What once began as a fascination has evolved into a psychedelic, flashing montage of irritation and stress.


No, I'm not talking about your wifely duties, but about my journey across the Internet. I've longed for a haven of civility and comfort; a place where I can go and sense a bit of grace. Sadly, it doesn't seem to exist, so just like most everything else, I've had to do it myself.


Now I'm inviting you to join me.


If you're under 30, you probably won't like it here so stop reading and click away! Think of Ivy Nook as a ladies' retreat beneath shady trees. You'll find a bit of everything here and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed putting it all together.


There is no charge; no pop-up offers for mustache depilatories. We invite you in just as you are...hairy lip and all.


Come back again and again...


Pumpkin Tales

As we all know, the holidays are upon us and while most of us are sick of pumpkins, they're still tolerable in pie. So let us not set aside this noble vegetable, but celebrate its diversity.


We are told that orange is not our only choice; indeed some of my best memories involve yellow, white, green and red pumpkins.


One must consider the pumpkin a star in the dating world; they make both male and female flowers and just ask the bees to dance.


The name "pumpkin" originated with the Greeks, who called it a "pepon." The French, uncharacteristically arrogant, changed the name to "pompon." The British, who are forever fighting the French, asked around and after several pots of tea and a drench in the Thames, changed it again to "pumpion." Then, since Americans couldn't speak French, and were rather ticked off at the Brits at the time, they made it plain old "pumpkin." It's no wonder the plant doesn't know whether to be yellow, white, green, red or orange! While everyone was arguing over the name, the Europeans colonized what is current day North America only to discover that native Americans were already ahead of the game, they didn't bother naming it but went straight to roasting pumpkins over fires and weaving their skins into mats.


It was those superstitious Irish who began the tradition of carving pumpkins into Jack O'Lanterns. It's all wrapped around a cunning Irishman named, what else...Stingy Jack. He had a run in with the Devil and, well one thing led to another and eventually Jack was committed to roaming the earth with a carved turnip in which burned an ember from Hell. I know, I know, but there you have it.


There is a rumor circulating that the holiday dessert whipped cream topping was the idea of a Ms. Kraft who, having been a flower child of the '70s, spun up some vegetable oil, slapped it on the pie and said, "Cool! Whip!"

Ivy Nook Village Charter


Okay, this is how things
work around here...


The deal is, we're not selling anything and don't want your money. We figure it's about time you can go to a little place online where there's no advertising flashing in your eye and no one cares about your credit card. We're not going to switch up privacy settings; in fact, you can't even post anything here, unless it's to send us a thank you note of pure adoration (see below or email us), so no one is going to know you belong, except us. All we ask is that you let us know you're reading all this hard work by becoming an official citizen.


Now, so you can get the lay of the land...


Everything here is one of three things:


1. Interesting stuff that you can read with a cup of tea but that will probably appeal to you mostly if you're over 30...


2. Opinions and soapbox-comments that you might just find interesting, if for no reason other than you're just as peeved as we are... You'll find the whining going on in The Parlor.


3. Made up stories. These will be confined to the Ivy Nook Village. Do yourself a favor and get to know the residents before you read the stories...it makes much more sense that way.


Silver Linings


When you belong to the Ivy Nook community, it’s sort of mandatory that you look for the bright side in every circumstance.  After all, there’s enough misery outside the city limits that if you get lonely for a dose of depression, just go down the road a bit and you’ll be back before you know it.


The trick is, though, that you cannot pretend things are good just for the sake of belonging…you have to truly look for good in every thing and every one. This can be a bit of an art, and art, like everything else, improves with practice.


So, if those of you with long faces and heavy hearts will gather ‘round, let’s have our first group session of the Ivy Nook Silver Linings Club.


Just to get things started in the right direction, I’ll share first and maybe that will motivate you. Be sure and let me know your own silver linings so we can add them here.


- My dog is ugly, smelly and needs grooming. It is safe to say no one will be stealing him from my back yard.

- My mother-in-law just died. The good news is I can check her off my Christmas list.

- My husband just lost his job. Now I don’t have to lose that 30 pounds for the Florida trip during spring break.

- The neighbor’s tree fell on his roof in that last storm. The branches swiped his new car and he had just been canceled by his insurance the day before for non-payment because he lost his job after the lawn tractor cut off his left foot when he was trying to drag the boat back onto the trailer after it had a flat tire due to the nails in his yard that the roofers let fall. The good news is his leaves won’t be blowing into my back yard any longer.

- I just found out my cousin and her husband are getting a divorce. I no longer have to feel guilty about not telling her I saw him kissing that blonde at the Get Drunk Bar.

- The ATM says my account is overdrawn. Thank god I no longer have to balance the checkbook.

- I just saw on Antiques Roadshow the identical, hideous vase my husband inherited from his Aunt Martha that I sold at last spring's garage sale. It was worth $30,000. The good news is my husband hates that show and the people jumping up and down have moved to New York.

- I burned the prime rib roast I bought for Christmas dinner. We are no longer out of dog food and my ugly dog suddenly has a romance going with Mrs. Teller’s champion French poodle, Milly. I guess at this point, it becomes Mrs. Teller’s silver lining.

As we all look forward to Christmas, it's important to remember that sometimes the most thoughtful gift you can give, is simply that...thought. Can you imagine what the holidays must feel like when everyone you love is gone or too far away to hug? What will it cost you to give that extra smile, make that phone call or take a plate of dinner to the neighbor who has no reason to check their mail? Could you take the shut-in down the street to church with you for Christmas service? Perhaps you could write out cards for someone at the nursing home? Giving is the best sort of getting...

Would you like to become an official citizen of Ivy Nook? As citizen you are entitled to come back and visit any time you want and we'll be sure to include you when we hand out the free goody bags. There are no fees or taxes to pay and we don't let pesky salesmen come to your door. This is just to let you know when there's some new gossip or a story to hear.

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