Five things that made me happy today – 5/31/20

Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.

Alice Walker

1. Cool/cold and breezy this morning with cloudy skies when I woke up. The rain from yesterday has gone off across the mountains. With the rain yesterday, and the wind today, the backyard looks like it snowed because all of the locust blossoms are being blown off the trees.

2. Pentecost Sunday – the birthday of the church. Good sermon by the preacher. We focused on the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians about the giving of gifts to the people of God. The pianist took this opportunity to play “Happy Birthday” for the postlude.

3. We had dinner from Oddfella’s Pub and Restaurant. They have curbside pick up so I ordered before church, and scurried down there to get the food at noon. Big Al had cottage pie with extra gravy and I had a chicken sandwich and coleslaw. It suited both of us and was easy to fetch and carry.

4. I had scheduled an Earth Ministry Zoom call this afternoon. I didn’t know what to expect, but unfortunately it was a lot of lament and very short on anything practical. So I gave myself permission to leave, and instead I finished planting the plants I got the other day. I’m sure I did as much for the earth by planting something and beautifying my little corner of it.

5. Greisser Girls’ call this afternoon. We solved nothing, but it was really nice to talk with people that we didn’t have to explain ourselves to.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions for 2020 – Review for May

My Star Word for this year is “Encourage”. The internet says “encourage” means to give support, confidence or hope to someone.

Here are my intentions for 2020.

I wrote this at the end of March. “Needless to say, everything went out the window early in the month. I managed to get my hair cut on the 5th, and went to church on the 8th, but then the bottom fell out. Gazebo Group was cancelled along with all classes, and other group activities on the 9th, including Senior University. Bible Study was cancelled on the 10th. On the 16th all Wellness classes and personal training was cancelled, and residents who eat in any of the dining rooms had to either pick up their meals and go back to their rooms, or have their meals delivered. The Wellness Center remains open, but all of the employees who work there are gone on unemployment.”

The closures have remained for all of April and May, and we’ve been told that Senior University, Wellness Classes, etc., will not be held in June, although accommodations are being added gradually. Wellness staff is now holding “hallway exercises” for 3 or 4 people at a time in the buildings, accompanying individuals on walks around campus, etc. You have to sign up for 1/2 hour slots to use the equipment in the Wellness Center – no more than two people at a time in the area. We have to wear masks inside buildings, and are encouraged to wear them walking around campus. Senior University is providing Zoom classes on various subjects, and is also pointing us to YouTube videos, etc.

The staff is bringing “Happy Hour” around to us every week. We take our folding chairs out and sit in our driveway, and they drive around with wine, sodas, and snacks. We visit with our next door neighbors in their driveway.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 15 more pounds this year. – I’ve lost 4 pounds since 12/31/19. No change since the end of March, but, on the plus side, I haven’t gained anything either.
    • Minimize chocolate, including mochas. – Unfortunately my mocha consumption has gone back up as the shelter-in-place continues.
    • Be sure to get 25 grams of fiber every day. – Check!
  • Continue to work with my personal trainer for strength, balance, and endurance.
    • My trainer has given me a program to work on by myself to get back to where I was when they pulled the plug on everything at the beginning of March. .
    • I try to do it 3 days a week.
    • The last couple of weeks I’ve been recovering from a pulled Achilles tendon, so I’m relying on the NuStep in the Wellness Center for my step count. I’ve been averaging 10,000 steps a day.
  • Notice and report any unexpected physical changes (rashes, bumps, etc.) to my doctor. – I’ve noticed some rough patches of skin on my face that I will review with the doctor at the time of my annual checkup in July.
  • In the light of COVID-19, I’m trying to be much more intentional about washing my hands regularly – ALWAYS after I’ve been out of the house. – Wash Your Hands, Don’t Touch Your Face. I also carry hand sanitizer in the car, and use it religiously as soon as I get back in the car when I go on the rare shopping expedition.

Emotional Health

  • Remember that excessive encouragement can be nagging. – I’m trying to remember.
    • Say it with a smile. – I think I’m doing better at this now. Generally, I’m less on edge or easily irritated.
    • I’ve also realized that Big Al and I don’t function with the same motivations. If I have something that needs to be done, I do it right away. He prefers “Never do today what you can put off to tomorrow.” He and I are both mellowing out a little.
    • I hope I’m being more empathetic when he rebels against my “schedule”. And he doesn’t rebel quite as forcefully.
  • I’m a little more accepting of the loss of things I had been looking forward to. The hard part now is not knowing when, if ever, this will all end. It’s looking pretty endless now, but I know, this too shall pass.
  • Continue to post “Five Things that Made Me Happy Today” every day on my blog.
  • I’ve returned to my Meditation practice, daily. I’m using the Oak app. It fits my needs, and helps with my mood.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading. Read 50 books this year (not just “fluff”).
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood – finished
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo – finished
    • Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy – finished
    • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson – finished
    • On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle – finished
    • 142 Ostriches – by April Davila – finished
    • Pretty Girls – by Karen Slaughter – I gave myself permission to quit after 25% of it
    • The Tuscan Child – by Rhys Bowen – finished
    • The Victory Garden – by Rhys Bowen – finished
    • Carrying Albert Home – by Homer Hickam – reading
  • You would think with the “Stay Home – Stay Safe” order I would have more time to read, but, alas, it seems like I’ve lost a lot of the will to sit and look at a book. That, and I have a bad habit of falling into a rabbit hole on the internet and frittering away several hours doing nothing. I try not to beat myself up over it. I understand that mentally I need to just do some mindless things sometimes.
  • Keep up with the national news daily without obsessing over it.
    • Listen to NPR
    • Watch Rachel Maddow
    • I subscribe to The Washington Post, and The Seattle Times, and try to read most of the important news once a day.
    • I’ve subscribed to Heather Cox Richardson’s daily letter. It’s helping keep me sane.
  • Participate in Creative Writing classes here at Franke Tobey Jones. – All in-person courses cancelled by COVID-19.
  • Attend Brain Training when it is offered by Senior University. – Cancelled by COVID-19 – and none scheduled for June.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – This month we had a discussion of Slavery and Human Trafficking on Zoom. One of the best chapters so far this year. We’ve been given access to the videos that go with each chapter.

Spiritual Health

  • Participate in virtual weekly Bible study on Zoom.
  • Participate in virtual weekly Worship on Facebook Live
  • Participate in Interfaith Dialogue – The Community Seder and the Community Iftar were cancelled by COVID-19. Nothing yet scheduled for the fall.
  • Continue with General Assembly Nominating Committee – We finalized the slate for General Assembly during a 4-hour Zoom call a couple of weeks ago.

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones.
    • Wellness Center – The center remains open, and I use it when weather keeps me from walking. No other people there, usually.
    • Gazebo Group – We continue to meet weekly on ZOOM.
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church.
    • Bible Study – Fewer people attend via Zoom than attended in person.
    • Earth Care Congregation – we have been certified as an Earth Care Congregation. The bees have hatched in the garden, and people are planting their summer veggies.
    • I’m attending a Zoom Earth Ministry meeting this afternoon.
  • Keep up with family.
    • My sisters and brother and I have an Instant Messenger group set up and we check in on each other every morning, and through the day.
    • I send an IM to my children every morning asking for a “Wellness Check.” Sometimes I even get additional information about their families without asking.
    • My sisters and I (and sometimes a niece and a cousin and her daughters) do a Zoom call every Sunday afternoon. I’ve seen and talked to them more this month than in years. I hope we continue that even after all this is over.

Social Justice

  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials. – all cancelled by COVID-19. I try to participate when there are virtual meetings.
  • Support the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and MoveOn. – Check
  • I have regular donations going to my US Representative, and to the Democratic National Committee.
  • Support the election of officials who are champions for Social Justice issues.
    • Climate action
    • Racial justice – I’m devastated over the murder this week of an unarmed black man by a police officer while three other officers looked on in Minneapolis. Looking for ways to support my friends who are people of color.
    • Health Care Availability
    • Wealth Inequality


Five things that made me happy today – 5/30/20

Chaos does not have to destroy us. The old world is certainly dying, but the shape of the new world struggling to be born is not yet determined.

Heather Cox Richardson

1. Really cloudy and cool when I woke up, and there were rumbles of thunder over the Kitsap Peninsula as I drank my early tea. I put off taking my shower until the leading edge of the storm had passed. It continued to rain off and off all day – nothing hard, just a steady drip.

2. There was a break in the rain between 10 am and noon. I took advantage of it and had Big Al drive me to Trader Joe’s (so he could drop me off at the end of the line and then park near the door.) I got some flowers to brighten our house, and my sausages. Then we ran by the little nursery on the way home and got deer repellent and slug bait. I tried to get a new hose while I was there, but the only one they had was heavy, 100 ft. long and cost $75.00. So we went to Ace Hardware (I didn’t know they were open, but I guess their plumbing and electrical supplies make them an essential business.) They had a hose that was light weight, and looks like a slinky, and I bought it.

3. Finally got home a little after noon, and fixed our lunch of Tortilla Soup with chicken, and flour tortillas. I also had an avocado that I added to mine. Good choice for a cool, rainy day.

4. I took the car over to the Wellness Center to do my workout, and I’m glad I did, because the heavens opened up shortly after I got there. Thank goodness for the NuStep, so I don’t have to try to walk in the rain.

5.I hooked up the hose and gave the plants I planted yesterday a good drink (they’re on the porch so they didn’t get the benefit of the rain). Then I washed the dirt off the porch and sprayed deer repellent on the flowers. The deer are so bold that they have no compunction about coming right up on the porch and nibbling the coleus right down to the ground.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/29/20

Honor the space between no longer and not yet.

Nancy Levin

1. Beautiful, warm, sunny day today. Got up to 75 deg. today, but it felt warmer in the sun. Checked the garden before I went to Safeway, and watered. Tomatoes are perking up and the beans and squash look really healthy.

2. Safeway pickup for groceries for the week this morning. They were a little late in confirming my order as ready for pick up, but I got everything on my list.

3. Lunch was salad. I added ham, egg, avocado, croutons and salad dressing to the bagged salad. Tasty.

4. I got some of the plants from yesterday planted today. Coleus, begonias, and alyssum are planted. Tomorrow I hope to add the verbena to the hanging basket and plant the dianthus.

Three hoses bit the dust (first time under pressure this year) so I guess I’ll have to try to buy a couple of new ones.

5. Driveway happy hour this afternoon. They brought us wine, and little “plates” with crackers, cheese, grapes, and a strawberry. Nice.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/28/20

Honor the space between no longer and not yet.

Nancy Levin

1. Beautiful, warm, sunny day today. It only got up to 78 deg. here, but it was 82 deg. over in the Puyallup Valley when I went to pick up the flowers at Watson’s.

2. I took a short walk this morning and went by the garden. The beans are at the 4-leaf stage, the squash is at the 3-leaf stage, the cilantro is up, and the thyme is doing well. I don’t know what happened to the basil, it may still come up, and maybe not. I can always replant.

3. I picked up lunch from Red Wagon today – hamburger for Big Al and fish and chips for me. Way too many chips, so I gave most of them to Al.

4. Went to the Wellness Center and did my balance, strength, and core stuff, and then finished off my steps for the day.

5. I ordered flowers for the front porch from Watson’s this morning, and drove over for curbside pickup late this afternoon. I got begonias, coleus, verbena and dianthus. They all look healthy after their ride home in the trunk of my car.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/27/20

Honor the space between no longer and not yet.

Nancy Levin

1. Beautiful weather here today. High of 70 with a light breeze and lots of sun.

2. We got to listen to a Zoom call through Senior University about popular music of the 60s. It only lasted an hour but the presenter did his best to cover the ground. He talked about Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and was able to fit in some things about Woodstock.

3. We had chicken, asparagus, and corn on the cob for lunch.

4. I was able to walk around the Duplex Circle this morning, and then I walked over to the Wellness Center and finished off my 10,000 steps.

5. I’m definitely planning to make a trip to Watson’s. Should be warm and dry tomorrow so it will be a good time to plant new plants. I’m making a list this afternoon, to order for pickup tomorrow.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/26/20

I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you,

For the world to become good and beautiful and kind?

Langston Hughes

1. Cloudy, cool morning, followed by sun and scattered clouds this afternoon. “They” are promising warmer temperatures and sunshine for most of the rest of the week.

2. Zoom Bible study this morning getting ready for Pentecost on Sunday. We looked at several passages – Acts 2, Numbers 24, and 1 Corinthians 12. Right in my wheelhouse as I am a devotee of the Gifts of the Spirit. We’ll see what the preacher has to say on Sunday.

3. Big Al got a chef salad from the FTJ kitchen, and I had my regular egg salad sandwich for lunch. I’ll have a leftover chicken thigh and some leftover coleslaw for supper.

4. We had a Zoom Great Decisions discussion this afternoon on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. We decided that there was probably no answer to the problem, but to start the countries of the world need to agree a definitions, followed by a effort to stop punishing the victims, and look instead at the perpetrators (padrons, pimps, etc.).

It would be really easy to fall into despair about this. I have to take some responsibility because my cell phone was probably made by “slaves”, along with lots of other things I use every day. But as I said, there’s no easy answers.

5.The housekeeper came today so I have clean sheets on the beds, clean bathrooms, a clean kitchen (including the corners that had been covered up with stuff that I relocated yesterday), mopped, swept, and vacuumed floors.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/25/20

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.

Peter Marshall


1. One of the maintenance men came by this morning and picked up a bunch of stuff that had been taking up room in the garage – paint from when they refurbed this place before we moved in 7 years ago, a (potential) piece of replacement carpeting, electronics that we wanted to get rid of, etc. It feels really good to have it out of the way.

2. Based on my success in cleaning out the garage, I cleaned up and put away a lot of stuff that had taken up residence on my kitchen counter. I’ll try to keep it put away.

3. The dining room was having BBQ ribs for dinner, and I ordered from there. In addition to the ribs, I had homefried potatoes, corn on the cob, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Big Al is not a fan of ribs, so he had the rest of his sweet and sour chicken leftover from yesterday.

4. All the laundry is washed, dried, folded, and hung up. I’m still wondering why the “sock-eater” has changed its taste and decided to eat one of my masks. I’ve been through everything, twice, and it has disappeared.

5. Zoom Gazebo Group is this afternoon. Hooray!

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/24/20

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.

Peter Marshall

1. It was cool and cloudy this morning but the sun came out about noon, and it warmed up significantly, especially if you’re out in the sun. The computer said it got up to 66 deg. and the phone said it got up to 70 deg. Nice in any case.

2. The text for today in church on-line was Acts 1:1-11. This is one of the passages that divides Christians – did Jesus REALLY levitate to heaven? And the angels. The disciples are standing around gaping and the angels ask “Why are you looking at the sky?” If someone had just disappeared up into a cloud, I think I would have stood there with my mouth hanging open too. Is it necessary that we believe that Jesus left earth like “Beam me up, Scottie?” Or does what matters is that we treat other people like Jesus did and told us to?

3. When church was over I rode down to our favorite Thai restaurant, and got Singapore Noodles for me, and Sweet and Sour Chicken for Big Al. They really give us value for money.

4. The preacher had given up and gotten a buzz cut. I’m on the verge of doing the same if I could find somebody who has electric clippers. I could put the 1-inch guard on them and get rid of this hair.

5. The Greisser Girls Zoom call was this afternoon. Always fun. They both discouraged me from getting a buzz cut, but another week or two, and I might do it.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 5/23/20

Just because you are happy it does not mean that the day is perfect but that you have looked beyond its imperfections.

Bob Marley

1. It was cool and cloudy when I got up today. 48 deg. is cool by anybody’s standard. The forecast threatened continued clouds and cool, but the sun came out periodically and the temperature clawed it’s way up to 62 deg. I’ll take it.

2. A short walk around the Duplex Circle this morning felt pretty good, so I tried to walk a little more in the afternoon. Nope – Achilles fussed, so I went to the Wellness Center and did strength, balance, and core, followed by a session on the NuStep. 10,000 steps done and dusted.

3. Lunch was Lloyd’s barbecue, Bush’s baked beans, and coleslaw. It’s not Memorial Day yet, but I know I’m not going to get anything special on Monday, unless I order ribs from the dining room here at FTJ.

4. The siblings have been texting about all the pretty flowers and ground covers they are planting, so, of course, I got the bug, too. I found out that Watson’s has order on-line and curbside pick-up, so I may take advantage of that early next week.

5. I got outdone with the state of the garage, and spent quite a while out there sorting junk, putting it in bags to go out with the garbage, and sweeping. It’s finally warm enough to work out there, and it’s good exercise. I wanted to get that done before I tackled the pots on the front porch and got them planted next week.

How about you? What made you happy today?