For 2015, I am going to a more active, intentional participant in my life. Yes, I am going to concentrate on eating mostly fish.  I can do without the beef, pork and chicken and I just cannot continue to pretend the cruelty involved in bringing those proteins to our local grocery store does not exist. It has gotten out of hand all while the consumer does not know how factory farming works. It is cruel and inhumane and if more consumers were aware, there would be a lot more conversation about it.

What I am hoping I can incorporate into the diet is exercise….I swear I am allergic to exercise and my health is the proof of that.  One of the past “What I know for sure” aspects of my life was that I was in better than just good health.  I just did not get sick, was a naturally, physically strong person.  I hate that over the last few years, I can no longer say that about myself. A variety of chronic back problems, plantar fasciitis, etc made me less and less mobile until my state of fitness is much lower than it should be if I want to be active and mobile for the next few decades. So, I really need to start moving more.  I know I need to do it, but starting is my problem, so I am going to have to develop a plan and, with small steps, get going. Anything larger than small steps and I quit before I start. So, walk a little more every day, do some basic stretching in the morning and work up to 100 minutes of 130 or above heart rate a week.  That’s what my doctor suggests and it just does not sound like that much…why is it so hard to get accomplished?

For me, it really comes down to thinking through a plan, writing it down and being a more conscious, intentional, pro-active liver of my life.  I want to work in mindfulness too.  I think that will help keep me calm, focused and mentally sharp. I’m hoping for once in my life being in better fitness will make it easier to stay in better fitness now that I have witnessed what happens when you do not pay attention.   Ohhh, there is so much to do and I am really finding that aging is not for the meek; if you want to do it well anyway.

pescexerciseikalemindfulitarian….it’s going into the Tricia O dictionary.



For the new year, as with most of the population, I am going to strive to be more healthy.  My sister is going to try the Pescetarian Diet which is fish and healthy stuff that grows from the ground.  I am going to enlarge my choices to chicken and turkey – hence pescechikturktarian.  Yes, I realize the jest of that is I am not eating red meat, but I really like my new word.

I am not calling this a New Year’s Resolution because I always break those.  This is just a positive approach to eating for the new year.  Hopefully, I will be make a concerted effort to stay focused on the new way of eating.

One problem is my husband does not share my desire to cut out red meat, so I will have temptation in front of me any time I need to cook something red for him.  Also, I do really like a good bowl of chili in the winter, but ground turkey can be substituted for the red meat, and maybe my husband won’t know.

The other effort I plan to make is exercising more – well, I should probably leave off the word “more” since I have been rather lax in doing any exercise.  I go for a while and do great, and then I travel or something else distracting, and I get out of the routine and then take a long time to get back in the groove.

Walking is my exercise of choice along with yoga. I like both of those activities so I do not know what my problem is.  Oh, yes I do, it is actually participating in the movement.

This time next year, I will write with the report of my success. I will brag about how much better I feel and how I look so many years younger. I will talk about how I have the body of a much younger person, all a result of my 2015 new year approach to better health.




We’ve moved our blog from

We moved our blog from to our new website,  Please excuse our mess while we are under construction, I am struggling with designing the new site to be a regular website as well as a blog.

We moved for more accessibility. seemed very restrictive both in using it and in trying to find other blogs we would be interested in following.  It was not that intuitive.  I hope designing this website proves a little easier and offers more options for designing and sharing content.

This is a creative project for Laura and I.  We are trying to challenge ourselves to be more creative.  We are constantly designing projects to help us improve our photography, be more conscious about food selection and creating great menus, and learning to be in the moment.

It would be great to have a ton of followers, but it is the process that I am getting the most out of.


It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It truly is for me.  I love Christmas for several many reasons.

I begin decorating the inside of our home the weekend of Thanksgiving, while my husband is decorating the outside. We have a very festive home in and out, and I love waking every morning and turning on the tree.  My Santa collection always gives me a happy, holiday feeling. The Poinsettias are on the tables and the holiday stuffed animals are scattered throughout.  It is fun!

I make lists and lots of them.  There are several lists of menus I will cook while the family is together.  Then there is the grocery lists – I have several, shopping lists, cleanings list.  Checking things off my lists shows me I am accomplishing goals as we move closer to the  main event.

My shopping is finished and all the packages that need to be mailed have arrived at their destinations.  Yea! That is a big relief.

This year, right now, our daughter and her family, which includes a granddaughter, are on their way here for the holidays.  It will be a long, eleven hour drive for them, but hey, they are young.  Last year we made the drive and we are not nearly as young as we used to be.

Our son and his family live here, and that includes a granddaughter, so the whole family will be together and that is my most favorite time ever.  I absolutely love it when we have the whole family together.

The Christmas meal will include my mom who is 91, my older sister (no need to mention her age) my nephew and his family which includes a great-niece and our whole family.  Does it get any better than that?  Well, yes, we are missing my other two siblings, including Tricia and Devin and my brother and his two girls.

I like listening to the Christmas carols.  They play in the house and in the car. Some make me feel happy – like Burl Ives and “Holly, Jolly Christmas”.  Some make me feel nostalgic, like “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”, and some give me a feeling of thankfulness and can bring a tear to my eyes, like “O Holy Night”.

I am a spiritual person.  Realizing that the Christ was not really born this time of year, and He would not be impressed with the way we have totally forgotten the real reason for his birth, I still try to keep the remembrance of Him separate from the Christmas hype. “O Holy Night” brings me back and makes me think again about how awesome the occasion was and how awestruck I should be when thinking about that sweet baby, born in a manger, just for me.

So, I guess you could say I love the pagan part of the holiday and the religious part of the holiday. As I said at first, I love Christmas for several reasons.

The holiday began last night with family coming over for some white chili and the best cornbread ever (a recipe from the Baldpate Inn near Estes Park, CO) and the holiday overeating will continue through next Saturday.  There is enough food and goodies to last us for weeks.  So, it will be leftovers for Dale and I after everyone has gone home.

It is the most wonderful time of the year – enjoy!



Now I can relax

OK, shopping is done, shipping is done, let the real holiday begin.  I was late getting into the holiday this year. Between Thanksgiving being so late in the month and then immediately getting ill, I was way behind in getting everything having to do with the holiday done.  The house was not decorated, the shopping was not done and I was behind at work as well.

But now that I have everything but one item in the mail or being delivered by my niece, I can finally relax and really enjoy the several days off that I am taking this week.  There are so many reasons why I love being self-employed, but one of the best ones is definitely being able to design my own schedule and take time off without having to ask for permission from anyone.  I am really looking forward to a week off, seeing movies with my daughter and friends, reading a couple of books and basically just chilling.

Laura and I start another year of photography in January and I have time this week to give some thought to how and what we are going to do.  I want to really give some thought to the projects this year, be serious about learning more and take some great photos.  We are all taking a big trip this year and by the time we leave for it, I want to know more about my camera in a way that will facilitate me taking some great shots of this trip.

I am going to eat less meat in 2015 and this week I want to find some recipes that I can have available to make the transition to pescetarian smoother.

I want to take some time this week to remember what I am grateful for and to write down my mantras for 2015.  What thoughts am I going to allow to pass through my brain, what energy am I going to release out into the universe, what do I want to  see happen in my life in 2015 and let’s start thinking it and expecting it.  I find that having a plan and writing it down really helps ground me and make me feel more in control of what is happening in my life.  I have been floundering too long without a plan and it has been too unsettling. This week I change that.

So, come to find out, I have a lot to do with this week, but, still, I am looking forward to it.


Adopting; a Sister’s Involvement

When I was 28, I first started thinking about how I might have children if I never married.  I was currently in a relationship, but just did not think we would marry and have kids. He was 10 years older than me and already had a daughter.  He was pretty honest about not really wanting to have more children, so I first mentioned to my family that I might have children before, if ever, marrying.

DocImage34 December 8, 1997

I gave myself a deadline for when I would have to get serious about moving forward with getting pregnant and when that deadline first came, I gave myself a 2 year extension.  When the second deadline approached, I met with my doctor to discuss how to go about getting pregnant.  Come to find out, it was not as easy I thought it would be to get pregnant….and it was expensive……and I had to consider how to explain the whole donor issue with my child.

DocImage43 She was a happy Baby

My sister had never been a fan of me getting pregnant outside of marriage.  When the deadline came to make a decision and move forward, she made this comment to me:  “Why don’t you just adopt one of those babies from China?”  My response to her was: “Like they would let me”  I did however start considering adoption as an option.  My sister’s two kids were both adopted and we had several other adoptions on my mom’s side of the family. Adoption was a good option for me because I was also self-employed and maternity leave was not a benefit I offered myself, nor could I have.  I considered domestic adoption, but was not a great candidate at 38 and single.

DocImage733 DocImage193Love both of these photos

I attended a friend’s wedding and at the reception, I met a woman who was single and had just returned from China with her daughter Grace.  One month later, I attended an orientation and two months later, I finalized my dossier for adopting from China.  I was supposed to wait 4 to 6 months, but China reorganized their international adoption process and it turned into 14 months before Laura and I traveled to China to meet Devin.  We traveled in December of 1997 and I returned home 2 days before Devin turned one.

Laura was not originally all that thrilled to travel to China and I felt like I had to twist her arm to get her to go.  I think she went more out of guilt than any real desire.  She traveled with one entire suitcase filled with food.  For me, it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  It was great to bond with the other 12 families, and it was fun to see the first part of China only because we had our daughters with us.  We first flew to Hong Kong and spent the better part of 2 days there.  We then flew to Changsha the night of December 7th.  On December 8th, we all met our daughters and spent the next 5 days or so touring Changsha….not a big tourist destination in China.  We then spent the 2nd week in Guangzhou which was more touristy.

IMGP0924Our trip back to China in 2007

The food was interesting.  Some meals were very good, but some were pretty scary.  When we arrived in Guangzhou, I saw a McDonalds in the shopping center next to our hotel.  We checked in to the hotel and I immediately went to that McDonalds.  I bet I had not been in a McDonalds in 20 plus years, but was soooo thrilled that the fries, apple turnover and chocolate shake all tasted just like I expected.  Weird combo, but was I afraid to order anything with meat.  The hotel also had a Hard Rock Café in which we spent a lot of time and I really do not like Hard Rock, but the desire for food that resembled home was too strong.  More later….

IMGP0845Another 2007 picture


China and “Gotcha Day.”

17 Years ago I was in China with my sister. Tricia was adopting a precious one-year-old baby girl and we went to bring her home.

Oh, she was so adorable!  All the children were just precious.  We were in a group of several parents, and we all traveled together, so we got to know each other pretty well.  Wonderful parents, wonderful babies. Of course, ours was the cutest.

We spent several days traveling around and doing some sightseeing while all the paperwork was being handled, and it was an unforgettable experience.  The Chinese people are so friendly. They would come up and admire our babies and try to show us how happy they were we were there despite the language barrier.  Another interesting thing about the Chinese women is they feel very strongly about having hats on those babies.  We had one woman stop us and smile and gesture that Devin needed her hat on.

We were not in the metropolitan areas, we were more urban. I was hesitant to go to China because I am not a very adventurous eater and I was not so sure what there was that I would like.  Turns out, nothing. My sister had a different experience with the food and came home and incorporated a lot of the menu into her and Devin’s eating habits.  I lost eight pounds in two weeks while there.  Something about the whole chicken – and I mean after it was cooked – just left me wanting.  Not all their food was bad, but in my opinion, most of it was. I subsided on roasted sweet potatoes, instant oatmeal I brought from home and M&Ms.

That little one-year-old is soon to be 18.  Tricia and I met Devin for the first time on December 8.  We call that “Gotcha Day.”  So, instead of her birthday, I always give her a gift on “Gotcha Day.” It is something only I do as I was the only other family member in China at that time. It is special to Devin and I, and I am so thankful we have that between us. Her mom frets every year that I might forget and she says Devin looks so forward to my card.  But, I would never forget such a special day as December 8.

“Gotcha Day.”  It is a very special day.


So sick of being sick…

I don’t usually get sick.  When I was younger, everyone around me could be sick and I would never get it.  That has changed somewhat in the last few years, but still, I do not usually get very sick and if I do, it rarely lasts very long.  But I have been sick for almost 2 weeks now and I am really sick of it. I got the same crud that my sister got and we were not even in the same state!  The friends we spent Thanksgiving with should have warned everyone that they had been sick because I came down with it like a mac truck hit me. I have not had my voice for 5 days now.  I have not left my bedroom for 4 days except to drag myself to a clinic yesterday.  My bedside table is littered with nasal spray, decongestant pills and syrups (nasty!!!), regular lozenges, menthol rub, throat numbing spray and lozenges (also nasty)…………….and now an anti-biotic and an inhaler.


I have not felt this bad in years.  I am hacking, wheezing and basically miserable.  I sleep a couple of hours, sit up bored in my bed a couple of hours and then repeat.  One cat stays by my side no matter what, one won’t come near me and my sweet Turtle wants to be near me until I start coughing and then heads somewhere else.  My daughter left Friday morning for school and then a weekend of skiing, so I just stayed in the house all weekend moping, weeping and cursing whatever the hell this crud is.  The cough is so bad that I have pulled a muscle in my back and around my rib cage.  Is it possible to cause internal damage with just a nasty cough?  Finally, I got concerned that I was trying to fight a cold, when I really had something else.

So I crawled out of bed and took myself to a clinic first thing Sunday morning.  My blood oxygen level was low…uhhh that is because I can’t breathe, I was congested everywhere, my ear had started to hurt and it did not look good on the inside so I was prescribed the anti-biotic and the inhaler for the panic that not breathing was causing.

I am behind on everything now.  We have no tree yet, I have done very little shopping, my daughter turns 18 on the 20th and I was hoping to surprise her with a party of some sort…..this December sucks so far.

I really hope I have turned the corner or am about to turn a corner because otherwise, I will have to admit myself to a hospital or jump off the roof.


The Thanksgiving holiday was great – if only we weren’t all sick

We had eight family members gathered in Missouri for the Thanksgiving feast. It was a wonderful time, and my nephew and his wife went above and beyond to make it memorable.  It was my husband who made the memory we won’t forget.

Dale played golf in freezing weather with a high wind and moisture in the air.  Now, my nephew played in the same weather, but he is much younger. My husband knows better than to play in weather like that – well not really since he will play in the snow if he has a colorful ball.

My husband came down with a cold. And when he gets a cold, I want to ship him off somewhere far away.  He coughs and coughs and coughs and blows his nose and makes sounds I don’t like to hear. A cold always goes to his chest, and he can choke on air, so imagine all that congestion trying to find its way out. To put it bluntly, I hate it when he gets a cold.

As families will do when they get together, we played a lot of games, mostly with cards.  We played poker, ninety-nine and dominoes.  All of those games require us to touch stuff everyone else has touched; I think you get the picture here.  We are all sick. If you did not get sick playing games, you got sick riding in the car where we were spreading germs like in an airplane.

I generally put my Christmas decorations up the weekend of Thanksgiving, but since we were going to be out of town, I put them up early.  Thank goodness! It will be several days before I feel in the festive mood.

So, I am in my chair in the living room, in my sweats, wrapped in a blanket by the fire drinking a hot toddy, watching TV and admiring my Christmas tree.

It could be worse, I could not have a tree up to admire, and then I would be stressing about that.

The other problem with the holiday was, we were missing Tricia and Devin.  I am one of those who thinks all families should live close to one another. But, alas, that is not the way of the world anymore.


Christmas Traditions

I read a book years ago when my daughter was very young about building family traditions. I really liked the idea of many of them because it was a way of building memories.  The book had 60 different traditions, most of them just about every day life.  A few examples are:

1) Dad makes pancakes every Sunday morning,

2) the red plate tradition where a family member gets dinner on a special (red) plate because they have accomplished something important, gotten a good grade on something they worked hard on, had a really tough day, anything that deserves attention at the dinner table,

3) Wednesday night game night, Friday night pizza.

What a great way of building family memories through creative, easy to manage traditions.  I wish I had incorporated more of them into our lives, but it is never too late, right?  I mean my daughter is only just about to turn 18…  We still have many years left to design traditions that work for our family and I can get a jump start on some traditions I can introduce my grandchildren to; once and if I ever get any.  We travelled a lot for holidays, so that made some traditions difficult to manage.  However, this year I think I will start a tradition of a special Christmas Eve meal; Chestnut soup has always intrigued me..  But even as I write that, I remember that we usually go to early evening services and then to a good friend’s house who’s birthday is Christmas Eve… I may have to come up with something else.

When there are only 2 of you, it is harder to develop some traditions.  I am the only one coming up with them and my daughter is the only one experiencing them.  Game night can be very interesting with only 2.  You have to adjust some games to accommodate only 2 players. So far, she is not that into anything Christmas.  I usually have to force her to decorate the tree with me even as we pull out all of the ornaments I worked so hard on collecting to commemorate our travels, her annual ornament, etc.  I don’t know if this is something that will become important to her later or not….I trudge on anyway.

I am curious about peoples’ favorite Holiday traditions.  If you have any, please share.