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Birthday eve

Conversation I had with Mike last week:

Me: Where do you want to go for your birthday eve?

Him: That’s not a thing.

Me: What’s not a thing?

Him: Birthday eve. That’s not a thing.

Me: Of course it’s a thing.

Him: No, it’s not a thing.

Me: I will never understand you people with siblings.

We have a long standing understanding in our home that I celebrate my birthday for an entire week or more. Generally, my celebration involves declarations like, “It’s my birthday, I’m not doing the dishes,” but it also includes allowing myself special treats like cupcakes for breakfast. I firmly believe in more robust celebrations for birthday eve, the actual birth day, and then the day after, which is the first full day of one’s new age. Being Mike’s first birthday without the teenager at home, I felt it was time he to embraced the three day celebration format. Being a middle child who married an only child who together had an only child, he thought the three day format was a bit silly.

Here’s the thing – I see too many people taking life too seriously. I am often one of those individuals taking life too seriously. There are unread emails in my inbox. I’m overdue in a status update. I have several business stakeholders I haven’t met with yet today. I haven’t returned a few phone calls. I have a mountain of laundry at home and the carpet needs to be vacuumed. My list of home improvements continue to grow as nothing gets taken off. My weekends are spoken for and I don’t think I have a free moment until June 14…of 2019. I put too much on myself and I don’t make time for fun, except when it comes to celebrating.

We try to celebrate a lot as a family unit. This was a bit of fun Mike brought into our relationship. No matter how big or small, we celebrated. We’ve celebrate the loss of teeth (and the sprouting of new ones), the start of a sports season, the completion of a project, the wrap up of a school play, the start of a new job, the end of a hard school or work week, the anniversaries of births, deaths, love, the beauty of a Southern spring day, the emptiness of the laundry basket, and just about any other reason we could find. If we can declare a celebration of some sort, we try to declare it.

By no means are each celebrations big affairs. We may shout a brief “hoorah!!” but we don’t really need more. It is merely an act of gratitude and accomplishment. It is an acknowledgment of life and a gratefulness we have people with us on our little journey through it. Maybe my only child status influences or sparks my desire to celebrate. My immediate families have been small my entire life. I am blessed though to have large extended families and a strong network of friends who have been a part of many of my little celebrations, whether they realize it or not, and that is something worth celebrating.

For your next birthday eve or for the next joy that stumbles into your life, maybe you to can shout a little “hoorah!” You might just like taking a small moment to acknowledge it and celebrate, whatever it is.


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Female anglers have been at a disadvantage with regards to gear for years. Our options have been limited at best and frustrating at worse if they even existed. For years, I’ve walked into fly shops only to leave in frustration and disgust as I look at the racks upon racks of men’s gear and clothing and mad as all get out at the male anglers trying to sell me a men’s small or something in pink. Thankfully, manufactures are realizing not only do women fly fish and they plan on staying in the sport, but we sure are ready to buy good well designed gear made especially for us. Yes, there have been waders made for women on the market for a while, but they are either feature poor or priced incredibly high. Patagonia, just entering this market in January 2014, is a bit late to the game, but the wait is well worth it.

For starters, the fit, arguable one of the most important features, is incredible. A poor fitting pair of waders wears out quickly if there is excess fabric, or can cause irritation if too tight in the wrong places. Excess fabric can also lead to discomfort and hinder mobility. If water is rising or an angler needs to move quickly, the excess fabric can become dangerous in addition to cumbersome which is why women should not buy men’s waders. Don’t do it ladies, ever.

The fit on the Patagonia Spring River Women’s Waders is tailored perfectly to a women’s figure. They are made with enough ease to easily accommodate variances in body shape without being too bulky or too tight in any one area. I ordered the regular small even though my bust measurement is a smidge larger than the size chart and my hips are a smidge smaller than the size chart. I also wear a women’s size 7.5 shoe and my feet with a pair of Smartwool socks and Simms wading socks fit very comfortably in the bootie of the wader. They are also still comfortable without the Simms wading socks. I have not tried them barefoot. Even with a tee shirt, a fishing shirt, and a pullover sweater, I had enough room in my waders to access the inside waterproof pocket, but not too much to feel bulky.

These are the first pair of waders I’ve ever worn that I’ve forgotten I had on waders. From getting my rod rigged after slipping on the waders to walking through a field to fishing on a drift boat to wading on the Norfork, I easily forgot I had on a pair of waders. My previous pair of Lady Hodgeman always felt like waders, and I felt clunky lumbering around, but the Patagonia just felt comfortable. I was able to move freely in all conditions. On the river, the fit of the waders allowed them to hug my legs as I waded without bulking up in any one particular spot and they didn’t add drag as I waded. I could walk through deeper areas as well as shallow areas with ease. I was even able to kneel down in the river to release the lovely big rainbow I landed without any issue. The waders moved with me like an outfit should. On the boat, they were comfortable as I casted from the drift boat, allowing me to move easily with full mobility. They were also great wind protection and kept me warm.

For features, the waders are incredibly feature rich. The suspender feature provides convenient, the hand warmer pocket is fabulous, and the two waterproof pockets are wonderfully accessible. The suspenders also include clip on tabs for zingers so you can keep items in very easy reach. The wool lined booties are a great feature for colder stream wading, especially for women who’s feet tend to be colder than most men. Overall, this is my new favorite piece of gear, in fact the gear driving me towards finding a time to fish again just so I can use them. After springing a leak in my Lady Hodgeman waders, thanks to a thorn, I hobbled through November and December being careful of how deep I waded, so I could wait until January to order the Patagonia Spring River waders. I’m glad I waited because these waders were well worth the wait and I’d order them again in a heartbeat.

Pros: The fit. These are the best fitting, most comfortable waders I’ve worn. The anatomically correct legs and feet give a tailored streamline fit without too much excess fabric. The waders are also feature rich, including the much talked about suspender system.

Cons: If anything, maybe the price. Coming in at $399, the waders are not inexpensive but they are also not the most expensive on the market. They are not designed for someone who wants to tryout fly fishing. Instead, the waders are designed for female anglers, those who love the sport and are willing to invest in it. That said, if you are a man and want to get your lovely lady into fishing and have the means to afford these AND accept life if she doesn’t fall in love with fishing, then these waders will help her fall in love with the sport and not be the deterrent that most other waders will be because she will look darn cute in them and still feel like a lady.

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The title is relevant for more than one reason. Not only has the time between the last blog and this one gone by much too quickly for me, but the time between today and September 1999 has gone by quickly. In September 1999, around this date, I was standing on the outskirts of the dance floor at my friends’ wedding, watching the Mother Son dance, balling my eyes out. My heart was breaking at the realization that one day, that would be me and my son out there. My son who was in the nursery down the hall as a three week old baby, would leave me one day to get married and the thought just solidified in my mind as I watched my friend dance with his mom.

Now, thirteen years later, my baby is entering the end of an era as he starts a new era. He began 8th grade, the last year of in the school he’s attended since the 4K.

(The neighbor’s cat just couldn’t refuse being in his last school photo as a middle schooler)
This is his last year to eat in the cafeteria, to see the same faces every weekday, to be surrounded by the same support staff he’s had as a part of his life the last 9 years. The school has left a positive mark on his life and ours and we are truly grateful to have had this experience.

In addition to beginning his last year at his school, he officially entered the teenage years. I’m not sure how it happened, but the little baby I coddled and held and bathed and soothed and love more than I could have ever imagined has grown into a teenage boy.

He is beautiful and kind and thoughtful and talented. He lights up a room with his smile and his freckles radiate with mirth and laughter. His joy is visible and his gentle spirit is easily observed when he is lost in concentration. He has taught me about what an amazing world we live in and he helps those around him grow and become better people. Looking at what he has accomplished in the last thirteen years, I can’t wait to see what the rest of his life holds for him. Even as his exterior changes and I see the inklings of the man he will be, there will always and forever be a part of him who is little baby boy to me.

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It has been brought to my attention, by more than a few readers, that my blog has been silent.  I apologize for the lapse.  I could regale you with tales of our adventures over the last few moths, but I think it would be better if we pretended I’ve been in training for the Olympics and move on.  So…

Let the games begin!

Despite the best efforts of the USOC, I will be knitting in the event formerly known as Ravelympics.  Taking a note from Nike, I am looking for my greatness in the form of a steeked sweater.


This is my first attempt at steeking, the act of taking a pair of scissors to a physical representation of hours upon hours of one’s time in the hopes the yarn holds and you magically end up with a sweater.  I’ve already begun stocking up on wine as I knit away.

Little Clover has also been striving to find his greatness.  He’s looking for his, not in yarn, but in something much, much harder – ice.


He began hockey earlier this year, and not only does he really enjoy it, but it’s something he can see himself doing for a few years.  Being a bit behind the eight ball compared to other kids his age who have had years on the ice by know, he decided to attend a couple of hockey camps.  I love watching his determination and grit while on the ice.  He’s a joy to watch and he continues to amaze me with each feat he tackles.

Granted, the Olympics doesn’t include any knitting or hockey this go round, but that hasn’t stopped our little home from setting our own personal challenges and striving to prove to ourselves that, yes, we can succeed.

Carry on.

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Little Clover and his Great Grandmother

Little Clover and his Great Grandmother

Christmas, for us, usually ends the weekend after New Year’s Eve when we finally have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with my family in Nashville. One of the highlights is to to spend time with my Grandma, and to see Little Clover with her. She is not just my grandma, but an incredibly vibrant remarkable woman with a sparkling gleam in her eye and a spry hop to her step. Her Christmas card in the mail still makes me smile and I’m tickled that Little Clover has been able to have her in his life for as long as he has.

Grandma came with us to visit my mom’s grave and we visited the others who have passed through our lives. Honestly, my Grandma brings life to the cemetery with her stories, almost always humorous. Her stories continued when Italian and I dropped her off at home. She invited us in, and we jumped at the opportunity. We followed her into the study where she pulled out a few old albums filled with pictures and accounts from the 1800s. For the first time, I saw pictures of her parents as well as her great grandfather. We read wills from 1828, where a bed, furniture, and a cow and calf were left to the heirs. Finally, after over two hour, Little Clover called to check on us. He then reprimanded us for staying out to late and we had to bid my Grandma good night. As a parting gift, she lent me the photo albums. I think my new laptop has found it’s special purpose in life.

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And finally a new blog post. Really, this year, I’d like to crank out a few more post than last year. I’m hoping the new laptop, which actually reads my photo card, will help. The laptop is a bit like a beacon, calling to me from my desk, “Hello! I’m pretty, type on me.” Really, it says that. Italian was super sweet when he gave it to me. He smiled and comment that since I was probably going to get one anyway this year, he might as well get credit for it; and he’s right.

I’ll also have a bit more time to write this week since I’m confined to the sofa. It seems I’m not able to land a triple axle, nor can I perform a simple little spin on skates. The three of us received ice skates for Christmas and have been spending multiple days at the new rink in town.

Ice skating by Irish Clover
Ice skating, a photo by Irish Clover on Flickr.

Little Clover handles himself much better on the ice. He at least falls with grace — and without injury. One day, I strive to be like that. On the other hand, my knitting and I have become better acquainted. With my foot propped up and Italian insistent I remain immobile, I had plenty of time to finish Italian’s mitts and start a new project. Oh, how I hope to walk and drive again soon.

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London calling

Hello from the UK! There might be radio silence as I try to figuire out how to post photos while mobile. Don’t panic (the answer is 42), the blog will resume and be back to normal soon.

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