Gratitude Monday: Stop to Breathe

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Miss S and I went for breakfast at our favorite restaurant.

Whoa!  I feel a little stressed this morning.  Wait! It’s already afternoon.  The weather remains mild. I have work that pays. My family is healthy. I have enough to eat and a cozy house.  Having too much to do is self-inflicted stress.  I did my daily reading and hurried through the briefest of meditations.  I met CeCe for yoga, and five minutes later wished it was over. So I tell myself, ‘just breathe.’  

A week with grandchildren: Miss E, Miss S, and Mr. C.  What wonderful kids. They practically take care of themselves.  All three climbed into bed before 8:30 and got themselves up and ready for school without a word of fuss.

Rocket Clubs and newspaper assignments.  gratitude - 2Without the newspaper assignment I would never have met some fellow science geeks, saw adults and children bonding over rocket blasts, or met a new writer friend.  Wonderful.

Marching band competition.  The best Continue reading

Gratitude Monday: Re-grounding, Re-balancing

IMG_0039I worked all weekend, so I sorta feel like today should be my day off.  It’s not. Wha-wha!  I’m so happy to have a fresh start with a new contract.  Yay!

Why did I upgrade to the new OS this weekend?  When did Apple get so bad about releasing buggy upgrades?  My mail no longer worked. Wha-Wha!  I tried to troubleshoot it on my own.  I did an internet search. Yup, it’s not just me. Several sites had work-arounds. They didn’t work. Apple acknowledged the importance of  fixing the problem and promised to put their resources behind a fix.

Drat it all.

Cold weather and wind blew, reminding me that winter will be here sooner than I’d like.

Mom called and said she changed her plans and decided to stay home, rather than visit this weekend.

I gave CeCe a call, just to talk.  Okay, because I worried a bit. Just a bit of intuition.  I interrupted her dinner. She got testy; not the first time in recent weeks.

I shut down and went to bed.

 Too much time sitting on my sit-bones.  Wha-Wha! So where’s the gratitude? Everywhere.  If I  stop and look. Continue reading

Photo Friday: Your Slip is Showing

I borrowed this title from a favorite column in Readers’s Digest. For some reason, those grammatical and spelling slips that made sentences mean something new, just make me laugh out loud.


Gratitude Monday: The Blessings of Too Much

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I’m still on a “high” for the Chicago Writes Conference this past weekend. I’m invigorated by the little things people said. Like “late bloomer” tweetthis] author Eric Charles May, who said, no one says ‘how are you going to make money gardening?’ when gardening is what you love to do. If you love to write, write. [/tweetthis] Thank you Eric Charles May. And Laurie Scheer, who said she thought she could get five queries out a day, and she found she was lucky if she got five a week out. I feel so much better.  Laurie also said, the media is hungry for writers, if you’re not getting published it’s you.  Maybe that could sound discouraging, but for me it’s a shot in the arm.  I just need to keep at it.  It’s just a matter of time. Monday morning greets me with so very much that I know I can accomplish.

So here’s my list in no particular order. Well, I take that back, the first one is my number one:

 Wonderful, supportive friends, like Geri, who let me borrow her apartment in Chicago. Every day I walked through Millennium Park on my way to and from the conference.  Every night I viewed Navy Pier and the last weekend of the giant ferris wheel. Oh how lovely.

 Supportive and new friends at the conference. I found myself thinking, I’ve found my tribe. Well, I’m in more than one tribe, I guess, because that’s far from a new feeling.

  Weddings.  Two this weekend.  One within driving distance.  So great to connect to family.  One in Texas.  We sent CoCo as our representative.  She flew solo into Dallas, to be greeted by family members there.  I’m so blessed to have such love in my life.

 Mums blooming a reminder of a year gone by.  Last September, I planted the mums we had peppered all over the yard for Wrestler #1’s wedding.  They now bloom a cheerful “happy anniversary” for all to see.

A new writing gig.  Yes, indeed.  A technical writing opportunity that blossomed with the mums.  Yay!

A positive outcome of the conference’s “Pitchfest.” Two agents gave me positive feedback and one requested a sample.  Please keep your fingers crossed and rosary beads in hand.  I have good feeling about this.

Sorry to bore you with this last one: Loved-One.  He makes me laugh, he holds my hand, and he does the laundry when I’m away learning how to be a better writer.

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As always, please hop over to Laurel’s Alphabet Salad for more Gratitude Lists.  It’s a wonderful way to start the week.


Photo Friday: Autumn Mist

I pass by the lake each morning as I take CoCo to work.  Lovely, melancholy transformation of Summer into Fall. The sun burns mist into blue skies, in her last-ditch effort to hold on to Summer’s fun.

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I’m linking to Pierced Wonderings again this week.  She has some beautiful pictures of a Lake Mars. This time through a beautiful orange filter.

Pierced Wonderings

STEM Tuesday: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

cleaning - 1I’m always on the look out for the next-best cleaning product.  Oh, I have such a multitude of cleaning supplies.  So organized into caddies!  I can take them from room to room, adding to my efficiency. If only I liked to clean as much as I like things to be clean.

I think I might like shopping even less than cleaning.  Lucky for me, CoCo works as a courtesy clerk at our local grocery store. She’s the one who turned me on to Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  They really do work like magic; especially on painted walls.  They even get off those black marks that come from who knows where.  This week WIRED Magazine tells me what’s inside the magic.  I bet you’ll be surprised as me.

Remember a few years ago, when some dogs mysteriously died because Chinese manufacturers added melamine to their product? Melamine is high in nitrogen.  Protein is chocked full of nitrogen. When food manufacturers test products for protein content, they actually measure nitrogen, then calculate the amount of protein based on that number. At the time, it was a well known secret that Chinese milk producers spiked their products with melamine to get the protein content up. Not after six babies died and the perpetrators were executed. (Turns out, it was more than just the melamine that contributed to the deaths. More on the melamine and the human micro biome here.)

So what to do with all that melamine?  It’s good for flame retardants and fertilizer and combined with another nasty chemical, it’s super-great for cleaning.

Formaldehyde! Remember that stinky stuff that got inside your nostrils during biology class and wouldn’t let go for the rest of the day, so everything smelled like formaldehyde? Yes, that’s in Magic Erasers, too. Funny thing is that back in the 1970s, manufacturers spiked milk with small amounts of formaldehyde as a preservative. What kills the tiny living things like bacteria, isn’t so good for human cells either. Formaldehyde irritates the skin, corrodes internal tissue, and even causes cancer.

According to WIRED,

..if you mix [formaldehyde] with melamine, the result is a tough resin in which those toxic effects are neutralized.”

You can still get Melmac dinnerware on eBay.

You can even make countertops and dinnerware out of it.  Remember Melmac?

Okay, so now force gas bubbles into the resin while it’s still molten and, voila you get Mr. Clean melamine foam.

A little sodium bisulfite helps “boost the resin production.”  Sodium bisulfite is another chemical that has a connection to the dining table. It’s used as a preservative in wine-making.

Add a little water and the cleaning bubbles are activated.  Magic.  Well, not quite.  A little elbow grease is still needed.

These three chemicals make up the soft little pad of foamy resin.  I suppose that’s why the Magic Eraser eventually disappears as I scrub. I guess it’s not really magic. It’s just chemistry that makes it seems magical.

chemical structure of sodium bisulfite (bisulp...

chemical structure of sodium bisulfite (bisulphite) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Structure of formaldehyde (methanal), CH 2 O

Structure of formaldehyde (methanal), CH 2 O (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: idealized representation of melamine ...

English: idealized representation of melamine resin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Gratitude Monday: Twerk, plank, sneeze.

Yes, a bug caught me.  I believe it got me at a party.  A party for my bonus grandchild.  She turned 21 in August. A lot of people came together to celebrate; alas, Birthday Girl went to Florida. We celebrated anyways.  CeCe set up a bouncy house for the kids.  Which is where I believe Thing 2 and I both got caught by a bug.  Thing 2 got sick just one day before I did.

Why was I in a bouncy house anyways? A bunch of CeCe’s friends decided to plank in there.  I was in rare form. CeCe prodded me to twerk afterwards: “If you think she’s good at planking, you should see her twerk.”  What one has to do with the other, I don’t know. But, in the moment, how could I say no?

Coughing and sneezing started 48 hours later.

So, here’s my list through a haze of cold medication:

Pizza delivery: need I say more?  Pesto Chicken, The Works, and a coupon kept me in meals all weekend.

Effective no-drowsy daytime medicine and blissful nighttime remedies.  Thank you big and small pharma.

Ergonomic chairs: Body aches abated, I got my Friday and Saturday assignments finished and sent to the editor.
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Fantasy Football: I won!  Both leagues.  Unconscious competent; that’s me.

Dancing with the Stars On Demand: The perfect drone to dull my mind and rest my body. (Except for Gary B, which sort of grossed me out, and made me wonder what’s his angle.)

Mild weather: I know it got a little cool this weekend, but each time I peeked my head out, I got greeted with sunshine and a perfect 72 degrees.

Librarians who take “Talk Like a Pirate Day” seriously.  Arghhh!!!

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Do you like to start the week with Gratitude?  Please check out Laurel at Alphabet Salad.  She’s got a whole lot of thankfulness going on there. Hop on over and check out her links to other Gratitude Lists.  Don’t forget to tell her I sent you.


Photo Friday: Putting a Lock on Summer

Summer’s nostalgic heat diminished night’s cool rain.

Long shadows promise cold days to come.

 A lake rests, sequestered behind a fence.

Fall’s gentle  promenade proclaimed.

Summer curtsies, Autumn advances.

Locked out of summer

What’s in your lens this week?  Please grab the button below and link-up with me.

And another beautiful link-up:

Pierced Wonderings