Friday Food. September.

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Last weekend, we attended my cousin’s wedding. We were so excited to witness the next generation beginning their lives. We saw my aunt and uncle who we haven’t seen in years, and it was just a wonderful day and night.

As for food, I’ve been lucky that I’ve never had bad food at a wedding, and this was no exception. In fact, the food that night was exceptional. No pictures of the cocktail hour sadly, but here are some views of dinner.

One note first: The sorbet came with fresh fruit. When I said that I didn’t get a blackberry (I was joking with my husband), my brother-in-law took his empty wine glass and poured all of his fruit and mint leaves into it and gave it to me. Yes, I ate it all. It was delicious.


See below for food descriptions.
(c)2022

L, Top to Bottom: Duet of Sorbet with fruit, Garlic bread, Chateaubriand, Wedding cake (cannoli/chocolate mousse).

R, Top to Bottom: Trio of homemade Pasta, Flower setting (non-edible, LOL)

Travel – Labor Day Weekend

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Labor Day weekend begins the day after tomorrow. Some people are returning home from their end of summer vacations, some are beginning their getaways. Our family is traditionally back by Labor Day weekend. This year we didn’t go away – car and house repairs made that cost prohibitive but we did manage to do an overnight trip that, to be honest, had its ups and downs. We’re spending this week of vacation getting together for dinner and mini-golfing at the end of the week, and then back to school and work for most of us. Middle child started college so he’s been attending classes while the rest of us have been sleeping late and eating potato chips for breakfast or something equally healthy!

New York has a vast amount of wonderful things to do and places to visit. I truly love living in New York. Even at the height of Covid, we were still able to travel within the state safely. Staying in a hotel and eating at restaurants, we felt very safe.

Here are a few of my recent recommendations:

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World Photography Day

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I have always loved taking photos. It took me quite some time to switch from film to digital, and more recently have I forgone using an actual camera for my cell phone. As the online world is more interactive and visual I try to take photos to accompany my writings. I think it adds to the layers of my writing life as well as much of my spiritual life. In looking for photos to include on this day, I did some googling and research into photography. Living in New York, I’m partial to Kodak and the Eastman-Kodak company, not to mention their connection to Paul McCartney and his family.

In reading up on National Photography Day from the National Day website, I was reminded of a postcard that I carried with me for the longest time. It is one of the few pieces of artwork that I recognize immediately and draws me into the black and white mysteries of the art world as well as a bygone past and of course the romanticism of Paris.

The Kiss by Robert Doisneau

Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville, photographed by Robert Doisneau. Fair Use. (c)2022

There is so much going on that it inspired me throughout high school and college in creating characters, writing their stories, and including myself in the background of the photo, perhaps in the lobby of the Hotel de Ville.

A picture is worth a thousand words as the saying goes, and in many cases more than a thousand words in descriptions, feelings, dreams, and spirit. Although not all of them need a caption; the picture is often enough. Here are a few of my own:

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Mental Health Monday – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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988

Beginning last Saturday, this easier to remember three-digit number is how to reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The other number still works, and this is not a new line. 988 will connect you to the existing suicide prevention lifeline. As with 1-800-273-8255, this is not a 9-1-1 call, and will not connect you to emergency services. This is crisis counseling with trained counselors. It may be used for phone calls, texts, and chat.

The Lifeline and 988 (information link)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (information link)

Mental Health Monday – Yes, You Read That Correctly

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But it’s Thursday?

Yes, it’s Thursday, but it’s also Mental Health Monday.

With the end of May came the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, but our awareness of our mental health and struggles are ongoing. Along with that, our mental health checkups can happen on any day of the week and this is a good time to remind ourselves of that.

I’ve been absent a bit more than I’d like. Some of that is getting ready for graduation and planning my continuing education class for the fall as well as other commitments, but it is also coming back from my case of Covid. My turn in the barrel with covid was very mild by all metrics and standards, but it still knocked me out for a week. Now, I am contending with an almost ear infection – I say almost because it’s mainly fluid in my ear but it’s not getting better. I may need an antibiotic and I’m not thrilled with the idea, although I am happy for medicine that makes it all better.

Niagara Falls. New York.
(c)2022

So please, check up on your mental health. Randomly if that works for you, or schedule it on your calendar. Decide what ways you will check up on yourself and then follow through. If something seems off, call your doctor or therapist. Even though I’m miles better than when I was diagnosed, I still see my therapist once a month. It centers me, and gives me some things to concentrate on and work towards. It makes me think. What works for you?

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Inspire. June.

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“A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man [person] who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman.”

George Bernard Shaw

I’ve been on and off my computer quite a lot and it’s only just come to my attention that my last publication was back in May. While my bout of covid was mild by all standard metrics, it has still taken me some time to return to what my normal is. As our family closes out the school year with a graduation and my formal writing classes finish, I’ve taken on a few new things, both personal and professional. My third child is also joining the summer workforce and planning her junior year. My (draft) presentation for the Cursillo community went very well, and I have a focus for my book’s introduction. I have also been asked to teach a writing class for our local continuing ed program at our school district,

Prior to this and during my covid days I had trouble finding the inspiration to do more than what was essentially required of me. I had commitments that needed to be rescheduled, phone calls to make (and that list is still significant), but during all this busy time, where did I find inspiration?

Inspiration Illustrated:

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My Patron, St. Elen

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Today is the feast day of my personal saint, the one I chose for my confirmation, St. Elen of Caernarfon. She and her homeland has touched me in many ways, and I was privileged a few years ago to pilgrimage to one of her holy wells in the small town of Dolwyddelan in North Wales. She is the patron of traveling and travelers and ironically, when I visited the town of Dolwyddelan and the Castle there, I was walking distance (even for me) from my future saint’s holy well. There are so many connections that I shouldn’t be surprised anymore.

St. Elen’s Well. Dolwyddelan. (c)2022
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National Pretzel Day

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Whether hot or cold, soft or hard, tiny twists or sticks, I think my favorite snack is the pretzel. With a dill vegetable dip, mustard (yellow or deli), beer cheese, or melted cheddar, it doesn’t matter – the pretzel is the main attraction.

My go-to brand is Rold Gold, but there is nothing like a soft New York pretzel with mustard. In fact, when we needed to use something quintessentially identifiable for our state for our team photo for GISH, I chose a soft pretzel with mustard while sitting at the Erie Canal.

I want one today!

(c)2022
(c)2022

Final Lenten Labyrinth

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Lent did not seem to rush by or to trickle; it went along just right as Goldilocks would say. For me, I think part of it was keeping the labyrinth journal throughout Lent. It forced me (in a good way) to look at my day, both before it began and then to examine how it went later on and keep track of my activities. I mostly stuck to spiritual activities, but some secular ones seeped in, especially when I spent quality time with my family or if I completed writing assignments. Those things got me up in such a positive way, I couldn’t help but meditate on them and incorporate them into my spiritual journey for Lent. I enjoyed switching the colors between journaling, and I enjoyed recognizing close moments with G-d in the micro-narration as well as in the moment.

With Lent finished, and other responsibilities beginning, I thought I would try my hand at a spiritual journal. I started it on the 19th and didn’t pick it up again until yesterday. So far not an auspicious start, but I don’t intend it to be a daily journal; I’m attempting to keep it pressure free. It occured to me to begin it when I started keeping a log for my Cursillo grouping and Ultreya tripod and close moments. I thought I should keep those and have access to re-reading them and be able to always be advancing in my spiritual life.

Here are the final pictures of my Lenten Labyrinth Journal. It is definitely something that I found rewarding and something I would consider doing again. As you can see below the cut, I needed a second labyrinth to cover everything during Holy Week, concluding with Easter.

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Lenten Journey – Week 5

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As we celebrate Holy Week, we are still looking back on Week 5 of Lent. Last week was another busy week. My labyrinth (photos below cut) had to be continued on the back of my card. I wrote about our church’s soup ministry during Lent and that had some profound close moments and memories. Even though I missed rosary last week, I had dinner with my family and sometimes that has precedence. I’ve been working on Felicia Day’s book, Embrace Your Weird, and it’s really forcing me to look inward which is perfectly in tune with the Lenten desert.

Also, last week’s Last Supper retreat was so much more than a one day experience. It really brought so much out of what the retreat house means to me. It was something of a spiritual experience in just being there, amid the familiar faces and places. It was wonderful.

Now I prepare myself for the Triduum – the last days of Christ and the beginning of eternal life. We need to walk through the fire so to speak, carry our crosses and come out on Easter Sunday reborn. I’m looking forward to it.

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