October and November …….

autumn photo picture
source Jerology (Giphy)

Autumn!  Autumn!  How I love Autumn!  And we had a great one in the Pacific Northwest.  Sunny skies every day and warm temperatures.  I had lots of fun being outside, going for walks and simply enjoying the changes of the season.  Even though the rains came in November, October was absolutely gorgeous!!

Evening farm fields
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

 

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September …….

The summer has officially gone and the rain has begun, however as yet, not much of it …… thankfully.  In some ways I’m glad to see its passing and in others, it leaves me slightly melancholic.

 

Because of the amount that I was working, my garden this year was rather pitiful with only some garlic (which is small because I didn’t cut off the scapes in time), kale, herbs and some volunteer potatoes, although my fig tree had a fabulous crop of about 60 King Kadota figs and my quince tree, instead of its usual 6-8 quince has about 20-25. If you’ve never tried quince it’s a much undervalued fruit because you need to cook it to eat it, but it has a wonderful flavour.  Click on this link for a recipe for Apple Quince Crisp if you want to give it a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

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2018 Update … and July

Wild Rose

Hello faithful readers!  No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth and all is not lost, especially this blog.  But I’ve been having some rather challenging times lately, which has translated into very little time to pursue reading or my blog.  I’m hoping things will change for the better in the last half of the year but that is still yet to see.  Now for a tiny update on my crazy life.

I believe my last monthly post was February and sadly, I never got to March.  On the first of that month, my daughter was in a serious car accident which fortunately all involved escaped with minor injuries.  We were all thankful but nevertheless such an unexpected and grave incident makes you re-evaluate many things.  I’ve truly been trying to focus my time on what is worthwhile and to spend less with busy-making pursuits.  My new focus hasn’t translated yet into my reading, but I’ve been developing family ties and friendships in a way that is truly meaningful and very satisfying.

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February ~ Where Has The Time Gone?

Is it February already?  Yikes, I would have sworn it was just Christmas last week. January has rushed by at a startling pace and I’m not quite sure where I spent my time, but let’s see if I can gather my thoughts and give a clear picture …..

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel
A chilly but refreshing walk

Well first, let’s start with something boring.  After keeping off most of my weight lost from being on Weight Watchers for over a year, I gained back 10 pounds.  I’m not quite sure how I did it because I wouldn’t say I indulged over Christmas, but I did do a smoothie challenge for my food blog in January and I think that’s the culprit.  Yes, smoothies are supposed to be healthy, but they are high in natural sugar and therefore calories.  So back to WeightWatchers we go.  Actually I’ve already lost 3 pounds, so I’m not worried but it was kind of shocking after such good maintaining.

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January 2018 and My Reading Challenges

Christmas at the Town Hall
© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

I’ve decided to include my reading challenges in this post because I’ve been doing so little reading lately that I’d have little to say otherwise.  Isn’t that pathetic?  Oh well, a new year is here and with it new resolutions, so here goes ……..

December went by so quickly.  My grandmother ended up passing away 4 days before Christmas.  It wasn’t unexpected but still it was sad to see her go.  We’ll certainly miss her but it was fun to remember her stories and the spunk she showed until the end. She had a long life, well lived.

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December ~ It’s Gotta Get Better

Actually life isn’t too bad at the moment, although I’m still having a challenge getting traction on most things in my life.  One thing comes together and another goes sideways and I’m having a hard time keeping up …… as you can tell, as my post for December is rather late.  Not to mention most of my photos have food as a theme, so right away you can tell where the majority of my time has been spent.

© journeytothegarden.com

Thankfully, I’m healing up well from my biking accident.  My cast is off and although my thumb has very little strength in it, I do feel it improving.  Otherwise, my sprained wrist is feeling nearly back to normal in the last few days, my terribly bruised elbow almost has no pain, and although my head still hurts a little where I hit it, it’s improving as well.  Another month and hopefully I’ll be 100%.

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November ~ Ooops!

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

How October went from an eventful month to a very uneventful month is a painful story to tell in more ways than one.  Again, for the first part of the month, I was concentrating on getting my partner and my food blog, Journey to the Garden, going and the learning curve was an extreme headache in itself.  From building the website, to adding plug-ins, to hack attempts, to learning to navigate the unique venue of social media, it was rather exhausting and overwhelming.  It was only knowing that I was going to the island on the 14th, where I could relax and read, read, read, that keep me plugging away.  A positive attitude always helps, but then I had my visa number stolen and so my card had to be cancelled, AND my computer hard drive started to die just before I left so it was a rush to get it replaced. Thankfully I didn’t lose any information and I headed out grateful to get these two problems sorted; I had forgotten the saying that trouble often comes in threes ……

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October ~ Pulled in All Directions

Dreamer at the Fountain (c.1860-70)
Camille Corot
source Wikiart

Well, perhaps the title of the post seems more dire than it actually is.  September saw many changes in my routine and to be honest, it’s been difficult to get a handle on everything and find a smooth working routine that functions well.  I’ll get there …… it will just take some time, some thought and a little organization on my part.

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Ten Goals for Autumn!

Autumn (1870-90)
Emile Eisman Semenowsky
source ArtUK

Since I normally post bookish-type posts, I thought I’d change it up today.  Inspired by one of O’s posts on Twitter, I’ve decided to post some goals with regard to autumn.  So often we get distracted by the big picture and forget to appreciate the little things in life. Therefore, I’ve picked ten goals that focus on the wee, meaningful aspects of life that really are much more worthwhile than a day at a shopping mall, or painting the porch steps, or doing your taxes, or surfing the web.  

1.  Draw a picture of something in nature, such a leaf or tree or insect.  My drawing skills are not superb so you’ll just have to put up with me for this one.

Sketch of Countryside (c. 1890)
Nicholas Roerich
source Wikiart

2.  Walk barefoot in the ocean.  Perhaps I’m a tiny bit crazy but I will have a chance to do this a couple of times before autumn is over.

The Charmer (1911)
John William Waterhouse
source Wikiart

3.  Do something kind for someone else.  I like to think I’m a kind person but I’m not always sure it comes naturally.  We all need practice, right?

Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Frederic Leighton
source Wikiart

4.  Put my feet up.  I’m sure NONE of you have even guessed that I’m quite a busy person and don’t often slow down.  Well, I admit it.  Leisure is a lost yet necessary pastime for our mental well-being.  Really, I need to practice this more than once.  Will someone join me?

Solitude (1890)
Frederic Leighton
source Wikiart

5.  Cloud gaze.  The last time I did this was with friends, laying in the middle of a frozen pond late at night.  It was so peaceful with the moon shining down ….. as if you were the only ones left in the world.  The feeling we experienced was indescribable.  Definitely a time to remember.

Ophelia (1889)
John William Waterhouse
source Wikiart

6.  Make a new meal.  This shouldn’t be difficult.  A friend and I have started a new food blog called Journey to the Garden, so I’m going to be spending lots of time in the kitchen.  I really love cooking yet I hope to hit on at least one meal during this time that’s spectacular.

Prayer Before Meal (1660)
Jan Steen
source Wikiart

7.  Be computer-less for one day.  I’m not sure this is possible, but I’m going to try. Honestly, there’s very little I do on the computer other than blogging and taking a few courses, but I am on it every day.  I would LOVE to have a day per week where I don’t use it.  Now THAT’S dreaming …..

What a Freedom (1903)
Ilya Repin
source Wikiart

8.  Read a poem slowly and REALLY think about it.  Poetry is a new interest of mine, but being new at reading it, I’m not very good at drawing meaning out of it.  Often good poetry can have dual meanings and symbolism, and imagery and a number of other different things.  I need to read it more slowly instead of rushing.

Young Man Reading by Candle Light
Matthais Stom
source Wikiart

9.  Pet or see an animal that’s not domesticated.  Well, I could cheat and visit my neighbour’s wolves but I’m not going to.  However, they would probably fall under the “domesticated” umbrella and not count.  We’ll see if this one comes to fruition.

Dante and Virgil Meet the Wild Animals in the Forest (1800)
Joseph Anton Koch
source Wikiart

10.  Intentionally say something nice to someone at least 5 days out of 7 during one week.  No, this is not the same as goal #3.  Saying is much easier than doing …… which is why I’ve challenged myself to do it 5 times during the week.  We take each other too much for granted and don’t often say the appreciated or kind things that we should.  Time to change that.

Charity (1878)
William-Adolphe Bourguereau
source Wikiart

As I’ve been listing these goals, two themes have stood out for me:  KINDNESS and REST/LEISURE ….. well, perhaps three …… NATURE is in there as well.  So just by brainstorming some goals, I’ve learnt something about myself:  I need to practice more kindness, take more time to relax and spend more time in nature.  Rather than being “Cleo-specific goals”, these are things we all probably need to do, so whoever wants to take a few goals from my list and see if you can accomplish them, please do!  And please let me know how they turned out!