Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Battling Ants and Being Social

Wednesday evening, you came so fast. But that is to be expected when one has been more social of late. Yet, even being social I have had to keep at war with the weeds and tonight the ants were swarming on part of the driveway. Earlier this morning the bees were doing the same thing. I am trying to find out if it means anything but so far....nothing. So while those ants were out I pulled out some ant poison and sprinkled away. Then I found the ant spray and doused their pathways across the driveway. We haven't had ants like we did last year but there are a whole bunch now.

Yesterday Brenda and I took a little trip to the Ooak Gallery in Micaville. She had never been there and we both enjoyed shopping. They have a little bit of everything from artists around the area and that includes jewelry, pottery, paintings, photographs, yarn, glass and quilts and a whole bunch more. We went to the square in Burnsville and had lunch at a great place whose name escapes me right now. We went across the way to Menagerie and then to the new used bookstore across the way. Brenda was filling me in on some other places around there but was sad to see one of her very favorite antique stores, which was in a huge building, had closed. We drover over to Mars Hill so she could show me where Fiddlesticks is located, because I have never been able to find it, and then we went on over to Marshall because she hadn't been to the hardware store or Penlands. We also made a quick stop into the Marshall Junk Shop and we both left there with somethings that needed to come home with us. Such a fun day! Such a hot day! I'm afraid I was wimping out a tad but an air conditioned truck brought me back to life.

Today, Vivian and I went to The Blue Rooster. I was so happy to introduce her to a restaurant that she hadn't been to. She liked it! And we split the coconut cake for dessert and oh my was so good. We went over to Smokey Mountain Roasters and got coffee, Roy and I like flavored coffee so I wanted to get something really good for us and then have some great coffee, unflavored, here for Dena when she visits. The last few times I have been in Waynesville I have noticed a new shop that has opened down the way from the main area. We stopped in and for sure it is going on the itinerary for repeat trips. We had thought about a produce market stop but the one we found on the backroads of Waynesville was a bit sketchy. But the scenary was beautiful as always. We went on some of my favorite roads today and we also went on one I hadn't been on before.

I came home and took a twenty minute nap and felt refreshed. Refreshed enough to wage war on ants and water the trees.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pulled In and A Heart Captured

This past weekend I kept a close eye on Buddy. I could tell on Friday she wasn't feeling good but it didn't concern me too much because we all have those days every once in a while. On Saturday she seemed a little more out of it and there was a lack of evidence in her litter box that she might be having some problems. Even while she didn't feel good her appetite was good and she would play when I engaged her with chasing a ribbon. This new food she eats was supposed to take care of her problem. By Sunday evening I vacillated between Buddy's problems as something minor and something major and would call the vet office first thing when they opened on Monday morning.

Monday morning came too quickly and I got up and checked the litter box. Eureka! Evidence! I still called the vet's because Buddy seemed like she was still bothered by something. They had a 12:40 appointment open, so that was good news. Now the process of getting the chill pill down Buddy presented itself. I had learned a few things from the last experience. So I put this knowledge into place. It was difficult but the buttered pill went down her throat. She did not fight me like she would have if she was in the vet office. No biting or scratching, just unhappiness. The pill kicks in and she chooses the most awkward place to sleep. So I go about the rest of the morning getting everything in place to be able to get her into the crate and into the truck for the appointment and act like everything is normal.

Just as we are about to leave the heavens open and the rain comes pouring down. It was a hard fast rain and I was surprised once I pulled out onto the main road just how much rain had fallen in a short time and the effects of it happening so quickly. I have driven in hard rain around here but never around the house. I saw how the water drains and where a few iffy spots might be. The rain continued all the way to the vet's office but by the time we were finished with our appointment, the rain was over and the roads nearly dry as we drove back home. Again, the evaporation rate is unbelievable here.

So poor Buddy...she needed to be...let's see, how shall I say it...expressed and it was a good thing we caught the problem when we did because the right side would soon abscess if no expression had taken place. She also got a steroid injection in the spot under her tail where she had licked away fur. Before leaving I got another prescription for her chill pills. She was rather calm going home and since we got back she has spent the majority of her time sleeping and I must admit, I took a short nap too.

Since it rained, I don't have to water the trees tonight. I have laundry to do and other things as well but it has been good to relax this afternoon because Buddy and her well being had me on edge all weekend. You know the day will come when it won't be something minor and I was mentally preparing for that what if when I kind of knew it wouldn't be too serious. These pets take us in and capture our hearts. This weekend she was rather clingy and wanted to sit on my lap much more than usual.

The weather alert just went off on my phone and we should have rain in a little bit. Thankful I don't have to get out in it. Now to fix my supper.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Fine Story...No A Great Story

As a long time reader and collector of Southern fiction I have come to appreciate sense of place, redemption of many types, prodigal son or daughter returns from big city to find what they have always wanted in the place where they began and odd, eccentric characters that are the odd duck in a family of conformists or just family members that are strange and odd. We all have those kinds of family members or at the very least, we are the strange and odd relative. It is very easy and usually the familiar way of making fun of them and the "qualities" we don't quite understand. Or maybe it is difficult to find something redemptive in who they are and it takes time and patience to search those qualities out.

There's not a lot of compassion in the let's laugh at them. Yesterday, I got behind just this kind of family as I was going into the grocery store. I love this place but there are a few things here I don't understand. The lack of lane space to merge onto a freeway and the entrances to stores are so small.The entrance and exits of grocery stores here are so compact. There is nary a bit of room to get your cart, turn it around, and try to get in the store with others trying to do the same. At the same time that same amount of people are trying to get out of the store and then there are those who just stop...stop in their tracks and stare...probably thinking of getting a Starbucks or what size cart do they need. There is so many obstacles to maneuver once you get inside, that causes limited access which is probably by plan because the organic veggies and this week's fruit specials are there to greet and tempt you.

This is where I found myself yesterday in a crowd and behind a family that had more members strange and odd than what I would think of as normal. And they were slow, they debated over grocery carts. The woman in charge of the family had her hands full. Either the two men that took the most attention were brothers or uncles of the lady. The men were identical twins and I'm guessing in their 70's but life can be rough here and age a person beyond their years. They both wore jean shorts with suspenders, black socks dress socks with tennis shoes and t-shirts. Both men looked to have been outdoors a lot because the chigger bites on their legs were numerous and recently scratched for relief. The son of the lady in charge looked to be 12 or so and there were two girls along with them, one was probably a sister to the son and the other older girl might have been a helper for the two brothers. Slow and frantic are not my best patient times. Added to the mix there at the front door were two women visiting, one finished shopping and the other one fixing was claustrophobic standing there, in the ready position with my cart and no where to go and the only thing to do was wait. I watched the lady in charge help everyone with selections in the bakery. You see I had an opportunity to break free and get to the produce area but dang it, I forgot I wanted nectarines and had to decide if I was willing to get behind the family again for some fruit I love. I made the move and yes, once again thwarted in easement through the store. There in the bakery, those two brothers were so animated and finally made the choice of a huge container of croissants, like you would purchase for a party. One of the twin boys took out a change purse and began counting coins to see if they had enough money but the lady in charge told them to put up the change purse and continue shopping. I kind of lost track of them because they were buying real food whereas I am there purchasing food that looks like I am in college. Mostly snacky but there was some real meal deals strewn among the Triscuits and chips. We met up again on the Coke aisle and there was equal excitement just like the croissants in being able to choose the kind of Coke they wanted which turned out to be a Pepsi product. For that lady, on that day, there wasn't a quick trip to the grocery store for her. She was patient and funny but didn't put up with back talk and shenanigans. Lots of trying to put junk in the cart and she sent them right back to put it up. Reminded me of an experience after my ablation. It was the day after surgery and Roy and I were stopping at the grocery store. It had been several years of not having any kind of energy for anything but the task at hand but now I was feeling pretty dang good and the tremendous loss of water weight made me footloose and fancy free. Roy is trying to get the groceries through the checkout and we were close to the Easter candy. I kept bringing things to the cart and Roy kept sending me back to put the candy up. A similar scene was happening in the next lane and a woman with three children dealt with the same dilemma and like Roy she was sending kids back to the Easter candy aisle to return product. Roy looked over at her and said I feel your pain yet he was inwardly rejoicing because I hadn't had that kind of energy or interest for several years.

I should have gone up to that lady when she and the entourage were checking out and just told her she was doing a fine job, no a great job. Encouragement can lift a spirit and give you a little more energy for the task at hand. It is really so simple and so kind.

So that's it.  I'm glad for the change of heart and I'm  glad I chose not to present this story in anything but an honoring way because y' would have been a fine story but now it is a great story.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Just Give Me The Countryside

Last night before going to bed I went into the front bedroom just to take a look or maybe just to take in the view. The isolated barn light in the pasture on the other side of the road, the house down the road and across the way that must have a huge electric bill with all the lights around their property that stay on all night long, really all day long as well. I turned my attention to the sky and in the tall tree tops down the road there was a brilliant redish light coming out from the trees. At first I didn't think too much about it after living in a city for years with tall buildings but I realized, uh, you are not in a city but out in the country. That is not a tall building but rather it was the strawberry moon and as I stood there for a few minutes, the moon rose above the tree tops and it was beautiful to behold. I tried to capture the moment but distance and an iPhone couldn't capture the scene. So I went to sleep with the vision of the moon coming over the top of the trees in our little area of immense beauty.

The day called me to other things and so now it is Friday. We welcomed the rain last night, well mainly the plants and trees welcomed the rain. I slept right through it and by the looks of a pottery dish outside we received a little more rain than I thought we would. The red and yellows mixed in with the green on radar couldn't hold together going over the mountains, so it looks like we didn't get the storm part of the rain.

I am recovering from a cold and it has almost taken a week to get past the worst of it. It feels good to breathe again without using my mouth for the main intake of air. Several days this week I forced myself out of the house to take care of much needed errands. Today, I made a grocery store run and it wasn't a force operation, mainly an out of need and I realized when I got home I forgot a couple of items. Thankfully, there was still store made guacamole available. Today it felt like the day before Christmas in the store. It was so crowded and there were clerks restocking something in almost every aisle. The suits seemed to be more involved with people shopping.

After getting everything put away, I went to Turkey Creek for lunch. Love their hamburgers. I am rereading Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. His style and narrative is such a pleasure to read. So I read my book and ate my lunch in the calm before the storm. Tonight is all you can eat fish and shrimp night. Always a huge crowd.

Tonight I watched the cows across the road a bit before watching Witness for the Prosecution on TCM. All the calfs seemed to be having a fun time of gathering and running. The herd dynamics are interesting to watch and figure out. At first it looked to be a lot of rough housing but then as the group picking up more members as they ran, went toward a very young calf near its mother. I thought these cows are up to no good but it looked like they were just welcoming the baby to the herd. I hope that is what they were doing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

This morning I am writing in a haze due to a restless night and lack of sleep. I tried, I did everything that normally works but it was to no avail. A restless cat and one with a cold who is in the can't breathe/runny nose stage is not a good mixture. This cold has been going on for just about a week and I am loading up on Vitamin C, elderberry mixture, over the counter remedies and I have got to find the soft Kleenex because the skin around my nose is getting a little raw. Where's my Vicks? Other than feeling less than productive and a bit lethargic at times this cold isn't the kind that wears you out. There are those colds that when you are finally able to take a shower you have to take a nap beforehand to have strength and then afterwards for strength to dry your hair. My goal is to breathe out of both nostrils by the end of the week.

Mike the Mower Man was here yesterday and did a fabulous job clearing the front embankment that had become overgrown with vines and beautiful flowering weeds. Also a lot of baby trees and how the seed got there and the area so compacted was a thing to behold. Last night I was out on the driveway looking to see how the weed war is going along the side of the driveway. Slow and steady but some progress being made. My neighbor stopped to visit with me for a bit. She's been busy and also recovering from dental surgery. We were talking about the gravel road behind me and how the new neighbors who won't live here for two years, is letting the end of the gravel road grow over the area where Jennifer had a set up to make wood chips and I think they destroyed all their compostable garbage there too. I told Donna about seeing the silhouette of an animal crossing our yard and finding out later from friends that it probably was a bobcat. She said she has seen several around here over the years, or maybe it is just the same one. She and her husband saw one last year crossing the road that runs in front of our houses. She said there are foxes that come down our little neighborhood road too. You can hear coyotes at night sometimes. Ah, just nature. I had also come out to look at what I think are small little eggs broken open after seeing a pic on Facebook on the Appalachian group page of someone asking and showing a picture of some small little eggs they found when they were digging around their garden. Consensus is snake eggs. I did my comparison and the ones by the road didn't look the ones on FB.

It sure looked like we would get rain last night but the mountains of TN into NC did their job of disrupting the storms. I will need to water the trees extra today. I was banking on that rain making it here. Many times I have said and written that the view from our front porch doesn't get old and when there is rain to the south and to the west our view is bathed with filtered light shuttered up next to silver gray skies. The greens of trees and grasses are brilliant in color with the backdrop of filtered light. If I am in the house sitting in one particular chair the view from the front window displays well and nine times out of ten the lure to the porch beckons me and I respond, whosoever will...may the front porch.

Well, I need to go find Buddy and wake her up repeatedly. Yes, I know she hasn't a clue of what I am doing but it would be so nice to get a decent night's rest and sleep tonight. I also think Roy's conversation on end times might have disrupted my sleep patterns as well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Monday Tuesday Catch Up...More Like a Nature Report

Ah the rough and tumble world of squirrels is being played out most mornings in our backyard. Last year it seems like it was the lone squirrel kind of season but this year there is a passel of them rollicking about with one another. Once again underneath the deck seems to be where everything in the wild kingdom comes to pay homage. These squirrels also like the deck, well yes, don't we all, so I have to make sure they do not get too comfortable hanging around on the deck. When we had the cool temps and breeze on Saturday, I had the back door open and could yell at the squirrels at my leisure although I feared they might be smart enough to open up the back screen door.

This morning the little birds have taken over the birdfeeder. I love watching them gather on the feeder that looks like a porch swing. They can get quite the group going and of course it only takes one to upset the feeder thus a swing clearing brawl ensues. But the smart ones go as far as the butterfly bushes, wait the thing out and then return. Three out of four butterfly bushes are in full bloom and the purple glory is great in the backyard. Yesterday, one tree in particular had so many butterflies feasting on all the goodness contained in the blooms. They have also been enjoying the lantana to a lesser degree. When you add the brilliant flashes of red streaking through the air as the cardinals return or leave from their secluded habitat, it makes for great viewing and puts getting things taken care of on the back burner.

Since I didn't care anything about the basketball finals, I turned over to TCM when I got upstairs last night and caught the last thirty minutes of Life With Father. Right on cue Lisa P texted me that she had just come to it late as I had. We had a good time texting through the last part of the movie. We watched Life With Father when I was recovering from surgery. It is one of my favorite old movies. I have the book and need to reread it as it was a great read and story told by Clarence Day Jr, the oldest son. Oh and while looking for a different book I found the Life With Father book. I don't have my bookcases organized like usual.

The grass is being cut on the land above us so we should see a few more bunnies out and about looking for something to eat. I am trying my best to keep the birds and reluctantly the squirrels as well in water. I read somewhere that in the summer, which today is the first day of summer, birds need water more than food. Food is abundant for them right now. I saw a few blackberries along the road that are in the red stage and will soon ripen into the dark blackberry stage of fruit. Birds, bears and snakes will all be happy for the abundant provision.

I now greet you on a Tuesday morning. The birds are in fine voice this morning and the squirrels are tending to the thuggish side of life, fighting amongst themselves and chasing the birds. There are too many of them coming to the feeder so I will have to get out the squirrel resistant feeder later. The porch swing feeder is just so cute.

This cold is lingering too long and I am ready for it be out my house. We are now at the stopped up portion of the cold where I cannot breathe as well as I would like. It's running its course. I am trying to take advantage of the down time by taking care of little things that I just let go. So far so good but as I was working in the front bedroom it became a little too warm even with the fan going. I stopped my work and went to the bonus room, grabbed a cold water and turned on the TV. This is something I rarely do, have the TV on during the day. Of course one of those real life mystery programs got my attention. Little did I know that the episode was a two parter and I was not going to give two hours to find out the end result. Trusty Google came to the rescue and in just a couple of seconds I knew the ending and the solving of the mystery.

Looks like a trip to Lowe's is in order today as well as a stop by the Post Office. I need to go out and see if my latest dousing of vinegar, Epsom Salts and Dawn had any effect on the vines and weeds. The battle is real and constant.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I'm Boring Today

Another thought from these past few days and shopping for men's dress slacks in general. I would like to know why stores believe they need an inordinate amount of size 36x29? Where are these short men and why aren't they buying these pants. That seems to be the most overstocked size in all the brands. These stocky short men must live somewhere so if you are in need of dress pants, this area has a plethora of pants in stock in the 36x29 size.

We are having a bit cooler temps than last week when we had July temps in June. For lunch today I defrosted some pot roast I had made and it was a delicious Saturday afternoon lunch. I had one window box fly off into the yard from the front porch on this gusty day. All the other plants were moved to a safe place on the porch and then they were watered. The zinnias in particular were needing a drink. I refilled the bird baths since evaporation is accelerated with this wind. The new trees were watered as well as all the backyard plants.

The phenomenon of Camp Houston on Facebook has been so wonderful. Peggy and Bill took some pics and posted them on Facebook when they made a side trip to Alto Frio Baptist Encampment. Even though Alto Frio is in the San Antonio Baptist Association, a long time ago when Houston's First Baptist was called First Baptist Houston, they were able to get a week to have camp there. Face it there is nothing as beautiful as Alto Frio near Lakey beside the Frio River around the Houston area. Houston camps tend to be hot, swampy mosquito pits. Almost to a person so many memories of camp, campers, sponsors,  cabin skits, shenanigans, mean deans,  recreation time and skits involving dead fish, chickens and pig heads put on by the staff. This is back in the day when no one was worried about salmonella and ecoli.  Oh yes and we had meaningful Bible study and quiet times. There is talk of a camp reunion and a FB group has been formed. Kids that are now adults are posting such fabulous pictures from the 80's and 90's camp. I was fortunate enough to be a sponsor for several years and camp is where I finally got to meet Peggy. All this time in choir everyone kept telling me you need to meet Peggy. Y'all would be fast friends. She was recouping from major knee surgery and when the summer rolled around and someone could not go to camp as a sponsor, I was asked to step in. Peggy and I finally met at a camp sponsor meeting and as they say, the rest is history.
It's Sunday evening. I'm at home with the last bit of a sore throat that is going into coughing up a lung.I have been taking meds and drinking fluids. I have totally rested except for getting a little bit of trash down to the road. It has been a reading day. Which conversationally makes me boring. Good thing Roy is equally as boring this evening. Roy would talk politics but I rule out those conversations after 5:00. I would talk about watching the Made in America OJ Simpson story but Roy is totally not interested in that at all. ESPN did a great job in having that made showing all different angles to the story.

I was getting desperate for real food not junk stuff so I made a trip to the grocery store this morning for essentials. Thankfully, that didn't take long and I was back home in a jiffy. I think working at VBS might be out for tomorrow as well. How appetizing to have someone hacking a cough near food. Yuck!

Today is Father's Day and the pictures on FB have been really good.

Well, that's it. I told you I was boring.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Back Home

It is so good to be back home. Back to the tumbling squirrels, baby bunnies and birds. It is great to be back in cooler temps. I had a wonderful quick trip to Chattanooga but so happy to be back here. I left on Thursday with a slight sore throat which is either the precursor to a cold or I have done too much and my body is giving me a preliminary warning sign. Sore throat with my immune system is always the first sign of overdoing for me and it has been a while since experiencing this. So, I will take it easy today and see how it goes. The combination of doing a lot with very little sound sleep is not good.

So if people call Atlanta, Hotlanta, someone needs to come up with a name like that for Chattanooga because it can be one hot city. And the funny thing is people seem to be in denial about the heat. When Peggy and I did our girl's trip in 1999, we found that out then and now in 2016, it doesn't seem like that fact has changed. Many stores were under air conditioned as well as understaffed. The appeal just wasn't there to stand in long lines, sweating.

I left Thursday around 10:45 and as always the drive, beautiful. Light traffic and good music kept me company. In fact I arrived at the hotel before check in. My room on the first floor wasn't finished yet so I opted for a room on the second floor. Great A/C, cold and quiet. I headed over to the Hamilton Place Mall starting with a late lunch at Abuelo's. Loved the three salsas and the shrimp tacos. Strengthened for the journey I started out shopping for dress slacks for Roy. Hit pay dirt! Sometimes 36x34 pants are hard to find and I was a tad discouraged at first but I kept at it, going through all the racks and found Roy four pairs of dress slacks. All in gray or blue which is what he needs. I shopped at a few more places in the mall before calling a wrap on that portion and headed over to the shopping area where the Hobby Lobby and Fresh Market are located. Both stores hotter than Hades and both had long lines at the checkout counters. I decided nothing in either store was worth the time in the heat, so I headed back to the hotel but made a quick stop for refreshments at Sonic. I slept so well that night.

Since I wasn't meeting Erin until 11:30, I was able to take my time Friday morning. Grabbed a quick bite to eat around 9:00 at the hotel which was a fabulous stage for people watching. I also know I was probably somebodies fodder for people watching. The nice thing about staying around Ooltewah is it is far from all the touristy things of Chattanooga, Civil War battlefields, Rock City, downtown Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain. When Roy and I first started staying in this area there were a few gas stations, a Cracker Barrel and the Hampton Inn and then built Holiday Inn Express in this vast area of openness and nothing. Not the case today but you're not dealing with fussy kids and addled parents from all the excitement of vacation. Yesterday it was senior adults, a few business people and a group of adults doing volunteer work in the area. The volunteer group became the main attraction at people watching. After breakfast I checked out and went back over to the mall area beginning at Home Goods. This Home Goods is like the one in Katy in that the whole store is Home Goods and not mixed with clothes. I had a good time ambling throughout the store and found a few things to buy. It was in Home Goods, the warm store with no lines, that I began to wonder if I was having a heart attack. I could not stop sweating or perspiring. There was a general lack of energy and when I got back to the truck I wondered if I should call off lunch with Erin...but as I made my way on my list of things to accomplish before lunch Academy reassured me that I was just not used to the intense heat and humidity, coupled with the possibility of my immune system on alert for overdoing, making these shopping trips almost undoable. In Academy they had the A/C cranked up and opened up check out lanes once they realized how long the lines were. I felt great! I was doing fine!

I met Erin for lunch, had a wonderful time and then headed back out to the road for my trip back home. On many trips in the past couple of years I have wavered on doing a little side trip to Mercier Orchards right before you get to Blue Ridge. I always talk myself out of it but this time I did not. They have a great store with fruits, veggies, jams, kitchen goods and a bakery. I got some Georgia peaches and a small container of local strawberries and then I saw the Apple Cider Donuts. Yum! I also got a few fried fruit pies. The people working there are so nice and helpful. I loaded my car and then went back in for a DC for the road. I enjoyed seeing all the white water rafters on the river. So colorful. GPS said I would arrive home about 6:19 so it was my bound duty to beat that estimate and I arrived home at 5:53 pm, thank you very much.

Buddy was at the door to welcome me home but mama had to wee wee like a wild woman, so our greetings took place a minute or so later. She was happy to see me and didn't want to leave my lap which worked out well because Lisa P and I were on the phone for about an hour. I was so tired I would have unloaded the truck today but I had put my suitcase in the back, so I needed to get it out. So this will be an unrushed Saturday. Better go take some more elderberry mixture to help my sore throat. This is feeling like an immune issue. Good thing I have lots here to occupy me like some good books, magazines and a few apple cider donuts for breakfast.

Just got the news that Erin is officially a Registered Nurse! So excited for her and her new adventures ahead. She makes her aunty proud!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I Had Fun Until I Had to Stay....For Housework

We had quite the hard rain last night if only for a brief time. Everything looks refreshed outdoors. Our little apple trees are standing a little taller and displaying a little greener this morning. I don't think in the past year we have experienced an all day rain like you can along the Gulf Coast.

Roy has been talking with the roof guy and since he has been a little behind we have requested our new roof not be installed during July. Wouldn't that be special for guests who are trying to get away from it all just to experience a constant noise from on top of the roof. We are leaning toward a red roof since we are going metal this time. There are a couple of shades of red that we will need to pick from.

It's the morning after the great lunch. Nothing like cinnamon raisin bread with honey butter from the Amish store. I really should be eating yogurt but cinnamon toast won out this morning. I have been the squirrel lady today since we have had four or more squirrels hanging out at the bird feeders. They are eating the leftovers of wet seed and what the birds don't like. Since our new neighbor has decided to only keep up with the gravel road behind our house I believe the woods and undergrowth on down that road is filling up quickly for birds and animals, dare I even think reptiles that are finding covered habitation. Ben, the neighbor I met Saturday evening, told me about the small barn that Jennifer kept in that area before being convinced to tear it down since its only "usefulness" was a home for rats and snakes. Jennifer always liked nature and wanted to keep nature natural but I noticed she didn't want that for her home because trees and debris wasn't anywhere to be found around her house or barns or near her horses. She liked her neighbors to have nature.

The past two days I have seen pictures from places I love on Facebook. Peggy just posted some pics of Alto Frio Baptist Encampment. First Baptist had camp there for years and holds so many good memories for so many, me included. She and Bill made a stop on their way home from a short getaway. So many pics of places looked the same but newer buildings and A/C now dots the landscape. I also saw some landscape pictures of a friend's ranch out toward Brenham on Facebook. How well I remember sitting on the porch early one morning, way back in my early morning days, and when my friend went back inside to get more coffee I sat there on that porch and prayed for Roy, his future...a mentor for work and things like that. God answered that prayer several years later when the very people who owned the ranch were instrumental in helping Roy's future be a bright and fulfilling career. That porch holds a special place in my heart although I have not seen it in years.

Well I am hurrying and scurrying trying to get all the housework done that I put off for two days. I believe it is mocking me. No matter I had fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Blue Rooster and The Too Fast Logging Truck

Coming home from the Waynesville/Lake Junaluska area rain was my companion for most of the way and as I came nearer toward home it slacked off considerably until it was flat out dry. I was on the home stretch on Old Leicester Highway and coming toward me, around a curve going too fast, way too fast, a logging truck full of logs as well as pulling a logging trailer, it too filled with logs. The truck was way over the double yellow line and in my lane. I quickly had to veer off the road and thankfully I was on the part of the road that isn't just a drop off. I had land, terra firma to keep me upright. I was thankful I hadn't over corrected. These logging trucks around these parts drive way too fast for these narrow back roads. This is the first occurrence of anything like this while driving along these narrow roads. It would have been a shame to have died and I feel pretty sure I wouldn't have made it if we had hit head on, since I had just discovered a great restaurant.

I hadn't planned on going over toward Waynesville today but once again I had restless feet and housework wasn't appealing to me at all. I didn't even go to my usual places. That might have been due to all the construction work I saw going on in the lanes that I would need to go home. So, I made a stop at one shop, looked around, didn't see anything that needed to come home with me and then realized I was famished. The place I had wanted to go eat is in the middle of road work and reconstruction. Neither GPS programs were being all that helpful, so I did it the old fashioned way by looking at a map. I took the scenic drive through Waynesville, passing through downtown and then going straight where I normally take a left. I saw all kinds of interesting places and may have found another little place to eat. They serve lunch but mainly and this is very important for me, their main business is picking up dinners to prepare that evening. I went to the website for more info this afternoon and Kanini's will definitely make it into the rotation. They also have frozen meals. This could be a great find! After twists and turns and detours I made it to The Blue Rooster.

The Blue Rooster is one of those places that you would pass by without a thought. I first heard about it when some of the girls at Robin Blu told me how good the mac and cheese was there. I Googled it and saw their full menu. They had me at fried green tomatoes. It is located in a shopping center, next to the UPS store and down the way from the Food Lion. I didn't even know those stores were still around. It is a cute place and they didn't even mind giving me a table instead of asking me to sit at the bar. It was difficult to make a decision but I opted for the five veggie plate so I wouldn't feel guilty about ordering dessert. Oh my, it was all so good from the cornbread bites to the coconut cream pie. I think the collards were about some of the best I had ever had. I had to put some pics and commentary on FB. The key here is eating your main meal at lunch and then just eating a little something in the evening to tide you over, fruit or veggies or crackers and cheese. Then you walk a lot or ride the recumbent bike.

I never tire of the sights and sounds around here. I cannot tell you how good the fragrance of rain mixed with cut hay smells. There are still some flowers blooming and I am in awe of how quickly things grow around here. The gardens along the side of the road that were just planted a few weeks ago are growing and showing veggies. I am happy I was alert enough to side step trouble from a too fast logging truck today and I am so happy to live here, to have good friends here as well as in Texas.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Weekend Recap....

We are experiencing July weather in June. It is supposed to be close to 90 today and that my friends is Houston June weather for sure. I went over to church to support the students. They are hosting a car wash for donations to be able to go to camp and on mission trips. Those kids did a fabulous job. I got to sit in the shade and visit with friends. Now that is some well spent time. Our church experienced some vandalism last night and two people smashed windshields and broke glass on the church's vans. We are saddened by this and praying for the two which the security cameras caught on tape.

Last evening I decided to finish up the vinegar, Epsom Salts, and Dawn dish detergent mix. The household vinegar did a better job than the regular kind, I do know that. It was a little warm and I began to sweat. So wishing I had a bandana around my forehead. Slowly but surely weeds and unwanted vines are beginning to wilt. Those vines are tough! I watered the new trees and the flowers. The squirrels love to lie down in the flowers in the red wagon planter. Guess it is cool and maybe they feel safe among the snap dragons. The butterfly bushes are in full bloom and each day there are more butterflies out back. The birds come and go. Some days the back is filled with all types of song birds. I think we have some blue birds that have built a nest in our guttering at the top of the house.
It's Monday morning. Supposed to be another hot one today. I got too hot at church yesterday morning and left after Sunday School. Also factored in I didn't get very much sleep Saturday night. So I came on home, ate a popsicle and took a short nap and then a long nap. Much needed. I decided to wait till the evening to make a grocery store run and I probably won't do that again because by Sunday night Ingles is sold out of a lot of needful stuff like guacamole.

I was finally able to begin a book that came with such applause and PR. It is a memoir and highly recommended. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was with the book. Maybe because I have no interest whatsoever about hunting and killing and growing up in the deep backwoods of Mississippi after his early childhood was spent in a big city. It didn't take long, a couple of chapters to begin skimming...killed a squirrel, shot a dove and it wasn't completely dead yet, learning how to shoot a dear, meanwhile the author is growing up and those stories were just skim worthy. I did read the last two chapters. The overriding theme of his stories was his father. At first I thought it was that part of his story that I didn't like but his father and mine are two completely different kind of story. The book is on the to be taken to the used bookstore pile. This is the second memoir I have read/partially read that have been so disappointing. I usually love a good memoir read.

Saturday evening as I was spraying the tremendous overgrowth of weeds and trees and whatever else on the embankment I heard someone to the side of me. I turned and it was a young man, not our neighbor Josh but our neighbor Ben. He and his family live next to us on the east side. We had heard how nice a of a family they are but never had the chance to officially meet. He is very nice and we visited for a while. He came to the back to look at his trees that are growing over the top of the fence. He is or will have them trimmed back. He also gave me a little more information about the area, born and raised in Asheville. It was funny how he kept apologizing for his dogs. They are big and they bark. I don't mind it a bit, just white noise like trucks and cars rambling up and down the road.

This is a total ease into the day kind of morning. Once I really get moving I have a couple of things I'd like to take care of here and I might go to Walmart and get more of that vinegar and help get the last of the weeds doused for easy removal.

Friday, June 10, 2016

We All Be Needing A Nap

Buddy has just gone upstairs for her mid morning nap after coming downstairs about twenty minutes ago from her early morning nap. She needed to be refortified with treats and needed a little lap time. I believe she also chased her balloon for a brief second. Thankfully this morning, I am much more rested after getting solid sleep last night. I read an article last night that one should eat watermelon for better sleep at night. This seems counter intuitive because you don't usually eat watermelon in the evening for the obvious reasons. I didn't try out that instruction even though I have watermelon from Whole Foods in the refrigerator.

Talked with my brother last night getting caught up on all his latest. Megan is moving from her apartment into a small house in Memphis and Erin will be in Houston in no time flat. Flat being the operative word after coming from the part of the country that has rolling hills and four seasons. He also got me up to speed with all things-father. You hear these stories and you rejoice for the good and then you aren't surprised by the bad. The good, Doug has had some very encouraging conversations and has heard loving words he never thought would be voiced by our father. Yet, my father's roommate in assisted living is afraid to be in their room with my father especially at night. And the man has Alzheimer's. Too bad that element of my father is still prevalent and fully operational. My father's friend Thelma, who has helped him with so many areas of life and helped him stay in his home until he broke his hip, sat down with him and had Bible study. He wasn't too thrilled but he did participate. She emphasizes that he is getting closer to meeting Jesus each day and she wants to be assured that he has accepted Christ because you know, the way he has chosen to live his life has not been exactly Christ honoring. Over the years I have heard several stories about his "conversions" and probably back in the early 80's he called to let me know he had accepted Jesus, again. I was happy for him but reserved because by their fruit.... Anyway, she got him to reluctantly confess the fact that he has been saved. We all sure hope so and I am thankful for Thelma and her concern for where he will spend eternity.

I keep thinking about the Naomi and Ruth story. It dawned on me last night that after the big declaration by Ruth to her mother in law, the same declaration that was used in weddings back in the day, that after declaring and pledging to Naomi, she didn't respond in kind. She didn't assure Ruth that she would be a daughter to her, that she would love her and watch out for her in Bethlehem and accept this love spoken by her daughter in law. The Bible says Naomi said nothing in return. Did she take care of Ruth? Yes. Did she treat her like a daughter? Yes. But wouldn't it have been helpful for Naomi to say something in that moment? The Seinfeld episode where George is going to tell his girlfriend he loves her and Jerry asks George, do you think you'll get an I love you in return? You don't want to say I love you and have it just hanging out there in space without the return. I am respecting and loving Ruth more and more each day.

We are back from Buddy's vet appointment. My word, that cat can meow. On the second attempt I was able to get the calm pill down Buddy's throat. The first time I thought it had happened but she had let it slide out the side of her mouth. So, I got her again and this time success. She was a bit groggy until I got her into the crate. So this time it took three techs to hold her down and trim her nails. Not only that but they put the mask on her. She looked like she was wearing something like a S&M cat might wear. Once she was masked, blanketed and held, the trimming didn't take any amount of time. I was at the front desk paying and yes, there was a crazy cat lady bugging the front desk and she was starting to bug me because she acted like she was going to open Buddy's crate door. Her own cat was wallowing and meowing mournfully in its crate while they waited for an open room. Buddy and I listened to Tina Turner on the way back home and that seemed to calm her down a bit. Gee, she is sound asleep right now and I took a short nap myself. Well, we are good for another 6-8 weeks.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another Thursday Another Good Day

It is a beautiful morning to go get a haircut but my appointment isn't until early afternoon. I do not have it in me today to go real early and walk around Biltmore Village. It's not that the heat will be too bad, although the humidity is up but it is due to the fact I got very little sleep last night. It was one of those Buddy nights compounded with a 4:00 am round of afib. I did not have it when I got out of bed to go to the bathroom but it was there as soon as I laid down. You seem to get used to the patterns and this bout did not seem to be one that would last long. So I got up again, drank a bottle of water and laid down in the bonus room to kind of sleep and kind of watch I Love Lucy. This morning I listened to several of my favorite episodes. Just like it had come on, it went away just as quickly that early morning round of afib. This morning I feel good but good and tired as well.

I started a new book last night, The Deep South. It is by Paul Theroux and I just finished up his quick venture into Asheville and then on down to Flat Rock. The meat of his book will be like he titled it, The Deep South which is Mississippi, Alabama and some of Georgia. They are short essays so it is easy reading and it will be a great book to pick up and put down but never miss a beat. It would be a great waiting room book but it is huge. Yes, I know I could read it on my iPad but I am not the fan of e-reading that Roy is. I love the feel of a book in my hand. He is traveling the back roads and staying away from the Interstate. Yes, it looks to be a good book on road trips. I like road trips but I am rather picky about who I road trip with...not because of them so much as it is more about me. I am not a good traveler but I have found a good way for me to follow, thus it keeps stress at a minimum. That is just the way it has to be these days. Oh there was a day and it was long ago thankfully, that I could be more like Sargent Nancy on road trips. I was all into making time and seeing everything at the expense of experiencing a few meaningful things. Roy and I road trip well and Dena and I do too. On a side note it is interesting when friends from Texas come visit. We are used to having till 9:00 or 10:00 pm to go and do. Not so much here because you find so many things close at 5:00. If we are trying to cram into a day lots of places I have to give the you only have so much time so what do you want to pick to do or be willing to change to see something else. After reading Giddy Up, Eunice the chapters on Naomi and Ruth got my attention. The book takes the look at an older woman helping the younger one know what to do and the younger woman working and taking care of her mother in law. This morning as I read those chapters in the Bible, I don't believe the road trip from Moab to Bethlehem was all that pleasant. Naomi tries to get the daughter in laws to go back but Ruth hangs on to what are you going to do? Then the famous declaration I will go, your people will be my people, where you die, is where I will be buried and your God will be my God. I mean really after a declaration like that we seem to think it all went well with them, but I don't know. My translation says that neither talked about this or probably much else on the road trip back to Naomi's home. When they arrive in Bethlehem the entire town is so happy to see Naomi. She responds to their joy at her arrival with, call me Mara, for I am bitter. I left full and return empty. Uh, Ruth is standing right there! Wonder how she is feeling? Maybe Ruth was pretty happy to get out of the house and glean and hang out with young women her own age and then of course the Boaz factor is huge too. I noticed kind or kindness is used a lot which really we all need to extend and receive God's kindness with one another.

Today I had a hair appointment at 1:30. I left a little after noon and decided I would go straight to the paid parking lot and start at that point. Even though when I was in high school and heard about people who prayed for close parking and that sounded horrible, I must confess I did just that. I asked the Lord to provide. Amen! He did! There were several open places and one was an easy spot to pull into and would be even easier to back out of. I walked around Biltmore Village and would have had lunch at the Corner Kitchen but the line was out the door. One thing, I kind of stubbed my foot on the pavement, nothing happened, but it is a good reminder to walk this new way and make my brain communicate with my feet. Got my haircut and headed over to Whole Foods where I picked up some lunch and dinner items. It has been a good day. In a few minutes I need to go outside and clean out a bird bath and put a little food in the feeder. The doves are looking kind of sad.

The War On Weeds

The war on weeds rages on here at the house in the mountains, in a valley on a hill. More vinegar has been purchased and a quick mix of the ingredients and I am back out on the back..I mean the side...I am a walking this land of ours spraying weeds in order for them to meet their maker. Even the weeds that make the pretty blue flowers. And why? Because those weeds are dense enough to harbor vermin and their cousins. I went through another gallon of vinegar, Epsom Salts and blue Dawn dish detergent and I have another gallon mixed for tomorrow. It would be so nice to win the war on weeds right by the driveway and eventually cover it with wood chips which seems to work better than mulch on a slope. I never in a million years thought I would ever have the chance to talk and write about hills and hollers. I am so very happy right now. I just got in from watering the plants on the front porch and it is downright cool. I believe since Buddy has retreated upstairs I will go out there in just a bit and enjoy the sounds of the birds and the breezes.

Because of the war on weeds and vines I smell like vinegar. That is ok by me. I went to Ingles to get vinegar because I needed bread and those other things that make our basket look like we are buying for a sorority house. You know Triscuits, guacamole, Dr Enuf, and the like...oh yes chips. Oh and a little something sweet. I did buy salad dressing because what I had was out of date...for my salad tomorrow night. I need to dispose of any and all evidence of out of date food before Dena comes to visit. Peggy and I have teased her unmercifully about out of date food in her pantry. I'm trying to get all foodstuffs to be consumed in compliance. When Dena is here we eat out pretty much and then in the evenings enjoy fruit, cheese and crackers on the porch. It works for us because neither of us are big time cookers. I had to laugh when she texted she had found her Amish cookbook and Mildred and Gertrude's cookbook named Burnt Offerings, neither of which she has used. Lisa P is coming a few days after Dena leaves and staying a little less than a week. She is doing a concert at Newfound Baptist on July 31st. Should be good...will be good.

Since I will not know my schedule until I see all the doctors in Houston, I am kind of leaving August and September open to maybe do one knee, come back and then go back to Houston after autumn and get my other knee done. Haven't decided if that is what I will do but it is certainly something to think about. I will be so bionic and I need to have my monitor replaced. The battery lasts about three years and this is my third year coming up in August.

In the midst of this weed and vinegar talk I must write about something that has so blessed me...I know I am sounding all churchy lafemme. When I wrote about my unexpected travels back to a memory that defined and held me captive for way too long and I am now on the victory side I can see how God has used this horrible thing for good not evil. Through the years whenever I have shared parts of my growing up story there have been many who have emailed or PM me thanking me for sharing and encouraging them. I will have to say I experienced a first response this past week. A friend sent me an email and oh my goodness, she said she wished she had known me back then because she would have helped me beat the_______ out of those boys. I offered I almost would have rathered having her help me take down my father but I guess that is not biblical... I have never ever had anyone respond that way and I loved it! Well first I cried the sentimental tears and counted myself so fortunate to have such a friend. Then I thought she and I would be the ones to say....Today we are handing out lollipops and cans of whoop ass and we are all out of lollipops. Yea Buddy! Puts a spring in your step I tells ya.

Well, since I used the word ass and although technically I can because it is used in the King James Bible, I should probably go out to the front porch and read my Bible.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Giddy Up, Eunice

Sophie Hudson's new book Giddy Up, Eunice has been released. Treat yourself to this fabulous read. You won't be disappointed. I first heard of Sophie, Boomama, at a Living Proof Live event in San Antonio Texas August 2008. There was a special bloggers met up after the conference. Once while traveling through Mississippi I tweeted a greeting to her since I was in Hattiesburg, home of Southern Mississippi University....only, she was so kind to point out she went to Mississippi State University. As for me and my house we root for LSU, hubby an alumni, and Sophie loves her some Les Miles interviews. I read her first book and enjoyed it and I am so happy to have now read her second book, Giddy Up, Eunice and I am two for two on the enjoyment scale of reading her books.

In the book we look at the lives of Elizabeth, Mary, Ruth, Naomi, Lois and Eunice. "Six women who show us how to honor, how to persevere, how to cling, how to glean, how to partner and how to pass it on." Page 235 of Giddy Up, Eunice. The emphasis of the book is we need each other, across the generational all ages and stages of life. Sophie gives excellent advice on how to find, or be a mentor. That it is doing the small everyday things well. Like she says sometimes we think that mentoring is such a production when women are right in front of our eyes, helping and showing the way or who need a little encouragement and kindness. She also encourages us oldies but goodies not to be afraid of the millennial generation and become involved.

My personal favorite chapters are the ones about Naomi and Ruth. Wow, so much in there to meditate and think about...and act upon. I also think I will never forget her story of the cast iron sink and if she ever succeeds in procuring it for her kitchen, I hope she lets us know.

This would be a great book for small groups, friends, Sunday School classes or whatever relevant term your church uses for old fashioned Sunday School. If your church doesn't have a formal mentoring ministry, this book would be so helpful to help get one started.

DIY Projects and Reading

Well, I just got back from spraying the outer forty...not acres, but feet...maybe it is more like four feet. Anyway, because if you see something on FB you know it has to work, I just did my DIY spraying of weeks. I mixed vinegar, Epsom salts and blue Dawn dish detergent together and put it in a big sprayer. I mainly stayed around the house and up on the gravel road but I did go down to the road and spray just a tad on the embankment of weeds. Mike the Mower Man began clearing that area out today but I think he gave up. He might need a stronger weed eater or something. I am sure he will email us and let us know the progress. He did a great job in the back, so I decided to spray as many of the weeds as I could and wait to see the results before buying more industrial strength vinegar. Yes, I had to go to Walmart yesterday for the vinegar and the Epsom salts. The vinegar was on the bottom shelf and only two bottles remained. The two bottles were way in the back. I had to wait till an employee with good knees came my way to get that precious liquid that does so many things. I came home with a few more things I hadn't planned on purchasing but that is the risk of big box stores. As soon as I got in the truck the phone rang. Dang it, I thought. Roy always catches me when I go to Walmart. He teases me unmercifully that I've always been a secret Walmart shopper. Thankfully, it was Vivian but as I was driving home he did call. Must be some kind of alert that goes off on his watch or something when I go to Walmart. I tried to find what I was looking for at Lowe's, I thought they would at least have the vinegar. We bought an outdoor rug and we needed to add a couple of more to get the deck looking the way we want it to. For smallish type rugs, they are certainly heavy. When I got to the truck a gentleman sitting in his car, got out, ran over to put them in the truck bed for me. I was so appreciative of his help.

I need to rinse out the sprayer but will wait till this evening when it is a little cooler. I need to add the splitter to the outside faucet so I can not only water the new trees but also water plants or clean out a sprayer with the other hose.
Well, what do you know? It is Wednesday morning. The DIY weed control spray works. I see a couple of big places that I should have directed more at the roots of the weeds. All the weeds that were coming up through the weed barrier and rocks are longer with us in this world. Guess I need to make another stop at Walmart. I finally got the splitter and the extension on the faucet to work together. It took a bit of work. With the temps and less humidity the air felt a bit fallish last night. We have two days of cooler temps and then it will ease up into the high 80's by the weekend.

Since we don't have anything mailed to the house I rarely check the mail box on the road but since I was down that way yesterday, I gathered all the junk mail and brought it in. Among all the junk was a notice from the Elizabeth River Tunnels, a toll charge. Until that moment I hadn't ever heard of the Eilzabeth River Tunnels nor could I tell you where they are located but I figured it sounded like a Virginia thing...a state I have never been to. A letter was transposed from the picture of the license plate to the invoice. So I did the online dispute thing and they responded they would be investigating and would respond by letter. Like a snail mail letter. Really? This is all over $3.75.

I finished up a book I have thoroughly enjoyed reading, The After Party. The setting is Houston in the 1950's mainly with the emphasis on life of the 1% in River Oaks, an affluent, if not the dream of many to live there area of Houston. It is a great place to see Christmas lights and the scary angel. The story is mainly concerned with two friends and their world as they navigate life, one accepting of the role presented and expected, the other a wild child with secrets and all the material and wealth that anyone could desire. Mix in complicated family relationships and the second tier of wanna be's. The point I was at in the book last night was the major plot twist which meant I would have to finish the book before going to bed. Loved the way the author revealed the secrets to us the readers. Well done. The author is at Malaprop's tonight speaking about her book. It is tempting to go but I probably will elect not to. I'd be bugging asking if the story is based on anyone or a smattering of any one's from back in the day...Houston stuff. I played tennis with several friends who lived in River Oaks and there are some bizarre stories. One time the pastor of First Baptist said in one of his sermons, "who drives through River Oaks feeling sorry for the people living there?" I wanted to say I do because some of their stories would break your heart. Of course there are other stories that might make one envious.

And on cue I just got an email from Mike the Mower Man and yes, he needs stronger string to work through the overgrowth on the embankment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Softball Days-Throw Back Tuesday

We were a church softball team sponsored by a corporate client of our coach. We traveled to tournaments and when other softball teams were coming in church buses for the nationals we flew  and rented cars. They called us the Sorority Team because we wore makeup and did our hair for games. Some wore bows in their hair. We were an atypical team in the softball arena of life. We got along, enjoyed each other's company and had tons of fun while we were playing and mostly winning tournaments. Each time we drive through Gadsden AL or when in Chattanooga, I have fond memories from those softball days. Unfortunately when we played in Chattanooga, we were eliminated before the finals, so we had time on our hands. We all went sightseeing. Two or three men with about fifteen women. At the Chattanooga Choo Choo a lady asked me what group were we with? I didn't miss a beat and told her we were Mormons and we were on, and I pointed to a coach and to a friend, their honeymoon. We are all their wives. You should have seen the look on her face!

Yesterday, out of the blue, my friend Gayla called me. Gayla was on the softball team. She and I were roommates on the road. This is back in my four to a room days...Oh my, glad those days are over. We have not talked in years, but it was as if we hadn't missed a day. We picked up right where we left off even though both of our lives have had drama, everyday life and good things since we last talked. She has remarried and is so very very happy and that makes me so very very happy for her. We got a lot of conversation in that hour and a half. I quit playing softball before she did and my attention turned to tennis. She is now playing golf and that competitiveness to be good followed us to tennis and golf. I have never really taken up golf because I love driving the ball, so driving ranges are good, but the finesse part of golf, is too tedious for me. Several others on our team took up tennis too.

We all scattered and went on with our lives. My dentist in Houston was the short stop on our team and she has kept up with some from those back in the day, when we were young and the heat didn't seem to bother us at all.

Our conversation was the highlight of my day because for some reason I had awakened in a cleaning the house mood. More than the light housework to keep everything looking presentable. Today, I am going to try the DIY weed killer I saw on Facebook. So you know it has to be true. I did further research by the way. The embankment toward the road has really grown up and although Mike the Mower Man is going to start working on it, I thought I might help just a bit on the edges of slope. Thankfully, I am remembering I broke my hip in January and have had a wonderful recovery. Don't want to jepodize that over some weeds, some very tall weeds and beginning of trees. I think I hear Mike the Mower Man now, so that means the end of me blogging downstairs in my jammies.

Monday, June 6, 2016

New-Found Friends and Old Found Friends

I got to experience my first Homecoming at Newfound Baptist Church yesterday. Last year I was out of town. You see a lot of Homecomings announced on church signs. Since we don't have those in Houston, I was looking forward to the service. During the Sunday School hour a light brunch was served in the newly renovated parsonage and then dedicated by prayer. I had a decision to make I could do that or sing in choir. Choir won out. I made the right decision because yesterday was a humid, muggy and warm day and several were affected by the heat nevertheless, the parsonage was prayed over and ready to be used. We had a guest speaker from the North Carolina Baptist Association in the service and we saw a moving video about three new members that chose to be baptised in a river...which getting to involves about two hours of hiking to get where they had chosen. Not a dry eye in the house. We also saw a slide show about 2015 ministry and outreach at church. 

Sitting in a choir loft gives a great view of the congregation. At HFBC Peggy and I would do things from the loft to make Marge Caldwell laugh. Of course somehow Peggy and I believed that only Marge could see what we were doing. Yesterday, I looked across the congregation and worked very hard on not shedding tears. It seems my emotions have been running on a good a sentimental way. Two years ago I didn't know any of these friends. Well, Bill, but just in setting up renting the cottage for the month of August... Once again God has proven Himself faithful by gifting me such wonderful friends like He has done since the age of 16. And now I don't know what I would do without any of these friends. Maybe my Saturday night phone fest with a couple of friends from Houston set the stage for the sudden wave of sentimentality. I talked longer on the phone Saturday night than I have in a long time. This does not include the butt call/facetime call made by Peggy but Peggy and I did talk the old fashioned not video phone way. Dena and I also talked Saturday night nailing down dates when she will be visiting. Lisa and I were texting all day. 

I am so thankful for Newfound. Makes it easy to be thankful for New-Found Friends. Yes, you knew I would take it there. 

 I love the picnic shelter on top of the hill overlooking the church. Most churches up here have picnic shelters that are used quite a bit in the warmer months. No one really would want to me meet when it is cold and icy. The trip up would be scary and the trip down would be scarier. There at the end of the road going up to the shelter, you have a choice, to the left shelter and to the right the cemetery. If you chose to go straight and drop off the side of the mountain, you will eventually land in the same destination like you had turned right.

On Memorial Day Roy took lots of pictures at the cookout and while he waited for me in choir rehearsal.

The day held two surprises for me. Farm fresh eggs from Vivian and Bill. I just had some scrambled eggs for dinner and a friend from softball days, Gayla called me out of the blue. Oh my goodness, we talked for almost an hour and a half. Such fun catching up with her on the phone even though we are Facebook friends.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

You Will Love This Book, Giddy Up, Eunice

My friend Brenda and I ate lunch in downtown Weaverville, NC yesterday. She being a native and raised in the area knew that if there wasn't any parking on the street by the restaurant, there was a back parking lot where we could park. If I had gone by myself, I would have never noticed the parking lot and would have only acknowledged that for a little town, with an ever smaller downtown, parking seemed to come at a premium. Also, I drive a huge truck and parallel parking SequishShawn would draw a crowd at first to gawk but then have the opportunity of the day for a laughfest because it ain't pretty when I try to park this crew cab truck. After enjoying a delicious lunch we walked back to Brenda's car and the whole side of the secret parking lot had been cleared of cars and tables, tents, chairs and serving counter had replaced them. We asked what are y'all setting up for and  the two young women responded that the coffee place, next door to the restaurant, is celebrating nine years in business and that evening they were throwing a party. At that moment I pulled out my best old lady voice, stooped over a bit, gave it a little bit of a palsy shake and said, "oh my, I am sure all the young people will enjoy this!" She assured me everyone was invited. I had said that because sometimes you have to act all old up in here to keep it real and to let the young people know there are some happy, non gripers in the old person set. I also told them you know you are old when you throw out the term young people when referring to anyone ten years younger or more than your present age. I will be 62 this summer thank you very much.

So, why did I tell you this story when I am blogging about a book? Because, when I filled out the form to participate in reading, then blogging about the advance copy of the book and as soon as I hit send, I told myself they are not going to pick me because my age demographic is wrong, I don't have enough readers of my blog to qualify, I hardly ever Tweet and I think I thought it again, I am too old to be picked to read and blog about this book. Not sure but I think I thought that more than twice, cause I don't remember....see what happens when one ages. Imagine my surprise when the book showed up in our mailbox. You see, for some reason I thought Giddy Up, Eunice was going to be Sophie Hudson's first foray into fiction because isn't that a great title for a Southern mystery series but I was oh so wrong. Giddy Up, Eunice Because Women Need Each Other is a book filled with wonderfully told stories of  Mary, Elizabeth, Lois, Eunice, Ruth and Naomi...with modern day references that every woman, no matter what age or stage in life, can identify with. (I've read it is now acceptable to end sentences with prepositions)

Giddy Up, Eunice is encouraging, poignant, truth-filled, and full of opportunities to laugh, hard, maybe even to the point of some happy tears and then on to wheezing laughter. But wait there is more, I think the chapter on gleaning is one of the best things I have read on how we sometimes find ourselves doing life with one another, that it truly is the little things...  You'll have to buy the book to experience this chapter but I will use a quote Sophie used from her dear nineteenth century friend Mary Elizabeth Baxter:

"Ruth did not assume to be a reaper, but ONLY A GLEANER. There are some prominent workers in the harvest field who sweep hundreds into the fold. But there are also patient gleaners who teach in Sunday schools, who visit from house to house, who write letters to their acquaintances, who speak a word to those they travel with by the way. God bless these precious gleaners. They gather many an ear of corn which reapers pass by (emphasis mine)"...which means it is Sophie's emphases...I'm just a quoter here.

I went back to read the short book of Ruth again and agreed with Sophie that the whole lying at the feet of Boaz seems to be an awkward thing but Boaz knew what to do and what to say. I love the suggestion that we totally underestimate the power of gleaning...again you are going to have to buy the book to see the whole and total picture. No spoilers here because Ruth and Naomi and Ruth and Boaz turns out well.

Giddy Up, Eunice has been my waiting room book, hair salon and restaurant read for several weeks now and at almost everyplace I have been reading it, someone comments on how cute the paisley on the front of the book is. I agree but more importantly, it has given the opportunity to share if you love the cover, you will love the words and truth inside the cover to the women who have commented.

I think I will stop this post for now and do a part 2 later this weekend. While reading this book I can see how it could be used for a small group study or for a series in a Sunday School class. It is a great book for book clubs and I can totally see reading this book with friends and then getting together to discuss it in an informal setting like over coffee or lunch or dessert or all three.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Laid Back Saturday Morning

It must be summer because I have put out two fruit fly traps in the kitchen. This year I am being proactive and trying to stay ahead of the fight. The battle is real people! I started to blog yesterday afternoon but I did a little, emphasis on little, housework and some reading, emphasis more importance and time, instead.

After spending Wednesday at home to catch up on rest, I ventured out Thursday on the always exciting adventure of grocery shopping and running errands. Got everything back and put up and decided I would go to Turkey Creek for a burger. Theirs are so good and on the way I stopped at The Country Junkin Chick store to take Penny a magazine I had told her about. The little table that caught my eye a couple of weeks ago was still there. So of course I took that as a divine sign it should return home with me. There was also this little school desk there that I loved but it had already been purchased. I went across the street and had lunch and it was delicious then returned home. Mike the Mower Man pulled in just as I was closing the garage door. So, back up she went. He had delivered the little fir trees earlier and now he was going to plant them and install a watering system to be used for two weeks to give them a good growing foundation. Thankfully, I have also had a little help from the rain in the afternoons. Mike and I talked a little about the next step in our yard related plans and then I continued on with the little table. It looks great in the bonus room and I also added a lamp from downstairs that never quite fit anywhere but looks wonderful on the table.

Brenda and I finally had our lunch we had planned on several weeks ago. We went to The Twisted Laurel in Weaverville. Oh my goodness! The atmosphere they've created in that old building is wonderful. Dark woods, brick walls, and painted murals with just the right amount of light coming in through the windows. We sat in a booth and enjoyed some very fine food and good conversation. We didn't even get around to solving the problems of the world. After lunch Brenda took me to one of her favorite consignment shops The Cottage Door. Very cute with some very fun things.

Roy bought a new computer last night but he had gone only to look. Our computer is on its very last leg.It has almost gotten to the point where he was thinking of adding on some rabbit ears and aluminum foil to get better wifi reception. He has babied and taken care of that computer and it has served us well for seven years. So now comes the fun part which is backing up and loading the new computer. As he described all the bits, gigabits, ram and whatever else...I thought about beautiful flowers I have seen around here. I have no clue what any of that means except this, Roy does his research and add ons have a specific purpose in his mind. I think he is thrilled that he can do more work in photoshop now.

I am almost finished reading Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson. I got an advanced copy to read and then blog about. So far and since I am almost finished it has been a great read, with poignant moments, Biblical truth and lots of laughter. Sounds like a great combination for reading and for friendship. I love me a personal story to go with a Bible truth. I'll be writing a separate post on the book but when it is released on June 7th, get a copy. I can also see how this book could be used for a small group Bible study.

Well, a trip to The Fresh Market awaits and I don't think they would appreciate it if I come in my PJ's, so I better get a move on.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Don't Fence Me In

Yesterday I started a post and the thought of not wanting a cookie cutter kind of life or allowing anyone to put me in a box kind of took a different turn than expected. As I wrote I began to travel through a couple of memories and while not good memories as good ones are usually defined, I saw once again God's presence in those years, seasons and issues. Not only seeing that but realizing the pain that came from those instances had been redeemed and repurposed and used to make me more like Him and to escape the life planned for me. Thus providing the opportunity to praise Him for all His goodness and kindness I've experienced and that those times did make me stronger. It's funny how the unexpected trip traveling through years and years of memories can bring you to a wonderful destination. It's kind of funny because as I have written before of loving all the accoutrements of travel but not really liking travel.  I'm not a good traveler or in travels back and forth from Texas to NC, I am set in my ways. So I am going to share with you my time travel from yesterday. Some of these stories I have shared before and just like when I shared them previously, it is not to vent or for someone to feel sorry for me. Nor am I bitter and still hung up with these things. No, as I get older I see that those things that were meant for evil turned out to be for the good. I happened across an essay written by a woman in one of the writing groups I belong to. From reading her story, she and I had very similar experiences. Almost every thing she wrote came from a why this and why that type of thing and yep, once again I was thankful to have progressed from that particular stage of coming to terms with life. Her story ended with the sad thought she could never ask now because her father was dead. He had taken those secrets with him. My father is not dead but he might as well be since he severed our relationship. I don't care to know why because over the years pieces here and there have fit together and tell the story....

So here you go, my travels from yesterday....

There are times my theme song should be, "Don't Fence Me In." This would be true as well, don't try to fit me in a box. One of my favorite all time books deals with this theme as the main character in the story is afraid of becoming a cookie cutter replica that makes up most of her new neighborhood. The houses look the same, the furniture and trends are alike, no one ventures far from what everyone else is doing. It's like the person who chooses to wear black pants almost exclusively and changing up outfits with shirts and jackets. You play it safe with the black pants as well addressing budgetary concerns and who doesn't love black pants, white shirts and denim jackets? Well, a lot of people don't but it is a great uniform of choice if the cookie cutter look doesn't bother you or it could be a matter of not wanting to think about what to wear. That is my reason when I wear the uniform.

Maybe I come by this honestly because during childhood when the moment seemed opportune for my father, for his reciting the mantra of "you will never fit in, you'll never be apart of anything but being a part of a group called losers." This went hand in hand with his recurring insistence that I wouldn't be anything other than an ice tea lady pushing the drink cart around the cafeteria and the cafeteria we frequented, the ice tea lady was mentally challenged. I remember the first time I participated in serving food at church, complete with hairnet, laughingly thinking I have surpassed my father's dreams for me. Roy and I were discussing my complete dislike of cooking and having that knowledge is helpful if one is coming here to visit, and he said, I think your dislike of kitchen work has to stem from the fact you were told growing up that this is all you could aspire to ice tea cart lady. He might be right, I have never even thought of that but I still love drinking ice tea and I will refill your glass without suffering any trauma or PTSD.

So I grew up thinking I won't fit in and you know, that hasn't been such a bad thing after all. Oh yes, there were those times and seasons where it hurt like hell, to be left out or uninvited, back when that kind of thing held such a huge sway over me. To be in the know, to have gone to_______, wherever the popular place happened to be...and the angst that came with that. Oh it was drama to the max and I felt it was so unfair! It was a huge part of not having any instruction on how to act accordingly by being instructed to be tough, be argumentative, and anger was the best and only emotion to ever show. Good grief, I didn't even want to be with me when I was like that. Although we were told it was to make us tough and immune to life's hurts, it seems now to have been part of my father's mean spirited plan to help the diabolical plan of, you'll never fit in. How ironic that he would grow angry at the fact I hadn't anywhere to go or anyone to play with on the weekends and push me out the door to make friends. Thankfully, the girl who used to beat me up on a regular basis decided we should be friends after one last time of me being her punching bag. I came home two to three times a week with bruises and cuts about my face and arms. Sometimes I was asked to explain how all these marks came to be and I would just say I fell off my bike. I had learned my lesson early on from what happens when you tell the truth about bumps and bruises and cuts when the boys around the block pegged me with a baseball smack dab on my temple as I was riding my bike. I believe there were baseball stitching marks left for all the world to see, but when my father dragged me back to the scene of the crime, those boys denied they had ever done such a thing. So he dragged me back home, spanked me for lying and I was sent to bed, without supper that afternoon and was to get out of bed  only to go to the bathroom until the next morning. I lived in fear from those boys from then on and all the way through high school. They told me they could do anything to me and my father would believe them, not me. Several years ago I ran into one of those boys, now a man, at a reunion and as we visited he apologized for all the threats and fears he had threatened me with all those years. He had since become a Christian and as we said our farewells, he leaned in and said, you had every right to be afraid and only God protected you from what we planned and schemed because something thwarted us everytime.

A relative took me aside and it has been probably twenty five years or so ago and told me that my father's plan all along had been for me to be so helpless and useless and insecure, that the only available option for my life would be kind of like being an indentured servant to him and my mom...I don't think my mom knew this... When I became a Christian at the age of sixteen and when I met Roy working at Pennzoil that kind of thwarted those plans. Whew, I didn't know Jeremiah 29:11 back then but I didn't need to because the Word is true.

God has transformed that miserableness into knowing the joy of life and of His presence. He is faithful and has more than provided for me. I'm no theologian but I know that whether you are asking whys or why nots in your might not ever know but you can know God has it all in His hands and He is not going to forget and accidentally clap His hands messing everything up. Your name is written there on His palm.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


I believe I am one most fortunate to have a husband that loves me and he shows it well. Yesterday, he began telling me how being a prisoner in our home in Katy because of the heat and stress made him so sad for me. He remembered stories from long ago when we were young and stayed out and about all the time. Roy entertained me with his remembrances of silly things we had done but each of his stories ended with, but after a while, you no longer could go or spend time doing the things I loved and it broke his heart. He thoughtfully suggested a home up here so I would feel better and he wanted to get me away from a very disappointing season of life. Not many would be willing to sacrifice to make that happen. I am most fortunate indeed. This past week he made me breakfast every morning and brought me a cup of coffee when he woke me up. He took care of things that I am unable to see after yet we ran around seeing things and going places just like we used to do. What fun! What a blessing...

He and I have some of the best conversations but that hasn't always been so. At first he tried to solve situations and problems that I talked about when I just needed his ear. Sometimes when we hear our thoughts out loud we see the answers. Now, for the most part, he listens but then we talk through things and he doesn't have to map out a three point strategy for me to implement and follow. He paid a huge compliment to me yesterday just in casual conversation in that he knows I have worked dilligently and dogidly not to have the moniker, "the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree" attached for life long definition and disfunction. Funny, during a previously long sleepless night this week I realized I needed to apologize to Roy. When I picked him up I was more upset about a rock flung by a truck on the freeway cracking the windshield just moments before his arrival than I was at seeing him. Ugh, I hate it when frustration takes over. Thankfully, it had not been something weighing on his mind and hadn't been hurt but he said he did notice I realized what I was doing and I righted the ship to happiness. Cracked windshields will come and go...and there are places to have them repaired. We don't know of any around here but I'm sure we will be able to find one or wait till SequishShawn is in Texas.

The dress pants and shirts I picked up for him fit. Yahoo! No returns to take back. I think I will continue shopping for more pants for Roy because some of his dress slacks need to be retired from the rotation. A couple of weeks ago he had a suicide zipper incident. That is what my mom called zippers that broke or wouldn't stay zipped in place. One becomes quite handy with scotch tape and safety pins in that emergency situation. When I realized what pair of pants had done this horrible thing, I remembered they are quite old and have performed meritorious service until their untimely demise in the trash recepticle.

Today I am building in rest and margin. We have been on the go since last Thursday and I have pushed the boundaries of my parameters just a bit. I am reading The After Party and it has my interest. Takes place in Houston during the 1950's. So, that book is calling me to some couch time today. I might run the vacuum today...MIGHT.