Category Archives: character-building exercises

A Vette Can Be a Character-Building Exercise…

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This picture shows you a clean, non-scratched, non-cat-print-pawed version of my husband’s 2003 Vette. He bought it online, flying to Kansas City, I think, with a cashier’s check and letter and phone number from the head of the bank in his pocket, prepared to drive it home or get on a flight home. Happily, he was delighted with it and drove it home and has been grinning ever since. This is truly who he is, and our life has been full of ‘six-months-without-another-speeding-ticket-and-it-won’t-go-on-your-record’ to prove it. The last such ended in mid August of this year, and he’ll be 75 in November….

I’m telling you this because he took our truck and is now in downtown Ft. Smith at an auction, hoping to find good-priced tools to bring home. This leaves ME with the Vette, and I’m going to Lunch Bunch in 25 minutes.

I really don’t feel comfortable driving this car. MY favorite vehicle was a Jeep Cherokee Sport. I don’t go off-road, but I loved that vehicle. Now I’m comfortable in the truck. I find, when I’m driving the vette, I sneeze and am suddenly going 90 mph. I have to admit I spend lots of time in the Vette while HE’S driving bracing myself as we fly through traffic. (I’m uncomfortable because he puts on the gas when I would put on the brake in any given situation.)

So, this morning will be a character-building exercise.  My first inclination was to call my friends and tell them I wouldn’t be there this morning. And then I was disgusted with myself for being a wuss. I KNOW I can drive the Vette. The fact that I’m uncomfortable driving it, particularly going down our 650+ bumpy driveway and back up again, as well as trying to figure out how far the nose of the car is from anything, are annoying details, rather than a reason for not doing this. I know lots of people who would ENJOY getting to drive the Vette.

So. I’m HOPING that the rain that is coming down now will stop in the next 15 minutes, the sky will lighten, and I can go and come back without incident. I’m too old to be such a wuss.

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Character-Building Exercise

I haven’t flown since 9/11 and the advent of TSA. I haven’t flown ALONE since I was a teenager flying nonstop to Mexico City.

This past week I flew from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Dallas and then to New Orleans before we rented a car to drive the rest of the way to Thibodaux, Louisiana, and then returned.

I’m such a wuss. It’s pathetic really, but I must own it. I didn’t sleep the night before and was a bundle of nerves at the airport in Fort Smith. It’s a cute, ‘baby airport’ with only 3 gates. I was there early enough that I had to wait to check in. I had already printed my boarding passes. I then went through the TSA checkpoint for the first time ever.  I put my hoodie and purse in one bin with my cell phone on top. I didn’t have to remove my shoes. I just walked through a metal detector and that was that.

I waited at the gate, and then they announced a delay of 25 minutes. I checked to make sure that wouldn’t mess me up for my connection to the DFW to New Orleans (pronounced ‘Naw-lens’) and then texted my sister-in-law, Mary Lou, that I might be late.) She knew I was a wuss and would be nervous, so she arranged to fly to Dallas to meet me, rather than taking a much nicer non-stop flight from Charlotte to New Orleans, so that we could fly together from DFW to NO and then rent the car for the rest of the trip. I knew that once we met at DFW, I would quit worrying so much. If we were lost, we were lost together and would figure something out.

She was waiting at the gate when I got off the plane in Dallas. I had built up so much adrenaline by that point, it took me a minute to recognize her! We took the SkyLink (first time for that, too. It wasn’t there the last time I was at DFW.) We figured out what gate we needed for the flight to NO, rode the SkyLink to that region, found the gate, confirmed that we had the right place, and then went to eat a very nice lunch of soup and salad. All the places are set up to serve you quickly, thank goodness, so another of my worries was unfounded.

Mary Lou had been through the New Orleans airport before, so we got our bags without incident and proceeded across the airport to the car rental area. Happily, since it was a LONG way to the car rental place, we were able to snag a shuttle with a wonderfully friendly guy who helped us with our bags and dropped us off.  We rented the car, and drove out of the airport into an on and off driving rain. Since Mary Lou was able to plug her phone into the car, we had a talking GPS lady helping us, so the big thing was to try to SEE THE ROAD for the hour and a half drive to Thibodaux.


On the way back, our plane left a little after 9 in the morning. We got up and left the house by a little after 5am. Of COURSE, the sky opened up again, making it REALLY hard to see the road – a very tense time for sure. We lucked out toward the end of the driving, following a big truck the rest of the way. We thanked him – though he never knew it – when we got to the airport.

We had to check our own bags there, but a nice lady helped with attaching the long sticky strips to our bags, and then showing us where to take them to another lady who put them on the conveyor belt. TSA screening was more serious this time. Mary Lou, who flies a lot, had done pre-screening stuff, including providing fingerprints and information, paying for not having to go through this, but was rejected! We found out from a man behind us that TSA randomly picks people who have been pre-screened to have to go through it again. “I” was TSA precheck approved! Go figure. Anyway, I put my purse and hoodie in one bin and my shoes and cell phone in another. I went through the x-ray machine, and they wanted to check my right shoulder, which had lit up the screen. They checked me, found nothing, and so I was through.

While we were waiting for the flight to DFW, they came and asked for anyone with our flight number. For some unknown reason, they led us all to another gate with a flight leaving earlier than the one scheduled for us. We got new boarding passes, and the nice lady was able to find two seats together! for us.  My flight from DFW to FS was delayed (imagine that!) but got back 25 minutes late.

My husband was waiting for me, showered, shaved (around his beard) with a dress shirt, clean jeans and suspenders, as if we were going on a date night. Was THAT a sight for sore eyes! I fell for him all over again. We picked up my very wet suitcase and he took me to Denny’s for a nice meal before we went home.

I was greeted profusely at the door by both doggies, and both cats. The doggies both came to make sure I was still home several times that evening. The fish didn’t seem to care one way or the other. My husband fed them while I was gone, so they were happy. I felt welcomed home in grand fashion.

So – even though it was really nerve-wracking, with the help of my kind SIL making the arrangements so we met in Dallas and flew together to New Orleans together, guiding me through airports, bag claims, car rentals and returns, including helping me find my gate from DFW to FS and then going back on the SkyLink to go back to HER gate to Charlotte for the way home, I made it through my first flight since TSA.

I’m not sure I’ll become a frequent flyer now, since my husband refuses to fly now, but I’ll have a much better idea of what to expect, what to look out for, and more the NEXT time I fly.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, character-building exercises

Fly, Fly Away…

Guilford Education Alliance

I am flying to Thibodaux, LA to spend time with two of my favorite people. I’ll be back Wednesday. Hold the fort and have a great week!

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Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises, Family

Another Character-Building Exercise

Fabulous Traveling

I was incommunicado all day yesterday because the new motherboard for my computer arrived. My good husband worked on things all day, getting us to about 2/3 up now.

Almost everything that COULD happen – and more we hadn’t thought of – were obstacles. Just one example – the new power supply was wired “backwards.”

We did all we could do yesterday, finally getting so my husband could finally see his email. We contacted a person who bought a book from us on Amazon, apologizing for the delay and telling him his book would be mailed Monday…  We got our Password Safe program and data back, thanks to my husband hooking up his hard drive to my computer until things pass for some kind of normal around here. We made a DVD copy of our data so we won’t be without it again.

Being without a computer is a character-building exercise. Being without TWO computers and access to passwords has been really challenging. We’re thankful we had the laptop from the shop, but I hope I won’t have to use it – except for loading pics of what new mailbox decoration I’m trying to paint – for a long time, if ever again.

My husband is taking a well-deserved nap now. He even got it so I can print something!

Remaining problems are mainly that my data and storage drives aren’t showing on the computer. I’m really thankful we regularly back my main data drive on a couple of external drives. I’ve been using that while on the laptop, and am using it now, as I type.

It’ll be a LONG time before I start taking my computer, keyboard, access to passwords, etc., for granted.

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

I HOPE We’re Getting Somewhere…

I just finished doing 30 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage.  My MP3 player wasn’t working for some unknown reason (probably part of the gremlins that are living in our house right now) but I managed to find an old CD player. Listening to music makes all the difference on being able to put in a reasonable amount of time working hard, but staying in the same place.

Another annoyance is that after 30 minutes, my pedometer doesn’t show any more steps than it had when I got on the machine. Apparently the low impact motion of the elliptical doesn’t register as ‘steps’ to the device in my pocket. :0(

We’re on a treadmill around here for many reasons lately. I’ve told you that neither of our regular computers is working right now and I’m on an old laptop we got out of the shop.

We’re waiting for an RMA# for my motherboard to be sent in for repair or replacement. Meanwhile, my husband called ASUS tech support about HIS computer this morning. The guy suggested that maybe his power supply was bad. My husband thanked him, hung up, and then muttered about people not knowing anything and that he’d never had a power supply die. He got the power supply out of my regular computer and tried it in his. It turned out that the guy in tech support was right. Now my husband is busily trying to put his computer back together and see if we can get it going. There may be light at the end of at least one of the gremlin tunnels in the Lewis household!  All appendages are crossed for a resurrected computer!

Meanwhile, since I’m of no use putting computers together, when I get rested a bit more, I’ll head into the living room to do my yoga for the day.

I hope YOUR day is a good one.

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everyday feminism

Things are very awkward – using laptop, external drive saved from my regular computer, and all the patience I can muster – but I seem to be functional on posting on the blog again. :0)

We shipped my defective motherboard to the manufacturer this morning. It’s still under warranty, so they’ll either repair mine or send us a new one. Help is on the way!

I figured out this morning how to transfer my camera pictures to the laptop, edit them, and get them into my blog picture folder, so I’ll post a couple later today.

Since everything is different on the laptop, the mouse is built in and has an idiot trying to use it :0), things are a bit challenging, but doable, with a lot of concentration.

I’m glad to be back, however hobbled my gait. I hope you’re doing well, too.

More later.

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Amber is a Wonderful Challenge

This is Amber, our 16-month-old, 92 pound (the last time we took her to the vet to weigh her on his scales) yellow Labrador Retriever ‘puppy.’ So far, all we’ve heard about labs being very puppy-ish through two years is true.  Amber likes to try to scrunch herself up so that she can sleep in Molly’s bed here in the office. (There is a larger bed just on the other side of my desk – complete with chew toys – but she and Molly like this one best.)


For comparison, here is Molly (our elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross) sleeping in the same bed as I type. (Amber went out to play in the rain.)  As you can see, this bed gives Molly a good bit of spread-out-room.

Our latest battle of wills involves Amber going in and out. When the door opens in either direction, Amber is like a bull charging at a red target. She runs right over Molly or the cats, plus us, if we’re not careful. We’re trying to get Amber to sit and wait until we say, “OKAY” before she goes in or out. This is a real test of wills. We have to start getting her to sit before we even touch the door, then keep watching and making her sit until the door is open. If we’re successful, she sits until we say ‘okay’ and everyone lives through the action. Otherwise, not so much.

We WILL prevail, but it may take awhile…

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Rosie Made a Thing – via The Hippies were Right via Stephanie Youmans Wilson

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

I’m Getting My Exercise Today – Cleaning Out My Garden

I’m inside, trying to catch my breath, drink a bottle of water, and relax a bit before going outside again for another session on my weekend project – cleaning out my raised bed square foot garden boxes.

The heat index is now 97 degrees (90 degrees with 55% humidity). Our forecast temperature is 98 today. Unless the humidity drops drastically, that will be a heat index of 117 this afternoon. UGH.

Mother Nature has pretty well killed off my spring garden. The plants are no match for her, even with daily irrigation, so I’m throwing in the towel and cleaning things up for next time.

I’m going to do this in SEVERAL sessions during the weekend, trying to stay hydrated and not get heat or sun stroke.

(My husband is smarter – tackling a project where he can work inside our shop. He turned on the A/C this morning and has just gone out there soon to start work, refurbishing a roll-around chair for our wonderful hair stylist and friend, Michael.)

Since the outside work needs to be done, the garden and flower planters are my domain around here, and it’s not getting any cooler for the foreseeable future, I’m just going to be careful and get it done.

  • I’m half way through the first part – spraying the garden, tomato planters, and flower planters with bug spray so I hopefully don’t get stung/bitten/ or otherwise assaulted by our hostile insect population. (My ankle is still puffy from the last fire ant attack.)  I’m using EIGHT, a spray that isn’t supposed to affect the plants at all, won’t hurt our pets, and will JUST give me some relief.
  • The second part of the project will be pulling out the dying plants in the garden and harvesting the onions, spreading them on a screen we have on a trailer out by the shop to dry in the sun.
  • The third part of the project will be mixing some weed killer and spraying the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in the garden, around the perimeter of the garden, and around the trash cans of the components of Mel’s Mix along the back of the shop.

If I can finish this by the end of the weekend, anything ELSE I do will be gravy.

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Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises, exercise, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Another of Life’s Character-Building Exercises

My husband is the technical person, handling computers, all things electrical, a LOT of things online, fixing things, etc. He was the one who figured out how we could cancel our satellite TV and save a lot of money. But, as he ages, his temper gets shorter and shorter – and – I admit I’m describing myself, as well.

Yesterday we had a power blip. Though the electricity was off for such a short time a lot of our things didn’t notice, it took us the rest of the day to deal with things that WERE affected.

We like DirecTVNow. All of a sudden, it wanted us to sign in with our user name and password. This is a really aggravating, laborious process of searching for one letter at a time, making our user name seem endless, and our password almost impossible due to the fact ours is quite complicated for safety concerns. I told my husband I would do the input if he would get me the password.

To make a long story shorter, we couldn’t get DirecTVNow to accept our password. My husband went into the office, then came back saying, “I deleted our Roku account because it wouldn’t take our password.” It turned out that he had confused the Roku and DirecTVNow accounts and had been giving me the Roku password. Now the account was deleted, so that meant ALL of our TV related accounts were toast.  His reaction to the problem and his temper in deleting the CORE of our TV watching ability was done in a fit of pique. He then decided to divorce himself from the problem – saying, “I don’t know,” to all my questions and not showing any interest in helping –  which had me tearing my hair out, and – at one point – going out in the back yard to yell a bit. (I wonder what the neighbors down in the valley think of the crazy woman who shrieks once or twice each year.)

I finally created a Roku account in MY name, and then got on my husband’s computer and added each of the programs and channels we had before, laboriously going from the living room to the office and back again, jumping through the various hoops each required.

We are both still alive and the TV stuff has been restored.

If you heard my head exploding or my shrieking last night, don’t be alarmed. Things are back to what passes as ‘normal’ around here.

It truly amazes me that the person I love most in the world is also the one who drives me completely nuts!


Filed under Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises

Trying to Learn Patience

Our son kindly arranged for a box of mangosteens to be sent to us from a company in Florida. We ate one small one the other day. My husband said, “Good, but I wouldn’t travel far for one,” with his usual exuberant attitude toward most things. I found it really interesting to peel (our son sent a video he made of peeling and eating the fruit), and was delighted to find out SWEET the sections were – kind of like eating a super-sweet orange. I wish I could describe the taste better, but it’s really nice. Our son says he “eats them like candy.”

We’ve been waiting for more to ripen. All of them were like billiard balls when they arrived. That’s good, because you don’t want all of them to ripen right away and waste much of the fruit. We’ve had some on the island in the kitchen, but they weren’t ripening. A good friend suggested that we put them in a paper bag. I did that and I’ve been checking them each morning. So far, still billiard balls.

I think this is yet another character-building exercise – waiting for the mangosteen to ripen. It’s a good thing we weren’t depending on these for sustenance….

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, character-building exercises, Healthy Eating