Sunday, August 7, 2022

Sunday Stealing - We are Family!

 Joining up with Bev and friends for Sunday Stealing. Bev stole this week’s questions from Pinterest.

Today's questions have lots to do with family!!

1.      What would you like people to know about your mother? She died when I was 15 so I don’t have a lot of memories of her. She was about 5’ 2” tall and about 100 pounds. She was kind. She read her Bible a lot. She evidently lived through some really hard stuff when she was growing up which makes me think that she had courage. She was very smart.

2.      What would you like people to know about your father? Even though he never graduated from high school (GED), he was one of the smartest men I ever knew. He was also a very hard worker. He could “cuss like a sailor” (maybe because he actually was a sailor in the Navy).

3.      What was your childhood bedroom like? I don’t remember how old I was but we went to the local furniture store (Miller’s Furniture) and bought a new bedroom suit. My description will not do it justice. It had a slight Asian flair (like a pagoda) – the headboard was curvy. It was painted red with an antique finish. There was a touch of green and a touch of yellow. We had twin beds and a dresser.

4.      What was your favorite activity as a child? I loved to ride my bike and we played a TON of kickball on our street. I also enjoyed playing with Barbies and I’ve always loved to read.

5.      What was high school like for you? I had a good high school experience. I was not in the MOST popular group (the A group) but I had lots of friends and lots of fun. My mom died when I was a sophomore and I did veer off the path . . .for quite a few years . . .but I still had a good experience.

6.      Write about your cousins. On my mom’s side, there was quite a bit of dysfunction so I’m sure there are cousins I never knew. Cindy and Cathy were my Uncle Henry and Aunt Faye’s kids and I do have some sweet memories of being at our Granny George’s house and at their house. On my dad’s side, Willard aka Woody was the oldest and he and I talked maybe once a year. I really enjoy being around him and his wife, Ruth Ann. Janice and Gene were next and Gene is dead and the last time I saw Janice was quite a few years ago. Janice and my oldest sister were good buddies for many years.

7.      What was your favorite food as a child? I loved my momma’s homemade vegetable beef soup served with her cornbread.

8.      What was your most memorable birthday? I’ve had 3 pretty amazing ones. A family at our church (where I grew up) hosted a surprise 16th birthday party for me and it was very special. When I turned 40, a friend who has since died of cancer, hosted a small surprise party for me and I have sweet memories of that night. When I turned 50, I had a blow it out bash because my mom died at 50 and I always said, “If I make it to 50, we are celebrating.” Celebrate we did. A church friend hosted at her house. They brought in someone from a local restaurant to make part of the food. She has one of those amazing stoves and he made sandwiches to order – seems like it was cheesesteak and some kind of fish. We invited our whole Sunday School class (which is big) plus some other friends plus some friends of our kids. It was a great night.

9.      What world events were significant to you as a child? I feel like I was sheltered from so many things. We didn’t have 24 hour news. I do remember that we had dog tags made at school and we thought it was cool. In hind sight, I guess it was actually for identification!! I was 5 when Kennedy was shot so I don’t have any remembrances of that.

10.   What did a typical day look like as a child? During the school year, we got up and ate breakfast and walked to school. I loved learning then just like now. We played on the playground. We did homework when we got home and then played for a while. We got to watch a small amount of TV before bath and bed. In the summer, we roamed our neighborhood going from house to house. We did all of those things I mentioned above plus we swang and sang! We would get in the swings and swing as high as we could and sing all of the songs – I remember belting out “This land is your land. This land is my land . . .”

11.   Write about your grandparents. I never knew my mother’s father. He committed suicide. Her mother was Granny George and she lived “out in the woods.” Back then, it took quite a while to drive to her house. Now that there are interstates, her house is actually quite close to where I live. She was poor and I remember my daddy giving her some money when we would go to visit. He did it discreetly but I somehow knew. She lived in a little house and my oldest sister remembers stuffing newspapers into the wall to help insulate it. She didn’t have indoor plumbing and we had to tinkle in a “pot.” I think there may have been an outhouse in the woods behind her house. I actually have fond memories of being there and sitting on her front steps eating saltine crackers. That was literally what she had to give us as a snack. I remember that she sent flour sacks to my mom and I had quite a few dresses and shorts and tops made from those flour sacks. She also sent me a bobble head dog one time and I loved that dog!! My daddy’s parents lived in the same town with us. My grandpa ALWAYS had a big garden. We spent the night with Granny and Grandpa several times. My Granny always had little bottles of Pepsi in her fridge and I think my love of Diet Pepsi came from her house. She could make AMAZING biscuits without a recipe. Instead of bacon, they served “fatback” or “white meat” – something like that. I didn’t like it. She made great chicken and dressing and always had a closet full of home canned goodies from the garden. She loved to watch a soap opera – I think it was “As the World Turns” maybe and you had to be quiet when she was watching that. She quilted and she was a Methodist. My Grandpa was a Primitive Baptist and they went to separate churches!! They played a big part in raising my cousin, Willard. His mom was divorced (which was unheard of back then).

12.   Did you move as a child? I lived in the same house my whole life. My daddy built it.

13.   Who taught you to drive? My daddy and Coach Seale both taught me to drive.

14.   Which job has been your favorite? I love my job right now!

15.   What was the best part of your 30s? Our kids were in elementary school – I guess when I was around 34, they started kindergarten. I have fond memories of going on field trips with them and eating lunch at the school with them. 

    I don't have access to my photos so I can't share. Just FYI, I think all of my photos were saved in the fire - - or at least a large number of them. My scrapbooks were all in plastic tubs in a room upstairs so hopefully, no water damage. They might smell a tad smokey. I may have lost some photos from a closet that was in one of the hardest hit rooms BUT my baby book and my children's baby books and our wedding pictures were in there . . .and they weren't even damp. A friend packed those up on the day after the fire and got them out. They will probably smell smokey but they are safe!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Day Two - Italy/Germany Austria

You can read all about Day One of our trip here. 

Let's talk about Day Two!

Breakfast was provided at the hotel everyday so we started out grabbing a bite to eat. We boarded our bus with Helen, our tour guide, and headed to the Vatican for our Papal Audience. We are a part of the United Methodist Church . . .we are not Catholic . . .but it was still a great experience. Pope Francis is loved by the people because he has a heart for the poor, the immigrant. He is evidently a good Pope. It was SO HOT and we, along with many others, sat out in the blazing sun. We were told that we had to wear a dress that covered our knees and shoulders and even the men's shorts were to be longer out of respect. It was amazing to me to see what some people were wearing! Many places had a sort of thin hospital gown (disposable fabric) and if you showed up wearing inappropriate clothing, you had to wear that on top of your clothes.

After the Pope finished speaking, we walked around town and went to the Vatican gift shop where I actually bought some souvenirs (which are at a neighbor's house . . .I had all of the souvenirs sorted out on our dining room table on the night of the fire and as soon as we could get into the house, my neighbor saw them and packed them all up and took them to her house).

We walked down the street and some folks grabbed a gelato. The gelato shop had a door into another space where a woman was selling cigarettes and the packages have graphic details showing lung cancer, etc. (picture below)

We made a poor choice for lunch. The restaurant was a "lunch line/cafeteria style" and we had to wait a really long time in line and then the food was just not good. 

After lunch, we headed to the Colosseum and the Forum, etc. It was SO HOT in Rome. Yes, I know I said that earlier but I'm really glad we are from Alabama where the humidity is always high and summer temps are hot.

in line for our Papal audience

it was a gorgeous day!

The next day I found out we weren't
supposed to take pictures of the Swiss
guard. Just in case you don't know (I
didn't) -- The Swiss Guard or "pontifical Guard,"
makes up the smallest army in the world, comprised
of 135 men who act as the private body guards of the
Pope, and together with the "gendarmerie" (Vatican
Police), protect all entrance and exit points of the
Vatican.


See the tiny "tent" way up front? The Pope
sat under the tent.

There were so many people of all nationalities
there to see the Pope.

Selfie of the two of us . . . sweating!



I know my tennis shoes aren't a good
look with my dresses but some days
I just had to wear them.

If you can, zoom in and look at the
cigarette packages!!





I LOVED touring the coloseum. This semester,
my online class was Theatre appreciation
and we had talked about all of the events
that happened in the coloseum. Did you
know that they flooded the coloseum and
had naval battles inside? Really!!


Bottles of water were our constant
companion. I drank more water out
of bathroom sinks and crazy fountains
on this trip.

Here is our wonderful group of folks!




Here is one of the fountains --
there were fountains all over Italy/
Germany/Austria - you just filled up
and prayed for the best! Our tour
guide told us to put our wrists under the
water first -- it truly did help cool
the body! It was COLD spring water.

This is the Arch of Titus and is from
the first century and is located justed south east
of the Roman forum. It was constructed
in 81 AD by the Emperor Domitian. The
arch is in celebration of the fall of
Jerusalem.










One of our travelers found out there was
a bar on the rooftop. You could find large
numbers of us up there. We learned to
love Limoncello on the rooftop and brought
some home with us!!

One of the bartenders is front and center!

The view was lovely from the
rooftop!

We walked a LOT of miles on this day. I know why we didn't see many overweight people -- you walk everywhere and even though you eat and drink . . we didn't eat a lot of processed food.







Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Hodgepodge!

I always enjoy connecting up with friends over at From This Side of the Pond on Wednesdays for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Joyce comes up with the questions. We answer them and then read everyone else's answers! Feel free to join us or to answer in the comments!

1. Do you have a sister? Tell us something about her. If you don't have a sister, tell us about a friend who has been like a sister. Or tell us about a sister-in-law if you have one who is extra special.

I have two sisters - I'm the baby. My oldest sister was married and out of the house by the time I was four or five. Her oldest granddaughter is only a few months older than my children. She lives about an hour away. I got to see her recently and it was so good to see her. She has had some major health concerns so I was glad to lay eyes on her. My other sister is between us in age. She and I lived at home together after our mom died many many years ago. She has a son that is 8 weeks younger than our kids so we raised our children together -- even though she lives far away. I also have a friend who is a sister by choice. I have 3 sisters-in-laws who are all amazing in their own ways!

middle sister - Becky

3 sister-in-laws - Alice, Rebecca, Susie

oldest sister - Glenine

2. Resister, assister, insister, persister . . .choose one of the words listed and explain how it relates to you and your life lately.

I'm not even sure! I guess it would be persister since we are moving forward after the fire and my emergency surgery.

3. Share a favorite song, book, movie, or television program that features sisters. 

When I was a kid, I loved to watch Petticoat Junction - the sisters were Betty Jo, Billie Jo, and Bobbie Jo. 

4. August 3rd is national watermelon day . . .are you a fan? Do you like watermelon flavored candy? Besides eating the melon as is, do you have a good recipe made with watermelon?

I LOVE watermelon!! I don't eat candy but it seems like a remember a watermelon flavored Jolly Rancher that was tasty! My friend has an excellent watermelon margarita recipe - yum!!

5. Tis August . . .what are three things you are looking forward to this month?

a. We have lots of family birthdays this month so those are fun!

b. Mark is going to Alaska on a fishing trip and I'm looking forward to some fresh fish.

c. Maybe I'll have a watermelon margarita this month!

6. Insert your own random thought.

We are moved into the apartment. We think the air conditioner is fixed. My double vision is almost gone and I drove for the first time today! I'm going by the grocery store on the way home . . .all by myself! A contractor is going to start an estimate on Thursday. I see my surgeon today for my second post op! All of these are good things!! Yay! Yay! Yay!


Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunday Stealing on five

Hodgepodge on Wednesday was five on five and now Sunday Stealing is on five! Joining up with Bev and friends for Sunday Stealing!

Stolen from Friday 5

1) What one event from your lifetime would you change if you could, and why? One side of me would like to remove all of the bad things that have happened in my life but I do realize that I am who I am because of all of those things. The experiences in our lives shape us. There is one event from my childhood which I would probably remove.

2) If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be and how old would your younger self be when they got it? Do you think your younger self would listen? I wrote a letter to my younger self not too long ago. You can read it here.

3) Would you be any good on Survivor? I would be horrible. My husband thinks he would be excellent. He might. I would have a very difficult time eating some of the things the contestants find themselves eating! I would also have a hard time in those places where the bugs bite the people continuously.

4) What's a safety rule that's very important to you? The one that popped into my head is from my days at AT&T – put the handle down on the paper cutter! There are far more important rules – pay attention to your surroundings and be aware. Always look both ways before crossing the street.

5) What would you like to say to people in the future? I hope we haven’t messed up our world too much. I hope there is still beauty surrounding you.

6) What's your favorite dish to bring to a summer cookout? I love to take a good black bean and corn salad or Alabama Caviar or devilled eggs.

7) How much time have you spent outdoors this week? I’ve spent as little time outside as possible. It has been blazing hot. We moved from our hotel into a rental apartment on Tuesday so we were loading and unloading. I took a very short walk in the pre-dawn hours on Wednesday morning. Yesterday, even though we were inside . . .we might as well have been outside. The air went out in the apartment not even 48 hours after moving in. The building manager had two portable air conditioners delivered last night.

8) Where do you set your thermostat? At night in the summer, I prefer about 72 degrees. Yesterday, it was 88 in the apartment! Today it has been around 75 degrees.

9) How did you learn to swim? I’m not a strong swimmer. I didn’t learn to swim as a kid. When I was around 20 or so, my sister (8 years older) and I took swim lessons at the YMCA after work. We were both quite comical. Mark is a strong swimmer but I was always the one to take the kids to the pool. I put them in private swim lessons at 3 and they were like fish. They could swim better at 3 thank I could at 31 as their mom.

10) How do you avoid overheating? Yesterday, I actually spread a beach towel on the hardwood floor and laid on top of it trying to cool off! I took 2 showers yesterday. We’ve been drinking lots of water.

11). What are you going to do this weekend? Last night our son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and a friend came over to help Mark move our bikes into the apartment. They all went downstairs to one of the restaurants under us. I was waiting on the locksmith. This morning, I went to WW (Weight Watchers) and then a friend picked me up and we went for pedicures. It was divine. My final exam is tomorrow so I’ve been making flash cards and studying. We will go to church in the morning and then visit with family over lunch. I will then head home and take my final exam. I’m writing on Saturday night and the fire was 3 weeks ago tonight and we spent the last two Saturday nights in a hotel so to be honest, I’m happy as a clam to be sitting here in this little apartment.

12) What’s your favorite way to spend time? I love to spend time with friends and family. I love to read. I love to cook. I really enjoy riding my stationary recumbent bike.

13) What’s the most useless thing you own that you would never get rid of? Great question – I’m not sure. Over the last three weeks, material things have lost a lot of value in my head.

14) Have you started planning your next vacation? We play to go back to Israel in February which is a working/fun trip for me. I would love to go to the beach for a long weekend this fall. I mentioned that to Mark yesterday.

15) Are you very active, or do you prefer to just relax in your free time or is it one and the same to you? We are normally fairly active – an hour or so of exercise every day. This morning I rode the stationary bike for 18 minutes and felt quite accomplished! It will come back.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Five on Five Hodgepodge

 Happy Wednesday!

1. According to author Gary Chapman there are five long languages - words of affirmatin, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Which one is yours?

We did this as a staff last year. My main one has always been words of affirmation. My least favorite is physical touch. Gifts show up as one of mine BUT it is my love language to others.

2. What are five foods you eat every day?

We were in Italy/Germany/Austria for 2 weeks in June and then we were home a few days when our house burned/I had surgery/we moved into Embassy Suites so our eating schedule and items we consume has been very different lately. Back in May, I ate Lewis Keto bread almost every day along with some Applegate Farms turkey. I usually had a piece of Kraft 2% cheese. I always have a diet pepsi (several). Lately, the only thing I've eaten with any regularity is little cups of chicken noodle soup along with low carb tortillas and peanut butter and honey. I've eaten a few bananas, too. I still can't drive and I have a huge grocery list right now.

3. Five places you'd love to visit:

Paris, the French Riveria, Ireland (again!), the coast of Italy (spent most of our time in Rome and Milan), Australia/New Zealand

4. Something you've done recently that deserved a "high five"?

We moved from the Embassy Suites to a rental apartment yesterday. We loaded everything at the hotel onto two carts, including the cat and cat litter box, and moved out. I carried our cat (he is big) up the flight of stairs into the apartment. We put everything we could into suitcases and they were in the back of the truck. Everything else went in the backseat area including the cat. Yesterday was just barely 2 weeks since surgery and I carried him plus unpacked a ton of suitcases and did multiple loads of laundry. I actually ENJOYED doing laundry since other people have had to do it for us.


5. Give us five 5-letter words that describe your July:

trips, sinus . . .ok this isn't going to work for me so I'm just going to give you 5 words to sum up July:

travel, housefire, surgery, Embassy Suites, apartment

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Mark is so excited to be out of the hotel (his nickname - the Suites) but he is very disappointed because we can't get internet until August 6 via AT&T. We stream TV so that means no TV. I worked for AT&T for 11 years (first career) and their customer service is deplorable now. I actually told the employee this very fact yesterday after I held for an hour and 48 minutes BEFORE I SPOKE TO A PERSON. I spent over an hour on the phone with them last week. The first technician appointment available is August 6. That is simply riduculous!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunday Stealing

I've been unable to participate in the usual blog hops (memes) over the last couple of weeks so it feels good to answer these questions!

Welcome to Sunday Stealing where Bev steals the questions. This week, she stole the questions from Joyce’s Hodgepodge!!

1.      What's something you've recently accomplished solo? I’ve accomplished very little solo in the last 10 days. I had unexpected surgery on Tuesday, July 12 and I’ve done very little alone since then! Thursday night, during another crazy storm, I did make us both a peanut butter and honey roll up with a campbell’s cup of chicken noodle soup (prepared in our trusty hotel microwave). I actually felt like I accomplished something.

2.  What's one product you use that never ever fails? Folex carpet cleaner – love it!

3. Have you found your place in the world? Where is it? If you had asked me this question two months ago,  I probably would have said YES! The last couple of weeks have thrown me for such a loop that my place may be changing – who knows?

4.  Worst movie you ever saw? I don’t watch movies very often so I don’t even have a good answer for this one!

5. What's the last fun thing you did? We went to Europe for 14 days and did ALL sorts of fun stuff including taking crazy pictures at historic sites!!



6. What's your favorite Italian dish? Great question. Normally, we don’t eat a lot of Italian because Mark isn’t fond of it (yes, we just went to Italy). We had some great pizza in a little pizzeria where locals were eating and where the waitress and other employees didn’t speak English! We had a wonderful pasta dish on our first night in Italy. Even Mark liked it. It was a pesto pasta and the pasta was small and sort of cylinder shapes (almost like a small tight shell). I also use Pioneer Woman’s lasagna recipe and it is really good.

7. Have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see? I’ve never been to France and would love to go there some day. I would love to go to Paris!

8. Have you ever been to Disney, any of the parks at all? Are you a Disney superfan or something less than that? They're open right now so tell us, would you go if you had the time/money/a free trip? We went to Disney twice when our kids were growing up. We went in the summer before their 10th birthday in the fall. We also went while they were in 6th grade. We are not superfans. I would go back in a heartbeat. Mark has no desire to go. Maybe I’ll get to go with one of our granddaughters in the future.

9. Your favorite place to go when you want to be quiet as a church mouse? Would those who know you well describe you as more church mouse or perhaps more like mighty mouse? I love to go sit in our sanctuary at church when no one else is there and none of the lights are turned on but the outside sunshine peaks through the stained glass. It is so quiet and peaceful. I work in a church so maybe I’m a church mouse BUT I’m definitely not quiet as a church mouse. Up until 2 weeks ago, I think I was a mighty mouse.

10. Do you bake your own bread? Last time you had hot out-of-the-oven homemade bread? What's your favorite kind of bread? My favorite is Irish brown bread with butter (the real thing). I haven’t baked any kind of bread in years. We had some pretty amazing bread in Italy, too. Actually, yesterday we met our daughter and son-in-law at Cheesecake Factory and I had one tiny bite of their brown bread that has oats on it . . .It was delicious.





11. What's something you might say is 'the greatest thing since sliced bread'? Cell phones? I’m not sure. I can’t wait to read other’s answers.

12.  Share with us five little things you're grateful for today. Small blessings. One catch-they all must start with the letter T. I’m thankful for: Trinity friends; the amazing grace of God (the starts with t – right?); trees outside our hotel room windows; Theatre Appreciation class I have been taking this semester; Today – having been through a fire and unexpected surgery, I am very thankful for today.

13. Tell us where you were and something about what life was like when you were 20- 21.
I was a young divorced woman working for South Central Bell/AT&T. I lived in an apartment. I drank more back then. I dated a lot.

14. What's on the menu at your house this week? Considering we are still at a hotel until Tuesday (move in to the apartment day), I have no idea. We’ve eaten a lot of peanut butter roll ups on low carb tortillas. Mark loves breakfast so he has been downstairs to breakfast every day so he will do that for the next couple of days. We will eat with Mark’s family for Sunday lunch tomorrow so we will have something good then. We’ve eaten chick fil a several times. We were gifted a lot of restaurant gift cards and we’ve eaten at Paw Paw Patch once (a local meat and three). Last week, I was able to snag lunch at work 2 times – I’ll only be there on one of the days that Chef cooks this week.

15.Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons? I don’t remember the last time I used a coupon . . .I’m not a big coupon shopper. I used to cut them out of the Sunday paper . . . and then forget to use them.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Life Update

We are still in the hotel which Mark refers to as "the suites." He is going stir crazy so goes back and forth to the house several times a day and jumps at any opportunity to go out.

The good news is that we have found an apartment and insurance/leasor/we have signed the contract and we move in on Tuesday. A truck will show up with an entire house package - furniture for two bedrooms, kitchen, living room (hopefully bar stools), bathroom supplies, kitchen supplies, linens, and even a "cleaning" kit which includes a broom, mop, vaccuum cleaner, etc. The apartment is over a business in our neighborhood so Mark can walk down the alley every day and check on the house all he wants. The apartment is a "loft" (I guess) since you have to go upstairs and it is over a business. It is a 2/2 with a small courtyard and a one car detached garage. 

The disaster clean up people have been at our house this week and will continue next week tearing out sheetrock, removing things that might be able to still be used to have them cleaned and stored, etc. Mark has had one meeting with a local contractor and he will begin an estimate on repairs on August 4. After that, I guess we have to coordinate with the insurance people to see if they approve. We are going to try to do a couple of small "fun" projects that we had talked about doing like updating lighting over the kitchen island, adding some built ins to our bathroom/closet, etc. I got Mark to take a few before pictures yesterday of where the house is right now. 

It will be at least 4 months before ANYONE can begin any work on the house and they are predicting we will be out of the house at least 12 months. That 12 months was one of the biggest snags with the insurance company -- they only wanted to sign a 6 month lease but we were finally able (with the help of a friend who works there) get the 12 month lease.

On the health front, I'm healing nicely from my sinus surgery. I saw the opthalmologist again this week and I had a post-op appointment with the surgeon. I see both again in 3 weeks. I still have double vision so I'm not driving. I think that has been the hardest part. I HATE asking for someone to drive me places or go buy something for me. A sweet friend drove me to the eye doc this week and Mark took me to the surgeon. Mark watched as the surgeon inserted a camera and a light and a vaccuum into my nose all the way into the farthest sinus cavities. They placed gel in the cavities during the surgery and he was cleaning some of that out. They deadened my nose with a spray of lidocaine (or something) but it was very painful. I had a grip on the arm of the chair and my face contorted in pain. He did tell us that the surgery involved removing some bone in my face to open up the sinus cavities. I was evidently in pretty serious shape. I'm hoping that if my vision doesn't correct on its own between now and next appointment, when he does another clean out . . .it will go ahead and clear then. The opthalmologist did show me how she could make temporary glasses for me that include a prism . . .to correct it! I'm still using the saline wash out system twice a day (I feel like I'm drowning) and I have to keep doing that. I started a second round of prednisone today. I still can't blow my nose . . . and I want to. Why is it that when we are told we CAN'T do something . . .we want to do it more?

My goal is to find one positive thing per day (if not more). Since we got back from Europe on July 3, I haven't slept past 3 a.m. and the fire/surgery/prednisone haven't helped. Last night, I slept (with a bathroom break) from 10:00 to 5:40. That was miraculous in and of itself.

People continue to amaze me. Friends are still doing our laundry (can't wait to do my own next week!). We've received unbelievable gifts from our Sunday School class and other church members. The kind of gifts that make you cry and you normally would never accept but when you realize they are given to you because people love you . . .you accept with grace. When I get discouraged, I get a text or card or phone call from someone who knows just the right thing to say. Friends have invited us to come and sit at their kitchen table so that we aren't sitting in our hotel room eating next to the cat litter box :-(. They've provided a bit of respite in a crazy journey. People have prayed so hard for us and we have felt it. We know that we are loved and have felt it.

I'm hopeful that over the tnext week, I might find time to continue blogging about our trip.

On the "college" class front, my professor has been so gracious. I have now typed a paper and turned in a project done with one eye. The project is not my best but I was using a "sort of new" program to me (Canva) and I couldn't manipulate my photos and text boxes the way I wanted. I'm not sure I gave her as much detail as she wanted so I'm sure she will take off points for that. I'm hoping for a lot of points for effort. She knows that I did homework and took quizzes even while in Europe and she knows I want to finish the class. The paper was a critique of The Passion Plan in Oberammergau. Writing about it was nice -- brought back great memories of the trip. I don't know if I'll end up with an A or not in the class but I have enjoyed it and I've learned new things.

On the work front, I stayed out the whole week after the fire/surgery. On Monday of this week, I went in for about an hour and a half. On Tuesday, I made it 3+ hours. I didn't work in the office on Wednesday because of surgeon post op appointment, etc. On Thursday, I made it 6+ hours and then I worked from the hotel yesterday morning. Hopefully, I can make it a full day this week. I'm feeling so much better and stronger but both my eyes - the patched one and the other one - get so tired after looking at a computer screen, etc. for hours. I will be off Tuesday for move in day. Definitely by Wednesday, I hope I can make it all day which is 8:30-4:00 (ish).

I had to cancel an appointment for allergy shots and for a visit to the dermatologist during the surgery week so I will have to reschedule those . . . and get a ride. I'm hoping that I can get a pedicure and a haircut/color in the next couple of weeks, too. Those things sound so normal (except needing a ride). 

That is where we are today! We are going to try to go to church and Sunday School tomorrow. We've never missed this many weeks except duing the covid shut-down. I miss being in worship. I will probably wear a mask tomorrow because covid numbers have risen and I don't need covid on top of these things.

One more quick thing -- the weekend we moved into the hotel was The World Games week here in Birmingham and there was a huge High School football something or other -- 7 on 7 -- here last weekend. Beginning mid week this last week, hordes of teenaged boy baseball players and their families arrived. Mark talked to a parent and they said 180 baseball teams are here in Hoover for these tournaments/games. Our hotel has been full of lots of families. Last night, there were two boys playing baseball (with a plastic "bat" and something soft for a ball) in the hallway. We've used our fan apps on our phones and we've put one on each side of the bed and it has covered up the noise for us. Two different nights, giggling boys ran down the hall and knocked on our door. I'm sure because we have the "do not disturb" sign up because of the cat.

This is life for us right now. How are things in your world?