Five Pieces of Wisdom

I don’t know how much actual wisdom I’ve shared with my children, but I have realized that there are five things I tell them regularly, and that’s probably as close to passing on wisdom as I get!

  • “It’s nice to be nice.”–This is probably my most-repeated phrase, and I think it’s also the most useful. I hope I’ve taught my children to be kind to others, even when others aren’t kind to them. And I hope they never decide to finish the saying à la Frank Burns in M*A*S*H…”to the nice.”
  • “Ganache covers a multitude of sins.”–I came up with this saying once when a bundt cake I baked (probably our favorite Guinness cake) stuck to the pan, resulting in a less than attractive-looking cake. Luckily for me, the recipe includes a ganache that is poured over the top, and I realized that once I did that, you couldn’t tell that there had been any problem with the cake at all!
  • “Measure garlic with your heart.”–If ganache covering a multitude of sins is my number piece of baking wisdom, then this is my best cooking advice. A recipe can call for a certain amount of garlic, but in my experience, it’s almost never enough, and even if it is, your cloves may be a different size than used by the recipe’s author. This is one of those things where you just have to trust your instincts and measure from the heart.
  • “Lake Michigan is an inland sea.”–I am very protective of my favorite Great Lake, and I really hate when people act like it’s “just” a lake. When you look at its size and the way it behaves, it is hardly a simple lake, but actually a large inland sea, and should be respected as such.
  • “Look up.”–My final piece of advice is usually given regarding architecture, although it applies to lots of other things as well. There are so many amazing details, especially on historic buildings, that are higher than eye level, and if you don’t look up and really pay attention, you won’t ever notice them. Looking down or even straight ahead can cause you to miss out on some really great things, so take the time to look up and really see the world!

What wisdom do you share with others?

Sartorial Saturday–The Top Five Favorite Fashion Purchases of 2021

Time for one last “Top Five” list for 2021!

2021 was a year where I explored new options for my wardrobe, found some new favorite retailers, and really discovered what I like and I want I don’t in my clothing and accessories. I added some special pieces to my collection, starting with this Erstwilder brooch inspired by Animal Crossing:

Speaking of Animal Crossing, I have never been as excited about a makeup collection as I was about the ColourPopxAnimal Crossing collaboration!

Miss Candyfloss quickly became my favorite vintage-inspired clothing brand in 2021, and I think the Myrtle-Sun dress was my favorite out of the ones I purchased (although, everything I have in my closet from their brand is simply amazing!):

I explored my heritage in a sartorial way this year by adding two dirndls from Rare Dirndl to my wardrobe. They’re both beautiful, but I’m sharing “Die Heimat” because the other was a gift, so not technically something I purchased myself.

And finally, a look at a few pieces from Splendette’s Christmas line…this is my favorite Christmas collection they’ve offered to date!

I’m looking forward to discovering what new things all of my favorite brands offer in 2022!

The Top Five–Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2022

I’m not going to lie…I’m a little reluctant to even try to put this list together, because the one and only other time I came up with a list of things I was looking forward to in the new year, it was 2020, and I think we all know how that turned out (one of the five was cancelled outright, and one was postponed a full year). I do have some things I’m really excited about this year, though, things that I’m praying will all happen as expected, so let’s take a look at what I’m most anticipating!

  • Family Vacation–We were supposed to take a big family vacation in 2021…it was kind of going to be a celebration of Turkey and Bunny graduating from high school, and we were going to visit Disney World and especially Galaxy’s Edge, among other things. We realized pretty quickly that we would need to postpone the trip, so now we’re planning on going this summer, and I’m really praying it all works out, because we’ve added some destinations, and I’m really excited about it!
  • Alison Weir’s New Book–For six years in a row, Alison Weir had a new fiction book published in May, each focusing on the life of one of the wives of Henry VIII. I was pretty sad when the last book came out in 2021, because I didn’t know what I’d look forward to reading at the beginning of our summer vacation, but then I found out that this year, she’s publishing a book about Elizabeth of York…I can’t wait to read it!
  • Beijing 2022–I have mixed feelings about even looking forward to this, partly because, like the Summer Olympics last year, I feel like it should probably be postponed/cancelled, and partly because I think a diplomatic boycott is a coward’s boycott, and we really shouldn’t be participating on principle. Despite my misgivings, though, I know I’m going to watch, and I really love the Olympics…
  • The Platinum Jubilee–I have been looking forward to Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee for 10 years, ever since, during the Diamond Jubilee, a quite-young Turkey asked me what the next celebration would be called, and I guessed “Platinum.” It seemed so far away then, and Her Majesty was already quite elderly at that time, but here we are, about six weeks away from the anniversary of her accession to the throne, and I’m looking forward to celebrating her extensive reign!
  • “2”sday–I can’t believe our good fortune that 2/22/22 falls on a Tuesday! This is exactly the kind of thing that amuses me, and I’m so excited about it, I think this year Bobunk will fall on that date! It’s the little things in life…

I can already see how up to three of these things could go south very quickly, but I’m going to hold out hope that there will be no major hiccups this year, because that’s all we have…hope and a nectarine.

The Top Five–Photos of 2021

Yesterday was all about food photos; today I’m looking at everything else, starting with an icy picture I took last winter:

I love how sharp the shadows in this photo I took on my birthday are:

I took this picture of the Nashville skyline last summer:

And a fall picture of our church framed by leaves:

I’ll end with a beautiful fall sunset:

I’m looking forward to taking more pictures in different and interesting places in 2022!

Tasty Tuesday–The Top Five Food Photos of 2021

Time to take a look back at some of the prettiest food photographs I’ve taken this year! Not surprisingly, over 50% of them are desserts…I really like baking!

We may not have had a party for Chickadee’s Confirmation in March, but I still made our favorite punch, and I took a very nice picture of it:

This lemon blueberry cake has got to be one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever made!

The cranberry custard pie I made for Thanksgiving may not have fully set inside, but the outside looked gorgeous!

The Bløtkake with sugared cranberries I made for Santa Lucia Day was simple, but lovely:

I can’t believe how easy salame roses are to make, and they look so cool!

I’m looking forward to trying more new and beautiful recipes in 2022!

The Top Five–Episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show

Last night marked exactly 60 years since the debut of The Dick Van Dyke Show. In honor of that milestone, let’s take a look at my favorite episodes!

  • “That’s My Boy?” (season three)–In this episode, Rob recalls worrying that he and Laura brought the wrong baby home from the hospital when Ritchie was born, only to discover that his concerns were beyond impossible.
  • The Alan Brady Show Presents” (season three)–I mean, it’s a Christmas episode…do I really have to say more?
  • “The Ghost of A. Chantz” (season four)–Ghost stories and a hidden camera in a “haunted” cabin make this episode hilarious!
  • “Your Home Sweet Home is My Home Sweet Home” (season four)–I think this episode, which is a flashback to how Rob and Laura and Jerry and Millie ended up buying houses next door to each other, and explains why Rob writes an annual “friendship check” due to the giant rock in his basement, is my very favorite out of all five seasons.
  • “Never Bathe on Sunday” (season four)–If the above episode isn’t my very favorite, this episode, in which Rob and Laura attempt to have a romantic getaway, only to end up having a huge disaster in which Laura gets her toe stuck in the bathtub, is.

Season four is clearly my favorite (although they’re all good!)…which episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show are your favorite?

The Top Five–TV Shows (Revised)

My “Top Five” lists are never met to be set in stone, and in the six years since I first came up with a list of my five favorite TV shows, my favorites have changed a bit.

  • I Love Lucy–This has been my favorite TV show for a long time. I’ve watched every episode more times than I can count, and yet I never get sick of it. Are there elements of the show that haven’t aged well? Sure. But there are also funny jokes, moments of great physical comedy, fantastic guest stars, and outstanding fashion and interior design!
  • M*A*S*HScrubs used to appear on this list, but I basically swapped one medical show with another. The boys and I watch a few episodes every night before bed, and when we get to the end, we just start all over again, and we never grow tired of it. It’s a funny show, but it was also way ahead of its time in how it addressed social and political issues, and I’ve really come to appreciate that.
  • Downton Abbey–The glamour and intrigue of this show never grows old. I love watching the lives of those who live upstairs and those who live downstairs, and how those lives intersect. Plus, did I mention the glamour?
  • Rick Steves’ Europe–After planning an entire summer school around this show, I guess it should be no shock that it’s one of my favorites. I love asking “where should we go today?” and then turning on an episode. I always feel like I’m learning something when I watch, too, so it’s not just mindless TV!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic–The show is a bit of a wild card, but Bunny, Chickadee, and I are just finishing watching through the run of the show, and I find that I really love it. It’s so relatable, and each one of us has a pony whom we particularly identify with. It may be a children’s show, but it’s a lot of fun for me as an adult to watch, and I think I’ll look back and cherish this time that my youngest daughter, oldest daughter, and I had so much fun together!

I thought I’d feel bad about kicking Friends off the list, but while I do still enjoy watching it from time to time, I’m not as into it as I once was. I do feel a little guilty about removing Deep Space Nine, though…it is still my favorite Star Trek show, however!

The Top Five–Best Moments of Tokyo 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are already starting to wind down, and while there are a few days of competition left, I thought I’d take a look at my favorite moments from the Games:

  • Sharing Gold–I think my very favorite moment from Tokyo 2020 was when the men’s high jump gold was awarded to two athletes, because they chose to share it, even though they could have kept competing until one came out on top. This embodied the new Olympic ideal of “Stronger Together” better than any other moment I saw.
  • Grace and Courage–Simone Biles was a much-talked about competitor, which wasn’t a surprise, but the reason people were talking was unexpected, because no one expected her to suffer from the twisties and have to withdraw from most of the events. I really admire the grace and courage with which she handled the situation, and I was thrilled that not only was she able to come back and compete in her final event on her terms, but take home a medal on top of it!
  • Tom Gets Gold…and Knits–I was so happy when Great Britain’s Tom Daley finally won a gold medal in the synchronized platform dive. If that wasn’t enough, I was also completely charmed by the pictures of him knitting in the stands, and even while waiting between his own dives!
  • Gold Medal From Lane One–The US men’s swimming team has won the 4x100m relay in every Olympics the US has participated in. This year, there was less certainty about them getting gold, especially since they were swimming in lane one. But they powered through, and brought home the gold (and a world record!) once again!
  • Any Moment Called by Rowdy Gaines–Rowdy is pretty much my favorite sports commentator ever. I love how excited he gets, no matter who is in the lead, when he’s watching a good race in the pool. Every sport deserves to have a commentator like him, who has an incredible passion for what they’re calling!

Update on August 8th:

  • I’m not sure which moment I should replace, but the US women’s volleyball team winning their first gold medal on the final day definitely makes my “Top Five” list. Seeing Karch Kiraly, who I have watched since his court volleyball days, break down into tears of joy for his team was an Olympic moment I won’t forget!

What are the moments you’ll remember from Tokyo 2020?

The Top Five–Olympic Sports

It’s time another Top Five list, this one inspired by the Olympic Games! I’m taking a look at my favorite sports to watch in the Summer Olympics:

  • Swimming–I was thinking about my very favorite Olympic sport before the Olympics began, and I was a little surprised to discover that it’s swimming. I love excitement of the races, getting to see world and Olympic records shattered, and learning the back stories of some of the athletes. I think it’s Rowdy Gaines’ love of the sport that really makes me love swimming, though…his passion and enthusiasm for swimming are contagious. As Turkey said this week, “everyone should have something they love as much as Rowdy Gaines loves swimming.” Although, to be honest, I’m not certain that anyone loves something as much as Rowdy Gaines loves swimming!
  • Artistic Gymnastics–I would have assumed that artistic gymnastics is my favorite Olympic sport. My earliest memories of the Olympics are of watching Mary Lou Retton compete, and I still remember not just American gymnasts, but competitors from all over the world from each Olympic Games I have seen. While swimming may be my favorite Olympic sport, gymnastics is definitely a close second…I love watching the athletes fly through the air and complete skills that terrify and delight me!
  • Diving–This sport is kind of where swimming and gymnastics meet, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s one of my favorites. It scares me to death, especially the 10m platform, because I can’t imagine jumping off something so high. I also have very vivid memories of Greg Louganis hitting his head during the Seoul 1988 Games, so I know that it can actually be dangerous. But there’s also an elegance to it, and even though it looks scary to me, it also looks fun!
  • Water Polo–If it wasn’t for the Olympics, I don’t think I’d know anything about this sport. I still don’t understand all of the rules I’m sure, but there’s something so fun about what is essentially handball (another sport I enjoy watching) being played in the water. Plus, it’s kind of an angry sport, which I have to admit, appeals to me!
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics–As is so often the case with the fifth position, this was the most difficult to choose. I considered artistic swimming, which I love, and my new favorite Olympic sport, surfing, but in the end, dancing with a ribbon wins the day. There is so much grace and artistry in rhythmic gymnastics that it really has more in common with ballet than artistic gymnastics, which is part of why I love it.

What are you favorite Olympic sports? Have you discovered something new that’s your new favorite?

The Top Five–Episodes of M*A*S*H (Seasons One Through Three)

In the past, I’ve shared a list of my top five favorite episodes of M*A*S*H. That list didn’t contain any episodes from seasons one through three, though, because I’m more of a fan of the Potter/Hunnicutt years. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the Blake and McIntyre years a little bit more, so I thought I’d come up with a “top five” (ok, six…you’re shocked, I know), list that covers the first three seasons. Not included are any “Dear Dad” or “Mail Call” episodes, because no matter what season they’re in, they’re always excellent, and it’s just not fair to compare anything else to them!

  • “Tuttle” (season one)–Hawkeye and Trapper invent a captain and give all of his money to a local orphanage. This episode is a little disturbing, though, because you actually get to see Radar’s phone pal, Sparky!
  • “The Long-John Flap” (season one)–I think this episode, in which a pair of long-johns make the rounds through the whole camp, is my favorite from the first three seasons.
  • “5 O’Clock Charlie” (season two)–I don’t know what’s funnier…the fact that an inept North Korean bomber keeps missing his target near the camp, or that the equally inept Frank Burns thinks he can rectify the situation!
  • “The Sniper” (season two)–I really like this episode because it hits the balance between funny and serious perfectly. In the end, we’re reminded of not only what a good doctor Hawkeye is, but also what a good person.
  • “Deal Me Out”–Everything about this episode is gold, from the appearances of Dr. Sidney Freedman and the character that would become Colonel Flagg, to Pat Morita as a guest star, to the line “Is this a little guy about five-foot nothing, anywhere between 50 and 200 years old?”
  • “Adam’s Ribs” (season three)–I have to admit, a big part of what I love about this episode is the fact that Hawkeye is trying to get ribs from Chicago shipped to the 4077th. I also love his “river of liver” rant, too, though!

I’m not sure that I like any of these episodes enough to include them in my overall M*A*S*H top five list, but they’re all fun to watch!