My Cabinet of Curiosities

(A flight of fancy set your mind on the path of dreams)

Something for (almost) Nothing

 Sometimes I wish I could travel more, though my travels through Britain, France, and Germany when I was younger left me with a treasure chest of memories, and, occasionally, I rifle through it and find jewels and lengths of satin, such as my memory of walking across the moors near the Bronte parsonage in Haworth, and my time in a daffodil-filled London one April. I can enjoy the fact that unlike with real travel, I don’t have the discomforts of always seeming to be hungry or thirsty, or having sore feet. Still, travel can be uplifting– if nothing else you the the pleasure of coming back home. But this summer doesn’t look like we will be traveling much–Jim will be recovering from his treatments. And I have a bit of a flying phobia.

So, for now, I’ll take some little flights of fancy in my mind, and sometimes I…

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All the Trimmings: Mouthwatering Food Blogs on

“I’m rumbly in my tumbly…”!

The Blog

The holiday season is officially upon us: that special time of the year dedicated to friends, family, red-nosed reindeer, and—

Who are we kidding? It’s all about food! Glorious, comforting, yummy food. As millions of Americans are busy preparing for tomorrow’s turkey/turducken/tofurkey feasts, the food scene on is equally abuzz with recipes, food stories, and pictures that will make you drool over your screen. Here are some of our favorite food blogs — better not continue on an empty stomach…

Eating with your eyes

A picture is sometimes worth a thousand bites, and many food bloggers take their images seriously, pushing food photography to a whole new level. On cookinandshootin, for example, bloggers Tara Striano and Maria del Mar accompany the detailed recipes with crisp, bright photos. They make great use of Anthem‘s full-width content display to make the pictures pop.

Others follow suit:…

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Five Easy Ways to Transform Your Blog for the Holidays

Although this really doesn’t have a technical relevance to Balance the Circle, sometimes your frame of mind can be boosted visually…so I’m sharing this with all and sundry!

The Blog

Your site is your home on the web. It only makes sense, then, to spruce it up for the holidays as you would your brick-and-mortar address. With the ideas we include here, you’ll be able to give your blog a festive look with just a few easy clicks.

Make it snow!

It’s an annual holiday tradition: as of December 1st, you can have snow falling on your site! While the real stuff might be hard to deliver via The Interwebz, our special snow will fall gracefully down your screen wherever you are. To activate Holiday Snow, just follow these steps:

  1. Go to your dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings → General.
  3. Check the box next to “Show falling snow on this blog.”

If you activated this feature last year, it’ll be on automatically this year, too. Whenever you’d like to deactivate the snow, you can make it stop on your personal…

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“Know Thyself”…a Re-Post

It’s been a long time between posts, here on Balance the Circle, but rather than write a long, drawn out post (for the fourth time!), I’m just going to re-post today’s entry, “Know Thyself”, from one of our sister sites, “The Philosopher’s Nook”.

“Know Thyself”

So, being the great philosopher that I am I get quite adept at spouting great philosophical quotes, like, “Know Thyself”, also translated as “To Thine Ownself Be True”.

Also, like many self proscribed philosophers, I’m so busy loftily “educating” others with the wisdoms I’ve picked up over the years that I forget to pay attention to my own shortcomings.

Yes, I am a hypocrite.

Knowing yourself doesn’t necessarily only refer to sticking to your own beliefs and following the philosophical path that keeps you on the straight and narrow. It can also mean to stay in a state of awareness about EVERYTHING that makes you YOU…including your physical health.

How you treat your body and maintain your health has a direct, immediate and ongoing affect on, not only your outlook on life, but your daily choices. Every choice you make is a “tell” to your personal philosophy of life.

If you’re not taking care of yourself, your outlook on life can change in subtle ways. You may wind up with a lot of “but if’s” which can eventually corrupt your philosophy, if you’re not careful.

Case in point: “Know thyself.”

Daddy always quoted this to me as I was growing up. Of course, he was mostly talking about not letting peer pressure lead me down the wrong path, but still…

I was definitely a tomboy (much to my mother’s chagrin), but I was also somewhat of a scaredy cat. I didn’t anyone to see me as weak, so I didn’t even want to try anything I didn’t think I could excel at. For instance, I’d fight the boys with the best of them, but in gym class I’d never take a chance on the parallel bars. Why? I knew I had weak wrists. I knew myself.

Health wise, Mama always knew what was best for me (and never hesitated to tell me, philosophically, just why it was best!) so I didn’t bother thinking about it. But when I grew up it took about 10 years before I realized that I should’ve paid more attention to Mama’s oft shouted, “Be careful or you’re gonna break something that can’t be fixed!”

From the time I was 20 years old, I knew I was Superwoman. First I went into bodybuilding and developed and awesome body that showed every muscle group I owned! Later, I was raising 3 (the first 3 of 10 that I would eventually raise or help to raise!) kids by myself, worked a physically demanding job and paid all my bills.

Because I had no car, I braved the heat and lightening storms of summer, the glorious ‘green’ scent of springtime (and its accompanying rain showers-and thunder storms), crisp autumn with its surprise temperature drops and frigid winter, with sleet, snow and four inch deep slush…and walked three and a half miles to and from work. Still in perfect physical condition (I could outflex anyone at work!), I was even doing that at the age of forty-two.

I have to say, it was exhillarating to outperform all those 23 year old, muscle flexing young men I worked with!  Truth be told, I was a little too proud of myself, with consequences. I was so busy concentrating in being Superwoman that I forgot ‘to mine own self be true’ and I injured my back.

You’d think that suffering for a solid year with that injury would be a lesson that stuck. Ha! No such wisdom! Forty years later, I have done the same thing…which is why there have been no posts for nearly two months.

Yep. Superwoman has grandkids, walks to the store when possible…and sits around way too much satisfying a culinary appetite that should have been adapted to age and activity levels a long time ago. Superwoman is now thirty pounds overweight, with a “typical,” neglected, sixty year old metabolism. What can I say? I’m human and I have suffered because of one of the greatest human faults: complacency.

In short, I’ve forgotten to pay attention to my entire self and neglected to ”be true” to my own philosophies. And I’ve paid for it once again…this time with a ruptured disc.

Know thyself. To thine own self be true. All the time, all your life. Live the philosophy you preach or suffer the consequences.



So here I am. It’s Monday, September 23, 2013. Got laid off earlier this month. Loved my job, but really missing the social life I’ve had for two years at a great company with awesome co-workers.

To quote an oldie but goodie song, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!”

Poor, pitiful me.

Now although I must admit I’ve enjoyed the “Time to Relax” part (even though I got bored by about day 11), my allotted two weeks for a “Semi-Pity-Party” is finally over and my new life as a retiree has now commenced. Sort of.

Today is relegated to making a list, or schedule if you will, of how to proceed.  Oh yes…and cleaning the guinea pig cage and changing the cat litter, but that’s neither here nor there!

Yes, I know it sounds kind of stupid, but only to those who don’t know me for the quintessential list maker that I am (is that a dangling participle??). Some would say, “What list? You know what needs doing, so just do it!”, right?


My brain doesn’t work like that. Unless there is a deadline, my mind will skip merrily around like a curious puppy…sniff a flower here, chase a rabbit there, watch a swarm of bees, spot a favourite chew toy (puppies have teeth, you see )…in other words, I’m the epitome of what Mother Superior refers to Maria in The Sound of Music: “A Flibbertigibbet“.

You see, in my world there is always such a wondrous choice of things to do that, when I start on one task, I’m very easily distracted into pursuing another one.

With me, it’s all, “Ok, I need to do this…no wait! Let me do that first…but no! I have to take care of this other first, THEN finish that and THEN I’ll do this….aww, shoot fire and save matches…wait, dang it! I need to finish this thing before I get to that thing and THEN I can do those other things!”

BUT FIRST I need a cup of coffee…


Today is list making day…

You all have a great day doing whatever YOU do!

Re-Post: A Message to Manhattan Moms Who See Special Needs Child as Disney Fast Pass

I would like to share a blog that I just read.

I have a great deal of respect for parents of special needs children.  A lot of people who have been told that the child they are carrying may be Down Syndrome or Muscular Dystrophy or anything similiar, will actually opt for abortion. That is their choice if they don’t feel up to the task.

However, it is my honest opinion that anyone who has found within them, the strength and the capacity to love their child completely and without reservation, regardless of the challenges such conditions can carry and who is brave enough to face down their fears, is a hero in my eyes.

This blog post, A Message to the Manhattan Moms Who See My Special Needs Child as a Disney Fast Pass, is one of those stories that should put people who treat special needs children as non-entities to shame.

This mother to a special needs child deserves a standing ovation…

“She Didn’t Get It From MY Side of the Family!”

When I was just a little girl I used to ask my mother about our family history; actually I was curious to know only about her father and his people, who were Native American, and Granny’s people who were originally from the Emerald Isle of Ireland. Although my paternal history was never taboo, Mama never seemed to want to talk about the native side of our family. “We are Caucasian! We are not indian!” she would say. In short, until she became much, much older, it appeared that she was ashamed of her father.

But I don’t think she was. She loved her daddy. I just think that she ran into that sort of bias when she was young and merely didn’t want to ever deal with it again. I eventually learned that, back in the day, prejudice ran as rampantly toward the red man as the black.

I was able to finagle stories from Granny about my grandfather but, funnily enough, not too many about her family history. Oh, I got stories from most of my aunts and uncles (there were six) but nothing that could create a timeline, you know?

Family means a lot to me. If you ponder all the people in your family, you can recognize certain familial traits that are passed from one to another, but if you are like most people you will always notice one or two cousins, aunts or uncles…or even yourself…who just don’t seem to “fit the mold”.

So just where did, say, great aunt Aunt Susie get her daydreaming qualities from a family who were so serious that none of them would know a fantasy if it sucked them into a painting. And how did Uncle Stuart wind up as a person who was as mean as a striped snake when nearly all of his family were the greatest of philanthropists?

For that matter, in my case, how did I wind up wanting nothing more than to paint, draw, sing and write my entire life when everyone else in my family went on to go to college (straight out of school) and make careers in business? I mean, I did go to college, even got a degree in accounting, of all things…but only so I would be able to understand my own finances when I make truckloads money writing my first book!

The more you can trace your family, not only the names and where they lived, but information on their characters, careers and day to day activities, then the better able you are to understand the “Who” of you.

Past, present and future? That’s history.

Body, mind, spirit? That’s pretty much all genetic.

“Mama Always Said…”

I created this Balance the Circle account on WordPress years ago, but only now have finally decided to produce this, my very first post, which is supposed to be about  my book, “Mama Always Said..”, a work that has been in progress since 1983.  (sigh)  It’s been a long time coming but, having been branded “Procrastinator” at the ripe old age of four (a title to which I have stubbornly clung for nearly six decades), I think I will excuse myself by quoting what Mama always said: “I’ll be there when I get there.”

During the process of creation, Balance the Circle has evolved to include a number of subjects: Health, Telemedicine and Telehealth, The Body/Mind Connection and Journal of Journalism (which will be for my book writing endeavors and will likely contain the least number of posts!!). Incidentally, Journal of Journalism is destined to become a completely different site at some point, so if you miss it, look for the post that announces it.

I have to say that I owe this inspiration to “get on with it” to two people:  Pinklightsabre (“Death is Not the end”)…and, of course, Mama, who always had something to say about every situation in life. How Pinklightsabre became an inspiration to someone like me, who has a history of fearing any journey that takes me away from my comfort zone into risky territory will become obvious if you read that blog.

As for Mama, God rest her sweet soul, she simply hated whining and excuses.