Five things that made me happy today – 9/30/19

1. It was really cold (40 deg) this morning when I got up. I think fall is here. But it’s supposed to be sunny all day with a high of 55 deg.

2. I finished off my Intentions Review for September before lunch along with washing, drying, folding, and hanging all the laundry that has accumulated since Saturday. Back on a regular schedule for housework.

3. I got back to personal training today. Sarah was nice to me and didn’t push me too hard because I had been away for almost a week and a half. When you’re old, it’s amazing how much ground you lose in that short a period of time. Big Al also worked with her today, and did well.

4. We have Gazebo Group this evening. It will be nice to visit with all the folks and find out what happened while I was gone.

5. I’m going to Bible study this evening to continue our study of Song of Songs. I’m loving it.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions Review for September 2019

My Star Word for this year is “Empathy”. The internet defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster says, “Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling.”

Here are my intentions for 2019.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 20 more pounds this year. – I’ve lost 2.6 lbs this year so far (I know, I gained a little again this month, *Sigh*). I just got back from a trip to Victoria, BC, with my sister, and we indulged in Afternoon Tea, and full breakfasts every day. I’m definitely going to lose some more this month.
  • Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – Last week, I was a little short, because I spent a lot of time on boats (Whale Watching, BlackBall Ferry twice). I think I got the 150 miles for the month, though.
  • I’m back to doing pretty strenuous exercise with my personal trainer including walking outdoors (up and down hills), chest press and close grip row machines, shoulder strength, balance, core exercises, and sit-to-stands. The weather has changed and it’s pretty cool, so the outdoor walking will be curtailed a little.

Emotional Health

  • I AM trying to remember “empathy” in my interactions with people I meet.
  • I have continued posting Five Things that Made Me Happy Today every day here on this blog. I’m always surprised when I meet casual acquaintances who tell me how much they enjoy reading my list. I don’t do it for other people – I do it for myself – to remind me how much I have to be thankful for.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this year.
    1. The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
    2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
    3. Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
    4. Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – finished
    5. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – finished
    6. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor – finished
    7. Entering the Passion of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine – finished
    8. Silent Night by Danielle Steele – finished
    9. Autumn by Ali Smith – finished
    10. Winter by Ali Smith – finished
    11.  A Good Year by Peter Mayle – finished
    12.  Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley – finished
    13. The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman – finished
    14.  Wife of Moon by Margaret Coel – finished
    15.  Cleaning the Gold by Karen Slaughter and Lee Child – finished
    16.  Beyond the Garden by Ashley Farley – finished
    17. Everything is F*cked – a Book about Hope by Mark Manson – finished
    18. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – finished
    19. The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – finished
    20. There, There by Tommy Orange – finished
    21. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf – finished
    22. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – finished
    23. Calico Joe by John Grisham – finished
    24. The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead -finished
    25. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – finished
    26. Kindred by Octavia E Butler – finished
    27. The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck – finished
    28. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – reading
  • Continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times for reasonably non-biased reporting. – I scan the headlines and read articles that interest me.
  • I subscribe to Mediumand read articles of current interest.
  • I gave up my subscription to the New Yorker because they never could figure out how to change my credit card number. Oh, well.
  • Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check
  • Great Decisions discussion group here at Franke Tobey Jones – I missed the meeting this month because I was traveling. The topic for October is The State of the State Department and American Diplomacy. That should be interesting, but I’m afraid most of what is in the book will be out of date.

Spiritual Health

  • Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship.
  • Try to carve out time daily for intentional prayer and meditation. I’ve subscribed to several email “prompts” that arrive in my inbox every morning. The Upper Room has a couple of short reflections and/or devotionals every morning, and A Network for Gratefulness also gives me something to think about as I go about my day.
  • I’m lobbying for my church to become an Earth Care Congregation with PC(USA). I’ve got a tentative approval for this, but I’m still trying to get a firm “Yes”.
  • I went to Olympia Presbytery meeting this month. It was good to see other folks from around the presbytery, and to hear updates from our New Church Development at the Washington Correction Center for Women, and from Soundview, our camp. We also approved two members for ordination to validated ministries.
  • Our Interfaith discussion group with the Muslims, Jews, Lutherans, and Presbyterians will resume in October.
  • I post Morning and Evening Prayer on Facebook in Casa – An Experiment in Doing Church On-line on the 23rd of every month.

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones. –
    • I still regularly attend the Gazebo Group (the folks who meet on Monday evenings for Happy Hour.)
    • I  participated in the Wellness Center activities like the Owen Beach walk most Fridays. The Owen Beach walk is on hiatus until June, now. *sigh*
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. – Check
  • Tend the relationships I have on Social Media. I’m making an effort to avoid posting or reposting political articles, although I do still try to call out blatant racism, sexism, misogyny, etc. when it comes to my page.


  • I’m back in a Creative Writing class. I don’t know what is going to come out of it, but I’m going to try to get a memoir in shape for my kids. I doubt that anyone else would be interested in it.
  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials.
  • Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. Next meetings are scheduled for an on-line meeting in November and a face-to-face meeting in March.
  • Support #BlackLiveMatter, #Me,Too, #ThePoorPeople’sCampaign, #ClimateAction, and other social justice movements. – I donate regularly to MoveOn, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I attend rallies and marches if I’m available.


Five things that made me happy today – 9/29/19

1. It was really cool (cold) this morning when I got up. Cloudy, and 45 deg. with a stiff wind blowing out of the north.

2. The text this morning at church was Song of Songs 4:1-7. It’s a poem of appreciation by a man to his beloved. It has some really strange metaphors, but, as Sarah said, he was able to appreciate her, without stripping her. Sarah also quoted Rilke who said that love between two people that lasts also loves the space between them. They don’t get lost in each other, rather their differences make for happy surprises as life goes on.

3. Big Al and I went to Boathouse 19 for lunch today. Their autumnal menu focuses on German themes. We both had German potato soup. Al had schnitzel, with mashed potatoes and red cabbage, and I had bratwurst with scalloped potatoes and red cabbage. Very warming and tasty on a cold, cloudy day.

4. I got a text from Betty while we were waiting for our food. She said it’s 90 deg. and climbing in Texarkana. I didn’t have any sympathy for her at all.

5. The Cowboys are playing the Saints tonight. They seem to be doing okay, but I know they need my full attention to do their best.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/28/19

1. Cool and rainy this morning. I settled up accounts with Betty, and we went first to Starbucks for coffee and a scone, and then made a run downtown to return the rental car. 

2. We got back to the house with about 15 minutes to spare before Betty’s Uber came to take her to SEA-TAC to catch her plane home. I’m really going to miss her.

3. I got all the dirty clothes washed, dried, and folded and hung up. I’ll have a small bit to do on Monday, and then I’ll be back on track with washing.

4. Big Al and I had breakfast for lunch – scrambled eggs, ham, hash-brown potatoes, and grapefruit. Quick, easy, filling and nutritious.

5. Spent the afternoon working out at the Wellness Center, and then watched football for a while. The Ducks have a bye week, so I wasn’t particularly invested in any of the games. 

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/27/19

Sorry I missed doing this last night. I was too tired, and mentally fried.

1. Bright, sunny skies while we ate breakfast at the Huntingdon Manor. We went back upstairs, gathered up all our stuff, took it down to the car, and went back to the lobby to check out.

2. The wind had come up overnight, and it was “fresh” (or as Betty says, “Airish”). We walked down to the British Columbia Parliament Building, and did a “self tour”, looking at the stained glass windows, the plaques commemorating Royal Visits, the portrait of the Queen, etc.

3. About 11:00, we found a guard who let us into the elevator to go downstairs to the Parliament Dining Room for luncheon. Betty had salmon and fresh vegetables, and I had a shrimp sandwich with a cup of potato and leek soup.

4. When we went outside, we found there was a Climate Strike demonstration going on. Apparently they had marched from City Hall to the Parliament Building. We watched them from across the street at the Starbucks for a while.

Then we walked back to the hotel, retrieved the car, and got in line for customs at the Ferry.

5. The crossing wasn’t too rough, but it was pretty windy. We started home and had decent weather until after we crossed the Hood Canal bridge. It started to rain, and coming through the stretch from Silverdale to south of Bremerton, it lighteninged, and thundered, and deluges of rain with hail beat on us. I was happy to get out of that alive. It cleared off by the time we got to Gig Harbor, where we called Big Al to get him to meet us at the restaurant for supper.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/26/19

1. Cloudy early this morning but it was beginning to clear by the time we finished breakfast.

2. About 10:00 we headed out to walk through the Empress. We looked at all the fancy decor, and stopped in one of the gift shops to look around. Betty found some kitchen magnets, and I got some cute little “fishermen” who hold the strings of teabags to keep them from slipping into the cup.

3. Next we walked across the road and booked a Gorge Tour. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before the boat left. That tour, as always, was one of the highlights of the trip.

4. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at a liquor store and got a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. We each had a small glass and mellowed out for several hours, reading and just talking. We decided it was really nice to be with a relative who understood all your little catch phrases without having to explain.

5. We went to Pendary House for afternoon tea. I had black chai, and Betty had green hibiscus iced tea. We had a tiny cup of cucumber-melon mint gazpacho. Followed by cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon pinwheels with flying fish roe, chicken salad with pineapple on marble rye, and frittata with tomato salsa. Then we had blueberry scones and Earl Grey scones with Devonshire cream and housemade berry compote.

When we got to the dessert course, we were both too full, so we brought the apple fritter, the carrot cake, the chocolate petit four, and the macaroons back to the room to eat later with the rest of the bottle of wine. We’ll sleep well tonight.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/25/19

1. Woke up to clearing, sunny skies. Breakfast at the Huntingdon Manor Hotel. Pretty standard scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes and toast. Tomorrow I think we’ll try the waffles.

2. We drove up the southern coast of Vancouver Island. As we passed the cruise ship terminal we saw there were two ships in port. We went on further up the coast to a spit of land where we cold sit in the car and watch the seagulls and pigeons squabbling, and the ships moving up and down the strait.

3. We spotted a pilot boat speeding out to deliver a pilot to a third cruise ship. He must have gotten there because the liner was just pulling in to the dock as we went past on our way up island.

4. We drove up to Butchart Gardens. We already had our tickets, and got parked and into the property by noon. We walked all over the gardens and ended up in the Blue Poppy Cafe for lunch. I had to-die-for seafood chowder and an egg salad sandwich with bean sprouts, and Betty had the cheddar-bacon-onion soup of the day with a ham and cheese sandwich on ciabatta bread.

5. When we got back to the hotel, we walked up to the harbor to one of the vendors who had little wooden boxes. Betty wanted to get one for herself. By the time we got back to the hotel at almost 5:00, we each had over 10,000 steps and we were ready to put our feet up and relax.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/24/19

1. We got up early – 5:30 today. It was clearing, and pretty temperate. We had muffins and juice at the motel, and were in line for the ferry at 7:10 am. We loaded the BlackBall Ferry and pulled out of Port Angeles right at 8:15. It was lovely being there with VERY few passengers and the cars not being so crowded that you couldn’t open the doors.

2. The crossing was smooth, and quick. When we tied up at the dock, we drove right out and across the road to our hotel – the Huntingdon Manor. Old hotel but well maintained. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we left our luggage in their luggage room, and the car in their auxiliary lot.

3. We walked up to the Empress, and booked ourselves on a harbor tour on one of the little boats. We rode around the harbor and got off at the Fisherman’s Wharf. We walked around there, and then caught the water taxi back to the Empress.

4. By that time we were ready to have lunch, so we walked back past the hotel to the Blue Crab Restaurant. There we had crab salad on a croissant, and I had wild mushroom bisque and Betty had a salad of gourmet greens with a light vinaigrette. We also each had a nice house red wine.

Our first two glasses of wine were so good, we each had another one while we sat and watched the traffic in the harbor from the ferry coming in to the float planes to the little water taxis.

5. We walked back to the hotel, checked in, took our luggage up, put the car in the underground garage and spent the end of the afternoon resting. We figured we deserved it since we had been up early and we had each already gotten our 10,000 steps for the day.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/23/19

1. We got up early (about 6:00 am) to rain. Of course, Betty’s internal clock said it was 8:00. After showers, and coffee and tea we headed to Port Townsend about 7:30. We got to the dock just before 8:00, only to be told we wouldn’t load the boat until 8:45. We pottered around, walked over to the bathroom, and I suddenly remembered I didn’t have my passport, so we could go to Victoria, BC, tomorrow.

2. In a panic, I called my long suffering husband, and he promised he would drive up to Port Townsend this afternoon and bring it to me. Stars in his crown for driving two hours up and the two hours back to Tacoma to bring it to me.

3. We had a lovely time on the boat riding around the San Juan Islands looking for whales. Apparently there were lots of Whale Watching tours who were wandering around the islands searching for the Orcas. Then we heard on the radios that the J-pod was near Seattle, and the K-pod was at the northern end of Vancouver Island.

4. We went in to Friday Harbor, had a lovely lunch at the Cask and Schooner of clam chowder, and then Betty and I split a Cubano Sandwich. It was pouring down rain, so after a couple of minutes looking around town, we ducked into Downriggers to have dessert.

5. Back on the boat, we checked out Orcas Island, and Lopez Island, and Obstuction Island, and Blakey Island and past Anacotes on Fidalgo Island, and still no Orcas. We had heard there was a Humpback Whale feeding back where we had been in the morning, about half-way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so we headed back there, and sure enough there was not just one, but two, Humpbacks working a bait ball. They were spouting, and breaching, and diving and flipping their flukes. It was getting late, but we hung around there watching for almost an hour.

6. (Bonus) As we were heading back to Port Townsend, I got a call from Big Al saying he was leaving my passport with the girl who ran the gift shop, and she promised to stay until we got back so she could give it to me. Many kind people in my path today.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/22/19

1. Woke up to cloudy skies, and misty rain. It continued to rain off and on all day, clearing off about 6:00 pm.

2. After a Starbucks run, Betty and I headed to church. Sarah talked about reading the second chapter of the Song of Songs as a dream sequence. The dream would be a return to the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve ate the apple.

3. Big Al, Betty and I went to Pomodoro’s for dinner. Very tasty, but very filling.

4. Betty and I headed up to Port Hadlock after a trip to Whole Foods to buy apples and chocolate ;-). We’re staying in the Old Alcohol Plant Hotel. It’s very interesting and there are ties to Anselmo Adams family.

5. We rode up to Port Townsend to be sure we knew where we were going tomorrow to get on the Puget Sound Express to go Whale Watching tomorrow.

How about you? What made you happy today?