Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Favorite Season Of All

Changing leaves

Golden sun rays 

A chill in the air



Fall festivals

Hay rides

Pumpkin muffins


Corn mazes

Halloween and Thanksgiving


Caramel Apple Cider

Jumping in the raked leaves


processed-20121007164655638Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Apple spice candles


Long walks in the woods


What do you think of when fall arrives?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Perfectly Fall

processed-20121007164655638Last weekend was perfect fall weather and the perfect day for a trip to the farm.  My favorite local farm/corn maze/pumpkin patch/hayride location is Cruze Farm just outside Knoxville.  Cruze Farm is a working family dairy farm with the best tasting milk ever.  I use their real churned buttermilk in my biscuits and you can really tell the difference.  And I love that the girl’s all dress in vintage looking clothes and they all look like fresh-faced farm girls from the 1930’s.

My daughter and I piled K in the the car for his first experience with a farm and animals.  30 minutes later we piled out into pumpkin heaven.  This is a real family place so there was a animal petting area, processed-8264miniature tractors for kids,
a corn “sandbox”, food and other fun things to do to make it interesting for families.

We started in the animal area.  Casey put K right up by the fence and a calf came right over.  K wasn’t scared at all, reaching out to touch it’s nose.


processed-5311We stopped for some ice cream and some pinto beans and fried cornbread from the food truck.  K loved the ice cream and couldn’t get it to his mouth fast enough.  He is trying new foods and the general concensus in that he just likes to eat!
 Then he tried the pinto beans and, well let’s just say, he’s a true southern boy.  Casey couldn’t get them to his mouth fast enough.

We took the hayride over to the pumpkin patch where there was an old truck piled with pumpkins and straw and a couple of old tractors out in the field.  We picked out our pumpkin, played on the truck and the tractors before deciding it had been a good day for the adults and the almost 7 month old. 
processed-5355 I love that I get to experience all of these firsts with K and Casey.  My favorite season is fall and this trip was a reminder that there are a lot more firsts coming. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Inspiration Explanations

I am currently participating in the #fmsphotoaday Monthly Photo Challenge.  You take a photo each day based on the prompt from a list provided here.  It’s a great way to have fun with your photography whether you use a DSLR or Instagram.
Here is the list for October.  The proOctober-photo-a-day-list_zps8380355empts are short, simple, and can be interpreted in many different ways.  It is so interesting to see all the photos together to see the wide variety of styles and stories behind the shot.

I started on day 3.  I wanted to share the photos for the last few days and to share the story of the shot.
Day 3 – This Happened Today
Nothing much had happened that day that I felt might be “important” enough to take a photo and share it.  Then, that evening, my daughter, K, and I were sitting in the sunroom, playing in the floor.  K started getting up on his hands and knees and rocking, pushing himself forward.  It’s not a quite a crawl, but it’s close.

Day 4 – What I Read
IMG_20121004_121813I took two photos for Day 4.  As I was sitting at my desk, I was eating Trader Joe’s Nutty Bits.  They are so amazingly yummy and addictive.  Jokingly, I said “These must contain crack.  Let me read the label to see what’s in them.”  Picture – I read the label.

I also wanted to use that day to take a picture of my new favorite toy, my Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight.  In August, some <insert ugly words here> broke into my house, stole my laptop computer, family jewelry, our Wii, some other small items and my Kindle Reader.  I replaced my Kindle with a Nook and I love it.  I am a pretty avid reader and I read every night to go to sleep.  The glow light is perfect and it is my new favorite toy.
Day 5 – Shadow
IMG_20121005_111559I decided as I was taking K to daycare that morning that the sun was perfect for a shadow picture in the park.  Who would have thought when I turned 50 that I would be doing the day care drop off every morning?  And here I am, a little over a year later, doing it every day and loving it.  Who knows what is to come in the next few years?
Day 6 – I’m Thankful For . . .
I knew right away what I wanted to do for this theme.  Every Saturday morning for a few years, I have met a friend or several friends at a coffee shop downtown for coffee.  It started when my friend Nineette and I would go there between yoga class and dance class on Saturdays.  The manager, Matt, remembered us the second time we came in and he remains the heart of this place, calling people by name, remembering orders, asking about family.  Over the last couple of years other friends have joined us at various times but for the last year it has mainly been me, Nineette, our friend Marisol, my daughter and I.  Occasionally we bring our kids sometimes it’s just us.  Matt, his wife and daughter are always there, even if it’s just to pop in and check on things or to have band practice in the back room.  Marisol and Nineette gave my daughter a baby shower in the back room.  We are considering having K’s 1st birthday there.

So I am thankful for Remedy.  Thankful for having this special place to come together every Saturday as friends.  Thankful for Matt and his family.  Thankful for this group of women.

If you are participating in this challenge or another type of challenge, share the link or hash tag in the comments section so we can check it out.

Nana Blogging


Meet my grandson, K.  We have had a fun 6 months getting to know each other.  My last post about my daughter and her pregnancy was this one.  It’s taken me a while to get back to one of my favorite things – this blog.

So you might ask “If something wonderful, like a new grandchild happened, why wouldn’t you write about it – you write about everything else?”

processed-4995Well, it was a long journey.  There were wonderful, amazing moments and moments of hurt and stupidity by all around us.  There was joy and there was downright anger.  Ultimately, I chose to keep those feelings to myself and discuss them within our family.  Some things I would have written about would have been hurtful to others because I was hurt.  When it came down to it, it was better that I work through all that in my head, not here.

McFee_Park-9My grandson has so much love around him and his mom is an amazing mother. Everything truly does happen for a reason. K has the best personality and I am so in love with him. We all have the best time together.  His uncle Zack is so in love with him.  It’s time to write about him.

I started this blog to document everything about the “Life of Tere” and all that entails.  Each year I download this blog so it can be put into a hardbound book so there is a printed copy of my thoughts, feelings, photos, adventures . . . LIFE.  It’s time to add him to the mix as a part of all the rest of my life.  It’s time for me to write again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All Because Of Coconut Cake

I had not once visited my sister Mickey in Louisiana in the 10+ years she had lived there.  She always came to Tennessee and Kentucky since most of the family was there.  This year, for Thanksgiving, my daughter and I made the trip to see Mickey, her husband Greg, and her two sons Trey and Trent.  I had not seen the boys play football since they were little and now Trey was about to graduate. And both were playing in a state semi-final game.  It was perfect timing.  I also realized that Chapel of the Cross in Madison, Mississippi was along the route to her house.  Several of our ancestors are buried at Chapel of the Cross and it would be the perfect opportunity for me to see the cemetery and take some photos for my genealogy research.  It turned out to be dark and rainy when we reached Jackson so we did not make the short trip over to Madison.

Mickey has the same genetic makeup that the women in my family all seem to possess.  We make way too much food for a celebration.  It comes from my mother’s side of the family.  My grandmother always made a table full of food, so much that it covered the table leaving no place to sit, much more than any family could eat.  It was her way of showing her love.  My mom and aunt did the same and thus, passed it on.  Mickey had more food than I have seen in a long time, all the traditional family favorites and more.  We ate, watched football, ate, watched football, then we ate some more.

As we sat at the kitchen bar sampling the desserts, we discussed coconut cake.  My grandmother made the most amazing coconut cake. It was a bright white cake with soft coconut milk flavor and fluffy icing topped with fresh coconut.  She would always have one in the freezer to take out when we arrived.  That was my mother’s favorite.  Mom would sit at the table and slice off small slivers of frozen cake.  Once that was eaten, she would smile and say “I need to even that side up” and cut off another sliver.

Mickey wondered if I knew where the recipe for the cake was.  I didn’t.  Our grandmother didn’t usually cook from a cookbook, mostly just from recipes passed between friends on scraps of paper or sometimes torn from the newspaper.

Mickey had some old books around her house so she decided to see if maybe it was stuck in one of the books.  She brought some out of a closet.  A small book, too small to be a cookbook, and without a side binding was sitting at the top.  I opened it to see what it contained.binding
It was a bible.  From 1853.  common prayerImmediately I was interested.  As I carefully turned the delicate pages, I ran across poems cut from a newspaper and pinned on a few of the pages.  There were leaves or flowers pressed between the pages.
And then I saw it.  Handwriting in the margins of a middle section.  It said “Our dear Blake and Trinkins married 8th Feb. 1888.
blake and Trinkins married
I quickly recognized the names and the date.  My geeky genealogical heart started beating faster.  Blake Baker Wiggins and Trinkins Cabaniss Wiggins are my great, great grandparents.  I gingerly turned the pages and found so much more.  Blake’s grandmother, Mary Wharton Bryan Dewees, was the owner of the bible.  She had written notes on important events in the margin over about 40 years time.  Notes about her siblings, her children, her grandchildren and even a few about great grandchildren.  There was the day General Lee surrendered, there were notes on crop plantings and frosts and the “worst windstorm I have ever experienced”.  It was noted the day President Garfield and President McKinley were shot.  There were births, deaths, marriages, illnesses and moves to another state.
MWBD Birthday
This one says “ My birth day 1818 22nd June”.  “1891 - 73 years old to day”.  “1892 – still here”.  “1898 – 80th”.  Mary died in 1904 at the age of 86.  And there are a few notes after that from her daughter Mary Lorraine Dewees Wiggins, my great, great, great grandmother.

I have searched the internet and corresponded with many distant cousins to try to track down information on this fascinating line of our family.  This whole time, a book that is well over 150 years old and full of valuable family information was sitting in my sister’s closet.  And written in the hand of one of my most interesting of our female relatives, truly a beloved matriarch. 

I forgot all about the coconut cake recipe and ignored all going on around me as I turned each page carefully and read each line.  Mickey told me to take the book home but I offered to scan each page and leave it with her.  It was hers.  But in the end, she sent it with me.  She will never understand how much it means to me to have it. 

All because of coconut cake.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Everything Happens For A Reason

My mom always told me that . . . Everything happens for a reason.  Whenever I didn’t understand or something just didn’t make sense to either of us, Mom said that.  And she was always right.  One event influenced another that influenced a decision that influenced an outcome that was absolutely wonderful . . . or at least better.

I’ve maintained that attitude through the worst times of my life and the best times of my life.  I am thinking about it now.  I am going to be a grandmother.  I am quite excited.  Now.  Not so much several weeks ago.  But now, very excited.

When you have children, you see certain things in their future.  They make decisions and show behaviors that influence how you think their lives will go.  Some of that vision is comprised of hopes and dreams but if we look beyond that, and are honest, we can see the general direction of their future.

I saw a pretty easy life for my daughter.  She is very determined and strong. She wanted to finish college, get married to a loving guy who could be a real partner.  She would work as a designer, buy a nice house, and she would wait until her later 20’s to have children.  She would be able to stay at home or work from home when her kids are younger and be your stereotypical soccer mom.  While I see things with a more jaded perspective, I saw a lot of that in her future, just with a few more bumps along the way as we all know life goes.

The guy she was dating was very nice - charming, easygoing, thoughtful, an athlete, ambitious, loved to cook and loved kids.  Things moved quickly but they were very happy.  A pregnancy was not in the plans at all but they were planning to move from Atlanta to Denver so he could train to get back into the NFL.  There was a delay in the Denver plans and the next thing they knew, she was pregnant.  Neither one was happy about the timing but my daughter was going to make the best of it.  Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was determined to go forward with his plans with or without her. The relationship started to break down under the stress and she ended up moving back to Tennessee to have a support system and let him figure out what he was going to do.  Since that time, they have continued to communicate periodically about the baby but while there is hope he will come around later, he remains uninterested in being involved, is willing to pay child support, and she is staring at single parenthood in the future.

And yet, her positive attitude and determination has really impressed me.  Her child will be bi-racial which is unimportant to us but to some people in this country, it’s a big deal.  If anyone can handle that and make it work, she can.  She will be a single mother with only a year of college.  But I know this kid will make that work to her advantage somehow.  And I know she will be a great mom.  Her child is one lucky kid.

And I am one lucky mom.  I mean Grandmother.

Everything happens for a reason.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Circle of Life Stories

It’s been awhile.  Friends keep asking . . . “Why haven’t you updated your blog”.  I don’t really have an answer.  “I will soon”.

The last few months have been busy and I have had lots of stories to tell.  I took a trip to New York and Amish Country with sister and a friend.  We stayed in an apartment in Harlem and since my sister paid for the apartment, I was able to 4 days on less than $200.  We had so much fun, saw everything, even my nephew’s basketball tournament.  I returned obsessed with the Amish  Lots of stories.  None of which made it to the blog.

Zack_Arbor GraduationMy kids have had lots of changes in their lives.  My son graduated from Massage Therapy School and I am so proud of him.  It has been so hard for him to get to this place in his life and I am overjoyed that he completed the courses and is paying for it himself.  But I couldn’t manage to put it into words here.

My daughter has quit her job to move to another state but hasn’t moved yet.  She has a new boyfriend and temporarily moved back home.  She has had many “learning experiences” in the last few months and probably will over the next couple of months.  I never could decide if I wanted to share my parent’s perspective and ultimately I didn’t.

I have people in my life who are going through things that I thought I wanted to “discuss”, work has been crazy and there have been lots of personal growth and challenges to overcome and I have a torn meniscus in my knee which will require surgery in August.  But I haven’t shared any of this.

Until today.  What brought me back to my blog?  A Circle Journal.  What is a Circle Journal?  It’s a small blank book that you write in and add pictures then send to another person so they can do the same.  That person either sends it on to someone else or back to the person it came from.

I received one today.  It’s a Circle Journal I gave to my sister for Christmas in 2003.  We mailed it back and forth a few times between January and July of 2004 when it got set aside during a busy time at my sister’s house.  We both forgot about it.  Then, a few days ago, she found it.  Without saying anything, she put some pictures of my Dad’s wedding in it, wrote a short entry, and put it in the mail.  I got it today.

I sat in my big comfy pink chair this evening and read through the entries.  It was just random stuff that was going on at the time, mostly stuff I had forgotten long ago.  Little bits of our lives, not really anything important but one memory led to another memory that, at the time, we had no idea was to come.  The pictures made me realize how much our kids have changed and grown.  The entries were written before my mom died.  We had no idea how different our lives would be in the next year.

It made me want to write.  My blog is a little like that journal.  Little bits and pieces of our lives that we want to remember whether I know it now or not.  So it’s time to write again.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Girly Girl Who?

girlyWhen I think of someone who would be described as a “girly girl”, there are so many characteristics that come to mind, none of which I possess.  I am sort of a tomboy and always have been but I also really love being a girl.  I love dresses and high-heeled shoes and dressing up and getting my hair did and all the other girly things we all love.  It just takes a lot of work and not something I want to do every day.

I’ve tried.  I hate it.  It is too much work.  It takes time and my ADHD kicks in pretty quickly, causing me to lose interest.  I don’t think of it as pampering and it is so time-consuming.  I wish I felt differently but it will never happen on a consistent basis.

Some of the ways I am not a girly girl:
  • I hate to take a shower.  Yes, I DO take showers and I kind of like baths when I have the time, bubbles, and a glass of wine but if I could be clean and smell good without getting in the water, my bathtub would be storage for shoes.
  • People give me lotions and powders and shower gels and bubble bath and other bath products as gifts.  I almost never use them and either give them to someone or throw them away when I get on a cleaning spree.  It’s sadly a waste of money.
  • If I never had to shave my legs again, I would be a happy girl.  I like the way my legs look when they are shaved but just hate to take the time to shave them.  One of the few benefits of aging is that the hair on your legs gets lighter and softer.  Unfortunately, I am a hairy girl.  During my teens and twenties, if I didn’t shave daily, my legs looked like Robin William’s arms so this aging thing is making me very happy.
  • Painting of the nails and toes should be left to salons.  For over 20 years I have had acrylic nails and during the summer, I get a pedicure every 2 – 3 weeks.  Recently, in order to save money, I stopped getting my nails done and decided to attempt to do my own pedicures.  What a mistake!  Jagged cuticles, messy polish, uneven filing.  How does one get into the right contortionist position to paint one’s own toenails?  And what about those scaly heels?  This might be the disaster I think it will be.
  • Let’s talk about makeup.  I am old enough that I cannot go without it.  Gotta cover up those blotchy red spots and chin hairs.  Watch out for the wrinkles, they tend to catch the lotion and foundation and sweat in them and it ends up looking like a topical map of the Grand Canyon.  And I hate to take off makeup at night.  Call me lazy.  When I do take off makeup, either at night or before putting on more makeup, I use those makeup remover towelettes – quick, efficient and disposable.
So . . . are you a girly girl? What do you hate about girliness?  What do you love about it?
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