Gratitude Monday: After Glow, BlogHer14

BlogHer14 300x225 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14 I almost stayed home from BlogHer’s 10th anniversary celebration.  Then, I saw a early bird ticket for sale.  I acted on the spur of the moment.   It was a long shot.  I really couldn’t afford it.  I probably wouldn’t get it.

I did.

Oh my!  Now what?  It’s in San José.  Maybe I can find a room-mate.  I sent out a request on the Women of Midlife Facebook page.  It was a long shot.  I only met a few of the members last year.  Probably no one would want to take a risk on a stranger.  Kay Lynn responded immediately.  She’s a blogger I follow, you might want to check out her Weight Chronicles:  Life on a Journey to Health.

I got a room-mate.IMG 4470 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14


The tickets to San José are expensive.  Maybe I’ll wait a bit and see if I can find a cheap fare.  Maybe I should tell Love-One.  I found Cheap-O-Flights for half the price of what I found anywhere else.

Yay. I’m going.  Loved-One says, “Really?  Why not.”

I had a great time.  Met some of my old friends (Denise, Sharon) and made new ones,(Barbara, Anne, Diana, Suzanne, Stephanie, Erin,and many more,) and learned some new things, (the publishing landscape, crowd-sourcing.)

Sunsets on Lake Michigan 4 1 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14I partied with Reverend Run.  (Remember Run D.M.C?)  Yeah. That one.

I’m tired, but I’m refreshed and ready to re-ignite.

Besides BlogHer14, here’s what I’m thankful for this Monday.  In no particular order.

She Writes.  Kamy Wicoff is such a supportive advocate of writers.  She did a terrific job of describing her third way to publishing.  She’s so generous with her time, too.  I’m not sure how long she stayed after the session, but my patience waned before hers did.

Neighbors.  While I was in San José, a public hearing took place with the planners of the Energy Plant I learned about last week.  Loved-One and neighbors keep me informed and energized. I’ll be there this week.  Hopefully, the public will get a chance to speak this time.  I’m planning my statement, beginning with the difference between “I can,” and “I will.”

Purple flocks and volunteer sunflowers.  Oh you cheer my heart, waving hello in my back yard.BlogHer14 2 768x1024 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14



Mobile chargers.  I got one from the Skype booth.  It’s small enough to fit in my purse or even in a (large) pocket.  Yes!  Now I can always be prepared.  Now, will I remember to charge the charger.  (See what I did there with “I can,” and “I will”?)

Texting.  I kept in touch with Loved-One without disturbing him at work or waking him up.  Okay, that was a bit of a double-edged sword.

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The pink shoe is my Hotter shoe. Look, I’m floating in mid-air.

Hotter Shoes.  I l-o-v-e, love this brand.  My feet never.  I feel like I’m walking barefoot, only wrapped in some sort of gentle protection

Sunsets on Lake Michigan 3 1 1024x768 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14Wildflowers and “Ditch” lilies.  Sometimes they are not all that pretty, but together they are gorgeous.  Plus, I gotta love their persistence.  They just never, ever give up.

UBER AP for iPhone.  I got a ride to the airport for less than half the cost of the taxi.  Actually, it was free with a discount code, but the regular price was less than half.  A pleasant, not overly friendly college student picked me up in his clean car.  He makes more than minimum wage, and I pay less than I would to a taxi company.  Such a win-win, I’m thinking of becoming an UBER driver.

Sleeping.  Oh yes, I needed some of that.  I went back to bed after dropping Duckie at work, and I took a short nap after lunch.  Lest you think I’m a slacker, I already walked six miles and climbed the equivalent of 28 flights of stairs.

Knees.  Oh I’m still so happy mine are in such good shape.  Last week I had a day of titchy ankle. Just a little taste of what it might be like to have bad joints.   So glad everything is back to normal.

So glad to be home.

 Gratitude Monday:  After Glow, BlogHer14


Photo Friday: BlogHer14

I’m in San Jose! This year I have a roomy, Kay Lynn, which is waaay more fun. This morning we took a 3+ mile walk before the conference begins.

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Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler

20140724 130301 46981179 Bills Blueberry CobblerI’m fresh off my Michigan camping trip where it’s blueberry season. I love blueberries. I love that we spend the last morning picking blueberries. I love Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler.

I got the recipe from Epicurious
I have the mobile app for my iPad. I mark my favorites and transfer the built in shopping list creator to my “Reminder” app. That’s a list Loved-One and I share titled “groceries etc.” I loved the shared list feature because we can add and subtract and the list is edited in both places.

What I love about Epicurious, besides the shopping list and the favorites, is the comments. Users let each other know how they like the recipe, how much work it is, and how they change the recipe. For someone like me, who likes things simple, especially when it comes to baking, this is a great feature.
If you like to print things out, you can do that, too.

Okay, enough of my meandering. Here’s the recipe.

6 T butter

1 C all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1 C sugar

3/4 C milk

3 C blueberries

whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In an 8-inch square or other 2-quart baking dish melt butter. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and stir in sugar until combined well. Add milk and whisk batter until it is just combined. Pour batter into melted butter; do not stir. Pour berries into center of batter; do not stir. Bake cobbler in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until cake portion is golden and berries exude juices.

20140724 130412 47052042 Bills Blueberry Cobbler
Serve cobbler warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream. Ice cream goes good with almost everything.

Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler works well doubled into a 8 X 12 inch pan.

It’s a hit at potlucks or picnics. And blueberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and even a little protein (2.2 g/cup.) Plus, some experts believe blueberries can help prevent memory loss. Good news for seniors.

I used another app, LoseIt to calculate the calories. I divide the 8-inch square pan into nine servings. Each serving is about 180 calories. Not too bad.

One last thing: I think the fresh ground nutmeg is the key ingredient to making Bill’s Blueberry Cobbler memorable. If you don’t have a micro-grater, I urge you to get one. It’s a wonderful for nutmeg and for making lemon or orange zest.

Simplicity is the pathway to peace. Blueberryies make the journey sweet.

Gratitude Monday: Vacation

Sunsets on Lake Michigan 300x225 Gratitude Monday:  VacationAh the bliss of a vacation:  no routine, no kitchen, no electronics beeping, talking, demanding.  Just the beach, the bike trail, and the campfire.  Ice cream every night.  These this fill me gratitude because:  a) I love the outdoors, b) I love that my family loves what I love, c) I am physically  and financially fit enough to enjoy all of this.

Now back to reality.  My gratitude list this week, in no particular order: Continue reading

Photo Friday: Sunsets

Sunset over water fills me with peace.

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The light calms my soul.

Children murmur.. The breeze whispers…Dinners beckons from outdoor grills..

Even pirate ships seem benign.

Dr. Sweet: Dentist Sculpture

Who dated George McGovern’s daughter, met Louis Armstrong, had a father who owned a radio station, is a detailed sculptor, and knows that if it weren’t for lips, the tongue would push the teeth out of the mouth? He lived in Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois; he had homes on farms, in small towns and big cities. He dabbled in politics and aspired to be an artist. Who is creating a bust of President Abraham Lincoln, capturing his character and his Illinoisan visage, in a labor of love?

Who has so many intelligent thoughts begging to be set free that they sometimes tumble over his tongue, and lodge momentarily between his teeth? It’s Marengo, Illinois’s long-time dentist, Dr. Jim Sweet.

I got a chance to meet this interesting fellow, and my-oh-my, Continue reading

Goals Progress Report: July

Ahh… July is my vacation month.  4th of July, Camping, BlogHer…  How will I get anything done?  Some months are meant to kick back and relax.

June got me going, though.  I did watch a lot of soccer.  I love soccer.  Maybe I deserve some rest.

My Progress on Game Plan 2014:

  1. Get my novel published:  I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher.  I will.
    Progress: My content editor,Lisa Romeo and I sat down and discussed her take on A Land of Milk and Honey.  She filled me with such confidence and encouragement.  She also filled me with fear and trepidation.  Yet, I managed to put fingers to keyboard and start the editing process.  Aww… It’s not as hard as I anticipated.  I can do it, I can.
    Lisa gave me some good advice about finding an agent and what demographics/genre my book falls into.  She encouraged me in that direction rather than the artisanal route.  She has confidence in me and my writing.  Yeah!
    I joined a Chicago Writers Association and have two writers conference on my radar.
    I’m going to BlogHer this year afterall.  Let the networking begin!  Can’t wait to meet old friends and make some new.
  2. Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity: I have a lot of yarn stash.
    Progress:  Acht!  No knitting during May or June.  None, zilch, nada. I thought about those half-knitted sleeves, and looked at the yarn stash.  Can I call that progress.  No!
    Gardening is still taking a front seat alongside balancing the ecosystem of my water garden.  Wrestler #1 is getting married at my house in September.  I have many weeds to pull before the canopy goes up.
  3. Make enough money writing to pay property taxes:  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in 2013.
    Progress:   Only 1 more newspaper articles for a local paper, but I got paid double this time.  Plus the Sweet gentleman I interviewed sent me a dozen rozes.  (That makes a total of 12 for the year.) The place where I volunteer asked me to re-design their website and (!) asked for a proposal.
  4. Expand my platform: a key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told.
    Progress:  Still growing at a rate of 10 or more followers each week on BlogHer, SheWrites, Instagram, Twitter, FB page; Google+, Pinterest.  My Klout score is up.   Miss E did help me with Snap-Chat.  So far just three snappy chatters.  I don’t quite get it, but it is fun.

  5. Experience Night atDSCN5543 300x224 Goals Progress Report:  July the Museum with Two More Grandkids.
    Complete!  Yay!  Miss K and Mr. L.  Mr. L plans to be a paleontologist when he grows up.  Miss K has her heart set on fashion design.  The two kids were congenial enough, but they never really talked to each other.  Really interesting dynamics.
  6. Travel Route 66 with Loved-One:  I plan to get some sponsors and write about out trip.
    Progress:  This goal is post-poned until spring or fall of 2015.  Drat!  But on the happy side, Wrestler One and his Loved-One will be married in September in my back-yard.  What a wonderful goal replacement.
  7. Volunteer:  Last year I tried a women’s shelter.  Maybe this year, the food pantry.
    Progress:  Success with “1st Way Pregnancy.”  Volunteering is going so-so.    (This shelter mission is “To provide loving assistance, emotional and financial support for women and girls who find themselves in a crisis.”  The values of “1st Way Pregnancy” match mine, that is: empower women to make life-affirming choices by offering financial and emotional support.  Rather than shaming and coercing with rules and regulations.)
    I’m learning a lot about myself.  I really like to be in charge; or at least self-directed.  It’s humbling to relinquish control, especially when I believe I have improvements to offer.
  8. Read two book a month:  This goal doubles my 2013 rate.
    In June I read two very different books:
    9780316176484 Goals Progress Report:  JulyLife After Live:  A Novel by Kate Atkinson.  Woooo-Weee.  For me this was an amazing and depressing book.  The construct and imagination of the author is phenomenal.  But, poor Ursala keeps starting her life over again.  Or does she?  My sister-book-lover, Christa insists that something else entirely is going on.  She has yet to sell my on her version.  Still, it is intriguing.  (As an aside, this month I also watched a BBC mini-series based another Atkinson novel.  She has a way of weaving memory and current events together that is very like the way I remember real-life stories:  a bit here, a bit there, in no particular order.  I like that technique.

     Goals Progress Report:  JulyBristol boys Stomp:  The Night That Divided a Town by Doreen M. McGettigan.  This book is a memoir of the brutal murder of McGettigan’s younger brother.  Her short jig-jagged sentences convey the emotions of the events with razor precision.  The story high-lights the the variegation of victims, from McGettigan’s brother, his survivors, and the neighborhood.  Because I read her book, I have a new perspective on what it means to reclaim a neighborhood as “home” after brutality strikes.  I got a chance to sit down and talk to McGettigan about her life, the events surrounding the murder of her brother, and her writing process.  I plan to share some of that experience with you later this month.

    From past months:
    Adela Crandell:  A Land of Milk and Honey
    Eric LarsonIn the Garden of the Beast
    Beth Nonte Russell:  Forever Lily.
    Graham Greene:  Our Man in Havana.
    Michael Allan Scott:  Flight of the Tarantula Hawk – A Lance Underphal Mystery.
    Linda Lawrence Hunt:  Bold Spirit:  Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America.
    Rachel Thompson: Broken Pieces (interviewed)
    Guy Kawasaki: APE
    Hilary Grossman:  Dangled Caret (interviewed)
    Candice Millard:   Destiny of the Republic.

  9. Get new carpeting for the lower level:  Ugh!  I don’t even want to go down there, it looks so bad.
    Progress:  Not yet.  Last month, I vowed come hell or high water.  No Hell, No high water.  No carpet.
  10. Send St. Patrick’s Day photo cards to friends and family: Progress:   Complete.  I got  great feedback from my Welcome Spring card.  Several people thought they just received an invitation to something; they weren’t sure what.  They loved the pictures and the surprise out-of-the-blue greeting.  I think I’ll do this again next year.

Well, there you have it at the halfway point of the year.  I find that putting my progress out here for the world to see is a way of keeping me on track.  I loathe the idea of sharing my failures.  My hope is that a little self-pressure will keep me motivated.  Plus, putting my successes in writing, keeps my spirits up.

What about you?  How do you hold yourself accountable?  What motivates you?



Gratitude Monday: Memories and More

As usual, I’m linking up with Laurel and Alphabet Salad for a little gratitude sharing. Today my list is whimsical and serious. My heart and mind remember a person whose quiet influence threads through my childhood and remains strong through my adulthood. I will not miss Aunt Arlene. She will be a part of me always.

Appreciative people: This week I got a dozen roses from Dr. Sweet, a dentist/sculptor I interviewed for a newspaper feature story. He loved the story I did. He is such an interesting person. Soon, I will write something here about him.

Aunt Arlene: On Independence Day, Aunt Arlene passed away. I may always think of her as my quiet Aunt. The mother of Gary and Jeff, two obnoxiously boisterous cousins. At long last, Aunt Arlene was blessed with Beverly, a sweet little girl, who helped clean up messes, as set things straight, until she was actually big enough to really help. Or at least that’s the story Uncle Glenn told, back when we were all little. Aunt Arlene was a study in graceful beauty, dedicated to her family and mad in love with Uncle Glenn. I could tell by the way they looked at each other.

Amtrak & Metra: For almost the same price as gas and dinner, I am at Mom’s and ready to attend Aunt Arlene’s funeral. A senior rate, and priority boarding: Simple pleasures for a journey.

Fireworks: I love them. I marvel at the chemistry and physics hiding behind the kaboom and flare. How do they make a Smiley Face emerge from an explosion? It’s a marvel.

Hot Air Balloons: I missed the fesitval, but the pictures shared blew me away. There was a time, when I aspired to get a pilots lisence and my own baloon. The air is still and the basket is warm. On my one Christmas Gift balloon ride, I floated in near peaceful bliss, waving to ant-sized people below. Next year. Next year. There’s always next year.

Insulated Lunch Bags: I packed my dinner for the train ride. Wonderful. A turkey-cheese sandwich on brown bread, tomatoes, and grapes for desert. Oh yes, and a Snickers that Duckie tucked in as an act of love.

Willing Workers: Thanks to three grandchildren and a tag-along friend, I got a new flower bed dug. I planted the decorative grass and lily of the valley myself. Thank you Miss S, Misses E, and Mr. N. You worked super-hard in the hot sun.

Old Blankets: I pulled out blankets to sit on for the local fireworks display and bundled them into a reusable grocery bag for the long hike to the top of the hill. “That’s really old,” Beanie said, burying her face in the red wool plaid. “I remember this blanket lining the bottom of our red wagon.” I do, too. And I remember you (and your sibs) clinging to the sides of the wagon as we bumped along to the fireworks in days gone by.

New Work: This goes along with appreciation because someone recognized my value and asked for more. Yes, and then there’s the manuscript edits that I’m plugging away at. My book is shaping up better than ever.

The Silliness of Cats: Sasha is the playful girl, but her sister Misha, out did herself this week. Here she is trying to “hunt” my grandfather’s clock pedulum.

20140707 080034 28834865 Gratitude Monday:  Memories and More

Want some more gratitude? Check out these other lists by clicking on the link below:

You might want to start your own list. I love starting my week reminding myself about all the reasons I have to be thankful.

Photo Friday: 4th of July

IMG 1960 224x300 Photo Friday:  4th of JulyHappy 4th of July Everyone!

I’m a sucker for food, family and fireworks.

First a picnic of brats and ribs and potato salad.  Next we load up or blankets, M&Ms and diet Coke (I don’t know why, but these things are tradition.)

We arrive at 8PM and the crowd was already thick around the bandshell.  We take our usual spot on top of the hill and wait.  Twenty minutes of color explosion.

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Was it worth it?  Always.  What are your 4th of July traditions?

Two more local towns, two more firework displays. 

I think we have enough M&Ms and diet Coke to see us through.

Gratitude Monday: Summertime and Grandchilden

On Mondays I Link to Laurel and her Alphabet Salad to share gratitude.  Please be sure to click on over and see the gratitude she, and others, share.


 Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and Grandchilden

 gratutude 1 1024x768 Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and Grandchilden This weekend we celebrated Miss G’s eighth birthday.  She and her two brothers are the grandchildren that live the furthest from me.  It takes us about and hour-fifteen if traffic and construction don’t thwart us.  I am so grateful all fourteen of my grandchildren live so close by.  Besides a rollicking game of kickball around some outdoor pools, Miss G loved the cake I made her.  Three are coming over this morning to help me with yardwork.  I am truly blessed.

Here are just a few random things for which I give thanks this week.

  •   Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and GrandchildenFireworks:  I love 4th of July fireworks.  How many can I get to this year?  They start on Thursday in my town, and cycle through neighboring towns all weekend long.  Woot!Woot!
  • Fish:  My two koi (Zorro and Bleu) are thriving.  They help me keep the pond ecosystem in check, and I believe I finally outsmarted the Blue Heron.  YaHoo!
  • Muscles:  I have some.  Thanks to Body Pump at the local health club, an exercise partner, and building a retention wall in the backyard, I now look like a mini Incredible Hulk.  Okay, I can see some muscle definition in my shoulders and neck.  WeeHa!
  • gratutude 300x225 Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and GrandchildenBicycle:  I love riding my bike.  I feel like a kid again.  Especially now that my new bike is a cool shade of turquoise and has a seat and handle bars that let me kick my legs out and coast.  Wheeeeeeeee!
  • Friends:  Friends from church, friends in my neighborhood, friends from long ago, new friends, blogger friends, family friends, and blends of all of these.  You make my life full.  Ahhhh!
  •  Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and GrandchildenRain:  My surroundings are like a rainforest so far this summer.  Flowers and vegetables, shrubs and grass are all flourishing.  And no need to drag a hose around to water.  Mmmmm….
  • gratutude 2 300x225 Gratitude Monday:  Summertime and GrandchildenCats:  Oh Sasha and Misha, you crack me up.  They play a game of “fetch the Beanie Babies” every day, climb in my lap when I’m reading, and nest on my desk when I’m writing.  My-O-My.
  • Mom:  I am so lucky to talk to her every week.  She is so full of wisdom and fun.
  • Fitbit:  10,000 steps and 10 flights of stairs is my daily goal.  Fitbit gives me a reason to move.  PushIt!
  • Kim:  A gift of musicality, our church choir director.  This Sunday she’s back after her vacation.  She has the gift of making everyone sound better.  I don’t know how she does it, but she does.  WowWee-PowWee!

What’s on your gratitude list this week?

A Noun Blog

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