Category Archives: Cause for Celebration
I hope today finds you healthy and happy, enjoying a great Sunday.
Our main feeling here is thankful –
- thankful that my husband doesn’t have to have surgery and can concentrate on improving his walking and talking after his stroke;
- thankful that our son is here to help us through this;
- thankful for insurance;
- thankful for good doctors;
- thankful for good test results;
- thankful for caring relatives and friends;
- thankful for good hugs.
We’re hoping that Mother Nature will cooperate with us tonight, allowing us to cook celebration steaks outside on the grill.
I hope your Sunday is filled with wonderful things, too.
My husband and I signed up to be a host family for a 16-year-old young man from Italy this school year. We have been planning for this for some time now and August 6th the students were to arrive.
Due to a health problem in the family, we were forced to contact the coordinator and opt out. We were really disappointed, but really didn’t want our problem to ruin the year for our young man. Happily, the lady was able to find another family. We had been texting for some time. When I got the go-ahead, I contacted him and explained our situation, being able to assure him that his plans wouldn’t be changed, other than the host family. He told me he would let me know when he got here.
I figured that when he arrived, he would be swept up into lots of activity and that we would probably not hear from him. I then received a text from him, saying he would like to meet us! We arranged that he and his family would meet my husband and me at a local restaurant yesterday.
The meeting could not have been better. It was was wonderful to be able to hug him and enjoy talking with him and seeing him smile. I felt like I fell into a hole because I had to look up at him. :0) He is a really nice looking, friendly young man.
His host family is a delight. Young, energetic, already into school activities because they have two boys, 17 and 13, on football teams at the school, plus a lovely 4 or 5-year-old daughter. Our young man met another boy on the plane who lives in a different part of Italy. He is with another family here, close by! The three boys will have a blast this year. They are traveling to St. Louis today – after football pics at the school – to catch a Cardinals game. As you can tell, this is a WONDERFUL situation.
They will let us know the soccer schedule so that we can watch him play. We are making plans for a cookout at our place, and dinner at their place – with our young man cooking! – in the future.
What could have been a sad situation is now a joyful one.
I’m not sure what is going on around here, but my husband paid me another compliment yesterday. We were getting ready for bed and suddenly he stopped and said, “You know, when we built this bed frame however many years ago it was, I ‘went along’ with your idea of decorating the headboard with stones, but I really wasn’t wild about the idea. Now I think it’s the best thing about it.”
About 10 years or so ago, we wanted to replace our bed. We hunted for bookcase headboards with frames all over. Apparently, as we find so many times, we are not in step with the current fashion. Apparently NO ONE wants a bookcase headboard where they can actually read in bed anymore. We explored having one custom made and our teeth dropped at the prices. We decided to make a headboard and frame ourselves.
My husband is really good at visualizing what he wants to do and then making it happen. I’m more the ‘go-fer,’ assisting his efforts, running for parts or tools or whatever, holding the other end, etc. When we got to the part where the frame and headboard were together and stained, my husband said, “It’s done.” As usual, we disagreed. I wanted SOME kind of SOMETHING that we could decorate it with to make it OURS – to make it UNIQUE.
To kind of offset all the switches (controlling reading lights, fans, electricity to end tables, electric blanket controls, etc., I suggested we make ‘frames’ on either side of the main panel filled with River Rock. I liked the idea of adding the color, texture, and a bit of 3-dimensions. After looking at me a minute, he said, “Okay,” and helped me with the project, but with a decided lack of enthusiasm. I liked the idea enough for BOTH of us. :0)
To balance things, I added some river rock to the panels on either side of the bed.
It has been, as I said, 10 years or more since we built the bed frame and headboard. I’m still surprised that he suddenly told me yesterday that this has grown on him and now he likes it.
Maybe it’s something in the water. Maybe it’s the fact that I accepted when he asked me yesterday to spend another 50 years with him. I don’t know – but I love the compliments and hope they continue. :0)
58 years ago we fell in love. (He was 17. I was 14). We waited and waited – through my last year of junior high, 4 years of high school, his Marine Corps service, and 4 years of college – and then we finally married June 14, 1969.
Today we mark our 50th wedding anniversary.
My husband describes me as, “mean as a snake.” He has asked me for 50 MORE years, so I guess he likes snakes…” :0)
I graciously accepted. If we make it the NEXT 50, I’ll be 122 years old….
I may have indicated before – or you probably have picked it up by yourself – that I’m a very spoiled woman. :0)
My husband and I are retired, meaning that we can now decide what we want to do most days. We are so busy now that we honestly can’t figure out how we got everything done when we both worked full-time, many times with my husband in another part of the country on a work contract.
I honestly can’t imagine being bored. See what I mean? I’m SPOILED.
I have SO many things I want to do each day that I don’t have the time or the energy. I also have the wonderful freedom to decide to do NOTHING.
I honestly love my life, moving between online things – friends to chat with, my ArtFire site, my new Etsy site, this blog, plus watching webinars and YouTube to learn new things until my poor head explodes, playing in my art room, working outside in my greenhouse, my flower planters, my veggie garden… reading all kinds of wonderful books, watching TV and movies with my husband, planning and implementing new projects with him, such as, mailbox decorations, stained glass projects, mosaics, and more.
This coming school year, starting in August, we’ll be the host parents of Alessandro, a 16-year-old boy from Italy who loves soccer. This will open up a whole new world of attending sports matches, events, shows, and such at the school, meeting the friends he makes and hopefully will invite to our home, going places we don’t take time to visit when we’re by ourselves, taking him to his friends’ homes, cooking a LOT more – and differently… A teenager-centered home after some 25 years.
Happily, we’re pretty healthy for our ages, and getting healthier, since we’re trying to lose the lard and exercise. We want to feel good enough to enjoy our lives, not be crawling back and forth from doc to doc, feeling lousy and our world becoming smaller due to that.
Today I’m bouncing between some very much needed housework – to errands – to cutting up strawberries – to my art room – to my veggie garden – to weed whacking – to re-reading a loved book – to catching up with friends via email – to talking to our son, who is across the world from us.
Did I tell you I love my life?
For a long time I’ve been at an ‘awkward stage’ when it comes to finding jeans that fit reasonably.
One of my good friends gave me some jeans to tide me over several months ago. It was funny because women’s sizes are so wonky that some of the smaller ones fit while the larger size was too small!
Anyway, the last couple of times we went bowling, she said my jeans were baggy. My problem was that yes, these were baggy, but the next size down was too small!
My husband and I went to the exclusive department at Walmart yesterday with the goal of either finding a ‘skinny’ cut in my current size or ‘fat’ cut in the next size down.
We ended up with a ‘W’ stretch version of the next size down in petite. (In real English this means I’m short and wide.) I actually did a happy dance (woo-HOOOOO!) in the fitting room when I actually was able to pull them up and zip them with no problem! I came out to where my husband was waiting and he gave them a thumbs up. :0)
We went back and found a second pair, so now I can wear one pair while the other is in the laundry.
Since I’m planning to lose another 30 lbs, these two pairs of jeans will hold me over until I reach another landmark.
We’ve had a good day.
The temperature is 79 and the sun is shining. There is a nice breeze.
My husband mowed the lawn while I cleaned out the greenhouse and started more spinach seed. (Always optimistic!)
Then we changed the tires on the truck from the snow tires to our regular tires. We’re glad we don’t have to do this more than twice each year, but we save money doing it ourselves. When we bought the Honda Ridgeline, we bought 4 extra wheels and snow tires and had them mounted. We keep them in the shop. In late November or early December, depending on the weather, we change from our regular tires to our snow tires. In April, we change them back.
We’re getting a bit long in the tooth for this, but my husband says each time we do it, my help is better and better. :0)
Today we celebrated all the good things we accomplished by splitting a seafood platter at The Deli for lunch!
A truly wonderful day.
I’ve been a good girl today, doing some of the things I hate most – balancing checkbooks, filing, and tax prep for 2019.
I have the equivalent of a doctorate – plus in the fine art of procrastination. For years I have paid for it and the end of the year/beginning of the next year – being buried in receipts. I HATE tax prep and my husband calmly washed his hands of it years ago. He does bring me cups of coffee every once in a while, as encouragement, but that’s as involved as he gets.
When I finally could dump all of the organized receipts for 2018 on our wonderful CPA, I promised myself I would do things differently from now on. (Truth be told, I promise myself a LOT of things, only to procrastinate until the promises become meaningless.)
This year, though, I’m happy to tell you I have just finished
- balancing our checkbooks
- filing (I can see my desk!) – AND
- converting receipts of all types for the month of March into the spreadsheets for taxes for 2019 I started at the beginning of the year.
Instead of cramming all the monthly receipts into monthly folders and then trying to make sense of things at the end of the year, I am going through the monthly receipts, listing things on the proper spreadsheet, then putting the receipts into a folder labeled for that deduction. No monthly folder anymore once the month is over. This way, at the end of the year I can simply total each category on the various spreadsheets, print them, list the information on the tax form booklet our CPA provides, already having the receipts ready to take!
I have officially finished 1/4 of 2019 now – can you see my grin?
The day isn’t yet half over and I’ve already had a super celebration of my birthday. It seems the older you get the more you get to celebrate! :0)
My celebration started yesterday at Lunch Bunch. One of my dear friends, Linda, brought me an inspired present – a pair of battery-powered LED candles. I say, “inspired” because I LOVE candles, but I almost never burn them anymore because I’m afraid I’ll forget I lit them and will leave them to cause damage to our home. These give a nice wavy glow like a candle, but they don’t get hot, won’t burn the house down, and turn off after 4 hours. I can move them to wherever I am! I’m enjoying one beside my computer right now. We enjoyed one at breakfast, and then I moved it to the table beside my chair in the living room.
I wish I were a better photographer because this picture doesn’t do them justice. I’ve seen things where there are real plants between two layers of glass, and those are lovely. These are reminiscent of that, but also look like a nice watercolor.
When I came home yesterday, I had a birthday card waiting in the mailbox from a dear friend! We chat often via email, but it’s wonderful to have a real card – personal mail – in the box.
Today I have received MANY beautiful wishes from friends on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m really overwhelmed and thankful.
Next week my husband is taking me out for my favorite food – lobster tail!
AND another wonderful friend has told me I’ll get another present at Lunch Bunch next Friday.
I am 72 today, and very happy to be celebrating yet another birthday. I have a wonderful life, sharing it daily with a man I fell in love with 58 years ago. (We’ll celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in June). We have a son who is living his dream, yet takes time to tell us he loves us and thank us for our support. What more could anyone ask?
I’ll also celebrate by playing in my art room today. I’m working on a painting I started yesterday. I’m having great fun experimenting with techniques. :0)
THANK YOU for giving me such a happy celebration!
I’ve told you I absolutely HATE tax time – the whole trying to make sense of my records, feeling overwhelmed, etc.
When I finished these and dumped them on our wonderful CPA around the 15th of January, I promised myself I would start a different way of keeping records so that I didn’t hate this time of year so much.
When I created spreadsheets to summarize our receipts in each category, I copied each of them, labeling them “Whatever Category – 2019”. I promised myself that I would take time at the end of each month, enter the relevant numbers into the spreadsheets, and then file the receipts under the appropriate tax category, rather than the month as I have always done.
I just finished entering the information for February – hence the pat on the head and bowing cardinal! :0)
If I can keep this up, at the end of the year I SHOULD be able to just total the categories on the spreadsheets, print them, and bag them up for the CPA.
I’m a bit embarrassed that I have moaned/griped/whined for years about this – never coming up with a better way to attack it until this year.
Someone should say something memorable, such as, “Better late than never….” don’t you think?
Can you see me dancing around the room?
I FINISHED my part of the tax prep! Now the envelopes of organized information wait for us to add our stuff from Schwab to it and then we can dump it onto our wonderful CPA. YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
I just finished renaming the spreadsheet I created to open them for 2019 records. My GOAL is to update things once a month, adding the needed information, then filing the paper records according to deduction categories, rather than months. I think – if I can keep it up – this will save me a lot of time, effort, and tension next year.
Now I’m going to celebrate with a cup of coffee, at least one animals in my lap, and a good conversation with my husband.
My face is split ear to ear with a huge, goofy grin.
Our son is HOME.
I’ve received three good hugs so far – one at the airport and two when we got home.
He took the ‘short’ flight from Chiang Mai here – 28 hours all told – (8 hours waiting between flights). He flew from Chiang Mai to Incheon, South Korea, waited 4 hours and then flew from Incheon to the DFW airport. Waited another 4 hours and then flew from Dallas to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
He said the OTHER option was one which would take 58 hours.
He was in shorts, sandals, a tee shirt and a hoodie. He said when he left Chiang Mai, it was in the high 80s – night time, and he was sweating the minute he left the house. He never has to wear a hoodie, much less long pants, heavier shirt, full shoes and socks, and maybe even a coat, hat and gloves…. It woke him up to have to walk with us to the car in short-term parking.
We tried to prepare him for Amber, our 94 pound yellow lab PUPPY, but the reality of Amber is a ‘whole-nuther-thing.’ She finally calmed down enough for me to get her to go to her place and THEN Brian could get to know her a bit. Molly remembered him, even though it has been years since he ‘disappeared.’ I thought she would wag her little stubby tail off. She cried, trying to get closer and closer to him. (I know how she feels.)
I’m smiling all over knowing that he’s upstairs sleeping now. We’ll plan to eat some beef stew together tonight, talk a bit, relax, and then regroup for tomorrow. We need to get supplies for the smoothies he wants to make and other food, plus get his driver’s license renewed before it expires on his birthday. (He needs one when he’s here, but not in Chiang Mai.)
We’ll play the next three weeks by ear, open to whatever he would like to do. I’m hoping we can talk a lot. And I’ll sneak in as many hugs as he’ll allow…
Our son is coming home today for a visit! He’s been in Chiang Mai, Thailand, this time, for over three years.
Thankfully, he’s a really good communicator, so most of the time we can ignore the fact that he’s across the world from us. We have a secure chat program he set up so we can either message each other or ‘talk’ real time. (He let me know he’s at the DFW airport now waiting for his flight that will bring him here.)
His flight has been really awful – not a lot of plane changes but the whole flight from his place to our airport will have taken 28 hours! Needless to say, he wants to come straight home and hit the bed for several hours before sharing some beef stew with us tonight. Just knowing he’s up in what is now the guest room will have me smiling all day long. :0)
He will stay about three weeks – celebrating his birthday AND Christmas with us!
This photo of our son, Brian, and me was taken at Christmas in 2007. It’s still one of my all-time favorite photos.
I’ve been a Scrooge, basically, since then because my heart wasn’t really in it. Our son decided several years ago that in order to really learn Mandarin, he needed to live where it was spoken. He packed up and went to China, attending an American language school there, leaving just before they had a terrible earthquake. He came home, but then went back, this time living in Shanghai.
Then he decided that he wanted to live somewhere more quiet, so he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has made it a point not only to continue learning Mandarin, but also to learn Thai. He participates on a regular basis on an app where people can call in for translations between Mandarin and English and Thai. This allows him to get more and more fluent as he tries to help others.
A friend and his wife joined him in Chiang Mai several years ago. They work together doing computer stuff for various clients in the U.S. Before he left the last time, he set up a secure chat program so that we could leave messages or type at each other real-time. We do that on almost a daily basis. He also set up a program called ‘appear.in’ which he and his friend use in conference calls. We can see each other real-time and talk, like Skype or other similar programs, but MUCH better quality.
It’s been three years since he’s been home. We communicate more than a lot of families who live in the same city, so he hasn’t really seemed a world away, though he gives wonderful hugs, and my ‘hugs bucket’ has been empty for a long time now.
Recently he talked about MAYBE coming home for a visit. I put it out of my mind because a lot can happen in a short space of time, making it impossible – although intentions are the best.
He is actually coming home! We will pick him up at the airport on the 10th of this month!!!! He can stay until January 2nd, when he will fly to see other relatives and good friends before returning to Chiang Mai.
I am definitely feeling the Scrooge in me thawing this year. This morning I got out the two Christmas wreaths I kept after my purge of ‘stuff’ in our home and put them up. I then got out one bag of decorations that I’ve put up in the past, when I wanted to look at least a little bit festive. These are up in the dining area now. (I’ll take some pictures to share a bit later today.)
My husband and I decided that this year we would decorate a Christmas tree and get out all the decorations we haven’t used in years. This means we will need to move furniture in the living room to accommodate the tree – plus haul the huge Tupperware bin of decorations and the tree up from the basement – something we haven’t done in a long time. I’ve decided to wait until our son is home to do the tree, so we can do it together as a family.
As the fact that he has his tickets, and we have a flight arrival time now (the trip from Chiang Mai to here will take a total of 28 hours with layovers, etc) the fact that he’s REALLY coming home is starting to sink in. My heart feels full, plus lighter and lighter. I keep finding myself smiling.
The very best Christmas present we could have – except for when I gave birth to him 40 years ago on Dec. 13th…
I’m only halfway to my weight loss goal, but a few TANGIBLE things are helping motivate me:
I showed you several weeks ago that I am finally able to wear a sweater/jacket top that I’ve moved back and forth between closets for several years now.
Today I was finally able to wear a snuggly, soft, furry vest that my husband bought me years ago in the Grand Canyon Gift Shop.
And I’m actually able to zip it up without a problem! It has coyotes, bears, moose, evergreen trees, half-moons and other things all around the bottom third of the vest. I loved it when he bought it for me, and now I feel as if I have a ‘new’ vest. I love it again!
We were talking about our efforts on the way to town to do our errands this morning. I pointed out that it was a big deal that my husband has been able to change his 38/30 jeans for 34/30 currently, and soon will need to go to 32/30! TANGIBLE differences make you feel as if your efforts are worth it.
AND I’m going for a gold star on my calendar today for doing my session of yoga! :0)
If you have things that have motivated you in your efforts to lose weight or exercise, I would love it if you would share them with me.
I found this sweater/jacket 5 years ago or so and simply loved it. Sadly, it was too small, but I TOLD myself that I would lose some weight and finally be able to wear it. I’ve moved it back and forth from the guest closet to my closet, trying it on once a year since then, with the same result. Even with my determination to get rid of things all over the house, including clothes that don’t fit, I just COULDN’T part with it.
Deep purple is my color. Whenever I see a group of things, all the same except for color, I’m drawn to the dark purple one. The fact that this sweater-jacket had leather on the front, with cut out flowers, made me drool (though I was careful NOT to on the sweater!)
This is the back. It can be worn as a top or added as a jacket.
Here’s a close up of the flowers.
I haven’t lost poundage or lardage this week. The scales are still flirting with 30 pounds off, but I’m not there yet. My measuring tape is unimpressed, showing the same as last week, even though I’ve been working, cleaning, and exercising. The one thing that stands out is from my switching from summer to winter clothes and trying things on.
I have a full leaf bag now of tops that are too large AND my sweater/jacket finally FITS. YES!!!!!!
I’m about half way to my goal in weight loss and inches now. It may take the rest of my natural life to get there, but I’m on my way!
My husband and I went for our quarterly checkup by our primary doctor this afternoon. We got blood tests last week and were hopeful that we would see some changes for the better.
I’ve told you my husband is a Type II Diabetic. His A1C last quarter was 7.6. (This was down a bunch from his original count of 16+, but still wasn’t normal.) Today it was 6.2 (the goal for diabetics is <7). HOOORAAAAAAY! We had essentially given up ever getting a normal reading again, and were just concentrating on eating right and getting the numbers as low as we could. We practically danced around the room!
The big difference in my numbers was in Lipid Profile (Fats in the blood, I think)
- Cholesterol was down 107 points
- LDL down 57 points
- Non-HDL down 70 points
- Triglycerides down 61 points
She said that since my husband and I are essentially eating the same foods, my exercise was the cause of my improved numbers!
She was so pleased she said I could wait to come back for SIX months. I’ve been going quarterly for YEARS, so this was super good news. If my husband keeps his good numbers in November, HE can go to every six months, too!
Tonight we’re going bowling with our good friends and having our FLEX snack for the week, a scoop of ice cream from Braum’s. We celebrated by having a FLEX lunch, as well, enjoying a couple of pieces of fried fish from our local grocery deli. We haven’t had that for almost five months now, so it was a joyous celebration, even though we’re supposed to spread the flex meals out – one per day.
We knew we had lost weight. We knew we had lost inches (though my husband won’t measure, he’s losing his tummy)
It was wonderful to have the doctor confirm with objective numbers that we’re improving our health. She said, as we were leaving, “I wish all my patients took an active interest in their health and worked as hard as you two have.”
A wonderful pat on the head! :0)
I’m having so much FUN this afternoon! About two months ago I saw an ad on Facebook (I know, but there it was) for a “light box” or “LED tracing board.” Since I’m currently trying to learn new techniques for adding fur and feathers to animals, being able to trace a few outlines and distinctive features of drawings or pictures I like and then being able to concentrate on the techniques for making feathers and fur more realistic in various media seems like a wonderful idea.
It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue to try to draw the animals and birds from scratch as time goes on, but – to be honest – I’m intimidated and it will take a while to work through that. With the light box or tracing board, I can bypass my insecurities, learn, and have fun!
This gives you an idea of what I ordered. It came today and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. It’s ultra thin and you plug it into your computer. There are three intensities of LED light settings.
I hooked it up, then ran upstairs to get my sketch book, tracing paper, carbon paper, pencils, plus my “Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf, and plopped down in front of my computer. I’ve now traced a bird and am now using carbon paper to transfer it to my sketch book. I have the outlines of two drawings I did years ago already in the sketch book. When I get several sketches (tracings) added, I can then concentrate on the suggestions for adding feathers to these beautiful creatures in colored pencils, watercolor, pastels, acrylics, pen & ink, and mixed media.
Here is my drawing of a kingfisher
And my drawing of a parrot
and this is the first step in the tracing of another bird I found that I like. This is being transferred to my sketch book using carbon paper.
I know this isn’t easy to see, but you can get the idea of what I’m doing.
I have to stop and get lunch for us now, but I’ll get back to this ASAP. :0)
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 –