Thoughtful Thursday – May Activities

from my polyvore collection

I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself an so there’s a flurry of activity here at Castle Serenity. I have finally admitted that after 2:30 pm I might just as well pack it in and do crafts or something else not strenuous as the afternoon fatigue bogey zaps me. I had this idea to get myself a surprise box subscription. One of my grandpuppies gets a bark box, the daughter gets a human bark box from FabFitFun and it seemed like a really cool idea. BUT, the thing is I’m not at all sure I’m willing to spend $20 – $75 per month on “stuff” no matter how cool the “stuff” is. I mean, really, I have enough “stuff” more than enough truth be told. So, I have began curating my own activities box where I pick a theme and toss stuff in from my craft stash, my “I’m gonna use this someday” stash and other various “stuff” that I want/need to use up. My challenge is to find something to do with all the items in the box by the end of the month. A peek at May’s activity box:

May color focus – Turquoise/Teal thanks to Terri’s Sunday Stills color challenge for this inspiration.

Floral rubber stamp
coloring pages, flowers and swirls
dream box from mint tin craft, lots of stickers and “Legend of the Dreambox” card
Self love card
“I am Beautiful” sigil card
Mountable photo print
misc. small scrapbook papers
lots of ephemera for journaling
culinary – dried thyme
breathwork exercise card
hair product samples
May treat – Candied Hibiscus Flowers
MP3 album Llewellyn – Moon Spells, several other MP3 songs courtesy of my local library via Freegal
E-books – The Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle by Alison May — from my Kindle Collection

So those are the goodies I’m working with this month. I’ll be working on my reading list, playlist, menu plans, outings and nature based activities soon. So what are your big plans for May? Do you post regular monthly activities? If so leave me a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check them out.

Til next time ~May your spoons be plentiful ~JP

Sunday Stills and Monday Musings

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge (a bit late)

It’s been a crazy weekend (hence my tardiness) of gardening. Almost have the backyard finished. Ah but JP you say, you live in a townhouse, don’t they take care of the landscape maintenance? Sort of, we have three feet in each direction of our townhomes that are ours to plant as we please (as long as it’s attractive). We moved in in November so I knew there would be work to be done this spring and I was NOT wrong. OK, enough about me, on to photos.

Most of these are from my archives that I thought “black and whited” up pretty well. To quote the song Black and White, “The ink is black, the page is white, together we learn, to read and write.” Black and White was originally written in 1954 by David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson, but topped the charts some 18 years later in 1972 with Three Dog Night’s pop version.

Sunrise on Kauai in black and white

Let’s start off in the land of vibrant color, Hawaii. Here a stunning sunrise on Kauai leached of color. The curls of waves and sea foam give the shot some depth.

Mokolii, Hawaii

Mokolii tiny island of Oahu also known as Chinaman’s Hat for it’s distinctive shape. I like the “old timey” quality the black and white here. Taken from Kualoa Ranch.

Plumeria in Kapaa

This is one shot I didn’t really like as well in black and white. The plumeria is such a beautiful, vibrant flower and although I do quite like the shading caused by the nearly translucent white of the flower, it leaves me kind of eh. Shot from our balcony in Kapaa. Linking this one up for Cee’s FOTD.

Traditional pavilion in Lulin Lake, Mt. Lushan, China

Now on over to Jiujiang, China. Thanks to the foggy day, the above photo didn’t have a great deal of color to begin with, but I think the starkness afforded by the black and white graphic enhances it a bit more. It was windy and I love the tiny ripple effect on the water.

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Back in the US, here a set of ruins known as Spruce Tree House built by the Anasazi some 800 years ago. The settlement was abandoned about 1300, there is much speculation as to why. Nevertheless, the ancient ones left behind a marvelous legacy of wonder. The ruins were discovered in the 1880’s and plundered until Mesa Verde became a national park in 1906. Once again, I like the stark graphic black and white gives this shot.

Bad Water Basin, Death Valley National Park California

And last, but not least, a shot that’s not black and white but might as well be. I left this photo as is to show the sliver of blue sky that draws just that much more attention to the desolation of the place. Bad Water Basin Salt Flats lies 282 feet below sea level and encompasses 200 square miles.

Black is the absence of color,
combination of all makes white
life is lived somewhere in between
filled with color and light ~JP

My father was color-blind, I used to fetch resistors him which were color-coded, ahhhh but I digress once again, a tale for another time.

a hui hou kakou (until we meet again) ~JP

Tasty Tuesday — Moon Milk Spoonie Version

Photo via Pexels

I love moon milk, you know those fancy-schmancy hot milk before bedtime drinks. Infused with floral essences and calming properties. Sigh …. yeah you know the ones that require three pans and thirty minutes of prep time. Gorgeous though they be, I’m a SPOONIE. By night time I’m lucky if I have enough energy left to watch a half hour of television much less do some picture perfect hoytietoytie drink. So, what’s a spoonie/foodie to do? Improvise! Here for your culinary enjoyment is my adaptation for Lazy Spoonie Moon Milk. As always, see the disclaimer page. I’m not a nutritionist, this is just what works for me.

8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 celestial seasonings sleepytime lavender tea bag (or other tea of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon ashwaghanda powder (totally optional)
1 five mg fast melt melatonin tablet
sweetener of choice (I use honey)
cinnamon or other spice of choice

Pour almond milk into a microwave safe cup, add tea bag. Microwave until hot but not boiling (mine is usually about 2 minutes). Let teabag steep about 5 minutes. Remove teabag, add melatonin tablet and ashwaghanda powder if using, stir, microwave to reheat. Remove from microwave, add sweetener and top with a pretty little sprinkle of spice.

Sip slowly, with perhaps a biscuit.

So what’s your bedtime beverage of choice? How do you convince your aching muscles to relax at the end of the day?

Til next time ~Keep Calm and sip slowly ~JP

I Put on Pants – A Spoonie Award

I don’t mean to brag, but I am totally rockin this day. Not only did I get out of bed, but I put. on. pants! Yesterday was what could euphemistically be called a “low spoons” day. In all honesty, it was, in fact, a total, complete train wreck. Including meltdowns and tantrums. Now I’d like to tell you that it was a visiting grandchild that threw said tantrum, but, alas, it was none other than me. I wish I could tell you that this is an exceedingly rare event but no, it’s rather too common for comfort and I’m considering just penciling it into my planner for like “Monday Meltdown” or “Tuesday Tantrum”. All it takes is a trip to the hardware store where we did not find what we wanted, well OK we did but not at a price we were willing to pay, and it’s a new sump pump because we’re (read that Superhubs) not sure if the one we have works and we’re supposed to get five inches of rain over the next three days.

Then, just one innocuous comment, a casual dismissal of something I have taken it into my head matters more than a cure for cancer. Something that matters not one jot, something stupid like trying to follow Superhubs hand signals as he guides me through parking the car in the garage around the gargantuan garbage can and the stupid cardboard boxes that are STILL HERE from our move three months ago. I mean really? I have to negotiate my way around the ancient box springs that we had to move out of the house and the garage is as far as it got because we have no idea how to get rid of it. Because it’s not that I have depth perception issues or blurry vision from lack of anything remotely resembling a tear film in my eyes, and you know, I have to do EVERYTHING around here. And no don’t you dare offer to park it for me! Boom! BAM! SOCKeroooo! It’s like a bloody Batman Show (the real one with Adam West). Yes, a sixty-something great grandmother sat in the middle of the floor blubbering like an over stimulated two-year-old.

Fortunately, I am blessed with Superhubs who sits down beside me, holds me, makes little shushing sounds until the worst of the weeping subsides. And then asks “what hurts?” So I can sob out “EVERYTHING!” Yeah, that’s one of the worst parts of being a spoonie. Painger is a very real thing. It’s when you think you’re angry but, really, you’re just in pain.

So, in light of yesterday’s emotional train wreck, I decided to reward myself with a Spoonie Award. I’m wearing pants, and that’s a step in the right direction. Fellow Spoonies, always remember that you are amazing, strong, powerful health warriors. It’s OK to lose it once in awhile, grab your heating pad, tylenol and a cup of tea, go snuggle up. Do what you can to take care of you, this day will pass and tomorrow is another day.

Til later ~ Too low on spoons to give a fork ~JP

Monday Musings – A Walk Around the Lake

Fall shot of our lake

We took a walk around the lake today for the first time in weeks. The ice has melted, the sun shines, a slight chill to the wind, but it was a lovely day. The Canadian geese scattered noisily as we passed, honking and fussing at the disturbance of their cushy sun-drenched patch of grass. A small segment of the paved walkway is still covered in patches of snow but we got around it easily. The area is so still and quiet. The musty dankness of decaying leaves greets my senses reminding me that the cold season is nearly over, soon Spring will woo us with her warmth, soothe us with her greens, a prelude to Summer’s frenetic energy. But for now, the air is cool and I have discovered the shoots of bulbs growing in my front yard. They have been hidden for some time by the overgrown hydrangea I ruthlessly trimmed this fall and I am anxious to see what flowers they will produce. They look like daffodil stems but I can’t be certain.

Til next time ~May your coffee kick in before reality does ~JP

January Read List 2022 edition

photo from unsplash

My plans for 2022 include reading 50 books (or more) this year. Thus far, I am off to a good start with the following for January.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
This is actually a reread but it’s been a long, long time. As always I am delighted and amazed by the nuggets of pure genius and profound absurdities.

Tea and Teatime Recipes by Maggie Stuckey – part of Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin Series
Wonderful short read, chocked full of wonderful ideas and recipes

Weekend Homesteader Volume 10 – January by Anna Hess
Another wonderful short read. I own all twelve volumes and am rereading them to build the fires of my own return to home and hearth.

Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
A great little steampunk romp with a fascinating system of magic that just spoke to me. Quick delightful read. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato
Continuation of the adventures of our heroes from Clockwork Dagger. I admit a deep love of all things steampunky and this one also delighted.

The Woman’s Handbook of Healing Herbs by Deb Soule
This one got started and abandoned as it was just not for me.

Total 5 completed and I’m on my way to that 50. Now it’s back to the kitchen for me where I’m going to ponder the messages of the universe while divvying up free range ground turkey and preparing Peanut Tofu for dinner.

Til next time ~May your hearth burn bright ~JP

Monday Mundanities — Life, COVID and Cerebral Angiograms

Last week was one of “those” weeks. You know the ones that have you so stressed out you want to scream about something that really doesn’t have anything to do with anything at all. We met with the new Vascular Neurosurgeon (nice guy, oh so young) to discuss the findings of the latest brain pics (cerebral CT scans). Probably nothing but there is a slightly enlarged blood vessel that he wants to get a better look at. Yeah, I really hate it when they use words like “further evaluation is needed” and stuff like that. Now because it’s COVID year 3 and my Knight is a LADA diabetic, this procedure requires significant prep work.

First there’s the COVID test. Must have a negative covid test no more than three days prior to exam. O….. K….. oh yeah and can’t get it at the drug store, have to drive into the hospital for theirs. Then, must be off metformin (diabetes med) for two days prior and two days after. Then, must reduce long-acting insulin day before and day of procedure, and …. a twelve hour fast, prior to. And this is the “simplified” version. Transradial cerebral angiography is no little thing although complications are less common than with the femoral artery. Yeah, OK. You’re shoving a catheter into the man’s brain for pete’s sake don’t tell me there’s a “slight risk of complications”. Kind of reminds me of when they first started talking about “routine brain surgery.” EXCUSE ME but how is that not an oxymoron? Routine and Brain Surgery should never be used in the same sentence. Add to that the simple fact that my Knight had every. single. complication. known to happen as a result of the embolization of six cerebral arteries, and you’ve got a totally stressed out JP and a whole lotta anxiety tears.

Long story short, we made it through and although the procedure took MUCH longer than expected (3 hours expected vs. 7.5 hours actual), everything is OK. The enlargement appears to be benign and likely left over from the original AVM, or a simple congenital factor. Get another angiogram in two years and if that shows no further problems, he’s as good as new, or at least as good as it gets.

That’s all from Castle Serenity for now. I’m off to open my January Surprise box and see what fun creative activities I have in store.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Friday Funnies – Bluegrass Vernacular

Our lake starting to freeze

It’s funny in a way, but my accent seems to have returned with a vengence. It’s more “drawly” than it was when I lived here for 25 years. Probably because I’m much farther south. My speech is rapidly deteriorating into a kind of “valley surfer drawl.” I use “y’all,” “Duuuude” and “totaly” with equal frequency. It’s weird, I hear these phrases coming out of my mouth and my brain is like “where did THAT come from.” Ah, but I digress. Here are a few “totally Kentucky” phrases I have noticed creeping into my vernacular and their translations.

“Y’all” is singular. “All Y’all” is plural. “All y’all’s” is plural possessive.

“Bless your Heart” is a nice way of saying you’re an idiot

“Dirty Bird” is KFC

“Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit” – translation “holy cr*p”

“Fair to middlin'” means doing OK

“slicker’n snot on a doorknob” – really slippery and … ewwwwwww

“I reckon'” – I think

“Fixin to” – getting ready to do something, does not mean something’s broken.

“Have a gooden” – have a good day

“T’other day” – can mean any time in the past several months

We had record breaking snowfall yesterday with 9-10 inches of the white stuff. I’m off to watch the ducks in the ice-free parts of our lake.

Til next time ~Y’all have a gooden ~JP

Thursday Thoughts – Icy Fingers

“Her laugh was like diamond glints of sunlight on snow, icy fingers of crystalline perfection.”

There is snow outside my window. Here … in central Kentucky. The “Winter Weather Advisory” is calling for 1-3 inches and recommends that we not travel unless necessary. Really? For three inches? I know that it’s just unexpected and folks here really don’t know how to drive in snow and ice. I mean afterall, why would they? That’s fine, I have no plans to go anywhere today and am totally content to just bundle up with a good book. Maybe later I’ll get ambitious, make some tea and do a little coloring. 🙂

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Monday Mundanities – Home

“She was an adventurer at heart; but oh how she loved drinking this tea, from this mug, in this chair. Oh how she loved to be home.” ~Unknown

Misty fog on the lake today. Ethereal whisps, chirpping birds as I open the windows and let the fresh air and moisture cleanse my home and my spirit. A few score starlings alight on the tree outside my window, picking winter berries. I see clearly for the first time their backs and wings spotted in patterns of black, brown and white. Nature’s artistry camoflaging their small bodies. Something startles them and they are suddenly in flight joining hundreds of others in a small murmuration. A thousand dark shapes dance across the misty air. Intricate choreography on wings. The sun has lightened the world but I can not see the sky for the low clouds, just the reflections on the still water disturbed only by the leisurely paddling of ducks.

All those days hiding in the shadows
all those years living in the past
all that time never understanding
what was meant to last

Now I’m here on a misty morning
standing here I am not alone
by your side at last I know
I’ve finally come home

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP