's and Barnes and Noble and then go out to dinner and grocery shop?  There ain't no way I could have done it.  Roy happily said to me, "you're back!"  Later on in the car when I didn't stop chattering away kind of like on Duck Dynasty when Phil and Miss Kay go someplace and she never stops talking?  Well that has been me since Sunday night.  Later last night I heard Roy say the same thing, "you're back" but not with as much enthusiasm. 

Feeling better, my ADD kicks in big time.  BIG TIME!!  I have no attention span but maybe that will wear off in the next few weeks.  I had a hard time sitting still in leadership this morning and even more so in core group leader time.  I realized several times as we discussed the homework that I had totally gone off in my own train of thought and had missed several answers...which I needed because I hadn't answered those particular questions when doing my homework Sunday. 

At this point is when Peggy came over and even after she left I didn't get back to finish this post.  That's probably a good thing because I would have gone on and gone about Whole Foods.  I was able to make her a chicken salad sandwich along with Pop Chips and peppermint white chocolate M&M's.  A delicious lunch for sure.  I had made the same lunch earlier but didn't do the M&M's. 

This morning I am up early because the shutter guys will be here to measure the windows.  I'm excited to get this started.

I just looked at my wrist of many colors, IV bruises and I'm bleeding.  I better go and get this stopped.  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Things to Remember

If I even halfway liked the Sound of Music, I could have writen this post in the form of the song, These are a Few of My Favorite Things.  Only this post is about some of my favorite remembering things and I'm not feeling all Sound of Musicish. 

Last night out of total boredom and in an attempt to keep awake until Roy got home I took pictures of the needle bruises on my arms and hands and posted them on FB.  I remind myself that every victory leaves some battle scars and bruised arms tell my story.  Good thing Roy got home when he did or I might have taken other bruise pictures on my legs and stomach.  Phew, he got home in the nick of time.  After the long Thursday-Saturday adventure of Survivor, how much sleep and hospital food can one get while staying with the person who gets drugs to survive the adventure, Roy had to go into the office on Sunday.  He left at 7:00 am and got home close to 11:00 pm.  The soft roll out of a new program had a few blips and bugs to work through.  In my finite mind I can only understand it on a much lower level, such as, when you buy a new computer, TV or phone it is never easy peasy.  They come with a load of frustration.  So what to do on a day by myself?  Here is the clunker, I felt great!  I wanted to do a lot.  Only thing, I have to ease back into normal.  That sentence just made me laugh.  So to start the day I watched my church's web cast and ate breakfast at the same my pajamas.  God Bless America!  Peggy made her triumphant return to church after her knee surgery.  Right off I noticed that John Bolin didn't have on a tie.  I am madly texting Peggy because if John doesn't have a tie on for Sunday morning we are in the last days.  I was able to see Bill and Peggy in the balcony during the meet and greet time in the service as the camera did a wide sweep of the worship center. 

Now here is something funny, my Tweet during last Sunday's service was the Tweet of the Week and made it in the church worship guide.  Peggy texts me and says, your tweet made the bulletin.  So last week while Peggy was home recovering from surgery and I was at home preparing for surgery by staying away from germy crowds, we texted back and forth during the web cast.  Later on I tweeted about our stays at home and that texting to each other during the service was better than whispering in church. 

See, I just lost focus and went into a new paragraph and I hadn't completed my thoughts on a long days journey into night.  I did CBS homework, read, watched a little TV, and did some writing.  I wasn't cleared to drive until today so I stuck around home.  Normally, I look forward to a day by myself, but when it is imposed, well your attitude changes a bit.  I did have a lovely surprise in that my blogging friend from Shreveport stopped by for a few minutes to say hi.  This was our first time to meet in person but our hearts had bonded a long time ago over our blogs.  She brought me a prayer journal and a cute little wall hanging that will look great out in the casita bedroom. 

There are several things I will never forget during these past few days.  To ensure that I never forget them, I am putting them down in blog form.   I will never forget the love and care and dare I say patience that Roy has had with and for me.  The sacrifices he made to accompany me on Thursday for pre-op stuff humbles me.  He rearranged his schedule, even having to go back into the office on Thursday afternoon so that I wouldn't have to stay at the hospital for six hours after happy, happy, joy, joy juice because my usual friend option on things like this is pretty much grounded.  He took me out for lunch, brought me home and headed downtown.  The second thing I will never forget is David and Emily coming to the hospital early Friday morning to pray with Roy and me and to keep him company while I was in surgery.  I am even more grateful because of the sacrifice of time because this is tax season and David is up to his eyeballs in tax returns.  Their presence made the wait time fly by quickly in the pre-op, wearing the lovely hospital gown waiting area.  Roy was so thankful for their company as the wait time began.  The third thing, Dr. Ivy.  She is an associate of my doctor and she just introduced herself as Ivy.  She was full of joy and light.  I teasingly asked her if she was in a good mood because I didn't want anyone to be in a bad mood while working on me.  She responded, oh the joy of the Lord is my strength and she began to testify.  All of us Roy, David, Emily and I began testifying with her about the God we love and serve.  Wow, what a HUGE God thing...#livingwonderstruck!  She is from India, but born in Kuwait.  She heard the call from God to leave her family and go to a land she didn't know...America.  She led us in a verse of He is Lord which we all joined in and sang.  Before she left she put her hand on my heart and said Jer 29:11 and be healed in Jesus Name.  I also saw her right before going into the operating room and she told me she would be praying the whole time I was in surgery.  I could feel God's peace because there were so many praying but Dr. Ivy was a gift for me from my loving heavenly Father.  The fourth thing I will never forget, the teaching director of Katy CBS, Jennifer, coming up to the hospital to keep Roy company, they had never met, and her voice was the first familiar voice I heard as I was coming out of anesthesia but I didn't know if was Jennifer.  I heard, that is the quietest I have ever seen her and I thought oh there must be someone like me in here and although I don't remember too much from that time I know she came over and touched me and accompanied us to my room.  She stayed and visited and prayed with us before she left.  The fifth thing I will never forget is Bill and Peggy coming up to see us Friday night.  Theirs was an adventure in finding St Luke's and they persevered to find us.  Gerti on her new knee and Bill tired from a day's work.  She also was the bearer of some helpful news, if you felt like you had to go to the bathroom there was a kink somewhere in the catheter line.  That was good to know and proved to be so very helpful.  The sixth thing I will never forget is the doctor who was covering my doctor's patients.  He sped up the progress of getting me released from the hospital.  Let's just say the echo cardiogram came to me and he stood there to watch it so that I wouldn't have to wait for radiology to read it and then release me.  He pronounced my heart perfect.  This is the first time I have heard my heart beating in rhythm and not all slushy sound.  The seventh thing is a Saturday night's visit from Margaret.  She is in my core group and she brought over such delicious food but the best was being able to visit with her and hear a little bit of her story.  The eight thing I don't want to forget is Teresa coming over on Sunday night for a quick in person meet and greet.  We've known each other from our blogs for several years. Those few minutes were meaningful and very fun.  On her next visit this way we are going to do lunch.  The ninth thing I never want to forget is waking up and not being a member of the zipper club because there was a chance I'd be joining.  Thankfully some of the issues that have caused me to drop to my knees and if you know me that is a very difficult thing for me to do, to ask of the Lord to do a healing ina my heart, ina my heart.  Lord I want to be a Christian ina my heart.  The CT and the echo showed none of the issues.  Gone!  They weren't there anymore.  I don't want to ever forget how Roy prayed with me on Friday morning and how for just a brief moment I saw just how concerned he was about this procedure.  If you know Roy, you don't see that side of him very often.  The tenth thing I never want to forget is how good I felt on Friday night trying to fall asleep.  Even with the noise and lights and Roy's snoring, I didn't awake in the night due to my heart beating too fast or too slushy or stopping for a nano second or beating too slow.  My chest didn't have that continual vibrating buzz feeling that has been part of the nightly timetable of my existence for the past four years.  I slept not waking up to the feeling of drowning because that was a nightly occurrence as well.  There weren't the tremendous nighttime coughing jags from too much fluid in my lungs and for the first time in a very long time I went to bed without swollen ankles. 

Think I will stop at ten things to never forget and to always remember.  There might be some more but soon Monablog will get back to normal and not writing with everything being in relation to heart health.  I will say after an appointment this morning I did a baby step look see into my stamina.  Spending more than 15 minutes in a bookstore has been impossible the past few years.  I can't even make it around the store to visit all the favorite sections.  Today I made my way through the store and even added an extra half a lap to pick up a couple of things that really, really needed to go home with me. 

On Saturday when the guy came with the wheelchair to take me down to the car, we stopped before leaving the 6th floor.  He leaned over a desk and got a pair of scissors and asked if I would like the hospital tag cut off.  Yes, it was rubbing on my open puncture wounds.  He then asked if I wanted to keep it as a momento of my time in the Texas Heart Institute.  No, that hospital tag will not be a part of my Ebenezer but I hope it represents freedom, health and light as I proceed onto live a lively daily life.  I'm leaving that 'shackle' behind.  You know so I can dance...oh that was off my feet not my wrist.  OK take it off so I don't have another blood fountain incident.  Guess it wouldn't be right to sing, there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Nancy's vein...  Had shooting fountain blood in the CT and in the OR.  Which means when they stopped the flow and cleaned me up they were just TCBing know taking care of blood. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Heart Road Mapping

On Thursday one of the pre-ops was a CT scan.  I have never had one done.  There is nothing remarkable in a sense while taking the test.  The machine instructs you when to breathe and when to hold your breath.  Some of the more critical readings come during the hold your breath sequence.  Most of the sequences were short but there was one where just when I thought I couldn't hold my breath one more second I was finally instructed to breath.  Nothing is eventful doing a CT scan on my part you follow a machine's instructions and lift your left arm when instructed by the tech, but there is something significant going on, my heart was being mapped in 3D. 

The whole purpose for the CT scan? 
PURPOSE: To evaluate multi–detector row computed tomographic (CT) depiction of pulmonary veins to provide a road map for radiofrequency catheter ablation.

Right there on Fannin many, many times a day road maps are being produced for invasive and non invasive surgery.  Every map tells a story and avails itself for usage when we want to go from one place to another.  Maps hold memories of travel adventures, we might even mark them to remember the trip.  A map can hold dreams of places we want to see, places we have always desired to go and experience.  Sometimes and I know I am going to sound like a nerd here, maps are fun to look at.  Folded paper maps and many times Google Earth or some other directional helper on smart phones can be a little more than entertaining.  I would look at our lot from Google Maps before and as we built our home.  For the longest time it was just that, a lot with nothing on it.  Several months after we moved into our home, Google Maps showed our house under construction and now we can see our completed home with Roy's car parked out on the street.  It is against HOA rules for residents to park on the street...we just have to rock authority that way. 

An image of my heart was made into a road map for surgery on Friday.  In the paper work we took home from the hospital, the road map report was mixed among lab reports and medicine accounts.  This whole mapping thing is performed in an attempt for non-invasive surgery.  The findings are broken down into different sections and although I had to look up some of the terminology, I pretty much knew it was a good report.  The chambers of my heart were measured, the pulmonary arteries and pulmonary veins.  But that's not all... if you call in the next ten minutes you'll receive for only $19.95 limited non vascular readings of thyroid, chest wall, lungs, and upper abdomen. 

I wondered why I had to have a CT scan.  Now it is understandable, the doctors needed a road map inside my heart to find the rabble rousers who have been causing heart problems for me for years.  The associate doctor used the term rabble rousers when explaining the procedure to me on Friday morning.  The laser terminates the rabble rousers who do not want to go along with the normal beat of the heart.  They don't want to follow instructions.  This probably explains why I have always marched to a beat of a different drummer. 

"Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." Psalm 139:23
Right there is God's CT scan... because earlier in the Psalm it says that He knit me in my mother's womb, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  God knows the road map of my heart, He knows the findings, He knows the weaknesses but He also knows the results.  He knows my wrong paths and He has corrected and terminated the rabble rouser in me that didn't always and sometimes still, doesn't want to follow His Ways. 

The result of my surgery was successful but changes for what I am responsible for are implied. No one spoke directly to me about the menu I would receive in the hospital but it was plain from the start that my choices were to be made from the low carb menu plan.  I know in my follow up appointment we will talk about smart decisions both in exercise and food choices.  I know from my heart mapping I have two areas I need to watch.  Nothing serious now but results could be different if there is a next time for this particular part of the heart journey. 

"Guard you heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life...look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.  Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.  Don't get sidetracked." Proverbs 4:23,25-27a

So here is my part in God's heart mapping, I have to guard my heart and keep my eyes on the straight and good path.  And don't get sidetracked!  Oh my in this ADD addled world, that is huge for me. 

I feel like this is the first stage in my One Word for a Year and my word is proceed.  How I proceed from here determines the course of my journey.  Proceed isn't just about my physical heart but my spiritual heart as well.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Not So Profound Thoughts on Sunday Morning

It is a beautiful Sunday morning out here in prairie land.  The rooms on the east side of our home are awash with bright sunlight.  Buddy has gone back for her early morning nap and I sit here grateful overflowing with thanksgiving that I am out here in prairie land, taking in the sun and my heart is beating in sync, not lurching, not vibrating or racing.  It just is beating like it should without having to feel every motion of the beat. 

The prognosis is good.  I need to take it easy for the next week or so, no lifting of anything over five pounds.  I am trying to parlay this into a maximum benefit as I tried to do so after the hysto in 2005.  No stairs for a week.  Darn it!  I so wanted to climb stairs.  No riding the trek for a week.  Today I have to remove the bandages from the two incisions.  I thought they only made one and only found about the two on Friday morning when one of my doctor's associates came in to explain the procedure. I think I became a human pin cushion.  I've always had such good veins but alas I was informed that as we get older our veins tend to roll just like Tina Turner, Rolling on the River.  My hands, wrists and arms look like I do drugs.  My stomach and legs are rather bruised from the surgery as well.  I think I have enough blood thinner in me for 17 people.  Yet on this beautiful Sunday morning I sit behind this computer, drinking coffee out of my favorite mug, so thankful to the Lord for successful surgery and for friends who have circled me with love, their presence and their genuine love and concern.  I sit here so thankful for a wonderful and loving husband who made huge sacrifices to accompany me on Thursday and stay with me Friday night.  He always says hospitals are a different place at night and you need an advocate to keep watch and go fetch. 

Prior to surgery, you have to have a procedure done and how shall I say this????  Oh, if I still wore bathing suits I would have this done.  It is a surreal experience.  I mean really. What do you say?  That is how I manage "anxious incidents."  I talk.  I almost asked for one of those warm towels to be put over my face until everything is finished. Freda, my "spa" attendant was relieved to see my name on her chart because she hates having to do this procedure on men because it includes stomach, chest and back.  There are the lovely hospital curtains separating you from others and you can hear the buzz of the shaver almost like a trio performing.  It's weird that is all I can say.  I did like the hot blankets, that was very spa-esk.  Then you have a wave of different people asking you all kinds of things.  What is your name?  Can you spell it?  What's your birth date?  Can you make a silly face?  Can you smile?  It was during some of these tests it was determined I do have a brain. 

It's funny how we deem milestones for major life altering changes.  We acknowledge graduations, marriages, anniversaries, birthdays and the like but in hospitals milestones come with not so much grandeur or fanfare but ever so important as anything mentioned above.  It's funny when body functions that we take for granted have to be "performed" before one can go home, going to the bathroom or passing gas becomes life's one true goal for that one shinning moment.  I asked if I had to show my work or would they take my word for achieving a milestone.  They assured me they would take my word.  For the record I didn't lie, I achieved those goals almost immediately.  You know I was feeling pretty good, I aced the echo, stayed still for over 12 hours in one position, and performed milestones on command.  I think I was an A- student for my stay, I am taking a slight deduction for rolling veins. 

After being on a sodium restricted diet in the hospital it was good to taste real food again.  Actually the food wasn't bad, it's just only yogurt and eggs sounded good to me.  Last night one of the ladies from my core group came over with a bag full of goodies.  Corn Chowder, one of my love languages, homemade cookies, homemade rolls, kumquats, Chinese Duck Soup and homemade granola.  What a treat!  The biggest treat was getting to visit with Margaret for over an hour.  Roy is getting to put faces with names.  The teaching director at Katy CBS, Jennifer, came down to the hospital, sat with Roy and welcomed me back into the land of the living. 

So glad I have on some of my best pajamas to watch web church.  Choir, I'll be so happy to see and sing with you.