Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Wanderings and Wonderings

We are waiting for the temps to go down a bit before going outside and watering the plants.  Looks like October might be the best time to accomplish this.  I don't think it got as hot today as it did yesterday.  We were hitting the triple digits and just a quick walk across a parking lot or the like sucked all the energy out. 

Yesterday, we went to Lowe's to pick up a few things and order a storm door for the back.  The installer is coming Tuesday afternoon to measure and make sure we won't have to have any special work to make the door fit.  We also got a pressure washer.  Every once in a while we need one and so when the one we've looked at and like went on sale, it came home with us. 

Friday, I went with Dena to Tomball to look at a furniture store.  Wow!  Beautiful furniture and accessories but most of the furniture was so big, like it was designed for McMansions.  We thought about stopping in downtown Tomball to look at some of the cute shops but maybe that will be something for cooler temps.  Goodness gracious!  After looking around and taking pictures of things we liked at the furniture store, we headed back out to the prairie where we met Roy for a late lunch at Lupe's.  Then we stopped at Dena's to look at the progress of the week on her home.  Everything seems to be moving right along.  Dena and I went to Home Goods just to look around.  Can you believe it?  Roy did not want to come along.  Anyway, we both found a few cute things that really needed to come home with each one of us.  All the heat and hard shopping, I mean work, made us realize we needed a sundae from Sonic.  Ah refreshing....

This morning we went to church but not LBS, which the initials remind me of some like of Latter Day Saints for Baptists.  Anyway, we did not go to Sunday School and decided to head over to Le Peep.  The timing was perfect, in-between busy morning breakfast shifts.   We then went to The Amish Craftsman.  I have been contemplating several rearrangements in our entry and in a small hallway going to the guest bedroom, bathroom and the laundry room.  The thought of a small side board type deal had crossed my mind as well as another bookcase.  Really, we are going to need another one soon.  Kim, one of the owners, was so helpful today as we contemplated our choices.  We went with an entry way console with cabinets and hidden drawers.  Now, I can hang the Wendy Whitson picture that I bought at the Biltmore over it.  I'll move the church pew to the little hallway and move the small bookcase that is there now....somewhere.  I may even paint the small bookcase but believe me not in this heat!  Reading inside has so much appeal to me these days. 

When we were at Dena's Roy stepped in this putty like stuff used to level out places on the concrete.  He got most of the stuff off his shoes but we decided to stop in at The Nord to check out shoes for him.  Happy to go to the Nord, not so happy about shoe shopping with Roy.  Although, throughout the years it has improved time wise because finding him a pair of shoes, any shoes was an all day experience.  Because of the traffic we decided to go Valerie Valet and that my friends was a wise choice.  He found two pairs of shoes and I found these cute initials, made from books for the casita bedroom or maybe our reading room or sitting room or the room formally known as the dining room...whatever the heck we call it.  We usually refer to it as my room.  Anyway....very cute.  We got on the Westpark Toll Road and headed toward home.  Then I took a two hour nap.  It has been a long time since I have done that.  It was wonderful! 

A book that someone had told me about, Unhurried, arrived yesterday from Amazon.  I thumbed through it last night and it looks to be very interesting.  Maybe this will help me understand a little better pace versus rest and the not versus of the two.  I'm all in for both but it seems the church world has grabbed onto the rest thing and gone nuts with it.  I know we are more creative when we are rested and make better decisions but church world over uses this and if these people worked in the "real" secular world, they would have to be grabbing rest in-between meetings and deadlines and decisions.  I believe many on church staffs do not abuse this and I want them to be rested and creative but there are always those few, in any area of work, that ride, ride, ride that train into oblivion .  And those who ride are the very ones that seem to be stingy in letting their staff be extended the same privilege of rest.  Of course I am writing this after taking a two hour nap which sometimes in my world can double as a quiet time that is when I am Mildred.  I do know that life for me has become a little more unhurried just because health wise the last four years, that is what I had to do.  I have learned so much on living unhurried because of my heart.  I don't want to lose what I have learned and let pace and hurry dictate my outlook again.  The only exception to this is while driving with idiots, not all in mini vans, that are in such a hurry, unwise choices are made and I don't want to be apart of that accident waiting to happen.  My choice get ahead of it, don't be behind. 

OK, I'm going out to see if it is cool enough to water little dying flowers.  And maybe get out the power washer and clean out the bird bath.  Birds are rather messy.  Birds of a feather do not stick together, they un-feather out in the yard and in the water. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lake, Lunch and Fun...

CBS Core Group 2012-2013
At the end of our Bible study in May we made plans for our core group and kiddos to have a lake, lunch, milkshake and fun day at Peggy's.  Yesterday was the day and we had a blast.  Although I don't think the children enjoyed themselves said no one.  Not everyone in our group could come but Peggy said we will get another get together on the calendar.  It was nice that we had some pop ins and drop ins that couldn't stay but came and enjoyed the fun.  We were so excited to see one another.  Facebook really helps keep everyone current because you know who has traveled, those who have exciting announcements and the rest of us who have enjoyed the beginning of summer on the prairie.  OK, I know I went to Asheville but technically that was in May.  We grilled hot dogs and everyone brought snacks and drinks to share.  I knew we would have a banquet because all our brunch days at Bible study, we needed two tables to put out brunch.  None of these kids knew each other, well except for siblings, and it wasn't any time at all they were helping, fishing, raft riding, beach playing, lunch eating and swinging off the rope together as if they had known each other for a long time.  Many of us commented how the kids bonded so quickly and we lamented the fact that as we get older we loose that child-like ability.  This morning as I thought about the day at Peggy's it dawned on me that we shouldn't have marveled at this phenomenon of bonding by the kids because from the first day we met in Bible study, our core group bonded and connected at that very moment.  In our leadership meetings on Tuesday, we would go over the stages of growth in a group during the year.  They likened it to the stages of growing up.  I didn't really pay attention when we discussed this topic.  Our group was made up of moms with young children, older children, grown children and grandchildren...and me, no children.  We prayed for one another, rejoiced with one another and wept with one another.  We also laughed and had great discussions of what we were studying.  I must add we always followed all the guidelines of CBS.  Wow, did I just hear thunder?  I didn't think it was supposed to rain today out here on the prairie.   OK, so maybe we didn't always adhere and follow the guidelines, but we were pretty close to that goal.  Wow, was that thunder again?  

The moms getting ready for a ride
 A view of the dock, beach and water.
 Getting ready for the ride

 Peggy and Kathleen were the best soda jerks ever...

Nothing like ending the day with a homemade milkshake from Peggy's soda fountain.  You can tell in these pictures that the children were not having a good time.  I think several moms and kids asked if they could be adopted into Peggy's family. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Scary Story of the Bloody Toe and Other Typical Junk

There has been some recent news that troubles me greatly.  I don't know why this isn't being covered by the national news but Texas A&M has had two major press releases.  No, not the building collapse.  Note to self, don't hire an Aggie engineer.  I am talking about the Ken doll Yell Leaders of A&;M in the Barbie collection.  Wow!  The second piece of news is the release this fall of an Aggie perfume.  Uh, Gag 'em Aggies!  What do Aggies want to smell like?  Why would I want to smell like an Aggie?  Those Aggies they work on producing maroon bluebonnets and maroon carrots yet they don't look realistically at a real problem they have, parking.  We were on campus several years ago with an ex Aggie....ok, I did that to get y'all, I mean a former student and while my friend and Roy marveled at Kyle stadium and the like, I couldn't help but notice the total lack of parking.  Really, lack of parking is true of just about any college campus. 

The past 48 hours has been rather bloody.  Darn Pradaxa, blood thinner.  On Sunday evening while dead heading roses, I scraped and punctured my arms.  Usually, not a problem but when you have been on blood thinners for over three years...problem.  I left blood splatters on the boards of our raised flower beds.  Sunday night, a stone decorative lamb that is by a table somehow got moved out a couple of inches and my 'this little piggy had none' toe smashed into that sheep.  Being the good Christian girl that I am, I jumped around yelling, oh sheep, oh sheep, oh sheep!  When I really wanted to yell something else.  Once again, good thing we have hardwood floors now in our bedroom because I would have left a bloody trail on the carpet getting to the bathroom.  So it was a quick clean up after I finally stopped the bleeding of the bloody toe. (I'm saying that in a spooky voice)  Last night, sometime in the middle of the night Buddy came to our bed and curled up like she likes to do, on my arm.  After sometime I was really in an uncomfortable position and wanted to shift my arm just a bit.  Each time I attempted to remedy the situation Buddy would dig in a bit with her newly trimmed nails.  Finally, I just had to move and most nights she readjusts and there isn't a problem.  Not last night, she moved to the middle of the bed and silly me, I thought she was waiting for me to get repositioned so she could go back to sleep.  She waited...I closed my eyes...I was almost asleep when she attacked my arm and hand, biting me.  She has a bit of a temper at times.  I yell, but this time not oh sheep.  Actually, I just yelled Buddy.  For once Roy who is never good at those middle of the night wake ups and emergencies, chases Buddy out of the room.    Buddy eventually came back somewhat contrite and slept at the end of the bed.  When Roy was getting ready for the office this morning, Buddy came and slept on my arm a bit.  We've made up.  All is right in the world.  As for Roy, he doesn't even remember chasing Buddy.  Come to think of it maybe Roy was doing his usual wake up in middle of the night thing.  He runs to the front door, I just thought he was chasing Buddy.  Oh worked. 

Yesterday I was looking at summer book releases by favorite authors.  I read some sad news that one of those authors had passed away last year expectantly.  I liked her books but she probably wasn't even in my top ten.  I was so saddened to read of her home going, good news, she was a believer.  I also looked at a couple of blogs that I read every three or four months and again saddened to see that this one particular blogger and her husband are divorcing.  OK, I don't know this blogger at all, I couldn't even pick out her picture for you.  She's positive and looking to stay that way, but it always seemed she wrote in such affectionate terms concerning their relationship.  And no, this isn't a Christian blogger.  Social media now contributes to knowing things about people who we never have met in person.  OK, I had to stop for a bit and of course I don't know what else I was going to write about's gone.  Just wanted you to know I hadn't made a broad brush stroke statement with no follow up on purpose. 

I put a little bit of seed in the bird feeder yesterday afternoon.  It has taken some time but a few of the regulars are back.  One of the mockingbirds that grew up around this feeder was the first to discover.  I know it is him/her because he or she sings in between bites.  It's kind of fun watching them and the doves have returned.  I am getting too emotionally invested in these birds but they keep Buddy occupied with their eating, flying and fighting. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's All In How You See It

We have this picture that originally was purchased to put over our fireplace.  I liked it well enough but have had buyer's remorse for two years.  It was picked out for me and I said ok because of the colors and how well the picture would fit into the color scheme of our family room.I found a picture I liked a whole lot better soon after we moved in and it was much cheaper at Home Goods.  This year I found another picture at Home Goods that now graces the room and yes, it is over the fireplace.  The other picture looks really nice over a console type table and the third picture that I have had buyers remorse over, well for a lack of a better place, I hung it in the entry and there it has remained.  This fall when Rancho De Five has the community garage sale, that picture was going at a good price into the sale.  That is until today.  The framed picture I picked up this morning looks awesome!  It would look good in our bedroom but I am rethinking this.  There is a small bookcase in the area before the second bedroom, bathroom and laundry room.  A small bookcase is there but I am rethinking that and considering getting another bookcase, a tall one for that area.  The new Biltmore bought  picture will look great over it.  On closer inspection of the picture that just hung in the entry, for the first time I noticed the teal and blueish green in the picture.  So on a whim I took that picture and hung it in our bedroom.  It was ok, but it still reminded me that I haven't ever really liked the picture and gee, to remind myself of that fact, I could wake up every morning, see the picture and then experience regret.  Then it struck me to turn the picture sideways.  The scene of the picture is trees reflecting in a lake only it is and I say this cause I know artist terms just about as well as I know craft is fabric not material, that it is kind of impressionistic but only kind of.  When the picture is turned sideways it makes for a wonderful display of color in muted shades of greens and blues.  It looks great!  Who knew?  Roy didn't even recognize the picture except he thought it looked familiar.  Yes, it has been hanging on the hallway wall where from time to time I have shaken my fist at it and instead of saying mini van I say stupid picture, kind of like Homer Simpson.  Yes, it has come to that.  What made it even worse is that we paid over, gulp...$300.00 for this thing and not too long after moving in, Home Goods had the same picture for $59.00!  Wow, I felt stupid and aggravated and sad that I was going to see that very same picture in the entry when I got home. 

Now this is where I wish I knew how to segway this important discovery of finally liking a painting only because I looked at it differently.  Lots to draw from on that but I will be remiss and let you, dear reader, and it could only be a reader, no plural here, to come to your own conclusions of the lesson in this.  Sometimes when we see something differently it can be a thing of beauty and sometimes looking at something differently, it reveals a better view into something you've suspected has been suspect all along. 

So in the spirit of looking at things differently we decided this summer we would visit some of the area churches.  This morning we returned to a church we have visited once before when we overslept.  It was nice getting to sleep in a little this morning and only ten minutes away for the 10:30 service.  They do things quite differently than at the Baptist church and when the preaching was over I was ready to leave but we still had the offering and communion on the docket.  My knees got quite a workout of standing and sitting and since we aren't of this denomination, we didn't know when to stand, kneel and rise.  When they had a few production problems with their screens, we were the only ones who did not know the Apostle's Creed by heart.  Those people kept on going and didn't miss a word.  You would think my ADD would be worse at HFBC but in a smaller worship center I had difficulty in focusing because of all the action going on in the congregation.   Nothing different at all than at First but guess in a smaller room I was up close and personal to everything.  I think in the recesses of Roy's mind he thought just maybe this would be a good church  fit since he is really interested in a neighborhood church but we both knew as we discussed everything over lunch that it would not be a good fit but a nice option for those oops, we accidentally overslept Sundays.  I think one Sunday this summer we might visit this little church near by that is just so darn cute on the outside and that is the only reason I want to go is to see if it is as cute on the inside.  Yes, summer church priorities have come down to, oh it is so cute, let's go. 

We went to Sprout's after church to pick up a few things, brought them home, put them up and went to Victor's for lunch.  I've had a great nap and we are waiting for the temps to fall a bit before going out to dead head roses. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

So It Is Saturday....

It's 11:00 am and both of us have accomplished a lot.  Roy went to Bible study and I did a semi easing into the day thing.  I was out the door by 9:00 to exchange some shorts at Academy.  Then I stopped at the produce stand and got zipper cream peas, blueberries, grape tomatoes and peaches.  Yum!  I am not a fan of summer but I do like it because of all the produce choices that are available.  I headed over to old Katy and picked up the newly framed print I brought home from the Biltmore.  Wow, they did a fabulous job and it turned out really well.  Meanwhile Roy was home while the morning was still cool, which is a relative term here, to work on the fortifications around the bottom of the fence.  No longer will I have to hide from the yard guys because Roy leveled everything so the extra bulky stones are not needed for bracing but I am sure we will find a use for them.  He was just finishing that project when I got home and I used the opportunity of his presence in the backyard to water plants, plants that don't know they nearly were cleared out in my campaign of answers to rid the yard of the unwanted.

Last night Roy and I took our inaugural drive on the newly opened and completed street that will take us, without a dozen twists and turns to Westheimer Parkway.  Of course our joy is not Peggy's joy because this street now runs behind her home.  For years it was a horse farm behind them and then a distant yet close subdivision and now the road.  The good thing is that it should take a lot of traffic off the road that runs in front of their subdivision.  So after Roy and I took our check it out drive and a drive by to see the progress on Dena's house, we went to Sonic.  A strawberry Sunday sounded so refreshing. 

This is fun lunch week.  Yesterday I had lunch with Cassi.  Ours friendship is a great story.  She sat next to me one night at Beth's Bible study because she had came with a guest of Lisa P.  We got to talking and she was looking for part time work.  I asked her to send me a resume and I kind of offered her a job that hadn't even been created yet.   As they say, the rest is history.  She has gone on to bigger and brighter things than that little part time job, which only last a few weeks because she was offered a full time job with another area in the ED suite.  Now, she is the Children's Pastor at Bayou City Fellowship.  That's our framework history and in between all the changes here and there we celebrate a wonderful friendship.  So we nearly shut down the lunch crowd at Las Alameda's.  We had a blast catching up and there is almost always great spiritual conversations as we both desire to do God's will.  Today I am meeting Marcia and Dana for lunch and really look forward to seeing them.  Roy and I have been so hit and miss this summer getting to the church house. 

Another nearly shut down the late lunch crowd with Marcia and Dana.  Great friends and great conversation.  Roy and I went to Kroger's.  I still think our grocery basket looks like we are in college.  Peperoni's pizza for dinner and I'm looking forward to getting back into a book. 

Last night we watered the flowers out front and I need to water another flowerbed in the back.  Have to see if Roy will give up his movie to go outside with me.  Yes, even after a full week without an unwanted, I'm still not crazy about going in the backyard by myself. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Hidden Life...From Your Yard Guys

Thursday afternoon and Able and crew just left.  They are the guys who cut our grass.  I wanted to lay or lie low because of the concrete fortifications we are placing around our backyard fence.  To hold them in place around certain areas we had to use some stones until everything settles in.  It does not make for an easy yard cut, more like trim close to the fence.  I didn't want them to come to the door and tell me unless we roll away the stone, Easter reference, that they aren't going to cut the grass or they will charge us more.  No knock on the door and no dirty looks through the windows.  OK, I hid out in our closet where there are no windows.  I have to say I think it is the fence fortification that has cut off access to our yard via the neighbors from the green space.  Haven't spotted an unwanted since Sunday.  Roy goes out each evening to do a look see for me that everything is still in place.

Last Wednesday night I was ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it came to our backyard.  The tree that I watered and took care and nursed back into healthy tree-dom from the drought...I was ready to cut it down.  I also wanted to pull up all the flowers and severely cut back all the shrubs we have been waiting to get tall enough to cover those ugly cable boxes in the backyard.  I even turned down a dinner invite for grilled hamburgers at Peggy's cause I thought we would work all evening long.  But Roy told me we didn't need to do that.  We needed to find where the little booger was getting in and limit his access.  We didn't have to destroy our whole yard to take care of the problem.  I think maybe I have taken this torch and burn approach to many problems I have faced.  Too scared to go back into the corner of the fence behind the electric transformer box to solve the problem but willing to destroy whatever not to make things look so appealing.  Good lesson in that.

I read so many different blogs these days.  I've ventured into some really interesting and thought provoking blogs.  I read blogs that I agree with and blogs that challenge me to think through what I have thought or believed.   The versatility and the beauty of their structured words encourage, even when I don't necessarily think like they do. 

Love this quote from How To Talk  Evangelical blog by Addie Zierman:

 It’s possible to write in the small spaces – in the late nights or the early mornings or the in-betweens. It’s a matter of choosing it again and again, every single day, and it’s a hard choice to keep making. But if you choose it, it is possible to cobble a masterpiece from stolen moments.

She is a mom, a blogger and soon to be published author.  Although she is talking about writing while raising two children the concept of writing in the small places in our days applies to everyone.  You can find her blog here

Thursday, June 20, 2013

All in All

It's a bright sunny morning out here in Rancho De Five.  We were hoping to experience a bit of the rain that fell everywhere else around the greater area yesterday, but alas it was not to be.  Roy's powerful bike light arrived from Amazon yesterday.  He charged it up while we ate dinner and then waited till dusk/dark to try it out.  He hit the water feature trail and arrived home calling the ride with light a success. 

My day was totally fun.  I met Lisa P for lunch at Bistro N in the Nord.  I came just a little early to get some eye primer and I found some necklaces on sale.  Lisa and I hit the Bistro around 11:15 and we left that portion of our visit at 3:00.  Yes, we tipped the waiter extra for tying up his table for so long.  If you've never had the Bistro fries you should go in a avail yourself of their goodness.  We ordered fries as our appetizer.  It has probably been over a year since I've had the white chocolate bread pudding so we shared one and it was good.

I don't even like bread pudding but this's so delicious.  Don't let the bread pudding put you off.   Lisa and I got caught up, laughed, laughed and then we laughed some more in between our serious to semi serious discussions.  Yea, we pretty much opened the place and closed it down before the dinner rush. 

Since Chris was here yesterday instead of going straight home I stopped in Target.  4:00ish isn't a bad time in summer.  Years ago I had bought a set of glasses from Crate and Barrel that I called my Southern glasses.  They seemed very To Kill a Mockingbird-esk.  Through the years the eight became one.  That is until yesterday while looking for a pitcher for ice tea.  There was a box of very close replicas right there in the Target.  Score!  I found the pitcher I was looking for at Home Goods.  I debated on dropping in at Sprouts because I figured Chris was still here at home finishing up and I prefer to come home to just Buddy.   So I went on and stopped at Sprouts to pick up a few things we were out of and when I arrived home, Chris was already gone.  All in all a very good day.

Monday, June 17, 2013

That's a Wrap

Ah, summer!  Hot, hot, and dare I say hot summer.  Once you leave the friendly confines of the A/C just about every bit of energy is drained in three seconds from the heat.  Heat and me haven't done well together over the years and it can still be a huge factor in my heart beat.  I don't know what it is about summer because really when you don't work and have a limited schedule you can sleep in any time of the year, but it is summer and sleeping in seems to be the right thing to do.  Sleeping in is 8:00 am but I could sleep till 10:00 easily. 

I have written before about my jean jacket and dark/black/blue jeans with a white shirt being my uniform of choice or should that be of last resort?  I realize that uniform is mainly for non summer months because the denim theme is carried through for me in summer not in a jacket but in capris and shorts.  If I don't want to make any kind of decision, the denim is the go to uniform.  For more dressy casual the choice of uniform is linen. 

We are still on vermin watch 2013.  We hadn't seen the little guy around but Saturday afternoon changed that. Our neighbor caddie corner to us is not keeping his grass mowed and the weeds are growing tall around his fence giving that little vermin the kind of comforts that they like.  Roy went to Lowe's, bought a trap and also bought stone/brick building materials to cover up the hole he is using to get inside our yard.  On Friday we went to Academy to get me a BB high powered pistol with laser light.  I want to be able to do rapid fire against that thing if I have to go outside.  With my attention span having to cock the rifle six times, I'll lose interest and go onto other things.  Or have a heat stroke.  So we have professional bait/poison box, metal trap complete with a juicy plum, fortifications (and adding to them daily) and fire power that is HOA approved.  I am asking the Lord to provide some hawks to snatch up that little problem.  Peggy has offered her owls that live in the top of the covering over their dock.  I may take her up on that.  Logistically, don't know how that would happen since owls don't respond on command you know like a falcon. 

Saturday morning when Roy got home from Bible study, he and I went to Home Goods.  I love the Katy Home Goods store!  Online I had seen these wooden and wicker storage pieces deeply discounted on Grandin Road.  The price good the shipping costs were astronomical. I almost ordered them on Friday but decided to do a quick look see at HG to see if they had anything similar.  They did but Roy pointed out some obvious flaws to my organizational thinking.  He had nixed a previous idea that morning of big woven baskets because I mainly am looking for someplace to put the bulky sweatshirts and the like but we revisited the idea with a new twist.  We found a red bench that would hold two of the large baskets and shoes could be placed on the support rail underneath.  Lot cheaper and actually has a nice look.  Saturday I worked on rearranging the closet and getting rid of four more plastic storage drawers. 

Friday evening we took dinner over to our friends who have moved into Rancho De Five, just about three miles down the blvd.  Nothing like Peperoni's pizza, salad, and cup cakes from Ooh La La to say welcome.   Heck, it says something to us almost every week, well except for the cupcake part.  I can only wish....

We took a sabbatical Sunday yesterday.  Seems as if in the summer if we make it every other weekend to church, it feels like success.  Roy's schedule had been so hectic and there are just Sundays where rest is called for.  Gee, I think God thought of that.   Besides that, neither one of us was in the mood for a Father's Day sermon. We went out for breakfast at Otto's.  Our first choice had been BWC but it was already busy at 9:00 am.  A new place has opened by us, Cafe Red.  The trendy fusion place didn't make it.  Rumor had it that Cafe Red serves breakfast on the weekends and that is true.  Roy went in and grabbed a to go menu.  Looks like a lot of great choices for lunch and dinner too. 

Last night I was looking for Flora, a new book by Gail Godwin, and I could not find it.  I came to the conclusion that I had left it somewhere on the Biltmore trip.  This morning I was rearranging things and remembered I had put the book in a tote bag the last time Chris was here and I needed to clear out of her way. 

That's a wrap...well for now at least. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Good Friends-Together Again

We were friends in high school.  We sang songs together, in particular In the Jungle and anything by Santana while we rode around in our cars.  We both had short attention spans, we both loved to laugh and we had tons of questions that no one could answer.  I don't remember when or how I met Mimi but I was always glad that I had.  She drove a gray Tempest that had seen better days and I drove a Chevy Impala Super 8 that if memory serves, I drove rather aggressively and rather fast.  There were times that 8 of us would cram ourselves in that car and go...I don't remember where but we went places mainly to a friend's house or our regular hangout whose name escapes me now, but they had the best fries, church, and sometimes even football games.  Westbury had a terrible team that year but we went to the games to cheer our friend Marty who was the Adjutant General of Rebelettes, fife, drum and bugle core.  She and a few other officers marched and marked time on the sideline while the rest marched and played. So we yelled and cheered for her and as soon as halftime was over, we left. Probably to go get fries. I can't even believe this but because my parents loved Mimi so much they let me go out with Mimi's brother who was 26 and home from Nam.  (not to be confused with NAMB)  Uh, I was 16.  Mimi had forgotten about that and she asked me if her brother had been a gentleman.  Yes, and we only went out a couple of times, dinner and a movie and I took him to a Christian coffee house.  He told me he knew I was too young to date and that was fine by me.  I do know this, the few times we kissed and that's all we did, I knew I had been dating boys before Mimi's brother. That's all I am going to say about that.  After high school our group kind of went our separate ways but several of us from church went to the university formally known as Southwest Texas State University.  Mimi and I lived in the same dorm. Both of us only went there a year.  I was accepted to Baylor but had to come home and go to U of H.  Mimi dropped off my radar for forty years.  I had heard that she had married and moved to a farm.  Somehow wild and crazy Mimi didn't seem to fit the farm lifestyle.  I couldn't see her chasing chickens and mowing the back forty.  Throughout the years I thought of her often, wondered how she was doing and periodically check Facebook to see if I could find her.  Nope, Nada....

But then....  This week I received an email about a joint class reunion of Bellaire and Westbury years 69-73.  On the RSVP list was Mimi.  I emailed her and she responded.  Soon there were a flurry of texts and emails coming and going.  She was in Houston on Thursday so we met for lunch.  We sent each other pictures just in case we had changed in forty years.  For example, I used to be taller.  Good try Nancy.  Anyway we had a blast at lunch.  It was as if we had seen each other the day before.  A two hour lunch that went by too quickly without any awkward silences.  We crammed a lot of laughter and conversation in those two hours.  We found out that our lives in certain things had been almost parallel.  Of course we made plans to get together again and we took a picture and sent it to our friend Beth letting her know she was missed at lunch.  Beth will be in town at the end of June so we will all get together at some time during her stay.  Oh and the part about Mimi moving to a farm?  Well, that is partially true but it is more like one of those subdivisions where you have acreage, animals and gardens. 

The friendship theme seemed to present throughout the week.  Tuesday night I went to a Bible study and the topic is friendships and last night we took dinner over to our good friends David and Emily.  They made the move to Rancho De Five.  Just down the street 3 1/2 or so miles. 

Good friends around a table sharing a meal.  Oh so fun and yet oh so biblical. 

See, we haven't changed at all!  Except I don't wear a cap and gown anymore. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday Weporting

It has been an interesting day out here on the prairie.  After not seeing any vermin yesterday I saw a small one this morning running and leaping the in the flower bed.  He better not have been praising God in all that running and leaping.  My deterrent?  I bang on the door and scare him.  If he would only go eat some poison.  Since I haven't and don't know how to load the BB gun and again I would have to go outside to shoot it, I was just left with the noise making.  I may have made Buddy lose one of her nine lives.  I was making breakfast and she went stealth, no bell noise from her collar and I jumped and screamed.  She jumped and ran away.  So my guard cat went back under the bed.  I haven't a clue where my attack mockingbirds have disappeared to. 

You know you put in hardwood floors so that you don't have the marked trail on carpet.  But, what was one of the first things I did?  Yes, I bought an area rug for the bedroom.  Actually I started out with a runner but when I saw a lovely area rug on sale, deeply discounted, I went to plan B.  The runner is now in the closet. 

You know how the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy?  Well, last night I attended a neighborhood Bible study.  Great mixture of women, young, younger still and then me, old.  Actually, there were several fellow Titus 2 ladies there.  Whew!  We kind of were divided into thirds, those who go to BCF, Houston's First and then other fellowships.  I loved it and the time we shared.  I am so glad I had made the decision when I came in the door of the home Bible study was meeting at, not to hang onto my phone.  So when I got home I had received an unwanted but somewhat expected email and relieved to read it at home and not be distracted by it in Bible study.  Last year this email would have put me over the edge but this year after minimal discussion with Roy, I slept soundly and didn't give any emotional energy to it.  I will give you the name of my therapist if you are encountering unwanted drama because she did a great job to get me to this place.  No joy stolen or destroyed last night. 

I am really looking forward to having lunch with my friend tomorrow.  A third friend from high school might join us as well.  Yesterday, I found these vintage pictures from the long ago of Mimi and me. 

My summer reading is calling out to me, so I must answer the call.  Just started 'While We Were Watching Downtown Abbey by Windy Wax.  Great summer read. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Nannie Get Your Gun or Nannie Oakly in Rancho De Five


A beautiful morning after a Sunday afternoon rain.  The sun is shinning, the foliage is a deeper green and I'm excited about a lunch on Thursday.  But all of that happiness in the morning came to a screeching halt while gazing out our back windows taking in a This is My Father's World kind of moment when I saw this little bitty movement among my flowers.  I drew closer by going to our back door to see if this little bit of movement among the snapdragons was one of my guard mockingbirds that have grown up at our bird feeder.  NO!  Dang!  It was a little bitty tiny baby rat.  Now before you think we live in the hood I will remind you we live in Rancho De Five, you know where these kind of creatures shouldn't be admitted, but we live off a green space, a beautiful green space to the eye, but me thinks lurking underneath all the beauty of the verdant view are skunks, rats, snakes and cute little bunny rabbits.  Our neighbor next door is dealing with the rabbits eating his plants.  I would gladly trade with him.  I emailed Roy to let him know of my  I spy with my little eye finding and I was this close to calling a real estate agent and putting a For Sale sign in the yard.  That disturbed him somewhat and he made the call to our home pest defense to make sure they were REALLY bringing the professional box with poison as not to harm birds, cats or cute bunnies coming into our yard.  He also called the HOA and told them they need to do something about the infestation, well in my mind one vermin is an infestation, on the green space.  They were not too cooperative because children and adults walk along that space.  HELLO!  All it is going to take is Mighty or Mickey's great big rat uncle to jump out and scare or bite or take candy away from a baby.  Roy said, buy a box like we are!  I have a feeling he will be out staining our fence again since he isn't getting any cooperation from the HOA.  Why I have a good mind to go out front and pull up a plant so we don't have the required number.  Oh yea, that would mean I would have to go outside.  With all the land being cleared around us for new homes these..."things" are migrating looking for a new home.  Hey, vermin, just keep moving, nothing to move into here.  This is what I don't understand, for the life of me I have the greatest difficulty finding my way back to our bed in the middle of the night and I many times I can't see something I'm looking for and it's right in front of me.  But, I see one little movement of a flower petal in a bed of flowers and I instantly can identify the the encroachment of a unwanted preferably dead pest.  I regret that we did not open up the new BB gun and take some target practice over the weekend but I also know one would have to go outside to make the shot, it can't happen from the inside of the house.  Also, because I just feel safer and I feel certain that everything remains outside, I have put on my trusty rat..I mean rain boots. 
I feel like the kid who wears cowboy boots with their shorts.  Hey, it works for me, even though my feet are getting a little sweaty.  I'm sure the boots will not stay on all day but I will have them placed in a strategic location for easy access.  I am also happy to see that Buddy must be feeling my concern.  Instead of her usual morning spot of sleeping under the bed or her new secret place, she is so talented that she takes the rug by the back door, folds it in half and lays or lies there, guarding the door.  (Don't arrest me grammar police, I'm experiencing PTSD)

Here is something else that I have found to be interesting in my observations of the great side yard and it has to do with the birds and the bees.  From my observation it seems like we should find another example other than birds for the birds and the bees, maybe rabbits and bees.   None of the female birds I have watched at the feeder and bath are too interested "in doing it, let's fall in love."  It is a constant chase and it is funny to watch how the females are kind of like, 'can I just eat my dinner first or give me a moment at the water and stop chasing me for just one second."   Another observation that the symbol of peace, doves, have become the more aggressive bird at the feeder.  Lot of beak to the head action while feigning they are eating. 

Bear with me one more moment while I tell of my exciting lunch on Thursday.  I got an email last week from that someone had organized a high school reunion for classes 69-73 from Bellaire and Westbury.  Last year, my class did not have a reunion because we elected druggies and disenfranchised with the establishment class officers.  So cool in '72, so lame in 2012.  Anyway, I saw on the RSVP that a friend from high school was coming.  I found out that I could send her one email and respond to one email before upgrading to platinum classmates or something.  Anyway, we have been in touch and she is coming into town on Thursday for an appointment, so we are having lunch before it.  So like the last time she saw me I was 6' and weighed 120 pounds so I sent a current picture cause you know I have gotten shorter. 

Oh for the record, the title using Nannie, I hate being called Nannie, Nanner, or Nan.  I didn't want a bunch of musical theatre types Googling Annie Get Your Gun and be disappointed that I am writing about vermin and their ultimate demise, hopefully.  Also note to self, put socks on before rain boots.  I thought I was going to have to call in help for removal. 

***Update, the reinforcement has arrived with the bait box.  He is coming back tomorrow to put more poison in it because the box only has half the usual amount.  Reason, all the bait at their office is gone. Hmmm....sounds like we are not the only ones being visited by unwanteds. ***  Line from Greater Tuna, "I just sleep better knowing there is strychnine in the house."  But that would be yard.  Glad I took off my rat...I mean rain boots before he came.  The pest guy always sees me at my best little makeup, hair not fixed.  He probably would like to suggest for me just to go out in the backyard and scare the unwanteds away.***

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Feels Like Two Saturdays in a Row

It feels like Saturday all over again.  Roy took a vacation day on Friday.  I am so glad he did because he was here to take care of a problem.  Love life on the prairie except when it gets interrupted by skunks, snakes and a baby rat.  I heard two mockingbirds making a commotion in our backyard yesterday morning and they were keeping a baby rat from coming under the fence from our neighbor's yard.  Good mockingbirds!  Roy was barely awake but he went out to the garage and got a brick and a small broom.  He put the brick up against the fence and came back inside.  If he hadn't been here I would have had to do that and I would have screamed the whole time.  This morning after Bible study he went to Bass Pro Shop at the recommendation of the Katy Hardware store.  He came home with a BB rifle, a target and some pellets.  I love this because neither one of us could be called outdoor type people.  We are more courtyard and patio type people.  The guy at Bass Pro showed him the caliber and power of the correct gun that will kill a rat.  Who knew?  Well, the guy at Bass Pro, but really math involved in vermin control, wow.  I mean really, we can't be shooting a real gun in the neighborhood.  I'm sure the HOA would have something to say about that.  When the mosquito spraying man came yesterday he told us he would be back Monday with a professional poison box to put out in the yard that won't harm anyone other than vermin.  And fortunately I have my electronic defense that I used in my office at church.  We saw a church mouse from time to time but never in my office! 

Roy and I set about taking care of errands and projects that we had neglected.  We got a lot done and took off the rest of the afternoon and evening.  I'm almost finished with my first book of the summer and hopefully I will get it finished tonight. 

I took Dena to the airport this afternoon.  When she flies out of the country I usually take her.  The brick and stone for her house has been delivered.  I will not miss her parking garage one little bit.  On the way home I hit some hard rain and saw several accidents.  The rain here at home was tapering off by the time I returned.  Roy had leftover BBQ for dinner and I had a fresh tomato sandwich on white bread.  Yum!

The Cardiologist is readjusting my meds.  I'm having a couple of nagging symptoms that need to be helped.  Monitor is coming soon.  Right now as I await the coming monitor no long period of time sitting and I'm to stay out of the heat.  I am trying to convince Roy that means a move to North Carolina for me at least through the summer.  He's not buying it. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Wrap Up of a Pilgrimage

While I was off relaxing and having fun at the Biltmore Roy was at home taking care of several different projects.  He decided that when we had our floors put in the bedroom and closet that I shouldn't be anywhere around for that.  I had pretty well organized everything for the closet but Roy moved everything.  He also had new deadbolts put in and on our front gate.  Buddy went to camp for several nights while all this was going on.  We didn't think she would be thrilled staying in the casita bedroom and of course what we call camp for her, she would probably call prison but it would be too hard trying to keep her away from the casita door and trying to get outside.  I love that he even tried to keep up with bird feeding and bird bath cleaning to keep the birds around.  I was happy to come home to flowerbeds that had been watered and a back flowerbed that he had pulled weeds.  Roy said he missed me so much that he was just trying to stay busy.  Ah....I should go away so he can miss me again and get the rest of the honey do's taken care of. 

What I so enjoy about the Biltmore is the beauty.  Of course it is not a bad thing when calling anywhere in the Inn that the other party answers the phone, "how can we help the Monarch party today?  Dena and I were content many a day just to sit on the veranda or in the lobby or in the Adirondack chairs to read.  We went to Blowing Rock and Linville Falls on Tuesday.   We ate lunch at the Village Cafe, a beautiful spot to have soup and salad.  We shopped and found some really cute stores.  Defiantly a return trip is needed. 

 On the way back we took a side trip downtown to find Malaprop's Bookstore.  For years I have heard so much about it and it is one of the best independent bookstores in the US.  Dena is not only good at spotting Cracker Barrel signs and then the winding route to finally get to it, but she spotted a prime parking place right by the bookstore.  Let's just say downtown Asheville is not dead at night.  In fact they have "borrowed" a slogan from Austin, Keep Asheville Weird.  Almost every Southern bookstore has a section for regional authors and that's the spot I track to upon arrival.  Dena was on her own search of books but she was finished way before I was.  But with my purchases I scored free coffee or tea in their cafe and the chance to pick two advanced copy books.  We had quite the adventure in trying to find our way back to the Biltmore.  We didn't lose hope or even get aggravated, we knew that Asheville is only so big compared to Houston.  We both came to the conclusion that Houston is a piece of cake to get around.  We even returned downtown on Thursday to find Asheville's Mast General Store.  During the day, downtown Asheville looks like every other normal business attired downtown.  Again, Dena saw a parking spot and again I didn't have to parallel park.  PTL!  When we came back to Biltmore we drove around the reflection pond and by the gardens...and again eagle eye Dena found a parking spot, up close to the garden area.  Neither one of us had ever been to the garden shop.  We were delighted to find several things that needed to come home with us and even better Dena found the gardener's hand cream that her mom loves and can be difficult to find.  We came back to the Inn, read and then got the last table without a wait on the veranda for our last supper on the estate.  Nothing like eating and rocking and taking in such a beautiful view. 

Another significant event of the week, Dena got hooked on Duck Dynasty.  Not only did I influence my core group in CBS, I finally got Dena to watch and now she is a fan.  On Wednesday night we watched the marathon, only I fell asleep.  She said she stayed up till midnight watching.  Now if we can snag Peggy.  Only thing with Peggy she never stops in the summer unless it is to sleep.  Will have to try for the fall.

When I arrive at the Inn on a trip and see people loading up their car to return home, I always feel sorry for them but happy for me...but I know that the day will come, which was Friday, where the scrumptious looking valet parkers load up my car, give you a bottle of water and I think they should give you a box of tissues for the tears you shed while driving the de-approach road out of the grounds.  Since Dena and I were trying to leave at a halfway decent time, we were there when the dining room opened for breakfast but we didn't want the hostesses to think we were old people who had been up since 3:00 waiting for breakfast.  We said goodbye to our friend Edward.  He is now a captain in the prep area, hand picked by the chef because of his work ethic and attention to detail.  He was a bus boy when we met him last May.  He is a brother in Christ. 

We made it all the way to Amite, LA on Friday.  That made Saturday an easy day of driving and after dropping off Dena, I got home around 2:00.  Next year, we will both be coming out to Rancho De Five on the return trip. 

I have so many good books right now to read but I think I will finish up the Gail Godwin book I began on the trip.  The book, Flora, takes place in Asheville.  It's the story of a girl who could not find her way out of downtown Asheville.  No, not really.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May Pilgrimage Part 2

I think one of my favorite times on the ride up to Asheville are the back roads through the mountains.  Seems like we are on that particular journey usually on Sunday mornings.  Each time the music on the radio station is perfect.  We listened and sang along and then Dena read several Psalms.  It was a great worship service in Sequisha.  We stopped at and of course I cannot remember the name of the place, but it was the location of the 1996 Olympics for kayaking.  The water and the rapids were full of people getting their white water raft adventure on.  One of the men watching the boats told me they had just opened up the upper dam and that is why there was so much activity.  For sure we are going to schedule more time on the next visit.  Then we headed on into what we started calling the gorge.  Lots of twists and turns on a two land road.  Fun!  We headed toward Waynesville and went to the Mast General Store and both of us were very successful in finding things to purchase.  Let's just say Dena will not be running out of peanut butter bars anytime soon.  I did the usual t-shirt thing but also had a glass bottle Diet Coke.  Oh my, so very good!  We left and drove on to Asheville and stopped at The Catina for late lunch/early dinner.  Not bad Mexican food for North Carolina.  To finish up we ordered fried brownie with ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauce.  We felt like we were at the Houston Rodeo with the fried.  We actually kind of peeled away the fried and just ate the rest.  And was time....for the anticipated three mile drive to the Inn.  Beautiful!  Our room was right over the Grand Terrace and we had front row seats in our room to watch the Memorial Day fireworks. 

Nice way to end a day.  Dare I say, it was a blast!
Hey Kathy in Mississippi, we will be coming back that way in Sept, the hubs and me.  Would love to meet you at the CB if all our schedules coordinate. 
That's it for today.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Annual May Pilgrimage

The Monday back after a fabulous time at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC.  The whole trip was wonderful and full of good surprises and adventures.  The recurring theme seemed to be timing, more specifically God's timing.  Dena and I were so aware of this from the tiniest details to the grand big picture.  We also made the trip differently in route and timing which in hindsight added so much.

Dena and I have come to the realization that it is better to do a two night drive going to Biltmore.  This time we divided the days into 8-9 hours increments.  Our first stop for the night was in Brookhaven, MS.  We had time to drive around the picturesque downtown.  We paid homage to the First Baptist Church and the St Francis of Assi Catholic church.  Both beautiful buildings in their own respects.  We asked about a steak and seafood place just down the way from the hotel but it had closed down.  Thus we had CB for the second time that day.  It turned out really to be a good dinner.  We both ordered the pot roast and we had the cutest college waitress that we visited with throughout dinner.  At the time we hadn't realized by dividing up our trip we finally after so many attempts, could stop at Dreamland BBQ in Birmingham for a late lunch on our way to Chattanooga.  Siri got us there and back onto the correct freeway. 

Roy used to eat at Dreamland in Tuscaloosa back in the day.  No, he didn't go to the University of Alabama and he would be upset if he knew his name and Alabama were being used so close together in sentences but he went there quite often on business.  He would bring back one gallon size containers of sauce from Dreamland. We'd have friends over for BBQ when he brought back the sauce.  I so want to go to SNL, "do you lika the sauce?  The sauce is good."  Ok, I went there.  Hands down, their BBQ sauce is about the best there is...maybe even beating Goode Company.  The sauce was as good as I remembered.  Dena has a better picture of the remnants of our meal.  It reminded us of the time we went with Lisa P to New Orleans.  The remains of that day are quite legendary and we have the pictures to prove it. 

Back on the highway and ever so thankful to see that the construction on I 59 going toward Chattanooga has concluded because that road surface felt like a roller coaster.  We checked into our usual hotel and walked over to El Matador for dinner, believe me it was a light dinner.  Guac and queso.  Going there is just part of our trip. 

I will stop here and will continue on later.  I don't want to give the impression that all we did was we did stuff inbetween meals. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm Back!

I have returned after being away a week at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  It was an absolutely fabulous trip,  When I returned home the hardwood floors had been installed in our bedroom and closet.  The rooms look lovely.  Now to return everything back to the right place.  Guess it was too much to think that Roy could do that.  I am not complaining because he took care of about every honey do on the list while I was gone. 

While passing through the state of Mississippi we went through Brandon, MS and I thought of the person who reads my blog that lives in that city.  She has commented before but I said Hi to her both times we traveled through. 

I am feeling a bit tired, so I will stop writing at this point, but I will be back soon with lovely pictures and some wonderful stories and thoughts during this fun and fine trip.