Blog, Mountains, music, Spouse

A Rare Night Out

Day 239

IMG_0042My husband has been looking forward to going to the North Carolina Arboretum for their new ArborEvenings on Thursday evenings. After a long day staring at the computer screen, I was ready for a break.

Tonight they had music by a local duo, Liz and Elizabeth. We were looking forward to a night to just get away for a bit.

It was a warm evening, and the mosquitos were out in full force as were the gnats. The Japanese Iris in the collage below is covered with little tiny insects, too.

The Arboretum is a wonderful collection of gardens and trails just south of Asheville. During ArborEvenings, the gates are open until 9:00 pm and the gardens are lit. The last Thursday of every month they have live music.

We walked around the garden and then went up toward the education center where they had drinks and light food for purchase and of course music. We grabbed a BBQ sandwich and a bottle of water and just listened to music for a while.

Tonight’s event was sponsored by Asheville Beer Week (which I never knew existed). We bought bottled water to drink rather than opting for beer or wine since we were driving. I got a kick out of the marketing on the labels of the bottled water.

Liz and Elizabeth were really enjoyable. I liked their melodious harmonies and loved the violin and guitar together. I am attaching a clip from their YouTube channel, but I enjoyed their music so much more live. It was a nice eclectic mix of country, folk and their own brand of acoustic music. I even found some new music I had never heard before and that is always a plus.

All in all, it was a good night to get out for a bit. It was one of those nights we just needed a few minutes to just walk through the gardens, enjoy the flowers and listen to some music. Not a bad way to spend a late spring evening and something we need to do more often.

 

 

Blog, reflection, Spouse

Dinner for One

Day 77

Today has been a bit of an inward-thinking solitary kind of day. Hubby had to go home to check on some things with the house, but he will be back here tomorrow.

Tonight I am blessed with so many things to be thankful for. I feel a calmness and a peace that I believe has surrounded me from somewhere outside of my normal existence. It is a blessing.

Every moment in our lives offers an opportunity and I wonder just how many times I failed to see it. We all move so fast — so deliberately. There is so much more we choose to filter out without acknowledging or even seeing.

IMG_8163I went to Whole Foods and picked up a salad to go tonight. I do not eat alone often so I put my salad in a bowl, poured a glass of wine and enjoyed the tranquility. It’s amazing how much a little quiet solitude can refresh us.

Tonight it was dinner for one. It was good to have the alone time, but tomorrow I look forward to having hubby back by my side.

“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.” 
Elizabeth Gilbert

Blog, christmas, memories, Spouse, traditions

The Perfect Christmas Tree

Day 50

Finding the perfect Christmas tree is a tradition in our house. When we lived in Florida all those years, it meant going to a tree lot where we found a Frasier Fir trucked in from the Carolinas or even further north. Now that we live in the Carolinas, we get to go select our tree from the farm and they cut it down for you, tie it, load it in the truck and you’re on your way.

Trees of Christmas Past

My Dad loved Christmas so much. He was quite a kid about it for as long as I can remember. He will resurface several times here in my blog as we get closer to Christmas.

Growing up, we had two trees — both artificial. If we ever had a fresh tree, I do not remember it. One tree was green, with branches that looked nothing like a real tree. The other — Dad’s favorite — was a 5′ silver tree. They were the rage at the time and Dad absolutely loved it. He put multi-colored glass ornaments on it. In addition to the ornaments, we had a spinning color wheel that sat on the floor and shone red, green, blue, and orange light on the tree. Everyone thought it was hideous except Dad.

Each branch was stored in a stiff brown paper sleeve and was color-coded to the location on the tiny cylindrical trunk where it should go. I can still remember the whoosh sound as the branch was pulled from the paper tube.

Today, these trees are considered vintage. You can buy one on eBay and other retro sales sites, but they are quite expensive now.

Trees of Christmas Present

IMG_7854Hubby and I have been married for 22 years and every year we buy a real tree. The first year we were married was the first time he had celebrated Christmas in his own home in a long, long time. That first tree was sentimental and big and full. It seems he always tries to find a tree that either meets or exceeds his memory of that first Christmas tree.

IMG_7865Today we got up and took our normal trek north toward Waynesville. It was a very cool morning and the wind was cold. We usually buy our tree at Mehaffey tree farm near Waynesville, NC. The drive up was beautiful and when we got just past Canton, we could see snow on the mountain tops. So exciting!

We tromped through the farm and finally came to a decision as to the best tree for us. We stood up on the hill for a long time waiting for the helpers to come and cut the tree for us. While they were tying the tree up, I paid for it and had my complimentary cup of hot cocoa. (I prefer apple cider but it wasn’t hot and in the low 40’s, my complimentary beverage needed to be hot!)

Preparations

IMG_7871Once we arrived back home, the tree was trimmed up and carted into the house. It is a lot for the two of us to get an 11′ tree in the house but we did it. It takes a bit of time to get it straight in the stand, trim it up and then clean up the mess!

IMG_7872Finally, it was time to cut the twine off the tree and let it fall out. The water is in the tree and I am sure it will be gone by morning. After it gets nice and saturated we will start to put on the lights and the ornaments.

We don’t buy a lot of presents or shop a lot, so the tree and the decorations are what we do to keep us in the Christmas spirit. We will find a worthwhile cause to donate to and just sit and enjoy the ambiance of Christmas from now until the end of December.

Now We Enjoy

I hope that you have something in your life that also brings you this kind of joy. I am a Christian, but I am well aware that many of my close friends celebrate other holidays. I really love reading about their traditions and feel enriched by learning about how others spend this holiday season.

Now it’s raining and we are under a winter storm warning for ice and sleet. We have everything we need and there is no pressing reason for us to go anywhere. Now we just relax and enjoy!

“The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There’s a kind of glory to them when they’re all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.” 
Andy Rooney

Blog, children, Family, grandchildren, rainy day, Spouse, travel, Writing

Home Again, Home Again

Day 39

IMG_7792I arrived back in North Carolina last night. It was a chilly 40 degrees when I stepped off the plane. We have a bit of a drive from the airport, but luckily hubby brought my jacket so I was cozy warm on the ride home. Quite a shock to the body to go from 74 degrees to 40 in a matter of hours.

Rain Rain Go Away

I guess the theme tonight must be nursery rhymes. Maybe because I’ve just come from such a wonderful visit with my granddaughter. She is at the stage where every hour almost, she learns something new. Such a wonderful time to experience and it makes leaving her so much harder.

Today I slept most of the day — an unfortunate side-effect from the medication I take to prevent motion sickness. I am always relieved when that grogginess is out of my system.

We have had solid rain since last night and it is supposed to rain for most of the next few days. We have had over 87 inches of rain this year. We had draught conditions in 2016 — a far cry from what we have had so far this year and far from our annual average of 61 inches of rainfall.

A Pause in My Blog

I took a short break from writing to do a video chat with our granddaughter. I want to stay in close contact and hope she remembers me from one visit to the next. She loves and shares even over the video. I can see her struggling to understand how I was just there and now I’m on video. But I will take whatever I can get until we are together again.

Then on the heels of that call, we received a video of my almost 6 year old grandson’s first basketball tryout. So cute I cannot stand it. I love that little guy with everything in me. He is so cute and has been so shy it is great to see him coming out of his shell.

My Notes on Air Travel

It isn’t great fun anymore — especially on economy airlines. The seats are small, there are no frills and people are either very reserved or overly boisterous.

We have come a long way in air travel since I first started flying (and not necessarily for the good). I remember free meals and free snacks, pillows and blankets and a host of magazines to choose from as well as movies on most flights of a long enough duration.

Not so much now where everything costs something. Your bag, your seat, your snack….everything!

So my takeaways:

  • Please do not yell at your children for the entire flight.
  • Please do not apply heavily perfumed lotions on the flight.
  • Please do not apply nail polish on the flight.
  • If you must go to the bathroom a lot, perhaps select an aisle seat.
  • If you like to sleep, maybe a window seat would be a good option.
  • Don’t bring carryon’s that obviously do not fit in the overhead bin or under your seat.

On the positive note, I’m so thankful that the stereotypical requirements for flight attendants from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s have gone by the wayside. Those who are much younger may not remember, but Google it and see – it was definitely sexist in a time when much of air travel was dominated by male travelers.

Back to the Old Grind

I did manage my blog while i was gone, but I am woefully behind in my writing for NaNoWriMo. So, tomorrow, I start playing catch up.

With the cold and rainy weather, I am in the mood for some Chorizo soup and I pulled some chili out of the freezer as well. I love cold weather cooking. Soups, breads, and casseroles are all those wonderful cool weather meals.

All in all my trip was good and I’m glad to be home. That does not mean I do not miss my little ones and wish they were all within arms’s reach. Unfortunately,  that is not realistic and just a grandma’s dream. All I really want is for all of them to be happy and healthy.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” 
Anita Desai

 

Blog, Family, Home, Marriage, Spouse

Love and Support

Day 34

Today’s post will be short. I am taking a spur of the moment trip to see my daughter and her family for a few days. As a matter of fact, posts may be short for the next week or so. 😁

It’s the Little Things

Of course marriage is about love, but it is also about supporting each other.

This morning while I was packing, I could hear hubby downstairs practicing the mandolin. We both believe it is important to be actively involved in the creative process. When he told me he wanted to do this I was surprised but so happy for him. He has been taking classes for 8 weeks and I love hearing him progress.

This morning I heard him playing Wildwood Flower. It made me think of my mom. It was one of her favorite songs and one of the ways she measured someone’s ability to play the guitar.

When our daughter called and asked me if I could come for a few days, there was no question other than working out the logistics.

This morning I made lasagne so he would have plenty to eat while I was gone. He cooks most of the summer months, so it’s not like he cannot fend for himself. It’s just a small way I can support him because he has a lot on his schedule while I am gone.

Our love, our support and our family are all integral pieces of this place we call home.

“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
Dave Meurer