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Saturday gratitude

2 Nov

Lately I have been so busy that I may have fell out of touch with my values. I felt uncomfortable, scared, vulnerable. Partly because some petty problems arose this past week – a company screwed up our bill, condo association raised their fees, co-workers were hostile and uncooperative, research papers came back, crushed. But. But. The bill was straightened out (their fault). Association have not raised their fees in 3 years and it only added about 11 dollars to our bill, co-workers will get over their problems on their own, research papers will be edited and sent back. It’s life. Something always comes up. Always. Just when you think you have everything under your control, something happens. One thing or the other. I think the secret is to look at those small, petty problems with a philosophical outlook- they come and they go kind of approach.

Yesterday, A and I went for a lovely, fall walk. Although it was cold, the air was so fresh and the leaves so magnificent!

Fall. Saturday. Pumpkins. Party.

26 Oct

I have read somewhere that reflecting on life on a regular basis is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing.

As I lie in bed, I give thanks for the day well lived and for having this opportunity to relax and think. Hubby is watching TV downstairs and I am cuddled up with my computer in my bedroom. A warm feeling envelopes me as I write.

Today was a really good day. I was up early at 6am and started doing housework. I then called my mother and talked to her for about an hour. For those of you who know about my relationship with mom, also know that it is strenuous to say the least. But today we had a good conversation.

Apart from putting in a couple of hours for my doctoral work, I also had time to enjoy this beautiful day. For instance, I raked leaves 🙂 wpid-20141025_143006.jpg          wpid-20141025_143328.jpg       wpid-20141025_143319.jpg

Although my hubby has a leaf blower, I chose to use a rake. My arms were aching at the end. And I even met a wooly bear (see above). He was shy, I put him into the grass.

Then, our neighbors had their annual Carve Your Own Pumpkin Party and Contest… The gist was, you come, you bring your own pumpkin, you carve it, you compete with other people. We decided to carve a clown from “It” by Steven King, and here are some photos that describe the process:

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The party itself was a lot of fun as well. I think Joelle and Quinn spent at least two weeks planning this thing – I mean, they thought of everything! Seating arrangements, tools for pumpkin carving, design ideas, snacks, drinks, heating lamps, fire pits, Halloween lights, contest prizes!

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Everything was beautiful, color coordinated and nicely arranged. When we were all done, pumpkins were places on the front stairs of their house, and all of went it to have dinner. After dinner (which consisted of hearty dishes like macaroni and cheese and chili), we all came out to judge our pumpkins:

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Our “It” clown didn’t win but we love him nonetheless 🙂 Here is A., with our pumpkin, before and after 🙂

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We had an amazing time, thanks to our neighbors that hosted this unique party.  How was your Saturday night and what do you do to enjoy this beautiful time of year?

 

 

Autumn

18 Oct

It has been a long time since I have walked around my lovely neighborhood. Since I started my doctoral classes this semester, I have not had ANY time for walks or any other kind of activities for the soul. I admit that my life right now consists of the following three things: my teaching job (which I absolutely love), three doctoral courses (which I also absolutely love), and taking care of the house (wait for it, which I absolutely love).

I have bailed out of our Speak to Me group meeting last night – because of my tremendously complex and huge paper. In reality, there are three papers that are due at the end of the semester: a 10 page essay on the history of American Higher Education, a 10 page literature review on affirmative action policy in college admissions, and (oh God) a 25 page faculty personnel paper… The first one is done. The other two are in progress and I feel like I am in good place with both. But: IT IS SO MUCH WORK!! 🙂

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An abundance of acorns keeps squirrels happy and busy

This morning I finally carved out time for my morning walk and snapped some pictures of my neighborhood as I was walking. Autumn in New Jersey is the loveliest time of year, I am certain. Such crispness of air, slow rustle of leaves, smell of burning wood, colorful decorations on my neighbors’ houses, acorns crunching under your feet, pumpkins everywhere…

I finished my walk with a hearty bowl of oatmeal with fresh apple, honey, almond milk, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Today’s walk has made me realize yet again how privileged I am. And for that, I am grateful.

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Very few cars – still early

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Our street, I love the quietness of it…

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Black bats on our mailbox 🙂

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Lovely foliage on neighbor’s front tlawn

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Ghosts on our property. Don’t worry, they are friendly 🙂

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Pumpkins and mums – what else do you need? 🙂

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Leaves, leaves everywhere! The minute you clean them up, it looks like before! 🙂

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Majestic sequoias on our street

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The sound of rustling leaves is priceless…

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Our own “national park” 😉

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Main Avenue – just love the colors!

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Our neighbor’s awesome decorations. Happy Halloween! 🙂

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A beautiful Victorian on Main Avenue

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The combination of fall leaves and blue sky is astounding

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LOVE their house! 🙂 Haven’t met them yet

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An old tree stump at the intersection

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Our backyard looks so different from summer

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Red berries

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Hearty, healthy, heavenly oatmeal. perfect for any fall morning

Please share some pictures of your town in the fall, I’d love to check them out! Have a delightful weekend!

Excited for fall…

20 Sep

Fall has to be my most favorite season of all! And as much as I love summer, fall is the winner in my book.

This year I welcome fall in my new, big, old house. It will be amazing, I can feel it. And although fall season in a condo was also fun, I just cannot wait to start celebrating fall in this house. In fact, I already have:

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I have made a fire in a fire pit two nights in a row. There is something about fire that relaxes and energizes me, I could stare at it for hours on end. Sitting in my back yard is such a treat, really.
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At night the place is full of crickets and other nature sounds which I find so comforting. During the day you can spot many different kinds of birds, squirrels, chipmonks and last week I even saw a fox!
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I have big plans for this fall. My hubby and I have decided that we will decorate the house on the fist day of that holiday month. For instance, for Halloween we will decorate on October 1st, for Christmas on December 1st, and so on…

This month I have also seen some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Here is a sunset on Tuesday, September 16th:

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I was thinking putting pumpkins on the porch, and perhaps some orange and mauve mums here and there. Oh, and, maybe even a corn stock.

This is the first year I am decorating for Halloween in such a big place so I am a little nervous. I will post pictures as time approaches 🙂

Everything else is going great so far. I love my teaching job at basking Ridge, I love all my students, and, with this new curriculum, we are having so much fun. I am so glad we have redesigned it this year.

My doctoral classes are progressing nicely although they take up a lot of my time by means of reading, essays, presentations and research papers. But I am learning so much.

I wish everyone an awesome Sunday tomorrow
Xo

Travel Theme: Green

13 Aug

Inspired by Ailsa’s Where’s my Backpack Green travel GREEN theme, I’d like to contribute some photos that have green in them, one way or another. 

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Morning paper, Orchha, India

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Akbar’s Tomb, Agra, India

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Stinky Jack Fruit. Khajuraho, India

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Chitwan National Park, Nepal

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Pokhara, Nepal

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Art in a museum of art, Jaipur, India

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Rice terraces, Annapurna Foothills Trek, Nepal

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Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal

Here is some more inspiration from my fellow bloggers:

http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/travel-theme-green/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2013/03/15/travel-theme-green/

http://travelmoments.net/2013/03/15/travel-theme-green/

http://drieskewrites.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/travel-theme-green/

http://rfljenksy.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/monsoon-green-nepal/comment-page-1/#comment-3420

Thoughts on Nepal

23 Jul

When a blog idea comes into my head, I write it down in one sentence. For instance, “willfulness”, “Jaisalmer waiters”, or “thoughts on Nepal”, or “India lifestyles”.

So far, we have spent a total of seven days in Nepal, with four more days to go. So, what are some of my thoughts on Nepal?

Nepal has been amazing. People are not pushy, private yet friendly. They greet you when you walk by. And although you know they’d like you to visit their shop, they are not insulting or pressing about it.

Nepal has Himalaya and I am in love with those mountains. Here is just a speck of beauty you will see when you trek in Nepal.
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Nepal has some wonderful cuisine. I love their Nepali noodle soup made with homemade pasta, potatoes, and chicken.
Hearty and filling.

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I also love their dish called mo mo or dumpling. Very delicious! But most of all, and I know it may sound strange, I love the pancakes they make! Pancakes and crepes are made fresh and are accompanied by chocolate, honey, bananas, or lemon. Outstandingly delicious!

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To be continued…

(All photos are property of Finer Things in Life)

Driving at night…

22 Mar

Driving at night fascinates me. Usually I am coming back from Seton Hall pretty late on Mondays- 10pm or so. The streets are empty, the towns are half asleep, the street lights seem deemed. I like to roll down at least one window and listen to the sounds around me.

Sometimes I listen to the radio, sometimes I turn it off. If I do listen to the radio, I like to look for stations that, I swear, are broadcasting from someone’s basement. Stations that scream “avant garde”, alternative, out of the box kind of music and conversation.

What about you? Do you enjoy driving at night? Why or why not?

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