Intentions for 2020 – Review for June

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, May, and June. Wellness staff is still 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. They are exploring having one or two in-person classes in the Wellness Center for those of us in the Duplexes. 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 and anyone else who wanders by in masks.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 15 more pounds this year. – I’ve lost 2 pounds since 12/31/19. I had lost 4 pounds by the beginning of March and I’ve only gained 2 pounds since then, so I guess that’s a plus.
    • Minimize chocolate, including mochas. – I’m not having as many mochas in a week as I was last month, but I get my fingers in the trail mix with M&Ms too often.
    • My endocrinologist wants me to get more calcium (preferably from food or drink) and she told me it’s okay to count the mochas towards my calcium intake.
    • Be sure to get 25 grams of fiber every day. – I’ve gotten some crackers that taste like sawdust but that have 4 gms of fiber in each one with only 20 calories, so I eat them with cheese (adding calcium).
  • Continue to work with my personal trainer for strength, balance, and endurance.
    • Personal training has been cancelled, but she sees me when I use the equipment and always has encouraging words to say.
    • My Achilles tendon is still iffy, 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. Wearing a mask all the time is certainly not helping my complexion.
  • 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.
  • I’ve scheduled a bone density test (ordered by the endocrinologist) and my mammogram for September.
  • I got my teeth cleaned this month after putting it off from it’s regularly scheduled time in March (when all dental offices were closed except for emergencies).
  • All the staff and the residents in Health Care and Assisted Living have been tested for the virus, and well as 75% (or more) of the Independent residents. There were ZERO positive tests. We sometimes thought the strict measures put in place by the administration were excessive, but they seem to have done the trick.

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.
  • Every now and then I get a little down because I can’t see an end to this enforced confinement.
  • Continuing to post “Five Things that Made Me Happy Today” every day on my blog helps me with my frustration.
  • 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 – finished
    • Clair de Lune – by Jetta Carleton – finished
    • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – Kim Michelle Richardson – reading
  • I’m still having trouble settling down with a book, but I try to read for half an hour or so before I go to sleep, at least.
  • Keep up with the national news daily without obsessing over it.
    • Listen to NPR. I’m a member of my local Seattle station, and have started taking advantage of special on-line interviews they offer to members.
    • Watch Rachel Maddow
    • I subscribe to The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and CNN’s 5 Things You Need to Know, and I 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 July.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – This month we had a discussion on Zoom of U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle (aka Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador). Not really a part of the world I care much about. It was depressing to learn how we in the United States have messed in their lives and governments and then abandoned them.

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 in mid-May. Our slate was accepted with no additional nominees at General Assembly last week (held virtually)

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones.
    • Wellness Center – The center remains open, and I use it. 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 enjoying their summer veggies.
    • 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 since the COVID 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 hopeful that the killing of George Floyd will be the turning point. I fully support the call to defund the police, particularly since they don’t seem to be able to control the “bad apples” that give them all a bad name. Camden, NJ, seems to have had the right idea in firing everybody and starting over.
    • Health Care Availability – I’m hopeful the Supreme Court will be sensible and not pay attention to the President’s suit to do away with the Affordable Care Act. I can’t think of a worse time to do that than right now in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.
    • Wealth Inequality


Five things that made me happy today – 6/30/20

However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

1. The weather today is cool and showery, although some blue sky and patchy clouds did come out after lunch. 55 this morning, and 62 or so this afternoon, but it’s really windy.

2. Bible study this morning was about Zacchaeus. We enjoyed talking about the passage in Luke, but we had more fun singing the song. If you were in Sunday School any time between 1950 and 2000, I probably have it stuck in your head now.

3. Big Al had his regular Tuesday Chef Salad from the FTJ kitchen, and I had an egg salad sandwich for lunch.

4. Because the weather had still not decided whether it was going to rain or not, I took the car over to the garden and watered. The squash and beans are BLOOMING. There are a couple of baby tomatoes on the tomato plants. The tomato plants look better with some sun the last couple of days. (See the tiny little squash with enormous blooms attached.)

5. Then I drove up to the Wellness Center to get my steps. My Achilles was in pretty good shape this morning after two days of rest over the weekend. I don’t want to test it on any of the hills at this point. I may walk inside the Wellness Center for a while because, at least, it’s flat in there.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/29/20

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.


1. The day started out cool and cloudy, but the sun came out mid-morning, and it’s been really pretty this afternoon. The sunny days in the last week have encouraged the summer flowers to start blooming. Daisies and lavender around the fountain.

2. We had ham, asparagus, and corn on the cob for lunch today. It may be the last of the asparagus. We’ll see.

3. The laundry is all washed, dried, folded, and hung up!

4. We have a special Driveway Happy Hour today for 4th of July. They brought lemonade, root beer, real beer, wine, corndogs, popcorn, and all the usual chips and snacks. Don’t need to worry about supper.

5. Gazebo Group on Zoom let me catch up with all the doings around campus.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/28/20

It’s numbers. It’s irrefutable…There are no Democratic facts and Republican facts. There are just facts.

Andrew Cuomo

1. We had a nice, gentle rain in the night and through the morning with temperatures in the 50s. Then the sun came out about noon. It didn’t warm up much, but we should have sun all day tomorrow, temperatures back in the 70s.

2. Our sermon series this summer is “Unraveled”, about times when our lives come apart. This week was on the announcement of the impending birth of a baby boy to Abraham and Sarah. He was 100 years old and Sarah was 99 when the announcement came to them, and they both laughed. The preacher and her husband struggled with infertility for years, and finally had twins, thanks to the miracle of invitro fertilization. She understood the joy brought to Abraham and Sarah as their lives unraveled.

3. We had a hard time deciding on what to get for take-out Sunday dinner today, and finally settled on Harbor Lights who are just reopening. They are still running on a lighter menu, so we weren’t able to get what we thought we wanted. I ended up with their Cobb salad. It has bay shrimp, mango pieces, cherry tomatoes, bacon, avocado, and blue cheese. It was SUPER. Big Al thought he was ordering chopped steak (aka Salisbury steak), but what came was top sirloin. A much better choice, I thought.

4. Because of the rain, I didn’t have to walk over to the garden. An afternoon spent with my feet propped up should have helped my Achilles tendon.

5. Betty, Harriet, and I solved all the problems of the world in our Greisser Girls Gabfest.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/27/20

When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

Sydney Harris

1. It turned cool and cloudy overnight. I started out the day with an open window, and a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt. I closed the window about 10 am and then I put on a turtleneck under my shirt to walk this morning.

2. Went over to the garden and give everything a good drink since it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any rain this weekend.

3. Did a rerun of the Chicken Tetrazzini for lunch today. Big Al was pleased and, consequently, so was I.

4. The big buddleia bush next door on the other side of the fence has started blooming. I love looking at it, because it’s usually covered with butterflies. Doesn’t look like as many butterflies this year, but they may come along later.

5. Got all my steps in at the Wellness Center this afternoon on the NuStep. My Achilles still bothers me if I walk up and down hills too much. I won’t do any walking tomorrow – it’s my sabbath. Maybe by Monday…

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/26/20

Before you act, listen. Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.

Ernest Hemingway

1. Pretty day today. Blue skies, light breeze, temperatures in the 70s.

2. I had a tele health appointment with my endocrinologist this morning. Found out the guy who referred me to her was just acting out of an abundance of caution. I have to start to taking calcium, get a bone scan, and have a couple of more blood tests, but I can wait on the blood test until I have all the regular bloodwork done for my annual, Medicare physical, sometime in July.

3. Lunch today was what I planned for yesterday – bratwurst, sautéed cabbage, and little red potatoes. Al loves that kind of dinner.

4. Because I’m supposed to get more calcium, I decided to make a Starbucks run and get a mocha. 

5. Made it over to the Wellness Center and was able to get all my steps in.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/25/20

You never know how small the box you are in is until you escape it.

David Hayward

1. Just got the call, both Big Al and I are negative for COVID-19. I was “sure” we were, but it’s nice to be SURE.

2. The people who live next door have an anniversary today. They had pipers at their wedding and every year the pipers come back and serenade them, so we were treated to a bagpipe concert in our front yard.

3. I spent most of the morning copying and pasting some of the photos that I scanned before we moved out here into Dropbox, and then I shared that Dropbox folder with the siblings. Eventually, I hope to move all those photos over to Dropbox. My server is chugging along like a champ, but I worry that I don’t have those pictures backed up anywhere else.

4. Ran out of time to fix lunch, so I fetched a hamburger for Big Al and fish and chips for me from Red Wagon Burgers.

5. Didn’t make it to the Wellness Center in time this afternoon, so I took the long way around going to the garden, and coming home from there. I got the plants watered. The nozzle that was messed up has been replaced, but now the standpipe is leaking badly. Sigh. The plants are looking pretty happy with the sunshine.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/24/20

Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.


1. I ran to Safeway right after breakfast and got the weeks worth of shopping. They had everything ready for me and it took all of 15 minutes, including drive time.

2. I made Chicken Tetrazzini for lunch. My recipe supposedly came from the Chef at the Waldorf in New York before WWII.. I had a great-aunt who swore it was true. True or not, I’ve never eaten this particular version anywhere other than in my family. REALLY good.

3. My personal trainer sends me things to work on every week, and this week she suggested practice going up and down stairs. Since I’m not allowed in any of the buildings on campus, I had to use the stairs instead of the hills or ramps around campus. But I did it.

4. I’ve been sniffling occasionally (I thought allergy season was over), but apparently this is one of the bad boys making me sneeze. Awfully pretty, though.

5. Walked to the garden and watered this morning after the trip to Safeway. Then this afternoon I walked the long way around (taking a set of stairs) to the Wellness Center, where I finished off my 10.000 steps for the day. 

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/23/20

For many years, at great cost, I traveled through many countries, saw the high mountains, the oceans. The only things I did not see were the sparkling dewdrops in the grass just outside my door.

Rabindranath Tagore

1. Big Al and I got our COVID-19 tests this morning. We should hear the results by tomorrow morning, if not this afternoon. Not that there’s anywhere either one of us could have gotten it, except, possibly me at the dentist yesterday. And they were really careful.

2. Good Bible study this morning. We looked at Genesis 18:1-15 where Abraham and Sarah are visited by several “men” who tell Sarah she is going to have a baby. She laughs and names the baby “Laughter” (Isaac). This is the second announcement of the coming birth. A chapter earlier God had told Abraham the same thing and he also laughed, but we rarely mention that.

3. The housekeepers came today. We have clean sheets on the beds, mopped and vacuumed floors, clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen.

4. We had a Great Decisions discussion today about our relationship with the nations of the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). We decided that whatever it is we’re doing, it isn’t working.

5. I have an appointment later today with one of my tame computer experts to see about some of the problems I’ve been having with my computer and Home Server.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 6/22/20

At night our fear is strong…but in the morning, in the light, we find our courage again.

Malala Yousafzai

1. I got my teeth cleaned this morning. I was scheduled originally the second week of March, right at the beginning of the lockdown, so I had to cancel then. I rescheduled for today.

2. Lunch was baked chicken with Stovetop Stuffing, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Good.

3. I went by the garden on the way to the Wellness Center today and watered. The tomato plants are still sad looking but the beans and squash are pretty healthy.

4. All the clothes were washed, dried, folded and hung up before Happy Hour.

5. We had Driveway Happy Hour again today. Monday is supposed to be our regular day, but it gets changed to Friday when the weather is bad on Monday. Anyway, we get wine and snacks as bookends to the weekend this time.

How about you? What made you happy today?