• Grateful Dead dancing bears cake topper
    Food,  Friends,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments

    No Such Thing As Too Much Cake

    This cake. I can’t remember if I enthusiastically volunteered to make Momo’s wedding cake or if she asked me to make it and I enthusiastically answered “Yes of course!” Either way, I was very enthusiastic and it was a true labor of love. I was also a little terrified; making THE WEDDING CAKE for someone so special to me was daunting, but I tried to push that fear down. I had a concept right away: I asked her what she thought about a cake that would be solid white on the outside but would reveal a tie dyed look on the inside and she loved it. That was the last…

  • Counted Cross Stitch Jan 2 2024

    Positively Unquantifiable.

    Last week, the last one of 2023, I was seeing so many people post their Goodreads 2023 Reading Challenge results. I thought every single one of them was so impressive, but I noticed there were some sour grapes. For some reason, there are people out there who take others’ achievements personally, as if it makes them “less than.” That really bugged me, so I did two things. One. I wrote in my Instagram stories about when people we know achieve their goals (or get things done), it’s not an affront to everyone else. It is ridiculous for people to feel badly about themselves just because others have success, big or…

  • Screenshot 2023 11 07 at 9.34.24 AM
    Something That Could Change Your Life,  Best Thing Ever,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Proud Moments,  Travels

    A Gratitude Story, 40 Years Long

    Part 1: June-July, 1982 and 1983 Starting in the summer after 8th grade, I was part of a student interchange program from CISV International. (“CISV was founded in the belief that peace is possible through building friendship and mutual understanding, starting with children.”) In 1982, a delegation of about a dozen German kids from the Frankfurt area came to America and stayed for a month in the homes of about a dozen Knoxville-area kids. The following year, we Americans went to stay with our interchange partners in their homes for a month. The idea was that the hosting families would both participate in large group activities as well as take…

  • talk to strangers tattoo
    How To,  Random Thoughts

    Talk to Strangers

    Who’s trippin’ down the streets of the citySmilin’ at everybody she sees?Who’s reachin’ out to capture a moment?Everyone knows it’s Windy The Association, 1967 I am a huge extrovert. I’m often told that my laughter can be heard in a crowded room (sorry, not sorry!) and I absolutely love talking to people, any people. I’m from the Midwest which means it’s in my nature to say “Hey there! How’s it going?” as I walk past strangers on the street. Sometimes they smile and answer back and sometimes they don’t, depending where I am at the time. Sometimes I even surprise myself with who I talk to and where those conversations…

  • 230428170714 king charles portrait copy

    King Me, King Me, King Me!

    What better reason to live-blog the coronation of King Charles (I don’t know if I can ever get used to that) than the fact that I live-blogged the weddings of both Princes William and Harry? Also, I haven’t posted anything new here in six months, which is a new record for me. So…why not? A little background: I watched the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 at a friend’s house. I remember that we woke up because her mom was getting up to watch it, and we went down to the family room in the basement, where the television was. Her mom sat…somewhere. I can’t remember where. It must…

  • November leaves 2022
    Random Thoughts

    The Perfect Sign on a Perfect Afternoon

    It was the most excellent kind of November day: sunny and mid 70s. I finished work early and decided to make the most of the weather by going out for a car wash and a grocery pickup. But first, a long drive. Driving my red Mustang convertible the long way on a gorgeous day to get to where I’m going–or even to no place in particular–is my favorite thing. (Okay, one of my favorite things.) I thought about where my errands were and drove in the opposite direction, weaving my way through dappled sunshine along back roads that were lined with all the fall colors. I pulled over several times…

  • forsythia
    Confessions,  Random Thoughts,  Something That Could Change Your Life


    Every year at this time, I see explosions of yellow-flowered branches springing from forsythia shrubs. The bright color alone is enough to bring a smile to my face; spring is coming, after all. More than that, I go back in time with these particular blooms. Years ago when I walked my little boys to the little elementary school around the corner from our house, a line of forsythia shrubs lined the fence between the school playground and the backyard of the home next door. Often the dog that lived there would bark and run along the fence as kids walked by, something that adds even more texture to an already…

  • tiny cross stitch 2 1
    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…

  • Field of American flags

    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.…

  • Dads ring and bracelet
    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…