Monthly Archives: January 2018

Seed Bead Art – Take 8

Jan Huling-“The Offering”


Betsy Youngquist- “Walrus”

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Filed under Beans & Seeds Art, Creativity

Snow People – Take 30

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Filed under Creativity, snow people

“A Little Creek”

“A Little Creek” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography

You Can’t Fix Stupid Quotes -Take 1

“Golden, Ripe, Boneless Bananas, 39 Cents A Pound.”
– Ad in the “Missoulian” by Orange Street Food Farm

“Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing – but none of them serious.”
– Alan Minter, Boxer

“How to store your baby walker: First, remove baby.”
– Anonymous Manufacturer

“During the scrimmage, Tarkanian paced the sideline with his hands in his pockets while biting his nails.”
– AP report describing Fresno State basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian

“Most cars on our roads have only one occupant, usually the driver.”
– Carol Malia, BBC Anchorwoman

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Filed under Favorite Quotes, Funny Signs - Humor

Getting the Lard Off – Progress Report – Jan 2018

Earth Porn

We’ve been down, up again, and all over the place for the past several months in our efforts to get the lard off and move more. We went to our primary doctor yesterday for our quarterly checkup. I can say for sure that two things have remained steady: we’re still alive and we’re still old. This is a new primary doctor for us, as the one we loved moved to Russellville. We lucked out, though, getting a really smart female doctor who listens to us, and works with us. It seems we won the lottery twice on doctors. She approves of our efforts to eat low carb. We’ll see her again the 2nd of May, so we have three months to see some good changes.

I promised to report to you on a regular basis. I find this is much easier when I have good news to report. Not so much when we’ve strayed off the path. We’ve been being good again for approximately two weeks. To date – I’ve lost a little over 18 lbs and 15 inches. We’re redoubling our efforts to NOT use National Pickle Week as an excuse to eat a no-no.

Honestly, if we keep our heads on straight, eating low carb isn’t that tough. The main things I miss are starches, like white rice, white potatoes, pastas, and the salty food group – chips. People tell me a simple thing, like, “Don’t keep that stuff in the house.” The problem is that they are not married to my husband, who says life isn’t worth living without chips. They CALL to us from the pantry! So far, I’m being good.

I’ve been working hard at cleaning things out around the house, so I’ve been moving a lot, even though it’s not with official exercises.

I’m hoping that over the next three months we’ll be firmly back in the saddle of our low carb lifestyle, losing weight and inches. Getting older makes it harder, but we can do it.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, getting the lard off

Good Morning!

“Catching Bubbles” – Jabbok Dawn


We missed the Blood Moon and the eclipse this morning. Abby, one of our cats who is supposed to go out at night, jumped up on our bed this morning (at 0-dark-thirty – but AFTER the eclipse) meowing to go out. I’ve hugged both Molly and Amber first thing this morning, so my clean tee is now covered in dog hair, and I feel good – that this day is ripe with possibilities.

Our son is in Thailand, living and working with some good friends also from the states. He is in the process of applying for a ‘wider’ passport which has more pages and more space for stamps. He is moving into a new rental HOUSE in Chiang Mai tomorrow, where he is far enough away from his neighbors that he can play his electric guitar, drums, and other music makers without bothering anyone. The longer walk to meet with his friends is a small price to pay to be able to fully enjoy creating. (I’ll post some pics of the house when he moves in.) He is taking classes in both Mandarin and Thai. He is living life in a beautiful place where he can work hard for clients they choose, play hard, meditate, and enjoy life.  We couldn’t be happier for him.  We communicate with him on an almost daily basis via a chat program, and sometimes on a program called which, like Skype, allows us to see each other as we visit.

We have an absolutely free schedule today. The day is wide open, waiting for us to decide how we will spend it. I love days where we don’t have a bunch of ‘have-to’s, appointments, pressing things that MUST be done today. My spirits soar on a day like this. :0)

I think I’ll fill this day with things I’ve been putting off with my emphasis lately on cleaning out and purging around here. Today I’ll –

  • change out the water in the aquarium, scrubbing it and its contents (except the fish) before filling it again and changing the filter.
  • I’ll do routine stuff, such as changing sheets, doing laundry, and vacuuming the unending supply of dog and cat hair
  • We’ll change the mailbox decoration today from the Cheshire Cat to a Cherub Holding a Valentine Heart for Valentine’s Day
  • I’ll work on repainting the jack-o-lantern mailbox decoration in the shop
  • I’ll choose my next clean out project from the wide array of possibilities around here
  • I’ll transfer my new celery plants to soil-filled pots and put them on the window sill
  • I’ll start a roast in the crock pot

Such is “Life-in-the-Fast-Lane” at the Lewises in Arkansas. Can you see us grinning?

Enjoy your day!



Filed under Arkansas, Attitude, Cherishing the Quiet Day, Dreams, Family

Death of a Dust Mop

Yesterday I wrote you that I finally cleaned out my cleaning closet, after some 30 years of stuffing more and more into it.

One of the things I put out as trash was a dust mop similar to the one above. I hardly ever use it because I’m fighting pet hair, and the dust mop just makes it swirl around in pretty circles and fall to the floor again. I put it in the garage next to the trash can for my husband to add to the burn barrel, maybe cutting the handle off for use elsewhere.

I just found what is left of the mop in the front yard. There were a gazillion neon yellow ‘hairs’ all over the yard where Amber had pulled them out of the mop head, chewed on them a bit, and then spit them out. I picked up the majority, but I didn’t get down on hands and knees. Maybe the rake will help later, when it warms up a bit more.


Today has been a character-building day for me so far.


Sweet Molly, who is now 13, had accidents in two places overnight. She almost never has accidents, but she IS getting on in years. I cleaned those up and am trying to get her outside, whether she asks to go or not, to see if she can control things better.


THEN Abby gave her breakfast back on the kitchen floor while I was concentrating on getting my first cup of coffee for the day.

Hopefully, things will tame down a bit as the day goes on.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

SuperPower via Cathy Ruggiero

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Filed under Reading is FUNdamental

Snow People – Take 29

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January 30, 2018 · 11:15 am

Seed Bead Art – Take 7

Lucille -Owl-Betsy Youngquist



Where the Buffalo Roam-Keep Calm and Bead On

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Filed under Beans & Seeds Art, Creativity

Life Lesson

Gilda Radner via Carol Auclair Daly


“Delicious ambiguity.”  What a WONDERFUL way to describe life.

I’ve spent much of my life wishing it away – wanting to be out of high school, waiting for my now-husband to come back from the Marines on leave and then for good, wishing away much of college because we were again apart, wishing the time away so we could finally get married.

Once I finally had my family, I switched gears – NOT wishing the time away, but worrying about what MIGHT happen, trying to CONTROL as much of it as I could.

What a waste. I finally learned that there is little of importance I can control and that worrying about something that might happen just stresses me out and doesn’t change the outcome. I’m apparently a slow learner, but I HAVE made some good changes.

  • Now that I’m older than dirt I realize my limitations and don’t stress (much) about things over which I have absolutely no control.
  • I realize that my warped sense of humor saves my sanity, allowing me to stand back a bit, and if not laugh, give it a great smirk.
  • I realize how wonderful my life is now. I truly appreciate how spoiled I am.
  • I’m grateful for the husband who drives me to distraction much of the time. How empty my life would be without him. I’m grateful, too, for our animals – even though I spend much of my time cleaning up after them – for their unconditional love and companionship.
  • I treasure the friends I’ve made. I don’t make friends easily. I have people I enjoy doing things with, but real friends are rare, and I’m lucky to have some.
  • I have more interests than I have time or energy. I love being able to mostly choose how I’ll spend my time each day – diving into projects head first, feeling the satisfaction of a job well done, or playing in my art room, dreaming about my greenhouse and spring in my raised bed square foot garden, re-reading wonderful books I’ve collected over the years and finding new authors I love, re-painting some of our mailbox decorations or metal yard critters that need attention in the shop while my husband works on a project at the other end of the room…
  • I’m grateful that I’m healthy enough to do most of what I would like to do.

None of us knows what will happen next. What Gilda Radner says about ‘taking the moment and making the best of it’ really resonates with me. Life is a series of ‘moments.’ If we concentrate on paying attention and making the most of each one, we can relax and enjoy her ‘delicious ambiguity.’


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Encouragement

Monday’s Project Update

Before – I honestly couldn’t get much more IN, and actually had a few things falling on me while trying to take things out. I filled a leaf bag, relocated some things, cleaned the shelves and the floor, and then put what should be in there back.


I don’t think a cleaning closet ever looks ‘pretty,’ but this one looks a  LOT better than it did this morning!  I’m not sure you can tell, but there are about HALF as many bottles of ‘stuff’ as there were this morning. You can actually see the floor now. Things are clean and organized as to type of cleaner, and – best of all – nothing falls on you when you try to take something out!  Hooray!!

Since we’re bowling with friends tonight, I’m going to declare victory for the day and do some serious resting before we need to leave.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too. :0)


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

And Yet Another Project…

This purging/cleaning/re-organizing ‘trip’ I’ve been on continues. It may drive me to drink because it’s not like me at all. I may be in the running for the world’s worst housekeeper. I’m not DIRTY, but I’m not NEAT, either. It has been over 30 years since we built our home on top of our ridge line in Greenwood, Arkansas. We have a nice, big house that encourages one to keep bringing more into it. And we have. Things come in, but rarely go out.

I finally decided that enough was enough (to coin a phrase :0) ) and am determined to use this year to really clean things out around here. I’ve also made a promise to do it again every thirty years…..

I’m trying to get donations together once a month – every month – this year for our local library in Greenwood and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. We made a donation to the Veterans store earlier this month, and today we took several bags of books to our local library, just in time to make our goal for January!

My new project is to go through what I call my cleaning closet in the utility room. It’s to the point that if I brought another cleaning supply of anything into the house it COULD IN NO WAY go into the closet…. Things don’t fly out at you when you open the door, but….. UGH.

This is the infamous cleaning closet in the utility room. I had to open the door to the garage to get these pictures.

Ugh. Things don’t fall out when I open the door, but it’s close. Things have been jammed in there for years and I can’t even see what’s behind the stuff at the front of the shelves.

top shelf


I don’t believe anyone could get one more thing on these shelves. I hang my head in shame, but I AM going to try to do something about it now.

Pretty frightful, isn’t it.


I’m going to tackle this one shelf at a time. This may take a couple of days, but I’m determined to make this much more usable.

Here I go!


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

Amber’s Horizons are Widening

THING ONE:  This may not look like much, but Amber has been afraid of stairs. Since we live in a two-story house with a basement, this has been a challenge for her. It isn’t that she NEEDS to go up and down stairs at our house; in fact, we think it would be better if she didn’t. She WANTS to, though, even though we keep the doors shut on the rooms upstairs, even when we’re IN them during the day, and even though there is no reason for her to go down into the basement, she WANTS to. She has been really intimidated by the prospect, and finally overcame her fear, adding going up and down stairs to her skill set. Here she is – at the top of the stairs – feeling victorious. I was at the bottom of the stairs, having just come down. She really didn’t want to listen to my request that she come down. I left her there and went into the office. Since she wants to be with people more than even the victory of the stairs, she soon joined me.

THING TWO: For some reason we cannot figure out yet, Amber seems to want to bring everything that is now in the garage out into the front yard. She has brought a few plastic buckets and things, bringing them into the front yard and chewing on them. Yesterday it was one of our big shovels! It is all metal, so she didn’t want to chew on the handle or something like that. I have no clue even how she got it. We usually keep most of our tools on nails on the wall. Maybe the shovel was just propped up in the corner of the garage….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Bookshelves Project Finished!

It took me two days, but the purging/cleaning/reorganizing of the guest room bookshelves and my bedroom bookshelf is finished!

This is the set of guest room bookshelves. The guest room is our son’s old bedroom – hence the really large built-in bookshelves, a desk, a walk-in-closet, etc. When it was no longer needed by our son, we hired a man to cut a doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom, allowing us to give our guests more privacy with a private bath they can access from the bedroom.


This is the set of built-in bookshelves on my side of the master bedroom.  I can now see what I have, reach everything, and it’s CLEAN.

I gathered enough books in this project that well have a nice-sized donation to take to the local library tomorrow for their semi-annual fundraising sale.

NEXT PROJECT:  the cleaning closet in the utility room. (Pics to follow)

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

A Good Life via Cathy Ruggiero

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Murphy’s Technology Laws – Take 3

Interesting Facts

Murphy’s Technology Law #13: New systems generate new problems.

#14: To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.

#15: We don’t know one-millionth of one percent about anything.

#16: Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

#17:  A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.

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Filed under Funny Signs - Humor

Watercolors I Love – Take 30

“SnowScene-Hiker”-Roy John Fuller




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Filed under Creativity, Watercolors I Love


I saw a set up for selling plants at the co-op as we drove by last week. I did some research and discovered that February is a good months to start onion sets in Arkansas.  We’ll check there tomorrow and see what’s what.  We had such good luck last year that I’ve been enjoying them since harvest and still have two nice hanging mesh bags of onions in the pantry. :0)


We have six 4’x4′ raised bed planters like this in our square foot garden. If we DO get onion sets, I’ll first have to mix some Mel’s Mix to top off a couple of the planters. We don’t have string strung yet to create the ‘square feet’ for the garden, either.  I’m not really in planting mode yet. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to set up my greenhouse so that I can get seeds growing. And I really wasn’t planning to start THAT until March….


I’m still in cleaning out mode, feeling better and better as I get areas around the house finally cleaned out and decluttered.

I’m working upstairs today – the second day of working on my bookshelves on my side of the bedroom, plus the shelves in the guest room. I’m hoping to finish that today.  During this process, I found a bunch of books that I no longer need, so I brought them downstairs to the office. About a third of them were saleable on Amazon, and the rest I listed to donate to our local library.  I have to concentrate on the ‘cleaning’ part of this because I see a book on art, want to sit right down and look at it, drooling over the pictures…

My goal this year is to continually gather donations for our local library fundraisers and the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. I would like to be able to make a donation each month this year. I’m also trying to gather an extra large bag of trash each week. This week I’ll be putting out TWO extra bags!


I hope you’re having a nice Sunday,too.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Arkansas, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Organizing/DeCluttering, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Seed Bead Art – Take 6

Heidi Kummli

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Filed under Beans & Seeds Art, Creativity

Snow People – Take 28

Godzilla – Mental Floss

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Filed under Creativity, snow people


Instead of having to play “Pick Up Sticks” this morning, I actually found one of our long, metal SHOVELS in the front yard, plus the part of a mop bucket where you put the mop to squeeze out the excess water, plus a rectangular bin – all from the garage. Apparently, the garage is Amber’s new playground, complete with toy storage area…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Delightful Ducks

“Duck on Lake” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Great Joy” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Lunch for Ducks – Grass” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Paul Militaru Photography

Murphy’s Technological Laws – Take 2

Interesting Facts


Murphy’s Technology Law #7:  All great discoveries are made by mistake.

#8: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

#9:  All’s well that ends … period.

#10: A meeting is an event at which minutes are kept and hours are lost.

#11:  The first myth of management is that it exists.

#12:  A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.

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Filed under Funny Signs - Humor

Current Projects Update

(1) My husband put a HEAVY piece of 1/4″ thick metal on the CNC table yesterday. He loaded the code he wrote to talk to the computer that guides the torch. He was able to cut out the rounded triangular piece with the holes in it that you see in the model picture just below the horizontal tubing above. He had to turn the speed of the cutting down to crawl because the metal was so thick, but he was able to do it! There is no way in the world he would have been able to cut the piece out by hand and cut the holes to specifications if we didn’t have the CNC machine and my husband’s expertise. Hooray!  I think he’s going to work on the horizontal tube next. I’ll post pics as he starts putting the tool together.

(2)  We cut out the new Christmas mailbox decoration yesterday before my husband did the heavy metal cutting. (He DID have some ‘heavy metal’ playing on the speakers while he was doing it :0) )

Here’s the picture from which we are working.

First, my husband created the code needed that tells the torch needs to cut to create the design we would like. The computer-guided torch then cuts the design out while we watch. This is the cut out metal design. We’ll get the rough spots off the back and then my husband will make the part that attaches it to the mailbox and he’ll weld the two together. Then we’ll mark the piece using a transparency printed on our printer and an overhead projector. I’ll show you pics as the work progresses. I’ve stored this in my painting area for the moment, because it won’t be needed until the end of the year. I’m working on the pumpkin mailbox decoration you can see on my painting table in the background, trying to pump up the orange color. I would LIKE for it to glow in the dark when car lights hit it…

(3) Our third project started yesterday was the complete emptying and cleaning out of our front hall closet – made unusable due to our stashing of ‘stuff.’ My goal was to put things that should be elsewhere in their proper place, see if there was anything we wanted to donate to the Veterans Thrift Shop, throw stuff away, and reorganize what was left, putting it in a clean closet. That project is FINISHED!

This is the closet when I started.


This is the cleaned out closet.




We now can use the closet as a front hall closet – hanging up visitors’ coats.

We have a bin in the basement where we store extra out of season coats, vests, etc., so we moved what we didn’t need now down there until the spring. We now have two large leaf bags of nice winter things for the people who shop at the Veteran’s Thrift Shop, plus some exercise stuff that was redundant to the equipment I’m using, or not being used enough to keep.  We want to add to the donation bags a bit more before we make the trip to Fort Smith, but should do that by the first week in February, at the latest.  Another area checked off!


I have a set of nice, big shelves on my side of the bedroom, plus an even larger set in the guest room. I’ve been going through both, but at a very slow pace. I’m going to try to get both sets of shelves so that I can find and reach the books on the shelves, getting rid of a bunch in the process. A lot of moving, hauling, shelving and cleaning ahead – my exercise for this wonderful rainy day!


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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Beautiful Swans

“Lady Swan and Her Shadow” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Two Black Ladies” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography

Snow People – Take 27

DIY Lifestyle

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Filed under Creativity, snow people

Seed Beat Art – Take 5

Betsy Youngquist – “Bird”


Nancy Josephson

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Filed under Beans & Seeds Art, Creativity

Welcome Visitors

Recently we’ve received a wonderful gift of being able to look at lots of birds we don’t often see. When we’re eating breakfast, we love watching the birds come to eat the seed we put out. We’re not official birdwatchers, and identify most as just ‘pointy headed birds,’ ‘cardinals,’ bluejays’ (my husband tries to shoot the bluejays because he read they eat the eggs of other birds), and more.

Recently, though we’ve seen –

a wonderful roadrunner who looked like a baby. He sat in the dish of one of our deck planters, then finally made it over to the shovel bird and found sunflower seeds in the shovel part.  We see full grown roadrunners from time to time in the summer, running in their characteristic, comedic way, where they put their head and tail down to form a kind of horizontal line with their body, run like mad for a few feet, then stop putting head and tail up – frozen as they survey their surroundings – and then the ‘horizontal line’ runs again as they cross the yard.

We also saw –

TWO robins! I guess we probably have a lot of these around, but recently was the first time we remember actually SEEING them on our deck railings and feeders. I realized that I didn’t know if we were seeing two males, or two females, or a pair. I found this –


So we saw two males – meaning that we hopefully have at least two pairs of robins close around!


Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature



I love it when it rains – even when we’re not in the middle of the worst drought this area has seen in years.  We’ve had so little that the lake where our town gets most of its drinking water is down to some 16 feet deep now, not nearly enough to allow the water system to work as it should. The people who get Greenwood water have switched to bottled water until further notice. I don’t know how much rain we need to get back to normal. Luckily, we – on top of the ridge line southeast of Greenwood outside of the city limits – get our water from Milltown-Washburn water and a different lake that isn’t having problems yet.

It isn’t raining now, but it did overnight. Everything is still very wet, so we’re finally able to burn some trash we’ve been stashing in the house and in the shop. On the way back from helping my husband take boxes out for the burn barrel, I stopped in the back yard to simply enjoy.  It’s still gray, clouds so thick they’re not letting a lot of sun in. The air is so dense it almost feels as if it’s raining. I tipped my head back and slowly breathed in.



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow via Lisa Bearnes Richey


Filed under Mother Nature

Wonderful Surprise

Mary Lou, my sister-in-law, sent me a surprise package. We received it yesterday.

A “Labrador” pillow cover to honor our sweet ‘puppy,’ Amber!  We bought a pillow insert today after Lunch Bunch and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked on the couch.


Great present!  Thanks so much, Mary Lou!!


Filed under Delightful Surprises