The Top Five Blogs of 2020

As if you couldn’t evacuate 2020 fast enough, here are some parting stories to keep you company till midnight.

The five most popular posts of the year according to my website stats are:

Five: The Maelstrom. Appropriate word for 2020, little did we know in February.

Four: Seattle Shenanigans. This was our first and only trip for 2020 (sob), but we all made the most of it.

Three: Murder Mystery Mayhem. We all began the Loveda Brown series together, and it’s been quite a ride.

Two: Mother’s Day Hotline 2020. In appreciation of moms in the weeds. Ain’t no hood like motherhood.

One: The Bottomless Bookshelf. I love that readers keep coming back for recommendations! What was your fave read this year? Add it to the comments.

And now, because I just can’t help myself:

Top Five Faves from 2019

I can’t believe it. 2019 is rolling to a close. I hope you have each decided on a creative way to ring in the fresh 2020. Perhaps with a thankful list of all the little things that brought you joy, perhaps with a sigh of relief that some things are now behind you. Or perhaps like a certain sister-in-law, determined to do a Polar Bear Plunge on the first fresh new year morning with a leap into the salty Pacific. To each her own.

Taking a peek at my website, I can see that I tried a variety of new things this year and I want to encourage you to spread your own wings, too. It’s okay to knock on doors, just to see who opens them. Bring a couple of girlfriends along, in case it’s a trap full of Imperial Stormtroopers, but most of the time, it’s just a group of Ewoks and a Baby Yoda or two. (What if there’s more than one? EEK!)

Since you’re staying up past your bedtime tonight anyway, here’s the countdown of our Top Five Blogs of 2019 to read.

5. The Blues is about depression, what feels like, how it works, and that you are loved.

4. Eldercare Where? is about transitioning through our different life stages and giving particular thought to our elders’ circumstances.

3. Pie Giveaway Time! was a fun blog to run and I’m planning a lot of giveaways next year! Stay tuned!

2. Vaping, School, and Your Kid is as labeled and full of links and photos. Parenting is not for sissies.

1. Stalked by the Empty Nest was the opener for 2019 and contains all the emotions of change.

I wish you joy and courage. I hope you do hard things and grow stronger from them. I want you to carry your laughter into battle because we are all in this together and I need to hear your giggles beside me.

Love your people, lend a hand, nourish yourself with all good things. May your light rise and brightly glow into the new year.

Snobbery Robbery

Happy New Year!!

If you celebrated with bubbly and stayed up past midnight in your heels, then Happy New Year to you on Saturday, and serves you right.

How in the world do you choose the wine for your soirees?

Yeah, it’s red to go with red foods (beef, Spaghettios, apples) and white to go with white foods (chicken, pork chops, pickled eggs) and after that it’s all, “Oooh! Just look at the one with the galloping horses! I’ll take two!”

Some people I know (ahem) just grab the two-buck-chuck-in-a-box and move on.

I don’t blame them.

But I have friends who are the real deal wine snobs and I only hang out with them because I do the same thing they do…only with tea.

They stand in the midst of a stadium-full of wine bottles and read the back labels the way I stand in Target reading greeting cards.

Only I laugh.

And they frown.

“From the finest artisan vineyards of Italy where golfball sized grapes yield delicate hints of thistle-down overlaid with woody sycamore tree notes when they’re carved into pan flutes. Enjoy this pretentious, nuanced selection with sushi or stinky cheese.”

(Which, you need to know, means I’m not gettin’ that one.)

Personality: exploding with complex aromas of cherry, truffles, and a hint of unapologetic chimney soot, it has the legs of a showgirl.

Finish: has a creamy mouth feel yet finishes like you licked a silkworm. A silkworm that was sitting on toasted sourdough bread. A slightly wrinkled, somewhat wiggly, vaguely crunchy finish.

Match: to your dress, not your eyeshadow, you Philistine.

Here’s a label I understand.


Shut up and take my money.

So when I peruse the backs of tea boxes, I feel my nose turn up instantly.

I reached for my ascot as I read, “Premium blended black teas, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger,” then snorted tea all over it when it continued, “gingerbread,” huh? “and Jamaican rum flavors.”

I drink this tea. Not you. You have to buy a club membership first.

Not just any rum. Jamaican rum. You know that’s right.

There are teas from the Brahmaputra Valley in north-east India, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan, from the Himalayas to China to Kenya.

And their descriptions mash together like the Opening Ceremonies for the Tea Olympics.

“Intellectual, refreshing and invigorating, easy on tannins, our piquant infusion of ginger, green rooibos, Madagascar vanilla, chamomile and licorice root is our Signature blend, tangled with hibiscus and frolicking bursts of sweet orange over notes of nutty rich cocoa.”

I adjusted the Picasso hanging in my living room as I read,

“Exploding with antioxidants and mistily shrouded in undertones of vivid orchid with a hint of lily aroma, golden amber in the cup with a sweet caramel apple ending, it has an earthy sweet middle and the malty finish of inner peace.”

Eat your heart out, wine-in-a-box.

I was excited to read that tea is “a gluten free beverage”. Very likely it’s vegan as well.

My bubble burst when I got to this tea, though. I’m sure you can see why.

I can’t do it. I can’t.

I had to pull out my monocle and look again.

My IQ fell back down to wine-in-a-box level.

They’ve been family tea blenders since 1945.

But the von Trapp family spellers, they are not.

So I’m not sending it with my little Tea Sampler package going out to the amazing Mrs Flatley, who, in addition to being the lucky and tasteful girlfriend who Pushed the Button and Won a Prize,  may also be related to the infamous River Dancer (referred to as “cousin Michael, the Lord of the Pants”) as she actually lives on Riverfront St.

This is why I write.

I meet the best new friends!

Thanks for playing along everyone. We’ll do it again soon.