Category Archives: holidays

Happiness

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Can you see me grinning? Can you feel the happiness spilling out of me all over the floor?

Our son came home from Thailand yesterday for the first time in over 3 years. After he had a chance to catch up a bit on sleep, we shared beef stew, pets, and good conversation until about 11:30 last night.

There are no words for how full I’m feeling. I have everything right in my home. Right now.

Our elderly cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, not only remembered him, crying with excitement and joy, she insisted on spending much of the evening in his lap, only moving to push her face closer to him. We were all touched by how happy she was to welcome him home again. Amber was her usual boisterous self, blissfully unaware of how huge she is and how much destruction she can cause in a short amount of time. She, too, calmed down, though, after a while, and was content to come over and demand he love her every once in a while.

It doesn’t matter what we do while he’s here. I’m going to try to get some pictures, and I’m trying NOT to smother him, though he’s telling me I’m ‘worrying too much’ about whether he’s comfortable or not, has everything he needs, can find things, remembers about our weird hot water system, etc. There is no way a mother quits worrying until she is gone.

I’ll collect as many hugs as he’ll allow while he’s here and just enjoy the time spent with him, whatever we’re doing. I love to talk with him. Last night we started talking about meditation. He is really into the practice and it’s helping him calm his mind and deal with whatever happens. I’m really happy he has found something that is so rewarding.

He just came into the office after eating his breakfast and before going up to shower. He loved Amber until she calmed down and then came over and gave me the best hug in the world. Now I’m adding tears to the joy.

So, you’ll probably get sick of happiness exuding all over the place from me over the next three weeks. I have to tell you I can’t help it and I’ll be happy enough for you and me BOTH!

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Filed under Family, Favorite People, holidays

Christmas Honors

Christmas Honors – Fort Smith Nat’l Cemetery – Do South Magazine

My good friend, Carla, lost her husband a few years ago. He is buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery. That year she asked me if I would go with her to help volunteers put the bows on thousands of wreaths honoring the veterans. I was honored to be asked.

We spent several hours with lots of nice people. There were lots of others, like my friend and I, who attached bows to the wreaths. There were others who brought the wreaths and bows to us at the tables. Others who gathered the wreaths on long poles to be taken out to the big trucks that took them to the cemetery.

It was an emotional thing to be able to help honor our vets. There are other volunteers, I think the Boy Scouts, who actually put the wreaths on each grave, and then, later, there is a nice ceremony.

I’m pleased I spent most of a day helping other volunteers. I’m happy I could support my good friend. I’m so glad this is such a beautifully planned and executed effort to help us show our support and never forget their sacrifice.

And when this is over for the year, volunteers return to pick up the wreaths and take them back to the convention center, where people remove the bows and put them in protective bags. The wreaths and bows are carefully stored for next year.

Thanks to all who made this possible.

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Busy Day

Incredibly Cute Animal Pictures – pinterest

I have been going non-stop since we got up this morning.

Bad weather – in the form of cold front, cold rain, ice, sleet, snow, and flying hair balls is forecast for today-into-tomorrow. Since our driveway is steep and 650 feet down to the street, we tend to take ice seriously around here. Snow isn’t as much of a problem, but Arkansas tends to do ICE and THEN snow on top, making for a hairy situation.

The mailman came up the driveway today. We had received a BUNCH of packages and boxes as well as our regular mail, so we spent a bunch of time opening and organizing things. Then we went to the grocery store to get things we would be unhappy to be without if we get stuck on top of our ridge line. I got all the food put away while my husband took all the boxes and packing and burned them in the burn barrel. (It was raining, so we didn’t have to worry about having the fire.)

My husband had asked me to make pulled pork, so I spent about an hour getting a pork shoulder ready for the crock pot. It’s cooking now. Just as I cleaned up the kitchen, it was time for lunch.

I just finished cleaning out the refrigerator we have in the pantry and am now taking a break for a cup of coffee and my blog. It’s already 4:30!

I found more Christmas decorations in the pantry, so I’m going to open up the bags and decide where to put things.

A happy, busy day, and I’m feeling that someone sucked all the energy out of me. I’m going to regroup for a while and then tackle the fun job of looking at Christmas decorations.

I hope the weather where you are is good and that you’re having a great day.

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Filed under holidays, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

My Christmas Present to Me

I told you a few days ago that I fell in love with a “Cool Rat” online at Old Estate Art Gallery out of Thibodaux, Louisiana. When I saw him, I decided I HAD to have him. The lady who chatted with me and then took my information on the phone couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. I’ve loved this store for several years, but they didn’t have an online presence until recently and weren’t set up to ship their merchandise.

 

I received him today and I couldn’t be more pleased. Just looking at him makes me grin. When I thought about putting him away once Christmas was over, I quickly decided to take him out of that category in my mind.

 

I have several shelves in the office above my computer area. I already had the little, totally flexible and pose-able teddy bear, and my ceramic and fabric “Fairy God Frog” there, and now the “Cool Rat” has joined the family of things that make me smile.

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More Like Christmas…

I’m waiting until our son is home on MONDAY (whoopeeeee!) to get the big Tupperware tub of Christmas decorations out –  plus our tree – but I’m starting to do a bit here and there.

This is the dining area. I have a Christmas wreath with lights, lights wrapped around the rail across the top of the window to the right of this picture,  and a few decorations on the divider that goes between the dining area and the kitchen.

 

This is a present from a dear friend. It’s a combination light that looks mosaic and changes colors as you watch and a diffuser with a nice scent.

 

This is ceramic. The couple who made it personalized the heart for me. I’ve had this for years and I love it.

 

This one is made of wood and was also personalized for me by its creators.

 

Every year I like to showcase the Christmas cards we receive from friends and family. I hang each one on the vertical uprights on our stair railing with yarn. I also add ornaments or other decoration. This year I’m using wooden ‘gingerbread’ ornaments. I bought these from a company last year, stained and then painted them to make them look like gingerbread cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas cards will make the decoration fuller and fuller as the season progresses. I’ll also add garlands of sparkly stuff!

 

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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

Thanksgiving Advice

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Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Kings County Politics

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~W.T. Purkiser

Have a wonderful day, everyone!!!

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Visions of Sugarplums Dance in OUR Heads!

The Salvation Army has a program called the Angel Tree program at Christmas time each year. The trees go up in your local town and people who qualify come and asked for their child to be added to the tickets on the tree. People choose a ticket and go and try to buy as many things on the list as possible for that child. The gifts are returned unwrapped by Dec. 7th to the people handling the Angel Tree and they and the Salvation Army handle the rest.

The child’s name, age, and gender are listed at the top of each ticket. Practical gifts, such as clothes (with sizes) are listed, plus a few ‘fun’ gifts on the wish list.

Each year we peruse the tickets and decide which one fits well with our ability to buy the things on the list. We have visions of an ‘idyllic’ beautiful boy or girl happily opening all the gifts, ecstatically happy with the choices with a wide open grin and whoops of joy. Reality is far different, probably, but we LOVE the idea of brightening a local child’s Christmas each year.

Last year we didn’t know where the tree was in time to participate. We were both really disappointed, so I wrote on my calendar this year to call City Hall in Greenwood to see if they were sponsoring the tree this year and when the tree would be up.

KVC West VA – KVC Health Systems

This year our choice was “Braden,” a 10-year-old boy.  We got clothes – pants (jeans) , a shirt (Flash), a puffy blue coat, boots, and then a remote control car and batteries. He’s into “paleontology stuff,” so we got him a big fierce-looking dinosaur. The “pokemon” cards he listed featured dinosaurs. We also got “Jurassic” hat, scarf and gloves set.

We took all the bags and the ticket, plus the receipt so that the mother would be able to exchange anything that wasn’t right back to City Hall and left them with the nice lady from the water department who is handling things.

It seems weird that we’re doing the Angel Tree before Thanksgiving. I guess that’s why we missed out last year. I guess they need the time to post all the tickets, gather the gifts, deliver them wherever they go, etc.

I love that the Salvation Army thought of this program and runs it, making it easy for local banks or government offices to administer it. I love that families can provide for their kids at Christmas will a bit of a boost from folks in the community. I love our ‘visions of sugarplums’ and the chance to give.

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Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Dreams, giving, Holiday Gift Ideas, holidays, kindness

Happy Halloween 2018!

Style Motivation

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright
Of soft and golden hue
Pierce through the future’s veil and show
What fate now holds for you.
~Author Unknown

 

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Hobgoblins know the proper way to dance:
Arms akimbo, loopy legs askew,
Leaping into darkness with delight,
Lusting for the ecstasy of fright,
Open to the charm of horrors new….
~Nicholas Gordon

Toronto Sun

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~Scottish Saying

 

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? 2018-14

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-13

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-12

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-11

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-10

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-9

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin – 2018-8

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-7

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-6

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-5

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-4

Spooky Little Halloween

 

“Died Bride, Doomed Groom” – Hallmark Ideas

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-3

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-2

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How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin? – 2018-1

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Happy Independence Day – 2018

Each July 4th I remember one of the many reasons I decided I wanted to spend my life with my husband.

My dad’s health was failing fast. One of the things that bothered him the most was that he couldn’t see well enough to do the Cryptoquote in the daily newspaper, read, watch TV, etc. My mom would carefully print out the Cryptoquote clues on a large piece of paper in black magic marker so that he could see them. He was delighted with her for this and spent much of each day trying to solve it while my mom worked the NY Times crossword puzzle AND the cryptoquote.

My father’s favorite holiday was Independence Day. He loved getting a big, long string of ladyfinger firecrackers. They’re the little ones tied together in a long double string. You’re supposed to untie them and shoot them off one at a time. My dad would take the whole string, light it, throw it out in the yard and enjoy the seemingly endless explosions, laughing.

One of his last years he was very depressed. My then ‘boyfriend’ and I went out and bought fireworks for a back yard display. We of course got ladyfingers, TWO strings, sparklers, my favorite ‘snakes,’ and lots of inexpensive night time fireworks. My husband-to-be worked so hard that evening, setting off one firework at a time. It was so hot my poor guy was dripping. My dad’s grins split his face. He could SEE them! He thanked us over and over again, saying it was the best 4th of July he’d ever had. Our display teed off a neighbor on the next street, but we didn’t care. If I hadn’t already fallen in love with my husband, I would have that night. I will never forget his kindness to my dad.

Now my husband and I enjoy the friendly (I hope!) competition of some down-in-the-valley behind us neighbors, each trying to outdo the other in wonderful fireworks. We sit on the back deck, put our feet up on the railing, drink our cold drinks (water this year – we’re dieting) and enjoy the show. I’m not sure if our yellow lab, Amber, will be afraid of the fireworks or not. If she is, we’ll put her inside. Sweet elderly Molly is so hard of hearing now she might not even be able to hear them!

I hope you are with family and friends this celebration day.

Happy Independence Day!

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4th of July Mailbox Decoration at the Lewises

Snoopy and Woodstock Mailbox Decoration

My husband and I enjoyed making this patriotic decoration for Independence Day for our mailbox.  We hope that Snoopy and Woodstock will make people smile as they drive by or come up to see us.

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Filed under holidays, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art

Thoughts as Summer Begins

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” — James Dent

 

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“The perfect summer day is with friends & flip flops.” – unknown

 

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” ~Sam Keen

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“Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me,
who could ask for more?” – Bev Adams

 

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“Remember Me Laughing” – Father’s Day 2018

Bubba Watson via sayingimages.com

 

Jim Wheaton

My dad had a great sense of humor and shared it generously. The humor came in many forms: wonderful stories, jokes, looks, puns, and funny actions. He made us all laugh, even at times when we felt like crying.  To him, making people laugh started out as a way to be accepted at school. This was a HUGE thing because one arm was shorter than the other, his left hand almost completely useless – an easy thing for unkind kids to use to bully and belittle him. The fact that he made everyone laugh and forget he might have had an extra challenge gained him acceptance.

He used his wonderful sense of humor to create a one-man advertising agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and my mom celebrated when he finally gained enough clients that they were able to pay the bills more easily. He put my brother and me through college with his talent, finally winning a Silver Addy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Tulsa. The radio stations still play his commercials from time to time to honor his memory. (This happened the first time when my husband and I were visiting my mom and his parents, who lived on the next street. We were in Dillards Department store. All of a sudden I heard my dad’s voice! I dropped to my knees in the middle of the store. One of the clerks rushed over to help me. When I told her what was ‘wrong,’ she explained to me that the radio stations do that every year to honor my dad, since his commercials were so distinctive and funny. )

He taught me to stand back and look at situations as if I were looking at a movie.  This allowed me to see the humor in many situations, allowing me to laugh, rather than get hurt or angry. I thank him often for teaching me this.

I miss him, of course, and get weepy at times, but I FEEL him looking down at me – usually when I’m trying something for the first time or sticking my neck out in some way. I can FEEL him smiling at me, urging me on. It lights me up from the inside, filling me and giving me strength.

On his last day, he scribbled on a piece of paper, “Remember me laughing.” And I DO. I cherish memories of him telling a story, laughing so hard at times – unable to go on for several seconds – being able to SEE the situation. The helpless laughter is what I remember most. I’ve forgotten a lot of the stories, but I’ll never forget his joy in telling them.

(One of his favorite stories was about going camping with his friends.  If you knew them, this was already funny because neither my dad, nor any of his friends, were outdoor people. He described a laborious afternoon after they figured out where they would camp for the night. One guy decided to dig a hole in the ground because he slept on his back and wanted to be comfortable in his sleeping bag. He would dig a bit, ‘try-the-hole-for-fit’ and dig a bit more until it was perfect. The rest of the guys decided that seemed like a great idea, so they, too, dug holes for their butts. At dark, they got ready for bed. One of the guys was suddenly cursing. They turned on their flashlights to find out what the problem was. It turned out the guy was trying to brush his teeth – mistaking the “Unguentine” for toothpaste!

They got into their sleeping bags, still laughing, and suddenly the guy was cursing again. They turned on their flashlights to see him moving his sleeping bag to another spot. He angrily told them, “I sleep on my stomach!” )

I’m smiling now as I type this, easily picturing my dad trying to tell us this story, laughing his rear end off.  I’m so lucky to have known and loved him.

 

 

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Wonderful Way to Celebrate my Anniversary!

I told you earlier that today is our 49th wedding anniversary. I’m having quite a luxurious day of celebration!

This morning I went for my monthly massage to my miracle worker, Lynn Moody. Sometimes she just makes me stop hurting. Sometimes she finds a sore spot and I tease her that I get relief when she stops. She is truly gifted as a massage therapist and my life is much better for it.

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I’ve been having pain in the muscles that run from my neck to my shoulders. Last month the right side was worse. Lynn suggested that I use ice and then heat on the muscles, 15 minutes each, plus do an exercise with a weight to stretch out those muscles, and also get an over-the-door pulley system to strengthen my muscles.

I’ve been doing all of these things, and they’ve helped, but this month the left side was worse.

Today Lynn put a wedge under my neck and I was in instant Heaven. My pain was gone! (That didn’t mean she didn’t pummel and force oxygen into all my sore spots, but this was SO GOOD I asked her what it was and where I could get one.

It’s called a Lumia Wellness Cervical Traction Chiropractic Wedge Pillow – Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief

She showed it to me on Amazon, and it was a better price there than other places. I ordered it as soon as I got home. I can’t wait to get it and add it to my Yoga Stretches and Relaxation Routine I’m trying to do every day.

My other luxurious activity for the day is a hair cut by another miracle worker, Michael Remillard. We were lucky to find him, and he makes both my husband and I look like someone cared and has a plan, rather than like we have normally looked.  He listens to what we think we want. If he thinks it’s a good idea, he makes it happen as much as humanly possible. If he doesn’t think it’s a good idea, he tactfully tells us why and suggests something we like as a substitute. We trust him implicitly.

How lucky I am to have two such wonderful people in my life!

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Memorial Day 2018

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And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood

 

Deanna Cagle

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Romaine Harvest and Yard Work

All of my romaine lettuce plants are bolting in the heat. That means that the plants which used to be fat and lush, suddenly shoot up into the air, looking like miniature trees. I tasted some of the leaves on the ‘trees’ and they tasted fine, so I cut off all the bolting parts of the plants, harvested the leaves and brought them in.

I couldn’t know less about what I’m doing, but the rest of each plant still looked pretty good, so I’m hoping there are good leaves to harvest later. Time will tell.

I brought in a big basket of the best leaves, dumped them into the sink so I could get them clean, and then stored them in gallon bags and put them in the fridge. We’ll have some in our salad with dinner this evening.

The sun is so hot I was really shot when I brought the leaves in. I let them soak in the sink while I rested and gulped water. I cooled off and then washed and stored the leaves, then rested again!

I just came in from scrubbing and refilling Amber’s pool. I use my husband’s car washing broom. It works just fine to clean without hurting the plastic of the pool. I loosen everything, drain about half the water out, then use the broom again, then dump the rest of the water out. Then I spray the pool out and leave the hose in the pool, held down by two bricks, to fill it.

When it was about half full, Amber came bounding around the house, looked at me, and then jumped right into the pool. She walked around, drank some of the water, then laid down full length in the water. I could almost hear her say, “Ahhhh!” as she gave me a very satisfied look. She got out, shook water all over me, then started barking at the hose. When I laughed, she jumped into the pool again and luxuriated some more. I finally finished filling the pool and put everything away. Amber is snoring on her bed in the living room now.

At dusk, my husband and I will do our first pass at cutting back the greenery on the sides of the driveway. I’ll put our battery-powered weed eater in the back and my sunglasses that wrap around, and my gloves, so that when we get to the bottom, we can do some weed whacking and pruning. Then we’ll go slowly up the other side of the driveway, cutting things back as we go, and we’ll be finished for the day. Our driveway is long and steep – about 650 feet, so this will take several passes to get it the way it should be.

I hope that you’ve had a wonderful day, too.

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