Thursday, December 31, 2015

Nite Nite 2015

Well, here it is the last evening of 2015. No fanfare here for us. Roy is watching football and I have been reading. I think this is our first ever New Year's Eve in North Carolina. We usually head toward Texas a day or two after Christmas. The new year will arrive to colder weather which is welcomed...at least by me.

We eased into the day this morning since Roy changed his mind and decided not to go back to Optix for another adjustment on his new glasses. So I ate breakfast this morning watching the bright red streaks of color maneuver the feeder and trees. Even the duller color of the female is a beautiful flash of color. Around the feeder and in the trees the cardinals ate and kept watch and it seemed that there were about five of them today along with the regulars that whip in and out of the yard for free grub. We have added another feeder by the driveway.

Because the vet, that I don't plan to go back to...so go figure, told me that we needed a different pet carrier for Buddy, we went to Pet Smart to see what we could find. But before that errand we stopped in at Cheddar's for lunch. Roy usually nixes Cheddar's but recently I had lunch there with friends and it was really good. So, he was willing to give them another chance and Cheddar's is back in the rotation of restaurants. Feeling full and happy we went to Pet's Smart and found what we were looking for. We also stopped at the Family Christian Bookstore for a brief moment. Too much Jesus Junk for my taste. Since we were nearby, we stopped at Office Depot or Max and picked up a file folder and a two pack of narrow lined paper. We were so close to Target we stopped in for a few things and then we headed home. After being home bound yesterday waiting on what we believe to be a nonexistent inspector, we took off toward Big Sandy Mush and Roy took some pictures for me. I am in love with white clapboard churches. I recognized the road we were on as the road to the Appalachian broom maker and told Roy his eyes were in for a treat. Oh,my, the barns and cows...the horses and tractors. We were treated to some of the most beautiful sights today. Made a note to drive that road next fall when the leaves have turned and the show begins. We both lamented that we had come up here for so many years and had never discovered these back roads. The clouds were rolling in and we needed to start back for home but what a delightful way to spend an afternoon. I will also add I had two major times when the way was blocked or there wasn't anyplace to turn around...so I backed up and did rather well much to both of us, that was a surprise.

Tomorrow Roy has volunteered to make breakfast and I am all for that. No definite plans and we kind of like that. We do need to wrap up a few things that we started and we might need another road trip in the area.

Roy must have said at least four times today, you really love it here don't you? Meh, it's okay. No, I of course agreed with him. This is the best decision on so many levels. So tomorrow on the first day of the new year I will share my One Word for the year and it goes with all the goodness and kindness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Has Been a Very Good Year

We are here at home but content and comfortable. We had gas station pizza for a late lunch. It is always so good and for dessert Roy had fruitcake and I had some of the homemade coconut cake that Vivian sent home with us last night. We have taken care of some of the to do list but mainly I want Roy to relax and not do too much since he got so much done yesterday. He did have to crawl under the bed and change out clocks and a few other things but he has gotten in all his football watching and all his on demand programs watching. Once again we stayed around home waiting on an inspector but he was a no show.

2015 is winding down. You can look at the Facebook year in review and really, FB didn't even catch the year we had in a good review. 2015 is filled with many memories. January, we continued getting things ready for a partial move in March. February was the Alumni By Choice month at Baylor. Such a fun time and an ending to a dream deferred and a beginning fulfilled. March, the movers came and April 1st they were here unloading our belongings and our attempts to get everything put away in a timely manner. April was still cool and filled with new adventures, Vivian and I began our jaunts on the back roads of North Carolina. May brought delicious strawberries and produce stand openings. June and July brought lots of friends visiting but June also brought me back to Texas to take care of a few Dr appointments as well as bring back more needed things.  August was another birthday, a cousin reunion and a little bit of a meltdown for me. Roy was able to get up here for a few days and that helped so much. August is also the month when many of the apple orchards begin their seasonal openings. September saw days growing cooler and a few more friends to come this way and Roy and I celebrated our 38th anniversary. October brought more apples, friends and cooler temps and a brand new truck we named SequishShawn. So, Roy got up this way for a quick trip to bring the Camry for trade in and take Sequisha back to Texas. I also hosted my first dinner here at the Ander House. My Sunday School class came for a pot luck which was so much fun. November brought the official visitors for the year and our eyes turning toward Christmas. Now, here we are in December...it has been warmer and rainier.  I had so much fun taking part in the Embrace Women's Ministry Progressive Christmas Dinner. Then there was the fun excursion to Madison County with friends. There are so many good memories from this year. I am thankful for long time friends in Houston and I am thankful for new friends here in the mountains. From the prairie to the mountains, from traffic jams on I 10 to a traffic jams of tractors or horse drawn carriages. From a fast paced life, to a simpler and slower pace. Less marketing causes and more serving opportunities. More fog, mountains, continual blooms of flowers throughout the spring and summer, the fields of farms filled with crops or cows and the ever abundant back roads that take you past old barns and homes and scenery too beautiful for words. Lots of porch rocking, bird watching and unfortunately snake sightings. 2015, has been a good year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

It Feels Like A Texas Winter Up Here

This picture is from last year and although there were a few scattered tiny flakes last week, we are basking in the balm of 72 degrees on December 29th in the year of our Lord 2015. UPS drivers have on shorts, flip flops abound but they tell us by the end of the week the temps will be somewhat normal and the highs will be in the 40's.

It is kind of at that sad time when all the apple orchards are now officially closed and 98% of the produce stands are waiting for next year. There is some concern with these temps that apples and peaches will not have good crops because they need so many hours in chilly winter weather. Oh no, say it a'int so.

Roy and I are enjoying the days even when there are things to be done. Yesterday, we picked up his new glasses, went by the Toyota dealership to make sure they have a truck bed cover for SequishShaun, Ace Hardware stop, and we are once again members in good standing with Sam's Club. American Express offered a pretty good incentive to join and since the nearest Costco is in South Carolina, we decided to take advantage of it. We did a quick tour and shopping trip through the store and in the pouring rain as we left, Roy did his good deed of the day and picked up a huge thing of cheese that had fallen out of a man's basket and took it to him. When we got home we continued to take down Christmas. We pretty much have everything stored that goes into the garage but we have to wait to put the rest of everything in the attic because we are waiting on the county inspection of our heat pump installation. The inspector was to be here today, but he will try again to make it tomorrow. This morning DC came over and installed a new light in the back and programmed the garage door opener...only now the new one works and the old one doesn't. We need to upgrade our opener but it is on a long list of upgrades. Charter came out again because the last little tweak to the system didn't take. Ironic, that Roy found it so funny those few times I really wanted to watch a program and the TV was in and out, along with the sound...but it didn't seem so funny the other night when he was watching a football game and it went off and on, mainly off. The guys replaced a connector thing outside, ran a new line and installed a new box. So far, so good. Roy has power washed around the back door and a little bit on the back deck. He came in a little bit ago and said he is off the clock and needing to rest up because we are going over to Vivian's and Bill's for dinner. She made Roy bear stew, which I am feeling a little conflicted about. You know with the Baylor Bears playing football this evening.  Inez called this afternoon to see if we wanted to go with them to the Cataloochee but we couldn't because we had to wait for the inspector...which later we found out was not coming. It's a beautiful day to go up there.

Last night was rather windy and rainy. South Asheville and around Biltmore Village had high water with the Swannanoa being at flood stage. I noticed there were several warnings of mud and rock slides all around the area. Roy called Mike the Mower Man to talk with him about drainage in the backyard. They have come up with a plan and Mike will get back to us on an estimate. They have decided to do the thing in stages to make sure their plans will work. Think we are going to have to punt the concrete based new back deck since flow is essential to make this thing work. So, we will probably just screen and roof the back deck...which is fine with me. Now they might have to put down a composite floor so no sneaky snakes or chipmunks or squirrels can get on the deck, which will become more like a porch.

Tomorrow's forecast is rain. Hopefully, not too much because the rivers and streams are pretty full.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day Night...all is calm and all is...well, not bright because I don't have a whole lot of lamps turned on, but the brightness does reside in my heart. Christmas 2015 has been good. Last night I picked up Roy from the airport and this time his flight was on time. We made the customary stop at Jack in the Box and kept heading back home. The fog continued to roll in as we made our way home and I do think I saw a red light in the sky which may or may not have been Rudolph.

This morning I slept almost till 10;00 am! Just like a teenager only my hip hurting is what woke me up. I don't seem to remember that happening as a teenager. Roy made Christmas breakfast, which was delicious. We also did a quick drive by the French Broad River because with all the rain we knew she would be rolling fast and riding high. Just as we began our return home, the rains came. So we have had a laid back afternoon. I have been reading and Roy is catching up on all his on demand shows. We made our Christmas tacos for dinner and they were wonderful. I had some fruit for dessert and Roy had fruitcake. A little later I went back to the kitchen to get a couple of cookies from the goody plate that Brenda from church had left for us last night. Oh my, everything is delicious. Roy has also been working on transferring music to the lap top. Like I said, it has been a very laid back day with texts, emails and phone calls from friends and family.

Yesterday I heard from one of my long time tennis friends and we have had fun catching up with each other. Kathleen was always one of my favorite people to be partners with in doubles but it is refreshing that we remain friends and tennis isn't front and center in our lives anymore.

Roy brought one of my Bibles from home this trip and in it was the phone number of my crazy friend Debbie. I had forgotten it was even in there. So I texted her a Merry Christmas and she responded in kind. For two girls who were so fun and wild, we've become rather docile in our old age.

Probably tomorrow we will begin on several of our projects or at least get things together to begin. We did do one of them today. I shared that Michael the cat had brought me a gift of a dead mouse, which I promptly buried....but not too deep. With this rain and the cat thinking of re-gifting, that dead mouse, a little worse for the wear showed up again. Ugh! Roy got the shovel and took him to a far away place where he will be remembered no more. I am so glad Roy took care of that little thing for me.

With the warm temperatures of an El Nino year, we looked through pictures from our trips here at Christmas. Two years ago today it was 18 degrees...it was almost 70 today. Quite a contrast. The rain is supposed to end tonight and we're expecting to have clearer weather through Monday.

From our home to yours, we wish you a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Baby!

Yes, here in the mountains of WNC it feels like a day at the beach. Okay, a rather windy day at the beach yet if you didn't know the temperature here the overcast sky, wind and generally gray day, you would think it was cold Christmas weather. We were here last Christmas, staying in a hotel and getting last minute things for the house taken care of. I believe we were running around trying to pick out granite this time last year. So, this is our first official Christmas at the Ander House and likely one we won't soon forget because the temps will be just like they are in Houston. It's normally cold by this time, snow has fallen, frosted windowpanes, the whole deal. Guess our song this year will be Merry Christmas Baby by the Beach Boys.

Yesterday I wrapped up grocery store trips and the like. I had good intentions of getting out early but it was late morning before I got out and about. Bank, not busy, dry cleaners, not busy, The Fresh Market...really, really busy. Even with their tiny carts maneuvering through the store took great skill and a lot of patience.  We like their lean ground beef, so while I waited my turn...I was number 78, people at the counters bought prime rib, steaks, and beef tenderloins. When it finally became my turn I asked for a pound of lean hamburger meat and silence filled the earth as those in the midst of buying the spectacular meal preps, kind of looked at me with that oh bless your heart look. In the peak moment of silence I announced the good news that be to me, I don't have to cook some big huge Christmas meal, scarfed down in minutes and lovely table time over in the briefest of time. It was then I had the oh, bless your heart look on my face as I gazed into the stressed time and meal prep eyes of those around me. Shopping at the Fresh Market is the most foreign experience that I have because the store has the look and feel of The Play Grocery Store, Rice Epicurean, in Houston. By judging the fashion sense, the skinny strained plastic surgery faces, the preppy feel and the yankee accents, not all shopping in the store are locals. In fact that whole area of Asheville speaks of another country and I'm so thankful I am not of it. Been there done that, well except for the skinny part and the plastic surgery face.

Other things like Dr appointments in Houston got scheduled and they all got scheduled with the greatest of ease and just waiting on a call back from one doctor about scheduling some things in July. I may or may not have already scheduled a lunch at The Nord, a hair appointment with Stevie, pedi appointment and a few other fun things with friends. And once the Tuesday doctor appointment is over, lookout Mexican food restaurants because there might be a shortage of cheese enchiladas in the area.

It was so fun to sit down last night and open Christmas cards. Lots of kiddos growing up way too quickly. I loved seeing the familiar handwriting on the envelopes of long time friends. There were even some Christmas letters along with the cards and loved reading them. I wrote a Christmas letter but our printer is not cooperating, so it might become a New Year letter. Love seeing the Facebook pictures too.

This has been a fun day of opening packages. Wow! We sure have friends and family who are great gift givers. Some have received our gifts and others will get them soon. Hey, if it ain't late, it's not from me...has been a mantra from the past. We have really tried to find locally made or sourced gifts for family and friends. So, it has been a fun search these past few weeks. I do have a little shout out to Peggy who gave me a Yeti Colster and now I truly am a part of the cool kids with that. And with these warm temperatures, it will come in handy. Yep, Merry Christmas Baby.....

Monday, December 21, 2015

Weekend Round Up...No Horses Were Harmed in Writing This Post

Hard work from this summer has paid dividends of late. Not being a canner I am a freezer of fruits. So I prepared strawberries, blackberries and peaches for such a time as this. Apple season is grand bringing in all its autumnal beauty but a bite into a slightly frozen peach is so delightful. I opened up some of the sun hi peaches that we sliced and froze this weekend. Oh my, a little bit of summer next to the fireplace last night.

The choir presented the Christmas program yesterday morning at church. Donna, pastor's wife and choir conductor in rehearsals, picked the music, wrote the narration and she encompassed the whole theme of joy. It was wonderful! One of the traditions for the Sunday before Christmas is at the end of the service brown paper bags filled with goodies are given by the deacons to the children at church. The sound of paper bags being opened and checked out filled the sanctuary with a joyful sound too. Last night the church went caroling to the people who are home bound. I had planned on participating but recovering from Saturday's bit of afib made Sunday a day of rest truly for me. All is well and back in rhythm but being out of sync is an exhausting process thus the need to recuperate. So to bed early and I woke up at 8:30 am. I'm feeling pretty good this morning.

I love the routine Buddy and I are in these days but of course that is always subject to change by her. Here of late she spends a lot of time in the mornings on my lap while I drink the first cup of coffee for the morning. While I am reading this gives her the wonderful opportunity of being petted, that is until she prefers it to stop. In the evenings our bed times have coordinated lately which means an easier journey into dreams and once she lays her head down on my hand, I know she is falling asleep. Speaking of cats, I had not seen the black and white one eyed cat who I affectionately named Michael, because it doesn't matter if you're black or white, for about a week. It seems he listens for the announcement of the garage door opening to make his appearance. As I backed in the driveway after church, I had come to the conclusion that Michael had probably lived all his nine lives and he had gone to kitty heaven. And then what to my wondering eyes should appear? Michael in the garage seen by me in the rear view mirror. He was meowing his little head off and rubbed against my legs while petting him. Of course we needed to get down to business rather quickly, he was here for his meal. I was anxious to see his reaction to a new cat food and he loved it! There was no doubt.

Last year I gave Dayspring LBS enough journals for every lady who attended the class and heard through the grapevine that more than several took two home. Happy to give them away. So this year I took journals to my Sunday School class and gave them to any of the ladies that might like having one. Journals are my love language and narrow lines is my fluency.

This past week has been a good reading week and last night I finished up the book that Inez loaned me. It is a wonderful book full of stories from Madison County. I have laughed a lot at some of the funny stories and last night there were a few tears as she wrapped up the book with rather poignant stories of the people in the mountains. The author signed the book which is really nice but the note from Velda to Inez tugged at my heart. The book was given to Inez in  by Velda in 1995 and I could not help but be a tad jealous because I wish I had known these friends I've met up here in 1995. But, I hadn't even been up this way and in 1995 all my attention was on tennis, more importantly my quest to play at a high level. If you weren't into tennis, I was not to interested in you. But I am ever so thankful to know these friends now, thankful for Houston friends who didn't play tennis to put up with me during that season, I attained the highest level I could play in tennis and now I am glad to be over the tennis portion of life.

Never buy packing tape from the Dollar store because it doesn't have a piece attached to help you begin using the roll of tape. I was not having much luck and decided to go drastic. So I pulled out a short knife, then I put oven mitts on my hands because if I would happen to cut myself...on blood thinners...it wouldn't be good. Finally, after sticking the knife through the tape in several places I was able to get the roll started and thus complete assembling packages to take to the post office. On the same day I also did something that I have kind of feared. We had a blustery, windy day on Friday and when I placed my driver license and deposit in the little roll out, my license blew away. There was very little room between the car and the bricks of the bank. It didn't help that the teller wasn't pulling the drawer back in. Finally, after gesturing wildly at her, she pulled in the drawer and a barely slipped out of the car door trying to find that license. Thankfully, it had not blown away and it wasn't too far underneath the car so I was able to retrieve it without too much embarrassment. There were so many cars waiting to do business at the bank but I did not look or make eye contact. Just give me my money and let me go. I can share that I was a tad nervous when I then did the drive through at the CVS but it all worked out and nothing went flying through the air.

Looks to be a rainy day and by all weather accounts a rainy Christmas week. That's fine by me because I have last minute things here at the house and of course the best, several good books to choose from on the good ol' TBR pile.




Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Crisp Saturday

The first snow of the season appeared yesterday. Okay, it was just tiny flakes that you could only see at an angle and once the flakes hit the truck or road, they were a puddle of itty bitty water. Nonetheless, it was the first snow of the season. By all accounts it is a rather late showing. Most of the ski resorts are closed due to lack of snow and warm temps. We are experiencing a bit of a cold blast which isn't supposed to last too long and Christmas Day, well the temps here will be just a few degrees below Houston. A friend told me there had been snow falling all day in Mars Hill and Marshall. The skies certainly revealed that likelihood. While running a few errands in Weaverville, the sky around the mountains was a cold, hard steel gray and the clouds were just about that same color. Even the views from our home told the story; looking to the south from the front porch, sun, blue sky and white clouds but from the back that hard steely gray sky. It was a rather nippy day but I do so enjoy those kinds of days.

I stopped in at Turkey Creek Cafe for a salad and hopefully some cornbread but they had already taken the cornbread made for that day and had turned it into cornbread casserole. Oh my goodness, that is some good stuff! There on the counter tempting me was a slice of ginger cake...I did not resist temptation and got a slice for later. It was was delicious! So with a good supper, Christmas lights on, festive candles glowing and a good book, I was set for the evening. I finished the book Andy & Don, The Making of a Friendship and a Classic TV Show. Very interesting read. Now I will view The Andy Griffith Show how I view I Love Lucy after reading so many books about that show. There are always fun things to look for, but with the Andy show, there are some dark foibles to find as well. Without giving anything away, Aunt Bea and Andy didn't really get along in real life, kind of like how Ethyl and Fred disliked each other in real life on I Love Lucy. Andy also held grudges and punished those he held them against whether they had been real slights or imagined. After having close experiences with grudge holders, who say they don't hold grudges, uh...that is usually not the truth and the best thing to do in those cases is just stay away from them. Those who did just that escaped a lot of hurt but there were those who thought they could win him back and with the exception of a few...most just experienced that grudge holding hurt that cuts rather deep into the heart and spirit.  The friendship between he and Don Knotts is the best story told because neither were faithful to their first wives, they both married three times and they tried to work together as much as they could. They did have a few times where their egos nearly damaged such a good friendship but they came to their senses or let things go into that abyss of "don't know why ___________ happened."  The book also confirmed what I thought after seeing A Face in the Crowd. the best movie Andy did, that he had to draw on some familiarity to play that part so convincingly. I also enjoyed learning about the filming techniques they used that were counter intuitive for the day which in reality makes Mayberry seem to be the idyllic small town experience. A side note I Love Lucy revolutionized filming using three cameras and recording on film...TAGS went back to the one camera, no audience type of filming.

This morning I woke up with afib. It has been a while since that has happened. So while my heart beats to its own drummer, the rest of me is exhausted while it does so. Hopefully, sometime this morning it will get back in beat. Even in these cold temps, I got hot yesterday while working on getting things wrapped and packed to take to the Post Office and I did get a little frustrated in the process, so that could have contributed to this morning's situation. So it is good I have nothing pressing on the schedule today and I have leftover salad and cornbread casserole.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life on A Farm, Real and Imagined

This morning is rainy and overcast. The Appalachian blend coffee from Mast General Store is delicious. These are the type of mornings I love. Years ago I found a sweatshirt at Target that I loved but as the years went on as much as I loved the sweatshirt, I wouldn't wear it. You know I was saving it for just the right time and I am so glad I did because this fraying at the sleeves, seen better days sweatshirt is worn almost every morning here. It is the first thing I put on over my jammies to go downstairs and make coffee and watch the birds or read or blog.

 I stayed up again last night reading the book my friend Inez loaned me. Oh my goodness, I got to laughing so hard at a couple of the stories from the mountains. I realized just last night that the author and I are near in age when she wrote about high school graduation and her years in college. Her experiences growing up in a remote mountain area compared to mine of growing up in a big city are at the opposite ends of experience but how she thinks and now remembering are not unlike and being so opposite narrows the gap.

Even though I have loved and collected Southern fiction for years, I never quite identified with the southern belle type, I would not have been a sorority type, and hopefully not trailer park type living a bare existence. But after reading these stories here and there in the mountains, I think I could identify with being a mountain girl that moves away from the home place but would be ready in an instant to return. When I was growing up and the reality of my life was just a bit too much to take, that reality changed the instant I shut my bedroom door because many a day in that bedroom I was working on a farm. You know playing and imagining and in the evening when I attempted to do my homework, I would turn off the overhead light and only use the small desk lamp to make me feel I was in the country working on my lessons after a hard days work after school, on the farm that only existed in my imagination but got me through an early season of life. I did have some experience "farming" when I was little. I would help my cousins pick and shuck corn in the summer and in their personal garden I would pick peas, beans and other veggies, snap and shell them with my grandmother. At my grandmother's I would pick plumbs and help her make jelly. By the time I was old enough, her apple orchard was just a bunch of old, dangerous trees that always allured me but I had been given strict instructions from every relative on the face of the earth, so it seemed, to stay out of the apple orchard and don't play by the old well. You know I did both but very carefully.

Well, there was a whole blast from the past paragraph and I don't think I have ever shared that I loved imagining I lived on a farm when I was very young. Here's an additional look back, I was very creative and always inventing something new with Tinker Toys. Somehow, I couldn't parlay that into a career.

There was great success in finding somethings last night that had been stored away in haste of company coming. Now, to find the last few things. I was telling a friend the other day it felt good to turn the corner for some downtime here at home and just when it is the right time season-wise, I'll be ready for company. Sometimes when it is so beautiful outdoors, I feel guilty for staying in the house but maybe one day soon winter will come and I'll get some of those projects I have been putting off, done. It looks like Christmas here will be in the 70's! Just a few degrees warmer than Houston. El Nino and our installing a generator has made these things happen.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wanderings on a Wednesday

Deuteronomy 29:29 says the secret things belong to the Lord and I would also add the secret things belong to the trees three seasons of the year, but now in dormancy, you see a whole lot of things you've never noticed before. There are all kinds of homes on the tops of mountains and although there are plenty of old barns in the area, with the leaves gone, there are many more being revealed. Today someone took the time to decorate one tree on the Smokey Mountain Expressway. I don't know but it just made me feel so happy when I saw it.

Roy asked me to pick up some apples for him at Barber's Orchard and that's what I did while there are still decent apples to choose from. Before heading out to the Orchard, I made a quick stop at Mast General Store and found some gifts and a pair of shoes for me. Like I need another pair of shoes but these are handmade and just so darn cute. Best yet, they were 50% off. Now that's a deal! On my way to the orchard I passed by a Belk's which I stopped at on my way home. I need some cream blush from Clinque and I just don't have it in me to make another trip to the mall in Asheville. I also found a couple of great deals on shirts for Roy...

Thankfully, I didn't have to go through Christmas with a mullet. Christine had a cancellation yesterday and she offered me first dibs and I took it. It didn't take too long to get ready and still be able to catch a quick breakfast at the Corner Kitchen beforehand. Then I went to the store I like so much in Biltmore Village and then it was off to Barnes and Noble. I hit pay dirt on a couple of things I had been looking for and feeling rather lucky I went to Whole Foods to see if they had any peeled oranges or any of the essential oils I use. No peeled oranges but they have started carrying two of the oils that I use. I headed toward home, unloaded things and then went to the Post Office to pay for another year on the P O Box. Of course a trip to the car wash was a good idea, then grocery store and Tractor Supply. The oddest transaction took place at Tractor Supply. A woman brought back bags and bags of ornaments, she had her receipt but she wanted cash back. Nope, not store policy...it has to go back on the card. She had to go out to her car and get the card from her husband. Me thinks they were trying to get some ready cash in hand. Only one cashier was working and the line behind me was almost halfway through the store.

Mike has finished up with our stone stairs to the flat part of the yard. In the spring we will plant a few more trees in that area and put in some above ground beds and I am going to try my hand at gardening or something...I don't know, haven't gotten that far. Right now I am occupying myself with books on the TBR pile and trying to find a few things that I put away in the haste of company coming and have no idea where those things have ended up. I also have intentions to send Christmas cards, but it might be New Year's instead.

I have taken myself out of the choir music for Sunday. With the fall of about a week and a half ago, my knees, although not in pain, are locking up more. I also have some lower back pain that came with the fall so no long time standing for me. I also have to get over the mild sense of fear I have picked up of stairs and those itty bitty steps in the choir loft seem a bit bamboozling to me. Really, yesterday getting on the escalator in Barnes and Noble almost sent me over to the fear side but it was momentary.

So this is the quick catch up for the day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

It Is About Place....

It's a blustery and windy warm day here in the mountains. We experienced a bit of rain earlier but the sun has broke through the clouds. The sound of today should announce cold weather but the truth is found underneath the sounds of the wind, the temps are in the sixties. I think we will have another round of rain in a bit that is if the mountains don't tear it apart. A couple of outdoor Christmas decorations blew over last night and they were weighted down with large rocks. Ah the wind, it speaks loudly up here in the mountains, in a valley on a hill.

The weekend was rather quiet and that is good. I drank some bad juice on Saturday, well bad for me juice. I am allergic to papaya and I had bought an energy juice that must have included the dreaded papaya fruit in it...probably contained in the description, passion fruits. The sickness and extreme tiredness tipped me off because those are the light symptoms from ingesting that particular fruit. I always wondered why the iced tea at Starbucks made me feel woozy and nauseated until the day I read the contents...oh there is a little bit of papaya in there. Sadly, I had to stay home from a holiday get together on Saturday night. My exciting Saturday night was asleep by 8:30 pm.

Last night I watched the webcast of Celebration and totally got into the experience. Loved the music and stories of Christmas, but as always I love the story of Christmas that Jesus came to earth as a baby in a manger but He didn't stay there, He defeated death and sin and lives in us, The Christmas story always needs to include the Easter story too.  Loved seeing friends serving and singing together and I also loved knowing there are friends who are behind the scenes making the production work and run smoothly.

Roy and I both agree that at this time in our lives being a part of a smaller church is life blood to us. We had such a wonderful musical Sunday at Newfound; hand bell choir, both adults and children, the children sang and the choir did a song from the Christmas music we've been learning for next Sunday. The CD for the children's choir skipped around and then stopped, but the congregation joined in singing with the kiddos to help them finish the song. It is a heart tugging moment yet it is a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ. This past week as I recovered from my short stint of Stumblelina, I was also able to see the Body of Christ as friends from Houston called in the midst of busy schedules, like Celebration and work and ministry, and friends here who checked in  and encouraged me as I recovered from that slight mis-step on the stairs.

A friend here asked me last night if watching the webcast of Celebration made me homesick? Honestly, no. Now did it remind me of friends whom I love and miss, you betcha! I did miss seeing it all in person but my heart and spirit know, where we are now is truly home for us.

This weekend I began reading Unlikely Saints, Finding God in All the Wrong People, written by a tattooed, wild looking, woman who happens to be a Lutheran pastor in Denver, Colorado. I love this book and author but sadly I won't ever hear her at a "Baptist" women's event because well...she does cuss a bit and she doesn't fit the Baptist women's ministry speaker mode...not only because she pastors a church. I like reading Anne Lamott and there is another southern author whose name escapes me, but she came to know the Lord in an unusual way and her stories of redemption of finding life fits in with these others I have mentioned. Up here, we aren't as polished and we don't look so put together as is easy to do in large cities and in large churches. I see very little of what I call "practiced people" now. Oh they can be here, I just don't notice them like I once did because there were just so many on parade before. I have always said that most times any speaker at WM events are cute, former anorexic, put together, still thin, fabulous marriage, semi perfect children speakers. You never hear a bulimic speaker who in the binge/purge stage always forgot the purge part. I like that this morning on Twitter Beth Moore is speaking truth about what marriage really looks like and going for good. Going for "pretty dang okay" is admirable.

So, wrapping up these last two paragraphs of thoughts, I feel at home here and love living somewhere totally different than what I have ever known. I am happy for friends and family to visit and find this place to be all that I hope I convey when writing a blog post. I am also thankful that the season of guests has come to a close for this year. We are looking forward to just relaxing yet getting things taken care of and of course for me not having to think about what food needs to be in the house. I guess I am feeling like the trees...ready for a bit of rest and then happily welcome spring when produce stands open, flowers begin to bloom and friends and family return for visits.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Springter or Wintspring in the Mountains

It doesn't look like this today in Asheville but we are surrounded by fog which is ever so slowly burning off. This is from 2010 when we spent our first Christmas in the area and it snowed on Christmas Eve all in total of about ten inches. I love looking at all the pictures Roy took that year because he was many times the first one to leave shoe prints in the snow on the many trails he traversed to get pictures. This was not a hard one to take since it is off the terrace behind the Inn.

We are experiencing Springter or Wintspring in the mountains this week. Our apple trees are sprouting new leaves and plants in general around here are in a state of confusion over the temps. It is still cooler than Houston, so no complaints here.

The first thing I did this morning once I was downstairs was to check that nothing had disturbed Mr Mouse, God rest his soul, in the back. I don't want no re-gifting from the cat. I didn't want gifting but it is what it is. All is well on that front and the birds are happily darting in and out of the feeder. Buddy watched for a bit but she has retired to the first of her many naps today.

There is nothing like a Saturday morning with no imminent plans. Granted when I was younger that was a fate worse than anything, not to have plans to go or be or do on a Saturday. I am reminded of something my mom would tell me almost every time she saw my nose in a book, which was quite often. She would tell me about the times as a toddler when she came in to get me up from a nap, which back then I hardly ever took, she would find me in the crib surrounded by all my books and I would be there right in the middle of them happily occupying myself with them. Guess I had figured out a way to climb in and out of the crib to accomplish such a feat. Looking over at the couch this morning where books are stacked as well as opened, that long ago memory comes to mind because I might just need to plop myself down in the middle of them and pick up where I left off last night.

I realized yesterday I had not grocery shopped, except for last Friday night's progressive dinner, for two weeks. No wonder things were getting a little low. I had even broke into my hurricane, I mean snow storm provisions of Pop Tarts. The original plan for yesterday was to drive up to Johnson City and go to the Kroger and then run a couple of errands up that way, but opted out instead to Ingle's and The Fresh Market here. I kind of miss the Kroger and will get up that way soon. The roads were a bit crowded yesterday but guess it was due to it being a Friday and with Christmas drawing near. Got the shopping done and headed back home. On Thursday Inez, Velda, Judy, Anna and I went shopping for the two little boys at the elementary school nearby. Each year our church gets the names of children who might have a less than merry Christmas and individuals or groups buy two outfits, a winter coat, socks, underwear, shoes and t-shirts. We went to Belk's to begin our shopping trip. We were focused but we did wander off into other departments from time to time...We found everything but shoes at Belk's so we made a wonderful decision to adjourn to Cheddar's for lunch and recharging. We had a wonderful time at lunch and loved our server Ms Peaches. She was in a very good mood because she and her husband and eleven children are moving to Greenville because the cost of living is lower there and as a bonus her transfer went through and she will be able to work at the Cheddar's close to where they are moving. She was a hoot and she was so glad to move from the boonies...which by chance is exactly where all of us live.  But then, we aren't driving into a job each and every day. After lunch we headed to Kohl's and but found what we were looking for at Shoe Carnival.

Well there are books to be read, birds and cats to be fed, and maybe I will wear something red today.

Friday, December 11, 2015

It's The Circle of Life

As much as I have a serious post rolling around in me it will just have to wait because when life is proving rather humorous, one has got to go with the humor. Then I might not ever write the serious thoughts because they might not be that important or serious by another day.

There are things you just can't make up and have to step back and laugh. Since the weather had turned cooler several weeks ago, although right now we are enjoying balmy spring type days, I put flannel sheets on most of the beds. A little additional warmth on cold mornings is always appreciated. Things have been just fine except I wore some new flannel jammies to bed this week and in the night somehow with these jammies and flannel sheets, sleep became like a huge flannel board like they used to have in Sunday School. Turning over became such a chore because said flannel jammies stuck to the flannel sheets, just like in Sunday School flannel Bible stories. With the additional aches and pains from falling down the stairs on Sunday, my night-time flannel board story involves a lot of pain and hurtful movement oh like Joseph's pain in the pit or prison.  With me stuck to the sheets Buddy decided this would be the most opportune time to sleep underneath the covers and somehow in the night, she was able to find room to crawl into the back of my pajama pants which seem to be permanently adhered to the bed. Maybe the Bible story of Buddy's entrapment would be Jonah trying to escape from the big fish, In the words of Jerry Lee Lewis, there was a whole lot of shaking going on. Finally, after some bit of acrobatics, I was able to free Buddy and then free myself from the evil clutches of our Laura Ashley flannel sheets. I think the pajamas are a thinner flannel and that is why they cling and aren't prone to wander but I felt it, not prone to leave the sheets I love. My friends here encouraged me to buy something like satin so I would be free to move about the confines of our bed, but that kind of material causes me to sweat, I think it is the thinner nature of the fabric because this did not happen with any other heavy duty flannels I've worn.

I am also not the kind of person who would demand for someone to bring me some figgy pudding and bring it right here and then threaten not to leave if figgy pudding isn't produced post haste. I don't like figs, fig newtons or figgy pudding. So when I started feeding this stray black and white, one eyed cat I told him the deal was, don't bring me anything dead to repay any kindness I am extending by serving the finest wet cat food that is on sale at Ingle's. We had a deal! It's like the  figgy pudding, you don't have to bring it.That is until today, While getting things into the car before leaving on errands, the little cat was outside meowing his heart out. So, I prepared his food so I would be able to put it into his dish and leave quickly. Wasn't going to happen today because little catty had a gifty for me...a little dead, tinie-tiny black mouse...all stiff and dead like...like this cat had been waiting all morning for me to come out and be pleased with the gifting. Now, I tell you, I have done a few things here that I would have never, ever done in Texas. And this would be one of those times, I fed the cat and found a shovel, the antique shovel that has seen better days. Approaching the dead mouse in stealth like fashion...which for me isn't very stealth like, I put the shovel head gently underneath that stiff little mouse and kind of jiggled it onto the end of the precious antique shovel. I was just about to hurl this mouse into space, hoping it to land up on the gravel road when somewhere, from someplace deep within me I kind of thought about geometry and the law of dynamics. I did not have enough umph space to be able to sling little mousey and visions of it falling off the shovel and landing on me dashed through my mind. Thus resulting for another trip to the ER came to mind also and so I decided to bury the mouse in some kind of proper fashion. So, I dug a hole big enough for a mouse, covered and marked it. Then I dared that cat to dig it up while I was gone. I told Roy about the adventure and exploits and he called me quite the Carolina gal which, this is where I draw the line. No encounters of the live kind will enshrine me in the I moved to NC and now I am a NC girl shrine. I called Lisa P and we laughed so hard about these encounters of a nature kind. And now, in the evening I am thinking again of the circle of life. You see a mouse, so a snake will show up to get rid of the mice, Then you have to get rid of the snake or snakes, so you clear out land. The birds that hid in the shrubs are now hanging out at the neighbors and only coming over to eat which gets inhibited by the one eyed black and white cat...who has killed a mouse for you....it's the circle of life...  Musically then I must respond, hit the road cat and don't you bring no mice no more, no more, no more...hit the road cat..and don't ya bring no mice no more.....

All this time little Buddy is basking in the sun coming through the windows and because of today's episode I am on hyper vigilance. So when Buddy went crazy with the yips a little bit ago, you know I was on point to see what was making her so crazy.  Nothing, she doesn't need a reason. She is now sound asleep so that she can wake me up around 3:00 am but no flannel board jammies tonight to get into or get stuck in.  It's the circle of life....


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Reading, Thank You

The overcast sky this afternoon has seemed like sunset for hours and yet we are a few minutes from the official setting of the sun. No rain on the radar but the bright skies have turned gray with hints of pink. The pink in the sky makes the silhouettes of the mountains more distinct as if these mountains could be anymore distinct. Guess it would be the pink distinct.

Vivian accompanied me to Slick Rock Country Emporium this morning to pick up the trunk I'd bought several weekends ago. It is sad to see this store I loved from the start now winding down for next week's closing. The couple that owns it has sold the store and their surrounding property to new owners who might open a coffee shop where the store has been. Most everything in the store was made by local artists. A few more things than just the trunk came home with me and I am thankful to have found the store before its end. We took the scenic drive home and had lunch at The Stony Knob Cafe. I love that place and don't eat there often enough.

While we were at Stony Knob Peggy called and I called her back once I got back home.  With Celebration rehearsals and life, she called to check in on me and get the details from the whole Stumblelina thing on Sunday after church. She too had a little Bumblelina situation in rehearsals which took sheer willpower to overcome. We also got caught up on life's happenings and all this while walking the dog and then having her car washed. Peggy is a great multi-tasker. Her next stop the grocery store because she explained if she didn't, she and Bill would be eating 409 for dinner.

Last night I stayed up too late reading and before I knew it, I was up way past my bedtime. When I was a child, I feigned fear of the dark in order to have a nightlight in my room. Carefully, I would sneak a book under my pillow and wait for all the prayers and good nights to be over. When I felt my parents had settled in front of the TV, I would ease out the hidden book and scoot to the end of the bed near the night light. I would read until I fell asleep or until my parents began to stir and go to bed. No wonder I was tired in elementary school. I am reading books about the area we live in and all the history. Now, would I like to live back in the olden days? Probably not, you really had to cook back then if you wanted to live through the winter. One story was about a woman who bought forty acres of mountain tops. She had a small part of the land evened out for a house to be built. She asked the lady whose family had lived there for generations how they got to the outside world during the winter? The old mountain woman replied, well...we walked. So the lady new to the mountains declared that is what she would do as well. Guess the winter was a rather harsh one that year and once the snow and ice had melted, the new lady to the mountains walked out of that house which had no telephone or TV and never looked back...never came back. I also read about mountain ramps and poke sallet. The story on making good apple butter was of interest as well. Not all the stories are about food though. I now know who Merrimon Ave is named after. This afternoon the books have beckoned and I answered the call.

I read something interesting on Twitter this morning posted by Bible Gateway. The post said Psalm 19 was David's words to God that he wanted to be just like God's creation. So of course, I went to that Psalm and can see why David desired that to be. "They speak without a sound or word, their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth and their words to all the world." David writes this of the heavens and skies...it would be good to be like that especially in light of these times where everyone is posting their thoughts and arguments on all the happenings in this world. Our lives should reflect what we believe and how we love and serve. Yes, I have had some sense talked into me but I remember more about the people whose actions spoke louder than any words could ever do.

Buddy is meowing for a treat and she has been quite patient about it. So with that meow, I'm off to get her some treats and then treat myself to some more mountain reading.





Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Beautiful Tuesday

The birds are happy that I have finally been able to get to the back and fill the feeder. A great ballet is taking place without music or applause at that feeder. It seems each bird knows its entrance and exit. When the cardinals make their grand entrance, the bird feeder clears out and only the bravest of the little birds approach and take a few seeds behind the cardinals back. The male cardinals red feathers are the brightest red as any time I have seen them. I am taken aback when I see something that bright of red perched upon the fence and the duller of color but still as regal female cardinal is usually not too far from her mate. This morning as soon as the garage door opened I heard this eerie scrapping sound. I began to investigate and locate this lonesome sound. No mystery though, it merely was a dead dried up leaf being moved about at will by the slow moving wind. A new discovery here in God's country.

I am recouping from Sunday's tumble. Lots of bruises here and there but the soreness is dissipating and only makes itself known when I move too quickly or awkwardly. I thought I had packed a heating pad when we moved but after extensively searching, I realized I had thought about packing a heating pad. So after a trip to the PO, I made my way to CVS. Dealing with Walmart was just too much for me to think about. I found a couple of other items that needed to come home with me and then I decided against a trip to the grocery store because I just didn't have it in me. Back to ye old homestead.

Along with resuming feeding the birds, the little black and white one eyed cat has missed me too. He is so good and waits for me at the little dish by the garage. Although today, he accompanied me to the garage and out. What a sweetheart. I am putting out a little blanket for him on these cold nights. Sometimes he is asleep on the front porch cuddled up tightly on a cushion of the rocking chair. My little Buddy has been so good these past few nights and I am thankful for that. That means we both get to sleep quickly and without drama.

After washing my hair this morning I realized I could not keep my hair appointment because even with me knowing where my head hurts, I still caused a little bit of pain. The area of my head around the knot hurts even though it is not swollen because of bruising I suppose. Anyway, I am on the cancellation list for my stylist since her first opening is in February and I went ahead and booked that appointment. Part of me wants to find another place to get my hair cut but I'm wary of trying someone new. My hair has been the most difficult adjustment in moving.

I am excited for my Houston friends who begin Celebration tonight. All the pics on FB tell the story only slightly in how fabulous this is going to be. I am excited that our church here is doing a live nativity on Friday and Saturday nights.

These past few evening I have also enjoyed all my mountain books. What great history lessons. I need to get out my local map so I can know exactly where these stories are taking place. I read one on the Cattaloochee and can picture that place easily and also remember the one lane road that gets you there and also gets you home.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fall-Not the Autumnal Kind

This afternoon is full of sunshine and birds. I need to go feed the birds but I am a little hesitant to do so because I took on a stairwell yesterday and although it didn't win, the floor did. With that recent fall in mind, walking around the backyard with such varying degrees of levels, it might be best to continue resting indoors and make it up to the birds tomorrow. When I saw the gold finches earlier at the feeder, it was a difficult temptation to resist because it has been since early summer that a gold finch has returned to visit.

If you sat next to me right now the lovely scent of essential oils and Icy Hot would tantalize your nose. It is a delightful scent of the the halt and lame.  After church Ann and I were on our way to the Fellowship Center for lunch, catered by The Farmer's Daughter. Somehow, I fell down the last few stairs before entering and as I was trying to save my knees, the floor came quicker than expected and thus my noggin became acquainted with the hard floor. I had enough wit about me to grab my glasses that had fallen off to the side and start assessing if anything was broken or couldn't move. Several men who were near came quickly to help me up and they did a great job. Nothing felt broken or out of place but the back of my head felt tingly and it began to hurt. I reached up to touch the spot and a huge bump was forcing itself outward, maybe a three to four inch bump. The nurses in our church arrived with a ice bag and began concussion protocol. My friends gathered me to their table and other friends came too hugging and kissing my head, telling me it was going to be alright. I was so thankful for that because it settled me down on the inside. Several asked if I needed to go to the ER and I wasn't able to make that decision because everything within me said, no, I don't want to go, yet knowing I am on blood thinners concerned me.   Velda, Judy and Inez made the executive decision to take me to Mission Hospital's ER.  So we were off in a flash in Velda's SUV. I kept talking and rambling on because I kind of wanted to close my eyes and fall asleep but I think you are supposed to stay awake. I called Roy to tell him about my eventful afternoon and lawyer Roy came out making rules for me, no more stairs. Uh, then we need to sell this house. Once he realized that making rules didn't help the situation, he became compassionate Roy. There isn't anyone I want praying for me more than Roy. I asked him to pray about the ER that we could get in quickly because I was keeping my friends from a fine Sunday afternoon nap and of course for healing. Oh, I forgot, one of the men came over and prayed for me at the Christmas luncheon...we had just heard a sermon on how healing is in God's wings in Malachi 4. The effective prayer of a righteous man availed much because we walked in and there was only one person ahead of me being evaluated and seen. Tony, the aid that escorted me back to my ER room let Velda, Inez and Judy come back with me and found enough chairs for them. While the staff came and went, the four of us had a grand time and even the nurse told us she liked hanging out with us all. It was so fun hanging out with these friends although the circumstances weren't the best reason why. After having a CT scan, the PA came in and told us I was good to go. I did as a precaution decide if asked I would not play quarterback for any team that inquired even though I passed concussion protocol. Being hard headed, in more ways than one, I convinced my friends I could drive my truck home from church and after arriving home safely, I did one thing I should have asked helped with, but I took the trash can down to the road.

All through the years God has given me the best friends anyone could ever ask for. Inez, Judy and Velda are angels and took good care of their clumsy friend. Judy kept Vivian informed and I tried to remember to keep Roy in the loop of what was going on, although texting was a difficult process for me yesterday. I came home, you know after the trash taking, and sat here and cried at the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Inez and Vivian offered to come spend the night if I needed that and of course it would be like a slumber party. We all needed rest and I was already in bed. Buddy sensed something because she has hardly left my side but I must be in all clear for her because she is finally off to another part of the house.

The Friday night progressive dinner was a hit and so fun. Lois and I had a great time getting everything prepared and set for those coming to the house. We had Cajun fried turkey and all the fixings and it was good!  The Christmas themed rubber duckies were a hit! I love playful type things. We returned to church for dessert and for entertainment by a quartet. Such fun!  After all the activities several of us sat around and had a good time laughing and joking around. What a blessing!

On Saturday Vivian and I went to Renaissance Glass Studio for their annual open house and sale. So fun to see all their creations and to be able to purchase local, made in America gifts. Then we went to Addison's Vineyards to see the blacksmith whose work I love. Come to find out, Vivian and the blacksmith are related. We made our way to the Moose for lunch and guess who walked in? Inez and her husband. So they sat with us and I got to hear more wonderful stories of growing up in Madison County.  As we were all leaving I got an email from Roy concerning the Am Ex bill. Long story short I had transposed two numbers and underpaid by $48.69. They way they acted you would have thought we owed a million dollars. He called them after talking with me and got all the extra charges taken off and once again all is right in the world of Am Ex, which always seems to be a love/hate relationship.

Well, that is all that is happening in this part of the world. Lunch and a nap sounds good for future plans today.  Oh and not forget a new application of Icy Hot. Mmm....

Friday, December 4, 2015

Frosted Ground Cover

When I first checked the temps this morning a balmy 26 degrees welcomed me to Friday. The ground is still frosty in the back where the sun has not graced it with its warmth. The front frost has melted away and although dreary gray days do not get me down, welcoming the bright orb back yesterday and today and throughout the weekend seems right nice. I cannot believe all the things there are to do on the first weekend of December. All kinds of craft shows and festivals, nativities, concerts but the best thing tonight is the Embrace Women's Ministry Progressive Christmas Dinner...I still say it should be Progressive Supper.  I think I am just about ready with only last minute things to take care of. Lois is coming over at 3:00 to help me with some of those last preparations. Buddy is intrigued yet is ignoring the extra tables placed where tables haven't been before. I am thankful, she is not or has not shown any interest in the Christmas tree. I think it was good we set it up and didn't do anything with it for about a week. The allure diminished and her attention went back to whining for treats.

Since things are a little rearranged right now, I'm sitting at the kitchen table which affords a great insight and view into the life of the birds outside. The one eyed black and white cat has been checking out the frosty ground looking for birds. Today it caught several leafs. With the cat's presence in the back for the longest time I only saw the shadows of birds on the ground as they overshot the feeder due to the cat. As the cat moved on he did not even know that to his back all the birds returned to the feeder.

Vivian called me as she was out on the road to remind me of the black ice if I was getting out and about. Thankfully, I got most of my errands taken care of yesterday and only will get out later this afternoon to pick up dinner for this evening. Near the river were several patches with the possibility of a car going off the road down into the holler in the woods. This morning a traffic alert came up on the phone letting me know a rock slide had happened in Madison County along the river road. My first rock slide alert and it probably won't be the last.

I have so enjoyed looking at pictures from last night's WM event at HFBC.  Melanie Shankle was the speaker and Dora Pop led the music. The tables looks so festive and fun. I hearken back to the day when my table won best design but that happened because my tennis friends Mary and Marti did the table decorations...antique Victorian coffee servers along with Chris Jensen silver...which I had never heard of before then. One of my favorite pics of the table is with women gazing at the beautiful setting with their mouths wide open and looking in wonderment in the astonishing beauty of everything. I believe for all that beauty I got a wreath...cause Mary and Marti did the table for me out of love and well, out of the storehouse of their Christmas treasures. They didn't need no wreath but I did. That Christmas was the beginning for me to love the holidays again. Have I decorated a table since then? No way! Too fru fru for me but if asked to sit at a table...I'm all over that.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fitting Into a Word To Help Us

Until yesterday I didn't know we lived so close to a stream. It's not a regular stream but only shows up with copious amounts of rain but now I know why the small dug out area along rural roads, not ditches, are there. They carry rain water down the road in an organized, mostly, way. So a river ran through it yesterday as I went to the road to pick up our trash can. I can attest to the wonderfully waterproof Uggs I purchased in 2010 that they are truly waterproof and oh so warm being fur-lined. If my pesky raccoon hadn't broken the rain gauge I would know how much rain has fallen since Sunday night but it seems it is probably over the three inch mark. The rain is supposed to end this afternoon and bringing cooler temps to the area. At some point yesterday Mike the mower man brought more large stones for our rock stairway to the flatter part of the yard and the first cut rain runoff he began is working really well.

Sequishshaun the Tundra got his first little scratch on his bumper Saturday afternoon at The Moose Cafe. The man was trying to back in the space next to me with a vision hazard of a newly purchased Christmas tree taking up most of the room in his covered truck. The lowered tailgate scratched the back bumper on the plastic part. I was looking at the scrape and heard a woman saying I told him to let me get out of the truck and help guide him in. The man and young son soon joined her, the husband so apologetic and vowing to make it right. You know I told him, this is just the first of many scratches that will come with time and there's nothing to do about it but to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. We all visited, Darlene, Patsy, family and I for a few minutes and passed a few good moments together. Really, it was better to meet the first scratch giver at the Moose than to find a scratch made by an anonymous grocery shopper with cart.

The weekend ubiquitous view, wrapped Christmas trees on the tops of cars. The $15 tree lot sold out quickly but there are still trees available at the $25-35 lots. In Rancho de Five all the white lights lining the roof line of houses are probably in full display lighting up suburbia of all the available shades of brown and beige homes. Strict HOA. Out here, there are Christmas decorations on houses but not in grand scale. All the cities and towns around have Christmas decorations on the light poles bringing back a nostalgia of Christmas' in the long, long ago, when we would drive to downtown Houston and pass under all the magically lighted streets of commerce and usually on a Saturday we would go see the store windows at Foley's celebrating the Christmas season. Foley's is where we would go talk to Santa. Downtown Foley's took up a whole block which gave us many things to see in those festive windows. The days before Thanksgiving all the windows would be covered by paper so we, the general public, would be surprised and wowed at the transformation from mannequins posed in the day's fashion to Santa's workshop artfully displaying all the toys every boy and girl could ever want thus making a very long letter to Santa that would be written sometime prior to Christmas Day. Even in the late 70's when I worked downtown at Pennzoil, Foley's still sponsored the Christmas parade and a few of the windows would have all the wonders of Christmas a display could hold...soon after that the energy crunch made huge display windows antiquated in conservation of energy and so the windows were permanently sealed up.  The thought probably occurred that the display window had gone the way of Christmas catalogs and there were new ways to sell merchandise. These thoughts come to me on these back roads of North Carolina and the places are different and the times changing but there is that connect of good and fun and spirit and songs running a thread through traditions and celebrations of the season. That God would become a tiny baby and He even went further by becoming smaller when He fit Himself into letters, that form alphabets and ultimately words and sentences...so that we could understand and comprehend Him at some beginning level. He is the Word!

I just looked at the radar and I think the rain has come to an end for a few days. The temps will be a tad cooler but the sun returns tomorrow. I got all of the storage boxes back out to the garage and have cleared a path as not to be too messy when people come through the back door. I'm excited for new traditions to begin this year, although I miss some of the former ones...like driving through River Oaks and Memorial to look at Christmas lights and tamales for Christmas Eve...we still may have tamales...I need to see if I can find fresh verses the ones frozen at the grocery store.




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ridges of Madison County

It began as light rain on Sunday night and nearly rained for most of Monday. We caught a few dry hours this morning but the rain has been steady for most of the day. Creeks and cricks are high and The French Broad is rumbling about as flooded rivers are aught to do, is now contained in the banks but the river is nearly ready to spill over onto wet land at just about any time. The river road is especially scenic and today no exception and I was about to enjoy the drive even more because I was in the back seat in a friend's SUV. We four set out, Inez, Velda, Vivian and I, to go to Madison County...stop in Marshall and then take the back roads to where Inez grew up and then onto the cabin she and her husband built...up a steep road. A steep gravely road but I am getting ahead of myself.

Roy and I discovered Marshall when I was reading a book about authors in North Carolina and the book was a literary trail to where the authors either lived or locations where the authors had spent a good deal of time while working on a particular story. Not only did the book treat one to delightful stories and facts, but it also included sights one might like to stop and see while on this literary trail. So when Roy and I went to Marshall in 2014 we were on the lookout for Penland's Dry Goods Store. We never found it. Today, I actually got to go in it but once again I am getting ahead of myself. This morning Inez and Velda picked up Vivian and me to start this fun adventure. Oh my goodness, I loved the stories they told and the places we drove around to take in the sights but mainly our eyes were watching the river. We are under a flash flood watch. Our first stop in Marshall was an old hardware store with things from the past and things of the present. I took a few pictures of the interesting stock on hand. We tried to go to Penland's but they weren't opening until 1:00. So we went to Zuma's for lunch. Oh my, once again delicious food and all types of interesting coffee and teas. We laughed and talked and laughed some more over our tasty luncheon treats although Inez got the short end of a chicken when her southwest chicken soup really didn't have very much chicken in it but Velda's soup was full of chicken. Then we began the journey to the cabin retreat. For starters we went beyond the point on the road where Roy and I always turn around. Trees still had fall about them and log homes and old barns still standing strong against time but some had Dish or Direct TV satellites mixing in with the heat of the past, logs. Cows stood along the sides of the fences contentedly mowing down the grass. Wanting to be present and mindful in the moment I took in the scenery while hearing stories of school, revivals, family members getting saved and eating cane out of the field until caught by the farmer. All those kids back then knew not to do it again because instead of just a reprimand, their parents would be involved to invoke discipline. We heard courting stories, stories of growing up, buying a first car and living in an apartment on Main Street. The beauty of their cabin and land just about took my breath away. Life among the trees and the clouds. Because of the continuing rain we needed to head back toward home but first we came back through Marshall and stopped at Penland's. What a wonderful store filled with the staples of coveralls, flannel shirts and work boots. I looked among the boxes of shoes on the shelves and there were boxes I recognized from long ago. There was old fashioned candy and books....about the area. On Sunday Louise gave me a book Roaming These Mountains which are the newspaper columns written each week for the Asheville Citizen Times. With all I need to do for Friday night, I only let myself read one story...and I found myself ordering the other three books in the series from other vendors on Amazon. So as difficult as it was I intended to get only one book and I held to that and the one I chose, well I was told once I start it I will not be able to put it down....  It is still in the bag.

I am so blessed and fortunate to live in an area so rich and full of history. OK, all areas have history but here, the history connects with me. I feel a kinship. It's like this house and living in this area was meant to be and it has just been waiting for me to get here. Roy will be excited to see the new sights I have discovered and he will capture the sights on his camera for me to remember. I have also discovered if you really want to get the whole effect of life here, you need to go the pace. Sometimes it is slow and sometimes it is hurried. Life here is almost always interesting and even with a slower pace, time goes by quickly.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm Back......

Well, it has been a while since last posting on the blog but a lot of life has been happening so I jotted down notes of things I might want to ponder about on the blog...now where did those notes go?

I am now in the throes of Christmas decorating. We brought all the Christmas up here, so we thought but I am missing a few things. In years past I have not done much decorating so little surprises of things forgotten have been newly discovered. All progress came to a halt when I found the Christmas stockings my mom had made for Roy and me. There tucked among other decorations I also came across the stocking my mom made for Tiff, our miniature Schnauzer. I put my hand into my stocking to feel the stitches thinking about my mom and that she had touched them when I felt something down in the toe of the stocking, a piece of ribbon that had been tied around a stocking stuffer and it was tied in that little way my mom tied ribbons that made the tear dam break and shut me down for a few moments. What a special gift. I knew I would use the ornaments my mom had made or ornaments she brought back from trips to Branson and had prepared emotionally for that....Ours is a very simple tree this year, one like I remember with simple ornaments that have great meaning. One ornament that must be back in Katy is the last of the salt dough ornaments that I made for our first Christmas tree. We had NO money to spare and could afford a tree but not much else, so I the never crafty one used cookie cutters to make salt dough ornaments. The last one I purposely kept is the the one that I had painted Roy and Nancy 1977.

In the midst of decorating I am reminded that we had our last official guests to our Ander Home over Thanksgiving. Emily and David came up for the holidays. I have made some mental notes of what works and what needs tweaking. I do know this, you have to be self sufficient with food preparation because that totally is not even in my mindset. I am kind of good on meals that I'm good at preparing but the rest.... I always have lots of stuff to choose from so that's a good thing. I am going to tweak sight-seeing too. Before the popular months of visiting roll around again I plan to do some exploring of the area north of us. Beautiful country. Also, if there are things people want to see and want to give extended time to, I am recommending they do a rental car or do a road trip up here. They will have the time to take it all in and I will have the energy to do other things with them or actually prepare a meal for them...well, let's not be too optimistic.

Roy and I knocked a lot of things out like getting new eye frames and lenses for him...well at least ordered. He cleaned out the dryer vent and we also did the well filter. He got Charter out here and they have found the source of our TV problem and he put outside Christmas decorations up. He pulled out the Christmas boxes so I can get to them easier.

Saturday morning I picked up Darlene and Patsy for a whirlwind tour of the area. I took them to one of my favorite stores and while there found out they have sold their property and moving into south Asheville...no store...no longer. I had a feeling when they had on FB everything is marked 35% off except for consignment pieces. We took the back way to Bat Cave and did a drive through Lake Lure and Chimney Rock before heading to the store where we all found somethings to our liking enough for purchase. We ate a late lunch at Moose Cafe and more satisfied eaters and likers of the cafe confirmed. Then we headed over to our house with a little tour of our area thrown in for good measure. The icing on the cake was having Darlene, Patsy, Vivian and Aunt Mary to meet. Vivian rode with us to the Biltmore to keep me company and on the straight and narrow. Or maybe I was supposed to keep Vivian on the straight and narrow? Such a fun day!

Well, I need to continue working here, run a few errands weather permitting and most importantly...wash my hair.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Rainy Day on Wednesday

Vivian and I just texted one another thinking this is a stay inside kind of day. Great minds think alike. Our area is getting the rain that moved through Texas yesterday. Before the rains began in the early morning the wind blew something fierce. I considered for just a second last night to go out in the dark and move a few things as they might be blown over but reality brought me back to my senses and I decided instead just to prepare for hearing things being blown over in the night. In the early morning light I scanned the backyard from upstairs and nothing had blown over. From my couch side seat I have watched the rain today almost be blown sideways. The eerie sound of the wind last night made us a little nervous but finally we were able to fall asleep. Along with the beauty of each season comes the noise of the seasons and there are new sounds to interpret in this transeasonal time.

Since I knew the rains were on the way I went to Canton yesterday to place the order for supper on the 4th. Hmmm....it is called a progressive dinner but here maybe it should be called a progressive supper. The manager at Dickie's BBQ is so helpful and you know the cornbread dressing has to be good when she says it is only second to her mother's. Got everything taken care of there and then stopped at a local produce stand that is still open for some apples....not that I need more but the price was very good.

Canton has a huge paper mill and the wind was just right yesterday to let you know its existence before seeing it. I love the drive through the town. The homes remind me of my grandparent's neighborhood. There are also many beautiful stone built homes in the midst of vintage homes with large covered porches and the yard full of huge trees. Such a mix of neighbors..American flags with a mix of pirate flags and the co^fed#rate flag spotted along the road to downtown and past the paper mill.

The rain and wind have continued all day with the wind not being as forceful. I think the heaviest rain is still ahead. I'm reading a book on the history of the Pisgah National Forest. Very interesting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Treasured Searches and a Crazy Lady

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there wasn't an internet to run searches for things...like books. I discovered Square Books in Oxford, MS back in that long ago time. If we were going to be in the state of MS, almost every time to navigate a stop in Oxford when it was so out of the way. It was a mad dash to the mailbox during those weeks I knew the newsletter from the store would be waiting for me inside the mailbox. If there wasn't a trip planned in the future for passing through, I would call and order the books I wanted because they were the source for all books written by southern authors. When the box arrived because usually it was more than one book ordered, it felt like Christmas because each book was individually wrapped in tine bound brown craft paper. Maybe if felt more like a step back into time. Over the days I would unwrap a book and read till I was finished and then with anticipation pick the next wrapped book for those afternoons of living in a huge city reading stories more rural by design. Heaven I tells ya, heaven!

Of course we all know how search engines changed our world and now it takes a lot less effort to search out and find books. Sometimes the books from Amazon are wrapped in shrink wrap, but that is not the same as untying a string and opening paper. This morning while reading Psalm 104 this memory from the long time ago came to mind and it complimented perfectly these months and experiences here in the mountains. It is and has been with the same anticipation to unwrap these experiences here in the mountains, in a valley on a hill. Last night several of us got together at church and made cookies for the volunteer crew that keeps our lovely church looking...well...so lovely. I have to be honest I didn't have much to do with the cookie making, but I brought pizza to keep up everyone's strength and ran the timer for baking cookies. It is true for me that I can't stand the heat, so I stay out of the kitchen. But when you have such wonderful and talented bakers in the kitchen...this pilgrim stands back in awe at their talents. I tasted an oatmeal raisin cookie...it was good!

Certainly there have been a few experiences that I didn't greet with expectancy and anticipation...that being snakes and raccoons gone wild. Also include the underground deck railroad and anything to do with a crawl space. But the wonderful has outweighed that saying of "well, this is life in the country." I was reminded again about the kindness of most people around here. We need a little Christmas tree, right this very minute...well before the weekend so I would have help. We debated the merits of a NC fresh Christmas tree but we also discussed the demerits of a fresh NC Christmas tree...so pre lit tree from Lowe's became our choice. Nothing too big but nothing really small and hopefully finding a tree in our determined budget that didn't scream fake! I was able to find just right tree and began putting the box into the backseat of the truck when an older man...parking in the handicap parking asked if I needed his assistance in getting the tree into the back seat. Oh my how kind, but his movements were about the speed of sorghum. I assured him I could get the box into the truck and he responded with, well then I will help you by taking that cart. We had a few moments of conversation that left me with a huge smile that lasted until I had to go into Walmart...

When I picked up the gas station pizza yesterday the clerk gave me a discount and believe me these pizzas are already cheap but they are so good, because he had to take longer in making them. He normally works the morning shift and rarely do any pizza orders come in that early. You can tell by this piece of information we do not live near a college or university.

Psalm 104 also made me reflect on the long ago of work since it is mentioned in the psalm. I hadn't thought about this in forever but one morning as I was in the office of a co-worker, another co-worker with a bit more authority than the two of us announced her presence by banging the already open door against the door stop. We had been discussing a work related matter but she thought by the tone of our discussion we were being light-hearted and she assumed off task. Now this woman had the reputation of being so nice and wonderful, sweet even but I had seen the other side of her many times. I don't know why I was so privileged to experience these tantrums and her unrealistic belief that her job could be on the line. She expressed too many times that she had the gift of discernment yet I never knew her to discern anything positive. She would throw out an attempted proof from time to time as she made guesses about me. Never guessed anything right. A couple of times she prepared an ambush for me with our boss but I stood up for what I knew was right and countered back with facts, not embellished fantasy. So many days of walking on eggshells and trying not to hurt her feelings. For the first time I loved my work but disliked the people I worked with. For me usually I didn't care about the work but always had fun at the job because of the people. Finally, a few things happened where I could leave this job and hopefully escape from this "mad" woman. I wanted to give plenty of notice because they had given me a chance to do work I hadn't really done before but the days became unbearable and the slamming of the open door in my coworker's office and literally dodging spittle as she melted down...over what she assumed to be a conversation that left her out became a breaking point. Really? We were discussing the report that had to go into the Texas Railroad Commission about some wells that recently started producing again. Now that is a boring subject so one must be light-hearted or one will fall asleep while learning which form is the correct one.  OK, how many of y'all just went to sleep over that last sentence? Come on...you know I did. The spark that set my early exit in motion was a phone call from a tennis friend who was so wishing I could be in this game with her...and that moment I told her, I can make that game. So the next morning I dressed up in my office finery, drove into downtown Houston with a happy heart, went up to the 17th floor...did not stop at my desk...and walked straight back to her office and laid down my office keys and parking pass...and said yesterday was my last day. I caught her dumbfounded...I felt like Edward G Robinson from one of those long ago biblical movies where his line is..."where's your messiah now" when I said...so you have the gift of discernment, where is your discernment now?...this sooner exit shouldn't have surprised you at all. You knew this was going to happen didn't you. For the first time she was speechless and only could counter back with, you have to turn in your parking pass...and I'm not giving you the money to pay for your parking...which happily I responded, parking is on me today and you don't even have to cut a check for the days I have worked...my gift to you. I began leaving the office when she followed me like a sick little puppy....telling me how much she liked me, how much she had enjoyed working with me...wouldn't I consider my decision? Would I still be her friend? I opened my purse and pulled out a pocket calendar and acted like I was looking things up...and said, well my slot for crazy friend is full but if an opening becomes available, I will let you know.  Yep, I said that and lived...she followed me out of the building and to the parking garage saying all kinds of nice things....ugh. I finally told her to go back to the office, no one was there answering the phones.  I drove home, changed into my tennis togs and resumed my tennis life for several more years.  Even that time working at that horrible job became like a book wrapped in twine and brown craft paper because not only did I learn perseverance, I worked there longer than anyone else had ever done with this woman but I also learned how to use a computer....which profited me from then on...a gift although at the time, I didn't see it as a gift or something to anticipate opening. Oh by the way my tenure with them was three months...  An epilogue to this story, because this too was also before the days of caller ID, she would call and hang up the phone when answered. Several times I saw her following me in her car as I walked our dog...finally on one of those phone calls I told her I knew it was her, stop calling me! That did it...never heard from her again, although she lived in the same apartments as one of my good friends so I was always looking over my shoulder because I didn't want to run into that crazy lady.

Well that is it for today kiddos. I need to place my order for December 4th and since I have been writing about back in the day, I too will practice a back in the day. This is such an important order, I don't trust the phone or online ordering. Going to go in person to make sure it is done right...with no surprises.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sunday Reflections on a Monday Morning

The Sunday morning drive to church is a favorite. It is a rather short ride but filled with many visuals that frankly coincide with the need to drive safely. The temperatures had reached the upper 20's overnight and we were still below freezing in the middle of the morning and frost still visible in the lower hollows and valleys. Picturesque scenes of houses with curls of smoke from wood stoves or fireplaces adding a layer of quaintness on the already layered scenery. Just a few weeks ago the mountains were covered with brilliant reds and orange leafs. The yellow and green gave the canvas for the brilliant and explosive color but now the mountains are making that trek into winter silhouetted  dark gray against lighter gray overcast skies. The cows in the fields huddled together for one of the first into many days of cold beginnings. The backdrop usually covered by leafs are now being revealed discovering houses and scenes covered three quarters of the year. New discoveries being made daily on the routine drives that I make as daily life takes residence.

The bird feeder traffic is picking back up just like spring. Such a choreographed beauty are the incoming birds both small and large as they take turns at the feeder. Although Mr Cardinal can clear a feeder when he wants to. I still need to identify several of the new birds coming to visit but in the morning and before dusk this is a happening place from tiny wrens all the way to even a crow or two. Doves come at off times and even the notorious blue jays are playing nice with the other birds.

Friday I took Buddy for her annual shots and physical. Oh dear friends, Buddy wasn't happy at all with the morning. I took her back to the vet who only treats and sees cats thinking this would be better for Buddy. I am rethinking this. There is something or perceived threat from her point of view in that office. My fear is entering the porch and letting one of the resident cats out...there is a warning sign posted not to let them out and of course the sign just makes entrance and exit that more stresful.  Now back to Buddy. She never acted this way for the vet in Fulshear. She was feisty but not in total attack mode. The vet took time to get Buddy to relax but Buddy is particular about her food and treats and the treats they were trying to bribe her with weren't anything she took an interest in. The vet even got down and sat on the floor to help Buddy but Buddy wasn't having any of it. She inspected and kept close to the walls or underneath the chairs and bench. I put my hand out toward Buddy and she took a couple of swipes at me but only with her paws, not claws. That's when the vet asked, does she treat you this way at home? Now to be honest she doesn't but that doesn't mean she hasn't taken a swipe or two or a bite or two at me but it is seldom and mostly done as a surprise move not being defensive and protective...So I responded no but I thought to myself and I'm thankful I didn't say what I thought because this vet is a hard nose, competent vet who just happens to own twelve cats. But I wanted to respond to her, well at home I'm not chasing her around, trying to put something up her butt, trim her nails or give her a shot. They finally had to do the swaddling method with towels but it didn't calm Buddy at all. No Buddy began to make the sound of a siren or an old time full gospel woman full of the spirit. After the ordeal the Dr had a talk with me about Buddy's food even though she had declared that Buddy's teeth were in pristine condition for a ten year old cat. She had never seen such beautiful teeth on a cat that old. She wants me to change Buddy over to more wet than dry food. I tried to explain that Buddy never shows any interest in wet food, not even tuna that drops from a sandwich. I also mentioned that Buddy stays very hydrated and is a self grazer that knows portion control...no dice... She went on to help me understand the percentages of protein and the like and that is where she lost me...all the sudden taking care of Buddy had turned into math and my brain was shutting down but my mouth kept saying, uh huh, uh huh, oh yes...uh huh....Brain on major shutdown and the vet is sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher. At least she wrote down what she was saying...Knowing that the food she wants to me to give to Buddy cannot be found at the grocery store, I still looked when I went because finding something comparable to experiment will be much cheaper than ordering food. So I found this organic cat food...and bought three cans of flavors that Buddy likes. When I placed them before the queen for dinner she looked at me like what is this crap? Where are my treats? What about my regular dry food? So mixed a little in...still got the look.  Before the night was over, I had cleaned out the dish and put in dry food. Happy, happy kitty cat. So Saturday morning while working outside the black and white one eyed cat came to say hello. That poor cat is so skinny and the idea came to me, give her the open can of cat food and maybe with hunger abated she won't be as intent on catching a bird. That cat scarfed down the organic cat food that Buddy snubbed and being a good hostess I also gave it some water to drink. Cat wasn't interested in hydration, guess since it ate wet cat food.

/Roy is so happy that I put up the cushions from the outdoor furniture and assembled the chairs in one spot to be covered with a tarp. I also put more lights out around the deck and did so successfully without falling amongst the wheat straw.  I disassembled boxes and got them ready for recycling.

Since I took off the one sabbatical Sunday, I was very ready to get to church. Red Box loaded and ready to be delivered, LSU t-shirts for friends (I doubted if they would even want them after Saturday) and of course my Bible and quarterly. So happy to walk in with my friend Inez and then enter into the warmth of our Sunday School class. Warmth on many levels...friendship and love warmth and we also are in the hottest room of the whole church for our class.  Yes, there in freezing temps we turned on the ceiling fan. Gale had got the class to settle down when Larry came in to advertise the Christmas Luncheon for seasoned adults...I am not going to write Senior Citizen...opps, I just did. Anyway, since peer pressure is always a factor I signed up and then asked Gale to be my dining friend. After church I ran to CVS for a prescription and it dawned on me that I had read DQ had their Christmas Blizzard ready for serving...since October 26th. Oh my, the peppermint and Oreo blizzard so welcomed , so delicious. Then I came home and had salad for lunch. It was the right thing to do...Then back to church for an afternoon Christmas music rehearsal.

Usually the drive home from choir practice is in the dark now that we are off of DST but it was dusk and the beauty that greeted me that morning was now in new light of subdued tones of evening. Life settling in and ready for Monday. Children getting in that last bit of play before going in. The cows not huddled but moving closer preparing for the coming night. Once again my heart overflowing with thankfulness that we have a home here in the beauty of the mountains, that I got to experience my first real autumn, thankful for a hubby who has made all this happen, and for friends here and there, friends I've known for years and for friends who feel like I have known them for years....for all of this my heart and life exclaims...thanks be to our God.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Thursday Kind of Day

Easing into the day this morning. It is a bit overcast with cooler temps heading this way and a wind advisory has been issued. According to Ray's Weather, the ultimate authority of WNC, we haven't had the normal amount of windy days this fall. I have to believe him cause I wouldn't know this being our first fall here. Mike the Mower Man and I met briefly yesterday morning and he will begin work next week on the stone steps down to the flat part of the yard.  Next spring, we will be able to use and access the flat portion of the yard. Included in the plans will be the installation of a small decorative ditch to continue to take rain water down and out into the yard. We have experienced rain lately and nothing pools too much but we are getting ready for a downpour day or days that are surely in the future.While we were talking about the steps I also learned a little history of the house and a history with the neighbor above us. Now there was a story and it will be so helpful when we plant trees next spring. Very interesting and informative which explains a few loose ends. Mike also related why there are problems with the back deck. It was the ex husband that was the husband at the time that built the back deck...only thing...he is a musician. No wonder I have had my doubts about that deck but I digress and feel a little more informed about the process of life before we came onto the scene.

Left Mike with the yard and headed over to Barnes and Noble and to Target...with a quick stop in Lifeway. I tried to go to Home Goods but holiday parking has already started and since Sequishaun is so difficult to park, I just eased on down the road only to be harassed by a minivan from Texas who in typical minivan ways pulled out in front of me only to go slow and then at the stop sign...no vehicles coming from the other way, we sat, we waited for the bus driver to move that huge minivan onto the ramp of the freeway. Thankfully, I got around them but could see in the rear view mirror that traffic was piling up behind them. A quick stop at Fresh Market and I was on my way home and returned to freshly cut grass and the wonderful fragrance that it brings. Since it has dried out a bit I worked on the lights on the back deck railing. I picked up a remote control plug for the outdoors at Lowe's, so on/off is a breeze.

Roy's safety moment from his company is something I can use. It is about poison oak, sumac and poison ivy. I need to memorize what each plant looks like and don't say the three leaves thing cause there are a lot of plants that have three leaves. The best thing is to just stay away from yard work and the potential occurrences meeting up with the poison family. Maybe the snakes and poison sumac could meet up and just take care of one another's presence.

I have a mind for trivia, so sometimes the strangest things come to mind. I know this is a shock to most, maybe...haha! Yesterday, in the bookstore I noticed several different things. First off, Starbucks still has Christmas on their Christmas Blend coffee. Gee whiz! Then I noticed a redundancy in titles or words in titles...light, girl, little, various modes of transportation in fiction but in both fiction and nonfiction alike, the un_______ fill in the blank, seems to be trending.  The pastor at First Baptist Houston has his new book out Unstoppable Gospel, which is on my to be read list and I read yesterday that Steven Furtick has a book coming out in 2016 called Unqualified, which is not on my to be read list. I know mentioning two titles doesn't seem like a trend but I saw a few books yesterday and of course my trivia brain can't remember the titles. I never been good with titles.  Two books I bought yesterday, a history of the Pisgah Forest and The New Yorker-1950's addition.

Made a quick trip to the Post Office and then to fill up the truck. Such a beautiful day so when I got back home I worked in the backyard again. Tomorrow is bringing colder temps. We are excited that our friends David and Emily are spending Thanksgiving with us. Trying to get thing taken care of for their arrival and then also some of the things that just need taken care of.