Happy Holidays!

Since my last post, I celebrated my birthday, attended a holiday party, celebrated a friend’s wedding for four days, shopped, read a novel, and did some housework. I wish I could have waved the magic wand for the housework!

My plan to write one post per week did not happen for the most part of 2014. No excuses. I simply must stick to my goal next year or adjust it. Many thanks to all who stop by to read and comment. Without your support, my blog will fizzle. I am grateful to you for helping me along with my blogging journey.

Happy Holidays to you and your family. May we have peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, and all over the world.

Here is a photo of the Mehendi design I got for my friend’s wedding.

Free-style design on my hand.

Free-style design on my hand.

The Pass the Cheer Along Plate

Elaine's Sharing Plate

Elaine’s Sharing Plate

It’s that time of the year when we begin to hustle and bustle to spread the spirit of goodwill and cheer to others. This year, I decided to embark on a simple project that will spread the cheer throughout the year. Several years ago, I saw a “sharing plate” at a gift shop and decided there and then that one day I will take on the idea. Now, almost a decade later, the idea has come to life.

I knew what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t until I typed in “sharing plate” in Google that I really knew what I could do. My search yielded a multitude of plates and my creation is a result of ideas borrowed from here and there. I won’t take credit for the poetic verse I included in the plate – I looked at several arrangements online and did some tweaking to personalize the verse in my “sharing plate”.

I delivered my Pass the Cheer Along plate today and my colleagues at work certainly had some radiant smiles. I beamed with delight when I saw their happy faces. I am confident that they will pass the plate along and spread some goodwill and cheer.

I’d love hear about your holiday projects!

Face the fear?

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

You’ve got to face your fear! I’ve heard this many, many times and yet I cannot face my fear. I’m limited by this terrible fear I have of dogs. I say it’s a phobia. My children tell me all the time that I need therapy. I agree. My friend, Pauline, over at The Contented Crafter, recently wrote about her cute and adorable pet puppy, Siddy and I am having fun with him from afar, but I know in my heart if we ever meet, I will close my eyes and cower behind Pauline or anyone or anything that would offer some measure of protection.

I’m often asked if I was bitten by a dog as a child. No. I was chased a few times and that scared me half to death. I don’t enjoy walking in the parks when owners have their dogs without a leash. If I’m invited to someone’s home, one of the first questions I ask, “Do you have a dog”? Hosts usually put their dog away when I visit, but I’m consumed with guilt the entire time and I want to leave as quickly as possible. Not a good way to have fun.

Many years ago, when my son was a baby, I pulled up on my driveway and as I got out of the car a little puppy came up to me. It startled me so much that I climbed on the roof of my car and waited there until a jogger passed by and took the puppy away. Thankfully, it was just about a minute, however, that minute felt like hours.

Another time, when I was a cashier, a customer’s dog (pets were not allowed in the store) came into my cashier register area and scared me so badly that I jumped over the grocery slide. I was ignited by fear.

The only time I was not scared of a dog was about six years ago when someone close to me was in a threatening situation and I was entirely focused on her safety.

I want to be able to pet a dog. I want to be able to have a puppy sit with me. I want to erase my fear of dogs!

Do you have an intense fear of anything?

Easy as Pie!

The last post I made was in September and it is now November. Now, this is what I call total neglect of my blog and the blogs I follow. What have been doing with my time? Busy? Yes. Busy doing what? What can I say? Life has been happening!

This week’s wordpress challenge is to write about pie.

As a child, my mom didn’t bake pies. She made the best sponge cakes and Christmas cakes. I can still see myself licking the batter off the spoon. Yummy! Mom baked her cakes in a box oven that she placed on top of our kerosene stove. It was a complicated process. I’ll have to get all the details from her and make write a separate blog post on our oven. Oh, I must say that a sponge cake is what folks in the USA will call a pound cake.

I learned about pies here in the USA. I have two favorite pies  –  key lime pie and pumpkin pie. I have never baked a key lime pie. My children and their friends love my pumpkin pie! Here is the recipe I use…it is as easy as pie! What is your favorite pie?

My dear readers, I look forward to hearing from you.

Credit: Bing Images

Credit: Bing Images

Simply Delicious Pumpkin Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked pastry shell
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine ingredients in large bowl, pour into shell, bake 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Longer than a School Day

I walked my endurance event in seven hours, 13 minutes, and 24 seconds. However, those afflicted with incurable illnesses are the true examples of endurance. I lift my hat off to them!

This week’s photo challenge is about endurance. Here is my finish line photo of my marathon (June 6, 2010) and an excerpt from my marathon training documentation. Saturday, May 15, 2010.

finish line photo

It felt as if I had just gone to bed when I was startled out of my sleep with the noise of the radio at 3:06 A.M! I quickly sat up, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and sprung into action. My clothes for today’s training were already laid out since Thursday night. Yes, Thursday night. Hey, it was my first 20 miles of walking (at one shot) ever in my life. Armed with my bag with all my gear, peanut butter sandwich, and my coffee, I left home for Kennedy Park (Coconut Grove, FL).

The 20 miles training was a character building experience for me. It took me 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 54 seconds to complete the distance. This time included: bathroom stops, water stops, stretching, shaking tiny grains out of my shoes, and rubbing my covered cheek with biofreeze. Oh my goodness, I didn’t know that someone’s behind could experience such intense pain.

At about mile 14, my left cheek started to hurt so I began massaging it- yes, in public. We stopped. My coach showed me a stretch which I did on the bench at a bus stop. We walked on some more but the pain just won’t stop. I stretched myself out on the sidewalk and did the “glute stretch” that I know works. It didn’t. I applied the biofreeze on my cheek while someone gave me cover. The biofreeze cooled the cheek, but the pain still radiated down the hamstring. The only thing that stopped/eased that pain was a light jog.

Although the sun was hot and it felt like 125 degrees, I did not give up nor did I think about how much longer I had to walk. I simply put one foot in front of the other. It was when I saw the “Montys” sign I knew that I was almost there. Strange, I didn’t feel tired at that time. I was on a “total high”. My cheeks (the exposed ones) were toasted, the sweat washed off my hair color (just kidding), I smelled like a goat, but I did it. Yes, I did! I now know in my heart, for I have experienced it, that training for a marathon is more mental than physical. I truly have to let my body travel along with my mind.

For those who are afflicted with blood cancers, my 20 miles of training pales significantly when compared to their daily battle.

Early School Days Memories

It has been a hectic beginning of the new school year for me and it would appear that I’ve forgotten how taxing the first few weeks can be on my body and my mind. As a result, I’ve taken a step or two or several away from blogging, but I’m hoping to catch up with my reading and writing soon.

Since all I seem to think about is school, today’s post is about some early school days memories. Before I started “big school”, my mom took me to a “bottom house school” for a few months. The “big school” was the Primary School and the “bottom house school” was held at someone’s home. It was made up of a small group of children and was run by a mom. It got the name “bottom house” because of the structure of the house. In those days most of the houses were on posts (stilts) and the open area under the houses was used for various reasons. The teacher placed jute bag mats on the mud floor and that was where the children sat with their slates and slate pencils.

I have only one memory of the Bottom House School. It was time for my brother to pick me up because I saw the children from the Big School walking home, but the teacher told me that she won’t let me go until I did my sums. I started to cry bitterly because I couldn’t do the addition. I doubt that I got the correct answers. I can’t recall how long she kept me back or what state I was in when my brother arrived. I’m glad I don’t remember. 🙂

On my first day of Big School, my mom gave me one cent to buy a treat during the morning recreation (recess). The little tents with treats were outside of the school yard, on the street. I suppose that my mom told my brother to take care of me because he made sure that he took me to get my treat. There were only about three or four tents. Some of the vendors sold plantain chips, tamarind balls, sugar cake, fudge, fruits etc. The item that caught my eye was a red fudge. I was hesitant to buy the fudge because the vendor was the same “teacher lady” from the Bottom House School! However, I must have felt safe with my brother because I bought the red fudge with my cent!

Do you have some early school days memories to share?

Here is a house on stilts. The Bottom House School I attended was definitely not as pretty or as big as this house!

House on stilts Credit: Bing Images

House on stilts
Credit: Bing Images

Vacation Fun

When I was out on vacation, I took a trip to Canada and my friend, Sharon took my daughter and I to  Niagara Falls I won’t ever get tired of the falls.  What is life without a bit of risk?  Here I am just being silly!

Niagara

 

Do you think it’s possible to be in two places at the same time? My answer is a resounding YES. Here I am in two places at the same time.  I’m straddling the boundary line for Canada and the United States. It rained while we were at the falls, hence the raincoat.

The photo with the finger looks like finger belongs to someone else, but it’s my finger 🙂

I’d love to hear about some of your vacation fun!

boundary line

The Secret Finger!

straddling the country boundary line

Five-Year Project: The Garbage Cans

My Readers,

This is a short post today about my five-year garbage can project. Have you ever taken so long to complete a simple project? I’d love to hear from you!

In the summer of 2009, I was at the Brooklyn Bridge Park in NY and the garbage bins caught my eye.  They were works of art – they were painted with beautiful scenes of nature with bold, vibrant colors. The image stayed in my mind and I promised that I would try my creativity with the garbage cans in my classroom.  I’m finally honoring my commitment, five years later.

This summer, I tried to be creative with two garbage bins, but my creativity yielded just a coat of paint and some stickers.  One would think that a five-year project would have been something to behold! Alas, nothing eye-catching. I happy to say that I  did honor my commitment : )

Here is a “before” photo of one of the cans.

garbage can before (1)

Here is the “after” photo.

garbage can after

Key West Sunset

Twenty eight years ago, on June 21, on a rainy Saturday morning in Guyana, Neville and I were married. Reverend Harsham came to our home and performed a simple wedding ceremony.

Last Saturday, on a rainy morning, my husband and I took a trip to Key West, Florida. We had lots of fun walking on Duval Street, taking photos at the Southernmost Point, and watching the sunset on our dinner cruise. It was a fitting celebration for our 28th wedding anniversary!

Thanks for stopping by and do enjoy the Key West sunset on the first day of summer!

image

image

Ribbet collage (Sunset)