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

Magical 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:

 

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!

Other Cake-loving bloggers:

It’s that time of year, again!


12507381_10208508269691060_4783544318916625728_nIt is five years since I was diagnosed and then had my thyroid removed. The time from suspicious cells being found through the fine needle biopsy to the complete thyroidectomy, was only 7 weeks. Not a particularly long period of time in the grand scheme of things, but by all accounts in the reading and exploring about thyroid cancer that I’ve done, it’s lightening speed!

“Suspicious cells” became cancer only after the pathology report was returned from the lab: papillary carcinoma, follicular variant.

The report was handed to me by my surgeon at the follow-up appointment two weeks after surgery. My sister took me to the appointment because my husband was out of town. I think the fact that I was still trying different medications to normalize my thyroid levels, calcium level, and to simply have the energy to get out of bed, the “cancer” diagnosis didn’t really register for me. By the time I might have wrapped my brain around the fact that I had “cancer”, my life was turned upside down by three young grandchildren who came to live with us; and then I was back to work.

13726667_10210134706350960_7201285914644948446_n
Can’t even see the scar in the mirror any more!

There were other follow-up appointments and one treatment of radioactive iodine to make sure the cancer cells were obliterated. I continue to have an ultrasound of the thyroid bed done annually–not sure how long that will last, but I imagine its forever; as well as several appointments throughout the year with my endocrinologist to monitor medications and such.

 

Image result for CHECK YOUR NECK THYROID CANCER MIRRORSeptember is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Thyroid cancer is often referred to as “the good kind” of cancer to get. Perhaps because if it’s found early enough and treated correctly, there is a 100% chance of recovery. Not everyone however is “lucky” enough to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as I was; deaths from thyroid cancer hover at 2,000 every year.

My thank you today is for the reminder that the month of September provides for me, and all of you, that there is no “good kind of cancer”.  Take a few minutes this month to CHECK YOUR NECK!

Cat Chat


I just came across this draft of a post from 2013 that I never published.  I still like it, so here it is.  Our cat still sits atop the jelly cupboard every day, perhaps with the hope of a reply from the faces in the picture…who knows really what cats are thinking?


The Weekly Photo Challenge, Dialogue, prompted me to find pictures I’ve taken of our cats.  I often see Bubba, sitting on top of the jelly cupboard staring into this framed print.  He does it for several minutes at a time and occasionally will make a few small meows into the reflection.  I’m not sure if its the dog, the cow, or the blonde haired girl in the picture or “the other cat” he sees, that’s most interesting to him.  Nothing, not even treats in the window, will tear him away from his friend in the picture!

bubba dialogue

 

It’s On Us


April is National Sexual Assault on Campus Month  2015. untitled

I wouldn’t have thought much of it except that while I was watching the Road to the Final Four, there were so many PSAs  played during timeouts it was hard to ignore (I know, that’s the point of PSAs).  Also, as it happens at the beginning of that week my friend Eileen called me.  I wrote before about Eileen and the horror her daughter experienced on the very same college campus that had brought me such joy, friends and happy memories.  “K”, as I referred to her, has started her own blog, telling her story and healing from the trauma.  Knowing who her Mom is tells me that K was likely a strong woman when she was assaulted and reading her blog let’s me know that I wasn’t wrong:  she was and, more importantly, is a strong, capable, smart, lovely, caring young woman.

When I spoke to Eileen a couple of weeks ago I got a bit more of the background on the story.  I found out who on staff at the college was not helpful, in fact downright insulting; and who was beyond supportive to Eileen, K and their family.  I was not at all surprised to find out it was my friend Deb, the school’s nurse, who took care of K, and Eileen.  In fact, Eileen told me that one of the reasons Deb may have left her job at the college was because of the abhorrent behavior of the institution’s leadership and lack of urgency around the issue of K’s assault, and assault on campus in general.  Again, not surprised since Deb is one of the people in this world who acts with such compassion and integrity every moment of her life!  (Thanks Deb, xo Kells)

The other thing Eileen and I talked about was a film, The Hunting Ground,  recently released and billed as: “a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families that speaks directly to and about the rape culture on college campuses.”  It’s not one of those films that’s at your local multiplex, you have to go to the website to find a screening.  I hope to see it some time soon.  For today, however, what I want to do is thank the makers of the film and those who’ve been victimized on campus for standing up and making an effort to raise awareness and change the culture.  You are brave souls!