Balance In All Things, Including Peanut Butter

I can’t let National Peanut Butter Lovers Month pass without paying homage to a dietary favorite. I was going to write a poem, but someone else already beat me to it. A wee excerpt:

Oh, sweet legume that grows beneath the earth!
Let me now proclaim your worth!
May my lips your great praise utter
Crunchy, munchy peanut butter
Creamy, dreamy peanut butter.

I do love peanut butter. In fact, let me count the ways:

ways I love peanut butter

That scratches the surface anyway. :)

Given the caloric nature of peanut butter, I don’t eat it with wild abandon. **pause for a moment of sadness** The most common way I eat it is from a measuring spoon–the half-tablespoon or teaspoon, to be precise. At around 3:00 in the afternoon, I sometimes need a “carry-over” until dinner and a little dab of peanut butter will usually do the trick. I said, usually.

Sometimes, especially on big activity days (leaf-raking, gutter-cleaning, bag-hauling, etc.) or long work/travel days, I need more than a dab of PB to fight the hangries. Or more rarely, when I’m OUT of peanut butter completely. quelle horreur! That’s when I turn to something like a PB-flavored Balance Bar to fill the gap.

peanut butter balance bar
Natural health food? No.

Low-calorie? No.

Salty/creamy delicious and satisfying? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Thanks to the nutritional “balance”, a Balance Bar curbs my hunger for a longer period. I enjoy it while I’m eating it, but it doesn’t leave me wanting more-more-more. If you know what I mean. :)

The folks at Balance Bar asked me to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Month with them, and they sent me a box of Peanut Butter bars to keep the party going. (I was already a fan.) They’re in such a party mood, they offered to send one lucky US reader a box of Peanut Butter Balance Bars of your very own! All you have to do is leave me a comment sharing your very favorite way to eat peanut butter.

I’ll choose the winner by random drawing on Sunday (11/23) night and contact the lucky winner with the good news.

Please note: Balance Bar might have provided the PB Joy-in-a-Box, but opinions are expressly my own. If I didn’t truly like the product, I would say so.

Footloose…and Not

You’d think with all the traveling I’ve been doing lately that I’d be ready to stay at home for a while. And I thought I was until a friend who’d seen my Burgess Falls photos expressed an interest in seeing the falls herself. Since I’m living solo and working (mostly) virtually, we loaded up the car and headed out. It’s times like these I love my life. :)

The only potential crimp in our plan was that my friend has a wonky knee and I’ve been dealing with some foot pain, probably something to do with plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs and/or something else. I’ve been trying self-treatment (massaging, stretching, and exercises other than walking), and while it seems to be getting better, I wasn’t sure how it would hold up to a hike. But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I decided to give it a try.


We made it! It was breezy and cool but the hike up had us warmed up pretty quickly. It was interesting to see how much difference a month makes in nature. Most of the leaves have dropped in that area, so the first falls were more visible. Also, the rapids were more…well, rapid. :) It was a great day for a hike. My foot was screaming by the time we got back to the car, but a little rest and some ibuprofen seemed to take care of the worst of it.

Our original plan was to drive up one day and back the next, but with both of us being footloose. we decided to spend another day exploring. Also known as shopping in some parts of the country.

We spent almost a whole day exploring downtown Cookeville, TN. To be honest, I hadn’t anticipated it would take that long, but shop owners are super friendly and happy to chat. We spent hours walking through a shop called The Market Place on the square in Cookeville.

cookeville market square

Upstairs is a nice little culinary shop. Downstairs is a HUGE gift store feels like it goes on for miles. There’s not a single square inch of display space they haven’t used. There was so much to see that we had to take a break for lunch (Harvest Bread Company) halfway through. The funniest part was that neither of us bought a thing there. In fact, after walking all over Cookeville, the only thing I bought was a jar of vegan handcream and four green peppers ($1 total!) at the farmers’ market. We really just enjoyed being out on a nice (if windy) fall day and chatting with everyone we saw.

And here’s a Cookeville, TN attraction you probably won’t see in any guidebooks:

chewing gum on a brick wall

I don’t know what they call it, but I call it the Cookeville Market Gum Art Wall. I don’t chew gum, but I did wish for a piece so that I could contribute to such a valuable community resource. (If you’re visiting and want to see it, go to the northeast corner of the Market Square building.)

By mid-afternoon we decided we’d conquered all we could do for the day. And really, after the gum wall, what else could there be? There’s a craft center we would’ve liked to visit, but not with a limited time budget. So we headed to Nashville, where we used one of those hotel budget coupons to get cheap (really!cheap!) rooms. Our rooms overlooked two bars, so we weren’t hopeful for a good night’s sleep. But luck was on our side as the bars never got noisy at all and we both slept (cheaply) like logs.

After exchanging morning knee and foot reports, we decided we could both tolerate more walking and went downtown for a bit. But first, breakfast:

nashville biscuit house

I’ve passed Nashville Biscuit House on my travels in the area, had heard good things about it, and suggested it as a good alternative to our previous two mornings of McD’s oatmeal. I did enjoy having a biscuit for a change.

Once fueled, we went downtown and walked around for a few hours. I specifically wanted to visit the Hatch Show Print shop. I love the vintage posters and the different typography. I did buy something, but you’ll have to wait to see it until I have it framed. (I know, I’m such a tease.)

I also met my One True Love as we passed an exhibit in the corridor outside the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum:

Red Bike with Star Daryl Thetford

Meet Red Bike with Star by artist Daryl Thetford. It was love at first sight, but unless a lottery win comes my way, I suspect it will forever be an unrequited love.

I did find a red bike (sans star) I could have afforded:
nashville bike rental with shiny red bikes

These bikes were available for rent at VERY affordable prices. I think it was $5 with the first hour free, and then $1.50 per hour after that. My friend isn’t much of a bike rider, so she wasn’t interested in renting a bike. Fine with me, because I noticed they didn’t offer helmets or locks and I didn’t happen to pack mine. I’ll do it some other time, because shiny red bikes are a thing for me.

Not long after that, we were both starting to limp a bit and it was after noon, so we decided we should start heading back to Memphis. Plus, the ibuprofen was in the car. :)

Even with the achy foot, I had a great time. We’re already planning to go back in the spring. Perhaps my foot will be healed by then. Actually, I hope it’s healed in a few weeks. My parents and I are planning at trip to the coast for Thanksgiving, and if the weather’s nice, I’d love to get in some long beach walks.

Other than a quick overnighter this week and a day trip next week, I should be sticking close to home until Thanksgiving. But you just never know, do you?

I hope your week is off to a great start!

Lessons from That Old House

There’s been a great deal of drama (and a fair share of comedy) in my neighborhood this week. We’ve had news crews camped out and helicopters circling overhead. Residents have set up lawn chairs to watch the story progress. Or not progress, as it turned out. And it’s all because of what everyone’s calling “that old house.”

It seems the Wills family sold some property they owned in a commercial corridor. On that property was an old farmhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To save the family home, they decided to move it onto a residential lot they own about a mile away.

map routes for kirby farm house move

As you can see from the map, there were two possible options. The blue route would take them down a wide, heavily traveled road and would likely require the temporary removal of two sets of traffic signals. The gray route would take them through a subdivision with wide streets. The chose the gray route to minimize “inconvenience.”

The map shows it to be a 3-minute trip either way by car (21 minutes walking, unless you’re me and then it takes about 18 minutes), but naturally you expect it to take longer when you’re hauling a house. A couple hours? A half-day, at most. NO ONE expected it to take three days.

Getting started was the first problem the movers encountered. That old house was adjacent to some railroad tracks, and for a short time, the house was stuck ON the tracks.

Once they cleared it and made the wide turn into the subdivision, the truck’s axle broke and the truck and house were left to block the street overnight. Thus ended Day 1.

The house moved about two blocks on day 2. I’m not sure who measured everything (it wasn’t me), but apparently trees, mailboxes, fire hydrants and streetlights were not taken into account. As the house inched (literally!) along, every obstacle had to be considered and cleared. This sometimes required chainsaws and jackhammers.

The house did suffer a bit of damage when the crew cleared the limbs of a threatening oak tree but seemed to miss noticing the stately magnolia on the other side of the street. Fortunately, the damage can be repaired. At the end of Day 2, the house approached a fire hydrant, too big an obstacle to be cleared that day.

On Day 3, that old house finally affected me. As it finally(!) approached its new home, it was stuck while utility crews temporarily removed some power lines that had also apparently gone unnoticed in the planning phase. Since I had no electricity, I moseyed over to check things out personally.

that old house blocking the road

Yep, it was stuck. As I stood there watching the house going nowhere, it occurred to me that there were lessons to be learned from its journey.

  • Planning is important in any endeavor. Anticipate the obstacles before you begin.
  • No matter how much you plan, there will still be surprises. Be prepared for them.
  • Some obstacles are so large, it’s tempting to abandon the journey. Continue. Always.
  • Sometimes you can get so focused on one obstacle, you miss another one completely. Both the big picture and the small picture are important.
  • No matter which route you take on a journey, someone is going to be inconvenienced. Life isn’t always convenient.
  • Some journeys take a lot longer than anticipated. Be prepared to wait.
  • Some progress is measured in miles, some in inches. It’s all still progress.
  • Even when you arrive at your destination, the journey isn’t over. Keep your bags packed.

At around 5 last night, the house was on the lot. It’s still on the truck because there are repairs and fine tuning that must happen before it’s set into place. The project took longer than anticipated, but the house got to where it needed to be…eventually.

As will we all. :)

“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
― Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story