Photo Friday Link-up # 14

A Christmas Cactus Brings some cheer.

cactus Photo Friday Link up # 14

Some Christmas Caroles this time of year.cactus 2 Photo Friday Link up # 14

cactus 1 Photo Friday Link up # 14

And a favorite band for all to hear.

Okay, of course I didn’t video WOTE’s Christmas Movie.  Still, I love how everyone is playing the guitar. How could I resist?

So what’s in your lens this week?  I’d love to take a peak.

wpImg Photo Friday Link up # 14

Gratitude Monday #59

A whole week passed before I got back to a blogpost.  Why? It’s the very thing for which I am most thankful this week.

An Abundant Life!

 Gratitude Monday #59
Christmas wreath with six bows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m busy writing for two newspapers, getting ready for my second favorite holiday and doing my best to focus my energy where with family and friends.  I marked my calendar with a tiny Christmas wreath on each day I have a holiday related event.  So far, December has 12 events.

I have an exercise partner  who gets me back on the band-wagon and my daughter invited me to a FitBit challenge.  I am so lucky I can do both of these.

I have an abundance of food.

I have great health insurance.

I have 12 pair of pajamas to make, and several hats to knit.

I am healthy.

I have enough shoes.

I have so many loving people in my life, I need more than all my fingers and all my toes to count them and I have room for more.

I have many new writing topics in my head, tickling down through my fingers and begging to be let free.

Please join me and Laurel at Alphabet Salad.  We’re taking time out to count our blessing. You’ll be happy you did.

wpImg Gratitude Monday #59


Gratitude Monday #58

The last week filled me up with productivity.  I felt almost- almost- like I was back in the corporate world.  Only, I’m  in the comfort of my own home-office, looking out my windows at wildlife, and I’m meeting exceptional people and get paid for it.  Don’t get me wrong, the corporate world has exceptional people, and I got paid.  This seems like more of an adventure.  Well, the corporate world is an adventure, too.  Anyways, I’m loving this new adventure.  And I got the dreaded piece of editing done on my novel.

So here’s the things that are top on my gratitude list this week.

  • santa run 1 300x225 Gratitude Monday #58Charitable people.  This month I’m interviewing people who give back to the community.  What a blessing they are.  And some of the fundraisers are so much fun.
  • Two paychecks.  Two newspapers.  Two great freelance jobs.
  • Wrestling twins.  What a great way for little boys to spend the morning.  Mr. Ry had a tough time coming in second, to next to Mr. Ro.  After all, Mr. Ry is the older of the two.  But look how he mustered up a smile and some sportsmanship.
  • Local theatre.  I managed to get an outiwrestler 300x300 Gratitude Monday #58ng scheduled for thirteen grandchildren.  I expect something will come up, or someone will get sick, but hey that kind of thing happens with kids.  I’m so happy we still do this.
  • Pretzels dipped in chocolate.  Coco and I spent the afternoon finishing her project.  Whoops!  She’s got another one popping up.
  • On-line bargains.  I almost feel like I’m saving money this year.
  • Friends.  I drew a green Christmas wreath on all the days I have a Christmas celebration.  Tonight’s my book club.  What a group of truly great people.
  • Forgiveness.  I failed to call Mom today because I was out on the road on a slippery morning.  I’m so glad I have a mom like her. Still, I did miss talking to her.
  • Potatoes.  I’m making some cheesy potatoes for the Book Club party as soon as I hit publish.  Which brings me back to Mom.  It’s her recipe.
  • Christmas wreaths sold for a good cause:  one for the front door (Boy Scouts) and one for the back (Youth Group.)  Love-one strung battery operated mini-lights.  Oh, so great.

What’s on your gratitude list?  Please join me and Laurel at Alphabet Salad every Monday.

wpImg Gratitude Monday #58

Photo Friday Link-up #13

Two newspaper deadlines loomed this week: a weekly and a monthly.  I remembered what it was like tohave hard deadlines and got my locomotion in motion.  Besides editing my novel, knitting hats, and putting together proposals, I managed to get in a “Gratitude Monday.”  No other blogging, although I’m waking up at 3:30 AM with memories to write about for Once a Little Girl.

I got a new gadget for photography: Little clip on lenses for my iPhone from Restoration Hardware. Great stocking stuffers at $19.00 Alas, I checked out the website this morning and the lenses are “no longer available.”  Whah!

Here’s a little photo gallery of my attempts at 180° Fish-eye, Wide-angle, and Macro.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What’s in your lens this week?  I’d love to take a peek.

wpImg Photo Friday Link up #13


Gratitude Monday #56

In the wake of Thanksgiving, I am filled with gratitude.  This year, my daughter CeCi (formerly known as Beanie in this blog) fixed Thanksgiving dinner.  I only added a few traditional dishes; things I said I wanted to bring.  CeCi carried on a newer tradition.  Her daughter Miss K wrote something she was thankful about for each guest.  A little way each guest gifted Miss K, without the guest’s name attached.  The “gifts” got distributed randomly to everyone.  Before the meal, each guest read a “gift.”  Miss K had some wonderful thanks for the guests around the table.  I wonder if she was thankful for my “flexibility,” or “my smile,” or “how smart I am,” or what. I’ll never know.

I know particular order, here’s the other things I’m thankful for this Monday: Continue reading Gratitude Monday #56

Progress Report: November

I’m back on track; I got so nose-to-the-grindstone, I failed to look up long enough to assess my progress.  Oh well, the next report will sum up the year.

My Progress on Game Plan 2014:

  1. Get my novel published:  I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher.  I will.
    Progress:  I am writing and editing and writing.  I had a lull in motivation because the fine editing is super-tedious, sort of like tearing out a seam and stitching it right again, or re-doing a hem on a taffeta over-lay.  I decided to get at it, and guess what?  Not so bad after all.  I’m almost done. I have a FaceBook friend looking for an agent.  We plan to keep each other motivated.
  2. Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity: I have a lot of yarn stash.
    IMG 4872 225x300 Progress Report:  November
    Loved-One is a good sport to pose for me. Sasha’s photo bombing, as usual.

    Progress:  I got Loved-One’s sweater finished and it’s HORRIBLE.  It slides off his shoulders and the sleeves hang down to his knees.  Maybe he was bigger five years ago when I started it.  I plan to try shrinking it.

  3. Make enough money writing to pay property taxes:  Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in 2013.
    Progress:   Another newspaper, a weekly wants me to write.  Yay.  Also another contact for re-vamping a website.  A maybe. Right now we’re just at the proposal stage.
  4. Expand my platform: a key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told.
    Progress:  Still growing  Fastest on Twitter; I just passed 800.  In the grand scheme of things:  paltry.  Still, progress is progress. BlogHer,SheWrites,Instagram, Twitter, FB page; Google+,Pinterest.
  5. Experience Night at 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 got married in September in my back-yard.  What a wonderful goal replacement.  In the meantime, Loved-One and I took a road-trip to Utah.  Loved-One is now on board with road trips.  I got a new app, RoadTripper, to help with the planning and documenting. The trip is the vacation, not the destination.
  7. Volunteer:  Complete. 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.
    Oh my!  The folks at 1st Way think I’m a computer genius.  They hired me to re-vamp the website.  Yay!  And what a pleasant surprise.
  8. Read two book a month:  This goal doubles my 2013 rate. 
    J Progress Report:  Novemberames McBride, The Color of Water
     A true story about a Jewish woman born around the same time as my dad (circa 1922) marries a black man and has about a dozen children.  I loved the book in and of itself, but I especially liked it because it supports Dad’s and Thaddeus Mosley’s picture of race relationships during that time period.  I read the 10th anniversary edition of the book.
     Progress Report:  NovemberStacia Friedman, Tender is the Brisket:  I won this book from a blogger.  Hmmm…two books this month that feature Jewish mothers.  This book took a bit for me to get into, then I really liked it.  Humorous and with a lot of family drama, a some romance thrown in for good measure.  I wonder if this classifies as ChicLit.  I liked it and will definitely read more of Friedman’s books.  

    From past months:
    John Greenberg, A Feathered River Across the Sky
    Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings
    Matthew Kelly, Rediscover Catholicism. 
    Elizabeth Berg, Never Change
    Louis Erdrich, The Round House
    Kate Atkinson,  Life After Live:  A Novel
    Doreen M. McGettigan,  Bristol boys Stomp:  The Night That Divided a Town
    Adela Crandell,  A Land of Milk and Honey
    Eric Larson,  In 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!
    Progress: Complete!  We ended up cleaning the carpet with our Kirby attachment and hiring someone to stretch it.  Good as new! And saved a lot of money.
  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.
How are your plans for the year going?  any obstacles, or are you right on track?  I’d love to hear from you.  What do you think about my carpet idea?  Oh, and do you have any books to recommend?



Gratitude Monday, Link-up #56

Last week Mom told me she refuses to work on Sunday.  I decided to take a lesson from her book.  Except for getting the netting in from the water garden, I did not do a lick of work.  Mom is so wise, and I am so blessed that I can just be a slug for a day.  I failed to do anything else productive.  And guess what?  I’m raring to go this morning.

So here’s my gratitude list this week, in no particular order:

  • 401K funds with employer matching:  Even a huge nest egg is much bigger thanks to my past corporate life.
  • Warm spells:  The pond water had a solid block of ice.  Thick enough to hold a full-grown deer. DSC05988 300x168 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56 The netting froze into the water.  Thanks to some spring-like weather, we only got it out.  Thanks to Love-One and his sledge-hammer!  The heater and the aerator will take good care of the koi for the winter.
  • Shopping local:  Our cabinet retailer got a brand-new drawer sent to us, free-of-charge.  I’m sure it’s partly because she remembered us from 11 years ago and trusted we weren’t the sort of folks that stand in our drawers.  (Kitchen drawers, we do occasionally stand around in our drawers, but not in public.)
  • Flute music:  Playing my flute is really good for my soul.  I can’t explain why, but it sure is good for me.
  • Order out pizza on Bears Sunday:  I didn’t even have to cook!
  • “Virtual Friends” that become real friends.  You know who you are.  Who would have thought I’d be connecting with people from New York, California, and Texas, let alone India and Australia.  I love our chats.
  • Dreary days with rain: This morning I woke to NPR telling me the rain would turn to snow by this afternoon. sang out a mixed up version of Dan Folgerberg’s song, Old Lang Syne:  “and the rain turned into snow.”  I know, I know, the lyrics are really “and the snow turned into rain.”  I can sing it anyway I want from the comfort of my cozy-warm bed at 5:08 in the morning.
  • Starting over:  Okay, this week, I will exercise.  I’m determined.  See what a day of total lethargy can do to me?
  • Hoola Hoops:  so much fun and a great way to exercise.  Who invented these anyways?DSCN3722 180x300 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56 I can hole hoop indoors, too.
  • Things discovered by accident:  I just discovered how to get a space between the bullets.  Double ‘control/return’, add bullet.  A little thing I know, but look how much better my list looks.

What’s on your gratitude list this week?  Please join me and Laurel at Alphabet Salad for her link-up.

 Gratitude Monday, Link up #56

Photo Friday #12: Deer Me

I watched these deer rummage around for food: leftover flowers, blades of grass, and their favorite, felled mulberry leaves.

A bit like Bambi on our frozen water garden, slipping around on the ice. Lucky for me, no sign of Flower!

What’s in your lens this week?  Please leave a link and let me sneak a peek.

 Photo Friday #12:  Deer Me

Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

It’s Columbus Day.

I wake from another dream about a way to feed the hungry with beans. “Beans to You,” has farmers dedicate an acre of their bean crop. Packaged in 2 lb. mesh bags and tied with a ribbon, a cookbook filled with bean recipes from local people.accompanies the donation.  I hold on to this idea.  It could work.  Really.  Beans are very versatile.

IMG 0004 2 300x225 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeI get the newsletters sent, but a lot of error messages resulted. Drat! I sent another request to the tech support.

At breakfast (another delightful and homey meal of yogurt, fruit, robust coffee and waffles) I meet this Christina.  She’s running from New York City to San Francisco.  Why?  She’s raising money for the Navy Seal Foundation.  To find out more about Christina, her run, and where the donated money goes, check out her website:

DSC05759 300x168 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeWe find a few points of interest, thanks to RoadTripper.

We stop at Fort Bridgers.  Jim Bridgers created the fort as supply stop along the Oregon trail.  Later, Mormons took it over.  They burned it to the ground when  they realized the military was on the way.  Since we’re traveling in off-season, this is a self-guided tour.  (Later we will find out why, but for now we are mystified.)

DSC05756 168x300 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We ComeDogs really are man’s best friend.  A special cemetery plot holds the remains of the army’s mascot.

We are almost out of Wyoming, when RoadTripper suggest another stop:  Bear River State Park.  Oh my, this place is beautiful.  Look at the fields and streams and animals.  What a beautiful park, and just a half-mile off the interstate.  True, the wind rustling through the prairie grass is interrupted by the sound of the semi trucks passing nearby.  Still, we cannot actually see the interstate, so we pretend the noise is the rushing of water and the wind in the trees.  Wait a minute.  Maybe it is the rushing of water!

DSC05785 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come DSC05777 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

We’re closer to Utah and Park City than we thought.  We have one more stop for lunch.  We go to a place recommended by RoadTripper.  It is closed and for sale, along with the motel it is right next to.  But, we meet the owner.  He offers to sell it to us cheep.  We decline, but….

He send us to his restaurant in the small town of Coalville.

polar king Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

I am sure this was a Dairy Queen coverted to a Polar King, converted  to a Mexican restaurant.  The food is pretty good, so I add a picture and a review to RoadTripper.  By the way, the whole town seems as quirky as this restaurant.  We love it.

We get to the Hilton Grand Resort about 5 PM. We get some groceries at Smith’s hoping for food for breakfast and lunch food and bottle of wine. Shoot, no wine. The only thing close was near-beers like one that gave me a chuckle: “Poligamy.”

In Utah alcohol only state owned liquor stores, that close on Columbus Day. Drat.

The accommodations are wonderful: A full kitchen, laundry room, dining area, living room,fireplace. Upstairs we have a sitting room, bedroom, and full bath. We are right on ski slopes and a little city of restaurants and shops. Neither me nor Loved-One ski, and there’s no snow.  The slopes are great for hiking.

Whee!! I feel like royalty.IMG 0007 2 Road Trip: Day 4, Park City Here We Come

We have but one problem, make that two.

  • Problem #1: The TVis mounted above the fireplace. This looks beautiful.  But…
    • the sound projects into the upstairs rather than the living area;
    • our necks get crinked looking that far up.
  • Controlling the temperature is impossible.
    • A loud fan blows straight down on to the bed. It clicks off and on every few minutes.
    • We just doze off between onslaughts of freezing cold air just before we’re bombarded again.
    • Loved-One and I take turns going downstairs to adjust the temperature. Then we get hot.

I half can’t wait for tomorrow to come, and half do want just a few more moments to sleep.  Oh well.  Tomorrow is another day.




Gratitude Monday #55


Some Mondays I have a hard time getting my gratitude on.  Not this week.  I seem to have shaken the blues right out of me.

snow Gratitude Monday #55


Top on my list is a new free-lance opportunity.  Yay!  I just might make my writing goal this year.  But that’s just the beginning.  The publisher said I’m a really good writer.  And that’s not all…. Oh, I’m just bubbling over.   So here’s my list this week:

  • A publisher that responds to my “thank-you” with, “No, really.  You are good. I read everything you write.”  (Perhaps he sensed my disbelief.) I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read everything, but maybe what I write in the local paper.  Still!
  • Loved-One who said, “How many people have to tell you before you believe it.”
  • Beanie, who told me about her local paper, which provided the new connection.  And it was she who said, “You better call your mom and tell her.”
  • Mom who got as excited as I am.
  • Belly laughs:  a friend told me she decided she could help at a bake sale, but didn’t want to be the organizer, so she put her name on the very last line of the sign-up sheet.  No one else signed-up, so she’s the leader by default.
  • Big fluffy snowflakes that fall silently in still air.
  • Designer yarn for the hat I’m knitting. For me!
  • Hotter shoes and their easy return policy.  The best fitting shoes, I’m telling you, and if one pair is a little too big, no problem.  No matter that I don’t have the receipt, they’re in the wrong box, and I got them 2 months ago.
  • Electric blankets:  Nothing nicer than slipping between toasty warm sheets in a cool bedroom.
  • Pressure Cooker ham and scalloped potatoes:  The recipe only took 15 minutes to cook.  I made it in a Pyrex bowl inside a canning pressure cooker.  Besides it being quick and super-tasty, I had no trouble with the clean-up.  I’m making pulled pork in 45 minutes today.
  • Finally finishing the sweater I knitted for Loved-One.  It’s HORRIBLE.  The sleeves are too long, the cuffs are baggy, and the shoulders droop off my wide-shouldered man.  Did I already say “Belly laughs??

What’s on your gratitude list this week.  Please join me and Laurel at Allphabet Salad  by clicking the link below.  See what’s on other writer’s list, too.

 Gratitude Monday #55


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