Ralph Waldo Emerson via The Secrets of the Sea via Cathy Ruggiero

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Garden Update

I planted some seeds recently because I was unable to get the plants I wanted for my fall garden locally. I used a plant starter tray with a transparent lid using peat pellets. I planted Bibb Lettuce, Simpson Lettuce, and Spinach. I put the planter on our dining area table where it would get some sun.

They have sprouted, looking less than impressive, but are still alive at this point. I’ll turn the planter around so that the sprouts will straighten up in their pointing in the direction of the sunlight, and hope for the best.


This is the latest from the tomato plants. I still have a few green ones on the vines. I planted two tomato plants a few weeks ago, and one of them has a blossom. I have no idea if they’ll have time to produce tomatoes before frost. If the weather starts looking iffy,  I plan to dig them up carefully, put them in large pots and put them in the greenhouse to continue the experiment.

I planted more celery in the garden recently, plus radishes, plus lettuce, spinach, and carrots. When I’ve had a chance to get out there and weed, I’ll try to take pics for you.

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Filed under DIET!, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds


Robin Williams via http://www.great-quotes.com via Cathy Ruggiero

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Our Beautiful World

“Mountain Landscape” – Paul Militaru Photography



“Valley” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Pea Soup and Chew Toys


We just got back from grocery shopping. We had to turn on the a/c at the house first thing because it was so muggy. 97% humidity this morning. You walk outside and the sweat starts running off your head. I wash my hair every morning, but I refuse to wash it more than twice a day. The heat/humidity slap you in the face and draw all the energy out of you before you can get to the car in the garage. UGH.

The weather forecasters are saying we’ll get cooler temps and humidity starting Tuesday, I think, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Poor Amber goes out with one of us, running like a wild thing back and forth across the yard, taking care of business and then is ready to come back in, slurp a bunch of water (getting SOME of it in her mouth), plop down on the carpet and pant for the next half hour or so.

Today we brought her a new chew toy. We had to throw away one that she had completely demolished over the past few weeks. It started out really cute – a stuffed frog or something similar. It was really colorful with large eyes and had TWO squeakies inside in addition to the stuffing that squeaked in a kind of harmony. She loved it. She went around squeaking it relentlessly, making it a character-building exercise for us to try NOT to listen to. We would take as much as possible. One of us would cave and trade that toy for another, quieter one. She pulled out the stuffing, then one squeaky, and then the other, and STILL loved it. Eventually she tore it in half and started leaving strings of all colors all over the place, and eating way too much of it. Today we finally quietly threw it away, presenting her with what seems to be an armadillo. It’s squeak is different, so is a rest for our ears. She may tear it apart by the end of the day, but right now, she’s in heaven.

I’m looking forward to the cool down, when I can plan to catch up outside. I have a list as long as my arm of things I would like to do, but the direct sunlight, 90+ degree temperatures, with incredibly high humidity is more than I can handle. Fingers crossed the weather guys are right and I can play outside mid week.

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Amber Votes, “YES!”

I received the ingredients I needed to try the new gluten-free, low-carb bread today, so a couple of hours ago, I tried the recipe.

I found it a bit vague (for someone of my in-expertise on bread making) because many of the directions were “mix it until it’s creamy.” Well, I ask, “Is this creamy enough?”

Anyway, I got it into the oven, baked it for an hour, then took it out to cool. I made lunch for my husband and me, then took the loaf out of the pan and was pleased that it had risen, though not as much as other breads I’ve made. I sliced into it, cut that piece into four bites. I gave one to Amber, then one to Molly, I ate one and took the last in to my husband in the office.

I grabbed my camera on my way back to the kitchen so I could take pics for the blog. When I went into the kitchen, I found only the small piece of bread on the counter.


I went into the living room to find Amber with the rest of the loaf on her bed, happily eating it. I yelled, ran and grabbed it from her, yelling, ‘bad dog!’ while she looked at me with her innocent face, totally clueless. Apparently she just waited until I left the kitchen to stand up, grab the bread from the counter and take it into the living room.  Since it’s gluten-free, I guess I’ll break it up and let the doggies eat the rest of the huge hunk Amber stole.

This is the big hunk Amber stole.

I have a very small bit left. Not even enough for a sandwich. I’m not even sure if I like it or not at this point, and it’s not fair to the creator of the recipe to remark on it.

I’ve  just learned another lesson from Amber – she’s now big enough to reach anything on the counters in the kitchen. We’ll have to change our habits in there, too, and learn to watch her like a hawk.

So – the jury is still out on the gluten-free, low-carb bread, except for a really enthusiastic “YES!” from Amber….


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Filed under Amazing Animals, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, Family

Good People in the World

Dr. Singer and Ella

This is our vet, Dr. Singer, helping his labradoodle, Ella, celebrate her 12th birthday this week.

The following is one example of what Dr. Singer and the Greenwood Veterinary Clinic in Greenwood do for the community –


Posted on Facebook by the people at the clinic –

“On Wednesday night, this sweet little boy was brought in after hours by animal control. He had been hit by a car and has a serious break to his hind right leg. He is in need of surgery. We do believe we can save the leg from amputation and use pins to help heal it. He has a long journey ahead. One gentlemen who watched him get hit by the car, saw him running after a car and believes he possibly could have been dumped and was following that car trying to get back to his owners. He is about a year old and does seem to be potty trained as he has not had a single accident in his kennel. Our staff is so taken by him, we couldn’t let him not have a name so we had been calling him Copper.

Our groomer Matt breeds beautiful, sweet labradoodles and has donated one of his puppies for auction. The proceeds in full will go to Copper’s surgery and recovery costs.

This is a black multigenerational male labradoodle. He is 10 weeks old, born 7-12-17. He is available to go to his new home anytime. He has had his first two distemper/parvo vaccines and has been wormed.”  (See  The Greenwood Vet for auction details.)

Update –

“A HUGE thank you to Keith Glass Motors in Greenwood for donating $50 towards Copper’s surgery. Another thank you to Keith and Dori Glass for personally donating an additional $50 AND Duke Roberds, the sales manager at Keith Glass for ANOTHER $50 donation. We are so grateful!!!!”

Update –

“Copper did amazing overnight. He didn’t have any accidents in his kennel. He is walking and getting around well this morning, non-weight bearing on his leg which is to be expected after surgery. He is as happy and sweet as can be. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures as he recovers. We are still accepting donations and will continue the auction in the doodle puppy until Friday, September 29th.”


The Greenwood Veterinary Clinic works with the community and animal control to give animals a chance to be adopted. We personally adopted our sweet Smoke, who was in a cat play cage in the lobby when we went in to buy dog food. I saw her, talked to her, and couldn’t get her out of my mind. We really didn’t ‘need’ another cat, but we’re so glad the clinic gave us a chance to find her.

All of the people in the clinic truly love animals. Matt, the kind man who is donating one of his labradoodles for the auction, is a very good groomer. His close attention to detail for our Molly allows her to run free on top of our ridge line without coming back covered in little bitty burrs.

It renews my faith that there are good people in the world when I read about yet another animal helped by people who took the time to respond when they saw an animal in need and get him to people who could help. The donations will pay for the surgery and care Copper is receiving. The generosity of Matt will give someone a beautiful member of the family at much less than the dogs usually cost. And hopefully Copper will find a forever home. Kind people all around.

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Cork Art – Take 1








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Do You Ever…

Zen to Zany

I told you recently that my husband and I ‘cut the cord’ and cancelled our association with Dish TV. (We had previously cut our Internet service with Dish because we discovered that WOW (World of Wireless in Fort Smith) could give us better service via a tower on the ridge line behind us.)

With this newest change, many of our TV viewing habits had to change. We used to keep the TV on Fox News most of the day. We also recorded a bunch of TV shows we liked via our DVR and would watch in the evenings. We didn’t even know what night or network provided the shows we watched. They were just there when we wanted.

Although these two things were nice, we were paying almost $100/month for mostly channels we never watched. We even researched a new ‘skinny bundle,’ but by the time we got HD, DVR, Fox News, and HBO (Game of Thrones), we were back up where we started. Our bill now for everything is $36.00.  We can get many networks over the air with an antenna. We also have Roku, Hulu, and some others. We have to strain our brains a bit to figure out how to get what we would like, but it’s good for us.

One thing I really didn’t expect was a lifting of a weight from my shoulders. I really hadn’t realized how listening to the same news stories over and over all day, with a bit of a different spin depending on who the talking heads were, was wearing me down, making me depressed. I want to know what’s going on; but, since I can’t DO anything about most of it – other than send donations right now – I just want to be told what is happening without any obvious spin, left or right.

Now we watch Reuters each evening. They ask you how much time you have. You select up to 30 minutes, and then they show you however much they can get into the time frame you’ve chosen. No commercials. No bias that we can detect yet. The news still isn’t ‘happy,’ but I don’t feel weighted down, wanting to crawl into a hole and escape.

We’re making a list of the TV shows we used to DVR and trying to make sure we can get that network. We’ve discovered networks and programs we didn’t know about before and are loving it. It’s a work in progress, and a wonderfully fresh outlook on things. :0)


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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

Fun with Fingerpaint – Take 4



Iris Scott-www.designstack.com




Chuck Close-www.mymodernnet.com





















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“It Came Again in Autumn…”

“It Came Again in Autumn with its Wonderful Flowers” – Paul Militaru Photography

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A First

I started through the living room and just happened to look toward the entertainment center this afternoon to find this!  This is the first time Molly and Amber have gotten on the dog bed together. They didn’t last long, once I went quickly back to the office to grab the camera, but I got two pictures.


I knew that they would eventually tolerate one another, but I was really surprised to see this. I’m still grinning. :0)

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Creating Beauty

Medellin, Colombia – art, craft, and architecture – via Jane Daniells


My friend Jane posted this on Facebook, tagging me because she knew I would absolutely LOVE it. I went nuts over it immediately, and then my mind boggled when I realized how LARGE it is. Those are PEOPLE around the edges, and STORES. Where most malls would use the space for a food court or something, these people created real beauty for all to enjoy. What a lot of talent went into this! If you look carefully, you can see 5 men laying in more glorious purple flowers on the right of the picture. Just beautiful.


Filed under Bright Ideas, Delightful Surprises

Friday Lunch Bunch


Friday Lunch Bunch is a longstanding, cherished tradition. We meet at the Pizza Barn in Greenwood. The place opens at 11:00, but somehow, my friend Kay gets them to open at 10:30. (She gets up at 5am and is ready to eat the wall by 10:00.) My husband and I refuse to get there that early, feeling that we’re pressuring the people there to accommodate us, so we start from home at 10:30, arriving at about 10:45, splitting the difference.

The core group is Linda, Kay and me. My husband is an honorary inclusion, as is Kay’s husband, when he’s not working.  Then the weekly group varies all over the place. We used to have Ann, a delightful lady who moved back to Texas and remarried. We’re happy for her, but we miss her like crazy.  A new member of Lunch Bunch is Dee, a very nice lady I like more each time I see her. Today Alice joined us. She lives out of town and only comes when she has other business. (Today it was picking up her husband’s boat which was in for repair.) Whatever the reason, we love it when she comes. She’s full of life, has wonderful stories to tell, and it’s fun talking with her.

We did errands before Lunch Bunch and errands after Lunch Bunch, and are home again. I came in the house smiling. When I realized it, it again occurred to me how lucky I am to know these people. Over the years we’ve shared a lot of things, helped each other through some rough patches, and cheered together at the victories. A group like this is priceless – and I’m grateful to be a part of it.

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“All Sorts of Old Things”

“All Sorts of Old Things” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Happy Fall, Y’All!

In another week, we’re supposed to get a break in the temperature and humidity, plus have a chance for the first rain in a month. Hooraaaaaay!

When it’s cooler, I feel a surge in energy, ready to be outside, working and playing, appreciating. I am SO ready!

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I’ve been missing bread the most with my low carb lifestyle. I’ve found I can order sandwich bread and rolls, but the company I found is in California, and it takes a couple of weeks to get my order. Plus it’s pricey.

I’ve tried several low carb bread recipes and have been disappointed.

I found a new recipe recently for “Simple and Fluffy Gluten-Free Low-Carb Bread” from Elviira that I’m going to try.  I couldn’t find the ingredients locally, but I found them on the net and ordered them today.  Only 4 ingredients:

  • unflavored whey protein powder
  • aluminum-free baking powder
  • almond butter
  • extra large organic eggs

I’ll let you know, providing the full recipe, if I like the results, but I’m excited about trying it. My husband keeps wanting hot dogs, sandwiches, toast, etc. I can make them for him, making something else for me, but I would love it if I could simply substitute my low carb bread on my plate. I’ll even serve some to him and see what he says!

Hopefully, I’ll get back to you sometime next week on this.


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I Love Reading Books via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m still working on moving a whole bunch of my library upstairs to the guest room. We have some nice built-in shelves that will help me organize stuff, rather than just trying to cram yet another book into my overflowing shelves. I’m trying to move all of one type of book each day.

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“Nature in September”

“Nature in September” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Fun With Fingerpaint – Take 3

Kyle Lambert-www.dailymail.co.uk.



Iris Scott-Colossal




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Last Dregs of Summer in Arkansas ( I Hope!)

the odyssey online

This, of course, isn’t Amber, but our dog might have done the same thing this hot doggie did to cool off. Amber’s pool is about twice as large as this one, so it’s hard for me to get the old water out before scrubbing the pool.

I played ‘throw the totally chewed up cloth toy remnants” with Amber this morning.  She only wants to play tug of war with them, and I won’t do that, but I figured out a way to give her some fun and exercise. I throw one. She goes and gets it, brings it back, but won’t give it to me. I hold up another. She wants that, so she drops the first one. I throw the second one and pick up the first. Sometimes we get three into the rotation.

I then took her for a walk outside. We walked all over the top of the ridge line, with Amber running down and exploring further down the slopes. She was wearing her shock collar. This allow her a lot more freedom that being on the end of a leash. She readily reacts to a warning from me with the remote, plus she gets a treat when she comes back to me right away.

We came back inside to play again, and then Amber flopped down on the floor, panting. She got quiet, and when I turned around to look, she had propped herself up with her paw against my desk, so she could lie on her back, legs spread-eagled, looking very happy and comfortable. Of course, when I tried to get a picture, she turned over. She’s still sleeping, so I guess I gave her a good workout this morning.

I’m going to TRY to get her kiddie pool scrubbed out and filled up today. She has at least another week where she’ll enjoy jumping into it on her walks.  When it’s freshly scrubbed out and filled, the kiddie pool looks appealing to ME, too.


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I Like This Tattoo

let things go

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“Little Waterfall”

“Little Waterfall” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Stretching C A R E F U L L Y…

Bored Panda

I’m doing some really C A R E F U L  stretching today, in addition to just the bending over and letting my arms hang down. This is Day Four of my back not hurting! I’m also being careful to ‘hold my mouth right’ and doing whatever else I can think of to not jinx myself, ending up back at square one.

I really wish I knew what I did to get myself into such a pickle. I can promise I wouldn’t do whatever it was again – EVER.  Since I don’t know, I’m treating myself as if I’m a time bomb, easing into each thing and seeing how it goes. This tees me off. I’m used to being able to do almost whatever I wanted to do without giving it a thought, unless I thought it was dangerous. The only limits have been my imagination. I’m ready to throw this caution to the winds as soon as possible.

I’ve decided to let the weed whacking go until we get over this last impressive heat spell.( That would be the middle of next week they say.)  If the present humidity of 67% holds until this afternoon, it will FEEL LIKE 114 degrees F. here. This is unacceptable, particularly if you’re entertaining the idea of yard work. So that kind of thing will be put on hold until the actual weather starts paying attention to the calendar and we get a break for the start of fall.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing my efforts INSIDE to throw away/give away/put away things that need help all over the house.

My latest project is reorganizing my books upstairs. Yesterday I moved the 44 Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb “In Death” series books to the guest room shelves. I’ll continue moving and reorganizing until I no longer have books falling on my head when I try to pull one out…

Wish me luck?



Filed under Attitude, exercise, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Fun with Fingerpainting – Take 2




Iris Scott




Iris Scott Photography-photographyneat.com

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“Ornamental Flowers 1” – Paul Militaru Photography




“Pink Rose 1” – Paul Militaru Photography


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Nino Chakvetadze via Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Fun with Fingerpaint! – Take 1

Iris Scott-www.behindbigbrother.com







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Filed under Creativity, Fun with Fingerpaint

Happy Tuesday

We’re enjoying a quiet, laid-back morning in the office.

I just had a nice chat with our son. That doesn’t sound like a big thing, but he’s in Koh Lanta, Thailand for a week and then will head back to Chiang Mai, where he lives now.  When he left about two years ago now, he set up things so that we could readily communicate – a chat program, where we can type at each other in real time, leave messages, send pics, etc.: regular email, of course, if the chat program ever isn’t available; a Skype type program that is much better than Skype, where we can see each other and talk real time.

We are very lucky. We’re really close to our son and communicate almost every day in some fashion. He’s a good communicator, so it doesn’t seem as if he’s across the world from us. His friends sent some pics a couple of days ago. I would share them, but I promised both my son and my husband I wouldn’t post many pics of them. :0(  (Amber doesn’t mind me posting pics, so you see her playing with a squeaky ball. She wants to chew on her toys in your LAP for some reason, which can be a bit disconcerting at times and causes us to be ever vigilant.)  Brian was telling me how great it has been to ‘watch’ Amber grow from a fat puppy at 10 weeks and 16 pounds to what looks like a full grown dog now, at 6 mos. and over 62 pounds.

While I’m chatting with our son, my husband is working at the computer, trying to rebuild a sensor type driveway detector. And, to top off our nice morning, our friend, Carla, comes with her dog, Nikki, for a play date. Amber is just learning socialization skills, and Nikki is the perfect dog to put her in her place. There is a bit of growling on Nikki’s part, when Amber is too exuberant in her hellos right in her face, but that is a great way to show Amber the limits. Amber didn’t want to share her bowl of water, but with the encouragement of the three two-leggers, Sweet Nikki got a good, long drink before heading home. We’re going to try to do this once a week.

We’re regrouping now in the office. Amber has spread out all over the plastic roll-around covering for the carpet, panting. I think she’ll probably be asleep in a matter of minutes….



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“Billy Goat”

“Billy Goat” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Comparatively speaking, I feel as great as this owl does today.  I’m not hurting and haven’t taken anything for pain, muscle relaxants, etc.  I don’t know how long it will last, but right now, I’m declaring victory!

I actually felt well enough to take Amber out for a long walk this morning. She’s to the point where we don’t need to put the leash on at home. If she strays too far, I can simply call her. If I’m lucky, she’ll come. If not, I can push the green warning button on the shock collar remote and she comes right away. We haven’t had to shock her for anything lately, except once for dive-bombing the cat with too much enthusiasm.

The past two weeks seem to have been a lot better, as far as getting through to Amber what we would like, and having her actually comply. This doesn’t mean things are calm – far from it; but we’re living in tandem more now, rather than having to fight our way through the day quite so hard, ending in complete exhaustion.

She is doing two new things lately – I throw her toys into a clear plastic bin in the corner of the office. Rather than go get a toy as she used to, she picks up the entire bin, allowing toys to fall out as she carries the bin across the room, and then sits down and chews on the bin. I have to admit she may get this from me. Half of the time, I covet a DISPLAY, rather than the items ON the display, in a store.

The second new thing is that, while she spends less and less time on the back porch, when she does, she has started either eating or scratching off the white paint on the boards that comprise the side of the porch. We have three spots now that are down to the bare wood. I can spray those spots, but I don’t think there is enough Bitter Apple in the world to keep the whole porch covered…

She has oodles and gobs of chew toys of all shapes, sizes, colors, and squeaks. She tires of them quickly, whether she has access to all of them at once or just one at a time. We play ball with her on the porch and in the front yard, take her out multiple times a day to take care of business, walk, explore, and play. She takes a short nap in the mornings and one in the evenings, and – otherwise – is a perpetual motion machine with teeth. It’s a good thing she’s loving and sweet….

We’re going to do errands in a bit, and then I’ll TRY to do some very gentle yard work, if my back is still cooperating. Such a pleasure to move – get up and down – without pain!

I hope that you are having a pleasant day, too.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Health Alert