Category Archives: Challenges

Big Move




As the temperatures are finally dropping (by Sunday – today and tomorrow we’re still having summer) we talked about the fact that we need to move Amber’s crate somewhere inside. This is not a simple issue because we have been leaving the door to the crate open, so she’s not confined at night. She gets into it when we put her to bed for the night, but we’re not at all sure if she actually sleeps in it. Sometimes she is in it in the morning when we open the door to the back porch, and sometimes she isn’t.

We can’t trust her on her own, yet. If she’s inside, we find she has dumped a trashcan. In the mornings, the first thing she does after going outside and then having her breakfast, is dash into the pantry to see if we’ve forgotten to pick up Molly’s dish. If we have, she brings it out and starts chewing on it. We either close the people gate that is in the doorway to our office to keep her in with us, or we go into the living room, telling her to get in her ‘place,’ the huge dog bed in there. We have found out the hard way that we need to monitor her, inside and out.

My husband – a lover of simple decisions, just wants to start leaving her inside, hoping that she and Molly will share the huge dog bed in the utility room. When I pointed out a lot of other considerations, we agreed that the subject was a bit more complicated.

We’ve now agreed that my husband will move the people walk-through gate from the doorway to the back porch to the doorway between the utility room and our dining area. This will confine both dogs to the utility room, plus cut off Amber’s access to the pantry. I don’t even want to THINK about the damage she could cause – happily eating her way through the night and dumping whatever she didn’t like or had trouble reaching.  We’ll move Amber’s crate, with liner and towels, into the utility room. I want her to have her safe area if she wants it, at least until we see evidence that she and Molly are doing well with the new sleeping arrangements. Since Amber and Molly are actually playing a bit now, I’m hopeful that this move will go relatively smoothly. Tomorrow night will tell…


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Changes, Family

More Than Enough

I FINALLY got a picture of Amber with one of her squeaky toys in her mouth.

This is quite a feat, I have to say, because her standard reaction when she hears the camera turn on and the flash flip, is to drop the toy. I’ve also tried to turn the camera on in another room and then try to sneak up on her, but she sees/hears/smells me before I even enter the room and comes up to greet me – AFTER dropping the toy…

While you’re looking at the photo, look behind her back at the bottom drawer on the set of drawers beside my computer cut out. This is thanks to Amber – not meaning to hurt the drawer or chewing on it – but the fact that she isn’t careful where her claws are on any of her feet while she chews on a toy. I’ll tackle the drawer with one of the stain crayon thingies one day.

I’ve been vacuuming today, as I have every day over the past few weeks, trying to keep up with the MORE THAN ENOUGH dog and cat hair. I’m a failure. :0(

I’ve tried using the Furminator on Amber –

because she’s shedding so much – even with colder weather coming on. Besides having MORE THAN ENOUGH hair, she has MORE THAN ENOUGH teeth, which she readily uses on us. She’s no longer using us as chew toys so much (plus we’re learning techniques to avoid triggering her toothy response), but the Furminator definitely brings out the teeth.

Today I vacuumed the first floor tiles (pantry, kitchen, dining area, utility room, hallway, and two half baths) and then moved to the foyer between the stairs and our office. Then I got about half of the living room done before the battery on my easy-to-use portable Dyson gave out. That was really kind of good, actually, because MY personal energy battery was giving out by then, too.


I completely filled up the canister on the vacuum TWICE today. UGH

I’ll give the vacuum an hour or so to charge back up – getting a cold drink and putting my feet up to recharge MY battery, as well, and then continue on. It would be good if my efforts lasted more than a day. I’m really grossed out by all the hair and ‘stuff’ I vacuum up each time.

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Filed under Challenges, Housekeeping - Maintenance

A Nice Thursday

Today has been a really nice day.

The weather is a bit warm, but not enough that we’ve had to close up and turn on the a/c. Doors and windows open are a wonderful change, and the ceiling fans make it very comfortable.

I told you about the deer I saw on the way to my massage. My massage was particularly luxurious today because my back stopped hurting. I didn’t have to consciously try to relax into the massage. I could just ENJOY. AHHHHHH! Thank you, Lynn.

I have a list as long as my arm of things that need my attention. I let a lot of them slide while I was hurting, and so I’m trying to take a few each day until I’m reasonably caught up again.


The aquarium water looked  a bit murky, so I siphoned out 3/4 of the water, wiped the inside of the tank, then replaced the water with treated water that has been breathing and aging for several weeks. I changed the filter and turned everything back on. The fish seemed happy with my attention.


Since our temperatures are supposed to get more fall like early next week, I finally took the time to scrub out Amber’s kiddie pool. I had emptied it and left it upside down, but then hurt my back, so it was not only yucky, it had been rained on so there was a small lake weighing down the BACK of the pool. I scrubbed it with a broom and Simple Green, then hosed it out, turned it over, and scrubbed the back. I carried it around to the garage and put it between my counter and my elliptical trainer until I bring it out again next Spring.

I harvested two tomatoes from the planter on the east end of the house. I still have no idea if the two new tomato plants will do well or not. I’ll need to remove the old plants soon.

I still have two things on my list for today –

  • I learned that taking the planter tray of seedlings out onto the deck to get more sun and maybe some rain was a disaster, so I’ll clean up the planter and put it away.
  • Amber has developed a fun new hobby – digging! We dug out our two Rio Samba bushes recently in preparation for planting new ones early next spring. We’re also using some of the soil in the brick planters to fill mole, Molly, and Amber holes in the yard before replenishing the planters with fresh potting mix. Amber found them and has had a GREAT time digging in the planters. She comes to the door, looking innocent and sweet, with a black nose, mouth, and front feet. I’ve had to get a washcloth and towels to clean her up before I can let her back into the house with us. I haven’t been able to catch her doing it yet; but when I do, I’ll have to warn her, and then zap her if the warning isn’t enough.

I hope you’ve been having a fun day, too. I can’t wait for the nice, cool, fall weather!!





Filed under Challenges, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

New Recipes

I have found that trying to combine eating low-carb and feeding my diabetic husband to be a bit of a challenge. I fell into a trap of my own making several months ago, opting to eat what HE ate. NOT GOOD! Mostly now, I can fix low carb meals and then add extra things he can also eat into the mix.

I have found that getting a husband to try new foods, substitutions, and new recipes is a character-building exercise. For example, the substitutions of spaghetti squash for pasta and riced cauliflower for rice just won’t work for him. He’s like a little kid, making faces and being quite dramatic.  Happily, though, he is very supportive of my trying new recipes.

I tried one for chicken thighs in the crock pot last night. You’re supposed to thicken the juices with xanthan for use as a gravy. I made rice for him and I ate spaghetti squash. I like anything with a gravy-like sauce, so I thought it was pretty good. He praised the tenderness of the chicken, and he liked the rice, but the sauce, not so much.

I’ll cut up the leftover chicken tonight, combining it with cream of chicken/mushroom soup that he particularly likes, and serve it over rice for him and cauli-rice for me. It’s not quite as low-carb with the soup, but I can work around it to make my day come out under my limits.

Meanwhile, I’m glad we’ve found some substitutes for things he loves so he doesn’t feel deprived and walk around looking hangdog:

  • Arizona Zero Peach Tea
  • Alpine Sugar-Free Apple Cider Mix
  • A&W Sugar-Free Soda
  • Sweet Freedom Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Sweet Freedom Blue Bunny Ice Cream Cones
  • Jello Sugar-Free Cups

Now I just have to practice NOT feeling deprived MYSELF when he eats without having to worry about carbs…. (I’ll try to make a list of good things I have found that make eating low-carb much easier and post them for those who might be interested.)


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, Healthy Eating

Moles, Voles and Other ‘Oles’

This is a ‘vole.’



And this is a ‘mole.’

The past few years the memo has gone out to all moles, voles, and other ‘oles’ that the Lewis property has the tastiest grubs in the world. They have come en masse, steadily, wreaking havoc on our lawn. We used to use a lawn service who spread fertilizer, weed killer, and for extra money, would treat our lawn with something that was supposed to kill the grubs, making the critters go elsewhere. It didn’t work. We finally gave up, stopping the lawn service since our yard was too much of a mess to make the cost reasonable.

At Lunch Bunch our friend Alice suggested we try a deterrent that looks like worms created out of gel like stuff. You put them in the tunnel and then close the hole lightly.

We put one package of three out, choosing tunnels at random. A couple of days ago I found a dead MOLE on the grass in the back.

Since Amber is a digger, we’re not sure if we finally have a “mole/vole/or other ole” dog or if one of the worms we placed worked. It’s the first victory we’ve had in several years, so we’re pleased that SOMETHING is getting some action. We have no clue how many of these critters we have – we just know the lawn looks like something out of a late movie, “Revenge of the Oles.”

One down….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges

A Step Too Far

We got the competitor of the Sleep Number Mattress (Comfortaire) in January of 2006. At that time we would have had to buy a bed frame, headboard, etc. in order to put in the new mattress because it’s basically two fancy air mattresses each with its own control. We looked all around, but were out of style yet again in that people didn’t want bookcase headboards. We decided to build our own.

This is what we built. Not as elegant as what you see in the stores, but the headboard has storage, controls for various things in the middle, lights, etc. The bed frame is solid wood and weighs a ton (more or less :0) ) It’s strong enough to house all the stuff you need to control the air in the mattress, the pump, hoses, etc., and the mattresses themselves, kind of like building a frame for a swimming pool.

We made frames on the headboard so we could decorate it with river rock.


We love this bed because we’re never in agreement on how firm the mattress should be. I also tend to change my firmness from time to time to accommodate my back, while my husband sets it and forgets it, other than hitting the button to replace any air that has been lost.

We also like an electric blanket for the same reason. With dual controls, we can both be comfortable. In January of 2006 my husband decided to ‘be neat’ with the electronics for the blanket. The wires ran all over the place, so he put the wires that ran from the headboard to the end of the blanket in the space under the plywood that was the mattress support of the frame of the bed. He also wired the controls into the headboard nicely, and THEN finished putting the headboard together.

This has worked beautifully for 11 years. I realized that when we put the electric blanket on the bed this time (because we LOVE to have the attic fan on at night when the weather allows it), I had it set on HIGH, but it was only warm. I froze to death several nights in a row, even with adding an afghan on my side of the bed,  before telling my husband we needed to get a new electric blanket.

We got busy during the day yesterday, but we decided to plug in the new blanket when we went up to bed last night. Easy, peezy, right?

When it became clear that we would have to take the whole bed apart in order to get the wiring for the non-functioning blanket out, I told my husband I refused. We ended up cutting the wires, cutting off the controls, and cutting off the plug in at the end of the bed. (Needless to say, our former plans of saving the blanket in case of emergency went out the window. It doesn’t make a good blanket by itself, so we can’t even donate it now. :0(  )  I did mention that we might have gone a step too far in trying to be neat 11 years ago…

At a little after 1 a.m. this morning, we finally got the bed together again with clean sheets, the new electric blanket with modernized controls,  a comforter, etc.

We both slept blissfully well last night. Ahhhhh.



Filed under Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance

“Want To” vs “Doing”

Translating intention to action to results is difficult. If I could bottle it, I would be a gazillionaire and could stop entering PCH and MegaMillions.

Trying to get myself to actually DO the things day after day that will get the results I want seems like a pipe dream at times. When I’m eating right, doing yoga and my elliptical trainer, and concentrating on moving more, I feel better – physically, mentally, and emotionally. So why am I still having to MAKE myself do these things, lapsing for a day or two, losing my motivation, failing to take each day at a time?

I am again talking to myself – pretty harshly – since I think I may be like our lab puppy, Amber, and need a shock collar to take things seriously, rather than blowing things off.

THIS TIME – I have my ducks more in a row (if you’ll pardon the pun on the pic above.)

  • I’ve been missing bread a LOT. I’ve now found Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb Bread Mix that is a net 5 carbs per slice. I wrapped it around a hot dog yesterday and bit in with gusto. (I’m still going to try my new weird screaming green silicone bread maker thingie, but I’m finding other priorities at the moment.)
  • Thanks to my son, I found a new nutrition counter and log called “Cronometer” to replace MyFitnessPal, which is good, but the people don’t maintain the website well. The front page hasn’t come up for months. I haven’t tried to add a recipe new to the website yet, but, so far, entering what I eat and logging in my exercise daily is quick and easy.
  • Since my back finally quit hurting (still no clue what I did to cause the situation) – I am able to do careful stretching in prep for getting back to my “Gentle Yoga” DVDs with Cat Kabira.
  • Also, since my back quit hurting, I am able to start catching up with all the house cleaning that was ignored while I vegged out in my recliner on my heat pad on muscle relaxers, ointments, pain patches, etc. Feeling that I’m doing something significant each day to purge/clean/reorganize is making me feel more together and in control of things. (Today’s project is finishing up scrubbing the master bathroom)
  • We’re supposed to get rain today/tonight and a very welcome cool front, lowering the temperatures and humidity that have it feeling like over 100 degrees F. for the past month. We are more than ready, and I’m itching to get back out to my square foot garden and see what’s what. :0)

Tonight we’re having spaghetti and salad, with a bit of bread. (Newman’s Own Marina sauce is low-carb. My husband prefers small elbow macaroni to spaghetti, so I’ll fix that for him. I’ll have spaghetti squash as an alternative to spaghetti, and a piece of my low-carb bread I made.)

SO – desire to be healthier, get the lard off, increase my flexibility and overall health merge with good intention, motivation, means, and attitude to give me a good start. One day at a time.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off


As you get older, it doesn’t take much to make you feel disenfranchised, lost, with the emotional rug pulled out from under you. We’ve had two such occurrences lately, so I’m trying to be proactive so we can feel support under us again as soon as possible.

I’ve already told you in other posts that our dear dental hygienist and her husband died in a plane crash in August. The hole in our hearts will remain a long time, freshly opened every six months when we go for exams and cleaning. We went for our regularly scheduled appointment this month. As I expected, Dr. Moore found a winner for the position. She had worked there part-time and everyone there liked her, including Shannon. I had my exam and cleaning first. When my husband went in for his, Dr. Moore came out to visit with me, ask me what I thought of Alisha, and hug my neck for the card and letter I sent. Thanks to Dr. Moore for choosing someone who would fit in well with the rest of the kind, caring folks in his office.  We remain in good hands.

The next blow came when my friend Kay asked us at Lunch Bunch a couple of weeks ago, “What do you think of Dr. Jackson leaving?” She knew, by the way our mouths hung open like gutted fish, that we didn’t know. After checking with the clinic and doing some research, we have found that our wonderful Dr. Jackson has relocated to Russellville, about an hour and a half away from us. His new situation is definitely good for him and his future. We’re happy for him and sad for us. We wrote a letter thanking him for his good care of us.

We researched the physician who will take Dr. Jackson’s place. She seems very qualified. When I read the part that listed her hobbies – one of them being ‘hunting,’ my husband was sold. He immediately said, “We’ll go to her.”

My husband is running out of samples of a drug that is really working for him. We didn’t get a prescription yet, so this is a bit of a problem. I kept calling to try to get an appointment with the new doc, but was told to try back in a week or so – they weren’t okayed to make appointments with her yet. Finally, last Friday I called and got both of us an appointment with her on her first day at the clinic, October 2nd.

To this end, I thought it would help her if we could give a short description of who we are and what we need. That’s more difficult than it sounds. I’m making a list for each of us of our prescriptions, dosages, times we take them per day, and what for, and then the supplements we take. I’m also going to scan our quarterly blood tests from last month. This way, in two pages, she can see each of us in a nutshell without our taking an undue amount of her time.

Maybe we’ll feel the ground settle a bit after we’ve seen her, get the prescriptions we need, and set up for our first quarterly appointment. Changes aren’t fun. They’re disconcerting. But, happily, in our case so far, the changes are doable.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes

Do You Ever…

Zen to Zany

I told you recently that my husband and I ‘cut the cord’ and cancelled our association with Dish TV. (We had previously cut our Internet service with Dish because we discovered that WOW (World of Wireless in Fort Smith) could give us better service via a tower on the ridge line behind us.)

With this newest change, many of our TV viewing habits had to change. We used to keep the TV on Fox News most of the day. We also recorded a bunch of TV shows we liked via our DVR and would watch in the evenings. We didn’t even know what night or network provided the shows we watched. They were just there when we wanted.

Although these two things were nice, we were paying almost $100/month for mostly channels we never watched. We even researched a new ‘skinny bundle,’ but by the time we got HD, DVR, Fox News, and HBO (Game of Thrones), we were back up where we started. Our bill now for everything is $36.00.  We can get many networks over the air with an antenna. We also have Roku, Hulu, and some others. We have to strain our brains a bit to figure out how to get what we would like, but it’s good for us.

One thing I really didn’t expect was a lifting of a weight from my shoulders. I really hadn’t realized how listening to the same news stories over and over all day, with a bit of a different spin depending on who the talking heads were, was wearing me down, making me depressed. I want to know what’s going on; but, since I can’t DO anything about most of it – other than send donations right now – I just want to be told what is happening without any obvious spin, left or right.

Now we watch Reuters each evening. They ask you how much time you have. You select up to 30 minutes, and then they show you however much they can get into the time frame you’ve chosen. No commercials. No bias that we can detect yet. The news still isn’t ‘happy,’ but I don’t feel weighted down, wanting to crawl into a hole and escape.

We’re making a list of the TV shows we used to DVR and trying to make sure we can get that network. We’ve discovered networks and programs we didn’t know about before and are loving it. It’s a work in progress, and a wonderfully fresh outlook on things. :0)


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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

Day Off


Since my back has been in protest mode lately, I’ve leaned toward comfort food, rather than eating my low carb food. The low carb foods can be really good, and I don’t feel deprived, but they aren’t comfort food.

Today I’m taking my last day off. To that end, I asked my husband what he has been missing most. He immediately said, “chicken chunks and soup over rice.” And so it shall be. I also got some double stuff oreo cookies as my official send off back to being a grown up.

I’ve decided it doesn’t matter anymore whether my back hurts. I’m going to get back to doing what I know I should – gentle stretching and eating right.

If someone could come up with low carb, low sugar comfort food, he or she would be a gazillionaire.


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


I enjoyed three full days with no pain, and then I got up to get some coffee last night and it felt as if a mule had kicked me in the right side of my ‘nether end.’ I used the heat pad, then slapped on a pain patch, and took a muscle relaxer before bed. I’m better today, but it still hurts pretty badly when I stand or sit. Once I’m in either position, it’s better. Arrrrrrrrgh!

I’ve been TRYING to get out and scrub out Amber’s kiddie pool. My husband turned it over to get the yucky water out and prevent any further place for mosquitoes to breed, but it remains upended in the side yard. Amber goes over to it every time we go out. I would like to get it scrubbed out and refilled, since the temps are supposed to be in the low 90s for the rest of this week and much of next.

I also planned to use the weed whacker around my greenhouse, now that the ham radio tower is up and out of the way.

Each day comes and goes and the two things stare me in the face. Maybe I can get them done by the end of the weekend….

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Filed under Challenges, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Serial Seed Killer Tries Again

Since I wasn’t able to find plants that I wanted for my fall garden, I planted some seeds and will hope for the best.

I planted some inside in a big planter starter thingie with a plastic top and it’s living on one end of our dining area table where it can get some sun. The others I planted directly in the garden, again hoping for the best.

I planted Bibb Lettuce, Simpson Lettuce, and Spinach inside, and planted those, plus radishes, carrots, and 4 celery plants I started inside. There isn’t anything to see yet, so no pics.

Since I’m aptly named the ‘Serial Seed Killer,” I may not get much, or anything, but I’m hopeful that ONE of the methods I used will be successful. Here’s hoping!


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

Changes are DIFFICULT!

It seems that life is providing several character-building changes to us lately.

  • I’ve already told you that our much-loved dental hygienist and her husband were killed in a plane crash last month. We lucked out that our dentist, Dr. Wes Moore, was able to find another very competent, physically and emotionally gentle hygienist to take care of us.
  • Today we learned that our wonderful family practice doctor has left the Greenwood practice and has relocated to Russellville AR., an hour and a half each way from us. :0(   We are just devastated. We’ve looked up information on the new doctor coming in October, and have decided that we would like to try her. I called the clinic and they said someone would call us about it. Our doctor was compassionate, and provided samples of the blood sugar medicine my husband needs. Since this very likely will stop, I’ll need to research possible sources of this very expensive medicine. Humana doesn’t cover it, and it’s $550.00/month. To say I’m freaked out right now is an understatement. My husband glibly says, “I’ll just take it until the samples run out and then stop.” (I’m trying not to deck him.) He understands, but doesn’t really absorb, the fact that his body will do really bad things if he doesn’t take the medicine that helps control his blood sugar. So the search starts now…

I feel that the rug has been pulled out from under us several times lately. We’re trying to deal with things the best way we can, but one of the things about getting older is that you stiffen up and don’t bounce quite as well as you did when you were much younger.

I’ll try to focus on all the positive things in our lives – and we have a BUNCH of them.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes

Help for my Back

I did SOMETHING mysterious to my back a couple of weeks ago and have been pretty useless ever since, spending a lot of time in my chair with the heating pad, taking pain relievers, etc.

Yesterday I had a wonderful massage. My massage therapist always asks if I need more help in a certain area, and I told her about my back – that my muscle pain keeps moving, causing me spasms, pain, and general grief.

My doctor gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant and that has helped, but I’m still a mess.  I had to grit my teeth to get up on the massage table and lie down flat on my front.

Lynn concentrated on my back, using a spray stuff she massaged in. For the first time in a long time I was free of pain! I asked her what it was and where I could get some. She got it on a trip to Branson, Missouri, but she said the lady had a website, What she was massaging into my back is called, Kelly’s World Famous Eucalyptus Oil. It’s an all natural pain reliever. It doesn’t have an odor and rubs in, not getting on your clothes. To be honest, at this point I wouldn’t care if it looked and felt like tar and smelled bad. It took my pain away.

When I got home I went to the website and ordered two 4 oz bottles. I’m going to ask my sweet husband to spray it on me and rub it in as soon as it arrives.

I still have a super tender back today. It isn’t a miracle drug, but it DOES really ease the pain while your body works its way out of the pain cycle.

I’m hoping the combination of muscle relaxants, the spray, the heat pad, and really careful stretching will get me back to my normal state – my husband describes as, “mean as a snake!” :0)


Filed under Challenges, exercise, Health Alert

Emotional Day

The picture above could be Amber, but it isn’t. Isn’t it great?


We went to have our teeth cleaned yesterday, the first time since our wonderful dental hygienist and her husband were killed in a crash of their private plane.

Our receptionist called the day before to remind us of our appointment. (I hope this is routine, and that she calls everyone – not just us because we’re getting a bit doofus in our sunset years.) She told us that our hygienist’s name was Alisha. She also carefully tiptoed into making sure I knew that our Shannon was gone.

When we got there, we were greeted with smiles, as usual. I went first, and discovered to my delight, that Alisha was competent, gentle, and caring. She had worked for the dental office part time, and so knew everyone there. She really liked Shannon, too, and was grieving with us all. She’ll be very good in that spot.

My husband went in when I came out. When he left, there was a steady stream of people coming to me one at a time, asking for a hug, and thanking me for the card and letter I sent them when I heard the news. Lots of people sent cards, flowers, plants, and called, but I was told I was the only one who wrote a personal letter. The receptionist came over, hugged me, and told me she was so touched by what I had said that she had copied my letter and sent it to Shannon’s parents. I teared up over that.

Even Dr. Moore took time to come out and thank me. I again thanked HIM for taking such kind care of me when I was in terrible pain from a wisdom tooth. I remarked that he has the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. When my husband came out, Dr. Moore told him that I was “hitting on him,” allowing us to share a good laugh.

No one can or will replace Shannon. I still dread going to the dentist, even for a teeth cleaning, but we’re extremely lucky that Dr. Moore really has a talent for gathering good people, then treating them so well they stay. I’m happy he found another kind lady to take care of us.  I told her that Shannon’s patients remained in good hands, and that once she had seen and taken care of each of us, the next time we would definitely be HER patients. She does a great job.



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Filed under Challenges, Delightful Surprises

Electronic Mysteries

Every once in a while, our electronic stuff goes ‘wonky.’ (There is probably a technical term for what happened in each case, but ‘wonky’ suffices for me.) Sometimes it just wants to be looked at. Sometimes it wants to be taken apart and put back together. Unplugged and plugged back in….

Yesterday it was the TV. It simply died. No warning, No waning. Just died. As with a lot of things these days, it’s cheaper to buy a new one than even THINK about fixing it or paying someone else to fix it. We looked on the log we keep of stuff we’d like to remember, and discovered the TV was over 10 years old, and we paid over $1200 for it. We discussed the problem, then decided to list the features we thought were mandatory and go from there.

We decided to go to WalMart, and then, if we didn’t find anything, go to Fort Smith to Best Buy. My husband insisted we get a larger one than we had, which was 48″. He wanted 4K (Ultra High Definition Television), HDR (High Dynamic Range) – this has been explained to me that it can handle whatever resolution we get on upgrades for the TV, better resolution on DVDs, etc.  He wanted at least 3 HDMI ports (plug-in places for our Playstation 3, Roku, amplifier, etc.) AND a price tag below $600….

We found a Philips 5000 at WalMart. It’s 55″,  has all the things mentioned above, and cost $428.00. It’s also much lighter than our former TV.

We spent the rest of the day and evening getting the old one out, the new one in and hooked up. My husband is trying to teach our remotes to handle the new stuff so that we don’t have to play ‘juggling remotes,’ if possible. He’ll get them to do as much as he can, and for that I’m grateful.

I just hope that this is the last in the line of electronic thingies that suddenly doesn’t work, can’t be revived, and must be replaced!

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Filed under Challenges

I’m a Mess

I’m officially pathetic.

I don’t know what I did, so it’ll be hard to avoid doing whatever it was again. Bottom line is that I’ve been doing very little the past few days, and had to cancel bowling with good friends this evening because of back spasms and pain that keeps changing location, but doesn’t go away.

My doctor gave me a prescription for some muscle relaxants, telling me to try half a pill twice a day, up to one pill twice a day. I’m on the latter now, plus a heat pad. I’m trying to get to the point I can get down on the floor and do some slow, gentle yoga stretching, but I think I would need a crane to get back up. Back pain is the pits and I’m ready to get through the pain cycle. Thankfully, I have a massage scheduled for Thursday. Maybe THAT will get me over the hump.


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Three C’s

source unknown

Change is difficult. It’s SO much easier to simply ‘keep on keepin’ on.’

Change means leaving your comfort zone, getting up off your duff, doing things might be scary, challenging, even unpleasant sometimes. But if you stop making the choice to take the chance to make a change, you stop living. You gradually quietly implode, your world becoming smaller and smaller until it’s gone.

Sometimes I think my husband is on a mission to make us UNcomfortable – with WAAAAY too many changes at one time.

One example of this is our CHOICE to cancel our subscription to DISH TV. Living in the sticks outside a small town in Arkansas, we’re very lucky to have two satellite TV choices: Dish and DirecTV. Now we’ve tried both. Both offered a lot of stations in the package we chose, but we couldn’t JUST get the channels we wanted, and we had to pay extra for the channels that weren’t included, plus the rental of the DVR, plus a charge for HD, plus……over $98/month.

So now we’re free of that, and that’s a good thing. BUT now we have to learn how to use Roku, Hulu, AmazonPrimeTV, and about 4 other choices right off the bat that all sound the same to me. Nothing is relaxing, mindless anymore. That’s a good thing for us, too, but it isn’t enjoyable at the moment. We had to order another Roku remote, because I can’t take the idea of my husband being in charge of what we’re watching, how loud the sound is, etc.  Now, instead of leaving a news channel on, buffering it for about an hour so we can skip through commercials, plus being able to hit “DVR” and see a list of stuff taped, ready to be watched, we have to figure out how to get the Roku service on (particularly if we watched a DVD the night before), then go to the service that provides the channel or program we want to see, then figure out (again) how to get the sound on.

We’re having to adjust to the fact that you can’t pause a show. You can mute the sound, but you can’t pause. So, if you get a phone call, need to get up to do something, get a call of nature, etc., you either miss whatever happened while you were gone or watch it again.  We have to mute for commercials, although we’re paying a bit extra for services that offer no commercials.

Instead of $98/month, we’re paying $36. We have almost all of the channels and programs we wanted. I’m finding that watching 24 hour news programs was stressful. Since they all hashed the same news with their unique spin or opinions, we aren’t missing much. Between my online news and the ones we watch now, we know pretty much what’s going on.

We’re still researching to find out what’s being offered or updated. We’re still working together to figure out how to make things work. We’re having to strain our brains, rather than mindlessly staring at the tube.

We’re reading and talking and playing with our animals more.

So we made the CHOICE to take a CHANCE so our lives have CHANGED –  for the better.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Favorite Quotes



Yesterday we had our quarterly primary doctor appointment.

Our doctor was really happy with our blood test results.  I’m doing well on my current dosage for thyroid and my numbers otherwise continue to improve – all in the normal range now, when I used to have high cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. My blood pressure was the best ever. – 124 over 68.  My husband’s A1C showed the best results since we had the scare about a year ago. His number then was 16.1 (this is a ‘call-the-medics’ SCARY number on diabetes). It is now down to 7.3. We’re shooting for under 7, and our doc says this is doable, and he was REALLY happy with my husband’s efforts to cut out sugar. :0)

Now, all ‘I’ have to do is get the lard off.

To date I’m down 25+ pounds and 18-1/2 inches.

We’re following a low carb diet with as low numbers on sugar as possible. I’m trying to stay under 1200 calories and 40 carbs per day.

Yesterday I had my best day ever on steps – almost 8,000. I’m seriously trying to move more – a bit of a challenge lately since my back keeps having spasms. My doc checked it out, confirmed it was in the muscles rather than the spine, and put me on muscle relaxant meds for about a week. He wants me to take them for two days and then I can EASE back into my yoga.  Then I’ll try for a yoga session and a half hour on my elliptical daily.

I’m tracking what I’m eating and my exercise on The fixing of problems on their website isn’t great. The main page where you can see how many days in a row you’ve checked in, see how much weight you’ve lost, etc., is STILL not working (over 3 weeks now), but their foods data is the best I’ve seen, so I’m staying with them.

My husband and I are finally on the same page on motivation to eat right. This is really helpful. My willpower isn’t that great, and it doesn’t take much at all for me to throw in the towel and go get a pizza. Last night, though, when we were exhausted from our efforts all day long, my husband suggested we go to Subway. I can get a double chicken, bacon, and ranch salad that is really good and on my diet, and my husband can indulge in a foot long sandwich. He was good last night, except for getting 2 oatmeal raisin cookies… :0)


I’m hopeful that by the end of September, I can report a reasonable weight and inches loss. I’ll keep on keepin’ on, and concentrate on


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

Cutting the Cord

We used to have a ‘bundle’ of TV and Internet from Dish.

About 6 months or so ago we changed our Internet to WOW (World of Wireless) which gives us our service from a radio tower on the ridge line across the valley from us. We are VERY happy with the change, realizing we’ll probably never live to see the really high speed, high capacity service out in the sticks.

Lately we’ve been researching cutting the cord to their TV service. For a long time it was the best we could get. There was basically Dish and DirecTV, and we’ve been on both over the years.  Our present service costs over $98.00/month. We think this is outrageous, but it was the best we could do, until now.

We started reading articles that encouraged us to look around. We got a TiVo to get OTA (over-the-air) channels with an antenna. THEN we found that we could use all kinds of services that gave us almost everything we have now at a MUCH lower price. I had never heard of most of these things: Roku, Hulu, AmazonPrimeTV, and another one I can’t remember the name of.  It looks like our total cost per month will eventually be around $36.00.

We just sold the TiVo today on Ebay, getting enough money back to be reasonable. We will soon stop the subscription to Dish. We will either change our NetFlix subscription to stream only or stop it altogether.

We’ll have to change some habits, but that’s good. We’re in the process now of building a spreadsheet that tells us which service to access to be able to watch the shows we like.

This is a fun, MUCH less expensive, new way (for us) to get entertainment that doesn’t make us cringe every month!

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Hope for the Future

Planet Natural

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

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

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

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

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

Attitude is All


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

Today’s ‘yoge’ is “hips.”

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

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

With rice for my husband (cauli-rice for me) and some salad, dinner is taken care of. When I finish this, I’ll make us some lunch. is keeping me on track with my eating again. I keep being amazed at how far off I had gotten. I was making low carb meals, but was sabotaging my efforts with the portions, side dishes, and sugar-free stuff “I” was eating to be companionable with my husband. Now I’m being careful to stay under 1200 calories a day and under 40 grams of carbohydrates, plus move more.



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


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

Have a happy day!

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I’m Not Sure I Bend That Way…

Ground Zero Web

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

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

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

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


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Bouncing Back – Getting the Lard Off

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


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



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

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

On with Week 2!


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

Back into Yoga – Day 6


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

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

The practice is geared toward women

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

A Perfect Marriage?

Crafty Morning

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

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

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

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

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

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


Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, Family

Day Three of Being Back in the Saddle

The Cincinnati Zoo

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

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

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

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

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Day One – Dose of Reality!

Cool Animal World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bored Panda

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

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

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

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

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



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

4th Time is the Charm?


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

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

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

Please wish us luck?


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