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 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 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 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 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 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!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jan's Visit

I've been trying to get to this for some time and today I'm stuck waiting for someone to come and measure a window that needs to be replaced.  It's the usual run-around - I called this AM to reconfirm that I'm on the schedule and hoped she could narrow down the time frame.  All I got was "after 1PM", which means all afternoon.  Anyway, it does give me time to get to this entry.

It seems that I've been busy, beginning with Jan's visit and even before.  The Friday before she arrived, I attend the monthly concert and the Unitarian Church, which was very good.  Saturday Chris and I got together for a leisurely, enjoyable lunch, which was a belated birthday treat. On Sunday night I went to a Velvet Caravan concert on island.  It was actually a private party.  Two ladies I know from the synagogue gave a party for a few hundred of their closest friends and the Caravan was the entertainment.  They are very good and I enjoyed seeing them again, as well as all the folks from the synagogue.  I always like that part of it.

Jan arrived on Tuesday, Feb. 24, and the following day we went to Charleston for two nights.  We stayed at the Meeting Street Inn, which was delightful.  The people there could not have been nicer.  Their parking was not by the hotel, so when we arrived I went inside to organize things while Jan remained in the car to let people know our parking was temporary.  By the time I got back with a porter to take the bags, the guy behind the counter had already booked lunch for us!!  They were that efficient and helpful. It was probably at that point that it turned into the Great Charleston Food Tour.  Jan especially wanted to eat at Husk (which, to be honest, I'd never hear of) and it was there that we had lunch reservations.  Jan had Shrimp and Grits while I asked about the two vegetarian items on the menu. The waiter advised that they had an off-menu vegetarian plate that they were quite proud of.  Well......they have every right to be proud!!  Rather than being a collection of the sides of the day, it was a real masterpiece, totally delicious, and more than I could eat.  It was wonderful!  We were so full that for dinner we settled for a light salad at 82 Queen.

It was from there that we walked home in the cold, whipping rain!!  There were a couple of cold, miserable days, but we carried on.  It tried to ruin our time but we knew better than to let it.  The Inn is well located to walk to all the major old town attractions and to peruse the beautiful old homes. Due to the weather, we did as much walking as we could but also did a city tour and drove around the area to see the houses. 

One afternoon was spent at Middleton Place, which I hope to see again in more cooperative weather.  Even so, it was a beautiful spot on the Ashley River.  We had a lunch in the style of Miss Edna Lewis (again, someone I'd never heard of but am glad to know!).  She popularized Southern cooking and improved it.  It was another delicious, filling meal, which we enjoyed before taking the house tour and walking the grounds a bit. I especially enjoyed the farm animals and there were people to tell us all about how the plantation functioned in past days.  Since there were not many people around, we got lots of their attention and enjoyed it all.

That evening we ate at Cru; again, arranged by our hotel.  We had to "settle for" the chef's table, which was the bar overlooking the kitchen.  It seated four and we immediately struck up conversation with the couple already there.  It turned out to be the best seat in the house.  We got to see how the kitchen worked, which was like a well oiled machine.  In the down moments, we asked questions and chatted with the staff......thoroughly enjoyable (and delicious!).  

In between all these delicious meals, our hotel had a very good and varied breakfast, as well as wine and cheese in the late afternoon. On our final morning we walked around a bit before heading to Hominy Grill for brunch.  So, we covered as much territory as we could before heading home.  Charleston is so picturesque and I've always loved that part of it, but I was totally blown away by the good food and friendly people.  It was totally spite of the weather.

Once home, the bad weather continued but we regrouped and carried on.  On Sunday I was wracking my brain to think of something to do on a crummy day and finally I said to Jan, "It's Sunday in the South and miserable weather....there is nothing to do!"  We did go to Palmetto Bluff for lunch before heading to the movies.  Between the two, we found the Secession Tree, which I'd heard about but had no idea where it was located.  With a little help for a lady walking her dog, we found it.

At the end of her visit, Jan treated me to a night in Savannah, along with her friend Sharon, who came up from Jacksonville.  Jan then spent a few days with her.  Our time in Savannah was blessed with better weather and Jan did see the sun before leaving this part of the country.  It was a pleasure meeting Sharon as she is another liberal and as much of a geek about it as I!!  I think we bored Jan!  Anyway, we had another good dinner at Garibaldi's.  It all came to an end too quickly but I was left with very good experiences and memories.

Below are the photos.  I was disappointed that I'd forgotten to take my camera to Charleston so this is my first effort with my cell phone!

I've done a few other fun things but will save them for another time, which I hope will come soon.  I did want to tell you that I'm now a published author of a magazine article....thanks to Tom and Eileen.  After the reunion in York (September) they asked if I'd write an article.  I did and sent it to them but didn't hear anything.....and I didn't ask, not wanting to put them in the position of telling me it was crap and couldn't be used.  Then one morning I got a text from Maggie in Cyprus saying that she'd received her Alaela Magazine and we were on the front and the article was inside!!  You can imagine my surprise and pleasure.  You can see it HERE.  My article is on page 15.

Here's also a clip Tom sent of the reunion, bringing back find memories.

 That's enough for now....more soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


With February being a short month. it's whirling by at record speed.  I'm amazed that the speed with which it passes and the fact that I stay on the go without accomplishing anything of consequence.  Maybe this is what retirement is about!!

The month began with the demise of another cat.....I'm now down to one!  Smokey, being almost 20 years old, was having more and more problems......but I was not wanting to let him go.  About two months ago he went to the vet and it was found that he had fluid collecting around his heart.  I didn't want to go to extreme measures so they set about making him as comfortable as possible.  I could tell his breathing was becoming more labored and on the night of Feb. 1 he had such a coughing spell that he was hassling and having trouble settling.  I knew I didn't want him to go through that again so the vet was called and they confirmed my assessment.  Even though he had a long, spoiled life, it was still difficult to do it......but I did.  I was with him as they put him to sleep and the only consolation was that he would no longer be in pain.  He really was a sweetie... So, what else has happened?  My yoga class was cancelled for a week, which provided the excuse to become a slug.  It has been so cold, and on some days so dark, that I've taken to doing the minimum ablutions in the morning, running to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.....and getting back into bed!!  How bad is that!  I do sit up and listen to the news, check emails, etc......but not enough to be redemptive.  It's really bad!

Speaking of cold.....tomorrow the HIGH is to be 36F!!!!!  That is 30 degrees below our normal temperature for this time of  year.  My first thoughts are of Georgie and Zorro, the feral cats.  I fed them tonight and it was windy and cold.  For the first time, Zorro looked like it was getting to him.  We have boxes for them, but I don't know that they have found them yet.  My hope is that their natural instincts will serve them well and they will get through this.  As an aside, as I was feeding them tonight, a lady drive by, turned around and gave me money for food for the kitties....then she turned around again and went into the Crescent.    It is so nice to know that people do care.....

As you know, I've become the reluctant leader-of-the-pack at Bloom.  After writing two letters  (signed by 12 other family members of residents at Bloom) to the powers that be, I received a call from the new COO.  He had read our letters and wanted to meet with us on his next visit......which is what we wanted all along.  So, I returned his call and we are scheduled to meet on the 24th.  Our major issue at the moment is that there are not enough RAs on the floor do all that needs to be done AND keep an eye on everyone, especially when issues develop......and things can develop very quickly!  So, this is one of those things that I've done as much as I can.....and I'm hoping it will come to a positive conclusion.

Well, you saw the aggressive turkey video.  Now, residents here have seen coyotes!!  The POA has called in Critter Management to take care of them.  First, let me say that it could very well be a dog!  Secondly, if it is a there evidence of it having done anything??  Did anyone ever think that the coyote/large dog might actually take care of the turkey "problem"?  Believe me, when I got the email that they were contacting Critter Management to deal with the coyote, it was all I could do NOT to email the board and ask them to send Critter Mgmt to my house.....I'd seen a squirrel and was in fear for my life!!  If you don't want to see nature and wildlife,why are you in SC (or on this planet!)!!

As you can see, not a lot has been happening, but things will pick up soon!  Jan will be visiting next week and I'm really looking forward to it.  We plan to have a couple of days in Charleston and a night in Savannah, to say nothing of just catching up.  I'm hoping  the weather will be more cooperative, but we can't do a lot about that.  We will make the most of it and have a good time!  That's one reason for my writing now, before I get too far behind.  

I hope all is well with you and that 2015 is off to a good start!  Love to all.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday...and January is Gone!

January was a hectic month, which included my birthday (and those of many friends!).  And, yes, I did survive it and I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm within two years of turning 70!!  Well, that's still a couple of years away and a lot can happen in that need to worry about it now!  I did have a very good birthday....the best part was hearing from friends and family, near and far.  It is always great to receive a card in the mail and I received quite a few.  Other friends called or emailed, and there is the marvel of Facebook, which kindly reminds us of special occasions like birthdays  Whatever the form, it was great to hear from everyone.  I appreciate those connections more and more as I age and it means a great deal to be remembered by friends.  Other than hearing from everyone, it was a fairly quiet day.  A friend and I went to see Selma, which was very good and well done.  I  seldom see movies in the theater so it was a nice treat.

Slideshow can be enlarged by clicking icon on right side (4 arrows pointing out)

January and the New Year started off well. My former neighbors always have an afternoon open house on NY's day. I hemmed and hawed about going but finally decided to walk over, a total of about 3.5 miles. It was a lovely, brisk day and that turned out to be an enjoyable thing to do.  I have continued to walk occasionally, but not enough to consider it a routine.

Early in the month I began de-cluttering and have been fairly consistent with doing "something" toward that end on most days.  I've even tackled my closets and am just doing one section or task at a time (without being overwhelmed by the thought of having to do it all at once!).  This approach is working better than I expected so I hope to stick with it up the job is done.  The only problem with this method is that by the time I get it all done, it will be time to start all over again!

Also on the home front, we have lost one of our kitties....Blackie.  She was the black one who liked to eat in the back of my car.  We don't know what happened, she just stopped showing up about two weeks ago.  In all likelihood, she probably got run over by a car....we just don't know.

You know how I always post photos of the turkeys passing through my yard.....well, it didn't take long for someone to complain.  I've never seen more than 30 at a time and they always just seem to be walking along, pecking for food.  Suddenly there were stories of 100's, attacking people, pooping in yards (well, yes......that's what turkeys do!).  It even made headlines in the Island Packet.  The fumiest thing they do is stop traffic, which I think is a riot.  Obviously, other's do not share my sense of humor!

 Well, the POA called in the Dept of Natural Resources, who was going to relocate them.  Then, they found that the turkeys have intermingled with other turkeys and was not of pure lineage, so they couldn't relocate them.  Now, they are culling the flock/rafter, having determined the appropriate number per acre (by human standards).  All of that kerfuffling allowed time for a counter-group (pro-turkeys) to form....and you can guess where my allegiance fell!!  While I'm fairly certain the turkeys will outsmart them, they have taken retreat and I don't see them as often, which is too bad.

A new session of OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) classes has begun and I've already attended one.  It was at our local Olive the Above shop that sells olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  The owner is very excited about her products and it was quite informative.  It was also interesting to sample many of the oils and vinegars.  She presented some, but we then got the opportunity to sample others of interest.  At the end, they served a salad assortment on which we could taste wares of interest.  That was followed by a little dish of ice cream, who which was drizzled a tasty balsamic (I forgot which one!). It really was fun and informative, motivating me to be more adventurous in my cooking.  I cam away with a butter flavored oil and a fig balsamic.....yum!

My neighbor, Ana, and I have gotten together again for Zentangle.  This time we only completed one project each because the first hour was show-and-tell.  Even so, it was lots of fun and we've schedule regular meetings. We both started with the same string/pattern, but you can see that the results are very individual.  It's fun to do, especially for those of us with  no art background of any kind.  There is definitely room for improvement but it isn't so daunting that I don't feel I'll ever get it.  So,along with all the other things I'm doing, I'm also trying to make time for practicing this between our get-togethers!
Ana's                                                          Mine
Within the last few days, I watched a special on CNN on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.  I've not been there and the aerial views of the buildings, the sheer size of it, was daunting.  It brought to mind a workshop I went to not long after I moved to San Diego.  The speakers were a Jewish lady who had been in several camps (her married name was Waterford) and a man you had been in the Hitler Youth movement.  They had made these presentations often and were very comfortable with each other.  I remember it to this day because there was just so much to take in and digest in some way.  She spoke about the various things people did to get through the horror, with her saving grace being to maintain her hygiene.... trying to have enough water to bathe 

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and I've spoken to Jan to wish her team, the Seattle Seahawks, well.  I remember poo-pooing the whole thing last year and then it turned out to be a great game.  This year I'm keeping my mouth shut!!  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

The end of the year is here and the speed with which it has arrived is amazing.  We had a good Christmas here.  I had some small goodies for my mother to unwrap and treated myself to some practical things to use around the house....a new toaster oven, a new wireless mouse, etc.  My major splurge was to have my diamond ring repaired, having lost one of the stones a year or so ago. Below are a few photos of a few days before Christmas. 

I managed to do a little baking (one frantic afternoon!), as I did want to do something for the staff at Bloom.  I purchased some decorated cookies and added my almond bars, chocolate truffles, and ginger thins to make two bountiful trays.  The staff were surprised and delighted.  A few neighbors got a much smaller version of the same thing....and, of course, I had my portion!

In the midst on all that, there has been major upheaval at Bloom and I remain the reluctant leader of the pack.  On this occasion, Bloom is going from 3 to 2 shifts, making the staff work 12 hour shifts, which will be a major conflict for those who work two jobs.  They also refuse to even provide a "regular" schedule so that those who need to work two jobs can find a second one. And, of course, South Carolina, is one would expect, is a "right to work" state, which means the employer has all the power and the employee has none.  I wrote a letter to the owners on behalf of the Bloom Family Advocacy Group and did all the kerfuffling to edit, get signatures, etc.....what a headache.  The last time we did something like this, the owners sent a standard "form letter:" acknowledging the receipt of our letter.  This time we asked that they address the problems stated, so we have heard nothing!!  The 12-hour shifts will begin of Jan. 1, so they have just waited it out.  It's obvious that the bottom line in their only concern.....

On the kitty front, Zorro got hit by a car about a week before Christmas. He didn't show up for two days. Everyone was concerned but couldn't find him. On the third day he showed up, all scraped around the right ear.  He ate ravenously and then went missing for another two days.  By that time, emails were flying after each feeding and other feeders were even stopping by at feeding time to see if he had shown up.  He then appeared again and has been regular.  I think he was just doing what people don't do.....resting and recuperating!  


I had a great treat on Monday night.  Linda, who was a co-creator of our local Drinking Liberally group was coming to town for a few days and she asked around for those who might be available to get together.  Harry, the other co-creator, came up from Savannah, and Cheryl and I joined them on-island at the Frosty Frog.  It had been two years since I'd seen Linda (since she moved to Charlotte), and I've seen Harry only a few times since he moved to SAV.  It was a fun gathering and so good to catch up, especially with folks who love to laugh and have easy conversation.  It was a perfect way to spend a dark, rainy night!

As a new year approaches, it's time to look back at 2014 before "letting it go"!  Unlike 2013, which was a difficult, trying year, this year has had many high points, most of them centering around friends.  My small group of close friends here has strengthened, which is comforting. This was also the year that many long-distance friends visited - Jim & Anthony, Cheryl, Sandra & Howard, Bill & Betty, Dennis & Carol, Ann, and most recently, Linda (hope I haven't forgotten anyone).  And of course, the high point of the year was my trip to the UK and the UK Aramcon Reunion.  It was even better than I'd hoped and it was wonderful to see everyone together....just like old times!  Unlike previous years, I'm thankful to  also have had the time to do some things for my own enjoyment.....and I did thoroughly enjoy them!  While there were the usual ups and downs, the low points were the death of my kitties, Gabby (TMPKITWWW) and tinsy, little rat-tail girl, Chloe.  Their loving attention is still missed

Enough of looking back!  Onward to the New Year!  It seems that 2015 is going to be a wonderful, productive year.  For months (while I've been doing nothing!), I've become aware of myself saying, "in the New Year".  It seems that "in the New Year",I'm going to be doing wonders!!  I'm going to...
  • Eat more healthily.  The holidays have really put me off my routine and, in an effort to get back, I've purged the house of most temptations.  The others I will have eaten by Jan.1!
  • Restart my walking routine and alternate it with yoga.  With the exception of Christmas week, I've maintained yoga but have let my walking go entirely.  i need to do them both as walking controls my weight.
  • Lose weight.....see above!  With all of my partying in the UK and over Christmas, I've put on about 10 pounds, in all the wrong places.  January is the time to get serious about losing it.  
  • Strengthen my meager meditation practice.
  • Better maintain relationships with friends.
  • Declutter the house and garage.....have you heard me say this before?  I really would like to do it but find it so hard to start.  This is the year!
  • Explore Zentangle more.  I enjoyed it and it is a hobby/activity that is easily taken out and put away.  Unlike painting, it requires few materials or space.....just my kind of thing!  I'd at least like to do it enough to see improvement...or whether there will be improvement!

I'm sure there are other things that I've neglected to mention (already forgotten), but that is the basic direction I'd like to go. Those of you who know me, feel free to place bets on which will actually be accomplished!  However it turns out, it is good to get a new beginning, a fresh start, and to give some thought to the future.  I've long since given up making resolutions, but it doesn't hurt to set intentions that will make life healthier, easier and more fulfilling.

Whatever your intentions for the coming year, my hope is that 2015 is filled with good health, happiness, prosperity and joy.

Happy New Year!

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