Friday, January 30, 2015

Five on Friday: January 30, 2015

1. The book I'm listening to at the gym is The Power of Now.

I started it a couple of years ago when I was a regular at the gym and going back to it reminds me of how the simple is so hard. Being present, not allowing things to bother us, like the woman I've seen twice this week talking Really Loud.  I have to keep reminding myself the gym is not a library. Sigh...

2. This is a wonderful explanation of why autistic/aspergers people have a hard time looking at us.  The Why.

3. This morning when I went to the gym it was a balmy 43º. However, when I went to get a haircut at 11:30 that 43º was darn cold with the winds. This was a real case of 'wind chill factor." Brrrrr!

4. Want a good view of what Annapolis was back in the early 1960s? This film, made by the USNA, has been making the rounds, round here, and it also reminds me of how carefree our childhoods were then too. I and my peers had this kind of freedom and we all survived. "Mark"

5. If I can persevere today, I will have finished my Project Life 2014! Oh wait...I still have the week of the World Cup to do. Maybe PL never ends. This is probably why it's unlikely I'll ever print these pages in a book rather than putting them in an album. Sigh.

Have a great weekend! Make sure to do something fun, just 'cause.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TBT: A Birthday to Remember

I have scanned a bunch of image of our years abroad, but this one is just after we were evacuated from Tehran in 1978. My middle child's birthday is January 27 so this is his 7th birthday in my childhood home. My mother still lived there but it was during this time of my return with 3 children and 2 (very unwanted by her!) Siamese cats that she started planning a move to a larger house that would fit me and my family if the situation arose again. It was a godsend when I was divorced.

I suspect he was wearing his school uniform though the patterned shirt is surprising. His sister, in a nightgown, was still a bit in the dark about birthday presents - for just one child! How about that vintage tv. I'm also wondering what that big package is behind him. Kind of looks like a rolled up rug or perhaps this is the year he got the drum set. Maybe he'll have a memory sparked by seeing this. You never know!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday: A Much Better Day or Two in Piemonte

After our not-so-great day which was mainly made up of resolving our car issue after putting the wrong kind of diesel in a diesel car, the next day was rather quiet. It was, for me, the crash after the worry of the prior day.

Two days later, we made an attempt to go north once again, maybe to see snow?  If not, no problem. I had really seen enough unexpected snow in the 2013-14 winter.  My whole reason for this trip had ended that winter but we were already booked and still planned to go.

It's not often I do a two page spread but once in a while is a good change of pace.

After lunch, yes, I finally saw that snow IN the Alps. We never got as far as we'd hoped as a storm was coming in and we decided to be safe rather than sorry.

But before heading home I had to throw a snowball. It's a tradition and totally required on any of our trips involving snow. A totally successful day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

AAM Monday: Feeling The Grief

Years ago when I was in high school, our class visited Antietam Battlefield which is not that far away in Maryland. I really didn't know much about the Civil War and it WAS called the Civil War in my high school, not the War Between the States and certainly not the War of Northern Aggression. We may have been south of the Mason Dixon line but my nuns were mostly from New England. I did not go to school in Virginia!

I knew about the bloodiness of that battle but was totally unprepared for the overwhelming sense of grief as I walked though the empty fields. I've often wanted to go back and visit Antietam but somehow it's never happened.

About 15 years ago, I was going to a wedding down in Louisiana and while driving down, I spent the night in Vicksburg. That afternoon I drove to the battlefield on my own. It was an autumn day, overcast with the fog drifting in and out.  As I drove along the park route, I was struck with that same feeling of grief as well as increasing panic. Even though it was daytime, I was terrified that I would be stuck there, trapped and unable to find my way out. The route was circular but that didn't help me. I had to stop, pull over and say a prayer for all those who must have felt those terrible feeling as the battles raged. Many never did get out and died along those same cliffs. Once again, I was touched by the emotion of those who had died.

Last week I had a wonderful 3 days in New York City. As soon as my bus arrived  and I checked into my hotel, I took the subway down to the World Trade Center site. I didn't know if the museum would be crowded or how my knee would hold up so I hadn't bought a ticket in advance. As I approached the site, the still empty space,  I felt that old familiar feeling rising up in me.  I turned to the wall on my right and saw the poster of the firefighters who had perished. Their presence was tangible.

The emotion of total grief was even stronger than I had ever felt at a battlefield, I'm sure because I lived through that day even tho I was not there. I almost decided that  the poster was enough for me but didn't.

I continued on to the empty space and did decide to visit the museum. While it was all a moving and worthwhile experience, it was that poster that allowed me to share in the truly horrific feelings of those people who died on September 11, 2001. The presence of such grief makes this kind of site holy ground.

Monday, January 19, 2015

AAM Monday: An Advantage to Age

There is a new blog-ish column in the Washington Post's Style section written by a mid 40s, newly divorced woman.  I may be slightly off with those two details but I'm close. One of her recent columns was about fighting aging. Oh baby, how many of us have been there and probably done some stupid things as she did such in an attempt to ward off aging.  She tried to beat her tween son in running. She, however, was running in a coat with her glasses on her head (I forget if foolish footware was include too) and slipped, fell, and damaged her rotator cuff.  I have known plenty of people who have entered into that mid-middle aged time who have done some damage to that area and when it gets serious, it ain't fun.

Whatever the doctor told our columnist to do didn't seem to agree with her. Oh how I smiled at that. btdt. When I first had a doctor tell me my cholesterol was high at around 47, I just ignored her and continued to eat what I wanted when I wanted.  Later when I was a bit older and wiser, Lipitor entered my life. Had I headed the advice I got in my late 40s that might have been different.  Many things have been like that. Sound familiar to you???

However, the columnist went on to say she found a 60yr old professional in the field of aging who blew off the doctor's advice. She too was proud to say she had ignored her doctor's advice about limiting her lifting of weights due to osteoporosis. She liked how her arms looked when she lifted weights!!!  But then she went on to say she had two friends who were 70 (my age!) and one acted 40 and the other acted 90.  Quite frankly, why would one want to act anything other than one's own age?? Does it sound like a great thing if a 30 year old acted like a 10 year old? Hopefully, by the time most of us reach 50 or 60 we are not trying to recapture an age that has passed. Being as healthy as one can, having interest in life, and relishing just being alive are qualities for ANY age.

What did Gloria Steinem say? "When a reporter told her, "You don't look 40," Steinem shot back: "This is what 40 looks like." And she said it at 50, and 60, and now 70. Each day above ground is a blessing. Enjoy it for what it is and not wish it were yesterday or ten years ago. We were silly enough to want to be older so much of our youth...old enough to drive, to drink, to fall in love, to graduate from whatever.  Live in the now - it's all we've really go. And so, when you turn 62 in the US of A, you have another great bargain to enjoy.
click to get to Greyhound

Greyhound has a ...get this...$14.95 roundtrip from Baltimore to NYC. ROUNDTRIP!!! It's available on their website and there are other bargains like this in other parts of the country I'm told. I snapped it up right away and am off to the Big Apple tout suite. Just me. A short vacation where I can do what strikes my fancy and wander into any shop or museum or just take my time and be. This is the kind of thing a 70 yr old can do without feeling the need for another person and also without feeling guilty. 

Life is good-at any age.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five on Friday: January 16, 2015

Not a lot going on this week or even a lot of thoughts in my head. Winter time brain perhaps, but it does feel just right. Then again, the brain cells may be diminishing...

1. This quote of Maya Angelou just about sums up a big life lesson. I believe this was a Pinterest find but then again it could have been a zillion other places.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
2.  Today is the first day of actually taking some of my not-needed stuff to those who can use it. Boy, it's a darn slow process I find. But baby steps, baby steps.

3. Yesterday my dh went to an Indian restaurant and once again offered to bring me home food. I asked for two vegetarian entrees so I'm set for about a week now! Palak paneer (spinach with cheese cubes), with lots of paneer, and baigan bharta (yummy roasted eggplant).

4. This week our local hospital, AAMC , sponsored a breakfast with a nutritionist. I had heard her last year and pretty much know all that she talked about and suggested. I don't eat fast food, I don't drink alcohol or any kind of soda, we don't salt our food and I've done portion control for quite a few years. The time in the hospital and knee rehab just about cured me of snacking between meals. MOST of my snacking was good - almonds - but I do like some candy now and then. I also know that Now leads to a lot more Nows. Damn...sugar can be so addictive! 

But our breakfast was good. I had picked the yoghurt because I eat oatmeal at home so often but I switched with a friend who had picked the oatmeal and really didn't want it. Good thing I brought my own tea because there was only coffee. But thank you Starbucks none the less for donating this food.

5. He's in the mood to plan vacations for this year. Sigh. I know that's not a real problem but I like to just enjoy the winter and let the time pass gently. Can you tell I'm married to a long range planner? However, a friend let me know about a REAL bargain for those of us over 62.  I'm going to take advantage of that travel experience next week. Wheeee!!

Have a wonderful weekend and do enjoy yourself some way some how. Life is too short to not enjoy it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TBT : 2006 Canning Camp Food

talk about good...
Back in 2006, a bunch of us, who were renovating or had renovated our kitchens, shared our food recipes in an online forum.  A few of the cooks were serious canners. Many of us wanted to learn canning or get our skills back. So....Canning Camp was created!

Sherry and her late husband Roger hosted us and took us out and about Indiana and Michigan. I met some damn good cooks in addition to seeing canning again. Sherry set up a magnificent buffet one night and this crab quiche was only one of the tasty dishes. Not canned, just baked to perfection.

Maybe I should prep my canning jars for a winter canning!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday: Up to Switzerland - Fail

Each trip to Northern Italy has involved an attempted trip to the Swiss border. It's never quite happened and this day was no exception. However, this was not due to our lollygoggling but rather our first experience with Blu Diesel which is not a fuel that diesel cars like. Who knew?

The day started off sunny and gorgeous, not too cold so perfect, it seemed, for a trip heading north truly into the Alps.

 With our car no longer moving after the Blu Diesel, we learned once again, that we Americans want everything done Right Now and that is not the Italian way. When it's lunch time, it's lunch time and that does not mean a 15 min gulp of fast food. It's just as well that there was no better restaurant nearby because one of us does not engage in small talk.  Killing time in silence is no fun.

We now know what it is like to ride in a BIG tow truck on the Autostrada. Somehow that is not an experience that is on many life Bucket Lists.  I believe we had pizza for dinner once again.

Not the best day, but certainly one I'll remember.

Monday, January 12, 2015

AAM Monday: January 12, 2015

While things have happened round here and we both have gone places, it's been a nice good slow start to the year. Staying in, some very cold times, some snow and today the promise of freezing rain. So far just rain.

For the most part, I'm not terribly anxious to go out, go somewhere, be as active as I could. I did get to the gym two times last week and plan to go later today.  But mostly it's been a good quiet time with books, fires in the Jotul and fireplace and watching old tv shows in a mini-binge mode.

Otherwise round here...

Going... out for meals with friends, him more than me but one meal for both of us last night to celebrate his daughter's 50th birthday.

Enjoying...a good meetup with women friends, a lunch that lasted over 3 hours. That's a good time!

Baking...bread! January is a good time to get the bread machine out and so far we've had English muffin bread, jalapeno cheddar bread (for him), and one dud of an old multigrain mix. That 'healthy' bread sits like a great lump but it's actually not that bad. Have a slice is enough to get a carb fix. fitbit daily. I am getting close to having my 3,000 steps goal get bumped up to 4k. If I do my in-house-reminder-5min-walks twice a day, I just need a bit more effort, like walking on the rubber track at the gym to make it. Right now the streets and sidewalks are still icy and full of snow piles. Too dangerous for walking. It's definitely that time of year and the forced bulbs were on sale - 3 for $10 -so I bought mini daffodils and hyacinths. The pretty Delft like bowls are ones I saved years ago for future forced bulbs. A good save! The white amaryllis I bought around Halloween has two massive leaves but still no sign of a flower. I remain hopeful.

pure primary colors

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five on Friday: January 9, 2015

1. Things I didn't interstates. On the east coast we say e.g. I-95 (aka known as the road from hell) but in California they have unique ways of speaking of Interstate-5, a similar ubiquitous north-south road. In Southern California, they say "the 5" but I just learned that in Northern California, they say "5".  I don't know where their 'Mason-Dixon' line is for the change of speech because I don't want to sound like I'm ignorant when I next go to California.  Big problem, eh???

2. That great project of getting rid of clutter in my studio reminds me that there are always steps to do before the actual work starts. Trashing the surface crap is easy. But then there are the other things that require boxes etc. I mean what to do with the several older versions of say PSE software. I need a give away box, a big one, so that I don't have to obsess on where each item should go. So a trip to Walmart is in order and the weather is cold and I'm not overjoyed to go out again....Big Sigh.

3. Why is it that when a do a massive amount of cooking to stock up, mainly for him, he goes out for meals half the week? Time to pack the freezer with stuff I guess.

4. Less than happy with the display of the newer Instagram filters? Here's a way to arrange them the way you like. Click HERE

5. My dh made one of his halibut curry dinners for his guy friends and one of them brought a big bowl of salad. I was able to enjoy the salad leftovers twice this week with some TraderJoes shrimp. A nice almost ready meal for me and a big thank you to the wife of the guest. She actually made the salad.

Now go and have a wonderful weekend! and if you're in a cold snowy area, don't fall down on the ice!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Throwback Thursday: How Sweet It Was

When we first bought a timeshare in SC, we started the tradition of stopping for lunch in Midlothian just outside of Richmond VA. It was then that we were introduced to the grocery chain of Ukrops. omg. It was a lovely chain, run by the Ukrop family, and the food let you know that you were now in the South. We usually ate right in the little cafe attached to the prepared food. Mac and cheese with creamy filling and the proper crusty top for me. I'm not sure what he usually had but I suspect it was fried chicken.

However, the piece de resistance, was the pecan pie we always bought to take on down for our week's beach time and then another one to take back home on the way north.

Sadly, Ukrops went out of business with the family members growing tired of the grocery life. The new owner made the bakery goodies but the last time we stopped in for our luxury pie, it was just not as good. Maybe it really was but it didn't seem the same without a Mr. Ukrop there near the checkout seeing if things were running smoothly and saying goodbye to you.

Life is all about change but darn, I miss that pie!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Travel With Me Tuesday: We Drive to the Med

While in Turin, we also decided to take a trip to the Mediterranean. You know, warm weather, sun, but we were wise enough to know there wouldn't be warm water unless you think the Pacific is warm.

The morning started off with a lot of noise, early noise, which turned out to be the movers in the apartment above. Thing go out the window and are lowered by an amazing contraption. However, it's an extremely noisy contraption. Thus, once again, we had a late start.

It's a very rare occasion when I will even consider eating fast food but there is one thing about a lot of places in Europe that serve real food. These places adhere to specific hours and so a late start means that almost as soon as we arrive in a place, we have to think about lunch or miss it. We ate just under the wire on this day. Other than having the option of rather sorry looking sandwiches and pastries in bars, we were fortunate to have found lunch after our espresso/bathroom stop.

Monday, January 5, 2015

AAM Monday: Getting Back in the Groove

Tomorrow will mark 8 weeks since knee surgery and I've missed the activity of exercise and movement. While PT was great, when it ended I knew I needed a different kind of movement in addition to the various knee exercises I still am doing.

Sunday, I signed up once again for my local city gym. It's a great deal, especially for seniors, with a rate of $233 a year for us geezers.  My local senior center which is closer and walkable (now!) is free but they only have one exercise bike, one elliptical and two treadmills.  Being able to snag time on one of those is pretty hard as a lot of people who use them stay on for an hour. The senior center hours are also limited - 8-4 Monday through Friday. While I am not ready to take advantage of the gym's 6am opening, and probably never really will if I'm honest, it's nice to know that both the hours and the days are much more extensive and that I can always use the rubberized indoor track if, by some fluke, one of the many many bikes or elipticals is not available for a while. I used to have a favorite stair stepper but I saw that a lot of the equipment is newer so I'll have to ask for guidance to find the one that best suits my knee.

I found out that the Sunday hours do not start til 11am but the three large basketball etc courts are fully occupied all morning. Yesterday they were filled with tween-age girls lacrosse games. Yes, this is Maryland! I would have liked to have had a couple of shots of the games and the girls and parents after the games but I respected their privacy.

Sadly, as I'm still not able to get up or down onto the floor for exercises, I can't take advantage of the free Pilates and yoga classes. So, I will do what I can during this next stage of recovery. Back in the groove once again.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Five on Friday: January 2, 2015

I somehow don't find it hard at all to write 2015. Some years it takes me a long time to become accustomed to the new date but not this year, so far. I suspect that my limbo state of November that was consumed by knee surgery and recovery stretched into December when I did very little for Christmas. In fact, it almost passed me by unseen. A lot of my focus from Halloween on was how I would feel and what I would be able to do by January 2015.  Well, here it is and I can do most things I want to do.

Ok, I've yet to try getting up from the floor (as in Pilates or Yoga) nor have I attempted to get down on the floor. My physical therapist suggested 6 months. I can wait.

1. While I'm still not a knitter, yet, I think this is the coolest idea. Many times in my life I've had a lidless tea pot but just not now. But if you have one, give it to a knitter! or a crocheter.

2. Are you doing OLW this year? That's "One Little Word" a year long project that Ali Edwards does and it gives you a chance for a lot of reflection and potential for change and growth. I started one year and followed through. Started another year, 2013, and never did much of anything. This year? I feel the need for change and my word is space. Not the NASA kind but free and open space. This Virgo has hemmed herself in with too too much, too much physical and mental clutter. If you want to have a go with this project, click this link.

3. Though I have had a quiet December, I got the cooking bug on New Year's Eve, mostly as I had a 4lb package of ground beef that wanted cooking. After about 90 minutes in the kitchen we have a pot of chili-mac (sans the mac), a batch of meatballs in sauce, and a good sized meatloaf. I hold himself that if I croaked before 2015, he'd be good for meals for almost 2 weeks. He was impressed with the food and that I had been standing for that long. Actually, so was I.

4. Yes, I'm a bit late to the party but I have thoroughly enjoyed semi-binge watching Parenthood. Yes, it reminds me of Brothers and Sisters which I also loved via Netflix.  I'm only in season 2 so I have some fun ahead!

5. One of the things that was strongly suggested to me when I finished my knee physical therapy was to get back to the gym. Yep, the journey continues again but now I know how much a part my former exercising helped me during and post surgery. I'd still rather pretend I don't need it but I know. I really know.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hello 2015!

Many good wishes to you and yours as we start a New Year.  May your trunk be full of blessings.

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