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.

 

 

 

Chewy Cheese

50100,1394425665$SS172$Finally, we’re getting around to blogging about the May Chewy Blogger Outreach goodies that came to our door.  Fromm is a trusted source – as is Chewy – so we new it would be something the girls could safely enjoy.  I’m more concerned about the product meeting Sissy’s rather restrictive dietary needs, while all the furgirls care about is the enjoyment part.  Chewy and Fromm make both possible with their Cheese treats.

The furgirls don’t need low fat, but when I can find a treat with only four ingredients from a brand I trust, it’s a win.  And who doesn’t love Wisconsin Cheddar?  The Knight always brings some home for us when he travels to WI, and while HE has told the dogs it’s too good to share with them, the folks at Fromm disagree and put the good stuff in their treats.

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Worth waiting for

The DIVA feels the treats are tiny, not even bite-sized, but because we are a small and large dog household (yes, bassets are considered medium-large… don’t let the short legs fool you!), I’m happy to have wee treats that I don’t have to break into pieces to serve the wee one.   They’re great training treat size for Sis and other not-tiny dogs, and did I mention the girls love them?

Oh – and don’t let the title fool you.  I like alliteration, but the treats are crunchy, not chewy.

Thanks, Chewy!  We love your prompt service, your great selection and your commitment to quality.   Well…  *I* love those things; the girls just like the boxes that smell like doggy yum-yums are inside.

That’s all I’ve got right now.  There was a quick business trip to Sarasota last week (honest – I’m blessed to work for a company that sends me to such miserable destinations for training), but unless you want to see photos of the Bradenton plant, I have nothing for you, other than a piece of advice…  if you’re in the area, visit Siesta Key and grab a meal at Siesta Key Oyster Bar.   I had the fish tacos and they were the best I’ve ever had – seriously.

Have you encountered any best-evers recently?

 

 

Types of Men

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful thursday.   Over on the girls’ blog, we’re celebrating – better late than never – National Pet Week, which is all about the ways pets make our worlds better places.

Earlier this week, I had a great training through the Junior League.  One of our members is a behavior analyst, and we received a full report through their program, which has its roots in the Types of Men by Eduard Spranger, a 20th century German philosopher and psychologist.

The six types, also used in the assessment I received are:

Theoretical: A passion to discover, systemize and analyze; a search for knowledge.

Utilitarian: A passion to gain a return on all investments involving time, money and resources.

Aesthetic: A passion to experience impressions of the world and achieve form and harmony in life; self-actualization.

Social: A passion to invest myself, my time, and my resources into helping others achieve their potential.

Individualistic: A passion to achieve position and to use that position to affect and influence others.

Traditional: A passion to seek out and pursue the highest meaning in life, in the divine or the ideal, and achieve a system for living.

Can you guess which two were my guiding (primary) attitudes?  Which are your own?

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Despite my own inner philosopher’s glee – and need to delve into this deeper – I thought in honor of Thorsday, it would be fun to try to peg the furgirls.

Sissy is without a doubt, Individualistic.  The dog is a ridiculously strong, benevolent alpha, and she took all of about six tenths of a second before she had the normally alpha Knight wrapped around the finest undercoat hair on her body, bending to the DIVA’s will.  Unlike humans, the DIVA only uses her power for good – except when she’s counter cruising in search of an extra snack..

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Gretchen Greer is a tougher case.  I think Aesthetic is her dominant motivator.  The Knight and I both have tempers and are prone to snapping, eye rolling, rude noises, etc.  Or rather… roughly six years ago, we were all that and then some.  Enter one tiny, sensitive little terrier who just wanted everyone around her to be calm and happy, and we’re reformed, all to keep Gg from having a panic attack.   She’s something special too, and we’re lucky to have both of these dogs in the house, in our hearts.

I don’t know if we’re giving them nearly as much as they give us.  Dogs are unconditional love personified.

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?

 

 

Snow Bunny

Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday and snow day!  Just to prove me wrong, after I ratted the furgirls out in the post on their blog, they awoke and followed me to the deck landing for a QUICK photo shoot.  The Knight wanted to know what on earth we were doing, and I had to remind him that the girls don’t get free boxes from Chewy just because they’re cute; they have to work for their rewards!

UntitledRegular readers know the routine.  Each month, Chewy offers us an opportunity to review a product of our choice, from an ever-changing list of treats.  This month, we tried the Wysong Dream Freeze-Dried Rabbit Treats.   They are the new favorite… worth getting out of bed and braving the snow.

I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but it’s still exciting when we find quality food and treats Sissy can eat, and Chewy has something on the list almost every month.  Rabbit was the first safe protein source for Sissy, and she seems to have a special fondness for it.  Plus, it’s not a routine flavor, so that makes it a real treat too.

These aren’t hard, crunchy biscuits.  They’re dried meat discs, and they are easily broken for sharing with a little sister.  As you can see, Gretchen thinks they’re pretty awesome too.  Add in that “made in the USA” fact and you really have a great treat for your cat, dog or ferret.  They are designed to be part of a raw food diet, but your dog (or cat or ferret) will enjoy them whether you feed raw or not.

There’s so much to be thankful for today!  I’m delighted with our significant snow.  I’m glad the Knight is feeling better after a nasty chest cold.  And more broken recordness, but I appreciate having a job where I don’t have to try to get to work.  I loved my career as a firefighter, but there was no calling in because I couldn’t get out of my driveway.  Of course, we all like being a part of the Chewy Blogger Outreach program too.  Clearly, the opinions expressed are our own.

What are you thankful for today?

 

 

Beach Report

Wow.  I knew the week was hectic and I didn’t have a great grasp on things, but I was truly surprised to realize this morning that Thorsday came and went and no post happened.  The girls have a bit of a post on their blog, but really, they’re just annoyed because the humans have been busy, walks haven’t happened to their satisfaction (no walks twice this week due to Sissy’s upset tummy, rain, etc.) and they don’t like ANY changes to their routine.

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We saw our first sea turtle last week, but I’m rather sure it was dead.  Still, I didn’t risk it and didn’t get close enough to confirm, because their jaws are quick and powerful.

UntitledDespite the wind, rough seas and Sissy’s issues, we still logged quite a few miles on the beach.  Gretchen in particular loves to chase birds on the water’s edge, but I haven’t been able to convince her that perhaps she shouldn’t mess with the larger gulls.  They just glare, soar and land out of her reach, but seriously… my sometimes timid, sometimes snake hunter really is a JRT at heart!

I’m very grateful for a place to retreat and recharge, but I’m most grateful for a man who will go out after midnight to buy his dog children’s chewable Pepto with the hope that she’ll get comfortable enough to let the rest of the household sleep.  I’m also thankful for the kindness of strangers… particularly the waitress at the Knight’s favorite seafood buffet who was more than willing to allow us to break the “no to-go boxes” rule to take shrimp tails to the same spoiled dog(s).

And really, I did knit (and gave away one of the cloths yesterday without taking a photo) and I did read, and I will share more about that as soon as I have a spare moment.

Is giving thanks part of your Thanksgiving traditions?

Thanks and Giving

UntitledHappy Thorsday, Thankful Thursday, Thanksgiving and …  You’ll note it’s not little friday.  I’m most grateful for a very long weekend.  My new employer gave us two days off, and Sissy is determined that we are going to make up for the two days of walking lost to foul weather.   I think the fur-girls are also a little confused about the “gobble” part of the holiday.

For us, this is a quiet holiday, a time to contemplate and collect my thoughts before we launch into a busy holiday season.  The Knight and my sister also have birthdays in early December, so I try not to rush into the Christmas decorating and such.  I have done a lot of my shopping, but the right cards still elude me.

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?