Sunday, August 20, 2017

Settling In: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, August 20, 2017

Outside my window  Colorado summer feels like Alabama autumn.  I've been sleeping with my bedroom window open to let in the cooler temperatures.

I am thinking...  about how God took such good care of me during my drive out here.  In case you haven't read it, I chronicle my trip here.
Little "Bea" on her
first day of school.
I am thankful...  for the hospitality and inclusion from the friends who are sharing their home with me.  Wednesday was their daughter, Beatrix's first day of Kindergarten.  The school is a short walk around the corner.  They included me in the fun of the walk and watching her go into her class for the first time.  This isn't even my child, but I felt myself tearing up.
From the Workshop... I've started a new crochet project that should be finished by the time I write my next daybook.  Here are a couple of projects I finished before leaving for Colorado:

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

Now I'm number 28 on the waiting list.
I'm also still working my way through The Finishing Touch by Chuck Swindoll

Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Trajectory by Richard Russo.   My review is here.
  • Your Best Life Now. by Joel Osteen.  I've not written a review yet.  Sorry, but I've been kind of busy.
I am learning... to acclimate to the new altitude.  I'm drinking water like crazy and resting my body when it needs it.  I feel better every day, but it will take a few more days for me to get back to normal.  The exhaustion of all the driving didn't hit until a couple of days ago.  I'm not going to push it.  I'm anxious to get outside to ride and walk, but if I'm too tired, there's no sense in doing myself harm with overexertion.

I am looking forward to... 
  • Learning more about my new town.
  • Getting myself an interview suit.
  • Creating baby items for the Colorado Family Life Center.  This center is much like Sav-A-Life, so I feel comfortable donating to them.

And now for something totally different...

Five Minute Friday word of the week:  Speak


Friday, August 18, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Speak"

Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Our Sunday School class declares this scripture at the beginning of each class.  This word is even more poignant to me now that I'm staying in a house with small children as part of the family.  I spent nearly a decade teaching young children.  They are like little magnets and mockingbirds.  Not only do they repeat what you say, but how you speak it. 

I wish I had more than five minutes so I could tell you a funny story about that. Oh heck, why not?

Along with numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and Biblical concepts, I had to remind the children of their manners.  Please, thank you, and yes, ma'am/no, ma'am were an integral part of our class vocabulary.  However, because we had so many silly boys in our class, there was a lot of belching going on.  I never got onto them for belching, but I did stress that the polite thing to do was to say excuse me.  This just wasn't happening, so I finally started saying to the culprit "say excuse me you big nasty."  Now, understand, it wasn't said in derision to embarrass the child, but as a fun reminder--and the children took it that way (they thought the term "big nasty" was hilarious and laughed hysterically).

Well, later in the school year, a mom came to me and told me a little story about her daughter.  The family had a visitor to their home from another country.  The guest, apparently from a country where belching is a compliment to the chef, let one rip and says nothing.  Without missing a beat, my student says, "say excuse me, you big nasty."  Fortunately, the parent was laughing through the tale (she understands my sense of humor and teaching style), plus the man didn't understand what she said.  I thought I was never going to stop laughing.

So what's my point?  This situation was a positive one, but what if my words had been harsh and cutting?  I've heard kids repeat some very inappropriate things said by their parents or teachers.  It saddens me when an adult won't own up to it.  So, please, watch what you speak, you big nasty!
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Auntie's Finally Been Somewhere! [101 in 1001 v. 2]

Several years ago, I mentioned my insane fear of driving on the interstate.  When the opportunity to move to Colorado came up, I had to face my anxiety.  My plan was to practice on short hops, then take off due west on a Sunday morning when there's less traffic and drive for two or three days to reach my destination.

The Saturday before, I finished packing the car and bedecking the vehicle to let everyone know that Alabama's in the house.

The scriptures I stood on for this trip:

Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Psalm 3:3 - But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.

II Timothy 3:17 (AMP) - So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Day 1

Me and my bundle of nerves pulled out of JackVegas around 6:00 a.m. central time.  I immediately had to make a pit stop at the Oxford Wal-Mart before I even got onto the interstate.  After emptying my nervous bladder, I cautiously meandered onto Interstate 20 West.

My first test was getting onto I-65 in Birmingham.  The map program said to use the two right lanes to exit onto I-65.  WRONG!  There was only one lane, but I made it. 

Moving from I-65 to I-22 to I-40 was pretty straight forward, so I settled in until I got to Arkansas, with brief fuel stops in Tupelo, MS and Memphis, TN.  One rule of road I set for myself was to start hunting for gas stations when I reach half a tank.  This works very well since that's about the time my bladder starts demanding attention.  The other rule was to only go to gas stations or truck stops with names I recognize.  This also tamps down the creepy factor.

By the time I reached Palestine, AR, not only did I need gasoline, but my body was screaming for food.  I'd had a snack at each stop, but I needed more.  Another rule of the road is, don't take Excedrin or any other caffeine-laden medication when you're already nervous.  I learned that one the hard way.  Anyway, the Love's truck stop I patronized had a Subway, so I got a sandwich combo and sat at a table to eat and settle myself down.

Feeling much better, I headed across Arkansas.  This is where my nerves were truly put to the test for the first time.  Oh yeah, and it's also where my Alabama flag came off (Must have been Razorback fans #RollTide).  From the moment I got back on the road until I got to the Oklahoma state border, rain dripped, poured, spit, fell in sheets, bounced, and fell in two liter drops.  Also, I noticed that my air conditioner wouldn't blow, so I had to open the window and sunroof to keep from melting into a puddle.  That worked fine until my windshield fogged up beyond visibility.  So, I pulled over on the shoulder.  As I pulled over, I rolled over those "hey, get back in the road" divots, and low and behold, my air and defroster started working again.  Talk about God providing right when I need it.  When both the windshield and the path to re-enter cleared, I got back on track.

Side note:  I thought Arkansas would never end.  By late evening, I finally crossed the Oklahoma border.

As the sun started to set, I started looking for a place to stay for the night.  Lodging rule: only pick hotels you recognize with rooms that are "in," not "out."  Not that I'm a snob, but I'm a female alone and don't want to have to explain a killing to the cops.  I didn't see a sign for anything I was comfortable with, so I turned onto the Muskogee Turnpike thinking I would find an exit to a hotel there.  Then, I heard my GPS say, "Stay on the Muskogee Turnpike for 62 miles."  WHAT!?  I had no idea that this particular stretch of road has no exits to anything significant.  Unfortunately for me, I hate driving in unfamiliar places when it's dark.  Fortunately for me and my bladder, there was a concession stop with a McDonald's and a gas station.  After peeing and praying, I got back on the Turnpike and made it to the Wyndham Hotel in Tulsa OK a little before 9:00 p.m.  By the time I checked in and got to my room, I felt like I had been in a fight with Mike Tyson...and lost.  I fell into bed a little before 10:00 with the intention of sleeping until 8:00 or 9:00.

Day 2

I woke up at my normal "get up before God does to go to work" time of 3:30 a.m. and COULD NOT go back to sleep. 

After lounging in bed for a while, I went to the hotel's fitness center and rode the elliptical for about 15 minutes to work the kinks out.  After a shower and a leisurely breakfast, I hung out at the hotel until around 10:30, then I hit the road. 

Once I got into Kansas, trouble began to brew.  My JSU flag broke off somewhere on I-70 West in Topeka.  No big deal.  However, I started hearing something weird in the area of my right front tire.  I finally saw the problem, something black was flapping on the tire.  I knew it wasn't the tire going flat or its treads separating because the car stayed steady.  I pulled over and found that the rubber flap that redirects mud and rocks away for the car had come off on one end.  All I could do was remove it...forcibly.  Good thing I had scissors in my console. 

It gets worse.

When I got back in the car, I noticed I had to manhandle my steering all of a sudden, plus my battery light came on.  HOLD UP!  I had a brand new battery so I wasn't sure what the deal was.  Since I was in the middle of nowhere and the car was still drivable, I pressed on to find an exit with a decent hotel.

I'm going to cut this part short but it took me FOUR hotels, before I could find one that took cash (thank you Days Inn in Salina, KS).  Most hotels run by managers with sense will take cash and put a small hold on a debit/credit card in case you damage your room somehow.  Not these.

Side note:  Thank you to every teenager, college kid on spring break, drunk, criminal, and irresponsible pet owner who's ruined hotel rooms which made this kind of nonsense necessary and making my life terribly inconvenient.

I was frustrated, hot, and tired enough to throw up when I checked in around 4:00 p.m.  Once I cooled off, ate a bite and took a shower, I settled down and slept.

Day 3

After a great night's sleep, I had breakfast, then headed for the nearest Advanced Auto Parts.  After several tests, the guy told me my alternator wasn't putting out enough amps and recommended a nearby mechanic.

Side note:  As a female who knows more about cars than the average female, I'm very particular about mechanics.  I don't like mechanics who talk to me like I'm stupid, or talks in circles because he's feeding me BS, and if one rips me off, I never go back and I TELL EVERYBODY!

The man at this particular shop was honest.  He let me know that it would be noon before he could even work me in, but recommended another shop across town.  What choice did I have?  So I headed for it.

I kid you not, my car ran until I got into the shop's parking lot, cut off, then I could cut it back on long enough to properly pull into a space.

There goes God providing again.

The guys at Oard's Auto and Truck Repair were excellent.  Everyone was friendly, their place was clean, and the waiting area was nice.  Turns out I didn't need an alternator (Praise the Lord!).  It seems that somehow my alternator belt, power steering belt, and air conditioner belt broke.  This mystified the head mechanic, 1) because I was able to drive the car about 100 miles in that condition and 2) because the Advanced Auto Parts guy assessed my alternator with NO BELT on it.


It took a couple of hours to run diagnostics, replace the belts, recharge the battery, and run diagnostics again to make sure everything was OK.  The price for the work was very reasonable, and I got back on the road by noon.

Rest Area in Kansas
Like Arkansas, I thought Kansas would never end.  Like Arkansas, once I got into Colorado, I was in a race with torrential rain, wind, lightning, and hail.  I safely reached Aurora around 7:30 p.m. mountain time.

I learned a lot and really enjoyed the trip.  HOWEVER, I hope I never have to drive that far alone EVER again.

Looks like I punched another fear in the face!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are We There Yet? Yep: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Do your actions match your words? Elaborate.

I wish I could say they always do, but no.  I do try my best to honor what I say, but I don't always succeed.  That is not to say that I'm a hypocrite; just saying that occasionally what I do and say unfortunately are different.

Sick as a dog, go to the dogs, dog days of summer, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

Dog tired.  I got into Aurora yesterday (Tuesday) after three long days on the interstate.  More on that in another post.  I slept well last night, but I'm sure a nap may ensue sometime today.

Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?

Ok, go ahead and laugh, but the only books I've read with a dog in the storyline as a major character have been several of the Clifford the Big Red Dog  books.  My preschool class read tons of them. 

What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

Finish writing and self-publish my book.

August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

"[Margaret] Thatcher was famous for saying, 'If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.' Now that's true, but I would like to add; if you want absolutely nothing said or done, ask a CAT." - Craig Ferguson

"Radio ad: 'Total Transformation kit has my child no longer talking back.' My 21 yr old son: 'Kit has duct tape and a bat'" - Dave Ramsey

"Whenever I have to wear a suit, I only iron the front of my shirt. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something." -- Colin Mochrie

Heard a commercial for Dodge where the guy talked about how eco-efficient his truck was because it has a sensor that powered the engine down when he was on the highway. I have one too. It's called a TRANSMISSION! -- Auntie's Musings

Insert your own random thought here.

Well, my long journey is over and I am now in Aurora, Colorado.  As I stated above, I am dog tired.  I will blog more about my journey when I get some more rest.  Until then, see y'all later.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Place"

Know you place.
Keep your place.
Put you in your place.
Everything in its place.
My place in this world.
Place cards.
First Place.
My own place.

I know I mention it a lot, but one of my lifelong dreams is to have my own house--my very own piece of paradise.  While I'm not extremely fastidious about housekeeping and I enjoy messy creativity, I look forward to my things not being crammed in boxes, bags, corners of a small room, or as in this case, the trunk and seats of a '96 Honda Accord.  I'm ready for a place where I can spread out and stay spread out.  I want a place for everything and everything in its place.

With my upcoming move (3 days!! AAAAH!), I will get to establish my place in a new community.  With all the work I've done with my mentor, I want my place with my new neighbors to be one of equality.  My place is not to continue to cloister myself away because I don't feel that I'm good enough or that I don't belong.  New space--new place.

Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Five Minute Friday.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 21

Book:  Trajectory.
Author: Richard Russo

Info: Copyright 2017: New York:  Random House Large Print

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✮

Where Acquired:  Library check out.

CategoryImpulse reads.  I know absolutely nothing about the author, but I do like short stories.  I saw an article about this book in The Anniston Star and since it was at our local library, I thought I'd give a read.

What it's about:  Trajectory is a collection of four short stories.  In "Horseman," a young literature professor has to contend with a student's plagiarism, plus her own shortcomings.  "Voice" chronicles two brothers who use a mishap-ridden tour of Italy as a means of escaping past traumas-- some of their own making, some that made them.  A life-threatening diagnosis finds a realtor in the mist of "Intervention."  His family and friends are intervening on his behalf to try to prevent him from following in his father's footsteps in dealing with his illness. He is trying to prevent a client's obsession with preserving her late father's memory from costing her the sale of her house.  "Melton and Marcus" is a romp into the world of film writing, Hollywood stars, and the backbiting nature of the industry.

What I liked:
  • Russo's stories were engaging.  Even with the stories I liked the least, his writings drew me in to want to see how they ended.
  • From what little I could find about the author, his stories are viewed as biographical in nature.  I like that he put a bit of himself and his experiences into each story.
  • The characters were not stock maudlin characters (unless they were supposed to be); they were quite believable and real.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The author's portrayal of characters outside of his regional comfort zone were a bit suspect, if not downright insulting. Not racist, or bigoted, just not with the clarity and tolerance I would expect a writer of this caliber (Pulitzer Prize level) to possess.
  • The stories would have been just as good without the use of so much profanity.
  • Russo uses a lot of bold type rather than the standard grammatical use of italics, quotation marks, or punctuation to show emotion or to emphasize a point.  While it was a bit distracting to me, it may be a unique trait of his writing style.

This was a total departure from the type of literature I read, but I'm not sorry I read it.  While I may not read any more of Russo's works, this collection of stories took me out of my literary and emotional comfort zone.  I like happier stories, so I had to remember that unresolved conflict is part of the nuance of this literary style.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Give it to Me, Baby: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Before we begin, let's congratulate our Hodgepodge hostess on the birth of her grandson.  Congratulations, Nana Joyce!

Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.

For things that already have time constraints, there's no need to.  However, for other things, I have to at least set limits on my time.  In order to get certain projects done, I sometimes set a timer and promptly stop and move on to another activity once the timer rings.

My latest painting.
Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person- Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?

No, I've never visited a lighthouse, but I would like to.  One of my favorite landscape subjects to paint is the lighthouse.  I'm not really sure what my own "lighthouse" would be.

What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?

Well, I haven't completely stopped, but my workouts have definitely slowed down.  This has been a rough summer schedule-wise, weather-wise, and physically-wise.  Yes, I know I worked at a fitness facility, but if I'm so tired that I'm crashing, there's no way I can get in a workout.  This month should be much different.

We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.

Nothing others would consider grand, but God has been taking care of me in grand style to prepare me for my move to Colorado.  I believe He will continue to provide.

Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.

I wouldn't say "love," but out of the songs I can remember hearing with the word "baby" in the title, these are the first two that came to mind.

Insert your own random thought here.

This past week has been full of goodbyes.  Friday was my last day at the YMCA, Sunday was my last service at First Baptist, Monday, my sweet Godniece, Leah, came all the way from Tuscaloosa to see me and tell me goodbye,  and yesterday, my Sunday School class threw me a going away party at Baja California Grill.  Along with all that, people have called, come by, and messaged me.  I feel so loved.  I've got more get togethers and visits before I head out early Sunday morning.

Maybe by the next hodgepodge, my thoughts won't be so scattered.  I'm at that scared-excited-let's get it over with stage.  I'm trying to be patient and enjoy every day of it.  I'm definitely enjoying sleeping like normal people.

See y'all next time.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Little Somethin'-Somethin': The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Outside my window  Summer heat continues with a little less humidity.

I am thinking...  about my trip.  I'm an odd combination of excitement and nerves.
I am thankful...  Oh man!  So much to be thankful for.  The Lord has certain gone before me in preparing for my move. 
  • He turned the prospect of a very expensive car repair into a $5.00 part and $35.00 in labor.
  • He's provided some very nice new-to-me clothing.
  • He's helped me lose more than 25 pounds since the beginning of the year so I would be ready to fit into those clothes when they were offered.
  • He's provided a cooler for my food and drinks for the trip.
  • He's provided gas money for the trip.
Who knows what other great things will come my way before I leave. 
From the Workshop... I'm working on a couple of little something-somethings.  Here's a little peek:

I'll let you see the finished products when they're...well...finished.  I'm planning to finish up before I depart.

I am reading...

Currently off the shelf (among the pile):

I was about 2/3 through this one when I ran out of time.
Now I'm number 33 on the waiting list to get it again.  #NerdIssues

Books I've finished since my last Daybook:
  • Better Than Before. by Gretchen Rubin.  My review is here.
  • Jayber Crow. by Wendell Barry.  My review is here.

I am learning... even more to trust in God.

I am looking forward to... 
  • The next two weeks.  They will prove to have some sadness in that I will be saying a lot of goodbyes to the people I love.  But the good news is that I will saying a lot of hellos to new friends and a brand new life.
  • The Woodstock 5k this weekend.
  • Painting at Paintology 101 this weekend.
  • Getting some much needed rest and time off from getting up at the apex of dawn's butt crack before I head out west.

And now for something totally different...

This month, I decided to take on a couple of my 101 in 1001 challenges.  I was successful in completing my 30 days of 10,000 steps challenge.  Well, I actually attempted 31 days since it's July and number nerd can't leave anything out.  The goal was to attempt to walk 10,000 steps a day:

Total Steps Completed:  315,202
Daily Average Steps:  10,167.8 steps per day

Ok, so on average, I did complete 10,000 steps per day (yay average!).  However, I learned a few things in the process.  First, the step counts were calculated from the FitBit Flex I was given a few years ago.  Second, unlike the newer FitBits, if you're not careful, you can unknowingly cheat on your steps and it can unknowingly cheat you out of steps and/or active minutes (boo, cheating!).  I learned I had to take the tracker off it I was going to crochet or rock in a rocking chair because it counted those activities as steps and active minutes.  HOWEVER, things like riding a bike didn't count towards steps or active minutes.


So, do I give up and call the tracker's data as bogus.  Yes, at least for daily use.  I will use it mostly when I'm exercising and need to keep track of steps that are really steps.  But, the point of these trackers (for me, anyway) isn't preciseness, but accountability and progress.  In other words, even if the tracker is off by a few steps, having it on reminded me to get up and move more, something I need since desk jockeying is part of my job.  This was a rough month where designated workouts just did not happen. Maybe it's psychosomatic, but it seemed like I felt better because I was adding a little extra movement to my daily routine.

Today, I didn't wear the tracker, but still found myself getting up and walking around even more.  Hopefully this challenge has helped me create another healthy habit.


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