Monday, August 8, 2022

Sometimes dreams do come true . . .

And when they do . . .

I don't know about anyone else, but when i have a dream come true, I squeal.


And then, when the wish involves travel, I start planning.

Even when the wish trip is over a year away.

Donald and I are taking a Christmas on the Seine river cruise.   Next year.

Plenty of time to plan.

And to be excited!

We won't be cruising during Christmas, but we will be cruising during the season, and (from Viking) will be able to  "Embrace the holiday season with a taste of Joyeux Noel. Explore Paris, France’s twinkling “City of Light.” Sail through the snow-covered landscapes of Normandy’s countryside and admire the scenes of fairy-tale villages along the way. Enjoy the scented aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts amid a festive backdrop of Christmas markets. Onboard festivities include regional dining specialties, seasonal treats and more to celebrate the holidays."


I know some of you hate winter, hate snow, and this cruise would not interest you in the least.  Might even sound like a circle of hell.

Donald and I, however, are tickled pink and excited. This is a dream trip for us.


Anyone who has taken a winter river cruise - we're accepting all suggestions. Especially on clothes we should be prepared to take with us. Thankfully, living in the mountains means we're used to cold weather and are fairly well stocked with winter gear. Still, packing for an 8 day winter cruise with a few stops for excursions along the way will present challenges.

In the meantime . . .


Friday, August 5, 2022

And, the week comes to an end

I've been a bit of a wreck this week, truth be told.

Donald has a yearly motorcycle/camping trip he takes from these mountains to the Outer Banks, and he's gone for 3 nights.

He left early Tuesday morning.  

But he's now safely back home.  Safe and sound.

I fret and pace the entire time he's gone.

 He's good about calling and checking in, but still. Simply said, i hate it.

And Annabelle hates it more. All told, she is a Daddy's girl, and she has shown me her ass these few days.

And what have i been up to while he's been gone?


I've watched entirely too many episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress."


I have dumped every item out of my dresser drawers onto the bed,  made a "to be donated" pile of sweaters I no longer wear, tossed a bunch of raggedy ass underwear, found some missing jewelry (Hooray!!!), and put the rest back in the drawers using some organizers i bought from Amazon.

I am so proud.

Drawers never looked so good and i am wondering what took me so long to use these handy things!

From this:

To This!:

And more organizers are on the way.  I am on a roll.

Happy to have my guy back home, Annabelle is happy, and dresser drawers are on the road to being organized.

Life is good.

Monday, July 11, 2022

I think my mom came by for a little visit today

Yep.  I think she did.

A few days ago I started boxing up breakables.  Nope, these are not things that will be going to our little booth at Antiques on Howard.  These are treasures that we will keep forever.

We're getting ready to do a deep, deep, deep clean.  We found someone who has agreed to do the heavy stuff that my 73 year old self isn't as able to do as i once was. (And have just gotten too lazy to do, truth be told).

She's been out to talk to me and look the place over and we were able to come up with a plan that suits us both.  

She's a young, smart, savy small business owner, local to the area who I took to right away.

Once she and her assistant have completed the serious business of getting this little nest nurtured and shining again she'll be coming every couple of weeks to help me keep it the way it deserves to be kept.

It is, after all, our nest.

It holds our dreams, and it holds a lot of memories.

Many of the memories belong to my mom.   

Even though we gave away, and then sold, some of her things, there is a lot still here.   And the stories that come with some of the pieces are sweet.  

Some are funny, and some right down hilarious.

Just like her.

I've taken the long way around to share the story I started out to share.  (This is where my old friend Michael Dean would have rolled his eyes, thrown his hands in the air and said, "can't you EVER tell the Reader's Digest version, Kaye Alan?!").

. . . no.

Anyhoo . . . I'm packing up breakables for a couple reasons.  To get a lot of the clutter out of the way for when Bettina comes, and because I want to move things around.  

The same things have been sitting in the same place for too long.  When that happens they tend to become, I think, invisible.

So, the white ironstone pitchers and Mother's Nippon and Imari are gonna mix it up a little with books, local made pottery, art glass, old teddy bears, wooden butter molds, and miscellaneous "stuff."

While picking up an old porcelain box of my mom's I very distinctly heard her say, "look inside."

I don't care who believes me.  I heard her.

It's not the first time, and it doesn't spook me.  

If you knew Hazel Wilkinson it wouldn't surprise you either.  She was a force.  And apparently, still is.

So, i looked inside.

I'm sure I looked inside this piece before.   Well.  Pretty sure.

When we moved her things here when we moved her out of her apartment into Cranberry House things were tough.  

Boxes of stuff were just left to sit.

And then, in just a few weeks time, she was gone.

Boxes continued to sit.

When a mood moved me, I would open a box. 


Some still have not been opened.

Over time, some things found themselves a new home.

Some things found a spot on a shelf here.

My mom and I had very different decorating styles.  That's not to say I didn't admire and appreciate her home, because I did.  Very much.  It was just a little more formal than mine.

And over time, I have really begun to enjoy spotting an odd little Asian man with a cheerful wizened face that was once my mom's peeking out at me from behind an old pottery pitcher.

The porcelaine box I picked up to box up was, i thought, just stuffed with tissue paper.  

If you gave my mom a gift, she would tuck the tissue it was wrapped in into whatever might be close at hand.  Finding tissue wrap in flower pots, ginger jars, coffee mugs, etc was a family joke my entire life.

So this porcelaine box with tissue wrap in it was nothing to make me think twice.  It just was what it was.

Until I heard that very distinct voice telling me to open it.

No rattles.

No movement whatsoever.

But a very tightly wrapped treasure.

I remember this beach theme bracelet and matching clip-on earrings like I just saw them yesterday when actually, I don't recall when I last saw them

She called it her Ocean City jewelry.

She admired it in a souvenir shop on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, MD when we were there for our annual two weeks at the beach vacation.  I was probably around 10 years old.  My dad went back later in the day and bought it for her.  

I don't think she ever went back to Ocean City without wearing that jewelry.  

She wore the bracelet all day while we were there, but the earrings were saved for dinners out.  

I think it might be time for a trip back to Ocean City.  My mom and dad loved it there.

And so did I.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

July 4th at our house

Thanks to what has become a politicized and scary supreme court

Want to help fight against the move backwards?

Here's just one way - 

The Bitter Southener will donate a portion of sales to help:

‘Power To The Women’ is back AND we now have Hell Hath No Fury & Power To The Women #flags. 

These are our products that help you raise your voice and all of us raise money for abortion funds across the South. $5 dollars from both shirts and these two flags ($5 from each shirt & flag sold) goes to funds and organizations doing vital vital work. 

Right now we are raising money for Kentucky Health Justice Network, New Orleans Abortion Fund, Sister Reach Memphis, Texas Equal Access Fund, and Missouri Abortion Fund, ALL IN TRIGGER STATES where restrictive laws went into effect one week ago today. 

Link to all these products here: 


Saturday, June 18, 2022

A Father's Day Post - Reposted

originally posted in 2009

Daughters and their daddies.

There's a special bond between the two, and if you grew up with a dad like mine it makes for fun and lovely memories. And some terrific stories when you're all grown up. All grown up maybe, but at times miss your dad so badly you feel as small and unprotected as you did when you were 4 and wanted him to chase away the monsters living in your bedroom closet.

Here are a few of my memories of my dad . . .

From the time I was 3 months old until I was 16 we lived in a wonderful old apartment in Cambridge, Md. The Arcade Apartments. I loved that place. All the rooms were big and spacious and the living room and the dining room had big bay windows with window seats. The kitchen was huge and our stove was an old one that sat up on legs. Remember those old stoves? Anyone else have one of those?

A friend of my mother's, Clara Rook, kept bringing me little chicks one Easter. Those pitiful little chicks that people would dye pink and blue and green at Easter time? AWFUL! and, of course, they usually died fairly quickly, bless their hearts. Well, my sweetie pies didn't. They just kept getting bigger and bigger. In an apartment! Daddy knew I loved those chicks. Every time the subject came up about them being too big to live in an apartment, I would start crying. Finally my dad put some chicken wire around the legs of that old stove and put the chickies in there. You just know how much my mother loved this, right? The chicks just kept growing and one morning I woke up hearing my dad yelling some pretty bad words. The chicks had knocked down the chicken wire and they were all hopping on Mom & Dad's bed. For real.

The chicks went to granny's that day. I was told they were going there so they'd have a big yard to "play" in. uh huh. Sunday Dinner. I'll never get over it. We went to my grandmother's for dinner and the minute I walked into the dining room I spied the fried chicken on platters on the table. Mother tells me I just squalled "My Sweetie Pies! Oh Nooooooo - You've cooked my Sweetie Pies!" and cried and cried and cried. Heartbroken. And nobody ate fried chicken that day.

I have a million memories of that apartment. But let me set the record straight - it wasn't a fancy big city type apartment. This was small town living. And we were not wealthy people; not by any stretch of the imagination. There was no private entrance into our apartment. There was a downstairs lobby, and in the lobby was the entrance to the Arcade Movie Theater. If we were out and arrived home before the movie started, it meant mingling with the line of people buying tickets to see a movie before we would get upstairs and into our apartment. Since it was a small town and everyone knew everyone, it sometimes took awhile to get through all the "Hi, How are You's?" and get up the stairs to home. And, since neither of us had a key to the apartment, which meant it was never locked, we also never knew who might be there waiting for us when we did get home. But it seemed there was always someone. It might have been one of my many aunts or uncle or cousins - there was a gracious plenty of them. Or it might be one of dad's cronies, or one of mother's girlfriends, or friends of mine from school. Amazingly enough now as it might sound, it was never cause for concern back then. It was just an accepted thing. That apartment was, as my mom often said, "Grand Central Station." (There are enough of these stories to keep this little blog of mine going for the next several years.)

There was also a jewelry store owned by Mr. & Mrs. Henry DeVoe in the lobby of the Arcade. Sometimes on Saturdays they would babysit me while Mother did the grocery shopping if Dad had to work. It was the beginning of my love affair with jewelry. Mr. DeVoe was my buddy - he opened my first charge account. Remember the silver bands we called "Friendship Rings?" They were $1.00. Sterling silver bands for $1.00. Can you imagine? Well, I loved those, but would lose them often. He would let me charge one and pay him on installments out of my allowance. About the time I'd have one paid off, I'd lose it and he would let me charge another one.

There was also a beauty shop, and an insurance company and I was in and out of those places like I owned them. I don't know why those people put up with it. If some poor woman was having her hair washed, I'd just march right over while she had her head in the sink and strike up a conversation.

I don't think I'd trade my growing up years in Cambridge for a beezillion dollars.

My dad played basketball, and was apparently quite good. While growing up, I would hear stories about his basketball career. Many times in school my teachers and parents of my friends seemed stunned when realizing who I was - that I could be Alan Wilkinson's daughter and not have any more athletic ability than Adam's house cat was just not understood.

I had been gone from Cambridge for many, many years, and my dad had been gone for many years when Donald and I were home for a visit. We had gone out to the High Spot for dinner with our friends Pam and R.T., who I grew up with and graduated from Cambridge High with. Pam said there was someone in the restaurant she wanted me to meet - he had been a friend of my dad's. When she introduced me, he said he had played ball with my dad and besides my dad being quite talented, he had a trait which he admired even more and that was the simple fact that my dad was also a gentleman - off and on the court. "A good, clean playing ballplayer," he said. and I promptly burst into tears.

It's a lovely thing to have someone remember your dad in such a sweet and simple, exceptionally special way.

He was a very good man, my dad.

"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
Clarence B. Kelland

1. Lewis, 2. Irvin, 3. Roy, 4. Ethel, 5. Alan (my dad), 6. Pop Pop (Irvin), 7. Belle, 8. Grandmother Laura Mae. Picture taken by older brother Ed

Dad taught me to ride a bike - and I vividly remember when he was trying to teach me how to drive a car he made a comment or two about how the bike learning experience had been a whole lot more fun and less traumatic for both of us.

We were all three HUGE Oriole fans and it was a very big deal and very special occasion for us to go to Baltimore for a game. Not as big a deal as going there for a Colt's game, but still a big deal.

And pretty special to get to Ocean City too. (Think he's wondering "What's with the HAT?!)

Pop Pop's 90th Birthday - July 18, 1965
In front - Aunt Belle, Dad
In back - Uncle Lewis, Pop-Pop, Uncle Irv, Uncle Roy, Aunt Ethel, Uncle Ed

Deep sea fishing - Morehead City, NC

"It's sad when our daddies die. It makes one less person inside."
Pamela Ribon.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

70th Wedding Anniversary Celebration for Don and Pearl Barley

70 years of marriage.

What an amazing milestone.

Worthy of celebration, indeed.

Asked what they would like to do, the celebrants, Don and Pearl Barley, chose an at-home family dinner party.

And so it was.

And lovely in every way.


Hosted by Steve and LeeAnn.

Surrounded by sons Donald and Steve, DsIL Kaye and LeeAnn, grandsons Matt, Ryan, and Harrison, grand DsIL Blakely and Rebecca, and granddog Duchess.

Dinner catered by Bright Star.

Desserts from Edgar's.


Seems we all got caught up chatting, eating, and enjoying one another and the cameras were apparently forgotten.

Rest assured, dinner and champagne toasts did happen.

Followed by desserts.

Followed by stories, and gifts.

It truly was a perfect evening.

We stopped by for Sunday morning coffee with Don and Pearl before heading back home to Boone.

What an inspiration they are.

And they raised two fine sons.

I am so, so lucky to be married to one of them.

And to be a part of a family I love.