Busy is Good but Tiring

January started off nice and quietly. Nothing much happening the first two weeks. I could do what I wanted at a nice leisurely pace. No appointments. No place I had to be. Then came last week.

Tuesday I needed to go to Harrisburg. Granted, this trip was due to my poor planning. I am chair for our retired school employees education grant committee. I needed to present this year’s winner at our January Board meeting. I set the deadline for applications as last Friday. That meant that I had to meet with my committee to go over the 9 applications I received and pick out the winner, That meeting was set for Tuesday.

We met at Joe Muggs café in Books-A-Million. Over hot drinks we read and evaluated the applications. After some discussion we agreed on who the recipient of the grant should be.

After our meeting, and because we were so close, Kathy and I decided to take a ride to Carlisle to the Lindt chocolate outlet. We were running low on truffles. They had a deal. 75 candies for a good price. Since you can pick your own flavors, Kathy and I each got a bag and filled it. Talk about kids in a candy shop.

Since we were out we had to stop for food. Chinese buffet hit the spot.

Wednesday we had our monthly DCPASR Boar meeting. Back to Harrisburg. This is why I needed to meet with my committee yesterday. I presented our choice for the grand and the Board voted to award her the money. She will use the grant to purchase Re-Write Boards for her first grade classroom. I look forward to presenting her with the check at the February School Board meeting.

Thursday rolled around and it was time for our monthly lunch with our retired teacher friends. This month we picked Fire and Ice as our lunch spot. Fire and Ice is a smokehouse and creamery. After a pulled pork sandwich and mac ‘n cheese I just had to have some homemade ice cream for dessert. I chose the strawberry. Fruit is healthy

Friday was a day of rest. Believe me, we rested.

To end the week we had tickets for the Hershey Theatre. We saw My Fair Lady. I know I am showing my age, but they just don’t make them like this anymore. Thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, dinner at Applebee’s after the show wasn’t bad either.

There are a few things happening this week as well, but nothing as hectic as last week. I need a rest.


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Writing Can Be Difficult

Writing can be difficult at times.  
Too many ideas race through our minds.
Or else too few for us to choose from
The perfect topic just will not come.

At times scarce is the time to write
With a list of "to dos" it has to fight.
Or finding a space that's cozy and quiet
A chair that just happens to be the right fit.

These things today do not plague me
As I type this blog for others to see.
Instead, circumstances beyond my control
Take over my life and put writing on hold.

A cat licks my hand as I try to write
Luckily, she doesn't bite.
While another head butts the computer screen
Not in anger , not to be mean.

I look at the the clock and to my surprise
I now know what they want so from the chair I rise.
Out to the kitchen they follow in a bunch
How could I forget it's now time for lunch.

The cats are happy, content and fed
They go their own ways; it's off to bed.
So back to my writing, but what should it be?
For now a good topic seems to elude me.


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2023 OLW

This month Margaret Simon asks us to reflect on the one little word we have chosen to guide us through 2023. Thank you, Margaret, for hosting this first spiritual journey Thursday of 2023.

I have been mulling over what my guiding word for 2023 should be. Many words have been swimming around in my head only to continue on their way. Try as I might none stayed with me long enough to be a guiding light.

Other years one grounding word just popped out at me saying it will be my guide for the year. This year not so. It is not like I haven’t spent enough time thinking about it. I thought that even if I could come up with several options I could then try to narrow the list. That didn’t happen.

There are certainly enough sites out there offering inspirational words. I admit I tried going to a few for inspiration. No luck. What I felt I needed wasn’t to be found in those lists.

Then a light went on. Why was I not content? Why was I looking for more? Was I trying too hard? Maybe I was trying to find a word that I felt might impress others when they heard it. Definitely not a way to pick a guiding word.

I thought some more. What did I want my word to do? Was I trying to make it more than what it should be which is a guiding principle for me in the coming year?

After auditioning and rejecting several possibilities it hit me. My guide for this year will be try.

I will try to be a better person.

I will try to accept others as they are.

I will try to keep learning as an integral part of my life.

I will try to be there for others in whatever capacity I’m needed.

I will try to be thankful for whatever life sends my way.

I will try to be an active and contributing member of the group’s to which I belong.

I will try to accept God’s plan for me knowing that He knows better than I what is good for me.If

Will I be successful in all of these? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will try.


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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with this post. Do I look back at all of the things that happened in my life during 2022? There were many good things that occurred as well as some that are better left forgotten.

Should I focus on what 2023 might hold? I can’t see the future, but I can plan and hope.

No regrets.  What's past is done.

Abundant expectations.  The best is yet to come.

Some fights we've lost, but others won.

Troubles abound, but I'll still seek some fun.

New aches and pains at times took their toll.

Another year older with more wisdom gained.

I felt like I wanted to crawl into a hole.

I'll see flowers bloom where once it rained.

Some friends have passed and they'll surely be missed.

Continuing monthly lunches with friends.

Two great nephews added to our family list.

Something I hope will never end.

In the past I choose not to dwell.

Into the future I cannot see.

I survived the year, hopefully well.

If I can't change big things, at least I'll change me.

Wishing all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year!


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Change of Plans

Well, Christmas has come and gone. Hard to believe it is over.

Kathy and I had a nice quiet day at home. Just us and the cats. We did have plans, but things don’t always work out the way we plan.

To start the day we went to church for 10:30 mass. We chose that because we knew it would not be crowded as the Saturday evening masses would be. We were right.

Our plan was to come home after church, get some breakfast, make dinner, and take it up to my brother’s. I had thought we would have dinner together since we are the only three still living locally.

That didn’t happen. We never made it to my brother’s.

A light on my dashboard decided to come on. It was telling me I had low tire pressure. It was Sunday. It was Christmas Day. Nothing was open. I had an hour’s round trip. Could I do it with low pressure? Possibly. Did I want to change it? No.

Was the pressure low because of the cold? Did have a leaky valve? Did pick up a nail somewhere? This was the problem last time the low pressure light came on. I did not relish the thought of being on the interstate with a bad tire and no way to get help. Yes, I am a triple A member but it was still a holiday. So, I called my brother and told him we would not be coming up. We made plans to meet for lunch on Wednesday instead.

That left us at home. Although it wasn’t a hectic day of getting ready and being on the road, we did spend a quiet enjoyable day together.

I still got dinner together for us. Although it was probably not what you might consider a traditional holiday meal, it sure did hit the spot. We had some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving so I made a pan of turkey tetrazzini. It was delicious even if I say so myself.

After dinner Kathy and I opened our gifts. Because we usually go out for the day we have always saved our gift opening until we got home. Even though we stayed home this year we still waited until after dinner to open gifts.

We had an nice quiet day. Still, I guess the excitement of the day was too much for some.


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A Tale of Two Cookies

Last week I wrote about our upcoming cookie exchange and I said I would write about the cookies this week. The first batch of cookies I made were Buckeye Brownie Cookies.

If you are familiar with buckeyes you know that they are peanut butter fudge balls that are dipped in chocolate with not all of the peanut butter covered, hence the name buckeye.

To start, I gathered all of mu ingredients and lined the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

As you can see, there aren’t many ingredients. The recipe starts with a box of brownie mix so that makes things easier. I followed the directions, put what I needed into a mixing bowl, and went to work. The batter is soft and sticky. I fount the best way to mix it was to use my hands so I use food preparation gloves. Makes things much easier and less messy.

Using a spoon I scooped some batter and used my hands to roll it into an ball, still wearing the gloves. I placed each ball on a cookie sheet and made an indentation in each one using my thumb. I neeced 3 dozen cookies so I made sure I portioned the batter into 36 cookies.

Now it was time to make the eye which was just peanut butter and powdered sugar.

I needed to roll 36 peanut butter balls so that I had one for each cookie. I placed one ball in each indentation and then it was off to the oven with them.

After baking they were ready for cooling and the final step.

They need some chocolate frosting, Now, you could use the bought kind but I prefer to make my own.

Although with the buckeye candy some peanut butter shows through, I cover the entire cookie .

Now they are ready to be bagged and shared.

Cookie number two was a Mexican Wedding Cookie also known as a Snowball cookie. Once again I gathered my ingredients an lined the cookie sheets with parchment paper.

I did use the mixer for this even though the batter is a bit stiff.

Again, I needed 3 dozen so I made sure I rolled out 36 cookies.

After baking and cooling a bit they were ready for the snow, powdered sugar.

Now I am all set for the cookie exchange. Hope my friends enjoy them.

I did say last week that I would share the recipes so here they are.


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Acceptance and Change

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…

I am sure we are all familiar with the serenity prayer, but I wonder how we are at acceptance and change. Turn on the news and we are bombarded with stories that just make us shake our heads and wonder how one person can have so little respect for the beliefs and lives of others. I sometimes feel the world has gone crazy and wonder where all this is heading.

Are we becoming desensitized to what is happening around us? Are we so busy with the pace of our own lives that we don’t have time to think of others? Do we get caught up it the things we feel we need to do that we don’t even take the time to take care of our own well-being?

After I was asked to host SJT this month many thoughts started running through my head as to what topic I could/should choose for others to consider. I had to tell myself to slow down, take a breath, and relax. The topic will come to me.

This act of slowing down and letting a thought come to me made me realize that I had my topic. In this day of instant gratification we have become so use to getting what we want immediately and not having to wait. Thanks technology. Life doesn’t work that way. Whey we pray do we expect God to answer immediately. Do we get frustrated when our prayers aren’t answered yesterday? If God is patient why aren’t we?

Let’s face it. We are not fully to blame for this mindset. Marketing tells us in July that we need to start our Christmas shopping. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s cards and decorations all seem to be out at the same time keeping us in a frenzy. Buy now while supplies last. On line shopping services promise us next day delivery. We want and expect this.

How then do we slow down? We are constantly being told that faster is better. Although I don’t do it I know yoga offers breathing exercises that help us calm down and focus. Routines help me focus, feeding the cats… filling the bird feeders…turning off the TV…getting lost in a good book…working on a project.

I might have to accept that some things are not going to change in the near future, but that doesn’t that I can’t change myself and my outlook and not necessarily get caught up in the franticness of what is going on around me. Maybe the trick is to focus more on others and less on me.

The Prayer to St Francis tells us:

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

So, friends, I ask you how do you slow down?  What helps you focus on you well-being and that of others around you.  What little changes do you make in your life that can affect others?


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Cookie Exchange

I have mentioned before that once a month Kathy and I meet some of my retired co-workers for lunch. It is a way to keep in touch with friends I no longer see on a daily basis. Our December lunch is slated for next Thursday.

Last month when we were picking a date one of our group suggested that we have a small cookie exchange in December, nothing elaborate and strictly voluntary. By small I mean two or three cookies for each person instead of a plate with a half dozen or more. This way one batch of cookies should suffice. Multiple batches would not need to be baked to fill the orders. We would all get a taste of what others made as well as the recipe so that if we want more we could bake our own.

This works for me because with just Kathy and me we don’t need several dozen cookies. My biggest dilemma was what kind of cookies to bake. After some thought I decided to make some buckeye brownie cookies and some Mexican wedding cake cookies, one batch from me and one from Kathy.

The buckeye brownie cookies are one of my favorite. After all, you can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. The wedding cookies are a type of shortbread cookie rolled in powdered sugar.

Now, I have seen instances where people put all of the ingredients into a mason jar and attach the recipe. I like this idea, but the purpose of the cookie exchange is to get ready made cookies as well as the recipe. But, I decided, what if I put the recipe and maybe a candy cane in a jar and gave that along with the cookies to each couple.

I didn’t have mason jars and I didn’t really want to take glass anything to lunch. So instead I found directions for some mason jars that will do the trick. I can put the recipe in the jar with some candy canes and I won’t have to worry about them breaking. Hope my friends like this idea.


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An Unplanned Purchase

33 minutes. That’s enough time to take care of the dinner dishes and clean out the litter boxes.

Kathy walked by about 10 minutes later. 29 minutes yet.

Hmm. I must have misread when I checked.

Dishes are washed and put away. Time to clean the boxes.

A quick glance. Wait. 40 minutes left. How can that be? I told Kathy that due to my fantastic deductive abilities I deduce that we have a problem. While I am telling her this beeps sound indicating everything is finished. No way. I went to check. It had stopped. All lights were off. I lifted the lid and checked what was inside. Clothes were soaking wet.

Great. We have a dead washer. We couldn’t dry the clothes with them being as wet as they were. I set the washer for drain and spin and turned it back on hoping this would get some of the water out of the clothes so that we could throw them into the dryer. It worked.

Needless to say, beside shopping for Thanksgiving dinner necessities we were shopping for a new washer as well.

It has been years since we bought the one we have so we had no idea what was out there. We found out. I think there was a bit of sticker shock when we started looking. Prices ranged from $500 to $1000 plus. Some were computerized. Some still had buttons and dials. Some were Wi-Fi accessible. Huh? Why would I need that.

The salesperson stated that many of the younger generation liked to start the wash while they were on they on their way home from work so it would be finished by the time they got home. Others didn’t feel like walking downstairs to start the wash so they just used their phone to turn the machine on.

Me, I don’t load the machine unless I am ready to turn it on at that time. I also don’t leave the house while the machine in running. I guess that is just me.

Anyway, after looking, comparing, and talking, we decided on a machine we liked. I will be delivered on Friday. Good, since the wash basket is piling up.


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Was Wondering, Now I Know

Well, it’s over. Finally, no more campaign ads on TV. To be quite honest, I was getting sick and tired of all of the negativity.

But now what? With all of that air time devoted to political ads how would stations fill the void? Gee, if only that money spent on TV ads could be put to better use like maybe helping those in need. I digress.

It will be at least a month or two before ads for the primary elections begin. I would hate to see TV stations going bankrupt because of lack of revenue.

I needn’t have worried. I now know what the replacement ads will be. I guess it makes sense since time is short. Money has to be made. Sales need to be announced. Consumers must be parted from their money.

Things we don’t want or need must to be made to look like things we can’t live without. Short supplies of items must be mentioned so that things fly off the shelves.

Tis the season for Christmas shopping commercials.


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