Cee’s Share Your World – Week 4


Take a blog hop over to Cee’s Share Your World to participate:

Do you prefer juice or fruit?

I prefer fruit. I like watermelon, strawberries, and peaches, the best. Even though that is true, I eat bananas more than any other fruit. I rarely drink fruit juices.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

I grew up in a mid-sized city if we are talking population, more like a big town. It was about sixty square miles and parts of it were (and probably still are) very agricultural. It has grown in population since I grew up there. I lived in a neighborhood that was once farmland and there were a couple of fields left behind where we could run and play. There was a wooded area that was a great shortcut to my grandparent’s house and the junior high school. We could ride our bikes downtown and to the pool. I walked to school until I could drive, except for the ninth grade when I rode a bus across town. That was the only year my school was too far away to walk. I lived in the same house the entire time I was growing up. I liked it well enough. I didn’t know anything different.

If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?

Maybe a blue-gray, a nice calm color, for the first sixteen years. I had a happy enough childhood. My mother was controlling and hyper-critical, so I was very well-behaved and not much of a risk taker. I did not want to get into trouble.

Then, when I was seventeen, I got my driver’s license and a car – an almost new 1972 Super Beetle (thanks to my grandfather). Here we are looking at a color change. The paint would be a brighter blue. I wasn’t exactly a wild child after I got my car, but I had a lot more freedom and a lot more fun. (This is just a model VW in the photo. Mine was orange.)


When I was old enough to have an opinion about the color of my bedroom, I painted the walls bright yellow with red-orange on the wood trim. That was the actual color I lived in during my childhood. I shared the room with my sister, so she gets half the credit.

Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.

  1. The first thing on my list is a walk outside. That usually relaxes me better than anything else. After that, it really depends on whether I am anxious or just winding down. For the most part, I think I am fairly relaxed these days. It is a matter of practicing acceptance with almost everything. If I’m not fighting with the rest of the world, life is a lot more peaceful. A little prayer and meditation every morning helps.
    2. Reading a book.
    3. Watching something funny on television, because laughing makes me feel good, and if I feel good, I relax.
    4. Editing photos.
    5. Deep breathing.
    6. Laying down on my bed can be very relaxing. It is super comfortable.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for my Fitbit Charge 2 that my husband bought for me. It is helping me track my exercise (I wasn’t moving as much as I thought), my calories, and my sleep.

This week, I am looking forward to getting together with a friend of mine for tea.




When thinking about temptation, my first thoughts go to chocolate. That is a nice safe topic. Not today. Today my temptation is not so innocent. It is about a behavior that I find unattractive in others, and yet, I want to engage in it right now. I’m not proud. If anything, let this encourage all of us to be kind when we speak about other people.

One of my pet peeves is gossip. Gossip is defined by Timothy Hallett, associate professor in the Indiana University sociology department…as “the unsanctioned evaluative talk about people who aren’t present.” (NY Times, 06/16/2012) In other words, it is me judging another person, and then going behind their back to tell others what I think about them.

Is there such a thing as good gossip and bad gossip? Gossip can help people to bond because it is a social activity. Good, right? Gossip can protect others from “being exploited by passing on information about bad behavior to warn others.” That is a benefit to the gossipers, so good, right? But, is that fair to the object of gossip? If someone’s reputation is hurt, that’s bad, right? I bite my tongue. I try to ascribe to the old saying – If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.


I was tempted to gossip about someone. I gave into that temptation and wrote about it here in this post. Then I erased it. This revised version is missing some content and that feels much better. 

The photos are watermarked and cropped small because it is my daughter and a friend enjoying friendship – not gossip. I try to protect personal images as much as possible. Please don’t copy them.

The Daily Post: Daily Prompt


Cee’s Share Your World – Wk #1


Would you prefer to receive a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle?

I already own a bicycle, so I’m all set. A tricycle made for an adult seems like more cycle than I care to pedal, especially up a hill. There are a lot of hills around here. I think motorcycles can be fun, but the traffic where I live is a nightmare, so no thank you. I really prefer to walk.

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year?

I’d like to improve at photography, from composition to taking and developing raw images.

What was one of the highlights of 2016 for you?

Vacationing in Maine with our family was absolutely one of the highlights of 2016. Those two little people in the photo are my grandsons. Even though the clouds have mostly blocked any sunshine, it was a hot day.


Would you prefer to fly a kite or fly in a hot air balloon?

Fly a kite. My husband and I both own kites. He used to have a stunt kite. They are a lot of fun. This year, we bought an inexpensive kite to fly with our grandsons. They loved it.


Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Our son and his wife flew in for a visit over the New Year weekend. Our daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons came over and we celebrated Christmas on Saturday. Sunday, we went to a local restaurant to watch the Patriot’s game – they won. We celebrated with two desserts. Our daughter-in-law made a Devil’s Food cake with a caramel buttercream frosting one night. It was delicious. Our daughter made dinner on Monday night and served cannoli. Yummy. If you read last week’s Share Your World, you might remember that baked goods are my guilty pleasure and I ate all of it. I am grateful for everything, except the five pounds I gained.

This week, I am looking forward to returning to a normal diet.

This was our Maine retreat. I have noticed that if I open my post in the Reader, the featured image is not part of my post, so I am placing it at the end of the post, as well.


Participating in Cee’s Share Your World.


Dark and Light


This beautiful centerpiece was a Christmas gift from our son and daughter-in-law.

The featured image above the post title is sunset in D.C.

Participating in: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Dark and Light


Peeking in the window of the Air and Space Museum.


Washington Monument at sunset.


Cee’s Share Your World – Week 52


Click here to participate in: Cee’s Share Your World.

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor? 

My favorite ice cream flavor is Vanilla Bean. It used to be chocolate, but now it runs a close second. Every summer we go to a local place that has soft serve, and I get a vanilla chocolate twist. I eat ice cream almost every single day.

If you were to treat yourself to the “finer things” what would you treat yourself to? 

A luxury condo in the city and a house on the beach.

Have you ever been drunk?

Yes. I used to enjoy the feeling. Then I didn’t. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it wasn’t. I no longer drink alcohol.


Complete this sentence: My favorite supposedly guilty pleasure is… 

Baked goods. Chocolate brownie sundae from Clyde’s (a local restaurant). Chocolate cake. Tiramisu. Creme brulee. Peach cobbler. Chocolate chip cookies. I rarely keep baked goods in the house. I love to indulge once in a while.


Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week I spent one day in Washington, D.C. with my friend, Kindred Spirit. We visited the Basilica and the Botanical Gardens. It was a long day of walking and picture taking. Spending the day with a good friend, no matter where we go, is always a reason to feel grateful. (The photo is the Capitol building.)

This week, our son and his wife are flying in to visit for Christmas.


Animals – Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge


Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs, long ago left on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, still live on its northern most beaches. These horses used to run free throughout the islands, but as houses were built and more and more people arrived, the horses were being put at risk of being hit by cars. They are now free to roam in a preservation area that can be reached easily if you have four-wheel drive. There are homes within the horse preserve and the horses are used to people. However, they are wild, and graze on the native vegetation. People are forbidden to feed them. I cropped the above photo to create the two pictures that follow.


I took this photo of a cow and a nursing calf a couple of years ago, here in Virginia. There aren’t any cows left in my community, but they can be found nearby.


Below are sheep, a llama, a lot of geese and a heron – also, here in Virginia. There is still plenty of farmland south and west of where I live.


Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge


France In Virginia


My friend and I often eat at this casual French cafe when we go to lunch. We have occasionally dined elsewhere, but this is our favorite spot. It is somewhere between our two geographic addresses and we can sit and talk for hours. I often order the same meal. My favorite is the Crepes Romanoff.

It is very rustic and cozy, with a blazing fireplace in one of the rooms. There are large wooden library doors, beams on the ceiling, cast iron, brick and wood framed windows. Of course, I can’t find the photos of the dining area, so next trip, I’ll have to remedy that problem and take more.

When you go into the restroom, you get a French lesson. Yes, there is tape playing that will teach you to count and phrases you can use in the cafe, even though there is no need. Everyone speaks English here. But, the lesson is fun. And I haven’t learned a word of French, although it is a beautiful language. (I am making a stab at learning Italian.)

Last week, the restaurant was decked out for Christmas, with a special holiday menu.


In keeping with the casual theme, we order food cafeteria style and then when it is cooked, a waiter brings it to the table.


I don’t have a passport. I know that probably horrifies many of you, but it is true. I don’t like to fly. I dislike ships even more than planes. French restaurants might be as close as I ever get to France. And I am perfectly okay with that – for now. Maybe one day that will change.


Share Your World #50


It has been a long time since I participated in Cee’s Share Your World. I always enjoyed it, and I am going to try to make it a habit on my new blog – this blog. I need writing habits. Thanks, Cee, for the fun prompts.

What is your favorite smell? What memory does it remind you of?

Is it the ocean? I love the smell of salt air. But, I wonder, would this be true without the entire experience? The sound of the waves, the seagulls squawking, dolphins breaking the surface, walking where the surf meets the sand, the overwhelming expanse of water and sky, the horizon at dawn and dusk. That list could go on and on. I love this smell because it reminds me of growing up and my grandparents.

My grandparents felt like my rock when I was growing up. They offered unconditional love. At least it felt that way. That is rare. They made impossible things seem possible. Salt air reminds me of the room they rented for our entire family in Mr. Cook’s Victorian home in Cape May, New Jersey, from the time I was a toddler until hurricanes kept pushing us up the coastline to Sea Isle and then Ocean City. It reminds me of the house my grandparents built at the Jersey shore when I was about eleven-years-old. It reminds me of sandcastles and carefree times. I associate the ocean with peace of mind and an inner joy that I do not feel anywhere else.

What type of pet do you have or want to have?

I have an Old English Sheepdog. His name is Strider and he is thirteen-years-old. That is him in the photo with the soccer ball. It is his favorite game. We now use basketballs because they don’t have all that foam he might swallow. He is a clown.

His companion, Laura, died last year. That is her in the snow in the feature photo, weirdly cropped by my WP theme. She was the most perfect pet I have ever loved. She came to live with us when she was two-years-old. The breeder had shaved her practically bald. She loved to fetch a ball. She never met a person she didn’t like. She had the sweetest personality. She could make you feel like the sun was shining when you were sitting under a thunder cloud.

The Day Laura Came To Live With Us

Sheepdogs are irresistible. They are funny and loyal to their people. Make no mistake; all of that hair is a lot of work. When Strider dies (it is inevitable), we are going to resist the urge to get another dog. We are dog lovers, but we did not get ours until our son went to college. Turns out, they give him asthma. He hasn’t had one healthy visit home in thirteen years. We have had cats and fish. No offense to those who love them, but I have no desire to get either again. No desire for birds or reptiles either. There is nothing like an Old English Sheepdog.

Are you usually late, early, or right on time?

I am usually early, but not by too much. I believe in showing up on time. It might seem like a little thing, I think it shows that I care about the people I am meeting or the event I am attending. However, better late than never, if I am not punctual.  

For recharging, would you rather meditate, swim, walk, listen to music, write, read, yoga, qigong other?

This is a tough question. I don’t know what recharges me. I used to feel energized when we lived in Philadelphia. I loved that city. A good walk in the city recharged me. I used to walk almost five miles a day, just for love of the city. It was like my muse. Poetry would write itself as I walked. There was always something interesting to photograph. But now that I live in suburban hell, a walk wears me out. It is terribly boring to walk around my community. Half a mile and I am over it. I am going to head into Washington, D.C. next week, and I am looking forward to it, but it is not the same as being in Philly or Boston.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful that I found Kevita Sparkling Lemon Cayenne probiotic drink in a case. I love it, and I have been buying it one bottle at a time in the cafe. It’s a fun beverage – fizzy, not too sweet, and it has kick. Yay, I now have a refrigerator stocked with it.

I am looking forward to my new dishwasher arriving Thursday. The current dishwasher, which is barely three-years-old, died about a month ago. A repairman came out and said an electrical component had burned out. He had to order the part, and then he would return to fix it – $300.00. Cheaper than a new one. No word from the repairman after two weeks, so we gave him a call. It turns out that he couldn’t order the part; he would have to order a whole wiring harness – more like the cost of a new dishwasher. It would have been nice if he had called to inform us, but he made up his mind that we would not want to do that. He was right, but we didn’t know about it, so we were doing nothing – except dishes and more dishes. Armed with knowledge, we went shopping two weeks ago and found a lovely Bosch. Although I didn’t mind washing the dishes a month ago, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to the new arrival.



At the risk of being cliche, today’s prompt made me think: Life is sacred.

Yesterday, I attended funeral services for a young woman, who took her own life at the mere age of twenty-seven-years-old. Her pain must have felt great. Her pain has ended. Pain, in the form of grief, has come to rest on her family and friends. The anguish her parents and young husband were feeling was palpable, sorrow invading their very being to its core. The feeling so pervasive that it crowds everything else out, until it alone survives. And yet, they shared stories about her life with humor and hope for the rest of us.

This is not the first time suicide has touched my life. The first time was in high school, when a very close friend chose to end his life. Since then, there have been others. And I don’t know why, but this is the third person I have known that died by their own hand this year. Two of them were mothers in their mid-forties. Thankfully, I have only been affected on the fringes, meaning no one in my immediate family has found this as the answer to suffering.

It isn’t my intention to judge anyone who feels suicidal or has attempted suicide, or discuss it at length. I don’t really understand it. My only purpose here is to encourage anyone who is contemplating suicide to pause and find help, or if you know someone who might need help, intervene before it is too late.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Daily Post Daily Prompt: Sacred