Be The Light: Of Queenly Diets & Quiet Delights


As you may remember, starting last March I joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive stories in the news, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of November, I’ve a story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.

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Emily DiNuzzo, a reporter for Business Insider, decided to follow Queen Elizabeth II’s diet that was first reported by Today last August.

DiNuzzo’s experiences, documented in I ate like Queen Elizabeth II for a day — and learned how to appreciate the simple things in life, show that the Queen eats a balanced, basic diet but doesn’t forego a few treats throughout her day, like pre-breakfast biscuits or a post-dinner glass of champagne.

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Overlooking that what Emily did might not be a news story that dramatically changes the world, I found her joy while “researching” this story to be quietly delightful.

[And funny.  I’m with Emily on no gin + Dubonnet aperitif before lunch.  Even with Emily’s addition of simple syrup in it.]

Plus, dare I say that I found this story encouraging?

I know that not everyone thinks the monarchy is great, but considering that this past Monday Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, you have to admit that in a world where moral and mental health questions surround many leaders, the Queen is doing a number of things right.

Healthy body.

Sound mind.

Solid relationships.

Sure, Emily didn’t uncover the latest scandal or find the drama in Elizabeth II’s daily life, but she did give us an insight into what helps make someone in power, the longest-reigning English monarch ever, stay balanced.

And there’s positivity in that.

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Be The Light: Of Lost Sharks & Viable Solutions


You probably remember that I’ve joined We Are The World Blogfest, a yearlong monthly event.  

Again let me remind you that the purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting these stories on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of October, I have an easily overlooked news story to share with you, my gentle readers & fellow #WATWB participants.


On a beach in Australia a woman, Melissa Hatheier, 50, saw a stranded shark that seemed to be disoriented, swimming too close to the sandy beach, not out in the ocean.

She waded into the shallow water, dived on him, and grabbed the shark in such a was as to not hurt herself, while relocating him farther away from the beach.

That is, putting him back in the deeper part of the ocean where he belonged.

[Complete story with video: Australian Woman Picks Up Shark In Pool Rescue]


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Do we not all love this woman?

[Did we not all immediately think of Mack the Knife when we read this article?]

Are we not inspired to be better people because of her?

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I’m going to say YES! to all three questions because this is a news story unlike any other that I’ve read lately.

I like that Hatheier saw a problem [shark in wrong place];  sized up the situation [I can capture this critter who is “kind of like a toddler”];  and then went on to solve the problem [put shark in better place].

Granted I’d be scared to try to hug a shark, but I say kudos to Melissa Hatheier for doing so.  And to any and all women out there who unceremoniously make their immediate world a safer place.

What could be more positive than that?

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Share Your World | Growing On A Vine

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  You can join in the Share Your World Challenge by clicking here.

 What is your favorite cheese?

Swiss.  Cute holes, lovely color, mild taste.

 Are you left or right handed [sic]?

Right-handed, unless I’m using a computer mouse, then I’m left-handed.

 Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I prefer exercising my mind, but reluctantly admit that exercising my body can, on occasion, be ok, too.  I exercise my mind and body often enough to not decline into complete decrepitude, but not often enough to be an inspiration to anyone.  I get by, you know.

 Complete this sentence: Hot days are …

… a reason to remember that things can work out for the best.  Once upon a time I thought that I wanted to live in southern Florida and was sad that we didn’t end up there.  But now I’m happy that we stayed in the midwest because I only have to put up with humid 90ºF+ days, that I now find to be annoying, for a few months each year.

 Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the Dr. Who franchise for picking a woman, Jodie Whittaker, to be the 13th Doctor.  IT’S ABOUT TIME.  We all need to see more female protagonists on the screen [and in real life, too].  I never enjoyed Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, the plot lines were too dark and twisted for me, so I stopped watching the show.  But now, with a new female Doctor, I’m interested again.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to baking a cake.  The details of which I’ll tell you about on my next post.


If We Were Having Coffee On This January Morning…

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{ image via @lawyermom1 }


We’d be sitting at the local Starbucks, enjoying the fact that we were out of the house, doing something together.  

I’d be drinking a vanilla latte with an extra shot and you’d be drinking whatever it is that floats your boat.  My treat, of course.

We’d be listening to the sound of the overworked espresso machines, the indistinct conversations of fellow Starbuckians, and the random genre-less background music that seems to be in every Star$.


√  We’d be chatting… about how I read that the colors for spring clothes are rust, mustard and poppy.  I’d assure you that there’s no stinking way you’ll be seeing me in any of those colors.  I’d also mention that I have no plans to go shopping for spring clothes this year.

√  We’d be sharing… our latest podcast obsessions, which in my case is Call Your Girlfriend.  I’d tell you that the podcast’s tone is smart and warm, and that it is lots of fun to listen in while girlfriends talk about a variety of subjects such as feminism, fashion, politics– and whatever else is newsy and relevant this week.

√  We’d be talking… about how after reading this article about raiding your own cookbook collection, I’ve decided to make one recipe per month from a cookbook I already own.  My first recipe, Braised Pork With Sauerkraut, which was delicious, was from Joy of Cooking [75th Anniversary Edition].  Considering I have over 30 cookbooks, this could turn into a fun longterm project.

√  We’d be laughing… about how Zen-Den, the confused, asked me if I’d be “calamari-ing” our house.  Somewhere he’d heard about this new Japanese declutter trend.  While he understood the principles, he’d gotten the name wrong.  My answer, when I finally figured out that he was talking about KonMari, was NO!


We’d have to part after about an hour or so because each of us had things to do, things to do.

We’d hug and promise to get together sometime in February, weather permitting, daily life allowing, work schedule be damned.

And we’d count our blessings that we have each other to talk with.  Like friends do everywhere.  Over a fancy coffee in one of the most ubiquitous places on earth.

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Idea for this post came from Diana at Part-Time Monster.

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Link Love: Women With Smarts Edition

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Lecturers in the first winter course in 1906, Cornell University.

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•  Ducks and sponges.

“For ducks, other people’s emotions roll right off them…  Not so for sponges.  Highly intuitive types often soak up other people’s feelings…” ~ Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy

•  What Your Favorite Summer Cocktail Says About You

“No matter where you go, you have an uncanny knack for getting everyone to tell you their life story.”  

•  10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

“After I wrote about the gender confidence gap recently, of the 10 items on a list, the one that resonated the most was the issue of whose speech is considered important.” ~ Soraya Chemaly

•  Ship Your Enemies Glitter

“Prank your Friends and Enemies. Let us send them some stupid glitter that is guaranteed to go everywhere. You don’t have to move a muscle.

•  Why You Should Kick Your Bucket List

“Well I propose that if you truly want to up your happiness factor, you need to kick that bucket list and make a f@ck it list.” ~ Elena at Fabulously 50 & Living With Batman

•  Everything Was New And Pretty Wondrous

“A long time ago (last week) in a city far, far away (Baltimore), Alice Bowman guided the most ambitious space mission in a generation. Here, she explains what it’s like to glimpse the edge of the solar system.” ~ Rachel Morris

•  The Cake Is A Lie

“The Cake is a Lie is a catchphrase… and is often used to convey the message that a promised gift is being used to motivate without any intent of delivering.”  

I’ve Read 23 Out Of 35, But I Don’t Know About This Book List

Earlier this week Time magazine published 35 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime.  I’ve added the list to the bottom of this post.  The list, compiled from responses by Reddit users, attempts to answer the question:

“what is a book that everyone needs to read at least once in their life?” 

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WHAT IMMEDIATELY STRUCK ME about the list is that out of the 33 authors, only 3 are women: L.M. Montgomery [Anne of Green Gables];  Harper Lee [To Kill A Mockingbird];  and Margaret Atwood [The Handmaid’s Tale].

Considering that the first two books are about children for children, and that the last one is about a society in which women are slaves, this list doesn’t lend credence to the idea that in 2015 we are living in a post-feminist society.

You with me here?

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I THINK THAT WE can all agree, to use the article’s words, that: “Books have the profound capacity to stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

This is good + positive.

But by accepting this premise I think that it becomes even more important to turn a critical eye toward all the possible books that one can put on a list such as this.  If one is going to have these books with him or herself forever, one must be discerning.

N’est-ce pas?

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TO MAKE THE LIST more balanced, I’d suggest that we include &/or replace on it, at a minimum, the following books written by women:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

There must be more.  Suggestions?

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Time’s List of 35 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime

{ bolded ones I’ve read – asterisked ones I’ve never heard of before }

  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  2. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow
  4. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  6. The Forever War* by Joe Haldeman
  7. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  8. Bartleby The Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street by Herman Melville
  9. Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
  10. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  11. Kafka on the Shore* by Haruki Murakami
  12. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  13. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  14. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  15. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  16. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  17. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  18. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  19. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  20. Dune by Frank Herbert
  21. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  22. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  23. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  24. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  25. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  26. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  27. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  28. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  29. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?* by Philip K. Dick
  30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  31. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  32. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  33. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  34. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  35. 1984 by George Orwell

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