Big Easy

Have you been to New Orleans?  If not, hop a plane now before the next storm closes your airport and go.  Yeah, I think it’s raining there now, but trust me… it won’t dampen your spirits.


My daylight view of NoLa

I didn’t get to see it at all during daylight hours, except from our room window.   I was there on League business, and the days were LONG, deep and productive.   We didn’t get to any of the great restaurants y’all suggested, but we had FINE dining experiences just the same. 

We stayed on Canal Street, and Friday night, we were too tired to even take a cab uptown.  We just asked the concierge for recommendations.  We landed at GW Fins.   I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever had a better meal.  I started with Conundrum, which is my new favorite wine.  (Be still my heart… the wine shop on my way home carries it.  Sissy, dinner will be late because Mama needs new wine.)


Doesn't Sissy need this wreath?!

Saturday, our nearby recommendations failed us.  My travel companion is a loyal Yelper, and Yelp didn’t paint the right pictures of the places we were sent.  One looked awesome, but neither Yelp nor the concierge told us we needed reservations.  We weren’t willing to wait two hours.  So, we’d passed The Pelican Club both nights and we thought it looked nice… it was.   The moral of this story is that when in NoLa, if it’s good enough for dinner, call ahead for reservations.  That’s probably obvious to most of you, but such is the curse of living in podunk.  Even the places that require reservations around here will work you in pretty quickly in most cases.

I can also say I’ve never been in a friendlier city.  From the doorman to the NoLa League president and everyone in between, they couldn’t stop telling us how happy they were to have us in their city.  Now, I do suppose that the locals still there now are the ones who are very passionate about their hometown, but still… it was delightful to be their guest.

I do have to mention one cause our Friday lunchtime speaker champions.  If you went to a theater last weekend, you might have seen the Women of the Storm public service announcement.  Regardless, I hope you’ll take a moment to click over and watch the video or just cut to the chase and sign the petition.

Since most of my readers are women, I’m going to take a moment to remind you that we are powerful.  As a collective force, there’s almost nothing we can’t do.  What are you passionate about?

Looking Up!

Things are finally looking up around here!  2011 got off to a rough start, but we’ve made the turn and everything’s coming up roses now. 


Yeah, the photo is almost two years old now, but that’s okay.  The classics are always in style. 

Here’s a quick list of how the tide has turned:

  • Sissy’s back to normal – dammitSissyno is back to being the phrase I utter most.
  • I’ve lost weight, enough so that I have trouble finding clothes in my closet that aren’t sloppy-big.
  • I already have THE perfect dress for Vintage Vegas (thanks, Mary!) and no, you can’t see it yet. 
  • There’s nothing like sitting in your hot tub while it snows
  • We have new furniture that is causing a past-due home makeover
  • I have the BEST friends in the world who know just how to pick a girl up

There’s more, but that’s a good start for now.  On Monday, I’ll have to tell you about my big weekend.  What’s on your agenda?

Winter Hunterland

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday and Thankful Thursday!   We haven’t gotten blasted as thoroughly as we did last year   as some of you have this winter, but I got my wish; I wanted “one more snow” now that Sis is feeling her oats again.

January 2011 009

Sis and I have done an update on their blog, including a very nice photo of her face that shows how beautifully that left side is healing.   So here, we’ll feature the wee one, being a bold huntress – with no coat!!  Since we got back from the beach in December, Gretchen has decided she’s a tough chick and she don’t need no stinkin’ coat – unless it’s below about 20 degress or it’s raining or sleeting.  Hem.  Diva much?

January 2011 002As you can see here, she doesn’t like sleet, not one bit.  She also doesn’t care for her very utilitarian – but PANK! – Weatherbeater coat.  She’s more about style than function, it seems.

Thankful?  Well, for the snow that made Sis happy, the great report at her post-op check-up, but especially for the Knight, who is one awesome doggy Dadaw.  It warms my heart to see him smothered under some rougly 60 lbs. of fur-girls, all in the name of snuggling.  It delights me to no end when I step out of the shower to find that he’s holding “hands” with Sissy, or giving her a belly rub, or letting Gretchen lick him about the face. 

What routine sight makes you melt?

A Dog’s Purpose

From the website of the same name

I’ve taken a few days between finishing the book and blogging a review, and I’m STILL not sure how I feel about this book.   Oh, it was touching, it sure was.  I made the Knight stand there and starve and tap his foot and glare Sunday night while I read the last few paragraphs.  Then I wiped my tears, blew my nose and we went to dinner.

I don’t know how to talk about the book at all without a few spoilers, but I don’t think what I’m sharing will ruin the book for you.  The general concept is, the narrator/dog comes back – as in reincarnation – time and time again until his ulimate form serves its ultimate purpose.  Now, my raised Episco-Catholic-Bapt-Methodist mind had some trouble with that concept, despite the fact that the Knight and I have called Gretchen “Mugsy” more than once.  When we say it, we’re totally joking, because anyone who knew Mugsy knows he couldn’t come back as the most obedient, polite, PANK-wearin’ JRT ever, no matter how he loved his people.

Punching Bag 3

My tough baby-man in 2007

I also had trouble getting into the book, but once you get past the first version, it got better.  I did skim a lot in some spots, because while I get the whole boy and his dog thing, and I too had a dog that saw me through my parents’ divorce and my own life-changing injuries as a teen, my eyes crossed and I just wanted to get to the plot twist.

Still, I’m glad the blogless local friend recommended it just now, because I do believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason, and I do believe dogs exist in part to teach us how to love unconditionally.  Sissy is also teaching us how to bounce back from what would all but break most humans.  Her spirit and ability to overcome is inspiring.   The DIVA has charisma, and something about her makes fans everywhere she goes.  She’s a very special girl, and honestly, being her caretakers is an honor the Knight and I take very seriously.

Her incision is almost completely healed.  We’re still waiting on the hair to finish growing in, but I need to get you a current photo.  Maybe for tomorrow’s Dogs on Thursday?

The Nook is already waiting for me to start reading World Without End.   What are you reading?

Too Good Not to Share

Who knew?!  

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber.. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3.. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few cucumber slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5 Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6.. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm your fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

No Name-Calling Week

Why yes, this blog has become a service announcement generator…

I’ve made no secret of my activity in my local Junior League, nor about my rather plugged-in life.  The two rather conveniently collided today while I was on Facebook.   I’m not currently logged in to the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) website, so I’m assuming this blog post is public and you can read it too.

The book that inspired the Week

See, today marks the beginning of No Name-Calling Week.  I know, I know…  I’m the last place you’d expect to find a child-centered post.  Problem is, name calling carries over into our adult lives.  In fact, Alison and I just had a chat on Friday about names and bullies and life-long impact.  What comes out of our mouths matters, but it also matters what we allow others to say in our presence. 

Sometimes, there’s a fine line between name-calling and a nickname.  Intonation or even who is speaking matters, and so does the mood of the target.   I’ll share an innocent enough example that involves my big-secret first name.  You see…  it’s Dorothy.  It’s a lovely name with all kinds of positive meanings and associations, but even before I’d gotten to school, I’d heard enough of “Where’s Toto?”  Not mean, but even a harmless joke can get old FAST.  We won’t even get into the things schoolmates managed to rhyme with Chan over the years. 


I was lucky.  Long before bullying was a national issue, the principal at my school and an aware adult caught my only being bullied problem and addressed it head-on, so effectively that to my knowledge, the biggest, baddest, girl bully in our school was reformed.  So do your part.  If you have children or grandchildren, pop over to the AJLI blog linked above and run through a few of the suggested actions listed there.  If you don’t have little people in your lives, at least keep your eyes and ears open.  Adult bullies exist too. 

It’s really pretty simple…  if the person being called something or his/her parents find it offensive, it’s name-calling, not a silly nickname.  If you wouldn’t want your own mother or grandmother to hear you calling someone by that name or phrase, well… don’t.

Green with Envy

I’ve found my dress for Vintage Vegas this year.  Problem is… someone else has it.

Green was THE color for gowns at the Golden Globes.  I’m not much on celebrity watching, but I saw Angelina’s gown (left) this morning, and I want it.  I don’t even know who Mila Kunis (right) is, but her gown is lovely too…  just a little too much train and I can’t do the one shoulder thing.  

The Today Show did designer knock-offs this morning, but alas, none of the green gowns were featured.  Pout.

What does your weekend hold?  We have a low-keyed weekend ahead.  We both have colds that required prescriptive interventions, which makes me cranky; I don’t get sick.  (Why yes Virginia, I do realize stress zaps an immune system, but I don’t have to be gracious about it.)  I haven’t even been capable of knitting this week.  I’m trying to read A Dog’s Purpose, but that requires a bit of focus, and I don’t have any of that either. 

I almost missed the e-book cover by Vera!  She calls it an E-Reader Sleeve.  I have a cover on my Nook I like a lot , but…  I do want to check it out in person and see how much padding there is.  It appears my Nook as currently covered would slide right in there…

And does anyone have a recipe for truffled mac ‘n cheese?  I was so hoping X Lounge would have more of that for this year’s League party, but… they didn’t.  The bacon-wrapped fig bits were a horribly distant second, but the darling chocolate ganache or fresh berries in the wee tart cups were the perfect light desserts!

Have a warm and relaxing weekend!

No Shrinking Violet

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday and Thankful Thurday.  If you’re looking for photos of Sissy and her left used to be eye, please see their blog.  Here, I’m going to show off the DIVA’s first Vera bag.

It just so happens that the clinic is very near a great outlet mall.  I had been halfway joking when I made the comment two weeks ago that Sis needed her own bag to keep up with her medicines, especially now that we have the glycerine to take everywhere we go.  It’s in a rather awkward, long syringe, so that was a point of consideration.  At any rate, imagine my surprise when the first shop we visited was the Vera store, for Sis’s bag.

January 2011 002

There’s Sis’s Mini Cooler in DIVA’s signature color, which Vera calls Simply Violet.   It happens to be the perfect length for the glycerin, and a pill bottle fits in each of the front pockets as well.

January 2011 004Gretchen wasn’t impressed, but then she’s the one I am sure can tell PANK from other colors, so she knows that bag has nothing to do with her.   She does have enough sweaters and dresses to have her own suitcase, but right now, her clothes and Sis’s are stored together in a non-descript fashion. 

I think Thankful Thursday speaks for itself.  Despite the hurdles we’ve already had to jump in 2011, we’re very grateful for the fantasic vets and techs we’ve worked with, and for how well Sis is doing.  We’re also exceedingly grateful that Gretchen is as devoted to Sissy and as easy-going as she is.  That’s made these last three weeks a little less stressful.

Only Wednesday?!

This is the first whole work week I’ve put in since…  the second FULL week of December?  I’m ready for Dogs on Thursday, but in the meantime, I’m still so far behind I’m trying to decide what to skip and what to share.  And things won’t slow down until after February 20th, and then, that’ll just be to the dull roar we consider the norm in the Woods.

There are three things I think we’ll gab about today.  Vera’s new colors, area rugs, and boots, not necessarily in that order.

Yes, last week was so crazy that I only told TWO of you when I got my Vera preview email.  I think they’re all awesome!

First up is Boysenberry.  I’m curious to hear from the purple lovers.  This isn’t a true purple, and as has been the case of late with MANY of their new colors, I like the interior/contrast better than the main color.  But being a teen of the ’80s, does anyone else remember Paisley Park

While it’s a happy print, I don’t predict it will come to my house.  It’s not purple enough for Sis – who has her own Vera now, but that’s tomorrow’s post – and it definitely isn’t PANK enough for Gretchen Greer…

Next up is Folkloric.  Now THAT has PANK in it!  Despite the orange, I like this.  It’s happy, a little hippie-ish, and just plain happy.  I think the orange will be enough to keep it from coming to my house, but it DOES have pink and PANK, with a nice, mossy green, and it shouts “Happy Spring!”

Makes me want to find one of those peasant blouses I used to own, but really, I think it would be cute with army green capris and a crisp white shirt with a true pink cardi “preppied” around my shoulders.  Yeah, I could get ready for spring in a heartbeat…

Then we have Blue Lagoon.  Not very exciting, but it makes me want to toss on a navy shirt dress and red flats and head for the shore!

Of course, more ’80s time warp here…  I used to hear as a young teen that I looked like Brooke Shields.  For all my youngster pals, Brooke starred in Blue Lagoon in 1980.  That was also the first year of her Calvin Klein scandal.  You know, back then, people were shocked that a 14 year old girl was saying “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins?  Nothing.”  Hem.

Wrapping up the new Spring 2011 colors is Lemon Parfait.  While I think Vera’s designers did a great job, it definitely won’t come home with me, because of that yellow.  Still, it’s happy, and I do like the other colors in the print – grey, mocha, lime and “sea foam”.  (Those are Vera’s names for ’em.)  Still, I do appreciate it and think it rounds out the spring collection nicely.

While I have grey on the mind, let’s talk boots.  Have you gotten caught up in the boot trend this season?  I have a closet full of boots, but I want a grey pair, and I’ve discovered that my legs aren’t tall boot friendly.  I already knew I was short between the ankle and knee, and thanks to one rude male nurse some 14-15 years ago, I know I have “really big calves” for a woman my size.  Hem.  I found a cute pair last night, but they had a strange, narrow, low wedge heel that didn’t feel very stable at all.  Maybe I’m meant to just make do with all the boots in my closet?

Last, but hardly least, I’m now smitten with this rug, no thanks to those darling Bon Bon Rose Girls

That’s from Grandin Road, which is very new to me.  I haven’t decided whether to thank the BBR girls or not yet.  Our great room is making the transition from English Cottage to a more modern feel, and there’s something on virtually every page that would look great in the Woods!  Do you have an online resource for home or fashion I should know about?  It’s also time to fret about a gala frock already.  Never mind that I don’t know what I’m going to wear tomorrow night for the postponed holiday party that is now a mid-winter’s bash…

I can’t even find a photo to suggest what I want this year.  I’m thinking floor length, elegant and simple, without being boring.  No black, and I’m not sure I want red either, because it’s the Saturday after Valentine’s Day and I bet a lot of ladies are going to wear red.  HELP!!

First ’11 FO


Being virtual show dogs is STILL exhausting!

Before I share the first finished object of the year, I have been remiss in telling you that the fur-girls’ Mango Minster entries are up.   As seasoned bloggers and readers, you know that Sissy’s was done first – that’s important to her, so I’m just sayin’…  I’ll announce voting here, but it is time-sensitive and has a rather narrow window, so if you’d like a personal email notification at the appropriate time, let me know.

January 2011 016Also, DIVA aka: Queen, Sissy, etc. reports that her recovery is complete.   Her staff is holding off on such a proclamation until the esteemed surgeon says so, but at any rate, she’s galloping, leaping and stealing things off counters again, so all is right in the Woods. 

She has also requested that we only call her DIVA or Queen, but the staff isn’t cooperating.  We have ceased with “Queenie” after learning that despite its use as by an esteemed matriarch related to me by marriage, it does have rather mean connotations in literature.  Since Sis, while rambunctious and curious, is no troublemaker, we wanted no parts of that!

So… ’bout that FO…

It took me a week to knit Dae’s birthday hat

January 2011 001

Pattern:  Rib-a-roni is a great pattern.  This is actually my second time using it, so that should tell you something.  It’s rare that I go back to a pattern, but this makes the perfect man’s hat.  Don’t let my week confuse you; it’s a quick knit when the yarn is truly worsted weight (more on that in a bit) and when life isn’t unravelling at the seams. 

I knitted the largest size.

January 2011 010Yarn:  Cascade 220 Superwash, not quite a whole ball.  While I love the “touch” of this yarn, meaning that it’s soft and very easy to care for, I am not at all convinced it really is even a light worsted.  A little poking around Ravelry finds that plenty of people agree with me about 220 in general being VERY lean for a worsted.

Needles:  I used my favorite #6 bamboo circ, and then switched to the cramp-making 9″ #6 Hiya Hiya bamboo circ.   There’s just no way.   I know some people are switching to 9″ circs for socks, and the only way it would work for me is if I used two of ’em in the “two circs” style.  I already know that’s not my favorite method just because I tend to have stitches sliding off needles when I careless set a project down to let the dogs in and out or whatever, so if someone else wants to try this arthritis-maker, speak up and I’ll drop it in the mail to you.

Little sidenote here for the non-knitters.  THAT is the beauty of knitting.  If one method or type of needle doesn’t work for you, you have options, and lots of them. 


The first RaR hat, shown on a flower pot

Verdict:  I doubt this will be my last Rib-a-Roni, and 220 Superwash is too soft to hold the gauge problem against it forever.  Dae likes his hat, so all is well.

Be sure to check in on Thursday.  DIVA has granted permission for me to share some photos of her in her mostly healed state.  I’ll also share a special Vera Bradley purchase on this blog, and yes, it does relate to Dogs on Thursday!