Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer's Here!

Summer is in full swing and I finally dragged myself to the beach.....twice this past week, and I have to tell you how good it felt.  There is nothing that feels quite so good as getting sun (not too much!), bobbing up and down in warm sea water, and then coming home for the best shower ever.  It really does feel great and I'm going to continue doing it throughout the summer.  

I'm also hoping to pick up yoga again.  I ran into one of the girls from the class and she said Martha, the dreaded instructor who handled a bad situation in a way that made it worse, is away for the summer and that the instructors filling in for her are very good.  Since I've become a slug, I'm going to try to get back into it, but it isn't going to be easy.


Gayle & Donna at Dough Boy's
Other than that, I've been doing the usual things.  I did enjoy several lunches out that were lots of fun.  One was with my friend Gayle who was back in town on vacation. She is a freelance writer and is always up to something fun and exciting.  While I keep up with her on Facebook, it was especially nice to sit and chat.....great to see her again. Then Chris and I went to our Progressive Ladies luncheon.  We like this group because the women are interesting and the group is usually small enough to involve everyone in conversation.  This month really clicked and the conversation covered a wide range of topics....books, movies, politics, and lots of laughs.  It was so good that we pretty much decided to do a road trip to Charleston if Bernie Sanders comes there.  While I am more likely to vote for Hillary, because I'd love to see a capable female President in my lifetime, I certainly like what Bernie is saying.  

Speaking of politics, we've been inundated with Republican candidates.....The Donald, Christie, Perry, Santorum, and I think Kasick was here before he announced. I just love it that the Donald is sucking all of the air out of the room and the others are left trying to figure out what to do with the hatefulness they've spawned and nurtured all these years.

There is some good news.....I've finally gotten an offer on my mother's house.  They are having some inspections done and IF everything passes to their satisfaction, it should fly!  Please think good thoughts!  You don't know what a relief it would be to get it sold and have the funds to apply to my mother's care.


Stranger than fiction is this mushroom to the right!  This thing was the size of a small plate!  Due to the rain, they're popping up everywhere, but none like this.  Also  very strange was the huge mole that fell of my neck.  I've had this mole forever and one night it just dropped off in bed.  While making the bed the next morning I found it and thought it was a raisin!  It was while getting dressed that I realized the mole was gone!  It just dropped off, not a drop of blood, no pain, nothing! 

It seems like there should be more to report but that's about it.  So, I guess I'll get busy answering lots of emails.  I also need to email my Senators and Representatives about the Iran deal.  They're probably waiting for my input before voting against it/Obama.  For all of their obstructionism, isn't it great that many events have worked out in the President's favor.  Don't you just love it when that happens!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

It's difficult to believe that we've gone from Memorial Day to Independence Day in no time flat.  Just when we liberals could see no hope, the Supreme Court came through big time, making Independence Day more meaningful than ever!  It really came out of nowhere and surprised us all......upholding the Fair Housing Act, upholding ACA/Obamacare, gay marriage......even striking a blow to gerrymandering!  Who would have expected it.  For news/political junkie like me, it was almost more than we could take in.  

Our Drinking Liberally group the week before was huge...everyone was atwitter with the prospects of the Confederate flag coming down from our state capitol.  We really don't know how to behave when our governor actually does something humane and caring.  We're just accustomed to her fighting Obamacare so those who really need health care can't get it.  My thought was that we finally know what it takes to get empathy from her/them......nine deaths, one of whom she actually knew!  Otherwise, as Stephen Colbert would say, there is no hunger in the world because I just had breakfast!  Anyway, it's been an exciting couple of weeks and my faith in our political system has been renewed. The real example was set by those who lost family members at Mother Emanuel AME Church.  Their strength and belief transformed the usual reaction of violence, looting, etc. into something beautiful and transcendent.  And the fact that the Charleston community followed their lead and supported them so magnificently....it was beautiful to see.  And the President's eulogy at Sen. Pinckney's funeral was one of his best. As I said, a lot for liberals to take in.....thank you, Lord, we like it!!

Tuesday, June 23rd, was my mother's 94th birthday.  Laney and Julious came from NC and charmed everyone at Bloom.  We added a table to our usual  "Lunch Bunch" group and included them. I don't know whether it was having new faces around, having something to celebrate, or just the alignment of the moon and stars, but it was wonderful to see everyone in good spirits and their best selves.   We could see the elements of their former selves come alive and it was wonderful. There were two ladies celebrating birthdays on that day so we had one cake at lunch and Mama's at ice cream time (3PM). While it was a little too much stimulation for Mama, she hung in all day (not taking her usual afternoon nap) and made the most of it.  The party went on all day and everyone had a good time. I'm so glad Laney and Julious came.  

When Laney and Julious left, we said that they (those at Bloom) may not remember a thing about it tomorrow, but today they all had a good day.....and that's pretty  much how it turned out.  When I came in the next day, Helen had her head flat down on the table and I couldn't awaken Mama for lunch.  The second day after, Mama was eating, but with her eyes closed. The third day she was awake, alert and talking (which is not always easy for her).  After three days of that, she has been less talkative, less alert and more agitated.  That's the way it goes, so we make the most of the good days and June 23rd was one of the best in a long time.

. ClipartTonight is actually July 4th, Independence Day.  My plans were to meet Sun City friends outside the Ale House for a concert and fireworks.  Mother nature wasn't having any of that!  As we sat under a shaded tent enjoying an occasional breeze, the dark clouds began gathering and lightening flashing.  As we saw the band packing up, we decided to disperse. It seemed like a good plan to go inside the Ale House and wait it out, but when we got there we learned they had no electricity, along with a large part of Sun City.  So, we said our goodbyes and headed home.  I drove into rain and signs of a  more serious storm....debris and limbs in the road. So, I'll watch the patriotic programs that I had planned to record...and be thankful for the blessings of the last few weeks.  It's wonderful to see things come together for good.



It is with great sadness that I send my heartfelt condolences to Eileen and the whole Henderson family on the passing of Tom. It's another one of those things that happened so quickly that it's difficult to comprehend.  I saw them in September, when Tom was in his element, organizing the UK Aramco reunion, taking care of all the details to make it special for everyone. That is how I will remember him, a major player in one of my fondest memories.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hot, Hot, Hot!

As we face three days next week tipping the thermometer at 100 degrees (and that's before
everything is factored in.....it may feel like 110 or 111!), we are focused on how to stay cool. Needless to stay, the heat has curtailed the walking and made staying inside much more appealing.  I've even had bursts of energy to continue my cleaning out, but nothing overboard.  Regardless on my good intentions, I manage to find many ways to waste time.  One of my newest means is binge watching Borgen....for which I'm blaming Ann.  She and Katie recommended it to me a long time ago when I couldn't even find it here.  Then I heard/read it mentioned by both Steven King and Hillary Clinton as being one of their favorite series.  So, I looked for it on Netflix again and it was available.  It is a Danish political drama and, when I realized it had subtitles, I admit to cursing Ann's name!  How can I play with my iPad all the time and watch a series with subtitles?  Totally unworkable!  I finally popped in the CD and within 15 minutes of the start I was hooked.  It is very well done and two of the major characters are women, one the Prime Minister and the other a young reporter.  Each CD has 3-4 episodes and I sit and watch them all at one time.  There are three seasons with 10 episodes each, so if you're a political junkie and looking for an enthralling way to waste time, this is it!  Wikipedia's rundown can be found HERE.


Yesterday was a full and enjoyable day, though it started with a very somber, solemn event.  Chris and I attended a service at our local Campbell  AME Church in honor and memory of those killed at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Such a dark, hate-filled, act.  How did someone that young nurture so much hatred?  Knowing so many here, I can well imagine that the young man was welcomed to their group with open arms. The fact that he sat with them of about an hour before carrying out his horrible act is just chilling. All of those killed were solid members of the community and it's hard to imagine the void in their families, their church and the whole community.  Such a waste! Though Pinckney is a well known name here, I was not familiar with Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was obviously a kind and able leader.  At one time, he was also minister of the church we attended.  The church itself was beautiful and the service well done.  Many ministers from local churches participated and it consisted of prayers and Bible readings.  The prayers were very inclusive....for the bereaved families, for the comfort of the community, for the guidance of the church universal, for the guidance of our nation, for the unity of our nation, and for the unity of the church universal.  The names of those killed were read and a moment of silent reflection was given.  The challenge from the minister was to let the Divine light within each of us shine to dispel the darkness.  The service ended with the congregation JOYFULLY singing "This Little Light of Mine", followed by Doxology and Benediction.  


Today during the memorial service for Clementa Pinckney, Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka said “He tried to create hate but look around – instead he created love...” in reference to Dylann Roof. #WTOC #StandWithCharleston #PrayForCharleston
Posted by WTOC-TV on Friday, June 19, 2015

I'm so glad we went and that they provided an opportunity to share their grief.  There have been so many such sad events in which I thought there should be more white people present, because I know there are many who share their struggle and hope for greater equality.  While I am so sorry that this thing happened, I was glad to be counted among those present at the service.  Jim Rigby, a very inclusive, eclectic Presbyterian minister from Texas (who would expect that?!), expressed those sentiments much better than I ever could:
"It now seems that white people who care about the suffering of black people have run out of every other option. The violence against our brothers and sisters will never end until we ourselves enter into a time of great suffering in solidarity with theirs. So long as we only work for racial justice within a system forged in the fires of white supremacy, we ourselves constitute the bars of their oppression (in spite of our best intentions.) We can no longer work for justice from safely behind the ivied walls of our white privilege. Dr. King has shown us all the way. All that is missing is the critical mass that white solidarity would provide. We ourselves must now violate the laws that oppress innocent and suffering members of our human family. We ourselves must fill the jail cells that have been built to enforce their oppression until there is no room for either of us. We must use the weight of our own numbers to end any human being's status as “minority.” 
The people who have been targeted for oppression are the only ones who can determine what actions are helpful, but it is time for every white person of conscience to report for duty. White people who care about the suffering of black people must begin to share the full cost of the freedom we say we want for all." 
From the service, Chris and I went to The Vintner's Club and bottled our wine.  We left it an extra week and it was crystal clear and very smooth.  We were so pleased.  



I was especially pleased that Chris seemed to enjoy the process and was happy with the finished product.  You know how it is when you invite someone to do something, hoping they will enjoy it as much as you.  And, the people who run the place really makes it a fun activity.  It was a very enjoyable project.

Usually after we tend our wine, we go out for lunch.  With the extreme heat, we couldn't leave the wine in the car long enough to have lunch.  So, we went home, chilled our wine, and got together at 5:15.  We went to the beach again, as we'd done a few weeks ago, and christened our wine.  We had delicious bread, cheese, roasted Brussels Sprouts and asparagus, pappadews, and marinaded tomatoes and mozzarella. For a short time it looked like we might be rained out, but it all passed over and turned out to be a great way to end the day.

It was a good week in another respect....I spoke with many friends by phone - Ann and Martin, Eileen and Tom, Paula and Neil (to wish Neil a happy birthday), and Jan. It's always good to catch up with friends by whatever means. .  




Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Arrives in a Flurry!



Life has been moving right along now that the weather has improved.  As you can see, Chris and I have put down wine, so we'll see how this goes when we do it ourselves rather than as a class.  Once each week we've gotten to tend our wine and, on most days, followed up with a nice lunch.  This coming week we will be bottling, which is the fun part.  The other steps are so quick and easy.  It's nice to do something a little  more involved.  I hope to revamp my label a bit and will leave some bottles unlabeled.  Those I will use as gifts with a personalized label.  This has been a lot of fun due to Chris' involvement and the enthusiasm of the family that runs the shop.  They couldn't be more helpful - they want you to have a great product....and lots of fun making it!  

Over Memorial Day weekend I had a wonderful reunion with the Rabbi from my synagogue days and his family.  His wife was an avid sweepstaker for a while and decided to enter a few again. She won a trip for five adults to HH for four days!!  It was so good to see them again, along with others from the synagogue. The weather was perfect and they were able to enjoy the beach before the summer rush.  I was pleased that they included me among those they wanted to see.  



With all the comings and goings, I've still managed to continue with the cleaning out of excess items in the house.  It seems like I get into the flow of it and then things happen to totally interrupt the process.  The biggest accomplish is that I've gotten my summer clothes pared down to a manageable, reasonable quantity.  The process was helped along by the fact that I've put on about 10 pounds and nothing fits!

This past week was a difficult one for my mother.  She has begun having trouble swallowing; that, combined with the dreaded lurgy that has been going around, led to aspiration of her food, mucus, etc.  There was one day when they didn't want her to eat much and other days when she just felt she couldn't.  So, I've been going over for lunch and dinner.  Over the last three meals she has shown some improvement, is beginning to eat more normally, and her color is returning. This coming week I'm going to an event called "Death over Dinner"......sounds uplifting doesn't it!? When I received the invitation I thought it was one of those dinner theater events where you solve a mystery.  No, it's exactly what it says, a discussion of death over dinner! 

After spending most of the week at Bloom with my mother, I took Friday afternoon for myself.  Chris and I tended our wine and then went to a new vegetarian restaurant we'd been wanting to try.  The chef had a highly regarded restaurant on the island but closed it and opened one out our way, which is our good dortune.  We were not disappointed. After that we had a few hours at home before meeting friends at Coligny beach.  Earlier in the week I received an email from a friend inviting us to a Friend Circle......like a drum circle without the drums!  It really was a delightful way to end the week, especially after the one I had.  The weather was perfect, the conversation light and lively, and the tranquil as the beach can provide.  It was almost 8:30 before we left and I couldn't believe it was that late.  This is something we should definitely do again.



I was saddened to hear of Tom H's illness and am pleased that he is now at home.  I hope his recovery is swift and complete.  Both Tom and Eileen remain in my thoughts and I'm sending love and good wishes your way.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Month Later.....

It's been almost a month since my last post AND my week off, which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.  I actually accomplished a few things during that week, but they were things I wanted to do and they were done at my own pace, rather than just squeezing them in between other things.

We also bottled our wine and it turned out surprisingly good....crystal clear and with a crisp, pinot grigio flavor.  A positive thing about making your own wine is that it is done without all of the sulfates or whatever. Being part of a class, I only got four bottles, which didn't last long.  One was served at our zentangle gathering and another was given to a friend for her birthday.....so I was only left with enough to convince me that I do want to do it again. I called my wine "Crescent Moon Memories" and used the SC logo, which always reminds me of a similar Saudi image, except with a green background.  It's all here:



What else has been happening?  Well, Cheryl Mc. and I went to two concerts in Savannah. One was the Tedeschi Trucks Band, whom we'd seen before, and the other was The Old Crow Medicine Show.  Both were very good in different ways.  It's always fun to hear live music.  Elaine and I went to see Blythe Spirit in Beaufort, which was enjoyable.  Each time I go to Beaufort, I like it more and more.  Debbi and I went to the Symphony under the Stars on a warm evening.....one of the first nights nice enough for something like that.  I also went to a monthly concert at the Unitarian church, though I missed the one this past Friday.  So, I've been culturally stimulated, which has been fun.


We've also had more sunny, mild days which has enabled (and encouraged) me to walk more.  The shorter, lighter clothes of summer have exposed creepy, crepe-y skin all over my body, especially backed up above my knees and draping down my arms.  Yikes!  So, I'm moving to longer shorts, shirts with sleeves, etc. How disgusting!



My large Buddha bowl.
I think I've also found a salad to get me through most of the summer without heating up the kitchen. It's called Donna's Buddha Bowl and you will need a large salad bowl for each person.  In the bottom layer brown rice (or quinoa, etc.), black (or other) beans, and diced, roasted sweet potato.  This I heat about 45 seconds in the microwave.  To that I add finely chopped kale (or spinach - as much as you like), red pepper, red (or green) onion, shredded red cabbage (for great crunch), tomatoes and 1/2 avocado.  My salad dressing of choice is fat free poppy seed dressing, but you can us whatever you like.  It is so fresh, so filling....yummy!  And, it's easy to vary which extends its appeal  A favorite change-up is to use cucumber, black olives and feta for a Greek flavor.  Since I've started this, I've run across so many variations and I hope to try them all.  If you try it, let me know what you think.


Georgie, Zorro (feral cats) and raccoons continue to do well and I look forward to seeing them.  Zorro has gotten to where he will eat his meal and then lie down at my feet, which is very sweet.  One day as I was walking home from lunch with  my mother, I ran into this huge snapping turtle.  He was in the road just around a curve and I didn't want him to get run over, so I just stood there for a minute trying to figure out what to do.  By that time a woman and her children had stopped and people was slowing to look.  Finally, a nearby neighbor returned home and came over to help.  I'd never seen a turtle this big and this close.  The tail and claws are as formidable as the mouth!  The first time the man picked him up, he snapped, wiggled and scratched, drawing blood.  The second time he tried, the turtle peed on him!!  Every time I see a turtle by the roadside, I wonder where they are going...or where he thinks he's going?  How does he know there's something out there for him?  Animals are just amazing.



 That about catches you up with me.  What have you been up to??




Happy Mother’s Day


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Little Bit of Everything!

This week I'm taking time off!  No yoga. No walking. No social engagements....no nothing!  I'm so tired of running from one thing to the next that this week I'm stopping....and so far I've loved it!!  Yesterday I sat at the kitchen table in the afternoon trying to learn something via YouTube.  I took my time and it was totally relaxing.  My problem is likely to be getting myself started again after this little hiatus!!


There is a story behind the yoga layoff.  As you know, there were two teachers and one pushed us more that the other.  She did that after asking the class it they wanted a regular class or to be pushed a little (knowing that in yoga you monitor yourself).  Most of the class wanted to be pushed.......but we later learned that some didn't!  They took the original teacher out to lunch and complained that the class was too difficult, dangerous, etc. The original teacher declared the class would not be taught that way and handled it very poorly, unprofessionally in class, with the second teacher present....all of which left a bad taste in my mouth.  I did attend the next class and was one of 2-3 people who spoke up about the situation.  In a private conversation I also asked one of the complainers why she didn't just stop going to the class rather than ruining it for those who liked it.  Now you know why I like animals so much!!  Anyway, drama in yoga class is not what I need



One thing that remains on my schedule is the bottling of our wine this Friday.  I'm the only one who has shown up for all steps of the process, which was easy as I live so close....and I have to say it has brought back fond memories (which is reflected in my label.....Crescent Moon Memories!).In the photo to the left, he is degassing.  If I were doing it at home, I would use a long plastic spoon, but he has the plastic spoon attached to a drill, which really gets things going!  It's been so much fun that I think I've talked my friend Chris into going in together on a batch.  The class made Pinot Grigio but I think we will make Pinot Gris, which should be even smoother. I'll keep you posted!


In the clip, I'm racking it for the last time before bottling.  In the front bottle, you can see how much yeast has already settled out. This is an extra step the vintner recommends, which should allow it to clear well.  Its bouquet has been nice and light all along (I guess wine yeast does make a difference!!) and I'm hoping we will have a good finished product.

Another thing that I've eliminated from my schedule is the position of leader of the pack of Bloom at Belfair families.  Once we were able to be heard and establish a means of more regular communication, I asked someone else to coordinate the group.   That was a welcomed relief and I could hand it over feeling that I'd done my best.

Since writing last, I've caught up with all of my female friends (lots of lunches), as well as attending Living Liberally.  Our group has now grown to between 22-28 at most meetings and we've found a great place to be able to eat outside and enjoy Spring weather.  I've also attended Symphony Under the Stars, continued zentangle with Chris and Ana, and just tried to keep all the balls in the air.

I'm happy to report that our weather is improving.  Socks are off and flip-flop are on.  The Bradford Pears and azaleas didn't last long as rain removed the blooms quickly....but they were pretty while they lasted.  The Heritage Golf Tournament is this coming weekend so I hope a few are left to make the course look good.  The nice weather has made feeding the feral cats more fun......I really worried about them in the freezing temperatures of the winter. It has also emboldened the raccoons!  In the last two photos below, you can see one lurking behind the cat.....and boldly moving up when the cat left.  The last time I fed them a raccoon was waiting there with them!!  They are clever little creatures and funny to watch.....one picked up the plate with his front paws and tried to take it into the brush!  It doesn't take long for the to figure out things!! 




The last thing I want to share with you are these wave clouds that passed through about a week ago.  I didn't take these photos (from newspaper and online) because I saw them as I was coming out of Kroger.  I found myself standing in the parking lot just staring at them with mouth open.  It felt like the sci-fi scene when everyone realizes that disaster is eminent! They were very ominous in appearance - dark, low hanging and fast moving.  The weather report that evening told us that they were quite rare and I don't think anyone could have missed them.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Wine, Horses and More.



The weather as again afforded me time to catch up on this blog.  We had about a week or more of beautiful Spring weather....threes and shrubs were blooming and it looked beautiful.  It was amazing how quickly everything came out.  You could literally tell a difference in the fullness of the Bradford Pears from morning to night. Spring was bursting out all over.  Now, we have had three days of drizzle and rain and I want to hibernate again!!




March has been a busy month, and a lot of it has been fun.  Does this make anyone feel nostalgic??





Yes, I'm taking a wine making class!  I'd thought of doing it before, but I have no out-of-the-way place to store it in the house and the temperature of the garage fluctuates too much.  The Vintner's Club provides the space and supplies (for a price, of course) and it's very near my house.....all too tempting!   The class is offered through OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), with room for only seven students, two of whom didn't show.  The photos are from the first day.  The next Friday I went over and racked it from the bucket to a carboy. This Friday I (and anyone else who shows up) will degas it.  Next Friday we will rack it to another carboy and bottle it on April 24th.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.......it smells great!

On the afternoon of the wine making class, the Clydesdales came to town.  They were to appear in the Hilton Head and Savannah St Patrick's Day Parades and someone manage to get them to Bluffton.  They arrived in three, huge trucks, two for the horses and one for the carriage and the horses' bling.  They really are magnificent.  They were taken out of the trucks one at a time, groomed and harnessed.  They stood so patiently and the process was interesting to see.  It took a while to harness all eight, but finally they moved down the street and took a spin around town.  They even had a Dalmatian to ride on the wagon.  I thought, "if they have that little puppy that's in the ad, I'm going to cry!".  It was an enjoyable thing to do on a dull, dark day.


Other than that, I've been to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was good. Even that was more exciting than usual!!  As we entered the theater, I noticed that it was hazy.  I didn't smell anything, but it was obviously hazy. We'd hardly gotten seated when they evacuated the whole building, and it was closed for the remainder of the day.  I heard there was an electrical short of some kind.  We tried again on Sunday and saw it with no problem.  

Chris, Ana and I continue our zentangle afternoons, which I really enjoy.  It was at my house last week and I knew I wouldn't have time to prepare very much, so the week before I cruised Kroger.  As I was passing the cheese counter, the  "Cheese Master" (whom I didn't know we had!)  asked if he could help. I told him I was having a few ladies over and he he said they could do a cheese tray......I could stop by and sample cheeses, make my selection and they would prepare it.  That was too good to pass up, so I returned on Tuesday and he helped me select some American cheeses.  He asked if I wanted a "theme" and since there was one I definitely wanted to include and it was American, I chose that as my theme.  Next time it will be English, then French, Dutch, etc.  I also sampled olives, pepperdews, etc.  It was great fun, which I couldn't wait to share with Chris and Ana.  You know I'm easily entertained when the high point of the day is a grocery store!!

Rich Text