I Love Canberra

Friday, December 22, 2017

Smack dab in the middle of no where (aka the Australian bush) lies the capital city of Australia: Canberra.  Sydney and Melbourne couldn't agree on a location, so it ended up somewhere around the middle, with a blank slate of possibilities.  The ACT Government has been brilliant with the development of this city--I have never seen another city like it, not even close. 

Adam and I try to make it down to Australia annually, and are starting to plan our fourth trip for 2018.  Whenever we fly to Sydney, we spend most of our time near Wollongong, visiting my husband's family and friends.  For the past two years, however, we have taken the time to stay a night or two in Canberra, and I think someone once said two times makes a tradition.  Both times we have visited Canberra, we have discovered something new, and I'm a big fan. 

This past spring (which was fall in AUS), we discovered the National Arboretum Canberra and can't wait to return, as we only had a couple of hours the morning we visited, which wasn't nearly enough time.  It will be spectacular one day, once the forests mature.  There were bush fires in 2003, wiping out many of the pine plantations that grew there.  A few still remain, but in large part, this land needed a new vision and purpose.  Because the ACT Government is genius, they decided to dedicate the land as the site of a future national arboretum. 

The forests are young: beautiful in their youth, and easy to imagine how much more beautiful they will become with time.  You can read more about the forests of Canberra's National Arboretum here.

Roundabout after roundabout are beautiful neighborhoods with interesting shops, restaurants, and parks.  The last time we went, we stayed at the top of a hotel overlooking Lake Burley Griffin--it was beautiful in the morning with the sunrise watching the hot air balloons drift over the man-made lake, landing in fields beyond.  I hope to ride on one of their hot air balloons one day.  The city design is idyllic and smart in every way.  There are kangaroos everywhere (did I mention that Canberra is right in the middle of no where?); a short drive in any direction will leave you in a remote and rural setting--the sky is the limit!  It was a short distance outside Canberra that I saw my first red-tailed black cockatoo--a real treat!

This post is only a snippet of why I love Canberra.  When I visit Canberra, I ALWAYS go to Lonsdale Street Roasters, on Lonsdale Street, of course.  They have the BEST coffee, and since Portland is home to some of the best coffee EVER, I feel a little more at home drinking their coffee, as I think it's even BETTER than Portland's coffee.  Plus, they make a KILLER fruit, honey, and granola parfait.  I'm looking into getting my Australian family a blend roasted in their honor, complete with branding and naming rights.  There really isn't a better Christmas present, now, is there?

P.S.  Look for more Canberra posts on Beetles and Bees in the future!

My Love Affair with Brew Dr. Kombucha

Thursday, December 21, 2017
I LOVE Brew Dr. Kombucha.  Our recycling bin was FULL of glass this last week, and does anyone want to take a guess at what it might have been full of?  Yep, Brew Dr. Kombucha bottles.  I am addicted to the stuff.  Has been a healthier substitution for alcohol, I must say.  I'm going into my third month now without the stuff, so I treat myself with other non-alcoholic beverages.

Townsend's Tea Company started in 2006 as a start-up, funded by a local loan.  In 2008, Brew Dr. was started, and at this point, I'm convinced they have the best kombucha line of them all! 

I had wondered earlier this month if I could fill up a growler of the stuff, and I'm sure this is easily possible at one of the several tap rooms across Portland.  For now, I'm loving these 32-oz bottles, currently at New Seasons.  What is YOUR favorite kombucha?  For the record, mine is Brew Dr.

The Presents Are Wrapped and Under the Tree

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
All the Christmas shopping is done!

Oh, no.  I might have spoken too soon.  There are now two more guests coming Christmas morning, which means two more suet feeders from Backyard Bird Shop to pick up.  I haven't been there this week yet . . . the staff know me now on a first-name basis.  Now to learn their names . . . when we travel to Australia, my backyard bird experience gets even better.  I heart fairy wrens, magpies, cockatoos, and black swans.

Looking forward to going back down under to see Mom, Dad, and all the little (and big) Australian birds with our littlest one, Amelia.  We'll be boarding a Qantas flight before we know it.  But first, Christmas.  x o, Karli

It's a Grey's Anatomy Kind of Night

Sunday, December 17, 2017
The Nutcracker performances have ended, I've been Christmas shopping an hour here and there when I have money and time, Juniper's birthday was last weekend, I got through my six work shifts in eight days . . . I am tired now.  I wrapped presents this evening, but now all I want to do is drink tea and watch Grey's Anatomy until I fall asleep.   I stopped drinking awhile ago . . . a closer look at dates shows that it's actually been 60 days.  Two months.  I can do whatever I set my mind to.  I won't be sober forever, but for now, not drinking feels good.

New Felt Wreath

Saturday, December 16, 2017
A few weeks ago, I posted about this felt wreath by Curious Bloom, and I'm still loving that wreath, but sadly, it sold out long ago.

My sweet husband found this gem, however, around town (he won't tell me where), and the thought counts so much! Here it is, looking lovely on our little red door this year.  I love that it is festive, yet simple.  I'm still stalking Curious Bloom's Etsy shop for more felted goodies (currently, I have my eye on a succulent Christmas ornament), but for now, my husband has found the perfect replacement.  I heart him and his thoughtfulness.

The Children's Nutcracker

Friday, December 15, 2017

For the past five years, one of my two girls has been in The Children's Nutcracker. For a couple of years, both daughters were involved, but now Juniper has moved on from ballet, and it's Amelia who still dances.  She is a Princess Mouse this year in Act One--I have been volunteering, but got to watch last night's performance.  It was beautiful in every way!

There is something magical about the music of The Nutcracker, written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  I think my favorite scene in general is Waltz of the Snowflakes.  My girls love the music, too, and ask to listen to it often.  I am thinking about getting the soundtrack on CD for Christmas so they can listen to it as they go to sleep at night.  x o, Karli

Oak's Bottom and the Steam Locomotive

Thursday, December 14, 2017
I heart Oak's Bottom and the steam locomotive that fires up on December mornings, giving rides to those lucky enough to buy tickets in advance!  I took this picture from the bluff, looking down on to the natural beauty that still abides after more than a hundred and fifty years since Portland was founded.  That's a lot of people that have lived and resided in the area.  At any point in time, someone might have made a decision to no longer protect this land.  If you read about the history of Oak's Bottom Wildlife Refuge, you will see that it came close to landing into the hands of developers at times, but the neighborhood has always fought hard to preserve it.  I'm so glad they have--it is a beautiful site, sunrise or sunset, and feels especially like Christmas when the historic train chugs along the Willamette with its billows of steam rising into the morning air.

Noh Masks

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Art in the Garden at Portland Japanese Garden featured Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun October through early December. It was my first exposure to Noh masks, and what was even more unique about my first experience, is it was the only time in my life I had learned about masks as an art form.  Prior to seeing this exhibit, I may have been scared of masks, or did not understand the allure of masks in such places as Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  It was an amazing exhibit, and beautifully displayed.  In reading about each mask, I began to deepen my understanding of the art form, the detail, the meaning, their place in theater, and the unique history behind each one.

The 30 hand-carved masks displayed by Kokun were works of art. I tried to imagine the "window to the soul", as each one portrayed emotion and feeling.

Later, I was at our annual Christmas potluck with my book-club and the hostess had a wall of masks displayed in her home.  I stood and looked at them for a long while, recognizing that I no longer felt afraid of them, and saw them as works of art.  

I would like to learn more about masks and their place in history.  I find them fascinating now that through education my fear of them has been replaced by knowledge.  I remember when I was a student at Portland State years ago, "Let Knowledge Serve the City" was displayed in block print on a walkway/overpass on Broadway.  Knowledge empowers, conquers fear, and opens the mind to wider and more diverse perspectives.  The Noh mask exhibit was one example of how knowledge did this for me, and I am grateful for this small awakening.  As I reflect on it now, I can see that acquired knowledge awakens the desire for the pursuit of more knowledge. 

In these days of political unrest, my hope for all of us is that we continue to open our minds to opportunities and experiences that will foster the procurement of knowledge.  Then, with knowledge, activation through grassroots movements that seek to change the course of history. 

Even after all these years, this bumper sticker still says it all:


Juniper Turns 10!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Today was a special day, as it was Juniper's 10th birthday!

And so it was the birthday of the bike (a new 13" Trek) to celebrate the big 1-0.

What 10th birthday would be complete without a karaoke party with one's closest friends?

And then there was a pizza dinner with family/friends.

So we never forget, this is what a 10-year old karaoke playlist looks like!

Juniper is a beautiful girl inside and out. Celebrating her 10th birthday today falls on my life list of "Best Days in My Life". Love you so, Juniper! x o, Mommy

The Night Before I Gave Birth to Juniper (10 Years Ago)

Saturday, December 09, 2017
The night before I gave birth to Juniper, I watched Gorillas in the Mist, then dreamt I was lost at sea on a raft, feeling the waves rock me throughout the night.  At one point, I woke up and realized the waves were contractions.  The next afternoon, my Juniper was born. 

Ten years have passed now, and tomorrow Juniper will be celebrating her first decade of life.  She is my beautiful daughter, and I love her.  With my youngest daughter, Amelia, I assembled these gift bags for the party guests.  Thank-you for the sweet party favors, Backyard Bird Shop!  x o, Karli

Discounted Table Runner

Friday, December 08, 2017
I finally checked out the Collage Outlet, which is located where the original Sellwood store was, now moved over to Bybee.  Their site states "deep sales" and that about sums it up!  I found many pretty things for dollars each, including this little runner--$3.00!  It looks bright and festive for the holidays!  I will be frequenting this store often to check out the mark-offs from last-chance items.

P.S.  Do you see our window decals?  Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph, and the Snow Monster?  An annual favorite Christmas movie of ours, and we reuse the decals year after year.

Things from Australia

Thursday, December 07, 2017
This Australian Rosella (Eastern?) made it over for the holidays--brrr, he's cold!  I heart Australian birds and flora.  To the right of the rosella is a banksia pod.  You can add essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint for aromatherapy in the home, plus they look super cool.  There is much folklore about the banksia pods.  May Gibbs writes beautifully about Australian bush in her children's books.  I hope to buy some more of her books when we are in Australia next time.  I absolutely love bringing things from Australia back with us when we go: prints, dried flora, books, calendars, coasters, tea towels, etc.  If we ever move to Australia one day, I will look forward to learning all about the plants that we grow indoors here that thrive outdoors there.  For now, I will treasure our finds from our travels, and it helps us to feel more connected to our home away from home in Australia.  Adam, of course, loves it all.  x o , Karli

Christmas Tree, 2017

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
What a beautiful December morning, and we get more of this throughout the entire week. Absolutely love this weather!

I did something a little different this year: to make more time for decorating the tree in the evening with the kids, I picked up the tree in the morning with Adam.  The kids were alright with that plan, and it made for a much more relaxing evening instead of trying to do it all at once.

Amelia was all dressed up this evening for her 1st grade concert, and looked so beautiful as she decorated the tree.

For downstairs, we now have this sweet little fiber optic tree.  I have been admiring it for years in another home, and now its owners have passed it along to us.  Thank you, thank you!  We love it, and it is perfect for our basement, which is carpeted.

And here I am, going through these December days with more intention, purpose, and meaning.  If I'm going to be busy, it better be the good stuff making me busy!
x o, Karli

Time Management

Monday, December 04, 2017
In nursing, time management is an important skill to have, but in my personal life, it is just as important.  The struggle for me is finding the time to decompress, unwind, and just be--because that is an important part of life balance.  I am getting ready to jump into another three shifts on the unit, and this time of year, balance can be so difficult to find for me.  The part that sets my life off balance is not having the down time, as that is the first thing I tend to cut out to make time for everything else.

It is a busy holiday season for me this year.  Organization is key, along with good time management.  I don't like the feeling of "keeping up", as I would much rather feel a day or two ahead of the game.  So, I'm not going to fall behind, and my strategy this year to accomplish that is to maintain time for self, but stay on task.  So, I'll make a list, then divide that list into days I am available, and go from there.  And I won't forget to include time for self.

I like to include on my list as I tackle my day a few things that have made me happy or brought me a feeling of gratitude.  Last evening, at my book club's annual December potluck, one of the members made these chocolates, a tradition going back to her childhood.  Her family makes 200 pounds of Christmas chocolates for family and friends.  She brought an album to show pictures of the recipes and her family from over the years of chocolate-making.  It was a meaningful tradition to share with all of us, and I was grateful to her for it.

I think it is so important to ensure that the activities that make it to our list of things to do are those things which bring us meaning and a deeper sense of connection to our families and to ourselves.

x o, Karli

Brass Bracelets by SaraLua Designs

Saturday, December 02, 2017
I've been a long-time fan of Michael Franti, attended several of his shows at Edgefield, and greatly appreciate his advocacy and activism for peace, human rights, and social justice. 

One day, he posted an engagement video to his twitter feed, and I became an instant fan of Sara Agah as well (plus, she's a fellow RN)!  I tune into Sara's Insta-stories daily, and absolutely love her jewelry design.  For Cyber Monday, she offered buy one get one free on her brass bracelets, and they are AMAZING.  They are light and delicate on the wrist and can easily be worn with both casual or fancy attire.  I love wearing both together--I chose coral and camo green (there are five other colors available).

Today was Decemberville in Sellwood, and what a rainy Decemberville it turned out to be!  We do have sun in the forecast this week, but this weekend quite a lot of rain has fallen and will continue to do so into tomorrow.

Juniper and I made a beeline for Tilde, where we picked up a few Christmas gifts, including a few 2017 ornaments by Roost for our own family to enjoy.

Juniper and I both admired the jewelry made by Totinette, especially her gold charm and enamel triangular necklaces.

All in all, it was a lovely Saturday morning spent with Juniper.  Amelia was busy most of the day with her dress rehearsal for The Children's Nutcracker and a birthday party at Duke's following.  I usually work on weekends, so this was a treat to get to spend a lazy Saturday with my family.  I'm back to work in the morning, so for now, au revoir, my friends.  x o, Karli

Oh, How We Love Trader Joe's

Friday, December 01, 2017
Many years ago, I wrote a blog post about the chalk artists of Trader Joe's, and over the past decade, not much has changed.  They still put out the Fearless Flyer, the staff still wear Hawaiian shirts, and 800-million bottles later, they still sell the 2-buck chuck.  They are also home of the $5.99 poinsettia.  This video really says it all:

But back to Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer.  It's not just an ordinary weekly ad you'd find anywhere else (usually in your recycling bin).  The Fearless Flyer is a different spin on advertising that reads like a newsletter.  The Holiday Guide 2017 brings to us an important announcement this year:  the Trader Joe's freezer section is now called "Appetizer Central"!  Here you'll find scallops wrapped in bacon, mini-quiches, and the famous Shrimp and Salmon Trio.

Pretzel sign for Trader Joe's by Jazelle Lieske
The real reason I still shop at Trader Joe's, besides everything you see in the youtube clip above, is because I respect the way in which they treat their employees.  Suzanne Raga put together a list of these fine treatments over on Mental Floss if you're interested.

When we're in Australia, we shop at Aldi, owned by the heirs of Theo Albrecht, who left this world a rich man in 2010.  His heirs now own Aldi, as well as our beloved Trader Joe's.  Small world, and as it turns out, a small-hearted family.  Money is like poison for the heart, don't you think?

But my Australian family still loves Aldi, because they're a family who loves a good bargain.

Karli and Adam in Aldi, Dapto, NSW, Australia, 2015
But for this American girl, I've been loving Trader Joe's since 1997, and I don't see myself stopping unless they stop hiding the stuffed black cat.

P.S.  I heart Trader Joe's sugar plum jam made from local plums--yum!  Try it with pizzelles, which I enjoy when Adam makes them with his pizzelle iron (my husband's father is Italian).

Sea Holly, Winter Berries, and Brass

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's almost December and just over three weeks until Winter is official, so I tracked down my favorite wintery cuttings to assemble arrangements for the house. I've always kind of been in love with Eryngium, also known as sea holly (and by others as thistle) when it's paired with red berries. Hypericum is nice, but I've also used rose hips. These usually hold up for the season (especially if you clean up the stems, removing leaves), as they remain a beautiful red when they are dried--they are a good investment!

Tonight the girls and boys split up for dinner.  The girls and I headed to Backyard Bird Shop after Juniper's violin lesson for a few more supplies for our shepherd's poles, because we are creating a food court for our backyard birds.  We have a lovely assortment of finches, thrushes, and nuthatches in our new backyard, all of which are loving our feeders (look for a post soon about how we put them together).

P.S.  This beauty is on my Christmas list for this year.  I think it will look beautiful in the garden, don't you think?  I'm told the paint will last if a coat of lacquer is brushed over it annually.

Adam made homemade stirfry for he and Sam. The girls and I went out for sushi after doing a little shopping, complete with mochi for dessert.

Remember Simple Decorating for Christmas from a few days ago?  Well, I loved Heart and Hand's centerpiece with the cypress/sage/pine bundles so much that we now have one for our living room.  It looks lovely and festive.

The sea holly and winter berries coupled with candle tapers and greenery already have our new home feeling festive.  Next week, we will put up our first Christmas tree in this space.  Looking forward to creating those memories with Adam and the kids.

P.S.  There is something that feels like winter about brass (even faux brass).  I am thinking of adding an oversized, circular,  brass-framed mirror for the upstairs bathroom, but that will be another post for another day.
x o , Karli

To Wallpaper or Not To Wallpaper?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
I love this space of our new 1955 ranch, which is original to the home, but has been painted, cabinet doors have been removed, and hardware has been changed out (I would venture to say the original 1955 hardware wouldn't have been worth saving anyway).  But this space can be really great, and I am toying with an idea and wonder what you think!  Here is what it looks like now:

I envision finding framed glass cabinet doors at The Rebuilding Center to put back up, but they might take awhile to find and modify.  Behind the cabinet doors, I am wondering about this look:

Image credit: Lonny
 Ideas, guys?  This is wallpaper I'm considering—I think it can look brilliant in small spaces, though, such as in Christiana Coop's San Francisco apartment.  I'm thinking about the same beautiful Queen Anne (Ebony) Wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co. for the backing that she used.

Queen Anne (Ebony) Metallic Screen Printed

And new hardware for the cabinets, a new slab for the countertop (material, still thinking about, but probably wood), and then, of course, the cabinet doors I have yet to find--leaded glass with diamond bevels, hopefully.  Let me know what you think--send those design links my way!  x o ,  Karli
P.S.  Yesterday I wrote a post about refuge.  I love the idea of refuge, the feeling of a refuge, the place where one feels safe, loved, and nurtured.  This morning, Bob Dylan's song, "Shelter from the Storm" was playing in the car on my way to the airport to pick up the kids from their Thanksgiving vacation in California.
"I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

Come in, she said

I'll give ya shelter from the storm"
--Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks, 1975 

P.S.S.  Send your design ideas my way!

The Power of Refuge

Monday, November 27, 2017
I have been in love with vintage bubble lights for many years, but now those have been upstaged in my mind by Terrain's Stargazer bubble lights--they are truly gorgeous and come in stunning colors.  And their winterberry lights in white or red?  Beautiful and lovely.  I will say that in the world of bubble lights, one string of seven vintage bubble lights is the perfect length for one fireplace mantle, and looks amazingly homey when paired with evergreen trim (this also hides the cord).  My tried and true string of seven will have to do for now, as I'll have to save up for the Stargazer strands!

Now to shift gears, as I have been wanting to share with you the wonderful story of the Kam Wah Chung Historic Building and Interpretive Center in John Day, Oregon.  It is a story of refuge in suffering and healing in sickness and pain.

Kam Wah Chung means "Golden Flower of Prosperity", and this place was a hub for Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century.  During a time when many Chinese communities were attacked, this place, started by Ing Hay and Lung On (originally from Guangdong Province), was a haven for many and a support system for the local mining industry.  OPB made a short documentary about this place, which can be found here.

Ing Hay was a master pulsologist, establishing an herbal medical practice with at least 500 herbs, and was skilled at mixing these herbs into curative and/or restorative solutions.  He treated Chinese and non-Chinese patients, and was known as "Doc Hay"--some in the area can still recall their grandparents or great-grandparents telling stories of being treated by him.  At Kam Wah Chung, you will find a rattlesnake immersed in rice wine, also known as "snake wine", which produced a tonic utilized for medicinal purposes.  Later, many un-cashed checks were found in a trunk as many of Doc Hay's patients were very poor.  Lung On, his partner, would often assist those who were facing persecution, writing letters or translating as he was fluent in English and a sharp businessman.  This place was multi-functional, serving as a post office, library, and lodging quarters in addition to being a general mercantile and office of Chinese medicine.  

Picture from Kam Wah Chung Museum's Heritage site

When visiting John Day, be sure to visit both the Historic Kam Wah Chung Building, as well as the Interpretive Center.  The place has been frozen in time and contains one of the largest Chinese medicinal collections in the United States.  This place is an example of how in the face of great persecution, human beings are able to create a haven, giving rise to something good in the midst of great adversity.  I have always felt a great sense of internal gratitude for our Chinese ancestors who helped build this country through hard labor in an intolerant and unjust environment.  I feel sadness at the great hostility the Chinese were subjected to during a time when they were trying to escape an economic depression and famine during China's Great Migration.  The Chinese immigrants found a healer in Ing Hay, a helper in Lung On, and a haven within the walls of Kam Wah Chung. 

Today is a different time, but for many, it is a scary, unstable, and unpredictable time.  I notice people every day rising up, creating something good, and standing up for what is right.  We all need a place where we can go to feel safe.  My refuge is my backyard, where Nature flourishes and many backyard birds flit back and forth between their feeders and nearby trees.  Where is your refuge?

Niki Brantmark uses this quote in Lagom, and it seems apropos here:

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is a society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not Man the less, but Nature more."  

--Lord Byron, Childe Harold, Canto IV, Verse 178

Simple Decorating for Christmas

Sunday, November 26, 2017
Homemaking has become somewhat of a lost art for many of us, not for lack of wanting to, but for lack of time.  So, in the spirit of simplicity, I have to point you to these simple ideas for Christmas decorating found on Apartment Therapy
Love this centerpiece (as well as the price) for our coffee table this winter:

P.S.  Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, and Etsy is full of wonderful things!  Let this post be a starting point if you plan to shop online tomorrow.  x o x o,  K a r l i

Supporting Local in Portland

Friday, November 24, 2017

I'm not even a little bit into commercial shopping, and have always had a hard time with Black Friday . . . but local sales for Christmas--count me in!  And I consider Oregon-ish to be local, by the way.  One of my favorite places to find local handmade crafts for Christmas gifts is the Garden Home Holiday Bazaar.  I've been once, and can't wait to attend this year.  I love to discover artists new to me, while reconnecting with my old favorites! 

Another treat is Crafty Wonderland Art + Craft Market.  I'm all about keeping money in communities and supporting artists in their craft.  Shhhh!  First 100+ guests receive amazing gift bags.  Get your pre-show tickets now--otherwise, free admission!

I always look forward to Golden Tickets in Multnomah Village and Hillsdale.  Each business chooses their own deals throughout the season.  If you spend a certain amount at Annie Bloom's, for example, you will receive a Golden Ticket to Topanien (last year they were giving away a wonderful gift basket to the selected Golden Ticket in the box).  I LOVE Topanien!  Also, the Turkish linens, kitchenware, soaps, and tiles in Indigo Traders are the best in town, and they often serve Turkish coffees to perk up even the most tired of the tiredest shoppers.  Love this store!  (p.s. my top three favorite stores in Portland (besides the others listed in this post) are hiding in this paragraph!!)

Shop at Tilde!  Support makers--not all local, but a store in support of the arts.  Many of my favorite Etsy artists sell their work here.  I double-heart Tilde.

Decemberville in Sellwood!  Most stores are running sales and there are many stores to visit!  Check it out this coming weekend, December 2nd!

I think that about wraps up my favorites for Christmas shopping. I heart local. I heart community. I heart supporting local community. Happy shopping! xoxo, Karli

All I Need

Thursday, November 23, 2017
I'm not gonna lie, the best winter fruit salad was a big hit at the potluck today on the unit!  It complemented the turkey, mashed potatoes, pies, rolls with homemade honey butter (YUMM-O), and homemade stuffing splendidly and colorfully.

By adding more of the "lagom" philosophy to my life, I felt more centered this holiday, more focused on simple pleasures.  The pumpkin spice latte my husband brought me tonight at the end of a long shift, because he wanted me to feel a part of Thanksgiving on a work day (hence, the pumpkin spice)!  Knowing that he spent over an hour by bus to meet me after spending a full day raking the wet leaves from the yard, because he knew it would make me happy.  The many messages and voicemails my girls left me throughout the day from their Thanksgiving celebrations, even when I didn't ask them to.  Being able to share a laugh with a patient, despite the untimeliness of their acute illness.  The aroma of cinnamon sticks left floating in the hot cider, which lingered throughout the day from the crock pot in which they steeped. 
Today wasn't what I wanted, which would have been to be with Adam and the kids, but it was all I needed.  Today brought me thankfulness and contentment as I stepped away from an agenda I might have believed I had more control over and left myself open to what the day had in store with me.
"Not running from something
I'm running towards the day
Wide awake" --Eddie Vedder, Better Days
Amelia wrote last week in her note to me about my upcoming day, "it might be fun and it might not be".  Days become better when we allow them to be what they will be, and greet them with grace and acceptance.

The Best Winter Fruit Salad

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
 Tonight I made The Recipe Critic's "The Best Winter Fruit Salad" for day shift's Thanksgiving potluck on my nursing unit.  I used all Organics to You produce and tossed the whole lot with Hanna's Honey, freshly squeezed lime juice, poppyseeds, and chopped organic mint.  YUMM-O, as my Australian Mom says.
And we just received a new box filled with winter goodness, so I'll have to make another bowl for Adam, the kids, and I this week.  This recipe is SO good.
My backyard compost bin is going to love me lots when I layer this with the brown cedar and pine needles I raked up this afternoon.  My fingers look cyanotic from breaking apart two pomegranates for this recipe.  I definitely changed it up and used what fruit I had (apples, red and yellow pears, clementines, pomegranates, bananas, kiwis, the biggest, most delicious mango EVER, and sliced grapes.  Toss it with lots of local honey and lime-poppyseed goodness and you have yourself a pretty tasty treat.

The Best Winter Fruit Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 large apple peeled and sliced
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 2 large bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 3 clementines, peeled and separated
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  1. In a large bowl combine apple, pear, bananas, kiwi, clementines, and pomegranate seeds. Lightly toss.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together honey, lime juice, poppy seeds, and mint. Drizzle over fruit and toss until coated. Serve.
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