Square Foot Garden Progress Report 2014-7-21

credit - youreasygarden.com

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The heat and humidity are returning to Arkansas. I will never forget the wonderful gift of really deliciously cool, rainy weather we had for much of July this year. What an unexpected treat! Now it seems that our usual summer is returning. I’ll try not to gripe TOO much…

I spent about an hour in my square foot garden. I haven’t reported to you in awhile, so I thought I would catch up.

First, the lettuce, spinach, cabbage and broccoli are through for the spring. I’ll start seeds soon for the fall garden.

My asparagus did really well this year, particularly since the plants were only two years old. We enjoyed some really good, tender asparagus. The ferny growth is way up now. I’m having to move strands out of the way as I move around in the garden. I’m supposed to wait until the strands turn yellow, and then cut them off for next year.

My tomatoes are still doing well. I had a bunch of vines to tie up to the fence. I gathered some ripe tomatoes, and I see we have a lot of green tomatoes that are still looking good.

My cucumber and green bell pepper plants are looking good, but not producing.

My watermelon vines are looking like something is eating them. We have several really small watermelons hanging from the vines at this point.

In the planters on the other side of the yard, I have onions and potatoes. Soon I’ll start digging these up.

The tomato vines are looking good now. I spent quite awhile weeding, since it had been several days since I had worked in the garden. I weed whacked around the perimeter of the garden, then I sprinkled fertilizer on the plants. Finally, I sprinkled Sevin around the garden, since I was seeing some signs that plants were being eaten.

This got the garden looking as if someone cared again. I’ll try to check things every day or so to hopefully gather some good tomatoes, if not more.

I’ll read up on planting the fall garden, and see if I can set up a seed growing station on the back porch soon.

I hope that you’re making it a point to visit the Farmer’s Markets in your area. We have one in Downtown Fort Smith on Saturday mornings. We’ll visit them soon and see what wonderful produce we can find!

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, It's a Wonderful World!, Mother Nature, Quality of Life

May i begin this day

credit -  Lisa Bearnes Richey on Facebook

credit -
Lisa Bearnes Richey on Facebook

I love this quote. I’m really working on trying to do this – to slow down enough to truly appreciate where I am, all I have, who is with me, and all that I have for which to be thankful.  Thanks for reminding us, Lisa.


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Who could resist this?

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Great Attitude!

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Dollar Art – Take 2



Last year, Smithsonian Magazine had a major article about origami and the incredible number of folds that can be made on a single small piece of paper like a dollar bill.  Computer programs are also used to identify the number and location of folds for “Olympic”-level folders…  Here are 4 more entries!










I love the fact that so many different things can be made by simply folding a piece of paper. The creativity and expertise that emerge from an exercise like this make me proud to be on the same planet as these talented people!


Filed under Challenges, Creativity, Favorite Things, I'm Glad I Found...., Origami, Our Unique Culture

Wonderful Watercolors – Take 2

french bridge2_thomaswschaller_via_jelena_hodzic

credit – french bridge2_thomas wschaller_via_jelena_hodzic

Thomas Wschaller is obviously a master watercolor artist. He knows all the technical stuff – lighting, hard and soft edges, perspective, color mixing, and he’s created a world you want to lose yourself in. I want to walk over the bridge and into the town. I wonder who lives in the houses. I wonder how anyone can drive up the steep, curvy road. I want to stand on the bridge, gazing into the water below…



credit – drawasamaniac.com

Another painting that grabs me. I want to be one of the people walking in the rain, protected by an umbrella, sharing a good friendship on a beautiful night.



credit – studiotuesday.blogspot.com

I want to adopt this little guy. I love his bright, playful eyes. He’s ready for whatever joy comes, isn’t he? Amazing painting.

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Calvin & Hobbes Finished!

Calvin & Hobbes Mailbox Decoration

Calvin & Hobbes Mailbox Decoration

After several weeks of work, our Calvin & Hobbes mailbox decoration is finished!

We loved the work of Bill Watterson, and we hope that he’s looking down, pleased that people love his work enough to try to share it with others.

We’ll take more pictures when this one is up on the mailbox.

“Yosemite Sam” is up there now.





August 1st we’ll change to the exploding thermometer -



And then we’ll put up Calvin & Hobbes. :0)

We would love to hear what you think of these.

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Filed under Challenges, Favorite Things, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Quality of Life

Aging with Sass

My good friend Jane Daniell sent me a poem in answer to my blog this morning, “What Color are You?” about letting your true colors shine. (I mentioned that deep, rich purple is my favorite color.)


“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.”

Jenny Joseph

I LOVE THIS! (Especially the part about learning to spit. :0) )

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Poetry, Grin for the Day, I'm Glad I Found...., Lifting Your Spirits, Opportunities!, Quality of Life, Thought for the Day

Dollar Art – Take 1


My friend Marsha sent this to me, and I think it’s fascinating!

Last year, Smithsonian Magazine had a major article about origami and the incredible number of folds that can be made on a single small piece of paper like a dollar bill.  Computer programs are also used to identify the number and location of folds for “Olympic”-level folders… 












Aren’t these great? With the way the value of the dollar is decreasing, at least we can have some fun creating with one…

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Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Creativity, Favorite Things, I'm Glad I Found...., Origami

Art by a Friend

credit - Photoarticulations by Diana Ralph

credit -
Photoarticulations by Diana Ralph

Diana Ralph posted this on her Facebook page not long ago, just before she was going to have a show. I was completely blown away by the glorious COLORS and TEXTURE!  Of course, it sold almost immediately. I’m happy for her, and the person who bought it, and sad for me.

At least I can save this picture, share it with you, and look at it again from time to time.

If you want to see more, go to Photoarticulations by Diana Ralph.


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What color are you?

credit - creaturesofdelight via rebecca kelman

credit -
creaturesofdelight via rebecca kelman

I spent my whole life trying to fit in, to blend in, to not stand out. I wanted to please everyone, be accepted. I wanted to wear the ‘right’ clothes, have the ‘right’ things.

It really embarrasses me that I wasted so much time and energy to NOT be different.

When we had my son, it was immediately obvious to me that he was different. When he went to school, he insisted on wearing a flat hat when everyone around him wore baseball caps on backwards. The ridicule didn’t bother him. He knew what he liked.

I learned from my son to celebrate our differences, no matter what the consequences. I’m not as brave as he is, but I’m still learning.

Our school system celebrates those who learn to play the game well. I learned it, playing it well all the way through a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist with a 4 point.

My son proved to me that learning isn’t grades. It isn’t pleasing the teachers. It’s making sense of a new thing and making it fit with what you know already. If it doesn’t make sense, beat your head against it until it does. Make it your own. Learn for your own reasons. He still does this, working for a start-up company that is designing a cutting edge new product to the market.

I still don’t enjoy being criticized, but I don’t avoid it anymore. I spend my days “living with intention,” accomplishing

  • one ‘have-to’ on my list
  • one thing that I can point to that makes me feel I’ve accomplished something
  • and one FUN thing every day, like painting, working on a metal critter with my husband, reading, gardening…

I wear what I like. Since deep, rich purple is my favorite color, I make sure I have as much of that as I can find. :0)

It doesn’t worry me to stand out from the crowd. I let my true colors shine. If people like my colors, I”m delighted. If they don’t, that’s okay, too.

What color are you?


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credit - onesparkfoundation via cathy ruggiero

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onesparkfoundation via cathy ruggiero


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“Nowhere to run to…”


Filed under Funny Signs, Grin for the Day, Humor, Music

Addendum to the saga of the receiver

source unknown

source unknown

Yesterday I ended a post saying that music was coming out of the receiver we had bought so that we could Skype with Vivian, our foreign exchange student. She is in Germany now, and will soon be flying to New York City for a week before coming here.

After I finished the post, my husband was angrily spewing bad words because the music was only coming from ONE of the speakers. He tested and tested, and finally said we had to take it back to the hock shop. SIGH….

We did. They gave us our money back and we started looking in the shop for another one. They set up the one we had returned to see what the problem was. They couldn’t find anything wrong! They showed us clearly that it was playing from both of the speakers they had set up.

We gave them the money again and packed up the receiver to bring it home.

When we hooked it up at home, we had the same problem. ARRRRRRRGH!  But THIS time, we KNEW it wasn’t the receiver that was at fault, and so looked harder at everything else. The end result was we found a staple going THROUGH the wire along the baseboard. This was effectively shorting out the wire intermittently. It was amazing it had worked at all. We removed the staple, tested the wire, which was now fine. Then we concentrated on the speaker. The speaker is old, but good quality. It’s a tad recalcitrant unless it receives what it thinks is its share of attention. We finally made it happy and actually heard both speakers and the receiver working together as they should. AHHHH!

In the process of trouble-shooting, though, we had moved stuff out of the way in the office. The result was complete chaos in my part of the office. (SIGHING AGAIN…..)

I have the mess almost cleaned up now. I’ve emailed Vivian that we THINK we’re all set up to have another Skype session, if she would like, tomorrow!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Being a Host Family, Challenges, Changes, Quality of Life

Wading through the animals…

I was trying to carry a large pile of ‘stuff’ from my office to the kitchen. I got out into the foyer and found this -




Abby refused to move as I approached. She was, of course, right in the middle of the foyer.   I had to carefully step over her, balancing my pile of ‘stuff,’ at which point – of course – she decided to stretch, flip over, and I almost stepped on her. I managed to NOT fall down, though I have to admit some pretty colorful language erupted from me.

I made my way a little bit further and found this -



Bambi is so large he takes up most of the foyer, so there isn’t a way to walk around him. I politely told him, “Place,” and he ignored me, pretending to be deaf. I say ‘pretending’ because he can hear me slicing meat in the kitchen from all the way across the house. I finally yelled, “PLACE!!!!” and he slooooooooowly got up while I waited for him to go to his bed.


I was losing my patience, moving with my pile into the living room, where I found this -



She WAS in her place, so I was happy. I said, “Good dog, Molly!” which she interpreted to mean, “Get up and run under Mama’s feet!”  She decided to be CUTE, running round and round my feet, snapping her teeth and me, trying to get me to play.

The end of the story is that I did, indeed, make it to the kitchen with my pile of stuff, all parts intact, though emotional stability slightly askew. It’s amazing how many animals we have sometimes…


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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Quality of Life, The Joys of Geezerhood

3rd time the charm?

We’re beyond frustrated.

We were trying to Skype with our foreign exchange student ‘daughter,’ Vivian, awhile back and the receiver attached to my husband’s computer kept cutting off.  Her end, with her laptop, worked fine.

We told her we would order another receiver and then we could Skype again.

We received one via Fedex. The corner of the box was really smashed. When we got it out of the box, the corner of the receiver was equally smashed. We got our money back and ordered a second one. We waited for what seemed like forever and it finally came today.

The box looked okay, but the receiver didn’t work. Only half of the lights worked, and it only hissed. We’re now shipping it back at OUR expense to the shipper to try to get our money back.

Since it was obvious that shippers, receivers, and Fedex weren’t on our side this time, my husband went to Ft. Smith and cruised hock shops. A NEW receiver is about $400, so that just wasn’t in the cards.

He now has the hock shop receiver on the table next to me and is trying to hook it up to see if it works. All appendages are crossed – including my eyes – that THIS one works. (We can take it back if it doesn’t, but surely we can catch a break THIS time.

If it works, we can email Vivian and try to Skype again. If not – we’re getting hostile…


P.S. Suddenly, the office was filled with glorious MUSIC from the ‘new’ receiver!       HOOORAAAAAYYYY!!!!!

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Wonderful Watercolors – Take 1


credit – creepypasta.wikia.com

To the outsider, watercolor looks easy. You have the school child kit of eight colors in a tin box, a place to mix with water, and a brush, plus a piece of paper. What could be simpler?

As one who tries to DO watercolor, I know the medium is fascinating, and very unforgiving. If you get it right, it’s great. If you don’t, it looks like a muddy mess.

This one makes my heart beat faster. There is such a subtle hint of colors here. I love the ‘suggestion’ of other trees with only the one in the foreground having details, and the fog makes it magical.



credit – prafulla.net

Such a glorious rain here! I can almost hear the raindrops as they plop onto the umbrellas and splash off the pavement of the street. The beautiful light makes the rain feel refreshing. Can you hear the trees saying, “Ahhhh?” Such a beautiful, sun-washed painting!




credit – steve hanks_webneel.com

In this watercolor by Steve Hanks, the light is the active force, bringing out the highlights in the beautiful woman’s hair, dancing across her clothes, warming the tiles at her feet. Just stunning!



credit – _www.miketheuer.com

I find myself wanting to make this beautiful, sad dog smile. I want to call him, see his eyes light up, and wrap him in a towel. Beautiful brushstrokes on the dog’s hair and the water!

Aren’t we lucky that we can find this beauty on the net, save it, share it, buy it….?


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Tasting the Rain

credit - inspirationfeed.com

credit -

We’re enjoying a WONDERFUL temperature of 68 degrees this morning and a soft rain. The squirrel is in the bottle feeder in the window, the dogs are going nuts, and the cat is in my lap. What more could anyone ask for? It feels as if we’ve been dropped on a new, beautiful planet!

We mowed the lawn yesterday just before the rain started, so our yard looks pretty civilized right now. :0)

We’re going to drive to Thibodaux, Louisiana, soon to see relatives, so I’ve been Googling for stops along the route. I’ve found:

We’ll probably hit at least one of these on our way down, and think about which to catch on our way back. Since the heat will probably be back, that may be a deciding factor. We’re really looking forward to seeing our relatives again, even though we won’t be able to stay as long as we’d like.

When we return, we’ll be putting the finishing touches on welcoming our new ‘daughter,’ Vivian, from Germany, who will be living with us for the next 10 months, attending the local high school as a junior. We’ll be embracing a totally new lifestyle for the next school year, although I have to admit – getting up in what we consider the middle of the night to get Vivian off to school will be one of the biggest challenges to this old, retired couple.

I attended some extra curricular things when I was in high school, but my parents acted as though these were a problem, so I gradually stopped. I want Vivian to attend as many activities as she wants. We’re ready – we think- for every Friday night football games, basketball games, cross-country, and whatever other sports she is interested in. The foreign exchange students (7 of them at the high school this year) will have get-togethers, and I hope that Vivian will make friends quickly and get swept up into the American experience of high school. Although she attends classes, this is an ‘extra’ year for Vivian. She just graduated from ‘middle school,’ and when she goes home, she’ll have to take tests to see if she can attend the next 4-year school, getting ready for college in Germany. This coming school year is one which will give Vivian a good idea of American life as a teenager. I’m hoping that it will be filled with wonderful memories.  I’m delighted that technology will allow her to keep in touch with the friends she makes here for as long as she likes, wherever she is, while keeping up with her friends and family in Germany.

I’m not sure what today will bring, but I’m feeling open to possibilities! :0)

I hope that YOU are enjoying the day, plus planning for exciting opportunities in the future!




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Filed under Seasons, Mother Nature, Vacation!, Arkansas, Being a Host Family

Our excitement is growing!

We just heard this afternoon that Vivian, our ‘daughter’ for the next 10 months, will be at the local aiport August 7th!

We are about to be magically transformed from old, retired folks who can do pretty much what we want to WHEN we want to, to the parents of a teen-aged girl from Germany. We couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve now coordinated my daytimer with my computer calendar, trying to get my act together for the three of us, starting what will be a happy whirlwind of activity until some time in June, when we’ll again experience ‘empty nest.’ :0(

Our new daughter loves basketball and cross-country, reading, music, walking in the woods, storms, being with her friends, and more. We’re learning more each day in emails, and look forward to another Skype session as soon as we can arrange it.

School starts the 18th of August. We want her to be as comfortable as possible in her new home before she takes on a new school. There are 7 foreign exchange students who will be attending Greenwood High School for the coming school year. We’ll get to meet all of them before school starts, and I hope we can get to know them all well before the school year is over.

We’ve stressed that good communication will be really important. I hope we can make her feel comfortable quickly so that we can be a real family, rather than tip-toe-ing around for any more time than is absolutely necessary. We look forward to the opportunity of getting to know her better and better.

Sometimes I think that the very best thing you can do is to throw your life high up in the air and embrace something brand new, completely different, and a little bit scary… As Vivian says, “Please squeeze your thumbs for us!”



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Being a Host Family, Challenges, Changes, Family, Opportunities!, Our Diverse Culture

These are a few of my favorite things…

credit - nydentallife.wordpress.com

credit -

I HATE going to the dentist.

I have never had a cavity. The only thing the experts have done to me that hurt was braces when I was a teenager. I finally lived long enough for them to be removed only to have my teeth move back to being crooked of their own accord. :0(

We have a wonderful dentist. He is very friendly. My husband says he has state of the art skills, but I don’t ever want to find out personally. I say, “Hello,” and smile. I’ve even told him that I really like him, but don’t want to ever have to use his services…

We have a truly kind and very skilled hygienist. We see her twice a year. I got a cute teddy bear for her that is dressed as a hygienist, complete with dental equipment, a mask, a uniform, and her name embroidered on the pocket. She still displays it on a table in her area. She is very nice, but I still get nervous when we have to see her.

I know, I’m a wuss, but there it is.

My inner child comes out in full force when I’m faced with the dentist. That child says I can just ignore the fact that adults have their teeth cleaned and do everything they can to keep healthy teeth and gums. SHE says, “unless you hurt, don’t go.”

I have to admit that for many years I took our son to have HIS teeth cleaned, but never let them touch ME. My husband went, but not ME. Finally, he said a combination of things that convinced me I HAD to go.

Our hygienist is super-nice, doesn’t hurt me, and she even checks me for oral cancer FIRST, rather than the check being the LAST thing she does, since I told her the first time I saw her that my mom died of oral cancer – found by her hygienist – and that I hold my breath each time until I find out I’m clear.

We’re super lucky to have found this dentist and his staff. We’re lucky that we can afford their services. They’re taking good care of us, even though ONE of us is a wuss. :0)

Our appointments are today…. I’ll be glad when they’re over!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Health Alert, Making Your Life Easier, Quality of Life

New Creative Artworks Blog Header – July 15, 2014

"Cracked" Handmade Paper Poster by Lisa Richey

“Cracked” Handmade Paper Poster by Lisa Richey

“Cracked”-Handmade-Paper-Poster – ID # 12370 by Lisa Richey 

“Blessed are the cracked. They let in the Light.”
Each of these 8 x 10 posters is completely handmade. While the posters are suitable for framing, Lisa currently offers these mounted on a sheet of contrasting black handmade paper protected in a clear sleeve. Please allow approximately one week for delivery.

See all of Lisa Richey’s work on Creative Artworks


"Mountain Fresh Soap Sponges" by Vivian Dee

“Mountain Fresh Soap Sponges” by Vivian Dee

Dress up your bath with a heart-shaped soap sponge! Dimensions of each “spongeable” is 4″ x 4.5″ long. Wet sponge and allow it to lather for a morning shower or evening bath. Multiple uses. You receive 12 sponges. Please indicate your color choice of “light pink,” “light blue,” “pumpkin,” “green,” or “assorted,” in the special comments section of the order form. (SORRY! “PURPLE” AND “RED” ARE SOLD OUT.) Ships in 2 to 3 business days. GIFT – BATH CONFETTI – WITH PURCHASE!

See all of Vivian Dee’s soap products



“Goldfinch and Daisies” Handpainted Plaque by Linda Faber

This little goldfinch has found a pleasant perch on some fresh-blooming daisies beside an old weathered picket fence. This is painted with acrylic on a 9×9″ piece of beautiful cherry wood. There is a hanger on the back for a wall hanging or you can put it on an easel for a more elegant look. It would be a beautiful addition to any room setting, especially for those who love flowers and birds! Sealed with a satin finish. Signed and dated by the artist.

See all of Linda Faber’s work

See the work of 30 artists on Creative Artworks!  You’ll find wonderful things for yourself plus gifts for your co-workers, family, and friends all year ’round!

CREATIVE ARTWORKS – Handcrafted – Hand-Painted – Unique -AHHHH!


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Filed under Creative Artworks Headers, Decorating Ideas, Don't Miss These Products!

This IS July, right?

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It’s 77 degrees outside! In July! In Arkansas!

We had an almost-severe rain storm last night followed by a 20 degrees or more temperature drop into the low 70′s. We’re having a “everything-newly-washed-and-green” day now. We have some things we need to do in town, plus more inside, but we’re going to spend as much time outside today, and the next couple of days, as possible.

I feel as though I’m in a time warp or something similar. Usually, it’s right at 100 degrees or higher. You burn your hand on the car door if you’re not careful.  You walk outside and your pores spurt. A headband keeps the perspiration out of your eyes, but you still feel as if the breath has been sucked out of you. Usually we wait until the hour or half-hour before dark to work outside, and even then, we come in dripping, wanting lots of water and high speed on the ceiling fan, even in the air-conditioned house. It takes us half an hour or so to cool down.

When we ran the first of our errands this morning, we couldn’t believe how pretty everything was and how comfortable we were! We stopped for coffee and a doughnut (husband=bear claw, I had a cinnamon roll. I love unrolling it and savoring the icing! I haven’t had one in years, so this one was especially good.)

We have more errands this afternoon, but I’m planning to accomplish at least 3 things in these wonderfully cool ‘gift’ days:

  1. mow and weed whack the lawn
  2. weed whack at the bottom of the driveway
  3. weed and get my square foot garden under control.

I hope that YOU’RE enjoying some really nice weather, and that YOU can enjoy being outside, too!


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Filed under Gardening, Mother Nature, Seasons, The Joys of Geezerhood

Newest Shovel Bird!


We finished the newest “shovel bird” bird feeder yesterday. We put him into the planter yesterday evening with his glued-on eyes rubber-banded. Then came a really heavy rainstorm! The rain was actually horizontal at the side of the house! LOTS of thunder and lightning, with a couple of mighty CRACKS! that made us all jump.

My husband and I watched the storm come in with wine in hand, sitting on the deck. Then we started to get wet because of the gusty winds, so we moved onto the porch. We kept moving our chairs closer and closer to the back door and finally had to come in.

We weren’t sure if the shovel bird would be standing today.




He seemed to do fine in the rain. We’ll probably have to drill a few more holes in the shovel part because he didn’t drain well. Tomorrow we’ll put some sunflower seeds in him and he’ll become a regular stop on my husband’s trip with the doggies around the yard in the morning!



This is a close-up of the “Mama and Baby” snails that are right behind the newest shovel bird.

I finished the front of the Calvin & Hobbes mailbox decoration yesterday. If it’s dry enough, I’ll turn it over and start on the back today. Pictures soon!

Have a happy day!

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First Round – Schools -1, Lewises – 0

One would THINK, with as much experience as I’ve had with school systems as a student, then a teacher in the public schools, then a teacher/owner of my own reading clinic, then as parent of a son in the public schools, then home schooling, and then his college, I wouldn’t be surprised at the runaround you get when trying to get answers.

Today my husband and I stopped at the administration building of the local school, trying to find out what we needed to know in order to get our foreign exchange student registered for the coming school year. I wanted to find out about bus schedules, time school started and stopped, supplies needed for a junior, etc. I wanted to do this before our new ‘daughter’ arrives, so that we could concentrate on HER questions then. In our emails, she is already asking some things, and it would be great if I could give her some answers.

We realize that there isn’t a full staff during the summer at a public school. We asked if we could see someone today. The lady called the high school and talked to a counselor.  Apparently, she didn’t want to make time for us. We asked if we could make an appointment for another day. That wasn’t possible, but the counselor that we should see would be there Wednesday. We asked, ‘what time would she be at the school?” The lady didn’t know.

So – we struck out for Round 1.

I wrote the local coordinator of the foreign exchange student program, telling her my problem. She wrote back very quickly, saying that she thought she had answers to all the questions I had – except for the bus – and she would check on that. She will give us a packet of information soon. Hooray!

I’m very thankful that the coordinator answers super-quickly. She is also VERY tactful. I think she probably WANTED to say I shouldn’t get my panties in a wad, and should just calm down. Instead, she said “You will be a great host family!” See what I mean?




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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges

If you were waiting

credit - cathy-thomas

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Aren’t you glad you found it!


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For far too many years I worried about not looking the way I wanted to, not having the ‘right’ clothes to wear, not feeling comfortable in a new situation. Then – finally – I learned a new mantra – “It’s not about me.”

I realized that I was focusing on myself, rather than looking at the something new as an opportunity for growth, or the fact that no one would probably think anything about the way I was dressed, etc.

I learned to talk to myself - reminding myself that what I SHOULD be thinking about is the people around me who might benefit from my sticking my neck out in unfamiliar territory. I SHOULD be thinking about how the people who are with me feel. Is there anything I can do that might make them feel more comfortable? Are THEY worried about what we’re doing? Do THEY feel confident? Do THEY have what they need?

Living to be older is a good thing in many ways. We learn to be selfish – and less selfish – at the same time.

We learn to be selfish – treasuring each day, throwing away stuff that we don’t HAVE to do, avoiding people we don’t HAVE to deal with, choosing to surround ourselves with things that bring us joy, doing things that give us pleasure.  We learn to stick our necks out, learn new things, challenge ourselves to be better, move more, think more, ENJOY more.

We learn, also, that IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US. We throw off needless anxiety in order to help someone else. We learn to throw our ideas up in the air to embrace new challenges, not worried about what others may think – keeping our mind and heart focused on what’s important.

So – when I find myself dragging my feet, I remind myself, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise(r), so I am changing myself.” – It’s not all about ME!”



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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Favorite Quotes, Opinion, Philosophy, Quality of Life, Thought for the Day

“Please squeeze your thumbs for me”

I’ve told you that we’re thrilled to have been accepted as a host family for a 15-year-old girl from Germany for the coming school year. We’ve been exchanging emails and one Skype session so far, and it’s amazing how much our lives have changed already!

Every day I sit down at the computer, looking for an email from Vivian. When I have one, I tell my husband, “We have an email!” I don’t even need to tell him it’s from Vivian. He comes into the office. I read him the email, and then we answer it together.

She speaks English very well. It’s a good thing because I only can say, “wienerschnitzel,” and “gesundheit,” and even had to check the spelling of those :0)

Today she told us she is going to the embassy to get her passport and her visa to come first to visit New York for a week and then to come to us, in Arkansas, where she will live with us and attend school for the next 10 months.

She said, “”Please squeeze your thumbs for me!” I’m sure this is similar to ‘keep your fingers crossed,” or as I usually say, “I’ll keep all my appendages, including my eyes, crossed for you.” I LOVE the way this sounds, though, and have decided to say it – OFTEN.

I find it more fun when she says things that aren’t perfect. We’re feeling closer and closer as the emails go back and forth. We’re already starting to plan, buy stuff, and build our lives around this sweet young lady!

To give you a small example, she told us she had a dream where the soccer finals for the World Cup had come down to a match between the U.S. and Germany. Germany won, and she was really anxious that everyone in the United States would hate her!

I almost feel as if we’ve won the lottery. I can’t wait to see what this new experience will bring.

As we turn our current lives upside-down to accommodate a German teenager, “Please squeeze your thumbs for us!”

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Filed under Attitude, Being a Host Family, Challenges, Changes, Family, Favorite Quotes, It's a Wonderful World!, Opportunities!, Our Diverse Culture, Quality of Life

Hoping the forecast is correct…

The local weather people are very nice, and they do the best job they can. Most of the time, though, unless something big is coming and they say, “A huge tornado is headed for the Lewis house RIGHT NOW!” we don’t pay a lot of attention.

That said, I’m really hoping that their forecast is correct for next week. We’re having our usual July right now, with actual temperatures in the 90′s to 100′s with heat indices much higher. And usually, it will be like this until at least the beginning of September, if not longer.

KFSM-5News, Fort Smith, AR

KFSM-5News, Fort Smith, AR

From Tuesday through Saturday we’re forecast to have really cool weather, plus a reasonable chance of pop-up showers. HOORAAAY!!!!

We’re already planning to do a bunch of catch-up and extra yard work, taking good advantage of the cooler temperatures. We know it won’t last long, but what a glorious forecast!

Lookin’ forward to dancing in the rain!

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography, Childlike Fun, Favorite Photographs, Gardening, It's a Wonderful World!, Mother Nature, Opportunities!

What an Overwhelming Gift!

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My husband and I love hummingbirds. On a good year, we laugh trying to count them all. We have NEVER, however, seen anything like the video our son sent us this morning.

Cutest Pest Problem

If the link doesn’t work for you, here is the URL



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Filed under Amazing Animals, Favorite Videos, It's a Wonderful World!, Lifting Your Spirits, Mother Nature, Quality of Life, The Joys of Geezerhood

“Because I’m Happy”

I have to tell you that “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is one of my favorite songs right now. I have it bookmarked so that I can play it any time I’m sitting at my computer. I either ‘dance’ in my chair with my earphones on, or – if I’m by myself – I take the earphones off and stand up and dance all around the office!

I’m happy because the ‘shovel bird’ metal yard critter bird feeder is just about ready to put out in the yard. As soon as the paint is dry, I’ll turn him over and make sure he doesn’t need any touch-ups. If not, I’ll spray him with polyurethane. When that is dry, I’ll glue his eyes on, and then my husband and I will put him in the rose-bush planter and put sunflower seeds in the shovel part for the birds.

I’m also happy because we changed out the decoration on our mailbox.

We had the firecracker up for Independence Day



And we put up “Yosemite Sam” for the first time ever!


This is the back.




And this is the front.

I’m also happy because I sold a hand-painted heavy-duty tray of mine today!



And finally, I’m happy because we found a well-made badminton set, a volleyball, and a Frisbee to add to what we already have as ‘stuff to do in the yard’ things for when Vivian comes.

I’ve had two exceptionally nice days in a row now, and I could get used to this!

I hope YOU’RE having wonderful days, too.



Filed under Encouragement, Family, Favorite Things, It's a Wonderful World!, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Quality of Life, The Joys of Geezerhood