Friday, January 24, 2014

024:: Doing life together

If you are lucky (I use that term tongue-in-cheek as I do not believe in "luck"), you will have a handful of close friends over your lifetime. I am not talking acquaintances, I am talking "have-your-back" kind of friends.

I am blessed to have the privilege of more than just a handful of such friends in my life. I have a few more who have drifted in for a certain season, and with whom I still stay in touch though distance has made our relationships morph over the years.

Tonight I was able to experience a real treasure, and that was spending a time of re-connecting with some beautiful souls whose input into my life has enriched me over the past 20 years or so.
Feeling thankful for sister-friends!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

007:: Up for air

Normally, I am not an "I hate Mondays" type of person. I am more of an "I'm so thankful to have a job!" kind of person. It helps that I work with great people.
But yesterday was not one of those days. It only took an hour into my day to be in tears, with my boss asking if I needed to swear. When I shook my head, he asked if I wanted him to pray for me, which I did... and he did. That's just the kind of place I work. People there care about each other.

Today is better. For one thing, I was able to come up for air. For another thing, The Powers That Be gave me permission to stop stressing out, because everything is relative. And it really is.

I did not take a photo today, and that was one of my goals. But I do have a Flashback Tuesday instead, which is almost as good.

Because I'm missing my Auntie today. She left us five years ago, and I still think of the sweet welcome in her eyes, and can hear her saying "Hi hon!" What I wouldn't give for a peck on the check from this loved woman. It really is all relative.

Monday, January 6, 2014

006:: Focus

My talented and insightful cousin-sister challenged me with her blog to come up with one word for 2014. She chose the word "reconciliation", which is an important one for sure. It got me thinking about what word would I chose that would serve as a goal or resolution for this year.

The things that bother her about social media are the same things I take exception to as well. We have discussed it before, and she said it so much better than I ever could, so I won't bother going there when you could so easily read what she has to say and understand us both.

For me, though, I am thinking the word I will choose will be: FOCUS.

I am so prone to losing my focus in so many ways... finishing a craft project, cleaning my house... sure, it's funny to joke about Adult ADD, but it's not funny to live there. I think part of my problem is lack of focus.

When we had the seemingly unsurmountable project of finishing remodeling our house to sell and move to Africa in 2000, I needed a really short leash to keep me on task. I'm thinking if I took the rest of my life as seriously as I did that dagger hanging over my head, I would get so much more accomplished that is meaningful, and the unimportant things that seem to suck the life out of my life would just fall along the wayside.

And I'm not just talking about doing things, but the thought the FOCUS has a lot to do with finding a purpose. Taking aim. Having a goal worth working toward.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to get some perspective. That is what my family is handy for.

005:: Out of focus

Isn't it odd how we look at other people's lives and we see what we see... but we don't see it all.

It makes me wonder what people see when they look at me. I am not an extraordinary person, unless you ask my husband. Yes, maybe I'm a little weirder than some, but I'm sure there are others who look at me and see "conservative", "old", "boring", "judgmental" - yet I am none of those. Well, ok... maybe a little old.

Things aren't always what they seem. And neither are people.
I am struck by the thought that we often give a negative spin to the things in our own lives while painting a rosy, unrealistic picture of what we see in others. The thought occurs to me that I need to stop that.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

004:: Saturday Farmer's Market

Saturday is a day to spend some quality time together, yet get a few things accomplished that we simply do not have the time or energy for during the week. In the spirit of Shabbat, I do try to keep the "chores" to a minimum, but there is no way around Saturday morning Certified Farmer's Market.

(Yes, there is also a Wednesday morning market, but with only a quarter of the vendors, and only a very few of the ones we like to frequent.)

Deanna and Katie are two of the sweetest ladies who never fail to give us a smile (and a great deal on some really awesome produce!) And, since we only have a short season in which to dehydrate apple slices to last the year, I have to be sure to hit Deanna up every week! Katie is not in Chico every week, so it is always a special treat to be able to stop and chat, and catch up. .

You will never find crisper, sweeter carrots than Pyramid Farms. I'm sorry... I don't care how many times the auto-misters spray down the produce at the grocery store, you just have to wonder how many days/weeks ago those carrots were picked, and how far they were shipped to reach us. No, I prefer to buy local produce, from farmers that live in my community, that I can look in the eye every week and feel a sense of connection. Maybe I am not growing my own garden, but buying from our local Farmer's Market is definitely a better option for our environment than shipping melons from Mexico or Peru.
I also prefer their beets for making Beet Kvass, although the truth is, I am the only one in our house brave enough to drink it. "Some people" apparently have an aversion to beets, a concept I cannot quite wrap my brain around, to be honest! Beets are so yummy!
Of course, no trip to Farmer's Market would be complete without stopping to find out what is happening with Lance. He and his sons spend their summer in Alaska each year, just to be able to supply us with wild caught Alaska Salmon. I cannot thank him enough! I don't usually buy salmon from him on Saturdays, though... I order about $100-$150 worth from him and pick it up at his house. That usually lasts the two of us until they get back with their new catch in autumn. I can't even begin to compare it with (sorry Randy) even Costco. It's not always about the price.

We live in an amazing community. Is it perfect? No. But we have some wonderful people who live here, who make their livings here. So, in the spirit of supporting our community and interacting with the individuals who work so hard to bring us quality food, we look at the bigger picture. I love the warehouse stores as much as anyone, especially when it comes to paper towels and big bags of coffee (which, incidentally are not produced locally!) It just makes sense to shop locally and support our local farmers, which in turn supports our entire community. 
It's not rocket science.

Friday, January 3, 2014

003:: Taking care of me

Normally, Fridays are my day off. But, nothing is normal in January. Losing a whole day mid-week at the first of the month only means I am a day behind. No stress!
The real win of the day though was getting a text from my massage therapist letting me know he had a cancellation this afternoon, and would I like to move my appointment up from next week?


It had been over two years since I have had a massage, something I used to do once a month. For the past few years I have been getting weekly chiropractic therapy instead, but when my tax return did not cut it last year, that necessity turned into a luxury, and I have been paying the price in my body ever since.

OK, partly I did myself in by eating wheat indiscriminately when I am allergic. Sometimes you just need an English muffin, know what I mean? But I digress. All those unwise choices have added up to some major inflammation, and massage just intensified that today. What is it about a good massage therapist? They know exactly where your not-so-sweet spots are, first try. Can I just say "ow"?

It does not help the pain to tell me my structure is twisted, or my hip is out. These things I know. That's what happens when you land on your butt when you slip on ice. A good therapist eases up but does not stop... therefore, I am sore. Very sore. So sore, in fact, that I did not cancel next week's appointment, but am going back for a double dose.

Someone's got to take care of me. After my husband, that would be RJ.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

002:: Pear

I love that every year during the winter holidays, my brother sends us a Harry and David tower of yumminess. Of course, the truffles are the first to go... but I save the pears for last.

Good-bye last pear.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

001:: Life is Just a Walk in the Park

It was kind of a let down, having a day off in the middle of the week. All that really means is that I don't get Friday off, so not much of a trade-off.
I was bound and determined not to waste it in my recliner frittering my life away online, so after spending the better part of the morning cleaning the kitchen and the Black Hole of Calcutta, we took off to Upper Park for a good dose of Vitamin D.
We were not the only bright folks with that bright idea. All of the parking lots were full, including the equestrian center. Nevertheless, my ankle was very cooperative, there was little breeze, meaning I was not obliged to don my jacket even once.
The only thing we could complain about was seeing the lake so low. Just one little honker family and a few coots in the reeds.

What a marvelous start to a marvelous year!

Awesome granary tree