Memory Lane

Blog Anniversary Quiz Bowl #1

During May, I'm celebrating my fifth anniversary of blogging!  Each Friday, I will provide a Blog Quiz. Answer the questions for a chance to win a prize!  (A winner chosen every week -- PLUS a Grand Prize Winner at the end of the month.)  All answers have been provided, at some point, here on the blog.


Here are the questions for Week 1:

  1. What was the name of our family dog BEFORE Jenny?
  2. What is my most-dreaded food?
  3. What kind of car do I drive?  

Just leave your answers in the comments section.  (All correct answers will be eligible for the prize drawing.)

Happy Friday!


Throwback Thursday: The Beginning (or Getting REAL)

Five years ago . . . at the very end of May 2009 . . . I posted my very first blog post.

I was really kind of nervous about it.  I had a hard time explaining why I was even doing it.  And I didn't tell anyone about it, really.  No one I knew in real-time, that is.

Midnight Rider Fini Front

(Me.  May 2009.)

When I was finished with my chemo treatments and was beginning to process what it meant to "be a survivor" I had this incredibly strong desire to . . . become REAL again.  For me, having cancer sort of canceled out my "real life" and gave me this "other life" -- the life of a sick person.  (I had a bit of an identity crisis during chemo.  Who WAS this person who had cancer and was going through chemo?  Because . . . it sure as hell wasn't ME.)

In the months immediately following the end of treatment, I had some reflective work to do . . . to figure out who I was and how I wanted to live the rest of my life -- going forward.  One book was particularly helpful to me -- Picking Up the Pieces:  Moving Forward After Surviving Cancer.  (I still pick it up once in a while.)  Anyway, the book has some wonderful exercises and examples to help lost souls figure out . . . What now?  What next?

Somehow, out of the reading and the reflecting and a whole lot of journaling, I decided that I wanted to have a blog.  I felt a strong pull to tell my story . . . and, in the process, help me become REAL again.

I never dreamed I'd still be blogging 5 years later.  I never thought anyone else would read my blog.  Or make a comment.  Or reach out to me in any way.  (Or, heaven forbid, invite me to meet them!) 

And yet. . .

And yet. . .

Here I am.  Five years later!

Astoundingly . . . celebrating 5 years of blogging.

Please join me here throughout May -- in a month-long 5-year-blog-anniversary celebration!  On Thursdays (starting next week), I'll share a then-and-now 5 year retrospective (a little nod to Throwback Thursdays), and on Fridays, I'll give you a little blog quiz.  Answer the questions, and you'll be entered in my blog-anniversary-contest!  (One winner each week, with one Grand Prize Winner at the end of it all.)

AND . . . because I'm very near that major "comment milestone" of 10,000 comments, there will be a bonus prize for the 10,000th comment!  (This may take awhile; I'm just short of 9,500 now.)

So.  Thanks for visiting.  Thanks for commenting.  Thanks for reaching out.  

But, mostly?  Thanks for making me REAL again!


(But, wait!  There's more!)



(And, more!)

Here is the stubborn photo from yesterday . . .  of my Alabama Chanin progress!




My Closet: A Metaphor for Life, Part II

As I started clearing out my closet last month, I did some thinking about  how my closet got to be such a mass of clothes in the first place!  

I've already admitted here in the blog that I have a Thing for Fashion.  I don't mean to say that I adhere to Fashion.  (Because I don't.)  But I do follow along.  I appreciate Fashion . . . as an art form.  I  appreciate the juxtaposition of . . .





when it comes to wearable statements of art.

And, really, I always have!


(My sister and I playing paper dolls in 1967; I was in second grade so my sister must've been about 4.)

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite pastimes was playing with paper dolls. I loved collecting the cut-out sets you could buy at the dime store most of all, but I was also really happy just cutting people out of catalogs and collecting them in folders.  It was all about choosing outfits and figuring out what clothes I liked best of all.  I had the most fun dressing the paper dolls up to . . . go somewhere and do something!

It was the same, for me, with my Barbies.  I loved collecting - and even making - clothes and accessories for my them.  I liked to create ensembles and clothing combinations for their Barbie-life adventures.  (Some of my friends made me crazy -- because they never wanted to change their Barbie's clothes.  They liked Barbie-action; I liked Barbie-fashion!)

The fashion-bug stayed with me as I grew older.  When I was in junior high and high school, I learned to sew and made most of my own clothes.  I got great pleasure in choosing patterns and matching up fabrics to create unique and one-of-a-kind pieces for myself.  For awhile, I even dreamed of some sort of career in fashion.  One of my friends in high school was also an excellent seamstress.  Together, we took our high school elective classes in the home ec department -- courses in tailoring and creating your own patterns and fashion design.  It was fun (and a nice alternative to biology and algebra!), even though we both gave up on the dream of fashion design careers.


What happens when a young fashion junkie grows up and gets a walk-in closet?  


Scan 7

(This is magnet was a gift from my sister several years ago.)

As I emptied my closet, I came to the realization that . . . I'm too old for paper dolls and Barbies now, so I've collected life-size clothes . . . to dress myself up! 

And that, my friends, is how my closet became the MESS that it was.

(Stay tuned.)



Throwback Thursday: Projects Before Ravelry

Last weekend, I was getting ready to take a little nap.  I grabbed my favorite nap-afghan and as I drifted off to sleep, I starting thinking back.

Like WAAAAY back . . . to when I made that little nap-afghan!  

It was the summer of 1977.  I had just graduated from high school, and was getting myself ready to move off to college.  I crocheted up some random squares in pastel colored Red Heart Acrylic (because back in 1977, was there anything else?) and made myself an afghan for my soon-to-be dorm room.

Here's a picture of one of my rooms in college (this one is in 1979, in one of the rooms at the Tri-Delt house; I would've been a junior):

College room

And there it is!  The afghan, right on the foot of my bed.

I still have it - and use it whenever I take a nap.  (Red Heart Acrylic never wears out, does it?)  Jenny likes it, too.

Old Afghan 002

(This throwback photo was taken back in 2009, when Jenny was 2!)

It's funny.  Now, thanks to digital cameras and Ravelry, we take photos of our projects at every step of the process.  But back then?   Not so much!   It's fun to find an old photo of a much-loved, old project!





Truth . . . Stranger than Fiction


This week, Ten on Tuesday celebrates April Fools Day!

What follows . . . are ten statements about me.  Nine are true.  One is not.


  1. In second grade, my school had a mumps epidemic.  I was the only student in the school to win the Perfect Attendance award that year.
  2. My first job when I finished college was at The Coloradoan newspaper.  I took classified ads over the phone, and typed up obituaries and auction announcements.
  3. The butterfly on my left hip is not my only tattoo.
  4. I used to play softball.  (I pitched.)
  5. I was kicked out of Brownies because I didn't pay my dues.  (To be fair, I was just not clear on the concept.  I liked keeping my nickel in the Official Brownie Coin Purse on my Official Brownie Belt.  Besides . . . the troop leader's house smelled funny.)
  6. I started out in college as a French major.  
  7. I was nominated for Prom Queen when I was a senior in high school.  (I didn't win.)
  8. If I was a boy, my parents planned to name me "Todd."
  9. One of my college boyfriends played baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals. (But not when I dated him.)
  10. I have three college degrees.  They are not related in any way.  (And one is not French.)

Can you find the fake?


 Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here

She Said It: Week Four


"The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving."

--- Gloria Steinem


Gloria Steinem

Earlier this week, Gloria Steinem celebrated her 80th birthday.  How awesome is that?  (Click here to read my story about meeting Ms. Steinem.)


March is Women's History Month.  Celebrate the legacy of women's words with me here each Friday during March.

Throwback Thursday: There Were Times I Liked the Snow

There were times I liked the snow.


When I was a kid, for example, playing with my sister in the front yard.

There were times I embraced the snow.

Scan 7

When I was skiing (here at Steamboat with my college roommate, Sarah, in 1979), for example.

Heck, there were even times I wished for snow.


Just this past Christmas, for example.

But now?  Now I just want it to melt.

Throwback Thursday: From Deep in The Archives, a 2-Fer

To share this story, I had to dig deep into The Archives -- those photos pre-digital and stuck rather hapharzadly into an early scrapbook-style photo album.  With archival glue.  Never to be scanned.

But this story is worth it.  

It was Christmas Eve, 1996.  I was a worn-out, hassled Mom . . . looking for a way to take the edge off a Most Exciting Day for my kids.  (My kids got VERY excited about everything-Christmas, all season long.  But by Christmas Eve, we're talking Fever Pitch.)

I decided we'd bake some extra-special Santa cookies to leave for Santa Claus that night.

I made red and white batches of sugar cookie dough.

We rolled and shaped and decorated.

Little cookie girl

Erin (2nd grade) was VERY into the Santa cookie making.  Brian (preschool) lost interest in the blink of an eye.

In the end, the cookies were magnificent!


I piped on frosting for the beard and Santa-embellishment, and we left the cookies on the counter to "settle" while we went to church.

When we came back, I noticed that Tom (dear man!) had put the cookies away for me -- although one arm had fallen off and was still laying on the counter.

I got my near-frenzied kids into their jammies, ready to hang their stockings (with care!) and set out the cookies for Santa Himself.

Honey, where did you put the Santa cookies?

Blank stare.

Like . . . deer-in-the-headlights stare.

I thought YOU put them away!


Seems NOBODY put the Santa cookies away.

And that's when Jake . . . our dog . . . skulked in.


Seems JAKE . . . put the cookies away.

Leaving one little Santa arm behind.

Erin cried.

And that photo, above, was the closest any of us ever got to one of those magnificent Santa cookies!


While I was digging in The Archives, I also found a couple of photos from one of our very early gingerbread house decorating sessions.


Here's my Mom -- in 1997.  That year, she was teamed up with Brian -- who, in his Kindergarten-level zeal, stuck on the first piece of candy and collapsed her whole masterpiece!  (I decided to leave out the photo of my Mom's clenched-teeth smile as she assured him it was . . . Just fine, Brian.  Really.  Just FINE.)

And here's Erin (3rd grade) - my partner-in-gingerbread that year, putting the finishing touches on our house.


Christmas memories are such fun!

Words on a Tree Skirt

Many, many years ago (in 1983, to be exact), I spent many an evening stitching a tree skirt.


Tom was in graduate school then, working hard in the lab.  All the time.  And though I worked during the day, my evenings were free for things like . . . reading and stitching.

I remember buying the kit for this tree skirt with my mom on one of our shopping trips to Denver (Tom and I lived in Fort Collins, Colorado at the time).  I didn't really like it.  But it was on clearance -- and cheap.


At the time, I figured I'd use the tree skirt for a few years, and then replace it with one I liked better.

Yet.  Here it is.  30 years (and 30 trees) later.


I wouldn't have it any other way!

Just Like Me in Five Easy Steps

Last week, I was waiting for my manicure appointment, and my "nail gal" was running late.  The receptionist at the salon brought me a cup of tea . . . and the latest issue of Glamour magazine.


Now, I don't know about you all, but I haven't looked at a Glamour magazine since my early 20s.

Let me assure you:  Nothing has changed!  (I haven't missed a thing.)

There was a time, long, long ago, when I couldn't WAIT for the newsest issue of Glamour magazine to arrive.  Back in high school and college, I would pour over the trends . . . and the fashion dos-and-don'ts . . . and the hair and  beauty tips.

Get Christie Brinkley's sun-kissed cheeks in 3 easy steps!

Get Cheryl Tiegs' bright eyes in 8 easy steps!

Follow Cybil Shepherd's exercise routine for that natural glow - in 5 easy steps!

I always tried it.  Because . . . maybe THAT was the trick to being beautiful and getting a boyfriend!  (Yes.  I totally bought in to that social construct when I was a teen.)  In the end, I was always disappointed.  Because, no matter how faithfully I followed the steps, I still looked Just Like Me.  (Ultimately, I became Just Fine with looking Just Like Me.  And I got a boyfriend, too!)

So.  Anyway.  There I sat last week.  30 years later.  Waiting.  With my tea and a Glamour magazine.  Turning pages.  Snorting to myself about what a worthless magazine it (still) is.  Laughing at myself for even flipping through the pages.

And then I saw it:  Copy Olivia Wilde's Sexy Smoky Eye in 5 easy steps!  

(Seriously.  Click here.)

I couldn't look away!  Out of a deeply-ingrained curiosity about how-the-beautiful-do-it I checked out the sexy, smoky eye.  And then, well ... you know, I had to try it!  

The very next morning, I assembled my "tools". . .


and launched the 5 easy steps to achieve Olivia's eye!


I had a grand time . . . outlining and blending and shadowing and highlighting.

But after Step 5, you know what?



(Just Like Me.)

Despite the detailed instructions and illustrated how-tos, Olivia Wilde's sexy, smoky eye (I guess she only has ONE) are the exclusive property of Olivia Wilde . . . and her genetics . . . and her make-up artist.  The sexy, smoky eye will remain elusive for regular people.

And I'm Just Fine with that!

Happy Friday!