• Confessions,  Favorite Things

    A Taste of Home.

    Jim and I recently attended the holiday party given by our Homeowner’s Association at the clubhouse just up the street. Dinner was catered, but everyone was asked to bring a dessert to share. As we made the rounds greeting neighbors we already know and meeting a few others for the first time, I glanced at the kitchen counter where all of the desserts had been placed. My heart skipped a beat when I saw something very familiar. It was a tin of individually wrapped candies, but not just any old candies: they were Frango Mints, the signature truffle sold by Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Yes, I’m aware it’s called Macy’s…

  • Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  Music

    Live.

    Today we finally saw “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the film about Freddie Mercury and the origin and subsequent climb of the band Queen. The part I was most looking forward to in the movie was the end, because the filmmakers recreated Queen’s iconic performance at Live Aid, the epic 1985 concert that was held at both Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia to raise money for the relief of Ethiopian famine. I thought it would be cool to see it “again.” In fact, it was incredible and I cried from the time Freddie (played by Rami Malek) took the stage at Wembley until the very end of the movie.…

  • Writing

    #NaBloPoMo 2018: Check!

    Today is the last day of November, and that means National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, is drawing to a close. I have attempted to blog every day in November for the last decade. I think I only “failed” once, though I don’t really count it as a fail since I tried my best and I was my only judge and jury. I thought this month was going to be really tough since I was traveling for 14 days out of 30, but I was wrong. I pre-scheduled 3 or 4 posts ahead of our Maui trip because I didn’t know what to expect as far as writing time, and…

  • Family Fun,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    We’re Exactly Like The Incredibles, But Different

    When he was a teenager, I used to give Dylan a really hard time because he hardly ever wore sunglasses. I’d sit in the passenger seat of the car as he drove us around and say, “Don’t you want your sunglasses? It’s so bright out today!” He always replied with some B.S. to the effect of, “Sunglasses? I don’t need sunglasses. My eyes have a sun-resistant coating.” Commence eyeroll. I have not let him live this down a decade later, making comments about his sun-resistant eyes whenever I find myself near him on a sunny day. That’s why I have to laugh at myself on these chilly winter evenings when…

  • Travels

    The Spirit of Aloha

    Today Vikki and I are tag-teaming the 28th day of NaBloPoMo. Both of us turned fifty recently and both of us took incredible trips of a lifetime to celebrate that milestone. She traveled all the way across the Atlantic to the frozen tundra of Iceland and I went in the other direction entirely, both literally and figuratively, across the Pacific to Hawaii. We decided to pick one of our favorite scenery pictures from our trip and do a little show and tell. The picture I chose (above) was taken on Ka’anapali Beach, on the west side of Maui. Ka’anapali was the first planned resort area in Hawaii and has three…

  • How To

    How to Receive a Gift

    I spent hours and hours (and hours) today, wrapping the rest of the holiday gifts that have been hanging out in my dining room for nearly two weeks, so I thought I’d go with the gift theme, again. Everyone’s talking about gifts right now anyway, so why not? Earlier this month I posted 6 Tips for the Gift-Giving Challenged, so if you’re still figuring out what to get for whom this holiday season or you just generally need advice make sure to check that out. Five years ago I wrote about what I enjoy receiving from someone after I give them a present: nothing but a “thank you.” Honest. I…

  • Confessions

    Another Demographic That Needs to Learn “No Means No”

    You probably already know where I’m going here. I’m talking about those super aggressive men and women who hawk Dead Sea skin care products at mall kiosks and, as I discovered two weeks ago, also in Lahaina, Hawaii. What, weren’t you thinking of them, too? I have encountered these people many times, and my normal M.O. is to walk past them as close to the outer wall of the mall and away from the kiosk as possible so they don’t even see me. When I am in the unfortunate position of having to pass by them in closer proximity than I prefer, I have no problem turning down their offers…

  • Favorite Things

    So Funny.

    My very favorite television genre is and always has been the sitcom. It’s not the “wrap up a weekly situation with humor in just 22 minutes” big picture aspect that I like; it’s literally the humor and only the humor. I like to laugh. The 80s (when there were far fewer television choices, by the way), were the Golden Age of Sitcoms. Sadly, they don’t make ‘em like they used to and they don’t make nearly as many of ‘em as they used to. I still seek them out, though. A few months ago Jim and I were scouring Netflix for something new to watch, something more funny and less…

  • Blessings,  Confessions

    What I Know For Sure

    Four years ago today, the snowy scene pictured above was my reality in the western suburbs of Chicago. We moved to Knoxville a year and a half ago and no longer had the need for the snowblower we purchased the year that photo was taken. Although it snows occasionally in Knoxville—and yeah yeah yeah the area practically shuts down when it merely flurries and people, who don’t think about the fact that the South doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with snow, let alone the fact that the hills and sharp curves around here make traveling in icy conditions very dangerous regardless of whether the roads have been salted properly,…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    Let Me Be Frank.

    Yesterday I wrote about how more isn’t always better and how, although I miss Chicago immensely, I really do have everything I need in Knoxville. Then we took my parents to Portillo’s for lunch today because there was NO FREAKING WAY that I was going to be in the area for two full days and not go to Portillo’s, Thanksgiving or not. I decided that the answer to the question with which I ended yesterday’s post, “Who could ask for more?” is “Me, and I’d like a Knoxville Portillo’s, please.” THEN I’ll have everything I need.