• Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Travels,  UGH.

    Currently Breaking My Heart: Gatlinburg

    You may not have heard until around lunchtime today because for some reason the news outlets weren’t covering it, but Gatlinburg, Tennessee was on fire. Actually, it has been on fire for a couple of weeks–East Tennessee has been experiencing its worst drought in about a decade–but yesterday the winds kicked up and some fires that were simmering in the Chimney Tops area blew out of control and caused terrible devastation. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses, gorgeous, beloved areas of Smoky Mountain National Park: torched to the ground. It’s upsetting for anyone who has ever set foot there because truly it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the…

  • Random Thoughts,  Reflections on Parenting

    For the Children

    I was at Target the other day, and for some reason my ears honed in on all the kids that were there. I heard so many statements, questions, and stories straight from the mouths of babes that I wondered if I were in some kind of Twilight Zone. It’s unusual for me to pay attention, for sure: after all, my own “kids” are 21 and 24 and the days of taking care of every single need they have are long gone. These days I’m terribly good at ignoring children (not to be mean, mind you: I just tune them out because I focus on other things). On the occasions when…

  • Amazing People

    Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Hillary

    I had to be out of my house for an hour so I’m sitting in a mostly-deserted McDonald’s crying my eyes out watching Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. It’s beautiful, uplifting, full of grace and continues the tradition of a peaceful leadership transition in our country. She really would have been a fantastic president. Thank you, Hillary.

  • Blessings,  Roxie

    Day Four.

    Roxie has been gone since Friday morning. It’s been so difficult, but bits and pieces of my days are getting easier. On Friday I cried and cried and cried. On Saturday I cried and cried and slept, mostly unable to get off of the couch. Yesterday I didn’t cry at all, only becoming a little teary-eyed when taking my first walk without her. Today, Day Four, I was fine until the vet called to let me know that her paw print was ready, and when I drove over I felt my chest tighten and all of a sudden when I parked the car I was hardly breathing, trying to push…

  • Blessings,  Favorite Things,  Roxie

    Quality of Life

    Advance apologies: this might be difficult for you to read, but I had to get it out, for myself. This dog. Twelve days ago I was walking her down the street, both of us happy as could be. Today, we said goodbye to her. She was happiest when she was outside, running down the sidewalk. Actually, she was happiest when she was eating any kind of food: hers or ours. (Beagles, man.) But getting out on the leash was a close second. She was only eleven, one month short of twelve. Our beloved vet, Dr. Withers–who has seen Roxie ever since she was getting puppy shots–has been telling me for…

  • Something That Could Change Your Life,  UGH.

    New Week, New Frame of Mind

    Last week was a TERRIBLE week around here. Specifically I’m talking about personally, in this house. It started with the basement flooding and went downhill from there. Yes, downhill. ARGH. That said, I can’t gloss over the fact that, way outside of my house, the church shooting in Charleston happened last week. It broke my heart, not only because of the cold-blooded murder of nine people and the fact that this was, without a doubt, a racially-motivated hate crime and not only because it happened in a place of worship where people are supposed to feel (and BE) safe–our temple has police supervision outside during the High Holidays and I…

  • Roxie

    Roxie’s Rug

    We have lived in our current house for thirteen years in December. Though this was not the first house we ever bought–that honor goes to a house in Kenosha, Wisconsin–we did buy this one after renting for three years, so it was very exciting to make plans for a few pieces of new furniture and paint colors other than “Landlord’s Choice White”. When we first starting hunting for new home items, Jim picked out a Prairie-style recliner for the family room. We both adore the chair–if we could afford it, our entire home would look like Frank Lloyd Wright provided the furnishings himself–but I was more excited about a rug…

  • Childhood Memories,  Food

    Hostess With The Mostess

    Today was a sad day in the snack cake world. The Hostess company (probably best known for Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Ding Dongs but also the home of other well-known brands) shut down after a union strike prevented the company from baking their various food products. The company had threatened to close down if the employees didn’t return to work by yesterday afternoon and ended up having to make good on its promise: it couldn’t financially handle another day of being in limbo. Of course, the worst news is the laying off of 18,500 workers. The second worst news is that, unless another company buys the Hostess brands and resumes…

  • Travels

    Remembrance At The National September 11 Memorial

    One thing I wanted to do when I was in New York City last month was visit the National September 11 Memorial, which opened in 2011. I made reservations for myself and a group of friends and it was literally our first destination once we all arrived at the hotel. The weather was appropriately dark and drizzly. As the four of us somberly made our way to Ground Zero and then through the security stations, we really had no idea how stunning (in so many ways) the memorial would be. It’s huge. I mean, it’s supposed to be huge, because it’s set in the footprints of the Twin Towers, and…