Thursday, July 30, 2015

Still Have Carolina Brain

The day began foggy here in the valley on a hill.  There are still a lot of birds in the backyard but the butterflies are over taking them by number and it is mesmerizing to watch their wings move in graceful ballet moves as they cover several flower bushes.  I would tell you what kind of plant it was if I knew.

Yesterday turned out to be a completely different day than planned.  Since I hadn't heard from the furniture store about chair delivery, I had made plans with Vivian to go down to their campsite and spend a little time with them. Because of a couple of phone calls, I was a little later than I had planned to leave but still within the "ish" of it. I had just gathered my things when the house phone rang.  I debated whether to take the call but when the Caller ID announced it was the furniture store, I answered.  One of the chairs I had ordered had come in and they were delivering in the area, could they deliver that afternoon?  I asked Nikki if I could call her back and tried to reach Vivian...finally I just texted her and called Nikki and said yes to the delivery.  The way she talked, I thought it was the chair for the living room and I would really like to have that with company coming...but when the delivery guys got here, it was the gray chair for Roy's bonus room.  Long story short, the other chair will be here next week.  The fabric I had picked was back ordered thus adding to the time frame.  This chair was ordered in May but I am happy to buy made in America furniture and knowing it would be built to my order, it would take additional time.  If I had known it was the gray chair, I would have gone on to Girl's Day with Vivian.  It made for a long day but it was not wasted. I took care of several little things that I have needed to do since getting here and I did the all important prepare for the fall front porch sitting by getting the plaid throws we bought last year out of the packaging and into a handy dandy basket.

I was even so mature yesterday with Buddy.  Cats like to paw and meow at you in the night and because Buddy has trained me so well, I turn over so she can sleep on my arm. So, turn about is fair while she slept yesterday I would tap her on the leg...she was not gracious in her response. I got a miffed meow.  I did that about five times yesterday because I am mature like that.  This can go on my list of mature actions with running outside and yelling squirrel not because of my ADD but due to the fact a squirrel might be sitting in one of the bird feeders.  Back to Buddy for a moment, she had been a little feisty of late in the middle of the night but on Monday night, she was feisty from the get go, so I did something new.  I picked her up, she fighting me all the way, and I put her in the hall and shut the bedroom door.  Somewhere I had read separation can be a good teacher for cats.  I let the door stay shut for twenty minutes and then I opened it.  Not too much later I hear her come into the room, jump up on the bed and lie down on her blanket at the end of the bed.

With the warmer months of summer here, I have been experiencing symptoms from heat. A whole lot of afib going on and exhaustion but not like what I have experienced before. I have been researching cardiologists in the area that deal with electrical issues of the heart and also waiting for some recommendations. I read an article on a medicine I am on and one of the side effects is a racing heart. I put in a call to the nurse at my Houston cardiologist's office and talked with him yesterday morning. I am going to start cutting back on the med that might be causing some of the problems and the exhaustion?  Well, it's funny because I never felt it the week that Emily was here and I should have.  I asked the nurse could it be I was eating more protein and eating my big meal of the day at noon?  Uh, yes...  So, I have adjusted my meals and protein accordingly this week and have not felt the crippling exhaustion.  I'm still making an appointment with a cardiologist here in the area just to have a doctor here.

And because hair can be just as important as heart issues...not really but sometimes it does feel that way emotionally, because the salon I have been going to called to let me know the stylist I have been seeing left to take a sabbatical from doing hair. I don't know but I got certain vibes when I saw her last that she was not too happy there, so maybe it is just a sabbatical from that particular salon. So once again I will see a new stylist there and by faith I am going to have to trust him with not only a cut but highlights.  Stevie, stylist and friend from Houston, has already prayed for an anointed appointment.I know I do not have some complicated style nor do I do much with my hair but I have had really bad cuts and highlights before and I really don't want to experience that again.  Hair grows and mine grows fast but really....

Last night before turning off the computer, I read my blog posts from last year, August-October. Wow, the month of August last year brought about great changes in our lives.  It was fun to read my thoughts about the house that we eventually purchased and re-read once again, about the kindness of God I experienced last year.  It made a definite change and of course reading about Vivian and Bill and Newfound Baptist Church. That was pretty sweet.  God has been so good!  Roy and I have been truly blessed by this past year.

When we returned last September to Houston, with a contract on a house, Roy often said I had Carolina brain when I wasn't paying attention or made a mistake on something so routine.  Yep, I still have Carolina brain, but it has been one of the best things for me. Excuse me, but I think I am needed on squirrel patrol.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Living Near Mountaintops, In a Valley But On a Hill

"Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys." - Billy Graham  A friend of mine put this quote this morning on Facebook.  It is a thought provoking quote and the following is just my thoughts after thinking through bunny trails and new experiences here in the mountains.  I am thankful that she finds good quotes to post almost everyday but today's spoke deeply to me here in the valley because so many times we equate misery, trial and troubles with the valley.

I live in a valley, not a figurative valley of sadness, but in an actual valley but our home is on a hill.  Most of this area is valley with rambling hills and hollers and we view the mountains from a long range distance, the really high mountains are what I am talking about.  Last August as we began to look at houses in the area the first home our realtor took us to was on top of one of the smaller mountains (oxymoron) in the area.  We drove up and up and meandered on switchback roads.  Parts of these narrow mountain roads were one lane that eventually went from paved to gravel.  Yes, this flat land girl, sitting in the backseat was a tad bit nervous as we made the ascent.  Granted, once we were at the house the views were spectacular and the owners of the home had tried valiantly to open up the small home to the openness of the mountains.  Most of the property was a direct slant, downward...guess it depends on your viewpoint.  There was a modest amount of flatness to have a small garden, a small driveway and a storage area for a RV.  I shudder thinking about backing it out and down the road.  The couple were musicians and had decided to move to Nashville hoping their star would be discovered there.  I liked the house ok but it wasn't a top contender over all mainly because the downstairs reeked of cat urine but the ascent and descent played a huge role in it not being considered.  It occurred to me to have those wonderful, vast, breath taking views, it was hard work to get up and down from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom.  Living in that house would have to make me a better list and organizer because, believe me, you didn't want to have to make a trip back down to the store if you forgot anything...not only because of the aforementioned ascent but because the nearest grocery store was anything but near.  The song by Carole King comes to mind, "so far away...."   We visited one or two more homes located on the top of the world, looking down onto creation.  I asked what the going rate for helicopter rides was going for.  After climbing every mountain, no fording a stream, we nixed the idea of a home on top of old smoky.  Vista and view became the operating words and mantra.  You would have thought I would have remembered my one and only time of primitive camping in the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. We climbed and hiked switchbacks, nothing was level, it hurt, you knew why they had told you to pack light because every ounce in my backpack was beginning to feel like a thousand pounds.  And once we got to the top, we had to hike down into a valley to camp for the night.  My friends wanted to hike back up the mountain once we got settled so we could watch the sunset.  All I could mumble about was...isn't that where we just came from?  Aren't we going to have to hike back up tomorrow morning to get on the trail?  Believe me, I wanted nothing to do with beauty at that very moment.  It was all about soaking my feet in an alpine lake that was like 36 degrees.  

All these stories to say, mountain top experiences are overrated! Hard going up and hard going down. Give me a valley...but not a Harper Valley PTA.  I guess we have gotten the idea that valleys are sad or the place you don't want to be from Psalm 23, Psalm 84, the valley of Baca or weeping or songs like the God of the mountains is still God in the valleys.  Heck, it means if you are in a valley, you have mountains surrounding you.  So you are actually living in the mountains...just not the tops. I read the paragraphs around this quote from his book of devotions and beloved Billy is saying, we live in the valleys...that is where our work is, our happiness resides, it's where we face rejection or welcome inclusion.  It is where we look differently at the mundane and get through days.  Days, we want to be out of or days that can't seem to slow down enough.  Valleys have good news and not so good is from learning in the valley how we choose to respond.  After shopping the produce stands around the area, I'm telling you, you want fruit from the want fruit that is nurtured and grown in deep soil, not the the rocky soils of the heights.  Around here, the higher you go in the mountains, the likelihood of meeting a sneaky or snapping snake..i.e poisonous expands.  Remember, the devil took Jesus to the highest peak to look made peak of the temple and the highest mountain peak, made by God, but it is all mountain top-esk.  Try to live on mountain tops, the wind will age you something fierce. Our neighbor above us on our hill told me last night she is going to sell her property and home because the going up and down on our hill and most of her 8 acres is on the hill part, is getting to her as she trains her four horses.  They are going to look at property in TN that is rolling to flat, that will be easier to train the horses and less wear and tear on her physically. Give me the valley, and oh, don't fence me in.  

My friend Vivian told me when I first met her about how the mountains have protected this area throughout the years.  Yes, we still have storms and trees are blown over but watching the radar with the fierce reds of rain barreling out of the north turn to yellows and greens when they hit those mountains on the TN and NC border.  In our valley we get snow but are rarely snowed in.  The other night I was thinking about how God spoke to Moses and Elijah in the mountains but spoke to Ezekiel in the valley.  The enemies of Israel in the Bible mistakenly thought that God gave victory to Israelites in the mountains but He was not the God of the valleys.  Uh, they be thinking wrong.  And we cannot forget King Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 20:26 and the valley of blessing. 

So bottom line, I need to transform my mind into thinking and knowing not all valleys are for sorrow or for sadness or for testing...although we will find plenty of that that there and on the mountain tops if we are honest. Valleys are where we live and where we demonstrate the love of Christ.  I just happen to be so blessed to actually be located in a valley where my eyes can look unto the hills and know that my help comes from the Lord.  I have the visual and I learn visually.  It would be a whole lot harder in Houston to remind myself of living in the mountains in a valley...unless I stand on a incline or decline of a freeway. I think that would not end up well, you know with all the traffic.   

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Two Days...One Post

It is an overcast morning but the sun is breaking through the clouds.  The birds are out back eating and so is one very chunky chipmunk. The indigo buntings were back this morning and the bright blue of their feathers radiates an iridescent beauty.  Right now the little chirping sparrow couple are on the deck feeding each other little seeds.  Ah so cute!  I have grown to love the little birds, wrens, sparrows of all varieties, finches and of course the indigo bunting.

Last night I got this brilliant idea of how to watch the birds outside.  I moved the frame of the swing we bought several weeks ago through the yard, over the deck (I don't even want to share about that) and over the railing to the well shaded part of the yard on the other side...the other side I have rarely spent any time in.  Believe me after moving the stand, I was not able to move the swing and it will wait until another day...and by that I mean another day when the temps are much cooler than they were last night.  A couple of tree branches needs to be trimmed back too, but again...another day.  I told Roy last night what I did and he just laughed because over the years he has seen many...too many of my ideas that have been internalized for months, that now need to be done in a moment of time. I didn't have the heart to tell him another idea I have rumbling and bumbling through my mind of ideas. Maybe it's a good thing I am slicing and freezing peaches today.

Another big accomplishment yesterday, I finally found the screws for the Amish mirror stand.  Let's see, I have been looking for them since April.  They were not in the box of things that had been taken apart by the movers and I have no clear reason why they even took this apart.  Anyway, having a drill would have been better but by strength alone, I got it put together.  Guess I was feeling mighty strong after that and thought I could drag that swing stand all over creation.

And now it is Tuesday morning.  I stepped away from the computer yesterday morning and did not return, except to turn if off last night.  I had a great day in getting more projects completed as well as taking in God's creation from our porches. From my view yesterday I can now identify the two squirrels that visit our yard.  The distinction is in the tails.  I also put out the little nettle seeds that all the little birds like and apparently so do the doves. There are some young cardinals visiting the bird feeder as well.  We really need to clear out the brush on our property line but in doing so, we will discourage cardinals from visiting the feeder...what a quandary. I looked at some pictures from winter at the house and determining when fall comes and things begin their journey into dormancy, what will need to be cleared away and what to keep.  Like I have written before, even the weeds here are beautiful.

I accomplished a biggie yesterday, with the use of my hiking sticks I made it down the slope of our yard, across to a less slope area and down to our apple trees.  I usually see these from a distance.  Our liberty apple tree has two apples on it and the gold rush tree none.  I was able to look at the leaves and see I need to do more watering in between rains.  I still don't understand the fast rate of evaporation here compared to living closer to sea level.  I pulled up a trash pine tree that was piggy backing from the watering and then I made the jaunt up the slope.  Actually going up was much easier.  These hiking sticks have little springs in them that give with the slopes and angles thus making it easier for these knees to traverse the yard.  For a minute I considered moving the swing to the stand but realized that would be too much of an endeavor following my hiking expedition.  I did get the new rocking chair inside the house and by the front door but Buddy came downstairs about the time I was going to put it outside and put a damper on those plans.  Instead I worked on blackberries, getting them ready to freeze for those dull winter months when only apples seem to be the fruit of choice.  Love apples but seems like such a long season until plums, peaches, blackberries and cherries.

Ah, the indigo bunting is back at the little bird feeder...really the feeder designed for little birds.  The other day I watched a cardinal try his best to get to those seeds.  A red headed house wren just joined him.

I best be about the day.  I should be hearing something today about a furniture delivery and I'm still in the Google and fix mode for the TV.  I hardly watch it but last night I wanted to see a couple of episodes of the Simpsons and the TV would not cooperate.  Oh it all worked out since an earlier bedtime seemed to fit the ticket.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Weeks Worth of Catching Up

Hello blog!  Do you remember me?  Let's see if I can write down this past week's fun.  It won't be a difficult thing especially as I drink some southern pecan coffee from the coffee shop in Waynesville.

 This past week has been such a fun and busy week.  Emily came into town Monday night and she got a royal country welcome, no electricity here at the house.  I had made dinner and planned for us to eat at home but we changed our minds midstream and went for Mexican food.  Good thing, you know, because the electricity was out.  Our area had several bad storms come through.  In fact, I got stuck in one and missed my turn because it was impossible to see with such heavy rain.  Once we were here, I pulled out the flashlights and candles.  I had also bought for such a time as this, a solar light and it lit up the room rather nicely.  The electricity came on after about an hour and life in the 21st century went on as we know it.

Emily and I were busy everyday and we were good to include nap time most afternoons.  We didn't even get to some of the major things to do around here but we are fine with that because she will be back.  On Wednesday, Emily, Vivian and I went to high tea at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate.  Such fun and such delicious food.  After being sufficiently filled with tea and little tasties, we drove around the estate.  On Tuesday we had seen a huge tree, over a hundred years old tree, toppled over by the wind and storm.  By Wednesday, all that was left was the huge stump with the tree roots sticking out. We also took Emily on a ride though the country around where we live.  There is just so much beauty to take in.  I never tire of seeing the mountains and the canvas of the sky.  We went to Waynesville on Thursday with the intent of driving the back roads over to the Pretty Place in the afternoon but the rains came once again and we went to plan B.  Plan B was a good plan too.  Of course you have to see Mast General Store and then we went to the Hazelwood area for lunch and some shopping.  That is when the heavens opened and while eating decided that we would head back home once we finished up in Waynesville.  Friday, we went to the Amish Store and had lunch at The Farmers Daughter.  There are no words, only food.  We were seated near a large church group, so we piggy backed on their prayers for lunch.  We stopped at Lowe's on our way home and picked up the rocking chair I had bought and assembled.  On Friday evening we knew we would be going to a singing, so of course we napped for strength.  I really napped hard and woke up kind of wondering where I was, that is how hard I slept.

Friday night, the 17th annual Singing by Simple Faith.  Simple Faith is a gospel group that travels all over this region and beyond.  Our contractor sings in the group and the Primitive Quartet were the special guests.  This year, it was also a fund raiser for Desiree Brown, the daughter of a singer in Simple Faith.  In March she had a traumatic brain injury and the insurance money for rehab for the year has run out.  There were all kinds of concession stands to help raise money and a raffle for gift baskets after the love offering had been taken.  To begin the evening, Jonathan Sluder called all the men to the front of the stage to pray for the evening...he asked a man to start the perfect choreography, the men knelt in prayer and they all prayed out loud.  It was a heavenly sound and I am probably saying that because I am in love with the voices of NC men with southern accents.  I'm in love with the voices...that's all.  Anyway, after that time, the singing began and a young man made his way to the front of the stage, he was crying at the Lord's touch...some of those big country men gathered around him and started talking and then praying with him.  Wow!  Powerful!  Yet, so poignant. The music and worship, so God honoring and the fact that it was all blue grass country gospel was icing on the cake for me.  I just saw on Facebook that over $22,000.00 was raised Friday night.

Saturday, Emily and I eased into the day.  We had Amish Cinnamon Raisin toast with Amish churned butter.  Emily got her things together and I did my usual squirrel lady thing by chasing off the squirrels among other useful and productive things.  We ate lunch at Moose Cafe and we headed to the airport.  On Saturdays you have to take in account all the traffic, so I got her there early but in true equalization, the time she waited I was in traffic on I 26 going back toward Asheville.  There wasn't a wreck or anything...just bumper to bumper traffic.  I did stop at Target and Fresh Market while I made my way home.  I had a delicious dinner of leftover gas station pizza and an Amish fried pie.  Got caught up with things around here and got to grab a few minutes of conversation with a friend.  I was ready for sleep but Buddy had other ideas and woke me up every hour on the hour.  Thus, I stayed home from church this morning.  I have witnessed God's creation from my back porch.  Watching butterflies, birds and yes...that darn squirrel.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Morning Chit Chat

Good Saturday morning!  It is a beautiful sunshiny morning.  We had a reprieve from the heat this week but yesterday, it began heating up once again.  High 80's not unbearable at all but it is good knowing that in a month in a half or so, it will start feeling cooler again and we will actually experience autumn.

This has been a fun week and it is just building toward another fun week when Emily gets here on Monday.  So enjoyed Rebecca's visit on Monday this week and then Tuesday picking up the new Harper Lee book.  Wednesday was a relaxing day and Thursday evening was our Sunday School party at our teacher's farm.  Wow!  They have beautiful pastoral views accompanied by long range mountain views.  There's a fishing pond and red barns...huge trees, one of which had an inviting swing attached to a limb.  There were about nineteen of us in attendance and let me tell you, everyone of them is a good cook.  Gale fixed delicious pork chops and corn on the cob.  There was homemade mac and cheese, baked beans, squash casserole, scalloped potatoes, a Mexican salad that was awesome and slaw.  There were other things too and some pretty nice looking desserts.  I brought a blackberry pie, from the berries I picked.  We all ate out on the deck, enjoying the conversations and the laughter, and of course the beautiful scenery.  Several of us walked toward and down to the pond...Velda and I walked toward the pond and realized the walk back would be an uphill one, so we stopped know for safety sake.  It was such a fun evening.

Yesterday, I had an 11:45 haircut appointment.  I left here a little early to have breakfast at the Corner Kitchen thus securing an ever so difficult to find parking place there in Biltmore Village.  I tried the waffles this time at Corner Kitchen and they were really good.  Then I went across the street to a very dangerous least to me...Origami Ink. Yes, a shop filled with pens, cards and stationery. Oh, and they had some beautiful jewelry, even some reasonably priced.  I resisted temptation and didn't go upstairs to look but I did come home with some note cards that are made the old fashioned way.  I also made a brief perusal of Williams Sonoma before going over to the salon.  I got brave and went with a shorter cut.  It's not like I haven't had a short haircut before, but it has been a while. Since I was in the area, I made a quick stop at Target and Barnes and Noble before heading home.  Once at home a little nap was in order.  Vivian texted me to let me know she had some green beans, home grown tomatoes and cucumber for me.  She had cooked the green beans already.  Now that is a good friend.  I went over to pick them up and enjoyed getting caught up with her.  She is recovering very nicely from her surgery.  Praise the Lord!  When I got home, I fixed a little bowl of green beans as a before bedtime snack.  Mmmm....good and southern-y.

Roy found out yesterday that we are getting a 2016 Tundra because Toyota has already stopped with the 2015 production.  And, the dealership is giving it to us at the same price we had agreed on.  We are more than happy about that.

Yesterday Roy met with our real estate agent about listing our home in Rancho De Five. He has some work to do this weekend.  There has been a lot of pictures going back and forth between us asking me do you want this or should I store this?  I think in terms of, will it fit here and if not, he can take it to  KCM. His main focus will be on the laundry room and getting things off the floor in our closet.  That is mainly his stuff on the floor, so that is good. Our Katy home is such a niche home, so we will see if it will get much traffic.

Just another confirmation that our family on my father's side does not age well this week.  My brother had heard that our great aunt Amy has become confused and very hurtful with her words, angry. Man, she was the hope I held onto that she would go against the grain of later year meanness and change.  Years ago at my grandparents house, she pulled me aside and while looking at my grandmother and father she said, break the chain...don't go that way.  The hair stylist yesterday was telling me about a book she is reading...about training your brain not to go to the negative.  The book describes our brain having the natural inclination to go negative and we have to work to find the positive.  I told her the Bible speaks to that as well, but she wasn't too interested in that.  Who knows about my father's side of the family?  But, I am going to fight going that same way tooth and nail.  The later part of life didn't end well for any of them and it is looking that way for my father.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Books, Friends and Blackberries

Like most avid readers I have been waiting for Go Set A Watchman to be released.  Last summer the news of a long ago manuscript as the precursor to Kill a Mockingbird was all the literary talk both professionally and for those of us who love to read.  For many years, I reread the TKAM every summer and I would have done so this time but I don't think it made it in all the books that we brought up to North Carolina.  So when the local bookstore took reservations for the book, I signed up.  Then I read the first chapter on WSJ and settled into that prose that I have loved for so long.  I started a blog post about reading the first chapter but didn't go back to it when I read a NYT review. Lots of people upset about Jem but most were upset about Atticus.  He was not the fine lawyer for civil rights he was a southern racist.  Of course most know the story that the editor told Harper Lee to write from the children's point of view and go back in time.  Harper worked on the story and after several years, the finished product was TKAM.  The beloved book by everyone and then the movie was made and the rest is history.  The screenplay was one of Horton Foote's finest efforts.  And then Harper Lee went on to help Truman Capote with interviews and notes for In Cold Blood and she never published another book.  Many blamed her older sister who died several years ago, while others hoped against hope she had manuscripts to be published upon her death.  As the years went by many made a pilgrimage to Monroeville Alabama, where the Lee's lived and the fictionalized Maycomb was based upon.

After reading the review, I didn't know if I still wanted to read the book but decided a Yankee wasn't going to define what I should or should not read.  So on Tuesday, I picked up my copy and brought it home.  I didn't want to start reading it right away but when the electricity went off several times due to storms in the area, the book was a good diversion Tuesday night.  I was hooked!  Even though professionals have come out to say if this was a manuscript from anyone today, it would never be published.  I don't run in those what do I know?   This afternoon I began reading again and found it difficult to put down, even in the midst of the shocking revelations.  I wondered if anyone who reviewed the book had read any of the unofficial biographies on Harper Lee.  It wasn't made a secret that Atticus or I mean Mr. Lee kind of had those leanings.

These past few days as I have read GSAW and pondered over the narrative I've questioned myself, why is TKAM one of my favorite books and movie?  I think part of me is enamored with a father who loved his children and while not extravagant in things, he was extravagant with time.  But, thinking through this I think I liked the book because Scout or Jean Louise was a character I could totally identify with.  She loved to run and play ball.  She was up for a physical challenge. She got to wear coveralls and play with the boys.  Being dressed up made her fidgety and she would rather read or play than play tea party or dolls.  That was me growing up and somewhat today.  Don't get me wrong, I like being a girl but I can do without teas and small talk and trying to keep up with so n so.  I like nice clothes but I really like them to be comfortable and of course I love gathering with friends, but let the conversation be uplifting and meaningful and a whole lot of fun.  When I started wearing makeup, other than in junior high because who knows what they are doing in junior high school, I pretty much am a put it on, rarely check it during the day kind of girl.  My car mirrors on the sun visor have probably been used ten times total.  I don't look at myself before getting out of the car usually.  I should have done so yesterday because I went to Weaverville looking pretty basic, doing nothing to my hair and half finished makeup.  ADD once again kicked in and at first I was kind of upset with me, but really....I went through the drive through at the bank and WalMart.  Case closed.  Never been a sit at the table after eating and pull out a compact and smear powder on my face and apply lipstick at the table.  For one reason, my mother told me it was rude to do that and for another that was just one more thing to carry in my purse...a mirror.  So, unfortunately, my liking TKAM had nothing to do with high ideals, it had more to do with finally finding a character in a book that I would want to be friends with.  Now reading about grown up Jean Louise, I think I would still want to be friends but since I can lean closely to a cynical side, we probably couldn't hang out together very often.

Had a fabulous visit with Rebecca R this week.  She was in the area visiting friends and came over to spend a night.  We saw some sights, ate at Moose Cafe, went to a couple of antique shops and spent some time after 5:00 at Antler Hill Village.  We drove back in the midst of a coming storm.  The wind here howls a little louder probably due to all the trees.  Limbs of all sizes were dislodged on our route home.  The sky kept turning an angrier gray as we came closer to home.  We made it back safely but it rained throughout the night and into the early afternoon.  Rebecca had purchased her Biltmore House ticket for Tuesday.  I rarely go to the house anymore, don't have the stamina for it, so we said our goodbyes after breakfast and she headed to the estate.

Because it was 76 degrees out yesterday, I trimmed some tree branches and pulled some weeds.  I even ended up picking about a cup of blackberries from the side of the driveway.  The ones at the front of the property have played out...thankfully, so I wasn't tempted to go down there and look.  I told Roy I need to get into picking shape for next years blackberry season.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Buddy, Blackberries, Kindness and Seasons

It was supposed to be one of those Saturdays where I get up and get moving to get the early start.  Well, I got the early start around 4:00 am from Buddy.  As much as I love Buddy and so glad that she is here, I don't especially like her little temper tantrums.  She was still miffed that I had carried her upstairs when I went to bed instead of letting her stay downstairs and chase a fly.  After she sat there for a few minutes giving me the stink eye, she went back downstairs.  I went to bed.  Sometime during the night she fell asleep on my arm...till about 4:00 am.  It started with the meow that signals she is not happy.  I petted her she started purring but she did the meow again and when I opened my eyes she was sitting there on my arm with the Buddy Big Eyes stare down. Trapped!  If I move my arm she attacks it, if I do nothing there is the remote possibility that she will take a swipe at my face. It wouldn't make a mark because we have those cat paws on her nails but she could bite.  Finally, a sliver of a moment of escape presented itself and I was able to free myself and get my glasses on. We did the stare down for a while and then she got bored and left.  She came back later and slept at the end of the bed.  It took a little bit for me to go back to sleep thus awakening much later than I had planned.  So now that easing into the day has presented itself, I will just go with it.

Last night I did my last blackberry picking.  Since the fruit has been ripening these past few weeks, I always check for deep purple among the red berries and there seemed to be quite a few ripe berries since I hadn't picked in about three days there beside the driveway. Since it has been warm this week, I waited until about 7:30.  After making a good sized dent into the berries by the driveway, I walked down to the front of our property and checked those bushes...most of them were drying up but there were a few big berries to get easily along the side of the road.  It has been a successful first berry season for us.  I think including the pies I made, we will have picked about twelve or thirteen quarts and most of those have been prepared and frozen for another day.  By far this has been our best fruit harvest.  We got a few cherries, picked about a basket full of plums and I'm not sure about apples this year.

I attended a memorial service on Thursday.  A friend in my Sunday School Class lost her husband a couple of weeks ago and had to wait until "the Texans" could come for the service.  Most of his family lives around the Houston area.  It was a very simple service, without pomp and circumstance. The family was already sitting at the front of the church.  The service was at 5:00, Many came in their work clothes to pay their respects...I'm not talking about suit and ties.  Pastor Jeff preached a wonderful service and the son in law gave one of the eulogies. As he spoke his two young children wanted to be on the stage with him and after he had finished the young man of probably six asked his father if he could say something about his grandpa...  This little boy took the microphone and said, 'he was very kind.'  That my friends is a powerful statement and a legacy that most any would want said of them, they were very kind.  Last August as I spent the month here resting and looking at houses, I was astonished and mesmerized by the kindness of God.  This past year has been seeing the kindness of God shown through others.  I was texting with a Houston friend this week and I expressed the difference I'm seeing in what is chaff and what is really important in the Body of Christ simply from attending a smaller church.  She expressed the same thing as she and her husband help a smaller church for the month of July with teaching and music. For those of us who attend or attended a 'mega' church, we know these things deep down but because of size, it's something that we only recognize from time to time with those we do life with sans fog machines and all the bells and whistles.  I like fog machines and bells and whistles but it has been good for this soul to return to a simple style and a basic faith and trust in God. After the service I asked my friend and SS teacher if this was basically how most funerals are done in the area...she said yes, simple and to the point.  I love that!

Again, the kindness of God in being able to get to a place where I needed to be both physically and spiritually. The beauty of God's creation, well except maybe for the squirrel out back, ok, the squirrel too, speaks to the depth of my being.  After such a great study of Genesis in CBS a couple of years back, the verses about time and seasons are becoming more real as I can actually see that take place. I can see this especially with the fruit seasons so far and August 1st, apples from orchards around the area will be ready for the picking and the selling.  That will bring in September, when the temps really change unlike in Houston.  I do know this, even here with less humidity and feels like temps, the heat affects me.  Doesn't zap me of everything like Houston, but it does keep my activities curtailed, outdoor ones.  Like picking blackberries...I wish I had the strength and stamina to tolerate it but even then, we are blessed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I Still Love the Nord and Hearing Lisa P Sing I Love the Lord

It is a quiet Friday morning and I might have slept a little longer but Buddy still hasn't adjusted time-wise that we rarely do early mornings around here.  Now that she has me up and she has had her treats, she has gone back upstairs to begin her first morning nap.  The squirrel is back and the chili powder doesn't even seem to phase it.

This week an event that in years past I have been all over is early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I must admit I haven't been all that involved with it for the past few years, not taking advantage of early access but I did drop in to see what the fuss was all about once it started for the general public.  Don't get me wrong, I still be loving the Nord but the sway of being "in" on the early access passed long ago.  I did go and look at a few things online yesterday but instead of clothes, I was looking at towels, home stuff and comfortable shoes.  Stylish comfortable shoes but the emphasis is on comfort.  I think too, it was more fun looking through the catalog with Lisa P and picking out things that would look good on other friends and talking about what we would buy if money was no object.  Lisa P and I spent an entire flight to Chicago doing just that one time.

Ah, my good friend Lisa P.  I don't remember how we officially met, but she was singing with the choir time to time and we would talk.  We both love Kirk Franklin and around the time Revolution was a popular song.  I would come up to her and say in my best "white" voice, "I would love to experience this Revolution (God's Word and power), so how might I procure a Revolution?"  Peggy and I backed her up once on Shackles, that's where we got to know one other officially, and of course Peggy and I were not there for our voices but for our 'mad' moves and choreography.  Lisa was worried I wasn't getting it but I assured her not to worry, when it was performance would be just fine.  (I'm not a good practice person) We had a blast with her and I have always admired her willingness to do fun things with the less talented, that would be Peggy and me.  When someone has a voice like hers, many times they tend to stay on the serious side of music...  Anyway, I have been thinking about her this week not just because she is going to sing at church when she visits in October but ten years ago this week our friendship was cemented together, for the spiritual reference, our hearts were knit together.  Ten years ago I thought I was going to have female surgery to give me a better quality of life.  I was driving home from the Doctor appointment when my cell phone rang.  It was the Doctor's office, it was the Dr.  He had just looked at the ultrasound and he saw a tumor, a big tumor.  He said he wouldn't know if it was cancer until surgery and that he was scheduling an oncologist to be there for the surgery.  They called back again before I could get home and rescheduled surgery for July 5th.  I was driving home in Houston five o'clock traffic in a daze.  Roy was in meetings and I could not get a hold of him.  In the span of thirty minutes surgery had gone from quality of life to this could be saving your life.  Surgery was successful and the tumor was not cancerous.  Right before I was to check out of the hospital, the Dr came in to see me before releasing me.  He sat on the edge of the bed and told me he had rescheduled my surgery for the fifth because of the oncologist's schedule.  In his experience this always turned out to be cancer was shocked when it wasn't.  I shared with him about God and Jesus and the prayers of many who had covered him and me.  In that extra long time, a month of waiting, I felt like God was healing me...while I waited.

I was away from the office for six weeks while I recovered. Our computer went out right before surgery, so I was really out of contact with the daily at work and could truly rest.  Every morning, Lisa P and I would talk on the phone.  Our rally cry at the time was new mercies, new mercies, new mercies.  I was reading a book called New was fiction and not even Christian fiction...which as I have said many times before is an oxymoron but loved that the main character in the book knew God's mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.  Her friendship was such an extraordinary gift for that time and her friendship is the gift that keeps on giving because I feel the same way today, an extraordinary gift...Lisa P.  We have loved life and the Lord and yes the Nord together for many years.  We love TCM...we love talking about the movie The Bad Seed and Gone With the Wind.  We have walked together on some tough roads but laughed, prayed and cried while walking together.  Lisa P, Peggy, Dena and I celebrated my last day of being 49 with a day at the Nord SPA and makeovers and dinner at Lupe's.  It is one of my favorite days of my life.  Dena, Lisa P and I scarfed back some beignets in New Orleans.  When Lisa P sang with Women of Faith, I waited in anticipation for the phone call on Friday afternoons when she sang Ain't No Mountain High Enough with Sandi Patty.

One of our favorite discussions from The Bad Seed is how many times Christine says to Rhoda, the bad seed, or friend Monica, we must learn to accept these things.  I said that several times to someone this week and every time I said it, I was laughing on the inside thinking of our discussions.

To end this post today, here is Whitney singing one of my favorite songs and if the Lord tarries and Lisa P is around do to so, I want her to sing  this song at my funeral.  But while on this earth, I love hearing her sing this song and many others....  I love you friend, my friend Lisa P.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Land That I Love

This evening I was minding my own business, putting some stuff up and I got to thinking about the small desk in our living room.  And I got to thinking about how much better it would be to have this small desk, not against the wall but floating it facing into the room and I hate to admit it but while I am sitting here writing this I am thinking how much better it would be to switch out desks with an upstairs bedroom desk.  It is shorter and has a prettier back to it cause when a desk is up against the wall, who cares...  You go to floating a desk, it had better look nice.  You see I think all this started when I moved the swing from the backyard earlier today over to the side of the driveway.  Granted it doesn't have the best view from their but my goodness a front porch with a view and a backyard with so much beauty, surely the swing could be just ok.  So as awkward as it was, I moved it to its new temporary home.  Might be temporary...not too sure yet.  So back to the desk, yes I have turned it facing into the room and this is much better.  I can watch birds and Buddy when she spies on me from the staircase.  This should stop those surprise attacks.  Truthfully, she hasn't done that YET but I try to stay one step ahead of her.  It is too late to exchange desks and it will be a huge hassle but that might not stop me tomorrow.

Today Vivian and I went to eat lunch at The Stony Knob in Weaverville.  I have been thinking about their lunches of late and so when Vivian asked, where would you like to go, we went there.  I had the best Blu Cheese Wedge Salad and steak.  Yum!  After we ate we headed out toward Reems Creek and the surrounding areas. We made our way back toward home but took a few side trips on some of the most beautiful back roads in God's country.  Vistas beyond compare, homes built in the 1800's, as well as churches, barns, old trucks...I mean we were on the roads that American Pickers might be on.  I love these rides as Vivian tells me the history of the place or where she played as a child or the stores they went to back in the day...of course the history comes between our riveting conversations.  One moment you are in civilization and around the next curve you might question whether you are hearing banjos in the background.  Today's trips were even more fabulous as we toured the country side in style, in her new car...BMW.  It rides like a dream, so comfortable.  So when we want to feel like country girls, we can hit the roads in my new truck and when we are feeling very ta da...her car.

I did this evening what I always do after some kind of crisis that has to do with electricity.  I overreact.  So off to Lowe's I got to lay in a few su-pplies for the summer ahead.  First the storage of water for bathroom usage, five gallon gasoline plastic container for water not gasoline.  Then I bought more batteries.  I looked for some portable fans but didn't find any.  I may or may not have to go to WalMart tomorrow and see what I can find.  I already have bought a million flashlights, so we are good to go there.  I also picked up some storage containers for all the letters for the church message box I bought yesterday.

Well, it is now Thursday morning.  The electricity stayed on all night and for this I am thankful.  This morning I awoke around 5:15 and prayed once again for Vivian and her surgery this morning.  Then I fell back to sleep.  Now I am easing into the day and will do things around here until I attend a funeral later on in the day.

Driving around the countryside yesterday reminded me of Lee Smith novels.  I most of them a long time ago and her stories of Appalachia helped me fall in love with this place.  Yesterday morning I saw something that reinforced that love, I looked out the bathroom window and noticed this lovely cascade of red coming from the vines on the was then I realized it was cardinals flying out of the verdant vine and onto the red bud tree.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  I have noticed more cardinals around the back and most of them look to be young adults.  My favorite is when a cardinal and an indigo bunting sit together at the bird feeder.  Truly all American with the red, white and blue.

  After posting a picture of a flower in our backyard, I found out that we have a mallow hibiscus and from the descriptions from others who thought it was a morning glory, I now know I have morning glories on the other side of the yard.  Since the first of May I have enjoyed the unfolding of a different flower every few weeks.  I am easily entertained but I love how Kate, previous owner, landscaped.

While Buddy is having her first morning nap, it is time for me to get a couple of things done.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dark Nights and Early Lights

It was a dark and stormy actually it was just a dark night...but not a dark night of the soul. Really it was just a dark night from 10:30-midnight.  Why?  Because the power went out in this area. Thankfully, I had not put up the flashlights which they really need to be up but you know how it is, in a panic when you're looking for something you've put up and can't find. At the same time you are chastising yourself for putting them up when you did because now....anyway, that didn't happen because I knew I had a flashlight in the nightstand and lined up in a row in front of the fireplace. What I did need to look for was my little battery operated fan.  I found one, wouldn't work, found batteries, still wouldn't work, but then I remembered my tiny mini fan downstairs and the one I keep in the car.  So after a bit of frantic searching and sweating, I was able to cool off.  I then had time to look out the windows again and take in the pitch black skies and surroundings.  Dang!  No wonder people have lights on all be dark out there.  I laid down and tried to keep cool and my heart in rhythm.  About midnight I was awakened from my dozing with the return of light and most importantly air conditioning.  So now, note to self...keep things charged up and maybe keep some water stored somewhere in a big container cause here, out in the country, on a septic and well system...if the electricity goes out, that means the water goes out.  I will not delve into any more details on that.

I started a blog post on Monday and worked on it a bit late in the afternoon, still not finished with it.  I then read Beth's blog and some of the things she wrote about I had touched on in my blog post.  So that people wouldn't think I took something from her blog and made it mine, I have left it in the draft file.  I know like three people read my blog on a good day, so it's not like I think this blog is in anyway a comparison with the LP Blog...  Then these past few days have been interesting with some conversations that I cannot and will not write about blog-wise, at least not right now.  Maybe I should submit an outline for a mystery show or for a Lifetime movie...only because of the drama, not because of anything else that Lifetime likes to produce movies about.

So, I had this hair appointment yesterday morning.  I went a little early to grab a delicious breakfast from Corner Kitchen.  Then went to the salon and they didn't have me in their system.  And, Adriana was on a cruise.  We were able to find an appointment next Friday for my haircut and I did get a bang trim not to be a complete shaggy dog for a week and a half.  The receptionist commented to me how refreshing it was for reasonableness I approached this when an appointment had been botched.  Only Jesus...only Jesus and because I had just read about being Christ-like in places where Jesus isn't really welcomed.  Very trendy...very hip...has vibe salon and yes, I know, I do not wear a trendy cut or style but I have hopes that one day I will actually be able to do my hair just like the stylist does.  It will just be another opportunity to have, oh let's see brunch, at Corner Kitchen.

With some extra time I made a return visit to the Screened Porch.  Love that antique shop.  Their booths are filled with stuff I love, anything metal and rusty. up-purposed things, and lots of unusual wooden boxes.  I am a simple antique lover.  There was a unique cart that I almost bought, maybe as a small island in the kitchen and I kind of regret not getting it but I did come home with an extraordinary piece; a message board out of an old church, complete with letters.  It is wooden with a glass front.  The booth owner was there restocking and he made me a deal that I could not refuse.  So last night, before darkness fell, I began sorting out my A, B, C's and numbers hoping that an excited five year old might appear who wanted extra work on learning their letters and numbers.  I didn't finish the there is still time for that five year old to help. There may have been a few other items that also came home with me but I showed really good restraint on a red ladder.  I should have bought the cart.

On Monday evening I created a mini stampede of eight calfs.  It was quite extraordinary from such a mundane task of bringing the garbage can back up the hill to the garage.  The cows were close by the fence, we had a lovely conversation while I picked blackberries.  The bottom of the receptacle scraped the road with a loud sound and that's when I heard the thundering hooves of little cows running across the pasture...I could not help it but I yelled out a loud Ye-Haw!!!  They ran faster but the mama cows didn't miss a beat, they just kept on chewing their cud.  I have always wanted to use that phrase in a not really.  Later that evening when I glanced out the window all the little ones were together, yes including the white faced brown calf who I feared had died, and I imagined them recounting to one another the great scary sound they had escaped.  Just wait til they hear me sing...every cow will be running.  My singing scared the ground hog from coming back.

Buddy is adjusting just fine to country life.  She seems to enjoy the numerous places for nap, especially in those little patches of fun.

The next few weeks will be exciting weeks because several are coming to visit here at The Ander House.  Rebecca R and friend next week, Emily the week after that and the Bolin's toward the end of July.   We have some October times booked and Thanksgiving is full too.  I hope to have repeats of these visitors next year.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunday Morning Vesper

Guess I will take down the flag banners later today.  Last night I sat on the porch and watched fireworks around the area and it was a pretty good show.  As the evening went on unlike in Rancho de Five the fireworks stopped and quiet was in the land.

I think the pace and activity of the past few weeks has caught up with me this morning.  I overslept and decided instead of rushing around to get ready for church that I would take the morning to rest and reflect.  We did so much this week and most everything we had on our "must to do" list got taken care of.  Roy and I approach many things alike and there are still those things we approach differently.  I ease into the day, Roy eases into the night.  That means we didn't get started as early as Roy would have liked and we didn't work as long into the evening as I would have liked, yet we accomplished a lot.  One of the main things we did was order a truck.  Yep, instead of getting another Sequoia we are getting a Tundra.  When we had difficulties with getting the swing home from Lowe's and Roy taking an afternoon to put it together, we started thinking truck.  Except I am used to the comfort of Sequisha, so we had to demo a truck before making the final decision.  At the dealership, they gave us a Tundra to try out.  Man, it was so high off the ground and with us both being tall and struggling with the ascent, we could not help but think of our shorter friends who would need a ladder but we found out after we brought back the truck, it had bigger tires and was jacked up about three inches on top of that.  Regular Tundras are about the same height as Sequoias.  We liked how it rode and the extra roominess of the back seat.  So, we ordered a black tundra with black interior.  Funny, we knew we needed to make a decision but we had plenty of time and we did this just like we did the house...sooner than we expected.  We still need to decide if we will trade in the Camry or if we will sell it on our own.  This dealership here offers great after care service; they extend the coverage by two years and you get free oil changes for the duration of owning the vehicle.  They will also give you a loaner car so you don't have to sit around in the waiting room.  I can get all my errands done in south Asheville.

Buddy has adjusted really well into her new home.  She has already scouted out hiding places and she has favorite places where she likes to nap.  Having furniture here she is familiar with and with our bedroom set up almost like the one in Rancho de Five, she has settled into life.  She doesn't get as many treats here but since she has gained a little weight, she could cut down on her treat intake.

The other night when I spent about two hours picking blackberries paid off.  I sorted and cleaned them, topped them with sugar and let them do what they do...juice up.  Then I used Peggy's tried and true blackberry cobbler recipe and made two blackberry pies.  Vivian and Bill came over to share in the goodness that is the berry.  The pies turned out well and Roy finished off the first pie yesterday for breakfast.  It is true what Vivian says, that the wild blackberries have a better flavor and the seeds are smaller.  Many of these berries were about the size of raspberries.  Picking time is winding down.  I went out and picked a few more berries last night but the vines and berries are beginning to dry up. Maybe we will get a few more from the ones right by the driveway but I think the bugs and birds have taken the berries on the front part of our property as their own.  The ones I have in the refrigerator are going to be frozen but I need to get some more cookie sheets to do that.  On my list of things to do Monday.

DC, Bob and Howard did a fabulous job installing ceiling fans and changing the outside lights into security lights.  It is nice having friends from church doing the work.  Roy, under the watchful tutelage of DC cleaned out the water filter on our well. He learned that our well doesn't have a lot of sediment in it, so we won't have as much dirt to clean out.  That is nice to know.

We also tackled the garage, as in organization, but I think we ended up more like flag than tackle.  We got several of the large items puts away and the enamel/porcelain table put into place on the porch.  I ordered red side chairs for it last night.  We also made another run to the dump with a bunch of big cardboard boxes.  I was happy to find what I had been looking for daily at the back of the garage a large burlap container that said READ on it.  It was folded up and hidden.  We still haven't found a couple of other things which I really do think went the way of the local movers.

Buddy has stirred from slumber and made it all the way to the landing where is has found a huge spot of sunlight.  I think she is really going to like living here.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday Already?

Is it Thursday already?  Where has the week gone?  As the old maxim declares, time flies when you are having fun and I am having fun.  Buddy and Roy are both still slumbering although I think Buddy is sleeping under the bed.  Roy has chosen the more conventional sleeping in bed.  I could sleep longer but stuff on me starts hurting, so I get up.  Roy is so organized that he gets the coffee ready the night before so I come downstairs and have coffee immediately.

Yesterday DC came over to look at our electrical needs.  He will be back on Friday morning.  After he left we hit the road driving first to the Tri Cities airport between Johnson City and Bristol.  Roy had been doing some research on flights and with only a plane change in Atlanta, said so easily by she who will not be making that change, anyway...there is a direct flight from Atlanta.  It takes the same amount of time by going either way to Greenville/Spartanburg or to Tri Cities.  The drive is beautiful and the roads are in better condition.  It doesn't seem as hectic either.  Of course this will not be a viable use during cold months but glad to have an additional option.

After we found the airport we went back to Johnson City where we first stopped at Best Buy.  We think that is the friendliest Best Buy we've ever been to, so that is why we returned to get a printer and a speaker for downstairs music.  If there is a Barnes and Noble near, it is a must stop if there is time and we had time.  Johnson City has an Academy now and we stopped there for socks and a larger cooler.  Being late lunch time, we hopped on over to Carabba's for a little taste of Houston brand Italian food.  Roy wanted to see the Amish store, so we took back roads from JC to it.  I think Roy was getting a little nervous because we left "civilization" and were out in the country.  Oh my, it is a beautiful drive with lots of curves and winding roads.  I could tell he thought Google Girl had lost her way but since I have been there all of two times, I knew that it was in the middle of no-where.  Once we got to the store he had a blast!  Roy is so disciplined in what he eats but made an exception yesterday.  I was shocked when he bought huge cinnamon rolls.  I could see it was getting darker with storm clouds and suggested we better leave.  We made additional stops at a produce stand and at a BP station to get ice.

We stopped in Erwin to top off the tank with cheap TN gasoline and found ourselves on the road in a huge thunderstorm.  There were times I could not see three feet ahead of me because the rain was so fierce and I was ever cognizant that we were in high mountains with just a guard rail for protection. The road is a steep grade anyway so you can't really go fast and for this I was thankful.  We all seemed to know slower was better.  It rained on us almost the whole way home and only grew lighter the closer we were to home.  For this I am very thankful.  Weather patterns are different here from Texas, and I haven't quite mastered knowing which way the rain comes other than out of the sky.

Today we will make a Lowe's run and stop in at the Toyota dealership.  We thought of getting an early start...uh that thought was lovely but isn't going to happen.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When A Door Closes Have A Friend Phone Your Husband While You Throw Things At A Window

I awoke this morning with sore knees and feet.  My fingernails are purple (I was wearing gloves) and my arms look like I spent the evening cutting myself but is all from two hours of blackberry picking last night.  I didn't start out with the thought of two hours, it just turned out that way.  By the end of picking time I had almost a full bucket of berries.  Roy joined in for the last thirty minutes and made a significant contribution.  The bushes were purple unto harvest but the laborers were two.  At the halfway point of picking Roy brought a lawn chair down to me.  It must have been a comical sight to those passing by in cars of an old lady, with a wooden cane, sitting in a lawn chair picking blackberries.  The cane serves three purposes, snake stick, vine stick and balance stick.  When we finished I began the tedious task of getting rid of stems and leaves from the berries.  Today seems like a good day to make cobbler.  Well, later today because we are going to Johnson City in just a bit.

Because Peggy and I are the consummate cooks, I texted her because I could not remember her recipe for cobbler.    She told me to call her and we got caught up on her adventures while she looked for her recipe.  She found it and in the midst of the conversation the topic of the star of Bethlehem came up because she could see if from her front porch and she encouraged me to go outside and see it.  Earlier in the evening I had done just that but the humongous trees around us hindered any view of it. So I gave it another try and because Buddy is here, my mind was on closing the door so she couldn't get out, only I closed the front door.  It was unlocked but it is a difficult door to open from the fully closed position.  Peggy volunteered to call Roy while I knocked on the door.  Now I was dubious that Roy would even respond to all the noise because the bonus room is at a distance and the TV was probably drowning out the sound of knocking.  So I began beating on the door both close fisted and open handed.  I was beginning to think Roy didn't have his phone with him because it seemed like forever heavy handed tapping, beating on the door...thus says the raven...beat some more.  I had decided to go out on the driveway to start throwing things at the window to see if I could get fair Juliet...I mean Roy's attention.  So in the dark, without any shoes on, I began going down the narrow front porch stairs, when Roy opened the front door.  Needless to say...there was let's see, discussion about hearing the pounding on the door and him thinking I was hanging a picture.  Uh yes, when hanging a picture one makes a continuous banging noise with no break....Peggy had gotten a hold of him but her first call had gone to voice mail.  He said why did you keep knocking if you knew Peggy was going to call...I submit exhibit A, you let her first call go to voice mail.

The swing thing turned out differently too.  We went to pick it up and the frame would not fit in Sequisha.  I suggested we disassemble the swing to a point where it would fit in thus saving Roy from having to put the whole thing together.  The two Lowe's guys and Roy voted no, so they came back with an unassembled swing in a box.  Roy explained that the Lowe's guys said it was easy to put together and I reminded him that he thinks Excel spread sheets are is always easy if it is something you are good at.  We are not assemble it type of people.  Roy assured me that he could do it, so we went for lunch at the Mexican restaurant next to Ace Hardware because Roy needed to get a wrench for assembly.  It is a good thing that he bought a whole set of wrenches because the Lowe's easy to assemble guy told him the wrong size wrench that needed to be used.  So Roy spent the greater part of the afternoon putting together the swing...the easy to assemble swing.  I helped him some when the easy to assemble screw did not want to fasten to the easy to assemble construction of the swing itself.  He finished the swing while I was picking blackberries.  It was wonderful to return back to the top of the hill and find the swing sitting in the backyard just waiting for someone to park their rear end on it.  I love it and I love Roy for his patience and persevere-ness to put it together.  One of the neat things about the swing are the little book bags that hang from the sides.  A great place to put a water bottle or Diet Coke along with magazines and books.

I better stop easing into the morning and start getting ready.  One thing we are going to buy today is a printer and it will be easy for Roy cause he is good at that kind of assembling.  Maybe I will try out the book bag on the swing while he works on the printer.