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Author Archives: stl16

The Merry, Marry Month of May

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The Merry, Marry Month of May

Time flies, especially if your daughter’s wedding is in 20 days and she lives out of state.  She’s planned a simple ceremony, dinner, drinks and dancing kind of affair for 50 or so.  There’s some DIY involved, however, and I am not exactly Pinterest material.

But I do know about weddings.  I’ve had, um, several of them, and thank God I’m not making little meat rollups or hanging honeycomb bells.  She wouldn’t want either of them or tacky little favors.  To make sure I stay on task–and not venture into OMG No Mom Land–she has given me spreadsheets to follow.

I’m grateful for the guidance on the wedding plans, but experience has taught me this:  To buy the flowers wholesale and to marry the right guy.  My daughter’s taking care of both.



A Happier New Year

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I slept through the ball drop and several hours into 2018.  For me, the best way to start a crazy new year was with a little extra shut eye, the ultimate “me time.”2018

No need for champagne last night since I drank plenty enough during Christmas week while the family was here.  Celebratory food and drink and laughter and love just kept coming.  My minimalist holiday decor proved to be perfectly merry enough.

To my great wonderment, the holidays actually turned out relaxing and restful and included a pair of beach outings and a movie.  I’m actually sleeping at night again.

My Stress-o-Meter has been reset for this next trip around the sun.  I’ve decided to let love–not worry–drive.  Even though detours lie ahead, love makes for a smoother journey.

P.S.-This should say “Every day” but the Grammar Police apparently have the day off in Meme World.

Shifting Seasons

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tgivingThe last of the Thanksgiving dishes are done.  So is fall.  I am reluctantly packing up the pumpkins, fake autumn leaves and harvest decor tonight.  I’ve made a faux fall here in honor of the Nature’s decor in the Smokies.  Oh, how those people know how to celebrate fall!

Although it’s officially the Christmas season (signaled by Santa’s first wave in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), I haven’t quite arrived at the corner of Holly and Jolly.

Too many friends have lost loved ones this year.  We certainly live differently than we did a year ago.  Call me greedy but this holiday season I long for simplicity, sincerity and sanity.  Give me Christmas carols in the car, cookies baking in the oven.   I’ll take joy, straight up, with a chaser of good cheer.

Hello holidays, I’m on my way!

Stormy Weather

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I haven’t posted a word since late May.  Blame on this maelstrom year.  It’s been one hell of a year, a year with unspeakable tragedies occurring more frequently than paydays it seems.

And then the natural disasters kicked in.  In September Irma left her mark in our little town.  We lost dozens of shingles and power for a few days.  Other than that and a pool full of oak limbs and leaves, we did just fine.  Our new roof should be on soon.

We tried to evacuate from Central Florida, but made it only 100 miles up I-95.  There’s really nowhere to go when a hurricane takes aim at the entire state of Florida, and Irma would have been right behind us anyway.  Lesson One:  Don’t think about leaving and hunker down where we are safer.

Other than our Memorial Day farewell to our mountain home, our only other adventure was seeing the eclipse at 95 percent in South Georgia.  We didn’t claim much summer joy this year.

This has been a year of losing friends, friends losing family and the passing of music icons and childhood favorites.  It’s been a year when both of us had to deal with physical limitations and diminished health.  Not surprisingly, by mid October my angry frustration had bubbled over into everything I touched.

Forthwith came Lesson Two:  Let it go.  Breathe.  Live.  Be grateful for every day.  Summer’s gone, but autumn’s light is lovely too.  And winter’s pretty damn nice in Florida.







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May is melting away into June quickly.  Where have the last five months gone?  I’ve spent the majority of the days being biopsied, recovering from surgery, Magic Markered and irradiated 33 times. By the time my skin looked like a blistered red potato, I’d stopped wearing anything but cotton camisoles on top.  I dragged through each day, foggy brained and fatigued, able to do one. thing. at. a. time.

Thank God I am one of the lucky ones who’ll get to pop a pill every day and (hopefully) live a fairly normal life.

My post-rads recovery has produced a pair of epiphanies:  I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until I backed into a UPS truck coming out of my own driveway.  And, after a trip to the peaceful North Carolina mountains, I finally allowed myself to grieve after a series of setbacks this year.

The decision to sell our beloved little cabin meant it was time to close a chapter in our lives.  But giving up something is infinitely easier than giving up someone.  You remember, you sigh and you move on.

Last Friday I turned 61, a day of love, tears and laughter, and our last full day in the mountains.  Now I could rejoin my life, already in progress.

Happy to be home and healing.  This sign is now in our Florida backyard.




Joining the Pink Warriors

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Joining the Pink Warriors

Nobody enthusiastically joins this group, but now it’s my time.

My official invite came Jan. 29 when I received the lousy news that I had breast cancer. This came after 20 years of careful watching and benign biopsies. In my family, it’s not “if” but “when” one of us joins the club. The Big 6-0 seems to be the magic number for the Big C for us.  It happened to my mama and her mother exactly then.

Losing a breast didn’t slow either of them down much.  Mama’s still going strong and 88 plus; my grandmother made it to 87.  I may not have to make such a generous immediate flesh donation to join the club–a lumpectomy is planned–but I will also be catching some post-surgical rays provided by a radiation oncologist.

However, this isn’t the first time the Big C has knocked on our door.  In 2012 my husband lost some essential parts to bladder cancer. A parade of nasty infections have all but knocked out his kidneys since. He was in the hospital having emergency dialysis on the day of my fateful biopsy.

As I join the Pink Warriors, it’s time to channel my favorite feminine fictional badass, Scarlett O’Hara.  Like Scarlett, I’ll do what I have to do and “think about it tomorrow.”

Pat Conroy Appreciation Month

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beaufortDriving through South Carolina in early April, I smiled wistfully when as we passed the exit to Beaufort. The literary light of Beaufort and gifted southern writer Pat Conroy passed away March 4.  I’d seen the “Prince of Tides” ages ago, but couldn’t recall reading the book.  I shop in the non-fiction section, usually biography, anyway.

It took reading his obituaries to learn that his novels were autobiographical, powerful and beautifully written.  I became a fan girl right then, too late to meet my new personal literary hero, but smitten just the same.

I started my Conroy binge with the Santinis–“The Great Santini” and “The Death of Santini.” I followed it with “The Water is Wide.”  Next stop is the “Lords of Discipline.”

To write about real people in your life takes real courage.  I am trying to marshal a bit of that Conway courage as I write through a family saga.  In any story, sometimes the heroes are also the villains.  They are often people we love.  Pat Conroy told his stories honestly, like a neat shot of whiskey that burned first then warmed the reader.

Son of Santini, thanks for the inspiration!