Category Archives: Challenges

Jewelry Findings Area Reorganized

This is my jewelry findings area now. You can see my wooden ‘thingie’ on the left and the tabletop filing cabinet on the right.


The wonderful wooden thingie now holds earring cards, labels, glue, tootpicks, glue, string, and marshmallow backs for French hooks.


The top of the filing cabinet has my tools, a short ruler, a cup I use for pics, a bottle of glue and some pages of stick-on bling.


GOLD French hooks, straight pins, jump rings, etc.


SILVER French hooks, straight pins, jump rings, etc. + a box of assorted.


Stainless steel studs, backs, clip-on findings, etc., + a couple of rubber stamp thingies that are great for carrying post earrings back and forth.

I’ll probably refine this as I use it, but I now have all the findings together and my table is clear for my calendar and office type stuff. :0)



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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Organizing/DeCluttering

Patience and Wisdom

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Funny Signs - Humor

Molly’s Food


I have told you that the vet told us that our sweet Molly has cancer. He helped us clear up the immediate problem she was having with her jaw, got her through a bad period with pain and inflammation pills and antibiotics. This has given her some really happy dog days and we are treasuring each one. Right now she is sleeping, but many times during the day she is barking to go outside, prancing around the yard, barking to come in again, and demanding a treat for doing that. (She’s getting one, too. :0) )

We have always fed her twice a day. She is not hungry first thing in the morning now, ignoring her dish.  She eventually eats what is in the dish, plus is hungry for dinner in the evenings.

We keep her in the office behind a gate to protect her from Amber, our 3-year-old, 95-pound yellow lab, who is jealous of her. We are very careful to make sure that we know where both dogs are before we let anyone outside, or let them in again. Molly’s food and water dishes are in the office, safe from others, until she wants them. At least, that is the PLAN.

Lately our animals are getting sneakier.

My husband got distracted yesterday morning and left the gate to the office open after letting Molly outside. By the time he came in with his cup of coffee, Amber


had come in and cleaned the dish. I insisted that my husband make her another bowl.

Another time I found one of our cats, Abby, polishing off the food in Molly’s bowl.


The only one who HASN’T tried to eat Molly’s food (at least that we have SEEN) is Smoke


We are redoubling our efforts to protect Molly’s food so that when SHE is ready to eat, it’s there. Constant vigilance is required….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

Thoughts on a Tuesday – June 23, 2020

Our forecast is ‘Downpours this morning and scattered thunderstorms this afternoon. Chance of rain 100%”


Jimmy Nyakora via Scene and Heard – Match Box Quotes

Other than the downpours and thunderstorms, I’m hoping for a quiet rain. I have no big projects for the day. I wanted to finish weeding my veggie garden, but it looks like that won’t be in the cards today. My husband planned to mow the lawn, but that probably won’t be happening, either. All that will be waiting for us when Mother Nature decides to cooperate.

Our DirecTV system has a nice feature where you can pause a program and it will record it for you until you want to resume watching later. This causes a ‘buffer’ to form, where you can then fast-forward through commercials. We are totally addicted to this feature.

My husband and I have a running ‘discussion’ about why the feature doesn’t always work the way he thinks it should. It will hold about 40 minutes on pause, and then it starts playing. (Hopefully, we have it muted, or else it sounds like the TV is possessed, coming on by itself and talking erupting in the living room while we are in our home office.) Either way, the buffer is filled up and the TV plays. Sometimes the buffer is retained and sometimes not. We cannot see a pattern.

It REALLY irks my husband. He is careful to set it up at night so that we have a full buffer in the morning and he is able to zip through commercials to his heart’s content.  When, for some unknown reason, gremlins have done their work and the buffer is ‘gone,’ he gets frustrated and angry. Our ‘discussions’ haven’t solved the problem. He refuses to call DirecTV to try to get an answer. And so, the ‘discussions’ continue…

We MAY have another raccoon. This would be #6 this season.

Getty Images

The sweet things won’t share, or we wouldn’t have a problem. They eat EVERY seed in EVERY feeder, and many time trash the feeder in their efforts to chow down. My husband will set our humane trap tonight and we’ll see if we capture another member of this year’s family to relocate with the others.

Foundation Pest Control

I mentioned that it MIGHT be the squirrel family we have this year. Yesterday I saw THREE squirrels at once being quite active and athletic on the feeders. That’s the first time I have seen three at one time. One was sitting in the shovel bird feeder, eating the seeds we leave there every day. A second was at the main bird feeder, hanging from his back legs as he avidly ate as much as possible using both hands to grab seeds. A third was in the gallon-sized clear bottle that sits on another feeder in our window. He was all the way inside the bottle, filling his cheeks.


We usually have a pair of doves who sit on one of the electrical lines that cross the back of our yard. I haven’t seen them lately. I hope they are okay.

I hope that you are having a really nice day.


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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Mother Nature, Thoughts on a ________

Great Night


Last night was one for the record books.

We took the dogs out for their last outing at around midnight. I was good and sleepy. We set up to have the attic fan on, opening the bathroom window, the bathroom door and our bedroom door, then turning on the fan. AHHHHHH! Deliciously cool air!

At a little after 1 a.m., Abby, one of our cats, was on my stomach, having jumped up to loudly announce that she – who did not show up to go out when we went to bed – and, in fact, HID – NOW wanted to go out. I got up, went downstairs, and put her out.

A little after 2:30 a.m., I woke up as my husband was moving around. I found out that he was returning from going downstairs because of leg twitches. He had had some tea and was ready to try to sleep again.

At about 3:15 a.m., one of the doors slammed shut. (We apparently were lax in our efforts to make sure the doors were secure and wouldn’t be pulled shut by the fan. The door slamming was so loud, I was thoroughly awake. I went downstairs and read for about an hour before I was sleepy enough to try again.

At about 4:30 a.m., I had JUST dozed off when Amber, our 3-year-old, 95-pound yellow lab, barked downstairs. She didn’t bark again, so I dozed off.

At 5:16 a.m., I heard the SHRIEK of the little alarm my husband built that we put on the open window sill in the bathroom to let us know if it is raining in. It WAS. My husband was unaware of the loud shrieking, but woke up when I turned on the light to deal with it. I ended up ripping the battery out of it.

SO – all was calm from 5:18a.m. until 8:00 a.m., when our alarm went off….

I see a nap in my future sometime today.

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Filed under Challenges, quality of life

Learning Lessons

Leading Learning

I am learning the hard way that I need to pay attention to the ORDER of my activities to get some control of the civilized part of our yard.  As I type, I’m TRYING not to scratch all the chigger bites I gathered yesterday while trying to clear a path on the north side of our shop. It was totally overgrown, so I had sprayed it pretty heavily a couple of times with weed killer previously. It hadn’t done the job, so I got serious yesterday.

I got a path cleared, but learned-

  1. to spritz on Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent before heading outside. We just got this. It got really high ratings from Consumer’s Reports.  It says it is the “wilderness formula” 30% Deet, and repels mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus. At any given time we are outside, my husband is unaware of bugs. I come back in with bites all over. I will TRY to get in the habit of spritzing this on before I even think of going outside.


2) I will then mix up bug spray (We use Eight – great on killing bugs, but doesn’t harm plants or our animals) in our 2-gallon container and spray it over the areas I will try to weed whack in.



3) After I have sprayed the bug killer thoroughly, I will weed whack, getting everything cleared out.


4) Then I will spray the weed killer (we use KillzAll) again, hosing down the area.

5) Then I will spray again with bug killer.


I’m HOPING that if I build this habit, I won’t end up looking like someone chewed on by zombies with my usually sunny disposition marred by trying really hard not to scratch….


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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, Changes, Gardening, learning new things, taking care of yourself

Gotta Hand It

Your Tango

One of my many pet peeves is people putting things on high shelves. “High” in my case encompasses anything I can’t reach without getting a step stool or ladder – a LOT of things. I am 5’4″ and shrinking.

I have finally ALMOST gotten my husband to stop doing this, although his first inclination is to put everything WAAAAY up – ‘out of the way.’ I have modified his behavior by SWEETLY ignoring the step stools and ladders, going to get him, making HIM get up and come get whatever it is that he stored up there. I thank him profusely for the help, and then do it again without guilt when I can’t reach the next thing.  FINALLY, he sees the pattern and the NEXT time stores it down lower… :0)

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Pet Peeves

Dogs Have a Way

Thom Jones –


We found and adopted Molly in 2005.  She was 15 in February. She brought a light-hearted goofiness to our home, even making our pit bull, Bambi, smile.

Bambi is gone now. We have Amber, a 95-pound 3-year-old yellow lab now. Sadly, Amber is jealous of Molly – after initially getting along fine – and so we are very careful to keep them separated.

I told you recently that we discovered that Molly has cancer.  The vet examined her, cleaned out a really ugly place that had sprung up on one side of her mouth, and sent her home with antibiotics and pain/inflammation medicine for 14 days.  We had agreed that if she had some quality time left, we wanted her to have it.

You see her sleeping at my feet as I type. She now rests well. When she awakes, she is full of energy and barks sharply for us to let her out. Many times she barks again within a very short period of time, knowing that she gets a treat when she comes back inside. She is taking great joy now – gaming the system – going in and out countless times each day. Her bright black eyes sparkle and she grins each time she gets another treat.

She is prancing around the yard, hopping around, playful as she hasn’t been in years. I’m playing with her, then spending as much time as I can each day, giving her as much love as possible. She is getting a lot of happy dog days now, and we are treasuring each one.

One happy day at a time.




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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Changes, Family


Everett Ruess via Lisa Bearnes Richey

My personal situation has forced me to live one day at at a time – sometimes one HOUR at a time. With this change in focus, I’m actually finding some good coming from it. Though things are tense here many times, being forced to ‘stay-in-the-moment’ is freeing.

Instead of worrying about my ‘to do’ list, all the other stuff I might – or even SHOULD be doing – slips WAAAAY down in priority. As I’m learning to focus on the most important, wringing out every moment of joy possible, my mind is less burdened. If I do anything else during the day, that’s good, but it is no longer NECESSARY.

I am being given the chance to keep my head on straight. I have people who are very, very important to me. I have animals who continue to give me unconditional love. Enjoying whatever time I have with them is paramount.

Making every day count – “while I am alive, I intend to live.”

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Cherishing the Quiet Day

Thoughts on a Sunday 6-7-2020

Our Sweet dog Molly is better with the antibiotics and pain/inflammation medicine we got from our vet. She is sleeping now, but actually barks to be let outside and then barks again to come back in – playing the ‘system’ of getting a treat for doing that – over and over. I’m playing right along. The swelling on her mouth has gone down a lot and she actually smiles at me when I hug and pet her. Each day is a gift now.

Molly Resting


I worked out in the yard early this morning, since the heat index for the afternoon is forecast to be 105 degrees F. My husband had asked me to spray weed killer on the north side of our shop. I mixed up a 2-gallon container and hosed everything down there, plus around my garden and under my planter boxes. I have just put Benadryl Ointment on the tops of my feet and my ankles because they are acting like I must have walked through poison-something-or-other. :0(

I also used our heavy duty tomato cages to prop up our now really bushy tomato plants in both brick planters on the far side of the yard from the main garden. We now have little bitty green tomatoes!  I hooked up the hose and gave both planters a good drink. We haven’t hooked up our irrigation system for the yard because we have been getting a good amount of rain until the past few days. We are due to get the remnants of Cristobal tomorrow evening, so all should get a good drink.

These are the yellow crookneck squash and zucchini plants I put in the garden recently. They are looking happy, but haven’t started sending out vines everywhere yet.

My husband had a second stroke recently. We went to our primary doctor, who wanted him to have tests, but he refused. He said to me, “Last time we did it YOUR way (meaning testsa and doctor appointments), so this time we will do it MINE.” Needless to say, I’m not happy about this, but he is adamant. (If you look up the word “stubborn” in the dictionary, you will find my husband’s picture.) So we will HOPE that he doesn’t have another stroke for a long time (the time between the first one and this one was almost one year.) I will continue to try to keep him as healthy and happy as possible.

Rick James-Quotefancy

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. Take care and stay safe.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, taking care of yourself, Thoughts on a ________

Happy June 2020

In the midst of all that is happening in our country and around the world, I grab onto things that lift my spirits – that give me hope for the future – even if they are only small things.

One very happy thing is the calendar I bought for 2020 put out by the firefighters in Australia.  They came up with a wonderful fundraising idea – to take pics of firefighters with dogs. Of course the firefighters are GORGEOUS, and the dogs are really great, too. Out of the immense goodness of my heart, I bought a calendar. :0)  Each month I am thankful. (I may be older than dirt, but I ain’t dead yet!)

Here we welcome JUNE 2020 –

Lincoln and Chippy – June 2020

Happy June!

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Filed under Challenges, hope

Back on Track – I HOPE

The Pandemic is my latest excuse for not sticking to my diet and exercise program. (I have a whole sackful of excuses – and add more at a ferocious rate.) My husband is another excuse – he doesn’t have as much weight to lose. We grocery shop together, and all kinds of things I shouldn’t eat show up at home when we put the groceries away. I have decided to stop using this as an excuse, though. I’m hoping the man will live for MANY more years, so I will just have to be stronger on avoiding his ‘extras.’

Yesterday I got disgusted with myself – FINALLY. I re-read the first part of Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan. I am feeling re-motivated to get back on track and start losing the lard again.  I am now, (starting again yesterday) tracking my food intake on Suzanne tells you how to tweak the settings there so that you can follow your macro and even tweak it from time to time as needed. (Your ‘macro’ is the comparative percentages of fat, carbohydrates, and protein you should consume each day in order to try to lose the girth.) I have also decided to spend more time on, Suzanne’s website, to try to STAY motivated.

Before I fell off the wagon, I had lost 40 lbs and 43 inches. I have gained 9 pounds BACK since the Pandemic started. :0(  Since it is beyond stupid to try to stay safe from the virus while simultaneously stuffing food I shouldn’t be eating into my mouth, I’m promising myself to treat myself better.

Because of my good friend and hair dresser Michael Remillard, I learned that maltitol is to be avoided. Yesterday, when I was re-reading Suzanne’s intro, I noticed that she mentioned it, too, but apparently I simply read over the top of it. It’s in a lot of sugar-free and no-sugar-added products. It can spike blood sugar and is to be avoided.

Also, because of Michael, I have discovered an ice cream I can eat when I must! The brand name is Rebel, and the flavor I think is wonderful is Mint Chip. I’m also on the lookout for Triple Chocolate.  The PINT has 4 net carbs!  The pint lasted me for 4 servings. Hooraaaaaay!

One of the things that Suzanne said that really resonated with me was that  when you make a mistake at one meal, instead of just blowing off the rest of the day and eating whatever you want because the day is ‘blown,’ you should redouble your efforts by eating correctly the rest of the day, giving yourself a break and sticking to the plan. You don’t have to be perfect – you just need to be consistent.


Yesterday I made her “Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Bake.”  

“Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Bake” by Suzanne Ryan, Simply Keto

She encourages you to throw extra low carb veggies in wherever you can, so I throw fresh spinach into her already delicious recipe. (I tried broccoli previously, but my husband didn’t care for it.)  He doesn’t mind the spinach at all. :0)  6 servings. We each enjoyed a wedge of this with a big salad.

I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding carbs. (My personal macro has me staying at 14 carbs or under daily. )  My biggest problem is adding fat. I am studying her meal plans at the end of the book this time to get a better handle on what I can choose to better reach the 70% fat in a healthy manner. I have been tending to eat too much protein, and that can throw you off, so planning my eating with MyFitnessPal will help there. I can enter what I’m planning to eat, see how that meets my requirements, and adjust BEFORE I eat a wrong thing.  I am learning to pay more attention – using the tools that will help me, reading labels more carefully, etc.

Snacks and desserts are danger areas for me.  I have avoided these area in Suzanne’s book, but found something I want to try after the next trip to the grocery store – “Chocolate-Covered Macadamia Nut Fat Bombs.”  I love casseroles, so I’m also going to get set up to try her “Twice-Baked Cauliflower Casserole.” 

Another lady I find who has good keto recipes is Kyndra of Peace, Love and Low Carb.   She sends recipes to my email inbox.

Sorry if I’m talking your arm off, but as you can see, I am newly motivated. I am hopeful that by NEXT Monday, I can report that I have lost some weight, changed a measurement, or I can report on the new recipes I’ve tried.

Meanwhile, I’ll bake a loaf of my keto bread today.


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

New Possibilty!


I’m trying to do intermittent fasting and keto in order to lose my lard.  The pandemic is my latest excuse for having trouble sticking to it. The biggest problem for me lately is that my husband is requesting dinners like spaghetti with meat sauce, or one of our favorite dishes – beef with mushroom soup, onions, and things over rice or other pasta.

Lately I’ve had trouble serving my spaghetti sauce over zoodles or spaghetti squash,  or the soup and meat or chicken sauce over cauli-rice or whatever. I’ve really been missing PASTA.

My friend Marsha came to the rescue, telling me about a new non-carb pasta she found. The brand name is Banza, and they make all kinds of pasta – penne, shells, and rotini plus spaghetti.  The pasta is made from chickpeas.  It has a LOT fewer carbs. Not as few as I would prefer, since my goal is to eat 20 grams or less carbs per day, but a huge improvement over regular pasta. I can now splurge every once a awhile, solve my cravings, and hopefully stay on my eating plan.

I ordered six boxes – 2 each of Penne, Shells, and Rotini. I’ll let you know how my new discovery turns out.


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Filed under Challenges, DIET!, getting the lard off


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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Health Alert



I am still walking around limping today from catching my toe on the corner of our bed in the middle of the night two nights ago – still feeling stupid. Yeah, everyone makes mistakes, but I KNOW where the bed is. It has been in the same place for over 30 years now. I KNOW it’s made of solid wood. My husband and I built the base for the bed years ago. I KNOW that confronting furniture with body parts is not a good thing to do.  And yet here I am.

I’m still wearing slippers because I can’t wear a shoe. I’m limping around like a person twice my age – and that’s saying a LOT when you consider my “maturity.”

It would be NICE if I could simply pay better attention – even though it was the middle of the night and I was practically sleep-walking – rather than learning yet another lesson in such a painful way.

I’m glad that if I hurt myself, at least I didn’t do anything that required a trip to the emergency room. If I actually broke my toe, they would simply tape my little toe to the next one and call it done. I’m keeping it elevated as much as possible and am taking it easy otherwise.

I promise I will do something ELSE stupid next time…


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Filed under Challenges, Funny Signs - Humor, taking care of yourself


email from my friend Marsha

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Filed under aging, Challenges, Funny Signs - Humor

Washin’ the Dog

“Walkin’ the dog,
Just walkin’ the dog
If you don’t know how to do it,
I’ll show you how to walk the dog.” ~ Rufus Thomas

NOW substitute ‘washin’ for ‘walkin’ and you can sing along with what I’ve been doing for the past couple of hours.

At the Lewis house, we enjoy two-dogs-in-one: Fuzzy Molly that you see above and Sleek Molly, below, after she has been to the groomer.

Molly is truly at her FUZZIEST right now. Add to that the fact that she is NOT a sweet ‘lady’ dog, but a ragamuffin who LOVES to stick her nose in the dirt; bring all manner of stinky things out of the woods and into the front yard; dig up moles, voles, and other oles; and you have an idea of how very dirty she gets. Usually about the middle to the end of March, she starts her once-every-six-weeks or so trips to the groomer. We get her hair cut short all over so that we can save her from the ticks and/or fleas who manage to get on regardless of collars, sprays, and medicines made to help with that. There is also a time of the year that she runs through the grass, coming back to the house COVERED in tiny awful burs from her nose to the tip of her tail. With her hair short, I can use a comb to remove most of them without causing her much grief.

Another adaptation to the virus outbreak is that we can’t take her to the groomers. We’ve had off and on yucky rain for at least a couple of weeks now, and she comes in, dirtier and dirtier, with her hair starting to mat, no matter how many times I brush her.

This morning I spent about 45 minutes with the Furminator tool we got that you use like a brush.


It removes a lot of the excess hair without teeing off the dog too badly. I filled up half a trash can (!) with the hair I removed, stopping when her patience ran out.

Then I took her plus three dog towels into the kitchen and lifted her into the kitchen sink. She is quite docile when she’s thoroughly wet, so I scrubbed her as well as I was able with no-tears dog shampoo and spent a LONG time getting her rinsed. She has supe- thick, combination cocker spaniel and schnauzer type hair, so I rinsed her for a good twenty minutes.

It took all three towels to get her to quit dripping enough that I could take her to the back bathroom and use my hair dryer on her for as long as I could before she protested.

She is now lying on the carpet at my feet as I type.  She is still coming over and rubbing herself all over my jeans, trying to dry her face more. When she dries a lot more, I will brush her again and we will add a new flea collar we got for her. (We already put one on Amber, our 95 pound yellow lab.) They are supposed to last up to six months, protecting them from fleas and ticks. We found them when we Googled, “best flea and tick collars.” They had good reviews on Amazon. The brand name is Rolf Club and the collar is called 3D. Fingers crossed the collars are worth the price.

My shirt is wet and has white dog hair all over it, even though I tried to use a sticky roller to clean up some. I did get the kitchen sink cleaned up and the towels are in the washer. I hope I don’t smell like I’ve been, “washin’ the dog” …


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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Family

Slug Fest?

Bright Side


  • Vacuumed the first floor – office, living room, hallway, dining area, kitchen, pantry, utility room and two half-baths
  • went grocery shopping and put stuff away
  • fixed lunch
  • did 3 loads of laundry
  • changed the sheets on our bed
  • changed the tires on the truck with my husband – from the snow tires to its regular tires. It took us two hours, but we got it done
  • fixed dinner
  • cleaned up the kitchen


am being a SLUG. I have done very little. I did almost nothing in comparison. I got a keto chili in the crock pot this morning and fixed lunch. I fell asleep in my chair. (I had the heat pad under my back in the recliner and the throw over me the perfect ‘sandwich’ of comfort.)

I am just now writing some blog posts. I feel like a slug, but I guess I needed a day of rest. It’s funny. I feel just fine while I’m working. Then it all catches up to me and I’m reminded that I’m no spring chicken anymore.

So – slug fest for me today. Maybe I’ll have more energy tomorrow….


Filed under aging, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Highly Contagious

Awareness 22 via Jerri St John

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Filed under Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Health Alert

Thoughts on a Friday 3-20-2020

Wild and Wonderful

Well, yesterday I called and told my friend Kay that my husband and I had decided that we would stop going to Lunch Bunch on Fridays until the coronavirus pandemic calmed down. We are in the high risk group for the virus, so we’re trying to limit contact as much as possible. This was a really hard decision because Linda, Kay, and I (plus various others) have met for lunch every Friday for almost 19 years now.

This morning I discovered that the governor of Arkansas has ordered all restaurants, bars, and gyms in Arkansas closed until further notice. (Restaurants can offer take out.)  Schools will remain closed through April 17th. I also learned that we have to make an appointment if we want to enter the lobby of our bank, though the drive-thrus and ATMs will be functional. City Hall and the Police Department buildings are closed to the public, too.

I have to tell you that – as worried as I am about the virus – I’m MORE worried about the economic effects of all this, and the changes that are being made in the power of the government as we try to get through this. I hope that we are able to get a handle on testing, possible medicines and equipment that help people suffering with the illness, and protect those trying to help the ill as soon as possible.

This being said, here are things that are NOT being cancelled –

Lisa Parkhurst Blaisdell via Ginger Charles

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Filed under Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Health Alert

Macros and Exercise

Trish’s Treasures

The short version is I have 5 pounds to re-lose before I’m on track again. An indulgence here, a bite there, and here I am. I would be disgusted, but I did it, knowing exactly what I was doing, and I enjoyed every bite of falling off the wagon.

Now that we’re officially into 2020, I’m starting to pay attention to my eating again and exercising.

Penn Fitness Warehouse

The weather is helping in my efforts to do my exercising. The highs are in the low 50’s now so I don’t freeze my parts while doing my 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer in the garage. I take my MP3 player and earphones out, turn on the trainer, start my music, hit ‘User 1’ and ‘Start’ and I’m in the zone for the duration. My husband says I do it ‘too slowly.’ (He doesn’t do it at ALL, so I’m ignoring his opinion.) I’m doing it every day (when I’m being good) and I’m doing it in a way that doesn’t cause my joints to complain or ache, so I’m declaring a win.


Mother Nature Network-Jaymi-Heimbuch


In the afternoons, I am trying to do half an hour or so of Gentle Yoga stretches. My husband gave me a mat that he got for camping out a million years ago. It’s much thicker than the normal yoga mat, and I love the extra cushioning. Oddly enough, the only area in our house that is large enough for me to fully stretch in all directions is our living room. I again ignore my husband’s ‘helpful suggestions,’ doing my own routine of slowly stretching everything in all directions, breathing into each position, based on the guidance I received from Cat Kabira in the “Gentle Yoga” DVDs. I can really feel a difference if I do this every day. I feel looser, able to stretch in all directions more and more over time, lessen aches and pains due to other activities. If I’m lucky, I can do my practice without the help of our animals, who tend to want to lie down on top of me.

Since even at 72, I’m a little kid at heart, I reward my efforts with actual gold star stickers I bought on the net, putting one for each exercise on my desk calendar. It’s a bit embarrassing that I do this, but not enough to stop. I will always be motivated by gold stars…


I am doing a combination of intermittent fasting (not eating after 9 in the evening until about 1:00 or 1:30 the next afternoon) and then following my macros in the keto plan. A great website called is helping me record what I’m eating as it applies to what I’m SUPPOSED to be eating for the day. My biggest problem at this point is that I tend to eat too much protein and not enough fat. I have read that eating too much protein can throw me out of ketosis. I’m working on adding more fat. I’ve tried eating an avocado each day, but I really don’t like them, so I’m trying to find other alternatives. I’ll keep reading on the net and see what else I can eat to make my eating match my macro.

Once I re-lose my 5 holiday pounds, I can hopefully get into new territory on my weight loss efforts. My best thus far is losing 43 pounds and 45 inches. My goal is another 30 lbs or so (until the BMI charts are happy with me) and whatever inches go with that. My goal is to be as healthy as I can for whatever my current age is for as long as possible. My husband and I both have health issues that improve as we follow the keto plan, so I’m hoping that 2020 is a great year for us.

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Filed under aging, Challenges, DIET!, exercise, Keto Eating Plan and Recipes We Like

Dropping Things

email from Marsha Koenig

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Filed under aging, Challenges, Funny Signs - Humor


Hillbilly Hijinx

I have been craving BREAD over the holidays. My husband gets freshly made rolls from the deli when we go grocery shopping. I can avoid the strawberry-dessert-cakes-and-ice-cream nightly, and I can avoid the bagels, but I’m REALLY missing rolls and sandwiches lately due to my keto diet. Because of this, I succumbed and ate turkey sandwiches at Thanksgiving and have been eating rolls. The result is I have gained 5 lbs from my lowest. UGH.

Alex Howitt

This isn’t EXACTLY what I saw this morning, but close. I’m disgusted with myself, but am now doing two things –

THING ONE – I ordered – and just received two KETO bread cookbooks!  One is Keto Bread and Pasta by Zara Elby, and the other is Keto Bread Machine Cookbook by Katie Simmons.  I will get busy trying recipes for rolls and sandwich type bread in both of these, hoping I can come up with something that solves my bread-craving problem.  I’ll share recipes with you if I find good ones.

Alex Howitt

THING TWO – I am back in the saddle again as far as doing 35 minutes on my elliptical trainer each day. I did my yoga stretches one day, but not yesterday, so I’m kind of HALF-WAY in the saddle again on the yoga.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I AM promising myself to get fully with the program again so I can re-lose the 5 and then lose about another 30. I would really like to get to my goal weight in 2020 and then STAY there.




Filed under Challenges, DIET!, exercise, Keto Eating Plan and Recipes We Like



I’m not a baker – or even a cook, for that matter. We manage, but it’s really not one of my favorite things. Yesterday morning I got the pineapple upside-down cake together and into the oven for my husband’s mini-birthday-celebration. When the timer went off, it needed more time. I kept checking to see if the toothpick came out clean, and it didn’t. I finally went ahead and took it out, let it cool, and dumped it (carefully) into the receiving platter. It was a complete disaster.

We went to the store and bought fresh yellow cake mix – plus a pineapple cake mix my husband chose – plus more pineapple, and came home and started again. My husband insisted we use the pineapple cake mix, even though it didn’t list pineapple (it said it had juice in the mix). The cake turned out fine, and THEN my husband decided he wanted to put pineapple and cherries on the top. So – since he was the birthday boy – we did just that.

He ate some soon after. He said it didn’t taste like pineapple upside-down cake. Imagine that! I told him that the way I usually did it was to put the sliced pineapple in the bottom of the pan over a mixture of brown sugar and melted butter, cherries in each center, and then pour the mixed cake mix on top before baking. I didn’t push it because what I ‘usually’ did had turned out a dismal failure this time.

ANYWAY – the birthday boy had a second piece of the cake last night and plans to eat more today.

At least he knows I love him…


Filed under Challenges, Family

Cautionary Tale

I am in the middle of yet another of life’s character-building exercises.

I told you about the money order a customer was going to send for a huge (for me) order of plaques.

The order was supposed to be for all five of the plaques I painted using Unicorn Spit.  He said his administrative assistant messed up and sent the wrong amount in the money orders. I told him I would refuse delivery of the package and that he should send another for the correct amount. He then said he wanted to increase the order, wanting 40 (FORTY!) plaques in all, 8 of each of the five designs. We went back and forth, but I asked him to stick to the original order, and then, if he was happy, he could order more.

The money orders for too much money were delivered by FEDEX while my husband and I were out doing errands. :0(     My husband was angry. I ended up taking them to the bank in order to ask them how long I would need to wait to be SURE they were good before I filled the order. She said 14 business days, and then noticed a number you could call to verify the money orders. She called, putting it on speaker phone. It was an automated system, asking for the number on the money order and then the number of the post office issuing it. She keyed them in and we were told the numbers didn’t match anything in their system – and so were fraudulent.

SO – I am pinning them up on the pegboard on the wall in front of my computer to remind myself that I do NOT need yet another character-building exercise. At least I wasn’t dumb enough to ship the plaques I had ready, or buy wood for the 35 more plaques my husband and I would have been cutting out, finishing, and putting hangers on as quickly as we could to fill the order within the time frame.

I did NOT deposit them. I am out only –

  • the delight of the biggest order in my life
  • the time I spent with the customer who turned out to be a rat
  • the anguish of my husband getting angry over the whole thing

I am considering myself lucky that I had a big sense of ‘too good to be true’ and did what I could to make SURE it was legitimate before getting my family in financial jeopardy.

A cautionary tale…



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, character-building exercises


Nanea Hoffman -Sweatpants & Coffee – via Hippie Peace Freaks

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

New Venture

I’m opening up a second shop on Etsy. This one will be called, “Totably Yours” and will feature large and small hand-painted, one-of-a-kind tote bags in canvas or denim. This one is called, “Flower Basket.”


This one is “Happy Penguins” and is one of my Christmas totes.


“Embrace Your Life” either reminds you or someone you care about to enjoy every moment.


And this one is a Spring bag called, “New Digs.”

I uploaded the images and descriptions yesterday. Today I’m going to try to design a banner to go across the top of the page. Then some details remain before I can open the shop.

A new venture is an exciting thing – sticking my neck out, challenging myself to overcome doubt, technical obstacles, etc.  Character-building exercise with fingers crossed.


Filed under Bright Ideas, Challenges, character-building exercises, Totably Yours on Etsy



I discovered, to my horror, that about half of the data on the spreadsheets I started this year to keep up with bookkeeping and taxes had mysteriously ‘poofed.’ The data was also gone from two backups!

So, yesterday I entered the data from August and September. Today I re-entered the data from June and July, and then went through our credit card statements from January through September to check to make sure all the items from them was included on the spreadsheets.

I printed each spreadsheet, just in case gremlins enter my computer again and eat the data.

I am NOW making a backup and will make a second after I check the first to make sure nothing was lost in translation.

I wasn’t really in the mood for such a long character-building exercise….


Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises


Jeff Jett

This – on the last day of September – is DAY 28 of my daily yoga practice. My face doesn’t look nearly as blissful as this sweet lion’s face, but I AM making progress. It’s exciting to finally feel my body ‘give’ as I breathe, moving closer to the goal. Each time I start with stiff, sore parts from one end to the other. After I finish, though, I feel much looser.

This is DAY 13 of my ‘getting-serious-about-keto’ eating. I am using a carb tracking site called I filled out a short form to find out what MY macros (percentages of fat, protein and carbs) should be for the day.


I had no trouble eating protein – in fact, I discovered I was eating way TOO much protein. I was staying under the 5% carbs easily, but nothing was happening. I discovered I wasn’t eating enough fat! My son helped me figure out good ways to add healthy fat to my diet. I can put a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream in my coffee, for example. I got some avocados. They are good for you and high in fat. I don’t really LIKE them, but I can eat one a day.  I can eat macadamia nuts. I can put a tablespoon of olive oil in my salad…

As I plan for the day, I can ‘test’ what I would like to eat and see graphically what it does for my macros for the day. Yesterday I did well on fat by eating an avocado and having the cream in my coffee for breakfast. The macro showed me I needed to concentrate on protein the rest of the day. The carbs took care of themselves.

I’ve now lost a bit over 6 pounds this month. That’s slow, but it’s better than I HAD been doing, and the weight loss is mainly in the past 12 days of watching my macros. I’m hopeful that October will continue to show good improvement. I would like for there to be 30 pounds or so less of me one day.

I’ve told you I’m also adding 3 days a week on my elliptical trainer. It is in the garage and the temperature is FINALLY cooling off so that I can use it out there without getting heat stroke. :0)


  • This has always been hard for me. Our son is really encouraging. He’s leaving soon, though, so I need to buck up and find good things even though he won’t be here. My husband asks me if I’m going to ‘yoge,’ and occasionally tells me he’s proud of me trying to exercise. He says he is ‘with me in spirit.” :0)  I have the wonderful book by Suzanne Ryan, Simply Keto which has provided us with several recipes we like so much they keep me busy cooking without trying more. To have my husband REQUEST meals is the ultimate compliment.
  • GOLD STARS on my desk calendar. SILLY, I know, but it works for me. Right now I have the opportunity to earn 10 for this week (7 for yoga, 3 for elliptical).
  • Scales – I KNOW that the experts tell you to only weigh once a week. I do it once a day, not expecting to see great things, but to remind myself that I need to watch what I’m eating and keep moving in order to get the lard off.
  • Measuring Tape – Every once in a while I’ll get a nice surprise. I figure the measuring tape is objective and will give me an honest answer as to whether things are going in the right direction.
  • Fit of my clothes – I’m tired of shopping where I’m hoping that they have clothes that are large enough for me. I have come down several sizes in jeans, and it feels really good to give them to someone else who will be grateful that a pair of jeans will be large enough.


I have lost 43 pounds since my lardiest  and there are 45 inches less of me than at my lardiest.

I look forward to the day when I am at a healthy weight for my height (I’ve given up trying to get taller), my BMI makes insurance companies sing with joy, I can buy clothes most anywhere I can afford, and I FEEL good. I want to be able to do a lot of things easily that now are off limits because of pain, stiffness, soreness, or fatigue. I don’t picture myself climbing mountains, but a good long walk with friends or one of my dogs would be nice!


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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, DIET!, exercise

Whine and Cheese

Sound Cloud

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I should get an award for procrastination. I’m an EXPERT in putting off things I hate, coming up with mental and vocal excuses that are truly impressive. My biggest area has been in bookkeeping/tax records. I keep folders, but don’t do the actual putting things down or organizing until push comes to shove and time is running out.

THIS year, I decided that I would do my bookkeeping and tax records at the end of each month. It wouldn’t take a lot of time and I would be up to date, just needing to do totals on the spreadsheets before tying it with a bow for our wonderful CPA.

I have been really good (for me) on keeping up with this. I got behind, though when health issues took obvious priority, so I was going to start on August yesterday, and then dive straight into September.

When I brought up a spreadsheet, a bunch of data was gone! I looked at the other spreadsheets and found the same thing. I got out my backups and ran them. The data wasn’t there, either. :0(

SO – It looks like I’ll have to redo about 5 months of records. OH, JOY.

“No good deed goes unpunished.” (Source in question)

I will grit my teeth and try to get August done today. THEN, I’ll tackle one month at a time until everything is back and caught up. THEN – I will print a copy of each of the spreadsheets AND make a backup!

And the character-building exercises continue….


Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises


One Green Planet – Paulina Lam

My husband mowed our lawn yesterday, so I am weed whacking (edging plus doing areas he can’t get with the riding mower) today. I’ve made some progress, but mainly am feeling inept. One of the orange ‘thingies’ that holds the spool of weed whacking line onto the whacker shattered. It is not fixable, so we’ll have to try and find a replacement for it on the net. I switched to another weed whacker that I don’t like as well. It needed line, but I can’t get this orange thingie (different style) off! Now I have had to come in and ask my husband to come out and see if he can get the whacker ready to go so I can finish that part of the job, and then I’ll use the leaf blower to clean off the concrete areas.

It’s really humid, cloudy, and trying to rain, so I don’t know if I can get my breath back, after glugging a bottle of water, in time to get back out there.

Fingers are crossed that it all comes together and I can finish the job.

If not, I’ll use this excuse to go play in my art room! :0)

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Filed under Challenges, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance