Five things that made me happy today – 1/31/22

While the news often features the worst of humanity, there are a billion acts of human kindness every hour of every day! Take another breath and sense this truth.

Jack Kornfield

1. It was 40 deg. with a blustery wind blowing when I got up. The wind calmed down and the sun came out sporadically about 10:00 this morning. The high this afternoon was 47 deg.

2. Success with the NYT Crossword puzzle this morning. I’m also have success with Wordle. Maybe there’s a crossover.

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

4. We had ham, roast potatoes, and I had broccoli and Big Al had beets. I’m cleaning out all the containers in preparation for going to the commissary on Wednesday.

5. Gazebo Group is on Zoom still. They don’t want us to have Happy Hour in person because we’d have to take our masks off to eat or drink.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions Review for January 2022

My Star Word for this year is Solitude. I’m taking it as an affirmation that my introverted tendencies are just fine.

“We are human beings, not human doings:”. I set these intentions for who I want to BE not what I want to DO. As with last year I will hold these intentions loosely, and may add new ones or subtract some of these as the spirit moves me.

  1. Traveler – aspirational – COVID and God willing – Not yet…
    1. Train Trip to Upstate New York
      1. Summer of 2022
      2. Cost
      3. Start saving now
    2. Northern Washington with Bill
      1. Late spring
      2. Cost – minimal
    3. Whale Watching with Al
      1. Early Fall
      2. Cost – minimal
  2. Content
    1. Habits to keep
      1. Exercise 1 hour a day 5-6 days a week – check
      2. Eat healthy food – I’m trying
      3. Stick to regular schedule of noon meals – Done pretty well
        1. Sunday – eat out
        2. Monday and Friday – meat, starch, and vegetable
        3. Tuesday – feed yourself (sandwich, salad, pre-frozen pasta)
        4. Wednesday – soup of the week, or salad
        5. Thursday – pickup Fast Food
        6. Saturday – finish off leftovers
    2. Habits to change
      1. Focus on how I feel when I’m exercising and eating right and try to ignore the numbers – I’m doing better about obsessing about the numbers
      2. Really listen to Al instead of thinking I know what he’s going to say
  3. Learner
    1. Great Decisions – first Wednesday of every month – begins in March
      1. Changing Demographics
      2. Outer Space
      3. Climate Change
      4. Russia and the U.S.
      5. Myanmar and Asean
      6. Quad Alliance
      7. Drug Policy in Latin America
      8. Industrial Policy
      9. Biden’s Agenda
    2. MasterClass
      1. Philosophy with Cornel West – abandoned
      2. Leadership
    3. Read at least 24 books this year.
      1. Finish the Inspector Lynley series
        1. In the Presence of the Enemy – Elizabeth George – finished
        2. Deception on his Mind – Elizabeth George – reading
      2. Read less fluff, more serious offerings.
  4. Writer
    1. 5 Things that Made Me Happy Today – I’m definitely keeping up with this.
    2. Stories from my Life
      1. Publish a story at least twice a week – so far so good
      2. Okay to use and/or expand other things I’ve written
  5. Friend – Remember the only person I can change is me.
    1. Accepting Mindset
      1. Try to give other people the benefit of the doubt
      2. Ask questions instead of jumping to conclusions
    1. Introverted actions to take
      1. Send a kind message to distant friends at least once a month – done
      2. Keep up with friends on Facebook – done
      3. Send an email to people who do nice things for me or for other people – done, but not as many as I should.

Five things that made me happy today – 1/30/22

Pick your battles. You don’t have to show up to every argument you’re invited to.

Mandy Hale

1. It was 43 deg. with damp streets when I got up. The temperature went up to 54 deg before it started raining around 1:00, and then started dropping to 47 deg. at sundown.

2. Nice church service on YouTube Live this morning. We ordained and installed new elders and deacons. I think we’ve got a good class. The sermon was about Daniel interpreting Nebechadnezzar’s dream. The lesson for today is to go out into the wilderness, or forest if you are troubled about anything, and ask for God’s guidance.


3. We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant for lunch today. Big Al had teriyaki salmon with shrimp tempura on the side, and I had shrimp and vegetable tempura. It was really good today. The last time we went the tempura was a little soggy, but today it was just right.

4. I had to run by the church to sign a check on the way home from the restaurant. Somehow I’m one of only two people who can sign checks. There used to be four or five of us, but I guess we’ve lost the others.

5. I’m looking forward to the next episode of the new version of All Creatures Great and Small that is on tonight.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/29/22

It can be difficult to face up to our failings, but that’s exactly what we have to do, if we want to improve and move forward. 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

1. It was 31 deg. and clear when I got up. It actually got up to 50 deg. today under partly cloudy skies. This may be the last we see of the 50s for a while, but I’ll take what I can get.

2. I headed to Safeway as soon as breakfast was over and picked up the order I had made yesterday. They had everything I ordered (miracle of miracles) except salted peanuts. Those were Big Al’s request. I’m not too upset that they weren’t available. He needs to quit eating so many peanuts.

3. Lunch was leftover chicken noodle soup from Wednesday. It was still just as good as it was then.

4. The sisters and I have been texting about food, and it’s making me hungry, even though I had a perfectly good dinner of soup not long ago. One sister is making collards and cornbread. Drool…

5. I was able to get my story for today written before it got too late.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Dinner at Noon

My fondness for dinner at noon harks way back to my childhood during summers at my grandparent’s house. There our big meal was always in the middle of the day. Nannie said it was too hot to cook in the late afternoon in those days before air conditioning.

Gankie was a vice-president of the bank, and always came home for dinner at noon. Everybody in Texarkana (at least the people I knew) ate their dinner at noon. Daisy was hired as a cook. She came in the morning and went home after the lunch dishes were finished.

Mornings were for shopping at the curb market or at Safeway. Refrigerators were smaller then, so it was almost impossible to keep lots of groceries on hand. I used to wonder why food didn’t taste the way it did when I was a child. I finally realized that really fresh vegetables and meat that has never been frozen is 100% better than what I drag out of the freezer to fix for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally grateful that I don’t have to spend my life at the store every day, but fresh, not frozen, food really did taste better.

On Saturdays Nannie often had guests for dinner. One of her best friends who was a regular at the table was Miss Robbie Norris. Miss Robbie was an “old maid” school teacher who was introduced to Nannie and Gankie because she had heard they were going to be driving to Colorado to visit one of Nannie’s sisters and she wanted a ride. She offered to share expenses, and so began a life-long friendship that I particularly benefitted from.

I was born on Miss Robbie’s mother’s birthday, and she became attached to me because of it. She gave me my first bicycle, and was always supplying me with books, and other toys. She was careful not to slight the siblings or my cousins, but it was obvious that she loved me more than the rest of them. She visited us when we lived in California, riding out there on the train. While she was visiting us, we always took great trips. The time she was there in California we all loaded into our station wagon and went into the Sierras. I remember we went through the tree (now unfortunately gone) that you could drive through.

Cousin Net was another frequent guest on Saturdays at my grandparents’ table. She wasn’t really related to us, but we called her “Cousin” because she and Nannie had been friends forever. Nannie grew up in Washington, AR, and Cousin Net grew up in Columbus, AR, just 10 miles apart. (Both those little towns are still there, so you can look them up on a map.)

At my parents’ house, we had lunch and then our big dinner at night because we didn’t come home from school for lunch. Papa worked far enough away that he couldn’t drive back and forth. Nevertheless, we always had DINNER on Sunday after church. Mama would fix a roast in the oven during church or fry chicken as soon as we got home, and we would eat around 1:00 p.m. Then, bellies full, we would play quiet games and the adults would nap. Sunday evenings were devoted to Fellowship at the church for those in junior high or high school. Mama always made popcorn on Sunday evenings. After Al and I married, we went out to dinner after church. Then when we came home, we could change out of our nice clothes, and relax for the afternoon and evening. I kept up the popcorn tradition when my boys were young.

Through all the years that I fed my family we stayed with dinner in the evening. I really hated that because I had to be in the kitchen listening to the boys argue about what was on TV while I tried to put dinner together. When Al got home, he wanted to plop down in front of the TV, so I missed the news and Wheel of Fortune because I was busy cooking.

After we moved to Franke Tobey Jones, I reintroduced the idea of dinner at noon. That’s the schedule the dining room here is on, and even though we don’t eat in the dining room, I figured it would be okay to go back to that paradigm. After all, if either of us needs to go into care that’s the schedule we’re going to have to live with, so we might as well get used to it.

Five things that made me happy today – 1/28/22

A country’s long-term growth potential depends on the size of its labor force, the productivity of its workers, the renewability of its resources, and the stability of its political systems.

Janet Yellen

1. It was 30 deg. with an ice fog when I got up. I’m eternally grateful I didn’t have to drive anywhere, at least until after the temperature improved. The sun came out about 10:00, and the temperature has been very acceptable since then, topping out at 48 deg.

2. I had a nice morning going back through some of my favorite posts by blogger friends.

3. I went over to the Wellness Center at noon, and got most of my steps for the day.

4. We had red beans and rice with lit’l smokies for lunch.

5. Al had an art history class on French Post-Impressionist Painters on Zoom after lunch. He seemed to enjoy it.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/27/22

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Proverbs 16:24

1. It was 34 deg. and foggy when I got up. The sun came out with blue, blue skies about 1:00 and the temperature improved to 46 deg. before sunset.

2. Our first anniversary of our first COVID vaccine shot. Oh, the plans we had. Oh, the hopes we had, Now mostly dashed because they are saying this horror of a virus will probably be with us in perpetuity. (sigh)

3. Mama deer and the yearling were back this morning. I don’t know whether they are like birds who puff out their feathers when they’re cold or not, but they looked extra fuzzy today. They spent the afternoon lying in the sun, chewing their cud(?), and puffing out lots of steamy clouds of breath.

4. A trip through the drive-thru at Burger King for Whoppers for lunch.

5. I filled out my ballot today. We’re voting to approve school board taxes. We’ll take the ballots to the Drop Box this weekend. I love Washington State!

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 1/26/22

True abundance is seeing the shine in other human beings and acknowledging them by embracing them through acceptance, love, kindness, gratitude, and encouragement.

Mary Chang

1. It was 34 deg. and mostly cloudy when I got up. There was intermittent sun from about 2:00 pm on, but the temperature lurked around 40.

2. If you, like me, are getting tired of grey skies, and cold weather, here’s something to cheer you up with dreams of flowers to come.

3. Sunset is at 5:03 today! Hooray! I think this is the first day it’s after 5:00. We have turned the corner on the “Big Dark!”

4. I fixed chicken noodle soup for lunch today, using up the rest of the little chicken we had on Sunday. It was very tasty, and we had enough left over for the two of us to have lunch on Saturday, and a bit more for Big Al to have for supper some night.

5. The wildlife seems to be excited about the lengthening days. The woods behind the house has been alive with squirrels and birds.

How about you? What made you happy today?


These are my personal memories from my childhood. This is neither an apology nor a praise of a particular way of life.

In the 1930, at the beginning of the depression, a decently dressed black woman knocked on my grandparents’ back door, and asked if they had housework for her to do. She introduced herself as Daisy Burton, who had just come to the city of Texarkana from Garland City, a settlement about 30 miles east. She thought she would have better luck finding work there.

And so Daisy joined the family. Mama was 10 years old when Daisy came to work for them. Mama always said one of the reasons she was such a poor housekeeper was because every time Nannie assigned her a job to do, like picking up her clothes, making her bed, or dusting her room, Daisy scurried up the stairs and did it before they finished breakfast.

In 1935, President Roosevelt got Social Security passed, and Gankie insisted Daisy had to sign up. She had a problem, though. Part of the application required that you put your age down, and Daisy didn’t know how old she was. When she was born, nobody registered births for black babies. It was a conundrum, until she realized her cousin, Ellick lived next door to her, and he knew how old he was. He was able to dig back in his memory to swear he was three years old when his mama took him to see the new baby in the family. So with a signed affidavit from him, she was able to sign up for Social Security. She was 45 years old at the time.

Daisy didn’t really know how to cook when she first came to work for Nannie. Nannie was a wonderful cook, and she took the time to teach Daisy how. Nannie’s recipe for making cookies said, “Mix one egg, two cups of milk, a gollop of molasses. Add flour mixed with a little baking soda. Beat it, and keep adding more flour until it sounds right.” That’s the kind of recipe that must be shown in person.

Daisy owned her own house several blocks from Nannie and Gankie’s house. It was what is known as a “shotgun” house. The front door opened to a long hall, with a living room on one side and a bedroom on the other. Behind those two rooms were another bedroom and a bathroom. At the back was a big kitchen. Out the kitchen door was a garden where she grew vegetables, and a chicken run where she kept chickens to provide eggs and occasionally meat for the table. She always said the chickens fertilizer was the best thing for growing flowers. and vegetables.

The best birthday dinner I ever had was when I was 10 years old. I LOVED fried chicken, so Daisy killed one of her littlest hens and fried it up for me to have. I got the WHOLE chicken for my dinner that day. I think the rest of the family got to have fried chicken, too, but that one was just for me.

Every now and then, Papa would agree to take us fishing, so the afternoon before we all took empty cans over to Daisy’s house and “scared up” some worms from the chicken yard. The ground there was soft and easy to work but we didn’t have to dig for the worms. We took a stick, put one end of it in the ground (you didn’t have to stick it in, just rest the tip on the ground), and then rub the stick with another stick. worms would come squirming out of the ground almost faster that we could pick them up.

About the time we moved to New Jersey, Daisy realized she was no longer able to stand in the kitchen or get down to wash the baseboards, so she retired. Nannie and Gankie still supported her, bringing her Gankie’s shirts to iron, and taking her a box of groceries every week. She insisted on coming back to cook Christmas dinners, and always loved seeing us when we returned to Texarkana.

When I got engaged to Big Al, Daisy’s was one of the first places we went with the announcement. And when son #1 was born, I took him over to see her. She and several of her friends had spent the whole fall piecing a patchwork quilt and quilting it for “the new baby.” I carried him into her house, and she burst into tears, saying “Looking at that little face is just like looking at the Baby Jesus.”

Daisy died while we were away. Mama and Nannie went to her funeral. The church was packed, but they were put in the front as “family”. Mama said they were the only white faces in the congregation, but they appreciated being singled out.

She is buried in the “colored” section of the cemetery where lots of members of my family including grandparents, great-aunts, and great-uncles, etc. are buried. I tried to find her grave, several years ago, but there’s no headstone, and that section of the cemetery doesn’t have perpetual care. Most of the graves are overgrown, and some are sunken.

I told my sisters I was writing this today, and one said, “Nannie and Gankie allowed her to become a part of the family. They experienced her sweet goodness and responded.” It was definitely “white paternalism”, but there was also love, and appreciation there.

Five things that made me happy today – 1/25/22

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their families, their histories too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems.

Joy Harjo

1. It was in the mid 30s and partly cloudy when I got up. A watery sun came out about noon, and the temperature got into the low 40s.

2. Today is my baby boy’s 50th birthday. He’s become our mainstay when either of us have a computer problem, or an illness, or need to have something reached on a high shelf. He’s only about 3 hours away in summer, and 6 hours away in winter (neither of us move with the seasons, but the mountain passes cause the discrepancy.)

3. WooHoo!!! My new FitBit was found, alive and well. The post person marked it delivered yesterday. but it wasn’t in my box or in the lock box. I think someone else got the key in their box, and then saw who was supposed to get the delivery, so they put it in my front door, between the screen and the door. We NEVER use the front door, so, even though I had looked on the porch, I didn’t see it. Mystery of the wandering FitBit, solved.

4. Lunch was “fix it yourself” day. I had a “healthy” peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Killer Dave’s 21 Grains and Seeds bread, with Adams chunky peanut butter, and Polaner seedless blackberry jam (no-sugar added, extra fiber.)

5. Greisser Girls Gab later this afternoon. As always, looking forward to it.

How about you? What made you happy today?