Five things that made me happy today – 7/31/20

Walk with the wind. brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Representative John Lewis

1. The long promised cool down has finally arrived. High 50s this morning with a high of 78 this afternoon.

2. Dickey’s Barbecue has been luring me all week with specials and other come-ons, and I succumbed today. Big Al had pulled pork and I had jalapeno cheese kielbasa. We both got coleslaw and potato salad. Good lunch for the last day of July.

3. One of the maintenance men came and got up on the roof and chased all the needles and leaves that had accumulated up there. He also cleaned out the gutters. I had quite a little forest growing in one of the gutters.

4. A couple of good walks today, and another handful of green beans harvested.

5. I finished off my Intentions Review for July.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions for 2020 – Review for July

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.

NOTE: We are gradually opening up, a little. The Wellness Center is open, but you have to sign up for a time to use the equipment – only two people at a time. The staff has a couple of classes a week – but no personal training. Still no dining rooms open, still Happy Hour in our driveway. Still no gatherings, including Senior University, Gazebo Group, etc. Still no visiting in any of the other buildings. Masks at all times outside the house. Last month I went to the dentist for my cleaning that had been put off since March and I finally got my hair cut this week. Shopping is mostly of the on-line variety. I go to Trader Joe’s about once a month, and to the commissary about once every six weeks – otherwise, I order from Safeway and they bring it out and put it in my trunk – no contact, or from Amazon – again no contact.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 15 more pounds this year. – I’ve lost 3.8 pounds since 12/31/19. I’ve re-lost the weight I put on at the beginning of the pandemic.
    • Minimize chocolate, including mochas. – No more than 3 mochas a week.
    • 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.
    • My cholesterol was a little high when I had my blood tests for my annual physical. I’m cutting down on the number of eggs I eat weekly (I was eating between 9 and 12 every week – easy protein).
  • 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 seems to have recovered so I’m walking more every day – at least one long walk daily.
  • Notice and report any unexpected physical changes (rashes, bumps, etc.) to my doctor. – I’ve noticed some rough patches of skin on my face and a few red spots that I will review with the doctor at the time of my annual checkup in August. Wearing a mask all the time is certainly not helping my complexion. I had one brush with basal-cell carcinoma 15 years ago so I want to be extra careful.
  • 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. We also carry Lysol wipes in the car for complete sanitation for our hands.
  • I’ve scheduled a bone density test (ordered by the endocrinologist) and my mammogram for September.
  • There was one staff member who tested positive for COVID-19, but extensive contact tracing shows there was no spread.

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. I’m trying to stay grounded in this “between time”. The beginning is over, and I can’t see the end yet. Liminal space.
  • 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 – finished
    • Educated – by Tara Westover – finished
    • Shameless – by Nadia Bolz-Weber – finished
    • All American Boys – by Jason Reynolds – reading
  • Since the weather has gotten warmer, I often spend a couple of hours in the rocking chair on the back porch reading.
  • 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 August.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – This month we had a scheduled hiatus. We will resume in August.

Spiritual Health

  • Participate in virtual weekly Bible study on Zoom.
  • Participate in virtual weekly Worship on Facebook Live
  • Participate in Interfaith Dialogue – There is a scheduled Interfaith Conversation on Race and Faith on Zoom sponsored by the Islamic Center of Tacoma with a panel of representatives from the Islamic Center, Temple Beth El, Trinity Church, and the local Buddhist Organization.
  • Continue with General Assembly Nominating Committee – We had a good-bye party virtually on Zoom saying farewell to those folks who were rolling off of the committee after at least 6 years.

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 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 continue to 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 heartsick about the Federal troops who are occupying American cities. I’m encouraged by the actions of the ACLU to push back. They are winning most of the times they get to court.
    • Health Care Availability
    • Wealth Inequality
  • There’s a primary election next Tuesday. We vote by mail, exclusively, in Washington State. I voted a week ago. Easy decisions. I largely voted for incumbents.


Five things that made me happy today – 7/30/20

The pandemic shows us above all that twenty-first-century survival depends on an ability to handle chaos.

Bill McKibben

1. Nice day today. Cool enough this morning for me to get my walk in. Then it topped out at 84 this afternoon.

2. When I got the groceries home yesterday, I realized I hadn’t gotten the veggies, and bread that I had originally intended to. So today, I ordered again first thing this morning and picked it up after 3:00 this afternoon. I LOVE ordering on line and having them bring it to the car, and I remain touch-free.

3. Another handful of green beans from the garden harvested on my walk. I think I’m going to pull up one row that’s pretty spindly looking and replant. Now that it’s gotten warmer and sunnier, I should have decent luck.

4. Big Al had to get his bloodwork done for his physical next week, so he went early and picked up his breakfast from McDonalds on the way home. The doctor had neglected to put the order in, so he’ll have to go back tomorrow. He didn’t want any lunch (from me when I was ready to fix it), so he fixed his own sandwich.

5. I LOVE Obama. Tears and cheers.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/29/20

Like many, I watched the first half of 2020 with a mixture of heartbreak and horror. What fills me with hope is the thought of what will come if each of us reflects on what we can offer.

MacKenzie Scott

1. A really pretty day. Mid-50s this morning early, and low 80s this afternoon.

2. One of the maintenance men came by and evaluated our back porch for what they could do about the fact that its finish is peeling, and its floor is sagging. It was rebuilt about 5 years ago, so they aren’t excited about replacing it. At a minimum they are going to refinish it so there is no longer bare wood showing.

3. I walked over to the garden before lunch and harvested another handful of green beans. I think tomorrow or Friday we’ll have some for lunch.

4. Haircut this afternoon. Some people (usually 20- or 30-somethings) are having a hard time following the rules about masks and social distancing. Our COVID-19 case count is steadily rising and I’m afraid we’re going to get put back into lockdown. I want to get my hair cut before that happens.

5. Since I was going to be out in the car anyway, I moved my Safeway pickup from tomorrow morning to this afternoon. I HATE to shop anyway, so grocery pickup is a perk for this time of social distancing. 

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/28/20

Summertime is always the best of what might be.

Charles Bowden

1. The marine layer had returned this morning – 57 deg. and overcast. By the time Bible study was over, the sun had come out and it had warmed into the 70s. We eventually ended up with 79 deg. Great weather for sitting on the back porch in the rocking chair and reading.

2. In Bible study we talked about the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well, (John 4:1-29). My takeaway was Jesus said it didn’t matter where someone worshipped, what mattered was whether the worship was spiritual and truthful. It struck me that all these folks who are complaining about churches being closed during the pandemic need to realize they can worship at home or on Zoom just as well as in a sanctuary.

3. Under the heading of “Big Brother is Watching You,” I’ve been using the app “Map my Walk” for about a week. This morning at 11:05 during Bible study, the app sent me a message saying “Isn’t it time for you to take a walk?” Now I’m getting nagged by my phone to get moving. So, between Bible study and lunch I walked over to the garden and harvested another handful of green beans. Even though the temperature said it was 70 deg. between the bright sunshine and the mask around my neck I worked up a sweat.

4. Ham sandwich with tomato and onion for lunch. Big Al had macaroni and cheese. I’m trying to limit my cholesterol because I really don’t want to have to go back to taking statins, so no more egg salad sandwiches for me. I’m conflicted because the endocrinologist wants me to get more calcium (cheese is good), and the internist wants me to get less cholesterol (cheese is bad). <sigh>

5. I just saw an article that said the Federal troops who were sent to Seattle (and who were never seen on the streets) are being recalled. I guess whoever decided to send them thought better of it with pushback from the mayor, the county executive, the governor, and the state attorney general.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/27/20

Wanting more and more and more is the virus that results when we are not content with and grateful for what we already have.

Jan Edmiston

1. It was almost 70 when I woke up, and it’s only gotten warmer all day. It was 85 or 89 deg. by 5 pm, depending on which weather app you looked at. Hooray for the air-conditioned Wellness Center to get my exercise in when it’s this hot.

2. Based on the threatened hot weather, I walked down to the garden before noon and watered the plants down there. I also harvested another handful+ of green beans. I should be able to get a nice potful by Wednesday or Thursday.

3. We had ham, and corn on the cob for lunch, and Big Al had beets, and I had yellow squash. My squash in my garden is blooming and making baby squash about the size of my thumb, but then they get kind of wrinkled up and quit maturing. I don’t know what the problem is unless it was that cool/cold spell with no sun we had last week.

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

5. We had Driveway Happy Hour this afternoon. They had leftover margaritas from last week, so I enjoy one this afternoon. I made sure our chairs were in the shade of the garage. 

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/26/20

Knitting teaches you that one small action does matter. That one small action, like knitting a stitch, isn’t unimportant. It’s vital. One small action repeated many times is a sweater. Or a shawl. Or a pair of socks to hold the feet of someone you love.


1. Warm, summer day, today. It was 62 when I woke up and over 70 by time for church. Blue PNW skies. Humidity in the low 60s. The radio said it was supposed to be 80 today, but it only made it to 73 by 2:30, so I don’t think it will get there. They’re still threatening 89 or 90 tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it stays cooler than that.

2. The crows woke me up at first light, squabbling in the woods behind the house. This far north, the sun rises shortly after 5:00 am even at the end of July. Luckily I was able to go back to sleep for a little while.

3. The preacher talked about the birds, and the wildflowers this morning, Matthew 6:26-34. It’s necessary, when we are feeling overwhelmed with worry about the virus, or money, or loneliness, to take a step back and breathe the scent of the wildflowers and listen to the birds twittering. God is watching over the birds, and we don’t need to continually worry – God is watching over us.

4. I drove down to Royal Thai Bistro and picked up lunch after church. Big Al had Princess Snow Peas, and I had Singapore noodles.

5. My New York sister had houseguests from the City who were happy to get out of the heat and thunderstorms and spend the weekend with her. So my Arkansas sister and I had a nice visit on Facetime instead of Zoom. These conversations with siblings feed my soul.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/25/20

By bringing a soulful consciousness to gardening sacred space can be created outdoors.

S. Kelley Harrell

1. Pretty day today, after two dreary, cool/cold days. Mid-50s in the morning rising to  lower 70s this afternoon. Enjoyed the blue, blue skies.

2. The flickers have found the suet feeder again. I was awakened by a mama flicker trying to teach her baby how to eat on its own. She was hanging off of the wire on one side of the feeder and baby was hanging off of the other side complaining that she wasn’t pecking out the suet fast enough. All baby had to do was stick its beak through the wire mesh and it wouldn’t have had to wait for Mama, but it never did figure it out.

3. Took a nice walk all the way around campus this morning and looked at the landscaping they put in when they built the new buildings. They have a LOT of lavender blooming and also some bee balm. The pollinators are happy.

4. Then I stopped by my garden, watered, and harvested another handful of green beans. Hopefully with the promised hot weather the tomatoes will start to ripen.

5. We had Lloyd’s barbecue with tortillas, and Bush’s baked beans for lunch. Good lunch for a Saturday.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/24/20

1. Cloudy and cool again today. 55 deg. this morning. The sun finally came out after lunch. and it got up to 65. Tomorrow it should be mid-70s, and then high 80s on Monday! If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.

2. The nuthatches are arguing with the chickadees for supremacy over the suet cake, and the finches have found the seed in the feeder. I’ve had both a house finch and a goldfinch today.

3. I took the ballots to the drop box, and got them sent off. Then I stopped by OddFellas and brought home lunch. Cottage pie for Big Al, and fish and chips for me. Tasty.

4. Somebody cloned my Instagram account, and, unfortunately, several people followed the clone, and then got trolled. I learned a long time ago to NEVER follow or friend anyone who I think I’m already following or already friends with. I reported the clone as SPAM, changed my password, and I think I’m clean. I hope the other people who were caught didn’t get cloned as well.

5. A couple of nice walks and some time at the Wellness Center let me polish off my steps for today.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 7/23/20

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

Abraham Lincoln

1. It never did warm up today. They promised 70 deg. but the sun never came out and the warmest I saw was 64. Another 2-shirt day because I needed a turtleneck under my long-sleeved shirt this morning.

2. I took a fairly long walk this morning after I got the beans on the stove for dinner. I stopped by the garden and harvested another handful of beans before I came home. Steak, corn on the cob and fresh green beans for dinner.

3. I thoroughly enjoyed a text conversation with my sisters reminiscing about the food we ate during the summer at my grandmother’s.

4. The hummingbirds have found the food I put in the feeder for them. At one point there were two perching and drinking their fill while a third one circled waiting for his/her turn. There’s room for six at the feeder, but I guess they were social distancing.

5. Big Al and I both voted in the primary today. I think we’ll probably take the ballots to the dropbox tomorrow. Election Day in Washington is August 4th.

How about you? What made you happy today?