Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Doing The Hard Things

This will be the understatement of the week with everything going on in Houston and watching from afar as they go through these trying times, but we all find ourselves gutting it up and doing the thing we don't want to do. Last week when Doug and Dena were here I went down to the bird feeder in the front yard and there in front of the swing lay a female cardinal with a broken neck. She must have flown into the stand. The temptation is to let nature takes it course and those hungry, hungry ants would be upon her soon enough. I went back to the garage and got the big shovel out and dug a hole in the backyard to bury this bird that has done nothing but give me pleasure with her singing and presence. Once that had been accomplished, back down to the front to scoop up the bird and take her to a final resting place. I stood still in silence for a minute while a cardinal from a distant tree sang a beautiful song. When it finished I picked her up and took her to the back. I placed her gently into the ground, covered her and said a few words of thankfulness for her. I marked the spot with some small rocks. It was an emotionally hard thing in that moment. Today, once again, I had to do something I didn't want to do. The dryer sounded an alarm that it was getting too hot, probably because I had too many clothes in it. So, to the backyard once again,  first with a step ladder that was too short to do the job and then with a ladder to clean out the dryer vent as good as possible. I took my Norwex long cleaner/duster with me and pulled out a lot of lint. Because I didn't think I could move the dryer that well, I cleaned out the lint trap really well with the dryer brush, put a smaller load in the dryer and continued on with those pesky laundry duties. I left the ladder out there for a bit just in case...but soon enough I was able to take the ladder back to the garage. Like I said these are small dislikes compared to the daunting task that lies ahead for many people in Texas. On a phone call with Roy this afternoon as he told me about the water feature draining so well that the sidewalks and going under the street to continue on to Spring Lake was water! Good news. We also discussed his planned trip for next week and we both knew the correct decision was to cancel those plans because by next week, they should be able to return to their downtown office building. Which, by the way, the barriers erected for such a thing...a flood, did their job and no water, not even in tunnel that connects with other buildings underground was not wet. This particular trip is poignant in that we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary next week. Only, maybe, not in the way we had planned. And in those forty years I have come to love and appreciate Roy's steadfastness and loyalty, to do the right thing. We know this is the right thing...we may dislike it but we are emotionally gutting it up being thankful he has a good, no a great job that he loves and our celebration will just get postponed until later in the month. He doesn't love his job more than me, whew, but it is the correct and right thing to do. Now I can attend a choir party and the big sale at Robin Blu....not that I think those are more important, but they sure sound fun.
It is official. Roy cancelled his flight reservations this morning and we both have peace about this decision If he can, he will go into the office tomorrow. Prays appreciated for that trip.

The stories I am hearing from Houston is truly a Houston and Texas thing, although I believe North Carolina is a close sibling to Texas heart and desire. Thinking what a great man Jim McInvale, better known as Mattress Mac to Houstonians. He owns Gallery Furniture. This man began his business under a large tent, selling furniture in Houston. So many considered him a joke from his commercials but through the years his business succeeded. Now he has several locations. We bought a recliner from them last year when I first came back to Houston to prepare for bilateral knee replacements. They were so helpful online and in person.

This morning when I had to show my ID for my echo cardiogram, everyone asked do you know anyone whose home was flooded? Sadly, I know too many yet there are many who did not have flooding and are volunteering. I think Roy would be doing that but he is at work at home. I asked him tonight if he likes the commute time. He went to Kroger and picked up an odd assortment of groceries.

I will say I liked my echo cardiogram here better than in Houston. First of all, I never get those three piece gowns on without ripping them because they are paper. Had to wear an old fashioned hospital gown and I liked it. Easy to put on. For the first time ever in my history of echo cardiogram, a young woman administered the scan. The man who does it at my Houston cardiologist is rather creepy and always wants to clean up the gel on you. Megan, the nurse who administered it today said, gross, no one wants someone all up in their business. Yes, words to live by that are so true.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Praying and Watching

It is difficult to read Facebook and Twitter and see so many friends effected by Harvey. So many have held on with no water but the uncertainty of water being released from Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, again makes the decision for them, get to higher ground while possible.  It is not difficult to see, while dreading the journey, where friends and acquaintances have put their faith as they trudge through these dark and murky waters.

As I watched the Weather Channel with friends yesterday, they asked as different camera shots from different areas around Houston were shown if I recognized these places. Some yes, many too ubiquitous to define cause so many of the shopping strips looks so much alike. Streets and freeways that I have driven since a teenager are unrecognizable yet at the same time this isn't the first time to see freeways that look like tributaries or rivers. Social media is now filled with reports and status updates of friends who have lost so much or could lose so much. Although tears aren't helpful I have shed many these past few days.

After the floods that affected Louisiana last year around Baton Rouge, the company that Roy works for took donations for employees who had lost everything. They made it a 501 C status and we donate to it every paycheck. We are looking now at where we can direct other giving and these two links are where we will be contributing. This one  Houston's First Baptist doing. The other one is Bayou City Fellowship.

Finally, I had to pull away from the Houston newscasts and get some stuff done here. Like, get out the ladder and clean the dryer vent cause the dryer sent out a signal that the vent needed to be cleared. The birds have not been fed and there is just so many things to do. While I work around here, I pray for the Houston area. Join me in doing that please...the praying, you don't need to come over here and work...unless you want to. Nah, just pray.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Houston's Harvey

I watched a spider trap an ant today and not only did the ant get wrapped up neatly in the web, but the spider must have been hungry, cause it ate that ant likity split. The ant had been foraging for food on a sunflower head before I cut it off the plant and put it in the garage....where the spider lurked in the recesses of the bag of potting soil. Kind of reminded me of my hometown and Harvey. Houston got wrapped up in the rain, is still wrapped up in the rain but hope lingers there on the horizon but there is no hope for the ant.

It is difficult to watch such devastation to the city you grew up in, got married in and generally lived most of your life in. Roy has been fortunate that the area of Katy where he is currently has had hard rain but has also had breaks from the rain, giving the water feature and lake time to drain into the nearby bayous. I've checked on friends via text and Facebook. I've watched the Weather Channel and sometimes I forget that I am not there and when I think of going someplace, I hesitate....because of the rain...that isn't here. My heart and mind are so much in Houston.

Today, I saw that a friend once again has experienced her home being flooded. She has just recovered from a knee replacement and now, once again...her home floods. She isn't there but a neighbor is keeping her updated. When I saw her comment, I sat here and cried for her. Then in the midst of tears I remembered I cannot blow my nose for two weeks after it was interesting to take care of the excess....well, you know. I also have to sneeze a particular way and if I don't my eye could swell shut. Of course I haven't sneezed so much as I have in the past few days. The worst part of the bone grafting and sinus lift prior to implants was being allergic to the pain meds they gave me. That made yesterday a terrible day but the headache and throwing up tipped me off that I was allergic. So, I am not supposed to spit for two weeks...I really tried to be gentle in my upchucking.

This morning on Channel 13, Houston, I watched a Catholic priest being interviewed. He was in a kayak. He had been in his truck all night stranded on the freeway and happened to have his kayak with him. He watched from his truck as people gathered on high ground. That's when he pulled out his kayak and paddled to the convenience store to buy wine so he could offer communion to the group. But it was before noon and he wasn't able to buy the wine due to the Sunday alcohol laws. He kind of laughed about that since he wasn't used to buying wine on Sunday mornings. He gave a great testimony of his love of the Lord, he is a charismatic catholic priest. The news guy just let him talk and testify. It was one of those moments that makes you proud of being a believer from Texas.

I have many more thoughts but I am oh so tired. Just talked with Dena, so she and her mother and mother's friend are all safe and sound at Dena's home. Roy was going to bed early. We have talked so many times and in the middle of the night. Lisa P has power once again.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Good Eclipse Morning!

Good Eclipse Morning! Already the alerts are rolling in keeping our area informed on traffic. There are a whole lot of extra people around here. There are reports that some of the small towns in the total eclipse zone, while enjoying the financial harvest, might not be enjoying the onslaught of people and their demands. I have two here during this eclipse season and they are a joy to host, my brother and Dena.

Dena arrived on Wednesday and we did what fried chicken loving people do, we headed over to The Blue Rooster after picking her up in Charlotte. We have had a blast doing and going and being. It is so relaxing in the evenings sharing the front porch with friends and family. Thursday we had a change in our plans because of the high threat of rain in the higher elevations. We went to Marshall, Burnsville and Hot Springs. Friday we had a leisurely breakfast and made a trip out to Barber's Orchard and Duckett Produce.

On Saturday, Doug arrived on time just as he said he would. It didn't take us long to get moving out the door to go to the Leicester Studio Tour. First stop, Addison Vineyards because that is where the blacksmith shows his wares. Oh my goodness, his work never disappoints and we all made purchases with him. We went inside the wine tasting building to see the other artist displaying their work. We made our way toward the Big Sandy Mush where the man who makes brooms has his workshop in an old general store. While out that way we stopped at the pottery guy's studio and the wood working studio. The wood one was a little disappointing. We decided lunch was in order so we stopped at one of the sponsoring restaurants and it was closed until further notice. That doesn't bode well for its future. Dena had never eaten at Stoney Knob but Doug had before and liked it. So, it was Weaverville for lunch. Delicious as always and then it was back at it on the tour where we made stops at several other places. Exhausted from laughing and shopping, we came back to the house. Retired to the front porch and enjoyed snacks for supper.

Dena and I went to Sunday School and Doug joined us for church. The ladies in our class love Dena and so we all got caught up with one another. Our Sunday School class is aptly named, The Joy Class. We certainly are filled with joy and enthusiasm. Our pastor is teaching a mini series and stopped in our class to strongly encourage us to stay for his sermon. He looked at me the whole time which didn't bother me at all because I am probably the most guilty of not staying for the service or leaving early before the preaching. But, these last few weeks my absences have been health related. Even with the new A/C it is so hot in the worship center. I was sweating like a pig, although pigs don't sweat, in the choir loft yesterday and the beginning of that light-headed feeling slowly encroached my well being. Doug, Dena and I had made plans to stay for the service yesterday, so being there wasn't as a result of a personal exhortation. Some Sundays I have to choose coming home and tuning into the webcast of First Baptist Houston as my church service. This is all a part of changes I am having to make to keep out of afib which has the risk of a stroke always involved. After church we came home, changed our clothes and headed over to The Fireplace Restaurant for lunch, It did not disappoint! Then onward to The Biltmore Estate where we took in the beauty that envelopes one there. We stopped in at the Inn for a glass of iced tea on the Veranda to conclude our afternoon.

Once we got home it is back onto the porch. Brenda called and asked if she could come over. Of course! She came bearing gifts of jalapeno poppers, a salty candy treat and a birthday cake for Dena. It was all good! And we were blessed that she was able to stay a bit and visit. More laughter that of course ensured a good night's rest, well that and all the fat calories we consumed.

There are details of our days that I will come back to when they have returned to their homes. We have had so much fun!

Today, we are sticking close to home because of all the eclipse traffic. I better get moving and onto the store. We are grilling steaks tonight.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Early to Bed, No Sleep And Early To Rise Makes One Tired

There is a beautiful stone church off of I 40. It seems like it should be an Episcopal church by the architecture but when I found myself at that exit several weeks ago I was surprised to find that it is a Baptist Church. This morning as I took a different route to The Fresh Market there was another stone church and yes, this time, it was an Episcopal church with a red door. I went to the website and read that the church was built in 1905 and then I explored the pictures of the interior and the stained glass , wooden pews and stones creates a warm worship space. From the pictures on their website it must have a pumpkin patch in the fall. I'll have to keep a watch for that and maybe a Christmas program. I would love to go inside that church. These stone churches remind me of Gail Godwin, one of my favorite southern authors because several of her novels take place in just such a type of church and score the stories take place in the mountains of NC.

It has been a morning. It began with very little sleep and a short night. The alarm for 5:30 am was just too early. I got up and ready to be at the Toyota dealership at 7:30 to have SequishShawn's 5000 mile service appointment. Since the dealership has been bought by another owner, I am not as pleased with the service appointments. Last time they said I declined fuel injector cleaning and how can one decline if one is never told. I would have said yes. They wanted to do the bumper work that is a recall today but I didn't have the extra time to give. I really don't know if they did the 21 point or 18 point inspection cause I got a lot less paperwork and just the word that everything checked out ok. It feels like they didn't do all they said they did...who knows but as much as I love my truck I might find a different vehicle or maybe go to the Toyota dealership in Johnson City. It looks like they have cut back on service reps as well. I think Phillip, the rep I liked so well, didn't make the transition.

So I stopped at The Fresh Market and they are changing the recipe for their tuna fish salad. I went there specifically for the tuna salad because I like it so well. Disappointed, I put up the cart and headed toward Weaverville to go to the bank. Then a breakfast burrito from Sonic and on home.

Right by the Post Office a large gaggle of geese were gathered on the lawn but one of those geese had been hit by a car and laid out on the road dead with blood everywhere. The other geese seemed to be preoccupied with food and not so much as a goodbye to their feathered friend. I was still thinking of that poor goose while going down the stone steps to put some birdseed in the feeder. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a snake. So still...I thought it might be dead but I ran back up the stairs as quickly as I could carry myself. It was not dead and I think maybe I have found his little hidey hole. That is for another day....

This morning on the way to the dealership I saw three dear, a mama and two babies. Beautiful in looks and in motion. Today I have seen all my Bunny Foo Foos. From granny all the way down to newest baby bunny foo foo. I watched baby scare away cardinals and then saw teenage bunny, chase off baby...just like what had happened to it several weeks ago by a bigger bunny.

My dentist called this morning with the news they need to do some work on an old implant before they can do the surgery. He is hoping to contour the crown and not have to put on a new one. But, if he does, dental surgery is postponed until that gets taken care of. So I go early in the morning to see him which kind of changes up morning plans, but that's okay. It is good to be flexible and it is good to be able to see a dentist on such short notice.

I made a second batch of green sauce and I think it is pretty good. Trying to be kind to the dentist and not have too bad of breath. I also worked on a gallon of blackberries brought to me by Inez last night. I didn't hear her knocking at the porch door so she came around back and knocked. Scared Buddy off upstairs but she returned rather quickly.

For a day that began with me feeling overwhelmed, scared (snake) and tired...I worked in the kitchen..the day has ended on a rather nice note.

Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Not To Love About Ninfa's Green Sauce

It is looking like the rain and storms are passing by us. I would take rain but not a fan of the storms. As the skies darken I am mesmerized by all that is going on in the backyard. I don't get much done when there is so much to take in. There must be at least 8-10 young cardinals in and around the trees. The hummingbirds are busy coming to their feeder but good grief, they are territorial and chase off any bird that dare come and drink of the nectar. Well, here comes the rain after all. It was brief but at least some rain. Although I am thinking I will need to go out and reapply Vick's Vapo Rub to the pole that holds the bird feeders. This could be the deterrent I have been looking for. I put the Mentholatum all over and applied a thick coating. It has been interesting to see the squirrels jump onto the pole and jump off just as quickly. Then work at getting the rub and the fragrance off. We will see how this develops.
Good foggy morning. The birds are out and Buddy is on the front porch...mostly. It is one of those mornings where she is in and out. I have my breakfast and will need to get ready to go to workout with Taylor. This is my last workout for a while because of my schedule. I had considered cancelling today's session but I need to get in and do some work since I am once again playing regain stamina.

As it goes on many Saturday nights, I had a horrible night trying to sleep. Buddy would not settle and those times she tried, she was back up and gone for a bit. Finally around 4:00 am she was able to settle and go to sleep which meant the same for me. I don't think she was feeling good but has seemed to snap out of that once Sunday arrived. I contemplated the thought of having a sabbatical Sunday but decided to get up and get ready. I woke up with a sore throat which is a sign unto me I have been pushing it and the good ol' immune system is telling me to slow down. I went to Sunday School but not church. Came home, rested and ate a salad. Then I made a quick run to the store to pick up a few things I had ordered. Rested upon returning and then went over to Vivian's to give her birthday giftings. I also came home with giftings, supper for today, green beans and some homemade peach ice cream. Also, I took her some Ninfa's green sauce I made on Saturday and I think I made a green sauce convert.

Brenda called later in the early evening to see if she could bring back the dolly we had put the trunk on to take to her home. Sure thing, come on over. She brought some homemade cookies and I shared green sauce. Another convert!

Inez just dropped by with some berries and some peppers. I'm eating green beans made by the one and only Vivian. They are heirloom green beans and they are really, really good! Gave some green sauce to Inez and yes, another convert. I am happy to make something for my friends that they've never had before and they like it. What's not to love about Ninfa's green sauce?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Happenings Of The Week

Having the front porch screened in has made a change in our morning routine. It used to be that Buddy wanted me downstairs to be the supplier of treats to start the day. Now, when she rushes past me on the stairs her destination is the front door, not the kitchen. She goes out for a bit and then wants her treat. Most mornings after porch time and treats, she wants to spend some pre-nap time on my lap. This morning I made the huge strategic mistake of not having my coffee mug there by the chair. But that's love, sacrificing the morning joe for a happy kitty cat. She is back to her bird watching and I'm happily drinking my first cup of coffee. All is well, all is peaceful for this morning.

I am working on all the little last minute things that need to be done before Dena arrives on Wednesday and Doug on Saturday morning. Part of that is working on getting my stacks of books and magazines down to a manageable level. I do not consider stacks of books clutter but decor'.

This next paragraph will date me but I felt like, once again, living a Seinfeld episode. Lifeway did the reveal of Living Proof Live events for 2018. One of the event locations is in Boone. So I thought, that would be fun to attend there in that mountain town and decided to buy two tickets and if for some reason I couldn't go, I could gift them to someone. Well, that plan came to a screeching halt when I could not remember my password or user name from when I bought tickets in 2008...LP in San Antonio. So I went through the list of user names and passwords that I am prone to dice. Now usually, the website asks for your email and they send a link for you to reset your password. Lifeway, you have to call Customer Service to get that info. Well, I was not going to call Lifeway...and that is where it got a little Seinfeld like...remembering the episode where Alec Berg, great John Houseman name, gave Jerry tickets to the hockey game and tells Jerry he might be able to give him tickets for another game...think these were playoff tickets. Kramer asks Jerry if he has called Alec for the day after thank you for the tickets and Jerry says, I thanked him when he gave them to me...that should be enough. So, when I was talking to Lisa P on the phone I told her the whole password/user name debacle of 2017 and said in my best high pitched voice, a little Seinfeldish, "I'm not calling Lifeway!" I then told Lisa P that I had tried using Roy's name and different user names, no dice. In a conversation with Roy he mentioned that Living Proof would be in Boone next year and he thought I should get tickets and go. I told him that the Baptist Book Store, Lifeway, was not in the 21st century in resetting passwords and again, in a high pitched Jerry voice told him, I am not calling Lifeway! Well my friends, just like Jerry I ended up making the call, only my story line turns out better than his, sitting in the nosebleed seats for the game. No wait time and the nicest woman helped me rediscover my password after answering a few questions to establish, that I am who I say I am. I asked if she would stay on the line while I tried logging in...first attempt, nothing...asked on capitalization, and proceeded for a second attempt...and as George Castanza would say, I was in, baby! Now, before I actually made the call, I procured a hotel room in Boone. Cause tickets for a LPM event with no hotel room would not be good. Success! Two tickets purchased for cold, cold Boone in the later part of winter. I am positive though, I'll get to wear boots, stylish flannel shirts and jeans to the conference.

You can hear the funniest or the strangest things in grocery store parking lots. On Thursday I had just pulled into the Publix lot parking space when...of course...a mini van pulls in beside me and parks. I was heading into the store when I remembered my gym lock was in my pocket, so I went back to the truck to put it into its spot and at that same time the mini van people had finally removed themselves from their vehicle. It wasn't a young mom with thousands of children, no it was an elderly couple, an elderly couple that weren't happy with one another. They stood behind my truck and argued. I felt like it was being between a rock and a hard place...trying to go into the store without passing this unhappy couple. I didn't want to be one of those she was at the wrong place at the wrong time kind of things. Yet, I could not just stand there and act like I can't hear a word they are saying...because they were using their outside voices. Bottom line, they were arguing over the fact he drove too slow and although she didn't use a bus reference, I could have given that to her but you know, being at the wrong place at the wrong type thing. She ended their whole "conversation" reminding him that buying a mini van had been one of the worst decisions they had ever made and she wanted to get rid of it and have a fun car. I was never so proud of a moment....I almost wanted to fist pump her...they moved on into the store. I too made my way in but seriously considered high fiving her if we found ourselves on the same aisle.

And I am retaining the title of Crazy Squirrel Lady of Buncombe County. My supply of bad lemons and limes is exhausted, so I have gone to chunking ice at the squirrels that jump into the bird feeders. I also may or may not have used expired Pam spray on the pole that holds the bird feeders.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday But It Feels Like A Wednesday

We enjoyed a lovely summer day yesterday. Cool enough for opening windows and letting the breeze in. I went out early but not early enough to put the picket fencing around half of the sunflowers. The bees had already staked their claim to those flowers and the buzzing so close to my head, deterred my work. I went to The Google to see if and when bees take a break. They are the hardest working insects in the business...well, maybe ants work harder, I'm not sure. Google assured me that cool mornings and evenings are not bees favorite times to pollinate. Last night I was able to finish unrolling the fencing and get it around the sunflowers to hold them up better.

Before getting out and about for the day I received a text that my new glasses were ready. So a little change in plans and over to Weaverville to pick them up. My prescription had significant changes after holding steady for several years. My eyes are adjusting and this morning I realized how hard they worked yesterday with new glasses. Gee, I see things much better too! These glasses are lighter than the last pair but once I get adjusted I think I will have new lenses put in the frames from last year. I still like them a lot and hadn't planned on getting new glasses.

With new vision I headed over to Walmart and make the dreaded Walmart trip. I have to admit this time it wasn't too bad. They have rearranged the store, updated the checkout lanes and with school just a couple of weeks away up here, it wasn't too crowded. I got what I went for and maybe a few more things that just jumped into the cart. The plan was to make a Lowe's stop but I decided to make that trip on another day and came on home for lunch. I realized too those purple hull peas were not going to shell themselves, so yesterday I sat out on the front porch with two big enamel bowls and shelled purple hull peas. Feeling kind of domestic, I cooked those babies up with some onion and ham all afternoon. Then went on and finished up the blackberries for freezing.

We've had a bit of rain. I was able to get over to the Post Office. Picked up a package from Peggy and it is a beautiful bird feeder. Now, I am trying to decide if I will hang it now or will I wait for next year when we redo the back deck and make it more of a screened in porch. I have been contemplating a quick run over to Duckett's before heavier rain is supposed to move in later this afternoon. If I don't go today I'll hang around here and get things ready for upcoming guests.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Tuesday

Just by happenstance, I read an email sent out by Margaret Feinberg this morning. She writes books and Bible studies for Lifeway and one of my all time favorite reads has been Scouting The Divine. Margaret took a year to look with shepherd's eyes, beekeeper eyes and vintner eyes spending time with people who raised sheep, kept bees and had vineyards. One of the most interesting books I have read. In the great book purge of 2011, that book went to a new home but since we live in an agrarian community now, I have a vested interest. So before knee replacement surgery last year I bought the book and the workbook and like how many good intentions go, I did not do any of the work in the workbook. But I think that good intention was just too soon for its time. I didn't realize that I'd be so tired from working so hard with therapy so all the books I planned to read didn't get read. Nap time called out to me a lot and so did early bedtime.

Last night I made my first steak in a cast iron skillet and it was good! Of course steak rub from Taste of Texas makes everything taste great. I cooked the steak on a cast iron grill pan so not only was it tasty but it looked good. Add a few sliced tomatoes and call it supper.

So I saw Taylor yesterday morning for my first workout post cardioversion. Because his DMS machine that I love so much has an electrical current aspect to it, for right now, no more DMS while my heart settles back into normalcy. We are looking at everything that contributed to these recent flare ups, but probably the real culprits are the usual suspects, heat and stress. It felt good to workout again and as predicted, my arms and shoulders are a little sore from the TRX work.

We are experiencing some rainy days with the rain tapering off today. The flowers and trees are certainly happy for the thirst quenching drink. As a bird nerd, I had a delightful time with a singing sparrow yesterday. It sang among the forsythias and I on the front porch with the bird call app. The cardinals are getting their colors now and I hope they remain around here. I have gotten use to seeing them so often in the backyard. Last night baby bunny foo foo came down into the yard. I was so happy to see it because I had missed its morning visits and as I have written before I get too emotionally involved with these animals. There is a cow across the way with a slight limp and I am keeping my eye on her.

After a couple of errands and dropping off a trunk, I am home. A little tired but not too much. Thinking it will be a salad kind of night and fruit for dessert. The sun has come out. I began a little fence project this morning but will have to continue this evening or in the morning. Have to find times when the bees aren't buzzing around the flowers.

I just saw on Twitter that Glenn Campbell passed away today. In junior high I was friends with his niece and she made such an impression on me I cannot even remember her name. She was nice...actually I think we shared a friendship with a mutual friend and that's how I knew her. He had such a beautiful voice.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Good Birthday

Yesterday morning I got the sweetest birthday gift. With eyes filled with wonder and awe I watched a new crop of little baby bunny foo foo's frolic and play in the tall grass near the gravel road. It was a special moment. With an errand to run in Tennessee I was up early and trying to get out of the house by 8:30 am but it was closer to 9:00. The Amish store had received blackberries from Michigan and they were available as first come first served. It is a beautiful drive and I enjoyed the trip. Once I got there I got the blackberries and a few other things, then hit the road to head toward home. Filled up with some cheaper gasoline in Tennessee while there too. I made a quick stop at home, put up the blackberries, and let Buddy sit on my lap for a few minutes. Then it was off to Waynesville. Because of construction I chose the Canton way with a stop at Duckett's. They had purple hull peas which makes me especially happy. I had missed the first day opening at Barber's and I needed my first mixed drink of the apple and peach slushie. Bought some corn on the cob as well as a few apple cider donuts. I headed toward Hazelwood district and went to a couple of shops there and then headed to downtown Waynesville. Thankfully, a close parking spot opened up just as I turned the corner, so I was able to get in and out of Mast General Store. The last stop was Main Street Mercantile and I did a quick look see and began my way home. Once again took the longer but more scenic way home. Off and on during the day friends called to wish me a happy birthday and it was fun checking on FB to see greetings.

When I got home I opened my very fun gift and card from Lisa P. Roy called and we got caught up on the day's activities. Then I talked with Dena and then Brenda came over. She and some of her family had gone to the Burnsville Craft Show and when she got home she made me a cake. A delicious strawberry cake. After Brenda left Roy and I once again caught up but I was so dang tired from such a fun, full day....I watched a little TV and then fell asleep till 1:00 am. Buddy was being a little pesty and it seemed she didn't feel well. So up and downstairs to check the litter box, and since I was checking it...I might as well take care of it. Came back upstairs to a feisty Buddy...but she calmed down finally and we were able to get back to the business of rest.

Morning came early and I had a brunch to attend for our new mentoring ministry at church. We had delicious food and a great time. I especially loved hearing the stories from Karen's mom. She needs to record these stories, as a preacher's wife in the mountains of North Carolina...a traveling pastor for the Methodist Church. Great stories of another time but the same great God who though times change, He never changes.

After brunch I headed over to The Fresh Market for a few things and then returned home. I have tons of things to do but a nap is calling my name. Then I take care of veggies and fruit.

Heart beat is holding its own and staying in rhythm. I cancelled with Taylor yesterday for the chance to ease back into workout things. Thankful stamina is returning. I'm taking each day in step working toward the goal of being back in full tilt. I am still feeling the effect of two weeks of afib and flutter. As the nurse at the hospital said as my heart rate bounced around so fast and so quickly, she said her heart is in afib on crack. Wow, glad to be back to the regular syncopation.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

5000 Mile Checkup

What a difference a little Chaka Khan makes in the morning. The morning came very early today as it was the big shock a heart day. It was foggy, so I need to mark it down on my calendar. Brenda was here at 6:00 am on the dot and we headed to Mission Hospital. She has spent some time there of late with her aunt, so she knew the ropes and where to go. Got to the heat cath lab, checked in and it wasn't too much of a wait and I was taken back to my Chaka Khan room. The nurse got me all wired up and all the water drinking paid off with no rolled veins. There were two nurses from cardiac ICU/Care that are learning to cardioversion so that their area can do them quicker for patients and not have a long wait for patients in need. While we waited my afib was setting off alarms and it was unsettling to watch how the numbers vacillated all over the heart beat spectrum. Soon, they let Brenda come back to visit with me while we waited. At 8:05, they began to mark time by giving me the Michael Jackson drug and I resisted the urge to sing, Don't Stop Until I Get Enough. But after asking me for the 100th time my birthday, the last thing I remember saying is aren't y'all going to wish me an early Happy Birthday? Next thing it is 8:25, pulse rate is 66, BP a little on the low side and no afib! I already felt better. They watched me for a bit, gave me a Diet Coke, and then took me on a walk around the area to see how I did...and I did well. Got dressed and wheeled out to valet parking where Brenda was waiting. We decided on a Cracker Barrel breakfast and then headed back home cause the sleepies were taking over. And I have taken several naps since coming home. It's an afib hangover because for almost two weeks my heart has been running a marathon with no rest. It will take a couple of days to regain stamina and strength. The Doctor's orders for me today is, be a couch potato and believe me, I have been following those orders. Buddy keeps me company for some of the naps and she has just returned from her latest nap upstairs.

You get asked some really strange questions on the phone and then at the hospital. The question, do you feel safe in your home is probably to detect abuse...well, there is no probably about it. So, they asked me that question this morning and then when they put the big electrode patch on my back she asked me where the bruises on my shoulder blade came from. I was tempted to report Buddy but she has made up for her whole Saturday night thing by being so sweet and by my side since Sunday. No, it is from the deep tissue machine that Taylor uses on my shoulders. He did extra work there on Monday and taking a blood thinner makes for easy bruising. I'm also very happy to say no when they ask have you fallen in the past three months.....nope, nada!

I'll have a follow up appointment and EKG in a few weeks. I would like to get an echo cardiogram on the schedule. If not here I will make the trek back to Houston for that and to see if the monitor in me should be replaced. It has been very helpful of late and the battery is just about out.

This morning at 5:30, Roy called to pray with me. His prayers of faith are so encouraging and helps me believe and have faith too. I am looking forward to getting back with NC life, which means produce stands and orchards. It means ease of feeding the birds and watching bunnies and throwing bad lemons and limes at squirrels. I have written before I had been feeling a little off, not 100% and that translated into quiet days. These quiet days have been so welcomed. These days have made me so grateful and thankful. In these quiet days the Word has come alive in my spirit.

So guess today has been my 5000 mile tune up before the next birthday coming soon.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Beginning Of Apple Orchard Season

The last day of July in 2017 feels like a fall morning with temps in the mid 50's. Tomorrow begins the counting of foggy mornings because mountain lore says the number of foggy mornings in August is the number of snow showers we will have in the winter. Now I know it doesn't surprise you that this is an inexact science. Because it is foggier toward water and in valleys. Nevertheless, it is fun to wake up each morning and mark the calendar. Yes, I am easily entertained.

Our church had a fellowship/cookout at one of our member's homes last night...a 120 acre farm with gorgeous views. I had been looking forward to going but knew that if I did I was pushing myself way beyond my limited physical parameters when I am out of sync. Buddy and I were sitting on the front porch when my phone rang. It was Brenda and she had gone to the cookout. She was dropping her mom off at home and then Brenda was coming here bringing me a to go plate from the cookout. Mr. Jarrett served steak sandwiches provided by three of his cattle in his herd. I ate a slice of the meat and it was so good. Brenda also brought a smattering of small bites from the dessert table. So, I have my supper for tonight.

Digger, the groundhog, came very close to the house today. He was by the deck checking out some delicious weeds. I scared him off, twice. The bunnies have been around today along with a whole bunch of cardinals.

I am so glad I decided to stop by the house after meeting with Taylor. There were a couple of bills that needed to be paid and I also decided to grab a quick sandwich before heading to the grocery store. The hospital called while I was here needing some information and I was able to use the opportunity to ask a few of my many questions. I don't like droning on that in Houston I had a lot more info before going into the procedure but it sure is helpful to have.
The temps aren't as cool this morning but we are on the clock to count morning fog now that we are in August. Wow, this year has certainly gone by fast. Today one of my favorite apple orchards and produce stand opens and while I entertained thoughts of going today, it is best I don't. One I would be too tempted to eat apple cider donuts and I also saw that road work begins today on the Smokey Mountain Expressway...which is the way to go to the orchard. I do know a back way though. No, it is better to stick around the house and enjoy a quiet day.

Really, I have had a lot of quiet days even before the diagnosis. In hindsight, I think I knew I wasn't 100%. Other than a few trips to Johnson City and the one day I took along the Parkway, I pretty much am sticking around the house, working out and my regular errands. I've done some reading, nothing new there, and have been writing...for my own enjoyment and process. I started a couple of projects and I completed some but others have gone by the wayside because it seems that I need professionals to actually implement what needs to be done. I have spent lots of time on the front porch with Buddy.

One book I am re-reading is Wendell Berry's, A World Lost. Reading Berry is so helpful in my word formation of thoughts I am having trouble expressing on, well not paper but on tablet would be the correct usage. Roy and I were talking the other night about being a place of contentment in our lives. View points from our age vantage has certainly shown us that we pursued a lot of things that just don't matter. We've received unexpected blessings from unexpected places. I wish I hadn't spent so much time on trying to make things happen when I was younger. There is a lot of well meaning advice that just doesn't fit circumstances and situations. Competition  when you're just starting out should be avoided, but that is almost impossible to do. I know a lot of busyness in years past was mainly done to avoid issues or to alleviate boredom. The same can be applied to procrastination which I have done my fair share of. Yep, Wendell Berry fiction and essays surely can get one to thinking.

I can't help but hope that by this time tomorrow my heart will be back in rhythm and I can return home to sleep off the anesthesia.