Five things that made me happy today – 8/31/20

The miracle of autumn is coming: the season when change is decidedly beautiful, the days when creation testifies to the power of rest and death to make room for life.

Rachel Hackenberg

1. A little misty this morning, and still cool and cloudy. Late afternoon temps in the low to mid 70s.

2. I got all my doctor’s appointments scheduled today. Dermatologist and Ophthalmologist done and dusted. I also got a new pair of gym shoes (New Balance, of course) that I ordered with some birthday money from one of my kids.

3. The indoor window washer came today. He was able to wash all the windows on the inside. It’s very bright in here especially after the outside window washers were here last week.

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

5. Driveway Happy Hour brought us margaritas, and snacks, followed by Zoom Gazebo Group. Monday’s are really busy.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions for 2020 – Review for August

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. In July I went to the dentist for my cleaning that had been put off since March and I finally got my hair cut. In August, I had my Medicare Annual Physical in person in a mask. 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 4.4 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, although Starbucks tries its best to lure me into having at least one a day.
    • 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 cut down on the number of eggs I eat weekly – no more than 4 per week, and I’m keeping the cholesterol under 350 gms on the days I eat eggs, and under 150 gms on the other days.
  • 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. I have bought a new pair of walking shoes that I hope will keep it fine.
  • Notice and report any unexpected physical changes (rashes, bumps, etc.) to my doctor. – I have scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist to check on the rash/red spots on my face.
  • I’ve scheduled a bone density test (ordered by the endocrinologist) and my mammogram for September.
  • 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. We carry Lysol wipes in the car for complete sanitation for our hands.
  • One case of the virus reported by a staff member at Franke Tobey Jones in July. No additional cases reported at all.

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 – finished
    • When We Believed in Mermaids – by Barbara O’Neal – finished
    • How the South Won the Civil War – by Heather Cox Richardson – 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. – Creative Writing will resume in September on Zoom.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – We read and talked about China and Latin America on Zoom. Very interesting and lots of things I didn’t know about.
  • I’m listening to Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays she answers our questions, Thursdays she is just finishing the history of the Republican Party. Very informative.
  • I’ve signed up with Senior University here at FTJ to do a couple of Improv Classes.

Spiritual Health

  • Participate in virtual weekly Bible study on Zoom.
  • Participate in virtual weekly Worship on Facebook Live.
  • Our pastor has accepted a call to a church in Virginia and we’re still processing the grief of losing her – although we understand – that’s the way of Presbyterian Churches.
  • Participate in Interfaith Dialogue – No meetings because of COVID-19
  • Continue with General Assembly Nominating Committee – Nothing happening for a while

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. We have been having outdoor, socially distanced Prayer meetings in the garden.
    • 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. I try to participate when there are virtual meetings.
  • Support the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and MoveOn.
  • 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
    • Health Care Availability
    • Wealth Inequality
  • We vote by mail, exclusively, in Washington State – there have never been any large examples of fraud with our voting.


Five things that made me happy today – 8/30/20

We don’t know how to sustain the effort it takes to not completely freak out, and the effort it takes to keep from freaking out is one of the things that is making us so tired. 

Nadia Bolz-Weber

1. Sunshine and 48 deg. when I woke up this morning. I was glad of a cup of hot tea when I first got up. Never got above the low 70s all afternoon. I ended up in a light sweatshirt.

2. The California scrub jay was back, having a drink at the birdbath before stopping by the suet feeder for a snack to start his day. One of the sparrows had apparently had a bath and the feathers on his head looked like my hair looks when I let it dry without combing it first. (Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to get a photo of either of the birds, but this is where it took place.)

3. The text in church today was 2 Timothy 1:3-7. The preacher talked about how none of us come to faith alone. We are always indebted to those who went before us. In Timothy’s case it was his mother and grandmother. Who are you indebted to for your faith?

One of my sisters is an atheist, and one is a much better Christian than I am. There’s also a brother who won’t have much to do with us because he’s a born-again Christian, and he thinks we’re all going to hell. It surprises me that we all four were raised by the same parents, with the same experiences, and yet we turned out so differently.

4. Lunch came from a trip to the Thai restaurant for takeout. I had Singapore noodles, and Big Al had Sweet and Sour Chicken. BIG helpings that we couldn’t eat all of.

5. Greisser Girls Zoom call this afternoon. We solved all the problems of the world, and decided if anybody had any questions about what to do or when to do it, they should just ask us. 😉

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/29/20

…every time we think we’ve measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we’re reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes.

Jed BartletThe West WingSeason 4

1. Cloudy and mid 50s this morning. There were a few sunbreaks after noon, but it never got much above 68 deg.

2. Got about half my steps for the day before lunch, and finished them off at the Wellness Center. I picked another little tomato as I went through the garden. It’s just barely beginning to turn color, but I think it will ripen faster in the window than on the vine – particularly since we seem to be in the run-up to Fall, weather-wise.

3. I had a leftover tuna fish sandwich for lunch. Big Al said he would get his own lunch, and I’m not sure he ever ate. He’ll fix himself something later this afternoon, I imagine.

4. Bunnies in the back yard are having a good time I think, and squirrels are busy running up and down the fence. They definitely think it’s time to start laying in supplies for the winter.

5. The flickers have seemed to be frightened of the new suet feeder until today. One has finally figured out how to hang on and eat. This new feeder is made from recycled plastic, and I think they were used to being able to dig their toenails into the wood of the old one. It was a young one who figured it out. Maybe the older ones will learn from him if there’s any suet left by the time he flies away.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/28/20

The ability to contradict reality in broad daylight and to be lauded for it is a fearsome ability…

Rocky Supinger

1. Pretty day again today. Mid-50s this morning, mid-70s this afternoon. Blue, blue PNW skies.

2. After breakfast, I drove down to Safeway and picked up my order. Only bread, eggs, bagged salad (Al’s choice), and Cheese Whiz. When I got there, I parked in the pick-up slot and called for them to bring the groceries out. The girl brought a bag out and said “Mrs. Wasser?” I said “No, Mrs. Watters.” She went back to look again, and about that time another car pulled up directly facing me. The girl came back out and said “Meet Mrs. Wasser.” and pointed to the car facing me. Ooops! They had given her my groceries, and she had to turn around and come back. They took my groceries out of her trunk, put the ones they tried to give me IN her trunk, and brought me the bags that had had a nice ride to her house.

3. We had chicken cooked with rice and Lipton onion soup mix, and Bush’s baked beans for lunch.

4. I was wondering yesterday if the flickers were going to like my new suet feeder. This afternoon I had some very unexpected visitors – three California scrub jays. We’ve lived here for nine summers now, and I have never seen them before. I’m a happy camper – apparently they like the new feeder!

Thanks again, Harriet, for giving me the app, iBird. I never would have figured out what they were without it.

5. Today is Ice Cream delivery day. This week we got Blue Bunny Chips Galore Ice Cream Sandwiches.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/27/20

Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.

Harry S. Truman

1. Nice weather again. I’m praying for all the folks all over the country who are affected by the current set of weather horrors – fires in the West from dry lightening, the lingering effects of the derecho in Iowa, the hurricanes in the South, and Alaska melting in front of our eyes. Not to mention the pandemic.

2. Good walk this morning. Stopped by the garden, but no more tomatoes are ripe yet. I finished off my steps after lunch in the Wellness Center.

3. I had gotten several tomatoes at the store last week when I thought I was going to have to eat “soft” food for a while. It turned out I healed really quickly and I’ve been eating whatever I wanted. I still had two tomatoes left so I fixed tuna fish salad for lunch today. It’s also a favorite with Big Al – plenty of happy campers over lunch today.

4. The suet feeder I ordered from Duncraft came today and I replaced the old feeder that had been well chewed by squirrels. I hope the flickers like it. I did see a Stellar jay exploring it. A flock of goldfinches are squabbling over the seed in the feeder next door, but they seem to be ignoring my feeder. They’ve got sunflower seeds over there, while my food is mixed seeds – picky little stinkers.

5. Mama deer and her twin fawns have been exploring far and wide today. They came through my backyard about 10:00 am, and I just saw them strolling up the road when I was on my way to pick up a mocha at Starbucks. They have no fear, but mama seems to understand that she has to stay in the bicycle lane.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/26/20

The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.

James Freeman Clarke

1. Bright, sunny day today. Blue, blue skies, and temperatures in the low 70’s.

2. I got a new mask today that I ordered this weekend. My sisters and I all have ears that are set way back on our heads, and that makes wearing most masks really uncomfortable. The sister who told me about this one has hearing aids, and has had a hard time not knocking them out when she takes other masks off. This one is easily adjustable and super breathable as well. It’s made by Solumbra and is made out of sun-protective material. I have a “wardrobe” of four masks and three gaiters, but they are either irritating to my ears, or super hot. I’m really pleased with this new one.

WARNING: it’s pretty expensive, but the fit makes it worth it to me.

3. Lunch was pork chops with Stovetop dressing and cinnamon applesauce. Big Al had sliced beets, and I had yellow squash and leftover green beans. Excellent lunch.

4. All my steps are taken care of for today with the walk this morning and some time in the Wellness Center.

5. The window washers came this afternoon and now my windows are sparkling clean.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/25/20

Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.

Mark Twain

1. Bright and cool this morning, lower 70s and sunny this afternoon. Really nice day. I’m afraid we won’t have too many more like this – after all it’s the end of August.

2. In Bible study this morning we talked about 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Paul is in Rome and in prison, and writes this really personal farewell note to Timothy. Yesterday, the preacher told the congregation that she has accepted a call to Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, in Blacksburg, Virginia. She’ll be leaving the middle of September. It was a very bittersweet meeting this morning, as we grappled with being happy for her (she’ll be closer to her family), and being really sad that we won’t have her with us anymore.

3. They brought a chef salad over from the kitchen for Big Al’s lunch, but he had decided he would rather have a sandwich today. Unfortunately, he didn’t tell the kitchen that. Anyway, I offered to eat his salad, and he had a bologna sandwich.

4. I hurried through my walk, lunch, walk, and exercise at the Wellness center so I could attend this month’s discussion on Great Decisions. We talked about China and Latin America. Until I read this chapter and watched the video that went with it I didn’t know the Chinese were so active in Latin America. It was very interesting and left me with lots to think about.

5. Something (probably the deer) keeps turning over the little fountain in the birdbath. At least when it’s upside down the solar panel that runs the pump can’t get any sun, so there’s no danger of burning the pump out. The birds are highly perturbed, though, when it’s wrong way up.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/24/20

Medicare and Social Security are not “entitlements.” They are savings that have been taken from our pay checks and from our employers as part of our salaries. They should be returned to us as we need them for our health.

Abbie Watters

1. Another nice day today – 55 first thing in the morning, high of 70 this afternoon. A lot of high clouds – probably from the upper level winds carrying the smoke from the fires in California and Siberia over to us.

2. We were up early. I had to have a tooth pulled and we had to be there at 8:00 am. Mr. Watters was NOT a happy camper, but I was glad to get it over with. I asked them to knock me out, and they did, Sat in the chair, they started an IV, and 45 minutes later they woke me up. I’ve been replacing the gauze packing regularly, and it has almost finished bleeding. So far Extra Strength Tylenol is taking care of any discomfort.

3. We stopped on the way home, and I got a mocha and some egg bites from Starbucks for breakfast because I hadn’t had anything to eat since last night. Nice and soft, and easy to chew. Then I had cottage cheese and crackers for lunch.

4. I was able to get all the laundry washed, dried, folded and hung up. I gave myself permission not to even try to do any exercise today. I was too wobbly this morning, and still unenergetic this afternoon.

5. We had driveway happy hour, and it was nice to sit in the sun – not too hot, and not too cool. Then we had Gazebo Group on Zoom which is always fun.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 8/23/20

Don’t plan it all. Let life surprise you a little.

Julia Alvarez

1. It was MUCH cooler this morning when I woke up – 50 deg. But the sun was out and the sky was blue, and it warmed up nicely. I still put on a sweatshirt for the latter part of the afternoon. I decided I’m 76 years old and I know when I feel cold!

2. In church this morning we heard about Peter saying that Jesus was the son of God in Matthew 16:13-18. The church exists to show the world the life-changing, world-saving love of God. Jesus calls Peter a rock – not a sparkly crystal – just a plain old rock. And the church is made up of plain old rocks who, together, try to show the world the life-changing, world-saving love of God.

3. MOD Pizza had a special deal today – two individual pizzas, a small salad, and two “No Name Cakes” (it might be “no name” but it looks and tastes just like a Ding-Dong.) Fine lunch for the two of us.

4. Our 14-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in Tacoma continues to slowly inch down. I’m cautiously optimistic that they may have gotten the attention of most people. I DO see masks everywhere when I go out – but that’s not often.

5. This afternoon was the weekly Zoom call with my sisters. It’s so restful to be able to reminisce without explaining yourself. In my peripatetic life, it’s a rare opportunity and I value it.

How about you? What made you happy today?