treats

You know that scene in “Pretty Woman” where the older gentleman tells Richard Gere’s character….. I am proud of you?   In no way did he want to sound condescending.  He just wanted to tell another human being, good job.  I am proud of you.   He didn’t really know him that well, was certainly not a friend……..he just felt the need to acknowledge how proud he was of the younger man’s business decision.

I adore that feeling.  Actually telling someone you are proud of them and their choices.   I feel the need to do just that.

Mr. Right has a co-worker (and family)  that have made some amazing and wonderful healthy changes and positive choices in the last 60 days.   He has blown me away with all the good he has chosen to bring into his life and his family’s life.  He cares about his family so much, he decided to show them and help them learn about health and good choices.

I have met him once.  No, I don’t know him all that well.   I have not had the pleasure of meeting his wife or daughters.

Here’s the thing, I  have a need to say, somehow, I am proud of the direction you have chosen to go.  The path you have chosen is by far, less traveled.

You sir, are on the right track and it is fun to watch it unfold.

There is one thing that has been bothering him and his wife.

Halloween.

Not a huge crisis, just pondering how they were going to handle sugar and treats and their children.

Making all the positive and great choices means they have eliminated junk food and candy and sugar from their home.

They have three little girls.

Halloween means fun and happy and dress up and of course treats.  Bags O treats.

So instead of telling him how we felt, we decided to show him how we felt. 20141030_112948I put together a Halloween treat bag just for the girls.

Glow sticks, magnetic letters, jelly roll pens, and hair accessories……….oodles and oodles of hair goodies.

It might all seem goofy and silly.

I just know, while raising kids is sometimes tricky and if someone offered up a bag O treats and goodies to help affirm our decision, I would have been over the moon delighted.

Here’s to a spooky Halloween!

Here’s a happy bag of treats for your girls!

Here’s to a very Happy Halloween and many, many healthy days beyond.

You two parents are doing a wonderful job (yes, it is a job) raising healthy and happy girls.

We wish you nothing but pure goodness and a few tricks up your sleeve!

Well done, we are proud of you!

 

 

 

 

10 minutes

“Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?”
―Dennis and Wendy Mannering

While ironing yesterday, I overheard an interview.   The person said, he wakes up and sets a timer.  He spends the first 10 minutes of his day, being grateful.  period.   He lists all the  people, animals, things, moments, reasons that he is grateful.  He keeps this up for a full 10 minutes every single day of his life.

Interesting.  What if I tried that?  What if instead of going quickly through my “grocery list” of prayers, yoga stretches and reviewing in my head, the things to do list……..I was plain and simply grateful?

Oh sure, throughout the day, I find myself saying, wow, I am so grateful I have a working car.  I am so grateful for fresh vegetables and fruits.  I am grateful my phone rang and it was one of my kids (get this………….just wanting to talk, while he walked the dog and pushing the baby stroller).  I am grateful my daughter in-laws like to send me a quick text now and then throughout the day.

You can be sure, this girl is a very grateful girl.  I live my life that way.

I try and keep an open mind. (Hopefully good will sneak in and the brains and other stuff don’t fall out..  haha)   Maybe I could be more grateful.  More gracious about all that surrounds me.  Maybe if I took the time, the grateful attitude would be so embedded in me that others would notice my attitude.  The attitude would be contagious.

I wanted to give it a try.  10 minutes of being in the moment.  10 minutes of being grateful.  10 minutes before the daily chores get in the way and the phone starts and life gets swirling.

Surprise, 10 minutes went by in a wink of an eye.  I had more stuff to be thankful for than just a measly 10 minutes.  I will continue my list tomorrow.  This is a cinch!

Geesh, I can fill 10 minutes with non stop gratitude.

Grateful for:

 the sun glistening off the wet leaves

the sleeping dog companion by my side

 steaming cup of coffee this morning

a second cup of coffee, ha

3 grands

a dryer

a niece who sent her school picture to us

a scarecrow contestDSCN5420

vacation

coming home from vacation

 an exercise bike

 my handwork

Mr. Right

art supplies

my health today

4 adult “kids”

oodles of gourds and pumpkins to decorate with

friends that send me things to occupy my brain while I eat my medicine

 popcorn

a niece who keeps us in the loop at her fancy job

the ability to pay for my health regimen

salt lamp

friends that send me postcardsDSCN5418

rebounder

sewing machine

friends that send me a text to check in

fabric

friends that send me polka dot spatulas

friends that send me polka dot napkins and rings

2 grand girlies

friends that send me Halloween treats

3 week old grand

figuring out banking issues

morning juice

My sister-in-law and her health

chickens that have offered 427 eggs

natural hair conditioner

books

sense of humor

morning notes from Mr. Right

smooches from Mr. Right

playing Scrabble with Mr. Right

looking through pictures with Mr. Right

holding hands with Mr. Right

singing to 1970’s music with Mr. Right

riding in a car with Mr. Right

debating with Mr. Right

my life, (you guessed it) with Mr. RightDSCN5416

 Quick!!!!!!  How many things can you list that you are grateful for in just 10 minutes?

the hunt for…..Food glorious food

While on vacation, eating can be a tricky, enlightening and eye-opening. Eating out during vacation can also be amazing and wonderful and the best thing ever.

20141008_111316May I gently suggest a little planning, a book suggestion and an open mind?  For us, part of vacation means exploring and trying new things.  Different things.  While yes, the lure of the familiar establishments has a magnetic pull to others………….we shy away from every restaurant  we “have back home”.  We are looking to fill up our scrap-book with new and different.  We set out with open minds.  We are on vacation to experience new and fresh and sumptuous.

Several years ago, while traveling in France, why yes, yes there was a McDonald’s.  No, we did not eat there.   One afternoon, we took the boys to Q-Quick.  A fast food place they have.  We each have a story about Q-Quick.  I am guessing we would not have a European story to share  if we ate at the familiar American joint.

First and foremost, this vacation, we were traveling by car, we used a cooler.  Yes, spend the money on a good quality cooler.  Fill it up.  I travel with coconut cream (yes, an excellent cup of coffee, just the way I like it, will make the day so much better, trust me or ask my driver, ha).  Our cooler was packed with humus, almond butter, fruit, seeds and assorted snacks to get us through until we were at the new (to us)  restaurant, pub or diner.

With so many nice hotels offering “free” breakfast included, we did enjoy that option several times.   A good hearty breakfast goes a long way to setting the tone for a good travel day.

Yes, we all have our familiar and favorite restaurants “back home”.  Let it go, people.  Let it go.  You are on vacation.  Get out there.  Explore, expand your mind and your palette.

Before we headed out on our California Adventure 2014 vacation…. still working on a catchy name.   We searched for a book that would give us some ideas.  Anna Roth wrote a book perfect for us.  We live on the West coast, so this gem of a, now dog-eared book, notes scribbled, was heaven-sent.  Well, if you go into Barnes and Nobel and give them some money, you too can have this heaven-sent book. “West Coast Road Eats”.  20141028_105953

It does not list the usual chain restaurants.  You can do that on your own.  boring, but have at it.  This book lists places that you need to drive around the corner and look for the address.  I might add, all were exceptionally easy to find and the book was truthful.  While I did not always agree …. Anderson Split Pea soup is the best soup on the planet (she says nothing to write home about….URGH, I LOVE it and I am writing about it.)

In all honesty, we loved the review on every place we tried.  Well worth the money we paid.  Side note, if a restaurant was found and not mentioned in the book, we collected the  business card and taped it into the back of the book with notes and comments.

Picture yourself, driving on a Sunday night, after a long day’s drive…… you still want to go another three hours….. you have booked your hotel room ahead………………. however, you need dinner.  Do you :

A.  skip dinner and become the grouchy, unhappy couple trying to make it to the hotel?

B. take the next exit and eat at a fast food joint?

C.  take exit 551 in Ukiah and drive one mile off the freeway to the BEST, most amazing food you have tasted in ages?  The mushroom, grilled onion toasted sandwich was the perfect find.  Hello Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant!  You rocked our world with Falafel so good and flavor packed I can still sort of taste it.  While your beer made with yarrow flowers was interesting and will not be ordered ever again, your great service, great atmosphere and garlic fries were so delicious that we have reminisced with smiles already.

C.  was the correct answer!

Here’s the way it works; you find out where you will be for what meal and then look at that town or area for restaurants.  Some might be heavy on the meat, others will give vegetarian options.  While a couple of towns only seem to have desserts spots and “100 flavors of fudge”….. there are amazing gems of hidden places across our great land.

You know you want to eat at those off the beaten path places.  The good spots where people grab their coats and boyfriend and head out for a casual Sunday dinner.  Those special, unique restaurants that have the most amazing deep-fried french fries with deep-fried capers?  (Hello, Republic in NH)

Speaking of amazing…………… Linn’s of Cambria, California.  It just happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving and we were road warriors.  We wanted something “thanksgiving ish”.  So Turkey with cranberry sandwiches fit the bill.  While driving we read about Linn’s.  They are known for their preserves, pies and sauces.  They are FAMOUS for their Olallieberry pie!  The berry was first developed in 1949.  The characteristics of the classic blackberry, but it is genetically about 2/3 blackberry and 1/3 red raspberry.  So we shared a piece of pie.  One of our better choices on this trip.

Sharing.  Yes, we have crossed over to the old person side and proud of it.  We order one main dish and share.  We order one dessert and share.  Telling ourselves if we want more we can order another.  With today’s portions, it has never happened.  We have never still been hungry.  20141013_160215

So after we became clean plate club members and set down our dessert forks, we paid and decided to stretch our legs a bit.  We walked through a fun, small, tourist town with hundreds of scarecrows!  Yes, they were having a contest.  Boy did we get lucky.  This was their second year and it was super happy and fun to walk and choose our favorites.  Funny, happy, well worth the stop.  The scarecrows, the town shop keepers and yes the Olallieberry Pie.

Question:  Do you rely on old stand bys or are you adventuresome and try the local fare?

I would love to hear your favorite “find” on the road.

We are in this together, please share something sumptuous that you have indulged in while on vacation.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky we are to live in this great country of ours?  Get out there and explore and for heaven sakes……………..EAT!

roots

20141015_161120 I adore this picture.  Mr. Right & the new grand, holding hands.

You get butterflies swirling around in your stomach each and every time someone asks about one of your grands.  Grandchildren are amazing little people.  They have the power of a mighty oak.  They can move people to drive thousands of miles through the redwood forest just to meet them.

Somehow grandchildren make you pause and mark the moment in time.  You find yourself collecting pine cones in a forest, so you can have a basket full once home, to help remember the celebration. You hike through the forest and breath in deep gulps of fresh air.  You prepare your heart and soul to meet a new person.

This is our third time around becoming grandparents.  We are old pros.  ha-ha  I gotta tell ya, each time is just as joy filled and exciting and warm and wonderful as the first. Each time, I sit down because I am a little shaky, I get to hold them for the first time and say, “hi, I am Grandma Daleen”.

We came home from vacation to a stack of mail.  Oodles and oodles of political ads; I would like to go on record that I have NEVER once voted for a person because of his or her card stock, over sized, glossy post card asking for my vote.  Secondly, I am not a happy camper that my tax dollars pay for those goofy political advertisements and the postage.  Just think of the trees that were used to make those. urgh.

Okay, back to the happy story.  Once home, all saved up from our time away….. magazines, catalogs, advertisements, packages and cards were all delivered in one big stack.  It was fun to slice open the cards and slowly and carefully read and drink in each one.

We received some heartfelt, charming grandparent cards.  Fun and happy.  Golly Wally, everyone loves to get a little celebration on them.  It is wonderful to share in the goodness.  20141023_184346

Then there was one box left to open.  Gee, I order oodles of things on-line.  I do not remember this address?  What could this be?  Interesting, my curiosity was buzzing. Cutting tape, moving the cardboard flap back, looking inside.  What is it?  20141019_112645

Holy Toledo!  A tree.  Yes.  Oregon White Oak .  The container, soil, moss and yes, a sprouted acorn.   A CELEBRATION of family.  A CELEBRATION of our family tree getting bigger and bigger.  20141020_135937

It is an honor to be celebrated in such a manner.  Our friends from California, sent an amazing, thoughtful and generous gift.  To us!  The grandparents!

You know those gifts, the moment you open them, you already have decided that you are going to “steal” the idea and give to others?  Yes, that kind of once in a life time gift.

Somehow, enclosed in wonderful packaging was the mighty  power of a little acorn to celebrate a new branch to our family.  The gift of roots.

Lovely.

Simple.

Thoughtful.

Powerful.

Appreciated.

It feels like we were Bathed in the Grace of  strong family roots…..celebrating the now,  the future.

Bathed in the Grace of a beautiful moment in time.

bfa30acfec0e36ca09f331467d4d99d1

It’s vacation……throw away your undies!

2,784 miles and we are home safe and sound from vacation.  Oh it was fun and happy and exciting.  However, Home Sweet Home feels pretty nice.

Where we love is home~ home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Believe it or not, I missed blogging.  I missed chatting each day.  I want to grab a huge mug of steaming hot coffee, wrap both my hands around it and tell you all about our travels.  Two handed coffee hour.  You know, slip the cell phone back into your purse?  Just sit, with our feet tucked under us on a quilt thrown onto the sofa and chatter away.

DSCN5350 I want to tell you about the Trees of Mystery.  I want to chatter on and on about Hearst Castle and the Pacific Ocean. DSCN5391 I want to drink coffee and tell you my favorite parts of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  I want to share pictures and tell you about picking up pine cones in Oregon to bring home.  I want to tell you about the piece of pie, Mr. Right and I shared on Canadian Thanksgiving.   Vacation was all that and more, much more.

We each bought a t-shirt.  We of course got squished pennies.  We got to sleep in a raft (hahaha, yes, cross my heart truth).  DSCN5344 - CopyLove the “Suite Raft” room in Grants Pass, Oregon.

We met lots of American travelers.  Hi pajama guy in Oregon!  He was walking around the hotel one morning, coffee in hand, pajamas on,  saying good morning to almost everyone.  One morning, while eating breakfast, a Golden Retriever, came walking into our very nice hotel.  Funny and sweet.  (the owner came running in to find said dog).  We saw children gorging on bowls of fruit loops and soda for breakfast in California.  We met oodles of dogs and owners.  People from North Dakota took our picture atop a mountain.  A very nice grand-daughter traveling with her grandparents took our picture at Hearst Castle.

It was so much fun.  Exploring and hiking and walking, driving (oh my, lots of driving) and eating………..Holy Toledo, the eating.   We bought an amazing book about where to eat along our travels.  I promise to share that in another blog.

Our hotels were all really, really nice.  The hospitality was top-notch.  The hoteliers went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable.  We were offered candy and hot coffee, tea and snacks.  We could not have asked to be better taken care of.  Our homes away from home.

Oh, you want to know about the undies comment?  You know how you have less than perfect under garments?  YES, we all have some that need to be retired.  A bit too “loosey goosey” elastic, a tiny hole here or there, polka dots or animal print have faded a bit too much?  Come on!  I know you do, it can’t just be me! So, while on vacation, if one of those items comes up in the rotation, I don’t put them into the laundry bag to carry home.  I am a wild woman and I throw them away.  That is right!  I just toss them away, like I am a queen.  I wear them once and then toss.  No second thoughts, just do it.  It’s all rather glamorous.  Wear and toss.  Wear and toss.  haha, admit it, you know you wish you could do it too!  Really, go on vacation and toss away.  It is all very freeing.  Nothing like being on vacation to bring out my wild side.

Today, I wanted to say, hello friend.  Glad we are back.  The chickens are good.  The dog is snoozing on her bed.  Mr. Right is back to work.  Orders for dog cookies have piled up while we were gone.

While sleeping in wonderful top of the line beds, yes, even the raft bed was amazingly comfortable (loved the glow in the dark stars on the ceiling)………..home to our very own bed felt pretty darn good.

Oh, and did I mention we got to meet the best little grandson ever?  Put your coffee down a moment.  Here take this photo album.  Look at him here.  Look at him in this outfit.  Oh look, here he is in his stroller.  He is cuddly and adorable and amazing.  His parents are doing well.  They are taking to this whole “parenting thing” like they were meant to be mom and dad.  It was wonderful to meet the newest in our family.   Today, was his two-week check up and he is doing amazing.  Healthy and in tip-top shape.  He has been to the beach already and while he doesn’t much care for the wind in his face, he loved the sights and sounds of the ocean.

We were so lucky and grateful that we got to meet our new Grand.  You know how President Eisenhower named Camp David after his grandson?  We decided we are going to name our home, Camp ZAC.

(Zoe, Adelaide and Cooper).  Being grandparents is just the best job ever.  Loved that first moment they put that bundle of goodness into my arms.

 A simple, perfect moment in time.

Vacations, I highly recommend them.

Coconut love

Last month, the door bell rang out and I moved with a pep in my step, to say hello to Diane our mail carrier.  She is nice, funny, friendly, has a very quick wit & has her own Golden Retriever (at home)….gee, now that I think about it, wouldn’t it be funny to see her Golden boy hanging out her mail truck window, smiling and panting and bringing goodness to all the land………

I digress.

20140910_102935She handed over my mail.  She said, “this wouldn’t fit in your mail box”.  Then she laughed.

Miss Florida sends her best wishes for a funny, belly laugh filled day.

Yes, that is right.  Miss Florida took me up on my sarcastic humor and mailed me a coconut that she picked from her sister’s backyard.

Here is the thing, it cost $18.65 to mail said coconut from Florida to Washington state.  Seems like a pricey date.  Not really.  You can’t drive that distance for that much.  You can’t purchase a plane ticket for even close to that amount.  I don’t know if you could buy a joke book for that much?

Question:  why is the post office loosing money?  I still have no idea, she said giggling.

Here is what I do know:  I laughed.  Diane the mail lady laughed.  Mr. Right laughed.  My friend laughed when I told her about it.

You can’t buy belly laughs like that.  They just happen.  Laughing so long, I can’t remember why I thought it was silly in the first place.

That orb (sort of) of pure funny is sitting on our kitchen counter.  Every single time, I walk by, stop to do dishes, or stand there cutting up vegetables for dinner, at some point I giggle.  Then I laugh.  Then I belly laugh.  I set it on the floor for a few hours.  Our dog, thought it was interesting and cool.   If dogs could shake their heads at us, as if to say, you silly humans are so dog gone funny!

Some cousins show you they love you with nuggies or ruffle your hair.

Some friends show you they love you with a very sweet, flowery card.

Some neighbors show you they love you by leaving zucchini at your front door (thank you and please, enough already).

Some friends show you they love you by mailing you a coconut.

That is true love, pure & simple.

Mr. Right went to work opening the coconut.

Yum fresh coconut.  Yum-tastic fresh toasted coconut.

Coconut Love is the best kind of love.

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no books for grandkids

There is a really great program called Page Ahead Program.  “Giving Kids in Need the Chance to Read”.  It is a charitable organization located in Seattle, Washington.

Just so happens Mr. Right’s place of employment is holding a book drive.  WooHOO, something I can get behind!  Love that they are collecting books.  They have set a goal of collecting 50 books.  A very attainable goal. Each family does a little and we will have this nailed.

http://www.pageahead.org/

20141009_204600Today, I gave myself a budget of $20.00.  The grand total came to $20.21.  Oh my goodness, I am one fabulous shopper!!!!   (fyi, I chipped in the extra 21 cents).

I chose three perfect books, then I zeroed in on a Space book.  Oh, it looked so cool.  Geesh, that was going to blow my budget.  darn.  I would have loved to read that book….. what kid wouldn’t love that book?   Then I read the sign.  On sale, plus 75% off that.  Oh my stars, my lucky day.  I got the book for $1.49 .  Again, my fabulous shopping skills (read that as lucky) come into play!!!

Now, here is the tough part.  I was there to buy books for kiddos that don’t have many books.  I was trying to stay focused and send oodles of good karma to those kids.

It felt strange.  It was hard.  I actually bought four books and not one more.

I did not buy one book (today) for our grands.  

Luckily our grands have book shelves filled to overflowing with amazing books.  New books, picture books, chapter books, well-loved books………….yes, our grands are surrounded with books.

“There are worse crimes than burning books.  One of them is not reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass

In the next week or so, do yourself a favor.  Fill your spirit with grace and goodness.  Buy one book.  Donate it.  You will feel amazing.  promise.

Ps.  Four hours after I wrote this blog post, my door bell rang.  Best girlfriend ever, standing there smiling.  She brought me FOUR brand new AMAZING books to donate.  Then she said, I beat you!  What?  She challenged herself to my $20.00  goal.  Haha…she came in at $19.65.  She wins!  WAIT, the kids win!!!!Sincere and Heartfelt thanks for playing along.  You make my world so much more fancy!