Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving, and to those that celebrate, a very Happy Hanukkah! Or, using the buzzword of the year, Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Until next time …
Hey gang! I just have to take a moment for a little self-promotion. Hmmm, I suppose one could argue that’s really all a blog is anyway, but I digress. I have been nominated for Healthline’s Best Health Blogs of 2013 contest. The winner will receive $1,000, second place will receive $100, and third place will receive $50. If you are so inclined, could you please take a moment to stop by and vote for me? I don’t really expect to win since some of the other nominees are folks like Carla, Jenny, Monica, etc. who all have FAR more followers than me on their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but it’s still fun to be nominated.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way I can point you directly to my entry to make it as easy as possible for you to vote for me. Since the Popularity tab rankings are constantly changing as people vote, the easiest way to find me would be to switch to the Alphabetical tab and then switch to a page near the end where the T entries would be found because they have me listed as “The Daily Mel.” As of this writing, I’m currently on page 17, but that could still change as well as they are still accepting nominations. Voting closes on Jan. 20, 2014, so there’s plenty of time to vote. They do require authentication via either Facebook or Twitter, but that’s it. You don’t have to sign up for a mailing list or anything like that.
Thanks, and until next time …
If you’ve taken part in Kenlie’s Friend Makin’ Monday (FMM) in the past, then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link to the comments on this post over at Kenlie’s blog so everyone can see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your own blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers. So, take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
1. What are you plans for Thanksgiving this year? I’m not doing anything for Thanksgiving this year. Even so, I took Friday off as a vacation day which will give me a nice long five-day weekend that I’m really looking forward to! I’m planning to just hole up in my apartment the entire weekend (other than going to my Sunday Weight Watchers meeting), put up & decorate my Christmas tree, watch lots of holiday movies, and make my Christmas cards to send out the following week. Since I’m really busy with work and school, I’ll probably only be able to send out a handful, but I still can’t wait to haul out all of my card-making supplies and be creative.
2. At what point do you begin celebrating the Christmas season? Well, I suppose that depends upon how one defines “celebrating.” I started listening to holiday music on November 1, and I’ve already watched a few holiday movies on Netflix.
3. Do you celebrate Christmas, or do you celebrate another holiday? I’m not a religious person, but I celebrate Christmas. I just don’t celebrate it as the birth of Jesus. Christmas has actually always been a secular holiday to me. Even in the faith in which I was raised, they believed it was more important to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus each Sunday through communion rather than celebrating his birth.
4. If you could have one present (you know, a material good, not love or world peace) what would you want? The LifeSpan TR800-DT Treadmill Desktop is my latest obsession. I totally want one to put in the corner of my apartment to use while watching TV, responding to emails, blogging, etc. How awesome would that be?!!
5. Share an idea or two that you can plan to do for someone who may need to feel loved throughout the holiday season. I love to volunteer over the holidays. For several years, I started my Thanksgiving off by volunteering at a local restaurant helping prepare a feast for those in need. The event grew so much that they basically stopped accepting individual volunteers any longer because they have so many corporate teams that volunteer now. One of the other things I do is by participating in the Angel Tree program through my employer. Since I don’t have a significant other or children, I’ll usually pull two or three names from the tree to buys gifts for each year.
6. Would you rather spend the holiday season on the beach or in the snow? Having lived in southern California for the past 17 years, I’m not really a fan of cold weather. That being said, I really do miss having a white Christmas. So, my preference would be to have a beautiful snowy white Christmas and then go right back to 60+ degree weather the next day for the rest of the winter.
7. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food? I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one, but I can narrow it down to two: cornbread dressing (that’s kind of like stuffing for those of you not from the South ) and pecan pie
8. Will you participate in Black Friday shopping? There isn’t enough money in the world to make me partake in the insanity that is Black Friday.
9. Will you travel for the holidays or stay at home? If you’re traveling, are you flying or driving or making alternate plans? I’ll be staying home for the holidays.
10. List at least 5 things for which you are currently thankful.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to head over to Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments, and take a moment to share it on Facebook and Twitter too! Why not spread the friend makin’ love?! Happy Monday, friends!
Until next time …
I’ve decided to jump in and take part in Kenlie‘s Friend Makin’ Monday (FMM) this week because it’s a topic that is important to me. In case you aren’t aware, there is a GMO ballot initiative happening right now in Washington state. If it passes (#YesOn522), they would become the first U.S. state to require GMO labeling on food products.
If you’ve taken part in Friend Makin’ Monday (FMM) in the past, then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over on Kenlie’s blog post so everyone can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your own blog readers to add their links there as well so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers, so please take a moment to leave a link to your own FMM post and then stop by and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
1. Are you familiar with GMO’s? Is it an issue that matters to you? Yes, I am familiar with GMOs as it’s something I began educating myself about last year when this same issue was on the California ballot. Sadly for Californians, it didn’t pass, so we still don’t have GMO labeling here.
2. List a few items that are typically on your grocery list. Blueberries, apples, steel cut oats, whole grain bread, nonfat milk, Greek yogurt.
3. What is your favorite place to shop for produce? I typically buy most of my product from either Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, or the local farmer’s market. I’ve participated in a couple of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in the past, but typically prefer picking out my own produce.
4. Do you eat processed foods? I try my best to limit it, but still eat far more processed food than I probably should. My biggest concern when it comes to highly processed foods are the chemical preservatives and sodium content.
5. Do you look for the “organic” label when you shop? I do buy quite a bit of organic food, but only when it makes sense. For example, I typically wouldn’t purchase an organic version of a food with a thick peel or rind like a banana or grapefruit. However, I do try to buy the organic versions of things like blueberries, apples, grapes, etc.
6. What did you eat for breakfast this morning? I had some steel cut oats, a banana, and an iced coffee.
7. How many meals per week do you cook at home? I’ve gotten much better about this over the past few months. I used to eat out all the time, but now I try to limit myself to eating out once per week.
8. Do you think that foods that have been genetically engineered should be labeled? Absolutely! I believe we have to right to know what we are putting into our bodies. Given all the special labeling already required on things here in California, I’m still kind of shocked the GMO ballot initiative didn’t pass last year. Agribusiness spent a LOT of money in our state fighting it though, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. I just think it’s very interesting how they claim over and over that there’s no need for labeling because GMOs are 100% safe. If they’re so safe, then why are they spending millions and millions of dollars fighting it? Food for thought (pun intended).
9. What matters most to you when you’re choosing a restaurant? The quality of the food.
10. What is your favorite meal to cook at home? Lately, it’s been spaghetti squash. I’ll generally cook a couple of them per week which each squash providing 2-3 meals, depending on the size. I also really enjoy using my slow cooker for things like pork loin, BBQ chicken, chili, etc.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to head over to Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments there.
Until next time … Happy Monday!
Those of you who know me well are probably aware of just how very much my grandmother meant to my life. She was my rock, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and the person who molded me into the person I am today.
If you read my blog for a while, you’ve probably already read or seen the bulk of this post in the past. I originally wrote it as a tribute back in 2005. Nothing has really changed since I originally wrote it, and I’ve just kind of gotten in the habit of reposting each year on her birthday.
My Gran would have turned 103 years old today if she were still with us. Sadly, she’s now been gone for 10 years, but there’s still not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about her and miss having her in my life. For those who might be curious, yes, this is the same grandmother for whom I got my tribute tattoo as a memorial.
So, without further adieu, here is my repost of my tribute to my Gran.
Until next time …
Today was a sad day in many ways for me, yet also a day of wonderfully fond memories. Today would have been my grandmother’s 95th birthday if she were still living. It was sad because she has been gone now for just over 2 years and I miss her terribly, but it was a good day as well as I focused on the memories of the things I admired about her. In honor of her memory, I have chosen to blog about her, and my love for her, today.
What can you say about someone who is, by far, the most remarkable human being you have ever known? How do you put into words a love that leaves one feeling completely safe, protected, and cherished? How do you convey to someone who never knew a person how much better the world was, even if just her own small corner of it, just for this person having lived? Well, that person was my grandmother, or Gran, as I called her.
As you may have realized by now, I adored my grandmother. In so many ways, she was as much my mother (or moreso, perhaps) than was my own actual mother. I was very fortunate to have grown up living right next door to my paternal grandparents, so I spent a LOT of time there. I would usually get off the school bus at their house in the afternoon and didn’t usually go home until after dinner (or “supper” as she would call it).
Some of my earliest recollections from my childhood involve being with my grandmother. She began teaching me at a very early age the importance of considering others and their needs. She helped me clearly see that what we NEED versus what we WANT are two vastly different things. She truly instilled in me the philanthropic nature that still burns strongly within me to this day.
I remember standing on a stool in the kitchen helping her cook as she prepared meals for others who were sick, home-bound, or had experienced a death in their family. I remember going out with her daily to collect the eggs from the chicken coop so that not only our family had eggs, but that others in the community who needed them would also have eggs. I remember watching her spend hour after grueling hour over a hot stove in a kitchen with no air conditioning during the Tennessee late summer humidity as she would can fruits & vegetables. Again, not only for our own family, but to give to others as they had need as well. Of course, whenever anyone would try to pay her, she would always just tell them to not worry about it and to just do something nice for someone else and that was payment enough for her.
She was born in a rural area of Middle Tennessee on September 27, 1910. She was the second of nine children having 4 brothers and 4 sisters. She graduated as Valedictorian of her high school class. Admittedly, there were only 3 students, but she was still Valedictorian.
She began dating my grandfather after high school. They dated for several years before they were actually able to be married (due to the Great Depression). They married on June 16, 1935. About 18 months after they were married, my aunt was born with my dad following two years later.
Even though my grandmother never had any “formal” post-secondary education, she was constantly learning and was a voracious reader. It was a VERY rare day that she missed watching Jeopardy, and most of the time she could answer virtually all of the questions. As a result, she instilled a thirst for knowledge within me as well. She helped me believe that I could be or do anything I wanted to do in life as long as I studied and worked for it.
The year I was born, my grandmother began writing a column for the local newspaper in the county where she lived. She continued writing that weekly column up until just a few weeks prior to her death in August 2003. She would share news of the community and her love of nature though her words. I don’t think anyone could describe hummingbirds or flowers more beautifully. She would always send out condolences and get well wishes to those in need, and she would always end her column each week with a comment or philosophy about life and the blessing of it. Here is a scan of the heading that appeared each week over her column:
She had a wonderfully witty sense of humor and always had a smile on her face. Well, that is, unless you were trying to take her photograph. It was virtually impossible to get her to smile then. I don’t want to even think about how many times it probably took them to get that smiling photo above of her for the newspaper!
She loved hummingbirds, growing flowers (roses, iris, daffodils, and African violets), and watching the turning of the leaves in the autumn. She loved working crossword puzzles, watching Johnny Carson, sewing, reading poetry, and watching University of Tennessee football games. She never learned to drive. She was horribly afraid of flying even though she had never stepped foot on a plane. She hated elevators and basements. Her smile could light up a room, and her laughter was infectious.
I don’t believe I can remember a time in my life when she would meet someone new that she didn’t tell them within 5-10 minutes of meeting her to “just call me Gran,” and everyone always did. There truly were no strangers in her life because she made a friend with everyone she met. She truly was the epitome of “Southern Hospitality” at it’s finest.
Lastly, one of the greatest memories I have was her love for me. She is still one of only a couple of people that I have known in my entire life from whom I felt TRUE unconditional love. I always knew that no matter what I did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, etc., that her love for me was always going to be there and would be unwavering. She didn’t always approve of the choices I made in my life (like my blue hair phase or moving to California), but she NEVER stopped loving me and I knew that without question. She is still, to this day, the most remarkable, intelligent, compassionate, and beautiful woman I have ever had the joy & pleasure of knowing.
I miss you horribly, Gran, and think of you daily! I always have and always will love you!