Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

One thing that I am sure you all noticed once this pandemic hit. The amazing amount of emails sitting in your in-box. Basically businesses sending a “How we are responding to COVID-19” message.

Started off slowly. I received an email from the following:

The Optometry Center in Texas where my daughter (now twenty-eight years old and hasn’t lived in Dallas since she was in ninth grade)once had an eye exam.

A mom group selling spirit wear. Also from the grand old state of Texas when my daughter was in Middle School.

Tempo Air. Again from our Dallas days. Those fellas were in high demand at our house and regularly scheduled.

Realtors from our Southern California years. Left there in 2012.

And then came the onslaught.

Megabus. Airlines. Parishes. Restaurants. Delivery services. Theaters. Groceries. Charities. Department of State. Blogs. Blood Banks. Social media sites. Tourist spots. Hotels. Inns. Travel sites. Local shops. Schools. Universities. Sports teams. Cultural groups. Gyms. Genealogy sites. Museums. Petition groups. Social justice causes. Voting information. Banks. Craft sites. Auction houses. Utilities. Book stores. Clubs.

Etcetera!

Not just me, right?

I’ve received correspondence from anyone (and everyone) I might have nodded at or greeted in the last fifteen years!

Honestly, why does the government even need an app to track our whereabouts? Here’s my email address. This is a contact tracing of my life. Just gonna leave it right there.

There is a positive side to this. Besides taking me on a trip down memory lane! It provided me with an opportunity to get organized. I unsubscribed from many of these lists and then deleted the mail. Took the time (a little bit each day) to bang these bad boys out, resulting in a much tidier in-box. Saving me time in the future.

Feeling better already!

Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.

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Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday and looking forward to the weekend.

Of course, you might be at home like me and the weekend looks alarmingly like Tuesday or Wednesday. I am sure, one day soon, the days will once again define our weeks in a real way.

In the meantime, release your inner artist! I know there are some who are reading this and thinking, “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.”

I’m not talking about whipping out supplies and painting a beautiful landscape.

It could be as simple as crayons and a coloring book. Painting a flower pot. Making stakes for an herb garden.

You will find moments of peace.

We chose rocks. I know my girls probably thought it was goofy at first. But they later said it was therapeutic.

First we painted some for a friend of ours who recently lost her husband. We made plant markers for the garden that he once tended with his little grandsons.

rocks1

Then I painted a bunch for my garden so I will actually remember what’s what!

rocks

I know that there won’t be any prizes for “Artist of the Year” awarded but it was a nice, calming way to pass a little time.

So, release your inner artist. Have a lovely Tuesday! Oops! Have a fabulous weekend!

Stay safe.

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Hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there during this odd, bizarre and unprecedented time. I, for one, am still processing it all!

By now though, hopefully everyone has completed a puzzle, learned a new language, hopped on some type of ZOOM call or rearranged the pantry. And has established a new routine. Or is that just pie in the sky thinking?

We have no real routine. Our pantry has been rearranged about four times. At least. One day it looks like a neat 7/11 mini-grocery with its shiny offerings neatly aligned on the shelves. Another day it looks like a home invasion gone wrong. Very wrong.

Enough of that.

My #6 suggestion is to actually try something that has momentarily sparked your interest. You know the one. When you were thinking, “How cool! Best thing ever!” Only to forget about it two seconds later as you scroll down the screen.

Doesn’t have to be a big deal. Something simple.

Like when I shared (a while ago) my attempt at ripening an avocado in the oven. I have always had a love-hate relationship with them and was determined to beat the little non-native suckers into submission. Because I felt like Goldilocks every time I had one in my hand. Too hard. Too soft. Oops, I waited a minute and now it’s brown and rotten. When an article about bucking Mother Nature and hastening the aging process caught my eye I was so ready. Totally willing to manipulate the little green orb.

Didn’t work. Wrapped the avocado up, snug as a bug, with aluminum foil, baked it and eagerly waited for the results. Well, the fruit definitely softened but there was also a funky, metallic taste that came along with it. FAIL. Let’s chalk up that little experiment as a big no-go.

But here is a small success. I viewed this kitchen life hack in a video on more than one occasion. Always thought it looked great. And always forgot about it two seconds later. LOL. My friend, Stacy, recently posted it again so I thought, “Why not give it a try?”

This one is a winner. Great for spinach, parsley and mint with their long stems. Don’t forget-mojito season is just around the corner! This would work for anything with long, thin stems. Except for wine glasses.

Just push the stem through the small hole in the colander and grab the end. The stem pulls out easily, beheading in the process, with only the perfect leaves remaining in the colander.

Would using a knife be quicker? Sure. But this is a calming, easy chore. Even little kids can help in the kitchen without the possibility of an emergency room visit.

So the next time something new/interesting to try catches your eye jot yourself a little note. This will ensure you don’t forget! Then make it happen. Could be a dismal failure or a resounding success.

Either way, at least, you tried!

Stay safe and keep practicing safety measures!

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When the youngest, Hannah, was home during the month-long winter break she had the forethought to bring her plants home. Didn’t want to leave them to die a slow painful death in the cold dormitory.

One was a philodendron. A very green and healthy plant. Was growing like crazy as philos are wont to do. I told her it needed a haircut. To spruce it up a bit. So I did.

Then I took the cuttings and plunked them into a glass vase filled with water.

The kid returned to her university with her newly shorn plants at the end of the holiday.

Meanwhile, the cuttings were thriving at their new homevase (just made that word up and keeping it) and shooting out little roots everywhere. All I ever had to do was top it off with a little water as needed.

This is what it looks like now.

philo

There are now probably five or six individual plants. From one plant.

My daughter is currently home with us. She left university the first week of March and arrived in Rhode Island to spend the short Spring break. Never imagining that she wouldn’t be right back at school in ten days. So her only accompaniment was a big basket filled with dirty clothes. Everything else, including her green little plants, remains locked up in her inaccessible dorm room.

Poor little plants. Also casualties in the pandemic war.

The good news is that when she does return to her university she will have five new plants. All from the original Mama.

This is something simple we can all do. Whether we live on a ranch or in a city apartment. Take a cutting from one of your plants. Then drop it in a glass jar or vase. When it roots share with a friend, neighbor or family member. Rinse and repeat.

It’s healthy for the indoor environment. Where many of us happen to be spending every minute at the moment. It’s super easy. Cheerful to look at while also spreading cheer.

Things will get better. Hang in there. Be safe.

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Good Morning!

Another rainy day here in Rhode Island. The silver lining on these dark clouds might be that everyone actually stays in the house. I like to go out each day to feel the rays and appreciate nature as much as the next guy. But there are many fools out there, in groups, acting like nothing extraordinary is happening. Being quite reckless.

Yes, everyone is getting a bit antsy. I totally get that. Our routines are upside down. There’s isolation. Maybe more people (kids) in your house than normal. Or fewer folks. But let’s remember one thing. One very important thing.

Health is wealth.

That is the only reason we are upending our worlds. For us and our loved ones.

What we can do is use this time wisely by trying different things. In my last posting I wrote that I would share ideas to pass the time while we are isolating indoors. Here is the first.

A friend of mine, KB, recently posted a photo of her avocado plant named Avi. She rooted it in December. Said it took weeks suspended in water before it split and produced roots.

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This is a very long process. If you grow your tree from an avocado pit it might not bear fruit for ten years or so. Nothing shouts out hope like a stay-at-home avocado plant!

So next time you are whipping up some guacamole (because there is nothing else to do but eat) or preparing avocado toast don’t throw away the pit.

Here is mine. I know it looks like a little brown alien. And if the good Lord is willing, it will soon look like a hairy, little brown alien.

avoc

So, yes, you can try this at home. Great for kids and adults. Doesn’t take up room or require much care. Give it a name.

Have a good weekend. And remember.

Be like the avocado pit. Stay at home. Be hopeful. Keep growing.

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Finally I will write this one. It’s long and windy. Not windy like the wind. Like lots of bends. So strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride. Grab a glass of wine (or water) and sit back.

Sometimes I wonder why my head doesn’t explode with all of these stories just sittin’ and fermentin’ every day.

On Mother’s Day weekend I was up in Vermont. Met the youngest daughter at her university dorm room on the Friday and we loaded up the cars (hers and mine) with the boxes. Another school year in the books. Lol.

I planned to stay for the weekend. So Saturday and Sunday was ours. To do whatever we wanted.

Our destination was the Northeast Kingdom.

I had never heard of the Northeast Kingdom. It sounded like something out of a movie I probably wouldn’t even like. Shivers. But it is actually a region in the Northeastern part of Vermont-wriggling its way right up to the border with Canada. A natural, rugged beauty. Protected areas. Lots of wildlife. Not a ton of people.

Lake Willoughby, our final destination on this trip, was lovely. And empty since lake season had not quite arrived yet. We walked and stretched our legs. Had a good look around and took in the glory of nature.

Here are some of the photographs taken that day.

nek1nek2nek3nek4nek5nek7

We were soon on our way back to Burlington, Vermont. No rush. Enjoying the scenery and the company.

Like all long road trips sometimes a rest stop along the way is a necessity.

And like most small towns all over New England there isn’t much to distinguish one from the other. Quaint main streets, charming historical brick buildings, lovely flower arrangements hanging in baskets and window boxes. Always a train depot. Defunct or not. Mostly defunct.

So we stopped in a place called Lyndonville. Pulled in a parking spot curbside-in front of a cafe. Perfect. My daughter, Hannah, wanted a coffee or tea so we popped inside the shop.

I felt like I was walking onto a movie set. No joke. The place was filled with females with pointy ears and elaborate makeup. I didn’t know what to think. We were in the company of fairies. I honestly (no joke) started thinking to myself after a few minutes, “Fairies are real?”

Oh my gosh. Wait, are unicorns real??

Hannah orders her coffee and we ask the woman behind the counter what exactly is going on in the shop.

It was actually a “witches’ high tea.”

Okay. Not exactly what I was expecting but okay.

She went on to explain that they had hosted different workshops that day. She shares that the last event will be in a half hour. We ask for details.

It’s a spirit gallery with a psychic named Salicrow.

My daughter and I looked at each other questioningly like,”Want to?”

“Why not?”

It was currently 3:00pm and the event was scheduled to begin at 3:33. Not 3:30. But 3:33pm. Would end at 4:44pm.

I figured there would be safety in numbers instead of a one on one. So I’d be protected from any haints gone rogue.

You pay for a ticket and your number goes in the jar. Salicrow will pick out maybe five or six names in the hour. If your number is called then you up and sit in a chair next to her. The spirits will use her as a conduit for communication.

You could buy more than one ticket and increase your chances of being chosen. I declined.

We purchased our tickets.

Had some time to kill so we checked out the bookstore on the corner. Lovely spot. Crammed with lots of reading material. We scored. Hannah found a book that was on her “to read” list. The last one on the shelf! The author, Emily Bernard, is a professor at Hannie’s university and on her radar. As an aside- the title is “Black Is The Body.” Great read!

Then I found a children’s book I had wanted to read. Miss Rumphius. A story about making the world a little more beautiful. Also the only copy left on the shelf.

We both felt good and ambled back to the cafe.

Chairs were positioned in the rear of the cafe space. To be frank, it appeared to be mostly middle-aged white women. A few younger ones. There was one young fairy girl breast-feeding her baby who I assume was a next generation lil fairy. I think just two men were present.

So Salicrow is cool. I like her.

One of the guys asks at the beginning why we are starting at 3:33pm. She said numerology is her thing and gives some explanation. Doesn’t bother me none.

She starts pulling out names and has the person sit beside her and asks them who they want to hear from today-someone special or the strongest spirit?

A few ladies want to talk to Dad or Mom. I guess that’s normal. We will always want to hear from those who gave us life/a life-especially if we loved them. No matter how old we are.

She calls out another number and a young, blond woman with red-rimmed eyes takes the chair next to Salicrow. Obviously going through an emotional time.

Salicrow says something about the woman and why she is upset. I then realize that we (Hannah and me)are probably the only two people in the room who are not from the area. We don’t have a clue as to what/who she is talking about when she mentions the case of the school teacher. But we didn’t just fall off the turnip truck so quickly figured out that something very bad happened to a beloved local woman and that this blond woman was a cousin of the victim. Wanting to connect with her.

It was hard to watch. To see a young woman crying her eyes out because her cousin died as a result of a vile crime. Wanting to communicate with her-letting her know that she was advocating for her son (who was a two-year old, strapped into a car seat, during the actual crime). Yeah, none of that was easy to hear. Except that she was hearing what she wanted from her cousin’s spirit.

Once again, reminded about the unimaginable horrors inflicted upon women. The perpetrator (as I would later read) told police, “I wanted to get a girl.”

Let that sink in for a bit.

A woman living her life. Teaching at a private school. Caring for her little two-year old son. A good life.

And some evil person says, “I want to get a girl.”

I am sorry for the darkness. But I didn’t create it. I am just sharing it.

There is a whole lot of light in the world. But don’t forget that the darkness exists. We don’t need to be paranoid but we do need to be aware and vigilant. Be kind but be careful.

I told you this story was going to be longer than usual. Leaving off for now. Will finish this story in my next posting.

Bless you all. Stay safe.

 

 

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My younger daughter is encouraging me to continue my education. I am actually considering it. The kids have flown the coop and I am not ready to be put out to pasture quite yet.

So I started slowly exploring it. Not even to complete a degree but because I am so very curious about things. Not calculus. No, not that. Other subjects. 🙂

My first on-line search was a nearby private, liberal arts university. Would be super convenient. I typed in the address to access their website. Was a bit dismayed when I found the description of their program that would suit an adult learner like me.

skoolhelp

I then started poking around the website. The errors in grammar and spelling throughout the site were more than a few.

Now, nobody’s perfect. I totally get that.

But I am allowed to make all the spelling mistakes in the world. Because I am a learner. Not an institute of learning!

Of course, I feel it’s my duty to let them know that their website needs some attention.

Side note: I also let a local long-standing brewery know that their web page needed a spelling correction. And kept the administrator of an author’s Facebook page in the loop when errors glared. Can’t help myself.

If someone has a business or product they want to sell then I think it absolutely needs to be done properly and professional. On-line or not.

It is no different than the receptionist at a Doctor’s office. It helps form the first impression and is a representation of your business. Or how you do business.

Now, let me git bak to explorring mi opchins for furtha edukacation.

 

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Here is number nine on the “Is it April yet?” list.

Find something to serve as a cheerful reminder that sunny days are just around the corner.

I have a few items scattered around my house for this very reason. I really love these guys.

herbspoons.jpg

They were a gift so I can’t take any credit for finding them. My daughter, Norah, bought them for my birthday last October.

I love everything about them.

Recycled/renewed. Unique. Useful.

I’m  even happy that I received them after the herb season ended.

Because that gives me just one more thing to look forward to this Spring.

They are displayed on a trunk right by the back door. Ready and waiting!

Find a cheerful reminder. Sunny days are just around the corner.

 

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I missed Autumn in New England when I was away.

Leaf peepers visit from all over the country and the world to experience the changing foliage. It’s so beautiful.

And who doesn’t love bright orange pumpkins?

I remember, when we lived in Kuala Lumpur, my neighbor Jean’s husband got very creative one Halloween night. There weren’t any orange pumpkins available in our tropical environs so he got his hands on a watermelon and carved it accordingly. Made me chuckle but also realize how humans acclimate.

When our children were young it was always fun to visit the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect pumpkin. We’d bring it home to decorate and/or carve it. Scooped out the innards, rinsed the stringy seeds, dried them and later roasted them in the oven.

Here is an old photo of Hannie and her carved pumpkin when we lived in California. 25 was our house number at the time. Placed by the front door to greet trick or treaters. Snagged the idea from my old friend, Betsy. Visit her site Farmhouse Wares for cool home and garden items.

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Hannie is a bit older now and in her second year of university. She came home for a weekend in October to celebrate my birthday. So appreciated! Of course, we went to find the perfect pumpkins.

pumpkinpatch

Some things have changed since then. Like the number of our house. But some things remain the same. Like our happiness while decorating pumpkins.

35pumpkin

Consider this as #2 on my previously mentioned “cheerful list.” The things that add a bit of brightness to my day once the days of summer have passed. Even though it really is more than just pumpkins. It is time spent outdoors. Togetherness. Creativity. And yes, eating pumpkin seeds.

 

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My youngest daughter, home for the holidays, walked out of our pantry and commented, “Really, Mom?”

She had a glass jar in her hand. In black print was a single word.

Flour.

Wait. That’s not unusual for a pantry staple, is it???

flour

Except, to her dismay, it didn’t actually contain flour.

I glanced over and said, “Ah. Never mind. Just turn it around.”

sugar

She turned the container around and it now displayed, “Light Brown Sugar.”

All was right in the world again.

Got me thinking. What a great piece of advice for this new year. For you and me.

Just turn it around. 

It might be about making small changes. Or big!  Could be our attitude or how we are dealing with something.

Just turn it around.

It’s not just for pantry items anymore.

 

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