Random Acts of "Kindness"

Archive for March, 2019

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.

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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.

REWIND

I can’t count the number of times that I have started over . Weight up — new diet. Some with success for a short time but the weight came back — again and again. The problem is that for the most part I eat a healthy diet. Because of sodium restrictions I don’t eat a lot of processed foods. I don’t drink pop — regular or diet. I don’t eat a lot of bread or cookies or candy. In other words I don’t have a lot of food to give up in order to quickly lose weight. I learned that limiting meat doesn’t work for my body so vegetarian isn’t an option. I’ve been reading that some people have been successful by increasing their vegetable intake and decreasing the amount of protein. Still open to new ideas but treading cautiously. I prefer chicken thighs to chicken breasts. A recent article mentioned that chicken drumsticks and thighs were packed with vitamin K-2, a tough to find nutrient that blocks plaque buildup inside arteries.

I acquired an Instant Pot in the Fall. My plans to use it more often hasn’t worked out as I had planned. I have enough cookbooks. I just haven’t taken the time to develop enough recipes. I also have an older pressure cooker. I have used it for years when I’m cooking dried beans. Recently I used it to make turkey bone broth. A recipe in a new instant pot cookbook suggested it cook for an hour and a half. One and one made two. I realized I could use my older pressure cooker for the purpose. I was comfortable using it, and an hour and a half on the stove — adding heat to the house, seemed worthwhile. The result was fantastic. I’ve also learned that chicken feet are available for purchase at Wal-Mart, an ingredient mentioned for bone broth.

Because of the weather — January, February — I have limited my walking outside. We have a treadmill but I don’t like to use it. When we had our daughter’s dogs as guests, I stopped exercising. All three wanted to help me and I must admit, their help wasn’t needed. When the dogs left, I continued to be lazy. Any benefit I had gotten from exercise was soon lost. My neck became more stiff, hurt to turn when driving. Although I had continued with bone broth, my knees were rebelling. Lack of exercise, weight or weather — it is hard to tell.

I decided that I was going to increase the number of steps I walked each day. I wasn’t going to settle with 2,000. I aimed for 5,000. It is easy to get that number of steps when I’m shopping or walking outside. It is harder to get them when I’m restricted inside. Still stretching– I’m trying to increase the number of steps to 6,000.

Weight is down slightly, not enough to jump up and down and rave about, but my wrist is smaller. I’ve had to tighten the band on my watch. I’m hoping that reduced weight and increased steps will improve not only my weight but my walking ability. `

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