Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Too Much Fun...Too Much Fun To Blog

It has been a while since I have written on the blog but having so much fun put a crimp in my time and nothing was written here. Lisa P came to NC and of course fun, laughter, conversation, chatting and solving the world's problems were all done while she visited. Her plane landed in the late night hours in Charlotte. We spent the night at a hotel there and we were up and on the road early to meet Brenda and Vivian at the Inn on the Biltmore Estate. We ate lunch on the Veranda at the Inn. Perfect temps to take it all in. The food, delicious. The scenery, breathtaking. I think Vivian was a little tired and wasn't interested in shopping at the Inn or later running around to view the sheep, geese and whatever else we could find to take a million pictures of. So we bid adieu to she and Brenda. Lisa and I had a front row seat to the sheep and little baby lambs that filled the fields near the lamb birthing barn. We took tons of pics and videos. Then we drove around the lagoon to watch the geese and all their young uns'. The day began to fade and we headed toward home but first we said hello to all the exotic animals that live down the road and around the corner.

Friday morning, Brenda invited us over for breakfast, so we didn't need any time to get ready and head over that way. She made three kinds of bacon, the candied bacon is my favorite, biscuits, homemade cinnamon roles, grits, strawberries, flour tortillas filled with cranberries, cream cheese and lemon, stuffed dates topped with a pecan, sausage and cheese rolls and jalapeno poppers. Oh my goodness! We were stuffed in such a very happy way. As promised from Lisa's last visit, Brenda began to teach Lisa how to make biscuits. Her biscuits turned out really good. Lisa also learned how to make sausage gravy. We waddled to the truck, made a quick stop at home to put up leftovers Brenda gave us for Saturday morning, and we were headed back out to Madison County. We stopped in at Penlands in Marshall and found such a deal on pajamas made in NC. Very cute! We did a little more looking around and then headed out to the country. We eventually made it over to Mars Hill and stopped in at Fiddlesticks. Cute shop.

Saturday, we went to Weaverville and then headed over to the Biltmore again. The sheep weren't out but we went to Traditions, the Winery and had supper at Cedric's. Lisa and I split a bison burger, she had salad and I had soup. Of course the delicious pretzel bread and lusty monk mustard butter were the bomb diggity. After supper, we went to see Vivian and Bill. She had made hummingbird cake and surprised us with homemade ice cream. She replicated the ice cream they had on Thursday, pineapple mint. It was good! Super good! We had a great visit, then headed back home.

Sunday, Lisa sang with the choir for our concert of prayer service. We sang Brooklyn Tab's Pray. Powerful! Pastor Gene is getting so much out of us as a choir and for that I am thankful. Since Sunday was Mother's Day, I cooked a roast in the crock pot and that is what we had for lunch. After taking a relaxing attitude toward the afternoon, we called Brenda and headed back to the Biltmore. The sheep were out and entertaining. Even the surprise of seeing Taylor, my trainer, and his family at the Biltmore made the afternoon special. Heard my name being called. There he was with his wife, children and in laws. Brenda, Lisa and I then went to the creamery for, yes, ice cream and then back to the Inn where Lisa wanted to make a final decision about a dress. She opted out on it and we were delighted to see bunnies and deer on our way out of the estate. We dropped Brenda off and then Lisa and I took another drive around to see the camels, elk, deer and watusi.

Monday morning we went to the gym. While I worked with Taylor, Lisa worked out. Then we headed over to Waynesville. Had a delicious lunch at Blue Rooster. Then stopped at Belk, Robin Blu and Hazelwood Soap Company. Since there is tree trimming being done on the freeways, we took back roads home. Once we got here we began to pack and get ready to head to Charlotte for Lisa's early morning flight home on Tuesday. Once Ray had packed up for the day, we left. Had a fun conversation with CourtneyS and then stopped for supper at Cracker Barrel. Got in, pretty much checked in with Roy and Malcolm, then we both fell asleep with visions of coconut cake dancing in our heads. Lisa was up and gone before 4:30 am. I dozed off and on and then got up and got ready to come back to Asheville and see the dentist. After seeing him I do feel like I am in good hands but also learned the news that the root canal could be a total waste of money. We shall see. So first appointment available, August. I will also see an oral surgeon and begin the process of having a couple of implants done. Started down this road but oral surgeon died and then we started the process of buying a house up here. So...now...here I it is.

Well, that's it for tonight. I watched Houston's First Baptist tonight as they release their new album. Blessed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Erie, Panama, Root...What Is A Canal Alex?

It is always good to stop and take in a moment. I think several of us had that kind of moment yesterday in Sunday School, I mean Life Bible Group....or whatever the name du jour is in this relevant season of life. Our class is very special, but then maybe all classes have the thought that their classes are special or unique. There is joy in knowing we can all experience that no matter what the in vogue title is in the latest and trendy "church world" vernacular. Because really it is all meaningless without the people, bringing with them their particular talents or gifts to share and experience with one another. It is all about worshiping God as we gather, the unity of the Body in the bond of peace. When in the rehab hospital almost every night as I struggled for rest in the middle of the night, I would pull out my phone and look at and pray for each friend from the pics I took on the last Sunday before returning to Texas. Among those pictures is a photo I took at Gale's home, her desk, where she studies and prepares our lessons, whether they be Sunday School lessons, Life Group lessons or Life Bible Study lessons. I love to look at that picture and pray for her, great visual.

I feel that way about our choir too. Feels special and unique. We altos are the mighty and the few when compared with sopranos. They outnumber us. I love how Gene leads us and the music we are doing. A good combo of new, contemporary and a splash of older songs just to keep everything interesting and everyone in the congregation engaged with worship. Seems like I am reprising a familiar role, commentary. While practicing for Easter Gene said I've not experienced the sunrise service here...and I added well, here in NC, we do it early. Last night he mentioned the Memorial Day picnic and that he had not experienced that here, and of course I told him that it was much later in the day than the sunrise. We all had a good laugh. We were working on the song Untitled Hymn, usually associated with Adrian Rogers. Angela asked if anyone knew sign language and Lorraine said, I bet Nancy knows sign language. Funny thing, I took a class a long time ago, way before everyone started taking a class to do interpretive signing with the singing but I admitted I only remember how to sign, you make me sick, help me and where is the bathroom?
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Good Tuesday morning! I overslept this morning but thankfully Ray was later in arriving today. It was a full Monday and I even went to bed earlier than usual. Must have needed the extra rest. Had a good training/workout with Taylor. We concentrated on hip and knee rotation. Taylor mentioned that one of the therapists told him he was impressed with the work he is doing with me and how well I have responded to the exercises that are putting me back together again. I came home, ate lunch and got changed and ready for my dentist appointment. You know, you don't look forward to dentist appointments especially when a root canal is involved but on one of the loveliest days of spring, I was glad when they said unto me your appointment is at 3:15. The office has tons of music you can pick to listen to while having the procedure. It reminded me of my childhood dentist that had reel to reel stories to listen to while they examined or worked on your teeth. He had all the Dr Seuss stories. Yesterday, the choice was Carole King. Tina Turner was a close second but I didn't think I would sit still while they worked on me if I listened to Tina. So, Tapestry it was and the procedure was finished before getting through the whole album. Only got as far as Smackwater Jack, only missing Tapestry and Natural Woman. They also put those big sunglasses on you like you get to wear home after having dilated eyes at the eye doctor. It has been almost forty years since having a root canal and what used to take several visits took less than an hour. Hearing the drill and whatever other instruments they use...well, I thought I've been conditioned for the noise cause I've heard a lot of power sawing and drilling the last two weeks.

I had considered running an errand or two before returning home, but it hit me that I was emotionally tired. This whole tooth thing has gone on for three weeks and I'll still need to be careful and eat soft foods, which isn't really a bad thing, but next week I have an appointment with a dentist to begin the process and then complete the work and then do other stuff I have been putting off. I told the woman who answered the phone at his office that the dentist will probably be able to put his children through college once he is finished with the work. There are seasons of life where I find myself at the dentist weekly, then once the work has been done, I have a hole in my social life or so it seems.

On my way home on the river road right by the Post Office, the sheriffs were out in force, stopping us and doing a license check. I pulled out my registration and insurance info before being stopped by an officer. Handed him my license and he went to the back of the truck and looked at the license plate, came back to the window, handed back the license and told me to have a good day. I don't know if they are looking for someone or something specific, but it could have been just getting unlicensed drivers off the road. That scene was a first for me.

Thinking about sticking close to home today and get final preps done for Lisa's visit.




Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rain and Snow On A Saturday...We Just Got Rain

When I returned home this afternoon, Ray and I had a good conversation about Texas, guns, dogs, the right for Texas to succeed from the Union and we talked about the building process. It doesn't take too much time to get the beginning started, like the porch and deck. They tore out the old and put in the new...except for the remaining pieces for the covered porch floor. The deck went like gangbusters too with the concrete being poured and then the foundation of the new deck being built. The posts for the railing went up yesterday and today is the detailed work of getting everything prepared to frame in the door. Ray told me people get so impatient when it comes time for the detail work and he said it takes time and skill to do these things right. Since we built our home in Texas I am accustomed to the work slowing and progress being measured in inches rather than feet. Of course this is a broad brush stroke but we encounter the same process as we grow in our walk as believers. Most of the time when someone is new to the faith, things happen quickly and the foundation in the faith is laid but it is in the details, in the little things where a lot of change and growth are made. We grow impatient. I noticed the same thing with the glider and chairs that Doug restored. Taking this furniture that someone had grown impatient with and probably sold for a song and dance...from that to the finished product, lots of hard work in the tedious went into the pieces. We don't like the details to take extra time.
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Brrr...it is a cold but sunny Saturday morning. I was looking forward to sleeping in but a phone call woke me up, so easing into the day. I haven't had too many of these kind of days and miss easing into here and there but the sacrifice is a beautiful new porch. I'm tired but not fatigued. It is lack of long nights of sleep kind of tired, but I better get used to that cause Buddy will be back before you know it. She is going to love that screened in porch.

The payoff working with Taylor is multiplying. We, meaning me, have done a lot of core work and guess what? It is paying off in everyday functional fitness. He is giving a lot of focus on my left shoulder which has been an issue for over twenty years. As he was stretching it out and going through the process he said this is deep within the shoulder and the goal is to get it functioning again properly. Maybe even a bit of rotator cuff issues in the back. Learning the connections and connectors with our muscles and brain is interesting and keeps me on track. After my workout yesterday I headed back over to Antique Tobacco Barn to see if I missed on anything while we were there earlier in the week, since I could hardly concentrate until we got back for the glider. While going without any intent in mind some things did come home with me. Like a small wrought iron table that will go well with the set we found on Monday. This affords the opportunity for me to practice on a much smaller scale what I observed Doug doing. This table is also in better shape. Then I found something I didn't think I would ever find, a Biltmore Dairy Milk Box. The box that the milkman delivered your milk, cream and butter to. Now it is not the large metal box I have been searching for but with the Biltmore Dairy Milk bottles I have, it could make a lovely arrangement for flowers. There were two boxes and it was tempting to buy the older one but the lettering wasn't as plain as the one that came home with me. Added another Biltmore milk bottle to the collection and a tobacco stick stand. Don't know what that will be used, but for $16.50, how can you go wrong?

There is six inches of snow on Newfound Gap between NC and Tenn. Some reports are the roads will not be cleared until Monday around noon. The birds and squirrels have hung around here today. New birdseed will do that. I went out this morning and pulled a lot of weeds and then got out the weed puller for the hard to get weeds and the manual weed trimmer. I don't trust myself with the weedeater. A bunch of wild onions are growing out there and I returned to the house smelling a bit of onions. I swept up dirt and weeds and some of the sawdust that has accumulated. There is a lot to do in the garage but I cannot work on that till the guys are finished with the porch. I told Roy we need to start saving again so they can come back next year and do the back deck. We would like it extended, covered and screened in.

I got most of the cleaning done in readiness for Lisa's visit. Keeping up with tracked in stuff is a daily thing right now.

Well, I think the rain is over and I still have a few things to do before settling in.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Wonderful, Beautiful...

The squirrels are running kind of slow this morning which means the Wifi is not running very fast for the computer and pretty much not at all for my phone. Oh well... Anyway, other than Wifi things are moving right along. Doug left this morning after we put the glider back together and moved it and the chairs to the backyard. His phone died yesterday so he was anxious to get back home and get to Verizon. He just texted me that the phone started charging in his truck. Yahoo! Told him his phone need a vacay too. Except, Doug kind was busy the whole time he was here with the glider and chairs. He did a fabulous job. When we were at the Antique Tobacco Barn he asked me where would we start and I said, I always find things on the left side...and there they were...just sitting there waiting for me to see them from the distance. Doug looked at them, said they were in good condition, even with the rusty patina. Loaded them up and off we went to Lowe's several times but he left them ready to roll once the porch is He used hammered chestnut spray paint on them. Yesterday morning, after giving them the first coat of paint, we went to Stoney Knob for lunch and then headed over to Home Goods. We found cushions, pillows, and accessories. We were also dealing with a lady who wanted everything we touched. So we would have to put stuff in the cart even if we weren't decided on it. The trip to Home Goods was successful and lots of fun. Even got to show my creative side in the store and got the approval of Doug who told me he is stealing the idea.
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Another night of good soaking rain. The rain gauge shows almost two inches. Around 4:00 am the area lost electricity due to limbs and trees on the line. With the generator we didn't lose power and for that I am always thankful. But it is dark out here without any lights. I took advantage of the time and looked at the sky filled with stars. Beautiful! The grid power came back on around 4;20 am. So, it was a rather short duration. Duke Power is good with the text alerts too.

I got out early yesterday morning and had breakfast at Tommy's. Really, where else will you get a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes for $5.95? Then I headed back to Home Goods to see if they had put out anymore cushions and they had. Found a pillow and also found a cat bed for Buddy on the porch. Went to Whole Foods for elderberry syrup and sliced and peeled oranges. A quick stop in Barnes and Noble was worth it cause I found my magazine. Then Publix for a few groceries. I introduced my brother to sparkling cranberry juice.

While in the grocery store our contractor called and said the metal guys would be at our home that afternoon to measure and discuss what we wanted for the railings for the stone steps and for the metal stand for a swing in the front yard. The guys came by and we talked a bit, or maybe that should be shouted cause we were out in the howling wind. Again, it is so true up here, these workmen do not want to talk to me, they would rather talk with a man about these manly things of building.

The high today is only in the mid 50's and it will be cool through Monday. More like March temps and weather. There might be more rain today but right now the sun is out.

Today is a workout day. Each week I see improvement and Doug was so encouraging with his words about the progress I am making. And with that I better eat breakfast and get started on this day.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rooster, Glider and Coconut Cake

Yesterday while cleaning and straightening things up in the kitchen, I took a picture of our kitchen table that is set into the bay windows. Saw an idea the other day about putting flowers in a wooden toolbox by using mason jars. So, I had this little one that I probably picked up at Target and used very small mason jars, also found at Target and cut flowers, not found at Target, and made an arrangement. Turned out kind of cute. This is the same table and window I took a picture of on an early Sunday morning, with the kitchen only bathed in light from a night light and contrasted with the snow outside the window. Turned out kind of cute. So this summer, I think I will take a picture of this same scene and then take one in the fall.

I am again defending the birds from stray cats wandering through. An orange cat just came through the backyard and chased off two Eastern Towhees either fighting or going through a mating ritual. Who knows? It all looks to be the same. Last night Bunny Foo Foo let me get kind of close. Last year Inez told me they get so drunk or enamored with clover they will let down their guard somewhat.

In 2015 we had indigo buntings visit the bird feeder then last year, we didn't ever see one. This year, I have seen one. I thought it was an indigo but put it on FB to get verification from my learned friends. I have seen a couple of hummingbirds too, so got those feeders out and then I found the ant deterrent.
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Oh Tuesday morning, filled with sunshine and cool temps, welcome. I noticed along the roads yesterday that the wild blackberries are in bloom and not by coincidence, the temps will be much cooler on Friday. For now the house is quiet. No one came yesterday to work on the porch because of the rain. That doesn't mean I wasn't working. My brother arrived Sunday afternoon and he is the guru of DIY projects. But I am getting ahead of myself. Anyway, he arrived and after a short meet and greet and hug, we were off to Addison Vineyards so he could see the views and do a wine tasting. We had a good time visiting with the owner and learning so much, not only about the wine making but the process of going into the business. Since I don't really drink wine much I only took a sip of the mead Doug tried. It was very tasty. We left and drove around the countryside both around here and in Madison County. The surprise of the day was supper because I had fixed a roast in the crock pot. It was a mixture of an old recipe and a new recipe.

Doug came with me to my workout but he decided to read and do some research for finding a porch glider. I have never used Craig's List and he found a set of chairs and glider, only to find out it had been sold. So, to ease the disappointment of missing out on that grouping, we headed over to Blue Rooster in the pouring rain. Lunch did not disappoint and we have another person who loves them some Blue Rooster. We went to an antique place outside of Waynesville which is really a hit and miss place. I have found some things there that I treasure but most of the time the place is a a huge miss. We got a few ideas yesterday for some things but we walked away empty handed. Since we were taking the back way home due to all the traffic because of land closures on 40, a quick visit to Main Street Mercantile was in order. Saw a couple of things that I might go back to purchase. We then took the back way to 40 and ended up going to Antique Tobacco Barn. I like to start out on the left side cause that is where I have found things I love and as we were beginning our jaunt I saw a glider and two chairs. Doug did the check of condition and declared it a good find. He also suggested we make an offer lower than the price. We walked around but I could not get that glider out of my mind. Then I got panicky thinking everyone who had entered the place was going to buy that glider before we returned to the front of the building. The owner accepted the offer and the glider and chairs were loaded in the back of the the truck and we were on our way. After we dropped off the furniture, we went to Lowe's to get the supplies that Doug would need to begin the work of restoration. Supper was Sonic and after that we started in. We bought a cordless drill but progress was slow and the evening wearing on. I found a corded drill in Roy's tool box and that sped up the process. Then Doug sprayed on the naval jelly. This morning we should get the first coat of paint on everything and then head out to do more looking and enjoying one another's company. I am up early to let the crew into the garage and I am glad Doug is getting some sleep.

So that's a wrap for now.