Friday, May 30, 2014


My daughter flew back from
college last weekend, and
once again, our nest is full.

Like fresh strawberries, I
know this season is brief, 
and I'm savoring all of the
sweetness while it lasts.


Tidying up her room before
she arrived, I came across
a list that she'd written
simply titled WORDS.

Although my girl favors 
artistic over written expression, 
it made me smile to see that 
the apple hasn't fallen far
from this word-loving tree.

As summer knocks on the
door here in the Northern
Hemisphere, I've had my own
set of words buzzing around
my mind like bees in the


I love how each one hums
with a sense of energy and

They inspire me to shake
off routines and embrace
each day more mindfully,
particularly when it comes
to food.

It's so easy to get in a rut
with meals, for a variety of

You may be super busy.

You may only be cooking 
for one or two.

Familiar foods are comforting.

Familiar recipes are easier.

Someone at your house is picky.

You are simply tired.

All of those reasons have been
my own reasons, at one
time or another.

But recently, all that changed.

Looking for an energy boost, I
began to reconsider what foods
really nurture our health.

Instead of focusing on the things
that we shouldn't be eating, I 
refocused my attention on all
the essential nutrients I wanted
to capture, instead.

Once that door was opened,
the creativity began to flow and
new flavors, foods and tasty
combinations are regularly
gracing our table again.

The abundance that even 
modest grocery stores offer
in healthy, sustaining foods is
amazing.  Unlike our ancestors,
we don't have to toil to enjoy
a ripe, juicy peach, tender baby
greens or tangy Greek yogurt--
unless we want to!

On tonight's menu is
 Tuna, Lemon & Caper Sauce 
over whole wheat pasta.

It meets my criteria for freshness
and simplicity, plus, I have all
of the ingredients in my pantry
and fridge already : )


I think these same words can be
applied to things that feed the 
spirit, as well.

But that's for another blog post.

Right now, I've got water to boil,
lemons to squeeze, parsley to chop.



Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful,
but do this, eat well.

Bring the same consideration to the
preparation of your food as you devote
to your appearance.  

Let your dinner
be a poem, like your dress.

~ Charles Pierre Monselet, French Author


PS:  What's on your table, right now?

I based my recipe on
the one found here.

all photos my own

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cruisin' into Happy

The Owl and the Pussy-cat
went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat....

~ Edward Lear

This Owl and her Pussy-cat
momma are still riding on
waves of memories from our
annual mother-daughter trip
last week, which she has treated 
me to annually for nearly 16 
years as birthday gifts.

When my children were little,
so were the trips--
long weekends, really.

Gradually, as the kids grew
more and more independent,
the trips were extended.

This year was the longest,
as we cruised the Western
Caribbean on the world's largest
cruise ship, the beautiful and
amazing Allure of the Seas.

On our first full day aboard,
we attended a nutrition and
fitness seminar led by a very
knowledgeable staff member
from Croatia.

One memorable piece of advice 
he dispensed was related to
exercise, but could be applied
to many things in life:

Whatever activity you choose
to do, make sure it's one that


Otherwise, he said shaking his
head, you won't do it.

I loved his accent.  The crew and
staff represented 75 different
nations, and the sailing guests, 47.

There was a lot of happy on that
ship.  At one point I remarked to
my mom that I wished people
around the globe could get along
as well as the diverse population
on the Allure of the Seas!

And while it's certainly easier to
find your happy while sailing the
waters of the Caribbean, there were
things I experienced that don't require
a staff of 3,000 or 225, 282 gross tons
of ship to achieve at home.....

1.  Wake up early to see the sunrise.
Even if it's just once and a while, 
it will make your heart glad.

2.  Talk to strangers, especially if
they are from another country or
have a service dog or are simply 
waiting in line with you for 
the elevator.

3.  If it makes you happy and doesn't
hurt anyone else, go for it.  Ride the
carousel.  Go see an animated movie.
Have the doughnut (but just one!).  
Sing and dance.

4.  Laugh early and laugh often!

5.  Show appreciation, whether it's a
compliment, a tip or a kind word
to the person in charge.  Not only
will it make them happy, it will make
you happy, too.

6.  Don't take yourself too seriously.
Although the outside changes, your
inner child doesn't -- and he or 
she needs to get out now and then!

is an inside job, after all. 

Despite life's challenges, its ups
and downs, it's stressors and its
heartaches, most of us still have the
choice to carve out our little piece
of happy, each and every day.

I had to remind myself of that as
my mom and I parted at the airport
at the end of our trip.

It's hard for this Owl to be 
1500 miles
from her Pussy-Cat.

But we are already dreaming
of our next adventure, in 2015.

Because looking forward, rather
than aft, is part of cruisin' 
into happy, too : )


PS:  How do you find your happy?

all pics:  P&H

Friday, May 2, 2014

My Power Trip

Monday was errand day.

It was a gray, rainy day.
Not the kind that makes you
want to bounce from place
to place--the post office, dry
cleaners, grocery store, etc.

Everything seems a bit harder
on a day like that.

A bit messier.

Kind of a slog--

{My term for a day that's
going to need an attitude

So I bundled up, collected
my errand basket--mail, dry
cleaning, deposit envelope
and grocery list--and headed
out the door.

My car was warm and dry,
which put the first smile
on my face.

I thought back to the days when
I took a bus to go shopping or to
work, and gratitude warmed
me up even further.

It's been a really long winter
(and spring!) for bus riders.

Singing along with the radio,
my mood was jacked up and I
was ready to tackle my stops.

Parking at the post office,
I caught the eye of another
customer as we both dodged
raindrops heading inside,
 and I smiled.

Nothing back.

That always puzzles me, but
I don't hold it against the person,
because I have no way of knowing
what might be happening there,
under the surface.

I like to smile.  Even if I'm
having a bad day, it makes me
feel good.

Great, in fact!

And often, when I smile at
people in line at the post office
or the grocery store, their eyes
light up and they smile back.

Smiles have that power.

Even when the person who
receives a smile doesn't return
one, it still tells them,

I noticed you.

We are companions on this
journey, even if it's just for a
few seconds or minutes.

Smiles are like tiny gifts.

When we smile at a friend, a
spouse, a child, even our pets,
we are giving them a small piece
of our spirit and communicating

Those little upward corners
are a mighty potent thing.

On my rainy Monday dash
around town, I continued to
wield this weapon at each stop.

It wasn't such a slog, anymore.

And I got a lot of smiles in
return, which I heaped on
little Gracie when I stepped
through the doorway at home.

I'm absolutely certain
that she'd smile back, 

if she could : )

Sometimes your joy is the
source of your smile, but
sometimes your smile can
be the source of your joy.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


{all pics P&H}