Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Painting Through The Sadness

Dear Sadie,

I wish you were here, baby bunny.  

I sit on the floor in the evenings painting a lot lately.  Just like I have done with all of my artsy endeavors, despite having an amazing desk work space where I should be doing all of this stuff.  I sit on the floor with the TV on and I look for you.  You used to come "help" me by poking your cute little nose in every corner.  I'd talk to you and kiss your head.  You'd come in and out just to check on my progress.  We had a life and a language, you and me.  

I've really had a tough time lately.  The days leading up to the two month mark were just as hard as the days just after I said goodbye.  I am struggling.  And so I paint.  On top of yoga and sewing and gardening and writing.  I've been painting.  It keeps my hands and mind busy.  It's good for me to focus on projects in those quiet, lonely night time hours.  

For you, I am still painting rocks to add to your little spot.  I realize this is inching up on insane at this point but honestly, it's so calming that I just don't even care.  

The Sunday before I left for Florida, I brought you the latest painted additions.  I smile at how cheerful it looks right now!  I honestly think you would be tickled.

There is however a single upside to the past two plus months.  I am still not sleeping much.  No matter what time I go to bed, I am still up at nearly all of the hours.  I give up most morning and just get out of bed and start my day before the birds let out their first chirp.  So I tend to be a morning rockstar lately. I get a heck of a lot accomplished before 10 AM these days.

All the minutes of all the days, I miss you, Sadie.  

Momma loves you!

XO Momma

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Conversation With Bestie: Adult Coloring Books Baffle Me and BubbleBaths Do Too

This is how a recent text conversation went with Bestie...

Are you into adult coloring books?  I was given one for Christmas, colored in like two leaves on exactly one page, remembered that I don't like lines or colored pencils {or any pencils}, and here the thing sits.  I can add it to the box {of gifts} that we all hope will be sent {to you} this decade if you will use it.  I think it's like bubble baths.  They're popular {forms of relaxation}.  I want to love them.  I want to get why others love them.  But at the end of the day, I just don't.

I'm every so grateful for friends who just get me.  And who love me unconditionally, even when I make no sense!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Garden Update: Things Are Growing

Just a quick garden update....

A lot of things are growing really well!  I am pleased as punch with my broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and Swiss chard this year.  If I can keep the damn groundhog away, I might finally be able to claim success in the brassica department!  {knock on wood}

I have a total of 32 tomato plants.  A few of those are tiny as they were suckers I clipped off a few weeks ago.  I do this every year and it has mixed success due to our shorter growing season.  But still...32 tomato plants.  And so far {again...knocking on wood}, they look really healthy.  It all comes down to blight and human theft though.  Both will happen...but how much and how early in August is the question!  Crossing my fingers I am overflowing in 'maters because I love to can tomato sauce and tomato salsa and tomato jam {it's like adult ketchup}.  

I have so many potatoes this year- it's crazy.  No complaints there though as I love potatoes and they keep really well.  My sweet potatoes {which are actually only distantly related to a regular potato} are off to a slow and tiny start so I am not sure if I will actually get any this year.  Regular potatoes though are promising to give me a bumper crop.  Few things are tastier than a new potato you pulled out of the ground an hour earlier!

My winter squash are off to a great start.  I say this every year and know full well that I often lose out due to squash vine borrers and squash bugs.  But I have most of my plants covered to the best of my ability in netted hoops for as long as I can.  All I can do is try.  I also over plant what I need in hopes that if just a few produce, I will still be happy.  I have several fun varieties growing this year so if they make it and then still survive the human theft, it will be my kind of big time excitement.  Woot woot!

Now let's talk about summer squash.  It's a sad sad state of affairs.  I normally have a few green zucchini, yellow zucchini, round zucchini, white patty pan, and yellow patty pan growing well.  This year they were nearly all decimated by bugs before they could do anything.  The two that I have growing now I believe have squash vine borrers.  I am going to attempt to do surgery this week but my time is limited.  Agh!  Ditto on cucumbers.  The two easiest things to grow.

Speaking of normally easy but proving impossible this year...carrots.  I planted carrots three times.  {As well as parsnips.}  Nothing.  Just nothing.  So I just last week put in bush beans in hops of salvaging the season.  I wouldn't complain if I got a big crop of beans in to freeze for later use.  I love fresh green beans!

And that about sums things up.  Overall, I am really pretty happy with how the garden looks and how things are growing.  Every year is a giant lesson on pests and soil and growing practices.  I get a lot of compliments on Instagram for how my garden looks but I have to be very honest that for every success, I have at least two failures.  Or more.  I'm just persistent to the point of being a touch crazy with my willingness to keep trying and keep learning and keep tweaking my practices.  

So tell me...what's growing best in your garden right now?  Any big challenges this year in your garden?  And please tell me if you have the magic solution for Squash Vine Borrers or Squash Bugs!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Change Of Plans For This Florida Girl

Dear Sadie,

Last year when I was in Florida for two and a half weeks in July, I was an absolute wreck worrying about you.  You were so well taken care of by Poppy of course, but I was living in total fear that something bad would happen to you without me being there.  You did actually get quite sick, another bout of pancreatitis, but Poppy minimized the information he told me until I was back home.

It was right then, on the car ride home from the airport, that I vowed not to leave you again.  I would never go more than an hour drive from you and that meant that Florida was out this year.

While sad to not go see my people, you were always my number one and it was never a question that this was the right decision.

But you passed away.  And I have been a sobbing hot mess.  I need hugs and I need to laugh and I need to be with my people.

So guess where I am right now?  Yup...I'm in my beloved Sunshine State.  Still crying, but also laughing a lot.  And sweating my fanny off.  

This too, was the right decision.  It's good to be home.

XO Momma

Friday, July 15, 2016

Random Acts Of Kindness: Surprise Garden From The International PixieCoalition

So a year ago...yes a full calendar year...I went to a friend's house when she was away on vacation and put in a garden for her.  Without saying a word about it.  I took photos (seen below) and video (somehow deleted) and am finally getting around to posting the photos.  Which do not do it justice because it was so cute!

My dear friend Nebraska has three of the most beautiful babies in the world.  And last spring, baby number three made his surprise entrance (they have babies via adoption) and threw their family through the most amazing but you know...unexpected...loop.  So Nebraska's normal plans for a small patio garden just never happened.

She and the family went out of town and I put my garden fairy wings on to give her and the kiddos a little surprise.

Before...lots of weeds...

Plus a few basil plants that I planted the week prior with her oldest son.  But mostly weeds...

Poof...weeds be gone!

Time to get the show on the road.  I added a few tomato plants that I had leftover.

Plus some ground cherries, squash, peas, and peppers.  Just little bits of this and that with what I happened to have leftover from my own garden planting.  

The pots are large so I planted multiple things in them.  

I picked up a ton of shade tolerant flowers because while this planter box is awesome in size and location to the back door, it's in a very shady spot.  I think they looked really lovely with the flowers in front and a few vining veggies (that I don't think did much...because too much shade...but I tried) in the back.

I was most proud of how I presented this project to the family.  I wrote this whole letter about how I was Trixie the Pixie and I flew by and noticed they needed a garden so I planted it (this was geared towards a five year old mind you...please do not think this is how I talk to my adult friends).  I placed the note on the sliding glass door facing in so that they would see it as soon as they got home (and water the garden!).  I was told this note was a hit- yay!  Pixie Crop Dusted...a year later and I still think that's clever!

Trixie even added pixie dust all over the garden.  Because of course she did!  Pixies love them some glittery dust, y'all!

And garden bunting.  Because Trixie watches a lot of British gardening videos on YouTube and has a full on obsession with garden bunting.  I about fell over myself though because I thought it was especially adorable in the trees!

The before and after shots.  That just don't do it justice.  I can't believe I lost the videos I took.  Dang!

This is how I choose to spend my free time.  Not only will I work in my own garden, but I force them upon my friends (this was not the only friend garden I planted last summer...District got one too). I'd say I have a problem but I mean, it's a garden, how can that possibly ever be considered a problem?!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Preppy Style: My Daily Uniform

What can I say, I am a creature of habit and uber predictable when it comes to my daily wardrobe.  My go-to top in any season is a long sleeve button down shirt.

They are so versatile and comfortable and can be dressed up or dressed down.  They just work and are my happy place when it comes to clothing.  I wear them with jeans, leggings, skirts, and shorts.  Sleeves down, cuffs rolled up once, sleeves rolled up to make a longer short sleeve.  

Tell me, what's your clothing go-to?  Is it different in the winter vs. summer?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Garden Harvest

Popped down to the garden the other day to harvest a few goodies and check on things.  Rhubarb and Shasta Daisies.  Waiting on everything else to come in is working my last bit of patience.  That said, look how delightful this little harvest is!  Hard to complain when fresh rhubarb scones are imminent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Unexpected Downside To Using Dating Websites

I think it's odd that people of any generation still have a negative reaction to a single person using a dating website.  How else are people over the age of 22 supposed to meet these days?

Think about that for a minute.  Even if you are married, think about how many interactions you personally have with people of your same general age who are single.  Now factor in gender preferences, lifestyle preferences {hell to the no will I date a smoker...for example}, personality preferences, physical preferences, and anything else that's a factor for you personally such as religion, employment, politics, desire to parent, and so forth.  Then factor in unexplained chemistry.  Because we've all known someone who is "good on paper" but in real life, y'all just don't click for reasons you never really understand.  

And this is just the tip of the being single sucks iceberg, my friends.  It's hard out there for a pimp.  Or like, a single pearl wearing, collar popping, garden obsessed, feminist girl.  For example.  Ahem.

Dating websites are the only way to meet people.  And thankfully, there are dozens to choose from.  Pick an app, any app, and run with it, my single sisters and brothers!

That said, let me slide myself off my high horse for a skinny minute to give you a fair warning about one unexpected negative result that may or may not have happened to me earlier this year {we all know this totally happened to me}.

Some apps are linked up with your social media accounts.  They don't post on the accounts but they will show you if you and the other person have any mutual friends.  

While only your first name is shown to the other person to swipe right or swipe left, when you have an uncommon name and have mutual friends, it's not that difficult to search for a Facebook page.  This was not something I thought about....until I got poked.

First, let me ask if that's still a thing?  I didn't hop on Facebook on year one so I sort of missed the poking phase altogether.  To this day I am not entirely sure what it even means.  Is it just a "hey look at me" thing?  

Anyway, someone poked me.  In true KK fashion, i didn't even notice.  It can take me ages to notice invites and friend requests and the like.  I really only keep Facebook to see friend's kid photos.  By the time I noticed, I had in fact been poked twice.  And friend requested once.  And sent a message.  That's when I got creeped out and figured out how to block someone on a dating app.  

But the thing about dating apps is that most people use more than one.  And this person found me a second time.  They sent me a note via the second app.  And it was a nice note- like hey are you KK from the other app?  We have this friend in common {one friend...not even a close friend...and just one...simmer down hot rod!} and should be friends.  I blocked them again.

And that's when they sent me a second message on Facebook {at this point I was equal parts creeped out and wondering if those three selfies that I took no time to post really look that good that someone would go to full on creeper status to talk to me}.  I blocked them there too.  Block, block, block.  Ain't nobody got time for that kind of crazy.  

So the moral of this story is if you are single, DO use dating websites.  Seriously...go for it.  But be aware of how each site and app differs and plan accordingly.  DON'T post all your personal information.  DON'T be afraid to block the occasional crazy person.  But DO be open to meeting new people.  Even if it just ends up as a funny story to tell your girlfriends over drinks.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Two Months Without You

Dear Sadie,

Today is officially two months since I last held you in my arms.  And I am just as broken today as I was then.  Two sentences into this post and I have had to stop several times because I am bawling and I can't see out of eyes overflowing with tears.

I am lost.

Yesterday I was laying in bed and watching TV and I heard you.  I mean, I know it couldn't have actually been you because you're gone.  But I swear I heard your little cry to go on a walk or eat dinner.  It was so clear that it took the wind right out of me.  I was frozen in the moment.

I would give anything to kiss your sweet nose or rub your ears or talk to you and have you bop your head from side to side again.  

I am lost.

I am not a wife and am not a mother.  But I was Sadie's momma.  That was my title for 14 years.  I was your momma.  And I will always be your momma.  You will always be my baby bunny.

But I no longer have three walks a day to plan around.  I no longer have meals to make and serve.  I no longer have deep conversations.  I no longer have someone to see when I walk in the door.  I no longer have someone to kiss and cuddle before I leave the house.  I no longer tuck you in bed each night.  

I don't know what my purpose is without you here in my life.

I am lost.

I miss you so much.  I am sad and I ugly cry daily.  My heart is so broken.  

I hope you are having just the most amazing time in Heaven playing with Bailey and all your cousins and of course, your best pal Charlie.  

But sometimes, it feels impossible to put one foot in front of the other without you by my side.

So I confess...I am lost.

All my love,
XO Momma

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Getting Stoned In The Garden

Get your mind out of the gutter...not that kind of stoned.

The way I have painted strawberry rocks for the garden and little memory rocks for Sadie's Spot, I've made a few bunny rocks, too.  Because I always called my best baby girl, Sadie, my baby bunny.  In fact, I often wondered if she thought it was her name as much as Sadie because I used it so frequently during the day.

So I have little painted bunny stones in a few small corners in my garden.  Just a little way for my heart to keep her with me because I am still missing her so much. 

Then, now, and baby bunny!

XO Momma

Friday, July 8, 2016

Flowers On A Day When Words Can't Make The World Better

I had a different post planned for today but after all the horrific events of this week from Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to the Dallas Police Officers, it hardly seems right to post a silly little something.  But I do want to post some cheerful photos of some of my favorite flowers from the garden.  Perhaps this is just something I am doing for myself, so that I can remember that the world is full of goodness and beauty and simplicity.  Or maybe you need that reminder today, too.

While there are bad eggs in every group in life, I choose to believe that most humans are good.  We all have mostly good thoughts and send out mostly good wishes into the universe.  There is more good in the world...I refuse to believe differently.  And these candy-colored flowers are a simple, personal reminder that the world is full of loveliness.

As much as I love growing edibles, there is something so magical about seeing all of the flowers in bloom mid summer!

I live in an urban city that is beautiful but has a lot of need still for love and restoration.  Some days, seeing these pops of color are just what the soul needs to keep plugging away at life.  

I think there are a lot of lessons that can come from these simple flowers.  I bought the seeds from Baker Creek (my favorite!) in January and they just sat there taunting me for months.  I planted them in late April.  Replanted them two more times after the squirrels dug them up and ate them.  Waited for ages to finally see them germinate and had to add more seeds again thanks to the ridiculousness of city squirrels.  And just this past week, the first week of July, they started to bloom like nature's most spectacular fireworks display.  But I had faith in January that patience and persistence and consistent effort would pay off in the long run.  

Listen, in no way do I think I have solved world peace with a few packets of seeds.  But we all have to start somewhere to put a little more joy and goodness and positivity into our worlds.  For me, it often begins in my garden.  

May we all find a way to add more peace and love to the landscape of our little worlds in the hope that it makes our big world that much better.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Freedom Lies On The Other Side Of A Difficult Conversation

Knowledge is power.  Always.

Not necessarily in a way that you feel powerful or in control.  Sometimes the power is just no longer questioning or feeling in the dark.  Sometimes the power is that you can make an informed decision moving forward.  Sometimes the power is making peace and letting go.  Sometimes the power is feeling less confused and crazy.  And sometimes the power is being able to finally see the big picture.

Wishing everyone power, peace, and freedom, however it finds you right now!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Battle Of The Brassicas: KK vs. The Damn Groundhog

Last year when I was in Florida with bestie Florida, a groundhog started coming into our community garden.  From there it would daily make it's way into my little plot and it completely demolished every last brassica plant.  Every beautiful broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, Swiss chard, and kale plant met it's fate to the damn groundhog.

When I got back, most plants were beyond repair but I thought I could salvage a few as kale especially grows back.  I tried to stuff, block, and mend the holes under my fencing but the beast just kept coming in.  I ran into it several times and no matter what I tried, I lost all of my plants.  

This year, the beast is not waiting until mid July to start the garden buffet.  It's been battling a few gardeners for a few weeks and so far, it's winning.  Two gardeners, on either side of me, have lost all of their brassicas and lettuce greens already.  And this little crocodile is not mincing words.  It's a war and I am going to win it this year!

For starters, in the spring, the big project I did with my father was to dig up the entire perimeter of my garden plot and bury chicken wire fencing.  So every part of my perimeter has that added to it, minus the two entrance gates where I wasn't able to add it if I wanted to avoid daily tripping.  I have also grown all of my brassicas, which seem to be the woodchuck's favorite, in the very center of my garden.  While I am sure it can still smell them, I choose to believe that being away from all the edges of my plot is helping.  I also interplanted onions between all of the broccoli, etc as critters dislike onions and garlic.

But seeing the daily damage being done despite me daily filling the critter holes into the garden has had me worried.  The last straw happened a few days ago when I was bent over weeding.  I heard a noise just outside the garden fence so I stood up to get a better look.  I don't know who was more in shock to find that I was eye to eye with the groundhog who was five feet up on the six foot chain link fence!  

When I was left with one nub of a kale plant last year, I took an old onion bag, you know the netting stuff that you buy onions in or that also comes wrapped around a Thanksgiving turkey. And put it over the kale.  Sadly it was too late for the plant to do much at that point, but it did keep the critter out.  So I took that and came up with a new plan.  I bought about 20 yards of tulle, you know the stuff one uses to make a ballet tutu, and sewed up little bags to put over the top of each brassica plant.  I've tied them each with a little satin bow {because hello...cute points always count!}, but I can certainly untie them to adjust for more room as the plants grow taller.  

So far so good for what I've taken to calling my broccoli brides!  The added bonus is that it should also help keep the cabbage white flies at bay too!

I have no idea if this will really work in the long run.  But my plants are looking so beautiful and healthy this year and I am just not in the mood to lose them all again to a dumb woodchuck.  It was worth a try!

Have you ever had woodchuck or other critter problems in your garden?  What did you do to solve the problem?

Monday, July 4, 2016

What Ever Happened To Pink Swim Caps?

I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned going to the pool with her mom to see the ladies.  Something about the way she phrased it took me straight back to the early 80's.  My grandparents on my mother's side lived in a retirement village {not assisted living, rather a planned community of homes and a community center, etc but you had to be over a certain age to live there} in New Jersey.  Leisure Village.

I'm not kidding...that was the name of the community. 

Leisure Village.

I flipping loved Leisure Village!  It was charming in what I would now describe as a creepy 60's wanna be utopian society but as a little kid it fascinated me kind of way.  All the lawns were perfect and uniform.  Everyone was super friendly and knew your name.  It was a lot like Disney World in that everything was manicured and orderly.  But with old people.  As I have been an old soul my entire life, I felt right at home in the village of leisure.  

My grandpa loved the golf course.  My grandma loved everything else.  She was in theater productions. She played bridge.  They met friends for couples dinners at the club.  And she swam with all her girlfriends at the pool.  Where women were required to wear swim caps.

When I went to the pool with Grandma, I had to borrow her extra pink flower swim cap.  Because...rules!  But in my heart of hearts, I thought it was the greatest.  I felt like one of the girls.  I mean, I grew up with a pool in my backyard in Florida.  So going swimming wasn't exactly a big deal for this little Florida girl.  But the big pool with all of Grandma's friends, who all had lovely smiles and friendly greetings and soft skin just like my Grandma, was extra special because of that silly pink swim cap.

Grandma died with I was seven, so I don't have a significant bank of memories with her.  But I am smiling so wide right now that this is one of my favorite memories because it's not always the big events or the big gifts or the big trips or the big anything that leaves the big impression.  

But to my point...what ever happened to swim caps?  Why are they not still a thing?  Why has that fashion trend not circled back around.  Think of all the fun design possibilities!  I know there are actual problems in the world and lack of rubber swim caps is not topping that list.  But seriously...I feel like this fashion trend is long over-due for a big beach come back!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sadie Sunday: Making Sadie's Spot Pretty

Dear Sadie,

A proper headstone is in the works, I promise.  But in the mean time, I've gone off the deep end in painting little rocks to decorate your spot.  Really, it's just that the painting occupies my hands and head when I get particularly upset with missing you in the evenings.  

This week I went out to see you, or your spot rather, and brought all of the little stones that I've painted so far.  Evidence in technicolor that I miss you A LOT!  Just little bits and bobs that remind me of you, my baby bunny.  

You brought such exceptional joy and delight to everyone who ever came in contact with you.  It seems fitting that your special spot is full of bright colors and cheerful love notes.  

I miss you, sweet Sadie!  It's nearly seven weeks now and I still look for you.  Just today, I've gone to the kitchen multiple times and looked for you.  And so I paint...

All the pretty colors and all my love for you!

XO Momma

Friday, July 1, 2016

YouTube Vlog: Processing My Relationship

I filmed this personal vlog on my YouTube channel a few months ago when I was in a better place.  It wasn't on the heels of my break up.  And then I never did anything with it.  Just sat here, using up storage space.  Something happened last week though that made me realize I still have a way to go in processing and moving past a lot of what happened.  It's hard to accept that someone will never feel sorry for what happened or want to apologize.  I am working on it.

I've decided to post this here as a reminder, not only to myself, but for anyone who stumbles upon it and can relate, that we are all more than one person's opinion of us.  

We are not worthless.  We are all valuable.  We have people who see the good in us.  We have people who love us and want to always be kind to us.  It's hard when someone goes to such effort to make you feel so small, to see that you are not small.  Just because one person finds joy in being cruel doesn't mean that everyone else in the world will treat you the same way.  

I know how hard it is to look past that situation that is permeating your world.  But I also know that finding all the other good in life is what saves me.  Gardening, yoga, walking, long drives, dancing it out in the kitchen, talking to friends, and laughing are what fill my cup back up again.  Find what fills your cup up and I promise promise life gets better!  



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