It’s The End, or Is It?

Melissa Babasin Photography

Melissa Babasin Photography

Like a river, life carries me around bends and curves and to inevitable forks of decision. At the six-year anniversary of What About This?, I find myself at one of those forks. Sharing bits of joy with you these past six years has brought me great pleasure, but blogs take on a life of their own. They require attention and constant feeding, which translate into time. It is always difficult to put an end to something one enjoys, but at this point in my life, my hands are blessedly full. Today’s post, the 647th, will be my final one.

How do I go about saying goodbye to What About This? and to all who took the journey with me? Looking back on my days as a blogger, I know I have many people to thank for being my “river guides.” First, I’d like to thank my husband for believing in me when I didn’t dare, for knowing me better than I know myself, and for allowing me to be decidedly and indisputably me. He served as my IT guy, my stalwart editor, and my taste tester. Rousing debates over grammar, syntax, punctuation, and blog-worthy recipes became part of our everyday lives. Second, I would like to thank my family for allowing me to share them with the world. Last, but not least, I would like to thank each and every one of you who visited, commented on, or subscribed to What About This? You kept me company along the way and gave me the encouragement to continue. Every word typed, every minute spent, and every connection made during the life of this blog brought me joy. I sincerely hope it brought you some in return, as you were my inspiration.

I believe the end of one thing gives way to the beginning of something else. What will I do with my time, when I no longer write this blog? Clean my house, for one thing. I’m serious. But there are also photography skills to be honed, ukulele songs to be played, food to be shared, exercises to be performed, hours to be volunteered, and a little granddaughter to be cherished.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been an honor.

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” Ivy Baker Priest

Now go and spread joy!

Kale and Avocado Salad

Kale and Avocado Salad Bits of dark leafy kale combine with chunks of creamy avocado for a super nutritious salad. But wait, there’s more! Toss this salad with a fresh homemade citrus dressing and top it with a generous scoop of nutty-flavored hemp seeds. This lovely green salad proves that eating healthy can be simple and delicious.

Kale and Avocado Salad
Recipe found in Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped into a paste
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 tbsp. raw hemp seeds (optional)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Whisk together orange and lemon juices, soy sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Slowly whisk in oil; set dressing aside.

2. Cut 2 avocados into 1/2″ cubes and thinly slice the remaining avocado.

3. Put cubed avocados, half of the hemp seeds (if using), and kale into a serving bowl.

4. Toss kale mixture with dressing and season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Divide salad among plates and garnish with sliced avocado and remaining hemp seeds.

Serves 4 to 6

1. When tossing the salad, do not pour in all of the dressing in at one time. Pour a little bit in at a time and toss until the greens are lightly coated. You will have leftover dressing.


September 11, 2015Butterfly bushes hang limp in the breeze. Dead grass crunches when walked upon. It’s obvious that the drought conditions in California have wreaked havoc in my yard. The only things flourishing in it right now are the spiders. In lieu of masses of pretty white flowers, I now have a generous sprinkling of white spider webs. With its areas of tight gossamer weave and its immense size, this spider web is a masterpiece – a different type of gift from Mother Nature.

#1 – Bioinspiration
Strongest Natural Material Spider webs have long been considered to be the strongest organic material, but now a challenger has arrived on the scene – limpet teeth. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have found that the material in tiny limpet teeth “contain a hard mineral known as goethite, which forms in the limpet as it grows.” Engineers will try to mimic the structure and find practical applications for it. The article Scientists Find Strongest Natural Material describes bioinspiration as “Finding out about effective designs in nature and then making structures based on these designs.”

#2 – Glamorous Decorations
20 Glam Halloween Ideas If you don’t have fancy spider webs like mine, you can make your own decorative ones in time for Halloween. Check out these 20 Ideas for Glam Halloween decorations.

#3 – Words of Wisdom
Words of Wisdom from Author Kurt Vonnegut Eight years ago, some students in a high school class wrote letters to their favorite authors. Only one author replied. To see which author took the time to respond to them and to read the inspirational words he shared, click on the photo to enlarge it.

#4 – Tips for Life and for Traveling
99 Travel and Life Tips Having traveled around the world for the last nine years, Sherry of Otts World offers a plethora of great life and travel tips in her blog post 99 Best Life and Travel Tips.

#5 – Bound Together
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle

Now go and spread joy!

Out Conquering the World

Shoe Adventures “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”
Marilyn Monroe

Small shoes sit by my back door waiting for their next adventure. Sorry, no time to write to a blog post today, Charlotte and I are out conquering the world.

Check back with What About This? on Friday!

September 4, 2015 EditionSucculents don’t suck. They just suffer from a lack of appreciation. However, all that is changing. With drought conditions existing in the United States, versatile succulents are rising in popularity. Sporting a wide range of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes, succulents add striking beauty to gardens. In an effort to cut back on water usage, I replaced almost all of my potted plants with succulents and I am so happy that I did. Succulents also produce spectacular flowers, like the trumpet-shaped one above that graces my front porch.

#1 – Crayon Initiative
Saving Crayons: Crayon Initiative While celebrating his birthday at a restaurant, Brian Ware learned that the crayons given to his children to occupy themselves were discarded after use. This led to the formation of the Crayon Initiative. Mr. Ware collects used crayons from schools and restaurants, melts them down, remolds them, and distributes them to hospitals throughout California for young patients to use. Says Mr. Ware, “If these crayons give them an escape from that hospital room for ten minutes, we did our job.”

#2 – Where Magic Happens
Visiting Illustrators' Studios A while back, when I chaired Author Day programs for my children’s schools, my family had the privilege of visiting the studio of Ruth Heller, children’s book author and illustrator. That is where magic happened, where her books came to life. Photographer Jake Green visited the studios of well-known illustrators of children’s books. Here’s a peek at some of his notes and photos from his visits in Where Magic Happens: Children’s Illustrators Open Up Their Studios.

#3 – Who’s the Cutest?
Who's the Cutest? Zoologists and animal experts from around the world took to Twitter to compete in a “cute-off” to determine which animals are scientifically the cutest. To see photos of some of the entrants, check out Scientists On Twitter Agree: These Are The Cutest Animals That Exist .

#4 – Propagating Succulents
Propagating Succulents Whether you plant succulents in the ground or in pots, you will need to keep them in shape. Many varieties can get “leggy” and need to be pruned back. Almost every part of a succulent can be used in propagation, so why not propagate while pruning? Needles + Leaves has an great tutorial on Propagating Succulents. You’ll be amazed at how easy the process is and how many plants you can get from one “mother” plant.

#5 – To Plant a Garden
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Audrey Hepburn

Now go and spread joy!

Homemade Bubble soultion and Bubble Wands Yipee! Charlotte’s coming over and we’re going to have some bubble fun. I’ve got everything all set: homemade bubble solution that creates super-duper large bubbles, homemade bubble-making devices, and some gadgets from my kitchen with which to experiment. Who do you think is going to have more fun playing with bubbles, little Charlotte or me?

Basic Bubble Solution
Recipe from the Unbelievable Bubble Book by John Cassidy

Bubble Solution
1 clean container/pail
1 cup Joy or Dawn dish detergent (no substitutions)
3 to 4 tablespoons glycerin (can be purchased at a drugstore)
10 cups clean, cold water (up to 50% more on dry days)

1. Measure 10 cups of water into the pail.

2. Add 1 cup Joy or Dawn dish soap.

3. Add glycerin. In most atmospheres, it makes the bubbles more durable by reducing evaporation.

4. Stir, but not too much. You don’t want froth on the top because it tends to break the bubbles. If you get any, skim it off with your hand.

5. Gather or make any wand materials.

6. Pour bubble solution into non-breakable shallow containers such as pie pans, baking pans, dish pans, depending on the size of your bubble wands.

7. Select a wand, dip it in solution, and let excess solution drip off.

Possible Bubble Wands
Homemade Bubble Wands
1. Straws and String: thread a string through two straws and tie a knot at the ends. Move the knot until it is hidden inside one of the straws.

2. Water Bottle and Sock: cut the bottom of the bottle off. Place a sock over the cut edge and secure with a rubber band.

3. Assorted Cans: cut the tops and bottoms cut off. Make sure there are no sharp edges. If there are, you can either tape the edges with duct tape or file/sand them off.

3. 2-liter Soda Bottles: cut bottom cut off and tape bottom edge if there are any sharp jagged edges.

4. Wire Coat Hangers: bend them and form them into different shapes. I bent the handle up at a 90 degree angle to make it easier to dip.

5. Pipe Cleaners: bend them into different shapes. These are a little messy to use, since the fibers pickup a lot of excess solution.

6. Kitchen Colanders and Sieves

7. Strawberry Baskets

8. Hula Hoop: for BIG-time fun, fill a wading pool with an inch or two of solution and use a hula hoop as a wand. An alternative to this is to have the child carefully step into the pool in the middle of the hula hoop. Very slowly lift the hula hoop up from the solution, until the child is in the middle of the bubble.

1. Safety first: bubble activities should always be supervised. Bubble solution is slick and slippery. If any bubble solution gets on the floor, make sure that it does not become a slipping hazard.

2. Make sure that any solution is rinsed off of children’s hands before they touch their face, particularly their eyes.

3. Check for any sharp edges on any homemade wands or kitchen gadgets.

4. The sky’s the limit when it comes to bubble fun. Use your imagination.

Homemade Bubble soultion and Bubble Wands

Have fun!

August 28, 2015 Edition Playfully, I stick a hair curler in my granddaughter’s hair. Charlotte innocently strikes a quick girly-girl pose for me and then pulls the curler out of her hair and goes about her busy job of playing. Watching her play, I marvel at the curiosity that babies have and at the wonder and excitement that they exude over the simplest of things. This observation makes me ponder, “What happens to these qualities as we age?”

#1 – Just One Question
“If you could change one thing about your body what would it be?” Responses to that question were captured in this short video and they reveal how many of us become more self-conscious as we age. If you were asked this question, what would your answer be?

#2 – Never Too Old for Blocks
Life-Size Legos: EverBlocks Building System When my children were young, they would spend endless hours playing with Lego building blocks. Piles of these small blocks would be strewn all over the floor and my children would create imaginative worlds of their own. Now, thanks to Arnon Rosan, adults can still “play” with interlocking blocks. EverBlocks, life-size blocks similar to Legos, can be used to build furniture, room dividers, modular buildings, and even emergency shelters. These blocks prove that you are never too old to play with blocks and, like when you were a child, you are only limited by your imagination.

#3 – Too Close
Extreme Close-Ups No matter how often I vacuum my carpet, Charlotte always finds a tiny particle of debris on it. Babies have keen eyes, but not as keen as artist Pyanek’s camera lens. For his project Amazing Worlds Within Our World, he photographed everyday items extremely close-up. You’ll never look at a sponge the same way again.

#4 – Ukes of Great Btitain
Every night, before Charlotte’s parents pick her up, my husband plays the ukulele and we have a little sing-a-long with her. She laughs, dances, and “sings” to her favorite songs. There’s no doubt about it, the ukulele is a fun and happy-sounding instrument. Enjoy this humorous rendition of the Theme from Shaft, as performed by the talented Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

#5 – Respect the Child
“We not only need to have a deep respect for children; but also a deep respect for the child in everyone.”
C. JoyBell C.

Now go and spread joy!


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