Sunday, November 27, 2016

Post-Thanksgiving Ponderings

There are so many things I am grateful for, so much I am appreciating, that to begin to list them would probably be boring to anyone reading this.

But I have noticed that since I started making a nightly list of things that have happened during the day for which I am either grateful or appreciative, there are more and more events bringing me joy and delight.

Is it because I am more aware of the process of appreciating that I notice more to appreciate? I think I have always been a person who can easily thank another or express my appreciation, so I am surprised to hear from someone who said to me, "You never tell me you appreciate me."

Reflecting back on that remark, I realize that the Receiver is not in a mode to hear the number of times I have said, "I do appreciate all that you are doing." or "I am grateful you are ________(fill in the blank)."

Like tuning in to a radio station, we tune in to what we want to hear... sports, news, classical music and thus do not hear the messages coming from country, rock or talk shows. How do we tune ourselves so that we are receptive? For me it is this daily practice of appreciating as I go to sleep.

I was fortunate enough to be up at the Summit at Snoqualamie for a Thanksgiving feast with my daughter's and husband's family (granddaughter and the now-four-year old twins) and I had been wishing for snow so I could enjoy it briefly. Wish granted!!

We woke up on Thursday to about four inches of very wet snow which fell most of the day. Fortunately the roads were kept clear so that my son-in-law, who was cooking the turkey at home down off the mountain, could drive the half hour unimpeded.

It was so delicious to watch the falling snow with a gas fireplace burning brightly sipping a hot cup of tea and just knowing all was well. Sometimes these moments are what sustain us when the world shifts.

I hope you readers who celebrate this U.S. holiday have enjoyed your time of reflection, and for those who live elsewhere, may this begin a season of appreciation in your world.

It is a scientific fact that we are connected... hearts to hearts: listen to this 8-minute report by Gregg Braden. So if world events are distressing you, perhaps you want to refocus on how you want it to be, what your heart desires, and in this way, we can all create energy for greater happiness worldwide. May you have a joyful season where ever in this lovely world that you live!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Daughter's Birthday

You just ran out the door to play with Michele, now I've turned around and you are graduating from high school and is it really true that your first son is now in college and you are.... over 40?

It has gone by so quickly. All those moments of wondering if you would ever sleep through the night, get your homework done on time, make your bed, pick up your clothes, get through college safely (you were nearly on the bridge in California during the Loma Linda earthquake) and then one day you were struggling with your own babies not sleeping.

Sigh... I am so very proud of you. You have been climbing your own mountains for a long time and I think you are finally able to turn around and look at the view... you should be just as proud of your accomplishments as I am... a loving and devoted wife, a funny and responsible mother and stepmother, a woman of integrity who recently (and casually) told me she is a partner in a patent!

May this birthday mark the beginning of a new year of many joys leaving behind the "annus horribilus" and all its challenges -  you certainly deserve it!

And may I add how grateful I am for being a part of the whole adventure? So glad you came into my life and enriched it so measurably!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Not tame, and very bad... neotame

I was sent this information by a trusted friend who is paying attention to ingredients.....
" Just when we thought that buying “Organic” was safe, we run headlong into the deliberate poisoning of our organic food supply by the FDA in collusion with none other than the folks who brought us Aspartame. 
NutraSweet, a former Monsanto asset, has developed a new and improved version of this neurotoxin called Neotame.
Neotame has similar structure to aspartame — except that, from it’s structure, appears to be even more toxic than aspartame. This potential increase in toxicity will make up for the fact that less will be used in diet drinks. Like aspartame, some of the concerns include gradual neurotoxic and immunotoxic damage from the combination of the formaldehyde metabolite (which is toxic at extremely low doses) and the excitotoxic amino acid. 
But surely, this product would be labeled! NOT SO!!! For this little gem, no labeling required. And it is even included in USDA Certified Organic food.
The food labeling requirements required for aspartame have now been dropped for Neotame, and no one is clear why this was allowed to happen. Neotame has been ruled acceptable, and without being included on the list of ingredients, for:
USDA Certified Organic food items. 
Certified Kosher products with the official letter k inside the circle on labels. (Janet Hull)
Let me make this perfectly clear. Neotame does not have to be included in ANY list of ingredients! 

So, if you buy processed food, whether USDA Certified Organic or not, that food most likely will contain Neotame because it is cost-effective, and since no one knows it is there, there is no public backlash similar to what is happening with Aspartame. A win/win situation!
But that’s not all. Just love chowing down on that delicious steak? Well, that cow most likely will have been fed with feed containing… guessed it…..Neotame! A product called “Sweetos,” which is actually composed of Neotame, is being substituted for molasses in animal feed."

Do your own research. But you might want to be finding a farmer who is not feeding anything but grass to beef cattle if you are eating meat.

I am on a deliberate campaign to change my cellular structure so that I can eat anything at all and it has no deleterious effects on me... and that includes chocolate!!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Goal Reached!

Four years ago, plus or minus a few weeks, I arrived in Sequim. My choice to live here was based on two major factors: 1) It is a community that supports senior citizens in a variety of ways (health, transportation and social activities to name a few) and 2) It was less than three hours away from my daughter's family.

Well, this spring #2 became a little further away when they moved to Issaquah. But I still love my life in Sequim.

Another thing that happened about four years ago was going to the Sequim Arts Association members show at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in their parish hall. As I walked around, I thought to myself, "Self, someday we are going to be in this show."

Dungeness Spit Sunset (2016) Watercolor (8.5 X 10)
Dear readers, this year I am reaching that goal! This is my second art show in the U.S. and I have three entries. The name of the group has changed to the Olympic Peninsula Arts Association and this event is only open to members.

Two watercolors and one photograph are entered; shown here.

Before having them framed, I had Clear Image in Sequim take proper scans of them and make one copy for sale. I am not willing to part with the originals at this time.

And, by the time I got through with the scans, matting and framing, I have invested over $200 in all three of them. Most folks in Sequim want to buy something for about $35. It's just not possible for me to provide an original with my creative work and have it ready to hang at that price.

Bluejay (2016) Watercolor (10 x 10.25)
But this photo was selected by John Brewer, (Publisher Emeritus now) when I was working at the Peninsula Daily News to be on their webpage as representative of a summer day. So I thought it must still be worthy enough to be a candidate for my three entries.

Lake Crescent Visitor (2015) Photography (8.5 x 10)
I don't know if any of these will be selected as 'winners' in the show; that is such a subjective game played in the art world. But I am happy with them myself, and that is what really counts.

The Artists Reception is on Wednesday, Oct. 12, and the show opens on Thursday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 16, at the St. Luke's Episcopal Church parish hall, 525 Fifth Ave., Sequim, Washington.

I so wish my family could come out here and be part of my celebration of accomplishment, but a dear friend has announced she will come and be my 'witness' for achievement, and that is a special event for me!

I will take some pictures at the reception to share at a later date.

Thank you for stopping by and especially for any encouraging comments...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Signs of the Season

So it is barely the middle of September, but I think I saw snow falling on the top of Mt. Olympus during our last rainstorm and the temperatures are below 50 degrees at night already. My gut feeling is that we are going to have a much colder winter this year, with snow levels dropping below 2,500 ft.

While I am not the Farmer's Almanac (my father worked there as a Marketing Director ages ago), and I have not seen any fuzzy worms, I have had a fair amount of accuracy forecasting weather trends. Not that anyone has any records of mine, but I just seem to sense it and I respect that intuitive feed.

I have a friend over in Hong Kong who says it has been unseasonably hot, but he doesn't live there full time so he doesn't know what that means. I think the weather patterns are all 'calli-whumpas' (turned about and upside down) because Mama Gaia is trying to sort out some things. Kind of like when you had fall cleaning and threw things around when you weren't sure what to do with them.

But all summer has been cooler than normal over here, lots more small craft and gale warnings in the Juan de Fuca Straits, and now we are getting a smattering of rain showers and plenty of cloud cover to make the temperatures plummet at night.

Canadian Geese in the Solmar Pond, Sequim, WA
I usually do not bring out my heavy duty down comforter until after Halloween, but I am not sure I will last that long since my present covers have little warming capabilities. And my cats have found their own cozy places, so I don't even have them cuddling up to me anymore.

Female mallard duck among the geese; didn't see her mate.
The ducks and geese are leaving enough feathers floating on the nearby pond to make a least one down pillow, possibly two.

That usually means they have new (pin) feathers coming in and in the effort to break the casing, they knock out older ones.

I remember when my birds were moulting how they preened and groomed significantly more often. And there were lots of feathers flying around.
Lots and lots of sleepy geese; worn out from flying south?

Whatever is going on, I am aware it is cooler, and I'm still hoping for some warm fall days. There are still some trails I want to walk and places I want to explore.

I recently saw a photograph of Thorndyke Lake in Jaffrey, N.H. It was reflecting some beautiful foliage, but my sister tells me that they've been having a drought and the colors are no where near as intense as they might be for this time of year.

So, find your color where you can, get warm, and just enjoy what Mother Nature is throwing at us... she is always full of surprises!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Already September? Fall is coming...

I am not entirely sure what has happened to summer because now the leaves are falling and we're back to cool temperatures again.

And the inside contra dances have started which is better for me since dancing in the dirt is hard on my back... the resistance of the ground is too much. But here are some photos of the last summer contra dance at the Sequim Library and I love how the late summer sun enhances all the colors that everyone is wearing.

Dancing bare feet, kicking up dirt and dust, a delight to watch
and once it was a great joy for me to do, too.
And now I'm over in Issaquah with my daughter's family, shopping for school clothes, kids heading off to school, helping to carry some of the burden since my son-in-law has to connect to family this week out of town. I'd forgotten the stresses on all as the summer routine fades into a more strict one for the fall and winter. Plus now there are 14 of the month-old chickens to add to the mix. It's been a little exciting at times!

There are other changes in the air, but it's too soon to share any details just yet. Enough to say that while I've been happy on my own this summer, it always adds a little sparkle to have a glimmer of more to come.