Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Same Card Every Year

When I opened my birthday card from my dad this year, I looked at him and smiled.  Then I giggled as I told him he got me the same card last year.  And signed it the same way, simply "Dad" and not anything else.

We both thought this was hilarious.  And so typical, because my dad tends not to remember things like this.




But when I went to add this year's card to my pile of cards that I keep for who knows what reason given the lack of handwritten notes, I realized that this wasn't the second year in a row for this card.  It's the THIRD year in a row that my father has given me the exact same card!

Oh dad!  

He'll forget all about this before the month even ends, so there's a good chance we will revisit this conversation in a year's time, my friends.  Will he go for four in a row in 2018?  Stay tuned...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Do You Want To Share Your Balloons With Me? A Birthday To Smile About.

My birthday, my Dark Day, came and went and I'm happy to say it ended on such a great note!

Now let me be honest that I did break down and cry a few times earlier in the day.  It's not my dark day because it's all sunshine and giggles.  And then add in the fact that's this was my first birthday without my Sadie here...well there were tears.  I struggled.  

But a lot of good happened too.  And it's so important for me to focus on that.  So here are a few sweet highlights...

Not only did my dad remember my birthday but he brought me donuts and gave me a card {the same card he gave me last year...which we both thought was hilarious} and a really thoughtful gift.  He gave me a DNA ancestry test because I've wanted to take one for years but never got around to ordering it. I was so shocked as birthdays have just never been his thing.  




I can't wait to get the results back in 4-6 weeks!  One of my parents was adopted so half of my genetics are a total mystery.  While I am pulling for something fun and exotic, I'm fare skinned and blonde, so chances are good the thing will only tell me I am Northern European.  Stay tuned to see how this pans out though!

The middle of the day was the hard part for me.  But I am so lucky to have friends who flooded me with sweet texts all day.  Big shout out to Bestie {long time readers might remember her} and Hamilton {whom I am happy to report sat fourth row at Hamilton a few days ago...the lucky duck that she is!} for literally holding me up with loving and funny texts all day.  Hamilton went above and beyond the call of friend duty and I am over the moon grateful!

I knew I needed to do something fun in the afternoon so I decided to go to the mall {I never ever go to malls} to shop because I have a bunch of random gift cards form Christmas.  I just thought that might be a little distraction from the day as it's so out of the box for me.  I think though that I forgot how to shop in person for things.  My big goal was to get a fun pallet from Sephora.  But I was so insanely overwhelmed that after circling the entire store, I walked out without so much as touching anything.  Too much, too bright, too loud, too many choices.  At clothing stores, I just didn't find anything I liked.  I only even tried on dresses at JCrew, but was disappointed with how they fit my body {big boobs get me every time}.  




I was pretty amused by it all though and it ate up an hour and a half so it worked out in the end.  I guess.  Though I still have a stack of gift cards.  I'll have to use them online though.  It's hard to believe that I once upon a time worked in a mall because it just feels like such a foreign experience to me these days.

The evening was the most fun.  I went to District's house and was met at the door by my four year old Baby Bestie H.  Who immediately asked me if I wanted to share my balloons with him.  As I wasn't even inside yet and had not seen the balloons, I was completely confused.  But there were in fact six pretty balloons, a handmade card from my H, presents, and a cake.  I never in a million years expected such a fuss and was really humbled.  

H gave me all the hugs and then suggested we play the birthday game.  I bet you're wondering what that is.  I was too.  It's tag...but on your birthday.  Clever little lovie!  

{Don't worry...I left the pretty balloons that Mr. District went to a lot of trouble to get for me and I love him to bits for doing...there for Baby Bestie H to see in the morning.  Because I'm a grown up and how the heck could I take away our shared balloons?!}




The cake was THE BEST part of the night.  A Mardi Gras cake, that got a bit tilted in the box because four year olds are helpful, with Happy Birthday KK written on it, and the very best part, specially chosen Spider Man candles.  Apparently H's mother, District, tried to suggest princess candles.  But H knew his Auntie KK would melt inside when she saw those Spidey candles.  They were hilarious and sweet and just totally made that cake prefect.  




And because four year olds are, as noted, helpful, H was kind enough to help me blow out those candles.  Team work makes the dream work, baby!  

After candles and cake, District and I went out to have the most amazing meal at Ama Cocina that I cannot stop talking about.  Signature guacamole, seriously good margaritas, shrimp tacos, and roll your eyes back in your head street corn.  








I had so much anxiety and fear about this birthday.  And parts of the day were really hard.  But I fell asleep feeling loved.  I have good humans in my life to make me laugh and smile and lift me up.  I am lucky.  Very, very lucky!

XOKK

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Another Year Older: My Dark Day

I do not have a good relationship with this day.  My birthday.  For most of my adult years, it's been my dark day.

But no matter how much I try to ignore it or not think about it or wish it away, the day always comes and eventually goes.  And I am filled with big buckets of mixed emotions.




Last year was my worst birthday ever.  So in some ways, today is automatically better by default.  But my Sadie isn't here this year, for the very first time.  And in some other ways, her absence makes it harder.  Because regardless of what else was happening in my life, I always had my little furbaby to remind me of all the good in the world.  Just watching her sleep was enough to make everything in my life better.




I have a plan though.

I have fun things mixed into my day and evening, including cake before dinner.  I might even break my FB ban to read some birthday well wishes.  

Today is not the end of the world.  It's my personal dark day that comes with new challenges.  But it's going to be okay.  

Please someone tell me 39 isn't as wretched as it feels while writing it!  It's like a secret cool age, right?  Good life things happen and wisdom comes and all the laughter is had...right?!  

Anyway, there you go.  It's my day.  


Sunday, February 19, 2017

So We Keep Loving

Without a shadow of a doubt, I am a much better human because of Sadie's love.  I miss her every single day.  But not every day is hard anymore.  I guess I'm getting used to grief's permanence.





As always, I love and miss my best girl!  I continue to love in her honor!

XOKK

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Things Are Getting Scary: Late Night Anxiety Attack

I had an anxiety attack very late last night.  While in the midst of what I call my spiral {because that's what it feels like to me} at 2 AM, I was bopping from fear to fear, some rational, some not.  I think, though, that the real crux of my problem is our current President.

I know I said I wanted to refrain from being political, but I also said I wanted to grow this blog up.  And if that means talking about dating or sex or grief or fears or mental health or politics or anything else gritty and unglamorous, well then that's what I am going to talk about.  Being up at 1, 2, and 3 in the morning crying so hard that I can't catch my breath is not something I am choosing to gloss over anymore.




Now listen, everything concerns me.  But right now, my big panic is stemming from two things: first the constant lies that are so blatant and proven almost as soon as the words come out of his mouth, and second {and this is the biggest one for me}, the severe censoring of the media coverage.  Refusing to answer any questions from any media source that isn't pro White Nationalist and pro pandering is insane.  

We're not even over the first month hump, y'all.  If this is how things are rolling out in the first 26 days, what the heck is going to happen in the next 26 months?  Will it even be legal for me to say this stuff on a blog?  {That's not me being sassy...at this point it's a pretty valid question.}

Two months ago my biggest personal fear was losing my health insurance.  As someone who is self-employed, the Affordable Care Act has been life-saving.  I went so many years without any insurance at all because it was just too expensive to justify.  Let me be clear that when one does not posses insurance, one does not go to the doctor for years on end either.  And the shame that still comes from admitting that is enormous.  

I'm sure I'll lose what I have now and I am sure I will not be able to afford to replace it.  

But that's just so low on my list of concerns.  I feel silly even noting it.  That's the American reality and we will all just deal with what comes on that front.

Realizing that this man in charge {and all who are in that creepy white man inner circle} is likely doing so many illegal deals and not at all being held accountable, is making me sick.  Physically sick.  

It is so far past party politics at this point.  Why are there still only two Republicans though who are brave enough to speak out?  Is perceived power that important to you that you would put your entire country and possibly the world at risk just to get some sort of fancy dinner invite?  

Don't answer that. 

How low and for how long will we have to sink before people grow a vagina {those birth babies...those are strong...those are what we need right now!} and DO THE RIGHT THING?  How much damage are people willing to overlook for just the possibility of personal gain?  

What upsets me today when I think about last night is that I have been on a pretty good streak lately.  And yesterday was a pretty good day where I ticked things off my list and had fun conversations with people and smiled and ate well and did yoga.  It wasn't one of those days that we all have that just sort of start off one the wrong foot and everything goes awry.  It was by most accounts, a normal and good day.  

But I still found myself in a full on anxiety attack that took hours to come down from enough to fall asleep.

If that's possible on a good day, what might happen on one of those bad days that we all have because we're humans and bad days just happen in life?  What happens then?  

This post is losing all semblance of structure but I think I am just going to leave it as is and hit publish.  The rules for everything have changed.  This is the reality of what is happening in my head and heart right now.  I'm scared.  It consumes me.  Even on good days.  And just like you, I'm trying my best to figure it all out.

If you made it this far, I'd love to know if you can in any way relate?  Have you ever dealt with anxiety?  Or do you share my fears over the current political happenings?  And if you don't share my anxieties or fears, what gives you the most hope right now?  I'd love to know!

Big hugs, sweet friends! 
XOKK

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Shopping For Seeds And Gifts At The Local Hardware Store

I ran into the hardware store again.  This time to look at seeds.  That I do not need.  Like 0% need.  But I went looking for a fix anyway, like the seed junkie I am!

Ace, however, puts their seeds out late.  I forgot that I had this experience last year, too.  I guess they cater more to the direct seed in the ground crowd rather than those of us who start seeds under grow lights.  Which is fine.  Because as I noted, I DO NOT NEED seeds.  Even if I want them.

As always, I took a quick gander at their cute gift items and thought y'all might like a bit of eye candy to start your day too.




These polka dot bowls with the pouring lip {is that what it's called?} are still some of my favorites.




I clearly have a thing for polka dots...




But above all, the winner in my book is this beyond adorable set of measuring spoons!  I can't handle how cute these little flowers in the pot would look on a kitchen counter!




Local hardware stores are the bees knees!  Always my first stop for seeds and gifts and everything in between.  

XOKK

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day {or Galentine's Day}, sweet friends!  I hope your day includes love, in any form, today!

I have an odd relationship with this day.  I don't have particularly strong feelings in any direction.  I have just never been into it, but I certainly don't hate it either.  

It is though, my Grandpa's day.




The grandparent to whom I was closest, was born and died on February 14th.  And while almost everyone who hears that thinks it's sad or morbid, I have forever found it really beautiful.  To come and go on the same day.  It just seems like a very exact and complete circle to me.

So regardless of where I am in a romantic relationship during this day, I always always smile {and maybe get a bit teary} because above all else, it just makes me think of my kind and loving grandpa who did so much for me.

Happy birthday, Grandpa!  Take care of my Sadie!

XOKK

Monday, February 13, 2017

Top 5 Grammy Awards Moments

The Grammy Awards were last night and holy emotional!  It did not disappoint!  We all knew Beyoncé and Adele were going to be great, but there were a lot of fabulous surprises in the mix too.

So in no particular order, here are my top five performances at the Grammy Awards last night...

Ed Sheeran.  I am a huge Ed Sheeran fan any normal day of the week.  So that's your disclaimer here.  I think he's adorable and mad talented.  But one of my favorite things about Ed is how he is this one man band.  I think it's so cool how he records himself to add in layers to songs instead of having a big, fancy band behind him.  And at a show like the Grammy's that so often has the biggest, glitziest, most extravagant performances, I thought it was so charming and empowering to see Ed up there doing it his own way and killing it!

John Legend.  Always, always John Legend.  He could sing me the phone book and I would go weak in the knees.  His voice is like buttah!  Also, doesn't he look like the friendliest human?  

Adele.  Oh lawdy, Adele, you are everything!  You're voice is out of this world and then you remind us all how real and normal you are.  I love that.  I love that you are equal parts fantasy and reality.  Your voice, your hair, your sincerity...you're my queen!  I love that you gave the mic to Greg Kurstin after he was cut off the first time.  I love that you gave Beyoncé a love letter, twice, during your big moments.  And then did I mention your performances?  Plural.  You're in a category all your own.  You're brilliant.  But also, very relatable.  May we please be friends?




Beyoncé.  Oh Beyoncé.  Or Bey.  Or Other Queen.  We have multiple queens and I think it's about damn time!  Your performance was a roller coaster of emotions for me.  At first I was excited.  Then confused.  Then very confused.  But I am just sort of a confused human so that's probably more me than you.  Eventually though I was into it and found myself near tears at the end.  Full circle.  Which is probably exactly as you intended.  Good Queens always plan these things down to the last gasp and tear.  

Chance the Rapper.  You were hands down my performance pick of the night, Chance!  May I call you Chance?  Or does everyone call you Chance the Rapper?  That seems wordy but I'm from the south so I'm not unfamiliar with nine mile long first name situations.  It doesn't really matter.  What does matter is that I felt your performance.  I got it, I loved it, I needed it, and I was in tears by the end.  I know music, like all art, is so subjective.  But I feel pretty secure is saying that this performance could be universally loved.  I was amazed and inspired!

Bonus...Rhianna.  OK so I saw this on social media, not actually while watching.  But I can't stop laughing at Rhinanna pulling out the bedazzled flask to take a drink.  I don't need the drink, but I could use a bit of your gives no effs attitude in life!  You don't and you own it and I'm jealous!

And that my friends, was my take on the night.  A lot of great performance, a few that I muted until they were over, and a reminder that everyone other than Beyoncé is just a normal human at the end of the night.

Did you watch the Grammy Awards?  What was your favorite performance?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nine Months And A Nor'easter

Nine months ago today.  It's not easier.  I still cry.  And every minute of every day, I love you!

You came to me in my dreams a few days ago it was THE BEST treat ever.  It drives me insane that I can't remember every last detail when I wake up but I do my best to write it all down so those moments are there to savor.  I am so scared that I will forget bits of our journey together.

We had a nor'easter here this week, which hasn't happened in a few years.  It's funny because I bought new dog walking boots {Duck Boots} fall 2015 in anticipation of our long, slow walks together in winter 2016.  But last year, your last year, we had almost no snow.  And I never wore the boots to walk you.  But the few times I've worn them so far this year, you are the only thought in my mind.  They are still my Sadie walking boots.  

Speaking of snow, my little snow bunny, you would have LOVED this one.  Until now, everything that's come out of the sky this winter has been that heavy wet stuff because it was only just cold enough.  Which is the worst kind of snow.  That's the stuff that turns from slush to ice on a daily basis and is just so annoying on every level.

But this week's snow was cold and fluffy.  The kind of snowflakes you adored.




Remember when you would get so excited that you had to eat every bit of snow and your cute little nose and face would be just covered and I would laugh so hard?  Remember when you would randomly take a running leap into a giant snow pile and I would have to help you out?  Remember when we would walk right after the snow slowed down, before people tossed out that dreaded salt*, and we would just relish the joy of walking under the bright lights of the night that lit up the snowfall?  Remember how much you loved your coat that kept you so cozy and dry?

Me too.  

I promise to keep writing it all down so that I remember forever!

I miss you, my baby bunny.  I love you forever and always, plus one day more!

XO Momma



*PSA: Sidewalk salt burns puppy paws.  I can't tell you how many dog owners I used to see who would tell me how their dog didn't like walking in snow.  Because the snow hurt their paws.  Which isn't impossible.  But in a city or urban environment, I think it's a better bet that your pup is crying and laying down in pain because of the salt, not the snow.  It gets in between the pads of their feet and is really painful.  It's not something most people think about until they are made aware.  I carried paper towels with me in each pocket on every winter walk with Sadie and still ended up having to carry her home half the time.  Chemical sidewalk salt burns.  #TheMoreYouKnow

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

YouTube, Marshmallows, Bake Sales, Gardens, And Yoga.

It's been quite a busy few weeks!  I've been playing on my YouTube Channel a lot lately.  It's similar to this blog in that I talk about a bit of everything.  I keep thinking I will narrow down what I use YouTube for but so far, it's sort of like the kid sister to this blog.  No one really watches it, save for the occasional troll who leaves me weird and mean comments, so I feel a lot of liberty to use it as I please.

If you want more of me, but want to hear my voice too, I'd love if if you went over here and subscribed.  I did a cute quiz while sitting in my bed {in front of the mistake pillow that I've grown to love} a few days ago.




I also did a step by step video on how to make homemade marshmallows.  Proof that they really are quick and easy to make at home!

I packaged up those marshmallows and some giant Rice Krispie treats to be sold at my local library's bake sale.  I have strong opinions on bake sales as a fundraising technique.  And they all conclude with  don't do bake sales.  But I'm not involved in the library.  So when I was asked to please help, I just did what I could and made things look cute.  I also jazzed up a glass jar with layers of cute paper and a Donations Welcome sign because I assumed they wouldn't have one.  They didn't and thought it was brilliant and what do you know, that little donation jar paid off big time.  {I knew it would!}




On Saturday, I signed up for my community garden again.  You have to renew your contract and pay a yearly fee.  I went early because last year it was a disaster, and it totally paid off.  I was in and out in just minutes.  On top of that, I was the first returning gardener from my little garden to sign up so I got to pick my "job" for the summer first.  Which is my goal for sign up.  I have all month to do this but I go to great and ridiculous lengths to make sure I don't get stuck with weed whacking as my job because I am really allergic to grass and also, it's not fun.  As usual, I am the person who will collect excess produce from gardeners to donate to our Squash Hunger program.  It's my favorite task because it holds such a special place in my heart!




After my garden sign up, I picked out a dozen packets of new seeds.  Nothing dazzles me more than seeds!  So much potential in those tiny packets!  In the middle there you can see my celery plant growing strong.  If you have kids, I strongly encourage you to do that with them.  Just for kicks!

And then I made a very quick video explaining how my community garden works because I get asked that a lot over on Instagram.  If you're at all curious, that video is here.




In political news, here is the list of how much the DeVos family donated to Republican senators.  So...that's a thing that happened.



Moving on...

I still have squash left and I am not mad about it!




Yesterday I put up a little video about a few seeds that I am most excited about growing in my 2017 garden.  I love playing around and trying new things.  Some work, some fail, but I {almost} always have fun and learn something from the experience.




And finally, I did something to my right shoulder area.  I have no idea what exactly, but for about a full week now I have had screaming pain, on and off, mostly early in the morning.  I have not given up on yoga though.  I've still done it daily.  But this sad, pathetic, 90 year old, modified version to avoid using my arms.  I'm sticking to my plan to do it daily again this month, but life is about adjusting, so I've had to do just that.

How have you been lately?  Anything new or exciting?  Give me the skinny!



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