Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sixteen Candles

Today has been one of my most favorite days for a long, long time.  Sixteen years ago today, my sweet furbaby was born.  And I made sure that she got extra special treats each and every year.

I'm a mixture of happy, thinking about my best girl licking bowls of fresh whipped cream with all her sweet, wagging tail pals, and sad, thinking about how much I wish I could cuddle her again.




Whoever started the rumor that time heals all wounds can go to hell.  

I mean that.

Talk about some fake news right there.  Time heals nothing.  It just forces you to figure out a new normal.

But I am no less heartbroken.  I still cry.  A lot.  I still talk to my girl.  A lot.  I still miss her.  Daily.

Sadie is buried in the bed I bought her for her second birthday.  We had just moved to Capital Hill in DC and 8th Street was just starting to be revived.  An adorable little pet shop was opened and they made custom donut beds.  I had no money to spend on such a thing at that time but I bought one for Sadie anyway.  We stood there together picking out the fabric and she tested out the sizes.  

It turned out to be a great investment as it lasted her entire lifetime.  And she will sleep in that bed for the rest of time.  




In an odd way, that brings me joy.  I crave consistency in life.  And so did she.  

Today I will take our special walk in her honor.  I'll pet all the puppies I see along the way and smile.  It's exactly what we would be doing if she were still here.




Happy Sweet Sixteen to my favorite little bunny!

XO Momma

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bits and Bobs: Trader Joe's, Ace Hardware, Movies, and Podcasts

Every time I post a catch-up, brain dump, here's what you've missed, let me get all these little things down before I forever forget them post, I secretly swear to myself that it will be the last time.  That it will be my last scrambled egg, all over the place post.

And yet, here we are again.

I'm a human full of great intentions but just never get to them in a timely fashion.  So the end result is instead of daily, detailed, lovely posts, a jumble post that really only {barely} makes sense to me.

It is what it is.  This is just where I am these days.

So in no particular order, let's make some mems, shall we?

Trader Joe's.  I have a love/less-than-love relationship with ole TJ.  But the less-than-love is specific to my local Albany Trader Joe's.  It's not in a particularly convenient to me location.  And lawd knows, life is all about me.  But on top of that, even two years after arriving in the Capital Region and not selling wine {that was a shock to my system...there's barely a point if they can't sell wine in my opinion}, it's still a madhouse there every time I go.  The parking lot is very limited and involves a lot of circling around and flop sweating from the anxiety that comes as you wait for a person to get in their car and blissfully ignore the line of cars being blocked by me as I not so patiently await that spot.  It's an ordeal.
That said, I flipping love their products and think their prices are comparable to my average supermarket.  And if one was in a more convenient location, I'd definitely abandon my regular store for a weekly TJ shop.

I mentioned the scallion pancakes on my Insta Stories recently but these are also surprising little treasures.  A dozen little macarons {Do you say mac-a-rooooon or mac-a-ron?  Even though I have made both and know good and well the difference in both ingredients and spelling, I am a sloppy American and usually pronounce macaron and macaroon the same, heavy on the O.}.  These are smaller than what you might find in a bakery but they are also something you can keep in the freezer and were about $7 if I remember correctly.  The salted caramel and lemon were, as is always the case, my favorites.




Painting.  I am not big into watercolor paintings.  I much prefer really bold colors and sharp lines.  I mean, I only write with Sharpies.  Pink and kelly green are my neutrals.  I just have never been much for the muted colors.  But my dear, sweet, drives me nuts sometimes but I love him endlessly dad is really keen to learn how to paint with watercolors.  He's so artistic but has never really taken on watercolors.  So when I noticed my favorite local hardware shop offering a little intro class a few weeks ago, I signed us both us.

It was such a nice little group of new, local friends and a fun way to learn.  I love learning new art techniques!  I'm so glad I went and I love my little lemon person.  When I looked at this photo of the table after getting home, I giggled.  Talk about which one of these things is not like the other.  Everyone else painted some sort of lovely landscape/flower/tree situation.  I made a cartoon lemon.

That shading though...not bad for my very first time using watercolors....right?






The Purge.  I am in the zone.  I want the stuff gone.  I have been holding on to too much for too long and I just need it to go.  I have the most obscene amount of craft stuff.  Even after donating a trunk full of boxes two years ago, I still have so much craft stuff.  And so much fabric.

And baby clothes.  Over the past decade I've found a piece here and a piece there.  And kept them tucked away for when I became a mother.  But I recently realized that all those tiny little treasures do is remind me that I am not a mother.  Some days they make me feel like a failure, some days they make me feel unworthy, some days they make me sad that it never happened.  At some point those tucked away little pieces turned from a hope chest into a dark, emotional drain.

So I listed a few on eBay {which has proved to be the biggest pain in the ass, in case you were wondering, which you weren't, because you probably already assumed as much} and the rest went to the Salvation Army.  If you need cute baby clothes, heels that I wore once a decade ago before I stopped wearing heels because I hate wearing heels, or an extensive selection of often new craft supplies, check the Salvation Army, my friends.  That's where it's all residing {or heading soon}.  No more stuff.  Or maybe a lot less stuff.  I'm a crafter so I am sure I will always have the stuff.  But I want a lot less of it and so far, it feels so good!




Seeds.  I finally ordered them and got them started.  Later than ever before, for no real reason.  My head just wasn't in the game this year.  Winter puts me in a fog and I just took my sweet time getting the seeds started.  But they're germinating under the grow light now so all is right in the world.  It's nice to day dream about playing in the dirt again.  Y'all know how much being able to garden saves my sanity.  I am really white-knuckling it until it warms up after this unbelievably cold winter.






Love, Simon.  Have you seen this movie, yet?  I never ever ever tell people to see movies.  Mostly because I average 1-2 movies each year.  I am not a movie buff.  But this film was so sweet and brilliant and important.  If Wonder Woman and Black Panther have taught us anything, representation matters.  Big time.  Love, Simon is going to change lives.  I don't say that lightly.  It will open conversations and make kids feel less alone and remind people to be kind.  I laughed out loud a lot.  And cried.  It was such a great emotional journey.  If you haven't seen it...GO!




Finding Cleo.  I mentioned earlier today on Instagram that Finding Cleo is my newest podcast obsession.  I do not like scary stories or scary TV shows {we've established that I never go to movies} or even kiddie haunted houses.  But I often binge real life crime dramas and murder mystery podcasts.  So I mentioned loving this on Insta and asked for recommendations.  Um...possibly my best IG post ever.  Friends offered up such great suggestions.  I now have a long list of new to me listens.  So if you are on the hunt for new things in your ears, scroll through the comments on this post.  Crowdsourcing at it's best!




I hope everyone has made it through all of the March Nor'easters unscathed and that the sunshine is finding it's way to your area.  I've been able to take more of my beloved walks now that we've had days above 40.  I've lived here a long time but 40 is my line in the sand of it being comfortable to be outside vs hating life.  

What have you been up to lately?  Are you a gardener?  If so, have you already started your seeds?

XOKK

Monday, March 26, 2018

Marching Local: Why I Love Going to Marches and Protests In My OwnUpstate NY Community

Did you participate in the March For Our Lives this past weekend?  Or have you participated in any local marches recently?  I did, I have, and they're amazing!  I highly encourage everyone to find something that aligns with your passions and participate in the positive movement.

Marching changes you. 

But marching local gives you something that is easily snubbed or overlooked.  




At the March For Our Lives in Albany, NY this past Saturday, I had two similar discussions with new marching friends.  We talked about how inspiring it is to hear voices from our own local schools and districts and communities.  People who shop in the same grocery stores and eat at the same restaurants and attend the same local activities and know the same people rallying the crowds for a unified mission isn't just cool, it's critical.

It's critical to know you are part of something bigger, even in your tiny {very conservative and behind the times} community.  It's critical to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers turned friends who are from all backgrounds but believe in a common good.  It's critical to see local families and local leaders and local youth and local everyone who want to be a part of a solution.  It's critical to use that momentum to jump start your further local involvement.  It's critical to feel empowered and encouraged and engaged.

And on top of that, it's insanely convenient.

Here's an example of how easy it is to get in and out of a well-organized march in Albany, NY.






I parked, for free, about four blocks from the March.  Walked right up to my favorite spot, the front, with less than five minutes to spare.  Talked to people, took photos of great signs, held my signs out for others to take photos of them, and felt right at home, despite being an introvert with anxiety.  The rally started right on time at 10am and lasted a little over an hour.  It included music, students with heart-clutching personal stories, politicians, and local community leaders.  It was the perfect mix and offered a little something for everyone.  Then we marched around the capital building.  Which didn't take long at all.  From start to finish, I'd say the March lasted not more than an hour and a half.  Then I talked a bit more to people, stopped for folks to snap pics of my signs {that uterus sign proved most popular, which tickled me to no end}, walked back to my car, dealt with traffic getting out of there, stopped to pick up an iced coffee, got home, turned on the insanely powerful speeches from the Parkland kids, and started my grocery list.

And that's when my bestie District sent me a text, asking if I was still at the March.  I wasn't.  It had ended almost an hour earlier.  But she and my baby bestie H were nearby and thought they would come say hi to me.  Which is so incredibly sweet and fun.  Alas, of the estimated 5000+ attendees, two and a half hours after the March began and almost an hour after it ended, there were only a few hundred folks left meandering about on the sunny Saturday.

If that's not an example of convenience, I don't know what is.  I mean, it takes me nearly as long to navigate the parking lot at Trader Joes on Saturday!




I know a lot of people snub their noses at marching locally.  I've many times heard how it just doesn't matter or how I just don't understand how different a big March experience is or how they just don't feel like it or how it no one in their area will attend or or or.  And of course all of that is perfectly okay.  We are all entitled to our own thoughts on the matter.

But I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that all politics is local.  And participating locally has a huge impact locally.  And since I lead the least global lifestyle and go days on end without even driving anywhere {woot woot for walkable communities!}, I'm quite honestly most interested in how things will impact me day to day, locally.  




It's often so easy to feel alone in the world.  

I live in an area that is rather conservative doesn't readily welcome those who are not.  It is not easy to fit in most of the time.  Or at least, it's not easy for me to fit in up here.  And as a result, I often feel very alone.  

Marches change that.  They are so welcoming and inclusive!  And there's something to be said for going to an event as one little alone human and chanting in unison 5000 strong!  

And still having time to go home and do normal weekend chores like grocery shopping and laundry.




If you have thought about marching but never worked up the courage to participate, I strongly encourage you to just go!  Go to the next event in your area.  Go with friends or family or alone.  All are perfectly okay!  You don't have to sing or chant if that's not your comfort zone.  It's perfectly acceptable to just soak in the experience.  Just go!  Go witness your very own local community participating in making the world better!

It will change you in the best possible ways!  I promise!

XOKK


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Finding 40: Nothing To Be Afraid Of

I spent all of my thirties, the entire fucking decade, being afraid of turning forty.  Having ages 35, 39, and 40 on the horizon made me swell with discontent, fear, and sorrow.  I cried and panicked, thinking life would end at 40 if I didn't reach certain life goals before that clock turned midnight.

But as a result of that fear, I was a deer in headlights.  I stood still, staring at the countdown, motionless, for years.

I failed to live.

But do you know what happened when I turned 40?  

Well the day of, I was numb for most of it and had a break down in the afternoon.




But the next day at age 40 and one day, I was fine.  Actually, I was better than fine.  The week that followed was really nice.  

I'm still incredibly heartbroken that motherhood seems impossible for me now.  I didn't wake up the day after my birthday with a magical cure for my life-long desires.  I haven't figured out a way to let go of that dream.  But I think a lot of the fear that lived in me during the entirety of my 30's has slowly been dissipating.  

Instead of being sad and scared all the damn time, I've now taken to absolutely owning being a 40-something.  And oddly, I kind of love it.

I'm all, Well in my 40's.... Or now that I'm 40....  And my 40 year old self is flat out of fucks to give!

But like, I said all of this the day after I turned 40.  Because I'm weird.  Or I turned a corner.  Or both.  Who knows.  It feels good though.  It feels good to genuinely care less.  Because I'm not just saying that.  As strange as it sounds, I suddenly but actually do give fewer fucks.  




For example, I've used the word fuck countless times in this post and just do not care.  At all.  A friend asked me to do something the other day and I said no.  I didn't give a lengthy, swirly dissertation on why I was declining.  I just said no.  And I've become obsessed with sensible shoes.  I just put all of my monogrammed Bonannos and Jacks in the thrift store pile because I'm not about to spend a lifetime trying to sell my monogram on eBay and I just cannot wear those back destroying things anymore.  {Confession: I'm keeping two pairs because old habits die hard.}  

I've found a bit of freedom in my forties that I could only dream about in my thirties and I am just going with it.  I do wonder though...what I might have done...or not done...over the last many years if I had known that 40 wasn't a death sentence.  

If you are on the cusp of a big number and dreading it because you haven't checked off the boxes that everyone else around you checked off, please know that first and foremost, I get it, sister!  I know that fear and heartbreak and feeling that you are not just late to the party, but wholly uninvited.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You feel alone, but you aren't.  And second, your birthday isn't a death sentence.  It's just a day.  That might be hard.  But let me tell you a secret.  Lean in.  The joy that comes from wearing cute but sensible shoes and drinking more water than wine and doing daily yoga and saying fuck as much as you please isn't something to be scoffed at.  It's not a family.  But it is a bit of an exhale that you didn't allow yourself for all of your 30's.  




Next up on my personal agenda is to channel the body positivity and adorableness of The 12ish Style. Do you follow her on Instagram?  She's amazing and I want to channel a bit of her in a bathing suit this summer.  I've already told District that I will be joining her at her country club pool {40 year olds just invite themselves to things} this summer.  I've also ordered a bunch of new sundresses.  Something I used to wear six out of seven days during the summer but rarely wear now because I no longer fit into things.  But I'm tired of not fitting in.  So I ordered bigger sizes.  And that's that.  {40 year olds stop hoping to squeeze back into old frocks and just order new things that will be comfortable and cute in their bigger and better size.}

I found 40 and it's not at all the scary, dark place of my wild imagination.  So far, 40 feels fun and freeing and fabulous as fuck!

XOKK


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