Zentangle® - May 2019

May was a busy month…but I made time to keep my Zentangle-a-day plan and did more than one on some days. 18 of the 31 tiles I picked for May were made on the iPad.  My favorites are still the black background with white ‘ink’.

There were some with a different color background or ink.

Toward the end of the month I started experimenting with complex loopy strings and mixed patterns that made some different looking tiles than my usual.

Switching away from the digital tiles - I am still enjoying the 3-inch round coasters. I did a lot of experimenting with the phicops pattern in May.

I made very few square tiles. I will probably be making more in June in preparation for my first ‘class’ as a CZT to dry run the module I will do with summer campers during the counselor training in mid-June.

I’ve been making small tiles (2” squares, Bijou size) with single patterns that I will use as prompts when I’m teaching…or to help select patterns for my own tiles.

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As usual – looking back at the Zentangle tiles I produced in May is very satisfying. It’s awesome to see all of them collected together…realizing I made all them…savoring them again.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Zentangle® - April 2019

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At the beginning of April, I was in the Certified Zentangle Trainer class…creating tiles as we learned best strategies for teaching others the Zentangle® Method. The tiles were put into a journal with corners like were used for pictures in old scrapbooks. My two favorite tiles that I did during the class were the ‘creature’ tile and the triangular tile (the different tile shape and color).

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I didn’t include the tiles from class in my 30 picks for April (I averaged over 3 tiles for each day of April…so had a challenge to pick just 30 for this blog post!). I’ve grouped them into 2 groups below:

The tiles I made on the iPad. I keep returned to black background and white ‘ink’ – even though I sometimes am in the mood for color…change up a little…temporarily.

The big experiment of the month was some round coasters I ordered from Amazon (here). They are 3-inch rounds rather than 4.5-inch that we did in class (and I found overwhelmingly large). The coasters are a good thickness and texture for Zentangle. I’ve used two pens: the Pigman Pen 05 (used for younger students…which I will have in summer campers this summer) and the Sharpie Ultra Fine (lots of colors). At some point I might experiment with a sealer and use them as coasters!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

YE Thinking: Reducing Plastic

It’s impossible to stop using plastic completely – but I am reducing in every way that I can. Plastic on our land or in our water is not a good thing and it is a totally man-made problem that is becoming more apparent every year. Here are my strategies for reducing my plastic footprint at the end of 2018:

Buy products in containers that are not plastic (i.e. milk in cartons rather that plastic jugs, lemon juice in glass jar, peanut butter/preserves in glass jars).

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Always have reusable shopping bags handy. This was probably the first strategy I implemented, and it’s been over 10 years ago now. It was very easy for the weekly grocery shopping. Doing it for the quick trips of one or two items - and to stores other than the grocery store – happened over time. I now carry a small bag in a stuff pocket attached to my purse.

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Put produce in reusable produce bags. The challenge is that the labels spewed out by the scales don’t stick to the fabric…so I have a pad of paper to stick them too and the checker easily scans them when I am checking out.

Avoid single use plastic utensils. Go with plastic that can withstand many passes through the dishwasher or stainless flatware. My husband and I have travel sporks that we use for picnics on road trips.

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Make your own body wash with slivers of soap with water in a plastic bottle (I have a bottle from purchased body wash that I like for it’s shape….it will last for several years replenished from time to time with bar soap slivers!)

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Stop buying soft drinks and bottled water. I have been surprised at how easy this is to do for me. My husband is still working at it. It’s a healthy choice too. I carry my travel mug almost all the time – usually with just ice water. Another plus – it can reduce ‘grocery’ costs.

In the end – plastic is unavoidable. I try to choose plastics that are easier to recycle in our community.

  • Our recycling does not take clamshells like salad comes in so I rarely buy salad in that form. I buy the bundled organic full leaves (or plant) and put it in one of my reusable bags….or in a container that I can recycle (like a plastic bag).

  • I buy popcorn in a plastic bag rather than plastic container since I am more confident that the grocery store where I return clean plastic bags gets them recycled than the vendor that processes the multi-stream recycling picked up at our curb.

  • If there is an option to buy something I use frequently in a larger container (both plastic), I buy the larger container. My rationale is that larger containers probably get through the recycling process and into the correct bin (i.e. plastic) to be recycled.

One strategy that has helped me reduce the amount of plastic we are using is to look at what we put in our trash or recycle bins. I am fast approaching the point that I’ve done what I can do until packaging changes and I have more choices – choices that don’t include plastic.

YE thinking: Blog Evolution

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My first blog post was back in November 2011. I recently went back to look at some of the older posts and did the mental exercise of noting what has changed…what has stayed the same. Some of the early posts started out with quotes like this one from the day after Christmas 2011. There was more text than pictures in those early posts.

The 10 characteristics of a matriarch…and me…haven’t changed. I’m more settled in all of them now than I was 7 years ago:

  1. Past the drive to make a living. The prime drive to establish oneself in the world and make an acceptable home is probably from ages 22-55. It can vary but there comes a point in life where the focus on a career shifts to something else much more integrated with everything else life has to offer because the hard work has paid off and the prospect of doing something completely different can take precedence.

  2. Children are living independently. Until ones children are living independently, you are a mother rather than a matriarch!

  3. Healthy and full of energy. Matriarchs have retained their health through lifestyle choices and care for themselves. They often appear younger than they are because of their attitude toward life and their energy pursuing whatever interests them.

  4. Understands herself better than earlier in her life. The changes that occur as children become independent and the long term career ends (usually intentionally) forces a period of contemplation about what is truly important for the next phase of life. The answers don’t particularly surprise our matriarch…she views the time to think about it to be the tremendous luxury of the in-between days.

  5. Self-actualized decisions. As a teenager and adult, she may have followed the advice of her parents or mentors or managers. All that was good. Now she is much more in the mode of making her own decisions with inputs from others not being quite as important as they were earlier in her life.

  6. Post-menopausal (i.e. past child bearing). The joy of not having a monthly rhythm…feeling great all the time!

  7. Knows how to live within her means. Whatever her financial situation, she knows exactly how to make ends meet and sustain her home. After all – she plans to live to be 100.

  8. Assertive. She is nice about it, but she is savvy and does not let people take advantage of her unfairly.

  9. Lots of self-discipline. She gets up fairly early in the morning because she is enthusiastic about getting started on the activities of her day. Her rhythms of communication with the people she loves are consistent and thoughtful. The interests she develops are wide ranging and shared as she develops relationships with like-minded others.

  10. Married. She is known for her long duration relationships….most notably a spouse…although it could be friends as well. If she is widowed she does not live in the past but she may not feel it necessary to form a new relationship that cannot rise to the same level of shared history.

I would add at a couple more characteristic based on my last 7 years:

  1. Giving back. Matriarchs are always looking for ways they can be a positive influence in their community and the broader world through volunteering time (and/or money).

  2. For the long term. At some point, taking a more strategic view of the world becomes easier. That translates into living my life thoughtful of what will continue after I am gone. It is the way of savoring the present cognizant of the impact on the future of people and the world.

The weekly gleanings posts appeared almost from the beginning but my picks have shifted a bit toward more visual and science rather than technology.

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I started a monthly doodle post in 2012 then there was a lull after mid-2013 until I took a Zentangle class in January 2015 and started the month Zentangle post. Behind the scenes prep for the post changed over time from taking photos to scanning then to digital tiles on the iPad using the Apple Pencil beginning last spring.

Coursera came along not that long at a good time for me and I enjoyed courses that I’d not been able to take back in my college days. My posts about them started in 2014 and continued for at least 3 years. Now I am more focused on conferences and travelling than online courses…although I might go back to them at some point.

Photography has become a bigger hobby to me over the past 7 years and the blog is a major outlet for my images. When I travel – it’s always with a camera readily accessible. And then I have the illustrations for what I want to write about and a reminder of experience too.

Travel has always been good fodder from blog posts:

  • 2011: road trip from Maryland to Arizona

  • 2012: road trip to Shenandoah National Park in April, Tennessee parks in June, state parks in southern New York in October, Dallas in December

  • 2013:  Arizona in March, South Carolina in April, Norfolk and Richmond in May, Arizona in June, Utah in October, Florida in November

  • 2014: Dallas in March, southern New York parks in May, Newport RI in late September, Chincoteague VA in November

  • 2015: Tucson AZ in January, North Carolina wildlife refuges in April, Dallas in July and again in September, Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, Hawaii in December

  • 2016: Tucson AZ in January, eastern shore MD wildlife refuges in March, Dallas in April, Florida in September, Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, Festival of the Cranes in NM

  • 2017: Cross country from Maryland to Arizona with a stop in Dallas for my daughter’s conference,  Dallas in March, Pittsburgh in March, Delmarva Birding in April,  Dallas in May, Road trip from Tucson to Pittsburgh in June, road trip from Nebraska for solar eclipse in August,  Staunton River State Park (Virginia) for star party in October, TX for Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in November, Pittsburgh in December

  • 2018: Dallas in April, Dallas in June, State College in August, Festival of the Cranes in NM, Dallas in December

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I’m sure the blog will continue to change – nothing stays the same and we shouldn’t want it to.  

Zentangle® - November 2018

Lots of colors – tiles and pens. At the end of the month I reverted to black tiles. I think I like the dark background the best.

The travel during November did not impact my tile creation; carrying the iPad and Apple pencil are very easy. I experimented creating a tile on the flight to New Mexico after I realized that Bluetooth connections were permitted on the plane. Creating the tile was not as Zen as I like; full planes are too crowded and often bumpy. The tile did not make it into my top 30 tiles for November.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Home Again

I’ve been away from home for almost three weeks. This is my first day back and I hope some of my normal routines will be re-established quickly and easily. I’ll be posting the June month-end posts over the next few days as part of that return to ‘normal’….along with grocery shopping, yard work, and laundry!

On a positive note – spending a period (like 2-3 weeks) with a different-than-usual focus is always a learning experience. It will take some introspection now that I am home again to internalize the nuances of the experience.

Stay tuned!

Accumulating News Feeds

I use Feedly to collect all the RSS feeds I want to track all the time – looking at them via my web browser on my PC or the APP on my phone. It keeps my email from being overwhelmed all the time although there are some sites that only provide an email newsletter rather than an RSS feed. Most of the Gleanings I collect every week come from the news feeds. The HoLLIE course resulted in 3 additions to my list already:

  • Climate.gov News & Features
  • Maryland Environmental Health Network
  • NASA Earth Observatory

There could be others as I hone my follow-up activities for the class.

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I’m looking at my list of 48 sources in Feedly this morning and remembering how some of them got onto the list. Coursera courses prompted 13:

  • Archaeological headlines – Archaeology Magazine
  • Center for a Livable Future
  • CleanTechnica
  • Egypt at the Manchester Museum
  • Europeana Blog
  • Free Technology for Teachers
  • In the Artifact Lab
  • Meatless Monday
  • Planetizen
  • Smart News Smithsonian
  • TED Blog
  • The Dirt
  • Yale E360

Others are part of my interest in online books:

  • Botanicus.org
  • Internet Archive Blogs
  • New Online Books

10 more came from books/magazines I read in the past or organizations I was interested in following:

  • AGU Blogosphere
  • Cool Green Science
  • Fitbit Blog
  • National Parks Traveler
  • ScienceDaily: Latest Science News
  • Squarespace – The Blog
  • The Scientist RSS – The Nutshell
  • Vegetarian & Vegan Recipes: VegKitchen with Nava Atlas
  • What’s Next: Top Trends
  • Wildlife Promise

I periodically go back through the list to organize the categories I’ve created…delete feeds that are no longer of interest. As I wrote this I realized that there are some that I don’t know how they got on my list…but I’m interested in their content so they’ll stay in my Feedly list!

Spring Cleaning (in February)

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During my winter lull in volunteer activity, I always try to do some major cleaning out of the house. It never works out to be as major as I want it to be, but I try again every year. I’ve already had a charity pick up one front porch full of ‘stuff’ late last year and now I’ve accumulated another pile that is big enough. It was a real mess at first because I didn’t have boxes to put things in….then I had a box of ‘stuff’ that ended up being trash and decided to donate some luggage/backpacks – hurray! Containers to hold giveaway stuff.

Two questions that I ask myself about each item that help me decide:

  • Have I used it in the last year?
  • Do I want to take it with me when I move from this house?

If the answer to both those questions in ‘no’ then the logic becomes:

  • Does my husband agree (if it is an item that has anything at all to do with him)?
    • If so – Is it something that could be used by someone else?
      • If so – Do I know someone that I wants it?
        • If so – Deliver the items as soon as possible to that someone.
        • If not – Put it in the giveaway pile
    • If not – it goes in the trash or recycle for the week (or spread out over a few weeks if it is a lot of stuff or some items must be taken to the landfill directly in our area)

Of course – when we do eventually move from this house, there will be a lot of effort to clean out stuff to avoid moving ‘stuff’ that we don’t need (or want).

Zentangle® – January 2018

I created 101 Zentangle tiles in January! The number surprised me so now I am thinking up reasons that I created so many. It was probably a combination of things:

  • I was at home more and creating tiles is something I enjoy doing when I have time.
  • There were new pens involved. I had bought a package of 24 Ultra Fine Point Sharpies and was trying to use up the last of the old set…which I did toward the end of the month. Then I was keen to use the new set. What a luxury to have pens full of ink…no skips!
  • The cleaning out of office supplies resulted in a lot of materials that could be made into tiles (via my paper cutter). I am overwhelmed with a variety of tiles at this point and a pile to of sheets still to make into 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares.

With the 101 to choose from – picking 31 was a challenge. 10 are from old business cards and 21 are from recycled materials (card stock, file folders, Seltzer water boxes).

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Prius Prime – Year 1

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I’ve own my Prius Prime for a year as of today….and enjoyed the serenity of driving in EV mode for most of my errands. I took this picture just after I bought the 3rd tank of gas (it came with a full tank so it’s on is 4th tank at this point).

It has been an easy thing to transition from a gasoline powered car (my 10-year-old Acura TL) to a plug-in hybrid. I view it as a stepping stone toward and purely electric vehicle by the time I buy another new car…and maybe that will be self-driving as well. The plug-in hybrid has worked well for me since I do make road trips occasionally that would have taken more planning – changes to the way I travel – than I was ready to undertake. This car makes it easy since it just uses some gasoline when I am on the road for a longer time.

I like that the car charges overnight (I have it programed to start charging at 11:15 PM); I haven’t needed to upgrade the regular outlet in the garage since I don’t need faster charging. There have been a few times that I’ve come back from an errand knowing I had another later in the day that I’ve had it ‘charge now’ rather than waiting for the overnight….but it hasn’t been a frequent occurrence.

The only bad experience I had with the car was a tire blowing out (on my first road trip!) last summer. The passage of time has dimmed that trauma….and the car has been a wonderful drive for the rest of the time.

I’m still pleased with my decision from a year ago today!

Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers

When I spotted some chocolate covered graham crackers in the grocery store before Christmas – I quickly bought some….and then both two more bags in subsequent weeks. This is a food that reminds me of a person – a great grandmother. Every time we visited her, she had chocolate covered graham crackers to offer us as a ‘treat.’  I never ate them anywhere else so, in my mind, they were extra special.

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These modern versions – more than 50 years after I ate chocolate covered graham crackers at my great-grandmother’s – are different. The chocolate coating is thicker, harder, and dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. Those differences don’t matter. The ‘treat’ is wrapped in memory.

Zentangle® – November 2017

It was a challenge to pick 30 tiles from the 73 that I created in November. The first 13 I made while I was traveling in Texas for the first 2 weeks of the month. I used a clip board or the small box that I used to store pens, blank tiles, and stencils (from the Buntini boxes) as a support for the tiles. I made them in the airport, sitting in rocking chairs or on a bed, outdoors, early in the morning….wherever I was creating the Zentangle created a bubble of calm that made the stress of travel melt away.

I also continued to use the lap table that my daughter used for art work when she was in elementary school. It has handy storage areas on each side to hold pens and blank tiles.

I keep the lap table down in the den and usually am listening to news while I create my tile; I need the Zentangle calm to not be overwhelmed by what I hear!

10 tiles were created in my home office – the place I create the majority of my tiles most months…just not this November!

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Birthday Cakes

My mother’s birthday was a few weeks ago and we celebrated over the course of a week while I visited in Carrollton. There were three cakes! I didn’t think to photograph the first one; it was purchased in a grocery store…a square carrot cake of about 3 servings with no icing on the sides. It was the old-fashioned kind of carrot cake with plenty of spices, raisins and pineapple (and carrots, of course). It was wonderful that the icing did not overwhelm the cake too.

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The next cake was purchased by a granddaughter’s boyfriend from a specialty bakery – a Tres Leches cake decorated the glazed strawberries and Oreo cookies. Yummy! I just too the Lactaid…and enjoyed it tremendously.

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A few days later, my sister bought Bundtinis – these are mini-Bundt cakes with a big swirl of icing on top. There were twelve each of red velvet, carrot, and cinnamon swirl. A good last hurrah for the birthday celebration.

All Day in a Symposium

Recently I spent a day at a symposium about the War of 1812. It was a learning experience for more than the topic!

I had not sat in an all-day meeting quite this dense with talks since I left my career about 5 years ago…and I was reminded how draining it can be. It is very difficult to be so sedentary for a day (and the chairs were more immediately uncomfortable).  Did I used to just accept this situation as ‘normal’?

I also have assumptions when it comes to food – that containers will be opened/unwrapped, that napkins will be available, that there are some ‘healthy’ choices. Those assumptions turned out to not be correct for the meeting and I realized that my history skews my views of how food is presented as well as the food itself. Maybe 20 years ago I would have accepted that there were no veggies offered…I am more particular now.

On the plus side – the talks were interesting and well presented. I lasted from 9-4 and then was too achy from the length of time in the unpadded chairs to stay for the last 2 hours. It was a day too long for me!

Zentangle® – October 2017

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Zentangles at Staunton River were done on a clipboard – newly purchased, with a compartment that was more than sufficient to hold all the pens and blank tiles. The light outdoors and inside the tent was very bright (sunny days). The Zen of creating the tiles different-than-usual. I picked 10 tiles I made during the 4 days.

 

I am still enjoying the tiles made from the Seltzer Water cardboard. The color and weight appeal to me. The paper cutter to process the boxes has a semi-permanent home on the island in my kitchen.

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Picking an old business card as a tile is my favorite for a ‘quick’ Zen fix. I am noticing that I am making a dent in the business cards left over from my career. It feels good to be pre-purposing them rather than simply dumping them in recycle.

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The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. "Zentangle" is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

Thrift Store Finds

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I love the bargains I find at thrift stores. The thrift store jeans and other pants I bought when my daughter was a senior in high school (over 10 years ago) are wearing out…so it is time for some ‘new’ finds. On my first foray to the local thrift store, I found 3 pants; they cost a total of $16! I’ll clean out the old pants from my closet and put them in the giveaway pile although they are very worn and might only be good for rags at this point. The serendipity find of the day was a pair of winter boots that are warm and not too clunky. The soles don’t look worn at all and they are very comfortable. I always wonder at these ‘like new’ items; how did they come to be in the thrift store? I bought them for $9 and plan to enjoy them all winter.

Company Coming

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The prospect of overnight visitors is always a good forcing function to get the house is better shape. I vacuum regularly but the parts of our house that we don’t use frequently (like the guest bedroom and bathroom) are not dusted and cleaned as often as the rest of the house.

And we tend to accumulate things on the surface areas in the kitchen – breakfast area – den. We have a lot more space than we need, and I’m always surprised at how long items remain in place once they are put down. So now I am feeling good about getting spaces cleared off and the house changed from summer to fall/winter. I brought in the glass birdbath bowl, cleaned it thoroughly, and filled it with the CSA bounty of winter squash – a great center piece for the kitchen island.

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Five Years Post Career

It’s been a little over five years since my time shifted abruptly from being driven by paid career work to being driven by me alone. As I converted my 5 years of blog postings from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace 7, I thought about how things have changed for me over those years.

In the beginning, I felt very much like I did in my early 20s…that there were so many things I wanted to do and I just need to make some choices about what to do first. I was almost giddy with excitement but stressed by the newness of the choices I was making. The rhythm of writing the blog every day helped me overcome some of the discomfort of so many new things happening.

Coursera became available and I busied myself taking online courses. It was indulging the student in me that never grew up!

My husband and I did a little more travelling than before but that did not make as much impact on our lives as the aging of our family (hospitalizations, cross country moves, etc.). I was much more available to help as needed – and often that meant some traveling.

Volunteer work was always something I thought I would do but I did not anticipate 5 years ago that I would return so strongly to the focus of my (long ago) undergraduate degree: biology. Once I started being a volunteer naturalist for elementary school field trips with the Howard County Conservancy the ball just kept including more: Master Naturalist Training, Middle School BioBlitz, High School Stream and School Yard Assessments, pre-school nature programs, nature photography with summer campers and then, just this past summer, Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy flight attendant. So far – once I’ve started doing something, I’ve kept doing it although I am probably close to capacity at this point. If I decide to start a new volunteer endeavor, I might have to stop something else.

I do more ‘art’ type activities that I did before – Zentangle and collecting of botanical/butterfly prints and photography. I still read quite a lot but I enjoy the pictorial books too. I spend more time with visual arts that I did earlier in my life.

Overall – I’ve noticed the change in myself…less feelings of stress…more joy. The pace of life has stabilized to be just right!

Bowls

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I have a small collection of serving bowls that I use for a ‘meal-in-a-bowl’ – where the whole meal is in a largish bowl: soup or salad or stir fry. There are 4 bowls that I stack in convenient place in the cabinet and use frequently.

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My favorite one is a clear glass bowl with a botanical pattern – smooth on the inside with the botanical texture on the outside. I only use it for salad. It is probably the lightest in weight of the 4 bowls so I can enjoy my salad anywhere, not just at the table.

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My next favorite is a shallower bowl from Praltzgraff (Mission Flower). I bought it as a single piece specifically for warm meal-in-a-bowl dishes: soups or stir fry. I liked the pattern inside the bowl and around the rim. I always eat soups at the table (too prone to spills to carry around) but eat stir fry meals anywhere in the house that there is a comfortable chair.

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There is a plain white bowl that gets a lot of use because it is the only one my husband uses too. He uses it for spaghetti. Soups and spaghetti (the squash variety) are what I put in this bowl.

The last bowl I like more for the pattern than the bowl itself. I only use it when the others aren’t available because it is so heavy. It’s usually for salad but sometimes has other things in it…since it is the last resort from the cabinet.

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Just writing this post is making me hungry!

How my blog has changed since November 2011

I’ve been savoring some of my oldest posts and thinking about what has changed – and what has not changed - about my blog over the almost 5 years.  I’ve enjoyed the trip into my past. If you want to look at the old posts, select ‘2011’ from the pull down under ‘blog archive.’

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The very first blog was a recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins…and it still is something that I would bake although I am not eating as much bread of any kind these days and not posting very often about recipes. Still – in mid-November 2017 – I probably will be in the mood to cook with those spices and with pumpkin!

I was already doing 'gleanings of the week'. There were more posts that were just text since I was just beginning to develop an expertise in photography. My first gallery resulted from a trip to Longwood Gardens; it was still warm enough for the water lilies to be looking good. I still take similar photographs but have a better camera (40x optical zoom rather than 10x) and I watch the lighting and composition more now. Still – that original gallery is not bad.

I still post about new technology. In November 2011, it was a Kindle Fire. More recently it has been my Prius Prime (plug-in hybrid).

Travel is still a frequent topic in my blog just as it was in November and December 2011. I made a road trip from Maryland to Arizona where my daughter and her husband were in grad school --- doing a blog post for each state I crossed. If I used that same rationale for a road trip now it would be to Pennsylvania (where they are doing post docs).

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The trend has been to include a lot more photographs and other images (Zentangles, clipped images from ebooks I am recommending). When I started the blog, I was in the middle of transitioning for full time career to post-career. I was thrilled to have so many appealing choices. Now, I’ve made some choices and am savoring ‘now’ – enjoying the variety of activities day to day…season to season…and further out. There are still so many opportunities to pursue and freedom to choose…or not. I’ve become more a matriarch than I was in 2011!