Sunday, November 30, 2008

Garlands of gratitude

This was discussion Sunday at our spiritual community. The month of November our focus has been on gratitude and today I led our group in art experience expressing our thankfulness. It just so happened that we were visited today by a family with small children for the first time in a long time and this was great timing. I asked them to come to the front to help me demonstrate the making of a paper chain as I considered them experts on something that most grown-ups had forgotten how to do. We adjourned to the classroom tables with the instructions that members were to write on each slip of colored paper something they were grateful for and make the slips into a chain. Later each person was invited to add their chain to the community chain telling one thing that they are grateful for. The chain grew quite long and will be used to decorate the Christmas tree at the party next weekend. The two small folk did a great job and were eager to share their gratitudes which was remarkable I thought in front of strangers.
It was also birthday Sunday for November honoring all members who had November birthdays and one of the kids just had a birthday. He got the first piece of cake and altogether had a wonderful time which of course led to all of us laughing and having a fun time. The Universe does indeed have a divine plan if we pay attention.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

Geez, but I love this new tree with all its pre-lit lights. Every previous year I swore DH and I were going to kill each other just trying to get the friggin' lights on the tree. That is a test equal to hanging wallpaper with a spouse. Now this glorious thing just unfolds and plugs in. Holy Moly...we shoulda done this years ago. So there she is...ready to be adorned tomorrow. I might even make cookies for the crew!

Black Friday

Black Thursday magnify
It's been a while since I blogged I know but life has just been kinda hectic. And I never thought I would do this but there I was at 5:45 am in line at our local Home Depot in the throngs of the bargain hunters feeding our materialistic souls in search of the greatest bargains. I managed to drag DH out of bed to go with me on this adventure into the dark of night. Home Depot had 7 1/2 ft prelit Christmas trees for $49 and poinsettias for 99 cents. This is the weekend the kids will come and help decorate the tree and house. Our old tree was getting rather tired and haggard like its owners and I was determined to get a new one. Success! We were let in at 6 am and the frenzy began as folks grabbed shopping carts and raced in snatching poinsettias on their way to trees and power tools. The bargain hunters became bargain snatchers. It was amazing and it was a good thing DH came with me as I could not have negotiated that tree box by myself. So one tree and 6 poinsettias later we are home. Two plants are on the porch and the tree is up with the cats sniffing and sniffing....they haven't torn it down yet but we will have to keep an eye on them. I love this tree! The rest of the poinsettias will go to the church.

Yesterday was delightful and I'm still stuffed! But my dishes weren't as wonderful as I had hoped. The pie I made from Cooking Light didn't look at all like the picture on the cover and I thought tasted awful. The cheese grits recipe I usually use I couldn't find and substituted one from which was way too heavy on the salt but didn't taste too bad. The pumpkin spice cake recipe I cut from the newspaper turned out super. I never bake any of this stuff for just us as we just can't eat it all. So....I end up experimenting on groups, poor things. But nobody seemed to care and everyone loved the cake. It was just fun being with family and we have much to be grateful for.

I hope everyone had a great day full of love and abundance.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Home at last after a wonderful trip. But it is a long way by car. 1270 miles in two days. On the way from Houston to Charlotte we went our usual route along I 10 which turned out to be a nightmare of construction and traffic reduced to one lane over and over. We had some business to handle before we left which took us all over Houston in the morning traffic so it was nearly noon before we got out of town. We made it only to Gulfport the first night and dragged our tired bodies into Miguel's in Charlotte around 7:30 Saturday night to meet our son and family. Two 12 hour days in the car but it was worth it.

We rarely ever experience anything like autumn here so I was enchanted by the fall colors all the way through northern Alabama, Georgia and then into Charlotte. So beautiful. And my son's home is just wonderful and sits on a bluff over Mountain Island Lake on the northern edge of Charlotte so each morning we could sip our coffee on their balcony overlooking the lake through the colorful trees.

We met the newest member of the family, Gatsby. He is a delightful beagle who just sorta showed up in the neighborhood and they adopted him. He and Daisy, their other dog, are like an old married couple...pretty funny.

Kate is still taking riding lessons and is doing very well. The picture is of the stable where she rides out in the country side not far from their home. There are always multiple cats and kittens around. Kate is playing the flute this year and we went to her first band concert. Later we went to Sam's soccer team banquet where he got a medal. As you can tell, most of our time was spent around the grandchildren's activities.My son has been with Wachovia now for several years but with the take-over by Wells-Fargo is facing a possible or more likely probable lay-off. I can read the stress on his face but he is handling it all pretty well and his wife is supportive of whatever they need to do even if it means moving. So we shall see.
We stopped overnight on the way home in Meridian, Mississippi. What a beautiful town and the Quality Inn we stayed in was far and above what we had experienced from that chain before. We will go back. And driving a more northern route on I 20 was a much better and easier route through beautiful mountains and autumn colors. We will do that again even if it is a little longer.

Monday, November 03, 2008

North Carolina at last

I'm upstairs in the play room of my son's house on the lake in Charlotte, NC. Out the window is the most beautiful array of, red, orange...the full array of autumn. We are relaxing here after a really tough few days. We were to leave last Wednesday but after my husband's visit to the tax accountant it was obvious that he was missing a bunch of stuff. His mind isn't what it used to be (at 77 whose is?) and he lost some major components. We spent 3 days running around Houston resurrecting what was needed and finally finished on Friday mailing the last piece on our way out of town. This will not happen again as I am taking OVER! Geez, men and their control issues!
The journey was full of delays and frustrations and 12 hour days of driving and driving. Our usual route along I 10 was loaded with construction all along the way around every major and minor city...lanes reduced to one and it is a major trucking route. I have to do most of the driving as hubby fatigues easily and his vision isn't all that great. In Atlanta as we got to 85 going north there was a shutdown of the whole northbound lanes. We waited almost an hour at a standstill and never did figure out exactly what had gone on. What a mess and very stressful! By the time we arrived in Charlotte and met my son and family for Mexican food at the wonderful Miguel's, I was a wreck. We missed Halloween with the kids which was a big disappointment but we finally made it.
But it just feels so good to be here where someone else is in charge. This has been a hairy month or two...first packing for a possible evacuation from Gustav, then the glorious Alaska trip, home for 1 1/2 days, packing and evacuating for Ike, home to put the pieces back together, oldest grandson in some big difficulty (he's bi-polar), more Ike stuff, catching up on everything missed while gone and/or without electricity for two weeks, taxes, art and poetry deadlines, best friend moving, and so it goes. Whew! Now I can take a deep breath and leave the Universe in charge as if it wasn't anyway. Working on maintaining an attitude of gratitude...I am warm/cool, dry, fed, clothed and have a roof over my head, friend and family that love me and that I love back, and my mind still seems to be in reasonable shape, though my poetry says otherwise. Life is good even it gets hairy at times.