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James and "The Judgemental Hmm"

It's been my experience that when you're around someone for an extended period of time, you form a way of communicating with them that others outside of your circle could never understand. Such is the case with my husband James and me.

Those of you who've been in long-term relationships will understand—or perhaps have something like this with your own friends and family.

Here's a couple of examples of what I'm talking about:

Being "Nalleyed"

In our home, if one of us walks into the bathroom and notices that the last person didn't install a fresh roll of toilet paper but opted instead to lean the new roll on top of the used cardboard cylinder, then you've been "Nalleyed".

The term "Nalleyed" comes from James's long-time friend and post-college roommate who was notorious for this unacceptable bathroom practice. (In retrospect, I suppose being "Nalleyed" is better than being left "high and dry!")

In the thirty-five plus years that I've been married to James, I've been "Nalleyed" too many times to count. I'm finally beginning to realize that perhaps Nalley was the scapegoat for my husband's lazy habit!

An Over-Abundance of Onions In Your Cooking?—You're Guilty of "Nath-onioning"

I'm not a fan of raw onions, I do enjoy them grilled or sauteed and use them pretty liberally when I'm cooking. (After all, they're supposed to be good for you!)

Many years ago, when James was giving tennis lessons in lieu of paying rent on one of our first apartments, he had a young student (LOL - we were all young back then!), named Nathan who really looked up to him. I was touched when James came home one night and told me that Nathan had invited us over to his apartment for dinner.

"That's so sweet," I said. "I'll call him and find out what he's cooking so we know what to bring."

"I already asked him that," James replied. "He doesn't want us to bring anything. Apparently, Nathan is preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal for us—turkey, dressing and all the trimmings."

I'm sure I rolled my eyes at James. "We're not going to show up empty-handed because that's impolite. I'll think of something we can take over to his place."

Well, we ended up bringing a bottle of wine and arrived as scheduled. As we entered his apartment, it was plain to see that poor Nathan had gotten himself in way over his head trying to impress his tennis coach with his culinary skills. The kitchen was a disaster zone, the sink was crammed with dirty dishes, the countertops strewn with canned goods, cookware, etc. When we finally sat down to eat, I noticed that everything Nathan had prepared for us was chock-full of raw onions. From the stuffing to the green bean casserole, there was an abundance of the crunchy, potent vegetable.

This might be a good time to share that at the time I was pregnant with our first child. My stomach was super-sensitive about most foods (strangely, Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell didn't bother me at all! LOL) I noticed James eying me closely as I politely pushed the food around my plate. "I'm sorry," I whispered to him at one point when Nathan had risen to grab the pan of onion-laced mashed potatoes. I'm having a hard time eating this food but I don't want to hurt Nathan's feelings!"

Being the champion that he is, my sweet husband "took one for the team" and finished his plate, then helped me with mine. "This is amazing, Nathan," he told the younger man. "Thank you for having us over for dinner!"

To this day, if I cook something that James believes includes too many onions, he'll jokingly harass me about it.

"You really Nathaned-Up this chili," he'll say. Or, "Nathan just called. He wants his onions back!"


All right, I could go on, but I'm sure you get the gist of this. What I really wanted to share with you is my husband's knack for giving me what I've come to refer to as "The Judgemental Hmm".

A few months ago, I let everyone know that in our house we have a rule: Don't ask the question if you can't handle the answer! I know better than to ask James things like, "Does this dress make me look fat?" or "Is this skirt too short?" because he's not going to hold back on his answer. And frankly, as much as it stings sometimes, I really don't want him to!

That being said, my husband is no fool. If I jump out there and point-blank ask him his opinion, he'll give it to me. On the other hand, there are many times when I'll make a comment trying to feel him out about something and he'll grow quiet, but not before uttering a low, yet emphatic, "hmm".

Here's are just a few examples of things I've said that have earned me The Judgemental Hmm:

Me: "I think I added too much salt in the potato salad." James: "Hmm . . . "

Me: "I'm really thinking about pulling the trigger on a new purse." James: "Hmm . . ."

Me: "I'm going to whittle all my Christmas decorations down to just one or two containers." James: "Hmm . . . "

Me: "I think I'll start jogging again." James: "Hmm . . ."

Me: "Cabbit's getting so old. We should get a kitten." James: "Hmm . . . "

And my favorite for 2020:

Me: "I'm going to wear everything in my closets and get rid of anything that doesn't make me feel like a "ten". James: "Hmm —and wait for it! Me (again) "Oh, and I'll need your help taking photos of me wearing whatever I come up with each week for Monday thru Thursdays!"

James: "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" (the mother of all hmm's!)

I've decided that instead of being offended by The Judgemental Hmm, I'll take it as my husband's peaceable way of adhering to The Thumperian Principle (yes, this is actually a thing!), from Walt Disney's Bambi:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all".

And, while I'll always wonder what's going on in that head of his, I've learned to laugh when he gives me The Judgemental Hmm. After all, if I really wanted to know his opinion, I could just ask him for it in the first place, right?


Closet ClotheSure Challenge Week 44

Monday -

This snazzy white and black jacket from White House Black Market was a gift from my friend Deb a couple of years back. It's incredibly warm and very fitted.

I'll hang onto it as well as the black pencil skirt from Ann Taylor. Oh, and the white top underneath the jacket is also from White House Black Market. It's a long-sleeved t-shirt that pairs nicely with everything from jeans to business suits. #keeper

Of special note is the beautiful, ornate silver and black necklace from White House Black Market. I normally save this piece for special occasions but decided I'd wear it with this ensemble. Besides, how often do we get to dress up these days?

Tuesday -

I always wanted a sharp red suit, so about three years ago I invested in this one from Ann Taylor. (I had to buy it online to get the tall jacket and skirt).

Everything about this suit makes me feel happy—from the vibrant color to the great fit, it's a definite keeper!

You may notice that I've kept the white long-sleeved t-shirt from White House Black Market but chose to switch out the necklace. The one I'm wearing (also from White House Black Market), is a little less chunky, but still an awesome piece of jewelry.

Wednesday: Feel The Teal!!!

I love wearing same-color pieces like this one, all from New York and Company. This is another suit I had to special order online in order to get the length I need for my freakishly long arms!

I adore the color of this suit and believe the fit is really great! #teal #newyorkandcompany

Thursday -

If you guessed Thursday's outfit was going bye-bye, then you'd be correct!

In spite of the fact that I've only had this suit for a little over a year, I'm just not feeling it!

From New York and Company, this two-piece outfit is a bit baggy on me. I'm not sure why that is since I ordered it online and it's the same size as the teal suit above. I guess that's just one of the challenges of shopping online versus trying things on in the stores.

Goodbye grape-colored suit! #grapefest

From The Garden -

As winter approaches, things in the yard are beginning to succumb to the colder temperatures. I'm unhappy to report that the snails have polished off all the flowers on our pansies in the back. (No amount of Sluggo is phasing them this year!) The purple pansies out front seem to be faring a little better.

James and I did spot this spectacular tree in a field near our home a few days ago. You can see that the area around it has been cleared but the developer mercifully left this large oak and hopefully will build around it. I guess I'm a tree-hugger because it made me want to weep when I saw how they'd come in and mowed down hundreds of trees in this area in order to build a couple of condo towers overlooking Lake Grapevine.

Wishing you all peace and tidings of comfort and joy! Always know that God is in control and hope is on the move!




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