Five things that made me happy today – 1/18/22

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

1. It was 44 deg. and cloudy with wet streets when I got up this morning. It stayed cloudy and showery all day, and the temperature got up to 48 deg.

2. I spent the. morning at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but at least I won’t have to do it again for a while.

3. The housekeepers came about the time I got home, and I have clean sheets on the bed, clean bathrooms, clean kitchen, etc., etc., etc.

4. I ordered my 4 free COVID tests since the website was active a day early. I’ll feel happier once I have them. I had ordered a couple of Binax NOW tests before Christmas, but by the time my order got there, they had sold out. I just gave up at that point. I hope I was early enough to get them this time.

5. Greisser Girls Gab this afternoon. I’ll like talking to them.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/17/22

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

1. It was in the low 40s and cloudy when I got up. Around noon the sun made a watery appearance, and the temperature topped out at 46 deg. this afternoon, with more clouds later.

2. I got the NYT Crossword puzzle again this week. I know I do it regularly, but it still makes me happy when I get it right.

3. Lunch was ham steak, sweet potato, and broccoli for me with cauliflower for Big Al.

4. The laundry is all washed, dried, sorted, delivered, folded and hung up.

5. Gazebo Group on Zoom this evening. Lots of folks don’t like Zooming, but I don’t mind if it means I can see everybody and I don’t have to put shoes on.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/16/22

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dalai Lama

1. It was 40 deg. and foggy when I got up. 42 was the best the temperature could manage today, with fog still hanging in the tops of the trees.

2. We started a new sermon series in church today about dreams in the Bible. We learned about Jacob. We also had a handbell choir from Vancouver.

3. On the way to fetch lunch I stopped at Safeway to pick up the order I made yesterday. Still no blueberries, and none of the soup mixes I ordered were available. Supply chain problems are real. Thank goodness, I ordered bananas to have with my cereal since there are no blueberries. I’ll try Trader Joe’s later this week since I need to get sausages there anyway.

4. I’m still jumpy about going to a restaurant. Omicron is no joke. I ordered Cottage Pie from Oddfellas for Al’s lunch. He loves ground beef, little green peas and mashed potatoes. I planned to get KFC for me, but the drive-thru was blocked when we got there, so we turned around and went to the other end of the parking lot where I got a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme. It was acceptable but not spectacular.

5. I’m watching the Cowboys v 49ers. Da Boys had a lot of problems early. Fingers crossed for the rest of the game.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/15/22

Healing can happen, but not without an honest accounting. Transformation is possible, but it relies on our being willing to acknowledge the pain and live in the confusion–the genuine ambiguity–for a while. Rest, weep, find reasons to hope, but do not look away.

MaryAnn McKibben Dana

1. It was In the low 40s and foggy when I got up. The fog thinned out mid-morning, but it never really went away. High of 44 deg. this afternoon.

2. I spent the morning finishing off the third edition of “Moving, moving, moving…”

3. After finalizing my Safeway order, I took advantage of a clear calendar to go over to the Wellness Center.

4. Leftover Tortilla Soup for lunch, with the addition of a yummy cheese Quesadilla.

5. We got a call from my nephew telling us about his engagement. It was nice to talk to him, and catch up on his family.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Moving, moving, moving…(Pt 3)

You may remember in the last episode, Big Al had graduated from college with his bachelor’s degree, and had been accepted to Officer’s Training School for the Air Force.

In September, 1966, Al drove with #1 son and me to his home southwest of Pittsburg. The boy and I waved goodbye to him as he drove off to San Antonio for Officers Training School. My son and I returned to Westfield to wait for his graduation in November of that year. We flew down to San Antonio to watch him graduate, and then we loaded the 2nd hand VW that was a wedding present from his parents, and drove across Texas, a corner of New Mexico, and half the state of Colorado to his first assignment at Lowry AFB in Denver, where he attended technical school for Intelligence. All of our possessions fit in that 1954 VW bug. We rented the bottom half of a furnished duplex, not far from the base – our first home together.

Al graduated from tech school in 1967 and we got orders to Ramstein AB, in Germany. so we drove across the country to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, where we got military transport to fly overseas. We lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in base housing at Ramstein – a three-story, three stairwell concrete block building on base. It was interesting, and I began to settle in to life as a military spouse. The big event while we were there was the Moon Landing in 1969. We woke our son up so he could watch.

In November, Al got orders to Vietnam, so we packed all our belongings, sent them off to storage in the States, and flew back to New Jersey in time for Christmas. Al left in January, and once again I found myself living in my childhood home until Al finished his tour. During that year, it became obvious that my grandparents could no longer keep up the house in Texarkana, and my father was exhausted with commuting in the traffic in New Jersey, so my folks decided to retire, buy my grandparents’ house in Texarkana, and move my grandparents into an apartment in town. My brother was the only one of the siblings still living at home, so that summer we got in two cars, with two dogs, and drove to Texarkana. Al and I met in Hawaii for his R&R, and had a wonderful time. Once more, I give thanks for long-suffering parents who happily kept a 4-year-old while we played. When I got back from Hawaii, I took my son and moved down to Nacogdoches to return to my unfinished degree. We lived in a little rent house, with a bare minimum of furniture, while I diid my student teaching as a prerequisite for my degree. He went to a nice lady who did babysitting during the days. We lived down there, Monday through Friday, and returned to Texarkana every weekend.

Al came home from Southeast Asia with an assignment to England AFB, in Alexandria, Louisiana. By the time he got home, I had spent a day there scouting rental properties, and looking at the town and the base. When he got home we drove down and rented a nice little 3-bedroom house in the woods in Pineville, a sister city to Alexandria, across the Red River. We enjoyed living there, but a year and a half later, son @2 made an appearance, and it soon became obvious that we needed more room. We bought a house with three bedrooms, and large living room and a family room that functioned as a TV room, 2nd living room, and breakfast room. We were comfortable there until Al picked up threats of an assignment to Missile Command. He refused that assignment, lost his job in intelligence, and switched over to Disaster Preparedness (the Air Force version of Civil Defense.) We read the handwriting on the wall and sold our house, expecting an assignment to somewhere else. When the assignment didn’t materialize, we moved into base housing for a year or so.

I realized, if I ever expected to complete my college degree, I would have to go back to Nacogdoches for one more semester. Al and I agreed I would take the older boy with me, and he would keep the younger one who would be cared for at the base nursery. I pled my case with my faculty advisor and worked out a new degree plan that had me completing a second teaching major to add to my music major. I worked out a schedule to take 24-hours of History in one semester, so I could graduate. I rented a one-bedroom apartment off campus, enrolled #! son in school, and started reading and studying. Everything was going well, since I had no responsibilities except studying, until the Air Force sent Al to Hawaii and I added son #2 to our household. I found a lady who would babysit all day at her house, and the three of us lived in the apartment until Al came home and I graduated, and returned to England AFB.

Early in 1975, Al got an assignment to Nellis AFB, in Las Vegas, NV. We needed to roll the money we had gotten from the house in Pineville over to another property (to avoid major income tax problems), so we purchased a split-level house on a golf course in Las Vegas, not too far from the base, and not too close to the strip.

We were happy there for a year or so until the Air Force once again dug into its bag of tricks and came up with an assignment to RAF Upper Heyford, in Oxfordshire, England, where we lived in base housing. We stayed in that house about a year, when it became obvious to Al and me that neither of us, nor our sons were happy living on base. It’s not fun when one of your kids is being bullied by one of the Lieutenant Colonel’s kids. That’s the very definition of a lose/lose situation.

Luckily one of Al’s friends was just getting ready to rotate back to the states. He and his wife lived in one-third of a manor house in Finstock, a little village in the Cotswolds. We got in touch with the estate agent for Lord Rotherwick, the owner, and were able to move there. Our wing was built in the 18th century from the local honey-colored sandstone. It was two storied, and we had a large living room, a large dining room, and kitchen big enough to eat in, two bathrooms, three bedrooms and a “box” room. It suited us wonderfully, and we spent 5 years there, longer than we lived in any other house. We had good friends in the village, walked down to the pub in the evenings, and loved our life.

In 1982, Al’s 20 years in the Air Force was up and he retired. We put the boys on a plane, and sent them to my parents. Al and I spent 2 months traveling around Europe on a Eurail Pass, before boarding the Queen Elizabeth II to come back to live in Texarakana.

I’m now up to 22 houses and I was only 38 years old.

Five things that made me happy today – 1/14/22

The trouble with conspiracy theories is that a lack of evidence is not taken as proof it’s not real, but instead that conspiracy is indeed everywhere. This is like thinking the reason you never see elephants hiding up in treetops is because they’re good at it.

1. It was 41 deg. and foggy when I got up. The fog burned off about noon, and the sun came out, but there was still a mist hanging in the trees and the temperature topped out at 47 deg.

2. I spent a lot of the morning catching up on emails (several of my blogger friends post a compilation of their weekly writings on Fridays.) I also spent some time working on my 3rd installment of “Moving, moving, moving…” coming tomorrow.

3. I went to the Wellness Center about noon and got an hour on the NuStep machine. While I was there I looked out the window and saw two eagles flying in formation over the campus. All the pigeons who spend most of their time sitting on the roofs scattered.

4. We had chicken and rice cooked with Lipton’s Onion Soup mix for lunch. I also had Brussels sprouts and Al had boiled carrots. We really have incredibly different tastes in vegetables.

5. I’m watching “The Bay” on BritBox while I work out. It’s a very acceptable British cop show from the north of England. As we return to more life spent indoors, alone, I’d appreciate any recommendations for shows on either Netflix or BritBox or Acorn that you particularly like. I’ve already gone through Midsummer Murders, Vera, Shetland, and several others. Thanks in advance.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/13/22

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. It was 45 deg. and raining (again) when I got up this morning. The sun came out, with puffy white clouds before noon. The temperature got up to 52 deg. Very pleasant in the sunshine.

2. As an accountant and economist I get pretty angry at the news media and congress (and others) who are screaming about inflation. If you are uncomfortable about the current state of our economy, I suggest you read Paul Krugman in the NYT. His column is worth the price of a subscription (and you get the daily crossword thrown in).

3. My kids (just the boys, no spouses or progeny) have scheduled a visit to see Big Al and me in April. We’ll take that time to review our finances and end-of-life wishes with them. It’s important to them and to us that everyone be on the same page when the time comes (hopefully, in 20 years, not soon.)

4. After a trip to the Wellness Center, I ran to Burger King and picked up a Whopper for each of us for lunch. (Intentions for 2022 for the win.) Even though we are being super-careful, and not eating out until this Omicron wave passes, we can still enjoy the small things, like a Whopper.

5. HCR’s History Chat today reminded us of “Why does the Voting Rights bill matters, anyway?” We all remember “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” from the Declaration of Independence, but this speaks to the government “deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.” Not the rich people, no longer the just men, no longer white people only – ALL the people.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Moving, moving, moving…(Pt 2)

You may remember that the first episode of this journey ended with me graduating from High School. I was a decent student, but lazy, so I had never even applied for colleges. In New Jersey, the only acceptable colleges were in the northeast and I didn’t want to go there. Instead, I chose to live with my grandparents in Texarkana and attend a local Junior College. I’m eternally grateful for that opportunity because while I was there I met and fell in love with Big Al. He was stationed at a small Air Force installation near the airport. He had enlisted in the Air Force to “do something” after he flunked out of his sophomore year at college. He was taking courses at the junior college to bring his grade point average up so he could go back. He was determined to get a college degree as the first in his family to do so.

While we were dating, his enlistment was up, and he applied for admission to Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas. He talked me into applying there, too, and I did. We both moved to Nacogdoches and lived in the dorms. We went home for Christmas, and on the way back to school we were in an accident that totaled Al’s car, and put him in the hospital somewhere in Indiana. He survived. I returned to SFA alone and he came back to Nacogdoches once he had recovered. Luckily his professors were very understanding, and let him make up the work he had missed, so he and I both ended that school year as juniors.

We decided to get married that summer, so we found a furnished apartment that was the second floor of an old Victorian house a couple of blocks from campus. We had a good life, although it was difficult to pay for. Al took a job as an orderly at the local hospital that gave him enough of a paycheck for us to buy food during the summer. That fall he and I both worked as lab assistants in the new Geology department. With our two salaries we paid rent, bought groceries and paid the hospital and doctor for the birth of our first son.

Unfortunately, when the baby was two months old, I developed gall bladder problems, Al was in his final semester of college and couldn’t take off, so he put me and the baby on a plane and sent me home to Westfield. I’m so thankful that Mama and Papa welcomed us, and Papa even took three weeks of vacation to care for the baby while I was in the hospital having my gall bladder removed.

Al graduated that spring, and looked at his life, and his responsibilities, and applied for Officer’s Training School in the Air Force. They accepted him, happily, but there was no room in the classes until fall, so he and I, along with the baby, moved back to Westfield and lived with Mama and Papa (and all of my siblings). He was able to get a job that summer that gave us some spending money.

I’m not gong to count the times I returned to my grandparents’ house or my parents’ house to live as different houses, so that brings the total to 11 places I lived in 22 years (and I haven’t even gotten to our life in the Air Force, yet.)

Five things that made me happy today – 1/12/22

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.


1. It was 52 deg. with rain when I got up, with a flood watch in effect. The rain stopped mid morning, and the temperature topped out at 56 deg.

2. I ran to Safeway and picked up the groceries I ordered on Monday. Alas, they didn’t have any blueberries, even though they supposedly had them when I made the order. I guess I shouldn’t complain – at least I didn’t have to go into the store and potentially expose myself to any COVID.

3. I spent the rest of the morning writing my story – a continuation of my post from the other day. There are at least two more episodes – possibly more.

4. I fixed Bear Creek Tortilla Soup for lunch. It was very good.

5. The powers that be have decided to impose stricter rules on us about meetings. No longer can we hold Gazebo Group at the Wellness Center, because we like to bring our cocktails, and we have to take masks off to drink. They also cancelled all Happy Hours, and group breakfasts, etc. So far, the only confirmed cases on campus have been among the staff – so I guess whatever we’re doing is the right thing.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/11/22

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Robert Brault

1. It was 46 deg. when I got up. The hard rain returned in the night and my sleep was interrupted by the sump pump doing it’s job. It got up to the low 50s today, and promises to stay there overnight.

2. In Bible study we looked at the story of Jacob wrestling with God. God gave him a promise of power and land and progeny, and Jacob said, “Oh by the way, I’d also like…” We got into a discussion of liminal space. I know if you are caught in liminal space there’s something you need to learn before you can get out of it and continue on your way. Maybe Jacob needed to learn to trust God’s promises.

3. Today is Tuesday, so it’s “feed yourself” day. I chose to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (I’m so glad I remembered this option a month or so ago). Big Al finished off his leftovers from Sunday.

4. If you aren’t already, you need to “friend” Shawna Bowman on Facebook. Look particularly at this post from today. She is an artist, poet, and all-round inspiring person.

5. Greisser Girls Gab in just a few minutes. I can’t wait to talk to them.

How about you? What made you happy today?