“Fragrant Beauty”

"Fragrant Beauty" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Fragrant Beauty” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Getting the Lard Off Progress Report 8/24/2016

guff.com

guff.com

I’m fighting with the same three pounds over and over again. I get them off, put them back on, then spend another week getting them off again. I lost pound 46 this morning, but I’m not at all sure it’ll stay off yet. I’m happy to be entering a new ‘decade’ on the scales, but I’ll be happier when I can take that a bit more for granted.

“Annoying Leslie” and I are walking every day again, though I haven’t made it through the two-mile walk yet. I’m at about the 1-1/2 mile level now. I’m just making sure I get in there and do what I can each day. The two-mile level will come eventually. Meanwhile, I’m moving muscles with her that I apparently don’t in everyday life, even though I’m moving a lot more.

No change on measurements today, still being at 22″ off. Progress will come here eventually, as well.

I’ve been feeling a LOT more energetic since our weather did an abrupt change. We went from over 100 degrees F. actual temperature with a heat index thrown in due to stifling humidity to a high in the 80’s and either rain or a lot less humidity. It was like going to a different planet! It gave me energy to spend three days pressure washing the back sidewalk and our deck, for example. The heat has returned, though, so I’m feeling limp as a noodle right now, even though I’m in the a/c. I think the heat is a psychological thing for me, as well as physical.

Between Walking with Leslie, vacuuming and cleaning for tonight’s dinner guests, I should be doing a reasonable amount of exercise.

I’m looking forward to the weeks when I can tell you I officially went down another size in jeans, and when I can tell you I’ve lost 50 lbs. – however long that takes…

 

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Entertaining Tonight!

doingeverything.wordpress.com

doingeverything.wordpress.com

I have my bulldozer out, clearing things out a bit for our cookout tonight.

We’re having two dear friends for charcoaled steaks, baked potatoes (for some), green bean casserole, and salad.

Since I’m such a terrible housekeeper, an evening like this starts with the bulldozer, moving things from where they ARE to where they SHOULD BE. Then I can do the regular dusting and vacuuming in the public rooms on the first floor (office, foyer, living room, dining area, kitchen, utility room, pantry, and two half baths. I’ll need to clean up the porch (which is now our cat Smoke’s area) because it’s on the way to the deck. I’ll clean off my table by my recliner so that whoever sits on the sofa by the table will have a place to put a drink down. I’ll get out a tray table for our other friend.

I’m delighted that our friends are coming tonight. One of them works full-time in Fort Smith and will be tired after working all day. We’ll have some wine and a nice dinner for her without her having to cook anything. Our other friend is retired, like us. She offered to bring a green bean casserole, so that will be a real treat for all of us. I’ll prep the steaks, baked potatoes, and salad. One friend is an artist who does pastel paintings. The other is a former race car driver (dirt track), and is looking for another race car to buy because she misses racing. Both women enjoy practicing shooting – though it will be too hot for that this evening. Our conversations are lively and eclectic.

I’ve got to get busy if I’m going to have things ready. I hope you have a fun day!

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Companionship – Take 7

Email from Bill Lites

Email from Bill Lites

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Realization

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

My husband and I are very, very lucky.

Several times a week one of us will look at the other, saying, “Our life is so good.” It doesn’t mean we don’t have our problems. It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means we CHERISH the fact that our lives are as good as they are.

I’m always trying to win the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes or the MegaMillions Lottery, but I fully realize that I truly have everything I need – right now.

Our son is across the world from us, and I have no clue when we’ll see him next time or for how long, but we communicate via a chat program, being able to reach out across the miles (and oceans!) to find out how the other is, what’s going on, and share virtual hugs. We “talk” most every day, feeling closer than a lot of families feel when they’re in the same city. How very lucky we are!

My husband and I make each other laugh regularly, arguing over important stuff, such as what mailbox decoration we should try to cut out next on our CNC machine, or what colors to paint it, once it’s cut out… :0)

Our home is full of love. We share it with Bambi, our pit bull; Molly, our cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross; Abby, our tortoiseshell cat; Smoke, our relatively new kitten; and Freckles, our black goldfish. We’re finishing up our hot weather garden and getting ready to plant our fall garden on newly-constructed raised bed planters. Our lives are busy, full, and fun.

Someone said that being rich is not necessarily having a lot, but cherishing what you have. I couldn’t agree more.

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“Yellow 1”

"Yellow 1" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Yellow 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Magical Moment

Title Wave via Cathy Ruggiero

Title Wave via Cathy Ruggiero

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Wood Comes Alive – Take 1

wca1

 

 

wca2

 

 

wca3

Thanks to email from Marsha Koenig

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How to Pose with a Statue – Take 1

pws1

 

 

pws2

 

 

pws3

 

Thanks to the London Media and email from Bill Lites

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Lewis Metal Yard Critters – Take 6

finishedsunface2

This sun face is HUGE and HEAVY. I was afraid my husband would hurt himself trying to lift it onto the humongous hanger we put on the tree. We made some templates and cut out each ‘flame’ separately and then welded each to the round sun face. The eyebrows, nose, mustache, lips and beard + sunglasses are all separate pieces, as well. After all the pieces were welded, I began the painting. The final part was making and attaching the sunglasses. The tree is toward the top of our driveway. He greets all comers. :0)

 

metalbutterfly1

This is my husband’s design for a butterfly. (No light, delicate, ‘sissy’ butterflies for HIM!) This is made totally from scrap metal pieces welded together, plus old satellite dish arms. The eyes were made by cutting a rubber ball that had ‘studs’ on it in half. I painted the ball halves black, then dabbed paint on all the studs in iridescent green, then sprinkled glitter into the wet paint.

 

scrapdragonfly3

This dragonfly clown hangs from the ceiling in the shop. He’s made from scrap metal, some round glass for his eyes, and welding rod for feelers.

 

turtlecrossing2

We bought this wonderful turtle from a shop in Van Buren, Arkansas. He was totally concrete colored – much too tame for our tastes. I mixed up several shades of green and painted his shell, plus gave him an eye, a mouth, some toenails, and a bit of webbing on his legs.

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis yard art

Companionship – Take 7

Email from Bill Lites

Email from Bill Lites

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“Profile Star – Yellow Baby Duck”

"Profile Star - Yellow Baby Duck" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Profile Star – Yellow Baby Duck” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Lewis Harvest, August 21, 2016

LewisHarvest

My husband and I just took a break and walked out to the garden, where we harvested these, plus around the yard, where we found a rose in bloom. Mostly, things have shut down with the excessive heat, despite the irrigation system.  I still have all kinds of leaves in the main square foot garden for things like melons. We have a few more cucumbers and some green tomatoes. The plants in the nook planter on the side of the house we think are finished. I’ll probably take them down this week. My husband wants to take out the asparagus I transplanted and use the planter for more tomatoes, since they seem to be happier on the east side of the house. We’re going to figure out something to make a wind break and we’ll cover the plants with netting.

We have a hydrangea that bit the dust this summer. It was in a blue half-barrel to the side of the walkway to the shop. I’m thinking about dumping that out, replacing the dirt in the planter with Mel’s Mix, and transplanting my asparagus there. The roots would have a lot of room in there…

I’m about to stretch string in the raised bed planters. I want to get carrot and radish seeds going, as well as get the planters ready for fall plants, whether they come as transplants from the seeds I’ve started in the house, or plants bought from local sources.

I’ll give the original square foot planters longer before I clean things up out there, in preparation for replacing the ground garden with the other three raised bed planters we have ready to install.

I may have little clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a GREAT time doing it!!!! :0)

 

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Companionship – Take 6

Email from Bill Lites

Email from Bill Lites

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“Colors: Red and Green”

"Colors: Red and Green" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Colors: Red and Green” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Taking it Easy Today

Yesterday I worked from noon until about 6:30 in the evening finishing pressure washing the deck.

 

pwdeck7

My husband took this picture of me while I was working on the outside of the deck. Here are some before and after pics –

 

pw-backsidewalkbefore

This is our back sidewalk BEFORE pressure washing.

 

backsidewalkafter

And AFTER!

 

pw-onesetofdeckstepsbefore

One set of two stairs to the deck BEFORE –

 

westsidesteps2

And AFTER!

 

pw-upperpartofdeckbefore

Part of the upper deck BEFORE –

 

upperdeckwithSmoke

And AFTER! (With Smoke supervising) You can see to the right of the pic that I haven’t started on the main part of the deck yet…

 

pw-deckbefore

Part of the main deck BEFORE –

 

eastsideofdeck2

East side of deck AFTER!

 

westsideofdeck

West side of deck AFTER!

 

westsideoutsidedeck

Part of outside of deck AFTER!

Part of me is embarrassed to have shown you what our deck looked like before I started pressure washing, but that’s what 25 or so years of NOT pressure washing does. The deck doesn’t look new, but it sure looks BETTER! :0)

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

What Do YOU See?

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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I’m Rich

Lisa Bearnes Richey

Lisa Bearnes Richey

I love this quote, and I simply melted into a puddle when I saw this sweet little girl in the bucket.

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Growing Young

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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“Purple and Red”

"Purple and Red" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Purple and Red” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Power Washing – Part III

-ipaintandcontract.com

-ipaintandcontract.com

I’ve been pressure washing the deck since noon. I came in now because it started to rain heavily. I’m hoping that it will stop soon so that I can finish the job. I’m working on the outside edges and uprights of the deck and then it will be finished.

I honestly can’t say enough about this ‘new tool’ for me. I’ve tried all kinds of deck cleaners, but it was a complete waste of time. I guess your deck should be clean BEFORE you use these – they didn’t phase our deck. I had given up on getting rid of the black stuff, green stuff, and identified ‘stuff’ that was all over our deck.

I love seeing the grain of the wood again! Our boards are warped. We have nails that have worked their way up. It doesn’t look like a new deck by any means, but it is cleaner than it has been for at least 25 years, and that means a lot to me.

I think I’ve shocked my husband. He really didn’t expect me to do anything with this. He asked me today, in one of the many times he came out to check on me, if I wanted a bigger, more powerful pressure washer, now that I seemed to be using it all the time. I told him ‘no.’ This is one I can handle. I don’t have to worry about it getting away from me. It’s not as heavy as some I’ve seen.

When the deck is back together again, I’ll post pictures of our CLEAN deck!

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Power Washing, Part II

professional-powerwashing.com

professional-powerwashing.com

If I were a younger person, I would still be outside with the power washer. As it is, I spent an hour and a half today cleaning stuff, then came inside and fell asleep in my recliner. As I type, my jeans have dried mud on the legs and I have a thin film of ‘stuff’ all over me.

I did the back concrete sidewalk today, and got a good start on our deck. Since they’re both 30 years old and have NEVER been power washed, I’m not sure you can imagine what I’m dealing with.

I’m going to try to finish the deck tomorrow, and then I’ll post before and after pictures.

I honestly can’t believe what a power washer can do. I may be becoming addicted….

Now, up for a shower, clean clothes, and I’ll start dinner.

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Innovation - Great Tools

Companionship – Take 5

Email from Bill Lites

Email from Bill Lites

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

7 Wonders

Source Unknown

Source Unknown

This picture came in an email a long time ago. I just couldn’t part with it and wanted to share it with you. Isn’t it spectacular?

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography

The Serial Seed Killer Strikes Again!

I got antsy about trying to get my fall garden going. One of my friends said she’d already planted her seeds for her fall garden, so my “antsies’ increased.

Today I’ve gotten out a seed starter and I’m in the process of soaking the little peat pot pellets in preparation for planting some seeds. Since our cats look at anything planted in a pot they can reach a ‘bed,’ I’m going to put the seed starter tray with its transparent plastic lid on the dining area table where a fourth person would sit, along with two glasses with celery bottoms in them.

I would like to have the following in my fall garden:

  • carrots
  • radishes
  • several different leaf lettuces
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • spinach

I’ll still be on the lookout for actual fall plants from my usual sources, but I thought I would give starting from seed another try….

My sweet sister-in-law aptly dubbed my the ‘serial seed killer’ after I’ve shown her time after time how inept I am at this. MAYBE THIS TIME

I’ll surprise everyone – including myself!

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Filed under Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

“Sunflower”

"Sunflower" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Sunflower” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“The Barley Field”

"TheBarleyField" - Theresa Moynes Photographer

“The Barley Field” – Theresa Moynes Photographer

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One Year in the Life

Emily Davis, trendingly.com

Emily Davis, trendingly.com

Almost exactly a year ago – mid August 2015 – I came home from my doctor’s office and changed my life. My quarterly blood work, where we monitor my thyroid dosage, was high, high, high. I had again told him, looking him right in the eye, that my husband and I were trying to eat in a more healthy fashion and I was trying to exercise. Bah, humbug. Lies!

I MEANT well, but I was lying to him and myself, and not fooling either of us. Whenever I tried to do better, my husband would sabotage me, trying to protect me from another disappointment, in a long line of them.

This time was different. I decided that day I was either going to actually seriously change my lifestyle or I was going to quit lying about it. I was disgusted with myself, didn’t feel well, and wanted to change.  I decided to try low carb. I had had a little bit of success with this in the past and talked to my son on chat (since he’s in Thailand) about it. True to form, he was super supportive. He suggested that I try to eat 40 grams of carbs per day, staying at 1200 or fewer calories. I found MyFitnessPal.com, a wonderful site where you can list your goals, record what you’re eating (and change it if you find you’re going over either the carbs or calories), plus track your exercise. You can do this in solo fashion or interact with others on the website. (Yesterday I checked in for day # 365).

I found Dana Carpender’s wonderful low carb recipe books. This is the first set of recipe books that uses mostly ingredients you can easily find, giving you simple, GOOD tasting recipes that even my husband likes. I bought one book for slow cooker recipes and another for 15 minute prep or less. I love both of them.

I dug out my ‘Woman’s Walk’ DVD by Leslie Sansone that I got when I was doing NutriSystem years ago. I also found 3 lb weights in the closet, and printed off some really basic lower and upper body strength exercises to do with them. I also wiped down the elliptical trainer in the garage, and found an MP3 player with earphones to use with it.

One year later I have lost 45 lbs and 22 inches.  Slow and steady is the name of the game, as far as I’m concerned. As long as I keep on keepin’ on, my weight is going lower (even though I get in 3 lb loops, where I gain and lose the same three over and over).  I developed a bit of a digestion problem, due to my lack of gallbladder and a difficulty in fully processing fat) a couple of months ago. I talked to my doctor about it this week and he gave me some sample pills that he thinks will solve my problem. :0)

  • I feel better, with more energy than I’ve felt in years
  • When I am good about exercising regularly, I have much less pain in my hips and knees!
  • My blood test numbers are in the NORMAL range in all categories for the first time I can remember. (Isn’t “normal” a beautiful word?)
  • I’m down 3 sizes in jeans so far.
  • I’m receiving compliments and support from people I see regularly, plus amazement from people I only see occasionally.
  • Even my husband is supportive of my efforts this time. He knows I’m serious, and he’s actually told me that he admires me for my persistence.

I’m hopeful that as I begin another year, I can reach my goal of my weight being in the normal range for my height, healthy BMI number, even better blood tests, and getting more fit. I’m hoping that my joint pain will continue to lessen, my blood pressure will get into the normal range and I can stop the medicine I now take, and that I can plan to take long, wonderful walks with my husband without looking for someplace to sit down!

My mantra is

taolife.com

taolife.com

I hope that you’re doing good things for yourself, as well.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, getting the lard off

6 Hummingbird Morning!

We’re having a slow start to our day since I’m feeling a bit under the weather.

We went in the dining area to take our pills a few minutes ago to find SIX hummingbirds dancing around the feeder! We didn’t catch a picture, but the one above gives you an idea of the delightful sight.

This season was a slow starter for the sweet hummingbirds. I don’t think they liked our cooler, MUCH wetter spring this year. We usually have three or four feeders hung up around the deck, but have only one this year. We’ve had up to 4 hummingbirds at a time for several weeks now, but haven’t seen this many. :0)

We sat at the table, motionless, trying to agree on how many we were seeing.

Something to raise your spirits for sure!!!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Delightful Surprises

A Reminder I Needed

Charter for Compassion via Cathy Ruggiero

Charter for Compassion via Cathy Ruggiero

This is a reminder I needed. I realize I’m getting older, and I fight the urge for comfort, particularly when it comes to trying to learn new things – but it’s HARD.

Last night was a case in point. My husband ordered a remote that was supposed to be an omniscient being that would take the place of our having to juggle remotes constantly.  (Besides having to decide WHICH remote is appropriate for what we’re trying to do, we find ourselves trying to control the TV with our calculators or our phones….)

The idea was a nice one, but the jury is still out on whether I can deal with a remote that is smarter than I am.

First, we found that it really can’t control everything we would like it to.

  • Since Dish and CBS are feuding, we got an antenna so that we can at least keep up with the programs we like – IF we can figure out when they are and actually BE there to watch, rather than being able to automatically tape them and watch them when we have the time. The new remote WILL control the antenna.
  • The remote WILL control the Dish satellite stuff, and we can access what we’ve taped.
  • The remote WILL control the amplifier we use for the volume of whatever we’re watching – we just need to remember to turn OFF whatever volume we were listening to and switch to the other one, if necessary, or else we have TWO different sounds from two different programs playing at the same time.
  • The new remote WILL allow us to mute the sound if we get a phone call, or freeze the program we were watching.

The new remote WILL NOT deal with the Wii Fit Plus. We would need to buy an adaptor, and it just isn’t worth it. I’ll just get up (which I was going to do anyway), turn on the Wii, and get ready to listen to the insults.

The new remote WILL NOT control our Playstation3 (that we use as a DVD player) since it is radio controlled, not LED controlled.

___________

I got really upset trying to work with it. As my husband lost patience with me, I reacted to HIM, rather than being able to even TRY to think about what I was doing wrong on the remote. We ended up going bowling with our friends, and then doing a second lesson.  I did better this time, and my husband regretted making my previous lesson so stressful.

All this shows that I’m really getting averse to not knowing how to control something, resisting change, being intimidated by things I don’t understand, rather than calmly trying to figure them out.

This reminder, which I will print and post beside my computer, will remind me that I NEED to keep an open, curious mind; NOT be intimidated when I don’t catch on right away, and –  most of all – keep an attitude that I CAN master things if I keep on working at them.

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Companionship – Take 4

thanks to email from Bill Lites

thanks to email from Bill Lites

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family