Category Archives: character-building exercises

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

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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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

Good News – Bad News

123RF.com

I already told you that two of the fourteen planters we built around the yard collapsed. We’ve been trying to get bricklayers to come and give us estimates on rebuilding them for us. We have the brick already, waiting on a pallet. We already have concrete bases ready to receive the brick.

GOOD NEWS – Today I finally got a call. Because of all the rain we’ve been getting, one of the guys we’ve been trying to reach called and got directions to come give us an estimate!

BAD NEWS –  The bricklayer was really nice. He even put up with Amber greeting him when he opened the truck door, covering him with kisses. I finally got her into the house and we looked at things. His estimate for the job was $700. That’s too steep for us, particularly since we’ve already had to buy the bricks.

SO – when the monsoon is finally over and it looks like we’ll have several dry days in a row, we’ll go to the local hardware store and buy umpteen bags of Qwik-Crete and will rebuild the planters ourselves. Even though we don’t know what we’re doing, the other 12 planters we built some 30 years ago lasted, so maybe we’ll do well enough again.

I’m excited about getting them functional again and deciding what we’ll plant…

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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!

Planter Project

 

Yesterday I told you that the weather forecast was for good weather until Tuesday of next week, when we’re due for another ‘wintry mix.’  I was happy because we wouldn’t be rushed on our demolishing of the 2nd of 2 planters that were falling apart.

Well, when I checked today, the forecast is NOW for a 40% chance of rain TOMORROW – morning!  Arrrrgh!!!!!!

You can see where we are now. We just finished our errands for the day and are resting a bit before we tackle this again. Since there is a good chance for rain tomorrow, we really need to see if we can get the dismantling done today, including digging out the remaining plants, digging out the rest of the potting soil, knocking down and hauling off the rest of the bricks, and then wrapping the tarp around the soil and putting bricks on top to try to save as much of the soil as possible for the rebuild in the spring.

My nose is out of joint right now about this –

  • It’s Valentine’s Day and I was hoping for a quiet day, with some time up in my art room. (We got some jumbo shrimp at the seafood place on the way home today from taking our tax stuff to our CPA. I peeled and cooked it, and it is cooling in the back fridge – but we may be dozing in our recliners from sheer exhaustion, rather than enjoying it tonight.)
  • We are a bit ‘long-in-the-tooth for this project. It’s probably a good character-building exercise to do it ourselves, but it would be so NICE not to have to get the whole demolition part into two days…

Okay. I hear you. Enough with the griping and on with the DOING.

I’ll post pics later today – or tomorrow… :0)

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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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Still Slogging

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

I love this photo. Somehow it shows acceptance with spirit still in there somewhere – the way I’m feeling right now.

I’m about halfway finished with our tax prep for the year now. I made a spreadsheet with all pertinent charges listed and categorized. It took me three days. An epiphany occurred yesterday where I figured out that if I record this stuff on a spreadsheet on a monthly basis, it won’t be so much work! (Yeah, I learn slowly on some things.) I sorted it by three columns so the records are in good categories and can be referred to easily.

Today I’ll make an office deductions spreadsheet and business spreadsheet. Then I’m almost home free.

I hope you’re having a good day, too,  in your part of the world.

 

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

Character-Building Exercise

Mindfulness Training

I have probably indicated that I HATE preparing our stuff for taxes each year. I have probably also admitted that I excel at procrastination – championship level, I might add – modestly, of course. :0)

Today is the day –

I have run out of even the most feeble excuses for not at least making the first pass at our stuff.

Our office is beginning to look as if a bomb exploded in here.

STEP 1 – I have gone through the ‘helpful packet’ our CPA provides. So I feel a BIT better about myself at the moment.

STEP 2 – I’m now slogging through our monthly receipts, grouping them according to categories. I’ve made it through 3 months so far.

__________________

STEP 3 – is going through our credit card and bank statements for pertinent information.

STEP 4 – is totalling the various categories.

STEP 5 – is putting the receipts where they belong in the ‘helpful packet’

STEP 6 – is waiting until we get our official Schwab statement – the thing that is the most important and always takes the longest to receive.

STEP 7 – is bagging it all up and driving to Fort Smith to dump it on our wonderful CPA.

 

My goal is to be finished with Steps 1-5 by the end of this month or before. I’m going to take a break now, but will return to do another session this afternoon after we eat some lunch.

Did I happen to mention I HATE tax prep?  UGH!

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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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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

A Vette Can Be a Character-Building Exercise…

You Tube

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

ShutterStock.com

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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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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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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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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Hello!

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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Dinosaurs

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

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

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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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Another of Life’s Character-Building Exercises

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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!

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Trying to Learn Patience

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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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