Friday, July 25, 2014

Sharing Some Gratitude Part Three

It's time again to share some gratitude.  For three months I've kept my gratitude journal - which is definitely a record for me.  July has been very busy with lots of work, but there's always time for a little gratitude!

--I'm grateful for my cousins.  There are eleven of us, and I'm the oldest.  Even though we're scattered around the country, we've remained close.  Every few weeks we have a group "texting" party - during the last one, 250 messages were sent back and forth!  It's like the old party line on steroids.  This is my youngest cousin Debbie, her son Evan, and my niece Ashley.

--I'm grateful for zucchini.  Our garden is overflowing, and my hubby has resorted to the "drop and dash" to get rid of some, although I'm sure our neighbors are on to him.  Fried zucchini is one of my favorite foods, and I found this recipe for shredded zucchini and black bean salad that looks delicious.

--I'm grateful that it's time for vacation next week.  It's a secret location, to be revealed on Monday.  Special bonus gratitude - my mom and Grandpa Ed will be there too!

--I'm grateful for sunsets like this one off my back deck.  Gorgeous.

--I'm grateful for all of you.  I've said it every month, but I continue to be amazed by the wonderful people out there in the blogging world.  You have made my life so much better.

I hope you find what you are grateful for.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Started When He Was Nine

My younger son T is a long distance runner - a passion he discovered when he was nine. Since then he has worked hard to turn that passion into a skill, and he's become a very accomplished cross country competitor. It all started with his first 5K race seven years ago....

I was a little worried about sending him off on his own.  He didn't know the course, and he was so small next to the other runners.  But he really wanted to do it, and I figured he'd just follow everyone else.  Besides, there was no way I could keep up!

He looks a little concerned too.  Maybe he was getting mentally prepared.

No need to worry.  Halfway through the race, these nice men took him under their wing and ran with him to the finish.

Victory!!  He finished in a very respectable 33 minutes - not bad for a nine year old.  And a running career was born...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Scarf

I love to wear scarves - yes, even in the summer.  Scarves add a colorful finishing touch to a simple outfit, and are a fun alternative to a necklace.  I admit that I'm a bit challenged when it comes to tying them - which is why infinity scarves are my new best friend.  Loop them around your neck twice - and you're done!

Summer scarves work even in warmer climates, as long as you keep the fabric light.  The one I'm wearing above is a tie-dye cotton voile, and it adds visual interest to my skirt and t-shirt without weighing me down.

I found some lovely scarves online that I might have to add to my collection.

This flag scarf from Target couldn't be more summer-like.

An acrylic gauze scarf, like this one from Old Navy, is so lightweight, you won't even know you have it on.

The pom poms on this scarf from Nordstrom add a really fun texture.

Does anyone else wear a scarf in the summer, or is it just me?

Linking up with Get Your Pretty On, The Pleated PoppyBecause Shanna Said SoNot Dead Yet StyleVodka Infused Lemonade.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Update on Todd, Etc.

Last week I wrote about my friend Todd, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a body surfing accident in Hawaii.  Your kind words and offers of prayers and thoughts were plentiful and heartwarming.  I shared every one of them with Todd and his wife, and they were so appreciative.

I promised to keep everyone updated, and I have very good news to share!  On Saturday Todd's insurance finally came through, and he was brought home to Harborview Hospital in Seattle.  He is so happy to be reunited with his family and friends, and we're all hopeful that his recovery will accelerate.  Todd has been able to move his toes and both knees, which are encouraging signs.  He has a very long road ahead, but the positive prayers and wishes have been so helpful.  Thank you again!

A few more updates:  In May I wrote a post about my crooked teeth, and my orthodontist's wish to put me in traditional braces rather than Invisalign.  I'm happy to report that after much consultation between my regular dentist, the ortho, and the techs at Invisalign, it has been decided that Invisalign will straighten my teeth and we can proceed.  It won't solve my underlying bite problem, but since I'm not having any trouble due to that, we're not going to worry with it right now.  I'll be starting my treatment in September.

I can also report that perimenopause is in full swing, my anxiety is a little better (I added magnesium to my vitamin mix, and it's helping with migraines too), and I'm still looking forward to hot flashes.  Not exciting stuff, but somebody might be wondering :).

Finally, I leave you with a few pictures of the beautiful hydrangea blooming in my yard right now - just because it's so pretty!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Reason To Eat Chocolate

Today is National Junk Food Day.  I don't know why, but it's true. Google said so.

For me, junk food means chocolate.  I love chocolate.  But not the expensive kind - nope, I prefer M&M's and Hershey's.  For my birthday last year, my sister gave me M&M's with my name on them.  It's one of my favorite presents ever.  My hubby says I can mainline the stuff, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't mean it as a compliment.

But there is excellent news for all my fellow chocolate-aholics.

Eating chocolate can be helpful during perimenopause.

I'm pretty sure they mean dark chocolate, and not Hershey kisses.  Everything I read said to eat an ounce a day, which isn't much.  I'll deal with that later.  Today I'm focusing on the helpful part.

Dark chocolate helps in enhancing the production of endorphins, and stimulates the production of serotonin.  Serotonin is called the "happy hormone" because of its mood enhancing properties.  Mood swings are less likely to occur if your serotonin levels are elevated, which may explain why women crave chocolate during their period or menopause.  A higher quantity of serotonin makes you more likely to stay calm and relaxed.

So hip, hip hooray - it's National Junk Food Day!   Which is a good reason to eat chocolate, especially if you're in perimenopause.  Just make sure it's only one ounce of dark chocolate.

Don't mind me over here eating a bowlful of milk chocolate M&M's. :)

Linking up with LouLou Girls

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Memories of Fireflies

Today I saw a fascinating story on CBS News about fireflies.  Every summer, in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, there is a two week period where thousands of synchronous fireflies gather in swarms for their yearly mating ritual.  The beautiful spectacle draws people from all around to see the forest lit up with lightning bugs.  

I was immediately transported back to my childhood in North Carolina.  On random nights during summer, mom would give us an early bath, and then wearing our pajamas and carrying a glass jar, we would spend an hour or so in the backyard catching fireflies.  It was magical, and one of the most vivid memories of my youth.  Capturing them wasn't an easy task - they lit up for a brief moment, and then disappeared again into the inky night. I remember being so thrilled when I actually managed to catch one.

Once our jars were full, mom would let us watch them blinking for a while.  But then it was time to open the lid and set them free - so that we could catch them another night.

When I was in the fifth grade, my father was transferred to Seattle.  Fireflies prefer warm, humid regions, and they aren't found on the west coast.  I haven't seen the magic of a firely since I was eleven.

Looking back, I think we've given our boys a pretty good childhood, and there aren't many things they've missed out on.

Except fireflies.  I wish they had memories of fireflies.

Linking up with Motivation Monday.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy 95th Birthday

I've written a lot about Grandpa Ed recently, but there's another senior in my life that I haven't mentioned yet.  My sweet Grandma Nelda turned 95 last Monday.  I know, I kids keep reminding me that they'll be taking care of me forever.  There's a lot of longevity on both sides of my family.  Sorry boys.

Grandma Nelda is my dad's mother, and she lives down the street from me in a beautiful adult family home.  We moved her here from California a few years ago because she was having a hard time getting around and was becoming quite forgetful.

I never got to live near Grandma when I was growing up.  We moved to North Carolina and then Washington, only getting to see her in the summer or on spring break when she came to visit.   She always arrived in her forest green polyester "travelling" suit, which earned her the nickname "green granny".

She was that fun grandma that everyone wants to have.  When I was ten, the movie Saturday Night Fever came out, and Grandma Nelda was smitten with the story and John Travolta.  She decided to take disco dancing lessons, and on her next visit she taught my brother, sister and I to disco.  I will never forget strutting around the living room to Stayin' Alive - we were the envy of all our friends.

When I was fourteen, she took me to see my first concert - Barry Manilow.  After it was over, we hopped in her car and followed a limousine from the venue to a nearby hotel, because she was certain Barry was inside, and she wanted her granddaughter to meet him.  It turned out to be someone else, but I will never forget the excitement of chasing that car around town.

Grandma has had her share of difficulties.  She's buried two children and a grandson, and endured a cheating, alcoholic husband.  But she's always known how to find the positive in a situation, because life's too short not to have some fun.

I feel so lucky to have her living nearby in her final years.  I'm able to visit her regularly, keep her stocked up on her favorite chocolate bars, and take her out to lunch.  I asked her on Monday if she had any advice after 95 years on earth.  Her reply?  "95?  I've been here too damn long"! Alrighty then.

She reads my blog every day, so this is dedicated to her.  Happy Birthday Grandma!