Hop On!

I'm part of a Mondays blog hop this month.  Or maybe this year.  I'm not sure how many hops there are in this particular blog hop, but I'm just one of many.  I was asked to hop onto this ride by my bloggy friend, Sandie.

                       My Photo

She is a sweetheart with fancy feather earrings and beautiful silver hair that I hope mine looks like when I'm done with yucky growing out phase.  She is a recent breast cancer survivor and is already sharing what God has done for her through that ordeal.  She lives in Georgia, and I'm in Florida, but we've connected.  This is the best part about blogging - through the blogosphere (which I call blogwarts), I get to meet some wonderful people.

One thing Sandie is good at is making me laugh.  Her blog CHATTY CRONE cracks me up.  She posts hilarious quotes and badges that give me the giggles.  Life can just be ridiculous at times, and her blog reminds me of that.  Thank you, Sandie, for being so genuine and joyous!

On to the four hop-fest questions, which every blogger in the hop is answering.  A nice way to see what other artists are doing - and what inspires them.

1.  What are you working on?
I'm working on my book, The 12 Days of Christmas Adventure.  I'm been thinking about it for 21 years and writing it for 3.   It's in its final stages, but then I keep editing.  AUGH!  There is a quote I read long ago:  "An artist does not finish her work - she abandons it."  This is what I'm going to have to do.

2.  How does your work differ from others? 
My 12 Days book is about a Christmas project for families.  It's about looking outward during the holiday season and uplifting someone who's had a rough year.  It's about crazy gifts and sneaking about and baking and crafting and helping children see that giving really is better than receiving.

As far as my writing here at Adventures, I'm simply one of a million bloggers on planet blogwarts sharing her thoughts on life and life's challenges.  I might be different in that I write about chocolate often. 

Nah, probably not.

3. How do you write/create what you do?
God only knows.  Half the time, I fly by the seat of my pants.

4.  How does your creative process work?
Hmm.  I get a brilliant idea.  Then I write it out, and it sucks, so I delete it.  Once in a while, the root idea hangs around, so I work on it for weeks until it's not half bad, and then I post it before I change my mind.  Most of the time, I get a prompt from God, who really gets the credit for anything I write that doesn't suck.  What I bring to the process is that I like to write.  I just keep hanging in there until I have peace that the piece is finished.  If I didn't enjoy this arduous process, I'd be doing something else, like working in a chocolate factory.

There ya' go!  Writing secrets from deep within.

Now, here's my failure with this blog hop.  I didn't garner another blogger to whom I could pass the hop.

I'm ashamed to admit this, because the hop might die right here and now.  AUGH!

I asked several blogger friends to join, but they were all busy with their own writing/lives/laundry and could not pick up the challenge.  I don't begrudge any of them.  They are all super women who tolerate my foolishness, they simply could not help at this time.  

So, here's my challenge to you.  If you have a blog, and if you love to create in any way - writing, art, cooking, homemaking, quilting, cleaning, organizing, repairing engines, sorting Legos, bringing home the bacon - pick up this blog hop and answer the four questions on September 1.

Help out the team!

Here are the simple rules on the Mondays blog hop:

1.  Acknowledge the blogger who invited you to the hop (me) and include their website link.
2.  Answer the four hop-fest questions however you'd like.
3.  Introduce the blogger you are passing the hop to.  Include their blog link and their picture.  They will post on Sept 8.  And so on...

Blog hops are a great way to network and meet other writers. They also prompt groveling when you need a fellow blogger to bring up the rear.

If more than one reader accepts this challenge, that's OK!  More writers will be engaged, and the hop will travel multiple paths.  The more, the merrier!   Leave a comment if you plan to 'hop' on, so I can visit your blog on Sept. 1.  We'll be bonded for life.


Shades of Gray (part 4) and Tiny Feet

I have to mow the lawn this morning, but I thought I'd procrastinate on that and write a blog post.

Isn't writing more rewarding than moving the lawn?  Unless you hate to write.  Then, mowing just might be your cup of tea. 

Here's the new addition to my wardrobe this week.

I've had carpal tunnel issues in both wrists off and on for years.  I had surgery for the right hand about ten years ago.  Now, the left wrist is acting up.  The good news is that they now make wrist braces in flesh tone instead of just black, so the thing is hardly noticeable.  I'm so deluded.

I'm heading to the doc this afternoon to have a second procedure done on a mole that was removed.  The biopsy was a little sketchy, so I'm going under the knife again.  It seems I'm regularly having spots removed these days.  All that time in the sun mowing the lawn.

I have another doc appointment next week to get a nodule removed from the bottom on my foot.  And then a final follow up on my retina hole repair.  All I need is some abdominal surgery, and all areas of this aging body will have had some work done this year.

Speaking of aging, look at this cool picture.  

This gracious woman from the gym allowed me to photograph her beautiful hair.  She's a regular at my gym and I'd been admiring her hair for awhile. I finally approached her and told her I was writing about giving up the bottle, and could I take a picture of her hair?

Her story is that sometimes she dyes and sometimes she doesn't.  She didn't seem attached either way, and I loved that.

I don't have any new photos of my own mess growing in because it doesn't look much different from the last photo I posted.  I think this is a good thing. I wrote a guest post for the blog Things I Can't Say about my most recent hair realization HERE.

Check it out and let me know what you think.  I got a LOT of insightful comments.  I'm so grateful that so many women shared their hearts on this.  I just keep saying, this is such an interesting journey.

I'm going to be 58 in a few weeks, and I must say this year I have had more aches and creaks and lumps and spots and pounds than ever before in one time frame.  It makes me appreciate my parents, who at 94 and 91 are still getting around.  I struggle sometimes with the fact that the heart keeps pumping even when the other body parts are worn out.  My folks are so tired. 

But, the spirit of life is powerful, and it keeps pressing through the difficulties.  Only God is in charge of this.

He's also in charge of this.

We have a new grand niece this week.  After a long struggle to appear, she arrived with perfect little toes and a head of dark hair.  She is surrounded by exhausted, but elated parents and beaming grandparents who are all in love with this child.  There is nothing like new life to bring us all to our knees.  As the song says in Les Miserables, to love another is to see the face of God.  God is never more precious than in a newborn.

From baby toes to wisdom highlights, life is such an interesting journey.


I'm Just Too Happy!

On Facebook, my teacher daughter challenged me to share three things a day - for five days - I'm grateful for.  That is an awkward sentence.  For five days, I'm going to write three daily things for which I'm grateful.

That doesn't read any better.

Anyhoo....I'm going to change it.  I'm going to write here fifteen things for which I'm grateful. I hope my alteration to this assignment flies with the teacher.  I've had so many blessings this week, it's delightful to ruminate on all the goodies.

Here we go...

1.  Our teacher daughter did not go to China.  China cancelled the trip for various reasons that we don't fully understand, but if things are not squared away in China...I'm happy she's not going.  She was disappointed, but got over it.  She'll likely have the opportunity to go next year.

2.  Our girl is still getting PAID for going to China, even though she's not going.  How incredible is that?  She'll be paying off a credit card, getting some house upgrades, some car work done, taking a trip to SC with her favorite mom and saving some bucks.  China pays very well for work you don't do.

3.  Our girl is also getting free travel miles - as many as it takes to get to Beijing and back.  The airline tickets were non-refundable, so our teacher gets the miles on a gift card.  We were astonished.  She's already planning where to go and who to see.  I might be able to sneak in on some of that too.

4.  Our daughter surprised me this week with three tubs of dark chocolate malted milk balls!  I didn't know they made them, but she found a small company here in Melbourne that does.  I am in heaven.  And so grateful for my money-bags daughter's generosity.  

5.  In completing my manuscript, The 12 Days of Christmas Adventure, I'm seeking trademark/copyright permissions from some big businesses/manufacturers.   So far, every single company, except one, has granted permission for me to use an image of their product in my book.  This has shocked me.  I thought big businesses would not be interested in helping a first time author.

I was wrong.  Peeps candy company will be in my book, along with Jordan Almonds, Swiss Miss, Mattel, Fisher-Price, and my favorite - Harry Potter.  Scholastic books is sharing with me Harry Potter!  I am so grateful, I keep celebrating by eating dark chocolate malted milk balls.

6.  We had a Canadian visitor this week who brought REAL maple syrup and homemade strawberry jam with her to Florida.  Get a load of this syrup bottle. 

It looks like a bottle of rum.  It's the most delicious syrup on the planet.  This freezer jam is also the best on the planet.  My husband ate the entire first jar in about four days. 

Our Canadian friend is our favorite alien.

7.  I ordered new glasses last month that came in wonky.  I tried them for a week and kept hating them.  I took them back to Lens Crafters, and they discovered my pupillary distance was off.  I asked them if it had anything to do with the retina hole I had in my eye the week before.  They said no, pupils don't move, no matter what kind of holes you have in your eyes.  They made me another pair of lenses, and they are great.

The frames are red and bold because I decided I was going to need some color on my face as my wisdom highlights come in.  AUGH!  I have recipes dangling from the cupboards, this is why it looks like trash is sprouting from my head and right ear. 

8.  It's mango season here!  I can't touch mango sap or the inside skin because I break out with poison ivy (for that story, READ THIS.)  But, I LOVE the fruit and have no trouble eating it.  A friend of ours who has a mango tree gave us ten mangoes - half of them are gone already.  Our girl, Money-bags, purchased even more.  The area that grows them here - Merritt Island - is one of the best three mango producers in the world.  And we live 20 minutes away!  We are happy mango gluttons.

9.  My Dad has another UTI.   This is not the grateful part.  The grateful part is that we learned yesterday he can go to the walk-in clinic and get an antibiotic infusion daily for about a week rather than being admitted to the hospital for the same thing.   Because of all the meds he's on, he needs IV infusions when he develops a UTI.  In the past, he had been hospitalized for this, but that won't be needed anymore.  I can't even express what good new this is.  At 91, Dad needs to be up and around as much as possible.  Five days in the hospital never serves him well.

10.  I got a new phone, and I really like it.  I've never been able to say that about a new phone before.  Wonders never cease.

11.  My check-up with my eye surgeon today went well.  My holey retina has sealed properly.  I'm so grateful for Dr. Paul Winslow.  Anybody who can use a laser on an eyeball and not blast the eyeball apart gets a ten in my book.

12.  I'm changing general practitioners, and the doc I want to start seeing is taking new patients.  He's actually my parents' doc, and I know the man well because for five years, we've been a team when dealing with the folks.   He knows all the family quirks.

13.  I've found a supplement that is helping my fibromyalgia.  It's called Curamin, and the basis of it is turmeric.   My pain is reduced by 30-40%.  Curamin is not cheap, but I'm not griping about that today.  This is a grateful list.

14.  Dad, whom we call Pops, was going to travel to China with our daughter by way of this...

She glued this image of him eating a hot fudge sundae onto a tongue depressor.  She was going to hold this in all her photographs (like Flat Stanley), so he could say he'd been to China.  This is her Pops-sicle.  HA!  I smile every time I look at it.

15.  My girl and I are heading to South Carolina next week to visit her godson and his parents.  I'm going to help his mom re-organize her kitchen.  I love to sort and clean and donate.  I think I'll take a tub of malted milk balls with us.

God has so blessed me recently, I almost feel guilty.

I'm sure there's a challenge around the corner.

Until it gets here, I'm soaking up every minute.


Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Hair is on my mind a lot lately.  My own, other women's, my daughter's.  It's a huge part of our identity.  Not sure yet if this is a good thing, or a bad thing.  Or just a nothing thing.

Four pony tails got chopped last week.

From the same head.

My daughter's hair is thick and varied in color and gorgeous.

I braid her hair in my free time.  I love doing it, and she's patient with all the tugging.   She teaches high schoolers, so she's used to putting up with all kinds of nonsense.

She's going to China for a month on Saturday (more about that in a minute), and she wanted to chop off her hair before she goes, because she was told it's hot and humid over there, and who wants to be messing with a hot mess of heavy hair?  I told her she could pack me in her suitcase and I could braid her hair every day to keep it off her neck, but like I said...she hears all kinds of nonsense.

Anyhoo...she wanted to send her locks to Pantene, which makes wigs for cancer patients out of chopped-off hair.  This is the second time she's given her long hair to cancer patients.  It's the only reason she grows in out - to cut it off.  It takes about three years to get the 8-11 inches needed for donation.  I love that she does this.  If I had cancer - and no hair - I would want my girl's locks.


Whew.  A big change.  Almost like letting your gray grow in.  ARGH!  More on that in a later post.

Our girl was selected along with another teacher to teach biology this summer in China.  She's very excited, but we all have some trepidation because it's so far away.  Exactly twelve hours away.  We're not sure what communications will be like until she gets there, so talking with her might be intermittent or non-existent. 

We'll deal with it, because this is a great opportunity to teach at the University of Bejing AND eat REAL Chinese food!  She's been told they serve veggies and rice at every meal, even breakfast.  Whoo-hoo!

I'm fortifying my heart for the send off on Saturday.  What mother allows her child to go so far away for a month?!  I have to keep crushing that voice in my head.  She's a grown-up.  It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  She'll be home before I know it.  Maybe she'll learn how to make fortune cookies.

Here today, gone Saturday.  Sniff.


Shades of Gray - part 3

It's time to face the music.  Or the mirror.  Or the camera.  Or the facts of life, as I've never known them at this point in my life.

My fairly thick, wavy hair that I've always loved...is shedding its coat.  It's L'Oreal 5AR coat.

I have to admit, it's a bit painful.  Not physically, but emotionally.  A stranger is growing out of my head.

Here's a glimpse from the back.   

My daughter made me flip upside down and show the underbelly of the stranger.

I have to admit, I winced.  It just doesn't look like me.

But, really... it is.  This is me, today, right now with silver strands sprouting from my crown.  I'm going to call them Wisdom Highlights.

I read that somewhere, and I like it.  I'm sure I've gained some wisdom in life (I'll try to scrape that together for a later, I suspect brief, post), and I've certainly had many highlights in my life - joyous moments like the birth of my children, and savoring Godiva truffles.  So, these silver highlights seem to be appropriate.  I've earned them.  And I've won them.  They ought to be celebrated.

Right?  Right?!  I can't hear you!

OK, it's going to be a journey.  And there is probably going to be some gnashing of teeth.  Because Wisdom Highlights are frowned upon these days.  At least on women.  Men seem to walk around with them just fine.  What is wrong with this picture?!?!

Here's how I feel about the whole thing.

I'd rather just not look.

But, I'm going to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.  It's just hair.  It's not my heart, or my mind, or my spirit.  It's not who I am.  I don't think.  ARGH!

My girl, who has beautiful auburn hair, has a birthmark near her forehead, and out of the birthmark, gray hair grows.  It's fascinating.

She's excited to have some gray hairs.  She's only a young 30-ish woman, but she has a few grays sprouting further back as well.  She's proud of them and is my biggest supporter in me giving up the bottle.  She's a spring chicken, what does she know?  ARGH!

OK, I'm calm.  I'll redirect my mind.

I've joined Twitter!  See the link at the top of my blog, to the left.  If you're a Twitter-er, let's connect.  I've only posted a few toots, I mean twits, or chirps, or whatever, but it's kind of fun.  It keeps my mind off my Wisdom Highlights.

I also added a Pinterest widget to the blog about midline on the right.  You can see my recent pins and other whatnots.  I have boards on writing, upcycling, holidays, caretaking, and words of humor/wisdom.  I have to say, Pinterest is my favorite form of social media.  It keeps my mind off my Wisdom Highlights.

I need a Godiva truffle.

Shades of Gray - Part 2
Shades of Gray - Part 1