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 We finished the Doggy Days jigsaw puzzle in about ten days.  Adorable puzzle with calming pastel colors but there were little pairs of eyes everywhere.  Various size doggies peeking from behind flower pots and watching from an upper level adobe roof.  When it was finished, Cliff separated all the pieces and we sent it home with Barb.  After taking a few days off from puzzle pieces, I opened the black cat one and spread it out on the dining room table, immediately searching for edges.   Day two................ About a week..................... A couple more days passed.............  Today.............  Looks the same? It is.  This one is a challenge.  Studies show that jigsaw puzzles can improve cognition and visual-spatial reasoning.  Our brains are certainly working hard. Cliff has an oncologist appointment on the 20th but had a four-week follow up with our doctor this morning and brought his scan results with him. We read the results but needed clarification on some of the phrases. 
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When we returned from Florida, my intentions were to sit and share photos of family, but we had a package in our gang box from Lauria, Jim, and grandchildren waiting anxiously to be opened. So it's their fault I got side-tracked.  This was written on the box.  I hope the postal person had the time to read it.  I love Lauria's humor. Guess which one I started first! The windows and porch door are open because it's 70 degrees today.  Wind is picking up.  We've had intermittent rain showers, sun, clouds as the front gets closer. My wrists and hands have some inflammation which will go away after the front passes. I get so engrossed in jigsaw puzzles that the world around me disappears.  My head tells me that if I find just one more piece, I will quit and walk away. But one more piece leads to just another piece.  John and Carolyn's new home.............                                                            Mark Outdoor kitchen in the process.   John playing with T
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 Thirteen years ago on this date, I walked out of my fifth-grade classroom, turned the key to lock the door for the last time, and walked away with mixed emotions.  Twenty-two years of doing what I never thought I would do.  Teaching children and watching them transform was enriching.  As I walked away knowing that I would miss the children, I kicked up my heels and thought about never getting up with the five o'clock alarm or doing lessons plans again!  The next morning Cliff scooped up Maxine and put her in the front seat of the U-Haul.  I drove behind him for the next nine hours until we arrived at 79 Clay Durrett Rd in Murphy, NC, my sanctuary with nature's wild life and mighty oaks. Where did the time go?!  Started collard greens a few weeks ago at the dining room window. Since the huge oak tree finally shed its leaves, the plants get full sun.  Today I'll transplant them out in the kitchen garden and in the containers.  Earlier this fall I pulled all the old plastic o
 It's 7:30 a.m. and as dark as midnight!  And one of my older lady friends from pre-covid yoga classes texted me at 5:15 this morning!  This time of year I peacefully sleep until about six when I slowly return from a hibernating state feeling refreshed. Normally around 7 I can pull back all the winter drapes as the light begins to awaken my birds and the Carolina wren greets me with his good morning song.  This morning dark heavy-laden clouds opened up with an inch of rain in forty-five minutes.  The only saving grace is that the temperature is a balmy 54, not the cutting cold freeze that comes with winter temperatures.  It's been a crazy December with fluctuating temperatures.  Some afternoons I'm in short sleeve t-shirts and capris, doing yoga in the afternoon on my deck under the leafless trees.  Other days I'm in long jeans, sweatshirt, and cozy warm socks.  We're coming into the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year, a difficult time for me, especially
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 Low twenties damp and raw feeling when we got up this morning at six. The only reason I got moving was because the dentist was squeezing me in at eight o'clock.  Saturday morning, always on a weekend when an event calls for a dentist or a doctor, while flossing my crown popped off its post.  Luckily the crown dropped on the floor.  I placed it in a sandwich-size ziplock bag and put it where I could keep an eye on it and away from the trash.  That night we had to attend Cliff's Station 25 Christmas party.  Cliff and I wear masks everywhere we go.  That worked for covering the missing bottom front tooth until....... it was time to eat.  The members are pretty respectful of each other and sat either with their families or small groups all around the room.  I just kept eating so nobody could talk to me.............. Anyway, crown was cemented back on this morning.   Our December weather actually has been quite mild between cold fronts.  Last Friday  I was able to do my yoga outsid
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No good stories or pictures about our Thanksgiving Day with Mark and Jen because Mark didn't come.  He called the evening before to tell us he wasn't up to flying, not feeling quite right.  Jen still flew Thursday morning but after she picked up her rental, she checked into a hotel to recover from food poisoning she got after eating an airport turkey sandwich.  Friday morning she arrived around 10 with news that she had to fly back home in the afternoon because her mother's Parkinson's had progressed and she was in Hospice. Thursday Cliff and I boiled and mashed potatoes and two kinds of squash, red kubota and butternut.  I made a nice cranberry sauce from a new recipe that sounded delicious.  Friday the bone-in turkey breast hit the slow-cooker.  Jen made the crust-less pumpkin pie while we talked and even exchanged Christmas gifts.  At one o'clock we hugged, said our good-byes and she headed back to Atlanta.  Around three o'clock Cliff and I sat down to a smal
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 Cliff and I decided to get away for a few days since we haven't been anywhere in about two years and he was feeling stronger during his six-week break from chemo.  We needed the calm we feel near the ocean and to eat seafood overlooking the salt marshes and ocean waves. This also was my birthday celebration, a drive to Beaufort, SC in lieu of baking my own birthday cake.  Usually when we crave the salt water, we head to Charleston but I needed a different adventure this time.  Beaufort is about a six-hour drive and Cliff wanted to see if he able to do it.  I drove the last hour when he needed a break.   Cliff enjoying fried flounder.  Can you find the vegetables? Hunting Island lighthouse.....................  We walked the beach.................... There was nobody around who could take a picture of us together. Tiny crab taking a chance exposing itself on the beach.  Luckily there were no seagulls flying over or sandpipers running around. We went to the Historic District hoping