Grandma Friendly Groceries

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo: Groceries

 
If you need to buy groceries that are gluten free (GF) or, as my 3 year old grandson says, “Grandma Friendly,” there are more choices then ever before. Ten years ago, when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, “Gluten Free” supermarket aisles didn’t exist. You either made your own version of bread/muffins/cake or ordered from a catalogue or online. Crackers, pasta and snacks were hard to find.

Gluten free used to be synonymous with cardboard – both texture and flavor-wise. Since manufacturers jumped on the GF bandwagon (for better or worse) in the last decade, the situation has improved. GF versions of staples such as bread, crackers and cereal almost taste like the gluten filled real thing. If you close your eyes…and have a short memory. Some are tastier than others.

Labeling accuracy is still sometimes iffy, but for the most part a bit of research is all that’s necessary before venturing down this aisle…

gluten free aisle

 

Unless, of course, you want to skip some of the label reading and head outside to this aisle…

groceries

Also Grandma Friendly.

Paradise Found

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #65: Pick a Place

We’d like you to capture the spirit of a place that is vivid in your memory. What was it that drew you in and why did it capture YOUR heart?

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You have to go to Coronado!
Stop at the Del for dessert since it’s cheaper than getting a meal!

My friend Barbara was adamant. My husband and I were planning a week’s vacation in San Diego (this was 1996…before the internet…back when you talked to friends and read travel books to prepare for a trip). I had always wanted to explore southern California – specifically San Diego – and Barbara insisted we include a trip to nearby Coronado.

She grew up in California, so I figured her advice was solid.

We dutifully signed up for one of those trolley tours you can take when visiting a popular tourist destination. Coronado (often referred to as an island, but as we were informed many times – it’s a peninsula – NOT an island) is just across the bridge from San Diego. Lucky for us…it was a stop on the route.

When the trolley let us off on Coronado’s Orange Avenue….we fell in love with what we saw. Palm tree lined streets, friendly locals, an amazing ice cream shop, a restaurant advertising the world’s best margarita, thriving community theater…and the best part: the Beach. Sparkly sand like I’d never seen before. Or since.

Yes, we also drank tea and enjoyed a snack at the “Del” (aka: The Hotel Del Coronado…the iconic location of the classic film Some Like It Hot). Thank you Barbara.

We discovered that Coronado Beach goes on for what seems like forever. Dotted with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Tourists and townspeople alike. Kids building sand castles. Teenagers tossing beachballs. Runners pounding footprints into the sand. Even a section for dogs and their humans to play.

It’s also a perfect beach for walking, even at high tide. An ideal spot for stretching out on a rented chair or towel. Reading. Writing. Listening to music. Staring at the horizon. Quenching one’s thirst. Unwinding.

We returned to my favorite place a half dozen times and found something new to do every visit.

My last visit was a solo trip in 2006 for a week’s R&R.

No need to rent a car. Walking or riding a bicycle was enough.

From a walk by the pier…

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To the shops…

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To the beach…

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Coronado Beach

 

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Dog Beach

 

After dinner…perhaps a concert at the bandstand…

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And back to the beach for a sunset goodnight…

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Just perfect.

 

 

 

Smile

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #65: Smile

…I challenge you to pay attention to and share some smiles this week.

[also submitted for September photo a day challenge: Autumn colors]

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A multi-dimensional word…smile. I try to coax a smile from my elderly neighbor who is not happy to be living here in the Northeast. She misses the warm dry weather of her former home in Las Vegas. Sometimes I succeed. Often I don’t.

At the grocery store I often catch the eye of a curious toddler or infant propped up in a nearby cart. Looking around while her or his parent inspects tomatoes or apples in the produce department. I’ll hold the little one’s gaze and smile…or wink. Nine times out of ten I’ll get a smile back. A real smile when the eyes join in. Later in the cereal aisle, I’ll sense someone looking at me. It’s that same smiling kiddo…often peeking around mom or dad. Who often don’t even notice. And if they do, they’ll smile too.

A smile just brightens the day.

Lately it’s not only the spontaneous grins from children that make me smile. Since I’ve dug more into photography, I’ve started smiling more at nature. Or more specifically, what I discover during the picture taking process.

When I got my first 35mm camera at the age of 24, it was all about people. Friends and family. I whipped out the Canon for my children’s milestones, school events, birthdays, first days of school. Or just fun everyday life stuff.

I was first in line at family reunions to record stills and video. Vacations were for photographs of scenery. My everyday life was full of work and focus on family. My husband was the one who would be crouched down taking pictures of a spider web or peeling paint on old rocking chairs. I didn’t understand why.

It’s interesting how things change.

Since retirement, emptying of the nest and downsizing, all of a sudden (it seems all of a sudden, but it really isn’t) another dimension in life has opened up.

Perhaps it started with this blog. Or just coincided with it; nudged forward by all the WP support. Digital photography and instant results played a part…as it encourages practice without the worry of buying film and paying for processing.

For instance….a few days ago I was finishing the last loop of my late afternoon walk when I noticed these trees up ahead:

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The light. The colors. Oh my.

No cars in sight.

I crossed the road. Stood under the tree and looked up, focusing with my iPhone (wishing I had brought my “real” camera…). Turned around in a circle. My head back. Ignoring the cars going by. Hoping I wouldn’t lose my balance (I didn’t).

And then this exact moment caught my attention:

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The longer I looked, the more I smiled.
And captured it minutes before the light shifted.

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I was smiling even more when I discovered this sunflower extravaganza in a nearby town.

I will admit I went (more than) a bit crazy there.

A sunflower convention…a sunflower Woodstock…!

sunflower crowded

The crowd goes wild!
sunflowers group

I was a grinning fool by the time I hiked out of there.

Perhaps the moral of this story should be…
“We become more easily amused the older we get”

 

 

 

Clouds

 

I knew I was saving this photograph for a reason.

One day in June – that time in late Spring when you notice the landscape has totally changed from brown & white to color – I looked up. And paused from snapping photos of leaved out trees, budding flowers and soft no-longer-crunchy green grass. To catch this…

Waves of clouds.

Kind of like the ocean in the sky.

clouds

 

Clouds also brings to mind Joni Mitchell…and my favorite song from her album Clouds, which was released 50 years ago in 1969.

Both Sides, Now is that song…

 

Inspired by Citysonnet’s photo a day challenge. Prompt for today: Clouds

Photo a Week: Stacked

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Stacked

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) OF THINGS THAT ARE STACKED.

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This past June I enjoyed a visit to a farmers’ market in Washington DC.

Fresh vegetables stacked on tables…under tent after tent.

Local produce at its best.

Including carrots…as fresh as you could find anywhere…

carrots

 

Let’s compare to carrots from a plastic bag…in the produce section…at my local grocery store.

Stackable…

but just not the same…

baby carrots

 

Agreed?

 

Fuzzy

Inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo: Fuzzy

Even though I have quite the collection of unintentional fuzzy photos, I decided to take some fuzzy-on-purpose photos for this challenge. (for years, my family would hold up a finger for me to focus on with my old Canon film camera…even so, results often were fuzzy. Oh well, many of those years are fuzzy in recollection anyway)

I digress…

 
A recent late afternoon walk around the block revealed these fuzzy flowers. The light cooperated, as it often does that time of day.

I have no idea what these flowers looked like pre-fuzz, but I enjoyed this brief stage in their plant life cycle…

 

fuzzy one

 

fuzzy two

Magical

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #63: Magical

 

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.

Nora Roberts

 

During two visits to Vermont’s Shelburne Museum this summer, I kept gravitating back to this pond. One of many beautiful spots on the 45 acre campus. I’d walk by and then double back as the light shifted throughout the day. I took photo after photo, each shot just a bit different from the one before.

At one point, as if out of nowhere, a family of ducks glided across…and then…disappeared.

Magical.

magical pond

 
A few years ago I felt the pull to another favorite place…the ocean’s edge…late afternoon. In November when the beach was nearly deserted. The sun sinking.

I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.

Magical.

hampton beach magic