"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Christmas Giveaway And A Worthy Cause

Joanna's blog is The Fifty Factor. If you haven't read her blog, you are in for a treat. For me, when Joanna writes a post, it is like when E F Hutton speaks. I listen. In the case of Joanna's posts, I read. The Fifty Factor is one of my favorite blogs.

See the photo of the lovely Christmas ornament in this post? I learned about a company called Highland Roses Design Collaborative Craft Studio, a privately-funded project that provides individuals who live with disabilities and/or mental illnesses as well as their family caregivers an opportunity to step towards independence through the sale of their own arts and crafts creations. Where did I learn of this company? On Joanna's blog.

For more information on this awesome company and their creative ornaments, visit The Fifty Factor. While you are there, you might as well try for Joanna's giveaway. Good luck.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just Like Others

Seeing the changes that the fall season hoists on us, is a bit shocking in how quickly nature changes the colors and visible physical world.

When I get over the shock, I appreciate the new landscape and settle in to enjoy the rest of the changes of this particular season.

The squirrels are looking pudgy. Their fur is thicker and their ears are hairy looking. The winter birds have started visiting as the temperatures dip to the teens.

I walked around to find some trees with leaves still in place, on this last week of November.

These photos are what I found.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sharing A Meal And Giving Thanks

The senior center in this little town is a lovely building built on a plot of land donated by a senior husband and wife. Because the people living in this town hold seniors in respect, the entire town came together to put together funds and materials necessary to build a place for seniors to congregate.

After living in this town a year, I felt drawn to investigate the possibility of activities I would be interested in joining. There are bridge tournaments as well as pitch. I don't play those card games and don't think I will be one of the "cardies". There are evenings of Bingo and mornings of Yoga. Board games are played occasionally. There are Weight Watchers meeting in a side room on Tuesday mornings. Cribbage, Pinochle, Dice games, and much more. There are blood pressure checks by a traveling nurse,  and speakers from outside brought in,  or children from the town's schools perform or sing. Sounds like a big family, doesn't it?

Lunches are prepared in a state of the art kitchen at the center of the building by the director. The lunch program is sponsored by the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging. The goal is to ensure the seniors in this town have at least one hot meal each week day at a low cost.

Because I do not eat any foods with wheat, I scan the monthly menus and let the director know which days the meals fit my food plan. When she dishes up my plate, she gives me two vegetable portions, if I choose, when something on the menu contains wheat. She is helpful in substituting non-wheat items for me, so for instance on a day she makes tuna casserole, she will make a Polish sausage or hamburger pattie or salisbury steak for me. She is the one who dishes out the portions of food and she knows each one and or different needs. She reads labels and makes sure I do not get any wheat. The gravy mix she uses has wheat in it, so she does not put gravy on my plate. 

The Thanksgiving Dinner at the senior center was the traditional fare. Turkey, potatoes/gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, rolls and margarine, milk. I did not eat dressing, rolls,  or pie.  If the desserts are made with wheat such as cobblers and pies, she will provide fruit for me. Sometimes the portions are large and I don't want the second veggie or fruit.

After the delicious meals, it is a treat to walk into the house and see the kitchen clean and shining, no dishes to wash. No discord, no stress, no mess.

I hope every one of my blogging friends who celebrate Thanksgiving in the US has a warm and loving day. Whether you are one person or a full room, we can all be united and give each other strength and joy across the universe. No matter what is going on in your life or my life, we have so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Eyes Have It

For awhile cataracts ruled. Foggy vision. I read somewhere that having cataracts is similar to trying to see through a dirty window.
Since I am a perfect housekeeper, I have no idea what that would look like. Ha. That is a pretty accurate description, actually.

The next step was getting glasses with progressive lenses. After an adjustment period, I was able to walk without tripping on every little branch or rock or step-down I came across. I was not able to ride my bike though, my depth perception was wacko.

I tried some eye drops for a month that advertised possible reversal of cataracts. 

And then the great day I stopped including any wheat products into my diet. Wow.

The proof is in the pudding (someone tell me what the heck that means please). A few nights ago it became necessary for me to drive my car home and it was already getting dark. I can tell you that before I quit wheat I was not seeing well enough at night to drive. I just could not see. But with my fingers crossed I held onto the steering wheel with a vise grip and headed home. And it occurred to me that I did not have to be so uptight, that I was seeing pretty well. Not 100% but so much better than a few months ago. My last eye doctor appointment was June 11 and it did not surprise me when the doctor asked me how I was seeing and that I had cataracts. I did not know I had cataracts but I sure knew I was not able to see clearly.

After that eye doctor appointment, I checked out large print books only from the library and I stopped riding my bike. And I was not driving the car. Now I am able to read regular print in library books. And the zinger was driving at night. Hooyah! Someone give me an Amen!

Photo found on Google.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Still Living on California Time

Three and a half years ago I was still in California, working at a job I knew was not good for me. I was working with a sponsor in a twelve step program in codependency. The lessons I was learning and the growth were hindered by the caustic atmosphere of the job. No need to go into it in detail, but it became clear that one year at that job working around the deceit and negativity was harmful to me. I needed to change jobs.

Better than a job change was a move from California to Nebraska. At the time I did not realize how the stressful situations in California affected me on a daily basis. Traffic day and night. Angry drivers, rushing because they did not leave early enough to get somewhere on time. Taking chances and changing lanes to get one car closer to their destination.

After so many years living in that environment, my system was set for early departures to get to work or appointments a little early. I do not like being late, even to social events. I lived around people who did not attempt to keep appointments or arrive at a designated time even if it meant other people were being kept waiting. I was one of the people kept waiting as if my time were not important. Even family members would arrive for holiday dinners two hours late.

Early in my Nebraska life I discovered I did not have to leave an hour early to get twenty miles away. It has taken some adjusting to relax here. The first time to sign up to eat at the senior center in this little town I wanted to walk south to the bank eight blocks away to the ATM and then east seven blocks to the center. I gave it a half hour when it actually took fifteen minutes. I laughed inside when I realized that after three years in Nebraska, I sometimes still think in California time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crunchy Gems

This is the first time I am enjoying fallen autumn leaves. I have always appreciated the majesty and beauty of the trees in fall with a zillion colors and shades of those colors. This year I am in awe of the leaves on the ground too.

The back yard is full of leaves. All the glorious colors. Just brittle enough to make the crunch sound as I walk over them, and the motion sound as I walk through them. Crunchy gems.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for teaching me appreciation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Post In New Blog

 Post Number One in this new blog.

There has been so much going on in my life lately. I have been growing as a person and going through some difficult situations as well. I am definitely not the same person I was when I began my first blog over five years ago. It was time to end that blog and put things in the past. One of the names I was considering for this blog was Starting Over Without Looking Back because that is how I see my life today: In a positive light, and having learned enough to appreciate the hard lessons as well as the surprise blessings.

This year my goal is to explore my creativity and enjoy life more. I have a new camera, Olympus Stylus, so that is my  companion during long walks and some drives. There is country, farming, cattle, fields, barns and silos surrounding this little town. I have much to see and capture on the camera. Some of the time my husband will be with me but as his bike rides are therapeutic and healthy for him, my walks are good for me.

I am going to do some watercolors. Many years ago I worked in oils and then did some watercolors, so I am excited to have a new watercolor set soon and re-familiarize myself with my style and visual technique.

A handicraft I left behind many years ago is crochet. It brought joy into my life long ago. I have some new crochet hooks, some yarn, and a long memory so it will be fun to familiarize myself with the yarn and the hooked needle and my imagination.

Gardening is new for me. This past spring I bought some flower seeds and planted them in flower beds. I had no ideas what I was doing, so I used more seeds than I needed but there were flowers all summer and fall. I found joy in trimming the flowers, removing dead heads, embracing the abundance of color. The lovely flowers enticed many butterflies and bees so I will be planting flower seeds again each spring.

I have been planning a vegetable garden, again something new for me. Spending time online learning the best methods of growing vegetables from seed and when to begin the planting for the different vegetables is an ongoing project now. I have a file on my desktop for gardening, so like most things I tackle new, I am organizing the info that will help yield the most produce. Since I am retired and in good health, I have time and energy for the first time in my life to have a garden.

The one thing I bring with me to this blog is my wheat free existence. That will never change. I live wheat free, gluten free, low carb. This is the very best lifestyle for me. I don't plan to write much about this aspect of my life in my blog, no recipes, no weight loss updates. It is just one of the very best parts of my life now.

I am also growing out my hair, no more short hair. Of course, I will see how much I can deal with longer hair next summer. It has been many years since I had longer hair and since I cut my own hair I am able to trim my hair as it grows out to keep it neat.

Like I said, this is the first post. Welcome to my new blog. I will be reading my favorite blogs and leaving comments,  using my real name. By the way, my name is CiCi.

Graphic found on techiemania.com.