• Best Thing Ever,  Childhood Memories,  Friends,  Music,  Travels

    My Name Is Melisa and I’m a Born Again Fanilow.

    When I was a kid in the 70’s, Barry Manilow was totally my jam. He was the first artist I truly loved; I collected his record albums (real vinyl ones, kids!) and played them so much I’m surprised the needle didn’t wear the grooves down. Is that even possible? Never mind. I was a Child Fanilow. Exhibit A: When I was 7 or 8 I was taking ballet classes every week. One week, my ballet teacher announced that we had an upcoming Parents’ Night and we were each tasked with picking a song–any song of our choosing!–and choreographing a routine for that special evening. I chose Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” and…

  • Blessings,  Fun in Knoxville,  Motivation,  Pretty Pictures

    Two Years.

    It was two years ago today when I moved back to Knoxville after 26 years of living in my beloved hometown (well, the greater Chicagoland area). First: I can’t believe it’s been two years. Second: I wish I could go back and tell the pre-move Melisa, who was terrified of the change and very upset about leaving the greatest city in the entire world, that not only was everything going to be okay but also that she could let go and be assured that this move would lead to a season of life that would be one of her happiest. Jim and I have had way too many adventures to…

  • Tough Questions,  Travels,  UGH.

    The Ugliness of Air Travel, or Travel is Fun!

    As of yesterday, I have had to run through four airports in order to catch a connecting flight, two times barefoot and all four times on the way home. The first time it happened was in London at Heathrow back in 2007. I had been away from my family for more than a week, and my first flight out of Frankfurt left late. I was alone, having left my friend and her family at the hotel because they were going on to Austria without me. I can’t remember how much time I had when my plane arrived at Heathrow, but I do remember how frustrating it was to have to…

  • Blessings,  Food

    Enjoying the Ritual

    One of the things I’m known for is the ability to be highly productive. I may procrastinate like nobody’s business, but typically I don’t let most people see me sweat. I’m excellent with deadlines and lists, and I like to think I multi-task fairly well, even though the truth is that nobody really multi-tasks well. It’s been about a year and a half since I worked full time (plus more, with the Listen To Your Mother show). I’m freelancing right now and contracted with a hospital in Ohio on a very part-time basis. Oddly enough, my productivity has suffered. Actually, it’s not odd to me: I have known the truth…

  • I'm Apparently Old.,  UGH.

    Check Yourself.

    I came up with an amazing idea the other night after Jim and I enjoyed an evening at the theater. As we slowly worked our way towards the door to exit the building, we had to continually halt our pace and switch directions to avoid running into the folks who decided it was okay to stop and chat directly in the path of thousands of people who just wanted to get home. It was the worst, of course, right outside the doors on the sidewalk. My idea? Install moving sidewalks in all of those public places where this happens on a regular basis. Okay, I know my idea is ridiculous…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Food,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    Another Brilliant Idea That Definitely Won’t Happen

    You may remember my ranting about my elaborate plan to renovate the music system at our neighborhood pool back in June. My fantasy blueprint included a jukebox, volume control, a seniority system for music-playing prioritization, underwater speakers, and more. It was one of the most imaginatively complex ideas I’ve ever had that will definitely never see the light of day. Well, I have another one. Try this on for size: a national chain of grocery stores that caters to single people and couples from all walks of life, including people who live in small apartments in Manhattan. I’m not only talking about the people who don’t shop at huge warehouse…

  • Am Reading

    My Year of GoodReads

    I used to be a voracious reader when I was much (much!) younger. It wasn’t unusual for me to have five or six books going at the same time. I’m a fast reader, too; always have been. Somewhere along the way–I think it was when I finished college–I stopped reading books almost entirely. Instead I favored by-hand creative pursuits like cross stitch, sewing, and other miscellaneous craft projects. I had time to read; it’s just that I didn’t choose to do it. When my kids came along I got into scrapbooking, and I wrote. And even later I worked, a lot. In any given year I read only one book,…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Motivation

    That’s Life.

    Last week I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting to be wheeled down the hall for a colonoscopy (one of the fringe benefits of turning fifty, woo hoo!). I “busied myself,” if you can call it that, by visually absorbing my immediate environment. I noted the pastel plaid curtain around my little area, the machines with wires behind my head, the labels on the cabinets, and finally, the ceiling. Looking at ceilings in doctors’ offices and hospitals is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl and had to see my pediatrician for any reason, I used to look at the…

  • Jew Stuff

    Tradition Indicates That I Write About This Tradition

    If you celebrate Christmas, right about now you might be preparing for a special dinner with family, finishing up some last-minute shopping, wrapping, or assembling, baking those cookies to leave along with milk for Santa, or having fun doing some other festive activity. Here is my traditional wish that your holiday is everything you hoped it would be, and that you get to spend it with exactly whom you want. As for Jim and me, you already know what we’re doing tonight and tomorrow: Enjoy the holiday, whatever that means to you!

  • Fun in Knoxville,  Random Thoughts

    Awkwardly Pleasant and Pleasantly Awkward

    In the week or two ahead of Christmas I do my best to cut back on errands that require me to go out in public so as to avoid the chaos. It’s bad enough dealing with the occasional distracted driver or the one who drives across parking lots like a bat out of hell or the people who bump into others without apologizing on a normal day in the spring; the second half of December is the worst. Years like this one when Hanukkah arrived and ended a little early are my favorite because it helps the cause, the cause being my sanity. Unfortunately, Jim and I do need to…