• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Confessions,  Motivation

    I’m Like a Bird

    I have three hand-blown glass birds that I purchased on three different trips to one of my favorite places on earth, Cape May, New Jersey. These birds hang in the windows of three rooms in my house and they make me incredibly happy whenever I look at them. Usually. Although it always sways a little bit because we keep the ceiling fan on, the green and yellow bird that hangs in our living room window normally looks to the left as its default position. This was double-checked about six weeks ago after Jim put a longer string on it: before he climbed back down the ladder he waited for the…

  • Blessings,  Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  I'm Apparently Old.

    I’m One Year Older and Here Are My Grievances

    I turned 51 on Wednesday. It was a much quieter birthday than last year; rather than spend my day on a plane headed for paradise I spent much of my day on the couch watching “90 Day Fiance.” Yes, seriously. Anyway, at my age I have a mental list of general life grievances that is growing just like it’s supposed to as we get older. I thought I’d make a list (not all-inclusive; that’s impossible) here so that when I’m still definitely blogging in ten years I can look back at 61 and think to myself, “Oh dear; I was so adorable back then!” Here are just a few things…

  • Field Notes
    Confessions

    I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up.

    That’s what it feels like, anyway. Two years ago and all the time in my life before that I was a complete overachiever + perfectionist + compulsive planner + lots of other things that kept my shoulders firmly planted next to my ears at all times. Some of you who have only met me recently would probably say, “Uh, you still seem a little like that?” Believe me: I have changed. While I can still make things look good, I still care about details, and I am still more organized than the average person, I don’t routinely give myself and everyone else in my immediate vicinity anxiety and/or the shakes…

  • Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Food,  Fun in Knoxville,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    The Thrill is in the Hunt.

    I used to throw themed parties all the time. My boys were raised with big birthday parties that had tons of elements that coordinated with whatever show, movie, or thing they were into that year. The ability to take a theme and run with it, usually far further than the average person would care to and what I mean by that is “until said theme is nearly dead and gasping for breath but in a good way,” is something I come by honestly: my sister and I both get it from our mom. While I have contributed ideas for themed parties in the past few years when my friends have…