Sunday, January 30, 2011

One World One Heart 2011!

Welcome to the 2011,  5th annual (and FINAL) celebration of the One World One Heart bloggers' event.    If you 'click back' to the beautiful site of A Whimsical Bohemian, you will find countless blogs - from all over the world - and each one will be hosting a giveaway!   As Lisa explained when she founded the event, it's a giant open house, with door prizes at each stop -- what could be more fun?!    It's too bad that this is the last OWOH giveaway, because it is also my FIRST time to participate in the event!   The only rules for entry are that you must be 18 (or have adult permission), you can be anywhere in the world, and you must leave a comment with contact information to enter into the random drawing for each prize.   A sort of Meet and Greet for grown-up bloggers, no admittance charge, no travel required.     How cool is that?!

So hello! to any new visitors, I am so happy to meet you, so glad you could stop by.   And welcome back! to any regular visitors -- I met many of you in last year's event!

My name is Gail, I used to work as a government lawyer until I lost my job a year and a half ago and so far I haven't found my way to replace it.    Some days I think I will -- I must! -- work again, if only to earn more Island Time (because I am a Sanibel Island junkie).   Other days, not so much, as I find myself content with my own cooking and my own backyard.    If left unchecked, I tend to be a hermit, although I fight that impulse when I remember to do so.   I am a grandmother, and those little faces are my primary addiction.   I travel when I can, visit New Orleans most years, and have been to Alaska a couple of times.   I spend time on Sanibel Island, Florida, whenever I can, where I visit friends, enjoy the beauties of nature, and pick up seashells to add to my collection.    Here at home, I target shoot, work on learning to fly-fish, bake, and cook.   My life is mostly calm except when calmness is outside my control.  No drama, please, I have had my fill of drama.   But that's another story.  When I started this blog, I intended it to be more about environmental issues, but as you can see, it ended up being about me, me me.

About my door prize:    Unfortunately, I have no authentic creative talents to share, so my prize is an tribute to my preference for calm.     When things get frantic and I need to find my center again, these are little things that can help me get there.    Sipping chocolate or tea and a snack.   A little quiet time to remind myself how lucky I truly am.    I recommend the sipping chocolate from Trader Joe's, which you would add to milk -- yummy.    But when you aren't in a chocolate mood, another favorite is Tazo Chai tea, guaranteed to warm your tummy.   The winner will receive both beverages, along with a tiara, because really, who doesn't need a tiara!    There will be a snack, too, but I don't know yet what it will be.    And maybe I'll toss in an extra surprise or two, just so you'll know how special you are to me!

To enter my giveaway, please leave a comment, along with the link to your blog and contact information.    I will number all comment-ers and do a random drawing on February 17.   I will announce the winner here and will also send them an email to notify them that they have won.

Thank you for stopping by, it is so nice to have visitors.   I hope you will come again!   And good luck!

The Countdown

Don't forget, the One World One Heart event begins at midnight today!   I will be one of countless participants, and there will be tons of prizes, and lots of new friends to meet.    Anyone who is 18, and an active blogger anywhere in the world, is invited!    I hope to see you back here then!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Day In Michigan


It's white.


(Thank goodness,) It's light.


It's even kind of beautiful.


AND I STILL HATE IT!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Not Favoriteist Time Of The Year

I am, as is common for me this time of year, in Sanibel withdrawal.   There is something about being by the coast, the sound of the surf, the smell of salt, that feeds my soul.    Since I first saw the ocean at 17, I have wanted to have more of it in my life.    Of course, the ocean is just one of the things I wanted in my life, and it, like many of the others has eluded me.    I have said always that I wanted to live by water, that I wanted to spend more time where I could hear and see it.   I listen to my 6-year-old grandson saying the same, and hope he has better luck with his dreams.    Smart boy, he is dreaming them earlier than I did.    Maybe it will occur to him to make some money along the way!

Meanwhile, I spent the morning shooting a revolver at the pistol range and making tiaras.    Now I am cooking lentils, hoping that a bowl of hot pottage will warm my toes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today's project

Getting ready, just in case some guy rides up with a white horse . . . my tiara will be ready!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Winter Day

Some people warm up with hot cocoa, some people like tea.   I learned (again) today that the BEST way to warm up on a cold winter day is -- shoveling!     By the time I was done,  I was overheated.   Of course my back was also killing me and I was ready for winter to be over.    I guess you can't have everything - and at least I was warm!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Say what???

I've been living in my new community for a little more than a year.    Some things are different.   There is less traffic, there are fewer stores (although still more than plenty).    There is a lot more open space, the farmers market is more convenient.   But there are also differences in communal attitude that are hard to put a finger on.  

Two things in particular have struck me as SO different that I just had to laugh.    For one thing, the only mention of guns at my old neighborhood was in relation to crime.    Up here, there's a commercial for a gun shop on TV and the slogan is, 'If a man don't hunt, don't trust him."     I laugh out loud every time I hear it.   (I also go there to shoot.)

But this one took the cake.    Just this week, I got several fliers for community ed classes.    I am in the market for a class, so I read them cover to cover.    In one little booklet of "creative classes," in a section titled "Wellness, right after Tai Chi and Yoga, I found this listing:

"LEARN A VALENTINE DANCE FOR YOUR SWEETHEART
Would you like to surprise your Valentine with a fun present of your own: a fun, flirty and completely unforgettable lap dance?  "

The class description goes on to explain that this 90 session will teach "the basics of giving a luscious lap dance," and that each participant will be give a "written breakdown so you can practice and perfect your dance at home."    $35.

Seriously?    Lap dancing instruction in there with "watercolor workshop" and "beginning drawing"?    Should I be horrified?    Should I wish I'd seen this years ago? -- maybe if I'd taken this class instead of getting those silly degrees, I'd have a lap to dance in.    Should I ask them to send this booklet in a plain wrapper?

Sorry, my mental picture of that class, with me in it, makes me want to laugh until I wet my pants.   Excuse me for a minute, I think I'll go do that.

No wait, I just got a better look at my mental picture.    Not funny at all.    

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another present from my sister

My sister says she bought this for me because I am on my way.    From her lips to God's ears.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How cute!

My sister gave me the cutest present this week, for no particular reason (my favorite kind!)   I have several "nesting" dolls in my house, and she gave me this adorable set to add to my collection -- can you tell from the photos that they are measuring cups?!    So cute!  I might just have to make cookies this weekend!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011: looking back, looking forward

I have been reading other bloggers' New Year's resolutions, intentions, and wishes.    There is much in my life (and my person) that would benefit from change, so I have been thinking of what I would resolve, or intend, or wish for myself.     But I suspect, from past experience, that big promises of change in finance, weight and exercise will be doomed to fail, so I am trying, instead, to think of little things that will add to my happiness.  

2009 was a difficult year for me.  My daughter almost died that year.  I flew south without so much as a toothbrush and not knowing if she would survive, and then "lived" in the waiting room of an intensive care ward in Louisiana for weeks.   I returned home to learn that I had been fired.   I also learned that my roof needed immediate replacement.    An SUV backed into my compact car in a parking lot.   I sold my house (with its new roof) at a huge loss and, just as I was moving into my new house, Bank officials kicked in the front door and changed the locks because they hadn't gotten the word that I had a legal right to be there.  My insurance company refused to give me a policy on the new house until I replaced the roof there, too.    I was audited by the IRS, which claimed I owed tens of thousands of dollars from my mother's estate.   Although 2009 might seem like a long time ago to many of you,  I have not fully recovered from its battering. 

I was glad to see 2009 end.

2010 was less dramatic, a time to rest and heal.     My daughter recovered, more or less.  I learned to be grateful to be out of my toxic job.  I replaced the front door, bought a new car, and was able to prove that I didn't owe any taxes.  My new roof didn't leak.  I baked and cooked and gardened.   I learned to target shoot.  I went back to Sanibel Island.

I am not sure what 2011 will bring.    I view it with some trepidation.    If I have learned anything these past couple years, I have learned that change and upheaval happen when they will, with no regard for what is best for me.   I have been reminded that life is fragile and that peace is something you have to carry within yourself or it won't be there when you need it.   I have learned that I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to and have been convinced that I am growing old.

So I make my New Year's wishes with a new gentleness, knowing that I will forgive myself my lapses.    My life is not bad, but there is room for improvement.    In the area of personal improvement, I would like to work on a healthier life.    I am certain that I love my family more than ice cream and potato chips, and I need to remember to make that choice every day because I eat way too much sugar and junk food.   I would like to find some kind of work, and I am no longer willing to do something that makes me unhappy.    I am not sure what that something will be, but I will try to be open to it.     I would like to have a more social life; I spend way too much time alone in an empty house.    That would entail forcing myself out, attending more events, putting myself "out there" as much as I can, a scary proposition.  

I would like to take a trip with my sister this year.    I would like to get more pedicures.  I would like to read more books.    I would like to do some fishing and shoot some bulls-eyes.     I would like a lot of things.    But the truth is, I'll gladly settle for what I have, with no ugly surprises along the way.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A good start to a new year

I have been to Sanibel Island many (many) times, and I have had lots (and lots) of fun there, but I have never had as much fun as I did this week.    I saw old things through new eyes, I saw things I'd never seen before,  I laughed every day and slept like a log every night.    All this, and I didn't even find any good shells!

We stayed at Beach Club II by the Lighthouse beach.
 We went to the Shell Museum and Ding Darling, we spent a lot of time at the beach, we got covered in sand and salt, we went on a sea-life encounter, and we played "Sleeping Queens."  We went to the Nascrab races where my 6-year-old grandson's crab "Pizza"  won 4th prize and my grandson won a pocket-full of cash! 
 We saw the last sunset of 2010,
 and saw magicians at the City's New Year's Eve party.
And now I am back home.   It is cold and damp, I need to take down my Christmas decorations, and there are no groceries in the house.   The temperature has dropped 30 degrees in Michigan since I returned home -- more than 50 degrees colder than what we enjoyed our last days in Florida.   But I am still enjoying the warmth of a very good time.   And looking forward to a good night's sleep -- no kidding, vacations are exhausting!

Happy New Year to all of you.   I hope your 2011 will be every bit as good as mine is starting out to be!