Category Archives: Challenges

Hope for the Future

Planet Natural

Today I processed the latest harvest of tomatoes. I froze some of them and harvested seeds from the rest.

Right now it looks like someone had a bad accident on paper towels on my counter in the kitchen. I’m in the process of trying to dry the seeds. I’m not sure how smart people do it, but I gathered them in a sieve and ran water over them, picking out the bits of tomato that were left and then blotted the blog of ‘stuff’ between paper towels. I’ll monitor them and get them out in the air as soon as possible to fully dry before trying to store them.

I’ll go out this evening and see if I can get more suckers to plant in water. I transplanted one sucker that had sprouted some tiny roots. I’m a beginner at all this, so this will be a fascinating, challenging process before I can get the hang of it.

I’m enjoying all the rain we’re getting, but it will be nice when I can simply crab about how hot it is, rather than having to dash out in the morning or evening between storms to try to get a bit done outside. I’m getting a list as long as my arm of what is waiting for me to do out there….

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Attitude is All

Pinterest

This resonates with me and makes me laugh, but I don’t think this way anymore.

Today’s ‘yoge’ is “hips.”

I just finished getting a “Chicken with Creamy Orange Sauce” by Dana Carpender into the crock pot for dinner tonight. It’s amazing to me that we have never tried one of her low carb recipes we didn’t like. With her slow cooker recipes and her “15 Minute” low carb recipes, I have pretty much all I need to keep me on track. I also just got a low carb bread recipe book to use with a really odd-looking lime green silicone bread bowl thingie.

I have no clue whether this is actually useful or not, but I’ll give it a try and report back to you.

With rice for my husband (cauli-rice for me) and some salad, dinner is taken care of. When I finish this, I’ll make us some lunch.

MyFitnessPal.com is keeping me on track with my eating again. I keep being amazed at how far off I had gotten. I was making low carb meals, but was sabotaging my efforts with the portions, side dishes, and sugar-free stuff “I” was eating to be companionable with my husband. Now I’m being careful to stay under 1200 calories a day and under 40 grams of carbohydrates, plus move more.

 

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It’s encouraging that this 2nd round of the 8 sessions in the DVD set is a bit easier. I don’t kid myself that I’ll loosen up quickly, but I know that as long as I get on the mat every day with Cat Kabira, I’ll be working toward my goal. She has a very compassionate, encouraging manner that I find very appealing.

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One day at a time. The next weighing and measurement day is this coming Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be able to report a bit of progress.

Have a happy day!

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating

I’m Not Sure I Bend That Way…

Ground Zero Web

I just finished doing the “Lower Back” session on my “Gentle Yoga” DVD set by Sixtyandme.com. This is the 2nd time I’ve done this one since I got back in the saddle of eating RIGHT low carb and doing daily yoga again, and I have to admit it was a bit easier this time than last week.

That said, I seem to have spent YEARS stiffening up. I particularly notice that my arms and shoulders are stiff. It is very uncomfortable for me to lie on my back, lift my arms to about shoulder height or higher, and just lie there. I really feel an uncomfortable pulling telling me that people aren’t meant to open up that much. That’s MY problem, though, because clearly that shouldn’t be a problem. So each day, when we’re doing the final relaxation pose, I purposely put my arms in this position and concentrate on breathing into the tension I feel. I don’t know how long it will take for me to loosen up, but it’ll be worth whatever time that is.

I also find I cannot SIT on my feet from a bent knee position. The front of my thighs really scream. SO – after my relaxation, I get into that position for just a few seconds, hopefully longer each day, breathing into it.

I’m determined to get my body to loosen up. Each day I feel that I’m doing good things for my body. I used stupid excuses of what else I needed to do for a couple of months and lost ground, but I’ll get it back. As each pound leaves and each inch goes, I feel more and more confident that my lifestyle is the right one for me.

TaoLife.com

 

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating

Bouncing Back – Getting the Lard Off

cookingpanda.com

Since I got back on the horse with MyFitnessPal.com and my goal of under 40 carbs and under 1200 calories per day last Saturday, I’ve lost 3 lbs. Total lost is now 23 lbs.  Since MyFitnessPal allows you to ‘play’ with various scenarios of what you’ll eat on a given day, you can work in things that are technically on the ‘not-to-eat’ list. An example:  we found some really nice-looking bicolored corn on the cob. By trying different ideas out, I was able to incorporate an ear of corn into my low carb day! Happily, it was some of the best corn on the cob we’ve ever eaten. Hooray!!!

 

I’m consciously moving more, having physical stuff outside or inside each day to add to my daily steps. I’m now averaging 5,000 steps per day, AND getting outside goals accomplished. On measurements, I’ve lost a total of 15 inches.

 

Ranker

I’ve done yoga sessions on “Joints,” “Neck and Shoulders,” “Lower Back,” “Spinal Health,” “Hips,” “Legs,” and “Balance.” Today I’ll do the last session on the DVD set, “Overall Flow.” I FEEL better. Though I’m a bit sore from stretching in ways I haven’t for too long, I’m feeling looser and a bit more energetic. If I’m tired and sleepy during the afternoon, I take a nap, but I didn’t feel the need for the first time in a long time yesterday.

I’ve had a good starting-over week. I’ve made some progress and feel a difference. I feel more in control of myself.

On with Week 2!

TaoLife.com

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off

Back into Yoga – Day 6

funny pics.co

Last Saturday I started doing yoga again after a several month hiatus due mainly to laziness and stupidity. (We had a lot of things going on and I had lots of excuses at the ready.)

I’m using a DVD set called, “Gentle Yoga” via SixtyandMe.com.  The teacher is Cat Kabira and I can’t say enough about her.

The practice is geared toward women

  • who have never done yoga;
  • may have had surgeries on knees, hips;
  • may not have exercised in the past umpteen years;
  • are 60 or over; etc.

There are 8 practices on the two DVD set, each one geared toward a different part of the body. I’m doing one session each day, lasting 30 to 45 minutes. Today was “legs.”

I’m having to start over in my practice because during my hiatus, my poor old body stiffened up quite a bit. I’m taking my time, stretching and performing each pose the best I can, knowing that in time I’ll loosen up again. Right now it’s quite a challenge for this old lady, but I trust the teacher and the poses to make me more limber, strengthen my core muscles, get me to stretch out, help me relax, help me sleep better.

I’m on DAY 6 today of being back in the saddle, eating low carb, recording what I’m eating and drinking, planning ahead so I don’t mess up, and doing one session of yoga each day, plus whatever else I have time for.

 

Pinterest

I have some soreness and stiffness, but that reminds me of what I lost by not doing the yoga and not taking care of myself. I also know that this will be short-lived, now that I’m treating myself better. I have one more session devoted to “balance” (something I really need) and then there is an “overall flow” on Saturday that pulls out some of the best moves from each of the sessions.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed is a change in my attitude. I feel GOOD that I’m trying to take care of myself again (even when my husband is eating an ice cream sandwich (or TWO!) in front of me while we watch TV.) I’m feeling GOOD that I’m moving a bit more easily.

It’ll be good when my scales and my measuring tape are confirming some good changes, but in the meantime, I’m giving myself the gift of better health!

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Encouragement, exercise

A Perfect Marriage?

Crafty Morning

My husband and I have been married 48 years. We agree we have a good start now and hope to celebrate many more anniversaries.

We are DEFINITELY two imperfect people. After sharing life for this many years, we know each other well. We know each of our strengths and weaknesses and have long agreed that the two of us are much stronger together than either of us is by ourself. We compliment each other amazingly.

  • My husband is as tactful as Attila the Hun.  We agree that he should never apply as a greeter at WalMart, should not be a party planner, guidance counselor, or U.N. representative.
  • I consider much of the world magic. I have no clue how to fix most things. I’m a reasonable go-fer, but I’m amazed that my husband can look at something, figure out how it works, and many times buy or make a part that gives whatever it is new life.
  • Since we’re retired, my husband has decided that he no longer needs to worry about what day it is, what time it is, or have any responsibility for what we need to do at any given time. Since one of my strong suits is organization, I am in charge of the communal to-do list, calendar, reminder-in-chief, and the person who sets an alarm so we leave at the proper time to make appointments, etc.

When we married, both sets of parents were against it. Each of them felt my husband-to-be was too much of a bad boy with a bad attitude and were afraid I was making a big mistake. That helped us, I think, make it work. My husband is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He also works tirelessly to provide for his family, tries to foresee possible problems and be proactive in doing what we can to address them. He has been an almost perfect father for our son, who also lives ‘outside the box,’ doing his own thing. We ended up, somehow, with a son who is smarter than both of us together, kind and compassionate to those around him to the point he brings tears to ours eyes, who loves his parents very much.

We annoy each other at times to the point I chase him around with a flyswatter, raising my voice. We know each other’s ‘buttons’ and have no problem pushing them once in a while. There is no one who can make me angrier, more hurt, or melt into a puddle – often in one day’s time!

It’s the two of us against the world. We decided years ago we wanted to share our lives. It has been really challenging, rewarding, and never boring. I recommend marriage highly to those really ready to make the commitment and make it work.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, Family

Day Three of Being Back in the Saddle

The Cincinnati Zoo

This is DAY THREE of making SURE I’m eating under 40 grams of carbs per day and under 1200 calories, plus doing at least a session of yoga.

I’m using MyFitnessPal.com to list everything I’m eating and drinking to plan things out after breakfast. I’m gritting my teeth as my husband eats chips, sugar-free candy, sugar-free pop or tea, no sugar added ice cream sandwiches, but he’s eating the way he should for his diabetes. I’ve quit kidding myself that I can indulge, as well, but I AM building in my orange ice cream bar at night into my totals, relishing every bite.

I’ve been doing my one session per day of “Gentle Yoga” and am feeling better for it. I did “Head and Shoulders” Saturday, “Joints” yesterday, and “Lower Back” today.  It feels good to be treating myself better this way.

I feel as if I have a good start on getting back in the saddle of taking better care of myself again.

cliparting.com

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise

Day One – Dose of Reality!

Cool Animal World

So – This is Day One of Finding-my-Act-and-Getting-it-Together-Again.

I finally did my first yoga session since we adopted our new puppy May 13th. I may have even stopped before that, but it shows how far my intentions have gotten off the track. I did “Neck and Shoulders” today of what I call the “Old Ladies Yoga” DVD. It’s actually called, “Gentle Yoga” put out by Sixtyandme.com. The teacher is Cat Kabira, and she’s a wonderful, accepting, caring person. She encourages you to be the best you can be, accepting where you are and what you are able to do at the given time, and encourages you to KEEP DOING IT.  I had never done yoga, and was intimidated at first, but I started really feeling a difference after several lessons.  There are 7 lessons devoted to particular parts of the body and then an ‘overall flow’ session which takes the ‘best’ moves from each of the other sections. Then there is a 2nd DVD called, “Gentle Yoga Flows.” I’ll work my way up to that one again.

I went back to the MyFitnessPal.com website and signed in for the first time in a LOOOOONG time. I had deluded myself that, since I was cooking low carb and we were trying to find substitutes for the things my husband, a Type II diabetic, missed the most, that sugar-free somehow meant not many calories or carbs.

I have to admit I was pretty shocked when I started to list what I had already eaten, plus planned to eat the rest of the day. I had to really work to juggle things to get back into my under 1200 calories per day and under 40 carbs a day I was doing previously. LOTS of changes and a BIG dose of reality. My husband can continue to eat as he has been, but “I” cannot!

I also had to acknowledge the ground I’ve lost on weight loss and measurements loss. :0(

OKAY. Today is DAY ONE. I’m already doing better than I was yesterday. I’ve acknowledged the error of my ways and I’m stopping the delusions under which I’ve been living for the past few months. I’m listing everything I eat or drink and have gotten back into my yoga practice. I’m moving more otherwise, doing lots of work outside and projects with my husband, plus walking the new puppy several times each day. I started with an average of under 2,000 steps per day. Now my average is 4 or 5,000 per day. I’ll see how much I can add to that.

I’ll try to report back to you each Saturday. I may not give you numbers for awhile, at least until I’m back where I was before my act was ‘lost,’ but I’ll do my best to be better than I was yesterday EVERY day.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating

Where is my Act and What Have You Done with It?

Bored Panda

I was doing pretty well, eating low carb, losing weight, getting better numbers on my quarterly blood tests with the doctor, learning yoga for old broads and doing it daily. Then ‘something happened,’ and I lost it.

I have umpteen excuses, but no one, including me, is interested.  What is good is that I am FINALLY wanting to get my act back together, rather than ignoring the whole problem and playing Pitiful Pearl.

I do well on my eating until late afternoon and after.

  • I’m going to start drinking a glass of ‘Meta,’ Appetite Control Sugar-Free Orange Zest Dietary Supplement mid afternoons. I also got some sugar-free gum, hoping that if I’m chewing on something, I won’t stuff my face with anything else.
  • I’m going to start using the crock pot again, getting dinner going in the morning when I have the most energy, rather than waiting until after I’m exhausted to fix dinner.
  • I’m starting THIS MORNING – as soon as I finish typing this – doing at least one session of  “old broad” yoga.
  • I’m starting THIS MORNING listing my food and exercise on MyFitnessPal.com as I used to do.
  • I’m starting THIS MORNING drinking more water. I already do it when I’m hot from working outside, but I’ll try to make sure that I drink much more than I am now regardless of my work load.

I HOPE to be able to report to you soon that I am back in the saddle of good eating habits, plus moving more, and starting to get results again. I hope that if you’re having challenges in trying to treat yourself better, you’ll find the motivation to start again with me.

 

TaoLife.com

 

 

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating

4th Time is the Charm?

Dodecapod.Com

This is the wall hanging we’re trying to make.

Yesterday I scraped off all the yellow my husband insisted we add. I’m going to paint those parts either black or the background color. When those dry, I told my husband we could add a BIT of yellow to some of the sun flame ends. Hopefully, we can agree this time that the piece is officially finished.

One really nice thing – my husband decided that instead of being forced to buy cans of compressed air to hook to the air brush, he would run a line from our air compressor over to my art table! He spent most of the day on the project yesterday, after we went to Yeagers and bought 30 feet of pvc pipe, some attachments, etc.  He had ordered a regulator from the net, plus 6 feet of hose, plus a DVD on how we are supposed to be using the air brush. We need to get another adaptor at Yeagers today, but the project is almost done!

Please wish us luck?

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Filed under Challenges, Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art

3rd Time?

the afterlife of billy fingers via cathy ruggiero

Now my husband wants me to add more yellow to the sun/moon piece with the air brush.

I’ve quit worrying now about whether its ‘good’ or not, and am concentrating on having fun with the air brush, plus making something my husband is happy with. I’m really enjoying the experimenting with a totally new kind of painting. We’ve ordered a set of air brush paint, empty bottles for each color we use, plus an adapter and hose so we can hook it to the air compressor in the shop, rather than having to use a can.

So far, we’re learning to clean the system properly, keep it going, and adjust the spray a bit. I’m hoping to find a video on YouTube so I can watch someone who knows what he/she is doing.

Learning a new technique opens up a whole new world of possibilities, making your mind race and your mouth water.

So, maybe the third time is the charm on the sun/moon metal wall hanging and maybe it isn’t. We’re having fun in the trying.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Childlike Fun, Lewis Art, metal art

Weed Trees :0(

Weed Identification-Brisbane City Council

This weed tree is similar to the ones I’m cutting down that grow naturally all the way across our back yard. Some of them are over 10 feet high! They grow where there isn’t any soil. They grow right back if you burn them down. We hired a nice young man last year who spent about 6 hours over several weekends clearing them out for us, but I decided I would do it myself this, year, a little bit at a time.

Recently I posted a picture of the little bitty hallway-type opening I had made. I just spent half an hour today lopping more. I’m trying to work when there is as little sun as possible and the temperatures are halfway reasonable.

As I type, I’m still huffing and puffing a bit, plus guzzling a bottle of water. I’m TRYING to tell myself that if I make any progress at all, I should be content. It’s not quite working out that way. In fact, the biggest reason I stopped this time was because the level I’m standing on in order to lop another weed tree, is very shaky ground. There are the remnants of the ones I’ve cut down, plus the ones from last year, sticking up. You can’t really tell where the ‘ground’ is. I lost my balance and sat down. It took me quite a while to lever myself back up so that I could come in

It’s nicely overcast today with a 40% chance of scattered showers, so I’ll rest a bit and then do another hitch while the weather is co-operative. I’ll post another picture when you can actually tell I’ve done more…

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“No Good Deed…”

My husband always says, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” ~ Clare Booth Luce

Even though Amber was asleep beside my chair, I knew it was time to get her outside. I woke her up, hooked her up to the leash, and we went outside, followed by my husband, and then Molly and at least one cat.

This made Amber unusually hard to handle. I was grousing about that, even after Amber had taken care of business. We had some relative quiet as we did our usual walk around the outside perimeter of my raised bed square foot garden. All of a sudden I had a red wasp trying to sting the back of my arm!

I swatted at it with the handle of the leash. Amber, of course, thought we were playing a really fun game, getting into the spirit of things by trying to run around like a mad thing, jerking me around right at the guy wire for one corner of the garden.  So I had a really happy, lively dog getting tangled in the leash, pulling my head into the guy wire, while the wasp was stinging the back of my arm – a really FUN combination.

I managed to hit the wasp – who was trying to sting me again – twice as I jerked the dog in the direction of the porch. I gave the leaping dog to my husband, who thought the whole thing was quite comical. :0(  Molly was trying her best to keep out of the range of the leash, and the cat was eagerly awaiting the progress of the dog, anticipating getting to swipe the dog in the mouth with a paw.

My husband apologized for laughing after we got Amber back on the porch, Molly inside, and were in the kitchen putting some goo on my sting. His lips were twitching, though he was really trying not to laugh again.

So my antics clearly acted out the truth of the saying. My ‘good deed’ of walking the dog, giving her a chance to do her business outside, while getting some good exercise, clearly backfired. I’ll be more able to see the humor in the situation when my arm quits stinging…

baji.co.uk

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Embracing

Elizabeth Gilbert via Corliss Barnes Darnell

I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty.

  • Guilty about eating too much
  • guilty about eating things not on my diet
  • guilty about not losing weight
  • guilty about not doing yoga and my elliptical
  • guilty about not getting a much done each day as I want….

The list goes on and on and to be honest, I’m sick of it.

I can come up with endless excuses – in fact, I could teach a course on it. I’m very creative, too; coming up with more and more as the time allows, rather than putting my head down and doing better.

But I’m sick of coming up with excuses, too.

Right now “doing the best I can with the energy I have and the willpower I haven’t” will have to be good enough. Life is too short to agonize over every bite I put in my mouth, or how my to-do list is getting longer, rather than shorter. So what!

I’m going to TRY to ’embrace the glorious mess that I am’ and give myself a BREAK.

That’s not to say that once I incorporate the new labor-intensive focus of raising our lab to be a polite member of our family into my lifestyle that I won’t TRY to do better – but for right now, what I can do is ENOUGH.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Fashion Statement?

Hotel for Dogs

Arkansas got the ‘summer memo’ about 3 weeks ago. We’ve been in the high 90’s with uncomfortable humidity since then. I have to tell you that spring and the 60s are where I am comfortable, so I visibly wilt as soon as I go outside.

We have a lot of sweat bands we keep on a special hook thingie on the back of the door to the garage. I grab two of them routinely because my husband needs one, too, but never seems to remember to get one. He wears a ham radio hat and I wear a hat that makes me look like a squashed mushroom to protect us from the direct sun.

I’m getting so that it FEELS as if I’m wearing a sweat band even when I’m not. It’s a regular part of how I look during the day and evening when we’re home working.

We grab a sweat band and head out the door. We come in, throw the sweat band in the washer, regular as clockwork.

I doubt if we’ll start a fad, though. You definitely need a sense of humor up here on top of our hill.

Today is a several-sweatband-day. I’m going to

  • plant two celery plants in the square foot garden and cut stalks from the largest plant out there
  • sweep the pooled water from the latest storm off the floor of the greenhouse
  • prep for putting tomato suckers in water out there
  • cut down some weed trees
  • prune stuff in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard
  • mow this evening when the sun is down a bit

I hope that you’re having a good Tuesday.

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Filed under Challenges, Gardening, Mother Nature

Too Darned Hot!

Dumb Photos

It’s supposed to get to 95 degrees today and the humidity is 64%. According to my heat index calculator, that’s 117 degrees F. Too darned hot!

I want to work in my new greenhouse, trying to get it organized reasonably, and I also need to cut down what we call, “Weed Trees” that line up across the back of our yard and cut off our view.  We’re going to Lunch Bunch very soon, but after that I’ll work in short spurts, coming in to enjoy the air conditioning, drink lots of water, etc.

This will be at least a 2-shampoo and shower day…

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood

Mixed Emotions

zazzle

Today I shut down my website, Creative Artworks.  I’m feeling mixed emotions, but it is time.

In 2000, my son designed a website so I could try to sell the things I made. I then realized that for the same money, I could list the work of other people, too. At one point I had over 120 artists on the site. My enthusiasm was through the roof. I lived and breathed Creative Artworks.

I’ve met a wonderful variety of talented people over 17 years, and I’ve been proud to host the website, helping people sell their artwork. I’ll never cease to be amazed at how many really creative folks there are in this world. I’ve never met most of the artists who allowed me to display their work, but I’ve become friends with many of them.

The first one I told that I was shutting down the website was my son, who is halfway across the world from me. He worked tirelessly to make the very best website for me that he could. Even when he went on to do countless other things, he would make time to help me with problems, adapt the site to meet different requirements from the credit card people, web hosts, and others.

When I wrote to him this morning, he was still up, though there is 12 hours difference between us. He wanted to really chat, so he sent me the program appear.in (I think) so we could actually talk in real time and SEE each other. (This is like Skype – but we could never make Skype work well for us.) We talked for several minutes. He was worried that I was shutting down the site because I was upset for some reason, or was upset with him. I assured him that I had been considering the idea for some time and decided that it was time. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for giving me 17 of the best creative years of my life, for designing the website that allowed me to show my own stuff and the work of others.

Part of me is sad because it’s the end of an era for me.  I’ve truly enjoyed it, but my heart is now in writing my blog, square foot gardening, the new greenhouse, continuing to cook low carb and low sugar for my husband and myself, spending more time on my art, spending time with our new puppy, practicing yoga, and more. I feel really lucky that I am able to end one part of my life, freeing it up for more of the things I love.

 

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Rohn Antenna

Just after we finished the main building of my greenhouse, my husband said that the former president of the Fort Smith Amateur Ham Radio Club had emailed him, saying that one of the members was selling a Rohn antenna. My husband said that if we tried to buy a used control box alone for one, we would pay what the man was asking for the control box, the “scaffolding” the rotor, and the stuff at the top.

I could see his mouth was watering, and he’s worked hard on his ham stuff – passing all three tests available and getting the main radio, and several different, much smaller antennas, none of which he could make work they way they should. People he had talked to in the club said, “It should be working,” but it wasn’t, in each case.  He can reach the people for the weekly meeting, but he wants to really be able to USE it.

My husband had much the same look in his eyes that our new puppy, Amber, has when she wants a cookie really badly. So I caved, we called the man, got his address, programmed the GPS and drove to Alma, AR, about an hour or so away.

The 10 foot section parts (5 of them) had been on the ground in the back yard for quite awhile. The control box was in the man’s garage, and that was the main thing that needed protection. We bought the whole group of things, which my husband says is a Rohn antenna, put all the pieces in the back of the truck, tied them down securely and brought them home.

We spent awhile getting all the sections out near the place where the antenna will go. They’re heavy! We’ll need to measure to be sure the antenna is 45 feet away from the commercial power pole to the east of the house. It will be out somewhere around my greenhouse.

The first big thing – before I caved to the purchase – was that he would get REAL help – not just me – to get this thing up securely. We’ll need to hire the man who dug our water well 30 years ago – or whoever is handling that business now – to come drill a hole at least 6 feet deep. My husband says he’ll put a big, heavy pipe in the hole as the base for the antenna. We’ll mix Sac-Crete to put in the hole and around it for a pad on which the antenna will sit.

I insisted my husband call the head of the club back and ask if he knew people we could hire to put the antenna up. (This means someone skinny, strong, and agile enough to climb the antenna with another section in hand, hoist it up and add it to the one he’s standing on, and then do the same until the whole thing, including the rotor and the cable, plus the thingie that turns at the top, are together.)  Then we need to install guy wires all around to be sure it’s secure. Happily, Mike knew two guys he called “The Johnson Twins,” who can do just that for us once we have the pad done.

My husband is like a kid at Christmas. There are a couple of places in the metal scaffolding that seem to have burst when water froze inside them. He’ll need to repair those, get enough of the proper 8-wire cable to go from the rotor on the antenna across the field to the house and into the house, attached to his radio and control hub. He’s happy. When we went for groceries this morning, the first thing he said was, “I’m happy we got the antenna.” :0)

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Filed under Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Dreams

How Does My Garden Grow?

simply u photography

I just spent an hour and a half in my raised bed square foot vegetable garden. The fact that I can work in it without having to bend over a lot, and can plant, weed, harvest, and pull – a ll at about chest level  – is really, really nice. That said, I’m still old and I still get really hot working in the sun. :0)

We had a really odd combination of a cooler than usual spring with lots and lots and LOTS of rain and not much sun followed by blazing sun and 90 degree temperatures. This has resulted in my lettuce bolting, my spinach doing the same (both shooting up to about 4 feet in height and going to seed on the top.) The only thing to do with the lettuce at this point is save the little bit that I can and pull the rest of the plants. At the beginning, my plants were looking really good. Even with the best growing medium and supplements, square foot gardening, etc., some years your plants simply don’t do as well as you would hope.

The last storm also made the tops of my onions bend over and start to yellow. I looked at things today and decided to go ahead and harvest them. I pulled them all out, cut off the tops, and left them in a few piles on the planter while I came in to rest.  I’ll read up on how to dry them for storage.  I have 4 of the six planters cleaned up, pulled up, or pruned. I’ll try to finish in another session out there today.

It looks as if I’ll actually get at least a small spaghetti squash or two! I have a long vine with blossoms and two actual squash bulbs. I spread it out, allowing it to go where it will and do whatever it wants. I’ll take a pic later.

My celery plants are still growing, but they don’t look a thing like a bunch of celery you would buy in the store. I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plants look great! :0)

Our tomato plants on the opposite end of the house are looking good and we have lots of small green tomatoes now. We’re keeping all appendages crossed that we have a good year for red, ripe, sliced tomatoes at any meal we like…

I’m hoping we’ll get the greenhouse finished soon and ready for me to start seed for my fall plants. It’ll be such fun to try to grow plants to transplant out into the garden at the proper time. Again, I have a LOT of reading to do as to when to start the seeds in order to have them ready for the fall.

This spring I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do next time. If I live long enough, one of these times I’ll know what I’m doing!

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Changes, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Too Darned Hot

It’s not officially summer yet, but our temperature right now is 93 degrees F. – much too hot to do a lot of work outside as we had planned.

We’ve decided to rest up this afternoon, and then dash outside when the sun starts to go down. I’ll use the riding lawn mower and my husband will get what I can’t with the self-propelled mower and we’ll get the lawn reasonably under control again.

We have a big light on the corner of the shop that we can turn on later so that I can at least do SOMETHING in my garden. I need to pull out the lettuce plants that have bolted, see what’s what otherwise, and plant one celery plant.

We also want to put up the last of the framework on the greenhouse so we’ll be ready to install the film over the greenhouse, hopefully starting early tomorrow.

We just went out onto the porch to play with Amber, and it’s lethally hot out there. Amber doesn’t seem to mind it, and she is in the shade with plenty of water. I’ll also take her for a walk in a bit and see if she wants to get into her kiddie pool. (I may join her!)

I hope the weather is nice where you are, and that you’re having a wonderful day.

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Lewis projects

And the Building of the Greenhouse Officially Begins!

It might not look like much to you, but this is beautiful, as far as we’re concerned.

Our good dirt and driveway guy, Eric, came over with his tractor today and smoothed our really bumpy driveway and then proceeded to clear land for the greenhouse my husband and I are going to build.  It’s to the east of our house, on the extra 2 acre strip we bought to add to our land several years ago. It’s the only halfway level spot we have on our almost 8 acres of land…

The cleared space we need is supposed to be 15 feet x 15 feet in order for us to build a 12 foot x 14 foot greenhouse. The first step is to drill and then pound in the corner spikes. My husband cut 2 foot pieces of pipe, then we got big, heavy angle iron to weld onto the spikes, making corner posts to which we’ll attach the treated wood to make the perimeter of the greenhouse.

This is no small step. We had to use explosives in order to be able to dig our basement, put in our septic system, and prepare for the swimming pool we never built 30 years ago. We have a cement drill that we’ll use to drill holes down as far as possible. Then we’ll use a sledge-hammer to pound the spikes with angle iron into the ground.

I’ll take pics as we do this.

I’m really excited to have the plot ready to attack!

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Filed under Arkansas, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Gardening, Greenwood

Make a List

Begin with Yes

My list has been thrown up into the air and has blown away in the wind lately – ever since we made the decision to get a new puppy in the middle of trying to get my husband’s cataracts removed.

We only have one more appointment with the eye doctor and my husband is feeling fine and getting his energy back now. He is being a big help with the puppy now, so I’m not feeling quite as fried every night way before it’s time for bed.

Today I called our dirt guy to tell him we were functional now and to please put us on the list to clear the land for our planned greenhouse, as well as repair our driveway. Happily, he MIGHT be able to work our projects in this afternoon!. We have some errands to run, but we shouldn’t be gone long and will be home to receive his call if he can, indeed, come today. :0)

  • I want to get back to doing a session of yoga every day.
  • I want to take some time to play in my art room.
  • I want to be able to sit and read a book for awhile.
  • I want to be able to take a nap.

Now that my husband is recovering, I’m feeling more able to call on him to give me a bit of time and space to regain my sanity.  I’m delighted that we adopted Amber, but she is a double handful of extremely active puppy. I find that I’m a much better ‘mom’ to her when I can get my act together a bit between sessions.

So I’m ‘adjusting accordingly’ right now, and hoping to get a little bit of my normal life back soon.

 

 

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Extremes are Pounding My Garden

My poor square foot garden is reacting to the cool weather, then hot, then too much rain, then the cycle all over again that we’ve been having over the past several weeks.

 

This is my square foot garden, minus the tomato plants we have on the opposite end of the house. We have six 4’x4′ planters at about chest level inside a fence and reinforced around the bottom by chicken wire. As you can see, my lettuce is starting to bolt.

For those of you who are beginners, as I am, ‘bolting’ lettuce is bad. It means the plants shoot way up high and start to go to seed. Usually this happens when the weather gets too hot.

 

When this happens, the leaves start to get bitter-tasting. I’m going to harvest as much as possible during the coming days, but a lot of work has gone to waste. :0(  This is the red leaf lettuce.

 

And here is the Romaine.

 

My Georgia sweet onions seem to be doing well.

 

My celery plants look healthy, but nothing like what you would buy at the store. I have no clue what to expect here, but I’m having fun trying.

 

More celery.

 

I’m trying to get the spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed to spread out as much as it likes. It’s blooming, but again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash or just a lot of leaves and blooms.

I still have some spinach, but it doesn’t like the hot weather, either.

My tomato plants on the other side of the house are still looking pretty good. I’m hopeful we’ll start getting ripening tomatoes soon.

Each year I feel like a complete beginner again. Every year I’ve had a square foot garden, the results have been completely different. Each time I feel I’ve learned something, Mother Nature laughs at me.

I love the process of planning, planting, and hoping, though. The greenhouse we’re building will hopefully help me do some laughing myself! (The progress of the greenhouse is slow because the first step is clearing some land. Our weather has not been cooperating, so we keep having to move it to another week. This forecast shows you what we’re dealing with.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

I’m Going to Start “Yog-ing Again”

Ground Zero Web

With the new puppy I’ve been moving a LOT more, lifting, walking, cleaning up after, playing, loving, etc.  However, with all the movement, my back has started to bother me again, so I’m going to start trying to make time for at least one yoga session per day.

Now that my husband is able to take turns on taking care of Amber, I have a bit more time to try to get chores done and I SHOULD be able to get back on the mat.

Today is the first day in ages since I’ve made time for something truly good for me, so I’m excited.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, exercise

Worth Its Weight in Gold

My good friend Cathy wrote, telling me that she was worried about my trying to climb over the gate between the living room and the porch where our new puppy Amber is. She told me about a new style of gate that has a ‘people door!’ I had never heard of that, and after she helped me appreciate what I was seeing, I showed it to my husband, the installer of all things.

He was a bit worried because our door frames are steel, but he said we should go ahead and order it. It arrived today and we installed it within 10 minutes or less. My husband said, “You should tell this company they’re making a well thought out, well designed product.”

The product is from Chewy.com, a wonderful place that ships the product almost immediately. It’s astonishing how quickly things arrive. This is our third order from them, and I couldn’t recommend them more highly.

 

Carlson Pet Products Extra Wide Walk-Thru Gate with Pet Door

Carlson Extra Wide Gate with People Door and Pet Door

We didn’t need to use the two extensions that come with this gate. It installed quickly and easily with no tools required. It’s very sturdy. There is no place for Amber to hook her feet to climb over it. She can’t get under it. If she gets so she can climb over this 30″ tall gate, we can relocate it up a bit higher.

The very best part is the people door. We’ve fixed it so it opens OUT into the porch, so that Amber can’t open it by accident. When we go out there, she has to back up, and she isn’t quick enough to go between us and the door closing again. I’m really delighted. I don’t have to concentrate on standing on one foot, lifting the other foot over the gate (which Amber immediately latches onto), trying not to step on her as I put my foot down, then grabbing the door with one hand and bracing my other hand on the brick to the side of the door as I bring the 2nd leg up and over. It’s REALLY been fun when I had something in my hand…

THANK YOU, Cathy, for

  • worrying about me and figuring out a good solution
  • letting me know about it
  • writing back to point out the people door I didn’t see and appreciate the first time
  • your patience and caring

I can’t tell you how happy we are with you and the new gate. NOW – if we could get Amber to quit barking and whining….

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Clutz

I don’t know if you can tell – looking at my old, gnarly hand – that there is a discolored lump between my first and middle finger. Somehow, about an hour ago, while I was doing stuff with Amber, I hit the back of my hand on something. It didn’t hurt, and it’s not unusual for me to hit my hand, or other body part, on something.

This swelled up suddenly. I noticed it more because I had the sensation my skin was crawling than hurting. I’ve had a bag of ice on it, off and on, for about half an hour or so now. I may end up with an impressive bruise, and I won’t be able to tell people an interesting story about how I did it! Sigh.

The timing of this isn’t great, since I need to be everywhere at once taking care of my husband and the new puppy.

It got quiet around here about an hour ago – and, as mothers know, that is usually a sign something you don’t like is happening. My husband was walking out to the shop, intending to fix the other stop on the dog run. I couldn’t convince him that this was a stupid move on the morning after cataract surgery, so I went out to the shop and watched him while he put the stop together, then walked back with him and got the ladder, took it out to the run, then held it while my husband climbed up and attached the new stop to the dog run. Then I folded up the ladder and took it back into the garage, again reminding him that he wasn’t supposed to be doing that…

This day seems as if it has gone on forever. Starting the day at 5 is not one of our favorite things. With the surgery, the stress, the care-giving and the new puppy, I’m hopeful we’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight, even though we have to get up early again tomorrow to check in at the doctor’s office again, post-surgery.

 

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Amber – Take 2

We made two trips to PetCo in Fort Smith today. The first time we THOUGHT we had a crate, but it turned out to be a “Dog Barn” with an open front, which would negate the idea of crate training, which starts tonight….  You can see Sweet Amber lying down BESIDE the crate. This is the only time she was quiet and still today.

 

 

This is a regular rubber welcome mat. Amber likes it.

 

I barracaded the porch screens, trying to protect them from Amber. So far, it has worked!  I tried to sweep the porch. Amber thought it was a LOVELY game, and proceeded to jump on the end of the broom and then chew it. I finally put her on the deck on the leash out there while I finished sweeping, and then mopping the floor.

 

This is part of the barracade to protect the screens.

The barracade continues.

 

I taped down a wee pad over a spot where she had peed earlier. She decided to try to chew on the pad. I squirted her with a water bottle and she finally quit. I don’t know if this will last or not, but it’s worth a try. The trash can is a combination toy and hidey-hole for Amber. Sometimes she rolls it around and other times she climbs into it. THEN she peed between the trash can and the wall….

I mopped things up again and then tried to get some pics with Amber playing with some of her toys. She LOVES to chew. Our other dogs weren’t really ‘playing dogs,’ so we have a bunch of different toys to hopefully entice her to chew on THEM rather than the tabs on the back of my shoes, the edges of my jeans,  or whatever else she can find.

Yesterday we started getting serious about dog-proofing the porch and the tiled area in the house, where we put up a gate. It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ we have down where she can get into it, dump it over on the floor or on herself, or get hurt with it. We also have stuff hanging from hooks that she would LOVE to pull down….

Today’s project (other than buying a bunch of stuff at PetCo) was to make a dog run. We now have a 100+ foot dog run where we can clip her onto it and she can run from one end of it to the other and back again, not getting hurt or getting into anything. I’ll try to get pics of her on the run tomorrow.

 

This is Amber after she took the non-spill water bowl, stuck a foot in it, and tried to slide it across the floor, over and over. Obviously not non-spill, she spread water all over the floor I just mopped, ran out of water, and pooped herself out. POOR Baby! You can see the harness we got. She doesn’t like it much, and keeps stopping and kicking at herself like she had fleas, trying to get it off. I think in another day or so she won’t notice she has it on.

 

This is Amber on the long leash we have hanging from the dining area window onto the deck. We have it pretty short right now so she won’t get tangled up in the chairs on the deck.  Now she can be on the deck with us, or on the run when outside, if she’s not on the leash taking a walk around the house, out to the shop and the garden, etc. with me. So far, she really doesn’t want to go up or down steps, but with a lot of ‘encouragement,’ she does it.

Smoke whapped her in the face twice in succession. Abby hissed and wanted to go back outside. Molly spent some time with her on the porch. When she came in, she went straight to her bed for a nap.

I understand exactly how she feels.

We got a barking deterrent for Amber, since she goes pretty much nonstop. Her barking is loud, too, grating on our nerves. We didn’t want to spend a fortune, and we didn’t like the idea of shocking her, so we got what my husband has labeled, “The popeil bark discourager.” Do you remember all the products by the Popeil Company? I don’t thing ANYTHING they made actually did what they said it would do….

Anyway, you put the battery in it and locate it anywhere within 25 feet of the dog. When the dog barks, a red light goes on. At that time, it’s supposed to make a high-pitched sound only heard by animals. It’s supposed to be a sound animals don’t like, so they stop barking. Maybe Amber is intelligence-challenged, or isn’t making the connection between her barking and the sound supposedly coming from the discourager, but it isn’t working yet…

We’re all making lots of adjustments in learning to live together. She’s definitely making the days fly by for us, and helping us to heal the hole in our hearts left by Bambi.

Tomorrow – 1st trip to the vet!

 

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Fingers Crossed

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We’re taking a road trip today to see if we can find a new puppy for our family.

My husband and I learned a long time ago – the hard way – that if we get a new puppy quickly, particularly when we feel our guts have been ripped out by the loss of a treasured pet, we are FORCED to reach out to meet the needs of a new little animal, forced to react, forced to hug, feed, water, walk, and with that new bond, we start to heal. We’re still really sad, and will miss Bambi, of course, forever, but we don’t go deep inside ourselves – morose – shutting everything and everyone out.

We are hopeful that we will bring home a sister for Molly, our cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross. Molly is constantly looking for her brother Bambi, and there is no way to explain to her why he is no longer here. We’re hoping that a new addition to the family will give us all new focus, bringing us all closer to heal together while welcoming a new face.

I would adopt most ANY animal, if left to myself, ending up in the newspaper as the crazy woman on the hill who has a gazillion animals. My husband is a harder sell, and he will make the decision today. It’s his turn. I chose Smoke, our newest adoption, a cat who has added a lot of richness to the family. It’s his turn to NAME her, too. I gave him a list of names I had come up with to consider, but we’ll need to see her first, and then he’ll decide.

If we’re successful, I’ll post pics of our new fur baby later today.

Fingers crossed.

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Getting The Lard Off Progress (?) Report – May 12, 2017

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I have an impressive number of excuses for why I fell off the wagon on my efforts to get the lard off, but I’m happy to tell you I’m back in the saddle now and have re-lost some of my re-gained weight.

 

Life Lessons by AwePost

 

I’ve been on my ‘start-again’ regimen for about a week now and am finally seeing some progress.

I have been doing fine until dinner, and then my appetite is limitless. I’ve beem disgusted with myself.

I found something that is helping, both physically and as a support. It’s called, “Meta Appetite Control Dietary Supplement.” It’s made by the makers of Metamucil. It’s orange flavored and sugar free. It’s 11 grams carbohydrates with 6 grams fiber ( 5 grams usable carbs per serving. )

They suggest that you put two rounded teaspoons into 8 or more ounces of water and drink it with meals up to 3 times daily.  Just having it available is helping me. I’ve only had to make two servings during the week – once between a lunch and dinner, and once when I was up in the middle of the night ready to eat everything in sight. Otherwise, just seeing the can on the counter is motivation NOT to need it, if that makes any sense.

I’m hoping that getting my appetite under control again, plus getting back into my good exercising routine will get me on the road to good progress reports for you again.

I’ve been doing a lot of work in the yard lately, so I’m plenty ‘active,’ but I need to work in time for more regular exercise, as well.

My husband has surgery next week, but once that is over, I’ll try to get my days into more of a routine.

Much appreciation for your support!

Graphics

 

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off

Bambi

We just got home from the vet, having Sweet Bambi euthanized. He would have been 14 years old next month, so he had a good, long life. We referred to him as ‘the vicious pit bull,’ but he was one of the sweetest dogs we’ve ever known, getting along with Molly, our schnauzer/cocker spaniel cross; Abby, our fat cat we adopted from a newspaper ad years ago; and Smoke, our newest adoptee that we got from the vet. All three routinely insulted him by taking possession of one of the dog beds and daring him to try to share it.

 

At his peak, he was 95 lbs. He loved to go outside and explore on our 8 acres of land. He pranced, holding his tail up and wagging it like a metronome. My husband taught him to get his dish, and then to get Molly’s dish – putting each into my husband’s hand. Bambi and Molly sat together in the pantry after the food was put down, waiting for the “OK” signal to eat.

 

My husband said, “He gave no quarter, nor asked for it,” resulting in several trips to the vet for repair. He would flip his head, flapping his ears so hard that you could HEAR the crack of it. He burst a blood vessel in one that swelled up, requiring surgery. He then did it to the other ear.

I don’t know if it was this month of the ears repair, or another time when he was attacked by ‘whatever’ and we had to run him to the vet for emergency help, that he was declared ‘Patient of the Month.’

 

I’m very grateful that we have kind, caring vets (Dr. Singer and Dr. Martin) to give our pets whatever they need. Putting an animal to sleep is a very hard thing, but everyone made the procedure as bearable as possible.  The vet tech, Alisha, who helped Bambi when he had his emergency visit helping to control his bleeding until the vet arrived, was there today, right by Bambi’s side, holding his hand. Both she, and the vet, Dr. Martin, hugged me.

Bambi is now playing in Doggie Heaven. I hope he’s found our other pets who have gone before him. And I hope they all have enough room on the bed to rest together.

 

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Did IT!

 

This is our new-to-us riding mower. My husband put a different, more serious muffler on it, but it’s still really loud.

Since he is recovering from 1st-eye cataract surgery, we decided that “I” should handle the mowing and the weed whacking until further notice. (Or about the middle of June, I think).

We keep the mower in the shop. I asked my husband to show me again how to check that there is enough gas, the oil level,  plus which levers did what again, since this is not my strong suit. I was then able to put it into reverse, get it out of the shop, turn it around and start riding toward the yard. I got the blades going after determining grass cut height.

It took me a good hour, since I put the speed on the lowest available for quite awhile until I felt more comfortable. I also told my husband I would weed whack the outer edges of the ‘civilized’ area along our back yard because the mower really leaned and I wasn’t comfortable with that at all.

I got the front, side, and back area mowed, plus the area between the driveway and our trio of brick planters, plus the area between the driveway pad and the shop, drove it back into the shop and turned it of.. HOORAY!

I didn’t run into anything. I didn’t dump myself off with the mower on top of me. I started to feel more comfortable this time.

I’m drinking water and taking a break, but feeling empowered. After I cool down, I’ll get out the leaf blower and clean things up.

AllGraphics123/com

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement