Friday, July 29, 2016

Change Is In the Air...Cause Difference Was Already Taken

While driving back from Waynesville yesterday I saw very few political signs in yards but I did see one that made me laugh. It said Vote for????? Everyone sucks! Yep, that about sums it up but I did notice signs in yards that said pray for America. Asheville tends to be on the liberal side of politics but the surrounding area of the counties around it leans to the conservative side. It is an odd place to watch politics both local and national.  I am not a political blogger or even a FB posting advocate of politics. It is interesting to watch how "spin" takes the place of truth and creates a narrative that we want to believe but kind of know in our heart of hearts, someone behind the scenes has written the words spoken by speakers on the national stage of conventions and their words are trying to sway us to one side or from another. Some can buy into the spin others spin the spin and disagree. It is all a mess. I have watched bits and pieces of both conventions but not enough to matter. If I am going to watch TV, I would rather watch The Simpsons reruns on FXX or maybe a little of The Andy Griffith Show. I have been so busy that I haven't even had time to lament the passing of Garry Marshall.

This was an early morning with an appointment at the Toyota dealership. Yes, I have almost put 5000 miles on the truck in a month. With Lisa coming in and a few other excursions in the works, I knew I needed to get this taken care of sooner than later. I was there for just about an hour. I brought Phil and Cody Goode Company BBQ sauce back from Houston. I had several errands that needed to be run, so I skipped the usual breakfast at The Moose Cafe or at Another Broken Egg and got about the day taking care of this and that. I've been home for a little bit and have just about finished up my cleaning. There are a few things left to be done but I will get them done later in the evening.
It is Friday morning and even getting up early, I am behind. I missed Roy's call this morning while loading the dryer but I called him back as soon as I had seen he had called. He wasn't in work mode yet, so he was rather chatty.

This morning the sun's dappled lighting of the valley is especially beautiful. The small birds have been visiting the backyard feeder more. The several sets of cardinals make the yard beautiful as they fly quickly through the air space surrounding the house. Last year I had one sunflower and this year I have several. There are also flowers along the driveway that I didn't plant. So thank you little birds.

Last night I fixed red beans and rice and along with that I had sliced tomatoes from Brenda's garden and cornbread that I made from the mill in Georgia. It was quite good if I do say so. Once Lisa's visit is over, I have got to get back on the good food wagon. Good as in healthy and it will be hard because apple cider donut season is upon us. But I have a big picture to look at and a relatively short amount of time to try to accomplish things.

The backyard is filled with butterflies. This past week more have gathered at the butterfly bushes and lantana. Sometimes the plants seem to be dancing as the butterflies go from bloom to bloom. I saw something this past week I had never seen...two butterflies, swirling and whirling about in the air, like in a battle but I'm thinking it could be a mating ritual. One of the butterflies, drops onto a rock and then rolls over and falls to the ground. It is flitting and trying to right itself but to no avail. The intensity of the fight for life got my attention. The thought came to mind that maybe I should go out there and put the butterfly out of its misery. After all the gyrations and movement, the butterfly righted itself, stood on its spindly legs and then rose through the sky, seeking out the offender butterfly and began it all again. This scene gave me hope but it also told me don't interfere or become involved or contribute to the death of an idea or dream, others and mine. Don't step in too quickly in the name of mercy...let the one who is in the fight right themselves and while they are flitting and flailing encourage and support them. It ain't over till it's over.

In the midst of needed errands yesterday, I made a quick stop at Barnes and Noble in Biltmore Park. They had the magazine I was looking for and the paper package from another magazine being offered for a limited time. The young man, that's old person speak, that rung up my purchases was so pleasant to visit with. When asked about his day, he said it was good but technology was getting him down. Uh, welcome to my world and mindset. When I left the Toyota dealership my bluetooth wasn't synced anymore with the truck and had to turn around and Phillip helped me get reconnected to the 21st century. So the Barnes and Noble guy and I had a short conversation on whether we were upset with technology or technology is upset with us. The chip reader was being difficult with my credit card but it wasn't the reader, it was my inability to put the card in correctly. Gee, just when I finally mastered the all important swipe of credit cards on the machine technology changes.

Speaking of change...I better get ready for the day. This is not a political commentary when I say this but, change maker? That's what they came up with for Hillary? This will date me but I see her on an ice cream truck, driving about the neighborhood with one of those coin changer belts on making change for purchases icy cold treats.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Wanderings

Once I got home yesterday, I took time to rest a bit but I also did some prep work for Lisa's visit. You have to strike when the iron is hot and I hate having things that need to be done hanging over my head. Still have things to do but took care of the most pressing needs. This morning I am easing into the day.

On the way home from Charlotte yesterday, while listening to instrumental music, I realized that most of my favorite hymns have to do with nature. As a child I loved to sing This is My Father's World and Fairest Lord Jesus. As an adult my favorite hymn has been When Morning Gilds the Sky. Leaving the flatter area of the Piedmont and seeing the mountains in the distance, my heart and soul were filled with peace and a satisfaction, with joy and excitement of returning home. Passing by Ridgecrest and then the exit for Montreat, I once again remembered how I had wanted to visit or attend camp at these places when I was younger but the opportunity didn't present itself. Now we can have camp all year long if we want to and I don't have to sleep in a bunk bed.

When a good friend visits you conversation is full and interesting and funny. Dena and I laughed and had a great time. She is a close second to Roy for road trippin'. The time is easy, decisions easy and comfortable. When we stopped at a Burger King to pick up lunch while driving through Alabama, a great tag line was added to our vocabulary...Whoppers come with ketchup and mayonnaise, which neither of us want on a burger, but we  love the flame broiled taste. The girl taking our order was trying to help us get the most bang for our buck since BK is running the two meal deal for $10.00. We kind of messed it up wanting shakes instead of fountain drinks and she called over her manager to find the way to do this. After they found the best way to order for less bucks, Dena went to the bathroom while I waited for our order. In the back where all the cooking takes place I heard one of the people making our burgers say, "what? These burgers are mustard, no ketchup or mayo? Who doesn't like mayonnaise and ketchup on their burgers." I wanted to respond, we don't...but the manager said, just make them how they were's a special order. I so wished at that moment she would have said it is a complicated order just like Bon Qui Qui.

Like I said we talk of the serious and the silly. Laugh till one of us nearly wets our pants and we listen to the depth of the worry or concern that are different in each of our lives but the uniting factor is...what or why or how or when about the issue presented at hand. For me, my upcoming knee replacements are kind of hanging about in the brain. Not worried about the pain because I know there will be pain and the general consensus from all who have had this done is, once you get past the first two weeks, things begin to look up and the other is every six weeks that goes by, it gets better and better. What I am thinking about is all these years, probably more than twenty, I have done everything according to knee pain and the ability of said knees to bend or move. The way I get out of a chair, the way I walk, the way I bend over to pick something up...things like these are so embedded in my mind and muscles. I will have to relearn and practice these everyday things so that I don't end up with new knees, no pain but acting and walking like what I've experienced for the past twenty or more years. Granted, I do not think I will be bionic and able to leap over tall buildings or a patch of weeds in a single bound, but I do think I should be able to get out of a chair without all the dramatics now being experienced. Of course I see all the spiritual applications to this and probably most of y'all do too, so I am not going to turn this post into the all is something everyday, now it has life application to it in a spiritual nature. But I do think about this and will probably write about this and yes, some of these thoughts will spill over into Monablog, but for can read and see what I am contemplating for those days ahead.

I went back to Waynesville again and Barber's Orchard isn't even open yet. Anyway, I was on my way to pick up some more paper napkins with a country theme when it occurred to me that instead of ordering ham for Girl's Night Out, I should order brisket and since I was there I went in person to do so. I also made a quick late lunch stop at The Blue Rooster and got fried chicken...they serve legs, yahoo!

Well, a nap is calling me and then I might head over to Lowe's for fruit fly traps. I truly believe our fruit flies are Ivy League educated. Won't touch a homemade trap but will fall for the professional one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trees Of The Fields Clap Their Kudzu

The house is a little quieter this afternoon. Only the occasional meow from Buddy and the sound of the washing machine breaks the silence. Our home has been filled with laughter, conversation and friendship this past week. We have been on the go, shopping, sightseeing and well the obvious from FB posts, eating. Yesterday, we began the sad goodbye. We left for Charlotte, stopping in at the Billy Graham Library at the end of their day. Then we set out to find the hotel. Due to the fact it is new, there were a few questions we had as we drove toward what we hoped to be the correct address and Google Girl came through for us. We checked in, Dena got caught up with the world news and I took a short nap. Then we explored our choices for supper and decided upon Brio. I have never eaten at the one in Houston and Dena highly recommended it. I now can recommend it as well. We dined on a dinner of appetizers and then headed back to the hotel. In all our travels, Dena is usually the one who remembers all the safety things like a flashlight and reviewing where the stairs are in relation to the room. OK, I didn't have a flashlight but I did review where we were in relation to the stairs. The second time in our travels, the electricity has gone out in a hotel. In Destin we were on the 9th floor and we debated whether to take the elevator they had running or not. It was a power grid problem that they were able to fix sooner than later and the power came on in the early morning. Yes, we did take the elevator finally after talking to Roy and heeding his advice. Last night was our second power outage, we were in our room and our room only on the second floor. When those lights and air went off we both bounded out of our beds.  A huge section was out because we could see flashlights and phones lighting up the night at the other hotel across the way. Dena took a look see in the hall where the emergency lights guided the way making the darkness only dim. After five or so minutes, the power was restored. Dena resumed TV watching and I went back to dozing and falling asleep. We felt quite the welcome from Charlotte because the temps and humidity are on par with Houston. It was their hottest day of the year yesterday.

This morning as is our regular routine on the road, I got up first to get ready, then Dena. Both of us a little quieter than other mornings because sadly, after a fabulous week of road trippin' and mountain staying, she would return home and back to everyday life. After breakfast, we loaded up the car with her suitcases and my rolling bag and began the ever so sad journey to the airport. I dropped her off and she got through and to her gate with the greatest of ease. I drove off, heading for the mountains. I did make a stop at CB to do a little brunch thing so I wouldn't have to stop for lunch once I got home.

Buddy was happy to see me and spent a fair amount of time on my lap. She has since gotten over me and has moved onto her regular napping spots. I am doing laundry and getting ready for Lisa P who will be here on Saturday. Yahoo!

I noticed yesterday as we drove toward Charlotte that once we were truly in the Piedmont area of the state, it's a lot flatter and it looks like east Texas. There were sections of trees along the roads covered and overwhelmed by Kudzu. Nothing new about that in the south but I also noticed how the kudzu wrapped itself around dead trees and made them look alive and green, just like other trees. Only seeing the dead branches reaching out or up gave the clue that the seemingly green tree was no more alive, it just resembled life. There are a hundred illustrations or examples that these kudzu covered, dead trees could be used for, but I thought of friendship. When you have found real, viable friends life flourishes. The ordinary becomes more exciting. No pomp or circumstance, just the joy of spending time with one another. Dena couldn't be more excited to attend Sunday School and Church , to see friends she met last year and making new acquaintanceships. Sunday evening, after church and the ice cream social we had, Dena, Brenda and I went over to Gale's home to see her new window that opens up the eastern side of her home to beautiful sunrises and scenary. We sat on her back porch and laughed and talked. It was so fun this week having Houston friends meet NC friends and vice versus. We sat on Vivian's back porch doing the same and my front porch with Brenda...filled with laughter and joy. There are those we come across with that are like those kudzu trees....presentation is impeccable, but no life, no joy, no realness. Then just like the trees begin to change in a new season, the kudzu dies off and reveals the truth of the matter, just a dead tree sporting some kudzu. No meaning, no life...or the very mimic of life. If you don't have real, close friends, start now by being the kind of friend you want to have.

Well Buddy is interested in me again only because I have a lap top on my lap and not her. Oh this funny cat, she has trained me well.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

All Is Well...All Is Fun!

All is calm, all is foggy, all is peaceful and my heart full. I am having such a fun week with one of my best friends. All is well. We have been, as in the words of Johnny Cash, everywhere man. Tuesday we stayed around Weaverville. Wednesday, we did the Burnsville, Micaville, and Little Switzerland excursion. Thursday we went to Waynesville and helped the local economy quite a bit and ended our day at the Biltmore Estate eating dinner on the Veranda. Since it was pouring down rain when we arrived, we went back Friday morning after having breakfast at The Moose Cafe. We went back to Waynesville because we found out where the artist's gallery that we have looked for...for a long time in past years and this artist is much beloved by the Dayspring Life Bible Study class. Can't think of the artist's name this morning. (her name is Gretchen Clasby...Dena has just now come downstairs) We walked into the Gallery with skies being overcast but not necessarily rainy. When we left it was pouring rain. We checked the radar and it would be a while before the skies cleared, so we braved the rain and walked to the truck. My running days are long behind me. Soaked to the bone, we made our way toward home with a side trip to Canton to see the paper mill. Yes, I am that great of a tour guide! No, the reason we did the drive by is because Dena's career marketing and communications included paper mills. Doesn't everyone remember the slogan she came up with? " You likes the paper and inks, but making that paper included the process that stinks," Ah yes, the smell of money as they say. We stopped for supper at Turkey Creek. Delicious! The rain followed us from Waynesville and it poured and yes, we got drenched once again. Too bad the rain didn't follow us home. While we did get some rain, not the amount that moved through the surrounding area. We settled in on the porch and invited Brenda R to come by and sit on the front porch with us. She brought tomatoes from her garden. Yum! We sat on the front porch and visited and talked like it was 1949 or maybe 1959. We had a blast with occasional laughter thrown in for good measure. Dena and I stayed up past our bedtimes and as a result I slept till after 8:00 and she is still asleep. Buddy has finally situated herself on me that makes both of us happy. It is difficult to type with half a cat on the keyboard. Thankfully, she came to her senses and has moved back off the keyboard with half of her on the chair and the back half on my leg.

Roy bought a suit at Nordstrom with the assistance of one of the fine associates of The Nord yesterday. Nothing like texting pictures of suits and ties on the backroads of NC. It looks good on him and needed just a few alterations. He has been able to get away with blazer and slacks for dressy events the past few years, but he has a business dinner coming up that requires a suit. He has suits but from long ago and back in the day. Business casual is such a blessing until you require a suit.

For the second year in a row Dena and I have seen the colorful display of a rainbow from the front porch. It was kind of a double rainbow, but the second one faded out a bit very quickly. The birds are beginning to return to the feeders and we have seen lovely cardinals and all types of finches.

Yesterday was the hottest day. It was tough in Antler Hill Village but we rested and kept hydrated. We had the joy of walking with two employees of the Biltmore from the parking lot down to Traditions. Rachel is over the retail and Nick, in I T. Of course we had a blast visiting with them and I was able to tell them about Norma, a retail associate, whose kindness and friendliness has developed into a friendship over the years. Rachel loved that story and asked if I would email what I told them to the website and letters and emails like that are read aloud in management meetings. Loved that I was able to share an experience that has been a part of our coming back year after year and the total fun of us purchasing a home here.

I have rediscovered a love of my childhood. When Vivian and I went to the original Mast General Store several weeks ago, I bought some rock candy on string. Rock candy is nothing more and nothing less than sugar, crystallized sugar. Imagine my delight when I found rock candy already in little tiny pieces so you don't have to be patient for your sugar rush at the Mast store in Waynesville. Well, let's just say the trip from Waynesville to the Estate was quite a rush.

Ms Sleepy Head is up and we will soon be off to Weaverville where she is getting a spray tan. I will be at the grocery store.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Evening Reflections

We sat out on the porch and watched the daylight slowly fade to dusk. The cows began their evening journey from the back pasture toward the grass on the hill. Slowly, as they were mysteriously guided one by one both the big cows and the calfs made their way and soon they were all together, yet spread out. The fireflies began the evening show of lights while the full moon, the buck moon or hay moon slowly rose above the treetops. The birds made their songs known as they slowly settled into the tree homes they have built. A few, even a cardinal couple came to the feeder maybe even surprised to see dinner once again after an absence. Mike the Mower Man was here early cutting and weed eating the grass. I don't think he had a chance to mow since we left for Houston. The fragrance of cut grass lingered throughout the morning. He even got to the weeds near the trees that are newly planted and he removed the watering system he had devised. Back once again, home. My spirit quieted. The process begins a little once we see the rolling hills of Birmingham, then the mountains began rising in height in north Alabama, through Georgia on my mind and into Chattanooga TN. The great scenes of the Ocoee and past Ducktown, soon to cross the line into North Carolina. I'm like a horse headed to the barn, not much deters me making that last leg of the journey.

Dena and I left the lovely Holiday Inn for breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel. The reviews had been, nice hotel but don't eat breakfast there. The hotel had spillover golfers participating in the national tournament for high school and colleges, that 's why we could not stay in Ooltewah no room in the inn, We had a delightful breakfast conversation with two gentlemen who had moved there from the yankee land. A quick stop to fill up SequishShawn and we were on our way. We made a side trip to Merceir's. We were not disappointed and were able to get some apple cider donuts there. Dena has never had the opportunity to try them. She was pretty happy with breakfast this morning. As is our usual custom, we laughed and talked across those miles and soon found ourselves at The Blue Rooster for a late lunch. I do believe Miss Dena liked her fried chicken and the coconut cake was absolutely the bomb diggity. We waddled out to the truck and again made our way home. We unloaded and rested, then went to CVS to pick up prescriptions. Seemed like a little drive around was the best thing to do with the remaining daylight, so that is what we did.

This morning we were able to ease into the day. Drink coffee, eat breakfast which means donuts. We dined on the front porch in style. After getting cleaned up we headed over to Op-Tix. I wanted Dena's help in picking out new frames. Found some for both glasses and sunglasses. Dena even hit the jackpot by finding some sunglasses on sale. Our next stop was lunch at Twisted Laurel. Oh my goodness! Such a great lunch! We went to a gallery and then went to the Karat Patch and praise the Lord, they change out Brighton batteries on watches. A stop at an ice cream is very draining and calorie burning. I think we might make a return again. A quick trip to The Fresh Market and we were home. Such a fun day.

It is now Wednesday evening and another full day is coming to an end. We got up earlier than yesterday and headed out the door at 10:00. Our first stop the post office so Dena could get some stamps. We made our way toward Micaville and I do believe Dena hit the jackpot in finding gifts and things for herself. We drove over to Little Switzerland. Oh my goodness, the scenery is beautiful! We ate lunch there, delicious as usual, did a little shopping, stopped and took some pictures and then headed toward Spruce Pine. Spruce Pine should have better signage and that is just about all I am going to say about that. Then we began our journey to Burnsville. We went into a few shops and Dena even found some pants and a shirt at a really cute shop. Since the day was turning into late afternoon we took the beautiful drive through Mars Hill and Marshall. I think Dena fell in love with Marshall. In fact I think she wants to go back. I told her the stories that Inez and Velda had told me while we sat there by the old high school now turned artist studios. Since we had hardly eaten anything all day...ahem...we stopped at DQ for ice cream cones and then at CVS for two out of three prescriptions. The other one wasn't ready.

Such a fun and full day with little respites. Resting up this evening for another day of adventure tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Road Trippin' With Dena

Good morning from Covington LA.  Refreshed from a good night’s sleep. Dena and I started out yesterday morning for the journey back to the mountains. Since she has moved to a foreign land it is not as easy as it used to be when she lived in Rancho de Five. An hour later we loaded her things in and took off for points east. First stop Buc-ees. Then a quick stop by her mother’s and we were off on our road trip about 10:30. A stop in Sulfur for a potty break at CB and then a stop at the gas station to fill up before we made our trek across the swamps and bayous and the big crossing over the Mississippi River. We had a little traffic and a few stoppages but nothing major like you can experience on this most boring route of I 10 from Texas through Louisiana. I was focused to get us through Baton Rouge in a timely manner and I had told Dena once we had done that, I would be lots more fun. And yes, just around Denham Springs, we had a dance party in the car. A miracle transpired in those fun moments, Dena finally danced in the car! She never dances even with the encouragement from Lisa P and me. We had a blast and it made the time go by quickly for our first stop in Hammond. We had a late lunch at East of Italy which was delicious and we did a little shopping. Next we moseyed down the road to our stop we were most looking forward to, Cafe DuMond. Yum! Yum! Yum! 

By the time we had eaten and with an early morning start and hard rain and traffic this girl was done. I had hit the wall, no more energy…done, stick a fork in me. I had just enough energy to check in and go to the room. OK, I mustered enough energy to go get ice and a Diet Coke, then in for the night. By 8:30 jammies on and pillow over my head. I haven’t a clue when Dena closed down her side of the room but I slept really well and she has reported the same results, a good nights sleep. 

I left my compression socks in Katy. They help my heart not have to work so hard when I am in the heat and then sitting for periods of time in the truck driving. When I was doing all the Dr appointments this past week, the decision was made for me to have bilateral knee replacement. If you are like me I needed some ‘splaining on this one…this means they are going to replace both of my knees at the same time. Dr Smith, after looking at my X-rays returned with a somber look. I thought he is going to tell me I have cancer of the knee, but no, it was to tell me he thought the best way to handle this is to do it all at one time because….no pun intended…I didn’t have a good leg to stand on while recovering. This means about five hours in surgery and a longer rehab time, which means a harder rehab process. I told Roy after reading several blogs and articles, we will probably need to hire someone to help with me for the first two weeks. I’m encouraged by what I have read but know it will be painful and lots of hard work but the end result is worth it not having the constant pain and aggravation. So, we have scheduled surgery. I will also have to attend joint camp and meet all those who will be with me pre, present and post surgery. Then you do all your labs. I will also need to get my cardiologist to sign off on being under anesthesia for so long and to make sure my heart can stand the time. 

We began in Covington and now we are in Chattanooga. On eastern time zone and we had dinner at Abuelo's.  So delicious! Since it is Sunday all the stores closed at 6:00, but it is thundering anyway, so we came back to the hotel. We are on the top floor and have a lovely view of the Waffle House. 

We made it home and due to the fact I will keep adding to this and never get it posted, I am posting now. Stay tuned, we might have a guest blogger in the next few days.   

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday Round Up...It's Still Hot!

Only one more doctor appointment for this trip and it is in the morning. Today, I have time to catch up on energy because I was out the door at 8:45 am, returned home for ten minutes to bring some things in from Goode Company, grabbed a yogurt, ate a nectarine and out the door to my 1:30 appointment for injections and consultation from the orthopedic doctor. Since Consuela is here on Wednesday afternoons, I needed to stay out of the house. Several weeks ago a rock hit my windshield and cracked it...South Carolina...  So, I went to the windshield repair place and had the crack and a small little nick taken care of. They fix everything while you sit in the comfort of your air conditioned car. Since I was close to the bank, I ran over there to use the ATM. Then I hit the mother load of traffic on Cinco Ranch Blvd mainly due to a lane closure across from La Centerra. All the little cut throughs came back to me and I executed a u turn and headed over to Home Goods. I know now just get the basket when coming inside because there is always something that needs to make its way home. I did not leave the store empty handed. The Katy Home Goods is just about my favorite because it is truly all home goods. By this time it was after 5:00 and Roy told me that Consuela is usually gone by then and she was. I brought in the minimum and flopped down on the couch exhausted and hardly moved off of it for the rest of the evening. Even the very tempting offer of Bahama Mama's to meet Peggy couldn't pry me off. I settled in to watch WWII in color and slept through critical information and formation of the why and how of the beginning of that war. Then there was all the reloading from streaming and I got weary of waiting while watching the story of lightning like movements of the panzer tank division.

I know two doctor appointments in a day is nothing to so many unfortunately, but it is a lot of information to process. My cardiologist is so pleased with my numbers. My heart episodes have gone down to less than 2%, They gave me part of my monitor read out and it is interesting to see how long episodes last and the long ones, I could remember just about every one of them. The episodes have increased since being in hot Houston and that is no surprise. So cool mountains, with less stress and staying within my parameters is paying off. He could tell a huge difference from the previous year. It is difficult sometimes to stay in the parameters when I know it is the best thing for me and fun is calling my name.

The Yard of the Month guys were just here which meant I had to do a stealth sneak back to our bedroom. The family room has Roman shades so I didn't want to scare the guys by them seeing me with dirty hair and in my jammies. I had forgotten about these kinds of things. I know Abel and his crew will be here this afternoon to cut and trim but the Yard of the Month guys do the fertilizing and the weed kill application to the yard. They come once a month on Thursdays, but it has long gone from my brain what Thursday that happens to be.

Good thing I had just finished up with the chat feature on When my session timed out while doing early shopping before the Anniversary Sale, the ship to address reverted to Katy and not on NC like I had changed previously. When I saw the error, I got on the chat line to see if a manual fix could be implemented. Caught it in time.

The hours are counting down and I wrap up this portion of living in the heat and hot. Next week it is supposed to be even hotter here and it will be hot in NC but at least there are the cool mornings and evenings.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Good Tuesday to Ya on Thursday

Our home here is still surrounded by a plenteous number of mockingbirds. Being territorial makes them fun to watch as they dive bomb one another and other birds that dare get in the way. For a bit of time they are loyal to their spouse and children, but once the birds have left the nest, it is every bird for itself in the territorial game. I watched a couple of mockingbirds on the back fence last night and the viewing didn't disappoint. There are lots of mockingbirds where we live in NC but they seem content to stay in the tops of trees and sing, loudly of course, from the wires. So it is a treat to once again observe these funny, dive bombing birds but I am missing my cardinals.

The temperature gauge in the car hit a 100 on the way home from the Galleria. Walking into this heavy heat and humidity in the mornings is energy zapping. Roy just emailed me that it was 81 degrees this morning at 5:00 am. Yesterday, the morning began at the doctor office. The building my doctor is in has gone from plenty of parking to grab a space while you can. The spaces seem small and SequishShawn so big. All went well but that's because I did my labs at the end of the appointment. Soon the results will be posted on my online My Chart. Since it was a fasting appointment it seemed like the good thing to eat lunch before venturing out into even worse traffic and road conditions. Many an evening as I have sat on the front porch visions of orange chicken from Fu's Garden danced in my head. Their sauce is the best around. Since I was just down the street and hopefully not too many people filling up parking lot yet, I made my way to Fu's. Grabbed a good parking spot, even able to back in since there was little to no activity in the lot yet. Ah, orange are so good. A quick lunch and then I launched into traffic on San Felipe heading toward Whole Earth Provision Company to check out their Flax clothes. Not too much of a choice on the sale rack but I was able to procure a few items that will work into the fall. The store itself is filled with interesting books, shoes, clothes, and has a huge children's area. Loved looking around and even checked on availability of some shoes I liked, but no dice. All the other big footed women in Houston had beat me to the shoes. That sent me next door to DSW to look around and didn't see anything, well at least in big feet size, that I liked. Then I got brave and ventured over to The Galleria and oddly enough not to go to The Nord but to Macy's. Nothing close by the Macy's end of the garage but I did find a close spot at the Nordstrom end. I didn't walk down to Macy's because almost every time I have in the past, I have experienced a panic attack or a semi attack. I haven't analyzed the reason but I suspect in my nonprofessional opinion that I relive an experience I had early on in this heart journey thing. So into The Nord I went and again I have to say, I'm disappointed in the changes. Maybe it is just me, an older type, that wants the Nord to be what it was in 2003 when it opened in Houston. Gone now is the Home Dept which had become my favorite part in the store. This added to the fact they did away with the customer service area as well as the piano. Instead of the sleek feel of the store it just felt oddly empty. I bought some pants and the trademark, walk around to hand you your bag has left the building. They slop over the bag across the counter just like every other store. Still love The Nord but more so online shopping rather than in person.

Since the Westpark Toll Road is so close to The Galleria that was my choice of the way home and that put me by Hobby Lobby for a quick look in. By this time I just wasn't feeling it because of the heat. That trip was short and I came home and found coolness and comfort on the couch which also included a nap. I think it surprised Roy that I stayed home last evening. On Monday night Peggy and I met Marcia at Escalante's for dinner. We had a great time catching up with each other and there was plenty of laughter to be had. We got the scowl from our waitress to vacate the table and being good people we left her more tip on the table for any lost revenue on her part. Our conversation continued outside but it was limited to my ability to take the heat even with a great breeze blowing.

All in all it was a good Tuesday,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday...Another Hot One

It is funny how a real life experience can meet up with a real life spiritual experience. I have to admit I love driving around on all the back roads around our NC home. Even the freeways are mostly two lanes and while sometimes it feels a bit aggravating when all the cars overwhelms the dated infrastructure, I can just look to the hills and mountains knowing my help doesn't come from them but they are sure nice to gaze upon when one is found in stand still traffic. Here, in Houston, there are multiple lanes...sometimes six lanes on just one side of the freeway and most of the time they are jam packed. In the Asheville area, the traffic infractions that usually lead to wrecks comes from trying to cross a road with little time to spare. There are not as many traffic lights to give an opportunity to cross the road just like the chicken we read about, so ya gots to take ya's chances. Here in Houston the traffic infraction is, oh, you left three inches of room between you and the car in front of you...let me just merge right in there. It is really bad here with that. So, I'm on the way to church, just starting to go onto the ramp that takes me to I 10, when a woman begins to merge in the three inches between me and the other car. Man, I lay on the horn...even until she is in the lane that I so graciously, uh yes, graciously, allowed her into. She waves her hand at me like, it's your fault for leaving that much space, WHAT? It might have been a good thing that she was heading west and I toward the east. In those brief seconds I realized I could get really angry about the whole thing or just keep calm and drive to church. I chose calm, thankfully. The whole drive toward church my initial reaction bothered me because I think I believed that my former way of dealing with traffic and the idiots, I mean blessings, that drive the other cars had been redeemed. It had come under Christ's control...fruit of the Spirit...the whole deal and that morning I had to realize the only thing that had changed was my location and the lack there in of this kind of traffic and madness. It had only been removed by changing locations. Yes, you can still get aggravated there in those scenic mountains, but that's just it, the beauty is so overwhelming that you really don't care. have to look for the beauty. Right now dust from Africa has blown over the Atlantic Ocean, into the Gulf of Mexico and right onto shore making Houston and the surrounding areas one big hazy and dusty scene. The dust seems to intensify the heat, holding all that heat in that reflects from all the concrete. I think I even said to Roy it is so hot, the heat is making the sky look like melted blue.

I get to church, park onsite since I'm not a member anymore but a guest. OK, I parked onsite as a member most Sundays....anyway, church service, awesome. Then comes LBS which used to be called SBS but started out as SS which means Sunday School. As Jennifer Kennedy Dean made a point about the flesh, what it is, what engages it, why does God use it for our freedom (changing us) and why the enemy likes to use it and guessed it, one of her examples was when a car pulls right in front of you. Hello, JKD must have been an invisible passenger in the car that morning. So, I could be happy that it didn't go to anger but my reaction wasn't really a resurrected reaction. Really, that means there is nothing really to be happy about but the fact grace is extended and the opportunity to do good will come again. JKD mentioned that maybe God uses that person in the car to get your attention to intercede for them because maybe you are the only person that will. Ouch!

This trip is getting a point home to me, Katy, no longer my home. Each time I take things from our home in Katy for our home in NC, a little less of me exists here. As I walked through the halls of church, I barely even knew or recognized anyone but if I was still there and involved, most likely I would. Thankfully FB can keep up with lives but those who are my closest friends, well, we will have to be intentional about communication because it doesn't take much to become a nostalgic friendship. Right now we all do a pretty good job with this but it will only become harder as the years go by.  You might be thinking well duh! Is this just now a revelation to you? Of course not and sitting here in our air conditioned home, trying to get my body to cooperate and be on its best behavior for the doctors, I know my heart has turned and focuses on getting back to the mountains. Roy and I talked about this yesterday and the plans are for more times in NC than me coming back here. This means, in earnest, I need to start finding doctors there and drop this mid summer visit cause it sucks the life out of me. With the whole hip thing in January I have recovered quickly yes, but not feeling as good as the year before. My endurance is slowly but surely recovering and getting my afib in better check is a top priority. It is happening too much lately, even the little events which only last for a still all exhausts me.

Well, those are the thoughts of today...a little too warm and hot with a lot of humidity.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Logical and Orderly Update

The pace I have been keeping of late needed to be supplemented with a nap this afternoon. I have kind of gotten out of the habit of the Sunday afternoon nap, only having one once in a while but today when Roy asked what time I would like to be awakened, I gave him a time because if he didn't I might just sleep through the afternoon and evening.

After a fun and full Friday with Lisa P, I was ready for a fun Saturday beginning with a trip to a foreign land to see my friend's new house. OK, she doesn't live in a foreign land but only in Spring TX. North Houston area is like a foreign land to me. I almost always got lost trying to find the tennis courts when we would play HLTA matches in the Woodlands. North Houston is just a place to pass through going somewhere else or at least that has been the thought in the past. When Dena took me to see her house being built in January, we had to go the most confusing way, at least for me to get there since TX 99 wasn't completed yet. Now 99 is open and it was a breeze to get there...a long breeze but so worth it. Her home is beautiful! She had made brunch for us and it was delicious. We had an all too brief time of catching up but that doesn't even concern us cause we know we have extended visiting time ahead. I came back to Katy, rested a bit and then took off for SW Houston to spend the evening with friends who had been a part of the Tuesday Night Bible Study with Beth Moore praise team. Not to scare anyone that I led with them, I am their mascot. Oh my goodness, we had the best time and laughed hard at stories we shared. Lisa P, CourtneyS and I introduced the movie The Bad Seed to them. It is always best to see that movie for the first time with a group. I stayed out much too late and way past my bedtime. Pro-lots of lighting on the drive home. Cons-it is a long way home. I have gotten used to being so close to just about everything I do in NC.

Saturday night into Sunday morning was rather short, but I got up and went to church. The pastor at First Baptist takes a sabbatical month every summer and filling in for him Sunday was Dr Fred Luter, Pastor of Franklin Avenue Church in New Orleans and past president of the SBC. God gifted that man with preaching and teaching. I love to sit under his teaching although I always leave the service while hearing him with a cramp in my hand from writing so quickly and so much from his sermon. The worship led by the choir and orchestra of First Baptist was God honoring and the bonus, Lisa P singing Say Amen with the choir. But wait a minute....that's not all. Dayspring, my former Sunday School class, is studying prayer and using a book by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Carole Lewis, one of the teachers of the class, is friends with Jennifer. So, Jennifer was in Dallas for a conference, flew in to Houston, taught Sunday School and then flew out to spend time with the grand kids. Double cramped hand time because Jennifer is a great teacher and so logically puts her talks together. I had to leave class early but I ordered her book Altar'd on Amazon when I got home.

Roy fixed ribs and veggies on the grill, then I napped the afternoon away. We also had a surprise visit from our friend David who brought a book to me that he thought I might enjoy and he thought right.

The appointments with doctors begins tomorrow. Thankful to have the driver's license taken care of.

When I recouped from surgery in January - March here, I think my focus truly was on rehabbing and getting back home in the mountains. So, I didn't notice how much our home in Katy has Roy's fingerprint throughout and there is less of my touch here. Well, I almost totally "shopped" from our home for furnishing our home in the mountains. The things I have noticed is Roy likes having little gadgets around. He has a thermometer in the garage to remind him it is hot. Uh, I just go by feels like on that one. He has a squeegee in the shower. We purposely had ribbed glass installed because we are not squeegee people but apparently, we must be. Roy has this not for looks but to keep the humidity levels down in the bathroom. There are all kinds of kitchen gadgets he has added. He has an orderly and logically arranged home. Uh, yes, me too only NC is arranged in my orderly and logical way.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Make A Move...No, It's Too Hot

While running errands I tried not to notice the temperature rising up to 99 degrees and I surely didn't want to look at the heat index. Lucky us, our phones alert us to all things we need or don't want to know and the heat alert kept going off. Oddly, the storm alert was going off on my phone as well for NC.

So, I got a later start to the day, you know just like normal. Anyway, I decided I should go over to Memorial City today instead of running errands around here. I was able to find what I was looking for and well, yes, I did find a few more things than what I was looking for. Since I was close by Three Brothers Bakery, I stopped in to get a few gingerbread men. Three Brothers has been a part of my life since growing up in southwest Houston. Lots of birthday cakes served, danish, cookies and their famous gingerbread men. Then when Roy and I first were married our apartment was close by, close enough to walk over to the bakery on a nice day. So, I relived a little bit of history stopping by the store and yes, those cookies are still made the same way and taste so good. I also made a quick trip over to Town and Country and then came on home.

Well, it is now Friday evening. I have had a very fun day. Lisa P and I met at Lotus for pedicures. Sometimes it is hard to have a pedicure when someone wears skinny jeans and has great difficulty getting the legs pulled up to her knees and even more difficult when it came time to lower them back to their original starting point. That Lisa! We went to Las Alamadas for lunch and then a stop at Bahama Mamas for a cool treat. Since we were close to Peggy's and knew she and the fam would be out on the lake, we went on over. Hot but a good time. Then Lisa and I came on back here and laughed and talked till she had to go on home.

The theme so far is the heat. Thankfully, we are inside keeping cool.

Now it is Saturday morning. Roy and I stayed around home last night. Both of us tired and needing rest. He was up early and out the door for Bible study. It is his Saturday to bring breakfast. I am going to see Dena's new home this morning. I saw it in the framing process and looking forward to the finished product. She now lives about an hour away from Katy which in Houston terms is almost like being separated by long distance Katy to NC.In some ways it would harder to live here and know that the hour drive and traffic would hinder lunches and dinners. I am thrilled for this adventure for her. It was the right move to make.

Well, I better make a move to start getting ready. It's a head washing morning...a saying that came from one of Dena's and my trips.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Three Days Journey....

Greetings from the land of Hou-midity. It's hot here but so thankful for our safe journey and arrival. I am so glad I didn't make a lab appointment for early this morning because I don't think I would have made it.

We got a good start on Monday before noon. We made a side trip close to Blue Ridge Georgia at Merceir's Orchard. It was later in the afternoon so pickings were slim but we were able to get some apple cider donuts to bring back for friends, more of the grits and cornmeal from the local mill, and some early apples. Back on the road to Chattanooga where we had dinner and did a little bit of shopping. July 4th would usually mean a busy day at the mall around here but it was the least busy and the roads less hectic than any other time I have been there. We checked into the hotel and they had upgraded us to a suite. That was really nice due to the extra room with seating area away from the TV. Roy was able to watch and I was able to take a pre-nap before going to sleep for the night. When we went downstairs for breakfast the next morning we had a delightful elevator ride and conversation with a group from east Texas going to youth camp at Ridgecrest in NC. Never made it to Ridgecrest or Glorietta as a student. The reality of student ministry looks the same no matter where you are. Sleepy kids, tons of luggage and lots of laughter. One of the sponsors was quite chatty and I enjoyed her conversation about these kids and how much she loved volunteering with students to ground them in the Word and knowing Jesus but with lots of love and laughter.

Roy and I hit the road before 8:00 am and went through heavy rain in Georgia and Alabama. I think that is some of the rain that we got at home in NC later in the day. We have needed it. Lunch in Meridian and we got to Covington around 3:30. First stop Academy to pick up new LSU gear and then we had a late lunch early dinner at The Olive Garden. They weren't that busy so we were able to get in and then get out quickly. Dessert was at Cafe DuMond in Covington. Oh the bliss of that glorious thought...but I wore black capris, so the powdered sugar was all over me. Dena, Lisa P and I have very fond memories of our experience in the DuMond. Like Dena said, she still laughs at that time and just as much as if it happened yesterday. Roy and I made a Sephora stop cause you know Roy loves all things that pertain to makeup and then headed to the hotel. So suite in Chattanooga and we were on the first floor in a semi designed room for semi handicapped. That is me to a T. We had decided to get up at 4:00 on be on the road to go through Baton Rouge and over the Atchafalaya bridge. That meant we went to bed around 8:00 pm. I was so restless and couldn't sleep because I had a short burst of afib, probably from all the sugar and the stress of driving through blinding rain, that evening and knew I would not sleep well till it settled down. Now this next thing is so funny.... I finally fall asleep but I am awakened by music...I hear choir or a group singing worthy is the Lamb that was slain...and the sound of that fills our room. Now, I hadn't opened my eyes yet and as I hear this music swirling about me I wonder when I open my eyes will I be in heaven? Will I see Jesus and be welcomed by my mother? It was all very thrilling and I took my time to open my eyes cause I knew what I was about to see would be....dare I say it and use the word correctly in a sentence for something truly that would be....AMAZING? I opened my eyes and I was still in a semi handicapped hotel room in Covington with a snoring husband right beside me....and the music was coming from the room next door. Our rooms had one of those connecting doors and that is why I could hear the music for clearly. As the hymn says a foretaste of glory divine.

We actually were on the road by 4:30 am and stopped in Sulfur for breakfast about 7:30 am. We made a Buc-ees stop in Baytown and arrived in Katy about 11:30 to a house with the fire alarm going off. Long story short, hot waiting outside for Fire Department, they inspected the attic and house for evidence of fire and found a sensor had gone bad on one of the alarms. Scary but thankful it was nothing more serious. After unpacking the car and a little rest, we headed out to the Texas Driver License office to renew my license. It was an in person year. Didn't take too long, then a stop at the grocery store. Roy picked up dinner and then I was off to choir practice at Houston's First Baptist. This is the last rehearsal before their summer break. So fun to see friends and to sit between CourtneyS and Lisa P. Heard and rehearsed new John Bolin music and hear about the conference he attended and help lead in Gatlinburg TN with Lifeway and about 600 worship leaders. Exciting times for sure! Left there and drove over to Peggy's delivering apple cider donuts for she and her crew of family in for the holiday. I came home and crashed. No angel loud air conditioning....just the sound of a snoring Roy and that my friends is a sound I can sleep through....well, most nights anyway.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Thursday....Friday....So Far

This morning the battle scene of the wounded and dead from Gone With the Wind look like it had been played out on my driveway. You know the scene where the camera pans out and there are thousands lying on the ground. Dead ants everywhere. I saw last night where they were moving to which is way across the driveway to where I have been battling the weeds and vines. I'll hit that spot tonight but the battle is real with weeds and ants. These aren't even fire ants and they don't bite you but they eat at your plants and also find themselves wound up and trapped in spider webs. I don't like spiders either but I can only juggle two wars at one time.

SequishShawn had his 5000 mile checkup today. Usually I pack a lot of things to keep me occupied while waiting and here recently it has only been about an hour. With that in mind I didn't bring my iPad but the book I am reading and a small journal. I also usually bring my own Diet Coke and snack items but since the appointment was early I felt sure I would be at The Moose Cafe in time for breakfast. Today they had to align the truck tires and that added an hour to the wait. No problem I'll just get a Diet Coke but the fountain machine wasn't working properly. They did get that fixed. Fortunately no one was sitting in my favorite chair there, so I checked emails and FB then started to read. Out of the corner of my eye I could sense someone was standing close by and determining whether they should sit in the chair next to me. I decided not to make eye contact and continued reading. Finally, the man sat down next to me and said, "Guess you are going to be my date." I don't even remember what I said back to him but it cracked him up. He then let me know that my dating competition was an advisor when you check in and I said, go with the younger woman cause you'll have a trophy date. He didn't miss a beat and said no, I'll stick with you because you're more experienced." We were both eating peanuts so we did have that in common. I checked my phone and he asked me, "are you already cheating on me?" Nah, just checking messages and we laughed and had a delightful conversation. He and his wife have a condo close to Bryson and they go back to Florida for the winter. They had just come back from a six week trip out west where he rode his bike to the top of Pike's peak, hiked the Grand Canyon and I forget all the other outdoorsy stuff they did. The man is 72 years old and fit. He told me stories from their lives and all quite interesting. I shared some of our stories with him. We both have a sense of humor and we both like having fun and laughing. His conversation made that extra time go by in a breeze. We began entertaining our section of the waiting room and we had one lady in stitches. Then his car was ready before mine and we said goodbye. We never said our first names and his last name rhymed with a character from one of my favorite movies. I truly enjoy the friendliness here cause at first I have to admit I wasn't too happy for this man to sit next to me. I think if I was there working on my iPad, we would have never had a conversation. When everything had been aligned and checked out I made my way to The Moose Cafe for lunch now that it was 11:40. They sat me at a table in between tables meant for big groups and wouldn't you know it, a group came in and they sat on the left and right of me. I was dividing them. It was a good thing I was almost finished with lunch but we struck up a conversation. They were a church group and they had just come Lake Lure. I enjoyed talking with them.
It is now Friday. I worked in the garage a bit yesterday and took a large load to the landfill followed by a trip to the Post Office and then the grocery store. I was resting a bit when Brenda called me and asked if I would like to come over for breakfast today. Well, yes, that would be awesome. So this morning I went to her home and had a delicious breakfast of an omelet, bacon, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies, and grits. Yum! I loved seeing her home and we both share that rustic chic taste in things. Her husband Larry has landscaped their yard with beautiful trees and flowers and a Koi pond. From the top of their ridge you can see the TN mountain range. They also have five baby skunks which is not a good thing but they are so dang cute...from a distance of course. We had a great visit and Brenda even sent me home with supper.

There is so much for me to finish up today and I am not even in the mood to do the work but I best be getting myself into the mood. But maybe first a little twenty minute nap.