Sunday Sundries

This one could also be called “Not the Mama.”


Me and my mother, circa 1980 – from a Polaroid!

I went to lunch yesterday with another friend who is past child-bearing age (or at least, what most of us still consider such) and it was a study in familiarity and manners.

What was funny was that the restaurant owner and the long-time server whom often waits on us knew better and just said how nice it was to see us.  It was the newer staff who presumed that because we are females over the age of … ?, SURELY we must be mothers.  I wonder if my younger friends have that problem?

Look, I KNOW I’m not a mother.  I am rather private and don’t care to share but so much, but I am childless by choice.  How much worse would it be if I was in fact, trying to have a late in life baby without success, or had a private adoption fall through recently, and these presumptuous cads were wishing me a most inappropriate happy inapplicable event?!

I don’t feel any more left out on Mother’s Day than I do on Father’s Day, Grandparents Day or any of the other Hallmark holidays.  (In my world, that includes Valentine’s Day, but the Knight is a smart man and knows that just because I think it’s inane, it’s probably still in his best interests to get flowers, chocolates or both.)

It ranks right up there with asking the stranger with the poochy belly when she’s due.   In an age of political correctness and anti-discrimination laws for anything one can think of, where is the common sense and/or common courtesy?  You know, it just hit me; we wouldn’t need so many laws if people just practiced the Golden Rule.


Same day… a RARE photo with (from L-R) my maternal grandmother, my Nana, me, a cousin, a friend, and my much-beloved “old maid” great aunt, and one of her “furkids”. Clearly, no one but Nannie (my grandmother) was ready for the photo, but I didn’t realize I had any with all three of those GRAND women in it!

Oh, I am most grateful for the mothers in my life.  They get so much of the credit for the woman I am today.  I do think motherhood is a mostly thankless job, but the world should honor moms regularly, not just once a year.  Co-parenting shouldn’t be a word or a concept; it’s redundant.  It takes two people to make a baby, and it takes a village to raise one into a reasonably sane, functional adult.  Parenting is a verb, a very active verb, and Dad, godparents, neighbors, friends’ parents, etc. should all be involved EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I was truly blessed to have a large, extended family and a network of caring folks involved in my upbringing.

But you know what?  Even those who don’t get June Cleaver turn out okay.  Look at Opie.  Aunt Bea, Andy, Barney, even Gomer and all of Mayberry saw to it that little Opie grew up to be a gazillionaire who wasn’t just a former child actor, but a powerhouse in almost every aspect of Hollywood.

I do hope those of you celebrating – your own motherhood or the mothers in your life – had a great day.  We had a rare family meal, just the inlaws and me, and I know MJ really enjoyed having us all at one table again.   And yeah, we should do that more than a handful of times a year too.




Beauty, balance, creamer and crow…

… I can’t drink my coffee black.  REALLY long-time readers might remember that up until that Christmas Eve a few years ago when I told the Knight I wanted a Keurig just because he needed SOMETHING for that insane holiday habit of his (last-minute shopping), I didn’t like/drink much coffee at all.

v00660I still am a tea-drinker.  I love tea, and am trying to work green tea back into the rotation.  If you have a favorite green tea blend, please share.  Sadly, my tea cupboard is lacking in the greens these days.  However, for my morning commute, I brew a 16 oz. travel mug of coffee and slosh some non-dairy, flavored creamer in it.

For those following along… that’s not lower-your-cholesterol-diet-friendly stuff.  In fact, I got rather turned off reading about the lard that basically is non-dairy creamer.  Ick.  Does anyone splash soy or almond milk in her coffee or tea instead of the good ol’ moo juice or the … over-processed but yummy gunk?

I love stumbling upon new blogs/products/recipes/shoes…  oooh, shiny!  (Shocker… wild crows don’t collect shiny objects.  Who knew?!)  If it sparkles, I’m distracted and want it.  So, while my brain is fried from another busy week at work, book-ended by firehouse elections and some League meetings at night, I’ll toss a few more nuggets from bloggers who are capable of stringing together coherent thoughts in a rather grand fashion.

I found Cranky Fitness through Fit Bottomed Girls.   I’ve mentioned FBG before; they have a very realistic, supportive approach to finding one’s one healthy lifestyle groove.  Cranky Fitness’s link happens to be to her give-away, because that’s how FBG introduced me to her AND because I know y’all are readers and many of you like some non-fiction reading too.


Young adult me, supported by my grandmother circa 1990

As a bonus, Cranky introduced me to The Great Fitness Experiment’s post on the cure for not being good enough.   I was blessed to grow up with plenty of folks assuring me I was awesome and the world was my oyster, and I’m not sure I’ve lacked self-confidence more than a few isolated moments here and there, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never looked in the mirror and thought or said mean things I would never even THINK about a friend, just to give one example.

Again, those of you who read here regularly know I don’t believe in coincidence, so it’s not by chance that while I’m sitting here with my feet propped up, wishing I wasn’t so drained on a lovely spring evening, I tripped over these two blogs, these two posts.

Here’s something a lot of you don’t know about me.

I’m a fraud.  One of my theme songs might be “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and definitely, Miranda’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” suits me.  (If you didn’t click over…  Go and fix your make-up/girl it’s just a break-up/run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady…)

Life is hard, but for me, it’s harder when I wallow.  For me, balance comes faster when I pull up my bootstraps, hide my crazy, and smile.

So… yeah.  Life is hectic.  But I landed on my feet and can honestly say I’m now in that really special place where the adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” applies.   I broke one of my golden rules and brought work home this week.  I forfeited a snow day because our shop is running VERY short, and I knew my co-workers were going to brave the weather, so the least I could do is go the extra mile with them.


The JLC Holiday Parade 2011

Likewise, being an unintentional two-term president of the small but fierce JLC hasn’t been a picnic at times either, but the rewards have exceeded the personal cost.  I’ve missed some sleep.  I probably have risked frost bite with those parking lot meetings after the meetings.  I’ve had to trust the Knight to take care of Sissy’s eye drops FAR more often than I’d prefer, but see her post; she’s her sassy, fine self, and she and her Dadaw both survived a triple-purpose trip to the vet today.


Here’s one thing I’ve learned over that two-year journey that is coming to an end; appearing unflappable isn’t always a good thing.  I had a crying jag after a 2000 mile round-trip sprint to deal with my mother’s final arrangements – and snow in the deep South?! really?! – and informed the Knight that just because I wasn’t a puddle of mess, it didn’t mean I didn’t need support.  Other women are watching me cope and juggle and do it all, and I was honestly chagrined for all the wrong reasons when one of the women I’ve worked with in the League at the highest level for YEARS now was shocked to hear a dirty word escape my lips, under my breath, just last month.

Sorry Nana; I wasn’t embarrassed BECAUSE she heard it, but rather, because I thought she knew me better than that.  Come on, folks.  I do try to be a class act, but I work in the fire service “service industry” and was basically raised by an old Marine/former fire chief/mechanic.  Do you REALLY think I say (or think?!) “darn!”?!?!?

Anyhooooo, the point of this ramble is that I’m going to continue to fake it ’til I make it when life is hard, because it works for me.  I’m happiest when I’m problem-solving and making the world a better place, but that works for me because I have the Knight and some of the best friends ever, with whom I can be snarky and critical.  It’s how I vent.

Well… that and logging Sissy miles, and miles.  Even on a bad walk where Sissy has pulled like a freight train and Gretchen Greer has bounced all over like a paddle ball, I get home feeling restored and ready for the next round.   My faith is renewed when I’m in nature.  There’s just something about being in the woods – or on the beach – that puts it all in perspective for me.  (Go endorphins!)

Lean, Not Mean


The gene pool, 1970s version

That’s my new dietary motto.  I learned last week that my cholesterol is high.  Not drastically so, but (hem, hem) nearly double what it was last time I had a physical (more coughing… over 2 years ago).  Given that both parents likely died of heart attacks (father, definitely; mother, presumed), I need to take this seriously.

Ironically, an Arbonne friend invited me to join her on a detox that will start tomorrow.  I opted out, in part because I’m not good at extremes, I know my limits, and my brother inlaw sells Avocare and it seemed silly to pony up for a program when another company’s products are waiting for me to pay attention to them.   Just the same, I know I need to start paying close attention to what goes into my body.

Trying looking up “cholesterol-lowering foods” or something similar.  You won’t find any concise answers.  Of course, even if you did, you might want to visit Marjie’s post about a healthy heart diet by trusted sources.  The fact is, even the experts don’t agree.  I’m a huge advocate for personal management of one’s own healthcare anyway, but this is ridiculous.

Oh, my doctor-friend and I had a good laugh…  I hate chicken and neither of us cook fish in our homes because of the lingering odor.  I’m already on a high-protein, high-fiber diet, because of pre-existing health issues, so eliminating … fat? cholesterol? more stuff makes this quite the circle-jerk.

I was all set to simply say farewell to butter (except in my baking) and consider cheese a delicacy, and I already live on seafood, white pork, and the rare (pun intended) beef indulgence.  I thought I had a plan… until Marjie gently broke the news that shrimp is ridiculously high in cholesterol.  Now, see above… the experts can’t agree on that either, but I’ve decided that shrimp can no longer be my go-to “meat.”

I don’t know what’s ahead… other than due diligence and finding some healthier options.  Anyone do a plant-protein milk replacement in her coffee?  On her cereal?  I only eat cereal on the weekends, and to humor the pundits, we had oatmeal this morning.

What about tofu?  I don’t mind it in curries or some soups.  I certainly can’t dislike it much more than I do rubbery, dry chicken, but save the ground turkey advice.  Been there, done that and … no one got anything positive out of the experience, much less a tee shirt.

I did a no-animal-flesh version of vegan a few years ago and didn’t mind at all… until I began dreaming about the perfectly grilled, rare filet of beef.  I don’t eat pork too much either.  I love smoked bacon and good Carolina barbecue, but living on a pig farm that had a barn fire… well… let’s just say there’s a reason I kinda’ backed into not eating meat for a good while.

Eggs?  I won’t miss them much at all.  As with butter, I want them for baking, but I can wipe them off my personal consumption list with relative ease.  Sure, an egg sammie is awesome now and then, but I’ll be just fine with an egg substitute “mug” with some veggies tossed in.  Frankly, eggs without cheese have little meaning for me.

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

The post title?  I get mean (insert a female dog synonym) when I don’t get enough protein in my diet.  I thought doing high fiber AND high protein was a juggling act.  This is like the Wii Fit juggling game where you’re balancing on a ball while juggling…

To a Mouse

I don’t know why, but the Robert Burns poem is stuck in my head today.   I’ve mentioned before that I was blessed to have some wonderful teachers in my life, and Mr. Murray’s love of poetry stuck with me.  With no offense intended to any college professors, I dare say his junior high lessons on “death poems” were perhaps some of the most cerebral, impactful moments in my education.


Yesterday’s sunset made me wonder if God is a Wahoo (UVA fan), and reminded me of perhaps my favorite death poem by one of my favorite poets, Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar.   Had my mother not already planned her own memorial service, I might have included this poem, as she did seem to have slipped away peacefully.

Several of you have checked in on me, by email and otherwise, and I do appreciate it.  My blogging silence will likely continue; I intend to resume normalcy with each passing day, but it’s a busy time for the League and at work, and I’m still finding just putting one foot in front of the other pretty taxing.  Please don’t worry; I have a wonderful support network and I really am fine, but I’m requiring much more coddling of myself than usual.

Yesterday was another milestone in my life.  Twenty years have passed now without my father.  It seems impossible that I’m fast approaching a point where I will have lived as long without him as I did with him here in the moment.  Time flies.  A slightly younger friend laughed a little bitterly Thursday night and so sagely shared that if there was one thing she wished someone had made her understand sooner, it would be that as we age, time seems to march at an increasingly faster pace.   ‘Tis true.


I’m guessing this photo was from about 1974 or even earlier.  That’s me with my parents and Raggedy Ann.

There are many posts I owe you.  I guess you won’t get to see the dishcloths I knitted as Christmas gifts, because I didn’t remember to take photos first and #4 of the group is still on the needle – yes, singular, because Sissy has done something with the other one and it hasn’t turned up.  Yes, I’m sure I have another of the same size, probably even the same brand, but I haven’t bothered to dig that out either.  There is knitting though, and so very much reading.  Maybe the next post won’t have a touch of melancholy and will actually share something fun.

Any milestones in your life?  What do you wish you’d known sooner?

One Week…

… and 2014 isn’t off to a strong blogging start.

There will be no review of 2013.  It was a challenging year, filled with change.  Most of that change resulted in positives, so please don’t think I’m down on my luck or down in the dumps.  I am still married to my best friend, and as I type, Gretchen Greer is pressed against me, and Sissy slumbers nearby, after making me hold her most of the night.  We have our health, a comfortable home, reliable vehicles, and friends and family abound.

It’s sometimes hard to have a blog when you’re really a rather private person.  The blessing of a blog vs. “real life” is that I can share what I choose.  I’ve had some trouble choosing this time, but because the regular readers have become friends, I will share that one week ago today, I got a rather surreal phone call that dictated the course of the next 7 days and will continue to require my attention for some time still.

2001 Reunion

2001 – From left: Aunt, me, my mother on the far right

The coroner from my mother’s town called to say she’d been found dead.  After many otherwise indelicate questions – both on my part and his – over the course of several hours, it was determined that she died “before the paper had been delivered” on the 26th.  We had indeed had a pleasant conversation Christmas night.  I had originally understood that I needed to stay put until some papers were signed, but on Monday morning, my aunt and I made our way south.

Our new joke is that only we could go roughly 1000 miles south and walk out of the church after the memorial service to snow flurries, and then encounter still more snow on our drive.  My mother loved snow, so it is fitting, even if it did add to my stress.

There’s lots I could share about our journey, but I choose not to right now.  I will say that the kindness of strangers turned up where it was least expected and not at all where one might have presumed some hospitality might have been extended.  My aunt and I have been close for years, but we deepened the bond with stories shared and just by pushing through this trip together.  I am exceedingly grateful for our husbands – whom we realized are VERY much alike in some respects – my cousins and my half sister (I rarely use the half, but here it is significant; my mother was but her FIRST step mother and they were not close).  We were also supported by our extended family and the few friends in the know, so we were not really alone.  Again, my new employer was more than kind.

And as another friend who endured a very similar experience in 2013 had warned me…  If you have a parent living in another state, morbid as it sounds, make yourself familiar with that state’s probate laws.  I’ve long been an advocate for having a will and making sure the right people know you have one and where to find the original, and I am grateful for the “Last Wishes” booklet my mother had in her desk.  “Estate planning” is necessary even if you have no real assets… trust me.

May your New Year be filled with joy and laughter.  Whether it was appropriate or not, my aunt and I laughed at least twice daily on our trip.  Sometimes it was because we were just worn out and silly, but laughter is good medicine.


Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday, last day of business for the inlaws’ company and more.   The girls have a little request for Shadow, related to the current flux in his life.

So, I’m going to cut to the chase.  There’s a lot to celebrate this month, and while I can’t pretend this will be the year I get my act together and have a great paw-ty for everyone remembering and celebrating, this CAN be the year I make a list so we can truly plan out Octoberfete for next year!

Please leave a comment with the date(s) and what you celebrate or memorialize in October, and I’ll follow up with a master calendar page at a later date.  (Like…  September X, 2014?)

Shadow & Pop

Baby Shadow 2 and Pop 2005

I am quite thankful for the time spent with my inlaws.  When I first went to work there, on Thursdays, there were three married couples and a total of 8 – EIGHT!! – Moores working in the same business.  I’ll miss the impromptu family lunches – like today’s – just because Uncle’s wife (the fabulous artist who did the painting of the fur-girls and the hydrant) called and suggested I call in the order to Tubby’s and she’d pick it up.

And there’s a fun slice of life in podunk.  I called.  Got asked to hold on… and before I finished ordering the first sandwich, I realized I was talking to a friend’s younger sister…  who knew which order was the Knight’s and joked that she might have to slip in some hot peppers (on egg salad with relish on white toast) in there for him.  She didn’t, but I’m content to sacrifice Nordstrom’s for happy little bonds, such as a sandwich shop where everybody knows your name/voice – and what your husband orders.

Don’t forget to leave your October dates to remember in the comments!



Fred, me, Mugsy circa 1997

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful Thursday and more.  October is packed full of remembrances and occasions here in the woods.  There are birthdays, death days, anniversaries, and a Gotcha’ day.  I’m not even going to try to list them all, but this is the month when many of our nearest and dearests celebrate or reflect upon something.  The girls are thinking ahead and are all ready for hunting season to begin.

Pardon the picture of the picture.  That’s a proof from my bridal portrait sitting.  Weren’t the boy-dogs handsome?  Mugsy was born on October 5th, and Fred crossed the bridge on the same day, 12 years apart.

Because this is a rather chaotic month around here, I’ll also mention that October 23rd is the 5th anniversary of Gretchen Greer’s arrival in the woods, the 24th is DIVA Sissy’s 6th birthday, and the 25th is our 16th wedding anniversary.

And I’m thankful for every bit of it.  Unfortunately, the way life rolls, if Fred and Mugsy hadn’t left us, we wouldn’t have the fur-girls.  I believe my maternal grandfather also died this week, 45 years ago.  I never met either of my grandfathers, but I’m grateful for what I do know about them.

This is also as good a time as any to note that October 11th is the end of a four-generation run for the inlaws’ family business.  That means retirement for MJ, Dae and Uncle.  The Knight will truly become self-employed, although he started his own business in a similar industry last summer, and has been working around the clock, sometimes 7 days a week for a while now.  I start a new job on the 14th, and when I’m not nursing a sore ankle and placating fussy dogs whose routines have been disturbed (and they don’t know the half of it yet), etc., maybe I’ll be inclined to share more.

I’m thankful for the 12 years I had at the inlaws’ business.  Despite the ups and downs and the end of the business, I can honestly say that yes, I worked (at one point) with my husband, his brother, his uncle, my inlaws and even the patriarch too, with Uncle’s wife showing up on Thursdays to deal with debt collections for a while, and we are all still speaking to each other, usually even in polite voices.  There were plenty of non-related by marriage employees too, and many of them were like family and are missed already.

What are you remembering today?

Saint Nick

There’s so much loss right now in the doggy bloggy community.  Please visit Marjie and her family and Sue and her pack to wish them sympathy.

joan pic 003

Nick, Christmas 2007

Last Thursday, the inlaws’ sweet St. Nick, aka: Nick, Nu-nu made his journey to the Bridge.  He would have been 13 later this month.  I’ve known many shelties, but Nick was the only black and white one I’ve had the pleasure to meet.   Nick was ready for his journey; he’d battled bladder stones for years, and had been completely deaf for several months.  In the end, his mobility was the issue.  He was having more and more trouble getting up and was falling regularly.  Thursday morning, his feet went out from under him and he couldn’t stand even with assistance in the house.

It’s always too soon when a beloved pet leaves us, but what an honor it is to know such loving, happy creatures.

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?


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?