Happy Monday

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

It was absolutely beautiful here in Charlotte this weekend. 

It was gray and overcast all day on Friday and finally started to rain late.  Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to me to be at home on Friday night, having had accomplished all I needed to this week at work?  I smooched 2 Beans, took a really hot bath, an ambien and went to B.E.D.  I rolled over some time around 6 (I think) and heard hard rain on the roof and it was so lovely to be in my warm bed and know that I didn't have to get up or go anywhere.  Absolutely divine.  And I had a whole pot of coffee when I got up.

Then it cleared up and was beautiful.

I tended to some personal maintenance this weekend - which is to say I got a hair cut and had my nails and toes done.

You know, there is NOTHING fun about getting your nails done.  It's such a chore.  But L.A. said "We're not getting our Shellac done anymore, I see?" which I took to be my cue to go take care of my business.  So now I'm manicured.  And my toes are also done.  But I didn't enjoy it. 

I also took naps all weekend and tried to read my latest book but I'm not doing well with it.  I'm 1/4 of the way into The Invisible Man and I just want it to be over.  And I feel bad about it because, you know, I'm aware of the fact that I'm reading a masterpiece.  But I am to the point of wanting to read some trash.  I'm gonna push through, though.  I'm hardcore! 

Also?  The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders:  Making the Team, Season 6 is back on CMT!  My favorite show!  Maybe ever!!!  OMG!  It is such a lovely little guilty pleasure to me.  I DVR'd it on Thursday night and it was waiting for me when I got home from work on Friday.

Do you see why I'm single?  That's a fun Friday night to me:  DCC, bath, kiss 2 corgis, Ambien, bed.

*heavy sigh*

I hope it's a great week!  Wish me luck, I'm throwing my hat in another ring this week.

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Autumn Leaves by Laughter and Love Photography.

Vote for Us!

The voting is ongoing and we are currently being bested by an ugly little chihuahua!

Can you believe it? We can't either!

Please vote for us!

Thank you and corgi smooches!

New Favorite Thing~

Here it is! 

I don't normally go in for flavored coffee or cream but the Chocolate Caramel flavored International Delight is being *CONSUMED* here at Chateau Bee Charmer.  

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

Image:  Paris Autumn Path by Mouse in the Dollhouse.


Happy Friday

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

xoxox - Tonya
Image:  Autumn Heart by Georgianna Lane Photography.



The Weekly Bean




Finn and Lola are participating in the Charlotte Observer's Pet Halloween Costume Contest!  They should win because they are CLEARLY the cutest of the pets that are participating....

Please go vote for them!  Here's the link: 

Site Name: Send us your Halloween pet photos
Site URL: http://charlotteobserver.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=41946


A Little Extra Pretty

I got a post card last weekend from Corrigan Gallery - one of my favorites in Charleston.

They are apparently having a show of one of my favorite artists, Lynn Riding. 

I love her stuff.

Image:  Pause by Lynn Riding.

The Sportswriter

So this week, I read The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. 

In case you are keeping up (or care) this is my 19th book this year from the Time 100 list. 

Not bad, huh? 

Anywho, my darling friend is taking a class this year and this book was assigned to her so I read it with her as a sign of my love and solidarity. 

*raises little fist*

I liked the book.  I am still not sure if I liked Frank Bascombe, our lead character. 

Basically, Frank is a guy adrift in New Jersey.  Approaching middle age, he is recovering from the death of his oldest child and the demise of his marriage.  Although I think he believes himself be happy, I'm not sure that he is.  He's running from the devastation in an attempt to keep it from overwhelming him. 

Bless his heart. 

I felt soooo sorry for him.  But I wanted to box his ears about half the time. 

The book takes place over an Easter weekend and a particular Sunday that Frank thinks might never end.  In all honesty, I didn't think it would either. 

All in all, an incredibly well written book and the first in a trilogy.  The second book, Independence Day, won the Pulitzer Prize and is on my list for next year. 

I liked Frank, but I need a little break from him for now. 

This Charming Closet

Man!!  I want this sweater! 

But, it's Chloe, it's not even sold on-line AND even if it was the odds that I could afford it are slim to nil.

Damn it Gwyneth Paltrow!  You vex me!

And my darling friend, who is a stellar knitter, won't make it for me.  Something about her job getting in the way of her knitting or some such nonsense.....

So, I've settled for this:

The Cambridge Cable Chunky Turtleneck Sweater in Vintage Champagne from J. Crew. 


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Interior, Fort Pulaski, Savannah, Georgia by October Images.

When the Answer is No

So last week I had dinner with my darling friend, who is also single.

The thing I love about my single friends is that we can commiserate about our shared experience in being single women of a certain age and the shit we get from people who just don't *get* it.

How can it be possible to choose to be single?  Who knew that was even an option?  There must be something *wrong*.....

[insert shifty eyed, suspicious look]

During this particular dinner we talked about what we say to people when they ask "Why don't you want to get married?"

These people are looking for an answer.  They want us to explain ourselves.  And they make it clear that our answers will be evaluated.

My friend and I both laughed about the things we throw out to these people who want us to explain the (it seems for women) unexplainable.

When I came home, I started to download the new Apple software into my iPhone and as I did, I found myself thinking about my dinner conversation.

I realized that I have an answer for those who say "Why aren't you married?"

Here it is:

I'm not married because I believe in marriage.  I believe in it fervently.  And I believe that when you stand up in front of God and that company and make those vows, you should mean them.

Let me say that again.  I think you should mean them.  And not just today.  Today and forever.  Til death do you part.  

And I've never been willing to do it.

Not ever.  Not once.

I've never felt, in my heart, the love and commitment to another person that would allow me, in good conscience, to take those vows.   

In all honesty, the night I got engaged - he asked me to marry him, gave me a big ring and as we hugged each other I thought to myself "This will never happen". 

Because as soon as he asked me, I realized that I couldn't do it.

Or maybe the better answer is that I realized that I didn't want to do it. 

Now, I tried to talk myself into it (while simultaneously sabotaging it) for the next 18 months or so.  And frankly, I think he was doing the same thing.  And when we chose to end our relationship and not be married to each other it killed me.

I don't want anybody to think that that decision was easy.  And it was much more complicated than needs to be blogged about for both my sake and his.  It was a terrible and soul shattering experience.  In many ways it was the most awful experience of my life.  It was a divorce in the truest sense.  A cutting off.  A sundering. 

I praise God all the time that I didn't marry him.  But I knew it was the right thing.  It was the only thing. As awful as the aftermath was, I remember being so blissfully happy to *not* be with him anymore. 

It was really hard for me to understand it - then and for a long time after that.  I thought it was because we weren't 'right' for each other.

But then I started to understand that it was me.  It's always been me.  I've always been willing to walk away.  I've never wanted to be somebody's wife *more* than I wanted to be free.

See?  There's actually a reason this blog is subtitled "Surprisingly Single".  Really.  And nobody is more surprised about it than I am.

But it's what I want. 

Have I been lonely?  Yes.

Am I still lonely sometimes?  Yes.

Is my life an empty shell because there is no man in it?  No.

I realize as I'm writing this that I still have few answers to most of the big questions. I still hope to meet the guy who I will want to invite into my life and that he will want to invite me into his. 

But until or unless that ever happens, just take my word for it....  There are worse things than being single. 

Image:  To Have and To Hold by Stacey Winters.

On Art

"Silence is so accurate.'
Mark Rothko

Out and About Around Charlotte

My darling friend and I drove up to Blowing Rock last weekend to have a look at the leaves...

And eat Barbeque....

Both were divine.


Tuesday's Girl

“But you can’t get to any of these truths by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.”
Anne Lamott

The Atlantic

Me and my kind are the cover story of The Atlantic this month...

Gee, who knew I would be trending?

This Charming House

Thinking I might love this coffee table in my living room....

Or maybe keep my coffee table and buy new side tables in the same line....

Bryant tables from Crate and Barrel.


Happy Monday

Happy Monday, everybody!

Here's to a great week.
Image:  Bouquet d'automne by Au fil de.

On Living

"When you are reluctant to change, think of the beauty of autumn."
V. B. Brown
Image:  Wooded Wonderland by Lisa Burch Photography.

Sunday Afternoon


Happy Monday

Hi, everyone.

I'm gonna be away from the blog this week.  I'm in a bit of a rut and feeling overwhelmed and sometimes I just don't have anything to say....

This is one of those weeks. 

See you all soon!

xoxo - Tonya
Image:  Paris Door No. 3 by Tracey Capone Photography.


Happy Friday


We're going leaf peeping this weekend.

Deal with it.  Nobody needs your petty jealousy. 

Peace Out. 

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  Autumn Leaf by Sparks of Fire.


The Weekly Bean

The Beans refused to participate this week.

They said "Mama, we're exhausted!"

So this week we have a corgi puppy stand in who looks a little like Finny did as a baby.
Image:  Entanglement by Janet Hill Studio.

Empire Falls

This week I read Empire Falls by Richard Russo.

Here's what Publisher's Weekly had to say about it:
In his biggest, boldest novel yet, the much-acclaimed author of Nobody's Fool and Straight Man subjects a full cross-section of a crumbling Maine mill town to piercing, compassionate scrutiny, capturing misfits, malefactors and misguided honest citizens alike in the steady beam of his prose. Wealthy, controlling matriarch Francine Whiting lives in an incongruous Spanish-style mansion across the river from smalltown Empire Falls, dominated by a long-vacant textile mill and shirt factory, once the center of her husband's family's thriving manufacturing dominion. In his early 40s, passive good guy Miles Roby, the son of Francine's husband's long-dead mistress, seems helpless to escape his virtual enslavement as longtime proprietor of the Whiting-owned Empire Grill, the town's most popular eatery, which Francine has promised to leave him when she dies. Miles's wife, Janine, is divorcing him and has taken up with an aging health club entrepreneur. In her senior year in high school, their creative but lonely daughter, Tick, is preoccupied by her parents' foibles and harassed by the bullying son of the town's sleazy cop who, like everyone else, is a puppet of the domineering Francine. Struggling to make some sense of her life, Tick tries to befriend a boy with a history of parental abuse. To further complicate things, Miles's brother, David, is suspected of dealing marijuana, and their rascally, alcoholic father is a constant annoyance. Miles and David's secret plan to open a competing restaurant runs afoul of Francine just as tragedy erupts at the high school. Even the minor members of Russo's large cast are fully fleshed, and forays into the past lend the narrative an extra depth and resonance. When it comes to evoking the cherished hopes and dreams of ordinary people, Russo is unsurpassed.
So I pretty much loved this book.  I found myself comparing it to Freedom because the scope and the feel of both books is similar.  However, I can't say that I loved Freedom.  And I couldn't really articulate why.  Then someone at book club said "How can I love a book (Freedom) when I hate every single character?"

And that was it.  I really liked Freedom (the book) but I didn't like any of the characters.

I loved the characters in Empire Falls.  And the story.  All of it. 

It's slow.  It builds.  And you know something's gonna happen. 

And then when it does - well, it just killed me.

I cried and cried and cried and then I was weepy for 2 days.  I am haunted and grieved....

I've read a lot of books this year.  And I've enjoyed almost all of them and they've been worthwhile.  But this one will stay with me.  At one point while I was reading it I thought "Man, I hope I don't die before I get to finish this book."  I didn't want to miss it.  And I'm so glad I didn't.

This Charming Closet

I can't remember how I got started with NARS cosmetics, but I use a lot of them now. 

Blush, concealer and lipstick/lip gloss. 

But the names of their stuff just kill me. 

For instance, my favorite lip gloss is called 'Risky Business' and my favorite blush (above) is 'Deep Throat'....

I guess it's better than 'Super Orgasm'.... 


We just got into a weird area, didn't we?


Wednesday - Run Away Without Leaving Home

Image:  Caramel Apples by Alice B. Gardens Photography.

A Little Extra Love

"love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star...."
e.e. cummings
Image:  Love by Marianne LoMonaco Photography.

Random Pretty Man

And now - in an unrelated note....

I would like to have David Straithern for Christmas.

Is what I am saying to you about that.....

On Perspective

I follow this guy on Twitter.  He lives in Charlotte, but I don't know him or anything.

He seems to live a very healthy life style.  He's always tweeting about bran, egg whites, running, cross training, hot yoga...  you get the drill.

And mostly, I read his tweets and I think 'Man, Tonya.  You really need to get back with the program."

I have visions of myself, flush and rosy, coming out of hot yoga with a yoga mat under one arm and my muscles rippling.... 

I'm laying on the couch as I type this so you can see where I'm going with that.

So this weekend, I had a bit of an epiphany. 

Well - let's not go straight to epiphany. 

Maybe a flash of insight is a better way of putting it...

This guy, my twitter friend, tweeted that he had gotten up at 7:20 Saturday morning, been out the door by 7:45, run 6 miles, gone to yoga and then eaten a bran muffin with a shot of wheat grass.

And the first thought that came to my mind, unbidden and involuntary was:

"Good for you.  More bacon and vodka for me."

And I meant it, y'all.

Somewhere, I turned a corner and started to accept myself. 

And I'm not sorry.

And when I think "Is my next stop Pudgy-ville?"

Somehow, I don't care so much as long as Pudgy-ville has good coffee and I can sleep in on Saturday.
Image:  Pancake Breakfast by Sunday Kind.


Tuesday's Girl

"I can do anything I want to, baby.  I ain't lost."
 Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

Charmed Life

Love this.

This Charming Closet

I'm sort of in love with this...  which is unlike me because it's totally not 'me' and I'm usually pretty ambivalent about jewelry. 

The Serpent Necklace from Tory Burch.


Happy Monday

Here's what happened here this weekend:

Two short, fuzzy and incredibly vile stinky Beans went back to the spa and returned to home clean and fluffy and smelling like cinnamon biscuits;

The house got cleaned (including the hardwoods - which I hate);

Genius bar at Apple (because I am technologically declined);

Books were read;

Laundry was done;

Real estate was reviewed and toured (friends buying beautiful house);

Brunch was had and liquor was involved;

Shopping (sweaters have been purchased).

There was no napping nor was there any sleeping in.  That, my friends, was a bummer.

And my neighbor has tried to rope me in to serving on the HOA Board.  I'm on the fence about that.  We'll need to think on it. 

The weather here is beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  I love the time when the seasons change.  Also, the thought of impending winter sort of fills me with a kind of dread that is delicious.  Is that weird?  I can't wait for snow.  And I also can't wait for Christmas.

Happy Monday!!
Image:  Bumbershoot by J. M. Barclay.

Sunday Afternoon

Quiet little house....

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, John Lennon...

The Bee Charmer Loves Paris

It's official....

I'm back to plotting to run away to Paris and live on bread and chocolate... Oh - and wine and cheese and crepes.....  but mostly bread.

Image:  The River Seine by Vita Nostra.


Happy Friday

Hey, everybody.

Have a great weekend!  Read a good book!

And I'll see you on Monday.
Image:  Writer by Clockwork Creation Machine.


The Weekly Bean

"Don't be bothering me right now.  I'm reading....."

Steve Jobs

"I want to put a ding in the universe."
 Steve Jobs
Rest in Peace.


This month our book club is discussing Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

I'm not sure who picked this book but I can't wait to thank her.  I'm not sure I would have picked it up if it hadn't been on the Book Club list.

First of all, it's gotten a lot of hype.  Second of all, it's really big (almost 700 pages).

But I really enjoyed it.  It is deserving of the hype.  It was very easy to get into and the writing is very beautiful and accessible.  I found the story engrossing and entertaining. 

Basically, this is the story of a complicated, often unhappy marriage.  The characters seemed very real to me and the portrayal of the marriage was straightforward and deceptively entangling.  It would be hard for me to explain exactly what went wrong between these two, although I know EXACTLY what went wrong.  I think its that way in most things.  There aren't very many people who break up who can point to one thing, one distinct reason as to why their relationship didn't work.  Lots of little things pile up or were never right to begin with.  So it is here.

I like that the characters (Walter and Patty, if you'd like to know their names) eventually find their way back to each other and that the novel ends on an optimistic note.

As a little aside, I also want to mention that portions of Freedom take place in southern West Virginia.  Immediately, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I prepared myself to be offended.  However, I have to say that Franzen got it really right.  And I think I'm a pretty hard critic in such matters. 

So five stars from me on this one.

On Books (And Sex)

"If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em!"
John Waters

These Charming Coffee Table Books

A swear, I think they roll these out for Christmas.....

I'm back with another pile of books for your coffee table.  I want them all, by the way.

Vogue:  The Covers.  So fun.

Alexander McQueen:  Savage Beauty.  I asked for this for Christmas from my parents....  I expect my mother to be mortified.

Black & White by Celerie Kemble.  I love decorating books and I love a black and white color scheme so I gotta figure this one is a pretty good bet.

Cecil Beaton: The New York Years.  I've also asked for this one for Christmas.  I love Cecil Beaton's photographs and find them very inspiring and beautiful.
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