5 Things to Do More Often

I mentioned to my husband I was working on this post. I started to ask him if he had any suggestions, when he began to smirk. I could see a glint in his eye. I decided not to ask for any suggestions. His list and my list would not be the same.

I imagine his list would say:

  1. Ride your bike more.
  2. Walk three miles every day.
  3.  Organize  your office.
  4. Dust your office.
  5. Put everything back in its place immediately after using said item.

My list, on the other hand,  says:

  1. Build in time to go out with friends more often. Coffee, lunch, happy hour, dinner are all options I need to remember for get-togethers with friends. Life gets busy and I get stuck in the rut of being home.
  2. Clear my desk. Stacks of papers and books seem to grow and grow. I need to find a place for each.
  3. See more movies. I love those recliner seats in movie theaters. When I can get to the first showing of the day, it is not only cheaper, but there are fewer people. I just forget that is an option for my day.
  4. Take my mom out for lunch. I try to savor every bit of time I can with my mom. She’s 87 and seems more frail every year. We need to spend quality time together, just chatting about her life or my life in general.
  5. Sit, sip, and savor a lovely glass of wine before dinner. Doesn’t that sound good? Usually I am so busy preparing dinner, I don’t have time to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. Often when I have a guest for dinner, they sit at the counter, sip wine and visit with me while I’m finishing up preparations. I need to try this out too.

There you have it, my five things to do more often. Who knows, I might even do a few from my husband’s list too. 🙂


Once There Was . . .

Once there was a new house with a lush green carpet in the backyard.

Soft blades tickled bare feet.

As the years passed,  trees grew and grew.

Shadow fingers caressed the green carpet.

However that carpet longed for the sun not the shade.

Over time, many blades gave up the fight.

New seedlings sprouted, but they too, yearned for sunshine.

Bare patches appeared, lush no longer.

Shadows won this battle.

A man worked all winter to extend the landscape bed.

The withered sparse grass removed.

A mountain of rock arrived to erase the bare patches.

Shadows claim victory over the grass,.

Only time will tell who is the victor:  man or shadows.



Day 27: Reaping Rewards

Background information: My husband loves cars. He especially loves a clean shiny car. Washing a car is not a chore to him. He finds it relaxing and when he is finished, the product is something to be admired because it looks so darn great! It’s not just the outside that gets tender loving care, but also the inside. He works hard to keep his cars looking great. So once in a while he gets a request from someone to make their car look like his. . .

Once upon a sweltering August day, my husband performed his car magic for his father’s neighbor. He told her no compensation needed, because she keeps an eye out for dad when we are not around. She didn’t listen to him. A gift card to Spiro’s Greek restaurant arrived in the mail. Unfortunately, we were unable to get to St. Louis to check out Spiro’s until recently.

We walked into a time warp, we were transported back to the seventies. The decor was the seventies but the clientele was in their eighties and even nineties. This dining room was beginning to look a lot like a cruise ship dining room. I said, “At least no one is pushing a walker.” I spoke too soon. Walker after walker came rolling through. I thought to myself, at least there’s no motorized scooter. Yes, you guessed it, one came rolling in. Perhaps it had something to do with the time of day. It was the early bird special hour.

Greek custard with honey and cinnamon sauce

We couldn’t complain about the food. We had more than enough and it all tasted great. Since it was the early bird special time, we still have cash on the gift card. So a return visit will be in our future. Perhaps we should try a different time slot to see if a younger crowd shows up.

I love reaping the rewards of my husband’s hard work!


He Said/She Said

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.


He said: I screwed up, the auto show doesn’t open until five on Wednesday. I can’t go because I have to work on Thursday.

She said: Oh, no! Maybe you can go over the weekend, I know that’s not your favorite time to go since it will be more crowded.

Days passed.

She thought and thought: I could go with him to the auto show. He wouldn’t have to go alone. At least I would get to eat out. Do I offer to go? It’s not my idea of fun, but I hate sending him off alone on the weekend.

She said: If you want I will go with you if you want to go to the auto show on Saturday.

He said: I wouldn’t do that to you. You would hate it. Why would you want to go?

She said: I hate for you to go alone. I could read in the car. I get to eat out.

He said: Thank you for the offer, but I would be more worried about you having fun. I don’t mind being alone.

He thought and thought: Does she really mean that? Would we have fun? Why not? We need to step out and do something different. We will need a new car one day, I can get some feedback on contenders.

Early Saturday morning:

He said: We could go up to Kansas City, eat lunch at the Plaza, then go to the car show. Are you sure you want to do this?

She said: Just let me get my post written and posted. I’ll have to do comments when we get home.

So he and she spent the day in Kansas City. Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, yum! Meandered through several stores on the Country Club Plaza that we don’t have in Springfield, no purchases. Spent several hours looking at new cars. He hopping in and out of cars testing the comfortability of the front seats. She on the lookout for give aways by the dealers. She collected several reusable bags for grocery shopping. She disappointed that there wasn’t more interesting things being given away.

All in all, a good day for he and she.

These are the cars I loved, not the new ones. Pasta Carbonara for lunch. Couple shots from the Plaza.

These are the cars I loved, not the new ones. Pasta Carbonara for lunch. Couple shots from the Plaza.


Spoken or Thought?

Early morning, my mind doesn’t always function properly, until coffee has been consumed. I go through the rote motions of preparing my coffee. Take out the coffee filter, two scoops of coffee, pour water in, flip the switch. As these actions are happening on auto pilot my mind begins whirring. Thoughts begin to tumble like the balls in a Bingo game. One  thought jump starts another, never developing a completed thought. My thinking said:

Dinner tonight? Ruben sandwiches, with Tuesday’s corned beef. Taco meat needs to be used. Lunch could be tacos. Tell Mike not to eat lunch. Will get home around noon. Do I have my materials for this this morning ready? Glance over to Mike, he’s reading something. Wait to tell him later. Grab Creepy Carrots. What else do I need to grab for the day? Tell Mike I will fix lunch when I get home. Coffee’s ready, finally.

I fill my cup, settle in on the couch to read a few slices, write a few comments. Fifteen minutes pass. I need to eat breakfast. As I’m preparing my granola and yogurt, I wonder (in my head) did I tell Mike to wait to eat lunch? I can’t remember if I only thought it or have we had the conversation.

“Did I say anything about lunch yet?” I casually inquire.

“No, why?” is the response from Mike.

I had to confess that I couldn’t remember if I actually said something or just thought it.

Wonder what else I’ve thought but forgot to actually say.

A Load of Rock

A truckload of landscape rock was delivered to our driveway. My husband was doing a happy dance all weekend in anticipation of this load of rocks.

Before that, my husband had to remove the sod and cut through tree roots to create a path and lay a foundation of white rock. He worked all winter long, scraping inch by inch of sod and sawing the roots whenever the ground was warm enough to be removed.

Before that, he researched the internet for several years looking for solutions to his side yard issue. Should we lay a foundation of sand first? Should we create a path of pavers? How far should the path go? How much will this cost? Do you like this look? What about this style? Can I really do this?

Before that, our side yard wouldn’t drain properly and the grass wouldn’t grow thick and lush. For some reason the land remains damp, even in the heat of the summer. After it rains don’t even think about pushing a lawnmower into the backyard.

Before that, my husband envisioned a green retreat in our backyard. A yard of living green that surrounds and encloses. A haven for relaxing.

This project has been a multi-year endeavor, but now we now have a green retreat.

The sun was shining so brightly that the center picture makes the rock look white, but it is really black.

The sun was shining so brightly that the center picture makes the rock look white, but it is really black.

Creation of a List

A few weeks back I received notice from Twitter that I was mentioned in a tweet. Of course, I immediately was curious because I am a wish-I-could understand-Twitter-and-use-it-more-but-I-don’t kind of Twitterer. Terje (Just for a Month) had tossed a challenge my way. Create a list of 100 things I am grateful for. Whew, that’s a lot, but I let the idea simmer in my mind. Then last week Jaana (Jaana’s Writing Blog) created and delivered her list. I knew I had to get started. So here is my list of 100 things I am grateful for:


  1. my husband
  2. my son
  3. a daughter-in-law
  4. a granddaughter
  5. a granddaughter waiting to be born
  6. family near and far
  7. friends near
  8. friends from long ago
  9. a comfortable home
  10. a teaching career
  11. connections through blogging
  12. opportunities for learning
  13. Friends of the Library sale
  14. good health
  15. time to savor life
  16. ocean cruises
  17. wandering
  18. pizza
  19. scarves
  20. picture books
  21. a comfortable car to travel in
  22. sunshine
  23. awesome neighbors
  24. road trips
  25. having an office for my “stuff”
  26. professional books
  27. a son who usually calls weekly
  28. grilled cheese
  29. camera in my phone
  30. nieces and nephews
  31. blue cheese
  32. work colleagues
  33. toasty fires
  34. Italian cream cake
  35. visiting family
  36. new recipes to try
  37. Draw Something friends
  38. iPad with photos
  39. key lime pie concretes at Andy’s Frozen Custard in July
  40. biking
  41. Thanksgiving with family
  42. cousins who cook fabulous dinners (yes, that is you Phillip)
  43. eating out
  44. pumpkin food in the fall
  45. mail
  46. bright colors
  47. husband who keeps everything clean
  48. coffee with friends
  49. some time alone (not a lot)
  50. meeting slicers (17 so far)
  51. anything with coconut
  52. a great teacher retirement system
  53. fuzzy lined moccasin slippers
  54. granite counter tops
  55. comfortable patio furniture where I can read and enjoy sunshine
  56. heated seats in cars
  57. internet connection
  58. surprises
  59. discovering nature’s wonder
  60. bead stores
  61. bead stores with a sale
  62. blog comments
  63. Pandora
  64. Christmas celebrations
  65. diet cherry Dr. Pepper
  66. just picked peaches
  67. pedicures
  68. river cruises
  69. hamburgers
  70. freedoms of our country
  71. down pillows
  72. watermelon in summer
  73. computer techs
  74. teachers who want to learn
  75. pasta meals
  76. juicy berries
  77. cups that don’t sweat
  78. taking my mom out for a meal
  79. on-line shopping
  80. ice cream
  81. hot running water
  82. bookstores
  83. cozy comforters
  84. NCIS reruns (love Gibbs)
  85. Instagram
  86. changing seasons
  87. finding bargains
  88. garden tomatoes
  89. crispy bacon
  90. getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold day
  91. dark chocolate
  92. fleece vests
  93. appliances that make life easier
  94. snow days
  95. snow blower
  96. ice makers
  97. fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm when I type
  98. friendly smiles
  99. All Write Conference
  100. a husband who helped me get to 100 items when my brain shut down


If you made it all the way to the end, I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to develop your own list. 🙂

Celebrating Late

Zip. . . blink . . . and a week is over! Summer marches on! This week found me staying close to home. The hot humid weather left for a few days, so we could enjoy the breezes in the backyard while celebrating the oasis of plants that surround us.

While enjoying the view, I read Readers Front and Center by Dorothy Barnhouse. I loved it and now I must reread it to mine it for teaching points to use next year. (Thanks Christy for recommending this book.) Being able to spend a couple of days on the patio with a professional book is a celebration.

When I looked up from my reading I am surrounded by green, but yet color pops in. I celebrate the work my husband has put in to create this sanctuary.

Pink roses splash their color.

Pink roses splash their color.

Hostas quietly bring color into the shaded landscape.

Hostas quietly bring color into the shaded landscape.

Verbena shouts, "Look at me! Don't you just love purple?"

Verbena shouts, “Look at me! Don’t you just love purple?”

Longing for these lovely spheres to turn brilliant red, sigh . . . when?

Longing for these lovely spheres to turn brilliant red, sigh . . . when?

Basil waits patiently for the tomatoes to join the party. Can't you just taste the caprese salad?

Basil waits patiently for the tomatoes to join the party. Can’t you just taste the caprese salad?

A final celebration is a friend, who plants more than she can consume and she shares this bounty with me.

Zucchini and squash ready for the grill.

Zucchini and squash ready for the grill.

I wonder what celebrations are waiting to be discovered this week.

Celebrating Today

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

You never appreciate something until it is gone. Then when it is returned, you celebrate.

Some of you know that last week I broke a bone in my foot (here is the story). I was told not to walk or put any weight on my right foot. Crutches became my mode of travel. Movement from one location to another became a challenge.  Monday I visited the doctor and he returned my mobility, sort of. I can walk, I can stand on my two feet, when I have the boot on.

I celebrate the science that has developed this air cast that allows me to move about while my bone mends. But this is not my only celebration.

I also celebrate the stores that have motorized carts for those of us who have walking issues. My husband had some doubts of my driving ability, but I am happy to report I have not run into anything, yet.

The greatest celebration is my husband, who has attended to my every need since the accident. Mike has:

  • gone grocery shopping (not his favorite activity)
  • cooked dinners (he hates cooking)
  • made coffee and delivered it to me on the couch
  • laid out my clothes for easy access
  • set up the shower with a lawn chair
  • wrapped ice packs on my foot
  • fetched library books
  • made sure I had everything I needed within arm’s reach

These are only a few of the tasks he has done for me. During this time he also maintained our house, laundry, and yard work. It was not just our yard he mowed, but also our neighbor’s yard, because they were away for a long weekend. The grass grew at an incredible rate. He had to mow every other day to keep control.

I celebrate Mike, he has been there for me for thirty-seven years and I know he will be there forever.

Where Are You?

After the conference Saturday, I paused before the restroom door, but home was only fifteen minutes away. I could wait. Of course, I crossed my fingers that there would not be a wreck on the road to delay me. No problem, I sailed through and made it home in record time.

However, I also sailed through the house to get to the bathroom (I had been keeping myself hydrated during the conference). Once I emerged from the bathroom, I noticed how eerily quiet the house was.

Where was my husband? He wasn’t in the recliner. I headed back to the garage to check the bike rack, all bikes present and accounted for. The car was in its usual spot. Hmmm, where could he be?

Back in the house I checked all rooms and surveyed the yard. Still no husband. I knew he had to be close, so I texted him. He texted back that he was with Dave, our neighbor. Mystery solved.

When I heard the garage door groaning, I knew my husband was home. I went to see what was going on.

They had gone to fill all gas cans just in case the power went off due to the ice that was to accumulate Sunday. Better to be prepared. We’ve lived through an epic ice storm with no power for a week seven years ago. So far the power has held.

Will this be the last bit of winter? I can only hope so.