• Mural on greenway
    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…

  • Autumn Leaves Nov 2020
    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…

  • Melisa Biden Harris 2020 e1604777991412
    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…

  • Cheekwood peace
    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…

  • All You Have to Do
    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!)…

  • Pumpkin Bread scaled

    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…

  • Moon
    Confessions,  Random Thoughts

    Pandemic Thoughts: Lack of Practice Makes Us Rusty.

    The last six months have been about twenty-five years long, am I right? This pandemic has tossed so many unprecedented* things at us that I couldn’t name them all if I tried, but we have collectively cartwheeled and vaulted and back-flipped ourselves and our family members all over the place (oddly enough, while restricted mostly to our homes) in order to cope with it all. *By the way, one of the things that has been rudely tossed at us in excess during this COVID-19 era is an extraordinary overuse of the word “unprecedented.” I would like to request more precedented stuff, please! I have had unprecedented (ha!) time to think…

  • P8051073 scaled e1599749959719
    How To

    Tradition: Commemorating 9/11 in a Meaningful Way

    In 2012, I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day. Edward J. Rall was a firefighter who began his FDNY career at Engine 232/Ladder 176. Thereā€š and also at Rescue 2 where his career prematurely…

  • Melisa December 1976 cropped
    Childhood Memories,  My Mom Has Mad Skillz

    My Earliest Political Memory Was That Time I Got In Trouble.

    Just look at that eight year old up there. She looks like she means business, doesn’t she? She was me. Well, she is me. I thought it would be fun to tell the (very) short and sweet story of the very first memory I have that involves politics. Back in 1976 when I was obviously trying to be some kind of supermodel, there was more talk than usual about America and politics. Jimmy Carter and incumbent Gerald Ford were running their presidential race, and we were also celebrating the Bicentennial—the 200th anniversary of the First Continental Congress, which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A year-long wave…

  • Herb garden 2020
    Family Fun,  Friends,  Motivation,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    New Pandemic Hobbies Keep Us Busy!

    I have a lot of friends who are, overall, very happy right now. (And I’m not just talking about the introverts!) They’re thankful for the serenity and forced slow-down this pandemic has brought upon them. Naturally they are sad for all of the losses that have resulted from it as well; that has to be stated, but that’s a different topic for another day. I can’t say that I’m always thankful but I definitely do have moments and days when I am. Maybe we all do, at different levels: there are good days and bad ones, good weeks and bad ones. These days, months into the pandemic, many people are…