Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Journey Continues

Sunsets in the country continue to be beyond words for One Woman to describe. They are like a magnificient huge painting splashed across the sky.

I am in the city for a quick trip. Deadheaded some flowers, gathered 4 squssh, 6 tomatoes, 4 green peppers and a canteloup. Not bad for a very small kitchen garden in the city. Also dug up 4 clumps of flowers.

The card and directions for transferring my computer to the country - has arrived.

Next week I will have a truck load of items brought to the country with my computer among them.

I check my emails twice a week in a hurry and please forgive me for not answering comments personally like I have in the past. I do everything so rapidly since I want to return to the country quickly.

All is well and I can hardly wait for my son to soon arrive home and view what his mother has been doing in the country. So much progress has been made in the clearing around my home.

I am very aware that I doing what I vowed not to do. "Clean the Woods" Originally I was going to have a path to my home that would sit in the woods. I feel what I am doing is necessary and it will not continue. We are almost done!!! My home will sit in a clearing where flower beds have been started and a small garden plot prepared for turnip greens this fall and next Spring a small kitchen garden.

What would I do without - Sheila and Francisco? Their help is surely a blessing to me.
They always put a smile on my face and arrive baring gifts from their garden. I would eat peanut butter daily and have no electricity to have their help!!!

Arthritis is painful at night but makes an exit after I am up a short time. I am fine and so thankful that I was allowed to create this country home.

Buyer for city home will make my joy complete!!

One Woman entry on a quick trip to the city on a Saturday morning. She is so aware of her many blessings!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Soothes Your Spirit

Driving down the country road she makes the request "sing grandma a song".
Kumbaya is sung over and over.
It never fails to sooth my spirit and put a smile on my face.
In fact going down the road today I began to sing "Kumbaya".

I am in a hurry and tried to download the words of this old spiritual.
Maybe you can do better - if you would like to know the words.

One Woman on a quick trip to the city.
Hey I will have my computer - in a week.


How can I not share this letter from my beloved son.

So full of wisdom and compassion he is.
Mom will be happy when he is back in the states - for awhile.

Hi Mama and Daddy !

Hope all is well back in Tennessee and this email finds you both peaceful, happy, content, fulfilled, and at ease.

I am having a great time this trip to Thailand - it is very quiet here due to tourism being down because of the recession and flu - in fact, my apartment building, where I have stayed 4 trips now, is almost empty - which makes it all the more bizarre that I met someone from Green Hills on the elevator the other day ! - a small world indeed - he is a teacher at Belmont and is here marrying a Thai lady. My apartment is very small, modern, and Zenlike - as in minimalistic - as I prefer - one room studio,hardwood floors, mattress on the floor, about 300 square feet and centrally located downtown with a small balcony overlooking the city. On the same floor is Holt, from Georgia, retired from the US Army and at about age 60 decided to sell everything and he and his wife are traveling around the world - they spent 6 months in Australia, 6 months in New Zealand and have been here in Bangkok for 2 years because Holt does not want to leave - anyways a very good chap and always good to know someone from the U.S. military when hanging out in a foreign country !

This trip I will do no side trips and play no golf - it will be cheaper to play at McCabes back home and cooler to play there in the fall. It has been nice just hanging out here in Bangkok. I do about 5 hours per day of yoga, pranayama ( yoga breathing exercises - increases lung capacity and calms the nerves ), and Vipassana meditation - one of my Nashville yoga teachers, Chris, is coming Tuesday for 2 weeks to visit his parents and sister, so I get to take him to a class or 2 here and meet some of my teachers here which will be fun. His family is from the states, but his parents and sister and bro in law have lived in Nepal for many years working for charitable organizations and have recently moved to Bangkok because his parents are getting older and healthcare here is worldclass and dirt cheap.

Tuesday night I am going on a dinner date with a very nice Laotian girl who lives on my street. We will have Thai food at an outdoor restaurant nearby - speaking of Thai food - it really grows on you - as in I crave the hot spicy stuff everyday. The streetfood here is cheap and safe to eat - on every block there is every king of food cart making soups, omelettes, rice dishes, noodle dishes, grilling everything, fried chicken, all kinds of fruit, coffee drinks, papaya salads - you name it - a good meal is about one dollar.

Every trip I go to several movies - the theatres downtown are amazing - they have the huge old ones like we used to have downtown and also enormous ultra modern multiplexes - today I saw a Thai martial arts movie subtitled in English. I learn a little more of the Thai language each time I come over and plan on being fully proficient one day.
I also saw a really great French movie with subtitles that Daddy you would like if you see it at Blockbuster sometime - "L'instinct de mort" parts one and two - also called "Public Enemy Number One" - a true story about a famous French gangster in the1960's and '70's who escaped lots of times from prison - a very bad dude......

I also read alot here and back home, usually about 4 books at a time - so far this trip I have read:
"Great Expectations" - Charles Dickens
"Sirens of Titan" - Vonnegut
"ABC Murders" - Agatha Christie
"Radio Free Albemuth" - Phillip K. Dick
"The Stranger" - Camus
"Everyday Zen" - CJ Beck

- and am currently reading "Silas Marner", an economic book by F A Hayek ( that Ron Paul would love and I am sure has read ), and I read over and over "Food for the Heart" by Ajahn Chah a Thai monk. I am very interested in studying Buddhist philosophy ( particularly Theravadan Buddhism which is practiced here - there are many types ) and own and have read about 100 books on this subject - and am now realizing that there are about a half dozen books on this that sum it all up nicely - Yoga and Buddhism can go hand in hand and come from similar roots in ancient India - it is said in yoga that you cannot truly meditate well unless you are physically fit - so the yoga makes one limber and strong to withstand sitting cross legged for hours at a time. To make the body healthy one must be active part of the day, to make the mind healthy one must try and make it inactive part of the day - thru meditation - not easy to do - one of the major tenets of Buddhist philosophy is mindfulness - mindfulness is being fully present right here, right now - not thinking about the past or worrying about the future - mindfulness is increased thru a meditation practice - Buddhism is an ethnic religion in Asia, but can be practiced or studied as a philosophy and combined with Christianity, Judaism, ect....

The nice thing about my primary interests and hobbies in life such as meditating,reading, practicing yoga, studying various philosophies, and learning a new language is that they do not cost anything, or at least very little.

I also like to read books about world history, yoga philosophy, travel books by Paul Theroux, and books about other religions - Christianity,Hinduism, Islam. Taoism ect... - I think an interesting major in college would be comparative religion. And, oddly enough, I think another interesting area to study would be the study of trees ( dendrology ? ).

Given my love of books it is not surprising that I think it would be really cool to have a used bookstore. Play jazz records, drink tea, and read - while customers browse...

So even though I am not undertaking any side trips this time over - in the future some top choices of places to visit for me would be Kyoto, Japan - Bhutan - and a few spots in China and Taiwan - I always fly thru Taiwan so it would be very easy and cheap to spend a week there sometime in the near future.

I will not see Tim this trip as he is hanging out in Vietnam and I am hanging out in Thailand and we are both attempting to spend less during this economic crises - also I saw him in Nashville in April and he is coming back to Nashville in October.

When I was here last winter some friends from a local meditation center and I traveled up to a National Park ( Kow Yai ) in the foothills a few hours away to visit a forest meditation retreat. While there we had tea and talked on the front porch of an American guy in his 60's, Frank, who has an apartment next to the retreat. He is an English teacher to the Thai military and enjoys meditating so gets out of the city from time to time to his rural pad next to the park and a meditation center - anyways he mentioned that before he got too old he wanted to become a monk. So last week I was attending part one of a 6 part philosophy lecture down the street and notice this little shaved head guy in brown robes sitting on the stage - it turned out to be Frank so we chatted after class and at one point he asked me how much is a load of concrete these days ? ( after inquiring what I do in the states ) - so I laughed and told him and mentioned how odd it was to be talking concrete with an American ordained Buddhist monk in Bangkok - it turns out that he is from N Carolina and used to be a contractor and has lived in Thailand for 20 years. So he gave me a map to his temple and in a few days I will go visit him and see what his new life is like - visiting a monk ( especially when he can speak english ) is very helpful because you can get advice on your meditation practice. When visiting a monk here you usually pick up some kind of gift basket which are available at a store on the temple grounds - the monks own nothing but their robes and and a begging bowl for food so rely on others to help them out and they in turn give you advice and good merit. He mentioned at the lecture that he had attended 3 ten day silent retreats thru the years on a little island in the Gulf Of Thailand - Koh Phangnan - so I am thinking about going in February - I already have a book about the place in Nashville and it is highly regarded center for meditation.

Hopefully the economy is bottoming out back in the states and housing construction will start to pick up - it would be great to have the plant still going when I am 50 and Daddy is 80 ! Though I may retire in Thailand, I don't think I can afford to do that until I am about 60.

Mama I hope your arthritis is not too bad and I hope you both can increase occasional moments of peace and calm to last throughout the days and nights.

I am looking forward to fall in Tennesee and driving around in my big old truck after walking everywhere for several weeks !

I am leaving around the end of this month so I shall see you both soon !

Love, Jimmy

One Woman - special memory

Saturday, August 15, 2009

City At Dawn

She gardened in the late evening. Watered, pulled weeds and as she worked had the thought if this lush garden was a blessing or a curse. In the Spring she had casually tossed every kind of seed and wondered if any would come up. She believes that they all did. She does not want this much gardening in the country. Wonder how this will play out.

Early the next morning she continued the watering and clean up and did not make much progress. Then she is somewhat of a perfectionist and others viewing this garden might think it was a delight. She wears no gloves and wonders why. She loves the feel of the dirt in her hands and when she views her hands she thinks they look fine.

She picked a dozen small tomatoes, a large zucchini (will be good chopped for her bread) and a few small squash for her stir fry. Also 4 clumps of flowers were dug up and will be taken to the country.

She will have to return with garden tools and soon have someone bring some mulch to keep it looking attractive. In the past she picked up the mulch and spread but she does not think she has the energy to do this. She has thoughts of making this garden smaller and spreading some grass seed this fall. She cannot maintain two gardens.

After working until dark last night she enjoyed a warm bath in her generous tub. The tub in the country is not quite as comfortable. But then she remembers that she was simplifying. If she had it to do over she would have picked another tub. It was so good to sleep in her bed of many years and she likes the mattress better then the new one she bought for the country. The one in the country sits on a frame until her bed will be delivered to her.

She did not sleep well and could hear the cars passing and was aware of the street lights through her shutters. In the country there is total silence and she keeps her windows uncovered and loves seeing the stars and moon.

As she thought during the night in this fine home she compared it to her country cottage.

They are so different. Like previous thoughts they are two different worlds.

The city home is not very bright inside. The front porch and screen porch on back cover the windows to her bedroom and great room. The country home has no porches over the windows and the rooms are filled with natural light.

She also had thoughts of a friend from years ago. As she read the local paper yesterday before heading for the city she saw his son's death notice. Memories flooded her mind. This man was so sincere as he sought her attention. He continually told her that she did not need to be alone and he would make her a good husband. But - she did not love him. He deserved more then I could offer. Having loved so deeply at one time, I just could never love like that again and when you trust with all of your heart and the trust is gone, I wonder can you ever trust again. Anyway it just never happened. Now I just accept this fact.

As she eats her breakfast she views her screen porch, terrace and garden through the open door.

It is a beautiful site. Her porch holds all of her comfortable furniture, ferns, wind chimes and special items. In the country she has a swing and an old wicker rocker and a couple of plants.

Again, such a difference.

When she sits on her screen porch and deck in the country she views - as far as she can see - fields, trees, wonderful sky scenes and birds of every kind going from tree to tree and to her one bird feeder.

She wants to bring her bird feeders from the city to the country but cannot get them out of the ground. Also wants her special wind chimes. She knows when her son returns he will take care of this for her.

Enough rambling. She may make a stop at the new farmers market that is around the corner.

Will head out for the country in an hour. Need to return to the city soon and do some dusting and go over floors but just do not feel like it this early morning.

One Woman's early morning in the city

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Blessings

One Woman starts her day at dawn. Prayer and meditation. Waters her new garden and begins to load vehicle for afternoon in Nashville (maybe the night). Load of wash in the washer, 30 minutes of yoga and breakfast of oats, banana with a sprinkling of raisins and walnuts - 2 cups of green tea and 2 homemade orange cookies. That should sustain her through the busy morning. On to the small town to grocery shop, pick up additional chain for something she created ( 2 post on either side of drive before approaching home with a chain stretched across to keep any visitors from continuing on to the back of her home and turning around). She needed a mousetrap as her paper toweling in the garage had been partially shredded. Guess there is a mouse left over from construction with the garage door open. She has checked every opening under sinks and all have been sealed correctly.

Home from shopping and trying to decide whether to head to the big city. It is sure going to be hot and dry today with it topping 92 degrees.

She decided to leave after her normal lunch time. She packs her small cooler with yogurt, peanut butter sandwich, milk for cereal (which she still has in pantry) banana and 4 of her orange cookies. Oh, a piece of chocolate. As she drives in she will stop at the Cracker Barrel for a child's portion of baked fish, cole slaw, corn muffin and a child's sundae!! That should sustain her!!

Interesting what she viewed. A couple at a near table. He a rather large man that ate and ate and ate. Never looking up from the newspaper or his food - at his lovely wife. She continued to view him. I thought how sad. Not a glance or a word spoken.

Then I saw the elderly man help his elderly wife up to her walker. He was holding on to the table. After helping her up he made his way back and picked up his cane. A devoted, slow moving older couple.

I looked up and a couple, toddler and grandmother being seated in front of me. I watched and smiled at their interaction. The smiles and love I could sense. They kept talking to the little one and the young man (probably in his 30's) turned his head and planted a kiss on his mother's cheek. There happiness continued to float my way.

I could not keep the tears back as I witnessed this young man's tenderness towards his mother.

As I left my table I stopped and commented how they warmed my heart. The young man said this was his mother who had come in from Greece to attend his son's baptism. I told him of missing my son who is miles away and that for some reason he reminded me of him.

I told them to have a wonderful holiday together and the young man looked at me and said "blessings to you this day". The tears would not stop as I paid my bill and headed for the car.
I was reminded once again of all the blessings that are sent my way. I take none for granted and am so very thankful for them.

So I am here in the city and I will water my garden. I wanted to move a few plants but it is so hot. I am having thoughts of leaving an hour before dark and returning next week.

So this is part of One Woman's Day that she is sharing.

I am amazed at the amount of comments I receive from my sharing. I wish I could gather all of my followers for a party and hug you. A party under the trees with simple and healthy food.

Someone to play music and a glass of wine would make it complete.

Blessings sent to all this hot day in the sunny South

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Good Life Continues and Sebastien

Tuesday finds One Woman in the city. So much to share. I heard from my doctor early Monday morning and she confirmed what I already knew - rheumatoid arthritis. Guess a severe attack.

A trip to fill a prescription and miracles never cease - in 4 hours I was pain free. Have felt great and like my old energetic self for 2 1/2 days. Prednesone (probably spelled wrong) anyway I take for 2 weeks. Hopefully no pain reappears and if this happens several times a year I know what to do. So I write this with a thankful heart.

I want a dog and am actively looking for a special dog that I can make a home for.

Received a call yesterday from a young neighbor about a retriever that they wanted to find a home for. Sebastien is 7 years old and absolutely beautiful. He is being kept penned up most of the time since his home is on a busy highway.

I agreed to have him brought to my home for a few hours. I would love to make a home for him

But-------he is so big - close to 100 lbs and so active. I know he will calm down after being free for a while - I am not confident I can handle him. I surely would not like to be knocked down because of his affection for me and have a broken bone!!!

So the after we become accustomed to each other would he calm down and be obedient? I am of the mind set that I need a smaller dog. But he sure is a beauty, so majestic looking. Sebastien - I am so sorry.

My close friend shared some boards from a barn that fell down in a storm. A board was nailed between two trees. My plans are to in my inexperienced way to paint Woodhaven on the boards.

I do not want a professional as I do not want it to look professional. Will see how this plays out.

It was a good visit with my little girls on the weekend.
I continue to love my country setting, plan and dream.

How can I thank all who read my thoughts and travel my journey with me? I cannot. But I can tell you that you will never know what your encouraging words means to one one.

I might add that the garden in the city stays at a spectacular peak. The country plants are surviving and from my past garden experience I know that next Spring I will have images worth sharing.

Woods cleaning continues next week. My helper Francisco and his friend continue to chop away the undergrowth.

What elegant names appear in my country life. Sebastien and Francisco - I am smiling.

Oh it is wonderful to feel GOOD!!!!!

Just received a call from my realtor and there is a showing this evening. One Woman is ready for the miracle.

Blessings to all this noon day from One Woman as she continues on her Journey

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Life Continues

I am in the city to pick up my little girls and want to leave a note. Thank you again for all who keep in touch.

I have not heard from doctor on blood work. I called 3 times last week. My condition continues and I am taking Mobic. I understand it is stronger then the over the counter medications.

Know in my heart this is arthritis and it will continue. Hopefully it will not leave me walking with a cane. But then to quote one daughter "you are so fortunate to have lived a healthy life into your 3 score and ten".

I need to leave for the country when my girls arrive and will drive back to the city first of the week to do some garden and housework.

After the doctor confirms my thoughts on this horrible condition I will make plans to have another truck load of belongings to the country. My computer, desk, scanner and printer and a lot of business and personal items will be in the load.

I made this move with certain things in mind that have not happened as of yet.

A simpler lifestyle with less work. Time to write and use my camera.

Seems to One Woman it is taking a long time to lay the groundwork for the "simple life".
But then when I look back at this year a lot has happened. When I look at what has been accomplished - I am almost of ashamed of myself. Please forgive all the venting.

One Woman checking in on another Hot Day

Sunday, August 2, 2009

City on Sunday

Since grandma's day is Monday I decided to drive into the city early this morning. I will return to the country tomorrow with my granddaughter. She will spend the night with me and her other grandma will enjoy her and return her to the city.

I plan on spending the night. This is the first time I have spent the night at the city cottage in almost a month. My heart is really not on this property. I will have to say that my city flower garden is beautiful. One big mass of color.

I would not be staying tonight except for the fact that the dreaded nighttime aches and sleeplessness is still plaguing One Woman. Tomorrow I should hear from my doctor if the blood work shows anything besides "arthur."

One of my daughter's suggested the extra strength - fast acting Tylenol. I took a pill at lunch and will take two before going to bed. Hope it helps.
My doctor gave me samples of Celebrex (probably spelled wrong) which I could not tolerate.
I always take medication with food but it still upset my stomach.
Enough medical news!!!

I have been unsuccessful in taking new images of my country retreat. With all the hard work that is going on - it does not show up in pictures. I did not find the pictures pleasing enough to share. Also a beginning flower garden of a few weeks just does not come through with the beauty a year from now it will portray. You have to have a lot of imagination and One Woman has that gift. Also the birds and butterflies seem to be to quick for me to take images.
I know all of this will change and in the future I will share some images.

My area is still having so much rain. Wonder what is going on? Never remember a summer with rain almost daily over the past months.

Grass is doing well and still has some bare areas. All flowers seem to be making it but they still look kind of sad. They are alive and next Spring hopefully they all emerge in their full beauty.

I tried to take some images of the magnificent sun sets and it seemed there was too much glare in the finished pictures.

My new header is what One Woman can see as she looks out the front windows or sits on her front porch. It is a peaceful view of an old barn and the Soybean fields.

So there is not a lot to share but I wanted to check in.

One Woman on a Sunday afternoon in the city.

There is purpose and value in each day of your life, in each season of your life. Nurture your times of action, of creating, of doing, and value your quieter times of going within. The more you study nature, the more you will learn about yourself. Nurture and trust the seasons of your soul.
Melody Beattie "Journey to the Heart"