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Archive for November, 2011

Giving Thanks

Well, it has been forever since I have posted to my blog.  Well, a little over three weeks.  But it feels like forever.  I wish I could say those three weeks were spent doing something stupendous, but that is not the case.  I slept a lot getting over the infection that caused the need for a root canal—and had several visits to the dentist in there as well.  A legal matter is moving forward so very slowly it seems to be standing still—and that fact frustrates me more some days than others.  But through it all, I did keep my gratitude journal, but not online.  Giving thanks and sharing appreciation needs to be an everyday thing, even though today (Thanksgiving) calls for a bit more thoughtful reflection and gratitude.

Here is my list of some of the things I am thankful for today:

My dentist:  He saw me on short notice and eased the pain!  And he is very gentle when poking around in my mouth, kept the procedures pain free,  answered all my questions about what he was doing and why, and did not ask very many questions when my mouth was full of so much junk that there was no way I could talk.  Other than the terrible shrill whine of the drills, the experience was not bad at all.  And as my mom would say, “It’s good you still have all your teeth for the dentist to work on.”

My general good health:  Two years ago at this time I was preparing for my last surgery, meaning my most recent surgery but also hoping that I don’t need another surgery one anytime soon.  The surgery successfully reversed the need for a colostomy bag.  Geez, am I thankful to not have to live with that anymore!

My parents:  They are both still basically healthy, although they do have aches and pains.  I was not with them today, but celebrated with them on Tuesday.  Their medical needs are different enough that they live in different facilities, but I saw both of them.  Mom and I shared a nice lunch and talked about decorating her room for Christmas.  Dad—although his memory is not the best these days—remembered enough to tease me about calling him when I got home safe from my over two-hour drive home.  Over the years, whether I was traveling 5 minutes or 5 hours, Dad wanted a call and I would typically say, “I would not call.”  It got to be our goodbye habit.  I am thankful we can still share fun silly moments together.

Good friends:  I appreciate the good friends and family members who are always there to offer love and support, not just today but every day.  I feel lucky to have them in my life.  I just wish some of them lived closer so we could literally get together more often.  That we don’t just makes me that much more thankful for the internet.

Good food:  I am thankful for good food—and not just today.  But it is great that today’s turkey and stuffing turned out so well.  You see, I do not often cook full meals.  Even the gravy turned out really well, with no lumps at all!  Now, I need to do all the clean-up and put-away the leftovers.  I am not thrilled with those chores, but am thankful I have such a bounty to contend with.  Maybe I will make some turkey soup in the next couple of days.

Autumn weather and colors:  I am thankful for the cooler weather that has been here for the last several weeks.  Cool nights just make it better for sleeping, and snuggling under soft and cuddly blankets.  And it is conducive to late night reading too.  I stumbled on a little book hiding on my shelf that is proving quite interesting—and I do not even remember how the book got there.  But I enjoying Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress nonetheless.  There have been some great sunsets lately too.  The colorful leaves are still around both here in Bakersfield and near my parents in Arcadia—and many blogging friends have been sharing some great autumn photos!

Holiday Cheer:  I am thankful that another holiday season is on the way, even though the commercialism associated with the season is a bit daunting.  I have already ordered the cookies and candy and sausage that are part of my annual holiday gift-giving.  And I have some books in for the great nieces and nephews I may see over the holidays.  I am very thankful to not have plans to go out shopping tomorrow, or any time soon, sales or not!  I love the music, the movies, the fun of believing in and acting like Santa, and the general good will that comes with the season.  A couple messages—although not exclusive to the holidays—help remind us that the people, the connections are what are important, not all the commotion that goes with the season.

  • Four things you can’t recover:  The STONE after the throw. The WORD after it’s said. The OCCASION after it’s missed.  The TIME after it’s gone.
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines! Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover!        —Mark Twain

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Here’s to the start of what I hope is a terrific holiday season for everyone.  If we all focus on giving thanks and voicing appreciation, it will be a joyful season.

DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN! (BLOG AWARDS)

I am blessed to be a member of a terrific blogging community.  The other bloggers are supportive and responsive.  Being part of this community is one of the best aspects of writing a blog.  I started writing mainly to have a place to practice my writing and to share a few insights on an occasional basis.  Having regular readers is a definite bonus!  And some of them are very gracious about sending award notifications my way.  I was initially awarded the Versatile Blogger Award in June by Deborah at The Monster in Your Closet and then again in August by Michelle at Steadily Skipping Stones.  If you are not reading these two blogs, take a look–they are great.

Then a couple weeks ago, I was awarded the Versatile Blogger honor again.  This time, the nomination came from Travel Spirit, Fabulous at Fifty.  Her work is tremendous: full of honesty, insight and lots of photos.  The rules for the award are the same as they have been—but each winner modifies them a bit as needed:

First, THANK the blogger who sends the award your way!  I feel honored that a blogger whose work I so enjoy thought to send the award my way.  You really need to visit Travel Spirit’s work!  If she were not the one nominating me, I would forward the award to her.

Second is the most challenging rule that rests at the heart of the Versatile Blogger Award: IDENTIFY the blogs on which to bestow the award.  The rules say to name fifteen blogs, but that is a large number.  In the past, I did name fifteen and then another five.  This time around, I will name five that fit the extra criterion that I place on myself before I recommend a site to someone else:  that I have enjoyed the site enough to subscribe for at least several weeks.  There are some that I am following off and on that I expect I will eventually subscribe to and thus be able to nominate in the future, but for right now, these are the five I will share, listed in no specific order.

Charles Ford’s Warped PrismCharles shares wondrous and beautiful photos, but more than that, his photos present subjects in a new perspective. I see more when I peruse his site! His photos offer a range of topics from airshows to neon signs, from musicians to buildings and reflections.  You are in for a visual treat when you visit his blog.

Shivya’s The Shooting Star:  Shivya’s travel blog takes you to great places through India, Southeastern Asia, and Western Europe. She shares her adventures with words and photos, visiting typical tourist scenes as well as more out of the way places, sharing travel tips and book recommendations, and introducing individuals she meets along the way.  Her approach adds a great level of humanity and caring to her travel blog.  Go traveling with Shivya; you do not need shots or a passport but have a great time.

Mackenzie’s Red Roan Chronicles:  Mackenzie’s main focus is horses, which is delightful.  But she also talks about her travels, change, feature creatures and life experiences—like learning about herself while training her horse and shaving her head to raise money for cancer research.  Her photos add to the presentation.  She is detailed, direct, honest.  You will enjoy the site.

Siobahn Curious’ Classroom as Microcosm:  Siobahn is a teacher of college writing who shares stories and insights about reading, writing, and life. Some of her topics include class size, cheating, failure as a learning tool, and the usefulness of games in the classroom. She also listens, asking readers for topics and insights.  Recently she shared a series of blogs written by students who shared what changes are needed in education.  This blog shows the art and craft of teaching.

Atoms of Thought:  This blog is thoughtful and thought-provoking.  The topics are philosophical in nature but cover such subjects as travel, shared gestures, quiet heroes, and lessons learned from life.  Each post is carefully crafted and often punctuated with terrific photos.  This blog is worth a visit.

Third, SHARE seven details about yourself that you have not divulged before.  This is one rule that gets harder and harder to address, if you receive the award more than once.  I have shared details in the past, twice.  But I will add some more details to the list now.

  1. I was watching TV the other day and The Real Housewives of New Jersey came on—and I did not get the channel changed and ended up watching the show.  And the episode that came on right after it! OMG.  How can those women do what they do and decide to broadcast it to the world?  And I hate to say, I watched it.  Yikes. It feels sort of like slowing down to observe an accident—it is really hard not to do!
  2. I recently was scheduled to see a doctor and she would not let me bring someone into the exam with me—by office policy. No exceptions.  I was not thrilled with or trusting of this doctor anyway—long story—but this just seemed odd.  Has anyone else ever experienced such a thing?
  3. My laptop crashed several weeks ago.  I always have various virus scanning protections on my computer.  A report popped up, saying “a problem has been detected.”  It also said, “click here to see the details and how to correct.”  I clicked and the whole thing went to blue screen.  I know that it is important to back up documents, etc., but that does not mean that I had followed my own advice.  Learn from my mistake:  Back up everything!
  4. I have been reading a lot lately.  Even re-reading some books off my shelves. Two I have re-read lately are by Susan Trott:  The Holy Man and The Holy Man’s Journey.  They work as a pair and emphasize the need to look for the good in others, to be honest with yourself, and to keep learning how to live the simple life.  Each book is short, a quick deceptively simple read that introduces the reader to a range of characters and many of life’s foibles.  According to the LA Times, Trott’s novels offer “a particular brand of spirituality where old and new jibe in mutual tolerance and kindness. Westernized Buddhism mingles freely with Christianity.”  These books are worth a read!
  5. I am not married.  Never have been.  In looking back on my life—now that I am over 55!—I am certain I made the right decisions when I said no to various wedding proposals.  My life is far from perfect—whose isn’t?  But I am basically happy and content.
  6. The other day I stumbled upon a recipe for Baked Stuffed Jalapenos.  I have not tried it yet but will soon.  I am deciding how to modify the recipe to use ingredients I have in and avoid those I do not particularly like, like cilantro.  My sister worried that it might be too hot, but I really like hot and spicy! If it turns out, I will share the results.
  7. Words I hate to see on items I am buying from a catalog?  “Some assembly required!”  Right this minute a neighbor and his son are assembling a couple of chairs that were delivered today.  As they sit on the floor and ponder the directions—screw A into Part B, etc.—I am glad I have hired them to tackle the task.

I am honored and humbled to have received the Versatile Blogger Award again.  But I am most appreciative of the blogging community that supporters and applauds all bloggers.  Please take the time to explore the blogs I have identfied above and in the past–they are great writers!

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