• Confessions,  Pretty Pictures,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    On Occasionally Persisting

    I am not a quitter. My therapist would say that this is due to my unrelenting standards and sure, she would be correct, but I am who I am. In spite of that personality trait, over the years I have gotten much better at releasing things (and tasks) that no longer serve a positive purpose in my life. Today I’m talking about in-progress craft projects. After having worked at Lee Wards Craft Store (a precursor to Michael’s) and using my employee discount with gusto for a few years and after Jim and I moved from a two-bedroom townhouse to a three-bedroom townhouse before we ever had children just so I…

  • Tradition

    9/11, a Tradition, and a Question

    In 2012 I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance, which I’ll get to in a minute, after I add a personal take on this 20-year anniversary of 9/11. A couple of months ago, Jim and I visited Naperville, Illinois. It was our home for more than twenty years, and where we were living twenty years ago today. Naperville has a 9/11 memorial adjacent to the river, downtown. On our recent visit, Jim and I took a walk and visited the memorial. As we approached, I noticed that the plaque described the reason for the memorial, to honor the approximately 3,000 people who died on 9/11.…

  • Confessions,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Eight Months and Two Days

    Today is the day my dad’s cremains will be interred at the East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. It’s been eight months and two days since he died of COVID-19 complications, and just typing that out, “eight months and two days,” makes me bristle. Under normal circumstances, his funeral would have been within a week and not two-thirds of a whole year later. Under normal circumstances, he would most definitely still be alive today. Several hours after the honors ceremony at the cemetery, we will have a Celebration of Life dinner at a Holiday Inn, the location being my sister’s brilliant idea to honor a man who managed hotels, mostly Holiday…

  • Confessions,  Favorite Things

    Road to Nowhere

    I have difficulty living in the moment more than the average person. I’ve always been a planner. I used to schedule certain things down to the minute, though I’m much better now. I often worry about things that haven’t happened yet, and I often worry about things I’ve said, because maybe it didn’t come across the way I intended to the person on the other end of the chat. I try to script out future conversations in my head sometimes, which probably sounds almost as ridiculous as it feels to type. I’m that person who can be having a great time and then suddenly will realize that it’ll be over…

  • Random Thoughts,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  UGH.

    One Year Since Everything Changed

    We’re all starting to recognize that it’s been a whole year since our entire world turned upside down. One exact date doesn’t fit all; each of us has our own markers. Soon the internet will be flooded with thinkpieces about this still unbelievable and in many ways devastating anniversary, and while I wouldn’t normally choose to add to the clutter, I couldn’t imagine not writing about it, especially this week. For me, this week marks a year since I last worked on-site with my team. This week marks a year since I last went out into a crowded bar to listen to live music and dance with a bunch of…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Thanks, Healthcare Workers! (or, Here’s a Template for a Thank You Note)

    “You were all already heroes in my eyes way before this tragedy struck my family, but now that I know what I know from experiencing it, I am truly in awe of all of you.” I wrote a thank you letter last week, as did my mom and sister. I delivered them to the hospital staff who sit at a table just inside the ER doors, taking temperatures and evaluating people who want to enter the building. Those gatekeepers would deliver the thank you notes to the Nurses’ Station on the COVID floor for me, just like they delivered various things my dad, mom, and sister needed from home when…

  • Music,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    Bitter Sweet Symphony

    A few months ago, I brought home my Dream Car, a red Mustang convertible. That full story is for another day but suffice it to say that I have wanted that car since I was 16 years old. The day I drove one home was, as you might guess, dreamy. My Dad loved my car. LOVED. IT. I remember the June day we drove it over to show my parents. Jim and I got out of the car and after I rang their doorbell, we stood way back (thanks, pandemic) so they could walk to the driveway and see it up close. My dad went around to the passenger side…

  • Blessings,  Pretty Pictures

    The Kindness of Strangers

    A quick catch-up for those of you who aren’t connected with me on Facebook: my dad, mom, and sister all tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-December. Dad was hospitalized immediately and passed nine days later, which was devastating. We haven’t yet begun to deal with the staggering level of his loss; Mom and my sister were admitted in the two days after Dad’s passing. Sister was discharged after about a four day stay: to be honest, I currently have to ask Jim or look at my phone to have any understanding of what time, day, or date it is. What is time, anyway? Mom was discharged after about a six…

  • Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  Family Fun,  Favorite Things,  My Dad Has Mad Skillz

    In Celebration of a Life Well Lived

    It’s very strange, thinking that the obituary you wrote for your Dad is one of your best pieces ever, but that’s where I’m at. While it’s always a challenge to try and capture someone’s essence in a few (okay, a lot of) paragraphs, I know I did a great job for him. I can hear him saying, “Way to go, Toots. I’m proud of you.” Irving Howard Witcoff, 78, of Chicago, died on December 25, 2020 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Irv was born on October 9, 1942 at Loretto Hospital in Chicago, Illinois and grew up on the west side. He attended Harper High School and was by all accounts a…

  • Confessions,  Family Fun,  Tradition

    A Thanksgiving Like No Other…But Still Pretty Great.

    If you know me well, you know that holidays really aren’t “our thing” in this house. Jim and I like holidays, sure, but we don’t decorate for any of them except for Hanukkah, and even so we do that one very minimally these days. We don’t make a big deal over the holidays regarding family gatherings; while we enjoy being with family on holidays if it happens to work out that way, we’ve always stressed that there is great enjoyment in appreciating any random day during the year when our family is all together. On those days there is the absence of perfection pressure and, frankly, we don’t need a…