Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...All Over the Place

It is one of those days when the skies are overcast, the wind chimes seem to be on the repeat cycle because of the blustery wind. The small finches and wrens must not get motion sickness because that porch swing bird feeder is a swinging and a swaying. Mostly it has been a misty kind of morning. It is good to be finished with the paper and sorting project that has been scattered throughout the house. All that is left to do is shred. Not the workout but all the papers with addresses and such on them. Better change out the recycling bag before that daunting endeavor commences. There are still stacks of books to go through and really, I don't consider stacks of books to be messy. It is a kind, warm fuzzy and cozy feeling to be surrounded by books. I just finished the book Mockingbird Next Door the story of a Chicago reporter being befriended by the Lee sisters in Monroeville. Yes, those famous sisters Harper and Alice. There have been several times where time has allowed when coming up this way via 65 that we could have taken the time to drive over to Monroeville and take in the town that Maycomb in Mockingbird is modeled on. But I had this feeling and the book confirmed it, so much of what people go looking for from the book is no longer there, well except for the courthouse. That's one of the reasons they could not film on location even in the 1960's because places no longer existed.  Now I am glad I have not made that pilgrimage and the scenes of a movie and my imagination fuel the scenery when I re-read or think about the book. Mockingbird Next Door was an interesting read but the story became rather repetitive. I was ready to move on before the author but I hung in there with her and finished the book.

The snake pictures on Facebook have seemed to calm down a bit that is until today when I saw a picture of ticks all over a snake's head. Don't like ticks or snakes but they do deserve one another.

I thought the road in front of our home was rather quiet this morning and then the news/traffic alert appeared on my phone that there was a wreck at a main intersection farther down the road and there might have been an earlier wreck since this was announced as a new wreck. Since our road is a major connector it is busy at peak times. No dump or logging trucks, just a car or truck or motorcycle every once in a while.

Today in a very unorganized way I am going through things and getting stuff gathered for our church's yard sale in April. Last year my brother said something that has stuck with me. He and I were going through antique stores when he said you don't have to keep everything. Things can come and go just like the seasons. Now deep down I think I knew that but just his saying that kind of freed up something on the inside. There are several things that just haven't worked like I thought they would up here, so why am I keeping something that doesn't work? To the pile in the garage it goes.

This morning I read where many scholars are beginning to believe that Marco Polo, of pool game fame, might not have ever been in China like his recollections in books have told us. He gave the impression he was in China for seventeen years and some think he only made it as far as Venice. There he would have opportunity to hear from travelers about that far off land and while he wrote about interpersonal things he neglected to write about major things that would have warranted attention. He gave copious notes to smaller matters, so this has tipped off scholars and those who like to research these kind of things. Very interesting. This made me think about some of my recovery time in Houston.

While recovering in Houston from surgery I happened upon an article about statement analysis and how this study of finding deceptive statements in writing, speech and actions has become a revolving and growing study. I found myself reading these articles and I declared to Roy that if I had known about this when I was younger, this is the study I would have pursued.  He thought a bit and responded, saying something I have heard him say many times over the years to me.  If I had done this just like he thinks I would have made a good lawyer, I would be so cynical and bitter and not much fun to be around. Well, that's true. It is the kind of work you could not leave at the office. I would be analyzing every conversation. Yes, that is how to make friends accuse them of lying. Even now, good ol Barry Manilow reference, I will read an article on statement analysis like the one I read today about Jodi Arias. While in Houston I received two get well/thinking of you cards on the same day. One from a person I know by name and we share mutual friends, but we are not close. Her card was so encouraging with the personal note she included. Then I opened a card from someone who would probably call me a friend but we really aren't. Used to be back in the day...Her card interesting by what she said and didn't say...pretty much the card was an official capacity card sent because we had been friends at one time. When Roy got home I read both cards to him...and said in a loud voice, with a crazy friend Debbie kind of accent, STATE-MENT-AN-AL-YSIS! I think there is some of that deception and duplicitous contained here-in this card. That's when Roy gave me the yes, yes, I know look and then gave me the you should not dwell on this look. Which I responded with my it amuses me look and I am having fun with it look. Then to make it seem like it was a learning experience I said I'm only making the observation and resulting analysis to grow...Isn't it obvious how this person feels about me to which he said, well that is old news, she hasn't like you for years.  Then we dropped it. I still like statement analysis but I'd rather fill my mind with the beauty of these back roads but you know just as a growing experience, I try to stay sharp and well informed on statement....Uh oh, statement analysis.......

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Armchair Travel

You don't see a lot of these types of signs in Houston but they are ubiquitous here. Maybe more curves displayed on the signs, depending how high you are in the mountains. There are a couple of these kinds of turns and curves coming home from Weaverville and as many times as I have driven that road, the curvy part many times it still takes me by surprise. It happens to be the spot where last year someone tried to involve me in a fender bender for insurance money. Thankfully, I did not hit them and the set up "witness" was rather surprised while declaring I saw everything when there was nothing to see. Truthfully, that day I was distracted because I had to go home and call APS as my father had filed another fraudulent report with them.

When I was at Barnes and Noble on Monday I spent some time in the travel essay section. I love a good travel book and this one I bought is really close to my thoughts because although I love to read about travel and like travel accouterments, I hate traveling. Flying is not my best thing and now it is even more complicated with a monitor in my chest and a new hip hop. I'm a mood person so I can't really pack because I have no clue what mood I will be in while vacationing or traveling. I have gotten better but not good enough yet for one suitcase checked way under the weight limit. The other limit on traveling is the pressure to see everything and exhausting yourself trying to do just that. If I was wealthy, I would go back to see Israel with a small group that only sees a few things a day which gives the time to take in what you have seen, experienced and to put that into a spiritual perspective. People say many times how they can't wait to go back to the Holy Land and are taken aback when I say well, I want to go when it is the New Jerusalem. Anyway, this book I bought is how to talk about places you've never traveled to with great knowledge. He has also written a book on how to discuss books that you should have read but never did in conversations.

While driving around these back roads you come across old abandoned general stores that served a purpose back in the day. There are still some in operation and although the outside of the store looks like the past usually the inside of a store is everything present day. The displays, the coolers.... You can find stores that look old on the outside and the inside is more like a parody of back in the day. All kinds of penny candy, drinks in glass bottles, Watkins products...but you know it is a tourist thing to give the feeling and one can usually purchase a t-shirt to commemorate the experience. I like the Mast General Store in Waynesville the best. Old wooden floors and creaking staircase, a bit of the past but more of the present. Seeing these stores reminds me of the one that was on the corner of my grandparents street. My grandmother called it the junk store because we, cousins and my brother, would go there, buy candy which translated to junk in my grandmother's view. It was one of those old stores with a cola ad painted on the outside and the inside seemed a little dark but the penny candy was fully in light and available for purchase. Going to that corner store gave me the feeling of being grown up since it was so close and allowed for us to go to the store without adult supervision. Thinking about these disappearing treasures replaced by convenience stores  with gas pumps made me think how some of us old treasures appear. Some of us look old on the outside but our insides are modern and somewhat up to date with computers, social media and technology. There are those of us that are just parodies old on the outside but clinging to the past that doesn't seem genuine but practiced. Then there are those of us who are out and out old both on the inside and the outside. How we perceive these things are kind of like how things are being perceived now in the public and media. Coach Mike Ditka is replaced from the Sunday sports desk...he is old school with new school tenancies but as he gets older, old school is coming out more. Coach K of Duke getting recent press of a conversation he had with an opposing player after a Duke loss...which he denied then CBS provided proof and the story changed somewhat. There are calls for him to retire, to give analysis on TV for college games. Some are saying he is past his prime, others not quite ready to join the bandwagon. But you can see the turn in them and they have to decide to stay present, become a parody of themselves and what they meant or are they going to become old fuddy duddies?  I know this is such a random thought when this post started out about travel or really about travel from an armchair in the comfort of your home. I saw this play out while on staff at a church. Sometimes you don't fit the look but your insides made up for not having the right appearance. There were some who were hopelessly not able to make the transition and they had to decide whether to go out on their terms or if they would let it play out until a decision was made. Both sides have merit and of the particular people I am thinking about...they made the right choices for their lives. When I had to leave because of health issues, I think I was on the cusp of facing that critical decision too. Thankfully, I had taken the time before a critical stage to have an exit strategy that went right into practice. Yes, have a mission statement kiddos but also have a disaster recovery plan. You only hear about mission statements in church. We were reminiscing last week about life and the things we look forward to and the things we are glad we don't have to do anymore. It made me think of working and I told  Roy the other day that when I was on staff and a particular event was moved from our ministry to another one there, I was ecstatic not to have to deal with it anymore but that move probably was handwriting on the wall that we didn't recognize at the time. Actually, we still had a small part in it once it officially left us but it was mainly taking care of the logistics and the footwork, all the other things like presentation, voice and branding went to the other ministry area. Truthfully, it really belonged with the other ministry since they were really good at this,they had more to do with the worship aspect and all things concerning the worship center but I think my boss liked the creative part of the event and during the interim period, he was the most creative one on staff.  Guess we had become kind of like the general store that is a parody of itself...we needed change, fresh eyes and younger thoughts to a traditional celebration in church life.

Today I guess you could say I traveled on the bunny trails and sometimes those are better than the actual thought. Although, sometimes not. So from a bunny trail in the mountains I wish all a good day and maybe I will stay on point on another blog post on another day...then there is that chance...maybe not.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Moving or On The Banks of The Promised Land

A year ago yesterday we arrived to occupy the house we bought in NC. We were several days away from the movers arriving but we had a place to sleep and a couple of chairs to sit upon while we waited. Granted, we had a lot happening on those preparation days. Last minute things to take care of concerning our new home. It was a bittersweet goodbye for now to long time friends and the vastness of new adventures daunted my courage at least once or twice a day. But we knew this was the best thing and God's hand print was all over the move. Now a year out from that exciting day and I am more convinced than ever this was the path to take. Really, there are four seasons and circumstances beyond my control caused me to miss the depth of winter, which might not have been a bad thing. Even when you come out of Walmart, there is beauty to behold by the surrounding mountains. We love our mountain church and the people in it. I especially love my friends in my Sunday School class where I felt welcomed from moment one. God graciously gifted me with a good friend, no make that a great friend, before we even lived here in Vivian and her husband Bill. Bill is Buddy's cat whisperer. My long love of history is satisfied here as I learn about the area and surrounding counties and places nearby. I have picked up where my mother left off in her legacy of bird watching. Now if only I could find her green thumb in me...well, at least I have her appreciation of flowers and trees and birds. I have also found myself thinking to myself several times as we have traversed around the countryside her famous words on any car trip, "Can we see it from the car?" Of course I fight that thought many a time and get out of the truck and go and see. Yet there are times observation from the truck is good too.

This past year there has been a lot of learning on the job. There are many good things from having friends visit and there are some downsides too, that is especially if there is little down time between guests and needing to get the house ready again. Thankfully, my friends as they've departed have helped tremendously and there is that much needed alone time that refills my tank. A warning to those who come, I am not drawn to the kitchen much except for snacks and drinks. It is good that most of my friends are excellent cooks or love to eat out or can eat fruit and cheese trays as dinner.

Another aspect of learning is those things that bugged me in Houston don't have to be and should not be in the forefront of my thoughts. Beth Moore said it perfectly a couple of weeks ago on Twitter and Facebook, "Discouragement is Satan's way of killing our calling so slowly we won't realize we're dying. It's death by disappointment a day at a time. Discouragement is a test. We can sit and sulk or we can throw open our Bibles, believe God and get our fight back on. Press through. The win is coming." I think in Houston I wasn't about sitting and sulking, it was about sitting and analyzing. Which for me, just leads to cynicism and that is not a good place for me just as my fearless zone is not a good place on the opposite end of the spectrum. This place here and now has been a healing place and after the extended stay in Houston to recoup from having a hip replaced, I saw it truthfully for what the discouragement is, the source and learning to move on and there was a sense, no evidence of closure for me by the mediation of a friend, who didn't have a dog in the show but was brave enough to be obedient to what the Lord asked her to do. I will be forever grateful to Darlene. I am living on the hill of Mizar, Psalm 46, and loving the view after several years of discouragement.

This past year has been one of the best years but I have to be honest with you there was a period of discouragement that resulted in a meltdown. It was a series of things that converged at a pivotal time. It was also at that time that nature i.e. snakes and raccoons and the like decided it was time to make an appearance or two or more.

From March 28, 2015 until now I have seen and experienced the kindness of God and I don't think the kindness of God is a one year warranty.

Ironically, Roy and I are closer than ever before and we both are more appreciative of one another.

I guess naturally I would think in terms of a one year anniversary but a friend is making a huge move today, that has been several months in the process. I don't care how organized you think you are or what you think you have learned in all your moving, we are never quite prepared as well as we need to be on moving day. Roy and I have helped her in her last two moves and it feels kind of strange not being involved as much in the process or the big day. My hip is probably thanking me that we are not involved in the big day or the week before the big day. We have texted and emailed and this morning as I was finishing up that last email of encouragement, Acts 17:28, that we live and MOVE and exist in Him came to mind. God is a moving God and we need to go with Him even when it is hard or difficult or when it is fun or easy.  My friend has done just that, her life shaken up, movement and change which has been so good for her. The status quo was comfortable and not too shabby but there comes that time just like Epaphras shook up his life and remained with Paul while Paul was imprisoned in Rome instead of returning home. May she find joy and contentment on the hill of Mizar.

Well, speaking of moving, I guess I'd best be about the day....

Monday, March 28, 2016

Don't We All Have Some Mornings When We Are Crankier Than Usual?

Nothing quite like a 6:00 am wake up when you would really like to sleep in till 6:30 am but something got Buddy stirred up and feisty. She was taking little nips at me so I did what all the experts say to do, I put her in the hallway and shut the door. Didn't seem to phase her, she was either down the hall or downstairs and took her time about coming back, but she did. Since I was wide awake now, I went ahead and got ready for the day and then came downstairs for coffee and breakfast. I then left for the Toyota dealership for SequishShawn's 5000 mile checkup. I was in and out in less than an hour so I went over to Biltmore Park...which is an outdoor shopping area not a park. I found a couple of things at that Barnes and Noble that I had been looking for and since the morning had been so efficient I headed over to Moose Cafe before the lunch crowd arrived. It was feeling like a veggie day today. After a delicious lunch it was a quick trip over to The Fresh Market for a few things and then I headed home.

The fog yesterday on I 26 was really bad and some of the most difficult driving I've ever experienced. In those gorges and areas around water, the fog is thick and almost impossible to see the road. Of course driving over bridges in that stuff wasn't fun and the people who do not use their headlights...well there ought to be a law and there is one here in NC. Rain, and it had been raining, those headlights better make an appearance. Most of the fog was on that steep grade where trucks become whimpering wienies because altitude plus steep grade makes engines work too hard.  
This morning in that very same area, there was fog and a huge wreck. It didn't affect the drive to the dealership at all. In fact I got there sooner than expected because it is spring break up here and not as much traffic.

I finished reading Dimestore by Lee Smith. She has a chapter dedicated to being older or getting older and what does that mean? She refers to these years as her porch years. Well, I have always been a porch girl so that doesn't work for me but I do know that Madeline LeEngle says we never grow up in her book Walking on Water. She divulges the secret to staying young and that is to stay engrossed with wonder and playfulness. Be childlike not childish. Madeline was writing this book when she was 61 which happens to be my age and has wonderful insight as we find it more difficult some days to move around but on the inside we still feel like we are 18 or whatever age we dream about. I can see Facebook pictures of friends whom I have known since high school and I am immediately taken back to those high school days and remember the fun we had in the everyday life of being teenagers. So many friends are grandparents and it still throws me sometime to see them with family while still remember them fondly from days gone. Who would have thought? We have all gone through difficult times and seasons, we all have found joy in something or somethings and we are managing the best we can but did we ever see us and how we have lived now with most of us being in our 60's?  I have been in the Miss Nancy stage for a bit and really I don't mind being called Miss Nancy...I will take it as a sign of love or respect.  I think Buddy too is in her Miss Buddy stage of life and the reality of that is hitting me kind of hard after taking her to the vet for the much needed nail trimming and for a well, let's see, how do I put cat was constipated. That can signal health issues but I felt sure and since I am not a professional, I still felt sure that it was emotionally related to me being gone for seven weeks and then suddenly I am here. Each time I left the house during those first days at home, she would become an anxious Nellie. The new vet didn't buy into my whole anxious thing and is keeping a watch on any outcome and thankfully Buddy is responding well to her new fiber
-licicious food that costs $40.00 a bag. Roy picked it up at the vet last Thursday and paid for it thus making him check Amazon when he got home for the food and it is $20.00 higher than the vet. So now he is over the cost somewhat. I still see Buddy as a young cat even though she has slowed down. The vet said her eyes are looking a little cloudy and her back teeth shows gingivitis. Buddy can still jump up and off our jacked up by about seven inches bed. I can get all emotional thinking about this and then I remember her this morning and I come back to reality. We all can be a little cranky in the mornings...don't respond to that Roy.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Just A Little Driving Around the Countryside

I never want to take for granted the views and scenery I am fortunate to experience here. Spring is such a beautiful unfolding of colors. Yesterday on my way toward Biltmore Village, in our rural area and in the city brilliant purples, pinks, greens, yellows and white blooms abundantly color the palette. The delicate white blossoms of the pear tree are beginning to morph into mint green leaves. Red bud trees are in full bloom and dogwoods are just now beginning to bud. Forsythias display bright yellows along the road or line the driveways. It truly is an unfolding and colors and the display of spring at its finest backed by brilliant blue skies as nature changes a bit everyday and the color extends for weeks instead of days.

On Saturday afternoon, after taking care of the remainder of our to do list we head out for the great unknown. Okay, most of it was known and roads we have been on before but we did have a little adventure of having no clue where we were driving because GPS was just the indicator arrow of us and we were in the midst of a green background on the screen. But I am getting ahead of myself. We picked up some lunch and headed out on one of our favorite drives. We stopped along the way for Roy to take photos and then we got onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove on it for a while. We turned around because we actually wanted to go farther south and then pick up this little road that on the map, this should tell you it was wrong, looked like it was just a short distance from the parkway. On the first pass we totally missed the turn...on the return trip, we missed it again but was able to turn around and finally make the right turn onto a road that looked like it had seen better days, like in the 1950's. We knew we were on the right road because we saw the sign that said to 281. We drove past Christmas tree farms and just regular farms. The telephone and electrical poles were nearly bleached white. Roy told of his time working at Western Electric in the summer during high school and college and said, those poles have been out here a very long time without replacement. I think we were both a tad nervous but didn't let on but we both were quick to notice 'life indicators' along our way. Oh look a school bus sign...oh a lived in house...there were plenty houses and trailers falling in on themselves. We got the bright idea to use GPS to find the nearest gas station to see if we were still on the correct road. That gave us some assurance because by that time we were only four miles away from  Jimmies Gas and Go. Yes, in Canada NC we found 281 which took us to Cullowee and past Western North Carolina University. There was a baseball game going on and it was tempting to stop and watch it. A beautiful campus though. By this time we were needing a snack and we blew off downtown Sylva. We found a Shell station/Dairy Queen, filled up SequishShawn and we got ice cream. While waiting on our ice cream I watched a police traffic stop happen. No I was not videoing it or anything but the officer did call for backup so he could search the guys truck. I was ready to move on and just about that time here came Roy with the ice cream. Goodbye Sylva, see ya later. 

When we got home we both vegged for a bit. Riding for that amount of time in the truck without a stop had my hip hurting and Roy was ready to sit in front of the TV. So, I will sound self righteous and let you know I finished the book I was reading, Dime store, by Lee Smith. It is kind of an autobiography only it is done in short story form. I am going to reread it again this week. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Rambling Kind of Thursday

So, we have had an exciting day...yawn...  Slowly but surely we are getting things taken care of around here and one of the things we can check off the list is, having the house pressure washed. Well, we have a bid and an appointment set. Coming from the Gulf Coast and not knowing all the ways of home maintenance in the mountains, we kind of overlooked the instruction from the  previous owner when she gave us the phone number of the house washer she used. Well, after seeing our east side of the house told us why we need to have the house pressure washed once or twice a year.

Roy and I hit the road as soon as the guy left making a brief stop at the post office and then to Zip's Car Wash. We have broken even this month on car washes. We had lunch at The Stony Knob Cafe. Delicious as always, stopped in at the vet to pick up Buddy's new food...why does food from the vet always cost a pretty penny? Then off to Sam's. Yes, I know right now everyone is so jealous. We got there before the Easter lunch prep crowd. I think we got everything on our list and then of course those unplanned list things.

I got a text from my hair stylist here yesterday letting me know she had a cancellation tomorrow and would I like the appointment? Yes! I mean as it stood I have an appointment May 18th and that being the first opening she had on the calendar. So, at first Roy was going to go with me and we planned to go early, eat breakfast and do some shopping in Biltmore Village but when I saw today that she has time to do partial highlights, he decided not to go and will stay here and get some other things marked off the to do list. There is always something to be done around here just like any home.

Michael, the one eyed cat, had a little gift for us today, a dead baby mole. As per my usual routine I stand at the edge of the yard and scan the area for sticks that could be snakes, mulch that could be a mouse or now a after determining it was safe to walk to the bird feeder...bam...Michael drops a dead baby mole in front of me. I have tired to explain to this cat we have befriended no gifts are needed...that I can't have this kind of surprise dropped in front of me because I am recovering from hip replacement surgery. Thankfully, Roy was quick to my side with a shovel to scoop this thing up and he thought about tossing it onto the gravel road area, but he felt that Michael would just go get the stupid thing and bring it back...would that be considered re-gifting? So, he traveled down the granite road and probably he was very happy to have an excuse to walk the full area since the previous owner sold her place and the new owner has not moved in, and deposited the gift there among the ruins of an old shack.

Tuesday afternoon Roy and I took out to the road for some picture taking. Well, I missed the turn we wanted and we decided why not go ahead and drive up to Hot Springs. Up is the operative word here. Soon our rolling hill drive became a steep, winding and curvy road that seemed very narrow. It did not help that Roy kept pointing out to me how high up we were and the view... I could not even afford to take my eyes off the road for one second. I was really rather nervous about the whole thing and when we were out of the cellular service area, I grew even more worried. We saw a few farms for sale and during the winter with ice and snow, you would have to be committed to cabin fever or being away from your farm for a while. Finally, we leveled off a bit only to discover we now had to go down the mountain. I was happy to see Hot Springs although we did not stop. We saw where the Appalachian Trail crosses into town and there looked to be some interesting places, an old hardware store and the outfitter store looked interesting too. We didn't get out and explore but I think we will go back. Thankfully, we returned to our home the less mountainous way. Roy didn't take any pictures but he did see a few places he would like to go back to. I would do that drive again and maybe the second time around I wouldn't be as nervous.

I started Lee Smith's autobiography the other night. She is one of my favorite southern authors. She grew up in Grundy, Virginia and I love her descriptions of the place and the people. Her writing is greatly influenced by Louis Rubin Jr, one of her professors and one of the founders of the Algonquin Press. I am reading this book slowly because it isn't very long and again, she has been for the longest time one of my favorite writers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Chatter That Doesn't Matter

Well the snake posts keep a coming on Facebook. Guess it is that time of year when a young man's heart turns to love but his eyes are on the watch for a snake or two...or twenty five as one young man proudly posted with pictures of the rattlers he cleaned out of his deer blind. I cannot help but wonder when someone posts a beautiful scenery picture of the mountains and lakes, just how many snakes are lurking about in that picture? We have been ever diligent as we have worked out in the back and thankfully so far we haven't seen a spring snake and hope to make that a truth for all the seasons.

We have been busy at times around here but we have also taken a laid back approach to things. The new washer and dryer were delivered and what a blessed change in doing laundry. The nicest brothers delivered them. While I was gone for most of the time they were here Roy was able to observe and learn all about installation. I had taken Buddy to the new vet and hopes of a mani/pedi faded because Buddy was way too feisty. This vet office is very into the comfort of the pet which I liked. She gave me some calm pills and I was to give her one several hours before we went back on Monday. It made a huge difference but I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with the fact that I would have to be on alert for two more nights with the long nails being ever so present. On Monday we had a roofer come and fix some shingles on the south side of the house. Tomorrow we have a guy coming to give us an estimate on getting the house pressure washed. Meanwhile we have taken care of those regular chores that need to be done and yet I am happy that Roy is able to unwind and relax a lot.

This morning my friend Brenda came over with an iced pound cake for Roy. What a nice surprise and happily he shared, well he has so far. It is delicious and it was perfect for dessert after we had our lunch. Roy has been marinating baby back ribs and he grilled them today. They were delicious!

Hallelujah! Christine at Wink had a cancellation on Friday, so I will be able to get my hair cut and maybe highlighted. Her first open appointment when I called was May 18th. I think Roy is going to tag along. We will go early and eat breakfast or lunch and do some shopping in the Biltmore Village area. Good thing he has lots of books on his iPad.

The temps have warmed up quite nicely here. We had a couple of nights below freezing but the good news is it didn't damage the peach or apple trees. We even had snow Sunday night. It fell in huge flakes but melted as soon as it hit the ground or roof. The moon was especially brilliant and I attempted pictures from the front bedroom window. The blooming pear trees actually looked like snow covered trees against the steel gray of the sky. It was quite the optical illusion. Our plum trees have bloomed brilliantly and hopefully that means we will have a decent plum crop this year.

Well, I'm off to other things but it had been a while since I had last updated anything....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

So Many Snake Posts

It seems all the rage here at the beginning of spring. So many different posts on Facebook all about snakes. How many snakes do you see in the tree? Be on the lookout for snakes hiding in the bottom of strollers or hanging out in lawn furniture and the like. The trying to be all helpful, this is how you tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake which by the way includes looking at the shape of the head as well as the scales on the back of the snake. That is just giving too much time to snake identification. People are posting pictures of snakes asking what kind is it? And then you have a plethora of arguing comments ranging from cotton mouth to water snake. There are all the first hike of spring reports dealing with snakes on the trails or on rocks or whatever or wherever. It is too much. There is the video of the guy feeding white mice to the snakes that are housed in lab drawers. I can't even watch that. This past Sunday I couldn't even catch a break from snakes in Sunday School. Our lesson was on Moses lifting up the bronze snake in the wilderness and all that looked at it were healed from the snakes poisonous bites. I have also learned from all these snake chats that the correct term is venomous not poison and they go on to explain why knowing this matters. I think at this point I am still suffering from Post Traumatic Snake Disorder after seeing a king snake and a Florida black racer snake in the back yard last summer. Now all sticks and dried out mulch must be inspected at a distance because each and every thing could be a snake coming out of hibernation. Our temperatures are supposed to get down to 29 degrees on Sunday and Monday night, maybe that will make those snakes hightail it back to their hidey holes. I think that most of the snake posts are from the Facebook group Appalachian Americans and while they post funny, interesting and useful things, there is a lot of fascination with snakes...

Slowly but surely the cardinals are making a few guest appearances in the backyard. I love seeing that red flash of bird flying through our air space and the touchdown for landing on occasion. I saw my first baby woodpecker and the Carolina Chickadees are making their return as well. I know once the trees begin to really leaf out there will be more birds since the leaves give them coverage. Yesterday, I drove on one of my favorite roads around here and I was fortunate enough for the majority of time not having cars in front or behind me. So I could leisurely drive and take it all in. Off in the distance some trees bore the resemblance of autumn, the rust color against the dormant empty branches and some of the new growth but it is the red bud trees blooming out those red buds of color. The forsythia and bradford pear trees are flowering nicely too. In those hills and hollers nestled in those valleys were other bright flashes of red, these red flashes of barns. Not all barns around here are red. There are plenty white and washed out gray barns across the view. They are just as lovely. Of course you know in all that loveliness there are probably snakes hiding in the corn cribs and in the bales of hay. These barn snakes are probably rat and king snakes which are our friends as they eat mice, rats, chipmunks and poisonous snakes like copper heads.

I think my friend that lives out in the country south of us in Katy by about forty minutes has had the most adventures with snakes of anyone I have ever known. She has stories that you don't want to hear late at night cause you know then you get the twitches and you think that one of those detestable beings might be somewhere nearby lurking and watching your every move.

As it seems another post about snakes was on Facebook right before going to bed and like a not too smart person I read the comments. One lady wrote about finding a snake going under her refrigerator and she womaned up and got that thing out of the house and killed it. Snakey Poo was filled with eggs. She also wrote about one slithering across her feet one night in bed. That's when she told her husband if he didn't fix the hole where they were getting in she would burn down the house. She said he fixed it right away.

I'm sure on this brand new day there will be new snake posts and I am going to have to scroll right past them. I'd rather think of the flowers that are blooming and the trees leafing out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Getting Lost

The day began rather foggy both in my brain and outdoors. I think I am experiencing second day hangover from daylight savings time. We had a little bit of rain yesterday and we are supposed to have showers this afternoon.

If I had to title this past weekend I would call it the lost weekend. Not like the movies that depict lost weekends as those containing booze or drug infused activities. No, I was lost in the wonder, grace, and thoughts. Of course the lostness of the weekend accompanied my ADD perfectly as I went from project to thing to book and back. Real things did get accomplished with both suitcases put up and boxes of stuff that came back with me somewhat cleared out or put someplace out of the way. Oh there is still a ways to go but I finally feel like I made a dent into the work more than my good intentions.

Even with daylight savings time I made it to church and was even a little early. We had a great lesson in Sunday School and a wonderful time of worship in big church. I came home, ate some lunch and then finished up getting all the trash out into the can in the garage. With a few minutes of rest I headed back to church to meet friends. We went to the Asheville Community Band concert held at Asheville High School.  For those of you who have been here it is the beautiful stone structure near the entrance to Biltmore. What I saw of the inside it is just as beautiful as the outside. The concert was a hymn concert with beautiful arrangements. The first selection was the Navy Hymn which we sang many times in choir years back. Beautiful and a haunting melody. It reminded me of the arrangement of all the Armed Service songs and we also included the Coast Guard song to the arraignment when we sang it in church. In rehearsals those who had served in their particular armed service would stand up while their song was sung. No one ever stood up for the Coast Guard. So, being those fair-minded types, Peggy and I would stand when we sang their song. No we weren't in the Coast Guard but dang it, someone needed to represent. Our pastor and his wife are in the community band. We couldn't see Pastor Jeff in the saxophone section but we could see Donna in the percussion section. They even had a bagpiper for Amazing Grace. I think this is the first time I have seen a woman play a bagpipe and all decked out in her Scottish finery, she is also an bassoon player in the band. Ah bagpipes and Amazing Grace, always brings tears to the eyes. After the concert we headed out quickly or as quickly as our legs would take us to get out of the parking lot so that all the Hillary supporters could get in to hear Bill Clinton in a couple of hours. Asheville High was a happening place yesterday.

I am officially old cause I fell asleep sitting up on the couch. I always wondered how my grandparents could do that and now I know. It doesn't take talent but you need a sense of balance so your head doesn't topple over. My friend and neighbor Brenda was bringing over dinner and she volunteered to help me get the very heavy garbage can down to the road. Oh my goodness, dinner was fabulous. She brought beef tips and rice, also a pork chop in case I didn't like beef tips, carrots, spiced apples, cornbread both regular and jalapeno, black eyed peas, angel food cake with strawberries, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. I have enough for dinner tonight. Wow, I am so fortunate to know all these good cooks. We had a lovely time visiting and then after eating I settled in on the couch to read. All in all a good Sunday. Also Buddy and I made up. She got really perturbed Saturday evening and was so put out with me. I gave her space and she eventually came to bed and slept on her blanket at the end but never once coming up to sleep on my arm. That works cause I get more sleep that way. She started liking me again yesterday and we are back to normal today. She has had a lot of changes the past few months so I don't blame her for acting out. I think I have found a new vet to take her to because she does not like the cat vet we have gone to previously and truthfully, I wasn't all that impressed with her either.

So like this past weekend I plan to get lost today. As we came home from the concert yesterday Velda reminded us we live in such a beautiful place. Lois talked about the beauty of the clouds and sky in these here parts. We can sense the cusp of spring with the beginnings of buds and leaves. there is much to be thankful for and so today I think I will get lost in all these kinds of things.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Spring Blend From Trees to Coffee

From the weather report last night I gathered it would be a cloudy, overcast morning. The morning greeted us with bright rays of light and a little bit of mist off into the distance. Yesterday when leaving for The Fresh Market I noticed the buds and flowers on the plumb trees and the weeping willow that had just been weeping bare limbs was now spring green with new growth. The Japanese maple and the Bradford pear tree are pushing forth little buds of color. I spotted some yellow blooms on the forsythia in front of the porch.  We are enjoying temps that are ten degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. 

When I was in Katy I think I got to every place I wanted to eat and some of them several times but on that list was to have a steak and we never went anyplace where I would order a steak. Last night I went to Turkey Creek Cafe for dinner. Most go on Friday nights for the all you can eat fish and shrimp but I went for their steak night. This is not surprising but it was a great steak dinner. Marisa is a great owner and chef. They were offering shrimp cocktails for $4.99 and it was delicious. What Roy and I love about Turkey Creek Cafe, other than the food, is that it is local, reasonably priced and you meet a whole cast of characters, if you are fortunate. I did an early dinner since I hadn't eaten lunch but only snacked and at 4:30 the place was halfway filled. I took a small table in the back and brought along a book but I didn't get too much reading done. The food came out quickly and I was also involved with a few conversations with people across at other tables. I love that! When I was back in Katy, my official one week there, I had always thought people in that area were friendly and for the most part they are, but after a few times trying to help someone or just say something to another standing in the Target line reminded me I wasn't in Oz, I mean NC anymore. We were a motley crew having our dinner none of us dressed in our finest and we liked it that way. Two young men about high school age sat down and shared their dinner time with an older man, dressed in cover alls and a plaid shirt. At another table sat a bearded, hardworking grandfather with his looked to be 18 month old grandson. That little boy was a handful but oh so cute. I did have a heart stopping moment when the server called out to them as she cleared the table, hey, you left your gun. But it was a toy camo assault looking type of gun clearly meant for a child. The older couple sitting at a booth nearby seemed to know most in the place and we had a good conversation about boiling shrimp. The wife is allergic to shrimp but not the husband and he was taken aback when I told him about the crab seasoning that is used for boiling shrimp. He thought that boiled shrimp just tasted that way naturally. Hey, he didn't grow up fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico and just as I have learned things from mountain people that they know just as naturally as I know about boiling shrimp. I remember the first time I went to Turkey Creek and it seemed like Marisa knew everyone and would stop by the tables and visit for a few and I was so jealous of that...but now, she comes to the table and visits and her daughter does too even if I don't sit at one of her tables.
It was a beautiful evening for front porch rocking but before I reposed on said porch I walked around a bit looking at the flowers and trees that are announcing spring. I got my hiking sticks out just to be careful and never left the asphalt. The breeze was from the south so not only did I have a great view of the cows migrating over to the part of the field closest to us but I got a good whiff.  Whew! Cows stink! Lots of cars and trucks going to and fro on Friday night. The sound of them doesn't bother me, in fact merely sitting on that porch and hearing the sound of cars just reminds me of those evenings spent on Grandma B's front porch, shelling peas or working on green beans and I am transported back for a brief moment of some very poignant and happy days. I think even as a child I knew that the time I spent with grandma was special and to be treasured. 
Thankfully Buddy did not get feisty toward morning and we were able to sleep in until nearly 8:00. The last two nights have been sleep consuming. The bonus for yesterday's early morning move to the bonus room was I Love Lucy. Even though Buddy was a happy cat to see us I think this week she is working through her adjustment back to our life. She acted out a few times and she is returning to her level of activity. I know she loved having Bill come see her everyday and I think she misses him but Russian Blue cats are known for their total dislike of change and little Buddy has had a lot of change in the past few weeks. At least she is sleeping at the end of the bed and not on my arm all night long.
The morning is moving on and there is so much to do that I better quit posting and get to working. Okay, I need breakfast first, then work. The coffee this morning is from The Fresh Market, their spring blend and it is good! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Day Awaits

Yesterday I saw a baby robin and just a few minutes later a blue bird enjoy the newly freshened birdbath water. Those robins are enthusiastic as they flap and flit to cover themselves in as much water as possible. The same could be said for the blue bird and all that enthusiasm of life kept the smaller birds hanging around and waiting their turn. This morning the cardinals are back so word must be getting out in bird world that free eats are back.

We are enjoying spring like days and the renewal of life is showing itself with a few buds on trees and daffodils poking through and raising their yellow and white flower heads to the sun. Underneath the red bud tree, crocus flowers are making their appearance. I had no idea what kind of flowers they were but friends confirmed the picture I put out on Facebook. Yes, in all that gray landscape of sun bleached mulch, dirt and the remaining dormancy of winter the purple flowers made a grand entrance into the long awaited and heralded spring season. Mike the Mower Man has done a fabulous job of creating a beautiful path for rain water to flow where it needs to go around the house but underneath the deck, where every living creature in all the earth congregates at some point during the year. Truly it seems to be an underground railroad of sorts. The river rocks creating the path add to the backyard tier. It looks like Jennifer, our horse neighbor above us, has moved. I had seen that the property had been taken off the market and with some added research I found that the house and eight acres is under contract. She and her boyfriend, man friend or whatever she called him weren't around much after October last year and I knew they must have moved on when the ever closed gate with them is now forever open as workmen come and go. Hopefully who ever has purchased the property will be a bit easier to communicate with and a little more friendly. I will miss Marilyn the dog. Marilyn is a beautiful Australian Sheep Dog.

Last night I was happy to find our cable package we have included the FX station that has The People vs OJ Simpson, so I watched it, even though I'm in the ETZ and the show came on at 10:00. Back when the trial was must see TV and my tennis friends and I would be glued to the TV while we ate our lunch at the club. Usually, until something is pointed out specifically, we take in the big picture of what is happening and not a closed in view. Last night the episode really highlighted how hard it was on Marcia Clark's personal life being the lead prosecutor.

As reported in Vanity Fair,Nina Jacobson, one of the producers of American Crime Story, said that the episode is "a portrait of a working woman struggling in a man’s world that is as poignant as anything you will see."


Now it is Thursday. Since Buddy went all feisty in the middle of the night and sleep became hard to come by so I have scraped my plans for today which is really fine since there is still so much to be done around here. In the midst of putting things away I am also cleaning out things which was to be one of my projects for the cold winter months of January and February. Pantry cleaned out and one closet so far. And I feel certain I can put away flannel shirts and the like but this warm weather we are having is a little early and there is always the chance for normal or below normal temps to return. It is not like it is time to pull out the spring and summer linens, capris and the like just yet.

I needed a little break from the work here and of course the ADD that goes along with the work. I thought about Waynesville or going to the Biltmore but decided to head north to Johnson City TN. When Roy cleaned out the freezer in the garage, he threw away all the freeze packs so what a great Academy excuse even though you can buy these anywhere. I also went to a couple of other stores and then headed back toward home. On the way back I stopped in to see Vivian and had a lovely time on her back porch.

Well the day awaits....

Monday, March 7, 2016


We left very early Thursday morning, 4:04 am to be exact. We stopped at Buc-ees for coffee and continued on making our regular stop at Sulfur La, only after leaving Cracker Barrel we decided to get gasoline on down the road but not in Lafayette. Once we made the turn north in Mississippi we began to see rain showers and some of them torrential. Alabama proved to have the worst rain on the trip and one time I was nearly blinded by a wall of water from the back end of an 18 wheeler. We made it to our intended destination of the night, ordered pizza and I was asleep by 8:30. That night in the hotel proved to me how ideal conditions have been for recovery because the too soft mattress was an enemy and nearly got Roy a black eye from my elbow. It was one of those I Love Lucy moments. The joy of doing all the hard driving the first day is that the second day of back road beauty makes it all worthwhile. So we drove the familiar roads but this time there wasn't that sense of excitement that I usually experience. No, it was more a calm reassurance of knowing we were getting closer to home and seeing the scattered snow on mountain tops was a wonderful welcome back. Before we could head home we needed to stop at the Toyota dealership and drop off some Goode Company brisket and sauce to the two men that were so helpful on what seems to be that long ago day when this journey began. God's timing is a wondrous thing. We found Colby but Phillip was at lunch and we trusted him to give Phillip his dinner. Colby was obviously touched and I thought, wow what a sensitive man that he cries at the delivery of BBQ but then we found out the reason for the tears. Once of his best friends had passed away and on the next day Colby was driving straight through to Missouri to attend the service and then he was driving straight back to Asheville. He told us that the delivery of good BBQ created his first smile since he had learned the news of his friend. He was also blown away by the phone call Roy had made to him when we were awaiting surgery in Lafayette because I didn't want him to think I wasn't going to follow through on the delivery of BBQ.  The timing of delivery on Friday was perfect.

After a quick stop at the Post Office to stop the forwarding of mail, we made it home. Such a welcomed sight and knowing there was a surprise in the refrigerator from Vivian was a huge bonus. Coconut pie for me and homemade apple butter for Roy. The reception that Buddy gave us was not the typical mad cat because you've been gone too long reception. She was in my lap as soon as I sat down. We began, or rather should I say, Roy began unloading the truck and then our next order of business, stop in to see Bill and Vivian. I had missed them so and I don't think there will ever be enough thank yous for their great care of Buddy while I recuperated in Texas.  Buddy had a great gift for Bill since he had introduced her to the Lone Ranger TV show, a Lone Ranger book published in 1941. Some have Paris, others have The Lone Ranger. Then we took some BBQ and sauce to Brenda and then we went to see Inez with BBQ in hand. I always enjoy visiting with Inez and Cumin and now Roy knows why, he loved our visit with them.

Saturday morning we were up early and Roy made breakfast...scrambled eggs and biscuits with homemade apple butter. We were out the door and at the mall early with the first stop being Barnes and Noble. I knew they would have the two magazines I had been looking for in Houston and I was not disappointed. Then we went to Sears and purchased a new washer and dryer. I have never liked the washer here and when we had to duct tape the dryer, we knew it was time. Then we went across the street to Whole Foods where Roy asked around and got some sliced oranges for me as well as getting a loaf of cranberry walnut bread when there was none to be found. I had already retreated to the truck because I was feeling it, the lack of endurance. We ate lunch and then did the big grocery shopping. We spent the afternoon and into the early evening working on things around here and getting stuff to the right place.

My PT guy did a great job of getting me prepared for stairs and I haven't had much difficulty with them at all. My knee gives me more of a problem than my hip. Now the hilliness of the land, that is giving me a few problems but once again it is the endurance thing and regaining my mountain legs. That is if I had ever had them before.

Sunday morning...oh my how wonderful to return to Newfound Baptist. Just as it should have been Louise and I walked into church together. When we came in I heard my name and welcome backs from the end of the hallway. How wonderful to walk into the classroom filled with friends I have missed. It felt so good to be back in the service. Roy had worked so hard on Saturday that he stayed home to rest up. He has done a lot of hard work these past six weeks.

So this morning I am easing into the day. Happy to see a few birds returning to the feeders, a cardinal last night. Had a brief sighting of Michael the one eyed cat on Saturday. The cows across the road have new hay mangers on the top of the hill so I see them longer each day. There are a bunch of new little calves and so glad I am not emotionally bonded with any of them so that I can just enjoy watching them romp and play. I have lots to put away but I know that taking it slow is the better choice and the better result. On this bright sunny morning, I am home.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Soon To Be East Bound and Down and Then A Little Northeast Until We Are West

It is a beautiful morning for celebrating Texas Independence Day which happens to be March 2. This morning the birds were in full voice welcoming the sun. The mockingbirds are strutting their stuff on the side yard fence. The tree on the green space, next to our fence was leafless and stark in contrast to the background of the sky. This morning I have noticed a cluster of new leaves breaking out of the once dormant limbs. Its rest of winter is over and the beginnings of new life started in quick earnest. The sun and the lamp in the living room once again coordinated a spectacular light show in the kitchen and on the ceilings. These quiet mornings of recuperation have been healing.

Last year at this time my head was so in North Carolina although I was here. The days full of preparation for the big move. My thoughts were of what ifs and full of how will it be and truthfully the few weeks left before moving were not filled with mindful presence of where I was, but of where I would be. Even though we all, friends, had meaningful conversations of what the days ahead would hold, we all know tucked there in the back of our minds is the thought of missing each other but the reality is our days of everyday living will overtake our attention of who we miss. Thankfully, we remember one another during seasons of absence.

This time leaving has a different feel, a better feel and probably the most correct feel. Since arriving back here on January 22, my focus has had to be get better, get well. Would I pick up my mat and walk thus being able to return home? It wasn't just the exercise and PT that facilitated healing but healing included a loving and caring husband that filled the role of caregiver very well and the love and friendship of friends that made this time so beneficial and fun and rewarding and redeeming.

Just like the tree on the green space, with a healing hip and attitude, new life is ready and I must return. These days have been good and there is a tiny part of me that wants to stay and leave on the original release date given at diagnosis, but the heat and humidity has begun a slight drain on energy the past few days and I know health-wise, it is time to go back. I miss my NC friends and I surely do miss Buddy. I miss Newfound Baptist, the slower pace of life, the beauty, and learning the history of the area where our house is,

This time last year I was leaving here more cynical, even though I fight that part of me diligently but cynicism had won a small victory back then, and critical. I left with some hurt feelings and unresolved situations. Roy and I journeyed to NC knowing some questioned our decision because it didn't look like the decisions they had made. Some even thought there was trouble a brewing when honestly the only thing brewing was coffee in our lives. Guess we both look at NC as our promised land and we take this journey being flexible and finding what works and doesn't work in our new normal. Really, we have both enjoyed having this extended time even with the circumstances. Roy said last night, I am going to miss having someone here that laughs at my jokes but I also think he will be happy not to have a cover stealer in the house.

Today I am six weeks out from hip replacement surgery. The doctor has encouraged me to take it easy once I get back to the mountains, because a whole new set of obstacles will present themselves. More rolling terrain, higher elevation and stairs will test my endurance. I will truly have to concentrate on continuing to walk in the new way that helps reduce stumbles, trips and falls. Part of the work has been training my brain or maybe that should be retraining my brain on what I can, cannot or should not do.

My heart though is different on the brim of returning. Since 2008 God has been working and changing my heart...softening it. At first it was necessary  recovery from cardiomyopathy, not getting as angry or upset about just took energy away that was a daily need and I didn't have that much to spare. But it is a more deeply spiritual thing and I see that there was a part I was not understanding, that is until I shattered my hip. Again, I now see what I was hearing in my spirit as I sat on the cold concrete at that Cracker Barrel in Lafayette.

I'm ready to go back where I don't watch as much TV because I would rather watch the cows across the road. It's time to get back to a place where "spin" and "marketing" doesn't have as much emphasis as it does here. Back to where ministry is about doing, hands on...not so much desiring a speaking ministry as is wont to be here in churches around the state. Back to the Annie Armstrong Offering. I need to get back where most people don't live "practiced lives" but live authentically without a lot of hoopla or grudge holding. I need to get back so I am ready for produce stand season, my very favorite. I need to get back and catch up on all my history lessons from friends who have lived there all their lives. But I need to get back because that is where I (we) belong. My time here in Texas has been excellent and so much fun. Goodness, I don't think I have been this social in so long and I even had to turn down opportunities. In the words of Mrs. Hortense Daigle, I didn't know I had so many social obligations but I am not a superior person. Now you have to watch The Bad Seed to see what I am talking about. Friends here have gone beyond the call and have kept me fed, entertained, on time for appointments and yes, made my sides ache with laughter.

So I am ready to go back to NC. Ready to see friends and ready to see if Buddy remembers me and if so will she still love me....tomorrow. Song alert....

Thank you to all that read the blog and have indulged me as I write all things hip replacement.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wrapping It Up

The end of February and the first of March has traditionally been good times for me. Last year with Alumni By Choice at Baylor and then the fun surprise party on March 1st given by Peggy and Dena at Maggiano's to celebrate this wonderful gift that filled a deep hole and healed a long time vein of periodic pain of not being able to attend Baylor way back in the day. March 1, 2013 was the day I had my heart ablation and that procedure changed my health almost instantaneously.

So now the time for my stay in Texas is winding down. The process of repacking has begun. It feels bittersweet because in spite of the circumstances that has had me here for the extended visit, it has been fun. It has been full. It has been relaxing, with intermittent workouts and PT, and redeeming. While sitting on the concrete, waiting for the ambulance to come at the CB on that chilly January 18th morning I clearly had the impression from the Lord that I would come away from this experience changed...going into my best Tramaine Hawkins voice to sing her song Changed. It's a great song. It's a long song, so when and if you have the time, go to You Tube and give it a listen. Yep, As I prepare to go back to God's Country I go back differently than with the attempted return. This is a good quote that kind of sums everything up.

Three Rules of Work
Out of clutter find simplicity
From discord find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty
lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

Saturday, we celebrate Roy's birthday. We went out for a late lunch and then did some shopping. One of our stops was Bill's antique store. I am so happy I was finally able to visit and I didn't come away disappointed. The rest of the day was a kind of laid back time and we watched Chariots of Fire and a few other shows. I don't think I have watched this much TV in years. 

Sunday, I went to Houston's First Baptist mainly because Dena was teaching and I haven't heard her in a long time. The music and worship was outstanding! Dena and I sat on the main floor and not in our usual perch up in the balcony. Thus, I was able to see and visit with friends I wouldn't normally see on a Sunday morning. Dena's lesson was great as always. My former Life Bible Study class was so kind in giving me a CB gift card for our return trip and a coloring book and pencils. I was taken surprise, a very unexpected and pleasant surprise. 

After church Dena and I headed over to Molina's. Another great place I hadn't been able to work in the week I was supposed to be here. Their salsa has a vinegar kick to it and it is so good. I got the combo plate and had the last of my cheese enchiladas for this trip. Once I got home, I took a short nap and then Peggy came over and we picked up Emily to go to the Hymn Sing at First Methodist Westchase. It was a full evening of music with a scattering of poetry by Ragan Courtney. Four grand pianos and several soloists...I have my favorites but Lisa P brought the house down singing My God is Real. 

Monday morning I met Bev at Dish Society for breakfast. The grits there are really good. Stevie has been encouraging me to try Dish and I am glad we did. Now there is a Sephora in La Centerra, so we made a little jaunt over that way to check out all the beauty in all the land....products that is. Then it was errand running and back home to continue repacking. The evening ended on a very happy and fun note, CourtneyS and Lisa P came over. We had dinner and then watched The Bad Seed again. I can go back home knowing another one has been converted over to watching The Bad Seed and taking apart the movie bit by bit. Peggy joined us mid movie, so that was fun. She had forgotten the ending, since I think she has only seen it once on a small portable DVD player years ago.

This afternoon I met Courtney for lunch at Lupe' last Lupe's for a while. We had such a nice visit sitting outside so that her daughter could play in the sand and all the toys. Since returning home I have been getting things consolidated and ready to roll. Roy is bringing home Popeye's Chicken for dinner and then we might try to partially load the truck and see what kind of room we have. I think we will have more because all the spring decorations in the four storage containers will not be making the trip.