Blog, coffee, friends

It Started with the Coffee

Day 116

Hubby and I are down to two cups of coffee in the morning. Of course, it would be easy if we liked the same kind, but we don’t. He loves a strong French Roast and I am strictly decaf now – my preference is a decaffeinated Kona coffee from Fresh Market.

We have a small hand grinder and we take turns grinding our own beans. It is nice because when we travel it is compact and easy to take along with us. 20 years ago we made a pot of coffee, then we went to a Keurig but put that aside because of the landfill impacts. Now we do pour overs. The smell is alluring. Being retired, we can ease into the morning with all the necessary slow steps and the end result is a divine cup of coffee.

After the beans are ground you must wet the coffee and let it bloom for 30 seconds before continuing to pour the coffee. (I usually rush this step.) On a cold morning like this morning, I like to heat my cup with hot water first. The only problem is that this morning I forgot to pour the water out of the cup and needless to say my first cup of coffee ended up all over the kitchen counter. Not the best way to start the day.

The rest of the day wasn’t bad, but all day long I felt ‘off’. You know, when nothing seems quite right. My car has been in the shop since last Thursday and I was growing tired of not having the ability to go when I want to go. I finally got a call about 12:30 pm saying the car was ready.

We received some sad news from a good friend of ours this afternoon which occupied most of our conversation on the way to pick up the car. It is a helpless feeling when someone is in dire straights and there is nothing you can do to help the situation.

We did get some good news late in the afternoon which helped balance out the mood of the day. It was just one of those days. Not bad. Not good. Just a little ‘off’.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. I plan to make a pot of chili and continue to ‘Kondo’ my closets.

 

Blog, Blogging, friends, memories, sister

Blog Hopping

Day 99

Today I did some blog hopping. Now, I normally peruse different blogs every day and read what I can. I have found some great people to follow, but today I was hopping from and to my own blogs.

I have three blogs on WordPress. I’m pretty sure I have one on Blogger which gets no time. I also have blogs on my old business website and I have another that I shared with some very close friends and my sister.

sistersWell, let me just say I spent way too long today reading all my sister’s old ‘journals’. I know she would not want them public because they were shared privately. I went through a firestorm of events and all the accompanying emotions — eight years of our shared lives. It was like talking to her again, I could hear the tenor and inflections of her voice.

I started thinking about all my blogs. Should I combine them here? I have followers on various blogs, but if I do not post there, what would it hurt to bring them over? Then there’s always the question of staying on the free WordPress platform or migrating to my own website — which already exists. Consolidation is appealing.

I’m not too worried about analytics except that I love the WordPress reader and it makes following blogs so easy. I was a web designer and I know the SEO game which would be necessary if I went outside WordPress.com and back to a self-hosted WordPress account.

I also stumbled on a website called BlogBooker.com where I could archive my blogs into a book format. That sounds tempting, too, except some of my old blogs were pretty personal and shared only privately.

My mind keeps going back to some of the events I read about today. Visits by my daughter and myself to Virginia, the passing of my step-mother, the birth of my niece and two of my grandchildren. All laid out in great detail. Some of it was painful to read, but a reminder of the full life I’ve led.

So, today I ponder what to do about this digital footprint I have spread on the Internet. I am not sure what I will decide to do with all this history of my life, but I feel compelled to do something.

Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote a long time ago. Such memories! I do not want to lose these memories. And consolidating means losing the comments of people who are no longer here. I am not sure I would handle that well…

Relationships, Sisters and the Value of Macaroni Salad

 

Blog, change, friends, Love, thankful, Writing

Finding My Groove

Day 87

IMG_8307Tomorrow is the last day of December. It was a difficult month. Tomorrow is also the last day of the year, bringing 2018 to a close. It wasn’t always an easy year, but I don’t want to say it was a bad year because that casts an unwanted shadow on all the joy that 2018 brought into my life.

As I have stated before, I’m not a New Year’s resolution kind of person. I like to think about the coming year and what my hopes, goals, and dreams are for the future. As I have been thinking of how I can make the new year lighter, I think I’ve found a rather nice groove.

What does that mean exactly? It means I feel an aura of contentment. I feel like I know where I am headed. I know what I want to remove from my life. I feel like I am grounded and moving in a positive direction. It’s nice to be able to say that.

As I told a few of my friends when I recall my memories of people I have lost it always brings the same thought to mind. They loved life! I have the chance every day to live the life they can no longer enjoy. I’m not talking about important jobs, big houses or extravagant purchases. I’m talking about the breathing part of life. The place where joy lives.

Joy lives in little things. Today it was watching two Carolina wrens bathing in a puddle the rain left on the top of our patio table. It was delightful.

For me, joy lives in the full moon that lights up the trees, the blaze of orange that rises out of a sunset, and the magic of new-fallen snow. Joy lives in my writing, my friendships and the love of my family. It is my constant companion if I am willing to create space for it.

I am taking a couple of wonderful writing classes. They are inspiring me beyond belief! I have found a few goals I hope to achieve in the early part of 2019. I am excited and filled with anticipation. I have wonderful friends — old and new — and family that loves me. I have a husband that is a kind and gentle soul. How could I not be joyful?

The coming week will be difficult as we honor the life of our Mom. I will add her to the list of people who loved life and would be living it to the fullest. She would be planning the next meal, the next party, the next event or the next trip even before the current one had come to a close. I will honor her by living and loving life as much as she did.

Today I watched a video of a gentleman’s weight loss journey. The video ended with this question:

If you knew success was a certainty, what would you attempt to do?

I am enjoying this groove I’m in. I will have challenges and hurdles but I will look back on 2018 with the knowledge that it brought me more joy than sadness. What more could I ask for?

“Among the greatest tragedies is a person who believes that they aren’t meant to win–by winning I mean find their purpose, passion and joy in life.
They believe that other people have better DNA or happiness genes or something, but that they themselves are missing a critical chromosome.
This is a lie and it is begging to be un-believed.
For the moment we know the truth about ourselves, we can take both responsibility for our own lives and inspired action to create exactly the life which is our birthright.
In other words, you were meant to win. You were created for joy.” 
Jacob Nordby

art, Blog, friends, rainy day, Writing

Under and Over the Weather

Day 84

Today I have been rather lethargic. I have felt a little under the weather all day. Nothing specific, just ‘off’. To top that off, the rain has started and we are under flood watches again. We have had so much rain this year it’s out of the norm. I am ‘over’ the rain to say the least.

We are trying to get back into the swing of taking our morning walks. I had to force myself to go today. I felt okay afterward, but it was a struggle today. I don’t think I’m sick, I think I’m just overly tired after all we have been through the last few weeks. Walking is important to me, so I do need to push myself to keep the exercise going.

I had such an amazing lift in the midst of this gloomy day. I received a beautiful and thoughtful card from one of my best friends. It is so nice to know people are thinking of us and praying for us. 2018 has been challenging for both of us, so for her to take the time to think of us touches my heart in a very big way.

I also received a beautiful comfort package in the mail from another amazing friend. I was so touched by her kindness in thinking of me and the loss of our mom. It was such a welcome and appreciated gift. She has one of the most generous and loving spirits I have ever known. I am so fortunate that she is a member of my tribe and that she considers me her friend. I am blessed.

One of the hard things about being the family members that live ‘away’ when someone dies, is you do much of your grieving alone. You don’t get the calls or cards or visits like you do when you live in the same town as your loved one. It makes the grieving process a very lonely one. The loving gestures from friends make the process a little easier.

authorI managed to do another chapter in my MasterClass. I have been criticized in the past for my writing process, but today I felt validated. If it works for me, that’s really all that matters. I am enjoying the class and thinking I may use one of my old blogs to test out some new ideas for a couple of short stories. I will post a link here if I manage to accomplish this feat within the next few days.

I did manage to update my FB cover and profile photo today to remind myself that I need to focus my energy on my writing.

Tonight I received a surprise video call from my youngest granddaughter. She’s 16 months old and was very elated playing with all of her new toys that Santa brought her. She gave me lots of ‘phone’ kisses and I really enjoyed watching her dance around and just enjoy life. What a pleasure!

Hubby cooked dinner tonight while I lounged around too long watching re-runs of old Top Chef shows. Before I knew it 11:00 PM had rolled around and I knew I needed to get this blog posted before the day slipped away.

I think I’ll enjoy a cup of decaf green tea with honey and tuck myself into bed soon. It’s been a long day.

“Just as a good rain clears the air, a good writing day clears the psyche.” 
Julia Cameron

art, blessings, Blog, creativity, friends, jewelry, memories

Feeling Accomplished

Day 57

Today I felt accomplished in some things but recognize I still have a number of things on my list that remains. It’s nice to check them off as tasks are finished.

Decorations

IMG_7915Finally, all the indoor decorations are complete. The tree has a topper and a skirt now. The fireplace is decorated and the nativity scene is out. I love this phase because that means all the mess of boxes can be put away until it’s time to take it all down again.

Hubby started putting the outside decorations up. We just do lights outlining the house and lights through the bushes along the driveway. He’s about halfway done so it won’t be long until we can just sit back and enjoy it all.

Shopping

I mailed a few things today so some of my shopping is complete, but not nearly all. We ordered a few items online and will go out a few times together to finish the shopping for the grandkids. It gets harder as they get older and have very definite ideas about what they want and do not want.

I really missed Toys R Us and Babies R Us this year. Going store to store in hopes of finding something is tiring. Then the toy aisles in stores like Target and Walmart are just picked over and messy. That is why people order so much online – it is so convenient and it does save money and time. It doesn’t do much for the local economy, unfortunately.

Memories of Treats

IMG_7893 2I bought a box of clementines which started a conversation with hubby about our youth. When Christmas rolled around, there were certain treats that showed up that we did not seem to have been around otherwise.

The first was soft peppermint sticks. We both grew up in a common geographic area, so the brands we had were often the same. The peppermint sticks were made by Helms Candy Company which was just down the road from my grandparents’ home. The candy came in a box and it was nice and soft – not hard like peppermint candies. They are still in business and you can find the candy at a lot of local stores.

The second was of course tangerines. Both tangerines and oranges showed up around Christmas and they were a treat! Our stockings always had an orange or a tangerine in them.

The third was ribbon candy. Now I am picky about my ribbon candy. It cannot be thick. I like it wispy thin. And I don’t like for the colors to be overwhelming. Of course, if you bought the thin candies, there were always little sharp shards of sugar broken in the box.

The last was chocolate covered cherries. Now, we always had these at home, but I NEVER liked them and I do not care for them now. It was always THE gift for teachers or gift exchanges at school — do kids even do that anymore? Probably not.

Creativity

I finished NaNoWriMo which was an accomplishment. All my writing buddies finished, too, which was really nice. (Goodonya Tanya for finishing first time out!) Now I have a nice novel that needs to be finished, then ripped apart to fix all the ‘stuff’ that creeps in when you write that much in a 30 day period.

This weekend I have another jewelry workshop. It’s supposed to pour rain all day, so I’m glad I have some inside fun things to do. This is similar to the workshop I had to bow out of a few weeks back because I became ill. I love working with silver so I am hopeful I have better luck this time.

Earthquakes

Today there was a 7.0 earthquake in Alaska. The epicenter was very near where I lived when I lived there. I only have a few friends who are still in Alaska so I was holding my breath until I knew everyone was okay.

This brought back lots of memories of my time in Alaska. I remember going to ‘Earthquake Park’ which was an area of town devastated by the Good Friday earthquake in 1964. I also remembered feeling small quakes when we lived there and waking my children up to stand in the doorways when they occurred in the middle of the night.

Earthquakes are the most unsettling of natural disasters I have ever encountered. Everything moves. The buildings and their foundations, the ground, the cars, everything that is not nailed down. I worked as a switchboard operator (another thing I doubt exists anymore) on Elmendorf AFB when a fairly strong tremor occurred. After that, they secured the switchboard to the walls for fear someone would get crushed if it fell over. They were huge pieces of equipment.

Of course, I never felt anything of the magnitude the good people of Alaska felt this morning. I am holding them all in my prayers. Thankfully, it does not appear there were any fatalities or serious injuries so that is a blessing, but there is extensive damage to roads, buildings, and homes. And there is an unsettling feeling that takes a while to overcome.

That’s about it for the time being. Now it’s time to unwind for the day.

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live.” 
Rachel Ann Nunes