Around the Table

cranberry sauce

When you have a turkey dinner while you are in the hospital, here is the cranberry sauce that you get.  I just thought it was the cutest little thing!

This year, I’m very thankful that we won’t know that is the type of cranberry sauce you get in the hospital.  As much as I miss my brother this Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for all of the time I did have with him and I know that he is out of pain and looking down on us today.

Very soon we will be gathered around the table and everyone will state what we are thankful for.  Every year this tradition always makes me a little teary eyed so I try and plan my statement in advance.  I had no clue what I was going to say, what could I say that wouldn’t bring myself to tears? 

So, naturally, I asked a friend.  She suggested, and I’m pretty sure I’m going with it:

I’m thankful for the time that we got to spend with Lee.  And Lee, if you’re here with us listening, I’m still going to plant a tree and your honor – and I’m so going to decorate you!

It’s a joke that Lee was okay with his ashes being spread around a new tree as a memorial, but he really didn’t want to be decorated every Christmas!  He’d just laugh at me and go “yeah, no!”  every time I brought it up!

So, this year, I’m thankful for all of you  out there in the blogosphere who have been with me as I journey along, I’m thankful for my friends who have held me up when I couldn’t stand, and I am very thankful for my family and the time we’ve had together!  I’m also thankful for the eye candy that Dean Winchester supplies, Starbucks coupons and decorated sugar cookies!

Wishing all of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving and for my Jewish friends – Happy Hanukkah!

Happy thanksgiving

It’s Award Season!

I’m so blessed, I’ve been nominated for a couple of awards and I can’t wait to share them with you – not because I’m so awesome, but because this gives me a chance to introduce you to other bloggers out there that you might not know about!

First off, thanks ever so much to Kerry at Winding Road for nominating me for the Blog of the Year 2013!  This award was created by the Thought Palette and the nice thing is, I don’t have to do anything! All I have to do is introduce you people to some of the bloggers who have really impressed me this year! If you don’t follow Kerry at Winding Road, I highly recommend that you do, she is such an inspiration as she pushes her limits, tries new things and help me realize that it’s okay to step outside our comfort zones!  Of course, she doesn’t realize that she does all of this, but the fact that she’s doing the daily Haiku challenge for the week pretty much embodies everything I mentioned!

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg



  1. Graced by Emilie – It’s fun to read about Erica raising her two little kids – she’s about 10 years behind me, so it always brings back good memories! Plus, she frequently posts pictures of her adorable kids!
  2. Surviving the Madhouse – Holly has become one of my great friends  and I have so much fun trying to decipher when she speaks “Canadian”.  I kid!  And that’s why I love Holly, despite all that she has been through, she still laughs and jokes and teases right back – plus, she loves Doctor Who!
  3. To See the World in a Grain of Sand – Irish covers such a variety topics on her blog, and it’s always interesting to see what she’ll come up with each day, plus, she’s an avid reader like me! Oh, and she has a nail polish obsession, it’s pretty cool!
  4. Today’s Manager –  Cranston helps me grow as a person and as a manager, his blog is full of wonderful stories that help us become better people and manager ourselves and others!



Thank you Shaun at Looking for reasoning to a complicated world, I am happy to accept the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  I can’t think of a single topic that Shaun hasn’t addressed in his blog and I think you all should go check him out!

The rules for receiving this award are as follows.

1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
2. Answer 10 questions.
3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

The Questions to be answered

1. Your favorite color – Purple baby!  The color of royalty!  And it really fits, if I do say so myself!
2. Your favorite animal – Stuffed, like a teddy bear.
3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drink – Sweet tea! I’m from the South, sweet tea is it’s own food group!
4. Facebook or Twitter – Facebook
5. Your favorite pattern – Paisley
6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – Both!  I love the joy of giving a gift; however, I really do love receiving them, too!
7. Your favorite number? – All of the even ones! Some of the odd ones.  I like the ones that will be on my winning lottery ticket!
8. Your favorite day of the week? – Saturday and some Tuesdays – the occasional Thursday.  Wednesdays are good, too.
9. Your favorite flower? – Um, one that smells pretty, doesn’t require much maintenance, doesn’t have a lot of pollen. I don’t know flowers, so I can’t give you a real answer. What’s that one that looks like a bird? Or, is there a purple one?
10. What is your passion? – Life.  My passion is making sure that I participate in my life!  And my son, I’m pretty passionate about that.  And cookies… I would have to say that cookies make me pretty passionate.


All of the links should open in a new window, and they are my fellow female bloggers from around the world.  You won’t be disappointed if you click and check them out!

  1. Journey to the Finish Line
  2. Mummy Flying Solo
  3. Kids “R” Simple
  4. Winding Road
  5. My Journey to Live an Authentic Life
  6. Mom Times 4
  7. A Life in Rambles
  8. Ort of Sorts



Thank you very much Vanessa at Pink Butterflies for nominating me for this award! I think you all should go give Vanessa a follow, her blogs are always so much fun to read!

Rules for accepting the Awesome Blog Content (ABC) Award.

  • Display the Award on your Blog.   
  • Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
  • Present 8 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
  • Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded  with a comment.
  • Write a word or phrase about yourself for each letter of the Alphabet.

8 other deserving Blogs to receive this award.

  1. Little Steps
  2. The Smirking Cat
  3. The Book Boozer
  4. Who or What Was That
  5. Kimberly Harding – Soul Healing Art
  6. Free But Fun
  7. Aussa Lorens
  8. The Mmmmm family

Words or phrases about me for each letter of the Alphabet.

  • A –  Awesome
  • B – Bumbling
  • C – Cowboys!
  • D – Dog Lover
  • E – Energetic
  • F – Faith
  • G – Gratitude
  • H – Hi!
  • I – I hate these things!
  • J – Just won’t end…
  • K – Kudos for making it this far!
  • L – Loving
  • M – Mom
  • N – Never ending list…
  • O – Optimistic
  • P – Party Girl
  • Q – Quintessential
  • R – Rugged
  • S – Single
  • T – Troublemaker
  • U – Unique
  • V – Vexing
  • W – Whatchu lookin’ at?
  • X – X Chromosome
  • Y – Y are there so many letters?
  • Z – Zebra. (I kinda gave up)

I’m really hoping that all of you go check out Kerry, Shaun and Vanessa, and the other bloggers that I have nominated in this post.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there and it’s always good to keep an eye out for someone new!



Thanks for sticking through to the end!  There are so many wonderful bloggers out there and if I failed to list you, it’s an oversight on my part, not yours! Thanks to all of  you for being there for me, reading my posts, my comments and for keeping me entertained!

So, Maybe I’m a Bit Sentimental

So, maybe I am a bit sentimental.  Or, maybe it’s just this time of the year.  I love the holidays, once we hit October 1st, I’m on a high the rest of the year (of course, some of that could be the candy and breads and other goodies!).

Halloween is super fun, Thanksgiving is a great time to renew my vow to live a life of gratitude, but Christmas, Christmas is all about the family life I’ve made.  Not just the nuclear and extended family, but my friends that have become family, too.

We put up our tree yesterday.  I know it seems early; however, Thanksgiving comes late and well, it’s a lot of work to put my tree up and I want to enjoy it as long as possible! I’m sitting here with a nice bowl of chili, watching the Cowboys and letting the glow of the lights on the tree take me away! (And, well, because doing three things isn’t enough, I’m writing this blog post, too!)

Tons of memories are made this time of year, and in our family, our traditions have traditions! Every year when we were growing up, mom and dad would let each of us kids pick out an ornament for the tree.  You could track our lives via the ornaments and year after year as we were putting our special ornaments on the tree, one of us would occasionally hold up an ornament and go “oh, I remember when…”

I’ve carried this tradition on with Mr. T, and yesterday was filled of moments “Oh, this was when you did this” or “I made this back when…”


Our tree is nestled in the corner of the living room, out of the way but still visible from every angle.


Here is the little stained glass church that was one of my childhood ornaments.  It is the first ornament to go on the tree, period.  Nothing goes on until I have placed this little guy.  I absolutely love this ornament.  I don’t remember when I got it, but it will always be my favorite!


Look! It has my name!  All the way back from 4th grade!! Which also gives away my approximate age for those of you good at math!


Merry Kissmas! I got this ornament when I was a teenager – and you know you’re as old as me if you recognize the character!


Here is a new ornament!  My friend Kari sent this to me all the way from Alaska!  It’s entirely too awesome for words!


I bought this for Mr. T’s first Christmas – isn’t it adorable? I did have a traditional baby’s first Christmas ornament that was a beautiful blue china rattle sent to me by my friend Melissa; however, one year we dropped it and no amount of glue was fixing that!


First off, yes, there are candy canes all over our tree.  I load the tree up with peppermint and mint chocolate candy canes.  Everyone has gotten used to this and almost everyone who visits automatically grabs one off the tree to enjoy – including me and Mr. T!

Nestled among the branches and candy canes is Elmo, the first ornament that Mr. T picked out all by himself.


Here we have a cloths pin reindeer that Mr. T made when he was little.


Even Spongebob and Patrick get in on the action.  And, to be clear – those are two separate ornaments, I realize now that it looks like they are attached, but they aren’t.  We also have Shaggy and Scooby doo and on the other side of the tree in a perpetual battle you will find Spiderman and Dr. Octopus.

Putting up the ornaments gives me time to reflect on years past, think about the upcoming year and to spend 30 minutes with Mr. T where all we have to do is enjoy each other and sing along with Christmas carols playing in the background.  We laugh and joke, reminisce and make plans and let the stress of the world melt away.

And then I put up another one of my ornaments… it pretty much speaks for itself!


On a slightly related note – I now have to go search for Supernatural ornaments – cause I think that I’d enjoying looking at this every year! Maybe when I write my letter to Santa I’ll ask if he can just wrap up Dean Winchester and leave him under my tree!

Seriously, who wouldn't want to be him?

How an Earthquake Locked Me Out of the House

Last night was Diva Dinner, our monthly girls dinner – and it was awesome! I left the house just before 6 and got home about 8 pm.  I opened the garage door, got out of the car and hit the clicker to close the garage door, walked to the house and all but broke my nose on the door leading to the house.   

It was locked!  And, sadly, it’s not even a glass door and yes, there is a handle, but when you are used to one swift turn-handle-walk-in move, it’s hard to stop that momentum!

You need to come back and watch this video! 🙂

I whipped out my cell phone and called Mr. T who came and let me in.  Apparently earlier in the evening there was a loud pounding that hit the house and he couldn’t identify it, so he went through the house and made sure everything was locked up.  He said that he heard people outside and that he thinks it was a car door slamming.

Okay, the window in my room was cracked, so that sounded plausible.

We finished up the night and went to bed and I didn’t think anything else of it.

Today I saw on the news that there was an earthquake in one city over.  I didn’t feel anything, so I didn’t pay attention.

I worked a little bit, my boss and his family were leaving town this morning for vacation so we were rushing to get all of his stuff completed and once he was out the door I went to do my Couch to 5k training.  I struggled through the training today.  I’m on week 8, which is the last week, by this week I should be able to run non-stop.  Today I couldn’t.  Fortunately, I’ve learned it’s okay to have days like this – and since it’s been weeks since I had a bad run I chose to be okay and not let it get me down.  I finished early and got ready for a morning meeting.

After my meeting I ran to the store to get a new pair of work out pants since I had a coupon that was about to expire. I picked what I needed and the sales associate was so helpful, I asked her to help me see if we could find me a new pair of jeans. For almost the past year I’ve been able to take my pants on and off without undoing them.  It’s pretty handy; however, the past couple of months it’s gotten bad – if my phone is in my pocket then my pants start to slide down.  This is becoming unacceptable, especially since getting me to remember to put on a belt just isn’t happening!

So, we picked out about 5 pairs.  I tried several on and finally found one pair that fit like a dream.  Two sizes smaller than the ones I was wearing!! Let me repeat that… TWO SIZES SMALLER!!

Happy Dance!!


Tonight I called my mom.  Tomorrow she is having knee replacement surgery.  To replace the artificial knee she had done just over a year ago.  Which she had redone two days after the fact because the patella (knee cap) wasn’t attached properly.  You can’t make up the stuff that happens in my life.  I wanted to make sure we were on the same page, let her know that had coordinated with her mom and that we wouldn’t be far behind her and dad.

I also wanted to let her know that she’d be too out of it to notice, but I’d be wearing jeans two sizes smaller!  (Yes, I will say this over and over again today!)

She asked me if I felt the earthquake last night.  Nope – but if she felt it, then I’m surprised that I didn’t.  She was surprised, too and went on to tell me about her experience, and how it was like a loud pounding hit the house (sound familiar? Go re-read Mr. T’s account) and then the dogs went nuts!  So, now I’m curious… about what time was it?  Well, no wonder I didn’t feel it, I was several cities south at dinner!

When I hung up the phone with her, I double checked and sure enough, a 3.6 quake hit one city over and the shock wave was felt far and wide! I told Mr. T what happened and he laughed and said it was nothing like how TV depicts an earthquake!

So, that’s how an earthquake locked me out of my house last night!

I’m a Kid at Heart

I’m still such a kid at heart.  Yesterday was Six Flags day.  For those not aware, it’s an awesome amusement park.  When my brother Lee was young, he and I had season passes and went all of the time.  Now that I have Mr. T, we try and make it a couple of times every year.  I love it!  I have so much fun walking through the park, riding the rides and examining everything the gift shops have to offer!

I have learned some things, though:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes!!
  2. Don’t wear flip flops if you are going on the Batman ride
  3. It’s worth it to buy the refillable mug
  4. The last person to take a drink has to hold the mug – if they try and hand it back to you, just pretend you can’t see them.
  5. You are never too old for Yosemite Sam.
  6. You can be too old for the Titan (85 mph, with a 255-foot drop)


Alright Six Flags, Bring it!!  Mr. T, Me, Samantha and Jayman.

Most kids line up for pictures with the characters… and then there is me.

Aren't we a great looking family?

Aren’t we a great looking group?  Jayman, his friend C, Amy, Samantha and Mr .T.  (Amy is my sister and Jayman and Sam are her twins.)

Six Flags family picture

Funny story.  As I was taking this picture, a Six Flags host walked up and asked if he could take the picture so I could be included.  Of course!! As I was running over to join the family a random stranger yells out “Hey, I want to be in the picture!”  Now, most families would be “no way!” but not our family!  We were like “Come on random stranger! Join our group picture!”  So, random guy is on the left.  He was a good sport!

Okay, even more funny story (funnier story? most funniest of stories?). Yet again I wanted a picture, and this time with Pepe’ Le Pew, and as I was holding his arm I was like “Pepe, you work out!” When the picture was done, Pepe indicated that I should really check out his bicep… dude was totally built! Then he wanted me to check out his forearm, which about as big as his bicep! So, as I’m groping him, it dawns on me, and I look at my sister and crack up “I’m totally molesting what is probably a 17 year old kid!!”

Six Flags Me and T


End of the day and another selfie with Mr. T, in front of the huge Christmas Tree.  It was a wonderful day and a great time was had by all.

And yes, that happened – I may or may not have groped the arms of a 17 year old kid.

Blogging About Friends and Family

The other day I read this post “Should You Let the Cats Out of the Bag?”

I did giggle a bit as I read it because I related to several of the issues that come up when you blog about family and friends.

Do I use fake names? Check

Do I modify some of the details (that don’t impact the story)? Check

Do I ask if it’s okay if I tell the story? Check

I know my mom reads the blog, so trust me when I tell you that my blog is a constant stream of judgement calls.

So far, so good, right?

NOOOOO.  Guess who is the one person I never checked with to make sure they were okay with a starring role in my blog?  MR. T!!!


Yes, that’s right, I can feel the “Mother of the Year” award slowly tightening like a noose around my neck…

Last night after dinner I looked over at my beloved son, of whom I’ve shared so much and crossed my fingers!

Hey, does it bother you that I blog about you?

The quizzical look I received did not bode well.

Why do you ask?

Great, now I have to admit that it never dawned on me to see how he felt about having his life shared.  Wonderful.  Could it get any worse?  So, I told him that I’d read this blog about checking with family and friends, blah, blah, blah, and I figured I’d better check with him.

He just chuckled and smiled at me.

I guess I’m good.


Everything Happens for a Reason

As I mentioned in Opening Opportunities, a random conversation at lunch set in motion a huge series of events.  While I was feeling at peace with the decision, it was still a big decision.

3 c's of life

I did track down Mr. T’s father.  He did acknowledge me and told me he would call last weekend.

He never called.

Tuesday night I took a deep breath and told Mr. T.

ME:  So, I found your dad.

T: Yeah?

ME:  It was on a professional networking site, I messaged him and gave him my email and cell phone.  He did text me back that he would call over the weekend.

T: (hopeful look on his face)

ME: He didn’t call.  I’m so sorry.  I wanted to just tell him about the random conversation at lunch the other day, and the fact that when I mentioned it to you that you were amicable to talking to him.  I was going to get his permission to give you his number and then you could contact him when you were ready.  I’m so sorry, but he didn’t call – I guess that is a sign that he’s not ready.

T: That’s okay mom, I’m glad that we tried.

ME:  I’m so sorry.  But at least we’ve given him the opportunity – like all of the others – maybe one day he’ll be ready.

T:  Mom, really, it’s okay, you don’t have to keep apologizing.

everything happens for a reason

What a blessing I have in my son!  He’s a great kid and my heart breaks on his behalf.  Of course, I’m probably more worried and upset than he is!  Now, because I love him so much, you get to be treated to a few pictures of him!




I know you've seen this one, but it's a great shot of me and the BD boy!

Don’t Clear My Plate!

I’ve been a single mother for 15 years now and I’ve really enjoyed it; however, there are times that I wonder about how others did it.

For Example:

How did other single mothers take their kid out to dinner?

I clearly remember several times that Mr. T and I went out to dinner when he was younger.  The worst part was when he had to pee.  He was too young to go by himself, so I would take him.

While that could be an adventure, that’s not the bad part.

The bad part would be when I got back to the table and our table had been cleared.  Some bus boys were really excited about doing their job!  I tried to leave signs that we were coming back… but when I refuse to leave my purse or phone behind to be stolen, well, there isn’t much left!

Most of the time our meal was either remade or comp’d.  Once, we went potty and I got back and fresh plates were already waiting on us!  The waiter didn’t stop the bus boy in time and so he went ahead and put in a fresh order for us!

I think I should invent a placard.  A plastic tent that can be tossed in the diaper bag and pulled out when you have to take your kid to the potty – “I’m coming right back! Potty break!”  Do you think it would work?  Am I the only one that ever had this issue?