Wednesday, October 24, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… WEEK #24 ~ COFFEE

 

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One of the very best things about retirement is mornings.  I love my mornings.  When I worked, it was rush to get ready for work, then rush to get to work on time.  I dreamed about lingering over my coffee – other than only on the weekends.

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Being retired feels like the best part of my life!  I have never felt so free.  I love my retirement mug!  It makes me happy! 

Recently, my sister and I took a trip home.  I couldn’t help but think about how trips were so rushed when I had a job to return to.  Back in those days, when I drove to NY, it was often straight through.  And I needed lots of coffee to keep me awake. 

I saw a truck on my trip that tickled my fancy.  My sister said that there needs to be a law just for me and that law would be to prohibit taking photos while driving.  And yet, I sneaked in this one last week…

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How could I resist?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Week #23 ~ AUTUMN IN NEW YORK

 

My parents moved to Florida when I was 10 years old.  I didn’t want to move to Florida, but my parents refused to leave me here in NY alone…LOL…  This week, I am in NY and enjoying the beauty of autumn. 

If you are familiar with Florida climate, you are aware that we have a barely perceptible change in seasons.  We often joke that our winters are maybe 5 days long and summer seems to last forever.  There is a subtle difference between spring and fall, but don’t blink or you may miss both seasons.  Well… I have exaggerated a bit, but not by much. 

Where I live, the leaves on the trees do not change with the season.  The leaves on our trees in Florida change  from green to brown with no beauty in between.  Therefore, do I need to tell you just how much I am enjoying my little time in NY at this time of year? 

Of course, I am snapping pics here and there.  I’ll just share a few with you. 

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This year is what my Mom called an Indian Summer.  The temperatures have been mild and the weather nice.  Just the kind of days to make one glad to be alive.  I was both surprised and delighted to see the flowers.

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In addition to the colors, I am enjoying the rustic sights.

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Yes…  That is our outhouse and it is still in use.  If you have never used an outhouse, let me tell you that there is a feeling of freedom to be able to sit and ponder the country scenery while taking care of business.  Oops…Did I just put that on the internet???  LOL

Of course, we visited our Mother’s grave.  I think it must be lovelier in the Autumn than it would be in Spring.

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The leaves on her grave were especially lovely.  She would be pleased with the colors.

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Tomorrow, I will leave New York for probably the last time in my life.  All I can take away with me are a few photos and my memories.  I will miss all this beauty once again and once and for all…

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WEEK #22 ~ THIS OLD HOUSE

So, I was driving down the highway today when I spotted a great old stone house....



Sorry the photo is crooked.  Like I said, I was driving...hee hee

BTW...  The property is For Sale...

Monday, September 24, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS ~ WEEK #15 ~ TREES

 

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I first read this poem in high school and it has been with me, in my mind and heart, for about 50 years. I love the poem and so have used it for inspiration in this blog...

 

TREES

 

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

 

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

 

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain’

Who intimately lives with rain.

 

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree…

 

By Joyce Kilmer ~ 1886-1918

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I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree.

Truly…

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… WEEK #13 ~ HOT

 

With the temperature hovering in the mid-90’s day after hotter-than-hell day here in Florida, I am practicing tried and true ways to keep cool and to stay hydrated.  So, while I sit in front of the air conditioner, I am consuming mass quantities of one or more of my following refreshment solutions….


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This is nothing more than lemon, lime and filtered water.  Be sure to wash your fruit well!  It is a cool drink that is guaranteed to be refreshing.  Of course, you can add sugar and call it lemonade/limeade.  I just prefer without sugar.

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Up there among my favorites is tonic water with raspberries and a sprig of mint.  In this one, I have used spearmint – fresh from my little container garden!

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Filtered water with any kind of fruit is just great.  This one is simply filtered water, a sliced strawberry and a sprig of regular mint – also from my container garden…

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I get creative with salads.  A pasta salad is a great meal all by itself!  Other favorites in this house include a garden salad topped with grilled chicken.  The chicken is grilled in the George Forman grill in 6-8 minutes and add practically no heat to the kitchen.  I encourage you to explore salads as an option for meals.

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And for dessert?  Why add heat to your house with the oven or even the stove top?  I keep tubs of diet gelatin in the fridge.  I boil the water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave and make several flavors at one time.  When someone wants a dessert, just dish up the gelatin and add a squirt of whipped cream or a dollop of Cool Whip.  Or…if you are avoiding sugar like I do, just top with a little half & half.

 

That’s how we do it in the South.  Ya’ll stay cool now ~ ya hear?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… WEEK #12 ~ HIDDEN

 

Our cat is always hiding somewhere…  We found her in our garage when she was really too tiny to have found her way here by herself.  We think our big marshmallow hearted cat stole her and hid her in the garage.  I spotted her little tail as she tried to run and hide from me.  At approximately 4 weeks, I was faster.  And so, Lil Lulu became a part of our family.

 

Lil Lulu still hides and it is fun for me to catch her with my camera…  She wasn’t very good at hiding when she was a kitten.   (No birds were harmed in the filming….)

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She got a little better at her hiding game as she grew…

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But not much better…

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Lil Lulu hides really well in the winter….

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Summer is too hot.  She hid in a tree to try to catch a breeze…

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But, her favorite hiding place is the window sill of the living room window…

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She thinks it is the best place to hide and nobody can see her because she is behind the curtain.  Yeah…right….

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And sometimes, her hiding place is a total fail….

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Everyone should have a Lil Lulu around.  There certainly is never a dull moment in our house…

FOCUS ON THIS… WEEK # 11 ~ DELICIOUS

 

Did I ever mention that I am the Queen of Quick Meals?  Well…Now you know…  I am most famous for taking a time consuming recipe and turning it into E-A-S-Y…  Same ingredients…  Same flavor…  The end product might look different or it might not...

When I was a working gal, I sure didn’t want to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen after spending 8 hours in the office.  It didn’t take long to come up with shortcuts.  One example is Stuffed Peppers. Sure they look all pretty in the peppers, but what a lot of work!

My shortcut recipe is this:

Dice one red & one green bell pepper and one small onion.  Set aside. 

Brown a pound or so of ground beef.  Remove to a colander and allow excess grease to drain into a bowl with a paper towel in the bottom to make cleanup easy.

Select a large pan – your choice – I use a huge stainless steel skillet with metal handle so I can go straight from range top to oven in the same pan…  Then I dump drained ground beef, peppers and onions into the skillet.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder to your taste.  Stir fry just long enough for your veggies to turn a brighter color…no more or you will lose your texture. 

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Add 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes and 2 cups of water.

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Bring to a boil, then add 1 cup of uncooked white rice.  Stir and allow to return to a boil.  As soon as the liquid reaches the second boil, cover the pan with aluminum foil, then the oven proof lid to seal the pan.  Pop the whole pan into the oven @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Done! 

All of the flavor of stuffed peppers.  A fraction of the preparation work/time.  Delicious!

FOCUS ON THIS…WEEK #10 ~ MY PET ~ I WISH

 

Last week was a very different week in our home, which will also explain my “disconnect” from the cyber world for the same approximate length of time…

Monday before last, I saw a little dog running all over my neighborhood.  I saw different neighbors trying to catch the little guy, but he just danced away from everyone.  I’m sure we all had the same concern that he would get hit by a car.  I lost track of him after he lured me down to the lake, then hid on me.  Arriving back home with everything hurting, I was extremely worried about the dog.  But, I’m too old to chase fast little dogs around the neighborhood. 

It was near quitting time for the working population, so I said a prayer and hoped the extremely clever little dog would be sitting innocently on the doorstep when his owners arrived home.  I went to my kitchen and began preparing our evening meal.  But then…another neighbor knocked on my door to ask me if I lost a dog.  A quick peek into her car confirmed that she caught little Houdini…  We chatted a minute while I explained that he was not my dog and she explained why her two large labs were the reason why she could not take him home.  Sooo…I ended up with a houseguest.  He was housebroken, crate trained and walked well on a leash, so he was no problem except to the old cranks around this house…who shall remain unnamed…

Well…without going into a lot of details, I will just say that the poor little guy was 7 pounds of too much spunk for our household of old people and old pets.  With lots of help from the neighbor lady, I posted signs in the neighborhood, listed him on craigslist and in our local county animal control pet forum for lost pets and perused every lost pet site I could find – no luck finding the little guy’s owner.    It became sadly apparent that nobody cared what happened to him. So, after a week of no-luck, we were forced to find a Chihuahua rescue to take him. 

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I called him Squirt and he will be in my heart always.  Just before I handed him over to the lady from the rescue organization, I hugged Squirt and wished him a wonderful life.  And then my heart broke….

Sunday, July 15, 2012

BFF 206 & 209 ~ HERE I GO AGAIN…AWOL UNTIL SEPTEMBER

 

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Confession time…  I am a reality show junkie.  Yep…  CBS turned me into a voyeur…  It started with Big Brother, which remains my favorite, but has now expanded into The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Survivor and the list goes on and on.

But, I love Big Brother the best.  I have watched every season from inception.  I can’t get enough.  Now, for the 4th year, I am watching the live feeds.  Live feeds, for a reality show addict, is like a drug.  Seriously…

As most people in America know, Big Brother season 14 has started .  From now and until the end of the season, I will be living on California time…  For an east coast person, this means that I am up until about 5 am and asleep while California sleeps. 

The houseguests this season are terrific. Oh my goodness...there are some really great personalities this time. This season’s twist is that four former BB stars are back as "coaches" Each one is coach to a team of 3, but one team lost a player the first night. She didn't get to spend even 1 night in the BB house. I really felt bad for her.  I like all 4 of the "coaches", so that is nice.

I love the live feeds. While so many people are waiting for the next TV show, I already know who was nominated for eviction and who has won the power of veto. I'm pretty sure I know which person will be going home, but they are still discussing pros & cons of each of their options. LOTS of game play right away. Most of the people in this group hit the ground with their feet running. It promises to be a great season.

So...HERE I GO AGAIN...I'll be watching live feeds in all my spare time and during most of the time I should be doing something else.  I will most likely be AWOL from any responsible living until September.  I hope you all have a great summer and I intend to do the same ~ right here ~ watching the live feeds ~ on Cali-time…

Thursday, July 5, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… #9 ~ A DAY AT THE BEACH…

 

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I live in Florida, so I have taken many beach photos.  But, this photo remains my favorite beach photo of all time.  This was my friend and her daughter.  The little girl would be about 40 now and my friend would be old like me.  I wish I knew where she is now.  She was a great friend.  I don’t think anybody would recognize them at this point in time, so I’m sharing my fav beach photo!

FOCUS ON THIS… #8 ~ BIRDS

 

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I met the original angry bird down at the lake.  I’d love to know what was on her mind… LOL

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… #7 ~ SUNSET

Sunset in Orlando, Florida
June 19, 2012

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Photo is my personal property, however, if you enjoy the scene, please feel free to make a copy for yourself.

This blog is for the current BFF “Focus On This…” photo challenge.  BFF (Blogging for Fun) also offers writing topics on Mondays and Fridays.  If you would like to join BFF, please visit us at Blogging 4 Fun on Facebook.  We are a closed group, so please ask to join.

Friday, June 15, 2012

BFF 202 ~ I DREAMED THAT I…

 

I dreamed that I was looking in a mirror. My face began to crack and I watched in horror as my whole face was taken over by the many fissures which resembled the crackling found on antique china or old paint. I continued watching until the pieces began to fall off my face in a shower of shards. I woke up…

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(Photo shopped by someone who has no idea what she is doing with a photo editor)

 

I was 15 years old. Really! *I* really had that dream. It is now almost 50 years later and I still cannot get that dream out of my head. Mostly I don’t understand how my mind could contrive such a scene. At that age, I thought maybe I was getting a glimpse of the future somehow. Was I going to die young? Would my future face be horribly scarred in some manner? The questions abounded as I tried to understand.

Later, after a couple of psychology courses in college, I began to examine my psyche and what might possibly lie under that mask of shards. Did I wake up because I didn’t want to see what was under the fa├žade? Was I putting forward a fake persona? Those of you who know me can laugh right here and for the benefit of anyone who does not know me, just know this…I am one of those “transparent” people who hide NOTHING.

After all these years of pondering that dream, I have finally come to understand that it was, after all, only a dream. Of course, I did not die young. My face is not scarred, nor is it a mass of wrinkles like many my age. I have no fake persona hiding the real me. I am exactly what you see and nothing fake about me. Nothing horrible happened to my face. It is still there – pink and mostly smooth considering my age.

So… What on earth did that dream mean? After taking the memory out for examination repeatedly over my life time, I have finally come to a conclusion and it is this: The dream meant NOTHING. It was neither prophetic nor indicative of another psyche hidden within. It is time to put that puppy to bed once and for all, because it was, after all, just a strange and silly dream that has stolen too many of my waking hours throughout my lifetime…

Now, if only I can understand why I dreamed that dream in college... It was the one where I was standing on the only small patch of land, muddy water lapping at my shoes and as far as the eye could see….alone with nothing but muddy water...

 

This blog was written for BFF 202 ~ “I DREAMED THAT I...”  BFF (Blogging for Fun) offers writing topics on Mondays and Fridays plus a photo challenge on Wednesdays.  If you would like to join BFF, please visit us at Blogging 4 Fun on Facebook.  We are a closed group, so please ask to join.

 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… #5 ~ BEVERAGE

 

I love retirement!  It is wonderful to linger long with my Bible and a mug of cappuccino.

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I acquired this mug upon retirement.  I love my mug!

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I especially love the back side of my retirement mug.

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Nuff said…

 

This blog is for the current BFF “Focus On This…” photo challenge.  BFF (Blogging for Fun) also offers writing topics on Mondays and Fridays.  If you would like to join BFF, please visit us at Blogging 4 Fun on Facebook.  We are a closed group, so please ask to join.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FULL CIRCLE

BFF 198 - FULL CIRCLE
Here I sit
As I ponder
Which stage of life
I was fonder

If i could have stayed
In just one state
Just which one would
Have been just great?

Every need taken care of
When I was a tot
Still messing my pants
Nope ~ I think not!

Childhood was fun
But not quite heaven
Still had to be in bed
No later than seven

Went to school
And it was fun
But all that studying
Made me glad to move on

Teen years were wonderful
But could not stay
Had dreams to fulfill
Let come what may

As a young adult
Life was great
Except I had to work
If I wanted to eat

Marriage came and went
And came and went
And came and went
Then came and stayed...

Pursued my career
I worked so hard
Forty three years
And now I am retired

I sleep late
My stress is gone
I play all day
Talk on the phone

I spend hours with God
It pleases us
So much to talk about
Now that I'm not in a rush

So if I could stay
In just one year
I would choose
To stay right here

But, alas
I cannot stay
Time marches on
Day by day

The time will come
When life changes again
Life is a circle
To where we began

I'll lose my teeth
I'll lose my hair
If I lose my memory
I will not care

I made up my mind
I will be happy
While depending on others
And messing my nappy


Darlene Cirinna
July 20, 2009

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… #3 ~ FLOWERS

 

When I bought my current digital camera, I began to take  photos like I have always wanted to take.

With magnified power, I discovered the real beauty in wildflowers.  I am amazed at the detail.  More…It has made me think about our God who created all these beautifully detailed flowers.  Many of the flowers are so small they are hardly noticeable.  The detail in the tiny blossoms escape the normal vision, but when magnified I am awestruck at the attention given to each and every living thing on earth.  If the Lord has given such attention to a tiny flower, how much more has He given us?

Every flower featured here is a wildflower or a weed.  Nothing is insignificant in the Lord’s eyes.  His beauty is everywhere.  He cares about everything.  And these flowers are the proof. 

Darlene Cirinna

May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BFF 192 ~ Close Call…

 

BFF 192 ~ CLOSE CALL

 

When I posted this topic to BFF, I didn’t have a clue about what I could write. I tossed ideas around in my mind for several days while I considered whether I would write a real experience or fiction. If real – which one? And so it went around and around in my mind…until yesterday…

Not much exciting goes on in my neighborhood. It’s a quiet, tree lined street and most of us are older folk. One hot, lazy day follows another here. Just a typical day around here... So, when I took my little darlings for a walk yesterday, I wasn’t expecting any kind of excitement…

My tiny terrors did their usual sniffing and shuffling. Our walks can hardly be called walks. We’re all old you know. Once I get them both going in the same direction, it is pretty much stop and sniff every few feet. I don’t get much exercise, but it is the highlight of their day. I noticed a neighbor was up in a cherry picker trimming his trees. In a neighborhood full of old oak trees, it is not unusual for someone to be having their trees trimmed. All in all, it was a normal day around here.

We were just past my house when suddenly; there were white fire flashes, popping, crackling and the loudest hum coming from the bouncing electrical lines. I knew in an instant that the tree trimmer had connected with the power lines. My heart was beating out of my chest as I ran down the street yelling “Are you all right? ARE YOU ALL RIGHT??? I was really scared for that guy in the cherry picker. People up and down the street came running out of their homes. Seeing me running, some were shouting “What happened??” I couldn’t stop. I had to know if that guy was all right. I could see flames licking at the leaves of the tree. I feared the very worst. I kept running… Just before I got to his house, I saw the cherry picker beginning to lower back to the ground. The man next door was almost crowing…”He’s all right! HE’S ALL RIGHT!!!” as he ran around in his socks and almost dancing in the street. His little dog took the opportunity to run across the street to meet my dogs. On top of all the confusion and the sheer terror of the whole event, my tiny terrors got scrappy with the little bull dog…

But, all is well that ends well. The most important thing is that the man in the cherry picker was okay.

Whew! That sure was a close call….

 

Darlene Cirinna

May 15, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FOCUS ON THIS… #1 ~ DOOR KNOBS, LATCHES & SUCH…

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Un-retouched photos taken at an old house,

complete with rust and grime

~

and lots of character

 

Darlene Cirinna

May 9, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

BFF 190 ~ I HOPE….

 

I thought I would be lame, as usual, and skip yet another blog topic. HEY! I have a busy retirement here… LOL But, my friend Jo got me to thinking when she made a list of her hopes and dreams. I like lists! When I make lists, I never know what I will drag out of the depths of my mind and heart. So…it is with anticipation on my own part that I begin my list because I really don’t know at this point what will be on my “hope” list…

 BFF 190 PINK HOPE

~ my husband and I have many more years of life together.

~ our good health will continue.

~ I never slip into depression again.

~ my sisters & my daughters have so much happiness and love that their cups run over.

~ the economy improves so that every person who wants a job will have a job.

~ I can get through this election year without losing any more friends.   

~ after the elections, our elected officials actually roll up their sleeves and get to work for the good of our nation and without political prejudice. (I DO realize that is a fantasy… But, this IS MY wish list. LOL)

~ I will find the dedication it would take to sort my fiction short stories and select a few for an e-book. I would be happy to write just one book and really wouldn’t care if people bought it or Amazon offered it for free. I just want to feel the “accomplished” feeling in that arena.

~ our shutterbug blog friends will enjoy the new BFF weekly challenge. Oops! Did I just leak something? LOL

~ I find my way out of my blog rut…

~ we have another quiet hurricane season.

~ that mercy and grace will overrule my cynical side

~ the Lord meets all the needs of those He loves

~ peace and harmony rule my world

~ I can find it within me to part with most of this stuff I have collected for a lifetime. My needs are small and I don’t need half of what I own.

~ my donated things bless others who have needs

~I don’t die before I simplify my possessions. I don’t want anyone to have to do this because I didn’t do it while I am alive. It is too hard to sort and dispose of a loved one’s belongings. It is now 3 ½ years since the death of my Mom and I’m still trying to get through her stuff. I don’t want my family having to deal with the same conflict of heart/sentiment vs. reason.

~ that I can always find HOPE…

Nuff said…I think…

 

Darlene Cirinna

May 6, 2012