Category Archives: Challenges

Good Goal and Reminder

Lettie De Winnaar – LinkedIn

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes



Am I excited about my new clothes washer? You’d better believe I am!!!!

Since Mother Nature fried a LOT of our stuff about 3 weeks ago, including our clothes washer,  I’ve been washing clothes in our kitchen sink. I almost looked online to see if I could find the old washing boards people used to use. Needless to say, we have a LOT of laundry that is waiting for attention.

The washer was delivered this morning by two really nice men. They had a big truck (but not a semi). They BACKED it up the driveway! Our driveway is steep. It is 650+ feet from the road to our house. And they managed to BACK the truck up to the top. The first thing I said was that I was so impressed with their driving.

They took the old washer and pedestal out. Then they told us that they couldn’t install the washer because we wanted to use the old pedestal.

SO – They brought the pedestal back inside, then brought the new washer in, and went over with my husband what we would need to do to install it.

We had to lay the new washer down on its side. (The big dog bed was right there, so that made a good cushion.) We then screwed the old pedestal onto the new washer with much gnashing of teeth and a few bad words. We then managed to stand up the washer on the old pedestal, then move it carefully toward the place it would live. My husband took the ‘moving bolt thingies” out of the back of the washer, attached the power cord and the water hoses. We jockeyed it back and forth a little at a time, until it was in the right place.

We threw in all the towels that were used in the getting-rid-of-the-old and installing-the-new, threw in some soap and turned it on. It actually has a special cycle for towels! It hummed a bit. We re-read the manual. We were supposed to HOLD the start button down longer. It hummed again. Then my husband said more bad words because he figured out he forgot to turn on the water.

We turned the machine off, jockeyed it out far enough so he could turn on the water, then jockeyed it back into place.

Finally we had to put the drawer back in the pedestal. (That screws into place on runners.) The inside of the drawer was disgraceful. (did I mention that I’m an awful housekeeper?) so I got a wet cloth, mopped it out, dried it and then put stuff back in. (I actually like the pedestals because of the height they add to the front loading washer and dryer, rather than because of any storage, so the drawer probably hadn’t been opened since we got the set in 2005….)

The washer is now running happily, about half way finished with the towels. I have about a hundred (more or less) loads left to do – gathered over the past three weeks – so guess what I’ll be doing over the next few days!

I am truly delighted to have a washer going again. I’ve become spoiled and I really missed it.

It will be GREAT when all is clean again!




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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

I Ain’t Dead Yet

via Jackie Lyons

I have to tell you I’m patting myself on the head right now. Why?

Usually technology does a great job of kicking me in the rear – to the point it’s difficult to sit at times. Today I received an email from the 16-year-old boy for whom we will serve as host parents for the next school year starting in August. He’s from Italy and he plays soccer. :0)

The email said he wanted to chat via Whatsapp and gave his number.

After panicking, I managed to find Whatsapp in the Apps Store on my phone and installed it. Then I tried to add Alessandro to my contacts there. No way, Jose’ over and over again. Finally, I emailed him asking if he could send me an invitation, since I wasn’t having any luck on this end. We juggled quite awhile and finally connected! We chatted awhile for the very first time. He sounds like a really nice guy and I’m looking forward to meeting him in person.

Meanwhile, I was able to assure him that Greenwood High School does, in fact, have a soccer team and that they would be happy to give him a chance to be on it. I think that was his most important concern.

I finally managed, after messing around with my regular contacts list on my computer, to edit his information correctly, so now we are truly connected. I made sure he knows that he can contact us any time with questions or concerns – and so – our adventure begins!

It’s good to know that I met the challenge and prevailed. I ain’t dead yet!


Filed under adventures, Challenges, Family

On the Way to Relocate Another Raccoon…


Last night we set the humane trap again, having been cleaned completely out of sunflower seeds for several days in a row that are SUPPOSED to be shared by birds, squirrels, AND an occasional raccoon. This morning a BIG one, maybe the daddy of the pack, was in the trap, calmly waiting for us.

As we always try to do – unless the raccoon is hissing and spitting and trying to bite us – we fed our animals and then put the trap in the back of the truck. We travel about 5 miles away from the house and let them go in a small creek that runs under the road.  I like to think they all meet again to enjoy the rest of their lives together.

This morning the trip to relocate the raccoon was a bit more eventful than usual.

On the way out to the little creek we saw three deer beside the road. They were on my husband’s side of the car, but I think they were close enough he could have reached out and touched one of them as we slowly went by.

Alice McDowell

Further down the twisty, turn-y road there was a bull in the middle of it!


We slowed and watched him as he gradually moved a bit to one side. We went VERY slowly around him. He didn’t move a muscle. I don’t know about my husband, but “I” was holding my breath.

Further down was one cow, munching grass right beside the road.

Motion Array

Finally, another raccoon raced across the road in front of our truck.


We let our raccoon out. He went right out of the trap and down into the creek. (It MAY be that he’s been through this before?)

We came home, hosed off the porch, and will re-bait the trap tonight to see if there are more.


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Filed under Challenges, Arkansas, adventures

In My NEXT Life…

I have promised my husband that in my next life, I will do everything I can to be –



STRONG AND MUSCULAR – so I can help haul things more easily.


A PHYSICS EXPERT – so I can grasp what we’re trying to do more easily –


TALLER – so I don’t have to stand on a ladder to reach everything!

He kindly says he loves me just the way I am – but tell that to me when I’m red-faced, sweating, plus huffing and puffing after helping him bring the new TV out of the truck,

  • through the garage,
  • up the steps,
  • through the gate into the dining area,
  • through the gate into the living room,
  • and across the floor to where we could set it down.
  • THEN we had to fight it out of the boxes,
  • stand it up after attaching the legs,
  • lift it up to put on the new support in front of the entertainment center,
  • and attach all the cords and wires and nylon ropes to keep it from falling….

We did it, and he’s working with adding updates and programming so we might be able to watch TV for the first time in three weeks or so since we were hit by lightning!

If we can get it working properly, it’ll be a really nice gift for the 4th of July.

THEN we can worry about whether the DVR,  DVD player, and movie storage system are still working….


Filed under Challenges, Mother Nature

Can You Say, “YO-YO?”


Our Internet is driving me nuts!

I can be typing along, concentrating on what I’m writing and then WHAM – no Internet!  Then we play unplug the modem, plug it in again, reboot my computer – over and over again until – HOORAY! – It’s up again!

This morning it’s been down more than it’s been up. I finally gave up and vacuumed the 1st floor tiled areas – pantry, kitchen, dining area, two half baths, utility room and foyer area. THAT’S how frustrated I was. UGH.

I have become so spoiled. I WANT to be able to rely on having access, like running water. Of course, from time to time we don’t have THAT, either, when the gremlins are active around here….

So, I’m trying to type as fast as I can, getting my thoughts out as best I can, before the Internet silences me once again.

Do you think it’s trying to send me a message?


Filed under Challenges

To Do or Not To Do…


I have a to-do list as long – or longer – than my arm today. I know I can handle the one above. :0)  The jury is still out on my own….

Have a wonderful day!

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Filed under Challenges

Adjusting our Body Clocks

I told you recently that my husband and I signed up to be host parents for a 16-year-old boy from Italy this school year.

Alessandro will arrive August 6th. School starts August 13th.

We have been setting our alarm clock for 8am – feeling virtuous that we then get up to let our doggies out for their morning run. If we didn’t do this, we tend to stay up ’til all hours, sleep fitfully many nights, would sleep in to try to catch up, making our poor doggies wait.

Since our day will start at 6am for the school year, we are proactively trying to reset our body clocks so we won’t be complete zombies, unable to function.

Today we started getting up at 7am. The sun was up, so it was easier than I thought it would be. I didn’t say anything to my husband about what I was doing last night – resetting the alarm – and he either didn’t notice, or didn’t say anything. It’ll be interesting to see when he realizes. :0)

Starting the last day of July, I’ll set the alarm for 6am. I don’t even know if the sun will be up then. That will be harder if it is also still asleep. Hopefully, by the 6th, we’ll be more used to getting up. By the 13th, the first day of school, I hope the 3 of us will be handling it well.

So far, we got up and got the grocery shopping out of the way early. I have an hour more to try to get my to-do list done – unless I end up asleep in my chair…


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Family

Adaptation Run Amok

Sony Pictures Entertainment

“Adaptation” – a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

I told you that we had a bad storm and lightning or the power going on and off repeatedly combined with a circuit breaker tripping resulted in LOTS of electronics being hurt or killed. Suddenly, we had no computers, no Internet, no TV, no way to play movies….. a real culture shock and character-building exercise.

When I finally realized there was nothing more to be done about the problem, I decided to go out and work in my garden. (My stupidity on setting up the irrigation system for it resulted in NO water being sent out there, other than Mother Nature’s largesse and the plants were suddenly suffering.) There was lots of dead stuff that needed to be pruned, weeds to be removed, etc. I took my gardening stuff out there and got started, pleased that I was adapting to our new situation.

Suddenly the wind came up and the skies turned dark. The tree branches were becoming more and more active. My hat blew off and I had to chase it. The rain came down in a WHOOSH! – Mother Nature laughed at me – soaking me before I could gather my stuff and head for the house.

By the time I got to the house, I was dripping. My husband took one look at me and laughed. I was really steamed. I had TRIED to adapt to our situation, opting to be productive in the  garden since we couldn’t get onto computers, watch TV, etc., and I was standing in the utility room, dripping for my efforts. :0(   (I have since cleaned up the garden. I’ll try to post pictures tomorrow.)

I have read four books in the past two days – one by Renae Christine listing 150 suppliers of stuff for handmade products; a book by an author new to me who writes kind of like JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series, the last book in the Traveling Pants series, and a much-loved re-read of a Nora Roberts book.

I have a new Keto recipe to try tonight from the Simply Keto book – actually TWO recipes – one for Keto Honey Mustard and the other for Keto breaded chicken tenders. We’ll try these tonight and I’ll report on this and one other recipe I tried recently that’s a winner.

Latest update on our really annoying electronics problems is that the new TV should be ready for pick up Friday or Saturday.  When we get it hooked up, we should be able to tell if any other things in the entertainment center were affected. Fingers crossed that all else is okay.

My husband has continued to work with his computer after getting the new network card in mine and getting the new modem and 24-port switch installed. He has decided that we do NOT have to drive to Tulsa tomorrow for an appointment with the Microsoft people. He’ll work with it some more, test it when we have the new TV up and running, and then decide if we need to do something further.

THAT leaves our clothes washer, which decided to throw a fit today at the end of the first load. It sounded like a jet was trying to land in our living room. I ran in and shut things down. My husband will download the PDF of the manual that goes with our washer and dryer and see if he can figure out why the spin cycle has lost its mind, whether we need parts, or WHAT.

All of this from ONE storm…..

We are doubly thankful that more wasn’t affected. We are also grateful that we can sit in a dry home reading good books while we repair or replace the things we lost.


Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Mother Nature

We’re Back!


We had a bad storm a few days ago. The power was going off – our generator came on – the regular power came on — over and over and over again in quick succession. After we went to bed this continued. I had to reset our alarm clock and restart the fan at least 6 or 7 times.

We got up to find no power in our office. All the on and off again had finally caused a circuit breaker to trip, so when we moved that back into position, we thought we were okay. NOT SO!

The short version of the story is that the network card in my computer gave up the ghost. Our modem was dead. Our 24-port switch that controls everything was gone. Our TV was gone.  I finally got a few things added to my phone – something I basically use for emergencies, so that I could communicate at least a little. No computers, no TV, no movies. I was able to order replacement stuff mostly.  We got a new modem on the way via our regular phone.

We kept finding ourselves trying to go look something up in the office and were reminded that we couldn’t do that anymore.  It’s a good thing we love to read.

This morning we received the new network card and the 24-port switch. We ran errands quickly because we wanted to be home to receive the modem. We got that before noon. My husband worked and worked, and then I worked and worked and we are finally back up on our computers have have Internet again!

Our TV should be ready for pick up Friday or Saturday.

We’re still not sure whether we were hit by lightning or the rapid on and off of the power did us in.

It’s a real culture shock to find out how dependent we are on computers and Internet. And devices. And how spoiled we are.

I couldn’t write on my blog, and that’s the thing I missed the most. I also couldn’t continue work on my new Etsy store. I was pleased that I could add email and Hangouts to my phone so I could let people know what happened.

I’m more than delighted to be able to write to you again!  Forgive my delayed replies to your comments, please.

This has been one of life’s character-building exercises, for sure.

NOW we concentrate on why the spin cycle is causing problems on the clothes washer, and find out if anything else related to the TV is gone, too….



Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises

Getting the Lard Off – Hopefully

World Of Female

Yesterday I officially started the Keto eating plan, hoping to continue to lose the lard, but also figuring that this plan will be much more flexible with our foreign exchange student, Alessandro, a 16-year-old soccer playing student from Italy. He joins us for 10 months starting in August, and I want to be well into our new good habits by then.

I’m using a wonderful book called, “Keto After 50” by James Wilson. Since “50” sounds young to ME, I like this approach which is modified for older people. I’ve been reading a ton on the net, too, since one of my concerns will be high fat – to be processed by this older body with no gallbladder. Happily, I found that I can take a couple of supplements that will help with this.

My husband is a Type II diabetic (although he only admits to having a ‘sugar problem’) It’s super important to me that I keep him on an even keel. He is almost to his weight goal now (within 10 pounds – HOOORAAAAY!) while his WIFE continues to battle the lard. :0)

At this point I’ve lost 43 pounds and almost 48 inches.  I want to lose another 30 to 35 pounds and then stay there, with good eating and exercise habits.

We started on Nutrisystem, but then decided that we have learned 1) what we were doing wrong, and 2) how we’re supposed to be cooking and eating. We are almost doing the Keto program already, having stopped (mostly) eating bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, and salt. We splurge every once in a while, but that’s a quality of life thing for us.

I’m ordering supplements and gathering good recipes. I’m trying to reorganize our pantry – AGAIN – both to plan for the new eating system AND to make room for a lot more cooking than I’ve done in awhile. (It’ll be a real culture shock for us to feed a 16-year-old athlete – and from ITALY!)

Since I’m working in the yard and/or the garden almost daily, I’m going to TRY for more formal exercise three times a week. I’ll stick with my elliptical trainer, my yoga for ‘older’ women, and either the walking video or the dance video each week.

I told you I started this yesterday. The scale showed me down 1.2 pounds this morning, so I’m encouraged at this point – knowing that my weight loss will slow with time. I’m concentrating on doing the first two weeks – eating 20 grams of carbohydrates or less per day.

Wish me luck?

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise



I’ve told you before that when my husband wanted us to be a host family this year, I agreed. We have been notified that we are accepted to receive Alessandro, a 16-year-old boy from Italy for the coming school year. All we know at this point is that he is quite the soccer player, has pets at home, and sounds really nice.  He will be here August 6th and will stay with us 10 months.

Since we’re a bit long-in-the-tooth and set in our ways, we’re looking for things we need to change in order to be the best host parents possible.

Of COURSE we plan to encourage him to be active in as many things involving school as possible. Classes, sports, clubs, new friends, outings, etc. We will encourage him to bring friends home or spend time at their houses. We’ll look for fun things to do and places to go. WE will also try to be as active in his life as we can – a real change for us. :0)

  • Since we’re retired, we’ve gotten into the habit of setting our alarm for 8 a.m. each morning, mainly doing THAT because we have pets depending on us to let them out, feed them, etc. It’s also nice to be up in case the mailman drives up our driveway because something is too large for our box, or we get a delivery from Fedex or UPS. But we realize that this won’t cut it for our new roles as host parents.

We have decided that we’ll be decadent and slothful until July 1st, at which point we’ll start setting the alarm for 7 a.m. August 1st we’ll start setting it for 6 a.m.  Alessandro will be here on August 6th and school starts on August 13th, so we should be ready – with our Circadian Rhythms in sync, hopefully.

  • We’ve been eating ‘weirdly’ compared to what a 16-year-old boy from Italy may expect. We’ll check with him, of course, to find out what he normally eats, favorite foods, and do some adapting. In the meantime, we’re going to change to the Keto-After-50 eating plan – a modified version of the regular Keto plan, designed to be easier on old folks. We’ve basically been eating a lot like this already, but have been having only salad in the evening, or splurging and having chicken and soup over rice – a big no-no on ANY smart eating plan….

We’ve also been eating only poultry and fish, and we’ll expand that to include beef and pork again, but use Keto recipes. I can also cook pasta for Alessandro (and probably my husband, who refuses to eat alternatives) but “I” will try zucchini noodles or cauli-rice with my portion. (The only concern I’ve found is that I need to do a bit extra on supplements to help me handle the higher fats without a gallbladder.)

I’m sure we’ll add a whole bunch of other changes to our list as we get closer to the time Alessandro arrives, but I think we have a good attitude and are starting to adapt. (I’m checking to make sure soccer and basketballs are aired up, badminton set is intact, board games are available, checking our sports channels on TV….. )

I’m happy to hear my husband thinking about what we need to do. He seems energized by the changes we’re making, thinking about things we can do to make our ‘temporary son’ (or grandson) feel welcome and happy.





Filed under adventures, Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises

Stunt Woman

Doug Powell via email from Marsha Koenig

I went outside to clear my overloaded brain and check on the veggie garden.  I heard Amber (our 94-pound lab PUPPY) barking behind me, somewhere over by the greenhouse. I continued on toward the garden and all of a sudden, she bounded out of the shop and was running toward me a breakneck speed!

I averted getting knocked down flat on my back by making a quick turn and running toward a tree. She skimmed past me, then turned on a dime and tried to jump up on me, tongue lolling as she laughed.

I yelled, “DOWN!” To my amazement, she did it!  This is probably a fluke that will never happen again, but I feel empowered right now. :0)

(By the way, the veggies are doing fine.)


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family, Funny Signs - Humor



My poor brain is overflowing with good suggestions for how to make my new Etsy shop better.  I’m feeling totally overwhelmed right now, not knowing which way to jump.

I’m going to go do something else from my ever-growing to-do list and then come back and choose ONE thing to do in my shop.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Dreams, empowerment, learning new things

What To Do When Internet Service is Out…

Today’s Parent

We HOPE we have reached the end of over two full days of NO Internet service. Granted, our weather has been bad off and on, but the last couple of days have been relatively nice. There seemed to be no reason for the outage. Of COURSE, it was on the weekend – starting Friday evening – outside of regular working hours.

My husband talked with a tech a couple of nights ago, who confirmed there was an outage in our area. He said they were working on it, and should have it fixed by yesterday morning at 10 a.m. He told us to call if we still had problems. I called yesterday after 10 a.m. and they told me the outage had been fixed.

I CALMLY said that was lovely, but we still didn’t have service. Finally, after many “put-on-holds-and-thank-you-for-the-patience-that-had-long-since-been-used-up” sessions, they confirmed that there was still an outage affecting where WE lived. Duh. They said they were working on it…

I had been trying to watch a webinar for the full two days. It was concerning my new Etsy store, and what I should do to give it the best possible chance of success – something I really wanted to watch and hear. My frustration level was through the roof.

I used the time we didn’t have Internet to finish inventorying the supplies I had for filling orders. I also reorganized what I had so I could put my hands on things quickly.

This is my newly-cleaned-off-thanks-to-the-outage drafting table.


This are my note cards and stationery supplies shelves.

A close-up of the labels so that I don’t have to approach the shelves with a ruler each time. :0)


Combination freebies-to-be-included in orders and wrapping station.


I was FINALLY able to watch the hour long webinar at 1o:00 last night. :0)

Now that we have Internet service again  – HOOOOOO-RAAAAAAAAAY! – I’ll concentrate on trying to implement one of the many great suggestions my expert, Renae Christine, had.



Filed under Challenges, Organizing/DeCluttering

What – No Raccoons?

We trapped two raccoons – one each night, and relocated them about 5 or 6 miles away from us – both in the same creek so they could hopefully find each other and enjoy their lives elsewhere.

Now it has been two days with NO raccoons. The humane trap is set – with Ritz crackers and peanut butter – door open – but was empty again today.

We don’t know if we got all the raccoons that have been eating all of our birdseed and then trashing the feeders, grill covers, and the cup of the trap – or if they are playing a sly game with us, lulling us into complacency once again, only to return in force in a bit when our guard is down.

Our dogs have quit freaking out every time we take them out. Amber, our 94-pound yellow lab PUPPY, has finally quit barking at the empty trap, and no longer is afraid of going up on the deck.

Molly, our sweet, elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, followed Amber’s lead and barked like a nut when they went out for their last outing of the night.

We have to admit that we don’t miss having to put the trap full of raccoon into the bed of the truck and driving way out into the country behind our house to relocate yet another critter first thing in the morning….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges

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.


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!



Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

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 –

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

Good News – Bad News

I already told you that two of the fourteen planters we built around the yard collapsed. We’ve been trying to get bricklayers to come and give us estimates on rebuilding them for us. We have the brick already, waiting on a pallet. We already have concrete bases ready to receive the brick.

GOOD NEWS – Today I finally got a call. Because of all the rain we’ve been getting, one of the guys we’ve been trying to reach called and got directions to come give us an estimate!

BAD NEWS –  The bricklayer was really nice. He even put up with Amber greeting him when he opened the truck door, covering him with kisses. I finally got her into the house and we looked at things. His estimate for the job was $700. That’s too steep for us, particularly since we’ve already had to buy the bricks.

SO – when the monsoon is finally over and it looks like we’ll have several dry days in a row, we’ll go to the local hardware store and buy umpteen bags of Qwik-Crete and will rebuild the planters ourselves. Even though we don’t know what we’re doing, the other 12 planters we built some 30 years ago lasted, so maybe we’ll do well enough again.

I’m excited about getting them functional again and deciding what we’ll plant…

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Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Wonderful Day

Ecuen Images

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.

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Gardening, greenhouse, Lewis projects



Feeling a bit overwhelmed lately with a longer and longer to-do list no matter how many things I manage to remove. It seems as if every direction I look has things saying, “Fix me next!”

I just moved heavy coats from our utility room hooks area to the front hall closet, since it had no space available and I was having to dig or move things to find what I was looking for, so I feel good that is done. But on the way to the utility room, I saw little wisps of dog/cat hair moving along with the breeze on the tiled area. And the poor fishes’ water is cloudy again, and the table by my chair in the living room is piled up….

So – I’m doing a bit here – which I truly love – and then going and doing something else on the list before I allow myself to return here.  This way I’m having some fun between chores.

How do you handle too-long to-do lists?

Brian Tracy –



Filed under Attitude, Challenges

Patting Myself on the Head – Just a Bit

“Cardinal Taking a Bow” – by Norma Wilson

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?

clipart library

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Changes

The Long and Short of It

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

The short answer is 43 pounds lost and 44.2 inches lost to date, since my ‘heaviest and lardiest.’

The longer answer is we’re trying to take care of ourselves, now that my husband and I are getting ‘long-in-the-tooth’ and would like to maintain or increase our quality of life for as long as we can, enjoying our lives to the fullest.

Since we both have health issues, my husband gave up added sugar and I gave up added salt. We are limiting our red beef, concentrating more on chicken and fish, veggies, fruit, and nuts. We’re both trying to drink more water. I’m trying to exercise. My husband said, “Now that I turned 75, I don’t HAVE to worry about exercising.” – as if he ever has. I am exercising more than I ever have, with the exception of when I was teaching swimming every summer and working in a restaurant part-time to help pay my way through college.  I continue to encourage him to exercise.

I’m concentrating on stretching, balance, core strength, and reaction time. Basically just trying to consciously move more. I’m doing a combination of yoga, abdominal exercises, walking, elliptical trainer, dance, and Wii Fit Plus each week. Sometimes I’m successful and get it all in, sometimes not. I’m trying to pat myself on the head (and give myself a gold star on my desk calendar) when I do well and not beat myself up when I don’t.

The same on eating. My husband is almost where he needs to be on weight. I still have a lot to lose to get to my goal of being in the healthy range on BMI and insurance charts. We’ve been on Nutrisystem, but are on hiatus now, trying to eat our way through the remaining food while not having more sent. In May we’ll probably change to A LA CARTE. We are doing our own thing a lot of the day and are needing the packaged stuff less and less. I’m substituting healthy recipes we really like for the entrees.

We’re giving ourselves permission to eat out when the mood strikes – a quality of life issue for us. Last night we ate dinner at The Dari, one of the new restaurants in Greenwood, Arkansas. Last night we got a seafood platter and two plates. This gave each of us plenty of food without overeating. We enjoyed our splurge/treat without breaking our diet. I made it a point to ask at the front counter who was responsible for the seafood. Several of the cooks raised their hands. I gave them a two-thumbs up, a big grin, and told them they were WONDERFUL.

I have to get a blood test on the 18th of March to see if I’ve improved in a couple of areas. Fingers crossed.



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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Are YOU also older than Dirt?, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

A Friendly Dog

This is Amber, a 94-pound yellow lab ‘puppy’ who will be 2-years-old March 7th.  We were told that labs are puppies until they are two years old. I think this may have been a vast understatement.

Amber is a very sweet, affectionate dog. She regularly comes to me or my husband while we are in our recliners in the living room, putting her head down at our feet and doing a somersault so we’ll laugh and rub her tummy.  She has her foibles, such as continuing to take ONE piece of trash out of the can beside my chair. Only one – I think just to show us she knows she is not supposed to do it, but wants to anyway. She regularly checks in the pantry to see if Molly’s bowl is still on the floor to lick. It never is, but she still checks every morning and every evening, like clockwork. She regularly reminds us WHY we spent the money and went to the work of putting up doggie gates that she can’t open in almost every doorway on the first floor.

She is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. She LOVES going in the car – anywhere – anytime – and never knows a stranger.

For example, we had three errands to run this morning. It took me a bit of time in the post office, and my husband said that SEVERAL people had come over to the truck to say “Hi” to her and pet her. She LOVES it. When I was in the drug store, the people inside with me could hear her crying. I told them she wanted to come in and see everyone. My husband said that everyone who came out came over and talked to her. I got into the truck and the pharmacist came out, saying she HAD to meet the dog! Amber leaned as far out of the car as she possibly could, covering the sweet lady with kisses.  She went back into the drug store, laughing, to wash her face. :0)

We have worked really hard to train Amber. She is so big and she has no clue that she is able to mow you down while you’re standing there, or that she can hurt you in any way. She minds really well when we’re home, inside the house. When someone comes over, though, all bets are off. She has never met us before and becomes ‘deaf’ ignoring our commands, just like a kid when you HOPE they’ll behave when company comes….

She is a challenge – particularly since we’re long in the tooth around here – but a joy.

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Jacob Dingel –

I put our 94-pound yellow lab puppy, Amber, out right before we were going to go to bed, about 11:30 last night.

When I let her in, she didn’t come in alone! She had been skunked! She was all upset, spitting and swallowing, and simply reeking!  And it was COLD and dark outside, so we couldn’t take her back outside to hose her off.

We took her upstairs to our tub. My husband JUST missed being pulled into the tub with Amber. (She is really strong and has little concern over the frailties of her humans.) He managed to run warm water in the tub while I mixed up our deskunking stuff: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Dawn dishwashing liquid. I grabbed a plastic pan we use when we’re sick and poured a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide in it, then dumped in what was left in a box of baking soda and then squirted some dishwashing liquid in.

I ran out into the hall for washcloths. We got as much of this stuff as we could on the areas that needed it most – the side of her face, her left chest and her muzzle. Then I poured what was left over her head as my husband shielded her eyes.

Then we spent a LONG time trying to get her rinsed. I rushed back out into the hall to grab two large bath sheets. Two of them were just enough to get her dry enough to go back downstairs with my husband while I tried to mop up the bathtub area.

When I got back downstairs, we both stripped – putting our clothes right into the washing machine, since now WE were skunked, too, then took long showers trying to get the smell off. Febreeze is no match for skunk!

We thought we had done as well as we could to get the smell off. Just in case, I took several clothes pins to distribute to our friends at Lunch Bunch, plus the two long-time good buddy waitresses who bring us our food. Everyone got a laugh out of us and our story of washing the dog at midnight.

I’ve done three loads of wash trying to get things back under control today.

Amber seems to be her normal, doofus puppy self today, smiling and laughing her way through the day.

Tonight we will take the dogs out on a leash one at a time. My husband will be armed with a 22 just in case the skunk has decided to make a return visit.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family, Funny Signs - Humor

Decisions on Trying to Lose the Lard

My husband and I have been on Nutrisystem since April of 2018. We have each lost about 30 pounds.

My husband would like to lose another 10 pounds, but basically he is already at a healthy weight. He is a Type II diabetic, so we’ve been trying to really watch the sugar. He has brought his A1C down from a high of over 16 to 5.4 in January. We monitor his blood sugar twice a week.

I have another 30 pounds to lose. I’m doing this very slowly. Apparently being old, short, and female is a triple whammy as far as speed in losing weight. I’m not in this, though, to lose a certain amount of weight in as short a time as possible. I’m trying to get to a healthy weight for my height (though I’ve tried to GROW TALLER so I don’t need to lose as much weight). I want to keep the weight off.

We are narrowing the foods we enjoy via Nutrisystem (NS). I think this is healthy, because part of the program is learning to cook in a healthy fashion for yourself. We are doing this more and more, learning things to avoid, good things we can ‘throw into the pot’ to increase nutrition, and most of all, portion control. Apparently each of us was ‘eating-for-6-or-8’ so it was quite a shock to learn what is considered a ‘serving.’

To this end, we’re on hiatus from the monthly deliveries of NS food. We’re eating our way through the remaining food. We’ll probably switch to the A LA CARTE membership in May, so we can order the few things we really like and be on our own for the rest. We’re eating a lot of raw veggies and salads, cooked veggies, fruit, nuts, poultry and fish.

We are also following advice from the doctor who wrote “The Longevity Code.” Eating little or no red meat, switching to chicken and fish, eating more veggies, no white stuff (rice, pasta, potatoes, wheat flour.) We’re taking some supplements we didn’t know about, as well.

I’m finding more and more healthy recipes we like on the net. The newest thing I’m trying today is “Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili” from

We’re combining the best advice from many sources to come up with something we can stick with – and enjoy – for the rest of our lives.

Other than trying to eat in a reasonable, adult fashion, I’m trying to exercise.

Bored Panda

The big thing I’m trying to do is get my poor, old body to NOTICE that I’m doing a good variety of things:

  • elliptical trainer
  • yoga and abdominal exercises
  • walking video
  • Wii Fit Plus (for balance and reaction time)
  • dance video

I’m also carrying an ‘el cheapo’ pedometer in my pocket as a reminder to get up and move more.  I do something here at the computer, then get up and handle another part of the laundry, then something else, and then come back later to a sitting thing, either here or in my art room. Then I get up again and do the same cycle over again all through the day. The result is a much better number of steps than I used to get, though I haven’t even begun to THINK about getting to 10,000 steps and over, as my SIL does…. :0)  (yeah. I’m bragging about YOU, ML.)

Good results so far are a loss of 30 pounds and a bit more than 30 inches. I feel more energetic and my body FEELS looser, more able to get up and down. (it used to be that the biggest part of the exercise was trying to get myself up off the floor before having to call for a crane to come help.) I am more flexible with less pain in my joints. I’m more optimistic about trying new exercises. I’ll never be what I call an exercising NUT – in that I have to use all kinds of incentives to actually DO it, such as a gold star for the day on my desk calendar, but I AM happy about the improvements I’m feeling.

The biggest remaining factor – other than the 30 more pounds I would like to lose, is that for some unknown reason, my last blood test showed higher blood sugar and a too-high dosage on my thyroid med. (I had Graves Disease and my thyroid was killed by radiation several years ago.) I have no idea why the blood test showed these new results, but I’m trying a new dosage of meds and I’m monitoring MY blood sugar twice a week when I check my husband’s for six weeks.

I have another appt with another blood test in 6 weeks. Hopefully, that test will show a lot of improvement in my blood sugar and a brain happy with my dosage of thyroid hormone. Wish me luck!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, The Longevity Code - Dr. Kris Verburgh

Whine and Cheese

Baby Center

This day started out really nicely – with a wonderful massage by Lynn Moody, the best massage therapist on the planet.

My day deteriorated once I got home, though. My husband and I both got messages on our phone AND our computers that we had exceeded our data allowance and were being charged extra for the month for our phones.

I immediately felt guilty, since we got an iPhone 8 for me this month and I’ve been looking at it, playing with it, and trying to figure it out. I couldn’t figure out how to turn OFF the things at which I looked. Lynn helped me with this this morning, showing me how to tap the home button twice to pull up what was still active and then to swipe each one up to the top of the phone to turn it off.

What I found out, though, was that the usage problem was caused by my husband’s phone. (He still has an android and almost never uses his phone. We got it solely so that when we’re not together, we can call each other, if needed.) The lady who waited on us in the local AT&T office was more interested in her long, black, pointed fingernails than in our problem. She said, “Call Customer Service.”

I got online and talked to a chat person who was very nice, but unable to help with the extra charge or the reason behind the problem. I then got another cup of coffee and called customer service. I got a very nice man who was unable to determine what the problem was on my husband’s phone, but DID arrange for a credit for the surcharge for going over our data limit. He then passed me on to the Tech “Big Guys.’

The “Big Guy” turned out to be named Mary. When I told her that my husband’s phone was android and said, “4G LTE” at the top of the home page, she directed me to settings/mobile network. We discovered the button was in the ‘on’ position and was charging us even when the phone was not in use. There was a peak in usage yesterday from 3pm to 6pm, but we have no clue why that was. We turned the button to the ‘off’ position and we think the problem is solved.

The mystery remains. The phone sits on a shelf plugged into the charger. I have to remind my husband if he leaves without me to take his phone. He gets a lot of calls, all of which are wrong numbers. He doesn’t call or message anyone using that phone unless he is trying to talk with a tech about a computer problem – something that happens maybe once a year.

Fingers crossed the problem is solved. We seem to be out from under the extra charges and we think (hope) whatever caused it is fixed. My husband was ready to blast everyone and is very appreciative that I spent so much time, effort, and patience to get things solved.

I now know how to check our usage online. I now know how to make sure the mobile network button is off.  I feel as if I have earned my salt for the day.

The only problem is that all my get-up-and-go got up and left…..


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David Clasivin (I’m having trouble reading the signature at the bottom of the photo) via Jeff Jett – LinkedIn


Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

I love how raccoons LOOK. I DON’T like how they behave – at least not on our property.

We live on top of a ridge line on about 8 acres outside the town of Greenwood, Arkansas. We love the little world we’ve created, pretending we own all the land we can see. :0)

Almost every summer we have raccoons visiting. I would LIKE to say we enjoy this, but it’s a big pain. They won’t just be content sharing the sunflower seeds we put out for the birds on the deck. They eat ALL the seeds, making a mess, and then destroy the feeders!

Every year we go through the same thing – hoping that this year it will be different and we can all co-exist happily. We end up putting out our humane animal trap, baited with a cup of apple and peanut butter at the back of the trap. The raccoon eats all the seeds, destroys at least one – if not all – of the feeders, and then goes into the trap for the bait.

If our neighbors understood that WE are the ones relocating the raccoons out about 5 miles from us, onto their land for another chance at life, they would probably be quite hostile. We find a nice creek by the side of the road and then my husband opens the trap and lets the raccoon out.

Usually, if we have ONE, we have a whole family. We relocate them one by one, hoping that we’ve driven out far enough they won’t find their way back.

This past summer was quiet – quite a surprise. I was reminded of this when I saw these wonderful photos posted by Jeff Jett.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges


Medical News Today

When our son was home visiting from Thailand over the holidays, he talked about how much meditation has helped him.  He had started practicing it by himself, then went to a monastery in Chiang Mai for two weeks. He’s been practicing daily ever since, feeling much more calm, in control of his thoughts, reactions, and emotions, and feeling content.

Tonight (our time) he’ll start his newest adventure – spending time learning to meditate from a master in a monastery in Siddharthanagar, Nepal. He had to fill out a lot of forms and answer many questions to be accepted for a 3-week stay. This time can be extended with the permission of his teacher. He hopes to stay two months.

He’ll eat breakfast at 5 a.m., then meditate until lunch. After lunch (the last meal of the day) he’ll meditate until bedtime – a total of 14 hours every day. He’ll be interviewed by his teacher or a nun there daily, 6 days each week so they can keep track of how things are going, what he’s gaining, what he needs to focus more on, etc. He’ll do sitting and walking meditation.

During this time, in respect for the monastery, the school, and the concentration on this opportunity to learn, he’ll be incommunicado – OUR character-building part of his adventure. This will end, if all goes as he hopes, around the end of March.

I hope he gains what he hopes to during this two-month period. I already felt that he was calmer, more outgoing, more accepting of everything while he was home. I’m really proud of the kind, caring man he is. It’s fascinating to talk with him, learning what he thinks of life, priorities, goals, and more. He already can look at a situation with more depth than his parents, seeing it in a whole different light than we. I’ll be so interested to hear what he has learned and felt during this latest adventure.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, empowerment, Encouragement, quality of life


Jacob Dingel –


The first indication we got last night was Amber suddenly standing up – fur standing up on the back of her neck and her butt – agitated and whining, demanding to go out. We have learned the hard way NOT to let her out at times like this.

We penned Amber up behind a dog gate and went out to the garage to investigate. We never SAW him, but it was obvious that a skunk had either been in the garage or had been close by. The garage REEKED.

Happily, both doggies and one cat were inside. Smoke, our 2nd cat, apparently only walked through the odor, not having gotten skunked directly. Her dose wasn’t even bad enough we had to try to bathe her.  I’m really happy because she would have expressed her intense displeasure by ripping us to shreds while we tried to apply the fix.

(We use a recipe of hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish washing liquid to bathe our animals when they’ve been skunked. It works better than the standard tomato juice suggestion, and well enough that we can allow the treated and then bathed animals back into the house.)

We took the doggies out for their final outing separately – each on a leash – to make sure we had control of them.

This morning you can still smell skunk in the garage, but we have the garage door open and expect most of the odor to be gone by the time we close up for the night tonight.

I have no clue what we would have to do to try to get the smell out if the skunk had given the garage a serious dose…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges


Can Stock Photo

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.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Cause for Celebration, Challenges