Beating Isolation Doldrums

To paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the movie Terminator, I’m baaaack. In his case it was a bad thing, at least for his enemies. In my case, it’s a good thing for everyone, at least that’s the hope.

Too bad I choose to come back during a time of self-quarantine, social isolation, and personal distancing, there will be no traveling, at least for now. However, ideas do not carry germs or viruses, they are free to be shared and that’s the point of this blog anyway, to share ideas and help everyone figure out their take on this thing called life.

Since one of my themes is to live intentionally, for the next few weeks I am doing a series of Facebook Lives about ways to help dispel the gloom of staying home, and ideas for activities to participate in. Ways we can live with intention while we are at home and away from others. Just a note, some of the videos will be remade before being posted on YouTube, because this is a learning curve, and technology isn’t always my best friend, sometimes it is my challenger.

Once they are on Facebook, they’re out there. I will be posting the links here each day, and as I do an improvement video will also post the YouTube link. I will also publish a blog post each day with more ideas and suggestions for that day’s topic.

Facebook Live videos:

Day 1 – A Little Cheese with the Whine before Moving Forward

Day 2 –Look at All the Possibilities

Day 3 – Change Your Environment

Day 4 – Do Unto Others 

Day 5 – Create Routine

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You’re Invited to Participate in Random Acts of Kindness

Tomorrow is September 1, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post here, I will spend the month doing random acts of kindness in his honor. Since his birthday is September 12, my goal is 67 acts by that date.

Youre invited.

You are invited to help me reach my goal. If several people do one act of kindness, that will help me reach the goal. With your help that goal can be not only be reached, but expanded.

As I prepare for my Intentional Random Acts of Kindness tribute to my husband I scoured the internet for inexpensive ideas or free idea. I don’t mind spending money to honor him, but funds only go so far,  Even at just $5 an act, times 67 adds up.

Here are 57 ideas I found or thought of in my quest:

  1.  Let someone merge in front of me on the highway
  2.  Open the door for someone
  3.  Spend the day smiling at everyone
  4.  Do a load of laundry for someone going through a rough time
  5.  Compliment a parent on how well their child is behaving, or has behaved
  6.  Tweet or Facebook comment a genuine compliment to three people
  7.  Decorate a rock and leave it where someone will find it
  8.  Volunteer to read to students at the local school
  9.  Volunteer to help at the local animal shelter
  10.  Treat yourself to  day of kindness, eat a meal on your good china
  11. Call an older relative, or stop by if they are local, for a short visit
  12.  Leave a nice review for an author
  13. Hold the elevator for someone
  14.  Write a nice comment on someone’s blog
  15.  Print (or handwrite) a friend’s favorite lyric or quote, frame it and gift it to them.
  16.  Put sticky notes with positive message on public bathroom mirror
  17.  Offer to return a shopping cart for someone
  18.  Leave a coin in the shopping carts that require one
  19.  Pick up litter – My young cousin went for a walk around his local park, and using the pinchers, collected a bag of trash. He did it before the intentional acts was planned, but I’m counting it anyway. Thank you Tanner for helping make your park a nicer area.
  20.  Treat yourself to kindness, take time to read that book you’ve been wanting to read.
  21. Recycle your bottles and plastics
  22.  Offer to take your neighbor’s recyclable items to the recycle place, if they aren’t picked up at your home.
  23.  Give a coupon you aren’t using to a customer purchasing that product, or leave the coupon on the product in the store.
  24.  Make cards to give out at a nursing home or hospital.
  25.  Deliver the cards you made.
  26.  Post a group photo from your childhood, or teen years on social media, tag the people in the photo you are friends with online but don’t often connect
  27.  Offer a bottle of water to road worker.
  28.  Take your neighbor’s trash cans to the curb for them, or return them after trash pickup to their house.
  29.  Write a positive message on a sticky note, or postcard, and leave it on a parked car.
  30.  Be kind to you. Take a relaxing bath, or invigorating shower and use the special lotion. The stuff you save for when you’re going out.
  31.  Donate used towels and blankets to an animal shelter.
  32.   Read a book to someone in a nursing home or hospital, it may take a couple of days to finish the book, but they will appreciate it.
  33.  Leave a bottle of water or a small snack in your mailbox for your mailman.
  34.  Send someone a postal thank you note.
  35.  Tell someone a joke, even a bad joke, it’ll make them smile if not outright laugh, and laughing is good for all of us.
  36.  Teach someone something, a skill or  a new way of doing a project.
  37.  Create and hang a pinecone bird feeder.
  38.  Ask an older person to tell you a story from their past (or someone your age if you don’t know anyone older.)
  39.  Bake cookies for a friend, or neighbor.
  40.  Be kind to yourself, have a cup of tea (or coffee) and your favorite treat out on your patio or porch. Take time to enjoy your break and appreciate you.
  41.  Send a postal note to your favorite author, or newest author, and let them know how much their book meant to you.
  42.  Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a day of eliminating negative thoughts and words about yourself or your abilities.
  43. Leave a positive review of a local small business on social media.
  44.  Offer to take an older neighbor shopping or to the doctor.
  45.  Help a neighbor with their yard work, mow, weed eat, rake leaves, whatever is appropriate.
  46.  Shovel snow and ice for your neighbor.
  47.  Donate your old eyeglasses. Check with your local Lions club, they often have an eyeglass recycle program.
  48. Ask you neighbors for their old eye glasses to donate.
  49.  Stop to talk to a homeless person.
  50.  Tell your janitor thank you.
  51.  Clean someone’s windshield
  52.  Paint a rock and add an encouraging word on it, give it to someone having a rough time.
  53.  Allow someone to help you. It is an act of kindness to accept an act of kindness.
  54.  If you print an internet coupon, print a couple extra to give to other customers buying the same product.
  55.  Email the manager of a store or restaurant to brag on the person who waited on you.
  56. Put 50 (or more) smiley faces in a box. On the back of each face write something that is special about a friend. Give her the box and tell her to pull out a smiley face whenever  she feels sad, or wants a pick-me-up.
  57.  Share a tidbit of information with someone


Just in case  you have a few dollars to spend on an act of kindness, here are a few more ideas from around the web:

  1.  Leave a larger than normal tip for your wait staff.
  2. Buy someone some flowers
  3. Buy a bouquet of flowers and give them out individually to strangers you meet
  4.  Purchase a product from a student raising funds.
  5.  Donate the product you bought from the student to someone who can use it.
  6.  Instead of buying the product, give the student the cost of the item as a donation for their fundraising.
  7.  Purchase an item from local small business instead of online.
  8.  Leave some quarters in the change machine at the local laundrymat
  9.  Leave an extra toll in the change machine at a toll booth that doesn’t have an attendant.
  10.  Pay the toll for the person behind you at the toll booth that does have an attendant.
  11.  Pay for the order for the person behind you at the drive-through.
  12.  Buy a case, or ream, or package, of paper and donate it to your local school.
  13.  Put together care packages for girls and boys and donate them to your local youth shelter.
  14.  Purchase a popular young adult book and donate it to the local youth shelter.
  15.  Donate a case of dog food to the local animal shelter (call and ask if they use a particular brand.)
  16.  Give a gift card to a local fast food restaurant to the homeless.
  17.  Donate sheets, towels, and food to a local hospice (call and ask what they can use.)
  18.  Donate towels and blankets to animal shelter.
  19.  Make a donation to a friend’s favorite charity in their name.
  20.  Pay for someone’s meal.
  21.  Pay for someone’s coffee.
  22.  Buy a movie ticket for the person behind you at the theatre.
  23.  Give a random person a gift card.
  24.  Start a mini herb garden for someone, give them care instructions when you present the budding garden to them.
  25.  Leave money at the vending machine in an ICU unit.
  26.  Leave snacks in the ICU waiting room.
  27.  Leave coloring book with small package of crayons at ICU waiting room for children or adults who are with family. Leave a note explaining it’s to be used and taken if needed.
  28.  Buy someone a cake.
  29.  Donate several packages of socks to the homeless shelter.
  30.  Donate individually wrapped desserts to the soup kitchen so those eating there can take it with them for later if they want. Also, makes it easier for the staff.
  31.  Buy a stack of reusable bags and leave them with the cashier to give one to each customer after you.
  32.  Fill a small box with toys and donate to the women’s shelter, sometimes children escape violent homes with their mothers.
  33.  Buy four or five, or more, five dollar gift cards to carry and randomly hand out.




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Random Acts of Kindess to Honor a Loved One

David's Intentional acts


For many widows, finding a way to honor their husband, and observe his birthday puts them in a quandary. In the past I’ve handled the issue by making every effort to ignore the day. Because, for me, David’s birthday follows the date of his death too close. That ignoring never worked too well. However, it helped that we had two grandchildren, who are siblings with birthdays the same week as their grandfather’s. So, I tried to focus on them and enjoy the celebrations of their special days.

This year however, I’m adding something new. I will still celebrate with the grandkids. Why not? Time with two of the grands, their parents, cake, ice cream, and an enjoyable day. No reason to skip their days. However, I am also adding random acts of kindness to honor my husband.

A few months ago while doing research for some revisions for my book, Beyond the Grief, I came across this blog post, here, by Tyra Damm about how she, her children, and friends, observe the days surrounding her husband’s birthday by participating in random acts of kindness. Each year her goal is to have the number of random acts of kindness equal her husband’s age.

It sounded like such a good idea, I’m adding her plan to my husband’s birthday observation.

Although David often said he’d never live to see 65, he didn’t even come close. Cancer took him just short of his 54th birthday, so I figured why not celebrate what would be his 67th birthday with 67 random acts of kindness by his birthday, September 12, or in the month of September. It will also help me zoom past the anniversary of his death, Labor Day and September 5.

The year he left this earth Labor Day was September 5, so both of those days signify his departure to me.

To accomplish 67 acts by his birthday means five to six acts per day. That might be a little tough to pull off since most days I stay home and don’t interact with a lot of people.

I have others to join in the giving fun. With any luck, I’ll have some cards that can be downloaded and printed available by September 1. However, that’s questionable since I came up with this idea at the last minute.

Now I’m inviting you my reader to joion in the fun and help celebrate the life of a man who taught and helps kids all of his life. In the next couple of days I’ll be posting ideas for acts of kindness.

You can also do it for the people who perished on 9/11. Whatever reason you choose, I hope you join. Leave a comment here, or on my facebook page, Adventures in Widowhood,  about your acts, and inspire others to  join in.


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Three Things I Learned From The Ultimate Blog Challenge

We have reached the middle of the year and it’s time once again for the Ultimate Blog challenge, an event that happens four times a year, January, April, July, and October. July is both the third challenge of the year and the beginning of the second half of the year.

Back in January, here, I blogged about resolutions, goals, and word of the year. Now that we are smack dab in the middle of the year is a good time to look back and see if progress is being made towards the goals, or resolutions. If you did a word of the year, how’s that working out for you?

Three great things about the Ultimate Blog Challenge are: 1)Meeting other bloggers and following them 2) the ability to start again and 3)learning what works for me in blogging.

I follow several bloggers from the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and continue to read their blogs once the challenge is over. I’ve learned about traveling in Europe, different foods and how to prepare them, tips on technology, although sometimes those are more difficult for me. I follow mommy blogger, food bloggers, grandma bloggers and even met a couple of widow bloggers. The Ultimate Blog Challenge is like a huge meet and greet online.

The second thing I’ve learned from the Ultimate Blog Challenge is that it’s okay to start over, and/or change directions. This blog has gone on lengthy vacations to be restarted with the next blog challenge. It doesn’t matter how many times I stop, as long as I keep starting again, and the challenge helps with that.

The third lesson I’ve learned is figuring out what works for me. I tried blogging weekly, that didn’t work, posts would often be two, three or more weeks apart. With the blog challenge the idea is to blog daily and for about half the month I do a decent job of blogging daily and then something happens. After the last challenge, and in the weeks in between when this blog rested I’ve decided that daily blogging isn’t right for me. While the exact number of posts is still to be decided, it’s nice to know there is a plan of sorts and no matter how many posts there are the Ultimate Blog Challenge bloggers will offer their support.

There were other lessons from the challenges however they will wait for another day.

For now, three is a good number.

Do you participate in challenges of any kind?

Are you taking steps towards your plans made in January?


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Raw Food Experiment

After a recent visit with my new doctor, one of the joys of rural living, the doctors move on, anyway, he mentioned a raw food diet. No, he wasn’t suggesting I do one. Good thing.

This guy is young, young enough to be my grandson, but he wasn’t too young to have some commonsense. He knew suggesting an all-raw diet to this, ahem, older, overweight woman, who lives in cattle country, and who used to be involved in raising pork,  was not a good idea. Not to mention that at one time we raised chickens and rabbits. I am a carnivore. Yes, my husband had a garden, and I have one of sorts. But the vegetables are an accompaniment to the meat, not a replacement for the meat.

As John Pinot said in one of his routines, “salad is a precursor to the meal. It is a promise that food is coming. It is not the meal.”

Also, a raw diet sounded like another way of saying, all salad. Salads for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Salads seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a month. No thank you.

For those of you who are vegan or vegetarian, I’m happy for you, you can have my extra. I want meat once in awhile, not to mention eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt and ice-cream. No, not going to follow a raw food meal plan at this time. Not to say I wouldn’t do it if needed, just not right now.

However, just because I’m not diving head first into the deep end of the raw food pool, doesn’t mean I won’t play in the shallow end. Besides, I was curious, did raw food people combine their veggies in a way to create the feeling of a main dish? I went exploring.

Did you know there are raw food tacos,  lasagna, burgers,  and even cheesecake? My issue with the lasagna, and burgers was the use of what I call fake meat. Nuts and spices to mimic meat. If I want meat I’ll just eat meat. Okay, not true, I will try one of the meatless meat meals later.

For today, I found these veggie tacos with nary a hint of meat or fake meat at the Minimalist Baker. In fact she doesn’t call them tacos, she calls them taco boats.  There’s very little tacoish about them, except they are served in a romaine leaf which is a little like a taco shell. And they are as messy as real tacos to eat, at least for me. Next time I think I’ll make it into a layered salad. Why not?

The only thing I had to buy to make this was the beets, for the beet hummus. It was so pretty and red in her picture, how could I leave it out?

Her recipe called for roasting the beets and while I do roast veggies, this time I was going for no cooking at all. After conferring with my friends, and checking online, raw beets it was.

Also, the recipe calls for cooked chickpeas, so I cheated a little and used chickpea hummus already in my fridge. But, I didn’t cook it today, so that’s raw, sort of.

After washing and peeling the beet, I cut it into chunks and put it in my little manual food processor.

That didn’t get the beets smooth enough, maybe roasting would’ve helped with that.

I moved the beets to the blender and learned two things, a mason jar will fit on my blender, and I shouldn’t do that unless I’m blending something that won’t need to be pushed down. It took several shakes to get everything blended, but in the end it was, and tasted good too.

After making the tahini sauce, which added to the flavor. It was time to assemble the boats. Lettuce leaf, a little beet hummus, purple cabbage, orange mini pepper (if I’d been thinking I’d have used yellow for more color variety, shredded carrot, tomato (I used a roma tomato from a friend’s garden,) chopped avocado, and topped with the tahini sauce.

The cut up tomato may have added to the messiness of the boat, and not my ineptitude.

There you have it, my first raw meal. Okay, technically it was another salad, and those are eaten on a regular basis at my house. Still, it was something new and different. I loved both the beet humus, in fact I snacked on it later with celery and carrots. The tahini sauce added another level of flavor. Huh, always wondered what real cooks and chefs meant when they said that.

Do you ever experiment with meals or food?

What is one food you were surprised to find you enjoyed?

What is one meat dish you don’t think you want to be made vegetarian?



Yes the Blogging A to Z challenge is over for me. The actual challenge ended April 30, my last challenge post was May 31, just a month late. The Ultimate Blog Challenge is also over until next month. It’s obvious I didn’t post every day.

One thing I’ve learned (finally) I am not a daily blogger.  Goal is weekly, possibly a couple of times a week, but no promises. This blog is a learning process, and some days I’m a slow learner. The important thing is to keep learning and hopefully improving.

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Blogging A to Z Final Posts-V to Z

Today, one month late, the Alphabet Challenge of 2019 is officially over for this blog, and the last five letters of the alphabet, V, W, X, Y and Z are taking center stage.

A to Z letter V is for VACATION. Which is appropriate since school is out, and people are scheduling time off from work for vacations. Vacations don’t require a lot of time, several days of vacation time strung together is great. However, if all you can manage is a couple of hours of time for you, that will help reenergize and revitalize you.

Time spent away from the ordinary, whether you work at home or away, if you’re a caretaker, or a driver for others, whatever you do on a daily basis, you need a break. Whether you call it a vacation, or just a weekend getaway, it’s time for you and it’s important.

Short two hour vacations, or lengthy month long vacations are beneficial and we all need those breaks.

A to Z letter Wis for WRITING. Studies have shown that we remember better when we write the idea down. Whether it’s the grocery list, to-do list, dream ideas, whatever is important to you, write it down. Even those wild ideas that seem to come out of nowhere might be important, write it down and see where it goes.

A to Z letter Xis for XEROX which means to duplicate or copy. In fact, it’s also the brand name of a machine that makes copies. However, for life, we can XEROX or duplicate the positive filling our lives with happy memories and good times. Xerox the positive in life and ignore the negative.


A to Z letter Yis for YOU and YES. Say yes to you. If you want to try something different, say “yes” and give it a try. If you don’t succeed no big deal, but when you do? When you do succeed at something new, different, you’ll be flying. So go ahead, say yes. Whether it’s a new hobby, or project, a new route home, or a new way of doing the every day, say “yes” to the experience.


Z is for ZEN. One of the definitions of ZEN is:  An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals. Since worry doesn’t solve anything, create your own ZEN zone and enjoy the peace.

Being in the Zen Zone leads to a Zippity Doo Dah day.

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A to Z Alphabet challenge From Q to U



A to Z letter Qis for QUIRKY. It is our quirks that make us who we are. Whether our quirks are subtle and mundane, wearing mismatched socks painting our toenails ten different colors, or something more obvious, dying our hair purple or wearing mismatched clothing on purpose, it doesn’t matter. Our quirks give us our individuality and make us who we are. Our quirks also make us smile, and sometimes others. Embrace your quirky, it adds color to life.


A to Z letter Ris  RESPECT. Respecting others is good and respecting ourselves is awesome. After all if we don’t respect us, how can we expect others to? Which is why R is for RESPECT.



A to Z letter Sis for SENSATIONAL.  Regardless of your age, your height, your width, your weight, your education, your talents, You are sensational. You have skills no one else has. You have the ability to help someone, yourself or someone else, find their way. You are the person you can depend on. Give yourself some credit and remember how sensational you are.


A to Z letter T is for TERRIFIC. Not traffic, terrific. Although, you are terrific enough to stop traffic. If you think you aren’t terrific, try writing down five reasons, then, write five counter-reasons. reasons you really are terrific. Whatever you think you can’t do, or don’t have, others would disagree. Does your smile lift the spirits of those who see it? Are you skilled at a craft and others enjoy the fruits of your labor? Are you a good to fabulous cook and others enjoy eating your bounty? Consider some of the ways you are terrific.


A to Z letter Uis for UNIQUE. From our size, to our hair color, to our skills, we are all unique and bring something different to our relationships. Rather than trying to fit into someone else’s expectations and smother some of our skills, why not embrace our uniqueness and allow all of our talents to shine? Did you notice a trend today? While the words were supposed to be positive and encouraging, and they are. Turns out they are also positive and encouraging on a personal level.

Embrace your quirks, respect yourself and your talents, acknowledge your sensationalism, enjoy your terrificness, and never forget you are unique.

Tomorrow will finish up the alphabet for the A to Z challenge with five more encouraging, positive words in alphabetical order. June will start a new blogging adventure and I have no idea what direction it will take.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

What is your favorite positive, encouraging word?






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