March Minimalist Challenge, Day 8

Shopping totes, so many shopping totes. Someone might need an intervention. It’s sad. Seriously. Stop!

How am I doing on my alliteration? On a scale of 1 to 10, I believe today only rates a 4. I’ll strive to do better tomorrow.

Minimalist Challenge, Day 13

Selected for purging today are twelve tops and one skirt, none of which have have been worn in more than a year. Some of these have been worn so rarely that they appear brand new.

Which begs the question, what was I thinking when I bought them in the first place? The two white T-shirts are a bit too tight across my chest. The striped top made me look like I was auditioning for a Where’s Waldo film, while the peach, apricot, and green tops gave my skin the respective hues of peach, apricot, and green. Not a good look.

And what’s with all the horizontal stripes? Maybe I was a zebra, or a referee in a past life. I’m betting on the zebra option. All of the above soon will be appearing at a Goodwill in Tallahassee.

Peace, people!

Minimalist Challenge, Day 7

Today wasn’t a very exciting purge, and it’s not going to free up much space in my closet; however, I’m not sure why I was hanging onto these seven shopping bags:

It’s not as if I was going to use them as gift bags. That would just be tacky. Right?

Back when I worked full time I sometimes carried my lunch in one of the small shopping bags, but I no longer have to do that. And while in the past I’ve used such bags to tote a change of clothes to the gym, I own a perfectly good gym bag. So these bags are going into the recycling bin unless someone can give me a good reason to hang onto them.

Peace, people!


Yesterday as I exited the Publix grocery store on Ocala Street in Tallahassee I saw a little boy, maybe a seven-year-old, playing on the sidewalk directly in front of the store. I spoke to him, something innocuous like, “Hey pal,” but he didn’t respond.

I looked around, but didn’t see any adults nearby. He seemed to be keeping close to the store, so I went on to my car. No sooner had I packed my groceries into my car than I saw a little blur dash behind me. It was the little boy running hell bent for leather through the busy parking lot towards an even busier street. This 61-year-old, out of shape grandmother took off after him.

Just as he reached the intersection a car turned into the Publix parking lot and with inches to spare missed hitting him. Without hesitating the child swerved back into the parking lot and just stopped, standing stock still. The car’s driver, a young college student, pulled over and the student’s mom got out and took the child’s hand.

I had begun calling 9-1-1, but so had she. Now that I was close to him I realized he most likely was autistic. Leaving the child in her capable hands I walked back to the store and found a manager and a clerk looking out into the parking lot. Figuring they might be looking for the little guy I asked and sure enough they’d been approached by an anxious mom who’d lost her kid while shopping. So I took them out to where the woman still held the child by the hand.

We watched as mom and child were reunited and the woman who had held his hand while I ran up to the store kind of fell apart for a minute. So did I.

“I thought my son was going to hit him,” she cried on my shoulder.

“Thank God for young reflexes,” I said, patting her on the back while shaking her son’s hand.

I honestly thought I was going to see this little guy go under the wheels of a car. Once back into my own vehicle I sat shaking before I could even start it up. His angels were working overtime yesterday.

And now, the Beatles. How’s that for a segue?

A New-to-Me Wine and Lucky’s Market

I’ve taken a bit of a wine break these past couple of weeks. The colder weather has been more conducive to hot teas and hot chocolate. Today, though, I was shopping at Lucky’s Market (a gem of a store) in Tallahassee and discovered a wine that seemed to call my name.

I like the Apothic red blends, but the aging in whiskey barrel gimmick was new to me and worth a try. The verdict? It’s smoky and deep and silky smooth. I might have found a new favorite.

More about Lucky’s–think Trader Joe’s without the hype, or Whole Foods without the hipsters. Lucky’s is no-nonsense, healthy foods, lots of products in bulk, a meat and seafood department that looks divine, and a section of beer and wine to rival any store in the area. I love their selection of local honeys and have been taking a tablespoon of raw honey a day as a defense against my allergies.

Please note I receive no compensation for this review. As usual I’m just sharing interesting and perhaps helpful information with my readers. Money? What’s that?

Do you have a favorite local shop? What makes it your favorite?

Have a wonderful day, and now more than ever, peace, people.

Looking for a Whatsit

Yesterday I posted about the Happy Painter, aka Janie Roberts, and her shop out at The House of Plywood in Tallahassee’s Railroad Square Art Park. I was specifically looking for a replacement for this piece:

This was the crowning glory of a decorative candle holder my eldest sister-in-law, Lyn, had given me four years ago as a housewarming gift. It fit atop this piece,

and enjoyed a place of prominence on my dining room table. Upon presenting me with the gift Lyn had made just for me, she advised me to avoid picking it up by the top. For three and a half years I was so careful to follow her advice, but one day I moved it without thinking and you see the results above.

I’d tried to describe to Janie at The Happy Painter just what it was I was looking for–a sconce, a globe, a whatsit, but until I took the piece in she wasn’t sure exactly what I meant. The minute she saw it she sent me to another vendor, Chip, who has a wonderful lamp shop in Railroad Square. I’ll do a whole piece on Chip’s shop one of these days. I’m not even sure of the name of the place, but he found me a possible replacement for a reasonable price.

Now I just have to break out the old glass and affix this new whatsit to the wrought iron piece. I’ll get Studly Doright to help me with that. There’ll likely be less bloodshed that way.

So what is the proper name for this? Is it a sconce? A globe? A whatsit?

Exactly What I Was Looking For

I stopped in at a Walmart yesterday. Not the brightest move I’ve ever made, I must admit. All the usual Christmas craziness was on parade: bright-eyed children asking, no, pleading, for toys. Harried moms of all shapes, ages, and ethnicities asking, no, pleading for them to be good for just a few more days. Weary clerks just waiting for their shifts to end.

And there I was, an island of calm in the midst of chaos. All I needed was a bag of pecan halves to make my famous pecan pie for Christmas dinner. Ten minutes should have been sufficient for this errand.

Finding the pecans seemed simple enough, except all of the bags I found on the baking aisle were pecan pieces. I insist on pecan halves because they rise so beautifully to the top during baking. Almost like magic.

I couldn’t find a clerk, so I wandered to a center aisle thinking the pecan halves might’ve been moved to a holiday display. I found a likely looking spot, but at first glance, not the right pecans. A pleasant, well groomed woman, maybe a few years my senior, was also perusing the display.

“Excuse me,” I said, “Have you seen any pecan halves? All I can find are the pieces.”

With a bit of a flourish she lifted a bag from a lower shelf. “Voila!”

“Thank you!” I said. “These are exactly what I was looking for!”

I began to turn away, when the woman said, “You could make divinity with the leftover pecans.”

“I suppose I could,” I said. “But my husband won’t eat divinity and I’d end up eating the entire batch.”

She laughed. “My husband only wants cherry pie for Christmas dessert. I used to make pecan pies for our son and grandson, though.”

Again I started to turn away, but she said, “They we’re both killed in a car accident. On the interstate between Jacksonville and Orlando.”

My heart lurched, and time stopped. “I’m so sorry. How long ago?”

“Four years. My grandson was just twelve. I think about them both every day.”

Then she told me how an erratic driver, lane surfing had taken the lives of two of the people most precious to her. He’d had multiple tickets for a variety of violations, but still had a license.

I hugged this stranger. In the middle of Walmart beside shelves of pecan halves and pecan pieces we stood and cried.

She apologized for upsetting me. “I can’t believe I just told all this to a stranger,” she said. “But I think all of my friends are sick of hearing how sad I am. They want me to get over it, or to at least stop talking about it.”

“Sometimes a stranger is just the right person to talk to,” I said. “I’m glad I came in search of pecans. Thanks again for helping me.”

She hugged me again and we wished each other a Merry Christmas. She and her husband were going to her daughter’s home for Christmas dinner, she told me. She assured me she’d be all right. “You found the right pecans, but I found the right stranger,” she said.

We never know, do we? In the rush of the day, in the quest for some mundane object, we might find not only what we need, but be the answer to someone else’s need. Slow down. Listen. Be present. You might find exactly what you’re looking for.

Peace, people.

For Your Sartorial Consideration

Since moving to the Tallahassee, Florida, area Studly Doright and I have had very little need for cold weather wear. I’ll dig my jacket out of the guest room closet every now and then, and both of us have hoodies we wear on cooler days, but for the most part we can just wear long sleeved shirts and jeans and be perfectly comfortable.

But we’ve had a cold front move into our neck of the woods just in time for Studly’s company Christmas party, and he wanted a new sweater for the event. Our search for the right garment took us to Beall’s department store. In Studly’s mind there’s no other place to shop for his clothing, and he can usually find something that suits him fairly quickly. Emphasis on quickly.

At this stage in our marriage I don’t even try to offer my advice. He’s going to buy whatever plain blue or red or green sweater he sees first, so I went looking for fun stuff. I didn’t have to look very far:

When Studly came to the checkout counter I led him over to these festive suits. “You could wear one of these to the party,” I told him.

“And you could wear that,” he said, pointing to this rack:

I told him I was game, but he backed out, so he’ll be wearing his plain red sweater tomorrow night. Bah. Humbug.

Peace, people.

Christmas Shopping Angst

Every January I pledge to begin my Christmas shopping in August, yet every December finds me scrambling to buy the perfect gifts for my grandchildren. I’m such a loser.

We’ve done the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read” method of buying Christmas gifts for the grandchildren for the past few years, but I’ll be the first to admit that this system has its drawbacks.

For one thing, I’m woefully out of touch with the current styles. I’m happy wearing flip flops and capris every day. Why shouldn’t the grandkids be satisfied with the same attire? Sure, it’s 32° in Illinois, where three of the kids live, but maybe they should toughen up a bit.

And what if the line between a want and a need is blurry? Maybe they WANT new shoes, but they also NEED them. Then what?

I’ve already bought each of the five grands two books each whether they want them or not. I like books, so by golly, they’re getting books.

Two of the girls are easy to buy for. One is into American Girl dolls while the other likes Disney princesses. The other three kids, though, are nearly impossible to shop for. They don’t want clothes or toys. I’m thinking lumps of coal might be an option.

I’ve texted their parents, a.k.a. my children, to press the kids into declaring their wants and/or needs. Hopefully they’ll torture the kids into coming up with some affordable ideas. I know one of them wants a horse, but that’s not happening. Can’t we all just get along?

Peace, people.

Chicago, Here I Come!

I’m flying to Chicago out of Panama City Beach on Friday afternoon. Once in the Windy City I’ll meet up with my daughter and our middle granddaughter for a weekend of shopping, dining, and Les Misérables-ing.

In preparation for the trip I’ve been listening to the Les Misérables soundtrack, because one never knows when they’ll need someone to fill in for a cast member. I probably don’t look much like Jean Valjean, but I could sing his part in a pinch. And Cosette’s role? I’m ready to don her dress and belt out her lyrics. Just in case.

My tastebuds are already anticipating a Chicago-style pizza, as I recall the ghosts of pizzas past. There’s simply nothing better than a deep dish pepperoni. Mmmmm. Can you smell it? I can. Now all I have to do is convince my daughter and her daughter that we need to head downtown for dinner Friday night!

Of course, Friday will be my daughter’s thirty-somethingth birthday. I’ll let her choose dinner on Friday, but Saturday is pizza for sure. Am I excited? Duh!!! And the best part? Getting to see my family! I’m packed and ready. Let the party begin.