Photos of Summer

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Here are some photos I took this summer.  This summer was a mixed bag, both weather-wise and emotion-wise.  It was either much too hot, or uncommonly chilly.  The worst thing that happened was that our beloved rescue dog Sierra died. I miss her more than I can say.

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Summer Morning

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Sierra’s bowl, baby-ball, and leash

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Wadsworth Falls

 

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Happy Solar Eclipse Day!

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How exciting is this?  I won’t be watching the eclipse outside since I didn’t buy the special glasses, but I will be watching on-line.  I hope that you get to see it too!  Keep your eyes safe, and enjoy the spectacle.

09 March 2016 - Total Solar Eclipse from Palu, Indonesia

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Swimming

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I’m back in a bathing suit and swimming again!  I was that kid at swimming lessons who had already completed Jr. Lifesaving at the age of 9, but had to re-take all the other class due to the age restrictions.  While I was never a super-fast swimmer (I was a “pretty” swimmer with little to no splashing), I did a mean dive and was on the local swim team for a few seasons.  If it was summer, I was at the local pool.  My mother had us riding our bikes the mile-and-a-half to the pool from the time I was 6.  This was another time, when kids were much “safer”, or if they weren’t, no one actually heard about it.

So, for years I haven’t gone to the lake that’s just about a mile from my house due to my feeling I was “too fat” to get into a bathing suit.  Yes, I know, vanity captures us all at some point or another.  But, now that I’ve lost weight, I went out and bought myself a black one-piece, and the rest is history.

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I’ve been going early in the morning and swimming laps between the two decks.  The other day I was the only one there at 6 am.  It was quiet, meditative and nice.  And, the lake is too crowded to swim laps at any other time of day.  There is a pair of eagles living at our lake this summer, and I’ve been hoping to catch sight of them.  No luck yet.

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I really missed this and can’t believe that it’s been so long since I went swimming.  I think that in another life I may have been a mermaid; either that, or a narwhal (the unicorn of the sea).  I hope to improve by the end of the summer, and be able to complete more laps.  For the moment though, I’m just loving it!

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This is one of my favorite quotes. Love Dory!

 

The Benefits of Walking

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While we all know that we should walk more, there are now even more reasons to do so.  In a study published one year ago in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487316655466  low aerobic capacity was associated with increased mortality rates.  In other words, if you don’t walk, you will die.  Of course, this study was conducted on middle aged men, however, as with other studies, one can assume that it will hold true for women as well, since other scientific studies do show corresponding factors for women.  To back this assumption, there is another study http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288042.php  completed with 340,000 male and female participants showing that 20 minutes of brisk walking per day was enough to decrease the chance of early death by 16% to 30%.

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However, there are benefits other than fitness and lower early mortality rates to consider when a person walks.  For one thing, anyone can go take a walk.  We don’t need fancy shoes, we can walk no matter what our fitness level is, and we can control how long and how difficult our walk is.  Just the very fact of getting outside does wonders for our mental health.  We can get some sun (not too much), breathe fresh air, and enjoy nature.  All these factors are a mental health boost.  Not only that, walking in our neighborhoods gives us a chance to interact with our neighbors, boosting our sense of community.

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I go for a daily walk, and I find that it really helps me to be outside and getting some much needed exercise.  I love the boost walking gives me, and of course being in nature is so important to my own mental health.  Do you go for a daily walk?  Where are your favorite walks?  Do you prefer your own neighborhood or do you go to a park or a walking trail?  Have you felt the benefits of walking in your own life?  Let me know in the comments below.

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And of course, don’t forget to perfect your silly walk!

 

Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes for a Heat Wave

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New England has been suffering from extreme heat and humidity – days with a heat index of 105°  etc.  So, I’ve been looking for some meals that I can make that don’t need any form of cooking.  Here is one easy meal that I’ve found that requires no cooking, baking or grilling:

Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes

As many large tomatoes as there are people you’re feeding.  My daughter and I have one each and use another just for more tomato.  Lettuce leaves for garnish.

I stuff the tomatoes with Mashed Chickpea Salad:

Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup celery, diced

½ cup carrots, diced

½ cup onions, minced

1 tablespoon or so hummus (any kind you like)

1 tablespoon mustard

Dash of garlic powder

Splash of lemon juice

Place chickpeas in a medium size bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork.  Add remaining ingredients and combine.  Add more hummus for a creamier taste, if you want.

Take tomatoes and cut off the tops, scoop out the insides (I just put those into a bowl and eat them with my meal); then stuff with Mashed Chickpea Salad.  Place on a bed of lettuce and your meal is served!

Enjoy!

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Notice – Taking a break from Social Issues Series

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I’ve been having an enlightening time writing the Social Issues series and I hope that they have been helpful for you to read.  However, these posts take a long time to write, and I’ve decided to take a break over the summer.

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I’m actually going to be doing the Momwriters Camp NaNo this July.  I’ll be working on finishing the chapter book that I’m writing for a little boy that I know.  Hopefully this will work out, and I’ll be able to finish the first draft of the book.

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This has been a little bit of a strange summer for me since for the last five years I’ve been babysitting two girls two days a week for the summer.  However, like all of us, the girls have gotten older and they no longer have to come to my house.  So, given that I’ve got some extra time, I’ve decided that I want to use it to work on my fiction writing.  I’ll still be publishing three posts a week, just as a usually do, so that will remain the same.

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I will continue with the social issues series in September.