Monday, March 27, 2017

Just A Little Catch Up

This has been a most productive day. The outdoors beckoned and so I responded. I got some garden hose stored away, raked a bunch of leaves and put out some outdoor furniture on the back deck. The birds looked on impatiently because there was fresh water and food waiting. A few things rearranged in the garage and then the upstairs called. Put up winter clothes but resisted the urge to pull out spring and summer things. Got lots of laundry done and shredded not so important documents. Guess it must be the spring cleaning bug. Last night I cleaned out the pantry and ditched the arrangement system I had in place and thought would surely work.

Yesterday, I met Taylor and we did my Friday workout. My right hip is not cooperating and getting with the program. Here is the lesson boys and girls, always do PT even when they tell you that since you're doing so well, you can quit. So, trying to break up scar tissue and the like is hard work, but I am willing to do it. I worked even after our time was up. Spent another thirty minutes on the elliptical machine. Then it was time to run a few errands which included Fresh Market, Stein Mart and CVS.  I kind of thought about going out for supper but decided to have leftover queso and ate a salad to balance out the calories.

Last night I had a very nice surprise when a friend from Houston called to chat. We are not phone talkers by habit but we have such a warm, memorable and fun friendship. Oh my gosh, I was laughing to the point of doing the wheezing laugh.
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Well, the weekend went by and I didn't get back to the ol' blog. It isn't that I don't have things to write about, but it just seemed to be a quiet time. I was so productive on Saturday and then totally lazy on Sunday. Guess that is ok since it is a day of rest.

We had a guest speaker Sunday morning, Maxim Katz from Israel. He was very good and interesting. We also got out of church at a halfway decent time. I will once again say I love my Sunday School class, now going by the term Life Group or something like that. No matter the new relevant term, I still love this class of women who love to serve, pray and have fun together.

Sunday evening we worked on the Easter musical coming up on the 9th. It is beautiful and very meaningful. When I got home I had a phone message from a friend and the rest of the evening was devoted to having a fun conversation.

This morning I worked out with Taylor and we reviewed my initial assessment. Progress has been made! Hallelujah!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Maybe The Turn To Spring

There is a stump close to the gravel road behind us. In the past we have seen chips of tree stump lying about and close to another tree. The answer to the chips of bark came the other evening when I had pulled into the garage. A bright red headed woodpecker worked intensely and intently looking for his supper...bugs. We see several woodpeckers throughout the year but not on a regular basis, so it was a treat. The feeder and shrubs around it were filled with all varieties of birds and the splashes and flashes of color mesmerize me.

Today I get a much needed hair trim. Christine needed to change the appointment time and although I don't like later appointments usually, I was happy to help with her schedule. I will run a few errands afterwards but will probably go early to find a parking spot.

My father is officially under hospice care now. I did finally remember a fun time with him. I must have been about three and I would accompany him on Saturday errands. So, this is back in the day when we didn't need no stinkin' car seat and I stood next to him as he drove. We would sing Little Darling together. Even though we haven't had contact for five years and all the years before were certainly chaotic and traumatic, you can look to find the good amongst the evil perpetrated against you. Both my brother and I have qualities now that were forged from intense pain and circumstances. We have both been able to walk with others who have lived with similar circumstances and encourage them that things can and do turn out better than you'd ever think. We understand the language of double meaning and when silence, or words have a different intent, Only those who have walked this kind of path understand while others who have been so fortunate not to experience this kind of thing, look at you and question decisions. Oh my, they haven't a clue. Thankfully, I had a therapist who helped me understand this and who gave guidance as I forged ahead to emotional, spiritual and physical health and healing. I am keeping my brother in constant prayer remembering those times that we needed such strength and patience when we were taking and staying with my father in the ER and when he'd check himself in at MD Anderson. This is much different except for the energy that can be zapped.

The young cows across the way were feeling fine and frisky yesterday afternoon. Lots of head butting and chasing one another. At one point the older cows surrounded the rowdy group as if to stop the shenanigans but after a while, they moved onto their grazing letting the young ones duke it out. Maybe with the intent they'll get tired after a bit.
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We are supposed to warm up today and over the weekend. Ray's Weather, the definitive WNC guru, even said we can begin the wardrobe switch. The heat pumps are running this morning to take the chill out of the air in the house. It's a hazy start with the sun breaking through the haze and clouds. I can hear a blue jay in the distance and almost every morning of late I have awakened to the sound of the cardinal song.

I was away from home most of the day yesterday. There was a post office package pick up, Biltmore Village parking search, a quick looksee or two in some shops, lunch at La Cantina, haircut and color, Target, Home Goods, and Whole Foods. La Cantina is about the closest in providing good Mexican food that reminds me of what we find in the Houston area. They charge for chips and salsa now...so I get queso and chips, then have a snack for the next day. I like their black and blue nachos. So it was unpacking the truck and eating leftovers for supper when I got back home. The clock that has USB ports in it by the bed has been acting kind of wacky, not charging anything. So I messed with that for a bit and then gave up and unplugged the clock. Back to the old fashioned wall plug in with USB ports. Did a little bit of PT homework and then settled in to watch some TV.

Roy had called Duke Energy earlier in the week and they sent out an engineer yesterday. We are having a street light installed over our driveway. That should happen in the next two weeks. The work on the front porch will begin about that time too. Lots of improvements to come.





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday And Wednesday Views

I woke up at 3:00 am and had a difficult time falling back into sleep. My brain was being too active for the middle of the night. I began to pray and I included my father's well being in those prayers to God. That he would have peace and comfort, that he would know God's presence in that room. If you had to give a theme for my father's life, a very broad theme would be chaos. Circumstances were rife with churning and his very presence brought an onslaught of turmoil both physically and emotionally. Peggy once said to me I have never heard you tell a humorous or fun story about your father. They are few that's for sure. He tried at times but his personality could not take anyone's happiness, so what could have been always turned into the always has been. When we were young my parents would take us to small amusement parks in Houston, Wee Wild West, Kiddie Land and maybe Peppermint Park a few times. That would have been great fun but the whole trip getting to one of these places included a lecture on how other father's played golf on weekends but here he was taking us to an amusement park. I can remember thinking and by the grace of God I never said, why don't you take up golf? Playing golf had nothing to do with wanting to spend time with family, it had more to do with he didn't want to spend the money to play. I had a good time on the rides but my brother probably could have done without those trips because he was nervous about getting on some of the rides or riding the oldest and tamest ponies in the world at Kiddie Land. My father would make fun of him, unmercifully. Even if a ride scared me, I rode it cause I didn't want the attention directed on me.

I am still thinking about a fun experience with my father. So far nothing and I am thinking back to before I turned five because that is when he turned the course for us and determined to make life a living hell for me because now I was more interested in school and making friends than I was in him.
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I still haven't thought of a fun time yet but I will keep on searching. I went back to 2012 on my blog and read about those days beginning on March 27th and through the month of April. I stopped reading when I realized my heart rate was elevated.

Yesterday afternoon Brenda and I went to the Biltmore Estate to celebrate her birthday. We had 4:30 reservations for tea at the Inn, but we went a little early to drive through the gardens, stop at the garden center and a little bit of Antler Hill Village. The tulips are beautiful! Our tea time was delicious and such fun. Roy told me to offer Brenda supper too cause he thinks there isn't enough food at tea time, he considers everything appetizers.We did a little shopping in the Inn and I came home with two items that I love and were on sale. So double score. On our way back home, Brenda taught me a few more short cuts and I am driving like a local more and more. We also drove by the elk and watusi cattle. Weatherwise, it was the best day so far this year with temps in the low 70's.

Rain showers came though last night. Such a lovely and relaxing sound, raindrops on a metal roof. Thankfully, we did not have a lot of thunder and lighting. It looked like most of the heavier rain went to the south of us.

This morning one of the first things I did was to complete my Nord order because today begins triple points. I've been waiting so I could order makeup and products I use daily and benefit to get more Nord Notes. I did find a couple of shirts for next fall and winter on sale.

Bird watching has been especially entertaining. Many little birds stop by with nesting material in their beaks. They stop and fuel up and continue about the business of making a home. The squirrels and bunnies stop by at least once a day. The squirrel cracks me up when he comes to get a drink of water. It must taste so good that he lays out like a sunbather for a few minutes before continuing on with the day. The front yard and the gravel road in back has had a wonderful full capacity of robins. Such a beautiful sight watching them hop with their little heads cocked to the side listening for supper.

Have a full day of nothing schedule wise in concrete. I know some of the things I hope to take care of today.

Monday, March 20, 2017

From The Darkness To The Dawning

It is the first day of spring. A new season awaits and we greeted the day below freezing but it has warmed up nicely. After working out this morning I decided to make the often put off trip to Johnson City because I had happy feet and felt the need to see the big mountains north of us. It is kind of a gray day and in Johnson City rain threatened or at least it seemed that way. Once I was over the highest part of the drive, I talked with a friend. We had been talking when the call failed and before I could return the call, my brother called. We had talked yesterday because it seems that our father is having some difficulties health-wise.

With my father you never know...This is the man who would mow his lawn in the middle of the day during the summer hoping that just a small health related incident would happen, for just a little bit of attention. While being in remission for over five years almost fifteen from cancer, he would think every ache or pain announced the return of the dreaded C and after trips to the ER at MD Anderson or a slew of appointments the diagnosis would be the flu or a sore muscle. When he decided to have some heart surgery and it being more or less elective and Roy and I talked with him at length to see if this is really what he wanted to do. I suggested he look into a study program I read about and that meant not open heart surgery but a less invasive procedure. Once he began to understand open heart surgery, he backed off quickly...let some time go by and then swears up and down that he discovered the study program on his own. He was accepted into it and had a wonderful result. So when my brother was told that our father wasn't eating or wanting anything to drink, we didn't know if it was a natural decline or if he was trying to control the last thing he had any control over. The need to control stays with us to our dying day. After twenty four hours it is beginning to look like natural decline and not an obstinate man looking for a last bit of attention.

Life has never been easy with father. For us it became more difficult beginning in March of 2012 when he legalized his hatred with a severance of relationship. He cut contact and then began accusing us of actions we never had done. His next step when he didn't get the desired reaction was to notify Adult Protective Services and filed a complaint with the Houston Police, Elder Care and Abuse. It became the regular disruptive stress during the next three years to continually respond to these charges filed against us and the end result always the same, we hadn't done anything he accused us of.  We are innocent. When the authorities knew we were in North Carolina and when my brother called them and vouched that our father is an adroit lier, the calls stopped, the investigations and stopped wasting the authorities time. My brother also discovered a person of interest that kept things stirred up in hopes of some kind of financial windfall by duping our father. Then my father fell and broke his hip and the long time duplicitous stories to his doctor and to others revealed he shouldn't have been living in his house, by himself for a very long time. Thus began his assisted living journey.

My brother, after a few hits and misses, found a wonderful place for our father. His quality of life, raised. He was playing cards again and being social. He did have a little problem of taking things that weren't his, but Thelma, his long time friend, makes him read the Bible, pray for forgiveness from the Lord and then makes him apologize to the people he has taken things from each time he tresspasses against others. The past two years my brother has described them as freeing for our father. All the darkness that had covered so much of his life, all the conspiracies against him...imagined...gone. He was easier to talk with and he apologized to my brother and began telling him that he loved him. Our father was not one to express love by action or by words. He would ask why Roy and I weren't coming to see him and that is when my brother would remind him of everything he had done and said. He admitted those were some pretty good reasons. If my father had ever told my brother, would you tell your sister I am sorry, I would have probably reached out, but you see he never said that. He could not let it go because of his dislike that should probably be described as hatred, for me.

I am thrilled for my brother that he has had these last two years finding out he is loved and I am thrilled for my father that he has had these last two years away from his emotional darkness. It makes me so happy. Thelma has had many a conversation with our father making sure he knows the Lord and that he has truly accepted the gift of salvation. There have been several previous conversions that weren't the real deal admitted so by my father.

I am thankful for a therapist who helped me before and after all this happened. I am in a good place emotionally and spiritually, but I do find myself these past twenty four hours praying for and thinking about my dad. There is no desire to go see him and it is probably one of the healthiest decisions I can make. I wish he had had a better childhood. I wish he could have loved living life with his wife and family. I wish he could have found happiness. As for those holes in my childhood that didn't connect or make sense, I am content that three years ago I found the answers and those pieces of the puzzle explained so much. There is closure. I have forgiven him and I love him.

My brother should have some answers by this evening as a hospice nurse is visiting with our father this afternoon.




Friday, March 17, 2017

Out of Low Winter Temps

Yesterday was a weather/black ice/cold temps stay at home day with an extra emphasis of ensconcement on my part. To commemorate the day I wore my very favorite, well worn, well loved sweatshirt that has been with me for over twenty years of meritorious service. The cuffs are fraying but other than that I believe there is twenty more years of wear in this sweatshirt. It is not even a cute sweatshirt, it is light gray...yep that's it. I took this sweatshirt to the rehab hospital for those difficult days of hard work and lots of surgical pain. I also spent the morning reading favorite verses and chapters from the Bible. The comfort and hope they've brought through the years in and out of different seasons of life was assuring and went so well with the beloved sweatshirt. I tackled a project or two. While in Texas, I ordered floor lamps for use here. I put them together, thankfully there wasn't anything on the box that said easy assembly, and then put them in the twin bedroom. The packing foam broke apart all over, so I cleaned it all up and called it a project well done. I also unpacked a hanging rack that I ordered while in Texas and put it up. All the while wearing my favorite sweatshirt and thinking on what I had read.

I think that Margaret Feinberg is one of my all time favorite authors. Her words and thoughts mesh with how I think and express myself. Even the devo I am using this year by her, even the tough subjects and sin that needs to be confronted in my life, resonates and calls me to action. So many feel this way about Ann Voskamp. Her style of writing should speak to me, narrative prose, but I had the hardest time reading her first book. I gave up in frustration.

During the weather related home day I also took the time to journal in depth. I'm always writing things down but yesterday I took time to contemplate and express. Because I love notebooks, journals and office supplies in general, I used a new journal that I recently purchased...I know, like I needed another journal. This new one has characteristics that none of the others have and it came with a little stencil thing to add emphasis to your writing. Winner winner chicken dinner cause I rely on stencils because this girl ain't got no art talent.
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I kind of eased into the day yesterday but when the temps were closer to getting about freezing I got out and ran errands. During the floor lamp project I realized that our light bulb stash was down to next to nothing. So the first stop Lowe's and I also stocked up on some bird seed. Then I went to the bank, grocery store, Cottage Door consignment shop and Ace Hardware. It was getting past lunch time so I called in a gas station pizza. Then I swung by CVS and then on my way for pizza pick up then home.

Brenda dropped by on her way home in the late afternoon. We got caught up with life and the time got away from us. She needed to get home and fix supper. Since I had pizza for lunch I opted for a sandwich while watching the birds in the backyard. The medium and small bunny were both back in the yard and a spat ensuded. At least it looked like a fight to me, lots of jumping and egging one another on. The bunnies went out of view but the birds kept on rolling. Two neighborhood dogs that I usually see once a year came through, a golden retriever and a boxer. Then they went back the way they came. I saw my first blue bird of the season, not blue jays, but I have seen a lot of blue jays too.

It's a workout day for me, so off to get ready.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Cold And Blustery March Day

The workout yesterday at the wellness center certainly is talking to me this morning. Muscles in my core are saying why did you wake us from such a sweet slumber of so many non active years? I love the TRX work and I am finally trusting it to do the work and yet suspend me. I also did my first time at that rope thing. You know where you hold one end of the big, heavy rope and make it do waves... We are at a small facility, so there was a lady on a yoga mat very near my rope activity. I asked her if I was making her nervous and she said yes. I assured her, hey this is my first time doing this so I am so sure it will go well. She didn't seem to share the same assurance. I think she was trying to do some kind of stretch with meditation but she probably felt it was more like stretch with irritation. Taylor worked on my calves before we started the workout. Oh my goodness! That and his jackhammer muscle thing have been life changing. My lower legs have always been so tight and that is due to not being able to use my knees for very much. I still had some slight swelling in my right ankle and since I have began this training, that swelling is gone. That jackhammer muscle thing opens up the connective tissue for better circulation. Since last July when we scheduled surgery and into this time I have been very motivated and believe me, I have to go with it cause I am not always so motivated to see results.

Bill C was so very kind to put together the "easy assembly" sit up thingy for me yesterday. The box lied, it was not easy assembly especially with the little allen wrench they provided. While Bill put it together Vivian and I visited. Such fun and I came home with a mason jar of homemade veggie soup and some peach cobbler. I had the veggie soup for supper and it was delicious. I also put some in the freezer to have for another meal.

The devo this week has been on words. The power of life and death is in the tongue, so says Proverbs. We can speak life into lives but many times we end up speaking harsh and hurtful words. Even in our actions we can give life into lives or take away hope with our chosen words or non verbal communication. Tone is a huge factor as well. Subject should be in there too because we can talk about ourselves too much or give ourselves too much credit for success. I saw my friend Velda at the wellness center yesterday. She was there to take a class but we got to visit for a moment. We both understand so well how the words, you look so good, affects decisions. We look good in our recoveries but that doesn't translate into we can do as much as we look like we can and we both confessed to the detriment in some tasks we opted to take on and realized we were not ready. I was on a tennis team with a woman who told her stories and happenings with way too many words. We'd all be waiting for the point of the story but we all knew we'd be waiting because of all the needless details. It took away from her story. I used to say to her and I am wishing I hadn't, but after a lot of meandering and bunny trails, I would announce, if this doesn't get interesting in about thirty seconds, I am so onto something else. Yea, there was life in those words, she said sarcastically.  Growing up I heard a LOT of words from my father. None of those words ever contained any mercy but he was big on lecturing about common sense and using good judgement. In those long extended "talks" before my punishment, I remember he did say some helpful things and like the sower that sows the word, before it could take root in my life, he dug it up again and again and again...he wanted overnight growth and could not be patient for a process, growing time. I don't know if he thought repetition would make his thoughts be more meaningful or what. I do know it is a fact we can only listen as long as our rear ends are comfortable. Maybe that was a good thing because I was so numb before getting a spanking from the "your behavior discussion.". Hmmm...maybe not so life changing but life saving cause he could render hard wallops. So those wise words became pedestrian, they lost their power to do life giving work. Funny how life and devotional reading collide because Roy and I had a good conversation about a situation he is experiencing with a friend who ambles too much and distracts when group conversations get meaningful. I was able to help him think through some things. Of course now that I look at this paragraph I believe I too have rambled on a little too long.
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It is a cold Wednesday morning. The heaters are running on overtime. The wind has blown and howled for hours. It woke me up at 1:30 am and it was hard to go back to sleep. As that wind blew making the whistling sound around the windows I began remembering and then seeing if I could still  recite the poem my grandmother told me at night before going to sleep, Little Orphan Annie. It is a scary poem about goblins coming for bad little boys and girls. Yes, sweet dreams are made of these. This poem was especially terrifying in the winter at her house. The heater was a wall mounted contraption that made scary sounds of bumps and no good knicks coming up the stairs to get you before eventually transitioning to heating the upstairs.  I'll leave off this morning with this poem. I can still recite most of it from memory.

Little Orphant Annie

.  Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay, 
    An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away, 
    An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep, 
    An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep; 
    An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done, 
    We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun 
    A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about, 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers, — 
    An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs, 
    His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl, 
    An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all! 
    An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press, 
    An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess; 
    But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout: — 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin, 
    An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin; 
    An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there, 
    She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care! 
    An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide, 
    They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side, 
    An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about! 
    An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out! 
    An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue, 
    An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo! 
    An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray, 
    An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away, — 
    You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear, 
    An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear, 
    An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about, 
    Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you 
      Ef you 
        Don't 
          Watch 
            Out!





Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Brrr....Cold

There are just a few patches of snow left mainly in the shade, places without a southern exposure. Our deck still has a remnant of snow left. It was fun while it lasted and really that is how snow can be enjoyed. When you are trapped inside for days on end by this beautiful white ice, somehow it loses its appeal. Every little bit of moisture helps knock out the drought that we have been in since last year.

The time got away this morning and before I knew it, it was 10:04. Good thing I had already planned not to go to church. So second day in a row without makeup and once I got involved into my bird and bunny watching, well I am ensconced. I did venture out for a quick minute when I took the trash down to the road in the truck and then went "around the block." The camels were up by the fence close to the road. They very rarely, or we are never able to catch them, that close up to take pics. So, I drove around the block so to speak and came back this time ready to snap a few pics and I was treated to a great display of camel cushing and rolling over onto the grass mainly for scratching purposes. I was so delighted and entertained. Thankfully, no traffic on the road so I was able to sit there a few minutes and take it all in.

Today Peggy called me the bird lady or Lady Bird. Maybe I am more like Doctor Doolittle because when I start watching the birds, I do little other than that. The backyard is all a flutter with birds coming and going. I observed an interesting thing today. Bunny Foo Foo was back and enjoying the seeds the birds hadn't found. There were doves nearby and the feeder filled with finches and wrens. The caw of a nearby crow broke the silence and all activity stopped. Not one of those birds moved. The bunny was so still and they stayed that way for about three minutes. When they knew the coast was clear all activity resumed. The fluttering of those small birds did not phase the rabbit. Even when the bigger birds like cardinals came around, nothing...but the shadow of a big bird flying over or the sound of a crow....makes for a quiet backyard. This morning two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees, that is until two blue jays began darting toward them. One squirrel ran off but the other one kind of put up a defence of his limb on the tree. Obviously, there wasn't a birds nest in it, so the blue jays were just playing or bullying because it was all a sport to them. I am learning a lot about life watching the antics of the animal kingdom.
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Tuesday and it is cold with winter skies. We are having spotty Wifi coverage so I am writing quickly before the squirrels decide it is too cold to run and it goes out again. Just like ancestors of old I restock the Wifi by rebooting...well, it seems like it is the same concept as with stoking a fire.

The roads were clear yesterday so I was able to go to my workout appointment. We did some good work yesterday. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store and then to the pharmacy to get prescriptions transferred. I have an errand or two for today but I think I can wait till the cold is over. We are above freezing for the rain we got last night was just that, rain not snow. The next two nights will be bitter cold in the teens. I keep thinking about and praying for the students on spring break from Houston's First that are serving in New York City this week. Most do not have cold weather gear since winter is about three days in January.

I had a very difficult time falling asleep last night. I got back up and dozed in front of the TV until about 2;00 am. I think I was a little wired from phone calls and I ate my supper a little later than normal. And I think the time change had something to do with it as well. As I regain stamina and active days like yesterday that would have worn me out before new knees. So maybe I need to take activity up a notch.

Another experiment in coffee and it seems to be a good choice. I bought some Folgers French Vanilla coffee yesterday since it was on sale. We used to drink that coffee several years ago. So I made coffee with it and a scoop of a premium vanilla coffee and I think we have a winner. I also want to try out this morning the new item in the dairy case for making lattes. It comes in a can that looks like whipped cream. I got caramel flavor, so we will see.




Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Sunday Happy Occurrence

Just like that, the snow event is over. I felt like a kid at Christmas knowing the snow would come in the middle of the night. The first time I woke up, I looked out the window. The snow must have just started to fall because there wasn't any accumulation. The second time I woke up, I decided not to look because I would be so disappointed not to see snow. Ah yes, third time is a charm and I looked out the window to see the deck covered in radiant white snow.

I stirred myself out of bed early to take a few pictures from inside the house. That cold gray was the canvas for the snow to show off. The limbs of trees laden with snow created beautiful silhouettes against the gray and silver sky. Now that the sun has come out the snow will melt and by this afternoon there won't be any signs that it was here for such a brief time.

The normally busy road is rather quiet this morning with only a few cars and trucks passing by. The road must have been brined yesterday because it was clear this morning while everything else was blanketed with snow.

The little wrens and sparrows were busy this morning clearing out the birdfeeder designed for smaller birds. They cleared the snow and got down to the business of eating. I sat at the table watching the coming and going of the birds and asked the Lord if He would so kindly send a cardinal. He did and I took a few pictures. Then another male cardinal came, they got into a fight and flew off. Later, Mr and Mrs Cardinal had brunch together and I was able to catch that too.

Now the trees that are still in winter dormancy look like they have cotton balls among the branches. I know better than to try and maneuver outdoors. One is more cautionary with artificial knees and hip. Besides building a small snowman is fun when you are doing that with others. So, I choose to drink coffee and watch the birds and the snow melt.

This has been a special, quiet morning. Along with the sacred there has been fun sending pics to friends and then posting snow pictures like a tourist. I know, I should act like I have seen snow before but it is fun to share the beauty. I am happy to see friends who have lived here all their lives posting snow pictures or commenting on the happy occurrence.

The weather service is reporting that we didn't get as much snow as expected and the dry air coming from the north made this more a southern snow event, meaning south of Asheville. It looks like, from my back deck observation, that we got maybe 2 inches of snow. Believe me I am fine with that. Yesterday, I read articles about the blizzard of 93 which ironically began on March 12th. We will keep an eye on Monday evenings weather because we could get some icy precip from the Nor'easter coming back up the coast.

I just saw my friend CourtneyS leading on the frontline praise team at Houston's First Baptist webcast. I love to hear her sing.

Our church service here begins at 11:00 so it is a later start. I am still in my jammies and have opted for church at home this morning. The time got away as I watched and took pictures of our happy occurrence here in the mountains.

 In a bit, once it looks better for me to venture out, I will help the birds get a little more food in them to keep warm.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Day, With Sat and Tur

After two nights of being awake in the middle of the morning in the middle of the night, I was so thankful to have a good night's rest. Even confirmed by my Fitbit sleep tracker. Taylor mentioned in our workout session yesterday that I seemed a bit off and I knew it was from lack of sleep and rest. The new coffee this morning is tasting pretty good but I am still ever on the search.

The early sunlight has now changed over to gray skies. It has been fun watching two sparrows this morning gather dead grass and other materials to build a nest. The nest they are building is in a tree/fir in the front yard. Bunny Foo Foo was out this morning as well. The cast of regulars, birds of different varieties, come and go as they eat and probably have a sense to prepare for a cold night ahead.

It dawned on me yesterday while applying makeup that the foundation I use comes in a bottle that the top cannot be unscrewed or undone. So unlike other foundations where the bottle can be turned upside down to get the last little bit of makeup before opening a new bottle, your foundation usage is already determined by the manufacturer. Guess you can tell I am getting to the end of the present bottle.

The winter storm that is overtaking TN through the Carolina's today and tomorrow is named Stella.

Flourish, the devo book by Margaret Feinberg, is really so good and is just the devo book for such a time as this. I am in the section Bursting With Life. The chapter I read this morning is How To (Not) Enjoy Life. Yep, it is about attitudes and words that rob and threaten living an abundant life. The verse, "do everything without complaining and arguing" Philippians 4:2 NLT. When Beth Moore still taught Sunday School at First Baptist Houston, she talked about what Paul endured. The visual she used as she named them off was that of an old timey adding machine where you punched in the numbers and then had to pull the handle on the side of the machine down for the numbers to be included in the adding. She was naming and pulling that imaginary handle down rather quickly. It is one of  Lisa P and my favorite memories of her class. Paul had a whole lot of reasons to complain but he holds his tongue and he in turn is teaching the Philippians.

"Paul never suggests that believers deny any sorrow or adversity they face, but rather recognize, that even in the midst of affliction, they can control their tongue-including the brass and the sass. 
When we respond ready and cheerful, we become like a breath of fresh air in a smog-chocked city. Those around us catch snapshots of God and see the world in a better light."
Flourish, Margaret Feinberg


So, that no complaining thing has to apply to this weekends big change...to daylight savings time. Why is the fall change so much easier to adjust to? Well, I do enjoy having longer evening hours with daylight. In the summer that translates to about 9:00 pm in these here parts. 

The past few days while doing the regular stuff as I drive around, I have noticed more houses that are hidden by the trees most of the year. I wonder how people get to some of those houses? Really, there is such beauty in all four seasons of the year around here. 

I think one of the reasons I slept so well last night was the rejuvenation from the deep tissue machine that Taylor has. As we ended the session yesterday, he used it on my right hip and then on quads with emphasis around my knees. Oh my word! I might have could have sang a song. Yes, I know bad grammar. The nerves that hurt trying to come back are helped so much by this. It helps with connective tissue and when the blood is flowing freely, healing is happening. I could have jumped off that table and could have sang and marched as I did, I'm a soldier in the army of the Lord! 

Well, I have eased into the day longer than I had planned. So I better be about the business of the day. 





Friday, March 10, 2017

Snowstorm Anticipation

If the weather guys are right, there should be some snow on snow, snow on snow in the bleak mid March time, I think I'm prepared for snow. Or at least as prepared as I know how to be. Sounds like everything gets started tomorrow afternoon in the upper elevations and then as the evening continues we should begin to see the rain turn into snow. I had planned on going to the grocery store this morning since my workout wasn't until 1:00 today. It wasn't hectic but I am sure by this afternoon the lines are longer for bread and milk. That seems to be the snow storm food of choice. It is like hurricane preparation, only we aren't buying milk cause it will go bad with the lack of electricity and the heavy humidity and heat. That is where Pop Tarts come in and just to be on the safe side I do have a box of those bought previously. I have plenty to eat but you know when weather is bad you have to have a little something sweet, so I did buy a few little extra things like that. I also got some bills mailed on the way to working out just in case Monday's roads were bad. Then just like hurricane prep, I filled up the truck with gas. So, I am ready, I think.

Last night this colder weather was ushered into our area by some very strong storms. I kept my attention throughout the evening on the radar. Usually all those reds, turn into yellow and green on the screen, but this time the mountains didn't slow down the storms as much as I have seen before. I went to bed and about 3:00 am, the loudest clap of thunder, so close, with such intensity, shook the house...shook it and the house groaned. Yes, it did and I jumped out of bed, grabbed my glasses and began to look for any damage. The weather app said the lightning strike was .09 away to the south. I surely hoped all the cows across the way were sheltering in their barn. It thundered several more times but nothing, NO NOTHING, like that 3:00 am wake up call. I sometimes forget that now instead of being 50 feet above sea level, I am now however many feet above sea level...maybe 2000? That's just a guess on my part. I just went to the Google, it's about 1,913'. The average elevation of Leicester is 2,100', so my guesstimate wasn't too far off. The point before the rabbit trail, we be closer to the sky and clouds and lightning. It took me a while to settle down and fall back to sleep. I would have slept longer except you know, the whole better get to the grocery store thing was the thought in the back of my mind.

Just got an email from Lowe's offering snowstorm products. Well, the marketing dept is on top of things.

My workout today was good. I am feeling more comfortable with an increased stride and I can feel those muscles in my hips firing away. We added more weight training this afternoon. Of course I have homework this weekend. Don't mind having it at all.

So that's about it on the snow storm anticipation. We shall see how it all goes down. And I bought a different brand of french vanilla coffee to try in the morning.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Second Cup Is Better Than The First

I'm trying a new brand of coffee this morning...meh... I love french vanilla and last year Fresh Market carried a blend that was so good. This spring FM seems to be into dessert flavored coffee. I bought vanilla creme' from Smoky Mountain Roasters...meh... Think I will have some Community Coffee sent this way, their french vanilla and their caramel drizzle. I still have two bags of Mardi Gras coffee and the delicious butterscotch flavor from Smoky Mountain Roasters.

Last night I went to bed before 10:00. Daylight Saving Time is going to kind of mess up the schedule getting used to the time change, so I'm resting up now. I had a good day. I had planned to go up Johnson City way because they have an Academy and I wanted to stop in at Barnes and Noble to see if the magazine I like was in. There are a bunch of shops together there and it makes for a fun day of looking. But I changed my mind and decided to head down the dreaded I 26 south to Biltmore Park. Traffic wasn't too bad and after finding my magazine at Barnes I planned to go over to Airport Road. Just as I got into the truck I got a text saying traffic was backed up near that exit due to maintenance. So, I opted for an early lunch at Moose Cafe. They seated me at a booth and I saw the Inn on the Biltmore Estate in the distance and decided to do a drive through to see how far along the flowers and blooms are in the garden. The drive on the approach road is one of my favorites and while the daffodils were in full glory, everything else is kind of at the wait and see stage...some of the tulips had color in the walled garden. I thought about stopping in at the garden center but opted to keep on rolling. I was treated to the delightful sight of geese grazing in a pasture...they are vegetarian and one sole lamb at the sheep barn. If I had brought a warmer coat, I would have gotten out and walked on a trail so a little bit since the day held sunshine.

Once I got home I worked on getting the last big suitcase put up. I filled it with winter clothes that I don't think I will wear again until later in the year, but we might have snow on Sunday. I might have to pull that suitcase back out. I didn't pull out too many sweaters this year since I knew I'd be in Houston and only have the occasion to wear a sweater once or twice the whole time I was there. Silly me, I brought a bunch of sweatshirts though....only wore them when I was in my freezing stage the first four weeks after surgery and then I seemed to wear the same one over and over.

Publix had strawberries on sale and I needed to get those I bought cut up. Done and done. The strawberries are flavorful and it makes me look forward to the short strawberry season here the first part of May.

I went to bed before 10:00 last night like I wrote previously but I awoke a little before 4:00 am because I heard a noise. It was not a creature stirring or a human noise, it was a clicking noise and not consistently. So, I'd drift off to sleep and hear it and be awake once again. I got up and checked the thermostat because it sounded like it could be that trying to shut off. Nope. I walked around and turned off all the fans and air filters that I use mainly for background noise to see if it was one of them. Nope. Kept hearing the clicking and finally I had a Sherlock moment and deduced it was coming from a timer that we have on a light. Consarn these modern inventions that make life easier. I unplugged the timer and silence resumed. I only wish going back to sleep would have come as quickly but it took a while. Around 7:00 am, I heard my phone vibrating with the sound of emails. I checked them and did a quick return email and went back to sleep till a little past 8:00. I sleep through thunderstorms but the sound of a little click awakens me. Oh and by waking up in the middle of the night did I at any time think I was a leader bearing the weight of marketing or anything like that.

So, I am easing into the day. Going to be in the low 70's but on Sunday we might have snow. The ups and downs of temps isn't just a Houston thing.

I'm settling back into mountain life. I've kind of been a homebody. It is good for me to take the time to be quiet, read, and work. Funny, when I took exit 50 toward the Biltmore yesterday, I had that calm, living here feeling not the anticipation that I used to feel when we made that turn toward our home for the week. I never tire of the road to Canton and love the beauty of each season. The barn with the wheelbarrow on top of it collapsed but I am happy to report, the wheelbarrow is still attached to the roof. The tree that held the shape of a camel, well, some large branches have fallen due to the wind, so the camel shape is gone.

Well, I better get moving into the day. The second cup of french vanilla coffee tasted better than the first, so there is hope.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We Need Raindrops To Fall On Our Heads

The wind chimes out front are playing a faster song but that is normal on windy days. We are supposed to get rain later today. I just checked the radar and yep, greens, reds and yellows on the screen are moving toward us. Now if the mountains along the TN border do their job, we won't see a lot of bad weather but we sure could use more rain.

We are working on our Easter music in choir. Sunday night after a great rehearsal, I came home and was sitting here reading. I heard a strange noise upstairs...not quite sure what it was. So, I went upstairs and began looking about. I couldn't find what made the noise and just attributed it to something falling and I'd discover it soon enough. Yesterday morning, the falling object revealed itself when I saw all these push pins on the floor under the project desk. On the wall above the desk is a magnetic set of containers filled with office supplies, paperclips, push pins, and clips. The lid of the push pin container popped off. Mystery solved.

So happy for my friends at Houston's First Baptist, getting the offering amount needed to begin the remodeling process on the building they purchased downtown. Hats off to the communications staff cause they got the word out quickly and Houston Business Journal, Houston Chronicle and Channel 13 picked up the story.

My workout with Taylor yesterday was so encouraging and productive. I love that he uses the jackhammer on my shoulders before we begin and then takes me through a series of stretches to help with range of motion. My left side especially needs this. He also used the jackhammer on my right hip to help it respond and for the muscles to fire up. Then we began the first of what I hope is many TRX workouts. It is range of motion for the right side and strength for the left. Of course I have homework before our next session and I can use the stairs to do the work. I am finding it easier to go up and down stairs and sometimes not holding onto the railing so tightly which means I am using upper body strength to perform the task. It is a good work in progress in getting my legs, knees and feet back into the process. Balance work is the hardest and it is coming slowly but surely. I have noticed that getting water for the birdbath and putting the trash bag for pick up on the road isn't as precarious as it was before. Still making my brain and feet communicate with each other. It feels like I have learned to walk all over again.

It is now the afternoon and the wind still has the wind chimes playing a fast tune. The rain thought to be coming earlier today has now waited for a late afternoon arrival. The skies are a silver to dark gray with occasional light spots peeking through. I thought it might be a good idea to run over to Walmart, yes what in the world was I thinking, this morning before maybe encountering rain. With all respect to my cousin and a few friends who work at Walmart, I really, really dislike...no the correct term would be HATE going to Walmart. I was optimistic because the parking lot wasn't too crowded and I breezed through the aisles picking up what I had intended to get and well...I found a few more things...at reasonable prices. That is where the happy, happy, joy, joy stopped. There were only two main lanes open and both had lines and shoppers with full baskets. It did not make me feel any better that employees would come out, look around, look concerned and then do nothing. No code....whatever the code number would be for open more registers, just lines. I had too many for express and self checkout. Finally, as I approached the counter to be able to put my soon to be purchased items on the belt, the cashier seemed to slow down...then, when the woman in front of me wasn't sure whether to push clear or ok on the card reader, the clerk says, push clear. That clears out the signature so the woman is just standing there and the clerk says ok. But it wasn't ok...I finally got involved in this three stooges escapade cause we would still be there with the lady pushing on clear and the clerk saying ok...whose on first? I said you hit clear and it cleared your signature. You have to sign again and then click on ok.  Alas! Success! Progress at the Walmart. Then the clerk says to no one in particular, I've never had so many questions coming at me at one time. Uh, no one was asking her anything, so it must have been the voices in her head asking questions cause none of us were talking to her or to ourselves or amongst one another. I was loading my cart and getting ready to finish up our transaction when it sounded like the clerk said to me, have a good day zombie. Well, if her hair wasn't so greasy and I could have heard her incorrectly but I should have turned back to her and do the zombie walk and I'd be saying, brains, brains, brains...oh, somebody beat me to them cause there ain't a brain in that head. No, I walked away hoping my frozen food had not defrosted.

So I checked Amazon to see if the prices are better on a few of the things that I get at Walmart. Not better price so maybe Roy will go to Walmart for me. It doesn't seem to bug him as much as it does me.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Few Thoughts On This And That

It is a rather cool, no make that cold morning. Last night the heaters were turned a little higher temperature to combat the dropping temps in the night. It has been a good morning for observing backyard wildlife.  Once again the doves are frustrated by an icy birdbath but it is above freezing now, so it won't be long for drinking and bathing to return to normal.

Today is Go Texan Day in Houston. The trail riders are coming into Houston from points beyond on horses and in wagons. The gathering point, Memorial Park and then in the morning the rodeo parade. Schools, offices, wherever in the city...people are decked out in their western duds. I especially liked Go Texan Day when I was in elementary school because that was the only day in the year where girls got to wear jeans/pants to school. We all had various versions of Go Texan ties and outfits. Years ago Roy had a boss that participated in the BBQ cookoff before all the rodeo stuff began. Seems like it was a guarantee that it would be cold and rainy the weekend of the big BBQ cookoff. It is a huge deal with tons of people. The only way to participate is if you have a ticket to a private group that is cooking, no ticket...no fun. Well, that is my opinion. The food is good, the entertainment is good and you return home smelling of smoke...not good. Jackets went to the cleaners the next day. After a couple of years, I no longer had to go. Just the group from the office went and then Roy changed jobs and we haven't been back. Thank you Jesus! Now I've been back for rodeo shopping and seeing all the animals but it has been ten years, thank you Carissa, since I've actually attended the rodeo. That's alright by me. So here is a yeehaw shoutout to Texas friends!

On Monday, much to my chagrin, I made a reference to Taylor, trainer, that he knew nothing about. He gave me a thumbs up and I said Gig Em. He looked at me like I was crazy. I was, I never say that because I didn't go to Texas A&M. So, I had to explain, to the best of my ability...which wasn't much, what Gig Em means. Thankfully, I was in my right mind and didn't try to then explain further about the whole Whoop thing. I maintained silence on that whole thing.

So I found yogurt that has fourteen grams of protein. I don't know what that means other than it is more than the regular yogurt I eat. So on game days, I mean workout days I will have the protein enriched yogurt...that tastes ok but not as good as my first choice. It seems I remember from tennis days the body needs protein or more protein on workout or game day.

Yesterday afternoon Bill and Vivian came by. Bill looked at the closet damage, assessed the situation and went to Lowe's. That left Vivian and me time to sit and visit, something we've not been able to do since I returned. It was lovely. Bill returned and spackled the holes left in the wall by fallen shelf and rack. He is coming back today to put the rack and shelf back up, but stronger and more secure than before. Now to shop! No, not really. No really, even though one of my favorite stores just sent me a letter informing me they have increased my limit on their CC. Oh my...such knowledge is too wonderful for me, but not going to shop. Well, at least for today, this weekend but triple points time...I gotta think about that.

Loved the conversation Roy and I had yesterday. He was telling me about his Bible study homework and that the writer of the study made reference to Rahab as being a hotel owner...He researched that and found it not to be true but my great spiritual addition to the conversation was maybe she ran a hotel like the Chicken Ranch...famous longtime brothel brought down by Marvin Zindler in Texas.  Then he told me about Moses and Joshua... Moses asked God for someone to lead the people when he realized that he would not be going into the Promised Land. I had nothing spiritual to add to that conversation but it did make me think about all the leadership talk that goes on in church world these days. I read an article yesterday on leadership. The author talks about a good leader loses sleep and right there I determined I am glad I have never been a leader type because I like to sleep. So there is the lesson boys and girls, the teachable moment, if you like to sleep, don't be the leader...you'll get more sleep if you are in middle management. You'll probably have more work though. We all have sleepless nights, leaders or not and we all have choices what we do with those sleepless nights. Toss and turn...get up and read...take time to pray...journal... Most important sleepless night action, to listen. Those late night sleepless times come when we are so busy...too preoccupied...talking...during daylight hours.  They come when God can get our attention and when we are not distracted. Note to self...first thing is not pick up my phone to check for messages or FB or email or check my Fitbit to see how I am sleeping.
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Yesterday afternoon was a little more filled than I had planned, which is good. I got all the bags of stuff to Salvation Army. Then I went to my workout with Taylor. So good and informative and I came home with homework for the weekend. Then I went into Asheville to go to Home Goods and Whole Foods. All my spring stuff to decorate with is in Katy, so I got  a few springy thingies to spring up the downstairs and that will be about it for spring decorating but I might add a few more Easter things cause they are just so darn cute. Vivian texted me that she had baked me a pecan pie and of course I readily volunteered to come by and get it. We had another great afternoon of catching up and then I came home with a pie, spring decor, peeled oranges and I came home to a closet rack fixed, secured and ready for many more clothes. No, not going to do that now and hopefully that determination will stick but not promising anything.

I would have finished out yesterday's blog post by saying I slept like a middle manager on Thursday night. I would have also added that on Thursday I wore two different, not matching earrings all day...saw people...no one said a word. Brenda R told me last night that it is a new trend. Oh good cause this is the second time I have done this in six months. I have two sets of everyday earrings and sometimes I put one in, ADD kicks in and I do something else, and then I come back and put an earring in from the other pair.

Last night I didn't sleep at all...no...no...no...a little Marilyn McCoo to begin your day. Two fun phone calls last evening kind of got me to thinking and I could not settle down...so it was fitful without me even checking Fitbit. I would have also concluded the post yesterday by saying this past week there have been a lot of nights of waking up and not going back to sleep and then when I came across the article, it just tickled me cause of this week's experiences and the sleepless nights had nothing to do with leadership. But I did listen and pray those fitful nights and I am so glad I did.

The temps are below freezing and the warm up is into the 50's today. I have some closet rearranging to do and hopefully a nap will happen this afternoon.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

We Will Remember....And Then We Will Move Things From Closet to Closet

Yesterday afternoon with a misty rain falling our backyard was alive with birds, bunnies and a squirrel. It looked like there would be a territorial fight on the ground with two of the bunnies but they were able to find agreement and they grazed at opposite ends of the yard. Two birds, I need to look at my bird book cause I can't remember their name, maybe a thrush were duking it out in the air. That is some fast flying and pinpoint maneuvers on their part. We have three bunnies that regularly visit and their descriptions are kind of like the three bears, a big bunny, a medium bunny and a small bunny with distinguishable markings of a rust color throughout its fur. Medium bunny was out early this morning and then dashed back to the confines of the tall grasses on down the gravel road.

I'm happy to have these days here at home. It sounds silly but there is adjustment returning from Texas to here, just as there is adjustment when I leave here and go back to Texas. Part of the adjusting is getting things reorganized and ready for life out here in the country. There is an adjustment to the pace of life...which is easier to adjust to here. Then adding in a workout routine and timing which I haven't practiced in a very long time. Being in the gym used to be just like breathing...it was a constant. When I quite playing tennis, I quit going to the gym. I was telling Taylor on Monday that I had a personal trainer, private tennis lessons and then group tennis lessons with my team. We were talking about the positives for one on one training and help. He was preaching to the choir. Some chores that made me kind of nervous previously do not seem so precarious to me now due to better balance and well...you know...new knees. They say, whoever they is, that every three months you feel better and better after knee replacements. I quit counting the weeks when I reached the three month mark. Something I have noticed this morning is nerve activity. Nerves around my knees and up a bit on my thighs are letting me know they are trying to rejuvenate. While a little uncomfortable I am happy to feel that especially since I hadn't recovered all feeling from my ablation and some from my hip replacement.

Which I am celebrating my five year anniversary of that very heart ablation. It changed my heart life for sure. Emily and David came up to the hospital and sat with Roy. I remember when the Doctors came in and explained the process that Roy's face reflected his first understanding of how serious this was. Here is post synopsis here

The rest of the day did not go as planned. Yes, I went to take care of my prescription and on the way I stopped at Lowe's to look at mobile storage containers. Why? Because one side of my closet shelf and rod fell down. It couldn't handle anymore. So, until it is repaired, I have gone to plan B which is move those clothes to the front bedroom closet. Before I could do that, I needed to clean out the front bedroom closet. I mainly have scrapbook stuff, journals, paper and all kinds of neat stuff in that closet. Yes, last year I went through it and gave a lot of stuff away but today it was serious time and stuff went in to the to go bags very quickly...with little regret. A lot went to the garbage and well still a lot will remain, but it is down into a manageable mess. I also was assertive on clothes going to the to go bags. And purses too. I'd also do shoes but that isn't a high priority right now. So I got my workout here and not at the wellness center like I had planned. Vivian and Bill, friends extraordinaire, have volunteered to come over tomorrow and give the assessment of the damage done and how to fix it...don't think it is fixable or what the solution is. Glad Bill keeps a running tab of all he does for us. I may have to get a job...a good job.

Now to figure out what's for supper. I may defrost something.