Getting On Up There

I had a birthday last week and it wasn’t one of the good ones. 13 is special because you’re now a teen. 16, you get a license. 18 you can vote and officially call yourself an adult. At 21, you can drink. Why do they make all of the good stuff in the early part of your life? At 30, 40, 50, etc. you get nothing. I think at 30 you should get to pay 1% less taxes. At 40, everyone should get one free appetizer with dinner. Getting to fly first class when you hit 50 would really take the sting out of the birthday, amiright Kittens?

Despite the fact that I still have to fly economy, my birthday was pretty good. I sat at home on my couch and worked, watched the US Open, did a bit of writing, then took MoonPie out to eat at O’Charleys. So basically like my regular days with more tennis. JD and Moon gave me a gift card to Ann Taylor Loft and I picked up a few things:



Like this tweed skirt.


And THIS skirt.


And this cute, speckled sweater. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the black, leather Olivia Newton John pants cause I could TOTALLY rock them.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John


That I have the dance moves for them goes without saying.




The Big Easy












Team Tyre had a quick trip to New Orleans this weekend and it was a blast. JD and I hadn’t been there since our honeymoon 19 years ago.

Our first stop was Acme Oysters which was a favorite on that trip. It was just as delicious as I remembered. And also 4x as expensive. Or maybe it was that we were now feeding THREE.



The trip was perfect timing. It was the 10 year anniversary of Katrina, so we got to include some history in the mix, and Moonpie has signed up for a photography class and there’s no better place to try out a new camera.

I would show you some of her photos but she guards them like she’s the High Museum of Art.


Bourbon Street at 5 o’clock is worse than New York City at midnight. This town parties all day and night. Moon and I got up early (8 a.m.) and walked around the city so she could take some “golden hour” shots. There were bars going strong with folks from the night before.

Our hotel was very nice, but each night, rambunctious party goers decided to hold a pow-wow in front of our door. Some old lady actually called the desk and had them send up security. It was 1:30 in the MORNING for goodness sake.

Things we did – went to Cafe Du Monde, ate shrimp, crawfish, oysters, and every other kind of seafood under the sun, attended a swanky art opening, rode the trolley, went to a very old cemetery, listened to jazz, saw some women of questionable repute, went to a trade show, and ate bread pudding, fried oreos, and everything else you can think of.

Things we didn’t do – show any restraint what-so-ever.




And I mean NO restraint. New Orleans doesn’t call for any, amiright?






Beach Babe

Hi Kittens! I’m fresh off the beach and trust me, I look like it. Twenty years ago that would have meant that my hair was streaked blonde and I was rocking a deep tan. Now I just look sunburnt and worn out. I’d post a picture but I didn’t take any. Plus, I don’t trust you people with my image.

Camping is something I do once a year to remind myself that my parents were saints. Or insane, whichever.

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Of course, my parents had a huge camper with air conditioning and I had a hot tent with last year’s dirt on the floor.

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It didn’t seem to faze the kids.

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If you peer really closely you can see the kids swimming to the dock. Because I’m very responsible, all of them are wearing life jackets. This is just moments before the marina police drove up and told them to get away from the dock. Fascists.

After two days of dragging the kids behind the boat, we piled the kids in the car and drove eight hours to North Carolina. It was worth the long trip. Our friends fed us like kings, then took us via ferry to Shackleford Banks, an island with wild horses and lots of conch shells.



The kids were out of the water for about ten minutes all day. On Sunday we said our goodbyes and made the trip back home. I am still recovering. I’m at the age where sleeping on a blowup bed and driving in a car constitutes hard living.

Speaking of hard living: You know what’s harder than dieting? Dieting while at the lake and vacationing with friends. I ate hamburgers without buns, chicken without bbq sauce, and no s’mores. My 30 days is up tomorrow and if I haven’t lost weight, prepare yourself for the sonic boom of my head exploding.



Whole Lotta Dieting

A few months ago, my aunts and Mom were here for a yard sale. We ran into a lady selling all of her cookbooks because she had just completed the Whole 30 Diet. She was singing it’s praises – “I feel so good,” and  ”I lost weight, but I didn’t even care cause I felt so good!”, etc. We were all stoked to come home and start it until we actually read what it entails.

No Alcohol

No Sugar – not even Stevia or honey

No bread

No dairy

No legumes


That’s when they lost us. Okay, they lost me at “no alcohol.”

Alas, a few weeks ago I woke up and realized I was still pudgy. Desperate to try anything, I decided to give it a whirl. I am now on day 17!

The good news is that I do FEEL better. The bad news is that I don’t think I’ve lost any weight. You’re not supposed to weigh until the very end, but I still look the same. That will be a very depressing weigh-in if I go through all of this for nothing. Well, nothing expect for the feeling better thing and who cares about that!

The diet hasn’t been has hard as I thought. You CAN eat good, grass-grass fed meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit. Tonight I made peppers stuffed with hamburger, sweet potato, spinach and cilantro.



It was WHOLE 30 compliant, a WHOLE lot of work, and a WHOLE lot of money. Now we know where they got the name!

In addition to dieting, I’ve started running. I blame my friend Kit who said we’d do it together then promptly “hurt” her knee. The lengths some people will go to get me to exercise, amiright Kittens?

If you’re desperately pudgy and ready to quit eating everything wonderful, give Whole 30 it a try!






Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

What’s up, Kittens? The Zollifolks have had a busy week. We were in Florida for three days and I’m not going to lie, it was 9000 degrees. Seriously, look it up! We almost DIED.



It was pretty, though. This is the view from the restaurant where we ate dinner.



They didn’t have an air-conditioner, and I got so hot I actually took off my blazer and sat in PUBLIC in my spaghetti-strapped shirt.


We were in town so that JD could shoot photos of one of our communities. I went along to supervise. Moon went along to eat out every meal.


Moon was bored out of her skull until the staff found crafts for her to do, and let her work serving the residents their ice-cream. If I’d known she liked serving the elderly, I would have let her bring me my dessert eons ago!

On a side-note, the dress she is wearing was given to me by my husband about 18 years ago.

Speaking of things you don’t care about, we got back just in time for me to get to the Non-Life Master bridge tournament that was happening in Marietta.


I don’t want to brag so I won’t mention how I did.

Feel free to email me if you’re wondering. Or if you can’t read the headline, or see the images.







Lake Life

Last night our electricity went out due to the storms so we had to sit around with candles and do old-school stuff like TALK. Turns out there’s a guy and a young girl who live in my house. Who knew? At one point Moon said, “This is great. You can’t use your computer like you did that one time at the lake.”

Okayyy. I guess a certain teenager is a little resentful. Perhaps we need a little more “unplugged” time.

Speaking of the LAKE, we went a few weeks ago.

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Moon and her BFF, Jemi, had a great time riding the inner tube. Question – Do they still call it an inner tube? Back in MY day, I rode an actual tube, like this -



Which made riding and not killing yourself a tad bit harder. Anyway.

The girls had a great time until the line broke.

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But we forged ahead by tying the much shorter rope to the boat. “Hey Girls, want me to hand you a soda?”

Later, JD decided we needed even MORE excitement and let Moon drive the boat.

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Just Moon. Her BFF, Jemi, most certainly did not. That would have been dangerous. In fact, we put Jemi on shore with a life jacket and a life guard while we drove around in really fast circles.

The End.

I realize that this is not the most riveting story, but it does have a point. One day my daughter can read it and remember that I did, in fact, go to the lake WITHOUT my computer.

The wi-fi out there is the worst.


#TBT Moron Test Kitchen – Spicy Saltines

This was originally posted 5 years ago. I was in Livingston for the family reunion, and I’ll be heading there again tomorrow. Hopefully mom will have some crackers!

My Aunt Faye gave me this recipe weeks ago and I did it immediately. Then I promptly forgot the instructions. I’m sure she can leave a comment to tell me where I went wrong. This is not a spoiler alert – I ALWAYS go wrong.

The ingredients are simple. A package of ranch dressing, 4 sleeves of saltines, red pepper flakes and CANOLA oil.

Me: Do you have any canola oil?

Mom: No, use Olive Oil.

Me: Faye was adamant, she said it MUST be canola oil.

Mom: Use Olive Oil.

Me: But..

Mom: Just USE IT!

You should know I get all of my cooking skills from my mother.

The recipe calls for 1 and 1/4 oil (I think) but Faye says to  trim it back  to 1 cup. It also calls for 2 tablespoons of red pepper, but she says to use 1. I come from a long line of cooking rebels. Anyway, put the red pepper in the oil and set aside for an hour.

Now add the package of ranch dressing and stir well. Put the crackers in a large bowl with a lid and our the oil/pepper/ranch over them. Then gently turn them over and let sit. Then turn them over again. Then again. You get the idea, until they are coated evenly. One recipe I read said to use a gallon zip-lock bag and shuffle around for 15 minutes.

Okay, I didn’t HAVE a bowl with a lid. So when I turned it over, oil just ran out on the counter. Eventually, we just pronounced it good enough and ate them.

Moron Test Grade: Undecided. On the plus side, it was SUPER easy. Aunt Faye raved about them and a similar recipe has 5 stars on

On the con side was that I threw up after eating 200. FYI, throwing up saltines is like heaving sawdust. Of course, I didn’t use CANOLA oil. Or the correct bowl. I consider the whole thing inconclusive.

I would like to try it again with some oyster crackers . Or better yet, I’ll wait for Fay to invite me over. Fay? I can come over right? Hello? I promise to only eat 100. 150 at most.

The Reveal

As I mentioned, while Moon was away at camp JD and I decided to redecorate her room. She has been hinting over the last few months that she was ready to let go of the pink and green theme and try something a little more mature.

Do you remember what it looked like?


We’d changed the curtains to gray and moved the desk around since this photo was taken, but basically it’s been the same since she was born.


Not any longer!


We painted the walls a light gray, got a new bed and shelving unit, hung some cool artwork, updated the bedding, and got a seriously cool chandelier.


When closed, it looks like the death star!


Pull a string and it opens up to emit more light. We also moved the cool Hatch Show prints into her room.


The shelving unit is on casters so that she can move it if she wants.


The girl was PLEASED. Yay, a parenting win! Now I can relax and rest.


Or begin cleaning out the spare bedroom where I stashed all of her junk. Whichever.



Moon Room

Moon Pie is away at camp this week so JD and I are living it up! We actually went inside the perimeter last night to do a little shopping. Of course we were shopping for MOON, but still. We headed to IKEA because we’ve decided that while the Moon is away, her room will get an upgrade.

First, a new bed:



It’s not exactly what she wanted, as it has a headboard, but it’s low and black so she should be happy.

We also got her new linens:



In her favorite colors, black and gray. And because she wants NO dresser and NO desk, a simple shelving unit:



The one we bought doesn’t have the doors on the bottom because that would make too much sense and Moon want’s NO clutter. Who is this kid??

We’re going to drag out her white bed, desk and drawers sometime today and then paint. She’s had the bright green room since she was a baby, but now we’re going a little more sophisticated and doing a gray.



Okay, not THAT sophisticated.

When we’re done, we’re hoping she’ll have a nice, teenage room in a gray pallet. Should anyone be concerned it’s too dark, let me remind you of the room she asked for:



Not a bad compromise, Kittens, amiright?

When bored.

I took Moon to the doctor today for a check-up and she wouldn’t even let me LOOK at her, much less take her picture. I was reminded of a time when she was a little more amiable. The post below was originally posted Sept, 2009.


The Moonpie and I have a habit of being late for the eye doctor. It’s not my fault, really. They are just so darn far – 45 minutes away, and we only leave 30 minutes before the appointment. Okay, so it IS my fault.


And when the receptionist says they’ll still TAKE us, but only AFTER the other people, we just roll with it.


We kill time by playing the, “Who Can Make the Silliest Face and Most Annoying Noise” game.


It’s amazing how quickly they find a way to fit us in.