Category Archives: Delightful Surprises

This Scrooge is Thawing

This photo of our son, Brian, and me was taken at Christmas in 2007. It’s still one of my all-time favorite photos.

I’ve been a Scrooge, basically, since then because my heart wasn’t really in it. Our son decided several years ago that in order to really learn Mandarin, he needed to live where it was spoken. He packed up and went to China, attending an American language school there, leaving just before they had a terrible earthquake. He came home, but then went back, this time living in Shanghai.

Then he decided that he wanted to live somewhere more quiet, so he went to Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has made it a point not only to continue learning Mandarin, but also to learn Thai. He participates on a regular basis on an app where people can call in for translations between Mandarin and English and Thai. This allows him to get more and more fluent as he tries to help others.

A friend and his wife joined him in Chiang Mai several years ago. They work together doing computer stuff for various clients in the U.S. Before he left the last time, he set up a secure chat program so that we could leave messages or type at each other real-time. We do that on almost a daily basis. He also set up a program called ‘appear.in’ which he and his friend use in conference calls. We can see each other real-time and talk, like Skype or other similar programs, but MUCH better quality.

It’s been three years since he’s been home. We communicate more than a lot of families who live in the same city, so he hasn’t really seemed a world away, though he gives wonderful hugs, and my ‘hugs bucket’ has been empty for a long time now.

Recently he talked about MAYBE coming home for a visit. I put it out of my mind because a lot can happen in a short space of time, making it impossible – although intentions are the best.

He is actually coming home! We will pick him up at the airport on the 10th of this month!!!! He can stay until January 2nd, when he will fly to see other relatives and good friends before returning to Chiang Mai.

I am definitely feeling the Scrooge in me thawing this year. This morning I got out the two Christmas wreaths I kept after my purge of ‘stuff’ in our home and put them up. I then got out one bag of decorations that I’ve put up in the past, when I wanted to look at least a little bit festive. These are up in the dining area now. (I’ll take some pictures to share a bit later today.)

My husband and I decided that this year we would decorate a Christmas tree and get out all the decorations we haven’t used in years. This means we will need to move furniture in the living room to accommodate the tree – plus haul the huge Tupperware bin of decorations and the tree up from the basement – something we haven’t done in a long time. I’ve decided to wait until our son is home to do the tree, so we can do it together as a family.

As the fact that he has his tickets, and we have a flight arrival time now (the trip from Chiang Mai to here will take a total of 28 hours with layovers, etc) the fact that he’s REALLY coming home is starting to sink in. My heart feels full, plus lighter and lighter. I keep finding myself smiling.

The very best Christmas present we could have – except for when I gave birth to him 40 years ago on Dec. 13th…

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Filed under Attitude, Cause for Celebration, Delightful Surprises, Family, holidays

Annoying, then Good Morning

Everyday Health

We got up this morning and drove straight to our doctor’s office to get the blood test my husband needs for his appointment next week. We usually don’t have to wait long, but we did today. Finally, I got up and checked with the front desk again. They said the orders for the blood test weren’t in the chart, so they were waiting for the doctor to come out of a room. We waited again. When we had been waiting an HOUR, I went to the front desk again, asking them if they could get the orders into my husband’s chart by TOMORROW morning, when we would come again. They said they could, so we left. I will call this afternoon to be SURE the orders are in the chart so we can be more successful tomorrow.  (At our next appointment, I’ll ask the doctor to put the orders for the labs into the computer while we’re there.)

Added insult was Mother Nature choosing to pour on us each time we stepped out of the car. It would stop while we were inside, of course.

 

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Our morning improved quite a bit after we left the doc’s office. We had decided that we would try out the new restaurant in town, The Dari, for breakfast. We had been there for lunch and had been quite pleased.

I’m happy to report that our FLEX breakfast was delicious!  The people there are friendly. The group of women at the counter where we ordered went nuts over my ceramic ‘ghost’ earrings, even calling people from the back to come see. When we were at the table, another women came. That was really fun for all of us.  The service is fast and the food couldn’t have been better.

It’s more food than we should eat for breakfast on our diet, but we’ll modify our eating for the rest of the day to make up for it. It’s wonderful to have a nice place to have breakfast in Greenwood!

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Filed under Challenges, Delightful Surprises

Thing One and Thing Two

 

Gym Junkies

THING ONE:

When I came downstairs this morning, I found my husband cooking us breakfast! We are on NutriSystem, trying to get a bunch of our lard off, so we’re usually eating one of the NS breakfasts, so this was a really nice surprise. AND he didn’t go nuts, trying to cook what we USED to eat for a typical Saturday morning splurge breakfast. He cooked three pieces of bacon for us to share and two fried eggs. (No toast and jelly, no hash browns, no third egg, no three-pieces-each on bacon, or orange juice.) It was a wonderful surprise, and we didn’t even have to feel guilty, since it was in the proper range of calories for breakfast and we hadn’t had a flex meal breakfast this week. :0)

THING TWO:

I told you recently that my friend, Marsha, and I are having trouble communicating lately. We aren’t sure what the problem is, but we’ve now confirmed email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, have talked on the phone, and are continuing to search for the reason for our problem.

This is Marsha (on the right) with a friend of hers.

This morning I received an email from Marsha, suggesting that we try to connect on the chat program via gmail. I searched all over the place and finally found an icon I could hit that showed she had sent me a connection request. We connected and then proceeded to type madly at each other! It was great, and I’m glad we have another way to communicate, particularly when all else fails. I’ll keep the chat program on all the time so that I can check it each time I come back to the computer during the day and evening to see if she’s left a message, or – better – if she’s available to type at me real time. Hooraaaaay!

What a GREAT start to my morning!!

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Family, Friendship

Delightful Surprise

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We enjoyed going to Brunch Bunch today, catching up with our good friends, talking, and laughing a lot.

A delightful surprise was that Kay baked a SUGAR-FREE (mostly) Mt. Dew cake for my husband, who has Type II diabetes. He LOVED her regular cake, but couldn’t eat it anymore, so this was a doubly nice surprise. The only sugar is from the actual Mt. Dew in the cake, so he can eat it at any of our snack times on our Nutrisystem plan without guilt, as long as he doesn’t eat TOOOOO much in one day …

I loved watching his eyes light up when he saw the cake sitting at his place in the restaurant. He sat down, grinned at Kay and dove right in, eating a piece before he even ordered his lunch. He even said that if I were good, he would allow ME to have a piece…

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, DIET!, Friendship

Shoes and Meals

I found what I think is a really good store. It’s called TheVeteransSite.com and I found them through an ad on Facebook. I ordered a couple of pairs of sandals I liked and received them this afternoon.

The deal is that part of your purchase goes to feed Veterans. You get neat shoes. Veterans who need them get some good meals. Win/win.

They’re having a sale right now where you buy one pair and the second pair is free. I’ve had on the shoes below all afternoon. Usually, I kick off my shoes first thing when I’m in my chair in the living room. I kick them off and put them back on several times a day. I don’t have the need to kick these off. They’re really comfortable. And I think they’re HAPPY looking shoes! They do have adjustments so you can tighten them a bit or adjust the strap that goes across the back, but I didn’t need to. My big thing is needing plenty of room for my toes, and these are wonderful.  It may be that I’ll be happy to take them off by the end of the day, but signs are good so far.

 

My husband even noticed that I didn’t kick them off, and said he thought they were ‘good-looking shoes.’ We talked about the cost and the fact that part of the purchase goes to meals for Veterans (3 meals for this purchase) and he said, “Why don’t you get back on the site and order a couple more pairs?” Not being a stupid lady, I dived in and have two MORE pairs on order!

Check out this website when you have the time.

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Filed under Bright Ideas, Delightful Surprises, Don't Miss These Products!, Great Companies Who Deserve Your Business

What a GREAT Morning!

While we were eating breakfast, we saw –

 

There were two hummingbirds. We have two feeders, one on each side of the deck. They still dive-bombed each other, making it difficult for either of them to get a good drink.

We went to do our errands early (for us) because it was forecast that rain would start around 11:00 this morning (it did) and continue off and on throughout the day and into this evening.

On the way to town, we saw –

Nancy McCubbin – http://www.flickr.com

 

I didn’t get a picture of the deer, either, but this gives you the idea.  It was a whole family –  father, mother, and fawn. We stopped and they crossed the road safely. Our yellow lab, Amber, was in the back seat of the truck, but she didn’t see them until they were on the other side of the road.

When we returned home, we got a call from our son, who lives and works in Thailand! We converted from phone to conference call so we could see  him while we talked. We had a really good chat with lots of laughs.  I LOVE to see him smile!

 

I guess we COULD have won the lottery, or the Publisher’s Clearing House, but that’s the only way the morning could have been better. :0)

I hope you’re having a good day, too.

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OK, My Day is Made

This is my husband. He would HATE it that his picture is on my blog or that I’m talking about him (though he’s very supportive of my blogging efforts – treating me to lobster tail dinners when I hit landmarks on numbers of subscribers.)

I told you earlier that I was able to shed a size in my jeans, and that it felt good that it was something TANGIBLE in my efforts to get the lard off. I told my husband, of course, feeling really encouraged.

When we were going through the day’s mail later, standing by the dining area table, all of a sudden he looked over at me and said, “You ARE looking slimmer.”

If you knew my husband, you would know that this is rare, indeed. I could shave my head, or change the color to blue and orange stripes and he wouldn’t notice. He’s a wonderful guy, but he’s not very observant. Plus, living together and seeing each other every day makes it less noticeable when there are changes.  And, to be fair, he says “he loves me no matter what size I am,” – but NOT something I want to hear NOW…

To have him say this quiet statement this morning made my day.

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, DIET!, exercise

This Never Happens

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We were scheduled to have our gutters cleaned out, one part repaired, and then gutter covers installed – plus an estimate to cut down a tree branch that broke during the last storm – this afternoon at 4 pm. I had told the man that we need to leave at 7:30 this evening, and he said if they didn’t finish, they would be back tomorrow.

Then the phone rang this morning. I thought, “Oh, great. They aren’t coming.”

To my surprise, he asked if it was ‘okay’ if they come at 12:45 this afternoon since they were running ahead of schedule. I GRACIOUSLY said, “That would be GREAT!” and then did a happy dance after I hung up. :0)

So far, I’m really impressed with this guy. His name is Ryan and his company is Edwards Gutter Cleaning.  479-462-2663. He does all kinds of outside handyman work. I found him through HomeAdvisor.com.

He has called when he said he would; called to give me updates or to check on things; came and checked what we needed carefully, and will now come sooner than scheduled. This never happens, but it’s such a beautiful thing when our luck with contractors is less than stellar.

Now if his work is good, I will put his card in my ‘dependable people’ file and call him first for outside handyman type jobs in the future.

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Happiness is Lips Blowing in the Wind

I don’t have a picture of Amber’s joy at putting her head out of the window so that her lips and tongue blow in the wind, but this is a pretty close picture of what I see when I look in my rear view mirror. All we have to do is look like we’re getting up to leave, or say the word, “CAR” and she’s in. It doesn’t matter where we’re going. It doesn’t matter what the weather. She doesn’t like it when we LEAVE the car, but is happy when we return and the trip continues.

Today we took her to a yard sale on the way home from errands. She had already smiled at people who talked to her at Walmart. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having a dog who isn’t growling or looking quite serious if people speak. The only thing I worry about now is that she wants to go with everyone! She goes right up into the truck of our UPS and FEDEX delivery people, and happily greets anyone coming up the driveway. The greeting is a bit exuberant, and we have to warn people that she doesn’t realize how big she is and might bowl them over…

She greeted people sitting under a tree at the yard sale with her usual smiling face. She started to whimper when we went to look at things quickly. We didn’t want to stay long because we had Amber – and a container of cottage cheese – in the car and it’s in the high 90’s, with a heat index of about 103. We hurried, and she was happy when we came back to the truck, each with goodies in our arms.

My husband got a really pretty lavender cylindrical glass vase and two votive holders he thought I would like. (I did!)

 

I fell in love with this handmade birdhouse! It’s made of real wood with something sturdy used as ‘shingles’ for the roof.

 

I think I’ll hang it up near a larger one on the porch so it doesn’t fall apart in the weather. I just love it!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Delightful Surprises, Family

Mixed Feelings

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I’m split right down the middle emotionally this morning – one half is jubilant, the other feeling very, very humble.

I officially hit 1100 subscribers to this blog the day before yesterday. Half of me is joyously dancing around the room. The other half is feeling very serious.

THANK YOU  to those of you who signed up to receive the blog. People see my posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, but 1100 actually signed up to receive my posts every day. I gain and lose subscribers on a regular basis. That’s normal and to be expected. To have this many people actually stick with me – many for several years now – is such a beautiful compliment.  My goal is to provide a place free of politics, outrage, bad news, and other gloomy, depressing things. We all get more than enough of that in our regular, every day lives. I’m trying to provide a break, focusing on beautiful things, funny stuff, posts that might bring you a smile, or that you might identify with. Above all, I hope to never bore you.

THANK YOU to those of you who take the time to hit ‘like’ or write to me. Feedback is a wonderful thing. Otherwise, I feel I’m throwing a bottle in the ocean. I appreciate feedback on what you enjoy, what made you smirk, what touched you in some way. I would love to know what you would like more of, as well as what you hope to never see again. :0)

When I told my husband that my subscriber list had reached 1100, he insisted that he take me for a meal of my favorite food in all the world – lobster tail! We’re doing that tomorrow!!!!  So THANK YOU, also, for giving my husband a reason to spoil me once again. :0)

As I wrote this post, my stats told me some wonderful news: I just hit 1101!

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Filed under Challenges, Delightful Surprises, doing what you love, Encouragement, Favorite Things, quality of life

What Color is Your Attitude?

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“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” – Allen Klein

_________________

 

My dad taught me how important seeing the world with humor can be. He lived it, giving me a beautiful example on which to base my own attitude.  I can stand back and look at what’s happening as if I’m watching a movie. This allows me to see the humor in the situation and give a big, hearty laugh at myself.

My mother-in-law gave me a reminder when we were driving her to a retirement center in Tulsa. Her whole life was changing. Her husband was dead set against the move. She was giving up much of her previous life and activities. She knew no one at the center. I asked her how she felt about the move. She smiled a bright smile, her eyes twinkling, and said, “I’m going to LOVE it!” I looked at her, silently asking her to go on. She said, again, “I’m going to love it. I’m going to make friends, find fun and interesting things to do, enjoy fixing up our rooms a bit, and make this my new home.” And she did.  Everyone soon knew who she was and loved her.

I’ll never forget this, and hope to embrace changes with this same enthusiasm. Attitude colors everything.  We can look at things with the idea of new opportunities and wonderful surprises ahead. I want my life to keep expanding. I would like to reach out, savoring what remains of my life with gusto. The more colorful, the better.

What color is YOUR attitude?

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, Delightful Surprises, Encouragement

I Ate a Mangosteen!

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I told you a week or so ago that our son arranged to send us some Mangosteens from a place in Miami. He lives in Thailand, and this is one of his favorite things.  I had never heard of them, but found out that pharmaceutical companies are going nuts making supplements from the powder. I actually bought a bottle and am taking the supplements, but I haven’t felt any difference, and don’t look a thing like Julia Roberts yet, so I probably won’t order another bottle.

The mangosteen fruit came really nicely packaged in a styrofoam box with a dry ice type thing in it. We looked at all the fruit, but all of them were really hard, like billiard balls. We put a few on the island in the kitchen to ripen.

I’ve been testing them each day, eager to try one. Finally, two of them ‘gave’ a tiny bit when I pressed them, so I followed my son’s video, sticking my thumb in just under the green leaves at the top and pulling the top off. I then pulled all the purple part off, exposing the nice, white fruit inside. It looks just like this photo! The purple part is fairly hard to get off, but I think this is mostly because I was hurrying things a bit, anxious to try the fruit. The first mangosteen I opened didn’t have white fruit, so I threw that away. The second one looked JUST like the one above, so I carefully separated the white sections, which are remarkably similar to an orange.

They are, indeed, delicious. I ate three sections – which were very small – and took the other three to my husband to try. He said, “These are nice, but not something I would travel far for.” I can’t wait for more of them to ripen. I put six of them in a paper bag, taking the suggestion from Marsha, a good friend of mine. We’ll see if that works. The rest are still in the fridge in their styrofoam box. I certainly don’t want them all ripening at once!

What a fun experience!

 

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, DIET!, Healthy Eating

A Wonderful Surprise!

Fedex delivered a ‘perishable items’ box to us this afternoon. Inside was a styrofoam box filled with Mangosteens. They were shipped from MiamiFruit.org, sent as a gift to us by our son in Thailand. He discovered these at the market recently and absolutely loves them. We had never heard of them!  I checked around and was unable to find anything but supplements MADE from Mangosteen. I ordered a bottle and have taken about half of them.  Our son said he thought he had found a place in the U.S. that sold them and could ship them to us for us to try.

Most of the Mangosteens are in our fridge inside the styrofoam box. We left these out on the counter to ripen more. There is supposed to be a little ‘give’ when you squeeze them, and these are like billiard balls. :0)  According to the website, you’re supposed to cut them in half horizontally and then suck out the fruit.

 

naturalhistory-notes.blogspot.com.br

This picture that I found on the net shows the inside white part that looks kind of like orange wedges. I look up information about Mangosteens –

“Unique for its appearance and flavor, mangosteen is often revered as “the Queen” of tropical fruits, particularly in the South-East Asian regions. This exotic, round, purple color fruit is quite popular for its snow-white, juicy, delicious arils all of the Asian countries, and in recent years by the European and American fruit lovers as well!  Internally; it features 4 to 10 juicy, snow-white, soft, fleshy, triangular segments as in oranges. Each segment may carry 1-4 off-white colored seeds. Seeds are inedible and bitter in taste. The flavor of the fruit can be best described as sweet, mildly tangy, fragrant, and delicious.

Health benefits of mangosteen

  • Delicious and juicy, mangosteen is one of the popular tropical fruits. It comprises of an impressive list of essential nutrients which required for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being.
  • It is moderately low in calories (63 calories per 100 g) and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber (100 g provides about 13% of RDA).
  • Mangosteen is good source of vitamin-C and provides about 12% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance to combat viral flu and help scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free-radicals.
  • Fresh fruit is a mild source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folates. These vitamins are acting as cofactors the help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Further, it also contains a splendid amount of minerals like copper, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate, and blood pressure, thus, it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.”

Source: www.nutrition-and-you.com/

Our son is asleep now (there is 12 hours difference between us), but we’ll get some tips from him as to how to get them open without cutting off our own body parts.  I’ll let you know what we think when we’ve got a ripe one and have had a chance to sample them. Isn’t this a fun gift!

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Hey, Big Spender!

We love it when we see a “Garage Sale” sign when we’re on the way home from errands. It’s so easy to detour, spend a few minutes looking at things, grabbing things we like, and then going on home. Today we stopped at a house where two nice ladies were sitting in the shade of their garage. I say they were nice because the first thing one of the lady’s said was, “Oh, look at the pretty dog!” as Amber complained from the back seat of the truck that we were getting out and leaving her once again. It turned out the lady has a German Shepard who is about the same size as our Amber, so she knows and appreciates big ‘puppies.’ :0)

We made a quick tour of the things for sale. I just couldn’t leave this sweet Santa basket behind. His hat, plus the basket has bells that make beautiful music when you move him. His sign says, “Santa Stop.” You can put Christmas goodies, Christmas stockings, Christmas presents or Christmas cards in the basket. He had a green $1.00 sticker on his nose and I just HAD to adopt him, didn’t I?

 

 

 

 

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Two Happy Ways to Start a Day

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We woke up with the red light flashing on our weather alert, telling us we were under a thunderstorm warning. Instead of having anything scary, we just had a nice, but short, soaky rain.  Our doggies cavorted around, clearly enjoying the rain. The rain stopped fairly quickly, and we are able to enjoy windows and doors open to a nice, cool breeze!

 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus) females feeding on Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans), Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado http://www.hummingbirds.org

AND, while we were eating breakfast, a hummingbird came to drink from one of our feeders. Just as we were enjoying watching, ANOTHER hummingbird came swooping by! This has been a slow hummingbird season for us so far, so we were really delighted to see TWO at once. It also gives me the motivation to thoroughly clean out the hummingbird birdbath my husband and I built.

Pics later….

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, quality of life

“Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign…”

We stopped at a garage sale several days ago. I found some signs I loved at a great price, so I bought three of them.  This is the “Believe” sign we hung up over the door on the back porch.

 

 

We hung up this “Laugh” sign on the other end of the back porch.

 

This is a wall of our garage, where we added the “Cherish” sign to complement the “This is Our Happily Ever After” sign already there.

 

I wanted to make this sign in our shop, but my husband was feeling lazy and bought this one.  I love it.

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND
“Signs”

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Funny Signs - Humor

A Delightful Way to Start the Morning!

I woke up this morning to a sale on Etsy!

I sold this one-of-a-kind hand-painted basket. I was especially pleased because the person who bought it was giving it to a lady who just passed the bar. From the gift message to be enclosed, I learned that purchaser is her boss at the law firm. Isn’t that she a wonderful boss? I’m happy to have a small part in wishing the ‘official’ lawyer well.  I smiled the whole time I was packing it for shipment. :0)

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Filed under CreativeArtwks on Etsy, Delightful Surprises, LindaLewis on ArtFire

Proud

I had a nice chat with our son this morning. He said he had spent most of the day today (It’s 1:00 in the morning tomorrow now) at a cafe he likes, doing computer work for a client.

All of a sudden a Chinese girl came into the cafe, distraught because she had left her purse in a red truck (taxi). Our son was able to talk to her in Mandarin, called the police and talked to them in Thai. They were able to find the particular red truck, the driver, and the purse. Our son said that would have never happened in China. I think it wouldn’t have happened in the United States, either. He said the Thai people are very nice.

I’m so pleased that he wanted to – and was able to – help, speaking in two languages. He has always thought it was important to try to learn the language wherever you are, showing respect for the country and its people. I’m happy that all his work on language classes actually helped someone in distress today.

(The picture above shows the Chinese people on the left, including the girl with her Cat’s Eye bag. The Thai red truck driver in the middle, and the Thai police on the right.)  It makes me feel good that the driver was honest, the police were helpful, and the girl was helped. There is still good in the world!

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, Family, giving, opportunities, Short Powerful Stories

A Beautiful Birthday Present

My friend Kay brought me this beautiful black elephant ear plant as one of my birthday presents. (She also brought me a Joseph’s Coat climbing rose bush plant)  I finally got this planted yesterday, in one of the tall brick planters beside our front porch. It will be as protected as possible from the gusty winds we have at times. It’ll get sun in the afternoons. I hope it will be happy here.

 

If it isn’t happy here, I’ll transplant it to one of the brick planters along the front of the house that we’re having to take down and rebuild. That may be awhile, though.

 

I think this is a beautiful plant and I hope it does well. I thanked her, and then Kay told me not to – that to thank someone for a plant was bad luck for the plant – or the person – I forget which. I held my mouth shut the rest of the time and will have to HOPE that I didn’t jinx one or both of us with my thank you…

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One Reason

I got up to refresh my coffee a minute ago. My husband was asleep in his chair, probably not remembering we need to leave for the dentist in about 10 minutes. This is what I found on the divider between the dining area and the kitchen. He had taken the doggies out and cut these to bring in while they were out.  He’s definitely a keeper, and this is only one of the many reasons why.

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Treasure is in the Eye of the Beholder

National Treasure Film Set-Wikipedia

Somehow the ancient, old, chaotic feel of this photo reminds me of my art room right now. I’ve pretty much finished gathering things for donation, though I’ve started another bag. I’m down to the nitty-gritty of going through things carefully, getting ruthless about whether I actually plan to USE whatever it is, and then deciding its fate.

This is harder because I’m finding lots of things, like pictures torn from magazines, that get my juices flowing. I’ve decided to pare these down to about 1/4 or less of what I currently have. I’ll make files of what I keep so that I might actually be able to find them later.

I’m finding ‘treasures’ though – things I’ve had for years that have been buried. I’m loving this – but the finding of wonderful things makes it harder to make significant progress on my efforts to purge/give away/throw away/clean and reorganize.

I did finally uncover a chair, so I can sit in the middle of the chaos and go through things. I put in two sessions yesterday and will do at least that much today. I’m hoping to be able to share pics with you soon.

In the meantime, who knows what treasures I’ll find today!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Delightful Surprises, Favorite Things, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

A Really NICE Surprise!

My husband and I were working in the office when our driveway detector went off. My husband said, “Could you get that?” I went out to see the UPS delivery person, something that happens often around here. I brought the box into the office and opened it. It was a vase with a dozen red roses!

My husband doesn’t like to celebrate ‘holidays,’ saying he thinks he should be good to me ALL the time, rather than just a few days each year where it’s EXPECTED that the guy get a present for his love. In fact, we’ve talked about the fact that the ads must make men like my husband  – or someone who might be strapped for extra cash – feel awful for NOT spending lots of money to ‘show his love.’  We think love shouldn’t be a ‘have-to’ thing.

My husband was really good about sending me flowers for NO occasion when I was at work. It was his hope that I would feel special, and that the other women in my workplace would feel jealous that I got flowers and it wasn’t my birthday, or Valentine’s Day, or anything.

In June we’ll celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. Since we have loved each other since I was 14 and he was 17, you can add another 9 years to the official married years. I guess I’m confessing to a kind of addiction…

I really wasn’t expecting this. The card says, “I never get enough of you!” (For two people who don’t even use the same SALT, you KNOW that isn’t true, but what a NICE thing for him to say! He’s definitely a keeper.  :0)

 

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Wonderful Surprise

Mary Lou, my sister-in-law, sent me a surprise package. We received it yesterday.

A “Labrador” pillow cover to honor our sweet ‘puppy,’ Amber!  We bought a pillow insert today after Lunch Bunch and I couldn’t wait to see how it looked on the couch.

 

Great present!  Thanks so much, Mary Lou!!

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Wonderful Surprise!

thereforenow.com

There is little that gives me so much pleasure as writing my blog. I LOVE sharing things with you that I think you might like. The WordPress people keep track of how many people sign up with their email address, as opposed to people who read the blog through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

My husband told me that, if/when I reached 1,000 subscribers via email, he would take me for a lobster tail dinner (my favorite food in all the world). I laughed, knowing that I would NEVER have that many followers.

For the past two weeks, for some unknown reason, I’ve had a lot of new subscribers. Last night I had reached 998. I refreshed the page this morning to find 999. Just before I was going to go into the kitchen and make us a salad for lunch, the number changed and said, “1,000!” I whooped with joy and ran to get my husband to come look.

I figured that soon we would go get my lobster tail, but my husband said, “Get your coat. We’re going to get your lobster tail!” We just got back about 10 minutes ago. I am now stuffed to the gills with a truly wonderful, bit lobster tail, bites of which I dipped into a little bowl of melted butter. We got the Red Lobster biscuits that are to die for, and have a gazillion calories and even more carbs, but simply melt in your mouth. I had wild rice and broccoli, plus a small salad to round out my victory meal. I savored every bite.

My husband hat a grilled chicken salad, a couple of the biscuits, and a Corona, but his favorite part of the meal was apple croissants with ice cream and caramel sauce for dessert.

My husband says I need to ‘get to work’ now. I won’t get another lobster tail dinner until my subscriber list hits 2,000….

Seriously, I am very complimented that so many people enjoyed what I was posting enough to sign up. I’ve lost subscribers over the course of the past two years – probably because I tend to post a lot. I hope that people aren’t aggravated by that, because I just have a  lot to share.  I picture people just ignoring my posts until they have the time to look at them, or – if they’re not in the mood – just deleting them.

THANK YOU for reading my posts. Thank you, also, for taking time to write from time to time. I appreciate the feedback very much.

Have a wonderful day.

 

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When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve’

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

I LOVE to watch figure skating. It’s one of my favorite things in life. My husband found that the contest for who would go to the Winter Olympics in figure skating was on television Friday and Saturday nights. I was in Heaven. The ladies skated on Friday and the men on Saturday. Seeing so much dedication and talent in one place is awe-inspiring.

 

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

The women were all very talented, but it seemed to me that the contest wasn’t as close as the men’s.  I have to say I’m really pleased to live on the same planet as these talented people.

The reason I titled this post “When ‘Favorite Thing’ Meets ‘Pet Peeve'” is the people who ‘help’ me watch the performance. Yes, they’re professionals. Yes, they know better than anyone how well the people skate. They’ve watched these folks in practice. They have been where these young people are and know what they’re feeling and how nervous they are.

My pet peeve is that I don’t want to listen to them! I want to watch the ice skating. I want to listen to the music they’ve chosen. Even “I” who can’t tell the difference between a ‘quad,’ and a ‘triple lutz’ (spelling?) can SEE when someone does a brilliant job of skating. I can tell if they almost fell or actually fell on their butts. I don’t care what the name is of the thing they’re about to do. I don’t want to know how nervous they are or that they had trouble in practice. I JUST WANT TO WATCH THEM SKATE AND LISTEN TO THE MUSIC. The commentators can talk in-between performances, even showing ‘where-little-Johnny-fell-on-his-butt’ over and over again, if they would like.

The result of this pet peeve is that once the skater begins, it’s about 4 seconds before one of the commentators HAS to tell me what is coming up and how important it is that little Johnny doesn’t fall on his butt this time. I mute the sound and watch, then unmute to see if I can hear at least a few seconds of the music before another commentator HAS to break in to tell me that little Johnny said that this performance was really important to him tonight. Well, DUH!

So, the performances are largely done in silence in the Lewis household. Amazingly, even without listening to the commentators, we can tell who did a good job and who didn’t. We realize all the years each of these talented people have practiced. We have an idea of what they’ve given up to get to this place. We want them to do well.

I just WISH we didn’t have to appreciate them in silence…

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Mr. Bountiful

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My husband and I work in harmony each morning to get all the animals fed, breakfast fixed and eaten, dishwasher unloaded, and our basic chores done.

He usually takes the animals out first thing, stopping at our big bucket of sunflower seeds in the garage to take out to the deck for the birds. We put out both sunflower seeds and the small seeds you see in the picture above.

After he comes in and we are sitting at the dining area table for breakfast, it’s like the memo went out – “Mr. Bountiful has come!”

All of a sudden we’re awash in lots and lots of birds of all stripes bouncing from feeder to feeder, plus a squirrel or two, entertaining us as we eat.

We put a special squirrel feeder up, right on the other side of the window. It has a gallon glass bottle held up by a wooden closure. The squirrel has to come into the wooden enclosure and then stretch out to get the seed in the bottle. We get a really great look at him. There are little pointy-headed birds that also use this feeder, popping in and out with regularity.

With the birds and squirrels outside the window, our two dogs and two cats sitting on the floor around the table, and the fish happily eating in their aquarium, we feel happy and rich.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Family, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Happy Birthday!

Today is my husband’s birthday. We’re not doing anything special because he would definitely like to forget he’s getting older. I kissed him and wished him a Happy Birthday this morning, and he said, “Hummmmph”

He got the best present this morning, though, and I got to share in it.

Our son lives and works in Thailand. It’s been over two years since we’ve seen him, though we use a chat program he set up, talking to him most days about this and that. We’re able to send him pics, type in real time at each other if we’re up and available at the same time, so it’s as good as it can be, EXCEPT when we can use a program called appear.in which is like Skype, but infinitely better. The picture is really good, the sound is good. There is almost no lag time, no echoes. It’s almost as if we were in the same room.

He arranged for us to use this this morning! He wished my husband a Happy Birthday. He said, Dad, will you do something fun? I love you.” My husband answered, “Every day is Christmas for me. You were the best present of all.”  I have to tell you I melted into a puddle and couldn’t speak for a while. Then we chatted about everything under the sun. I drank in his face the whole time, delighting when we could make him smile or laugh. I had everything I needed in the world while we were talking.

A wonderful birthday celebration to be sure.

 

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Heavy Mist/Light Sprinkle

When Amber and I were walking this morning, I saw a beautiful sight – everything in the yard was covered in stunning drops of water. It was completely still, so the water beaded up as if all had been waxed. I tried to get a couple of pics to give you an idea of what my world looks like right now.

 

Even the GRASS had droplets of water sitting on the blades!

 

Like a fairyland, except a bit too cool – at 42.

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Garage Sale Goodies

My husband likes to go to auctions. I hate those because you stand around at least half the day, waiting for the items you want to come up, and then are outbid many times by others, coming home empty-handed. I just don’t have the patience.

I love garage or yard sales. Everything is out where you can see it. You can quickly see the prices, decide if you want it, and buy it or not and leave quickly. What could be better?

We went to a yard sale yesterday and I found several goodies!

The lady having the sale told me that another lady had gathered these handkerchiefs with the idea of making a quilt from them, but then changed her mind. I got them for 50 cents a piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the salad spoon and fork, and the others are ice cream scoops. You can NEVER have too many of those…

 

This is heavy glass, with a light ‘frosted’ look on the outside. I just love it. ($5.00)

 

And this is heavy cut crystal! ($5.00)

I’m very happy with my new treasures!

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The Best Compliment Ever

Awhile back I posted that I had closed down my website, Creative Artworks, after about 17 years. I had the work of several artists besides myself displayed, and I had the best time promoting our work, plus made some good friends. Then it got to the point where a small group of artists were actually working with me, helping me keep our standards high, helping me with contests, keeping their part of the website up to date. There was a larger and larger group of people who were just there. I actually had some who embarrassed me. We would get an order. I would email them, and they would respond, “Oh, I haven’t made those in a year.” I would have to refund money, disappoint a customer, and creat something for them to try to show them how sorry I was for their inconvenience. When this happened more and more, I decided to shut down Creative Artworks. I keep my own work on ArtFire.com and Etsy.com.

I received a phone call at about 6:30 yesterday evening. It took me two tries of the man saying his name before I recognized who he was. This was a customer of mine for whom I had painted and personalized wooden ornaments. He tried to go to Creative Artworks, finding the link no longer took him to the site. He tried emailing me at the email address I used for business, and the email bounced. So he called me, still having my phone number from the last custom order!

He wants me to paint and personalize more ornaments for him! I was astounded that he went to so much trouble to contact me. I had tears in my eyes while I was trying to talk to him. He now has my regular email address and we’ll work out the details of which ornaments he wants, how many, and possibly for multiple years, but I’m still tearing up.  Of COURSE, he’ll get a nice discount on whatever he decides to order. :0)

What a beautiful compliment! To say this warm feeling has started off my Friday well is a vast understatement.

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“The House Under the Rainbow”

Two days ago in the afternoon, my husband said, “You’ve got to go outside. Walk halfway out to the shop and then turn around and look.”

The temperature had suddenly dropped by about 20 degrees. There was a fabulous breeze and this gorgeous rainbow over the house, though no rain.  I just stood, drinking in the breeze and the beautiful rainbow for several minutes before coming back in. My husband caught this pic while he was out. Neither the rainbow nor the rainbow lasted more than a few minutes, but what glorious minutes they were!

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