Monthly Archives: May 2019

Getting the Lard Off Report – May 2019 – The Long and Short of It

Gifer – Gifek.net

THE SHORT OF IT – I’ve lost 43 pounds and 47.7 inches.

THE LONG OF IT – We have held our own – more or less – with making our own food. We have splurged more than we probably ‘should,’ but we’re learning to eat much smaller portions and be satisfied, and we’re still managing to avoid the worst of the things that USED to be our staples – rice, potatoes, and pasta – plus sugar and salt.

It’s easy to fool yourself, that this splurge isn’t ‘that bad’ – but we have systems in place that give us honest information: our scales, our tape measure, our blood sugar monitoring system and our blood pressure kit. Heedless of advice to the contrary, we weigh every morning. We don’t expect huge results, but it serves to remind us in a tangible way that we are trying to make some changes. I measure now at the end of each month. Again, to hold myself accountable and to celebrate any progress. We test for blood sugar and take our blood pressure twice a week, as our doctor advises. My husband is a Type II diabetic, and I seem to be borderline – so we’re really serious about avoiding sugar and things that spike our results. If we have a good number, that’s good. If we don’t, we think about what we ate that could have caused the spike. Again, monitoring is the key.

I would love to say we have continued to lose weight this month; but, so far, not gaining is the best we’ve been able to do. We have played the “too-tired-to-cook” game, where we call in and order fried rice to be picked up, or a pizza. But apparently, not enough of that to cause us to derail completely – so that’s a really good thing.

We are being really active for us – working in the yard, gardening, hauling and laying bricks (plus the shoveling and hard clean-up afterwards) – so that is good, too, as far as our effort to keep moving.

Now we’re going to concentrate on tweaking what we’ve started so that we DON’T just stay the same. Our goal is to lose more weight. My husband thinks he wants to lose another 10 pounds. I would like to lose another 30. This month has just been a place holder. We haven’t LOST ground, but we haven’t lost any more weight, either.

Our goal for June will be to splurge less, plan for cooking more – in batches so I don’t have to start from scratch every night – and actually lose some more lard by the end of the month.

Fingers crossed!

 

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Challenging Morning

A couple of nights ago we put out a humane trap on the deck, since “someone” had been not only eating ALL of the birdseed we were putting out, but ALSO trashing the feeders!  Yesterday morning we caught the culprit.

Pixabay

The raccoon was, of course, upset to be in the trap. He had pulled the bottom of the cover of our grill into the trap with him, I guess trying to get out. So we now have a grill cover that looks like something you would use as a decoration on Halloween, with LONG “fringe” along the bottom…

Amber, our 94-pound lab PUPPY, was in a frenzy over him, barking loudly non-stop. I have no patience with barking and wanted to bring her inside. My husband insisted that she would tire of the barking after awhile. He sat out on the deck with them, hot apple cider in hand, for almost an hour. Maybe she WOULD tire, but not in the hour he spent!

We put the humane trap in the back of the truck. Amber wanted to ride in the back seat, as usual.

We drove about 5 or 6 miles south of us, finding a creek that ran under the road out in the countryside. We stopped and my husband let the raccoon out.

I like the idea of ‘relocating’ the raccoons, giving them another chance at life – but not in our yard! This morning there is evidence, though, that he has friends or family near. :0(

Amber finished off our morning by rolling in something black and yucky, getting it all over her. We had to chain her up and hose her down. We let her dry out on the deck for awhile, and then I finished her up, toweling her off so that she could join the family again.

All this happened before 10 in the morning, so we were exhausted before the day even got a good start!

 

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

Popeye the Sailor Man

One of our long-time favorite cartoon characters is Popeye the Sailor Man. My husband and I both grew up watching these cartoons. When we started cutting out designs for our mailbox, we had great fun choosing these characters, and we quickly agreed that Popeye should be one of them.

We cut these out of heavy sheet metal using a computer-guided torch on a CNC setup. My husband converts the image we find on the net to a code the computer recognizes. We save the code on a thumb drive and take it to the shop computer. The program guides the torch to cut out the design. We then mount the design on the special attachment piece my husband welds for attaching it to the mailbox.

We use an overhead projector to mark the significant part of the design on both sides of the cut out metal and then I paint both sides, using outdoor paint. We spray the finished piece with protective coats of polyurethane.

We hope people who drive past the bottom of our driveway smile when they see him.

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations

My New Etsy Store!

For about a week and a half I’ve been viewing some videos by Renae Christine regarding selling handmade items online. She really got my attention when saying the several things you SHOULDN’T do – because I was doing ALL of them…. :0(

I have JUST finished creating a new store on Etsy called, ArtworthyNoteCards concentrating ONLY on selling my hand-painted cards, note card packages, and stationery packages.  I am trying to look at what I’m doing in a new way, incorporating her ideas, and will see if anything happens.

Changing the way you look at things is really difficult. Maybe this difficulty is another thing that increases with age. Her videos challenged me, though, getting me get excited about trying her suggestions.

I would very much appreciate it if you would visit my new store and give me feedback on what you think when you have the time and inclination.

If the link above doesn’t work for some reason, here is the URL to my Etsy store –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtworthyNoteCards

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, learning new things, opportunities

Niki Firmin – More Pet Portraits

 

Niki Firmin Pet Portraits – Marley

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Pets and Kids – Take 1

Email from Bill Lites

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Clean Digs for the Fish

Between outside pushes of activity before the next rain, then inside activities, trying to catch up from when working outside – the poor fish were fed, but otherwise neglected lately. Today I took everything out, used the vacuum to clean the rocks, put in new, treated water and decorations, and finally, the fish.

They haven’t said much, but I know they are secretly whispering to each other that it was about time something was done…

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Living the Life

Our son sent this picture of the sunset in Koh Lanta, Thailand this morning. He can work anywhere, so he’s enjoying this beautiful island for a bit. We are so delighted that he can arrange to enjoy life while working!

He took this picture behind the workspace he’s using. This is a community workspace where you can go, spend the day, work by yourself on a computer or electronics, or whatever, or collaborate with others. The people there will bring you food and drink, and then you can take a break and run on the beach!

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Celebration of “NOT”

Pinterest

We are celebrating today that WE ARE –

  • NOT starting the brick laying on the second planter today
  • NOT working in the yard today
  • NOT cleaning the house

I –

  • AM posting happily on my blog
  • AM doing meal prep for our feast tonight – hamburgers, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and deviled eggs
  • AM taking the time to enjoy a good book
  • AM enjoying being able to have front and back doors open – enjoying a wonderful breeze
  • AM enjoying playing with our animals and spending time with my husband.

I hope that YOU can enjoy a “celebration of NOT” today, too!

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Did I Tell You I LOVE Water?

Irma Nadal – LinkedIn

 

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky via- Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn -“The Black Sea at Night”

 

Mehmet Tayfun Dur – LinkedIn

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Memorial Day 2019

So many people are having a really tough time now with all the severe weather, flooding, etc., I won’t wish you a “Happy Memorial Day,” but I DO hope that you are out of harm’s way or are getting help.

I’m grateful that many of us can plan gatherings with family and friends today. We can do this because our our brave men and women in uniform and their families have sacrificed to keep our country and her people safe.

If you’re lucky enough – as my husband and I are – to be making plans for a cookout today – take several moments to remember those who are in the middle of a disaster here at home, are celebrating the holiday here with a loved one across the world, and those who are deployed in all parts of our world.

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Saving Our Flowers

Lilies

This is why we were working so feverishly trying to figure out why our irrigation system wasn’t working the way it should. All of these flowers were really thirsty and wilting from the heat. I’m grateful that my husband figured out the problem and FIXED it! :0)

 

Wave petunias

 

 

 

Periwinkles

 

 

 

 

We’ll go out tonight at 7pm when the front part of the irrigation system is supposed to start and make sure all the plants are getting watered, and then we’ll move to the back and check things out.

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Garden Progress Report

This is a picture of our raised-bed square foot garden.  You can see three of the six wooden box planters. These are each mounted on a metal support we made, making them about at my chest level. They have one irrigation system with an automatic control. Each box has a sprinkler mounted in the center.

This is a close-up of the mulch I spread to try to keep the weeds at bay. We put down a fabric barrier and covered that with wood chips, but that was about three years ago. The weeds were growing up wherever they wanted. I sprayed them with KilzAll weed killer, then actually weeded the ones that were sticking up, and then I spread 16 large bags of cedar blend mulch. I will keep a close eye out for weeds growing up through this.

At this point, with the suddenly warm weather, the lettuce and broccoli are finished for the spring. Maybe I can get some seeds started for a fall crop. The spinach plants – seeds sowed directly in the garden as a last ditch effort – are still alive, but aren’t thriving. Something is eating the leaves and I really think the temperature is too hot at this point.

Here is what I have now –

Celery

Spinach

Cantaloupe

Zucchini

Tomato plants in the long planter

Tomato Plants in the nook planter between the back of the house and the screened porch

Red sweet onions

Plans are to start more celery and more radishes in time. Unless we see something locally we want to plant, this will be it for the spring and summer garden.

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A Productive Day

Animal Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus

We got up this morning, intending to start rebuilding the second brick planter, but looked at each other and decided we felt too old and creaky. We agreed to think about it tomorrow – like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. :0)  We went grocery shopping instead and plan to take it much easier today.

Yesterday we accomplished a lot –

  • We figured out why our irrigation system wasn’t working in the back. After my husband looked at the switches and the control box in the well house, he followed the hose from the well house to the ‘tree’ of hoses that go to the back.  He found a “monster” kink in the main hose. We don’t know HOW it became kinked, since that is in the woods and not mowed, but he was able to splice the hose where it was damaged and the water flowed again!
  • Oh!  I have to pat myself on the head a bit. My husband asked me to reprogram the control box. I looked and looked, but couldn’t find the paperwork on how to do it. I finally went out and pushed buttons, hoping a main screen would come up. It did! I was able to reprogram year, month, day, time, and watering durations for the front and back!
  • I mixed up a 2-gallon canister of KilzAll and sprayed all around our garden and around our shop – hopefully murdering lots of weeds.
  • We cleaned up the work area around the first planter we rebuilt. We had extra concrete to shovel, bricks to haul away, etc. I took a chisel and a hammer and cleaned up the front of the planter as much as I could. I have to tell you, it looks pretty bad. It is sturdy and it holds the potting soil, so we’re declaring it a win. We’ll attach the PVC pipe set up for irrigation and then it’s finished. We’ll try to do better on the second planter. AND we keep reminding ourselves that we’re not having to come up with $700!

So – a much more laid-back day – probably with a bit of weed whacking will suffice.

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Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Memorial Day Weekend

Greenwood Arkansas Memorial Park

This photo was taken in 2013, but each year we have the same moving display. The park is in the center of the square; so if you’re going anywhere, you see this gorgeous display. There are stones all around the park honoring veterans from Greenwood, purchased by their families.  More are added each year. The stones give the name of the veteran plus dates and service areas, wars. I don’t know how many stones we have in the park now, but I’m proud that so many good people served their country when it needed them.

I wanted to buy one to honor my husband, who is a Marine Corps Veteran, 4 years in the Vietnam era, but he is adamant that he doesn’t deserve to be honored, since he wasn’t in actual combat and did not sacrifice his life. I honor him in my heart, instead.

I thank everyone deployed now, and their families, for keeping us safe.

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Choose JOY!

Source Unknown

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Your Happy Photo for the Day – Friday 5-24-19

Anwar B. – LinkedIn

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Lorrie Anne Minicozzi Art

Lorrie Anne Minicozzi – LinkedIn

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Lunch Bunch

Thrillist

It would be NICE if the Lunch Bunch gruesome threesome actually were this young and were actually at the beach, but we’re grateful for what we can get. :0)

This is closer to what we ACTUALLY look like, but it’s what’s in your heart that counts. :0)

Today will be a special Lunch Bunch because, besides the three of us and my husband – who pretends to preside over his ‘harem,’ sitting at one end of the table, Kay’s daughter, LaDonna, is visiting from Albuquerque, and Kay’s husband is taking the week off from work – a VERY unusual thing – so it will be even more fun that usual!

We’ve had severe weather this week, with our friend Linda the closest to the actual tornado that touched down. I don’t think any of us had any damage, although another friend of mine lost a maple tree in her back yard.

So we’ll celebrate being together, being alive, and feeling feisty today!

I hope that YOU are weathering the storms, tornados, wind damage, flooding, and flying hairballs well, too. My heart goes out to all the people who are having to pick up the pieces, trying to put things back together.

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Filed under Friendship, Mother Nature

Decision: Miracle or Euthanasia?

iStock by Getty Images

As Lynn Moody – my wonderful massage therapist – and I walked up to her spa location, I asked her if there were any upper age limit on who could get a massage. She laughed when I told her that I felt at least 180 years old this morning and that everything I had hurt. I asked her to either perform a miracle or euthanize me –

My husband and I have had a labor-intensive week or so, with my  spreading 16 large bags of cedar blend mulch on the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in my square foot garden after several sessions of weeding; our hauling bricks, laying bricks and then shoveling potting soil into the finished planter, our doing yard work, etc.

Adding insult to injury, one of our cats tried to jump in my lap while I was sitting at the computer yesterday, missed, and grabbed my hand with her claws on the way down. When I FINALLY was able to detach her claws, her back claws stuck into my leg. Both my hand and my leg are slightly swollen. For some mysterious reason, my right ear lobe has also been swollen – though I can’t blame THAT on the cat, AND I had a crick in my neck.  I was actually moaning a bit trying to get onto the massage table…

Happily, Lynn not only found the really sore spots I knew about, but also the ones I hadn’t realized hurt! At the end of my hour-long massage, I sighed in relief. She had, indeed, performed a miracle.

I’ve been drinking lots of water since I came home, trying to increase the chances of my relief lasting as long as possible. If I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be a happy camper tomorrow.

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Filed under Favorite Things, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Green Book

Green Book – YouTube.com

We may be the last people on the planet to see Green Book, but we finally saw it last night. If you haven’t, consider putting it on your list of movies to see.

The synopsis of the plot is, “A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960’s American South.” But it’s much more than that. 

The movie stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars and the move won Best Movie. It also won Best Screenplay. For these reasons I felt I ‘should’ watch it, but I wasn’t expecting to love it.

The acting was first rate. The script was intelligent and the humor subtle. It was beautifully done, rich in portraying the deep south in the 60’s, along with stereotypes on all sides. I cared what happened to the characters and I found myself tearing up at the end. People learned from each other, seeing each other as people – seeing through preconceived notions and baggage.

I highly recommend this movie.

 

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Beautiful Birds

Tufted Coquette Hummingbird – Jeff Jett, LinkedIn

 

Bethany Kerr – Bethany Kerr Fine Art on Etsy

 

Catherine O’Brien – LinkedIn

 

Elizabeth Blaylock via Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn

 

Inna Kashkovar – LinkedIn

 

“Strong Colors Struggle for Existence” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

The Urban Farm and Garden via Carol Auclair Daly – photo – Cindy Newsome Holley

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Filed under Acrylic Paintings I Love, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Paul Militaru Photography, Watercolors I Love

Thought

Doug Powell via email from Marsha Koenig

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Our Vicarious Trip Through Europe Continues

Sagrada Familia Church – Barcelona, Spain

Picasso, a history museum with the largest underground Roman ruins in Europe, and the church above.

Tomorrow Montserrat – a big monastery up on a hill.

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A Good Day

We had a productive day today –

  • we shoveled the potting soil back into the finished planter before the rains started
  • we hauled the bricks that were holding down the tarps over the potting soil and cleaned up work area
  • we got our errands done, with the rain starting on our way home
  • I scrubbed part of master bathroom upstairs (need to finish tomorrow) – got distracted by –
  • I tried on multiple pairs of jeans and finding SEVERAL pairs that were too large – :0)
  • I added the too-large jeans to the Veterans Thrift store bag donation
  • my husband loaded ammunition for our good friend down the road from us

The predicted severe thunderstorms came and went without causing damage. At one point the sky was so dark I couldn’t see that it was raining when I looked out the window, but I could HEAR the thunder and could see the lightning, and could see the rain streaming down the windows. The wind was really whipping things around, but things have cleared up now and the sun is shining! (I just checked to see if our greenhouse was still standing and it IS. :0)

My husband is asleep in his chair in the living room. That sounds really good, so I’m thinking of doing that, too.

I hope YOU’VE had a good day, too.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Mother Nature

We Hit the Jackpot!

Domino’s Medium Pan Supreme Pizza

A little over a year ago Mazzio’s Pizza in Greenwood closed its doors. We were really upset. We don’t eat much pizza – trying to lose the lard – but we really do love to get one now and then.

Since we live about 3-1/2 miles from town, NO ONE delivers food. We call and order and then go get many wonderful things when we’ve worked really hard all day and I’m on strike on cooking. We’ve been trying various places in Greenwood, trying to find someone who could replace the Deep Dish Supreme Pizza by Mazzio’s.

Last night we tried the new-to-Greenwood Domino’s Pizza. We normally order a large so that we can get two good meals, but the only pan pizza Domino’s offered was a medium. We took that, even though it was more expensive than the price to which we are accustomed.

We picked up the pizza, ready when we got there, and noted how good it smelled in the car on the way home. Amber, our 94-pound lab puppy, thought it smelled wonderful, too, trying in vain to join us in the front seat. :0)

We ate half the pizza and were delighted. It was really delicious, piled high with all kinds of good things. We’ll enjoy the other half tonight, since we feel we ‘earned it, ‘ shoveling all that potting soil back into the planter this morning.

It’s a good thing we finished when we did. The sky is almost black now, with severe thunderstorms, rain, wind, and flying hairballs now.

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Gary Wing Does Commissioned Pet Portraits!

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More Fine Art by Bethany Kerr on Etsy

 

Bethany Kerr

 

Bethany Kerr

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More Intriguing Sketches by Anwar B.

Anwar B. – LinkedIn

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The First Planter is Finished

Tail and Fur

We finished bricklaying on the first collapsed planter yesterday. We just came in from shoveling the potting soil we had tried to save under some tarps back into the planter. I’ve told you we are both long in the tooth. We managed to finish it, mainly because we are supposed to have lots of rain and severe weather here all day today. We didn’t want to lose all of the expensive potting soil we had tried so hard to save. The planters are about 2-1/2 feet high, so an 8 foot long planter holds a LOT of potting soil!  Whew! Sore backs abound!

I wasn’t going to work on the planter at all, but I discovered my husband had left the office. I went to find him in the living room – assuming he was in his chair reading. He wasn’t, so I started looking around, finding him shoveling. I grabbed another shovel from the garage and we finished the job in about 45 minutes. I then moved all the bricks that were holding the tarps in place behind the well house. We are now ready for the rain, except I just remembered that I need to transfer the two tarps to the burn barrel.

We worked on the planter on the far end of the house for good reason. It doesn’t look good at all. It is sturdy, though, and seems to be holding the potting soil nicely, so we’ll call it a win and try to do a better job aesthetically on the other collapsed planter that is closer to the driveway.

Before we buy plants for it, we’ll need to reattach the pvc pipe for the irrigation system. Then the fun starts, with discussions about what we want to plant. I’m going for perennials, as much as possible, hopefully with some nice color in at least one season. I can dot annuals in for more color without killing myself.

I am hoping that we will rest for a day or so before starting the second planter…

Happily, we tried the new-to-Greenwood Domino’s Pizza last night. We got a medium pan supreme pizza and it was delicious! We ate half of it, so we can finish it tonight and I don’t have to cook!!

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Wonderful Sketch

Anwar B. – LinkedIn

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