Listening skills

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Harry Potter World, where even frogs have words.

We all want to be better listeners.   It’s a great skill to have and people like good listeners.  But the sad fact is that while we want to be good listeners, we really want others to listen to us.  We like to talk, and we want people to listen to us, because at the end of the day, it’s really all about us, right?   Seriously, though, I am going to talk about listening.  First of all, there’s hearing and there’s listening.  I hear you but I don’t know what you said because I don’t really care.  To truly listen and absorb meaning, you have to close down your brain to unruly activity and focus completely on the other person.  This is the hard part, for this means it is about the other person, not you.   When you truly listen, a wonderful things happens.  You connect to another person in a very intimate and personal way.  This is how relationships are built. Continue reading

Ringing in the New Year: looking ahead in 2017

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We rang in the new year quietly with a mildly alcoholic drink and a movie.  No late night parties for us or big celebrations in a bar or hotel ballroom.  Maybe it’s because we’re not in our twenties anymore or just that we enjoy being at home with our canine friends.  Whatever the reason, we were satisfied with our quiet evening at home.  We are at the point where we didn’t even have to explain to each other why we spent our evening at home.  Our priorities had changed.   Continue reading

Pink pussy power: a hat to warm them all

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I hope my readers will forgive me using a certain word in the title.  It’s actually taken from a website and a hat initiative called “pussyhat project” which can be found here:  pussyhatproject.com.  I am a knitter and lately a bit of an activist, so this project appealed to these two interests.  I came across the project on Ravelry, a social network for knitters.  Last week I ordered 18 skeins of pink yarn when my favorite yarn store offered free shipping.  On day four I’ve completed three hats.  I keep coming across more and more people who want to attend the Women’s March on Washington — website here —   and who need a warm pink hat.  Because baby it’s going to be cold outside!

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My first blogging award: The Liebster

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A blogging award, oh my!

Most people who blog do so because they want share what they write with others.  Hopefully, bloggers also get something out of it.   That something is usually related to an emotional need to put idea to (virtual) paper, or to have a record of our innermost thoughts that we hope someone else in the Internet universe will enjoy.  We have many choices and probably thousands and thousands of blogs to read.  I watched my readership rise slowly, from onesies and twosies, to dozens.   So, I was surprised and pleased to be nominated for The Liebster by Laura Bruno Lilly at http://laurabrunolilly.com/blog/.   I love to read Laura’s blog.  She feels like a kindred spirit.  Her artistic pursuits and deep faith resonate with me.  She has a curiosity about people and places that I love. Continue reading

A trip to the hospital, times two

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Last Saturday I left the house to go to a hospital in suburban Philadelphia.   Our cousin Richard was very ill and I had planned to spend the afternoon visiting with him.  I completed my morning routine:  fed the dogs, walked Barkley, took them outside again and left them with a peanut butter smeared Kong and some calming music before heading out.  The day did not turn out the way I expected.   A few miles from the hospital as I was traveling along a side road an SUV coming towards me drifted into my lane.  I honked and tried to get out of the way, but there was no shoulder and no where to go.  I did visit Richard, but before I got to his room I made amy own trip to the emergency room. Continue reading

Vegetable tagine with friends

Over the weekend we hosted our first dinner party.  Well, not exactly a party in the traditional 1950s sense, but a dinner with friends.   Since I love to eat and I love to cook it was an opportunity to try out something new.   I decided to focus the meal around Turkish food, one of my favorite cuisines.  What’s not to love?  Garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, olives, feta cheese . . . seriously, this is great food.

The lentil soup is already done.

The lentil soup is already done.

I stuck to some old standbys that I knew would come out well.  I started with baba ghanoush and artichoke hummus as starters with pita bread.  For the soup course I made a red lentil and bulgar soup.  For the main course I served zucchini squares and vegetable tagine. Continue reading

Remembrance of things past

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As a student of history I appreciate old houses and like to read historical fiction and biographies.   A few years ago I began researching my family history.  As my parents age and have forgotten their past, I am trying to revive it.  Last year we visited the house in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where my mother spent the early years of her life   The house still stands, at the top of a hill, as does the home of her grandparents across town.  The current occupants have no memory of my mother’s family, but the place endures.  I will make more visits like this, to see the places where my ancestors lived and worked and raised families. Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas . . .

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Twas the night before Christmas and in Marla’s house, we were busy preparing for a day that would not interest a mouse,

For we had no presents, no tinsel, no tree, just two grown up people in wait for a  day that was free,

Our fridge was packed, our house nice and warm, as we hunkered down for a quiet day outside the norm,

No children were waiting, no brew was chilling, as we eagerly looked forward to a day that was thrilling,

When what on our lawn did we spy from the door but some deer, a grouse, squirrels, and wait . . . birds galore!

As darkness descended on our small village street we heard the sound of peace, joy, and a new day to meet.

So my virtual friends I send you a warm greeting, in hopes that one day we may be meeting,

And wishing you all a joyful weekend, filled with family, food, good cheer and old friends.
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