Tag Archive | friends and family

Simple Joys

I follow an entomologist on Instagram who posted yesterday about micro-moths, tiny beautiful creatures. When I let Wren out for midnight whiz last night and checked the high-low thermometer I spotted a micro-moth and took a picture. Nothing fancy, but tiny, and precious in its own lepidopteran way.

Where’s Wren? Hiding in the corner of the patio when the storm rolls in tonight. This morning, she spotted a young garter snake in this same location, and trembled with excitement as she sniffed and patted at it under the basket. It wasn’t her usual wasp/bee/grasshopper behavior, so I went over to check it out. I was grateful to see my first snake of the YEAR, and glad that she was so gentle in her curiosity.
First ever broccoli forest loaf (first of many) ready to go into the oven.

This morning a friend brought to mind the simple joys of an ordinary day, mentioning “pretty flowers blooming, colors that are harmonious together, birds singing.” It turned my day around. I had been lying in bed late, curled up tight like a pill bug, not wanting to get out of bed, not because I was overtly depressed, just that I didn’t want to get out of bed. Following Debi’s checkin, others mentioned a range of things that give them joy, from animal companions to functional limbs, and the brief virtual discussion stayed with me all day.

I’m grateful for the simple joys of being alive in any given moment. Today those included reading a novel, my work, a couple of meaningful conversations with family and friends, exercising, stretching, meditating, groceries, a light rain shower, Biko walking through the door and tucking himself inside as the storm approached, Buddha School, watching ‘Modern Family,’ and baking this amazing broccoli forest loaf. So simple, so delicious! And for once, my result resembles the online photo!

The Peach Tree

I am about to get overwhelmed again! But not quite as dramatically as with the apricot tree. I’m grateful for the peach tree, and its bountiful year. They’re still a few weeks away from ready, I think: blushing yet still green and hard as baseballs. I’m grateful for David who planted fish remains around this tree several years running, surely the reason it thrives, and also for the fish he caught and cooked for us.

The Last Grapefruit

Even the Kitchen Ants liked the grapefruit. I’d left a few seeds from the next-to-last grapefruit in a tray overnight, and was astonished to find the ants carving out the cut ones in the morning. I left them there for a few days til the ants had finished with them, before sweeping them into the compost.

I’m grateful for some Easter ham that ‘got give to me’ by a neighbor. Even though I’m mostly vegetarian, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to make a few grilled cheese sandwiches with leftover ham.

I’m grateful for the grapefruits that Kathleen sent me from her yard tree in Florida– for Christmas! I’m glad I savored all the citrus she sent, and especially the grapefruits. She planned to send more but the state suffered a deep freeze and all her fruits were lost. At least, that’s what she said.

I’m especially grateful for the Last Grapefruit, which I used tonight to make a grapefruit-poppy seed cake. I guess I made the glaze a little bit wet, but the cake is delicious nonetheless, with zest and juice in the batter, and more juice drizzled into poked holes while the cake is still hot. It’s got a bit of bitter bite to it, maybe I squeezed the pulp too hard, but that tempers the sweetness just right.

I’m grateful for a lot more today, also. For waking up alive, for sunshine and running water, for Honey Badger, for family, pets, meaningful work, hearing the first meadowlark, and a body that still moves pretty well all things considered, to name just a few.

I’m grateful for the first crocuses blooming!

This evening I got my first ever social media hate, on one of my instagram posts in support of a drag queen. It heightened my compassion. I’m grateful for the practice that allowed me to receive it with some equanimity, even though it felt like a slap in the face. And grateful that I didn’t feel compelled to respond to it. I imagined a potential spiral of consequences, if only as simple as another hateful reply back. I contemplated responding with something like, “I feel compassion for your suffering,” but concluded the wise choice was to forget about it. I just noticed it a few minutes ago–it wasn’t remotely how I intended to start this post. So I’m gonna forget about it now!

I’m grateful for waking up alive on this snowy, drizzly Sunday, for a few hours of sunlight, for the first spring bulb tips poking out of the mud, and for the leisure to enjoy listening to some dharma talks while finishing this exquisite Liberty puzzle, Monet’s Studio at Giverny. I’m grateful to our little puzzle club scattered coast to coast for increasing our puzzle options each season. This one only took two days of joyful puzzling between cleaning, baking, reading, and sharing meaningful conversations with friends and family.

It was kind of a rough week inside my monkey mind. I’m so grateful for all the beauty and love in my life, for the support of friends, and for the growing capacity I’m gaining to turn my attention to these gifts, instead of letting meager thoughts depress me for long.

The first night’s progress…
Last night’s progress…

And finally, I’m forever grateful to neighbor Mary for sharing this extraordinary recipe for Big Soft Ginger Cookies. This is the basic recipe, though I make them with Mary’s tweaks, including half brown sugar-half white, and of course butter instead of margarine. I also toss in a few chocolate chips. So simple, so delicious. It’s the kind of treat that fills up your senses so full you can’t be anything but ecstatic while it’s in your mouth.

My Vegetarian Cousin

I tell her often enough, but I’m going public tonight: I am so grateful for my cousin Melinda. There’s so much I could say about why, but for now, let it be enough that she is unknowingly influencing me to eat more and better vegetarian meals. I haven’t eaten much meat for more than thirty years: that which I do eat I usually know who raised and/or killed it. This is a foundation of ethicarian cuisine, to eat local animals that have been humanely raised or to eat wild animals that have been skillfully hunted. But I’m losing my taste for what little meat I do eat, as evidenced in my sudden, radically unexpected aversion to bacon. Melinda’s been a vegetarian for a long time. I’m grateful for her sharing vegetarian recipes and websites when I inquire after she mentions some delicious meal she’s made. Last week she shared this recipe for lasagna rolls. So simple, so delicious!

I added some fresh minced oregano and rosemary from the sunroom, to brighten up the frozen spinach and homemade marinara.
It was a tough call, to title this My Vegetarian Cousin or Good Neighbors. Wren met Jake for the first time today. He could not help himself. He was halfway across the 40-acre field before I noticed him, and he froze, watching us walk up the driveway. He’s a good dog, and he knew he shouldn’t keep coming. But I encouraged him: ‘Good boy, Jake, c’mon!He trotted halfway again, and Wren got excited. He finally succumbed to temptation, and she ran under the fence to meet him. It was adorable. They ran a little, sniffed a little, and then she got over-excited and fell into her wheezing so I picked her up. He’s such a good neighbor. He walked with us a few steps, then trotted up the driveway and cut back across the field.
And finally, another teaser for the Birds of the Tropics post, coming soon. This puzzle is SO much fun!

Another Day

I’m grateful for these spectacular flowers whose delivery midday from the Paonia florist startled me. My cousins in Charleston sent them in hopes they “might make you smile and know you are loved,” which they certainly do. I’m grateful for the love that keeps pouring in from friends and relations these past few days, soothing my sorrow, making me smile, reminding me that I am loved. I’m grateful to remember that everything changes, that this loss will soften over time. I’m grateful for ongoing support, and grateful for the opportunity to help a neighbor. I’m grateful for a long, close talk with my dear friend whose dear mother also died last week.

Topaz as a kitten in the bathroom sink.

I’m grateful that little Topaz seems much improved this evening. Her pupils have unfrozen, and she’s moving at a more natural pace, though still seems to be investigating everything as if seeing it for the first time. I’m grateful for rain, and homemade vichyssoise, and roasted root vegetables. I’m grateful for another day of living, feeling a rich range of sensations and emotions, joy and sadness, empathy and wonder. I’m grateful for memories, and for not clinging to them; grateful for letting things arise, and letting things go.

Stellar one year ago, looking kind of silly.