Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When I Grow Up


Just had to post this woman's photo this morning because her countenance makes me feel right at home, as if I were not only invited to her world, but made welcome there. Her friendly face looks well-lived-in, like the coziest kind of cottage, and you know what? I want my face to look like that, too.

I have a feeling getting there is all about being at peace with yourself and others, opening yourself freely to life and the people who live it, expecting good to come your way because goodness is what you are giving out, and being grateful for the beauty that surrounds (and becomes) you.

Yep, I think I want to look like she does when I grow up. I even want the hat.

=)

PS. As many of you know, PJ from Seens From The Backs Of My Eyelids, has a brother, Henry, who lost everything he owned to fire on Saturday, July 24, 2011. The outpouring of help for Henry has been so overwhelming that PJ wants to thank everyone in a special way. On the evening of September 7th (a week from now), she will have the computer randomly select three names from the comments made on her blogpost today. The first name selected will win a $100 e-certificate to Amazon.com. The second name selected will win a $75 e-certificate to Amazon.com. The third name selected will win a $50 e-certificate to Amazon.com. Not bad, eh? Just visit her site for more details. Thanks, PJ! And we're glad your brother is getting lots of support from blogland.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rain Gutter Regatta Rules

My grandson: King of the Raingutter Racers.

{winning first place always feels good}

=)

click below for more happiness

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stalking Good Health


Well, my friends, I have officially joined the green smoothie club. Yep, for a full week now I have been indulging both morning and night in a concoction so filled with healthy veggies that the entire kitchen smells (as my husband is fond of informing me) like weeds! What's more, I am loving it!!

In the past few months, several of my friends have introduced the so-called green smoothie into their lives. All have reported good results, varying from increased energy to decreased blood sugar/blood pressure and weight loss. Reducing blood sugar and pressure is the main goal for me, but hey...I'll be more than happy to deal with any other benefits that come my way.

I did have to make a fairly substantial investment in a Vita Mix from Costco, but I LOVE that thing. It's liquifying (vaporizing?!) action is so powerful you can go from nuts to butter in seconds. So far, the nut-grinding fancy hasn't hit me, but who knows what the future might hold? For now, I am happy to make my (actually kinda brownish) green smoothies, and here is what I do:

The Vita Mix has a much larger blending container than most, so you can make a quart of liquid in one shot.

pour in 2 cups of water or coconut water
mix in enough greens to create 3 additional cups of liquid (this is a LOT of greens)
add a banana, an apple, and two cups of berries

So far, I have used baby spinach, kale, herbal salad mix, celery, chard, and parsley...but there are many more to choose from. There's even an iPhone app telling you which particular green, leafy vegetable is good for which ailment! (By the way, you are supposed to alternate the leafy greens so that alkaloids don't build up in your system.)

Anyway, I'm enjoying the experience and am quite hopeful that I will receive at least a few health benefits. Some of the flavors are stronger and stranger than others, but all of them are drinkable and refreshing. What's more, I feel like I'm doing something good for my body. Already I've noticed that I am not retaining as much water. My rings are looser, and my eyes are considerably less puffy in the morning. Also, my digestive system is working like a charm!

;)

PS. I'll keep you posted on the blood pressure, blood sugar, and other benefits as time goes on.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Special Delivery


Once again, I am in full Saturday Centus mode, and Ms. Matlock has given us a prompt this week that might almost be considered "normal." That's right...100 words plus a photo permit! (Thanks, Jenny.) The prompt, as is my custom, will be in red.

∞§∞


Special Delivery
©2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

“Surprise, I’m pregnant” were the words
she used to greet him on that day.
(In truth, it was a pillow stuffed
beneath her top.)

The man did not find this amusing.
His good humor quite gave way,
as for a moment there, he felt
his stomach drop.

“Why would you play me such a trick?
You know I’m nervous as can be.
The boss is treating me like dirt
when I’m at work.”

“This is no trick; it’s an announcement.
By the way, delivery
can be expected in 8 months.
Man up, you jerk!”

∞§∞

Friday, August 26, 2011

Setting the Sails

Today, I am the firm, unwavering

answer I've been seeking.

My mind has listened to my soul at last...

and heard it speaking.

Inside, still waters turn to healing tide...

I'm drawn to shore.

The winds of life have had their way.

Today, I drift no more.

The sails obey my hand; a plan unfurls,

uncompromising.

And hope burns in my heart as brightly as

a Phoenix rising.

∞§∞

Spread your sails and fly!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scenic Splendor: Lake Tahoe

Scenic splendor...

Sacred space.

Silent silhouettes

of grace.

Sanctuary...

Secret spot.

Solemn setting

time forgot.

Shade and shimmer...

Solid stone.

Soaring sentinels

stand alone.

{Sweetest sight

we've ever known.}

click below for more S posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vitriol vs. Civility


I am weary of the wholesale vitriol that dominates the public arena today. In the past couple of years, I have gone from a person who loved nothing more than to watch CNN, Fox, and MSNBC battle it out on the air waves to one who can hardly bear to watch any one of those networks. It's not that I don't like to hear all the different sides of an issue, because I do. In fact, that's why I used to watch all three in the first place. What I don't like is the constant bickering, back-biting, and downright rudeness that now prevails.

I used to watch the Sunday news programs, Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos (now Christiane Amanpour) religiously. Both are still a main source of political news for me, as I find them a little less objectionable than the malignant trio listed above. But oh, how I miss Tim Russert! That man knew how to fight fair and keep an argument civil.

There was a time when the folks in Washington DC could keep an argument civil as well...at least, civil enough to get something done for our country. Personal attacks via the media still occurred, but they were more the exception than the rule. Today the rule is to hit your opponent with as much garbage as you can put your hands on and see how much of it will stick. (What doesn't stick, stinks, and so do the hands of those who throw it.) A conversation about ideas should not be punctuated with pestilence.

Of course, it isn't just Washington that demonstrates the lamentable lack of civility in public discourse. All you have to do is walk through a mall, a high school, a city council meeting, or even a neighborhood. People don't know how to talk to each other anymore, and affording every individual the basic respect his humanity demands is a fading concept.

Respect for the rights of others is the cornerstone of democracy, and such respect cannot occur in a vacuum. We need to hear each other out with civility, acknowledging that those who disagree with us (no matter how strongly) are still entitled to their opinions, and that not seeing eye to eye with our political or other positions does not a character flaw make. The character flaw is all in the delivery, on either side.

As is true with most other things, it begins in the family. If we will model and teach respect for others (along with courtesy of speech and action) to our children, we have reason to hope that the snowball of civility will keep rolling. Those seeds of respect are engrained early, and planting them deeply appears to be something of a lost art. My childhood friends and I, for instance, would never have considered setting one foot on a neighbor's property without permission, nor would we have called that neighbor by his or her first name. The language we used was carefully monitored, not just by our parents, but by every adult who came into contact with us. In fact, there was a cooperative effort by adults to raise children who treated others as they would wish to be treated themselves, and it seemed to work rather well. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass (Alma 37:33), and the small and simple things we've abandoned seem to be having as great an effect in their absence as they did when we embraced them. Unfortunately, that effect is tipping us in the wrong direction, but it's never too late for an about face. The forward march will be worth it.

In the meantime, it is our responsibility to let elected officials know (with our votes, with our letters, and with our personal behavior) that we have expectations beyond their political views. If they are going to be successful in serving our nation, they must transcend their own inadequacies and put the nation's concerns first, above their own. Senators and congressmen/women must be willing and able to work with opposing factions to find solutions that will bring some degree of relief to both sides. In the final analysis, the name of a winning political game must be compromise, and it won't happen without respect. It can't, because being willing to compromise requires a belief that people who don't agree with us have rights, too...and that liberty and justice for all is not the same as liberty and justice for people who see all things our way.

Put simply, it's not my way or the highway; it's our way or the tollway. And the longer America's leaders take to recognize the inalienable rightness of that truth, the higher the toll our country will continue to pay.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Close-out

Friends collide.

Water's fine.

Buddies bounce.

Lunch? Divine!

Dive right in...

You know you should.

Pool or ocean...

Wet is good!

photos by tendershootz

click below for more happiness

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blogger's Bugs Bug Me


Blogger's bugs really do bug me, but their impact is worse and annoys at a deeper level because of the fact that I am never able to connect or communicate with an actual human being to get them fixed. Every time this happens, the Blogger I've come to know and love transforms into a big, shapeless entity that none can ever reach out and touch. In fact, I've been known to worry that, if blog disaster should strike one day, all would be lost.

Sometimes my concerns lead me to consider changing to Word Press, but I have some firsthand experience with Word Press through my poetry website, and either I don't like the features they offer as well or I simply haven't mastered them. For whatever reason, I can blog a better-looking post here, and I truly enjoy the relative ease of Blogger tools. I just wish I had the security of knowing a real person could be contacted if something awful happened to or on my blog!

The thing is, while user message boards and help forums are a good place to begin seeking answers to those glitches that will inevitably come knocking, the buck shouldn't stop there. When the chips are all the way down, people need to know that a fix (and a fixer!) is there to be had. I can't tell you how many posts I see in those "Something Is Broken" Blogger help forums that have never been answered, and even when they do get answered, it is not by a real-life employee of Blogger but by a sort of kindly, often self-appointed helper/go-between who knows the ropes better than most. We are basically the blind leading the somewhat-less-blind around here.

What do I do to allay my anxiety? Well, I back up my blog religiously and have regular blog books published on Blurb or Blog2Print. However, neither of these would be an acceptable substitute if my blog went permanently on the blink. I am really fond of this space, just as it is, and I want to keep it clean, healthy, and bug-free for a long time to come.

My plea to Blogger would be to offer real assistance (or maybe I should say assistants...the human variety) when other avenues have been exhausted, and I would be more than willing to pay for it. I'm not asking for a contact person every time something goes wrong around this joint. All I'm requesting is a last-ditch place to go when all else fails, a place where the buck stops at a living, breathing individual's desk.

(And yes, a cyber desk would suffice.)

=)

PS. Am I alone here, or do others share my frustration? Has anyone had better luck than I getting assistance from Blogger? If so, spill the beans. Please!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Requiem in Brass


Just got home from another lovely wedding, so I'm scurrying to get my Saturday Centus on the books. Ms. Jenny has generously offered 150 words this time around, which means my word count is right on target today. (I seem to manage that more easily with prose than poetry.) As always, the prompt is in red.

∞§∞

Requiem in Brass
©2011 Susan Noyes Anderson

If I die young, I wanna be buried the old-fashioned way,” Cynthia said, “with a wake that goes on forever and a passel of mourners, boo-hooing like there’s no tomorrow.”

“Don’t forget the jazz band funeral procession,” was his cheerful reply. “Hey, if ya gotta go, you might as well do it in style.”

“Makes sense to me,” she beamed. “But make sure it’s the real thing. I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans anyway.”

John knew she’d been kidding…They’d been kidding…But wasn’t there an element of truth in all humor? Especially black humor, and that humor had been blacker than either of them imagined. Now, absent any other indication of his wife’s wishes, here he was in the French Quarter, carrying a surprisingly heavy urn behind an assortment of trumpets and saxophones, wishing it weren’t 110 dripping degrees.

The wake? Lengthy. The mourners? Numerous and tearful.

(Check, check, and check.)

But small consolation.

∞§∞

Friday, August 19, 2011

Taking a Big Bite out of Life


One thing I love about children is their willingness and capacity to take a big bite out of life. I've always enjoyed taking pretty big bites myself, but the older I become, the smaller those bites seem to be getting. And you know what? I don't like it!

Lately I'm reminding myself that having less energy and reduced chewing power needn't amount to losing enthusiasm. Let's face it; if old fogey-ness is a quality I don't care to claim, then I need to make sure it doesn't claim me. Samuel Ullman got it right when he said, "Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." Barring plastic surgery or botox, neither of which are my thing, the wrinkles on my face are pretty much inevitable. The wrinkles on my soul, however, are mine...to embrace or erase at will. My goal is to do stop embracing and start erasing. (Or at least, to smooth those babies out a little!)

I guess it's all in the mindset. While I didn't sign on to nibble my way through life, there are days now when a nibble or two is all I can manage. My job going forward will be to walk the fine line between encouraging myself to go for the gusto and realizing when discretion is the better part of valor. At those times when limitations do come into play and morsels are all I can handle, I will keep those wrinkles off my soul by looking on the bright side and remembering that a morsel is easier to savor than a mouthful.

And savoring is a very good thing.

"And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord" (Leviticus 6:15).

By big bites or little bits, I can still take my handful of living and offer it to the Lord. What's more, that offering will be every bit as savory as I am willing to make it.

=)

PS. Happy birthday to my youngest sister, who is pictured for your viewing pleasure on the far right, below!

Love you, Jayne! Have a good one.

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