Karen Shanley


A Little Christmas Present for You

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate is to get lost in Quora. If you’re not familiar with it, you’re in for a treat. Here’s one of the funnier pieces I’ve come across in a long time.

If you don’t want to join to read it, here’s the gist.  Safe and happy holidays to all. See you in the new year!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope your Thanksgiving baskets were as full of goodness as mine were.  : )

Maine Coon Cat

Reality Check: How Many Leaves Can You Name?

Perhaps you’ve seen a variation of this floating around the web. For me, this pretty much sums up one of the major ways in which the modern world has lost its balance.

brands vs nature

Is there anyone left in the western world who doesn’t instantly recognize all of the logos? If you want to see how you did with the names of the leaves (okay, I did throw in one trick leaf) click to see the answers.

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From left to right:

Top Row: Oak, Ash, Wood Sorrel

Bottom Row: Grape leaf, Birch, Maple

I Knew This Day Would Come…

I love telecommuting from a home office. I’m not bothered by ringing office phones or distracted by conversations. I love that I can dress for comfort without worry of judgement. And I especially love that I get to have my dogs with me all day long.

But when did life get so hectic that, in needing to run to the store to pick up a few items, I forgot to change out of my slippers? I didn’t even notice until I’d done my shopping and was in the parking lot heading back to my car. Now I know why I was getting odd looks. That is, odder than usual. : )


Next stop–bag lady?

Onions and Grandmothers

My grandmother is on the right. Her nickname was Lizzie Cowflop.

My grandmother is on the right.
This was taken on her London trip in 1950.

I’ve got the house to myself for a few days, with a ton of work to get through and an empty fridge. Last night, by the time I’d finished, I was too tired to go to the grocery store. That left me with some brussel sprouts from my garden, an onion, some fresh herbs, and some chick peas. Not exactly scintillating ingredients, but I managed to get a pretty satisfying roasted dish out of them.

As I was making quick work of chopping the onion,  I was thinking about how onions always make me think of my long-deceased grandmother. Having lived through the Depression and both World Wars, she was a loving but tough woman– German through and through. On the rare times we stayed overnight at her house, she’d march us off to bed with no talking and lights promptly out–but then she’d put little presents under our pillows for us to discover upon waking.

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When I was 5 years old, I vividly remember her– at age 60 — getting on my bike and taking it for a spin. I was gobsmacked that someone “that old” could do something like that. She was an adventurer with a raucous sense of humor, who traveled the world in her later years.

And she was a terrible cook.

At least that’s what I remember. She used to put onions in everything! In particular, her “homemade” spaghetti sauce comes to mind. She’d heat up a can of tomato soup, throw in a boatload of chopped onions, and add a pinch of salt for good measure. That’s how, in my formative years, I came to hate onions.

But now, as someone who likes to fancy myself a decent cook, I’ve reconsidered their value and have come to heavily rely on them to help lend great flavor to many dishes. So as I was standing there alone in my kitchen chopping onions–without my husband or daughter’s talk and laughter filling up the house–I thought about the four decades she lived alone with infrequent company, and I wished that I had known better. I wished that I had visited her more. I wished that I had taken more time to store up her stories. Right about now, I might even be able to convince myself that sitting down to some of her homemade spaghetti sauce would be a treat.

“Handy” Tips

One of the ways I help myself miss Cait a little less is to text her. I was sharing outdoor survival tips from a TV show I was watching.

Helpful tips

Glad to see her sense of humor is still in tact.

Why I Don’t Need a Calendar

If I never looked at another calendar again, this is how I would always know that fall is only days away.

w-butternut-squash   w-grapes   w-pumpkin

The Mona Lisa of Dog Faces

Mona Lisa Wink

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