Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Country, Home, and Update on Summer....

On Monday we packed up our things, closed up the camper and headed home.

It was time but I am always a little bit sad when we leave.
I snapped a few last country scenes on our way.

Louis Dean stopped the truck so I could take a pic of the purple flowers that were along side the road.
I swear they weren't there on Thursday.
Spring is coming.

This was last year's cotton field and I see a few cotton stems that have hung on.
Guess I missed one or two.

We stopped for a late lunch at the Lone Star Cafe in Hillsboro.

I've been saving scrap wood from building our new room so I could make a Texas flag like this one.
Perhaps a smaller version!
Louis Dean uses most of every piece of wood so I don't have all that many scraps.

We got home about 5:00 Monday afternoon.
I unlocked the door and came in to the house decorated just as if it were Christmas Eve!
So I went around and turned all the lights on and decided we would enjoy it all for one last evening.
Louis Dean unloaded and I unpacked and put things up.
I cleaned the fridge before adding the perishables we'd brought back from the camper.
While I did this, LD was soaking in a hot tub. He loves baths and he only took showers at the ranch.
He was in there soaking for over an hour!
Then I fixed a pot of hot tea and we settled down in the den to watch a little TV.

It was nice to wake up Tuesday morning in the big bedroom with Louis Dean bringing me a cup of coffee. Summer had an 11:15 doctor appointment here in Irving so I was dressed and ready when she picked me up on her way.
We got the results of her recent myelogram and the results were negative - which is a good thing.
Except it doesn't help in diagnosing her pain.
The doctor said there was nothing more he could do and recommended she see her rheumatologist - with whom she had an appointment with for the very next day - and request the doctor do a blood test for Polymyalgia Rheumatica - which would explain her pain. Perhaps.
Summer was in tears as she had been hoping this visit would mean a diagnosis and treatment plan.
The doctor was kind and sorry he couldn't help her.
She held it together until we got outside his office and then she just leaned up against the wall and sobbed. We had made a few plans for the day but she was in such bad shape all we could do was go home. 
Since I was driving her car, I had left my keys at home and Louis Dean's truck was gone when we arrived. I went next door to Stephanie's and use her key to let ourselves in and I put Summer to bed in the guest room. I took the key back to Stephanie and told her what was going on. I admit, I was in tears. It's just so hard to watch your child suffer. It doesn't matter if they are young or grown. If they hurt - you hurt. Good  friends and neighbors react the same way. Stephanie dropped what she was doing and came over and helped me take Christmas down from the den. She is a true friend.

I admit, I didn't realize how overwhelming coming home to a Christmas house would be.
I won't be doing that again. Once the den was cleared out, I felt so much better.
Stephanie also brought over home made cookie dough and parchment paper. They were all ready to bake. AND she gave me a chicken pasta casserole from her freezer all ready to pop into the oven - which I did. It was delicious!!!
She was prepared to work all afternoon but I insisted one room a day was enough!

Summer woke up and she and Louis Dean watch The Alamo with John Wayne while I cleaned in the den. Poor Louis Dean. He thought I was going to be gone all day and he would have the den all to himself. He was going to have a John Wayne marathon. Bless his heart. He made the best of it because, after the movie was over, he went to his music room and practiced for hours while we watched a few episodes of Fixer Upper.
I asked Summer to spend the night and I would take her to Rowlett for her appointment with the rheumatologist.

This morning I was about to have my first cup of coffee when I got a text from Stephanie.....

She is such a blessing to me!
 She took all the ornaments and garlands off the tree and by the time she left the living room was done except for Louis Dean taking the lights off the tree and taking the tree out!
Whew! It's getting done! I hope to have the kitchen done tomorrow and the dining room the next day.
I'm going to clean the house and leave it blank for awhile.

Summer and I left for Rowlett this afternoon and met with her doctor.
I liked her. She was straight to the point and read the note requesting lab work testing for PMR.
"Sure! We can do that. But what you have is fibromyalgia."
She then proceeded to press all the fibromyalgia points and with each one, Summer was winching in pain and by the time the doctor had touched them all - one by one - Summer was in tears.
Bottom line - the doctor says all of Summer's pain is from the fibromyalgia.
She was totally honest in saying she didn't think Summer would be better any time soon.
She has done everything for her that she can do and recommended Summer find a pain management doctor......which she said would not be easy to do, due to the fact she has been prescribed so many pain killers over the past year and a half. Seems not only the government putting restrictions on pain medicine but so are the insurance companies.
I understand. I do.
Summer has had as good an attitude as it would be possible to have.
I'm so proud of her!
We are praying and trusting God.
 For God to show Summer what to do. Where to go.
How to cope.

It was after 5:00 when we left the doctor's office.
We decided to go to Chili's and think things over.
Kind of let Summer absorb the news.
She called Sabrina and by looking at Summer you would never suspect how she suffers.

We watched the beautiful moon tonight as we crossed Lake Ray Hubbard and pulled off on the other side to take this picture. It comforted our hearts.

Look at that smile!

And look at Sweet Dexter!
Summer brought him that collar back from NYC for him.
This is Sherry's dog. Summer rents a room here at Sherry's house and I am here spending the night before I take Summer back home with me for the rest of the week.

I got to see some of Sherry's beautiful Christmas decorations.
She is taking hers down now, too.
I'm going to take the decorations down from Summer's bedroom tomorrow before we leave.
It's time.

But tonight we are sitting up in bed and watching The Ladies in Lavender.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Friday, Saturday and Sunday - Our last January Weekend at the Ranch

I'm going to miss this place!

I have loved every minute of every day here in our Country Camper.

January in the country!
Campfires nearly every night. 
This was our Friday night fire.
We burn our paper trash along with the firewood.

I love looking in windows!
Especially when they are my own.....

Friday night Cheers!
Needlework, bubbly and journal writing.

Saturday I took my disappointing watermelon from HEB down to the chickens.

I didn't really believe I could get a good watermelon in January.
It was worth a try.
The chickens enjoyed it!

Louis Dean enjoyed our breakfast - served at lunch time - of fried potato pancakes, smoked sausages, biscuits and fried eggs!

It was a good day of reading and writing for me and working for Louis Dean.
I made a big pot of beans and a batch of cornbread muffins for supper.
The sliced sweet onions were a bonus.

We have been going to bed early and waking up late.
A perfect plan!

Sunday - today - was a good last full day here at the ranch.
We go home tomorrow.

Louis Dean worked on the utility room doing things 
I cannot even explain but that he was so pleased with accomplishing!
Something about inspection holes for the washing machine - which we don't have yet!
He has prepared the flooring for the utility room and various other things that I don't even comprehend! 

He is my hero!

This will be going in the bathroom - hopefully on our next visit.

 I love all things 'camper.'

I've had a good day of writing.
Moving on and writing new words after editing the first 12 chapters.
I am in 1963 and writing about giving birth to my first born daughter - my Summer Dee.
Memories are precious.
I have discovered we all have memory triggers.
It's pretty amazing.
It was October 25th, 1963 when I went into labor and I vaguely remember that Jesse and I watched a favorite TV show before I knew for certain I was, indeed, in labor. I Googled TV shows in 1963 and found the one we were watching that night! Burke's Law with Gene Barry.
It's a real adventure and experience to go back in time.
As I write, it is as though I am watching a movie. 
The best thing about it is I know I have a happy ending - even as I am recording some sad situations. I am so hoping I can share my story....and that it will be a good one.
Friends, we all have a story to tell and hopefully you are telling yours as you go along.
I didn't do that. I felt my story would be a burden to my children if they knew about it.
I have changed my mind.
We are who we are because of where we have been and what we have experienced.
Nothing is all good or all bad.
God's grace gives us the chance to make good out of the bad things that have happened to us.
I wish our mother would have shared more of her story with us.
My siblings are amazing people.
I want their children to know that.
I want that so much!
I want them to realize how special their parent was are and how much they have overcome.

My thought to you tonight is to share your life with your family.
You may have had such a beautiful, wonderful childhood. Share it! 
Make sure your children know the details. 
If it wasn't so wonderful - share that, as well.
Share it with grace and without condemnation, if possible.
Remember this - no one has had a perfect life.

My children and I had a dear lady in our lives. Her name was Mrs. Morrison. Hallie Morrison. All four of my children knew and loved her and she loved them. Mrs. Morrison was the most important and influential person in my life - more so even than my mother.

She shared with us how she had come to Dallas in a covered wagon and all the hardships she experienced and the life she had lived and the loved ones who had died along the way including her beloved three year old son. Most of all, she shared her faith and her love with us and we were made better people because of her.

I will add this update about my Sweet Summer Dee right here.
She has appointments next week which will HOPEFULLY give her a firm diagnosis and plan of action and/or treatment.

She and a good friend took a trip to the beach this weekend.
Summer was in need of some comfort and thankfully God has given her such a good friend as Karen.
They go way back and I remember a beach trip I took with them a few years ago.
Karen is an amazing lady and after retiring from the insurance industry, she has entered into the seminary. The world needs more people like Karen.

A beach is Summer's Happy Place.

They had a great time and made some good memories.
Summer always leaves a place better than she finds it.
She collected trash with her picker upper and I am thinking the sound of the waves and the seagulls restored her soul. God does that. He uses his creation to restore peace to our souls.
Back in the day - it was the mountains of Colorado for me.
The beach is always good and I do love the ranch.
I am finally and happily at the point in my life that I no longer have to search for a place.
I am in it. Wherever I am. I'm already there.

Okay! Enough of these deep thoughts of mine!

This is my Valentine Tree which will be here to greet me when we return!
Hopefully next month!

Our very last campfire of January 2018!

I do so love the sounds of the country!

So goodnight from me to you!
Sweet dreams!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Laundry Day in Mart!

Louis Dean wanted to make another trip to Waco for supplies.
I wanted to got to the washateria. Do they still call them that? 
I think the words on the window at the one in Mart says 'Coin Laundry.'

Today was beautiful! High in the 60's and blue skies.
Looks more like spring than January right now.
This is one of the cotton fields from last fall.
I think Dean told me they were replanted in winter wheat.

Louis Dean dropped me off to do laundry which is at the far end of Texas Avenue, while he went on to the Home Depot in Belmead.

Ah! I was in my happy place.
I love the smell of detergent and the hum of the machines.
I was the only one doing laundry. Not the only one there, though.
Apparently it's a popular place for people to just hang out.
Today it was three guys; one older, one middle age and one younger.
They were nice enough to open my package of Gain detergent pods. It was a bag where you pull the strip off and then there's a zip lock opening so you can close it back up. Except I couldn't get it open.
At all. I felt vindicated when it took all three of them to get it open and in the end the older man had to use the middle aged man's key to rip into the package.
I told them it was child proof and if I had one of my grandchildren here, they could have opened in a jiffy!

Once the laundry was washing, I sat and read Coastliners - and I am going to be finishing it tonight.
SUCH a good book!

Stacks of fresh clean laundry!

Louis Dean pulled up just as I filled the hampers.
Then he went down to the old Burger place that closed and is now open again with new owners - but I think they kept the same cooks. He ordered burgers and fries while I walked down to the Dollar General.

Mart has a population of less than 2,000.

I really like this small town.
Of course, I don't know any of the real goings on here - but I like the town.

I walked by these to get to the Dollar General.

In the fall I saw big 18 wheelers at these grain elevators.
I like the fact that last year I was here for 11 out of the 12 months. Sometimes it was a few weeks and sometimes it was only a long weekend but I was here. I only missed August.
It was fun to watch the seasons change month by month and now I'm getting to do it again.

I snapped this scene on the ride back.

And this one. I think that white steer looks pretty majestic.

We got home about 3:00 and Louis Dean went right to work and so did I.
Today was cleaning day! 

I started in the bathroom.
It may be tiny but I love my camper bathroom.
And I am SO looking forward to when Louis Dean has his own!
All in good time.

Tonight, our entertainment was a couple of MacGyvers......

and now we are watching P.S. I Love you.
Can you believe I have never seen this before?
While I meant to stay up and read.....I may just finish watching the movie!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Good Day in the Country!

Finally we have a string of pretty days and Louis Dean is back to working on his projects.

He's pretty happy about that!
Louis Dean is adding and 8 square foot room beside the bathroom.
Now we need a door so he cut out the wall and will go to town tomorrow and get one.
This is where we will put the water heater, washing machine and freezer. There will even be a window over the washing machine. 

So, while Louis Dean has been a happy camper, I have been doing my Susie Homemaker routine and writing, cooking and reading, of course!
Sherry and I walked on her lunch hour and it felt good.
I plan to walk with her every day we are here.

I went down early this evening, just as the sun was setting, with a big pail of scraps for the goats.
In cleaning out the pantry, I discovered a package of wheat hamburger buns from November.
Goats eat just about anything. So do the horses. I had just fed a good bit of what I had to goats when I looked up and the black and white horse was standing right beside me. He was just in time to get the broccoli. Then I saw the other two horses running towards me! I divided what was left between them. Nothing goes to waste down here!

After supper tonight we had a campfire.
I use all the paper wrappings and cardboard as starters and that keeps the fire going and the trash is taken care of.

Tonight we are watching the original MacGyver series from 1985.
Both Louis Dean and I watched it back then in our separate lives.
It's fun to be watching it again together.

In my writing today, I was back in 1962 as a 12 year old reading some of Dorothy Parker's books.

I plan on buying some of her books when I get home and revisit them.

I can relate to this!

In other news, Sabrina and Rayne arrived safely at home in Puerto Rico.

Rayne was happy to be back to the warmth of the island and wearing flip flops!!

It's been a good day to be in the country!
Hope you had a good day, where ever you are!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday Treasures!

Louis Dean decided to go with me to town today - allowing time for the ground to finish drying out enough for him to work tomorrow. He is building a storage room right next to the bathroom. This will be where he puts the water heater and washing machine. He's starting on the floor as soon as it's dry enough. He did set the toilet in place but I don't think it's going to be in working order this trip.
Let me just say, I have no clue how to build a room or do the plumbing or the electrical work. 
I understand we need the water heater situated before we could possibly think of having hot showers right here. But it does seem to me that it would be reasonable to at least get the sink and commode operational. He keeps saying, "That's not a problem."
 So.....what am I missing here? It must be a 'Guy Thing.'
It's a good thing we have the camper bathroom!

We stopped by the post office in Mart so I could mail off a few things.

From Mart we drove to Waco and two of the four Goodwills there.
Alas, Senior Discount Day has now moved to Monday!
Wonder if it's changed in Irving as well?
The music in the first Goodwill was getting on our last nerve.
It was popular music - not country and certainly not classical.
The song had about 4 or 5 words and they just kept singing them over and over and over.
We drove to the second Goodwill and - would you believe - that they were playing that same maddening song? We noticed it the second we walked in the door.

For lunch we ate at Long John Silvers.
The coleslaw was so good. Louis Dean jokes about eating there saying we needed to get our oil changed. The fish was greasy but sometimes you are hungry for that. I only ate one piece of the fish. Louis Dean ordered three pieces and he only ate one. He things we will feed the goats the remaining two. But the music in there was fun! It was 1950's and had us smiling and singing along and Louis Dean would tell me stories about what he was doing when each song was popular back then. He has lots and lots of good memories!

My next stop was HEB - my favorite store.
He dropped me off and went on to Home Depot.
He needed a wheel barrow!

I needed candles and these are made in the USA and smell delicious.
AND they are only $8!
Texas Thunderstorm is a new one and I bought it - along with two other candles - Surf and Sand and Evening Fireside Glow. All three made in the USA.

Here are my Tuesday Treasures!
Louis Dean got a big laugh over that Jesse James book.
He bought it without even opening it up. He assumed it was about the old west outlaw, Jesse James.
Nope! This Jesse James is the scoundrel who was married to Sandra Bullock!
We both decided to rest when we got home and he was so surprised!
I'm still reading  Coastliners and it is so good I'm having a hard time putting it down.
The patriotic purse was brand new.

I got five new tops!

All good brands and in good condition and fit me well.

I really like this fun one!

The sunset was pretty tonight.
We have sunny skies for the next four days!

Louis Dean played music while I worked on my book and wrote tonight's journal.
I haven't moved on with new chapters just yet but have gone back to clean up and add to the ones I've already written. So far I have 12 chapters. I have worked through the first 8 and hope to get through all of them and well into chapter 13 before we go home.
I think I better hunker down tomorrow and get some real work done.

But for tonight, I think I'm going to make us a light healthy snack and then read. 
Or maybe watch a Remington Steel. Or an original MacGyver!