Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just Stuff

We have needed the rain but it is enjoyable to see the sun.  While other areas had much more lighting and thunder last night, we escaped with hard rain and a little bit of thunder.  Nighttime is always an adventure around here.  I thought it might be good to look at the radar on my cell phone which is now plugged in the reading room and I nearly hurt myself as I tripped and hurled forward over Roy's gym bag.  He usually puts in closer to the front door so he won't forget it but last night he placed it by the chair and bookcase.  There I would have been until he left later in the morning but I was able to catch myself and prevent disastrous results....for me, not his gym bag.  I stumbled and bumbled my way back to the bedroom with my phone so I could be awaken every ten minutes with weather alerts.  Yes friends, I have seriously stepped into my senior adult mode at three in the morning with the weather alerts.  There was a day or rather should that be night when I would have just turned over and gone back to sleep not worried about severe thunderstorm, flood advisories or tornado alerts.

Now it is a beautiful Thursday morning.  I heard the roar of lawn mowers and had a small panic attack as I thought it was Abel and crew here to mow and I hadn't left out any money...and I'm still in my jammies.  On top of that Buddy the watch cat wasn't leaving my side and when she is on watch, the ins and outs of the front door become difficult.  I diverted her attention with treats and made my stealth move outdoors.  Yea, I know, I don't make stealth moves...but let's pretend.  With all the rain we might not see Abel and crew today.

The past few morning whether rain or shine, the birds have been singing their little hearts out.  I love it!  When I'm filling the feeder a little mockingbird sits on the fence and sings for his supper.  The back flowerbed shelters doves from the sun, rain and the ever watchful hawks.  The same flowerbed provided a covered home for three baby rabbits last summer.

I really liked the hair dryer at the Inn at Biltmore because it had three speeds and gosh darn it, sometimes one needs a medium speed setting, just not high or low.  I found the hair dryer on Amazon for the low, low price of $19.99.  It probably won't help my hair all that much, but there is always hope.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Happenings

You can almost feel the beginning of summer even though most in the area have to go to school tomorrow to make up for the ice day.  By the end of the week the land will be overrun with freedom at least for the next few months.

Sometimes I wonder if Roy remembers who I am when he talks to me about stuff.  Today on the way to church I saw a turtle on the side of the road.  We debated whether to go back and help it since imminent death was near.  I saw a car behind us stop to help the stranded turtle but unknowingly Roy said to me, should we go rescue it?  Was it a box turtle or a snapping turtle?  Uh, I guessed ninja.  It's a reptile that's all I know. Why would he think I could identify it?   After church we stopped at The Fresh Market and even though we said we were not buying anything that needed to be refrigerated, the veggie lasagna was too good to pass up.  Before meeting Dena for brunch we went home with the groceries and just about the same  spot where we saw the turtle, Roy made a comment about the new houses going in by Peggy.  Adjacent to the property is a rather large oil storage tank.  He said Nancy, you can just smell the HS2 in the air.  Uh, let's see i before e except after c....when two vowels go walking the first does the talking....chemical periodic me is just like asking box or snapping turtle.  I'd like to think it is a complete and total respect of my intellect but sadly he doesn't always talk to me this way.  I will say something like, why did you turn on the light?  He will reply, when one flips the electrical switch, the power more so known as electricity travels through the lines and circuits  and when one takes this action the room is filled with the resulting light.  No, don't need the electricity explanation, I am asking because there was a light already on in that room.

I had an inspired idea for my next writing project.  It came to me while reading the reviews of This Side of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald from back in the day.

Memorial Day weekend came and went.  Actually the day came with rain, lots of rain and Friday and Saturday were sunny days with the creeping in of humidity.  Saturday morning Roy went to the produce stand.  Saturday was opening day and he came home with fresh, homegrown tomatoes, onions and oranges. When he was at Costco on Friday, he picked up some grilled ribs.  Emily called and asked us to dinner that night.  We contributed the ribs to their delicious dinner and they too had gone to the produce stand that morning.  A wonderful dinner and evening with friends.

Sunday we went to church but not LBS.  We stopped in at The Fresh Market to pick up a few things.  We brought them home and then headed over to brunch at Las Alamada's.    Dena soon met us and we had a great time.  She and I had planned on going to Enchanted Garden to look at plants but it closed at 4:00 and we were of the same accord that nap time took precedence over plants.  We made plans to go on Monday morning.  Roy and I had a relaxing Sunday and I spent most of the evening researching homes and condos in the Asheville area just for fun as well as for info.

Monday, Dena came over about 10:30 and the skies looked a bit threatening and as we got further down the road, with the rain starting we decided to just do a drive by for information purposes.  It's a good thing we had decided to drive by because Enchanted Gardens was closed for the holiday.  We drove around so Dena could see more of the area and ended up doing a drive by Hunt Retreat since she hadn't seen it since the restructuring of the building.  Since we were coming back through Fulshear, we made a quick stop into Gabby's where we both found fun stuff.   Once we got back here Roy grilled sliders and we had a delicious Memorial Day lunch and after dessert we all decided Dena should get back home before the skies opened.  And then the skies opened.  Since moving to Rancho De Five this was the heaviest rain we have experienced.  The water feature was the highest I have ever seen and it held.  The water moving on toward Spring Lake was high and came right under the foot bridge.  Many of the places where Dena and I had driven that morning were flooded by the afternoon.

I have read and completed my first book of summer reading and this kind of day lends itself to the start of another book.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Leaving a LegNancy.....Legacy I Mean

The end of the week and the beginning of the weekend.  The produce stand opens tomorrow and here's hoping there are home grown tomatoes along with cream peas and purple hull peas.  Yum!

What is it on the days you go to the salon and get your hair cut that the only thing you want to do when you get home is take a nap?  Maybe it was the end result of having Michael wash my hair.  Oh my, he does a great head massage.  Thankfully, I did not drool or if I did my head was laid back and wouldn't trickle down my chin.  I was able to sneak in a quick nap this afternoon.  The generator tech came and installed the monitor on the generator.  I think Roy really wanted to be here but you can't blame anyone who is trying to knock out work earlier on a three day weekend.

Yesterday I met Mimi for lunch at The Nord.  She had never eaten in the Bistro so it was a delight to share that with her.  I was able to get in a little shopping before we met since I needed to get out of the house for Chris.  It also just happened to be Double Points on purchases, so that is always nice.  Several gifts got taken care of and I don't know what it is this summer but I am loving all the chambray linen pants.  Chambray is that cyclical fabric that goes in and out of fashion.  The years that it is out of style is usually when I want a chambray shirt.  So I have learned to buy a couple in the good years so that I can be fashionably out of style in the bad years.  See, I learned something from our study of Joseph in Genesis this year.  Mimi and I had a very fun lunch.   When I got home I saw that I had an email for a dinner invite and I said yes.  Dena and I went to Mimosa Rose and then had dinner at La Finca.  Mimosa Rose is a locally owned store out here in Rancho De Five.  When they first opened it was mainly a lot of college stuff but they have ditched the universities and have really cute clothes and accessories.  It is a very fun shop.  We ran into Pam and her husband at La Finca.  Pam was in my core group this past year.

Roy and I met for lunch today and then he ran a couple of errands.  I think he is looking forward to having the extra day off.  He picked up some ribs for this weekend.  He is also going to help me dead head more roses.  Yep, nothing but pure excitement around here.   Thankfully, we do not have big plans for the weekend....oh there was a day when that is all we or rather should it be all I wanted.  I am content to read and work on a few projects.  I have one I want to begin but I'm nervous about how to start it.  Although they tell you in artful journaling, there is no wrong or bad way to journal.  Thankful that I am not a perfectionist or I might not start anything.

The week I was by myself at the Biltmore was productive in so many ways.  The beauty of God's creation and creatures, not to mention delicious heavenly grits.  But the week held a bit of reflection toward the people God has brought into my life and the effect and legacy they deposited in me.   This is the time of year that legacy gets thrown about with all kinds of graduations but it is a good reminder of those who have left such great legacies and for us to remember to leave one.  Somewhere.Someplace.Sometime....  Then there are those people who God puts in your life that their legacy to you is, don't be like this person.  Learn from their mistakes and insecurities.   We used to sing this song in choir, May Who All Become Behind Us Find Us Faithful and one of the lines is about loved ones going through what we've left behind and I always had to stifle a laugh.  Because you find more laughable stuff than you find faithful stuff.  Or maybe you feel like the faithful stuff has too much intentionality with it and you laugh about that.  I have a Bible that I mark the strangest verses in and comment...really ministered to me or words to live by.  Whoever goes through my stuff is going to say she was a little cray cray when it came to journals.  Oh and pens.  Not so much t-shirts anymore.   The journals not that have been written in but you know bought and stored away for a day.    I feel like sometimes journals need to come home and be rescued by me.  Yes, may all those who come behind me find me fat-full.  You know all the millions of sizes of clothes that you just know one day you're going to be able to wear again....thankfully, I don't have too many of those around.  I have resigned myself no longer to linger...sorry...flow of thought, that I might not ever get back to a size 10.  Oh well, at least I did it once or twice.

AHC formally known as The Military Channel is doing a marathon of WWII in color.  I have seen all of them but it is always good to go back and review history.  What I love about WWII in color they use the same sound effect for marching soldiers.  Whether they are goose stepping or walking in is the same sound.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Weeding...I Mean Reading

It was another exciting day in the dental chair.  The excitement coming from an implant foundation that could have been set better and learning the oral surgeon used a knock off.  Who knew there were such things?  Also the implant rep hadn't brought some major piece of the puzzle but there was a dentist in the building who happened to have just what my mouth needed.     Because of Dr. Geer's, or Carol cause I have known her since high school, attention to detail I will not walk about looking like a half vampire.  She knew the oral surgeon would use the standard abutment and that's when she decided to do a custom one for me.  She even had an implant rep come in with extra tools and expertise to consult with while Carol did the tedious work in my mouth.  After a few detours she was finally ready to take an impression.  It was the really tacky and sticky material and it felt like she was pulling out all my top teeth.  Thankfully, with her patience the goo finally released and my lips were covered with the purple sticky goo.  For a moment I thought about leaving it on because it would be a smashing color of true staying power lipstick.  But if any dust or bugs happened to come near me, I feared that I would wear a montage of stuff in the air on my lips.  So I cleaned up like I was instructed to do.  I go back today for my regular check up.  Our schedules didn't work for the same day type thing. 

Roy comes home today from Washington DC.  The conference has been really good for him.  I think he has attended this for three years and each time he comes home with all kinds of new compliance, Sarbanes Oxley and whatever else he does that I cannot remember info.  A couple of times he has started the conversation with all the technical points that to me are mumbo jumbo and I have to remind him if this doesn't get interesting in the next few seconds, I will be forced to think on other things and just say uh ha at the right time.  When he said the speaker from the SEC, of course my mind went straight to football but the speaker was from the Securities and Exchange Commission.  When it dawned on me securities, of course my mind goes for sa-chur-i-ty and a complicated order.  Roy usually brings home some pretty good freebies of pens and notebooks and maybe next year I will finally be able to go with him.  The first two years my health wasn't at a place to risk the heat and stress.  This year, we were too late in getting early reservations at The Mayflower Hotel for us to go up early and take in the sights. 

My appointment today was moved up to an earlier time.  Teeth cleaning isn't my favorite thing but it was enjoyable because the hygienist made it fun.  Roy's flight time moved up so he will be home earlier which is really wonderful.  Now I have a few things to do to get ready for Chris and so that Roy won't think I lived slovenly while he was in DC.  Dishes get put into the dishwasher but not as quickly as usual.  

There have been articles on TBR piles of books and why we book lovers shouldn't feel guilty about have a huge stack or the fact we keep adding to the stack.  This summer I plan to do more reading.  I read a lot already but I want to be more intentional about it.  And I have those summer reads coming in beginning at the end of this month and throughout the summer.  I did let my subscription to the New Yorker lapse.  I couldn't keep up and soon there would be stacks of magazines. 

It is the time of year I start making those last trips to certain stores before school lets out.  Summer vacation will be here sooner than later. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just A Couple of Thoughts

The side yard and the bird feeder is a happening place right now.  I just finished filling the feeder and cleaning the birdbath...a disgusting job.  When I came out the front door the little mockingbird dad was waiting for me.  He lets me get closer to him each day and while getting everything prepared and cleaned, he sang his little heart out.  Another experience for a concert setting in twenty-four hours.  I accidentally discovered the nest while rolling up the hose.  In the top part of our tree in the front yard, is the home to Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird.  Being that close to the mockingbird brought back the nature memories on the Biltmore Estate.  Seeing the little lambs grazing with their moms and watching the geese and goslings...are some of my favorite parts of staying there along with seeing the farm animals up close.  Each time I return to the Asheville area I ask God to do something special by letting me see His creation that might otherwise be missed.  Watching the 200 or so baby lambs was special but it would be difficult to miss.  No, it was the mother goose sitting on her nest by the Swannanoa River near the exit of the estate.  She blended in so well and most passed her without even noticing her.  The week that Erin was with me, we certainly slowed down much to the chagrin of motorists behind us to see if there were any updates.  During the next week I checked in with mama goose visually because father goose wasn't in the mood to play.  From our vantage you could see all the down and feathers arranged for the hatching of the eggs.  On the Friday morning that I left to drive over to Memphis, I was able to stop for a few minutes since I didn't have anyone behind me.  I had so hoped the eggs would hatch while we were there, but I have since learned it takes 25-28 days for hatching.  The Wednesday afternoon at the lagoon was special as well.  The goslings were being taken out on the water by two adult geese.  Also accompanying the crew were some A Team type geese who looked like they were working a security detail.  These are called broods when two to five families combine the goslings and let them learn and hang out together.  Geese were ahead of their time, having daycare and play dates.  The goslings remain with their parents for one year and when they are born they already know how to dive, swim, peck and forage for food.  Like doves, geese mate for life and like doves the markings and feathers of males and females are very much alike.  Usually the bigger bird is the male. 

Another new view for me on this trip; the busloads of senior adults seeing the US on a schedule.  During our first week at The Biltmore, we planned our excursions on the estate by monitoring the number of buses at any given site.  At this time of year the bus can be filled with either senior adults or school children on a field trip.  Both are polar opposites on the scale yet in practicality there are many similarities.  Both can get bored rather easily but the difference is in how boredom is acted out.  Senior adults kind of sit together in a pack with the same vacant stare until the next thing on the schedule.  School kids expend more energy in boredom that can lead to discipline or trouble.  It is always fun until someone gets hurt.   There are exceptions in the senior adult groups because each small group had at least one lively participant who paced and kept the time for everyone.  And again I must ask why do women on these bus trips wear white pants?  The propensity for spillage quadruples when you wear white.  One group in particular got my notice, a group of older women in white pants and pastel flowered tops sat in a line with the same vacuous stare of boredom mixed with tired mixed with what do we do next?   I felt in my spirit this thought, don't go through life like those ladies on the side line, giving up adventure and not living in the present moment.  It seems from overheard conversations among themselves it was always on what's next and most probably they approached the next thing with the same resigned spirit.  I can so get this way especially when I hurt or I'm tired.   Many times I see this look in Dr office waiting rooms.  I can hurt and I can be experiencing little heart flutters but I don't need to go to old crank in seconds.  Guard your heart I say to myself for out of it flows the issues of life.  Guarding with a smile and choosing joy. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

What A Great Weekend

This time last week Megan was graduating from college.  We sat outside in the beautiful setting of Fisher Garden and watched as she transformed from student to college graduate.  This morning, Megan sent a snap chat pic of her first day at work.  Lots of change can happen in just a week.  As a very proud aunt I wrote in her card, graduate in four years, with no debt and have a job in her major which is art history, that is a great accomplishment!  There are not too many that can make those claims. 

Roy had asked me to stick around home yesterday because the tech guys for the generator company were coming to install the monitor.  He called around 10:30 to let me know he had the wrong day, they are coming next Friday.  So, I was off to pick up prescriptions, stop in at Mimosa Rose and make a quick walk through at KT Antiques.  Who am I fooling?  I did not do a QUICK walk through.  Since I had just finished the Zelda Fitzgerald novel, I picked up Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald for $6.00.  I also found large drawers out of a library card catalogue and those needed to come home with me as well.  When I got home I was not feeling well and I took a little nap.  My shoulder and neck muscles were so tight which doesn't happen too much anymore.  After napping I felt better and that was good because Dena and I had plans for an early dinner.  We had lots of catching up to do.  Las Alameda's was the perfect place.  I went three weeks without Mexican food.  I think that is a record for me. 

In typical Monablog fashion the post can cover several days.  So it is now Monday morning.  I get to ease into the day.  The rest of the week I have appointments and such, so today is my one day at home.  I'm looking forward to working on my purchase from Saturday.  Saturday afternoon Dena and I stopped by to see our friend Jenea at her new job with Partners in Building.   After that we headed over to downtown Katy.  On Friday, I had seen a wooden stationer's box with the original wood stain.  It has several drawers of various sizes, mostly on the thin side.  It would be a great jewelry box but my intention is to use it with its original intention in mind since I am a collector of stationery, unique paper and the like.  Saturday morning I worked on clearing a space for this piece and if it was still there on Saturday, I knew it was meant to be.  I did get a little scare because as I went to get the piece, two ladies were looking at it and talking about it but they walked on so I got help to bring it to the register.  There is also a booth with antique mid century cameras and Megan collects them.  So I also returned to get one of them for her.  Dena found a few things as well, so we did a good job of supporting the local economy.  We then picked up Roy and we went to Babin's for a late lunch. 

Sunday is church but no LBS...even our own LBS which means Late Brunch Stop.  But I headed to The Fresh Market to pick up dinner for several days.  Came home and put everything up and proceeded to nap time.  Then it was out the door, pick up Dena, eat dinner and head over to Heights Baptist Church in Alvin, Texas to hear Houston's First Choir and Orchestra in concert.  Other than choir rehearsal, there aren't many opportunities to worship the Lord with successive songs led by choir and orchestra in a concert venue.  But it is not a concert, it is like John says, concerts can be all about performance, he prefers the choir, orchestra and audience have an experience saturated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We certainly had an experience last night.  The experience of sitting there, letting the words and notes wash over our souls was healing and refreshing.  I still feel and know the effects of that worship time last night, this morning. 

What a great weekend!  Even the weather was great! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Ramblings

Oh beautiful morning filled with sunshine.  The birds are waiting for me to fill the feeder.  I love that I think I have a third generation of mockingbird nearby.  I'm such a nerd because in Bryson City I bought a book, Birds of Western North Carolina to have with me this summer.  The robins and cardinals were abundantly represented the two weeks I was in Asheville. 

I am so thankful for a dentist who truly cares and isn't just trying to add on loads of services just to make money.  Her office called me yesterday to let me know I needed to go back to my oral surgeon to get the abutment installed.  They called his office to make arrangements to get the other parts that she will need and I was totally surprised when she called back.  Carol told me I am going to do your abutment and the rep from the company that makes the implant will be here because we are going to have to do a custom abutment.  The way the oral surgeon put in the foundational parts for this tooth is closer to the front of my gum and since he was planning on putting in the standard abutment, half of me would look like a vampire.  That's when Carol decided she would do it and do it so it fits in with the rest of my teeth and mouth.  She is who you want your dentist to be.  And I will also mention she is a darn good shortstop although her softball days, like mine, are far behind me. 

People think that now  since we live in Katy I see Peggy all the time.  Nope, so we made plans to have dinner together last night at the happening Rancho De Five Luby's and be able to get the LuAnn at senior discount prices before 5:30.  Such fun catching up and filling each other in with the latest and greatest in our lives.  After dinner, I ran over to Target to pick up a couple of things I forgot to get on Thursday.  I was marveling at the fact that there are far less minivans in the evening than during the day and I blame what happened next on the phenomenon in the absence of minivans.  I found a parking spot and walked into Target.  Oh my goodness!  In the two weeks I had been gone they had totally rearranged the store.  Slowly it came to me, I didn't go in my regular way, I was at the opposite set of doors, the doors I rarely enter through.  I saw the same old Target with a new set of eyes.  I was living the adventure when I decided to start on the left side of the store instead of my usual right start.  You know, I am always mixing it up.  (That's supposed to culturally relevant talk, not the fact I mix things up all the time)   I went over to Home Goods and they are rearranging the store.  Just went in for a quick look see and I was out to make one last store, Hobby Lobby.  I am surprised I got into the store because it was a few minutes before 8:00 pm.  Who knew, apparently a lot of us because they were turning people away as I was in line to pay, that Hobby Lobby closes at 8:00 pm?  I knew exactly what I was looking for so as the announcement came that the store was now closed and for us to please make our way up front to pay for our purchases.  One aisle to go to pick up the paper I had come to buy and as I made my way to the front of the store I noticed all kind of people sauntering and languidly looking at stuff.  Hey, Hobby Lobby means business cause at 8:03 the announcement was, the store has now been closed for three minutes, they dimmed the lights and turned off the A/C. Most stores give you to the five minute mark.  By this time I was paying and ready to leave.  As a child I had an irrational fear of being locked up at night in a store.  Well, it really wasn't irrational because I know where that fear began and who planted that fear seed.   I kind of got tickled at the fact that Hobby Lobby is a little more legalistic at closing time and not so grace filled but I totally understand why after working retail early on in life.  People will browse to their hearts content if you let them at closing time. 

The Deep South summer reading list came out yesterday.  I knew not to look.  Good grief, I have books here unread from the Deep South summer reading list of 2013.  I ordered pre-sale books that come out this summer and didn't order anything that has already been released.  I started and finished the novelized account of Zelda Fitzgerald.  It was a good read and gave me a few new insights to her mental health. 

Speaking of mental health, I better move on and finish up a couple of things.  They say when you are not surrounded by clutter, you are mentally healthy.  I don't know who 'they' are but it sounds good.   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Giving Thanks To Render Unto Caesar

You know the verse in everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you?  Well to be honest on April 14th when we sent in a check for our estimated taxes and filed an extension, I don't know that I was giving thanks.  It was probably more like being thankful that we could write the check but I don't think I gave thanks for taxes.  Fast forward to yesterday.  I picked up the mail and we had a letter from the IRS.  You can't help it when you see that letter, there is a definite sinking feeling.  I thought perhaps it is merely a letter stating they received our check and then I thought oh yea, targeting us for our conservative beliefs.  Wait, we didn't give money to anything political so instead of tearing open the letter in front of the mail box, I waited till I got home.  It was the strangest letter.  When Roy got home I gave it to him....  Now I have to watch the conspiracy theory in my DNA.  You know take unrelated events and make them into some huge deal.  My thought went to my father.  I told Roy I bet he called the IRS Hot Line saying we had financial windfall from his money and that we and the woman at Fidelity were in cahoots since we didn't do anything and all the investigations proved that.  It wouldn't have surprised me at all since he has been in the business of reporting us to anyone who will listen.  I texted my brother to see if he knew anything about this and my brother said he had a come to Jesus talk with our father.  He felt sure that we would get a little relief from the crazy train. Now if I gave into my DNA I could have called my father last night and leave a disgusting message like he did...but I am not a slave to my DNA and calmness prevailed.   Last night I had to let it go, not get worked up and just trust that Roy would be able to find out some info.  He called the IRS early this morning and they were very nice and pleasant as they told him someone had filed for a return using his name and the IRS letter was informing us that they were looking into the return and might be talking with us and others.  Roy called the credit agencies to get alerts set up.  Tonight he has paperwork to take care of with all of this.  When he called me to see if I had seen his email, he told me then.  I had a decision to make, give it to the Lord and trust Roy to take care of it or get all worked up and stressed out.  Which probably would lead to heart events cause stress and heat are the usual culprits to starting something in me.  So I can say I am so thankful today that we owe taxes and filed an extension.  Ah yes, it is a great thing to render unto Caesar.  Or maybe our identity thief wants to pay our tax, probably not. 

Today, I got my release from my oral surgeon and on Tuesday we start the abutment and tooth process.  Most every time I go to his office there is some major traffic hassle, so today I left earlier than normal.  I didn't want to stress about getting there on time.  I was early, old person early.  Ugh!  Since I had the time I stopped at Three Brothers Bakery for some gingerbread men before going into the parking garage.  When you are old person early, the availability of numerous and close parking places is ample.  So I backed in Sequisha, cause I had that kind of time, among all the Town Cars and Grand Marquis.  We were a motley group waiting for the elevator and by motley I mean we were the halt and the lame.  This is how bad our elevator group was....I was the speedster.  My old person earliness was confirmed by the gentleman with gout.  He was upset because he was late for his appointment...the gout gots him down don't you know and he likes to be at appointments at least 45 minutes early.   I got right in and right out, not even a total of 5 minutes.  I headed over to Target, Fresh Market and Barnes and Noble.  I felt so efficient at all I got done with a quick trip to Whole Foods once I got out to Rancho De Five. 

Last night while watching the news I realized we had totally forgotten to go to the U of H/Rice baseball game in the land of sugar at Skeeter Stadium .  We had bought tickets long before I left on my trip.  Oops....

I better get back to my projects that I kind of left undone yesterday. 

A Slow Process

Getting everything put away is a slow process especially when the good old ADD kicks in.  I have projects going in most every room of the house.  It is fun looking through all the stuff I brought back home with me but load after load of laundry is not fun to look at.  This trip confirms that I am such a paper girl.  Brought home some wonderful papers and the like that I think will work really well with my artful journaling.  I was able to find a Flow Paper Book, in fact I found two of them in Asheville. They are sold out online.  So, the whole process of looking through books and papers slows me down.  I haven't even unpack the clean and the new clothes from the suitcase.  I need to get that taken care of because in the future Roy needs to use the suitcase and hanging bag.

We had lots and lots of rain last night.  I woke up in the middle of the night, not quite knowing where I was.  I thought we were in a hotel room and I was asking Roy if he knew where a flashlight was.  I knew he had the one I usually take with me on trips in his car.  So he is asking me, do you want me to go get the flashlight?  Then it dawns on me...oh yes, I'm dreaming and having a half awake conversation.  Those are fun....  :)  This morning the water feature was the highest I have ever seen it. Still safely within its banks.  When I determined this afternoon that the rain was over, I made it out to the bird feeder and filled it for my little bird friends.  I noticed the mockingbird comes and checks it out and he is the first one there and isn't afraid of me.  The doves are slowly but surely coming back and gosh darn it, some of the crows have found out the feeder is full again.  I need to dead head the roses and put a few other plants out in the back flowerbed.  With the cooler temps and then being gone for two weeks, some of the regular spring stuff has been put aside.  It has been a while since going to Brookwood or Enchanted Gardens.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the oral surgeon and hopefully my implant is ready to be completed.  And of course next week is my check up with my regular dentist.  It comes around in circles doesn't it?

Last night I finally updated my phone.  Erin encouraged me to do it on the trip but I had one false start and then I got to thinking that maybe I should wait until I get home.  It took a while since the Internet is slower around here at night but it finally finished.  This update I don't believe I lost anything.  Erin got me started on snap chat.  At first I wasn't too sure about it but I really like it.  It's fun for a moment of time. 

Roy and I met for dinner.  My first trip back to Luby's since I came back.  Still haven't had Mexican food.  Since we got back I have been working on laundry and unpacking things I brought home.  It is a slow process but I already told you that in the first paragraph.  This just change in slow process. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Message

"People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept." Libba Bray

I knew when I arrived home there was a message waiting for me.  Roy had given me a sanitized version of it and when I finally listened, I was disgusted.  I wasn't appalled or surprised because I have heard this tone many times and underneath the angry words the spite, hatred and vile lies are the feelings that my father has always had for me.  Two years ago we blocked his phone on our land line and on my cell phone after being served.  I don't know if he tried to call our home and heard that his calls are blocked or that he truly believed that we had come over there, without any keys, without knowing his security code, without being seen and hiding from his security cameras, we went over there and stole his car keys.  Uh, yea, sure.  We have nothing better to do.  Only thing I was in North Carolina and Roy is too busy and not concerned with my father  anymore because of the false accusations and the way we've been talked or rather lied about the past few years.  And at the very least the way I have been treated, really, for all my life by my father.  There was the message...when I was a child I remember a conversation with my father and we were probably talking once again about something I said or my attitude.  Granted, I was not an easy child to deal with but that came about because I was pretty much on my own emotionally from the age of five.  He told me you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Guess he felt this was not applicable to himself.  Even if I had been home there was nothing in that call that would have made me call him back.  The good things that come from the message, proof in his own words that he is not dealing with reality, we have his cell number now and that if I wanted to report his threats to the officer that investigated us for elder abuse, he would be a little more interested in the paranoia and the concerns with my father's dementia.  The call is considered a threat and action could be taken...if we report it.  Our lawyer also mentioned this would help if we decided to sue or take him to court for his slander. 

There is also that part of me that wonders why in the world does he think I or we would do any of these things?  Therein comes the hatred and intense dislike he has acted out toward me throughout my life.  I had such hope after my mother passed away that his heart would turn toward kindness because there was a little light in there but he put that light out when he took incidents and circumstances that had nothing to do with one another and weaved such a complicated and deceived thread.  But that mistrust has always been there.  He didn't want Cindy Pitts to tell me he funded scholarships for kids to go to camp and he didn't want a friend from church to tell me he was my father's CPA.  Why?  I will never understand his faulty reasoning and the lies he tells so many times to himself, they become the truth to him.  He would rather tell the same lie over and over again to whoever will listen than to do anything constructive.  Right after my mother passed away, he was in a tussle with a nursing home that had taken my mother in and in all probability added to the quickness of her passing.   He talked to Roy about it constantly and Roy told him he should write down the facts while they are fresh in his mind to be able to deal rationally with the nursing home.  He never wrote anything down and now I can see it.  He would rather repeat it till everyone is sick of the story over and over again and make it become the truth he wants it to be. 

I wish life had been differently for him.  I really wish he had been a wanted child.  Somewhere along the line in life I wish he had made a turn.  These wishes aren't so that my brother and I would have had a better childhood, no I truly wish this for him so that he could have enjoyed life.  But he is tuned to his default setting and hasn't ever made a hint of change that has been consistent. 

It will be three weeks this Friday that he left the message.  Funny, it was that Friday afternoon he found his keys that had fallen behind his nightstand.  Gee, not even an apology...not that I'm expecting one nor do I want one.  Deep down I think he knows that what he says isn't true and just maybe these are his futile attempts to get us back into slave hood.  Who knows?   I do know this, there is freedom from controlling and manipulative people.  Freedom comes in different ways on an individual basis but freedom comes.   

"People aren't born good or bad.  Maybe they're born with tendencies either way, but it's the way you live your life that matters."  Cassandra Clare

Monday, May 12, 2014

Back to Real Life in Rancho De Five

Back to real life in Rancho De Five.  These past two weeks were fabulous!  Biltmore and then on Friday I drove to Memphis to celebrate Megan graduating from college.  Since I am not too familiar with Memphis and at the time we thought my father might be attending, I made reservations at a hotel in Germantown which is 20 minutes away from everywhere we needed to be.  Checked in and waited for Roy's flight to arrive.  Because of weather delays, he finally got to the hotel around 10:30.  When I first arrived a whole big family of people wearing knits, that should never wear knit checked in right before me and hogged the luggage carts forever.  Then next door and across the hall we had rooms full of jr high school boys playing in a baseball tournament.  Lots of door slamming.  That's ok, I knew when we left on Sunday morning EARLY, we could slam the door a few times and thus disturb their slumber.  I rested and then Nancy and Erin came over bringing me some Chicky.  Since we were in a "suite" we had a couch and chair, so we ate our dinners and then gave Nancy her most thoughtful gift of hotel toiletries.  Hey, they are from the Biltmore...then we gave her the real gift, a widow's mite necklace. Truthfully, I think she liked it all. 

The Holiday Inn Express is off a cul de sac with not too much around it.  Roy took a taxi from the airport and he was getting a little nervous when the driver pulled in and all you can see for a bit is an open field.  The front desk called me to let me know Roy was on his way.  He was nervous he might not be at the right place and didn't want to knock on a stranger's door.  I missed him and was so happy to see him. 

It was a short night because we needed to get up early to get to Rhodes College for Megan's graduation.  We were able to find a parking spot and save seats for everyone.  The graduation is held in Fisher Gardens on the campus and it was a beautiful place.  Rhodes must be near the airport because several flights flew overhead. 
 Beautiful ceremony with classical music and the bell in the tower being rung.  And no speaker!!!  Roy was able to take a few pics of Megan and after she walked across the stage, he went around and took pictures of the campus.  Truthfully, he has a short attention span when he just sits worse than mine.  He got some beautiful pictures. 
 After the ceremony, they stuck around but Roy and I left.  My stamina for heat was about at the limit and Roy was so tired from the day before.  We found a place called Charley's and had lunch.  Then I took a two hour nap, but I think draft day kept Roy awake and focused on what the Texans might do. 

We met everyone at The Majestic Grill in downtown Memphis.  Beautiful place and I guess we didn't know that trolleys run throughout the area.  Roy was frustrated because he did not have his good camera with him but he took some great pictures. 

We had such a fun day with everyone and loved that we were able to come and celebrate this huge event. 
Roy and I left around 6:00 am to get on the road back home.  We talked so much of how fun Saturday was and how fun it was to spend time with the girls.  Erin and I are already talking of a return to The Inn and we are so hopeful that Megan's schedule will work out so that she can go back with us.  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Wrapping Up This Portion of The Trip

I did something last night that I usually only do on trips that I do when I can't wait to get home, gathered my stuff together in a little bit of order and packed my suitcase.  Sure, I miss home and I miss Roy and Buddy but I love this slice of heaven here on earth.  So instead of putting the inevitable off, I took care of things in order to fully enjoy the day and do some last minute look through the shops near the house.  Maybe one last stop at Cedreck's for some pretzel bread with monk mustard butter.  It also helps that I don't have to get on the road as early since I'm driving over to Memphis and I will get back an hour.   This morning I am getting a much needed pedicure.  I had planned to get one before leaving on this trip but my schedule did not allow it.  Roy said he was going to tell Lisa, the lady who does our toes, and I told him vacation pedicures are allowed, that is not cheating.

This morning at breakfast I met two ladies from Ohio.  They sat at a table nearby and one of them asked about my book Sacred Pauses and these two ladies are believers.  Such joy when that happens on a trip.  They are cramming everything in one day and it made me think if I have done everything on my list and I will have to say, I have.  This time away couldn't have been better timed and I think I've recovered and gained health that I wouldn't necessarily gain at home.  The temps here certainly benefit my heart and whatever stresses I'm dealing with, don't seem as big and fearful here as they do at home.   I've not been bored anytime.  I hadn't planned on eating dinner last night but that hungry sensation began and there were plenty of tables in the library to chose from.  Turn down service was late last night, so I put the privacy please out on the door and spent the evening gathering and packing and texting and snap chatting.  Then I sat down to read and I just might be able to finish my book, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

It is afternoon and I finished my book.  A very interesting read.  I got a pedicure at the spa.  It seemed kind of strange not to be getting one from a Vietnamese woman.  They use environmentally safe polish.  It's nice but give me the chemically laced polish.  It dries faster but the color is a beautiful sparkling turquoise, so I am very happy with that.  My plans had been to go to Antler Hill Village and I may still do that but I found what I needed downstairs and bonus, I had a couple of 25% off coupons.  Riding the shuttle today just doesn't appeal to me.  It's just today, maybe because it is my last full day here or that there have been too many close calls with fanny pack wearing grannies.  It seems to be all the rage this week.  I'm thinking one last salad and pretzel bread and then packing it in for the night and moving onto Memphis tomorrow.  I 40 from Nashville to Memphis is rather boring but the thought of celebrating Megan's big day will more than make up for the mundane scenery.  I will be very happy to see Roy tomorrow evening.

This has been a refreshing trip.  I loved spending time with Erin and of course I loved sharing this with her.  I have loved having the time alone to think and write and pray.  It's a luxury being able to sleep all the way through the night but I miss Buddy and her coming and going and finally settling in on my arm.   I feel like I am coming away with much to savor and much to plan toward when I return to the area.  In a way that might be even more freeing since there isn't adjusting schedules around room cleaning and turndown service, but the people watching won't be as good.

I think it is time for me to take one last walk about the Inn both inside and out.  Lunching on the veranda might be the end but I think the pretzel bread is calling out louder than the stunning views and rocking chairs and yes even the cheese plate.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Little Wednesday Time

The sky is a yellowish pinkish hue.  The grass is manicured perfectly.  The terrace is shaded and quite the popular hangout for those so wise and so crafty in pursuits.  I don't belong there.  I just want to read outside and not in direct sunlight.  The second hand smoke is a bit overwhelming and I believe I will fare better in the sun.  I sat for a bit more interested in Facebook than my book.  Eventually the sun won the battle of wills and again I headed for the terrace.  It's funny, the ones sitting out there all talked loudly whether because of advancing hard of hearing or just wanting to be heard so that others would be enamored with their tales of daring....which really wasn't that daring as them being tales of snobbery and know it alls.  It is difficult to be impressed with these loud exasperating stories when one is dressed casual dressy with a fanny pack adorning your outfit.  The lady next to me was engrossed with a book.  Her husband flitted back and forth from the terrace to the walking path.  Their words were not kind to each other but their actions masked the terrible words they spoke to one another.   In the midst of seething anger, they walk off together holding hands and arguing about where they will eat dinner.  The terrace is a gathering spot, where one first steps out to take in the beauty of the mountains and be moved by the grandeur of majestic trees.  More conversations most of them meaningless and then I hear conversation about me, alone, reading a book, and playing with my phone.  The man says, you've got to face it, how sad it must be to be alone, with a book in a beautiful place.  I looked at them but didn't say anything.  They don't know I was here last week and my beautiful and funny niece was with me and ours were days filled with fun and laughter.  They don't know that I like time away, by myself.  It is easy to keep me entertained.  I have been to new places and scouted out stores and the like when I will be back in the area this summer.  I have loved going to new towns and to towns or villes which seem to the norm in a name, that I have been to before.  No, you should not pity me out there sitting by myself listening to the dull pedestrian sound of people full of themselves.  No, I have a husband that loves me and loves me so much he asked if I would enjoy a second week at the Inn.  Yes and I have.  I can feel my heart turning a bit though.  I am looking forward to Friday when I will see him again.  I'm looking forward to celebrating Megan's great accomplishment of graduating from college...with no student loans and with a job in her field of art history.

I don't come here to be called Mrs. Monarch all the time.  I don't come here to put on airs or to demand.  Window breakfast tables are nice, but I'm blessed to be here and I am all too happy to let someone else have the view because their time here is short.  I don't come here to brag to friends back home but guess I do share too many pictures.  The quiet and the beauty draw me here.  I have thought at times is it the Biltmore experience that I love....and I do love it but deeper, there is something about this land and area of the country that speaks to my spirit.  Lord knows there are enough weirdos in Asheville, but it isn't Asheville that draws me.  It is the small and rural areas.

This morning I went back to the Folk Art Center and also made a quick stop in the Blue Ridge Visitor Center.  Then it was a stop at the grocery store to buy Roy some Diet CheerWine.  I headed back to the estate.  I went to the Mercantile and bought grits and then took some more pictures in the farm area.  I then drove over to the lagoon and much to my delight watched the grown up geese teach those young goslings how to follow and then come up to the shore and onto dry land.  I took a million pictures it was such a beautiful sight.  I've kept a watch of the mother goose...tee hee...that has been sitting on her nest since Erin and I arrived.  She was sound asleep on that nest but hubby was near by keeping watch over her and the eggs.  I don't think too many have noticed her but I think it is a special gift from God.  I would still like to see a black bear here but from a distance and not a bear that turns out to be a huge stump.  Happens when one doesn't take her meds on time.  I drove by the little lambs on the hillside.  I think they have taken a bunch of the sheep over to the other side of the estate where most of the cows and sheep are kept.

It's funny how much around here changes week to week.  The tulips were beautiful when we arrived but when we finally were able to walk through the gardens, the tulips were just about done.  The azaleas are still beautiful but the color is beginning to wane.  People come and people go.   One thing that does not change are some people's behaviors.  At the front desk is a basket of apples.  You are free to pick one up and go but some people stand there and put more than several apples in their tote bags.  You see little old ladies sneaking out boxes of cereal in their purses.  We all love the body lotion here and there are mornings you put away the lotion to get another bottle but one tries not to be greedy.

This trip has been good for me.  I cannot tell you how much better I feel.  Even though I have posted a lot of food pics on FB, I have enjoyed walking purposely and still with pain but heck I'm not dealing with lightheadedness or being dizzy.  Even that little bump of a phone call last Friday did not put me into a stress mode.  I also am thankful for a sister in law, who just happens to be a nurse, who helped the tide turn health wise for me last week.  My numbers have been down since then.  I still have my non nap taking record going but I might break it this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Don't Turn Down Carrot Casserole

If you are ever in North Carolina and you see carrot casserole or strawberry cobbler on the menu, do yourself a huge favor and order them.  I was a return customer to The Moose Cafe today.  I went to Waynesville and Bryson City this morning and decided I needed to stop in again at The Moose Cafe for a late lunch.  Today I went for the veggie plate and for the record had my first homegrown tomato of the season.  Yum!  One of the veggies I could order was carrot casserole, made with Ritz Crackers and who knows what else but it was excellent!  I also ordered pinto beans and shoe peg corn salad.  It was another must today to try the blackberry cobbler since I had tried the strawberry yesterday.  The cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream did not disappoint.  When I paid I was helped by the manager Dorthy.  She and I had a lovely chat.  In the parking lot the horses of the State Troopers of NC were in trailers as their troopers ate lunch in The Moose.  I got some great pictures and one horse especially was animated and wanted me to come near.  Since I didn't have an apple or carrot, I chose not to get too close.

The Inn is filled with old people, present company excluded.  The fanny pack is all the rage in the lobby, at breakfast and on the shuttle.  After eating at The Moose Cafe I can now understand the reason that almost every pair of pants I have looked at in stores is elastic waisted.  Even in the younger depts.  Wow!  Anyway, it was rather memaw and papaw this morning every where I turned.  The market on double knit has been cornered here too.  Since I can still claim to be in my 50's I wore the denim and linen look.

This morning I made my way back to Waynesville.  I window shopped my way down the street until I got to Mast General Store.  I love this place.  I found a couple of items that needed to make their way home with me.  Karen, the new girl, helped me in the shoe dept and we had a blast making each other laugh.  She has a great sense of humor.  Then I drove over to Bryson City to go to The Charles Heath Gallery and on my third trip there I finally got to meet the artist Charles.  What a treasure he is.  I was looking for a particular 5x7 and since it is a photograph, not a painting, he was able to make me several card sized copies.  Great discussion and I am more grateful for his work that hangs in our home.  I stopped in at the local bakery for a chocolate chip cookie for later and over to the bookstore to look at regional authors.  It was close to 2:00 and that is when I decided that a stop at The Moose Cafe should be in order.

The colors of the trees in spring are of Monetesqe quality.  It is hard to count all the different shades of green.  The dogwood trees are in bloom and the wildflowers are starting to bloom.  The azealeas here are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, especially the coral and orange colors.   The fragrance of flowers and grass permiates the air.  I love it but I have to admit I don't suffer from allergies.

It is almost time for turndown service so I am going outside to read and maybe do some walking so I won't feel so stuffed and you know burn calories.  Although I do have it on good authority when you are at a higher level than fifty feet above sea level, you burn calories quicker because of the thin air.  Sounds good to me.  I taking it as gospe.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nothing A Little Nap Won't Take Care Of

I can't believe I ate the whole thing...well actually, I didn't but there was a day.  This morning I awoke refreshed and ready for the day.  I had a slight change in plans but nothing that wasn't doable.  I got my laundry turned in before 8:30 so I should have it back this afternoon.  Had breakfast and got to talk with Edward a bit.  I took some time to read and then I headed out the door back to the Asheville Mall.  I went to Belk's and Dillard's...and of course back to Barnes and Noble.  I found some shoes at Belks and capris and a shirt at Dillard's.  It has been a while since being in a Dillard's and it will probably be a while before I go back.  After shopping for a bit I decided to go toward the farmer's market and see what's out that way.  Truthfully, I have no idea because I stopped at The Moose Cafe and I didn't go anywhere else.  Southern home cooking at its best.  I did the friend chicken breast, mashed potatoes and yellow squash casserole.  Came with biscuits and cornbread....yum yum.  I purposely didn't eat all my lunch because I wanted to save room for strawberry cobbler.  I have never had strawberry cobbler and it did not disappoint me.  It was delicious!!!  I got back to the Inn and I am feeling a nap coming on.  I have not napped one time since being here.  That might be a record for me.

There is a lot of good people watching and it keeps me entertained.  In the lobby here or in the library or on the Veranda, there is always a story to watch.  Yesterday, after I arrived back here from church and exploring, I had lunch on The Veranda.  Rocking chairs and good food, you burn calories while you eat.  Anyway, at the table behind me two friends were not happy with one another.  Really, the one lady was fortunate to have the one friend she was with.  It was painful to listen to because it was more snippy than mad.  On top of not going to the gardens, she was mad because she had left her coat at the airport and no one could find it.  Some of the older couples are fun to watch because you can see the ones that still think the other one is tops and the other couples where they just seem to tolerate one another.  Unless both of us wants to read at the table, neither one of us will read if the other one prefers not to.  I cannot tell you how many women sit at their tables with the husband hidden behind a USA Today.  I was talking to a couple on the elevator this morning and the gentleman mentioned they were leaving and if we heard wailing and sobbing in the parking lot, it was him.  I told him I call that last drive out the trail of tears.

It was good people watching at church yesterday too.  The stereotype's are evident everywhere, the power couple, the woman who is used to everyone doing what she says, the militant usher and a few Beth Moore wanna be's.   I would find my place as a cynical one with a sense of humor.

I am trying to get some writing done on this trip, besides my journal and blog, and I am doing ok.  I have been reading a lot too.  It is so easy to entertain myself.  

This weekend there was some group that was here for a conference...they were really loud.  I asked someone about them because I had told Roy last night I thought they were some kind of venture capital group....not too far off, a cultish like group who practice the law of attraction or something like that.  They should learn to use their inside voice both inside and outside.  I survived last night with both rooms on either side of me with children.  They were all so loud during the afternoon but all the swimming must have worn them out.  Not a peep last night.

Tomorrow I am planning on going to the Charles Heath Gallery in Bryson and go back to on on Garth.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saturday Driving and Return to Biltmore and A Morning at Biltmore Baptist

It was a long day of driving yesterday but so totally worth it to have Erin with me this past week.   We got an earlier start than planned and that was quite fortuitous for us because I 40 is completely closed down in Knoxville.  We went around on the loop but wow, so much traffic and sitting and waiting.  We also encountered  a bridge that was down to only one usable lane and as we came into Nashville, I noticed traveling east on I 40 that there was quite a bit of lane closures, so I made the decision to take the long way home.  Longer but much more scenic and less crowded.  We only had to make one stop going to Nashville, so that always helps time wise.  At her home I made a quick turn around, lunch prepared for the road, caffeine and a potty stop.  We were like NASCAR the stop took less than ten minutes and I was on the road again.  I took I 24 toward Chattanooga.  About halfway there I stopped at Cracker Barrel to pick up snacks for the road and evening and then filled Sequisha up.  The scenic route is by Cleveland TN, and once I turned off onto those quiet roads, the peace and tranquility revived me.  I put on the recording of Houston's First Baptist Orchestra and enjoyed the vistas.  It seems like every rise and turn the music accompanied the scenery perfectly.   I filled up the car in Bryson City because as you get closer to Asheville the gas prices rise dramatically.   I was rather happy to be away yesterday because Saturdays are not my favorite here at the Inn.  Lot more dressy due to weddings and the like.  I schlepted into the lobby, bought a Diet Coke and me and my Cracker Barrel bag hightailed it up to the room.

When I drove onto the estate I still had the CD playing and since the speed limit is 20 miles an hour, I felt safe recording a part of the drive to Appalachian Carol.  Checked on Mother Goose sitting on her nest...still sitting bingo on babies yet.

I wrote this earlier today.  The housekeeper kept coming in so I decided to leave earlier than planned to go to church.  Besides I wasn't too sure of how long it would take.  I went to Biltmore Baptist this morning.  I had watched sermons online and had visited their website several times, so I was pretty pumped about attending.  The service was really good and the pastor, Bruce Frank is a great speaker and teacher of the Word.  But, having been on staff at church I remember how important it is to make guests feel welcome.  Granted I didn't want full on attention but I felt like an idiot turning on my flashers to notify the parking lot crew I was a first time visitor because there was no one there to direct me to a parking place or greet me.  OK, I am early and in between services but there are those like me today who didn't quite know where I was going.   On the outside of the church the entrance was marked guest entrance.  I came in and not one person looked up from their conversations or from making coffee or polishing the floor.  I even did the deer in the headlights look...nothing.  I went to the directory to see where the bookstore was located and I made my way down the hall.  Came into the bookstore and the two ladies working behind the counter didn't say hello or can I help you.  They continued in their conversation as if I hadn't even entered.  I returned to the lobby went over to the Welcome Center and picked up pieces of material and read, not one person with a badge said a word to me.  A woman who had a staff badge just looked at me like I was violating their neatly arranged table.    After the service the Pastor is available to meet with visitors and guests.  He seemed genuinely gracious and caring.  I looked around to see if there was security or A Team around him.  Yes, but at a distance.  His staff members continued to gather behind him as the meet and greet continued.  I visited with him just a few moments because I am not a "real" guest that might be looking at Biltmore to be my church home.  The whole thing made me so thankful for the Welcome Team at First and the great job they do.  If I was looking for a church home here in Asheville, I don't know that I would go back there.  It would be so easy to watch the sermon online at my connivence.   I also know that several have suggested I should write and tell them of my experience but yes, I remember well how much church staff likes to be given suggestions by lay people.  I think that if I had initiated conversation, they would have been happy to talk to me but I would have had to interrupt conversations.   The sermon was out of Jeremiah 20 and I have never heard anyone preach out of that passage and it was very good.  Oh and only two amazings said.  And lest I forget a woman staff member did a few announcements and did the offertory prayer.  One more thing...there were prayer people who assisted in praying with individuals at a certain point in the service and there were women being used in that capacity.  How refreshing.

After church I explored South Asheville.  Really nice and easy to navigate.  I returned back to the Inn around 3:00.  Unloaded everything and then headed to the Veranda for a late lunch.  She crab soup and southern cobb salad.  Delicious!

Turndown service has come by and I have my laundry ready for pick up.  The sun is setting and I just finished reading the paper.  Now to grab my book and relax because tomorrow will start early.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Little Biltmore Catch Up

Nothing like a voice message on your phone from a Sgt in the Constable Dept.  It had been a beautiful morning, with a little quiet time then breakfast with Erin.  We rode the 10:00 shuttle to the house to be ready for the 11:00 Legacy of the Land Tour.  We had about twenty moments to kill, so we went to the bathroom and walked around in the shops, then headed over to the shuttle.  I noticed I had a VM from a number I didn't recognize and I listened to it.  I couldn't hear everything but I knew it was an officer of the law calling about something concerning my dad.  Sure enough, the constable was at my father's house.  He had been called because my dad told him that Roy and I had stolen his keys so that he couldn't drive.  I told the officer I am in North Carolina and have been out of town since Saturday.  He asked if Roy had any reason to go over there, uh no.  It seems like every time we go out of town we get some kind of call concerning him.  Sometimes it is collection agencies wanting him to pay up and asking for our help or it is calls from agencies.  With these kind of antics the very attention he doesn't want on him is becoming like a spotlight.  It is like the dementia, is the spotlight onto how he has been his entire life.  He's not able to control information anymore or play the parts.  He even called our home and left a message that was rather vile.  I have determined that he is not going to spoil this trip with his pathetic antics and attention grabbing rants.  Sure enough he eventually found his keys behind a nightstand.   I have always heard that who you really are becomes evident the older you get.  His lack of trust, lies and victim mentality is taking center stage in the narrative of life.  And this one here doesn't want to be any part of the drama.

Erin and I have been having such a wonderful time.  Yesterday she did a segway tour and then we went to the mercantile, farm and of course hung out in Antler Hill Village.  We saw baby goats, horses, and chickens.  We also paid a visit to the geese and sheep.  At the end of the day we sat out on The Veranda and had artisan cheeses and seasonal offerings.  That is just fancy inn talk for cheese, crackers and grapes.  It was delicious.

Today we had the Legacy of the Land tour at 11:00.  This must be the third time I have gone on it and with each guide being a little different or having other interests in the story, it has the foundation but the guides make it come alive.  Our guide today was really, really, no really, into the trees here on the Biltmore Estate and the genius of Frederick Law Ulmstead.   It was getting to be a little too much.  Afterwards we went to The Stables and had lunch.  We walked around and through the gardens and found our way to where the shuttle picks up at the Conservatory.  A little rest and we were out to the winery gift shop and back to the creamery for dessert.

This has been the best week.  It is delightful to show someone the place you love to come to, not for the house but for the nature and the laid back comfort.  It is easy to quiet oneself down in spirit here.  Next week I will have a little more quiet and time but I would not have traded this week for the world.  Erin and I are compatible travelers and she reminds me that I need to take the time and be a little more silly.  Many of you are thinking WHAT?????  But it is true.  I would say over the past few years I have grown quieter but the silly side of life needs to return somewhat.

Tomorrow morning, we will drive the trail of tears as we exit but we are thinking this might be a fun thing to do again.