Sunday, December 31, 2017

Last Day of 2017...Ice...Cubed or Crushed?

Looking outside both from the north and south views it looks like a gray/silver snow/winter sky. I see little flakes of snow and ice but nothing much and nothing much in accumulation. Just watched a live update of a local weather guy on FB. He is like Ray's Weather, a go to source of information. I had watched him this morning and he was the first to think there might be icy roads this afternoon. So, I got dressed and headed out to the grocery stores while the church crowd was churching. I was taking a sabbatical Sunday, and had planned that in advance but Roy's late night phone call on the way from the airport prevented me from going back to sleep soon. I stayed on the phone with him until he got home and I was Googling info for him...that is once I woke up enough to do so. I was able to pick up everything on my list and filled up the truck with gas since they say that is something you should do for cold, icy weather.

I just went out and fed the birds again and broke through some of the frozen water for them to keep hydrated. The last day of 2017 found me throwing bad fruit at some squirrels that had parked themselves in the bird feeder. Plunked one on the behind. I picked up the orange and two lemons and left them outside for easy access but alas, no more fruit throwing was needed the rest of the afternoon into evening. I haven't seen the Feral Fam but when it gets this cold they have somewhere else they stay, I think in the barns above us, but I left some food out till the evening just in case they would come on down.

Brenda and Inez are keeping watch over me reminding me not to go out with slick roads. No, this child is happy and ensconced. I had scrambled eggs and biscuits for supper. Just looked out the window and it is snowing. Nice way to end 2017. When Malcolm and Lisa P were here, we went to Grandfather Mountain. Malcolm and I crossed the mile high bridge and he talked about it this morning in his Life Bible Study class as an accomplishment for the year. I feel the same way but the picture that Grandfather Mountain had on FB today, no thank you. Ice, ice, ice on ice....Who was brave enough to go up that winding, curving road to get that pic? I don't know!

Just imagine these views with ice and snow and far distant white out conditions....and the temps? Well, here it is 20 degrees. It is probably in single digits there.

So it is the last evening of 2017 and I haven't found my one word for the year. 2017 the word for me was flourish and it was a good word for the year. 2017 held victories and it also held battles with emotions that I didn't expect when my father passed away in April. Recovery was good from bilateral knee replacements but afib and atrial flutter were worse than in any recent past. In spite of that I have felt good and had more energy. In all things God has been faithful and has been with me every step. So now, I am looking forward to the new year.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

But Tonight I Rest

In the words of Ray's Weather we are beginning a week of memorable cold waves that this area hasn't experienced in quite some time. Well, there you go. The year I decide to stay for winter...although for the most part I like cold temps. Single digit, not too much. Driving home this evening the sun setting behind the mountains painting the clouds with a pinkish hue also had fog and mist rolling off the northern range of mountains that met me on the river road. Happy to be in the house, nice and warm with a computer and a cat on my lap.

Yesterday, was quite the jam packed day, even some adventure. Roy had rearranged and then cleared out the garage on Thursday. We gathered all that along with some gatherings of my own from inside the house to make a jaunt down to the dump. We were extra careful with the bags because we were using the rental car. Mission accomplished. We knew SequishShawn would be ready between 2:00-4:00, so we gassed up the car, stopped at a Veterinary office to see about getting Buddy's records transferred and setting up steroid shots for her. Since we were so close to the new Twisted Laurel location, we ate lunch there. It was delicious.  We returned home and moved a bit of furniture. Nothing too dramatic but sitting near a window sometimes can be downright chilly. So for the rest of these cooler months we have taken care of that and it doesn't look too bad but it is not a keeper of an arrangement. We stopped pretty much in mid moving because we needed to go over to the body shop and get the truck. There were a lot of merits to driving a smaller car but no one would ever be able to  sit in the backseat with us in the front. Easier to park that's for sure but we missed SequishShawn. He looked great especially after the wash, so then it was over to Enterprise to return the car. Since Roy doesn't do much driving up here I was a little nervous even with GPS he might not find his way and he has heard me mention many times how narrow the roads can be. He got to experience all of that first hand yesterday. After we were in the truck we decided to drive up to Johnson City to go to the Kroger right off the freeway. Now I have mentioned that Roy can get turned around now and then, well he was in charge of the GPS cause once you are rolling you cannot program a new address in the Toyota. He got us all turned around and we went through the campus of East TN State and found ourselves at the busy Kroger that we have gone to before. I wasn't too happy with this turn of event. I was kind of cranky by last night. We decided to go to the other Kroger but first a stop at Barnes and Nobles, since we were that close. It was a good stop cause we had coupons. If I ever miss driving in city traffic, the Tri-Cities area is the place to make that happen. There is about 600,000 people in the area. Lots of traffic and every restaurant parking lot filled to capacity.  Since you never know until you go, the other Kroger was a bit sketchy. I probably won't return there. So, we got home close to 9:00 pm. Maybe even out past curfew....

Tonight, I arrived home after dark and didn't see the Feral Fam, so I figured I didn't have to fix them dinner tonight. I was wrong because they were sitting down in the backyard looking into the window at me. So I hustled up some grub for them, got them fed and gave them a few treats, came in the house, fixed my supper, gave Buddy some treats and now even though I have lots to do to get ready for Doug and Megan's visit, I'm done. I'll have to work extra hard tomorrow but tonight I rest.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Things Like Phone Calls and Cat Watching

What a fun and full day of nothing out of the ordinary. The last of the Christmas decorations awaited their destination to the garage and the outside lights on the front porch awaited their packing and destination until next year in the garage. The new storage bins we got yesterday are just what we needed and all those good intentions of cleaning out other storage boxes of Christmas stuff were just that, good intentions. So maybe next year. We bought new wreaths this year and are stymied by their storage container. Yes, we know there are wreath carriers and storage but we are hoping to find something else that will work.

We did get out this afternoon to run an errand and have some Mexican food for lunch. We got some queso to go only for comparison sake of some we bought last week at another restaurant in another location in the chain. Really! How can you trust an establishment that calls queso cheese dip? The portions too tiny for what they are charging. that as it may, the queso is good, I mean bueno....I mean the cheese dip is good.

I had a wonderful surprise phone call this morning. My long time, good friend, Marty called to catch up and visit. We have known each other since the 7th grade in Mr. Crittenden's history class. We became friends in high school. We have laughed at lot through the years and we have commiserated only briefly. We both hope we have helped each other in our walks with the Lord.  So, she was finishing up on the treadmill when she called. We are hopeful for a visit out here soon either with Beth or with her sister Vicki or just Marty... Roy says with different friends throughout the years he senses that these friends and I have our own set of language and I believe he is correct. The sentences flow fast and the volume increases, words grow shorter and succinct. Marty has listened a lot through the years on subjects that had been way over talked and over processed...but she encouraged the good path and walk when I wanted to throw in the towel and walk away. Uh, I'm talking math here. She and Beth helped and prayed me through a passing grade in basic algebra my junior year. Math and I do not have a good relationship and I am thrilled that Roy has a wonderful relationship with all things math and math related.

Happy to have a new printer and even happier to have the styrofoam that came with the box. We put it to good use today, the styrofoam, that is. We took more blankets and styrofoam up to the tent of meeting for the Feral Fam. MJ and Camo made a quick zip out of the tent before we got there. Roy put in the new insulation and added the blankets and towels. It looked like they have been using the tent to keep warm but I don't think they use it at night to sleep. I remembered two small rugs that were going to Salvation Army, got those out and placed one in front and one to the side of the tent. Roy is calling the tent the Tent on Catmore Estate. We brought out more food and they came on down to the backyard to eat. Last night I believe I saw their father, the orange cat, cleaning out one of the food dishes. It just so happens I had read an article on the chromosomes for cat colors and most orange cats are male and most calicoes are female. I also hope he wasn't here for a conjugal visit. No hanky panky please under the boardwalk, I mean deck or in the tent. Roy is enjoying the display the kittens put on as they play. This evening as I did my turn down service...I mean left some cat treats on the steps, Cali let me get kind of close and MJ finds me a bit interesting. Mama Cat makes a move and they obey. I hadn't seen Camo all day but she, orange and black so must be a female since male cats cannot carry both those colors in their chromosomes, was at the food dish after dark finishing up the leftovers.

Well, there are things to do and books to read. I could go watch some football with Roy...but other than the LSU game and the top four, not too interested this year. That could change in a few days as we greet 2018.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Second Day After Christmas

On the second day after Christmas my true love and me, went grocery, Lowe's and Walmart shopping. We had planned to go up to TN again but we saw in our rental contract we must stay and drive only in the great state of North Carolina. Bummer! We went to The Pink House this morning because we thought we might have found a dresser for our bedroom, but alas it was not wide enough to put the TV back to the drawing board. We went to Publix and got a few things, stopped at the Post Office, then came on home. We assessed our storage bin situation and decided we would go to Lowe's and get some bigger containers to work with. Then over to Walmart to get some pizza, surprisingly their pizza is rather good, and a few other things. We fixed the pizza by taking the sausage off and adding sliced green olives, ate and then began to work in earnest getting everything sorted and taken down. I worked inside and Roy worked on the outside. We only took a couple of breaks and got most everything done and tomorrow we will begin to put everything back in the garage. It seems strange this evening not to have the lights on, the tree lit and the festive colors on the bookcases and tables downstairs.

Buddy has finally settled down. She thinks she wants to go out in the garage because she watches the Feral kids go under the deck and house. It is so cold out. She hasn't a clue! The feel like temp today was 22. I just looked out the back window and there was an orange cat eating up the last of the evening dinner. I have a feeling that Mr. Orange is the father of the Feral Family kiddos. I just read about the color schemes in cats and most orange cats are male and they don't usually have the black and orange chromosome. That is why most calicoes or cats with orange and black coloring are female.  I hope he and Mama Cat aren't getting back together....if you know what I mean.

There is music for Christmas decorating, but no music for Christmas clean up. I also think it is easier to go tell it on the mountain, here, than in Texas. And In the Bleak Mid Winter is incorrect. Winter officially begins on December 21 and we celebrate Christmas on December 25th. So technically, it wasn't the mid winter, although it could have been bleak. I'm not sure. I'd also like to report I did not see three ships a sailing on Christmas day, on Christmas day. And too, I know this has been written about, pondered and so forth but I have a feeling when Jesus was born, it was not a silent night. You have noisy shepherds and have angels and then the cry of a baby. So, those are the last of my Christmas music themes and thoughts.

Tomorrow, we have a couple of errands and then the grand put away of the season. Thoughts begin to drift toward is a long month it seems. The weather reports seem to think that we will have cold, maybe even below normal temps into the first week of January.

So that is a wrap up of the second day after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Post Christmas Note

This season of the holidays hasn't always been a favorite time at all. It was a season to endure and the countdown and marking off the days on the calendar began a little before Thanksgiving and ended around January 14th, which was my father's birthday. In hindsight and with a better understanding of what was happening I now can see more of the reason why this season was so unbearable. The air filled with unrealistic expectations, sabotage, cluelessness and naivety.  There is always a beam of hope here and there for uneventful holidays but alas, hope could be dashed in a moment's wrong word or decision.

While reading an article on the Christmas tradition at Swanee University, formally known as University of the South. I began to think about those hopes and dreams that kept me going and how I wanted desperately to be a part of some kind of tradition that would transpose the years. I think that is why Baylor University held such an allure. The thought of college reunions and the remembrance of those years, trying to get through our studies and finals to be a graduate of a university full of traditions. After those college years of being at Southwest Texas and then the total let down of attending U of H, life felt traditionless, well the kind of traditions one would like to experience.  Roy and I have traditions and ways we celebrate but I remember being so influenced by a tennis friend. She and her family were so sophisticated and holiday celebrations included elaborate centerpieces and dressing up for holiday dinners and such. I tried talking to my mother about beginning some of those things, but she knew and I knew that is not who we were. We also knew something like this would send my father into a spiral. Those were never fun times. It is always good to remember some traditions aren't meant for the long grow up and don't want to make Happy Birthday Jesus cakes or act in a nativity as the Christmas story is read aloud for friends and family.  It is good to remember that college isn't just the experience but it rather a preparation for the future and the future lives we live and how our work influences or changes products or services or whatever....for the better. I just wanted to be a part of something where I was wanted and included. Traditions held an allure of my own unrealistic expectations.

Roy and I have had several years of doing whatever for the holidays. We came up to The Inn on the Biltmore Estate, our first Christmas stay held 9 inches of snow. We spent several Thanksgivings and Christmas' here. Now we have a home here. Yesterday, Roy made our traditional big breakfast of eggs, bacon and biscuits. We had a leisurely day. Since it didn't get above freezing, we grilled our steaks indoors in a cast iron grill pan. They were delicious. Our friends Gene and Angela invited us over for chili Christmas evening. We had a wonderful time and learned how to play Mexican Train.

The morning came too quickly as we had to be up and ready to get SequishShawn to the body shop for his repairs. Enterprise Rental Cars did not answer their phone for the pick up, so we went there to get a car before going to the shop. The time estimate for the truck is Friday. I sure hope they can fix things by then. We came on home afterwards for a brief stop and then headed out to Waynesville. While we were there we bought a new printer and had lunch at The Haywood Smokehouse. Roy got the printer hooked up or rather WiFi-ed up and I began putting away a few Christmas things. We had been trying to find when our schedules were compatible to meet up with Brenda. She came over bearing gifts, Christmas gifts which included a lot of sheep related items and some food related items. Yum! We knew how much she loves brisket, so we had brought her a plate and two sides...and she ate a very late lunch here before returning home.

The week has caught up with Roy so he is relaxing with Netflix. Buddy has decided to sit on my lap while I blog. The Feral Fam seems to be doing well and all four were seen today, eating and playing. Even Mama Cat got into the action.

Well, Christmas 2017 is in the books. It has been a good season and now it is time to put this season away for another year. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Eve Before The Day

Merry Christmas Eve! With the sounds of Christmas playing in the background, thank you Alexa and KHCB, Buddy is asleep on the blanket, Roy has gone upstairs to watch TV and I am sitting in my favorite chair blogging and reading Twitter. We had delicious leftover roast from yesterday for supper tonight and we broke out the white chocolate pretzels for dessert. We didn't make it to the Christmas Even service at church tonight but I caught a little bit of the service from First Baptist in Houston, so that was good. Several times in the past few days I have heard old recordings of the choir from back in the day Pageant music. Then I have heard songs we sang those years and the memories come back of singing How Does A King Come at the dinner table with my brother only we sang How Does A King Kong? It entertained my mother who at first thought those were the words.

Roy and I went to Sunday School this morning and skipped out on church because we wanted to do a little Sunday afternoon driving. First we had lunch at the KFC buffet. Delicious and not crowded since, you know, we took a sabbatical from the service. Then we began our drive to Greenville, TN. We took the back roads and we stopped several times for Roy to take pics. Greenville is a quaint little town with a beautiful downtown. I had seen on FB that an antique store would be open till 4:00. The pictures had intrigued me and we had a good time walking through the store and looking at all there was to see. Some of it interesting and other things...well, we weren't interested. We came home with a little vintage step ladder. Don't know what I will do with it yet, but it was one of those pieces you know will work somewhere, somehow eventually. We were keeping an eye on the temps because a cold front blows through tonight.

The Feral Fam was waiting for breakfast this morning. I was prepared and got it out to them in record time. Mama Cat sat at a distance and let the kids eat first. She isn't always like that and eats first. This afternoon when we got home the little ones were down here by the deck. So I took out some treats and a little bit of food. They have been braver coming up on the deck so I left a few treats for them there and they had left me a gift on the welcome mat...a little chewed up bird. I thanked them for their generosity and told them not to get me anymore gifts. Buddy keeps an eye on them. All that watching wears her out.

We hope you all have a good day tomorrow, a Merry Christmas. Whether you are with family or friends or by yourself...there is much to be thankful for. Although we think about thankfulness as being a Thanksgiving thing, I think it is more of Christmas sense and feeling. No, life doesn't always hold what we thought it might or circumstances seem stacked against us...there is still always something we can find to be grateful for. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Friday Slides Into Saturday

Ah, December 22nd, Friday night, all is calm and we have on all the lights. Well, not all but the Christmas lights they are on in full brilliance. Roy is watching McGyver, Buddy is in a chill pill stupor and I'm trying to blog. We are all a little drained and tired. Roy's plane had a delay and he got in way past midnight, more like one-ish. I had Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas on AMC to keep me company and awake. My start to Charlotte was later than anticipated with a couple of my own unexpected delays. Stopped for supper at CB where everyone in the world was too. I ordered veggies cause that didn't take long but checking out was one really really long wait.

We hit the road a little after 9:00. I love road conversations with Roy. We were such Chatty Cathy's.
It is now Saturday. We got so much done yesterday after arriving home. Roy got the well filter cleaned and we made a quick lunch stop at Turkey Creek Cafe. Then we got a few things taken care of around here before taking Buddy over to the vet for her steroid shot. Getting that chill pill down here was pretty tough this time. After her appointment I ran in The Fresh Market to get our steaks for Christmas day. Roy made his delicious tacos for our supper and we had the leftovers today for lunch. Yum! I put a roast and veggies in the crock pot this morning before heading out to run a few errands. Even now the fragrance of roast beef with the cinnamon, clove, orange and cranberry mixture on the stove making a lovely Christmas scent throughout the downstairs.

Roy is taking a much needed nap. I am watching two of the four Feral Fam. They haven't been around much and Cali and Camo are nowhere to be seen. Not odd for Camo but Cali sticks pretty close to her mom. It is MJ and Mama Cat right now and I hope against hope that Cali and Camo are safe.

We made a stop in at The Pink House. Love that place! Found a few more things and then we headed over to Ingles.  Roy wanted to get some fruit to make a fruit salad and we found a few more things that needed to be purchased and make their way home with us. It is a cloudy and rainy day but the rain might be finished. Now we wait for the wind and the cold to blow in. Christmas Day the high will be 35. According to Accuweather we are on the edge of possibility for snow on Christmas Day. Our snow shovel was delivered the other day and we have a big bag of salt to melt the ice. My Kosher salt won't have to be sacrificed for safety.

Alexa is on station KHCB. They are playing Christmas music through Christmas Day. From time to time an old Pageant song from Houston's First Baptist is played. Good thoughts and memories.

Well, the sun is trying to come out. Think our rain event is over. Sounds like I should go out there and finish up my garage project.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

But I Was Hangry...Well, That's My Excuse

I did something really, really, really stupid today. What is it about the Biltmore Village area that makes me crazy? Okay, yes the traffic is horrible and adding the Christmas rush and tourists to the mix....but, I did the really, really, really stupid thing of putting my feelings about Corner Kitchen on Twitter. Usually, it is all good but today...dang if that sense of entitlement or being discriminated against because I am a woman kicked in and I complained. Here is how it went...I promised Roy to park in the pay lot and to stay away from utility poles and I did that. I walked over to Corner Kitchen and I remembered oh yeah, it's the holiday season and they will be busier than ever. It wasn't even the magic rush of breakfast dining at 10:00 am. I waited a bit as the host was taking a reservation for Sunday, which didn't bother me at all. He picked up the menu, asked how many and of course I responded, one. Oh well, only available space was at the counter and I could clearly see tables open, so I asked what is the wait for a table and he responded fifteen minutes. So, I took the counter. I always mention to the host or hostess that I will eat quickly and not hold a table up. I hadn't even gotten off my jacket when he seats a man, he was the next person after me, at a table. The waiter at the counter asks how many to the host and host responds one...makes a face. Dang! What? I'm not even seated and you seat this man? Since I had the time and the opportunity, I did what I have never done before, complained about the service and used hashtags like, don't fib at Christmas and at least don't seat him where I can see it happen. I hit post. Corner Kitchen responded back explaining maybe he had a reservation or something...I think it wasn't likely that he had a reservation. Boom, it hit me, what I had done, being a total jerk. My response to them was an apology. I mean I wasn't trying to get a comp, wasn't pimping rudeness for attention, I was frustrated with other things and this just set me off. Later, I was telling Christine how I regretted my Tweet and wasn't liking myself too much at the present. Ugh! After the hair appointment I did a little more shopping and thankfully not so grouchy or feeling entitled to everything going the way I wanted it to.  Leaving the area, the traffic backed up and if you don't know what you're get in the wrong lane and think you can go straight into the Biltmore Estate. Some fine folks from Texas had us all backed up at the light and a car from Pennsylvania seemed to think the middle lane to make turns in was a regular lane of moving traffic. Thankfully, I had the good grace not to Tweet that out.

On the way home I made a quick stop at the grocery store, mainly for more cat food. As I was getting ready to put the cart up, a gentleman came up to me and said, let me take that back for you, I'm going that way....and then I stopped at the Post Office to pick up mail. Our post office closes for two hours at lunch time and I'm glad to live in an area where there is a generous allowance of time for the postal workers to have a decent lunch. The pace of life is slower, where we live traffic jams usually happen behind farm equipment. Even with a busier than usual grocery store, everyone was kind to one another in the aisles and we were wished a Merry Christmas at checkout.

So this morning I learned that my opinion doesn't need to be voiced when always displeased. Can I blame it on being hangry?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday Wash Out

It felt like a day in March. A little respite from the cold. We were in the 60's today. Today knocked out most of the snow around here and there is just a little bitty almost puddle on the back deck. The rain is supposed to come this evening but the day has been beautiful and full of sunshine.

I had an invitation for breakfast this morning and breakfast, which is just about my favorite kind of food, was delicious. Before leaving the Feral Fam got fed and Buddy got treated and retreated. When I pulled into the driveway, the Ferals were playing hide and go seek on the open space. So it seemed like a good time to go up there with some dry food. MJ and Cali let me get closer today before they hid a bit behind some leaves. It felt like they were pressured by Mama Cat. Camo had missed breakfast so he was happy to have something to chow down on. I stood up there a long time and they didn't fully eat until I left and went down a ways but there is progress being made. So many have told me stories of rescue but patience is the this is a good learning experience.

Today's safety moment from Roy's company was very good. Yesterdays was especially appropriate because it was on winter driving. Tuesday is usually a leadership moment thing and so today the moment was on humility. Being a good listener is a good indicator of humility. A couple of weeks ago I read an article on leadership that addressed this same thing, humility is listening and constant talking, not really letting others join in is pride. I do not consider myself a leader nor do I desire to be one, it is so overrated but this is a good reminder for me to being light in a dark world. But I do desire to hear and to be in the presence of sometimes, I am that constant talker with Him when it would be better for me to be quiet, to be still and to listen....

The trip to Marshall yesterday was such a good one. Beautiful river and mountains...and a lovely store for shopping.
So, now we are into Wednesday early evening. It has been a cool, rainy day. It is one of those days you wish you could just stay home and read but I had an appointment with Taylor. Had a good workout and I was trying to decide whether to go onto the store or if I should go home. Since this huge 18 wheeler was in front of me on these narrow roads I decided when we came to the fork in the road, if he went right, I would just come on home. If he turned left, then onto the store. He turned right so I came home. Saw my little Feral Fam. I hadn't seen them before leaving so I brought out some food. In no time they were down here in the yard eating. In fact two, MJ and Cali came up on the deck by the back door. I had a string they could see and they were following the up and down, side to side movement. I was just about to open the door when Mama Cat came and broke up the party.

The weather guys are saying the rain will end in the early morning. That's good, but the rain finally washed away the rest of the snow that kept hanging around. There is talk of another snow storm around New Years. Guess we will see about that.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Day Began Early, Too Early

I awoke at 3:00 am and in the haze of the earliness I remembered no alarm had been set to wake me up earlier than usual because of the early appointment with the oral surgeon. So glad I set the alarm then cause I might not have gotten up in time. With the regular getting ready stuff I also needed to feed the Feral Fam and get the trash down to the road for pick up. Even with some morning detours, this time I knew about them and turned early as not to get stuck in the build up or have to take the weird detour. The practice is moving to a new location, kind of close to the dentist that did the root canal. Their building now is on the top of a pretty steep hill and it would not have been fun to attempt during the snow and resulting ice. I really like Dr. Burgon and when he came into the room this morning, after saying good morning he told me he really enjoyed and liked me. Wow! I didn't expect that. I like him too, he reminds me of Jeff Crain. So we have the surgery date set for the next step in this process. CT scan looked good, they can use the impression template from my previous surgery because it is all healing up very nicely. The Dr told me I'm a good healer and I should have said no I know the Good Healer.

Back out on the road by 9:30 so I made a quick stop at the grocery store and CVS. Then the PO and down the road to Marshall to make a quick stop into Penland's. I wanted to see what they had via things made and crafted by local artists. It was a good stop but was so sad to see they had closed the Marshall Wells Fargo location. The people in that branch were some of the friendliest people.

When I arrived home the Feral Fam were out on the grassy top playing. I had fed them yesterday morning but left their food in the backyard down by the deck. I was short on time because I was running late for church. They came on down and ate there but that put off the birds being fed until after I got home from church. With the overcast skies and rain, I didn't see the Fam for the rest of the day, but then I really wasn't too engaged into looking for them because I came home from church feeling a little woozy and lightheaded. We were asked to wear green or red. I don't have much green unless it is a Baylor t-shirt or sweatshirt but I do have red tops, but they are all a little on the warm side. I was down for the count all afternoon and didn't really get anything done as I had planned. I just about made it through the concert but on the third to last song I began to feel hot...not like smoking hot, just sweaty hot. I was started to get dizzy and just mouthed the words because I was having that echo effect in my ears. We had the invitation and Pastor Jeff spoke a little before the last song was sung and we got to sit down...I hoped that would revive me, but no. As soon as we were dismissed my goal was to go to the choir room and then head outside to the truck and get home as quickly as possible. When I got here, no longer was I feeling hot but couldn't get warm. I sat here for a little bit, talked to Roy and then heated my leftover pizza for lunch. Buddy and I settled in for a nap and even after the nap, I was still fatigued. The night before hadn't helped with little to no sleep. Restless and a short atrial flutter moment or moments. Last night I went to sleep early, 9:30.

Now Voyager was on TCM last night. It is one of my favorite movies. Each time I see it, something new is revealed or meaningful.

Buddy has become quite the whiner sitting at the back door. She sits there, meows loudly and then looks at me like I am going to go over there and open the door. She just thinks she wants to get out there in the garage but it isn't the garage she wants, she wants to go outdoors. Of course she hasn't a clue she wouldn't make it out there in the great outdoors. I have to time my trips to the garage especially when I have stuff to carry in or carry out.

At the beginning of the holiday season I had so much fun searching for local artisan gifts and found several cute things but as the shopping season has continued...I think that I have been more entertained by what I bought than the people I have given these sought out treasure. I think I have lost the touch. There are people you give gifts to and those gifts never see the light of day again or they have gone onto a new home or consignment shop or you get an aside comment several months down the road or you catch a "look" between them and someone else in the room. There are still a few people I feel like I can see things immediately and know they will like it...but those are becoming fewer and fewer.

Looks like the Feral Fam have been having a great playtime. They all run so fast and the kittens which are starting to loose their kittenish looks wrestle and play and climb trees. So entertaining. It's about this time they begin to move toward their night abode. Today and tomorrow are our warmest days this week, so these Ferals need to take advantage of that.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cats, Cantatas and Cakes

This morning the Feral Fam was out and about early. I should have taken a picture but the four of them were lined up on the top of the ridge looking in to see if we were stirring and when breakfast would be served. Because of the propensity of easing into the day, I decided to take my shower and wash my hair before going out to feed the fam. So mixed up the wet and dry food, grabbed my walking cane, originally known as the blackberry cane, and headed up the hill. As I turned the corner on got onto the gravel road, there was a loud rustling noise behind me and to my left. The big boxer dog was running his normal route between the fence and line of trees. I stopped and prepared for blackberry, walking cane to become a ninja warrior weapon. The dog went on past me and stopped a little ways ahead to bark at the dogs confined to a yard and then traveled on, never noticing the Feral Fam. They had been sitting underneath the covering of the butterfly bush but retreated a bit when the presence of the boxer had been detected. I quickly put down the food and picked up the bowls from yesterday and went back down the hill into the garage. Then I put bird seed out in the feeders. Buddy had come back downstairs from her first winter's nap, got a few treats and headed back upstairs for the second nap of the morning probably in the front bedroom with all that warm sun beaming through the windows.

So this Mama Cat is a very smart cat. I realize now the tent of meeting is merely a nap and play house during the day and not knowing of her housing situation on the farm above us, I do know she picked the perfect night time residence when they choose Monarch Manor underneath the back deck. I have never seen beneath the deck as anything good, but always sinister. But under that deck, she has the perfect place, away from the coyotes and wandering dogs, she also has several escape routes to the back, side and front yard. She also has a good vantage of seeing me come and go. This morning after breakfast, she laid on the flat grassy area and watched MJ, Camo and Cali run and play. Climbing trees seems to be their new interest.

We had our dress rehearsal for our Christmas music on Sunday morning at church last night. My heart was broken when I found out that I had not been chosen for the tambourine accompaniment on one of the songs. I asked, were there tryouts I mean auditions? I do have a cowbell I could sneak in and I have a of those big call them in for dinner triangles. No, I'll have to be content to wearing my Texas charm bracelet and keeping the beat with it. Really, do they not know nor do they think that I wouldn't have a tambourine in my possession?  I do believe I have one with Jesus' face on it. Makes it a holy tambourine...but I think it is in Texas. The choir dodged a bullet on that one. I really do like all the music in the program. This is not a cantata nor is it your mama's cantata. I don't know what that means....but you still have a lot of cantatas in this area. Didn't Tony Orlando and Dawn sing about cantatas? Oh no, my mistake, they sang about My Candida. We are to wear Christmas reds or greens with black pants or skirts. I tried pushing Christmas gray... There are couple of medleys in the program that remind me of times past in Pageant, A Christmas Spectacular at Houston's First Baptist. There is a snippet of Birthday of a King and the ending of Oh Come Let Us Adore Him has that same kind of rests to make the dramatic bowing and kneeling at the Nativity with the grand fanfare of the cape.

Such a random thought but....yesterday, I remembered a story a friend told me many years ago about her aunt. It seems that when her aunt was a young bride the family was treated to her delicious meals and desserts. In fact, the family leaned on her heavily for the holidays, reunions or any other celebration. She was weary of carrying the load and knew just announcing that she was weary wouldn't do a bit of good. The family would insist that no one could make it as well or any better than she... So, the aunt came up with a plan...for two or three years she agreed only to make desserts for family occasions and mainly she agreed to making cakes. Phase two came next, she had purposely chose cakes that could easily be made by using a mix and using a few add ins to make it seem very homemade. She also told the family that she would not share her recipes nor did she want any offers of help to make the cakes. She would take her recipes to the grave.  After she had put in the few years of establishing what she would bring, she then converted to making every cake from a mix. The family raved at the deliciousness and the treat of made from scratch cakes and the aunt reveled in the fact she didn't have to dedicate days for preparation and had lots of time to do what she wanted to do. My friend's aunt when close to death called for her to come and to come alone. She had something she wanted to tell her. That is when her aunt revealed what she had done and since D was young and newly married she wanted to pass on the secret of her baking success to her. I loved hearing that story and have loved it on so many levels over the years. My friend admitted that the family had sort of suspected her charade but loved her so much, they never teased or accused her of making the switch.

There is still snow on the ground around here, it hasn't quite melted yet. The snow on the backside of the roof is finally melted as of today but the back deck is still snowy, as is some of the backyard. In fact, I nearly slipped yesterday on compacted snow that became icy. In all that snow last weekend, never once tripped or almost fell.

I guess I should go check on my wardrobe for tomorrow. I think I know what red shirt and black pants I'll wear, but I need a sweater or jacket for the top. Something not too heavy cause even in winter that choir loft is warm.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Buddy Plays The Part of the Older Brother

One of my favorite parables and it hasn't always been a favorite is the Luke 15 story of the prodigal son. In high school our pastor at Willow Meadows Baptist took every opportunity he could to preach on this parable because it was his favorite. Being young and stupid I thought there were much meatier chapters to preach and teach on. Oh, being so young and foolish I now see the multi layers of this story.

This morning we are experiencing a biblical moment here in the mountains. With a cup of coffee and a short attention span, I stood at the window, looking for the Ferals, In the distance I saw Mama Cat. After several days of riotous living, probably just trying to keep warm, the Feral Fam...all of them...are back. Mama and the kids were now close by, near the deck. The kiddos playing, mom on the lookout for a bird breakfast. I gently tapped the window to get her attention and she scooted herself and the kiddos under the deck. It seemed like a good time to get dressed and then go outside to feed them. It felt like slow motion getting dressed but I greatly rejoiced that all of them had made it through such cold temps and difficult living conditions.When I returned  downstairs, the Ferals were sitting near the rocks at the top of the backyard, near the tent of meeting. I mixed up some cat food I mean I killed the fatted salmon....okay, I opened up the can of cat food. Meanwhile there was a Buddy abiding in the window by day and this nomadic family of cats had her attention. Now Buddy has NEVER EVER liked wet cat food but now since I am making preparations is all up under my feet, interested in the happenings. To make an exit out the door, I distract her with treats. I mixed up the dry food into the wet in the garage, filled the water bottle and went up to the tent of meeting, placed the food down and filled the water dish. I was almost back to the road when the whole fam gathered round the bowls. Buddy met me at the back door and tried to bolt out the door but once again softball reflexes reacted and my hand was over her face impeding her exit. I stood there watching them eat, no scarfing the food, once again with a cup of coffee. Buddy was nearby having climbed onto the back of the chair. She had that unhappy, drawn out meow going on. That is always a good indication she ain't happy. My arm, close enough, within striking distance and she took a swipe at me and tried to nip my hand. Ah yes, we have the prodigal family and now playing the part of the bitter older brother, Buddy. I told her, I always have you with sleep in a warm home, have food to eat, treats galore and a lap at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day when you're tired, you have an arm to sleep on. (Buddy likes to sleep on my right arm) This family of nomadic, Bedouin cats has returned. Buddy being Buddy, went upstairs for a minute, came back and is now asleep in her window. The Feral Fam has either gone into the tent of meeting for a nap or has wandered onto their next stop.

Since it is a little warmer but not by much, the Feral Fam have been out and about more. Two of the kiddos were climbing the trees and Camo was walking along the fence top. It is kind of fun to watch the Mama Cat discipline her charges and then she shows them some love. When I went up there a little bit ago I had dry food and once again MJ debated whether or not he would come to me. He wavered a bit and then took a few steps back but let me see him the whole time. Progress...

That's it for today's biblical moment.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thus It Is Thursday

After having a string of ease into the morning kinds of days, reality kicked in this morning because I had a 9:20 appointment. So when the alarm went off at 6:30 am, I was slow to get moving. Checked the temps and it was 21 degrees and it looked like the roads were relatively ice free. Now the sun...that was a whole nother thing because it was blinding even with sunglasses. Nothing like hitting a curve with another car coming toward you and you're trying to see and stay in your lane. Hit a bit of a traffic snarl along with a detour and an episode of me not trusting GPS on the detour, but Tallulah Toyota proved me wrong. At the end of the winter season this year, which I was in it was winter-ish, I got a great deal on a winter coat that had wonderful ratings for keeping one warm. That was the coat for this morning because with wind chill it felt like 11. I could not get the dang zipper to work correctly, so I had to go with a less warm coat but more fashionably attractive.

After the appointment I was able to run over to Biltmore Park and make a quick run into the Barnes and Noble. Had one last gift card run to make. Then a stop at the Exxon station and home again home again to wait for State Farm. I'm still waiting. That's okay, I got a couple of things done before taking this blogging break.

There are a couple of new products I'm liking. I am not loyal to any one brand of make up or products. Whatever season...I jump from product to product trying them out. For the past few years I have stuck with Chanel hydration serums and moisturizers...still like them but this fall I discover Burberry high light radiance primer. Love it! A sample of their lipstick came with it and I like the lipstick too. A hair product I have discovered and love is Form, it's a leave in conditioner but you can use it on dry hair. Last night after my Rene Furterer treatment, I forgot to use any other hair product. This morning I remembered while looking at my flat lifeless hair...sprayed on some Form...boom! Gave much needed body and volume. I got a sample from Sephora and ordered a full size after using it several times and liking the results.
As it can happen, distractions took me away from writing. The man from State Farm came to look at the truck and the estimate of the body shop along with his estimate seems to be spot on. We talked a little college football because of the LSU sticker on the tailgate. He is a TN fan and wanted them to hire Les Miles. We discussed the good and the bad of Les and I think he was quite taken aback that I knew what I knew about football. Before he arrived my brother called me from the road. He had been in Houston having Christmas with Erin. They were able to go to the cemetery and put a Christmas wreath on my parent's headstone. They sent me a pic. They were going to send me a pic of them eating at Escalante's, Doug and Erin not my deceased parents, but traffic and Erin's compassion kept them from tormenting me.

This morning the temps stayed above freezing and slowly but surely the snow is melting, although our back deck hasn't had a lot of melting. That could change today. On my Christmas list, snow shovel but if I can find one, I'll get it before Christmas. Roy suggested Amazon and normally I would but I have stopped ordering from Amazon when a weekend delivery is at hand. We've never not received a package but it is days later even after receiving notification that it has been delivered. Nah, I'll do it the old fashioned way...go to the store.

During this Christmas season Liz Curtis Higgs tweets out quotes from her book The Women of Christmas. One in particular got my attention. The quote about "suddenly" a heavenly host appeared to the shepherds. She said God's suddenly changes everything or that is what I took from the tweet. It reminded me of a podcast from Mark Batterson several years ago, talking about Moses and the one day of the burning bush. Those little words, suddenly and one day hold great impact if we can see and understand that one day means, we can experience the one day as well and a suddenly....Moses just had to go over and see what was happening and the shepherds just had to be alert to seeing what was happening.

Well I have had my appointments, ran to the grocery store, Tractor Supply and Walmart afterwards. I came home and saw Mama Cat and Cali by the tent of meeting. So, I hurriedly mixed up some cat food and took it up to them. I had seen Mama Cat this morning and had fed her then. While I was doing that this morning, Buddy scared the pee wadlin' out of me by going out into the garage. Good thing I hadn't opened up the door. She wouldn't come in and shutting the door and waiting for her to cry was taking too, I locked the truck and then set off the alarm. I haven't seen Buddy move that fast in many a year.  She rushed into the house and up the stairs. This afternoon she acted like she was going to do that I hit the lock button, she heard the noise and moved away from the back door.

I made sloppy joes for my lunch/supper and they were good. Got almost everything put up and I am ready to settle in for the evening.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Looking For The Rumble and The Tumble

It looks like the Feral Fam has moved on. Several friends told me the likelihood of them sticking around for only a week or two was very likely. The birds have retaken that corner of the yard and the squirrels have returned like the swallows to Capistrano with the Feral Fam's presence removed. I hope they have found warmer digs especially with the wind chill warning issued for tonight and I hope they come back to play. They have been such fun to watch and I have enjoyed feeding them and trying to provide them with a warm, non-threatening place. I'll keep their food around in case of a return and if not, I'll give it to an animal shelter. The recently developed habit of looking to that corner of the yard stays with me....looking for the rumble and tumble of calico and black and white.

The skies are turning to that cold steely gray hue because a cold front is moving through today with the snow showers dusting the area. I am keeping an eye on the sky. Thankful to have run errands and refill on supplies yesterday. The wind chimes have turned their tune up a notch with a northerly wind blowing down the mountain into our valley.

Today's "On This Day" on Facebook held a lot of great memories. Fun to look at those pics and think this was just five years ago...the Community Bible Study Leadership Christmas Party held at Peggy's home. Last year was my first outpatient rehab for my knees at Methodist Hospital-Katy. I remember that first day, how tough it was with a week off from professional therapy. Almost to the year anniversary, just a couple of days before, I experienced a first for me, not thought out and planned happened just as my brother told me last day you'll just make that move without all the thought and preparation into it. The realization came on a delayed reaction a little bit of time after the fact. There are so many milestones in any kind of recovery and too many times we just pass through those moments without more than a thought of...oh yes, that happened. We miss out on so many moments of celebration. You experience that in the work place hard, goals are met, a few words spoken and onto the next thing. Over the past few years the thought of celebrating these little moments of life hangs around in my head. I have celebrated more little things than big things and just not pertaining to me but to family and friends. I need to be better about it though...cause like many blessings, we see them better in hindsight than in the present.

The past few days Roy and I have been looking at schedules and the like for 2018. Where did 2017 go? Some of our plans are up in the air and we won't be able to really do much scheduling until after the first of the year. We plan to build a covered, screened in back porch that much we know for sure. There might be a couple of trips in the works and we are hoping the procedure I need can be performed on a time that is compatible with Roy's schedule at the office.

I have hope that the Feral Fam is doing okay. I saw Mama Cat briefly as she scoured the area for any dry food on the ground. She looked inside the tent and then headed up to the neighbors farm above us. Makes me think the fam has moved onto higher and warmer ground. She didn't give me enough time to get out there with any food for her but it was good to see her because I haven't seen her in a couple of days.

The snow has started falling in this next storm moving through. The wind has picked up and we are in for a dilly dilly of a night. Just made a new batch of sugar free Russian tea. Have laundry to fold and good books to read. Oh and some good cookies. Think I'm ready.

Monday, December 11, 2017

It's Melting, It's Melting....

Monday morning and most schedules around here are on a three hour delay...Buddy has taken that schedule to heart and only briefly made a downstairs appearance. She took in a little sun from her normal spot and then headed upstairs for the first of many naps today. Last I looked our temps are around 22 degrees. This cup of peppermint coffee is doing the trick on keeping me warm, along with my thick slipper socks and well worn and beloved sweatshirt. The sun is out and doing the work of softening up the ice and snow. The usual background noise of the occasional big truck must be hampered by some ice on either end of the road.

With the three days of totally being lazy with short bursts of productivity needs to reverse order today. There are several things that need to be attended to but the total luxuriousness of no schedule or obligations has truly been a delight and being a little more project oriented in the coming days will make the next winter or weather related rest seem luxurious again. These past few days I have not put on make up, ack!, nor have I done much to my hair.

The WiFi booster that Roy put upstairs has helped tremendously with our lack of WiFi at times. Calls have been clearer and connections not broken off as had become the norm. I have heard of so many loosing WiFi over the past few days and we have had couple of spurts and stops, but mostly working.

Roy is going to try and reschedule the body work needed on the truck. With upcoming appointments and with Enterprise Car Rental not willing to come and pick me up, we are going with a new plan. My tape job with red saran wrap is working ok over the back light. Our insurance company is supposed to come out here sometime this week and do their inspection. Man, I wish I hadn't had a run in with that telephone pole.
The good news this evening, I ventured out to the store and returned without a new scratch or dent. Got a package mailed and back home with plenty of time to spare. Roy was able to reschedule the body work appointment and they also gave him the Enterprise Rental place that worked with them and would pick us up after we drop off the truck. With dental appointments and the like we were having a difficult time getting things arranged so that we didn't have to bother anyone to help us with this. I was in the grocery store when Roy called and of course I couldn't hear half of what he was saying and on top of that he wasn't giving me all the details. We had a huge discussion over the weekend about me giving too many details to him and once getting back into the truck to my next destination, we talked about how he doesn't give enough details. Somewhere we meet in the middle.

I think, my gut reaction was telling me, in the grocery store that I was going to be put in the middle of a scam and I think I am right. All I will say is be observant when checking out and I used Am Express instead of a debit card...the lady behind me wasn't giving me very much space. Once I stopped the process of the scam and finished checking out, I noticed after loading the groceries into the truck that the lady behind me in line left without any groceries and she had a good size amount of things in her basket. Contrast to The Fresh Market which as per usual is filled with northerners via Florida. Gaunt old women trying to look young...yet the husbands are kind of stooped over and shuffling along. There was one woman who was the bane of my grocery trip and after numerous times where she butted in front of me for things and nearly got all the tuna fish, I beat that gaunt old lady to the checkout. Am I proud of that, but dang it! You want to say eat some protein or something.

The sound of snow melting can be heard all throughout the house. Whether it be drips of water or huge hunks of snow and ice hitting the deck and pavement. Wow! Tomorrow holds lots of cold temps and they say just a dusting of snow if any...that's what they said on Thursday and ten inches later...the definition of dusting needs to be fixed.

Got several things done here and wasn't quite as lazy as over the weekend. Really, lazy isn't the word but it surely was relaxing. It is times like these that I am overjoyed not to be a perfectionist. On Thursday night with friends over for a pot luck, I saw dust on the top of one of the bookcases. I announced it and then was so happy to realize not anyone there was tall enough to even notice it. Two friends from Houston were discussing their Christmas decorations on FB and they tend to the frillier side of decorating. They both agreed rustic is not where it is at. If it ain't rustic, I don't really like it. Too fancy too frilly...y'all can have it. That leaves more rustic for me.

I had leftover pizza for lunch and now I contemplate supper. Hmmm....what will it be? I haven't a clue.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Easy Sunday......

Good morning from snow covered fields and forests! The sun is brilliant today and will begin the work of melting the snow once the temps go above freezing. When last checked the temperature was a balmy 24 degrees. Our church cancelled services and activities for today due to black ice on the roads. Most churches in the area have cancelled but there are a few die hards out there that just cancelled Sunday School.

While the snow has been lovely and has slowed the pace of life even more there are shows and stores that count on these weekends before Christmas to make money or at least break even. Several of those Christmas events were on my Saturday to go to list. I especially enjoy the artists at Addison Vineyards each year. Their work so beautiful but truthfully, I go for the scenic views that can be experienced from the vantage point of the vineyards.

So with this easy Sunday morning Buddy and I are mitigating into the day. I'll probably go to online church or maybe I won't. After listening to the webcast from Second Baptist this week the word solitude is alive in reality for me since Friday. I have enjoyed and needed this time. OK, I get a lot of this time but it seems that as I get older but probably not wiser, I crave this kind of occasion. I am also aware that you can kind of go strange if you spend too much time by yourself. It's a delicate balance people. I wish I could tell you I have done all kinds of reading because that is my usual go to thing but as I have watched the birds in the snow, the snow falling as in nature and snow falling as in melting, I have contemplated and thought about so many things. Like Dr Young talked about in his first sermon back after his wife's passing. I read social media and posted on social media, so it wasn't complete solitude. It is welcomed to take a break from small talk, discussing things that don't really matter or feeling compelled to be in performance mode. Definition of performance mode is when you're "commanded or manipulated" into being funny, telling a story or something at another persons directive. It is not organic in nature. Being funny is in my DNA but being made to perform is not.

I am watching Houston's First Baptist Multi Gen service online this morning. Beautiful Christmas worship and music. A blending of traditional carols in a modern musical form.

Over the years on the good ol' Monablog, many times I have written about not liking or loving the holidays. It felt like I was on a countdown starting in November and lasted through January. Mentally, I would check off the days for getting out of this season. There are of course some good memories from the holiday season  throughout the years but there seemed to be more regretful holiday times. I am happy to have the memories of baking cookies with my mom when I was a child and as a grown up. She loved to sit in whatever room the Christmas tree had found its destination and watch the lights, even in the middle of the bright sunny afternoons. Over the years she brought us ornaments from trips made during the year. Seems like their destination became Branson for years and years, so that is where our ornaments came from and we would find them in our stockings that mom had made. My mom made Christmas special, no more like Mom tried to make Christmas normal not some emotionally fraught chaos mixed with unrealistic expectations and the annual let down that we could never live up to the ideals conjured up by my father as he thought everyone else was having a Norman Rockwell experience and we seemed to be more of a rocky path experience to him. Some years were more difficult than others. Some years there would be friend of either my brother or one of my friends at Christmas lunch and their presence set a presence that would not let my father act out in a usual way. Now those were some enjoyable lunches.

Yesterday, I did not see the Feral Fam at all. I tried not to think about them but of course they came to mind every time I looked out the window. This morning there were cat paw prints by the deck door in the snow. So, there was hope. This afternoon all three kittens were out near the tent of meeting playing with one another. I was so happy! I took food up there, walking carefully through the snow. Just now, Buddy ran to the window and I could hear what had her attention. The little sound of a meow. I went out there to see if I could find any of the Feral Fam. MJ is up at the tent eating again and this meow sounds like Cali's. Mama Cat has not been around today. Cali hung out with her all the time. Who knows? Maybe Mama Cat will be around tomorrow, I sure hope so because it is supposed to warm up. The kittens are older and bigger, she might have gone off on a bender with some Tom or Alley is a wait and see. I have done everything I can to help them and pray that it is enough. Heard meowing and saw MJ right by the back door. Not quick enough to open the door and get him especially since Buddy was right on my heels supervising everything.

Now it is evening and I have the 5:00 pm service on of HFBC. Since it is multi gen Sunday, it is the same music at every service. Sure have enjoyed that today. I got the trash out to the road but opted for putting it in big bags instead of the regular trash bin. The bottom of our road is a little icy and slick which bags made it easier to maneuver. Looks like schools and such are on a delayed schedule for starting in the morning. It will probably be in the afternoon before I try and venture out. Even with the sun and the temps going above freezing, the threat of black ice in the shade is present.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

All Covered With Snow...

You'll have to take my word on it but it is snowy outside. Day two of snow on snow. I have tried to access pics to upload to the blog but my limited knowledge or the computer is the problem. We should probably go with limited knowledge. Last night we had a brief flickering of lights and then darkness...for a few seconds but what seemed an eternity until the familiar sound of the generator kicking in happened. Looking out the front window I noticed that neighbors across the way had lights and I began to wonder if maybe I had thrown a breaker or something but about that time....the generator quit and went back to the ready position. Meanwhile Alexa was going nuts trying to reconnect to WiFi. All the technology finally came back to normal and we all settled down for the long winters nap. No surprise to awake this morning to more falling snow and it seems that the snow has found new places to stick a landing. The trees are a brilliant brittle with the snow layering on the limbs. The fir trees are laden, yes laden, with snow. Every once in a while the birds attempt a landing in the back and the snow makes a lovely display in the air and then the quick drop onto the ground. I will try in a bit to make my way out back to check on things. I am worried about the Feral Fam. This is a lot of cold to endure.

This morning with the theme of the weekend being snow, I reread one of my favorite passages in the Psalms:

"He sends the snow like white wool; he scatters the frost upon the ground like ashes. He hurls the hail like stones. Who can stand against his freezing cold? Then, at his command, it all melts. He sends his winds and the ice thaws. Psalm 148: 16-18

When we get above freezing today, the snow will begin to melt but another front is coming through tonight so the snow will become on the roads. So, I may have to go to online church in the morning. Our church is doing a drive through nativity tomorrow night and I think it is kind of like how the trail rides for the rodeo go in Texas, cold and wet, you can bet on it, no matter the time it is scheduled. I just stepped out onto the front porch cause I heard a noise, probably heavy snow falling off something. Other than that it is so quiet with the exception of a cardinal somewhere out there chirping away. The neighbors have let their dogs out and they are barking quite a bit, which is not unusual. Most of the time I don't notice them because they have become background noise, but when this little part of the world is still and snow blankets the landscape, when you can hear the sound, and it is wonderful to hear this sound, of the heater appreciate those things we take for granted most of the time. Just saw on FB that drive through nativity has been rescheduled due to weather to next Sunday night.

I'm back after a brief snow break. The noise I heard? My neighbors clearing my driveway. Wow! So appreciative of that. Made a couple of snow videos after clearing out the bird feeder. All birds big and small, colorful and not so colorful are happy with that occurrence. Also broke a broom, so now I need a new broom and snow shovel. Roy's idea for using a big broom to clear off about ten to twelve inches of snow....I was trying to make a snowman but the snow on the roof is melting and I didn't want to get caught in an avalanche. The snow falling off the trees reminds me of glaciers calving.

Well, back to winter wonderland. We might get a couple of more inches tonight. There are some similarities and truths that seem to remain constant, weather forecasts and weather people giving good info and sometimes when nature doesn't cooperate with them, bad forecasts. This latest deluge of snow was forecast to be a dusting... I don't know if people had the time to make a run to the store for bread and milk. But the sun is coming out, the gray sky is turning blue. My friend who can see the TN range from her home said the mountains are covered in snow.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Snow Snow But We Have Enough, Thank you

The news here and it seems the news in Houston are similar this morning, the talk of snow. From the local channel the time line is mainly Friday into Saturday and the consensus is light dusting, weak storm. Good thing I made that quick run to Walmart yesterday afternoon and truly I needed bread, not a panic buy. The bread aisle was looking a little picked over but then that is not unusual in Walmart in mid to late afternoon.

I went to Walmart to get something to keep those feral cats warm or warmer than being in the elements. Knowing my DIY skills are minimal, I strolled down the camping aisle, not an aisle that you'll find me on much. There was a kids tent and it looked relatively easy to put together. Ha! When I got home I put the tent together, looked for all the Styrofoam in the house and garage, drop cloths and blankets. Once everything was assembled and in place, a few treats were thrown in front of and inside of the little tent. I could tell by the tent movement that at least one of the kittens had gone inside.

This morning Buddy and I were here in the living room and we both heard meowing in the side yard. There on the steps of the deck sat Mama Cat and Cali. Cali, who is too old to nurse was doing just that from an awkward position. Buddy was in that window with intense focus. Both the cats retreated underneath the deck and have moved up to near the tent. Haven't seen MJ or Camo this morning, but that is not unusual. I'll get out there and check on them in a bit. Buddy is sitting in the bay window keeping watch by morning.

Been reading an interesting article this morning that is also a book review for a book, Sacred Rest by Dr.Saundra Dalton-Smith. It is part of an Advent series by Margaret Feinberg, who happens to be one of my favorite authors. This sentence deserves attention, "Staying busy is easy. Staying well rested-now there's a challenge." Margaret writes about finding the holy hush in the everyday hustle today. The move here is all about that for me. This summer when Beth visited, she asked how the culture of life here and in Houston differ. The first thing that comes to mind is pace of life. Life doesn't feel so chaotic but that could change as more people move into the Asheville area. This year it seems there are more traffic reports of wrecks and crashes especially south of Asheville. I feel as if this summer into autumn into winter season this year has held many holy hush moments. Dr Young from his sermon on Sunday talked about solitude and hearing God. These days have held that for me as I chart and navigate this particular season of life. Dan Rockwell tweeted this morning, humility listens, arrogance talks. Kind of feel like it is a listening season, although I can talk with the best of them but I am learning that listening is the better choice.
Friday, yes, we had a snow day that has lasted all day and into the night. So far we have about ten inches of snow. Everything is crunchy and white. The lights reflecting off the snow is lovely this evening. I last heard before going to sleep that we should expect a dusting of snow and I awoke to pictures of friends in Houston making snowmen and enjoying the snow at 3:00 am. I got out of bed, turned to look out the front bedroom window and much to my surprise, we had snow on the ground. I have gone out in it several times and even tried to build a snowman, but is too cold! I cleared the bird feeder twice much to the delight of the birds and I put some food out for the Feral Fam.

We had a great time last night. An impromptu and last minute invitation for a pot luck supper happened last Sunday. Since I have decorated, we needed to enjoy this festive season a little more. The food was delicious! I bought chicken from Bojangles and biscuits too. We laughed and talked, really casually enjoying conversation and funny stories. It is the best kind of night! Brenda helped me get the kitchen all cleaned up and I was happy to head upstairs to release Buddy and to wind down and relax. I think I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillows.

Just heard we might get six more inches of snow beginning early in the morning. Uh, no thank you. Glad I have leftovers from last night, taco soup and a few other goodies.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I am keeping a close eye on Mama Cat. She has sacrificially sat watch in the rain while her growing kittens are snuggled together in the little shelter I have put together. Did more research this afternoon and there are several things that can be done to help them survive the cold. It will be cold tonight but nothing like it will be the rest of the week. So tomorrow, I am going to run to the store and see if I can help them just a little more. I know how cold Buddy's paws get just being inside and walking on the hardwood floors. Just thinking about them outside breaks my heart. I have also realized that Mama Cat is the same cat I was chasing off this summer...away from the birds so it will probably take a while for her to trust me.

Last Friday while waiting in the Dr office I was rereading Evensong, by Gail Godwin. The last time I read this was probably 1999. So sitting there in the office waiting, a rather long paragraph with the characters discussing John 21 happened to be in the chapter I was reading. I nearly jumped up and was ready to high five someone...only, you know, there wasn't anyone to high five. That chapter of John didn't impact me until 2001, so, there wasn't any reason to remember it in 1999. It is so fun to rediscover.

One thing I have to get reused to each year is that winter or almost winter here is a very drying kind of thing. So, my nose being used to humidity all these years has withdrawal or something and lets me know by making odd noises. Sometimes my breathing sounds like the clicking of a rotary phone and other times my nose makes me sound like a ventriloquist withwe the odd squeaks and sounds, especially in the middle of the night. While grocery shopping the other day the thought occurred that maybe Vicks Vapo Rub would help. I mean I have a big ol' jar of it out in the garage but I have used it to keep squirrels at bay from the bird feeder, so you know, I don't want to use jar opened and Vicks up the old nostrils. The smell of Vicks doesn't bother me but it bothered Buddy. She approached me and reeled back on her hind legs moving away. She made a couple more approaches and finally settled in on my arm...but she was none too happy about that. My, my...this cat!
A cold morning and it isn't going to be the coldest morning of the week. I am trying to stay ahead of the cold with the heat pumps because I learned that the hard way a couple of years ago. The sun is out but reading weather reports for the day, the news seems to be, it will turn cloudy.

We started our new quarterly in Sunday School last week. We are studying the book of Acts and we got right into the study by looking at who the Holy Spirit is and what he does. When we turned to John 14, as per usual, I read beyond the assigned scripture and saw this very familiar verse, quoted so often...but in this season of giving and gifts, with that emphasis these words jumped off the page....out of the NLT version:

John 14:27
I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift that the world can't give

We usually bring gifts, we don't usually leave giving a gift. Gifts are really so multifaceted. We are guilty of giving them without much thought and sometimes when we receive gifts we aren't really that appreciative of them. After years of receiving "throw down gifts" which means just something you have in the closet, just in case, from my father, I can spot and feel a throw down gift at thirty paces. And yes, I confess, I am guilty of giving throw down gifts even when I despise them emotionally. One year for my birthday he gave me the book that had been commissioned to put Rhett and Scarlet back together after the famous, Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.... ending from Gone With The Wind. The book received horrible reviews and soon found itself on the sale table marked $5.98. My father said, I know you like to read.... I remember wanting to respond with, I know you like to give cheap gifts....but I didn't. Learning from those experiences helped me be a better giver...if someone likes to read, give them a gift card....let them choose ye this day what book they might like to purchase. Jesus isn't going to give us throw down gifts, that's for sure. He left us with a wonderful gift, peace of mind and heart. It's the best gift to traverse and maneuver through these days fraught with worry and fear. Such a gift! At the time I wonder if the disciples were thinking, yea, yea, peace of mind and heart...but what are you really giving us? Power over the Roman government, toppling it and we are rulers in this land....yes, peace of mind and heart is nice but power....oh yea! Since reading this verse Sunday morning I have thought of so many times I have not appreciated that gift of peace of mind and heart. I'd like to change that this season and onward....

Last night I watched Dr. Ed Young's video from Sunday. He returned to the pulpit after several months sabbatical from his wife's homegoing. His sermon title, What I've Learned. Wow, it started out so personal and he said this is the most personal he has ever or ever will be in a sermon. My heart ached for his loss and how he got hear and learn. At some point though, the preacher in him took over and the second half of his talk, wasn't nearly so heartfelt. It was preaching...which is good for him, for his church but there was something so powerful in that first part that will stay with me.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Feral Fam, Fellowship, Flutters and Fibs

No, I haven't given up blogging but it seems I have been otherwise occupied and in the evenings when I had the time, too tired to write. Kind of like too legit, too legit to quit or something. Buddy is asleep on her new favorite blanket. Last year while recovering from knee replacements, I slept in the recliner because it was the only way to be comfortable and to get rest. Before surgery I had found this warm and cute Eddie Bauer blanket. I loved it, Buddy loved it and so did Roy. A great nap taking blanket for sure. When I came back here the blanket stayed there with Buddy. This year while shopping in Home Goods, per chance would I find another Eddie Bauer blanket for here? Yes! Different design but same great soft feel. After Buddy spent some lap time with me this morning, she has curled up and has ensconced herself into the warmth right here by the chair. That works cause this chair gets a little crowded with a computer, blanket, Buddy and me.

We are expecting rain and a cold front later today. So while I ran errands yesterday afternoon I looked for anything I could make a warm and dry home for the Feral Fam out back. A friend had suggested cutting a hole in a storage tote but the task seemed a bit daunting. Yes, once again Home Goods to the rescue with the Cat From Hell guy's tunnel and connecting square space. Solid bottom, covered top, window and covered "doorway" to the entrance. Tight quarters for sure but extra warmth is the benefit. Put it together, made a modification or two, added some warm throws and old towels and took it up to their living area. Put it next to the blanket and toy arranging it where it would be least affected by the wind and elevated it a bit as not to have water get into it. The fam was a little late rising this morning so hopefully that signals they were feeling safe and sleeping in. Took them some food and water, they have eaten, played a bit and probably are taking the first of many naps today.

Last week the focus was getting ready for Friday evening. The past few years the Embrace Women's Ministry has a progressive dinner to celebrate Christmas and fellowship together. Two years ago I hosted an entree home and I did the same this year. Our little home is packed but it feels cozy. The fine folks at Haywood Smoke House prepared our meal, brisket, mac and cheese and baked beans. I made my Amuse' salad to go along with the fixings. That brisket was so tender and tasty! Brenda helped me with everything and babysat me when I would get nervous that I had miscalculated timing and such. She helped me and by help I mean, she practically cleaned up the whole kitchen and then we went for dessert at church. The party was breaking up when we got there but we still were treated to some homemade pie made by Hannah. I am fortunate enough to sit next to her in choir even though she is a soprano.

Friday, I also had a cardiologist follow up appointment. The cardioversion in August has improved my heart function but I am having too many episodes of atrial flutter. Most of the time I have caught it fast enough that meds keep the flutter to short periods of time. We discussed another ablation that will happen in 2018 most probably. He can fix the flutter and repair the afib too while he is in there. So, I left happy with the results of the echo cardiogram and the plans for the future. But then...early Sunday morning around 2:00 am, I was returning from that necessary trip ,back to bed and when I laid down, I felt it...flutter city. Got up took the med that is supposed to minimize the irregular beat...didn't work. So I was awake until 4:00ish and then when I arose later that morning, I was exhausted! Went to church and it was a last moment decision of whether I felt good enough to sing in choir. Thankfully, I sit by a nurse, Lois and another nurse, Lorraine, sits in front of me. Made it through the service and our Christmas luncheon we had afterwards.  I came home rested a bit and felt like my heart wanted to go back into rhythm since taking meds after church. I went back to church early because I had agreed to help with judging the ugly Christmas sweater contest and Christmas wrapping contest for the children and youth party. Had a great time doing that and then upstairs for the remainder of choir practice. On Monday morning I woke up to sinus rhythm with only a few flutters here and there.

Probably contributing to conditions of flutters and fibs is the fact that I had a scrape with a telephone pole on Thursday and did about $2600.00 worth of damage to SequishShawn. Went to a local auto repair shop and met fellow believer TJ. He recommended a body shop down the way while encouraging me in the faith and also I do believe I have found the place to take SequishShawn in for oil changes, tire rotations and general servicing. My experiences with Fred Anderson Toyota haven't been that great. Sure do miss Jim Barkley Toyota. Anyway....the body shop can't repair the damage until December 18th. So until then I have the light taped up so moisture won't get in and as of today I am going to redneck the tail light with red saran wrap. Don't want to draw attention from sheriffs or police although I have been told they won't pull you over for just that. Not taking any chances!

Had my last workout with Taylor for awhile. Our schedules are full of holiday things and appointments. Hopefully, I can get in a couple of workouts before the end of the year. He has helped me tremendously and I recommend him. All this crawling about preparing a safe space for the Feral Fam and rescuing our trash can from the ditch across the road couldn't have happened without the focus on balance and not letting scar tissue build up in these replaced knees.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday, Getting Caught Up

This morning I have discovered a new use for our Christmas is great at defusing the bright sunshine and the beams coming through the branches makes a lovely design on the floor. Once again this year we used the ornaments my mom made for us, a few beloved and long time ornaments, a few new ones and the added small stocking red and white gingham checked gift bags. I really like the simplicity of our tree and the emotional warmth to my heart it brings. The addition of the little sheep family under the tree is really nice.

When Roy and I were up around the high country last Monday, the Christmas tree farms were open, decorated and ready for people to come, pick, cut and purchase their tree for the season. Coming back from Charlotte on Friday, the other side of the highway was filled with cars and trucks that had been to those tree farms and most of these vehicles had two trees tied to the roof. I love a real tree but don't love the mess so several years ago we found a pre-lit tree and that has been a good choice for us.

Saturday morning I headed out to the grocery store and to support small business Saturday. I had just loaded the truck at Ingles when a man approached the truck. He had on a shirt a mechanic or service business would wear. He was trying to approach making sure I knew he was not there to cause harm or trouble. So I rolled down the window...I would never do that in Houston or Charlotte. And he said, I just have to ask you, what is a Baylor? That morning I wore a green Baylor t shirt with a Baylor sweatshirt over it. So, I told him what a Baylor is...named after Judge Baylor and the largest Baptist university in the country. He then told me his sister had worked at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas as a heart transplant nurse, she was now semi-retired in east TN now and worked as a traveling nurse. We had the nicest conversation. He was from Barnardsville and he asked if I was familiar with that town. Yes, we considered a house there when we were looking but it was too far from medical facilities. Side note, Roy and I talked about this very thing last week and decided the optimal time to live a distance from medical facilities was in your late 30's to mid 40's. So now, he knows what a Baylor is. On the way to The Fresh Market I stopped at The Pink House and found a few handmade goodies. On the way back I stopped at Reynolds Park where a vintage market has opened for the holiday season. It was fun looking around but nothing came home with me. I also stopped in at a very busy Sanctuary of Stuff. The rest of the afternoon I worked around here and also discovered a mamma cat and her three older kittens have set up a playground area underneath the butterfly bushes and ground cover. They are so cute. Of course, they have to stay just what they are, outdoor cats. They look like they might have belonged to someone or are outdoor cats of a nearby family....but I think that is wishful thinking on my part. They have come down into the yard for water and two of the kittens went under the deck...which no one knows what lives under there. So in hopes of scaring them back up to their playground, I went outside. Yep, did the trick. I will admit that Saturday around dusk, I put an old blanket out there because the nights are cold. When I checked on them Sunday afternoon, I could tell they have used the blanket to additional warmth. Their presence has certainly cut down on squirrel visits to the bird feeder and as far as I can tell, they haven't been able to get to the birds. That is a high priority on my list.

Saturday night the Aggie vs LSU game was on the SEC channel. It was a great game to watch....if you are a LSU fan. Being on Eastern time it is difficult to stay up and watch a whole game but we made it through to the end and even watched a few interviews. Sunday I went to SS and church and game home to have a lovely lunch of Fresh Market chicken pot pie. Then I worked on things for Friday night. When I took out the trash our neighbor was mowing his lawn. Roy has met Josh but I haven't. I tried to wave but he was focused on the job at hand but then as I went up the road, I heard the sound of the mower getting closer and there was Josh. We had a very nice conversation and he wanted to let us know that his barn-like shed was going to be moved over to the ground he had leveled and prepared in the spring. He hoped it wouldn't hamper our view. It won't and he said that he is going to paint the shed to match the house and maybe plant some apple trees. Very nice young man. Brenda came over for a quick visit and some early Christmas love love them because they are all sheep and lamb related to the holidays even...and then I went to choir practice. Love the Christmas music we are doing! On the way home I saw a coyote on the side of the road, not as road kill, but looking like something on the prowl. It was a moment that's for sure. I try to remember to watch for deer but never think about a I will.

Taylor texted me last night to let me know he is ill and wouldn't be able to have our workout time today. So, I am having an ease into the day kind of morning but there is plenty to be done and things to check off the list. First off, going up to check on the cats. Saw them stirring about earlier.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

So Thankful, So Grateful

On this Thanksgiving I am so very thankful. We have a beautiful home in the mountains and we are just a couple of minutes to a couple of hours away from scenes like above. Last night as we came home from what seemed like the millionth trip to Lowe's we could not help but observe and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Ours feels like a glitter filled world right now with all the decorations arranged and put into place. When this Christmas season is over, I need to really go through things and get some stuff go. We took a lot of stuff over to Salvation Army yesterday. They no longer take any kind of paper product or books. The man told us the internet has killed any market for books these days. There were quite a few Christmas decorations that we had used in Katy but just don't fit the design here.

I made reservations at The Fireplace last month for Thanksgiving. We were about seven minutes early and people were seated and already eating. I had chosen 11:00 because it kind of knocks out breakfast time wise. The food was delicious. I mainly ate veggies but did have a chicken leg and some ham and I had seconds on sweet potato casserole. Of course banana pudding for dessert. Yum! I didn't really eat very much traditional today.

We have hung around the house today getting a few more things done and fine tuning the Christmas lights. We welcomed three new additions to the Christmas decor. I found a family of sheep, mom, dad and baby at The Pink House on Saturday. They adorn the tree. We found a couple of "wrapped" gifts at Big Lots, my first visit ever, that does with our decorating theme this year.

This time last year, well, it was the worst day in rehab. The nurses were contract nurses and the PT guy was trying to be hired full time, so he was pushing me too hard and this without any pain meds cause the nurse thought I had been given my meds earlier than usual. It was a very hard morning but once Roy arrived the day got better. I am so thankful to be a year out from that time and I appreciate the year I have had.

Roy wants to work on his pictorial calendar so I better relinquish the lap top but again, Happy Thanksgiving. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Little Mountain Catch Up

Thanksgiving Eve. We have worked around here all week getting the house ready for Christmas. We have installed lights, hung garland, wreaths and stars. A few things moved here and there and lots of tape to cover up all the cords running to and fro throughout the porch, deck and driveway. Truly it has been a lot of work but it has been fun. Inside, we have the tree up and decorated, battery operated candles in the windows. I've put things around the downstairs mainly. We have some storage bins to put up in the garage, which by the way has been newly de-garbaged as we took so much stuff to The Salvation Army today. We have been to Lowe's so many times in the last twenty four hours that we are on a first name basis with many and have become best friends with others. Buddy has not been a fan of the constant movement and changing of things. She's not very good with change, but then who is? Even in all this hustle and bustle there has been rest for Roy as he catches up with his programs on Netflix and Hulu.

So here is a little recap of the week so far.

Sunday evening....we had lots of wind and a hard downpour of rain yesterday and the morning began overcast and cold, but it has been certainly a very wonderful day. Roy and I played sabbatical today from church. He had such a busy week before getting in on Thursday night, late. Then we hit the ground running on Friday morning. Saturday was busy too and we realized we could not go to the LSU vs TN game as planned and still be able to get things done around here. Thankfully, we were able to give the tickets to friends and they sent pics of everything in creation blowing around and then the deluge that hit after halftime....

Roy made some of his famous gumbo for our lunch. He worked on his camera and I continued working on Christmas decorations. We discovered that our ladder had a warped leg and although he was able to pull some Christmas things out of the attic, we decided to wait until we get a new ladder for him to get the rest of the stuff down. It has been a little bit of a sentimental journey because my mom gave us Christmas ornaments every year and I have so many that she made for me. Then I found the Christmas stockings she had made us and the little one for our dog Tiff, which now is Buddy's stocking. Good thing Buddy can't read. I also have a little stocking she made me from fabric that were her dresses when she was a little girl. I had to sit a minute and compose myself.

We had such a good time at our church's Thanksgiving meal Sunday night. A veritable feast for sure! Our class was in charge of decorating and coordinating. Karon did such a beautiful job with the decorations and Judy W and Lois N were fabulous in the turkey, ham and gravy prep. Brenda and Marie did dressing and our teacher Gayle...well...she made the mashed potatoes. Then members brought side dishes and desserts. Oh my goodness, everything was so good! Roy brought his camera and took pics. It has been so fun looking through them this evening.

Monday we headed over to Micaville and then went onto Valle Crusis to have lunch at Over Yonder. The food there is so good. We stopped in at Mast General and then headed over to Grandfather Mountain. It was rather plain old cold on top of that mountain by the swinging bridge. We both went across but only one of us stopped to take, it was not me. If there are very few people, I will go across, lots of people, ain't going to go. We could hear the cries of a child not wanting to go across...for a moment I thought it was Lisa P. wasn't her. The sun was rather blinding as we drove home but it made the mountains into such a beautiful silhouette.

There is so much we are thankful for, things easy to remember and then those things we have to dig a little to find our gratitude. I know I keep going back and looking at last year recovering from knee replacements. Last Thanksgiving was a hard and difficult day....and I am glad to be a year out. I am certainly hopeful that tomorrow, Thanksgiving this year, will prove to be a good day.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Our Little Corner Of The World

This has been an exciting twenty four hours. When we last left the girl with the Waste Pro problem it seemed like some resolve had begun. As I pulled onto my road to go on down to the main road, I saw this little glint of silver reflecting from across the street and down in the ditch. My friends the cows doing a neighborhood watch duty informed me the wear abouts of said trash can...yes, it had been thrown, rather emphatically, across the way, down in the ditch. I got out of the truck and waited for the traffic to die down a bit...and why did Nancy cross the road? Yes, to get to the other side. It was a miracle to have that few minutes of quiet and no traffic to get the trash can and bring it back. I finagled it into the backseat and headed back home with it and place it safely in the garage. Then it was second try to leave without a distraction. Monday will be interesting with Waste Pro to see if there is once again a problem with them picking up the trash. What an ordeal.

I made a quick stop at The Fresh Market and Target before heading on over to Charlotte, with a Cracker Barrel stop along the way. It was dusk when I hit the Queen City and my first stop after being in so much going home traffic was Barnes and Noble. Last time I was there I hit pay dirt with bookish finds, this time, not so much. I did use my free drink coupon for a lemonade ice tea and with that I headed over to Nordstrom thinking I would do some shopping and have dinner. It was such a disappointing experience. Nordstrom seemed to change when they took the pianos out of the stores. I had soup and pizza at the Marketplace Bistro. It is usually such a joy to eat in the Bistro, even in Charlotte, but poor service, dirty tables and all kinds of yelling going on in the kitchen. I looked in a lot of departments and not one person spoke to me. Everyone that worked there was on their phones. Didn't seem to be anyone in the shoe area either....and then when you can walk through the makeup and fragrance area and not be asked by at least two people if you need was a miracle, not one person spoke to me about any products I might be interested in. I would have tried on shoes if I could have found someone to help. These days I really enjoy my Nord experience to be online. I got my private shopping experience invitation but it is still for Houston. I had thought about changing to Charlotte but nah, not worth it...oh the ten points per dollar spent is and I hope they offer that on other days besides the big Christmas shin dig they throw.

So Google Girl took me back to the hotel a very interesting way...I know know where all the exotic clubs are in Charlotte. Oh my....Happy to get to the hotel and settle in till Mr Precious Cargo arrived. There is a new system in place for pick ups at the airport and he said it is not any better than what they had before.

This morning we opted for brunch at CB and then made a stop at Publix for a few things. We got started on Christmas decorating and pulled out several trees and bigger type decorations. It felt good to make a small dent in the task ahead. We dropped off LSU vs Tenn tickets at Noel's and headed over to Turkey Creek Cafe for supper. Now, we are home. Buddy is sleeping, Roy is watching TV and I am writing this post and taking care of a few things in between paragraphs. I had my first sugar free Russian tea of the season and it tastes so good. It is a cool night and will be turning colder by Sunday.

I love our conversations in the car because the subject matter is all over the place. Helps my ADD. Anyway, we got to discussing the matters at hand in the world. I am really not a very political person but I watched all the cable news last night and I am glad it is not a habit. In our talking I said something to the effect of not being political and Roy disagreed with me, because he thinks my political is more about church matters and he is right on that. There are things that bother me tremendously. Then Roy said something brilliant, in my opinion anyway, he said we need to remember we are not to act like the disciples but to be more like Jesus. We act like the disciples all the time...that might not be a good thing. You know, not being in unity, not walking in love, taking pot shots, making sure everyone knows what we have done...of course for the Lord...talking only of ourselves, you know...falling short of the glory of God.

Well, before write too much and then have to apologize, I will stop....for now. Buddy has moved back onto the arm of the chair, Roy just came downstairs to check on is all good in our little corner tonight.