Saturday, December 31, 2016

I Am Toast!

I have spent time reading Blogger help sites and forums, checking and re-checking the settings on my blog interface, checking different browser settings, testing new posts to see if my blog appears on my Blogroll gadget and nothing is working as hoped. For those readers who want to return and read my site it will depend on their memory, or book mark, or bored happenstance as it seems my new posts no longer appear on their blog rolls either. This all started about two months ago. I deleted the last post when this mess seemed to begin (one about my dismay at American voters) to see if that would help, but no change.  It seems I have just evaporated. I have had a dozen posts since then with a few visits from those who probably are responding to my comments on their blog rather than looking at their feeds list.

Maybe some solution will evolve.

Got this message above from the toaster today and the fridge is groaning.  Even the appliances seem to be sympathizing.

Anyway, hope this means the New Year is going to be so much cannot get worse.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Quick Slideshow Review

Christmas Day can be rich and full and exhausting or quiet and pensive and gentle.  I have had both.  This Christmas I had perfect.

Digging out old board games and re-reading the directions.

Looking for stuff.
Reviewing the timing for the Christmas Eve roast.

Getting out the excitement with siblings.

No one crying.

Attending a local nativity with real animals and a live baby Jesus.

Cooking lots of good food with no calorie counting.

Setting up several hidden cameras and a booby trap for Santa (which did not work).

Everyone getting everything they wanted and that fit.

Making sure that everyone got a book!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Quiet Greetings

May the peace of the season rest in your heart and the joy of the holiday inspire you to look toward tomorrow and its possibilities. To all of my readers, if you can find me!  (I will work next week on reading all your posts as this week I have been busy trying to fix this blog.)

Friday, December 23, 2016

In the Weeds

I am still in the weeds.  This is a test post to see if I can find my way out.  Nothing to see here.  Move on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Have Not Died, Yet!

Feeling a little upside down.

There is nothing so disappointing as becoming invisible and not knowing it!  People ignore your ideas and do not answer your questions.  It seems somehow changes to my blog have made me disappear off some (most?) (all?) of my reader's blog rolls.  I have tried working on the settings for my comments and for the home page but when I  publish a new post a number of my regulars have told me they do not see the update on their blogroll!  Some said they thought I had stopped posting!!

This happened to a blogger I used to read and her updates never made it up the list.  After the years she had passed on quietly and I still miss her.

I added my URL for both my blogs to my blogroll here and the same thing happens in that it never updates.  If anyone has any ideas I would be greatly appreciative.  My brief blog and Google searches have not brought insight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Never Too Old for a Surprise

We headed out to my daughter's house last Friday to meet up with family to watch my granddaughter in her school play.  I was told to bring nice clothes and since the first polar vortex came through, I knew I had to bring warm clothes.  Now when you are heading to an elementary school play and told to dress may begin to get suspicious.

We arrived at my daughters to be greeted by the two grandson's who said that mom and granddaughter had left for the play early and that dad was flying in from Boston later in the evening.  OK.  There was some tension in the house and it wasn't until I moved into the kitchen to drop off my bags that I saw my sister (who lives in Colorado) and her husband taking phone photos of the surprise on my face!

The elementary school play "Dr. Dolittle" was fun and my granddaughter did very well in her minimal part.

The bottom line is that after the Friday play, we caught an early train on Saturday and spent an overnight "doing" New York City.  I had not been there in years and it was a wonderful early birthday surprise.  My son and his wife met us downtown after we checked in as they had to take the train up later that same day.  This was a pre-birthday celebration for me as I enter my 7th decade.

Penn Station
The eight of us had a wonderful and busy afternoon grabbing lunch,  seeing the Tower Memorial and One World Observatory.

The day was cold but sunny.  So glad I brought my small camera not knowing how important it would be!

Then that evening a nice dinner at a restaurant called Patsy's where my DIL had taken some clients a few weeks before.  It is an Italian restaurant that Frank Sinatra made famous years ago.  Celebrities sometimes eat here, but I was having so much fun I never looked beyond my table.  I took the pre-theater dinner choices.

Then we went on to Jacob's Theater on Broadway in Midtown to see "The Color Purple", which was marvelous.  The acoustics in high end theaters are amazing.  The play has gotten only great reviews and it was ending in a few weeks yet the performance was so energetic and moving, one would never know that.  The photo is poor due to the limits of my brain and camera after a day of touring New York.

I usually do not like surprises, but I did like this one!  We all headed back on Sunday morning and my sister and her husband came back with us to stay a few more days, which I consider a nice lagniappe.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Twisting the Truth or More Than a Hint

John aka AnvilCloud over at The AC is On  recently posted some lovely winter/holiday photos of the Christmas decorations in the yards in his neighborhood.  He has learned what fun you can have with manipulation of the original digital file.   His work reflects how warm and cozy you can make a photo that just needs a hint of tweaking.

I, on the other, never take a hint.  I am having fun totally smashing and crashing my way through the digital file and creating a totally different look.  When I read John's post I decided I should share with my readers the reckless fun I have working with my photography hobby.  And since I do not make my livelihood with this craft I can go whole out!

A month or more ago when we were slogging through the swamp to clean out the Wood Duck boxes and count the shells left behind, I took the time to photograph the lovely fall that surrounded us.  The original photo (maybe some sharpening) is below.

Now below the layered, lighting manipulated photo.  I am not crazy about the overexposed sky, but that was my mistake in taking the photo.

I sometimes give a standard photo more seasonal atmosphere.  The photo below was taken in my backyard when the small herd of deer moved through eating the abundance of acorns that had fallen.  She had turned away from eating because she heard the click of my camera and was trying to place where I was.  It may have sounded like the click of gun?

Now below is a bit of a winter holiday version which was cropped and lots of layers added.

Thanks for taking the time to read through all the way!

Monday, December 05, 2016

Enthusiasm Sometimes Fogs the Goal

noun [ C/U ] US ​ /ɪnˈθu·ziˌæz·əm/​
a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and a desire to be involved in it, or a subject that produces such a feeling:
[ U ] I find that I’m losing my enthusiasm for the game.
[ C ] Parents need to share their enthusiasms with their children.

I spent Sunday afternoon at a meet and greet with enthusiastic people. They were also depressed. They were also angry. Perhaps it was fortunate that the 30 or more of us met in a therapy room and with a therapy dog who was such sweetie I wanted to steal him.  The therapy business was hosting the meeting and providing the space.  Over 50 signed up to attend and over 30 actually showed up.  This was a HUGE challenge for me as I am not someone who can in any remote sense look forward to a "meeting" much less one where I do not know a soul!  It was being held up-county, so I knew there was no chance of me running into anyone local to ease the angst.

I did not take photos because this was a "secret group" meeting.  Some of you already know what I am talking about and for those of you who do not, it makes no difference.  It is a superficial designation with good intentions.

Anyway, once the ice-breakers were finished, the room was filled with the chatter of estrogen.  I am sure it would have made some men deaf and others blind.  There was one young man there who left the second the meeting began to break up.

While the break out groups came up with no surprising issues to address and no surprising strategies to implement, their hearts and minds were in the right places.  Unfortunately the whole time I was there I kept thinking that other groups were doing this in smaller and more focused ways and with higher profiles.  Were we re-inventing the wheel?  Part of the discussion had to do with a name change for the group because the national umbrella had decided they wanted to be a "storytelling" group and if we wanted to be a pro-active group we had to use another name!  This group of ladies were definitely NOT going to tell stories.  They came from environmental groups, private businesses, state and county offices and several, like me, were retired.  They are blue ladies buried in red offices and social circles where they had been shouted down angrily if they tried to make a point or promote an issue.  They were gunshy, but in this setting realized they were not alone and that in numbers things get done.  Us older folks do not get gunshy easily.

I will probably not be active with them because at my age I have no patience for embryonic development.  The two leaders were beautiful, intelligent and broad thinking women and in just a month have pulled together a membership of over 1400 women from three counties.  I just was hoping they wanted to focus on more local tasks.  Maybe they will in time and I will monitor that.  Since I have one or two issues that burn holes in my mind and heart, I will probably begin to investigate and support groups that meet my narrow needs.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Guilt Free at Last

I was so relieved, like the good introvert that I am, about having very little on my calendar for December.  I hate meetings but my Puritan instinct insists I must participate in good causes.

Then the days began to get filled.  Thus far, I have at least three classes scheduled for my Peruvian student, a family get together in the city before Christmas to attend my granddaughter's play (and I think the next day they are squeezing in a bit of a birthday celebration for me!), on another week an evening at one of the concert theaters with my son and DIL, an organization meeting of a local group of liberal women to be proactive with our local and state legislatures, and one doctor's appointment---all before the family gets together for Christmas!

The above leaves out the shopping and card writing that also must be completed.

Some of you would view this as lovely, and warm, and inspiring.  But I have just finished reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain and admit that I have deep needs for being left alone for long periods of time.  It is an aberration, and to some extent not healthy, but it is strong somewhere in my genetic code.  If you are an extrovert who works with introverts, are married to or raising an introvert, or are an introvert yourself, you should read this book!  It has helped me become guilt free.

In the photo above is one of maybe four persimmon trees my husband has planted.  Because of this abundance, we have to find recipes to use and preserve the fruit.  I did purchase 4 venison medallions the other day and created a glace or sauce for the steaks using some leftover medoc and leftover coffee, made up a small half cup of beef bouillon, added a tablespoon of raspberry vinegar and the puree of two persimmons.  I cooked it all together until it was reduced to a nice sauce, and surprise, the experiment tasted quite nice on the steaks!  It was a good compliment to the side dish of bok choi that was just harvested from the garden even though it was starting to get bitter, using salt helped that.  But that used only two persimmons, actually three as we sliced the harder Japanese persimmon...I still have a long way to go.