No Worries

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #79: subtraction

This week think about what you might subtract from your life to free up energy – emotionally, physically, or psychologically. Naturally, creative discretion is yours – this doesn’t need to be a personal subtraction; global issues work too.

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drawers

 

Surely the consolation prize of age is in finding out how few things are worth worrying over, and how many things that we once desired, we don’t want any more.

Dorothy Dix

 

A noble cause it is…

To subtract the worry
The wildest of imaginings
Endless admittedly useless
Exercises of the mind.

Avoiding…

The treadmill to nowhere
Leaving one sweaty
Breathless
Exhausted
Back at the beginning.

No Worries! they admonish.

Not so fast.

I’d like to know…
Where it’s that easy.

I’ll just keep working…
To carefully tuck away
One worry at a time.

So far so good.

Already I am lighter.

On Your Mark…

…Get Set…

Young children know when to take action.

They just know…

Even if it’s just the spark of fun ignited by a soccer ball and the chance to race dad up and down a court at the neighborhood park.

charlie soccer 12-26-19 2 copy

They don’t wait for instruction at the age of 3 ½.

They don’t second guess themselves.

Rarely do they wonder what to do next.

Or hesitate to debate all the possibilities.

Or weigh every risk.

soccer dec 26 2019 copy

Rarely is there self doubt…

Only a response to pure instinct…

Before fulfilling a simple wish…in a simple game…for the exhilaration of out-of-breath, heart pumping movement.

One kick at a time.
One step at a time.
One jump at a time.
One giggle at a time…

…GO!

Shrieking with confidence.
Under a sunny sky.

soccer kick copy
We have much to learn from such joyful spontaneity.


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Doubly inspired…

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #78: action

…think about where action is needed in your life, or in the world in general. The word itself does not need to appear in your post, but the movement should be obvious.

A Photo a Week Challenge: At Play

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) OF PLAYING.

Pause to Listen

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #77: Pause

As the world bustles, and we rush to meet deadlines, check off to-do lists, and fulfill those party invites, find a moment to pause, look, and listen. Share a photograph, thought, or inspiration.

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It’s been a busy week. Next week – with Christmas in the middle – will be even busier.

However, I realized the need to…pause…in my usual December madness of holiday planning, shopping, wrapping, card writing – and all that leads up to the 25th.

This past Tuesday I flew to Washington DC to attend my daughter’s commencement ceremony at the Univ. of Maryland College of Education. Where she received a doctoral degree in Education Policy. How could I not go? Even if it was the week before Christmas. She worked extremely hard and I am so happy for her. Oh…and proud too.

Traveling is one of my least favorite activities as I’ve gotten older…especially in winter weather. So imagine my rising anxiety level on Tuesday with the snow falling at a steady clip as I rode the bus to the airport. No surprise when I found out (after boarding) that the plane was delayed.

I sat and waited….with a look out the window…

plane snow

Two hours later…

rain plane

All the while hoping the flight wouldn’t be cancelled.

rain plane window

My only choice…trapped in row 14 for 4 hours…was to pause, look and listen…

…but mostly to think…about the ceremony I would attend the following day, along with my son-in-law and grandson.

This would be the last of many graduations I’d attended for the little girl who grew up so fine and fast. Who loved school and learning from the age of 3. Passionate and driven by a desire to make this a better world for everyone. Not just for people like her…who are blessed with opportunity and privilege.

She was also the commencement student speaker.
I told my grandson, snuggled in my lap…Mama will be making a speech!
Why? he asked.
Because she has important things to say! I answered.

speech

She proposed a different approach for those graduates entering their postgraduate lives – the flip side of talking and sharing their voices…

….Pause. Close your mouth, calm your mind, allow for silence. Cultivate humility. Acknowledge the limits of your education and engage in the practice that scholars and advocates call “radical listening.” Community organizer and activist Chanel Lewis describes radical listening as “intentionally quieting your internal voice and judgments thereby offering your full mental space to the speaker and suspending what you presume to know about someone and their experience in our shared society.”…Radical listening, I argue, is a crucial skill to help move our world toward greater justice….
Dr. Kristin Sinclair

This is just a snippet of her three minute speech, but it caught my attention.

Pause.

You don’t hear that advice very often.
Usually it’s…Speak Up. Talk. Be heard.

Pause and listen…listen without judgment.

Perhaps that is radical.

But I like it.

It gave me much to think about on the plane the next day…

plane sun

…before returning home to my holiday to-do list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fandango’s Friday Flashback – December 20

I was intrigued at discovering a new challenge (new to me, that is).

It originates at Fandango’s Friday Flashback – December 20.

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?..Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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I decided to join in…with what I had posted on December 20th, 2018 – which happened to be in response to a V.J. Challenge….

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This post is inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #28: Recipe

 

kitchen table014

 

Family Dinner (serves 4)

Ingredients:
4 Family Members
1 table – any size or shape. (Clean – free of crumbs, junk mail & old newspapers)
4 chairs – preferably facing each other.
4 knives – (delete knife for young children)
4 forks
4 spoons
4 plates and cups.
Napkins – 4 or more, depending on need.

Preheat or Cool room to comfortable temperature.

Prepare and assemble food of any kind.
Chicken, potatoes, carrots. Or pizza. Or take-out.
Enough for 4.
Beverage of choice.

Mute and remove all phones from the room.
Turn off television if present.
Turn on music (low) if desired (if the music streams from phone, place out of reach).

Serve meal to all 4 family members seated at the table – portion sizes as requested.
Place napkins on laps.

Commence eating slowly, putting utensils down between each bite.
Look at other family members directly. Make eye contact. Smile.

Taking turns, ask one another questions such as:
– How was your day?
– What did you do at school?
– What’s new?
– How about those Red Sox?

If all questions are answered before the meal is over:
– Reminisce about the old days when family dinners happened all the time.
– And how once you pretended to eat liver, but actually slipped it to the dog.
– And how you walked 2 miles uphill to go to school.
– And then home for lunch and back again.

Discussion of politics is optional.

Use table manners as discussed in “Table Manners for Family Dinners.”
For example…
Say Please, Thank You, You’re Welcome and May I Please Be Excused.
Refrain from burping, belching or open mouth chewing.

When everyone is finished eating, offer dessert if desired.
Repeat nightly.
As much as possible.

Keep warm.

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Nostalgic Cookie Sing-Along

Inspired by:

Lens-Artists Challenge #75: Nostalgic

…I look forward to seeing the nostalgic moments that are most special to you. Past holidays, times with family and friends, travel moments, or just something that reminds you  fondly of days gone by – it’s your call. Give us a small peek into the things you’re nostalgic about.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #76: Music

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Get out the red and green sprinkles!
And the tiny chocolate chips!
Cookie sheets!
Cookie cutters!
Start the music!

It’s Time!

IMG_1598

When I was raising my children – and by the time each was around 2 years old – we made Christmas cookies together as a family. Simple cream cheese sugar cookies.

We used the same aluminum cookie cutters I used when I was a child.

Our tradition? I made the dough the day before so it was easier to roll out.
My daughter – and then my son – learned how to use a rolling pin and press a tree or bell shape into the flattened dough.

1992 t
Let the decorating begin…

Creativity was serious business.

The teenage years sparked unique decorating ideas such as the occasional anatomically correct gingerbread man. Ahem. All in good fun though…

Every year we were accompanied by the Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along album pumping through the speakers (yes, we had speakers in the kitchen!)…and the clicking of the Canon camera.

My husband, I and the “kids” continued this annual family tradition for over 25 years…always accompanied by Big Bird, Cookie Monster (of course!) and the rest of the gang.

Cookies in the making. Oven warming. Four voices singing – the muppets’ lines memorized to perfection…

It’s that time of the year
When we all want to hear
A Christmas sing-along…

Or

Count, count, count — counting the days,
Count, count, count — counting the day…
I’m counting the days, ’til Christmas day is due…

(just a sample taste of this fabulous album – released in 1984 – just in time for our family).

A bit of nostalgia I never tire of revisiting…

1995 k t cookies
Cookies!
Decorated or about to frosted!

…both in pictures and in song.

Simple pleasures

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #75: Satisfying

Take a moment for enjoyment, particularly the satisfying kind, and drop us a line to share.

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The morning sun.
A steaming mug of coffee.
The day’s newspaper.
Time.

There’s nothing like it – particularly when you are retired, nest emptied…with no place you have to go.

I remember visualizing this possibility years ago…back in the days of hectic mornings. Getting kids ready for school. Homework! Lunch money! Permission slips! Hat! Coat! Ready Set Go!

Getting myself ready for work. Both paid and unpaid. And out the door before 8 am. Breakfast eaten in gulps. That ever important coffee…waiting until I arrived at my office. To be sipped throughout the morning…lukewarm to cold.

Mornings are different now…

The most satisfying part of my day is the uninterrupted time I have to eat breakfast. While I…slowly and quietly…wake up. And honor the part of me that is NOT a morning person.

And then…the highlight: I can enjoy drinking my coffee while it’s hot. As I read the local newspaper. A real paper. Without feeling guilty when it takes an hour…or more.

I quickly scan…and choose what to read first…

morning coffee 1

Until I find something positive…

morning coffee 2

…for a satisfying start to the day.

 

 

Pie Tales

pie banner


I’ll bring an apple pie!

A few weeks ago, our new friends who live down the hall invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and their extended family. We were honored. Also grateful, as we were not going to be able to spend it with our adult children and their families.

It’s an unusual kind of apple pie...I warned my friend. The apples aren’t peeled. There’s no top crust… I also have to make it gluten free.

She was fine with whatever I wanted to make.

It is also huge…filling a lasagna pan.

At Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as moderation. Ever. Especially when it comes to pie. The turkey? The stuffing? And all the rest?

Just the path to pie.

In Thanksgivings past there were always at least 3 kinds of pie at my table…to go along with family shenanigans and card games (as shared in my 2018 Thanksgiving story). I miss all of it.

The most popular? “Hearty Apple Pie” – each slice 2 inches high by many inches wide.

Well, it has been a few years since I made this pie. After downsizing and moving and spending Thanksgivings by ourselves, there was no need to make one until now.

I still had the old family recipe.

As I assembled the ingredients yesterday, I thought…what could go wrong?

First step: substitute gluten free flour blend for the real thing. Press into the pan.

pie crust

Doesn’t quite look the same, but should be fine in the end. It’s PIE after all.

Next step: Core the apples. Can’t mess that one up.

apples cored

 

Next step: Slice apples in the food processor.

Um…the food processor doesn’t work. I tried a different outlet. Nope. My husband and I tried several variations of blades and positioning of the “pusher assembly” and the cover. Still nothing.

Find the directions! 

A fuzzy memory rose to the top of my aging brain. This was the new(ish) food processor we had gotten about 10 years ago. It had replaced the nice simple one from 1978. Back when there were no complicated safety features. When it was your own fault if you stuck your finger in when the blade was running. Back when you popped the blade in, snapped on the cover (the only safety feature) – added the apples through the hole in the top…and voila! sliced or chopped results.

Much simpler.

Not anymore. The current small appliance companies are in the business of saving us from ourselves. Which, in many cases, is necessary. As it turned out, there were 3 different steps and clickings into place that I had to perform before even one apple could be sliced.

I was annoyed for 2 reasons. First that I had forgotten what to do and second, that it had become necessary to make devices so complicated that I had to remember this sequence in the first place. (probably a third reason as well – that I was turning into the old fart I never wanted to be…complaining about newfangled stuff…).

Anyway, after much huffing and puffing and locating the directions…success.

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Next step: Mix with lots of yummy spices. No holding back here…

mix apples

Next step: Transfer to the waiting piecrust…

ready to bake

(fyi: covered apples with brown sugar, almonds and dots of butter which look like cheese…but aren’t)

After baking:

baked

Extra Large Apple Pie ready to share…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

(where there’s no such thing as moderation)

 

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #74: Moderation