Five things that made me happy today – 10/31/20

Halloween. A magic night. A night when anything could happen. Monsters could be real. Magic could whisper in the air.

Cynthia Eden

1. It was 38 deg at dawn this morning, and the blue moon was hanging in the bare trees like a stage set for Halloween.

2. I got my Review of October written before I started my day.

3. Too cold to walk far this morning, but I did walk over to the Wellness Center to do my strength and balance training. I walked about 15 minutes on the indoor track.

4. Lunch was tunafish salad sandwiches. Pretty standard for a Saturday.

5. One of my favorite bloggers said, “Today is Halloween, a night when we embrace fear. It feels a little pathetic in 2020: it’s been a scary year.”

6. I’ve promised you not to engage in partisan rhetoric on this blog (although I’ll admit I do slip sometimes). You can ignore this if you’d prefer to avoid politics.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions for 2020 – Review for October

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 even though it’s getting too cold to comfortably sit outside. 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. 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 1.4 pounds since 12/31/19. The weight I lost at the beginning of the pandemic has almost all returned.
    • Minimize chocolate, including mochas. – The mochas keep calling me, and, unfortunately, I have very little willpower over them. I TRY to keep the numbers down, but I find I sleep better when I have a mocha in the middle of the afternoon. It keeps me from going to bed hungry, I guess.
    • 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. It’s a new month and she is going to give me a new routine – Hooray! I was getting bored with the last one.
    • I’m walking outdoors when the weather is decent, although now that it’s turned colder, I have a hard time encouraging myself to go outside. I have a long walk scheduled on my calendar to remind me and I try to walk the indoor track at the Wellness Center if the weather is bad.
  • 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 third case of the virus was reported by a staff member at Franke Tobey Jones, one in July, one in September, and one in October. That staff member was in Skilled Nursing, and apparently infected five residents. One is in the hospital, and four are in the isolation unit here. They are still doing weekly follow-up testing of all the staff and residents in Skilled Nursing.

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’m becoming more resigned to this enforce confinement. Still thinking of it as liminal space with no sign of ending. God puts us in liminal space because we need to learn something, and we can’t get out until we learn it. I just wish I knew what it was that we need to learn, so I could get busy on my homework.
  • 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 – finished
    • The Lakehouse by Joe Clifford – 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.
    • I’ve also recently subscribed to WTF Just Happened Today? A daily newsletter that arrives at 3:00 pm.
  • Participate in Creative Writing classes here at Franke Tobey Jones. – Creative Writing resumed in September on Zoom. I’m working on refining my essay about Little River Country Club.
  • Participate in Great Decisions here at Franke Tobey Jones. – We read and talked Artificial Intelligence on Zoom. Not much that I didn’t know already, but then I have two sons who are big into that kind of thing.
  • I’m listening to Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She has spent most of this month trying to bring an historical perspective to the current election cycle and to encourage us not to give up if the election doesn’t go as we wish.
  • Senior University here at FTJ hosted a couple of Improv Classes on Zoom that I attended.

Spiritual Health

  • Participate in virtual weekly Bible study on Zoom.
  • Participate in virtual weekly Worship on Facebook Live.
  • We have an interim pastor through the end of the year or 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Al and I voted as soon as our ballots arrived, and we carried them to the drop box here.

Five things that made me happy today – 10/30/20

October air, complete with dancing leaves and sighing winds

Jaime Allison Parker

1. Fall blew back in on a windy rain shower before dawn. The temperature was lurking near 50 deg. when I got up. It warmed up to 56 by lunchtime, and never got any warmer, even though the sun was out all day.

2. I tried to take a walk this morning, but once around the Duplex circle was all I could manage in the cold wind.

3. We had red beans and rice with lil’ smokies for lunch. It’s warming to the tummy.

4. The tree outside my window has finally reached its potential. It shines through the window and the bright orange light reaches all the way down the hallway.

5. Finished off my steps at the Wellness Center. Hooray!

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/29/20

…we are out of time on the clock. The US Government, and the world, have done far too little on climate change, and so now we must move far faster than is comfortable or convenient.

Bill McKibben

1. Much warmer overnight – low was in the lower 50s which is where the high has been for the last couple of days. Warmed up to almost 60 by mid afternoon.

2. Because it was nice, I took a longer walk this morning before heading to the Wellness Center to do my strength and balance exercises.

3. I stopped by the garden and pulled up all the basil. It had bolted so it probably wouldn’t have tasted like anything. I also gathered a couple of little tomatoes that had fallen off in the cold. I left the tomato plants in place because there are still a few tomatoes on them, but I’m pretty sure they won’t ripen.

4. Lunch was pork chops, cinnamon applesauce, Brussels sprouts, and potatoes. Finally got back to a “normal” meal – meat, veggie, and starch. My mama would have a fit if she could see what I often serve for dinner.

5. Finished off my steps for the day at the Wellness Center on the NuStep while I listened to HCR reassure me that no matter what happens in the election, American democracy will survive – maybe not this year, but eventually.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/28/20

…the point to peppering the public with infuriating claims that are demonstrably false is to wear us down. Once we are too tired by it all to keep checking for facts and questioning sources we have been neutralized.

Rocky Supinger

1. A little warmer today – upper 40s this morning, mid 50s later. Cloudy all day.

2. As I sat reading my email early this morning, a 4-point buck wandered through the backyard. He looked regal, and very impressed with himself.

3. Big, long trip to the Commissary – I think (hope) I won’t have to do that but once again before Christmas! Amazingly, even though it’s Wednesday (the day a quarter of retirees get their Social Security checks), it wasn’t too crowded, and the shelves were well stocked.

4. KFC meal box for lunch. I was too wiped out from a couple of hours shopping to cook anything, but the car is unloaded and Big Al put everything away.

5. Trip to the Wellness Center and a workout on the NuStep let me get all my 10,000 steps for the day (but I think I got a lot more than that in the Commissary).

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/27/20

What we do this week will matter for decades to come.

Barak Obama

1. Back to normal temperatures – mid 40s when I got up, mid 50s in the afternoon.

2. Bible study this morning looked at the Beatitudes in Matthew. I kept pushing the social responsibility angle that Margaret Aymer Oget taught me in Presbyterian Women. The problem is everybody is so familiar with the words that it’s hard to shift gears.

3. Lunch was a quick sandwich before I scurried over to the Wellness Center to do my balance and strength exercises. Then I went back after my Zoom meeting to use the NuStep and get my steps for the day – I also listened to HCR’s Politics Chat while I did that.

4. The housekeepers were here today, and they vacuumed out my trunk to get rid of the last of the evidence of mousy. Hooray for clean house.

5. We had Great Decisions chat, too, this afternoon. We talked about Artificial Intelligence. We agreed that we needed to have a discussion internationally, and decide on principles for use of AI, and basic regulations. Who owns our data? Is control of data dangerous? etc.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/26/20

Belief is not a substitute for knowledge


1. The threatened frost this morning didn’t materialize. It was 36 deg when I got up – and cloudy. The sun came out in the late morning, and it warmed up to the mid-40s. Still pretty cold.

2. My sister sent me down a rabbit hole this morning, reading this. Now I know why the Queen of England is so unflappable. She has a permanent alcoholic buzz.

3. Big Al had a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, so he opted out of lunch, choosing to fix something for himself for dinner this evening. I had a bowl of Progresso Lite clam chowder. Warming and filling.

4. Once I got the final load of laundry in the dryer (BTW, why do I have 3 large loads during the winter, and have a hard time filling three small loads during the summer?), I went over to the Wellness Center to use the NuStep. Sorry, I’m a wimp in cold weather, and I really don’t want to walk outside, even in the sunshine.

5. They brought “Halloween Happy Hour” to the house. It was too cold to comfortably sit outside. Then we had Gazebo Group. Busy day.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/25/20

Routine keeps you from losing time. New and fulfilling experiences give it meaning.

Steven Johnson

1. 37 deg. at sunrise this morning. Pretty sky and clear as a bell. Warmed up to 46 deg., which isn’t warm with the breeze.

2. Nice church service. Nothing earth shattering, but at this point, calm and normal is fine. Good music.

3. I went down to Royal Thai Bistro and did curbside pick up of Siamese noodles for Big Al, and Pud See Ew for me – both with chicken.

4. We had the Greisser Girls’ Gab a little early today, since one sister was Zooming with folks in Hawaii later.

5. Ordered and received Oil of Peppermint spray to keep the “Rodents” out of the car. I know moth balls will do the same thing, but I’d lot rather smell Peppermint than moth balls.

Thank you for your quick service, Amazon Prime.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/24/20

Practicing contentment is a radical act in a consumption-driven society.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

1. Low 40s this morning with a howling wind. The wind let up a little, but it stayed breezy all day. Warmed up to 48 this afternoon, but we’re looking at mid-30s tonight and below freezing tomorrow night.

2. I walked over to the Wellness Center this morning to do my balance and strength exercises. Really cold in the wind, even though the sun was out.

3. I fixed tortilla soup for lunch, but I accidentally got out some beef instead of chicken to add to it, so I used beef broth instead of chicken broth. It was pretty nasty. I won’t do that again. We each had a bowl, but dumped the rest of it down the disposal. The best part was the flour tortillas I bought to go with the soup.

4. It was still pretty cold when I walked over to use the NuStep to get my step count for the day. Cold makes a mask feel better because you don’t get so hot, but it’s harder to breathe when the wind is whipping around your head.

5. The mouse is dead and disposed of by the maintenance man (TBTG). There’s still another “sticky card” in the trunk in case there was more than one. I just hope it didn’t leave a map of how it got in and out for another mousy to follow.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 10/23/20

He’s our rodent control officer. He doesn’t catch mice, he just terrifies them.

Lilian Jackson Braun

1. 41 deg. when I woke up this morning, with a light drizzle. I’m afraid this is going to be pretty standard from here on out. It never got above 50 and the wind was fierce. Not a day to walk outside.

2. I had my teeth cleaned this morning, so even if I had wanted to walk I wouldn’t have had time.

3. Went to Boathouse 19 and picked up lunch. Big Al had a big old, juicy old hamburger, and I had fish and chips, but not that many chips because they were pretty cool and soggy by the time I got home. I did have a really good cup of smoked salmon and clam chowder.

4. The exterminator came to help us get the mouse out of the trunk of the car and make sure it didn’t set up housekeeping in the garage. He put down some sticky stuff on cardboard in the trunk to, hopefully, trap the little rascal, and also some traps in the garage.

That’s the mouse nest in the corner of the trunk and the two sticky things that should trap wee mousy.

5. I went to the Wellness Center and finished off my steps for the day, and then I FINALLY got all my email read and filed. I also was able to do some online banking. It’s nice to go into the weekend with nothing hanging over me.

How about you? What made you happy today?