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?

 

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?

 

 

Pretending…

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and my last regular general membership meeting as President of the JLC!  It’s also almost Kids in the Kitchen time, and long-time readers know I love that event.

 I love snow too, but enough is enough.  I shared my thoughts – and a photo of the furgirls – on their blog.   I’m ready for flowers and being able to step into the parking lot at work without needing to bundle up.

Sweet Mugsy and Fred are still sending me flowers, and I’m still missing them.  They loved snow far more than the girls do, although even Gretchen has warmed up to the white stuff this winter, in a true testament of that old cliche about if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…

I’m grateful for each and every one of you.  Your support and friendship is a blessing in my life, and I look forward to having the time to repay your kindness very soon.

In the meantime, can we call the leaves compost and pretend I’m making sure the Boy-dogs’ garden is getting ready to grow beautiful flowers?

Will you share what you’re pretending?

 

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.

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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.

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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.

BUT…

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!)

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?

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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!

 

Is this thing on?

Hello?  Anyone out there?

UntitledGretchen has an almost cute, not-quite supportive post of her own on the rat race that was the past week or so.   Launching a new fundraiser is very hard work, and while I can’t claim to have played a major role, I was more involved than I ever was in the League’s other events.  It was a smashing success, and I am (again) in awe of the dedication, generosity and talent we have in spades in the Junior League of Charlottesville.

During this unintentional blogging hiatus, there has been reading, a christening, an introduction to CAbi, and Girl Scout Cookies… not necessarily in that order.  There’s been knitting too, but no finished objects yet (soon though… because babies are coming – also in spades!).

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One of the special details that shows just how brilliant my fellow JLC members are was the “department” signs created by the tween girls in one of our community programs.  All of the proceeds from yesterday’s event return to the community via our grants and programs.  Not only was it good delegation to get the girls involved, but it allowed them to both benefit from the funds raised AND have a hand in the event.  There were dozens of ingenious little webs of connectivity like that woven into the whole event, and that’s what led to the OVERWHELMING success of the day.  I do know we exceeded revenue expectations, and I am eagerly awaiting a preliminary accounting.

What are you celebrating today?

 

 

Roses Aren’t Red

Untitled… well, not all of ’em anyway.

Happy Thorsday (or whatever day you see this), little friday and Thankful Thursday.  The fast-paced, jam-packed schedule continues here, with no relief in sight until NEXT Sunday.

If you’re local and would like a complimentary early-bird ticket to Dogwood Deals, leave a comment or email me.

If you’re looking for fur-girl photos, click over.   I’ve missed two days of walks this week, but I did manage a couple of new photos and a post on their blog.

Thankfuls are even more important when I’m running ragged.  I’m thankful for a husband who will fix dinner, rolls with the punches when I deliver take-out at 9 pm, and who knows when I am fighting a migraine even before I do and urges me to go home, feed the dogs, and he’ll go to the next meeting alone.

I know I’m blessed to have a husband who also delivers the very best lunches on the very worst days at work.  I’ve written about Blue Ridge Pig before, and if you ever make it to Wintergreen, stop in and get a great sandwich and some of the dill potato salad.  I cannot find a similar recipe anywhere.  (Olive oil, dill and …?)

There are no coincidences; I landed a great job that gives me a sense of purpose.  It’s sad that our happy little quintet drops to a trio tomorrow, but ebb and flow… and I’m glad I got to know A and B, and I hope the next chapters of their lives are happy and  productive.

And there’s no denying how much two furry lumps squeezed against me makes the world a better place.  Gg rarely misses a chance to be a lapdog, but Sis doesn’t always grace me with her presence in such a close fashion.  I am missed, I am love, and I am honored.

1531881_399118636890503_1253398963_nWhere would I be though without my friends?  Thank  you for checking in on me, and thanks to those locals who are on the hamster wheel with me.   It will all be worth it!!