JaniceHeck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

WANAFriday for 9-20-13. Dandelion Dreaming

Ellen Gregory posted the #WANAFriday (last Friday’s) blog prompt for September 20, 2013:

Share your favourite (or interesting) WORD — what does it mean for you? (Note that Australian spelling there!)
I love words like serendipity, scintillating, effervescent, splendiferous, grandiloquent, sibilant, and supercilious.  All these multisyllable words sound pleasing to me. Some of them have somewhat haughty meanings, but they still sound interesting, sweet, and maybe a bit humorous.
My husband likes the word magnanimous and money. Yes, money does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it.
#MyWANA Favorite Word
Siri Paulson already wrote about serendipity, so I had to choose another word for this prompt challenge.
A recent Facebook posting reminded me of another word I like: Dandelion.

Yes, folks, dan-de-li-on. Some folks consider it a weed, but where I come from, we know better.

photo: fcpsdotedu

photo: fcpsdotedu

Not that dandelion has always been a lovely word for me.
When I was a kid, those egg-yolk-yellow dandelions blanketed our football-sized front and side lawns, squeezing out the more desired green-velvet grass. Mom, always looking out for what the neighbors thought, decided that a dandelion infested lawn in our nice neighborhood was not socially acceptable, so she decreed that we kids had to get out there on perfectly good icy-cold-Maurice-River-swimming days to dig out these perverse lawn inhabitants and dispose of them.
dandelions in lawns
Mom didn’t like it when the flowers turned from yellow to white puffy balls, and the feathered seeds starting flying through the air on the light summer breezes, seeking new rooting grounds (notably our neighbors’ lawns) to infest. (What would the neighbors say then?) And, beware, if any one of us kids ever, ever, ever blew on those fluffy seed balls, trouble would surely follow. Back then, there were no taboos about spanking children!
photo: legallysocialbledotcom

photo: legallysocialbledotcom

No. Mom wanted those dandelions out of her lawn. Pronto!
So, day after day, on the hottest of days, my Little Brother Bobby and I sat out on the lawn persistently digging out dandelions, not always with the best attitude, I might add. (A few dandelion flower fights made it a little more interesting, but only when Mom wasn’t looking.)
We thought this whole dandelion destruction debacle was a losing battle, but Mom had different ideas. She was determined to have a lawn as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s down the street.
Well, Mom won. After that summer, our lawn did look as nice as Mrs. Cervini’s. Green, nicely trimmed, and dandelion free. We kids felt pretty proud about that, too.
What? Dandelions Can Be Eaten? Who Knew?
DAndelion salad
Now, here’s the thing. Dandelions are a cash-crop delicacy in my hometown, Vineland, NJ. In fact, Vineland holds bragging rights to being the “Dandelion Capital of the World.”  (Not far away, in Hammonton, NJ, is the “Blueberry Capital of the World.”)
We didn’t know that dandelions were valuable when we were digging up and disposing those dastardly weeds to make Mom happy.
Yes, dandelion is a valuable food crop in early spring. You can use dandelions in soups, salads, fritters, muffins, breads, and even tasty wine. I haven’t heard of a dandelion dessert, but who knows, some creative chef out there may have dreamed up a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth dandelion dish. Vinelanders hold dandelions in high esteem in a special spring festival each year. A dandelion dinner at Merighi’s Inn on East Landis Avenue is the real deal.
Dandelion Salad Fit for Royalty
We had simpler fare at home. Each spring, Mom made dandelion salads, decorated with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika, to accompany our evening meals. “Dandelions are loaded with vitamins A and C, iron, and beta-carotene,” she claimed. “Eat!”
“The secret to good dandelion salad,” she said, “is to pick the tender leaves before the plant forms its flowers. (Once the flowers bloom, the leaves taste bitter.) Add a little vinegar-oil-garlic dressing, and there you have it: a delicious, healthy spring salad. Decorate the salad with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with paprika and enjoy. Simple, but delicious.”
Today’s WANA favorite prompt brought back a lovely childhood memory. Check the following posts for other #WANAFriday Participants’ favorite words:

Di Bell digs deep and finds some wonderful lost words.
Ellen Gregory shares her love of kitties with the word ailurophile. 
Julie Farrar uses her word as a jumping-off point. (Look for a kitty in here, too.)
Kim Griffin goes nostalgic with a Mary Poppins’ word.
Siri Paulson beats me to the punch with serendipity.

The Last Meow

Favorite Word? For a cat? That’s easy. Eat-play-sleep. That reminds me. I think it’s nap time now. Maybe I’ll head out to the dandelion patch and take a snooze.

photo: flickrdotcom

photo: flickrdotcom

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Five Recipes for Dandelion Wine

Ailsa’s Travel Photo Theme: Multicolored (Italy)

On her blog, Where’s my backpack?, Ailsa challenged us to post multicolored travel photos. Here is my “kaleidoscope of colors” all found while on a trip to Italy in 2012.

A colorful candy shop in Rome

A colorful candy shop in Rome

Multicoloured scarves for sale in a tiny upstairs shop in Siena.

Multicolored scarves for sale in a tiny upstairs shop in Siena

Classy shoes in a shop window in Rome.

Classy shoes in a shop window in Rome

Yummy veggies in Campo del Fioro, Rome

Yummy veggies in Campo de’ Fioro, Trastevere, Rome, Italy

Three friends in colorful outfits enjoy gelato in San Gimignano.

Three friends in colorful outfits enjoy gelato in San Gimignano

For another peek at these three sweeties, see    It’s 4 P.M.  Have you had your gelato yet?  

Colorful atmosphere and multicolored painting in Piazza Navona at night.

Colorful atmosphere and multicolored painting in Piazza Navona at night.

The Last Meow

Colorful? You want colorful? Well, how about the colorful kitties in this blog masthead? Take a look at the complete picture. Now those are colorful kitties. Not only that, they have traveled from such places as Japan, Hong Kong, and China. And not to be all snooty about it, there’s an American cat down in the right hand bottom corner. This is an international household, after all. Just saying.

Colorful international kitties

Colorful international kitties

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Take a look at these entries from other bloggers. Exquisite!

http://confuzzledom.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/travel-theme-multi-coloured/

http://smallbluegreenfotos.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/travel-theme-multicoloured/

http://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/travel-theme-multicoloured/

http://annarashbrook.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/travel-theme-multicoloured/

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Purple and a Bit More

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: White and Purple

Butterfly Bush

Bee on Butterfly Bush

Butterfly on Butterfly Bush

Butterfly on Butterfly Bush

011

#WANAFriday. Newly Discovered: Cee’s Photo Challenges

Today’s (9/6) WANAFriday prompt comes from Rabia Abbasi Gale

A New Discovery. It could be a recently discovered great author, band, or TV show. It could be a great walking route, an out-of-the-way antique store, or a perfect reading/writing nook. It could be a writing tip or a blogging trick. Share an exciting new discovery with us!

I like blog challenges such as the A to Z Blog Challenge that runs every April. The first A to Z I joined two years ago got me into regular blogging. I enjoyed the challenge of posting once a day for a month and met many new talented bloggers.  I joined the 2013 A to Z Blog Challenge and completed that, too. Blogging has become a habit, and I recently passed my 200 posts milestone.

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is fun, too. I enjoy coming up with my answer to the prompt, and then looking at the other creative, ingenious, talented photographers and their photo entries.

But recently I have discovered another photo challenge blog: Cee’s Photography: My Life in Photos

Cee’s Photography: Fun Foto Challenge

Cee posts a new Fun Foto Challenge every Tuesday. See the list of sample topics below.

Cee's photo challenge..logo

Click on the highlighted link to see entries in each challenge. Upcoming challenges are not highlighted until photographers post entries.

Basket of pomegranates at a street market in Ein Karem, Israel

Basket of pomegranates at a street market in Ein Karem, Israel

Cee’s Photography: Black and White Challenge

Every other Wednesday, Cee posts a new black-and-white photo challenge. See a list of a few upcoming challenges below.

Cees Black and white

Cee’s Photography: Which Way Challenge : New challenge posted every other  Wednesday.

Cee's Which-Way-Banner1

Ways we travel and beautify our world.

  • Roads:  gravel, asphalt, cobbled, dirt,
  • Freeway, Expressway, Highway
  • Bridges (any view)
  • Sidewalks
  • Indoor Walkways:  hallways, aisles, people movers, breezeway
  • Paths:  walking, bicycling
  • Stairs, Escalators, or Steps:  indoors, outdoors

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge

Cee posts a new challenge in this category every Monday. She asks four questions each week that can be answered in words or pictures.

Cees share-your-world2

This week’s Share Your World questions are:

  • If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’…which fruit would you rather be?
  • If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be?
  • If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?
  • If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Writing prompts tend to get a bad name in the instructional world (“let them write creatively and from their own experiences!”), but real writers know that prompts can be just the ticket to get you on to new lines of thinking and creativity. I hope you check out these photo challenges and discover how much fun they can be!

P.S. Check out these other #WANAfriday Discoveries by my WANAmates:

The Last Meow

Well, I don’t think I’d like a bowl of cherries. How about a bowl of kibbies? That would make me happy and help fulfill my life’s goals (eat, play, sleep).

kitten-eating

Meow for now.  =<^ ! ^>=

24 Photos That Prove Cats Take Better Bookshelfies Than Humans

Caterday…kittie pics!

Flavorwire

Isaac Fitzgerald, a McSweeneys’ publicist and former managing editor of the Rumpus, and Max Fenton, an editor at The Believer, recently started a craze for what they call bookshelfies. They are, to put it briefly, selfies taken in front of bookshelves. Now, though Isaac is wonderful and lovely, I have to say I don’t find looking at people’s selfies particularly compelling unless I (a) know them personally or (b) they are famous and I can marvel at how strange it is that people who are constantly being photographed want yet more images of themselves. No offense, world! You are all beautiful.

View original post 108 more words

#WANAfriday (8/28/13): Fall Bucket List

Catchin’ up on #WANAfridays!

Here’s the #WANAfriday prompt for August 28 from Siri Paulson:

Fall bucket list — what experiences do you want to have / what do you want to spend time doing this fall?

While I hate to say Good-Bye to the Dog Days of Summer (read about the meaning of Dog Days here on WANAfriend Elizabeth Fais’  blog), I realize that fall is just around the corner. Our nights are getting a bit nippier and average daytime temperatures are dropping, too.

Here’s my bucket list:

1. First and foremost…check to see if WAWA, our local gas/convenience store, has started to offer its annual special fall coffee: Pumpkin Spice.  (Yes!  My dear husband brought me my first cup!)

2.  Publish my 200th Post Celebration for my blog.  Here are number one and two on the bucket list combined:

048

3. Buy mums and pumpkins at a farmer’s market for the entryway of my house. Buy a basket of apples for making apple pies.

4. Make one last visit to the Ocean City Boardwalk.  This trip has its own bucket list. It’s gonna be a long day to get all these activities in!

  •  Buy a new Jersey Girl zippered, hooded sweatshirt. You can never have too many Jersey Girl sweatshirts!
  • Get a bucket of boardwalk French fries.
  • Get a price list for buying and shipping Johnson’s caramel popcorn (and buying a bucket to check the flavors.)
  • Watch the taffy-making machine at Shriver’s Salt Water Taffy and fill a bag with my favorite flavors: molasses, chocolate mint, chocolate, licorice, green apple, and a few more.
  • Buy Manco & Manco pizza for dinner.
  • Walk the length of the boardwalk and back (five miles) to work off the French fries.

camera dump 329

Read more about the Ocean City boardwalk here: O is for Ocean City, NJ: Pizza, Saltwater Taffy, Frozen Custard, Caramel Corn,

5. Keep my blog going. Add two or three posts a week.

6. Visit my sister in California and explore the San Diego area. Maybe I’ll get to meet Zoey the Cat who lives out there! Here’s a sneak preview of the San Diego Waterfront: Tall Ship Parade, 2013, Festival of Sail in San Diego by Russel Ray. And here’s Zoey the Cool Cat now! What a cutie!

Zoey the Cool Cat Ray Russel photo

Zoey the Cool Cat. Russel Ray photo

Here are a few other WANA112s who have written about their fall bucket list.

Ellen Gregory (who, being Australian, is talking about spring)
Kim Griffin…Fasionista Wannabe
Liv Rancourt…What’s On Your List?
Siri Paulson…Fall Bucket LIst
Dianna Bell…Springtime

The Last Meow

A cat’s bucket list? Well, same as always: Eat, play, sleep. But maybe we can add playing in the leaves to that list.

cats playing in leaves

Meow for now.  =<^ ! ^>=

What’s on your bucket list for the fall? Put your link in the comment section of this post.

Zero the Hero Helps Me Celebrate My 200th Post

Today, Zero the Hero makes a special guest appearance on my blog to celebrate my 200th post.

(We celebrated my 100th Post on May 17, 2013.)

Who is Zero the Hero? Well, I’m happy you asked.

Now, on stage, Zero himself: Zero the Hero. Cute little guy, isn’t he!

When I worked at the Lower Primary School at Hong Kong International School, we had an incredible team of talented kindergarten teachers who brought Zero the Hero to life every tenth school day.

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Early in the morning on one of these zero days, a poem would appear somewhere in each kindergarten classroom. This poem told the children to look for certain counting items in the classroom; to do something (sing, dance, play a game, hunt for counting items); to make something (an art or cooking activity); or to do something related to counting and numbers (listen to a story, draw a picture, build a tower, sort and categorize objects).

Sometimes Zero would leave a special snack for the children, and these snacks most often looked like zeros: Cheerios, life savers, donuts, bagels, or other zero-like things.  Zero himself did not show his face…that is, not until Day 100…and then there was a BIG PARTY to celebrate Zero the Hero’s arrival.

Zero the Hero visits kindergarten

Zero the Hero visits kindergarten

There’s even a song for the kindergarteners to learn.  (Click on the red link.)
You can learn more about Zero the Hero here.

Two-Zero-Zero

So this is it: my 200th post. 2-0-0. Two-zero-zero. Thanks Zero for joining me in this celebration.

Here are some WordPress blog statistics for my journey to this point.

Most read posts:

Home page / Archives More stats 7,907
Two Oceans Meet in Gulf of Alaska? Not! More stats 941
Italy: It’s 4 PM. Have You Had Your Gelato Yet? More stats 429
Q is for Quirky Dreams, Susie Q, and Prepositional Phrases More stats 379
Saturday Silliness: Where do cats sleep? More stats 304
O is for Ocean City, NJ: Pizza, Saltwater Taffy, Frozen Custard, Caramel Corn More stats 269
Italy: A Visit to Tuscany

Total number of views of all posts to date:      17856  (9-4-2013)
(Looks like Zero the Hero will have to return sometime soon to help celebrate my triple zero viewers milestone:18,000!)

Number of countries with viewers: 92  (darker colors = more readers)

WordPress Statisitics: Countries/Viewers Summary, Sept 4, 2013

WordPress statistics: Countries/Viewers Summary, Sept 4, 2013

Countries with more than 200 views:

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 10,558
Canada FlagCanada 1,108
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 1,088
Australia FlagAustralia 576
India FlagIndia 320
Italy FlagItaly 288
Philippines FlagPhilippines 258
Germany FlagGermany 249
France FlagFrance 223

Missing Countries:

My last check on countries with no viewers occurred on May 28, 2013…read that post here: Dear Readers, Who Are You?

In that post I wrote

Equally interesting are the white spaces on the map: Greenland;  Paraguay, Suriname, and French Guiana, three countries in South America; many Middle Eastern Countries; many countries in Africa; and Papua New Guinea in the Far East. It makes me wonder: Is Internet available in these areas? Is Internet available but restricted?

Since then, a few countries with viewers joined the list. A special hello to the new viewers in South America (Suriname); Africa (Mozambique, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Tunisia); and the Isle of Mann.

Alas, still missing: Greenland; Nicaragua in Central America; Cuba in the Caribbean; Paraguay and French Guiana in South America; many countries in Africa; Middle Eastern counties of Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan; and Papua New Guinea in the Far East. Maybe by Post #300 some of these counties will visit this blog. After all, even in non-English speaking countries many people study English. Of course, Internet is not available everywhere.

The Last Meow

Numbers, schnumbers. Don’t forget, we kitty cats helped with each one of these posts, and we have more to go. But in the meantime, it’s nap time.  See you for Post #201.

Photo credit: writerjenn.blogspot.com

Photo credit: writerjenn.blogspot.com

Meow for now.  =<^ ! ^>=

Cee’s Photo Challenge: All One Color

For Cee’s Photo Challenge: All One Color

Basket of pomegranates at a street market in Ein Karem, Israel

Basket of pomegranates at a street market in Ein Karem, Israel

 

Here are a few more entries in this challenge:
http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color/
http://simonesnatur.blogspot.de/2013/09/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color.html
http://travelwithintent.com/2013/09/03/rolls-and-royce/
http://goomfh.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color/
http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color/
http://tehicho.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/cees-fun-foto-challenge-all-one-color/
http://vosperdruiter.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/one-colour-only-cees-fun-photo-challenge/

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sea (at Galilee)

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sea

Sea of Galilee at Caperneum

Sea of Galilee at Caperneum

Filled with anticipation about our visit to Israel, we awoke our first day to this stunning view of the Sea of Galilee from our hotel window.

Here’s what others posted for this challenge:

The Last Meow
What do I love about the sea? The beach. Hands down. No contest.

Photo credit: Travel Times Magazine

Photo credit: Travel Times Magazine

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: