Oh To Be a Lemon Farmer. 


Maybe it’s this cold winter, but I found myself googling cruises to the North Sea. No sillies. Lemon trees.

I had incredible urge to plant a lemon grove.

And there’s $23.46 in my checking account. So I soon realized my lemon dreams had to start small.





How long has that been sitting there? My baby tree nestled in the mail basket overnight in the freezing temps.


I raced inside to see if there had been any damage.




Well. It was still green.


I read up on growing Meyer lemons in pots since I’m going to be a lemon farmer and all. One source said to use a glazed pot. Another advised that they like to be root bound.

I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to take this little net off.


It was perforated so I took it off.

And then half the dirt fell on the floor.






I bet this is how Dr. Phillips started Minute Maid.

Any advice on lemons? Recipes for killer lemonade?



Though not sure I’ll see a lemon in my lifetime.

Ten Things Thankful. It’s the Little Things Edition.


This past week seemed sooo long. Weird because it was a shorter one.

We traveled back from Florida Monday so the kids had only four days of school. Though it seems like 10. Go figure?

Ten Things Thankful for the week that was.

10.   It didn’t snow.

I know. I know. This makes me seem grinchish but if it snows and commerce stops my husband stresses about his business.

So happy it didn’t snow.


9.  Thankful for cold medicine.

Got my first official cold of the season. My nose is about to fall off. Thankful for decongestants.


8.  Thankful for spring break.

Our college son came home yesterday. Though he was off with friends an hour after he arrived, still nice to know he will be breezing in and out next week. And Mike and Mike will be my background muzak in the morning and not Squawk Box. Though I do love the Squawkers.


7.  Thankful for good books to read in the middle of the night.

Said every menopausal woman ever.  A subset of all the people trying to sleep with head colds.


 6.  Thankful for the Dollar Tree selling this little light for a dollar.



Yes. I’d gotten spoiled reading from my phone in the middle of the night. But what happens when you have a good book book?  Thankfully you can go old school with the light in the middle of the night for a buck.


5.  The book section at Goodwill and Flea Markets.

Trying to awaken dormant frugal matter in my brain and not always automatically downloading from Amazon. Had great luck last time I hit the local Goodwill.  Got a hardback of Stephen King’s On Writing to put on my shelf. And this book I finished last night.



One of the prolific Jodi Picoult’s earlier novels. It was good but I like her latest Leaving Time better. Some really good twists in that one. And I’m pretty hard to surprise with a good twist, not to brag. But I kind of am.


4.  Thankful for good friends who can recommend a lighter, well-written next book.

Most of what I have read lately has been darker. Next book, I need humor or just not murders, suicides, bat-ship dysfunction. I need a break from reality.

So please comment on any enjoyable books you’ve read lately.


3.  Thankful for Monday and Wednesday next week.


Doesn’t even look like they will be nice days. But just seeing 77 makes me HAPPY!!!!!


 2.  I wasn’t locked out of my house last week.

So I have that going for me.


1.   March 1.


Please leave suggestions for good reads.  Wishing you a great week.



Ten Things of Thankful

Ronald McDonald and the Princesses. I had a ball.


Whether by blinding passion or raging anxiety, my leap to join the Ronald McDonald House Charity Team for the Disney Princess weekend ended up being a very, very good thing.


Last August, I signed on for the Glass Slipper Challenge — running a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. And committed to raise $750 for the RMHC of Central Georgia by mid-January.

Then my mind tumbled down the rabbit hole a bit further.

Why not have my youngest and I be a team? Joe could run with 10K with me?

Joe and I be a team?

I immediately dismissed that notion.  My coding, gaming dojo 11 year old, sign up to go-go six miles? But then, I leapt another millimeter and contacted RMHC of Central Georgia Executive Director, Bonnie Hopkins and Development Director, Julie Wilkerson. I asked if my son and I were a team did we each have to raise $750?

Affirmative. We both needed to raise $750.

Okay. I can do this said she who trembled on every doorstep for each box of Girl Scout cookies I attempted to sell.

Just as I girded my loins with that Forest Green sash and sold the heck out of those Thin Mints, I could do the same for Ronald McDonald.

Or so I hoped.

Starting last August on the hottest day of the year, we set up our Arnold Palmer stand. We visited the house in Macon in September. And baked pecan pies for Thanksgiving. And a host of friends and family donated directly to our FirstGiving pages. Hop by hop our team raised a smidge over $1,800.

Along with way with Facebook magic, we got to meet the rest of our RMHC Team. Almost 200 members strong with runners from Hawaii to Minnesota to every burg in between, we shared our fundraising questions and running triumphs and that dreaded word . . . our injuries.

What follows are a bunch photos from the weekend. With a little explaining in between.

First we picked up our race numbers.


Princess Jamie. Has a nice ring to it.




Joe got a look at the race course.

Joe got a look at the 10K race course.


We picked up our RMHC swag at the RMHC suite over looking the Braves Spring Training diamond. Loved reconnecting with blogger amazing person Jana Anthoine (standing in crown) and meeting everyone on the TeamRMHC staff.

We picked up our RMHC swag at the RMHC suite over looking the Braves Spring Training diamond. Loved reconnecting with blogger, amazing person Jana Anthoine (standing in crown) and meeting everyone on the TeamRMHC staff.


Spring is right around the corner, right?

Spring is right around the corner, right?


Then came what turned out to be the hardest part of the entire weekend. Getting Joe out of bed at 3:30 Saturday morning.

Made it to the car and made it to the start. Woo.

Made it to the car and made it to the start. Woo.


Got to our corral on time and started running.



I see Paris. I see France. I see the princess’ . . .







Joe kept running.

Joe kept running.


One last photo with Nemo.

One last photo with Nemo.


And the best photo of the trip.




We got the medals.



Joe is like why am I staring into the sun? I’m just so freak’n happy he had a great race.


The next morning, Sunday, my alarm went off at 3:00.



This time for the half, I was with my lonesome at the start. Well, there were 20,000 other folks packed in around me. In front of me.


And behind me.

And behind me.


I made it up to the castle.





And to the finish.




My favorite pic during the race.



My favorite moment of the trip was the Team breakfast after the 10K on Saturday. Guess where it was?



It was so fun to put smiles and voices with so many people I’d come to know through Facebook. Dear Kerri Hill, who suffered an injury, and completed both races in a ortho boot!  And Cassie Helmin, who was the top fundraiser with over $4,800. That’s from my memory but I think it’s close to the amount.




The entire group raised over $165,000 which goes directly to helping families off set the $15 per day charge to stay at the house.

At my fabtabulous chiropractor yesterday, I told fellow runner, Elise Faust — that I’ll have to be on the lookout for another great cause and race. There was something extra special knowing I wasn’t just running up to the castle for myself like I’d done before.

Elise agreed. Running the New York Marathon, she raised over $5,000 running for the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s charity, Fred’s Team. Named in memorial for Fred Lebow who directed the race for so many years.

She talked about the moment in the race when they ran by that great edifice of healing and saw the patients, many of them children, out front cheering. How personal and real it made the fundraising.



I hope the length of this post didn’t deter most folks from making it to this part.

My big takeaway from the last six months of association with TeamRMHC.

It’s the real deal. I had heard of the Ronald McDonald House all my life. I had seen the little boxes at the drive-thrus. But I’d never been touched by the people whose lives have been touched.

Every person I talked to that had a family member or child with a lengthy stay at a hospital couldn’t be thankful enough. Time and time again when I mentioned what my son and I were doing — people told me their stories.

Sunday after the half, I went to the hotel and sat outside having coffee with my husband. Going directly to the restaurant rather than the room, I still had my race clothes on. As we got up to leave, a couple from South Carolina asked what the “C” was for in RMHC. They explained how their grandson had a very rare from of childhood cancer at age two. He was treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The family stay at the Ronald McDonald House — and I was able to add I knew that house was the original house started in the 1970s, when the 3-year-old daughter of Eagle football player Fred Hill received treatment for leukemia and there was no place for families to stay to be with their child.

The gentlemen said the same thing I’ve heard over and over. “You see those little boxes — but you never know how important a place it is till your child is sick.”

Thanks to all who contributed to our quest. Thanks to the TeamRMHC staff for making it such a great experience.

What a surprising, extraordinarily wonderful chapter in my journey toward knee replacement.



Ash Wednesday and an open bag of KitKats.


Today is Ash Wednesday beginning the 40-day period leading up to Easter.

Traditionally, a period of introspection and focusing on the gift of Easter. Also self-denial.

Looking at a calender and counting the days, you’ll find there are actually 46 days between now and April 5.

Those extra days are the six Sundays till Easter Sunday.  What I like to refer to as the Lenten denial loophole.

The word on the street is that you can break your fast on Sundays. But once learning of this facet of Lent, I just ignore it for if I ever break my fast — there is no way to restrain all that pent up energy again.

What to give up?

Well, since high school my sister and I have given up sweets. It wouldn’t be Christmas without draping colored lights over everything and it wouldn’t be Lent to me without giving up sweets. We added chips to our sweets fast somewhere in our mid-20s. Probably about the time I discovered my love for the three amigos: tequila, chips and salsa.

Notice how I haven’t said I’m giving up tequila.

This bag of  KitKats received a lot of attention last night before I went to bed.



Yes, every year my sister and I give up sweets and chips and lose tons of weight.

Heck no. We laugh about it. How we used to lose five pounds every spring, but nope. No weight comes off now.

As much as the no sweets and no chips makes me feel Lenten, I know that abstaining from such, for me at least, is just tradition. Any deep meaning and introspection behind the act is long gone — if it ever was more than wanting to lose a few pounds.

So what should this Lent hold for me? How can I try to focus on God and focus on changing for the good?

I decided to give up negativity. Negative thoughts on circumstances. Negative thoughts about myself and of others.

When a worry or less than positive thought bounces through my brain, I’m going to stop.

Stop and pray.

Ask Jesus to open my eyes (figurative language y’all) and help me see this person, this situation as he views it.

Christians have some negative press these days. Some of it deserved. But to anyone reading this who doesn’t believe in Jesus, I’m sorry that we who do have messed up the world’s perception.

Because if anyone truly met Jesus. Truly took the time to experience him, there is no way you wouldn’t be hooked for life.

So for Lent I’m putting my Jesus blinders on. Taking the big Jesus scalpel to my heart. Hooking up my brain to the Jesus download.

We’ll see how it goes.

Thoughts? Positive ones?



Insert pic of me with Pinocchio nose?


I remember the time I was cornered by crazed alligators. I cheated death by parachuting off a cliff onto a passing kayak on the mighty Ichetucknee River.

Grabbing one of the alligators as I sailed off the cliff, I  had him stuffed. He sits in my office as a daily reminder how short life is.




That might be a slight embellishment of the truth.

Linking up with All Things Fadra and a 5 minute unedited stream of consciousness, stream of thought.


Brian Williams. Good grief. You can’t turn on the news without that being the news.

But it’s got me thinking. Why do we all feel the need to embellish our reality?

I do on this blog well, because it’s makes it more entertaining to read and honestly, more much more fun for me to write.

But when do we cross the line? When does “in search of a good story” become over reaching?

Most of us agree, that sitting around at a dinner party after a glass or two of wine – our life stories become a little more exciting. A little more dramatic. What was truth is now a little bit of truth and a lot of plastic surgery.

For example, eons ago when I was in Texas — in a bar, a DJ from a radio station approached me and said they were doing a contest for Dallas Forth Sexist Women (this was the early 80s, they would have said hottest today.)


Pooh. In all honesty, that darn timer went off.

The point of that story was this radio guy asked if I wanted to join them and be in the contest. I laughed and went on to the bathroom.

I must have told my mom.

For every once again in a blue moon, if I was feeling unattractive she would say, “Well, you were picked as one of the Dallas Forth Worth prettiest women.”

Of course I wasn’t. But that doesn’t make me correct her — even when she might be saying it in front of a group of people.

Now if she said this a lot, I would correct her. I think. 

Hopefully you get my point. Sometimes how events have been twisted over time make us feel better about ourselves.

Or in the retelling we feel that our story as perceived by others not sad enough, scary enough, tragic enough.

I’ve written about the pain of infertility. A pain that was very, very real for me. But what if I felt my inability to get pregnant with interfility treatments, and the humiliation I felt with those treatments and then becoming pregnant without treatment and subsequent miscarriage — not enough.

It was very tragic to me. But is it tragic enough to cut through all the other tragedy out there?

Should I insert five more miscarriages to make me seem really tragic?

Of course not. That would be pathetic and a mockery of all those who struggle daily with the inability to have a child.

I lived that pain. I don’t need to rework my life to make my heartbreak more entertaining for others.

That’s the tipping point for me.

When I reach the point that I feel a need to change a story to make me appear more courageous, more compassionate, more sympathetic than the me that sits here.

When my reality is not enough.

So why is it so difficult these days? Why is the truth – our truth or any truth not enough?

Thoughts? What crosses the line for you?





Let it Go…memories.


A memory I’d rather forget.

Who wants to think on that? They need to stay crumpled in a compact ball in the dark recesses of our innards.




Eeny, meany, miney, moe.

The time I threw away my second semester grades before my parents saw them? Yes. In the days before online access it was possible to destroy a report card and have all evidence of your time not spent in class destroyed. Until your father called the university and they shipped him another copy.

I’m thinking of things that I would never post on this blog. Actions as a parent. Actions to another. The times when I did not act and knew I needed to.

Pooh. This is hard.

Honestly, even with memories I choose to not write about, I wouldn’t erase them from my data base.

From mistakes – those humungous and teensy — I learned something. Most of all, I learned I never want to repeat that feeling of disappointing others or myself again.

. . . I’m still thinking, on this.

Every time something comes to mind – some moment from a past life or just yesterday — I can’t say I’d want to forget the pain.

In most cases I’ve moved past the discomfort and in others, I’m in the process of figuring out how to — in the words of the Mega star frozen princess — let it go.

But in all cases, I am at peace with the person who stands on the other side. Happier with the me who walked through the infernos coming to mind –whether a catastrophe by the hand of another or self-inflicted.


And in case you missed this by Will Ferrell click on the link. Seems the powers that be won’t let the masses embed this clip.

(Watch till the last. It’s my favorite part.)    Will Ferrell —–>>>> Let it go.

Linking up with the fun Finish the Sentence Friday crowd  . . . The memory that haunts me is…”

Finish the Sentence Friday

“You have my heart” on a field of brown.


Thinking on Thanks for the week that was.

Look at this.

I was running with my bestest running friend this morning and I looked over and laying in the middle of brown pine straw, brown leaves and brown winter ground — I saw this heart.




I picked up it and gave it to my friend who had stopped beside me as I had stopped to pick the leaf.

10.  “You have my heart,” I said handing the heart to her.  I am thankful that I can say goofy stuff like that to a friend as I put the heart in her pocket.


9.    “You need to write a blog post about it,” my friend said. Thankful for friends who understand that any moment in time spent with you could end up in a blog post.


8.  “You have my heart,” was her text back to me with this photo of the heart on something blue that is in her possession at home. Thankful for friends who remember to send pictures back to their friends who blog.


7.  Thankful that this is the last day of January. That’s really a horrid thing to write. But it’s honest.


6.  January has some very good things. Like the birthday of our daughter last week.


5.  Thankful that it was warm in the sunshine today.  I took my lunch out on the porch and enjoyed it though I wore a parka.


And that’s really it. I’ll stop at five this week.

I am so thankful for good friends and the simple pleasure of running and talking on a cold Saturday morning. No rush to be anywhere. No rush to miss a teensy red heart standing out amongst the brown of January. On last day of January.



What are you thankful for this Saturday?


Ten Things of Thankful

Key West Half Marathon. Why can’t I just throw my bags in the car and go?


Hi ho from Key West.




I’m not in Key West, darn that, but I was a couple of weeks ago. And high time I do a Key West Half Marathon race report.

Guess this trip started about a year ago when I was on Facebook. Yes, be careful for a harmless click on the big white F in the field of blue can end up costing you more than you think.

Last January a friend posted photos from Key West and the half marathon. Sitting in my cold house in cold Central Georgia, a cold me thought, “Wow. That’s nice.” So I became a fan of the Key West Half Marathon on Facebook.

Well, low and behold in March 2014, a Facebook blurb came up about a price increase in the Key West Half Marathon.

So what did I do? What I’m sure all of y’all would do. I signed up myself, my oldest, and my husband. Just like that.

And forgot to tell anyone till say late summer when I started to think  . . . hmm. We might want to think about getting hotel reservations. (And tell my husband he was going to Key West in January to walk 13.1 miles.)

Here he is after I told him I signed him up to walk 13.1 miles in Key West in January 2015.



No, sillies. That’s him about 100 yards from the finish line.

But I’m getting ahead of things.

Yes. I let my son and husband know they were going to Key West in January to run or walk 13.1 miles. Not that there’s anything wrong with walking 13.1 miles.

And a funny thing happened. Before I knew it, all that time passed and we were on a plane to Key West.

*   *   *

When we got into our hotel and got conscious Saturday morning this is what we saw  . . .





See that bump. Sitting on our balcony having coffee, my husband says, “Look at the iguana.” And sure enough — there he bobbed up and down as the wind tossed his perch on a palm frond to and fro.

We said goodbye our new green friend, the large bug (or reptile) and headed out exploring. And we learned that Key West was home to Truman’s Little White House, Hemingway and chickens.

They were everywhere.



Can I stop a moment and say roosters crow ALL NIGHT. If you ever doubted that they only crow at dawn, rest assured they crow every second of every 24 hours.

For a seventh generation Floridan, this was my first time in Key West and I did all the tourist things.

Obligatory, goofy selfie and end of A1A.



Photo at Southernmost Point of United States.


The line to take the obligatory photo at the Southernmost point of U.S.



We ate and walked and saw chickens and before we knew it we were at the start of the race.

My husband looks like he really wants to be there doesn’t he?


The crowd in front of me.


That 2:15 is a joke after mile 8.

The group behind me.




And we started.

Covering 13.1 miles on Key West ends up being your basic out-and-back with unbeatable scenery and lots of heat and humidity. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

We ran by the Southernmost Point again but didn’t have to stop and take a photo.



A lot of race was on the water.

Pretty amazing.

And thank God for the clouds that morning.



Caught my son as he headed back.




I felt pretty good till the turn around. From mile 7 — 9, I started walking some.

Mile 10 on — I was walking a lot.

The humidity killed me.



Yes. My stride at the end was pretty weak.

But I did it!


But seriously. Can any race be that hard when we finish at a marina?

And there’s free beer.





What a great medal.




And here’s a funny. I thought I recognized this woman and talked with her during the race. About mile 5 or so.

Here we are afterwards.



It was Tina from Elberton. As I case out the usual suspects in my age group for local races, I knew Tina’s face well. But I had never talked with her before.

She was a lot of fun and met her husband and daughter, who lives in Miami.



I was on my best behavior and soon dear husband forgot the misery of those last few miles.







You know.

It’s really a shame it’s so darn hard to get to Key West. No throwing the bags in the car and driving a few hours.

But maybe that’s why it’s so special.

I could really really spend some quality time down there.

Look at this photo taken on the cab ride to the airport.


I’ll definitely be back.

Thoughts? Feelings on Key West?

Running in heat and humidity when your aging bod used to running in the throes of winter?



Hanging out in a car on a Sunday morning.





Here I sit in the parking lot of the doomed Turner Field waiting to head to the start line of the Hot Chocolate 15K Atlanta.

Thoughts have been bouncing around in my head — so why not blog?

Joining Fadra’s Stream of Conscious link up. Setting a timer for 5 minutes and writing unedited and uncensored.


As I sit here once again in my car, alone, before running 9.3 miles with thousands of strangers — I’ve been thinking why?

Why do I leave my bed on a cold morning. Drive an hour in the dark to sit over an hour in my car to run for over an hour and a half?

A poser.

It was hard to get out of bed this morning. I toyed with some excuse. I was feeling sick?

But I pulled free of the covers and got dressed and headed out.

I guess — since time is drawing short — I do it because I’ve come to believe if I don’t — I’ll stop.

I’ve been doing this for decades. This is the fourth long race I’ve done in three months. Last Sunday, I was in Key West running a half marathon.


Okay. My five minutes is up. I need another potty break.

Maybe I keep doing this because I can. And some day maybe I won’t be able to.

Thoughts? Any runners?

The link to Fadra’s blog. Can’t figure out how to post the pic blogging from my phone.


* * *

Okay. I finished. And it was a beautiful morning. As I type this with fingers sticky from chocolate — it is a good feeling. To participate. And to finish. :))





Pink Flamingos and Epic Fails.


Trying to jump back into regularly posting, I thought about joining the Finish the Sentence Friday gang.

That is, till I read the sentence.

When I think Epic Fail, I think . . .

Gosh. That’s kind of personal. Sure I could write about another person’s epic fail (or my perception there of).

A big movie that bombed. A politician who screwed up.

But of course that’s not the point. The point is looking at my life and asking the question, what makes me think Epic Fail?

Well, honestly we could just take a little tour around this room I’ve been trying to claim for my office.  As the rest of the house has transformed to a somewhat molting swan, this room has become my dumping ground. My Portrait of Doran Gray clutterfest.

Failure is lurking in every nook and crannie.



This mountain of stuff. Part of this is the last pile of Christmas clutter that hasn’t made it up to the attic. Part Lord only knows. One of the Amazon boxes hasn’t even been opened. It contains a pair of plastic pink flamingos I got for my garden. It doesn’t seem right to subject them to the bleak rain and cold.



Next up a two-fer. A karate statue that needs the top glued back on and a pepper plant I brought inside to spare it a cold, frigid demise from freezing nighttime temps.

Seems I just sentenced it to a slow, painful death.




And then there is this drying basil from my garden.

Notice the lovely blue ribbon.

That will probably still be here till the day they carry me out of here in a wooden crate.






My road bike and its flat back tire.  Ugh. Those few beautiful warm days we get in the winter. No bike rides for me.



Yes, when I look back over this room and my life — there certainly were things that seems like failures, big failures at the time.

But time has a way of lighting the path of perspective.

The karate trophy isn’t fixed so fail, but triumph that my youngest — little gamer — found a sport/discipline that he enjoys.

The basil and peppers. Fail. The idea of drying my own herbs is so hip. Too hip for me I guess. Same with keeping a potted pepper alive indoors all winter. But triumph that my gardens, the proper ones outside really do rock. Something I knew nothing about seven years ago.

My bike. Fail: Really should have taken the time to change that blasted inner tube by now. Triumph: I can change bike inner tubes albeit slowly. Something I couldn’t say a few years ago.

Not really much to say about the pile of Christmas clutter other than I just need to attack it. The pink flamingos will go out in my garden. I ordered the silly things because I wanted company for my gnome and my dad had a pink flamingo in his back yard. A total joke for my intimidating-looking, conservative father. But the bird became such a normal fixture out amongst the azaleas, it just made sense. Surely everyone should have a plastic pink flamingo in their garden.

The more I live the more up turns down and wrong becomes right.

Epic Fails?

Maybe not so much.



Free-range or is it Freebird?

A photo posted by Jamie Miles (@southmainmuse) on

Finish the Sentence Friday




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