Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What It's All About

Tuesday I went to a luncheon at Betty's home with other women of our church.  Betty had 3 tables set beautifully with lovely china and sweet flower bouquets at every table. The dining room was set with rose patterned china and the florist was able to harmonize the live roses with the lovelies on the china. A hand-picked florist for a hand-picked bouquet.

Which brings me to my bouquets. Needless to say my florist are the bins at Trader Joe's or an occasional trip to the grocery store. Nothing fancy but I appreciate the convenience and the price. And this time of year I don't even have to look for a vase or arrange any flowers since poinsettias are my go to flower for Christmas.

The house is decorated at last, took me forever this year. The boxes were stacked in the entry way for days. The kids would find little pathways thru to get to and from the front door, finally they gave up on the paths and just began jumping over the mess. Now I wonder just how long it will be before it all comes back down. My Mom believed that if you didn't take the decorations down before January 1st we would have bad luck the whole year. I really think that was a ploy to get us to move a little quicker in helping pack the Christmas decor away for another year. In days gone past my sweetie would do all the packing away.

The kitchen has some festive touches, a little tea set that I bought from a store no longer in business many years ago. That was in the era that nothing was on "sale" until after Christmas. I can't even remember when the business of sales before Christmas began, probably the same year that stores began decorating for the holidays before Halloween.  We seem to be in a constant state of change.

The Christmas cards appear in the mailbox each day which always brings me joy. (guess who the ham is in the middle??) I love seeing families grow and change and since most of my family live so far away sometimes the only way to see them is thru the greetings that come once a year. Thank goodness for facebook.

And speaking of are my two. Getting them to sit in a chair and look at me both at the same time is in itself a small miracle.

I have posted on Focusing On Life today with "my best of" list. Love to have you stop by. Happy first day of winter, happy?? we have been in a deep freeze for days. It's just now beginning to thaw. And Christmas day is predicted to be 50 degrees. Like I said, changes are constant. Breathe deeply and think calm thoughts as we approach the last days before Christmas, let's all remember what it's really about.

"As long as you live, keep learning how to live." ~ Seneca

Until next time.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

JOY (sometimes)

Sometimes it's difficult to find joy in the season, especially for those who are in the middle of a health crisis, or a dear one who has recently passed away, or those seeking employment, or who may be estranged from their family. There are many reasons why some cannot seem to find joy in this season. They cannot sing out "Joy to the World". There are many around the world in crisis, many of us in the US are uncertain what is ahead.  Everyone of us has some kind of struggle, whether it's outward or inward. The happiest season of all can be the most difficult for some. Now I am not trying to put a damper on anyone's joys, but I think we truly need to be aware of those who are hurting.

We can all play a part in bringing joy to the world. A simple smile, a thank you, reaching out to give a hug or a handshake. Offering to pray for someone is a powerful overture. God has blessed me with a loving family and a great many friends, those of whom I couldn't have dealt with my sweeties' health issues without them.  If we just reach out, call that friend, post that note in the mail, drop a few coins in those Salvation Army pots, we may be lifting their spirits and bringing a little joy into their world.

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."  ~  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Until next time.....

Monday, December 12, 2016

Filled With the Spirit of Christmas

Target was my go-to spot for choosing the Christmas gifts for a child I chose off of the angel tree at our church. Our congregation supports the people residing in an Indian Reservation in Sisseton, South Dakota. And one of these is buying gifts for the young children in Sisseton.  Naturally I procrastinated far too long and all gifts were to be wrapped and delivered to church before the 9:00 AM service on Sunday.

Yes, I went to Target, yes I bought several gifts, and yes I wandered off of the main course and purchased a few delights that were not on my list. See the cute banner above? I thought it would add just the right touch to the window in front of the tree, I defy anyone who walks into a Target and not stop at the $1 and $3 bins loaded with "stuff" no one needs but in that moment feel they can't live without. You are a better person than me if you can walk right past those bins and not blink an eye.

Yesterday (Sunday) was filled with the spirit of Christmas. First morning services, breakfast with one of my gal pals, home for a nap and then to dinner with friends and a slow and treacherous drive back to church for "Carols and Candlelight". A most treasured celebration of the season. It began to snow early in the morning, continued lightly during the day and right before I was getting ready to leave for dinner, the heavy flakes began. Big splats on the windshield, but fortunately I live in a town that clears the streets even on a Sunday. I told my hostess that if I didn't have her invite for dinner I probably would have just snuggled in for the evening. The dinner was delicious, the concert divine, and the drive to and fro was uneventful. (Thank you God).

And I woke up to this.... taken from my front door in jammies, robe and slippers.

Nothing on the calendar for today so hopefully I can take a quick trip to the Arboretum to capture some of this white beauty!!  Have a good day and a lovely week ahead.

"One of life's most fulfilling moments occurs in the split-second when the familiar is suddenly transformed into the dazzling aura of the profoundly new."  ~  Edward B Lindaman

Until next time.....

Friday, December 9, 2016

Raisins, Not My Fav...

After another night of eating with BookClub #2 (the 2nd Thursday of the month club) I am off to the grocery to buy the fixins for oatmeal raisin cookies. Our church is having a Christmas Cookie Sale tomorrow. I am not much of a baker, nor a cook since it's only me, but guilt pushed me into volunteering when one lady pleaded with someone to take her place in baking oatmeal/raisin cookies. She recently had surgery and wasn't feeling up to baking, so how could I say no to that request.  I went to my favorite idea place to search for a recipe, Pinterest ofcourse, and found one that claims to be the best. (I think most of the recipes on Pinterest are the best cookie, the best lasagna, the best chicken, the best cranberry) For Thanksgiving I prepared a couple of crock pot veggie recipes from Pinterest that proved to be quite tasty.

OK,back from the store after spending $97 (who would have thought ingredients for oatmeal/raisin cookies could cost so much??) I know you are just like me, you go to the store for 5 items and come home with 5 bags. Thank goodness I volunteered to bake just 1 batch, because I knocked Mr. Quaker quick cooking Oats all over the kitchen floor. ARGHH@@## And you ask why I don't bake?!
I bought fresh flour, corn syrup, raisins, and Crisco all with expiration dates of 2017 and 2018. So, I might use them again before they expire. Don't hold your breath.  As for the raisins, no.not  a fan. That's another reason why I volunteered to bake the oatmeal raisin cookies because I am not a lover of raisins, I love grapes, but somehow when they go thru that process to become raisins, I lose interest and taste. Give me a nut anyday over a raisin.

Spilling the oats all over the kitchen floor was just the first fight I had this afternoon. How many out there have trouble opening new products? OMG trying to lift the new lids off or unscrew a brand new bottle, my semi arthritic hands are not meant for the new & improved methods of safety.

As I was driving to church to deliver the fresh baked cookies, the sun was already setting and it wasn't even 4:00 PM. The moon was out and it reminded me of John Glenn who just passed away. Those were such exciting times when we sent men into space. Wonder if we will ever get back in the space business again.

PS - The image of the squirrel has absolutely nothing to do with this post, I just have so many photos in my cache that you will probably see Fall images in the middle of a winter blizzard.

Have a wonderful weekend. We are supposed to have some major snow this weekend, so you may see some white in the near future.

Until next time.....

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Time of the Year...

I do believe this is day 118 and counting for decorating the house for Christmas. It just seems to go on forever, but then I am not the speediest, taking time out for that 3rd cup of coffee, checking emails, writing blogposts (2 egads), playing a game or two on my IPad.  My mother used to call that piddling. I piddle the day away sometimes, accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Yesterday was devoted to eating, no really, I ate brunch at our last Bible study gathering for this year and then immediately after went to a lunch for our Christmas luncheon at our 1st Wednesday Bookclub. Both quite yummy and especially the cinnamon rolls with cream cheese in the middle. Everything tastes better with cream cheese and avocados. Not necessarily together, obviously, but added to veggies, dessert, meats, chicken etc etc etc. You would think after two feasts I would not have been hungry, but you know that ain't gonna happen.

Tonight is Book Club #2 Christmas dinner at a local restaurant. I think I mentioned something in my last blog post about my middle spreading...well these luncheons and dinners are contributing to that spread. But oh what fun it is...!!

Now, you are probably wondering why after sharing Christmas decor with you, I now have a picture of a duck.  Last week I had a meeting with my money man (name I give my Edward Jones investment advisor) and as I was leaving the parking lot I noticed a stream running right next to the parking lot. I have been going to this office for several years and never noticed the stream, but that day there was a paddling of ducks. FYI, I just googled "what do you call a bunch of ducks?. If they are in flight they are called a flock, but swimming or on the ground they are called paddling, raft or team. Still in my car, but inching very slowly toward the paddling, curious Mr. Mallard looked straight at the camera and just waited for his picture to be taken. Love the deep green on his head, golden yellow on his beak and those brilliant orange webbed feet. If you look close you can see water droplets all over his face and body. I have a feeling it was more food he was searching than wanting his picture taken.

Again, Deanna, a chickadee in this Christmas post?  I can't help it. These are the cutest little birds with their dark cap head, black & white body and golden belly. He blended right in with what was left of the fall colors.

Well, back to the decorating. Maybe by Christmas I will be complete and then it will be time to take it all down. Such is life. "Let go of the idea of winning or losing. In the game of life, the most important thing is just showing up and doing your best."  -- Domonique Bertolucci

Until next time....

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Au Contraire...

If you happen to stumble across this blog you are probably wondering who in the heck is this, whoever she is she hasn't posted anything since August 28th....hmmm. If this is a photo-journey of my life as the title of this blog suggests, it doesn't seem like I have a life at all. Au contraire (had to look up the spelling of that) my life is full, sometimes too full, since I like my alone times to not be crowded out by the busy times. I'll even admit right here that sometimes I skip an event just because I need that alone time. But admitedlly, there are times when I really miss my sweetie. Holidays do that to me.

We had, in my opinion, a horrid summer, too hot and way too humid. If I was a kid, I would have spent my days in our local pool, but since my bathing suit body left several years ago I choose not to be seen without sleeves or partially covered legs. Since I did absolutely nothing except sit on my back porch, and take some very nice trips my body is spreading. And unless I get busy and begin some kind of activity there will be no beach wear again next summer.

But in all fairness, the heat and humidity did produce some exquisite blooms.

Autumn was absolutely spectacular this year. It was probably the most beautiful and longest lasting Fall I can remember. I made many trips to the Arboretum capturing the colors and was sorry to see it come to an abrupt end with our first snowfall of the season this past weekend.  There were colors still glowing.

Thanksgiving was spent with a partial family. Brie (youngest grand) has moved to Denver where she is happy as a lark working at a vet's animal hospital so she was not able to join us and my son Lane and his wife Nelly opted to stay in California this year to spend Thanksgiving with her family. But guess who came to Thanksgiving dinner....Matilda Mae with a new bow wrapped around her pretty little head.

Time marches on with or without a blog post and now we are in the midst of the holiday season. I have boxes piled in the entryway, a half decorated tree and a need to move a little quicker with finishing adorning the house. I'm hoping that I will be a bit more deligent in the posting of  "the photo journal of my days"  Maybe next time I'll talk about TV, Movies and good books that I have enjoyed these past days, weeks, months.

I wish for you a season filled with joy and gladness.

Sharing with

Until next time.....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Journey to Torch Lake

No, no...I haven't fallen off the blogging train. I was not home last week, off on a wee vacation visiting long time friends at Torch Lake. A lake known as one of the most beautiful in the world. At least according to my friend, George.  If you look at a map of Michigan, up along the northern end next to Lake Michigan you will see Traverse City, MI, Torch Lake is a short drive from that point. A vacation spot, both summer and winter.  Our friends have a cottage with beach access making it the perfect spot to hang out for the summer (except for perhaps the 4th of July, it gets too noisy, too crowded, and too much trash is left by the visitors). George and his lovely wife are now in their 80's so their idea of fun has changed over the years, they have slowed down alot, both having major surgeries on backs and knees. 

Their life is spent at a much slower pace, but George still tinkers with his tools, walks the dog twice a day, and stops for wine around 4:00 PM everyday without fail. He and his wife share a great love and respect for each other, they laugh alot, hold hands alot, and are an illustration of what a long and happy marriage should be.

A big chunk of time was spent sitting on the patio with old oaks and pine trees surrounding the cottage on all sides. Taking a deep breath the air smelled like someone had sprayed a pine air refresher, but instead of from an aerosol can, it came from nature.  A large bird feeder hung within easy site, so I brought my 150-600 mm lens out and waited. I was not disappointed.....

One evening George was grilling on the patio and spotted a deer. Here I come with the BIG lens, and lo and behold it was Mom and 2 babies.

The baby was too quick and my lens focused on the tree instead of on the fawn. Oh time.

There were 2 black squirrels that kept us entertained with their games of tag and who can scale a tree faster.

It was a a lovely time being with old friends and surrounded by the beauty of nature.

This week I am returning to Michigan to join a photography tour of the lighthouses of Lake Michigan. We will be getting up early to capture the lighthouses at dawn and staying out late to photograph them at sunset. We will end almost as far up as Torch Lake, traveling Tuesday thru Friday along the shores. So next week look for lighthouses.  Hope you have a great week ahead as summer winds down and the glories of Fall begin.

Until next time.....

Friday, August 19, 2016

The June July August Break

Oh dear, I did it again, Said I would and then I didn't. I am very unreliable. Blogging is akin to a habit, you must continually write and post so it becomes part of your daily habits. And I don't mean a bad habit, I mean a good habit, sorta like drinking a cup of coffee before the world begins to turn. Many bloggers are taking what is referred to as an August Break, where they either don't post at all or very minimally. I think I fell into that first category but my August break went back as far as the end of June, the 29th to be exact.

And I might be in real trouble when it comes to forming a habit.  I just checked Google (I love Google) and instead of the old adage of 21 days, apparently the University College London has done a more thorough study on habit forming and now it has been determined that no longer is it 21 days but 66, trumping the 3 weeks to now more than 6 weeks. Are you kidding me, OMG I'm done for.

Oh well, I will give a quick over-view of my adventures this summer. trying to catch up during my June-July-August break. The two photos above were taken in Chicago on a night photo-walk during the photography conference. I rarely, pretty much never, do long exposure night photography. You need a tripod and patience, both of which I tend to fail at.

The 4th of July I drove to Dayton, OH with my kids to spend a long weekend with my sweetie's family.  Only one good day of weather the whole weekend was a disappointment. I thought it was a rule that it doesn't rain on the 4th of July.  Seeing and being with family certainly makes the days brighter even if the skies are dark and rainy.

Later in July I flew to California to visit and stay with my son and daughter-in-law for a week. We visited the San Diego Zoo, along with a million others and walked the beaches with a million others, and yes, it was hot like a million other places have been this summer. Remind me not to visit California in July. Fall or spring seem to be the more pleasurable times. But again, seeing and being with my son and daughter-in-law removed the unpleasantness of the crowds and the heat.

  But one thing is for sure, roses love the hot southern California weather.

And along the way I found a red barn.....always a fav!

And a gorgeous butterfly....

Many happy moments were spent with family this summer....this being one of them.

Can you believe this little bundle of joy will be two next month.

I am heading to Michigan next week to visit old friends that have a cottage on Torch Lake. Expectations are high for many photo ops.  Hope you have had a lovely summer as we head into a new season soon. It's been too hot and too humid around these parts this summer. The windows and doors have been shut almost the entire month of July and into August with the air conditioner running. Love having the windows wide open, enjoying the soft breezes and the sounds of summer. Maybe in September it will cool down for that enjoyment.  Until then, I will continue to sit on the screen porch, overhead fan on high, ice cold drink by my side, with an occasional trickle of sweat dripping on the pages of my latest read.

Until next time.....