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.

 

 

 

Advertisements

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?

 

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

Untitled

  • 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?

 

Saturday Scramble

Oh, the things we’ll do to avoid doing the taxes…

And yes, I realize I’ve put them off about as long as I dare.  Just as soon as I finish this post, I’ll go update the software, walk the dogs and then buckle down.  The taxes are just a symbol of how life is going right now.  If it isn’t on fire or otherwise an emergency, it isn’t getting my attention.

 The girls are peering up under the bridge across the little creek, and that’s a good image for how it goes in the woods of late.  I ran hurdles in high school track, and that’s how I’m managing things right now.  Eyes forward, leap while the brain is calculating when the next leap has to happen…

I do have a few things to report though, and for another photo of the girls in the water and an update on them, click here.

Firstly, coconut milk “creamer” doesn’t cut it.  I can do plain cream and an artificial sweetener or flavored syrup, but the vegan “creams” don’t come close.  I’d rather just do 2% milk and sweetener, to give you some idea?  I am drinking less coffee and more green tea though, so I figure my reduced consumption of “fake creamer” that way is perhaps win enough.

Relay Foods is my new friend.   There’s a pick-up location nearly every weekday that is close enough to on my way home that going to the grocery store is a thing of the past.  See above; I need time-savers and stress reducers, and I find the Knight’s turn down every aisle at strolling speed version of grocery shopping just about the most stressful thing EVER.

Do you Relay?  If so, please share your favorite finds.  Locally, they partner with Whole Foods, so I have a good idea of what’s available, but they also partner with local small businesses – like the tea source I didn’t have a clue about that I walk past regularly when I’m downtown.

1948054_10152302295495792_1403944811_nNext…  I’m pondering a return to nearly natural hair coloring.  I thought I wanted to go blonde instead of grey, but the most recent photos of me are too brassy, and I have a great colorist, use filtered water and quality hair products to wash…

Granted, I know I look awful in black and the lighting is horrible in this photo, but you get the idea.   Am I tilting at windmills?  Should I just use one of those cover the grey temporary colors that’s closer to my natural, medium-to-dark brown?

(And that cutie was Kids in the Kitchen vice chair.  She really is so petite that I am a few inches taller!  I’m looking forward to watching her develop as a JLC leader.  She’s smart, direct and a very hard worker… and always has that big smile on her face.)

Okay.  This isn’t taking care of the taxes or the dog walk.  How goes it in your part of the world?

 

 

Inspire Change

So much for regular blogging, but today is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is Inspiring Change.  How could I fail to get a post up for such an auspicious day?

Untitled

Holiday Parade – Literacy-themed float – The basket in the front held our “take-away” reading challenge we handed out during the parade

Of course, the Junior League of Charlottesville is all over inspiring change and I can’t resist the chance to wax poetic about how much we’re changing how we do business – we have a new focus on literacy, a new fundraiser, a new strategic plan (Gretchen even mentions it in her post!) – and we’re changing the lives of our members and our community.

What inspires you as a woman to change yourself and/or your world?  Who are your s-heroes?  Mine are my fellow Leaguers.  Sure, there’s a remarkable list of well-knowns:

JL Founder Mary Harriman

Eleanor Roosevelt – and several other First Ladies

Shirley Temple Black

Julia Child

Katherine Hepburn

Sandra Day O’Connor

… and many more

Photo courtesy of the JLC

Photo courtesy of the JLC

But daily, I’m inspired by my fellow JLCers.  I’m surely biased, but we have some of the brightest, most dedicated women anywhere transforming our community.  They collaborate instinctively, and they are creative… gosh are they creative!  Not only was Dogwood Deals inspired and successful, but a new idea to unite STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and our literacy focus in a program for young girls was sparked the other evening and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Oh – and all four of those women are continuing in leadership next year.  The two on the far left were part of the inspired “small but mighty” fundraising group that made Dogwood Deals happen.  The two on the right (yeah, I’m center-right) are president-types.  I hope we’re all inspiring our fellow members to imagine and take action for even greater change!

 

Bassitude

Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday, one week before Christmas and whatever else.  I apologize for my unplanned silences, but that’s what happens when one has a real job and she gets the bright idea to do League leadership mid-year reviews at mid-year even when that falls during the holiday rush.

So, I haven’t even had time to set up my most exciting, early Christmas present from the good folks at BROOD – the local basset rescue.  See, they had a raffle a few weeks ago, and imagine my surprise when I not only won, but won my favorite of the four prizes donated by the extremely talented paws at Sir Bentley Art.  I hope they won’t mind if I use their cover photo from their Facebook page to illustrate my most awesome loot!

Courtesy of Sir Bentley Art

Courtesy of Sir Bentley Art

Which piece is your favorite?  I truly can’t choose.  I’m just delighted to own it; I might have to shuffle around some other precious things so it can live year ’round in one of our glass-front cabinets…

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

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

Obviously, I’m thankful for the generosity of talented artists, for the good folks at BROOD helping houndies find great homes, and for literary classics that make us think and inspire us to be better people.  But I’m also grateful for landing in a job that is never the same two days – or two minutes? – in a row and for my good-natured co-workers who make me laugh, one way or another, every day.  I’m also honored to serve the community with the dedicated, brilliant women in the JLC, especially those awesome leaders who went along with my crazy notion that the mid-year reviews should happen between Thanksgiving and … yesterday.  We did it, and they have some great ideas on how to move the League forward even further in the next few months.

Of course most of all, I’m grateful for the Knight, who never does more than sigh and make sure the bluetooth headset is charged when I mention at 4:35 that I have four conference calls, beginning at 5.  And I’m glad Sissy has remained relentless in her demands for a daily walk, except in the foulest of weather.

I hope friends and family will understand when our Christmas cards arrive next week… or after the 25th.  There’s also been no baking this year.  It might be the year of fudge, because I can manage to stand at the stove and stir for five minutes and then wait for time and the magic of cooling, liquefied sugar to happen.   But next year…

Never mind.  I’m pretty sure I’ve vowed to get my act together better every year since life started getting in the way.

What are you thankful for today?

 

 

 

Parading Literacy

UntitledSaturday was one of my favorite moments in the JLC year, the Downtown Holiday Parade.  It was a little early this year, but that’s okay.  We had fun!

Sorry there’s no photo of me in my pajamas in public.  Seriously…  I waited 24+ hours to compose this post so that I could share one of our group photos with you.  The theme was The Polar Express.   It took a little education on my part.  First, a co-worker had to correct me and let me know it is The POLAR EXPRESS, not the polar bear express as I inaccurately called it.  Then, another co-worker took pity on me and asked me if I knew about the Coors Light train.  Yeah…  Well, that’s how the Polar Express works, only with little kids from bed to the North Pole.

Untitled

Got it!  I even swallowed my pride and wore pajamas in public while handing out candy canes.  Other Leaguers were handing out cute little scrolls that were a Polar Express reading challenge, tied with ribbon, a bow and the rather popular little quote about bells and believing.

I’m amazed yet again by the talent and vision our members possess.   They turned a golf cart into a train engine in just a few hours,  and still other members showed up with their own children (and sadly, no photos of the pair of BEAUTIFUL Goldens, representing the 4-footed kid crowd) and spouses and more to represent the JLC.

UntitledAnd while I loved the theme this year and the connection to our new literacy focus, it was a dream come true to have BROOD – Basset Rescue of the Old Dominion – following us in the parade!  Have you ever seen a cuter Mrs. Claus!?

(Oh look!  There’s one of “our” Goldens in the far, far back right…  I think it’s Bonnie.  Brody is a BIG “yearling” who is already 95 lbs. and I’m quite sure that if he fills out to match his head and feet, he’ll weigh about 11o or better.)

Are you in the holiday spirit yet?

Clearly I’m not quite there yet, despite an order to decorate at work (the interior is done) and the festive parade.  I’m still undecided on the card problem.  There are no perfect photos, and I’ve yet to find the right charitable card either…