Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Catching up … I guess the first piece of news is the Minister's wedding DIDN'T HAPPEN *gasp*! We (the Church) got word of it 15 days before the wedding date... when the Methodist Conference sent a letter to the membership informing us the Associate Minister had requested a "Temporary Personal Leave" from the conference. The next day I got another letter (group mailing) from the Associate Minister saying the wedding had been "post-postponed" and he had some "personal issues" to work out and he was leaving town for a while. Then there was announcement from the bride’s family that the wedding was CANCELED! So it was good news/sad news for me I guess. The good news is I didn't have to pull off an 80 person dinner with only 1 day off and working like a maniac in the middle of cotton season - and I had purchase NO supplies, so I'm out no $$$. The sad news is my church is really hurting over this departure. (As would any church where the minister is well liked). Even worse - I am/was one of the few that knew the true reason. But because I didn't "know anything", I couldn't say anything - because the conference decided "silence" was the best policy. And the bride and her family went along with it. UNTIL this last week ... when she went to her savings account to draft money so she could pay back all the brides maids for their dresses ... and found out he'd STOLEN that too! So now the truth is out. **** On to other subjects **** Thanksgiving – was a wonderful 4 days spent with a friend heading into the North Carolina mountains ... to a silly place called Beech Mountain - which makes sense when you see it printed - but sounds pretty damn weird when you hear someone say it (even when you disregard the southern accent.) I mean how many BEACHES have you seen on the sides of mountains? Of course this is the same state that has an island that SOUNDS like Top SOIL Island, but is really Top SAIL Island. (If they'd only learn how to pronounce ALL of the letters in a word .... * * ahem* *) I was the chief cook – and my friend gladly took the position of chief bottle-washer – which I was happy to abdicate. We ate well! It snowed up there on Wednesday night, but since I had to work until 7 pm, we had already decided to leave on Thursday morning. “S” is an extra GOOD friend, because even though I SAID I wanted to be at her house between 8:00 and 8:30 AM – I really didn’t get there until 11 o’clock … okay not even 11 o’clock … I was in her neighborhood at eleven … but needed to drive around AIMLESSLY … trying to *remember* where her house is … ‘cause you know I have that Y chromosome. We arrived up to the cabin about 2:30 – and I had “S” rush into the kitchen and start the turkey breast in the crock-pot, while I unloaded the car and shoveled snow off of the porch. When it was time for dinner – I added home-made cornbread stuffing with bacon, creamy onions and carrots, along with homemade pumpkin pie for dessert. Along with a couple of good bottles of Spanish wine. Friday morning we started with coffee and the newspaper, followed by buttermilk waffles and bacon. Once the kitchen was cleaned, we were showered, and the pork-tenderloin was on in the crock-pot, we headed out to Abingdon Virginia. We went to the William King Regional Arts Center where we saw these two great exhibits: Sherwood Anderson and Suzanne Stryk. I liked the Anderson stuff the best – but the amazing details in Ms. Stryk’s work are not to be ignored. It was a twisty, curvy, sunny drive on the way over – following Route 421 – and it took nearly 2 ½ hours. When it was time to return, “S” was sure she’d been a quicker way, so we went west Bristol, TN and then south on 19E into Elk Park. Although this LOOKED like the LOOONG way home, we were home in an hour and forty-five minutes later! How amazing. Dinner that night was Pork Tenderloin in Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, mushrooms, and candied pecans, gingered carrots along with a yummy, yummy bottle of Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir (best $7.00 bottle of wine on the market). The next day we had omelets with green onions, cheddar-cheese, and spinach, along with more BACON, and sour-dough toast. Then our daily excursion was to this gourmet gadget shop in Banner Elk, then on down the road to Mast General Store and the Annex. Of course on my new budget I have no money to spend, but I managed to convince myself I needed to buy these in Cranberry Felt. After that exhausting outing we returned to the cabin and had our wine and cheese afternoon. Once again we hit some Spanish reds - plus a white. The cheeses included a wheel of brie with a cinnamon/nutmeg/pecan sauce, stilton, sharp English cheddar, and some guava paste with crackers. Dinner later that night was homemade turkey soup with leftover stuffing. Sunday we came off the mountain and headed home in rain ( ** Next topic ** Christmas There’s nothing like opening your mouth … and making other people feel bad. Early this summer I commented to some friends in Arkansas that maybe “southern hospitality” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. After being out here since 2001, not one “southern” friend has invited me to spend a holiday with their family. Personally I think this sucks – as I usually don’t go home for the holidays, and had sooo many wonderful experiences in Arizona sharing holidays. My friends were horrified with my pronouncement and they immediately started making plans for me to join them on Perdido Key for Christmas 2005. When my financial fortunes changed, I told them Perdido was out of the picture. At one point I was hoping to sell my current car – get something with a lower payment – and better gas mileage, and maybe drive down there. But with further investigation it seems NO one wants a gas hungry SUV, no matter how low the miles or well maintained. (Or at least they’re not willing to pay blue-book.) Besides, driving 14 hours down there … and back (!) sounded less than relaxing. So I sent them an e-mail saying I wouldn’t be able to join them this year, but I’d put them on the list for next year. Not people to take NO for an answer, they immediately offered to buy my ticket. Still I tried to decline, and thought maybe God was helping me out, when they sent me an e-mail saying their twin sons apartment in Little Rock had caught fire and BURNED DOWN. (The twins were safe at home that weekend – and luckily they only lost some material possessions.) Personally, I thought this was a “SIGN” from GOD. (Burning Bush and all that) saying, “YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO SPEND YOUR MONEY ON THAN FLYING MIT MOI TO PERDIDO”. (At least that’s how I interpreted the whole event). But not those Arky’s … nope they responded by sending me an airline ticket. So I will be spending my time gazing out the window at the sunny beach, (no … I don’t think I’d like to go lay in the sun … thanks for asking, but I’m trying to avoid skin cancer and comparisons to beached whales), hopefully doing some surf-fishing, reading, eating and drinking. I will report back in detail after the holiday. Finally, I must confess to my admiration for those who are able to Blog daily. I will try to do a better job - I just feel kind of cut off right now (my own making) and just don't have a lot of energy/interest to do much at all. I'm just trying to tread water. This, of course implies I’m making NO headway, but also NO back-sliding. I just don't want to slip into the pit of depression. I’ve been there a few times and have no interest in returning - So I'm trying to break everything down into little pieces and only take on a little at a time, so I don’t get overwhelmed. The next (small) piece I’m going to tackle is all the stuff piled up on my desk. Most of this is just filing – along with all those “things” that you *think* you should keep for *some* reason, but don’t really know *where* to keep them. Once I get that cleared off I have made a resolution to PUT EVERYTHING AWAY THE MOMEMNT I OPEN IT UP. Second on the list? Job, job, job. I have a friend who's recommended a Career Coach. I don't know what she charges, but I am feeling like I really don't know who I am, what I can/can't do, nor what I have to offer any company. So it's hard to put together a resume or interview, know what I mean? Plus there's the BIGGER question ... what does God want me to do? So if you hear any answers, will you let me know?

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