Sunday, January 31, 2016

What A Difference A Week Makes

What a difference a week makes in recovery. Just one week ago I was hardly able to do much beyond pulling on some warm up pants and putting on a t shirt. No socks or shoes...the long ordeal of putting on all the lotions and creams for my knees and feet as well as changing the bandage on the incision daily, plus not only changing it but applying hydrogen peroxide on it before wrapping it all back up seemed like a several hour affair. I took a long look at all those staples today...I am already praying and plan on loading up Wednesday on pain pills to get through the whole office supply process of staple removal. This morning I took a shower, washed my hair in the shower, got dressed, applied lotion and bandage, got my socks and shoes on and after such a huge accomplishment I sang a song to myself, "I'm a big girl now!" Then I watched cartoons...Bugs Bunny Classic cartoons. I love them! I did all of this while Roy was at Bible study, then getting a hair cut and doing a few errands. I'm tired but so very happy that progress is being made.

Roy has been home and now he is off once again going to the grocery store, cleaners, CVS, and Katy Christian Ministries. Once he gets everything settled around here, he plans to ride his trek and I think he deserves a long, good ride while the weather is perfect for such a thing.He has been such a good caregiver and he is so patient but most of all he is so wise on many of the major things. Now on some of the smaller stuff...well, let's say we agree to disagree.

I have been making notes but not really journaling thoughts about everything since January 18th. The observations have been noted though. I think life is much more fragile here than in NC. You would think that might just be the opposite. There is less margin here, there is little time unless you decide to make the time to do things or not do things. Reputations and perceived disruptions to ego run on a thin edge here and it is veiled too often as ministry or work to knock someone down or ignore. Seems that things here are quick to go to periscope from church staffs and let it be yet another teachable moment that can come via social media and without a personal touch. I have enjoyed being away from practiced people and teachable moment people. Sometimes, you just need a laugh or a break or someone to listen; you don't need someone telling you how they have perfected life in church, family and in personal things, most often this is men telling you all these things. Women on periscope are more likely to share. While I have learned much from have a purpose or big dream preachers, somewhere we have lost the thought that every moment in life doesn't have to be the big moment. It doesn't have to be a moment that has been so rehearsed and practiced, nor does it necessarily have to be a teachable moment. I will take back with me the kindness that has been extended to us from friends who know what it means not to have to think about a meal because it is just an additional one more thing. I will long remember these days when laughter was the medicine and when encouragement came heartfelt from friends that are more far than near as in keeping in touch with on a regular basis. Carol Kelly has spoken volumes to me as she has encouraged me on FB. This morning Diane Wells called and encouraged us as well as having a few good laughs. These are women who have or are going through some thing...

Now on this Sunday morning as Roy has gone to church and I am reading and praying, these quiet moments are welcomed. I won't have as long to ease into the morning because when Roy gets home from church, we are going on a field trip. Yesterday, Dena drove SequishShaun and took us out for a late lunch. We went to Red River BBQ and had fried shrimp and onion rings. For dessert we stopped at Bahama Bucks and got shaved ice treats and took one home to Roy. Neither one of us had ever had one of these from BB.  Then we came back here and the three of us visited and had a few good laughs. It is exciting to hear about all of Dena's new adventures and her upcoming big move to the north side of town.

Inez sent me the Madison County newspaper with an article about an event that happened during the  War of Northern Aggression (I momentarily forgot how to spell Civil). She has promised to take me to the area where all this took place. Oh my, I was so happy to see that envelope in the stack of mail Roy brought in.

It is almost time for me to begin my morning grooming.  Happy Sunday Y'all!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Easy To Entertain and Amuse

I love how God surprises us with good things when we least expect it. Today was one of those days. Sometime in the middle of the night one of those thoughts sneaked past me, you know the kind that potentially can drain you of hope. It could be one of those kinds of things where the seed is planted and you didn't realize it but thankfully, I knew where the thought was coming from, so I returned it to sender by the way of giving it to God. And honestly, I was less than enthusiastic about having an early PT. Which reminds me I have not shared the ordeal we went through on Saturday with the nurse assessment. That situation did not lend itself to a stellar attitude toward this home health care company. There were those times I wanted to strongly suggest to Roy we turn our attention to another provider yet I could never bring myself to say anything. This morning once again I am glad I didn't respond so quickly because this morning the PT guy arrived bringing with him his Eastern Tennessee accent. As he was filling me in on some details I could only listen to his accent complete with a little twang and finally had to ask him if he was from ET or WNC. I knew exactly where he had lived and for that moment here on the prairie I felt I was on the mountain. He has found love here and is engaged but he misses the mountains and he knew exactly how I felt as I shared with him my inspiration to get back as quickly as it was safely to do so. The appointment I dreaded turned out to be joy in the morning. Any little setbacks I sense from time to time melted away this morning that the hard work will be worth it all.

I wrote that on Thursday and now it is Saturday morning. It is foggy out here on the prairie and it is making me feel right at home. Roy made coffee this morning and he went out and bought me a couple of donuts as a surprise before he headed on out to Bible study. It is quiet and only a few birds are hanging out on the fence. I just now moved over to the study because I spent the early morning hours in the chair Roy set up for me to watch the birds.

Wednesday afternoon Peggy drove me to the doctor office. I felt as if I might have an infection and the hospital had recommended anyway to check in with my GP. We realized Peggy would need to drive SequishShawn because it might have been nearly impossible for me to get out of her car without experiencing a lot of pain. After the doctor we headed over to Escalante's for lunch. I love their salsa and spinach enchilada with roasted corn sauce lunch plate. As per our custom of living the life of ADD, our conversations were all over the place, some left unfinished and some revisited because we got off on a bunny trail. I returned home exhausted but full of joy.

Yesterday Lisa P came over and spent the day with me. She brought lunch...yum...and we watched old movies. We kind of decided on Mildred Pierce and we found similar themes with The Bad Seed and Imitation of Life. Music and lighting in this black and white standard film noir is excellent and adds to the telling of the story. Becky S from CBS Bible study stopped in with dinner for us. Yummy and spicy tamales from the valley. I guess the Lord really knew how much I have longed for and wanted Mexican food in North Carolina. Our table and refrigerator overflowth and for this we are so grateful.

I have always been able to amuse or entertain myself since being a child. Everything can and will be turned into something playful when it is truly meant for a serious purpose. Right now I am wondering what I should do with extra Depends we have acquired. I am sure I can find something festive to make with them. The number of realtors calling since we had to unlist our home diminishes day by day. But thankfully, a telemarketer calls every once in a while. I had fun with one yesterday as I believed he was a former boyfriend and of course I imagined we had had a bad breakup. I can fake cry and sob at the drop of a hat and that talent went straight into gear. Call me and tell me my extended warranty on a car we no longer own is seriously in peril.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


It is a lovely overcast Wednesday morning here in Rancho de Five. The morning is even more beautiful because I got the most restful sleep since returning on Friday from Lafayette last night. I decided to start out on the couch because it is not fair to Roy for all my tossing and turning...well, the way I am moving tossing and turning wouldn't be correct...anyway, I wanted to be thoughtful of his time and rest. He comes home from the office and steps into caregiver role. He does it so well, but I don't want to burden him. I fell asleep around 10:00 and woke up to watch some Seinfeld from 11:15 till midnight. Went back to sleep till 3:00 and then walkered it to bed and slept till 7:00. Disjointed but it worked. I can ease into the morning and I am taking full advantage of that.

A week ago today I was just coming out of surgery and I only know this after being told. I was not awake...  Yesterday, was probably my hardest day since the autumble on Monday. Yes, I have found a variation of use for one of my very favorite words, autumnal. The day began early. Although my hip does not hurt, the muscles connected to it on my backside can start aching. Truly then I am a pain in the butt. I felt like I might be fighting something other than recovering in my body. I was tired, listless and pooped out at parties...shout out to I Love Lucy.... I feel swollen and bloated all over. Any kind of movement zapped me of energy. So what does one do when it hurts to read or write, you watch the American Hero Chanel. It was a riveting afternoon of watching about the body guards of H^t(er. Then when I just couldn't take anymore watching about the depravity of man and propaganda, it was time to turn over and watch The Andy Griffith Show. My friends tease me that my now religious watching of the show is my way of being in NC. Hmmm...maybe but Andy and the group were supposedly located in the Piedmont area of the state, not the mountains. Although the Darlings came out of the mountains as well as Ernest T Bass. I think I am watching the show with new eyes after reading the book about Andy and Don Knott's friendship throughout the years. You get all the gossip of behind the scenes. Andy and Ms Krump were having an affair while she was on the show.

Roy fixed up a wonderful spot for me. In the room formally known as the dining room but casually we called and used it as the reading room, he put an Amish recliner and ottoman out of his study and put it facing the windows. He added a small side table and lamp. He took my book bags and such and arranged them for me to get to easily.  The birds hang out by these windows and although the birds aren't as colorful or as varied as the ones in NC, I am enjoying them just the same. I think I am seeing a fifth generation of mockingbirds who build their nests in our front trees. I thought I noticed a Carolina Wren stopping by from time to time and I was right! Yes!

I'm enjoying all the Blue Grass music on the Appalachian Americans FB page. Love, love, love Blue Grass. I have loved it since I was a little girl, which was a long, long time ago. I have it playing in the background and the music is being accompanied by the sound of mowers and edgers out on the green space by the house.

Since we have temporarily taken our home off the market, we have been deluged with calls from other agents and realty firms wanting to list our house, assuming, we were not happy with our agent. Nothing could be further from the truth but recovery from a broken hip doesn't mesh too well with our decor. Agent: "see how spacious the bathroom is, with a five by five walk in shower, separate vanities and look, even a potty chair fits nicely over the commode."Uh, no.  Since we didn't know the numbers on the Caller ID and since we are waiting on calls from PT, we had to answer. Roy is firm but polite and hangs up. I on the other hand am looking for amusement, so I have fun with them. My favorite is when I answer in my old lady voice that I developed after hearing my crazy friend Debbie's grandmother talk. My second favorite "bit" is to keep them on the phone by talking about a never ending story about my recent fall and recover. These people cannot wait to get off the phone with me. I can feel the tension especially when I describe how my foot hung to the right and could not be moved into a straight position for nothing or no one.

Well, I suppose I should go comb my hair and clean up a bit. Emily is coming over with lunch from Zoe's today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Prepare to Pick Up Mat

When we last left off in the story, I had just arrived in the hospital room where I was greeted by the charge and my nurse that day, Kim and nursing assistant Janet. While they were asking me questions a quiet little tap came on the door and it was Skylar, the patient advocate, that had encouraged me so much in the ER. Once Skylar left, we continued on with the business at hand. So I arrived from the ER dressed in an open back gown with my clothes placed on the bed but I still had on my panties. Kim, in her kind but firm manner let me know they were going to have to come off. I replied, I barely know you can we get to know one another a little bit before this event has to take place. She and Janet started laughing. I had hesitated on saying that because you know, they probably hear that all the time but in Kim's ten years of nursing, she hadn't. We bonded immediately over our love of walking on the beach, getting caught in the rain and a general disregard for minivans. Over the coming days Janet was my nursing assistant many more times than she probably wishes. Gee, my goal was to have at least one successful bed pan event. Poor Janet. I liked her because she told me like it was and wasn't afraid to let me know. Kim and I visited after vitals or any other reason she needed to be in the room. We both knew we were partaking in a divine appointment. I was fortunate to have her as my nurse both on Monday and Tuesday. She prayed for me and I for her. She is one busy nurse. I also had several male nurses, David a lot of the time and of course Ora, Jennifer and Peggy. Lots and lots of assistants and I enjoyed meeting them all. Sometimes late in the night of the early morning the assistant and I would discuss life while doing the whole bed pan thing. It was a great opportunity to share the love of Christ. Until surgery, I slept a lot because of the pain meds.

Later on Monday, Roy and Emily arrived. Emily was driving the truck home and Roy had packed a suitcase for the week. Kim told him about the Marriott close by and as he and Emily went to get the truck and then fill it up, he stopped in and got a room for the week. Roy said he totally threw me under the bus, and well why not, which got him a cheaper rate and a first floor room. We cannot thank Emily enough for being willing to make that day of driving and have to endure the driving of Roy from Katy to Lafayette.

It doesn't take long to lose all dignity and it becomes less of a concern because you are being asked all kinds of questions, looked at in all manner of ways and your personal space, comfort zone has to be thrown out the window. You can only hope that it returns once you are released from the hospital. Thankfully, mine has. In those situations one must keep a sense of humor. There is a special bed pan for people who have broken their hips and I think they were made for people who are size zero. Lots of leaning to the left, leaning to the right, no standing, just sitting...wee wee wee. Thankfully, the hospital had a generous supply of chuck pads.

Learning these new skills kept me occupied as well as pain meds. It was also interesting when friends called and I could hear that slight break in their voices that signaled that I had really scared them. Or rather how quickly the situation developed and scared them. It hasn't been until Sunday that it occurred to me that the happenings of the past week had some treacherous times in many ways. I've been asked are you going to decorate your walker? NO! This is not going to become a permanent accessory so I am not going to decorate. Really, who can pick up a decorated mat and walk when Jesus gives the command?

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Peace That Passes All January 18, 2016

Come and listen to the story of Nancy
Just tryin' to get back to the mountains of NC
Then one stop, she tripped and fell down
then stayed a week in a lovely La town
Broke her hip, surgery, physical therapy 

The Ballad of Jeb Clampett works in just about every situation. Last Monday after starting for the mountains, I stopped at Buc-ees at 5:00 am and nixed the usual stop in Sulfur and headed on toward Lafayette planning on a quick trip into Cracker Barrel for a snack and then find a gas station to fill the truck before going through Baton Rouge. Funny, I never made it to the last two on the itinerary because as I headed to the entrance of the Cracker Barrel, I tripped on some kind of metal edging by the trash receptacle and went flying through the air with the greatest of ease and landed on my right side. The lady with the Coushatta Casino sweatshirt, who happened to be sitting on the bench outside the door smoking a ciggie, asked me if she should call 911, at first I said no, I thought I was fine but I knew otherwise. While she went inside to tell the CB staff of my fall, I fumbled about, grabbing my purse and getting it closer to me and then assessed the situation. I couldn't feel anything from my right hip down to my knee except a numb, cold, tingling feeling which I dismissed as sitting on cold concrete but I knew it was not good. I also wish I could report I quoted Bible verses to myself in those brief seconds. No, I was thinking of Tennessee Williams Blanche Dubaugh from Streetcar Named Desire, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Because I knew that was the situation I found myself. Soon staff and the manager of CB were helping me by covering me with their own jackets and a folded throw from a display. Mr. Bryan was asking me questions so he could file a report but he was so kind and gentle keeping in mind I was down there on their front porch pretty banged up. We could hear the sirens in the distance as we talked and I went over what exactly had happened. I remember thanking everyone over and over because I really was filled with gratitude at that moment. The EMT's got out of the ambulance, asked questions and I am still feeling a bit in shock and living in a condo off the deNile that things were good. These two young women, these two strong young women who probably were both all of 5'3" got me off the ground and onto the gurney. They took vitals and asked questions in the ambulance. After a few tries of trying to stand, I submitted to the realization something was not right. I asked if they could get the overnight bag and book bag out of the front seat of the truck and they did. Upon the realization that I was not from the area and just passing through, they realized I could not tell them which hospital I would like to be transported to. Uh, could I have a menu please? They were directed to send me to Lourdes and I also let them know I have insurance, good insurance because I really wasn't wanting to go to a trauma hospital. One of the EMTs told me that is where she would go. Alrighty, let's roll. I have never ridden in an ambulance. I was calling and texting Roy about the situation and I also put it out of FB, not because I wanted attention but I felt I needed to let as many as possible to know where I was and also to be praying. Once in the ER we discussed whether to cut my jeans off or see if they could remove them without hurting me. We discussed the possibility of a broken hip before the X-rays because my right foot was leaning to the right and would not straighten up. Since they weren't that busy, the three of them took off my jeans and whirled me in for my close up and yes, I believe the word was shattered. A patient advocate came by to visit with me and she talked to me about the Lord. Maybe while we had no clue the reasoning that God knew and had it all under control. She prayed with me and then I encouraged her in the Lord. One question that came up several times; are you Catholic or non Catholic. Believe me if it was required, I was going to go into Hail Mary very quickly and maybe discuss Easter Duty. I was prepared to sing Ava Maria or What Do You Do About a Girl Called Maria, even Take a Letter Maria, Address it To My Wife...but thankfully no one needed me to solo with a shattered hip.  They had a room for me on the ortho floor and up we went.  

I will leave the story here and continue on later. Even though I had been deep into the thought of Tennessee Williams character, I saw the hand and providence of God in each and every move. The choice of hospital, the Orthopedic Doctor on call that day is the one in Lafayette you want doing the surgery and his assistant told me there in the ER it was my lucky day he was there. A room opened up quickly on a very crowded floor. The patient advocate came up to my room and gave me a prayer book and a cross that fits into the palm of the hand, with a rolled up scroll to write out your requests. I caught Roy at the office which is a near impossibility. The week preceding and my week here in Houston I had been meditating on the verse in Philippians 4 that the peace of God that passes all...or exceeds all....surpasses all...I found myself gently carried in that peace that passes all on Monday morning.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Has It Really Come To This?

It would seem logical that the story would begin exactly where it began on January 18th but when there is a moment that truly captures years of love and laughter; getting through those difficult times and rejoicing in the exceedingly happy that really is better suited to start the story of a klutz with a broken hip and the recovery ever after.

Friday was an extremely long day that began very early. Around 4;00 am I knew the call to nurse assistant Pedro needed to be made. Dang, I had to go to the bathroom and I was not cleared to go by myself yet. Earlier, about midnight, I had made that same call but told Pedro since I had my legs hooked up to the blood clot sleeve and since it quickly was becoming dire straights on timeliness that maybe the bedpan might be the best option. Really, had it come to this that I would choose the bedpan? had. The 4:00 call was made only because after removing the sleeves and pushing back covers the realization hit that the rails on the side of the bed meant to protect me had now become my prison. After being in the hospital for four days one finally succumbs to the the notion that privacy and those things we try to do practice to ensure modesty, goes right out the window and now Pedro and Patrick and David have helped me, seen me and observed me and I am at the point of not caring. Really Tuesday is when I gave up caring about these things. Usually nursing has been women's work but let me tell you, there are a lot of men practicing now. Yea, it is to grab that quick glance of an sixty one year old, overweight and flabby woman in a hospital gown. I had just settled back into bed hoping to grab a few more hours of sleep when the lab tech came in and once again drew blood out of my blown veins. Then Pedro returned to do vitals. Ah quiet, not to be long because nurse David is back with meds, shots and the most glorious news of the day, the drainage port would be taken out and the dressing replaced with a bandage.

Roy arrived at the hospital, checked out of the hotel, filled up the car and was roaring to hit the road. I still had to get in one last PT session, have prescriptions delivered and the all important walker and bathroom potty contraption still needed to be delivered.  Had it really come to this? I aced my test of washing up and getting dressed for the PT person and then I was stellar at the gym session. Roy was gathering up my things and getting them stowed away. Then all the deliveries made it, the Dr assistant came by to sign the release papers, the nurse gave last minute instructions and then to my horror came the case worker with a bag of Depends, ok some off brand, and a stack of chucks. Chucks are absorbent pads that are like diaper pads for adults. She recommended that I wear a Depends on the ride home and that the assistant would put the diaper garment on me. Had it really come to this?  Now not being able to sneak up on anyone silently, well that wouldn't really happen anyway, I was wheeled out to the exit where Roy picked me up and loaded the car. The ride home deserves it's own post.

We stopped at Buc-ees and what I thought would be a straight shot to the bathroom became a maze of serpentine movements to avoid people who clearly would walk right into me or passed by me so quickly knocking into me and muttering under their breath. The only person there kind to me was the bathroom attendant. When I came out of the bathroom, Roy was pacing and I could tell he was worried about me even though I warned him this is going to take more time than usual.

Arrival time in Katy 6:00 with both of us exhausted yet only one of us able to work. The long day turned into an even longer evening while we determined what is a priority and what isn't. We didn't agree on priorities and that took more energy. Finally, since I could not stand it any longer, I washed my hair at the kitchen sink and then took a shower. Oh my, that was a long process too. Applying bandages and taking pills, drying hair and applying lotion and then the realization I needed to put on a Depends for nighttime bathroom trips that might take longer for arrival than usual. I unwrapped the stupid thing not even having one clue what or how to attack this mystery object. You see I have never, ever changed a diaper. I think I had it on backwards, so I adjusted it that's not right. I need to maintain only 50% of my weight off my hip and I think I might be slipping into the 75% zone. Tired and frustrated I called out to Roy to help me with this diaper. Had it really come to this? He no more knew how to get the thing attached. I assured him I was NOT going to lie on the bed and let him figure this out like you do on a baby. He of the utmost patience was loosing it a tad and he left me there in the middle of the bathroom, hanging onto a walker with pajama pants on the floor around my feet and the diaper acting more low rise than it was supposed to. He comes back in with a tape dispenser, you know the kind you use for packing boxes. He pulls up the diaper, tells me to dedicate one hand to holding it in place while still holding onto the walker and he circles me with the tape being wound around and around to hold on the diaper. I start to protest and he stops me and says, just go in the diaper tonight, we can worry about getting it off of you later. He starts pulling up my jammies and said, I have always been more about getting these off you, it is harder to try and put them on over bandages. Had it really come to this? Now taped up and sign, sealed, delivered I was his, I went to bed. So sometime in the night I did as he said, go ye. That diaper wasn't up to a second depository and we were so glad, yet I was embarrassed, to have a chuck pad under me. There in the middle of the night, with wet pajama pants, Roy goes and finds scissors and cuts the blooming diaper off of me. We take care of disposal, he finds another pair of pajama pants for me and changes out the chuck pad. I stood there in the bathroom thinking about us, me and Roy. I thought of those fun first years of getting to know one another and some of the silly and stupid things and places we delighted in accomplishing that. Then I thought of how over the years, exciting hadn't been replaced but now we were more mindful of one another and a tenderness had taken over. In our  twenties and thirties did we ever think it would come to this? Adult diapers, needing assistance with just about everything, seeing blood being drained, blood taken, shots administered, pain meds and the horrible consequences of pain meds long after the operation. Roy came back to me with my fresh jammies, he helped me into them, asked if I wanted another Depends and I said let's take our chances and be wild....NO! He took all the dirty clothes, threw them in the washer and got them started so he could get them in the dryer later in the morning. No you don't think about these moments that signal the beginning of the exit years down the road, so I believe. He tucked me back into bed, got me up on my left side and patted my back to help me go back to sleep. He asked my what I was thinking about...oh just life and how things twist and turn. As he fell asleep I composed an announcement in my mind,

Congrats to Roy on the arrival of his##$$## pound almost six feet baby girl on January 22 at 3:47 am. It was the first time we had to get up, change a diaper, put on new pajamas and go back to bed and had it ever occurred that this would happen in our marriage. I don't think it ever entered our minds that it would be one of us. Had it really come to this? Yes, it had. Do I plan for it to stay on this side of the old person line, No! Those moments of embarrassment and helplessness wrapped into moments of life where we have loved one another well. has it really come to this? has.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hair, Projects, Friends and Mountains

Balayage, which is also called “hair painting,” creates the most natural-looking results because the colorist paints on the highlights by hand, and can scatter them throughout your hair in a more truly “sunkissed” and haphazard pattern. “When using foils, you work row by row, which makes the highlight pattern look very linear and grid-like. With balayage, you have more flexibility on where you want to place the highlights so the resulting pattern can look more natural,” says Tripodi.
The “painting” of the hair also creates a more natural-looking color. “With balayage, I start painting the color on at midshaft which is where the sun naturally hits your hair the most. Then, I gently paint up to the roots, which makes the growth at the scalp look more gradual. When you use foils, the entire section is coated evenly with color, then wrapped up in the foil, and the heat from the foil makes that piece uniform in color from roots to tips. Also, because you work in rows, the demarcation at the roots [when it grows out] looks like a straight line,”

I got to see Stevie yesterday, she is good for the soul and for the hair. She loved how Christine has shaped and layered my hair, so she continued with what Christine is doing and that included balayage hair process. I love it so much more than the foil technique and love the natural way the color is interwoven with the base color. Also, with the painting process I can stop wearing old t shirts for those appointments that involve color. Stevie and I got caught up with each other and had a great time. I miss having these kind of hair appointments because at Emmanuel, which means God with us, you can never have a bad haircut, cause God is with us there. 

Roy and I did the old thing by going to Costco last night. We even got there a little early yet it was filled with people. Somewhat ironic is that Hannah who washed my hair at Emmanuel asked if we had big plans for the weekend...uh no, I hope not. So there in the middle of Costco we run into our friend Paula, who ironically with her ex-husband and another couple were our weekend party buddies when we were in our early 30's. And back then, why yes, we did have big plans for the weekend. While we visited with Paula a few brief minutes we laughed that it had come to this, we find each other at Costco on a Friday night, our carts filled with organic foods, snacks and cleaning products. Yep, we got old. 

We have someone coming to look at the house this afternoon and when we got home we finished up some of the smaller projects we had begun last weekend. Chris came this week, so the house is clean. As I have washed clothes they have made their way back to the suitcase and I even worked a little on getting things packed last night. This week has gone by so quickly but I have so enjoyed it. I've been able to help Roy with some things, see lots of friends, and eat at the places I have missed. After lunch on Thursday with friends from Bible study Peggy said, it has been fun seeing each other several times a week just like we are likely to do. I enjoyed last Sunday afternoon with Dena, seeing her whole new adventures in life. Hanging around with Lisa P and CourtneyS...always a joyful, rocking good time and catching up with Emily...very nice. But once again I will go all John Muir and say, the mountains are calling and I must go. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Houston Report

It is Tuesday out here on the prairie and I will be making my way into Houston for a doctor appointment a little later. I can see a few birds in and out through the trees but not big pop of red like I am used to seeing. The mockingbirds are always fun to watch.

I saw something last night that I thought I would never ever see in my lifetime. Roy wanted Alabama to win the national championship. Roy the man who wears the t-shirt that says imagine a world without Alabama. We had dinner over at Bill and Peggy's and watched the game and the rest of us kind of felt Alabama would win but we were rooting for Clemson. Roy's reasoning was not for the SEC to represent but rather he thinks if Saban wins the game, he will move onto the NFL. I mean really, who is this man? I don't think Saban will leave to go to the NFL, did that once and it wasn't good. Other than being in disbelief over Roy's choice of team, we had a great time with good friends. Jaimie and Keely came by to say hello and watch a bit of the game.

The guest room closet has been cleaned out and I will tackle the next big project, the casita bedroom.

It is now Thursday and as for me and my house, we are exhausted! Well, I'm exhausted but it is the good kind. As you can tell by my lack of writing, I have been a tad busy these past few days. Getting everything that needs to be done and friends who I want to see, there has been little wiggle room for writing. On Tuesday I made it in to the Dr appointment and thanks be to our God, all my blood work was awesome and some of the lowest numbers. Everyone is happy with the results and it just confirms that moving to NC was a great decision for my health. Got everything sent in to the cardiologist and they are very happy with me too. After the appointment I headed over to First Baptist to meet CourtneyS for lunch. Ran into John and Paige while there as well. Lunch was at Colina's and I got the greaca pizza. Yum! I ran a few errands after dropping off CourtneyS. I had a few minutes to grab a nap. I hardly ever nap anymore. Then I picked up Peggy and we met Dena, Lisa P and CourtneyS for dinner. Not just any dinner but the cheese enchiladas dinner I have been craving. I was not disappointed. We laughed and told stories and remembered so many good times we have all had together. It was very, very fun.

Wednesday, I met Laurie for lunch at The Nord. Nordstrom has changed quite a bit with their personnel and attitude. The bistro which is now some other name did not disappoint. Laurie and I had a great time catching up with each other and then I drove over to Whole Earth Provision to see what Flax clothing they had on sale. Found a couple of things. I drove back to Katy, made a stop at Whole Foods for some oils that the Whole Foods in Asheville doesn't carry and then made a Target run. At first I thought I would be able to see if I could sneak back into the land of minivans unannounced. I was almost successful but then they heard I was back in town. I texted Emily to see if she was home and I dropped in for a bit and then headed home. Roy was already home and so we ate a quick dinner and I was off driving in for choir practice at First Baptist. Such great fun seeing friends and also participating in the rehearsal. Bonus got to sit next to Lisa P. Came on home and morning came quickly. I had planned on going to the core group portion of Bible study but decided time would be best used getting all the info from one doctor to another. OK, I was moving kind of slow too. I went to teaching time and heard the wonderful and beautiful Linita and then had lunch with friends at Lupe's Tortilla. After lunch it was to Academy and home and once I rest a bit, I will work on another project. The time is going by so quickly and it has been such a wonderful visit but I am anxious to return back to the mountains, friends and church.

So, here I am drinking a Sonic Diet Cherry Diet Coke knowing I should start some laundry but I think a few more minutes of rest might be in order.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Monday On the Prairie

In the distance I hear a familiar sound, school buses making their appointed rounds to pick up eager...uh make that students for school. The people who live behind us still make a lot of noise in on their patio in the middle of the night...thankful for consistency. I'm remembering the rhythm of life once again out here on the prairie. I have the first of several doctor appointments this morning and for a relatively close office visit here I will have to leave forty five minutes to an hour to be on time. I also will have my first real experience of parking SequishShaun in narrow parking spaces, in a covered garage. Thankful that I don't have to go to the medical center for any appointments this trip. Although I valet park there.

I watched online church yesterday morning and to see Lisa P and CourtneyS leading on the praise team did my heart good. Even heard Lisa's special, so blessed by her voice but so blessed to call her friend. I watched just enough of the sermon intro to learn next Sunday the sermon topic is dealing with Internet Porn addiction. Yes, there are many who deal with this addiction but not me so maybe I will bring a book to read up there in the balcony or maybe I should listen just in case I ever run into anyone struggling with that. Also, I learned from Dena that Carole Lewis is teaching in Dayspring next Sunday...I might need to stay to hear her. Such a gifted communicator and teacher.

Yesterday afternoon Dena picked me up and took me on the tour of her new life adventure. It was a long drive to parts of the Houston area I have never even been around, so I would feel so lost if I had to try to find her new home without GPS and then I don't know if that would help. She also drove by her work campus that is huge and beautiful before traveling a few more miles out to where her home is being built. It is framed in so you can really tell how the rooms are laid out. It looks like it will be such a beautiful home and hearing all her thought filled decisions for it makes me anxious to see how it will all look upon completion. While we were there she met some of her neighbors. Our next stop on Dena's new life adventure was to a new location of an old favorite, Lupe's Tortilla. Best beef fajitas bar none. Then we made our happy trek back to Rancho de Five.

Yesterday was somewhat productive in working here at the house. We got some little things taken care of and after my dentist appointment this afternoon I will resume the tasks at hand.

Well, it is now the afternoon and there has been a slight change of plans. The knee injections went really well and while I was there the dentist office called to see if we could reschedule my appointment. Nothing was working out and the Dr was waiting on my conversation to wrap up, so I just left it at this doesn't seem to be working. While running some errands since now I had some time the dentist office called back and gave me a little more information about the cancellation. My dentist and friend had sold her practice, she is retiring from active dentistry except she will now be teaching at the University of Texas dental school here in Houston. While she tried once again to schedule me in this week I decided it was best to go ahead and find a dentist in the Asheville area. So, I will be looking for one when I get back. I think I have the beginnings of a cavity or something, so it will be sooner than later. I am so happy for my dentist and friend. I have known her since high school. We went to the same church and we played softball on a church team. She with an enormous quest to learn and one of the smartest people I have ever met.

So I went to Home Goods and did some damage as well as Hobby Lobby. Since I know there is stuff here that really needs to be done, I came on home but did make a Shipley stop to get a donut...yes, the day before the next doctor appointment. It had to be done.

Well my bit of rest is over so it is back to work cleaning out the guest room closet.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Because, You Know, I Am So Spiritual

Good Morning from Rancho de Five! Roy has gone to church and I am sticking around here relaxing. The best made plans of arriving in Houston not so travel weary and tired sadly did not work due to the State of Texas not cooperating with those best made plans by closing down a major freeway...I 10 which spans the country from coast to coast. Everything on the road came to a halt at the San Jancinto River. It was a good thing I had stopped at Buc-ees. The Toyota GPS suggested an alternate route to just sitting on a freeway, so when I had the chance I moved over to far right lane and waited for the next exit over the river but through no woods to take. I also called my friend Dena who knows all the back roads, highways and by ways of Baytown and East Houston. Shocked that she hadn't personally traveled the road Toyota Girl, I need to name her, was showing she made good guesses of where I was. So as good friends are wont to do, she stayed on the phone with me while driving on crater filled pot holes and lots and lots of dirt cover road signs and past pipe storage yards and the like. I think I was in Channelview. The route took me under Beltway 8 where I now know where couches go to die because the road was lined with them, like a crowd standing along a parade route. Then came a sharp left turn which had me thinking I was on the ramp to I 10 but it was only to the frontage road with the ramp clearly ahead. Yehaw! It was clear sailing once again. There was the normal Houston traffic but I was zipping in and out around cars and trucks like I hadn't been gone one day. We had thought ahead and ordered an EZ Tag when the NC license plate arrived, so I was able to use the HOV for a bit.

It was good to see Rancho de Five and everyone had done such a good job keeping me informed of all the building and growth. Gee whiz! There are a million new strip centers and the promised upscale shopping center, doesn't look like it is really filled with upscale stores. There is a math tutoring center, probably a dentist office because I believe it is in the Cinco Ranch charter that a dentist, nail salon, Chinese restaurant and donut shop has to be on each and every corner of the land. Lot of apartments now gracing the area and the beginnings of a brand new Kroger.

It was so good to be greeted at the door by Roy. It was kind of strange coming into the house that we built in 2011 and it only be half full because a lot of stuff went up to the Ander House. He had all the Diet Cokes anyone would ever want chilling in the refrigerator for me. I was fighting off the tireds and really didn't want to take a nap so we dropped off a couple of things at Dena's and then Roy and I went for Chinese at T Jin's. I have thought about the orange chicken sauce a little more than I should have these past few months but not as much as I have thought about Tex Mex cheese enchiladas. Then being the exciting trendy couple that we are, Roy and I went to the new Kroger's,this is not the previously referred to Kroger, to pick up a few things that I like to eat, like butter, that Roy doesn't normally keep in the house. Once again our grocery cart was filled with stuff than any college student would enjoy eating. We enjoyed a quiet evening with me cleaning out a closet and Roy yelling at the TV while watching football. Ah yes, home sweet home. I finally succumbed to the sleepies and it didn't take long to drift off into the sleep zone. I think I only woke up once in the night. That's a record.

This coming week is full of doctor and dentist appointments and lunches with friends. I need to fit in working around here, going through things once again to discard, give away or keep. It is a good thing I didn't pack all the warm clothes for NC because it is downright chilly here the next few days. So I have some warmer things to choose from beside what I brought...which was way too much.

Buddy is getting the royal treatment from Bill and Vivian. I am so thankful for that because I am not worrying about Buddy while here. Maybe the only thing I need to worry about is Buddy bonding with Bill and she won't want to live with me anymore. Bill is a cat whisperer.

Well. breakfast isn't going to fix itself so I better get moving. Thankful for a safe trip here, for Cracker Barrels and for the fine folks at Holiday Inn Express. It all made for a delightful trip and because you expect a deeply spiritual closing for this post today, I am thankful for TXDot and their fine sense of planning as there were several major road closures over the weekend making traversing around the city a royal pain and I am writing this because we are to give thanks in everything. Yuck, that didn't taste very good saying that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Crowd Awareness

The sun streaming through the windows makes a beautiful sight. But the sun also reveals I need to polish the floors sometime soon. The weather app says it is 17 degrees out but it feels like 12 degrees. Think my errands will be run a little later in the afternoon.

I wish I could share on my blog the picture of the tiny snowflake that landed on the porch rail. We experienced off and on light snow flurries Monday and trying to capture those little flakes of snow needed a deep colored background. So I stepped outside into the frigid air to take pictures of the snow with the dark green of the fir trees as a backdrop. I glanced down to the railing and there a tiny snowflake had landed perfectly showing all the intricate design. It hadn't crashed into the rail making it just a little ball of snow but in my mind's eye, it wafted down gently landing. Hurriedly, I began taking pictures of it before the next gust of wind blew it to the ground. I texted the picture to Roy and he thought I had taken a Christmas decoration and tried to pass it off as a snowflake. No, original design by God. This morning as I thought about getting that glimpse of winter beauty that if I hadn't taken the time to look around and had been so focused on capturing the snowfall, I would have missed it. That little snowflake gave me pause to remember to be mindful in those moments of time.

Since arriving in the mountains, in our home in a valley on a hill, a particular chapter of scripture has given me lots to think upon. That chapter is Luke 12 and what has grabbed my heart is how Jesus talked to the crowd but turned to his disciples to give more personal instruction and encouragement. It beings in the first verse as He sees the crowds, Jesus first turns to his disciples and warns them, beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and He assures His disciples that they are worth more than the sparrows, God knows the number of hairs upon their head and not to worry about what to say when trials and tribulations come. Someone from the crowd yells out to Jesus, tell my brother to share our father's inheritance and Jesus responds with beware of every type of greed, life is not measured by how much you own. Verse 22 says, Then Jesus turning to his disciples says, that is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life and in the following verses He expounds and once again encourages His own. Back to verse 54 Jesus once again turns His attention to the crowd and addresses the woeful fact that they can't read the signs of the times correctly. So that is how I see life here...there are those things that I need to be aware of when Jesus turns to me and I turn to Him, to listen and learn and not be distracted by the crowd that is stepping all over themselves. I am thankful that it is a tad easier to listen and see here surrounded by the beauty of creation and God's handiwork. Even in this beautiful setting the concerns are the same here as they were back in biblical times, everyday life and the worries and stresses it can bring as we tend to go past today and creep ever so quickly into the land of what if. Sometimes as I look through FB posts you can see there are people who post all the prayers, all the comforting sayings of hope, all the veiled prayer requests and the like and I wonder, what if they put as much effort into their lives to the same amount of effort they take to post every platitude in the doing that will change anything. What if they focused that energy into not only listening to those words of Jesus but get out and do something to improve their situation. I often think about a girl I met years ago in a Bible study I led and this girl wanted friends, she needed friends. Okay, this is in an area where I could encourage her and shared with her, be the kind of friend  that you want in your life and you'll have the kind of friends you are looking for. No, she wanted others to make all the invitations and to do for her...yea, people love to flock to really, needy selfish people. She moved back to her home in Wisconsin and who knows what happened. Every once in a while I did see where she posted a comment or two on a blog but basically, nothing had changed and she was just as miserable as she had been in Houston. This chapter Luke 12, continues to nourish my soul and reminds me to pay attention to those words He has for His disciples.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Just A Tuesday Warm Up

I greet you from the land of 19 degrees and with a warning from local authorities to be careful out there on the roads because black ice has been reported all throughout the area. Black ice is ice you cannot see and when you are in the middle of it the chance of crashing into something or over something is rather high. This flat lander is going to stay home until the temps get above freezing. I never made it out yesterday and I have some errands that really need to be taken care of.

Yesterday was Lisa P and Peggy's birthday. It was such fun seeing the pics of their special day. Lisa is on her way today to sing with her friend Julio at Ronnie Floyd's prayer conference today in Atlanta. Peggy ate lamb chops at Perry's last night and I forgive her for eating a cute little lamb. I will get to celebrate these friends in person very soon. It has been in the recent days that I have thought of these two friends in particular with their birthdays drawing near. Back again with a reference of remembrance from our Sunday School lesson, I treasure the time and seasons of friendship that God has blessed me with throughout the years. He has certainly been faithful in living a new adventure in the mountains with adding and blessing me with friends here. If there is a theme that has been woven into a tapestry in my life after I came to know Him that glorifies Him, that theme would be friendship. I will always be thankful for friends that are fun, thoughtful, thought provoking, steadfast, true and honest. We walk together through tough times and laugh together no matter what season of life we find ourselves in. I especially notice the friendships of people around here. Many of them have known each other practically their whole lives, verses the mobility of living in a huge city where people come and go because that is what life dictates. Thankfully, we get to experience some of the longevity at church. There are so many friends from First Baptist Houston that we have all done life together good and bad, painful and joyful that would be somewhat like knowing people for practically all their lives.

The temps is up to 21. Slowly but surely. Yesterday when I went down to the road to pick up the trash can, my face nearly froze from the bitter winds blowing through. I was happy to get back into the warm confines of home. I could barely get anything done yesterday because of the spectacular display of birds in the backyard. Seriously, at times there were six to eight cardinals just hanging out at the feeder. The red headed woodpecker was back and the usual cast of Carolina wrens and finches, tit mouse, towhees, mockingbirds, house finches and various sparrows kept me entertained as well. Buddy enjoyed the display too but I would hazard to guess for different reasons.

Since the sun rises later now I always think it is the dead of night when the phone rings and this morning was no different. Roy was calling and I start freaking out on the inside because I think it is 3:00 am but alas it was 7:30.  He had been doing some checking into our FSA and my visit to the ER has blown through most of that already for the new year. I told him that it was worth the money to prove there was a brain inside this head.

I threw caution to the wind and did errands before the temps hit above freezing. I texted Vivian for a review of the potential trouble spots and proceeded with caution. Got the errands run and got back to finish up a few loose ends. I also got in a phone call to wish Peggy Happy Birthday. I didn't forget her day I just forgot to call....she was subbing this morning so I waited till the early afternoon.

Guess I had better look into fixing myself some supper. Thinking about defrosting some taco soup.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Wintry Monday

I drove by to see the elks on my way home this afternoon. The king and his harem were resting and they were up close to the fence. Such beautiful and majestic animals. This morning all the grass, vegetation and trees were frosted over giving the view a white, silver hue. Add some gray smoke curling out of chimneys announcing it had been a cold night. A quick glance out the back window this morning showed the birdbath frozen solid. Yep, the temps have returned and was it just last Sunday that the temps were in the 70's?

Yet another attack by a minivan driver at the airport. Really? The drop off zone is crowded with people exiting cars and saying goodbye to loved ones. So, as I ready to get back into the main stream of traffic, it suddenly comes to a complete stop because Cleatis. Jean Bertha and Heather decide to get out of the van, in the middle of the cross walk, in the middle of moving cars and trucks. Heather storms out of the van with both middle fingers raised in salute as she turns and looks back toward the van. Cleatis and Jean Bertha can't get the door to slide shut and maybe if he would put out the ciggie, he would be more successful. Jean Bertha seems to walk in tiny steps in a deep, deep haze and unsure of where she might be. Heather rejoins the slack jaw yokels and they discuss the recent drop in oil and gas prices...I have no idea what they said but I wouldn't be surprised if every other word had been a cuss word, but the cars are stacking up behind me with the cop at the other end near the entrance to the drive up looking all official with his clipboard. Finally these three walk away from the minivan, not even toward the airport but toward a parking garage. The driver of the minivan finally decides to move the bus and approaches the stop sign with the surest sense that stop means stop for a long, long time. Thankfully, I was in the lane next to them but glancing back he was just then approaching to make a turn. Oh my goodness! Thankful to get back on the road to North Carolina.

It is now Monday and there is a calm and still to the morning on a day where there is much to be done. The yellows and pinks of sunrise topped the mountains so beautifully today. The birds are feeding and waiting for the birdbath to thaw. After watching the young and older cardinals fighting at the feeder, I added another feeder close by the new stairs and there has been peace among the birds.

On Sunday evenings we are studying Mark Batterson's book The Grave Robber, about the seven miracles in John. He has always been one of my favorite authors. Some of the study was filmed in Israel and it was fun seeing places I have been....and truthfully, happier to be on this side of the screen than actually being there. Thanks, but I am waiting for the New Jerusalem. Then we had choir afterwards. Good choir practice and so fun to be back. Yesterday in Sunday School, Gale did a mini version of the Passover meal with the emphasis on remembering. God used all these everyday things for them to remember when and how He delivered them from Egypt. We went on to discuss what can remind us and give us pause to remember. Last night in choir was one of those times for me because when I heard the song as we worked on it, I remembered the choir sang it on the first Sunday I visited. I shared this with the group last night and told them how I was so moved and impressed by the music this smaller than I was used to choir was making. It was a huge factor in getting my heart and life moving in the right direction to look in this area for a home and I also knew God had led me to the right church for us. While driving home I thanked God for the remembrance of how He led us each step of the way here and it was also a good reminder that we made a few mistakes along the way but God smoothed out the way. Still so thankful for the family that outbid us on the home on Balsam Mountain...for many, many reasons.

Ray's weather, the definitive weather reporting on these here mountains, is reporting snow flurries in south Asheville. I saw last night that there might be snow flurries on the mountains bordering TN and NC. I have a couple of errands to run but I will keep my eyes on the skies. At least the temp is up to 31.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Elking Out a Pic and One Word 2016

Another picture of the view I never tire of

The tree/shrub looks like a stick shadow of the elk. That looks pretty neat.

Happy New Year! Almost every year I write on the first day but 2016, it just didn't happen. We were getting a lot of errands run and then football consumed most of our it is January 2nd.

Tonight after going out to dinner and running by the Fresh Market we drove close by to our home to see the camels, bison and elk. The elk were the closest they have been in quite some time. I do a drive by several times a week. For a lovely backdrop God provided a beautiful sunset for us.

This morning we had breakfast at Turkey Creek and it was delicious. Then we ran an errand to the Biltmore for a friend and stopped for the briefest of moments at The Screen Door. We did a quick walk through and bought a couple of prints that Roy liked. Our next stop was Mr. Zippy's for a truck wash and then to Lowe's for mulch. We are just so fun. Roy worked on putting out the mulch in several spots where erosion had set in from the wind and the rain. While he was doing that I finished arranging all the Christmas stuff in the garage and getting things put away. We retired to the front porch and as long as we sat in the sun, it was down right nice.

Yesterday after a traditional southern New Year Day lunch, we drove up to Madison County. It is so beautiful. Many a time when I have decisions or something is bothering me, I drive up that way and talk with the Lord. It is easier to pay attention with scenery that is so beautiful.

For the past four years I have participated in the One Word for your year. 2015 my word was playful. Even with this fun-loving personality, sometimes I forget that being playful is just as important and many times more important than taking everything so seriously or so hard. Attitude is winning the biggest part of the battle. I have known what my word for 2016 has been since the summer. My One Word is Full or ful. This way I can add to it like playful, grateful, mindful, prayerful...  I don't make resolutions because I can't keep them and then I forget what they were and most probably they were the same resolutions I had made since 1974. This keeps me focused and my heart open to be transformed by the Lord. There is many a day after reading a bunch of FB posts, I want to write some scathing post on something that has me a bit riled....but being full or ful with the kindness of God stops me from writing rather insightful jabs but that is just what they would be jabs...that amuse me but will hurt someone else. I can hear my therapist from days of old asking me do you want to give energy to that. Sometimes my answer was yes because it amuses me but she was really trying to remind me that now I only have so much energy and how am I going to use it.

So that is it on this day January 2nd.....