Monthly Archives: June 2018

Happiness is Lips Blowing in the Wind

I don’t have a picture of Amber’s joy at putting her head out of the window so that her lips and tongue blow in the wind, but this is a pretty close picture of what I see when I look in my rear view mirror. All we have to do is look like we’re getting up to leave, or say the word, “CAR” and she’s in. It doesn’t matter where we’re going. It doesn’t matter what the weather. She doesn’t like it when we LEAVE the car, but is happy when we return and the trip continues.

Today we took her to a yard sale on the way home from errands. She had already smiled at people who talked to her at Walmart. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having a dog who isn’t growling or looking quite serious if people speak. The only thing I worry about now is that she wants to go with everyone! She goes right up into the truck of our UPS and FEDEX delivery people, and happily greets anyone coming up the driveway. The greeting is a bit exuberant, and we have to warn people that she doesn’t realize how big she is and might bowl them over…

She greeted people sitting under a tree at the yard sale with her usual smiling face. She started to whimper when we went to look at things quickly. We didn’t want to stay long because we had Amber – and a container of cottage cheese – in the car and it’s in the high 90’s, with a heat index of about 103. We hurried, and she was happy when we came back to the truck, each with goodies in our arms.

My husband got a really pretty lavender cylindrical glass vase and two votive holders he thought I would like. (I did!)


I fell in love with this handmade birdhouse! It’s made of real wood with something sturdy used as ‘shingles’ for the roof.


I think I’ll hang it up near a larger one on the porch so it doesn’t fall apart in the weather. I just love it!


Filed under Amazing Animals, Delightful Surprises, Family

My World

hooplaHa_via Carol Auclair Daly

I worked every summer from the time I was 14 through college, and then at full time jobs as a teacher, reading clinic owner/teacher, administrative secretary. medical transcriptionist/bookkeeper, and website owner/artist for some 57 years all told. Now I am retired, and busier than I’ve ever been. I honestly don’t know how I used to have time to work full time!

Some people have real trouble adapting to a retired lifestyle. I’m very sorry for that. I have so MANY things I would like to do that I rarely have enough energy or time in the day to even make a dent in my list. I get overwhelmed with my ‘shoulds’ from time to time, and it’s been a long time since I gave myself permission to play in my art room, but I love the world my husband and I worked so many years to create. We also had the good fortune to inherit from our parents, so we’re comfortable financially if we don’t get stupid and greedy.

I love being able to decide my priorities for the day – being free to be really productive or enjoy NOT being. :0)

I’m happy that I can entertain myself. I guess I could be a hermit with little trouble, spending days and days up here on top of my ridge line with my husband and our animals, my flowers and my garden, my greenhouse and our shop, my books and my art room, my computer and my blog – plus the chat program that is a direct line to our son far away – one day spilling into the next – the weeks, months, and years flying past my head, making my hair blow.

I’m lucky enough to have relatives and friends that add so much fun, joy, and love to this hermit.

“I live in my own little world, but it’s ok, they know me here.”


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Filed under Attitude, doing what you love

Gorgeous Glass Art – Take 11

Dale Chihuly blue glass art

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Filed under Creativity, Gorgeous Glass


“Fire in My Heart” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Geraniums” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Guzmania Flower” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Red and White” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Woman’s Scent” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography

Amber’s Pool is Clean-ER

Our yellow lab ‘puppy’ is now is almost 16 months old. She weighs 92 pounds (officially on the vet’s scales) and to say that she loves water is the understatement of all time.

I try to clean her pool every 3 days or so, and I have to say, it’s a big job. When it’s half full, as it is in this picture, neither my husband nor I can lift the edge to try to empty it. We tried it together, with both of us on one side, and still can’t do it.

What we’ve finally come up with is to push down on one side, in effect, crumpling the plastic, pushing down hard as the water flows out. Then I take the car broom (long handled and really soft brush) and scrub it out with the rest of the old water. Then I crumple the side some more, getting as much water out as possible. THEN I’m barely able to lift one side as the rest of the water goes out.

When empty, it’s a simple thing of using a cleaner spray, scrubbing with the broom again, and then lots of rinsing. When the pool is clean, we put the hose on full blast with the thingie on the end that keeps the water flowing whether you’re holding it or not and put it in the pool with two bricks on top. When the pool is about half full, the job is done.

Today my husband wanted to help and insisted we bring Amber. He immediately figured out that wearing his socks and sandals wasn’t the best for dealing with LOTS of water, so he stood back.

Amber took my messing with her pool to mean it was play time and she kept trying to get into the pool with the yucky water. As I got the water out, it of course forms mud all around the pool, since the place my husband wants the pool now is in the shade and out of the way of the mower. Amber thought it was great fun to play in the mud – laying down in it at several points, and then trying again to get into the pool.

I finally got the pool half full. My husband got Amber to sit and I hosed her off – with her trying to bite the spray from the hose.

She jumped into the pool as we hung the hose back up on the end of the house, probably putting a bunch of mud into the freshly cleaned pool. I just ignored it, not wanting to see the damage so soon.

At least the water in the pool is clean-ER and cool now. I won’t cringe – at least for awhile, when Amber drinks it as she walks around the inside of the pool before plopping down in it.

  • Addendum – just now she barked at the garage door wanting to come in. I got her toweled off enough finally that I could let her in. She headed straight for the big dog bed in the living room for a well-earned nap.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Cute T’s – Take 1

email from Bill Lites

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Filed under Funny Signs - Humor


“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” – Luther Burbank

The heat index today is 103, and might get to 105.  The only thing that really bothers me – having the luxury of staying inside in the a/c when the weather is this hot – is that this is happening in JUNE, not mid-July or August, when it usually does.  Makes me really wonder what it’ll be in our usual HOT months.

We have already switched to summer mode around here, where we’re inside during the day, if possible, and then dash out at about 7 pm and do as much in the yard as we can, leaving more for the next evening.

Last night I weed-whacked the front yard while my husband mowed in the back. He ordered new blades for the mower, and they came today. He put them on in the shop this afternoon, after having the a/c on out there for about an hour, then came back in to cool off.  I’m not sure if he’ll mow the front yard tonight, but I’m going to see if I can finish the basic weed whacking.  Amber doesn’t care that the water in her kiddie pool is yucky after the storms, but I do! I’m going to see if I can get that cleaned out and refilled, too.

As we age, my husband and I have noticed that we’re ‘comfortable’ in a MUCH narrower range of temperatures. I used to love to sunbathe when I was a teenager. I really loved the heat, baking until I could throw myself into a pool, then baking again. I would have loved to live near the beach, so I could play with some sandpipers a bit, too. Now I walk from the house to the car in the garage and I’m already too hot. I can work outside now only if I wear a sweatband. I quietly picture myself as looking if I’m on a tennis court, dressed and ready for the first volley, even though I KNOW I’m an actually an old broad trying to last an hour while weed-whacking. Last night I came in, practically gasping for breath after working an hour, going straight for a bottle of water and a towel. I saw myself in a mirror and laughed aloud when I saw what I looked like. I looked a bit more human after a nice shower and clean clothes :0). I think our range of ‘comfortable’ temperatures now is about 20 degrees before we’re too hot or too cold.

I’ve told you we live on top of a ridge line in Greenwood, Arkansas. When we found our land and built our home over 30 years ago, we had the construction people use dynamite to blow up the back yard while they were already blasting for our septic system, etc. We (mainly me) dreamed of having a swimming pool. My husband wanted one with a diving board. I taught swimming each summer from the time I was 14 until after I was in college. I dreamed of being able to dump myself in our pool just before bed at night, swimming my heart out until I was relaxed and exhausted. We ran out of money before we could build the pool, so it remained only a dream. Now – if I win the lottery, or the Publisher’s Clearing House, I would still like to build a pool in the back yard, along with a really great-looking young pool boy to keep it perfect at all times…

In the meantime, I’ll delight in working in my garden and my flower planters in the hour before dark, trying to figure out the best way to use my new greenhouse to best effect. (It’s over 120 degrees in there now, even with the exhaust fan going.)


Filed under Gardening, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Painting – Ivan Aivazovsky

Ivan Aivazovsky –

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Filed under Creativity, Oil Paintings I Love

“Lunch Bunch” is Renamed “Breakfast Bunch”

A nice counselor from NutriSystem (NS) helped me work through a plateau in my weight loss efforts recently. The chat facility is one of the things I really like.

She suggested that I NOT skip anything on the list of what I should be eating for the day, and that I should try swapping the NS lunches and dinners for a week to see if that helped. She also told me to make sure that the powerfuel and smartcarb snacks each had 80 calories.  I’m really happy that these suggestions have worked!

I went for a celebration FLEX  lunch this week for getting to 1100 subscribers to this blog. :0)   I had a delicious lobster tail, steamed broccoli, wild rice, and a Red Lobster biscuit. I don’t get many celebrations, and I LOVE lobster tail, so I threw caution to the winds and enjoyed every butter-soaked mouthful. AND gained 2 pounds. 

I lost one of the pounds yesterday, but today we’re going to ‘Lunch Bunch.’  We like their fried chicken fingers.  I’ve tried counting this at a FLEX ‘lunch,’ but we eat this too early for it to be ‘lunch,’ for us, really making a mess of the rest of our day, so today I’m going to call it a FLEX ‘breakfast.’ This way I’m hopeful that we can do more or less our regular eating schedule the rest of the day.  We skipped our NS breakfast and our FLEX breakfast will take the place of that AND a snack at 11:30. We’ll have a snack at 2:30 and then we’ll be back on schedule. At least I HOPE that works for us.

The FLEX thing is the hardest for me to work into our eating. We need to be able to do our normal social things with friends we love. We look forward to real ice cream after bowling on Monday evenings (FLEX snack) and then our “Lunch Bunch” (FLEX breakfast) on Fridays and fried chicken fingers. If we can make this work, we’ll be home free on the rest of it.

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Filed under DIET!

How to be Happy?


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” –  Marcel Proust

“Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” ~ Gretta Brooker Palmer



Leo Tolstoy


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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes, Good Thoughts


“Begonia” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Pink Rose” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Pink Oleander” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Petunias and Dahlia” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography

Gutter Covers – The Estimate Game

Trying to get estimates for things you need done is not for sissies. I’ve never liked situations where you ‘bargain’ for things, and I’m not very good at fielding estimates, either.

We wanted gutter covers, thinking that this is a good idea as we’re too long in the tooth to be climbing up two-story ladders and trying to do anything these days. We don’t have much guttering, but I would like to take care of what we have the best way we can.

I went to and filled out a form about gutter cover estimates. Within a few minutes two of three people accessed had called me and arranged to come to the house to give us estimates. I now know, due to the estimates, that we have approximately 68 feet of guttering. It’s along the 2nd floor in the front, and part of the first floor in the back. We only put up the minimum, and it has worked well for us. In fact, when we doubled the size of our shop, we had them remove the guttering on the older part and have been happy with our decision.

The first estimate was $1020. Nice young guys. Good manners.

The second was $670, but no written estimate until I called him back, telling him we would do it, and it HAD to be done the next day.  To be honest, I was wary about this one.

My husband and I decided that each of these would cost more than we were willing to spend for this job. I started over today with estimates for just CLEANING the existing guttering and downspouts and adding a support to the end of the run at the back of the house.

This time there were apparently two available services, one of which said, “No available bookings” (whatever that means) beside their name.

Within 5 minutes the available company called me back. He was here to give us an estimate this afternoon. He said he also installs covers, so I asked him to give us an estimate on that, as well. He lists himself as a handyman, too, so that opens up a whole host of future activity with him if we’re happy.

He gave us an estimate for cleaning, repairing the one part of the guttering end on the back, AND the covers, of $300. SOLD!  He said he would call me back about whether they could do the job on Saturday or Monday. He called back in a couple of hours, and we’ve settled on Monday afternoon.

While he was here, I was griping that my husband and I are going to have to chain saw parts of two trees – an evergreen tree that the local power company savaged while they were making sure their lines were clear. They cut it off in a terrible fashion and we now have an unsightly and dangerous hunk of dead evergreen hanging from the top. A mimosa tree at the bottom of our driveway had one of its huge branches break off in the last big storm. It’s hanging at half mast, threatening to come down into the driveway, hopefully not on a vehicle under it at the time.

When the man called back about the guttering the way he promised, I asked him to give us a bid on cutting down the parts of both trees and hauling the debris away. He said he’ll put his chain saw in his truck Monday and he’ll give us an estimate then. If we like it, he’ll do it Monday while they’re here. If not, that’s fine.

I feel we’ve won the lottery on good sources and good people. I will continue to use for the odd jobs we need, and I will get and keep the handyman’s card in my ‘wonderful people’ file and we’ll probably give him several more jobs in the near future.

We came out pretty well for someone who doesn’t know anything about dealing with estimates…

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance

Heat Index Deflation

I got up this morning planning to spend much of the day outside working in the yard in short sessions, getting a bunch of good stuff done. Have I done that? NOOOOOOO!

The heat index at 8 a.m. was already 101, deflating my energy and plans like a popped balloon.

We went to town, taking Amber in the back seat of the truck. She was in Heaven – her head out the windows, going from one side of the truck to the other, her lips blowing in the wind. My husband and I got the mail and then mailed a book we sold and headed for home.

By the time we got our stuff out of the truck and had given Amber a chance to take care of business, we were sweating heavily, even in the ‘shade’ of the garage.

We’re still planning to work in the yard today, but will wait until 7:30 or 8:00 this evening. My husband will mow and I’ll weed whack. If we don’t finish before it gets too dark to see, we’ll quit and do more tomorrow.

No intelligent person (particularly geezers, such as we) are out in this heat unless they have no choice.


Filed under Mother Nature

What is a Bookshelf?

Bookstr via Cathy Ruggiero

“Dark in Death” by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts) will come out in paperback in August. I’ve preordered it, standing on one foot and the other trying to be patient.

I’ve decided that, since I’ve only read the series one time, I’ll begin with the first and re-read all 45 preceding the newest one.  Nora has created a world of truly interesting, admirable people that I would love to actually know, so I’m looking forward to diving into their unique world again.

I hope that you, too have at least one bookshelf that has authors who take you into another dimension, too.

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Filed under Hobbies, quality of life, Reading is FUNdamental

4th of July Mailbox Decoration at the Lewises

Snoopy and Woodstock Mailbox Decoration

My husband and I enjoyed making this patriotic decoration for Independence Day for our mailbox.  We hope that Snoopy and Woodstock will make people smile as they drive by or come up to see us.

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Filed under holidays, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art

Painting – Rex Preston

Rex Preston

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Filed under Creativity, Oil Paintings I Love


“Orange Rose” – Paul Militaru Photography



“One-One” – Paul Militaru Photography

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A Delicious Celebration

We just got back from Fort Smith, where my husband took me to celebrate my 1100 blog subscribers with a lobster tail dinner.

To tell you I savored every bite just doesn’t do this meal justice. Each bite of the lobster tail was dipped in the melted butter and then accompanied by a groan of pleasure as I put it in my mouth. This is truly my favorite food.

My husband had a grilled chicken salad and a Corona.




We both had a Red Lobster biscuit

It was a wonderful celebration lunch.

On the way home we were treated to another wonderful surprise –

I tried to find an image as close to what we saw as possible – an older doe, a young one without spots and a fawn. They were on the left side of the road as we turned on the curve. The oldest one went across the road first, kind of lackadaisically, as if she wasn’t worried at all. The younger doe and the fawn waited on the left. We stopped the car and watched. Finally the younger doe jumped and ran across the road, followed very closely by the fawn. Once they got on the other side, they turned to look at us.

It is truly hot outside right now – 95 degrees, 50% humidity = a heat index of 105. Add full bellies to that and a couple of people I know may take naps this afternoon –

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Filed under Cause for Celebration

“A Joke is a Very Serious Thing” – Winston Churchill

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” 
Henry Ward Beecher

“A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles.” 
Mignon McLaughlin

“A sense of humor is the ability to understand a joke – and that the joke is oneself.” 
Clifton Paul Fadiman

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” 
Hugh Sidey


“A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.” 
Jessamyn West

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” 
William A. Ward

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. “
E. B. White

“Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.” 
Sid Caesar


“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” 
Peter Ustinov

“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” 
William James


“Humor is just another defense against the universe.” 
Mel Brooks

“I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.” 
Frank Howard Clark

“One doesn’t have a sense of humor. It has you.” 
Larry Gelbart


Filed under Favorite Quotes, Funny Signs - Humor

Getting the Lard Off Progress Report – 6-27-2018

The BAD news is that I’m still old and still don’t look a THING like Julia Roberts.

The GOOD news is that with the help of the Nutrisystem counselor, I seem to have broken through the plateau from Hell I was on and am losing weight again!


To date, I’ve lost 16.3 inches.

Poundage off is now 14.4.

Other GOOD things –

  • I’m getting used to drinking 64 oz of water daily, no longer feeling that my eyes are floating. (My husband – who is not even trying to drink any certain amount – is getting used to having to pause the movie several times, though, as the drinking catches up with me in the evenings.)
  • I’m getting more confident about being able to adapt our life style to the Nutrisystem program, particularly as it relates to the flex meals and our social life. We like to bowl with friends on Monday evenings, for example. We use the trip to Braum’s afterwards as our FLEX SNACK for the week. We eat with friends every Friday for what we call “Lunch Bunch.” We were counting that as FLEX LUNCH, but are finding it easier to work it into the program by having it as our FLEX BREAKFAST for the week. I’m starting to prepare some of the “Leaf” Nutrisystem FLEX DINNER recipes, having fixed two so far. One of the recipes was an “OKAY,” but the latest one, the “1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables” was a winner. Today, since I made it to 1100 subscribers – actually 1101 now) to my blog – HOOORAAAAAAAY!” – we’re going to Red Lobster for Lobster Tail as our FLEX LUNCH for the week in celebration!
  • I’m starting to look forward to some of my exercising. I’ll never become like Jillian Michaels, who seems to live for exercise, or like annoying Leslie Sansone, who keeps talking about how much FUN her walking program is and how GOOD it feels, but I AM enjoying the half hour I spend daily doing my yoga stretches and then using my cervical pillow to completely relax for several minutes. I’m trying to do my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes every other day. I’m using all the vacuuming and mopping of floors as my exercise a couple of days a week or more, since I seem to have to devote my life to it to even THINK of trying to keep up with all the dog and cat hair right now.
  • I’m starting to believe that if I keep on keepin’ on, I’ll eventually lose the lard, be healthier, and feel better as there is less of me.

My next goal is to earn my 20 lb Nutrisystem bear!  One day at a time….


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Trying to Learn Patience

Our son kindly arranged for a box of mangosteens to be sent to us from a company in Florida. We ate one small one the other day. My husband said, “Good, but I wouldn’t travel far for one,” with his usual exuberant attitude toward most things. I found it really interesting to peel (our son sent a video he made of peeling and eating the fruit), and was delighted to find out SWEET the sections were – kind of like eating a super-sweet orange. I wish I could describe the taste better, but it’s really nice. Our son says he “eats them like candy.”

We’ve been waiting for more to ripen. All of them were like billiard balls when they arrived. That’s good, because you don’t want all of them to ripen right away and waste much of the fruit. We’ve had some on the island in the kitchen, but they weren’t ripening. A good friend suggested that we put them in a paper bag. I did that and I’ve been checking them each morning. So far, still billiard balls.

I think this is yet another character-building exercise – waiting for the mangosteen to ripen. It’s a good thing we weren’t depending on these for sustenance….

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, character-building exercises, Healthy Eating

“A Pleasant Afternoon”

“A Pleasant Afternoon” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography


In 1969 two wonderful things happened: my husband and I got married and I started teaching.

(My son provided a chat program so that we can “talk” any time we would like to, even though he’s across the world from us. This morning he had left me a question about my teaching many years ago. The chat program is having a hiccup, so I’m not able to answer him yet, but the question brought a flood of wonderful memories.)

My students were all black and I fell in love with them the first day. I taught first grade and we were in a self-contained classroom. This meant that I was responsible for trying to teach them everything. I was so excited about the opportunity it didn’t dawn on me that maybe I should be scared of all the responsibility, being a brand new teacher. We all learned a lot that first year.

I learned that our daily lives were much different from each others’, but we could sure love. I was trying to teach them phonics, and it was difficult to get or keep them excited about ‘sounds’ of letters. I made up a really silly song about the sounds, brought my guitar to school and taught my kids the song. They loved it! I would play and they would dance and we would sing, absorbing the sounds the letters made, and gradually putting them together to make words. Words became phrases and phrases became sentences and reading began. I checked out books from the school library and brought some from home to read to them so that I could share my love of reading.

I was supposed to have three reading groups, but I had six. I found that my kids learned in different ways and that, in order to make things stick and come alive, I needed to use different approaches for each group. I had the fast learners work with the kids who were having trouble, and that helped, too. I encouraged my kids to do well by giving them paper certificates on Friday afternoons for good work – one child would get one for sitting still for his reading lesson. Another got one for a good score in spelling, and son on. I gave out the certificates under the one tree on the playground, weather permitting.

My kids had trouble relating to the stories in the Weekly Reader, but we were required to go through it every week. My kids’ favorite use of it came when I rolled them up, climbed up on top of the waist-high heat register beside the windows and used it to swat a wasp that was threatening us and ruining our concentration.

I loved teaching. When the light of understanding came on – I called it the ‘light bulb moment’ – my day was made. I had made something understandable to a child. Their eyes would light up, a smile lit their face, and they could then take the ball and run with it. There is absolutely nothing more thrilling in teaching than when a child gets excited about learning.

Unfortunately, the public school system and I didn’t see eye to eye. I got into trouble – getting called to the principal’s office like an unruly child – called on the carpet for

  • playing the guitar (“Ms. Lewis, this is NOT a music class!”)
  • having too many reading groups
  • not having all the kids on the same page at the same time
  • letting kids tackling the learning in their own style
  • giving out certificates under a tree on the playground
  • attempting to contact parents when a child was having problems
  • standing up in a PTA meeting and asking for help on getting the supplies we needed (we weren’t supposed to admit we didn’t have supplies)
  • and the biggie – using the Weekly Reader to swat a wasp (the superintendent happened to walk in while I was on the register. The kids all cheered when I swatted the wasp and killed it. I put the nail in my coffin when I said, “This is the best use of the Weekly Reader I’ve seen yet.”

I had a wonderful eight years in the Tulsa Public Schools. During that time I earned a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist. I then started and ran my own reading clinic for another three years – my partner an intern teacher who taught with me.) We changed a lot of lives. We helped people – kindergarten through adult) fill in the gaps in their learning that had kept them from making sense of the printed page. We unlocked doors, brought smiles and confidence. The only thing we didn’t do was make enough money to continue. It was with great regret that I closed the clinic and went back to the regular world to get a job that helped pay the bills.

How lucky I was to have an opportunity I’ll never forget!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, doing what you love, making a difference, memories

Two Mollys




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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Painting – Zac Retz Art

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Filed under Creativity, Oil Paintings I Love

Mixed Feelings

I’m split right down the middle emotionally this morning – one half is jubilant, the other feeling very, very humble.

I officially hit 1100 subscribers to this blog the day before yesterday. Half of me is joyously dancing around the room. The other half is feeling very serious.

THANK YOU  to those of you who signed up to receive the blog. People see my posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, but 1100 actually signed up to receive my posts every day. I gain and lose subscribers on a regular basis. That’s normal and to be expected. To have this many people actually stick with me – many for several years now – is such a beautiful compliment.  My goal is to provide a place free of politics, outrage, bad news, and other gloomy, depressing things. We all get more than enough of that in our regular, every day lives. I’m trying to provide a break, focusing on beautiful things, funny stuff, posts that might bring you a smile, or that you might identify with. Above all, I hope to never bore you.

THANK YOU to those of you who take the time to hit ‘like’ or write to me. Feedback is a wonderful thing. Otherwise, I feel I’m throwing a bottle in the ocean. I appreciate feedback on what you enjoy, what made you smirk, what touched you in some way. I would love to know what you would like more of, as well as what you hope to never see again. :0)

When I told my husband that my subscriber list had reached 1100, he insisted that he take me for a meal of my favorite food in all the world – lobster tail! We’re doing that tomorrow!!!!  So THANK YOU, also, for giving my husband a reason to spoil me once again. :0)

As I wrote this post, my stats told me some wonderful news: I just hit 1101!

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Filed under Challenges, Delightful Surprises, doing what you love, Encouragement, Favorite Things, quality of life

What Color is Your Attitude?


“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” – Allen Klein



My dad taught me how important seeing the world with humor can be. He lived it, giving me a beautiful example on which to base my own attitude.  I can stand back and look at what’s happening as if I’m watching a movie. This allows me to see the humor in the situation and give a big, hearty laugh at myself.

My mother-in-law gave me a reminder when we were driving her to a retirement center in Tulsa. Her whole life was changing. Her husband was dead set against the move. She was giving up much of her previous life and activities. She knew no one at the center. I asked her how she felt about the move. She smiled a bright smile, her eyes twinkling, and said, “I’m going to LOVE it!” I looked at her, silently asking her to go on. She said, again, “I’m going to love it. I’m going to make friends, find fun and interesting things to do, enjoy fixing up our rooms a bit, and make this my new home.” And she did.  Everyone soon knew who she was and loved her.

I’ll never forget this, and hope to embrace changes with this same enthusiasm. Attitude colors everything.  We can look at things with the idea of new opportunities and wonderful surprises ahead. I want my life to keep expanding. I would like to reach out, savoring what remains of my life with gusto. The more colorful, the better.

What color is YOUR attitude?

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Delightful Surprises, Encouragement

Going to the Dogs

Fuzzy Molly

We just recently got back from taking sweet, Fuzzy Molly to the groomer at the vet’s office to be shorn like a sheep.  Molly is a cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross and is 13-1/2 years old. She is a happy doggie, making all of us smile. We’re having a bad year for ticks, so we’ve had to keep doing more and more to keep our animals as safe as possible. We use the squeeze-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff from the vet once a month, but this year we also got flea collars for the two doggies and our two cats. (The fish in the aquarium don’t seem to be bothered by ticks. :0) )

Our vet got a new groomer who started at the first of this month. She has some 23 years off experience, so we’re lucky to get her. Today was the first opening the groomer had, so Molly has gotten really fuzzy between groomings. I’m having more and more trouble finding the pesky ticks and now she’s coming in covered with little tiny burrs. I’m glad that we could get an appointment today. We’ll pick her up at around 2:00 this afternoon.

Since we were going to the vet and Amber loves going ANYWHERE in the car, we took her, too. She now understands “CAR,” “GO,” “GET READY” and all sorts of other words shared – or not MEANT to be shared – with her, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to get out the door without either a “LET’S GO” or “NO, you can’t go” discussion.

Amber is a Yellow Labrador Retriever. She is now 15-1/2 months old. In an older post I told you she weighed 95 lbs. I misspoke. She only weighs ninety-TWO pounds. My husband put the no-pull collar and leash on her before bringing her into the vet’s office. She was a perfect lady, even though it had been months since she had worn the collar (which gives her a shock if she suddenly pulls on it, letting up when she does). She hadn’t been on a leash in that amount of time, either, so she has a good memory.  We weighed her quickly and then left.

The first thing Amber did when we got home was run around the side of the house and jump into her pool. With the storms we’ve had the past several days, the water was yucky. That didn’t stop her for one minute. She splashed around, drank some of the water (yuck!) and laid down, saying, “AHHHHH!” and looking very pleased with herself. She is now snoring in Molly’s small bed.

I hope that, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a doggie of your own right now, you have access to someone else’s dog so that you can smile for awhile today.



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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

“Two on a Rocking Chair”

“Two on a Rocking Chair” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Filed under Paul Militaru Photography

“1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables”

“1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables” Flex Dinner

Yesterday I made this recipe. I didn’t finish it in time for lunch, as I meant to. (I’ve been on a plateau and the Nutrisystem counselor suggested that I swap dinners and lunch for one week and get back to her, among other things.)

I ate one serving of this for my lunch, along with some raw veggies and a little bit of salad dressing. I was very pleased. The dish could have cooked longer, getting the brown rice a bit more done, but I used a large skillet and had it on a large burner on the stove. Next time I’ll use a smaller skillet and put it on a smaller burner so that it doesn’t tend to cook all the liquid out before it’s done.

The taste was very pleasant. Many times recipes use more herbs and spices than we like, so I was a bit leery, but this tasted good. My husband will try it tonight – already warned that the rice was a bit ‘chewy’ and the changes I’ll make next time. He’s very forgiving, pleased with me for trying new recipes. I know – he’s definitely a keeper!

I have found when posting recipes in my blog that a lot of the people responsible for the good food would rather I post a URL to their blog and NOT post the entire recipe. With this in mind, the source for this nice recipe is

Nutrisystem, The Leaf, Flex Meals & Snacks, Lunches and Dinners

Easy Weeknight Meal: 1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

Makes 4 servings

282 calories per serving

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Filed under DIET!, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, taking care of yourself

Shock and Awe

We have a Dyson Animal Vacuum Cleaner. Mine doesn’t have as much purple as the one in this picture, but it’s a wonderful vacuum. I’ve told you that I’m a slob – and that a sparkling clean, perfectly ordered home is not high on my list of priorities.

Lately, though, since we have two dogs and two cats, all of whom seem to be shedding hair as a main priority of their days – as well as 4 goldfish who thankfully DON’T shed, I’ve been vacuuming at least every 3 days, if not more, trying to keep up.

I started the vacuum today and my husband said, “Why are you vacuuming? You just finished.” I explained to him that it was the day before yesterday when I vacuumed the first floor. He shrugged, saying, “I don’t think it needs it.”

When I finished, having vacuumed the carpet in the office, foyer and living room, and the tile in the dining area, kitchen, pantry, utility room and two half-baths, I emptied the canister and brought the trashcan to my husband. He looked down and said, “UGH! Where did all that come from?” His face told the story. He looked a combination of shocked/disgusted/impressed, with an “euwwww!” set to his lips.

I kindly took the trash can away remarking that it was amazing how much the vacuum got up when “you didn’t think it needs it.”

I’m just really glad we have a great vacuum cleaner. I just wish that it were a bit less graphic about what was on our floors before I started….

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