• 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…

  • My Mom Has Mad Skillz

    Quilts of Many Colors

    My mom made me a very special birthday gift this year: a “city quilt,” pictured above. The jewel-tone colors are so bright and pretty, and it’s big enough to fit on my King-sized bed AND for Jim and me both to use in the living room while we’re hunkered down, watching TV. (Thanks, mom!!!) When my parents and sister came over to our back patio for outdoor birthday dinner last weekend, my mom announced it was time for gifts and then she handed me a huge black garbage bag. I knew immediately what was inside because: It was public knowledge that she had been working on a quilt for me.…

  • Confessions,  UGH.

    It’s Okay Not to Be Okay.

    A couple days ago I was a little down, which is an understatement. It happens to all of us at one time or another, especially this year. This particular horrible day was the first one in a long time for me, thank goodness: I have many, many more good days than bad. Terrible days like that one are a huge contradiction to who I normally am: a chipper and optimistic person who is also a great cheerleader and excellent cheerer-upper for others. Days like that one can be confusing and/or totally shocking to those who know me well, but nobody has good days one hundred percent of the time. In…

  • Confessions

    Power Trip

    I had a dream recently that I went to a gym (Remember gyms? Sigh.) with a few friends (Remember going places with friends? Sigh.) so we could take a class together. I was adamant that my friends didn’t tell the instructor that I used to teach classes a long time ago, because I knew what would happen. The dream made me laugh. I taught group fitness classes (spinning, along with low impact aerobics and strength training) for almost ten years but it’s been seven years since I “retired.” (The picture above was taken right before my final class.) I don’t even really think about teaching anymore so it was strange…

  • Fun in Knoxville,  Motivation,  Working On My Fitness

    Relearning Old Skills is Easier When You’re Kind to Yourself.

    Recently we went for a bike ride. This was a big deal for me. I haven’t ridden my bicycle in at least six years…maybe more like eight years: I can’t recall. Twelve years ago I rode my bike a lot because that was the summer when the price of gasoline jumped to nearly five dollars per gallon and I was absolutely not paying that just to drive myself to the salon for my part-time job, or to my workouts at the gym. I rode about 75 miles each week, something I can’t imagine doing at this point in my life. Anyway, we have this great ten-mile green way near our…

  • I've Got Mad Skillz,  Pretty Pictures

    Always Learning, Sometimes Annoyingly.

    On any given year, people travel from far and wide to see the fall colors in this area. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is, obviously, full of trees. The spectacle they put on every October into November is truly magnificent. Each autumn since we’ve been back in Knoxville, Jim and I take a drive (or two) up into the park specifically to try and catch the peak colors. We don’t go on the weekends because tourists clog up the roads just as much as they do on a bright and sunny summer day. We have to work the visit into our weekday schedule, which can be dicey. We have always…

  • How To,  Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Now That the Polls Are Closed

    I was going to start writing this post earlier today, before the Big News, and it would have been a little bit different. After finding out that decency and democracy and so many other important things won today (WOOT AND YAY JOE AND KAMALA AND ALL OF US!), I’m pivoting. Just a little bit. Did I mention how excited I am that Joe Biden is now our President-elect and Kamala Harris is now our Vice President-elect? No? I AM THRILLED. The first thing I plan to do is enjoy this feeling for a couple of days. Let’s all do that. We deserve to celebrate! This is a wonderful thing! Brighter…

  • Random Thoughts,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Before the Polls Close

    After waking up with a start at 3:30am—and not only being unable to get back to sleep but actually being wide awake—for the second day in a row, I thought it would be a good time to get some Election Day feelings out through my fingers while we still don’t know the fate of our country. It’s very peaceful sitting here in the dark, tapping on the keyboard, and I’ll take every moment of peace I can get today. Things feel so very heavy compared to Election Day 2016. Things are heavy. It’s hard to have optimism when, four years ago this week, it seemed like there was absolutely no…

  • Spreading the Bloggie Love,  Tradition

    The NaBloPoMo Game (Hear Me Out: I Have an Idea!)

    National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is something that most of us old school bloggers looked forward to every November. We published a new post every single day during the month and, just as importantly, we read the words written by our friends. Blogging has changed a lot since those early days (monetization had a hand in “killing” it, as did Facebook and other elements; don’t get me started). Over the past couple of years, I’ve asked who wants to participate in NaBloPoMo with me and the number of respondents has decreased dramatically: so much so that this year I didn’t even have it on my radar. (Probably also because 2020!)…

  • Food

    I Have Made This Pumpkin Bread Recipe Approximately 231,945 Times. Still Awesome.

    The pumpkin bread recipe that my kindergarten class made a long, long, LONG time ago, originally posted on my blog in 2013, is something I make every single year without fail. My mom does, too. Each year since I posted it, I’ve been thrilled to hear from friends who say that making this ancient recipe has become a family tradition for them, too. I was reminded by one of those friends (shout-out to Tabatha!) that the recipe plug-in I had used originally (on my old site) wasn’t working here. Oops, I meant to update that a long time ago. So, in light of that situation as well as our being…