Walkabout Wednesday – a life under construction

Our Sunday Stills prompt this week is “under construction” and I must admit, I’m not one to take pictures of construction much. It is seldom appropriate to photograph road construction between rants and building construction is generally driven right by without stopping to investigate, so I found myself somewhat stymied, until I realized that, heck, my WHOLE LIFE is under construction, or maybe re-construction, but you get the point.

piece of a hailstone from my living room

On August 27, 2021 a catastrophic hail storm hit Rapid City, SD. For 20 minutes fist sized hail stones pummeled our lives. The financial loss was significant but paled in comparison to loss of our entire way of life. It became clear that we could no longer live full-time RVing and that massive rebuilding was required. So, we repaired what we could, sold what we could, wrote off the rest and started to reconstruct our lives.

Pitching machine under construction in Kunshan, China

We turned the page and began a new adventure. A few years ago “adventure” meant traveling overseas to work with factories while the sporting goods lines we developed were under construction.

Family of Canadian Geese at our lake

These days it’s all about those mundane adventures. Sitting on the deck and watching the goslings grow oh so fast.

Farmers Market Booty

or scoring pirate booty at our local farmer’s market, fresh, beautiful bargains.

Asian Grocery

Or reminiscing about our travels while exploring the Asian Grocery store in our new home town. Ahhh pineapple cake, how I have missed you my old friend.

Fanell Scudder Exhibit

Checking out the art at our local library. Here an exhibit of Fanell Scudder an 83-year-old local resident.

My boys

Of course, there are also family bonds under construction. Here one exhausted wanderer with son and two of the grandsons. For fifteen years they’ve seen me no more than twice a year and yet we take to each other like the geese to water. I do adore my boys.

Moonset

And, as always, I watch the moon.

This post inspired by
Terri’s Sunday Stills – Under Construction
and Marsha’s PPAC # 61

Til next time ~Would you like to have an adventure now or would you like to finish your tea first? ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – The Sounds of Summer

I’ve been thinking about Summer quite a lot. Deep summer is a tough time for most Spoonies. Pain and fatigue run roughshod over my days, crushing the heart and soul. Summer is equal parts bitter and sweet, there are farmers markets on cooler mornings, swimming pool for exercise, and I must say I’ve never been so grateful for central air ;-). I can’t change the weather or the heat but I can change the way I react to it. I can choose to let the fatigue wash over me, let myself slow down and breathe in the essence of Summer. I can write and craft and lift my spirits rather than letting maudlin anxiety over things I cannot change control my day. Today I will listen and appreciate the

Sounds of Summer

The discordant buzz of cicadas
as they begin their mating songs

the vibration of wind singing
across the rim of my sun hat

the whine of a distant trimmer
a quantum of electromagnetic flux on the breeze

The sounds of summer
stir heavily through the sultry air

No industrious activity as the world
lies in lethargic somnambulance

Too hot to move
too moist to breathe

Til next time ~drink iced coffee ~JP

Friday Flashback – What I wore way back when

For this week’s Flashback, I went back to my old, pre-wordpress days. This is a collage I made in the old Polyvore app for a 30 day challenge called “What I Wore Today.”

What I wore today Aug. 5 2017

It was a wonderful reminder of where I was in my life at that time, I was between two total knee replacements and resting a lot. My wish for your weekend: may you pause and feel a single moment of utter amazement at the beauty of life.

This post inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback

Til next time ~Peace ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – a Penny Saved

photo from Pexels

“My Mom can squeeze a nickel ’til the buffalo farts.” ~My son 1986 age 7

I read a little blurb this week about grocery prices. According to the article Americans have seen an increase in grocery prices of over 11% in the past 12 months with more increases on the way. I get this news in JUNE, the month when produce starts to be abundant and … yummy. OK, I don’t want to get off on a rant here but really Social Security received the highest Cost of Living Adjustment in the past 40 years in January of this year. A 5.9% increase doesn’t even begin to cover the actual rise in costs. Medicare premiums alone rose 14.5%, add another 11% to groceries and a general consumer price index for all urban consumers of 8.3% (I’m not even going to mention gas prices) and you’re starting to see some financially strapped seniors. ** OK, OK JP, calm down back away from the soapbox ** Uhumm pardon me a moment while I recollect myself and untwist my knickers … grumble grumble *&^%$#@#$!&^

OK that’s better, on the brighter side, increases in interest rates have improved our portfolio some. There is ALWAYS a bright side, just gotta dig deep sometimes. So what are y’all doing to combat inflation?

Here are a few of the things we’ve done this week to “use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without.”

* We participated in a neighborhood cookout. Our HOA paid for the hot dogs, plates and utensils as part of our social activities fund, we all brought a side dish to share. A couple of folks brought corn hole boards and I must say a fabulous time was had by all.

* We eliminated one grocery shopping trip from our weekly routine.

* We enjoyed two vegetarian meals at home.

* I returned an item for refund that should have been an HSA item and repurchased it through said HSA, dratted scanner glitches.

* I refused to accept a prescription that I specifically told the pharmacy NOT to fill as I get it through mail order much less costly.

* I reworked our meal plan, grocery list, and grocery budget for July. Better.

So that’s my rant for this week. I think I’ll go take a nerve pill and have a bit of a lie down.

Til next time ~Keep Calm and drink decaf, like homemade, from a reusable mug ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – What I did to save money this week #1

Illustration from Pixabay wording added by me

This is a bit of an odd post for me but with inflation rates in the US at their highest since 1981, is there anybody who’s NOT thinking about ways to save a little. Gas prices haven’t topped $5/gallon here in the Bluegrass … yet but are only a few cents shy. Our family in the northern part of the state has already passed that $5 mark. I have brothers on the west coast (OK yeah California) who tell me they have to sneak up on the gas pump lest his credit card commit hari kari and shred itself in mid- transaction.

I remember my paternal grandmother talking about life during the Great Depression and all the things they did to survive. When I was too young to realize how incredibly rude it was, I made a face and “ewww” at the mention of bacon-grease gravy and potatoes for breakfast. My grandmother quickly shot back “better gravy and potatoes for breakfast than no breakfast.” Ouch, grandchild put in place happily ate said breakfast and discovered that she really enjoyed it (add a little sliced fresh tomato from the garden YUMMMM). A small hand-painted plaque in Grandma’s kitchen proclaimed “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Advice I followed passionately while surviving the 1980s.

So to help combat out-of-control inflation (and my general financial anxiety) we’re starting to revisit some of our frugal practices from the 1980s. We’re starting with saving gas. This week we have:

  • Consolidated trips to town by shopping after doctor’s appointment.
  • We converted another medical appointment to Telemed saving a trip into town.
  • Filled gas tank at Costco during monthly trip saved $.30/gallon
  • Reduced grocery store runs to 2 per week – This is actually a biggie here, since the main part of our diet is fresh fruit and vegetables. We used to shop 3-4 times per week so this is a big reduction.
  • We drive a Honda Fit so our mileage is pretty good but we always practice eco-friendly driving. Always have, always will.

Not too shabby for a start. Do you find yourself revisiting frugality in light of the current fiscal situation? What are you doing to save a bit?

Til next time ~May the wind be always at your back ~JP

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