Monday, October 29, 2012

Watching the storm from long distance.

I have been following the progress of Sandy as she moves along the east coast. My family lives in Virginia and Rhode Island, and I still have friends in VB, so I have been interested in seeing how bad it is in those places. My DSH's family in PA is getting cold wind and school has been closed early today, so even they are getting prepared for the worst storm ever. Remember the movie The Perfect Storm? I guess it is bad for anyone in the water right now. Glad I am safe at home.

When we decided to move to the Gulf Coast of Florida, a dear friend of ours would tell us horror stories about hurricanes hitting the coast. (We lived through quite a few in Virginia Beach already, but he would say how much worse the Gulf Coast storms were, ala Katrina.) Just to dissuade us from leaving him in Virginia, you know. We sent him an email a couple days ago to let him know he could evacuate from Sandy and come here. His response: guess I have to stop giving you a hard time about the weather in Florida now.

One good thing about the storm: Facebook posts have not been political and the news barely mentions the campaigns. Our weather has turned cool and breezy. It is sunny and 70 outside as I write this early afternoon. Makes it nice to do yard work, as DSH is doing. I, on the other hand am working on card making.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Whenever I travel through the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, I am reminded of God's love for us in creating such beauty for our eyes. Especially today when the autumn leaves  contrast with the rolling green hills and valleys.

We are travelling south in the Great Valley of Virginia from Pennsylvania. The sky is blue and the temps are rising. I have seen only fields, farms, cows forests and mountains for the past few hours. Long before I 81 existed, even before this was a wagon road for pioneers, this was a path the Native Americans traded along. No fields and farms then, only forest. Makes me wonder if they could see the vistas I am seeing. You know there is that saying about not seeing the forest for the trees. DSH said that was true especially when he hiked through Virginia. Speaking of his hike, we have been near or crossed over the Appalachian Trail a number of times on this trip. I have been listening to the stories again, told as if the trip was completed this year. Maybe he needs to go for another walk in the woods. DSH also says what I call beautiful hills others may just see as a hill of grass. May the Lord keep me seeing the beauty in all creation.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saint Betty

One definition, I think, of a saint is a person who fights the devil's temptations. For this reason, I think, I should be eligible for sainthood.

Just over two weeks ago, I started my diet that basically requires that I avoid foods made with sugars, corn, potatoes, and flours. That leaves meat, fish, eggs and non-starchy vegetables. Salads are a big part of my diet now. I like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and salad, so this is not what earns my sainthood.

My DSH's relatives, who I love dearly, have been, as far as I am concerned, agents for the devil and his temptations these past 4 days. While visiting these wonderful people I have had to turn down candy, chips, pretzels, cookies, pie, ice cream, and two different special sheet cakes from a bakery. Meals have consisted of potato soup, meatloaf (which I did eat), pizza(twice), sub sandwiches, fried chicken, and barbecue. Sides have been corn, potatoes, pasta, and potato salad. Of course, they did not know these were the devil's temptations for me. This is just how they eat normally and they were being polite. DSH loves visiting these kitchens, err I mean families!

As you may already know, I am always on a diet, including previous visits to family. However on those previous visits I have started out strong, saying "no thank you" and "not now, thanks," but I then give in thinking, "just a small piece won't hurt." That one piece puts a chink in that wall, and the next thing I know, I am sneaking pieces when DSH isn't around, and then I figure, "what the hell, I blew it anyways" and just eat whatever is available. And there is so much available.(see list above)

My reason for sainthood now? I have said no to it all!

I went shopping and bought vegetables I can eat and ate an Atkins meal replacement bar at least once a day. I ignored my MIL's remarks about not eating enough, or eating only rabbit food. When asked if I was diabetic, I replied, "no, I'm fat." I drank water or diet Coke while others had beer, and offered to hold the baby instead of a plate of food. (always a treat for me)

The Lord blessed me with my DSH who noticed my struggle, defended my eating to his mother, and said to me last night as we were going to bed, "just one day more, you have been so good sticking to your diet, you can do this!" You know what, I can do this. Take that, Satan!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Don't you just love that new baby smell?

My DSH's nephew's baby was baptized today. A large celebration was held at the parents' home and I was given the privilege of holding her to calm her and get her to sleep, not once  but twice.  I have always had a way with babies, especially tiny ones like Brielle, who is only six weeks old. DSH says it is because I have a large ledge to rest the baby on, but I think it is more than that.
I think the fact that my six older siblings began having kids when I was just seven has something to do with it. I have just always been comfortable around babies. If I am holding one who is fussy I don't panic and return her to her mom, I just adjust the situation until the baby is happy. A change in position in my arms, or a different location in the room even, along with bouncing, rocking, and definitely singing are all part of my "repertoire" when holding a baby. I seem to know when a baby is hungry, in pain, or just tired, too. That probably comes from having four babies of my own.
When someone comes in with a baby I often don't ask to hold the baby until she starts to get fussy. Guess I just want to see if I still have the knack. Maybe God will bless me with more grandbabies so I can keep in practice.

You're nobody till you love your body...

I am trying to lose weight. Actually I have been trying ever since high school. Of course, now, my high school weight is lower than my current goal weight (you know where I want to be). I was heavier than my friends in school, so I had to lose weight. I finally did lose when I had a viral infection that lasted more than a week. Funny thing about body image...there are very few times in my adult life when I felt like I was thin enough to be considered attractive. I look back at pictures of me taken even after having a couple of babies and think, "Wow, you look so skinny!"  DSH always said I looked good, too. Why didn't I ever feel that way?
I have tried many diets.  They all worked for awhile. I have probably lost and gained a whole 'nother person over the years.
The diet that was easiest to live with was weight watchers. I lost 70 pounds with the program about 4 years ago.  But over time, I got to thinking I can do this on my own...and half that weight crept back on. So, I tried weight watchers again, but I just couldn't lose this time.
Two weeks ago I started back on the new atkins plan, and have lost about 10 pounds so far. Come back for updates. I promise I won't  spend all my time writing about food, but it helps me to use my fingers here instead of at the table.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Just when I adjust to the fact that I will not be getting my way, my DSH surprises me by taking the route I want. So what have I learned here? Perhaps the lesson is to not nag and badger, just present the desire and be patient. Or maybe it's that gifts are appreciated more when they are unexpected.
Scripture tells us that a good Christian husband is to treat his wife as God treats the Church. DSH has always been a blessing to me in this regard. He gets me thinking about my faith and how it connects to life.
Think about all the times we ask God for something and we want it now. We think we know what is best. But God knows best when to answer our prayers. We just have to be patient and Trust in the Lord. Who knows, he may surprise you.


Marriage is made of compromises. That is difficult for me sometimes. After having my classroom for 25 years, where I was the "decider" (to quote former President Bush), I find it frustrating to NOT get my way.
Most days I have no problem with DSH because he does his thing and I do mine. Now that we are retired, deciding on dinner is about the only decision we make on a daily basis. We had no problems with
the big trip to HI because I made all the plans and he approved them.
Recently we had an opportunity to drive along unfamiliar roads or to go the more familiar route. I wanted to trust the google map app on my phone and go the new way. DSH picked the way he knew. Actually my way was supposed to be only a few miles shorter, so it shouldn't have been a big deal to me, but I really wanted to try something different, see what else was out there, take "the path less traveled by"...
Or maybe I just wanted to get my own way.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Backyard Bullies

I have a bird feeder hanging in my back yard. I can sit inside my screen porch(lanai in Florida speak) and watch the birds as they feed on the sunflower seeds I provide them. When I first hung the feeder, the only way I could attract birds to it was to sprinkle some on the ground around it. A few mourning doves and house sparrows came daily, with the sparrows eventually seeing the seed in the feeder. I was surprised that the squirrels I saw along the neighbors' fences didn't approach. I guess they were just keeping their distance until I  showed that I would keep the feeder filled.

Now I must tell you that here in my neighborhood there are very few hardwood trees. I can see a tall one, oak or maple maybe, a couple of yards away and I know there is another in the yard farther down the street, but most of the trees in the neighborhood are palms of various types. I don't think palms are the home of choice for squirrels, so I am not surprised there are very few squirrels here compared to the many that live in my old Virginia Beach neighborhood.

Even so, I chose a bird feeder that is a tall rectangular prism with a cage around it that is spring loaded to come down when big birds or a squirrel lands on it. It has closed up when more than 8 house sparrows (LBBs-little brown birds) tried to cling on it.
Well, I have one pretty smart squirrel that comes to my feeder. He has figured out how to hang precariously on my feeder without the cage coming down. Unlike the feeder above, I bought mine at home depot and paid less for it. Mine looks almost the same, except there is a bottom similar to the top that the squirrel gets one foot wrapped around. I think he uses the other one to kind of prop up the cage.Because he is busy balancing there, he tends to be messy and drops seed on the ground below. This is one reason I allow him to stay and eat. The seed he drops goes to the mourning doves who are not built for a hanging perch style feeder. The LBBs do not seem to be fighting for feeder time with the squirrel, either, because they come earlier in the morning.

So who are the backyard bullies in the title of this post? The big pigeons who have found my yard occupy the ground more than the smaller doves, but I have seen them out there eating at the same time. No, the bullies are a pair of mockingbirds who have recently decided to dive bomb the feeder when the LBBs are on it as well as the squirrel. They even tried fussing at some pigeons on the ground, but the pigeons, I swear, looked at the much smaller mockingbirds and said, "Yeah, right!"

I did not think mockingbirds liked sunflower seeds, so it seems like they just want to push some other birds around. Sounds like the definition of a bully to me.

My backyard is one of my favorite places to hang out here in Florida(not too sunny today),  especially because of the visitors who put on a show for me.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Satisfactions

It is so nice to to be able to attend our church, knowing we are going to have a guest pastor, confident that God's Word will be taught in truth. Our pastor is in Nigeria for a month teaching in a seminary there, so the synod has provided guest pastors to fill in for him. Today our circuit pastor lead our little flock. What a great Bible class we had continuing in our study of Ecclesiastes. Pastor Pankow led us to correlating Scripture and provided present  day examples to apply them. His sermon about taking up the cross to follow Jesus was very relevant to me as well.
It's a beautiful sun shiny day and I have so many choices for how to spend it: pool, bike ride, walk, stamping. Life is good!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Welcome to my world!

I have been living in sunny Florida (ever notice how sunny always seems to precede Florida?) for about a year now and I still wonder when the vacation is going to end! Isn't that a great way to feel every day? I guess I am still getting used to being retired. DSH has been doing this for over 5 years, so he seems used to it, but  I am not. Occasionally, I dream I am back in the classroom...waking up with that feeling of dread that I haven't done something like lesson prepping or paper grading, but then realizing it is just a dream, I smile, stretch and roll out of bed to start a new day.

It is only a few weeks until the election and I must say I was enjoying the politics for awhile, but have recently gotten tired of all the rhetoric. I am especially weary of how hateful some of it has gotten. The negativity was getting me down. That is why I am challenging myself on this blog to keep looking on the positive side.

In our Bible class at Risen Savior Lutheran Church, we have been reading Ecclesiastes. That is where I read the above reminder that every day is a gift from God. A gift, a present, just for me, one for each of us, from God-WOW!

I love presents, especially the ones that come from someone just because he or she loves me. I know sometimes the gift isn't something I wanted or needed, but I try to treasure it for awhile because maybe it will be something I  need later, or something I can use to brighten up someone's day at a time they need it. Are you getting the metaphor?

So, thank you for reading this and please, come back to read more. Let me know what your thoughts are as well and we can get a dialogue of sorts going.