Sunday, December 31, 2023

December 31--Goodbye, 2023!

Here is the world, and you live in it, and are grateful. You try to be grateful. 
--Michael Cunningham

    Heading into the new year, I like to review the previous year. You may wonder if I simply remember all this stuff. Actually, it comes from a review of my Win List. That's a daily note of all the good/blessings/joys in my life. Writing my Win List is part of my daily spiritual practice. Here are the 2023 items of note...

  • Taught MELT and yoga through the end of October; took a two-month break to determine my teaching future.
  • Repeated the MELT L2 training.
  • Tax season (I agree to help out the new owner) was a dreadful end to a good tax-prep “career.”
  • Hired to be a simulated patient at the Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. My first gigs are in 2024.
  • Attended great-nephew Bryan’s wedding in Ohio.
  • Spent several weeks with my brother Arlie.
  • Have had the great joy of watching grandson Luca grow.
  • Eliot visited us in Wichita when he was in KS for a memorial service.
  • Played several rounds of golf with my sons, my most cherished activity.
  • My son’s Golden Retriever Dusty crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” in October at 13. He truly was a “family” dog.
  • In November we celebrated my in-laws' 70th anniversary.
  • We had a lovely Christmas with my husband’s side of the family.
  • To Thunder NBA game in January
  • Lanie & I drove to Florida, met up with Paige and Laura, had a great time hanging at the “Hill Resort” and Laura's home in Florida.
  • Lanie, Paige and I went to Savannah, where we explored and Paige treated us to an extravagant meal at Elizabeth on 37th.
  • After Bryan’s wedding, Debi, Val and I went to Ocean City, MD for a week on the beach and evenings of Rummikub.
  • Completed my all 30 MLB stadiums quest in May with a Cubs loss in Houston and #30 at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
  • Went with six other golf gals to Show Low, AZ for two weeks of golf and fun in July. Too HOT for me!
  • Made several trips to Fort Collins, including Luca’s 1st birthday in August.
  • Went to England and Wales for two weeks; highlight was Stonehenge, celebrated my birthday #68 there.
  • Spent two weeks in Ohio in November, with lots of time with my brother and niece.
  • Made my 3rd annual Jamaica trip in December. Lanie and I together conquered the 25-martini menu.
  • Swam over 100 miles for the 26th year in a row.
  • Learned to play pickleball and played several times a week, even played in Jamaica.
  • Enjoyed another year of gardening. Because of dead tree removal, I can once again grow tomatoes and peppers. BLTs were a highlight. Also planted 50 lily bulbs in the renewed front bed.
  • Had my first FLOAT experience in Houston–HEAVENLY!
  • Completed several weeks of PT for left shoulder tendinitis; had a steroid shot; much improved.
  • Had a physical (1st in 3 yrs) – all good!
  • Alas, I’m ending the year with a broken tooth.
  • Barney has been huge in helping me through the disappointment, anxiety and depression of 2023. When all else fails, pet the dog. Daily walks get us outside and moving every day.
  • Watched the entire Ted Lasso series twice–I highly recommend it!
  • We succeeded in the much-needed cleaning and clearing of the laundry/storage room.
  • I managed to get several more extended family members hooked on Rummikub.
  • I taught myself the granny square pattern and made a wedding gift afghan for Bryan & Erin.
  • Completed one straight-line painting and started another.
    I guess I’d give the year a 6 out of 10. A lot of good stuff happened. But in so many ways, my heart just wasn’t in it. I’m working on a better attitude for 2024.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

December 30--GEEZ!

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. 
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

    For quite some time, the teeth on the upper right side of my mouth have been hot and cold sensitive. It's not intolerable, and the dentist had noted that there is a cracked tooth there, which is on the "watch list." As Murphy's Law would have it, the tooth broke at supper last night--Friday night of a three-day holiday weekend, "icing on the cake" for a year that I am glad to see pass. Fortunately it is not too painful, just sharp and annoying. We don't have dental insurance, so I'm envisioning at least a grand to fix it. 
    Gratitude... I'm trying here. Hopefully I will be able to get into my dentist early next week for the repair. We have the money somewhere. Fixing this may bring an end to the hot/cold sensitivity in that area. Eating less (because chewing irritates my tongue in that spot) will be good for me. I DO like my dentist--he is the only dentist in my lifetime about whom I have said that!
    Life goes on,
A crown in my future...

Friday, December 29, 2023

December 29--I'll Git 'Er Done!

Gratitude is looking on the brighter side of life, even if it means hurting your eyes. 
--Ellen Degeneres

    I am finally tackling a long overdue round of house-cleaning, pretty much my least favorite thing to do in life. I joke that I travel so much so that I can avoid this nemesis chore. 
    Yes, I am grateful that I can do it (even if I'm sore afterwards). Yes, I am OK with the fact that I clean only about 1/3 of the house at a time because that's all I can make myself do in one day. Yes, we have a long-haired dog who makes my efforts instantly meaningless. Yes, it is guilt that drives my efforts... "I should be more inspired when it comes to cleaning." Yes, I do enjoy the feeling of "It's clean!" even if it is only momentary. 
    This is all a form of PTSD from being forced to clean the house as a kid!
    Don't I whine well!??!!

Barney, my favorite dust-bunny generator

Thursday, December 28, 2023

December 28--Nearing the End and the Beginning

Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.  --Anne Lamott

    It's getting to be that time of year. On the December 31 post, I'll do my personal review of 2023. On New Year's Day, I am participating in a workshop designed to help me set intentions for 2024. I have been given three questions to consider by the workshop leader:

If you could have your life be any way you wanted, how would you have it be?
How would that feel?
What is your relationship with the Unknown?

    I keep reminding myself to focus on what I DO want, not on what I DON'T want. I have only minimal answers to those questions right now. 
    More shall be revealed,

A return to Jamaica is definitely an intention for '24!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

December 27--Creating and Clearing

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good. 
--Maya Angelou

    Another straight line painting has begun (see below). There is something magical about having a painting in progress. It requires patience to allow it to develop. I make the center spot and "grow" it from there--I don't have a vision of the whole thing when I start. I can spend only so much time on it. Each spot requires three coats of paint, so I can typically do only one spot a day when I'm starting out. Stay tuned!
    Yesterday between coats of paint, I tackled the laundry room clearing project. I pitched two big trash bags of junk and completely filled the back of our RAV4 with stuff for Goodwill. I also did a lot of rearranging. I saw stuff yesterday that I hadn't seen in decades--that is a pretty good indication that those things are due to be GONE. 
    Creating and clearing--two good things for the psyche.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

December 26--Another One "In the Books"

Kindness, kindness, kindness.  --Susan Sontag

    It's over, over, over. We are back home after about 18 hours in the car in two days. It was good to see family and friends, and I am most grateful to be home. Try though I might, I can't make myself feel that this was a good Christmas. It was acceptable. I went along with all of it as OK, since I couldn't have what I really wanted, which was to be with my kids and grandson. I have to get past this, I know. Truly Jamaica was the Christmas-time highlight for me. I am so ready to move on to 2024. 
    In the spirit of trying to get myself headed down a better path, I offer this from AA's Big Book, because I need to read this again and again:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance!

    Aiming to do the next right thing in front of me,

Lilies... another good reminder for me...

Monday, December 25, 2023

December 25--Merry, Merry

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.  --William Arthur Ward

    We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve party hosted by my husband's brother and his wife. It was great to see family and friends. The assembled bunch was good for loads of laughter. 
    More tomorrow,

Sunday, December 24, 2023

December 24--Creativity = Sanity

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. 
--Meister Eckhart

    I've seen this quote many times, and I still love it. It's hard to be grumpy while saying a sincere "thank you." 
    I note joyfully that inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. In the Montego Bay (Jamaica) airport, I noticed a colorful suitcase and I was instantly drawn to the color combination. I knew in the excitement of the trip that I wouldn't remember the colors, so I took a photo of the suitcase (below). Yesterday I adventured to Lowe's and bought the paints. I already have another straight-line painting in mind. I'll start it next week after Christmas.  
    Two of our neighbors on the court brought us holiday treats yesterday. I put a note in my calendar for next year to do something similar rather than just being a Grinch about Christmas. This and the upcoming painting mentioned above are items of creativity which I know to be essential to my sanity. 
    "Thank you."

Certainly easy to locate!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

December 23--Working On It

What you must do is this: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. I am not all the way capable of so much, but those are the right instructions.  --Wendell Berry

    As I say regarding my pickleball play, "I understand the theory, but my execution is sometimes lacking." I get it, Wendell.
    Along the lines of "each one of us is a work in progress," I offer this quote from Anita Moorjani:

Being myself allows the wholeness of my unique magnificence to draw me in those directions most beneficial to me and to all others. This is really the only thing I have to do. Within that framework, everything that is truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am.  

    Keep it simple,

Friday, December 22, 2023

December 22--One Day at a Time

Nothing has happened today except kindness.  --Gertrude Stein

    I'm working hard on maintaining a positive attitude through Christmas. To that end...
    I am grateful for the folks that established the YMCA system, and all the folks that have made the Wichita area YMCA system one of the finest in the country. I use the Y many times a week for lap swimming and pickleball. 
    I am thankful for my great health, ability to move and to travel. 
    I am grateful for my family and especially my 16-month-old grandson.
    I am thankful for our furnace and all the other appliances that make our home so comfortable. 
    Still working on it,

Our dining room Christmas display

Thursday, December 21, 2023

December 21--Whack!

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. 
--Wallace D. Wattles

    I read somewhere that the practice is to be grateful IN all things but not necessarily FOR all things. I suspect it may be easier to be grateful FOR some things only in hindsight. Practice, practice, practice. 
    Today I am feeling especially thankful for the pickleball community at the West YMCA. I love pickleball. It thrills me to no end how many seniors this sport has kept moving. I've seen folks who look like it hurts just to walk out on the court kicking butt. I have met so many wonderful folks, and we've been together enough this year that I am learning and remembering quite a few names. Conversations have led to new opportunities and kind offers of support. Someone on the sidelines on Tuesday was overheard to say, "There sure are a lot of knee braces around here." So true! I am grateful for my willingness to be a rookie and learn. 
    Good game!

This is the Life Is Good shirt
I wore to Jamaica 😉😉

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

December 20--Please

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.  --Elizabeth Gilbert

    I recently listened to the person in front of me ordering and it was, "Gimme this" and "Gimme that," without any "please" or "thank you." This is a place where this person and I frequent; we know the owner and workers. One would think that would make a person even more inclined to be polite. But, alas, no.
    Really, people! It does not hurt to say "please" and "thank you." Please try it now--I predict you will live through it. This is a stressful time in many ways for a multitude of folks. A little extra kindness goes a long way. 
    Thank you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

December 19--Keep Moving

All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel the roughness of a carpet under smooth soles, a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.  --Doris Lessing

    I am in the process of reverting from being a yoga teacher to being a yoga student. I started my yoga practice initially at the YMCA, and I've attended a couple classes there. I taught twice a week, so I am encouraging myself to go to two classes weekly. While I don't care to teach it any more, I do want to keep practicing because yoga has had such a huge impact on my life, health and body. I enjoy the "delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh."  
    I am still struggling with the Christmas holiday. I remind myself that this could be my last Christmas (who knows!?!?!), and I don't want it to be a complete downer. I did enjoy a Christmas party with dear friends last evening. I made it a point to avoid talking about those things that are bumming me out. I cling to my mantras of "this, too, shall pass" and "one day at a time." 
    Looking forward to 2024,
Jamaican Christmas ornament

Monday, December 18, 2023

December 18--Those People

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  --Marcel Proust

    I have several affirmation cards that I read each morning. One states "I am a magnet that attracts wonderful, balanced people into my life. I am blessed to have so many friends and people who care about me." I can't say that all the people in my life are "balanced," but that's what makes them so much fun, LOL. I am definitely blessed. 
    Please take a moment and roam around mentally thanking those folks near and dear who make you happy. It's a fine way to start a Monday!

This furry critter makes me
very happy. 

Sunday, December 17, 2023

December 17--Meatballs!

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. 
--Frances Hodgson Burnett

    So true, so true. I think of the lush vegetation in Jamaica, the emerald green rolling hills of the English countryside, and the amber waves of grain here in Kansas each June. I also know that as a lifelong gardener, I tend to see weeds first, then the flowers. 
    My SIL Sue who passed in September 2023 made the BEST meatballs. I was discussing this with her three kids when I was in Ohio, and it reminded me that I had the recipe. I found it the other day and texted a photo of the recipe to the kids. They were thrilled to have it, though my niece does not remember this delicacy that her mom made. I was always so thrilled when I walked into Sue's kitchen and there was a pot of meatballs and sauce bubbling on the stove. 
     I don't cook much these days, but I decided to try and make a "spaghetti and Sue's meatballs" feast. Using three pounds of ground beef makes for quite a batch. We have plenty of leftovers, and I'm glad because it all turned out great! I don't remember getting the recipe from Sue, but I'm sure happy I did!
3# of meat made 28 meatballs

Saturday, December 16, 2023

December 16--In Celebration of Kindness

Never forget that all you have is all you need.  --Sarah Ban Breathnach

    Here is a lovely story from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation of Dec 14 titled "Kindness at Gate A-4." It is written by Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye.

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal … I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.”

Well—one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. “Help,” said the flight service person. “Talk to her.… We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke to her haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment.… I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just later, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother … and would ride next to her.… She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought … why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up about two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

And then the airline broke out free beverages … and two little girls from our flight ran around serving us all apple juice and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.

    Let us celebrate kindness!

Mamool cookies

Friday, December 15, 2023

December 15--Perfectly Maddening

Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration moving you from negative energy to positive.  --Oprah Winfrey

    I have been having more thoughts on perfectionism. I wrote a post in November that included this:

I've come to three conclusions given my experience with perfectionists. The first is that being perfect, it is totally unreasonable for anyone to criticize them. Second, given that they never do anything wrong, there is never a need to apologize for anything. Third, because of the need to keep up the perfect facade, they are extremely self-centered and lack interest in others.

    I have a fourth conclusion: no idea/suggestion/advice is welcome, because the perfectionist always already knows what's best. 
    The big question: where do I see these things in myself?

Missing Jamaica...

Thursday, December 14, 2023

December 14--Not Always Grateful

Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.  --Randy Pausch

    Yesterday's post is about the spiritual practice of awe and wonder. For the past few years, I have been using photography to support this practice. It helps me to pay attention to the more commonplace stuff of life that might make an interesting photo. This process also works my "gratitude muscles." 
    But it's December, and I'm home after a great trip to Jamaica. Christmas used to inspire loads of awe and wonder in me, especially all the colorful lights. However, I am faced with another Christmas not with my kids and grandson, so quite frankly, I'm not overflowing with gratitude right now. I wish it was January and the whole business was past. Every colored light reminds me of a gaping hole filled with disappointment. I will "suck it up" and get through it, of course, trying my best to be pleasant. At least now I can empathize with those folks who don't get into the holiday spirit!
    One day at a time,

At the Stan Hywet Christmas, Akron, Ohio

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

December 13--Everyday Awe and Wonder

The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.  --Laura Ingalls Wilder

    I've been reading a series lately in Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation ( about the spiritual practice of awe and wonder. I believe this is what Ms. Wilder is suggesting. Here is the writing of Cole Arthur Riley about the practice:

I think awe is an exercise, both a doing and a being. It is a spiritual muscle of our humanity that we can only keep from atrophying if we exercise it habitually.

Awe is not a lens through which to see the world but our sole path to seeing. Any other lens is not a lens but a veil. And I’ve come to believe that our beholding—seeing the veils of this world peeled back again and again, if only for a moment—is no small form of salvation.

When I speak of wonder, I mean the practice of beholding the beautiful. Beholding the majestic—the snow-capped Himalayas, the sun setting on the sea—but also the perfectly mundane—that soap bubble reflecting your kitchen, the oxidized underbelly of that stainless steel pan. More than the grand beauties of our lives, wonder is about having the presence to pay attention to the commonplace. It could be said that to find beauty in the ordinary is a deeper exercise than climbing to the mountaintop….

Wonder includes the capacity to be in awe of humanity, even your own. It allows us to jettison the dangerous belief that things worthy of wonder can only be located on nature hikes and scenic overlooks. This can distract us from the beauty flowing through us daily. For every second that our organs and bones sustain us is a miracle. When those bones heal, when our wounds scab over, this is our call to marvel at our bodies—their regeneration, their stability or frailty. This grows our sense of dignity. To be able to marvel at the face of our neighbor with the same awe we have for the mountaintop, the sunlight refracting—this manner of vision is what will keep us from destroying each other….

Wonder requires a person not to forget themselves but to feel themselves so acutely that their connectedness to every created thing comes into focus.

    Appreciating all of life, 

Fallen leaves at the playground

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

December 12--Re-Entry

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.  --Paulo Coelho

    I see how simply wonderful it is to be safely home after a fabulous Jamaican vacation. 
    I said farewell to the resort with one last lap swim, making for seven miles total swimming in Jamaica this year. 
    The trip home through Dallas was long and tiring, but we made it. 
    Re-entry has begun...

Lanie in the kayak, 
me on the hydrobike

Monday, December 11, 2023

December 11--Heading Home

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. 
--Aldous Huxley

    Our last day in Jamaica was brilliantly sunny, easy to take for granted here. I spent some time with friend Laura cruising around in a kayak. Otherwise, I was soaking up sunshine and water energy. 
    We were able to watch the Chiefs game, alas, a tough loss. We said goodbye to our favorite martini bartenders, Davion and Judeen. "See you next year!"
    Today we head home 😀😞 Mixed emotions, yes. 

Another set of glorious memories made...

Sunday, December 10, 2023

December 10--Rainbow!!!

Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars. Every place is the center of the world.  --John Burroughs

    I'm feeling a bit melancholy as this is our last full day here in Negril. 
    Yesterday's highlight was a glorious rainbow appearing in the sky as we boarded the catamaran for the afternoon/sunset cruise. As the ship's captain stated, "Humans can't make those, only the Father." It ended up being a fairly calm cruise, as there weren't that many people and they were well-behaved. The best part, for me, was the slide. I went off twice and managed to not belly-flop like I did two years ago. 
    The other fun thing of the day was another trip on the hydrobike. Laura and I went out on bikes with Lanie joining us in a kayak. We went out before the water got choppy and had a fun and successful adventure. We had plenty of beach time before a shower chased us inside. 
    But wait, there's more. Lanie and I completed our martini quest--there are 25 martinis on the menu and between the two of us, we tried them all over the course of the week. Her favorite is chocolate, mine is ??? They even make one that tastes like Girl-Scout-Thin-Mint cookies. Thanks to bartenders Hakeem, Judeen and Davion for making this week so much fun!
    One more day in paradise,

The completed martini menu

Saturday, December 9, 2023

December 9--Happy Feet

I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."  --Kurt Vonnegut

    Besides the usual pickleball, lap-swim and beach time, I enjoyed two unique events yesterday. The first was a half-hour reflexology session at the spa which was heaven for my feet, body and spirit. While that was going on, it started raining. It poured most of the afternoon, which I spent with a good book in the hammock on our balcony. So no beach, no problem! Nice!
    Time to go find some coffee,
Our very sweaty crew

Friday, December 8, 2023

December 8--Living in Gratitude

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  --John F. Kennedy

    I start with these words by Brian McLaren about the wonder and awe of our created universe (which includes us):

Genesis describes the “very goodness” that comes at the end of a long process of creation…. That harmonious whole is so good that the Creator takes a day off, as it were, just to enjoy it. That day of restful enjoyment tells us that the purpose of existence isn’t money or power or fame or security or anything less than this: to participate in the goodness and beauty and aliveness of creation.

    I participated yesterday starting with a sweaty, fun hour of pickleball, followed by a cooling swim in the lap pool. I beaded a second ankle bracelet and then headed to the beach. The wind was strong and the waves were bigger than I have ever seen them in my three times here. Getting knocked around in the water wasn't much fun, so I retreated to our room and dozed in the hammock. Note that there is a palm with 8' long leaves right next to our 2nd floor balcony, along with lots of other vegetation. We watched an especially lovely sunset, then started the Hanukkah celebration with a candle-lit ceremony on the beach. Dinner was at Feathers, the "dress-up," reservations-required spot here at the resort. Yummy. 
    Time for more participation in the goodness and beauty and aliveness of creation!

Our bunch at sunset, dressed up for dinner...

Thursday, December 7, 2023

December 7--Music and Fire

Remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.  --Marcus Aurelius

    Happy birthday to my FIL! 
    Another day in paradise... I was sunbathing when a big cloud covered us and it started to drizzle. It amounted to about 14 drops over two minutes, then the rest of the day was brilliantly sunny. 
    Wednesday night at the resort features the award-winning steel drum band. Their performance is so high energy--all the performers have to be quite young to handle such a workout. They are quite gymnastic. The band was followed by a bonfire on the beach, complete with a fine guitar player/singer. The bonfire was mesmerizing--sparks like fireworks floating up into the starry, starry night. Yes, I slept well. 
    Onward to pickleball!

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

December 6--Starfish

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.  --Eckhart Tolle

    I am enjoying a perfect Jamaican vacation--how much gooder can it get!?!?!? 😀😀😀
    Yesterday's adventure was the glass-bottom boat tour where they take guests out to the coral reef to see loads of coral, fish and assorted vegetation. We were able to hold a live starfish. The guide is a hoot. Of course, the weather was perfect. 
    Our organizer Laura got us set up with a table and chairs near our lounges on the beach, and we fought sand gravity enough to get in a game of cards. I expect we will do more of that in days to come. Sand gravity--it accumulates on a person--the lack of interest in moving once one is lying on a lounge or floating in the ocean. 
    The resort is playing Christmas music in various areas. Wait, it can't be Christmas--it's 90 degrees! December as I have known it has vanished from my mind!
    Lanie and I had supper last night with a lovely couple from Alberta, Canada. We met them at the martini bar and we hit it off right away. We also hung out on the beach with a lovely young couple who are hunting/fishing guides in Maine. The extreme northeast U.S. is a bucket list trip for 2024, so this is a super local connection to make. 
    More and more abundance flowing!

They are very solid and spiny.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

December 5--I'm a Dork

We already have everything we need.  --Pema Chodron

    Yes, but I can still be a weenie sometimes. Yesterday for instance. My friend and I went to try out the water bikes, but only one was working. So I went out. It was a brief adventure. I was too nervous, and I'm not sure why because if I had fallen over, someone would have rescued me, and I can swim. There was NO danger. However, I almost traveled into the roped-off swim area, till I realized I could pedal backwards. Alas, my stint on the hydrobike was so short, no photos were taken. You'll have to take my word for it. 
    Otherwise the day included a lap swim, loads of beach time, and a lovely invitation-only dinner for the "repeaters"--those folks who had been at this resort before. 
    More adventure today,

Monday, December 4, 2023

December 4--More of the Glorious Same

I have often done the little I could to correct the stale trick of taking things for granted: all the more because it is not even taking them for granted. It is taking them without gratitude; that is, emphatically as not granted. --G. K. Chesterton

    I'm not one who is generally down on Mondays, and today I am not taking for granted that I have another day in paradise. Monday at a resort in Jamaica is very high up on the good potentials list!
    Yesterday I went with some buds to a pickleball clinic. I confessed to being one who had played more than five times, which led to some interesting and useful drills. The man I was paired with (the instructor separated couples) is from Liverpool. (I was there in October.) I enjoy playing outdoors but it does get quite hot. 
    The rest of the day was a repeat--lap-swim beach ocean shower sunset martinis dinner -- heaven! We spent probably a half-hour trying to find the Chiefs game on the big TV in the sports center. No luck. Then one of our gang checked the TV in their room, and there it was. So we stayed up late to watch the Chiefs lose. 
    Swim time!
Sunday evening's view

Sunday, December 3, 2023

December 3--Me in a Marathon? NO!

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.  --Voltaire

    We followed yesterday's agenda: pickleball, lap swim, laze on the beach, eat, drink and be merry!!! It was quite sunny and hot playing pickleball so we only played one game, but it was a 12-10 finish. I swam then headed to the beach. There is a marathon here today. One of the workers asked me if I was running in it, which I took as a compliment.
    The water temperatures, both ocean and lap pool, are perfect. After beach time, we retreated to our rooms, showered, then returned to the beach for another beautiful sunset. Lanie and I went to the martini bar, where we discussed the possibility of trying all 30 (15 each) in the course of our stay. It's doable, and we have a good start. 😉😉 We had a fun chat with a couple from Calgary. That's one of the cool things about this place--we meet very fun folks. 
    Saturday is lobster night at the resort, so that was the dinner highlight. We are finding that a decaf coffee with Irish cream is a lovely sleep aid. 
    Today's agenda... "lather, rinse, repeat."

Enjoying the sunset is a ritual for many.

Saturday, December 2, 2023

December 2--Yippee, Arrived!

Thanks for this day, for all birds safe in their nests, for whatever this is, for life. 
--Barbara Kingsolver

    I am at this very moment in a hammock on our second floor balcony in Jamaica. If I look to my left, I can see bits of beach and ocean through the lush vegetation. We did not have the usual Friday night Beach Party, as a downpour came through right around set-up time. We did, however, enjoy the martini bar and buffet supper at the Palms. It's so great to be reunited with friends in this heavenly place. 
    Ah, yes, the tree frogs. Or the joke that the tree-frog crooning (chirp/screech/squeal/shriek) is a recording. They go on for most of the night, but I can say thankfully that I have learned to sleep through it. 
    Today's agenda... pickleball, lap swim, laze on the beach, eat, drink and be merry!!!

Lush vegetation is EVERYWHERE
in Jamaica

Friday, December 1, 2023

December 1--ADIP

Reflect upon your present blessings--of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.  --Charles Dickens

    Gratitude is the theme for December. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Dickens that life offers us considerably more blessings than misfortunes. Alas, for some reason, misfortunes seem to hold our attention too much. It is a practice to stay focused on the blessings. 
    My gratitude level is around 15 on a scale of 1-10, because today I fly to Jamaica for a 10-day vacation on the beach with dear friends. Another day in paradise...
The Jamaican flag