Jeannie and I had an outing day today. Left about 9:00 a.m. and went to renew my handicapped permit. Since we were already south of the highway, we decided to cut across country, which was fun and interesting, but I suspect we went in circles. Finally found the main highway and went on to Granbury, one of our favorite towns for shopping. Nothing, however, jumped out at either of us, and we saw a lot of stuff that would have just added more clutter to our houses, already cluttered enough. We marveled at how all those stores, with gimmicky stuff, stay in business in this economy. But then we came to a store with 70% off, called Rancho something, and in we went. Jeannie bought vases, baskets, and would have bought two wrought iron lamps but they were already sold. I bought one tiny basket for just under $3 because it reminded me of our friend, Jean. Then we went to the store owned by my longtime friend, Linda. Without prejudice, Almost Heaven is the classiest store on the square. And I found a bird feeder I couldn't do without--it was damaged, so I got a "deal" but later realized putting bird seed out on the porch was an invitation to squirrels and grackles and not the cute little birds I want to feed. We'll see.
We gathered up Linda, ate lunch in the tea room, and went to look at the house she and Rodger have remodeled. The core part was built in the late nineteenth century, and they have done a wonderful job of restoring it. It is absolutely charming, beautiful hardwoods, some woodwork stained dark to match a gorgeous sideboard treatment that is the focus of the dining area, a huge kitchen, and a great patio. The outside is painted a soft moss green, and the whole effect is charming.
Next stop: my brother's ranch in Tolar, about 15 minutes beyond Granbury. He and Cindy had their granddaughter, Emery, and it was a good chance for me to start to get to know her. The pictures above are, left to right, John and me, Jeannie and Linda, and Cindy and Emery. I not sure why Cindy looks so concerned, but I must point out that there are only two bottles of wine on the table because a bee flew into the first one and drowned. After a visit on the porch, we all got into the mule. (I'm spoiled and sat up front, squeezed between John and Cindy, who held Emery--we made the guests, Jeannie and Linda, sit in the back on cushions.) We went to feed the "moos," and had to count cattle forever to get the right number of mamas and babies. Cows all look alike to me, but John and Cindy recognize individuals--that's the one with the sick calf, and that's the gimpy one, and so on. Jeannie and Linda proved adept at jumping out to open and close gates while I, always the city child, sat in the cab. But it was there I got to know Emery, for Cindy kept telling her that I was Aunt Juju, and she finally reached out a tentative hand to explore my leg, my jacket, and, finally, my rings.
The only bad aspect of all this was that both Jeannie and I had started the day with what we thought were more severe allergies than usual. Mine went pretty much away by the time we got on the road and hers disappeared soon after, but mine came back in spades when we sat on the porch and then when we went to feed the cows. So tonight I look like Rudolph, with the reddest nose you've ever seen, and my throat is sore. I'm not sure if I have a cold or it's allergies, but I don't feel great and was sorry that I felt I put a pall on the day, which was truly a lovely day.
I came home thinking I didn't feel well enough to eat, but I reheated the leftover half twice-baked potato, put a small piece of salmon on the George Forman grill with soy, and made a salad of tomato, avocado, blue cheese, and lemon juice--and ate every bite. It was delicious, particularly the salmon. Maybe I'm not as pitiful as I think.
One more day of my mandatory leave, but I sure hope I feel better, as I have a busy first part of the day planned.