Tuesday, February 28, 2017

No Brilliance But Projects And Diversions

Oh beautiful Tuesday morning. Sun breaking through the clouds and the birds in the back are singing up a storm...which I understand we might have rain later today and storms tomorrow. I am easing into the morning with King Cake Coffee by Community Coffee. We packed several bags of it for here. It is a seasonal coffee in Texas and nonexistent here. The stores carry the basic Community Coffees, not too many of the flavored variety. So today is Mardi Gras and some beignets would be nice. I read that a coffee shop here in the general area is serving such fine fare but alas, I chose easing into the morning.

Today all the fall flare is being packed away. I left my spring decorations in Texas, so a few might need to be purchased by the end of the week. Easter is in April this year so there is more time to enjoy spring decor. Another suitcase emptied and stored yesterday. A slow process for sure. I hung my new picture in the bonus room but just to see if it fits the space. I need to take all the packing material and such off of it.  Surprise to no one, it is a cute drawing and painting of a sheep.

I am still feeling the benefits of yesterdays session with Taylor. My shoulders have never felt so good...well that I can remember. I am sure they felt pretty good when I was younger. I did some of my stretches this morning. So less shoulder usage and more hip flexors and lat usage is in order today.

Now I am writing a little later in the day and I have seen such a wondrous sight. A few hours ago our backyard was filled....filled with goldfinches. Oh it was so fun to watch them flit and fly. They gathered around the bird feeder and the bird bath. They were in the trees and in the butterfly bushes. There were some wrens with them as well and I watched totally captivated by the beauty of golden flashes across the yard. Just like that, they were gone. I couldn't even move fast enough to take any kind of a picture but I am reminded that moments are always to be caught by a camera lense but should be captured by my heart.

I began this morning with some brilliant ideas...only thing...I could not brilliantly pull them off. In fact I am contemplating these projects. For one I can go with the ordinary but I'd like to think of something unusual or rustic or industrial in presentation. Why would I buy pendant lamps that don't have an off and on switch. I can fix the problem with remote control plugs...so that isn't the problem...hanging them and I'd rather not use the tried and true 1970's version of a hook in the ceiling. I shall Google and Pinterest this evening.

Got the fall put up. Vacuumed the downstairs. Hung a picture and contemplating the second one and where it will look the best. There always seems to be something to take care of and I don't mind that a bit. Roy told me he needs new glasses and he'll have the rest of his dental work done tomorrow. He is getting a crown.

Guess my little break time is over and it is time to get back with it but first maybe, I should check the backyard and see if there are any birds to divert my attention.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Looking At The Ordinary In A Different Light

It is feeling like a Sunday afternoon nap might just take place. Of course I will get everything done that I need to do before taking a little nappy. Gathering up the garbage to take down to the road and putting up a few things from Target are probably the most important on my list of things to do. Happily, I unpacked one big suitcase yesterday and just have one more big suitcase to go. That can wait till this week.

Yesterday afternoon after running to Tractor Supply for some bird seed, I returned and made my mama's black eye pea jambalaya. Turned out good and I froze most of it for meals in the coming months. Thought about making some cornbread to go with it but opted out of that idea.
It's a blustery cool day here in the mountains. I had my first workout at the wellness center this morning. I like the approach that Taylor is taking and getting back to the beginning of building core strength and coordination before going onto just plain old strength. He used the jackhammer thing once again on my neck and shoulders. We also used the foam roller for my very tight calf muscles. He is coaxing different muscles in my back, shoulder and core awake and become useful once again. I really like his plan of action for the coming few months.

My intention was to stop at CVS about a prescription and then go to the bank and a quick stop into Publix. Well, I totally forgot my prescription but I made it to the bank and store. I ran into Bill while shopping and searched for Vivian but we missed each other and I saw her briefly leaving the check out.

It seems to me we don't even have to Google anything to find info. It is right there for us in our FB feed and Twitter. I am learning the signs of several diseases, know when it is time to detox, how to use Coke or Vicks in way I never even thought about. Every political stance or lack of stance is available...I can find recipes, DIY projects and take all kinds of tests to see if I am a genius or if I know all the grammar rules. I wasn't too impress with the genius test cause I got all the answers right. The last four questions were math related and I guessed the answers. So maybe I am just a good guesser. Who knows? You can have a quiet time reading lots of posts or you can find any number of people willing to tell you what to do cause they have their lives all figured out and why wouldn't we want to be like them?  Well, I can think of several answers there. In all that I read this morning one particular story stood out...that where the temple was located or where the Dome of the Rock is located...the temple mount as it is called started out as just an ordinary hill where wheat was threshed, it was hardly worth noticing. Ordinary... The devo sent out by Wayne Stiles this morning...what happens when the ordinary becomes wonderful? Well, the ordinary was made holy because God chose it. The past few days as I have driven what has now become very familiar roads, I have taken the time to see the wonder and beauty. The trees are dormant and few leaves hang from the trees. But in the midst of dead grass, dormant trees, homes with little puffs of smoke coming out of the chimney tops, birds in pursuit of food or a home, cows in the fields, horses....a few bales of hay. Ordinary but God has made it so holy to me.

I went to choir practice last night...for the first time here in a long time. So enjoyed being back with choir friends. It has been a while since I have driven these back roads at night and so last night going and coming back I was alert to deer or other animals being in the road. That isn't a skill I use too much in Houston. Oh, there are other things to watch out for along the highways and byways.

Well, even though I have done some work around here, I need to get more done. So off the computer and back to work.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Easy Like Saturday Morning

I have returned home from my assessment at the wellness center I joined on Monday and I feel so good. Susan matched me with the perfect trainer and I think much will come out of the sessions I have signed up for. Each trainer is different in this process and I like that. Rehab PT was mainly getting me back on my feet and ready to get into the game. Outpatient PT highlighted problems and time spent with solutions but there were so many things to address it was kind of a smorgasbord approach. Today Taylor tested muscle strength and pinpointed several problems that I had been made aware of but had no clue in how to resolve the muscle weakness. In fact he did many of the assessments that I saw others at theraphy getting but we never did any of that kind of work. The end of the session he used this PT machine that opens up your muscles and rids them of the tension. He worked on my shoulders and shoulder blades. Wow! Unbelievable! I was able to stretch more than before and sitting here right now I can still feel the effects of what I like to call the jackhammer. For the immediate future I will workout with him twice a week and I feel like he can get my functional fitness back on track. There is always homework and I am anxious and ready to get started.

Today I once again am reminded of the person aspect of life in a rural area. I don't think I mentioned this before but a week before we left to come back home I received an email from our propane provider that we hadn't paid our tank rental for this coming year. We hadn't received a bill so I emailed back asking how they would like for me to take care of the bill. Angela responded that it was ok and if we wanted to take care of the bill when we returned, that was fine with them. I called her and gave her a credit card number and then she asked if she would like for her to schedule a propane delivery because it looked like our tank was getting low. Yes, thank you. Then we had a wonderful conversation about life and her interest in seeing San Antonio. Today, I went to our little post office to mail a couple of packages. We got to talking about things and one of the clerks asked if we were back and I answered yes. She said we knew it would be soon so instead of sending magazines back we just put them in your box. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that and the time their thoughtfulness saved me, contacting magazines and telling them it was ok to resume delivery. I love the personal touch. I have seen Marissa at Turkey Creek, the lady at Ingle's that works cutting up fruit and veggies and I have talked to Laura, who works at The Blue Rooster. Even the guys from Main Street Mercantile remembered me when I stopped in briefly at their store.
A rainy Saturday morning. This is my first morning to ease into the day and I am so thankful I don't have any have to's this morning. I'm on my second cup of Butterscotch coffee from Smokey Mountain Roasters and contemplating what's for breakfast. I told Roy last night I wouldn't be staying up late and that my friends was a true statement...I went to bed a little after 8:00 pm. I think that jackhammer thing on my neck worked wonders and all the tension from long hours of driving last week and then trying to get the necessary accomplished added to my already tense shoulders helped sleep come early. I found out yesterday that the tension comes from the traps overworking and compensating for muscles in the mid range of the back that have become lazy cause they are letting the traps do all the work. Now that makes sense to me.

I heard a wonderful story last night from a friend and it is a reminder that little things matter. My friend's sister has several cute possums she has found at craft shows and stores. Not real ones...anyway, I gave her sister a book I had picked up at a store in Bat Cave called, A Possum Come's A Knockin' to go with her possums. That book brought such joy to her daughter in law when she saw it and reminded her of her childhood when her mom read her that book. Such a good reminder that those little things matter when we haven't a clue. I love how God uses those kinds of things to bless.

Oh and a note about my blog post yesterday. It is a coincidence that my devo reading and then my thoughts might have been taken wrong about the barriers of tables etc...  I didn't even think about my former church's series for women called The Table and that it might look like I was putting it down. Nope, not at all. My thoughts concerned the barriers and walls we construct and Margaret Feinberg's thoughts on community.

From my vantage here in the living room, the view out the back windows is blue sky and white clouds. The view from the front window is gray, foreboding skies. By the looks of the radar the rain is over for the day. We will have much cooler temps tonight, maybe below freezing. The crazy weather jags are true and not unlike the ones in Houston...only it is hotter there.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Acting Verses Living

It is a balmy 71....well, it isn't balmy, it is downright cool. There is a pretty good wind kicking up and if you find yourself in the shade, you find yourself rather cold. It has been a beautiful day which began a rather foggy day. I decided it was a great day to treat myself to a Waynesville visit. First stop Robin Blu where I found some things that needed to be purchased and go to a nice home. Then I stopped in Smokey Mountain Roasters and bought some coffee. It was getting close to lunch time so a quick lunch at Bourbon, Beef, Barrel and Ale was in order. No, I didn't drink my lunch, I had the house salad and unsweet iced tea. Then I drove into downtown Waynesville and stopped in Main Street Mercantile and then a trip into Mast General Store. Found Roy a great fall shirt marked down and I found a couple of fun things for the kitchen. It was a very relaxing day.
This morning I awoke kind of early, or earlier than usual. I found a sliver of the moon waiting for me to wonder at the beauty. The sky was that pinkish hue of sunrise. I came into the kitchen pushed the button for the coffee to make and sat down and read for a bit. This will be of no surprise but I am behind in the devotional book I am using. Margaret Feinberg is an excellent writer and I have thoroughly enjoyed her books and her style of writing. This morning I read about community and how we are to live in community. Seemed to dovetail with the conversation my brother and I had via text yesterday. I sent him a picture from my FB feed, the people you might know thing. There in that feed every once and a while is a picture of a man and probably his daughter and the man resembles  my father. Doug saw the resemblance too and then we turned to my father's health. He is failing more into his dementia and has started talking gibberish. He stopped eating for a bit but now is eating a little. It did not sound good when Doug told me several weeks ago that my father leaves his Sunday School class at church to go look for my mother. So what does a devotion on community and my father's failing health have in common? Well...it is this, community didn't happen very often and when it did, it was never organic but staged and behavior extracted to try and meet his unrealistic expectations of what this all should really looked like. In the devo this morning a story was told about a woman who had a dinner party for nine friends who didn't know each other very well. She did not pull out her best dishes nor did she set the table properly with bread plates and a plethora of forks to be used throughout the meal. It was very simple with small portions for dinner but she offered many choices for dessert, fruit, lemon cake and the like....it was a meal she designed for lingering together. Instead of the barriers that can be found at a table she encouraged couch and overstuffed chair conversations and laughter. The opposite of exacting from my father's perspective and the offering of relaxed, conversation brought forth comparison and what is the better choice. It is a shame that as my father's life draws to an end, he could never let himself enjoy spontaneous. He didn't flourish, he didn't live loved, fearless or free. I think that because everything was to be acted out in life as we grew up, I don't cotton to conformity of social functions or graces today if I am feeling the pressure to do so.

The past few years in church world as it transitions out of coffee world into table world word choices maybe church world will transition into couch world, Not so formal, not so many barriers that enable us to keep our lives in the comfy confines we have surrounded ourselves with. Who knows? I don't, these are just thoughts I am processing out on the good old blog.

Last Monday spending the afternoon and evening with high school friends reminds me of the organic mix of life and seasons...many more we have not experienced together than we did in school and church. We talked about so much of life from then but more of life now. Beth and I were talking on the way back to the house that friends we have reacquainted with on FB from those long ago days and haven't kept in touch with through the years now look so much like their parents. And it is kind of odd knowing we look like our parents to others on FB.

The sun is out and birds and dogs and people are waking up and moving into their day. Guess I should be doing the same. Have lots of little errands before my appointment at the wellness center gym.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slowly But Surely, No Just Slowly

Slowly but surely...no it's just slowly I am getting clothes and books unpacked. While unpacking and putting up clothes I am also trying to go through things and get them set aside for either Salvation Army or for our church's yard sale. The smaller duffle bags have been unpacked but the two larger suitcases are being unpacked at a very slow crawl. Last year when I came back after the whole hip thing, no I didn't try to be a hipster doofus, I packed so that I could put one suitcase up that was filled with winter items. When sneak packing because of Buddy, one isn't that clever. You are just trying to get things put up without upsetting the cat.

The plumber came today and fixed the leaky thing in the crawl space. Leaky thing had to do with the well water coming into the house. I just pointed him to around the corner because I don't go over to that part of the yard anymore. Fell there and Mike the Mower Man saw one or two snakes hanging out over there last summer. Roy says the crawl space has spiders too. I can see now why I didn't want a house with a crawl space but at least it is a small one....not like a large one would make a world of difference to me. Brenda came over after running some errands to keep me company while waiting for the plumber. Didn't have to wait long because he was early. I really liked him and he did a good job...well, water is running in the house, so without seeing what he did, I say good job.

The birds are returning to the feeder. Right now we mainly have wrens, chickadees, tit mouse, sparrows of various kinds and a few cardinals. Every once in a while there is a blue jay or a mockingbird, but they do not play nicely with others and would probably run with scissors if given a chance. A few doves come by and one big old fat squirrel which I try to chase off when I see him.

The plumb trees are flowering and I see a few yellow blooms on the forsythia. If we have another hard freeze it will wreck havoc with these plants that are blooming in February. The apple orchards are keeping an eye on things because with the weather being the way it has been, their whole apple orchards could be wiped out this year. Last time this happened was in 2012.We have seasonal temps today but it will be back in the 70's for tomorrow and Friday.
It be very foggy this morning. I love watching the fog dissipate revealing what it has hidden, even though I know what it has hidden....great scenery and cows. Yesterday, a group of 7-9 calfs were grazing together...without adult cow supervision. It was kind of fun and interesting to watch the dynamics yet I reminded myself not to get emotionally invested into these little ones lives. These looked to be teenage cows.

I'm drinking coffee from a mug that Dena gave me for Christmas, actually she gave us two mugs but of course, I can only drink coffee out of one mug at a time. It is the colors, star and an oil derrick design. Very cute and very Texas. It is filled with Biltmore coffee so it is the best of both worlds.

A friend in Houston is teaching a class on journaling at church. She asked the question on FB yesterday if you journaled and what do you get out of it. I responded that I began keeping a diary in the fourth grade, then it turned into a journal when the language changed. I was honest in telling that some things have changed since the fourth grade about me and then some things that made me mad in the fourth grade, still upset me. I added that these journals remind me of the little things that have happened and all those little things turned into one big change. I can remember the change but sometimes forget the journey and my journals are a road map of God's presence and hand upon my life.  I loved reading the other responses to her questions and in those responses I realized I still don't give the Sunday School answer that most are looking for. Used to bother me that I didn't but now I embrace the fact I am not cut from the same cloth, I don't want to be a cookie cutter person and it is just fine and dandy not to be able to be put into a box....or mindset. There is a price to pay for this of course but now I am willing to pay the price. Before, not so much....just wanted to be accepted for who I am and that my friends is an unrealistic expectation. Funny thing about my childhood observations and prayers, my father found one of my diaries and I wrote honestly and truthfully about the situation in our home. He waited for me and then confronted me about what I had written....yep, paid a hard price for expressing, privately I might add, thoughts. From then on I wrote in code which really was just writing opposite of what was really going on and trusting that someday when I read this in the future, I would remember that it was in code. Didn't have a problem remembering. Most of those early journals have been destroyed. I did that when we moved to Katy because there wasn't any reason to hang onto all of that. I did tear out pages though of the funny things from that time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blogging To Catch Up

Monday greeted us with a foggy morning which made for some beautiful pictures of sunrise. I took the pics from an upstairs window. Right now we have winter mountain views of the east because the leaves of the trees are no where to be found, cause they are on the ground. In the coming months the trees will refill and then replace the morning view of sunrise.

We met with a contractor this morning and we really like him. We told him what our vision for the front porch is and his bid and our ability to afford the redo will determine what does and does not get done. We have a three year plan on things around here we want to improve and change but screening in the front porch will be a lovely addition to evenings of sitting on the porch or for that matter mornings on the porch. After meeting with him, we were on our way to the wellness workout center nearby. I'm officially a member and have my first session on Friday with a personal trainer. This is to evaluate and instruct but if I like him, I think I will sign up for a few sessions with him. His specialty is functional fitness and that is exactly what I need to continue improving with these knees. It is a nice facility and not a big box fitness center. They have a workout/lap pool and it was part of the tour, but being in a room that humid, with a 93 degree temp of the water and 90 temp for the room, I said no thank you. I just left that kind of temperature in Texas.

Next order of business, lunch. So Roy chose The Moose Cafe and we had a delicious lunch. He went for the turkey and dressing while I chose the veggie plate...and no dessert. We made an Ingle's stop on the way back home. Roy loves drinking the Dr Enouf's that have vitamin B in them. He has worked very hard the past few days.

We had a social afternoon with a quick visit to see Judy W and bring her some Texas goodness and then we went to see Bill and Vivian. We have some Texas goodness for them too. Such a fun visit on the porch and Vivian had made Roy some apple fried pies. He was a very happy camper. We needed to get back home so Roy could do some computer stuff and get his staff notes out. Roy did a little more work outside after that and he decided a Sonic hamburger sounded good to him. So, we made the little jaunt to Weaverville and picked up our dinner and brought it home. He continues to do his office work and I have been unpacking a couple of containers that are taking up space in the dining room.
Kind of quiet around here. Drove to and back from Charlotte today. Stopped in at the Cracker Barrel for a late lunch and then a quick stop at Fresh Market. There is tons of work to be done around here but I'd rather sit a bit and blog.

We got the rest of the trimming done and it looks like Roy will be choosing a chain saw for his birthday present this year. Roy also cleaned the water filter for the well and the house and found a small leak. After making a bunch of calls we were given the name of a local plumber and he will be here tomorrow.

The sunset was so beautiful this evening. I must confess I wasn't up early enough to see the sunrise this morning. It was good to sleep in.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Grateful and Thankful

There is really so much that needs to be done this evening but instead of putting up things and clothes, while going through closets and drawers to put items in donation bags, I sit here and write. I am so thankful to be home. It has been a wild ride these past few months, that have been full of fun and challenges. It is good to be home in the mountains. The sun showed off a little yesterday evening and came out this afternoon but most of the time it has been overcast and drizzly. Didn't bother me a bit that we went through Zips Car Wash and then it rained on the truck. All the car washes in a month for $15.00, such a deal. I am so grateful for friends in Houston and I am grateful for friends here. I am so blessed!

We got up early Thursday morning and hit the road about 3:46 am. We stopped at Buc-ees and we stopped in Sulphur, LA and then drove what I consider both coming and going the worst part of the trip I 10. Even early in the morning the traffic was backed up before the bridge over the Mississippi in Baton Rouge. It gave Roy a little time to look at Death Valley, LSU football stadium, but that was about it. We picked up Burger King and ate in the car to save a little time. We even hit Chattanooga at a better than normal evening traffic rush. Once we checked into the hotel, we walked over to Puelo's, a new restaurant nearby the hotel. The food was delicious. On our walk back in the chilly air I was breathing through my mouth and I knew the moment I went into afib. Dang! I have been doing so well and afib? To try and sleep was almost impossible and I was so tired. I did the best thing and asked Roy to pray for me. The afib continued on but at a rate that was bearable and sleepable. Friday morning, my heart rate was still elevated so I took one of and for the first time since getting them in July, one of the as needed heart meds I had been given. Half of a pill and the rest of it thirty minutes later. It helped and as we left Ooltewah and drove toward Blue Ridge Georgia to stop in at Mercier's, my heart rate returned pretty much to a normal BPM and I was out of afib by the time we crossed over into NC. Thank you Lord! In hindsight it was two days of packing the truck, a travel day with poor food decisions and the excitement of getting back to the land I love and to the people I love.

When I first arrived in Houston, I would be looking for things at the house that were at the NC house and now I find the opposite to be true. We needed batteries to put in the thermostats and I told Roy where they are in Houston. Oops....oh well.

Last evening I put out the bird feeders and the bird baths and waited. A few brave birds came but this morning word had gotten out in the bird world that free grub was back. When Roy and I left for church this morning a male cardinal flew in front of the truck right before we pulled out of the garage. That made me ever so happy. This afternoon several bunnies have checked in as well as those pesky squirrels and chipmunks...ALVIN!

It was so good to be back at Newfound Baptist Church this morning. Our Sunday School class didn't have an empty chair. We laughed and hugged and prayed and heard a great lesson in the span of an hour. My heart overflowed with a good theme of praises to my King. The choir sounded awesome! Pastor Jeff preached a good sermon on forgiveness....it was a good day to see friends and hug a few necks. I hadn't been able to see Vivian until this morning and what a great hug I got from my friend!

Roy cut back the forsythia this afternoon and trimmed back the plum trees, even though they are budding. We got it all gathered and put on the curb for trash pickup. Then we headed over to the Sonic for ice cream for me and a Powerade slushie for Roy. We drove around and checked on the camels, bison and watusi. There were some young watusi males duking it out or head pushing it out. The elk were taking it easy just lying in the grass.

So, this evening we find ourselves full after a delicious supper prepared by Roy and he also froze some for later suppers. I did the dishes and sent him upstairs to watch TV. We have a contractor coming in the morning so it might be an early rising for us.

Again, the theme of thanksgiving and gratefulness runs through my heart and mind tonight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Look Out, Here I Come

Did anyone get the license number of the truck that ran over me? This morning I am kind of dragging a bit. I worked really hard yesterday loading the truck, the back of it anyway. I think the miracle of the loaves and fishes is being played out because things going back with us have multiplied. The fragments might have to come up a little at a time if it all doesn't fit. New things going home include floor lamps, Norwex products, tennis shoes (it is so difficult to find my size so when I do, I buy all that fit) and various pieces of new clothing. I hit the jackpot with Flax! I don't think I did that efficient of a job job packing suitcases . Part of the truck that ran me over me in the middle of the night is named Buddy. She is not a happy camper seeing suitcases and the multiple trips out to the garage. I had a little tension headache all day and it lasted until early this morning.

Another part of the truck that ran over me is an ear worm song, I Just Can't Stop My Hallelujahs. We have been singing it in choir rehearsals and the choir led us in worship with that song on Sunday. It is written by members of the worship team at First Baptist and will be on the new choir CD and released by Lifeway. One line in particular has my attention right now, " You are my God, You've rescued my heart. And I can hardly breathe when I see how great You are." God rescued my heart in so many ways and the healing He has done...well, it has made  a significant difference not only physically but spiritually and emotionally...guess mentally would be in there too. This is more than living in the parameters set by the cardiologist and his team, it is living a more peace filled life. It is a more wonder and playful view. When God rescued my heart on January 29, 1971, I never contemplated all that has happened, for His good thus my good. I would not have chosen viral cardiomyopathy to get my attention. He rescued my heart and I haven't followed the family tradition of intense bitterness and comparison thus inflicting others with that poison of the spirit. He rescued my heart of arguing just for the fun of it and because I was so good at it. There are so many things I could list that I have been rescued from and there are days and times when I battle harder against those things knowing He is victorious and I can live life abundantly. I Just Can't Stop My Hallelujahs!

We celebrated Valentine's Day with a big splash of doing life. Roy was late from the office. I was tired from packing and loading the truck. We ordered pizza for dinner and had heart shaped cookies for dessert. You know, I wouldn't have it any other way. There was a day when we felt the pressure of unrealistic expectations of the Day. I stopped by the Kroger yesterday and it was a buzz with late thought Valentine Day purchasers...mainly men. Most of the women in the store were doing regular shopping. There must have been three men in each line holding flowers and maybe some semblance of remembrance with chocolates or the like....It was a Valentine miracle at our home because I actually got Roy his card in time and I knew where I had placed it so I could give it to him on the day. There are years where I haven't found his card until oh around Easter.

Just did the weather and road check and it looks good for taking the scenic route from Chattanooga to home, with a stop at Merceir's on the way. Hope they have plenty of the cornbread mix that we like.

This has been a good three and a half months, yes even those early days after surgery and the first days at the rehab hospital. I've learned a lot about walking differently, doing exercises well for a desired end result, and saw what a fear gripped life looks like up close. I don't ever want to descend into that madness. I have spent time with friends and have loved that. Eating at all my favorite restaurants wasn't half bad either. Getting to hear good Life Bible Study teachers and experience worship in the music has been wonderful. There were days when I thought, I could return here full time but that's not true. Some days when it was 80 degrees and above were tough with the added humidity, ugh. Life would settle back into the mundane, which I don't mind, but it would return to the reasons why it is best for me, for us to be in NC. The pace and stress is difficult here. The things that are so important here are not at all important for me at home, which includes wearing flannel, boots and jeans all the time....if I wanted to.

I'm wearing new scars proudly and standing straightly and walking confidently. Look out NC, here I come!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Trip Perfectly Bookended

The morning has turned from dark and foreboding to gray and rainy. A loud thunder awoke Buddy and me this morning. Buddy has retreated to a nap spot and I keep watch with the extended weather coverage on TV. Well, as much as Dish doesn't lose the satellite feed. We go from warm temps to cooler temps today. I am going to stay hunkered down here and then get out and about a little later.

Yesterday was the bookend to this trip back to Texas. Way back in November when this journey started I was writing about leaving the mountains in fall and going to joint camp and then it was about surgery and recovery/rehab. Then life drifted into PT and spending time with Roy and expanded with going out to eat with friends or into a more social mode. As the time winds down and my attention is more focused to the northeast as I pack and we gather everything to make the return trip home. Today and tomorrow are certainly focused on this endeavor but yesterday was a good ending to this time here. My long time friend Beth, whose influence from our high school days still affects me today and my fun friend Mimi, who was/is such a fun-filled friend from high school days came over to the house. It is like time hasn't passed since our last visit....probably around three or four years ago. Beth has always had a free spirit about her and she has resumed that passion in traveling and sailing all about and around the world. How exciting as she follows her joy to hear her stories of fun and adventure. Mimi travels to far and exotic places as well and her stories of course, always make us smile and laugh. Such fun to catch up with these friends. We met Karolyn, another friend from high school and church, at Goode Company Seafood to continue stories and laughter among longtime friends. It is always good to revisit fun times, talk about the present and what the future may hold. So last night to a casual observer of four "older" women, who on the inside still feel eighteen, wouldn't know that long time friends were observing the time honored custom of friendship that is rooted in a long ago time. Beth returns to the Seattle area today. This morning I realize just how special yesterday was and I am so thankful for the time spent with these friends.

I think the worst has passed us and the skies are clearing just a bit. Haven't heard any thunder for a while. Some areas south of us had damage from tornadic winds. So, I better get started with the job ahead. Is it weird to sneak pack so that your cat doesn't get too upset?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pondering and Packing

I think Buddy knows a change is a coming. She has been glued to my side in the evenings and at night. Today, she has not done her regular sleeping schedule and is keeping an eye on what I am doing. I have been getting the little things taken care of that sometimes get left to the last minute. I am hopeful that this all fits into the back of the truck when it comes time. Have things in bags so I can squish them to fit better. Roy has taken SequishShawn to the dealership for oil change and for regular maintenance. The 5000 mile check up would hit while on the road and this also helps me not to have to be at the dealership getting all this taken care of so soon upon my return.

The weather people say we might break a record today with highs in the 80's. I can feel the effects of the warmer temps.

We are experiencing an overcast Monday. Tomorrow is forecast to hold lots of rain and storms. I'm keeping an eye on the weather for traveling and it is looking like a good forecast. We have moved quite a few things that are going back into the garage. I have scraped the table idea and will keep an eye out for something in the coming months. Last year we experienced some guff from the home health people that we didn't have a dinner table with chairs. Uh, they went to NC but online there was a cute, cheap table that has sufficed quite nicely here although I didn't have home health care this time. It seems like forever ago when Roy bought a new vacuum cleaner for NC and I guess it was since he bought it at the time I was in the rehab hospital. It needs to find its place in the stack of things going.

Yesterday, was my last Sunday visit on this trip to Houston's First Baptist. I loved going to choir practice and catching up with friends in Dayspring Life Bible Study Class. Loved all the music in the 9:15 service. A special surprise yesterday was Lisa P sitting in the balcony with Dena and me.

I have had lots of time to think and ponder. Lots of time to be thankful and grateful. Lots of time to do my PT homework. Lots of time to sleep, I gave up on reading because each time I began a book, I fell asleep. I got tired of restarting book after book. I have watched more TV than I usually do and I think I have caught up on all the Datelines and 48 Hours. I know almost all the lines and plots to The Andy Griffith Show. In the past week I have felt a difference in my stamina during the day and still fall into bed at night tired, but a good kind of tired.

Roy and I watched The Blind Side last night instead of the Grammy's. OK, I don't think we have ever watched the Grammy's. Award shows are not our thing and it was funny to read on FB and Twitter that many of my younger friends didn't even know who some of the musicians were. That is encouraging, welcome to my world of the Hits from the 70's-90's. I have loved this time in Texas with Roy. We have had such fun even in the midst of knee replacements.

Between my Dr appointment and lunch with CourtneyS on Friday, I had a little time. I went to the hospital gift shop. Dena says hospital gift shops are the best and I think she is right. There were all kinds of fun things to look at and some of those fun things came home with me. Then I took some time driving around the Spring Branch area and marveling at all the changes. I also drove a bit in the Memorial area and more homes have been torn down  and huge mansions built in their stead. I can't believe all the high rise apartments and condos being built and the streets are torn up because of resurfacing and widening.

Yep, this has been a good visit and once again I am grateful for a hubby that loves me enough to sacrifice, to let me live where my health thrives. So thankful to the Lord for the gift of friends here and the gift of friends there.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Released and Ready to Roll

This time next week....Gave the keys to our housesitter last night. Going through the list of things to get done. Wrapping up a very happy and wonderful time here. Seeing friends and saying our "see ya's." I did not get nearly through the projects I planned working on while recuperating but I have seen people I love and I have eaten at just about every favorite restaurant I love here. Sometimes even getting a second visit both with friends and food. Last night was my last visit this trip to choir rehearsal. If John Bolin ever decides that music isn't his thing anymore, the boy can preach. Each rehearsal I come away experiencing and knowing God better, expressed in music and with John's encouragement to always grow closer to the Lord, to trust Him and to always keep singing. This morning I will attend my last CBS class for this visit. The brief time I have spent with the core group I was placed in has been special as we have been working through Isaiah. The time I have been able to attend CBS has blessed me beyond measure and I forgot how much, dare I say it, I love the homework. Today is also my last haircut this trip with Stevie. I'm going to the land of sugar just like old times before she was in Katy on Fridays at their second location. Sugarland has a couple of stores I like to go to...so maybe I might make a quick trip to several of those.

We are experiencing spring in February. I mean when the temps are getting close to 90 degrees, it is time to head to the mountains. I am so glad I brought some appropriate clothes for the warm temps. Before meeting Lisa P for a late lunch at The Nord yesterday, I went to the Galleria a little early to stop in at Macy's. I had a good shopping trip there finding three pairs of pants...on sale...and also getting my foundation at the Channel counter with a lot of samples. They are pretty tight on giving out samples but when the sales clerk learned I lived in the mountains, she was so generous. She being from a mountainous area in Europe. Lisa and I had a very fun and yum lunch at The Nord. Oh crab bisque, I have missed you. The french fries are the best ever and the chocolate cake, divine. I am not a chocolate cake fan usually but this cake and the Coca-Cola cake at Cracker Barrel are pretty darn good. Lisa had some returns to make and I wanted to make one last trip to The Whole Earth Provision Company to see if they had received a Flax shipment. Hallelujah! They had spring Flax and I broke my guideline of not buying Flax unless it is on sale. Happy with my finds, I went to church and choir practice.
Happy Friday! This morning was my last visit, at least for awhile, to Methodist Hospital in Katy. I had my appointment with my Dr to be officially released to move about the country. He is so pleased with the progress and the x-rays confirmed that things are fine on the inside of my knees. We had a fun conversation after all the official conversation and I was dubbed a fun patient. Now, that makes me very happy.

I met CourtneyS for lunch at Goode Company BBQ. Ah, deliciousness and we were the only women in that place for the longest time. As always we had a great time and in having such a great time, I forgot to give her the grits I had for her. So I met her back at HFBC and then I was on my way home. Roy had a couple of appointments this afternoon and he just got home but he is back out again picking up pizza for dinner.

Getting in any last restaurant meals in this weekend and get some more packing done or more rearranging of packing I have already done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Late Night Adventures

Happy Wednesday Morning! I slept in a bit today and the mockingbirds in the backyard sang me out of my sleep. Mornings coming up have early wake ups, so it is good to get a little rest and ease into the day. The past three and a half months have included all kinds of wake up times that began early and have now regulated themselves back into a more normal routine.

This week I am making all the last minute social lunches before focusing on next week and the work involved of packing. Yesterday was my last day of PT at Methodist. I leave encouraged and committed to continue the work. I passed with flying colors but there are still improvements to be made. If I were staying around she would ask for more sessions to help with my balance and spacial recognition. She said something interesting yesterday about my charts. I guess the PT person who worked with me a couple of times in the hospital misread me and thought I was one of those patients who did not want to do the work. It all came down to low platelets and needing two units of blood yet the hospital PT didn't write of me in glowing terms.  My therapist said it reminded her evaluations are a tool but her experience with patients and their attitudes should be the factor in evaluating. I think I will make an appointment with an orthopedist in Asheville to get a PT prescription and carry on with improving all that I can.

After PT I met Paige B and Peggy B for lunch at Escalante's. The food and fellowship were fabulous! Since Barnes and Noble is just across the way, I made a quick run through the bookstore...like I need anymore books. I only bought a couple of magazines like I really need more magazines. Then it was time to get home and get laundry put up and rest until Dena came over later. She was in the Katy area and we decided it would be a good thing to go out to dinner. We went to a fav, Carabba's. So glad that Carabba's which began in Houston, became a national chain. There is one in Asheville and one in Johnson City, TN. We had a great time. I told her about a Roy story that happened in the early morning, in the middle of the night and we had a good laugh. Roy even talked about it when she came in the house for a bit before leaving to return to her home in the foreign land. I will now tell y'all the story.

Roy has become very sensitive to fragrances and smells...so much so that I think some of it is his imagination and a lot of it is valid. He has been so tired that he went to bed Monday night around 8:30. I awoke in the middle of the night to find only me and Buddy in bed. I called out Roy's name and he responded from the couch in the living room. I asked him what he was doing out there and he said, "YOU forgot to wash the sheets!" (He swore he could smell the dander of Buddy at some exaggerated rate) The tone of YOU set me off. I got up and began stripping the bed of blankets and sheets. I came through the living room loaded down with bedding to be washed. Got the sheets in the washing machine and returned to the bedroom. Roy kept saying what are you doing? What are you doing? I replied simply, that I was washing the sheets. I went to the linen closet and got out another set of sheets and began making the bed. Roy reluctantly entered the bedroom and helped me make the bed. I reminded Roy I had asked him to help me remember to wash the sheets on Sunday and neither one of us gave it a second thought.  Both of us were not talking to each other in our "nice married voices" and we never raised our voices or went to sarcasm...ok the sarcasm part is something I will go to. We both got back in bed and I said the whole part that got me aggravated was the YOU....and I got up and changed the sheets so that he could sleep well the rest of the night and that I loved him. I said all that kind of in a factual voice. He responded factually, he loved me too and apologized for the YOU tone. And with that we both fell asleep. Extra points if you noticed we did not go to sleep angry.

In true Roy fashion he sent me an article the next morning via email about your bedroom is making you sick. Like he had that article right there at his disposal? Then he called me and we started laughing about the whole thing. Now, I do know he has become very sensitive to fragrances and chemicals over the years but sometimes I ask him if he smells something, when there is nothing to smell, and he concurs...yes...he can smell it. Bless him.

Roy told Dena and I last night that everyone he told the story to laughed and thought it was pretty funny. I am proud of him for telling the story...he usually doesn't do that.

The reality of life is this, you can attend a million marriage conferences and take copious notes but it really gets down to figuring out what makes your marriage work. It is knowing how to get along with one another and doing a housekeeping duty, Throw away all those notes on marriage and get to work at making it work. You'll be surprised at how much you really know to be successful.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday Morning Catch Up

There is a little bit of coolness in the air this morning. The mockingbirds summoned me out of sleep with their cheerful morning songs. Buddy has settled in for her first morning nap after having some lap and coffee time with me. I have a pedicure scheduled for this morning and a few errands to run afterwards. Roy and I are meeting for lunch and thankfully we have no other plans for the day. With the Super Bowl being in Houston this week, it is good to stick around on the prairie, although some of the parties have come out this way.

Wednesday was wait on workmen day. Our shower began leaking profusely on Tuesday. The plumbing company we use sends an email with a picture of the plumber that will be fixing the issue so you will recognize him at the front door. That is a very nice feature. So Jason was our plumber and he did a great job and a big plus, he was early to the job. He also installed the new shower head we had bought in November thinking we could change it out ourselves. I live to laugh...of course we couldn't. It was supposed to help me while I was in the midst of recovery. The warranty repair guy for the recumbent bike also came on Wednesday to finish up with the work he had started about a week ago.

I went to choir Wednesday night and as per usual, so blessed by the music and the worship. It is also a good time to do stair work. For the Super Bowl the sheriff's department has set up a SWAT station in one of the parking lots of the church. Really felt safe Wednesday night.

Thursday is Bible study and I went with most of my homework done. This past week's homework seemed especially difficult. It wasn't hard, it just had some wordy questions and my attention span went south.  After Bible study several of us went out to lunch at Whiskey Cake. The food was good but it is too noisy for any kind of meaningful conversation...and it is pricey for lunch. Glad we tried it though. I had the fried chicken salad just to start getting in shape for NC fried chicken.

Last night Emily and Judy had a bunco party. We celebrated the demolishing of Emily's old kitchen and the installation of her new kitchen. I think the work begins today. We all brought snacks and had a blast. Most hadn't ever played bunco, so it was a hoot at the beginning watching friends grasp the concept and competitiveness of bunco. I got home before Roy who was at Bible study. Yes, I'm rolling dice with choir friends and he was studying I and II Thessalonians.
Saturday morning. Roy is at Bible study and Buddy is still asleep. Lisa P and I have been texting this morning. Good morning world!

I had a pedi yesterday morning and Lisa, the nail tech, couldn't get over how good my feet looked. She even suspected I had a pedi somewhere else, but no, I think it is from the detox gel and also from walking differently. The good news of that was all the time she used to use on cleaning up cuticles and dry skin, she used to massage my feet and legs. Oh glory! Afterwards, I felt light on my feet while at Home Goods and then a quick stop at Emmanuel to buy product to take back with me.

Just got home when I got a text from Roy that he was leaving the park and ride, so I left home and met him for lunch at Alicia's. Then score, we also got to see Jennifer S for a quick visit. She is on the go most of the time and I hadn't seen her at our regular meeting spot, the balcony of church.

Today I will devote a majority of the day going through Roy's closet as well as packing up more things. Sticking close to home on Super Bowl Weekend.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Countdown Continues

The last day of January. Where did this month go? It went by so quickly but I think time flies when you are having fun and I had lots of fun in January. The next few weeks will have fun but I think this is when time will drag as I prepare to return home. I have started doing some packing trying to get ahead of the game. I spent time rearranging things that I bought or was given while here so that everything can make its way back with us.

Saturday afternoon Peggy and I drove out to the foreign land to see Dena. Peggy wanted to see her new home and what a great reason to traverse out that way, dinner. We went to Longhorn Steakhouse and we took the scenic route and nearly took it a second time. Then we came back and Peggy and I decorated Dena's mantle for her. I am certain she appreciated that so much.

Sunday morning, the choir and orchestra served us with the song At The Table. Oh my, it has fast become one of my favorites. They also ended the service with We Will Remember. Then our LBS class had a special treat, Lisa P's husband Malcolm taught our class. He is a brave man to teach and interact with about seventy women and most of us with much to say. I think it used to be for just one month a year, but this year it is six weeks where most classes are participating in the Foundations of Faith lessons. This year the lessons are based upon the pastor's book Unstoppable Gospel. OK, I am laughing when I write this but as the church lady on SNL used to say, "how convenient!"  Malcolm took customized his lesson for the two classes he taught on Sunday. On the handout, three mission statements from Chicky, Nordstrom and Starbucks. We agreed they are living out their mission statements but Malcolm challenged us with the fact that God's mission statement is still relevant and has been around for thousands of years, whereas Starbucks probably won't be relevant in a hundred years. The lesson was very good and to top off a very good lesson, Malcolm, Lisa, Dena and I went to lunch at The Grand Lux. The reason we went, Lisa, Dena and I were celebrating our ten year anniversary of having beignets in New Orleans. Lisa led worship for First Baptist New Orleans Women's Conference and the speaker was Liz Curtis Higgs. Dena and I took Lisa to the airport but before doing that we stopped at Cafe Dumond and as they say, the rest is history. Lisa flew back to Houston but Dena and I were on our way to the city where Steel Magnolias was filmed. I don't know how to spell it and spell check can't determine what I am trying to write. Oh my goodness, did we have a very fun lunch. Great laughs and stories and even better conversation. Everyone had something to share and say.
The first day of February and what a lovely spring day it is. I didn't finish yesterday's post because well there are things to do and people to see. Today, there are workmen coming around. One to do maintenance on the recumbent bike and a plumber. Yesterday I could not get the water faucet handle to turn all the way off. Roy and I tried to work some magic on it last night but alas, a professional will be here today to stop money going down the drain.

PT was very fun yet challenging yesterday. I got to do some work on the anti gravity treadmill. It was quite fun. The worst part was putting on the neoprene shorts. I was lifted off the treadmill or it sure felt like it. The machines that kicked my butt last week didn't hold that kind of power over me yesterday. We increased the weights on just about everything. Then to end the session we did an exercise that determines if I am floor and kneeling worthy. I passed the test and left the session feeling really good about my progress. Kelly also showed me how to break up the scar tissue in my knees so that I can continue with bending those knees.

I had the delightful pleasure of having lunch with Linita yesterday and the icing on the cake was seeing Eileen and Gena at Lupe's. Gena was my core group leader twice and she was an awesome one. She and her hubby have just about completed a move to the country so it was a special treat to see her. And of course Eileen is always a joy to see and visit with. Linita and I had a great lunch and catch up time.

The rest of the afternoon held errand running and while I was in the grocery store, it was robbed. I didn't have a clue and read about it later in the evening. Wow!

I will try and finish up CBS homework and I have struggled with it this week. I'll keep plugging away at it.

So it is February 1st. I thought around November 1st that February might never come. But my time here has gone by so quickly. I didn't get near everything done that I brought with me to do. The days have held lots of social time and they have held a lot of alone time and I need both equally...well maybe more alone time now than social. One of the most encouraging words I have heard this visit came from Geni H. She said it is like you are now being the person you were always meant to be after overcoming a difficult childhood and past. I agree, the work God has done on my heart since 2008 and the effect of NC living have done their work. A slower pace of life agrees with me. All the beauty that surrounds us can be seen from our porches and also in rather quick drives around the area. I've made that turn in my heart and winding down things here.