Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wild fruit

I have a big yard - 1.76 acres. It has overgrown itself a bit over the last 10 years and this summer we are getting a deck put on, so we are getting large sections of it ripped out so the deck can be added.

For the past week I've been seeing bushes in the yard with red fruit on them.

I had no idea what they were. I was thinking raspberries, but I'm not a gardener in any way, shape, or form. So, what did I do? I asked my friends on FB. I know I have a few friends who are good at this type of thing.

They did not disappoint. Initially they believed them to be raspberries, which is what they looked like to me. But, a friend who is very good with this type of thing figured out they are wineberries! And additional fantastic news...they are edible!

So yesterday, I went out and started picking some. There are two bushes in the yard that have them. I tried to pick the largest, darkest ones figuring the small, pale ones were still not ripe yet.
And they are amazingly sweet! So yummy! All I want to do is eat them all! I am pretty excited I have my own fruit without doing a darn thing! My friend Nicole said I can plant a branch somewhere else and it will grow another bush. I may do that so we have lots of them next year. :-) How awesome is this???

Excuse me while I go pick some more wineberries...then eat them all!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivational Monday

Have I used this before? Maybe. But, it's true. I am thinking more and more that I need to focus on things that make me happy and less on what I think I should be doing.

Case in point - I love riding my bike. Two years ago hubby and I would ride almost every Sunday afternoon for miles. We had a blast, saw some pretty sites, participated in some trail rides with the city, and burned lots of calories. Then winter came and it was too cold. No biggie.

The following year I bought a new hybrid bike. It's pretty spiffy and I was excited to ride it since my other bike was 20+ years old and heavy. Then...we didn't ride. The bike sat in the basement all summer. I wanted to ride it, but we never did.

This year we got the bikes out and have started riding again. We had a fantastic ride yesterday going south on the local Rail Trail to areas we'd never been before. They were gorgeous areas with streams and flowers.

Riding this path is so peaceful.

Why did I not ride my bike at all last summer? I love it. I think it's fun. It makes me happy. Sadly, I didn't get the bike out once. This summer the bikes have been out twice and I'm happier. I'm looking forward to my next ride. I want to find ways to sneak in bike rides in between the weekend ones we plan.

I need to take this one example of happiness and bike riding and write it large. I need to continue doing the things that make me happy, not just what I think I need to do. I need to change my mindset that doing the things that make me happy is permissible and desirable. It's not just something you get to do because you earned it, but you get to do because you are you.

Losing weight makes me happy. Which means I need to eat better and workout.

Learning makes me happy. Which means I need to dedicate time to research.

Writing makes me happy. Which means I need to spend time writing and finding an outlet for it.

Photographing makes me happy. Which means I need to take photos, share them, engage others in them, print them.

Traveling makes me happy. Which means we need to go out into the world, even if it's just day trips exploring the areas around us.

Supporting local businesses makes make happy. Which means I need to buy local more and concentrate on local restaurants and stores.

These are just some things that make me happy and are easy to do. They are not things that I need special skills or lots of money to do. I can do these things everyday or at least every week. They make me happy and that is the goal - to find what makes me happy and concentrate on that. 
What do you do that makes you happy? How often do you do it? Are you actively trying to find ways to incorporate into your life?


Friday, July 18, 2014

Unintential learning

Thank you Tiny Buddha for the inspiration!
This hit me like a ton of bricks {if not more}. I've been spending the past 6+ months trying to "pursue happiness." I've been trying to determine what happiness is and what happiness can be for me.

Instead, I have been happiest when I create it. When I read, I'm happy. When I took a calligraphy class, I was happy. When I go to our local farmer's market, I'm happy. When I buy a bouquet of flowers, I'm happy. When I spend time with friends, I'm happy. When I make decisions, I'm happy. When I do research, I'm happy. When I take photographs, I'm happy. When I try new things, I'm happy.

It seems like it took me 6+ months to figure this whole happy thing out, but I think I finally did. I need to stop looking at it theoretically and just start doing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Decided to try

For months I've been interested in getting a fitbit. I really wanted a Flex, but they recalled all of them after 1% of the population had a skin reaction to it.

I couldn't decided if I wanted a Flex because the Force had everything I wanted, whereas the Flex didn't. I looked at many of the options out there, but none of them really seemed to be what I was looking for.

Monday, I decided I was getting the fitbit Flex. The reason? I really wanted something that I could wear consistently without having to remember to put it on. I can wear it for about 5 days before having to charge it. The other reason is because it helps you determine how you sleep. I do not suffer consistently with insomnia, but I have had more cases of it lately than I like.

I ran to Dick's Sporting Goods to pick one up because I have a member's card with them and figured $105 bucks will help me get a cash back reward. I lucked out apparently because the salesperson I got to unlock the fitbit told me they hadn't had the slate gray/blue one in for months. They must have received a shipment.

I chose the gray/blue one because I thought it would match more than black or bright pink. I brought it home and it was pretty much charged and I could start right away. It comes with two bands - a large and a small. I put the large on and it practically slid off my wrist. The small is exactly what I want; it will stay close to my wrist rather than be like a bangle bracelet. It's the only small thing that fits! LOL!

I've only worn it half a day so far and with my 2 mile walk today, I'm just under half of the pre-determined goals - 10,000 steps, That's not too bad. What I really want this for is to see how I do at work. I walk quite a bit there - half a mile to work, walk during work, half a mile from work. It will be interesting to see how that looks at the end of the day.

I'll keep you posted on what I think and how it goes. I'm hoping it keeps me thinking about how on days I don't work {Monday/Tuesday} I need to move my butt and not sit at my desk all day researching/reading/playing on the internet.

Do you have a fitbit? Do you like it? Any tips?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weekend Workout

Over the weekend, hubby and I hit the trails for a couple workouts. We started out at Gifford Pinchot State Park on Saturday for a three mile hike. We had gotten in a few two mile walks around our neighborhood, plus all the walking in TX a few weeks ago, but this was the first intentional three miles in ages.

It was a warm day, but it turned out that under the trees it was really nice. It was shady and a nice breeze blew through helping keep us cool. We had a little trouble at times staying on the right trail, but we were able to get a nice 1.5 miles out before turning around. The walk back was nice and we got a full three miles in.

Pinchot State Park is really pretty

Sunday, we hit the York Rail Trail to get in a bike ride. I had taken our bikes to the bike shop earlier in the week for some maintenance and picked them up Sat. We hadn't ridden the bikes in a couple years, but we thought it might be a good workout to test hubby's legs.

The goal was to go 4-5 miles depending on how he was feeling. It was a warm morning, but biking is always nice since you build your own breeze. We headed south since there were less crossings to worry about. We went through the tunnel and got to two miles and hubby felt good, so we chose to go on.

We made it to 2.5 miles and took a break.

My new bike. Sunday's ride was it's inaugural trip!
Hubby did well! No pain!
The Rail Trail is so pretty.
The obligatory selfie.
After our water break, we rode back super fast! On the way down we took it very easy so hubby could test his legs and I could test my bike. As we headed back to the car, hubby picked up the pace. On the way down we did our 2.5 miles in about 20 minutes. When we got back to the car, we did the second 2.5 miles in 14 minutes. Not too shabby.

We celebrated with this yummy lunch.

BLT, carrots, blueberries, and mixed fruit
Did you get a fun workout in this weekend? What did you do?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Motivational Monday

This is so me. I have such a hard time with food. It is my Achilles heel. Sure, I go through issues with working out, but I always go back to it. The issue I have is food. I have the worst time staying with healthy eating. I enjoy it. I like fruit. I like veggies. I'm eh on meats, but I eat the ones I like.

I have a hard time picking healthy over unhealthy - fruit over dessert, vegetables over chips, salad over burgers. I like all the healthy stuff, but I just can't seem to pass on the unhealthy stuff. It's like I don't want to miss out on yummy...even though healthy stuff is yummy too.

I don't want to be fast, cheap, easy, or fake. I know I am not fast {in more meanings than one}, I can be cheap {it doesn't take much to make me happy usually}, easy {right up there with fast}, or fake {I pride myself on never being fake}. The issue is I am this way in the way I eat. I'm not consistent in eating the way I should.

So today, let's focus on our food. Let's focus on not allowing what we put in our mouths to be fast, cheap, easy, or fake. Let it be healthy. Let it be yummy. Let it nourish not only our bodies, but our souls.




Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thankful & Throw Back Thursday

I'm combining both Thankful Thursday and Throw Back Thursday because they will deal with the same subject. One year ago today, my sweet Pooka Bear passed away after having a blood clot cause a stroke.


I adopted Pooka {and his brother Higgy} in May of 1998. He was this tiny little black kitty sitting in a very large wicker basket. I leaned down and he ran right over. I picked him up and he immediately started purring. I was done. He had to come home.

Over the years he was the friendliest kitty I've met. He was like a dog in that he would run up to anyone and rub against their legs purring. He made friends with all our friends and all service people who came to the house. He loved attention!

My little boy overcame so much too. He had multiple bladder infections each year, until we learned he had bladder stones. Once that was discovered, he had surgery to remove them so he didn't die. He had more than we thought, but came through with flying colors!

Next, he was diagnosed with diabetes and had to have daily insulin. He handled it way better than I! We would put him on the counter, grab his meds, fill his needle, then give it to him. He purred the entire time. Afterwards he would jump off the counter and head to his bowl, knowing breakfast was on it's way!

We were lucky that his diabetes went into remission. For a couple years he led a normal kitty life. He was so loved by all that when we went to Europe in 2010, the boarding kennel we left him at almost didn't give him back! They loved him that much and said to bring him back soon.

A couple years ago he was diagnosed with hyperthyroid, which was rough on him because his body wanted to eat, but his diabetes said no. He wasn't thrilled about not getting more food, but he was still his happy self.

Then in Feb. of 2013 he lost use of his back leg. One moment he could walk, the next nothing. They couldn't figure it out, but sent us home thinking he might gain some use of it. He did. He limped around, but he could get around pretty well. We were so happy.

Then a year ago today, I was sitting at my computer desk. The same one I'm at now and looked down. His cute little face looked up at me with his typical, "Hi Mommy!" smile. I picked him up, petted him, cuddled him, and softly put him down. He walked away purring.

A few minutes later I saw him in front of the bathroom door, his normal spot. I called to him, but no response. I got up and checked on him, but nothing. He was breathing, but non-responsive. I kept petting him and talking to him. Eventually he started to come around. He scared me. I tried to get him to walk, but nothing.

I took him to the kitchen and he kinda walks, but not really. We put him in his bin from his paralyzed days and call the vet. We get an appointment at 3:00 p.m. And we wait. I kept him with me at the desk, talked to him, and petted him.

We go to the vet to find out a blood clot broke off, went to his brain, and caused a stroke. There was nothing they could do for him. In all the years we took Pooka to our vet, they had never not  been able to fix him.

So, for today's Thankful Thursday I am so very thankful I was able to have my Pooka Bear for 15 years. He was one of the best kitties you could ever have {he even converted my husband from a non-cat person to a cat person!}. I love you buddy and miss you horribly.

A pretty normal Pooka position


He was a big boy and loved watching the birds.
He loved the Christmas Village...and knocking the Christmas Village over...

Probably my favorite photo of Pooka. He loved drinking water from the sink. I walked by the bathroom one morning and he was just sitting there...waiting. {I caved and turned on the faucet.}