Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
Z is for Zest

How about ending the A-Z blogging challenge with a dual meaning word?

Zest: The outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, or other citrus fruit, used as flavoring.

Zest: Spirited enjoyment; gusto.

Jessica has spirited enjoyment and gusto, eh?

Zest is also something you can find in words... I am prone to zest via exclamation mark. Many times I go through an email or something else I've written and take out exclamation marks all over the place, thinking, "You can't really be *that* excited about it, Sher!" (See, I couldn't resist dropping one in there.)

I appreciate zest--in my food and my life--and enjoy zest when others bring a little to the party as well.

I found zest in this poem:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
-e. e. cummings

May you bring zest to all you encounter today!

I can't believe this is the last post of the A-Z blogging challenge. Thanks for sticking with me throughout, and to those of you who commented and became new followers--THANKS a bunch! Your patronage is appreciated, more than you know. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
Y is for Yellow

If you know me, at all, you know that green is kind of my "thing." I have countless green items--shoes, coats, hats, bags, scarfs, skirts, shirts, dresses, sunglasses, jewelry, nail polish, coffee mugs--you get my drift. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to the color.

So, yellow? A whole post filled with yellow pictures? Doesn't seem quite right, especially since I didn't devote G to green...

Truthfully, I have a kind of love-hate thing with yellow: there are shades I adore and want to inhale, but there are shades I wish could be banished from the universe. I remember the first time I saw 100% yellow come off a press, ink to paper, and I thought--horrors! that's awful! too bright, too garish! And I still do have that reaction, when I see many of the more "wow" shades of the color. But when I see yellow in nature, and the more mellow tones, then I am in love with the color.

And, whether there's any significance to it or not, pretty much every dream I have that is happy and memorable, yellow is a part of it. Yellow kitchens, yellow clothing, yellow fields, sunshine... If you read dream interpretation stuff (and/or take it seriously, a whole "other" matter), that's a good thing, it seems. 

And remember my One Little Word for 2013: Light? Yep, that word has yellow written all over it.

So today, I am yellow, and all that suggests: light, intuitive, clear, hopeful, happy, harmonious and wise. Yes, especially wise. That's the thing with interpretations, right? You get to take the stuff you like and ignore the rest!

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
X is for Xenodocheionology

The list of X words is, well, short.

But when I saw xenodocheionology (love of hotels, pronounced: zen-o-do-key-o-nol-o-gy), I thought, I can get on board with that! I wouldn't put me in the must-have-the-best-hotel camp, by any means, but there is something about staying in a nice hotel that is a little bit fun, a little bit luxurious. Someone else is going to make my bed? OK. I can call and have food delivered? Well, if you insist.

I was trying to remember the first nice hotel I ever stayed in... it might just be one of the Outriggers on Oahu. I have very fond memories of ordering up a lot of breakfast via room service there, and thinking, truly, this is the life. Funny what makes a 10 year old feel special.

I am pretty sure the most expensive hotel I ever stayed at was bunking with (code for: someone else paid) my brother while he was working/staying in LA, at The Peninsula. Quite a place! I think his favorite celebrity sighting there was Snoop Dog? I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong.

Husband took me to NYC during our courtship (doesn't that sound romantic? It was.), and he booked us at the Lowes Regency. It was close to the park, close to midtown, and had great beds and pillows (very important in my hotel experience). When C and I went back last fall, we stayed at a little boutique place, the Carvi, also in midtown. It was tiny, but clean and decently appointed, and easy to walk everywhere we wanted to. Most important, it had free wi-fi. Who pays for wi-fi? Not me.

I read through Travel&Leisure's top hotels of 2012 and finally, at Number 43, I saw the one that makes my heart go pitter pat: The Four Seasons in Bora Bora. Wow, is all I have to say about that. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of other out-of-this-world places on the list, but I have to say the hut-over-water thing gets me every time. Definitely on the bucket list.

What's the nicest hotel you've ever stayed at? Would you go back? And what's on your bucket list?

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday night grateful moment

I couldn't resist sharing the art above, based on my earlier post for W in the A-Z blogging challenge: Wake up! Seems to go along with the theme...

This afternoon, the guys and I were fortunate enough to have some time together in the yard. I was of course amazed at the number of weeds that have found their way into the flower beds already, but they will be banished easily enough. I warned the weeds I wasn't able to get to today that I'll be back. (And I said it in the Arnold Schwartzenegger voice, too! Very effective for weed killing, I've found.)

I am so grateful for the spring color, for all the buds and blossoms and greenery, everywhere! I got a few flowers tucked into pots, and will finish filling the pots gradually, as I see additional beauties at the nurseries.

Gerberas are one of my very favorites, ever. I usually get as many colors as I can, every year.

Looks like another bumper crop year for strawberries!

Love the little faces on the violets.

We also turned the sprinklers on for the very first time, and so things got a bit of a bath. These chives were grateful for the drink!

I feel a rhubarb dessert coming on, over the weekend!

In many ways, this week flew by! There was a lot going on between work and home, and a few volunteer/side projects too. All the activity conspires to shorten the days, til I'm zooming around like a man woman! I am so grateful for the weekend, that it's here and that my guys are here too, and we will chill and peace-out for a bit together.

I'm grateful for interesting work, and interesting people to do it with.

I am grateful for soft sheets and plumped up pillows.

I'm grateful that when I can't fall back asleep in the middle of the night, I can listen to something mind-numbing like Larry King's new show on Hulu+, and I fall back asleep pretty quickly.

I'm grateful for all the flavors of spring. I have eaten more salads in the past two weeks than all winter... sad but true confession.

I'm grateful that somewhere along the way I got OK with not being liked all day every day by everybody. In my 20s, 'twas a different story; thankful for getting older.

I'm grateful for lunches with girlfriends. And texts. And short spurts of IMs (C, we really must connect one of these days!). And phone calls from dear ones while dish-doing. It's all good, these snippets of love and support.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to give back. I sat on a local foundation scholarship committee for the first time this spring and we hashed out the divvying up of the monies this week. It was invigorating and inspiring to see such commitment from a group of people who take very seriously the task of supporting young people into college.

I'm grateful for this experience of blogging A-Z, and all the fun new blogging interactions it's brought into my world. I will share more here about who I found and what inspired me the most; but as it winds down I'm almost sad to see it go. (Thank you to dear Lisa for encouraging me from the get-go.)

I'm especially grateful for the day of rest that is near, and for my family to share it with.

I hope your weekend brings you all the things you're looking for: if it's a list of honey-dos and a honey to do them, have at it. If it involves a hammock and iced tea, that sounds mighty fine as well.


A-Z blogging challenge:
W is for Wake up!

I wake up
...on mornings when I arise with the sun, knowing that no matter what the day before held (and possibly even the night, if sleep was scant), all will be well.

I wake up
...in moments of clarity on a weighty matter on my mind; I breathe an audible sigh, knowing things will work out as they're meant to.

I wake up
...when I read words that resonate with me; words that remind me to stay true to what I believe and know to be right.

I wake up
...when I acknowledge the grief and loneliness that is inherent in being human on this planet, but also acknowledge the love and compassion that also exist.

I wake up
...when I remind myself of the blessings of love.

I wake up
...when I pray and meditate on life, and the peace and reassurance is palpable.

I woke up
...at a pivotal life change that I didn't/couldn't control (divorce). It busted me out of ruts and habits and patterns, and turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

It wasn't until some time after that pivotal life change that I was able to see the difference, the before and after--how it peeled back all of my layers. I felt exposed, raw, and very awake. Even though it was downright uncomfortable, many times, I was able to see a lot of possibilities about my life that I hadn't considered in a long time, maybe ever. I remember describing the state as "wakefulness" to a couple of girlfriends at that time, and since; some get it, others look at me a bit askance.

A little later on down the path, past the actual crisis and flux, I reflected on how easy it would be to get comfortable, to snooze a little, and become complacent. I resolved not to nap, not to fall back into a sleepy existence.

The notion of never "life napping" has proved (and will continue to prove, I think) challenging. There's nothing this world appears to want more than to lull us into complacency. And it is very easy to be lulled--by whatever it is that creates a false sense of self for any of us... that can range from the shallow, shiny bling-bling of life, to real and significant distractions--work, accomplishments, the ridiculous notion that any of us are what we DO all day. I can't speak more thoroughly and thoughtfully to the commitment to staying awake than Pema; she never fails to inspire.

So, I wake up!

I wake up
...and reflect on the glorious notion that I have one more day to live and breathe and love and cry and laugh and work hard and feel keenly.

I wake up
...and count myself fortunate, as well as beholden to good fortune, in paying back and paying forward, remembering my responsibilities as a citizen of my community and the world.

I wake up
...joyful in faith, confident in love, and prayerful for peace.

I wake up
...and count myself so thankful to live, woken up.

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
V is for Vows

It's coming up on eight years since husband and I sat down to write our vows--by turns fun, and by turns "what were we thinking?" There was a lot of laughter and more than a few Google searches for appropriate words/phrases/poems. I remember sitting in his living room, me with my laptop, typing away, reading aloud, hitting the delete button a few dozen times, starting over.

When the day came to recite our joint creation, I was very glad we took the time to craft something together that we both would say. Now, I wish I could remember every word. I have no idea where the piece of paper is that I had been memorizing from...

On our first anniversary I penned the piece of our vows that I found the sweetest, to give to husband. I vaguely remember it is based off some old piece of poetry, but when I tried to find it recently, no luck. If you know who might have written something about keys and hearts, let me know!

There was a bit before, and a bit after, but this nugget in the middle was my favorite, and I'll never forget it:

I belong to you
You belong to me
Of that we are certain
You are locked in my heart
The small key has been thrown away
You must stay there forever

Seth was involved in the wedding planning with us, and around when we were writing vows. He found the whole "locked in my heart" and "throw away the key" thing quite amusing, even coming up with a funny little pantomime about it--only slightly mocking coming from a 9-yr-old... anyway, I had to make sure NOT to make eye contact with him during our vows, since I knew his little grin would put me into a fit of crying or giggles.

Have you ever taken a vow? What kind? If you got married, did you write your own wedding vows? How did that go?

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
U is for Understanding

Think about how the world would be, could be, if we were able to live out the following:

I believe the statement above would be true, if we could bring ourselves to step into that reality. The only problem is, someone has to be bold, and start. And no one really wants to be the one who puts themselves out there, because heaven's knows, people will take advantage. Sigh.

And then there's this:

When I realized how true the statement above was, it changed my life, and how I see people. No, not "oh, poor you," but, "hey, I get that," even if our battles are drastically different.

The two statements above could be construed as Giant Passes on People Behaving as Decent Humans, but they're not. They're absolutely not. They're a plea for understanding. Of each other, of yourself, of the world. Doesn't mean you let people treat you poorly, or act like jackasses. It means you know what to do with it, when it happens, and you're able to call them on their jackassery, without it being some giant emotional sinkhole. That's my thought, anyway; Golden Rule and all that--I'll do my best to understand you, you do your best to understand me. That largess of spirit, dare I say Generosity, then fosters more of the same. And so on, and so on, and so on.

P.S. To new followers and all commenters, I am sorry I haven't made the rounds in a couple of days. A typical work Monday, followed by a catering-prep Tuesday, will make for a busy Wednesday, but then life returns to "normal." I will be around to visit asap.

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
T is for Travel

Right now I have the Travel bug.

I stood in front of the board at Sea-Tac last Friday and thought, Oh! Where would I like to go?

Granted, I was in the local-regional terminal, so the dreaming was pretty limited. But still. I am ready to plan something grand.

It doesn't have to happen soon(ish), in fact, planning is half the fun. Goodness knows I love home, but sometimes seeing the sights makes you remember why you love home so much--maybe I'm in need of that reminder, right about now!

So... where should we plan to get to, in our Next Big Adventure?

Where I've been:
*Hong Kong
*Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne)
*Marshall Islands
*Canada (does that count, since I was raised there?):
*Washington, DC
*Alaska (cruisin')

Where I want to go:
*Europe, in general...
*Early Christian church tour of Turkey/Greece
*Africa: a safari...
*A cruise!

Kauai double rainbow.

Road-trippin' to Canada.

Lady Liberty.

Hawaiian sunset.

I think *this* is the feeling I'm craving right about now.

Is there anywhere you're hankering to get to? Tell me where!

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
S is for Salty or Sweet?

Salty or sweet? is a question that gets asked a bit around here--even of myself in a rhetorical (not in a scary-talking-to-myself) way.

Generally, I like to tune in to what I'm "in the mood" to eat. I know, a lot of people don't march to that drum--they eat what's in the fridge, what's easy, what the majority of people in the house vote for. My style is different (more whimsical), and I'm OK with that. If it means I make more than one thing for dinner, I'm also OK with that. (Calm down, moms who have to cook for six or seven. In our house that number rarely gets over two--something for the guys, something for me.)

Often when I'm tracking "food moods," I find myself on the salty/savory side of the menu. In fact, as I've noted to myself, even here on the blog, my sweet tooth has diminished over the years, sometimes disappearing for weeks or months on end. Of course, it always seems to return, even if my stamina for really sweet things is quite low. I may indulge (waaaaaay too many jelly beans at Easter being a recent example), but it doesn't sit well with me, and I definitely stop much sooner than years back.

The combination of salty and sweet? That's just the bomb. It's a combo that's gone rather mainstream the past few years, with sea salt on everything from chocolate to caramel to cookies and fudge. I remember the first time I really tucked into the idea of salty and sweet: I put salty peanuts on Frosted Flakes, and thought I'd found nirvana. Not raised with a lot of sugar cereals around, maybe the cereal was too sweet on its own--I don't remember the details--but somehow a packet of roasted, salted peanuts ended up on top of my cereal and milk. I was in high school at the time of this revelation--away from home at boarding school, to put a finer point on it--so there weren't any voices of moderation around and I proceeded to eat this combination every weekend for two years. Bliss.

Fast forward a couple of decades (and then some), and my love for salt and sweet together still exists. A few examples include, but are not limited to:
*My current obsession with kale and brussels sprouts salad, with dried cranberries, or pears, or grapefruit, or strawberries...
*Any cheese and fruit combination.
*The Perfect Bite at Thanksgiving, which includes a little turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
*Salted watermelon or papaya.
*Anything peanut butter and chocolate.
*Cucumber salad with a tangy sweet vinaigrette.
*Mango salsa with tortilla chips.
*French onion soup with Gruyere and toasted croutons.

Well, I have now succeeded in making myself quite hungry. I hope I have done the same for you!

If you've got 20 minutes and you care about salty and sweet as much as I do, Alton Brown is always worth a watch:


As well, TLC has a quick clip on tastebuds and further info on salty/sweet preferences that I found pretty interesting.

And there's always this short quiz. (I'm salty, in case you hadn't guessed.)

Which are you: salty or sweet?

And completely unrelated (or is it?), there's this:

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A-Z blogging challenge:
R is for Rainbows


If the pictures above don't make you smile? Well, I'm not sure what to say about that. I love the whole spectrum of color that rainbows represent.

What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!
Blogger Template By Designer Blogs