Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Pray and reflect more.
Worry less.

Read more.
Write more.

Eat more veggies.
Eat less sugar.

Exercise more.
Train for and run another half marathon.

Learn to knit. Again.
Finish projects.

Take more pictures.
Organize pictures I already have.

Cut myself some slack.
But somehow at the same time, figure my life out. (continued from last year)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We here in east Tennessee know the drill when it comes to winter weather.

Weather forecast says wintry mix. Everybody freaks out. I think the word "mix" is what sends people over the edge.

This could mean anything! A mix of snow and...what exactly ? Tennis balls? Dry spaghetti noodles? Tires? Empty cans? Who cares! Get to the nearest grocery store and buy as much bread and milk as you can! For what? Milk sandwiches, of course!

Next step: forget how to drive. Pretend you have never seen a steering wheel before and that operating it is like driving a Panser into the line of fire.

Weather forecast says snow. We all laugh at the meteorologist. Kids call the superintendent stupid and mean for not closing school. They do a snow dance and wear their p-jams inside out...or whatever the cool thing to do these days to summon the elusive precipitation to the ground from where it is clinging so tightly to the clouds.

Next step: wake up in the morning and investigate. Creep to the window and peek outside. Cautiously at first and then flinging open the curtains to see...brown grass.

90% of the time it does not snow. I don't know why we think it will be different.

However, in 1993 the forecast did not say snow...and it snowed. Blizzard-ed, to be exact.

It was March and I was only 5. (I have no idea how I remember this. It's kind of weird) It was my parent's 10th anniversary and they were spending the weekend in the mountains and Bethany and I, who was 2, spent the weekend with one of our aunt and uncle.

Long story short, we wake up to more snow than anyone in east TN has seen in a LONG TIME. Like a foot more, to be exact.

There was no power, so we headed over to my uncle's parent's house where there WAS power. Don't remember how we got there, so we'll say we snowshoed over.

I spent the day playing with various grandchildren who were also taking refuge from the Blizzard and Bethany played with a dog that was about 3 times her size all day long. Barely even noticing that our parents were stuck in the mountains and didn't know how they would get back, but it was okay because I was introduced to snow cream.

My parents eventually escaped the mountains and got back to Knoxville to take Bethany and I home. The thing is, we live at the top of a 1/4 mile gravel, uphill, driveway. There is no way to get up but walk. Once we got in the house, it turned out we didn't have any power either. All 4 of us ended up sleeping on the living room floor in front of the fireplace, Little House in the Big Woods style.

I have always wanted to live in a state that gets lots of snow. I am fascinated by New England and their white Christmases, LLBean snow boots and quiet, snow covered landscapes. Maybe one day I will see this much snow again, but until then I will watch the home videos that we made during the Blizzard of 93 and laugh at my and Bethany's uber-country accents.

My favorite line of Bethany's "When we waked up, it was snow time!!"

Friday, December 3, 2010

the year I learned Santa was fake

{spoiler: Santa is fake}

The year was 1995. We had a giant IBM computer and  Windows 95, which basically meant we were SET. Well, until Mom would pick up the phone and disconnect the Internet.

Dad had discovered this website called called and it would "track" to see when Santa would pass over our house. AMAZING, right? We would play for hours (only because it took that long to navigate around) typing our names into the Naughty or Nice List and playing Christmas flash games.

After we returned home from Christmas Eve festivities, Bethany and I put on our matching Christmas p-jams, Dad read us 2 versions of Twas the Night Before Christmas (original and Muppet, with voices) and then we scampered off to bed.

Every year prior to this, I would tidy up my room before going to sleep, just in case Santa wanted to come tell me Merry Christmas. I don't know why I thought he would want to do this. Probably saw it on a Hallmark commercial or something.

But this year would be different.

This would be the year I would know if the whole "be good all year if you want presents" and "get to bed so Santa can come" propaganda was for real. You see, this website had sparked a thought in my 9 year old brain. If this new, magic, website could see when Santa would be AT OUR HOUSE, he had to be real...right?

I devised a plan to test the authenticity of Santa Claus.

Mom and Dad were still saying no to my pleas for a dog at this point. Jolly Old Saint Nick, however, had to be merciful and would bring a well-behaved little girl a puppy.

I asked Santa for a dog in a very nicely worded note, which I left next to the customary milk and cookies.  I even left a box next to the fireplace with newspaper in the bottom for Santa to leave he/she in.

The next morning, Bethany came in to wake me up and we ran down the hall into the living room to check out the spread. Santa had been there! He brought me clothes for my American Girl doll, probably some Pet Shops or Polly Pockets and other assorted toys that a 9 year old would play with. This might be the year I got the Quilt Sewing Kit or the Hair Scrunchy Maker. I was pretty big into arts and crafts.

There was a note in my newspaper-lined box. Written on yellow notepaper from my dad's desk. In my mom's handwriting.

"Santa doesn't have puppies on his sled."

Santa Myth: BUSTED

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 days of embarassing childhood stories

I have grown up with the most amazing and fun sister ever. We have annoying inside jokes, the same long and uncoordinated arms and legs and a pretty weird sense of combined humor. We were so lucky to have a family full of cousins; out of 8 grandkids, there were 7 girls and we were all fairly close in age. This made any family function or holiday heaps of fun!

Bethany and I have been reminiscing a lot lately over the weird things we would do as kids when we all got together. I cannot believe the imagination I used to have.

When we were kids, Mom read us Little House in the Big Woods, one chapter at a time before bed. My favorite chapter was about the Christmases they spent in their tiny cabin in Wisconsin, all covered in snow.  The girls got mittens and peppermint sticks in their stockings and Laura got a special rag doll one year.

Bethany and I "played" our own version of this story once, and it can best be described as "Poor Christmas."

During the holidays we have always put electric candles in all of the windows at the front of the house. We would turn out the lights in Bethany's room and plug in the candle and pretend that was the only light we had.

We kept a little bit of fake money in a pitcher and sometimes we would "go to the general store to buy food" (aka the Fisher Price kitchen in the playroom) and come back with a fake loaf of bread and an apple wrapped in a dish towel. Maybe some cheese, if it was a good day. This was our only food.

Then it would be Christmas Eve and we would wonder if Santa would bring us anything since we were poor. We put on nightgowns and of course we hung up socks and pretended they were stockings, and I remember getting an empty perfume bottle in my stocking from Santa.

I think this game also came from an early exposure to American Girl books and to the movie Little Women, which continues to be a holiday tradition and one of the most-quoted movies amongst the older cousins.

"Butter! Oh isn't butter divinity? Oh God thank you for this breakfast!"