Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Abundance of Kale and A Messy Green Smoothie!

Impulsive Purchases.

Have you ever gone to a big box store, and made an impulsive purchase? A large quantity of something that you later realized there was no way your family could consume before it spoiled?  Usually, I am pretty good at sticking to my list - but last week I gave in to the temptation of buying a huge bag of kale and a crate of mangos.


Time to try a Green Smoothie.

I decided to use my abundance of produce to create some healthy things for my family - and to come up with some recipes for blog posts!  I have never had a green smoothie, but I decided to try to make one. 


green smoothie, recipe, healthy

Aside from a kitchen disaster, and a little concern about the texture - it turned out rather well...


Kale and Fruit Smoothie

Printable Recipe: Click here.

Ingredients:
2 cups washed, chopped kale
1 banana, frozen
1 cup mango pieces
2 kiwis
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 TBSP honey


ingredients, recipe, smoothie


Method:
  1. Peel fruit. 
  2. Check to be sure blender is put together correctly and seal is in place 
  3. Add all of the above ingredients into a blender. *
  4. Blend well until smooth.
  5. Wash the floor
kale, fruit, blended


What a mess!

Things were going well, until I decided I needed better lighting for my photos.  I carried the blender across the room  - and then realized I had dripped my way across the entire kitchen.  Ugh! 


Kale smoothie, recipe



I won't mention any names, (I suppose it could have even been me!) but someone put the blender back together incorrectly the last time it was used. The seal was not working. 
(Note: I added Step 2 in the recipe so you can avoid Step 5 (Wash the floor)! 

I did get some photos of the preparation process, though not quite the shots I wanted. I took the finished smoothie outside to take a picture of it, to avoid including the mess I had created in my photos - and then I washed the kitchen floor! 


smoothie, recipe,

I really liked the flavor of this smoothie - but I'm not quite sure I got the texture right though.  There were still a lot of little bits of kale that had not pureed, that stuck to my teeth after I drank a glassful! Not sure if my blender was just not powerful enough, or if all green smoothies are this texture? 

I still had a lot of kale left!

The bag of kale still looked like I had hardly touched it. Later this week I will be writing about what I did with the rest of the kale - and the mangos! I hope you stop back and check out the recipes!


A question for Green Smoothie Experts: 
Do I need another blender? 
Or do they always leave green pieces in your teeth?!

* 5-14-15  UPDATE: I just learned a trick from Domestically Speaking that might make the texture smoother: First blend the kale with the orange juice, (until the kale becomes quite fine) and then add your other ingredients and continue blending.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #12: Supportive Bloggers


If the only writing you do is with a pen, instead of reading this post about blogging, you may prefer an article I wrote exactly a year ago: The Sharpie Marker, An Indispensable Modern Convenience. 


Even non-bloggers however, might enjoy this glimpse into what it is like to be a blogger.  (Truthfully, I'd be flattered if you read both posts!)

If you have been following the most - - of every moment for long, you will have noticed some changes to this blog over the past month.

For example:
- the title banner is now a collage of photos.
- the photos in my posts are larger than before.
- I'm now publishing my recipes with a “printable version” available.
A few people have asked me where I learned to do these things. I am going to “shine my Saturday Spotlight” on my answer, which is  . . .

. . .  practically everything I know about blogging I have learned from other very supportive bloggers!  

Bloggers are an amazing community.  On some level we are all competing with each other for readers. Yet, rather than selfishly just promote our own websites, bloggers really tend to help each other out.  And from what I have learned, the more a blogger helps others, the more quickly that helper's blog actually grows.

Thank goodness for Pinterest!  Using Pinterest is like keeping a huge scrapbook. I have a “Blog Tips!” board stuffed full of links to helpful articles.  I am constantly pinning valuable information that I find. Without these tutorials written by other bloggers, I wouldn't have known how to do anything at all when I first started blogging!

In the year since I began this blog the most - - of every moment, I have received far too much help to give credit here to everyone who deserves it. I can at least tell you though, how I learned to make the recent changes I mentioned above. Perhaps you will find these tips helpful too.

Making a Custom Header Banner

Although I use the photo editor Ribbet instead of PicMonkey (and therefore didn't follow the tutorial exactly), the post How To Make Headers For Your Blogger Blog - Using PicMonkey from The Blog Guidebook provided exactly the motivation and information that I needed to create my blog header.

Making Photos Larger

My blogger friend Heather (heatheronhertravels.com) gave me a tip about how to change the width of my photos before inserting them into my blog. I then realized that on the Blogger platform, photos can be published as "original size" (somehow I had never noticed that before?!)  ... and in Ribbet, photos can be changed to a size that works! 
I found the post Auto-sizing Photos to Fit Post Area In Blogger by I Can Build A Blog really helpful. I'm too nervous to make any changes to the CSS code of my blog, but these tips worked well enough without having to do that right now.  

Making a Recipe Printable

I have always offered an option to print any part of my blog (once you click on a post title, the print button shows up under that post). This method still seems a little cumbersome for recipes though, so I was thrilled to discover the post How to Make Your Recipe Printable on Blogger by Confessions of an Overworked Mom.  It was a really easy tutorial to follow, and I like the print option I can now provide.  I hope you do too! 

I had been toying with switching from the Blogger platform to Word Press.  
I really like Blogger, but I was feeling limited by my inability to do some things on it.  A couple months ago though, I discovered Kim Six Blogger Support

Kim specializes in the Blogger platform, and at the time was offering to do free blog reviews for blogs hosted by Blogger.  I signed up immediately - and her review was unbelievably helpful and detailed. I have implemented a lot of her suggestions, and I am looking forward to working with her to get a little help with some changes I am unable (or too intimidated!) to do myself.  

Thanks to Kim, at least for now I am perfectly content to remain on Blogger! She just had new business cards made, and she posted a photo of them on Instagram. Pretty creative, don't you think? 



To everyone who has ever given me any blogging advice, information or support - I'd like to express a huge thank you!  

 I hope I can pay it forward.

What is the best tip from another blogger that you have ever received?


Did you remember to click the link and read my previous post about Sharpie markers? I learned a lot of fun facts about them when I wrote the article.  They can be used for all sorts of things; I even used one to make this wallhanging.


This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Cleaning Products Don't Work Unless You Use Them

It has been quite a while since I’ve published any fiction.  Today I am participating in this week's Words for Wednesday challenge

I love the task of taking the six words provided by Delores from Under the Porch Light, and turning them into a story!  While writing this one, I think perhaps I was sub-consciously thinking about the spring cleaning I need to do.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Morning could not come soon enough for Mindy. She had to end this suffering! The self-imposed shopping moratorium that she had placed upon herself had lasted long enough.

Four whole days without buying a single cleaning product! Since she was eleven-years old, this was the longest she had ever gone without buying something that cleaned, sanitized, shined, disinfected or removed dirt. She usually bought at least one thing every single day!

The memory of the first cleansing product she ever bought was still vivid. Her mom had refused to buy the shampoo the television commercials recommended, because it was so much more expensive than their regular brand. Mindy had walked to the store and purchased a bottle of it herself, with some of the money she had gotten for her eleventh birthday. That first whiff of the shampoo's heavenly herbal essence had given her a feeling of fulfillment like nothing Mindy had ever experienced before in her young life.

The next day she bought soap. Then a new brand of toothpaste. From there, it morphed into not just items related to hygiene, but cleanliness of any kind. Scrub brushes, make-up remover, toilet bowl cleaner, vacuum cleaners, rug shampoo, dishwashing detergent - she had to have them all. And not just one of each, but a multitude of every brand.

Mindy knew she was a spendthrift and that she could ill afford the multitude of purchases she made. She knew most people didn’t own nine vacuums - or squirrel away 167 boxes of bath soap in their basement.


In fact, in a flash of insight, last week she had realized that although she owned all of these cleaning products, her house and body were a far cry from immaculate! Practically every inch of space in her home was taken up by these purchases. Even her bathtub was filled with a miscellaneous assortment of unopened bottles, bags and boxes. Removing them from the tub and stacking them all on her bed (the only empty space left in her house) took  so much effort that she never seemed to have much energy or desire to bathe.

Mindy decided there was no reason to wait until morning. She hopped out of bed, fired up her computer, and ordered a Steamfast Multipurpose Steam-Cleaner from Amazon.com



Mindy wasn’t even feeling any guilt about going back on the promise she had made to herself to stop these purchases - she had come up with a phenomenal plan. For every new cleaning item that she bought, she would sell two things that she already owned on eBay. (At least until the bathtub was empty, and then she might drop down to selling just one for every purchase!)

Why hadn’t she thought of this before? She didn’t care about any of the cleaning stuff after she got it home. She just loved to make the purchases! Who knows - she might even end up making money instead of spending it!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This story is totally fictitious! It is not even loosely based on any event or person, but is a fiction story sparked solely from the word prompts provided for this week's Words for Wednesday Challenge. 


I wonder if Mindy's new purchase was a good buy?

I shamelessly including several Amazon Affiliate links to cleaning products in this story. It was easier to use them than take my own photos for this post!  

I fear a little of Mindy rubbed off on me - I don't own a Steamfast Multipurpose Steam cleaner like the one in the last photo - but after reading the reviews, I am a little tempted to try one out! It does sound like you have to follow the directions, and use extreme caution because of the steam - but I wonder how well this machine works?

This week's Words for Wednesday word prompts were: 

immaculate, moratorium, flash, spendthrift, miscellaneous, and squirrel.

What are your thoughts about Mindy's new plan?
Do you own a multi-purpose steam-cleaner?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains Amazon affiliate links, for which I may receive compensation if any purchases are made. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Favorite Dessert: Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

I promised that I would be publishing my recipe for Frozen Mocha Cheesecake today.  So now, I am keeping that promise!

cheesecake, frozen desserts, mocha, cheesecake

In my post yesterday, I wrote about a meal I recently served to some friends.  Everything was quite simple to make, and almost the entire meal preparation could be completed in advance. 

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to serve with a new recipe.  Without ever having tasted it, choosing complementary side dishes can be difficult.  I was very pleased with my selections this time, and I quite possibly might make the entire meal exactly the same way again!  We served a dry Riesling with dinner.

Menu
Appetizer: 
Asparagus Tart

Main Meal: 
One Dish Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Apricots
Lightly Steamed Snap Peas
Tri-Color Pearled Couscous
Crusty bread and butter

Dessert: 
Frozen Mocha Cheesecake 
Decaf Coffee

For more information about the appetizer and main course, go to yesterday's post An Easy Dinner Menu - Perfect for Company.
  

But now - - - it's time for me to write about dessert!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Easy Dinner Menu - Perfect for Company

Mysterious Visitors

On Friday I was visited by a swarm of about 50 loudly buzzing bees, who seemed to be doing everything in their power to come in through our (fortunately intact) kitchen window screen.  Their visit was so dramatic and brief, I described it in my post, A Mysterious Visit By Bees.  What I didn't mention in that post is that I was cooking with honey in my kitchen when the bees appeared.


Trying a new recipe isn't so risky, when you trust the source!

Some friends were coming over for dinner that evening.  Like I often do, I was taking a risk and preparing a recipe I had not tried before for my guests.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #11: A Mysterious Visit by Bees


Bugs ... and Bees, Oh My!

I'm sorry. My apologies to anyone who doesn't like to think about bugs!

I promise bugs won't become a major topic on this blog, but I am writing about them for the second time this week.

Yesterday was a lot busier than I had anticipated.

The Saturday Spotlight post I had planned for today just did not get written.

Instead - I am going to “shine my Saturday Spotlight” on a mysterious encounter I had yesterday.

The mystery
Why did about 50 bees suddenly swarm my kitchen window yesterday afternoon, for the better part of an hour?


bees, swarming

These bees were persistent and their buzzing was alarmingly loud! I was extremely glad they were on the other side of the window screen. I wish I had thought to take a photo before they began to disappear - or better yet record a video, so you could have heard them buzzing. Unfortunately, all I have is this photo, taken after many of them had disappeared.  


I have a hypothesis - but would love to know what you  think

Thursday, March 19, 2015

BEST Frosted Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER!

Note: if you are reading this on a mobile device, there may be large gaps after the text. Please keep scrolling down to view the entire post. Sorry for the inconvenience; hopefully I will figure out how to correct this issue soon!

I have tried a lot of different recipes for rolled sugar cookies. A number of years ago, I finally found the perfect one!





Most of the recipes you find on the Internet are actually published by bloggers. (I didn't ever realize this, until I became a blogger!) I wish I could remember where I copied this one from - I would love to give that person credit and personally thank them for such a perfect cookie!

In the past, I have decorated these cookies for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, the first day of school, soccer parties, etc.  Last week, I cut them out in a variety of shapes: 
  • Shamrocks -  for St. Paddy's Day
  • #1 cookies - to use in photos for my 1st Blogiversary post
  • Flowers, pinwheels, dots and squiggles - just because!
  • Hearts and A+'s - for the "End-of-the-Quarter Finals" college care package 
 Photos from my daughter, with permission: Tired but Happy College Students!
(I told my daughter they would be “getting A's!")



These cookies have amazing flavor on their own, but when frosted with my favorite sugar cookie icing, they become irresistible.  I made a few alterations to the original recipes, and my son says they are now similar (“but better”) to the highly-esteemed ones at the local bakery! 

There are a few things that make these cookies really unique and special.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Better Butter - An Instagram Photo Explained.

Note:  If you are reading this on a mobile device, there may be large gaps after the text. Please keep scrolling down to view the entire post. Sorry for the inconvenience; hopefully I will figure out how to correct this issue soon!

Instagram is one of my favorite social media channels because it is uncomplicated, visual, and easy to scroll through. I post a photo on Instagram nearly every day.


Instagram

























If you aren't following me but would like to, you can just click here to go to my Instagram profile. Leave your own Instagram link in the comments below, and I'll follow you.

If you already follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this picture ...

grated butter

... The caption that I added on Instagram was:
"You may or may not see more about this on my blog sometime, depending on how it turns out!"  
Well - “it” did turn out ... and today I am excited to tell you today about this easy baking shortcut. This technique worked perfectly when I made up a batch of my favorite sugar cookies last week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I Picked Up Three Hitchhikers on a Hike

Yesterday, I published photos of a mountain hike.  Today I realized there is (unfortunately) more of that story to tell. . .

On our little hike, unknowingly, I picked up not one but THREE hitchhikers! You may be a little entertained (or grossed out) by this account of my misfortune ... but I hope this story also serves as a reminder of some things to know when heading into the woods this spring!


woods, trees, hike, views

The morning after our hike, while home alone and busy reading and commenting on other blogs, I casually rubbed the nape of my neck, beneath my hair. Here is an exact replica of my next thoughts:
“Hmmm - what are these bumps? What do I  have stuck to me? OH - NOOO!  It's not something sticky I got into ... these are TICKS!”
Yes, TICKS.  Plural.  I recognized them by touch right away.  Because, you see, I am no stranger to providing a ride and a meal for these little guys.  I have done so too many times before. 

Of course, I tried to confirm my suspicions visually.  Not easy, when the body part you are trying to see is directly behind your head and below the level of your eyes!  
  • I tried to use a hand mirror to see the refection in the mirror on the wall.  Nope - no way these myopic / presbyopic eyes could focus well enough.
  • One more bright idea - I tried to use my iPhone to snap a photo of them.  I got a lot of interesting shots of the ceiling, my collar, the top of my head and my shoulders ... and this very blurry picture. Which was enough to convince me that it wasn't bubble gum beneath my hair.
Ugh!  

If you desire to see a clear photo of a tick, I wrote about them once before.  Not everyone enjoys photos of these guys, so rather than re-post the picture I took about a year ago, you can visit my post Do You Feel Lucky to Live Where You Do? and see a bigger-than-life clear picture of one there!

Ticks come with the territory when you are in the wilderness in the springtime. The day of our hike was warm, but I must admit the thought of ticks never crossed my mind, as March is still really a winter month here. I'm not particularly squeamish - but I prefer not to share my blood supply with these nasty little mooches.  And I especially would like to avoid any diseases that they may carry.  Once discovered, it is my preference that they vacant my premises immediately!

Herein lies the problem. How do you use tweezers to gently grab and pull a tick STRAIGHT out, without leaving any parts behind, as the CDC emphatically recommends ... when you can't see where you are tweezing?!  This was a problem I could not solve myself.  

A text was immediately dispatched to my husband - most of it composed in upper case letters!  I got a sympathetic reply almost immediately.  
"Do you want me to come home."  
Trying not to sound as desperate as I felt, I replied 
" Do you have any time today?"  
 And then I waited.

No text response.  Feeling uncharacteristically like a damsel in distress, I kept waiting for my knight on a white horse to appear - but things at work must have gotten hectic for him. 

While waiting to hear back, I tried to inspect the dog.  No ticks on her that I could find, but with her thick coat they could easily be hiding. We will check her over from time-to-time for a while! I will also have to let my doctor know if I develop any symptoms of rash, fever and chills, headache, unusual fatigue or muscle/joint pain in the next few weeks. These could be an indication that one or more of my pesky uninvited guests shared with me a tickborne illness.  Double UGH.

An hour and forty-five minutes after my first text, I sent my husband another message: 
"I could bring alcohol and tweezers and meet you at work. Or maybe I will call some friends and see if anyone is willing to do an extraction. My sanity is ebbing a bit with three heads buried in my neck."
Just as I was deciding which friend would be most competent and comfortable performing this favor, I got an text response from my spouse.
"So sorry - couldn't get away. I'm coming now."  
Knights in shining armor don't always just fight dragons! Sometimes, instead of a white horse, their steed is a Honda Pilot!


ticks, alcohol, jar
I decided to post a photo after all. All three ticks were skillfully removed by my husband and met their deaths in a jar of alcohol.  It was a case of murder which I wholeheartedly endorsed!


Have you ever had a tick on you? Do you have a tick story to share?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!



Monday, March 16, 2015

I Can't Wait Until Tomorrow to Share this News!

I usually don't post on a Monday, but my news just can't wait until tomorrow! 


1.)  I Made Some Changes to this Blog

As I begin my second year of blogging, today I'm publishing my 300th post on this blog! You may notice some changes to the banner, fonts, and layout of this website.  I gave the most - - of every moment a bit of a face lift over the weekend - and there will be more changes coming!  I'd love to know what you think so far!


blog, banner, header, title

2.) My Work was Published on Another Blog

Last Tuesday I wrote about my heavenly weekend in California.  I mentioned that I would soon have another article about it published on the blog Heather on Her Travels.  It was posted Saturday! 

I am so honored for my work to be published on Heather's wonderful and well-read travel blog.  I hope you will take a minute and click here to read A weekend getaway at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.  It is quite different from the article I posted on this blog last week, with photos of my friend and I enjoying the activities nearby!  

ocean view, Hotel del Coronado, vacation, resort, California

Be sure to take a look about Heather's informative blog Heatheronhertravels.com, and read about some of her exotic travel destinations!  Her blog is fun to follow because she lives such an exciting life!

3.) A Warm Afternoon was Perfect for a Hike

The weather over the weekend tried to fool us into thinking it is Springtime in Montana.  It clouded up a bit on Sunday and got windy - but it was still a perfect afternoon for a hike. 


hike, dog, mountain views

Montana, mountain view, hike

 My weekend was fun and quite productive.  
How was yours?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, I did receive some complementary services from the Hotel del Coronado. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #10: My One-Year Blogiversary!

There are 525,600 minutes in a year.
 
I hit publish for the first time on this blog five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes ago, give or take a few. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into!  


A year and about a weekend ago, I had just one question: “What's a blog?”  Seriously, I didn't even know.

A blog, for anyone who many still not know, is a regularly updated web page or website.  The word “blog” comes from the term web log or weblog. It also may interest you that each update is called a "post" or a blog post.
Today, I can answer that question, but now I have a bunch more!



Starting a blog was one of the more impulsive decisions that I have made. After I had been freelance writing for a while, I read that “starting a blog is a good thing for a writer to do.” Only a few days after the idea to start a blog occurred to me,

Friday, March 13, 2015

Five Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

First - some exciting news.  Well, at least I am excited about it!  This blog - the most - of every moment  is One-Year-Old tomorrow!


very first blog post
A snap-shot of my first blog post! To read it, click here.

My "Blogiversary" has been sort of on my mind lately, but I had an “aha moment” about it today! While thinking about St Patrick's Day coming up next week, I realized that I have already written a post about that holiday!!  It was one of my earliest posts, but WOW - I truly have been blogging for a year!

When my children were small and had birthdays, people would ask me what to give to them.  I always felt a little uncomfortable about providing any ideas. It feels a little awkward now as well, but just in case anyone is wondering about a birthday present for my blog  - I have an suggestion!

What my blog (and I) would love, more than ANYTHING, is for you to subscribe to it by email! This is easy to do:
  • go to the home page of my blog
  • type your email in the “subscribe by email” box on the right sidebar of the blog
  • remember to respond to the confirmation email you will receive.  
By doing this, you will never miss a post - and your email address won't show up anywhere on this blog - I promise!

It would be fantastic if you would also follow me in some other ways as well. (Click on the links below.)

Pinterest: SusanFmt
Twitter: @Susan F_mt
Instagram: susan_ofeverymoment
Google +: Susan F
NOTE: (I have a Facebook Page (different than my personal profile) set up specifically for this blog.  Please be sure to “like” the Facebook Page “the most - - of every moment” itself, not just a particular post - although I'd love it if you'd “like” those once in a while too!
If you are already following this blog - a huge thank you!

That's enough about my blog's first birthday until tomorrow.  In the meantime (today being my 365th day of blogging)  I am simply going to update that earlier post about St. Patrick's day!

When writing that post nearly a year ago, I provided a link to a St. Patrick's Day article I wrote for Yahoo Voices.  Since Yahoo Voices is no longer in existence, I am sharing that information again here, and linking it back to my original blog post. You can read the rest of the original post right here.

I originally intended these St. Patrick's Day suggestions for families with kids  - but people of any age could enjoy at least some of them.

**********************************

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Grieving for a Pool

Places, like people, become important in our lives.  Yesterday, I published a post about how I have been feeling homesick for a hotel. Today, I am in mourning. Not for the first time, but much more profoundly than before, I am lamenting the loss of a pool. I know that every parent who's ever had a child on a swim team is certain to understand why I am grieving.

My children were born in Ohio, and their early years were spent there.  We belonged to a club with an outdoor pool, where we spent a multitude of happy summer hours.  Although there were some earlier swimming lessons at a YMCA, it is this pool my daughter remembers as the place she began to love to swim.

On a visit to Ohio years later, we stopped in to “see the pool.” To our horror, we found the club to be in disrepair.  There were broken-down buildings and many symptoms indicating that it had not been used for recreation for quite some time.  



The pool was fenced - but beyond the padlocked gate it was visible with brackish sludge and a foundation that was clearly cracked. Despite the fact that there were no longer any reasons for us to ever swim in that pool, I felt sad. My daughter cried.

This past Monday, even before I saw it on Facebook, I learned of a major disappointment. (Bad news travels fast.)

The pool where my family (and countless others) spent ten-thousand-plus swim team-related hours is now closed.  Permanently. Reading the news was like reading the obituary of an old friend.  This time, it was not just my daughter who shed some tears.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hotel del Coronado: Perhaps a Glimpse of Heaven

Today I’m excited to tell you about a wonderful resort, where a friend from college and I recently spent a fun weekend together.  I did receive some complimentary services from the hotel in exchange for writing about it, but the opinions expressed are entirely my own.  


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The idea that heaven is a place where angels rest on fluffy white clouds has never held much appeal for me. I've seen for myself (having flown in multiple airplanes) that clouds are just unsubstantial wet mist. I am convinced that the location of the "hereafter" must be something better - perhaps even a conglomeration of all of the best times and places that I have experienced in this life.  I would be quite pleased, in fact, if it would replicate the luxurious and beautiful surroundings of the Hotel del Coronado.


The Hotel del Coronado, or  "The Del" as it is often fondly called, is a luxury resort just across a bridge from San Diego, California.  Coronado has a “island feel” although it is actually a peninsula, connected to the mainland by a thin spit of land called the Silver Strand. A friend and I chose Coronado from various flight destination options for the location of our “girl’s weekend away” last month, because of the beautiful beach, warm weather, and the activities available there.  We deliberated about the expense, but finally decided that Hotel del Coronado was worth the splurge.  I am so happy that we did.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday Spotlight #9 - Making Up for Last Week

Last week, with all the preoccupations of attending a five-day swim meet, I neglected to publish a “Saturday Spotlight” post.  It was a disappointing week to miss publishing this series, because there have been a lot of wonderful things happening “in the blogosphere.” 

Just in case you missed these, today I'm going to “shine my spotlight” on a few of the very special posts I've come across the past few weeks.




#1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.
On February 20th, 2015, 1000-plus bloggers and videographers came together to raise their voices for compassion; each sharing a post about caring and compassion on that day.  I was honored to be a part of this campaign with my post, Eight Questions About Compassion #1000Speak. 
For more inspiring posts, just search the hashtag #1000Speak.

#Across Women's Lives.
PRI's Across Women's Lives campaign is highlighting women's and girl's issues, and global issues of gender equality all year long.  Bloggers are joining in the conversation by writing and sharing posts using the hashtag #womenslives. 
The post, Who Is Farzana Parveen? (by my friend Rena from thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.comis a sad and chilling account of the death of a young woman. It illustrates the inability to make choices for themselves, that some women still experience. Like Rena, I continued to think about this story long after I finished reading it. 

In addition to the two important campaigns mentioned above, I read many other posts this week that I found very moving. 

Here are just a few of them. (Just click on the numbered post titles, to view each post):

Friday, March 6, 2015

I'll Get the Next One

“I'll get the next one.” This sentence is a quote from a paragraph my daughter wrote last weekend on an Instagram post. Just typing it caused my eyes to fill with tears, as it summarizes who my daughter is - and how we should all strive to live life.


“I'll get the next one.” Sometimes we don't have to say it. Sometimes life allows us to achieve our goals. Sometimes we can celebrate or even just take our life successes for granted.

There are other times, however, when circumstances get in the way and our goals are not met. These missed goals can be of any sort one can imagine - from a grade on a test, a job opportunity, a weight loss goal, a scheduled flight connection, or even a failed recipe. Responses to these disappointments can be varied, and it is easy to give up. But, a lesson both my kids seem to have learned (and that I am learning from them) - the very best response is, “I'll get the next one.”

Swimming is an unkind sport. It is unrelenting in its demands. A competitive swimmer is no stranger to early (very early!) morning practices, cold pools, chlorine-ravaged hair and skin, and races determined by sometimes a one-hundredth of a second. The higher the level of competition, the greater the demand. In college swimming, it all comes down to a few races at the end of the season. Nothing else up to that point really matters that much. There is a lot of pressure to be at your very best on the days of the championship races.

When it comes to swimming, my daughter has had to tell herself often that she will “get the next one.” A year-round swimmer for many years, she has had seasons cut short by pneumonia, appendicitis, injuries and other illnesses. Quitting the sport she loves never entered her mind. Wallowing in her disappointment (as I sometimes have done for her) has never been her style. Although her swimming career has sometimes seemed like a series of one-step-forward and two-back; instead of quitting she just keeps working until she can finally leap ahead in a three-giant-steps stride. Watching her has been a wonderful example of how to live life.

I was in San Antonio, TX last week to watch my daughter and her team compete in their college championship meet. Her teammates broke many school records and had some terrific swims. My daughter’s first race ended on a bad note, when she snagged and ripped her brand new (expensive!) racing suit while climbing out of the pool. Whether it was related to the influences of wearing a ripped suit, nerves, or other circumstances is unclear, but her subsequent middle-distance swims were not as fast as she had hoped. Still, she and her coaches remained excited and optimistic for the mile, her best event.

Her mile swim started off with swimmers taking their marks, like any other race. And then, it happened. Immediately on impact, after diving into the water, my daughter’s goggles broke at the nose piece. Snapped and flew off her face - still caught in her cap but dangling, useless, behind her neck.


As soon as she surfaced from her dive, it was apparent that something was wrong.
She surfaced from her dive and began to swim with her head well above the water, screaming to her teammates on the pool deck to get her new goggles. They sprang into action. Goggles were offered and passed hand-to-hand, until her coach met her with them at the end of the lane as she finished the 75th yard of this 1,650 yard race. Treading water, without touching the bottom or lane lines, she caught the goggles as they were thrown to her. She whipped off her broken ones, settled the new lenses over her eyes, and resumed the race. By this point the rest of the swimmers were easily a length or so ahead of her.


I can't describe how sad I felt for her. All that work, obliterated by the snap of a thin piece of plastic. I watched her continue to swim, and imagined an increase in the salinity of the pool. I was sure her tears were leaking from the borrowed goggles (which could not possibly fit as well as her own) and mingling with the chlorine. To keep myself from crying for her, I began to watch and cheer on her teammate, who I also hoped would swim well.

After a few laps, I focused again on my daughter. The gap was closing between her and the other swimmers. I just stared at her for a while, unable to dare hope that instead of being lapped, she was actually gaining on the field of swimmers. Instead of giving up, her pace was steady. Not only did finish a race that from the start seemed impossible; she did not come in last. Her time was not what she had hoped for or even a personal best - but it was such a courageous swim that she gained the respect of everyone at the pool.



Yes. My daughter will keep this promise to her team and to herself, and she will “get the next one.” But she “got this one” too. Sometimes the victories in life are not the ones we seek.


Having goggles break is just one obstacle life can throw at us.  How do you deal with challenges and disappointments?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!