Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keep Moving

When I climbed on the treadmill on Sunday it had been eleven days since my last yoga class and thirteen days since my last intentional "walk."

I had good reasons. There was company and hot weather and a trip to Boston. And I did walk through gardens and down city streets.

It's just not the same as walking at a good pace on the treadmill or doing an hour of yoga. I have done at least thirty minutes on the treadmill each day this week and attended a yoga class last evening.

My body is thanking me.

And that's the issue. Now that I have concrete evidence of how differently I feel one week to the next, when one week includes intentional movement and one week does not, I know I have to keep moving.

I am grateful every day that I have the mobility I have. I have friends who have limited mobility for a variety of reasons, such as arthritis and old injuries. Every time Ken and I take a walk we reflect on how fortunate we are to be healthy and able to move about freely.

I have had the luxury of time to establish habits of exercise, another thing for which I am grateful.

The lesson of the last three weeks is that I need to keep moving no matter what else is going on in my life. If I don't have the time, I need to make the time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

Early Friday morning Ken and I set off for two days in Boston. The weather forecast was for "hot" but we found ways to deal with that: an air-conditioned Concord Trailways bus, bottled water, and an afternoon at the Museum of Fine Arts. The hottest part of the day was getting to my son's apartment, but even that was bearable as most of the trek was on an air-conditioned subway. We were all looking forward to seeing the Chihuly exhibit at the MFA ~
The exhibit, titled "Through the Looking Glass," did not disappoint us. The crowds were small so we could get close enough to take photos, and we could spend as much time as we wanted with each display. I don't usually share this many photos in a single post, but I don't know how many of you around the country will have access to this amazing exhibit of blown glass by the truly unique artist Chihuly. Here are my favorites:

Ikebana Boat, on a reflective surface, from the front ~

Ikebana Boat from the end ~

Tabac Baskets are thin glass bowls displayed on an enormous plank of Douglas fir ~

Mille Fiori means "thousand flowers" ~

It was hard to pick a favorite part of Mille Fiori, but I was partial to the blues and greens ~

The Persian Ceiling has hundreds of individual pieces, lit from above ~

Many put us in mind of the ocean ~

Especially the occasional mermaid ~

This Boston exhibit contains six chandeliers, the most Chihuly has had in one display. My favorite was the yellow one, shown here next to one that is dark blue and orange ~

The last display in the exhibit hall was called Neodymium Reeds, for the lavender/blue color of the tapers ~

We were delighted to find this 42-foot Lime Green Icicle Tower in the cafe outside the hall, one more piece to examine and enjoy ~

If I lived closer to Boston I would visit the exhibit again, but it's only there through August 7, so I will have to hope to see his work in another place someday. (Of course when I get back to Las Vegas I can pay another visit to his ceiling at the Bellagio:)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just Another Day

Late Tuesday morning Ken left a message on our home answering machine. I had been outside saying good-bye to our company when he called ~

"Hello, Sharon. This is your husband. I'm calling to see how the company is making out...and a few other things. I will call you later."

It's always the "few other things" I worry about.

I waited as long as I could and gave him a call last night. I told him our friends were on their way and asked what was going on with him.

He had been standing on a four-foot ladder when his feet got tangled up and he fell, catching his arm on a screw on the way down. Eleven stitches and a tetanus shot later he went back to work.

Last night he was doing okay. He had extra strong antibiotic ointment to apply and wasn't feeling too uncomfortable.

I worry about certain aspects of Ken's job. He finds himself in precarious situations and almost always he comes through unscathed. Fortunately his current job is in a medical center so help was close at hand.

Last weekend we were talking about the physical demands of Ken's job when someone noticed the scratches on his hands. Ken chuckled and said that some of that comes with the territory.

Ken likes his job and is good at what he does. I still worry.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Company From California

Our company from California arrived Friday afternoon. They brought their own 42-foot accommodations with them, as well as their canine traveling companions. Notice Alpine, a standard poodle, playing at the back of the rig ~
While Daisy, a pointer/lab mix, found a cool place under the deck to have a rest ~

On Saturday we attended a free concert at LL Bean in Freeport. It was a gorgeous evening to hear Marty and Ellie of the Court Yard Hounds, formerly of the Dixie Chicks, fiddle and strum ~

In front of a large friendly crowd of relaxed concert-goers ~

On Sunday we drove to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, 248 acres of paths and gardens ~

Out-buildings and full-to-the-brim flowerbeds ~

Ponds and water features ~

And paths through the woods which may lead you to the fairy village ~

It's always a pleasure to see Bonnie, a friend from the time my daughter was an infant more than 31 years ago. We don't see each other often, so we make the most of the time we have when we get together ~

Summer feels like summer with a visit from an old friend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Color, Lots Of Color

In February I lined up all the pieces I had of fabric designed by Martha Negley. I left that array on the back of a chair in the family room for weeks ~

Then I felt ready to cut large squares. Once I knew what I wanted I was excited to put scissors to material, but then I had to duplicate the look of a progression of color ~

Playing with the actual layout of pieces led me to the effect I wanted. It has been so much fun to see the colors play with each other and come together from one corner ~

To another ~

Two halves will soon make a whole ~

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blueberry Cake

A friend from town came for coffee this morning. It was good to have a chance to catch up on town politics and what's new in our lives. Each of us has been thinking about the other and we just needed to make time to get together.

For a treat I made my most recent go-to coffee cake, which I usually make when there will be more than one or two of us partaking of its deliciousness because I could eat much more than I should. This time of year, even before Maine's blueberries are ready, those marvelous juicy orbs are available in the produce section. And they are a super food, don't you know....

Here is the recipe from the I Remember...Recipes & Memories Cookbook published by the Maine Alzheimer's Association of Portland, Maine in 1999.

Melt In Your Mouth Blueberry Cake
from The Honorable Susan M. Collins, U.S. Senator

2 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh Maine blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites until stiff in a small glass bowl. Add about 1/4 cup sugar to keep them stiff. Set aside. In a larger bowl cream shortening and add salt and vanilla. Add remaining sugar gradually. Add unbeaten egg yolks and beat until light and creamy. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Fold in beaten whites. Fold in fresh berries lightly floured. Turn into greased 8 x 8 inch pan and sprinkle top with sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Jewel In This Crowne

Summer movies are typically made for a certain demographic, namely people who enjoy watching things blow up and comic book characters come to life.

I keep my eyes peeled for summer releases that have a good story to tell.

The first time I saw the preview for Larry Crowne I knew that it was a movie I was going to enjoy. I mean, come on, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts? It doesn't get better than that.

I was not disappointed, but apparently some of the movie critics have been. Some think the movie is not realistic enough because the main character, Larry, is too happy.

Quite the contrary. Larry is living the way people who want to be happy are advised to live ~ he lives in the present moment and accepts life the way it happens. When he loses a job he enjoys and does well, he feels awful about it. But he picks himself up and figures out what he needs to do next. Then he takes action.

The movie has heart and humor and hope.

It's too bad that critics only recognize violent behavior, false characters, and crass slapstick.

Personally, I like to have heart, humor, and hope in my life... and my movies.