Walk This Way

walking 13I have a gym membership, but it’s basically a waste of money. If I have to get up in the morning, don attractive workout clothes, do my hair and get in the car to go work out, it doesn’t happen. What I can do is this.  Fall out of bed, crawl into my sweats, brush my teeth and stumble out to the sidewalk where my neighbors are waiting for me to go walking.  I don’t have to look cute, because it’s usually dark, and even if it isn’t they don’t notice me because they’re in too much of a daze from having just fallen out of their own beds.

Our motto is, walk to eat.  Translation – if we walk in the morning, we can eat donuts in the afternoon. We’re all chocolate fiends, and have oft lamented the fact that the Dunford Donut factory which makes melt in your mouth Chocolate Chocolate – not a typo – donuts, doesn’t open earlier in the morning. We could make that our destination.  I have it from a reliable source (Chocoholics Anonymous) that donut calories don’t count if you walk to the bakery and back.

All joking aside, we walk to stay in shape, both physically and mentally.  My doctor was pleasantly surprised by my low heart rate last visit.  Let me guess, she said, you must be a walker.  My therapist on the other hand . . . doesn’t exist.  Our walking hour is basically a free space, where anyone can talk, or vent about anything they want.

In the past 20 years we’ve discussed everything from the Middle East crises, to the  problems in our own back yards. We’ve promised to tell each other if we are becoming old and cranky, and to stick up for each other in the event of scandal.

Have you ever noticed how the news media always finds the most dilapidated area of a home to stand in front of when reporting a juicy bit of humiliation. My walking buddies have promised to direct Maury Povich away from any shredded window screens, dead trees or hanging gates. “She’s always been such a nice person,” they’re instructed to say, “I can’t believe she robbed the donut truck.”

If I went to the gym, these are the things I’d miss out on: the great stories, the laughter, the tears – joyful and otherwise.  I’d miss the shared dreams, and heartfelt hugs on difficult days. And I’d definitely miss out on the exercise, because I’m far  too lazy to  walk by myself.

Now that I think about it, even if discovered that walking wasn’t doing me an ounce of good physically, I’d still be out there.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Thanks ladies.

Thankful

Yesterday did not start out well.  First of all, the dark cloud that has been hovering on the family horizon for some time – we’ll just call it an employment challenge – has finally descended.  Next my daughter and I had a disagreement and the subsequent discussion caused her to be late getting ready for a doctor’s appointment. When she finally dashed out the door to leave, the car was dead. She missed her appointment, the car needs expensive repairs. My husband came down with a cold and my computer came down with a virus.  Unfortunately I could go on but I’ll spare you.  You get the general idea.

Now, my friend Loren has a theory about times like this, which I’d like to share with you. Driving home from work one dark and stormy night, he blew a tire.  His natural response was, Why Me?  As he struggled with the tire jack while being pelted with rain, he had a revelation.  Why not me?  I’m able-bodied, I know how to change a tire and I have a spare.  Better me than my grandmother, or a single mom with a van full of kids. He said this idea changed his outlook on life.

I liked it and decided to adopt it in my own life.  As always, when put the test, it’s easier said than done, but here goes.

Regarding my current adversities – why not me? I have a strong family support system and am surrounded by people I love.  I have my health and a home and food on the table.  I live in a free country and have faith in a God who walks with me through trials.  I could go on and on, and I will – privately.  Because I’d much rather focus on my blessings than my problems.  Especially at this time of year.  Best wishes to all, and happy Thanksgiving.

Daily Writing Prompt – Playtime!!

PENTAX ImageTo me playtime is stepping away from the mundane, the everyday, and engaging in something that makes you silly grin happy, and blissfully immune to everyday cares.

I like to go on horseback rides.  This is something I rarely get to do, but the experience of racing across an open field on the back of a galloping horse is like no other.

I like to go on walking tours.  My husband and I have walked through some amazing places in our life, both literally and figuratively, and hope to continue this practice as long as our legs will carry us.

I love to get together for food and fun with family and friends. Wow, there’s some alliteration for you.  Can I add a few more F’s?  How about fantastic food and  fabulous fun with favorite family and friends! (Fine, fewer frivolous phrases in the future.)  We also have a great card game we like to play where everyone ends up on their feet, flinging cards across the table and laughing like maniacs. Crazy playtime.

On the calmer side, I cherish my quiet time.  When  I have a few precious moments to myself, I love to sink into a comfy chair with a good book – Jane Austin, Georgette Heyer, M.M. Kaye, the Brontes, Mary Stewart, Ann Tyler  . . .   aah, so many books so little time.

And last but not least, I love reading the new authors I’ve lately come across.  My fellow bloggers, people from all over the world whose ideas and perspectives enlighten and entertain, and inspire me to be a better writer.

Now everyone go play.

http://angloswiss-chronicles.com/2013/11/23/daily-prompt-playtime/

New Bloggers You Will Love!

2. http://2flames.wordpress.com/
This beautiful blog (where did you get that background?)  is authored by a poet/ artist/ writer who is always fun to read.

3. http://oldestdaughterredheadedsister.com/
Audrey Dawn is a hoot and a super positive force in the world,  Let her entertain you.

4. http://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/
Mary writes about cats, motorcycles, caring for aging parents, finding a good bottle of wine and lots more. Check her out!

5. http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/
This writer, who lives in Dubai,  dedicates her blog to her son.  She left a high-profile job to stay home and be a mom, and shares the experience with us.  She has also authored 2 beautiful children’s books.

6.http://audreyhepburnbooks.wordpress.com/
The Reading Girl is a reader who loves to write.  She reads and reviews young adult books and tells it like it is.  For an honest opinion read her reviews.  Also a great creative writer!

7. I am pretty much a novice at this so I definitely have less than 50 followers! Here are my two blog sites:
http://evangelineshetty.wordpress.com/ and http://onbeingachristian.wordpress.com/
This author describes herself as a simple girl from India.  She is a child psychologist, a christian,  musician and a great blogger.

8. Thank you so much for this opportunity.  :)http://floczok.wordpress.com/
A wife and mother’s journey to health and lasting happiness.  Hate your job? Read her post called, Having a bad Day?. You’ll never complain again.  A fun and informative blog.

9. http://lindsaycummingswrites.com/
Lindsay says: I’m a writer, a notorious motor mouth, and a wino. She is also writing a, no-smut, romance  Her blog is a record of her and her friends and their escapades.  Lindsay makes me laugh.

10.http://1stworlddog.com/
1st World Dog is written by Bodhi, a dog who lives in Sydney Australia.  Bodhi talks about life with her Mum and Dad, and the toddler type human who likes to paint on her.  We also learn about obedience and agility training. I love dog blogs!

So there it is.  Learn some new stuff.  Find some new friends.  Thanks for reading!

Daily Prompt: Under Dressed?

party new yearsI don’t know if I felt out-of-place as much as out of fashion. My husband works for a prestigious ballet company, and we were recently invited to their yearly fund-raising gala.  Now I knew this would be a lavish affair, but was a little uncertain as to the dress code.  Black tie? No tie? Jeans and T-shirt? Obviously the latter was not an option, my beloved 501s and baggy sweater simply would not cut it on the dance floor, but the other extreme was a problem as well.

Thus far I’ve managed to get by in life without purchasing a slinky, off the shoulder, diamond studded evening gown (just not my style, not to mention price range),  so I decided to go for the middle ground.  I own several nice church/ business type dresses and after much contemplation and modeling for my daughter, I decided on a cute black affair with a red belt and red shoes.  Add to that the best of my meager jewelry collection and I was on the diving board, ready to make a splash.

Upon arrival the splash turned into a belly flop.  It was immediately apparent that even in my best, I was seriously under dressed, or maybe I should say that everyone else was under dressed.  I kid you not when I say that some of the womens evening wear was, well, barely there.  How do they keep these things up?  Is there some type of body spray that glues the garment to your chest?

Anyway, after my sweet husband brushed off my fashion  concerns, I decided to feel good about myself and enjoy the evening.  And enjoy we did. The food was to die for, the entertainment – excerpts from favorite ballets – was stunning, and afterwards there was a great dance band.   My husband, an enthusiastic swing dancer, had great fun twirling me around the dance floor, and I for one,  didn’t have to worry about my dress falling off.

http://wordpress.com/read/post/id/489937/57428/

To Drive or Be Driven- The Dramatic Conclusion

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This is the second half of a post on touring Ireland. To Drive – should we rent a car and brave the roads? Or Be Driven – take a bus tour? Part 1 looked at the pros and cons of renting a car and driving. (https://geanieroake.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/to-drive-or-be-driven-touring-southern-ireland/)  Today we talk about bus tours.

Pros Of Bus Tours

1. For those who haven’t the time or the confidence to plan a complicated overseas vacation, a bus tour may be the perfect solution. Simply browse through a catalog, or travel company website, choose your preferred itinerary, and sign on the dotted line. From that point on, everything from food and lodging, to entertainment, is taken care of. All accommodations are carefully researched and of excellent quality. All you have to do is appear at the appropriate departure point, and get on the bus.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Your guide is well versed in the history and details of the area, and it’s fun to have someone along who knows all the answers. The tour directors also know where to stop for lunch, where to find the best shopping deals, and who to steer you away from when it comes to scam artists and hucksters.

3. If you’re a people person, traveling with a group is ideal. There are many new faces to get acquainted with, and a variety of opinions and insights to enjoy. As your trip begins, you are traveling with strangers, but if you’re lucky, by the time it’s over you have evolved into a group of friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. You can sleep. If you’re suffering from jet lag and can’t stay awake for another minute, you don’t have to. You can doze off without risking anyone’s life, and you still arrive promptly at your intended destination.

To Be Driven, Cons:

1. Your tour itinerary is planned to please the majority. If one of the stops doesn’t interest you, you get to participate anyway. Initially of course you have many different itineraries to choose from, but nothing is ever going to be “perfect” unless you plan it yourself.

2. Because of the convenience, guided tours tend to be more expensive. Traveling in the off-season, and comparison-shopping will help keep the cost down, though you never want to choose a company simply because they’re the least expensive. As with any decision of this nature, do your homework and be sure the group you pick is reputable. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. On bus tours the schedule is important. The concept of 40 people traveling together works only if everyone cooperates. Toss a couple of non-conformists into the pot and the carefully laid plans began to unravel. If you are one who becomes so absorbed that you lose track of time, or who simply doesn’t care that 39 people are sitting on the bus waiting for you to finish shopping, you will not be the most popular person on your tour. With this in mind, you may want to think about other forms of transportation.

At last, after careful consideration of all the pros and cons, My mother and I were able to make a decision. We did not like the idea of traveling on someone else’s timetable, and there were places we wanted to see which were not included in the guided tours, but . . .  we ultimately chose to go that route anyway.

The deciding factor – fear. I am not known for my driving skills on a good day. As far as I was concerned, the combination of jet lag, and driving on the left, added up to a recipe for certain for disaster. To the great relief of the people of Ireland, and their livestock, I decided to leave the driving to someone else. It was a good decision. Who knows what kind of experience, good or bad, we might have had on our own, but the bus trip turned out to be great fun.

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We signed on with CIE International, for their 10-day “Irish Welcome” tour. We traveled with a group of 40 people, ranging in age from 15 to 80, whom we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know. Everyone was on their good behavior and there were no obvious incidents, aside from one case of car sickness, which happily occurred just as we were pulling into the hotel parking lot.

Our driver/guide, Tom Keane was charming, did not have an incomprehensible accent, and was very good at the logistics of moving 40 people around the countryside. The schedule was well-organized, with plenty of free time, and we saw some fascinating places that we would never have known about on our own. Best of all, when the trip was over we felt rested and relaxed, and ready to start planning our next adventure.

To Drive or Be Driven – Touring Southern Ireland

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo drive or be driven, that was the question when my mother and I planned our trip to Ireland. Should we do the “typical tourist” thing and sign up for a bus tour? Or be independent, and strike out on our own in a rental car?

Unfortunately my impressions of bus tours were not very positive. I had visions of being shuffled from one tourist trap to another by a cranky guide with an incomprehensible accent – Mora na maidine dhuit. Dia ‘s Muire dhuit! (!?)

Driving, on the other hand, held it’s own perils. People in Ireland drive on the “wrong” side, and their farm animals tend to materialize without warning in front of your car. Of course driving would give me the freedom to see exactly what I wanted, but that was only if I dared to pry my eyes from the road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since the entire outcome of my once-in-a-lifetime trip rested on this decision, and I was not an experienced traveler, I decided to consult others who were. Their opinions were many and varied. “If you’ve never been to Ireland before,” said a travel agent friend, “take the bus. It’s easier and more relaxing.” Upon hearing this, a co-worker recoiled in horror. “Don’t take a bus tour! It costs more and you’re stuck with strangers!” “But gas is $6.00 a gallon in Ireland,” said another. “You should go on a walking tour.”

After listening to the experts I decided I was more confused than ever. The time had come to call in the big guns, the heavy-duty problem solving artillery. This decision called for . . . a list of pros and cons!

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To Drive, (Self Guided Car Tours) Pros:

1. With self-driven tours, the advantages are many, but flexibility rates high on the list. When you happen onto a breathtaking view or an intriguing photo op, rather than flying by and incurring whiplash from gawking at what’s behind you, you can stop. You can spend the whole day in a particular spot. You obviously won’t cover as many miles this way, but the experience will be your own. You can do what interests you, even if it’s not on a list of must see stops.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. When you travel in small groups, you are much more likely to interact with local people. Large bus tours understandably send the natives running for the hills, but many are quite willing to engage in conversation with a lone traveler or two. By getting to know the people, you come to understand the culture, and get a more accurate picture of what a place is really like

3. You get to choose the company you keep. Whether it’s friends or family, you know these people, and (hopefully) know what to expect from them. Traveling together can, if done right, be the basis of memories that will last a lifetime.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Self driven tours are also more economical. This depends of course on the lodgings and restaurants you choose, but many tour companies offer incredible rates on car tour packages. Sometimes you can find combination deals when you book flights to Ireland. Ireland’s climate is mild, and unless you’re one who melts in the rain (don’t go to Ireland if this is the case) you should have an enjoyable trip anytime of the year.

To Drive, Cons: 1. While spending time in Ireland, I overheard one of the locals discussing out-of -town drivers. “You can spot them a mile away,” he said, ” weaving down the middle of the road, with a crumpled map in one hand, and Rosary beads clutched in the other.” The art of driving on the left is a skill more easily acquired by some than others. Needless to say, the complications spiral off the chart if you’ve tried to save money (approximately $16 dollars a day) by renting a car with standard transmission. Even the most adaptable drivers have an adrenalin jolt or two in the beginning. So keep in mind, that this may not be the most relaxing way to go.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. A driver is also at a disadvantage when it comes to sightseeing. While others are gasping at the scenery, you are required to keep your eyes on the road. Also, you’ll need to be on the lookout for unexpected roadside impediments – wandering flocks of sheep for example.

3. Be aware that the roads in Ireland are narrow, and if you meet a tour bus going the opposite direction you will be expected to get out of the way, or back up to a place where the less maneuverable vehicle can get around you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Road signs can be confusing. Distances shown with a km following it are in kilometers, while those with nothing following it are in miles. Most signs are in English but not all. There are Gaelic speaking areas in the South where what appears on the road signs will not match your map. Should you find yourself hopelessly lost you can either enjoy the spontaneity of the experience, or dissolve into tears. The latter isn’t really necessary though, since you can always find a tour bus, and follow them to the next point of interest.

For the rest of the story, and the dramatic final decision – see To Drive or Be Driven Part Two. Coming soon to a blog post near this one.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/daily-prompt-local/

Food Storage – The Rest of the Story

Skull & Crossbones 5I don’t know how many of you saw yesterday’s post, Afraid of My Food Storage, but my friend at “Spirit Lights the Way” ( http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/ ) sent me this highly interesting article about the very thing I was talking about.  It’s an NPR story called, “Don’t Fear That Expired Food. Check it out:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/26/167819082/dont-fear-that-expired-food

So, maybe old food is better than no food if it ever comes to that. Guess what Mom?  I may not have to get rid of my food storage after all!  I promise I won’t feed it to you when you come to visit though.

https://geanieroake.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/afraid-of-my-food-storage-2/

http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/expired-food-just-nose-190200241.html

Daily Prompt Food for the Soul: Afraid of My Food Storage

Skull & Crossbones 5

As a member of the Mormon church, I am encouraged to be self-reliant. We’re told we should have a 48 hour emergency kit, as well as a year’s worth of food storage. I like this idea, and have assembled a killer 48 hour kit.  If there’s an emergency, I am packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, storing a years worth of food is a little more complicated.

First let me say that I don’t actually have enough food to last  a year. I do have quite a bit though, and while there’s a certain feeling of security in knowing  its available . . . there’s also a dark side (insert scary organ music). To make this system work, you have to rotate the old items to the front, and I’ve been rather lax about that. In fact, I was poking around down in the basement the other day, and discovered that a few,well some, O.K., a lot of my canned goods are past thier prime.

Now I’ve read the food safety guidelines, and know you don’t have to throw stuff out the day it expires.  land before time Unfortunately some of my cans have reached, er exceeded their expiration date. All right, all right, some of my food dates back to the Land Before Time!  There, I said it. A Cro-Magnon family might easily have  dined on my fruit cocktail.

I know, I know, I should get rid of this stuff, but hey, I spent a lot of money on it.  Wouldn’t it be wasteful to just throw it away.? And on the practical side, in  event of an emergency,  expired food would be better than no food, right? Honestly, how bad could it  be?

By way of experiment, I went  to my storage room and retrieved a can of expired green beans.  There were no bulges in the can or other tell-tail signs of botulism.  I got the can opener, and with some trepidation began to crank open the can. Expecting any moment to be assaulted with the sulfurous smell of decaying food, I was pleasantly surprised.  No oder at all, unless you count the smell of canned green beans.

They also looked just fine. I picked some up with a fork and examined them carefully. They were green and perfectly normal in appearance.  Hmmm, I wonder how they taste?  I slowly raised the fork to my lips . . .  and . . . just kidding!  I’m not insane. Just because the beans smelled, looked and possibly tasted O.K. doesn’t mean they weren’t harboring invisible food poisoning microbes.  I have no time in my life for a potentially fatal, paralytic illness. No,The sensible thing to do is clear out all the scary stuff, and start using and replacing my food storage like I should have done in the first place.

But what to do with the old items? I just need to think outside of the box/can. I once saw a book about crafting with cat hair, and a woman on the Today Show made sculptures out  of dryer lint. In light these shining examples, surely I can put expired food to good use. How about  placing cases of chili under my bed in place of a bed frame ?

I could donate cans to college students or newly weds to prop up their book shelves. Or maybe some Andy Warholien art project?

Hmm, I’m sure I’m missing an obvious solution. Aha! EBay!  People will buy anything on eBay.  I recently heard about a dietary fad that touts the benefits of fermented food.  Maybe I should market to that group. Or collectors,  people collect some pretty weird things, surely someone wants a case of 1920’s Campbell’s vegetable soup,  How about antique dealers! Now there’s an idea – classic, no vintage food, “like fine wine it improves with age”.  Suddenly, I’m not afraid anymore. In fact,I may be sitting on a gold mine. Eureka!

But wait, before I get too carried away, I feel I should do my duty to my fellow bloggers. That’s right, I’m giving you my friends, first dibs on this amazing product! What? You already have enough expired food? Oh, well, O.K. here’s another idea – I’ve got this bridge I could get you a deal on . . .

http://angloswiss-chronicles.com/2013/11/11/daily-prompt-food-for-the-soul-and-the-stomach/

Beary Beautiful Book Nominees

GRR, this is Rosie Bear again. Many people have asked whether I plan to hibernate this winter. I say NO WAY, I have too many books to read.Today I’m spotlighting two nominees for the Rosie Bear Beautiful Book Award.  I’ll mention  several of these throughout the year, and  on the one-year anniversary of this blog, the Library lady and her friends will vote for the winner.  Here’s two of my favorites

saturdays and teacakesSaturdays and Tea Cakes

Story by Lester Laminack
Paintings by Chris Soentpiet

If you could see this book in person, you’d know that this tiny photo doesn’t do it justice.  Saturday’s and  Tea Cakes is one of the most splendiferous picture books this little brown bear has ever seen. Artist  Chris Soentpiet gets 4 paws and ten claws up.

The story, set in the 1940’s, is  about a young boy who rides his bike to Grandma’s house one Saturday to help with her chores.  On the way he passes through a small town, populated by classic cars, an old-time gas station, and quaint houses and shops.  In the countryside he rides by sweeping meadows and peaceful country farms. But it’s the  scenes at Grandmas’ house that really make the book.

After greetings and hugs, the two sit down in Grandma’s cozy kitchen, with its red formica countertops, 40’s dinette set, and vintage everything.   In return for  the boy’s help with  chores, Grandma makes her special  Tea Cakes for a treat. Later they rest and visit on a front porch surrounded by Snapdragons and Hollyhocks. As the day wanes,  it’s time for the boy to return home.

This gentle book  would make a wonderful gift for a grandchild, or grandparent.  It’s all about  family, and the special love that bonds the generations.

water dance

Water Dance

by Thomas Locker

Water Dance is another gorgeous book. Illustrated by oils on canvas, it shows us water in all  its varied and beautiful forms.

At the foot of the mountains:
I leap from a stone cliff.
Spiraling . Plunging.
I am the waterfall.

At other times I am drawn upward by warm sunlight:
In white -silver veils I rise.
I disappear into the air.
I am the mist.

At the end of the book there is an excellent explanation of the water cycle that any parent or teacher could use for further discussions.  Either as a teaching tool, or  a cozy read before bed-time, Water Dance is a grrreat book for the cubs.