Thursday, December 27, 2018


This phase of outdoor art is bittersweet.  Mr. Ralph got it started but all our friends and neighbors got it finished just a week before he departed.  When he became too weak to walk around (and boss around) workers and friends, he would sit on the deck and "supervise".  

Can you move that rock a little to the right?  No, MY right.  Can you switch those two plants?  Do you think that is enough sand for the base?  These men are saints.  They asked his "advice" all through the project.  They brought him bottled water rather than the other way around.

These friends had only known us a year or two so you can imagine my surprise when they just pitched in and took it over.  Bob and Paula did the artistic design, found someone who would bring their leftover concrete to make the stepping stones (with geckos stamped in a few of them), went hither and yon buying meaningful stone art and bringing it by for approval, or not.  

I cannot thank everyone enough.  They added landscape lights so it's very easy to direct a pizza delivery or guests coming after dark from the airport.

A labor of love.  By and for Mr. Ralph.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


As you can tell, we focused on the outside for a few years.  Oh gosh, did Mr. Ralph love puttering outside all morning.  Then in the hot part of the day, we could go upcountry (yes, Maui has a 10,000 ft tall mountain) to visit nurseries or to an outdoor "stuff" place or a Farmer's Market or a honey stand.  Kihei gets HOT in the afternoon.


Or we would do shopping in the air conditioning.  The first thing, of course, was a bed.  He chose a headboard that fit within one inch of the wall! 

The special turtle three panel art was made by our Maui artist friends who also moved back to the mainland to be with brand new grandchildren.  Forgive the crazy room colors.  This one is our ocean room.  The guest room is the tropical forest room.  Calming vanilla in the rest of the house and we did have a wine colored accent wall (have since painted that vanilla as it lightened up the whole room)  Corny but we love it.

We rented living room furniture for a month to see what arrangement we liked best.  We bought old people conversation pit furniture ... a sofa and a loveseat that are all recliners!  And arranged a round glass coffee table in the middle .. no sharp edges to attack our shins and room to recline without moving it.  It kinda makes the room look bigger since you can see right through it.  Same with end tables.

I remember the shopping experience of every stick of furniture in that place.  The bar stools are part of the dining set.  If we have eight people over, we have eight chairs.  If my sister was trying to teach me bridge, we had four chairs.  If the crowd on the back deck grew, we could easily take them outside.

A friend (neighbor) found that Buddha box (above the lamp) and our other friend/neighbor installed a small light inside, then hung it for us.  The stand alone chair was purchased from another other close friend when they had to move back to the mainland.

We brought VERY few items over to Maui, only things that would fit in a suitcase or carry on.  It was a process and we took every step together.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


This was our first "improvement" and I was thinking it was a ridiculous idea.  An OUTDOOR SHOWER?  We had TWO perfectly good showers and tubs inside.  He did a good job selling me on it and he was so excited, I just said yes.  BEST yes ever!  After it was built, we never showered inside again.  It is super huge, a nice large bench as well as a shelf on the wall behind the little artsy things (from Walmart).

A lot of houses in tropical areas have outdoor cold water showers without enclosures to rinse off snorkel or scuba gear and sandy bodies.  Happily, we added hot water and a bit of privacy to boot!

We had tons of cedar decking in Oregon and we treated it every year.  They still look brand new because of the product.  No one on Maui sold it (manufactured in Portland, Oregon) so I had to have it shipped over! $$$$  The owner was so nice and said if we sent her a photo, she would give us the shipping for free!  It's like putting hand lotion on wood.  Just gives wood a lot of protection from sun and water.  The first thing we did was have our neighbor kids (and parents) over for an outdoor shower party (with swim suits).  They just thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread!

The door hooks closed to the wall when not in use as Maui does get some wind.  The builder built it just tall enough so that the neighbors on either side could not see in from their second story windows.

Jim, the builder, took a shine to Mr. Ralph and the two of them brainstormed how to make the back yard more usable.  They decided on engineered wood (plastic) and then continued scheming to build it all the way out to the backyard fence!  It would cover the existing cement patio, just meet with the patio door from dining area and be one expanse of lush.

Mr. Ralph created the "fence art" of bamboo shade/fern because the white fence was too blaring white for my eyes!  We had many good times, large groups and small, over the three years that he was alive to enjoy it.  Worth every penny ... and we became friends with the builder!

The following year we added the side deck.  I wanted all green plants with white flashes from flowers or variegated plants.  He spent hours digging up existing plants and putting them in pots, for better soil (hard clay in Kihei) and so he could install a drip system to each one.  The palm trees got their own drip also.

We called this our meditation deck.  There's a gate to the front yard at the end down there, so we could prop it open and people could join us without walking through the house.

After his death, I got rid of the huge Costco dining table and chairs, and bought a few lightweight chairs and a coffee table from Amazon (free shipping) which I put together myself!  So I have two distinct areas ... my coffee nook just outside the dining room sliding door (for four) as well as a small party area for four that we can easily change into a larger area and bring over lightweight chairs.  You might see that some of these seats are two chairs stacked.  Everyone has a spot to sit their beverage.  

At Christmas I would get a giant poinsettia for that back corner and call it good.  A friend helped me string lights on the back fence one Christmas and now I just kept them up all year.  Instant party mood.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


The before look .....

The floor plan for 952 square feet.  Smart planning to put bedrooms as far apart as possible.  The "great" room has cathedral ceiling making those three rooms look much larger than they are.

The kitchen was perfect with a great view of the little backyard.  The first thing Mr. Ralph did for me was to put up little tiny white lights along the lania ceiling.  Just like the Oregon house.

The teeny tiny lanai (patio) with roof extension to keep off the hot sun.  The back of the house faces the West (afternoon sun!).  Not very big to entertain but we set up two chairs and a table and coffee out there every morning

This is the South side of the house.  Notice all that green grass?  It didn't take long to get tired of mowing every week, fertilizing and watering.  

This is the North side of the house.  We called it the junk side as we parked a lot of things out there.  Lawn mower, garden tools, etc.

This was his first project.  Best grass in the whole yard on the north side!  He dug it up and shared it with neighbors as well as put in some patches in other parts of our yard.

This is the east part of the junk side.  Ugh!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


For 30+ years, Mr. Ralph and I (and Kate) vacationed in Maui.  All those years we stayed at the same condo complex, Sugar Beach.  It boasts 7 miles of sandy beach.  Great for walking and shallow into the ocean, which is great for kids.  A very family oriented location and we had seasonal friends ... since we usually planned around school vacations.

Every year, we would go to open houses.  Eventually hooked up with a realtor who year after year would cart us around.  Leslie MS, you are an amazing friend.

When Mr. Ralph retired at age 75, I had surreptitiously arranged for a three month sabbatical to see if we really liked Maui ... or did we just like being on vacation there.  I rented a furnished apartment and a beater car so we could just live there.  As usual, we asked Leslie to show us around.  The perfect little house and finally, just within our reach.  We had some quick thinking to do. 

Kate was out of the nest, the Oregon house was too big and too much maintenance although I wanted a tiny place in Lake Oswego so we could go back and forth.  Just in case she ever got married and had children. 

We DID like living there and we were quickly learning where to go for less expensive food (and yes, there is a Costco and Walmart).  Cheap eats for when we wanted to go out.  Enjoying the beach and ocean and sunshine costs nothing! 

On March 10, 2014 we bought the Dream.  Two days later Kate called to say she was pregnant … due in October. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018


I had my six month visit with Doogie Howser (not his real name ... but his real age!) last Thursday.  He walks in and asks (as always) "How are you doing?"  I answered "Embarrassed."

He grinned and told me to spill the beans.  Six months ago I had committed to  next week.  For all of those weeks!  So he gave me one more chance before I have to get my blood work done (to bring down the AIC levels).  Six weeks.  Six weeks of eating holidays.  Christmas cookies are my favorite!  And Chex Mix. 

I know I should be moving more and eating better.  Both of us think that's all it would take.  Being the procrastinator I am, I'd say OK, for sure I am starting ... NEXT WEEK, because six months is a long way off and I can beat this in just three months.  I wanted to lose weight before the big wedding.  (I'm embarrassed to look at photos of myself) and yet I didn't.  So this is my last chance.

Otherwise, I go on meds for Type II Diabetes.

Well, what is wrong with being on medication?  So many oldsters I know (including one of my brother) take pills.  I have a YOUNG friend who learned she had Type II and she began the battle.  Cutting way back on carbs (and she is a FABULOUS cook), doing a cleanse once a week, eating earlier in the day and moving more EVERY SINGLE DAY.  She reversed it!  And lost a little weight to boot.  Visit Leslie at Breakfast with God  (  In fact, I think she did a whole week of fasting/cleansing to kick start her metabolism.

When I was casually thinking of taking the easy way out, she reminded me of all of the horrible side effects of diabetes.  Once I read all of the things that can happen as a result of diabetes, I, too, was scared witless.

The following list is from the Mayo Clinic website.  Verbatim.

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis) and high blood pressure.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which often eventually requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.

  • Alzheimer's disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. The exact connection between these two conditions still remains unclear.
So, as of Thursday afternoon, I started looking at grams of carbs on packages. A low carb eating plan is about 50 - 150 grams per day.  One SMALL slice of Dave's Killer Bread is 12g of carbs.  A tiny (2") potato is 37 g of carbs.  One ounce of potato chips is 16g (who eats just one ounce???)  And so on.

Luckily for me, I still like to cook.  I made spaghetti and meatballs (spiralized zucchini noodles)(enough for two dinners).  Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, toasted nuts and chevre with a grilled piece of salmon.  One half of a 2" potato (my dessert!).  One night Jesse grilled steak.  Tonight will be cauliflower mashed potatoes, stir "fried" mushrooms, peppers, onions, carrots and green beans with a baked chicken breast.  I'm going to make a chicken bone broth based cabbage soup for one day.  

It is possible for me to eat better.  No more finishing up the boys' french fries or mac n cheese.  More protein.  More fabulous salads (my sister is the ultimate salad chef so I'm going to mimic her).  Fortunately I do not have a sweet tooth, so eggs in the morning are perfect (instead of skipping breakfast).

Send me positive vibes!


Oh, gosh!  The season has started!!  My favorite holiday of the year.  Especially because children are involved.

The little family went out to get a fresh cut tree on Saturday as I made a "fancy" family dinner.  The dining room table was transformed from arts and crafts, homework, catch-all and nail polishing station to an inviting Christmas scene.  I bought a Costco roasted chicken and pumpkin pie.  Then I made dressing (Ree Drummond recipe)(some cornbread in it!), gravy, Pennies from Heaven (Silver Palate)(candied carrot coins), cornbread muffins, homemade ranch and a super veggie tray.  And we learned a few more manners ... "I'm finished eating, may I be excused" and they always take their dishes to the kitchen.

I used the fancy wine glasses I inherited from my Adopted Grandmother for everyone.  Each boy had a knife at their setting.  After feasting and enjoying great dinner conversation, we watched The Christmas Chronicles (Kurt Russell) with a fire in the fireplace.

On Sunday, Momma and the boys started the tree decorating.  The best part is listening to them say "Oh, I member dis one" and then they tell the story.  I lost my box of favorite ornaments when we downsized ... and Mr. Ralph took ALL the boxes to Goodwill.  But we have so many memories anyway.  We each gave Kate an ornament each year so she has enough for her own tree!  

Delicate porcelain baby shoes for Baby's First Christmas, Cookie Monster (or coo coo mon mon as her two year old self called him), the Nutcracker, a red car with a blond girl driving for Sweet Sixteen, and so on.

My Mom made her a few ornaments as well.

Their tradition is to let each boy choose their own ornament.  Mr. 4.5 wants a CocaCola bottle and Mr. 8 wants and an action figure. 

Let the magic begin!

Thursday, November 29, 2018


For the past few years here, I have been the Family Hermit. 92% of my life involves one or more of my roommates.  Sometimes it's just the dog, but I have made this place a very comfortable Awkward Widow's nest.  

Since I quit the crazy one person HOA Board of Directors (I'm just not a very good puppet), I have moved myself to the background of condo living.  I'm friendly when I meet neighbors, and I'm neighborly when required.  A new(er) friend of mine, who has been clean and sober for 3 years, asked why I didn't accept invitations from friends and family.  I think I have a touch of social anxiety.  

Many of us know the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation.  Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations.  For me it is large groups where I know only one or two people ... and they have others to chat with.  My friend and I had a conversation about it and he gave me some good advice. He also struggled with it and learned if I continued to hide behind the uncomfortableness, many aspects of my life, not just the social, could start to fall apart. Kate also suggested that I was setting a bad example for the boys and soon they might want to stay home instead of being with their cousins and extended family.

The grandkids were SHOCKED when I told them I was coming to Thanksgiving this year.  (Part of my hesitancy is that Jesse's side of the family are hard drinkers and they used to pressure Kate and Jesse ... oh, just one won't hurt.  They are also "seat of the pants" when planning.  No one really knows who is doing what or where or what time.  In fact, we were an HOUR late as his Mom gave us the wrong time!)

I asked about the Christmas gathering and heard it direct from Jesse's Mom who is hosting (her).  Someone else told me about the $10 gift exchange.  Another cousin said bring an appetizer or dessert.

A former neighbor called to invite me to their church musical on December 1.  I explained I don't drive in the dark (and rain) any more so they are picking me up!  Me?  In a church?  Beware of lightning and thunder!!

Last but not least, I am hosting a dessert buffet Saturday, Dec 15 when the Christmas Ships drive past our complex on the Willamette River.  This tradition started in 1954 when a few boater friends lit up their boats and took friends for rides!  Now there are two fleets, one on the Columbia River and one on the Willamette.  Once or twice they join forces and on the 15th it is the big combo!  I have 26 people confirmed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Jesse is a remarkable man.  A good mate, a fabulous father and a great Mr. Mom.

When Deacon was born, they decided to have Jesse be the stay home Dad.  I was invited back when Braeden started Kindergarten.  Jesse doesn't drive and I was concerned about what would happen if he got sick or hurt at school.  The elementary school is about 2 miles away ... all uphill on the way there.  For the first few months, Momma would drop B at school before she went to work.  Jesse and baby Deacon would walk to pick him up at school and they would all walk home.  And then the cold rainy season began.  They decided to let him try taking the school bus.  He LOVES riding the bus.

Jesse does everything around the house.  The never-ending laundry.  It took YEARS for him to allow me to FOLD the clothes.  He hangs most everything except towels, pajamas, sox, jeans and underwear.  I cleaned out both dressers and labeled the drawers.  Now I can help by putting their clothes away and Braeden can find his own outfit and get dressed.  Deacon can almost do it all on his own.

Mr. Mom does 90% of the cooking!  And very healthy.  We go through 3 lbs of broccoli a week.  And carrots by the bushel.  Mr. B loves fruit but Deacon is down to just liking apples right now. We've had sweet potato pasta with herbed cream sauce.  Shepherd's pie.  Spaghetti marinara.  Breakfast for dinner.  Best fried rice ever. 

For years Mr. Mom would clean up the toys in the living room several times during the day.  Now the boys are trained to pick up Legos if they want to play soldiers.  Pick up the soldiers when they want to do art projects.  And so on.  I didn't think Deacon would EVER cooperate with picking up ... he was always "too tired to help, Dadda" or angry that he had to stop playing and have a meal.  I wasn't sure I'd live through his noisy flailing temper tantrums.  And then he turned 3.  Life is so much easier now.

Often the boys have a friend over.  Whenever it was clean up time, the friend would "have to go home".  Our boys were not happy.  Dadda stepped in and would ask the young chap what time he had to be home ... then would arrange clean up time ten minutes before!

Jesse sweeps the hardwood floors EVERY day at least once.  Vacuums every evening.  He does the dishes (very picky about loading).  I rinse mine and put them IN the dishwasher but he rearranges them every single time.

He prepares their beds each night while the boys are bathing, or reading with me, finding their favorite stuffed animals to put on their pillow.  Not always an easy task as Deacon learned early on to hide his Lambie which would stall bedtime for 15 minutes while the parents looked frantically (sometimes in the fridge, under furniture, behind books in the bookcase and once in the freezer!)  Gramma performed major surgery on Lambie and inserted a Tile that we can ring from our phones.

He lights candles every day, dims the lights in order to calm them down at dinner time.  While they eat, he goes outside to sweep the patio, blow the leaves, get the mail, whatever.  Empties the trash cans and does the recycling.  (He's training Mr. B to empty the recycle container into the proper bins).

They get plenty of physical exercise every day, rain or shine.  Ride bikes or scooters or go for a hike.  Walk to a favorite fishing spot even though they've only caught one fish.  When  conditions are really bad, he sets up an obstacle course in the clubhouse or they have a major Nerf gun battle.

The ultimate was just recent.  I visit some neighbors about once a week for wine and snacks and politics and gossip and ideas to change the world.  When I came home at 8pm, he had changed the sheets, made my bed, lit a candle and put a mint on my pillow.

My life is wonderful.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


Grandparents are in a great position to sit back and observe grandchildren.  The good and the bad.  I take my time making a decision whether or not to talk to the kidults about a situation.  Often it's a little bit of "advice" over a long period of time.  Sometimes, though, I must present what I feel should be done. We are a household of procrastinators.

Braeden just turned eight.  He still has a soft /r/ and he is embarrassed by not being able to pronounce it correctly.  He confided in me last summer when we were reading books.  He almost started crying ... "why can't I pronounce WORLD like everyone else?".  Man, I almost started crying.  I explained that children need to learn every single sound in our English language.  His Mom had a soft /r/ for a long time also.

I brought it up to the kidults and they Googled it and for a short time, would practice with him.  He told me he couldn't watch YouTube video exercises ... he just does better when someone is with him.  At the start of school, I heard from another Mom that her son was getting speech therapy AT SCHOOL at no charge.

Braeden's teacher this year is Ms. Orme.  He can't get that /r/ hard enough.  Right before they went to his parent teacher conference, I asked them to ask her if we should have therapy for him ... because he doesn't want to speak up in class "in case people laugh at me".  Oh, the teacher says yes, we have a speech pathologist on the District staff and we'll get him going right away.  Both the teacher and the therapist emailed her what would be happening.

That was in October.  Nothing has happened.  I had to force Kate to email the teacher AND the therapist today (Nov 15).  It's been over a month and they haven't even evaluated him yet!  By the time he gets a once a week session school will be out for the summer.   And we've lost another year!

If it doesn't start soon ... and maybe even if it does ... I'm going to get advice on using a pediatric speech pathologist and I will pay to get him some help.  And they will have to pay me back.

Maybe I should have pushed harder earlier.  Reading online made it sound like it wasn't a big issue until age 7.  Today while playing Legos with Deacon ... I discovered he usually says /r/ words perfectly.  (We practice Girls Rule and Boys Drool and then they love to make it the other way around, of course).

Now it will be rough on the big brother.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


The days here are getting shorter and shorter.  It is pitch black at 5:45 pm.  I have to shut my blinds and turn on all the lights in my Granny Pad to be able to not fall asleep at 7:30!

It’s also gotten COLD already. (This is when I think I shouldn’t sell my Maui cottage … and just live there 5-6 months a year!)  If I could just win the lottery …

Fortunately I have built in company, so I’m never at a lack for conversation.  But since I’ve been spending more time indoors, I finally hooked up Alexa in my room.

I was thinking about putting her in the living room but once you hear little boys asking her questions, you can see I made the right decision.  I doubt I’ll ever use her for very much (there is amazing potential), it’s nice to turn on some music or ask the weather or the headlines.  I might see if she can read me to sleep each night!  Or soothing music for 20-30 minutes.

They ask for jokes.  Poop jokes.  They ask her to fart.  She does.  They ask her to burp.  She does.  They ask for music.  Dance music or Michael Jackson music or relaxing music or elevator music. They come in at night to say Alexa, good night.  She always has something nice to say to them.

Braeden’s second grade class has access to iPads several times a week.  He came home one day so excited about a Math “game” that I promptly researched it online and then downloaded it on my phone and we played it for over half an hour.  It was hard for me to see the game on the iPhone (over his shoulder), so I broke down and bought an iPad for me!  I had given Mr. Ralph’s old one to Jesse when I returned as I prefer a real keyboard. 

They sure have gone down in cost since we bought one for Mr. Ralph.  This one is wifi only so no monthly cost.  (In fact, I have made all devices except cell phones wifi only).  Before we know it, iPads will be mandatory in elementary school!  Even Deacon knows his way around.  (I had to remove YouTube on my devices as it allows inappropriate videos, he doesn’t like YouTube Kids … dat’s for babies, Gramma.) 

And I have so much to learn with Siri!  Since she was invented to work well with Apple products,  she has access to my address book, I can ask her when someone's birthday is.  Or an address while I'm writing the envelope.  I need to use her more for writing emails and texts.

Or maybe this blog!

Thursday, November 15, 2018


I made these for dinner before trick or treat time

I ran out of time to make these

I ended up cutting biscuit dough in strips 
and adding a smoked almond finger nail

Filled these with mac n cheese.  
B dumped out the mac n cheese and ate the pepper!

I've made several variations of a turkey.  This is my favorite!

Thank goodness for Disney!  So easy to make Olaf.

I've only made these ONCE.  Very time consuming!!

I've made these lots of times!

This one is soooo easy!

 Black sesame seeds for the spots.  They fell off pretty easy

I used a curled green onion strip for the tail.

Who says you can't play with your food!??

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


You just gotta love Facebook.  If someone disagrees with your take on things, just call them names!  That'll show them!!  While I have not done a scientific study, it seems to me that the people DOING the name calling are often describing themselves.

Yesterday I was called ALL three of these things ... all from the same person.  Although this time, NOT on Facebook!

Some common signs of passive-aggressive behavior include:
  • bitterness and hostility toward other peoples’ requests
  • intentionally delaying or making mistakes when dealing with other peoples’ requests
  • having a cynical, pessimistic, or aggressive demeanor
  • frequently complaining about feeling under-appreciated or deceived
  • Science does not yet call this a mental condition although it seems to go hand in hand with some illnesses.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.  Most of the time people just throw out this term when your mood is opposite to theirs.  If I'm having a good day and  Susie's day started off wrong the moment she got out of bed, I'm bipolar.  Since I've been on the wrong side of the bed before, I think today I am just lucky!

For people who have had this illness diagnosed, it seems like antidepressant medication can keep it under control.  The trouble with this disease is often people stop taking their medicine because they "feel better”.

Some signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder
  • Sense of self-importance. ...
  • Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. ...
  • Needs constant praise and admiration. ...
  • Sense of entitlement. ...
  • Exploits others without guilt or shame. ...
  • Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.
I just happen to think the person who called me all of these, is going through an EXTRA unhappy phase (think Eeyore)  Said person can complain about a sunny day!

It may seem hard to believe, but I think there is a lot of truth behind the idea that happiness is a choice. Even though genetics and life circumstances play a role in happiness, you do have control over a lot of it. If you bring consciousness, gratitude and even frivolity to your day, you'll likely feel more joyful. So, just how can you do that?

Try these five ways to boost your level of happiness:

Reconnect with what brings you joy. From throwing around a baseball to taking art classes, everyone has activities they used to enjoy. Perhaps a busy schedule or aging body got you out of the habit or made you feel like you should quit. Regardless of the reason you stopped, give those fun activities a try again. Reconnecting with what you love to do is a simple way to increase your joy.

Get in the zone. Have you ever been so involved in something that time seems to stand still and your concerns seem to disappear? This is called being in a state of flow. It's a state of complete engagement in the task at hand, and it can boost your happiness. Playing a musical instrument and getting lost in a good book are examples of how you can get into the flow.

Find novelty in everyday life. Your brain is attracted to things that are new or novel. When you are paying attention to something new, you are focused on the present moment, which can boost feelings of happiness. Engage your brain by finding something new or seeing something in a new way. You don't have to go bungee jumping off the Eiffel Tower. Start with something small, such as looking up at the clouds. Although the clouds aren't new, each cloud is different, and be honest, when is the last time you did this?

Put yourself first. There will always be something you "should" be doing. That to-do list will never end. It's up to you to find balance. If you keep a calendar, add something at least once a week that's just for you. Let your family know that this is a priority, so you don't risk canceling as soon as something else pops up. It can be as simple as spending an hour at the library.  Or buying a tiny bouquet of flowers for your night stand.

Immerse yourself in nature. Spending time in nature can reduce stress and increase feelings of vitality, awe, gratitude and compassion. The natural world helps remind people that they are but small beings on this planet and gives them a greater sense of the whole. Nature nurtures and restores. It is one of the greatest resources for happiness.

Walking around, in or out, helps get your heart pumping and your body secreting cortisol ... the anti stress hormone!