Five things that made me happy today – 2/28/22

May the words of our tongues, no matter how biblical, no matter how well-intentioned, not become stones that weigh down and drown our siblings.

Rachel Hackenberg

1. It was 51 deg and pouring rain this morning, after a night of the same. The sump pump that had been sleeping all month woke up during the night, and accompanied my dreams. It’s still pouring rain, and 54 deg. late this afternoon.

2. I’m so relieved. My Zoom meeting that was scheduled for 12:30 was cancelled about 8:00 am. Hooray!

3. I got my Intentions Review for February done before breakfast! I finished the NYT Crossword Puzzle with no hints! I also got most of the laundry done before I went to the Wellness Center.

4. Lunch was Blue Apron Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes.

5. I braved the rain and got the garbage out to the curb before Gazebo Group (thankfully on Zoom in the rain).

LATE UPDATE: when Al did the dishes after lunch, there was ANOTHER puddle under the sink. At least I now have three guys crawling on my kitchen floor, trying to figure out what’s going on.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Intentions Review for February 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 – Blue Apron meals started
        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 – big fat fail on this one
      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 – still 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 – I’m getting in the habit
      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 – 2/27/22

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished..

Mary Oliver

1. It was much warmer first thing this morning – 48 deg. with wet streets and spotted windows. The rain continued all afternoon, and the temperature got up to 50 deg. briefly. We’re looking a this continuing.

2. Good sermon about the Transfiguration. She managed to bring in Ukraine and the state of the world.

3. Since this should have been Saturday’s lunch, I fixed Betty’s Collards, and Harriet’s Polenta for my lunch. Big Al had leftover chicken noodle soup from last Thursday.

4. I found myself with plenty of time to read my current Inspector Lynley (although this one features Barbara more than the Inspector). I’ve been so busy that I haven’t read on it as often and as much as I would otherwise have liked.

5. I also took time to read my lesson for Great Decisions that meets on Wednesday next week.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 2/26/22

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they’re feeling because that’s how I read the seed catalogs in February.

Barbara Kingsolver

1. It was 31 deg with a beautiful sunrise when I got up. The temperature got up to 47 deg. this morning, but the rains returned around noon and it dropped back to 40 deg. It’s not supposed to get much cooler than that overnight.

2. I THINK spring is coming. You couldn’t tell it by the temperature, but the sun is getting up earlier, and going to bed later. There’s a green haze around the trees. The robins are back. There’s always at least one set of squirrels chasing each other across the yard and through the branches of the trees.

3. The sink is definitely in, but there was still a problem with a leaky pipe. The maintenance guys came over last night and put a pan under the leak and this morning a plumber came and “fixed” it. Time will tell whether what he did worked.

4. Because the water was turned off, we decided to switch our lunch plans – eat tomorrow’s lunch today, and eat today’s lunch tomorrow. We went to Boathouse 19 for lunch. I had batter fried cod, with coleslaw and polenta, and Big Al had a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. Very tasty.

5. We didn’t get a chance to talk to the plumber because we were at lunch when he left. I trust everything is okay. I’m going to run the dishwasher and see whether there’s water all over the floor when it quits. (How’s that for living dangerously.)

How about you? What made you happy today?

Blogs, Newsletters, Columns, and Podcasts

I started this Blog in May, 2010. I was newly retired, my children were married, my parents were buried, and I was chaffing under the problems of selling our house in Dallas. I was more than ready to move to Washington State. We had chosen Franke Tobey Jones as our forever home. But the universe didn’t think I knew what I wanted, so there we sat – for an additional three years. I didn’t really start it for public consumption – rather I was looking for an on-line diary, and an outlet for my general angst. It helped keep me sane, and helped keep Al from killing me for always complaining.

A blog is technically a “web log”. That was in the early days of Twitter and Facebook, and there was a plethora of people who began telling their stories and offering their opinions on line. I stumbled onto WordPress, and it seemed to fit what I wanted to do. It has expanded and changed through the years, but it still does exactly what I want.

I thought you, gentle readers, might want some more insight into the blog, newsletter, and columns I make it a priority to read daily (or as often as they are published.)

Heather Cox Richardson is an American historian and professor of history at Boston College, where she teaches courses on the American history in the 18th and 19th centuries. She has also authored books on the latter half of the 18th century in America.

  • Letters to an American -This is one of the first things I read every morning. She reviews important occurrences from the previous day. She is careful to cut off her information at midnight American Eastern Time, because, as she says, she’s writing as an historian and she wants the record to be straight. – published on Substack (subscribe if you want, or read for free.
  • Politics Chat on Tuesdays and History Chat on Thursdays – These are broadcast on FaceBook, weekly. On January 6, her followers bombarded her with questions, and she broadcast on her FaceBook channel for several hours. Likewise, she changed her Thursday Chat to current events when Russia invaded Ukraine. She centers current events in history and gives context.
  • Now & Then – a podcast conversation on current events with an historical context between Heather and Joanne Freeman, a professor of early American history at Yale University.

Hugh Hollowell – Hugh says “I have been building inclusive communities for more than 15 years now. I also like to write and speak about how we can use community to build a better world for all of us. I serve as the Community Pastor at Open Door Mennonite Church.”

  • Life Is So Beautiful – A weekly newsletter published on Mondays. Hugh finds interesting article and beautiful pictures to brighten your life.
  • Humidity & Hope – A daily blog about how he its trying to build a better world where he is – in Northern Mississippi.
  • A second unnamed newsletter where he gathers all the blog posts he has written, and writes other tidbits about his life.

Bill McKibbon is an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively on the impact of global warming.

  • Free-lance columnist and leader of
  • He publishes a newsletter a couple of times a week about the current state of global warming and things we can do to help.
  • His website is The Crucial Years, published on Sibstacl

MaryAnn McKibben-Dana is a writer, speaker, free-range pastor, and coach.

  • The Blue Room is her newsletter published every Friday.
  • The Blue Room is also a podcast.

Nadia Bolz Webber is an author, Lutheran minster (ELCA) and public theologian. She is also the founder of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado.

  • The Corners is her blog where she posts her sermons and other writings – hosted on Substack
  • She host a monthly Q & O – a live on-lie opportunity to ask questions and listen to others’ opinions.

Ty Burr is a film critic, columnist, and author who currently writes a film and popular culture newsletter “Ty Burr’s Watchlist” on Substack. He publishes twice or three times a week with reviews of new releases, streaming videos, and other items of interest to film buffs.

Paul Krugman – winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. He writes a column in the New York Times several times a week. For me, his column and the crossword puzzle are worth the price of a subscription to NYT.

Five things that made me happy today – 2/25/22

Finding our seasonal rhythms fosters a space for gratefulness to be an integral part of our life.

Mike Martin

1. It was 26 deg with clear skies and sunshine when I got up. We had a high today of 46 deg.

2. Hooray! Our income tax refund is in the bank! Even though I’m always pretty sure I’ve filled out the forms correctly, I have a few days of worry that I might be one of the very few who gets pulled out of the stack for audit.

3. It was beautiful outside the last two days, but cold. I’m ready for a little warmth to go with our sunny skies.

4. We had our second Blue Apron meal today (Beef Enchilada Rojas with Cheddar and Sour Cream). It was tasty, but I wasn’t expecting sliced beef…

5. I’m praying for Ukraine. The news isn’t as awful as it could be and I think the rest of the world is really holding Russia’s feet to the fire, economically. As MaryAnn McKibben-Dana said this morning “…hope is a choice, a practice, and a state of being, all three at once.”

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 2/24/22

Gratefulness allows us . . . to nurture a keener eye that no longer rushes past the small everyday moments that make up the larger part of our lives.

Guri Mehta

1.  It was 29 deg when I got up this morning, with a dusting of snow on cars in the parking lot. The sun was out most of the day, and the temperature rose to 40 deg. There will be a couple more sub-freezing nights, and then we get to a stretch of rainy weather with highs in the 50s.

2. They didn’t quite get finished with the plumbing under the new sink yesterday, so they came back this morning shortly after 9:00. I ran to get McDonalds breakfast for Al and me so we would be out of their way. For those of you who read yesterday’s story, you must have guessed that I’m a little discombobulated by having to switch lunch between yesterday and today, and by not getting my regular breakfast today. But I’m not complaining. The sink is great, and the guys cleaned up after themselves nicely.

3. HCR did a Politics Chat today, instead of her scheduled History Chat. She discussed the things that are going on in Ukraine. She was able to help me sort out some of my initial reactions and understand how to evaluate the situation without sensationalism.

4. I fixed Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch with some Spinach, Basil, Garlic Angel Hair noodles that we got for Christmas. It was nice to have hot soup for lunch since it’s so cold.

5. I finally got the tax return printed. Now all I have to do is wait for the money to appear in the bank account. I’m not desperate for it, but it would be nice to have it.

How about you? What made you happy today?

Five things that made me happy today – 2/23/22

A good deed doesn’t just evaporate and disappear. Its consequences saturate the universe and the goodness that happens somewhere, anywhere, helps in the transfiguration of the ugliness.

Desmond Tutu

1. It was 23 deg. and as clear as a bell when I got up this morning. The sun was out all day even though the temperature never got above 37 deg.

2. Hooray! My cracked, badly repaired, and nasty-looking sink was replaced today. I had to be up and dressed for the workmen before 9:00 am, but, who cares – I’ve got a new sink.

And, YES, that’s the back of his suspenders.

3. I spent the morning writing my story for today. Check it out.

4. As soon as I finished at the Wellness Center, I went to Burger King and got two Whopper meals. On the way home, I stopped by Safeway and picked up my order. Unfortunately they were out of Al’s peanuts, but he’ll be fine for another week.

5. There were five or more deer in the backyard this afternoon. And I spotted a towhee in the tree outside my window this morning. Maybe, just maybe, contrary to the temperature, spring is coming.

How about you? What made you happy today?


My life is built on Routine. I’m very rarely spontaneous, and during the enforced isolation of the pandemic, I’ve become much worse. My poor husband, who is much more spontaneous, says I’m in a rut, but it’s easier for me to know ahead of time what I’m doing when. When I make an appointment, or schedule an activity, it irritates me when I can’t do as I planned.

Since the pandemic, I have a set schedule for the week. I generally wake up at 6:30 every morning (no alarm clock required), and go to bed at 9:30 and am asleep at 10:00. I have recently started to subscribe to Blue Apron, again. They have decided that you can get two meals a week, instead of three, and that suits us. I’m careful to ask for two meals that consist of meat, starch, and vegetable.

Everyday: As soon as I get up, I fix a mug of tea and eat a Metamucil cookie. While I’m waiting for my tea to steep, I get out the plates, silverware, and cooking utensils for breakfast. I play WORDLE, check blogs I read, check the bank and update my Quicken, Then I shower and dress for the day. After breakfast, I read through my email, including The Seattle Times, and The Washington Post. Big Al does all the dishes (thank goodness, because that’s my least favorite job). The afternoon is spent writing my “Five Things” blog, and trying to figure out what I’m going to write for my next story. About 3:30, I go in the living room and watch another episode of whichever series I’m in the middle of (currently Vera) on BritBox or AppleTV. Week nights, we try to watch The Rachel Maddow Show, at 6:00.

Sunday – I fix breakfast for both of us – eggs, and sausage – I add grapefruit, and toast to my breakfast as a dessert. I attend church on line in the morning. Then Big Al and I go out to dinner, or do a curbside pickup. After we eat, Big Al bags all the garbage and recycling, and I take it out to the garage. Every other week, I roll the recycling container out to the street. In the evening, Big Al joins me to watch the news (both local and national), followed by 60 Minutes. followed by Al’s choice of movies on one of the streaming channels. When Masterpiece Theater has something we would like to watch on PBS, we do that. We’ve just finished Season 2 of All Creatures Great and Small.

Monday – Wash Day. I put the first load of washing in the washing machine and get that started before breakfast. Mondays, I have Maple Pecan Granola with blueberries and milk followed by toast and a second mug of tea. Sometimes, Al will ask for oatmeal which I fix or a Breakfast Bowl or Raisin Bran. I always inquire before I go to bed so I can plan on what he wants for breakfast the next day. After breakfast, I transfer the first load of laundry to the dryer, and start the second load. I read the headlines in the New York Times, and work the crossword puzzle. As soon as the first load is dry, I separate and deliver the clothes, and fold mine, and transfer the second load to the dryer and start the third load. By that time, I’m ready to go to the Wellness Center and spend an hour on the NuStep machine. I get home from the Wellness Center and fix dinner (remember we have dinner at noon). This is the first Blue Apron meal of the week. The only variation for the Monday afternoon/evening schedule is that I have to take the garbage out to the curb before we have the Gazebo Group meeting at 5:00, either in person or on Zoom.

Tuesday – Every other week, we strip the beds as soon as we get out of them, and I start the washing of the sheets and towels. I attend Bible study on Tuesday mornings via Zoom. The housekeepers come around noon and make the beds, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, and generally sweep and vacuum. I fix myself a sandwich or a salad for lunch, Big Al feeds himself. I plan on going to the Wellness Center to listen to Politics Chat by Heather Cox Richardson. I get home in time to finish up my “Five Things” blog for the day. At 3:00, my sisters and I meet on Zoom for a nice chat. Then we start the regular evening schedule.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are the days I have set aside to schedule doctor’s and dentist appointments. Wednesday and Friday breakfasts mimic Monday, Thursday breakfasts mimic Tuesday. Wednesday lunch is usually Soup of the Week, Thursdays I fetch something like Whoppers or KFC or some other fast food. Friday is our second Blue Apron dinner of the week.

Saturday – Much more relaxed. It’s football day during the NCAA fall season. I go to the Wellness Center around noon, because there are no classes. Often I’m the only one there.

Wednesdays and Saturdays I write my “Story” in the morning so Big Al can read it over for me during lunch.

That’s my life. It’s easier for me to do things mostly by rote, so I can concentrate on things like presentation at Great Decisions, or anticipating travel (dreamer). Occasionally, we have a visit from my son, daughter-in-law, my grandchild, and their doggie(s).

Five things that made me happy today – 2/22/22

Our safety is found in our community. And like any system, you must invest in it to get a return from it.

Hugh Hollowell

1. It was 32 deg. with flurries in the area when I got up. I never saw any flakes but my weather app assured me they were there. The sun came out about 10:00, and on the strength of it, two robins appeared in my back yard!!! I hope they don’t freeze to death – it’s only 36 deg. and we now have snow flurries. Nothing is supposed to stick.

2. Bible Study this morning was interesting. We looked at the Transfiguration in Luke, and also at the New Jerusalem in Revelation. I remembered how Moses’ face was shining so brightly when he came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments in Exodus that he had to wear a veil because he scared the people.

3. I had a “healthy” peanut butter and jam sandwich for lunch. Killer Dave’s 21 Grains and Seeds bread with Adams Chunky Peanut Butter and Polaner’s No-Sugar-Added Seedless Blackberry Jam, with added fiber.

4. HCR didn’t do her regular talk today, because she had the opportunity to do something with Fiona Hill. I don’t blame her – obviously, Fiona Hill knows as much or more about the Ukraine situation than anyone else. I’m looking forward to hearing a recording!

5. The Griesser Girl Gab is in a few minutes. I’ll be glad to talk to both of them. I think they are both as cold as I am.

How about you? What made you happy today?