Category Archives: Changes

Therapy

Bruderhof Communities

Playing in my art room is therapy for me. An escape from anything that is bothering me. A way to work out feelings. A joy in experimentation.

We converted a third bedroom into my art room several years ago. I helped my husband put up extra shelves all the way across one wall. We got extra stand-alone shelves and a drafting table advertised in the newspaper. We put up a few more shelves on another wall. I converted the closet into a supplies area. We put up another large table that is as long as one wall.  There is a ceiling fan from which I hung a cute mobile of merry-go-round horses.

Years ago my husband and son got together to give me a present of a lot of my favorite songs on CDs. I have a player up there, so I can fill the room with glorious music – some of which I danced to as a teenager a hundred years or so ago – and lose myself in the world of music and paint.

The only limitations is my imagination and my ability to make my visions come out on whatever I’m trying to paint. Lately I’ve been having ideas for tees on which I have spots that won’t come out in the wash. Since I’m a slob, I seem to have a never-ending supply of tees that can use a face lift.

Yesterday I finished another.

 

Lately I am trying to do things each day that make me stronger.  I’m getting back into exercising, monitoring what I eat more carefully, working in my flowers when the weather isn’t lethal, playing in my art room, spending time with our son, walking outside several times a day, and reading.

The result of all this is hopefully a stronger, happier, calmer me. I don’t have to be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but being able to handle whatever comes as well as possible would be good.  I am in DAY 4 today. So far, so good!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, aging, Attitude, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, fun in my art room, Giving New Life to Old Tops, Health Alert, Lewis Art, playing in my art room, quality of life, taking care of yourself

A Nice Wednesday

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Jeff Jett posts these wonderful photos on LinkedIn. He is an avid supporter of wildlife and wants to do what he can to help preserve wild animals and their habitats. I don’t know who took this fabulous photo, but it’s one of the nicest I’ve ever seen.  Great way to start the day, isn’t it?

The high temperature for the day here in Greenwood, Arkansas is forecast to be only 88 and no rain. (Fort Smith, about 9 miles from us, just had the most rain EVER for August, and the month isn’t over! The usual rainfall for the month is 2.59 inches. This month we’ve already had 11.13 inches. Needless to say, this much rain has caused many problems, and is one of the times where it is GOOD to live on top of a ridge line. (We won’t dwell on our getting our electronics fried in June due to being on top of this same ridge line.) We are hoping that the temperatures will continue to ease and that we can again enjoy being outside.

Our son is still with us, after my husband’s health scare. Thank goodness he can work from anywhere, so he is able to keep up with things he needs to do while helping us create the ‘new normal’ around here. One of the things we’re trying to do is walk around our yard after we feed our animals in the evenings. So far, our results are a bit iffy (The first night my husband opted to mow the lawn with the riding mower while our son and I walked. Last night we made it around the yard once, with my husband stopping to pull weeds or fix things every few steps.) We will continue our efforts – the goal being to get him moving, doing at least a bit of exercise each day, and hopefully enjoying the weather while we’re doing it.

While creating a ‘new normal,’ I’m redoubling my efforts to get myself as healthy as I can – and staying that way – so that I can handle whatever challenges the future brings.  I’ve become lax on my exercising (this time using the excuse of my husband’s health challenge), so I’m going to start with a session of yoga today. I will try to do SOMETHING exercise-wise daily, plus try to get my husband to walk in the evenings.  I’ll also try to do something for myself each day – whether it’s playing in my art room, like I did yesterday, painting a tee –

 

 

working outside in my flowers or veggies, enjoying a good book, or – like tomorrow – having my once per month massage.  I’ll continue my efforts to lose the lard.

I hope you’re having a beautiful Wednesday.

 

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, taking care of yourself, Thoughts on a ________

In Life

Lisa Bearnes Richey

 

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Filed under aging, Challenges, Changes, Family

Relief

Credit – Gardiner Family Chiropractic

We had two more doctor appointments today and finally have answers.

Last month my husband had a stroke. His speech and mobility were affected. He is stronger every day, getting better and better. Our son came back from Thailand to help us deal with this. Getting answers as to what my husband needed to prevent another have been quite an ordeal.

The short answer is that what we have been doing for the last two weeks – baby aspirin and Plavix – should be all that is needed. Neurocranial surgery is not needed. No invasive procedures are needed. We have some issues remaining that require referrals to other specialists, but the big worry is now fading away. We can concentrate on the day to day and get to our new normal now.

Lessons learned:

  • Stay at the ER until you have talked to the ER doctor – no matter what. The fast referrals will come from the ER doc. If you leave, you are at the back of any line for any appointment, procedure, test, etc.
  • Be the squeaky wheel. You can be polite, but keep the procedure going. Call or write the people who can make things happen. If they say someone will call, don’t depend on that. You are in charge of your healthcare. You are the one who can keep the focus on the problem, actually GET seen, GET answers, GET help.
  • Don’t try to deal with life-changing things alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends, neighbors, relatives.
  • Be ready when someone else needs YOUR help – help in whatever way you can. It is ALL good.
  • Try your best to stay calm and do the best you can where you are, with the tools you have. It’s all you can do.
  • BREATHE

We are lucky. We can do this.  Such relief!

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, taking care of yourself

Prepare

About Signs

Having a health scare is just that -scary.  Trying to get help for it is a character-building exercise at a time you’re under great stress. Once the initial hurdles have been jumped over, another of life’s realities rears its ugly head – you have to take charge, doing whatever is necessary to get the help needed.

Yesterday was a case in point. I have almost no tongue left because of biting it so many times while I was on the phone making my way through the bureaucratic maze, trying to get tests scheduled and appointments made.

I had been told we would receive calls regarding where and when we should show up for tests and referrals to various specialists. I was given a card with a phone number to call in case that didn’t happen. I was to use it if I didn’t hear anything in a week.

When I called the number on the card, I found that the ‘referral department’ doesn’t actually handle referrals – they give you phone numbers to call – one of which was the ‘scheduling department.’ It turned out that the scheduling department didn’t actually schedule the tests, they ‘authorized’ them. I received another number to call to actually schedule the tests.  The finally scheduled group of added tests will help the specialists figure out what is needed and who should do it.

You get the picture.

It’s bad enough to go through the health scare. The problem is compounded when you finally realize that even though you HAVE TO go through the maze – endure the system – in order to get help, you are your own best advocate. You have to steadily, persistently, keep pushing until you actually get the needed tests scheduled, the actual appointments scheduled to see the specialists, get the results of those, the plan of attack to fix the original problem, the guidance on how to best care for the person who is sick and isn’t in a position to deal with this.

We are thankful. Our son – who lives and works in Thailand – wanted to come to help. He did and is here. He is keeping us calmer, more able to slog through the mazes, phone trees, delays, frustration, attitudes, and emotions, actually injecting some much-needed humor, as well as calm strength.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Family, taking care of yourself

Good News for the Future!

Beingsalem Via Mara Spirig – LinkedIn

We just had people from Arkansas Valley Electric Co-op come to the door, saying they needed to measure our poles for the coming installation of a new fiber optic line. He went on to say that in the future, the company will be offering a bundle for people out in the sticks like we are, including Internet, TV, and Phone!  He said it would be a year or year and a half, but came back to bring me a brochure.

There is hope for much faster, more reliable service in the future – if we can live long enough!  HOORAY!

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Filed under Changes, Good Thoughts, quality of life

Goal

Shlreline Primitives via Carol Auclair Daly

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Filed under aging, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement, taking care of yourself

Humor as a Stress Reliever

Sometimes we aren’t sure which way to jump, which path to take, what is in our future.

One of the many things my dad taught me was to stand back and try to see the humor in any situation. He had a bad accident, falling off a horse when he was three, leaving him with a shortened left arm with an almost useless hand. He learned to use humor to keep kids from bullying him. He would make them laugh so hard they forgot his ‘disability’ and took him into their group. He used jokes and sarcasm to make his views known. An example of this was he would say, “Nice skirt” to me – when he actually thought it was too short and I needed to change my clothes. Whenever he was in a group, you would soon hear laughing. He passed his ability to see humor in most situations on to me. Just before he died, he scrawled on a napkin, “Remember me laughing.” Though it took me awhile, I do. What a strong, smart man he was!

I have used his lessons many times over the years. I can never win an argument, for example, because I can either easily see the other person’s point of view, or I ‘see’ us having a ‘discussion,’ see the humor in the situation – or the fact that what we are ‘discussing’ has little priority in what is important in life, and the tension dissolves.

Many times life throws us curves that challenge us on seeing the humor.

We’re in the middle of one right now, and things have been difficult. Our son is now home with us, helping with the situation. He brings CALM, caring, good sense, a healthy sense of the ridiculous, love, and lots of hugs. He has had us laughing several times already and he’s only been home a day.

I found this on the net this morning, and it made me smirk. A good reminder to keep my head on straight and be extremely glad my two guys are together. Together we will figure out in which direction we should go.

 

I Need Real Help

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Family, taking care of yourself

Resilience

Wall Street Journal – Illustration – Brian Stauffer

 

“I think that life is difficult.

People have challenges.

Family members get sick, people get older, you don’t always get the job or the promotion that you want.

You have conflicts in your life.

And really, life is about your resilience and your ability to go through your life and all of the ups and downs with a positive attitude.”

Jennifer Hyman

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Encouragement

New Game

 

Getting older is sometimes the pits. Lately, our dog, Amber, my husband and I are playing a new game called, “Who is Worse Today?”  The game consists of comparing insults and injuries to our bodies and then declaring a winner for the day. There are no prizes – just care and commiseration.

Several weeks ago, Amber got hurt mysteriously on her morning outing. She had a badly skinned place on her head, skinned places on her legs, and she was limping badly. We still don’t know if she was clipped by a vehicle in the road at the bottom of our driveway, a cow kicked her, or what. She obviously was the winner for several days. She is fine, now, by the way, is happily jumping into the back seat of the truck again, running around barking at ghost gophers, and happily taunting us with her ball.

I was the winner for a couple of days, getting bitten/stung by fire ants on my arm. Apparently I am mildly allergic, swelling up fairly dramatically, hurting and itching at the same time, etc.

Today it is my husband’s turn to be declared the winner –

 

 

He made a new pvc pipe thingie to attach the newly rebuilt planter to the irrigation system.  He found that one of the hoses needed to be replaced. In that process,  we boil water to get the hoses  onto hose barbs, etc. Anyway, somehow, he lost his balance and fell down into the planter. We had trouble getting him up, but finally managed it. He scraped one leg and knee, and will probably have bruises, scabs, etc. for some time to come.  He acted as though he were more insulted and embarrassed than hurt.

We got his wounds cleaned, put antibiotic ointment on, got him into clean clothes and into his recliner with a glass of cold tea. He is relaxing and reading there now.

I really wish we could forget this new GAME of ours. It really isn’t fun. I AM really, really thankful that so far, no one has broken bones or had injuries that were life-threatening or life altering.

We keep talking about trying to be more careful, paying better attention, etc., but things happen too fast sometimes.

I’m glad that we have good air conditioning, a nice comfortable chair, food, tea, and hopefully a nap to offer the winner for today.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes

Good News!!!!!

I told you that two of the 14 brick planters we have built up on top of our ridge line collapsed suddenly. We knocked the rest of the bricks down and tried to prepare ourselves to rebuild them.

We found that 25 years or so makes a huge difference in our stamina and ability to work in the heat. We ended up mixing one bag of mortar each day, laying one layer of bricks with it, then cleaning up for the day. We did this for five days, finally completely the first of the two planters. We put the potting soil we had saved back into the planter. My husband recently redid the plastic PVC pipe irrigation piece for the first planter, so technically it’s ready to plant. With a heat index of 105-110+ degrees, we have ignored the problem.

I’ve been trying to find a real brick layer to rebuild the planters. We had the bricks and the mortar, so it was their time, labor, and expertise we were paying for. The only man who came to give us an estimate knocked our socks off with how much he would charge for the two planters. We told him, ‘no thank you,’ and built the first one ourselves.

 

As you can see, it looks pretty awful.  It DOES hold the potting soil. The picture doesn’t show the new irrigation piece, but it’s ready for planting now.

 

This is the second planter. We have been mowing and weed whacking around this the whole spring and summer, hoping to find a brick layer.

FINALLY, yesterday a wonderful man named Jose Aguirre came up and looked at things. He rejected the mortar we had bought, both the sand version and the one with small pebbles, and gave us an estimate. I was overjoyed that it was reasonable, AND we can do it!!!!

He will come out tomorrow at 8 in the morning to do the job!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am that my husband and I don’t have to do it. I was trying to gear up for it mentally, thinking that when we start getting up at 6am each morning  (trying to adapt for the school year with Alessandro, our 16-year-old soccer playing student from Italy comes to live with us and go to school this year, starting August 6th) – that we could get right out and lay one row of bricks each day while the temperature was still in the 80’s.

If our wonderful luck holds, tomorrow we will have a newly rebuilt, good-looking planter to enjoy!

I’ll take pics. :0)

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance

YAHOOOOO!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It will be GREAT when all is clean again!

 

YAHOO!

 

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

Adjusting our Body Clocks

pngkey.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adaptation Run Amok

Sony Pictures Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of this from ONE storm…..

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

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

We’re Back!

Depositphotos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Getting the Lard Off – Hopefully

World Of Female

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck?

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Changes

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Overwhelmed

Psychologies

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

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

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

Changes in the Garden – June 4 – 2019

With all the rain we’ve been having, the weeds have gone nuts in my garden. I just spent about an hour pulling out spent broccoli plants and weeding. I forgot to wear a sweat band AND forgot to spray myself for mosquitoes, so came in hot, tired, wiping my forehead while grabbing a cold bottle of water, and scratching bites…

If you’ll look carefully, in the center of the picture is a cute little zucchini! My first!  I’ll have to read up on what to do, but I’m excited. :0)

The main part of this photo is a celery plant, grown from a stalk I bought at the store. I’ll continue to try to grow some. I’m not sure when, but I’m supposed to bind the little stalks tightly together so they look more like what you buy in the store. More reading!

More zucchini vines and blossoms. They will soon take over the boxes.

Technically, it’s too warm for spinach, but I’m still hoping.

 

My husband wanted me to try cantaloupe. Since we both love it, I was happy to accommodate him…

 

This gives you a better idea of how LARGE these zucchini plants are!

I guess the hard rains we’ve had did a number on many of the green parts of my sweet red onions. I only weeded a small amount of the box these are planted in, but it looks like the actual onions are okay. I’ll work on it some more tomorrow.

I’ll also see if I can share pictures of our tomato plants tomorrow.

 

 

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Filed under Changes, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Patting Myself on the Head – Just a Bit

LessonPix

I’ve been a good girl today, doing some of the things I hate most – balancing checkbooks, filing, and tax prep for 2019.

I have the equivalent of a doctorate – plus in the fine art of procrastination. For years I have paid for it and the end of the year/beginning of the next year – being buried in receipts. I HATE tax prep and my husband calmly washed his hands of it years ago. He does bring me cups of coffee every once in a while, as encouragement, but that’s as involved as he gets.

When I finally could dump all of the organized receipts for 2018 on our wonderful CPA, I promised myself I would do things differently from now on. (Truth be told, I promise myself a LOT of things, only to procrastinate until the promises become meaningless.)

This year, though, I’m happy to tell you I have just finished

  • balancing our checkbooks
  • filing (I can see my desk!) – AND
  • converting receipts of all types for the month of March into the spreadsheets for taxes for 2019 I started at the beginning of the year.

Instead of cramming all the monthly receipts into monthly folders and then trying to make sense of things at the end of the year, I am going through the monthly receipts, listing things on the proper spreadsheet, then putting the receipts into a folder labeled for that deduction. No monthly folder anymore once the month is over. This way, at the end of the year I can simply total each category on the various spreadsheets, print them, list the information on the tax form booklet our CPA provides, already having the receipts ready to take!

I have officially finished 1/4 of 2019 now – can you see my grin?

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Bright Ideas, building good habits, Cause for Celebration, Changes, character-building exercises, learning new things, Organizing/DeCluttering, THINGS I HATE!

Patting Myself on the Head – Just a Bit

“Cardinal Taking a Bow” – by Norma Wilson

I’ve told you I absolutely HATE tax time – the whole trying to make sense of my records, feeling overwhelmed, etc.

When I finished these and dumped them on our wonderful CPA around the 15th of January, I promised myself I would start a different way of keeping records so that I didn’t hate this time of year so much.

When I created spreadsheets to summarize our receipts in each category, I copied each of them, labeling them “Whatever Category – 2019”. I promised myself that I would take time at the end of each month, enter the relevant numbers into the spreadsheets, and then file the receipts under the appropriate tax category, rather than the month as I have always done.

I just finished entering the information for February – hence the pat on the head and bowing cardinal! :0)

If I can keep this up, at the end of the year I SHOULD be able to just total the categories on the spreadsheets, print them, and bag them up for the CPA.

I’m a bit embarrassed that I have moaned/griped/whined for years about this – never coming up with a better way to attack it until this year.

Someone should say something memorable, such as, “Better late than never….” don’t you think?

clipart library

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

Decisions on Trying to Lose the Lard

TilgateNatureCentre.WordPress.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bored Panda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adventure

Medical News Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whine and Cheese

Fluent in 3 Months

 

There are few things I hate more than preparing our records for our wonderful CPA. Legal and financial documents make my eyes glaze over and give me the creeps. I have irrational fear – thinking ridiculous, paranoid thoughts that I’ll miss something, make a mistake and end up in the slammer.

I am a champion of one skill in particular – the art of procrastination. I have taken it to an art form.

Grammarly via Cathy Ruggiero

 

Each year I make improvements in my record keeping, and each year – as we age – our records get more simple. I used to have my own website with over 100 artists at one time, and THEN the record keeping was time-consuming and complex, plus we both had full-time jobs, were trying to raise our son, were buying and selling houses, cars, etc.  Now we are retired, the business is closed, and I have my artwork on ArtFire, so the records are simple.

The main thing is to go through the booklet our CPA provides listing all the pertinent information he needs and what we recorded last year. He has helped us as much as possible, so why do I make so many excuses for not getting started?

Part of it is that it is TOTALLY my job.

My husband ignores the whole process, chauffeuring me to the CPA’s office when I have everything together. I have a small pity party, get a bit hostile, slog through the process, and then we dump it on our CPA to once again put it all on the forms and make sure everything is good. (This has been the ‘whine’ part of this post.)

The ‘cheese’ part is that, once I finally get my rear in gear and get going, the process goes faster and more smoothly each year. By the time they kick dirt over me, I’ll have it all down to a science. :0)

The ‘cheese’ part is that usually, I get a nice lunch out somewhere when we’ve gotten rid of the tax stuff!

So much ado about very little – but I think I’ll put it off, once again, until tomorrow….

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

Something You Might Consider Doing

i65

I created a document for our son that answers questions such as, “What should I do about…?” and “Where is the….”

In this document I list financial stuff, insurance information, loans status and sources, contact information for important people, and more.

We all know there are no guarantees in life. No one knows how long he or she will live. I’ve tried to picture our son trying to deal with things if

  • I die, or my husband dies, and the remaining person needs help dealing with things
  • My husband and I die together and our son is left with the house, cars, and STUFF

We have taken advantage of the expertise of our lawyer, our CPA, and spelled out what we want done as far as burial arrangements, made suggestions as to what to do with the stuff our son doesn’t want, and mainly tried to answer “where is the” with lists of what is in our safe deposit box and other secure places.

_______________

We update the document every six months. (I procrastinate, thinking not much has changed – but each time I do it, I’m surprised how out-of-date much of the information is!  We have tried to handle things as much as possible so that our son can do things from across the world, if needed, or he can get to everything he needs if he comes home. We probably haven’t thought of everything, but we try to rethink things twice a year, as if we were looking at the problem with fresh eyes.

We think it’s a very important way we can help the remaining spouse or our son take care of things as easily as possible.

It’s never too early to plan for when you’re not here anymore. We think it’s a good way to show our love.

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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Family

Morphing Junk Drawer

Yesterday I cleaned out four more kitchen drawers.

We have always had what we call a ‘junk drawer’ in any kitchen we have. It’s the place we put nails, screws, twist-ties, tools, and other odds-and-ends We might need.

The problem with living in a nice home for over 30 years is that – unless one is a good housekeeper, which I’m NOT

ONE junk drawer morphs into FOUR!

(The one we had set up got too full, so my husband moved some stuff out of the drawer next to it and put the new junk in there. And then, the next, and the next….)

Now we have FOUR junk drawers in the kitchen –

shutterstock.com

 

Drawer 1 – this is the ‘original’ junk drawer

Drawer 2

 

Drawer 3

 

Drawer 4

I know. We’re slobs. But we ARE trying to do better.

Today I will take EVERYTHING out. I’ll pitch a lot of things, relocate other things that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and then try to organize what we’re keeping.

I’ll try to keep it to TWO junk drawers.

Junk drawers will never be ‘neat,’ but we are wasting lots of valuable space.

 

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Misuse of Imagination

Linda Sweigart via Cathy Ruggiero

In trying to make the most of 2019, I’m trying to put some of my bad habits behind me.

I am a CHAMPION worrier. I am not being boastful – this is one of my worst, most destructive behaviors and I would really like to change it.

My son and I had a good talk about this while he was home visiting.  The gist of our talk, I guess, was the Serenity Prayer, but personalized to lots of my  (and my son’s) particular worries.  He is much more at peace since he became serious about meditating and he tried to share some of that with me. We talked openly about our fears, whether or not anything could be done to lessen or alleviate them, and at some points cried with each other. It was a really special time for us and I feel lucky we were able to share gut level feelings and help each other deal with them.

I’ve decided that this year I will –

  • write down my fear
  • explore honestly how valid the fear is
  • if there is something I can do to lessen or alleviate it, I’ll do it
  • if there is really nothing I can do about it, I’ll try to let go of it, leaving it in my journal

I’m hoping that facing each fear as it comes up will help me be more realistic and spend less time ‘playing the recording’ over and over in my head, causing me stress and anxiety and not changing anything for the better.  My son and I have agreed that – even though he will again be across the world from me – we will both feel free to express any fears and help each other work through them.

I will try to use my imagination for my next art project!

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Arrrgh!

Sonia Figueroa

I’m feeling older than dirt after our morning errands.

  • First, we drove to Fort Smith to give a donation to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. They are always very nice, but the man today was looking at the fake Christmas tree, clearly puzzled. He said he had never seen a tree like this one. (It’s in two pieces, the top pole fitting into the bottom pole, and both fitting into the larger pole in the base my husband made.) He asked if WE had made this tree by hand! I told him we had bought it years ago. Then he was amazed that it was in such good shape, which got my nose back in joint a little bit….
  • We stopped at the AT&T store when we got back to Greenwood. My husband decided, all of a sudden, that he wanted me to upgrade to an iPhone from the android ones we both had. I was happy, because I wanted to do this years ago and he was adamant he didn’t want to do it. What changed his mind was that he found something on the net saying if you pushed two buttons on the android phone simultaneously, a message would pop up, asking you where you wanted to send the photo you just took. He tried it. It didn’t work. So, he finally decided “I” should upgrade. We went for a two-year contract on an iPhone 8 – not the newest model, but more affordable. I now have a pretty new phone. No manual came with it, so the nice girl – who said, “Wow. You’ve really had this phone a LONG time, haven’t you?” was nice enough to transfer my contacts from the old phone to the new and get me signed up. I very graciously did NOT bite her in the leg for insulting me via insulting my OLD phone….

Now we’ve ordered a manual for it on the net. I’ve just spent quite awhile figuring out how to get the main screen to show. I also found the texting app and the make a call app. This was such a delight that I took a break and peeled, de-veined, and cooked the shrimp for our dinner tonight to rest up for the next ‘figure-out’ session…

  • I guess being shown that you’re older than dirt is one of the many perks of living this long. We’ve endured exclamations about our thermostats – and have now changed them out for the latest that is good with our geothermal heating and cooling system. We have a security system for the house now and have managed to set it off erroneously only once since we’ve had it, managing to enter the code before police/fire/ambulance, etc. descending upon us. We have a new phone system that actually screens our calls pretty well, allows people who follow the directions to leave a message, etc.
  • One of the latest assaults on our advancing age was when I was trying to list our DVD collection on Amazon for resale. They are quite specific on what is acceptable and what is not – particularly on DVDs, rather than books – requiring not only that the picture match, you indicate regular or Blu-ray, etc., and ALSO that your DVD is not considered too old. We matched on all but the copyright year, and Amazon wouldn’t list it. I guess the different copyright dates might indicate a different format. We ended up listing the ones that were ‘acceptable’ and giving the rest to the local library for their next fundraiser.

Otherwise, except for being shown time after time that we are OLD, we’re doing quite well, thank you!

pinterest

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes

Sending Flowers

I just spent an hour trying to send flowers to a dear friend.

My husband and I agreed on an amount to spend and I went online to find something that could be delivered on the 28th. Simple? NO!!!

The last time I ordered flowers – not very long ago – I looked at the flowers offered, decided, filled out the forms, arranged for payment, and that was that.

THIS TIME, I had to put in zip code, and then they showed me what flowers could be delivered by the 28th. On many of the websites, there weren’t ANY choices that met our financial limit. I don’t know about you, but we like to send flowers reasonably often to show we care, to help celebrate a special occasion, cheer someone up, etc., so we need to stay within our budget as much as possible.

It irks me that a choice that LOOKS like it will be good, ends up charging extra for the vase, extra for the delivery, extra because of the delivery date, if not completely throwing you out, saying that choice can’t be delivered to that zip code at all!  They also offer discounts – some of them through email – giving you a code that doesn’t work, or will only work the NEXT time you purchase something. I found an online coupon at another location and tried to paste it into the proper place, but of course, that didn’t work, either. ARRRGH!

After an hour of starting over several times at different websites, I decided to stick as closely as I could to our limit, bite the bullet, and just do it. My husband will probably tell me that HE could have done it and stayed within our limit. If he does, I’ll bite him in the leg and then insist that he DO it next time…

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Permission

ABSTRACTS by Sabina via cathy ruggiero

If you’ve been reading the blog, you know that I have devoted myself to going through our over 30-year-old home the past year with determination to go through everything, give stuff away, throw other things away, clean and reorganize what’s left. I’ve made it through the house once and am now on Phase II, of going through it all again. I’m making lots of progress, but the job is far from done yet. Realizing that the job will never be ‘finished,’ I’m ready to change my priorities a bit for the new year.

I’ve found it almost impossible to give myself permission to play in my art room. In fact, it’s still clean and organized from Phase I of what I now call, “The Great Purge.” Before, I had to clean off a spot in order to try out a new idea I had or to paint something to fulfill an order I received.  Each time I have thought of going up there, I saw something in the house that desperately needed my attention first. With the “New-to-Me” determination to move more, consciously trying to exercise each day, the day was shot. Added to that was working in the greenhouse or in the yard. The days, weeks, and months have flown past my head, blowing my hair.

I’ve decided that I will try to add another priority in the coming year – MAKING time to play in my art room!  I miss being able to close the door up there, start playing some of my favorite tunes, and immersing myself in the joy of experimenting with my ‘stuff.’  I want to try some new watercolor techniques. I discovered a new style of painting note cards and stationery where I mix watercolor or acrylic floral paintings with backgrounds of accent colors with pastels that I found satisfying. I want to expand on that. I have tote bags I’d like to paint. I want to etch some goblets I received as a gift from a friend… And the list goes on.

I closed my shop on Etsy, but I still have one on ArtFire.

I haven’t added anything in a long time, so I’m thinking of some new things with which I can experiment. I keep seeing the work of wonderfully talent people on LinkedIn, a website primarily designed for folks trying to network. I’m not interested in getting a job at this point, but I love living on the same planet as these talented folks and enjoy interacting with them and showing you their work.

When things calm down after the holidays, our son will leave to visit some more folks before going back home to Thailand.

I look forward to getting involved in trying new things for the new year.

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Filed under anticipation, Attitude, Bright Ideas, Changes

Older than Dirt

Commander Bill

My husband and I are being dragged – kicking and screaming – into the current century.

We like gadgets, but keep discovering we are living in the stone age on some things.

We had to replace our old land line phones because rats got under the house and ATE through the wiring. Since we didn’t want to crawl around under there trying to replace all the wiring, and couldn’t find anyone willing to do it for us, we bought essentially a cell phone on a base to replace our system. We’ve used that for a long time, adding an answering machine that we liked better than the one provided,  and then my husband designed a call screening program that had callers pressing 1 “if they were a real person and weren’t selling anything” in order for the phone to ring here.

This got wonky, not recognizing callers we had put on our list, and hanging up on people after they pressed 1. We’ve been living with NO caller screening for awhile, and I’ve been going nuts.

We got a new phone system yesterday and my husband and son set it up. We’ve ordered two more phones and charging bases so we can have phones everywhere we would like them. I managed to ANSWER my phone last night, patting myself on the head. This morning I actually manged to MAKE a call, after fumbling around awhile. My husband has just finished creating a directory.

We have gotten several reminders that the rest of the world has gone on past us, while we stayed in our cocoon –

  • We installed a geothermal heat and air system several years ago. Our thermostats have been misbehaving and we were having trouble getting them set correctly. The guy who checks our system out twice a year tactfully suggested that since our thermostats were older than he was (he didn’t say that) maybe we should get ones that were made to work with geothermal, which doesn’t need ’emergency heat.. He helped us decide which ones to get and installed them for us. We’re now doing fine, able to control the temperatures in our house just fine for the most efficiency.
  • We have actually donated several items that were causing havoc and tension around here, rather than ‘helping’ us or making our lives simpler. :0)
  • We were even reminded how old we are when we got a Synology – a device that allows us to record our DVD collection, making them available to play on our television and get rid of the physical DVDs. I looked each of them up on Amazon with the idea of selling them. I had DVDs that had the same cover picture – and many were Blu-rays, but the production date on ours was so old Amazon sneered at us and wouldn’t allow me to list them. We ended up listing the ones that were ‘acceptable’ and giving 217 DVDs to the local library for their next fundraising sale…

We may be older than dirt, but we’re still able to kick and scream as we’re forced to enter the current century!

 

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Filed under Are YOU also older than Dirt?, Attitude, Challenges, Changes