Fall Magic


I recently took a walk on a bright, warm and sunny, fall afternoon.  To me the colors of fall in New England are “Magic“!  But this one, once I made some changes with the Pixlr app, looked just as magical as anything I’d snapped in color.  It’s Queen Anne’s Lace which grows everywhere around me, particularly on the edge of wooded areas near my home. In the summer, the plant is a beautiful bright white against it’s green stem and leaves.  Now that we’re deep into the fall, all that remained is the dry brown stem and beige flower.  I did take a bunch of shots of colorful leaves, too; but, I’ll save them for another day.  Enjoy!

fall-walk

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Gone (Cat) Fishing


In the spring of 2009 I sent my husband out of the house…”Go fishing! Please! I need some alone time in the house.” He is always happy to go fishing. That day it seemed like it was going to be a particularly good day for it, overcast and cool weather would surely provide for a good day of fishing! Well, I’ve blogged about this before, my husband went fishing and came home with a cat!

15025126_10211255724855722_1043050920803926867_oNot just a cat, a pregnant cat. So the cat had kittens. We gave two away and kept one along with the momma cat. I’ve said I’m not a cat person. Of course, no one believes me anymore, especially given all of my postings to Instagram — completely negates my protestations.

I will admit that the warm, purring, softness of our cats has changed my mind a bit. Our cats actually have provided me with a certain amount of comfort since they showed up. They seem to know when to tolerate a little extra holding by their humans and how it helps us.

It’s no surprise that recent events (THE election) have put a serious amount of emotional stress on many people. Seeking the comfort of friends, family, or like-minded strangers, makes sense as a way to work through both the joys and sadness, depending on your side of fence. So how about some pet therapy!

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For many of my Facebook friends, as well as myself, it’s been helpful to post and look at pictures of our pets. We know that pet therapy works for other traumatic events in life, why not this, too? Research shows that even looking at pictures of pets can help to decrease stress!

If you don’t have a pet, send your husband fishing…he could come home with cat! (Or, you can come over to my house and hang out with our furry ones for while…you’ll definitely feel better!)

Thanks to all those who believed that I would one day become a cat lady! (Judi, Bill, Steve, Liz)

Fish(ing) Bloggers:

 

Activist, Who Me?


 

Activist = campaigner, protester, objector, militant, advocate; forward looking, advanced, innovative, ahead of its time, avant-garde

On Facebook this week I received an invitation to join #Pantsuitnation (more info here). Although I’d heard about it prior to election day and knew it was meant as a visual way to support the first woman candidate for President and her particular fashion style; I assumed it would have gone by the wayside after election day. Clearly it has not, so I did some homework.

Activist movements have almost always been initiated because one person  wanted to start small to meet a need for themselves and a few others in their circle. Then, word gets out; and, as the commercial for a popular shampoo goes…”they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on…” A flicker of an idea turns into flames! Clearly #Pantsuitnation has caught fire, with chapters popping up in every state!

Now that the votes are in, it appears that the focus of this grassroots effort is now a place for women who are concerned (worried, fearful, angry, called to action) about the impact the election’s outcome will have on us, as well as many other marginalized groups in this country, to join forces. It’s a place to come together to share concerns and ideas; to organize. Not to organize against the election’s outcome per se (though many will do that), but to move forward in a way that ensures members or our citizenry who are the most at risk of suffering the potential consequences of this election, will either not suffer or suffer less.

There’s an organizing meeting tomorrow, I may go check it out. Is this the route for me to somehow impact my immediate world I live in a meaningful, long-lasting way? I’ve often considered myself to be a better “behind the scenes” type, not the public face of anything. Maybe in #Pantsuitnation there’s a way for me to do that, to help to strengthen local leadership opportunities and networks for women.

Today, I am grateful for the women who lead the way for me to be where I am today; to be in a position where I can publicly even consider joining a group like #Pantsuitnation.

Bloggers’ Flames:

 

In the After…


So much pain, fear, and for some–absolute agony and despair. Surprisingly, I’m almost glad that I am not trying to raise children in an environment that’s become so fraught with divisive and negative language and actions. Years and years of watching news reports about political violence following elections in other countries, I could not have imagined it might happen in the United States. Yet, here I am watching the news reports from around the U.S., of peaceful protests turned on a dime because its participants are consumed, in a moment, by that very fear, pain, and agony from the last few days.

I can’t see in my mind’s eye, participating in such a protest; or being so angry at the result of an election that I would resort to violating someone else’s rights or space. Is it because I don’t have children whose future hangs in the balance of decisions made by the current grown-ups of the world? What do we tell them? How can we explain, if possible, to the bi-racial, special needs, and Jewish children in our family that everything will be okay, when we’re so unsure about the future?  I don’t know if I would have the words.

Earlier this week one of my sisters forwarded to me the email sent out from the rabbis at the temple where her two beautiful boys are growing their faith. It is one of very few pieces I’ve read this week that spoke to me in a very personal way. And while I didn’t seek their permission to include this here, I hope they’ll be okay that I have. I am grateful today for the faith leaders in our communities who provide us with the support and guidance to get through difficult times.

Lastly, as we take next steps forward towards an uncertain future….a word of prayer…..
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O Guardian of life and liberty,
may our nation always merit blessing.
Teach us to give thanks for what we have
by sharing it with those who are in need.
Keep open our eyes to the wonders of creation,
and alert to the care of the earth.
May we never be lazy in the work of peace;
may we honor those who have died in defense of our ideals.
Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance.
May they govern with justice and compassion.
Help us to appreciate one another,
and to respect the many ways the people serve You.
May our homes be safe from affliction and strife,
and our country be sound in body and spirit.  Amen.

Warmly and with Shalom,

Jay & Todd

Temple Beth Shalom, Needham MA

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Now What?


Throughout this entire, long, drawn-out, nasty campaign for the Presidency of the United States I have kept opinions to myself. I would not engage in ANY political discussions with anyone: family, friend, coworker or stranger in line at the grocery store. I even kept my mouth shut watching the third presidential debate with my husband beside me on the couch, knowing we were each biting our individual tongues so as not to insult each other — you could say our political leanings differ.

My belief has always been that the decisions we make in the voting booths are ours to use as we see fit. We all do our homework, or not, on the issues and candidates from local, to state, to federal levels of government and then cast our votes accordingly. And although we may do the intellectual homework, I believe when it comes down to the actual flipping of the lever or filling in the bubble sheet, we actually vote from an emotional perspective including those who say they “vote for the most qualified candidates regardless of party affiliation.” It’s all emotional.

We have beliefs and thoughts we hold dear to our hearts, grounded in our life experiences, good, bad or otherwise. The day before the election I re-posted the meme below, and although this morning I am having a tremendously difficult time not being despondent, I’ve decided to revive my daily gratitude blog. My hope is that by acknowledging the day-to-day things for which I am grateful, I will find my way through the next four years with grace, understanding and respect for beliefs, decisions, and opinions that are different that my own.

My “thank you” today is for this platform on which I can share my words and hope that readers will find what they need here.

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Twinkle Lights


twinkle-treeIt’s what Christmas lights do for me, they twinkle.  I especially like the small, white lights on my tree or front porch, or in the wreaths that hang on our windows and doors.  My husband, on the other hand, likes colored lights but tolerates my need for the holidays to be filled with all that twinkles. (Today’s thank you to him!)

multi-tree
I think white lights show off the tree and the ornaments better than anything else.  Just take a look at this picture!  Too much color would just compete with the many shapes and shades of what hangs on the branches or gets tucked further into the branch as a hidden treasure.  Even after the tree is decorated, I like to go back and take a close look at what I’ve previously placed—moving things if necessary or because the mood has changed since it was first hung.  I try to make sure that special ornaments have at least one of the twinkling whites nearby to draw attention to it.

My favorite thing about the Christmas season, twinkle lights!  (By the way, as of today, there are 108 days until Christmas!)

Bloggers Who Twinkle

Cake, A Love Story


Who doesn’t like cake, really, who?  The daily writing prompt from yesterday is one I just can’t let go by without a response! I know there are people who say they don’t like cake, but I’m going to de-bunk  a couple of silly excuses right now!

  • “I don’t like chocolate.”  (There are lots of other flavors: lemon, vanilla, strawberry, pumpkin, red velvet, liquor flavors…too many to list!)
  • “The frosting is too sugary–makes my teeth ache.” (You can have cake with no frosting, just a slight dusting of powdered sugar, a few nuts, a drizzle of chocolate.)
  • “I just don’t like the texture.”  (Okay then, maybe you’d like an angel food cake–light and fluffy, or a “no-bake” cake-cool and creamy, or a pancake with butter and syrup, or better yet–an ice cream cake!)

I will admit I don’t enjoy all types of cakes myself, but I have had somewhat of a love affair with frosting covered treat since I was a little girl.  It seemed like it wasn’t difficult to find cake around our house. Perhaps it was because my mom baked fairly often, so a cupcake was not out of the question for dessert after dinner.  And, with 8 kids, there was seemingly always a birthday cake to be had.  We each had our own favorite that my mom would make, without fail, every year.

cake-1But by far, MY favorite cake of all: Wedding Cake. Of all the weddings I’ve been to so far in my lifetime, I can’t recall ever having a “bad” cake experience. I love the texture, the temperature, and the topping! Maybe it’s because it’s part of a joyous celebration that wedding cake always tastes good, I’m not sure.  (Best wedding cakes in my area of the world can be found at Lasalle Bakery in Providence, RI. Today’s thank you, too.)

My wedding cake was wonderful! The topper, a nice little vanilla with lovely white, sweet, sugary frosting. They layers, we decided to go traditional but fun…chocolate and vanilla CUPCAKES!

cake-2I thought it would be great if everyone could come get their own from the tower of dainty comestibles, but as you can see from the picture a waiter carried the delicate tower to the kitchen to “plate” them for us. I remember watching him walk through all the tables and across the cobblestone floor thinking, “if he drops that, I’m gonna be one unhappy bridezilla!”

cake-4Our cake was so terrific that I’ll tell you a secret, we did not wait until our first wedding anniversary to eat the rest of it. Our theory, frozen wedding cake will probably not thaw well and won’t be the same. So we savored it on our honeymoon trip.

Life is short, faithful readers…eat cake!

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