Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Joint

Here is my quick six for my post for the Six Sentence Stories blog hop that Zoe administers. (okay, maybe not quite so quick) I'm not sure how Zoe continues to provide these cues each quick, but I'm glad she offers these writing challenges. I'm linking my post to Zoe's Six Sentence Stories - Joint. I wonder what stories others will write this week. If you have that same question, click the link so you can read the other stories, all written with just six sentences.

She remembered when she first saw him off in the distance with three of his male friends. He'd climbed a birch tree near a tall fence to sneak a peek of any potential materials on the other side that they might grab later that night.

With her female friends they once almost entered his territory in a cornfield at the edge of town at sundown. She'd noticed his strength and quickness in picking the fresh sweet corn, but she and her friends turned around and ventured elsewhere to pick, lest there be an encounter.

There was the one time when he approached her in the moonlight when she had been gazing at her reflection in the pond at the historic park in the middle of town. At that moment the attraction was almost instantaneous between the two of them, but as he followed her across the busy street they met a joint deathblow by a speeding oncoming car.

Photo of a raccoon looking down as he straddles a white branch of a birch tree.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Since it is Labor Day Weekend, I am going to use that excuse for doing a quicker Ten Things of Thankful post using mostly photos to deliver my message this time. I'm linking my post to Josie Two Shoes' blog hop Ten Things of Thankful. Click the link to her site to find what others have shared this week. 

1. September is here and the pale purple crocus is right on schedule.

2. These delicious Criterion apples are almost ready to pick.

3. Although it is September, the summer heat wave is still  here, so our shady lane lined with oaks trees on one side and fir trees on the other helps drop the temperature a bit and at least gives the appearance of coolness.

4. Having a window near the top of our open loft allows for us to get a cool breeze in the evenings and let the hot air escape from the higher places in our home. Looking through the window and seeing the large maple leaves blowing in the wind is like looking at a painting. The painting changes each season.

5. Salads are frequently our main meal when the weather is hot. Thankfully we both enjoy them, and I appreciate not having to heat up the kitchen.

6. These pink carnations were part of a beautiful bouquet given to me about three weeks ago. As the different flowers were past their prime, I removed them and transferred the remaining ones into a smaller vase. Now I'm left with the carnations, which still smell very fragrant. I'm thankful for the thoughtful friend who gave them to me and the longevity of these flowers. Click the link to listen to one of my favorite songs when I was much younger.

7. After trying out a couple of different over-the-counter stabilizing products to use on my knee before seeing a doctor and then starting PT, I realized I didn't care for how they fit. When I went for PT this week, she asked if I'd tried any taping. She used some kinesiology tape on my knee and my ankle. What a difference! With the tape combined with the exercises she is having me do, I can see a huge improvement. Staying upright and feeling stable as I am, hopefully future falls will be out of the question.

8. Older movies are so much more enjoyable to me than some of the newer movies. I recently watched Never a Dull Moment, a comedy crime film that was made in 1968. There was an earlier version too, but this is the one I watched. It really made me laugh.

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."
Yiddish Proverb

9. People who watch out for people and include them in activities are a blessing. Today I learned that a woman who visits her loved one in the nursing home where my Mom is included Mom in a summer picnic activity on a day we were out of town when our son was sustained as Bishop in his ward. She sat at a table with my Mom and her relative and enjoyed time with both of them. Mom even played a little game that involved placing colorful tiles on a board.

10. Unexpected flowers that my husband brought home for us to both enjoy made me smile. These orchids are a rose color with an abundance of tiny little darker rose colored dots on the petals. There is also another plant which has green variegated broad leaves and is planted in front of the orchid. There is a lighter green area in the middle of each leaf. 

May you have an enjoyable and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Bend

It is time for another post for the blog hop Six Sentence Stories. Zoe gives those who participate ample days to post their stories, and I appreciate that because sometimes life gets in the way or the inspiration just doesn't come. Today however, I'm ready to post at the beginning of that time allowance. I'm linking to Zoe's Six Sentence Stories - Bend. Be sure to click the link and see what creative juices this cue word has stirred up.

All of a sudden the car seemed very warm as her cheeks flushed and everyone quieted to hear her answer. Why was it so hard to speak up, to stand up for herself and say it didn't happen? Was it the shock that her friends might have believed what had been rumored? Was it because the instigator of the lie was older or that to defy someone wasn't a trait that was allowed in her home, at least not without the expectation of some kind of punishment? Even though she wanted to deny the rumor, somehow the words just didn't come out of her mouth and her friends were left to believe that the rumor about their shy friend was true. As the car came to a stop at the next corner, so did her life make an abrupt bend.

LDS Mormanad

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Border

Today I am just barely squeaking this little Six Sentence Story in under the radar. There is not much time to do this, so I'd better get on with it. I'm linking this one to Zoe's blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Border. By clicking the link you will have a chance to read what other stories have been written using the cue word border.

"Hold still," he said as he tipped her head back in an awkward position. He slipped the thread around her loose tooth and tightened the thread.

The light from a single lightbulb attached to a cord hanging from the ceiling glared down on her face. As she waited for her Dad to jerk quickly on the string, the room began to spin before her eyes and her body suddenly went limp. Her Dad caught her before she fell down onto the gray speckled linoleum covered floor.

She was still feeling a little dizzy and on the border of fainting again when her Dad smiled and placed the tooth in the palm of her hand.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Where can we find evidence of the good things that are happening? That is my question for this week as I contemplate what to write for my Ten Things of Thankful post that I will be linking to Josie Two Shoes bloghop Ten Things of Thankful.

Ten things for which I give thanks. . .

1. The sky, but more specifically, the sun and the moon - It will be difficult to forget the ethereal display of light surrounding the moon on August 21. Even though the magnificent event mid morning didn't last very long, I am so grateful that the sky wasn't filled with clouds in our area which would have made it impossible to view the solar eclipse. Our son and his two daughters were able to join us that day and he and my husband had a great time discussing how to get the best photos as they waited for the opportune photo shoot.

2. Retirement - If it were not for being retired, I would have had to take sick leave a couple of times this past week for two PT appointments and a dental appointment, and would have had to make special arrangements to get our car serviced. My husband would have had the same challenge because of one follow-up medical appointment, and a yearly eye appointment.

3. That I can laugh at myself - I need some physical therapy to help me with some stability challenges I've been having. For one of my appointments this week, the therapist thought it would be helpful for me to walk in the grass between the sidewalk and the street in front of the therapy building. That probably doesn't sound too difficult, but she wanted me to walk as though I was walking a tightrope, the heel of one foot touching the toe of the other foot. The distance I had to walk was about 80 feet. She stood behind me ready to help me stay upright should I get wobbly. She had her work cut out for her, because this proved to be hard for me to do. I commented to her that I was wishing I'd worn something green or brown so I would blend into the surroundings better, rather than the purple pants which made me stand out like a sore thumb to the passengers in the cars passing by on their way to town. That wouldn't have been so bad, if I hadn't looked like a drunken sailor trying to walk the plank. This may have been a motivation for me to practice my PT exercises at home, so I don't repeat this humorous walk in the grass next time.

4. Clean air - Today is perhaps the smokiest day I've ever experienced here. There are a lot of active forest fires in our state, plus an air inversion here today. After going outside to put some trash in the garbage can, I returned quickly to the house, as the smoke is so intense it hurt my nose and stung my eyes. I feel for those who actually live closer to the fires. I'm thankful for all those days of the year when we have clean air. 

5. Online forums - These online sites offer a wealth of knowledge and experience and feedback from others to address just about any question or subject. I've used these sites frequently, especially when I don't know someone personally who might be able to assist me. Of course, I do a fair amount of research trying to find answers, but often the experience of others offers additional insight. How have online forums been helpful for you?

6. The impact of a quiet calming voice - I recently watched how a chaplain in a nursing home helped calm a new resident. The elderly lady had been put in a wheelchair and rolled out into the area where many of the residents eat their meals, but she was alarmed and yelling quite loudly and speaking unintelligibly for the most part. The chaplain got down to her level and spoke quietly and assuredly telling her that she was safe and that the people were there to protect her. He stayed right at her side continuing to speak softly. He remained there even after she became calm and she let an aide feed her. He left at the point she was being returned to her room. I remember years ago how a whisper from a teacher in a room full of preschoolers or kindergarteners could gradually get a bunch of rowdy children ready to transition to another activity. As a mother, I used this approach at times when our children were small. The following might be of help to those who have difficulty falling asleep. Apparently it helps some people to listen to a whispering voice.

7. Scrabble - I know that I've shared this one before, but I really do like playing this game, and do not get a chance to play it often. When our son was here last Monday, he played it with me that night. It ended up being probably the longest Scrabble game I'd ever played. I think that if either one of us expected it would take so long, we might have either started the game earlier, or not played it. Once started we were determined to finish it though. Both of us took turns trying to keep Old McDonald out of the picture.

8. Oldie Goldies - When I was a junior in high school I took a shorthand class. The teacher told us that we could check out a record of shorthand dictation so we could practice at home. Although I'd hoped that we could have a record player, that wish had fallen on deaf ears until not having one might interfere with me being able to get a good grade in shorthand. My parents bought the record player and also some very old records of music like my parents may have listened too when they were young. The music on the records sounded quite tinny, but it grew on me, like perhaps my Dad thought it might. (By the way, the record player did help me get the desired shorthand grades.) Do you enjoy listening to the music from your parents' generation?

9. Crickets - When we first moved into our home, it wasn't finished. We didn't even have walls up to separate rooms, so we used some paper, similar to that used to make brown paper grocery bags, to separate the rooms. It didn't do much to quiet sounds coming from the rooms. It was slightly better than having the whole family share one bedroom like many pioneer families did. Well, the first night after we moved in and after an exhausting day, there was a very loud cricket chirping that was disturbing my sleep. My family remembers me getting up that night hunting for the noisy intruder and putting him out of the house. Fast forward to the present day when I actually love the sound of what seems like armies of crickets chirping outside at night, or when a solar eclipse happens. Now it is a pleasant sound to me. Are there some sounds that you once disliked, but now like or perhaps even love?

10. My husband - He makes my world complete, by the things he says to brighten my day and the things he does to help my life be easier. It is so nice to be able to go through this season of our lives together and to be able to laugh as we stumble through it. 

I am thankful for the many people who have reached out to those who have been impacted by the horrible hurricane and accompanying flooding in Texas. Those who have experienced flooded homes and businesses are going to need a lot of help in the weeks and months ahead and need our prayers too.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

County and state fairs are cropping up on event calendars. School supplies are lining the shelves of the stores. Families are gathering for yearly reunions before the kids are back in school. Some people have tried to escape the hot weather by traveling to cooler places. Others have been able to go on their dream vacations. We are into the third week of August and the last month has flown by without a Ten Things of Thankful post from me since July 25. It is time for me to get something posted and linked to Josie Two Shoes Ten Things of Thankful blog up.

1. Contrasts - Sometimes it takes contrasts for people to be able to appreciate things and situations. For instance in our area we are able to have a change of seasons and temperatures which may bring along accompanying sweltering heat (105° F) here on August 3. With heat like that 85° F doesn't seem so bad. 

After days of sweltering temperatures in the valley, this overcast misty cool day on the Oregon coast felt quite refreshing. I took this photo from a high hilltop at Ecola State Park. As one glances through the Sitka spruce trees and shrubs lining the hillside, down below can be seen a number of sea stacks of varying heights in the water.

2. Historical places - When we were able to escape to the coast for three days this month to get away from the hot inland weather, we stayed in our neighboring state and explored a pioneer settlement.

This white picket fence is topped with pink climbing roses. A sign with the date 1892 and Oysterville Church is attached to the fence.

The Oysterville Church in Oysterville, Washington is painted white and has red trimmed window panes and a red door. The steeple with bell tower is alternately painted red and white in a horizontally striped fashion similar to the stripes on the USA flag. 

3. Goals - I'm thankful that through determination, hard work, and desire to work toward a goal, one of our grandsons received his white coat in a White Coat Ceremony today as he begins medical school.

4. People who care and who help - One of our daughters and her husband had a big move from a very large home into a much smaller home in another state this month. I'm thankful that there were people who were able to assist them in various ways in each state as they prepared to leave and as they arrived.

5. Aging - Yes there are some things that are difficult as one ages, but being able to look back and see the things one has learned over the years is a blessing. This month I turned another year older. I once thought as this age as old. My body reminds me that some aging is happening, but somewhere in my mind I still have times when I feel quite young.

6. Historical perspective - Having been born during the time WWII took place, some of the things I see transpiring in our country and in the world are of concern to me. When I see those who mimic the actions of those who brought terror into the hearts and minds of people during WWII, it is disheartening, but I also am glad to see many more who are speaking out to let it be known that they cherish freedom and those things for which the founding fathers fought.

7. Regular medical appointments - This month has been a month of yearly and follow-up appointments. It was a reminder to me of how important it is to get my scheduled dental cleaning done. The dentist always checks my teeth after the cleanings. Although I hadn't noticed any discomfort from any of my teeth, he discovered that I have a cracked tooth and filling in one of my molars. Although I am not ecstatic about needing another crown, with modernized dental care, this will just require one appointment. No doubt this tooth cracked when I fell and obtained the lovely black eye and bruised cheek on the same side of my face a month ago. I didn't consider going to see the dentist after the fall because I didn't notice any pain when chewing my food.

8. Calming music - What music soothes your soul? I've discovered that Hawaiian music can do that for me. What a treat it was to hear some individuals from the Marshall Islands singing at a alzheimer's/dementia center the other day. (I was visiting a friend at the center when they were having a Luau.) I recognized some of the music as songs on a CD I'd received this earlier this month. Here is a link where you will be able to watch a video of Hawaii Aloha.

9. Historical novels - After receiving a historical novel, The Life She Was Given, by Ellen Marie Wiseman this month, I've found it hard to put it down.

10. Attending memorable events - Last Sunday our son was sustained as the Bishop of the ward he attends (a congregation of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints within a given area). We were able to travel to be there for this special day. 

And speaking of historical, we are in the direct path of the total solar eclipse on Monday! Are any of my readers on the direct path for this event? 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Slip

Here is a quick read, which is what Six Sentence Stories is all about. I'm linking my story to Zoe's blog hop, Six Sentence Stories - Slip. It is going to be interesting to read the stories other bloggers have written using the cue word this time. If you are curious too, click the link and read their stories.

Dressed in her favorite well worn seersucker duster Velma slowly rummaged through her top dresser drawer and became distracted by things she'd not looked closely at in years, such as the little lace sachet filled with bits of lavender tucked back in one corner, and the small scented hankie pomander hidden out of sight.

For the reunion coming up in a few days, her much older half-sister, Verna, wanted her to wear the mauve gaberdine suit she had made for Velma's going away outfit all those many years ago. Velma and Verna had both stayed slender their entire lives, much to the chagrin of some of their heftier sisters, so donning the suit would not a problem.

As she continued to look through her unmentionables in the drawer, she finally found what she was looking for, but decided she'd better get a ride to town the next day to get a new one, as the once beautiful lace trim now looked tatty, and needed to be replaced as did the straps.

As she tried to make her way through the department store the next morning, she had to ask for directions several times as the store was looking unfamiliar, so finally she asked a very young salesgirl, "Where are the slips?"

The girl, who appeared to be the age of one of her granddaughters, seemed puzzled by Velma's question, and replied, "What is a slip?"

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Why should we be grateful and is it really important to write about such things? To my way of thinking, it is because as sure as anything, there will be times in one's life when things are just not going to be sailing along smoothly and trying to keep from being dragged down into the deep water may be the test to avoid at all costs. At those points, having a journal or a blog post that one can refer to where expressions of gratitude have been recorded has the capacity to help lift one's spirits and keep one from falling into despair.

So here I am once more, writing my Ten Things of Thankful post which I will be linking to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. The link is open each Thursday evening and stays open until the following Tuesday evening which gives bloggers several days to work on their posts. By clicking the link one can see the posts of other bloggers and see the wide variety of things people share.

1. Apple trees - We have a few apples trees. Not only do we enjoy eating fresh apples, but so do the deer. The apples aren't ready to eat now, but the deer seem to think some of the apples are nearly ripe.

Twin fawns searching for fallen apples under the tree

2. Salt - One day this past week when I threw a couple of shower curtains in the washing machine to launder, I added only a little laundry detergent because it was a light load. I should have added something a little heavier to the load and not as much detergent as I did. I didn't factor in the fact that there was some soap and shampoo clinging to the curtains. The machine was unable to rinse all those extra suds from the machine with the light weight curtains plastered against the inside of the tub, and it got stuck on four minutes to go before the end of the cycle. After manually stopping the machine, removing the very sudsy curtains and placing them in the laundry tub in order to hand rinse them, I was left with a machine full of suds to be scooped out by hand. I took the bucket full of suds from the machine outside. After rinsing off the curtains in the laundry tub, I sprinkled salt over the suds to minimize them and wash them down the drain. I came across this little trick many years ago.

Too many suds in the washing machine

3. Trying a new (to me) kind of fruit - While observing someone selecting some fruit from the other side of a fruit display in the grocery store, I inquired as to what kind of fruit it was. I was told it was dragon fruit. I decided to purchase one to see if I liked it. The taste is mild but I combined some with some pineapple and liked the combined taste.

Unpeeled dragon fruit
Partly peeled dragon fruit

Peeled dragon fruit laying upon bright rose colored peelings which have yellow tips
Peeled dragon fruit cut in half revealing the myriad of tiny black seeds within the white flesh of the fruit. The entire peeled fruit is edible.

4. Poppies - Some seed growers in Oregon grow poppies. I often pass this beautiful field of golden poppies on my way to visit my Mom.

Field of golden colored poppies appearing as a carpet for some sprinklers on metal wheels. There are fir trees in the near field with a visible range of mountains in the distance. The sky is blanketed with cumulous clouds.

5. Monarch butterflies - Today my husband and I got to watch someone tag some monarch butterflies and release them. These are such beautiful creatures which are mostly orange, but are outlined in black with orange and yellow spots on the black.

Monarch butterfly waiting on a screen before being tagged

6. Time - My Mother has lived another six months since her last birthday. Each day, week, and month are special these days since she has lived past 100 years now.

My husband and I with my Mom
 7. Being related - This last one counts for all the rest of my thankfuls this time. I discovered this week that there is someone in the church where I attend who has a grandmother who was the sister missionary who taught me many years ago before I was baptized. I was amazed to discover what a small world it really is. Not only that, but I am related distantly to the husband of the missionary who taught me. (He was deceased at the time she served her mission.)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

SSS - Stand

It is time for another six sentence story. I'll be linking my story to Zoe's Six Sentence Stories - Stand. Although it is easier for me to stand and to take a stand these days, there was a time when such wasn't the case.

It must have been given to her around a special day, maybe Valentine's Day, for the color was certainly fitting, but there wasn't anything in her wardrobe with so much of that color other than her pep rally skirt. At least when she wore that skirt, there was a multitude of other girls wearing similar wool skirts.  Mom obviously thought the A-line dress was perfect for her fair-complexioned brunette daughter, but didn't she know how hard it would be for her to walk through the halls at school looking like a large piece of Christmas wrap? The cotton-polyester fabric was bright red with just an ever so slight hint of orange. The fabric was quartered into approximately eight-inch blocks by one-fourth inch white lines and at the neckline a broad collar of white reached to the edges of her shoulders and down about six inches from her neck in the front and in the back. Did her Mom not know how embarrassing it was to her daughter to stand out among her peers like that and how hard it was for her to fain enthusiasm for the surprise gift?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

My Ten Things of Thankful post for this past week and part of this is kind of a hodgepodge of gratitudes. Some weeks are like that. As usual, I will be linking my post to Josie Two Shoes' site Ten Things of Thankful. She is the administrator of this blog hop and actually looks forward to reading whatever it is that we decide to share each week. Click the link and you will be able to read what other bloggers have contributed. Who knows, you might even decide to start writing about the things for which you are thankful if you are not already doing so.

1 - 2 Friends and food - Depending on what day the first of the month lands on and whether or not the first Monday of the month is a holiday, there are some months where the second week of the month may be filled with more than one lunch outing with friends. This past Monday, my hubby and I ate lunch with the Empty Nesters who are members of the church I attend and sometimes their friends. (Normally we meet the first Monday of the month, but this month we postponed the lunch because of July 4th holidays.) The day after the Empty Nesters met, I had lunch with a small group of women from my church. The Empty Nesters have been eating at the same buffet-style restaurant for quite some time, while the women's lunch group tries out different restaurants each time. I am thankful for opportunities to build relationships outside of a church chapel and classroom setting as well as inside the church. 

3 - 5 Opportunities to use my talents, improve upon them, and share them - There is a charity in the area that accepts donated wedding gowns for the purpose of creating Angel Gowns for infants who have died. The gowns are given to a couple of local hospitals so they are ready to be given to grieving parents when needed. The photo shows the boy Angel Gowns as I made them, using the pattern and the materials I was given, but we decided to change the buttons to smaller, flatter buttons on the vests after this photo was taken. Sometimes when a person serves, they are blessed with special thoughts and feelings and moments of personal revelation, and such was the case for me as I spent the day preparing these Angel Gowns. It was a nice opportunity to become reacquainted with my sewing machine too, which I'm sure has felt neglected, and to see if I could still sew a straight seam.

These two identical Angel Gowns are made from a recycled white satin-like wedding gown. They have short sleeves with flared long dresses. The seams at the middle back are left open instead of sewn. A vest is sewn on the front of each gown in the chest area. (Note: The description of the photo is for the benefit of those who are sight impaired.)

6 - 7 Conversation starters and appreciation for the fact that no one remains a teenager - On Saturday I attended a picnic with some of those who were in my high school graduation class. Some classmates had been at another class gathering that I attended, but many I had not seen since graduation. Often the actual reunions have been held at the same time I have attended Education Week at BYU, or even further back, family reunions at the home of one of my uncles. We had a large class, and as is probably true for a lot of large classes, one becomes close friends with some, casual acquaintances with others, and never really begins to know the majority of the students. I didn't need to worry a bit about conversing with anyone in the group. The conversation often began with some comment about my eye which is still sporting signs of the black eye I received. I even bought some concealer makeup to try to hide the evidence, but it didn't do the job I was hoping it would. Oh, and I didn't see a single teenager, but I think the majority of us are probably content with what the years and experiences have done to us and for us. 

8 Wonderment - I bought some brown cage-free eggs a week ago, and was amazed at the design on the shell of this egg. Do you think the hen who laid this egg was attempting to tie dye her egg?

The shell of this brown egg appears to be divided into thirds by two evenly spaced circular lines going around the width of the egg. The lines are about the width of an eraser on a pencil. There is also a vertical line toward the bottom of the egg. That mark isn't quite a distinct.

9 Longevity - I continue to be amazed by the things that many elderly people are able to still do that enables them to feel a sense of joy as they share what talents and gifts they have been given. This week I also became aware of the longevity of the charge for my attachable keyboard for my iPad. I'm assuming that I must have charged it when I bought it, but I don't recall doing that, so when my keyboard wasn't working this week, it took me a while to figure out what was wrong. It was only when I noticed a port on the side of the keyboard that the light dawned. With a little bit of charging my problem was solved. Because I use the built-in keyboard almost as often as the attachable keyboard, I'd completely forgotten that there was a need to charge it. After all it was working. . . until it wasn't. 

10 Cousin visit - Hubby and I had a nice visit with one of my cousins and his wife today. We arranged to meet at the nursing home where Mom stays and had a visit with her for about an hour before we left to eat out at a local restaurant and visit some more. It has been 10 years since I have seen my cousin, although I have stayed somewhat in touch with the family during those years.

Plus one extra thankful - Lessons learned

A bandaid on my face
Stuck to hair near my ear
Painful to remove it
A gasp, but not a tear

Finally got it off
But sticky stuff remained
A scissor snip did it
Now somewhat shorter maned

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

It is that time again when I begin thinking about what I want to share for my Ten Things of Thankful post which I link to Josie Two Shoes' site. She manages the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop and welcomes bloggers to link their posts. It really is interesting to read the variety of things for which people are thankful. Be sure to click the link and read others' posts. 

Since bloggers come with their own beliefs, experiences, knowledge, and ways of expressing themselves, reading their posts can be educational, motivating, and faith promoting at times. On the other hand, you might find yourself laughing out loud, and possibly thinking, "I've done that!" Some bloggers have such a gift for writing, you might feel if you keep reading what they share, maybe you will soak up some of that gift for expressing oneself.

It is time for me to begin my list.

1. The July 4 breakfast at the church - I tried a new (to me) breakfast casserole to take to the event. It is called Overnight French Toast Casserole and is prepared and refrigerated the evening before and baked in the morning. Not having to do very much preparation in the morning was a real plus in my book. 

2. Blueberries are beginning to ripen. The berries can look like they are not quite ripe in the morning, but with the warmer temperatures, are ripe by evening. If I pick some blueberries that are not dark blue and leave them in a bowl on the counter, they ripen by evening or by the next morning. This method of picking also allows us to eat more of the berries than the birds.

In the photo I am holding with my left hand a medium green plastic cereal bowl half full of blueberries. Some of the berries are close to being the dark blue color of ripe berries, while others are partly a reddish-purple color indicating they are not quite ripe.

3. Shade - Even the resident lizard decided to come up on the ramp to find some shade on one of those 100 degrees plus days. He didn't even care when I got a foot away to snap a photo.

This fence lizard was in a shady spot between the railing on  our ramp and the actual ramp. (Because I needed to use the flash to get a better photo of him, it isn't apparent that he is in the shade.) I love how his brown skin resembles rows of rickrack like the zigzag trimming that used to be sewn on little girls dresses or on kitchen curtains.

4. Crunchy Detox Salad - I typically do not do a lot of baking of breads and sweets, but I do enjoy the taste, which is all the more reason not to indulge. After filling up on pastries, and breakfast casseroles on July 4, my body let me know I shouldn't have done that. After the breakfast, I steered clear of most food until that evening and then just ate a very light meal. A couple of days later I found a recipe for Crunchy Detox Salad, and since I had all the ingredients I needed, I made a big bowl of it. There was enough left over to last a few days. I didn't follow the recipe exactly as far as how much of each vegetable I used. We have a favorite salad dressing that has ginger and sesame seeds in it, so I substituted that for the dressing called for in the recipe. We both like this salad, and I know that I will be making this again.

5. The fawn visited and let me take its photo! 

The spotted fawn came to visit, posed perfectly and looked right at me.

6. The good news is that there will be no charge to fix my Mom's broken hearing aid. The company decided to honor the warranty even though technically it had just expired by a week.

7 - 8 Just a black eye, bruises, scrapes and tenderness, but no broken bones this time and there was no charge to fix my glasses - One day this week I was doing some watering outside and managed to trip as I was trying to step around a boulder and between some shrubs. Although I did a face plant, at least I didn't face plant on the boulder. This was my first time to get a black eye.

The black eye is from the impact of falling while wearing my glasses. The bottom spring on my glasses broke and caused the scrapes on my face as the glasses bounced off. Fortunately the lens wasn't broken, but does have a few scratches not in my field of vision.
9. Togetherness plan - My husband has some concerns about my mobility, so he strongly suggested that we be together when I'm doing anything outside that is going to require me to be walking on uneven ground, which is just about everywhere on our property. Since I haven't been spending more than 30 minutes to an hour weeding per day, he thought that perhaps I could pick a project one day and we would work together, and the next day, he would pick a project and we would work together. After giving it some thought, I conceded that this plan is probably for the best. I'm also going to make an effort to strengthen my legs and balancing capabilities. 

10. Educational music for kids and for adults who want to feel like a kid once in a while - Maybe I should learn the words and sing as I pick. HaHa

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

It is that time again when I share ten things for which I am thankful. I look back at the previous week and create a list, and sometimes share photos that help get the point across. Sometimes the list is just a brief list, while other times there may be a story or a long explanation that accompanies one of the items. Each blogger that writes a post to be linked to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop also varies in their writing styles. Some bloggers post each week while others join up when they are able depending on their schedules. There is no scolding if one can't be there every week. Click the link to see what other bloggers have shared for their ten things. Comments are always welcomed. 

1. Click, click, clicks. One evening I was sitting on the sofa reading and heard sounds of click, click, clicks of hooves on the roof. I hadn't heard that sound since goats we used to have had gotten loose and jumped on top of the roof. Yes, they really did! (We have an earth sheltered home and the back of the roof is just a couple of feet from the ground.) Anyway, I finally was able to see the twin fawns that my husband had seen a few weeks back. The mama apparently hasn't taught them yet about staying off the roof. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a good photo this time around. 

2. Things we learn from animals. We were able to go to the zoo at the beginning of the week and got there early enough that we had no trouble finding a parking spot this time. (The last time we went we returned home because there wasn't a vacant spot to park!)

This black bear exhibits one way of taking a nap, by lounging in a sturdy hammock with his head resting on a log and kept in position by a chain that holds the hammock.

Nora, the polar bear, demonstrates one way to get a back rub, by sitting on her rump and keeping the rest of her body vertical against the rock wall so she can rub her back against any bumpy outcroppings on the wall. With a little motion, or a lot, she can get a great workout as well as a back rub.

We don't have a hammock, but I did benefit from several naps on the sofa this week, and my husband gives great back rubs! After doing some more weeding, a back rub feels good.

3. Animals to greet you upon returning home. When I drove into our driveway one day after a trip to the grocery store, I was greeted by a wild turkey. I had my camera with me in the car, so I parked the car further out in the driveway and began snapping pictures. Finally the turkey flew up on a fence and I was able to get a picture that I could share. My husband had seen a couple of turkeys a few months back on our property, but I didn't get to seem them that time. They aren't as cuddly as a dog, but are interesting as long as they don't become territorial.

Wild turkey

4. Evening walks. This week I got in 10,000 steps on four different days! That may not be a big deal to some of you, but for me that is a huge improvement. We live in an area where there are roads that offer a bit of a challenge, because they are hilly, but a lot of the roadway is shaded, so even though one gets a good workout it is possible to stay cooler.

5. Perfect temperatures. Although we did have some very hot days this past week, Saturday was a perfect day. The temperature was in the high 70's which is my favorite. It was a splendid day to drive to Portland.

The aerial tram in Portland, OR is shown against the blue sky. There is a large tree in the foreground on the lower left corner of the photo. Passengers are on their way from the east side of the Willamette River to Oregon Health Sciences University which is on a high hill above the west side of the river. The tram is a blessing to those who might find it difficult to travel up to the hospital in the winter when the roads are especially slick from ice and/or snow. Tourists enjoy taking the tram to get a great view of the city.
6. Flowers that bring back memories. I am one of those individuals who associate certain flowers with individuals I know or have known. Every year when I was growing up, it seemed that my mother planted some zinnias. I grew to love those bright colored flowers, and they always remind me of her. What flower reminds you of a certain person?

Hot pink zinnias in a shrub bed at the Portland Zoo. There are seven opened blossoms on one plant. Each blossom has a yellow center.
7. Clothing to fit the occasion. One of our children gave us tickets to an event in Portland this weekend. It was suggested that attendees wear Hawaiian clothing, of which I had none. After going to several stores and not finding anything, I ventured into one of my favorite thrift stores and came up with an outfit that I thought might fit the occasion. The pants were even brand new with the original tickets still on them. I must add that I did have to overcome a little bit of fear of standing out wearing such bright clothing among people I didn't know. (We stopped at the nursing home to visit my Mom on the way to the event. I'm sure many of the residents had not seen such colorful attire in quite a while.) Are there certain colors of clothing that you resist wearing because those colors make you feel uncomfortable.

Hawaiian attire. Bright yellow long pants with brightly printed short sleeved blouse. The print is of bright hot pink, yellow, and orange exotic flowers as well as some kind of a tropical long- necked bright pink bird. There are also pink sequins on the bird. Light green and tan bamboo looking leaves are splattered here and there.

8. Being able to still do some things. I didn't plan on this happening this past week, but sometimes things just happen, like it or not. When we returned to where we had parked our car at the zoo, we had a predicament. There wasn't sufficient space for anyone to open the door on the driver's side. There was only one of us who could get in on the passenger's side and climb over the console between the front seats of our Prius. Now we are both getting up in years, so this was going to be a bit of a challenge, but I managed to do it with some grunting, and contortions that made me pray I wouldn't throw out my back. Soon we were headed home with me trying not to think about the show I put on for those driving through the parking lot at that time. 

9. Newer mammogram equipment. This past week it was that time of the year for me to go in to get a mammogram. Not many women look forward to this yearly procedure, myself included, because it isn't the most comfortable thing to have done. No more will this have to be a concern. The clinic now has a new 3D mammography system that not only reveals cancer a lot sooner than the older equipment, but it is not nearly so unpleasant to have done.

10. The goodness of others. It is all around us in this world. We just need to open our eyes and our hearts to see it. More importantly we need do good and be good. Sure there are things that are a concern, even a big concern, but I still believe good will win over evil if we all do something to recognize the difference and then promote the good in little ways and in big ways.

Wishing you each a wonderful week as you celebrate the 4th of the July if you live in the United States of America.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Peach

One of those quick and easy desserts I used to make for our family was peach cobbler, but I decided to go back further into history for this Six Sentence Stories - Peach post which I am linking to the blog hop administered by Zoe. Writing a story in just six sentences using the cue word is the challenge. Each Thursday bloggers are able to start linking up to her site

"We must save them to protect our soldiers in case there is a gas attack by the Germans," said Gussie to her husband, Alvin. The children, too young to understand this discussion about the Great War, were playing a game of tiddledywinks on the worn wooden porch as their parents conversed quietly while rocking gently in the porch swing after a busy day of working on their farm.

"I heard talk down at the barbershop that the farmers are going to save the shells of nuts too," said Alvin.

"Well, I guess if everyone does what they can there will be enough to burn to make the activated carbon needed to make the protective gas masks for our soldiers," said Gussie. "This year I'm not going to add the stones when I can the fruit, even though I think the fruit tastes better with one added to each jar."

Alvin smiled as he thought about the peaches that were ripening in their fields and the sign he'd seen in front of the high school earlier in the day that said, "Do your bit, Save the Pit." 

Now, go check out what other bloggers have written for their SSS - Peach. Just click on the link above. If you are able, I hope you will be able to enjoy some peach shortcake like this one available at a local farm store as you read the stories.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

What an exciting week it has been, in a good way! I hope it has been that way for you too, but I know sometimes life and one's circumstances may feel overwhelming. In reality life is full of ups and downs, and so it should be, otherwise we would be flatlining.

Before I get on the road with my Ten Things of Thankful post, I just want to give a shout out to Josie Two Shoes who is the administrator for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. She reads every Ten Things of Thankful post which is linked to her blog hop and responds with thoughtful comments. Click the link to see what others have posted this week. Bloggers' posts can be added beginning shortly after midnight (Central Time) Thursday evening until Tuesday evening. 

1. Serendipitous discovery. For a while I've been trying to figure out what would be helpful in alleviating a certain situation with my body. One day this past week I was making a fruit salad using crushed pineapple, bananas, and canned mandarin oranges. I'd intended to add some coconut flakes to help thicken it a bit. When I went to the shelf to get the coconut, I discovered there was none to be had. One item I did find was a small unopened container of guar gum that I suspect I'd purchased because it was called for in a gluten free recipe. (Some friends of mine eat gluten free meals.) 

My husband was confusing guar gum with something else and suggested that I might be able to use some of it to thicken the salad. When I googled the use of guar gum, I discovered that one of its uses is as a thickening agent. I decided to give it a try because it can thicken both cold and hot liquids. Although I had no idea of how much I might need, I thought the amount might be similar to how much cornstarch would be required. Let me just say, that was not a correct assumption. One does not need anywhere nearly as much, and it thickens quite rapidly. We enjoyed the thickened fruit salad, and found that my body benefited quite nicely from eating it. That discovery sent me back to the internet to read about health benefits and any interactions from eating guar gum. It isn't for everyone, but can be helpful for some people. Have you ever found the solution to two problems while in the process of just trying to solve one problem?

2. Accomplishing goals in moderation. In the past I've been one to push onward trying to finish the desired objective without taking forever. At the time, it seemed like a good idea, but over the years I've learned the hard way, that doing things in moderation and taking breaks, resting, going on vacations, etc. offer healthy benefits. This week, I started doing some hoeing and weed pulling but made myself, often with my husband's reminder, stop after a half hour or 45 minutes and then going back in the house. I worked in the morning when it was cooler. After a couple of years of not being able to manage a hoe, I wanted to make sure I didn't overdo. I've felt excited about this jump in my flexibility without additional pain. Seeing some tidiness outside, at least in one area, has lifted my spirits as has the higher FitBit scores from the exercise involved.

It took me most of the week to weed this area.

3. Multiple uses of things. A whiles back one of our daughters shared how she cleaned her cacti. It was one of those things that for whatever reason, I'd not considered. I usually associate showers as a place people can bathe. This week I used the handheld sprayer in the shower to spray the dust off my five Christmas cacti. They probably wished I'd used this method a whole lot sooner. It certainly beats trying to wipe each leaf with a moistened rag.

This Christmas cactus just had a shower.
4. Walking with a friend. One evening I invited a friend to go on a walk with me down and back on a nearby dusty road. It was after dinner, still light, but relatively cooler than it had been earlier in the day. We hope to do more walking together, as we have a similar goal to do more exercising.

Inexpensive "sparkly" I found on   dusty road
5. Names that just seem exactly right. With all the wild animals that come around, we've never given one a name, but there is one doe who has been visiting who just beckons to have a handle, maybe Dandy or Daisy. We've seen her eat the flowers off the English Daisies and the Dandelions. Interestingly, she doesn't have any interest in the leaves or stems. 

There were more Dandelion blossoms before the doe ate them.

doe eating English Daisies
7. Warm places for the cold blooded animals. Among the various animals here is a lizard that enjoys hanging out and soaking up the sunshine on top of a pile of bricks.

Western Fence Lizard on pile of bricks

8. Challenges. There is a patch of wildflowers (or weeds) growing in a dry shady area.  I have been trying to identify them. With all our books and the online helps, this should be easy, but so far the only one I've found that looks similar supposedly grows a different area of the country. The reference book is kind of old, so I supposed it could be a plant that has migrated westward over the years. Anyone up to identifying this plant?

Can you name this plant?

9. Finding a pen pal I used to write to when I was 10 years old. At the beginning of the week I was thinking about a girl from Sheffield England. She and I were pen pals for a few years, but then stopped writing to each other. The thought came to me that perhaps with all the past family history research skills I had learned and with all the resources online, that I might be able to locate her, even though I had no idea what her married name was, if she still lived in the same area, or if she was still alive. Within a couple of days, I'd learned enough to be fairly certain I'd found her. I decided to call her. She answered the phone, and we had a delightful visit. We were both equally excited about being able to talk to one another. It just made my day, and we will be keeping in touch. 

10. My husband. My husband was just as excited for me having found my pen pal as I was I think. He encouraged me to phone her. In fact, that is one thing I enjoy about my husband. He is an encourager. He also likes to surprise me, such as having a  photo enlarged and printed on canvas of me wearing my floppy garden hat. It came in the mail this week as a surprise.