Joanne P.'s Profile

Joanne P.

Joanne P.

  • Highest
    1486 days
  • Current
    1486 days
  • Completed 1486 challenges
  • Joined
    Oct 3


American (originally from Chicago) living in France and married 41 years to French pen pal Paul (we began writing in high school); Mom to four; a grandson and a grand daughter. We live in a small country town about 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) south of Paris. Hobbies include writing (short stories, blogs), reading, traveling, taking long walks and working in my kitchen. My blog link - http://amazone779.wordpress...
  • Jasmine J., Vanetta C., Jean S., and 23 others smiled at this


    Good morning!

    Posting later as we've just finished a late breakfast brunch with our grandson who is staying with us this weekend. It's going to be cold, bright and sunny today, an excellent opportunity for us to go out for our long walk this afternoon.

    Today's challenge - Take two minutes to recall a story about your family's history.

    How to do it - Think back to a story about your family that was passed on to you. Do you know a story about the origin of a family tradition? Has a relative ever told you about members of an older generation? Have you ever heard about setbacks that your family faced in years past? If you're usually the storyteller, what memories do you share with your family members? Take a few moments to recall the story to yourself.

    A particular detail I've never forgotten about my maternal great grandfather, who immigrated from Naples with his wife and three daughters (as did my father's parents, a young couple with no children who immigrated earlier, around the mid 1890's, eventually settling in the Italian neighborhood of Chicago) worked as a steward on a transatlantic steamer crossing from Naples, with a stop at Newcastle (UK), on its way to New York. I was given a copy of a document, dated April 1900, from the boat certifying that my great grandfather, aged 49, worked as a steward on the boat thus securing his passage to New York. The certificate of discharge states he was released from his duties after the boat arrived in New York. The passage lasted some three weeks. I'm not sure how his wife, my great grandmother, and their three daughters crossed the Atlantic; it could be that they were regular paying passengers on the same boat. I have a photo of my great grandparents standing in a Newark park with the Sacred Heart Cathedral (in the process of being built) in the background; it was probably taken ten to fifteen years after they settled. We are looking at a typical older Italian couple dressed in the traditional clothes of Italian immigrants of the time, and appear to be enjoying a nice stroll in the park. He has a large bushy handlebar mustache and holds a long stemmed pipe; she is wearing the traditional high waist long skirt of the time and holding a large umbrella, no doubt acting as a shade from the hot summer sun.

    In reality this isn't a "story" in that sense of the word; it's an interesting detail of how my mother's grandparents arrived in the New World. A few years ago we were able to confirm this particular detail by checking the Ellis Island Immigrant archives online; the fact that that the boat's name was clearly listed along with dates made research considerably easier.

    Wishing all a happy Saturday and weekend!

    "Take 2 minutes to recall a story about your family's history"

    November 28, 2015 at 11:51 UTC
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  • Kristina W., Kathy G., Dileep K., and 27 others smiled at this


    Good morning!

    It's going to be a cold grey dreary day, perfect for taking care of laundry and the last of the week's cleaning. Our favorite store is having a three day sale for regular clients, a sort of private sale for fidelity card holders; we did find a television for our needs, and get a nice discount on it along with a good five year guarantee. It's nothing fancy or sophisticated although quite a few interesting things are a part of the set. The store will order it for us today, so we should have it soon. In the meantime we'll buy and set up the new furniture we plan to use for it, clearing out the old bulky piece of furniture that holds are present television set. Since there only only the two of us at home we're finding it good to live in simply harmony.

    Today's challenge - Replace one condiment, such as butter, margarine, mayo or sour cream, with one that is lower in fat.

    How to do it - Think of a fatty condiment that you typically add to a meal - like butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or sour cream - and skip it today. If you need a substitution for a sandwich, try a bit of hummus, mustard, or a non-hydrogenated spread. Try salsa or low-fat cottage cheese with potatoes.

    We ourselves use very little condiments and add the minimum to our food and/or meals, even when cooking. Although the basic essence of good French cooking does require the use of some fat, as it helps release the aromas and flavors of the item being prepared, baked or cooked. A good example of butter adding to aromas and flavors is butter croissants. The secret is not to over eat, that is, limit the amount eaten each time. The French don't eat croissants every day, just once in a great while. We ourselves rarely eat them, preferring to buy them for our grandson and/or guests, or making our own homemade goodies, with the possibility of using good healthy substitutions for butter. As far as today's challenge goes, we'll probably just skip condiments altogether, since we rarely use them, including the very strong Dijon mustard, which we are aware is a bit high in sodium, so always buy in the smallest jar available; it lasts a reasonably long time.

    Wishing all a good Friday and a happy weekend.

    "Replace 1 condiment - like butter, margarine, mayo, or sour cream - with one that's lower in fat"

    November 27, 2015 at 8:18 UTC
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  • Dileep K., Bev S., Lisa L., and 6 others smiled at this

  • Leslie B., Kathy G., Will A., and 23 others smiled at this


    Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to all American friends!

    Posting before getting ready to leave for this week's physical therapy session this morning. We're going to have pretty much the same weather as yesterday without the high humidity as rain is not in the picture; the sun will be making a brave showing through the clouds. I plan to spend most of the day catching up with work I've not been able to do earlier this week. We'll also take time to look at new televisions; ours is showing signs of old age and with new satellite network/recording systems needs to be updated. It will be our Christmas present to ourselves.

    Today's challenge - Sit and bring your right knee to your chest, pull it closer to you, and hold for a count of twenty

    How to do it - Sit toward the front of a chair that does not have wheels. Keep your back straight and bring your right knee to your chest, using your hands to hold the back of your thigh and draw it in closer to you. Concentrate on keeping your back straight as you count to 20; don't lean in as you do the stretch. Switch sides and repeat with your left knee.

    I've been doing this particular exercise for some time now. Due to recent back pains, which are becoming less and less as time goes on, I had been looking for simple floor exercises that could be done while sitting. These leg/knee movements are easy and have already been added to my daily, so I'll be sure to do them later today.

    Wishing all a happy Thursday and weekend, and a blessed Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating.

    "Sit and bring your right knee to your chest, pull it closer to you, and hold for a count of 20"

    November 26, 2015 at 7:04 UTC
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  • Kristina W., Patricia H., Bob G., and 37 others smiled at this


    Good morning!

    Posting late due to a lymph massage therapy session this morning then picking up our grandson at his school (Wednesdays are half days). He'll share lunch with us then prepare to go to his football (soccer) practice right afterwards. The beginners (first year training) usually have their practice in the gym, which is pretty large and good enough for them. When the weather is dry the coaches plan to do some of the training outdoors but it's been too rainy so the open field gets pretty muddy and messy. It's a damp dreary day but not as cold as the previous couple of days. We're expecting some drizzles this afternoon but very little sun. Therapy is going very well; from January the therapist is thinking of spreading the sessions to just two a month instead of the four I have right now.

    Thank you, Rita, Helen and Lorraine, for this morning's encouragements; they are so very much appreciated!

    Today's challenge - Inhale as you count to five, then exhale for a count of five. Repeat this cycle ten times.

    How to do it - Take a moment for some slow, deep breaths. Sit or lie down in a comfortable spot, put your hand on your belly, and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose as you count to five. Exhale through your mouth for another count of five. Continue this cycle for nine more breaths. As you breathe, pay attention to the feeling of your hand rising and falling with each inhale and exhale.

    This is nothing new; I learned this in Pilates several years ago and have made it a regular habit just before exercise and yoga routines. Many times I'm able to count up to ten inhaling and exhaling. This allows me to slowly concentrate on breathing and at the same time become aware of the present moment. I will be doing these breathing movements later today when I begin my afternoon exercise routine.

    Wishing all a good Wednesday and midweek.

    "Inhale as you count to 5, then exhale for a count of 5. Repeat this cycle 10 times"

    November 25, 2015 at 10:52 UTC
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  • Dileep K., Rita H., Margaret V., and 36 others smiled at this


    Good morning!

    Hubby drove our daughter and her friend to the airport a short while ago and I'm here with our little grand daughter. She is getting an early start on her morning nap. It's going to be a grey nd dreary today but very cold. Right now it's 2 C (35 F) with a high of 6 C (about 42 F) and possible showers in the afternoon. We decided to get some advice from the doctor by calling him before heading to his office. As our grandson has no fever he recommended an over the counter cough syrup for children and simple saline solutions for our grand daughter as she doesn't seem to be too affected by her cold. The fact that she actually slept a good two and a half hours yesterday before lunch and another 45 minutes in mid afternoon was good enough proof that a visit would not have been necessary; she was in a really good mood most of the day yesterday.

    Today's challenge - Name two people you can be physically active with.

    How to do it - Think about someone you could make plans with to do something physically active. Do you have a friend who likes to go for long walks or bike rides? A family member who is up for some Frisbee in the park or a trip to the ice skating rink? Write down two names and an idea of what you could do together, and keep the note in a handy place.

    Since I'm very involved with family activities except for free times with hubby I've very little time for physical activities. In any case with some seasonal health issues needing priority care (arthritis and back pain), I'm avoiding any strong physical movements for the time being, preferring to concentrate on simple yoga stretches and asanas. A good number of our friends know we are very involved with our grand kids and family actvities, especially at this time of the year.

    The only person I can consider concerning this challenge, is hubby, who shares with me the same ideas concerning physical exercises and activities. It seems to me that this challenge is geared mostly for the younger generation; they would not only have the time but also the energy to engage in active physical movements and at the same time enjoy sharing with others of like mind.

    Wishing all a good Tuesday and a happy midweek.

    "Name 2 people you can be physically active with"

    November 24, 2015 at 9:08 UTC
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  • Good morning!

    Posting later as we've both grand kids with us. Our grandson didn't feel too well this morning so didn't go to school; he seems to have caught a bad cough, no doubt from the sudden cold weather. Just to be on the safe side we'll bring him to the doctor along with his little sister as she has had a cold for some time. It might be an indirect result of her teethng (two top teeth and one bottom tooth came out all at once this past week) but I think could be the sudden cold. It was -1 C (30 F) early this morning; right now it's about 2 C (35 F). It's going to be bright and sunny with a maximum of 5 C (41 F) this afternoon.

    Big thanks go to Swapna and Andra for their encouragement; it's greatly appreciated.

    Today's challenge - Use one less plastic bag today.

    How to do it - Today when you're shopping, packing up food, or carrying things around, replace one plastic bag with a reusable container. Keep tote bags, a fold-up shopping bag, or glass containers handy so it's easier to make the swap. If you find yourself without a reusable bag, try to use one less plastic sack than you normally would.

    Already stores no longer give out plastic bags at the cashier counter. Most outdoor markets and stores have replaced plastic bags with biodegradable paper bags. Other stores still use plastic bags that have been scientifically tested to be biodegradable (mentioned on the bag). It isn't difficult for us to skip plastic bags since we already have the habit of using a minimum of plastic bags and/or replace the ones we're obliged to use with paper bags we always have on hand in our car. As recommended by today's challenge we'll be sure to remember to skip plastic bags when stopping by the supermarket to get a few things for tonight's dinner.

    Wishing all a good Monday and new week.

    "Use 1 less plastic bag today"

    November 23, 2015 at 10:42 UTC
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  • Rita H., Helen T., Lorraine B., and 35 others smiled at this


    Good morning!

    It's a bright and sunny morning right now, clear blue skies and very cold with temperatures hovering around 2 C (35 F) with a maximum around 7 C (44 F). The only thing we don't need/want at this time is a rise in humidity, bringing snow (which has already arrived in the cities and towns around the mountains). Cold dry weather is perfect and better than dreary rain. This is our daughter's last weekend here; she leaves for home Tuesday. We are planning a family dinner complete with a leg of lamb from New Zealand (she says it's less expensive in France than in NZ), accompanying side dishes and dessert.

    Today's challenge - Check your bed pillows for cushioning and firmness.

    How to do it - Place your favorite bed pillow on a flat surface. If you have a synthetic down, polyester fiber, or natural down pillow, fold it in half lengthwise. Hold it folded for a few seconds and then let go. A synthetic down or polyester fiber pillow in good condition should quickly bounce back to its normal shape. Likewise, a natural down pillow should bounce back, but more slowly. If you have a memory foam pillow, use the palm of your hand to push on the center of the pillow until it's about half its original thickness. Does the pillow regain its shape when you pull your hand away? It should.

    At the approach of winter months around the end of October/beginning of November I have the habit of checking out bedroom pillows and comforters (heavy bedspreads) for shape and firmness. The guest bedroom needed a new set of pillows; since our daughter would be using the room we got new pillows for the guest bed first then will be getting a new set for our bed next month (December).

    Wishing all a Bright and happy Sunday and an inspiring last week of November.

    "Check your bed pillows for cushioning and firmness"

    November 22, 2015 at 9:00 UTC
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  • Diane F., Jim M., Lynn R., and 7 others smiled at this

  • 36

    Good morning!

    It's a bright sunny day, very cold and dry, a very pleasant change from the last few days. There's a strong possibility of a sudden rise in humidity this afternoon that could bring rain, typical November weather for the region. This afternoon our grandson has his first training football (soccer) game; today and the rest of the weekend we'll be busy with family time as our eldest is leaving for home this coming Tuesday.

    Today's challenge - Find a picture of a relaxing place by looking online or through your photo albums.

    How to do it - Take a few moments to find an image that is calming to you: perhaps a quiet place you discovered while on a trip, or a nature photo you find online. Spend a moment looking at it as you relax and slow your breathing.

    I change my laptop screensaver to go along with the seasons. Right now I have an online photo of a very pretty Japanese temple and garden in autumn, complete with curving bridge over a quiet pond. Each time the screen opens this colorful yet tranquil image leaves a serene aura of peace harmony.

    Wishing all a good Saturday and a happy weekend.

    "Find a picture of a relaxing place by looking online or through your photo albums"

    November 21, 2015 at 8:39 UTC
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    • Joanne P.
      Joanne P. replied November 21, 2015 at 17:49 UTC:

      Thank you, everyone!

      Pat - Right now in Paris (and just about every where in the country) there is a strong feeling of defiance and spontaneous expressions of love, sharing and caring. Locals and everyone are encouraged to talk, to speak, to not hide their feelings. ...see more

    • Lyn C.
      Lyn C. replied November 22, 2015 at 2:36 UTC:

      My screensaver is of our garden in Spring, lovely ;-)

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