Random Acts of "Kindness"

SEARCH

Since the end of February my husband has been searching for a new car to replace our Taurus. The Taurus is a 2001, with over 200,000 miles. It has served us well and I’m not really ready to get rid of it. But my husband is concerned on many issues. First it is the mileage on the car. Second it is my trouble getting in and out of the car. My knees don’t work as well as they used to. It takes me longer to get out of the car.

He has been searching for a SUV. He thinks I would have an easier time getting in and out of the car. The Internet and the computer has made the search more interesting. Not only can he look up the make, model and mileage of the car. He can also see the rating of the dealer.

For many reasons I have NOT been in a hurry to get a new car. First of course is money. Our budget is already strained and car payments would not be easy. I spent some time examining our resources and really did NOT come up with a good solution. Our son suggested to his sister’s that they help us get a new car. His suggestion was picked up by one of our daughter’s and my worries concerning money ended.

Still searching my husband spoke to a couple of car mechanics whom he trusted. They shared their knowledge, removing a couple of cars from my husband’s list. Cost of repairs being one.

And the search continued. I planned to go with my husband to look at a couple of the cars he found. The day he picked to go hunting, I only had three hours sleep and I was TIRED. Our son went with him instead. He said it worked out to their advantage because they told the salesman that I had to approve the car and I wasn’t with them. Therefore no high power sales pitch.

As it worked out, I wasn’t with my husband when he bought our new car. We were visiting our daughter in Central Illinois. After shopping in horse country, I stopped at a local store to get some supplies. My husband spoke to the woman in the car next to him. She used to sell cars and recommended he talk to a friend of hers at the Ford dealership. She spoke highly of the Ford Escape which was on his list.

I was tired from shopping when he and my daughter went to look at the cars. They came home with a beautiful red Escape. I had the pleasure of driving it half way home. I probably could have driven the whole way but once again I was TIRED! We stopped at the Ford dealership to get some information. I met the saleswoman and shared information on some of the things that is helping my arthritis: Arthocin, bone broth and tart cherry juice. I also saw a flyer on the play: Sound Of Music, at a high school in their area. Our granddaughter was singing one of the songs when we visited.

I LOVE shopping with our friends in high places. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

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LOST GIRL

Don’t be alarmed. This thought ramble is not about a person who is actually missing. It is about me. I wonder who I was in the seventies.

What brought this up? You might ask. The answer is very simple. While our son was on a cruise with his sister and niece, I took advantage of the time and cleaned out the space under the stairs going to the attic. I found MANY TREASURES. So many in fact we scheduled a run to the Salvation Army store. Our trunk was completely FILLED. And now there is more stuff ready to go.

It must have been in the seventies. My father was attending a weekly auction. He also had rented a space at the flea market. He picked up stuff to sell. He stored the stuff under the stairs going to the attic. I just FOUND 3 lamps. I also found a bag of wrapped beverage glasses. The glasses are fine, the bag ripped when I picked it up. They are now waiting in a box to go to a new home.

I found a football. I found a basket ball. I found 5 rolling suitcases and a suit bag. Some stuff left. Some stuff remained. When we were in square dancing, I made many of our outfits. I found bags upon bags of material. A woman of many talents I found zodiac signs embroidered in yarn — not a complete set — 5 or 6 finished. I have NO IDEA what plans I had for them.

I also found bags upon bags of yarn. Some contained projects that were in the works but not finished — a western vest? Lovely wool! A cobalt blue sweater, with huge needles, not finished. The magazines for both projects packed with the yarn.

I also found an interesting dazzle yarn coat — fringe — tied in the webbing. The colors are BRIGHT — hot pink, orange, golden yellow, avocado green made to fit a much smaller person than I am now. I couldn’t get rid of it then, I can’t get rid of it now. I have NO IDEA what possessed me to make it. The coat is FINISHED. Like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon — I have changed. I used to be very shy, not going out of my way to speak to people. I’m definitely NOT that person now. I can’t imagine myself, in the 70’s wearing that coat. If it fit, I don’t know if I would have the courage to wear that coat now!

In the 70’s, I wasn’t aware of the extra gifts I possessed. My father was alive and healthy. We had four children. I was working, adding to household money. We had a camper, escaping to the country on weekends. Recently my husband realized that I have been a caretaker all my life. And he is absolutely right! My mother, brother and others were probably busy helping behind the scenes but I was unaware of their presence.

On a beautiful Saturday, I took a walk to our park. I’m still trying to increase the number of steps to be ready for Hawaii. I heard music on the air and searched for the source. A retired gentleman was playing an alto sax. A woman was standing near by when I approached and told her I was going to interrupt his playing. I wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed it.

He has only been playing for 6 years. It was one of the things he wanted to learn to do when he retire. He also thought about writing. I mentioned that I was a writer, by this time the woman had joined us. She was a professional writer, writing for magazines and a newspaper. When I mentioned my crazy coat, she remembered that fringed yarn was all the rage in the 70’s. Answer — I guess that is why I made the coat?

HELPING HAND

I’ll admit that I was TIRED. VERY TIRED. We were watching our daughter’s dogs : Tessa, A King Charles Spaniel and Luna, a young black lab puppy while our daughter’s family took a much needed vacation. Luna was FULL of energy and wanted to go out about every two hours. Tessa LIKED to sleep with us. Her breed is a lap dog, very good for keeping bodies warm. Luna, on the other hand, is everything a puppy should be. Loving and full of mischief. We were able to convince her that she should sleep on a dog pillow in the room off our bedroom, NOT ON OUR BED! It worked out fine. She could find me in the wee hours of the morning when she needed to go out. The first day she was with us, we let her have access to too much water. The second day we started restricting it. By the time they went home, Luna only needed to go out once in the wee hours.

Thursday the day had begun challenging. I wanted to pay our electric bill. I didn’t remember receiving it and phoned. I had an old bill to get our account number and the phone number. When it came time to pay the bill, the old bill had disappeared. ?? I found an even older bill in the shredding bucket. Both my husband and I had doctor appointments later in the day. I had trouble paying for parking at the meter. I finally decided that walking a bit further was a good option. I was concerned that my blood pressure would be high. I knew I was already stressed. Before leaving home I had Tension Tamer Tea, then a cup of Chamomile Mint for good measure. I was concerned that my blood pressure would be HIGH! My children wanted me to ask our doctor about my knees. Confirmed — I have arthritis. I also asked about my stiff neck. He showed me an exercise to do to help loosen it and also prescribed a muscle relaxant. Thankfully my blood pressure wasn’t high. I received a few prescriptions that I needed to pick up on Friday. Since we had extra dogs, a young one that liked to get into trouble, I went by myself.

I must have looked extremely OLD and very tired. Before leaving home, I tried to boost my energy with coffee and tea. It didn’t really work. My plans called for two more stores besides Costco. At Aldi’s, I thought I picked a parking space that would allow enough room to open the door and exit. I had TROUBLE — my legs didn’t want to bend. They got stuck. The woman in the car next to me must have noticed my problems, she started her car, backed up enough for me to open the door completely, then moved back into her spot. Amazed, I was EXTREMELY GRATEFUL!

Trader Joe’s was my next stop. No problems finding a parking spot that allowed me to exit the car. Still room to get back in the driver’s seat when I returned from shopping. I decided to take the cart back. Returning to the car I realized I should have exited at the ramp, instead of the higher curb. Assessing the situation, I decided to move back to the ramp when TWO ASIAN woman came by and offered me a steadying arm to descend. Once again, I was EXTREMELY GRATEFUL. I LOVE it when I have help shopping. THANK YOU!

AFRICAN VIOLET UPDATED

AFRICAN VIOLET UPDATED

This thought ramble was written and published before. Of course, I had forgotten I wrote it and was surprised when I saw the title, already used. Since I like what I had written. I decided that updating was an option.

SPRING is poking its head around the corner. The winter of 2019 has been LONG, COLD, ICY! I have been restricted to the house because of the ice. FINALLY the ice path in our back yard has MELTED. Remembering to water the African violet I was surprised to see flowers. In the past, I think it has waited until June to bloom. It is still March. Usually it might have one blossom, at the most two. This year it has SIX. Thank You Muscles. (Now you know why an addition was called for.)

My father’s mother used to grow beautiful African violets. I didn’t pay attention to the care she gave them, I just liked the flowers — purple, white, doubles, pink. I bought an African violet when we first moved into our house and it promptly died. Not giving up easily — I bought another. Then another — and so on and so on. It didn’t take many plants before I learned that I didn’t have a green thumb. I didn’t know if I watered them too much or not enough. I learned that they needed to be watered from the roots — which I did. They had access to light, not bright sunshine but filtered light. Didn’t matter — they picked up their leaves and left.

Since I have had so much success with African violets, I am AMAZED that a plant that was given to me more than twenty years ago is still not only alive but thriving. I DON’T FERTILIZE IT, weeks go by when I forget to water it. It still blooms every spring. Sometimes it overgrows its pot, a portion of it wilts and the rest recovers.

This plant was given to me by MUSCLES. I think I have written at least one thought ramble about him, and referred to him in others. Muscles was a VERY DARK, elderly African American man. He adopted our family when our children were small. He took them to many Cub games and planted a garden in our back yard. His tomato plants were taller than our garage. Our back yard didn’t get much sun, so we didn’t get many tomatoes. He planted two apple trees and a lilac bush at our camper. Sadly because of the tornado, only the lilac bush is surviving and blooming.

So why do I mention this now. Because I remembered to water the plant today and it looks fantastic. More often than not I forget to water it and NEVER feed it. The only reason it is surviving is that thankfully someone unseen is taking care of it. I’ll admit that when I see the plant, I think of Muscles and the difference he made in our lives.

PUSHED

I have always LOVED to walk. As a teenager, it was nothing to walk over 5 miles in a day. I’ll attribute it to my maternal grandmother. She didn’t know how to drive, nor did she have a car. In Wisconsin, we walked everywhere unless we hitchhiked. I continued to walk a lot after we had children. I regularly walked three miles at the camper in the morning. That is until about three years ago when my knees became a problem. Since then I’m lucky if I get 5,000 steps a day. If I’m honest I’ll admit that mostly it is 3,000 or less.

Then I found a note book from 2017 in which I wrote details from our trip to Hawaii. We enjoyed walking from Waikiki beach down the ocean front, looking for turtles, back to our time share. It wasn’t unusual to log over 14,000 steps a day. We are going again this year. My son has reminded me that I won’t be happy if I have to sit on a chair and watch the world go by.

I have increased the number of steps from 3,000 — 4,000 January, February to 6,000 — 7,000 March. That is a LONG WAY from 14,000. Thankfully my knees aren’t the problem that they were. I wish I could say that my weight was down. That would be LOVELY. Because of the ice, I’ve been walking more in the house. I’ve have been trying to get at least 3,000 before going upstairs. Now that I’ve increased the total, 7,000 this week, I have had to increase the amount– trying for 4,000 before going upstairs. I was amazed when I easily reached 7,000 every night.

I try to walk at every commercial. Since most of the time I’m not watching a public channel, there are a lot of commercials. I also try to do stretches before going to bed. Once I reach 7,000, the rest of the night is mine and I don’t push. Will I get the number of steps up to 10,000 EVERY DAY? Good question — no answer. I’ll admit that 7,000 is easier than 5,000 was.

Losing weight? I wish! I write down the food I eat every day. Except for minor treats — wine, popcorn — I don’t eat junk. I don’t know if I get the recommended number of fruit and vegetables into my diet every day but I don’t fill the space with bread, or candy or pop. I read, with interest, the new recommended diet that will help you lose 40lbs in 30 days. I look at the food they recommend. For the most part, those foods are in my diet. I don’t have a lot of (junk food) to give up. Increasing my exercising hasn’t helped either.

On a different note: I am ALWAYS so HAPPY when I realize I have “friends from high places” helping me shop. Recently I was at Costco, searching for Mountain Dew. UNSUCCESSFULLY! I asked a uniform person working in the freezer but he wasn’t part of Costco’s staff. A shopper (Costco employee in disguise) heard my question and came to my aid. There was ONLY ONE CASE of Mountain Dew left, he knew where it was and retrieved it for me. THANK YOU!

SHOES

It’s not fair. Two pair of shoes, different styles, wore out at the same time. To be honest, they didn’t wear out, they just wore enough in the soles that wearing them was hazardous to my body. My knees and my hips, both were beginning to protest.

I didn’t worry to much. I thought I had extra pairs for a backup. Surprised, pulling out the new shoes I discovered that the new gym shoes were NOT the same as the pair I had been wearing that were SO comfortable. Instead there were TWO pairs of the same style that a note in the toe said were too tight.
Sadly they still are too tight in the toes.

Once upon a time that wouldn’t have been a problem. Now almost ALL of the shoes have a memory foam insole. The problem with the foam is since I wear out the outside edge of the shoe, the foam keeps that position and it affects my knees and hips. After one pair of memory foam shoes, I learned my lesson. If I was able to wear a pair of shoes for a couple of months, spending more money for a pair wouldn’t be to much of a problem. Since sometimes a pair of shoes doesn’t even last two weeks, we can’t afford to keep my feet in expensive shoes.

I have to admit that I have been searching for shoes for a couple of months. I’ve been wearing slippers at home to try to stretch the wear on my shoes. Except somehow I injured my right ankle and need more support than slippers give me. To make matters more interesting, I’m trying to walk more than 5,000 steps each day.

It is still winter — wearing sandals doesn’t work. I NEED GYM SHOES! At the store, a quick scan of woman’s shoes revealed many different types — ALL WITH MEMORY FOAM! Except for heels which I haven’t worn in a LONG TIME. Scanning men’s shoes sadly revealed more of the same. UNTIL I found two different styles that DID NOT have memory foam. I have to admit, both came home with me.

Next time we go to the store, I will have to buy another pair or two before they switch to memory foam. Over 5,000 steps in the first pair, my knees and hips didn’t protest. Neither did my feet. It would be VERY HELPFUL if my weight would decrease enough that my shoes would NOT wear on the edges. It would also be helpful if my feet would shrink so the new shoes I have would fit.

Our son’s birthday is on the horizon, he was named after my father and St. Joseph. At Aldi’s, I found Hershey cheesecake mini bites that we both enjoyed. Every time I go to the store I search without success. They must have been a Valentines Day special. On Ash Wednesday, my father must have been shopping with me. I looked for the Hershey bites unsuccessfully. Then I remembered an item I had forgotten. Reversing, I proceeded back down the aisle. Face to face with the refrigerated case, I saw the Hershey bites I had been searching for. In the store for Mardi Gras, they were on close out. Two containers came home with me. Thanks DAD!

WARRIOR

When my granddaughter was at St. Joseph hospital because of her headaches, I told her we should compose a story about an Amazon Warrior who used her strength to battle the headaches and thunder boomers. I don’t know if that idea ever really became a story. While she was in the hospital I gave her the puppets I had acquired for her birthday — a Unicorn and a Pegasus. Unable to visit on her birthday because of her headaches, the idea for a story became a painting.

I will be the first to admit that I do not have the ability to draw. I needed a female warrior, a stick figure would not work. I tried to draw the image, it turned out better than I expected. Now I will admit that I petitioned everyone on my “spirit team” for help. I tried to draw a unicorn — the image had no relationship to the being I was trying to draw. I tried to draw a shield with limited success.

I hoped that paint would improve my drawing ability and drew a new image on a canvas board. I decided to put in a mountain with storm clouds leaving followed by blue skies with wispy white clouds. The sky, the clouds, the mountain became the image that I wanted. The female on the other hand, became a challenge. First I decided that she needed to move back on the canvas. She was too close to the front. I finally was able to improve on the image so that I had a female warrior, standing tall, ready to take on the world. The shield was another matter. I realized I had no idea what a shield looked like, let alone where to place it or paint it.

The unicorn was another matter. Poor unicorn, ears aren’t too bad, body is pudgy, eye and nose are okay.
The best I can say is that I tried. I decided not to clutter the background up with rocks or trees. After I fussed with the sky and the clouds and the grassy terrain, I knew that I had to take a photo and send it to her. It might have been possible to improve on the unicorn, it might have been possible to make it even more of a mess. I might have hidden it behind a tree. The photo gave her a smile.

I learned that I had trouble with the brushes. I learned that I had trouble with the paint. I learned that if I wanted to join the artists painting on location in the country I had to practice. I had planned to start painting when we first came home from the country. I didn’t! Hopefully — winter is almost over. Spring will soon be here. I have an easel and chair for wandering, I just need to PRACTICE so that I’m more comfortable using my materials.

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