Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Pleasant Day For Sure

After a sunny start to the day that progressed into partly cloudy skies, we now have had rain and it is looking dark in the northwest. We could use a few more showers but I am not thinking that thundershowers should be a part of the evening. This has been a good day, one where I don't have anyplace where I have to be and plenty of things to keep me busy around here.

I ordered the simplest programmed canner ever made at the end of last summer from Williams Sonoma. It was a great sale and free shipping. I also ordered a tomato peeler thing and they have been stored in the closet underneath the stairs. So today, I pulled those babies out, got them unwrapped and in the ready position when produce stand season truly arrives. I reviewed the cookbook and ordered a couple of things from Amazon so I will be ready to roll when the time comes. This canning machine limits me in what I can do and I think that is a good thing. I can always freeze corn and green beans. Since we are here in the best time of strawberry season, maybe I will try my hand at making some strawberry jam. OK, I never thought in a million years I would be writing anything like this, with plans in mind....thus the easy peasy machine comes to the rescue.

Since the pressure washer team had moved our outdoor rugs and chair cushions into the garage when they did their work, I began bringing all those things back to the porch. In the process I killed a wasp and destroyed the small nest it had started. I mean really, I saw my first bear and I killed a wasp and destroyed its nest this week. Next thing you know I will want to can veggies and fruit.

Sometimes procrastination gets the best of me and little things don't get done in a timely manner. Such has been a few purchases I have made in the past month and they have gotten as far as a chair in the living room. Today, they were put into their proper place. I need to vacuum, but that might wait until tomorrow. As I have been doing some of this procrastination stuff I have realized there was more to take to the yard sale at the church that finished up this afternoon. Oh well....

I have watched a video on Facebook that has made me tear up every time I watch it. It is a group from our church ministering through a project that only takes a day to remedy for those in need in our community. It is called To the Least of These....  Five projects were chosen and one of them was filmed while they told the lady they were there to re-deck her deck. She is genuinely moved by this news. These are not members of the church necessarily but people in our community who could use a little help. Not just ministry limited to widows. Not just ministry limited to those in prison, but could be figuratively. The daughter is filming the scene. I am so thankful for my mountain church. Tomorrow after the service WAR, Women at Risk, will have jewelry and scarves made by...well, women at risk.

A pleasant day for sure.

Friday, April 29, 2016

All On A Thursday

Today I had my first bear sighting. Not out here in the country, not on the Biltmore Estate but in was running behind the Cracker Barrel and trying to jump the fence of the building next to CB. It was a papa or mama bear, probably a papa because there weren't any little bear cubs running with the grown up bear. I was so tempted to try and take a picture but you know a little thing like driving along the freeway kind of stopped me from doing that. Then I thought is this an emergency? Should I call 911? That is when I saw some police flashing lights ahead and I thought maybe I should tell them about the bear but then I saw they had come to the aid of a motorcyclist that had taken a curve too quickly and wiped out. Being the orthopedic specialist that I am not, I saw his feet and I could deduce that the guy probably had a broken hip. So, I just hoped that no one at Cracker Barrel came face to face with the bear in the back of the parking lot. Later I asked Vivian if I should have called 911 and she assured me, seeing a bear in Asheville is not unlikely or an emergency. There are a lot of bears in the city.

I was prepared to make a Target stop but I found what I needed at Home Goods. If you look at policies of many stores, banks, airlines, drug stories, they are no different than Target. So, are you going to boycott everything, go off the grid and live off the land? Probably not. You'll have to stop going to Disney parks, stop watching ESPN and give up all kinds of Cokes.

I also know that when I am not feeling upbeat and beautiful, I will be going over to the local Whole Foods. Glad I gave up my hippy ways when I was seventeen.

I had an awesome supper of grits casserole, green beans and ham. Thank you Vivian for the grits and beans. Delicious! I had watermelon for dessert. Then I went out back and planted several of the flowers from Lowe's.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

When You Love Your Days

The sound of pressure washing is in the air. Jesse and Tonya are here pressure washing the house. This is one of those things you don't even know anything about and we kind of ignored doing anything about it last year. Since we did that, now we know why you have this done.

The evening held showers around our area and we were blessed to get a few of those intermittent showers, a couple were more than just light rain. After capping, sugaring and getting strawberries ready for the freezer, I sat here on the couch and watched the sun go down and the backyard turn a marvelous contrast of the dark dirt and the brilliant, ever changing greens of the trees, grasses and shrubs. It seems like overnight the rose bush has pink buds beginning to open. There are splashes of color about the yard in yellows and pinks. I bought some flowers at Lowe's that I will plant later today that will add more yellows and a few pops of red. I think I will try doing the flower boxes that fit on the porch and deck railings again. By mid summer last year I tired of them but I will give them a try one more time. I would really like to get some plants for the front of the house but until I get railings put up by stone steps, access is limited for me.

Yesterday Vivian and I headed out to the Moose Cafe for breakfast. Yum and delicious! Then we went over to the farmer's market. We both bought strawberries but she also bought fresh green beans. It's the most wonderful time of the year...soon that is...produce stand season! We wandered through JJ Israel and Sons Nursery checking out the vibrant bedding plants and all the herbs and such. I am kind of waiting to put out snap dragons, zinnias and lantana. I am waiting until I see some for sale. Also waiting on Mike the Mower Man to plant the trees that will be more like a hedge in the back and that should be in the next few weeks. Vivian and I drove through the Biltmore Estate to see the azaleas. What a wondrous show and display of color. My favorites up here are the orange azaleas which are wild here in NC.

Roy is also scheduling either a fixing of the roof or a complete new roof which will be a metal roof. He also has some inspections scheduled. I hate making those kinds of phone calls.

I was happy to get everything over to the church for the yard sale this weekend to benefit missions. My last run was on Tuesday as I took clothes and shoes. How can we accumulate so much in such a little bit of time? Hopefully, since I live out in the country my impulse purchases will reduce. Well, they have but now I will include online delivered purchases.

It felt like it was coming down to the wire but I got the call yesterday that Christine had a cancellation and would I like it. Well, yes, thank you! So now I can go to Erin's graduation with stylish hair that is to the best of my ability to do good hair. It is not that I have such complicated hair but I have cowlicks and the hair on the top of my head is unruly and needs texturizing and layering.

The other night I decided to get out a rocking chair and sit near the tree that fills with birds in the evening. I sat there taking in the delightful songs and calls of these mountains. With the trees gaining new leafs daily and with spring showing up in a big way, the birds are making their nests in nearby trees and by evening sit on these big two trees in my neighbors yard and sing their hearts out. While I was taking in nature's symphony my neighbor up the way and over to the left came over to visit. She had all the scoop on our new neighbors that bought Jennifer the equestrian, place. When we got here in March the for sale sign was down and it looked deserted. They sold their farm but we didn't know to who. The economy is coming back around here and developers have been buying up pieces of land to build houses. We were kind of waiting to see how low the price would go on the horse farm cause we would be interested if the price were right. Our neighbor said a military family has purchased the farm. The father still has one last tour of duty in Hawaii and then he and wife his and two children will be moving in, planting veggies, have some chickens and various farm animals. I think they were here over the weekend but I didn't get a chance to meet them.

The house looks good, my errands have been run. I'm fixing to go out back and plant my flowers.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beautiful Days But I Am Boring

The day is beautiful and warm so it seemed like a trip to Johnson City would be in order today after church. It has been a couple of weeks since I have driven that way and the greening of the trees is truly brilliant. Among the green leaving trees are dogwoods and sarvis trees in bloom. I love the four days of spring we have in Texas with the blue bonnets and the Indian paintbrush but here when one flower stops producing blooms, there is another one waiting to take the stage. It is a wondrous cycle to behold. It doesn't end with spring because summer holds its own with blossoms and buds. I am thrilled that this is our second spring here as residents.

Anyway, I needed to take back the iPad cover I had bought and go with an Apple product more conducive to the Smart Keyboard. Since south Asheville is not my favorite place and Tunnel Road didn't seem like where I wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon, Johnson City was the easy choice to make.  I was able to get in and out quickly, although I don't think the sales guy knew enough about the new product and there wasn't anything on display. Because Academy is so close it seemed like a good thing to walk through the store and it turned out to be a productive visit. Feeling good, I headed over to Barnes and Noble but it wasn't to be, so two out of three places had what I needed. Anytime you go to Tennessee that means you top off your tank with cheaper gasoline. It was a delightful and fun afternoon for me. Such a beautiful drive and not hectic and crowded like 26 to the south.
Welcome to Monday evening. The sun is setting and this has been a beautiful spring day. I made two trips to church with things for the yard sale and I made the all important grocery store run. Buddy and I have been taking it easy since I got everything put away. I will probably go through some clothes and drop them off at church tomorrow or Wednesday. We decided if something for the house hadn't worked in a year, it wasn't going to work this year. I also got rid of one of the Keruig coffee makers because we have gone back to making coffee the old fashioned way...well, not old fashioned but how we used to. Neither Roy nor I like the K cup maker with the carafe that was supposed to be fancier. It just seemed to be a huge pain.

I finally got birthday gifts mailed today that are ever, ever so late. The people working and standing in line at the post office, in my experience here, are so friendly and fun to talk with. I hope the supervisor from Weaverville who has been at our PO a lot gets the open postmaster position.

That's it. I am boring today and I kind of like it this way.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

This Is Pretty Good Stuff

I just saw the biggest woodpecker working away on our neighbors huge tree. Joining him were several cardinals observing the hard working bird rather casually. Guess they know that eats are only a feeder away for them and most of the seeds are those that draw in the songbirds. I observed all of this while working on gathering and loading the truck for the church yard sale. I might have to make several trips this week. I've decided those things that haven't worked out here for the house need to find a home where they would be useful to someone else instead of holding onto something that probably will never get used.

Last night I met Bill and Vivian for our Friday night dining at Turkey Creek Cafe. By the time we left  the place packed with hungry families and friends. We saw several church friends there too. Once again I chose the hamburger because it is a pretty darn good burger. The forecast said more rain and the dark ominous skies agreed. I got home just before the heavens opened up with heavier rain and even a few thunder boomers. Buddy and I decided we should hang out upstairs so she slept while I watched a bit of TV.

I read an interesting blog the other day about the use of "call" or "calling." That term has kind of taken over the former importance of mission statement. The author tells us she has stopped throwing around the term calling and pretty much has banished the term from her vocabulary. She tells her story of college, work and going to China yet she falls in love with a man not drawn to the mission field and she comes back to the states and they get married. Meanwhile she is dealing with guilt and wondering if she was called at all. Her story and her thoughts reminded me of Romans 11:29 which says, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. I once heard someone say your call or calling remains the same. It is your circumstances and situation that change, not the calling. That helped me tremendously because the next few years after hearing this were full of changes and circumstances that became beyond my control. My friend Dena wrote out my mission statement for me years ago because I never could come up with anything. I vainly tried using what I gave Roy when he would get on his what are your goals kick. My answer to him, to have fun, to be popular and to have lots of money. It was the most shallow thing I could think of saying. Anyway, she had pity on me and based my mission statement on Philemon, joy and great encouragement refreshing the hearts of God's people. I feel that this is also my calling. What I thought that meant and the how this will work out was nothing at all in how God intended for these gifts to be used. I kind of pouted for a while and then came to my senses. I laid those thoughts and dreams down to the Lord and I haven't looked back.     On the blog, life the author realized that her calling is to first and foremost to intimacy with Jesus Christ. She writes further than when we come to that place where we don't want to be or we can no longer do the ministry we thought was our calling, "then we will not fall apart, because we are NOT our art. We are not our ministry. We are not our calling. We belong to Christ and are stamped with the love of the Holy Spirit, in whom we live and move and have our being. And He never looked at us and saw our gifts anyway (though they made Him smile.)" That my friend is pretty good stuff.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Gentle Rain

A gentle rain began last night and has continued into the morning.  It is not Purple Rain. Like so many others the news of Prince's death was quite a shock. I mean who didn't like Prince in the 80's? I'm sure there might be a few but his music was the background to a lot of life back then. So many times when our softball team went to nearby tournaments Little Red Corvette and 1999 was our jam. When he lived in the townhouse before our neighborhood became just the hood, I rode my bike in a neighboring neighborhood. It was perfect for getting miles and time in because this neighborhood had a street that made a full circle, almost but not quite a mile. Roy and I measured the distance so I would know how many laps needed to be made to accomplish my goal. My music of choice, the cassette in my Walkman was Prince, the album with When Doves Cry on it. The cadence was perfect for warming up, riding in a heart target zone and then cool down. I never tired of that album and it kept me going on days when I would rather do just one lap. Another song he wrote and I still listen to while cleaning the upstairs is Sheila E's Glamourous Life. Purposely, I haven't read too many of the articles on Twitter because his death story is going to come in layers. But it is sad just like Whitney and Michael. Such huge influencers of culture and of music.

There is a fire in Madison County and hopefully the rain is helping all the fire fighters contain and extinguish a fire that is covering more than 2000 acres. Because of the smoke, school has been cancelled in Madison County. Part of a major highway just reopened after being shut down for most of yesterday afternoon and all of last night. Around 1:45 am I was awoken by low flying helicopters. I fought through sleepiness that turned into confusion because it has been a while since the sound of low flying helicopters has played any part in life. It wasn't the sound of circling like in Houston when looking for criminals, it was the sound of military helicopters. I never got a glimpse of them in the night sky because it is so dang dark in the country but I did think they might be on their way to the fire with chemicals to help with containment. It took a long time to fall back asleep. This fire is near the Tennessee border, close to Hot Springs but mentally I was trying to count miles, plus wind and who knows what else because math is not my best thing trying to figure out if we were in danger. Kind of like my unrealistic thinking when those guys robbed the jewelry store in Asheville and ditched their red minivan, which is a whole other problem, about ten miles away. I took in account pastures and electric fences and the fact they were from out of state and the high probability of them getting caught, yet I rearranged furniture and stuff, you know, to be safe.

I think the last of the rain is coming through now. The robins are in the front yard getting a fair share of worms. The clouds and fog cover the view of long range mountains and nearby farms. There are just a few blossoms left on the apple trees. I never tire of the view from the front porch. While cleaning out photos on my phone I could hardly discard any of this view because it changes with sun, clouds and rain. So laundry is in the works meaning I must tear myself away from the view and from the least for now.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Keyboard on Board

This is so exciting! I am writing on my new iPad 9.7 Pro with Smart Keyboard. Now I can be more mobile in my blogging. My other iPad and the Zagg keyboard were fine but the keyboard started getting sticky keys and nothing would remedy the problem.  Believe me I Googled everything I knew to Google and it just got worse. The keyboard was delivered today.

It is a good thing I didn't get the early start to my day that I had intentionally planned because I got a text from Apple saying the keyboard would be delivered today and I would have to sign for it. The delivery was a day early, not complaining, but that meant changes. It all worked because I got some long over due projects taken care of. I also worked a bit on things going to the church yard sale.

I can see that it is raining to our south and it would be so nice if some of that rain would head over this way. It is still so hard to believe all the flooding that is happening in Houston. Very familiar streets are still covered with water. Friends in Houston have not been far off my prayers to the Lord. I am thrilled to see that friends who experienced flooding last Memorial Day did not have a repeat. Many of them just now moving furniture back into their homes.

Right now there is a rabbit running across the front yard. We have baby bunnies living in the back. It is that time of the evening with the sky a blueish gray and the clouds are moving along at a nice clip. The wind has once again been fierce today. I don't remember the wind blowing like this last year but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. It is also that time of year when the older calls are being separated from their moms who are with calf again. Such a sad mournful sound. It breaks my heart to hear them cry, both mother and child.

Well, I wanted to give this a try and I am extremely happy with it all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Wonderful Spring Day

On this windy Wednesday morning once again the alto notes of our wind chimes greet me. We have a had a few days of late where the wind hasn't been so prominent and we have enjoyed sunny, warm days. I'm watching the trees and tall grasses move in choreography with the wind chimes. The red bud tree is more green with leaves than with buds. The dogwood tree still has a few white blossoms and so does our apple trees. I can see Michael, the one eyed cat, is moving down our tiered backyard on his morning patrol. Buddy slept in a bit this morning and just came downstairs for her treat and probably has taken up her spot in the front room window making sure all is right with the world. I love living here on this spring morning in the mountains.

Yesterday, Vivian and I went to the Creprie and Cafe in Weaverville. I think we both wished we hadn't waited so long to go there. We both had a veggie crepe and we split a sweet dessert crepe. Adjacent to the cafe is an antique store and what is there not to love about that. We noticed after eating there is a covered patio next to the antique store if one wants to eat outdoors. This will be a repeat place for sure. We drove down to Sanctuary of Stuff but it was closed, so we turned our afternoon to driving about the countryside and Vivian sharing stories of the farms and people who lived or still live on them. I finally saw a sarvis tree

They lined the back roads we traversed yesterday. I remember seeing them last year and wondering what they were. Copied from the Internet, here is an explanation of how the tree got its name. 

In the southern highlands, the plant is often called sarvis or sarvisberry. This pronunciation is commonly thought to derive from the season in the mountains when the springtime thaw made it possible for traveling preachers to reach their communities in the hills. In some places, frozen ground prevented the burial of those who had died in the winter – as soon as possible in the spring, the bodies were removed from icehouses and properly buried. But ministers made other celebrations possible – and the women went to the hills to gather the blooms for baptisms, weddings, and the regular Sunday services.

Word historians have concluded that there is another explanation for this name, sarvis. They believe that the American serviceberry was named by settlers because its fruit bore resemblance to the service, a mostly forgotten English fruit somewhat like a pear, which, though, unrelated to the American serviceberry, was often called, sarvis.

So the blooms were collected for Sunday sarvices...  I love learning these type of things. 

Roy and I have celebrated an anniversary of sorts. This is the first before April 15th in three years that we did not receive a call from Adult Protective Services, the police who deal in elder abuse or the constable and have to respond to the false accusations made by my father concerning us. Roy always thought it came about at this time because of tax season and my father's preoccupation with money. You could hear it in their voices that these people really thought we had done something because my dad is such a good liar that is until the facts bore out our story. Then we heard their voices change to compassion now knowing what we were dealing with. Thankfully, my brother is a hero taking on these phone calls and now getting my father out of his dark, depressing house and into assisted living, where he now is thriving. He is off medicines that were making his mental state fragile and he is now away from influences that were making up stories about us, further throwing him into dramatics and unrealistic fears. I am happy to hear that he is doing well, making friends and has returned to church. Yet, we still have to maintain that distance from him because of his legal actions he took and because we cannot risk getting back into any kind of personal relationship with him. I talked with my brother last week and asked about Dad and learned from him the good progress. Afterwards as I thought about it maybe my father is doing so well because he is living a life that maybe should have been his choice all along, no one depending on him, footloose with no responsibilities and doing what he likes to do. I am just so thankful for my brother's sake that he is easier to deal with than in during previous, all too long of a time years when Roy and I were the ones mostly involved. 

Well, a trip to the grocery store seems in order. The birds are out of water and I need to refill the feeders. Such a wonderful spring day! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Feeling Like a Charlotte Kind of Day

I knew I needed to do something soon or I would become more mired in fear. Not to the point of enslaving me but it was just that little bit of doubt that I could resume things that I have done normally for years and years. So a trip to Charlotte was in order, not to sight see or go visit one of our long time good friends, no it was to make a drive longer than an hour, by myself and explore an area I had never been to. The carrot on the sting? Nordstrom. I cannot tell you how many times I nearly talked myself out of making that trip and on Monday morning, even on I 40, I was having that conversation with myself and almost made the morning about getting breakfast around Black Mountain. There are several ways to get to Charlotte and I chose the one most likely we would take if we needed to fly out of Charlotte. I had considered driving back the scenic route but wild fires have caused road closings and it looked like the scenic road may still have some closures on it. I left home around 9:30 and made it to the mall a little before noon, which by the GPS, I was a little ahead of schedule. The drive is lovely and even the flatter country around Charlotte is beautiful.

Just like Houston, traffic surrounding the mall at lunchtime was horrendous. Made me a little homesick, not. Such a well planned area. This mall, South Park, is huge! It has a Nord, Neiman Marcus, Dillard's and Macy's. Parking garages surround the mall and there are a few open areas for parking and just like that, it seemed meant to be because I got a front row parking space smack dab in front of the Nord. It also was the closest to the street I needed for my return trip. The Charlotte Nord is a whole lot smaller than the one in the Galleria. Very nicely done and I had a wonderful time walking around looking at everything. I was happy that even with a Nordstrom Note burning in my pocket I didn't buy anything, except for lunch. This Nord has a marketplace not a bistro. You order at a counter, choose a table and then a server brings your order out to you. The menu had several of my favorites but I opted for the tried and true margarita pizza. They didn't have crab bisque or that would have been a choice as well. After lunch I wandered out into the mall just a bit, not too far because I had passed the Billy Graham Library on my way to the Nord and decided I would need to make a stop there before heading home.

The grounds at the Library are beautiful but because it was 88 degrees and the humidity high, I didn't make it to the area where Ruth Bell Graham and others are buried. I did walk a bit through the prayer gardens, didn't do any of the tours instead opting for when I was with others, but I did make a stop in the bookstore. You know you have to...when you are a reader. I made it out of there only buying postcards but several things were tempting for purchase. I took a few pictures and then I was back on the road heading home.

At the Nord I had been all primed to order dessert but they only offered cookies and cupcakes, not the normal desserts I am used to in Houston. So I stopped at a Cracker Barrel because Texas sheet cake, which they call Coca Cola Cake, sounded really good. This was a rather new Cracker Barrel and the newer ones have a better design and flow.  My visit was uneventful except my server got fired in mid serving. The manager came over with my coffee and two different servers brought the cake and ice cream and coffee refills. After doing some CB shopping, got two bird pens that happened to be on sale, I stopped at the nearby Shell station. The conversation that Roy and I had about me traveling alone to Houston and back came to mind. He is concerned because I walk slower than I used to and would be an easy target. I told him with my strategy of stopping at CB and then stopping at a station meant I was only walking between the truck and the pump. Yesterday, when leaving the CB and I was passing the more halt and lame than me, I knew I would not be the weak one in the pack and would fair well if I pick up my feet and walk correctly and stay away from things that trip me.

I returned home a little after 5;00 and came home feeling accomplished but oh so very tired. The trip had taken a lot of energy, mainly from the newness of it and needing to be hyper alert. All throughout the day I had been checking in on the Houston flood situation and I used that time in the truck to pray for friends and loved ones being affected by the rain or not to be affected by the rain.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

It Is Not Always About The Clothes. No Really!

It is official! I own way too many clothes. No, that is not a surprise or a very deep revelation but unlike years past as I go through the ritual of changing out the winter for spring and summer, the thought of too much has gone much deeper than the usual thought and the accompanying response of yea, so what are you going to do about it? With that exercise out of the way I go about folding and hanging and changing...yes, even some things going to the to be donated pile. Here in North Carolina where we may or may not see snow this weekend and it is April, I don't have the ready uniform for cold months like I do for warm, then hot months in Houston which averages out about nine months of the year...if we are lucky and get a winter shot of cold temps. I am pulling out the linen, running it through the steam setting on the dryer to get the worst wrinkles removed and then hanging it in the closet. Last night I thought I had lost my typical uniform of summer, all my Flax long pants, In the midst of the desperate search for my go to uniform, something so small, like a pin head or even smaller, pricked my finger without me so much as knowing it happened until I saw the fountain filled with it was just the fountain of blood ever so delicately spewing forth with wild abandon and I was in the twin bedroom which boasts of a main color, white with red and pink accents. Only my blood didn't need to be a part of the decor. Since I am on blood thinners and have to watch for this kind of occurrence I know now that putting a band-aid on the spot will do nothing except saturate the I know I need to put pressure on the spot for what seems a really, really long time. I was talking with Roy while applying the pressure and he reminds me I need to be careful and I am thinking, but not saying back to him...uh yes, I am but this was just like my skin decided to part in just an itty bitty place on my finger. So after forty five minutes of pressure it was finally safe to put on the band-aid. I was able to think clearly after taking care of that situation and next thing you know, I have found those pairs of linen pants hanging in another closet in the front bedroom.

Really, it is stupid how many pairs of jeans and capris I own. But I know where this dare I call it hording began... When I was in elementary school something changed between me and my father and he began to treat me like he had been treated growing up. Because he felt the need to control everything...he couldn't trust my mother to help me pick out school clothes, so he took me. Yes, it was as fun as it sounds. I remember looking at the round racks of back to school clothes in Penney's. Girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school way back then, so the choice was dresses and skirts. I was looking at the clothes and my dad comes over to me and says the saleslady just told me that you aren't cute enough to shop from this rounder. We need to go over to sales rack because that is where ugly little girls get their clothes. I was mortified, although I didn't know that word when I was in the first grade but that news hurt and stung me to the heart. He got close to my face and spewed his cigarette breath in my face saying, you better not cry or shed tears because if you do...we will leave and no new clothes for you to go back to school. I think I can thank my father for my high pain threshold because I had lots of training to perfect it. Then sometime in the school year I would cry to my mom that I was being made fun of at school because of my clothes. My mom would get mad that this was happening but there was nothing she could do about it. If she sided with me on anything, it would be a high price to pay with my dad who thought she always took my brothers or my side. The whole clothes thing was a continuous battle even as I got older and tried to buy my own clothes from my and isn't this ironic, my paycheck from working at Penney's while in high school. I loved lay-a -way. I knew when I was older I would never put myself in that clothes situation again and thus began my endless years of being a clothes horse.

Truthfully, I do not think about that whole thing very much anymore, hardly ever. It is just a part of my story. In fact I would say after spending time in therapy, working through issues and forgiving my father for the oh so many things that should have never happened, so now I can walk freely, with good boundaries and not be held hostage or controlled, the Lord brought this thought to me today as I have been working and sorting...He said, you let all that go emotionally, don't you think it is about time for you to break free and practice for what you fought hard to be free of and believed Me to take care of? Boom! I had to sit down. He was right, especially now when I get to pretty much wear whatever because the who are you wearing and the competition one feels to keep up with trends in Houston are not here. Well I am sure they are in Asheville or Hendersonville but out here in the country, we dress nice and look good but that isn't the emphasis.
I wrote the words above a week ago today. I knew I needed time before pushing on the post button. On cue the tufted titmouse, sparrow (various types) and a goldfinch landed on the branches of our red bud tree out back which makes me think I should give Matthew 6 another reading. Quit worrying and seek the kingdom.

Last night Bill and Vivian met me at Turkey Creek Cafe for dinner. Roy had mentioned earlier in the day he had picked up a burger at our favorite dive in Old Katy. That got me thinking about ordering a hamburger instead of the fish or the steak dinner. We met early, 5:00, and the place was beginning to fill up with hungry customers. In that cafe is meshed all the people that make up our area; old timers, people who grew up here, as well as generations of family before them, newcomers (more than just me), and people just getting off work. People are friendly here and we talk to one another across the tables just recognizing each other but not knowing each other's names.

With a renewed vigor I have tackled the preparation of letting go some of this stuff I have carried around on a couple of moves. So now I have bags and the like to put these fine frocks in and hope others can use or enjoy them.

The other disclaimer I need to add and I usually add this on most posts when I go back to childhood. There was a day I told these things to effect change or have someone feel sorry for me. Then it got to when I told childhood stories I was trying to figure out the why and the what. Finally came the day when I tell these stories to help or encourage someone who has a past like mine or is currently dealing with a controller and manipulator. There is hope and there is victory. It doesn't happen all at once but each good decision you make or each time you give this person to God or have to begin at square one, it comes. I can look now and see where God had people placed in my life for such a time as ______________ . He never failed. He was always there.

It is supposed to be warm tomorrow so I do believe I will be able to put together some kind of outfit from my summer uniform, linen. And yes, I have added some linen pieces to the pile of clothes that need to leave the building.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Terminate Verses Terminal and Bad Moods

This day did not go as planned but there isn't anything wrong with that...well kind of. The generator people had filled the 9:00 and 11:00 times but had 12:30-1:00 open. It seems that they would schedule appointments further out than the next day but I didn't find out these filled or scheduled times until after I woke up early, showered and dressed before 9:00 just in case. Roy called me from the office and he had the generator people on the other phone. So it was agreed to the 12:30ish appointment.

Then unlike Roy I heard from him several more times this morning and being cranky from early rising and interrupted sleep during the night by Buddy the cat and having plans altered for the day I wasn't my natural bubbly self...ok, I am not bubbly but I can be nicer. In the midst of these phone calls Buddy, who has slept well since her last early morning meow has sauntered down the stairs and heads to the kitchen for her morning treat, only I am on the phone with Roy. Thus I am not following her every whim. One would have thought her guts were being ripped from her very being as she yowled, no make that while she threw a temper tantrum in the kitchen. Right now I don't know what to think because although I love that cat I have never been so super observant of everything she is doing because she has acted like she hasn't felt well. These vets are scaring me when they inform naive me that Buddy is getting older, her eyesight is a little cloudy, she may have gingivitis around her back teeth and she has recently been constipated which can be nothing or it can be something serious. So I have become the littler box examiner although I haven't a clue of what I am looking for other than suspicious signs. You know back in the day we just cleaned out the litter box and in Texas Roy always did the doody duty. He is no help in helping me to understand if there are signs or not signs in the litter box. I did think I saw the image of Elvis yesterday in the carefully scratched and arranged kitty litter but I think I had inhaled too much of the dust from cleaning out the box and starting from the very beginning.

 Now where was I before taking that bunny trail? Oh yes, the unbelievable reality of me being cranky. My attention is divided between Roy and his retelling me about how everyone thought the sky was falling but it wasn't about his work which I totally don't understand and the sound of a cat who may or may not be dying in the I start crying and beg off the phone. Good news, Buddy is fine but I am still seriously cranky about the generator service appointment. Roy calls again on his way to his dentist appointment being all funny and full of life...doesn't he realize I am sitting home on a beautiful day in the mountains where there are antiques to explore and shopping to be done or a drive up to Johnson City, which now makes me think of Siler City from the Andy Griffith Show. And he wants to tell me jokes. Cranky McCranky begs off the call and decides my plan of not brushing my teeth to talk to the generator techs is probably not the most mature thing I have ever done.

Meanwhile, the vultures are circling overhead....not real vultures but real estate vultures. You see, we have decided to terminate our contract with our realtor but not because we are unhappy with her, no not at all. We love Courtney of The Linda Wade team but I'm probably going to schedule knee replacement surgery, so walkers and elevated potty chairs are not the look that is going to sell our beautiful home, and we are going to wait for a seller's market again. A home with a similar floor plan just sold and the walkout price just isn't what we want. But these real estate agents don't know that. Roy is getting tons of phone calls and I am getting the follow up emails. I respond to the emails with the info that due to my health issues we had to take the home off the market and I would like to take it to the next response level but mature Roy thinks it best for me not to confuse terminate with terminal and then fain innocence by writing, I have just heard the word terminal so much these past few weeks. I'm not lying because I have read several articles here of late where some train terminals are going to be re-purposed and used for retail or venues. Maybe all this terminal talk will stop because of all the lost business due to HB2. I have no clue, nor am I political. I am just stating the fact.

Now back to our story....anyway, Roy calls again after his dentist appointment and this dentist, he has two, wants him to start using a water pic. His other dentist told him to stop using one. So he is contemplating a water pic purchase because we ditched the one we had at the behest of dentist #1 and he also wants to buy a clock radio for his study. I tell him to take the small bookcase stereo unit to his study and then beg off the phone again with an apology because my mood hasn't changed.

 Now if I was a schmaltzy inspirational writer this is where I would insert a cute, relevant story of how my mood changed...but I'm not. I decided a nap should be taken and sleep caught up on. Only guess who thinks she should join me, Buddy the cat. She stayed for a few minutes, I got some nappy nap time in and I was in a good mood to meet friends for dinner tonight. I sent Roy an email of the newest water pic that Sam's had just sent and then called and apologized. Oh, yes, the generator guys came, did wonderful work but didn't quite understand that they should come to the back door in the garage. They handed me the report through the door off the deck.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Summer Schedule And It Just Now Feels Like Spring

I watched the fight of the century last night in the backyard. Well, it might have just been the battle roy-al of two foes who have been at odds since, well since I have no idea. Michael, the one eyed cat, took his afternoon spot on one of our rocks like most afternoons. His focus intense. I am searching the yard, safely behind glass to see if he has a bird in his sights...but no, he is stalking a small, little tiny rock mouse. At that moment I was so happy that I had not knocked on the window to distract him. Michael tossed than mouse in the air and batted him with a paw. The little mouse tumbled down the rocks and then stole away to the confines of the world behind those rocks. Michael kept a watch for that maimed mouse for the longest time and I am hoping this morning Michael hasn't left me a present. Ugh! We do know from Mike the Mower Man that under that embankment of tiered rocks is a car that was buried there a long time ago to help with erosion or at least that is what we hope. We have heard some stories of the wild boys that used to live across the way where now quiet Mary Joyce lives.

There are yellow flowers that have started poking their heads through the dirt, near the rocks at the top near the gravel road. I love seeing those splashes of yellow as we get into more normal like spring temps.

I am going to lunch at church today. The menu sounds fabulous and I look forward to seeing friends. It is still cool outside and warming up later in the afternoon, so I am kind of at a quandary of what to wear. I think I will go with lighter rather than heavier because that fellowship hall warms up quickly.

After being here a year one thing I need to be better acquainted with is freeway exit numbers. Most of the time the traffic reports of lane closures or wrecks refer to the exit number not the name of the street or road. Also I get confused with the east west thing because it feels like I am going north and south. But I did read yesterday that spending an hour in nature a day increases your ability to focus and retain knowledge. So maybe I can weld the two together and enjoy the great outdoors while learning my exit numbers on the major freeways around these parts.

The sun is beginning to set. Lunch at church today was delicious and so fun. Afterwards I couldn't decide if I would do some running around or go back home. First thing, I went to the Exxon station and filled up the truck. Then I got a phone call so instead of going someplace I drove around while I talked. I opted toward home and Mike the Mower Man was here. When he finished up we talked about some trees being planted in the back and maybe putting in some peach trees in the front. He also thinks he can help me with finding someone to weld or make some very simple handrails to go on either side of the stone stairs. Then I got this brilliant idea to see if Buddy would enjoy being in the pet playpen on the front porch. She was not a fan but maybe she will be if I put her in the playpen and we sat out on the back deck. We shall see. I am trying to liven up things for her a bit so she isn't bored.

Peggy and I talked on the phone this afternoon and got caught up on everything. Roy called while we were talking to let me know the generator people want to come by tomorrow and do the spring servicing of it. The times they had were 9 and 11. I told him 11 would be best. It is only spring and I am so on a summer schedule already to start the days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Whats

On this Wednesday I am thinking of some friends in Houston who have a very emotionally tough day ahead. This afternoon will be the memorial service for their father and grandfather. He was one of those men of the church who are a presence and it is difficult to even think that their presence and influence wouldn't be there forever. Technically, he will be through lives he touched all these years at First Baptist as a teacher, deacon, dean of high school camp, friend, advocate and sometimes adversary. Back in Pageant days he headed security and I always felt a little safer and protected because John was standing guard casually to the side in the lobby or narthex or vestibule. I loved watching how he loved his family and through some of the toughest days gave hope and encouragement. He didn't just talk the talk, he walked it. After the service the family is having an ice cream reception because John loved him some Blue Bell ice cream. What a great way to celebrate a man who has been a presence and disciple of the Lord. I can still hear his great laugh and will carry that with me when I think about and pray for my friends today.

I totally gave into my nerd side yesterday afternoon. After checking in and seeing if anything needed doing at a friend's home, I drove around the countryside. It still blows me away that I can drive around the corner and be able to see the mountains that line the North Carolina and Tennessee border. I specifically wanted to see if the bison had given birth to their little bisons but they weren't near the road to be able to tell. The vistas and valleys along that road are breathtaking! The clouds settled along the tops of the mountains and created quite the contrast of white, blue and the emerging greens of the trees. The trees that line the top of the mountains still look like mo-hawks but it won't be too much longer and all the leaves will fill in the space. I wasn't quite ready to return home so I went to the library parking lot. I have not paid my respects to the library out here yet but the view I had been told from the parking lot is worth the trip up the driveway. It was beautiful and so is the building. Very modern lines but with homage to the past in those lines. When I came home I headed straight to the front porch and entertained myself with the bird call app on my phone. Hearing the replies from the responding birds in the trees was quite amusing. The house wrens responded the best. I love to watch for that brilliant cardinal red in the trees and shrubs. There is nothing quite like it.

Last night I got a decent night's sleep because the series I watched is over. I couldn't shut down my mind thinking through everything. It was a joy to fall asleep after watching one Seinfeld episode. This morning the lawn mowers began the day early on the property above us. It is a lawn service working and finishing up the pastures just now.
It is now Wednesday afternoon. I just finished changing out Buddy's litter box. Who knew that litter can be so heavy. I got a couple of baking soda liners at Tractor Supply this morning. Hopefully, that will help with disposal in the future. While at Tractor Supply I also got some new bird seed, two different kinds. Just mixed them up and put some out in the feeders. I think we have a hit on our hands. After Tractor Supply it was off to the grocery store. I am going to make a roast on Saturday, a new recipe, and I will let y'all know if it is blog worthy.

There is more work to be done, so off the blog for now.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

That Is How It Should Be

All the moo cows lying in the fields yesterday proved correct because we had rain last night and into the morning. The misty rainy skies are beginning to lighten, the clouds are more distinct in shape and the radar screen I just looked at emphasized the above with the green radar rain moving on out of our area. I don't think we received copious amounts of rain but the greens of the fields and trees do look a little brighter this morning.

With my morning coffee I perused funny animal videos on Facebook. I also got in a little reading. Today will be a good house cleaning type of day so of course I am procrastinating something fierce. Alas, blog writing right now, previous reading and then some good old fashioned sitting in silence...which for me can be a good thing but sometimes it can turn into a mischievous thing. An email I read this morning got me to thinking in that time of silent contemplation and instead of the silence resulting in some kind of wisdom, I got caught up in a fit of laughter which soon progressed into tears and the wheezing, coughing laugh that comes right before the wetting of pants. Thankfully, I was able to stop laughing before the last result.

Way back in the day when I worked on a church staff I belonged to a group with other women staff members of large churches around the nation. We never met each other in person but our conference calls, chat room sessions and emails were a vital source of encouragement in the world of spiritual and church business. Our group was formed largely by friends and family members that had some kind of six degrees of separation. I believed our friends and family were tired of hearing these ridiculous yet sad stories from our job...our supposed ministry...and thought we would stop lamenting over working at a church with them. The concept and thought being, we would commiserate and rejoice with one another in our newly formed group of friends and leave them out of it. Only in a perfect was just another outlet to vent or cry but mainly laugh at the absurdities that come with church work. We all were astounded that our stories of people and circumstances sounded very much alike but we shouldn't have been so surprised because you know...the human condition. We once had a rather fun discussion of, when is it the proper time to take someone off the prayer list? Do we tell the person their name is being removed? How did we know when they had properly recovered or the situation had righted itself? I think sometimes we become warriors of reading emails about prayer needs instead of really being prayer warriors. Do we substitute knowing about the situation for prayer? Our group concluded that the reality is some people needed the attention and would rather choose their name on a prayer list for all eternity rather than the God of all eternity answering the prayer. It goes back to John 5, do you want to get well or see something come to pass or end? So it was a kindness to keep them on it even when it aggravated the dickens out of us.

I thought of my crazy friend Debbie whose husband was on staff at a medium sized church. The teaching pastor had been appointed to conduct all the staff team building exercises. So once or twice a month all the staff and spouses would gather at his house, of course it was a potluck supper. He would teach a short devo on team building and then have everyone work on a project that emphasized working together. Now Debbie has never been one to keep her opinion to herself. She realized that all this team building was just a disguise for building a covered patio for this teaching pastor. Pouring cement, adding the screen and roof, building planters and then landscaping...yep this was building alright. She would always volunteer for the group to meet at their house and the teaching pastor would vehemently disagree and quote out of context of course, "He who began a good work in you will complete it." At the end of that particular team building and before he announced the new team building would be knocking out a wall and remodeling the living room, he asked all as they sat around while eating what their spiritual gifts were. This is the most brilliant response ever to disingenuous team building, Debbie said her spiritual gifts were lying and deception. I have used that line several times when the reality of a meeting is rather specious (vocabulary word from The Bad Seed) I have also added the spiritual gift of delegation... I shared this with my fellow sufferers of being women on a church staff and of course they loved it! I wouldn't be surprised if this spiritual gift line has been used on more than one occasion.

We didn't just share funny or ironic things, we did share and rejoice when a "but God"... came about. Those are some of my favorite memories from that long ago group. Truthfully, the funny or ironic things many times outnumbered the rejoicing times. No there were more stories of staff members who had meetings that were longer than the begats and then wondered why no one could get their work done during office hours. Or the hatchet warrior women, a group of two or three women whose job descriptions morphed and they became the ones who quietly got rid of Sunday School teachers and workers who didn't fit the profile anymore, mainly due to Christian PC issues. The staff who fired admins and lower level personnel on a whim, usually when it was discovered to be the admin was much smarter than the staff member.

I don't think any of us that were in the group are still in church work. Some retired, some just quit because they couldn't take it anymore...others found more fulfilling work in the business world and some had the joy to be able to be stay at home moms. One of the last times I participated in a conference call several who had moved onto the business world were astounded that corporations were kinder and more merciful than most church organizations about so many things. It is a shame when you get off earlier before major religious holidays at a company or companies being more generous with time and money. But the really sad thing, business world stories were almost as funny and I guess that is how it should be.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Another Wonderful Monday in the Mountains

The UPS man, Aaron, and I lamented that the temps today did not reach the mid 70's as had been predicted. I don't think the temperature even made it to 65 and there has been a strong wind almost all day. With the wind it feels much cooler. The day began with vivid sunshine but the day has mainly been overcast. Mike the mower man was here today working on the water shoot or water distribution system that he and Roy talked about. He mainly worked on the side of the house I rarely get close to because of hazardous deck stairs and the uncertainty of ground that is not very level. Now there is a recipe for disaster, at least for me. Slowly but surely we are working on these things so we might have optimal enjoyment of all our land but clearly I mean yard, the flat part of the front yard. We need to find someone who is able to make some very simple railings to go along the side of the stone steps.

Buddy has taken advantage today of all the windows available to her for bird and squirrel watching. When we lived in our condo she had limited bird visibility, then our home in Katy gave her a better view with numerous choices. But here, she has windows multiplied to view the happenings and her vantage points are all rather comfortable for her. In Katy she retreated under the bed quite a bit and slept on the soft blanket we had placed there for just that reason. We duplicated that for her here and it seems she has only used that under the bed blanket twice. I believe the blanket will be removed for more storage space. She has plenty of places here where she can nestle in and be almost invisible. She and I had a little tiff with each other before I left for choir last night. She was lying next to me on the couch as I watched the webcast of First Baptist. I moved my arm and the next thing I know she is biting my wrist and flailing those armed front paws of hers. I pushed her off the couch and she looked ready for round two, so I moved on finishing up gathering trash and then getting ready to head out the door for choir. When I got home I ignored her but I let her sit on my lap when she jumped on it. Of course this made for a long sleepless night because she was restless and needy and wanting attention. She finally settled. I think she must have been having an old lady cat cranky moment. She acts like she feels good but she is slowing down in her old age. Really, we both have that in common. I watched a couple of episodes of My Cat From Hell the other night but I think Buddy is acting more like cranky granny from assisted living. But then she can turn around and be the sweetest thing, which she is for the most part but this every other night of no sleep is weighing on me.

I had a couple of errands to run today and I had planned to drive somewhere or do something but I slept late cause I was up several times last night with an unsettled cat. It still boggles my mind that I am just an hour away from TN and just a little over an hour and half from Virginia. I have never been to either Virginia and hope to rectify that this year. In the spring and fall there are so many festivals or farmers markets.

My book is calling out to me. It is one of those type of books that you want to read slowly because you will be upset once you finish it. Another autobiography is essay form. Since I have been reading this author since 1984 and had a friend who was a friend of the family, it is very comfortable reading knowing the struggles this author has gone through and the victory she has attained. No it is not a Christian book but it is interesting and full of rich tales.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Full Day

This has been a full and wonderful day on many levels. We survived the freezing temps and the incredibly powerful wind. Friday night a wind gust that was so powerful and loud woke me up and I was thankful we weren't blown down the mountain. This morning I watched a squirrel try to drink the frozen water in the birdbath. He would get a chunk of ice and break it into manageable pieces for him to eat. The birds didn't have as good of luck and had to wait for the ice to melt.

I had Houston's First Baptist on my mind today. The church is celebrating a 175 years of ministry in the city of Houston and the world. I hoped to catch the 5:00 webcast this evening and I was able to do that. When I was in high school there were some Sundays that my friend Mary Madeline and I would drive downtown after attending church at Willow Meadows to be a part of the service. As a senior in high school I brought car loads of friends to Spireno which was a modern/contemporary service for high schoolers and college age students. When I came back to Houston to attend U of H, I tried going to the college dept for Sunday School, but it just wasn't a good fit. After Roy and I were married we began attending First Baptist in 1982. My brother was attending and invited us to come and we were also given some tickets to the Christmas Pageant. Truthfully, it wasn't until the Christian Life Center, now known as the Fitness and Recreation Center, was opened did I really love attending church there. That is when we really began to make friends. Sunday School just felt like a competition or something in Married Young Adults and there for a bit there were a few clunker Sunday School teachers until Cecelia Talley became my teacher. Then I joined choir and as they say, the rest is history. I was also fortunate to serve on staff at Houston's First. When I think of First Baptist, it is the people and friends we have made not so much sermons or teachings I remember. We have done life with these friends for a long, long time. And after that bad run of bad teachers, I've had a few good teachers, some who even became good friends. Both Roy and I worked with youth for several years and totally enjoyed our time serving in the capacity. So today, it was good to celebrate across the miles with friends of First Baptist.

Today was also a good day at Newfound. I love my Sunday School class and the fun we have even when the lesson is on sin. After class I went down to the Fellowship Center and helped with prep work to have the lunches ready that people ordered. This was a fund raiser for Embrace Women's Ministry, to give additional funds to our budget so that we are able to do more ministry. I helped with slicing cake and bagging rolls on Saturday. Today I helped fill the green bean dishes and did a pretty mean fluffing of bags to put the dinners in. Such great fun and such great support from our church family. I am so glad I ordered two of those dinners to bring home because everything is delicious. That carrot souffle is the bomb digity!

This will be a great week for meals because Vivian gave me some of her famous potato soup, veggie soup and cornbread.

The wind is still howling a bit but we warm up tomorrow back in the 70's.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wearied Just a Bit and Some Long Ago Tennis Thoughts

It is a rare day that I wake up feeling like I feel today. All the major joints in my body hurt, along with some muscle ache. The nerves around my incision while being dormant for a bit have decided to again pursue waking up and while that is a good thing in the big picture, in the smaller view it adds to the randomness of this pain today. I could feel it last night waking me up several time with pain in my ankles and then in my knees. So today I am staying around home wearing the lovely scent of Icy Hot and essential oils. Icy Hot is winning the fragrance battle. Even Buddy knows it is not a good day for me and is hanging around nearby and that is not her usual daytime practice. It is making the venture outside to the back deck more treacherous because normally when she hears the screen door open and close, it doesn't necessitate her coming downstairs to investigate. The only reason I have needed to go out on the deck is to secure things because the wind has picked up and the weather services are forecasting wind gusts up to forty miles an hour. I think I have done everything that needs to be done out there so I find myself back in the house and I should probably reapply more Icy Hot. I am fortunate because I rarely feel this bad. I am also thankful for an understanding friend who let me cancel our lunch plans.  Earlier I decided to go back to bed and hopefully that would reboot me. It did a little but I still think it is a wait it out kind of day. So nothing is better for a wait it out day than wearing my favorite tattered sweatshirt and some warm up pants. Just like pajamas only it makes you feel like you have made an effort.

First Baptist Houston is celebrating their 175th anniversary. That is pretty special. I enjoyed watching Joanna Poor, longtime member and Stephen Murray on the feature one of the stations in Houston did yesterday. They have also posted on FB pictures of the redesigned chapel and it is just downright beautiful! It always felt so dark in there and they have opened it up with windows and lighting. Job well done and I can't wait to see it in person. The choir is also releasing a new album this weekend to celebrate 175 years. It is called People of the Church and it will also be available on iTunes.
Well, no surprise here, it is Friday morning. I am feeling better but not back to normal, whatever that is. The northern sky has that look of cold weather a coming. Now through Sunday morning we can expect low overnight temps and a hard freeze. The snow icon has shown back up on the forecast so who knows? I am thrilled to see another sunny day.

Buddy and I had our first bunny sighting of the spring season. We were privileged to see two bunnies this morning but then they got into a bunny fight and as all things seem to happen, one of them went under the deck. That is where all the wild things go. Mike the Mower man is going to put up chicken wire once he completes the rock project. That will help somewhat.

The clay court tennis championship is happening this week at River Oaks Country Club and there was a day when I was out there quite a bit. You could always find tickets for the earlier games in the week and there for a while the company Roy works for was a sponsor of the tournament. It is not a major tournament by any means but it holds a lot of tradition in Houston. The best tickets were the ones from Roy's company because that meant you got tickets to be in the club level which was enclosed and full of freebies, like food and drink. I never was interested in the semi final or final. For so many years that was the social event where one dressed up to attend an outdoor match in the Houston heat and humidity. Oh the humanity...I mean the humidity. No, I liked going during the day when you could wear your tennis togs or in the evening with club passes and you just had to be dressed business casual. Funny, I used to watch all the majors on TV and keep up with players but now not so much. The tennis season of life was rather fun and I got to be a part of so many things I would have never been a part of. I have always said I was in their world but not of it. Had the best seats for theater and opera. Once, I went with a group of friends to the ballet. We sat in one of those side boxes but the best thing was we had our dinner served to us right outside the box, dessert was served there during intermission and we had access to private bathrooms. I was ruined! I was given tickets to so many things and I was ruined to ever attend as a normal everyday kind of person. When I was home in January I ran into a tennis friend at Bistro N in the Nord. We visited a few minutes and time had taken a toll on tennis. I gave it up so many years ago and this friend had to stop playing in recent years. The rumor floating about for years with this friend was, she put a hundred thousand dollars in her sock drawer every January and that was her chump change for incidentals. I once asked her if that was true and she could neither confirm nor deny. Then I teasingly said, no, you have a drawer just for socks? We had a great laugh over that. I met many interesting people playing tennis. There was the smattering of mob wives, kept women, rich women and then there was me. I was there to play tennis. Several friends left the club because their husbands were being investigated for white collar crime. It was always kind of fun to mention that my group tennis lesson was right after President Bush's, the father, tennis lesson. He would talk to us and tell us jokes. He wouldn't know me from Adam. We also went to a few parties where a Bush relative might be in attendance. Funny, we were always told to steer clear of one particular relative because he usually had some sort of thing going that needed investors and most didn't see any return on their investment. Hey, no problem because once again we were in their world but not of it. Now that relative is involved in the Cruz campaign on the financial end. Hmmm....

Well, the day is going to get colder and windier so I better get moving. Have a couple of errands to run. Then meeting Vivian and Bill for dinner.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Day in South Asheville

If you stand outside in our garage the wind blowing through the cracks makes that mournful sad whistle. It is cool outside because it is 54 degrees and I am sure it feels much cooler than the actual temperature due to the gusty winds. The sky is overcast but the delightful melodious sound of wind chimes hardly ever takes a break.

Today I had a couple of errands to run in south Asheville. The traffic wasn't too bad but if I ever miss the stress of too many cars in not enough lanes, I know where to go. The opposite direction of the freeway was jam packed and at a dead stop because work on a bridge had shut down one lane. I ran into Best Buy and Target, then headed over to Publix. We are getting one in our area in 2017, so I stopped in and did a little shopping. Prices were comparable to Ingle's on many items but Publix beat Ingle's on already prepared meals or meals that just need to be popped into the oven.  They carry the light butter I like and it was two for one. Also on Wednesdays it is senior appreciation day, so I asked for my 5% discount and was happy to get it. Right behind the store a huge apartment complex is being built. At least in Houston the roads kind of support that amount of traffic, here not so much. I took the back way through Biltmore Park to get over to the Barnes and Noble. If we ever want to return to city living, I think this is where we would look. Just beautiful! Anyway, even with the Wednesday farmer's market happening, I was able to find a close space in front of Barnes and Noble. I was fortunate that they had what I was looking for, so in and out in a flash. All the traffic had cleared on the freeway and it was rather uneventful coming back home.

Last night was the finale of The People verses OJ Simpson. That was a great mini-series and it was done well. Finally, after twenty one years Marcia Clark might now be viewed in a different light other than the b word. After each episode I Googled things related to the trial. Seeing the jurors in the series made a whole lot of difference to what I thought the outcome would be that day when we sat around at the University Club after playing tennis to hear the verdict. We were all shocked yet we weren't. Since it came on at 10:00 here, these past few weeks have made sleep difficult. My mind wouldn't shut down, thinking about the episode. Some of those nights Buddy was not cooperative and she had trouble settling down.

I worked hard yesterday on getting clothes ready for spring and summer after these next few bouts of cold temps finish up here. I got a couple more storage bags today even though once I get things sorted and put away, I will have leftovers but right now I would like to clear off the bed in another bedroom.

We have another big weekend coming up with women's ministry. Last week we helped do trim painting in the parsonage. This week we have a fundraiser to raise additional monies other than what is given in the budget. On Saturday, those who really cook, will be making the to go lunches that have been ordered and will be picked up after church on Sunday. I ordered two full plates, with ham and all kinds of veggies. Yum!

Just about the time I was ready to post we lost the internet connection for a while. So happy Thursday morning. It rained during the night but it is sunny and calm. The wind is supposed to pick up a little later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Just Some Blogging On A Tuesday

This morning I came downstairs, turned off the back porch light and was delighted to see the back filled with birds. There were all the small birds, finches, wrens and sparrows, that I love to watch. Smack dab in the middle was a huge, huge robin hopping about, cocking its head listening for worms and bugs. Soon the gold finches and tit mouse joined in the group along with the ubiquitous doves and towhees. There was a lot of movement with flying and soaring and pecking. As I watched all the birds to the bane of Buddy who impatiently meowed and sat watch at the pantry door waiting for treats, I saw her...yes Buddy, but out in the yard there she was a female cardinal, sitting on the feeder probably after commandeering it from the dove that likes to sit in it and rock while eating. The cardinals have been visiting the front yard feeder more because it is closer to their nest. All the trees here in the back that belong to neighbors have not started leafing out in abundance and most birds like to have that coverage to eat and drink at the feeders and birdbaths. But she was there looking into the bay window right back at me. Oh yes, I remembered that many believe that when a cardinal visits a yard, it is a visit from a loved one...Today would have been my mom's 87th birthday. I don't know if I believe that old wives tale but today the female cardinals visit was a gift from God. It was nice to take a few minutes at the start of my day to think about my mom and to thank God for her life. She was kind and she was funny. She would make silly little things for you. She loved getting letters and cards. When my parents moved to Georgetown TX for several years we would write back and forth with our letters filled with stick figure cartoons telling each other the fun side of life in a whimsical way. In hindsight, she and I both were experiencing circumstances at that time which could have resulted in bitter or sad results, but those humorous letters kept our spirits buoyed with hope and with a lot of laughter. I think it would make her smile knowing that I keep up with my birds as much as she kept up with hers. Happy Birthday Mom! I know you are having another great birthday celebrating in heaven.

I went back to the bird supply store to get another plate for the birdbath that went missing because of the high winds we experienced Saturday night. She was out of extras and just then working on her order to replenish supplies in the store after the weekend. Funny how people do business, she gave me a card and said to call back to see if they had them. I asked when or approximately when did she think that would be? No clue...  I think I would have taken my number and called if I really wanted the sale. When I left the store I decided I would Google the replacement plate and see if I could find it someplace else. I went on over to the Fresh Market and did some shopping. Then stopped at Ingle's for regular grocery shopping. When I got home I began searching and did find one place I could order one from. I just needed to go out to the back and measure the rim. And there it was, behind the deck, the part of the birdbath that was missing. I had looked back there before so maybe the wind blew it back. It was breaking my heart watching the birds sit on the rim and not find any water. I put a rock in it to hold it better and so the birds will have to get used to the rock and not think it is something to harm them.

Today an email from Haute Look a Nord company sent out the daily email of merchandise they are offering that day. Dooney and Burke purses are being offered. That got me to thinking because I went through that Dooney and Burke time of life when I was playing tennis. Before that I had a Gucci infatuation. Then I went through the Brahmin stage, that was a long one but those are some heavy purses so I eventually had to give them up. Now I am in the cross body stage of purses and I don't care what brand they are. Here I have found several cute purses at Mast General Store. Who knew? I tend to think of life in stages just like I think of purse seasons. It is kind of like oh yes, I wore that but now I don't. Even though Grandin Road has cute things I think of them as a stage while decorating our home in Katy. I barely even look at their emails or catalogs anymore. Same holds true for clothes from Soft Surroundings. I have found myself even with health issues that my thinking tends toward how we think of childhood diseases, oh I have had mumps, chicken pox and the measles. Of course that doesn't hold true with heart issues or other things I have is not one and done but I can think that way. Even with spiritual stages or trends in churches I remember in high school and college I was looking to experience much more out of my Christian life, so charismatic/experience churches held sway early on and then churches whose whole focus is on doctrine, doctrine doctrine! Nothing wrong with that but gee I need a story to go with the doctrine, so that was a short venture. We started attending First Baptist and our experience at the church became even more important when they opened the CLC now known as the fitness and recreation center. My crazy friend Debbie would ask me if the SBC split, cause back in the day it was liberal verses conservative, what church would I go to? I always responded the church with a gym. This whole paragraph is going nowhere and there is not a point to it at all. I have realized I need to change the way I think on this cause life experiences are not one and done. We can revisit seasons several times in life. Well, wasn't that an obvious statement.

I had plans to get out and about today but decided to stick around home and get some things done. I was out for most of yesterday. It is kind of cool today so until the sun hits the front porch I will busy myself with things inside. There is talk of a hard freeze later this week and when I was at Lowe's yesterday in the garden dept I wanted to ask people who were loaded up with plants if they knew this.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sunday Reflections

By all accounts from friends the winds around here Saturday night were some of the worst in recent memory. Trees down throughout the area and patio furniture and toys blown into the next neighbor's yard.  A huge section of west Asheville went without power for an extended time, almost twenty four hours. Out here it felt like the house would be picked up. In the midst of that wind I was giving thanks that we had all those leaning trees and junk trees cut down in the back. The only thing we lost to the wind was part of a bird bath. Everything else stayed in place.

Sunday morning, the winds had calmed and the sun was brilliant. I let my time get away from me on Sunday morning and was just a tad late for church. Ann, a friend from Sunday School, and I walked together from the parking lot to inside. While I waited for her to gather her things out of the car I stood there on the rise and listened to the familiar sound of a piano playing hymns and the richness of those hymns wafting up from the church to the rise where I stood. It took me back for just a second of childhood memories attending church. Of course there weren't any hills for the music to rise upon back then but walking the hallways, getting to your classroom, was filled with each department lifting up songs that morning. Thinking back some departments had better pianists than others but it all sounded beautiful to me back then, just like it sounded to me yesterday morning.

We had a full Sunday School class. We are now in the book of Joshua and yesterday we studied when the walls of Jericho came a tumbling down. We reviewed chapter 2 where the spies are hanging out at Rahab's home on the wall...almost always she is referred to as Rahab the harlot. I could not help but think during the lesson, these secret spies for the Lord were scouting out Jericho for Joshua, finding intel on the city for battle plans, for the land to be defeated and they are at Rahab's? Were they just taking a break? I know that commentaries say that this kind of place would be the best for camouflage in the city. No one would question strangers in the night going to her house. One thing I found kind of funny while looking at different articles and commentaries on this passage was one man's take on the whole thing. He wrote, well, it is obvious why the men might have been there at Rahabs, all that pressure from spying but also they wanted to go the problem here is that Rahab lied to the king's men about the two strangers. Was it right for her to lie? She should have been punished for lying! But he regretfully concluded that the Lord used her and she is found in the lineage of Jesus....but he again wanted it duly noted, Rahab lied. Good grief man! It is kind of funny thinking back once again to childhood and Sunday School lessons. We learned about Rahab the harlot and Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, the woman with the issue of blood, the virgin Mary...all those titles and as children we have no clue what those titles mean or at least we didn't back in the day. For years I thought Virgin was Mary's first name and Mary was her last name when learning the Christmas story.

In the service the choir sang We Shall Rise, a favorite of mine from choir in the Gerald Ray days. Our pastor resumed his series on Ephesians, just taking a two week break for Palm Sunday and Easter. It was a good message but I loved that he said on a little bunny trail he took, pastors should not be so busy personally endorsing candidates. No, they should be endorsing and preaching the Gospel. It reminded me of something John Bisagno said. He didn't endorse candidates because what if at some time they say or do something that he couldn't endorse. His choice was best kept personal because of his sphere of influence.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon around here. I tried to take a nap but my family didn't seem to think I needed one. So, instead I tried to find the next book off the TBR pile and I opted to go with a local author's. Three pages in, the brother in the story had already maimed two animals, a kitten and a puppy. Nope, cannot read this book. I don't think I like where it will take me. So, it is on the stack of books to the used bookstore pile.

Sunday evening as I was taking the garbage down to the road and then leaving for choir, I think I saw my new neighbor that bought the house and acreage above us. Nice looking, probably in his late 50's and his dog is really beautiful. When I got home from choir the lights were on in the house and the gates were open to his land. The people that lived there before hardly ever opened their gates except for coming and going. Hope the new neighbors turn out to be friendlier than the previous ones.

The day awaits, there are errands to be run and temps in the 70's to be enjoyed. By the end of the week we are supposed to have two nights of a hard freeze and maybe even some snow showers.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Calfs Will Play and One Day So Will the Baby Bison

In the cool of the evening after the rain, I watched a group of four calfs run and play all about the pasture. Another group of young ones played just as hard on the top of the hill. The cows didn't seem to be too bothered by the rambunctiousness unless they frolicked a little too close for comfort. The main instigator looked to be running out of steam and so he did what every kid knows to do when you are tired and don't want pay back, run to your mama. That little calf got right under his mom's neck and stood there all innocent like. Once he caught his breath, he was back out there with his friends running amok. It was a little stampede-ette or maybe it was running out that last little bit of pent up energy before settling in for the night. The whole cow scene was a nice surprise because I was working at the desk when their play caught my eye. I love seeing scenes like that play out here in rural America.  

This afternoon I am watching the bees having a field day of pollinating and honey making  with all their activity around the red bud tree. The sun today makes the pinkish purplish buds radiate with color. Sometimes the contrast of colors from the birds perching in the tree is almost too much to take in. Some of the buds are giving way to green leaves. The same process is happening with the pear tree out front but the beauty of those buds giving way is with the wind the gentle falling of flowers looks a tad bit like snow. Speaking of snow, we might have a frost tonight with the temps falling below freezing. I think all the rain has evaporated off the roads so it might not cause black ice.

Yesterday Brenda and I went out to lunch and then went to the bird supply store to get decals for our windows. I also got another birdbath to put along side the feeder in the front. We stopped at The Pink House which is a combo of junk, antiques and cute things. Of course I loved it! The man who owns the camels, bison and elk just down the way from both of us, Brenda is a close by neighbor as well as friend from church, knew that the bison had been moved to another farm along Old NC Highway 20. We were hoping that the bison had given birth this spring and the little bison calfs would be running about and playing like their cousins the cows. We found the pastures but all the soon to be mamas were lying down. So none of them had bingoed yet. This is the road that Emily and I were on last summer when saw a road sign that neither one of us recognized but soon we knew what it meant...the paved road would soon turn into a gravel road. From Brenda's front yard you can really see the TN mountain range. She has some beautiful views.

Last night I met Vivian and Bill at Turkey Creek Cafe for supper. Beginning in the middle of April they will be open on Saturday nights and will have live blue grass music. Oh my goodness! I love me some blue grass. I ordered the steak as per usual. Very delicious!

Today was pizza and painting at the parsonage day by the Embrace Women's Ministry at church. I should have taken some pictures. The parsonage has been in the midst of a major remodel either for furlough missionaries or the new music minister that our church is searching for. Wow, that is really a huge parsonage! We came to wash windows and paint trim around the doors and oh paint the doors. I had bought some coveralls to wear when working outside the house and decided they would be the perfect outfit for today. Note to are older now and cannot wait to the last minute to potty which these things on. When I was younger I had a pair and loved wearing them when I volunteered for work days at church and the like. My main job today was bringing pizza. I went to the French Broad Community Store in person to order them. I have learned when you order more than two pizzas over the phone, they kind of think it's a joke. Then I went onto church and returned at the appointed time to bring them back to all us hungry workers. We had homemade cookies for dessert, Karen made those.

I am so fortunate to live here. To be able to take in the sights of bison, camels and elk or watch cows and horses. It is good to be tucked away here in the mountains, in a valley on a hill. I love serving with others at our mountain church. I am so blessed! Why I feel like a baby calf on a cool evening wanting to run about and play...well, that's not going to happen...I'll just be happy in my heart and keep a playful attitude about me. Don't want to be too serious, cranky or bitter.