Category Archives: opportunities

Memories

lessonslearnedinlife.com via Peace Love and Smiles

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, opportunities, quality of life

Invitation

Penny Yaffe Krakow via Helen Medlock Meeks

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Filed under Family, Friendship, opportunities

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

Buy Something Local

Melvin’s Restaurant via Murray Dennis

 

This is a great reminder of what YOU can do in YOUR community to help people get through the coronavirus effects.

Shop at the local stores that remain open if you can.

Many, like Rags & Roses Collective in Greenwood, are offering online shopping with curbside pick up. You can find details by clicking on the link.

Restaurants, like Lin’s House Chinese Restaurant in Greenwood, offer take out. My husband and I picked up fried rice last night.

Roma Family Italian Restaurant in Greenwood is offering free spaghetti to kids or the elderly in need. What a wonderful thing for them to do!

If you have to cancel an appointment for something like a massage, make arrangements to see that they receive the money anyway.

We are all in this together. Not only do we need to be mindful to try to keep ourselves and our families safe from the virus, but also need to be aware of the terrible financial effects something like this causes.

So, please support the people and businesses in your community until the virus is just an awful memory.

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Filed under opportunities, quality of life

Thoughts on a Monday 3-2-2020

Via J. Robert Bennett – LinkedIn

So far, today is a waiting day.

We are supposed to receive a call from the techs at CenturyLink today (between 9 and 5) before they come to the house to install equipment that will give us faster Internet. Since we live in the sticks and have to be grateful for whatever we can get, we are hopeful that this might be a good bridge between what we have now and the fiber optic service that is supposed to be offered sometime at the end of this year or the beginning of next.  I don’t know anything about technology, but my husband will ask several pertinent questions before we allow them to begin. Our son has described our Internet as ‘swimming through peanut butter,’ so fingers are crossed that we are actually able to get better service.

123RF.com

Our weather is fabulous today – sunshine-y and a high of 64 this afternoon!  I’m going to go out and visit my veggie plants and encourage them to do well. We have a lot of weeds in our yard now, making it look like we ought to be mowing. We tried a bag of weed killer granules last year that seemed to make a big difference, so we’ll get more this year as soon as we can leave the house and spread it as soon as possible.

 

I’m sad to tell you that I lost my smallest goldfish a couple of days ago. He had an equilibrium problem, and would often float, looking like he was gone, then ‘come back to life’ when I tapped on the glass and start swimming again. This time he didn’t. So now there are two – one goldfish that has increased in size from about one inch long when I bought him to about 4 inches long now, and the other is a white goldfish with a spot on his ‘head.’ I cleaned out their tank again a couple of days ago, when the smaller goldfish died. So far, they seem happy with the clean tank with different decorations. Fingers crossed all is good for them.

My big ‘plan’ for the day is to clean our master bath today. It was on my list for yesterday, but my time and energy were snafued. I’m going to see what I can do on it as soon as I finish writing to you.

Such an exciting day – MAYBE faster Internet – MAYBE a clean bathroom upstairs – and MAYBE bowling with friends tonight.

I hope that YOUR Monday is a fun one.

 

 

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, opportunities, Thoughts on a ________

Christmas Honors – Fort Smith, Arkansas – 2019

In 2009 a local program was born – Christmas Honors. A group of founding volunteers decided that every headstone in the Fort Smith National Cemetery would receive a wreath. In 2009, over 1,000 volunteers participated in event. 12,000 wreaths and ribbons were needed to decorate each and every grave site.  In 2019, the number is around 18,000. It’s a small thing our community can do to honor the men and women who have served our country.
This is one of the wreaths and the bow we were tying on each wreath. What doesn’t show in my picture was the wreath glistened with silvery shiny stuff. Pretty!
This is the third year my friend, Carla, and I have participated in this. When I walked into the convention center, I was completely overcome by how MANY, MANY people were there – all to get the wreaths ready to put on the veterans’ graves. Tears came up and spilled over, that – with all the negativity in the world – THIS could happen.
There were people bringing in box after box of wreaths. Others bringing in boxes of red bows. Others walking around with bamboo type poles, where they gathered the finished wreaths and took them out to trucks behind the convention center. The picture below shows a cart used to gather finished wreaths.
Carla and I worked as fast as we could from 9:00 until 2:00. Thankfully, there was a chair we could share to plop down and rest for a minute or two every once in awhile. It felt good to be working together surrounded by a big, noisy room of others all dedicated to the same goal – honoring the men and women who have served our country. Christmas music played and we sang along.
This is my lovely friend, Carla. She simply exudes kindness from every pore.  She is also my partner in the booth in the local shop in Greenwood. We love being together, and it’s doubly good when we’re doing something for others.
Here I am. We didn’t work long before outer jackets came off and were tied around our waists.
Each hour we would stop and sing our National Anthem, standing, with hands on our hearts. The whole room was full of voices, filling our hearts.  About the half way point – 12:30 – the man at the microphone said we were behind schedule on getting all 18,000 or so wreaths finished, and asked some of the people doing other things to pitch in on tying bows.  We accomplished our goal.
This coming Saturday at 8 a.m.the wreaths will be available to family members who want to place their wreath privately, having a bit of privacy.  Then, at 11:00 there will be a ceremony where all the rest of the wreaths will be placed on each grave by still more volunteers.
The wreaths will stay up until the middle of January, I think. Then, still another group of volunteers will gather up the wreaths, take the bows off, and store bows and wreaths until next year.
A really nice tradition – Christmas Honors.

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Filed under Encouragement, Favorite Things, giving, holidays, making a difference, opportunities, Tribute

We Have a Booth!

The name of our booth is “Blasing Bright” – a combination of part of the last names of my friend Carla and her former partner.  It’s a small booth, but in a good location in the shop of booths called, “Rags & Roses.”  100 N Main St, Greenwood, AR 72936, (479) 597-3107.  The owner is Joanna Brandt, a truly lovely, intelligent, energetic lady.  The hours of Rags & Roses are Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 -6:00, and Saturday, 10:00 until 4:00.

 

Carla and I arranged, rearranged, then decorated a bit for Christmas, then rearranged again before we found what we thought looked the best. Carla is one of my best friends, a joy to work with. We caught up with what’s been going on, shared lots of laughs and hugs.

 

 

 

This is my dear friend Carla Woolbright.

 

And this is me.

I’m taking another group of things today and then will keep all appendages crossed that we both get some nice sales.  I’m really excited to have this opportunity to try to sell my work locally, all year ’round.

EXCITING AND FUN!

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Filed under Adventure - Outside Your Comfort Zone, Friendship, opportunities

Thoughts on a Friday 11-8-2019

“October Flights” – Stesha and Lilya – Andy Seliverstoff

 

Summer is finally over here in Arkansas. I was beginning to wonder for a while if it would be perpetual!  It’s crisp and brisk, with a definite nip in the air this morning – at 37 degrees F. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful fall day.

Today will be a happy day for me.

We will leave for Lunch Bunch soon – an every Friday brunch/lunch with good friends we’ve been enjoying for over 17 years now. The core bunch, Linda, Kay and I, has been expended to include my husband, and Kay’s recently, with others joining us from time to time, such as sons, daughters, grandchildren, and other good friends. It’s a time to catch up, share what has happened – or is going to happen, our hopes, dreams, failures, happy and sad things – knowing we support each other. A very special group that means the world to me.

When we return from Lunch Bunch, I’ll pack the truck again with things I’ll display in my good friend, Carla’s, booth in a local shop. We went together yesterday to look at things, bouncing ideas off each other, grabbing some supplies from a couple of places and finally sharing some tea and good conversation. I will pick her up this afternoon and we’ll go add my stuff to what is now OUR shop!  She has already paid the rental fee for November, so I’ll pay for December. I’ll share pics of the shop and some other details with you later.

When I come home again from adding to our shop, I’ll do my elliptical trainer and yoga for the day, chores around the house, etc., and catch up with my husband and our pets, enjoying a quiet evening together.

Happy day!  I hope that YOU enjoy one, too!

 

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Filed under exercise, Family, Friendship, opportunities, Seasons, Thoughts on a ________

Gearing Up

Love To Be Busy

These aren’t MY shelves, but I’m spending time in my art room inventorying my paper supplies, calligraphy pens, wrapping supplies, paints, boxes, ribbons, envelopes, and more to be sure I can fill orders without delay.

I’m making lists of what I DO need to order, and then reorganizing my shelves so that things I need are super easy to find.

I’m excited that I have found Renae Christine, a lady who has been super successful in online shops of her own, who makes videos for others like me, helping them to correct mistakes they might be making, helping them rethink what they are trying to do, and helping them get set up. I signed up for one of her webinars today at 2pm, and have an alarm set and note-taking supplies at the ready!

She is very smart. I’ve watched each of the three videos I have twice, trying to absorb everything and use her suggestions in my new Etsy store, ArtworthyNoteCards.

P.S. Our Internet only functioned in spotty fashion the whole day, so I missed the webinar. I THINK I can save it and watch it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

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Filed under learning new things, opportunities, Organizing/DeCluttering

My New Etsy Store!

For about a week and a half I’ve been viewing some videos by Renae Christine regarding selling handmade items online. She really got my attention when saying the several things you SHOULDN’T do – because I was doing ALL of them…. :0(

I have JUST finished creating a new store on Etsy called, ArtworthyNoteCards concentrating ONLY on selling my hand-painted cards, note card packages, and stationery packages.  I am trying to look at what I’m doing in a new way, incorporating her ideas, and will see if anything happens.

Changing the way you look at things is really difficult. Maybe this difficulty is another thing that increases with age. Her videos challenged me, though, getting me get excited about trying her suggestions.

I would very much appreciate it if you would visit my new store and give me feedback on what you think when you have the time and inclination.

If the link above doesn’t work for some reason, here is the URL to my Etsy store –

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtworthyNoteCards

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Encouragement, learning new things, opportunities

Possible Plans

STS Foundation.org

Several years ago we participated in this program, agreeing to house a foreign student. We met a delightful girl from Germany and welcomed her into our home. It didn’t turn out as well as it might have because she was a very social girl and felt isolated here, since we live out in the sticks, and her new friends lived close around the high school. She also spent a lot of time on the Internet. Again, since we live out in the sticks, our Internet connection is slow by most standards. It doesn’t bother us, but she was using all of our allowance and more, causing our bill to skyrocket. To make a long story shorter, she moved out of our home and into the home of one of her friends for the remainder of the school term.

The move was hurtful. Instead of letting us know what was going on, the main host for the local high school showed up unexpectedly one weekend morning. The girl who was staying with us had apparently packed during the night and was ready to move. The fact that it was done this way, rather than being open with us, really hurt. We would have helped her move. We understood the limitations of our situation and wanted her to be happy. The experience left a really bad taste in my mouth. My husband said I was over-reacting, and he’s probably correct, but I still tear up talking or typing about it.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that my husband really wants to participate in the program again. We had a serious discussion about it today. I think – if we get a boy this time – and we’re really up front about what our situation is – that we live in the sticks, are in the stone age as far as Internet speed and monthly data allowance, and will be like living with his grandparents, who are healthy, but are not likely to take him white water rafting on the weekends – that maybe we can do this. There is a school bus for the regular to and from, plus we’re available to take and pick him up from any school activities with friends he makes, games, shopping, sight-seeing, etc.

The STS lady and my husband have been emailing each other, and she included a letter from a 16-year-old boy from Italy. He’s a soccer player, loves sports, loves animals, and describes himself as a bit shy when first meeting people. This sounds very appealing, so we’ve answered the email, making sure that he would understand our situation and be prepared for it.

SO – time will tell. If we are accepted and this young man wants to live with us, it will start in August and will end in June when the school year ends.

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Filed under Adventure - Outside Your Comfort Zone, opportunities

Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.

 

I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.

 

I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.

 

This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.

 

This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, doing what you love, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

Infection

Oleg Vishnepolsky – LinkedIn

“Let’s infect the world with good.” Anneberly Andrews – AnneberlyAndrewscom.wordpress.com

 

One of my good, long-time friends sets a beautiful, inspiring example for me each time we’re together. She looks for opportunities to help others or to be kind every day.

She doesn’t ever say anything about it. We were spending an afternoon together and I watched in quiet amazement as she did good thing after good thing almost unconsciously. They were small things, like offering to return a cart to its place in the parking lot for an elderly lady, or opening the door for someone, or letting someone get ahead of her in line. She returned abandoned carts to the store. She retrieved the lid of a trash can and put it on the can so it wouldn’t blow away again. I realized, after watching her, that it was an attitude, a habit developed by lots of practice, and an unconscious recognition of what she personally could do to make the world a better, kinder place.

When I asked her about it, she looked surprised and then said she had been doing it for years. This discussion happened several years ago. I’ll never be as good as it as she, or get to the place where I do it unconsciously, as she does, but I’m really trying to emulate her wonderful example. She makes people feel special – like always greeting me with a huge grin and open arms for a wonderful hug. She makes people’s loads a bit lighter. She brings out smiles wherever she goes.

She’s not perfect. None of us is. But she’s one of the best people I know on the planet and I’m so lucky to know her. I’ll continue to try to look for opportunities each day to do what I can do to brighten someone’s day.

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Filed under Attitude, Good Thoughts, kindness, opportunities

Getting the Lard Off Progress Report – 11/8/2018

Pets World

The short answer is 30.6 pounds down, and 28.3 inches off.

The longer answer is that we are feeling more ‘at home’ with our new eating style. My husband and I are both on Nutrisystem, but they encourage flex meals – meals where you cook, or eat out, or branch out in some way from the Nutrisystem meals – one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one snack per week.

We are actually doing more flex meals than that -opting for a heartier dinner salad some nights, or similar things. An example, even though we’re only supposed to eat one flex dinner per week, we had a cold snap and the idea of homemade beef stew with some bread sounded really good. We ended up eating this combo for three nights straight, and then my husband was sad we didn’t have more :0)  The best news was that we not only kept our weight, but actually lost some.  So, we’re feeling more in control of our eating, our program, our goals.

We’re both exercising now. My husband spent four years in the Marine Corps, doing 50 sit-ups at the drop of a hat, or at a superior’s whim, with ease. Then, 55 years past. He tried to do a sit up about 6 weeks ago, while I was visiting a much beloved relative in Thibodaux, and was shocked that he couldn’t do ANY. (I was also amazed that he actually told me about his trial and shock, but told him that I was proud of him for trying, and that I knew if he kept at it, he would get stronger.)  He now is doing 5 strongly, and 2 or 3 more with great effort. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that he’s giving it his best shot every day. The doc told him to do cardio, but I’m not pushing it yet.

I have a stupid motivator in my own efforts to exercise daily – gold stars – like we used to get a million years ago for good work in school. My attitude is, “It it works, RUN IT!” I feel a bit silly, but it really works for me. I’m trying to do 35 minutes on my elliptical trainer one day, and about half an hour of yoga stretches and regular exercises the next. Yesterday was really busy, and it was late afternoon before I knew it. I thought, “oh, well, I’ll just do the elliptical tomorrow. One day won’t hurt.”  Then, as I sat there, I thought about not getting my gold star for the day. At 6:00 in the evening, I got up, went out to the garage, and put in my time. :0)

My husband often ‘isn’t hungry.” I NEVER have that problem. I have an appetite that would kill a horse. I get HUNGRY and if I don’t eat something, I get SNIPPY, CRANKY, and “MEAN AS A SNAKE,” according to my husband. The other silly motivator is the Nutrisystem bears you can get for each 10 pounds you lose. (My 30 pound bear is on its way!) I line them up on a shelf beside my computer chair in the office. When I’m tempted to go in and stuff my face at the wrong time, I think about getting the next bear…

Halfway to my goal now on lardage!

 

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Just So You Know…

Bored Panda

I just bought tickets for Power Ball, Mega Millions, and I’ve been entering the PCH Sweepstakes daily for the prize coming up soon.

My husband and I have all sorts of great ideas for what we would do with the money. We haven’t actually made a LIST yet, but we’ll have plenty of time for that after we win.

We already won the lottery on family – even with our doggies providing me with such a day of ‘fun’ yesterday.  Since we have everything else with each other, our improving health, our son, our pets, our lifestyle – we figure winning these three things would definitely be icing on an already-delicious cake.

BRING IT ON!!!!!!

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Filed under Attitude, Bright Ideas, Good Thoughts, opportunities, quality of life

The Sweater-Jacket

I found this sweater/jacket 5 years ago or so and simply loved it. Sadly, it was too small, but I TOLD myself that I would lose some weight and finally be able to wear it. I’ve moved it back and forth from the guest closet to my closet, trying it on once a year since then, with the same result. Even with my determination to get rid of things all over the house, including clothes that don’t fit, I just COULDN’T part with it.

Deep purple is my color. Whenever I see a group of things, all the same except for color, I’m drawn to the dark purple one. The fact that this sweater-jacket had leather on the front, with cut out flowers, made me drool (though I was careful NOT to on the sweater!)

 

This is the back. It can be worn as a top or added as a jacket.

 

Here’s a close up of the flowers.

 

I haven’t lost poundage or lardage this week. The scales are still flirting with 30 pounds off, but I’m not there yet. My measuring tape is unimpressed, showing the same as last week, even though I’ve been working, cleaning, and exercising. The one thing that stands out is from my switching from summer to winter clothes and trying things on.

I have a full leaf bag now of tops that are too large AND my sweater/jacket finally FITS.  YES!!!!!!

I’m about half way to my goal in weight loss and inches now. It may take the rest of my natural life to get there, but I’m on my way!

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Filed under Cause for Celebration, Challenges, DIET!, Encouragement, exercise, Favorite Things, Healthy Eating, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Progress in the Greenhouse!

I found these suckers on a tomato plant and replanted them in the greenhouse. I’ll be trying to get lots of others started, as it’s too cool outside now for the tomato plants to create ripe tomatoes. I’m HOPING that I can either have tomato plants ready to replant in the planters in the spring, or even have a ripe tomato or two to enjoy! So far, these seem to be doing well.

Yesterday I turned off the second fan and closed the greenhouse door. The exhaust fan is still hooked up and will turn on if the temp gets over 80 degrees in there.

 

These are the really small lettuce plants I planted about a week ago. They’re still alive, but aren’t having an explosive growth.

 

I took TWO shots of the ‘leggy lettuce’ I planted several days after the small ones. Here you can see how large they are compared to the smaller one on the right.

 

If they continue to do this well, I’ll start carefully cutting larger leaves to include in our dinner salads!

I also have several celery plants I’ll bring out to see how they do. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, opportunities, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Getting the Lard Off Progress Report

You Tube

The short report is 27.6 pounds  and 23 inches down.

The longer and more significant answer is that we are S L O W L Y  learning to modify our eating habits as we lose the lard.

We are making a point of going out to eat, rather than it being a special splurge for the week, using the meals as our ‘flex’ meals, learning to rein in our silly and destructive former habits. It’s easy to just ‘go out to eat’ and blow things for the next few days, if not a week. It’s harder, but more productive, to choose carefully from the menu, or – throwing caution to the winds – actually ordering what we want (within reason) AND ordering a doggie bag right then, cutting our meal into halves, and THEN plowing in to enjoy every bite. Not only does it help with the poundage, but also the pocketbook!

We figure our ultimate success depends on NOT feeling deprived. We really like going out to eat. We really like eating things not a normal part of our diets. If we can modify our intake to make up for this, we can make it for the long run.

This doesn’t mean that every day is ‘national-whatever-week’ – the celebration of which causes throwing our diet out the window. But if we NORMALLY eat super-healthy, and then eat half a cheeseburger and some tater tots occasionally, it’s much easier to go back to normal for the next meal, if that makes sense.

So far, it’s working for us. I’m HOPING that the NEXT time I order our Nutrisystem for the month, I can apply for a 30-pounds-off-bear to be included. Each mini-goal makes me feel I’m making progress. My massage therapist saying I looked, “skinny” today, helps, too! :0)  Even though I know she’s just being kind and I have a long way to go to my goal, it’s NICE when people encourage you by NOTICING there is a bit less of you. My husband got a boost this past Monday night when we went bowling with our good friends. They BOTH noticed how much weight he had lost. He was already feeling good, wearing some new smaller-in-the-waist pants and a new, smaller shirt, and the compliments topped things off nicely.

So, we have a good start now. I need to lose a LOT more lard, and my husband needs to start exercising, and together we’ll be healthier every day.

taolife.com

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating, opportunities, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Balloon Pricker

Science ABC

A good friend of mine, Carla, and I went for a free dinner and spiel by Healthy Home 365 yesterday afternoon. We’ve been to other spiel/dinners, but this one was at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Fort Smith, a restaurant we both like, and we wanted the time together to catch up, so off we went.

This company has lots of good ideas for energy savings in your home. The spiel was well done and the food was good. I’m glad that technology is now providing good ways to minimize the affects of attics on homes. They have a solar-powered attic fan, a stuff called MLI, a multi-layered 99.9% aluminum ‘sandwich’ that comes in rolls to go over your existing attic insulation, an additive to put in your air conditioner to get rid of fouled oil that is supposed to prolong the life of your a/c, an EcoProbiotic System you attach to your air ducts to remove bacteria, etc., etc., etc.

My main reaction is that my husband and I have done what we’re able to afford already with a geothermal air conditioning and heat system, a tankless water heater, new windows, a check by our electric company for places we were losing heat, etc. These companies know what demographic they’re targeting, but it seems to ME that they should be targeting affluent middle or upper class families, rather than ‘mature’ people like us. The technology was impressive, and of COURSE I’d like to do ALL of it, but the cost was astronomical, even with a 30% price savings due to a Federal credit on your taxes. My friend signed up for an estimate, and I’m interested to hear what they told her. The estimates are supposed to be good for one year.

Big selling points were the tax credit, discount for quick sign-up, a higher selling price on your home, a payment plan, amortizing the cost over your lifetime, etc., etc. We have a reverse mortgage, so we aren’t concerned with selling our home. We are still trying to amortize the cost of the geothermal system, even though we received tax savings on that, ‘lifetime’ warranties mean a bit less now.

If this were about 15 years ago, we might have jumped at this. Their really good products and we would love to have them, but priorities are different now.  Sorry. I had to prick their balloon.

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Filed under Bright Ideas, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Important Ideas to Consider, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life

Greenhouse Lettuce Experiment

 

 

I’m a newbie at growing things in my greenhouse. My husband and I built this last spring. By the time we finished, it was already time to plant things in our raised bed square foot garden, so I didn’t do anything but try to get things into the greenhouse in preparation for planting later. As the spring went into summer, I found that the temperature inside the greenhouse was WAAAAAY too hot – no matter how many fans I ran – to grow anything then.

Now that our temperatures are finally cooling down some, I got the last of the available lettuce plants for sale in town in order to TRY to get them to grow in the greenhouse. I’m hoping that I can keep them alive and we can enjoy fresh iceberg head lettuce and maybe a tomato or two before we get hard freezes. (Today it’s raining, but I’m trying to gather some suckers from our remaining tomato plants to start out there.

The main purpose of the greenhouse is to extend the growing season as much as I can, mainly by starting seeds in there at the first of March, plus maybe getting some plants from the local stores before it’s technically warm enough to start them in the garden. If I can do that, I’ll be a very happy camper, indeed.

I’m trying to give the plants all the water they need by filling the terra cotta and/or faux terra cotta saucers under the pots, rather than watering the pots directly, hoping that the plants will draw up what they need and be happy. So far, so good.

As soon as I can find and get the tomato suckers planted, I’ll give you a progress report.

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Dancing My Lard Off?

I got this DVD set in the mail this morning and tried out the first DVD.     I have my work cut out for me.

This is advertised as a “Low Impact Walking Workout Pack, including two 5000 step DVD workouts. This should be a good addition to my yoga stretches, elliptical trainer, 0-6 Pack Abs DVD, and the 5-Minute Per Day DVD moves that are supposed to make me look like Julia Roberts. :0)

I’m doing my yoga stretches daily, and then mixing in the other stuff in on various days during the week, trying to do at least two different things per day.

I have to tell you, I did the ‘warm up’ today on the new dance DVD and my hips were screaming. I know – pathetic – but I figure if I try to do JUST the warm up every day, my hips will finally quit screaming. I think I’ll be able to move on to an actual workout sometime soon. The workout got me warmed up and breathing harder, so I think it was a good thing. I’m going to try to put my workout schedule on my calendar today and see how it goes….

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Long-Term Goals

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I’m about to hit another milestone in trying to get the lard off – almost 20 pounds gone. I’ve lost almost 19 inches overall.

A good friend asked me what the next goal was – and I immediately responded, “40 pounds off.”

But that’s not really what my long-term goals are.

One quote I love says, “Old age is always 15 years older than you are.”  

I don’t want to live forever, but I would really like to feel good enough to do most anything I would like to do until I croak. Since they haven’t come up with pills that do it for you, it’s up to ME to try to

  • get my excess lard off
  • exercise to strengthen my muscles and bones
  • do whatever else I can to become/stay as healthy as I can

I don’t really know how much weight I want to lose. I would like to be in the normal range according to BMI charts. If I keep on keepin’ on, eventually I’ll get there. I’ll see how I feel when I get there and then make more decisions. I have high blood pressure that is now finally reading normal WITH medication. I would love it if I can one day stop these. I would like my blood test numbers to be all in the ‘normal’ range one day. (I never really appreciated what a delicious word “normal” is before. We’ll see the fruits of my efforts so far at our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor Monday.)

 

treatshappen.com

After better health, it would be really nice not to have to avoid clothing stores that don’t carry clothes large enough for me, having to head for the ‘fat lady section’ in the limited stores that do. It’s not really a vanity thing. It’s emotional. I would like to be able to choose something I like off the rack and know it should FIT, but only to be concerned if I like the way I look in it. When I have to avoid stores altogether, or have to only be concerned about it being ‘large enough,’ it chips away at my feelings of self worth. I will enjoy feeling much better about myself.

SO –

  1. Good health
  2. Feeling normal about finding clothes without taking a hit emotionally.

Anything else is gravy.

First short-term goal is getting the 20 off officially so that I can get another ‘bear’ from Nutrisystem – hopefully in our next order!

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Playing in My Art Room

My good friend Marsha suggested that, instead of trying to give myself PERMISSION to play in my art room, I SCHEDULE it at least twice a week as a part of a program to be better to myself. I’ve taken that suggestion and have found my spirits lifting and getting excited about trying to learn something new.

I have a book called Keys to Painting Fur & Feathers, edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf. It gives you hints about how to capture the essence of animals and birds, zeroing in on their most distinctive features in order to try to draw better pictures of them. It also addresses trying to paint realistic fur and feathers.

 

I decided to take a couple of my previous drawings and reproduce them, trying to concentrate on the feathers techniques.  Then I found others I’d like to try, as well. I’m trying to get a bunch of these drawings into a sketch book and then play with them, using all kinds of different media and see what I get.

I have to tell you the time flies as I ‘work’ in my art room. I turn on an mp3 player, listen to some of my favorite music in the comfort of my CLEAN, air-conditioned and ceiling-fanned room, a cup of coffee or a bottle of water beside me at the table.

I’m excited about learning a completely new skill, and I’m very thankful to have this book for examples, suggestions, and inspiration.

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Zipping It

Thanks to my good friend, Marsha Koenig, for these.

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Getting the Lard Off Progress Report – 6-27-2018

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The BAD news is that I’m still old and still don’t look a THING like Julia Roberts.

The GOOD news is that with the help of the Nutrisystem counselor, I seem to have broken through the plateau from Hell I was on and am losing weight again!

 

To date, I’ve lost 16.3 inches.

Poundage off is now 14.4.

Other GOOD things –

  • I’m getting used to drinking 64 oz of water daily, no longer feeling that my eyes are floating. (My husband – who is not even trying to drink any certain amount – is getting used to having to pause the movie several times, though, as the drinking catches up with me in the evenings.)
  • I’m getting more confident about being able to adapt our life style to the Nutrisystem program, particularly as it relates to the flex meals and our social life. We like to bowl with friends on Monday evenings, for example. We use the trip to Braum’s afterwards as our FLEX SNACK for the week. We eat with friends every Friday for what we call “Lunch Bunch.” We were counting that as FLEX LUNCH, but are finding it easier to work it into the program by having it as our FLEX BREAKFAST for the week. I’m starting to prepare some of the “Leaf” Nutrisystem FLEX DINNER recipes, having fixed two so far. One of the recipes was an “OKAY,” but the latest one, the “1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables” was a winner. Today, since I made it to 1100 subscribers – actually 1101 now) to my blog – HOOORAAAAAAAY!” – we’re going to Red Lobster for Lobster Tail as our FLEX LUNCH for the week in celebration!
  • I’m starting to look forward to some of my exercising. I’ll never become like Jillian Michaels, who seems to live for exercise, or like annoying Leslie Sansone, who keeps talking about how much FUN her walking program is and how GOOD it feels, but I AM enjoying the half hour I spend daily doing my yoga stretches and then using my cervical pillow to completely relax for several minutes. I’m trying to do my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes every other day. I’m using all the vacuuming and mopping of floors as my exercise a couple of days a week or more, since I seem to have to devote my life to it to even THINK of trying to keep up with all the dog and cat hair right now.
  • I’m starting to believe that if I keep on keepin’ on, I’ll eventually lose the lard, be healthier, and feel better as there is less of me.

My next goal is to earn my 20 lb Nutrisystem bear!  One day at a time….

taolife.com

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Week 7 – Getting the Lard Off Progress Report

Objective Changes:

WEIGHT:  12.2 pounds down. I have to admit I’m a bit teed off because my husband doesn’t take any responsibility for even thinking about what he’s eating or when, just says, “Thanks” when I bring him the next snack or meal; doesn’t drink the water, doesn’t exercise, and he’s lost more than I have…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEASUREMENTS:   Down 16.3 inches. My husband has no interest in measuring, but he just ordered shorts that are 2 inches smaller in the waist. He put them on this morning and looks GOOD.

 

 

 

 

 

I had high blood pressure even with my medication. I’m now showing normal with my meds. “Normal” is such a beautiful word!

 

My husband is a Type II diabetic. When we started monitoring his blood sugar, it was at around 353 or higher. (Normal is under 100.) This week it was 113!

 

 

Subjective Measurements:

Each week we’re supposed to have one FLEX meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, preferably on different days. Our flex SNACK is ice cream after bowling with friends on Monday evenings. Our flex LUNCH is Lunch Bunch with long-time friends on Fridays. We usually don’t do the flex BREAKFAST, since my husband likes Nutrisystem’s oatmeal and prefers to just stick with that. Flex DINNER –  I’ve broiled a thin steak cut into 2 pieces and we’ve had little bitty baked potatoes. We’ve also shared a small container of chicken fried rice from our local Chinese restaurant.

Yesterday I tried cooking our first flex dinner from the Nutrisystem website. It is called “Meat and Potato Casserole.” It makes 6 servings. We ate two and I froze the other 4 servings in labeled individual dishwasher-and-microwave-safe containers. We found the casserole a little dry, but the flavor was good. We had a salad with it. Today I stopped and got some packets of low sodium brown gravy. The package makes 1 cup – way more than enough for the one tablespoon of gravy I plan to pour over each of the remaining servings when we eat them.

I’m not a wonderful cook. The amount of preparation for this meal seemed like a lot to this lazy woman who would rather do almost anything than spend a bunch of time in the kitchen. I used a food processor as they suggested to prepare the carrots and potatoes, but I think the next time I’ll just use my hand-held shredder because clean up will be a lot easier. It seemed that I had half the kitchen messed up by the time the casserole dish was finally in the oven.

That said, I’m delighted to be able to have recipes at my fingertips to help us stay on the good start we’ve made on losing the lard. To complain when I cooked once and had servings for the two of us for THREE meals is a LOT more “poor me” than any of us need or appreciate…. :0)

All in all a good week’s progress. I’m hoping to get off the plateau I seem to be on, but I’m doing healthy things for us.

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NutriSystem – 1st Month’s Progress Report

Today we have officially finished the 1st month of Nutrisystem.

I’m particularly pleased by my husband’s progress. He is disappointed that he hasn’t lost that much weight, but he doesn’t have NEAR as much to lose as I do. He’s lost about 4 lbs, but I can SEE a difference in his tummy (though he won’t let me measure or do it himself.) The biggest thing that makes me happy is the lowering of his blood sugar number. It was 117 this morning, the lowest since we’ve been monitoring. (I saw a ‘353’ in my records). Lower than 100 is considered normal, and he actually might achieve that!

He is particularly pleased by getting to eat a piece of fruit daily. We had both given that up entirely before and it’s really a treat to welcome fruit back into our diet. There are some really nice big oranges right now at Walmart and we share one each day. We also have some apples in the fridge, in case the oranges aren’t available, plus some blackberries for fruit on his flex breakfast for the week. He has found several of the cookie snacks really good, and he likes their oatmeal. He thinks the frozen orange dream type bars better than the ones we were eating before the diet!

My Nutrisystem progress to date is 9.2 lbs and 11.8 inches gone. (My total weight loss efforts since my ‘lardiest’ are 21.4 lbs and 26.2 inches.)

Lifestyle changes other than the Nutrisystem eating plan:

  1. I gave up added salt and am buying low sodium canned veggies now.
  2. Neither my husband nor I add any sugar or alternatives to anything.
  3. I am doing more real exercise –
    • elliptical trainer – at least 15 minutes,
    • yoga 30 minutes,
    • over-the-door shoulder pulley – 5 minutes,
    • weight exercise to stretch out shoulder muscles – 5 minutes.
  4.  I’m more aware of what a ‘serving’ is – basically not enough to stick in your eye. That said, I realize that my husband and I have each eaten for 8 to 10 at each meal and that hasn’t done our health any favors.
  5. We are both consciously eating more veggies (we usually have carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes and radishes with some salad dressing with our lunch and then a tossed salad (with lettuces and spinach from our own garden!) with our dinner.
  6. I’m getting more used to drinking the 64 oz of water each day. I drink a 16 oz bottle of water with each meal and sip at the last during the day. My body seems to be adjusting to it, too. I’m not having to run to the bathroom quite so much.

We were both really happy to finally eat our way through Order #1. We were both down to things we really didn’t care for, and so cheered when we finished the last of the first order and could dive into Order #2. It was funny, though, because our first lunch we each had “White Bean Chicken Chili.” We are wusses when it comes to hot, spicy stuff, and this was almost too hot for us to eat! I read the ingredients and found they had put jalapenos in it. We could get it down by having a veggie in our mouth and then adding a bit of the chili in there, too. The flavor was nice, other than the hot, but I went to the website and took that particular choice off of Order #3 for both of us… :0)

We feel that our first month on Nutrisystem has been successful. I enjoy planning the flex dinner we’ll eat each week. (We’ll have salmon and steamed broccoli this week.) My husband is learning to put his glasses on so that he can SEE the color coded choices in his bins in the pantry and the freezer. He is also learning to actually read the directions for nuking his food, rather than just winging it. I’m still spoiling him by bringing his snacks to him (like his 1/2 peeled orange and 2 oz of nuts mid-morning) but he’s learning to be a bit independent, otherwise.

On with Month # 2!

 

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Marriage Box

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Bookmarks Progress!

PersonalizationMall.com

This old lady ain’t dead yet! I’m learning a LOT about how to create and manage bookmarks on the new PC using Microsoft 10 and Chrome.

I now have ONE list of bookmarks, all on Chrome. (I deleted Firefox as a browser)

I now can –

  • create a bookmark and put it in a folder
  • create a new folder
  • rename a bookmark
  • delete a bookmark

I’m in the process of looking at each one, deciding if I still want it, figuring out what folder to put it in if I want it (or create a new one). I’m actually making progress now and feeling much less frustrated.

Thanks to those of you who offered encouragement, commiseration, or wished good luck. It has really helped!

Pinterest

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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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Together

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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