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Archive for August, 2020

Smoothies and leftovers | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 25, 2020:

low-carb-dietSeveral months ago, diets became a popular topic of conversation at our weekly Home Group Bible Study. It’s not surprising since food is the second most important reason for getting together next to the actual study part. Well, maybe the third since we do enjoy each other’s company a lot. Anyway, it seems that, during the lock down, many of us shared a common experience – we ate too much. David and I attacked our few extra pounds by returning to the gym as soon as it re-opened, but going on a diet seemed to be the remedy of choice.

I sometimes got lost in the discussions of the finer points of the various weight control smoothieprograms, but they all sounded like some version of an Atkins/Keto/low carb regimen. One thing they all seemed to have in common, though, was smoothies. When I thought of smoothies, I pictured concoctions invented by body builders consisting of various powders and additives, some of which have been banned by professional sports associations. But David heard fruit and easy weight loss, and he was interested.

“Maybe we should try smoothies,” he said one morning while I was fixing breakfast – if getting out bowls of cereal and fruit can be considered fixing. (more…)

The best of times, the worst of times | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 18, 2020:

best of timesA Tale of Two Cities, the epic historical novel by Charles Dickens, begins with a famous opening sentence:  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. If you ask most people which of these two choices would best describe 2020 so far, a huge majority would probably choose the latter. Up until last week, I would have readily agreed – but now I’m not so sure.

One night I couldn’t go to sleep, so I left David deep in the land of Nod and went into the living room. After reading for a while, I picked up my phone and began scrolling through some of the posts I don’t usually take the time to look at during the day. Fortunately, few political or controversial posts show up on my timeline – probably because of the type of posts I respond to. Whatever the reason, most of what I get are photos of birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, weddings and other family gatherings. (more…)

In this Together – or Not | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 11, 2020:

we're in this togetherDuring this time of pandemic, social distancing and isolation, the slogan “We’re in this together” has become popular on the news and social media. Many YouTube personalities use it as a tag line to end their videos. However, after seeing people in action, I wonder if we really understand what being in something together really means.

One example of why I wonder happened recently at the gym where David and I work out wipe down equipmentregularly. Before you begin to compose your critique of our workout habits, let me say that the Anytime Fitness in Emory is probably safer than my home. The 6,000 square foot facility allows plenty of space for the machines to be placed at an acceptable social distance from each other. Containers of disinfecting wipes and spray bottles of disinfectant are placed throughout the gym, and clients are required to wipe down machines before and after each use. In addition, the manager Kim is constantly vacuuming and wiping down anything that doesn’t move – so don’t rest too long between sets. And finally, at the time David and I work out, there are usually between two and six other patrons there.

Pig lifting weightsAmong those patrons are two men who work out together, alternately pumping iron and encouraging and spotting for each other. They use the free weights while I stick with the machines on the other end of the building, but I sometimes face in their direction, and watching them takes my mind off my own pain. On the day of my example, they were pressing dumbbells of a size I wouldn’t be able to lift with both hands. Man #1 lay down on the bench and begin to work while man #2 stood at the head of the bench. The headphones of #1 slipped into an uncomfortable position and #2 stepped up and repositioned them without disrupting the flow of the repetitions. As #1 reached the limit of his strength, his arm muscles began to quiver a bit and his speed slowed as he struggled. On the last repetition, he stopped halfway, unable to complete the lift. But #2 stepped up and placed the tips of his index fingers under #1’s elbows and applied just enough pressure to get #1 past the hard spot and allow him to finish.

I smiled as I watched this example of working together, and I looked forward to seeing the interaction when #2 took the bench. Let’s just say I was underwhelmed. As soon as #1 stood up, he grabbed his cell phone and stared at the little screen the entire time #2 went through his presses. In it together? Maybe not.

Another example is further away geographically but closer emotionally. My son and his quarantinefamily live in Granbury – a five hour round trip – so we don’t see them very often, especially since COVID. But Christian and I text regularly, and we recently had a conversation about people we know who have been infected. He told about a couple who invited them to dinner and then tested positive the next day. Thankfully, he had declined the invitation. The heartbreaking part about the situation is that the couple had recently returned from a trip to Mexico and had opted not to quarantine for the suggested fourteen-day period.

Another popular subject on social media, the afternoon talk shows, and the evening news is “my rights.” Some people seem to think that the Constitution grants them the right to do whatever they want to do. But as my brother used to say, my right to swing my arm stops at the end of the other person’s nose. And being in this together may require you to give up some of the things you want to do for the good of someone else.



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Puppy Patrol | by Linda Brendle

Published by the Rains County Leader on August 4, 2020:

dogs multiplyingOur next door neighbors have dogs. First there was one, and then there must have been a visitor because there were puppies. All the puppies went away except one, so then there were two. One is black and is chained under a tree, and the other one is brown and is normally kept in a pen. Apparently, the two resident dogs had visitation privileges or the originally visitor returned because there were puppies again – five of them. They were cute little things. Four were brown with black faces and/or paws, and one was black. For reasons unknown to me, these puppies stayed, and now there are seven.

At first we didn’t see much of the puppies. We had to move the motor home from behind the house because David got tired of digging the tires out of the gopher runs. Now it’s parked between us and the neighbors and blocks our view of what I’ve unofficially dubbed as the Puppy Patrol. When we drove by their yard on our way to town, we would occasionally see them tumbling around in a pile, but mostly they stayed in the pen with the brown dog who is apparently Mama. (more…)

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