Intentions for 2020 – Review for September

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, although we meet by Zoom. Still no visiting in any of the other buildings. Masks at all times outside the house. This month I had a dermatology appointment and my mammogram and bone scan – in person. I finally got my second haircut since March. Shopping is still 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, but I haven’t lost anything more this month.
    • 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.
    • Still no personal training but my trainer worked up a routine for strength and balance that I can do by myself – and I try to do it three times a week.
    • I’m walking outdoors when the weather is decent and when there’s no smoke in the air.
  • Notice and report any unexpected physical changes (rashes, bumps, etc.) to my doctor. – my dermatologist diagnosed rosacea and prescribed a cream. She also froze several places of precancerous actinic keratosis.
  • My mammogram was completely clear. The bone scan showed that I have a little bit of osteoporosis in my left fibula – 1.7% chance of a broken hip in the next 10 years.
  • 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.
  • A second case of the virus was reported by a staff member at Franke Tobey Jones, one in July and one in September. No additional cases reported at all, although everyone in Health Care and Assisted Living will be tested every week for the next two weeks..

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.
  • 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 – finished
    • Caste by Isabel Wilkerson – 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 resumed in September on Zoom. I’m working on an essay about potato farming in Central Washington.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – We read and talked about the Philippines in September on Zoom. Not very interesting.
  • I’m listening to Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesdays she answers our questions, Thursdays she finished the history of the Republican Party. We’ll find out tomorrow what she’s going to talk about now on Thursdays
  • I’ve signed up with Senior University here at FTJ to do a couple of Improv Classes, and there are other lectures that I attend.

Spiritual Health

  • Participate in virtual weekly Bible study on Zoom.
  • Participate in virtual weekly Worship on Facebook Live.
  • We have an interim pastor for the next several weeks until the Session hires an official transitional pastor who will help us call someone permanent.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • I had some computer problems, so my long-suffering #2 son drove over here from Central Washington twice to sort them out. Once he brought his wife and once he brought his daughter – so it was nice to see them even though we couldn’t go out to eat, or have then spend the night with us. I DID pay for his hotel.

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.
  • I’m largely focused on the election right now. The first debate was a train wreck.


Five things that made me happy today – 9/30/20

This sort of debate shouldn’t happen in a democracy. Not one in which we think that we choose between candidates based on them proposing competing sides of an argument.

Rachel Maddow

1. The smoke is back from the fires in Northern California – not too bad, but with a high haze. The temperatures are still mid 50s to upper 60s (lower than the forecasted mid 70s). The AQI is in the low 50s – Moderate.

2. This morning I attended two Zoom classes through Senior University. The first was a class where we practiced Improv. That was followed by a lecture on Mega Tsunamis. Very interesting.

3. We had leftover chicken noodle soup. Tasty and easy to do after a busy morning.

4. I took the long way around to the Wellness Center, because I wasn’t able to get in a decent walk this morning. Then I finished off my steps on the NuStep

5. I got a haircut – only the second one since the beginning of the pandemic. It really feels good to get all the long stuff, both on top and on my neck, cut off.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/29/20

The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

John F. Kennedy

1. Another beautiful fall day. Mid 50s this morning, mid 70s this afternoon – and bright sunshine all the way. Nice walk this morning between Bible Study and lunch, and then, after lunch, I went to the Wellness Center and did my strength and balance exercises, and finished off my steps for the day.

2. We had Bible Study this morning and we looked at Jeremiah 29:1-11. It’s a story of hope for the Israelites in exile in Babylon. Although they didn’t know it, we know that eventually they were allowed to return home and rebuild Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 122:6

3. We each fixed our own lunches – Big Al fixed macaroni and cheese for himself, and ate the rest of his pulled pork and coleslaw from Sunday. I fixed a ham sandwich with one of my little tomatoes cut up on it.

4. The housekeepers came today, and I have clean sheets on the beds, clean bathrooms, a clean kitchen, and swept, vacuumed, and mopped floors.

5. The first presidential debate is today. After the recent revelations about the President’s taxes, I am a little bit more hopeful. I think he may be really worried about admitting that either he lied on his tax return, or he lied about being a Billionaire.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/28/20

Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy – and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

Lakota Code of Ethics

1. It was near 50 when I got up this morning, thankful for the furnace that automagically kicks on and warms the house to 70 before I get up. It warmed up nicely and I was able to get in a walk before lunch, and we had a good time sitting in the sun for Driveway Happy Hour this afternoon.

2. One of my fellow bloggers reminded me of Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things.” I commend it to you when the news or your housemates or your isolation or life in general gets to be too much for you.

3. I remembered one of my old recipes so for lunch we had pork chops with rice cooked in French Onion Soup. We also had fresh Brussels Sprouts.

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

5.  A couple of Zoom meetings this afternoon – one with the management here and one with the Gazebo Group. 

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/27/20

So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

1. It was just about 50 deg. again this morning when I woke up – cloudy and still. The sun came out before 10:00 and it warmed up “a little” to the mid-60s.

2. The sermon was “Attention is the Beginning of Devotion” The text was John 1:29-42. John the Baptist recognizes Jesus, and that begins his devotion to him.

3. Dickey’s BBQ had a special on of 2 Plates – each with 2 meats, 2 sides, bread, and sauces. That was what we had for dinner. I had kielbasa, chicken breast, barbecue beans, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Big Al had turkey, pulled pork, barbecue beans, coleslaw and Texas Toast. I went and fetched it right after church.

4. The Cowboys played the Seahawks today, so I spent the rest of the afternoon in front of the TV. And no, I’m not conflicted, even though I live in Washington, I still have loyalties to the Cowboys.

5. My New York sister has a couple of doctor’s appointments in New York City tomorrow, so she drove down today. The sister in Arkansas and I did a FaceTime call during half-time, and then watched most of the 3rd quarter together. Unfortunately for her, the lag in broadcast from my house to hers was about 5 sec. So I’d cheer, she’d say “What? What?” I’d say “First down,” She’d wait 3 sec. and cheer. It was a little disjointed.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/26/20

A huge part of this nation’s glory, to the extent it exists as a beacon to others, is the peaceful transfer of power based on the vote of the people of this country.

Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts

1. It was really cool when I got up this morning – in fact, I heard the furnace kick on about 6:15, doing its job of warming the house to 70 deg. A check of the weather told me it was near 50 deg. outside. We had bright sunshine and I got in a walk this morning.

2. My friend, Gretchen Staebler, posted these rules to help make it through this unreal time we are experiencing.

Take heart.

Imagine better days.

Keep fighting back.

Rest when you need to.

Eat chocolate. Preferably with wine.

I love this, especially the last one..

3. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, because it was still cool and breezy and, after all, it’s Fall.

4. I checked the radar and it looked like I had an opportunity to scurry across the parking lot to do the NuStep before the rain returned. It spit a few drops on me as I went, and while I was there the heavens opened up. I would have been drenched if it had started 10 minutes earlier. Then, just as I was ready to come home, the rain stopped and the sun came out again, although there are lots of dark clouds in the West.

5. I needed Heather Cox Richardson’s pep talk today. If you feel the same way, here it is.

How about you? What made you happy today?

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Five things that made me happy today – 9/25/20

Today you could be standing next to someone who is trying their best not to fall apart. So whatever you do today, do it with kindness in your heart.


1. The rain returned in the night. It was mid-50s most of the morning. About 10:00, the rain stopped and we caught a break in the clouds. I took that opportunity to take a long walk. I’m glad I did because during lunch the heavens opened up again, and it dumped another inch or more on us. The radar says the storm has mostly passed, but it’s supposed to come back tomorrow and then clear off for next week.

2. #2 son turned up at 9:00 am, solved a little problem (that wasn’t really a problem) with my Quicken, and got Big Al set up on Dropbox with all his important files. I bought him his very own Dropbox to match mine. Really pretty inexpensive, comparatively – 2 TB for ~$100/year. And it all backs up every time you change something.

3. The wanderers from Central Washington left before 11:00. They’re going back across White Pass and the weather map looked like it was a good choice. I just heard from them and they had a fair amount of rain, but at least White Pass has negligible traffic.

4. Big Al and I had ham, corn on the cob and asparagus for lunch. I fear I won’t get the corn and asparagus easily from now on. Summer’s over.

5. A trip to the Wellness Center after lunch let me finish off my steps for the day. 10,000 done.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/24/20

The most precious inheritance that parents can give their children is their own happiness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

1. Rain, and some wind, continued through the night. Mid-50s when I got up. It’s been squally all day – 30 sec hard rain, drip, drip, drip, then no rain, followed by sunbreaks.

2. I had a dermatology appointment this morning to get my “mask acne” checked. There were a couple of lesions that she froze, and I got a prescription for rosacea. “Come back in two months.”

3. Lunch was Bear Creek chicken noodle soup with extra chicken. Tasty and filling.

4. The landscapers were here this afternoon and cut some/most of the dead limbs in the area on the other side of my fence. At least, now, if they blow down they won’t try to get in bed with me!

5. #2 son and granddaughter came this afternoon and worked on my computer to set up some procedures for back-ups now that my server has bitten the dust. It was really good machine for over 10 years.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/23/20

My husband John lived by a code: country first. We are Republicans, yes, but Americans foremost. There’s only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is Joe Biden.

Cindy McCain

1. The rain began, as advertised, between 3:30 and 4:00 this morning. I was lulled back to sleep to the sound of drip, drip, drip and the scent of wet ground through my bedroom window. It continued all day long. We need the rain to put out any hot spots from the fires and to return the moisture that will help keep our woods and forest green.

2. We had Creative Writing class today. We’re still working on making non-fiction interesting. We read everybody’s “first pass” before class and then critiqued them together. I’m still doing potatoes, but I need to figure out a way to make it an essay, instead of a Wikipedia entry.

3. Big Al and I had a quick lunch of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and red skinned potatoes. Easy and relatively quick to cook and eat.

4. I was in a hurry for lunch because I really needed to get over to the Wellness Center and work out on the NuStep. I slacked off on my steps on Monday because of the time I spent at the Commissary, so I couldn’t skip again today. I managed to get my anticipated 10,000 steps. Whew!

5. This time last year, my sister and I were just finishing our Whale Watching cruise out of Port Townsend. We were on our way to Port Angeles to spend the night in anticipation of catching the Black Ball ferry first thing tomorrow morning for Victoria, BC. Good times and great memories. I can hardly wait until this awful pandemic is over to be able to do more of that kind of traveling.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 9/22/20

1. Warmish overnight even though a low of 50 deg was predicted. I added a light blanket to the bed in anticipation of that, but it never got below 58 or so. It looks like today will be the last day this week with temperatures in the 60s, though. Rain predicted for the foreseeable future. Gorgeous afternoon, today, though.

2. This morning I took a long walk to the Wellness Center where I did my balance and strength exercises. Then this afternoon I went back over to the Wellness Center and finished off my steps for the day.

3. We had sandwiches for lunch. I sliced a couple of my little bitty tomatoes to put on mine. They tasted good but it took two of them to do one little sandwich.

4. We had Great Decisions discussion group today on Zoom. The subject was the Philippines and its strategic position in the South China Sea. I am woefully ignorant of that part of the world, particularly about the US relations there. Mentally, I suppose, I’m still thinking Subic Bay Naval Base, and Clark Air Force Base – both of which have been closed for over 30 years.

5. With the smoke gone the backyard fauna have returned. Three raccoons scurried through headed for foraging on the other side of the fence. There was a downy woodpecker nibbling at the suet cake while I watched. Squirrels are busy laying in a supply of nuts for the winter. The white crowned sparrow pecked at the seed in the feeder. Fall is here and the animals know it in their bones.

How about you? What made you happy today?