Category Archives: Delightful Surprises

A Smile to Start April 2020

Aaron and Lenny help us enjoy April. No fooling.

I found the Austrailian Firefighters fundraising calendar online several months ago. I loved the idea of great looking firefighters with cute dogs to celebrate each month while bringing needed funds to the firefighters. This was before they had all the awful bush fires there.

I’m happy to share the gorgeous guys with you each month. I hope that you will consider buying a calendar each year, or maybe one for yourself and others as gifts for the new year, to aid their fundraising efforts and bring yourself a mile each month.  AustralianFireFightersCalendar.

May the end of April bring us through anxiety and into better times.

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Encouragement, Favorite Pictures, holidays, opportunities

Thoughts on a Wednesday 3-11-2020

“Dandelion Wishes” -Dick van Dujin Photography via Penny Yaffe Krakow

About 20 minutes ago the sky was really dark, even though it was about 9:30 a.m.  It looked like we were in for quite a storm. Now it’s gray and sprinkling, but it looks like the ‘storm’ blew past us. Whew!

Things are pretty much back to normal again after my glorious marathon birthday celebration, although my husband surprised me after errands yesterday by taking me to The Dari to share a seafood platter for lunch! I’m am TOTALLY spoiled at this point, have a big head – since my family and friends made me feel so special – and have become insufferable. I have a bathroom to scrub upstairs today, so that should bring me down to Earth a bit. :0)

Seriously – (and I’m going to show my advanced age now) – I have felt like the winner on the old “Queen for a Day” cheesy TV program from a hundred years or so ago where some woman was showered with wonderful things from friends, family, and the show, making her, her family, and ME cry.  I just searched and found an actual show from 1963 on YouTube 

So now I’m concentrating on getting back to my normal, happy self after a tear-worthy celebration that I’m still alive, kicking, and still hard to live with.

As fears concerning the coronavirus rise, I want to share some facts from the CDC website that are helping ME keep things in perspective so far – As of today, March 11th, there are 1016 confirmed cases and 31 deaths in the United States.  The numbers will continue to rise, adding to the tension. ALSO, though, according to the CDC website, so far in 2020, there have been 34,000+ cases and 20,000+ deaths from the REGULAR STRAIN OF THE FLU. 

The cautions to prevent infections for both are the same. People 60 and over, particularly those with underlying health conditions, should avoid large crowds as much as possible. We should all wash our hands and try not to touch our faces. (Not touching my face is apparently a HUGE one for me. I never realized how MUCH I scratch my face, pull on my nose, rub my eyes, etc. I saw a picture of a man wearing one of the huge plastic collars they put on animals that keep them from licking a wound, suggesting that might be a good thing to use. :0)  I may actually have to DO that – or wear mittens.

What I’m saying doesn’t ally all the fear, but hopefully it brings some perspective. Hopefully the FDA won’t throw up all the roadblocks they normally do, causing horrible delays in getting a possible vaccine to the public. Maybe there will be a waiver one can sign in order to get the possible protection. One can hope. If you are in the risk group, as my husband and I are, pay attention and be smart.

I’ll share some pics I took of the garden with you as soon as the battery on my camera charges up again. I am on the ‘sealing stage’ on a new design of wooden earrings. I’ll share some pics of those, too, if possible, later today.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

 

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Delightful Surprises, Feeling Spoiled, Health Alert, Thoughts on a ________

Wonderful Marathon Birthday Celebration

Cartoons by Ron Leishman

When you are my age, the more celebration the better.  (I will be 73 on Monday, March 9th.)

My friends at Lunch Bunch made me feel really special yesterday and I’m still grinning.

When we walked into the Pizza Barn, this was one of the things on the table –

I put them in the center of our dining table so that my husband and I can enjoy them together. The first thing he said at breakfast this morning was, “These are lovely.”

Spring-Scented candle and holder.  I wish you could smell this!

Ceramic OWL candle or tealight holder. This has a peach and mango candle. Delicious!

Kitchen towels with attitude!

And beautiful birthday cards.

TWO pieces of chocolate sheet cake with chocolate frosting.

My lunch was free.

Conversation, laughter, and hugs from long-time friends. (we have been meeting every Friday for Lunch Bunch for almost 19 years now – a true gift.)

My husband and I indulged in hot dogs with BUNS and Fritos last night for dinner – I haven’t had those – or the cake – in over a year now.

And Monday my husband is taking me for a lobster tail lunch at Red Lobster – a celebration of another year of life, PLUS having over 1400 subscribers to my blog now.

“I’ve enjoyed every age I’ve been and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I’ve been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don’t want a “perfect” face and body; I want to wear the life I’ve lived.” — Pat Benatar

 

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, aging, Are YOU also older than Dirt?, Cause for Celebration, Delightful Surprises, Family, Friendship, Great Companies Who Deserve Your Business, kindness, quality of life

Enough for Today

Joanna Brandt

We got our Internet upgrade via CenturyLink – speed up from 6 bps to 41 – a significant difference. My husband worked with the tech to get the new double lines run outside and then the new modem installed and tested while I made sure that our dogs stayed out of the way – and away from each other. I’ll let you know what I think after I get a chance to test it some.

The other big thing for the day was scrubbing our master bathroom. This consists of a double lavatory with counter top, a whirlpool tub, a walk-in shower, toilet, floors and rugs. It took me a couple of hours, but things are significantly better in there now. My husband will see it when we go up to bed tonight…

He took Amber to Yeagers and got some weed killer for the lawn. Right now it looks like we need to mow, but all is weeds that have spurted up. We’re hoping that the weed killer he just spread will do the same good it did last year. We’ll both sleep well tonight after our various forms of exercise today.

Even though it’s too early to say this, as far as I’m concerned my work is done today.

Cindy Basnett Thurman

 

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Thoughts on a Saturday 2-29-2020

alamy

Happy Leap Year – February 29th, 2020!

We have had a busy day so far.

We figured out a way to move the big rock that we dug up when the water pipe in our front yard sprung a leak.

It doesn’t look very impressive here, but the rock is about 18 inches long and HEAVY. We managed to turn it sideways, working with a shovel and moving it about an inch at a time. Then we worked together to heave it over, and over, and over until we finally got to the edge of the yard. It went down the slope into the trees. We then got a bag of potting soil to work on filling the hole. We’ll see where we are after the next rain.

I went through my jewelry today. I LOVE jewelry, particularly earrings, but followed closely by necklaces. I have WAY too much for any one woman, so I decided to get fairly ruthless, putting anything I hadn’t worn in the past year into baggies for each jewelry type to donate to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. I STILL have too much jewelry for any one woman, but I made significant progress. I went through my closet quickly, too, finding some purses, scarves and belts to add to the donation. I have just finished listing everything and getting the bags ready to take for donation next Tuesday.

We’re going Tuesday because on Monday (between 9 and 5) we are supposed to be getting significantly faster Internet service provided by CenturyLink. We have them now, but the service they were advertising on a flyer recently really got our attention. We live in the sticks and have to be content with the best of whatever is available. Our son – who has one of the greatest senses of humor on the planet – goes into a whole ‘schtick’ mocking our service each time he comes home. I laugh until my stomach hurts. Fingers – and all other appendages – are crossed that the new service actually IS significantly faster than what we have now.

Also on Tuesday, thanks to YOU – I am getting a lobster tail lunch at Red Lobster after we make the donation – because my subscriber list hit 1400 officially today. I’m thrilled and I thank those of you who signed up. :0)

My to-do list is long today, but I am making progress. I hope that your day is happy and productive, too.

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A Beautiful Sight

On the way to Lunch Bunch this morning, we saw a group of SIX deer standing beside the road. Happily, they didn’t move as we drove past. I wish I could have gotten a pic of them, but someone was behind us on the road, so we couldn’t stop.  This picture I found on the net gives you an idea of what we were fortunate enough to see.

 

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Thoughts on a Wednesday 1-29-2020

Animals Collection

Even though it’s gray, 44 degrees, raw and rainy here today in Arkansas, I’m having a nice day, and have many things for which to be thankful.

Yesterday I opened our mail to find a pair of earrings my husband had found and ordered for me!

I just love them. It doesn’t show here, but the stones are kind of sparkly!  The design of them is giving me a bit of  a problem, though. They have a curved piece on the front that goes through the hole in your ear, and then you close the back onto the end to hold it in place. I’m having trouble getting the curved part through my ear. I’m continuing to try different techniques, but so far, no luck. :0(  I’ll keep working at it because I really want to wear them!

I’m working on a new wooden plaque in my art room. I think it’s going to turn out well, and I’m having fun working on it.

Since it’s still raining, we’re having to delay our trip to Ft. Smith to take our donation to the Veterans Thrift Store. Hopefully, we can do that tomorrow. I’m already finding more things I would like to donate, but the back of our truck will be full with what we have already.

Early this morning I put ingredients for Keto Chili into the crock pot, so we’ll have a nice comfort food type dinner this evening.

Today I’ve decided that my next clean out project will be my clothes closet. I need to move warm weather stuff out and move cold weather stuff in. I want to take my time, though, and get rid of a bunch of for each ‘season.’ Happily, some of my clothes are simply too large now, thanks to my efforts on eating Keto and exercising.

So it’s back to work now, after taking a short break. I hope that YOUR Wednesday is treating you right.

 

 

 

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, DIET!, exercise, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Mother Nature, Organizing/DeCluttering, Thoughts on a ________

Bowling and Bonuses

amazon.com

We went bowling last night with our good friends, the Taylors, last night.

It doesn’t matter how well (or how badly) we bowl. We do it for the fun of it, the good exercise, the chance to catch up with our good friends, AND a trip to Braum’s afterwards for a scoop of ice cream.

BONUS # 1 – Last night was especially fun. There was a good-looking young man with 4 kids of varying ages bowling next to us. The children looked to be Asian and were great-looking children. The two boys looked to be in their teens. The girls were younger. As we bowled, I couldn’t help but melt into a puddle at the youngest girl. She had a gorgeous smile that appeared often. I clapped when she got a spare and she lit up like a Christmas tree. She would smile at me when I managed to throw a good ball, too. The man had taught the kids bowling etiquette, so it was a pleasure to be next to them.

After awhile, the man came over to us and said that he wanted us to know that his kids were impressed with our bowling. This was a shock because we really weren’t doing that well, although we had gotten a few strikes, and – more notably – picked up a few difficult spares.  He said the kids were always on their phones. He had taken them to the Grand Canyon, and couldn’t get them to even look out the window at the wonderful sight because they were glued to their devices. But they were impressed with us!

We told him that his kids – two of the four – and his niece and nephew – were beautiful children and we were impressed at how well behaved they were.  They were here for Thanksgiving, and he had taken them bowling to get them out of the house.  :0)  A total pleasure to bowl next to them and talk with them.

BONUS # 2 –  After a joyful trip to Braum’s for ice cream, we took our friends back to their home. They said they had something for us. They went inside and came back out with TWO gorgeous elephant ear plants for us to take home!

Elephant Ear 1

Elephant Ear 2

Laufrain told us to put them in the garage to winter over, but we elected to try to keep them alive in our dining area and then – if successful – we’ll put them on our front porch in the spring so they’ll be protected from too much wind.

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Wonderful Surprise

When I was working in the yard a couple of days ago, trying to clean out our flower planters before the coming bad weather, I found these iris! We have several deep purple ‘twice-blooming’ iris that we treasure. I don’t remember seeing any others around the yard this year, but these were blooming behind the well house. They bloom in the spring, and then again in the fall. I couldn’t bear the thought of them freezing, so I cut them and brought them in the house so we could enjoy them as long as possible.

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Garage Sale Finds

 

I love garage sales. You can go to one and be back out again in two seconds if you don’t find anything interesting. You can see at a glance what the price is on any given object and make a decision.

My husband likes auctions. He is willing to travel, wait through a line to get a number, then wait around while the auctioneer does his thing, get into a bidding war with someone, and most of the time come home empty-handed. I don’t have the patience for this.

On the way home from Lunch Bunch and errands, we saw a Garage Sale sign. We had never been up this driveway, and, in fact, were only vaguely aware that someone lived back there. There was kind of a long driveway that twisted and turned, finally coming up to a lovely home and detached shop. They had four doggies, one of whom was interested in saying “hi” to us.

There was a very nice lady holding the sale. It turned out that we know her husband and her father-in-law, so it was doubly nice to meet her.

 

I’m an owl nut. I love almost anything shaped like an owl. My collection is too large, but I fell in love with this one (such a surprise!) and brought it home.

 

Since we seem to be celebrating ‘HalthanksChristmas,’ I was please to find this cutey just sitting there waiting for me to snap him up.

 

My husband got a nice package of video cables and this sweet “Little Deuce Coupe” (My favorite car at all the car shows in the area)  kit. We might just put up our card table and work on putting this together now that the time for being outside becomes shorter and shorter.

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The Best Kind of Gift

I won the lottery on Sisters-in-law – sorry, I got her first!  We email every day, sharing what’s happening, what we’re hoping for, supporting each other whenever necessary, etc. She is truly a special lady, and we are FRIENDS as well as in-laws.

She let me know a package was coming for me. It arrived yesterday. It’s not my birthday. It’s not Christmas, or any other day that would even suggest a gift. It’s the most special type of gift – one chosen just because they thought of you when they saw it and thought you might enjoy it.

BOY – did she NAIL it!

 

 

 

This is called Unicorn Spit!  I had never heard of it. It’s a paint/glaze that you dilute with water and paint and layer it on glass, wood, and more to get all kinds of glorious effects with dazzling super bright colors. You can mix them, too, and spray your work while still wet to add another color and see what happens on the piece. I’ve bookmarked a YouTube demonstration (isn’t YouTube the best thing?) so I can watch people who know what they’re doing and discover many of the possibilities.

A gift given for no reason other than they hope you enjoy it. THANKS AGAIN, ML.  I can’t wait to make time to go play!!!!!!

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Family, Friendship, playing in my art room

Temptation

Handmade Bunny “Bonnie” by Olga Nechaeva

 

I have found a wonderful website that I will TRY to stay out of except for sharing wonderful things with you. The website is called Tedsby.com and has handmade stuffed creatures that simply melt me into a puddle. I want ALL of them!

 

Handmade Mouse “Nicky” by Irinia Makarova

 

Handmade Snow Leopard “Coconut” by Brigitte Crowe

 

Handmade Teddy Bear “Laurie” by Naomi Wivell

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Filed under Art Around the World, Delightful Surprises, Don't Miss These Products!

Delightful Experience

Poets & Quants

My husband and I signed up to be a host family for a 16-year-old young man from Italy this school year. We have been planning for this for some time now and August 6th the students were to arrive.

Due to a health problem in the family, we were forced to contact the coordinator and opt out. We were really disappointed, but really didn’t want our problem to ruin the year for our young man. Happily, the lady was able to find another family.  We had been texting for some time. When I got the go-ahead, I contacted him and explained our situation, being able to assure him that his plans wouldn’t be changed, other than the host family. He told me he would let me know when he got here.

I figured that when he arrived, he would be swept up into lots of activity and that we would probably not hear from him. I then received a text from him, saying he would like to meet us! We arranged that he and his family would meet my husband and me at a local restaurant yesterday.

The meeting could not have been better. It was was wonderful to be able to hug him and enjoy talking with him and seeing him smile.  I felt like I fell into a hole because I had to look up at him. :0)  He is a really nice looking, friendly young man.

His host family is a delight. Young, energetic, already into school activities because they have two boys, 17 and 13, on football teams at the school, plus a lovely 4 or 5-year-old daughter. Our young man met another boy on the plane who lives in a different part of Italy. He is with another family here, close by!  The three boys will have a blast this year. They are traveling to St. Louis today – after football pics at the school – to catch a Cardinals game.  As you can tell, this is a WONDERFUL situation.

They will let us know the soccer schedule so that we can watch him play. We are making plans for a cookout at our place, and dinner at their place – with our young man cooking! – in the future.

What could have been a sad situation is now a joyful one.

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My Garden Exploded!

I’ve told you we’ve had non-stop rain the past day-after-day-after-day around here. I haven’t been able to even THINK about getting out to the garden. The rain has stopped for a minute, so I went out there, not knowing whether my sweet little plants would have been washed out of their little squares, totally inundated with water and lying sadly dying, or what.

What I found amazed me. My garden is happy, healthy, and has exploded! :0)

This first post is to show you the raised bed, square foot garden as a whole.

My husband and I made six 4’x4′ wooden planter boxes and then mounted them on metal support ‘tables’. We have irrigation hoses that attach to a sprinkler in each box. We have a timer on the main hose so that the garden is watered daily (except for lately – since Mother Nature has no idea when enough is enough!)

I had one lettuce plant in each marked off square. I also planted one broccoli plant in each of other squares. I planted 12 radish seeds in each of several squares, and then I planted a BUNCH of sweet red onion sets in one whole box, since they won’t be harvested until the end of the summer or the fall.

As you can see, it’s hard to tell where one plant ends and another starts!

Apparently, the plants really love the too-much rain (we made drain holes in each square.) and the intermittent sunshine.

 

As you can see here, the broccoli is blooming. That’s bad, and it means the probable end of the broccoli crop. I cut off the blooming part because I have read that sometimes, when the main broccoli head is gone, the side shoots will produce heads.

In the next post I’ll show you what I’ve already harvested today. There is MUCH more out there, plus a LOT of work to do, harvesting more, weeding, etc.

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Filed under Delightful Surprises, Favorite Things, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Delightful Surprise

 

My husband lost a cap on one of his teeth while flossing night before last. He called our dentist yesterday morning and they were able to work him in at 2 p.m. It was decided that he would need an implant, and that was scheduled for May 7th. He’s had to have one before. He’s not in any pain now, thank goodness, and the procedure, though expensive, didn’t cause any pain last time.

When we finished at the dentist, my husband suggested we get chicken crispers at Chili’s while we were in Fort Smith.  Our lunch was delightful, and THEN he suggested we walk next door to Pier 1, one of my favorite places in all the world, to ‘find something wonderful.’ I, of course, not being stupid, jumped at the suggestion. :0)

 

I chose this cute little rabbit. He was on sale for half price, so I didn’t need to feel guilty. You can see he is actually a votive holder! I love the butterfly on his nose and his necklace of flowers.

When we got to the counter, my husband put this mug on the counter, too. I melted on the spot. I’m drinking from it now, as I type this, grinning.

We brought home a doggie bag from Chili’s, so we enjoyed the leftovers for our dinner last night.

I truly enjoy being a well-loved, spoiled lady.

 

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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.

 

Scribol.com

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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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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Delightful Surprise

leeneessweetesdelights.blogspot.com

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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

 

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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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“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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