Thursday, July 20, 2017

Drives, Road Kill, Bunnies , and Matters

We have a new routine around here and it is called Buddy's porch time. She ate her treats, sat in my lap for a moment and then made her way to the front door. This morning I let her out on the porch before all the meowing began. Last night we sat on the porch with the small Bose speaker and called the birds. Our front feeder and around the swing was filled with cardinals and a few tufted titmouse and Carolina wrens. She stayed out there until almost dark, resting on the glider and taking it all in. This does tire her out and she is not as restless before bed or throughout the night. As we are experiencing our warmest temps of the season, we have hit 91, and yes, Houston friends are laughing at me. They have to be thinking 91? 91 is a low temp in the morning. See, I am truly acclimating.

I decided a little trip to Johnson City seemed to be in order yesterday. The drive is one of my favorites, although I say that about almost every drive, and I do miss Academy Sports and Outdoors not being closer. Since it seemed right to also join in another Houston startup, Carrabba's for lunch, the plan was made. To add to the Houston representing, I wore an Astros shirt. Once arriving in JC, the first stop was Barnes and Noble. Mixing it up a little since it is usually the last stop before returning home. Sometimes in a smaller Barnes and Noble there are unique to the area things to find and this store has one of the best Bible selections around. Onward to Academy where I found a few things such as HOT Slap Ya' Mama Cajun spice. Not for me but for a certain wily squirrel. It was time for lunch and it was delicious. There is a Kohl's across the way from the restaurant  and while Kohl's is not usually a shopping stop, it seemed like the thing to do before leaving JC. I found a pair of pink capris deeply discounted to $19.50 and a shirt 50% off and that is without a Kohl's card or coupon. The clerk checking out shoppers asked me if I was from Houston because of the Astros shirt. She was too, in fact her great grandfather was one of the major developers for The Village, River Oaks and Briarwood. For non Houstonians these are some of the most wealthy areas in Houston both in residential and business. I wanted to ask how did you get here to JC and working a register in Kohl's? She was an older lady with classic features and her makeup impeccable. Most of the families involved in development of Houston way back in the day are still around, still own homes in the area they helped develop. The ride back included a brief stop in Erwin to get some cheap TN gasoline and a stop at Publix to get more of the sugar sweet or sugar kiss cantaloupe. My new obsession.

Had a book waiting by the front door, thank you UPS, Wendell Berry's book, A World Lost. I've read it before and gave it away in the book purge of 2011. But a description in the book of Andy Catlett's aunt has ruminated in memory and while I could not remember her name or from what book she came from, going to The Google helped narrow down and eventually find it.

Love these ease into the morning days. Nothing concrete on the schedule, which makes this one quite happy. Tomorrow holds workout and a follow up cardiologist appointment.

I think Janet Jackson and Prince are on a music loop at the grocery store. A little What Have You Done For Me Lately gets me up in down those aisles in style. No, I haven't broken out in full dance mode, but I can feel myself getting closer to that.

One of the groundhogs had gone on to groundhog heaven after becoming road kill yesterday. I think by the size and location of it on the road in front of my neighbors house, it is the little groundhog that sat on my neighbors porch in the mornings. Saw one of my bigger ones yesterday and chased him off with a shout. Not a mighty shout, just a kind of get out of here shout. Last night the baby bunny and a little bit bigger bunny were both dining in the backyard. At first I thought it was Mama Foo Foo but she was in the front yard. Little baby bunny approached the other rabbit timidly...moving closer grass blade upon grass blade. After some tedious maneuvering, they touched noses....held that position for a few seconds and then the bigger bunny made a chase move toward baby and then went back to chowing down on clover. Baby bunny kept following the bigger bunny. Bigger didn't want to hang out with baby. Yes, I might have had a few tears come to my eyes and walked away for a few minutes. When I came back to the window baby was eating by itself. I've gone to The Google this morning to find out more about this bunny behavior. Yes, when one is easing into the day, there is time to read about rabbit behavior and let Buddy spend extended time on the porch. She's inside now as the day is beginning to warm up.

Several blogs I read have been doing a season of life theme. Interesting reading from women of all ages. Have been thinking about this in my daily Bible reading and journaling. Thinking about the season where I am and listening closely. One thing that has come to mind is this, throughout life I have been prone to say, too many times, "I don't care." Most of those times truly I didn't. The risk was worth the consequences. There were times of saying I don't care and yes...there was a lot of caring going on but one has to don the mask. It seems now the don't care has transformed into it doesn't matter. There is a whole lot of difference in those phrases. Well, I have the morning to contemplate. Have a good one y'all!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Random Things

This post might just be filled with random thoughts and questions that might be answered or might not.

A couple of Sunday mornings ago, when the sanctuary or worship center or where we have big church....who knows what it is being called these days, VBS decorations covered the stage and planets were suspended over the congregation or worshipers or here's all the people (from the long ago make a church with your fingers) game (probably some new term that I'm not hip to.) Where I was sitting the perfect opportunity to take a picture of the cross before me, the world behind from the song I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, presented itself. I should have taken the picture after church but I forgot.

Why is it so difficult to find a hammock stand? Peggy gave us a hammock as a housewarming gift. The two trees that we had planned to hang the hammock from had to be cut down due to the fact one was too close to the house and the second tree was a trash tree that was causing all manner of tree havoc. I found a stand at Lowe's but no one to help me take it to the check out and into the truck. I was not wanting a repeat from the whole swing loading time with the not so pleasant person who wasn't too happy she had to help us load the truck. I could order one from Amazon but I fear for the correct delivery. USPS delivers so much of their stuff now, I could see them trying to stuff that huge box in the mailbox. I jest...kind of... Today, we had an Amazon delivery and even now with the easy access to put the box inside the porch or beside the door, scary mailman only puts it in front of the garage door. Most of the time we get notice that the package has been delivered but we don't see it for another few days. I asked the postmaster at the post office about this and as nice as the man is, he had no answer for me. But, I do like they have a candy dish for customers. Really, what a nice touch. We don't know where your package is but have some Smarties. I mailed a package today and when asked if it anything liquid or dangerous or fragile is in the box, I accidentally touched yes on the screen. I feared that agents were going to descend on me for saying yes. Why can't all these terminals coordinate? One kind you have to wait for the green light, one wants you to push this button and another terminal wants you to push another button.  The guy laughed at me and said well...what's in the box. I told him...nothing dangerous at all...and he said we will just say it is fragile then and added he could tell just by my reaction that there wasn't any reason to worry.

Buddy has come in from the front porch which means I can quit air conditioning the whole neighborhood. Buddy has found a huge patch of sun right behind my chair. I reached down to pet her and I noticed that one of the small butterfly bushes was shaking violently. Of course that is a sign unto me that a groundhog, I believe it was Chuck, was right beside my deck, chowing down on a butterfly bush...What! Since Buddy is right here and she cannot be trusted to stay put, I had to yell at Chuck to get the heck out of here. I'm yelling like a crazy lady, get out of here...NOW! No chance to grab a bad lime to chunk at Chuck. I looked for groundhog repellent today at Lowe's. Oh there is plenty to be found for every other known animal but groundhog.  Someone suggested I get bobcat urine or some other predator urine to scare them off. Where does one find bobcat urine? Now that's a job I wouldn't want to have...OK Nancy, go out there to those back cages and see if you can get some bobcat urine in a bottle. Then we can sell it. Sure thing boss!
Roy found mountain lion urine for me. What!? Amazon sells it. Fox urine for squirrels, coyote urine for cats....unbelievable! We did lose one of the groundhogs today...I think Chuck Jr is now considered road kill. God rest his soul.I saw him this afternoon upon returning home. This looks to be the same groundhog that sat on my neighbors porch in the morning.

Buddy has been on the front porch and I have been watching out the back window. I did go out to the porch with my portable speaker and we really called in some birds tonight. Lots of cardinals and Carolina Wrens.

I have had a fun day and look forward to having another day tomorrow with nothing on the schedule but what I want to do. I'll write later about my adventures today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Songs and Sights

We got out of choir early this evening...not too early though, but early enough for me to run by Sonic with a lot of others who were on the same wavelength to get some ice cream for National Ice Cream Day. I just needed a little taste of the cold stuff on what has been a rather warm day. Since I had ice cream it called for the long way home and the sunset....well, it was just perfect for this day. Buddy and I have been out on the front porch. The fireflies have kept her amused but she'd rather see birds.

Oh happy day that Turkey Creek Cafe is open again on Sundays. Today they offered a farm to table service. I went with the all you can eat offering because I wanted to try all the veggies. They were so good and I had meatloaf but also had the choice of fried white fish, cooked to order, and pulled pork. I love that they are open on some evenings too. I forget about them around lunch time and by the time I think, that is where I'll go...they're closed. Marissa has persevered and she is doing well.

Even though I took two naps this afternoon because chunking bad limes and lemons at squirrels and groundhogs is exhausting, I did have time to get things picked up a bit in my project room. Things were moving right along until I came across one of my favorite books of all time, Walking On Water by Madeleine L'Engle.  Stopped and read just a bit and once again inspired by her words and thoughts.

I can tell something is see, I have this God size dream of having another home here for ministry purposes...not official ministry types, although they are included. I shared with John Bolin what God has placed on my heart but I knew it would have to be something of His doings, I was not going to manipulate circumstances and situations to get a home. The economy has come back around here like gang busters and homes like what we looked at in 2014 have doubled or tripled in price. This week I was about to give away some things that I have planned on using in the dream big house and it hit me, many times when something is near by God's design, is the time I give up or doubt. Yes, I am taking this as a sign unto me that God has not forgotten the dream He placed in us and that I should stand even stronger in thanksgiving and praise, thanking God He has provided.
The sound of Mike the Mower Man is a lovely greeting this afternoon. The grass and weeds have grown with the uptick of rain we have had, although not as much as other regions around the area. I wonder if he has come across any of my thrown fruit in my constant combat against squirrels and groundhogs?

My workout with Taylor was good this morning. Worked on core and balance. He is also helping me keep scar tissue at bay. For this I am thankful. Afterwards I made a quick trip to the bank, Publix and CVS. I am in a salad mood and I am trying to go with that as long as my mood goes that way. I picked up some fresh eggs from Aunt Jenny via Vivian. We are in the warmer days and most afternoons you can find me reading or working on the computer. Buddy has stirred from an upstairs nap and looks to be determining what she would like to do next. She would really like to go out onto the porch but it is too hot to be air conditioning the whole neighborhood.

And now on Tuesday morning Buddy is doing the same thing. Taking a little nap on the front porch. I sat out there a while drinking coffee and conversing with a Carolina Wren. Using the Merlin App, the wren and I had quite the conversation. And yes, I found this to be fun. I am contemplating the day ahead and if I am getting out and about or if I am sticking around home. I'll make that final decision later. For now I will enjoy the songs and sights of the birds.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Conspiracy, Nature and Fun

Coming from a long line of conspiracy buffs it is something I fight off all the time. It seems our family line is gifted with taking minute details, that have nothing to do with each other and weave those details into a fabulous tapestry of conspiracy. Since I am not a practicing conspirator the weaving doesn't come easily to me anymore. Yet, the "gift" lies right beneath the surface of life. There are offshoots to this gift, being able to see past the obvious and there are downsides as well, overthinking things. The other night I had to fight the urge to link these unrelated causes and effects and I knew what had caused the tweaking and aches. I have never been prone to panic attacks but since experiencing heart issues, I've had a few in the past few years and the Doctors have told me it is quite normal. So I aggravated a muscle around my shoulder blade. I knew when I did it and before going to bed I used the detox gel I love and some Bio Freeze. That combination was sensory overload. So tweaked muscle plus over use of gels and sprays plus falling asleep on my arm=thinking I might be having a heart attack...when I knew good and well I was not having one. If you don't fight the theory off you begin imagining aches and pains and symptoms. Upon awakening the next morning all signs of muscle tweak was gone, I did my workouts and that is that but I have to confess I didn't sleep well that night. A friend asked me if I called Roy during the night while experiencing all this, ah no. Deep into the night is not Roy's best conversation time, much less compassion time. No, I talked to God about it all and reminded Him, I do look forward to the day of being with Him but I also thanked Him for letting me live here in God's country and I wasn't quite finished with living here yet, if that was alright...

Thursday, I got to see the work and results of the grand re-opening of the Fresh Market nearby. They certainly made better use of their space and the prepared food/deli has expanded and looks very appealing. They still had some of their spring coffee and I bought a couple of packages cause Roy loves that flavor. Fresh Market closed in Houston much to the sadness of many friends.

I saw a glance of her yesterday morning...there in the mirror. Every once in a while I see my mom in my features. I am kind of a mish mash of family...sometimes I look like both my grandmothers, sometimes I look like my father but mostly if there is a glance to be caught, it's my mom's features. I like it when that happens.

Our area received a welcomed surprise yesterday of an afternoon thunderstorm. The radar, yes I am becoming a weather nerd as well as a bird nerd, showed showers to the north and south of us. Many times rain coming from the northwest gets torn apart by the mountains and the atmosphere kind of makes the rain jump over Asheville and reform once again. Then Black Mountain and surrounding areas get the deluge. Several have told me this area is known to the old timers as dry ridge. I call it the Cinco Ranch split cause the first year we lived in our home there, in the midst of drought, rain would form and split to go to the north and south of us. I was so thankful for the rain for many reasons but specifically I wouldn't have to water the flowers before going to the women's ministry event at church.

Which was a lot of fun, the event last night. We made a square of wood come alive with comforting words. So there was painting, drying, placing our vinyl onto the prepared plaque, painting over everything with another color choice, and sanding and distressing our work. The evening was named Salty and Sweet, so the snacks met every need and gave us the sugar rush to do the work. I have to admit the tedious work, which can put me over on the NancyMon stress scale, was happily outsourced to kind friends who bore my burden so to speak. I would still be there trying to finish up my piece if I hadn't had help.

Before the rain yesterday, the backyard was teaming with nature; two groundhogs, three squirrels, baby bunny foo foo, and about 6-8 young cardinals. Of course the doves were around and a mockingbird came in to make an appearance.

The Anniversary Sale is about to begin at Nordstrom. Well, it actually has for card holders. Long ago you had to be at a certain level to have the early access. This year I wasn't particularly interested but I did a quick look see on Thursday and found much to my delight and surprise that Nord carries the hair products I like, Oribe. Since I love Nord Reward points I ordered what I needed and of course there is the free shipping.

Thankful for an easing into the day Saturday.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rambling In and Out of The Mountains

It is feeling rather warm today and there is less humidity today and tomorrow. Once last night I awoke and saw that the fog was rolling in big time. Sure enough, this morning there was thick, dense fog to be found everywhere. As the sun begins to burn through it, the morning clears with sunlight. I overslept this morning. It was one of those waking up early things and turning over thinking I will sleep only thirty more minutes and it turns into an hour and a half. Still got ready and made it to church on time. Not having much of a commute helps.

My house cleaning screeched to a halt on Saturday. After mopping upstairs and downstairs, and using my Norwex stuff, I realized the vacuum cleaner wasn't picking up anything as it ran. Uh, oops, I haven't cleaned the filter in a long time which means, I have never cleaned the filter. So after washing the filters, who knew there were two, they had to dry. We had rain in the late afternoon so with the filters drying, it was too good of a day to waste cleaning, so I converted to the reading portion of the day.

Another accurate hit on a squirrel with a small apple.  I do have compassion as I let one of the squirrels finish its drink of water. The only squirrel that gets the chunking is the one so slow to give up ground and leave. The beauty of it being the apple rolls down the hill and I retrieve it for another shot for another day.
Well, now it is Tuesday evening. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing but that's ok. All three readers of Monablog have to find something else to do until I am able to sit down and think through things or go with the consciousness of thought...which can get me in trouble.

Today, I did a fun thing. I got up early, not a fun thing, and left the house around 8:20. Off to the Biltmore Park area to Another Broken Egg. Dena and I discovered the ABE goodness while in Rosemary Beach several years ago. When I get a chance I head that way cause their menu is a variety of breakfast goodness. Today, I went with the traditional breakfast. Delicious! Then to Barnes and Noble where I hit the jackpot in all things reading. Yes, just what I need more books to read when I haven't read books I already have. A little farther down the road and boom, you are at Target. They had one box of the little solar mason jar lights left, only they hadn't marked it down like the other Target. The summer things were on clearance and getting ready for school is taking over...which means I won't be at Target too often in August or the beginning of September. I went to Hobby Lobby and found a bowl 60% off, the regular 30% off price. Next up on the day in south Asheville was a trip to Southern Chicks which is really closer to Hendersonville but then it is just one big ville around here. Lots of cute stuff, all reproduction stuff and yet that did not stop me from buying a couple of things. Very cute in the metal and farmhouse genre. So then I traveled back toward Asheville toward the visitor center on the Blue Ridge Parkway where I thought I could buy a senior park pass but no....have to buy one at a park where you pay, like the Carl Sandburg house. Three years ago I went and turned right around when on the path the sign said snakes live here. That's all I needed to read. I did find a couple of cute t-shirts and decided to go home the long way on the Parkway. When I got to the Pisgah Inn where I had planned to stop, take pictures and peruse the gift shop only it was pouring down rain. I had a rain jacket but decided to keep going down the road and exited at NC 215, which is one of my favorite fall drives. Summer is not too bad either. The waterfalls along the way were full not like the little trickles of years past in the drought. Once I got in Canton, why not go ahead and go to Ducketts Produce Stand. Then why not go onto The Blue Rooster for a late lunch. I did the farmer's supper of five veggies, mac and cheese (counted as a veggie here), collards, green beans, lima beans, and fried green tomatoes. Coconut cake may have been a to go thing....

Uneventful drive home except taking it all in because it never gets old, the mountains and valleys. My goodness the corn looks wonderful! When I got home I unloaded most of the truck, sat a bit, talked with Roy and then went to the front porch with Buddy. Got my bird app going and calling the birds. Most responsive Carolina Wren and Carolina Chickadee. Of course Buddy cannot get to them and she looses interest and just wants to nap.

Tomorrow the Parkway has road work shutting it down to one lane. That is one of the reasons I chose today to enjoy the ride. I love days like today, at my own pace and interests. I like these kinds of days with friends too, but today was just an opportunity to get in the truck and ramble about.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Travel Its Path, Find Rest For Your Souls

 Jeremiah 6:16

This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
    Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.

There is a road that I travel almost everyday of the week. It is a winding, curving road. The scenery runs the whole gamete from houses and farms, rivers and valleys, trees and vegetative overgrowth of every kind of weed, both beheld in the beauty of flowers and in the world of just plain old, ratty tatty, ragged weeds. There is a house and the man that lives there...well, I have seen him outside many, many times. He never ever has a shirt on. What's with that? Even after several years, there are bends and turns and squiggly  yellow signs warning drivers to slow down for the curves ahead, that can still take me by surprise. When I come upon that wiggly squiggly portion of the road, I cannot help but think of the day when two drivers were trying to draw me into a staged fender bender. It would have worked except for the grace of God. I was distracted and in deep thought because Roy had called and I happened to be in the grocery store. He told me that Adult Protective Services had called him at the office. He was none too happy about that and he interpreted the conversation to be that of, who is going to take care of these antics and complaints about my father. He suggested I stop whatever I was doing, go home and call them back from the house phone...being that I was in NC and a NC number would show on Caller ID. A wave of nausea came over me, no make that several waves of nausea. The usual began, me shutting down, drawing inward, gathering the emotional wagons once again to fend off an attack. An untrue and mean attack. Driving home, thinking about and praying for the upcoming conversation with the authorities, the near accident attempt happened. But oddly enough, I missed the intended victim and the second person involved jumped out of a truck that had pulled to a stop on the side of the road. He was yelling I saw everything! I saw everything! Only there was nothing to see cause nothing had happened. Maybe this was supposed to be a sign unto me that the empty, untrue accusations that were a waste of time and taxpayers money would be empty, void...the set up wasn't going to work according to the plan. When I talked to the lady investigating the claims I asked her to call my brother. He could explain what was going on since I had not seen nor talked with my father since March 27, 2012. Doug talked with her, referred her to another investigator that had worked this case just a couple of months before and asked her to call back if she had any questions. We never heard from her again. The story isn't really about all that, it is about that place on the road that brings me to thankfulness and praise every time I wind around it because God protected me that day and turned something meant to be sinister to nothing at all.

There is usually a crossroad to our decisions on how we will react. I love driving the roads around here because there are so many moments that have been special taking in the scenery and beauty of this area that we get to call home. When I come to these places, I tend not to think firstly of the issue or problem that brought me to drive but rather to recall the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living...and at those places sometimes I stop...well, not on the wiggly squiggly portion of the roads, but a safe spot to pull over and be grateful and give praise to God.

Yesterday, another chance to remember as Buddy and I made our way to the vet's office. Yes, the time I dread, mani/pedi time for Buddy. Roy and I decided not to give her a chill pill before her appointment. Sometimes, I think the stress of getting the pill into Buddy adds to her behavior. Waiting for the pill to do its work we have to make sure all the hiding places are inaccessible. Instead, I quietly closed doors during commercials as she and I relaxed in the bonus room watching TV. Watching TV during the day is not a normal thing for me but sometimes I watch before going to bed. So Buddy settled in nicely. She even let me carry her downstairs without a fight. With new knees I think the certainty of my steps is the reason why she didn't squirm. Didn't fight me going into the crate and she didn't meow chaotically as is the norm. As we made our way to the appointment I realized I hadn't been on this particular road since that fateful night in April when my tooth broke. With Publix so close I rarely go to The Fresh Market, which is on the same road as the vet. Lots of changes happening as the economy in the area picks up. But as we rode along I was able to be grateful that there is an urgent care dentist in the area, that we have dental insurance and came to realize, sometimes I am little dense, who am I kidding? Sometimes??? Anyway, my frustration with the timing of getting appointments and procedures clearly came from my lack of attention or urgency to secure a dentist here in a timely manner.

And at the vet appointment with the techs that have all the notes on Buddy and the procedure to remove her from the cage, I said something that they probably took offense to. They always want to take the crate apart to which I respond, just open the top of the crate. The look on their faces says, no one is that brave. So, I undid the top, heard their gasps as I reached into the cage and petted Buddy. I should have taken her out but instead looked at them like...see. So, they put a towel over Buddy to get her out and then this mat over the towel. I think this adds to not calms down Buddy. The trimming was uneventful and for this I am happy. They weren't too happy that I hadn't given Buddy a chill pill, so I said, her vet in Houston has driven a team in the Iditirod Race in Alaska numerous times and says if I can do that, I can trim a cat's nails. She doesn't towel Buddy at all. I love how they treat our pets but sometimes they are a little too zen for me.

It is so entertaining for the most part...yes, even squirrels but not so much snakes, watching nature happen among the butterfly bushes and around the bird feeder in the backyard. These young cardinals siblings are skittish and throws the everything off as other birds scatter from the nervousness of young birds.They are usually out kind of early...Early in interpretation of the morning riser...anyway, they seem to have lots of fun together. The special treat last night, the Bunny Foo Foo's eating together as a family. Mom had her baby with her while dad ate near the gravel road keeping an eye out for predators.

So this Saturday morning is feeling like a brunch morning. Roy said he almost called me earlier while he waited for Bible study to begin. I am so thankful he decided against that. Again there seems to be the conspiracy not to let me sleep in by Roy and Buddy. Buddy cooperated this morning so that left Roy to be the rogue conspirator...thankfully, he came to his senses.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Re-purposed Skill and Training

The day you don't think there will be any rain...there is rain. Overcast and cloudy most of the morning, then we had a little shower and the sun came out bright as can be. I turn my back to the window and the next thing I know, thunder, which brings Buddy down the stairs lickity split. Our living room is rather dark but the rain has let up some. These little early evening showers will help to keep flowers blooming and trees green. Oops, that last little bit of lightning felt a little too close.

I was so tired from driving to and from Charlotte last night. Vivian and Bill had asked me over but as much as I love them and banana pudding, I had to take a rain check. For a moment the thought of doing some laundry made a brief appearance in my thinking but thankfully, I came to my senses and opted out of doing laundry until later.
Awoke to a foggy morning. The alarm clock, Buddy, kept going off about every fifteen minutes. I think Buddy and Roy have a conspiracy going not to let me ever sleep in or sleep late. With knees fixed I think I could sleep like a teenager again. Well, except for the whole Buddy and Roy conspiracy thing.... I am happy for a ease into the morning kind of day. Nothing on the schedule but a trip to CVS and to Publix.

I had music going loud last night and missed Brenda's call. Vestal Goodman was belting out Looking For A City and What A Lovely Name. Brenda was stopping in at Vivian's and then she wanted to stop in here. I texted her when I heard the VM and said I'm here come on. I was working on the front porch getting more of those little clips up to install the last strand of mason jar solar lights. Think I will finish out the whole porch so I can use little Christmas lights when that season arrives. Those won't be solar though. There weren't any leftover fireworks last night either. It is refreshing not to have days on end of fireworks. When I went to workout yesterday, I saw the firework set up in the yard of a neighbor down the road. If they had been outside, I would have stopped and thanked them for the beautiful display they had on the 4th. Brenda came over and we visited for a little bit. Both of us have had, not busy schedules, but rather full days in the recent week.

We could have had a prayer meeting yesterday at the gym. Judy C and Inez were there. Judy is working with Taylor too and is seeing results like I have seen doing his workout and stretches. I need to fix my playlists on my music cause somehow I lost the ones I had when I hooked up to the new computer to download music into the phone. No biggie to do. But I really liked the order of songs on the old list.

Yesterday, something must have been going on out here. While at the Exxon station, two unmarked police cars with sirens and lights blazing went down the highway. When I made my turn toward Weaverville, I saw several sheriff patrol cars along the way. On my way home from CVS there was a sheriff right across from the Post Office. Felt very safe going in to get our junk mail.

So thankful that the Indigo Buntings were around here for Lisa P's visit. She would love watching these young cardinals around the feeder and yard. There are two sets of young un's. The younger ones frequent the front feeder and are a bit more skittish. Constant bird fights keep Buddy interested in continuing porch life. There is a Carolina Wren looking to build a nest and truthfully, those birds seem interested in being close to human life or they know a good thing when they see it. I have discouraged it from building a nest between two cushions on chairs on the back deck. We hardly use the deck because of that whole underground railroad for animals thing going on underneath it. Right now at night there seems to be a colony of frogs living under the deck. Their loud night time serenade comes in like high def surround sound in the living room, which is a bit disconcerting. Yes! Dis-concert-ing. I am so not going to write, did you see what I did there? OK, I just wrote it but as narration not as look how clever. There is a guy on Twitter that adds that so often and I would unfollow but then I must get a buzz out of seeing him write that so many times about his blog posts and articles. Yes, he truly respects his audience. But I digress...Carolina Wrens, that is what I was writing about...well, I'm done but I will say Carolina Chickadees respond really well to the bird calls on my phone. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have become a bird nerd.

Several friends have asked me if I am going back to playing tennis with new knees in place. I can emphatically answer, NO! I would have to develop a lob game and I just can't do that after being beaten by older ladies who only do deep lobs. No fun at all! No one has asked if I would go back to playing softball and I bet there is a senior ladies team around here somewhere if I checked, but no softball doesn't interest me either. But it is good to know I still have mad throwing skills. Since becoming the Crazy Squirrel Lady of Buncombe County, part of my job, nay, duty, is to keep squirrels off the bird feeder. How come bird feeder is two words but birdbath is not? Again, I digress... So yesterday, in the rain mind you, I was so upset with this one particular squirrel, who looks at you, puts his paw over his heart and I imagine him saying, "Elizabeth, I'm Coming!" (Sandford and Son reference for any millennials reading this. Old TV show)  This squirrel is becoming quite used to all the noise I make in order to chase them home. So, I picked up one of the little apples that Roy picked off our trees, went outside and perfectly timed the throw to hit that squirrel right in his....squirrel butt. He jumped so high and ran so fast up the hill, to his home far away in the neighbor's tree. Yes, softball skills are being re-purposed into a viable mountain skill.

I'm thinking that driving SequishShawn might be good training if I ever decide to apply for a job at the Biltmore. They are hiring laundry workers right now but laundry doesn't seem to be my passion. I think it would be fun to drive a shuttle bus on the estate. Vivian sent me pics from her brother, who is the longest tenured employee on the estate, of all the bears in the upper parking lot the past few days from the early morning before the estate opens. Anyway, I would have to think of some corny jokes to tell while driving the shuttle, so maybe I should work on those.

Speaking of laundry, the machine has stopped and it is time to load clothes into the dryer.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth and Fifth

The drive home from Charlotte is always kind of sad no matter who I drop off at the airport. Unless it is someone who gets on my nerves, then it is a happy time...that's never happened...well from the drive from the Charlotte airport. Nah... But when I see the mountains rising in the distance my heart soars cause life in the mountains is a dream come true. Today as I made the drive into that beauty I was listening to the choir and orchestra of HFBC and listening to them sing and play How Great Thou Art. Truly an experience and I love the last note when I can hear my friend Dana sing that high note or is it me? No, it is Dana.

Why oh why did I look out the window this morning and think I saw a black stick? Soon I knew it wasn't a stick but a snake. A Florida black racer snake out there toward the end of the driveway twisting his head this was and that. I called Roy to look and he was nonchalant about the whole thing. I stepped away from the window and came back...dang...where did that snake go? Roy went outside with a hoe in his hand to investigate. He knows where it might be living so this will push the timeline of getting the land by the driveway landscaped. I went the whole summer last year not seeing one snake on our property...they are here but I didn't have to see them.

Last night we finished up our work outside...well, all that we are going to do for now. Roy got the trim painted. We hung new lights along the stone steps. Roy also trimmed some of the shrubs in the front of the house so Buddy and I can have a better view of the bird feeder out front. Then he trimmed some of the firs that have gotten so big, only because we needed to see the road better. Roy grilled steak kabobs and veggies last night for supper. It was all so good especially since I had some Taste of Texas seasoning for the steak.

Yesterday morning was an early one for me. I had my CT scan and impressions appointment with the oral surgeon. I love that they run on time and so I had a little time to kill before my workout session with Taylor. The Dr. is so nice and I think he will do a great job on the work that needs to be done. At the workout with Taylor I learned a new workout on the TRX and I knew that there would be muscles screaming their displeasure this morning...I was right. In fact they were rather perturbed with me last night. By nightfall, neither Roy nor I felt very good. Him from getting hot while working outside and me working inside for a hot body.  I wasn't that hot outside. Ha! It was and I could work till the return of Jesus and enjoy a hot body for one second before the rapture.
I enjoyed a wonderful display of fireworks last night. All through the valley the reverberation of the fireworks sounded. The new houses on the ridge had a great display. I went upstairs to see if Asheville's fireworks were visible but only some of the highest in the sky. What's nice is everyone stops shooting them around 10:00 pm.

On the way home from Charlotte, I stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Morganton. Even in my sadness I was able to beat a horde of children to the restroom and did so without breaking a hip. We had stopped for lunch there on the way and I saw a few things I wanted to purchase. So, I waited till coming home to do so and to see if I still wanted them. Nothing big just little North Carolina items.

The morning is passing quickly, so I better get moving and start the things I need to do.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Little World

Yea! I can add pictures again to the old blog. Makes me very happy.

Ah, Sunday afternoon after a good little nap. No choir tonight so we will be hanging around here this evening. We went to Sunday School but didn't stay for church. With limited time to get some things done we took advantage of getting to La Cantina in Biltmore Village before the crowds. La Cantina is the closest thing to Texas style Mexican food in the area. Their queso is so good. Then we went to Target and Home Goods. Roy found a new carry on piece of luggage for apple season. On the way home we stopped at Sonic for happy hour drinks, Diet Cherry Limeade Powerade. That drink kept me happy while Roy ran into Walmart for his ice cream and some angel food cake for our strawberries.

Thursday night after we got home from our very fun day, we stopped at Lowe's to pick up the swing...hopefully assembled. We got a little nervous when it took so long waiting and then they told us they couldn't find it. Alas, finally found we took the swing home and we got it down to the stand and got the rest of the chains attached and hung the swing. The ground level makes this swing a swing for tall people but we have some booster stairs to help those short in stature.

Yesterday we got a little later of a start than planned but we did finish the stair railings on the stone steps and Roy got the trim painted around the front storm door. We did a little weeding and some planting. By the time we wrapped all that up it was too hot to be outside doing manual labor. We planned to get some more outside things done in the evening when it turned cooler but we got some rain showers that provided about an inch and a half of rain. Our azaleas said thank you as well as the roses that were planted. Roy made his delicious tacos for supper and then I spent the rest of the evening playing around on our new laptop. Roy transferred my iTunes onto the laptop but it won't let me download a lot of music to my iPhone because it can't find the original encryption or something like that. Dang! Looks like I have to buy Al Green songs again for my phone.

I have become the squirrel chaser of Buncombe County. Two of them run away but one hangs around even if I come out of the back door with my trusty cane in hand. Now it was fun chasing that squirrel out of the bird feeder with the vacuum cleaner running. Roy says I have too much time on my hands. No, I am easily entertained.

Brenda stopped by on Friday afternoon with this great dessert. It is like banana pudding but also has pineapple in it. Very good! Roy and I left for church to help cook and serve the VBS Family Fun Night at the church's picnic shelter on the top of the hill. One of the most beautiful views around. Roy helped cook 750 hot dogs. I was a bun opener and sometimes helped get the hot dogs in the buns for easier distribution. It was a very fun evening with friends. Lots and lots of kids (and some brave adults) went down the slippery slide down the hill onto the softball field. We left tired and carry about the fragrance of smoke.

This morning we had KHCB on Alexia and I heard one of my favorite songs from the way back. It is from the musical Natural High, a 1971 folk musical for youth. It is the first one I ever participated in. I leave you with these words as we need to tackle a few more projects in our little world.

My Little World

Oh God of the stars, the sun and the moon
Oh God of the wind and the sea
Though You’re everywhere
How amazing it is
That You can be here with me

The uncharted craters of planets beyond
You know like the palm of your hand
And yet You’re concerned
With my little world
Oh, help me to understand

I know that miracles happen to people like me
The moment we dare to believe
For we are the objects of God’s mighty love
Far greater than our little minds can conceive

The stars could collide
The sun could grow dim
The whole universe pass away
Still nothing can change the promise He made
And Christ in my heart will stay.

(repeat chorus)

Yes, Christ in my heart will stay.

Written by Ralph Carmichael. © Bud John Songs, Inc. 
All rights reserved. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Out With The Old, In With The New

This might be my last blog post written on this laptop. Roy bought me a new one, installed most everything and he's just waiting for me to be awake enough to learn the ropes. This laptop is old and slow and the font size and page jump around too much, large to small to extra small to extra large. I only know a couple of things that I want on a computer so we treat buying them like we do when we buy cars. Roy goes, looks, then takes me to see once he has the fundamentals of what we want nailed down, whereas I like the bells and whistles...which doesn't make for a better price at the dealership or online.

I believe the GPS in our Tundra takes you on the road less traveled. You would not believe the route we took to get to the Costco in Spartanburg. It would have been so much easier taking the exit off I 26. The same thing happened yesterday when we left Grandfather's Mountain to go to Valle Crucis to see the original Mast General Store. She took us up through Banner Elk. A scenic, curvy drive that we loved. We used Google Girl to leave and we took the route that I remembered. When we encountered stopped traffic, I then understood why we went through Banner Elk. Tallulah Toyota wants to avoid stop and go traffic at all costs. She is always suggesting another route to the Charlotte airport because of the usual backup at a light in Gastonia where all the world meets, everyday in cars and trucks.

We have so much that needs to be done around here but we took a play day yesterday just because and because the weather forecast was perfect for a day in the high country of NC. We left a little after 9:00 heading for our first stop Grandfather's Mountain. It is a beautiful drive and a lot of road work in Burnsville is done. We had the double score on the entrance fee, discount for seniors and being a Biltmore Passholder. They give you a CD to listen to as you begin the assent to the top of the mountain. We put the CD in a little late so we were ahead of the narration. That's when we decided just to drive up the mountain without it. First stop at the museum and nature center, with a restaurant and restrooms. Oh and the most important stop in any trip, the gift shop. The restaurant is apply named Mildred's Grill, after Mildred the Bear, who I believe just passed away a few weeks ago from cancer. We grabbed some lunch there and we were entertained by the hummingbirds at the feeders attached to the large windows. Roy talked to many of the staff there getting information for the week long photo workshop they do at the beginning of June. We also visited with a couple who volunteer there. Retired and moved from the Mississippi Delta., where it is hot, just like Houston. Now this is such a Mississippi thing...all southerns try to connect with people that you might know but people from Mississippi seem to be the ones that try the connection the most. They ask where you are from and we give our answer which usually includes Houston. They asked what kind of business Roy is in, and he answered oil and gas...which up here I always add, not fracking. The woman then says, here is the connection...we have a nephew by marriage in the oil and gas business in you know _________? There are millions of people and a whole lot of oil and gas companies in Houston. What are the chances we know him? Well, none...we didn't know him by his nickname or real name. I love that about Mississippians. The gift shop has a lot of cute things and that is always a plus. Then we drove up the mountain to the swinging bridge. The temperature change near the bridge is cooler by far. Roy went across the mile high swinging bridge but I did not. My accomplishment yesterday at the bridge was climbing the steps up to it rather than taking the elevator. My heart was all a flutter from that exercise. Roy tried to start climbing up the rocks on the other side, there is no fence or guardrail, and he wavered a bit, lost his balance carrying his camera. I thought don't make me come over that bridge to make you stop trying something that is clearly for the young or those who have excellent balance. We had just had a conversation on our way about what are young jobs and how someone has to have a clear transition plan in place.
Well on this rainy Saturday evening, I am writing from my new laptop. Love the keyboard! Roy has loaded pics and music on it so this makes me very happy. We worked outside this morning and did so until it was just too hot. Roy painted the trim around the storm door and I kept on painting the hand rails on the stone steps. We did a little bit of weeding and then came inside. We are enjoying this rainy evening that has cooled things off as well as watered the plants, which they really needed. Roy made his famous tacos tonight.

So new laptop and hopefully without the jumping page and fonts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Taking Too Much Time

Yep, it's easy on a Saturday morning. Yet, there is so much to get done but these quiet moments give strength and help me take care of the things that demand attention today and yes, maybe even those things that don't.

Lowe's called yesterday with the news the swing was in. I went last night to pick it up but they hadn't assembled it. I thought about that when paying for it, even though they added a note to do that, they hadn't charged for the assembly. The girl working the customer service area kind of handed me off to two people that seemed to be more in charge. The swing probably wouldn't be ready until Tuesday because no assemblers were working over the weekend. Told them that was fine, no hurry and I think that attitude was gifted by no assembly charge. The man said, you came out, we didn't have it ready and you've been's on us. Back to the parking lot and the cool breeze before a storm or rain enveloped me, so naturally that means it is a good time to walk through the Lowe's garden center cause it won't be oppressively hot and the number of people looking at plants on a Friday night seemed relatively low. Found a couple more daylilies and some knockout roses.

When I entered the workout center Friday, there was such a pleasant surprise standing at the check in counter. There stood my tall friend Inez. She had joined and getting an initial session scheduled. Well, that just put a little spring into my step for my workout with Taylor. So encouraged as he and I discussed how far my workouts have come since first starting out with him.

This morning I headed out to pull weeds since we had rain last night. It doesn't take long for evaporation to take place and the ground be hard as rock. I kind of started back where I have some flowers growing but moved on and started working on the weeds and vines beside the driveway. It is a massive undertaking and even though I put in a long time I barely made a dent. When the skies began to look like we might be getting some rain, I gathered all the weeds and junk into trash bags. I dug up so many rocks that I began an Ebenezer pile.

Several of us went to lunch and produce stand shopping on Thursday celebrating Inez and Judy's birthdays. It seemed like a Blue Rooster kind of day. It was a bit rainy but not too bad. I did a brave thing on Thursday, I wore white pants. I hardly ever, ever wear white pants. The propensity of spillage goes up significantly. I sat here at the house barely stirring because it meant I could mess up those pants before leaving and then what to do? I am happy to report that I made it through lunch, which included cranberry relish and shopping at the produce stand buying blackberries without getting one stain on those pants. I don't know how often I will wear white cause it is too stressful.

I'm having a hard time getting this post finished up, so I am going to post it. Having a great time volunteering for the meal serving team at VBS this week.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Top Five Favorite Hymn

  1. This is my Father’s world,
    And to my list’ning ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings
    The music of the spheres.
    This is my Father’s world:
    I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
    His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father’s world:
    The birds their carols raise,
    The morning light, the lily white,
    Declare their Maker’s praise.
    This is my Father’s world:
    He shines in all that’s fair;
    In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
    He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father’s world:
    Oh, let me ne’er forget
    That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father’s world,
    The battle is not done:
    Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
    And earth and Heav’n be one.

When I was a child I won a book in Sunday School for knowing my Bible verses. It was a child's book of poems and hymns. I believe this is when I fell in love with this particular hymn as I would read these words over and over, yes and even sing them to myself. These words brought great comfort and they still do, even more so now living in the mountains of Western North Carolina. This is in the top five hymns that I love. 

Almost every morning around 7:00, a bird's song wakes me up. The bird must be singing in the red bud tree or on the deck because the song sounds like it is in the bedroom. It has been the Carolina Wren's song of late but this morning it was a new song from a different bird. 

With the rain last night the frogs have been more vocal of late. It sounded like one was in the house it was so loud. 

The cardinals have increased. Three young birds frequent both feeders. Their colors have not come in yet but they are fun to watch as they play in the forsythia. Mom and Dad cardinal aren't hanging as close as they were the first days that their young uns brought my attention to them. 

Yes, all nature sings and round me rings the music of their spheres. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. The temperature here is a balmy 81 with a little breeze. Nice way to begin the summer, not too hot.

This is just an observation this being my third spring into summer in the mountains. No allergies, no colds or anything like that but I think the dry air, the lot less humid air on a daily basis plays havoc with my sinuses and throat. During this time of year, noises that I don't intentionally make just volunteer to show up and usually around the time I would like to sleep. Sometimes when I am breathing I could swear my nose is just trying to imitate the sound of a rotary phone...long distance dialing noise. It's horrible! Sometimes these little noises come from my throat and my throat does a pretty good job of sounding like a squeaky hinge noise of a door. Sometimes it almost seems like there is some kind of call and response going on between my throat and nose.

The day began early yesterday. With a 10:30 hair appointment I did as my usual custom to have an early breakfast at Corner Kitchen. Love that place and love their grits especially. Breakfast took a more leisurely course and left me with just a little time to kill in Biltmore Village. I went to  Talbot's. I think in my life I have stepped inside a Talbot's like two times and one of those times was with Dena when she was exchanging an item. Not my usual choice of stores to shop but it is close to the salon, so  what the heck....  So, I was greeted with a locked door and it was after 10:00. I heard the sound of a door being unlocked and a friendly saleslady greeted me by apologizing. She was kind and informative. I told her I didn't usually shop there and I was just killing time but she just took the opportunity to tell me all the items on sale were an additional 30% off. I began looking at the sale items and thought Talbot's has way too many things with stripes. I also realized it is more of classic and traditional look and I don't always lean that way. Given me linen is my spring and summer shout and flannel, boots and jeans for late fall and winter. Not being too impressed with the sale choices I began looking at regular priced items and then came back to the sale stuff one more time...very surprising that I then found two items, that I bought. One is a denim shirt and it is like I need another denim shirt but this one didn't have tencel in it. The other shirt is blue gingham check and I am all about gingham in this season of life. So while in the grand scheme of things, Talbot's is not on my radar I'm glad I took a few moments to look through the store.

After my haircut I headed over to Target going the back way. There is a repurpose/antique warehouse in the area and if there had been parking, I would have stopped. So, since it was packed out, I went to Target for a few things. I even remembered to bring the list of things for a hygiene kit to do for the fair ministry. Then I was happy to find a lot of outdoor accessories on sale, so I took advantage of that opportunity. Since I was in the area I made a stop at Home Goods too. Then to Whole Foods for some peeled and sliced oranges. So over the weekend I made up a little DIY spray bottle of spider repellant of 20 drops of peppermint oil to two cups of water, add a citrus oil for extra punch. Well, I didn't have a citrus oil but I did have peppermint. It works! So while at Whole Foods, I got some orange oil for the extra punch. Everything on the porch and soon to be on the back deck has such a lovely fragrance.

It was kind of exciting at the Whole Foods. They had discovered a shoplifter and had confronted the man. I had actually talked with the alleged perp while standing in front of the peeled and sliced oranges. He tried to shoplift some beer, they took it from him and told him to leave and they wouldn't call the police. Well, the guy wouldn't leave so all the chefs in their white coats stood guard at the doors. It would have been better if they had huge knives in their hands. A little nervous going out to the parking lot cause this guy might think I was being friendly when I said excuse me cause my cart was in his way, but in hindsight, he was probably using my cart as a beard trying to shoplift beer. The guy moved across the lot and I was on my way home.

For the past few days I have been a little nervous because I thought there was something dead under the propane tank. It was a miracle, so I thought, that the smell wasn't grossing me out. I didn't get too close and didn't really take a good look cause you know, it might freak me out or something. When I was over at Vivian and Bill's home yesterday I talked about what I hoped was not happening, that vermin and the like were taking a stroll down our embankment to visit. The groundhog has been here twice, huge groundhog, and it is squirrel city sometimes. Bill came over this morning to put some poison in the crawl space and didn't see any activity or evidence of mice or snakes. Then I asked if he looked under the propane tank...he said he did, didn't see anything. I pointed out where I thought I saw a dead thing and he reaches over and picks up an unattached tree root. Relieved and embarrassed but at least the mystery of the could be something dead and yes technically it was something dead since the root is solved.

A couple of errands and all but the bank involved hardware or hardware type stores. Tractor supply for birdseed, Ace for decorative lights, and Reems Nursery to look at plants. Talked with a very informative employee and told me when the plants I am looking for will be delivered and it looks like it will be in the next several days.  Now at home and contemplating short nap...yes, the nap has it.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Side Step, Side Step

The first year we were here we had goldfinches and indigo blue birds by the handful. Last year I think I saw one goldfinch but last year seemed to be the year of the cardinal and there were times the butterfly bushes were filled with six or more cardinals, all getting along and sharing. This year I have been so entertained by the cardinals and their young birdlings. Of course I went to the Google to research when the young ones feathers turn dark red for the male and brownish red for females. This year the goldfinches and indigos came back but not like the first year. Lots of small birds come to the feeders and they are all quite entertaining. The squirrels seem to have increased in number and there are times four or more squirrels are banqueting in the backyard. If one of them climbs into the feeder that's when I become the crazy squirrel lady, yelling and making noise for them to leave, well for a little bit at least. I had never seen squirrels tackling one another ever, that is until recently. They are serious about their food. Yesterday, while on the phone with Peggy, the biggest groundhog was chowing down on plants and weeds. I then became the crazy groundhog lady and yelled out at it. For a biggie, it sure moved quickly back into the safety of the weeds and growth at the end of the gravel road. The birds probably liked it better when I was up early because of the workmen building the porch and deck cause they were fed earlier. Now they have had to become more like brunch birds.

I belong to a FB group that is quite entertaining as well as educational learning the history the Appalachians. But there is one thing, there is a lot of snake picture postings. Dead ones, alive ones, what kind of ones, have you ever seen ones, the list goes on. Then someone posts a guide to venomous verses good snakes which is mainly shape of head and eyes. Uh no, not going to get that close to have determine this. I know that king snakes, black snakes, rat snakes are good snakes to have around. I saw a black snake shimmy across a road the other day and for a brief second I thought about running over it but it was a black snake, which means good snake. Every time someone says good snake I can hear the voice of Glenda the good witch from Wizard of Oz saying, "I'm a good snake.' I do believe I saw a black snake out back last night, up higher on the tier, hiding in the shrubbery. He made a little movement that got my attention. I finished up planting the last little flower and moved on with my work. Or it could have been a little bird that stirred and a tree branch. Again, I'm not getting close enough to determine exactly what moved.

Last night I started painting the stone step railings. Using a chestnut color that blends very well with the black primer. So I had to refigure how to paint, keep the steps covered, yet get down the steps without falling. The mistake yesterday was working on both railings and this morning brilliant one here realized you work on one railing at a time and use the other one for balance which means the tarp is folded in half only to cover half the steps at a time. It is already rather warm so a small section this morning and if the rain holds off, another small section this evening. Had a good moment while hunting for something old to wear while working today. Either I gave away and didn't pull out from under the bed storage some old stuff I wouldn't mind getting paint on. I found a pair of workout capris that were too small when I had knee replacements. Today, they fit and fit well, not just barely. So there was an unexpected encouraging moment.

Seems like I am seeing so many quotes and stories about letting something go that you love doing or have done for a while and thus promoting growth or opening up an opportunity for another to grow. I tend to worry a little about how will it affect things but if God is in it, there might be momentary discomfort but soon it is so obvious this was the right decision. Several years ago I sensed that the Lord was asking me to place something I loved at His feet and after months of wrestling with the decision, I obeyed. Then miraculously I saw nothing happen or so that is what I was thinking. Through several different circumstances I began to see how if I had held onto this thing, I would never be here in North Carolina. Living here is one of those things more abundantly than I could think or ask of the Lord. It was giving to the Lord something that I loved and treasured and trusting Him. I wonder how many are missing out on the more abundantly, more that they could ask or think? I am reminded of something Sandy Bell put on FB when a staff member left for another church in the city,
 BUT "Failing to move when God tells you to causes you to miss your destiny AND causes others to miss the blessings God has for them through you " ( Sandra Bell in my book)

And I would add because of you, cause you just might be the checker on the board that needs to move for more blessings to fall into place for others.

Friday, June 16, 2017

End Of The Week

Two days in a row of a change in plans and I am not complaining. Yesterday, Taylor had a flat tire on his way to the fitness center and his spare was flat too. He was waiting for AAA to come to the rescue. So, I headed toward Waynesville to celebrate my one year anniversary of discovering and eating at The Blue Rooster. I took the back way there and made a note to return home that way in order to stop at a produce stand that I've never visited before. Lunch was delicious and yes it is summer because even at 1:40, the only seating available was at the bar. Had a delicious lunch and got some veggies to go. I ran by the Belk's in West Waynesville. Our church takes up a collection of things for the people who work for the traveling fairs. We do hygeine kits, some volunteer and this year the need for socks and shoes is great. Since Roy needs extended sized socks I thought that is what we should give cause there has to be men working the fair that need the larger sized sock for size 13 and up shoes. Thankfully, Belk had the extended size crew socks and it buy one get one 50% off. They just happened to have two packages of them. I had planned on stopping in at the Hazelwood district but with cloudy skies and the thought of a produce stand, I hastened. hastened gladly, hasten so glad and free (hasten glad and free) back over to the stand. They had Bryson City strawberries and blackberries and some Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes came home with me. The skies looked like rain but we never got any at home. I moved the bird feeder and bath down to the level part of the yard near the new swing stand. I planted a few more flowers and then called it a day outside because of the thunder.

This morning I was up early for a hair appointment and since parking in Biltmore Village is an issue, I planned to go early, have breakfast at Corner Kitchen, walk about and then go to my appointment. Just as I finished taking my meds, a message from Christine came. She needed to move my appointment to Tuesday due to a babysitter issue. No, not a problem at all to change, so I wound up with more easing into the day without a strict schedule. After feeding the birds and such, I headed over to the bank and then to Ingle's. Here of late, the drive through lines haven't been long or taken a lot of time. Today, that record was broken by not one but two drivers. The guy in the old blue truck didn't even pull all the way up to the window, he stopped and almost blocked both lanes, The lady in the Toyota did not want to go to the second lane cause it is not the window lane but she finally, finally decided that remained her only option cause guy in truck wasn't going anywhere. I picked her line hedging my bet that she would be faster than blue truck. For once in my life I picked the right lane although she was having issues as well. The line of cars behind me continued to increase. Finally, the woman concluded her banking business and she was off. My transaction was short and sweet and when I left the blue truck was still sitting at the window. The grocery store wasn't too much better because every available way into the produce section was blocked. I chose to follow the lady who seemed to be moving the best but as I drew even closer to finally getting into the produce section, she blocked the grape section with her cart and said to me that she would be getting first choice of grapes, not me. Uh, I don't want any grapes but I did reach across her cart and picked up a bag of lemons displayed between the red and green grapes.
All that patience wore me out yesterday and I never came back to blogging. I had a wonderful treat when Inez came over to see the porch and swing stand last night. So fun, just sitting on the porch talking. Buddy was in and out while she was here but Buddy settled down and watched the birds before we called it a night on the porch.

Today I worked out and then went over to Lowe's to order a porch swing. I ordered a low maintenance swing that costs a little more but has a great warranty and no keeping up with painting it. It should be here sometime next week and I also asked for it to be assembled cause you know Roy and I are outsource kind of people when it comes to putting stuff together.  I also bought some paint for the railings. Oh and discounted zinnias.

Now I'm waiting to see if it does or doesn't rain. We need the rain so I am not beginning a project just to have to run back inside if it thunders.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Working On The Railings, All The Live Long Morning...Into Afternoon

Well, there is good news from the oral surgeon visit yesterday morning. I really liked the Dr and staff. We went over everything and set out a plan of action. This morning the Dr called and said after reviewing x-rays and measurements they took yesterday, he wants to attempt putting in the implants with this grafting procedure. He thinks the bone is strong enough but if it is not, no harm, no foul, we will continue with the standard implant timeline. If successful, it could take six months off the schedule.

I had tentative plans for the rest of the day but a call from our contractor changed that. They would be at the house around lunchtime to install the swing stand in the front yard. Yea buddy! No problem. The process of installing that stand was so interesting. I mean really, what an art form of using a backhoe in tight spaces. The exact level and then setting of the whole thing. Using the bucket to tap the stand into the correct depth. Wow! It was fascinating. I haven't bought the swing yet but I am leaning toward a red one. At first I thought a metal swing but dang, the metal would be too hot some days.

Sunday night was not a good sleep night. Buddy woke me up at 2:30 am. She was so close and intent with a focused stare. Now that tends to make me nervous cause it could be something or it could be nothing.  Turning on the light didn't reveal a thing but Buddy's head tracked something unseen by me. Since this wasn't going to end quickly, I went to The Google to see what it means when a cat does such a thing. Well, the first article stated there were probably ghosts in the house. it is the Holy Ghost. The second article stated they could be hearing mice or other vermin in the attic, well that is if their stare is directed toward the ceiling. Thankfully, hers wasn't. Third article said it could be fruit flies...and the fourth said, it is a cat just being a cat. Finally, around 4:00 am she settled down and went to sleep. Thus, I went to sleep but knew I didn't have the privilege to sleep in since I had that early appointment. It was difficult to get up at 7:00 am and stay awake. One thing I have started doing in the morning is, when I first get out of bed, I look to my right and can see out the front window our beautiful view. That motivates and gets me going.

The guys just got here to install the railings for the stone stairs that lead to the....swing. They were thinking it would be this afternoon but so glad they are here early. Everything is primed for paint, so guess we will need to think on these things. I came inside after talking with the guys, told them to help themselves to anything in the garage refrigerator. They were arguing about math when I left them. Think a mentoring moment was happening but I was afraid they would ask me about, as Jethro Bodine taught us that seven gazinta twenty one, just what my math calculations would be. I couldn't help them cause my brain is already gone into, what color should we paint the rails?

To stop another Sunday night happening, Buddy and I spent the late evening into night on the porch. We were both mesmerized by the lightning bugs, obviously for different reasons. Those flying beetles with a light for a butt did not disappoint last night. You could see them across the road in the pasture. It looked like waves of light in our yard, not in a huge scale but a noticeable one. The songs of birds filled the sky with the loveliest of songs. We came in and Buddy headed straight to the bonus room for a nap. Porch sitting wears her out. To keep her company and to awake her every ten minutes, I watched American Pickers with a little Simpsons thrown in on commercials.

Random thought from errand running the other day, if I wore size small, I would never, ever pay full price for any piece of clothing. When there is a sale, that is just about all that is left unless you have a bunch of extra smalls included. Where are all these small people and why aren't they shopping? Us big girls know, if you want better get there the day something is put out cause there are other big girls with the same mindset as you.

Well that above thought got me to thinking so I had to stop and look at a couple of things online. Then the railing was finished. A quick trip to the grocery store and a short little nap and here we are waiting for it to rain. If it doesn't I will need to hook up the hose on the faucet I have never been able to get to. I just heard thunder, so maybe there is still hope for some rain.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Observant Not Cynical.....

I just read a very funny article by a columnist for Garden and Gun magazine remembering summer camp and church camp in particular. She went to Girl Scout Camp and the summer her mother deemed her to be too cynical at the age of thirteen, she was bound for a Baptist encampment run by two old ladies. Reminds me of East Texas Baptist Encampment run by an older couple that Peggy and I nicknamed Sam and Son of Sam. We never saw them smile and they sat on their porch in their rocking chairs seething judgement. They were used to GA camp and maybe Jr camp, but they were taken by surprise when First Baptist Houston came rolling in with wild recreation and evening extras that are now staples in modern campdon. It was hot there and the food miserable beyond belief and we were thrilled to find big jars of peanut butter on each table but sickened when we tasted and see'd that the peanut butter was rancid. Oh, we were adults at this camp...not official campers. I do believe we introduced Skipper and Dolly to those Jr High campers, Skipper and Dolly are fish that can do tricks....and we found them at the grocery store in a fresh fish display counter...So you can see where this all led. Anyway, back to the column, the author hated church camp. She hated getting up early, didn't like to be forced into saying each morning what she was thankful for and all the emotional stuff that can come with camp. She liked Girl Scout Camp much better and her stories of Girl Scouts reminded me of Dena. Dayspring gave her a surprise 50th birthday party held at Peggy's. My job was to get Dena at that party so she could be surprised. I was halfway scared she was going to call and decline attending. She thought she was going to a surprise party for Carolyn, the director of the class and also an August birthday. We got her there and yes, she was totally surprised with people from her workplace, church and family in attendance. I had been in contact with her mom getting pictures and hearing funny stories from Dena's childhood. Dena was a Girl Scout and the letters she wrote her family from camp are some of the most hilarious camp letters I have ever read...mainly Dena wrote to remind them when they could come pick her up and to also help them keep in mind exactly what camp she was attending. In between the reminders she also shared she and a friend felt sick, but they weren't sick after all but she was happy to know who to find if she thought she might be sick....then of course her sign off was to again remind her parents when camp concluded, where and when to pick her up. I also love that her sister was writing Dena and making up all kinds of wild stories of eating out every night and how the cats had totally forgotten Dena and they loved Janet more than ever. There are only a few camps I truly enjoyed. Back in the day GA camp was held at Peach Creek Baptist Camp in the piney woods of East Texas. I did not like that camp at all for various reasons but I was always made to go. One summer while spending the summer with grandparents in Illinois, I went to their church camp...which was with other churches for a glorious week. Hopefully somebody has rethought the name Camp Ill-Mo. Camp clothing rules were more strict than any other church camp I had ever gone to. I remember my mother was furious when she found out that several had concerns whether or not my clothes would be camp appropriate. My Aunt Mary, new aunt by being the second wife of my Uncle Charles, my mother's oldest brother, was in charge of making sure I had enough pedal pushers...a blast from the past term for capris...and other summer camp wear. Why she was chosen for this endeavor, I do not know but I do remember having lots of fun with her as we shopped the dime store racks for camp clothes. My cousin Lois and I got to be in the same cabin and our cabin won every sport award there was that week. I also was caught by the dean of the camp hanging from the rafters of our cabin like a monkey as I moved around from top bunk to top bunk. Okay, I just looked up Ill-Mo and the camp is still around and it is called Camp Manitoubi now but still a part of the General American Regular Baptist Churches. I recognized the cabins that have now been modernized, so no rafters but they have A/C.

Once I got into high school and went to camp with Willow Meadows Baptist Church, I surely enjoyed camp. One year we did Camp Houston which meant we stayed at the church all week and did mission projects and such around Houston. Then we went to camp in Palacios, TX the next year. I returned home changed that is for sure. Wait, I think it was Palacios then Camp Houston. Who knows but the Lord made such a change in me that even my father noticed a life changing experience had happened for me. When my parent's church purchased a Camp, Camp Tejas, my father funded a scholarship for that camp for children who could not afford camp. Then when their church sold the camp grounds he continued funding scholarships and low and behold, it was now going through First Baptist because Cindy Pitt, the children's minister, would do what my father wanted. She told me about the continuing scholarships against my father's wishes for me to know.  Peggy and I went to children's camp one year to do an evening extra for the kids and got to meet the kids attending because of my father's generosity....only he was doing to them what he had done to my brother and I, sending them to camp with no spending money. I gave Cindy some money to give to the kids because it was my father's wish that those who got to attend camp be from families that had no other means to get them there. A lot of kids came from the children's home in Austin. Cindy convinced him to add additional funds for spending money.

It's funny, my father took the changes in me from loving camp, not from the work of the Holy Spirit. Even a few years ago when I had been called to meet his attorney, she relayed to me that my father was still upset that I had told him years ago, in elementary school, I mainly went to camp just to get out of the house. I don't remember saying that, but I probably did and wasn't smart enough to keep that info to myself. And just like the author who concluded that maybe what had been construed as cynicism merely was her observations as a fairly healthy, observant kid attuned to the foibles of human nature. Maybe too, I will change my mind that I have been cynical and instead change my thoughts to being observant and pretty good at being observant.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


With the gentle rains of yesterday and the breaks in between showers, I pulled weeds. I know everyone is jealous. I had done a dose of DIY weed spray with epsom salts, cleaning vinegar and blue Dawn dish detergent. Using Round Up is not my first choice especially after reading an article that the ingredients used are the main ingredients that causes Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And NHL is near and dear me because this was my father's cancer and fortunately he spent many years in remission. So the DIY spray did do some damage to the weeds and with the help of a rake and a shovel and some good old fashioned weed pulling, a small space was cleared. I might have gotten more weeds pulled but ADD kicked in and I found myself trimming back a small tree. It was very reminiscent of a fond memory at Cynthia's beach house. There was one of those tallow trees growing across the street on the edge of a neighbor's property. This tree was inhibiting our long distance view of the water. So we donned rain boots and set out across the street with a golf club, trimmer and maybe a saw...Cynthia and I worked on trimming that tree back. We used the golf club to bring the branch closer to us thus being able to make a dent in the foliage. Satisfied that we had done an adequate job we returned, climbed the stairs to the deck to look at our handiwork. Then we went back down the stairs, back to the tree and worked some more. Last night I didn't have a golf club but an old wooden cane I had used for blackberry picking. I pulled those limbs close to me and by using the leverage of the long handles and the rocks, I was able to do a pretty good job but it would have been more fun having Cynthia there cause we laughed ourselves silly while we worked. This situation, too, would have landed in the quite comical venue too.

During a weed pulling break I was so entertained by three baby squirrels playing on and around our neighbors huge trees. There seems to be an uptick in the squirrel population this year. Those three little squirrels ran up and down and around those trees with such energy.
Saturday morning...I slept in and now I am easing into the day. Oh there is a whole lot to get done but I'm taking it easy with a full week ahead.

This laptop is on its last legs. The page and font size jump around like crazy and it is difficult to write many mornings. We have been talking about getting a new one but we tended to think maybe we would get a better deal in a month or so as people begin to gear up for school. Roy stopped in at Best Buy yesterday after having Sequisha's 5000 mile checkup. He found a laptop with lots of memory and good speed. So, he bought it and is loading software and security on it. It weighs about five pounds which in laptop world is heavier than most but I don't usually take a laptop with me because my iPad fits that bill.

The good news this week is, the land across the street where the cows graze and the old barn adds picturesque to the scenery, has not been sold and all the bulldozing of trees is making a way for a new and bigger pond for the cows. Whew! Brenda called to let me know that good news. She heard a tractor coming down their way and by the sound of it, she knew it was a big tractor. Her husband had told his friend, who happens to be the man who owns the land across the way, if he wanted to cut for hay on the additional acreage on the land, he was welcome to do it. So, he took Larry up on the offer and that is when Brenda visited with him about what was going on. This is such good news. I had kind of started looking on Zillow to see what's for sale around here and in Madison County. I can stop that now, although I do keep an eye on what's on the market. Sitting on the porch last night was more relaxing than it has been. Thursday night I had to come in from the porch cause it was too cold. From what the weather people are saying, yesterday might have been our last 70's for the high day until September. Next week in the low 80's. Yes boys and girls, reasonable temps to live, move and exist in.

Around here, and I've written about this before, there are a bunch of little churches, mostly of the Baptist variety. There is this one little white clapboard church on the way into Weaverville and on Sunday mornings when I have either taken a sabbatical Sunday or just went to Sunday School, there are about four trucks parked in front of the church. That number has held consistently.  This little church with the huge theological name must have decided that a friendlier name might be in order. A new sign with the new name, which happens to be the same name as two other churches in the area, has produced the same amount of trucks parked in front of the church. I read an article a couple of weeks ago that mentioned changing terminology from this to that creates more participation in church life. Uh, well...maybe not. Maybe we just want to believe that. I'm not a millennial so maybe that's why it doesn't matter what you call Sunday School to me because the meaning of it is not the name, it is the friends gathered together to worship and learn about God and along the way we do life together, have fun together and you can change the name a thousand times, we will still be our gathering of friends. Maybe the changing of terminology has the most effect on those making the "word" changes. At First Baptist Houston, they changed the name of one the rooms from Green Room to___________. I can't remember the newish name. (Maybe Reception Room?) The green room was called the green room because most everything in that room was the color green. When that room was revamped during the Capital Campaign, the color green was erased from existence, thus the rename, which escapes me now. Why? Because I called it Marriott Meeting Room G because the carpet or if you are a professional, the floor covering looked like it had come straight out of the Marriott Design and Decorate Book. It wasn't ugly, just looked like hotel meeting room carpet.

Well, that's a wrap for this post. Onward....Into The Day!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Texas Feels and Mountain Glory

Lightning bugs about this evening. I read an article last year about these flying beetles and they stay in the same area and don't move from their ancestral home. That's why when progress comes to the country and the country becomes the city, you don't see them anymore. They don't move onto greener pastures. One night they were so plentiful that they made the firs into Christmas trees with their blinking behinds all around the trees.

This girl took off this morning to points north. It wasn't a case of homesickness but a case of missing Texas things. Johnson City has an Academy Sporting Goods store. They started in Houston and we shopped the original store since it was relatively close to our home. In this store they have the historical history done in a time line complete with pics. I am thankful I did not turn into my grandmother and start saying thing to anyone who passed by, I shopped there...I'm from Houston. Whew! I did find a few things that needed to be purchased and I had worked up quite the appetite that lunch at Carrabba's sounded good, another Houston institution. I took cooking lessons from Mary Carrabba and also from the Pappas matriarch, once they both taught in the same cooking class. They bickered back and forth the whole time. It was quite amusing. It was more difficult, but I didn't say anything while eating lunch to the server. Ah, mezzaluna pasta I have missed you. Dena asked me if I ordered any calamari? Their calamari is very tasty but alas I was by myself and couldn't justify an order. There are Carrabba's in Asheville but this seemed like these two stops should go together. I did stop and Barnes and Noble too.

On the way back home I stopped at a couple of produce stands. Ah yes, one of my favorite things to do. I bought some TN strawberries that I just cut up and froze. They are wonderful and little. Love little strawberries, they are so cute and so sweet. For supper this evening I fixed a tomato sandwich with Grainger tomatoes. Yum!

The evening is cool out here on the porch. It looked like south of us had some rain so it cooled off. It was just in the low 70's today. Usually I see deer on my way back home but only saw some turkeys. The lightning bugs have Buddy mesmerized yet frustrated since she can't get to them.  When I got home and after unloading SequishShawn, I took a little nap.
Even though I was writing from the front porch last night, I needed to stop and take in dusk overtaking day into night. With so many clouds in the sky and with the different hues of blues, grays and pinks, it was a fabulous sight.

Another trend on social media is checking to see if your body is telling you something. Do you have a hangnail? These are the signs of underactive or overactive....take your pick from many ailments. Not to many of these articles are that helpful and you could fill up any leftover time from your it only takes fifteen minutes time worrying whether you should worry or not...So, instead of going to a Dr, ask FB if there are any old home remedies. Last night I stopped reading FB because there were too many "is this snake venomous" pictures or what kind of snake is this? Ugh! My neighbor has seen a large black snake and I know they are good snakes, eat the venomous snakes and keeps rodents at bay. I think that with our neighbor above us not moving his fields as much would mean those snakes and you have to assume there is more than one, are in those fields having a veritable smorgasbord of field mice to choose from.

I have Sirius XM radio in the truck. Sometimes when I am tired of listening to music I listen to the comedy channels. Here's the problem, with satellite radio going around and in and out in the mountains, you can lose the signal for a few seconds. With music you can kind of sing along in your head and be at the right spot when the signal returns. Not so with the comedy channels. You can be listening and just as the punch line or the great part of the story is being told...boom, lost signal. You can't get it back and unless you have heard the joke or story don't have closure.  Lately, I have heard a few oldie but goodies of Steve Martin and Gilda Radner. Yesterday I was listening to Jeff Foxworthy interview a fellow southern comedian. It was entertaining of course.