Category Archives: Challenges

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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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes

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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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

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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Filed under Amazing Animals, Bright Ideas, Challenges, Changes, Family

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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Filed under Challenges, Changes

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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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Changes, Family

Fingers Crossed

123RF.com

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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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Family

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

YouTube

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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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Changes, Family

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.

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Storms in Arkansas

“MAJOR FLASH FLOODING IS OCCURRING ACROSS NORTHWEST ARKANSAS WITH ADDITIONAL RAIN LIKELY ALL AFTERNOON. THE ELK RIVER, ILLINOIS RIVER, & WHITE RIVER ARE NEAR OR APPROACHING RECORD FLOOD STAGE. WATER RESCUES ARE UNDERWAY. ALL BRIDGES IN BENTON COUNTY HAVE BEEN CLOSED. ” -GARRETT 

Benton County, NW Arkansas – April 30, 2017

Northwest Arkansas has gotten the brunt of the latest series of storms since Friday, with over 6 inches of rain. “More than 70 percent of roads, and 90 percent of bridges across unincorporated Benton County are closed, ” and Benton County has been declared a disaster area.” They have had to do water rescues.

I’m grateful that we live in Sebastian County (west central Arkansas) and I think that most of our county has come through this barrage of storms well.  My heart goes out to those in the whole Northwest Arkansas area. The rain has mostly stopped, but there will be more damage as the rivers crest, and that might be next week, with a domino effect as the  water travels down throughout the state.

 

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Lesson Learned (Well, Almost)

Zen to Zany

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The Surgery is WHEN?

I had cataracts removed in September or so of 2012.  I really lucked out on the timing. By the time I had it, the procedure is so routine it isn’t a big deal anymore, either with the surgery or the recovery. When I had mine done, I hadn’t realized that I was blind in my left eye from a completely opaque cataract! I thought I just needed new glasses. The eye exam was a real eye opener (if you’ll pardon the expression.) I couldn’t see ANYTHING when my right eye was covered. I’m still amazed that my brain adapted to that so well. I had no problems with the surgery or the recovery, and my husband took great care of me.

Now it’s my husband’s turn. His first surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2nd, at 6:45 a.m.  I start putting drops in his right eye four times a day tomorrow.

One of the many perks of retirement is not having to get up at a particular time. It’s a life saver that we can get sleep when we can get it, since we both seem to end up downstairs reading at all hours, rather than getting the sleep we would like.

In order to be in Fort Smith at the hospital at 6:45, we’ll need to leave the house at 6 a.m. at the LATEST. That means we’ll have to get up at 5 a.m. to get showered and dressed and the animals taken care of before we leave.

I kidded the nice lady who called with our time of surgery, asking if they provided cots so we could go on Monday night and sleep there – but it really sounds like a good thing to me. Alas, my hopes were dashed.

Hopefully my husband will do very well with the first surgery. We go back Wednesday morning to see the surgeon so he can see how my husband’s eye is doing and (we hope) schedule the second eye to be done in two weeks.

My husband has always had super good vision, so the blurriness and fogginess he’s experiencing now is really exasperating for him. I’m SO happy that hopefully soon he’ll be seeing well again.

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Hope for the Future

Hope via Cindy Bassnett Thurman

I, aka “The Serial Seed Killer”, have had some successes with seeds lately!

  • I started some spaghetti squash seeds I scooped out of one I bought at the store, dried, and then planted. I have several plants that got large enough to be transferred to the garden and are still alive. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash – or just a plant with leaves – but I’m having lots of fun hoping.
  • I also planted several celery plants in the garden. I cut off the ends of celery bought from the store and put them in small glasses of water. When they had a nice looking – though tiny – little green plant, I transferred them to the garden. At this point, some of them have lived and some have died. Again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get celery stalks or not, but they make me smile each time I check on them. (Too cool and rainy today to check)
  • The latest hope for the future is that I planted what are advertised as “Hummingbird Flower Seeds” in small pots and put them in frisbees (to catch the water) on the end of our dining table closest to the window. I’m hoping they’ll live to be transplanted into larger pots on the deck for the entertainment of the hoped-for hummers.

Here you can see the little fragile seedlings of the hummingbird flowers, plus two more celery ends I just put in water yesterday.

It’s a good thing we didn’t have to depend on my luck in getting spinach seeds to grow. The ‘serial seed killer’ still is alive and well in that area…

 

 

 

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Memories of the Dump

This morning was the semi-annual free dumping day in Greenwood. I know it’s weird, but it’s a highlight of our lives. It also brings back fond memories…

Pixabay

Now that you’re ready to consign me to the funny farm, the ‘memories’ come from dating my husband. We used any excuse to get away together a hundred years or so ago. We spent many days and evenings at the local dump, scrap yards, auto salvage places, etc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Sometimes we were looking for a needed car part. Sometimes we were taking things to get rid of for one or both of our families. I never knew anyone else who fell in love at a dump, but then, we’ve never been the typical couple.

NOW we would LOVE to be able to wander through these places, looking for wonderful scrap for our metal critters. Alas, the world is now so litigious, all are closed to the public due to liability issues. We’re really up the creek now for scrap.

One of the many things I love about Arkansas and Greenwood is that they have arranged to make your life easier. One example is early voting. Another is online renewal of your car license tag. A third is the semi-annual free chance to get rid of things that are bulky, heavy, or a pain to get rid of otherwise. There are men who empty whatever you bring (within limits) from your vehicle. So all you do is drive over there, wait for a bit until it’s your turn, drive in farther, and then leave trash-free. How wonderful is that!

BNews.kz

We always write the day on the calendar so we’re sure we don’t miss it. We have a large trash can in the shop devoted to metal we can’t use for anything. We’ve made a bunch of stuff in the past six months, so today the can was overflowing. We now feel we have a new lease on life with an EMPTY trash can for metal!

We have to go back on Monday to finally get rid of a dishwasher we bought that was a huge mistake. We didn’t like it from the first. It really got on my husband’s nerves. Finally, he got so aggravated that he was able to make our old dishwasher we loved work again. He took the new one out, put the old one back in, and moved the new one into the yard to go to the dump. The City of Greenwood is taking appliances Monday, so we’ll finally get rid of it then.  (True to form, he was SO aggravated that he only wanted to throw it away, rather than taking it back to the store or trying to sell it. He said it was so bad he would be embarrassed to try to palm it off on anyone.)

Thank you, City of Greenwood!

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Growing a BIT Bolder…

GrowingBolder.com via Cathy Ruggiero

The past two weeks have been full of challenge:

  1. It was the first time I’ve EVER had to have something done in the dental office, other than exams and cleaning. I had to have a painful wisdom tooth extracted. I’m embarrassed to admit that while I was lying back in the chair, I was shaking so badly the assistant kept a hand on me, to be replaced by the hand of the dentist, trying to calm me. That is over now. I still have some twinges and a tightness in my gums, but mostly I’m back to being my normal mouthy self. :0)
  2. I had encouraged my husband to look for a used riding lawn mower since he gets really tired now, plus over-heated, plus dehydrated unless I take him a bottle of water while he’s working. He won’t do the lawn in parts. He starts and he finishes, or will collapse in the attempt. Since I have trouble with our self-propelled mower, feeling a bit like I’m playing “Crack the Whip” from my childhood days, I thought this was a good suggestion.

We actually found one a few weeks ago. We had to replace some parts (still ordering a new muffler and a new starter solenoid), but it worked! When it was ‘my turn,’ it scared my hair off. At the slowest speed, I feel the most comfortable, but I’ll die of old age before the lawn is finished. I forced myself to stay on after my husband thought I had done enough, finishing the yard. I DID pull the edge of a tarp into the blades at the end, but we got it out and there was no damage to the mower – only to my ego. :0/

I find that pushing myself – either because of necessity or just a good opportunity – is good for me. I can see it from the outside when my friends do less and less, their worlds becoming smaller and smaller. I am determined to keep my world wide open – open to new experiences, learning new skills, testing my courage, moving around outside my comfort zone a bit. The more I push myself, particularly doing things for the first time, I find a new enthusiasm for life and a bit more confidence in myself.

I’m probably not going to do something like bungee jumping or sky diving at this point, but I don’t think you have to risk your life to keep your mind and body active. Just nudge yourself a bit…

taolife.com

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Feeling Grateful

Ned Hardy

I’m grateful that my wisdom tooth chose this late in my life to act up so my dentist could do what was necessary to get it out without scarring my psyche for life.

I’ve been lucky several times, when I had a problem, that the medical community had learned how to deal with it, lessening my suffering. For example, RH factor used to cause death for the mother and/or the baby. I inherited this from my maternal grandmother, who quietly took care of 5 small graves. By the time I had a baby, shots had been developed to help both my son and me.

When I had Graves Disease (a thyroid problem where your body gushes hormone, affecting every part of your body) they irradiated my thyroid and I take very inexpensive pills now that regulate things.

When my gallbladder went on strike, the removal of it had evolved from a really awful surgery with long recovery time to a laparoscopic procedure from which the recovery time for me was about a week. Amazing!

By the time I needed to have cataracts removed, the procedure was a 15-minute one, with my eyes fixed two weeks apart, with very little problem. (My husband has a picture of me with a patch on one eye. He paired that with a picture of Mad Eye McGurk  from Harry Potter. We looked remarkably alike…)

Over and over, I have found that I have been so lucky that by the time I have a problem, knowledge and techniques have improved so my suffering is so much less than it was in the past.

So, even though my jaw is still sore from my wisdom tooth extraction last Monday, I thank my lucky stars…

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Cures

Life Lessons by AwePost

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Gathering Patience

(1) Our hummingbird bird bath is proving to be quite a challenge. We’ve tried several different approaches to getting the water to circulate, but not leak. Today we installed a regular toilet float valve in the trashcan under the bird bath. we hooked everything up, smiled, and then frowned again because it was leaking from the flapper valve in the tub. We have again drained it, leaving all the rest of the system intact. We’re going to spray all around the flapper valve with FlexSeal – the stuff on TV that’s supposed to repair holes in boats, etc., to see if that will solve our problem. We’re also going to shorten the flexible hose we have that goes from the bottom of the tub  to the trash can. We’ll let the FlexSeal dry, and then we’ll test the system again. We’re SO close to having something that we can set and forget – except for extreme enjoyment. Fingers crossed!

(2) I’m trying to dye some pillowcases. I found a gloriously deep purple fabric dye. Instead of being able to do the whole process in the washer, as I did once before, we had to boil water, pour it into a large bucket, add salt and dissolve, then add the dye and dissolve. We then put in the pillowcases one at a time, submerging each. The directions say to keep stirring constantly for 15 minutes, then stir every 10 minutes for another 45 minutes. I feel as if we’re making witches brew! They said to use eye protection and wear gloves. When the 45 minutes is over, I’ll put the bucket in the sink, squeeze each pillow case out into the bucket, and then rinse in cold water while my husband dumps the rest of the dye and water. Then they go into the washer and dryer.

And why am I doing this? We have little bitty foam contoured travel pillows we use on our bed. My husband won’t use anything else. The pillow cases for them are EXPENSIVE. When they got stained, I dyed them, but the only color I could find was pink. Needless to say, we’ve been putting up with them, rather than enjoying them, for longer than we would like. I decided to give them new life by dying them a color that would go with our bedding and preferences better. If this works, we’ll be in good shape for our extra little pillows for quite awhile. (Meanwhile, I’m setting the timer for 10 minutes and stirring the cases around with a large stick of PVC pipe.) I’ve done three of the four times now. Fingers crossed on this project, too!

(3) The other project we hope to tackle today is getting our new-to-us riding lawn mower working. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, so it would be really good if we could get the civilized part of our yard looking like someone cares.  I’ll be a go-fer while my husband uses his smarts to get it going, figure out how it works, and then teaches me, too.

I’m still healing from having a wisdom tooth pulled Monday, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be functional. The horrendous pain is gone, but I still have aching jaws and a headache. Other than that, I feel as if I were run over by a truck. Since I was ready for the dentist to shoot me to put me out of my misery Monday morning, I’m very grateful to ONLY have aching and a headache. Small price to pay for the wonderful work of our dentist.

By the way, if you’re in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area, you couldn’t find a better dental service. His name is Wesley Moore, DDS. Moore Dental Care, 2913 S. 74th St. Fort Smith, AR72903. (479) 484-5050.

The timer went off for me to stir my witches brew for the last time.

Hope you’re having a good day, too.

 

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You Can Cut My Hair….

BlissPlan.com

When I was 5, my mom took me to the beauty shop for a hair cut. I looked at the hair stylist and told her, in my most serious voice, “You can cut my hair, but DON’T GET IT ANY SHORTER!”

Pain makes us feel helpless, like little children. We hurt, we’re scared. We want it to stop.

Our dentist worked me in at 10:00 yesterday morning. We had been monitoring my wisdom tooth for quite awhile, since it was eroding. He told me that if it started bothering me, he would refer me to an oral surgeon because there wasn’t enough tooth showing above the gum line for him to grab.

I had been hurting since Thursday. I found out yesterday that – had I called him on Thursday (the last day of their work week) – I still would have had to wait until yesterday because he left early to go to Tulsa for a meeting. I have a gift for having a problem on holidays, spring break, etc.

His assistant got an x-ray of that side of my mouth. It hurt so badly I cried. She felt awful, and I felt bad because she felt bad. I asked the dentist to either make it stop hurting, to amputate the whole left side of my head, or to shoot me. He has the kindest eyes I think I’ve ever seen. He said, “Let’s take it out now.”

He had me bite down on a Que tip soaked in some kind of numbing agent. I was shaking all over and couldn’t stop. When he gave me a shot of Novocaine, all I felt was a tugging sensation. Then he asked if I wanted to be awake for the procedure. At this point, I had used every bit of stoicism and bravery I had to GET to Monday, so I asked what my options were. He said he had a ‘conscious sedative’ that wouldn’t knock me out, but would make it so I didn’t care, and wouldn’t remember. That sounded like Heaven, so I opted for that.

I woke up later at home in my own recliner under my favorite throw.  I ended up sleeping until about 6:00 yesterday evening, when my husband made us some soup.  We stayed up pretty late and slept late this morning.

I’m a bit sore, but SO much better today. I’m just taking Advil, rather than the pain pills we got from the pharmacy. We’re going to run some errands, but I’m going to take it easy today – maybe taking a nap this afternoon.

I’m so lucky to have a kind, caring dentist, who was able to stop my suffering so compassionately, plus a husband who takes care of me when I’m feeling like a little kid.

 

 

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Hurting

Grand Parkway Smiles

My normally ‘bubbly’ personality is seriously strained. A wisdom tooth in the very back on the left bottom of my mouth has been eroding for some time. When I have my teeth cleaned, the hygienist and the dentist both look at it, agreeing that we don’t need to do anything unless it bothers me. He told me, though, that when I DID have to have something done, he couldn’t do it because there wasn’t enough left of the tooth above my gums to grab. :0(

Well, until Thursday, it hadn’t. Since then, I’ve been kind of a mess. My dentist and his staff work Monday through Thursday – so, of course, my problem started when he was not available until tomorrow.

This has been a very long 4 days. I’m taking lots of whatever I can find around here. Ibuprofen seems to be the most effective – plus I started using the heating pad when the pain got me up in the middle of the night. I held it to the left side of my face while I read for an hour or so this morning, and then used one on my pillow for the rest of the night.

I woke up this morning with no pain! That didn’t last long, but, OHHHHH! It was wonderful while it lasted.

I’m about to go and medicate and heat pad again. I’m hoping that we can be started on a fix – with an appointment with the oral surgeon and hopefully some more serious medicine for the pain. Right now having the left side of my head amputated sounds good….

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My Plants are Insulted

No Time for Flash Cards

My poor garden veggies have been/are under triple assault: hail, bugs, and weeds. I just came in from a session of weeding, cutting off broken limbs, harvesting some of the broken/hole-y stuff, pitching the rest. It looks like it will take several sessions to get my plants happy again.

We’ve had a lot of rain (with hail and other severe stuff), then good sun, resulting in all of the problems. I do pretty well for an hour out there, particularly with our new raised beds,  but I think it will take three or four more sessions to catch up. And THEN, guess what! We have more rain forecast for four days next week…

 

 

When you first glance at things, it doesn’t look very  bad.

 

 

The closer you get, though, the more you see.

Here you see a BUNCH of broken tops on the onions. This doesn’t matter as much on onions as it does on other plants.

The spinach has broken leaves, and someone is trying to eat the spinach before we do. I harvested a BUNCH of  broken leaves that will still make good eating, but not ‘pretty.’

This is one of the spaghetti squash plants. You can see the holes in the leaves. I don’t know if that will kill the actual squash trying to grow or not.

The romaine lettuce is basically really healthy, but you can see  broken and/or eaten leaves, plus little bitty weeds that have sprung up in the last couple of days.

Red lettuce leaf isn’t really a ‘pretty’ plant to my eye, but it tastes good IF it doesn’t get beaten down by hail and eaten by bugs…

The celery plants are still alive and kicking! You can again see the teeny tiny weeds, though.

I’ll try to get back out several times today and again tomorrow. The rains aren’t supposed to start until late tomorrow night – and hopefully, we won’t have hail this time…

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

Gremlins at the Lewises

Gremlin Pictures

These critters get the best of us from time to time around here. They’ll lull us into a sense of confidence and taking things for granted and then attack with a vengeance, knocking the wind out of us.

This week they attacked our phones and our Internet.

PHONES – Suddenly, we couldn’t call out. We had a flashing light on our home cell phone base, but couldn’t get the messages. We tried everything we knew how to do to no avail. I called AT&T today and a wonderful lady named Bernetta helped me. After I unplugged our cell phone base and took out the batteries, she did something on her end that caused the thing to reset. She called our home line while I was still on my cell to test it. She got our “Press 1 if you’re human and not selling anything,” message and we got the call. She was laughing her head off at the message and wanted to know where we got it. When I told her my husband used a program he wrote to generate the message, she said she could sell a million of them, still laughing. She said, “You’ve made my day with that.” She made OUR day by being so nice and helping us make our phones work again. When we got off the phone, we retrieved our messages and then turned OFF that message source, since we have another one attached to our system that helps us block unwanted calls. HOORAY! One gremlin down!

INTERNET – We have a gremlin in our Internet service, too.

I can’t get to my website host panel. This is a problem because (1) I send out newsletters via the panel and can’t get to it. I also can report problems, etc. I can’t sign in. Their main website comes up, but I can’t do anything with it. They’ve been working we me, getting me to run terminal sessions and do strange stuff and send them the results. When I did, they said,”Unfortunately, you will need to contact your Internet services provider,as your traffic does not appear to leave their network.” This is all Greek to me, so I wrote our son, the computer guru my HUSBAND goes to when HE (the computer analyst) needs help. Our son said from what he saw in the dats, it looked like my webhost people were right and the problem was with the Internet provider. My husband wrote a careful email to the tech person we’ve been working with. We’re awaiting his reply, and the gremlin laughs at us.

ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS – We have learned over the years that mice consider wiring delicious. We had never heard of this, but we’re gradually learning to do as much wirelessly as possible. It’s too hard to get into the walls, get under the house, etc., to try to repair the wires they’ve eaten or run new wires. Our new project is to try to starve them out eventually – if we live long enough.

SO – right now we’re running down one thing after another which aren’t working suddenly, and the causes are mysterious. I don’t speak “electricity,” “phones,” or ‘Internet,” so all things are controlled by magic – with the approval of the gremlins. My husband, however, speaks all these languages and doesn’t enjoy the mystery.

Is there a spray that controls gremlins?

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Be the Reason

Life Lessons by AwePost

We are all busy, caught up in what we need or want to accomplish today. It’s easy to move around in your own little bubble, concentrating on getting to the next thing. Every time I see someone take just a moment out of their day to open the door for someone, lift a package, let someone ahead of them in line – do some little thing they didn’t have to do to lighten someone else’s load – I feel three things:

  1. I feel guilty that “I” wasn’t aware enough to do it,
  2. Very glad that there ARE people who DO see the need and do it in such a natural fashion you know they do things like this all the time, and
  3. Determined to pay more attention to what’s going on around me so that “I” can contribute.

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