OPNP

So… for several years, I’ve been threatening to start anew, come up with a blog name that isn’t tied to a specific hobby, that doesn’t have my nickname in it the title, etc.

I did it.  I fought WordPress, the web host and my own techno-ignorance, and I won.  I cordially invite you to change your bookmarks and find me – and the furgirls – at Of Pups and Pearls or http://ofpupsnpearls.com.  If the Knight leaves me unsupervised for a little longer, I might even set up a new email account, a facebook page, rename my Twitter thingee…

Hope to see you there!

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I’m a little tea bag…

I__m_A_Little_Teapot_by_mashiI remember singing the Teapot song as a little girl, but tonight, Mrs. Roosevelt’s quote is speaking to me.

A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.   Eleanor Roosevelt

That’s one of the take-aways from my time as President of the Junior League of Charlottesville.  At the stroke of midnight tonight, my tenure as President is complete.

May has been more about hot water than cakes and champagne.  I’ve gone through a lot of peppermint tea; it’s good for headaches AND upset stomachs, in case you were wondering.  However, we’re finishing on an upswing, thanks to a good eye exam for Sissy today.

I had this vision that on June 1, my inbox would echo with its emptiness and I’d suddenly have free time to spare.  That isn’t going to be the case, so I don’t know that there will be a return to regular blogging.  I’m having a pre-midlife crisis, I guess; I am really questioning a lot about my life and where I want to go from here.  I’ve spent the past three-plus years focusing on the Junior League to the point of exclusion of other parts of my life, and as fate would have it – not that I believe in fate, mind you – there has been so much upheaval in my life in 2014 (because even though my mother died on December 26, 2013, her memorial service was January 2 of this year) that I can’t simply start marching down the post-JLC Presidency bucket list.

UntitledSure, I’d still like to get Gretchen in a class or working with a trainer who can help both of us deal with her anxiety better, but frankly, until I can drive to and from Sissy’s eye appointment (a whopping 100+ mile, one-way trek that takes me past my recently departed friend’s home, within a few miles of the home of my youth, and the graves of my father, grandparents, etc.) without weeping, I think maybe I need to drop back and focus on a concept two very wise women – one of my college sisters (we were assigned “sisters” in each class above us when we were freshman) and the barely-blogging gMarie – have reminded me of more than once…  You can’t give from empty.

It goes against my nature to admit my well is dry, but there you go.  I’m still trying to put on my happy face and I’m definitely putting one foot in front of the other, but I did actually ask the Knight a couple of weeks ago how one becomes the fragile flower who opts out of life because it’s just too much.  I think I could get into about a month-long “breakdown” where I could just blog, walk the dogs for miles on end, and sip a lot of tea while reading.  (And no, that’s not an option, not even for a day.)

Cue Chaplin’s Smileor Annie’s Tomorrow.  Heck, play them both.  They’re a little melancholy, but one of my theme songs remains Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud.”  Just so you know, it’s impossible to sing with a wee JRT licking your face.

See… the problem is that EVERYONE is struggling through something, and if not, they will be soon enough.  I had this crazy idea as a teen that I was getting all of my trials and suffering out of the way early, and the rest of my life would be smooth sailing.  Actually, my early years just prepared me to deal with all the mess that is life.  We all have highs and lows, and I just learned early how to roll with the punches and keep on keeping on.  I’m humming Tanya Tucker’s “Strong Enough to Bend” now.  It’s about love, but the concept of bending instead of breaking really speaks to me.  (Maybe that’s why I like yoga so much too?)

The good thing about hot tea is that even a properly tempered teapot with a great cozy can’t hold the heat in but for so long.  Now that it’s not my job to steer the JLC ship, I feel a cool breeze, and the tree is bending in the wind.

 

 

 

Sunday Sundries

Thanks for your kind words.  I’m especially thankful for my local friends who have been wonderful about “leaning in.”  Unlike Ms. Sandberg, I believe we should lean into EACH OTHER, rather than career opportunities, but I share her notion that when we lean in, we’re all stronger and society – and each of us as individuals – is better for it.

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I have the best friends this world can offer.  I’m particularly fortunate to have been president between two of the most loyal, dependable, supportive, collaborative women I’ve ever known.   They’re class acts, and I couldn’t have done this without them – not the past week, not the past two, three years.   If I’ve had any success as president, it’s been because the woman on the right and those before her set me up for success, and I sincerely hope we’ve done just that for the beauty on the left as well.

It’s odd to realize I’m at the end of my tenure as president, but it’s exciting too.  The new leaders are dynamic, energetic, and I look forward to working with them and seeing where the JLC goes in the next year.  I am certain it will be stronger, better and more efficient!

It’s also probably a good thing that I don’t have time to be wistful and wax poetic but so much.  Work is busy, and life is going on, whether it seems appropriate or not.  As Reba put it, “I guess the world didn’t stop for my broken heart.”  For nearly as long as there has been life on this earth, there has been death, and “carrying on” is what I do.  Maybe there is an element of denial in there too, but I don’t think so.  I am just wired to process things differently so that I can be the helper and fixer that I am by nature.

Not one to believe in coincidences, it still somehow took me a few days to realize my friend died on the 13th.  She was so superstitious that she all but stayed in bed and didn’t open the blinds on Fridays when they collided with the 13th, so is it ironic, destiny, or a self-fulfilling prophecy that Death came for her on the 13th?

UntitledI found this bit of luck near the back door.  I’m not sure how  I suddenly became quite the four-leaf clover spotter, but this is the third I’ve found this month without even trying.   Isn’t the lighter green in the center interesting?

Are you superstitious?  Does plucking four leaf clovers make me superstitious?

There are a few songs running ear-worming their way around my head:

  • John Cougar Mellencamp’s Jack ‘n Diane (Oh yeah, life goes on…)
  • Miranda Lambert’s How Dare You
  • Sinatra’s My Way (my friend’s funeral request)
  • Rascal Flatts My Wish

WF51673_2_700x700I might have fallen down the Kate Spade rabbit hole.  I’ve always like her designs, and I’ve been intentionally avoiding the store that finally found podunk in the past year or so, but I accidentally – no,  seriously!! – wandered in today.  To my surprise, I left her Keds there (this time), but I couldn’t resist a belt (not shown online yet), and I’m supremely grateful that I managed not to even touch the PANK frock that kept calling out to me.  (Not linking to the image online because it looked SO MUCH BETTER in person – trust me.)  Unlike the other boutique designer I like, Ms. Spade favors a silhouette that makes the most of a woman’s curves.  I don’t need any more party dresses, not now, not ever…  but I do love her parfum too.  Beauty was my favorite, and it’s been discontinued.

I’ll be missing in action for a few days.  Life isn’t getting the best of me, but I’m not going to have time to post, and don’t have time to compose more posts and set them to publish later.

What’s happening in your world?

 

Popcorn Supper

0007574104830_300X300Sometimes you just need popcorn for supper.  Today was one such evening.    I’d like to think it’s a little healthier (air popped, after all) than mac n’ cheese, which is my REAL comfort food.   Sissy would prefer the pasta though, because some of you might recall the DIVA is allergic to corn in all forms except corn syrup.

Oh, I’m not melancholy or tired.  I’m feeling about 6… which as I recall was my “… but why?!” phase.   So maybe we’ll call it whiny with a dose of frustration.

I did have a not-great day.  My eye exam was fine; I remain ridiculously near-sighted but now am toting a prescription that my dear doc wrote so I can have just distance (as I have since 6th grade) glasses, bi-focals, TRI-focals or progressive lenses.  Isn’t she nice?  (She really is; as is the way of the world in podunk, I’ve known her since she was in grade school.)

So, do feel free to tell me which of the varieties of glasses you own, have owned, and won’t ever own again.  Given that Dr. J laughed and said she knew I was most likely to continue to just remove my glasses to see up close and gave me her blessing to do just that “until it annoys [you] enough to do something” I’m in no hurry and can wallow in yet another good ol’ round of analysis paralysis on the lens type discussion.

I also own adjusts to light lenses and not, and a pair of old-fashioned prescription sunglasses, which definitely need to be refreshed, as they’re roughly 10 years old now.  My prescription hasn’t changed much, but sun protection has.

Before I made it out of the doctor’s office to head for work, a friend stopped me.  Seems none of our mutual friends alerted me to his cancer battle a year ago, but he’s victorious for now, and has a new outlook on life that is allowing him to almost roll with the latest punch in the gut from Fate.   We do a lot of pulling up of the boot straps here in horse country, but there’s always a fresh pile to step over, around or plow through.

I’m inspired by my strong, fighting friends, but seriously… they were already strong men and women and enough is enough.   There’s not even enough sugar to make lemonade from the lemons.  But as the victor smirked and reminded me this morning, none of us knows when our time is going to be up anyway…

Good thing I like boots and own a slew of them.  The afternoon brought more devastating news.

(And for the record, the Knight and I are fine.  The news isn’t mine to share, but there is plenty of very sad/bad/mad news to go around.  Let’s just say cancer sucks, especially the kind without much hope for a happy ending, and to have it show up more than once recently is … devastating.)

 

 

True That

Sunday Sundries…

10168011_613948628694501_6794305290591110519_nOkay, not ENTIRELY true.  I also need dogs, knitting, yoga, “wogging”, dark chocolate, cheese and… but books and tea are a great start.

May 3rd was a day I should have known about and celebrate2010logod on time.  Click over to the girls’ blog to find out why.  (But here’s a hint…)

I bash podunk for its shopping and such, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  I love our small town and our almost incestuous connections and interconnections.  Today’s adventures give a good glimpse into what I love about life in a small town.

The Knight was perusing Facebook and saw a friend’s BBQ food truck was set up within striking distance.  We ventured out, and of course, got to see the father-son owners/operators, but also a family friend, the daughter/sister of the owners and her family, my nephew, the firehouse duty crew, all while enjoying great food.  (And why on earth with all those folks who know me on hand did NO ONE tell me to try the hand-cut fries before I was too full to even consider it?!)

So seriously, if you’re a local, look for Buckshot’s BBQ’s red trailer and you want the BBQ platter with beans and fries.   They’ll be at the Zion Crossroads Lowes and back in the Pantops area again next weekend.

Podiatry LondonIs anyone else an underpronator or supinator?  (Do you wear out the outer/right edges of your shoes?)  I’m shocked.  I used to be a neutral to overpronator, and while I knew my back injuries/surgery had changed my dynamics, I really thought I’d gone further into overpronator land, not all the way in the other direction.  No wonder those cushioned shoes feel so good to my old bones.  Our new “walking” route is almost exclusively grass, so I may need to go get evaluated at the local running store.  My trail runners are better than the “road runners” I wore on Saturday, but neither are perfect.  (And yeah, I know several of you and all of my local runner-friends told me to go do that a long, LONG time ago.)

Actually, my wear patter is more like the mirror image of A.  Wonder what that means?

I don’t remember what my blood type is either.  Yes, I fixate on things.  Do you?

 

 

 

 

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday, last board meeting as president, May Day…

DSCN1799The deer have eaten my rose bushes – and everything else that ever was green – so there are no raindrops on roses and I’m allergic to kittens, but there are still plenty of favorite things to make me smile.

Not everything is a cause for celebration.  The girls’ blog talks about another hurdle we’re trying to cross.  I am very grateful that Sis is okay, but my spirit is broken.  I’ve lost faith in some people, and in my own ability to keep my dogs safe, but full disclosure…  I did buy a new pair of PANK trail shoes earlier this week, so not all hope is gone.

Ebb and flow is the way of life, but this afternoon, I received one of the greatest compliments of my life.  A teenage girl, about as typical as they come (angst, challenges authority, heard moaning, “I hate my life” and the like regularly), greeted me brightly and then opened her arms wide and we hugged.

And hugged.  And held on.  And whispered things I won’t share.  Growing up can be hard, and I think she really knows not only is she the only one ever, but her parents aren’t the only adults who care deeply about her.

Neither of us are overtly affectionate, which only made the moment all the more precious.

And sometimes, being honored is inconvenient.  That’s all I’m going to say about that for now, but has anyone else ever thought, “Oh, what an honor — I just wish the timing was better”?

The sunshine and roses will be back soon.  In the meantime, I’ll take a rainy day hold tight and sway with a young friend every single time.  A resilient dog with plenty of kisses and sassy demands for a walk – even in the rain, even after being attacked – makes the world a better place too.

And yeah, I do sing “My Girl” to the furgirls, along with “You are my Sunshine.”

What lifts you up or puts sunshine on a cloudy day for you?

 

Bits and Bobs

Yet another week where life turned on its ear, but it’s all good stuff.  I have a great opportunity for work and was reminded again that not only did I accidentally land in the right job, but I have the best friends ever.   Instead of asking me how I could put them in such a position, they’re excited for me and while I don’t take their support for granted, I know they always have my back.  (So there’s your Thankful Thursday moment, even though I doubt any of you will actually read this on Thursday.)

And no, I didn’t forget Thorsday… never will, even when I can’t manage to get a post up.  I have a question for you over on the girls’ blog

I’m already sipping my Sleepytime Throat Tamer tea, so I’m not in a state to give you a well-organized list of things I’ve found online this week or any such cool thing, but here are some bits and bobs you might find interesting:

    • No, I’m not sick.  Dangitall, my allergies found me.  I’ve been battling itchy, “weak” eyes for several days, my nose is all goobered up (sorry… over-sharing seems to be my theme for the day), and now, there’s been enough “drip” that my throat is sore.  WAH!
    • And no, I can’t take allergy meds.  Like wee Gretchen Greer, my body just doesn’t respond well to some drugs.
    • I finally got you a decent photo of my hair color.  I don’t know what it will look like on your monitor, but I’m happy, the Knight is happy, and nearly everyone who has bothered to comment has been quite positive.

Untitled

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  • Because it’s Thorsday (as I’m composing this), we need a gratuitous doggy photo.  Enter Ellie, the unofficial canine representative in the JLC.  She’s such a sweetheart!
  • I’m sure I had more to say, but my tea is working and my brain is not.

What’s new with you?