Learn by Living


Courtesy of Amazon (duh?)

Yesterday, I was channeling Mary Poppins, and I still have her 21st century bag.  Today, it’s all about Eleanor Roosevelt and her sage advice in You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.   This is the… fourth selection by the JLC book club.   At some point, we’re going to have a reading list on our website, but for now, you’ll just have to take my word for it. 

I can’t believe I haven’t read this book before.  I’ve long admired Mrs. Roosevelt, one of the first Junior League members, and a woman whose intelligence and power was legendary.  I’ve highlighted nearly every page in my little Kindle edition, but my favorite quote comes in the forward.

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.”

Some of you know how deeply I believe that there are no coincidences and as such, we are the sum of the decisions – choices – we make.   This mother, former first lady, diplomat and more goes so far as to caution us to answer that annoying childhood “why” with patience and awareness, because how we respond dictates how the child doing the asking will come to regard learning.


Oh, it is preachy.  I find it motivating and though-provoking, but I’m sure others find it high and mighty and not grounded in the mundane that is “real life” for most of us.   But then, like the author, I was raised in a household where education meant the ability to formulate and support my own opinions, not just regurgitating facts.

In the late chapters, she gives advice on public service and even on politics.  But I still insist there’s something here for everyone.   Just look at the table of contents:

  1. Learning to Learn
  2. Fear – the Great Enemy
  3. The Uses of Time
  4. The Difficult Art of Maturity
  5. Readjustment is Endless
  6. Learning to be Useful
  7. The Right to be an Individual
  8. How to Get the Best Out of People
  9. Facing Responsibility
  10. How Everyone Can Take Part in Politics
  11. Learning to Be a Public Servant

It’s a beautiful book from what is perhaps a time gone by, but I find so much of it applicable today.   I’m glad it’s on my Kindle, because I’ll be able to pull it up on my iPhone, iPad, or even my computer when I want to quote the great lady!

What have you learned by living?





Mary Poppins

UntitledWe’re playing trick the old work computer.   It seems I can post photos if I use html, so you’ll have to settle for this sad, phone photo of my new handbag.   My wonderful, generous sister gave it to me for my birthday, and my League friends have dubbed it the Mary Poppins bag, because it’s deceptively roomy.  

I believe the phrase was coined last week.   I had to park on the street, and didn’t care to walk past the posse of neighborhood kiddos playing between me and my friend’s front door, whilst swinging a chilled bottle of wine, so …  I dropped it in my bag, which already had a box of Turtles and my iPad.   Maybe I did appear to be channeling Ms. Poppins as I whipped out the wine, a box of chocolates and my “e-book.”  The name has caught on, and I used it myself last night when I asked someone to grab my bag too when she went to get her own from the bag-staging bench our lovely hostess has just for her encumbered guests.

What you can’t see is the super-awesome strip of patent leather that is the exterior bottom of the bag.   It’s truly just about perfect.  I was a little surprised that Gretchen wasn’t drawn to the PANK lining, but Sis has a special fondness for sticking her head in this bag, for some reason.   Why yes, it does have a zipper and if I’d pull it shut…  but I don’t, because the phone lives in its pocket near the top of the bag, and that’s just one more unnecessary step at home.  When I’m out and about I do close the bag.

What movie character are you channeling these days?

Agenda Shuffle

I have a rather full agenda this week, but WordPress and my very antiquated computer at work have decided they are no longer mutually compatible.  So… please know all is well and be patient with me as I figure out how to re-arrange my daily schedule so I can blog from home. 

Yeah, I know… most of you already do that, but I’ve had the luxury of blogging from work since I started blogging, so this is a challenge for me.

Any new challenges in your life?


Timeless Classics

47222803Way back when I was an energetic youth and teen, tennis was one of my passions.   As best I can recall, I never wore anything other than Tretorns on the court.   I have a just barely narrower than average/medium foot, not enough so that I can wear a narrow width, but enough so that I get blisters if I don’t wear thick socks.  Tretorns fit like a glove.

Maybe they never left, but I sure stopped being able to find them.   Then, they turned up on Reese’s feet in a Budget Babe Dress by Number post.   Finally, a celeb look I want to copy!

Of course, they take me back…  in high school, I wore pearls EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.   Actually, I still do wear at least pearl earrings more often than not.  I’ve babbled here more than once that pearls were just a few hours short of being my birthstone.  Oh, rubies are pretty too, but there’s just something about pearls…

Image courtesy of Pearls with Purpose

Image courtesy of Pearls with Purpose

Maybe it’s because they are gifts from the sea, so to speak.  (Don’t spoil my happy with the facts; I realize natural pearls are increasingly rare and that there are freshwater pearls too.)  And then there’s the oyster connection… love me some mollusks.  I also appreciate that pearls go with everything, so I don’t have to think about whether they match the rest of my outfit.

What’s making you nostalgic today?


Light up the Night!

UntitledHappy Thorsday, little friday and thankful Thursday.  The girls have their own colorful post here.   This post features dog-walking at night.   We don’t do much walking in the dark, but Tuesday evening, Sissy fairly noted that it was cool enough to walk RIGHT at dusk… so we did, with their rope-light leashes in hand(s).

Yeah, Sis has boring yellow, because in natural light or unlit, Gg’s leash is pink, and if you are a remotely regular reader, you know that Gg can in fact discern PANK, and it is her signature color, and as such, ANYTHING of said hue is HERS, whereas Sis just wants to walk and doesn’t care what she’s wearing as long as she’s comfortable and moving.

The leashes don’t provide enough light for truly dark conditions for the human to safely move along, but at nightfall, they were adequate in the more open areas, given that it was a full moon.


This photo gives the most accurate picture of our walks.  Note that Sis has her own agenda and is headed for it, and Gg is dancing happily, but moving in Sissy’s direction.   There’s rarely a dull moment walking these two.

Today, I’m thankful for the cooler weather.  I was tempted to play hookie from work so the girls and I could head for the trails!  I think it will be cool enough for us to do just that after work.

What are you thankful for today?

Fight for the Living

Thank you for the prayers, kind words and support after yesterday’s post.  Sadly for the world, blessedly for the suffering, another friend’s sister gave up her fight early this morning. 

UntitledSo how timely that my favorite cousin popped in yesterday – herself, a cancer survivor x2 – for hugs, laughs, jabs at the Knight (whom I’m sure she claims as HER favorite cousin), and some perfect gifts.

The shower cap is a highly personal joke, but let’s just say that thanks to my well-traveled cousin, I am pretty sure I have the best international shower cap collection anywhere.

The Mother Jones card is just because she saw me “like” a post on Facebook.  Mother Jones is an American civics icon and an inspiring woman.  If you don’t know her story, click over.   Her quote, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living!” is one of my favorites, and ever so appropriate right now.

Have you gotten any great gifts lately?

Sunset and evening star

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before – repeatedly – that I was blessed to have the best introduction to serious poetry as a ‘tween.  Between that and the compassionate care my mother demonstrated – and took me along as she did so – for our family, friends and neighbors, the concept of hospice is something I wholly appreciate.

Please bear with me.  Posts are likely to be sporadic again, as I focus on needs right here in front of me.  Cancer is raging in too many lives of those I hold dear.  Their stories aren’t mine to tell, but on Thursday, I learned of two League members I consider treasures… one had finally lost her fight, and another is giving us the gift of her final days so we can assure she knows what a positive impact she has had on the League, on our community.  On Friday, two great patriarchs from families that have been a part of my life for ages both slipped away after very long fights.

There are others.  I honestly don’t have it in me to list all of the people I know who are either fighting cancer or caring for someone who is.  And then, there was a very dear doggy death – not from cancer, thankfully – I haven’t mentioned here either… (His mother isn’t a blogger, but he was a very special companion.)

Because of Mr. Murray’s english classes, I have a death poem for any mood, but today, I give you my favorite poet’s more gentle thoughts.  I wish such a gentle glide into that good night for everyone in hospice care.


Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
  And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
  When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
    When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crost the bar.


Double Header

Thursday was a big day for the Junior League of C’ville (JLC).  I started out the evening at our first new member interest event of the new League year.   I love meeting all the potential applicants!  Each year, I’m re-amazed at the smart, energetic women who are drawn to the JLC, and this year is no exception.

JLC13.618This is my favorite photo from the evening.  I had to borrow it from Facebook as most of  the photos I took had condensation on the lens.  The venue was a little warm; it was a very hot day and the AC was having trouble keeping up with all of us.

I’m on the right, with two board member-friends.  One of the things I love about the League is even when we’re hard at work, we usually manage to have fun!

I scooted out of that event early to make it to our first fundraiser of the year at Trump Winery’s Third Thursday Music Series.

(Yes, THAT Trump.  Mr. Trump bought the old Kluge Winery and this was my first visit since it became Trump.)

The tasting room is a lovely building with an incredible view.   From the first event of the night, I had to drive past Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland (home of James Monroe, whom one local history buff insists held the original land grant for my property as well) to get to the winery.  I love living in history that people from around the world come to visit, but I don’t take it for granted.

I was soon sipping their incredible Sauvignon Blanc.  I confess… a bottle came home with me.  I didn’t know what I’d been handed, but when I described it to the winery employee as “clean and not too sweet” she nailed it – and granted me a taste to confirm.  (Their chardonnay isn’t bad either; I had a taste of that to rule it out, as those were the two whites they were serving by the glass.)

It was a little hot and humid for hanging out on the patio with friends, but we did it anyway.  I regret that I don’t have photos to share… or not.  Did I mention it was hot and humid?  We were all a little soggy and droopy, but it was great to chat with League members I didn’t know as well as I should!

JLCI did pause on my way home to take a photo.  I regret that I didn’t have my big, good camera with its zoom lens for this one.  The sunset was an incredible PANK.  You can see a hint of the pink in the middle of the photo, where the mountains meet the trees, but the intense colors got lost in transition.  It was a just about perfect evening to have to be two places at once, even with the sweat running down my back.

I wish the events hadn’t been on the same night so that “everyone” could have experienced both of them, but we fell into the Trump opportunity after the invitations had gone out for the interest event.   I kinda’ glossed over my thankfuls yesterday, but I am so very grateful for my past president friend who represented at Trump, and for the darlin’ Membership VP (far left, top photo) who not only represented  at the interest event so I was free to leave, but took photos… so the past president could stay at the winery and avoid my double-duty.

Confused?  Well…  said past president is doing a double placement this year.  She’s both past president and League historian, so she quickly agreed to stay at the winery if we’d take lots of photos for her at the other event.  We really have some devoted, dedicated leaders in the JLC, and I’m so glad they’re also friends.

What simple joys have you overlooked today?

Walk-by Posting

Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday!  Gretchen blogged about Sissy’s cooling vest, and frankly…  that’s about all there is to share in dog world.  The heat wave is crushing us.  Bassets are double-coated, meaning they have a coarse outer coat and a downy undercoat, so anything over about 70 with humidity to match makes Sissy uncomfortable in a hurry.

UntitledWe did find this pretty feather in the road last night, and I thought of Alison, because we talk about Eastern Jays from time to time.

Isn’t it beautiful, with its natural progression of hues?  I think the last two – the darkest two – shades are my favorites.   It’s very nice of nature to leave me little blobs of beauty.

And it’s blue, so it reminds me of a new little baby boy I’ll hopefully get to meet soon!  (Even though his “you’re here!” present is stalled at halfway… I’m pretty sure even a little newborn doesn’t need a fairly heavy blanket right now.)

PillowSince it is Thorsday, here’s a photo of what I hope the fur-girls are doing at home.  Sis has been expressing herself this week.  She ate a small serving of Strawberry Whoppers on Tuesday, and yesterday, she shredded a ballpoint pen.  (It was one of the Knight’s, with his business’s logo on it… and the Whoppers were his too, so…??) 

What little things are making you smile today?


Well, yesterday I told you what I’d done a week ago, so I guess I’m making progress given that today, I’m prepared to share what I did Saturday.

UntitledI was hoping to stop at a League member’s garden that was open for a special tour on our way to the Horton Pig Roast, but as is our norm on weekends, we were running late.  Luckily, some people get their acts together better than we do, and the Knight’s cousin poured me a glass of Freedom as soon as we arrived.

You can’t tell from the photo, despite my efforts of putting the wine glasses in the floor and using the white ‘fridge as a backdrop, but my glass (left) has PANK printing, and the Knight’s (right) has red.  Mine has a cat on it, which I want to ask Mrs. Horton about; I happen to know she is a dog lady, but I suppose she could like cats too…  The Knight’s features a Lincoln quote, with a nod to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The wine, like many of Horton’s whites, is a little sweet and fruity.  I tried to get more information from their vintner, but ever the company man, he basically just recited what is written on the price sheet:

Freedom –  (Sweet Tropical Wine) – Fruity wine shows aromas and flavors of granny smith apples, peaches, and mangos. Serve chilled with hot spicy food.  Nickname: Porch wine

What’s funny is I am not big on peach or mango, but I *ADORE* this wine and bought several bottles, along with more of their sparkling Viognier, which might well be my favorite libation EVER.  (Nickname: Dom Virginion – need I  say more?!)  The Knight and the vintner know to send more of both my way every time the Knight works at the winery.


I am biased.   I don’t care whether you like sweet, fruity whites or not…  How can you NOT give a shout-out to a local vineyard that not only celebrates our history, but asks its customers to pause and “remember those who have fought and died for our freedom”?

And yes, I suppose in an effort to be transparent, I should note that we do business with the Hortons quite regularly, but this is not a paid endorsement.  I’ll also note that my BIL and the Knight’s cousins drink reds and have found offerings they buy regularly at Horton’s too.  They are an award-winning winery in many categories, year after year.

After a very pleasant afternoon in the shade with the Knight’s cousin, his wife, my brother inlaw and his girlfriend and some grape pie, we still did dinner at Bavarian Chef at the original, Madison location.   We didn’t take advantage of the restaurant week menu.  I ordered the same things I order almost every time and it was outstanding as always.   Is there a support group for men with a cream corn problem?  If so, I’m signing the Knight and his brother up. 

I should have gotten a photo of the grape pie.  Big, fat, red grapes, whole, with some VERY purple gelatinous stuff to hold it together.  The Knight’s cousin made me eat a bite after he tired of my unintentional game of 20 questions.  It wasn’t bad, but not being a fan of grape jam, jelly or even Kool-Aid, that one bite was plenty.  (I couldn’t find an image that was close enough… no top crust, and really… the gel was more of a dark lilac than the rich blue-red-purples I see in the online images that came up in my search…)

Have you tried anything new lately?